Monday, January 31, 2011

happy 7th birthday riley!!

We should have known what we were in for when our second gal popped out into the world with broad shoulders, a crazy shock of black hair and almost instantly telling us her name. "Riley" wasn't even in our top three, but Mike and I took one look at her, looked at each other and said, "She's Riley!" She knew who she was the wondrous day of her arrival, seven years ago today.

This girl of ours takes the world in in a quiet way, not talking too much about her observations unless necessary. Her feelings and opinions come out in unassuming but profound ways, like when she described Logan's sadness about moving perfectly to us adults when she was only three years old. It has always been that way, as if Riley has a keen understanding of the world around her and the ability to not sweat the small stuff. Too often, I rely on her to be the one that goes up to grab something for me or helps me out - I've got to remember not to abuse her always agreeable nature!

Riley didn't surprise me at all when she blew school out of the water, missing only the spelling of the word "fin" on all her tests and quizzes in any subject this year. Her teacher just loves her and even said that if she were just thirty years older, she want her as a best friend. She's so easygoing and dependable, like her Daddy, she's just refreshing to have around.

And then there's this athlete inside of her, ready to come out at any turn. Her little six (now seven) year old bod atop the high balance beam with ability and confidence I could only dream of. Her Daddy and I sit and watch, fingers crossed and breath held, refusing bathroom trips and siblings' questions until her performance is over. What a ride this gymnastics thing has already been!

My love is endless for this sweet-natured, old soul who showed me that my heart could grow to unimaginable sizes when she arrived. My wishes for her are just and boundless, with a long life of health and happiness leading the charge.

Happy 7th birthday Riley!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

it's a good thing

I've been driving the girls to school lately in lieu of having them bus it; it's much easier to get Finn out the door if he's forced to do it with them. After we drop them off, we shoot straight over to his school. The five minutes we spend waiting in line before the school doors open for the girls are some of my favorite moments of the day.

For whatever reason, it seems big topics surface right before the girls jump out, usually leaving me deep in thought for the ride to Finn's school. We've discussed cheaters (due to the parents who INSIST on cutting in line and not following the school traffic rules), bad people (the cheaters are not really bad people, I explain), issues with friends and once had an in depth discussion about God, right there in the line.

But my favorite had to be when the girls were talking about their daily walk inside the building, beyond the arms of my Honda Odyssey or the mommy bubble I try to keep them in. They discussed their ritual of chatting and then staying "goodbye" at the stairwell where Logan ascends to big kid world and Riley hangs a right to the first grade corridor.

And Riley said matter-of-fact-ly, "And then we hug and go to school."

I was shocked. Don't get me wrong they are great sisters, but they're competitive, too. They can argue and wrestle like professional lawyers, and well, wrestlers! "You guys give each other a hug?"

"Yes!" they both answered like I was ridiculous.

"Every day?" I asked.

"Yes!" they giggled.

I know it won't last forever, but I was bubbling over with the most happiness a person could hold at that moment. The idea of my two little gals hugging in the busy school hallway, if only for a moment and then confidently going out in to their worlds, knowing someone there loved them and had their back, was almost too much to bear.

In that one moment, I knew Mike and I must be doing something right. Now that's a day-maker!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

happy 9th birthday logan!

Holy cow! It's unbelievable to me that this is our last year with all our kiddos in single digits. I woke at 4 am this morning for a bathroom break - showing my age - and immediately thought of the early hours, nine years ago, at 4:12 am, when when a four-week early, 5 pound, 15 ounce Logan Olivia made me the happiest mom on earth.

Our girl is the sweetest, smartest, most compassionate, sensitive, creative, silly, beautiful, loving gal around. She's a perfectionist, with a soft heart, who tries her hardest and loves to please. She likes to cuddle like nobody's business and would still be carried around at times if she didn't weigh 60 pounds! She is the easiest person to give a gift to, appreciates anything well-thought out, whether it's a paper clip with meaning or the latest gadget. She sings beautifully and writes songs that will break your heart. She's a great big sister, currently vacillating between my helper and one of the hinder-ers, but that's just being a kid. She's a friend to all and although she's a self-starter and independent, truly loves personal attention. I know for sure that great things lie ahead for Logan Olivia Anderson.

I treasure Logan more than she'll ever know, want all her dreams to come true and more than anything, wish her happiness throughout a long, healthy life. How blessed I was those 9 years ago. How blessed I am to have her each and every day.

maritime murders

Most important Christmas gift for Logan: a fish.

Most gruelingly awful gift ever to be withstood by her parents: a fish.

Our 3rd and 4th fish died this morning, in the wee hours of Logan's 9th birthday. Based on the fact that each of them has died exactly 48 hours after arriving in their new tank, you'd have thought we could have come up with better timing for this latest attempt. Oh well, I think she's getting more used to the losses as we struggle to entertain the thought of ever trying again.

We tested the water, bought a replacement filter and heater, added all the necessary supplements, bought the most hardy fish and still, 48 hours later, they die. I feel like a maritime murderer. The picture of Logan's first coming home in a bag with her beaming smile has become the prelude to aqua-pet demise in my mind.

After a long talk with a knowledgeable fish expert at an aquarium store last night, I suppose we will try again. She's worried that there may be a toxic level of ammonia in the water, which Petco does not test for. It's made worse by using flake food and as soon as the fish stop eating due to feeling bad, a few extra flakes of food can make the ammonia levels out of control. I hope she's right. I don't think Mike and I can handle killing another.


Didn't we all just have bowls with water and goldfish? I don't remember it being so complicated!

RIP Oreo, Rascal, Angel and Shadow.