little moments not to be forgotten

// playing//
// getting used to her beanie //
// sleeping //
// dad party at preschool //
// tupperware is her favorite //
// sleeping //
// bubbles //
// playing //

A few things to note. I am pretty sure I take so many pictures of my kids sleeping because I am hopeful that I too will sleep again someday. A little play area in the living room is amazing and I now wonder why I resisted it for so long. In case you wonder why no pictures of Connor and Isla, as they are getting bigger, their pictures seem more and more personal and less like something I want to share with everyone for their own privacy. 

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Callum {4 years}

My little sidekick is as spicy as ever! FOUR didn't slow him down. This kid has never met someone he didn't want to play with. He tries to pick up every stick he sees...even if it is a legitimate branch. He has more energy than anyone I have met. He loves running, jumping and playing with his beyblades, cars and duplos.

Callum has literally never met anyone who he didn't consider a friend. He wants to play with everyone he sees, including adults. He will hit someone and yell "tag", even strangers in Target! Playing tag, wrestling and throwing sticks are a few of his favorite ways to play. And, it seems the sand box is his jam at school. He told me one day after school that he threw sand at someone and I told him that isn't ok. He responded that it was because the kid threw it at him first and got it in his eye. Oh man.

When I was putting Callum to bed the other night, I was thinking just how far we've come. Ian and I used to take turns sitting next to his bed and holding his hand until he went to sleep. Sometimes it took hours. These days, as long as he hasn't napped, he is out within 10 minutes. But, getting him to slow down for bedtime can sometimes be hard. Like I said, the kid has energy. He loves reading books about cars, ninjas or monkeys jumping on the bed before bedtime. I tried stopping Callum's naps in the spring, but it was dicy and it really has taken until the fall for me to fully stop them. Of course, if we drive anywhere in the late afternoon, I really have to work to keep him awake. Because of no nap, his bedtime usually ends up being around 7:30. 

Callum is a stellar eater, eating mostly anything put in front of him. Though, he also has a serious sweet tooth and will go for candy at any possible time. When there are popsicles in the freezer, he is constantly helping himself to them. He also loves eggs, chicken, pretty much any fruit and yogurt drinks. 

Callum has gone to LA with my parents twice now alone and he asks to do it by himself all the time now. I think he likes all the attention on himself! He also likes talking to people on the phone and hanging up on them mid conversation. He has taken to asking me to take his picture at various times and I totally love it. 

This kid is a special one. He is fun to have around and certainly keeps me on my toes and keeps life interesting. 

Callum got to celebrate his birthday on the actual day at school. We brought in pizza for everyone, then Callum picked out airheads to send home with everyone too. Then, in the evening, we had our family over for cake and ice cream. Callum picked out a cake topped with Oreos. He got beyblades and nerf guns for his birthday, both his favorites. 

And now a little interview with Callum:

What is your favorite:
     color - blue
     food - McDonalds
     drink - apple juice
     ice cream - chocolate
     toy - beyblades and nerf guns 
     book - the pooping one (Everybody Poops)
     song - all of them
     tv show - Morphile
     movie - Star Wars (I don't think he's ever seen any)
     thing to do - poop (toilet humor is big these days!)
     game - car game (an app)
     sport - baseball
     animal - lion...they scratch people

Who is your best friend? Landon
What do you like doing with your friends? Playing nerf guns with Charlie
Where did you meet Landon? at home

What is your favorite thing about school? playdough 
What do you enjoy learning the most? music
What do you like to do on the playground? play in the sand box
Who do you play with at school? my friends

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Universal Studios

I haven't been to Universal Studios since I was a kid myself. But with the Harry Potter area, I have been itching to go. With the kids getting a three week winter break, we decided to go to Universal Studios during the third week. On their website, it said it was a middle level of busy (there are three levels) and I was pleasantly surprised with how mild the crowds were. 

