Happy things lately...
// new neighborhood friends. Bryce, Jeremy and Megan live across the street and up two houses from us, and Bryce goes to kindergarten with Brandon. On the nicer days with later sunsets, the boys have been spending hours after school bouncing back and forth between houses and yards and it has brought me so much happiness (and new ground rules) just watching the friendships develop. Not only between the kids - but the parents as well. It reminds me of my childhood on Marryhill Dr. - when neighbor friends developed into family, and memories were made on our streets until the sun settled down for the night. Bryce has a basketball court in his backyard, and we have an empty lot across from our driveway that is owned by the city. Between our pitching machine and tree swing, Bryce's hoop, and that large empty patch of grass, we've been having fun losing baseballs in the creek, playing football games on that large patch of grass and learning safe ways to cross the street. And Bryce's new baby brother is just the cutest... I love getting my baby fix whenever I walk up to their house! It's going to be a summer filled with memories and cookouts with our new friends, and I'm pretty thankful for it. It's an answer to a prayer I prayed at the start of winter, and I love seeing God at work so directly.
// spring mail and package deliveries. New books from Amazon, a spring and summer Scentsy order and summer clothes from my favorite online boutique - Pink Blush. I'm trying to find time for reading again, a lifetime hobby of mine that has taken a backseat in the last year or two. But with the boys getting older, I'm reconnecting with some of my passions. It's a good balance right now - kids still small enough to come home for supper every night, but an extra 20 minutes for myself once in a while to sit down with a book. It's not always the most productive thing I could be doing, but I'm reminding myself more lately to take care of me, and that I'll be a better mom because of it.
// speaking of taking care of me, I took last Friday off of work just because. The boys were at Blessed Beginnings for their last day with their friends until summer, and I enjoyed checking fun things off my list. I shopped for Easter basket fillers, new jeans, had lunch and a coffee at Barn Happy, did some reading, worked out and watched March Madness on TV with Deanne. I very rarely take days off work unless it relates to a holiday or a need for the kids - in fact, I never do. So it was a good day.
// a rainy Sunday afternoon in the movie theater. The boys received lots of movie gift cards for Christmas and their birthdays and we used some of them up to see Zootopia, which was a hit for the whole family. I recommend.
// smoked brisket and homemade Famous Dave's honey butter rolls for a Saturday night supper after a full day outside. It was such a beautiful day - this late Saturday in February - and we capped it off with a delicious dinner. Papa Tim smoked the meat, I whipped up the rolls, and it got us ever so anxious for a summer full of nights just like these.
// an impromptu Saturday afternoon with the ladies. We put the guys in charge of the kids and sat in the pedicure chairs with glasses of wine. Unfortunately these refreshed and pretty toes haven't actually seen sun and flip-flops yet, but at least they'll be ready for it when they do!
// holding the hand of my youngest as his very first baby tooth was pulled. The look on his face when he found the dollar bill under his pillow from the tooth fairy and how perfectly still he stood for his first set of mouth x-rays. We can see from the x-ray pictures that he has a mouthful of adult teeth below all of his baby teeth - just waiting to pop up throughout his entire mouth. Brandon is hoping the next loose tooth experience is a little less traumatic and that it falls out on its own this time. ;)
// a new puppy in the family. Meet Zoey Price.
// the first early morning thunderstorm of the year. We're so eager for this weather to turn for good. The few days of open windows that we have enjoyed put us all in the best of moods, and I can't wait until these cold, muddy days fade away to warmth and green grass.
// a daycare that e-mails pictures of my kids to me at 6:00 at night after a fun field trip to the Imaginarium. They both had so much fun on their week off of school. They visited the library, the Youth Pavillion, pet snakes at the Imaginarium and camped out in the church basement with movies and popcorn. I love that they are surrounded by teachers who care about them so much, they send pictures - and even take videos of them - just to share it with me later.
// the boys and I started the first Harry Potter book together last week. We're reading about one chapter a night before bed, and having never read or seen the movies myself, I'm excited to get engrossed in the phenomenon right alongside my kiddos. But wow, these books are long!
// full-steam ahead with Disney vacation planning. My Pinterest Disney planning board is filling up, I've read countless blog posts about traveling through Disney with kids, and we just received our free Disney planning DVD in the mail earlier this week. We don't have exact dates for departure nailed down just yet, but it sure is giving us all a lot to look forward to beyond those sweet summer months.
// spring decorating and Easter baking. Tulips on the table, bright colors throughout the house, fresh seasonal scents in every room and a camera waiting to break free of these four walls.
// a little boy whose basketball interest is starting to develop and who finds great pride in practicing his dribble. It improved a lot over spring break, and I don't think it will be long before he can keep pace with his brother out on the driveway. What he lacks in height and size, he makes up for with determination. :)
// the start of another season of swimming lessons. Two nights a week are spent with later suppers, but we're finally to the year in which both kids can take lessons in the same pool at the same time. Brandon can just BARELY touch the bottom of the Peet Jr. High pool, if he stands on his tiptoes, but he's loving being back in the water and has been reunited with a long-lost friend from Karen's daycare. He and Aubrey were good two-year old friends before our move to Blessed Beginnings and now they've been reunited at swimming lessons all these years later. Jaden's age level is working hard on the front stroke, and I'm hoping he improves enough to take the swimming test at the Falls this summer - giving him access to the older kids' swimming area. He's much more timid in the water than his brother, which I suppose isn't all bad.
// Brandon discovering YouTube videos of famous painter, Bob Ross. He is usually pretty hard on himself if he makes a mistake with one of his drawings, and Cody wanted to show him that Bob Ross believed there was no such thing as mistakes - just "pretty little accidents." :)
// watching our Panthers in March Madness. They won a thrilling first-round game with a shot that was heard around the world and will be relived through highlights shown for years to come. Two days later they lost an absolute heartbreaker that left many sleepless that night. They feel like family to us, and we're so proud of them for how well they represent our community.
// finally, the days of weather that have been good to us. There haven't been enough yet, but they've given us a glimpse of what's to come.
Happy Easter, everyone.