Monday, June 27, 2011

Smart Summer Challenge: Day 1!

Zoe and I have decided to tackle the Smart Summer Challenge over the next couple of months and we were excited to get the ball rolling today!  This week is "You on the Map" week and we made a life sized paper "Zoe" doll.  She's been really into tracing bodies with sidewalk chalk and then trying to draw exactly what the person is wearing, so I knew she'd love this--and she did!  I was surprised when she chose to use markers to color the clothes with, even after I offered paint.  I had decided to just go all out with it and let her go nuts, but I guess she wanted to keep it neat, and I was more than happy to oblige.

Zoe drawing her clothes

The finished product.  There's even a pair of paper underwear under that skirt!  The line about her kitty cat hat was her addition...she added it on and told us it was her "getting a massage"...okay!   I cut all the other clothes out, after she made requests as to what pieces she wanted, and then she colored them and we taped them on together.

She is really excited to see if Grandma and Peepaw think the doll is actually her when they come to visit this week.  We giggled over what their reaction will be if they think it's her! :-) ("Oh hi Zoe!  How are you?  Hello?  Zoe?  Hellooooo?")

The rest of the day was pretty quiet and filled with art and friends (and gymnastics in the morning) one point, she was trying to get a piece of paper out of the bookcase and spilled the whole stack on the floor.  When she decided to be stubborn and not pick it up, I told her that whatever she left on the floor, I'd just give away to some other kid who knew how to pick up the messes they make.  She slouched her shoulders, stuck out her bottom lip, got down on the floor and started picking up while singing "It's a Hard-Knock Life" quietly to herself and in slow motion.  Nathan and I about lost it.

This afternoon, we had Zoe's friends Sierra and Ainsley over for a bit and the girls had a big painting party while Owen napped.  So nice to have such good friends so close!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Girls With Guts

Alright, the inevitable has started to happen:  I've slowly been getting more and more self conscious about my whole midsection, really.  I am actually impressed with myself that it started happening later than after my first pregnancy, and it's nowhere near as intense this time but it's there...that nagging voice in my head that notices every roll and every stretch mark.  The shadow I catch a glimpse of on my morning run is a lot more jiggly than the girl I once knew and it's getting more and more annoying to try on shirts from my closet. Once in a while, I'll pull one out that I love and think "surely, this fits now" only to find out that it looks about 4 inches too short and that the skin pouring out from the bottom hem is unfortunately my stomach.  If I tuck said skin into my pants, I'm left with a crevice the size of the one that guy from the movie 127 hours (the one who had to cut his arm off to save himself from being wedged under a rock) fell into.  It was so deep that no one on earth could have ever just happened upon him there.

That being said, I want to talk about how incredibly tired I am of the body issues that plague so many people these days.  This post in particular comes from a "I gave birth to 2 babies" point of view, but I know very few people (women AND men) that don't spend way more energy than is necessary thinking about their bodies and how they look to other people.  I wish there was an easy fix, but since it's a problem based in other people's opinions, it's a hard one to solve.  If the tendency is to wonder what other people are thinking, then the only way to stop the cycle would be if EVERYONE on Earth considered these three questions as being the most important in terms of our bodies:

1) Do you eat a healthy diet?
2) Do you exercise?
3) Are you happy?


I've come a long way and I have to say that even during my first pregnancy I stood my ground against hints at the importance of a "perfect" body.  My midwives in Brooklyn gave me a hard time and lectured me every time I got off the scale.  I told them every single time, that I ate healthy foods and was still going to the gym.  At one point, they recommended I cut out dairy altogether even though I'm a vegetarian and consider dairy to be an important source of protein for me.  When I met my midwives for the first time here in Boulder, I told them about this conflict I had with the Brooklyn midwives and told them I never wanted to talk about my weight.  They wrote it in my chart and they never once said anything more than "great!" after my weigh in.  I ate more junk the second time and was much less active (due to the fact that I spent most of my time sitting on my ass at the playground instead of having oodles of alone time in which I could go to the gym whenever I felt like it) and my body did the exact same thing as it did the first time around, and the weight is coming off at the same rate.

