Friday, May 30, 2014

The Little 'Mindions' in My Life...

You guys, Tuesday was our first day of summer break and it began rather well.  The little men of my life slept in.  Like they NEVER sleep in.  And then we scrubbed bathrooms together before they went outside to play.  I tackled six loads of laundry while the baby slept in the afternoon and the big boys played in the back yard and ran through the sprinkler.  It was kinda... killer.

Until it wasn't.  Which is totally the way with three toddler boys, you know?

And so it was, I was cleaning up the chaos under my kitchen table - which was epic due to the makings of taco night dinner.  What was I thinking serving shredded lettuce, shredded cheese, hamburger meat and chips?  Obviously, I wasn't.  Disaster.

So, I sent them out the back door to clean up all the yard toys.  Ryno, the hubs, followed suit and went out to trim the lawn while they worked and played in the warm evening sun.  And just a few moments in we both must have sensed the "it's too quiet and we haven't seen a little bod running figure eights in the back yard for a few minutes" so we both stopped our chores...
And then we discovered it.
Big K came running around the corner covered in yellow.  His big bear paw hands were yellow, his back was yellow, his legs were yellow.  He was giggling incessantly and proudly proclaimed, "LOOK!  I'm a 'Mindion'!  Dax made me yellow like a 'Mindion'!"
(That's Minion for those of you not in the know...)

Ace came running around the corner next and he too was covered in paint.  He was also buck naked, but that fact never really surprises us anymore.  #littlestripper

And then Dax rounded the corner... with a bird finger dripping yellow paint.  "Yep, I got paint on me too!" he said.  It was SO obvious what went down - the proof was in the trigger finger, you know?

And so it was that the hubs and I sat their three little heinies on the back porch and gathered together to survey the damage and pronounce the punishment to the little heard of holy terrors.  Handprints decorated the shed wall and a portion of our vinyl fence and they waited nervously for the unleashing of justice - our little shits minions.
It only took us a little while to get over it and laugh.  I mean, what else was left to do?  Don't worry, we did it after bedtime in the privacy of the living room over bowls of cereal - because, when else?

But I'm here to say - for some reason, on this, the first week of summer - there is a healthy dose of the devil in all the kids of the land.  No lie, I've compared notes with friends, sisters and neighbors.  There's an epidemic.  And all I'm sayin' is - we've got to innoculate them against any further shenanigans A.S.A.P. or we're all in for a Loooonnnnnggg Hot summer.
Amen & XO.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Our First Graduate...

I don't even know how this happened so fast.
Here he is, the cutest preschool graduate you ever laid eyes on.
Geez Louise.
Is it even possible that we are elementary school bound?
Excuse me, while I go cry for a moment.
Kael loved every moment of Preschool.  He is quite the class clown and he received the "Fun Loving" award from his teacher, Miss Amy, for being such a fun-lovin' kid every day in class.
He will be among the youngest in Kindergarten next year, but don't you dare underestimate him.  Just when you least expect it - he'll bowl you over.  With his deep, husky voice and his big strong stature, there is just no holding this kid back.  He is ready for his next adventure.
And I guess like it or not, we'll take onward and upward motion.
Elementary School HERE HE COMES!
Pave the way little man.  We love you and we know you're going to do amazing things!
So, so proud of you!

Monday, May 26, 2014

A Great, "Grandpa Great"...

On May 15th, my kids lost their only living Great Grandpa, "Grandpa Great", and Ryan, lost his 98-year-old Grandpa.  It was a peaceful passing and after nearly a century of living an exemplary kind of life, Levier Gardner passed at home surrounded by his family.  
One month ago, Grandpa Great was dancing at Kim's wedding and cracking jokes as usual.  Ever the gentleman, he kept cracking jokes and pouring out gratitude in the hospital just days before he was reunited in the Heavens with his two girls who preceded him in death.  
His funeral was held over Memorial weekend.  He was given Military honors for the time he served as a Bomber in the Air force.  His family was thrilled to spend the bulk of this Memorial weekend honoring such a noble, kind and lovely person.
He was widely known for his sense of humor, his dedication to Scouting and family history, his Peanut Brittle, his kindness and his often quoted line, "Families are better than people."
I do believe I can fully embrace that tidbit of wisdom.
I'm so, so grateful for mine.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sprinkler Shenanigans...

