Friday, December 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Cruise

It is two days away from Christmas....figured I should get something up about Thanksgiving! My parents generously took our family on a Disney cruise for Thanksgiving and it was truly magical. I have never experienced so much emotion watching my kids experience something so special. Now granted, my kids hide their happiness (I have no idea why, truly drives me bonkers), but I know the certain looks in their eyes when they are captivated. Emily can have the grumpiest look on her face, but if I see the look in her eye and the way she holds her mouth, I can tell when it's fake, so I spent a lot of time saying, "Don't you dare smile, don't you dare have any fun" and she would bust up laughing. It was a great family vacation, one that I really hope I get to do again. It was amazing.

These pictures loaded out of order and I just don't have the time to fix it---so here it goes...

My mom and dad joined me and Brian for a kid-free dinner. I have no idea if the food was as good as I think it was or if it was just that I didn't have to give my attention to the kids. The two hour dinners proved to be quite difficult for my little ones. Anyway, this dinner was scrumptious!

Thanksgiving night. We came "home" and had a turkey on our bed. Tinkerbell held tightly to her Mickey with the turkey close by.
Just got to Cabo San Lucas and Kinley loved being on the top deck looking out at the "land"
Oh man, looking at this picture makes me tear up. My mom is such an in the moment kind of lady. This picture was taken right after a very "magical" dinner at Animators Palate. The restaurant is all black and white and by the end of the dinner everything is in color. They surprised the guests with Mickey coming out and it just hit my mom. Everything she had been planning for---to provide a family vacation full of surprise----well, surprised her. She was truly captivated and teared up. This picture is so precious to me.
My little princesses....
Character Breakfast.
My Mickey/Minnie wearing girls.
Hilarious face on Kinley....They put all of these napkin hats on the girls during the character breakfast.
AARGH----Emily as a pirate
Kinley modeling for Disney Wonder. Puerta Vallarta behind her
The kids had VERY LATE curfews each night. I'm pretty sure this was 11:30 pm and we had just received our room service. Emily was always hungry when getting out of kids club. Thankfully she just wanted crackers and cheese.
Jerry and Sally (my in-laws) took us on an incredible Christmas cruise when Emily was one year old. The boat in the background is the Carnival Spirit. We ran (not literally) into it a couple of times while cruising and Emily knew that was the ship she was on "as a baby" so I had to get a picture of her with it.
First day----Emily and Kinley couldn't get enough of the porthole. Every time we were in the room, this is pretty much what they looked like. They just loved looking out.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Emily is FOUR!

"They grow up so fast" is a phrase I have heard consistently since I was pregnant with Emily. Strangers would stop me and talk to me about how far along I was etc...and would almost always end with, "they grow up so fast." I mean, sure, I was aware of that, I went through the growing up process, right? So then why am I always shocked with each birthday just how fast it really is going?

This is the first birthday that Emily totally got the birthday bug. Her preschool makes birthdays so special so I think as she watched her friends enjoy their birthdays, she looked forward to her own. Birthdays are a BIG deal around here too...We had a countdown to her special day. When she woke up and came out to meet me in the kitchen I said, "Hello birthday girl" and she responded with, "I KNEW IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!!" She was so excited.

I'm a sap, but I had no idea how special her birthday production at school was going to be for me. When I showed up, she would not let me go....she is not a touchy feely girl, so her snuggles were overwhelming (in a good way) to me.

She had a great day. Lots of fun at school and a yummy dinner.....of which I totally forgot to take any pictures of! Oops! Guess we were just having too much fun to stop and capture the moments. So, Emily, just know you had a TON of mac n cheese and an ice cream cone!

Not the best picture of us, but had to capture the lovebug...
Getting her very special birthday crown
Birthday girl got to hold the American flag for the Pledge of Allegiance
Sitting with her class for song time
They have this board out in the main walkway so anyone walking in got to see her name on the board.
Opening gifts! Thank you Auntie Tabatha, Uncle Tyler and cousin Zachary!
Thank you Auntie Alyse and Uncle Robert....and our sweet peas in a pod! (Pay no attention to the picker)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

My little School Girl

Emily has been in school for one month. I cannot get over all of the change I have seen come over her in this past month. She's always been my cautious girl, but I'm starting to see her become a little more curious, more adventurous when we are out and about. She's always been bashful in meeting people---or in saying goodbye to people that she knows well, but each day, I'm seeing small changes in those areas too. It's funny because she's been in daycare since she was ten weeks old, but it's the school environment that has her breaking out of her shell.

