Friday, November 11, 2011

Underwoods on the move

Ok, so I vastly underestimated the amount of time it takes to make a weekly post on my blog.

By the time I get my three kiddos to bed, my preschool lesson prepared for the next day, get clothes laid out, prepare lunches and watch some of my DVR'd shows - I really don't feel like getting on the computer.  My IPhone is a wonderful crutch to check email, facebook, etc.  The past few weeks I have barely even turned on my computer.  Let me tell ya how much I love looking up "first grade facts" sitting in my van in car line.  (Yes, I LOVE multi-tasking)

We have been so busy this fall.  My oldest two are in school, so there is nightly homework, projects and field trips.  And can I give a shout out to Caleb & Madelyn's school?  I can not describe how much I love CSLA.  The energy in our school is electric - learning is fun..... all the time.  Does that mean my kids are happy 24/7?  No, but Madelyn does cry when she can't go to school on the weekends.  Kindergarten is so exciting and jam packed with activities, that I want to go with Madelyn every day.

Field trip to Rock City
Caleb's last flag football game is tomorrow and he has loved it!  Woo hoo!  Finally, a sport I love that he actually enjoys playing.  The girls, Leah especially, have enjoyed cheering for brother during his games.  Even in freezing cold.  Leah calls it "Caleb's foostball."  She is just so stinkin adorable.  My little boy turned 8 in October.  I can't believe it.  He still gives me hugs and kisses at school.... I know that will not last forever.

Rainy day outing
Madelyn has been taking ballet, tap & jazz since August and has found a passion for dance that I had as a child and teenager.  She loves the ballet portion more than I even expected and stated that she is not too shy to perform in the winter recital.  What luck that her dance studio is performing the Nutcracker, which happens to be Caleb's favorite Christmas music of all time.

The Underwood family has also (finally) joined Burks Methodist.  Hey, we only have been "visiting" for 2 years.  The morning we joined the church should have it's own blog post.

First, let me state, that Matt and I completely shot ourselves in the foot.  We voluntarily took our family to a local amusement park's Halloween extravaganza the night before.  It was one of the kid's friends birthday party and we just couldn't say no.  Mostly because we had as much fun as the kids!  And we stayed out until (gasp) 11 pm, knowing full well that we were joining the church the next morning.

Smart, huh?

My poor son was begging me in the pew to let him go home and take a nap, Leah was pitching a fit during the silent prayer and Madelyn just looked exhausted.  But stand up in front of the church we did, with 5 other families.  I really couldn't hear anything our pastor was saying, only the threats and bribes Matt and I were making with Caleb & Leah.  It ended with Leah shouting out "all done Mommy!" during the closing prayer and me running her down the aisle, tucked under my arm, with my hand over her mouth.  Nice.......

So, we are now members and probably the laughing stock of Hixson.  Oh well, we keep it real.

Acting shy for the camera at Preschool
Fall is just insanely busy with my oldest two in elementary school, me teaching 2 days a week and Leah attending preschool 2 days a week.  Throw in birthday parties, play dates, sleep overs and getting together with friends...... and we are barely home.

Leah following her sister on the Teddy Bear Parade
But, I have a secret.  I love all of this fall craziness and the fun my family of five is having......  Don't tease me when I complain that I am tired.  ;)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Things that make you go, hmmm...

Remember that song from the 80's?  "Things that make you go, hmmmm ~ things that make you go hmmm, hmmm."  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  (Can you tell I love my 80's references?)

How often do you walk into the room, that your children are playing in, or have just vacated, and thought - what the heck were they doing in here?

Case in point. - I just went upstairs to turn off the classical station that Caleb sleeps listening to at night and discovered his plastic hamper on its side, with an afghan in it.  The average person may assume he took all of his clothes out to look for his favorite shirt.  Not my son.  He was complaining at bedtime last night that he wanted to sleep in his sister, Madelyn's, room.  I said not tonight, because it is a school night, but you can "camp out" in her room with your sleeping bag all next week because it is Fall Break and you are both out of school.  *Insert crying and wailing and "I hate my room" rants.*  Fairly typical for a tired, cranky boy.
 I walked outside to this discovery last month

Well, my assumption is that Caleb took matters into his own hands and decided to make an "igloo tunnel" out of his bright red, insect, plastic fabric, 3 ft tall hamper.  My guess is he dumped all of dirty clothes on his real bed, grabbed his pillow & afghan and curled up for the night in a hamper that he has been using since he was born.  Niiiccceee.  Sounds delightful & comfy right?

Everyone has had those moments.  Right?  I LOVE those moments.  When your child's sense of wonder and imagination can not be contained to their parent's "strict & silly" daily routines.  I love that they see the delight in doing things slightly out of the box.

