Monday, January 31, 2011

Pretty Things

I'm a sucker for all things pretty. On the way to drop Elle off for swim team last week, I drove past the flower stand. These pussy willows were out and I knew I had to go back. I dropped her off and swung the car back around. I knew just where I could put them. Having fresh flowers in our home is something I have always done. I go about every other week and it makes such a difference. I don't spend much either. A lot of times the "filler" is prettier to me than the flowers. I'll just see what they have and then load up on bear grass, branches or just plain greens. It's really inexpensive and makes a HUGE difference for me in our home.
The pussy willows made it home and I love how pretty they look in our front room.
Our home is small and so I have to make every room multi-task. Yes, I had to put a computer in my front room/entry way (not ideal) but I've tried to make it as pretty as possible. The best thing for me is that I have noticed my girls starting to be aware of the pretty things around them. I got the glittery bird ornaments out this weekend and Gwen was fascinated by them. She loved how when the sun came in the window they got "sparkly". Elle asked me to cut off one of the branches of the pussy willows so she could carry it around. I did, and she loved feeling the fuzzy buds on it. I want them to grow up and appreciate the little thing around them that are pretty. I think that's important and it's so cute to watch.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Throw-up and other important topics...

The flu has hit our home. I have escaped but all 3 of our girls have had their turn with it. I have had some awesome experiences with throw-up and carseats and cribs and couches but I'll spare you the details. I didn't spare my sisters the details. I took pictures on my cell phone and texted them to my sisters - lucky them. That's what sisters are for. Anyway, it was unreal. After one episode I was power washing lily's carseat and clothing on our driveway because I couldn't even take it inside to the laundry room for fear of the mess just getting there. A lady I had never met before stopped her car in front of our house and said, "Oh sweetie-- I've been there. How are you holding up?" It was so nice of her. Really nice. I wanted to start crying but just then Lily came cruising down the driveway with crusted throw-up all over her and in just a diaper. All I could do was start laughing and I said,
"they don't pay me enough."
What else can you do but laugh? And for the record--threading, washing and re-threading a carseat 3 times in one week should earn you an advanced degree or at the very least an award of some sort (I'm going to look into that.)
I think we're on the mend but it's been one of those weeks for me.
Gwen and Jon were the only ones that made it to church this morning. Gwen was actually quite excited about that fact. She kept saying, "just meeee and dadda?!" She had Jon all to herself. I was rushing to get her into the car with no intentions of a photo in mind and she said,
"I'm cute! You can take a picture of me if you want to mama."
Jon was in a hurry and already in the car but I told him she REALLY NEEDED her picture taken. So this one's for my Gwenners - heading out the door on her way to church. She packed her church bag all by herself. I think it weighed more than she did. The bag was full of stuff to keep her reverent - books, paper, crayons. That bag always keeps her busy but we're working on the reverent part. You see, Gwen does not understand what the word, 'whisper' means. She does however understand what the word, 'cute' means. And yes Gwen, this morning you looked VERY CUTE.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lily Grace

My Lily
I took these pictures of her this morning and the cutest thing to me about them are her little shoulders. Who knew shoulders could be so cute? I love my Lily-pie. I love that I'm her favorite. I love that when I'm working on the computer she will walk up to me and put her head on my lap. She does that all the time and it melts me. I love that when I'm holding her all I have to say is, "laaay down" and she will nuzzle her head on my neck and shoulder. When I put her down for her nap or at bedtime, she holds her sippy cup to her lips with one hand and the other hand she holds in the air and waves good-bye to me...every time. I often whisper in my girls ears, "out of all the babies in heaven, how did I get so lucky to get you?" I've started whispering that to Lily and she smiles. And I love her even though I found her in the bathroom this morning playing with my cell phone in the toilet. It's true love.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Circus Girl

