Text 14 Jul A new skating parlor

Earlier in the spring we attempted to take our leftover stones and see if we could assemble them into some sort of patio in the back portion of the yard.  It was an epic fail but an entertaining endeavor where Addison bossed me around.  After the idea got in my head, though, I couldn’t shake it.  I scoured the internet for options and got quotes and settled on stamped concrete.  It was reasonably priced and achieved the esthetic appearance of a flagstone patio. 

The patio was a great decision.  The yard looks inviting and the patio itself serves multiple purposes.  On the weekends we wake up and have our coffee and breakfast while the birds chirp.  We’ve had a couple cookouts complete with smores consumption. In the evenings I sit and watch the kids chase fireflies while molly chases them. 

One of the greatest benefits is it serves as a great space for roller skating.  Both Gavin and Addison got new skates.  The patio is a nice alternative to skating in the cul-de-sac.  Here lately, the proper skating attire appears to be a swimsuit.  Our typical routine at night is dinner, put on our swimsuit, go in the backyard to skate for a bit, turn on the sprinkler as a little precursor to going to the pool, and then gather up our  gear for the pool. 

I love being outside with these two crazy kids.  I could watch them play and interact all day. 

Text 9 Jul 1 note Preschool is over

Graduation day is a big deal.  You spend your whole life looking forward to that next big milestone and I think it all starts with preschool graduation.  It signifies the transition from toddler to big kid. 

Addison’s big day was as exciting for me as it was her.  I don’t need an excuse to get out my camera but it makes me feel better when I’m not the only one snapping away.  The graduation processional began and the class entered the auditorium in an orderly fashion.  Addison was near the back and when I saw her she looked embarrassed.  Her head was down and she peered at me through her glasses.  Come to find out she wasn’t embarrassed, her head was a little big for the hat and she was just trying to keep it from falling off.  Eventually it just came off and staid off. 

The kids took turns in groups singing songs and showing off their math and literacy skills.  Every so often I would stand up in front of a column (to avoid blocking someone’s view) to snap some pictures.  Addison would grin really big and point her finger at me and mouth “sit down”.  Little does she know this is just the beginning of me embarrassing her. 

I managed to hold it together for the duration of graduation….That was until they started showing videos with sappy music of all the kids.

Addison has grown leaps and bounds in the past year.  I am so excited to see her as she starts this new journey as a “big kid”.

sit down lady

diploma in hand

Addison’s biggest fan…

…but the kisses are embarrassing

Text 6 Jun Breaking personal records

Last mother’s day the kids did the Run like a mother 1 mile kids fun run.  If you recall it was quite an adventure. Addison was chased in by the police while Gavin recovered from his superfast run with an snow cone. 

This year Addison decided to cheerlead while Gavin tried to break his personal best record of 8 minutes and change.  I laid out his running gear the night before so we would be ready to roll bright and early.  When he woke up he was excited until he saw what i had picked out.  He put started toward the closet and I asked what he was doing.  He started asking about the red shirt with the big P on it.  He had worn that one last year for the race and wanted to wear it again.  We found it and albeit a little on the small side if you have lucky shirt you have to roll with it. 

We arrived onsite and Gavin’s nerves started to hit him.  I get that way every race myself so I knew the feeling.  He tried to back out of it but I wouldn’t let him.  we had trained so hard (you know those handful of times we ran the neighborhood in the few weeks leading up to the race). 

He was to run this race by himself so when they called up all the kids we walked over and he parked himself in the back of the pack.  Addison and I gave him kisses and I told him how proud I was of him and that if he got tired to stop and walk a bit.  He nodded but I am not sure he heard me through all the nerves. 

Addison and I walked to the other side of the street so we could see him off.  the horn sounded and they took off .  Addison and I cheered and then anxiously waited at the bottom of the hill near the finish line for the kids to start coming in.  I started to get anxious myself.  I knew there was someone directing the kids at the turn around point but I was still very nervous.  The first kid came in at just over 6 minutes.  People started cheering and then a few more trickled in.  In the distance I saw a red shirt.  I pulled out my camera and zoomed in really close and sure enough it was Gavin.  He was booking it.  I turned to look at the clock and it was just under 7 minutes.  Addison and I started screaming.  He saw us and paused grinning from ear to ear and I yelled for him to keep going. He crossed the line around 7:45, shattering his record from last year.  I was so proud of him I was about to jump out of my skin. 

