Friday, August 22, 2014

Summer's Over (sort of!)

So the blog has missed ALL of summer break! The biggest change since then is: the kids are swimming!!! It was a loooooong road and a lot of work but they are really doing it! They had 16 lessons (3xs a week for over a month!) and Ms. Jessica really worked hard with them! Audrey was just starting to gain confidence and was kicking her legs but not really using her arms much. Madison was making very little effort, honestly. Barely a little kick here and there. She mostly just glided to the wall. By the end of lessons they were at least (mostly) not crying. The first lesson.....oh my geeee! Screamfest. Elana was our little star! By the end of lessons she was jumping in and returning to the wall all on her own, swimming short distances and back floating!

We have continued working with them 1-2 times a week and I am happy to report the progress they have made since ending swim lessons. I guess it finally just clicked and now I have 3 little fishes! Audrey is now using her arms AND legs to swim and as long as she keeps her head down in the water, she's really moving!!! She is also doing very well jumping in and returning to the wall on her own. I loooooove her little sideways jump she does! Madison finally realized she can swim when she kicks her legs (imagine that!) After that day, it was all over. She is LOVING swimming and will ask to swim to you from the steps over and over again. She has also mastered jumping in and returning to the wall. Recently she swam nearly the width of the whole pool at Jemmie's house. Elana continues to do well also. She's a little more interested in playing with the toys than practicing her swimming but I think maybe that's just age related. She does this fun "chair jump" that they taught us in swim lessons. I think she likes it best when daddy does it because he adds some air to her jumps!! Going to the pool is now fun for everyone and they are crying when we have to leave instead of when we get there. Success in my book :)

We spent the majority of the summer in swim lessons, then had a break without any real plans besides the usual crazy. This week was the first week of school. All 3 kids are now attending their little school and they did surprisingly well! I was sure Elana was going to have a fit when I dropped her off but she did really well and didn't cry at all! Her teachers were just in love with her and begged us to sign her up for another day! Audrey and Madison did well at drop off also (yay!) I think they found comfort in their little buddy Charlotte who was also in their class last year. The teacher also said they had a great first day! Hooray! Mommy and Daddy enjoyed a peaceful lunch and Lowes run.

I'm keeping super busy working 1-2 days a week, keeping up with the kids and the house and driving Rusty crazy with all my little projects. I've been trying to eliminate unnecessary chemicals in our lives and have been making a lot of my own products....and saving money too!!!! So far I've made a sugar scrub, facial scrub, lotion, deodorant, laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent. Next on the list is hand sanitizer and bug spray made from my *new* essential oils. When I'm not doing all that, I'm reorganizing the closets and planning the remodel for our laundry area, mudroom area in the garage as well as the re-do of our master bath. Phew. I'm tired just thinking about all that at once!

The new Harry Potter has opened up at Universal and the summer has been busy for Rusty at work (and crazy hot!) He still gets up with us every morning and goes on outings or helps me get the crazies ready for an outing. He loves me and I am so very lucky and thankful for that. I know it may come as a shock, but all the projects I do that make me happy, also make me crazy and not always fun to be around. I am an ongoing work in progress....sigh.

So, what's new?

Audrey: This kid comes up with the craziest things! It is almost ALWAYS a fight to get her to eat her meal. So I'll portion out a little on her plate and tell her what she needs to eat so that she can be done. One night I said, frustrated, "Just eat this food I put in the square right here." Not missing a beat she says "It's not a square mom. It's a rectangle." WTH! Seriously?! How can you be mad and almost laughing at the same time? She continues to be out of her room the second her clock turns green at nap time. She will entertain herself, usually painting with water colors. That's a most favorite activity lately. I'll be getting dinner fixed in the kitchen and sometimes she will come out and help. The latest meal she helped with was breading chicken fingers. She gets the biggest smile on her face and you can really tell she is proud of the fact that she helped mommy fix dinner! Things seem to be getting better between she and Elana as well. I'll catch her being a little mommy to her or bossing her around in a sweet, big sister kind of way. The relationship between A&M seems to be hit or miss, and probably always will be. They are ripping each other apart and screaming one minute and giggling and playing together like best buds the next.

