Renewed

I keep getting an email reminding me that I only have a couple weeks remaining until this domain name expires.

This, in turn,  reminds me how long it has been since I’ve actually logged anything in my little online corner of the world.  And this, in turn, makes me a bit sad.  I love having this little spot to jot down our family happenings, record funny things the girls says and frankly, to use as a resource when I forget the name of that really great restaurant we ate at while on vacation.

But…lately, I’ve been choosing to fill my after-work time away from a computer.  Post-kiddo bedtime/house clean-up, I’ve been choosing sleep or Joe or yoga or dog-walking or TV or reading over downloading photos and writing.  It’s been a slow change in prioritizing my time that’s been happening over the past year or so.  Sometimes I feel pressure (totally self-imposed, of course) to write something clever or emotionally profound when the only thing I really have to say is: “we went to the grocery store and did yardwork this weekend.”  Plus, as the girls get older and morph from the tiny babies they once were to big girls with their own strong opinions, thoughts and feelings, I’m cautious of how much I share in this very public spot.

In any event, posts here will continue to be few and far between as I choose to fill any extra time I have with other things.  For now, I’m hanging on to theaveragejess.com. Because every once in a while (conveniently, when my camera card gets full), I’ll stop by to capture a funny kid saying,  chat about a favorite new playground or dump photos of our ordinary days.

And so, while I’m in the neighborhood, here’s a snapshot of life lately, in no particular order…

Lyla turned 5 last week.  5!  I’m not exactly sure how that happened…didn’t she just get here?!

Lyla5cake

In all honesty, I’m hoping 5 trumps 4.  Because 4? I didn’t love it.  My big girl has big emotions.  She’s a roller coaster.  Some days she’s a fun little-kid ride at Disneyland, with ups and downs that are exciting and mildly scary, but manageable.  Just a lap belt required (and instead of a height requirement for this ride, a “if you’ve been a parent for just four years, you can probably handle this” minimum.) But other days, especially when she’s hungry, tired or not feeling well, she’s like that ride at Six Flags where you are strapped in with a five-point harness and facing backwards. You don’t know where you are going and you have no idea what is around each bend. You hear someone shrieking bloody murder.  It turns out, that someone is you.  One of those rides that you must be at least five feet to ride.  Or really, the “warning, we are entering dangerous territory” parenting equivalent. 

Sigh.  (But guess what? Those Six Flags rides are some of my favorites.)

According to her birthday interview answers, L’s favorite food is peanut butter cups (non-treat favorite food: pizza).  Her favorite TV show is a tie between Paw Patrol and My Little Pony.  Her best friend is Adrian.  She likes to go on the teeter-totter with Owen.  Her favorite color is golden.  She wants to be a dancer when she grows up and she is looking forward to swim lessons this summer.

Last week, she told me she kissed a little boy from school on the lips.

Lyla5closeup

 

My Mags is all big girl.  Her baby-ish looks are slowing fading away, her roundness slowly being replaced by the thinned-out limbs and face of a preschooler.  Everything baby is now gone from our house — cribs, diapers, high chairs, potty seats — all of it packed up and out the door.  Maggie continues to have a giant vocabulary — her words catch us all off guard frequently.  She also continues to hate sleep, typically waking up at least once a night.

She and I do gymnastics class on Fridays and we have such a blast  She is such a little monkey and loves swinging from the rings. She’s currently in love with her hand-me-down Strider bike and spends any other spare moments she has jumping on the trampoline.

Maggiestrider

The girls both play so well together, about 95% of the time.  That other 5% involves Joe or me separating them from each other before they cause too much bodily harm.

Me? I’m working, playing, cleaning, cooking, loving on my family, running, yoga-ing and gardening.

Joesbday1

easter2016

My word for 2016 is Adventure.  Looking forward to spring and summer of days filled with renewed adventure both near and far.

10 pm

It’s 10 p.m.

Little footsteps patter across the floor and up the stairs.

She’s in her new favorite pajamas — a Christmas nightgown with the words on the good list scrawled across the front.  She’s wearing a miniature backpack stuffed heavy with plastic food, baby doll clothes, socks and shoes.

“I’m going to school,” she says.