Gwen has been on a little bit of a naughty streak lately. She does things she is not allowed to do and then charms her way out of them. Yesterday she was in the shower and she knows that it is a BIG no-no to waste shampoo. Jon and I have both had numerous conversations with her about dumping shampoo down the drain. I went to get her out of my shower and noticed the plastic bowl we have in there that they play with was extra, extra bubbly. I then noticed my shampoo bottle (not the cheap kids shampoo) was laying on the shower floor. I picked it up and sure enough it was empty. I told her she was getting dried off and heading to time out when she replied, "mom, I am trying to learn to be a good cooker! I was NOT being naughty I was just making soup." A good cooker? Where does she come up with this stuff? She still had to go to time-out but she did get a laugh out of me.
Today she got me again. I let the girls ride their scooters and plasma cars in the house. They love to play "freeway" around the kitchen island. It doesn't bother me and they have fun. I do draw the line however with bikes. Bikes are not allowed. This afternoon I looked down into our family room from upstairs and saw Gwen riding like a crazy lady all over the family room on the rug. She was doing dangerous handstands on the bike (it has training wheels) and other stunts. I came down the stairs and told her to get her bike into the garage asap. She then looked at me and said, "Mom, I am practicing to be a circus girl. Circus girls HAVE TO practice and I am NOT being naughty." I kid you not those were her exact words to me. I died. I also grabbed my camera. I then had her explain to me what she was planning on doing for the show. That last picture is of her explaining in detail the dangerous stunt she was practicing. She was dead serious. She then said she couldn't continue talking and taking pictures because she needed to exercise like dad and propped the back training wheels on to the 1 inch thick black granite fireplace hearth. It was enough to get the back wheel so that it didn't touch the ground. Voila...she had a stationary bike. She was peddling crazy fast and was staying in place. Hilarious.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Career Day

Elle's school had Career Day. She has always said she wants to be a teacher like I was. She went as a teacher last year too for Career Day but came home sad because "no one knew what she was". I told her I could figure something out to make it more obvious this year. The apron was full of pencils, post-it notes, a ruler and chalk. She carried a clipboard around and I pinned a name tag on her. The black rimmed glasses were her favorite part. She said her teacher wears clogs so those were an easy choice. I thought she looked adorable. She did too until it was time to get out of the car. She kept saying she was nervous and would NOT open the door. I told her it was no big deal because if she didn't want to be in costume, all she had to do was put the apron and clipboard in her backpack and she was in a perfectly cute and normal outfit. She agreed and hopped out of the car. Watching her walk through all of the kids was painful for me. I thought for sure when I picked her up from school that there would be NO sign of her costume. I was happily surprised to pull up after school to find her still in full costume. She said she had a really fun day. I don't know if she'll continue to want to be a teacher when she grows up but I do know she would sure make a cute one.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Elle's Bunny

Here's My Sweet Ellers and her cherished Bunny before school this morning...

I received an email a bit ago from my best friend Allyson who is currently with her husband and 6 children in Thailand. On what seemed like almost a whim, they bought 8 airline tickets to Thailand and took their kids to help in orphanages over there. You can read about their decision, HERE. They are an amazing family. They are currently still there and I have been showing my girls pictures of their day to day trips to the orphanages. Elle was looking at the photos and she said, "mama, I could maybe mail them a shirt of mine that I don't wear anymore." I told her that was a great idea and that we could talk about it in the morning. About a half an hour later I heard crying coming from her bedroom. I walked into her dark room and asked her what was wrong. Elle sat up in her bed and at this point she was bawling. I still had no idea what the problem was. She then buried her head down into her chest held her bunny up in the air towards me and said, "mama, please take bunny. send him to the kids in the orphanage." To know Elle is to know that this little bunny is HER BUNNY. She has slept with him every night since she was a baby. If we are on vacation, Bunny comes with us. Sometimes in the middle of the night she will come in my room and tell me she can't find her Bunny. I'll go into her room and usually he has just fallen between her bed and the wall. The point here is that this little Bunny is the most priceless possession she has. I tried to give her bunny back to her in between her sobs and she just kept saying, "please mama, just mail him. it's ok. they need him more." At this point I was crying with her. In the dark of her room she had realized that offering a t-shirt she didn't wear anymore was not enough. She wanted to offer up the one thing most precious to her for those little kids in Thailand. I thought it wasn't possible to love her anymore, but sitting on the bed with her last night my heart melted. I have emailed my friend Ally and she said that if we look at the pictures, Elle can choose which little girl she wants to send her bunny to and Ally will make sure to get her name and address. So we're going to do it. Bunny is heading to Thailand. I took these pictures of her this morning so we could add a picture of her with the bunny in our package. I know those little kids need a lot more than one stuffed bunny so we've also decided to sell cookies door to door in our neighborhood to make some extra money to send with our Bunny as well. I think more than anything this will be something my Elle will remember forever and I hope will be a way for her and all of us to do a little more for others.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Lily 18 months