Madison: She's in a transition stage with her naps and usually gets up a grump! After a few minutes she warms up and will paint water colors with Audrey or put a puzzle together. Sometimes she wants to help with dinner also which inevitably creates a sister brawl! In the mornings, Madison has been getting up as the clock strikes 7:45am and her ready-to-wake clock turns green. I will usually wake up to A&M playing quietly in the living room. They have figured out how to get into the closet with all their crafts so they are painting (making a mess) with watercolors, crayons, markers, legos, puzzles, etc. etc. BUT, I do usually get to keep my tired head on the pillow until 8:00 or even 8:15 because little E will sleep until 8:30 or so (bless her). I still keep as much locked up like Ft. Knox as I can but Madison does like to dress herself in the morning. If I forget to set out clothes for her, I will usually find her in the most favorite outfit she can find in the dirty clothes basket....hahaha. The funniest thing she's done lately is play with the water spear in the back yard. Daddy was trying to wind down the outside time and was collecting all the toys. He asked Madison to bring the water spear to him and she walked slowly toward him and said "ok daddy, here you go...." and took aim and fired a direct hit of water! She learns from the best ;) Lately we have been dealing with some major listening problems but she has a kind heart and is a fantastic helper. She is my go to for "special jobs" and is always first to volunteer to set the table for dinner.

Elana is still my little sweetheart! I admit I have a soft spot for her...probably because she's not in the "terrible 3's" stage (yet!)...hahaha. She is really talking a lot now and can carry on a conversation with other people. It's so weird to watch your BABY carry a conversation. Of course, she doesn't think she's a baby! It's fun to watch her frolic around with the other two...she goes along with whatever crazy game they are playing and is only one step behind everything the older two are doing. One of their favorite things to do right now is to pretend there is a bear (RAWRRR!) and they will run and scream. Sometimes they involve Layla and get her going too. Poor Layla. Elana has hit, kicked, jumped on, tried to ride, pulled the tail of that poor dog and she just takes it. Last night I explained to her that she needs to be nice and not hit doggie and that she needed to apologize to Layla for being mean. She walks over to Layla, gives her a big hug around the neck, lays her head on her and says "I sorry Layla, I wuv you" in the sweetest little voice. Another fun game for her right now is playing with Daddy in the pool. Daddy will swim underwater, poke his head up and say RAWRRR! She'll laugh and squeal and tell him "Say RAWR to me daddy!" And of course he does <3 nbsp="" p="">

This life is so crazy and hectic right now but full of sweet moments. It's hard to soak them all in when you're in the thick of it, so it's really nice to reflect like this and reset. I think one of the hard things about motherhood is focusing on the good. Everyone says "enjoy every moment, before you know it they are going to be grown." Which is said with all good intention and really is true. But to be in it, day after day, cooking, cleaning, breaking up fights, disciplining, questioning everything, wondering if you are making the right parenting choices, wondering if you are ever going to feel rested again, if your husband is still going to love you when the dust settles, wondering if you are screwing up at this parenthood thing, it's really tough to enjoy EVERY moment. I just hope and pray that what I'm doing is enough. When the kids look back to their childhood, I hope they remember a happy days with a mom and dad that love each other and them than anything.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer time's here!

As usual, lots happening in our lives since my last post! Last month, Rusty and I took a 3 night cruise to the Bahamas. It was our first big trip away from all the kids and the first overnight stay away from Elana! Everything went very well at home and we had a great time as well. Glad that first trip is "out of the way" so we can relax a little more and enjoy the next trip. Date: TBA! And what's a Disney cruise without booking.....ANOTHER Disney cruise?! Next year, the family will be headed to Miami for a 4 night cruise. I know the kids are going to be sooooo excited!

This week was the last week of school. Audrey and Madison really loved being in Ms. Lisa and Ms. Noelia's class this year! In the fall, they are on to the 3s class and after that pre-K. So weird to think of them being in school every day. For now, they'll just be going once a week and Elana will be joining her big sisters at school in the fall which is also very exciting!!! Four full hours kid free!

Until then, we will just have to enjoy summer! Tonight we had the sprinklers going and the kids were running through the water with buckets on their heads. Ah, love nice evenings! Monday, the kids start swim lessons, so hoping that goes well. We will see......

Audrey: This kid has really been a chatter box lately! Talking, telling stories, imaginary play, negotiations for getting out of swim lessons, the list goes on! I am amazed at her memory also. She will ask me about things that happened months ago and remember details about the events. The big news with this girl is that she now poops on the potty! Woah, big deal here! Grandma convinced her to go while Daddy and I were away on vacation and she's been going ever since! Another big development is that she is free-hand drawing letters. She has always been really into coloring and she's been asking me to draw letters for her to trace. This week she busted out with "Look mommy! I drew A's and H's!" and sure enough she had!

