Friday, July 25, 2014

Completely Random

Isn't that kind of what summer is?  Totally random?  I think so.

There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to this post - I just found I had a ton of unrelated pictures I have yet to post.

Nerf wars are quite fun.  Jeremy is so obsessed with tanks and the army that we often have to remind him not to yell out how much we need to kill Germans.  (He has peaked with WWII and does not really understand that Germans are our friends now).
 Flavor-Ice.  A box of 200 of these things can last multiple summers.  Love.
 Slumber parties and movie nights in the living room.  No school the next day, so why not let them stay up late and be silly?
 Teddi and Jared got us free tickets to Dollywood AGAIN, so we went again and again had an amazing time with the Walkers.  I love them.
 On the carousel.
 Sometimes I am an amazing mom.  The kids were all crazy and would not act like normal humans one night so I made them go outside and run 30 laps.  They LOVED it.  This me sitting in our rocking chair taking a picture from inside the house.  My laziness knows no bounds.
 Amazing mom, part 2.  Rock'em Sock'em robots are just so limiting.  The kids wanted some more action, so we let them out of the ring and ended up with a living room totally in shambles and some new bruises.  But, it sure was fun!
 And sometimes this happens.  My little sis sent a text in the middle of the day that she was struggling at work.  So, Cheri and I both responded with pick me ups.  Mine is shirtless Chris Evans and a rainbow (and me at my desk).  Cheri's was a cat/unicorn hybrid and a rainbow.  Great minds.  Tell me you get hot men in rainbows texted to you during the day.  That's right, you don't because you don't have me as your awesome sister.
 Matching manicures. Always.
 Pony rides. Geez, I really love my husband, do I say that enough?
Jeremy wanted a model of Bristol Motor Speedway (obviously), so I got construction paper, tape, and felt.  They played with this silly thing for HOURS.
 Then, Jeremy wrote me a list (front and back - this is just the back) of what else needed to be added to the track.  He posted it on the fridge so I could remember every day what I needed to add.
 I am getting there.  I made a pit road and a garage the cars can run through.  Not sure how I am supposed to make stands or a wall, but whatever.
 Then, the kids begged for a tunnel that would lead from the living room to their bedrooms.  Ugh.
 Again, they loved it and played with it for hours.
 I would like to note that Brian and I could not reach our bedroom or either bathroom without getting on our hands and knees and crawling through this tunnel.  Don't say we don't love our kids.
 Vi randomly started making clothes for her dolls out of play dough.  She was so excited.
 This was the first one - others got better and more intricate.
 This is every day, every moment.  They are in constant motion making a mess.  Vi is wearing her Cinderella gown and being rolled up in the blanket by Jeremy who is pretending to capture her.  I had to save her with true love's kiss.  Naturally.
 They made Popsicles out of kool-aid.
 Summer reading program at the library!  We loved this!  Jeremy had to read independently for 20 hours and Violet had to listen to 20 books.  They both did it in only a few weeks.
 And got certificates, gift cards, and little toys.  Mostly, they were excited that their names got put on the wall at the library.

 Playing games.  They love Battleship.  I hate it.  Brian is nicer than me and plays with them.
 Gosh, I love that man.  Perfect daddy!
And that, my friends, is a totally random posting of some summer activities in the Hopper house.  :)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My sister is having a baby

My sister is having a baby.


I can't stop saying it.  I randomly text her in the middle of the day to gush.  I am so freaking excited.

When she told me on the phone, I cried.  I was so happy and shocked and happy and shocked.  I never thought any of my siblings would have kids.  I never thought my kids would have cousins on my side of the family.  I never thought I would have a Carr niece or nephew to totally love.  (Btw, Cheri, Dani, and I all know it is a girl.  She is.  We know.)

Brian had to tell me to stop calling her "my" baby.  Because, I do.  She is my baby.  I called Cheri and she said not to be silly, of course she is my baby.

That's just how it is with sisters.

It is obviously Cheri's child and she will be an amazing mom, but that little baby is also mine.  My sister's children will always be mine - no matter what.  Simple.

She is due February 6th, so look for some cold and insane posts from NYC come late January/early February as I make the trek to her house to help for a few weeks.  She did it for me for both of my kids and the days she showed up on my doorstep were the days I knew I would survive having kids.  It was never real until Cheri was there, and I hope I can offer her the same support and peace of mind.  (Btw, Cheri got a tenure-track philosophy professor position at a college in NYC, so she and Alex are moving in a few short weeks!)

My message to my sister, because I am a cheese-mo and would never be able to actually say this stuff to her in real life:


I am so happy for you.  You are going to be an incredible mom.  Incredible.  I know you are nervous about having a baby so far away from family right when you start a new job.  That's ok.  As soon as I found out you were having a baby, it seemed so perfect that you would have it in the city while pursuing your academic career.  That kid will be jumping on subways and visiting museums, critiquing modern art and music, and quoting Kant and Shakespeare by age 5.  And I love that pretentious little know-it-all baby.  She's just a mini-Cheri after all!

