Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas Wrap up

Life has settled into an amazing pattern of non stress. We are on our stay-cation. And while at some points it has seemed frustrating (shouldn't everything be organized, cleaned and ready while we are staying here at home??) it also has been incredibly rewarding.

Time with family is a gift.

What an emotional Christmas this year was. Having two young children is magical. Everyone tells you that. From the lady in the shop to the old man down the block. But it IS. It really is. I have always loved Christmas. Always. But seeing it through my kids eyes is just a blessing. The excitement was insane! On December 20th, when they opened the three (!) advent calendars, they started to bounce up and down. "It is in the 20s! It is in the 20s!" My gosh, it was insane.

Meanwhile, in non Christmas world, work continued to march on, requiring me to work late hours. Gifts needed to be purchased, holiday cards mailed, etc., etc. My to-do list was multiple pages long. Oh, and we had a bathroom renovation in the works so we were down a bathroom.

And all the while, I kept reading about Newtown. And tears would come to my eyes. Quickly. Seeing images of parents burying six year olds while my own six year old bubbled on about holiday parties at school, her sincere hope for a guinea pig from Santa and her gymnastics class left me feeling both entirely depressed and so grateful. Maybe another post will address all of THOSE issues. But I found myself in tears daily. And I hugged my kids extra tight.  I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Christmas was still about the presents, yes. But this year, in a very real and tragic way, made me think about what is super important: my family, my friends and our health.

Back to the elves.

We did it up right this holiday season. Drives in the car to see lights while sipping hot cocoa, making cookies to share with the neighbors, learning and singing Christmas carols, going on a huge sleigh ride, seeing Santa twice, cutting down our own tree. The kids bought each other presents and we looked for our elf. It was an amazing three weeks.

Christmas eve finally, FINALLY came. As per our tradition, we open the gifts from Sam's parents over skype in the morning of Christmas eve. Seren, my little excited one, woke up at 5:30 on Christmas Eve. She was THAT excited. She actually stood in place and 'ran' in place while squealing!! The kids loved the gifts from Sam's parents. They were way too generous, as usual. The excitement in the air felt like electricity. My gosh. Meanwhile, Sam and I were exhausted- trying to keep the lies in order, worrying about our 'guinea pig' secret, and trying to get it all ready.

Opening up the gifts did take the edge off the excitement and build up. So that was awesome. They played while Sam finished up making his Polish dinner. Complete with fun traditions like finding the north star, putting hay on the table and other traditions that had meaning.  We went to church at 4:30 and Seren dressed as an angel.  We were home shortly after and simply had to wait for Santa to arrive around 8:30.

What a long wait. Nothing like the day before Christmas. I was mostly ready. But we had to fetch the guinea pig (who was staying with friends), pick the bike up from our neighbors house and entertain our balls of electricity.

Then it began to snow! It was amazing!! We got cookies ready for Santa and carrots out for the reindeer. Both Preschool and first grade sent home 'reindeer food' so dressed in our PJs and snow boots, we went into the yard and sprinkled it on the front lawn. It was freezing in the snow but so magical.

Finally, we heard the fire truck and its siren get louder and louder. The moment had arrived. With my own heart pumping, we ran into the front yard to get a look at him. My own eyes watered as my children literally bounced up and down, waved and screamed 'SANTA! MERRY CHRISTMAS!' to Santa as the snow fell.

My best friend asked if I captured it on film.

I didn't. I just wanted to be present. Fully present. The silhouette of my kids waving and jumping up and down is fresh in my mind. It won't be a week from now and certainly, 10 years from now, I won't have the memory. Then I wish that I had brought out the the video camera; I'd be able to replay it.

The cold weather, the magic of Christmas when you are 6 and 4 and the fact that life is really way too short... and that all of life is one giant amazing, complex, mystery...for that moment: that one moment, I FELT Christmas.

We tucked them into bed shortly afterwards. And then our work of finishing it up all began. We finished around midnight. I'm not so sure why it took so long but it did.

At 4:30 Seren was up! I'm not proud to admit it but I wasn't a happy Christmas elf at 4:30 am. I told her to go back to sleep until 6. And she did! By 6:30, we woke up Wyeth.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! What joy! Seren and Wyeth came down the stairs and saw the huge guinea pig cage! She screamed, "Santa got me a cage! He really did! He got me a cage!" Meanwhile, Wyeth is saying, "Something is in it! Something is moving in there!"

The guinea pig arrived!

(And how bad would it have sucked if all Santa got her was a cage!?)

It was awesome! She was beside herself and began to mutter, I can't believe he really did do it. Just tonight putting her down a week later, she said the same thing, "I can't believe he really got me a live animal."

The day moved on at an awesome pace. Not too fast. Not too slow. Just right. After a 3-4 week build up of excitement, there was bound to be a few ups and downs on everyone's parts. But mostly UPs! Wyeth received some beloved trucks (from Bruder) and his own guitar. He also got a sled from Santa which was a huge hit! He sat in it while he ate his Christmas breakfast.  The last thing Seren opened was her new (to us) bike. What a big 'wow' that was!

So we had a blast during our morning. When we all were getting into 'too much Christmas', we took a break and I showered. We just took it at our own pace.

And now it is all done. The gifts are all opened. Time with my extended family is complete. (I will post about time at home with my mom, dad and brother) and the work week calls.

I'm trying hard to just keep the important things first. The quiet of the last few days, post Christmas, has been  calming. Our 'adventures' have been limited to family walks, one haircut, some errands...but mostly playing, and just BEING family. I have focused on 'DOING' family time. For instance,  I found myself playing the game 'Sorry' for about an hour. That sort of thing. I have loved it.

It was an emotional Christmas for me. Sadness and grief for Newtown. A sense of deep gratitude for my blessings. Knowing that life moves on quickly. It was a week full of excitement, sadness and deep joy. We are so very blessed.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Seren is working through what it means to have a best friend. It hasn't quite gotten to the middle school levels of what it means to have a BFF but she is thinking about it. She reports that some days, during recess, she doesn't play with the other 4 girls; she plays with a boy.  She seems kinda ok with that. There are only 5 girls in her class- pretty slim pickings!

Last night, as she was swimming around in the tub, she noted, "Mom, I  have a BBF".
Me: "You do? Great! But don't you mean a BFF?"
Seren: "Nope. I mean a BBF"
Me: "Huh?"
Seren: "Yes, for Best Brother Forever!"


