Cue Title Line

Occasionally, you will watch a movie that uses the title of the movie as a line in the movie… apparently, called “Titular Line.”
Usually, whenever it happens, it is the cheesiest moment ever created.
The one I can immediately think of is…
The Perfect Storm… when the weatherman looks at his weather equipment and watches how the three different hurricanes are going to collide causing… *wait for it*… THE PERFECT STORM.

There are a ton of other movies that do this too…

I had the opportunity over the weekend to use my title line…

Picture it.
Family dinner time at the in-laws.
12 people squeezed around a table for 6.
Parents trying to serve their children.
One child starts to melt down.  
Then another.
And another.
Loud wails like sirens.
Not stopping.
Complete chaos.
Then, I turn my head slowly to Aunt Kimiki,
who is staring in disbelief at the madness going on around her, 
and I ask, 
“Would you say this is your… 
*dramatic pause*… 
DAILY DOSE OF CRAZY?”
It. was. glorious.
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Bare Hands

We live in an old 1941 Cape Cod.
We’ve pretty much gutted the place and rebuilt it…
well, my husband has. 
I pretty much just do the pretty decorating.
So it wasn’t completely “off-base” when my husband jokingly told our kids that
he built our house with his “BARE hands.”
To which Aidan replied, “Daddy, you don’t have BEAR hands.  Haha!”

Fearless

When I was young, I was fearless.
I literally jumped off of bridges without a single hesitation.  
It didn’t even cross my mind that I could die doing it.  
(Unfortunately, it didn’t even cross my mind that someone my parent’s might know could see me and report my dangerous behavior, resulting in getting myself grounded.)
I loved the Xtreme Flyer at Kings Dominion, the closest thing I could get to bungy jumping.  
Jumping off of bridges wasn’t the only thing I wasn’t scared of… 
I was DYING to go skydiving.  
I LOVED scary movies, haunted houses, haunted hayrides, you name it- I loved it.
And one thing that I have ALWAYS wanted to see was an actual TORNADO.  
In a past life, I could’ve been a storm chaser.
The sheer power of a tornado, 
the destructive nature, 
the unpredictability-
it all fascinated me.
It wasn’t until last night, when there was a tornado warning for Spotsylvania County, 
that I realized I was not as fearless as I was as a teenager.
I rushed home to my babies with my eyes in my rearview mirror, 
afraid that I might look back and see a dark funnel.
When we put them down to bed, 
and the wind was howling,
and the warnings were scrolling across our television screen, 
I made David move Aidan into the girls’ room. 
I really wanted all of our kids sleeping safely in between David and I, 
but I settled for them being in the room directly across from us 
(since there wasn’t enough room for us all to sleep in our bathroom 
and we don’t have a basement).
David wanted me to go out on the deck with him to watch the lightning show, 
but I was a wimp. 
I stayed out there for a minute or two before I was ready to go back to the safety of my house. 
I was brave enough to snap this picture though…
 
And I know exactly what it was that made me this pitiful, scared human being.
these. three. little. peas.
I have so much more to lose with them in my life.
And that is wonderful and debilitatingly scary at the same time.
I want to protect them at any cost, 
from anything that might threaten them.
And yet, 
at the same time,
I’m wise enough to know 
that is impossible.
Whether it is a tornado,
a broken heart,
or a bridge-jumping excursion with their high school friends,
I won’t always be there to protect them.
And that terrifies me.
But I can still try.
Maybe I’m still a little fearless after all.

Koala Bear

This little girl loves to be held…
… and I love to scoop her up. 
Maybe it’s because she’s my baby. 
Maybe it’s because she’s so cuddly and loveable. 
Maybe it’s because she seems so little compared to Aidan and Kaia. 
Whatever the reason,
whenever she reaches up for me,
wraps her arms around my neck,
and squeezes,
I melt. 
Because of this little habit,
 (that I admittingly encourage by always agreeing to hold her,)
I’ve nicknamed her
my little
“Koala Bear.”
Clever, I know.
I don’t want my koala bear to let go… ever. 
This feeling is probably intensified by the fact that she is my last baby… ever.
My sister, Erica, captured some pictures of how sweet my koala Addi is at Aidan’s party and I wanted to make sure she got a post that was all her own,
because I love every. single. picture.
(And it wouldn’t have been fair to Aidan’s birthday post to dominate it with pictures of Addi.)
I think my sister fell even more in love with Addi that day too.
How can you NOT fall in love with her??
She’s got the grip of a Koala bear on my heart!

Gone Fishin’…

We had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of hours at my brother’s house last weekend…
and Aidan got to try out his new fishin’ pole that he got for his birthday.
My boy is a natural…
At the end of the day, when we were saying our prayers,
I asked Aidan to tell God what he was most thankful for,
and he said,
“Thank you, God, for my fishin’ pole.”

