Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Happy Birthday Officer!

Today is the Officer's birthday, and we are so sad that he is 8 hours away and we don't get to celebrate with him. He was able to come home for a visit over the long weekend, and it was great to finally see him again. The girls and I had so much fun spending the weekend with him. Just talking to him and eating meals with him was so nice.

The girls immediately showed him all of the exciting things that he has missed out on the last 6 weeks.... their new shoes, the train tracks they built in the basement, and their school books. One little girl got to show him her walking and talking, and she wanted her Daddy to hold her nonstop. Our little life with three kids 4 and under is super exciting, but of course their Daddy loves it all. He is such a good Dad.

So we did get to celebrate his birthday with him a few  days early. Nana and the girls made him a special dessert, and we sang and gave him gifts.

I got to go on a wonderful date with the Officer, which we both treasured. Wow I miss that guy. Today on his birthday while he is away working so hard and putting in long hours of training, I hope he knows just how loved he is. I'm sure he does, because we tell him nonstop. Hopefully next year on his birthday we will all be together!! We love you so very much Officer Mik!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We have another walker in the Mik family, and she sure is proud of herself. Little Lettie suddenly thinks she is just so big and is always trying to keep up with her big sisters. She has been close to walking for a while now, but just as she has done with all of her milestones, she took her time and waited until she was ready to perfect it. At 13 months she is our latest walker so far, but I appreciate her calm and careful attitude toward physical activity.
It's amazing that she learned to walk when she has her escorts all day
Watching her learn to walk brought back memories of her big sisters walking, and I have a distinct memory of each of the 3 girls on the day they really "took off". All of them were walking along furniture and taking one or two steps when bribed by an excited parent or a toy, but then there was a day when all 3 of them just decided to take off and walk halfway across the room.

Belle was 10 months old (always my overachiever), and we were visiting our friends L and P. We were sitting in their living room talking and Belle decided to show off her walking. She just took off across the room ready to perform for everyone. She has never been shy.
our first little walker
Bug was almost one and decided to be true to her mischievous little streak when she walked. I had just gotten her and Belle out of the bath,  put some slippery pjs on Bug, and put her down (so she could crawl out of the bathroom while I hung up the towels), but my trouble maker decided that footie pjs on the ceramic tile floor was a great time to "take off", so she just walked out of the bathroom while I gasped and then cheered for her.

Then little Lettie has clearly been capable of walking for weeks, but my cautious little girl didn't want to let go. Nana and I have tried for weeks to bribe her into walking more than 2 or 3 steps, but she would just sit down smiling. I've had my video camera constantly ready to capture it for her Daddy, but then two weeks ago I was at the table coloring with the big girls and my sneaky Lettie decided she was ready. I turned around and she was halfway across the room just so proud of herself but not willing to perform for her Mom or sisters. I said she is just a sneaky little girl, but the Officer said, "she's just too humble to show off for everyone" (ha she has her Daddy fooled). Now she is walking everywhere all the time, and we love to see those chubby legs waddle around the room.

She is all over the place now
I love new baby walks, and I'm so happy that I have these distinct first time walking memories for each of my girls.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Country living with lightning bugs and starry nights

The girls and I are currently living with the Officer's parents out in the country. I'm not a huge fan of the long drive or the lack of internet and phone reception, but I do enjoy the quiet relaxation, clear skies, and the lightning bugs. The girls have loved looking out the windows every night before bed to see the lightning bugs, and last week one night we took them out to catch some.

I remember catching lightning bugs in our yard on summer nights when I was little. I loved it, and it was so nostalgic to watch the girls have the same fun. Their Nana and PawPaw got them ready with some jars, and we all headed outside. Bug promptly filled her jar with grass and rocks, so the lightning bugs "could have a snack" (we Miks are really good at taking care of animals).

Of course, we headed outside about an hour early, because this Mama was desperate for something to do, but the girls did not mind spending an hour running around the yard in their pajamas waiting for it to get dark. Lettie enjoyed playing out there too, but my sleepy little girl couldn't hang with us long enough to make it to dark.

Then it got dark and the real fun began! Their PawPaw ran around the yard and was able to catch some lightning bugs for each of them to put in their jars for a few minutes. The girls ran around the yard screeching and chasing the bugs, and I just walked behind them laughing and snapping some pictures. it was one of those magical nights that I hope the girls remember for a long time.

