writing chat

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I have a bunch of draft posts to write and lots of pictures and updates that I need to share with you, but I really just don't feel like it.  HAH.  but I'm here, and I'm going to just babble because that's the what you need to do right?  Just make yourself write something, anything.  Even if its total crap.  (feel free to stop reading now if you like, I have no idea where this post is going).

things have been so nice recently (I want to actually say they have been wonderful, unfairly amazing, but then I have a sudden pang of nervousness that I'm just coaxing the other shoe to drop and I hate that feeling).  My birthday just passed on Monday.  One of the big ones:  30.  And it was overly celebrated and I feel so loved and special that I think now I have a weird feeling like maybe I don't deserve to celebrate another birthday every again.  like ever.  My sisters, parents, in-laws, friends, family, and husband have gone above and beyond what is normally appropriate for a person's birthday.  It was so beautiful and perfect.  Seriously, I still can't even talk about it without getting choked up.  More on that later when I'm not feeling so emotionally unstable.

Last week (before my birthday) I was staring at this picture hanging in our living room and smiled when I thought, if this is the only thing I have to show for the first 30 years of my life...I've won.

I am really in stride with my sahmhood.  Absolutely loving it and feeling like I am getting things done!  Each day I want to get a little better at knocking things off my list.  My next big step is really trying to organize the kids' day.  I have been feeling like Grey is getting too much screen time, so we've been heading down to the garage to ride bikes and burn energy.

I am a little jealous of moms who have kids who like to draw and build legos and blocks; kids who like to create.  Alas, I do not have create kids - I have moving kids.  So we've been going for more walks and spending more time at playgrounds and parks and it's been wonderful to see the kids figure things out and learn through moving their body as it seems to be both of their primary learning mode.


it's been weighing on my mind that I should want to celebrate that about them - that they are active kids and kinesthetic learners (even if its exhausting) and support them in the best way that they learn as much as possible.  By the way, if you have 20 minutes, you should watch this TED video:

I've also been running, which is hysterical because I've hated running my entire life.  But Ashley over at The Big White Farmhouse got me motivated on instagram and now I'm all excited about it (thank you, Ashley!).

I don't run fast (at all) but I like tracking how many miles I can get in a week.  Somehow the check in the box that I did a run (no matter how short or how slow) makes me feel accomplished to see the miles stack up for a whole week's total.

I got two huge, beautiful bouquets of flowers for my birthday and I've separated them into small bouquets instead to put all over the house.  So instead of two big ones, now I have 9 little ones all through the kitchen and living room.  I love my kitchen windowsill right now with four small flower arrangements.  It feels so romantic and it almost makes it hard to see the dirty dishes in the sink.  hah

With the knowledge that fall is right around the corner, I can feel the excitement in my bone marrow.  I love nearly everything about fall and all of our really fun plans always seem to be in the fall.  We start our indoor Friday-night volleyball league next week, we have 3 upcoming weddings, my sister's wedding shower, our annual kid & grandma NYC trip, hunting season, our annual kid halloween party, football games, the start of Brandon's first basketball season as a coach, our top-secret special project we're working on ("BB"), our 5th wedding anniversary, SU Homecoming, Valley homecoming, and obviously the colors, the crunching leaves, the hoodies...just all of it.  gah.

and finally, there's these two.  who are getting funnier by the hour.

If you stayed around for all that babbling nonsense, thanks for sticking it out.  Sometimes you just need to force yourself to get it done, ya know.  Hope you have a super great day!

Pre-Birthday Surprise Land

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Two weekends ago was our scheduled annual SCF weekend ('sisters come first').  Once a year, we set aside an entire weekend that my sisters and I get together and spend time with each other non-stop; talking, laughing, drinking, crying, watching movies, dancing, remembering, and basically being a giant blur of 'Adams girl' mayhem.  So this year, was going to be no different and I was excited to get away for a weekend with my little sisters.

Kayla texted early Friday afternoon and asked if we could stop half way and pick up something for her future  mum-in-law and it didn't even occur to me that it was weird.  Little did I know, Tasha and I pull into the parking lot for the 'pick-up' and there sits Kayla and my sister-wife bff Lindsay.  I was like, huh?

