Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Photos From My Phone

I have a million photos on my phone. My camera regularly refuses to take photos because the memory is too full. I back it up to the Cloud, and most have been backed up to my computer as well, yet I have a hard time clearing the memory. I have a nice Canon DSLR, but it is broken and I can't justify spending $300 to send it to Canon to find out what is wrong, especially when I always have my phone and it is easier to just take pictures on it. I upload a lot of photos to Facebook and Instagram, but I thought I would post some here as well. This selection is from the past week.

Elsa has been here. I was afraid this huge icicle was going to tear the gutter off, but I was also afraid that if I knocked it off I would tear the gutter off. Luckily it fell on its own with a deafening crash that scared the crap out of me. It's growing nicely again already...

We took the girls bowling for the first time. They had a blast. Lily really enjoyed herself and Margie had a great time running around and causing mischief. Lily actually beat me. I'm not even joking. Also, bowling is crazy expensive!

I put Margie's hair in a little braid the other night when she got out of her bath.

I am in love with these boots and must have them. Except they are a little bit out of my price range. And I don't exactly live in a rainy climate...except last September...

Every night {that I'm not working} I read to Lily in our bed and then she falls asleep there and I move her when I go to bed. Some people have strict rules about their kids sleeping in their beds, but I am not one of those people. Lily starts her night in our bed and Margie wakes up in our bed nearly every morning.

I swear there is nothing better than a cup of coffee and a homemade cookie or ten. It is a perfect breakfast, dessert, or as an afternoon pick me up. And yes, I was a bit heavy handed on the cream in my coffee. I like a lot of cream but that was a bit much!

I adore this view out my family room window. We (ahem, my wonderful husband) painted recently and we took down the nasty blinds that were up. We haven't replaced them yet and I'm not sure if I want to! Our neighbors aspen tree is gorgeous, especially covered in snow!

Margie has been sick so we have been doing a lot of this.

As a result of Margie being sick, I have been doing a lot of laundry. The king size comforter didn't wash well in the washing machine so I hand washed it in the tub. It weighed a ton! I put it in the washer for an extra rinse and spin and then threw it in the dryer and it came out great! It really needed to be washed anyway. Also, when a child is sick, it is really nice having a second floor laundry room!

This is how you pick up your big sister from school when you won't let mommy put you down. Mommy puts you in the beco carrier and walks over to school. She was nice and cozy and cuddly and my back is only a little sore today!

And finally, my girls both received teepees from my parents for Christmas. Apparently the dog is also a fan! These things are seriously great! They fold up to nothing and the girls love bringing all their treasures into them and spending hours! You can check them out here.

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Catch Up?

I can't really do a catch up post because I haven't posted in 2 months, and honestly in the past year or so I have posted very rarely. I write these witty, informative, totally awesome posts in my head at least a couple times a day, but I just never seem to get them down. And when I do sit down to write it never comes out how it sounds in my head. Such is life, I suppose.

As I write this my amazing husband is painting the family room. So far he has painted the powder room, kitchen - including ceiling, dining room, and primed the living and family rooms. Its a big job, nay a huge job, considering we have very high ceilings in the living and family rooms. After nearly eight months we decided to finally make this house our own. It looks awesome so far, and I can't wait for it to be done, as I am sure Matt would agree.

We travelled back home for Christmas. We drove. It wasn't too bad. We were fortunate to avoid any really nasty weather and were even able to do it in one shot on the way home. It took about 16 hours and we arrived home about 1 am, but it was so good to be home. On our way to Chicago we stopped for the night somewhere in Iowa. Those couple hours in the evening in the hotel were the roughest of the trip! Margie is insane anyway, and when you factor in the fact she is in a new place and has been strapped into a car seat all day...it wasn't pretty. I would much rather just drive straight through then spend the money on a hotel and then stress the whole time we are there about interrupting the other guests. It was a great visit and I miss my family something fierce, but it was also good to get back. After ten days of being surrounded by family, late bedtimes, lots of fun, new toys, lots of treats, and just general overindulgence, the kids needed a bit of reprogramming. We are settling back into our "normal" routine.

Since October I have been working a lot at my part time job. Its retail, so obviously it was quite busy for the holidays. Now that the holiday season is over and my hours are cut back, I am considering whether it is worth it for me to continue working. Its barely above minimum wage and I put 25 miles on the car everytime I work, plus the fact that Matt and I are literally doing a kid hand off a couple times a week is really making me consider quitting. Most days I like the job well enough, but I don't know that it is worth it; the upheval of our schedule, barely seeing my husband, the guilt I have when Lily refuses to get in the car and Margie tells me "Mommy no go work!!" We will see. I always feel bad quitting a job and most of the people I work with are pretty cool, and they are short staffed right now since most of the employees are college kids and the turn over is ridiculous. I mean really, I just want to find a job that pays well and I can work from home a couple hours a day when it fits my schedule. Is that too much to ask? (Yes, I know it really probably is!)