Madison: Madison really ended up having a great year at school. I was worried because she was so upset the first couple of days I left her, but now she's doing great and becoming more and more independent. She seems very excited about upcoming swim lessons and I hope she really does enjoy them! We've been having some issues with her pushing or having temper tantrums if she doesn't get her way but she's mostly an easy going kid. After bath, she will run into her room and get herself all dressed and ready for bed...all on her own! She also goes in and get herself dressed for the day in the mornings. Sometimes its pretty crazy looking but Madison is always happy with her selection :) She's eager to help with the night routine and brushing her teeth has become a lot easier since she came to the dentist office with me. The hygienist was really sweet and explained how to brush her teeth and it seemed to make it click!

Elana: Elana has become very, very verbal in the past few weeks. She is using sentences a lot of the time and is using new words frequently. I find myself thinking "did she just say what I think she said?!" I am also having more trouble differentiating the voices when they are all in their room for nap. I sometimes really have to strain to figure out who is talking: Madison, Audrey or Elana! Elana is starting to enter the "terrible twos" although I do hate to label! She has been known to throw down quite the temper tantrum if she doesn't get her way. However, I will say, she is easier to deal with than A&M many times because she is still fairly distractible. It also helps to really talk to her and try to figure out what's wrong. She can usually tell you! We also use the phrase "are you done now?" a lot. She'll either say no and cry more, or take a deep breath, say yes, and continue playing. Another good one is "are you sad?" or "do you need a kiss?" that fixes a lot of problems also :) She's also just started to name her abuser after a scuffle. She'll start crying and run up to you saying "Ma-son" or "A-jee" if they did something offensive or mean!

Never a dull moment here! Lots of excitement coming this week with swim lessons starting and then Father's Day! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Audrey and Madison turn THREE!

Life in the Jones world is still spinning at top speed. Audrey and Madison recently celebrated their birthday and we had a big party to celebrate! Instead of gifts this year, we asked party guests to make a donation to the Pet Rescue by Judy charity. It was nice to take the focus off of gifts and on to spending quality time with family and friends, and giving back to the community! Grandma and Grandpa rented the girls a bounce house and it was soooo much fun. The kids had an absolute blast!

Since my last post, we have completed the guest bathroom remodel! It's been changed from an olive green to a cheerful yellow with lots of girly accents! We finally tore out the laminate and had tile laid after all this time. So happy with how it turned out!

We also took our second camping trip with all 3 kiddos. It went really well overall except everyone had the grumpies on the last day from lack of sleep! It's so great to spend that quality time with friends. Best of all, it was supposed to rain all weekend but it really only sprinkled a few times. I hope that the kids grow up with happy memories of camping like I have!

Lots of changes in the life of Audrey. Recently, we started taking her to see a chiropractor. She had just gotten to the point that she seemed very unhappy, crying often with lots of outbursts. She has struggled with constipation for some time now and I think that may have contributed to the problem. After the first adjustment, we already noticed an improvement. Now, she gets adjusted regularly and is on a regimen to help with her regularity (ha). She seems so much happier and I'm only sorry we didn't start seeing Dr. Erin sooner! I have stepped a bit further into the hippy zone with a more holistic approach to raising my kids, but it works for us so that's ok with me. Along with the chiropractic care, we also started using some essential oils. It's nice to be able to offer the kids relief that doesn't come in the form of mediation!! In fact, we cleared two separate ear infections in ONE DAY by using adjustment, essential oils and breastmilk. I'm sold!

Anyway, back to Audrey. She seems to be enjoying the special time she gets with mommy and daddy when it's her day to get adjusted. We also were having some nap time issues so I bought a "ready to wake" clock. It's been a huge help getting her to stay in the room at rest time (and eliminated a lot of whining and crying too!) She's always up at 3:30 sharp when her light comes on. She continues to enjoy helping me get dinner ready or playing outside. Her imagination is really developing too. She will self entertain and run around telling a story or singing a song. Some of her favorite activities to do right now is play with playdoh or paint! 

Elana's a real mess! She's becoming her own independent little person with (strong) opinions! Overall she's a really happy little girl that loves her mama! She's still nursing a couple of times a day but her sessions are shorter as the days go on. I would like to continue until she's two, at the recommendation of the AAP, but of course if she weans before then, it's her choice! I never would have pictured myself being an "extended" breastfeeder but motherhood changes so many things you thought you knew about life :) So hard to believe she's turning into a toddler and she's not my little baby anymore! Her verbal skills are probably the best of all the kids at this age. She says tons of words and regularly links two words together like "daddy's book" or "Elana's shirt." It's also really cute hear her refer to people...Poppie is one of her favorites...he is her little buddy! She just said "Tia" for the first time today ("bye-bye Tia")! and she refers to Madison as "ma-ma" and Audrey is usually "sissy" but she has started trying to say "A-jee" too! I wouldn't say she has a favorite craft at this point, just whatever the big girls are doing, she's not to be left out!!!! All I'm saying, is I'm glad paint and playdoh are non-toxic products because she eats A LOT of them! When she's not eating art, she's digging in the dirt in the back yard, chasing Layla, or doing daredevil stunts down the slide or on the swings.

