Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Failure or Success?

I used to see failure all around me. The stack of mail I hadn't gotten to in weeks, even though I tell myself everyday I will sit down and open it. The brown grout lines in my tile that should be light beige. The little dark circles on my floor from a juice box that was held too tightly, that I step over all week. The folded clothes on my girls' floors that need to be put in drawers or hung on hangers. The little pink rings that stare at me from the toilet bowl begging to be brushed away. The dirty foot prints in my bathtub from my black footed children climbing in it for their latest adventure...

I don't look at those as failures anymore. Cause now I see that the reason for those things is simple. We are busy living our lives. Enjoying our lives. Tasting our lives. There will always be toilets to scrub and tubs to clean. Laundry to put away and footprints to mop up. But maybe you wont get another chance to curl up with your babies to watch Snow White for the first time. Or to cuddle with your husband and dogs to watch Life on discovery in our big comfy bed. Or even to warm up with a hot coffee, a big blanket and a great book or a guilty tv pleasure.

Sure the taxes still need to be filed. And thank you cards mailed. And photos downloaded to the computer. And workouts to complete. And orders to fill, and blogs to post. But missing these things in favor of more important things in life... is beautiful. I have the best husband in the world. He is a clean freak, comes from a military family where everything has its place. Where you get everything done before you reward yourself with pleasures or lazy comforts. And yet he barely mentions our "dirty" house. Maybe because it is only dirty to us. Maybe because his friends ask him, how his wife manages to always keep the house clean. (even if he and I know- I cant take all the credit). I love that he offers to grocery shop for me so I can take the girls to the park instead. I love that he surprises me with clean toilets and vacuum lines in rugs, that I would take any day over flowers in a vase. I love that he dusts when he thinks it needs it, instead of complaining. I love that the only time he mentions my lack of cleaning (which sometimes can last over 10 days) is when I mention I am going to try to clean soon, and he chuckles and says "you actually clean?". I love that he does the laundry cause he knows I hate it and suck at is, and I love that even when I wash the dishes he ignores that I leave the silverware in the bin, cause I HATE washing silverware almost as much as I hate laundry. I am so lucky to have his help and his patience. I love you honey and I know I don't say thank you enough.

I think Jimmy understands what I am trying to do and how I am trying to focus on spending time with these little angels before they are gone 7 hours a day in school, 5 days a week. I think we are both finally starting to understand that sometimes it is ok for us to ignore the dishes in the sink for a couple more hours in favor of watching the girls bounce in our backyard bounce house, or so he can play a video game and I can surf Facebook while our littles watch Nick Jr. There are always chores to do to prevent you from enjoying life. And it is perfectly ok to ignore them sometimes so that you can.

This is not failure at all. It is unorganized, messy, chaotic, fun, perfectly beautiful success! Right now my house is clean. And Jimmy is taking Ella to Makutus island, so Mommy can take Ryen out to lunch, play and ice cream.

Life is beautiful... go live it.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Worthy Journey

There is a couple I know here in Mesa whose little boy was born in June 2008. He was diagnosed with one of the rarest forms of Leukemia ever diagnosed in a baby of his age when he was around 3 mos old. It is aggressive and unrelenting. He has had two bone marrow transplants, numerous transfusions of donor blood cells, etc, radiation, laser spot treatments, chemo, etc. So far, every time the Leukemia goes away it comes back. And every time it comes back it seems to have gotten smarter and grown resistant to the last course of treatment. Eventually if you don't get rid of it for good, you run out of treatment options. And then what? Today I read the latest blog post of this family and was not able to stop my tears from flowing. This mother was actually trying to break the news to their friends and family that they may be running out of options. And it was heart breaking to hear how she was almost apologizing for the fact that they have to start facing this horrible reality. She kept clarifying that they were still gonna stay positive and still try to fight, as if she owed that to her friends and family. As if they owe anybody anything. It was amazing that at a time of such personal angst, she is worrying about not letting anyone down by admitting defeat or giving up. Almost like if she gives up everyone will. It should be the other way around. She should not be holding everyone up, we should be holding her up. She should be the one afraid, and finding it hard to stay positive, and having the rest of us step in and do that job for her, when she can't. But instead she is doing it for everyone, and she is in one word... amazing. One of my favorite quotes from her blog post today was this: "we still have fun - we laugh- we play - we sing and dance - we still love, no matter what." She also pointed out that her son has lived longer than anyone ever has with this form of cancer being this aggressive and she pointed out that everyday with him is a miracle.