She went on to say she had a BMF and BDF (Best mom forever, Best Dad Forever, etc).

A note on tubs. I have given my last 'double kid' tub. It was a great 4 years while it lasted. But I decided last week that we were done. The pushing, the shoving, the splashing, the lack of tub space. Too much fighting. Too much yelling on my part. Enough.

Still, it was good while it lasted. 

(I was going to add a naked tub shot since I have so many. But ya know what? This is the internet and the internet is freaky. No naked kid tub shot)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Beck, the elf, should not go hungry

This is our third year of Elf on the Shelf. Our elf, Beck, is a good elf. He doesn't get into trouble. And I can barely remember to move the darn thing after about a week. But we love him. Seren totally LOVES the Elf and it is fun to have magic in the house.

Wyeth took one look at him this year and said, "That isn't an elf! He is a stuffed animal!"

Then Seren, the believer said, "And why does he have a tag on him?"

We were off to a rough start. Sam quickly pulled out the book which explains the whole story and somehow, by talking about magic, both Seren and Wyeth were cool with that. Oh, ok. That makes sense.

And all was well with the world. Beck, the elf, had a place in our hearts. Again.


Last night during dinner, on day two of the Elf, Seren started to wonder aloud. "What does he eat all day? I mean, he has to sit there and watch us eat all three meals and he doesn't have anything! He must be like a bear and eats everything thing at once and then he doesn't have to eat."

I could tell she was really thinking about this.

Later that night I was grumpily putting dishes into the dishwasher and Seren asks me for a plate. "What? What do you need a plate for?" I asked in a grouchy voice. She opened  up her hand and in it is four pieces of bow tie pasta.

"For Beck."

Right. So we placed the pasta on a little plate and placed it in the fridge.  Last night, I of course, moved the elf and ate three of the four pieces of pasta.  This morning when she woke up, she was all upset at herself for forgetting to write him a note or leave the pasta out.  We finally found him and there, beside him, was only one little piece of pasta.

She was so excited! " I didn't need to write him a note! He knew to look! See! Wow!"

Why yes, we do 'feed' our stuffed elf. Don't you?

Wyeth Turns Four!

My dear little Wyeth

Today you turn 4. At 10:53 pm, you will officially be four years old. You are my little one. Momma’s boy for sure. And I can’t seem to grasp where the time goes. In my mind, even when I hold you now, I can see the infant that they placed on my chest. You were and still are a beautiful child. And you make me so proud.

This year has been a busy year for you. You mastered how to ride your bike with training wheels. You enrolled in and love gymnastics class and of course, you went to school for the first time. You are enjoying being with your friends and adore your teacher. You are learning how to share in class and how to let someone else ‘lead’ the game. And you continue to be stubborn about issues related to the potty. You aren’t exactly ‘coachable’ right now. You still have your stubborn side- the passionate side. That we (mostly) love. For instance, you refuse to pee in the toilet during morning preschool. Not because you don’t know how. But because, well, you can control that part of your life and assert your control. But we’ve got your back on that stuff- in time, in time. You are also one of the most empathetic kids I’ve ever met. You are always the first to sound the alarm when someone else is in physical pain. And the first to rush over to check on them. You also are emotionally sensitive. You shy away from ‘scary’ things on tv and get visibly upset when someone on TV is in trouble or hurt. It isn’t uncommon for you to run out of the room while watching Martha Speaks or another PBS special. We love that you are sensitive this way. We love watching you care for us and your friends. You are especially talented with little kids and babies.
You also continue to love trains, trucks, your cars and Webbie. You will listen to stories but not really seek them out. If someone puts a story in your hand, you will read it. But otherwise? Huh. On the other hand, you create your own stories constantly. Your stories are amazing! There is action, adventure and many many details.
And let’s carve some space out to talk about poop, shall we? One day perhaps you will tell me what the obsession is with poop, pee and snot. Those words are the trifecta of 3-4 year old talking points!

And my goodness, child, you have an ear for music! Seren started taking piano lessons in October and has enjoyed them. But several times in the last few weeks, we have heard your plucking out ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ and more recently, “Good King Wenceslas”- all from ear! We are so proud and now trying to frantically figure out how to get you into piano lessons. We predict lots of music in the years to come!

Oh my sweet boy. Thank you for the joy you have brought to us in your short 4 years. We love you and cheer on your accomplishments. Thank you for so many smiles! Please don’t grow too fast- we love your innocence.



Thursday, November 22, 2012

Our other names

Continuing on the theme of how Webbie has influenced our family, he even has names for us. We are to respond to these names when "Webbie" calls for us. Usually at night, at least once after I have put Wyeth to bed, Webbie calls out to me. My 'name' is "Grandma Chicken".  Because I am the Grandma, obviously. Sam, my husband, is "Grandad Pasta".  And Seren is "Momma Cheese."

It is awesome to be age 35 and be called "Grandma Chicken".

Lost and Found

Readers of this blog, all 8 of you, are well aware of Wyeth's love for Webbie, the stuffed turtle. We are in Michigan and have spent a lovely week together as a family and with Sam's family. We even did the 11 hour trip in one day! Unreal! We left at 7:20 and arrived right before 8 pm. It was awesome! And my friend Kristin lent us a DVD player. We finally plugged it in at 3 pm. I cracked at 3 pm. And I pulled out the nuclear option. Fabulousness! Peace and quiet for 2 hours. Then we had a dinner and got 'home' by 8 pm.

So we did it!

And we have had a good time. Resting. Eating. And just enjoying each other. I really have loved being around my kids. They are WORK. As all kids are. But they are awesome!

On Tuesday we went to a children's museum here in town. The kids had a great time. But by nap time, after lunch at McDonalds, there was no Webbie. I called McDonalds. Nothing. I called the museum- nope, no turtle had been turned in.

Wyeth did fine with nap but was inconsoleable at night. He cried. He missed Webbie. Where was he? Was he safe? Would we find him again? He cried. It was so sad.

And I wasn't doing much better. I went to bed thinking of that darn turtle and woke up with the stuffed turtle on my mind. I was not going to rest easy until we found him.

For me, he is a symbol of Wyeth's childhood. The stuffed turtle has followed us everywhere. Wyeth expresses his own emotions through Webbie. He is another member of our family! And he was lost!

