Monday, March 30, 2015

On Teeth & Tots...

The other night my Kaelster came running up to me after baths and asked if he had a loose tooth.  I expected nothing since having a loose tooth has been a pipe dream for my little misters up to this point and every time a little friend loses a tooth the incessant wiggling begins anew.

And then... just like that, it happened.  His tiny bottom right tooth was jutted out of alignment from his other mini baby teeth and I wiggled it too and fro with ease.

"BUDDY!  Your tooth IS loose!  You're going to lose your first tooth soon!"
I kind of shouted to overcompensate for the sound of my heart breaking just a little bit.  Ryan wriggled it and then Kael proudly demonstrated the wiggling to each of his brothers in turn and then he jumped up and down and basked in the glory and exclaimed, "I'm gonna get SO many dollars!"
No joke, his mama walked into the bathroom and whimpered for a minute. 
Really?  Those little baby toothens just got here!

They are the ones that caused his chubby cheeks to flush and his drool to be endless when they tried to unearth themselves from his pink gums.

They are the same teeth we celebrated the arrival of as if they were esteemed guests at a wedding party.  We documented them in the baby book and we snapped photos to share with Grandmas and Grandpas.

They are the tiny ivories I carefully cleaned with a finger brush loaded with flouride-free toothpaste and he eagerly chomped down on my finger and belly-laughed at my painful reactions.

How could it be time to retire them already?  How?
I stare at him now... at his top and bottom rows of baby teeth that will be intact for just a little longer and I see this face full of amazement and pride.  He's gonna do it.  He's gonna pull out that little tooth in days, maybe hours.  And he is unabashedly thrilled with himself and his status as a big man.

And like the Mom I'm learning to be, I'm gonna have to sit on my hands and wait for him to come report thing #465 as conquered.  At which point I will pull out my Mama pom poms and cheer at his growth and independence and we'll crank the music and have a celebratory dance party.

I know he needs to spread his wings and fly into the next phase... the next skill... the next "thing to be achieved".  So I'll focus on the only thing that keeps me going from thing #27 to thing #321 to this latest thing, loosing a tooth -- thing #465.  It's that during those moments -- Those victorious, glee-filled achievements -- they all turn their heads and look for me.  Checking to see if I saw it.  Looking for my reaction and my big hug or high five.  Exclaiming the obvious to me to underscore the fact that they did it and ensuring that I witnessed it... whatever it is... on this, their newest best day ever.

I see you, guys.  That's amazing!  Keep going.  I'm always here.  
Memories.  Coming at me at a speed I can't control.
And parenthood.  A rush of so many sorts.
And love.  So palpable I feel I'll be crushed by it's weight.

Teeth today - Mergers & Acquisitions tomorrow.
Life is an Hourglass.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Born to Ride...

News Flash...
These little legs belong to my baby, Ace.  
For a week now they have been pedaling around the neighborhood on a big boy bike. 
I didn't know when I put those tiger shoes on his little feet, they would fill him to the brim with ferocious courage and he would find his place in life -- A boy and a bike.
I guarantee if I had known, I might not have made the tiger shoe purchase in the first place.  The rest of his existence falls in layers of meaningless now.  He rides too and fro all afternoon on his speedy rubber tires, a smile at the ready.  His little fingers grip the handlebars and he thoughtfully makes his way from house to house turning this way and that, as he tests his ever-improving balance.
So, let the history books shoe that on a vibrant spring day, with popcorn popping on the trees, Ace turned the page from baby to boy.  
A new season is here, indeed.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Enjoying the Softer Side...

Is it really Wednesday already?  Geez, Louise, time... what you racin' towards?
And since I've only got a little of it (time) to spare today, I'll keep it brief.  Here are a few little things we've been enjoying here these past few days.
Kael the Baby Whisperer:  Just when I think I'm over the whole "yearning for a baby thing" my oldest baby does this.  And that sound heard round the world?  That was my ovaries firin' up the generator and cranking out all the eggs they have left a la Easter and all things spring and baby.  Geez, this kid.  He's killin' me with cuteness around his favorite little Emeri.
My three cherries on a slot machine.  Slightly sour cherries - but I'll take 'em any way I can get 'em.
I say it all the time and I really mean it... I am the luckiest girl in the world.
Handsome boys for days over here.  They must get it from their Daddy-o.
Time for a briefcase Dr. Gardner.
I mean, really -- Gentlemen's Club indeed.
Dapper Dax strikes again.
 And finally, the group's collection of "Potato Bugs" is growing by the minute.  They're strong enough to move our big flagstone rocks in the yard if they work together.  And underneath, they find the jack pot of bugs to add to their stock pile.
For some reason I could watch this group effort all day long.  It's so very boy and so very gross and so very endearing all at once. 
Doesn't hurt that there are branches full of blossoms hovering over my head and every time I look up I see gorgeous blooms against a cerulean sky.
Spring.  You are quite the show off.  And I dig that about you.

Monday, March 23, 2015

In Pictures... "Springing"

We celebrated the first day of spring this weekend.
We did it in the classiest of ways...
"Springing" on the Bed... as we looked at "Bloss-ooms" on the trees out the windows.
Before they collapsed in a heap of little humans.
 Is it just me... or is our bed getting smaller?
Happy Spring, Y'all.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Luck of the Irish...

