Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Good, The Bad, The Haircut

Oh friends, has it been a week around here. 
And you will have to read all the way to the bottom to get the full story on the haircut...
so here we go. 

The Good: my boys love playing together. 

The Bad: While I was mowing the lawn, they were teaching Wells how to go down a slide...

The Good: Look at that teamwork!
 The Good: I went to C's back to school night Tuesday thanks to my amazing babysitter who my boys (even people-hating Bennett) adore. We love you Ang!

The Bad: I get a little flustered dressing for real parent events and changed several times, but below is what I wore.
  (Side Note: Cullen's Kindergarten teacher clearly doesn't care about my outfit)

The Good: After so much deliberation about where to send C to school, I know we picked the right one when I told him that he was going to skip school on Friday for my brother's wedding... he cried. Cried!
Because he didn't want to miss a day. 
(We compromised that he could go for a half day.)
Dress: Gap Outlet, earrings: francesa's, shoes: tjmaxx
 The Good: My friend Emily who works at STX sent the boys an amazing package this week. 

The Bad: I was so out of groceries this week that one night this past weekend, after Wells had been up at 1 and again from 3-430am and I realized I had no formula or regular milk, I found some protein shake mix and gave it to him in a bottle... And then lay awake at 4:46am, wondering if protein shakes can hurt toddlers. (For the record, they don't. But said toddler will still wake up at 6:07 ready to party for the day.)
So excited about their custom-made Team USA sticks
The Good: the first thing C does when he gets in the car at the end of the day is hug Wells, and then ask B how his day was. He has also told me that during prayer circle he prays that Bennett and Wells have a good day while he is at school. My heart is happy about that.

The Bad: I locked my (one set) of keys in the car on Sunday afternoon while trying to clean out all the goldfish on the floor. FYI for USAA members- they will send someone to unlock your car, in your driveway, for free. 
brotherly hugs after school
 The Good: My boys love each other.

The Bad: they also often fight, argue, stress each other (and me) out

The Good: My boys love each other.




And now, The Haircut.
I generally shower at night after I get all the kids to bed, but this past weekend, I decided to wait until Saturday morning to shower, as we were preparing to leave to spend the day with my sister in law and her family. I put Wells down for a quick nap, and then halfway through my 6 minute shower, Cullen opened the curtain to inform me that he "cut just one little piece of Bub's hair". I quickly chastised him for not using proper scissor safely, got dressed, loaded the car... and then realized that 'one strand' was actually 'a whole lot'.
After a very serious discussion about good decision making (and forthelove letting Mommy take a shower without worrying that someone will become bald), we took B to the barber for a hair fix.
 While we were there, it seemed right to get Wells his first cut too, and then he aged by several years. Why do haircuts do that?

The Good: My big brother and Fifi are getting married Friday!

The Bad: I'll be off the blog for the rest of the week.

The Good: I'll be instagramming (@Katedaffodils), and there will be boys in suspenders and bowties and no one wants to miss out on that. 

Have a great rest of the week!

The Storybook Project

Ever since I was a kid, I have loved reading, so much so that I always knew that when I grew up I wanted to be a Literature teacher. I was able to fulfill that goal for two years out of college, and even though my professional career is on hold for now, I have done my best to pass the love of books on to my boys. 
We frequent our public libraries, one of our favorite activities is going to the book story for chocolate milk and to sit in the Children's area and read the brand new books, I order books from their Scholastic newspapers from school, and we read together several throughout the day. 

However, not all children are so lucky to have books at their finger tips. 

My friend my college Ericka, is the director of the Non-Profit Organization The Sound of Hope. Together with her husband Rusty, they "work to raise funds and awareness for orphans and vulnerable children in Thailand, Burma, India and Africa. We're committed to helping children break out of the cycle of poverty by partnering with programs that offer holistic care. We seek to educate, engage, and empower others to join the movement in creative ways."

