Sunday, August 31, 2014

America's Got Talent


{James, Jeremy and Susie}

One of Jim's mission companions performed on America's Got Talent, and we were the lucky recipients of his VIP seats for the big, live, semi-final event at Radio City Music Hall. As luck would have it, he's also a college chum of our friend Susie so we made it a date and all three of us went together. (As it turns out, TV shows + Susie must be our thing...we also saw Jimmy Fallon with her on my birthday this year). The MC was sure to warn us right away that we were not there to see great TV, we were there to make great TV--and boy, was he serious! It was 3 hours of up and down, clapping and screaming, booing and dancing and sneaking drinks of contraband water during commercial break. By the time our night was done, I was absolutely exhausted. In the end, our friend Jeremy and his jump-rope group Flight Crew rocked it and we were so glad to be there to cheer him on.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Silly little things

"So, are you a breeder or something?" She asked when she saw my bump and my boys. I've been waiting for someone to ask me that awesome question for months, and I was prepared and excited to answer. "Pretty much," I smiled. "And I'm kind of good at it!"


People always talk about how expensive kids are, and to be honest I never quite got it. Sure you have to feed them and clothe them, but for a minimalist like me it's not all that hard to do (adult food and hand-me-downs, baby!) But now that we received T's kindergarten assignment and the list of things he has to bring with him, I get it. Shoot, kindergarten is going to bankrupt me. And then there's swim lessons and his soccer team and field trips and pizza Friday in the cafeteria that he's already looking forward to and geez, we're in trouble. That's what I'm saying. Oh yeah, and maybe I want him to learn to play the piano. Yep, kids are mini money drainers.


Everett's imagination is just about my favorite thing in the world. In the picture above he was a Buzz Lightyear Pirate. And at Trader Joe's today he put stickers all over his body and only responded if I called him Cyborg. So I did. He also had his shirt on backwards and peanut butter still hanging out on his cheeks, so those are my mothering skills for you. And then that other picture of his hand--ah, those little hands are so edible. He's just losing his dimples and it's killing me. But luckily I think his ring finger freckle and dirty kid nails are here to stay. Yummy, that boy and his hands.


And just a couple-a quotables:

Ev: My name is missionary bear and I have a testimony about scawy monsters.

T: Mom, can you tell me about World War Eleven?
Me: There hasn't been a World War 11, T.
T: Yes-ha, it says so on the book you're reading. Look.
{I looked at the book and realized 2 was written in roman numerals: II. Begin lessons on roman numerals now, blah!}

Sunday, August 24, 2014

All in a Week's Work

We came home from Sacramento and bam, welcome back to life. First order of business was unpacking, and then filling the house with grub, and then about a second later Talmage had surgery on his ears and nose. It was necessary and I'm so grateful for skilled surgeons and I hope it ridiculously helps and to be honest, I played off the whole thing like it was not that big of a deal, but I gotta tell you that as I was stroking his arm and looking into his deep brown eyes as they put him under and intubated him, I kind of thought I might die. Yes, it was outpatient and yes, I've seen way worse in the way of surgeries and yes again, I knew he was in skilled hands, but holy Hannah can my Mother's heart not handle another surgery...ever maybe. Wishful thinking? Yes. But a girl can dream, right?

They wheeled him into recovery and he looked like such a little angel with those little tiger scrubs and yellow socks (both of which he asked to keep). T is not known for his sleeping skills so watching him slumber was such a treat...even if I did want him to wake up as soon as possible so that I could ensure he was OK!

