Thursday, June 28, 2012

Almost for My Flipper

My kids are participating in Summer swim team. This is Boogie's second year and Buggy's first year.  They are on the pre-team and learning how to swim. Boogie is learning to refine his freestyle and Buggy is learning to become more comfortable in the water, including going under water.

Boogie wearing his new goggles and jammers
Last night Boogie swam in his first ever "real" meet. Last year he swam in the Flipper meet which is designed to give pre-teamers a taste of what it is like to swim in a meet like the swimmers on Big Team.  But after practicing his freestyle the last two weeks, the coaches thought that Boogie could be placed in his first real meet. He swam in the boys 8&Under 25M Freestyle.

Directly after practice we found the local swim store and bought Boogie his first pair of jammers (instead of the old speedo bikinis, swimmers now swim in trunks that look a lot like bicycle shorts without the extra padding in the bottom).  Just the day before we bought him a pair of goggles so that it would be easier for him to side breathe without worrying about the water in his eyes (see more pictures after the jump).

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday-Bonding over Trains

Hubby recently brought up Boogie's old train tracks and trains.  I remember how Boogie used to play with them for hours on end.  He lost interest about two years ago and traded his trains and tracks for dragons, dinosaurs, and books.

However, when Hubby brought up the trains from the basement it has brought back hours of fun for all of the kids. Boogie builds amazing tracks, Buggy makes up story lines for the trains, and Mr. Bananas acts like Godzilla and knocks everything over. Fun for all! I love the hours they have spent bonding over the train set.

Mr. Bananas and Boogie playing trains

Trains for everyone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Barefoot Runnin'

Now, I wouldn't call myself a runner. I have terrible form, I'm overweight, I become that really unhealthy-looking red color that makes people worry, and I am S-L-O-W.  However, in a weird way I love the feeling I get after a run. That runner's high coursing through me. I feel like I can conquer anything after a run...even if I'm red-faced and super sweaty.

I recently finished reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall.  My brother-in-law suggested it to me after I had to bail out of running a 5-mile race with him because of a wicked (small according to the doctor) heel spur and a horrible case of plantar fasciitis.  I gotta tell you, I'm hooked (on the book, not the injuries).  If you are into running and you haven't tried barefoot running, or if you're wondering why you have a variety of injuries due to running, READ THIS BOOK!

I have spent the last two months spinning so that I can keep up my cardio while waiting for my foot to heal.  In the meantime I have been missing my runs, which is ironic because when I'm running, I'm wishing that I could stop and give up.  One of the things that came to light is that I have been running to lose the baby weight, I wasn't necessarily running because I enjoyed it. I don't enjoy it because I hurt. My knees hurt, I can barely get out of bed some mornings because my knees hurt so much, and my feet hurt, etc., etc. I want to enjoy my run. Again, I love finishing a run and feeling like I've conquered the world.  However, If I run because I find it enjoyable, then I would not only lose the baby weight, I'd get rid of the "I just want to be done" feeling.

In reading the book I found out that our bodies were built for running. That our shoes actually prevent us from running the way we were meant to run. According to the local running store I'm an over pronator who needs a stability shoe. (Read: I'm too fat to run in good form. Yes, in my research as to why I have injuries, my tendency to over pronate, and the kind of shoe that will work for me, I found out that really, I'm an overweight runner. And I am. I'm probably a good 20 pounds overweight and only 5 of those pounds can be attributed to the last of the baby weight).  Anyhow, in reading Born to Run, I realized I can be a better runner, enjoy running, and have less injury if I learn how to run they way we are supposed to run.

My husband thinks they look like alien feet :)
So what did I do? I joined the barefoot running revolution. This past weekend I bought my first pair of Vibram 5 Fingers (V5F) running shoes and I am so excited. It is a completely different approach to running. I have to unlearn the last 34 years of running.  I have to go S-L-O-W in order to strengthen my feet. It's kind of hard to do since all I want to do is run, run, run. It is highly recommended to make the transition slowly between "traditional" running shoes and running barefoot.  Follow the Vibram 5 Fingers training plan.  It's good to start how this way. With coming back from an injury I thought it would be a good time to learn how to run barefoot. So here I go. I'll keep you up to date on my progress. So far I've just been walking around the house in my V5F getting used to wearing them and I've been running in my backyard completely barefoot with nothing but the soles of my feet touching the dewey grass. I'm nervous and excited all at the same time.   If you wear V5F or are a barefoot runner, let me know what you think. I'd love to read your comments and learn from you.

Happy Trails!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

My Heart's Desires...