As soon as the museum opened, I called. Wyeth looked expectantly at me during the phone call. No luck. So we drove 25 minutes over there. I wasn't going to leave until we found Webbie! When I explained our situation to the front desk, she was immediately cool about it. I ran through the museum- all of my energy focused on finding that ratty Turtle!

And there, with all of the museum's stuffed animals was OUR VERY OWN WEBBIE!

I actually had tears in my eyes when I saw him.

He was back.

I ran out of the museum with Webbie raised high in my hands. Triumphant!

Never had we experienced such relief.

He was lost and is now found.

Yet another reason to be grateful on this happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Wyeth is a total trip.

"Mom! I hear the pee knocking on my penis! I need to go potty!"

"I'll move over on the couch mommy so you have more room. Your bottom is much bigger than my bottom." Thanks buddy, thanks

"When you grow up, mom, do you want to be a worker who fixes the train tracks? That way, I can see you. I am going to be driving the train! The pwoblem (that 'r' sound still gets him) is that you will need to wear a special suit so you don't get pinched. And a helmet. Ok? Do ya wanna do that Mom?"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

September Highs

So Michigan ended in early September. Then we had Seren's first day:

Then we visited Howell Living History Farm and learned about school in the 1900s.

Then we met up with my mom and Dad and played with costumes at a Make Believe event!

Then we celebrated 66 and 39 years old!

Then Wyeth went to his first day of preschool!

Then we went camping!

The following weekend we went to Sesame to say hello to Fall Sesame.

Zoey is the best!

The following weekend we saw an old friend, Nancy. Nothing better!

And then we had a picnic lunch with old friends as well! Friendships that go back more than 10 years? Sweet.

September was awesome! Full of fun! Full of social events! It was an amazing month!

Sad to see some moments go

I knew raising a boy would be different. I immediately freaked out when they told us we were having a son. I was excited, of course. But how to deal with all of that 'boy stuff'?? Like the gun phase. Or the super hero phase, or of course, the teen boy phase. And we haven't hit any of it yet. But I know we are only about 12 months away from the guns and the capes. If that. I don't have too much problem with it; it is just who some boys (and some girls) are.

But I'll be sad to see this phase go. This phase where Wyeth is still all about his stuffed turtle. Webby. Webby who calls me up to give me hugs at night. Webby who pretends things with Wyeth. He may look like a stuffed turtle to you but this turtle has big dreams. Webby 'feels' for Wyeth. "Webby is scarred of all of that noise. Webby doesn't like the noise." 

Wyeth also is just adorable with compliments he gives me.  Last weekend I took him to his first bday party where he was the guest- not big sister. He was so excited for CAKE! Of course. So I got dressed for the party. He insisted I wear the necklace, the 7.00 one from the thrift store, to the uppity party. No problem! He loved when I put them on. Then he said, "Mom! Where is your party dress?"

Wyeth is into fashion a bit. Last weekend, Sam purchased about 150 worth of used clothing for the kids. We are done! The entire wardrobe is now purchased! Sam noted that he got something a bit special for Seren. He pulled out a velour dress for Seren. And Wyeth's big bottom lip started to push out. And then the quiet tears. I asked him what was wrong and he explained he didn't get a dress. Oh my sweet love. We would look for him at the next sale. He dropped the issue after  a bit more encouragement but to see that lower lip quiver over a dress?

Everything he says is a riot! Well, not everything. But it all comes out in a crazy way. He explained that Blue Baby, his doll is still his baby. " I still sing to him and rock him and give him a bottle. The problem with babies is that they poop."

True dat!

Anyway, perhaps it is still the new school year, or the fact that I"m a romantic to begin with, or the fact that America keeps loosing it babies to violence, but I keep holding out to as much as I can. I already see that age 6 is one of defiance, limit testing and at least in our house, some attitude. Which isn't to say that Wyeth is peachy keen. He can throw a fit like the rest of them! But that little boy innocence? The one that wants only me to put him to bed, who talks all of the time with a stuffed turtle and who gets very scared when there is conflict in stories or shows? That isn't going to hang around. Not at all. So I'm just going to hold on and ride this ride while I can!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wyeth's feelings

Age three is a tricky one. There are tantrums. And lots of anger. And frustration. And there are sweet moments too. Parts of summer were really hard. The last two months have been much better. He seems happier. More even keel. I remember these ups and downs with Seren. Heck, we still have them! But Wyeth feels more strongly about these things. Or at least it seems like it.  And whereas I could say 'no' to Seren, Wyeth is a tough one. No doesn't quite mean no. It means he is ready to bargain. And cry.

Last night we had a knock out fight over dinner and dessert. I was holding my ground. He said to me, "I don't like when you make me mad. I don't like when you say those rude words to me. Your words are making me very very mad."

So he is in touch with his feelings. That much is good, right?

He is also making new friends in school which is a huge thing for us. WHEW! He started off not being comfortable in the classroom and already we have noticed a big change in how he talks about schoool and his friends. That makes me very happy to see.

So with the tantrums and yelling and crying comes the sweet. Tonight, as I tucked him in and he did his usual stalling he said, "Can you come in here and snuggle and tickle me?"

I KNOW my 13 year old son isnt going to be asking me to snuggle him.

So I snuggled right in and tickled him silly.

Camping 2012

Last summer, in 2011, I decided that summer 2012 would be the year that the Angus family dusted off our camping stuff and just do it.

Sam and I fell in love with each other and camping in N. CA. What is not to love? Cool nights. Beautiful surrounds. No humidity. No bugs.  WE camped a fair amount in Wisconsin too. But have a baby and then a second? Suddenly the bed looks SO much better than the ground.

But this summer, we would conquer it! So we did!

Our good friends, Whitney and Nano and their two children were up for it too. Mid September, we headed out to Hickory Run State Park here in PA. It was only about 2 hours North of us. And we had a blast! 

The first day we basically set up camp and then had a great day walking to this really pretty mountain lake. In the shade, it was cool. In the sun, it was hot. So the kids 'waded' in the water. Which turns into being drenched and then essentially swimming in their clothes. Awesome stuff!

The night fell and Sam and I made a horrible meal. It was just gross. The meat wasn't appetizing. The couscous was odd and the zucchini needed spices. Other than that? It was awesome. Our friends pretended to like it. The kids happily munched on warmed up pasta. No microwave in sight- just tin foil over the hot fire. Crazy fun!