We started out in the Harry Potter area and it did not disappoint. Though, I must say that the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride was quite scary for kids. But, I would say that was the case with most of the rides at Universal. It's definitely a place for older children, rather than younger. However, we went into Ollivanders Wand Shop and that experience was just amazing! Connor and Isla were chosen to be fitted for wands. It took about five minutes and was so fun. After they let the crowd out of the room, they called us forward and offered for Callum to be fitted as well, but he was hesitant, so we said no. I thought it was cool that they offered to do it to him too, so he wouldn't feel left out. We ended up buying the interactive wands and that was a cool experience. Making fire come from a chimney, a door unlock, tea pour, etc. Definitely a highlight. Makes me want to go to Florida where there is an entire park dedicated to Harry Potter. 

Some of the other highlights were the "real" dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park area. You could interact with them and they would respond to you. The kids really liked that. There was also a play area down there that was a big hit with the kids. We did the studio tour. It is longer than I expected, just over an hour. But it was highly entertaining. There are some scary parts and Isla definitely wasn't a fan. There is also a play area and a couple smaller kid rides in the Despicable Me section, so we spent a fair bit of time over there. Callum really just likes playing anywhere there are kids! 

Given the ages of our children and that Universal and Disneyland are basically the same price, I would do Disneyland over Universal. Though, that hurts my heart a little because the (small) Harry Potter area was so cool! Also, the parking situation at Universal was better, there was Starbucks IN the park...along with other chains like Panda Express. And, their characters did an amazing job at interacting with the kids. Frankenstein playing peek-a-boo with Willa was a highlight. But Disneyland is significantly bigger, so yeah.

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New Year's 2020

Alternatively titled "the blurry photos have the best memories". Actually, there could be so many alternative titles to this. From "party boy Callum" to "a glimpse into our future" to "the best new year's ever". But I'll stick with "New Year's 2020". It's simple, to the point and factual. 

I've hit that point in blogging that it happens so little that at this point, I am at least trying to throw up some of the memories I want to remember forever. New Years is one of those times. Connor really wanted to stay up until midnight and we said yes. But, we did an east coast New Years celebration at 9pm so we could all celebrate together. We even managed to stream the ball dropping on our tv. For Christmas, Isla's teacher gave me a bottle of sparkling cider, so I threw it in the fridge for the occasion. Then I told Ian to bust out some fancy glasses. With everyone grasping a wine glass of martinellis, we rang in the new year at 9pm. Everyone clang their glasses together. Callum really, REALLY enjoyed that part and kept it going, yelling "cheers!" before throwing his glass at yours. It was a sweet, fun and joy filled moment...full of children in their pajamas, a fire in the fireplace and just a cozy family time. Then the younger three went off to bed...Willa was actually already in bed. Connor and Ian stayed up watching a movie and I watched some Netflix (I'm just not a fan of marvel movies...don't hate!). About 10 minutes until midnight, I went and joined Connor and Ian. We celebrated the new year once again. And Connor was shocked when I shooed him off to bed at around 12:10. He wanted to keep the party going!!!

If I had to imagine a new year celebration with children, it was just how I would imagine it. Stress free, fun, celebratory, and most importantly, done in pjs! 

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Willa {11 months}

accomplishments: says "hi" and waves, cruising, third tooth came in

This past month was a big one for you. You celebrated your first Christmas where, even though you didn't know what was going on, you really enjoyed playing with all the wrapping paper and bows. You also did a great job eating all the Christmas dinner fixings. Your third tooth finally came in...we all lost a lot of sleep over that one. And you started cruising just a few days ago. You are definitely on the move.

Your sleep went pretty dicy this past month. I think it was all because of that third tooth. There were a few nights where you literally didn't sleep. It was bad. But we made it through. Of course, tooth number four isn't far behind! You seem to be down to two naps a day. Sometimes even only one, then bedtime comes a little early for you. When you really fight that second nap, I will put you in the carrier on my back and you will generally go to sleep. Of course, this means I can't sit down, as you are on my back. But, it does allow me to get a lot done. Even if you don't fall asleep, you are content in the carrier. You really just enjoy being held. 

