Thursday, January 26, 2017

You're Lovable to Me

Sleeping issues still abound and I've found that my patience is low and my emotions are high. I'm a blubbering mess and have felt pretty overwhelmed by what feels like a never-ending cycle of the exact same day. After a particularly long night of no sleep and a busy morning and afternoon around town a desperate and inconsolable Quinny showed up at my feet this afternoon with her brother's comforter in tow. Her teary-eyes begged me to hold her and I was shocked she accepted my offer to cuddle her like a baby. No sooner did I swaddle her in my arms then she was fast asleep. At first I couldn't get over the shock of it (because my two hours spent walking her back and forth to nap time were met with such vitriol), but then I too closed my eyes and 30 minutes later when I heard the baby cry out from the back room I awoke feeling like a new and improved human. Never underestimate the power nap, that's for sure. Quinny needed some fishy crackers to ease her into happy wakefulness, but the rest of the evening she was so pleasant and sweet and I felt so happy to have my girl in her true colors by my side. 

After a Yakisoba dinner and a Melatonin dessert I sat with Quinny on her ice cream cone bed and read her one of our favorite bedtime stories about a Mama and her baby bunnies called You're Lovable to Me. It was a gift from Natania when we were leaving Stanford and as she warned it would, it makes me cry at every read. Tonight the Mama bunny felt particularly familiar as she told her baby bunnies that she would love them through every emotion. "When a Mama loves a bunny, she will love him when he's sad, or he's frightened, or she's lonely, or he's worried, or he's mad, or when's he's plain exhausted, or embarrassed, or just shy, or when they have the giggles and can't stop to tell you why." The Mama bunny herself was probably feeling many of those emotions as she made it through her day, I know there are times when I am sad and lonely and definitely exhausted, but that never changes the love she feel for her bunnies--and tonight I felt it more than ever. I love Talmage and Everett and Quinny and Coco and it is such an honor to be their Mama. Even on the hard days. Here's to hoping that tonight's warm fuzzies translate to peace and patience tomorrow morning!

 "No matter what your feelings are, whatever they may be...I'm your Mama, you're my bunnies. And you're lovable to me."

Friday, January 20, 2017

California Rain and Quinny Quotes

I love the smell of California rain. It's one of my favorite smells in the world--right up there with fresh cinnamon rolls baking in the oven and a Gerber-bathed baby. I also love the smell of onions and garlic sautéing in my new cherry red dutch oven and black sharpies on a school poster.

But California rain, nothing can beat it and no state or country can mimic the smell. As soon as cool rain falls on hot pavement my mind instantly travels back in a million directions and gives me an overwhelming feeling of peace, of childhood, of home. I longed for this smell every time we moved somewhere far and it's always the first thing I'm grateful for when we come back to Cali. This winter has been so different in Los Angeles because we've actually had rain--LOTS of rain--and although it makes school pick up the absolute pits, I breathe it in and can't help but feel immense gratitude that we've made this beautiful state home again.

 Other things I'm feeling grateful for today? These conversations with Miss Quinn:

Me: Quinny, please leave the boys alone. They're playing with big kid legos right now.
Me: Don't scream Quinny. You're not a baby, you're a big girl, so please use your words.
Q: I a big girl? I a kid?
Me: Yes! You're a big girl!
Q: {Walking out of the room} OK. I a big kid so I going to play legos with big kids. I play with Evie and T.

Me: Quinny, what's your full name?
Q: Quinny Isabel
Me: And what's your last name?
Q: Quinny Isabel.....Dot Com

Missionaries: We're going to watch this video, do you guys know who this is?
Q: Is Donode Twump?! {It was not Donald Trump!}

 ^^^I was sitting on the floor with Cora and before I knew it T was behind me massaging my shoulders. "That's what we call a sneak attack!" he said. Love that boy!^^^

^^^My blondies are obsessed with brushing their hair back after bath time so that they look like Malfoy. And Quinn lives in these ninja turtle jammies which Everett stole from the bag of clothes meant for Lincoln. Oh bother!^^^

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Solstice Canyon--Wigginton's Hike!

