Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Lots of updating to do soon! I'm hoping to "catch up" this year before next year starts :) Get ready for lots of random posts!
But today is full of wrapping, & baking... getting ready to soak up the people I love the most for a few special days. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

My Uncle


I am very blessed to have a wonderful family. I have a loving husband. I have beautiful children. I have amazing parents. I have a sister, cousins, aunts, and uncles. I’m lucky to be a Ward and even though my last name might have changed the Ward blood that pulses through my veins means I GET IT. I get family. I know what it means and what it’s worth. And I believe that started with Jimmy.

Jimmy made family a verb.

It’s not a noun. A noun can be passive. It can just be there in the background. Jimmy made sure that Wards knew that family is never passive. It’s never “in the background”.

It’s what you DO. It’s being there. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Family is laughing and arguing. It’s Baptisms and Thanksgivings. It’s long train rides to visit little brothers in an orphanage. It’s carving out a little part of the world, keeping it safe, and making it sacred.

Over 50 years ago Jimmy made a decision to be a family. There was nothing passive about it. He did it on purpose. He decided that no matter how difficult a road it might be, or how many odds were stacked against him, he was going to keep his little family of brothers together. Maybe not in a physical way, but in the way that really matters.
I believe that decision was the driving force ….

Four brothers that Jimmy decided would remain FAMILY. The four Ward brothers each had successful careers and happy marriages. These four brothers were the devoted fathers of 10 children (and I have been blessed to be one of them). Four brothers who watched the 10 children make their first communions, play baseball, graduate college, get married, and begin raising a new generation of 25 children (so far).

Three of those children are mine. Jimmy’s decision over 50 years ago has shaped my little family in so many ways. I truly believe my journey to motherhood… to Kirsten… began when Jimmy was 18 years old.

Today I’m sad. But when I think about Jimmy I’m going to smile. I’m going to remember the pure delight he took in watching my son’s temper tantrum last Christmas… the letter that my dad wrote to Jimmy while he was in Vietnam… thanking him for money and politely asking him to send more … I’m going to remember how he called Kirsten “the baby” for so many years and how filled with love and pride those two words sounded. I’m going to continue trying to be like Jimmy… continue holding the people I love close… continue thanking God for the DECISION of family he made and the gifts he gave us all through that decision.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Snuggle Up and Read!

There are So many things I love about my new school! I love being in the same building with my girl all day everyday. I love my students and colleagues. AND I love being in such a happy, child centered environment. This is the kind of school that has almost 200 people show up in their pajamas to read holiday stories, sing carols, and enjoy being together over hot cocoa.

We had a GREAT time.

Team Taylor in our jammies :)

Our first visit with Santa of the season. I was so happy that the twins weren't afraid at all!

My loves enjoying holiday stories. Don't the boys look big??

Kirsten was THRILLED to have an opportunity to show off her new American Girl to her friends :)
We had so much fun! This year I enjoyed being "Mommy"... next year I might volunteer to read... but I loved just soaking up the night and snapping pictures of my little ones this time :)

I Think Santa Wants To Be a Pilot Too!

Matt is the future pilot in this household. The playground at Albert Whitthead airport is "his" playground and he has my friend Terrie, the president of the airport's historic society, wrapped around his little finger. So you can only imagine the utter joy that this three year old would feel when he learned that Santa owns a helicopter and would be flying in to have lunch with him! (His brother and sister were also pretty psyched :) (The reindeer are already resting up for the big day so Santa's helicopter came in quite handy!)

We had such a nice time at our Santa lunch! Terrie did an amazing job organizing lots of crafts, a delicious lunch, and a visit from the big guy. We had a nice time visiting with friends too! (Even though I didn't get any pictures of that at all!)

Danny's cutting skills are really coming along! He took wreath making quite seriously.

It was hard to tear this girl away from the craft tables! She made EVERYTHING there was to make and enjoyed every minute of it :)

This picture makes me laugh so hard. Matt was so thrilled with this reindeer... he asked me to take his picture! And this is what I get!!

After lunch Terrie called all the kids outside the hanger and told them to watch sky.

It was so exciting when Santa landed!

Somehow we managed to be the VERY last people in the Santa line. I think the line went around us... That's okay though... we got some adorable pictures while waiting in line.
Daddy and Danny

While looking for a way to kill some time the twins decided to tackle Kirsten for "LOOOOVVVVE!"

