Thursday, July 25, 2013

Birds, Nests and Not Feeling Ready Yet

My oldest son is turning 20 next week.
I can't get my head around that. When they were younger and the birthdays and milestones came, it just meant another party, another year of fun stuff we would do together and another long year of growing together.
When they got to be teenagers, I found that every birthday brought more independence, a stronger desire to try things on their own and while they still loved mommy, they didn't need her anywhere near as much as they did even the year before.
I celebrate birthdays for the kids, I love the people they are choosing to become and I celebrate their being able to spread their wings and fly.
But I am a mama bird by nature.
I am a nest-tender. 
This flying away, while natural and good is difficult for me.
I had always imagined it would be easier.
I am supremely proud of my son, even though he is still trying to figure out who he is and what he wants to do on his terms, he is a loving son who shows that love to his family. He is a young man with very strong moral convictions, and while we may not have the exact same set of values and definition of that, he has the confidence to know that he can and should choose to follow his own heart, to listen to the melody within his soul.
I worry about him constantly, but I worry about the child who is asleep in the room next to mine as well. I am a worrier. I wish he would move back home, come back to the nest, but that's not really the way it works, is it?
So...20 years have nearly passed since I first heard the words "It's a boy! and I thought to myself "Did this really just happen? Do I really have a son? I have a son and nothing will ever be the same now. I will always love him."
I meant that and as more years pass, I am sure we will face bigger challenges than just growing up and spreading your wings, but my love for my Parker will always remain unconditional and he will always - no matter how old he is- be the little boy that I built my first nest for and I will forever be so thankful for the day he was born, for the dumb luck I have in getting to be his Mom.
I wish you were here this year, Kid.
Being apart is hard for your Mommy.
I love you, Parker Tate and I always will.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

You Are Sixteen, Going on Seventeen

I have a few catch-up posts to make, but not tonight.
My cousin and her family have been staying with us this past week and we have had such a fun visit. 
They live in Japan, so we never get to see each other, but we have been lucky enough that we live in areas with a Delta hub and we have plenty of room for them each year, so we have had some fun visits.
I'll post about that during the week, though.

This post needs to be about this kid:

The Kate.
The Katiebug turned 16 TODAY.
This summer, we have had a really great time together. Some season are rough when you have a blendy family and we had some seasons where we struggled to find what worked, but this summer has been easy peasy for us all. We have been having a blast together and nobody can make you laugh like Katiebug can. We're having an exceptionally good summer as a family. 

Most of her birthdays kind of stink. They tend to fall on days when there is camping and while camping is delightful, it's not all that fun when you're covered in bug bites and smell like smoke every single year. 
We're even guilty of having her be camping with us one birthday.
Actually, it was worse than camping, we were on a road trip and that night we stayed in Cody, Wyoming.
Cody, Wyoming is a terrible place- at least for those who think they are rugged enough to camp in the Walmart Parking lot.
 We grossly overestimated how long we could tolerate the smell of cow manure and how scary it would be to sleep in the trailer in a Walmart parking lot. 
And also it was Kate's birthday. 
Sorry, Kid.

This year- no camping, no road trip and no way was her sweet sixteen going to be ordinary.

She woke up to pancakes and a gift of Japanese style pajamas from Marla and Paul.

After Matt took them to the airport, we gathered everyone around for the rest of her gifts.
She was  a little bit excited.

Also, she is a ham.

 Because we have a billion kids, we tend to do sibling gifts that are super cheap.
I usually go buy them and the siblings who are there will pick what they give the birthday victim and the gifts range from practical items they need, to silly crap from the discount store. The birthday person laughs and gets through the boring and silly things until they get their good gift from Mom and Dad.

One of Kate's gifts was this witch hat, and it fit right in with the kind of dumb stuff we give on birthdays.

What Kate didn't know was that tucked inside the silly hat, her big gift was waiting for her to find it.
She put the hat on and didn't even notice it.
When presents were all done, she was trying to hide her confusion and disappointment at only getting small gifts.
We told her the hat was on wrong and she needed to fix it and get the point to stand up for a picture.
When she did, a paper fell out........


That's right, this kid is going to Wicked on Broadway!

In 2 weeks she and Matt will have a city day together and she will get to see Wicked for the first time and on Broadway, no less. 
She was shocked and so happy that she was shaking. 
She totally didn't expect anything like this and it is probably the one thing she has wished she could do with all of her heart ever since we moved here. 

She hasn't stopped beaming all day.

Mind Blown.

Sweet Sixteen Win.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Itching to go to Unique

I can't come up with a more clever title.

I have the creepy crawlies today because my sunburn from last weekend has started to peel.
It is one of my most hated feelings, I can't stand it.
Greyson is a million times worse and he hates it as much as I do. I start to itch just looking at him.

