Saturday, August 30, 2014

some crazy, insane luck

I'm of the mind set that ninety percent of the time it isn't luck, but instead being prepared for opportunity. This little story belongs to the other ten percent of the time - inexplicable, serendipitous, just plain good luck.

Carol Cooper, George's mom, first introduced the idea of Charter schools to me. Her motivation for sending her children was that all three were at the same school through eighth grade so she wasn't driving all over creation shuttling kids to different schools. Around this same time my friend Misty was applying to get her kids into a charter school and has since raved about the experience. So, I started looking into some options. The more I looked, the more I knew I wanted this for our kids. I liked the idea of a smaller school setting, going all the way through eighth grade and avoiding the middle school switch, plus the one George was going to attend seemed like a good school (good API scores, etc). The problem with charter schools is you don't just sign up. It really is based on luck. So almost a year ago, I put our name in the lottery, hoping for the best. In the Spring I found out we were #101 on the wait list. At this point I wrote off the idea, and not seeing any other options wrapped my head around the school across the street. Which is a great school - just not a charter school.

Fast forward to the end of July. Krissy called me on Saturday, July 26th to tell me that she her neighbor just told her that Oxford Prep Academy (a charter school that was trying to open a new campus in the North San Diego area for years) just got approval on July 23rd for an Oceanside location to open in September 2014, and that Monday July 28th was the only day you could enroll. Wooohoo! We canceled our Monday plans, asked G-Mom to watch the kiddos, and Krissy and I headed to the mandatory meeting Monday morning. Three + hours later I was emotionally drained. I knew that Oxford was a good school, but never in a million years could have dreamed of even thinking about some of things that were introduced to us at that meeting. Mandarin lessons beginning in Kindergarten. Chrome books in second grade. Travel to other countries. Music and instrument lessons. Another language beginning in fourth grade. Near perfect API scores. Teachers are referred to as professors. Instead of bells, college fight songs are played. The list went on and on. By the end of the meeting I not only wanted our kids to go to the school, I desperately wanted it. It was also the end of the meeting that we were told another school location was shutting down and all of those kids would have first priority at the Oceanside location. I filled out the paper work for Declan, but with a heavy heart. I didn't think he'd get in. They said they would call within two weeks to let us know - which would have put us at the Friday before Declan was to begin at the school across the street. That Friday came and went without a phone call. So any hope I had vanished. Thanks to Nathan and still being in that newborn haze, I had time to be disappointed for about two minutes before we switched gears and focused our attention/excitement on our neighborhood school. We started talking up Kindergarten and Monday morning for Declan. After all, we got the teacher we requested and the morning Kindergarten slot. And I loved the idea of walking him to school and the possibility of meeting some new friends who lived nearby. 

Luckily, he loved school right off the bat. I'm talking the kid was beaming when I picked him up! It was such a great start it wasn't long before I completely forgot about Oxford. Then, on Wednesday we got the call. He was in! Isn't this just the way life goes? To be honest, I wasn't excited right away. We had such a great start in our neighborhood school that it took a few days to wrap my head around the switch. So we let Declan finish out the week while we deliberated and got a few questions answered. 

By the weekend, Adam and I were both 100% sure it was the right decision to give Oxford a try. We broke the news to Declan last Saturday who was surprisingly ecstatic. I was so worried he'd be devastated because he loved school and Mrs. Carroll so much. But, he took the news in typical Declan fashion - happily. He was even more excited when we found out on Monday that both he and Lily will be in the same afternoon Kindergarten class!

So, on September 22nd (the school is starting a couple of weeks later than usual due to it being the first year), Declan and Lily will begin a new, exciting adventure together. In the meantime, I am relishing in an extended summer.  It's allowing me to get in the swing of getting three kids ready for the day without having to rush out the door every morning! All of this Kindergarten craziness happened before Nathan was even two weeks old! Whirlwind is the only word that comes to mind. Thankfully, little kids are resilient and are pretty much excited about anything you covey with excitement. Declan is doing great and looking forward to starting Kindergarten (again) in about a month.