And you really are going to be amazing at this.  Do you know how I know?  Because you already are.  You always have been. 

I was your shadow as a toddler and little girl.  Painfully shy at times, you were my protector and voice.  You were the creative force behind our games and the spark to our imaginations.  You made up our secret language and I can still read your mind I know that you know this is all true.

You were my idol in my teens and early adulthood.  You were so unique and strong and smart.  All the things I so desperately wanted to be.  You helped me understand the poems in Mr. Savage's class, you stood up for me in front of high school bullies, and you gave me the courage to leave our family for college and start my own life on my own two feet.

You are the best sister in the world.  You gave up your own plans to live with me for weeks when I had Jeremy and Violet.  You timed my contractions.  You shared my disappointment at the false alarms.  You calmed down Brian when my water broke.  I will never forget making eye contact with you when we found out Jeremy was in danger and needed the emergency c-section - you were so calm and confident that all would be ok.  Both Brian and I needed you in that moment and you came through big time.  You put on my make-up and straightened my hair so I would be pretty in pictures post-baby.  You cleaned my house and cooked me meals.  You rocked my babies and got up with them at all hours so I could sleep.  You helped me when I wanted to quit nursing or when I was in so much pain I could barely walk.

You are an extraordinary aunt.  Jeremy and Violet love you so much.  You spend time with them and treat them like people, not babies.  You teach them to cook and take them to parks and exhibits.  I am sure one day they will disappear and I will find that they have run off to NYC to live with their much-cooler-than-me Aunt Cheri.  And when they do, I know you will welcome them with open arms, give them what they need, and call me immediately.  

I know you will be a great mom because I have seen it first hand.  You were a mom to me as a child, as a teen, and as an adult.  You are a mom to my kids and I am so happy for that.  

You are going to totally kick ass at this motherhood thing, and I can't wait to see it first hand.  

Oh, and one more thing:
sisters in weird hats

sisters on a table

superhero sisters

Jeremy's false alarm


Jeremy in the middle of the night

Trying to make me pretty before Violet


Violet in the middle of the night
 My sister is having a baby, and I could not be more excited!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Is it still July the 4th?

This was a constant question.  Can we prolong the holiday just a bit longer?  Please?  It is just too fun to stop and go back to real life.

For this year's Independence Day celebrating, we headed to Nashville to be with the Hopper clan.  This time around, we stayed with Graham, Katherine, and their kids instead of with Granddaddy and Nana since David was in town visiting them.  We missed having more time with the grandparents, but the kids LOVED putting in some quality cousin bonding time.  Huge thanks to Graham and Katherine for hosting us for 4 days - 5 kids is no joke in one house.  It was a blast and we appreciate all their kind hospitality.

We spent most of our time on crowd control:
Love it.  Little aliens watching Despicable Me 2

Then we hit up the Hot Chicken Festival and parade:
Look at that pose.  He smirked.  On purpose.  What am I gonna do with that boy?

Vi wore her fairy wings the entire time we were in Nashville.  And her sunglasses upside down.  She got two necklaces in the parade.  Of course.

Jeremy got a dead chicken.  It was perfect.

Pete and Vi in the swings.

Philip and Jeremy swinging the wrong way.

Kat and I had to improvise a picnic in the park when the Chicken Festival turned out to be a bit to hot for the kiddos:
Very happy to stop eating for a photo.

Me and Katherine

Violet played in the dirt and the boys peed on the trees.  It was a classy afternoon.  :)

We played in their pool (sadly, I was in the water and failed to take a single photo!), and rode on their toys:

I visited with my good friend Jack (Dr. Erin W. Jackson to you - she earned it, baby!):

Brian took the kids to see fireworks (again, sadly, it was a daddy/kid trip so no photos).  Turns out, though, that lil Violet loved them and sat in her daddy's lap, kissed him, and told him she loved her "little pop-a-canoes" (we are guessing a popping volcano? who knows what goes on in that girl's head).

Saturday was the Hopper Family reunion and we had a lot of fun visiting with all 7 grand kids in one place.


Philip and Jeremy are just a mess.  A total mess.

Violet and Jude decided to become best friends.  It was adorable.

The kids made chalk drawings of themselves.  Jeremy is an army ranger.

Violet is a fairy.

Family quilt - everyone in the family has signed it.

Watching Brian's cousin, FBI Special Agent Kendall Hopper, in her TV debut!

Tiny Hoppers!
It really was a fabulous holiday and as the kids grow older, I am just so happy they have such loving and fun aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins to make these experiences all the more joyful and fun!