Tuesday, June 18, 2013

We graduated!

We're done!
I don't know if that is being said with elation or heart break, but alas, Stanford Law School is no longer our home and life. James graduated from law school last weekend and I was bubbling with emotions. I am so proud of him and all of his hard work the last 3 years, but let's be honest, James said it best when he said he feels like we're being kicked out of the Garden of Eden! We have loved our time at Stanford and consider it one of our marriage's biggest blessings. We know God helped us come here, and we have soaked it all in, so graduation was all the more reflective. It was a beautiful morning with perfect Palo Alto weather and James looked pretty spiffy in his doctorate hood and tam. Plus, Talmage's reactions to seeing his Dad walk across the stage was priceless. It was a day that I will always remember.
James on the stage, looking out to Talmage after he screamed, "Hi Dad!" at the top of his lungs. The best pictures I got all day were the ones where James was responding to T-Man!

 Accepting his diploma from Dean Magill. It's official. He is graduated!

The boys were truly amazing considering graduation was a full two hours of talks and clapping. But near the end, we were doing almost anything to entertain ourselves!

James surprised me with a stole of gratitude, and I thought that was just about the nicest thing he could have ever done. We worked hard for that degree together, and it was such a satisfying day!

 The real deal diploma!

 Jim's fam!

 Our fam! Thank you Mema for jumping up and down so the boys would smile. You're the best!

 McKee fam!
I love this picture of the boys with their Grandpas! In fact, I'm planning on hanging it on their wall as soon as we get to NYC. So lucky to have a Pepa and a Papa!

My mom made the most beautiful and delicious cakes to celebrate. We invited over a bunch of friends and ended up polishing both of them off. Pretty impressive!

Sunday was our last day in Palo Alto, T's first talk in primary, James was speaking in sacrament meeting and Father's Day. It was a wild and awesome day. Church was great and we were surrounded by love. Our life in the bay area has been so sweet.

 I bid my garden adieu, and gave my first zucchini to the best neighbor ever, dear Alice.

And then these two little nuts laughed hysterically and tackled each other to the ground with farewell love. They made plans to write each other letters, visit often and send each other Christmas packages. I seriously couldn't take it.

And then there were tears. Talmage cried so hard when we left Stanford/home/Franklin that he finally fell asleep from exhaustion. Poor, poor boy. We sure do love all things Stanford and are grateful for every minute we spent there.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Donuts and Doctors

Sometimes I feel like such a cool mom. This week we are in full packing/moving mode. So this week, not so much. But last week. Boy, last week I had some serious cool mom moments. None greater, of course, than when I took the boys to Psycho Donuts in Campbell. I had heard that this place was crazy awesome (emphasis on the crazy) and it did not disappoint. In fact, the lady behind the counter was dressed in full nurse-vampire grab and the baker came out from the back looking a little like Frankenstein (although I'm pretty sure he wasn't wearing a costume). The donuts were also delish, which made the trip totally worth it. I hope to go back again someday, maybe to try out these donuts: Cereal Killer (donut covered in Cap'n Crunch), Headbanger (decorated jelly filled) or Mello Submarine (rice krispies on a donut anyone?) There was also one with mounds of bacon on top, Dad? Did you hear that?   
The boys were pretty amused by the costumes and ambience, but let's be honest, they were mostly excited to be eating mid-day donuts on a random Wednesday! 

Evie chose the strawberry taco and T chose the one on the right, called "Comfortably Numb." Looking at this picture I think I finally get that he's wearing a straight jacket. This place was seriously crazy! Those were some good donuts. 

 Everett had his last check-up at the Heart Center before our move. I actually think the reason for our random donut run was a little anxiety on my part about this appointment. He had another sedated echo, and he doesn't handle sedation well at all. This appointment was no different, and after 35 minutes of torture he finally fell asleep in my arms and I left the room in tears. It usually takes about 48 hours before he's nice again, but this time he caught a cold right after his appointment so it's been rough. Luckily his heart looks stable for now. We are still playing the "wait and see" game with his mitral valve. It will need to be replaced, but luckily not yet. Oh, this heart mom business. 

As I mentioned, full speed ahead in the moving department. I've been cleaning closets and frequenting our Goodwill for weeks, so the process has been pretty painless. But even painless work can be a pain sometimes. Talmage has been quite the helper with writing on the boxes. He wrote closet on the one above, and was pretty pleased with his work! I am pleased with his writing as well. His smile in photographs, not so much. But his writing? Hoorah! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

I'm Due

I had planned to hold you this week.
To caress your round cheeks and let you hold my chubby pointer, swollen from delivery.
I planned to name you something handsome, to wrap you in that same blue blanket,
and to desperately love you.
I knew what we were up against. I knew you had a special body. I knew you had a broken heart. 
But I had planned on holding you, even just for a minute, and I was so looking forward to it.
I can imagine Talmage's face, beaming with pride.
I can almost see Everett, full of love and some concern over his sudden big boy status.
I can guarantee that James' face would be ecstatic in a room with 3 boys that he helped create.
But I can't see my face.
What would it have shown? How would I be feeling? How am I feeling now?
This week I am searching for my feelings. Yes, I want to see my face.
This week. The week I am due.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The boys had their last day of swim lessons (to T's horror and Evie's delight) so we brought each of their teachers a special thank you card. They really were fabulous teachers and we were so grateful!