settling his nerves

lining up reluctantly


Text 27 May Genetics doesn’t always work in your favor

I received a packet of information from daycare regarding Addison a few weeks ago.  At the time it was very alarming and I really should mention it to the people in charge.  Short story is the packet implied Addison had a potentially serious eye condition.  Come to find out it was just nearsightedness with a heap of astigmatism.  I made the eye appointment for both kids seeing as I was already going to be there with both of them.  Gavin passed his with flying colors.  Addison did not.  They were both brave troopers and did everything the doctor asked of them.  In the end though, Addison and I were both a little disappointed that she was going to have to get glasses.  I knew it was bound to happen seeing as Chad and I both have terrible vision.  But, I was hoping it would be a little later in life so that they would be more receptive to wearing them and/or could opt for contacts if they so chose. 

After the exam the little man took us to the kids eyeglass showcase.  There weren’t too many to choose from but enough to really tick Addison off.  I picked out a couple that I liked and tried to let her pick out some.  She declared her distaste for all of them and refused to wear them…..EVER.  I took her aside and told her if she didn’t pick out a pair she liked that I was going to pick them out and she probably wasn’t going to like them at all.  She begrudgingly tried on about 6 pair for a total of 12 seconds slamming them down when she was done.  I decided that was enoungh because I didn’t want to pay for all of them if she broke them.   I narrowed it down to three…she agreed on one. 

We discussed it in the car and she, again, said she would not wear them.  We had about a week before they were to come in so I did everything I could to try to convince her it would be fine.  I even pulled Gavin aside and told him that when she got them to tell her how beautiful she was.  Sweet Gavin didn’t listen to all the instructions.  Later in the day he looked at Addison and said, ” I really like your glasses. You look so pretty in them”, and then looked at me and gave me a wink and a nod.  I giggled and whispered, “Dude, you were supposed to wait until she was wearing them”.  He shrugged. 

Once they finally came in Addison wore them for about 10 minute stretches at a time, but refused to ever wear them to school.  She went so far as to say she looked like a Lady Officer that walked the halls of the mall (her words not mine).   I wasn’t going to fight it.  I knew it would take some adjustment time.  I told her I would wear mine too so that we could match and that seemed to help a little.  My final saving grace was daycare.  Addison adores her teacher, Mrs Shalia.  I told her all about the glasses and she had Addison bring them in to show off during circle time.  Ever since she wears them to school all day.  She looks absolutely adorable and I hope she never feels self conscious about them. These days glasses are an accessory.  I still wear mine from time to time even though I don’t have to  because I like the look of them.  I can’t get Addison to wear hers all the time right now but I feel like once she gets used to seeing better she will always want to see the world the way it was meant to be seen. 


It looks scarier than it actually is. 


These glasses will not do




two girls wearing glasses


owning her hipster ivy league look

Text 5 May Half a dozen and counting

This year’s theme for Gavin’s party was teenage mutant ninja turtles. It’s funny how all of the cartoons i grew up with are starting to cycle back around. I wonder if it’s a lack of creativity on Hollywood’s part or the sheer awesomeness of the cartoon requires that they be experienced by a new generation. I’m going to go with the latter.

Gavin wanted to keep it low key this year and just have a house party with his buds from the neighborhood. That suited me just fine. I dusted off the angry bird tree and sling shot, fashioned some sort of javelin structure out of pool noodles and hooley hoops (Addison’s term), and made ninja turtle costumes from spray paint and dollar tree roasting pans.

The costumes were a hit.  All the kids chased each other with their sais while wearing their ninja masks and turtle shells.  One friend used the shell as a shelter for the giant beetle she found in the yard. Some used them as shields to ward off flying angry bird pigs.  Molly chased everyone and everything.

As usual, the party was a success.  Not because of the fancy games and great food, but because of the wonderful friends and family who were there to celebrate the most amazing little boy I will ever know. 

I still can’t believe that I am the mother of a 6 year old.  How has time flown by this quickly?  Not a day passes by that I don’t think how incredibly blessed I am to have these two in my life.  Gavin is a true treasure.  He is selfless and caring and wants nothing more in this life than to shower those people that he loves with his kindness.  For having only been on this earth for 6 years, he truly has taught me more about selflessness than anyone I have ever known.  I hope I grow up to be like you one day Gavin Cleveland. 


