Friday, February 28, 2014

the happiest place

We did it...our very first family trip to Disney World. And it was crazy and logistically complicated and utterly magical.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to run the Disney Princess Half Marathon. It's held at the end of February and sells out each year, so you must commit well in advance. This past summer, very pregnant with Shepherd, I signed up to run in 2014. It seemed a little nuts, seeing that I would only be 5 months postpartum, but I wanted to try. And Sunday I finished 13.1 miles in the Florida humidity, checking off a major life to-do for myself. Granted, it wasn't fast or pretty, but I finished.

But that wasn't the magical part. The magic ensued as we watched Barnes and Frances literally light up while seeing their favorite characters in person and experiencing the true enchantment of a few days in the Magic Kingdom. B&F loved it. Barnes adored all the characters. He had practiced "high five, autograph book, big hug" before we left, and he stuck to his routine with each new friend he met. Frances couldn't get enough of Minnie Mouse. She talked for hours about touching Minnie's pink sparkly dress. They both loved the few rides we did, especially Winnie the Pooh and Dumbo.

And while we were quite uncertain about taking a 5 month old to Disney World, Shepherd may have had the best time of all. If I have failed to mention it before, Shepherd has turned into quite the little charmer. He is the smiliest, flirtiest baby, and he worked his charm on literally everyone in the park.    No one could pass by without playing with Shep. He loved the characters, laughing out loud at each of them.

We went at a two-year-old's pace, but it was perfect. We were so grateful for our fabulous February break.

first Mickey & Minnie sighting.  they could care less that these are just statues.  can you tell they were excited?

B&F's favorite ride--Buzz Lightyear

obsessed with their pens and autograph books

their favorite meet & greet

probably the best moment of her life

Shep found a new girlfriend

pretty excited about Cinderella

pluto--another favorite

after Dumbo with mom

riding Dumbo with dad

mommy's two princes...and dinosaur of course

Eeyore--Shep's favorite

Barnes literally loved every character

so happy

watching the parade while mom takes a "pump break"

loving the parade

showing Goofy his hot dog dance at breakfast

loving the hot weather...Shep's first swim

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

food time...finally

Shep has been trying to get his hands on solid foods for weeks now.  Between attacking my banana and grabbing forks out of everyone's hands, we finally decided it was time to let the poor guy eat.  So tonight he had his first food (rice cereal) and as you can see below, he LOVED it.

dad getting the gourmet meal prepared

first time in his high chair--he had no idea what was about to happen

first bite

do you think he liked it?

"I'm pretty sure B&F's food has more flavor than this"

full belly=happy baby

"we get to do this again tomorrow?"

choosing love

I meant to write this post on Valentine's Day, but fittingly, I am many days behind.  Andrew hates Valentine's Day.  Like many, he finds it too commercial and product driven to be special in any way.  We have never really "celebrated" on February 14th.  Nonetheless, we always buy each other cards.  And while there are countless sappy cards to be perused, I always end up leaning towards humor.

You see, none of the serious cards really get it right for me.  They talk about love as a feeling.  An emotion.  Something that exists.  But really, love is a verb.  And like other verbs (think walking, running, sitting, standing), loving is something you must choose to do.  I find that love isn't something you feel, it's something you choose.  And more importantly, you don't choose it choose it every single day.  Every morning, you wake up and choose love.  When you protect your relationship, you choose love.  When you honor your partner, you choose love.  When you serve your partner, you choose love.  So if I were to write a Valentine's Day card, it would go something like this:

"Today, I choose to love you.  And I promise that tomorrow when I wake up, I will choose to love you again.  And for as long as I live, each day I will choose love.  I can't promise that I will always do it well, but I promise that I will always try.  I will make choices that protect our marriage.  I will seek ways to serve you, to show you my choice of love.  And I pray that when you look at me, with all my faults that only you know, you will choose love as well.  I choose you.  I love you."

To Andrew, my forever Valentine, thank you for choosing love better than any person I have every known.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

still here

I promise we are still alive here, just behind on absolutely everything in life (including this blog). Time has somehow sped to an unbelievably fast speed, and there are never enough hours to get through my to do list. Putting away laundry, uploading pictures, writing thank you cards that are long overdue...somehow no task gets completed, and more tasks get added to the list. This, however, is not unique to our family. This is just life with kids. Playing blocks takes priority over unpacking those last few boxes, and I'm continuing to learn that this is okay. But in the midst of all the crazy, our three precious kids are thriving.

Shepherd is a different baby, truly. Since starting prevacid about a month ago, he has become the sweetest little nugget. My heart smiles to see him freed from his reflux pain! He is super wiggly...he can squirm off a blanket in no time, and he is great at rotating until he can see the TV. He rolls both ways, and loves to chew on absolutely anything. He still hates pacifiers--he acts like they are choking him.  He loves to be tickled, and he loves all forms of attention. He is quite the babbler, telling us stories all day. He knows he is going to have to be loud to be heard in this house! He is officially sleeping in his own room now and is growing up way to fast. He is adorable, strong, and so very loved.

Frances is getting spunkier by the minute. This girl has music in her soul--she loves to sing and dance, and often moves to the beat that only she can hear. She still has such a gentle spirit...she gets overwhelmed in big crowds and doesn't like for things to get too rough. She does, however, love a good game of "catch" with B. Her favorite thing to do is take care of her baby dolls and Minnie Mouse--she feeds, burps, bathes, changes, and puts them to bed. She loves to go out to eat, often asking for "restaurants." She is obsessed with art time--she wants a new craft to do every day, which can be hard for mom to manage. She is sweet, creative, smart, and so very special.

Barnes never ceases to amaze us. He is so grown up these days, becoming more and more self-sufficient. Luckily he still thinks he needs mom for a few things, like taking off his shoes, and I cherish the moments he lets me help. B is very particular about his clothes, often rejecting several choices before being talked into something. He loves to play, play, play all day, and has seemingly endless energy. Other than running through the house, he is obsessed with his building blocks. He can build for hours at a time. He likes to hide things, and they are always "at the zoo," which is precious (and has been going on for several months). His verbal skills have improved exponentially, and he now tells stories all day. He is kind, caring, and so very intelligent.

How did I get so lucky?!