Tuesday, January 24, 2012

You never know which one will surprise you!

Brooke is pretty convinced that Baylor Grace was put on this Earth to "test" her.  I think its funny because she is generally a sweetheart to her Daddy.  Those two ram heads like no other.  If you want proof, watch the video below.  Brooke is on the right, Baylor Grace on the left.
Normally after a long trip, we have a week of pure hell from the girls.  It takes them awhile to get back into the swing of things, back to being disciplined, back to routines.  During this week there is normally lots of tears, fighting, screaming, crying, and that is just from Brooke.  Our house is a war zone when we return.  Add to that, the girls have been gone for about a month total, are in a new house, new schools, and haven't really had their own house since mid November..... my house more resembles Pickett's Charge on July 4th (the day after the charge) 1863, than a home.  Two days ago Brooke brought back her stoplight color chart.  It was a great tool to teach the girls right from wrong.  They really bought into and the "bucks" reward system.   Green meant they were good all day and received a buck that they could used to buy themselves something later on.  Yellow meant they weren't great but not awful, however, no buck for them that day.  Red, well that is a nuclear status not often seen in the Ayers household.   It helped curb negative behavior and rewarded good.  With a house full of girls, I was all for anything that will make it more quiet. It became such a part of their daily routine that Brooke and I didn't even need to actually do the chart anymore.  They just kept up with it in their heads.

Reagan is your typical first born and has the most desire to be good, although sometimes she loses patience with her sisters negative behavior.  In reaction to that, she blows her lid.  Ms. SassyFrass has been known to appear but generally its because Reagan needs more sleep. Caroline, no question Caroline is our Angel.  She is almost never bad, to a fault.  It would do her good to pop her younger sister once, just to show her who is boss.  Instead, Caroline will just sit in a corner, cry, and suck her thumb.  No mean words, no mean hands, no mean stomping feet.  Nope, won't be Caroline moving to yellow first.  Then there is Baylor Grace.  Safe money is on her living on yellow with an occasional flirtation with red.  Yep, Baylor Grace would be the first to lose her bucks.  Hadley "Badley" is too young to really count.

We are now on day three and only one girl has received her buck both days.  In fact, only one girl has received her buck at all.  The winner.....Baylor Grace!!!!!  Whiskey. Tango.  Foxtrot?  Who knew that Baylor Grace would be dominating the color chart contest?  The one kid who has had a date with the color red....Caroline.  As shocking as it is that Baylor Grace has been on green the past two days, is Caroline being on red yesterday.  Perhaps it had something to do with it being the Chinese New Year, I don't know?  Caroline is testing out her attitude boundaries and losing.  Big time.

I am pretty convinced that Caroline and Reagan will work their issues out.  Caroline already was working extra hard to be nice this morning.  Reagan has been pretty good, just not good enough.  No melt downs from her like from Caroline.  Having said all that, I am so proud of Baylor Grace for being on green both nights.  The girl with the most attitude is behaving the best.  Watch out world, Baylor Grace is going to take you by storm!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Kids say the darnest things-

It has been a while since my last update, my apologies.  After a great weekend of SAE stuff, we woke up this past Monday in Tampa to drive home to Chicago.  Over 1000 miles in the van.  We made it to Nashville the first night, then headed North for the second leg of the trip.  Around Louisville, Kentucky, we hit tornadoes, in January.  It was unbelievable.  We finally made it back to Chicago late Tuesday night.  

The week was a short work week but a crazy one.  Both the big girls went to their new schools and LOVED it.  It is a good thing that I didn't take them because there would have been tears, flailing on the floor, probably a complete scene, and that would have just been me. I always hate dropping them off at school that first time, it hurts deep every time.  I am glad there were legitimate reasons for me being able to do it.  Regardless, I am so happy that they like their new schools.  This is the first time Reagan has been in a school without her Mommy right down the hall.  This is the first time Caroline has been in a big ole school, all by herself.  They both came home talking about their new friends and all the great things they did in class.  Reagan was asked about where she came from and she told them Kentucky.  She said that she had to move up here because of her Daddy's work.  When asked where I worked at, Reagan told them a church (yes this picture is part of the amazing building I work at). 

 Earlier today Reagan and her Mommy were doing homework.  Reagan had to use letters to make words. Two of her words happened to be sh*t and d*mn. Brooke lost it and so did Reagan. Brooked asked her is she knew the words and Reagan said yes because of "D-A-D". At least what she spelled was really sit and dam. Brooke told her she can not use those words, those words were big boy words.  Then Reagan said, well then daddy needed to learn some manners.

I guess they really do listen to every word you say.

Caroline started today and got home just in time before the snow hit.  It took me two hours to get home today from work, a drive that normally takes 30 minutes.  On my way home I found out that a roommate of mine from the SAE house made it home from Afghanistan. This was the best news I had heard in a while.   He had previously served a tour in Iraq. I am very happy Cheno is back with his family, he really is Brother Hero.  Now I am ready for a weekend of snuggling with my girls, as we hide from all this white stuff outside.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What an amazing three days!

If you follow me on Facebook, you will see that I have posted tons of pics of our three days at Disney.  I decided on posting this pic here because I think it sums up these past few days the best.  It was an amazing time that I wish I could bottle up forever.  I am pretty sure that when Walt dreamed of this park, he had my family in mind.  Disney is great for all sorts of people.  Disney is perfect for a guy who is a romantic at heart, with 4 little girls.

