For the first time ever, all four kiddos headed off to school!
Davis, Noah and Eliza are all at the same elementary school this year. In fact, Eliza has the same teacher that Noah had just two years ago. We are enjoying having them at the same place this year, because next year everything will change as Davis starts Junior High (eeek!) As for Vivian, she started preschool this year and it is a perfect fit. She loves playing with her friends, chapel, and of course packing her lunch each day just like the big kids.
(she does not look excited at all, does she?)
I hope you all are enjoying the new school year as much as we are!
I have been working way too much. The life of an attorney is rough. Long days, even longer nights. Never enough hours in the day. Court appearences, depositions, briefs to write and too much travel. I have been a lawyer long enough to know that it is always not this bad. There are times of ridiculous amounts of works, and times not so much work (who am I kidding, the work load is either big or huge - - never small). This summer the work load has been ridiculous.
So ridiculous in fact that this is the first time I have had a chance to take a peek at my blog since June. So, even though our trip to Hume Lake was over a month ago, here are a few of my iphone photos from our favorite family vacation spot.
The kids were so excited to leave for Hume. We had a swim meet in the morning, and then left right after the kids showered and changed. Here they are, fresh and excited. I should have taken a picture after 5 plus hours in the car. It probably would not have been quite so cheery.
We stopped in Tulare on our way up to Hume, and ate at the Black Bear Diner. We have decided to make this a yearly tradition. The food is super unhealthy, but the kids love it. Hey, it is only once a year, right?
After spending the night in Tulare, we headed up the "hill" bright and early the next morning to the Hume campgrounds. Another favorite place to stop is a little pizza place half way up the hill. The kids did not care that it was 11:00 am. They still wanted to stop at "their" pizza place.
Shortly after we stopped for pizza, we lost cell phone reception. Oh happy day! A week without phone calls or emails. Now THAT is a vacation.
One of my goals for the week: get a nice golden tan like these two beauties. So long pasty white office skin.
When we got up to Hume, the boys were dying to check-in to their camp. Too bad we were there about an hour early. It was torture for them having to wait. Here they are at the "Ark" for check-in before heading up to Wagon Train. Check out Noah's hipster glasses with no lenses. I think he wore them all week.
From this point on, I don't have a lot of phone pictures because I loved the freedom of not caring it around all day (did I mention no work emails!). Here are the girls on Fourth of July. Hume has a great little parade on the 4th and guests have the privilege of being woken up to Jimi Hendricks playing the Star Spangled Banner of the outdoor loudspeakers.
We spent most of the week swimming - - either in the lake or the pool. On this day, we saw a Black Bear on the opposite side of the beach where we were swimming.
Swinging on a tire swing at night.
Watching the high school group compete in the Gauntlet.
One of these days I will post some pictures from our trip taken with my "real" camera, but until then, link up with Life Rearranged to share the moments captured on your phone.
Our kids have been excited to return to Hume Lake since about five minutes after we left last year. It has been talked about and dreamed about. Not a week goes by without someone mentioning Hume Lake, or all of the fun things that we do there.
This year, both Davis and Noah are going to Wagon Train camp for the week. A week of sleeping in covered Wagons, crazy activities, games and learning more about Jesus. D&G at night. Archery. Kayaking. Rappeling. A kid's paradise.
For Eliza and Vivian, Day Camp (a high-charged VBS setting), Huckleberry House, daily swims in a pool with two divings boards. Eating in the Ponderosa Lodge with ice cream at almost every meal.
For Keith and I, unplugging from work for an entire week. NO cellphones. NO emails. NO work emergencies. Enjoying time together kayaking, hiking, paddleboarding and riding on the zip line. Sneaking in to listen to the high school worship and high school speakers, enjoying the adult speaking series, watching the famous Meadow Ranch belly-flop contest, conquering the high-ropes course and most importantly, spending time as a family.
My baby is turning three years old tomorrow. THREE!! How is that even possible?
For the past few months, whenever Vivian was asked how old she was, she always replied by saying, "Two and three quarters."
A few hours ago, I came to the sad realization that after today, Vivian would never answer that question the same way again. So, just before bed I asked her how old she was just so I could hear the "two and three quarters" answer one last time.
I don't know about the rest of you, but life is especially crazy right now. I can hardly wait for summer time which means . . . (drum roll please) NO HOMEWORK! I think I might actually be more excited about this then the kiddos. Our schedule has been filled with school projects, written reports, oral reports, and end of the year performances.
Recently, Eliza's class did a "Year End Review" of the songs and poems that her class learned over the school year. I love watching school performaces, espcially if it involves a group of five and six year olds when anything can happen. I am one of those sappy moms who cries my way through the performace. Maybe it is because I already have one kiddos who is getting close to junior high. Maybe it is because the years seem to be going faster and faster and no matter what I do, my kids keep growing up. I am not sure. What I can tell you is that I enjoyed every second of Eliza's performance.