“Maggie, you are supposed to be in bed,” we say.

Her bed is a rare place for her to be.  On this particular night she caught a cat nap right at bedtime and then something woke her up.  For two hours she’s been tinkering around in her room, putting all of her stuffed animals to bed (over and over again), cooking meals in her kitchen, going potty, jumping on her bed while loudly singing Five Little Monkeys and packing up her backpack for a pretend trip to Oregon. She’s been put back in her bed and told to be quiet four times.

Finally, after her last trip up the stairs, the constant chatter we hear on the baby monitor grows quiet.  We sneak down and find her under the blankets sound asleep, her arms wrapped around Mickey Mouse, two babies and a teddy bear.

About four hours later, we hear those same familiar footsteps climbing up the steps to our room, like they do almost every night.

MaggieJoDec2015

 

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Post-script: I took Mags to her first gymnastics class today at Gym Star.  For the first quarter of the class, she clung to me and didn’t want anything to do with it. I wasn’t sure we’d be coming back. But then came the chance to do somersaults, jump on the trampoline, swing on the bars and run around the gym.  And she was all in.  And so was I.  One-on-one time with either of my kids doesn’t happen very often.  The three hours that Lyla is at school Fridays is usually reserved for Maggie and I to run errands and grocery shop.  She’s a great helper.  But today, it was so much fun to run around the gym with her, hold her hand while she jumped into the foam pit and watch her beam as she swung back and forth hanging on to the rings.  She is such a joy.  A sleepless joy, but a joy nonetheless.

My Christmas card confessional

Confession #1:  I leave a display of the Christmas cards we receive from friends and family up for an entire year.   The previous year’s cards stay up until we receive the first holiday card in the mail the next year.  It’s not that I’m too lazy to take down my holiday decorations each year.  I just love seeing the smiling faces of friends and family grace my walls year round.

Confession #2: I think sending Christmas cards is a major chore.  Getting the right photo. Picking a card from the hundreds of choices out there. Chasing down mailing  addresses. Cursing yourself (and your cramping hand) for not getting the envelopes with the pre-printed return address. Standing in line at the post office to buy stamps.  All of these not-so-fun things add to an already lengthy December to-do list.  I endure all of this for one completely selfish reason: I love receiving Christmas cards.  In this digital age where so much of what we do is online, there is just something so nice about getting a card in the mail.

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As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (most recently here and here) I have a big Internet crush on Minted.com.  When it came time to create our family Christmas card this year, I was thrilled to be able to work with them again.

Things I love about Minted’s holiday cards:

  • Minted has wide variety unique card designs from a network of independent artists.  A quote about their mission, direct from their site:

We believe that great design lives and thrives in the hands of independent artists that people do not have access to through traditional retailers. Minted uses technology to allow consumers to discover great creative talent, making Minted a place where artists can learn, gain exposure, and build their businesses.

  • Easy-to-use filtering tools to narrow the vast amount of choices down to what works best for you.  In my search for the perfect card, I filtered my search based on photo orientation, color and style.  Then I combed through the search results and clicked the heart on my top picks to save them to favorites.  From there, I was able to see how my photos looked in each card and make the final (agonizing) decision.
  • Two words: rose gold.  They have an amazing selection of real foil-pressed cards in silver, gold or rose gold.
  • So many customization options.  With so many options, including die cut choices, color changes and the ability to change the back of your card to different colors and patterns (or images and text if you’d like), each card choice can truly be personalized.
  • Matching envelope designs and recipient addressing.  A great time saver. Because if you are like me,  you may be on top of ordering your holiday cards early…but then they may spend a few days weeks on your desk, waiting to be addressed and sent.

Here’s the final product of a few of my favorite holiday card designs from Minted:

Minted holiday card 1 Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.23.19 PM Screen Shot 2015-12-09 at 9.25.37 PMIt’s so hard to choose…!

Head on over to Minted.com today to check out all of their great holiday card selections. Happy shopping.

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Confession #3: I didn’t choose any of the three cards shown above.  Our actual Christmas cards will be arriving in your mailbox sometime in the near future (I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun by showing a preview of my actual card, would I?).

Now, off to find my address list….

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I received these products as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scout program.  All opinions are my own.

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