 Kristin and I had planned to meet for frozen yogurt the Friday after Declan and Lily began school to celebrate the first week and compare Kindergarten stories. Little did we know when we made these plans we'd be discussing the awesome Oxford news!

Future OPA students!
Like I said, just plain lucky.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

smothered brother

Literally. Declan and Lexi adore their new little brother. Honestly I was sure we'd have some backlash (especially from our little girl) but so far we are almost 3 weeks in and loving life with three.

I'll start with Lexi. Like I said, I thought she's have a hard time adjusting. This little girl proved me wrong! From the get-go she takes care of her baby brother like nobody's business. Always putting her blanket on him and helping me out. The other morning I was busy around the house and Nathan was sleeping in his swing. I walked into our family room where I expected to see Lexi watching TV, only to see that she had moved her chair away from the TV and was sitting in front of Nathan in the swing, talking to him. When I asked why she wasn't watching TV she simply replied "that Nathan was lonely". Absolutely melted me. That girl has a heart of gold. The only signs of adjustment for her have been an increased affection toward me. Which is a welcome change coming from my independent girl! The Wednesday after he was born, I was leaving for an appointment and she began to cry saying that she was going to miss me. But other than that incident and an increase of momma hugs, I'd say this one has adjusted beautifully!

Keeping Nate company
 

  
Declan, predictably, is the smother-er! He loves to squeeze baby Nathan, hold him, and  kiss his face. I kind of thought this is exactly how it would be between the two brothers. I find myself reminding Declan to give Nathan a little bit of space because the kid just likes to get in close! It is so sweet though and I love watching how much Declan adores him.

Greeting Nathan at his soccer game. No small hugs around here!
 Declan and Charlie insisted on pushing Nathan all the way around the soccer field!

So life is moving along with three. Kind of like he was always here. If he starts to cry they run around the house (literally) yelling "Pacifier! Find the pacifier!"  The kids make sure he is in the mix as often as possible and love including him in their games. Case in point, train play!


Love this little brood of mine!

the lollipop hotel

Sounds dreamy, right?! It is. The lollipop hotel - also known as the Marriott, but renamed by Declan and Lexi as the lollipop hotel for the multiple lollipop bouquets in the lobby. This is Mimi and Pops newest choice for accommodations when they roll into town the kids couldn't be more happier. The weekend after Nathan was born, these awesome grandparents decided to book a few nights on whim. What a gift to tall of us! The kids couldn't have been more excited to and it gave Adam and I a little alone time with our newest member! What more can I say except that Mimi and Pops rock!

Loony for lollipops

The best part of the hotel (besides the lollipops of course) is the rooftop pool where the grandparent/kid crew spends most of their time!
♥♥Thank you Mimi and Pops for yet another wonderful stay (ie parent break)! ♥♥

Monday, August 25, 2014

the name game

 

The hardest thing about not finding out the gender during pregnancy was coming up with two names.  Truly. With all three kids Adam and I have over thought, discussed...I'd even go as far to say that we agonized over names. To come up with a girl and a boy name, just about put us over the edge. In fact, we weren't getting anywhere discussing, so we just stopped. We had a handful of names for both a boy and a girl, but neither of us could pinpoint one. So we didn't. It was the least prepared we'd ever been as far as names go. We arrived at the hospital with all of them, hoping one would fit when we met our baby. Although, I will readily admit that Nathan was by far my top choice. And, it's a good thing we had a boy because I wasn't in love with any of our girl names. 

If he had been a girl, our group of names included: Everleigh, Charlotte (but call her Charlie - my favorite, but so trendy right now), Mackenzie, and Scarlett (Adam's favorite).

Other boy names we considered were Sean and Caden (Adam was really pulling for the Irish theme with his boys).

 I was strongly pulling for Nathan. Adam surprised the hell out of me when he didn't put up a fight at all and basically gave me full reign in the hospital room for choosing the name...really, so unlike him. The guy is stubborn. I was so excited and relieved tears sprung to my eyes when he agreed to Nathaniel David. I love, love, love his name. As his pediatrician said, "He could be president with that name, win the Heisman trophy, or win a Noble prize..." We're aiming high here people! 