There are many women who can relate to being asked the question: "When are you due?" but how many of you have experienced that AFTER you've had the baby?  The worst part about being asked that question is that it's usually asked by a complete stranger right when you are starting to feel like yourself again.  Most of us get mad or annoyed at the person and rattle on to our friends about how we can't believe people have the gall to ask such a question, but honestly I think we react that way because it's such a hard smack of reality.  Like it or not, our bellies stretched way out in order to grow a human being and it's to be expected that it is going to stay that way for a lot of us no matter what we do.  How can you be mad at someone who has NO idea that you already had the baby and honestly (and kindly) wants to share in your joy?  When someone innocently makes the observation that you look pregnant, you all of the sudden have to deal with it in your head.  Do you get going on those crunches you've been meaning to do (only to find out, like in my case, that they don't make a lick of difference) or do you get all huffy about the "nerve" of's a tough one I'm telling you.

I look at pictures of myself at my wedding when I was at my skinniest and, although I love the dress (it was my grandmother's) and think I looked great, I have no desire to be that skinny again.  People in my life were actually asking me if I was eating (I was) and I was still obsessed with how I looked!  The dress was very form fitting and I searched NYC high and low for undergarments that would suck me in and give me shape.  I never did find what I was looking for and took the advice of the last salesperson I encountered, which was to forget about undergarments altogether and I'm so grateful for that person to this day.   I'm sure there will come a day when I look at pictures of myself now (if I ever let anyone take one, that is) and think "Now, what was I so worried about?  I looked awesome!"  So, I'm working on having that attitude now instead of later.

I've found a nugget of gold in this bucket of body image garbage in Zoe.  Not long after she was born, I was struck with the reality that I am raising a girl.  I do not want to start her down the path of self-deprecation and I made it my mission to stop talking about my body in a negative way, especially in front of her.  It's not hard to do, but changing the way I think is much, much harder.  So, it's been an awesome surprise to find myself not at all hurt or bummed out when she asks me if I have another baby in my belly, or why my belly is so big.  I can say with 100% certainty that those questions feel like a great opportunity for me to teach her that everyone's bodies are different and that's just fine.  While I am telling her, matter of factly, that I had 2 babies and that my stomach is still all stretched out from it, I feel like I'm giving her a gift.  I want her to know that we are all just people and that being healthy is the only thing that matters.

So, this morning when I got dressed, I pulled out one of those shirts that I love but is a little more form fitting than I've felt comfortable with and I wore it all day.  I also felt great about myself and how I looked.  I have two awesome kids and a husband who loves me.  What else could I ask for?  Someone at the playground actually asked me if I was pregnant and instead of getting defensive I just said "Nope!  I had one not long ago, though." and we continued to have a lovely conversation.  I told my friend Clancy about how I wish we could all band together and be strong and proud and she dubbed my dream group "Girls With Guts".  I like it.  I eat a healthy diet.  I exercise.  I'm HAPPY.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's the Little Things

Okay, I'm going to admit that I've been feeling a little crappy lately.  I think we all have those spans of time when energy levels are down and moods fall closely behind...well, I'm in one of those phases unfortunately and am not sure how I got here.  I'm not going to bother trying to figure it out because there's probably either no good reason at all or it's just a combination of a bunch of little things.  So, to follow up from my last post where I listed all of the sacrifices I've made since becoming a mother, I thought I'd make a list of all the little things that make me happy right now:

- Zoe taking everything literally lately (ie: Zoe: "Is that a surfboard, Mommy?" Me: "No, it's a kickboard" Zoe: "You KICK it??"

- Owen eating more and more "regular food".  I gave him Cheerios the other day, which means I can stop spending money on the expensive specialty baby puff things...Yay!

- Seeing Nathan come in the door after a run.  He's just as happy to be back into it than I am and that's awesome in many ways.

- Having at least 8 people I feel comfortable calling/talking to when I need some immediate reassurance when it comes to choices I'm making with the kids.