Who started this whole, "Leprechauns come to visit you on St. Patrick's Day" whooey?
Because I would like to administer a well-placed throat punch to them.
Kidding.  Kind of.
All week long the boys would come home from Preschool and relay a story to us about some friend building traps to capture leprechauns who will most certainly try to steal your money on St. Patrick's Day and leave messes all over your house.  Say what?!
Silly me, I thought we just wore green on March 17th.
But you know what...
Those sneaky little leprechauns did indeed make their way to our house for a few shenanigans...
Starting with a treasure hunt!  Just follow the rainbows...
The boys were wild about the fact that "a bad leprechaun must have peed in our milk!"
Not to sound redundant, but "Say What?!" 
A few nice leprechauns left some chocolate gold coins and a bubble wand for each of our little loves.
 And mama had a pinterest win!
With great solidarity we would like to show you a tiny magical leprechaun hat that was accidentally left behind by some mischievous little elf.  It has now made it's way to two preschool show-and-tells and somehow survived.  Look at the reverence they have for it!  :)
Corned beef?  Nah.  We had to draw the line somewhere.  But it's safe to say, no one in the Gardner Household was pinched or had their money stolen despite all the folklore madness going around!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Hodge Podge...

Last week my sister and I took our little herd of kids to Mrs. Cavanaugh's chocolate factory for a tour complete with samples...
And you know what they say about "Best laid plans", right?
Every last one of them turned into tiny terrors in mere moments.  And you know, usually I can catch signs that they're moving over to the dark side and kind of nip things in the bud... but this time, well they either gave me no such signs or my optimism (fueled by chocolate fumes) blinded me to their hints or pending horrific.
They all got a stern talking to once the tour was over and had to go back in to apologize to the tour guide and thank her for her time.  Sigh.  She maintained that they did "rather well" and thought they were "so sweet" but again, she is in a constant state of chocolate intoxication.  Maybe I should work there?

My sister and I piled them back into cars to meet up at a fast food joint with a play place, because even if they didn't deserve more time to play, we deserved a little break from the "no" game and we wanted to visit for a bit.  So there.  Disciplinary messages be muddled!
And on a completed unrelated note... and a completed different day,
my little naughties were sweet as pie together.  
 And sweeter than pie to little Emeri whom they snuggled and read blog books to - just to underscore the point that, "they know what it's like to be a baby" because they were once little too.  Does anything crack you up more than little people proving to tiny people how big and mature they are?  
Someone catch me... I swoon every time.
And finally, let us memorialize the day that Ace's dreams came true.  The day he found tiger shoes to go with his tiger tattoos to go with his tiger toys.
This is what it looks like to be tiger obsessed. 
 Or gator obsessed... with a side of "mad that your mama doesn't have gator tattoos but you forgive her because she does have shark tattoos and she pointed out the fact that the teeth are a perfect match from shoe to tattoo." --Phew
That was a close one, you know?

Friday, March 13, 2015

About a Boy...

These boys.
But lately, this little one in particular:  
He pushes all my limits on a nearly daily basis and he can completely wear me out during the day.  But after a bath, every single night, once he is cloaked in jammies (and apparently kindness and sincerity) he is sweet to his very core.  He utters the loveliest things a mama could hear and our souls do a little forgiveness dance.  
I say this about all of them and I really mean it:
I cannot wait to see where all this energy and spirit takes them someday.   
 Because these funny, sweet and feisty boys of ours have the great gift of unyielding determination... (read: sometimes stubborn, curious to the extreme, loud beyond measure, 
& independent to the point of infuriation at times )
And at present, Ace's mama is trying very hard to funnel it all toward the beautiful things he and his brothers will accomplish with these characteristics that don't quit.
And I'm a tiny bit tired.  :)

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bryce is Nice...

This past weekend we traveled south to enjoy the wintery jewel known as Bryce Canyon.
I've been to Bryce many times.  I was lucky enough to have cousins that called that place home.  I grew up hiking to Mossy Cave and playing in the wash below it.
But I have never been to Bryce in the winter.
And boy howdy, y'all would think I had landed on the moon.  You would think I had only ever lived in the completely opposite landscape and had never seen anything like it.  You would assume I was a travel writer hired to sell this place to new tourists.  I took pictures.  (understatement) I captured it's goodness.  I will attempt to describe it with the best words.  And then I'll probably make it into a coffee table book.  It was THAT good.
As much work as it is to travel and take weekend trips with the kids - it's getting easier.  They entertain themselves a lot and they're happy exploring.  And I'm happy watching them be happy.  They hike and they swim and they try it all.  I'm grateful for their adventurous sprits and they're strong bodies and they're brotherhood.  Every parent knows it's easier to do things with kiddos when they have a buddy... And buddies they are.
And Lord knows I've posted PLENTY of swimming pool pics here on our family blog, but you guys...
I adore the way they THROW themselves into the water -- arms out, chests raised, squeals of laughter accompanying their splashes... There is nothing hesitant about any of it.   
Rather they swim enthusiastically, joyously, whole-heartedly...
It's "wicked awesome" to quote them directly.  :)
And now let's move on to the part where I show you my little mountain goats climbing through snow and some of God's greatest panoramas of all time.  This is also known as the part where my editing skills are non-existent... I err on the side of showing WAY too many photos.
You've been warned.

We hiked the Navajo loop.  Complete with switchbacks and huge amounts of snow.  We had to carry Ace just near the end.  I was fine to take my turn and bring up the rear so I could linger longer and stare at these epic scenes.
I'm telling you - You MUST experience the National Parks in the winter.  The crowds are fewer, the land is quieter, the red contrasts perfectly with blue skies and white snow.
It's almost religious.
And plus, you can do this at good old Ruby's Inn...
Or maybe this...
Be scared of "Mad Dog Dax" & "Kael the Kid" there in the front.
"Wild Ace Gardner" is pretty terrifying too.
They're notorious outlaws of the wild west -- the new "Wild Bunch"
And I'm oddly proud to call them mine.  :)
And the best part?  During a time change weekend... no worries.
They were so tired from all their efforts they zonked in mili-seconds and slept well into the morning.
 We'll be back, Bryce.
To hike your hoodoo-rific landscapes again.
Thanks for showing us a great time.