Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summah, Summah, Summahtime

It’s the first official day of summer, which means my favorite season has arrived! Summer has always been my favorite, and I love it even more now that I have kids. Although if we’re being honest, I love all the seasons more now that I have kids. Lake season, pool season, fresh fruit season. What is there not to love? There is so much that we missed out on last year because the babies weren’t the best at outdoor activities, so this year we want to do it all. Spend more time outdoors, in the water, at the zoo. This is the first year that our summer will be cut short by the start of school too, so we have even less time to fit in our fun. I made a summer bucket list, and I hope to cross off all the items before Harrison and Brooke start school on August 16th.

I also thought I’d share my summer playlist, because music makes everything better. My music tastes are all over the place, so my playlist is all over the place too. A little old, a little new, and a slew of classic summer songs that always put me in a good mood. I am going to apologize now that LFO “Summer Girls” is on my playlist, because the song is terrible. It holds some very fond memories for me and my bestie though, so it will live on in all my future summer playlists.

 Do you have a summer bucket list or playlist? What are you must dos or can’t live without songs?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

17 Months and Done

I feel so fortunate that I was able to nurse all 4 of my babies without too much of a struggle. I know there are women who fight for every single ounce they make. I produced enough milk to exclusively breast feed two babies at a time. We didn't have latch issues, never dealt with mastitis, rarely had a clogged duct. I know how lucky we are to have had a smooth journey both times, and now that journey is over, again.

S & C's first tandem nursing snooze fest

I have slowly been weaning Scarlett and Clark by dropping nursing sessions. They were becoming distracted while nursing and completely lost interest in some feedings, so it was time to cut back. When we planned our vacation, we knew that would be the end of nursing Scarlett and Clark. I hated pumping this time around, and my output reflected that. I had zero interest in taking the pump along just to keep my supply up, so we opted to be done. I nursed them to sleep before we left for the airport, and that was it. I knew it was their last time nursing, and as it turned out, they really didn't seem to care.

They haven't once asked for milk or stuck their hands in my shirt since we've been back. I'm not 100% sure that I would have said no if they would have asked, so it's kind of a relief that they haven't.

It's also sad to know that they've moved on. They don't need me to comfort them in that way anymore, and they never will again. I felt ready to be done, but I'm not sure I was actually ready to be done. I think letting go of the nursing relationship is such a big deal because it makes them seem instantly more grown up. They still need me for almost everything, but not for nutrition. At one point I was their sole source of food, but not anymore. I can leave for a whole week, and they are absolutely fine without me.

In the grand scheme of things, it was the right time to be done. Rob and I definitely benefited from time away from the kiddos, and I think the babies benefited too. 17+ months is a great duration for a nursing relationship, and it's definitely more than I hoped for when I first started nursing their big brother and sister. I will never forget the nurse who told me on day 2 of nursing Harrison and Brooke that I should just give up and give them formula because most women can't exclusively breast feed twins. It made my emotional, postpartum, new mom self sob hysterically, but it also made me determined to prove her wrong.  It made me push through the 6 week haze of constantly having a newborn at my breast. It kept me going to 6 months, then a year, and then beyond. The journey with H and B definitely helped shape how I handled nursing S and C.

Their last tandem nursing snooze fest

It's sad to know that I will more than likely never nurse another baby again, but I am so blessed to have had this wonderful relationship with all of my children. I won't remember most of the time we spent snuggled up with our twin nursing pillow, but the last time was special, and it will stay with me forever.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Kid Free Vacation

My younger brother and his wife just had their first baby at the end of April. Visiting our new baby nephew seemed like the perfect time for Rob and I to take our first kid free vacation in over 5 years, so last Wednesday we hopped on a plane and headed for Seattle. I was really nervous the entire morning before we left and on our entire drive down to Indy. What the heck were we thinking leaving our babies?! Once we got on the plane though all my nerves eased, probably because at that point there wasn't anything I could do about it. Seattle, here we come! It was just after 11pm, 2am our time, when the Uber dropped us off at my brother's door, so we were straight to bed.

Thursday morning I woke up before everyone else, surprise, surprise, and fed my caffeine habit. I almost always get a headache from plane travel, and this trip was no different. Coffee, water, and pain relievers were basically on full time rotation the whole time we were in Seattle. It wasn't long before the rest of the house was up and I got to meet sweet little B. He's so dang cute, he made me forget my head hurt. There was a whole lot of snuggling involved, and then once we were all ready, we headed to Pike Place. Rob had never been before, and I jumped at the chance to have French pastries and lattes and Le Panier. We walked the market, checked out the gum wall, found a cute little garden that overlooks the sound, and then got out of there before it got too crazy busy.

