Thursday, May 26, 2011

The weekend, part 3: Our last first birthday

I've delayed writing this post for a week now. When I'm done, I will have posted about one of my children having a first birthday party for the very last time. Oh, the bittersweet of it all! Okay, I'll downshift on the mama drama a little.

Since last weekend was so filled with Abby's dance recital and other activities, we couldn't schedule Aaron's birthday party until Sunday afternoon. It worked out great. After lunch, Abby and I headed back up to the church to decorate. Abby made this beautiful sign for the door. The things that look like giant eyelashes on each of the letters are supposed to be fireworks. Please don't tell her that her "1" is backwards--it's a sensitive topic.

Aaron was very blessed to have lots of people who love him come to celebrate his birthday. We didn't do much (really, what all is there to do at a party for a one year old?) but we had plenty of fun. We did remember to get a family photo, and once again I was very happy with the results:

We also took a few shots of Matt and I with our baby-no-more. He cooperated beautifully, mainly because I was tickling him the whole time.

He was not, however, so agreeable to being put in the middle of a kiss sandwich. Too bad for him.

The big kids were very well behaved, and wanted to make sure I documented their presence.

And now to the part everyone is always waiting for. The smash cake. Abby refused to get messy with hers. Ethan went hog wild with his--we found icing in his ears for days. I posted a couple of pictures of that day here. Aaron was the perfect middle ground. He enjoyed his cake, but did not bathe in it. He was quite delighted to get to eat it all by himself. Observe the progression:

And just like that, it was over. We have a one year old. And a five year old that starts Kindergarten in 3 months and an eight year old that just danced in her first recital. I think I need my own cake now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The weekend, part 2: Dancing Queen

After a Saturday morning and afternoon filled with soccer, a friend's birthday party, and running errands, we prepared for Abby's big recital Saturday night. She's been taking ballet all year and LOVES it. I always pegged her as more of a hip hop or jazz kind of kid, but she's really enjoyed attempting to be graceful. I never took dance as a child, so this whole world has been new to me. And it is a serious world, let me tell you. The recital was almost THREE. HOURS. LONG. It would have actually been fun to watch the whole thing had we not had two boys who were not so into it with us.

My new camera did not let me down Saturday night. I still really don't know what I'm doing with it, so I was thrilled when I got such great photos. For the recital, I basically turned off the flash, zoomed in as much as I could, and prayed for the best. As you'll see, it worked.

Here's the dancing queen all dressed and ready to go:

Bias, schmias. The girl is pretty. She had to wear makeup which just made her look older and prettier.

Prepping her ballet shoes for the performance:

I always try to remember to get family pictures when we're together like this. For every 20 we take, we're lucky if we get one in which we are all even looking at the camera. We actually got two good ones this weekend! Here's the one the kind lady in front of us took pre-concert.

Abby's ballet dance was to We Are Siamese. Her teacher applied her cat makeup, which of course warranted another picture.

For most of her ballet performance, she was on the far side of the stage from where we were sitting so I didn't get a ton of great pictures. This is a pretty good one, though. She's the third from left if you can't tell. Somehow her headband got positioned on the very front of her head so it looks a little strange, but she's still lovely.

Abby was actually in 4 dances at the recital. Aside from her ballet performance, she was in the opening and closing dances along with all the students. But then. Her other dance was a daddy-daughter dance. Six young girls from the studio performed a routine with their dads. That's right. Matt, my sweet, quiet, behind-the-scenes husband went to practices all spring and got up on stage in front of a thousand people to dance. A little known fact about my husband is that he is a skilled ballroom dancer and has excellent rhythm. The dance was 50's style, to a song called Daddy Cool. Abby's best pal Audrey and her dad, Chad, also performed. Watching my husband up there, stepping WAAAYYY outside his comfort zone to dance with his little girl was one of the best moments of the weekend.

I got crazy lucky with where I was sitting and got some fantastic photos of the daddy-daughter dance:

Abby and Audrey in position before the song started. I LOVE this picture.

This is the only picture I have of the whole group. Just look at those six brave dads!

Some of their best dance moves:

I mean, come on. How can you not love that?

After the show, Matt gave Abby her flowers. She knew they were coming, I'm sure, but she was still so thrilled and thankful.

Oh my goodness! What a night. The kids didn't get in bed until almost 11, but it was worth every minute. I am so glad it went well, and I am equally glad that recitals are only once a year.

Up next: AAMEN's last first birthday party!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The weekend, part 1

Let it be said that I am still recovering from our crazy weekend, but I want to start blogging about it or I'll never get it done. First, let me tell you that last week I bought a new camera. This was a purchase that was VERY long in the making, and I was crazy excited. Thanks to my good friend Cameron I was educated on my options and got a fantastic, fancy thing that makes me feel very professional. I only know how to take pictures on auto really, but I WILL learn more. I will. Fortunately for me, the auto mode on this camera produces pictures that are ridiculously good and as a result I have wonderful pictures of our weekend.

Friday, Aaron turned one. I still can't deal entirely with that. He wore the same t-shirt that Ethan wore when he turned one. I REALLY can't deal with that.

Please excuse his puffy red nose. The boys in our family suffer from allergies and he is no exception.