Nathaniel is a Hebrew name and means Gift from God. It is #96 on the popularity list right now, although Nathan is #30. Typically we try to stay away from the top 50, but what are you going to do?

David is after my dad. 

We're still playing with shortened versions, but most often he is Nathan or Nate. When Declan first heard me call him Nate, he asked why I called him that instead of Nathan - when I explained the shortened version and used his name to illustrate what I was saying, he loved it. Now that is what he calls him. Sometimes he'll still say Nathan and then, he "correct" himself and say "I mean Nate".

I think his name fits his perfectly.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

milk drunk slumber


Ah kiddo, it's hard to believe 2 weeks and 2 days have passed since you made your arrival. Time is flying by way too fast! So far you've made the adjustment insanely easy, truly sleeping most of the day and night away. I am absolutely obsessed with your milk drunk slumber and find myself just staring at your sweet face, listening to the tiny sounds you make and watching as your expressions change in your sleep. I thought I'd document a few of the traits, characteristics, and things I've noticed about you since your arrival:

you have crazy long toes & fingers
and the tiniest nose and ears
more often than not, you have your hands balled up, resting either on your chest or just under your chin
I know that they can't be counted as true smiles, but you flash a little grin quite often - most of the time I see it right after you finish eating
you barely cry - even at night when you wake up, you make an "eh, eh, eh, eh" sound instead of actually giving us a cry
you don't like to be naked at all - not when I change your diaper or clothes or even when I bath you. This is the ONLY time I hear you wail.
I think you have a small dimple left cheek
you love looking/being outside - sometimes I sit you up on your boppy pillow near our sliding glass window and watch you gaze out
your favorite thing of all are head rubs- you make the sweetest sigh, close your eyes, and often smile if I rub your head

We all adore you from head to toe - in fact, it is a rare moment that you are ever alone. Most of the time someone is holding you or Declan and Lexi are kissing your head. You are so loved.

 

 
And now for a little update on me and handling three. During pregnancy I worried a lot about how the dynamics would go with three.  More so than any other pregnancy. I will say that there is definitely a learning curve going on around here, but overall it is not as hard as I thought it might be. Although, I think I'm doing pretty well, and then certain things happen to remind me that I truly am in survival mode and not really as together as I think I am. Case in point - walking out of the grocery store pushing an empty cart (Nate was in the Ergo and the older kids were at home with Adam so I mean empty as in no groceries). The teenage grocery bagger ran after me with the correct cart. Or, thinking I emailed someone when I really didn't. You know, we are taking it day by day around here - enjoying the small wins - like getting everyone out of the house.☺

Thursday, August 21, 2014

the boys...

bear an uncanny resemblance! 
One day I'll do a baby comparison of all 5 of us, but I had to address the look-alike father and brothers now:

Have I mentioned how much I love having boys...as in more than one? I can't get over the fact that there are three in total at our house. It's funny - I wasn't very surprised in the hospital that our #3 ended up being a boy. In fact I was counting on it. It's almost like I've had a delayed reaction to the fact that I have another son. For the past thirteen days I find myself thinking with excitement, "I can't believe I have another boy!!!" ♥ I think Lexi is just as pumped as I. She keeps coming up to me, giving me a high five and saying "girl power!" We are relishing in having our own little girl team together.

I came downstairs the other night to find the guys in the house hanging out. I had to snap a few pictures of Adam with his sons doing, you know - what boys do - being goofy, flying airplanes - the usual.

