Thursday, February 16, 2017

Pre Christmas fun - 2016

Ok, I'm finally catching up - so you don't have to read this - as yes, it's mid-February and I'm talking Christmas...but oh well!  That's life.  We have had a great season leading up to Christmas this year and even though I haven't kept on top of my blog...I wanted to make sure and get it all in.  I'm going back and mimicking this post from last year when I went over all the fun we had in 2015!

The week BEFORE Christmas, I took off work and took the big kids out of daycare for a fun week.  At the holidays, I'm always feeling bad for myself being a working mom and that I don't get to have this time with my kids to do things - this year though, I had a lot of vacation left over and thought I would take full advantage!!

Monday kicked off with breakfast and then we headed over to my coworker and friend's house to bring her lunch and hang with her older son and new baby, Beck.  He was adorable and the kids loved eating their Chick fil A together, while Amy and I loved catching up!!!

On Tuesday, I did the typical Kansas City Christmas holiday activity of going down to Union Station.  I was smart and asked my dad to go with us.  Even though it was 2 on 1, it is always nicer to be 2 on 2!!!  Well, the kids had a blast looking at all the fun trains and taking silly pictures with me.  UNTIL it was time to leave the train part and head over to Crown Center.

On the way out, I tried to grab the quintessential holiday picture in front of the gorgeous tree in Union Station.  And THIS is what I got. 

BAHAHAHAHAHAH.  I love it actually.


Papa tried to calm Charlie down, but that didn't work.  Hey, at least Maddie looks adorable!

Maddie and my dad walked in the stroller over to Crown Center, but Charlie and his bad attitude had to drive with me.  Mainly because I knew by the time we'd be leaving, it would be pushing nap time and we wouldn't want to walk back over to Union Station.  That was dramatic (of course), but once we got to Fritz's (aka the train restaurant that kids love but it's like the WORST food ever - in my opinion!), they were happy because Aunt Lulu was there!  My sister works at Children's Mercy Hospital and her office is right across the street from Crown Center (same buildings that I used to work in at Hallmark!  How fun would that have been if we both would have worked there at the same time?!?).  See, they were happy!!

Especially seeing these life size lego people (Legoland is down at Crown Center too) and the fact that I got them a dirt and worms from Sheridans.

Even though I tried to make nap time ended up like THIS.  Haha.  That's my dad sleeping in Maddie's bed, while Maddie is wide awake.

But I got to spend some time on my computer and watching what I wanted - which is always nice!

That same night - our matching dresses from China that were $11 came in the mail!  YES!!  I was so nervous they wouldn't get there in time for Christmas Eve and they did!!  Maddie's accessories are on point.  But she loves that dress and coloring!

The next morning looked a lot like this.  Haha.  This is Maddie, reading my company's prospectus :)  I snapped this pic and sent to my boss!

I had high hopes for our movie experience we had planned that day.  Can someone just level set all my expectations with these two?  Haha.  My parents joined us for Moana - which was Maddie's first movie.  And while she enjoyed the popcorn and refills....

She didn't quite understand the fact that you weren't supposed to talk - hahaha.  So she took her tag and grabbed some random coasters and hung out with my dad outside the theater until it was done.  We tried, right?!

One of the biggest challenges was remembering to pump before we went places!!!

But when we went to get this guy in the afternoon - all that annoying pumping is worth it!

Right?  I mean adorbs?!

By Thursday, I was POOPED.  Seriously.  I originally was planning on going to another friend's house, but after all our days filled with constant go go go, I was ready for a day at home and I know the kids were too.  So we spent Thursday putting together our fun gifts for our friends and neighbors.  Charlie was an awesome helper and they both loved delivering them to our neighbors!!

(read more about that here!)

Friday was filled with FRIENDS!  Jimmy was at home with us and we kept Mikey home too.  My best friend's from high school came over for a super fun play date with their kiddos.  Katie and James were in town from Oklahoma and Lauren, David and Landon came over from Wichita.  Oh man - it's SOOOOO fun to see all our kiddos together and how much they play.  