His serious nature shown brightly when he awoke. After he had been up for awhile and still looked rather ornery (and wanted to go home and cuddle, NOW!!!) I showed him pre--op pictures and asked him if I could catch a glimpse of that handsome smile of his. He locked eyes with me and gruffed, "If you want to see my smile then you better look at the picture." I don't think a laugh was what he was looking for, but it's definitely what he got! And just in case you were wondering, he really didn't smile for hours and kind of reminded me of when he was a baby ;)

Trying to entertain ourselves before they let us leave--he was loving every second of it!!! Luckily the recovery was quick and rather painless. Two days down and he was ready to party again (and hopefully hearing much better). Here are some of the fun things we did to fill the rest of our week:

Ev and I went on a date to Pinkberry while T had a play date with friends. Ever was worried that we'd be bored without brother, but I assured him that we'd have fun (and also reminded him that with school starting soon we gotta get used to one-on-one time). I let him pick the flavors and toppings, and was super pleased until he insisted on fruity pebbles!

On the left: We spent one morning making super hero shields and it was a huge hit. On the right: We got to pet a chinchilla at a library event and Talmage yelled, "Mom, you have to pet it's the softest rat-thing ever!"

Anyway, that was our week. And now to this week. I'm feeling overly sentimental about the whole thing because this is my last week as a mother with all her chicks in the nest. Yes, we have five more full days to enjoy Talmage's constant companionship, and then we'll be sending him off to full-day kindergarten and getting just a few tired hours with him each evening. Lots of tears have been shed by me (over totally tear-worthy things, like getting his lunch box in the mail!) and I'm bracing myself for that first darn day. He on the other hand is counting down the seconds...and I mean literally. I'm happy for him and know he'll find success and joy and fulfillment at school, but boy how we'll miss him. So this week, we're gonna party hard!

Monday, August 18, 2014

McKee Family Reunion Pictures

I must admit, when my Mom told me we'd be taking family pictures as part of our reunion I was a bit skeptical that it was a good idea. My skills in front of the camera are never that great, but this time I'd be adding a big old pregnant tummy to the mix--any girl's confidence booster, right?! I can honestly now say that it was the BEST idea my Mom has ever had because I look at these pictures and they show such a beautiful moment in time. My parents are both about to retire, the 3 marrieds are about to have a baby, and the baby of the McKee's is about to get married himself. We have four of the most precious grandbabies already, and by the end of the year we will have SEVEN! Of course, the moment in time would not have been captured so gracefully were it not for our fabulous photographer whose skills are literally unmatched. If you're looking for a photographer in Sacramento let me know...she's the best!!!

The McKee siblings. I asked Everett what order he thought we came in and he hit the nail straight on the head. It made me laugh...and feel a little old!

We call this picture the original six!

The girls. We think it's pretty cool that both of our sister-in-laws will have the initials M.M. just like my mom (Michele McKee, Madelyne McKee and Meghan McKee)!

The pregnant mamas--Ash is due first, then me and then Mad! Hooray for babies!

And our growing baby bumps!

The boys.

My beautiful mom and dad!!!

The Little Wigs. I love these so much!!!

 The crazy cousins.

Mema and Pepa with their four grandkids, ages 5, 4, 3 and 2.

The absolute, hands-down, bar none, BEST picture that Talmage has ever taken. What a handsome little man!

And this little cheeseball is always willing to ham it up for the camera. Wow, I adore that Ever Knight!

The whole gang as of August 2014. I can't wait to see all the additions in our next family picture!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Some randoms that I don't want to forget:

 Grampa and Dad in the garden watching the kids play in the pool and eat tomatoes.

 The naps these boys took after long mornings of cousin-play.

 Sherri reading Everett The Napping House and Ev telling me on the way home, "I love my Sherri!"

Talmage bringing Papa a stack of books and Papa saying: I don't read too well anymore. To which Talmage replied: Don't worry Papa, I'll read them to you. And he did. Be still my heart.

 Everett falling asleep on Mema. That never happens anymore! Lucky both of them!

And this sunset over Lake Tahoe. Gosh I never want to forget the beauty of that there sunset.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The California State Fair

The State Fair Spirits must be working in our favor because we have been able to make it back to Sac for the Fair almost every year of Talmage's life--which is pretty impressive considering that we've lived a lot of far place and never plan our trips to visit family around it. This year was made even more special (times a million) because the boys got to go with their cousins, and seriously is there anything in the world that beats cousin time? I didn't think so. 