Like Madelyn wearing her totally rad (again the 80's) Hello Kitty bowler hat to school today.  Even though she knows she can't wear it in the classroom.  But, it makes an Awesome statement on the way in and out of school.  (As evidenced by her school's PE teacher shouting out "nice hat Madelyn" as he was directing car line this morning).  :)
The bowler hat modeled by Papa

Or Leah, putting together her own outfit ensemble and calling out "I'm ready for ewe to see me now Mommy!"  She, like her brother, marches to her own drum.  It can be more frustrating to try to change your child into something they are not, then just go with the flow and ride along with them.  Not that I would let them do anything dangerous.  Say, like letting them attempt to do a real life Frogger video game in downtown traffic.  *You get the idea.*

This is my Absolute favorite part about being Caleb, Madelyn & Leah's Mommy.  All of the fun, spontaneous things that fall in between the "planned learning & fun" of school, extracurricular activities, play dates and parties.  This is the stuff I hope they remember.  Cooking and baking with Mommy, snuggling on the couch and reading books waaayyy too late at night, building forts out of sheets in the living room on a rainy day, wrestling on the floor with Daddy and receiving endless piggy back rides from him.

It's all this "little" stuff that makes the "big" stuff (trips to Disney, blowout birthday parties) seem a little trivial in the end. 

Here's to enjoying the little things in life..... (As Leah would say - "Cheers!")  Thank you once again, Mom & Dad, for teaching my 2 year old that term, complete with the clinking sippy cups.  ;)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Let me introduce my kiddos....

I thought is was appropriate to introduce my 3 precious little ones if you are following this blog.  I know when I am blog hopping in the wee hours of the morning (when I should be sleeping) that I always wonder -"who are these people?"  I love to know the background after I have read all about their current lives.  Lots of pictures are always a bonus.  :)

I will start with my eldest, my son Caleb, who is 7.  I have affectionately called him "Caleb Boo" pretty much from the minute he was born, due to the fact that he was born on October 27th.  Get it?  Boo, as in Halloween.  Hey- it was pretty clever for a sleep deprived new Mommy.  :)  What a joy he was as a baby - always happy, smiling & content.  I had prayed for a boy first and my prayer was answered.  This dates back to my childhood longings for an older brother to protect me.  Plus, we got the whole "carrying on the family name" thing checked off with the first kid!

He was the easiest baby!  We could take him anywhere and secretly glowed inside that we must be natural parents because he was so happy all the time.  After a rough start with nursing, and getting his "tongue tied" tongue clipped at 9 days old, he was a great nurser and slept through the night at 9 weeks.  Then Caleb turned 3.  Our once easy going boy was now a stubborn, tantrum throwing mess.  Every day at home, much less preschool, was a stressful tightrope walk.  Would he have a good day, did he have special needs, was this normal?  I like to say his 3rd and 4th years were a constant battle that I couldn't let him win.  And I wanted to, out of sheer exhaustion.  See, I had another baby by this time.  He was still so loving to his family and close friends.  It just broke my heart that he wasn't adjusting well to new places and things.

I took him to our state run early intervention department and, shocking at the time, they stated that he was probably "gifted."  I learned what consequences and rewards worked and we made it through the rough years.  Now, Caleb is my darling boy.  Yes, he can still be extremely stubborn and unreasonable - but what kid isn't?  He loves his mommy, daddy & sisters with such a fierce devotion.  He still kisses me, Madelyn & Leah goodbye every morning in car line.

Our first darling baby girl, Madelyn, turned 5 in May.  Madelyn has been a ray of sunshine from the moment she was born.  Always laughing, hugging, smiling and giving away kisses.  She was my squishy, chunky Michelin Man baby.  How I loved to kiss all of those fat rolls on her arms and legs.  Madelyn absolutely adored her big brother - even when he bonked her on the head with a toy.

 She started talking, very clearly, at a young age.  I remember Matt coming home from work one day when Madelyn was 15 mo old.  She looked up at him and very clearly said "Why, hello Daddy!"  Crazy, and a little creepy.  ;)  Madelyn has talked non-stop from that moment on.  She was asking to have her ears pierced before she was two.  "Mommy has earrings, I want earrings too..... pleaassee Mommy?"  So, as part of her birthday gift, she did get her ears pierced after her 2nd birthday party.

Madelyn loves to help others and has such a kind, compassionate heart.  She is a peacemaker and never is intentionally mean spirited to anyone.  Honestly... she is a very sweet child.   She LOVES kindergarten and actually cries when she doesn't get to go on the weekends.  Her new passion is ballet.  Madelyn took Fairytale ballet when she was 4, but was "too shy" to perform much in class.  Now a little more mature, and having one of her closest friends in her class, she is so excited to be in the winter performance of The Nutcracker.

Which brings me to my baby, my little Leah.  She is our tiny little, doll baby - and our last child.  We knew we wanted at least three children, and after Leah was born (and proved to be our most stubborn child yet) we knew our family was complete!  :)  She was our first child that resembled my husband, with her dark brown eyes and brown hair.  She had such a beautiful golden complexion (unlike my pale self).  Leah has been petite from the day she was born.  She was my fussiest baby, with reflux and colic that lasted almost a year.  But, oh, what a personality!  Her extra large personality lets you know she is in the room!

