Ideas, memories, and motivators. A landing spot for the creative and tales of my adventures in motherhood, yoga teacher training, and life. Thanks for flying into my nest.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Five Years of Blake

Where oh where do you even start a blog post about newly-minted-five-year-old-Blakers? Spunky. Beautiful. Mischievous. Owner of the most delightful, often devious, but truly joyous giggle/chuckle/deep-rooted-belly-laugh-of-world-domination. Creator of the most serious and sassy improv both on and off the dance floor, fashion maven of the most colorful leggings and outfit creations, lover of My Little Pony and Monster High, singer of made-up songs way past her bedtime, stern but mostly extremely kind to her little brother... this is our Blake Emery. And today, today she turned five.

Looking back at pictures of last year, I can already see the stark evolution of baby fat melting away to yesteryears and a long, lean face smiling back at me. 'They'--all those well-meaning grandmas, moms to teens, and random strangers--they all tell you the years whip by. They tell you to cherish the good and bad. They tell you it all goes by so fast. It does. It is not suppose to you when it is YOUR own daughter, but it does.

I see my dear friends with growing baby bumps and infants on their hips, and I think THAT WAS JUST BLAKE! Yes, the words literally are shouting themselves at me.

Five. I mean seriously I was just weeping into Bobby's arms at the OBGYN thinking we had lost our baby, only to hear the sweetest sound of Blake's persistent heartbeat. We were just in multiple ultrasound appointments to try, oh so desperately try to see Blake's spine. We were just in the hospital having been handed a screaming, very Asian, very hairy newborn. We were just staring at each other in wide eyed wonder, Bobby verbally stating what we were both thinking, 'they are actually just going to let us take her home?!!'

Over the past five years, our darling daughter has given us our fair share of smiles, tantrums, love, more tantrums, meltdowns, giggles, dances, paintings, crafts, more paintings, a few more epic public meltdowns, the most incredible witness of sibling love and care, and maybe a handful of cry-rests over having to go potty in public restrooms. I have seen her extreme shyness morph to confidence. 6 months ago she was in tears over attending dance and now she made a micro performing team!

As of late, the way the girls uses her hands when she talks, it is nothing short of hysterical and oh so her Italian genes at work. She loved the paint the second we first put a paintbrush in her tiny hands, and that is going strong. Man, can she color in the lines, way better than me! And every painting, every drawing, is always done for a particular person. She comes out in the craziest, yet totally workable, outfit creations. Pink stripped leggings, tiered tutus, fuchsia polka dotted long sleeve shirts under short sleeve shirts (in the middle of 110 weather mind you), black boots, and a headband.

She also become the most sassy little photo poser! Leg pops are most common.

Blake has always had a graceful knack for making friends. This year has been no different. I loved hearing about all her little mates at school and dance. They were all friends that she was truly making on her own accord. Her reports from her teacher spoke of her shyness towards the adults but absolute ease and giggle-fests with her friends.

This past school year, we always received positive reports... and  then one day, Mrs. Foster pulled me aside with a look of concern and amusement in her eyes. There was a scissor incident.

Blake and her friends Lucy were cutting some crafts when all of the sudden the teachers heard Blake chanting "cut it! cut it!" as if she was at a Frat party encouraging a chug-fest. Blake's little friend admitted she cut her own hair, Blake admitted she did not cut her own hair, would not cut her own hair, but had encouraged Lucy to! Ahhh... we had a scissor safety talk, but man, it was so hard not to laugh through it all!

The past few months, Blake and Ryker have really started to play WITH one another, rather than just side-by-side. Hearing Blake's motherly tone, her firm instructions, and her ability to dress her brother up in her bright satin red Minnie Mouse dress, a purple crown, and high heels is uncanny, and frankly awesome. 

How can I really summarize all that is Blake? For those that know and love her, well, we just know Blake is Blake. 

Yesterday was Blake's birthday party... her little social list of dear friends has grown so long we had to cut it down to just the girls this year... and even so we had 14 energetic, giggling, screaming, but truly sweet and well behaved girls in our house for a Monster High themed party. I loved how one of my childhood friends who attended with her own two daughters and I were talking about Monster High and how Jessica said "this is just so Blake." It truly was all her. Spunky, a little edgy for a typical five year old, but at its core sweet and all about friendship. And cake. Most assuredly about the cake as well. "The cake was my favorite part of the day mom!!" Blake told me several times.

