Tuesday, August 30

Wasting Time- Shopping Mall Style

I cross the days off on my calendar first thing each morning (well after the dust settles from breakfast and stuff). We are counting the weeks, days, hours until we are all together again. We are definitely missing the final piece to our puzzle, George, but so thankful he is working away down south. 

The update on our family situation, in case I haven't explained, is that we *moved off the island (boo), the kids and I are in Indiana while George is in Louisiana and Nevada working and setting up shop for us. We will (hopefully) join him the minute we close on our house (yes, a real house with screens, a yard, air conditioning, dishwasher, a garage, etc.) sometime at the end of September. I never thought I would be so excited to live in Louisiana but at this point in my life geography is a minor detail and my family is everything. I am confident we can live the life we want anywhere as long as we are together. 

So the kids and I have just been wasting time, maintaining, trying to keep our heads above water until the day comes when we set off on our epic road trip south, our first together. In St. Croix, heading to the other end of the island was about as road trippish it got so it should be interesting. 
We are venturing out a little bit more these days, due mostly to me being a little more confident handling all of the kids and feeling sure I can keep them all safe all the time. When did I become such a paranoid safety freak? Where is my sense of adventure? 

We have the grocery store down to a science. I am still afraid of parks with tall play structures because since I am always "wearing" Jude, I am not able to climb and fit in small spaces and dart from drop off to drop off and keep up with Elsa and keep her out of harms way. And library = disaster with Elsa doing laps around the place screeching with joy.
I did see a kid on leash the other day but I am still not ready to go there with Elsa and I can confidently say that I will never be. Seemed cruel. I just wanted to cut the kid free and yell, "RUN!"
So here we are, desperate for exercise and action, in the mall playground. Padded, low standing, enclosed, and air conditioned equals peace of mind for me. Never thought it would come to this. My girls, who had barely stepped foot in mega malls, are now among the masses watching the hip teenagers texting their lives away. And then I think of what I would be doing in St. Croix, and as much as I would like to dream, we definitely wouldn't be at the beach for the same reasons, safety. 
Survival is the name of the game at this point. Surviving until we have the show stopping, official Dad voice back in our life so we can get out and enjoy the world again. Hard to believe this is where we were and what we were doing just three short months ago and now here we are, doing it up mega mall style. Time has passed and time will passed, this I know. Perhaps patience is the name of the game? I just have to keep reminding myself of this. 

*For the record, I do realize that, "Adventures of raising a family on island time" no longer applies to us. Maybe I am in denial, maybe I am thinking of something new, or maybe I have no time to do either, but I will fix it soon. Promise.

Thursday, August 25

Elsa Update-Twenty Months

I have absolutely no clue what is going on over here. I think someone put something in our water because these kids are growing like weeds, again. Maybe it's because they are eating a lot of this. Not that I want them to be small forever but I am kind of having trouble keeping up with the rapid rate they are growing. 

When we came to Indiana, Elsa had a massive growth spurt and I had to swap her clothes for a new batch of Nyah's old clothes. The joy of being the second girl. Hand-me-downs for life. Then yesterday, I had to swap her clothes out yet again, let me remind you, only three months after the first swap. My petite girl is shooting up. 
I always get so sad to give away the old girl clothes that Nyah and Elsa wore. The clothes have been with us for so long and each item has my girls all over them. I enjoying giving them away but I am usually oddly attached to them and want to make sure that the new owner will love the clothes and care for them and cherish them as we have. But the dinginess usually shines and I am not sure if they ever get worn again. 