There is a whole lot of sprinkler shenanigans going on around here these days.
It’s kind of awesome.

And it could only mean one thing.
Summa time's here.

You're gonna feel the love around these parts, summer.
Thanks a mill for comin' back.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Let it Grow...

Maybe you have forgotten how amazing it is to learn about how plants grow?  I had.  Until Dax brought home the proverbial bean inside a ziplock baggie with a moist paper towel and while it hung from a magnet on the fridge "That Beanie GROWED OUT into a plant!"
We got daily updates from Kael and Dax.  First about "cracks" then about "sprouts" then a full-fledged "plant".  And let's get real, it's all pretty miraculous.
So there was no denying this farm inclined tribe some good soil and some plants this summer.  Truth be told, we missed our crop off fresh tomatoes these past couple of years anyway.
They were completely committed to the planting process.  I couldn't wipe the grin off of my face.
And now we're all praying, "Let it Grow, Let it Grow!"
And you're welcome for planting that song right into your noggin' as well.  :)  

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Foursome...

If I'm being honest, the events that led up to this perfect, "evening in the front yard with delicious smelling babes and a golf teaching daddy" were anything but.  At lunch, unbeknownst to his mama, Ace Face had snuck his tray into the oven because he didn't want to finish his strawberries.  The afternoon progressed and in the chaotic moments before dinner I turned on the oven to preheat (everyone knows the best bakers religiously preheat) before racing across the street to collect the big littles from soccer practice with Ace in tow.  When we came inside we were met with the scent of melted plastic and its accompanying carcinogens.  We put it in reverse and bolted out the doors and there we stayed to enjoy the fresh air and a pizza while things inside aired out.
Cue, the perfect time to try out Dax's new clubs and foam balls.
Ryno has told me numerous times how thrilled he is to have his own little foursome for the golf course. I am only slightly jealous because almost nothing makes me happier than seeing all my boys enjoying something together.  It's magical. 
They are so lucky to have each other and a good Daddy-o.
And we were feeling lucky to have our very own front yard driving range complete with the surround sound of birds and crickets and air temperatures so perfect you couldn't even feel it on your skin.
It all made for a pretty gorgeous night... Smoke plumes and all.  :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

In Which...

This is the post that will forever be known as the one in which they "Compared Muscles". 
As in...
"My muscles are the very biggest because I'm Batman!"
"Nuh-uh, my muscles are super hugest because I'm Spiderman!"
"Well I'm Batman 'Increbidle Hulk' so I'm the strongest guy in the whole world!"
Hurry, some one, any one, please give them a piece of acceptable praise
before one of these fellers pops a vein!
This post is also the one in which they build a "hide out" and welcome every member of the stuffed animal kingdom.
It was a little bit "Noah's Ark-esque" since not one animal could be left behind.  And in case you're out of the loop, one must enter the hide out by flying in on a Star Wars Jedi X-Fighter thingy.  This means each and every animal and human had to be flown in with meticulous care.  This also means that the entire process took at least forty minutes.  This further means that the dishes got done, the floor swept & mopped and a load of laundry folded. 
Clearly, this means that Hideout/Noah's Ark/Star Wars is one of my favorite games of all time.
I think four might be my very favorite age.
The imaginations on these gents would bowl you right over in the best possible way.
I mean really, how straight up awesome is all of this?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Switching Rails...

Last weekend we took a little hike up the canyon.  Our first one of the season.  It's funny, sometimes after a couple of hours on a Saturday morning we can just sense that everyone needs a break from the usual routine, and always there is massive amounts of energy to be burned, so we throw the breaks and switch rails.  And we're getting better at "just going with it" -- It's for the kids, afterall.  And FYI you can get away with almost everything in life with "It's for the kids". 
Truth be told, we've never regretted it.  And these little misters are getting insanely good at it.  
I'm sure we'll climb all summer long.  These gents prize adventure over comfort.  Danger over routine.  Pushing limits and breaking boundaries and "Oh G Whiz" - we're in for it. Or maybe not.  Maybe they've found their "this is just right" spot a la Goldilocks.   They do have an uncanny ability to find the perfect place to have a drink break and, "Wow!  A Snail shell!" or "Oh my goodness, look at this stick!"  They're pretty comfy in the high elevations with lofty views.
Speaking of lofty... I can practically hear them growing lately.  Their curiosity, their courage, their independence, their wit. It's out of this world amazing.  I've caught myself watching them in a way that searches for glimpses of who they will be.  They're going to be incredible... with a dash of ruggedly handsome mountain man.  Just the way I like 'em.  :)
I am so, so lucky.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Chalk One Up...

