Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Truth Behind Newborn Photo Shoots...

There is something you should know about newborn photo shoots.
They are PURE torture.
(As evidenced by Boone's face below)
I'm not kidding.  Don't ever underestimate the pain and suffering that is the trip to the photo studio with your just "days old" babe.  Just ask me, my over-full boobs, and my sweaty forehead.  Because that was the pretty picture I was after it was all said and done.  
Or you can ask the man in the truck parked outside the big windows of the studio who identified my plight as a free freak show and hung outside to watch as I ran back and forth fetching binkies & swaddles, bouncing and swaying and shushing, cursing the whole idea and at the same time pleading with the Heavens for one sleepy shot, a little yawn, or a content little profile picture.
And Glory Be when I sent the big boys off to McDonald's play land with the Mister and my Mama and I bundled up little Boone and headed for home. Finally.  His patience and my nerves completely shot.  
Are they perfect?  Nah... but I'll be damned if we didn't get that sleepy little yawn and a thoughtful little profile and a grand total of one sleeping shot while we were there.  Check.  Check.  Check.
 And his cornsilk hair and soft newborn pink skin were the stars of the show. 
 And this relationship... of course.
Lucky lucky me.  Despite the torturous evening at the photo studio.  :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Our New Little Love...

Dear World...
We would like to introduce you to the littlest love of our life,
Boone Raef Gardner.
Born Wednesday, January 6th, 2016 at 12:54 pm
7 lbs 6 oz of pure mellow fellow.
The breeziest pregnancy and delivery of them all.

And just like that our hearts grew exponentially.
He was a mystery to us for so long.  Such a surprise of the best variety.  And yet here he is, the most certain thing we've ever known.  We couldn't be happier to call ourselves a family.

I was overwhelmed by the love I felt in the moment that I met him.  I teared up in pure bliss.  This was him.  This was the little person I had felt move and grow inside of me for the last few months.  The person whom I had wished for in the deepest recesses of my heart.

He was worth every second of pain.  He was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.  He was newborn pink and alert and finally here.  In my arms.  Fitting perfectly in that little crook of my neck and lighting the world on fire in the best possible way.

So, in the end, we got our little dream boy caboose baby.  But then, I guess it's not really the end at all.  But the beginning.  And January 6th, 2016 was the first step in his journey.

The beginning of a new chapter.  A chapter that will certainly be gratifying and messy and hard and wonderful and happy and everything.  Everything all at once.  Probably our best written chapter yet -- Bring it on!
Thanks for the surprise of a lifetime Baby Love.
We just adore you.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Life Lessons & Weapons...

There is a right of passage in every little person's life who is lucky enough to have a Dad like I did or a Dad like Ryno is.  It's the day you sit down and learn about your first gun.
Santa delivered BB Guns to Kael and Dax this year, per their request, and Ryan took a day during the break to teach them about their guns, and weapons in general and safety and sportsmanship.
As I stood folding laundry and acting like a fly on the wall I watched their little minds do elaborate mental gymnastics listening to their Daddy-o and converting his words to memory while still trying to maintain their composure and keep their excitement of the actual "first shooting of their BB Guns" at bay in their efforts to be the most stellar students on earth.
I love that about them.  They are so eager to please.  Still such tiny little boys with adventurous spirits and wild streaks, but so willing to try to listen and adhere.

So I snapped pictures from the kitchen and listened and watched and fell deeper in love with RyGar as I watched these sacred little interactions take place.  And if a picture is worth a thousand words, then a number of pictures pieced together to tell a story is worth - well, maybe a book.

Here it is, one of my favorite books about boyhood to date:
The hands on part of the lesson was a favorite for all, I think.  And bless that little boot box lid target sitting in the snow... it held up and did it's job and it's speckled with tiny BB holes that elicit big grins every time they see it hanging in the garage.  Swoon.

A day for the books I tell you...
Or rather - a day they write books about.  
At least this mama does.  :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Ring In the New Year...

It about darn near killed my little gypsy souls to stay close to home this break.  They're adventurous spirits and ALL of our little family together in one car spelled out one obvious sentiment to them -- GO!

But since this mama was so close to delivering their baby brother and since the great Christmas snow storm of 2015 came and stayed in a thick frozen fog, we stayed.  

And it all worked out just fine with a few little extras thrown into our routine:

Extra #1
A staycation at a hotel which obviously had a swimming pool.
My little fish are gettin' real good at swimming, snorkeling, and of course, cannon balling.
Kael told us he was practicing for Hawaii this summer.  Newsflash:  There is no Hawaii trip booked that we're aware of.  But we like where your head is at, buddy.
Though that sun streamed in warm and golden, it was a cool eleven degrees out those doors.
Near the end of a couple of hours at the pool on New Year's Eve Ace came out of the water VERY concerned.  "My fingers are all wrinkle-y" he said.  To which Ryno replied, "Oh No, Ace!  You have old man fingies!  They'll never go away!"
After a bout of near tears and calm explaining time and time again that Daddy was teasing, Ace was still deathly concerned about the status of his "old man fingies".  We are all happy to report they reverted back to their original form.  :)
We ate dinner and played games at Ryan's brother's house with Grandma & Grandpa Gardner, Aunt Nett, Aunt Kim & Uncle Jonathan, and of course, Mike's family.  RyGar the great pulled out the big bombs of fireworks at the nine o'clock hours and they did not disappoint.
And then we were off to the hotel to do "Cheers" with plastic Marriott cups full of sparkling cider - otherwise known as "golden drink".
I love listening to my boys toast.  The things they think are "clink-worthy" are pretty awesome.  
ie:  "I'm so glad for my family, and a new year, and a new baby and my BB Gun."
Well said, gents.
And then it was time to snuggle in for movies of the little man & parent variety.
As I hung up a new 2016 calendar on the fridge the next day, I became fully aware of the many changes 'round the corner for our little family: A new baby, two kiddos in elementary school, new clients for Ryan, a potential for a new home for us.  I got a little panicked at all the inevitable change.
But then I came to the basement to find this.  A crew of builders fully immersed in creating the world's best marble run -- together with fits of laughter.  
And I was reminded yet again - our home is where our people are.  As long as we have one another & our health... it's all part of a great, big, collective adventure.
As the main man, Emerson said, "Though we travel the world to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not."
Well, Ralph, these dudes of mine are nothing if not adventurous, AND extra bonus, they have killer hide and seek instincts, so I fully expect to find all the beautiful with them this year!
Happy New Year.