Kota: SNOW! SNOW! SNOW!
Me: Let's let the poor guy sleep. He's tired!
Kota (serious expression): NEVER.
Carter (while watching our annual T Day week Star Wars marathon): Well, Annikin! If you hadn't turned over to the dark side, Obi Wan Kenobi wouldn't have had to chop off your legs and you wouldn't have caught on fire!
Kota: Mom! Snow Snow is going to sit on me! He's going to put his butt on me!!!!!
Carter (24 hours a day, 7 days a week): Mom, I'm hungry.
Me: No you're not.
Me: Kota! Can you not kick me!
Kota (while lying underneath my fire hydrant leg lift position thing): IT'S PART OF MY WORKOUT, MOM!
2015 marks 5 years of trekkin' on up the mountain to Oak Glen and I have to say, each year gets betta. The first time we ever went, I was pregnant with Kota! The whole experience is so gosh darn beautiful, we MUST repeat yearly. It is imperative to our well beings.
We always wait until the hot, real apple picking season ends, opting instead to buy our apps from the ole' barrels at Los Rios Ranch. So hey. Not exactly the most authentic fall time experience, but a heck of a lot more enjoyable sans sweat.
^^^If this isn't the definition of "trying to capture a nice moment with three children," I have no idea what is!
^^^Carter's photog skills! Not bad, eh?
Tis such a happy time of year! Yay for chaotic mountain picture attempts, kids running wild and everything in between!
You always hear about how nice and fun it will be when your babies are both off and away, living their little independent school lives like the champions they are. Brunch with your girlfriends on a Tuesday? Sure, why not?! Pedicure mid-Thursday afternoon? Yes! It really is nice! Not to say that we are officially "there" yet; Kota goes to preschool just two days per week and Carter does 5 half days of kindergarten, but hey, both kids are living lives separately, and all four of us are away from each other for at least a few hours per week.
What sounds to be completed unrelated... one time my cousin told me that with a large family, you always have to make sure everyone is "okay" at all times. Like the emotional state of everyone needs to be paid attention to. Are they happy? Is one sad? Is one feeling on top of the world? Is one feeling left out? What am I being told about this whole school thing? What am I not being told? She was basically saying that having two kids is just as weighty and wonderful as having more because the emotional state of each individual of the family is just as important whether you have a family of four or a family of ten! Wise freakin' words because it's damn true!
There is so much to think about! Are we getting places on time? -- LEAST OF THE WORRIES. Let me repeat: LEAST OF THE WORRIES. Is Kota getting along with her girlfriends? Am I jiving with the moms of Kota's buddies? Does Carter feel as great about everything as I'm guessing he does? Am I putting in as much effort with Kota's circle as I did and am with Carter's circle? Are there things happening that I don't know about? Do I even want to know these hypothetical "things I don't know about," based on this extreme level of "hearts outside of my body walking around out there in the world" protectiveness I feel?
I know that literally every mom in the world feels these same feeeeeeels. I totally know it's normal. It's like a good type of anxiousness - "I just want everything to be okay for everyone, got it?!" ... it's a reflection of how much one cares about the foundation of their child's whole entire life (...I'm sure I'll look back at that statement in a few years and be like "Nicole, it was kindergarten and preschool - there was no reason to worry! Everyone is fine"). And "worry" really is the wrong word for it, although I know Chad would totally tease me about being a direct descendant of Mother Paplia right now - the OG of worriers. It's just a high def com level of concern over the social well being of your babies, even though on the surface everything is 100% great, man!
So I guess when I titled this thought bubble "two kids in school is freakin' nuts," what I meant was:
"My emotional well being with having my two Lights of Life in school where they are to be working members of society can, at times, be too much for Mama to handle so I must write about it or else I will explode."
And by, "where they are to be working members of society," I also mean "where I too am to be a working member of this new, wild society of mothers that remind me 100% of my time spent on my sorority's exec board." So yes, many feels at the moment, now that I can throw the last few months of "multiple children in school" into the almighty hindsight lenses.