Madison is such a good helper. She is (usually) willing to help clean up the toys at the end of the day, or help Audrey re-lace the velcro on her shoes, or put the dirty clothes in the hamper. Her favorite thing right now is puzzles and Mickey. If she can't watch MMCH, she's asking to play with puzzles!!!! Right now she can do as many as 48 pieces! She can also be a little bit bossy, making sure that everyone is following the rules....which gets her into trouble, sigh. She also has this funny thing she does when you are talking to her. If she doesn't want to hear what you say, she'll say "What?!" practically before you even finish what you're saying...haha. She recently became potty trained day and night. She had been dry several nights in a row so I encouraged her to choose some underwear for bed. She was NOT having it. So we had some special time and went to the store and she got to choose some new, special, bedtime undies. Of course, she choose SUPER MICKEY! and that was it! Potty trained night and day. Only one overnight accident so far. So crazy they are old enough to be done, done with diapers! During that trip, I also discovered she really likes to go grocery shopping with me and is actually, truly a good helper at the store too! Amazing how sweet these kiddos can be off on their own :)

Now, off to bed! I have to wear my nurse hat for a little bit tomorrow when I go in for a class. Don't get me started. In the coming months, I'm counting down the days until Rusty and I go on our kidless cruise, wow! It's been over 3 years! We have a lot of re-energizing to do! The kids will also be doing swim lessons this summer so that should be.....interesting!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Life lately. November, December and January....

Keeping up with this blog is proving more and more difficult for me! Between trying to keep up with the usual household duties, picking up some extra shifts at work, surviving Christmas, and trying to remodel and organize multiple areas of our house at once, I am utterly overwhelmed. Honestly, it's silly. I get to spend 5-6 days a week home with my family. I should be grateful for that (and I am) but I just feel those special moments slipping away. Some experiences with my children are truly priceless and I never want to forget them but I am learning that time fades so many great memories (and bad ones too thankfully...haha). I want to be better at keeping up with my kids lives by being current on their photo albums, home movies, art albums and things like this blog and my little notebooks where I write down funnies and everyday precious moments. First world mommy problems.

As Elana enters her second year, I've decided it's ok to work a few extra shifts a month. It's good for my sanity and good for the budget too! Not to mention that I'm simultaneously trying to remodel and re-tile both bathrooms in my house, organizing the garage, making the master bedroom a retreat instead of a dumping ground, organize my kitchen cabinets, purging my closet and making room for a build in desk in there. What a grand plan.....It will be grand in the end though! We've needed to do some things for "us" as a couple for um....about 3 years now :)

Our family of 5 Christmas morning was really nice and the girls had a great time trying out their tricycles! Madison is getting really good on hers and Audrey isn't overly interested at this point! Elana is having a great time tagging along beside the older two! We spent Christmas Eve with my mom, Christmas day at our place and then to Grandma and Pawpaw Hodge. The following day we had dinner with dad and came home and watched Superman! Really enjoyed our time with family this year!

Rusty has been busy at work. He is enjoying his job overall, although they have a few rides that have been giving them plenty of trouble! It's also been very cold the past few weeks and working outside or in a building that doesn't have heat has been a bit of a challenge, coupled with a case of food poisoning from work food makes for a fun time (not!) He has been working 4 10 hour shifts instead of his usual 5 8s. This has been really nice having him an extra day but he is also getting home later which makes doing morning activities with the kids a bit of a challenge. He has a good attitude and is very good at balancing my long list of needs (van, house, personal) with everyday life and work. I am lucky to have such a great husband and father to my kids <3 p="">
Our little ladies are growing up so fast! Here's a little about them these days....

