and there you have it…



My first parent Halloween

I know what you’re thinking. Hasn’t Grant been around for a few Halloween’s already? You are a smart one. Yes, he’s been around for six actually. This year, however, was the first year he, and therefore parent me, has ever done anything on Halloween. We never celebrated it before because…well…we could get away with it. The kids were too little to even know it existed and there was no school to teach them otherwise and it was just one less thing I had to do. I have three children, I have enough to do.

This year however was different. This year, not only was Grant in school, but we lived in a neighborhood with kids, lots of kids. I didn’t have candy, which meant we had to get out. So we got everyone all dressed up and we left. Here we are having just arrived at Tijuana Flats to get our free kids meals for having the kids in costumes.

Side note: I thought Halloween was supposed to be the fun easy holiday? I had to fight the kids tooth and nail to get their costumes on, and more than half were mad at me by the end. Also I have never heard so much screaming and crying in one place as I did at Tijuana Flats that night from all the happily costumed children.

After dinner however, cowboy perked up,

Mr. Incredible decided he didn’t look stupid without his mask (since he cut up the one I made him because he ‘looked stupid’ in it, then threw a fit when we left because he didn’t have a mask!), the ghetto alterations I made to Korean Princess’s hanbok had fallen out (yes I did use a heavy duty paper clip to alter it),

and we were on our way to a festival! (still too early to go home, we might have actually had tricker treaters) So the kids got one handful of candy each, which they thought was great. A whole handful! I got like ten pieces! Oh the beauty of ignorance. They also jumped, slid, and climbed their heart out on all the inflatables. They had a total blast, so much so that Jena let out her signature ear-piercing scream when she realized we were leaving. Which was heard, and drew stares, even over the blasting music and other screaming children. Yes, my three-year old was able to scream louder than 100+ screaming children combined, that is talent. It’s too bad I can’t use that to power the house, energy!

And I will leave you with an audio clip, that is actually a video clip you can see nothing on. Jacob was saying ‘ticky teet!’ the whole car ride from the restaurant to the festival (all 4 mins). What you’re getting is all he would give me once the camera was on. If you listen past the ‘poopie’ you can hear it one time, it’s adorable and totally worth the almost 30 seconds it took to get it out of him again. You’re welcome.


first mother’s day

This year felt like a first Mother’s day for me. It was the first year most of my children actually were able to acknowledge the day. With Grant in school now I even got the lovely handmade bracelet featured below. Add that to the multitude of scribbled cards and my flower from church and it felt like a pretty good Mother’s day to me.

merry christmas

The Christmas season is officially over for this Byce family this year. It was an amazingly unstressful and even enjoyable Christmas season as far as these busy seasons go. Our house now looks  like an Apple commercial what with the two iPhones, iPod and now an iTouch (kids) and iPad (Neil) all we need now is the macbook air…anybody? But to counter all the screen time the big kids also got bikes and Jacob got a push/ride car. It was really fun watching the kids this year, I have a feeling it’s only going to get better.

A few highlights.

My mom LOVED the picture calendar we got her and her jewelry box, double win. I’ve never been so gratified with what we got her, our notoriously difficult to buy for person. Totally worth the time spent in creation.

Skyped in my sister for another year. Remember that part in the big ball ride at Epcot, where the grandparents are this holographic image on a screen for a kid’s birthday? Yeah every time we skype her in for an event, I feel like I’m on that ride. It’s the world of tomorrow. It just amazes me how the kids are so natural with it. Jena opens a present from Titi and the first things she does is bring it up to ‘Titi’ and show her what she got. Heck we forgot to do that half the time. Jacob was warming right up by the end of the event and kept coming up to the netbook to ‘chat.’ It was nice to have her there.

Grant managed to get a present that scares his sister at just about every Christmas this year, he finds this hilarious. Those in proximity of the ensuing screaming…not so much. I was getting flashes of my future with every ensuing scream.

I think my favorite gifts of the kids’, not that I’m playing with them…or anything…like that…really. Yeah, so my favorites are the interactive map of the United States for Grant and Jena and Jena’s dress up hanbok from Korea. I love that when Grant was playing with the map this morning he kept hitting all the states over and over and then looked up and said to me, but where’s Africa mommy? And watching Jena prance around in her hanbok and tiara and princess shoes was too fun. I was always Korea when we would do any sort of dance representing nations in my dance group, it’s really neat to see my daughter in the same type of outfit I wore.