But giving away clothes always means we get to get out a new batch. Rekindling the flame with some of Ny's old clothes and remembering the awesome moments we shared together with those fabrics covering her always brings excitement and an occasional "Aww." I can't help but let myself imagine the new opportunities and adventures that await us when Elsa begins to fill the clothes with new life. 
And when these mass growth spurts come to town, the shoe thing always gets me. By the time I realize their shoes are getting a little tight (no, we don't reuse shoes) and I go to the shoe store, the store lady/man always makes me feel like the worst Momma because of course, the shoe size I predict they are is off by like oh, usually three sizes or so. Yeah. We don't shop much.
But Elsa is still the same yogurt loving, two finger sucking, curly haired little girl who is filled with constant happiness. Reading and jumping are still her things and recently she became pretty fond of trains. "All aboard!", is a frequently used term around here. She is learning to count and sing the ABC song and can run faster than me, curls bouncing the whole way. She calls giraffes "dolphins", loves her brother, bugs, shoes, and sneaking into bed with me in the middle of the night. Our special little cuddle time that I wouldn't trade for the world. 
Nap time with her "dolphin".
Here is two minutes of pure Elsa goodness for your viewing pleasure with a few extra "cookies" thrown in for Aunt Nikki.

So overall, I would say this Indiana summer has been pretty productive for Elsa in the growth department, I just hope Louisiana agrees with her as well. And let me just take this moment to say, God bless hand-me-downs, or we might be starving.

*Click HERE for an equally cute video of Nyah talking with my brother when she was around the same as Elsa. Sorry, Chris.

Monday, August 22

Her Hai-yer Do

She has been picking out her own clothes and dressing herself for quite sometime now, and I must say, she usually does a pretty good job. But yesterday, after she had spent a significant amount of time in the bathroom, quietly (scary), I finally inquired by yelling across the house, of course, what she was doing in there? She quickly replied, "Fixing my hai-yer!" (Yes, she has started speaking a little Indiana, as opposed to her usual Cruzan, which is my cue that it is time to leave, asap.) 

After some more time passed, this is what strutted proudly out of the bathroom. 
Nicely done Nyah. I am just relieved no scissors were involved.
And off to the store we went.

Friday, August 19

Jude Photos

It has become my new life mission to get a good photo of Jude. Its hard work I tell ya. I don't have one of those fancy quick shooting cameras so by the time the focus and multiple flashes go off on my old camera, Jude has already looked away, the moment long gone. Believe it or not, he is smiling. I will try my hardest to get some proof soon because that smile. Oh my. It's so adorable.
So, in pursuit of my mission, I decided to lay Jude on the ground in the living room yesterday to try to get some some shots. 
I honestly can't believe that was his first time I laid him out to relax on a blanket, kick around and explore his surroundings. But after about one-second of having him out on the ground in the wide, unprotected open, I now know why. 
Our girls, they are amazing. No matter where they are in the house, the moment Jude hits the ground, they come a running. I think they have the ability to sense an unprotected baby who needs to be mothered and smothered to the max. And smother they did, oh how they love their baby bruder. 
It actually took two grown adults to take this photo. Me snapping and my grandmother with all hands on deck, protecting Jude's precious head from unintended blows from well meaning little girls who are always going in for the full mouth to mouth kiss. They want to kiss him on the lips and will settle for nothing less. It was little stressful but I got a few shots (thanks Nan). 
And big sister was too busy in iPad-ville to participate in the photo shoot, but she is never too busy to mother her bruder (thank goodness).

Thursday, August 18

Sharing Memories

How it warms my heart to see my girls run and play and ride in the same exact spot I did for so much of my childhood. 
Though the trees we used to climb are a little bigger,
and a bit more magical...
 ...the girls are still finding their way, facinated by pine cones on this particular day. They collected tons. 
Nothing better than (great)grandmas house. Kind of our Indiana equivalent to this special spot.

Tuesday, August 16

Mexican Mango

Nyah: Mommy, is this mango from Grandma and Grandpa's yard?

Me: No sweetie, I wish. That sour mango is from Mexico.

Nyah: Oh.

But she still ate it, still loved it. 