I put Lily and Gwen in the shower with me this morning. Our shower is pretty much the family shower. The girls have their own but it is rarely (never) used. Our master shower is stocked with plastic ducks and turtles and of course kiddie shampoo (family fave...suave's kids orange mango. the best!) The kids smell soo good after their showers I want to just eat them right up. I wrapped Lily up and set her on my bed and then went back to get a shivering Gwen her towel. Gwenners ran off after her shower to choose her own outfit for preschool (always interesting) but Lily was content just like this on my bed. I can't get enough of her! Add her smelling like orange mango and I was a goner. To die for cute.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Boogie Shoes

Ever since Elle was a baby I have put on music in the morning during breakfast. I used to hold her and spin and dance. The same song every morning. Boogie Shoes. Totally random, I know. I don't even know how that song became the McGee Family's official "morning song" but it is. Now that she's in school, we still put on Boogie Shoes during the morning routine. Getting her out the door by 7:45 is a little crazy. There's always homework, papers that need to be signed, trying to remember what day her library book is due, getting her dressed and her hair done, shoes and socks (my nightmare...lots of fights in this department), packing her lunch and getting her breakfast all while I have two other very needy little girls. Putting this song on lightens the mood greatly. I can be completely losing it with the grumpy kids but as soon as I put the music on they are all happy. If there's still a frowny face, I just pick that morning's grump up and start spinning them, it's like magic. Impossible for them to keep the frown. The door was open so she could see when jon pulled up to get her. He leaves super early in the morning but since he works so close, when he can, he'll swing back home to take Elle to school. That's their time. I am usually way too all over the place to take a picture but I did catch this one of Elle this morning when she didn't know I was looking. A little blurry but what could I expect when one arm had a pack of turkey and bottle of mustard in it and Lily standing on my feet with her hands up in the air (her way of saying, 'hold me"). I know I could do a lot of this the night before but I'm just not that organized. There, I said it. So if I can make my crazy mornings at least, fun, I think we're good. I know inevitably this tradition will end some day but for this stage in our lives it works and is super fun. I feel like if I can get them to leave the house happy, that will set the tone for their whole day. How can your day not be great if it starts with a dance party? If nothing else, when they're older and they hear the song Boogie Shoes they'll laugh.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The McGees 2010

McGee Christmas Card 2010

Since the year Jon and I were married I have made sure that we've sent out photo Christmas cards. I have been keeping them in a separate book. The main reason I started was to make sure that we have at least one good family photo each year. The deadline of sending out the cards keeps me on track. The book is so much fun for the girls to look through. Jon and I sent out a picture from our wedding day our first Christmas together. The very next year's card I am holding baby Elle in my arms (we didn't mess around). We have one where I am pregnant and puffy faced...I delivered Gwen 2 days after that photo was taken and the cards document it all. The book is and will always be one of my most treasured items. There's lots of empty pages in it still and I look forward to filling them up in the years to come.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

All Smiles

Gwen has ladybug rain boots. She loves them but was really, really excited about getting the ladybug umbrella. Well, it arrived and she was all smiles. She said she did NOT want to wear the boots because the rain made her feet feel "tickely". And for the record, her smile under that umbrella was just as big as the one on top.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Happy New Year

My sister Megan and her family came into town for a visit. We met them at the Terranea Resort for a few days. It was heavenly. A much needed break for all of us. Both of our husbands had to work so Megan and I had 7 kids between us to entertain. Our rooms were overlooking the ocean and the resort made everything easy. The kids had a blast at the pool complete with a waterslide (elle's favorite), sandpark (lily's fave) and kids jacuzzi (gwen's favorite). Megan and I sat with jackets and scarves on while the kids swam. The pools were heated but it was COLD outside. They rode their bikes on all of the trails and just had fun together. I loved hanging out with my sister and that my kids were with their cousins. It was a perfect way to start the new year. Here's to 2011!