She comes home singing new songs every day. She has a cubby full of artwork and worksheets each day. I had a reality check when I realized she's at school now and I'm not going to get a full report of how she was during the day. Emily tells us funny little stories each day and it has become a puzzle for us to try and piece her stories together to figure out what she did during the day.

She has been writing the letter "E" for several months now. She can identify her name written out anywhere, but I have never seen her write out her name. In one month of school this is what her name looks like....

She comes home every day and spends about twenty minutes at the table working on whatever number or letter she did for the day. She wants to show me over and over again her "I, i, O, o, A, a, 2, 3, 4" etc... She's just too cute! I love that her little brain is getting some good stimulation. She's absolutely thriving.

I'm so proud of my little girl.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just a phase?

When I was a little girl I used to love journaling. I had some great entries about boys, what I wanted to be in when I grew up, family stuff, etc...As I got older, the desire to journal out my thoughts because even more intense. I found that it was a way for me to get my deepest thoughts out on paper--although scary and incredibly vulnerable--I found that it was a lifeline for me.

In blogging, I'm not very consistent anymore. Working full-time and being a mom to two little tykes will do that to you, but I do this for them....for that when they ask about this or that, I will hopefully have a great read for them on it.

I really don't like to share anything that would embarrass them later, so I try to steer from those things, but in the earlier confession, sometimes I feel like journaling is part of my journey and well, here it goes...

When Kinley was born, I could tell from the very beginning that she was different from Emily. She joined our family three weeks early, she was kicked out of the hospital nursery in our first night because she wouldn't stop screaming and the screaming continued for several weeks with colic. She wasn't a great napper and we found it difficult to make her happy. As she grew up and the colic began to fade, we found that there was actually a fun-loving girl in there. She loved to laugh and smile. She's our social bug. She'll wave hello and goodbye to people she doesn't even know. She typically adjusts to new environments easily.

Emily's temperament is pretty much completely different than what I just wrote about Kinley. For the most part they get along, but there is definitely sibling rivalry present each and every day and I'm constantly pulling them away from one another. Sending them to time outs more than I want to, but know I need to in order to stay consistent with them.

Kinley's verbal communication is increasing every day and it is fascinating to hear her talk, but for the times she doesn't have the words--OH MY GOODNESS--I don't even know how to describe how terrible her screams and body thrashing onto the floor are. Her screams typically encourage Emily to disobey because she can't possibly have the attention off of her. I'm having such a hard time with them right now. I'm exhausted. Work is more than consuming me throughout the day and I have visions of coming home to a peaceful afternoon spending time snuggling my girls, but that is far from our routine right now. They fight, they scream and they each call out for mommy to prove their innocence in whatever the latest disagreement was over. People keep telling me this is just a phase, but I work at a high school and I'm starting to wonder if these phases actually ever end. I'm embarrassed in front of friends frequently because in doing anything with anyone, MY KIDS are the ones to fall apart EVERY time. I swear I'm doing everything I can that I think is right, but why do I feel like I am such a failure?

The frustrating part is they are perfect angels when we aren't around. I get nothing but praise reports from daycare, grandparents, sitters etc...I guess Brian and I are the lucky ones.

In my prior journaling experience, I loved when I would re-read older entries and found that I was no longer struggling with xyz, so here's to looking back at this entry one day and smiling that we have moved past it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farm Day!

This past weekend we took the girls to a local farm for a cookout tour. We all got an opportunity to visit their garden and pick our own vegetables for lunch. It was such a great experience for the girls because I'm not sure that they really understood that vegetables grow before they show up at the grocery store. Although Emily was VERY excited to pick all of the vegetables, she still stuck to her favorite--carrots. In fact, when she woke up from her nap that day she even asked for more carrots! YES!

We had a great day. Grandma, Papa and Lexi joined us in the fun. Definitely a day we won't forget!

Picking bell peppers
Picking Japanese turnips
Picked kale
Kinley being a ham
The girls running around with their yellow watermelon. They had great distractions for the kids including bubbles and my girls loved that!!