And I guarentee you George is most definitely shaking his head as he reads this post from somewhere in Louisiana. He is shaking his head because I did it. Because I bought a mango, actually bought, with our hard earned money something he has had in abundance and at his finger tips his whole life. But I had to do it honey. Had to buy her a mango because, Indiana, St. Croix or Mexico, they are still her favorite fruit and they still have the ability to put a smile this big on her face. How could I resist?

Oh, and thanks Mexico. Nice try. 

Thursday, August 11

Crafty Kids

Creating things with Nyah always puts a smile on my face.

I love her innocence and imagination when it comes to color. No one has robbed her of her creativity by informing her what colors things should be. She still lives by the whim of her paintbrush of what her hand grabs from in the Crayola box, her mind free. 
And on this particular day this how we kept Elsa occupied since she wasn't interest in the dough, except to eat it, of course. Bowls of split peas and a spoon equals hours (more like 30 minutes) of fun for Elsa spent transferring the peas from bowl to bowl. 
Love to see these girls hard at work.

Wednesday, August 10

Our Guy

Here is our little guy at six weeks old, all 13lb 11oz of him, and for the life of me, I just can't take my eyes off of him. When anticipating having a boy, I definitely never expected him to have such masculine features right off the bat. He is all boy, every feature so masculine and its blowing my mind. 

I am loving every minute of this little guy. He is finally coming into his own. All of the swelling to his face from birth is gone allowing him to fully open his big brown eyes. He is getting a little color to his skin, and a nice layer of chubbiness to his body giving him the cutest little arm and leg rolls. He's heaven. He has taken up residence snuggling in the left side of my neck and I can't imagine anything feeling better. 

But I still just can't stop looking at him. And I know it happens to nearly every mother, ever, in history, but I have to do it, just have to say it.  He is the cutest, sweetest, most perfect boy I have ever laid my eyes on. 

Tuesday, August 9

How We Roll

I am almost ashamed to admit how many strollers we have been through since I started this whole wild experience of having children. I just can't help myself. Though I am seriously into baby wearing, especially when the babies are new, I am also always up for being mobile, getting a little exercise in here or there (something I should seriously consider doing now because these stretch pants aren't going to last much longer) and just being an all around active human being. 

Oh and I can't forget that strollers are a must for us when traveling. Nothing like rushing to a flight trying to pull little arms along. 

Nyah started the whole stroller collection in the ol' travel system, large and in charge stroller which car seat easily snaps into. We still break this bad boy out from time to time when one child wants to sleep because the seat lays back, all the way back.

I then purchased an umbrella stroller when Nyah and I moved to the island and I loved how light weight and compact it was. Perfect for the two of us. Sadly though the stroller was left on the island because George made me choose, and with three the idea of this precious little stroller wasn't realistic.

When Elsa joined the party we opted for the Sit and Stand Stroller, having Nyah in mind, wanting her to have the option to sit or stand since she was really pushing the age of insisting on independent walking. I didn't feel comfortable using the Sit and Stand stroller with Jude and Elsa because at this point, we just can't trust Elsa to sit or stand since jumping is really more her thing. 

The Sit and Stand is a good stroller, I guess, if you are into pushing a limousine around and really getting your back into it when making sharp turns. Though this stroller is a little awkward, she really served me well and helped me be independent and get back into shape after Elsa. Many of afternoons were spent pushing this stroller up the many hills of St. Croix with two girls (or more) cruising along.  But if I would have known better, I wish I would have just gone with this double jogger from the get go. Though a bit pricey, definitely worth the investment.
Really cool sunglasses sold separately.
This stroller is the ultimate, and by ultimate, I mean its badass. The stroller pushes like a dream, can turn on a dime, has shocks, hello, and can even be steered with two fingers, which I try not to do too often. We tested all of the double joggers in the store. Were those customers who quizzed the saleswoman, repeatedly, and then asked some more questions but in the end, this was the smoothest and easiest stroller to manage for a girl like myself. 