We all sat around the campfire drinking wine and trying to stay warm. While the day time found us in shorts and tshirts, by 8 pm, I had pulled out the winter hats! We knew it was going to be cold but holy shoot! It was a low of 42 degrees! Considering the day was in the mid 80s, it felt freezing! We all wore our winter hats! Ugh.

I took the three older kids to the bathroom for 'one last trip'. Seren was so scared of the dark! She was gripping my hand and walking tentatively.  Wyeth said to her, 'It is ok, Seren, we are just looking for nocturnal animals.'

HA! Nocturnal animals!

Seren's reaction was equally funny, "That's the problem Wyeth. I don't want to see any nocturnal animals! I don't want to see them!"

We don't have a tent that is big enough for all four of us. So we split our family up. Wyeth chose me and Seren chose Dad. (not unusual). We each tucked in our assigned respective kid. Wyeth, at home, sleeps with this 'glowing turtle' which projects the stars and constellations on the ceiling. It is part of his nightly routine. So despite the fact that we were actually sleeping under the REAL stars, he brought out his turtle, turned it on and promptly fell asleep under the 'stars' that were projected into the walls of the tent. So funny.

The parents stayed up talking and freezing by the campfire. We all turned in early and passed out. Wyeth continued to wake up time and time again due to the cold. I would silently shove him back down into his sleeping bag. At 4 am he leans into me and says, "Mommy? Poop."

Sure enough. Whew.  So then I start the process of getting my ass up and out of the sleeping bag. Of course our tent didn't have any wipes. So I find the closest flashlight I could find. Which was Wyeth's. The one that didn't "really" work. Because the odds are kinda slim that the 3 year old would be walking in the dark alone. But now that I was the one walking outside the tent in the dark, I kinda wished I had a flashlight that actually functioned.

I make it to the car with my crappy flashlight. I then root around in the car looking for the wipes. I'm freezing. I'm in my PJs! I find the wipes. Close the car. Walk back to the tent. Take off my shoes. Unzip the tent. Get in the tent. I turn the flashlight towards Wyeth to change his pullup.

He is dead asleep.

Now other parents, worried about the safety of their 3 year old son's soft and delicate skin may have woken up the child to change his diaper.

Me? I zipped myself up into the bag and closed my nostrils shut.

At 7 am Wyeth and I finally woke up. Or, woke up for the last time. Seren stood outside our tent in her Daddy's long sweatshirt, her winter hat, her jeans over her pjs and said, "Momma! It is COLD."

It certainly was.

But we had a blast!  My three take aways from our less than 24 hour trip.
1)I totally underestimated how much time and effort it takes to do all of the cooking, prep and clean up. I thought the kids would have more to 'do' but with 4 adults holding tent poles and trying to cook, that left 4 kids a bit understimulated.

2) When it is 6:15 or 7 in the morning and it is only 42 degrees, it would be good to have something for them to do. And it is good to brew the coffee/tea first.

3) Next time we are going to go for longer than one night. All of that packing isn't worth it for just one night!

But we were so grateful our friends decided to brave it with us. We really had a great time. And the kids loved it! Beach, tents, campfires, smores and playmates. What isn't to like?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

First Impressions of Preschool

On September 10th, Wyeth went to school! This is his first experience being away from home without his Dad or his Mom! Big stuff! (Ok, he was in child care for six months but that ended when he was 9 months old). 

The entire summer, we talked up school. He wasn't buying it. Everytime we'd say something about the school or his teacher or his friend that we knew would attend he would say, "Well, that's a problem. I'm not going to school."

I started to get a little concern as his mantra continued. "That's a problem, I'm not going to school."

Enter big sister into the picture. She should be in sales. She SOLD him preschool. One afternoon, she ran upstairs and came back downstairs with her memory books from her first two years in the school. She showed him picture after picture of her having fun. She showed him pictures of her sledding. Of her having fun on water days. Of her in costume. It began to change his whole mind. A smile showed up.

And then she went in for the closing.

"And ya know what, buddy? They have snacks there! Goldfish, pretzels and all sorts of good snacks. And cupcakes when it is someone's birthday."


Preschool here he comes!

Of course it wasn't quite that easy. He was still nervous. But the big day came and he was very brave. He had seen the classroom before during the welcome day and that made a huge difference. He hugged us hard and then followed the teacher out the door of our car. No looking back.

I was so proud.

Now, a full week in, he has funny things to share about how school is going. I write them down verbatim becuase it always cracks me up.

"I shared Webbie. They liked him. Then I put hiim in my bag and stuck him in my cubbie."

"In school today I cried a little bit about the potty. I didn't tell them why but it was a little sad. But then I got a doughnut. A real life doughnut. With sprinkles. And I could hold it on the sides because there weren't any sprinkles on the side. I ate it all up."

"I got a new job today. I now do the weather job."

We are curious about how he is interacting with kids. Tuesday of this week he reported that he didn't talk to anyone. We pushed him a bit. He told us he didn't talk because he didn't know anyone's name. We gave him some 'scripts'. "Hi, I'm Wyeth. What is your name, do you want to play?"  We pushed too hard and this backfired on us. Last night after we put him down, he was crying about going to school and feeling like he HAD to say hi. So we dropped it.

Today he reported, "Someone asked me to be her friend. I said no. Then I said yes. So now we are friends."

I kinda want to be three.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Michigan trip part 2

After our upbeat Michigan post, the trip ended with car drama. It will all work out in the end but we hit a huge truck tire on the way out. We didn't think anything of it. It scared the hell out of us as one of those heavy tire parts were airborne. We heard the hit but kept on going. It wasn't until a few days later that I even noticed the grill was taken out. Then a few days later, we heard the clanking and clonking and the fact that part of our car was touching the ground.  Ugh.

Since it was labor day, we were stuck until Tuesday. We asked the shop to fix us up so we could travel 600 miles home. We were to leave on Sunday and travel all Sunday and Monday to be rested for the first day of first grade on Wednesday morning. I was to be in the office being productive on Tuesday. No such luck.

Meanwhile, my in laws, with whom we are staying, needed to visit my sister in law. So left then on Sunday morning and we stayed home with the cats, the pool, the fish and the plants. We got the green light that the part came in, the insurance had paid for the fix and we could leave for PA on Tuesday around 2 pm.  We were in the car and had dropped off the rental by 4 pm.

Quite impressive. Not without its stress as we couldn't decide if we should leave right then or wait a night and do the whole 12 hour drive in one big swoop.  Lord.