The newest addition, taking it all in.
In case you can't tell, I'm smitten over this little family of mine!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Declan's first day of school

I knew that typically schools didn't disclose classroom assignments until close to the start date, but I was getting anxious last week when I hadn't heard anything from Declan's school. I was hoping for morning kindergarten with a teacher recommended to me named Peggy Carroll by our neighbor Heather . By Wednesday I was convinced I wouldn't get either. Then, on Thursday I received the letter in the mail confirming we got both!! Hot damn! I was so excited about this new information it almost made me forget that I was sad Declan was starting Kindergarten in just a few short days. In all honesty the arrival of Nate did keep my mind occupied and less obsessed with the big change coming our way. So much so that I kind of thought I'd get through the day without a tear. Ha, ha, ha - who was I kidding?

The night before Declan's first day of school, we surprised him with a few big kid gifts: a new backpack (green of course), a Planet lunchbox, and a new Lego clock for his room. He was so excited about everything...but especially that clock. He has been obsessed with time for awhile and I knew that would make him feel so grown up. I was right. Now he waits until the clock says 7:00 before he gets out of bed in the morning to "make sure he gets enough sleep for school". That kid. Love him.




The next morning after a 5am feeding with Nate, my restless mind was unable to fall back asleep, anticipating the morning ahead. Declan had showed us nothing but enthusiasm toward his first day of school, but as his mother, of course I worried about him. After a smoothie and some toast, choosing his clothes, and brushing his teeth, we had just enough time for a few pictures before heading out the door.




 Luckily, Daddy's last day of "new baby vacation" was Declan's first day of school and Mimi is still here, so both were able to see us off and wish our guy luck.
The school is right across the street, so Declan and I left the house at 8:30 to allow plenty of time for our walk. The first time I had to hold back tears was when we were in the driveway and Declan took my hand and said "Momma can you hold my hand because, because, because (he tends to repeat words slowly as he figures out what he wants to say next) there are a lot of cars on that one street". This is when I came to terms with the fact that despite my best efforts, tears would probably be shed today and it would have been wise to skip the mascara. I couldn't help but think that it wouldn't be too long before I reached for his hand and he wouldn't want me to hold it. 
We arrived at school a little early and after asking a few people, finally found his classroom. We still had some extra time before the door opened, so we snapped a quick picture.
 Then Mrs. Carroll gathered the kids around the door, gave some simple instructions and asked them to sit on their favorite color square once in the room. I was so happy green was one of the options ☺ Just a little side note - I was expecting 30 kids in Declan's class and was pleasantly surprised to learn there was only 17!
 Mrs. Carroll talked a bit, then asked the parents and kids to say a silent good bye by waving their fingers and that was it! A few of the kids started crying as the parents left. Declan was not one of them. Thank God - I seriously do not know what I would have done if he had.

Afterward, I headed to the cafeteria for a parent orientation. You'd think sitting there for an hour listening to dry information about folders coming home, and pick-up procedure would have subsided the sting from leaving him. But, no. This hormonal, postpartum Momma ugly-cried under my sunglasses the whole walk home. I was so glad Adam was home because a big hug from him was just what I needed. 

Adam picked Declan up from school. Of course I was dying to hear all about it, but during the orientation in the morning, one of the PTA moms said that sometimes it was like pulling teeth to get info out of the kids about how the first day was, so her advice was to ask two questions: what was your favorite part about the day and what was your least favorite. So, when Declan got home I took her advice (I may have asked more than 2 questions though):


Fast forward to today. Mimi, myself, Lexi and Nathan all walked Declan to school. When we arrived, Declan literally didn't say good-bye. In fact he didn't even look back, just ran straight onto the playground. Mrs. Carroll smiled at me and said, "I think he's good". At which point Lexi began crying, saying "I miss my Declan". I had to laugh at the irony of the situation.

Even though I had a hard time letting go yesterday, I am ecstatic about the year ahead. I love how much he has already expressed a liking for his teacher, constantly telling me how "nice Mrs. Carroll is". And he tells he excitedly about boys he hangs out with at school - although he can't remember any of their names yet. I have a feeling it is going to be a fantastic year of growth for all of us!

