January 4, 2017

Twelve Weeks Behind

Um,  hello?  Remember me?  I used to post weekly, but I've taken the last, ahem, twelve weeks off.  Rest assured all five PJ's are alive and well!  We've just been so busy that I took an unplanned break.  Thanks to all of you who emailed or texted or messaged to check on me.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I AM BACK!  

But not entirely.  Because there is this one thing.  I started blogging in 2007.  It is now 2017.  That's 10 years and 1,093 posts in which I faithfully recorded pretty much everything on this weblog.  When Nick and I can't remember the timing of some random event or milestone, I search ye olde bloggity and bam.  There it is.  This blog has been a big part of my life as a stay-at-home mom.  

But somewhere along the line blogging has become a task for me.  Just one more thing on my very long to-do- list.  Somewhere along the way writing a blog post quit being a fun, relaxing, creative activity and became a dull, joyless, mechanical obligation.  And I think everyone can sense it in my dull, joyless, mechanical writing.  My own mom doesn't read my blog anymore.  It's just plain boring. 

The primary reason I carried on through October is because I felt guilty about short-changing Annie  I kept such close records when Ella and Kate were little, but my third child gets at most a couple of photos on the weekly post.  When I carefully evaluated the way I utilize my time, I realized that writing blog posts actually keeps me away from Annie.  Perhaps it was only away for 15-20 minutes, but those minutes could have been used to read her a book, do a quick craft activity, watch her jump on the trampoline, or just sit quietly on the couch and cuddle her sweet little body while she watches Elena of Avalor.  (I went with watch her jump on the trampoline because this mother of three cannot jump on a trampoline for more than a couple of bounces without wearing Depends.)

The fact is, in spite of intentionally resisting the pressure to become a frantic, harried, overscheduled American family of five, in 18 short months of living in America we became just that.  Ella and Kate have piano, voice, Brownies, and swim team every single week.  Annie goes to MOPS and tags along to all her sisters' activities.  Nick works Monday through Friday and is in the middle of taking on a new professional opportunity.  I started facilitating the Tulsa Girls Math Circle, chaired two time-consuming PTA service events, took on additional responsibilities at church, and handle all things domestic while enrolled in graduate school full time.  We are maxed out.  Completely maxed out.  If we thrived on action and stress, we would be in our elements.  But that is not who we are.

We are people who like spending down time as a family.  We like peace.  Our home is a kind, warm, slow-moving sort of place.  None of us likes drama.  We detest being hurried and rushed.  Our ideal day off is full of what Kate refers to as "lazing about."  This morning the girls and I snuggled, read, and watched TV in my bed until 9:30am.  We're going to a movie this afternoon.  That's precisely our speed.

My break from blogging has been a welcome relief.  Giving myself the grace to give it up (even temporarily) left me feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.  And the best part is that I found myself composing funny paragraphs, furious rants, or thoughtful blog posts in my head for the first time in years.  Those posts never made it onto the screen — mostly because I felt guilty writing silly diddies when I hadn't put together my weekly eating a brownie without first eating my vegetables  but I had fun thinking about them.  

I want to rediscover that joy.  But first I'm going to eat my vegetables.  

I'm going to take a few mornings to catch up on the twelve weeks of 2016 that I failed to record.  One post for each week.  Lots of facts and photos.  All opinion and emotion and humor and mess and real life will be scrubbed.  These posts will be sterile and dull and mechanical.  Just like everything else I've written for the last 18 months.

Then I'm going to make this blog private.  And I'm going to go back to the way I started blogging:  in short, sweet, completely random posts.  (With a few ranting tirades and soul-searching rambles thrown in for balance.)  I will write whatever I feel like writing.  Or I might not write at all for months.  But when I do write, I will write for me.  

I should be caught up with my public posts by mid-January at which point you can subscribe privately.  Don't even think about asking for permission to view the private blog if you can't handle unfiltered Aubrey.  She's more than a little bit crazy.  :)

Thanks to everyone who has kept up with us on this old bloggity for the last 10 years!  Hope to hear from you in the future!

January 2, 2017

A Peek at Our Week: December 26 - January 1

The last week of the year went out with a bang!  

We hit some post-Christmas sales and spent lots of QT with Nana and Grandpa while they were at our house.  Then we all drove to Chickasha to surprise Brennan for her birthday on the 28th.  The next day the STL PJ's came to B-town to ring in 2017 with their cousins down south.  It was a family celebration none of us are likely to forget for so many reasons!

Look at that hair.
I actually let my kid leave the house like that.
Mom fail.

Carousel rides make her day.

Pretty much.

BB is SIX!

A quick lunch at Ron's.
Sometimes you just need a big, greasy burger after all that holiday food.

Bespectacled Bitzy!
These are her glasses!  So cute!

New sleeping bags arrived from Kentucky!

And these lovely ladies arrived from STL, MO.