Keeping the Romance Alive

When you’re dating, it’s easy to be romantic.
Leave a note for them to find in their car.
Make them a fancy dinner.
Give them a mixed tapecd… or playlist?  (Geez, what do teenagers in love do these days?)
David would always drop me off from our dates and in my parent’s driveway he would sing me “It’s Your Love,” by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.  And because it was the summer before we went our separate ways to different colleges, it would bring me to tears.  When we got married after maintaining our long-distance relationship through college, it was easy for us to pick our wedding song.  We also chose to have “It’s Your Love” inscribed on the inside of our wedding rings because it was the only way we could fit everything we wanted to say to each other in such a limited space. 
While I think we have a fantastic marriage,
and we try to do things to “keep the romance alive,”
it’s not always easy to do when we both work full-time with three kids. 
Sometimes he’ll shoot me a text message during the day letting me know how much he misses me.  
Sometimes, before a big game, I’ll write a good luck note on the bathroom mirror so he can read it before he goes to work.
Once after a big game for their 10th consecutive win, I wrote out “10-0” in Smarties (one of his favorite kinds of candy) on our coffee table with a candle (battery-operated for safety) next to it so he could see it when he walked in to our house late that night.   
Sometimes he’ll grab my ass… well, I think that’s romantic.
One thing that I have always done,
and vow to ALWAYS continue,
is that I will shut the door when I use the potty. 

While there are couples out there who probably think I am ridiculous and who pride themselves on feeling “that comfortable” with someone that they can take a dump right in front of them,
I just feel it is disgusting and something meant to be kept to oneself. 
After 13 years of togetherness,
David still hasn’t seen me in that kind of…
situation….
and if I have any say in it-
 he. never. will. 
THAT, Ladies and Gentlemen, is one of the ways I keep the romance alive. 
What do YOU do?

NAGAP Conference

I went to a conference a couple of weeks ago for fellow graduate admission professionals and had the opportunity to catch up with some friends while I was in the DC area. 
I went to dinner one night with Kim, my friend since high school and roommate at JMU.
Even though we don’t get to see each other as much as we’d like, we always pick up right where we left off.  We sipped on cosmos…
then switched to beer at some point (maybe?)…
and ended the night with a shot (pretty sure about that one). 
In between drinks, I did have one of the BEST sandwiches of ALL time.  Of course, the drinks could’ve made my tastebuds more approving of ANY kind of food that I ate that night but that’s beside the point. 
I heart Kim. 
We can act like idiots, and a moment later get into a real heart-to-heart discussion about our troubles or our thoughts on religion, and then start acting like idiots again as we are wiping away our beer tears. 
She’s a friend for life.
You’d think after a night like that, a 30-year old mother of 3 wouldn’t be able to “hang” the next day. 
But as my 18-year old sister-in-law would say, “I totally carried it.”
I woke up in the morning and worked out like I normally do, and then during our lunch break at the conference another one of my friends, Alyssa (aka Dr. Deke since she recently defended her dissertation-woot, woot!), and I stopped by the National Zoo to eat some grub and visit the elephants. 
Elephants have a very special place in our hearts.
(I was SUPPOSED to look like I was petting an elephant in this picture…
but Dr. Deke didn’t give me much direction.  *ahem*)
Aren’t elephants amazing? 
We always wanted one for our apartment in college, but I guess there were rules against it…
I know, it baffles me too.
We also stopped by to see the Giant Pandas…
I thought he was dead… but he wasn’t.  *phew*
Alyssa found the PERFECT souvenir for me to take home to my babies… GIANT PANDA POOP candy, which were really chocolate covered malt balls, but they LOVED them when I got home. 
And it became somewhat of a teachable moment when I reminded my kids that THIS poop tastes good because it isn’t real, but REAL poop wouldn’t taste good, so DON’T eat it. 
A mother’s job is never done.
Before I got to go back to my babies though, I had one more night out on the town…
All I can say about this night is if you’ve never played
“Who Can Take Up The Most Square Footage on a Crowded Dancefloor”
then you’ve really never lived. 
Best. Game. Ever.
And for the sake of my story,
(and because I created the game),
I’ve declared myself the winner,
because vertical space doesn’t count, Hippy!.
After two nights out on the town,
and days jammed-packed with sessions on “best practices” in admissions,
I was ready to go home to my babies. 
Sometimes it’s nice to get away from your day-to-day routine,
but it’s ALWAYS nice coming home to the sweet squeals of high-pitched little ones screaming,  “MOMMYYYYYY!”