But hey! Really, everything IS great - I'm not just saying that! It's just crazy to think that this level of insanity I feel over their lives outside of our home is to be felt ...probably until they graduate high school. And then after that I'm sure my worry will transition to an even more insane level of anxiety (but let's not think of that right now, eh?).
7 days of just me and the kiddos was going to be easy peasy, I decided. I certainly was not going to take on too much - in fact, I planned on taking on NOTHING at ALL! As mentioned, cleaning and general house aesthetics was to be thrown by the wayside for the period of where I was single-mama-ing it up, and cooking? What cooking? It was to be a glorious time where the kids and I laughed, ate doughnuts, watched movies until 8:30 or, dare I say it, 9:00, and facetimed with the man every mid morning and around 11:30 pm when it was convenient for him and for us. It was to be wonderful! Here is what we filled our time with while I took a break from life:
* There was no checking of the email. Sounds glorious, right? It was. It was glorious right up until I took Carter to school on the Monday after Chad got home and learned I had played hooky from my assistant room mom duties! OH EM GEE, incompetence! Luckily the room mom and my assistant buddies laughed it off, but I'm not kidding, I cursed my email-vacation for a full 24 hours! The cursing was followed by extreme scrambling around like a hooligan trying to get time sensitive things done! Bahaha!
* OUR BEDROOM. OUR. BED. ROOM. Do you know how many times it's possible for a person to switch things around within a 7 day period of time? I "styled" our main dresser no less than 17 times because our wedding album arrived and it must look PERFECT. Snow's ugly crate has been moved from my side of the bed to Chad's side of the bed, back to my side, then back to Chad's side again because I wondered if the computer would look good on top of it in that particular corner, then back to my side where it originally stood. Do you know how many trips to Target can be made in pursuit of prettying-up said crate? Several, let me tell you. Now his boudoir boasts white curtains so it's not so ugly. Do you know how many times one can look online and text friends and family members regarding a comforter set? Hundreds. Do you know how many minutes a person can stand at her master bedroom's doorway and stare at all the "work" she's been doing? Thousands, surely. It was madness! And it's hilarious because the only real changes that I kept were the two things I bought at Hobby Lobby to help adorn our beautiful wedding album, the white curtain I put up on Snow's crate and then re-hooking up the computer RIGHT WHERE IT USED TO BE! Bahahaha. But still, an awesome time was had spending 7 days pretending like I was making a lot of progress!
* Furthering my adventures in the I'm-just-going-to-go-ahead-and-do-this-while-Chad's-gone-so-I-can-make-all-the-decisions, I almost, ALMOST did two very dumb things (hahaha!). In our bedroom, I almost man-handled down the not-vibing-with-what-I'm-trying-to-do blinds myself! I wanted to take them down to FORCE us to have to swing through IKEA for curtains when the kids and I picked Chad up from the airport after HE FLEW 11,000 MILES HOME - WHO WOULD WANT TO GO TO IKEA AFTER A 19 HOUR TRAVEL DAY? I had a brief moment where I thought it was all possible, then decided against it, mainly because I knew I would get scared at night with no blinds. My second ALMOST dumb thing, was unscrewing our bathroom mirror. So Chad and I keep talking about the entryway and how we want to take the outdated mirror in our bathroom off the wall, frame it, then hang it in the entryway along with a beautiful entry way table. So to FORCE the situation to happen sooner rather than later, I thought about unscrewing the humongous mirror myself! So what if we had to live with NO MIRROR IN OUR BATHROOM for a few days? At least it would light a fire under our butts to start the shopping process for an entryway table/bathroom renovation! WHAT ON EARTH GOES THROUGH MY MIND SOMETIMES??!! Hahahahaha - glad neither one of those things happened. Chad would have shot me!