I am the planner.  I am the one with the agendas and schedules and to do lists.  Do you know what happens when you surprise a planner?  She acts totally awkward and strange for a solid 20 minutes while repeating the same phrase over and over only changing emphasis on the words:
But, WHAT is happening?
But, what IS happening?
But, what is HAPPENING?

Seriously.  It was ridiculous and finally all three of them were like, can you please stop acting so weird?  And I was all like, "Okay, but what IS happening?"  Worst surprisee ever.

After our tailgate in the parking lot (shots, pizza, beer) - we made our way into Corks & Canvases for a BYOB painting class.  I mean, possibly the most awesome thing on the planet?  We toasted with champagne and wine and got to pretend to be real life painters.  Our teacher that night was amazing and so patient with us (none of us being painters and all of us cracking inappropriate jokes) and we laughed and giggled our way through the evening.

My Ninna-girl

my sneaky little sisters

We had an awesome time at Corks & Canvases (you can like them on facebook) and I kept saying, "omigosh, my creative soul is awakened!" in a super dramatic albeit honest way.

my finished 'Seasons' painting

After another jaunt at tailgating after our painting class, the four of us headed over to a local bar hosting karaoke that night and did what we always describe as "tornado'ed" them.  It was a full on ambush of the three 'Adams' sisters and Ninna.  In the time we were there, we had managed to sing multiple karaoke songs...on stage, turned part of the bar into a nightclub, started a congo line and a Limbo game with a pool stick with about 3/4 of the bar (Tasha won), and finished off the night with the Macarena.  The most ridiculous thing about it was:  that was NOT the first congo line we've ever started in a bar.  Yea, Tornado'ed.

The next day, after a very slow start, my sisters and I hung by the pool, went for a run and mostly laid around until dinner time.  Then they took me to The Pittsburgh Inclined Plane for a beautiful view of the city - as they explained that I was the one that helped teach them you can move away from our small hometown and live in a big city. (cryfest)  Afterwards, we had a delicious and spicy dinner at a Nicky's Thai Kitchen since I talk about Thailand almost everyday (verified by my sisters).  It was such an amazing and unexpected birthday weekend.

But they weren't done with the surprises because my sisters are unbelievable.  They put together a tribute video for me and my first thirty years.  It's more than I can even say.

They picked the perfect songs and the perfect pictures and videos that so closely sum up the first thirty years of my life.  It's incredible.

If you want to learn about who I am, go no farther than to ask my sisters.

Since my actual 30th birthday is not until tomorrow (August 26), I went back into relax mode after SCF/surprise birthday weekend.  And last Saturday, we were heading out the door to spend the afternoon at Pappy & Gigi's house (Brandon's parents) like a totally normal weekend and Brandon stopped me and said, 'Do you know your tank top has a hole in it?'  I was like, 'Yea.  Is it bothering you?  We're going to your parents house to hang out.'  I had zero thought that it was weird for him to bring up my scrubby shirt.

So we get to Gigi and Pappy's and they open the garage door and there sits a whole mess of people from my family and theirs.  I stood there staring at them with my mouth half open for an awkwardly long time.  I was completely blindsided that there would be anything for me there; like for a solid few seconds I was still thinking it was a surprise for the kids.

We spent the evening and night playing cornhole, laughing, eating, talking, and guzzling jello shots.  I wore my birthday crown, and shot glass necklace, and received an adorable (perfectly 'me') purse from my Mum.  It was a wonderfully laid-back afternoon surprise birthday party - and it turned out my sports bra + hole in the tank + yoga pants outfit was completely appropriate attire for - HA!  Oh, and I drank a bottle and a half of champagne, by myself.  By.My.Self.

my favorite guys:  Brandon, Greyson, and My Dad
The most amazing part was that Gigi asked that in lieu of gifts, everyone bring a donation for our local humane society instead.  So we got to drop off this HUGE donation of dog and cat food, paper towels, dog bones, and newspaper.  Best.idea.ever.

(Thank you Gigi and Pappy for the surprise.  I was absolutely surprised.  I am so lucky to have you two as in-laws, its incredible that you are mine).

And since then, the birthday surprises just don't stop.  I got an obnoxiously beautiful display of flowers in the mail from my best friend Karpy and Matt.

And spent the evening giggling and sipping wine with my best friend Kate and Michael at Amichi's on Friday night.  Kate and my birthdays are separated by one day (her's was yesterday) and so we get together for a birthday dinner every year.