During my do over day when my BFF came over for a playdate for our kids I mentioned to her that I was in a place in my life that was maybe stagnant, but not really, but maybe lazy?  What I meant was that I wasn't currently pursuing any jobs or schooling. That I was home just doing my thing with my kids and then as I was telling her I thought, "This is the first time I realized that I am a-okay with where I am in my life. I am exactly where I want to be. The grass is not greener somewhere else."  I also said to her that I wasn't worried that I wasn't pursuing anything right now, but maybe I should be worried that I wasn't worried. Because every now and again I think that maybe I should be doing something more, because the kids won't be this age forever and don't I need to look towards the future.  But again, if I am so busy looking towards the future (which I have a habit of doing), I'm going to miss out on some of the awesome things my kids are doing right now.

So does that make me stagnant? Does it make me lazy?  'cause, I'm happy being right here. I do have one massive project that I'm working on, that I'll share sometime. But fortunately, the project is totally on my time and I realize it's going to take me at least a year, if not longer to get it to where I'm happy enough with it to show it to someone else.  So, awesome right?  No pressure for that!

And isn't this what I have been searching for?  To find something that I love doing  and doing it right now?  I have wondered if I'd make a good Mama.  I've had my doubts. I'm not super creative, artsy, or crafty for that matter.  I don't have brilliant ideas of fun things to do with the kids, but we get by. We are busy with playdates, swim lessons, popsicles in the backyard, reading a ton of books and making multiple trips to the library, taking multiple trips for ice cream, school (when it's in session), dance lessons, soccer, spanish class, t-ball, church, volunteer activities, camp, seeing our 16 (almost 17!) cousins, and spending time together.

I'm just a mama trying to be there for her kids. I hope I'm doing a good job with it. There are times when I have my doubts, like when I'm out of patience or feel like I've dropped the ball.  However,  I think that this is where God has always wanted me to be and has been waiting for me to accept it.  It's taken me a while, but I'm embracing it. I'm loving it and I'm enjoying these precious years that have been an amazing gift.  I'm sure it will be too soon where I'm needed elsewhere and will have to pursue a job or more education, but in the meantime, I think I'll enjoy my grass. It's plenty green over here.

My Awesome Full-Time Job x3

 May He grant you your heart's desires and fulfill all of your plans  Psalm 20:4

P.S. I reflected on this same theme just after the birth of our third child. Check it out here: looks like I'm finally comfortable in my role.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Turn that Frown Upside Down

In Kindergarten, my son and his classmates were encouraged to write all the time. They had prompts everyday and free writing on Fridays. I attribute these practices to his current love for writing...and maybe because he has a few of  my genes :)

One day he was given a prompt about how he was feeling. He was really happy (excited is more like it) and drew a huge smiley face upside down. When he realized his mistake he drew arrows to correct it. It made me smile and realize that we can always turn that frown upside down.

Today I feel happy because I am going to Spanish class on Friday.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


Today I needed a do-over.  I absolutely hate getting up late and feeling behind.  This morning I got out of bed about an hour later than I usually do and the kids woke up about an hour earlier than they usually do for Summer....which led to feeling, really, really behind.

I tried to stick to my routine of listing my to-dos for the day, getting in a barefoot run in the backyard, breakfast with my mug of chai tea, and having some time for prayer. That was blown out of the water today as the kids woke up as I was trying to get ready for a few minutes of running and strength training.  I tried anyway and invited them to run up and down our backyard with me. Buggy said yes, but wanted to get her shoes, as I was literally only going to run for about 3 minutes because I was barefooting up and down the backyard I told her to just go barefoot with me. It ended with her in tears and crying because she didn't want me to run, losing out on running and having to put her back in her bed, and me becoming incredibly irritable.  I ran to get a shower as I heard the baby waking up and crying in his crib. When I took him out of his crib, he was horribly upset.

I was so incredibly frustrated and trying to figure out how I was supposed to get everything done that needed to be done before we ran out the door in the next hour for swim team practice.  I had planned to meet a friend for a playdate and was relieved when she called and we had to cancel our original plans and she ended up coming over with her kids. It was like God heard my prayer and my frustration as I was running around the house screaming in my head, "I need a do-over!"

After the brief phone call with the change in plans, things clicked:  I managed to eat (scarf?) breakfast (really it does wonders), not worry about packing a lunch, forget about printing out directions or worry about making it to our destination on time. It's what I needed after such a horrible beginning to the day.

