Thursday, September 15, 2011

Surfside, Texas

Once a year, one of my college roommates' (Brie) family (The Newtons) gets together in a beach house in the Galveston area...  Every year, they invite my sister, Amy, and me to join them for the weekend...  Even after having my flock, they still keep inviting me.  (It'll be interesting to see at what age, they will conveniently forget to call!  Ha!)  

A little history on Brie and her fam....  First, Brie started out as a unknown person on Amy's potluck dorm roommate assignment her freshman year at A&M.  My parents made each of us live on campus our freshman year and Amy didn't know anyone staying in the dorms so she went potluck....  After pilfering through each others closets, wondering what they had got themselves into, they became best friends fast... I mean TIGHT.  And of course, once you know Brie, you love her as I did after meeting her.  The next year, as I headed off to A&M, my bestie Misty, didn't get on campus housing, so seeing Amy's experience with potluck, I decided to do the same, thinking I was going to meet this amazing jewel of a friend that we would all fall in love with and add to our fabulous group of girls.... Wrong!  That story is for another time, but let me just say, I spent many of nights my freshman year sleeping on the floor of Amy & Brie's dorm room!!!  It took another year after that, but we were all finally together in an apartment!  To this day Amy and Brie will swear that living with someone you never met is a fantastic experience, but don't believe them!!

The closer we became with Brie, the closer we became with her family...  The Newtons.  Like Brie, to know them is to love them!  Her mom and dad are amazing!  Her brother Brad and sister Laurie are identical versions of Brie...  Same laid back happy personality.... very active, very smart, very interesting to talk to and they all have sickening gorgeous naturally blond hair.  Their mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer's at an early age and to see them pull together to take care of her is incredible...  Each of them has made HUGE sacrifices in their lives and it is an example of what a strong family should be!  It's always inspiring to be around them.

I thought that I had blogged about the previous time we went, but couldn't find it... Anyhoo...

This year we went to Surfside, TX, which is about 45 minutes away from Galveston.  Believe it or not, it was the first time in my life that I wasn't grossed out about the water and the beach down there!!  It wasn't the Caribbean, but the water was clean and the beach wasn't full of gunk!  It was actually really pretty.

This is the house we stayed in!  It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it was HUGE!  10 rooms, I think... 

Tons of ramps and stairs for entertaining the littles...

Even a media room for chill down time...

The babies love, love, love the beach!!!  It was complete craziness, but so much fun!  
Stephen and Damon
With the Seven

Beach Chaos

It was SO nice having all of the Newtons there... There was always someone willing to go and jump waves (which wore this mama out,) build sand castles, take someone to tee-tee, push a raft, or even just corral a straying kid or carrying an extra bag!!  

P.S. Gone are the days where I can sit under my umbrella drink my fruity drink with a celeb gossip mag!  

Brad and Stephen taking the first group of kids to the Beach

Jumping Waves in the "Big Water"

I left my sunglasses at home and my big beach hats block my peripheral vision, so I ended up wearing Stephen's hat... A titch boyish for me, but oh well!

Aim and Me


Surfer Ivy Girl

LOVING all the action

Miss Priss got a little finicky about the sand being on her hands.

The Newtons had every beach activity you could ever imagine... Boogie boards, skimboards, floaties, kites, frisbees, golf equipment, fishing supplies.... And as if that wasn't enough, they built a pond full of fish for the babies!!!  

Cousin Aiden and Brie w/ Pond

Fish!  Including natural greenery!

Sidney Kissing the Fish

College Roomies
Me, Brie and Amy

Amy, Brie and Brie's Fiance, Darren

Boys with Daddy on Skim Board
Ms. Priss getting over her sand aversion

Floatie Rides w/ Cutie Summer (Brad's G-friend)
Boys Wrestling (this is non-stop now!!) 

Cousin Brynne, Mitchell, Luke and Sid w/ Stephen

Laurie Building Castles w/ Luke and Aiden

We really had so much fun!!  Can't wait to do it again!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sleep Overs!

For those of you who know me, you know that I ADORE my family!!   Here is an example of how they always step up when you need them:

Amy blogged about it, so I am going to send you to her blog to read about how she took a baby each night of the week to spend the night with her!

Fabulous Farley's - A Q Slumber Party

Love you, Aunt Mimi!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

July 4th!

Love any reason to get together with friends and family and have sangria by the pool!  It has become an tradition to go to Moppy & PawPaws (My sisters in-laws...) for the 4th and do just that.  

Ivy, Luke, Sidney, Mitchell & Brie

Kiddie Lunch Al Fresco 

Aunt Sooze & Aunt Mimi
Eli & Brynne

Baby Soup

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Terrible Three's

I can't believe my little babies turned three on June 24th...  I still look at them in awe...  I seriously can't believe that I have these 5 little creatures that so completely consume my life!  I love them to pieces, but let me tell you three has been no cake walk!  