Tonight as I was tucking in my newly crowned five year old, thinking about how grown up she has become, she then brazenly flipped out over not having a particular set of pillows. And the blanket wasn't on her "the right way!!!"

Alas, in moments of her over-tiredness, I do see a very tiny, very little girl still in need of her mama, patience, love, discipline and most needed tonight... sleep! And this tired mom is very happy to give her all of the above.

Happy Birthday my little peanut! I love you super! 

The most lovely birthday girl, today on her fifth, with her daddy:

PS To my sweet Blakers, mom wrote this primarily for you to read some day. Mama is very tired tonight. So if there are huge grammar errors, and giant gaps in memories, bear with me, but know I LOVE YOU TO THE MOON and BACK. So very proud to have had the last five years to call you my own and be your mom. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014



A button on our remotes. A word that causes us to stop... maybe we breathe into this moment. Or maybe we hear the word 'pause' and we just hold our breath. The hectic clamor of life beckons us to gasp inwardly and impatiently wait for the awkward silence to be over.

I want to learn to breathe into life's pauses. Whether it is a positive pause of something as grand as a vacation to the beach or just a small getaway from graham cracker coated floors, or maybe it is a very real pause from every day activities because both kiddos are down and out with a stomach bug.

Monday night: Blake cries out as she (unsuccessfully) races to the bathroom to upchuck her dinner. Early Tuesday morning: Ryker coughs. Swallows something. Something yellow and slimy. Yep, poor guy has never thrown up before. He didn't know what to with it. He coughs periodically through out the day. By 10:00 am he is pro at throwing up, especially on me, my hair and even the socks inside my favorite black running shoes--that are on my feet mind you.

TMI? Well, you know, parenthood is gross at times. Us stay-at-home mom's sure do tend to over-share. It is kind of like a battle wound. You don't want it. But once you go through it, you sure are proud of it.

Blake and Ryker are on the mend now. It only took a day or two. But alas, wake up times were way too early. Loads of puke-coated-laundry quadrupled in just one day, and we had to excuse ourselves from playdates, preschool, and dance class. You know what? I kind of liked it.

No, no, not the intensely gross scented vomit.

The sweet pause in our normally busy routine. That is what I liked, rather loved, about this week. Yes, yes I know Blake is only four and yet has the social calendar of a NYC Socialite at times. That's a different blog post all together.

However, what I savored about our past few days were the cuddles on the couch, underneath a weathered floral Laura Ashley blanket, watching Gator Boys, Team Umizoomi, and even half an episode of Dance Moms. Ryker passing out on me with sweet sighs. His long lashes falling against his flushed cheeks. Blake gently stroking my own cheeks as I nearly passed out in her room. Her telling me "thank you mom for the water to stay healthy so we don't have any more yucky stuff. Thank you mommy for the magic oils to make me feel the powers to feel better" (also a another blog post to come, my new found love of Young Living Essential Oils. Crediting Thieves oil for kids' speedy recovery!!).

These moments with my littles aren't so little. They are quite grand. In the mad rush of my life, I had lost sight of this importance. I had also lost sight of my patience and tolerance for two kids who are both spitfires. At the same time. To one another. In public. With loud shrieking voices.

So, yes, of course I hated seeing my kids sick. Yet, seeing their own positive attitudes and willingness to listen and accept our care was awesome. My crazy requests to keep sipping water, was met with sweet complaince,  when they probably just wanted to throw the water bottle at me for nagging (well, Ryker did throw his Superman bottle at one point landing squarely on Blake's forehead, but that too is another story and just one small blip in pretty good behavior while feeling so icky).

Last week, I toured Blake's kindergarten. Her kindergarten! This fall will bring yet another new stage. The whole household is excited for it. Yet, my heart twinges at the fact that our weekday naps together are short-lived. Was she not just the little peanut that we called a burrito/eggroll, swaddled in her bamboo blankets? Yes, yes she was!

I know I appreciated the early days. But like most new mom's could not wait for each new stage. Wanting to fast forward through her tantrums (well, it would be cruel not to, right?!) and even fast forward some good times to see her grow... but alas, I wish I had just paused more. Breathed more gracefully into the difficult, the defiant public meltdowns, the crazy-did-I-really-birth-this-alien-life-form tantrums at home (they still occur, but are few and far between these days, so I know I am setting myself up for practicing this whole graceful attempt at pausing before reacting with Ryker as a newly minted feisty two year old).

