Sunday, October 4, 2015


On May 13, 5 years ago, this beautiful babygirl was born.  She is my heart, she is so full of love, and she is becoming more of an independent little lady every day.
 I can only barely believe that my little baby who taught me how to breastfeed, who was my first little sidekick, is big enough to go to school.  It makes my heart feel equally full with a melancholy disbelief, and full with a pride beyond words for the amazing little girl she is becoming.
She is a leader.  Her teachers as pre-school voted her "Born Leader" when she graduated, and I couldn't believe that MY little girl is such a confident little leader.  It's amazing to see her manifest into her own person, beyond things that her Daddy and I have taught her.  She loves to gather people to play a game, even if she doesn't know anyone in the group. I have watched her walk up to a group of children, all older than her, and organize a new game she made up.  And everyone listens and follows her!  It's amazing to watch her confidence around people she doesn't know, with such a kind and friendly spirit about her.  She loves meeting new people and making new friends. I call her our family spokesperson, because anywhere we go, she will say, "Hi! I'm Reilly. I'm 5 years old..." and go on to introduce our whole family.  We will be out somewhere, and she will see children (at the ice cream shop, at the zoo), and ask, "Mommy, can I go make friends?". And she walks right up to make friends!
It's precious to watch Reagan, standing beside her, with her big smile. She's such a good little sidekick and is watching Reilly and learning.  She now asks to go make friends when Reilly isn't there, and will go right up and say "Hi, I'm Reagan." in her own quieter way.
She is the epitome of a big sister.  She loves being with her siblings, and is always watching out for them.  If I am giving them a treat, she always hands them to her brother and sister before she gets hers. She can make Declan BELLY laugh just by making a silly face at him.  She has had this skill since he was born, and it's amazing. No one can make him laugh like "Rei Rei".  She always makes sure that everyone is holding hands when we are in the street.  If we are on the sidewalk, she makes sure that her siblings are on the inside to protect them. If she is making them laugh, that is the happiest she could be.  They have a precious little bond, and she is certainly the one who shows them how to be a sibling and a friend.
 She loves to go to the park, and run around.  She loves to do hair, and to have hers done.  She has been braided her dolls hair since she was 3 years old, and she is always asking me to do elaborate and specific hairstyles in her hair.  She loves making people laugh.  She has a sensitive little soul, and gets emotional like an adult when she thinks about the people she loves.  She loves being Mommy and Daddy's little helper, or going on special errands with one of us.  She loves cooking and being my sous chef, or my "Souey" as she calls it.
 She LOVES playing dolls.  Dolls are still her favorite thing to do.  All kinds of dolls with her Sissy. They have little princess dolls that they put in their purses can carry around, they have Barbie dolls (mostly princess ones) that they dress up and braid their hair, and baby dolls that they swaddle and tuck into beds made of washcloths.  The dolls fall off of window sills and save each other, and have tea parties and picnics. Reilly is the Mommy, Reagan is the Aunt Mimi, and I am the Mima of the dolls.  Suddenly I am catapulted into grandmotherhood at 28 years old.  But these girls and their dolls, there is nothing more precious.
Going a long with the love of dolls, is the love of princesses.  She loves them all, but a new one is her favorite each year.  Her first and main love is Ariel.  Next came Rapunzel, and then of course Elsa.  This year it's Princess Aurora, which is a throwback and I kind of love.  I don't hate on princesses like some other girl moms.  Number one, you can't help it.   They will love what they will love, and we happen to live in a very Disney-loving household.  But also, the princess thing doesn't shape who she is in a negative way.  She loves dressing up and pretty jewelry and fashion.  She loves dirt and catching frogs and playing in the woods.  She is a princess in every sense of the word, and she wants to be a botanist when she grows up so she could study plants.  And "an engineer on the weekends".
 This says:
I am 46'' tall
Nicknames: Rei Rei, Sissy
I love: my family, playing dolls, reading books, picking flowers, going to the park
Favs: princeses, crafts, pasta, tape gum, playing tag, Bible songs, bubbles, gardening, braiding hair
 She is a bright light.  She has seemed since she was born that she was destined for something great. She gives this glow where ever she goes.  She makes people happy.  She doesn't see things that other people see - she seems to see something more.  She seems to see what is inside. She cares about peoples feelings, and will try to comfort even a stranger if they look sad.  She is full of God's love, I can see it in her. 
 You amaze us sweet girl. You are a blessing to our family, and to anyone who get the joy of meeting you.  Always be you.  Be silly and courageous and bold.  Be a leader, and lead others in the way you will go.  Because sweet girl, you are going to good places.  I can almost see the path you are skipping down, and it is a joy for us to watch you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Long Island Visit!

