First Cousin Sleepover

We were fortunate enough to have my niece, Kait,
spend the night with her cousins a couple of weekends ago…
It was her first big sleepover with my kids,
and despite a short middle-of-the-night longing for mommy and daddy,
I think she had a great time!
I ended up crashing right in the middle of the two trundle beds…
between Kait and Addi…
on a piece of wood…
using an owl-shaped decorative pillow to rest my head…
and I’d do it all again.

My Gift is My Song…

… and this one’s for youuu…
You may remember that I’m extremely talented in the
baby-name-song-writing business,
from my previous post.
What you may not know is that I am for hire…
even when no one hires me.
I just can’t turn this talent off, people!
It’s a gift!
When I hold my newest nephew, Gabe,
I burst at the seams with creativity and inspiration.
(You can see me in action in the picture below)

You may also recall my love for Salt N’ Pepa.

So naturally, Gabe’s Baby Song is to
one of SNP’s greatest hits,
Push It.


“Oh, Baby Gabe-y, B-Baby Gabe-y-
Ohh, Baby Gabe-y, B-Baby Gabe-y!”

That’s all I got so far.

It may not seem like much to you reading it,
but that’s because you’re not seeing my
hips gyrating and arms waving.

And since that will NEVER be available to see on the Internet,
I guess you’re just going to have to take my word for it-
it’s magical.


Little House Updates…

Recently I’ve made some minor changes around the house…
I put this Capiz Shell Hanging Light in our small hallway…
I got it on sale from World Market for like $15!
It made a big difference in the space!
I also put these new drawer liners in my kitchen drawers…
I absolutely LOVE them and got them for a STEAL at Marshalls- $5.99!
I have a lot left for another project too!
It made a big difference using actual liners instead of the wrapping paper that I used temporarily (right after I painted the cabinets white):
The wrapping paper looked cool, but since I only taped it down,
it was easily ripped, torn, and shifted from place to place.
The new drawer liners stay put- like God intended them!
I have a couple of other updates coming up that include
this cute little side table and the brass lamp standing behind it…
They will go in my office at work.
Stay tuned- I know you’re sitting on the edge of your chair with anticipation!
Oh, and I feel like I need to clarify that the purchases I made for the house were made PRIOR to Lent-
I haven’t made any personal purchases since Lent began,
although I have been tempted!

Beat That, Hallmark!

The best part about Valentine’s Day now that my kids are getting older…
are the homemade Valentine’s …
(Aidan wrote this on his breakfast napkin and gave it to me on Valentine’s Day morning)
… and public displays of affection…
Every week at Kaia’s school, her teacher asks them to complete a sentence. 
For V-Day Week, the sentence began, “Love is…” and Kaia was the only student to answer, “Mama.”
Love is Mama.
Beat that, Hallmark.

Snow Angels

This winter has been a joke for Virginians…
not that I’m complaining,
because I would much rather Spring come immediately…
and stay year-round.
But my kids did get to enjoy a few minor snowfalls this year…
February 11th
February 20th
March 5th
Pretty soon, the small hill in front of our house won’t cut it for them for sledding.
But it’s the perfect size right now.
Big enough for a little thrill,
and little enough to climb up again and again.
Anyone else resisting the chance to make a
“That’s what she said” joke?
Just me?
Normally is.

Adventures with Spot

We had the pleasure of having Spot, Kaia’s class pet, a couple of weekends ago.
Everything became an adventure!
I also used the opportunity to write in the class journal about being shy…
and hoped to use it as a learning experience for the class.
Of course, I also used it as a shameless plug to show how awesome my little girl is,
so that the other kids might see what they are missing out on.

Here’s what I wrote:
Dear Mrs. Lee & Class:
Hello!  It’s me, Spot.  I thought I would check-in and tell you all about my fun-filled weekend with Kaia.
As soon as Kaia took me home on Friday, I knew that we would get along like peanut butter and jelly!  We have so much in common like…
We both love to bake!  Brownies are delicious!  Yummy in Spot’s tummy!
Kaia and I both love bear hugs… they make me feel all warm and fuzzy- and not just because I’m covered in fur!
We both love to make silly faces… look how big our eyes can get!

We love staying busy, so our weekend was jammed-packed!  We went to Wegmans.  Did you know they have a train that wraps around the entire top of the store?!
Here I am with Kaia’s big brother, Aidan, at church on Sunday morning.  It was tough to stay quiet, but we did a good job.
After the traditional Sunday brunch at Grammy & Poppy’s house, Kaia and I headed to a special birthday party for Madeline. 
Here I am wearing a seatbelt- so we can be safe!
It was so much fun seeing so many familiar faces at Maddy’s party.  Sometimes I can feel quiet and shy, but everyone made me feel included- I even played a couple of games!
We ate pizza, which is one of my favorite foods.  I also love fruits and veggies, because they are healthy and will make my neck grow long and strong like grown-up giraffes!
Of course, I also have a little bit of a sweet tooth so I had no problem helping Kaia finish this tasty cupcake!
Then, to top it all off, I got to ride a horse!  I was a little nervous at first, so Kaia showed me what to do. 
She was so brave and so I decided I could do it too!  Kaia is a great friend and really knows how to have fun. 
Can’t wait for more adventures!