Anyway, life is just chugging along in the Groves' household. Lily is still rocking kindergarten. It is just so crazy to me to watch her learn and navigate new friendships and develop independence. She still says she wants to go to "city college" as opposed to "sleep away college" but she is definitely starting to develop some independence, which is of course a wonderful thing, yet hard for this mama to cope with as well! She wants to take karate, so we are looking into that. Man, it is an expensive hobby though! I need to keep looking but the places I have found so far seem pricey! We just started reading The Little House series together. Lily loves them and Margie even listens a little. Margie is very into reading stories before bed, which I love. I love to read and really want my kids to be the ones that I can't punish by sending them to their room because they would actually love the time to read alone. That was me and I hope they will be the same.

Margie is just a crazy little girl. She is so happy and giggly and snuggly. She is into everything and is so high energy. She has been sleeping in her big girl bed for a few months but still crawls into our bed at some point every night. We keep her door closed until we go to bed and then crack it open when we go to sleep. I'm not sure what would happen if I left it closed all night, but I am pretty sure at some point she would be banging on it to get out. I just tell myself she won't be sleeping in our bed forever, while simultaneously loving every snuggle. Margie talks up a storm and tries desperately to keep up with her older sister. It is so fun to watch them together. For the most part they get along really well, though I spend a good portion of my day breaking up squabbles.

Aside from working and trying in vain to keep up with housework and laundry and grocery shopping and meal preparing and all the million other tasks, I am still trying to run when I can. Santa brought me some cold weather running gear which I try to put to use as much as possible. The weather here is goofy. It is seriously 30 one day and 70 the next. I'm not complaining though. Well, I guess I would complain about how dry it is. Our humidifier runs constantly and I still literally see sparks when I pull back my fleece blanket. Its unnerving. The other night I pulled back the blanket so Margie could climb in bed and a second later she aske what's that smell? Matt said the same thing and I said it smelled like burnt chocolate. While Matt went to check out the house, I noticed the smell seemed to be coming from my shirt. I checked in the morning and didn't find any singe marks or anything, but I seriously wonder if a spark singed my shirt? All I know for sure is it is so freaking dry and my hands and feet are suffereing!

So this has been all over the place. I will end with the promise to post more. Maybe this time I'll follow through....

Friday, November 15, 2013

I'm sitting here while Lily is at school and Margie is napping and thinking over the million things I should be doing, but in reality my brain is in overdrive. My house is gross. There is no other word for it. I really should be cleaning, but...My floors are sticky and full of crumbs, there is a layer of dust, there is a pile of dishes that need washing and the full load in the running dishwasher probably will need to be rewashed since I only had maybe half a container full of dishwashing detergent left. There is always laundry to do, my bed needs to be made (actually the sheets should be washed) and all the bathrooms could use a cleaning. And the toys...there are toys and various other evidence of children EVERYWHERE!! And just when I was getting frustrated at the toys everywhere, just when I was thinking I can't wait until the day when I clean and the toys stay picked up for more than 20 minutes, just when I look around and wish we had the money to decorate and paint like I want, it hit me. I don't actually want that. Because when that day comes, the day of a clean house that stays clean and a little extra money in the bank - which will almost certainly only come from me working full time - will be the day my children are grown up. And I don't want that day. Sure, I want my kids to grow up and flourish and learn and all those amazing things, but when I am sitting back in my clean, well decorated house, I will be alone. My kids will be independent. And that, that I am not ready for. I was born to be a mother. I was made to raise my children. I fail them and my duty daily, hourly even, but I have absolutely no doubt that it is why I was put on this earth. I am well aware a mother's job is never done. You always need your mom. I need my mom and hope my children always feel about me the way I do about my mom, but at a certain point the daily needs are less.

My children are amazing and entertaining and frustrating and amazing and infuriating and fantastic and crazy and my whole life. And some days are so long. Some days seem like they will never end. But I realized I don't want to wish these days away. I don't want a clean, well decorated house as much as I want my kids to stay little as long as possible.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Just Another Day in Paradise

The girls are playing in the back yard and I am making dinner, watching them out the kitchen window. My house is moderately clean and Matt will be home from work soon. Earlier today I walked Lily to and from school, just like I do everyday. It strikes me that although my life isn't perfect, it is pretty darn good. I am more or less living my dream! I am a stay at home mom, despite the fact I just picked up a part time retail job, working a couple nights a week and on the weekends. We live in a beautiful place in a great community. Lily goes to a great school and we belong to a fantastic rec center where the girls take gymnastics and I work out and we all go to the pool for some family fun. There are breathtaking views of the mountains from the running trails just minutes from my house and Matt is content in his new job.