- Finding out that the crazy squirrel I've become irrationally skittish of at the playground almost definitely does NOT have rabies.

- Trying to find simple ways to answer complex questions (ie: After our outdoor movie night the other night where we used a sheet as a movie screen  Zoe:  "Mommy, why could I watch the movie on the blanket?"  Me: "What?" Zoe: "Was it a magical blanket?")

- Being able to make Owen belly laugh his little breath away even while he's in terrible pain (another ear infection).

- Watching Zoe run to comfort Owen at the doctors office when he started to cry.  She quietly sat next to him on the table and sang "Maybe" and "Twinkle, Twinkle" and gave him a hug and a kiss

- Thinking about my run the other day when I was so tired I got startled by a painting of a wolf on a bridge I was running under.

- Thinking about my amazing sister Rachel, who is training for the Lake Placid Ironman in July (okay, that one ain't so little!)

- Watching Zoe and her friends run and ride their bikes around our neighborhood like the hoodlums they are bound to become.

-  Finally going on one of our favorite day trips after about a year hiatus.

That's all I can cram out of my brain at this point, but hopefully this will jump start my mood and I'll spend the next couple of days thinking "Oh, I could have put THAT on the list!"

I had another happy thought/memory the other day when I discovered I could make an egg carton into a mancala board and teach Zoe how to play.  I remember playing this game with my brothers and sisters for hours and hours and I think it's a great game for all's simple but mesmerizing.  We had some glass pieces left over from making our stepping stones so we used those too.  After we were done, we ripped up the egg carton and soaked it in some water and just sort of watched how it changed and played around with it.  It was another nice, quiet afternoon during Owen's naptime and a great thing to do in the shade on a hot day...
The setup

Although she didn't ask to play again, she did play the game all the way through which is a good sign that she didn't HATE it, at least


Friday, June 17, 2011

A Mother's Sacrifice

Look, I'll do almost anything for my kids.  Since becoming a parent, my list of personal sacrifices/compromises includes but is not even close to being limited to the following:

- Let my uterus and skin stretch so much that both times I felt sure there had to be some seam somewhere that was about to bust.

- Went through the most intense physical pain to birth both babies that the only way I can think to describe the feeling is to say that it's what I imagine sitting in an electric chair must feel like.

- Gave up sleeping until noon for the rest of my life and traded it for a life of being grateful for 5 hours of sleep in a row.

-  Went from wearing cute, little, tight fitting logo t-shirts to searching for any shirt that will fit on my body that doesn't make me look like either a stuffed sausage or a pregnant lady in a maternity shirt.

-  Went from staying up late to have one more beer with a group of friends to trying my hardest to keep my eyes open for at least 2 TV shows after the kids' bedtime (7:30 or 8:00).

-  Gave up the ability to go out for a romantic dinner with my husband on a whim.  Now it takes weeks of planning and saving

-  Spending my birthday money on things for the kids.

-  I now get my haircut every  year or so...forget about cute highlights.

-  Finding time to exercise is no longer about prioritizing, it's about figuring out how early a human can possibly get up to run and still be able to function during the day.

-  I no longer have any idea if I even like popular music.  These days I sing killer harmonies along with such hits as "Little Peter Rabbit" and "If You're Happy and You Know It".

-  I have been able to stay awake before bed long enough to read approximately 2 pages of whatever book I'm attempting to read for myself, but I have read the original Curious George stories approximately 1,000 times since we bought it a few months ago.

-  I will sit and play "Circle Time" for as long as possible because it means I can just sit there quietly and listen to Zoe read instead of actively using my imagination.

-  I will run into the kids' room in the middle of the night and help Nathan clean up puke from Zoe's face, hair, pjs, sheets and wall.