I loved all my presents this year, but I think the best of all was the news that we have a renter, 100% official, lease signed. He will be moving in on the 22nd of January, which means we will be moved out 28days or less.

Merry Christmas to me.


Ok so maybe that title is a bit of wishful thinking. There are actually a lot of things I am guilty of, but, well, that’s not really where I want to go with this post. I’ve been realizing, again, how many needless things I feel guilty about. (Like right now, as I realized that this is not a new revelation to me, there goes the guilt again).

It probably had something to do with being raised by a former catholic, my father, and a mother who can navigate the guilt trip with her eyes closed. But the more I talk to mothers, especially new mothers, I realize there’s something bigger going on than my family issues. Apparently our culture is breeding this nonesense. I’m not the only one! This is not entirely comforting however. The fact that I’m in good company kinda makes the situation more crazy.

And since one of the primary purposes of this blog is therapy, I will now list some of the things I feel guilty about in any given minute. 

I feel guilty that…

I sometime eat food that the kids might possibly eat (not food that’s on their plate or for them, but food they may like…or possibly eat…at some point…ever)

I might not be feeding them properly (which is moslty only a reality in my head)

I’m not feeding them enough (I’m sensing a running food theme…)

I don’t get home till dinner more than half the week now

I didn’t make my own baby food

I didn’t even try cloth diapers

I let the kids brush their own teeth and only once a day!

My oldest son has allergies (yes I do feel responsible)

My youngest son has excema (he got it from me you know)

There are more days than I’d like to admit that I don’t like my daughter

I yell at my kids WAAAY more than I was ever planning too (aka never)

The kids get more showers than baths, because it’s easier for me, even though they love the bath

I wash Jena’s hair (if you heard her screams for help you’d feel bad too)

Some nights I make up an excuse not to read stories before bed

I don’t remember most of my daughter’s first year

I go longer than a few weeks without taking video/pictures of the kids sometimes

My kids watch TV every morning

I sleep (or at least try) while they watch TV, unsupervised, in the morning

I rarely clean out the car

I never clean windows

I no longer enjoy the holidays

And here’s my favorite

I DON’T feel guilty about working (in my defense this particular one is frequently reinforced outside my head)

There, I feel better already. I actually realized, in making that list, that I could take a number of things off this list. Things I do that aren’t ‘approved’ of. I started to put them down, thinking I should feel guilty about them, and realized, I don’t. Woohoo!

So in celebration, I DON’T feel guilty that I let my kids play in the dirt, or they all share a bedroom, or I only buy them one or two toys at Christmas, or we stay away from the doctor whenever possible, or I love all my kids differently or I sometimes fantisize about the day they’re all off to college and I have my husband all to myself!

I think I’m going to try to add to the second list, or subtract from the first one, or at least not add to the first one, or not feel guilty if I don’t do either, or something like that.

fireworks with 2 and 4

We did fireworks with the kids this year, it was the first year we’ve tried. I know I had fun, but I’ve always loved fireworks. Neil enjoyed himself too. Both boys had fun. Jacob was practically jumping out of my arms while they were going off, he’s an easily excitable little guy anyway, and he’s too little to get scared. Grant was old enough to really get into them. Every firework was his FAVORITE ONE EVER! he’s got a streak of his daddy in him.

Jena however, well Jena’s two and I don’t think two mixes too well with fireworks. She watched them all with her hands over her ears, but she stayed. She even told me she liked them and wanted to watch another one (that’s what she’s saying in the video, you can’t really hear it). She ran away after almost everyone, but she came back. She also didn’t scream at all. I must say, despite it all, I was very proud of our little girl.

Last year Grant would have been the one scared, though I’d venture a guess that he would have screamed his head off (he didn’t have an excited big brother to follow), and Jena would have been our little brave one.

Next year Jena will probably be fine and Jacob will be the scared one.

And in a few more years we should all be able to do them and all enjoy them too. I’m looking forward to it.

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