So we hit the road. We got in late, had dinner late, but the kids to bed late in our crappy hotel. We left early the next morning and at 10:00 the check engine light went on. Fabulous! 

I just started to cry. The pressure (and dread) of going back to work, missing the first day of first grade, bills that were all was just too much for me. Plus add in a long night, and four tired people strapped into our car? It was an ugly cry. The  ones where the kids just get quiet.


We drive around a silly stupid town trying to decide what to do about the car. Clearly, we have mechanical issues that we couldn't solve before making the trip home. Was it safe to keep going for another 200-300 miles? What choice did we have?  So travel on we went.

It was epic.

We finally rolled into our home 13 days after leaving it. We had missed the first day of school and all of us were way behind on work, but we did it. WHEW.

The car goes to the shop for body and mechanical work Monday morning! Wish us luck! Yay for insurance!


Wyeth has been hysterical recently. After a rough few weeks in July, his August has gone very well. That being said, however, he was NOT pleased with us last night for punishing him.

He noted, "Eewy Mommy and Daddy are ruining my entire life!"

Later Seren asked him, "What are you doing now Wyeth?"

"I'm just staying away from horrible Mom and Dad who are mean and being fussy with me."

Seren was then mean to him (it was a rough dinner). 

"If you keep being mean to me, I'm not keeping you in my life."

He has a flair for the dramatic.
Seren was reading the label of a banana. One of those 'fresh' stickers. She read, "Raisin with tender loving care."

Sam asked her about that. "Read that again? Raisin?"

"Oh, you are right. There is no 'n'. I see now, raised with tender loving care."

Jolly and toothpick, Wyeth's imaginary friends, are back in full forth. Recently, they are working with the police to keep the 'mean guys in jail.

Seren spent time swimming in the pool in Michigan. She loved the googles this year. She reflected, "Well, these googles are good. They protect my eyes. But now I need some sort of mask for my mouth so the water doesn't get in there!"

Wyeth's whole approach to speaking..which he does constantly, is adorable. I love his phrases. I can't capture them all. But one thing he says all of the time is "do-es". As in " Webbie do-es that." (Webbie does that).  He also continues to be perplexed by the time of day. He doesn't know if he is waking up from nap sometimes or from the  night. "Is it night time this day?"

We were reading a book and one of the pages was about the top most used letters in the English language.  Four of the letters were 'i', 's', 'n' and 'o'. Among others. Seren's vocabulary floored me. When we asked her for words that began with those letters, she noted

Incubator for "i"
Salutations for "s"
Nutritious for "n" and
Octopus for "o"

I was impressed. And relieved that octopus was normal. Incubator!?


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Michigan Trip 2012

We left for Flushing Michigan on August 23rd after a very quick  and busy 3 weeks of work in between vacations.

What a total blast this has been. We left Thursday and drove all day. We made it here to Grandma and Grandad's by Friday at 12. It was just perfect. A long trip but a great one. And no threat of snow this time as we traveled in the summer.

On Saturday, the 25h, we ran the Crim. The Crim is a huge race that drew 13,500 registered runners to Flint, MI. I have heard about the Crim since I first met Sam over 11 years ago.

I had been training but not that hard. Sam really trained.  And in the end, we all registered and ran the race. I was so proud of our little family.

The night before I was so nervous! I had yet to run 5 miles in my life! What made me think I could do this! Work three long days in the office, drive 12 hours and then run 5 miles starting at 9:30 in the morning?? I never run in the mornings!

But run we did.

Sam started his 10 mile race at  8 am. He was through the finish line before I even started. He did very very well. He was disappointed by the rough start. But he did well.  I was so proud! He has been a runner but he hasn't run much in the past 6 years. But he put his mind to this race!! Wow, he did very well. At age 38 he ran 10 miles in 1 hour, 25 min and 38 seconds. He placed 1598 out of 8,955 runners!

Meanwhile, I was off and running. It was hot and humid. But I was so proud of myself. I stopped twice- once to tie my shoe and once in mile 4.5 because I thought I was going to die. But I only stopped for 20 feet because seriously? I HAD to finish.  I was pumped for the whole thing! There was a great  energy in doing something like that will all of those other runners! I ran the five miles in 47 minutes and 30 seconds which is quite slow but I had never run 5 miles. I finisheed 7th in my age group of 62 runners. I finished 173 out of  1378 so all in all, a great show. Not bad for 35. Not bad at all.

I came across the finish line, barely feeling my legs. I heard my daughter's distinct voice yelling GO MOM! It was clear as day. All of those people. All of that sweat. My tired legs and there it was, a GO MOM! From Seren.  I waved to the left to recognize it.

Then I just made it home to the finish line.  Going through I thought I was going to vomit or pee. Or both. So dehydrated! So gross. I made it across and asked one of the volunteers, "WHY do people do that??" He smiled and said, "I don't know. But you just did."

I couldn't speak for a few moments and actually thought I was going to faint.  So clearly I neeed to hydrate more the days before the race, train more and lift weights.

But to just finish? And to finish in under 10 minute miles? AWESOME.

Then we played for a bit! We had to do SOME playing!

Seren's 1 mile race was next. She was nervous.  Her exhausted Dad took her to the starting line. Sam, barely able to move after his race, ran side by side for another mile. She beamed as she took off. And when she finished, they called out her name. I got tears in my eyes as she finished. So great!

Finally, after starting the day at 7am, Wyeth's race started at 1 pm. They had 'waves' of toddlers doing the Teddy Bear trot. What a total riot! Wyeth wanted Seren to join him. And she wanted to be the big sister but we aren't totally comfortable with them on thier own. So I ran too.

It was a .25 mile race down main street. He ran the whole thing- sprinting his little legs off.

At the end, he reached back and took her hand. They crossed hand in hand. Man, life is good.

After that, we filled our days with a Day out with Thomas, a visit with Rhett, a visit with the Veenhuis family, Antwan's family and Amanda and her family.  I worked three days and then we have spent the rest of the time in the amazing 12 acres- hiking, swimming in the pool and eating too much.

What a great way to end summer 2012. A chance to be outside, rest and just unwind.  I'm quite emotional about school starting. Very much so. And I have LOVED my summer. It was a bit tough work wise. But spending 8 days in Cape Cod and then nearly 2 weeks here? AWESOME. I haven't had that much time off in a long time and it feels very good.