Anyway, you get the idea.  I will do all of the above, no questions asked but I discovered my limit the other day while playing outside with Zoe (Nathan was home with a napping Owen).  I will not--I repeat--will NOT get down on my hands and knees in my neighbors backyard and pretend to scrub rocks.  Let me explain:

I took Zoe out to the playground the other day and discovered that not one of her friends was out at the time.  After I explained that they would probably be out later and that it was great because now just she and I could play together, she proceeded to try and get me to play "Annie" with her (the game she's been playing every day at the playground with her friends lately).  Reluctantly, I went along but slowly rediscovered why it's such a huge load off when your kids are old enough to go off and play with other's because the games they love spending hours playing are WEIRD AND BORING.  Don't get me wrong, they are important to their development and imaginations and I do get blown away and charmed when graced with a little taste of whatever game it is, but to be a participant, as an adult, is a practice in patience even an enlightened Buddhist would have a hard time mastering.

This is how the game went:

Zoe:  Mommy, you follow me wherever I go and when I tell you to do something you say "Yes, Miss Hannigan" Okay?

Me:  Okay

She started aimlessly walking around and turned around every 3 steps to be sure I was DIRECTLY behind her


Me:  Yes, Miss--

Zoe:  No, no you have to say it like this (whining) "Yes, Miss Hannigan!"

Me:  Okay, okay try again


Me: (dutifully whining) Yes, Miss Hannigan!

I was relieved to see that standing as still as possible seemed to fit the parameters of the game at this point, then....more aimless walking

Zoe:  (pointing at a couple of big rocks in a neighbors backyard) SCRUB THE BATHROOM!

Me:  Yes, Miss Hannigan!

Zoe:  (whispering) Mommy (pointing at rocks) scrub the bathroom

Me:  (still whining, but as me now) Zoe....come on....seriously?....okay, look I don't want to play this game anymore.

Zoe:  (crying) Mommy!!!  No!!!

Me:  Zoe, I'm sorry but this is a game for you and your friends, not a game for Mommy.  I'll push you on the swing or help you on the monkey bars but NOT for me.  Sorry.

You can imagine how well that went over, but I was not about to budge.

Now, I'm sure if you gave me time and a pow-wow with Nathan and my Mom, sisters and awesome Mom friends, I could come up with enough reasons to more than double the list above.  I'm just as sure that it would take me half of THAT time to come up with a million things I've gained and valuable lessons I've learned since welcoming my two little rug-rats into my world.  I love these buggers more than anything and feel so lucky to be able to find the value in my life so easily now but's a hard job and any parent could tell you that to think back on your life before kids is a serious mind-blow.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sweet Little Owen

I wanted to take a minute here to talk about how much I love this little Owen of mine.  He is honestly the sweetest thing ever.  When he's awake, I find myself staring at him constantly and kissing him as much as possible.  When he's asleep, I can't stop thinking about how loveable he is.  I am so happy we decided to have another baby and, like everyone who has more than one child always says, I can't imagine our family without him now.

Nathan and I love to retrace our life steps and think about what things would be like if we hadn't done this-or-that...once in a while one of us will say "Isn't it so crazy that if you hadn't (insert any past nasty breakup, crappy job, or all-around-negative experience here), we would never be here?"  It's nice to have someone who can always see the positives in the crazy twists and turns our lives take.  To be able to look at a negative past situation and find the reasons why your life wouldn't be what it is in the moment you're in without it...I just think it's so important and I love that Nathan likes to go there with me.

For instance, the other day we were wondering what life would be like for us now if we hadn't left New York.  It's always an interesting thought for us because we both really loved living there, but were ready to (and knew we really had to) move away and start a new life.  Neither of us can escape feeling sentimental about New York once in a while though, so the subject comes up here and there.  Anyway, when that question came up the other day we both started voicing some positive and some negative things about what the fast paced city life would be like now for us, and all of the sudden I realized it...and said "Well, we wouldn't have Owen that's for sure."  That thought alone stopped the conversation in it's tracks right then and there and left us with the reality that this move we made can never be thought of as a negative thing, no matter what happens in the next few years.  Sure, we love it here anyway and wouldn't change a thing but even if the last few years we have to spend here were filled with a ton of negative experiences, we'll never have to doubt ourselves and wonder if we made the right decision about leaving New York.  If we hadn't left, there would be no Owen.  Enough said.