A few nights later we took the big girls out again to watch the meteor shower, which was another great memory for them. We loved looking at all the stars in the beautiful clear country sky, and we were able to spot a few shooting starts, but we couldn't stay up late enough to see too much excitement. The girls enjoyed finding the big dipper, and they made up some of their own constellations like a house. It was so fun to see the starry night through their eyes and to just sit on the deck talking to my sweet little ladies. There definitely are a few perks to living out in the country.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Vacation Bible School

Last week Belle had Vacation Bible School at our parish, and it was wonderful. I have such good memories of my own VBS when I was a kid, and I think Belle loved it (even if she didn't get to wear a uniform like she had hoped). There is something so wonderful about kids spending a week in the summer at "school" doing religious crafts, playing outside, and eating sugary snacks.

She wore this awesome sheep mask the entire car ride home, and I laughed every time I looked in the rearview mirror
Right as I got to the school to drop Belle off on Monday morning I realized this was the first time that I was ever just leaving Belle somewhere without me (other than family babysitting her). It would be the first time I wouldn't know every single detail of her day, and I felt a little sad. My BIL pulled his car up with 2 of my nephews at the exact same time, and he offered to sign Belle in, so I wouldn't have to get the younger 2 out of car seats. So just like that Belle jumped out of the car without a care in the world, and she ran into school with her cousins without even a hug or goodbye for her Mommy. I love that happy independent girl. She heard me telling the Officer that on the phone, and she said "Sorry Mommy, I will say goodbye to you tomorrow."
The 3 girls were happy to be reunited in the afternoons.... plastic high heels and everything
I was nice to hang out with Bug and Lettie in the mornings. Bug dealt with her separation from Belle really well.... she only asked me about 15 times the first morning how soon we were picking up Belle. It was also really nice to have my MIL watch the younger girls one morning, so I had 3 glorious hours to myself.
We spent most mornings playing with Lettie's best bud in the entire world and cousin
Belle seemed to have a great week, and Bug is looking forward to being old enough to go next summer We were all busy, so the week went by very quickly, and now we have gotten through 2 weeks without the Officer. I finally joined the iPhone world last week, so we were able FaceTime him some, which has been great. Four more weeks until he comes home for a weekend visit!

I'm hoping if I keep sending him pictures like this I can convince him to come home sooner :)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

1st week without the Officer

On Monday the Officer left for his 6 months of training for his new job, and we have survived one week without him! I'm not even going to think about how many more weeks we have to go.... just going to think about the days we have behind us.

goodbye hugs

So far it is going okay. We miss him like crazy, and on day two I had my first big cry session. That day I found out that his training doesn't finish until mid-February, which actually makes this training 6.5 months, and I guess those extra two weeks just put my pregnant emotional mind over the edge. I also realized that he has terrible phone reception there and no internet in his room, so my hopes of skyping almost every day were ruined. The first night we talked on the phone for about 15 minutes and our call dropped 3 times. So that was all the difficult stuff the first week that caused me to cry for 2 hours on Tuesday night.

little picnic to cheer us up

Since that 2nd night I have been much better. I'm not thinking about February anymore.... just taking one month at a time. We also started planning some visits, so I'm just going to think about the next visit each month. Right now, we are hoping that the Officer will be able to come home for Labor Day weekend.... that is only 5 weeks from now.  I can do 5 weeks! We did skype for the first time yesterday, and it was great to see the Officer. It was heartbreaking to watch Lettie though... she blew him about 30 kisses, laughed, smiled, said "Dada", and then cried as she kept reaching for him to hold her. I know he must miss her hugs big time.

the little heartbreaker

I don't know how military wives do this- and without the hope of some weekend visits. Wow some women are just incredible.

The girls and I are keeping busy, and hopefully the weeks will fly by. We visited a friend one day last week, visited my family this weekend, and next week Belle is doing Vacation Bible School all week. The girls have been awesome so far, and that makes my days easier. We are in a good little routine while we are living with the Officer's parents right now. I know we will get through this time apart, because we have no choice but to get through it, and in the long run this job will be great for our family. We miss you Officer Mik and love you!! We are so happy to be one week closer to seeing him again!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When a vacation is a vacation

 When you go on vacation with your kids it doesn’t always feel like a vacation, and it usually isn’t all that relaxing. Last week the Officer and I took the girls on a week-long beach vacation, and it actually felt like an awesome, relaxing vacation! Here were our keys for success, so that maybe next time we plan a vacation with the kids we can remember these things….