Here is a clip of my favorite song of the morning. Check out my daughter with the big personality in the front row.
And here is Eliza's number one fan:
I hope you all are enjoying the end of the school year as much as we are!
It has absolutely nothing to do with my own wonderful Mother. She is loving, kind, smart and I love her to pieces.
Instead, it has to do with the giant hole in my heart. The hole that was left there when my oldest son left this world ten years ago today.
I remember Mother's Day ten years ago as if it was yesterday. Gabriel's health was slipping. He was having a harder and harder time with his oxygen levels. We had been in and out of the hospital so many times, and Keith and I were barely sleeping as we tended to Gabriel's needs around the clock. I remember hating the sound of the oxygen monitor beeping throughout the night. I remember all of the medications. I remember singing Christmas carols to Gabriel in the middle of May because I knew that we would likely not have another Christmas with him. I remember wishing that I had more time and wishing that I did not have to waste that precious time on basic things like sleeping and eating.
On that Mother's Day ten years ago, I remember sitting in our apartment and watching Keith sleeping on the coach, both boys sleeping in his arms. I knew that our time was short. I must have spent 30 minutes just staring at the three of them. Memorizing the way that they looked together. Loving the way that the twins always moved toward each other while they were sleeping.
Four days later Gabriel left this Earth for heaven. I was with him in the PICU. Holding him. Loving him. Singing to him. I asked all the doctors and nurses to leave us alone. One kind nurse floated around in the background. Checking on me. Somehow knowing exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Praise music playing in the background. I was there with my precious baby boy was born into this world and I was there with him when he left this world for heaven.
Part of me died that day along with Gabriel. I know that the hole in my heart will never completely heal. It has been ten years, and sometimes the pain can still hit me like a tidal wave - raw and fresh. During a recent small group study discussing the miracles performed by Jesus the question was asked, "Have you ever been with someone when they died?" An innocent enough question, but I felt as if a lightening bolt had struck my body. I have. I held my son as he died. I am eternally grateful that I was with Gabriel at the end of his life, but the pain that I felt as he died is indescribable.
So for me, Mother's Day is difficult. Yes, I have four beautiful children on earth that I love more than words can express. Yes, I have a husband who makes things special for me. Yes, I have my own wonderful Mother. But to me, Mother's Day is intertwined with the loss of Gabriel.
I miss you my sweet precious boy and look forward to the day that I will see you again in Heaven.
"I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life will be given over to the LORD." 1 Samuel 1:27-28.
I knew when I started this blog that I would be a sporadic poster. But, every once in a while it is fun to pop on here and post what our family has been up to. Here is a glimpse of our past two weeks via Instagram photos:
First up, Easter morning before church.
I will continue to dress my kiddos in matching clothes as long as they let me.
Spring Break was filled with a visit from our mid-west family.
I can't believe that my five year old has the body of an Olympian - - where do all those muscles come from?
Three little sand mermaids.
Lovin' the orange smiles
I do what I can to keep the little ones entertained while we wait for food to arrive at a restaurant.
A trip to the petting zoo at Irvine Regional Park.
A trip to Disneyland in the rain - our absolute favorite time to go. We were able to ride on almost every single ride in the park, and some of the rides multiple times! A little water does not scare us. We just pack rain coats, parkas and umbrellas and enjoy the park to the fullest.
Drying off on Pirates of the Carribean.
and having to evacuate Thunder Mountain when the ride broke down.
And, finally, a family trip to the bowling alley.
Each kid with a unique style.
Link up at Life. Rearraged with your instagram photos from the week
A few nights ago, Noah and I were laying in his bed reading some books. As we were reading, we came across a picture of Leonardo daVinci's painting, the Mona Lisa. Noah specifically asked about the painting because he had seen it before. I explained to Noah, that the Mona Lisa was one of the most famous paintings in all the world and was worth millions of dollars.
"But, why?" he asked.
I then tried to explain that many people describe the women's smile in the painting as being very mysterious. People wonder why she is smiling and what is the story behind the painting.
Noah was still not convinced. "But why is it worth millions of dollars? Lots of people can paint pictures of people. Even kids in my class can paint pictures like this." Hmm, you think so buddy? Not so sure about that.
Then I tried another tact by explaining that at one point in history the painting was stolen and was missing for two years before it was found. That did not work either. Eventually Noah just shrugged his sholders and we continued reading. The idea of a piece of artwork being worth millions of dollars completely lost on him.
I was tempted to show Noah some of Jackson Pollack's work, but ultimately decided that he had experienced enough confustion for one night.
It has been rough around the Taylor household lately.