 ...and it's not even my actual 30th birthday yet!!  I still get to hold on to the rest of today receiving picture text messages of my sister and her fiance making huge smiles that say "Happy Birthday Eve!" and hear my little sis answer the phone by saying, "Happy birthday Eve!" while my Mum finishes her texts with "love you almost-birthday girl."

It's already been the longest and best send-off into my thirties and I still have all of tomorrow yet!  I already knew it down to my bone marrow - but these last few weeks have been a constant reminder that I am the luckiest girl in all of the world.

The magic of quiet

Thursday, August 22, 2013

On Wednesday afternoon, Gemma took a late nap and Greyson and I went out on the tractor to mow a part of our mountaintop yard.  Shortly after finishing a section, some storm clouds started rolling in and Grey's sleepy eyes started closing - so we stopped and I carried him in the house and he whispered, "I want to lay on the couch for a little bit."

not from this wednesday, but still the same pose
And it has been quiet in our house for the past 2 hours.
both kids are sleeping.
both dogs are sleeping.
blissfully quiet.

I made myself a cup of green tea and sat myself down at my computer to read beautiful blog posts and search beautiful pins and eat a chocolate no-bake.  An actual proper afternoon tea with a teacup saucer and everything.  It was magical.

It got me thinking about the various kinds of quiet that you come to recognize only as a Mum.  There are the quiets like I had this afternoon and the ones I cherish every morning.  It's wonderfully quiet, but somehow through the creaks of the house you can faintly hear the soft breaths of your family sweetly sleeping.  They are all here, in this house, safe and happy, and quiet.  Its the most wonderful sort of quiet that exists.

Then there's the naughty quiet.  The one that Mums, in the middle of an adult conversation, will suddenly stop talking and announce, 'wait - where are the kids?  It's too quiet.'  And then she'll actually get up and leave the room - which in all other instances would be totally uncouth, but everyone knows that its not in this scenario.  Because even non-parents recognize the naughty quiet.  If there are awake kids in the house and they aren't making noise; they're up to no good.  The thing about the naughty quiet is that you only recognize that it exists when its already too late - and you're half afraid to even go check on them because you know you'll have to clean up a mess.

87 copies out of the printer/scanner?  Why, yes please.
There is also the quiet exists when you're kids are not home.  It's sort of an eerie quiet and you catch yourself in momentary panics thinking you forgot one of them was in time-out or you need to check to see if anyone needs a snack.  It's an efficient quiet where you bustle around the house trying to accomplish a million things before the kids come barging back through the front door with their stomping muddy boots and over-excited voices recapping the day's events.  This sort of quiet always feels hurried and lonely to me.  I am glad for the quiet, but always missing the loud in some sort of sad little way.

A few weeks ago, we were playing at our best friend's house with her two children.  So that's four kids under the age of 4 playing loudly, occasionally sharing, and talking nonsense to each other.  We had just busily hustled around the kitchen getting all four of them fed, wiping up spills, and tearing pizza into tiny pieces.  After they finished the three big ones headed out to the back deck (visible from the huge picture windows next to the kitchen table, and Kate and I finally sat down to eat our lunch.  We both let out a sigh and before we started to eat we sneakily looked around and huge smiles grew across our faces.  We just squeezed our eyes shut and raised our glasses:  quiet.

Motherhood has brought lots of new-found respect for things that before becoming a mother I rarely noticed.  But something about the sound of quiet has really been a surprise for me as something I am fully aware of as a Mum.  As a young mum, there is a constant noise running in the background for the whole.day.through.  Cartoon theme songs, toys with buzzing sounds, little feet zipping barefoot through the halls, things falling down, toilets flushing (even when no one has used it), doors slamming, kids whining, kids giggling, kids crying, and insistent demands for questions that have no answers like 'But why is it called hummus?'  It's just a constant stream of noises and sounds that it becomes similar to white noise on a sound machine.  And only now, as a Mum, has the absence of noise become both blissful and unsettling.  And someday those loud kids are mostly grown, I imagine the quiet will then be deafening - and only because I was once a young mum who had so little quiet.