Recently, we went to Long Island for a few days to get out of our weird never ending winter and unmelting snow situation that we had here at home that seemed to last for months.  We forgot what grass felt like, and Long Island was ahead of us as far as snow melting went.  So we went in search of places to run!

We went for breakfast to Maureen's, and had so much fun!

I love this age when these 3 little snugglefaces can share one plate of pancakes.

Reilly had Reagan on her lap.  Reilly loves being big Sissy just as much as Reagan loves being the baby sissy.

This one blows me away, because I look at Reilly's face and I see Declan.  They are such little twinsies it's crazy.

Declan was laying on my hand everytime we said, "Aww".  He always gets so sleepy at snuggly at restaurants!

My little lover.  There is nothing like his hands around my neck.

This was Declan's first time on grass since last year!  I was so excited to see how he would react.  And he sat.  He sat in one spot, did not move and inch, for about 30 minutes while we played around him.  He would babble to us and whine if he wanted something.  But the little stinker didn't move from that spot! 
Girls getting ready to play "Red Light, Green Light"

Declan entertaining himself with his shoe. 

"Are we done with this yet? Can we go back inside now?"

(We had a few more occasions at home where he sat on a blanket, hated grass, and refused to move. But I have since got him accustomed to his surrounding and had a few talks with him regarding his outdoorsman/country boy roots, and now he is the dirtiest, muddiest, more curious little fellow outside!)
I felt I should include this photo, because we really couldn't stop laughing at Declan this day and his "when can we stop this outdoor nonsense" attitude. Look at his little smirk!

Giving Mama some side-eye.

Silly face girls!  And Declan's "Really?" face. 

My silly babies and I!

This trip we also went to Starbucks for Frappaccinos,  went to the mall to see the Easter Bunny, and went to the Long Island Fish Hatchery with our cousin Braeden! (Upon meeting the Easter Bunny, Reagan said, "He is vewy quiet. Just like Minnie Mouse at my Birday Pawty. She was vewy quiet too.") We also had a late night Yorgurt Crazy and Target shopping night with Aunt Mimi, where she did "Crazy Driving" with the cart and created a highlight of my children's life. :) 

Next time we go to Long Island...the return of the ICE CREAM MAN!

And now, we continue a months-long countdown to my big girl's birthday and birthday party :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!

 This Easter was so much fun, and there are some things that I want to remember from this day.  These baby ages are the best on these holidays, the kids are so amazed by everything.  Reilly, the night before Easter, was out of control excited.  Nevermind the weeks before, constantly asking how many days and having her countdowns.  The day before Easter, we went to the craft morning at Home Depot, and the Easter Bunny was there!  The girls were both so excited, and he had a giant paint bucket filled with candy. Declan was horrified, so he stayed close to Mommy.  I kind of agreed with Declan, he was a bit of a frightening bunny.  The girls said, "See you tonight!!"

Later that night, we colored eggs and put out carrots and candy for the Easter Bunny.  Reilly made sure that we washed AND dried the carrot, and picked out "Jesus stickers" to leave out for him because she was so thankful that he was coming and bringing treats.  Reagan said, "Why don't we just go bwing dis stuff to Home Depot for the Eastah Bunny?" :)

Declan's eggs were all blue, and spread out on the rug for him with cereal and "fishie crackers" inside.  He made a surprised face when he opened each one, and it was the cutest.

Reilly is on a princess Aurora kick lately, so Easter bunny brought Aurora dolls!! Reagan was only too excited to have matching with her Sissy.