So that's what happened in between coloring books, biking in the backyard, consuming tons of Sprouts muffins, Larabars and Cliff bars, texting the sister morning, noon and night, researching 6 and 4 year old birthday party themes, opening my father-in-law's $15 bottle of wine on night 6 and just overall relaxing! It was cool fool! Now I feel ready to bring on holiday themed everything. Play dates, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Oak Glen - everything! Woo!
1. Not having any window treatments is freakin' terrifying. The blinds that I forced us to take down a few months ago could have come in reallllllll handy when dealing with my imagination. Let's just say that it's been a mission to combat the scary zombie robber people who were surely going to jump over our backyard fence and break into our home through the wide open, see-through back slider.
2. I wish Snow could speak! Oh my gosh, several nights in a row last week, after the kids went down to bed, him and I were just laying there on the couch being lazy, when he would jump up and start barking like crazy at the front door! Was it a possum? A rat? OR A SCARY PERSON?!!! Terrified the first time it happened, I asked my neighbor if her dogs were barking at anything out there. She said no, and then came and checked it all out. Beforehand though, I text messaged my mom and sister to let them know what was happening, which caused a "should I call the cops" conversation, terrifying me even more. Bahahaha.
3. I've been a bad disciplinarian and have let Snow sleep in bed with me. What a cuddle monster! I love him. Also, I've sort of given into his vacuum ways. A few crumbs left on the floor? Oh well, Snow's got it. Luckily he wasn't too bitter at Chad when he got home though. When over there in Germ, Chad was like uhhhhhhh, he's going back in his crate at night when I get there. To which I responded Well.... we'll see how Snow and I do when we're separated at night once again. It's been a smooth transition back into his crate, but surely he misses spooning with his mama and I've missed his 50,000 pound body sleeping on my legs. What a great third child he is!
4. This has been a known fact for ages, but this trip has really proven to me that an extremely messy home is a product of happy children. You should have seen their rooms! TOTAL DISASTERS AND. I. LOVED. IT. The cushions were stripped from the "white room's" couch for all the days. Why put it back together when it will become disheveled again after one night's sleep? Blankets were draped over the family room's couch for several days as well, something that usually drives me nuts. Oh well! It's comfy and the kids are massive cuddlers so hey, whatevs.
Okay, we must start getting ready for school! Carter was out with a fever last week, which cut into his Star Student time, which surprisingly made me very sad for him. So anyhoo! Off to put some clothes on, get Snow Snow in his crate, smack some clothes onto my forever-nude children, grab a toy to share and be off!
Okay, the photo addiction is real. I should be getting the 8x8 January - July 2015 Shutterfly book next week, to accompany the 400 prints already in their beautiful little 4x6 album sleeves for this year. I'm chomping at the bit to continue on with the OTHER 8x8 book for 2015, July - December (literally wanting November to hurry up so I can add more pictures to that book. Hahaha chill out, Nicole). And guess what I just ordered? ANOTHER 8x8 book of all of our family's professional photoshoots from Carter's newborn pics right on down to December of 2014. Just a swift, 38 page book of professionally edited pictures - BECAUSE I'M ADDICTED. But truly, that book is going to be badass. I'm thinking coffee table type material.
Which brings me to my next point. As said, I got photo sessions for every large family thing, as one does (minus maternity pics for the eldest - oops!): Carter's NEWBORN, Carter's ONE, Carter's TWO and Mommy is 9 months pregnant with Kota, Kota is BORN, Carter is THREE and Kota is ONE, Carter is FOUR and Kota is TWO. No big deal, right? Well for FIVE and THREE, I decided to take a year off from hiring someone to take our pictures, believing that spending the dough was getting sort of dumb. Afterall! I had a nifty not-exactly-cheap camera and hey, I was sure I could figure out the whole editing thing on my own in the name of 2014's Christmas card.