Everett will tell everyone who will listen that "I wiv in New Yoke City but I want to wiv in California!" West coast is the best coast my friends!

Talmage thrilled me by being Mr. Independent and going on that HUGE yellow slide all by himself. That thing was massive and part of me didn't believe he would go through with it. But up those 100+ stairs he walked and down that slide he FLEW! He caught air on one of the bumps which caused all of us (including him) to freak out just a little, but mostly we were all so impressed and excited that he did it. And boy has he loved telling everyone how brave he was!

My cutie sister and pretty mama!

The best part of the Fair is always...ALWAYS...the corn dogs. Gosh, they are delicious. This was Ever's first one and he agreed, the best.

It was pretty much unanimous that the motorcycles were amazing. We had great seats and their tricks were wild. I was somewhere between cheering them on and praying that they wouldn't crash right in front of us the whole time!

The boys finished out the day with a bumpy ride on the jet ski together. State Fair, you just never disappoint!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tahoe with the Wigs

Our trip to Tahoe this year with the Big Wigs was just as wonderful as it always is. In a strange turn of events (um, remember you're in a flood California?) it rained for the majority of our trip, but it actually gave us the opportunity to do a lot of new things and per James' request, we spent every day in Nevada!


The Discovery Museum in Reno is a total must if you are in the area. I've been to my fair share of Children's Museums and this may have been the best one yet. They had science areas and history areas and water zones and climbing structures and everything was completely hands on. It was incredible and we'll definitely be going back!

A few years ago during our Tahoe vaca we went to Virginia City, an old mining town in Nevada, and James has been itching to go back ever since. We tried it out this year and the whole family really enjoyed it, especially our little boys who thought just about everything in that town--the trains, the guns, the mines--were the coolest thing ever. Now if only the roads to get there weren't so windy and steep I'd feel much better about the whole thing!

Talmage asked the conductor if he could touch the steam engine before we took our ride, and we were shocked when he let T make himself at home in the drivers seat. I can't even begin to tell you the level of heaven that boy was in, but I was right there with him! I just love nice people, don't you?

The train with T inside, and Ever's head. He was too afraid to enter the engine, but he was also afraid that the train and "his favowite fwiend T" was going to leave without him. He was very conflicted.

While all the men-folk took a tour of the caves, the girls (and Spencer!) took a tour of the old schoolhouse. I really wish T could have seen it because it got me all giddy about the new adventure he'll be starting soon. School is amazing, and this schoolhouse adorable.

Everett's favorite part of the day was the gun show. Three has been such a new experience with that boy. All of a sudden he went from a stroller-pushing, princess-loving kid to a rough and tumble, I like guns and swords and danger and never, never "gills" kind of macho-man. I don't really know where it came from, but spend two seconds with him and you'll see it. Crazy! Anyway...the gun show was hilarious and they actually taught the kids all about gun safety too, which I sure appreciated.

After the gun show the boys got big gumballs from the machine (my bribe if they took a picture with the cowboys!) and then we headed home. We were all exhausted, but boy was it ever a great day!

Other than those big activities, we also spent the almost-sunny day at the park on Commons Beach in Tahoe City and went on a hike in, take a guess, Nevada! Everett wanted all sorts of attention at the park and paid his dues with smiles and laughs and just the sweetest attitude ever. Talmage was practicing how to be a mountain goat and climbed to the top of that rock wall more times than I could count. I was so impressed by his determination and strength!

We actually didn't do a whole lot of water activities this year. The boys went kayaking with Daddy and Papa, and searched for crawdad's at the beach, but the water was desperately low and Everett said it was "gwoss, and fewt wike bubbo gum!" At least it still looks pretty ;)

Between going to bed late, waking up early, and partying all day our boys were toast as we left Tahoe. In no time flat they were both conked out in their carseats, a gorgeous site for this mama!