Elana: My little pistol! She said her first word just after she turned one. We were watching a home movie I had made from video clips and she saw Layla walk across the screen. She pointed and said "Layla!!" and hasn't stopped talking since!!! It seems like she is pronouncing words better and saying more and more words by the day! Elana is a little chatter box and is always asking for daddy! She pokes her little lips out and says "da-da, da-da" over and over :) She is still very attached to her momma though! When I leave to take the big girls to preschool, she cries when I leave and asks for me until I return. When I get home, she hears me open the door and I see her little face light up when she realizes it's me. She will run to me saying "mama!!!!" One of my favorite things she does right now is wrap her arms around your neck and lay her little head on your shoulder. She gives the best hugs and it is really one of the sweetest things ever! Elana loves to be involved in whatever her big sisters are doing. She is especially fond of painting and coloring! She knows Mickey and Minnie as well as most of the other characters from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Some of her latest tricks are pointing out her body parts, especially her nose, belly button, eyes and ears. She also points to her diaper when it is dirty (early potty trainer?!) and loves to give me a heart attack when she climbs up the slide or into the swing in the back yard. Yesterday I went to the store and asked her if she wanted to ride in the cart or with me and she clearly said "backpack!" Way to make mama feel loved <3 br="">
Madison: Little stinker! She has this funny little face she does where she scrunches up her nose, looks at you and says something sassy! One of her favorite things to do right now is put puzzles together. She can put together 24 piece puzzles effortlessly! We have a box of mickey puzzles she assembles in just's amazing. She's got a whole thought process behind it too. Smarty pants! Lately, we have had issues with the older girls acting out so we started having day dates. Once a week we take one of them for one-on-one time. It's really enjoyable to get them out on their own and see their individual personality blossom! We took Madison to Monkey Joes and she had a BLAST! She was going down the biggest slides they had all by herself. Sometimes I look at her and I am shocked to see the beautiful little girl she is becoming.

Audrey: Oh Audrey. The zombie arm is still strong with this one! Once you get past the whining, she is such a pleasant and sweet little girl! We found that when we separate her from Madison, she will just chatter, chatter, chatter! She loves to talk and it's not necessarily TO anyone other than herself :) Audrey is also really into painting these days. Give that girl some watercolors and a pad of paper and she will go to town! Today we painted and she told me that she was drawing a dinosaur and went on to explain about how it was a T-Rex and that she was drawing his feet. She definitely doesn't have the same connection with Elana that Madison does but she has her sweet moments. Sometimes she will share her toy with the baby without prompting or give her a little hug while she thinks no one is watching. She also loves to push he baby dolls around in the shopping cart. The other day I snapped a picture of her with her "two babies." It's also fun to see the wheels start turning about being a twin herself. We don't use the term "twins" in our home so I'm not sure she knows that but she will point out that she and Madison were in mommy's tummy together!

I sure love my little girls (and their daddy too!) Times like these, when I think about the happy times, makes my heart swell with love. There are also plenty of hard times, especially with the trying age of 2-3 year olds and Elana beginning to assert herself. I struggle daily to find balance between work and play. I can only hope I am giving them the happy childhood they need and deserve. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Catching up. August, September and October.

I hate that! You are already stressing about being behind on blogging, thinking you've got 2 months to talk about when in fact, you have THREE! That's a whole quarter of a year that has gone by in an absolute blink. So here it is in a nutshell:

August: Our big news in August was sending Audrey and Madison to school. We went to "meet the teacher" and got to meet Ms. Cindy and Ms. Lisa and play with all the toys! They go once a week and Rusty and I pretend we only have 1 kid for a few hours! Haha. The first few drop offs were really hard for Madison (and mommy!). Now they both LOVE going to school and drop offs are painless. They ask about going to school and their teachers throughout the week :) To view our pictures, click here!

September: This month was pretty awesome considering we went on vacation! We booked our Disney cruise on our last one when I was 17 weeks pregnant with Elana! First, we spent 2 nights at the Lowes Royal Pacific hotel. We spent time at the parks and hung out by the pool. Then our 4 night Disney cruise was a dream! We were joined by my in-laws, dad, sister and cousins and their daughter. When we got home, it was time for my 10 year reunion. It was fun to catch up with old friends and people watch! You can see more pictures here.

October: This is a fun month for us! We did lots of things for Halloween this year! We started off with a trip to SeaWorld's Spooktacular. The kids didn't really "get" the trick or treating part but it was fun to see the exhibits and get the kids all dressed up!! Then of course we had to make the trip to the pumpkin patch. This was our 3rd year going and by far the most fun! The kids had a great time running around and picking out their pumpkins :) On the actual Halloween, I took the kids to my friend's neighborhood for trick or treating. Audrey was terrified by a little boy in our group dressed in a scary mask. Poor thing! But overall it was fun walking around in the dark collecting candy! Not to forget, our little Elana turned ONE this month. Mom hosted her party the weekend after the big day. On her actual birth-day we took her to Grammy's indoor playplace for a special treat! Pictures here.