Declan John, we are so happy you love school as much as you do! Your ability to adapt and jump into new situations with nothing but excitement never ceases to amaze me. I have a feeling it is going to be a magical year, watching you grow and change. We are so proud of you and excited for the new adventure ahead!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Kindergarten

 
 In just a few short hours I will be walking you across the street to begin a new chapter in our lives: the school years. You have been asking with enthusiasm since the day preschool ended how many days it will be until Kindergarten begins. Well kiddo, it's here. For two months you've been ecstatic about this day. For five and a half years I have been anticipating it, knowing that this little thing called Kindergarten means big changes in our lives. From an early age you've had an uncanny amount of energy. Staying home all day wasn't really an option with you. So, we got out. We had adventures. We discovered and tried everything San Diego had to offer. And, oh it was fun! I never took one day for granted. You were the perfect partner in crime to have at my side. So full of energy and life. Just as happy as can be. I loved every minute hanging out with you kiddo. Watching you grow up with this amazing group of friends we have made along the way. Wonderful kids and mothers that have added so much to our lives and helped shape who we've become. I know I will always look back on these years as some of the best in my life. And it is because of your happy, adventurous disposition that made these times so memorable and wonderful for me.
Now we cross that big thick line, where it is not for me to choose who influences you. Our little bubble is popping and we are stepping out into a bigger world. One full of a new kind of fun with many memories just waiting to be made. New people and friends to meet and plenty of life lessons for both of us. And just like the first five years, the next five will be wonderful because of you. I can't wait to watch how you will grow and who you will become. One thing is for sure, I know you will keep your light-hearted personality, with that easy smile. A boy who is always ready to laugh and make friends. It is who you've always been and I'm sure, who you will always be.
Good luck on this new adventure kid. Your dad and I are in your corner, celebrating your successes and there for you when you need us. We love you so much and couldn't be more proud of you!

We took a few pictures with your friends this summer to celebrate the fact that all of you are making the jump to elementary school ☺
 
You had just had the stomach flu so you look a little piqued and thin in this picture
 And, just because this emotional Mom of yours felt like crying this morning (sorry kid - you are the first born, so you have to endure the sappy stuff)...


the last hurrah

Friday was technically our last day of summer.I can't believe it is already time for me to write that sentence. Sigh. We made the most of our last day by rallying a beach group together for one last hurrah. This was also the day Nate turned one week old! We figured the beach would be a fun place to introduce him to some of our favorite people. I realize it sounds crazy to take a one week old to the beach, but I dusted off Lexi's blue tent that we used for the beach when she was a baby, depended on the help of a lot of people, and off we went!
Struggling to get ready in the morning and be on time, I finally remembered to the Ergo! Hello old friend! Nate and I were pretty excited to re-discover this. (Love that Nathan is looking at the camera like he is terrified of it...he must have some innate feeling that it will be in his life all too often ☺).

It was so nice of everyone to make the drive to Buccaneer's - a beach close to us.
We had quite the group for our final day of play. 
Ella, Ana, Lily, Lola, Ellie, Lexi, Declan, Micah, Alex, Kylie, Gracie Jo holding Nathan, and Trevor in front

Just a few pics from our day in the sun - Jaimie took about half of these. Getting used to three kiddos makes for less picture taking! 
Best buds meeting for the first time - Nate and Trevor (I think it is crazy lucky that Jaimie and I both have boy-girl-boy!)
 
The waves were pretty big and rough on Friday, but that didn't keep this group out of the water!


 Girlfriends! Ella, Kylie, and Lexi

 Boogie boarding
 Declan and Lexi had spent the night with Mimi and Pops the night before so I didn't even have to get them ready in the morning! The four of them showed up bright eyed and ready to play. It was great having Mimi and Pops at the beach with us for our final day of summer! And, I won't lie - it made my first outing with three much easier!
 Lexi and Declan proudly introducing their little brother


 Kylie and Lexi spent most of the day hanging out together in their own world of sand creations.
 

 The boys
 little surfer girls
 love these crazies so much!


And just like that it is over!! But, lets be honest...Kinder is over at 12. That leaves plenty of daylight for some more so-cal fun (at least for a couple more months). ☺
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