Reagan could have had no toys, no Frozen bubble bath, no coloring books, and just chocolate bunnies (which she ate INSTANTLY), Cadbury eggs, and jelly beans in her basket.  Noted for next year: Reagan just wants chocolate.  Funny though, she actually threw away the last piece of her bunny when she saw how messy it was making her hands.  Girlfriend loves to be clean!
We went to church with the kiddies, and it was all kinds of adorable.  There was an Easter eggs hunt, we saw good friends, we sang together, and the pastor read the children a storybook about Jesus at the front.  Taking a few hours to celebrate with the kids about the joy that Jesus brings to our life, and all that He sacrificed in order for us to live such a life, was the most special part of the day.
 It brings me all kinds of mama joy to dress up the kiddies.  I know some people see it as a chore or a nuisance, but I just love it so much.  Everyone getting all spiffy and matching and celebrating, I just love it.  Speaking of loving it...this boy!  In his ties and suspenders and fancy coat!
 He was super mad that we put him down on this bench and tried to get a picture with his sisters on either side.  So much so, that he threw himself off the bench.   But Spider Daddy used his ninja skills and caught him inches away from the ground.  It was kind of amazing. 
 These girls were so happy to play with their new dolls all day!
(Fun fact: I have a matching dress to Reilly, but I'm waiting till summer to wear it.  Funner fact: my dress is from the girls department)
 Handsomest men in all the land!
 We went to brunch at our favorite place, and had the nicest meal with Uncle Blair!
And then it started snowing (SNOWING) and I tried my hardest to pretend it wasn't. Reilly kept saying, "How is it SNOWING on EASTER!"  My girl.
But we took some family pictures to remember the Winter That Never Ended.
 We came home and the little ones napped, and Mommy attempted to make a pork roast and we both decided there is a reason we never eat pork.  Haha.  Kind of a lot of effort, and at the end, we were like, eh?  Maybe next time I'll make lamb!
 Another memory, is Declan receiving his first basketball, which is the only thing he wanted.   He found a big garbage can full of basketball at the girl's gymnastics class, and crawled straight for them every time.  He laughs hysterically when he just sees a basketball.  He picks them up, throws them, and then crawls after them like a madman.  It's like he plays fetch with's his favorite thing to do.  So when he saw his Easter basket with a massive NBA-size ball in it, he freaked out.  He picked up the ball, and slammed it down on the ground, smashing a plastic egg to smithereens.  It was so funny, and so very Bruisy.
 Declan and Reagan loved Peeps, or as Reagan named them, "Dessert Birdies".  Reilly shared hers with Declan, which warmed my heart.
Also memorable was me deciding that we should have cinnamon rolls on Easter morning, and then deciding that they had to be homemade.  And why should I cut the recipe in half, when I could just freeze them?  So I just made 50 cinnamon rolls and used all of my pans (ALL. OF. THEM.) and now my whole freezer is full of cinnamon rolls.  But man are they good, and now I have a treat for when we have weekend visitors!  So who's coming??
In the morning, Hubby asked Reilly, "Hypothetically, how many cinnamon rolls do you think we need for 4.5 people?"  He was trying to tease Mommy, but little does he know I am raising a little mini-me. Reilly quickly answered, "42."  That's my girl.
Reagan had her buddies with her at church, as everywhere, and laid Buddy down on the pew while we sang.  My little snuggler.  ALSO, we had a big day!  Reagan said, "I have to go to the bathroom" in the restaurant, and went poopy in the potty!! She kept saying, "Do I get SO much dessert now?!"  She's a smart little chicken, that one.
 Sometimes these pictures where the girls are tending to their Declan boy are my favorite.
These smiles, and these faces.  It was such a wonderful Easter weekend.  So simple, and so wonderful.  It's funny, I remember being a child and celebrating these holidays so vividly.  SO vividly.  I remember the feeling coming down the hallway, and the anticipation the night before.  I remember the excitement of opening each egg and tasting the Cadbury eggs each year.  I was Reagan baby - I love the candy eating.  But I also remember thinking - gosh, I don't want to grow up.  Grown ups don't get baskets and candy!  Or hunt for eggs!  That's no fun at all. 

My parents would say, we like seeing you enjoy it. It makes us happy to see you kids happy.  I thought it was grown-up stuff you had to say.  But now, I know.  I know it's true.  This magic of seeing them excited, seeing that face light up, hearing those giggles.  I don't know how it's better, but it is.  Watching your heart, the extension of your soul, experiencing such joy and magic - it's even better than experiencing it yourself. There are many things that you truly cannot understand until you experience it...this is one of those things.  Until having children, I couldn't really understand the extent of joy that comes from just watching them. I am so grateful that I get the chance to Mommy these kids.  And being the Easter Bunny to them is a pretty cool perk, too.