Today ended up being totally low key and perfect. The kids played outside in a kiddie pool. We had a simply yummy lunch of scrambled eggs with veggies tossed in. And time to breathe. I got my do-over and I'm grateful.  Here's to an easier start to tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sibling Time

Reading Fabian Escapes

Seeing this does my heart so good. I love when Boogie spends time with his sister. We had just gotten a ton of books from the library and one of them had our favorite characters Hondo and Fabian.  Here, Boogie is reading to his sister, Fabian Escapes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

My husband is a fantastic example of love, patience, compassion. I hope my kids follow his example. They are very blessed to call him "Daddy" and I am very blessed to call him my husband!

Daddy and Mr. Bananas sharing a moment.

Daddy his three little ones.

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Last Day of Kindergarten

Last Day of Kindergarten!
On Tuesday, my sweet Boogie finished his first year in elementary school. I cannot believe how quickly the year flew by (I always seem to say that, don't I?) and that he will be in first grade next year. In reflecting over the year, I remembered how much he hated to write and how I had to bribe him with m & m's to write his name neatly before school even started. I also remember that he LOVED books and having someone read to him, but how he didn't want to read on his own.  I also remember how his drawings seemed like a bunch of excited swirls of color without a whole lot of definition.

 Now, at the end of the year, he writes his full name like it's no big deal. He also writes and illustrates his own "books." All nonfiction. He loves, loves, loves to write down animal facts and include an illustration. His drawings are decipherable and detailed. I bought him a magazine holder so that he can store all of the books he's written and keep them in one place.  Now, he not only loves having someone read to him or listening to audiobooks, but now he reads to his siblings. He also becomes so distracted when he's reading a book he does not hear or has forgotten the directions I gave him.

Boogie and Mr. S.
We were so lucky to have had his teacher this year. Mr. S. was just awesome with our kiddo. He was firm, patient, and fun. He filled Boogie's mind with amazing facts and read no less than 5 stories a day to his class.  He taught Boogie to be kind and said at our first conference that Boogs is a sensitive empathetic soul...I just we could transfer some of those feelings towards his sister. The only person with whom he has difficulty. According to Boogs, "Little sisters are annoying!"

Mr. S. taught Boogie that he was smart. Not by outright saying it, but by encouraging his creativity and love for learning. Boogie is a very confident soon-to-be first grader. He is willing to learn and willing to take constructive criticism.  Mr. S.'s favorite phrase is "Practice makes better." Yes, hard work will be your foundation as you travel on the road to success.

Mr. S. also taught Boogie that he was important. Boogie felt like he was the most important kid in his class. He felt that Mr. S. listened to him and cared for him. The thing is...Mr. S. made every student in his class feel that way.  A true mark of a good teacher. Everyone is important and everyone has something to contribute.

Yes...if you've been following along, I thought Mr. S. taught Boogie the same traits that Aibileen Clark from The Help taught her young charge, Mae Mobley.  I think they are very important traits and help form a firm foundation in the kind of person I want my young son to be. If you haven't yet read The Help, you really need to pick up a copy!

On our way to pick up Boogie from school
The last day of school was a rainy, dreary day that did not dampen Boogie's spirits.  Hubby took the day off of work to celebrate with Boogs. We made our special breakfast that we eat to commemorate all important events.  We all walked Boogie to school and we all picked him up after school. I have to admit, I had tears in my eyes as I picked up my Boogie monster and we said goodbye to his teacher. Later, Boogie told me that he was crying a little bit before I picked him up from school. He said he was really going to miss Mr. S.

After our walk home, I got the big kids ready for a special swim lesson in the rain. A little too chilly to have fun, but also an exciting one! Boogie learned how to coordinate all of his limbs when swimming and actually swam across the short end of the pool instead of exerting tons of energy moving all of his limbs in a haphazard fashion and not going anywhere. Boogie actually swam!  Happy dance!

After practice and after the little kids napped we had our celebratory dinner at our favorite family restaurant and then on to dessert at our favorite ice cream  hut.  It was so nice to celebrate together and to enjoy one another's company.

On the way home from a successful year in Kindergarten
I am so proud of my Boogie Man. He did amazingly well in school and never had his card turned in kindergarten.  He always stayed on green (they do a green, yellow, red card behavior system in his class), after 6 weeks of green gained "purple" status and stayed there all year long! Color me proud.

I am so grateful for this year's firm foundation in academics. We will continue over the summer studying word wall words and reading lots and lots of books. We just returned from a very successful trip to the library where we checked out a ton of books.  I look forward to a fun and busy summer before I have a 1st grader and a pre-schooler! Yikes! Happy Summer!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mother's Day 2012

My Loves!
I'm very late in posting about Mother's Day.  It was a pretty fantastic weekend. It was also a crazy weekend where we were invited to 5 different events.  Due to scheduling I was only able to participate in two of them.