As of my last entry, Audrey wasn't giving us much trouble in the scheme of things. Lately she has been a challenge! I think she and Madison are taking turns driving me crazy :) I try to remind myself that this is a phase that every kid goes through and has to go through to learn about the world. It's almost like you can see the wheels turning, "if I do this, what will happen? how much can I get away with?" So I try to be as consistent as possible with my disciple, trying to find that fine balance in parenthood where you get your child to behave without squashing their spirit. Most of the time, she wants things done in a certain way or in a certain order. Can't fault her for that...hehe. A little too much like her mother!! Anyway, lots of NOs and I DON'T WANT TOs happening around here but usually nothing a little time-out doesn't fix! Rusty and I always call her Dr. Jekyll/ Mr. Hyde because she can be raging one moment and sweet as pie the next! Overall she is a good girl and loves her mama. You can still find me carting her around in the Boba from time to time when she needs a little extra attention. It's a rare day that she naps but that's ok because she usually just plays and sings quietly in her room while Madison naps (or they play together and destroy..haha). We have had many special moments during the nap hour when Madison and Elana are napping and Audrey "helps" get dinner fixed or with some baking. She is becoming an independent little lady and never fails to bust out with something crazy/funny. Now I understand why people always say "kids say the darndest things!" 

Madison, who had been our "difficult" child for a few months with the boundary testing has become the more mellow of the two. She goes with the flow most days and is helpful more often than not. When I need a "special helper" I always ask Madison. She is very good at following directions :) She always helps pick up the dirty clothes and put them in the hamper and is very good at picking up toys or putting those puzzles together that come with a million pieces. We have made amazing strides with the potty training. One week before the cruise, the girls decided they wanted to wear underwear. So we went with it, a little apprehensive just before vacation but they did GREAT! Madison was certainly the ring-leader in this situation and pushed Audrey into being ready. As of today, Madison only wears a pull-up at night. She pees and poops in the potty all day and even naps without accidents. We are SO proud of these two! One of the most precious thing she does right now is, just before I close the door at nap and bedtime she says, "Mommy, I love you SOO much!" It warms my heart!

It's so hard to believe our sweet girl is one! She is truly a joy in our lives! Most of the time she is happy, easy going and self-entertaining. She likes to point and grunts at everything, wanting to know the words. She gets the biggest smile on her face and giggles over seemingly nothing. This age is so precious!! We even made it the full year of breastfeeding. I'm so happy and proud that she never had to have any formula and I had pumped not only enough milk for her, but also had stored a freezer full of milk and donated to 5 other babies! Now that she's one, she still nurses through the day but not as much. She's a busy little thing and doesn't like to be slowed down :) It is nice to get that special cuddle time. I'm not sure how long we'll go but I think I'll leave that up to her. One thing is for sure, she thinks she is a long lost triplet to Audrey and Madison. Anything they do, she tries to do! Whenever she does something she knows is a big girl thing she gets the biggest smile on her face. Always so pleased with herself! Her latest thing is being obsessed with shoes! She found the basket of shoes I keep in her dresser and will go there, choose a shoe (or two!) and bring it to me to put on her. Then she runs around the house looking so happy. Crazy little girl. She is such a blessing <3 p="">
Rusty: I can't imagine how he must feel living with 4 women (and a female dog!) but he does it well! He is a great daddy and is always helpful to me around the house. They have been very short at work lately so he's been doing some overtime trying to fill in. Overall he is happy with work and especially happy now that Halloween Horror nights is over :) In his "spare time" he likes to work on his mustang. hahahahaha. Oh I'm sorry....did I say something about spare time....

Shelby: I'm holding steady working one day a week (at my paid job!) I would like to work more but that time will come. For now I'm (mostly) enjoying being at home with my babies. The work is exhausting between keeping 3 kids under 3 happy, fed, clean, the house clean-ish, the dog fed, the laundry done, the checkbook balanced, the grocery shopping done, the projects completed, and the list goes on. October was incredibly busy and November is going to be even more so. There are some days I feel completely overwhelmed and over my head and other days not so much. Trying hard to focus on one day at a time. Every time I look at my girls they look older. I'm constantly criticizing the job I'm doing as their mother and hope with all my heart that I am giving them the happy childhood they deserve. There are days that they are so terribly whiney and irritable that I'm not sure I can make it though the day and other times that they are so incredibly sweet it fills my heart with happiness. I never imagined motherhood could be this way. Such a constant roller coaster ride of emotions. I am so blessed to be able to be home with them and watch them grow up. I wonder about the kind of children/teenagers/young women they will become. I guess only time will tell and for now, I'm going to try taking this one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

June and July

Catch up time! In June, Rusty turned the big 3-0!!! We celebrated by renting a convertible mustang, getting a massage and spending a day at the beach. It was great to kick back and relax for a day. So glad I chose such a great birthday gift for us him. :) We also spent time with friends for a kid-free dinner out. It was so nice to catch up without time-outs and kid duty interfering! This month we also enjoyed taking the kids to the beach and our preschool co-op made a visit to the Oviedo fire station.