They danced and sang and chased each other.  Love their mommas (and dads) and these kids.  It's crazy to think how long Lauren, Katie and I have been friends and so awesome that we still are and now our kids get to play together!  For Katie and I, almost THIRTY YEARS and Lauren and I, almost 25.

After naps on Friday, we headed over to Mikey's day care lady's house (Ms Marie) for their Christmas celebration!  This is our first kid using an in home provider with and we LOVE her.  We have just been so blessed to have found her!!  She has a Christmas celebration for all the kids - AND their siblings.  She even invites recent "alumni" - how adorable.  She has 6 grown kids (around Jimmy and my age) and a ton of grandkids - so look at all the presents under her tree!!  She has a big and awesome family!!!

 One of her son's dresses up as Santa and comes to her house with huge bags of presents.  We had no idea what was going to happen, but he called each of the kids up by name and they sat on his lap and he gave them each a wrapped present.  Crazy, right?  Like even Charlie and Maddie!  They don't go there!!  Maddie was AMAZED that Santa was there in real life.  Charlie hates Santa and just wants presents.  Ha.

Mikey really liked Santa's beard.  Ha.

I was literally in shock because Santa asked the kids what they wanted before he handed them the present.  Charlie yelled "Star wars legos" from afar and got his present.  Went to open it up and that's EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS.  I had no idea how Ms Marie knew that, but the look on his face was priceless.  I'm not kidding - I will forever remember it because it even made me believe and realize how amazing the spirit of Christmas is.  And that it's not about the amount of presents, but really thinking about what that person wants and making them happy.  I am totally going to be more intentional about our gift giving next year - even to our parents and siblings.  Because the look on Charlie's face when Santa gave him that was amazing!

We had so much fun meeting other parents at Ms Marie's party and playing with all the kids and siblings - she is just the best.  Again, so happy that Mikey gets to go there everyday!

The only other thing that came and went was Tony's (our elf) last visit on Christmas Eve - I did pretty good this year (if I say so myself)!!!  I set a reminder on my phone and had a whole list of ideas already thought up.  The kids had fun and said goodbye to him.

After 5 days at home, I will say I was completely exhausted and didn't even have my third kid at home with me.  So SERIOUS props to you SAHM's out there.  You amaze me.  We did have our fair share of tantrums and fights, but I'm thankful that I took the week off with the older hooligans and made some memories around the holiday season - good and bad, but they are all wonderful memories because they will NEVER again be this age!  And each Christmas seems to get more and more fun!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day 2017: hugs & kisses

Valentine's Day means our annual cards - DUH!!  Ha.  Jimmy likes to get mad at me because he thinks the fact that I make these and send out to friends and family is crazy - but you know what!  I love the tradition and it's so fun to get texts and emails from friends and family saying how much they love the card!  Who doesn't love snail mail either??!  Must be the ex-Hallmark employee in me, but it's pretty fun and I love looking back even now at past cards!

Here is our 2017 card:

Let's just say that Charlie really wanted to wear that mustache...but the aftermath of it was a little dramatic and he should be really happy he's not a girl and won't have to be getting his upper lip wax because MAN were their tears.  Guess he won't be wanting to put that mustache back on any time soon!

Check out our previous cards here:

2016 & another 2016 :) | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011

Since Valentine's Day was on a Tuesday this year, it was just an average day in the Carter household...sprinkled with a little extra love though!

Maddie was up early with me and found me downstairs working out. She was HANGRY and pretty much whined at me until I finished to make her breakfast.  Ha.

But she was pretty happy when she got to open her small Valentine's Day present - SHOPKINS!  To be honest, I have no idea what these are but I figured she'd like them right?  Well turns out, Charlie knows exactly what they are (even though we have none!) - I guess from Kids You Tube weird videos that people open toys?!