Santa was great and really took time with each of the kids. Kirsten and the big guy:

Matt totally stumped Santa. When asked what he wanted for Christmas Matt answered "a pumpkin filled with candy canes". This has been his answer for a month. (The boy really loved Halloween!) Santa laughed and said he'd have to check the back stockrooms and have the elves special order it. Matt also mentioned he'd like some play dough. Santa brightened and said, "Oh great! Then you can make a pumpkin with the Play Dough." Matt gave Santa a bit of a dirty look and, in his most serious voice, corrected Santa, "I a good boy. The ELVES can make the pumpkin. Not me. The ELVES." We died laughing and Santa promised to do his best :)

Santa was a bit more prepared for Danny's scooter request!

As soon as the kids climbed off Santa's lap, Terrie grabbed them and brought them outside. You can only imagine the excitement of our future pilot when he was put in Santa's helicopter!!

I just love the holidays. This might be my favorite Christmas ever. The kids are at PERFECT Christmas ages! (Even though I still think they are all too big ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I'm Gonna Miss This... I'm Gonna Want This Back

I KNOW I'm going to wish these days hadn't gone by so fast. (Yes, it's extremely cheesy to open a post with song lyrics but I don't care. It's in my head and it's true... so there.)

I was walking around Toys R Us with my mom tonight and I saw the most precious little dress. It was a sweet, knit dress with beautiful Christmas colors. It was a 3T. It was exactly what I would have thrown in my cart 5 years ago. I had to pick it up. I had to hold it... show it to my mom. "I miss these days SO much," I said wistfully. "So do I," she answered. "I would have bought that for Maureen." Maureen who is 31 years old.

It doesn't end. I know this... but this conversation made it so obvious. My longing for 5 years ago is just as strong (actually probably not as strong) as my mother's longing for 28 years ago. It doesn't end. This 'My baby started growing up and I don't like it one little bit' feeling. I know this... but I don't like knowing this.

I want to freeze them at each point in time. Today I was dying to buy a dress for my 3 year old little girl. Tonight I'd like to snuggle 6 month old twins while I watch tv. Sometimes I can't help but give in to the longing for days gone by. And they are still here!!! How crazy is that????

I've been filled with this 'I don't have babies anymore' nostalgia recently. We went to our school's "Snuggle Up and Read" on Thursday (more about that soon). Everyone wore pjs... it was fun and cute. I was totally caught up in a moment of "my babies are so big!!!". The twins sat with Kirsten in the front row for story time. They weren't afraid to sit on Santa's lap and they were singing Christmas carols. Then some woman touched Matt's pajamaed foot and said, "God, I miss those days. I loved the 'footie pj' days,". And I wanted to cry because someday I'm gonna be that lady... How unfair is that??? Someday I won't have anyone to put in footie pjs.

And so I want to reminisce, and sulk that 'then' is over and that 'now' will be over too soon, but mostly I want to soak up the elementary school days (which are quickly fading for the blond one) and the footie pj days that I will never get back... cuz I'm gonna miss this SO much.

(Super cheesy and super 'exactly what I feel right now' post.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Fishy Face Family Photos

I've said it before and I'll say it again, and again, and again (you get the idea) my friend Tiffany is the best photographer around. She is so talented and makes it so fun. If you haven't called her yet you need to call her right now!

So, we had a family shoot a few weeks ago and there are sooooo many good pictures. I'm going to just be a bit obnoxious and post a ton of them right now. It's very hard for me not to post my very, very, very favorites but I am saving those for our Christmas cards! So... here goes... (and remember these are the pictures that did NOT make the Christmas card cut! She's amazing!)
Our little family :)

THIS is what she had to work with!! And she found a way to make it a precious memory. (By the way this was NOT staged... this was uncooperative toddlers at their finest!)

My parents. I LOVE this picture. I think it's the best photo of them I've seen in years. I need to have this one framed!

Mimi and Danny. You know the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" this is what they mean. This picture defines their relationship. I don't think I could do it justice with a thousand words... but this picture does.

This is the WHOLE Ward/Taylor/Kirby family. The whole gang. In one place. Smiling. In coordinating outfits. NICE.

My sister and her sweet family.

LOVE this picture. Again, there are no words for how much I LOVE this picture of my little sister and my Godson.

There are also no words for how much I love this crazy crew of blue eyed beauties.

Look at this little angel. Picture perfect. (He showed his true toddler-hood for most of the time Tiffany was working but she still captured him at his very best.) I could just eat him up. LOOK at those cheeks!

And this one might be my very favorite. Grandpa and his boys. I love the relationship that they have. My children are so lucky to be so loved by so many people. It's really special to see how these boys love their Grandpa though. I am so grateful to have this photo. This one will be in a frame forever.

Thank you Tiffany! They are beautiful and I just love them all!

Remember November

...Note to self, this month was a good one.
There is so much in life to soak up and be grateful for.
Here are some random things I need to remember about November 2010.

