Thursday, February 28, 2013

Valentine's Day

I couldn't help but get Ella this super girly tutu for Valentine's Day!
Because how much fun is that??
Twirling around in her new tutu!
I spent the afternoon writing a love letter to each of my kiddos...
...and I found these cute ladybug chocolate pops!

 Loved watching their faces light up when they read the letter!

 Jacob even pinned it up on his wall, with his very favorite things.  
Made me realize how much these little gestures can mean!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Pausing time.

I was at MOPS last Friday and we were playing a game where you were given two choices, for one choice you would walk to one side of the room, for the other choice you would walk to the other side.  There were questions such as, "Would you rather go to a tropical beach or the mountains?" "Would you rather eat carrots or broccoli?"  One of the questions in particular caught my attention though.  "If given a choice, would you rewind time or pause time?"

I really didn't have to think about it.  I immediately walked over to the side where you could pause time.    I was thinking I wouldn't want to rewind time, because then we might not have Ella yet.  However, our oldest is still at the age where he melts my heart with the things he says and does.  Jacob was asking me the other day when Mother's Day was because he wanted to make me something really special (like chocolate milk with real Hershey's syrup)!  He will still cuddle with me on the couch.  He will still give me a kiss on the cheek and tell me how much he loves me when he goes to bed.  He will thank me for making dinners with "extra love".  He still believes in Santa Claus, will play at the park, has magic in his eyes at Disneyland, and is young enough to order a McDonald's Happy Meal.  He still has that "little kid" in him.

Gavin is a little bit more reserved, but every now and then he will do or say something that catches my attention.  The hugs and I love yous aren't as frequent as his brothers, but when he shows and tells me these things, it is really special.  The other night, I was laying in bed with him and he started playing with my hair.  After he realized how much I liked it, now he asks me all the time if I want him to play with my hair.  He's really been trying to be a good boy lately...  I can tell that he thrives for positive reinforcement and to make us proud.  Although he tends to be the police officer when his brothers and sister are doing something they aren't supposed to do... at least he explains it with such patience and reason!   "Casey, you can't eat too much sugar because it isn't healthy."  "Ella, you can't stand on that chair because mommy wants you to be safe."   Then he usually ends the conversation with, "It's okay Ella.  You're still a good girl."

Casey's personality reminds me a lot of Jacob.  He always wants to snuggle, is always telling me he loves me, and would always choose staying home with mommy over any other activity.  He uses every excuse in the book not to go to sleep at night.  How can I not melt when he tiptoes into the upstairs loft, peeks over the edge, and says, "I just love you so much mommy."  He is my little baker and absolutely jumps to help me cook or bake anything (even if it's rolling out Ritz crackers for a casserole, especially if it's adding chocolate chips to cookie dough).  There is this song that we sing to each other at the top of our lungs with pretend microphones (because it always seems to come on the radio), "I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart!"  We always dance together during the songs that play at the end of a movie.  The other night, Casey wanted me to pick him up and we were just spinning together.  Tears welled up in my eyes as I was watching his huge smile and listening to the giggles of pure joy.  I think I wish I could pause Casey at this age more than anything.

We are pretty sure that Ella is the final baby our family so I feel like every stage she goes through will be the last chance we have to experience it.  I love that she still lets me do her hair and pick out her clothes.  I love watching her put on as many bracelets as she can fit on her little wrist.  I love watching her play with her princess castle and sway to the music.  I love watching her rock her babies and tuck them in.  I love it when she puckers her lip out as far as she can for a kiss.  Right now, all she understands is that I'm her momma... but I know there may come a day where she is hurt and confused by her past and by what it means to be adopted.  Sometimes, it is such a good feeling to know that she doesn't know or understand anything beyond the fact that we are her family and we love her.

Then there is Sy.  Another reason why I would want to pause time.  He has been a part of our lives since we first got married and I just can't imagine life without him.  Despite shedding and snoring, he really has been the best dog.  I don't know how he somehow never gets sick, never complains, never has an accident, never needs to go to the vet... but we are always in awe of what a low maintenance dog he is.  He mostly sleeps and tries to keep away from little fingers who want to pull his hair and tail.  Our life is so crazy that sometimes Sy gets a little forgotten.  It's always late at night, when all the littles are in bed, that I let him jump on my lap and scratch his tummy for a bit.

I find myself often wishing to freeze time while living in the moment.  Moments when we are all cuddled together watching a movie.   Moments when they are helping me bake and watching the oven timer in pure anticipation.  Moments when we are roller skating hand in hand and they are scared to let go.  Moments when they make each other laugh.   Moments when Ella pats my arm and says mom mom.  Moments when we are praying together.  Moments when I am in another room and I can hear squeals of their laughter with Daddy.  These are the moments I wish could last forever.

Being a full-time mommy to four kiddos definitely isn't easy and there are days when I collapse on the couch in exhaustion. However, I know one day I will really miss my four kiddos at these ages.  I can't pause time, but somehow I just want to memorize each child, how they are in this exact moment, and keep it in my heart forever.  At the same time, it is such a privilege to be able to watch them grow.  I can't wait to see and be a part of who they become.  But I have a feeling... if I was asked this question a few years in the future, I would walk to the side of the room where you could rewind time.

Little Gym

I wasn't sure if I would be able to do Little Gym with Ella, because it didn't coincide with Casey's preschool schedule.  I decided to bring him and see how he did in the waiting room during Ella's class.  I am so thankful that he did fine because Ella absolutely LOVES it.  With our boys, it was a struggle at times to get them to participate but Ella is the first one in line for everything!  Not only that, but she gets in line again and again!  It really is SO good for her.  She knows the exact routine of when to get the shakers, when to put them away, the song that means it's time to explore, that bubble time is after ball time... ;)  She is also learning how to follow directions, wait in line, and share!  (Plus, it's a pretty safe place for her daring personality.  ;)

They had a mini-celebration a few weeks ago and Ella was so excited that her Grammy was there!
Running with airplane arms
The balance beam

Waiting for the "air" in the air track 

Ella's gym teacher

Fun on the rings!

Time for balls...

... and bubbles!

Checking out her certificate with Grammy
Stamps on the belly!!  
(Every time she sees bubbles or stamps now, she lifts up her shirt... ha!)