Charlie got a pretty cute Valentine's day lego puppy (which of course, he begged Jimmy to put together before school!) but I didn't snap a picture.

Mikey - well he just got lots of kisses for Valentine's Day and got to wear his brother's old Valentine's Day outfit!  Perk of same birthday month, 4 years apart!

Older kiddos had their Valentine's Day parties at preschool at 3:00, so I left work a little early to go celebrate with them.  My dad ended up coming too because he wanted to see their new school.  I hung out in Miss Maddie's room first and watched her eat, met some of her new friends and watched her dance in her new red cowboy boots that Nana got her.  So sassy!

About halfway thought, Jimmy and I switched and I headed over to Charlie's room to hang with him.  There are more kiddos in his class and he's on the older end, but he is loving his classroom for lots of reasons.  Lots of new, fun activities, a cool playground and of course, the iPads! So he had to show me all of that!!  It was fun to get to have a party so quickly after starting there.  I will say, it did make me miss their old school a bit because we were friends already with so many of the parents there...but just like Charlie and Maddie are making new friends - we will too, right?

I signed up to bring veggies to both their classrooms and came up with this fun Valentine's themed veggie arrangement because you know what a #pinterestmom I am.  HA.  That was sarcastic.

We took the big kids home after their parties were done and Charlie and went to HyVee to get some flowers for Mikey's day care lady (because she's the best!) before we went and picked him up.  Right when we were pulling into her driveway, she called and said Mikey had thrown up twice.  Poor guy.  We got him and took him home.  I fed him right when he got home--- and then he puked up all over me.  Oops!  So then I was trying to figure out if he has a stomach bug or reaction to the medicine he started taking for his ear infection.  He was up a bunch last night, but had a few wet diapers (YEAH!) and I've been nursing him for 5 minutes every 30 min to an hour instead of waiting and doing longer feedings - so that is seeming to help!  I am staying home with him today to make sure he's ok and talk to his doc when I can give him his antibiotics again.  I hope if it's a stomach bug, he's the only one it hits - we don't need everyone to get sick!!!!

We did celebrate with some pink pancakes and breakfast for dinner (thanks Molly for the fun idea and tradition!) and then after everyone was in bed, Jimmy and I planned on catching up on the bachelor.  Well, since Mikey has been sick, I literally haven't been sleeping AT ALL!  So instead of having a romantic night together - I passed out at 8:00.  Sorry Jimmy!  We will celebrate on our date night Saturday - I promise!!

Here's to another Valentine's Day in the book - even with not a lot of excitement and sick kids, I'm so thankful for my Valentine's :)


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Can I be honest?

Here it goes.  One of those really vulnerable posts.  I feel like I have a lot of them in my head throughout the week, but just not the time or energy to write them down and share.  But this is one I want to remember.  And I'm guessing whoever still reads this blog (sorry I have sucked at posting lately!!!), might relate as well. 

As mentioned in my post yesterday, we moved the older kiddos preschool last Monday.  I'm not sure if it was the move and the fact that they did well at school and needed an outlet at home - because they have kind of gone crazy (it could have been the crazy moon too....) - like crazy as in they don't want to sleep at night.  I can do one wake up a night and hang with my normal schedule of work, working out, etc. (usually Mikey, but sometimes just one of them).  But three + a night?  Can't hang.  At all.  It's been like a circus at night between the three kids rooms - and 4 nights this week, I've fallen asleep in Maddie or Charlie's room and some hours later, Jimmy ends up in one of their rooms with Mikey in hand tapping me on the shoulder because Mikey wants to eat.  

Yes, yes.  I love being the mom of three.  Jimmy loves being the dad of three.  There really is nothing better.  But some weeks.  UGH.  It's hard.  

This morning, everyone was up super early.  I haven't been feeling too great and Jimmy and I ended up going to bed at 8:30 last night.  It was another whirlwind night with Maddie and Mikey and then when I was feeding Mikey at 5:20, hopeful to get him back to sleep so I could snooze some more...and Charlie walked in Mikey's room, ready to take on the day.  And while I love him and love that he came in and gave me and Mikey both a kiss....I wanted to scream GO BACK TO SLEEP.  Ha.