I've felt a greater urgency lately to foster an even richer Little Wig family culture. This is partly due, I am sure, to the realization that our children are getting older and will forever remember the things that we are doing right now. It's also caused by the knowledge that we're done having babies, so our complete Wiggy Team is here and ready to party in whatever ways we want. 

My parents did a great job at helping our family understand who McKee's are and what McKee's do. "McKee's are not quitters." "McKee's kick butt and take names." McKee's have banana split dinners, Brick House dance parties and pull weeds on Saturday mornings. McKee's bring the party (and invite all to the party). My parents always reminded us who we were and showed us that we were better together. My siblings and I are all very different and live far apart, but we ache to be close, are always planning a reunion and have a blast when we're together. I couldn't wish anything more for my babies someday, and I'm working hard to create a similar Wiggy culture.

Wigginton's are a lot like McKee's (because I'm their Mama and dance parties are my love language) but since we're raising our children in a different place, at a different time and with different personalities we are also trying to find ourselves--What do Little Wig's like to do as a family? Who are we hoping to become? We know Wigginton's love others, always look for an excuse to have a party, live for adventures big and small and eat ice cream every single Friday. "Wigginton's can do hard things" and "Wigginton's don't have to be perfect, they have to try their best." Wigginton's like to turn on music videos and copy the dance moves, Wigginton's love Shake Shack something fierce and Wigginton's like to share their lives, home and hearts with friends. Oh, and as of a few days ago, Wigginton's hike!

Since I've basically been pregnant, recovering or nursing for the last eight years straight we've not done a whole lot of hiking, but now that we're all here and Cora is big and happy enough to just hang out in the Beco we decided to go for gold. Ever Knight was my main concern because he gets more daunted than the others, but he got to pick out the hiking treats (M&M's, chocolate chip trail mix and chocolate energy bars) so he was clearly stoked. He also felt much better when he learned that hiking was just a glorified word for walking in the mountains and he didn't have to climb up a cliff! All four of the babes were angels for our 3.6 mile hike and I couldn't have been prouder. James is more of a mountain man and I'm an ocean girl and this beautiful hike in Malibu gave us both what we wanted--a hike through trees with expansive views of the Pacific. (It did not give James cell service though, pro or con, depends on who you're asking! ;))

Ever since we got back home the kids have been asking when we can go hiking again. Talmage said that he thinks we should make it a tradition that we go every Saturday. Quinn has been praying to Heavenly Father asking him to "wet us go hike. wet us see water." And Everett, the little one who held all my worries, he keeps telling everyone how awesome the trip was. "We awe such good hikers Mom. We'we wike a hiking family. Wigginton's awe hikers!" Yes, we are Ev. Yes we are! 

Soooo, maybe part of our culture is hat wearing?!

Wigginton's hike!

They thought the hollow trees were the coolest. I was glad they didn't get chased out by wildlife.

Little boy in a BIG world.

Quinn didn't want to hold anyone but "Tommersh's" hand. She loves him, and he loves how she says his name. My feisty little blondes!

Behind my shoulder is the Pacific Ocean. Pictures clearly can't do it justice, but the views were unreal. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sunshine, on a Cloudy Day

Another day, more rain, classical music on repeat and Quinny snoozing by my side (in my dreams! Quinny tossing and turning and whining by my side!) If we get a nap in before pick-up I may just cry some legitimate happy tears. I won't bore you with the details, but ever since Christmas Break the baby Wiggy women are acting like midnight chats are where it's at, and the last few days we've had to remind them that actually, midnight chats are so NOT where it's at. Sleep training 3.0, good times.

But before there were three hour screaming sessions and grumpy, over-tired babies there was the cutest little friend on a rather rainy day smiling and waving and acting way too big in her 12-month clothes for her Mama to handle. She brings so much joy to us all and truly is the brightest ray of sunshine on a cloudy SoCal day. 

This is big news! She will now hang out on her stomach to play with toys. She rolls around the whole room, but she may be attempting to wiggle around to grab things. My babies never love tummy time, but they seem to catch up quickly!

She's starting to wave at people and reach for me and she smiles with her whole face.

NO ONE can make her smile bigger or laugh louder than her siblings. Quinn loves to love on that baby!