Costumes for everyone


Addison helped me cut all the “tags” off of Gavin’s birthday skates.  Some of the tags were the shoe laces.  so he got some replacement sneaker laces that don’t clash at all. 


Testing the costumes the day before


javelin competition


Go ninja go ninja go ninja go


reviving the angry bird tree

Text 24 Apr 1 note Get to work

We have some leftover stones from a plant border project that had just been tossed in a corner until a suitable use could be determined.  The weather was nice the other weekend so I decided to move them around the yard a bit.  The kids thought it would be fun to help.  I turned on our jams and pulled out the wheelbarrows.  They have a mini one of their own that they like to break out for any and all yard activities (i.e. moving rocks, picking up sticks, chasing molly, etc). 

I started loading stones into mine and they did the same.  My instructions to limit the number in the wheelbarrow fell on deaf ears so there were a couple of barrows that ended up overturned followed by an “OH DEAR!”. 

About 20 minutes in to the project Gavin received a better offer from the neighbor to go play in his back yard.  Addison declined the offer so she could show off her muscles a bit longer.  

I didn’t realize how many stones we actually had until about an hour into the project when only about 1/4 of them had been moved.  Addison left me a couple of times go have a snack but would promptly get back to work after she had finished…..until she didn’t.  After one snack she went back in to get us both something to drink.  After that break she told me she was going to take a break and lay on the hammock….maybe have a siesta.  She laid down, I gave her a push and she stuck her thumb in her mouth to settle in for a little R&R in the pleasant 70 degree shade. 

I started moving again stacking rocks along the plant beds near the deck. After a few hauls back and forth I paused to respond to a text.  In that moment I heard the “POP” of a thumb come out of Addison’s mouth.  She yelled over to me, verbatim, “HEY! Why aren’t you moving those rocks?”

Say what?  Did this little 4 year old really just pull the supervisor card on me?

Moving Rocks

Losing rocks


Text 3 Apr 1 note A boy and his dog

Molly Louise Cleveland is still very much a puppy (and Louise is the middle name I just assigned to her for the sake of this post because I feel like she needed one to go along with the tone I’m trying to set).  Molly is an intelligent puppy but still a puppy. She routinely opens the trash cabinet, she’s dug under the fence to break into the neighbors house (via their dog door), stolen food from the hands of toddlers, devoured entire pumpkin pies,  eaten through the buckle of her harness (because I think she knew she had less control with that as opposed to her collar), and howls very aggressively at me if it looks as though I am about to go running without her. 

There’s a lot that Molly does wrong but the joy that she brings to the face of my children makes it all worthwhile (most of the time).  Just last week Gavin was outside playing with her and from the window I just stopped and stared at the happiness coming from Gavin’s face.  He had a ball that he was rolling up the slide.  Molly was trying to figure out how to get the ball before Gavin and he was trying to stop her from doing it.  After a few rolls she jumped up the slide and ran halfway up and he just giggled as she took off running.  He followed suit.  He would retrieve the ball and the cycle would start back over. 

Most of the outside play involves those two chasing one another.  Gavin will throw a stick at her and she will dodge it and chase him until he falls.  They both stop until Gavin gets back up and he grabs another stick.  She takes off running, he throws the stick, she turns around….. it goes on forever….or until Addison goes out and decides she’s not putting up with it. 

When we aren’t around Molly I feel like her name gets brought up at least every 10 minutes.   It’s hard to imagine a life without her now (well actually it’s not…my house would be cleaner, I wouldn’t have to put my food in the microwave to go check on a kid in the bathroom, or make sure my shoes are securely hidden when I leave the house. But, those kids, they love her so much it’s hard to think about not having her around. 

She feels it too.  If I ever come home to go for a run before picking up the kids she greets me at the door but stops abruptly to survey the situation.  She looks around me to see if they are lagging behind.  She sulks a bit when her buddies aren’t there.  All I do is feed her, pet her, and talk to her.  I don’t chase her in the yard (for fun) or throw sticks at her (for fun). 

I gave her a bath the other day.  It was a cold day and close to bed time. She has claimed her spot at the foot of the bed.  I didn’t want her laying on the bed making it smell like wet dog so I got out the hairdryer.  She was not a fan.  Gavin came in and handled the situation.  She kept trying to get away from the hot air but he knelt beside her and put his hands around her.  She settled down long enough for me to finish.  I look forward to see this relationship grow over time.  Despite all the trouble she can cause, she makes up for it in the joy that she gives.