It was cool the whole time we were in Seattle but thankfully not too rainy, so we were able to walk almost everywhere we needed to go. It's amazing how much more difficult it is to walk places when you have four kids in tow as opposed to one newborn in a stroller. On Friday we walked around Lake Union and met my brother for lunch at Cask and Trotter. I had the BBQ sundae which I think sounds disgusting, but was absolutely delicious.

That afternoon we all went to the Ballard Locks and then hit up Golden Gardens. The locks and the fish ladder were neat to see. There is a beautiful botanical garden next to the locks that we walked around as well. I wish I would have taken more pictures there, because there were a lot of beautiful views. It was pretty chilly along the beach at Golden Gardens, but I am never one to turn down a walk along the beach. Rob on the other hand said F it, and skipped walking along the sound.

We were introduced to Exploding Kittens and Code Names, both of which also have adult versions, while on our trip. We played the games after dinner while B snoozed away. I am rather terrible at both games, but they were still immensely fun, even when losing.

Saturday morning we walked to brunch at Rock Creek. The beignets, cinnamon roll, and mimosas were a big hit with the table, and everyone loved their eggs, except me. Overall though, a solid brunch locale. On our walk back, we ran into Donald Trump who is getting ready for this weekend's solstice parade. We missed the solstice celebration by one week, but I am hoping for some great pictures today.

We may have missed out on the solstice celebration, but we did get to see my brother graduate from Foster School of Business at UW with his MBA. I'd say we got the better end of the deal. The University of Washington campus is beautiful, and I wish we could have seen more of it. We had to call it a night pretty soon after graduation because 6am flights equal 3:30 am wake times.

The plus side to 6am flights is that you arrive to your next destination at a decent time. It's cheaper to fly from Seattle to Denver then to Indy than it is to fly from Seattle to Indy, so we opted for a two day stop in Denver to visit my older brother and his husband. I hate that my siblings are spread out all over the country, but they do live in some pretty great places to visit.

The first item on the agenda while in Denver was brunch. We had reservations at Linger which is a restaurant in an old mortuary. By far my favorite meal of the trip. Maybe it was the bottomless mimosas. Maybe it was the delicious breakfast dosa. Maybe it was the open air table and the smell of fresh baked waffle cones. Maybe it was the feeling of too many mimosas followed by Little Man ice cream for dessert. Whatever combination of things made it wonderful, it was a delightful morning.

The afternoon was spent playing more Code Names, day drinking, visiting with a longtime family friend, and then realizing how much we suck at bags. We ate at Root Down that evening, and got to witness a beautiful sunset and perfect weather. It was over 90 degrees both days we were in Denver, but with low humidity it was much more enjoyable than Indiana weather.

Monday morning we headed out bright and early and headed toward Rocky Mountain National Park. I could post 50 different pictures of beautiful mountain views, but I'll spare you and only share a few. It was beautiful no matter what direction you looked. There was still snow high up in the mountains, and we even saw someone who was getting ready to snow board. On our way back to Denver, we stopped in Idaho Springs for lunch and a little exploration.

Once we were back to Denver we visited a local brewery where we tried to redeem ourselves at bags. We fared much better than the previous day, so we blamed our poor showing on the board and bags. Likely story, right? We had dinner at Sloan's Lake Tap and Burger, the chicken fried bacon BLT was amazing, and then watched the sunset across Sloan's Lake over the mountains. Our vacation closed out with a little rooftop patio drinking before getting to bed for another early flight.

Our 5:25am flight back to Indy was on time and we were back home to our babies by lunch time. We FaceTimed with Harrison and Brooke every day, but the babies got too worked up, so we had to stop FaceTiming with them after the second or third day. Scarlett was all over me as soon as we got back, and Clark wouldn't let Rob go. Harrison and Brooke were happy to see us, but then they were off to play with their friends after about 2 minutes.

If you couldn't tell, we like to eat our way through vacations, and I would definitely go back to every restaurant we visited. It was great to have a few days away from the kids, but the whole time we were gone, we were thinking about bringing the kids back in a year or two. especially to RMNP. First we have to make sure they won't go run off the side of a mountain or trample the tundra. Vacations without kids are great, but they're just as fun with them.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Superhero Birthday Party

When I asked Brooke and Harrison what they wanted to do for their birthday party this year, without hesitation Brooke answered that she wanted a superhero bounce house party and that she wanted to invite her friends. Harrison wholeheartedly agreed. I'm glad they made the planning part easy for me.