I spent so many years being angry about why some things happen to some people. But now I have come to peace with the idea that, as they say, "shit happens". I can't believe there is a reason why some people are hit with tragedies and others aren't. Cause I think if there was "a plan" sophisticated enough to pinpoint who and where in the world to strike with certain tragedies and there was some deeper underlining meaning to the suffering, I think "shit" would only "happen" to "shitty people". And good things would happen to good people, and NOT the other way around. I think these instances or misfortunes in life are just as random as the person who just happens to have bird poop land on their shoulder when there are so many other targets near them. That is scary, but that is life. And it makes me want to look up or check my own shoulder. Maybe they should change the saying to "Life Happens" instead...

Humans are capable of the most sincere and amazing forms of sympathy and empathy. We are capable of shedding unimaginable tears for strangers we don't even know, as we watch planes crashing into buildings, or orphans devastated in a Tsunami or Earthquake. We are capable of amazing acts of selflessness and compassion in times of tragedy or crisis. It is one part of mankind that I love. Why though do we humans lack the ability to really learn from someone else's tragedies? How many of us get back to our own lives and forget the impact too quickly? How many don't learn anything at all from the experience? It is like seeing the way a man aches for the passing of his wife and agonize with regret over things said and things NOT said, but not learning to really appreciate your own spouse (flaws and all) while you are lucky enough to have them still. Or reading about this Mesa Mother who is fighting for her child's life every minute and has watched him suffer more in his short life then any baby should, and yet still being so angry when your child refuses to take a nap that day, and ruins whatever plans you had. We shouldn't need personal tragedy to strike our own homes to feel that every minute with our kids and loved ones is a miracle. We shouldn't need to lose someone to realize we should have loved someone more or treated them better. Yet this seems to be the state we live in, and it causes so much needless regret and sadness.

I am really trying to be one of those people that truly learns from other people's tragedies just as much as I am trying to learn from the positive ways people approach life. I think this is why Kelle Hampton's blog (which has now gone viral) has affected me so much. Or why this Mesa family's tragedy is affecting me so much. I don't want to be that person that grieves for the pain and suffering of others, but then doesn't apply anything to my own life. I don't want to be annoyed anymore when Ryen naps for only 30 minutes instead of 1 hour cause I may have had something better to do, or when she says Mommy 500 times in one day. Cause I can guarantee if my Bunny were not here, I would give anything to have that 30 minutes back or hear the word Mommy slip off her precious lips. I don't want to waste time getting angry at Ella for having a potty accident anymore cause she didn't want to stop playing or watching TV or when she throws a fit cause her blanket is not perfect. I would rather have Ella just as she is, accidents/tantrums and all, over not having her here at all or not having her smell on that blanket anymore...

I am not perfect and I will have to work on it everyday, but I can't think of a more worthy journey to take. In the meantime, I will keep hoping everyday for this boy's treatment and transplants to do their job and give him a chance at life.

What a busy weekend!

This weekend was crazy busy for us. Our weekends start on Fridays since Jimmy works 4/10's. On Friday morning Ryen and I were literally in the car for 3 hours straight! We had to leave the house by 8:30am to take Jimmy to his Lasik surgery. Then back in the car to take Ella to preschool at 9:30. Then we made couple stops, and headed back to pick up Daddy and then back to pick up Ella. Ryen never cried once. Such a sweet heart!! When we came home though all I wanted to do was nap, but couldn't cause Jimmy had to recover and nap from his surgery. So Daddy and Ryen napped while Ella and I hung out. Then it was pizza night for dinner, ice skating lessons *see previous post* and then off to bed... for the kiddos that is! I headed off to Happy Hour with my girls at Kona. I have not laughed that hard in a long time. We even managed to grab a photo op!