My Shy Girl

As soon as Kaia was born,
I knew that she was different than me.
She had blond hair, blue eyes, and looked just like my father-in-law!
She was an Anthes baby through-and-through.

As she’s gotten older I noticed we have a lot more in common.
She loves impressions.
She can pick up and emulate a person’s tone and inflection better than most adults,
so for a four-year old,
I’m calling her a prodigy.
She has a very silly side.
She’ll start talking like Adam Sandler using Billy Madison’ gibberish.
(No, she has not seen that movie.)

She laughs at my jokes (more than my other kids),
loves when I’m being silly,
and gets into fits of precious belly laughs that could seriously bring world peace to all.
She loves to cuddle.
As soon as I sit in a chair, she sprints over to my lap.
If she were a dog, she would pee all over me to mark her territory.
I love her. SO. much.
And she loves me so much it makes her sad when she has to share me with her brothers and sisters,
which unfortunately means that she gets sad and mad at mommy a lot.
I see this expression regularly.

This picture was taken when she was two,
but she still makes this face when she’s upset.

She’s such a big girl now that she’s in preschool.
She’s grown up so much I want to freeze time.
Sometimes I catch myself while she is sitting on my lap,
looking down at her face,
and from a certain angle,
I can see it-
her baby face.
It’s still there.
The chubby curve of her pink cheek.
The fine baby hair that surrounds her face and is still too short to be pulled into her braid or ponytail.
She will always be my baby,
but soon I won’t even be able to see this glimpse of her baby face,
because she won’t want to sit on my lap anymore.
I’ve got to soak it in while I can get it.
I’ve enjoyed seeing her grow this year.
Preschool has been AMAZING for her.
She’s learned so much,
She will be ahead of the game in Kindergarten…

I just registered her for Kindergarten,
which seems so strange when I still have a child in KG.
At the beginning of the year when Kaia started preschool,
she ran right into her classroom
and there wasn’t a single tear from her-
she wasn’t phased at all that we were leaving her in a new place without her brother or sister tagging along.
This is how she marched into her classroom on the first day of school…

… like she OWNED it.

She was excited to have something to call her own.
Her school.
So I never thought she would struggle with being shy or making friends.
I was wrong.
I’ve had the opportunity to go to two of her school holiday parties
and one of her classmate’s birthday party…
I have the quiet girl.
She doesn’t say a word… unless prompted by the teacher.

At first I just thought she was being a good listener in school.

But after watching her at her classmate’s birthday party,
I realized that she is painfully shy…
or maybe it was just painful for me to watch,
and she’s perfectly comfortable being shy.

(We even had the class pet, Spot, with us, which I thought would help her become the instant hit at the party… more about our adventures with Spot to come in another post.)

I was the only parent that had to walk with her onto the field at the b-day party.
… it took a long time for her to even walk out to the middle of the field to join in the fun games.

She did eventually join in,
but she would still be quiet…
occasionally, I would catch her smile and it looked like she was having fun.

But then she would stop all of a sudden and run back to me.

She is very happy at school, but

lately, she’s made fleeting comments that certain girls in class don’t like her.
All of the friends that she plays with are boys.
(Which I noticed at the b-day party that she seemed the most comfortable with the boys in her class).
When those boys aren’t in school for some reason,
she says she has no one to play with.


It kills me.

I want her to be her crazy, silly self.
I want her to feel comfortable going up to the other kids in class,
and showing her true colors.

Why in the world should she hold back as a four-year old?

Why in the world would the other four-year old girls
already start creating cliques?
Isn’t that a little YOUNG to be starting that?!

Why in the world did the girls in her class decide they weren’t going to like her.
Is it superficial- her clothes?  Her hair?
Is it because she gets attention from the boys in class?
Surely, the other girls can’t be feeling jealousy about that at this age- can they?
Or is it just because Kaia is shy and doesn’t go out of her way to play with those girls?

I feel helpless.

I just want to take care of my little blond-haired babydoll.

I want her to be happy…
to be confident…
to have friends…
and to realize how special she is.

… we all see it…

… Lord, help me prove it to her.