Ericka and Rusty are leaving in two weeks to visit their Children's Homes in Asia and this time around are hoping to gift them with their very own libraries that these children deserve. 

In her own words:

The project:
It all started on our last trip, when we took a Storybook to each of our Children's Homes. I always like to bring a little something for the kids when we come, and I was looking forward to having story time with them and adding a book to their collection.

But it didn't take long for me to realize - they don't have a "collection". There's maybe a handful of books at each of our Children's Homes (if that many), and very few of them have pictures. It turns out that books are extremely expensive in these countries, and it's hard to find good copies of English books there without spelling mistakes or missing pages. (For those wondering, all our children are learning English at school.) A few minutes after I read a story to the boys at one of our homes and handed over the book for them to keep, I looked over to see all 15 boys crowded around ONE storybook! I was heartbroken that they didn't EACH have their own book, and the wheels began to turn. I couldn't help but dream of shelves full of books that they could read until their hearts were content!
You see, books have POWER. They inspire literacy, aid in mental development, and encourage creativity. Books can of course educate, and they can also help children explore their imaginations! Whether or not these children ever have the opportunity to travel, they can go anywhere and be anything in a book! That's why we're so excited about the impact these libraries will have in the lives of our children!
On our upcoming trip, we are hoping to establish Children's Libraries in 2 of our homes. The 1st library would be for "The Promised Land" - our Girls' Home in Thailand. There we have 8 little girls who live with their House Mom, Rapee. The 2nd library would be for "The Refuge", our home on the Thai/Burma border for refugee kids from Burma. These children have been through so much in their little lives, but in these homes they are safe and loved. They're also finally getting an education, mentoring, and learning valuable life skills.  
*****
Like we did with Mission Pack-a-Pack I am hoping that many of you will be moved to help Ericka and Rusty fund getting their 5 boxes full of books overseas, as well as buy the materials to set up the libraries once they are in country. 
We would also love to collect photos of you and/or your children reading, along with a caption of your location (city and/or state) to give the Sound of Hope's children and idea of just how many people all over the world have HOPE in them. 
You can donate HERE and you can email/facebook/tag on instagram your photos to me with under #storybookproject 
The link will open be open for a week, as The Sound of Hope prepares to leave for their trip at the end of the month, and Ericka will then be sharing pictures with us of their completed projects and excitement of the Children receiving their new libraries when she returns home to the states. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

On a Lighter Note...

My boys were enthralled for 30 minutes last night putting toilet paper against a fan and watching it fly away. It's the simple things, I tell you. 
 Wells has been a little clingy these days. 
On Thursday afternoon, we went for a run (Wells in stroller) and bike ride to the library to put in our miles for Wear Blue:Run to Remember. 
 Along with it being a great cause, I have been working out more since my deployment diet of yelling and wine is only causing more wrinkles, while Kev's diet of being awesome and not having beer has made him impossibly more handsome. (Sure, we can share this photo again- look at that face, so good looking, I definitely married up.)
Wells and I rocked our Red Bandanas yesterday. And a a lot of you asked about my blue dress from Wednesday's post- it is for Target! I rarely buy clothes there unless it is a basic T or sweater, but I got 4 really cute dresses for next to nothing last week. Go ahead and treat yourself today.

And finally, after taking the summer off of photo sessions, I am back in action this fall. The weekends will fill up quickly, so contact me soon to schedule yours!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

What It Means To Me

I always struggle a bit posting on a day like today, unsure of where to go with it:

I've told the story before about being a senior in High School, just a few miles outside of DC when the plane hit the Pentagon. 

I've shared how in Cullen's early toddler years, I was watching TV on 9/11 and didn't realize he would have questions, but answered them in the simplest ways I could. 

I've linked to our family friends Flip and Jess and Flip's triumphant recovery from loss of limbs, and then their home. 

I've also often shared the mission of Wear Blue: Run to Remember, an organization started by a good friend of my sister in law who lost her husband in Afghanistan.  

