Sunday, May 31, 2009

mini me

Of all the girls, I think Bryn and Devin look the most alike. A few days ago, they came downstairs wearing matching nightshirts and they looked even more alike. Look at this one.....
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Recital 2009




It never gets old. No matter how many ballet slippers I tie or how many cheeks I stain pink, emotion never fails to overcome me when the curtain opens and I see one of my babies on the stage. My eyes fill with tears and my heart momentarily stops. It's not their beauty or their grace, though both are stunning (I'm a bit biased, I know) . No, neither of those things sets off the waterworks. What makes me weep is the joy and pride I see in their faces, the "look at me" sparkle in their eyes and their smiles that couldn't possibly grow any wider.

The day wasn't without drama, however. We had to leave at 11:45 for the 1:00 show, so I packed the bags and lined them up by the door at 10:00. Jacey, Bryn, and Tori each had multiple parts to their costumes so I checked and double checked the bags to make sure we had everything we needed. One of the songs Tori danced to was "Teddy Bears' Picnic" so she needed a stuffed bear. Tori chose her favorite bear, dressed her in a pretty purple dress, and added her to the pile. My amazingly talented sister-in-law, Gwen, meticulously worked on their hair and created gorgeous French braids for each of the girls. She brought out the heavy artillery and managed to get Devin's short layers into 2 beautiful braids.
We arrived at the school where the recital was being held early so I would have plenty of time to get each girl to her designated backstage location. As I was getting Tori settled I noticed that her furry friend, the one and only prop she needed, was missing. I asked her where it was and her face completely fell and she burst into tears. Apparently, sometime during the morning rush, my never seen fifth child, Not Me, decided to steal the bear and put it in the playroom. At least I think it was Not Me, though it could have been Wasn't Me, who has also been known to wreak havoc in our house. I know it was one of them, because when I asked Tori why she moved the bear off the pile she emphatically said it was Not Me, but Bryn probably did it. Bryn, of course, denied having anything to do with the missing bear and said that it Wasn't Me. Poor Tori was inconsolable and looked utterly pathetic with her blue streaked tears running into her smudged pink lips. One of the other moms sad she had a stuffed dog in her car that Tori could borrow, but Tori said it had to be a bear because the song was "Teddy Bears' Picnic" and not "Stuffed Dogs' Picnic". I told her that I would figure it out and be back. I found Gwen waiting in line and off we went to CVS, leaving Todd behind to hold our seats. We tore through the aisles like contestants on Supermarket Sweep (am I the only one who watched that show?) until I found the toy section. I found a Care Bear - purple, her favorite color. I brought it backstage with lots of time to spare. Tori's enormous eyes lit up and and she threw her arms around me. I retouched her makeup, gave her a big hug, found my seat, and exhaled.





























Saturday, May 23, 2009

Memorial Day



If you have a few minutes to spare, click the link below to hear a very moving tribute to our fallen Vietnam soldiers.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lick vs spit


Last night I performed my Sunday night ritual - the house cleaning tirade. I went room to room, barking orders at everyone to put away the Pollys, Barbies, doctor supplies, waffle blocks, and many other toys that were played with over the course of the weekend. Yesterday's weather was cloudy and damp and since the girls were outside gardening with Todd all day Saturday, they stayed in their pajamas, unwashed, and played in the house for the day. By the time 6:30 rolled around, the house was unrecognizable, which added a bit more hysteria to my ranting.
Scattered across the living room floor were about a dozen plastic play coins. When I inquired as to why they were there, Jacey told me that Tori used her spit to stick them all over Devin. Tori was upstairs so I called her down. As she was descending the staircase, I asked her if she used her spit to stick coins on her sister.
Tori: I didn't use spit. I used lick.
Me: You used what?
Tori: Lick. Like this. (she licked the air to demonstrate)
Me: Lick is made up of spit.
Tori: Ohhhhhhh
I turned to stifle my laugh and saw that Todd was doing the same. I guess that in the mind of a six year old, spit happens only when saliva is propelled out of someone's mouth at high velocity. Another story for her scrapbook. But, you know, spit happens.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Bryn's move

Check this out. It's called the Maradona, as in Diego Maradona, a former superstar from Argentina. Bryn learned his signature move at soccer camp over the winter.....


Friday, May 15, 2009

Me and my shadow


The late afternoon sun creates a patch of light on the living room wall, perfect for making shadow puppets. The girls posed, showed off their muscles, and experimented with their hands to make animals.
Here's Tori's fox eating Bryn's bird...