Text 28 Mar I trust your judgement

I was getting ready to walk out the door this morning and as I was about to put on my shoes I started to doubt my decision.  I looked at my sweet, very honest, little girl and asked for her opinion between two pair.  She looked me over for about 10 seconds and then settled on the one on my left foot.  I went with it, put them on and headed to the car. 

It was after I dropped them off at school, on my way to work, that I sat and actually pondered what I had just done.  Did I really just ask my 4 year old daughter what looks best?  The same child who picked out her clothes the night before and mixed two very different patterns.  The outfit that I tried three times to get her to change; once that night and twice that same morning that I asked her opinion.  The outfit that was so outlandish that I took the time, despite the fact i was running late, to stop and take her picture.  I asked that girl what looked best?


Are the golden girls coming on today?



Text 25 Mar 1 note Vitamonster

I need to eat more veggies. The kids need to eat more veggies.  Everyone should eat more veggies.  The neighbor was telling me all about the green smoothie craze that she started doing.  I have made them in the past and figured why not give it another try and see if I can get the kids onboard.  I thought if I give the smoothie a silly name and tell them that their best buddies across the street are also drinking them then maybe they will more inclined to try one.   I grabbed the supplies from the fridge; a couple handfuls of spinach, one handful of kale,  some baby carrots, a handful of  strawberries, some frozen peaches, and a granny smith apple….oh wait… we had two not quite ripe bananas so I threw one of those in as well.  The color was less than appealing but I assured the kids the monster juice was going to be delicious. Both of them were excited to try it.  I plopped a straw in each cup and away we sipped.  Both of them said they liked it and continued to sip.  After drinking about 1/4 of hers Addison looked at me and in a very innocent and encouraging voice (because she didn’t want to hurt my feelings) said, “I don’t REALLY like it but I kind of like it……can I just save it for later?”  I wasn’t going to force her to drink it so I agreed to put it in the fridge even though I knew she would never come back to it.  Gavin drank all of his but quickly said no to a refill. 
Addison must have had a craving for it. It reminded me of the first time I had sushi. I didn’t love it so I had a lot left over.  Later that same night I decided I wanted another taste just to verify that I wasn’t a fan so I opened my leftover box and found myself actually liking the taste.  She asked to try another sip and ended up drinking the rest.   From there on out the rest is, as they say, history.  Every night we blend up our monster juice.  The kids select which flavors they want and we throw in the blender and mix it up.  Addison is the one who reminds me when it’s time to make them.  I slice the apple and she breaks the banana into small pieces, often taking a piece for herself.  Gavin just waits for the finished product.  They both finish their monster juice every night. 


Putting in all our veggies


Because simply smiling for the camera isn’t enough


All of these pictures aren’t necessary but I love how she poses for everything




Drinking our veggies

Text 19 Mar These women are crazy

In my book, music will always beat the television as a superior form of entertainment.  If I am in a less than savory mood I crank up the jams and sing along (sometimes there’s dancing).  Here lately, I have discovered that it runs in the family.  Gavin prefers to listen to music while doing his art projects and playing with toys.  He knows how to turn the radio on and when he heads upstairs you can hear the bass start to thump.  I’ve had to go regulate a couple of times already.  For him it’s just background noise. 

Addison, however, has taken to letting the sound take over her soul.  She doesn’t just listen to the music…..she feels the music.  She can be a grouch in the mornings.  The days following the time change were especially bad.  After two days of us not seeing eye to eye I decided to take a different approach to waking her.  I made a playlist of some of her favorite songs and woke her up to sweet kisses and music and then left the room.  A few minutes later she came in holding my iPAD and asked if we could dance (because that’s our thing).  It worked! My little morning grouch has turned back into my little princess. 

Unfortunately for Gavin, Addison and I can not keep our love of music a secret.  We like to embrace it and share it with the world.  At home he doesn’t mind so much.  In the car, it drives him crazy.  Like every other 2-10 year old girl in the country, Addison’s favorite song is the Frozen theme song.  I downloaded it for her one day and almost daily we have a sing-a-long with dramatic arm movements in the car.  Gavin can’t escape.  He’s resorted to putting on headphones to try and drown the noise.  A couple of times I’ve even seen him close his eyes for the duration, just hoping we only play it once.


It’s starting.


It’s a 3 minute song. I can get through this


Deep breath…deep breath


YOU.ARE.SO.WEIRD (and what are you wearing)

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