I might not be in as great of shape as I want. We may not have as much money as I'd like. We might be far from family and the girls make bicker too much for my liking, but I really do live a blessed life!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

These Days...


Long time no post. I look back to when Lily was a baby and I see that I posted almost daily, sometimes twice a day. But then...well...life got busy. But out of no where, I find myself with three hours to my self most afternoons. Now that we have settled into our routine, I am committed to posting more often, even if only for myself!

We had a great summer, filled with hiking and exploring, getting to know our new state, going to the pool, and even our first camping trip. Like real camping...no facilities, though there was a nice "potty log". The girls did great and we had a lot of fun. We froze at night! Camping in Colorado is not the same as camping in Illinois in August. In Illinois you worry about whether it will be too stifling in the tent to sleep. In Colorado, as I learned, you need many, many layers of blankets and clothing! At 8500 feet it can easily get into the 30s. I thought I had us well bundled the first night, but I was so wrong! The second night was much better, thanks to extra blankets, an extra layer of clothing, and I think Mother Nature took mercy on us. With that in mind, we are hoping for one more camping trip in the next couple weeks before it is just too cold at night. I love the culture of outdoorsy-ness here! Hiking, biking, camping...next weekend we are hoping to even try our hands at paddle boarding. And I am "training" for the Hot Chocolate 5K that is a month away. I have been running 2-3 times a week for the past 8 weeks or so and am slowly improving. I have no illusions I will be able to run the whole thing, as my normal route is about 2.9 miles and I can't run all of it, but I am getting better. I have good days and bad days. My goal is to run Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but honestly almost every week one day doesn't happen. I get up and run before Matt goes to work and I hate getting out of bed. I don't mind the run, just the getting up part! I also go to yoga on Tuesdays and sometimes Fridays and do some upper body strength training on Thursdays. The schedule works pretty well. The weekends are reserved for a bike ride or family hike or just whatever. If I could only kill my sweet tooth, I would be in great shape!

Lily started kindergarten two weeks ago. She is doing the half day program and has afternoons. I won't lie, I totally teared up the first day dropping her off. It is such a mix of emotions. She was very nervous and I was nervous for her. New school, doesn't know anyone. In the end these weren't issues. I picked her up and she didn't want to go home. The only negative thing she has had to say about school is that it is too short. The school does offer an extended day program, but full day costs $300 a month, and that is just not in the budget! She is making lots of friends and learning a ton. Her teacher is very sweet. I went to the curriculum night and then the PTO meeting the other night and I think that is when our new reality really sunk in! I have a child in school! For the next 13 years, Lily will go to school every day. Hopefully she will go to the same school for the next 6 years. The friends she makes, and the other parents I talk to, will be somewhat consistent in the years to come. Lily went to two different pre-schools, and therefore had different friends at school the past two years. She is hopefully making some life long friends. Or at least some good friends that will last through the coming years. I am so proud of my baby! It is hard to let her go, but I know this is how it is supposed to be. At drop off you can tell which parents are dropping off their oldest. We are the ones that hover a bit after the teacher has ushered our babies into the classroom. I'm sure as the year goes on, we will hover less, but for now we all seem to stand there, still slightly amazed at how fast the last five years have gone.
Margie is a month shy of her two year birthday, but already we are well into the "terrible twos"! These are fairly new to us, as Lily never really went through them. I try not to compare my children, but Matt and I probably look at each other ten times a day and utter "Lily never did this!" Between climbing everything, getting into the fridge or pantry, running around, jumping on the furniture, or stripping, I can't take my eyes off her for a second, unless of course Caillou is on. And the tantrums...oh the tantrums. So far they have mostly been confined to home, but I am not holding my breath that will remain the case. She is a ball of energy! She is constantly eating, going into the fridge or pantry and coming back with a snack she needs me to open. She is a pretty good eater, but is starting to be more picky, which is awesome because I can barely get Lily to eat anything. She sleeps pretty well. Her language is exploding! Her newest thing is asking "why?" whenever I tell her to do something. She can count to nine. She is very concerned for others. If I stub my toe or even if she hears me make some sort of noise for the other room, she will come running and ask "K mama? K?" If you ask her something, she is likely to respond with "mmhmm, sure". It cracks us up. About half the time she insists on walking (as opposed to riding in the stroller) on the way to school, wearing her back pack. She charms all the other parents at pick up and drop off. She wants to do whatever her big sister does and just idolizes Lily. She is also fiercely independent, insisting "self!" at the most inopportune times. But she is also my snuggle bug that must be touching me almost all the time! She crawls into my lap often and many times will just walk over and want to be picked up and hugged for a second. But she has no problem going into the childcare at the gym, running in, looking back and me and waving, saying "bye mama, soon!" as in "see ya soon". I adore this little girl so much!
Both girls start gymnastics tomorrow. I was lucky to be able to get them into classes at the same time. The are both in the same area, but Lily's is on her own and Margie's is with a parent. I think it will be great because I can watch Lily's class while also doing something with Margie so she isn't climbing the walls. I don't know how I would entertain her otherwise! Plus she needs to get her energy out somewhere. Lily really wants to learn to do a flip. I have tried to prepare her that she likely won't be learning flips right away. We also start MOPS next week. I am alternately excited and somewhat ambivelant about MOPS. I gained so much from my previous group. And while I don't necessarily need the same kind of support I got from my old group anymore, being in a new area means there are so many things I can gain from joining. And it would be nice to make some mommy friends. I am friendly with quite a few moms of Lily's classmates, and I am also friendly with some neighbors, and I do have a good friend who lives about 30 minutes away and have hung out with or gone hiking with a number of times, but I don't have the same kind of friends I did at home. I haven't had a moms night out or met up for coffee. I don't have a book club. My old friends are still my friends and I do my best to stay in touch. On one hand, I want to make new friends, but on the other I am stubbornly telling myself I don't want someone to replace so and so, I want so and so. I need to remind myself I am not replacing my old friends and just get out there and make some new ones!
And that, in a nut shell, is what is going on these days! Life is good! I am home with my girls, walking Lily to and from school each day, which is really my dream, muddling through running a household, trying not to tear my hair out some days, relishing in this quickly passing time with my babies other days. This is so where I am supposed to be right now!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Things I Would Tell My 17 Year Old Self