Tonight, I sit typing away. Bobby and the kids are long asleep. It's almost midnight. I am a bit wired. Always seems to happen on school nights when I get home. Yoga does that to me, calms me down, but wakes me up too, you know? Wakes me up to a lot of areas I can work on... not just poses, but things off the mat so to speak. Tonight, this week, the whole idea of just pausing, appreciating, accepting... just breathing into these life moments.

I can do that. Especially the naps, the naps we must savor before kindergarten starts!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Should Have, Would Have, Could Have....

I love to write. You may not know this by the absence in postings on this blog. Oh, but I do. I miss writing on a regular basis. I also miss sleeping till 9:00 am and eating meals without a constant hum of "don't throw your food!" "Stay seated!" "NO! We don't throw brocolli!" "Just try two bites. You won't know if you like it unless you try it." Ahh, yes, sweet, chaotic, noisy motherhood.

The last time I wrote a post was in August. Here, we now sit in January. January! Alas, there are so many 'should have written more' thoughts running through my head. So many 'should haves'... and that is not just for this tiny spot I call my blog. Life has so many should have, would have, could haves. Hindsight. You little booger, how I appreciate you--and loathe you. Reflection is great. I do strongly believe we should look back and learn from our mistakes. But we must not wallow in them and think 'oh man, if I had only....' then I would be so much farther ahead in life, parenthood, career, projects, etc.

I had one of the best conversations this morning with our financial advisor. It was a call I was dreading to make. I was stressing out over some unexpected expenses. I felt as if I should have planned better. Oh, me and my best laid plans. My advisor reminded me: STOP STRESSING. Count your blessings. You are young (nice to hear as my 33rd birthday approaches in a few months). You will look back at this time a year from now, five years from now, and it will be just a blip, because it is just a blip. Stop stressing.

I should know this, right? I am more than midway through Yoga Teacher Training. I should know how there is no good outcome from stress. I should know how to breathe through it, right? I should know that I need to just surrender it all. I know.  However, how often do we know things and run the opposite direction? Or, like me, how often are we so attached to a certain pre-ordained outcome of what we think life should be, could be... Attachment to outcome. Yep, that's me.

So, as I meander my way back to writing (hopefully!) on a more regular basis again, I want to remind myself to let go of all those 'should haves, would haves, could haves.' I figure if I put it out there, here on a public blog, I will have to remember! I even taught a small yoga class last night and my theme of the class was a sentiment shared by my YTT instructor. The sentiment: "Let Go, Or Be Dragged."

Here's to a new year of letting go...  because when we let go, we have room to start something new. This popped up in my Facebook feed this afternoon:

Perfection in your timing Suja Juice! Just start today. What is holding you back? Whether it is a simple task like starting this blog back up again, keeping the pantry (slightly) more organized or cracking down on kiddios who may-or-may-not get away with a little too much whining... or perhaps a bigger tasks of starting school back again, looking for a new job, tackling a huge project... it is never too late to start fresh. 

I look at the above quote not as another command... but rather as not letting another day go by without fully seizing it. And before you think I am telling us moms' to add just one more thing to an every winding-to-do list, I view this quote as an encouragement to start anew and to just go for it. Yes, there can be fear of the unknown. But let's face it, sometimes the 'known' isn't that pretty either! Who's with me? Let's start something today. Whether it is a new resolution or simply the act of pausing and hitting refresh. 

Goodness knows I need a reset button lately. Especially, this morning, as maple-syrup-dripping-in-her-long-brown-hair-strands-Blake asked, "Mommy, today, can you use your nice voice all day and not the mean one?"

Yes, yes, sweet child I can. I will start the day with my "nice voice." And when that "mean voice" creeps in I will try and remember that this is the day I heard you use that same "mean" tone to your little brother. Yes, he was chucking an oversized chevron throw pillow at you for no apparent reason then to throw yet another object in your direction, but hearing the sheer velocity of contempt and annoyance coat your tone, ouch, it is a wake-up call to know little ears and eyes are always watching. Always. 

I knew that second my ears heard you shout "RYKER! You stop it now I tell you. Arghhh! I just need my space. Can't get anything done around here" that the words, your tone, were modeling something(s) you have heard all too often lately. So today, this moment, the thing I wish to start is watching how I react and speak to my kids. 