They had 12 kids in their preschool class they invited, plus another 8 kids from our neighborhood, and then family friends on top of that, so there was the potential for us to have 25-30 kids at their party. We of course knew not everyone would be able to make it, but we still decided it would be a good idea to do two separate parties. A kids' party followed by a family and friends party. The kids' festivities started at 1 and family started showing up at 4. It made for a long afternoon, but it was great to only have to plan for one party, plus we never had more than 20 people here at one time.

Harrison knew he wanted to dress up at Spiderman and Brooke was pretty sure she wanted to be Wonder Woman. They also love Batman, The Avengers, and all the DC Super Girls. Rather than try to incorporate all of their favorite characters, I decide to keep it simple. Black and white, primary colors, pop art.

We rented a Justice League bounce house, but I knew we would need a couple games on top of that. We spent the weeks leading up to the party building a city out of empty boxes, gray kraft paper, and card stock rectangles. The kids got to Hulk Smash the boxes. It started out a little crazy, imagine 12 kids all punching and kicking boxes at the same time, but once we got everyone settled and ready to go one at a time, it went really well. They all took turns knocking down the boxes and then building the city back up. We also did Spiderman game where the kids got to spray bad guys with their web (silly string), and a coloring station for anyone who wanted something less active. The only kid who colored was Brooke. :) Mostly though, the bounced.

We kept the food really simple. Fruits, veggies, cheese and crackers, and some snack mix during the kids' party. Then we ordered pizza during the friends and family party. I usually order cupcakes from a local bakery, but I knew I wouldn't have time to run out there the day before the party, so we got cupcakes from Kroger and they were delicious.

Overall it was a great party. I wish I would have documented some things better. I snapped a few pictures with my iPhone and I adjusted the settings on my camera and gave it to Rob to take some pictures. In hind sight, giving your camera illiterate husband your DSLR while it's on manual may not be the best idea if you want pictures with the correct exposure. If that's my biggest worry from the party though, I'd say we're lucky. We managed to have 15 kids in our house, most of them unchaperoned, and we survived. 

It was so much fun celebrating our little superheroes, and we're glad we had so many of ours, and their, friends and family join us for the fun.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Happy 5th Birthday, Harrison and Brooke

My big kids are 5 years old! Their big day was yesterday, and we had so much fun celebrating. Donuts and presents for breakfast. A park trip and ice cream shakes with Grandma and Grandpa. Then we spent the afternoon and evening playing on their new slip and slide. I'm pretty sure our water bill is going to be astronomical this month because we definitely ran our water for over 4 hours yesterday afternoon. When it's your birthday and almost 90 degrees out, we'll let the water run all day.

Today has been a nonstop barrage of questions. Can you open this? Can you help me with this? Can I play with this? Their birthday party is this weekend, so they'll be riding the birthday wave well into next week. We let them invite school friends to their party this year, so we will have a house full of 5 year olds come Sunday. It's sure to be a ton of fun and a whole lot of crazy.

Part of me is in shock that it's already been 5 years since I had that "oh shit we're parents" moment while in the hospital, and the other part of me can't remember a time without these two crazies in our lives. They are so very different from each other, but they work perfectly together. I am truly blessed to be able to spend my days with these two. Happy 5th birthday, Harrison and Brooke! Your dad and I are so glad we get to be your parents, and we're excited to see you grow and mature even more over the next year. We love you!

Friday, May 12, 2017

PreK Graduation

The weekend is here! My sister and nephew are flying in for the weekend, so we are looking forward to an extra special Mother's Day Weekend. Before we dive into that fun though, I want to talk about my the big kids and how they are no longer preschoolers! They are officially done with Pre-K and ready for kindergarten.

Last night was their graduation ceremony, and we started out the day unsure if they were both going to make it. Brooke rolled into our room around 4am complaining of an upset stomach and a fever. Sure enough she was running a 101 degree fever. After lots of toast, a banana, half an apple, berry La Croix, and a dose of ibuprofen, her temperature was down and she was feeling like her normal spunky self. Off to school they both went.