Wasn't Quinn in this outfit just yesterday? Why yes, yes she was! And then I blinked and Quinn was wearing 4T and I had another baby. Life is toooo fast.

This crew thought the crazy rainstorm was the coolest part of pick-up. I was hiding under the awning like a scaredy cat while they were dancing around with their tongues out! 


Monday, January 16, 2017

Baby Besties

I love these two baby besties with all my heart. I don't know what life would be like without Annie and the whole Burnett family, and I don't even want to consider it! The Wiggy kids all have their own Burnett bestie, and their Mama has quickly and completely become mine. There are many things to be grateful for in my life, but these specific friendships at this specific time always finds its way to the top of my list. 

A few little fun things--Winter Break in LA

After spending the majority of our Winter Break sick in Sac, we spent the last week recuperating, cleaning, and then having a few little adventures. So much has changed since the days I would do big city adventures all winter with just the little boys in tow. I wouldn't trade my life now for anything, but I do miss those outings sometimes. I miss the big lights and museums, treat shops and Christmas tree crawls, the Santa's and the lists of Mommy Poppins approved activities. But then I see their faces in these pictures, their smiles and twinkling eyes, and realize that they don't care if we're at a fancy museum or the park up the road, they just want to be loved and have fun with friends. And they are loved by me, so very much. And as far as friends are concerned, we have the best this world could offer. We are blessed in so many ways--I'm glad Winter Break reminded me.

If you're looking for Talmage, odds are you'll find him shooting hoops on our new basketball hoop. He makes goals for himself and won't let himself stop until he reaches them. "Mom, I got 200 points. That's 100 baskets. I just had to keep shooting until I reached my goal!" And yes, he is barefoot and in shorts during the first week of January. I LOVE CALIFORNIA SO MUCH!!!

Even Everett said this outing was a success, which is say-ing some-thing! They rode their new scooters with friends and Ever said, "Dis was pwobawy da best scooter hill of my wife. Weawy! I'm sewious!" It really was awesome and I joked that this was the equivalent of sledding anywhere else. Again, I love LA and our "winter" sports!

Quinn's favorite pastime is ruining whatever the boys are playing with. She pulls apart their legos, she smashes their magnatiles, she rips up their papers and she even eats their snack. Her nickname as Baby Monster fits her quite nicely! One morning she was up to no good so I took out the train sets and asked Quinny to help me set them all up. You see, I'm understanding more and more that Quinn just wants to be part of the action, and sometimes--especially when the boys don't want her around-- that manifests itself in not so pretty ways. So this morning the trains were her turf, and the boys had to ask her to play in specific areas. My idea was a success and all four children played nicely together for THREE hours while I was watching in delight, and playing by their side. It was a good mothering moment, I savor those!

Our last hurrah was at the coolest park in LA with some great friends. We played at multiple playgrounds, scootered the best paths, walked around a duck pond and saw the most amazing view of downtown LA. It was just what my kids bodies and my soul needed. A perfect ending to our {not so} perfect break! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Singing in the Rain

It's the middle of the afternoon and I'm sitting on my bed, cuddled next to a sleeping Quinn, enjoying the sound of the Classical music that lulled her to sleep and the rain beating against the rooftop. None of this feels normal--the nap nor the rain--but both bring so much peace and calm. I'm such a summer fan but also such a sucker for a heavy winter rainstorm. I'm also goo-goo for thunder and lightning, but today it's just heavy sheets of much-needed rain.

It's chilly as far as Los Angeles is concerned, we're hovering in the mid-50's, and we've had more rainy days in the past week than we've had the whole last year combined. Winter is such a novel thing when it's usually non-existent, and the kids have loved jumping through puddles, using umbrellas and generally just getting wet. I've had the heater on high, a daily pot of soup on the stove and today when Quinn was raging with exhaustion I knew the only answer was cuddles in Mama's warm comforter. She fought it for a second, but with Beethoven and Bach blaring in the background her eyelids grew heavy and she melted into her Daddy's pillow. Goodness she's feisty but watching her sleep I realize how little she is, and how much I love her.  I'm due to pick up the boys and four of their friends from school in 30 minutes, so with this post I will sign off in exchange for peacefully listening to the pitter patter and enjoying the calm before the storm.