More $h!t My Kids Say…

Aidan: (While having a conversation with Grammy… apparently, my boy inherited my need to be right)
“I know it!  I can feel it in my BOOOOOOONES!”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Kaia: (Walking down the stairs with a hot pink bracelet on her wrist)
“Mommy, I want to be a ROCKSTAR.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Addi: (On beating me in our race to the bathroom)
“Mommy, you’re a loooooser.  Nice try.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Aidan: (While looking at his sandaled feet this morning)
“Mommy, I only have four toes.  Oh, no, wait- nevermind, I found another one!”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
And these kinds of stories are the reason why I wanted to start this blog in the first place…
so I never forget the day-to-day moments that make me smile. 

Marrow Sucker

When you’re a working mom, you tend to try to get as much out of the time you are at home with your kids as possible… at least I try to (in between loads of laundry, making dinner, giving baths and all of the other things moms get to juggle).  So I took full advantage of getting to spend the entire day with my babies on Aidan’s birthday.  We were lucky enough to have my niece, Teagan, from California visit us that week while she was on her spring break, which meant she got to join us in our adventure!

Teagan traveled across the country SOLO at age 11 
to spend her spring break with her East Coast Family!
We started the day by stopping at The Pear Tree for S’mores and hot cocoa!

From there, we went to the playground to work off some of that sugar.

Then we had some time to burn before we met Auntie Erica for lunch, so we stopped at the pet store and magically ran into Auntie Laura and cousin Kaitlyn!  It was a birthday miracle!


Of all of the animals that my kids could’ve touched,
the pet store lady pulled out the RAT. 

Teagan thought the rat’s tail felt like silk.  (Beware faux-silk wearers of the world- you could be wearing rat tail.)
Then we walked to 5 Below and the kids each got to pick a toy from the store.  Aidan instantly picked the largest water gun that he could find.  Kaia and Addi got little dollies, of course.  Teagan picked a silver mirrored disco ball.  It was groovy, baby!

Off to lunch we went!  We went to Sonic where we had a picnic in the back of my Honda Pilot since it was a little windier than we would’ve preferred.  Auntie Erica met us for lunch to wish her favorite Anthes nephew a happy, happy birthday!

Since it was such a special day, and since Teagan came all of the way from CALIFORNIA, I figured we HAD to go to Carl’s for some of their famous frozen custard. 

 This is right before Kaia’s scoop fell off of her cone.  
Thankfully, Carl’s gave her another cone for free!

 So that’s how I spent the day with my five-year old birthday boy… which is THIS many fingers.

We sucked the marrow out of life… or was that frozen custard?

Caught in a Web of Fun

Ok, it’s taken me a little bit of time to write a post about my big boy’s birthday party,
because I just can’t believe the day has come and gone… 
and I have no idea how to put my emotions into words.
Five years ago, Aidan made me a mommy.
And I’ve never looked back. 
He’s fulfilled my life in ways I didn’t know were possible.
He’s tested my patience. 
He’s taught me so much about what is really important in this world.
He’s filled me with a love so immense it’s hard to believe that it can fit in my body.
He’s keyed my car.
He’s a part of me that I didn’t know was missing until he was born,
and that part takes up more and more of my soul every day that I get to spend with him.

Simply put: I don’t know what I would do without him.
I am so grateful that God thought I was worthy enough to be his mama.
So we celebrated.
Aidan’s 5 years of life.
With a Spiderman party…
We had Cr-arachnids… (get it?)

Spidey Slaw…
Peter Parker’s Pulled Pork…
(Because I have a TON of pork in my freezer…)
Green Goblin Juice…
a wicked awesome Spidey cake (decorated by yours truly)…
(that’s innovation at its finest!)
a whole slew of super heroes that had to participate in a Superhero Training Course…
They had to prove their endurance by completing in an obstacle course consisting of…
walking on a skinny balance beam…
… going through a tight tunnel…
… and hopping on stepping stones…
Then they had to prove their agility by dodging bullets*
(*bullets = different sized balls)
Then they had to prove their marksmanship abilities by shooting their webs (silly string, of course) at Spiderman’s enemies…
(it was kinda windy that day, but the kids had fun shooting the rest of their cans of silly strings at Kimiki)
When all the silly string cans were empty, the newly trained superheroes received
OFFICIAL CERTIFICATES OF ACHEIVEMENT
FOR PROVING THEY ARE A SUPERHERO.
And we ate…
… blew out the candles…
(I love this one.  I love the looks on all of my kids’ faces.)
… we opened presents…
… we hung out…
 
He had a BLAST.
… I had another day to love on my 5 year old boy.
(Shout out to my sister, Erica, who took these wonderful snapshots of our day.  I barely got a chance to touch my camera…)
Oh, and since his party was Sunday and his actual birthday was Wednesday,
 I got to spend a fun-filled day with him on his big day! 
More to come on that in a FLASH!