Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cocoa Bean Moment

How has the time flown by so fast?

A refrain common amongst most people...
unless you're imprisoned.
I've heard time really just crawls in that scenario. 

Tonight Jumping Bean and Bitty Bean had their first dance recital. I wasn't nervous for them, or worried, or any of that. I was completely excited about the entire evolution! But something in me changed when they walked out on that stage for each of their songs (they were each in 2 songs AND the grand finale - pretty awesome), because I became sentimental.

Maybe it was seeing my Bitty Bean concentrating so hard to do her very best that it looked like she might forget to breathe.

Or maybe it was watching Jumping Bean get so excited to do the dance that she lost track of where she was in the choreography.

Perhaps it was the high jumps Jumping Bean executed as if she had springs in her ballet shoes.

Or the way Bitty Bean's chipmunk cheeks bounced with every jump.

Or the fact that "Fly to Your Heart" from Tinkerbell was one of the songs. (I don't know why, but that makes me choke up every time)

Whatever "it" caused soggy eyes and a very full heart.

I was working hard to not be that crazy mama - the mama I'm definitely going to be at their high school graduations...all blubbery and embarrassing and telling stories their friends will never let them live is only a ballet recital, after all - and Jumping Bean came to my rescue.

When it was time for awards, they called a child's name and the child would walk across the stage - in front of all the other dancers seated on the stage - to receive their trophy. (You need to picture this, it's important.) When Jumping Bean's name was called, she stood up in the back row, walked to the front and started walking toward the teacher.

But then she saw Bitty Bean sitting in the front.

And Jumping Bean walked right over (swelling with pride in her little sister) and kissed her on the forehead.

Then she went on and accepted her trophy.

On the way back to her seat, she kissed her sister again.

Later, I asked her why she kissed Bitty Bean when she did, and this is what she said

"Mommy, I saw her and I just HAD to kiss her! You know? I mean, she did an amazing job, and she's so little and so brave in front of all those people and I can't believe she did it! So I kissed because I'm so proud of her. And I think she's awesome."

And that is exactly why I'm a sentimental wreck.
Because that moment was sweet.

~Whitney Copyright 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Organizing randomness

So, most of us have a favorite go-to item (or itemS) that just help life go better.

I wanted to share with you one of my favorite things.

A tissue box.

Yep. This is the unsung hero in my battle to be organized.

Instead of throwing away a tissue box when it has been emptied, it is given a new purpose. Like, plastic bag holder. The plastic grocery bags are what we use for trash bags in the bathroom, and, for tying off especially stinky poop diapers. I used to keep the bags all shoved in an empty bag hanging on a hook in the laundry room...but not anymore!

Now each bathroom has its own tissue box loaded with bags - my laundry room is relieved of that messiness, and I always have a bag when (and WHERE) I need it. Pretty much a win all around.

I also have been trying to become less of a messy-car person....for the entirety of my life. What is it about cars and junk? When we bought our Swagger Wagon in 2011, I promised My Love I would do a better job of keeping the car tidy.

Enter the empty tissue box.

The center area in the front is EXACTLY the width of 2 tissue boxes. Which means, (normally) I keep a box of tissues and an EMPTY a trash can! Normally, by the time the trash one is full - the tissue one is empty! So I throw one out, and bring a new box of tissues in. (I ran out of the other side is empty at the moment!)

It is a thing of beauty.

Since we are on the topic of the car - another big time saver I've found for keeping the swagger wagon neat is a canvas bin. Courtesy of Jumping Bean and her creativity, numerous canvas bins in the house were marked all over with crayon. I just grabbed one of those already-unpretty bins, and put it in the car! This bin corrals the toys and sunglasses and books and mess that procreates in a vehicle always toting 4 children.

Two other life-organizing tricks for the car -

1. I have a gallon ziploc bag in the center console stocked with some crayons and small coloring books, a notepad, and a couple pencils. You never know when you will need a quiet something to keep people occupied - and that bag has saved me on numerous occasions!

2. I keep a bag of wipes and a spare diaper in the car at all times. Even when the kids are past diaper stage, I'm pretty sure I will still keep the wipes in the car. They are extremely handy!

Lest you think I'm more organized than I actually am - here is a picture of my garage:

It drives me crazy. It was supposed to be Zone 6....but I might need to scoot it sooner. :)  We'll see.

What do you do to keep your car neat?

~Whitney Copyright 2013

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Tot....

So, my Bitty Taylor Tot...she just insists on growing up.

My terrific, tom-boy, third-girl, tone-deaf Taylor Tot will be FOUR on June 7th.

Where in the world did time go???

Just a second ago, we were on our way to the hospital to meet her.
Apparently my abdomen had run out of room, so she decided to move out 4 weeks early.
Which meant I was actually in pre-labor during her baby shower.
Oh, Macaroni Grill, thank goodness for your massive portions and loaves of bread. I have never felt so well-fueled for labor as I did for meeting #3.

My sweet little Bitty Bean is about cute as they come.
(Even the nurses in the NICU thought so....but I'm pretty sure they say that to everyone)

And that cuteness has just kept coming.

Which is why, after 7 years of being "Mama"....I just threw my first FOR REAL birthday party.

Yep, you read that right. I've never thrown a full-on shindig for a kid birthday before.
I am not a good pinterest mama.
At all.

BUT, when that little Bean looked up at me with her huge brown eyes and said (ever so sweetly), "Mommy, can I have a tea party for my birthday? A fancy one? Like Fancy Nancy? With all my favorite friends?"