There is a baby attachment but at the moment Jude still rides in the Ergo while the girls ride in style. 
The only down side to the baby attachment is that the baby can only ride while stroller is being jogged with after six months, which by that time the baby could sit in the big seat. The baby attachment is also a bit difficult to get on. In other words, George has to attatch it.
Overall, I love this stroller for every day activities, not only running (which I honestly haven't tried yet). Its smooth guys, real smooth. I have dreams of someday taking the two littlest out for a jog while big sister is at school but right now that is only in my dreams. But I do have faith that this stroller can make all of my dreams come true, seriously, its that awesome.

Monday, August 8

Having a Moment

When Elsa woke from her nap yesterday her sister was out of the house, on a special outing with Nana. Elsa's first mission of the afternoon, after having her required snuggle time with Momma, was to head for the boots. Big sisters boots. Though Elsa has her own pair, she seemed to be in a rush, obviously knowing this might be her only chance get a moment with something her sister rarely takes off. 
(If you took a peak in our backyard in the mornings, you would see Nyah outside playing in the eighty or ninety degree weather in long pants, raincoat (with hood up) and rain boots. It's quite a sight. She still has this total fascination with warm weather clothes. Little island girl is clueless)

We have officially arrived at the point in this sibling relationship where if one has something, the other just has to have the same thing. So it's a good idea to buy identical items for these two because, never fails, they both always wants what is "it" for that moment. Hours of bickering (or Nyah taking things ripping things from Elsa's little hands (we're working on it)) can be avoided, which is like a total vacation in Fiji for my brain. If the colors of the "it" item vary slightly, it's okay. Elsa is still totally cool with the left overs after Nyah has picked the optimal color or pattern. Not sure how long it will take Elsa to put a fight for first pick but right now I am so thankful for her willingness to comply, thankful anytime I can avoid having to break out my referee skills. 

This formula didn't work out too well with the boots though because Elsa still spent the afternoon romping around in Ny's boots, stomping, tripping and of course looking at her feet constantly, absolutely beaming with pride, enjoying her moment in her sisters shoes. 
I have to admit I was totally like, "Have your moment Elsa, live it up in those boots because Nyah will be home soon and then it will all start, again." And that she did.
Oh the rough life of the younger sibling. I think I see a pattern here and here, or maybe Elsa just really loves shoes (or her big sister).

*As I was typing this post, Nyah came over and of course asked why Elsa had her boots on. Will it ever end?

Saturday, August 6

It's a Party

Our weekend has been the best. We picked up a special visitor on Thursday and have been enjoying every moment with each other since, knowing that our time together is short. 
The kids were so happy to see George after spending three weeks apart and I guess I have kind of been in heaven having him around also. Actually, I am loving every minute with him, all feels right in the world again and will until I have to take him back to the airport in the wee hours of tomorrow morning.

The highlight of the weekend by far was celebrating the anniversary of the birth of our oldest child, our Nyah Amina, our boogie momma, our little boo, our Nyahbinghi, our Yaya. Hard to believe four years have passed since this beauty made her rushed arrival into this world and totally changed the game (for the better,the absolutely unbelievably, unimaginably better). She is the reason life is so wonderful these days. This precious little Leo is just so tall, so mature, and oh so old. 
We celebrated in true pink princess style as only a girly four year old would want to, especially when her mom isn't really into pink, let alone anything princess. 
But thats the way it goes as a parent and I have learned to just go with it and embrace what she is into and actually celebrate the fact that she has her own opinions and ideas about what is cool and beautiful in this world and just throw the best Pink Princess Party I possibly can. 
Thank goodness there were a couple of strong older cousins at the party to break the pinata or we still might be there waiting for the candy to fall.

Parties, husbands, princesses, what a great weekend it has been, I don't want it to end. Definitely don't want to go back to reality. But on a more positive note, it looks like we have another child with that St. Lucian blood who is always down for a party.
Only kidding, this big boy snoozed the entire party. 

Monday, August 1

Watch Out World

Because this little girl is going places...big places.
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