Sunday, May 10, 2015

Celebrations galore

This post has a ton of pictures because we had a very busy week (not even counting work and the normal grind!) including several celebrations.

The kids and I spent Monday morning at the Arboretum and enjoyed the tulips in bloom (they plant over 38,000 tulips each year). Just like mama - the kids each brought their cameras. So we all snapped away at the lovely flowers and each other.



I love how this looks like a professional photo shoot - Hadley is the photographer and Miles is the model.






Then on Tuesday Hadley had her dance pictures. Her first year of dance is winding down with only a few lessons left before the big recital. She looked like a little doll in her costume.
 


Mike's parents arrived Thursday for a short stay before heading to Alaska. We started the weekend festivities by celebrating Grandma Gray's birthday. 
Auntie Tina and Auntie Annette sent Mariann an edible bouquet and I'm not sure who was more excited.

We also celebrated with dinner out in Excelsior at Lago Taco, a walk along Excelsior beach (it was a lovely Friday evening), and a homemade coconut creme pie.

Opening presents

Walking along the lake


Saturday morning was the kids' last swimming lesson for the season. Although Hadley is a little fish - she wasn't enjoying lessons this year and spent the last few times crying and not participating. She did actually get in the water this week and swam a little. I think she'd rather do her own thing. Plus - she was the only girl in a class full of really wild boys.

Miles also doesn't particularly love swimming lessons but each week he tried his best (and tried his best not to get his hair wet) and that's all we can ask. He rarely will put his face in the water but does everything else willingly and well - and he passed this level. Level two - here we come next year!

 

After swimming lessons we did a lot of party preparation including cooking and decorating to get ready for Hadley's 4th birthday party that afternoon. She requested a rock princess party this year so all of the decorations were pink and black. Per Hadley - on the menu was: cheese pizza, veggies and dip, honey dew and grapes, and chocolate caramel cake with whipped cream.

It was a great party because both sets of grandparents were there along with Rachel's family and Matt's family - 16 of us in total!

She got lots of lovely gifts including: a baby doll (named Rylan which she hasn't put down since the party), doll clothes, a bubble blower, jewelery, a purse, a dress, a playhouse, and Duplos blocks.

I had two very interested helpers when I was whipping the cream. 
Checking out the decorations
It was such a beautiful day that we were outside most of the time (which was perfect for 6 very rambunctious cousins).
I'm always so happy when my baby brother comes down from Moorhead.
(Hadley thinks he's older than me though because he's bigger. :) )
Lots of love at the party
Our 2 three, soon-to-be four year olds!
What's a rock princess party without music?
We had lots of instruments out and Hadley put on a great show with the harmonica.









Between dinner and dessert the kids played pin the butterfly on the Curious George poster.

I have lots of wishes for this little girl.
We're so proud of this beautiful and smart girl. I can't believe she's so big already!
Our third celebration of the weekend was today for Mother's Day. Sometimes I have to laugh (or roll my eyes at the differences between the stereotypes of the idyllic Mother's Day versus reality.

Idyllic: mom sleeps in
Reality: the kids crawl in bed between 6-6:30 and snuggle with me in between - one is kicking my back and the other is spooned against me (wouldn't trade it)

Idyllic: mom is served breakfast in bed with flowers
Reality: I'm greeted with pleas of "I'm hungry" every morning - no matter what the holiday

Idyllic: dad secretly shops for jewelry that he wraps from each of the kids
Reality: dad buys mom a wireless speaker (while not the quintessential Mother's Day gift I'm sure the kids and I will be having lots of impromptu dance parties around the house)

Idyllic: we all go to a lovely brunch where the adults get to chat and the children eat nicely
Reality: our table for 16 is not ready when we arrive despite several calls ahead of time confirming our reservation, the kids are either wild or get incredibly mad every time the servers pass our table with food that is not ours because they are so hungry, and the adults spend more time wrangling children rather than having deep, enjoyable conversations.

Today reminded me of the lesson I learn everyday about motherhood - sometimes you just have to roll with things, have an attitude of gratitude, and when things don't go exactly the way I want them to - I have another chance to start over tomorrow. When I looked around the table at brunch today - even amongst the craziness - I'm surrounded by my most favorite people in the world and I wouldn't trade it. This morning in church my thoughts and heart went out to all of the mom's who have lost children or are unable to have their own along with everyone who has lost their own mom. At the end of the day - I'm truly blessed.

Thanks to my own mom who often was home alone with three probably very wild, crazy, and endlessly needy children - you must have had a lot of patience. Now that I'm a dance mom - thanks too for years and years of being my dance mom and driving me 5-6 days a week to classes and shelling out a lot on costumes.

Thanks to Mike's mom, Mariann, for raising a loving, caring, and family-oriented son.

Happy Mother's Day to all of my the women in my life - I couldn't do it without you.


My mom with all of her grandkids...
...and all of her kids.
Mike and Mariann with their two youngest grandchildren
Mike's happy to spend the day with his mom

At brunch I got to snuggle with my Godson
My lovely sister is a great mama too!
Playing with bubbles after a busy weekend