I love my family. My family of runners. The people who make life amazing.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

To the not yet named teacher of my daughter

Dear Teacher X
We hope this letter finds you well. Our emotions are running pretty high these days as we prepare to send our eldest off to first grade.  For us and for her, it is the first time she'll be away from us for a whole day. Every day. She had one week of camp this summer where she was gone from 9-3. We all did well. But it is new for us. So please be patient.

We wanted to begin a dialogue with you early in the year. About everything. Us. You. The partnership we hope to have with you. The community. The strike.

We have no idea of what you think of our little community. We don't know if you live here now or grew up here or if neither case applies. In truth, we don't know what we think of our little community. On great days, we see it as an amazing place to raise our children. We have some great neighbors and it is incredibly safe. We have achieved the American dream that so few others have. On other days, we wish for more tolerance. And a stronger commitment to school.

You most likely are facing budget shortfalls and inadequate resources. And I can't fathom why we don't have the resources for you. That must be ridiculously frustrating and infuriating. And then to have the strike hanging over you like a cloud? September most likely is rolling toward you like a MAC truck.

But here is the thing, can we work together to make this happen? To really make it happen? To encourage growth- social and academic? To create a community of learners in the classroom? Who really strive for knowledge and see the world as a place of mystery?  That is what we have tried for 6 years to create. A sense of wonder in all of life's ways. Ants are to be explored. Caterpillars too. Friends need to be made. Books and stories and creative art and music? All of that helps us to emote, to express ourselves, to feel connected to each other and to powerful ideas.

You most likely know this. And we realize we are preaching to the choir. But we worry that others in our community won't demand this vision for the class. We aren't interested in worksheets. Or videos. Or efforts that are only half way there. First graders, if asked to fully participate, will. We believe that kids need to be exposed to many ideas and many different ways of learning. So some kids will learn through video. And that makes sense. But we hope that there is a chance to engage the imagination. To use those muscles too.

Again, we are just emotional. Growing up is hard for us parents. We looked through her pre-school book today as she was trying to convince her younger brother about how much fun pre-school would be. And I got a huge lump in my throat. Our 'pre school' days are behind us. 6 years come and gone. And it is big time now. I know I will laugh at this emotion the day before 12 th grade. But for us? Right now? It is huge.

Last year we had a rough year. People in our community won't support you. They may even boo you. And throw rocks at you. Like they did last year. But we argue that even if they don't know it or believe it, they support you too. We all do. The people throwing rocks may not see it yet but we all need you, our teachers. Our community does and our nation does. We are working to put that grade behind us. To give you a chance. To give the school another chance. We hope you will get to know our daughter. To give our daughter a chance to meet and exceed your expectations. We hope it is a year where as a community of parents, teachers and other advocates, we can put all of the political stuff, the budget stuff and all of the lawn signs away. And focus on the future. Our kids!
We hope to be partners with you this year.

All the best on the start of an amazing year

We know you know this, but our daughter? She is our world. Please take good care of her from 9-3 pm and we'll love her to pieces when she gets home.


M and S

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Over heard

Since I  haven't blogged much, I have missed out on many cute sayings.

Last night, Wyeth had yet another fit about the number of books he wanted read to him at night. (Age 3 has kicked my butt, people!)  I told him no. And he got very upset.

When I calmed down a bit I told him, "Mommy has to be able to say no to you and you have to be ok with that. I want to say yes sometimes but I  have to be able to say 'no' too."

He sniffed. And sighed.

"I know, Mom. Ok. It is just that? I like 'yes' a whole lot better!"

Mom to Wyeth, "Buddy, in this house we do not flick cheese on the floor when it sticks to our fingers. Please don't do that. Use a napkin."

Wyeth: I don't want to.

Me: "Well, that is the rule in this house. No food throwing."

Weyth: Fine! I will just move to another house where I can throw food on the floor. I don't like living here in this house.

Seren to Wyeth, "That like can't happen until you are like 10 or 13 or something. You can't just move into another house!"

Wyeth: Well I want to. I want to throw cheese on the floor.


Nightly Bike Rides

Every since Seren learned to ride two wheels, our team LOVES to bike. We bike everywhere! At the park! In Cape Cod! All of the time. It is great. And I get to do some wind sprint training as I work to run behind my fast riding kids!

So Monday night after a Monday at work, we took our bikes out, as usual. And we found our neighborhood friend, Ella. Ella is such a sweetie. She lives on our street and is in second grade. On other days, she has showed us her hideouts in the creek, where to catch the best frogs and where to play. She is like a travel guide to our small suburban neighborhood.  When the kids saw her, they invited her to go on a bikeride with us. After checking with her mom, we all were off.

We went down our usual way and she suggested that we make a quick stop at the local dollar store. This was a bit of a schlept for Mr. Wyeth but we made it. I reminded my kids about 6 times that I didn't have a cent on me. (I thought I was going around the block- not shopping).  So we parked our bikes outside and we explored. Immediately I didn't like what I was seeing. Lots of whooping and chatting and yelling excitedly. I mean, it wasn't Macys' or Ann Taylor, but it was still too loud.

I gave my warnings.  And they responded. So that was good. But then the inevitable happened: Wyeth's eyes spotted the car. THE matchbox car that he just HAD to have. I mean, absolutely HAD to have. I reminded him gently, "We have no money, buddy". But I WANT IT. Right. But we have no money. I showed him my empty pockets. His solution, "We get it now and pay them later." No, we can't do that. And it started to escalate. Quickly. As it always does.  So, I had to leave with a crying, screaming toddler under my left arm.

Let's go team!

So now I have two little girls on bikes in a shopping mall strip, one screaming Wyeth under my arm and I'm towing the tiny ass little bike with my other arm. During this, Seren falls off her bike into the street. She is crying because she hurt herself and her bike bell flew into about 17 pieces. I'm yelling at her because I'm stressed out and because of the fact that she is laying in the street. All while Wyeth is still kicking and screaming.

I get them all safely across the street to the grassy sidewalk and regroup. Wyeth finally calms down. Seren is alright. I fix the bell. I breathe through my nose. Trying to calm my nerves.

Ella, with her brown eyes looks up and says, "I guess this wasn't such a good idea, was it?"

We  continue on our ride towards our block. Then Seren stumbles upon a purple object. It was a bright purple USED tampon applicator.

YUCK! "Put that down! Seren! Put it down! That is nasty!"

What? But what is it? (while holding it)

"It is gross. Just put it down, will ya? It is trash!"

But what is used for?

"It is a tampon applicator, ok. Just put it down."