Leah is either Jeckyl or Hyde.  She is either completely happy, or completely ticked.  She can melt your heart when she hugs you and says "I love you too Mommy!"  Leah is a super talker, just like her sister, but didn't take of vocabulary wise until right after her 2nd birthday.  Now, she compares models in advertisements and says "this lady is blonde, my Mommy is blonde."  What?!?!  I tell ya, she misses nothing.  I love that God gave me my little petite girl last, because I still feel like I have a baby - even though she is almost 2 1/2.

Leah loves to play with her beloved "Ladoo" (aka her lovey), read books and watch Dora over and over and over.  Her number one love is playing outside and she worships the ground her brother and sister walk on.  She also appears to love school as much as her sister, because she cries when she doesn't get to go to preschool too.  Leah attends the preschool where I teach on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Very convenient!

So, that is a somewhat Cliff Note's version of my precious kiddos.  In case you wanted to know.....

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Renaissance Man

Though I originally intended for my blog to contain stories, pictures and anecdotes about my three children, it has become obvious to me that I may need to vent about other topics.  :)  No, I will not delve into politics or any other hot button issues, but us moms have to be able to tell it like it is occasionally.

This brings me to my hubby, Matthew.  He is definitely a Renaissance man in every sense of the word.  He loves studying, math (ack!), science (double ack!), religion, music and reading.  Matt was in school for 11 years - past high school.  He had more drive and determination than anyone I know.  God sent me a very special man.  All of these qualities are what made me fall in love with him..... pretty much immediately.  Good thing he felt the same way too, or I could be writing about the man that got away because I scared him.  ;)  Matt was the one who said he loved me after 2 weeks and thus began our relationship. 

I could not believe that this handsome, kind, funny and loving man was mine.  But, wait ladies, he is also a singer and pianist.  This is how he reeled me in - hook, line and sinker.  Matt writes and composes his own music.   Which he then sings and plays to the ladies.  I think you can see where I am going with this.  When a hottie fraternity boy writes a song with your name in it, you have no choice but to fall in love.  So while his friends were wooing girls with beer, sarcasm and the occasionally chicken wing - my Matthew was playing to my heart.

I write this not to make you jealous, but to preface the rant that is to follow.  I love the unique qualities that my husband possesses, but they are also what can drive me crazy!  Matt has wanted to be a professional musician pretty much from the time he was 12.  However, he was smart enough (with guidance from his parents) to realize he needed a profession where he got paid on a regular basis.  So, now he is a pharmacist by day, and a ROCK STAR by night.  I am not being sarcastic.  He is currently transforming his Man Cave in the basement into an in-home recording studio.  And we have 3 kids seven and under.  Sounds easy, right?

I want to support him in his dream..... and I do.  However, real life keeps me from being super supportive.  I end up being sarcastic so I won't holler at him.  All I see is visions of him performing "gigs" all over the south, while I am here working part time, running the kiddos to school, running Madelyn to ballet, Caleb to football, helping with homework, projects & volunteering at the big kid's school - alone.  Right now I pretty much run things by myself.  I am OCD enough that I kind of prefer it that way.  However, whenever I ask for help, Matt steps right up.

By the way, I must insert a promo plug for his music here.  He had uploaded a ton of videos of himself playing the piano & singing.  Search for Matthew Underwood on You Tube.  He has great versions of The Frey, Billy Joel, Alice in Chains, etc.

The thing I am most frustrated about is my fear that this will change our lives.  I really do want my hubby to record a CD and fulfill his dream.  I just LOVE our life now.  You might sense that I love big changes, huh?  I do love adventure and new jobs, hobbies, etc.  I just kind of gave up all of that adventure when I had my 3 precious kiddos.  Don't all moms do that?

I need to take the leap, support my wonderful hubby and see what is waiting around the corner. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

I finally fell down the rabbit hole

Well, here I am.  Blogging.  Doing exactly what I swore I would probably never do.  Starting an online diary of my family was never at the top of my priority list.  And traveling around the world with my hubby and 3 kiddos will always be at the top of my bucket list.  But, after following several inspiring, hilarious and generally fun blogs of friends and strangers alike, I have bit the bullet. 

To put it this way, my hubby was the one whose comment spurred this blog.  He said "why are you spending all of this time reading other people's blogs, when you could be writing one for our family?"  Touche, touche.  Ok, babe, this is for you!

I have also come to realize that I like to talk, and share, a lot.  If you know me personally, this won't come as a surprise.  My pictures, quotes from my kiddos, prayer requests and random musings on the world can not seem to be contained to email and facebook.  So, if you happen to actually want to follow this blog, you may be saving my husband's hearing.  ;)  He is very good at smiling and nodding.  Maybe that is why we have been together for 16 years and married for almost 13 years.  Aggghhh!  Just writing that makes me feel old.  Anyway, I digress.

I really wanted to start this blog for my 3 children (Caleb-7 *almost 8*, Madelyn-5 and Leah-2).  If I can convey in writing how much I love them, cherish all the moments with them (big & small, messy & emergent), and truly ENJOY spending time with them - it will be worth every second I spend typing.   I like to take a lot of low quality pictures and then over share them, so hang on to your hats people!

Thanks for taking the time to read my online rants and I hope to "see" you again soon!