Sunday we went to Downtown Disney which has free admission, mainly because the only thing there are shops and restaurants.  The highlight of the night was getting the updated silhouettes that we first had done at Disney in June of 2009.  I first saw the silhouettes at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home.  He had all girls, and in one of his rooms at his house, he had these done of his girls.  I thought it to be a great way to capture your loved ones in a old fashioned way.  So, in June of 2009 I had these done of Reagan, Caroline, and Baylor Grace.  We were all excited to get them done again, of course with the addition of Hadley.  Our kitchen wall will now be complete with all 4 updated silhouettes clippings.

On Monday we went to Magic Kingdom and we were all totally excited.  We figured this was a great time to go and that the park wouldn't be near as crowded as the other times we went.  Boy were we wrong.  It wasn't the most crowded it has ever been with us there, but it was close.  At one point there was a 75 minute wait for Splash Mountain.  We decided to do two things first, Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain. We get there for the opening of the park and raced to the back of the park through Adventureland.  We passed up meeting Ariel, Tinkerbell, all sorts of things, to get to the Pirates ride.  All the girls jumped in but we soon realized we had made a mistake.  We probably needed to break Caroline and Baylor Grace in on this ride thing.  Probably should have started off with Its a Small World.  They got a little nervous because of some of the Pirates ride.  They both had been on it before and loved it.  This ride, back in June, is what started Caroline on her pirates kick.  But, when you're an adult you can ride these rides a thousand times and see something new each time.  I guess as a little kid you can find something to new to scare you each time.  Regardless, they made it through.  Then Caroline decided she was going to ride Splash Mountain like a big girl.  She just barely made the height requirement, Baylor Grace was turned away in disappointment.  My face in the picture on the way down, was the first unmanly thing I did on this trip.  I was so proud of Caroline for being a big girl and riding it.  She actually did okay with it, until the water hit her right square in the face.  It was a long, fun day capped off by the light parade and the fireworks...which Caroline made it through.

The second day was at Animal Kingdom, a park we had never been to.  The highlights were first, I may or may not have danced with an African Bongo group (second unmanly thing I did on this trip).  Callie may, or may not, have filmed it.  I can neither confirm nor deny that I actually got some compliments from the women in the audience.  My girls acted as if it was perfectly normal.  The Lion King show was amazing.  And despite that fact that Baylor Grace slept on my lap, drool stain and all, it was a great show.  The best part of the day for me was the roller coaster we road called Everest Expedition.  I recommend you watch it above before you go any further.  I haven't always liked roller coasters.  I am more like Caroline than Reagan when it comes to them.  However, I really wanted to ride this one, and ride it with Brooke and Reagan.  My brave little 5 year old rode it with her Mom and I. Even though you could see  the ride throughout the park, I don't think she had any real idea what was about to happen.  If she did, she might not have rode it.  I was so proud of her making it through, even if her Dad did have to carry her for awhile afterwards.

The last day was our second day at Magic Kingdom. Due to the weather, the crowd was really low.  We got to ride all the rides we wanted to, with little to no wait.  Some of them, I just stayed seated and rode again.  We also got to meet all the characters we wanted to. Around lunch, the girls went back to the hotel for naps and I stayed out at the park.  I rode a few more rides, met a few characters, even watched a parade.  There I was, solo, pink cotton candy in hand, watching a Disney parade (third unmanly thing I had done).  I realized that there was no way for me not to look like a total creeper.  Regardless, I was having a great time. It was truly an amazing day.  Almost, magical.  We were talking at dinner about our favorite parts of the trip. I asked Reagan if she knew what mine was and she said "yes Daddy, yours was all of us being together."  That's right sweetheart, it was.  I remember when we were here this past June, after the fireworks and during the mad dash for the Monorail, Reagan told me that this day was what she dreamed of her entire (5 years) life.  I knew at that point it was worth every penny we spent. I also knew we had to come back.  Tonight, after the fireworks, and during the mad dash to the Monorail, Reagan began to cry.  Not a sob, not a cry to make a scene, but tears.  Tears because all the build up was gone, and her three days were up.  This was something they had asked for from Santa, and they had a great countdown calendar at home.  Her Mom was crying a bit too.  It was a beautiful, magical three days.  It may be better to have love and lost, then to never love at all.  It is also better to be sad that this trip was over, then to never have gone on it in the first place.   The best part of this entire trip was Hadley.  Boy did she love Magic Kingdom.  She spent the two days waving at everyone.  I mean everyone.  She danced, she was amazed by the rides, and loved the Fireworks.  She had the biggest smile on her face.  All the more reason to come back.

And with that, our adventure at Disney was over.  I feel that the above picture says it all.  Two of my girls, sleeping with their Daddy.  I have no idea how much money I spent here, not sure I want to know.  The fact is, I would do it all over again tomorrow if I could.  One of my dreams was always to have a family and to be able to spend days like these past three days with them.  Moments like my parents shared with me when I was a kid. I guess Disneyworld really is the place where dreams come true.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Can. Not. Wait.

Tomorrow we leave for a few days at Disney.  I can't wait to spend some time with my girls.
Full Song- and its a good one.