Michella, Sue, Jill, Lisa, Susan, Brooke, & Kim:
Saturday the girls and I woke up early to head to the zoo for a charity walk benefiting Helping Hands in Africa (click here for more info).

Here are the girls getting in the car excited for our adventure:
And during the walk:
We were at the zoo by 8am. I walked for awhile with my friend Christa who told me about the walk. And then we met up with some friends!

We finished the 2.5k and headed over to the finish line/celebration area for some complimentary milk, munchkins, and fruit from Dunkin Donuts. There was a band playing and the kids ran around and played. They went and saw the Elephants and then headed over to the play area. And then to the petting zoo.

Here are some collages of our day:
And we happened to be right next to Ella's favorite thing... the face painting station. She actually gave up a ride on the carousel to get her face painted instead. Here is her getting her face painted and the finished product. She picked the butterfly and she was thrilled all day with it... till bathtime. :(

On Sunday we woke up early (again) to get all dressed up for Breakfast with the DISNEY PRINCESSES! Skateland in Mesa was hosting the breakfast. So Ella and Ryen got "Princess-ified" and off we went. This was a great way to spend the morning. Everything was slow (line to get in, line to get food) and the food was cold. But no one really cared cause the girls were SO excited and thrilled to be dressed up and to see their favorite princesses. It was a great time. Here are some of my favorite photos!

Ryen, Ella and The Princesses

Ella with each of the Princesses
The best part of the morning was when all the kids got on the roller skating floor and started dancing to top 40 pop tunes. They were twirling and running around in their dresses. I did find it strange that they were not playing Disney music, and that for a less than 2 hour event, the Princesses all sat down (with each other) and had breakfast for about 30 min while the kids all entertained themselves. The event started at 9:30 you would think the Princesses could have eaten before hand so they could mingle and take photos the whole time.

But either way my two girls had the an incredible time, Ella couldn't wait to tell her best friends about it (so she told us on the way home) and I love that Jimmy was one of 6 Dads willing to endure it for the sake of his girls. That is what it is all about.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Enjoy your delicious moments...

Two weekends ago took the kids to the 22nd Annual Chandler Ostrich Festival. We went on Friday at around 3pm and stayed till 8pm. The kids LOVED it!!! This is a once a year event that comes to our city. Is it expensive? Sure. Is it worth it!? Heck yeah! We go into it knowing we are going to drop between $150-200 total for the day between food, ride bracelets, parking, admission and games. But for the four of us and for what we get out of it... priceless. So is the look on our kid's face when they are whizzing around on those rides, or when the sun goes down and the lights come on... and everything seems like ...magic.

By far my TWO favorite moments from the Carnival are here. These are scanned souvenirs so sorry for the quality:
Ella's face on this roller coaster ride is priceless.

And of course I took so many photos that this will be a ridiculously long post, but mostly filled with PHOTOS and not words. :) We started out on the Ferris wheel and then headed over to the mini roller coaster, where Ella was throwing her head back and laughing so hard. She was loving it and kept yelling "Hi Mommy" and waving as she came around. It was awesome.

Mommy and Ella on Ferris wheel while Ryen looks on with Daddy
Ella on the mini roller coaster:
Ella and Mommy riding all the rides:
I got to take BOTH my babies on the Carousel (the only ride for Ryen) We stopped to get some food and decided to order a pizza we could all eat instead of going to 4 different yummy vendor booths. I LOVED the quote on the front of the Pizza box so much that I had to steal it for the title of this blog, "Enjoy your delicious moments." I had a smile from ear to ear as I watched my babies eat NOT ONE BITE of our $20 pizza cause they were too busy running around and begging to go in bounce houses or on rides or eat ice cream and popcorn instead! And this truly was one of those delicious moments that I was enjoying so much. Below are the rest of the collages of the fun we had.

