Crashed Out

This is a photo of Harper, crashed out in the middle of a meal at Mellow Mushroom while we were in Blowing Rock. We always look upon him with amazement when he does this, because it is so the opposite of Aidan when he was three years old. Aidan at three could not self-settle himself to save his life. The more exhausted he got, the more he’d start running in circles or “helping” our food to some parmesan cheese or shredding napkins to bits. Harper, on the other hand, is just like, “Excuse me for a second while I plant my face in the middle of my pepperoni.” When I went to pick up Maeve from the church nursery this past Sunday, she was fast asleep on the floor with a blanket over her back. They said she screamed when they tried to lay her in the Pack and Play, so they just let her sleep on the floor. Maybe she’ll be an Anywhere-Sleeper like Harper.

(They get it from me. I fall asleep at stoplights all the time.)

So the theme of this post is “tired,” and it’s such a boring topic. We’re all tired! Everybody’s tired! Whine, whine, whine. But it’s a plain and simple fact that Alex and I are both just tired to the bone these days, and it’s hard to think about anything else. I really feel for Alex…he’s running the Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday and the idea of even riding in the car for 26.2 miles makes me feel exhausted. We try and try for earlier bedtimes for the grown-ups, but they rarely pan out. Maeve, bless her adorable, delightful heart, has slept all night maybe two times. That might even be a generous figure.  She isn’t up for long, but she still looooves the night nurse and she’s royally P.O.’d if you try to suggest an alternate plan.  I mean, she pops up screaming Ma-Ma!, points to my bed, and bounces up and down shrieking until you come get her.  And we share a room, so there’s really no point in letting her scream since nobody’s getting any sleep when that happens.  She’s got some ugly bulging gums right now and it’s making her mega-irritated, and I just don’t have the heart for sleep training her right now.

I am writing all of this down as a way of suggesting to myself that a couple of days in a row of extra sleep might do us all some good.  I’m pretty sure that my espresso machine is not meant to be pushed to such limits.  It needs a vacation.


Representing the Middle Row of the Minivan...

We moved Maeve out of her bucket seat into a big girl carseat this week. The boys only stayed in their bucket seats for 6 months or so, but this time we had swapped carseats with our friends and just put off the move until later. And, boy, was she ready. Maeve is a plus-sized beauty and was bursting out of that baby carrier. She is so psyched to be in an upright, forward-facing seat now…she giggles every time we open the van door and she kicks her feet happily while looking around. She’s starting to look like a toddler now!

Just a beautiful song I’m enjoying these days.

We just got back from a great day at the NC State Fair! It’s one of the highlights of the fall. I had to miss last year since Maeve was born during fair week, so I was rarin’ to go this year. Alex and Aidan took a half-day from school today — it was a special treat for everyone.

We met some good friends on the way in and hung out with them for most of the time we were there. The boys were thrilled to be with their buds and so were we.

Highlights: Aidan rode a real deal grown-up ride with his Dad (he just topped the 48″ height requirement), Maeve rode her first merry-go-round (and loved it), we all ate ourselves silly (Alex = turkey leg, Ashley = big ham biscuit, Aidan = two corn dogs, Harper = basket of fries and an ice cream cone), the boys got yet ANOTHER light up sword doohickey, and we dropped about $140 in four hours flat. That takes talent, people.

Here are few photos:

Break It Down Now

The entire set can be found here.

Can’t wait until next year!!!

This blog has been a little short on the testosterone lately, yes? I mean, happy birthday Maeve, and that all that, but there are two pretty wonderful little boys who also deserve some attention. Tonight, let’s talk about Aidan James.

First Night of Soccer Practice!
Aidan on his first day of soccer practice

Aidan with his good buddy L, and also with sweet cousin T, whose eyes darted around nervously for another girl to be in the picture with them when first approached

Aidan is six and a half now. He is at a marvelous age, a time between little kid-hood and full blown child-hood, and I’m thoroughly enjoying seeing him blossom into this new stage of life. He is pretty much amazing at first grade, winning all kinds of important accolades (“Big Eagle of the Day” is a pretty big darn deal) and earning the high praise of his teacher. After initially convincing me that he might be the world’s earliest reader, the once genius two-year-old pretty much refused to engage in anything that resembled reading instruction for the next four years. We knew it would all click when he was ready, and it is exciting to see the literacy falling into place all at once. Aidan is now a reading and writing machine, filling notebooks with pages of his invented spelling kid-speak and blowing through his take-home reading books. The other day I had to laugh when I saw that the grocery list he had been making for me included “Oe Jae,” a notation for “OJ” that indicated an admirable dedication to phonics. He’s made some good friends at his new school and I’m so proud of how easily he’s transitioned this year.

Aidan has also recently ventured into the world of extracurriculars, an experience that he has strongly resisted up until this point. In addition to his weekly church group on Sunday nights, he’s on a soccer team for the first time and has been going to Cub Scouts with his Dad. He’s enjoyed these activities so much, especially soccer, despite the fact that most kids on his team are older and have been playing for a while. He isn’t going to be called up to the big leagues any time soon, but he’s giving it his all and practicing a lot in his down time. I’m hoping he’ll try baseball in the spring, a sport which, in my opinion, will play to his strengths a little more.

Most of the things I want to remember about Aidan at this age are qualities that are hard to put into words. He has always been a very strong-willed, emotional kid, prone to temper tantrums and strong reactions, a nature that has often clashed with me and my (genetic) distaste for anything that resembles a “scene” (as we say in the South). I have struggled against that hot flush on the cheeks from time to time, the telltale sign of being “that parent” with “that kid” who is kicking and screaming as you leave the playground. It has been really wonderful to see how age has cooled those strong reactions in Aidan’s temperament, though, even while leaving behind the more socially-acceptable roots of those feelings: intensity that was once displayed in tantrums is now more likely to be shown as focus, deliberateness, and a stick-to-it-ness that will, I believe, serve him well as he grows older.

