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.)