On that feel good note, I have to say that we are really enjoying this summer and it's not even officially summer yet!  We have already been to the pool a couple of times and we've started all of our summer activities in Family Housing so it really feels like we've left Spring far behind and are soakin' up the sun.

Take today for instance:  After Zoe's gymnastics class that she has every Monday (and is LOVING, by the way), we packed lunches and went to the pool.  After that, we spent a couple of quiet hours at home so Owen could nap.  While he was napping, Zoe and I checked on our garden and watered it...she is such a big girl.  I actually prefer to go and do this with her, because she is a HUGE help with maneuvering the hose and watering!  That would NOT have been the case last year let me tell you.  She would have been tromping in everyone's gardens or tagging along right at my heels the whole time...not this year!  I've got a big kid on my hands...the other day, she was having a conflict with a couple of her friends across the lawn from me at the playground and I started to butt in.  All of the sudden I heard her yell "Mommy!  Don't solve the ploblem!  I have a idea!" and the three little friends worked it all out without this nosey mom poking her head in.

Anyway, after that we went home and I told Zoe I had a surprise for her.  I got out the materials and ingredients to make homemade ice cream in a baggie and while putting it all together (with her help), told her to guess what we were making.  Her guesses were:  applesauce?.....yogurt?.....cream cheese?.....sausages? :-) When we got it all put together, I slipped a spoon in my pocket without her seeing and told her to go outside and start shaking it.  We had a fun 5 minutes throwing it back and forth and shaking it around and when it was done, I whipped out the spoon and told her to taste it.  It was so satisfying to see that little face brighten up after tasting it and yell "ICE CREAM!!!"  Such an easy and fun little activity for a hot day--give it a try, trust me!
Shaking it up...

After Owen woke up, we went to another area of Family Housing where they were holding a "Kid's Soccer" activity.  A bunch of her friends were there and she had a great time kicking the ball around and following directions.  Right after we got there, she ran over to ask us how long we were going to stay. I started to tell her she could stop playing whenever she wanted because we were just there to have fun, but she then said "cuz I want to stay until it's over" and ran back into the pack.
Working on balance

Then to top off this glorious day, we got take-out from Mustard's Last Stand (really really really good veggie chili fries....) and went up to Chautauqua, where they are having free kids music every Monday night on their lawn this summer.  The weather was perfect, the music was corny and silly and we all had such a great time! We hope to do it every Monday, or as often as possible anyway.
Waiting for the music to start

Put your hands in the air!

A shot of the mountains and the crowd

For their last song, they had a guy pedal this bike to power their amps..Hello, Boulder!
Finally I have to mention the fact that ever since Zoe's hair has gotten long enough to braid and put into pig tails, I've struggled with getting her to a) let me braid it or anything in the first place and b) keep it in for more than half the day whenever she does let me talk her into it....I know, it doesn't matter, but she looks so darn CUTE with little pigtails!  Anyway, today she requested one braid and one ponytail and liked it so much she not only kept them in all day, but asked me if she could sleep with them in too....ah, kids.  ;-)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Meet Smiley
Smiley lives out on our patio and was given to us by our friend Linda when she moved away from right across the way a year ago.  Zoe has taken on the responsibility of caring for him and she takes her job VERY seriously.  Smiley likes to eat leaves and dirt.  Sometimes he gets cold overnight so she will pile on as many of her coats as will stay on his back before she goes to bed.  Sometimes she informs us that Smiley isn't feeling well and to watch out because there is throw up all over the patio.  The other day she said to me "Mommy, someday when we can have a pet, can we get a giwaffe?"  and after I said "Well, sure..." she said "Remind me."