I knew I had to throw a party.

(I haven't had the brain space, the energy, creativity, or the time to party-it-up prior to now. I have no intention of doing 4 parties a year from now until the end of time, but I can see them happening every now and again. Which is pretty exciting for all parties involved.)

So a Fancy Nancy Tea Party was born.

My friend, Heidi Rew, has an AMAZING blog called Parties for Pennies, and she was kind enough to help me by coming up with a spring board of ideas. She is really quite fantastic - in real life and in blogland. Between whimsical baby showers,  fun, themed grown-up parties, and gorgeous wedding receptions - there is no end to her creative side.  She was my RA back in college, which means she is an excellent listener, functions exceptionally well on minimal sleep, has patience like no other, and owns stock in tissues. (I was a bit high maintenance in college. Who am I kidding? I'm a bit high maintenance now!)

Back to my party....

If I was a good blogger person I would have taken pictures of the totally-amazing-if-I-do-say-so-myself invitations I MADE. Yep. I crafted them of paper and glue. And I felt AWESOME. I made little tea cups that invited you to come "Par-tea" (get it???) with Bitty Bean for her 4th birthday.

But I'm not a good blogger person. Because I was so excited about how cute they looked, I couldn't wait to pop 'em in an envelope and hand them out. Not until AFTER I handed every single invite out did I realize I forgot a picture. Oh well. That's just how it goes sometimes.

I actually contemplated making another one just to take a picture to show you....but I decided I have better things to do. Like watch The Voice. ;) 

Basically, I traced half of a bowl on a folded piece of paper and cut it out. Then I cut a heart out of another pattern of paper, trimmed the inside out, glued the edges inside the "cup", and then wrote the party stats. Didn't take forever....only about 3 episodes of Arrested Development.  It was a good night. (If you are dying to see one, I will try to make one up)

Bitty Bean has this gang of buddies that are super tight.  Most of them have been in the same Sunday School class and Cubbies class for the past year, and they all get to hang out at Mom's morning out every week.  They are a great bunch of girls and I was thrilled that she thought of all of them.

However, I had to break a birthday rule in this house for the party to happen. We normally (as in, always before now) only allow the birthday kid to invite as many friends as they are turning old. Hence, 4 friends would have only been allowed. The problem is, this girl-gang? It is a gang of EIGHT.

Rule broken.
I am quite certain that will be brought up from now until the end of time with the older 2 girls whenever they want to invite more friends...."But Moooooommmmm! You let Bitty Bean have SEVEN friends when she was only FOUR!"

I think we'll make it a case by case basis from now on. ;)

These fantastic poms were made by a friend for a baby shower...I borrowed them to make our party extra awesome. I don't know how she had time to make those - Ain't nobody got time for that!

Anyway, back to the party prep....
I decided to make twirly skirts for all the girls to take home from the party....which was a great idea in theory.
I mean, I had read blogs of amazing women who bake and clean and shower and get dressed and sew fantastic items for their children and always greet their husbands with a smile and take amazing pictures of everything.....and these stupid lying crazed talented women suckered me in to believing that I too could easily whip up TWELVE skirts. And the house would not cave in on itself in the process.

Well, I made the skirts.
(clearly, this post is full of fodder for why my children are lacking in the humility department)
If you would like to jump in the crazy wagon along with me, feel free to click the tutorial by Dana Willard from Made on how to make the circle skirt 
(aka - the easiest skirt ever but it will make you look awesome).


The pink material is a bed sheet I bought at the thrift store for $0.50. 
That's right. 
Take that, Pinterest moms.


 The ruffly skirt? 
Especially made for Bitty Bean?
 I made that pattern up. IN MY HEAD.
Seriously, I don't even know myself anymore.
I've never ruffled anything before last week.
Well, not fabric.
I've managed to ruffle lots and lots of feathers over the course of my life.

After the girls arrived, there was an impromptu dance party to Disney Princess songs while we were pulling all the food out.

For our lunch....
We had Pink Lemonade in tea cups
 PB&J, and Turkey and cheese sandwiches cut into stars with cookie cutters

 Chips and pretzels
Fruit - brought and prepped by my was really the last thing in the world I wanted to be doing!
none of which was photographed. 
But it was all eaten!

 There were a lot of pinkies in the air....quite a bit of clinking of glasses...and plenty of girl talk.
After opening presents, everybody changed into their swimsuits.
Between Me, My Love, and My Sis, we had quite the sunblock assembly line going. 

Everyone thought the pool was a splendid idea and loved getting sprayed with the hose....

Poor Boy Bean was a little tired and ready for some of the women to leave his domain. 
His cousin was not bothered by the hordes of woman around, and played happily for the duration.

Mid-way through pool time, we brought out the brownie (Bitty Bean always requests a brownie instead of cake!), sang happy birthday, and ate excessive chocolate.
Overall, I'd say it was a pretty grand success. 
Even though I had planned a craft and a story, we didn't end up doing either one. Which everyone seemed fine with - they just wanted to play together anyway.

At the end of the day, I just wanted my little munchkin to feel loved and special. 
I'm pretty sure that was achieved, because when I told her what food we were eating she looked at me in all seriousness and said, "Mama! You remembered!"

I may not always call her the right name, or remember how much she weighed at birth off the top of my head, but I will always remember how much I love her.
All the way to the moon and back.

~Whitney Copyright 2013