At 6:00, Maddie was up and I finally gave in and took them downstairs and finished addressing our Valentine's Day cards.  Jimmy decided that we should all go to breakfast.  Which is just crazy in itself, but I obliged.  And we went.  When we got there - it was terrible.  Like Maddie non-stop screaming.  Charlie whining.  Mikey was perfect - because that's him.  But the other two.  We just looked at each other - both with this beat down look.  Like THIS IS OUR LIFE.  In the midst of the screaming, a couple was even seated right next to us and then got up and asked for another table.  We were that family this morning.

Maddie wasn't having it and Jimmy took her outside so it was just me and the boys for about 15 min.  This older couple came and got a big table in the middle - 8 chairs at it.  They told the waitress they needed a sling and a high chair.  They were just talking and looking at the menu - sat there just by themselves for about 10 minutes before I noticed them.  They weren't phased by our craziness and looked over a few times at us and smiled, but mainly just chatted and looked around the restaurant looking for someone a few times.  Then I watched the lady get up and go to the door where a couple with their baby were walking in (I assume it was her son and daughter in law and their granddaughter).  She immediately grabbed her granddaughter and held her, smiling and laughing.  Slowly but surely, another (assumed) daughter came in with her older son and then another couple (guessing her daughter) with their looked like 2.5 year old son came in and sat down.  Just like that, the chairs were filled.  Their family was laughing, talking to one another, smiling.  Cousins were talking and all was well.

I have no idea who these people are.  But I was watching them and tears welled up in my eyes.  Because I can imagine that one day, many years ago, they were us.  With their three kids.  They were tired, worn down, trying to make it all work.  Trying to keep up a good marriage and love one another; trying to keep up with work and their household.  Making sure they were loving each of their kids equally and making them know day in and day out they were loved - but also instill that level of discipline they need to know right from wrong.  Their house wasn't always clean nor was their laundry always done.  But I imagine that they were happy, even in survival mode.  And that while it was crazy, there was a part of them that just loved all the crazy.  And they blinked - and here they are, with kids that are all grown up, married off and with kids of their own.  And that sat there waiting in anticipation for a crazy and chaotic Saturday morning breakfast.  Because while they do love their quiet Saturday mornings with just the two of them, what they wouldn't give some days to be back in our shoes.  Hopping in bed with any given kid when they want you to snuggle them.  Snuggling up on the couch for movie night - even though it's the same movie they've seen over and over again.  Folding a million little bitty clothes each week and making dinners for hungry mouths - even though it's usually never eaten.  Kissing their adorable little toddler bellies and laughing at their crazy antics.  And hearing them say "I love you" for no reason at all.

I looked at them, thinking about that being us in 20 or 25 years.  Setting up a Saturday morning breakfast date with our family.  You know, sending a text to Maddie, Charlie and Mikey (or their wives - I can't even think about that right now!), mid-week saying "hey - do you guys want to get together for a breakfast date?!  On us!".  And after a quiet week at home with just Jimmy and me, being so excited to have a little bit of crazy back in our lives.  With our three kids and their family's. 

While there are days that I think we are nuts.  That life is crazy.  And it's going to get even crazier as our three get older and if we choose/are blessed with another one....but these are the days.  Each day is a blessing.  And while I know we will be so thankful we are out of these days someday, I'm afraid to blink because I feel like if I do - I'll be that adorable couple at the breakfast place on Saturday morning, so anxious to see their kids and grandkids and life will have passed us by so quickly.

So here is my honest opinion about my life right now.  I'm soaking it in.  All of it.  With little sleep and a whole lotta crazy.  Because these are truly the days, whether we like it or not and each day is such a blessing to be alive with my beautiful children and amazing husband.