But for now, the magical spell of the quiet is quickly broken when the dogs start barking, or I hear a little whimper from the bedroom.  Or someone sleepily comes down the stairs to me and says, 'Mum, I was sleeping and now I'm happy.'  The quiet quickly slips out of our house not to return until early tomorrow morning, but I won't miss it too much until then because for now, there are booboos to kiss and giggles to share, and why?questions to find answers for, and whines to be patient with, and 'i love yous' to whisper, and a whole lot of noise to be made.

And all that commotion is really the only reason I even remember to cherish the quiet in the first place.

Get Out of Me Angry

Monday, August 19, 2013

A few weeks ago, I would have never admitted this publicly, but here it goes.  Sometimes, I get really angry when I'm home with the kids during the day.  Like a flash of red under my skin and I just snap - yelling and grabbing and forcefully moving kids to time-out.  When I'm not angry, it's nearly impossible to imagine what the kids do that make me that angry to behave like that, but then it happens and in a flash I lose my cool and act like the exact opposite of all that I hope to embody as a Mum.

The truth is - that both the kids take after me in their scale of emotions.  They, just like me, swing from extreme happiness to super-sensitive feelings-hurt, to blinding flashes of outrage.  Luckily, it is mostly extreme happiness during the day and then dips into the other ends of the spectrum.  Brandon is the complete opposite and has a very steady emotional scale that is cool and calm nearly always.  He very rarely swings to the deep ends of any emotion - unless it is an extreme situation (like there's been under 5 times in his life thus far).  Whereas the kids and I can swing to the deep ends multiple times A DAY.  B is the one that keeps us all grounded (xxoxo) and we help him experience the highs and lows of life with sweeping emotions.

So, back to the anger - I don't think I'm the only one (well, I know I'm not as I've been talking about this with some of my mom friends) and I've come to believe that its because the kids can't recognize when they're pushing me too far.  My sister (a non-mom) asked if I get that angry at Brandon and I replied definitely not, but that I think its because he (and most other adults) can see when your buttons are being pushed and they know when to back off before you explode.  Unfortunately, kids sort of have an inherent desire to push and push UNTIL you explode.

So I've been feeling awful about these outbursts and I want to get myself under control - but didn't really have an idea of how to help myself grab calmness in moments when I feel overcome with anger. And then I read an amazing piece in one of my favorite parenting books:  Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children.  In a section on anger she writes,

So what can we do when anger takes hold of us?  It won't help to scold ourselves - to be angry with ourselves for feeling angry only adds fuel to the fire. Rather we need to stare at our anger with determination, to be with it until it changes form or dissipates.

I saw my exact behavior in the example she gave when she acted out in anger towards her own children.  I was reading it thinking - this is exactly me and if I can accept that anger comes to me but is never a permanent feeling (actually usually lasting only a few strong seconds) then I could stare it in the face until the feeling left me and then act with a more rational mind.

A little while after reading this, I told Greyson he needed to stop doing something (banging a bat off of the wall near his sister) and when he didn't listen to me, I told him he'd need to take a break.  Then I literally watched him go through the exact three same stages of anger that the book describes:

1. We perceive an object that we find unpleasant.
2. We exaggerate the perceived harm.
3.  We develop a wish to harm.  

Greyson perceived going into time-out/stopping banging as unpleasant.  Then he threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming (exaggerated) and then stood up and turned around to punch me in the thigh.  I stood there shocked that with this new found information - I could watch the anger process progress not only within myself but also exactly in my son's behavior.  Seriously, it was revolutionary for me.

Immediately, I scooped him up and stood him on the bed so we'd be eye to eye and I said to him.  See how you feel angry?  The angry is in your belly but you just wait for it to go away, you'll feel better.  Let's say it together, "Get out of me, Angry!"  Grey shook his head no that he didn't want to but a few minutes later he shouted, "Get out of me, Angry!" and started to cry and then asked to 'hold you.'

We've since adopted at our house the phrase, "Get out of me, Angry!"  For both the kids and I it has been amazingly helpful and a reminder that we can control ourselves when we feel overcome.  When I say it- its a check for the kids that Mum needs a break and that they are pushing too far.