She's killin' me lately.  She really knows how to push my buttons of course, but her sense of humor is really shining through more than ever before so she has me laughing just as much as she has me wanting to tear my hair out.  She also breaks my heart sometimes,'s so hard to realize that we're going to have to watch these two kiddos of ours learn about the hard things in life.  One day while she was falling asleep at bedtime she asked me what I would do if a scary man tried to take her.  While assuring her that I would run after her and get her back, I wondered how she got that thought in her head and I mourned a bit for the little bit of innocence lost and braced myself for the inevitable, gradual and steady loss in years to come.  It hit me smack in the face that Nathan and I are the ones that are going to be there for all of that stuff  and it feels like such a heavy responsibility.  It's a lot of pressure, but I have to say I also feel up to the challenge.  I'm so happy to be able to provide these two little human beings with as much love and support as I can humanly muster. I just hope it's enough....Tonight, while she was trying to recover from something that upset her, we had this conversation:

Me:  What, honey?  Your body?
Zoe: (sobbing)  My body won't stop crying!  Why can't I stop crying?
Me:  It's okay to cry, but you can try taking a big deep breath.
We took a big deep breath together
Me:  You can try and think of something funny to make you laugh.
We made funny faces and made each other giggle
Zoe:  (voice and lip quivering a bit) Mommy?  Sometimes, when gols (girls) cwy, it takes them a little while to feel bettoh.
Me:  Well. I can TOTALLY relate to that.

Here's hoping we're on the right track with all of this stuff!

Zoe and I had a nice time on our patio today...the weather was beautiful again and I went to the store to get some potting soil and flower seeds for her to plant in some empty planters we had laying around.  She picked out the seeds and did everything herself.  After she planted and watered them, I wrote the names of the flowers on her chalkboard and we decided together that we could keep track on the blackboard of how many days it takes until we see something green shoot up.  I'm excited for her--I think she'll love it!
Filling the planters

She decided she wanted to mix all the seeds together

Planting the seeds

Covering the seeds with more soil...


My 3 pictures are of the planters we have and she drew "a crazy pot" next to mine
Finally, I wanted to show off the birthday present I got from Nathan.  I'd mentioned to him that I really want to get into mosaic tiling so he surprised me with a class.  One day, he sent me out the door with a 6 pack of Guinness and my friends Gretchen and Jessica were outside waiting for me.  He had arranged for them to go with me so the 3 of us had a lovely, quiet evening working on some tiles.  We had to leave them at the shop to be fired in the kiln and I finally just got to pick mine up the other day.  Here it is!  Thank you so much, Nathan!!  XOXO

Sunday, June 5, 2011

A quick running post

Just wanted to take a minute to talk about how completely PSYCHED I am about how my running is going.  I set out today to just "go longer than 6", which had been my long run last week.  I ended up doing 8!  It might be the farthest distance I've run since getting pregnant with Zoe, which was about 4 years ago or so.  It hurt pretty bad, especially at the end but I'm still riding the high from legs are sore, but my spirits are higher than they've been in weeks!

The key to getting through a long run for me is the mantra.  I went through quite a few today, starting with my tried and's a little tour:

Looking Good, Feeling Strong.....Looking Good, Feeling Strong....(neither of which are true, of course but it still works for me)....Bragging Rights and Eating Chocolate....Bragging Rights and Eating Chocolate (the real truth...couldn't stick with that one too long because it really made me want chocolate RIGHT THEN).....Bragging Rights, Feeling Strong...Bragging Rights, Feeling Strong (close to the truth, and didn't make me hungry)....Looking Good AND Eating Chocolate...Looking Good AND Eating Chocolate (ha, well aren't I clever AND funny?)....You Can Do It...You Can Do It (of course).....(then when I hit the mark where I knew I had a couple of miles left but that the majority of those couple of miles is a gradual downhill)...Slow and Steady...Slow and Steady...Slow and Steady....Slow and Steady (that one lasted a long time)....Less Than a Mile....Less Than a Mile.....(when I hit the point where Zoe started her big run home the other day) This One's For Zoe...This One's For Zoe...This One's For Zoe....(then, when I felt like my tank was on empty and my legs were going to stop working, I started saying this one out loud....well, I whispered it whenever I was alone) DON'T. QUIT. NOW.....DON'T. QUIT. NOW.....DON'T. QUIT. NOW....DON'T. QUIT. NOW....DON'T. QUIT. NOW....

