August 6, 2014

"I wake up, go to beach?"

Those were the first words Caleb sleepily uttered on Sunday morning when Joe went to get him out of bed.

We piled into the minivan with too many bags and a box of doughnuts to spend the day on our favorite Michigan beach.

(How many bags do you think is needed for one day at the beach? Five sounded excessive but it's what I had after trying my best to bring just the basics: my diaper bag/purse, kids car entertainment bag, dry food bag, clothes bag and beach bag. Plus a cooler. Plus blankets. Ridiculous.)
It was the first time we used the DVD player in our van. We told Madeline we would only use it on trips and it was the first thing she thought of when we said we were going to Michigan. She never forgets anything. Ever. Anything. Ever. 
After the movie, we turned it off and they had to entertain themselves for the last hour. One of their things to do in the car is talk to their Mimi and Poppi. Caleb always cracks me up when he's on the phone. He is a hand talker just like Madeline and me and half of what he says is still gibberish. It's entertaining for everyone involved.
Everyone in my family was able to drive up and spend the day together. When my family does the beach, that means we really do just the beach. We play, we talk, we eat and we never leave our spot. It's perfect. This view was perfect.
Caleb and Beckett stuck to each other's side all day. They cracked all of us up when Joe buried them in the sand. Caleb kept busting out and asking to be buried again and Beckett just sat there for the longest time, happy as a clam. These two have very different personalities but they get along so well and I just love it.
The evening was major sand castle building time. The weather was warm and sunny, the kids got along great and Mama ate a chocolate pudding cup, a beach culinary tradition. I brought a novel and read three pages, also another beach tradition.
Even though it's a very do-able day trip (exactly three hours), it was so sad to leave the lakeshore and head back home. I could happily do a month with these people and never want to leave. It's worth all the sand that comes back home with us.

July 15, 2014

Staying busy and doing absolutely nothing

The last couple months have been pretty blurry. I want to eek the most of out every day and do a million fun things with my family. But too many mornings, I wake up with these intentions only to finish the day in survival mode, wondering where the hours went. And I'm trying to be OK with that because we're in a season with a newborn and postpartum mama and I know it's not forever.

Our family caught a bad summer cold over the last two weeks. It was sad because we felt miserable and also missed lots of family gatherings over the July 4th weekend. But it slowed our pace way down in a way I'm just now appreciating (since I can actually breathe now and all).

When the only goal for the day is to stay in bed as much as possible, anything else feels like winning at life. (Also, I watched two seasons of "Call the Midwife" in 36 hours so it wasn't all drawbacks, ya know.)

But no matter what we're doing, these three kiddos are easy to make memories with this summer.  
These days, Madeline loves playing with her dolls, reading for the library's summer reading program prizes and coloring and drawing on anything that will stay still. She has her first job of caring for the neighbor's dogs and she loves thinking of ways to spend and give away her earnings. She's learning to dive.

Caleb lines up all his cars and truck daily, asks to watch "Mickey Cars" nearly every hour and swims like a fish wearing a shark puddle jumper. He needs his milk in the morning and asks for "Cuddle, mama?" in the afternoons. He's a sweaty mess every time he plays, indoor or outdoor, because he only knows one speed: AS FAST AS POSSIBLE.

They watched "National Velvet" for the first time a couple weeks ago and I wish I could show all of you the video of Caleb yelling, "The Pie! The Pie!" during the final race and them the looks on their faces when Velvet and The Pie fell down. Needless to say, that movie was a big hit for them.

This summer, we're living off granola bars and string cheese and turkey while reading "The Wizard of Oz" at lunch. We love when Joe brings home big soft pretzels from the neighborhood pretzel shop.
Little Lucy Lulu is the sweetest baby of all time. She only requires the simplest schedule of eating every three hours and just rolls with us the rest of the time. She gets a million kisses from her sister and eleventy thousand belly hugs from her brother every day. She still fits in the wooden cradle but just barely. She loves to be held but prefers to lie down awake to put herself to sleep at night. She's slightly expressive.
For Joe and I, summer means "Big Brother" and I could not be more thrilled. I discovered the game Two Dots on my phone and Lucy's feedings have never been the same. (The fire is just about to do me in, however.) I'm exhausted and overwhelmed but I'm deeply happy. Having three kids means I'm a different mom but I'm also very much the same. I still feel 22 or 23 in my heart but today I perused Costco with a friend as a fun way to kill time and I realized I need to accept the old woman I'm becoming.