Unfortunately around 12:30 I got a call from the school saying she wasn't feeling well, so I went to pick her up. She was so upset that she didn't get to stay for the rest of the day. She cried while we rounded up her belongings. She didn't want to miss any of the last day of school and was so sad to be leaving her friends. Thankfully a 3 hour nap, a few episodes of Paw Patrol, and some shells and cheese were just what she needed to feel well enough to make it to graduation.

They both got to sing their song and walk across the stage to receive their PreK diploma. They have been practicing what they call the "parents cry song," for the last few weeks. Seeing 40 5 year olds sing a song on stage might be the cutest thing ever. In addition to their song, there was also a 10 minute slideshow of pictures taken throughout the year. Their song didn't make me cry, but seeing them with all of their friends and knowing that they won't go to school with most of them next year did. I was definitely a little misty eyed by the end. There are 6 elementary schools in our district, so their friends will be all over the place for school next year. They had some really sweet kids in their class, and I'm so glad that they, and I, got to know them through the year.

Don't even get me started on how much we'll miss their teachers. We love their preschool and will definitely be sending S and C there in a couple years. For now though we are done with preschool and on to elementary school. I am hopeful I can keep them engaged and learning over the summer. If you have any suggestions for activities or programs to follow over summer break, I'd love to hear them. Right now I am equally excited and terrified at the thought of 3 months with no one in school. Time to stock up on sidewalk chalk and bubbles. Summer is upon us, and we're ready, almost. 

Congratulations Harrison and Brooke! We're so proud of the work you've done in school and are excited to see what next year holds for the two of you.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Happy Friday

Happy Cinco de Mayo!! We are having some girlfriends over tonight for Mexican food and LaLa Land. Tacos, street corn, and maybe probably margaritas are on the menu.

My little people have figured out how to crawl up onto our kitchen chairs and table, and now nothing will ever be safe again. I find myself trying to remember how I handled these situations with Brooke and Harrison, but I don't feel like they were into as much trouble as Scarlett and Clark seem to get into. In actuality, it's probably just been long enough that I have chosen to forget.

Have you see the Jimmy Kimmel monologue where he talks about his son's heart condition? If you haven't it's worth the time to watch the whole thing.

I don't know what the answers are to fix our nation's health care issues, and yes there are issues, but if we're considering taking away people's coverage, it's not the right solution.

Rob and I started watching Schitt's Creek this week, and oh my goodness, it's HILARIOUS. Anything with Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara is a win in by book, but it is even better than I was expecting. If you're looking for a new series to start, I highly recommend it.

We have started talking about taking a family road trip when the babies are a little bit older. Maybe 2 or 3 years from now? We have family all over the country. STL, Reno, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver. We would love to take 2 or 3 weeks and drive route 66, visit family, see the grand canyon, visit some national parks, hit up Disney Land. Are we crazy? Quite possibly, but it's something fun to think about doing as a family. These websites seem like great jumping off points for planning a fun route 66 itinerary. Road Trippers  / Driving Route 66

After being on the fence about it for the last few months, I think we have decided that Harrison and Brooke will be going to kindergarten next year.  They have their preschool graduation next week and they got to do their welcome to kindergarten night this week. They are both getting really excited about next year. Harrison still needs lots of redirection, but he's so eager to learn that I feel like he will be just fine next year. Now we just have to decide for sure if we want them to be in the same class or separate classes.

Our vacuum broke a couple weeks ago, and I broke it in the dumbest way possible. I bumped it into the corner of a cabinet while vacuuming the floor, and the plastic cracked. It's a 10 year old Dyson that still runs, but they don't make a replacement part for the piece I cracked. Major bummer. I've been looking into what type of vacuum we should get and I landed on the Dyson V8. I borrowed my parents V6 a couple weekends ago and I really liked how light it was while still doing a great job cleaning. UPS dropped off our new vacuum yesterday and after charging it for what seemed like forever, I put it to use. It cleaned up way more dirt than I thought was possible, awesome and gross at the same time, but the major win is that Harrison and Brooke want to vacuum the floor now. This vacuum may pay for itself in saved time and productivity over the course of one month if these two keep it up. Please keep it up!

Image may contain: dog

This sweet puppy is available for adoption at our local shelter, and I love her. We do not need another dog, and we definitely won't be getting one, but I definitely considered trading Jules in. ;) Just kidding. Kind of. If someone I know wants to adopt her and allow for visitations, that would be awesome.

I hope you all get to have a margarita, or 3, tonight, and I hope your weather is better than the crap weather we're supposed to have. Happy Friday!