It was also a big day for Abby. She's been taking ballet this year, and her recital was this weekend. Friday she had dress rehearsal from 4:00 to after 8:00. She was one tired girl. Parents don't go to the rehearsal, but before I took her I used her as a test subject with my camera. This photo is unrelated to anything about our weekend, but I had to put it on here because--look at her arms!! She is cut. I guess all that monkey bar play has its advantages! She was not trying to show her physique in this picture--she was actually in the middle of some dance move and I just happened to catch her buffness.

This kid had a pretty easy weekend, but he's so dang cute I thought I had to at least give him this.

And a couple more pictures of the one year old. His big trick these days is clapping and saying "YAY!" Only his is more of an "AY!" which makes him sound kind of like a New Jersey cabdriver. It's charming.

Soon I'll post about Abby's recital and Aaron's birthday party. And I'll also probably post a really sappy, mother-ish something about my baby turning one. Did I mention I'm still not handling that very well?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aaron

This is the busiest weekend AAMEN has had in a long time, and it's probably for the best. We have a 4 hour dance recital dress rehearsal and 2 1/2 hour recital, a soccer game, church and two birthday parties, one of which we are hosting. Oh, and MY BABY TURNED ONE TODAY.

That's why it's good for us to be busy. It's kept me from spending the entire day staring at pictures of him and crying.

I want to write a post about Aaron that is worthy of my sweet, quirky third-born, but I am so tired right now that I am typing with one hand and holding my eyelids open with the other. So I'll write that post next week, and for now we'll just meditate on the deliciousness that is Aaron Matthew.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What do they know anyway? They named their band Toto.

Yesterday while I was driving, one of my very favorite songs came on the radio: Toto's Africa. I have always loved that song. I started to sing along, and then I remembered what I always remember when I start to sing along to that song--I don't really know very many of the words. I kind of go, "Hmmm-ah-na-ooohhh-things we never haa-aaa-aad."

Of course, now you can look up lyrics to any song on the internet, but I've never thought to do it until now for Africa. There's one specific line that I really wanted to know. It's right after they sing "It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you. There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do."

What do YOU think they say next?

Now, don't cheat. I'll give you the answer in just a minute. But really--what does it sound like they say next? Because I'll tell you, even after I looked it up I'm still not sure.

Here are the various possiblities I had come up with before looking it up:

- I'll catch some rays down in Africa
- I've got to raise down in Africa
- I caught some rings down in Africa

None of them really made sense, but look, we're talking about an entire song that doesn't make much sense. So I looked it up with great anticipation. You know what the real line is?

I bless the rains down in Africa.


What does that have to do with anything? And how do you bless rains? I think my ideas were better.

Also, in related news. Until Matt corrected me, I always thought the line in Abba's Dancing Queen was "feel the beat from the jamboree." Turns out tambourine and jamboree sound a lot alike.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Who a mother REALLY is

The other day, I saw someone post this quote on Facebook in honor of the approaching Mother's Day:

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie. ~Tenneva Jordan

I've heard it before, but for some reason this time I stopped and thought about it for a minute. I quickly came to the conclusion that Ms. Jordan, while very well intentioned, simply has it wrong. Here's why.

1. Moms do a lot for their kids, no question. I've lost sleep rocking sick babies. I've watched Dora the Explorer instead of what I wanted to watch countless times. I've played Candy Land until I had the color order memorized. This doesn't make me a selfless saint, though. It makes me a woman with a brain. I do love my kids and want them to be happy; however, I also know that quiet, content children is the most direct path to my sanity. If I have a choice between watching a show I like while a child whines in my ear or watching Dora and Boots try to outwit Swiper in total peace, guess what? Vamanos, Dora. So while the quote implies that moms sacrifice their wants for those of their children purely out of love, I say there are other forces at work there.

2. Last time I checked, most mothers are women. And women need their desserts. If this quote was about lasagna or scrambled eggs, maybe I could see it. But pie? Sorry.

Of course, a mom in this predicament would have to do something drastic. She would know that being short one piece of pie would cause at least one tantrum and probably a sibling throwdown or two. So I have created an alternative quote, one that I think much more accurately depicts the moms of today:

A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly hides the pie on top of the refrigerator and serves Twinkies for dessert, then eats the pie after the kids are in bed. -AMENMom

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Proud to be that thing

I am in absolute and total denial that Aaron is turning one in just over a week. It cannot be happening.

Here's the thing. Aaron's my baby. My last baby. My last chance to hold my own tiny, squishy, smells-like-heaven itty-bitty person. I have loved it, and I don't want it to end. I don't want this sweet, curious, snuggly baby to turn into a moody, sneaky, dramatic (and fine, probably really cute too) toddler. I don't NEED an older kid. I have two of those already.

Because of some circumstances with my c-sections, it would be too risky for me to have any more children. I have told Matt repeatedly that if it were left up to me, I'd have 18 more. He points out that while Aaron is an exceptionally well behaved, low maintenance baby, there's no guarantee that if we had another it wouldn't be the exact opposite. He also points out that maybe the reason I want to have more babies so badly is just because I've been told I CAN'T. Huh. He may have a point or two, I suppose. Still. Just one more?? Okay, fine.

I fear that I am going to become that thing that I have mocked--the mother that dotes on the "baby" of the family. All right, so maybe I have already become that thing. I'm sure it will get better as he gets older.

Just in case, though, stage an intervention if I'm still carrying him on my hip when he's 5.