We have many friends for who we celebrate a yearly 'Alive Day'...
And we constantly mourn the loss of friends who have not been so fortunate. 

And a few years ago, we were so inspired by the story of 9/11 hero Welles Crowther, that when we found out we were having another boy, Wells was his name.

***

But I guess my words this year have a little more meaning because Kev isn't here. For the third time since the wars started, he is over there instead of home with us. 
He was a junior at West Point when 9/11 happened, so his career (and my time as his wife) doesn't know a world without deployment. 
We are reminded daily by his absence of the current situation overseas and the continued struggle for peace. And we are praying for his safety, for the safety of all people who work in harm's way and for the constant protection of innocent people.

*****

What do all my personal little connections to this day mean in the grand scheme of things?
Nothing really. 

But it means so much to me. 

It means that I support my husband wholeheartedly, even if the Army's mission takes him away from us. And I accept my role to keep our family happy and healthy while he is gone.

It means that I try my best on a daily basis to teach my boys about the importance of service. 
That I want my boys to grow up wanting to be the help- to be humble enough to put other's needs before their own, and strong enough to react.

It means that Kev and I have a duty as parents to show our children that this world is good and they have a role in making it that way. From simple things like sharing on the playground, to putting this dishes in the sink after dinner... to big things like respecting and showing compassion for all people, no matter their background- we all have to work at being the Good. 

It means that I pray everyday for peace and that eventually the world will be a place where families don't need to be separated by war, we all are able to practice our religions and beliefs freely and without judgement, and people do not have to live in fear.

And it means that Kev will come home safely to us, and that the continued work of our service members and leaders will eventually allow our children to grow up in a world without conflict.

***

 Never Forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Weekend on a Wednesday

Since I skipped pics from the weekend earlier this week, a little recap is due today. But first, the story of Bennett's first day of school yesterday:

{Pull into parking space}
Bennett: Why you park-in?
Me: So we can bring you into school.
Bennett: Don't need to, just drop me off.
Me: No, I actually have to, there is no drop off today. And I want to give you a hug.
Bennett: I don't need a hug. I'm three. 

And off he marched 4 steps ahead of me and into his classroom without turning his head back around once. 

His first day in his own words:

We went on the playgroud. 

I played cars.

I didn't learn anyone names.

There's sand in my shoes.

I asked my teacher for marshmallows for snack, but she says we having apples. 

Never change Bubs. We love you and are so happy about your confidence!

*****
So last weekend. As I've mentioned a billion times, the weekends are weird, especially since the unit Kev is with isn't located here, there is really no one else in our position to hang out with while everyone else is enjoying their own weekends with their families.
 On Saturday morning, the boys were driving me a little nutty, but it was also too hot and humid to go outside and do anything enjoyable. We needed to get out of the house and as we started driving up the Parkway, I spotted the Capital Wheel across the water in National Harbor and decided that is where we were headed. 
It was a little pricey at $38 for the 3 of us (no charge for Wells) but it was neat to do once. And by the time we parked, got tickets, waited to get on, went around 5 times, walked around a bit more and headed home, the two hours I needed to take up before lunch and nap were gone. 
The boys thought it was pretty neat. And if you are claustrophobic, it is nice because there is A/C and music playing in each little cab, so it distracts you from the fact that you are in a tiny box at the top of a huge wheel above the water. 

Wells was a little confused/mad that I wouldn't let him crawl around and bang on the doors. 

All in all a pretty neat experience that I am glad we took advantage of. 
The rest of Saturday was spent playing and watching football.
Then on Sunday, we met my inlaws down at their church and then went back to their house for lunch. I was able to leave the boys there for a few hours while I ran up to my friend Alysa's bridalshower. It was a beautiful party and I can't wait for her and Ant's wedding in just a few weeks!
We stayed at Nana and Pop's through dinner (and Nana sent us home with dinner for last night too- the best) and the boys made sure they had Pop do every activity in the world. 
And I think Pop wore them out a little bit too...
Hope you are having a great week!