Not much to report in July. I was able to pick up a few extra shifts at work since Grandma is off work for the summer so we laid low. The highlight of the month was our fun trip to the science center! We went with a group of friends and their kids and are looking forward to purchasing a membership sometime in the near future. It was so fun to watch the kids see things they had never seen before! Audrey and Madison talked about the "dinosaur at the science center" and "pushing the button to make the dinosaur move" for a solid week.

In July we also transitioned the girls to toddler beds. Oh boy. Double trouble is an understatement. Everything in their room is locked and tethered down, everything removed except essentials in order to make it as boring as possible in hopes that they will nap/sleep/not destroy my house. If I said it's been a zoo, that would be an understatement. It sounds like a teenage slumber party in there at naptime everyday! At night, they screamed bloody murder for the first 2 weeks and demanded I "put it back." It being the crib rail. We seem to be settling down, finally. Madison occasionally falls asleep on the floor at naptime but Audrey has not slept except for bedtime when she falls exhausted into bed! There's been poop hiding, mattress tossing and who knows what else. But you know what? I don't sleep in a crib and everything is ok. Someday they will grow out of the shenanigans (I hope.)

Everyone loves a good poop story, so here it is: The girls had taken off their diapers during "nap". I found poop smudged on the mattress, the bed frame and Audrey's shirt. But no poop. Audrey's seemingly clean diaper was sitting on the changing table. I found the mystery poop in 2 separate dresser drawers (despite drawer locks). I thought that was it. Then the next morning, Madison kept saying "Audrey poop" and pointing under the dresser. Another mystery turd found. Good news? I figured out where the lingering poop smell was coming from!

Madison is our little wild child! She's always one step ahead, hands everywhere and into everything! Since my last post she has become VERY verbal and is now speaking in full sentences. We were so worried when she was almost 2 and hardly saying any words when our pediatrician told us to enjoy it. Soon she would be chatting our ears off. Boy was he right! She sings song, can carry on a conversation, count to 15 and can recognize most letters and colors. Right now her favorite color is BLUE! and her favorite song is Mary Had a Little Lamb. It's the most highly requested tune in the house! Play dough is also a favorite right now! She is still a major daddy's girl and asks for him all the time when he is at work. As crazy as she can be, she is also incredibly sweet at times. She asks me all the time when we are sitting down to eat "mommy, is it good?" If Elana is crying she runs over, pets her head and says "It's ok baby!" Funny how things you say and do get mirrored back to you :)
Audrey is our little emotional child. She's great at independent play, doesn't really get into things or tear the house apart (unless she is Madison's partner in crime). But oh my, don't take something she is playing with, had played with or is thinking about playing with. Don't touch her chair, her cup, her dolly, her blanket, her bed, and please, don't push her down the slide because an emotional meltdown will occur! Oh, and don't sing in the car either, gah! One of her favorite things to do right now is help mommy fix dinner. If she sees me fixing food in the kitchen she begs for the chair to stand on so she can help. I usually have her help me when (if) Madison naps. It's fun to have a little 1 on 1 time with her once in awhile. We usually juice, make smoothies, or something else useful to prepping dinner. She is also getting very good at recognizing colors and letters and is always singing some tune. She also LOVES to paint and make hand prints (and mistakenly used a marker one day as lip gloss!)

Elana is our little sweetheart (for now). She is generally very happy and smiley and is great at self entertainment! She's all over the place and climbing. Oh the climbing. If she gets on the couch, she will pull herself up on the counter top bordering the kitchen. We had to turn her crib backwards because she almost climbed out one day. She has learned how to turn the Elmo chairs around, throw out the toys in her way, and climb on up! She's taken a few nasty spills and I feel pretty lucky she hasn't really injured herself from all the craziness I've witnessed! We spend a lot of time playing outside and she's ALL OVER the back yard, chasing Audrey and Madison, exploring or just looking for mischief! We joke that she's going to be the most mischievous of them all, I mean she's learning from the best right?! As charming as she is, she's got that spark of naughty in her shining through already. If she's doing something she isn't supposed to, she'll give you a huge stinker smirk! She is still a major mama's girl but is starting to give daddy the time of day once in awhile :) A few days ago she even took her first steps! I can't believe my little baby is starting to toddle around. Happy but sad feelings all mixed in one.
August brings some new changes to our routine. The big girls will start a new preschool one day a week. I'm sure it will be an adjustment for them but I'm hoping they love it as much as they loved their last school! The rest of the month, I'm sure I'll be scrambling to get ready for our Disney cruise in September. Who knew so much planning could go into a 4 night vacation?!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