-Brian and I both like our jobs. A lot. It makes life soooooo much easier. We have both finally hit a good place in our careers and are in positions that make us happy, where we are appreciated, and enjoy our days.

-Kirsten is SO happy at our new school. She has sweet friends and a wonderful teacher. She made the Honor Roll this month (and only got 1 B! She's got her eye on Principal's List next ;)

-Danny has become soooo loving and sweet this month. He is constantly looking at someone and (very sincerely) saying "Mommy (or Mimi, or Matt, or Sissy Love, or whoever is around) I lobe you." (the /b/ sound in love makes it all the sweeter). It's so precious and I don't ever want him to stop.

-Matt thinks it's hilarious to tell me that Riley (his little girlfriend at school) is "his girl" (instead of Mommy). This always makes me scream and protest which makes him howl with laughter. (It's only cute and funny because I know it's not true... I feel for his future wife... I am NOT going to like it when I'm not really "his girl"!)

-I am a genius. Or an idiot. One or the other. This month I figured out how to get the boys to sleep through the night in their own beds. THE WHOLE NIGHT. In THEIR OWN BEDS. Yes they are 3 years old and should have learned this a long, long, long time ago. I'm not going to remember that part though ;) I'm just going to remember the part where I threw a bunch of crap in a Rubbermaid bin and called it "Mommy's Treasure Box" and explained it was only for big boys who sleep in their own beds. This immediately solved the problem. Genius (or idiotic for not figuring it out 487 sleepless nights ago...). Now every morning the boys choose their "treasure" and squeal with delight over breakfast. And every night we sleep. All of us. In our own beds. Heaven.

-The boys have both started talking about God a lot. I LOVE what they are learning at school. It just melts my heart. "God made me Mommy. Yup. God make everybody. That what Ms. Katrina say." "Jesus is God's son and I you son!" They are also practicing for the school Christmas pageant a lot. They are very excited and use a lot of volume to convey their excitement ;)

-Kirsten started asking hard questions this month. Really hard questions. This is parenting on the front lines. I pray that I'm handling everything right. I want to be honest and protect her innocence at the same time. Big time stuff. What I just LOVE about it though, is that (at least right now) she wants to talk to ME about all of this. She comes to me with questions and for long, involved conversations. She thinks about what we've talked about and then hits me with more questions when I'm least expecting it. It's good. (It's scary as heck... but it's really good.)

-The boys' language has just exploded. They pretend and negotiate. They use new vocabulary all the time. ("That a pretty wreath Mommy. You like wreaths. 'Member when Daddy and us buyed you sunflowers? They on that wreath! And they not dead like yours!") On a long walk last week a lady said, "Oh! Your boys are so cute. Are they twins?" Danny looked up, pointed straight at her, and said "ABSOLUTELY." SO funny.

-I have the biggest nephews that anyone has ever had. I think it's my "thing". I'm the girl with gigantic (sweet, cuddly, rolly-polly) nephews. I love to stick my face in both of their little fat rolls. While all of my children's ribs stick out, all of my nephews have rolls of chub on their forearms and unbelievable cankles. It brings me so much joy.

There is so much more. SO MUCH. And that's good. It's just so good... and I'm so grateful for our little life and my little family. I want to remember this November always.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


It became official four years ago... and I thank God it did every single day. I couldn't possibly love you more Kirsten Grace Taylor. You are my living, breathing blessing and my gift. Thank you for letting me love you.

You decided you wanted to celebrate Adoption Day with ice cream this year. I asked if you wanted to have a "date" with Daddy and I or if we should pick up the boys from school and bring them with us. Without hesitating you said, "Oh we should get the boys. I'm sure they are really happy and want to celebrate my adoption with me. They are part of our family too... so really it's their special day too!" I love you so much.



My sweet daughter

I love you Gracie Lou and I will forever and ever.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Don't Have Babies Anymore...

It absolutely breaks my heart to write/admit that. It can't be possible. My entire life I've adored babies. I've dreamed of having babies.

I loved every second of rocking, feeding, and bathing my babies (whether I knew it in the moment or not... I usually knew it... but even when I didn't realize I was cherishing it, my soul was soaking it in). Now, overnight, I don't have babies anymore.

Part of me feels robbed. I said it when they started to walk, I cried it on their second birthdays, I screamed it on their third birthdays... but deep down I knew my boys were still babies... until yesterday.

Yesterday, my tiny, 3 lb preemie weighed in at 30 lbs. He played t-ball, rode his tricycle, and "read" me a book. He told jokes, teased his sister, and convinced me his hair didn't need to be washed during his bath.

He turned into a little boy.