Emily, Kinley and Lexi as watermelon seeds...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Movie Night

We went to Palm Desert with The Parlas this summer. It was fun for the adults and for the kids because we all had someone our age to hang out with. We did our best to beat the heat and so for one of the nights we decided on a movie night. We took the kids to the store to pick out a special food item and then brought them back to the hotel to watch a movie. They loved it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fourth of July

I love the community that we live in. For just about every major holiday, they throw some kind of festival, but the 4th of July is my absolute favorite. It's an all day event. They have 1k, 5k and 10k races in the morning, pancake breakfast, parade, games, booths, food, live music and FIREWORKS. They do not mess around with the fireworks. It's a good 20 minute show with "bombs bursting in air" right over your head. It is truly amazing to watch. This year was the first year that Emily loved any kind of fireworks. She had so much fun. In fact, yesterday as I was taking a morning walk with them she asked to see them again as we passed the giant lawn that they were displayed from.

Here are just a few photos from the day:

Oh, say can you see? This girl is adorable.
Emily's first gum experience---the parade participants threw candy and gum out to the kiddos.
Emily and Ella enjoying the candy...
My parents came out in the evening for the experience. I'm pretty sure they did not leave disappointed! My kids loved having them there too.
Waiting for the fireworks with their glow in the dark necklaces.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Kinley--17 Months

Kinley is interested in just about everything that she is around. As the younger sister, she tries hard to keep up with the "big" kid activities. She's certainly more of a thrill seeker than Emily was and she keeps us on our toes.

She's my snuggle bug. She will often stop what she's playing with, come over and give me a hug and go back to what she's playing.

She seems to loves music. She often grabs the harmonica and plays it (better than I do), drums and guitar. She picks up the rhythm of songs quickly and tries to sing along. Her current favorites are the ABC song, the Handy Manny toolbox toy song and the Strawberry shortcake toy song.

Kinley will run across the room, throw her body onto the couch and then say, "owie."

She calls Emily "Ah-me"

She frequently pats our head and says "duh, duh, goo" and runs away....yes, she's playing duck duck goose. A game she must have picked up while at daycare because we have never played it at home....until now, now it's a daily occurrence.

She loves windows. She wants the window down in the car as often as possible. She loves to look out the window and motions for me to open the blinds. She loves our neighbor James and since he is often playing outside, she'll look for him and start calling out his name, which sounds more like "jehms" When she finally sees him she smiles and claps.

She also says Mama (mommy), Dada (daddy), Grandma and Papa (she said Papa for the first time today when he came to take care of them while I got away to the doctor).

In the food category, Kinley says banana, yogurt, yogurt drink, bar, cheese, strawberries, blueberries, cracker, bread, agua, leche, tofu, chips

Misc: she says cloud, chair, car, ball, book, balloon, mickey, minnie, goofy, donald duck, manny, bye bye, help, trash, sissy, helmet, please, diaper, poo-poo, pee-pee (maybe time to potty train), hello, dog

As I write this I feel like I'm forgetting some more commonly used words. There are new words coming up every day. She's definitely a parrot and will try to say anything we say. It's certainly a lot of fun. I look forward to more direct communication because we're definitely still going through a lot of scream fests. I know it's gotta be just as frustrating for her as it is for us.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I am Mom

I wake up to either the sound of Kinley whimpering because she wants out of her bed or the sound of Emily trying to be quiet as she exits their bedroom in the morning (either will happen between 5:30-6:30 am)

I am able to decipher what Kinley's pointing finger means when aimed at the refrigerator or pantry

I frequently sit on the floor playing with Strawberry Shortcake, puzzles or reading books

If I sit on the floor, chances are Kinley's little rear end will start backing up toward my lap

I know the different sounds of cries---the fake ones for consoling to the loud ones needing immediate attention

I have tiny little holes in the mid-section of just about every shirt I own from holding one or both of my girls

I will either have chalk, food, snot or dirt on me at some point of the day

I tear up when Emily breaks out of her shell and does something she fears

They crack me up when I hear things like, "Oh Kinley, you look so pretty today" (My best guess is because I dressed Kinley in a skirt rather than jeans, although, I admit, she did look quite pretty.)

My heart has two sets of legs and currently rest on a 3 yr old and 17 month old...they are getting so big.

I am content. I am Mom.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

I'm still surprised every day how much I fall in love with my girls. They each fill a place in my heart that I didn't know was empty. We have a lot of laughs and of course some tears too, but I feel so complete with them.

Being a mother is the most exhausting yet rewarding responsibility. I hope that they know just how much I love them and cherish our relationship. I didn't get a picture of the three of us together on Mother's day. We had a lot of fun running around an outdoor shopping area, eating at Cheesecake Factory, shopping, taking naps, getting a pedicure and having dinner with my parents.