Aidan continues to possess an incredibly sensitive, loving, and kind core that reveals itself in beautiful ways. He is the quintessential first-born, the caretaker, the leader, and has moments of such tenderness and concern for his younger siblings. He oohs and aaahs over every tiny milestone that Maeve achieves — this weekend he went goo-goo over Maeve moving into her big girl carseat, lavishing her with such attention for being a “big girl in her big new carseat! we’re so proud of you, you big girl, you’re really growing up!” He’s like that all the time with her. He loves to watch her, to feel responsible for the siblings while I’m showering or talking on the phone, and he does a wonderful job of remembering safety rules and the like.

Tonight Alex was gone during bedtime, and I was running on empty at the end of a very long day. Harper was goofing around as we were getting ready for bed, and I was losing my patience with his antics. I fussed at him for flipping around in his bed and being too silly, and eventually made him go sit in the hall until he was ready to obey. Maeve was fussy, and after I got her down, I went back in the boys’ room to smooth things over with them. I kissed Aidan goodnight and apologized for losing my cool earlier. “I don’t want to be a yelling Mom,” I told him. “I was just tired and Maeve was crying and I was trying to get Harper to cooperate. I shouldn’t have gotten so frustrated, though.” Aidan loves when Alex and I acknowledge our humanity — I think it helps him feel better about the times when he gets in trouble himself — and so he began to stroke my hair in such a loving, tender way. “Mom, really! It’s SO okay! You are a wonderful Mom! You aren’t a yelling Mom at all, don’t worry about it! You always have a smile on your face when I see you. You are the best mother in the whole world, really!” And he looks at you so sincerely, and rubs your hair and just really wants you to feel how much he means every word he says — it’s a real gift. He is such a sweetheart — Sometimes I can’t believe that a child so young even knows how to connect with another person on such an intuitive level.

There’s so much more I could say about my Aidan, but that’s what I have a blog for…slowly, slowly. I look forward to peeling back more of the layers of this complex, thinking, sensitive, fantastical boy as he grows older.

Oct 17 bounty

So, okay, I harbor dreams of being a prolific gardener.  We’ve had some veggie and herb beds for the past couple of years, but I’ve never really given the backyard gardening thing the attention that it deserves.  I read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral last summer and my heart leapt.  One day, perhaps.

However small, our little raised beds are still putt-putt-puttering away, despite the fact that it’s the middle of October.  Check out the sweet fruit from this afternoon!  Some much needed fall rain has helped us out lately.

Okay, okay, I fell off of the blogging-every-day wagon.  Alex worked a lot this week and when I have 24/7 kid days, my brain cells are totally fried by the end of the day.

I owe the grandparents a couple of extra posts, so I’m putting up this video of Maeve having her first birthday cupcake.  A couple of things you may notice:  We drove across town to pick out cupcakes at a great Durham bakery, but when we got there, they only had Halloween cupcakes.  So, yes, Maeve’s first birthday cupcakes were decorated with orange and black sprinkles.  Hey, they were better than the ones with the mini-tombstones on them that said “RIP.”  You’ll also hear Aidan saying, “Enjoy, everyone” when it’s time to eat.  I mean, he’s like 59 years old.  Lastly, you’ll note that Maeve liked her cupcake for sure because she gave it the official “Mmm.” seal of approval.

Here’s the video.  Enjoy, everyone!

[VIMEO 15793542]

Can you believe that this beautiful baby:

Miss M

Has grown into this beautiful sassafrass one-year-old hot girl?!

Birthday Shoe Shopping

Maeve celebrated her first birthday by going out to breakfast with Gigi and Poppy and then, natch, went shoe shopping.  She got some sassy pink sneaks and is now a bonafide big girl!

Birthday With Poppy

It’s hard to believe that a year has passed since Maeve was born.  Having a newborn in the family is always an adjustment, what with the feedings and the not sleeping and the shift in schedules, but at one year I feel like things have normalized for the most part.  She’ll be walking soon, she’s eating regular people food, she can drink from a straw (score!  no sippy cups 24/7!) — each of these are tiny steps toward a less stressful life for all of us.  I am so, so eager to see Maeve blossom in the year ahead.  We already know she is sweet, smiley, energetic, outgoing, smart, and just generally FUN.  I can’t wait to get to know her even better this year.

To say that we are all in love with Maeve would be a vast understatement.  She is adored.  I hope she always feels that way.

Maeve at One Year

Happy first birthday to my darling, precious daughter.  You have filled a place in my heart that was always waiting for you.




Just wanted to post this cute picture of the almost-birthday girl.  Love her sweet spirit.  She is a delight.

I have been doing pretty well on my “30 days of blogging” streak — I missed a couple of days last weekend while we were camping — but last night I failed to post due to a serious case of…muffins.

You see, this morning we hosted a bang-up birthday breakfast in honor of our Maeve Frances, who turns ONE on Tuesday!  And last night, my sister and I stayed up laaaate getting everything ready for the party.  My sister was an absolute rock star and baked muffins for four straight hours.  Thank you, thank you, MA!  On a related note, does anyone want any muffins?

Party pictures to come — tonight, I’m heading for an early bedtime.  In the meantime, here’s a special photo we took today — My grandmother, mother, and baby girl.  So thankful for these women.  Mwah.

Four Generations


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