That was a dumb decision! The difference between my quick little "editing session" and the other photos of the years is pretty dramatic. I never actually got 2014's Christmas card out, but I sure did create it on Shutterfly - it's a nice reminder that I didn't pull together a cute little wardrobe for my two bambinos and how I didn't do Carter's hair for the occasion of my "shoot." Not okay! Now I really do see the importance of marking the ages one time per year. It's important!
Okay, I swear, I'm not trying to be a big ol' deuche with the over-the-top dedication to this whole preservation of memories thing. (Which reminds me of the lengthy discussion I had last night with a friend regarding her camcorder and how that needs to be the next thing on my list...) But it's just so fun! So freakin' fun!
It's one good Monday when it's cloudy out, the laundry has been started, the floors have been swiffered, carpets have been vacuumed before 10:30 am and when your big Kindergartener is the Star Student of the week! Woo! That, and drum roll please, I HAVE COMPLETED THE FOREVER LONG PHOTO PROJECT I'VE BEEN WORKING ON! Yes! Yes! Yes! 2006 - 2015 has been fully documented and are now flippable. Just about 200 more pictures to fill up the 2015 album and it's on to well designed photo books for us. Double woo!
Last night was the sister's 26th birthday celebration at her house. I'll tell you what, it sure is an asset to have a professionally trained chef in the family. Delicious food, wine and hey! The bro-in-law and I even got into a nice, loud debate on what the definition of "feminism" is! Intellectual family time at it's best! Anyhoo, I can't believe the sister is 26. It sounds so young but that was just us last year! Sheesh, the decade of your 20's, family life and parenthood sure do create a weird sort of time warp!
Also, these pictures are from my niece's 7th birthday party a few weeks ago. SEVEN - are you kidding me? How has this happened? Next thing you know my sister and I will be competing to take care of my brother's kids because our darn broods will be ignoring our late night text messages of "where are you? Get home, you've passed your curfew." Insanity!
Once again, this whole kitchen computer set up is coming in clutch. It's just so accessible! If it wasn't so ugly here, I would keep it. Well that, and I'm scared something is going to spill on it. The kitchen counter isn't exactly the most practical place for the ol' computair.
What shall I pack in Carter's lunch box.... Hmmmmm.
Okay, I'm going to get my forever-undie-donning children in some clothes. It's 10:54, so we should probably get moving. But here's the real question: now that the photo project is done, what are Kota and I going to do after we drop off Carter? A quick trip to Walgreens for prints is unnecessary at the moment. Withdrawals are going to happen, it's inevitable. But anyhoo, I just love cloudy days! Later on we have dance and hockey - oh Mondays!
Pret-ty stoked about this temporary computer location right now. It's set up in the kitchen, hidden behind the fridge, a cringe-worthy placement, really, but badass when it comes to moments like these. Currently:
* Carter is reenacting Power Rangers, the volume of which is ear-shattering, but hey, he's happy and it's cute.
* Snow just barked at me from atop the kitchen table, trying to communicate his need for a walk. It's gloriously cold out and buddy, it's just not happening today. I hope this won't hinder your desire to cuddle later on, you 50 pound 7 month old!
* Kota is watching a Kandee Johnson make up video in the "white room." She loves those things, which I love. It always makes me want to go do my make up in an outrageous sort of way.
* I just cut up a bunch of veggies and threw them in a bag. I'm SO unmotivated at the moment! Exercising? Why?! Eating right? Eh. But it's like I'm this happy, lazy glutton! Healthy living is a marathon, not a sprint, and isn't feeling like a jolly, jiggly santa mom what it's all about? At least that's what I'm telling myself during this time of taking too much joy in lying on the couch opening my babes' Milky Ways.
* Chad just left the barber shop! That dude and his love of grooming, it's hilarious and I love it.
* It's literally 68 degrees right now. SIXTY EIGHT DEGREES. So glorious, oh so glorious.
* It's the first week of November. Do you know what this freakin' means?! Carter will be 6 in a few short weeks and Kota will be 4 a mere 8 days later. It is pure crazy talk.