My mom and I took Emily to get our nails done (sorry weren't old enough yet) and we had a nice relaxing time. I look forward to doing that with both girls in the future!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


I am a sucker for making memories with the girls. When Emily was a little over a year old, we learned about a fantastic spring event complete with egg hunts, bounce houses, food etc...We've made it become our family tradition. This year, Brian had the day off of work and I had to take it as furlough, but it was so worth it. Emily had a GREAT time on the big slide and in the bounce houses. To our excitement she even LOVED the egg hunt. She has had major cry fests out there before and I was expecting that this year too, but I guess as she grows the crowds may be a little less scary....I don't know, but whatever the case she was so much fun to watch out there.

I've been struggling with the whole Easter Bunny thing....I couldn't decide if I wanted to make the Easter Bunny this mysterious character who drops off baskets of goodies on Easter morning or what. Looking back on my childhood, some of my favorite memories are when my sister and I would run down the stairs to see what was in our baskets. So, I decided to stick with the same traditions in our home. We had a talk about Jesus' death and resurrection....although the description of death was more like sleep and the resurrection was more like waking up. Emily learns a new scripture each week in Sunday school and this past week was "Jesus is King." She will say it whenever asked about her memory verse. I can't wait to see her relationship with this King she's learning about blossom.

and Kinley....well, we can't exactly go theological with her right now, but we certainly pray and share lots of love and giggles with her too. She had a great time with all of the Easter fun. I just love her sense of adventure. She takes it all in. She's so fun.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Comforter

Okay, so Kinley has NEVER been good with sleep. As the second child, I had a lot of assumptions as to what she would be like. I was ignorant to think she would be a lot like her sister. Emily was great with naps (aside from the first six weeks). She was in her own room at approximately 8 weeks. Well, Kinley, wanted her own identity. She would sleep for about 15 minutes at a time. People always told me to sleep when the baby slept---GOOD LUCK. The first six months were AWFUL when it came to sleep not only for Kinley but for us too.

She finally started sleeping through the night and it was amazing. I didn't think I would ever know what more than two-three hours at a time would feel like. I felt refreshed and kept telling myself that I wouldn't be exhausted. However, my little sweetheart does not like to sleep in. This morning for instance....she was up at 4:00. 4:00....oh my word.

Okay, Jennifer, where does the title of "The Comforter" come into play? When we put Kinley to bed, she often has pacifiers and "lovies" thrown about in her crib. Well, this morning she had her giant frog from build a bear in her crib. Neither Brian or myself placed it in the crib, so we asked Emily how it got in there. "I put it in Kinley's bed when she was crying, I think she wanted a lovey." So stinkin' cute.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Funny Moments

Kinley desperately wants to keep up with Emily. Sometimes it's adorable and sometimes it's scary. Emily climbs everywhere and Kinley is quick to follow. Tonight she watched how Emily climbs into a chair and does a fancy landing onto the couch, guess who wanted to try? Yes, Brian. Just kidding. Kinley copied exactly what she did and I can't fight it anymore. I have to let her play into her adventurous side, so I just sit close in case I need to do some catching.

The girls take their baths together. Kinley was ready to get out so Brian started getting her ready for bed. He got her dressed in a diaper and she walked straight back to the bathroom and I hear lots of giggling and next thing I heard was a splash followed with Emily screaming MOMMY!!! I was right there (thankfully) because Kinley leeped into the tub because she wanted to be with her sister.

They are going to be the best of friends...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lovin' my girls

I don't think I have the words to describe the incredible amount of love that I have for my children. They crack me up. We recycle just about anything we can around here and Emily has apparently witnessed this. Sometimes we put the items in the recycling container in our house and for the bigger items we place them by the stairs to take on our next run down. Tonight, I was in the other room and when I came out and put Emily to bed, I noticed that she had taken the milk carton off of the counter and carried it to the stair drop. The only problem was that although, yes, that was the goal I had in mind, I needed to empty out the tiny bit of milk left over.

Kinley gives high fives and will mimic washing her hands on command. When I arrive at daycare to pick the girls up, Kinley kinda "flaps" her arms to her side in excitement. She walks REALLY fast toward me and surrounds her small, sweet arms around me and gives me a hug. Melts my heart every time.

Before and After