Ok - done.  Between this morning and all the feels and watching This is Us on DVR from Tuesday night....Saturday emotions have got me all like 😍😍😍

But you better believe we are taking our kids for a grandparents sleepover RIGHT when they wake up from their nap.  Because while I love them to pieces - when an offer like that comes up to just have the baby after this week - SIGN ME UP! Ha.

Friday, February 10, 2017

{last} Weekend fun and daycare move

We had a fun and buys weekend (again!).  And I'm finally just posting about that the next weekend is here.  Just go with it - it's been one of those weeks for sure.

And in other news - I FINALLY think I figured out a fast and easy way to get the pictures from my phone to my blog - wahoo!!!  Jimmy has been sad that I have slowed down blogging, so here ya go, babe!  Back at it.  And be prepared for Christmas recaps - ha :)  Oh and a 2.5 year old and 4.5 year old post that I owe to my oldest two babes.

Ok, back to last weekend.

Friday night was filled with neighbors, pizza, movies, playing and bundt cakes (thanks to Christine - totally ruining any chance of healthy eating that night! ha!).

Here's the thing - we are busy.  We all are.  We are tired.  Lots of times, Friday rolls around and we just want to sit there.  However, I told Jimmy that we need to continue to spend time with our friends, neighbors.  Charlie had been talking about Kate (his bff and neighbor) and we haven't seen them in a few months - so I texted their mom and BOOM.  A date was made.  Kids played, adults chatted and it was a fun and easy night with paper plates.  No frills and just how we liked it.  She and I both mentioned, it was good for our souls and while it's hard to take time to do these things, how important it is.  So glad we got together!!  Anyone else seem to struggle with actually setting up plans and getting together?!?

Watching a movie that Emma brought over - the only time they were sitting down!

The next morning was filled with CHAOS.  Workout, shower, pack up backs, pack healthy snacks and then we were OFF to gymnastics and then basketball.  In good news, Maddie is doing better at gymnastics and Charlie at basketball - an hour is a little long (he loses interest about 40 minutes in!), but we are getting there!

ROAD trip snacks!! 

When we got to Wichita, we headed straight to Lauren and David's house and because David knows just what Jimmy likes - he had the KU game DVRed.  Needless to say, the result was not in Jimmy's favor (lost to ISU), but David was super nice to DVR it AND delay himself watching the K-State game (which ended in a win!).  And I think it's safe to say that our kiddos are converted to KU fans.  They couldn't get enough!

We had some delicious tacos (made my Lauren - thank you for always being the most gracious hostess!) and then lots more time to play and watch basketball and just hang out.  Love nights like these.  When it was time for baths and bed time, our kiddos couldn't get enough of Landon.  For real.  They followed David into the bathroom and sat there while he got a bath and then Maddie spent like 5 minutes drying his hair.  HA.  So cute!

The night was well...interesting.  Ha.  Jimmy slept in one bed with Maddie and I slept with Charlie with Mikey on the floor in the dock a tot.  Poor Mikey didn't nap well, so come 12AM, he wanted to party.  And it's bad enough that he rarely does this, but worse when it's not at your house.  I sat in bed with him for like 45 min and then found Jimmy and handed him over.  They stayed up and watched TV for a bit until he woke up angry and wanted to eat!  Not the best sleep, but worth the trip.

Charlie was up at 6AM and we all got in our Sunday best to head to the doughnut shop downtown Wichita to have Ali take Mikey's 6 month pictures.  We had to reschedule because she couldn't make it to KC the day we originally scheduled because of weather, but after the shoot (while we had a few meltdowns - as expected), I'm SOOOO excited to see the pictures.  Sweet Mikey got a few by himself and then we had some adorable ones with everyone loving on him!

We grabbed some doughnuts for the Hart crew and headed back to hang out and pack up.  And then we had to snag this picture of this crew - they are so cute!