... Why does no one warn you about the three's???  All you read or hear about is the terrible twos!!! Well, let this be a warning to those who have not heard... The three's are rough! Almost rougher than the beginning... just almost!  The meltdowns, the whining, the testing, the full blow temper tantrums... Oy!  

There are definitely sweet moments where they love on you and tell you how wonderful you are or when you see them love and hug on each other.  There are moments when you see your hard work paying off like when they are polite to others without being reminded.  It is amazing to see them learn so fast and retain everything... They sing and laugh and dance and question everything in the world around them!

Birthday Cupcakes!

Mitchell, Briellen, Sidney, Ivy & Luke
Punchy Birthday Balloons

Ivy, Brie, Luke, Mitchell & Sidney

I couldn't have asked for a better outcome for their 3 year check up...  Everyone is healthy and growing just like they should.  Brie and Sidney are only 26 pounds, but they are healthy and are just going to be teeny girls.  They are way ahead of their age developmentally and they are smart, smart, smart!  (I am sure every mom says this about their little ones!)

Brie, Mitchell, Luke, Sidney & Ivy
Cars Room @ Dr. Neeta's Office

The only health hiccup we have had is in our little Tink-Tink... The last two times the babies have gotten snotty noses (in less than 2 months!) Brie has had coughing issues and they think she might have allergies and/or asthma... They say that this is common in preemies and that she will probably grow out of it... 
I hate this for her, but remember that things could be much, much worse!

So now we have a nebulizer... Nasonex. Xopenex. Pulmicort. Singulair...
I am trying to up the nutrition is her TERRIBLE diet in hopes that if her body gets the nutrition it needs it can fight the funk without all the pharmaceuticals!  (HUGE challenge for this mama, because this girl will only eat 5 foods and is STUBBORN!!!)

We had their birthday party at the Children's museum...  fun, but total chaos!!

While I am determined to enjoy each moment this year has to offer, I will not be sad to see them turn four!!

Father's Day

Yikes!!!  I am SO far behind on my blog!  I HATE that I procrastinate...

My choices are:
A) Start with current events and not update the last 2 months AND vow never to get behind again!
B) Blog mini posts for the last 2 months (minus my usual witty repertoire) AND vow never to get behind again!

I am choosing B, so here we go....

Happy Fathers Day, Stephen!!!

Brie, Sidney, Ivy, Stephen, Luke, Mitchell

At the risk of sounding sappy, Stephen really is the BEST father and husband in the world! Very hands on... Very involved... He is home at 5:30 every night, he wrestles/tickles/plays with the babes from the time he gets home until they go to bed, he gives them baths every night... He is constantly telling them how much he loves them, how pretty, smart, clever and sweet they are. TONS of hugs and kisses!

At the same time he has NO tolerance for whining, rudeness and disrespect! We are all scared when "stern daddy" comes out, but I honestly feel his combination of love and firmness is the reason the babies are as well behaved as they are.... (The term well behaved is used loosely, because they are still 3 and there are days we both think we have the worst kids on the planet!!!)

Now this is where I would normally insert pictures of Stephen with the babies from the time they were babies to now, but I am forcing myself to move on to next post...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

3rd Annual Lake Travis Vacay

It's hard to believe that 3 years has gone by since our very first family vacation!!  Time flies...  "The days are long, but the years are short."  (Stolen from my girlfriend Kimber.)

Read about our first and second annual trips to Lake Travis to stay in my B/F/F's gorgeous lake house! Every year we keep extending our stay... Soon we are going to be summering in Austin!  (Have I mentioned to you my theory on summering?  I really believe there is NO reason that normal people can't summer... Rent a house on VRBO, load up the car and get away from this miserable heat!  Stephen doesn't agree with me, which is why we haven't yet summered anywhere, but I am working on it!) 

We had an amazing week!  The Farley's came with us again this year, which always makes for good times! 

My girls Misty, Kimber and Suzy all came to visit several times so instead of it being a rushed chaotic visit, we actually finished some conversations!  And since we stayed the weekend, we got to see the hubbies too!

Elle & Stephen
Luke, Sidney, Ivy, Briellen & Mitchell
(Um, can anyone look at the camera, please?!?)

Ivy, Luke, Mitchell, Brie & Sidney
Watching Boats

The babies LOVED the water!!  I was a little worried about how they were going to react to the new life jackets (Puddle Jumpers) that I bought, but I worried for nothing! Everyone with toddlers should own one of these... The babies were jumping in the water and kicking around the entire pool.  Ivy and Luke still preferred to stay on the shallow ledge unless they were holding on to one of us.  But let me tell you hanging out in the pool was a MUCH more enjoyable experience not constantly manning the ledge to make sure no one fell or jumped off!