In the first event I happily sat next to the teen I sponsored for confirmation. As she was confirmed I felt so much pride in her new journey as she publicly proclaimed her faith. She is a new light into our world and I am so happy to have been asked to join in  her preparation and ongoing journey into her faith.

It was also the same weekend where I was able to celebrate my BFF's birthday with a Dar William's concert and spend a night away with my two best friends.  I felt bad that I wouldn't be home for Mother's Day morning, but at the same time, I was grateful for a night away of fun and relaxation with my best friends. Hubby is the best and told me to go for it.

A. and I enjoying our champagne breakfast
I woke up on Mother's Day to video messages from each of the kids that Hubby sent to my phone. Super cute and I am so grateful that he sent them to me. I did miss them while I was away, but grateful for a good night's sleep.

My friend J. wasn't able to stay the night, but A. and I were able to take full advantage of a night without our kiddos. We woke up late and made our way leisurely to breakfast. We had a champagne breakfast, while chatting and people watching. After breakfast we walked through some of the shops and enjoyed being able to take our time through some of the stores without a little one vying for our attention.

Later that afternoon, I enjoyed snuggling with each of my kids when I came home.  I loved the smile, the laughter, the hugs, and the kisses. Boogie gave me a hand print he had made in art class and Hubby made dinner. We made s'mores for dessert and danced in the kitchen before bedtime.  It was a pretty fantastic weekend. I felt very loved and appreciated by my husband and children. I love being a mother and I am grateful for that calling.

Mother's Day Roses
Me with my 3 little Loves

Monday, June 4, 2012

Buggy's Dance Recital 2012

Buggy has taken another year of dance classes. I am so glad that she has this opportunity. She loves dancing and she loves her dance teacher.  This past weekend was her dance recital. I am absolutely terrible about getting pictures of her in her recital outfits. Ugh!  She is adorable and yet, I am so worried about making sure she is ready for her number that I forget to take pictures. I had the same problem last year.

We prepped for the recital by getting mommy/daughter manicures and pedicures. Have I mentioned that I love having a girl?  I love bonding with her and spending some one on one time with her.  In a house full of boys, it's nice to be girly together.

I took her to her dress rehearsal on Friday. I have to admit that it had been stressing me out to get her to her dress rehearsal. The recital was scheduled to take place 45 minutes away from home.  Add rush hour traffic and a tornado warning and I wasn't sure if we'd make it. Thankfully, Hubby had planned to be home that Friday to give me a hand. He kept the boys while Bug and I made the trek to the dance rehearsal. I'm so glad he did. I don't know how I would have kept Mr. Bananas entertained throughout the rehearsal.

As soon as we walked into the theatre, Bug said, "A stage! I'm going to be on a stage!" She couldn't wait!  It was so cute. After I had her dressed and ready to go she said, "My sparkles! My pretty lips! You forgot my sparkles and pretty lips!"  Oh, that's right. I had forgotten her eye shadow and lip gloss. But I made sure to put it on her for the recital.  The dress rehearsal was a late night, but I had promised Buggy ice cream on the way home. She fought very hard to keep her eyes open on the 8:30pm ride back to our house.  We stopped on the way home to get ice cream. We sat in the car in the parking lot enjoying our treat and hanging out together. We talked about the recital and what to expect for the next day. Our Bug was so excited to be on stage in her pretty costumes and sparkly make up.

The next morning was busy. But we managed to get everyone out of the house on time and made it to the dance recital right on time.  We had great seats right up front and enough room for everyone. I was really pleased my parents made it this year. I was disappointed that they had missed it last year as I thought they would have really enjoyed seeing their granddaughter perform.  But they were there this year and I think they were glad they came. Bug was really glad that they were there.  She waved to us before her first number and blew kisses at the end.  While I was getting her ready for the second number she told me that she wanted me at the bottom of the stage to see her perform. She was so tickled to see us again when the stage lights came on.  The whole performance was adorable.

As stressful as it can be getting ready for the performances and deciding whether or not we can afford it, I love watching Buggy perform and I love that she loves it. We stayed with the same dance studio for the second year in a row. I really like it, however, I think I'll look again for a daytime dance class. It would just fit our schedule better. I figure I only have about 2 years (tops) of being able to put her in a daytime dance class to free up our nights. We'll see.  But I'm pretty sure that no matter what, we'll stick with dance for at least another year because she loves it so much.

Waiting with the other girls for their tap number.

Buggy loved the roses from Daddy and the boys and the flowers from Lolo and Lola

The Big Kids with Lolo and Lola
Buggy Loves her flowers :)