It's ridiculous most of the time the things that bring anger to me.  The other day we were leaving the school track after running and riding bikes - all three of us were tired and hungry.  I had just had to figure out the correct configuration for the stroller and the bike to fit under the truck cover and traveled to both sides of the car to buckle two cranky children in their seats.  I finally got to my seat and was ready to pull out when Grey unbuckled himself.  Which in my stage2 'exaggeration of the unpleasantness' - I perceived the situation to be this huge pain in the A...I'd have to now unbuckle myself, travel to that side of the car, listen to Gem whine and scream why we aren't leaving yet, I was really ready to just get home, etc, etc.  I could feel my belly start to get warm and a yell about to come on, but instead I thought, 'get out of me, Angry,' and I sat and breathed.  In and out, in and out - just wait for it to wash away.  The anger started to leave and I could feel my thoughts start to clear again, "It's not like we have anywhere we need to be, you probably can reach his belt if you move your own seat back, you'll just need to remember to bring snacks on our bike trips, etc, etc.'  Me - 1, Angry - 0.

For Greyson, the phrase has been both helpful in him being able to recognize his own emotions and also a red flag to me that violence may be about to happen - many times towards his sister.  When I hear him give the warning - I have enough time to run to the two of them and congratulate Greyson on recognizing his own anger and also to remove Gemma from any imminent harm.

I wish I could report that our family is totally calm and patient with each other.  But we're not.  We're like every other family - we push each other too far, the kids fight - many times physically (Grey is a pusher, Gemma is a biter), and we lose our cool.  We certainly aren't a perfect family - and we don't even have a goal to be perfect.  We haven't removed all yelling from our family, nor have we been able to remove all of the kid-on-kid violence, but we are trying to be better.  

It's been very helpful to remind ourselves that anger is a part of life - with all of the millions of unpleasantness, annoyances, and irritations that come with just living.  But anger does not stay long; rather just stops by for a brief, very hot, intense visit and then slips away.  We are just trying to recognize its arrival in each of us and find the patience to wait until it leaves.  Trying to pay attention to what makes us angry and how to stare our anger down until it leaves our bodies without hurting anyone else (both physically or emotionally).  And somehow the acceptance that anger exists has helped each of us feel more in control of ourselves.

the passage of time in clothes

Friday, August 16, 2013

I have been working on a giant project these last few days that has been weighing on my mind for several months.  I am just about waist deep in kids' clothes - sorting, organizing, and labeling to ship stuff to the attic in a way that I can quickly find the correct sizes.  Its taking a long while, as unfortunately, things were have been shoved into any open space in bins through working, moving, and new babies.  Alas, the time has come and it's been quite a tedious undertaking to get them all sorted out.

Logistically speaking, since we have a boy and a girl - the bins are being set up by gender and by size for some future babies (NOT YET, grandmas!) or to distribute as handmedowns to our younger cousins (can't wait to meet you, Lainey!) or our younger best friends.

We are blessed with older cousins and best friends too - which has helped contribute to our massive collection of kids' clothes.  We almost will never have to buy any other kids another piece of clothing through 5 years old.  I was holding up size 5T future clothes for Grey and Gem while packing them up and thinking, "Sheesh, I can't even imagine their little bodies being big enough to fit this shirt!"

After the future clothes, I've since moved onto the smaller clothes (leaving the current/next clothes for last) and I feel quite wistful.  I distinctly remember looking at some of the tiny clothes thinking, "I can't wait until they're big enough to wear this!"  ...and that time has already come and gone.

come and gone.


Like this shirt that I thought made him look like a little man (9mo) and looking at it now, he seems impossibly small.

Grey 9mo

and this summer romper for Gemmi girl (size 3-6mo) and that hat!  Oh, that hat that she wore almost every day last summer.

Gemma 3mo

Gemma 4mo

Gemma 4mo

And all of these jammies.  Jammies just pull at my heart - those sweet sleepy babies that have already slipped away into bigger kids that want to delay bedtime as long as possible now.

Grey 2yr, Gem 3mo

Grey 22mo, Gem 2weeks

Grey 21mo

Grey 15mo

Grey 6mo
How can the days seem so long but the months so short?
Only a Mum would get choked up over organizing kids' clothes bins, eh?
....come and gone.

Sweet babies, slow down, my darlings.
you're breaking your mumma's heart.

Put a check in the box and move on

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

One of my biggest struggles becoming a Mum has been the ability to just 'go with it.'  I carry a fairly heavy bit of Type A in my bones, so I like things to go closely to how I plan them - as planning is sort of one of my 'things.'  I was definitely one of those girls (pre-motherhood) that thought she knew all sorts of 'right ways' to raise kids and I now think on an almost daily occurrence that I wish I could go back and smack my pre-Mum self for saying anything following the phrase, "When I'm a Mum, I'll never..."  Oh please, you silly, naive girl.