Tomorrow perhaps I will start another blog posts. Perhaps something even bigger is awaiting me to start this year. You never know! This time last year I had just started downloading yoga DVDs and now here I am half-way through module 2 of Yoga Teacher Training. In the meantime, I will try and let go of as many should haves as I can. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Summer Wind

Where oh where did this 2013 Summer go? Surely there are endless days of swimming, red raspberry popsicle eating, playdates, moments of mommy-insanity-sweat-dripping-as-we-rush-to-do-errands-before-it-hits-120-degrees out, left on our agenda? Not so! Really?!

Next week, Blake starts preschool back up and thus begins our fall... okay, so it is still sweat-dripping-hot out, but mentally with Blake's pink and brown owl backpack hanging in her room, just waiting to be put to use, we are herby declaring it fall.

I am both excited and sad. Excited, because I see Blake's excitement--well, I hear it loud and clear as she asks, every morning, this past week, "Is it school day today?" with a giant grin and her hands full of her new floral tutu and designated first day of school white t-shirt "with no sleeves mom, because it will make me sweaty to have sleeves." And sad. So very heart-tugging sad knowing this is Blake's last year before 'real' school begins. I love texting my crew of mamas to see if anyone is down for a zoo day, jaunt to the children's museum or a quick and cool trip to the pirate ship at the mall, followed by lunch at the Nordstrom Cafe.

Yesterday, was one such day. A last minute text to Hannah and Erika to see if they were down for a end of summer playdate. We headed to the Arizona Science Center. The kids greeted each other with their epic hugs and giggles. Ryker had few little meltdowns because he was tired, but overall everyone one was happy and having a great time. It's so crazy to think back nearly 4 years go... Erika had a first outing with Mia. We all met for brunch at Orange Table. Mia made her debut. Blake was just six months or so... I met Hannah for the first time and heard about sweet little Emery. A few years later and throw Isla, Ryker and Fin Jude into the mix... and a little peanut brewing in Erika's belly. It's crazy how fast it is going! It seems like just yesterday. It was just yesterday!

Back to the present, we headed into the planetarium to see a presentation on Mars. Looking over at Blake sprawled out in her chair, her leggies looked too long for my baby! She excitedly whispered to Mia. The both chuckled over a shared secret. I think I heard something about "poo poo pants." Ryker, after having inhaled a little snack, rested his head on my shoulder and melted into me for the entire talk on Mars. His hazel eyes grew wide and then droopy. I thought for sure I would be pacing outside of the room with an antsy toddler. Instead, he fell asleep on my lap. His belly snuggled up against mine. Perfection.

Today, we headed to the gym for me to do yoga. Ryker has been a bit displeased at the nursery drop-off. However, today he wiggled from my arms and headed to hug Blake. She wrapped him in her skinny, lengthy arms, and they walked thru the door, together, hugging each other. Blake whispered reassurances to him, "Don't worry bud. Mom is going to do yoga, and I will keep you safe. She will come back and get us and give us treats." Wow. I love mom moments like this. And he lasted the whole hour while I got to downward dog, breathe, and start the day. This was going to be a great day. So, errands with such happy peanuts seemed like a given. We headed to Michaels, and then Trader Joes to stock up on groceries and after-school snacks.

Oh, remember how Blake promised Ryker I would give them treats? Well, her memory of steal reminded me as soon as we walked into Michaels. I had two suckers hidden in my purse, and out the came. All was sugary bliss. Then Ryker decided to use the sucker-stick as a q-tip. He screamed. Bloody, loud scream. Of course, at this moment Blake decided to make a new friend with a random little girl and didn't want to leave her new found friend. So, with blue-sucker-stickiness smeared across his face, I comforted him with a hug. It worked.  Although all throughout our next stop, Trader Joes, he kept rubbing his ear and saying "oh, owie." Poor kid. But of course we have had worse mini-accidents. And our errands were still running smoothly overall.

That is until we are loading up the groceries. Ryker is all buckled in, happily sucking down his apple and carrot pouch when Blake starts doing the pee-pee dance. So we unbuckle Ry to head back into the store, when I accidentally hit Blake with the corner of the Tahoe's door. With her biggest clown frown, she burst into tears. One hand clutching her privates, the other her head as we walk into Einstein Bagels to use their bathroom. Nothing brings out the welcome mat and says "Hi, I'm a mom" like a screaming child who is making a beeline for the restroom.