Ryen had lots of fun too, even though she was too little for rides:
The funniest photos of the evening for me:And the coolest photos of the night for me:
See you next year! :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Ice Skating Update...

Ice Princess

Ella and I have been taking Ice skating for three weeks now. A Mommy and Me class where I get to get on the ice with her. This class has taught me that I love ice skating and want to take an adult class. I will definitely be looking into that next year and am adding it to my bucket list. I have had so much doing this with Ella, just the two of us, and seeing how excited she gets on the ice. However that being said, Ella is DRIVING ME CRAZY!! Our biggest problems at ice skating are 1. She wont listen to me or her teacher cause she is too excited. 2. She thinks she knows how to skate already.

Gold medal pair?? Ha ha

The teachers keep trying to get her to walk on the ice. We started with baby steps, then marching, and now just walking briskly across the ice. All in preparation for he step glide that is coming. But from the first class Ella has only wanted to glide and she actually said "Mommy I already know how to skate, now let me go do my figure eights!" But when she tries to "skate" already, she falls on her butt if I don't catch her. Which tonight, I didn't. I was hoping it would show her that is not ready to skate yet and she needs to be patient in order to not fall. Big mistake! Because of the couple hard falls she took she was afraid to skate by herself was clinging to me, panicking which only makes it harder and makes her fall more, and she was letting out these annoying grunty screams that were distracting to everyone. Due to tonight's problems I have no photos. BUT Daddy and Ryen both came to ice skating last week and luckily we have TONS of photos from last week!

The girls waiting patiently for hockey to be over.

Our week two lesson!

Next week the teacher is going to see if Ella will be braver if an assistant coach skates with her instead of me the whole time. We'll see... Overall though we are having a blast!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My New Therapy

This morning after dropping Ella at pre-school Ryen and I went for a nice walk around our neighborhood and the one behind us. She had fun pointing out birdies and nature watching. As we walked past a playground I saw some swings. I thought Ryen would like to ride them with me, so we hopped on. It was SO much fun! Not only that- it was so relaxing. The sun was shining in our faces, the wind was whipping through our hair. The sound of the birds chirping, and my daughter's little tiny adorable voice saying "whee" was so amazing. I remembered how much I loved swings as a kid and how great that feeling was.

Ryen got down to drink some water and go down the slides and I used it as an opportunity to get back on the swings. I leaned back,closed my eyes, put my face to the sky and it was incredible. It was better than a massage or pedicure cause they usually leave me disappointed when it is over and so relaxed that I wish I could take a nap. Instead I felt invigorated, at peace and ready for my day.

This may just be my new form of FREE therapy when I am having a bad day or in need of some peace. If you haven't been on a swing lately, I recommend you try it! XO

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2 Kids, 2 Girls, and Whole lot of Fun and Love! :)

Yesterday as I was picking Ella up from pre-school I met this Mom and her adorably handsome son in line. He was a total 6 mos old flirt flashing me his baby blues and a flirty smile. He made my day. This woman said to me "Now I understand the bond between a Mother and a Son." I have to say a couple years ago my heart would have sunk when I heard that. But for the first time, it didn't. Even when she asked me "so do you have one of each" and I said, "no two girls". Even when I saw that look flash on her face that said "aww too bad". It didn't make me as sad as it used to. I think I am finally letting go of it, and able to just appreciate the love I have, the love of two beautiful, intelligent, and healthy daughters. Although I am still convinced that raising boys is easier, hey I have always loved a challenge right? This mom also said something else that left me thinking long after our conversation was over. She basically said she will be a nightmare Mother-in-Law, cause she doesn't want any other Woman to have her son's heart but her. It is funny how Mother's are way more weary of daughter-in-laws then they are of son-in-laws. I think it is maybe because deep know we know Women run the family, the house, the kids, and are the glue that holds families together. When you have sons, you have to give that control over to a woman you have little control over. At least when you have daughters you know you can guide them, influence them, guilt them, scold them etc no matter how old they get. Hmm. Maybe a silver lining... lol

Can you tell they are sisters????