April and May

The past two months (years?!) have been very busy for the Joneses! In April we celebrated Audrey and Madison's second, time flies!! We actually hosted parties two weeks in a row! It just so happened that none of the friends with kids could make it to the original party date so we just had two parties, one with kids and one without. It was really great getting together with family and friends to celebrate our two special little girls :)

We did end up finishing our home improvement projects. Rusty (with a little help) was able to install all of our new fence in two weekends. We also added a new shed to the backyard and got some great "build ins" for storage in our dining area. I'm still getting all the decorative stuff figured out, pictures, etc. but it's all up and organized! That was quite a feat!

We also survived a month of daddy working mandatory overtime to get ready for the new ride, Transformers, to open at Universal Studios. We are so glad to have him home more!! As for me, I'm still working once a week at the hospital and it seems to be working out well. It's great to be able to stay home with my girls!

Madison is still a very happy kid, still mischevious and pretends not to hear you when you correct her but overall good :) She has just started to sing some parts of songs which is new! She is getting very good at puzzles. We did our first "real" puzzle had 4 pieces and she put it together over and over kept her entertained a good 45 minutes! I was very impressed! She is also SO good with Elana...she shares everything with her except her blankie..hehe. She is always interacting with her and can get her to smile and laugh easier than anyone! Lately she has been OBSESSED with the vacuum. I'm not sure what it is. She's terrified of it and asks if you are going to vacuum all the time. Anytime we tidy up she automatically thinks it's because I'm going to use it! I'm puzzled. She is also fascinated by the frogs and the lizards in the backyard. She has this cute little gasp when she sees them :) We have a tree frog that likes to hang out under the grill cover and she always goes there and looks for him and if she sees him *gasp* HI FROGGY. HI HI HIII FROGGY!!!!

Elana is ALL OVER the place! She started scooting around at 5 months and now she crawls everywhere and pulls up on everything! She has even stood on her own. not holding onto anything. I am so amazed by her! She also started on solids just before her 6 month "birthday." This kid will eat anything you put in front of her with ease! Avocado slices, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, green beans, quartered grapes, puffs, cantaloupe, apples, chicken even. There isn't a food I've found that she DOESN'T like...except maybe tart blueberries! Of course, we introduced her to solids via 'baby led weaning' and I liked that approach with the big girls but Elana has seemed to have much more success, earlier. She's a bit of a mama's girl and is going through a mommy clingy phase right now but that's ok. Most times when this happens I just toss her on my back and carry her around in my Boba until she gets bored and wants to crawl around..haha. We still have lots of work to do in the sleep department. She's still up 1-3 times in the night to nurse, although, I'm not in a rush to cut these out because she's probably our last but 7 months of sleep deprivation is wearing!

Audrey is quite the little stinker these days! It's a rare day if she takes a nap in the afternoon. Like, once every 2 weeks or so! So, I usually let her have quiet time from 2-3:30 or so. She'll usually call for me when she's over quiet time...ha. Luckily Madison can sleep through most anything! She will play quietly until it's time to go get Madison about 4:30 or so. It's a good time for us to play one on one (or for me to finish getting dinner ready!) Audrey is a very verbal child and most days amazes me speaking in full sentences! She also loves to sing and knows the lyrics to lots of children's rhymes...she sings a lot with Grandma! We are just getting over almost 2 weeks of sickness at the house and we've been watching way too much Mikey Mouse Clubhouse. Let me tell you, she knows the theme song start to finish and the words to the episodes. She stands in front of the TV and randomly just starts talking along with Mickey! How crazy!
Speaking of Mickey! Our cruise is in a few short months (3) but who's counting? When we booked this cruise I was just 17 weeks pregnant with Elana and thought about how great it would be that the girls would be 'big girls' at 2 1/2 years old and the baby would be 11 months. Yes, and now that it's approaching I'm getting very nervous about how sleeping arrangements are going to work, naptime, potty training, meal time, etc. etc. etc. Hopefully it will be a vacation to remember (in a good way!)
In June, Rusty turns 30!!!!! I have a special day date planned with him and I can't wait!