At this point, Ella chimes in, "What's a tampon?"

I'm clearly NOT having this conversation with the neighborhood girl. So I told her we'd all discuss it later. Seren, still interested in it is looking at me. I wispered, "Can you just drop that, it was put in someone else's body, ok?"


The whole experience required a glass of wine.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Big Stuff: Sam Edition

Sam continues to do well. He is keeping himself very busy.

The Running
After being diagnosed with adult onset asthma and a whole host of other odd medical problems, running was not something that Sam sought out to do. But he is doing it now! And he is doing a great job! I can't wait to see him after the 10 miler in just two weeks! I'll be so proud. Well, I already am, but you know what I mean.

The Teaching
He finished up teaching two courses in late June. It was a rough 8 weeks. Me working like a dog under pressure. And him teaching two classes. It was rough!! We welcomed this term which meant he taught one class. But after the first week the school came to him and asked him to teach two classes. So we are at it again. But he continues to love it! So that is great! And the debt is going down. Seriously? that it the BEST feeling. The absolute best.

The Romantic
Sam and I celebrated 10 years of marriage last week. What a milestone! What an accomplishment! He and I were very excited about the milestone! He bought me roses and also picked out a card that made me cry. He also admitted it made him cry. It was awesome. What a ride! What a decade! California, Madison, Masters Degrees, Seren, new jobs, home ownership Wyeth....So lucky to have a man next to me in life's journeys. And he still makes me laugh every day? That is the sign of a good marriage in my opinion!

Big Stuff: Wyeth Edition

Wyeth is a total trip. I don't know what to think of his personality. We had a rough couple of days in Cape Cod. He was  crabby, needy and a bit rude in social situations. But I think he was running a low grade fever for the first 4 days; being sick will bring out the best in ya.

The fish
Wyeth  has been toilet trained for a few months but has yet to really conquer the toilet. Pee? No problem. Poop? We have issues. He withholds. He freaks out. He cries. It is really a mess. (Literally). But he managed to have success in July and for that success and for being successful in learning to pee in a toilet, we purchased Molly.

Meet Molly:

The day we purchased Molly, Wyeth and Seren were SOO excited. After work, after dinner, we drove over and picked Molly out. And they both helped arrange her little bowl and new home. When we got her all settled, I heard Seren say to the fish, "We are Seren. You say it like this. SER_ IN. And this is Wyeth. Like this- WY_IF. We are your brother and sister. And this is a safe house. Everyone here will love you. We will treat you well. You will be safe her. We have a cat named Jordan who we will protect you from. If he jumps up, we will say 'NO JORDAN!'

It went on and on. Introductions to a fish. It was also so sweet! Wyeth was just so excited for everyone to meet our little fish. It is a male fish named Molly. So you know, there is that.

The Preschool
We agonized over where to place Wyeth this fall. Sam and I are very good about agonizing over decisions that really don't need to be made. We loved where Seren went. But it was just so expensive! But we searched and searched. And really? We love where we started. So he will be in Robin's class- just like Seren was. We are so happy. Wyeth on the other hand is adament about NOT going. No way. Not going to happen. Seren, to her credit, is trying really hard. Tonight at dinner she said, "But Wyeth! All you get to do is play! And paint! And sing songs! And when you learn them, I know the songs too and we can sing them togther. It is just like so much fun!" 

We'll see what we can do. His little friend, the brother of our preschool buddy, will be in the same class which will be awesome! It is going to be great.

So Wyeth, the man of many moods, the fish lover and the boy who refused to go to preschool. Love it!

Big Stuff: Mom Edition

So in July I hoped to go around and in four quick posts, highlight what everyone was doing. Alas, it is now August.

But since its my blog, lets focus on me. :) Blogs are self focused like that.

The Promotion
Last spring I had a rough review at work. And the past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for me. Leading up to my review, I felt very very anxious. My stomach was a total mess. I was a total mess. I put in long hours. I couldn't really think. I kept planning worse case scenarios. In late June, I was finally promoted at my office. I can't express the relief I felt. True relief. Like a gift. I had put myself under so much pressure! I was filled with self doubt. But to get the positive feedback and the final word that I was promoted? AWESOME!!!  I even danced when my supervisor told me! I embarrassed myself with that one but whew, whew, whew.

The Running
In November, I ran my first 5k in about 5 years. Pathetic really. But add two kids, a house and full paying job? And yeah, the time to run was on the way back burner. I trained hard for it and it went really really well. And now it is summer already! I didn't run a 5k in between but in two weeks, I'll be running an 8k in Michigan. I am not so sure I'm ready for that one. Between the wine and the tortilla chips, I have been trying hard to really avoid the running! :)  But it is a family event! And for that, I'm super excited! Sam is running 10 miles, I'm running 5, Seren is running the one mile and Wyeth is entered into the 'Teddy Bear' trot!

Too much fun!

The restful spirit
I can't say I'm completely rested after vacation but I feel so much better. The past 6 months (see above r.e. promotion) have been very hard. I have more responsibility at work which feels great but I have been working long hours and working at night when I got home. I needed last week's vacation soo badly. More than I have needed a vacation in a long time. And vacation, we did! I sat. I slept. I ran. I napped. I read. And then I just played. It was just over a week but just amazing.  And while it is early in the post- vacation process, I feel much better. I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. And it seems to be working. I slept better this week. I read my book. I went out with friends one night. Just much more even keeled as opposed to a total panic every day from the moment my eyes open til I passed out at 10:30. I know that in 5 years I won't remember what it was like to live these days. Waking at 6:30, out the door my 7:15, in the office until 5 or 5:30. Dinner, play, bath, bed. Work from 8:30-10:30 pm. WHO NEEDS IT!?

So that is my update. Happier at work. More rested and ready for a great run! (or nearly ready!)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Big stuff: Seren edition

I am not going to berate myself that it has been nearly two months since my last post. I'm not going to sit here and list the excuses for why I haven't posted. I may not even try to explain what is going on but simply, I'll restart. I'll do a 'big stuff' list for each of us and see where that goes.