1.  change your expectations. Prepare yourself that vacation with kids is going to be different than vacation without kids. Even though the kids were up at 7am every day, it still was an awesome restful vacation, because we knew we were going to be getting up early with kids…. it also meant nice long mornings on the beach, which was not something I ever did before kids. We wanted the girls to have a great time, and we genuinely enjoyed watching them have fun. We hung out on the beach, went on walks, flew a kite, went to ice cream, spent hours in the pool, and just had so much fun

      2. Invite both sets of Grandparents. My parents and the Officer’s parents both joined us on this vacation, and it was great. The girls loved playing with their Grandparents, and it was nice to have the extra help. Two mornings while we were there one of the Grandmas stayed home while Lettie took a morning nap, and the Officer and I brought the big girls to the beach. One evening my parents babysat so the Officer and I could go out on a nice date. The Officer’s brother and his family came too, so the girls had both playmates and babysitters…. Perfect
jumping the waves with Gram

      3.  Have a Lettie baby…. Not sure how you get this, but a nice little beach bum like Lettie made for a relaxing vacation for this Mama. Belle and Bug are old enough to enjoy playing on the beach without much help, but a one-year-old on the beach can be tricky… not Lettie. I sat under the umbrella on the beach for hours each day and Lettie just sat in a little chair next to me holding a shovel or eating her lunch. I got to stay relaxing in my chair with the claim that “I was watching the baby”.  It was wonderful.
lounging and enjoying some drinks on the beach

I just can't get enough of this kid

      4. Be a team- We might not always be on the same page, but for this vacation the Officer and I were definitely on the same page. We had a great system down for getting the whole crew out of the house with lunches packed and getting all our gear set up at the beach each day. We took turns relaxing and playing with the kids. He spent an afternoon golfing with his brother, and a few days later I spent a morning alone on the beach with my sister-in-law (the guys got all the kids packed and sunscreened and brought them to the beach a few hours later- I definitely think I got the better end of this deal). It helped that this vacation was our last time together before the Officer leaves for 6 months of training, so we didn’t take any minute of family time for granted.


      5. Rotate meal prep. My family has been doing this on vacation for years and it works so well. We had 4 families in our house this week, so we each were in charge of dinner and dishes one night, and then we had 2 nights of leftovers. It is definitely relaxing to only have to worry about dinner one night in the whole week. I, of course, kept it simple with a taco night, and then spent the rest of the week enjoying everyone else’s cooking.

the girls loved playing with their cousins and building castles on the beach

      6.  Have perfect weather. Okay can’t plan this one, but it worked out so well for us this year. We stayed in a really small house with 7 kids and 6 adults, and at the beginning of the week the forecast did not look promising. I was nervous we were all going to be crammed in a tiny living room all week, but that didn’t happen. It only rained one afternoon during naptime, and the rest of the week was sunny.

There it is…. Things to remember next time we go on a family vacation! 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Goodbye MikHouse!

We are big Father of the Bride fans around here, and lately we've been quoting this part a lot....

"I love this house. I love that I taught my kids to ride their bikes in the driveway. I love that I slept with them in tents in the backyard. I love that we carved our initials in the tree out front. This house is warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and looks spectacular with Christmas lights. It's a great house. I never want to move. But the thing I think I like best about this house are the voices I hear when I walk through the door."

The Miks are moving! 
The Officer accepted a new job, and we are so proud of him. He'll still be in law enforcement, but with better benefits and better hours, which I think will be great for our family. His new job means we'll be moving to a new city, so we are packing up and moving out of our first house. 
It will be so bittersweet to move out of this house. The Officer and I moved into this house 5 years ago after our honeymoon. It was the first house we ever bought, and it is the only place we've ever lived together. We've (okay the Officer) renovated 3 bathrooms and most of a kitchen. We've (again all the Officer) built a deck and painted every room in this house. We've brought 3 babies home to this house. I know every creak in the upstairs hallway and how to avoid them so I don't wake sleeping babies. This house is warm in the winter, usually cool in the summer, and I do think our Christmas lights always look good. We have taught our kids to ride bikes in the driveway, and I know Belle will miss climbing "her tree" out back. We've all cried and argued in this house, but mostly we've laughed and loved in this house. We will look back on this first house with millions of happy memories, but fortunately wherever we move we get to take those voices we love with us. 
These kids were troopers playing with the 3 toys left unpacked and surrounded by boxes for weeks. They never complained
Things have been crazy the last few weeks as the Officer and I have packed up, fixed up, and cleaned our house with 3 little ladies "helping". We are done though, and our sweet little home will go on the market this weekend. 

"What are we, the Schmaltz family?" We didn't take any doorknobs from our house, but we did say a sad little goodbye. 

We are moving on to our next adventure, which I'm sure will be filled with more love and laughter. First, we're going to have a crazy 6 months while the Officer is away at training. He leaves at the end of July, and he will be 8 hours away from us. The girls and I will be living with family, and I'll have our newest baby while he's away. We'll get through the distance, and then when he's done we'll move to a new city  for more family fun. No matter where we live though, there will always be a lot of love.