Speaking of letting go, of things, I think I am getting closer to letting go of the hope that I will have more kids. It really isn't fair for me to keep bringing it up to Jimmy when we agreed on two before we even got married. I think it has been hard for me to let go because I didn't get a boy, because I just loved being pregnant and because I always wished I came from a HUGE family with tons of Aunts/Uncles/Cousins etc. and probably also because Jimmy has no family for our girls, I just loved the idea of filling the house up with kids. (nothing crazy like the Duggars who just had their 19th, but a nice round number of 4 would suffice.) Heck lately I would settle for 3! But I am not mentioning it anymore and am accepting the fact that I have two children and that I am done. I told him if he changes his mind (on his own) then I will always be willing. But if he doesn't, then that is ok too. A deal is a deal. And two Drama Queens is plenty, well only 1.5 drama queens so far...

Here is a cute photo of my miniature .5 drama queen playing in her big sisters rain boots!

Check out these awesome, amazing, incredible BOW holders my neighbor made for my girls! She was making some for her own princesses and asked who wanted in. ME OF COURSE! Her price was GREAT and these things are HUGE. They are like 18" canvas. I love love love them! Cant wait to get organized with their bows...

A few more cute photos of the girls!

Momma Ryen and her babies; and this free oversized balloon has repeatedly caused my two little girls a serious case of the giggles!

Now I am glad I never filled that cubby with vases or tchotchkes!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Can you tell?

So can you tell there is something different about me lately? Maybe it is the ridiculous rate at which I am blogging about my babies? Maybe the fact that I seem to have my camera attached at my hip again like I used to? The photos I am plastering on Facebook of our fun times and adventures?? For me, what is different, is the amount of time I am spending doing fun things with my girls, and taking in their smiles, their smells, their secrets, their silliness, and their profound love for their "new and improved Mommy."

The woman who inspired me to make these changes, Kelle (blog here) has brought so much to my life in such a short period of time, and I will dorkishly admit I was a little star struck to see that she commented on my blog post that I wrote about her. She said I made her cry. If I brought even a small moment of joy to her life by saying how incredible she was in my post and that she was about to change my life (which she has just like I predicted), then I am so glad, cause she brings unmeasurable things to my life, just by being her, and by sharing her beautiful stories, words, thoughts, photos and children with me and everyone else who is now addicted to her blog.

Yesterday we played at the park for three hours. I don't think I have ever hung at the park that long with my kids. And guess what else? A big "B" was missing from my diaper bag. That B is a BOOK! No book! Instead I chose to pack my bag with some other B's... we had bubbles, balls, binkies, blankets, bicycle helmets and scooters. Ok ok so the scooter was an S and not a B, but I was going to bring the bike and Ella stopped me last minute. It was really nice. We had a wonderful day. Ella's friend Kassidy showed up to play and I love spending time with Kassidy's Mommy Lisa, who is so easy to talk to and fun.

Here are the photos from our day at the park.

PS: the other night I went to get into bed and Jimmy said "Honey, I don't know how you did it, or what you did, but our house is so different. The kids are so much fun to be around, and Ella has been so good and well behaved. It is ALL YOU. You did this, and all I can say is a profound Thank You!!" It was so sweet and so nice to be acknowledged in that way.

I too have felt that we have our house back, and our lives back. The power struggle is over, the resentment is gone, the bickering and the debating is no more. The tantrums are fewer and fewer. The kids are happier and so am I. I feel like I am finally the Mother I always wanted to be. I don't know how I lost my way, or let my priorities get messed up along the way, or how I managed to give my control and power away to a three year old. But now that it is fixed, our lives are so much better, and in such a short period of time. I keep saying over and over that it is in part thanks to this book I read, and in part thanks to Kelle. I am now enjoying Motherhood instead of surviving it. The only word I can use to describe it is... WOW. Which is ironic since that is the only word I could find to title my blog post about Kelle.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

PhotoRescue.exe to the RESCUE!