Fat Tuesday & Lent

Remember when you were younger,
and Fat Tuesday/ Mardi Gras
meant wild parties and beads?
You probably don’t because you were SO wasted at the time.
Well, do you want to hear how I spent my Fat Tuesday?
At the dentist.
With my family.
All five of us had our cleanings and check-ups.
We’re all sparkly and cavity-free, so I’ll drink to that!
I went to work after like most responsible adults.
I did have pancakes for dinner- apparently, that’s a Fat Tuesday thing. 
Who knew?!
Then I realized it was time to pick something to “give up” for Lent.
What was my sacrifice going to be this year?
You may remember my lenten obligation last year from this post, and this one, or my personal favorite, this one.
So I felt I had to pick something this year that would be just as challenging and rewarding as last year
After googling some ideas with my sister-in-law,
and discussing the topic with my friend at work,
it hit me.
I had to give up shopping.
But.  I. Don’t. WAAAAAAANT. To.
(Whaaaaaaaah- whiny cry)
Since I usually decide what to give up for lent,
by what would be the hardest for me to give up,
I knew as soon as I resisted the urge to suggest shopping
that it had to be the thing to go.
It is a sacrifice, afterall, right?
It shouldn’t be easy.
But I’m going to need your help.
Help me delete all of the Groupon deals in my inbox.
Help me ignore Target’s Daily Deals that are texted to me 5 days a week.
Help me ignore the bargain websites that completely change their inventories on a daily basis, and that tempt me to see what’s available today.
Oh, cute little shopping cart icon at the top right corner of my screen-
stop staring at me.
I know you are empty.
I know you long to be filled.
But… patience is a virtue.
There is nothing I need right now.
I’ll see you again in 45 days.

Top 10 Reasons I’ve been MIA…

Since I can’t possibly write about Valentine’s Day
and current craziness
until I’ve properly recognized past craziness
(yes, I am Type A- why do you ask?),
 I’ve decided to do a very quick and dirty list of the
Top 10 Reasons I’ve been MIA
to catch up.
1. I’m still tired from the feast we had on Thanksgiving.
The spread was delicious and plentiful.
My mom always knows how to make me gain 10 pounds in one sitting…
2. I’ve been watching paint dry.
My kitchen cabinet paint to be more specific.
(Don’t judge the messiness of my counters… this was a one-time only messy day-
every other day my house is kept perfectly in order.)
(Sorry- these pics were taken with my cell phone)
3. I’ve been welcoming new life into the world.
What have you been doing?
My nephew, Gabriel Stephen Anthes,
was born on December 12.
Even though Addi’s first response was, “I don’t want a boy baby- I want a girl baby,”
the kids all fell in love with their new cousin,
who they affectionately call,
“Baby Gabe-y.”
4. It’s a long way to the North Pole.
We saw Santa 4 different times.
The girls saw him at my work…

Then we saw him at the Spotsylvania Christmas Parade…

Then he was nice enough to come to Kaia’s school…

And he even stopped by early on Christmas Eve to drop off some new jammies!
(Here we are spying on him from inside Grammy’s house)

5. I’ve been trying to figure out if Addi ever robbed a bank,
which mask looks best?

I know, I know.
While the penguin hat is by FAR the cutest,
it would HAVE to be the blue one purely to maintain anonymity.
6. I’m still picking up wrapping paper from Christmas and risking my phalanges trying to remove toys from their ridiculous packaging.
Santa was generous to our babies.
Aidan’s pile
Aidan’s favorite gift (he asked Santa for it every. time. he. saw. him. this. year.)
Vampire teeth… I promise I haven’t let him watch Twilight!
Kaia’s pile
Her favorite gift from Santa this year…
A Fur-Real Kitty (the realest cat that will ever enter our house!).
Addi’s pile
With her favorite toy from Santa…
Dora Magic Fairy Doll (shocker.  This girl LOVES her some Dora.)
And our relatives were even MORE generous.

Seriously, my kids are at risk of being nonchalant about Christmas morning and more excited about opening presents from their grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

We are blessed.
7. I’ve been practicing my rock skipping, roller skating, dancing,
bowling, hiking, and planking.
(not necessarily all at once.)
Rock Skipping with Uncle Cliffy… 

Roller Skating with the Aunts, Uncles, and Sato cousins.
Just Dance 3 with the siblings…

Bowling with my kiddoes…

Hiking with my fellow Dukes…

 …and planking because it’s still cool.
8. I’m buried under piles of Addi’s laundry.
Little Miss Fashion Queen has discovered the art of “layering.”
While it is extremely adorable, it triples the amount of laundry I do on the weekend.
Thanks, Addi! 
No, really, I didn’t want to do anything else anyways!
Unfortunately, I just realized I don’t have a great photo to depict her “style.”
I’ll have to add that to my to-do list…
9.  I’m laughing so hard my side hurts.  BWAHAHA-OUCH!   
That is what I call being a serious Clay Aiken fan.
Go BIG or Go Home.
10. I’m in hiding.  It’s as simple as this- ya see, I’m kinda raising a redneck.
Aidan’s latest book at the school library…
wait for it…
’nuff said.
Now I’m back in business!
Thanks for staying with me, folks-
I promise it won’t be 3 months until I write again…
unless it is.