The drive back wasn't as easy as the drive there...the way there, the kids were zonked out almost the whole way because they had gymnastics and basketball before, so we only had to make one stop.  This time we were making a stop like 20 minutes into the drive.  Seriously, kids and their bladders!!!

But overall, it was uneventful and we made a quick stop at Aldi for groceries on our way back into town and then had my parents and sister/BIL over to eat for the Superbowl.  By the way - after all that's gone down...I'm a Lady Gaga fan.  

Monday came with some BIG milestones for all the kids too!

 Finally out of his dock a tot and I'm happy to report the transition went great!!  I was guessing he would do fine - which I'm glad I guessed right.  This wasn't really planned - but more out of necessity because I washed the dock a tot cover when we got home and it was still line drying, so just decided to do it!!  He is a tummy sleeper for sure, but still sleeping good!

Big kids:
Third daycare center move in three years.

yep, you read that right.  Are we the worst parents, or what?!?  But hear me out.  The first school that we moved from, it was because I had a very bad experience with the owner and the way she handled the situation did NOT sit well with me.  Nothing relating to the well being of our kiddos, but she was VERY sketchy financially and when I questioned something - immediately went on the defense.  Not a good sign if you ask me, especially when child care is the largest expense we have each month, I wanted to feel great about who was getting that money and how they were using it.  So we moved in August 2015.  The next school we were at (and just left) was FANTASTIC.  We loved it because it was very laid back and we loved the Montessori classrooms.  Charlie and Maddie both loved the structure of their days and the teachers and friends.  It was a little further from our house (but seriously, like 12 minutes away versus still not far), but the price was right and we felt good there.  We even referred several friends there and stick by that referral.

So why the move?  Well, Charlie will be 5 this summer and while we are not sending him to kindergarten yet (his bday is July 31), I have been thinking a lot about when he is there and how to manage this whole "kids in school" thing.  You know - summers, winter breaks, days off for conferences, holidays, in services, you name it.  I feel like at least once or twice a month, the girls that I work with are having to take off work or arrange child care for their school aged kids - let alone the stress of finding something for the summer.  I know, I know, most people are like "just get a nanny".  But that's not how it works because at most day care centers where we live, you can't just take 2 months off and they will hold your then you'd be paying double.  Anyways, after thinking about it and talking with a friend that has kids the same age and had moved to this other center last year (after being at the other two with us), I decided we needed to just go tour Primrose.  It has the before/after school care option if we want that, they have summer programs for kids 5-12 and are open on most days that the schools are closed (minus major holidays).  I had a feeling when we went to look, we'd love it.  So it came down to price - as you know, three kids in day care ain't cheap :)  But to my surprise, the price was VERY comparable and just a few dollar more than we were paying for month.  So we decided to do it.  It's crazy because looking back, there wasn't a whole lot of debate to it.  I was so so sad to tell our old school goodbye - as were our kiddos.  They were excited for lots of reasons for a new school and have done great this week!  But five days in, I think it's settling in that this is "forever".  You know like when you first start work out of college and the honeymoon period is over.  HA.  Drop offs have gone well and they are loving the activities and all the fun centers that they do during the day. I'm loving the pictures we get too because it makes the "how was school?" conversation at pick up a whole lot easier when I can ask them at least about stuff I saw them doing throughout the day.  Plus, Charlie is in the same class as his friend Addie and another Charlie, so it has been a good transition for him.

I'm also really glad these two have each other.  They are best beds and inseparable, so the thought of Charlie getting to come back here with him sister (and Mikey - we will probably move him from his awesome in home when he turns 2) once he's in school, makes me really really happy.

I love them and how adaptable they are.  And while yes, I feel back for moving them, but we talked about it a lot and prepared them as much as we could.  And I'd say they rocked it.  And looked damn good doing it :)

Now if they could just keep sleeping at night - but I guess with every transition, something has got to give!!

So there you have it - our fun last weekend road trip (can't wait to get our pics we took with Ali) AND all my deep thoughts and reasoning into why we moved our kids AGAIN!