 The rest of my family is able to ignore it, but he and I are going nuts and can't leave our peeling backs alone. Everyone is completely grossed out by that, but it's making me bonkers.
This post took me an hour to type because I kept having to stop and put lotion on my shoulders. 

Thankfully, I have about a dozen mosquito bites on my feet and ankles to help distract me.
I'm seriously losing my mind.
In order to prevent myself from taking a bunch of pictures of my leprosy and posting them on Instagram, I'll share this week's Unique finds.

You can't appreciate the scale of some of this week's amazing treasures from Unique.

All of the stuffed toys I took pictures of were 3 feet tall. 
Somewhere, a ring-toss stand in a carnival for giants is missing it's prizes.

Heeey, it's Franklin and he's coming for your soul.
At least it's not a giant Calliou. I hate that kid.

Homemade Poltergeist Nightmare Murder Clown.
The ribbons wrap themselves around you and drag you into the television set.
Also 3 feet tall.

So was this.
A kid would  need an arm span of 6 feet just to hug Baby Taz.
That might have been done on purpose, because..... ew.

All of the other dragons 
use to laugh an call him names,
they never let poor Fuzzy
 join in any dragon games.

The Church unanimously rejected the new baptismal font design by Anne Geddes.

Nothing says 'sunshine'  like a 15 pound modge-podged wood plaque.

On Wednesdays, we wear pink.....

Another one to add to the "I have no idea what this is" category.
Any guesses? 

Oktoberfest on black velvet. 
Guten tag, Ya'll.

Go home Drag Queen Bunny, you're drunk.

I'm suddenly craving bananas. 

I don't understand the appeal of collecting these ugly Avon perfume containers. 
Clearly, someone else didn't either because there were about 20 of them available yesterday. 

When we went back today, though....... they were all gone.
Somewhere, an entire collection of Beanie Babies had to give up real estate to make room for these.

Another Colorado City wedding figurine.
"and if you scream, I'll WILL shoot you in the back. Just tell the officer every thing's perfectly fine..."

Thrift store tampons.
Probably not the best idea.

What time is it?
It's Jo Bro O'Clock, Playas!!

We've got the bride, we've got the dress, now all we need is a banjo to make the day complete!!

Done and done.

Party on, Rock and Roll Koala.
Time to hit the dance floor.
I really hope he knows Freebird

Monday, July 8, 2013

So Many Smiles

What a week we're having!

Our friends are still here and we're having a wonderful, noisy time. 
We've played a ton of games, taken NYC by storm and hit the Jersey Shore. 
The kids have watched Mulan no fewer than 6 times and I have no idea why they are all suddenly obsessed with it. 
Everyone is sunburned and so tired we have laughing fits over nothing and we have a special version of "I'll Make a Man Out of You" where all of the lyrics are replaced with the word "butt" because we're classy like that. 
Matt and Romy had fun birthdays, and my baby is officially a Beehive with her own cell phone.
Thankfully, we had unlimited texting. 
Kate and Jane are here and the girls are doing  manicures every night before bed as they have a slumber party in the family room, thanks to the fact that I own at least 40 bottles of nail polish.
We've enjoyed NY style pizza and NJ bagels that I cannot shut up about. 
I did a photo shoot in the back yard that turned out great, apparently I have a little bit of practice shooting family pictures with 7 kids. :)
We converted Summer and Leir into Whovianism.

My face hurts from all of the smiling I have done and also from being as red as a lobster from my sunburn. 
We're trying to convince them to move here because New Jersey is awesome and we love the Mitchells so very much.

Lighting candles and saying a prayer at St. Paul's Chapel in NYC

 9-11 Memorial

 sweet girls using the buddy system on the streets of Manhattan

 on Broadway...not the cool theater section- but it's still a big sign that says "Broadway" 

 Hot dogs in Battery Park

 Violet kind of melted.

 You are HERE.
Right here.

 My pedicure, courtesy of a three year old

 This was when Grey's skin was still white. 
So very, very white.

 Miss Violet, loving the water at Sandy Hook Beach.

 Dianna and John came from Brooklyn to soak up the sun with us, it was so great to see her & meet John! 

 Sometimes, I get in front of the camera.
I am as in love with this guy as the day I married him.

  Birthday Buddies. 

A few hours after this, his burn really developed and he is still hurting with a screaming angry red and blistered burn.
We put sunscreen on him at least 3 times, but he still fried.
I bought a swim shirt for him today, I'm never going to trust Coppertone  again.

I cannot handle the grown up-ness.
Make it stop!

12 candles

24 candles, because that's all they have in a pack and this nearly burned the house down

 Romy's inscription is "you're not really fat" and we're not sure if she means is really not fat or he's just fat, but not REALLY fat.
Happy Birthday?

 This child turns 16 in 2 weeks. 
I'm not done having  'Eek!' moments this month.

Playing Telestrations....

Balloon Party, complete with a balloon D.J.

(red arrow= Matt's office)

Mitchell/Olsons out, Yo.