* Our old go-to advice to most newlyweds was to not have sex in March because it will produce December children and you will bang your head against a wall, but I freakin' love my Decembers. They're packed down with the best events in the world! Who spread the rumor that having children near Christmas sucks? I'm here to debunk that myth.
* Carter is running after Snow in the freezing backyard and it is the best thing ever.
Okay, enough sickeningly positive thoughts. These are just the posts I enjoy looking back on the most, so hey, let them be plentiful.
2014 has been fully printed! Now those precious prints are awaiting a trip to Costco for us to pick up a pack of 4x6 picture albums, I just picked up the first batch of 2015 as well as clicked "submit order" to a nice "January - July 2015" album on Shutterfly (because one can never have too many pictures of a single year, apparently. That, and I get two 8x8 books free, so I'm currently working on an "August - December 2015" book to compliment the so-far 400 pictures that will be printed of this year alone), and finally, true to word, the wedding album has been COMPLETED and has officially been ORDERED. Do you, as a human being, know what this means????? It means that my wedding photos will see the light of day! Tears all around!
When I went to upload the pictures to FB years and years ago, each file was so big that it took forever. I just stopped due to impatience, so there's a nice album in my profile titled "Our Wedding" with not one shred of beautifulness in it. One of the main reasons we even had a humongo wedding after our precious court house marriage sweetness was for the pictures - so hey, printing up years later is better late than never, I say!
A little timeline here, for reference and to fully appreciate how overdue this whole thing is: we got married on May 29th, 2009, had our big family and friends wedding on June 19th, 2010 and I'm just now ordering an actual, physical book of loveliness on November 4th, 2015.
Also, 2016 shall see 4 Shutterfly books. "January - March," "April - June," "July - September" and then "October - December." People, it's happened. IT'S HAPPENED. The photo beast has BEEN TAMED.
But ho ho, you! Tonight Chadly is going to transfer over all videos to a nice little USB drive, which I shall bring to Walgreens or Costco to officially convert into DVD's or Blu Ray discs. Tears! It's... just... so... wonderful...
Now we can relive the solid year when Kota referred to Carter strictly as "Batman!" Carter can see what a little goof ball he was while splashing around in the bath when he was 1.5! Oh, the freakin' joy!
^^^A completely unrelated picture because I'm too lazy to scourge through everything for a wedding pic! That, and we are about 5 minutes away from leaving C town to go visit the seestor in L town, so I must tornado through the house to clean the kids' rooms and get these damn dishes in the washer! Ta-ta!
October, October! Such a fun month. Besides the fact that my camera's lens was smudged for a few pictures, the documentation was on point with ol' big bertha, aka Canon T2i, another side effect of developing thousands of cell phone pictures and legit camera pics - what a difference in clarity! Anyhoo, tons of fun was had!
^^^Parental fun for Chadwick and I! 80's workout people. This was the best costume ever. Talk about comfort! Leading up to this, I kept repeating to Chad that all I cared about was extreme comfort. A onesie was my #1 choice for the night, which struck Chad as hilarious given the first Halloween we ever spent together. I would say that in 2007, comfort was the last thing on my mind, skin-baring uncomfortableness being the first. Anyhoo! Spandex amazingness? YAS.
Next was the kids' yearly Halloween party at the Novini's! Wooooo!
^^^What a bunch'a cuties.
Then my dad gave me a humongous bag of our old Halloween costumes, which the kids are now obsessed with.
^^^Kota even wore Gina's fairy costume to her Halloween dance class!
And then on actual H Day, we left the timeshare to join in on the extreme festivities at the SIL and BIL's house. They had ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED EIGHT trick or treaters. 1,208 candy seekers!!!! It sure beat the 30 we had last year in our sad Halloween neighborhood! Absolutely nuts!
It was a great Halloween this year. Pret-ty stoked on the kids' ages, a statement that's pretty moot given the fact that every age is my new favorite. Let the holidays continue on!