Accidents averted, we got our bagels and OJ (no, we were not orginaly planning to get bagels today. Yes, I felt guilty for walking into a shop with screaming children and caved to the wonderful scent of fresh baked carbs!) and all seemed back on track. Of course, we made it two steps out the front door and Ry's cup slips from his hand. Spilling his pricey freshly squeezed OJ on him, the ground, and narrowly misses the incoming patrons. Eeck. I wipe it up best I could with my lone Boogie Wipe and we start to walk back to the car with Ry crying and Blake at first refusing to let Ry have a sip of hers because "I was careful and held it with two hands, Ryker needs to learn!" She eventually lends him one tiny sip and all seems right. For a second. All seems right with the world for one tiny second.

Of course, at that moment, my flip flop breaks. My favorite navy blue, moment of splurging on a Tory Burch flip flips, shoe breaks. It lays mangled on the hot pavement. With a screaming, sticky toddler, and a four year old who at that moment decides to say "Oh man, what a horrible day! First my head and now this!" Blake and I catch each other's eyes and just burst out laughing. She of course adds the humbling "mom, you look crazy walking with one shoe!"

Ahh.... such is motherhood right? One moment, everyone is happy. The next boo-boos, boogers, wardrobe malfunctions, and public meltdowns. It is insanity. And I am going to miss sharing in these mornings with miss Blake. Okay, I know, I know she is only going to preschool three days a week... but the added day (she went two days last year) does feel like a lot! Who else is going to hold Ryker, make me laugh with her accurate descriptions on life, and just hold my hand when I need a little reassurance myself... thank goodness for little dude and the many adventures I know we will begin to have with each other while Blake is in school. I will cherish those moments. Because we know his time at home will surely pass like the summer wind as well!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Balancing Time

February. When the weather was chilly... When we were going through two packs of grape scented boogie wipes a day... when our week consisted of Bible study on Tuesdays, Preschool on Tuesday and Thursdays for Blake, Dance on Wednesdays, and playdates galore in between... February, when I wrote my last post. Yikes. This was the year I was going to challenge myself to write more. Ha. Record more. Soak in and remember the moments of my tiny little kiddos' lives as they become less and less tiny.

Well, this is working out well ;-) I just wrote that sarcastically if you didn't notice ;-) And yet I am soaking it all in, really! The memories are just not always making their way to perfectly typed blog posts. I am sometimes sad I am not recording more in a diligent fashion. I sometimes struggle with "am I really *just* a stay at home mom?!" Shouldn't I have those eloquently documented manuscripts of Blake lining up her Disney princess dolls every morning to watch her eat breakfast (this sentence SO counts as said documentation!!) and perfectly organized photo books filled with Ryker climbing on every surface of our home uploaded and checked off my list? 

It is oh so hard not to fall into the self-imposed trap that I should be doing more than *just* the basics... using my college degree, have a side business, creating more. There will be a time for that. Maybe that time is tomorrow, maybe that time will come in a few years. I am trying to remind myself that just because one person can balance a dozen different mama-business-career-side projects-working out-items does not mean it is best for me and my family at this time. 

It is always so hard to find that balance. Sigh. However, I never want to spend more time writing about my kids than actually playing with my kids. And each day, as the steam mop is neglected for a quick sweep with Swiffer wipes, I am trying to remind myself about that word--balance. And remembering that this precious stage of life will be over all too fast. 

The toddler size 11 (eeck! Blake sure has big feet like her mama!) pink and white popsicle flip flops won't always make their way mysteriously onto the top of our kitchen table. Ryker won't always want to be held 24/7 when he is teething, nor will he always make massive messes when eating whatever we put in front of him from guacamole to green smoothies to steamed broccoli (hmm, maybe I do need to break out that steam mop! There are some questionable green spots underneath his booster seat). 

Preschool ended last month. Say what?! Yes, I cried a few tears when signing Blake up for next year. We are going from two days a week to three days a week. Blake also had her end of year dance recital last month as well. All these fun milestones! 

As summer is settling on us, our days are a little less structured at times. And I am happy with that. I love the mornings filled with cold cereal, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for Ryker, some random cake decorating video on YouTube for Blake, and the promise of morning and afternoon swim sessions (can we say wonderful nap times with all this swimming?!).

Our days are also starting to include time at the gym. Let me just say adding the kid's to our gym pass was/is the best thing ever. Like ever. Seriously! I was the first one to sprout how I cringed at placing my healthy little peanuts into a germ infested play area with some bored teenager haphazardly watching them. Then, a brand spanking new LA Fitness opened  five minuets from our house. Preschool ended. Hmm, mama here needed a break. 