My shock into motherhood started at about 8 weeks of being pregnant for the first time.  I had all the negative symptoms of pregnancy (heartburn, nausea, fatigue, soreness, the list goes on and on) and I was literally shocked that being pregnant did not feel awesome.  The reality checks continued as basically nothing happened as I had planned or expected it to and Greyson was born two weeks early and I blew up like a human water balloon.  

And then nursing was nothing like I thought it would be (way less of a pain in the a, although a lot more difficult to start)
And then being a mom to a newborn was nothing like I expected
neither was being a mom to a baby
nor a mom to a toddler
and then I was surprised by how fast Gem decided to be born
and then again when the post-second baby cramps set in (um, seriously?)
and then surprised again when I got super sick (oops!)

...and I continue to get jolted into a new awareness every.single.day because it is never like I thought it would be and very rarely does it go like I painstakingly plan it. 

Because the thing is - kids just live.  and if they spill a full bowl of cereal in the process - no biggie to them.  Or if after you suit everyone up in winter clothes and boots and hats and THEN they realize they have to take a huge poo - yep, they don't care about that either.   

It's not just hauling two squirmy, loud, overly excited children to the grocery store.  It's also traveling to both sides of the backseat to unbuckle, remind to hold hands, try to tear the them away from those God-forsaken car-grocery carts (whhhhhhyyyyy), return twenty things back to the shelves, explain fourteen times that we don't need milk today because 'Daddy already got us some new milk  yesterday,' and then smile patiently at the cashier as she tells you that your daughter has the entire grocery list in her mouth and your son announces to the bag boy that he's the real Spiderman.

A few weeks ago, I was on the floor in Gem's room folding the kids' clean laundry while both Greyson and Gemma flew around the room like I had given them each a 5 hour energy drink.  Grey was MMA fighting our giant stuffed bear and Gemma was carrying books from one side of the room to the other.  Jon arrived and was baffled by the scene (as a non-Dad himself) but our rule in the house is Mum doesn't care if you run around like a maniac as long as you 'DON'T TOUCH THE FOLDED CLOTHES." Seriously, that rule is cardinal, man and my pre-mom self would be astonished that I allow my kids behave like they belong in the wild...regularly.

Shortly thereafter, the kids started tackling and fighting Jon (and he'd just come from his construction job - read:  filthy dirty) and he suddenly looked up panicked and said, "Oh crap, they're bathed aren't they?"  And very calmly I replied, "eh, sometimes you just have to put a check in the box."

And suddenly, there it was - the biggest realization (yet) in motherhood that I apparently have finally come to learn but probably the hardest one for me to internalize.  Sometimes I do just need to 'put a check in the box' and move on.   

The kids got a bath (check in the box!) and then they immediately got dirty again at dinner.
I vacuumed and mopped (check in the box!) and then 4 minutes later the dogs tracked muddy paw prints through the hallway.
The kids brushed their teeth (check in the box!) and then Daddy gave them cookies.
We went to the post office (check in the box!) and then had to wipe the kids down head to toe from lollipop slobber.

And just now as I was finishing up this post, Grey jumped on the couch and slammed his head off of the arm rest which required:  an extra long snuggle, a flashlight concussion check, and a washcloth with ice in it.  While I was tending to Grey's banged up face (our children rarely have un-bruised faces, wth?), Gemma spilled most of my coffee on the living room carpet.  It may have taken me 4 times as long as it should have, but blog post done (check in the box!)

My cousin and I took our four kids to a zoo this week and we laughed through texts later about how we barely got to talk because we were busy corralling children, making sure goats didn't nibble their hands, and asking the kids to stop spilling the food pellets on the ground. But there weren't any major meltdowns and no acts of violence or bruises.  So at the end of the day, we were all like "Count it!"  Successful play date in public - check in the box!

No one else on this Earth wrecks my plans or ideas of what moments will be like more than my two kids.  But no one else is better at showing me that usually the best laid plans are not nearly as memorable or meaningful as what they make happen.  

Sheesh, I love you two.
impossibly so.

forever and ever, Mum.