Where should I begin? I could tell you about the crazy cold that hit our household (at least I think it was a cold . . . I really have no idea). It slowly infected each member of our family one at a time. Not all at once, which, quite frankly I would have preferred. Noooo, instead it decided to taunt us by infecting one person with a high fever for days in a row, only to be finally rid of all signs of illness, and them BAM, it claimed its next victim. Talk about weeks of never ending sickness.
Eliza was the first victim. After day four of a high fever we took her to the pediatrician where we were told she had a sinus infection. We were given a prescription, and in a few days she was feeling better and back to her old self. Next Noah was hit, followed a few days later by Davis. Thinking that Eliza was free and clear, you can image my surprise when she walked into my bedroom one morning with bright red cheeks and that glazed look in her eyes that a mother immediately identifies as a fever. Poor girl got sick even though she was antibiotics.
For a while I thought that Vivian and I were the sole survivors of the Great Sickness of 2012. Nope. Not a chance. The only problem is that I only was mildly sick. Moms, you know what I am talking about. Not sick enough to lay around in bed all day and milk the rare opportunity to take a break. Instead, just sick enough to feel miserable while taking care of the rest of the family at the same time. Fun times.
Or, I could tell you about our nanny's broken rib. Yep, you read that one right. Our poor nanny (who is a rock-star of a soccer player), was hit so hard during a soccer game last weekend that one of her ribs broke! First and foremost, I felt bad for her. She couldn't walk. Couldn't drive. Couldn't laugh. And was in a great deal of pain. Of course that also meant that she could not take care of four children which made for a difficult week. Keith and I cobbled together a plan, alternating days that we stayed home, and stayed up until late at night trying to stay caught up at work. Ever try drafting a legal pleading with a two year old around? No? Well, lucky you. I would not recommend it.
Finally, I could tell you about (and I shudder to even type this) the MOLD that we found under our flooring in the kids' bathroom. Yep, mold. This OCD neat freak mom has mold in her house. Apparently there were some cracks in the flooring which allowed moisture to accumulate between the flooring and the subflooring. So, right now we are down a bathroom and taking estimates for repairing the floor and subfloor. I am also trying to retain some of my patience as I struggle to share the master bathroom with the five other members of the family. I think I am going to have to post a shower sign-up board soon.
Do you ever have one of those days that you can feel your child's pain? Feel the heartache? Feel it so intensely that it is worse then your own pain or heartache. I had one of those days this weekend. Correction. I actually had two of those days this weekend
I am sure I have mentioned it before, but Davis swims with a top-notch swim team. He loves swimming. He (usually) does not mind the long and intense practices, is not bothered by the cold temperatures or the cold water, and loves the meets. He works hard and has consistently improved over the past few months. He has become accustomed to time drops and accolades from his coaches.
This weekend was a different story.
Of the ten races that he competed in, there were a few shining moments. Two new time drops, and meeting a new time standard for another race.
But then there were the other events. A handful of "DQs" (disqualifications) for rules that I did not even know existed (did you know it is illegal to take the first arm stroke in breaststroke before you take your first breath? No? Well, I did not either). And a very close call by an official who thought he left the blocks to early during a relay (which was especially painful because it caused his entire relay team to be DQed).
How is it that a 10 year old can try so desperately to act like a man in one moment, and fall apart like a child in the next moment.
I saw Davis fight to be strong.
I saw Davis put on a brave face in front of his team mates.
I saw Davis stand tall and still as he talked to his coaches.
I saw this boy:
But then, when we walked away from everyone, I saw someone else.
I saw heartbreak.
I saw disappointment.
I saw someone who still likes to be hugged by his mama and be told that everything will be alright.
I saw this boy:
This is not the first time I have felt his pain, and I know this won't be the last.
For Christmas this year, our family decided to take the plunge and purchase a new iMac desktop computer.
As a lifelong PC user, I was hesitant. For me, the thing that ultimately sold me on this rather pricey purchase was iPhoto. The idea of finally organizing all of my hundreds thousands of digital images excites this slightly OCD mama more than it probably should. So, over the past few weeks I have played around with the Mac a bit here and there, but I have not really learned how to use it properly yet.
Not the case for my kiddos. Apparently kids these days already have a built-in knowledge of how to use all things Mac related.
Keith and I had a date night scheduled on Sunday. We also had one kiddo at a "spy-birthday party" a baseball team meeting, and a handful of neighborhood kids at our house that day. As I raced home after picking up one kid from the spy party to get home before the babysitter arrived, Davis asked me if he could try out iMovie on the Mac that night. "Sure, no problem," I replied.
The next morning, the boys were up uncharacteristically early. They wanted to show us the movie trailer that they created the night before. Not expecting much, I filled my coffee cup to the top and sleepily walked to the computer. I could not believe what I saw - - video clips, music, and text all in a complete and fun to watch format. In fact, I could not stop laughing when I watched it.
The wonders of a Mac.
Watching this movie trailer alone made the purchase worth it.