The reality brings tears to my eyes. I want to dig in my heels, scream that "IT'S NOT FAIR", and I'd be a liar if I said I didn't rock him to sleep in my arms tonight... like a baby... a 30 lb baby.

Except he's not.
He's a little boy.
It's official.
It's not fair.

I want that "on the record". I am not ready for this chapter of life. This chapter where I don't have babies... where I have 3 non-baby children. (We're not even going to think about how big the big one is right now or I'll be a quivering, shaking mess).

So, now that I've officially protested how heartbreaking it is (it is SO heartbreaking!!)...I can relish the little boyness... because it's SO little. That's the joy in the change from having a baby to a little boy. He is so little.

Part of me knows that I will never, ever have a little boy who is as little as the boy(s) I have tonight.

The beauty of each new stage is the new stage part. I really do mourn the passing of time. It's not fair. Really it's not (that's on the record right?). BUT with each new stage is newness... an innocence that will be fleeting. As much as I don't want to admit it, I know it's true.

So tonight I'm not going to cry that I don't have babies.
I'm going to drink up my little boys.
I'm going to love each new word, each new freckle.

I'm going to watch him sleep tonight... in his "big boy" firetruck bed... that he finally sleeps in all night because I bribe him with "Mommy's treasure box" he clutches a bottle full of water and a teddy bear, wearing "footy pajamas"...

I'm going to savor it because deep down I know the very reasons that define his NOT babyness right now will someday be precious memories of a very tiny, little, little (maybe even "baby") boy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Super Lame

I'm kind of dumb. Since people (2 or 3) people actually read this I always feel like what I post should be "read worthy"... but really this silly blog is just a lazy way for me to scrapbook. I've been hesitant to pick the blogging back up... because I didn't know how to break back in. Surely the first post after a 6 month (8 month? yearlong?) blog break should be extra read worthy... or maybe not.

Maybe I'll just embrase the lameness (see I'm making up words here!) of this post to break back in. Yup, that's what I'm going to do except I'm going to make it "SUPER lameness". So this is not read worthy at all. Random words first... random pictures second. So there. Pressure's off.

Here are some random, cute pictures. (SUPER cute.)

My loves. GOD, I love these people so much.

Danny and Matty. My boys.

If that doesn't make you smile nothing will!

Danny's smile... it could light up the world.

More soon. I hope... no promises... and if it is soon it may be equally lame. (Geez, who am I appologizing to? Future me? HEY! Future me, your life was really busy and happy at this point in time. Remember than and cut yourself a break!)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Who Needs Tonsils Anyway?

Not the Taylor boys! At least that's what the ENT was able to convince me. He also said the boys would stop getting sick all the time, stop snoring, and start sleeping through the night if we took these pesky glands out... I'm hoping there is a money back guarantee on that one (because HOLY COW! it sure is expensive to take out glands ;)

I was really upset the night before the surgery. I was so worried... really worried... but thank God everything went great!

We had to be at the surgery center (which was very, very, very far away... long story) at 11:15. The boys got up early to a Jello buffet and we were off. We got checked in and all three of my boys had fun playing some video games.

It is such a terrible feeling when a doctor takes your child away from you. (Granted my boys went away with the doctors giggling and waving but it was hard for me!) Luckily the procedures weren't too long... about 30 minutes each. The boys both had their tonsils out, sinuses vacuumed and cultured, and had new ear tubes inserted. It wasn't long before we were able to meet them in recovery.

Sweet, sleepy Danny

My Matt

It didn't take them long to wake up... and the moment they did they were delighted that everyone wanted them to eat popsicles :)

They enjoyed a little tv, a few more popsicles, and laughed about the fact that their beds had wheels.

...Once Danny put the "throw up bin" (does that have a real name?) on his head we knew we were ready to head home :)

The boys were awake and happy on the ride home. We needed to fill their prescriptions so we decided to make a quick stop at Target. I was hesitant to take the boys in, but the nurses suggested we give the boys lots of slushies so we decided to try. We dropped of the Rx and then went to the little cafe to wait and have a drink. We were seated for about 30 seconds when Matt started asking for lunch. (That's my Matt :) We weren't sure what they'd be able to eat so I hesitantly got them bananas. The bananas lasted about a minute. In between bites Matt was demanding "REAL lunch... not banana lunch".

Once he realized he was hungry I think he started to panic. He started yelling to Danny "We need lunch!!". We headed over to the grocery section looking for something soft enough for them to eat. I was a little frazzled because Matt was VERY upset. We decided to try to give them a muffin. Between the two of them, they ate SIX before we left the store.

...Takes more then a couple of tonsillectomies to keep the Taylor twins down ;)