Stephen & Boys in Puddle Jumpers

We spent the days swimming, eating, drinking and hanging out with our friends... Perfect vacation...  Well, maybe not perfect... The downfall was the sleeping arrangements.  For some reason, each baby needed something at one point during the night, so instead of sleeping I was running back and forth between the girls and boys rooms... Not acceptable. (Tired mommy = mean mommy.) SO for the rest of the time, Stephen slept with the boys and I slept with the girls.  Next vacation... No kids!

Fun times below:
Meal Time

Computer Junkies
Aiden & Brie
(Uncle Briski would be proud!)

Golf Cart Rides
(LOVE Brynne's Ruffle Bum!)

Hanging with Aunt Mimi

Thank you, Misty and Bill, for being so generous and letting us stay there!  We love you guys!

(Left my camera at home, so these pics are borrowed from Amy and I have none of my girlfriends...  I was and am still SO annoyed!!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Goodbye Lovies

When I took the babies pacifiers away at 6 months, I gave them each a little blankie to sleep with -- We call them their lovies. In the beginning, they didn't really care about them, but soon they became addicted to them. They went everywhere with us... It amazed me how much my little guys loved them!! It was like they were best friends, wanting them when they were sad, talking to them before they went to sleep and just being happy when they were around.

Yes, it would be annoying every time one was missing at nap/bedtime or getting dragged through the mud right before we had to get in the car, but I had a blankie as a child (ok, so maybe I kept it until I was an adult!) and remember how wonderful it felt, so was thrilled that mine had the same thing.

Of course, some babies became more attached than others... Specifically, Luke and Sidney... They started sucking on their lovies... Luke would suck on the little "feet" (3 small tabs of fabric on his lovie) while Sidney would stuff as much fabric as she could as far as she could in her mouth. This made for some funky stin-kay lovies, but it was how they fell asleep best. (I had to order a second set of lovies, so I could wash a set at night.)

Luke @ 21 Months
Sleeping with Lovie in his Mouth

Sidney @ 21 Months
Sleeping with Lovie in her Mouth

Like many mothers think of their own children, I thought that this was endearing and cute... My family lovingly told me it was gross and my friends diplomatically stayed silent, but our dentist told me, after seeing their teeth starting to buck, that the lovies had to go! I didn't have the heart to take them away, so I negotiated with her the latest possible date to get rid of them.... She said 3 years was the absolute latest.

Our developmental specialist told me a horror story at one point about a family who took their child's pacifier away too early and the child grieved the loss of the pacifier and started to lose developmental milestones... So, of course, I was terrified, but knew I had to do it.

I decided that I would replace their lovie with a small stuffed animal, so they would still have a companion and hopefully the fur would be a deterrent for sucking. I had every intention of taking each child to the store by themselves to pick out the stuffed animal, but it didn't happen. (I ran out of time before our potty training weekend and really needed the lovies gone before that weekend.... Potty training, next post.) SO, I brought the store to us... I went to a million different stores and bought a million different animal for them to choose from.

That night before bed, I set up all of the animals in the girls bedroom and had a box for their old lovies. I took each child in the room by themselves and let them choose a new lovie and say goodbye to their old lovie and put it in the box.

Hooray! New Lovies!!

New Lovies & Old Lovies in Box
Briellen, Luke, Mitchell, Ivy, Sidney

As expected, Luke & Sidney had the toughest time sleeping that night, but after a couple nights they were able to go to sleep without asking for the lovie. For a couple of days, all of the babies would ask for their lovie at one point or another, mostly after getting in trouble. I would say 5 days and we were home free!!

I had the babies name their new lovies and some the names are hilarious...


New Lovie -- Horse Named Cookie


New Lovie -- Cat Named Coco


New Lovie #1 -- No Name

After being put to bed and she would cry for her lovie, I would go in and get her and rock her and explain why we had to get rid of lovie. After a couple of times of doing this she asked for another animal, so I let her pick a new one. Of course, she tried to work me and get a new one every time after, but she finally grew to love the new (and only) one she picked.

New Lovie #2 -- Giraffe Named Can-Can


New Lovie -- Horse Named Boom-ba

Luke -- Last Chew on Lovie

New Lovie -- Weiner Dog Named Space Balls

All in all, it definitely was a lot easier that I was expecting...

The thing I wasn't expecting was for me to be so emotional about it... After all of the lovies were in the box, I cried and cried! I don't know if it was because I knew how hard it was for them or if I was just sad about them growing up and not being "babies" anymore. Silly.