I'll be right honest with you - the afternoon spring sun at our house warms the concrete and just makes me drag out all the mama tricks I have tucked away in the garage.  For selfish reasons mostly.  I can't even stomach the thought of staying indoors to fold another load of laundry.  All the windows are open anyway to let in the lilac scented breeze... and so, I shirk all my duties but one...  

Sidewalk chalk duty... with my babes.
Fine, I mostly entertain the neighbor kids since mine aren't so impressed with my chalk game, but while I doodle they ride their bikes around us or blow bubbles or dig holes in the flower beds.  And occasionally, if I'm really lucky, they'll pose for a picture.

Sometimes it's begrudgingly...
I've adjusted my art accordingly.  :)
Enter, attack of the killer Monarch.
a.k.a Kael hates the sun in his eyes and wants to ride bikes anyway.
Or the poorly drawn spider who sat on Ace's tuffet.
Again - posing credit lands squarely with the sun.
This is the only photographic evidence I have that Dax is even around during our afternoon sketching sessions.  That boy rides circles around us (literally) as we sit on our chalk covered tooshies and draw.
Ace is the only one who will play along willingly one out of ten times.  But man, oh man, I'm popular with the rest of the hood.  And really, I'll take it.
My chalk art brings all the boys to the yard...
I know you're singing that Milkshake song right now.  You're welcome for that.  :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

My Mother Taught Me...

Right now as I attempt to type one kid has barricaded himself in his room and one is pounding on his door trying to get in, even though he just got whacked upside the head by his self-barricaded brother.  The third is sitting on my desk eating Oreos and leaving a growing pile of "bad parts" next to the keyboard.  It's all so romantic, this mothering schtick... don't you agree?  
And amidst this chaos that is my reality, I know I'll tip-toe into their rooms later tonight, when they are angelic little cherubs sleeping in their beds, and I'll forget all about the gory details and I'll bask in the glory of being their mama. That's what motherhood is to me... the longest hours and days that seem physically draining and loud and never-ending, and yet, the most fleeting moments of supreme joy and intense love that collectively hardly take any time at all.
I've seen more mature mama's in the grocery store watching wistfully as I corral my children and pick up the stuff we leave in our wake, and without fail, they always say, "Enjoy it.  It goes by so quickly."  Sappy?  Yes.  True?  Frightfully so.  I have two four-year-olds and a two-year-old and if I really focus on the speed with which these four years have flown by, I am floored and left breathless. 
"Sometimes I get can get off course by thinking about who these three will become: Will they be happy? Will they be kind? Will they contribute to their world in fulfilling ways? I have to remind myself that the best way to guarantee those things is to focus not on who they will become but on who they are right now. Waking up every day to love these babies, to learn from them, to stumble and make mistakes and then right them, to do life together. And these days of ordinary & mundane things - they will mold all of us into something extraordinary - before we know it.
To my own Mama.  Holy Moly you are it.  The basis of everything I know, you taught me.  I am forever grateful that you faced your own marathon days of babies and toddlers with an attitude of gratitude and a seeming never ending supply of happiness and grace.  I learned how to be happy from you and there is no greater skill in my arsenal.
To our Kaelster's birth Mama.  I think of you every day.  I want to be the kind of mother you look at and are proud of.  You entrusted us with him much like He entrusts us with every one of them.  Our Heavenly bond will always be something I cherish.  I love that our first born baby gave us both life.
To my sweet Mother-in-Law.  I couldn't have hand-picked someone I admire and enjoy more than I do, you.  Your give and take and Gumbi-like flexibility seems to come so naturally when I'm sure it's a skill you've honed through the refiner's fire.  Seeing you as a Grandmother to my own children gives me a little insight to the way you mothered my husband.  I hope mine turn out just like him.
I feel infinitely grateful that I have been given these little souls to shape and care for.  I will do all I can to connect with them every day and shower them with all the love I can squeeze out of this spongey Mama heart of mine.  And while I encourage and empower them... I find my best self along the way.     
Happy Mother's Day Weekend.