Hind sight being 20/20 and all, there are many little pearls of wisdom I wish my older self could have imparted on my graduating from high school self. Experience is one of the better teachers out there, so I am not going to go as far as to say I regret anything. I have a pretty sweet life and there is that whole "butterfly effect" where one little difference could have completely changed the course of my life. That being said, there are some things that people probably tried to tell me but my stubborn, know-it-all personality obviously didn't heed all warnings. So, what would I tell myself?

1) Don't get fat. Keep working out and watch what you eat. Don't be super crazy about it, but all those extra pounds will be a lot more work to get off than just maintaining. While you are at it, take better care of your health in general. Sleep in important as is mental health. Take a break when you need to.

2) College is actually more about the classes and education than the parties. And you may be smart and not have had to work that hard for good grades in the past, but homework and studying are a whole new ballgame in college.

3) Don't get into debt. Especially don't go into debt doing stupid things like eating out and paying for it with the super cool credit card you signed up for on the quad. It will take lots of hard work and sacrifice to dig out and you might as well sacrifice now so you don't have to later.

4) Travel!!! There are so many amazing places in the world and if you think you will travel later you are probably wrong. Before you know it you will have kids and mortgages and responsibilities that make it a little harder. When senior year in college your advisor tells you she thinks you would enjoy the Peace Corp, actually consider it.

5) Be yourself. Don't worry about what other people think about you.

6) Maintain the friendships that are important. And understand that some people only come into your life for a season and that is okay. And recognize that some people have an agenda and you can't change that.

7) There are so many amazing things in store for you. Marriage and children and moving across the country. Leaps of faith and dreams. And they are so worth it!

What would you tell your younger self?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I Believe...

* I believe a cup of coffee and a crispy salted oatmeal white chocolate cookie is the perfect breakfast

* I believe yoga pants and an oversized sweatshirt is the perfect comfy attire

* I believe reading is vital and a good book can change your world

* I believe 60 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze is the perfect temperature

* I believe there is nothing more important than family

* I believe my children will change the world

* I believe my husband was specifically designed for me

* I believe no matter how old you are you will always need your mom

* I believe staying home is better than going out

* I believe everyone has a story and every story is worth telling

* I believe you are never too old to try something new

* I believe being honest saves a lot of headaches

* I believe thunderstorms are wonderful

* I believe you can never take too many pictures of your children

* I believe you can never say "I love you" too often

What do you believe?