We don't have bucket lists, full calendars or summer challenges but we're still loving this Indiana summer.

July 2, 2014

Lucy Eileen

Two months ago, my 37 week belly and I went to my doctor's appointment and was told I needed to have the baby in the morning.

It was unexpected and startling but exciting. There was a brief whirlwind of a huge range of emotions, calling Joe to meet me at the hospital, figuring out what Joe needed to bring from home and making calls to determine where the Madeline and Caleb would go for the next couple of days.

But I'll always remember the sweet hour when Madeline and Caleb came over and we watched cartoons and took our last pictures as a family of four.
The next morning, on the last day of April, I walked down a long hallway, laid down on an operating table and held Joe's hand as we met our beautiful baby girl and her abundant cheeks. She was completely healthy and we were completely happy.
In true Joe and Katie fashion, we finally picked her name when she was two days old. She's our Lucy Eileen, my light at dawn.
She has thick, dark hair and big, blue eyes and the sweetest, softest skin. She is calm in the midst of our noisy, messy home and loves to just watch the chaos swirl around her. She loves to be held and doesn't mind when her sister and brother kiss her 20 times a day.
She is an easy, easy baby who loves to eat and sleep and eat and sleep and smile and then eat and sleep some more. She is big and strong and has all four of us wrapped around two pinky fingers and two pinky toes.
While very loved, she's also a typical third child. She and her easygoing personality go everywhere with us. Lucy ate lunch in Jimmy John's when she was 8 days old, probably thinks Target is her childhood home and chills at the pool almost daily.
She is an amazing gift to our family, the perfect addition to our family circle and I'm still pinching myself to check that this is my reality. 

I'm so so grateful for my Lucy Eileen.

March 26, 2014

Maddie the Detective is back. Of course.

I'm weird about dirty dishes. Sometimes I can ignore a whole counter piled high and not be bothered until we run out of forks. Other times, I can't focus on anything else until the counters are cleared and wiped down, even if it's just a few breakfast dishes.

Today was a day when I could not handle the sight of the messy kitchen so I told Madeline we would start school late and she could play until I was done. After her chores, she went in Caleb's room where much giggling abounded. I tried to peek in at one point but Madeline insisted on surprising me with something. I didn't know what that meant but no one was screaming so I went back to the kitchen.

Finally, I finished and my surprise was ready. I walked in and she was nearly beside herself with glee and trembling and announced, "I organized Caleb's room!" Now, in full disclosure, his room was bad. I had let it go the last few weeks and tried to not look around whenever I went in there. But my little people-pleasing firstborn straightened it up for me, cleaned under his crib and dressers and organized his diapers and wipes.

Her heart loves to serve others and she's just so precious to me.
Caleb is still Cheeky around here. I love that he still has such a baby face at times. I took this picture during school at the table. He wanted to sit on my lap but I have about five square centimeters of available lap space these days. I hate telling him no but there just isn't room so he settled for climbing on the side of the chair and hanging on, just to be close to me.

I love this little boy.
Madeline received a Paula Deen kids cookbook for Christmas from her aunt and uncle. (She still calls her "Paula Deen-ya" and no one better correct her.) She studies this book, I kid you not. When I told her last week we were going to a St. Patrick's Day party, she immediately told me all about a green punch "that's great for parties and PERFECT for St. Patrick's Day." She made it and it was a delicious hit.

Today, she made Applewiches from the cookbook for the first time. Sliced apples smeared with peanut butter and a slice of sharp cheddar cheese in between. She and Caleb devoured them so I'm guessing they were tasty. I did not partake because peanut butter has been dead to me this pregnancy (except in chocolate/peanut butter/banana smoothies, the ONLY exception).
A couple weeks ago, Madeline read "Nancy Clancy." It's the little girl from the "Fancy Nancy" series but it's a chapter book and Nancy is all about detective work. Well, Madeline immediately got into detective mode and spend days around our house in her trench coat (bathrobe) solving mysteries in her notebook. It led to awesome moments like this:
She finished the book quickly and while she waited to get the second book from the library, her detective passion waned a little bit. We picked up the second book a couple days ago so she's since donned the trench coat once again and sneaks around our house, hoping Joe and I don't spot her. 

I found a note on the kitchen table last night after she went to bed. It read, "Yes! Of course, I am back!" This morning, I asked her what that meant and she said Maddie the Detective was back at work and she just wanted to warn me.

I truly never know what's she going to be up to next.