Big Stuff: Bike Riding!
Seren can now ride a two wheel bike! Two weekends ago I spent a good 45 minutes pushing her up and down our street. Sweating. She would barely go one rotation before leaning one way or the other. She didn't get frustrated and was the one suggesting we take off the training wheels. So we went up and down. Down and up.  It is a milestone. A rite of passage for parents, isn't it? It is quintessential.  This Friday we all went on a family walk.  We had a blast just strolling along. Wyeth was on his big boy bike that he got from Santa but insisted that one of us parent folk hold on to his handle bars. For security. Bent over back number 1. The other parent held the seat of Seren's bike. Sweating. But at one point she basically crossed the street and rode for about 3 or 4 sidewalk sections! CLOSE!

Saturday morning at 9 am we all went to a local school to practice. And it was like magic. I literally pushed her on her bike and off she went. Just like that. Like watching a magic trick! And her face! Oh her proud little face! It almost made me teary! She was THRILLED! And she went round and round and round. Meanwhile we are yelling and cheering her on at the top of our lungs. So proud.

The metaphor of teaching someone to ride a bike wasn't lost on me. As parents, all of our work is to prepare them for independence. Potty. Beds. Self feeding. Sleeping through the night. And pushing that bike that last time with my hand on her seat and giving her a firm, strong push and then watching her sail with independence? Man. Gulp. That is what it is, isn't it? Parenting is teaching our children how to confidently go through life without us.

Ride a bike? Check. Check.

Big Stuff: Loosing teeth

Seren has now lost 6 teeth and has the classic first grade smile. She looks like a vampire. Or a hockey player.  The tooth fairy was very very busy. One day she lost two teeth! The first front tooth hung on forever! It was disgusting. At dinner one night during the typical sobs we asked her if Dad could just pull it out. Yup she said. With a tiny tiny pull, it was out. She was all smiles. "oh! That didn't hurt at all! And now it is gone!! Yeah!!"  Then about 20 seconds later she tasted blood. And the crying and snot that ensued! Amazing. She started to BAWL. Tears were flowing. Then the snot from the nose. And then the drool. Heaven forbid she spit or swallow. Then Wyeth started to cry out of sympathy. We taught her to spit and then got a bit of paper for the 'bleeding'.  Once that was done we sat back down, looked at our dinners and said, "Done."

She has about 1001 questions about the tooth fairy. The tooth fairy usually gives a small gift and/or sometimes a dollar bill.  "Mom, does the tooth fairy have elves like Santa? I mean how does she make all of those toys? She can't have elves, right? No, that doesn't make sense. But then how does she do it? Just buy it? I've looked and there aren't price tags. So she can't just buy it at the store. But how does she even fly with that stuff? I mean, she is little. So she can't like FLY with a book. How could she do that? Well, she must use her wand then. That has to be how she does it. She just says "alla cadabra, dippity do, make something for Seren, who-who-who." And ta-da, that is how it gets here. Right mom, is that right? I'm going to ask Grandma."

Hmm. Right. That sounds about right.

Big Stuff: Graduating Kindergarten
From our perspective, we are nothing but relieved. Everyday we sent her there felt like the wrong mistake. She loved it, of course. She was excited to tell us of her teachers, the videos she watched, the subs she had. But us? We hated it. Every single thing about it. The teachers also went on strike again. They started June 4th. JUNE 4th.I agree with the teachers and support their right to strike 100%. But as a result, the year officially ended June 27th. JUNE 27TH! So our last day was the 22nd because the last three days of a morning kindergarten were 'half days'. That would be from 9 am until 10:20. Ridiculous! They had a very small, sweet, sweaty celebration in the gym that we proudly attended.  She was very happy.  And we were very glad that the year was behind us. No sign of White Meat, by the way.

Seren has some camps to go to this summer. Two camps. The rest will be filled with our trip to Cape Cod, our trip to Michigan, day trips, our trip to Baltimore and Daddy Camp. She is very happy to be home. She is very happy to ride her bike and she is just happy to be Seren.

(Pics to be added when I can download them properly).

Monday, May 7, 2012

On Friday morning at 4:45 am, our little girl Seren Alexia turned six. Six! I feel like I always do on birthdays. That it all moves too fast. I brought myself to tears with the realization that one whole third of our time with her under our roof is behind us. A third! I'm being overly sentimental, I fully realize that. But wow, sigh.

Dear Seren,

Today you turn six years old. Mom and Dad are flooded with memories of you as a baby in the NICU, of feeding tubes, of being just scared of parenting. And then we are flooded with memories of you as a smiling baby, a busy toddler, an ethusiastic preschooler and now a brint, curious kindergartener. You remain one of the most creative people I've met. Full of ideas and questions. Your happy spirit is truly contagious. You weren't a very happy baby. You were serious. Quiet. Very reserved. Now, my dear, you live life LOUD.

I love your confidence! You have tried soccer again and love it this time. Three goals so far this season! And Dad is your coach which is just way too fun. And this year you have been in year round gymnastics. Watching you bend and climb and learn many skills amazes me! And watching you navigate your relationship with your brother is a fine balancing act. Sometimes your patience gets worn thin and you get into this face. Yelling and screaming at some 'horrible' thing he has done. Other times, you are calm and patient. You encourage him. He adores you for who you are. He wanted you to paint his toes last week so he could match you.

Your father has instilled a love of words in you. A desire to write stories. Write poems. I love seeing you thrive in his encouragement.

And I love our adventures too. Our simple, silly weekends where we always have an adventure. Most of the time it is the mundane moments that I love the best. Today we walked around the block- the LONG block. You held my hand the entire time. And you skipped. It is impossible to not skip when you are holding the hands of someone who is. So our afternoon walk consisted of us both skipping up and down the block- laughing and winded.

We didn't have a big celebration this year. Instead, we made a list of special things to celebrate your sixth birthday. We celebrated for 10 days! On the list was sesame place, guacamole, shredded wheat cereal, seeing two movies and eating dinner in front of the (rented) movie, having fondue (more our suggestion than yours), watching a live concert of Billy Jonas, spending time with Grammy and Poppy, going out to dinner to Friendly's, having cookies with frosting instead of cupcakes for your friends at school, going out to lunch with the four of us and visiting Ringing Rocks Park.

We loved this approach to your birthday! And more importantly, you did too. Tonight, as I sung the Rainbow Connection - the song I have now sung for six years, you asked if your birthday celebration was complete. I said, yup, pretty much. You sighed for a moment. Then paused. And said, "Thanks so much mom."

You are more than welcome. Thank YOU Seren for being 100% you. For loving us. For loving your friends and your brother. And for teaching us on a daily basis, how to truly enjoy the simple things.

Pics from your day

New googles from brother Wyeth. SHE LOVED THEM!