Chalk Art

I am absolutely obsessed with my backyard. It's so fun to have space for lots and lots of friends to come and get their wiggles out. A few days ago there were boys playing basketball, boys playing football, littles riding scooters and girls playing restaurant all at the same time. When those activities started to fizzle I got out my big bucket of chalk and I traced the kids and let them either color their own person or tell me what type of person they wanted to be and I used my amazing art skills (cough cough) to create magic. It's always so amazing to see their creativity at work! We had superheroes and ninjas and mermaids and Star Wars people and I was SO glad that I took these pictures to capture them because that same night it rained and bam, goodbye chalk art! Oh well, it was good while it lasted.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sweet and Seven Months

A lover of words and images and little moments and still, I can't adequately paint the joy that sweet Coco brings to my life. To think, I cried for a solid month after I found out I was pregnant with her for fear that I wouldn't be able to handle the task of four little ones, especially the two girls back to back. Had I been able to see Cora Nicole at seven months old, surely those tears would be of joyful anticipation. I want to savor her goodness and remember how beautiful babyhood can be. She is the light of my days lately and I thank God for giving me this last drop of sunshine.

I'm in the mothering trenches right now. The boys are mostly easy, aside from a little back-to-school attitude and some surprising fits of rage, but that two-year-old sister of theirs is giving me gray hairs, a muffin top and so very many reasons to book a one-way tickets to Anywhere. Her attitude is sky high and she has no respect for my existence in her life. A few days ago I asked her to do something and she said, "Just stop Mom, It's not yo pwobwem." and she's also been known to say, "Don't tell me dat, OK? I my own body." I'm serious. If anyone is feeling anxiety about how Quinn and I will fare cohabiting during her teenagehood, join the club.

My biggest source of stress these days is sleep. We're on day six of no naps and it's killing me, straight up killing me. When my boys were this age and tried to stop napping I fought their battles and pretty easily won, but this stubborn little thing seems to get joy out of sneaking out of bed and stuffing her face with my nice Christmas chocolates, or dumping out a whole bottle of hand sanitizer, or unwinding multiple containers of floss, or just nonchalantly walking into the room and saying, "I done wif nap. I wake. You so happy?" And that's on a good day. Most nap times find her screaming at the top of her lungs for two or more hours as I walk her back to her bed and then she follows me back out the door yelling, "No! You not charge! I not nap!" Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

By the time two hours has passed it is often time to pick up the boys from school and then it's too late for a nap (although I tried today for a late one, to no avail) and of course she's exhausted for the rest of the day and spends much of it destroying T's legos, Evie's homework and my sanity. She screams and hits and loses total control over her body and brain and then when it's time for bedtime and I pray that she'll pass out from exhaustion, we go through the whole hours-long process again. I'm tired just thinking about it--but she's not. Unfortunately she's not.

I'm not going to lie, it's been tough. I've never dealt with such a head-strong child before and I keep telling myself it's a stage but she's got me a little freaked out that it's not. That this is our new normal. That I am never going to sleep again and that this is only the first of so many battles to come. Irrational? I hope so! But until I know so, the constant toddler-tude is making me feel a little on edge.

But then there's Cora, perfect and sweet seven-month-old Cora. Aren't seven month olds the dreamiest? She's rolling around the living room now and she reaches for me when I walk by. She's babbling and singing and has the best belly laugh when her siblings say silly words super loud and in crazy accents. She loves to be carried and holds on to my shirt like a little koala, but my favorite is when she gets happy and shy and can't stop kicking her legs and burying her face in my arm.

This afternoon I was talking to an elderly member of our ward who I don't know very well and she said, "I was thinking of Cora today and told my husband that seeing her every Sunday growing and smiling is one of the highlights of my life." My baby is one of her life's highlights! I feel like Cora belongs to all of us and I am so happy to share her shnuggles and love with everyone, especially my sweet sisters at church.

Someday Cora will be two and might even give me a run for my money like her big sis, but for now I'm going to will those days to never come and enjoy her chunky legs, dimpled smile and sweet disposition. I love you, Cor!