Size wise, you are starting to grow out of some 6-12 month stuff in length. I actually think you have thinned out, probably because of this extra length. A month or so ago, I thought I was going to need to size you up in diapers, but now size 3 fit great again, so you are still in them. Again, I think it's because of you lengthening out. 

You have not met a food you did not enjoy. And you have really upped your food consumption lately. Like but a LOT. You are getting three meals a day, plus some snacks. And you are still nursing on top of that. I still nurse you on demand, but I would say you probably nurse 4-5 times a day, plus at night. When you are done eating, you just start throwing your food off your highchair and this seems to bring you a lot of joy. Also, if we are somewhere with a dog, you are happy to feed the dog some of your food of your highchair too. 

You really seem to enjoy the freedom that crawling has brought and like to wander the house. You particularly enjoy any cabinet you can open and empty out, as well as any toy the kids don't want you to go for. You seem to have radar for nerf bullets and shopkins left out. Also, anytime anyone leaves food out, you will grab it and make a mess eating it. I'm looking at you bowl of cereal that ended up on her head! 

I can't believe your birthday is around the corner. But watching you grow really is fun. 

I just laughed looking back at the other kids at 11 months. Apparently both Connor and Isla had 7 teeth already! Callum had four. I'm noting a trend here. Willa has less teeth and less hair than the others at the same age...haha!

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Four Kids

^^ I feel I should mention, I considered using a pretty picture of me and the kids from our family photos for this post. However, this photo was taken on what was the best day with the kids I have had in recent memory. The kids were in great moods, there was almost no whining, no fighting and we just enjoyed ourselves. And that folks needs to be documented! 

With each kid, things have gotten easier...well, after the first. My confidence has grown. I have learned more and more to not care what others think and to be confident in my own parenting decisions. With each kid, life has also gotten busier. Sure, I've learned to let a lot of the little things go, but also, four kids just requires a lot of time. And that time has to come from somewhere. It has come from places like updating this old blog of mine. Or organizing pictures. I used to meticulously organize all the photos I took a couple times a week. Or reading. I used to read a whole book in a day or two. Now I am lucky to finish a couple in a year. Now, I will admit, I am pretty darn bad about "self care". I know it is a buzz word, so I should probably be all over it. The thing is, I would rather a clean house (which seriously lowers my anxiety level) over some me time in a tub. Now, I do tap out every once in a while, leave Ian in charge, and go watch a show in our room by myself. On one hand, I wish that happened more than it does. On the other, I know all to well just how fleeting this season is...I had three months with two kids in school before Callum was born, so the memory is there. I know I will miss this season. All too much. It's probably the reason I take so many pictures. I want to be able to remember. One day the time will come when I can cozy up in a coffee shop all by myself. And when that time comes, I somehow have a feeling it will be spent with me scrolling through old photos of the kids. After all, that's what I already do at night when they are in bed.

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That Time I Took Isla to Disneyland

Originally for Isla's birthday, I asked her if she would rather have a party or go do something fun as a family and she was torn. I loved how much thought she put into it, making pros and cons lists. Then I found out her best friend was going to Disneyland the week after Isla's birthday. It was a girls trip, so I decided to ask if Isla and I could tag along and see if Isla would be interested in doing that for her birthday. It was a yes for both. 

Meeting friends and having just Isla at Disneyland was such a different experience. It was so relaxing and fun and we managed to go on so many rides and do so many things. It was quite the stress free and fulfilled day. And it really was something special, getting to just focus on Isla. 

^^ I rode on the tea cups and it was literally the worst decision of my life. I probably looked like a nut, but I was trying so hard not to throw up. NEVER again, never again.

Isla and I left about 6pm, so we could drive home that night. Isla didn't want to miss school the next day. And honestly, getting at the park right when it opened and staying until 6pm was just perfect. We got to go on so many rides in the first couple hours before the park got too busy. And leaving at 6pm was leaving on a high, rather that a tired low. It was just the perfect day that I hope Isla will be able to remember.

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