These girls are thicker than thieves.
A dance party to start the night off right.

The big girl play a little Mouthguard Challenge.

While our two littlest pixies play quietly side-by-side in Annie's room.

The weather was GORGEOUS, so we went for a walk.
These kids are my faves.
Sam (7), Ella (8), Berkeley (11), Kate (7), Addison (10), Annie (3), and Reagan (5).

The adults wanted a picture too.  :)

We finally got the kids to bed.  FINALLY.
Nick prepared a cheese board on a backward Oklahoma.  

Repris with two of my favorite guys on earth.

Quick selfie with my main squeeze.

Nana and Poppa joined the celebration!
Here they are with their Magnificent Seven.

NYE shenanigans start before dinner.

Minute-to-Win-It games!

Our littlest PJ working on her fine motor skills.


Funniest.  Game.  Ever.
New Year's Day at the pub with all 13 PJs.

One more look at my ladies on the last day of 2016.  Photo credit to Addison Lucile!

Ella Mae, age 9.

Elizabeth Kate, age 7.

Elena Anne, age 3.

So pleased to ring in a new year!  Let's go, 2017!

December 26, 2016

A Peek at Our Week: December 19 - 25


Guys.  My kids' school calendar had them in school until Thursday the 22nd of December.  That is so ridiculous that this mama had to put her foot down.  I called in "sick" and kept my kids home all week.

Before anyone gets upset about my failure to emphasize the importance of education, let the record show that a) I asked the teachers ahead of time and they said GO FOR IT, b) Ella and Kate are both miles ahead of all the standards through the end of their grade level, c) we had a family Christmas celebration on Thursday, and d) I'm going back into the classroom next August, so this is our last opportunity to skive off as a family.

So to celebrate our truancy, we got up early and had breakfast at Starbucks on Monday.

Latte with my lady.

I get to look at these faces every morning.

Only one of the PJ5 was grumpy.
Four out of five ain't bad.

At home we made Christmas ornaments for our homemade ornament tree.

These turned out so cute.

On Tuesday Ella had her first eye exam.
One of her eyes is horrible!  Girlfriend needs glasses.
She picked out frames and they are ADORABLE!
I love specs!  So excited for my Bitzy!

But it's Christmas so I let it slide.

There is nothing quite like homemade tamales!

Stocking up for Christmas on a big Wednesday afternoon Costco shop.

Here we are on Thursday.
Wynne/Leggett/Shull/Petty Family Christmas in Missouri!
I look totally unenthusiastic, but I LOVE this gathering!
Love these people.

Kids play bingo called by Shawn the Bingo Master.

These cousins.
Their relationship is so special.

Jonathan and my littlest girl.
He's one of the best girl dads of all time.
(And boy dads too, obviously.)
But I secretly think Jon and Brode both wish they had a whole house full of girls to spoil and love.

Love this scruffy man.

A wry selfie with one of my favorite friends.
I had no idea when I married Nick that it would mean I get to call one of the best people on earth my cousin too!

Christmas cookies on Friday!

These are Nana Julie's famous Red Velvet Cookies.

Nick helps frost Miss Brienne's sugar cookies.

We went to the pub to get into the spirit.

Then we went downtown to ice skate.
Ella Mae's roller blade practice served her well on the rink.

Annie wanted to have a go.

St Nick and his littlest lady.

Skating with Bitzy!

Kate cries every. single. year.

And then she totally gets it together and is amazing.
Girl drama has officially begun.

Family selfie on Christmas Eve!

These three.
Love them so.

In the last few days the Christmas cards have come rolling in.

Our friends' Christmas card game is STRONG.

This year we had to overflow into the entry hall!
All I want for Christmas is cards.
Seeing how our friends' families have grown and changed is without a doubt my favorite part of the Christmas season.

At Christ Church for Christmas Eve candlelight service.

The girls always get to open one gift on Christmas Eve.

And it's always pajamas.  :)

On Christmas morning Nick and I woke up at 6am.
But our kids were still asleep.
So we brewed coffee and took pictures in peace.

Santa was HERE!
Big girls' stockings and presents.

The Man with the Bag brought Annie a doll house!

Nick and I had to wake up our kids at 7am!
We couldn't wait!

Kate gives Grace a little Christmas love.
(For the record, the dog is not supposed to get on the bed either.)

Opening presents!

I love how they're all facing in opposite directions playing with their toys!

My parents arrived at noon and the girls could not wait to show them their gifts.
Grandpa was properly impressed by Kate's microscope.

Ella got a sewing machine.
She and Nana got right to work.

Traditionally, we watch It's a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve.
But this year it worked better on Christmas Day.
We loved it so much we might do it this way from now on!

Santa's elf was beat at 9pm.
Bringing Christmas cheer to the world is exhausting.

Christmas 2016 is in the books!  Love celebrating the birth of our Lord with my peeps!