Yoga classes to start my morning? A mile run and a strength and conditioning before lunch? Yes, please!

It helps that there are no tears--the kids literally ask to go to the gym! And the cleanliness is up to par ;-) in the day care. This little gym routine is helping with my goal of balance. Literally and figuratively! Yoga is kicking my booty, but I am loving it and managing to get to a class three times a week in hopes of not being so wobbly in the very near future. It is giving me a precious hour to refocus.   Reminding myself that no single season in life will look the same, reminding myself that just like in fitness, one routine that works for someone is not always going to work well for another person, and that is okay. So here is to that balance. And hoping to be back on this blog to record a very fun summer ahead... 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ice Cream Sunday

As Bobby sweated through Tough Mudder this windy Sunday, the kids and I stayed home. Blake's nose was stuffed and seems like every few minutes she asked for "One BOOGIE WIPE PLEASE!" So what better way to ward off those germs than some outdoor play?!

With the sun shinning down on us, the kiddos--namely the self-proclaimed "Princess Blake!"--decided our small red slide was a pirate ship. Love her imagination. And her declarations--her statements are pretty firm and humorous as of late.

I also love how simple it is to surprise and bring joy to kiddos at this age. We had eaten lunch about an hour ago and Blake was already clamoring for a snack. I told her to wait outside and that I had a special surprise for her. Just yesterday, I spied two lonely ice cream cones in the back of our pantry. Blake kept running inside to check and I told her to close her eyes. She wiggled around with one eye closed, the other eye propped open with her impish glee. She spotted the pink and blue heart sprinkles I also keep stashed for such ice cream occasions, and started jumping and saying "Ry! Oh Ry! Close your eyes! We get sprinkles!" Then she paused, "Mommy, how about Ry doesn't like sprinkles anymore. So more for me??"

Ryker certainly did not mind that his cone was sans sprinkles (he polished it off in record time). And he was rewarded for such speed eating that Blake kindly offered Ryker to finish her cone as well since to quote her princess self "My belly has lots of ice cream. I better go sleep it off!" She promptly made herself a bed on the grass and pretended to snooze for a bit. What?! Where does she come up with this? Love her. And beautiful, sticky ice cream cone days... even when the result in a more laundry as both kiddos managed to coat themselves with ice cream from head to foot.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bedtime Bliss

Blake snuggled close to me last night and said "Mama, I'll love you forever and ever and keep you too."

I love hearing the promises we tell Blake retold to us! My little spitfire can be oh-so-sweet in between smooshing her brother and meltdowns. And speaking of her brother... Our night time routine with the two of them has become so sweet! They interact with one another so magically!

Dinner, bath, kids in bed all before 7. Yes, 7. It is possible. Man, I love structure. Sure, there is the occasional later evening but Ry is out by 6:30. Blake in her room before 7--granted she talks and sings preciously to herself for almost two hours before zonking out, but she does fall asleep and stay in her room.

Aside from loving that Bobby and I will have time to just chill as a couple, we love our little routine because the 20 mins or so from bath to story time is just precious. Both kiddos are clean and smelling of apple shampoo, wiggling with glee into princess and Buzz Lightyear pjs. Ry is able to propel his round body up and on to Blake's bed where he attempts to jump with his sister. She'll tackle him. Tickling him under his chubby baby double chin, he chuckles. His eyes light up with glee at Blake's silly antics.

Like most kids, Blake always wants "one more minute" of playing. What makes it darling is when we say "okay, it's time for Ryker to go to bed" she'll hastily retort "no!!! One more minute for Ry."

I'm not saying we don't have the occasional overtired-defiant-meltdown that rears its ugly head protesting everything from teeth brushing to the mandatory potty usage before sleep, but all in all it's manageable. Perhaps, for me, it's knowing that no matter how tough a day filled with spills, whines, battles, and cries bedtime will come and as long as B and I have stayed consistent, the kiddos know what to expect. If we have an off night, there is always the next... And some nights like last night, when Blake picked me to stay for a few mins of doll-time-chatter, I stayed wayyyy longer than usual because I could not stop laughing at her silly banter.

And then, On her own she cuddled close, and softly professed her love. She followed her proclamation of love by belting out her own unique rendition of Yankee Doodle and songs from Cinderella.

I may be a bit deaf now because of it, but my ears will gladly ring with her 3 year old voice.

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