 Their special notes to their teachers!
Before our lessons, the boys were able to swim in the baby pool (something they've begged to do for the past couple of months). I kept telling them that they could on the last day of class, and it did not disappoint!

Evie was not so much a fan of swim lessons at first, but he did so much better every week. He can now swim underwater to his teacher without hysterically sobbing, and actually likes to sing the songs! He's so cute in his goggles!

Talmage is a fish and is way brave (sometimes too brave)! He loves the water and loves to swim and loves to kick and hold his breath. For fun after class, his teacher would push him down to touch the bottom of the pool. He's crazy and it's fun to watch him swim so well.

As per tradition, the boys each got an end-of-swim-lessons popsicle. Loved it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

A cupcake party

Talmage loves Dylan, a sweet baby girl in our courtyard, and was so excited when he got to hold her at a recent party we all attended. She seemed to be excited about the attention as well!

Another little girl in our courtyard, Milla, had a birthday party recently and it was a child's dream party! They decorated cupcakes (while wearing chef hats and aprons of course), ate pizza and all sorts of snacks, and then spent hours playing water games.

And not just water games, a huge water, jumpy castle! Talmage flew down the slide and absolutely loved it. He even talked James and I into going down a few times. It was a blast!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Memorial Day

On Memorial Day we attended a lovely service at the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno. It was a pretty chilly day and entertaining our kids during multiple musical numbers and speeches was a little bit tricky, but seeing Evie wave the American flag and watching T pay respects to men and women who fight for our country was touching. As I saw people--old and young--in uniform and as I saw parents--old and young--who had lost children in war I felt so much respect and love and gratitude to them. This is what Memorial Day is all about and I love this new tradition of ours. 


A group provided free donuts and hot chocolate--hello, the boys were thrilled!  

Our little family on Memorial Day.
Dear Talmage, What are you doing in that picture? And why? Love Mom 

James was excited to find Admiral Nimitzes grave. He thought Great Papa might especially like to see this!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Donkey, Some Birds and a Yard Sale

That title sounds like the start of some really lame joke, which it's not. But feel free to hope right along with me that this doesn't turn into some really lame post, which it might. Really though, this post is just about the best neighbors EVER and the best friends my kiddos could ask for...and a couple of their recent adventures!

Frankie and Elena brought us along to one of their favorite parks, and it was fabulous! There are community donkeys that the kids could pet, feed and admire.

The three boys "flew" all the way to see the donkeys. Everett and his little "wings" are so darn adorable.

 Evie and Laney--best friends and worst nightmares all in one!

This was the best group photo I could capture, which is actually pretty good considering we had 4, 4 and unders on that bench!

 Sweet little Ev watching the nice man feed the donkeys. Evie was super brave and loved petting them. You can choose kid--NYC or a pet donkey?
Talmage and Franklin somehow found a baby bird stuck in the drain next to our playground and tried tirelessly to save it with bird food, sweet Mama bird chirps and a jump rope. When that didn't work they did the only other thing they could think of, they asked an adult! I called around and eventually the nicest Animal Control man named Rich showed up to our house. He tried his mightiest to save those birds (yes, in fact, two baby birds were crying in our gutter) but to no avail. Rich even came back again later that day, but the birds would get scared and hop into the pipes. I'm trying to be optimistic when I tell T that they probably figured a way to fly out--but he doesn't buy it. At all.

 Our sweet little rescuers!
 One of the baby birds--how they ever saw that bird in the first place I will never know.

Rich was so patient and nice with the kids. While he went and got his tools from the car, T and Frankie retrieved their tools to help. Man, I wish they could have gotten those birds out! 

Packing, cleaning, boxing and Goodwill runs are pretty much the story of our lives lately. We are now counting down the days until we move, and I hurt when I think of these kids being separated. We had a yard sale and sold a bunch of our stuff, but no one expected the success that T and Frank would have when they set up a lemonade stand. They made $10 in less than ten minutes and were off to other courtyards to buy toys! James said we're teaching them about market capitalism!

The three amigos (where's our Laney girl) attracting customers to our yard sale. Seriously, who wouldn't want to buy stuff from those cute kids?