Let's roll




Tori and Devin were feeling creative this morning so we pulled out the paint box. Buried at the bottom I found the roller paint, which we haven't used in a long time. After scraping the dried paint to free up the paint, the girls went to work.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tutus and tap shoes

Though at least one girl has danced each year for the last 7 years, this is the first year all 4 of them are dancing. It is also the first year I signed up for professional picture day. Lately, getting all 4 of them to smile somewhat naturally for me has become a daunting task which usually ends in either bribery or screaming. I really liked the photographer at the studio - he posed them, snapped one shot, and out we went. I may book him for the Christmas picture.
When I look at the picture, I can't help but think back to my childhood. I was a major tomboy when I was little and would never be caught dead in a tutu or leotard. I spent my days with my 2 cousins, Paul and Matt. Our moms were sisters and we lived close enough to each other to share a bus stop. While our moms chatted and tried to figure out how to beat my aunt's MS, we kids were sent outside with strict instructions not to come in unless we were bleeding. We always found plenty to do. We climbed trees threaded with power lines, tied snakes around the handlebars of our bikes and rode those bikes - sans helmets - straight down the middle of their street, and performed ghastly experiments with fire crackers and sunfish. However, with the birth of each of my girls, I have been sucked deeper and deeper into the world of pig tails, giggles, Barbies, and yes, leotards and tutus. I have had a pink cell phone for years and my steering wheel cover in my van was covered in pink hearts. I participated in the chorus of "oohs" and "aahhhs" with the other Moms as their girls walked out of the studio after their pictures. But as soon as we got home, the girls jumped out of the car, put on their "play" clothes, and ran outside to return to their feral roots.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sowing the seeds




Todd loves to garden. More importantly, he loves to garden with the girls. All 4 of them. I would rather be staked to a fire ant hill than plant seeds don't particularly care for gardening. I'm the parent the girls turn to when they want to create something that will not grow. Give me paint, jewels, markers, sequins, scissors, glue, and construction paper and I'll craft with them all day. Soil, shovel, seeds? No thank you. I will, however, enjoy the benefits of Todd's hard work throughout the summer. Peppers, zucchini, tomatoes (3 kinds), lettuce (2 kinds), herbs (4 kinds), and more will fill our refrigerator, our plates, and our bellies for months. He and the girls also planted a few flowers, including sunflowers, which Tori picked out because she "really wanted to plant them with Daddy". Though they fought about whose turn it was to scoop the dirt and they spilled the dirt all of the table and floor, Todd was calm and patient and the girls were very proud of their work. Little did they know that in addition to sowing the seeds of veggies, they also sowed the seeds of cooperation, perseverance, and love.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Polly Pocket, a pig, and some pipe cleaners


These were attached to the piano leg a few days ago. I knew it was Tori's handiwork so I asked her to explain what was going on. She said, "weeeeellllllll, an evil guy tied up Polly. The pig tried to save her but he got tied up, too." Classic Tori. She leaves little scenes like this all over the house, and though I get irritated (too much so) that she doesn't clean up after herself without being reminded several times, I will miss seeing things like this when she's grown.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bryn!







Eight years ago this very minute, I was in a hospital bed in Manchester, England holding my precious new daughter, Bryn Kelly. Todd and Jacey were back home after spending time with us and various friends from the Expat group were popping in and out throughout the afternoon. For the most part, though, we were alone. After holding my breath for 9 long months, I could finally exhale. After 2 miscarriages, a Down's Syndrome scare, and daily blood thinner injections, my healthy little girl was here (although the staff at the hospital told me that Bryn was NOT a name for a girl).
As the years have passed, I have wrestled with certain feelings regarding that time period. When the miscarriages occurred, Todd and I were obviously devastated and completely heartbroken. The first mc was harder to comprehend because it was such a shock. In addition to mourning the baby we lost, we were mourning the dreams we had for that baby. We were so happy that Jacey would have a sibling just 15 months younger than she is. We had already begun to think about names and I had bought some adorable gender-neutral outfits for the baby. We had a plan and that plan was suddenly ripped away from us. I was grief stricken and felt utterly hopeless. However, each day spent with Bryn has been filled with immeasurable joy. She is kind, smart, loving, compassionate, beautiful, sensitive, empathetic, silly, thoughtful, and a dream come true. I have come to terms with the sorrow from the miscarriages because without them, I would not have the honor of being Bryn's Mommy, or Tori's or Devin's for that matter.

Happy Birthday Bryn! Daddy and I love you so very much.