Somehow I made it home without walking and although 8 miles isn't the farthest I've ever run (13.1 miles...twice), it felt like it today and I'm feeling more confident every day that I'm going to get myself back in shape and feel like "myself" again.

Yay Running!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A pat on the back and a sad goodbye

One of the most fascinating things about being a parent to me so far, is how much you see of yourself in your kids.  In our case, there are obvious things like Zoe's enthusiasm for music, but...well, let's just say none of us were blessed with the art of graceful body expression.  I've come to accept it about myself, but I cringe for Zoe when I remember the time at my 6th grade dance, when a boy I didn't know yelled from across the gym: "Hey YOU!  You can NOT dance!"  Not only was the comment itself embarrassing and...well, LOUD but it went down exactly like you'd expect.  I was dancing in a circle with my girlfriends, actually starting to think I might be lookin' pretty cool.  When I heard the boy yell to me, I turned around fully expecting him to do something that would cause me to turn to my girlfriends giggling and rolling my eyes, all the while feeling really awesome about my groovy self on the inside...but, ah...twas not my fate.  So here's hoping she also inherits our pipes...otherwise she's in for a tough road in the musical expression department.

Speaking of singing, she also seems to share our love of belting any song that's in her head at the top of her voice over and over.  As annoying as it is, I have no choice but to grin and bear it because not only did I do it as a kid (as my family can surely attest) but I still do to this day...luckily, Nathan does too so we can all just accept it about each other...we'll just have to see about Owen, poor little guy.  Either way he's doomed to a life at home full of show tunes and bad dancing. He'll either join in or spend his entire school aged years trying to come up with different reasons why he can't have his friends over:  "You can't come to my house because my Dad just mopped the floors."  or "We can't hang out at my place today because we just changed the locks and my Mom forgot to give me the key...speaking of, can I stay at your house for, like, EVER?!"

Anyway, then there are the things that you can tell are a combination of who they are at their core, but also a little dose of the lessons you've tried to instill in them.  Those are the times when you are able to see all of your hard work shine through and are completely expected and welcome to pat yourself right on the back.  One of these moments happened to me the other day when we were walking back home from watching the Bolder Boulder (a 10K race that happens every year here).  On a whim, Zoe decided to hop out of the stroller and start running.  She ran all the way home, only stopping to wait for us to catch up once in a while.  It's almost a mile from where we were to our house, and when we got home I sat down with her at our kitchen table and handed her a water bottle.  She was quietly sitting there, drinking water with a sweaty little forehead and rosy little cheeks when she breathlessly said to me "Mommy?  I'm so powd of myself."  Of course I gave her a big ol' hug and kiss and told her I was proud of her too.

Later that day, we had a BBQ for our friends the May-Ostendorps with our other good friends the Clements.  They were the first family we met out here and have remained close friends ever since.  They recently had their 3rd child and also just moved back to Durango, CO (where they are from).  We are going to miss them terribly, although we look forward to checking out Durango sometime soon.  Anyway, we had a party for them at our place and we all had a great time.  The kids were kind of off the wall, but it was so fun to see them all having such a blast together one last time....
Mariah and Owen

Pre-dinner craziness

Is that a Care Bear roasting a marshmallow?

We gave our favorite family a parting gift, of course.  Our friend Katie and I gathered some pictures of the kids and made a list of words that came to mind when we think of the May-Ostendorps.  I also got a frame at the craft store and had Zoe paint it...then we made the list of words into a Wordle word cloud and the pictures into a collage and put it all in the frame.  I hope it's something they can have forever as a reminder of how much they've meant to us.  Of course, we will continue the friendship but there's nothing like having amazing friends a mile away.
Zoe at work decorating the frame

You can't go wrong with a mountain of glitter!

The finished product
Good luck with the next chapter, friends--we miss you like crazy already!