My biggest fear is always that I will accidentally delete the image on my camera flash card. If I delete photos on my computer I know I will find them in the recycle bin. But my flash card has no recycle bin and when they are gone they are GONE. So I was totally freaked when after 15,000 photos taken with my Canons I FINALLY deleted the contents of my card. It had 89 photos on it, and I was CRUSHED. Didn't have anything major on there in the long run but it did have my first time taking Ella to Build-A-Bear on there and some other photos of my beauties and we all know how much I love photographing my kid's days. Well enter photorescue.exe, a downloadable program that was able to recover 85 of my 89 deleted photos off my flash card. I recommend it to anyone who makes this mistake too, and here are the photos I recovered:

Ella at Build-A-Bear for being a big girl at her blood draw at the lab!
My girls playing at the play area at the Mall
Fun at Toy Towne with The Fisk kids!
My girls cuddling on the floor:
Can you see why I was so upset to lose these photos! I am so happy to have them back...

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday FAMILY Fun!

Since Jimmy has every Friday off we try to plan some fun activities for Fridays, and spend the day as a Family! This morning we went to Ella's recital at her school (photos and videos of the recital on Ella's school blog are here). Afterward we went to an Angel's spring training game against the Rockies at Tempe Diablo stadium this afternoon. Here are some photos of our day at Spring Training.

After the game we came home for Pizza and then Ella and I had our first Mommy and Me Ice Skating Class. It was so cute. Ella was hilarious! She kept wanting to "skate" and glide rather than learn how to skate. The instructor was telling us to march and practice walking on the ice by picking up our feet. But she wanted to glide. Which meant fall unless I held her up. My back was killing me 10 minutes into it. When I finally told her she had to listen to her teacher and do what they were trying to teach her rather than try to skate (which she is not ready for) she responded with, I already know how to skate Mommy and I just want to go do my figure eights. (this is thanks to a Max and Ruby episode she has seen 100 times! LMAO). We had so much fun. She finally started listening and she did great! She fell a few times but was able to get up by herself every time and she never complained. She was jealous of the older skater girls that were wearing pretty costumes and leg warmers and dresses and asked if she could wear one next week. I can't wait for next week. Here are the photos:

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Friday Fun with Friends!

Last Friday was such a fun for me and the kids. I dropped Ella off at pre-school and went to meet up with our Friday playgroup. Ella hasn't seen these kids much since she has been going MWF but pretty soon she will be in school Tu/Th so she will see more of them soon. Ryen is finally starting ti actually climb and play at playgrounds and go down slides etc. It makes me nervous of course and I am unable to relax cause I have to be up there with her. But here are some photos I was able catch of my Ry Bunny exploring...

We actually managed to get all the kids on the bench for a photo by bribing them with munchkins.

Later that day we grabbed Ella from school and hit another park, this time with our neighbors...

Then after the park Ella was invited to dinner by her friend Jacqueline. It was a VERY impromptu dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some of our friends. Thank goodness for Michella who had body glitter, nail polish and lip gloss to keep the kids entertained while they waited for their food. The kids did great at first, but fell apart in between dinner and dessert. And after dessert, while trying to pay the checks was a nightmare. Kids were running everywhere (or trying to anyway) and sitting at/messing up other tables. Lets just say the restaurant was probably relieved when we all left! (click photo below to view larger then hit back button to get back to the Blog)

We had a GREAT dinner and a BLAST with our friends. Afterward we ran around the mall for a bit, but the kids were CRAZY and on a sugar high. Mine went home and crashed hard after a wonderful day of fun with friends. This is what childhood is all about, and I am glad Ella is still talking about her dinner with friends.