Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bauer Bunch Best Of {2015}

Oh, hey there! I thought I'd pop in one last time before 2015 became yesterday's news.

How have the holidays been treating you? We had a wonderful Christmas that ended in the same house with a much larger toy collection. Santa showed up and Baby Jesus made his way into the Nativity. We burned the highway across Arkansas to celebrate family growth and dream about the future. We laughed and ate to capacity and enjoyed our time together; however, I'll find relief when the tree is packed away.

I'm shifting focus to a fresh year and I have big plans. While it's still December, though, I thought it would be fun to look back at where we've been. Instead of grabbing a post per month, as I've done in the past, I've gone through 2015 and snagged my favorite stories. While you're waiting for the kids to give in and the champagne to chill, here's a bit of reading material. I've added the first few lines of each post for browsing, but click the photo or title for the real deal. Drum roll, please. It's the Bauer Bunch Best Of {2015}:

And You're So Much Like Me
I had a parenting revelation a while ago that stopped me cold in my tracks. It was a conversation with Nathan {and then one later with his father} that brought me straight back to second-grade. It was like watching seven-year-old Jessica go through the motions from an outside perspective. I know what's on the other side, but I can't intervene.

Chicken Chat
A few new girls moved into the house this week. For years we've talked about chickens. A flock of pets that live outside and give us free food sounded like a sweet deal. As I continued to have babies of my own, though, we decided adding a box of chirping chicks to care for wasn't going to work. Every year we found a reason not to do it, but I never stopped bringing it up.

On Being Seven
This week my oldest son graced the stage and nailed his line in the second-grade musical. They sang loud and clear, they hit their marks like professionals, and they grooved like nobody was watching. The odd thing about it, though, was that several people watching. The wooden auditorium seats were filled with parents, grandparents, and siblings who were being shushed with graham crackers.

Still Standing
I've been watching the Japanese maple in my front yard for five years. Armed with a shovel and a tiny little tree, two-year-old Nathan helped me and Jonathan plunk those roots into the dark soil. It was such a sad-looking tree. It was the same height as the green support we planted next to it, and it drooped for days while we watered it back to health.

To My Rotten Kid
Parenting isn't always fun. Sometimes I get the urge to close up shop. Pack my bags, jump in the car, and leave a pile of waffles in the living room. Although we both know this isn't a possibility, the feelings are real. Between two-hour bedtime battles, backseat wrestle mania, and various forms of the word "mom" hurled at me relentlessly, I get tired.

Here's to the Dads
I don't know about you, but I cringe when someone insinuates that I have four children, husband included {har, har}. It's not that I don't understand the joke that grown men may sometimes act like children, I just don't think it's particularly funny. It seems odd to imply that fathers are needy and less involved.

Family Vacation
There was quite a bit more on this year's beach trip, friends. There were more 6:30 AM wake-up calls, more requests for chocolate milk, more fights in the condo, more dirty diapers, and a lot more to carry down the boardwalk. Coincidentally, there was more laughter, more sand castles, more squealing every time a wave surprised us, and more joy.

My Wildflower
I think I have written about the precise moment the ultrasound tech told me Nora was a girl a dozen times on this blog. Nathan danced a happy jig, Owen's eyes widened, and tears let loose from my mine. It keeps cropping up because it marked a distinct turning point in the flow of the Bunch. Not because this baby was of a different sex than the two before, but because of what that little girl would mean for us.

Backseat Buddy
For as long as Owen can remember, he has spent an hour of his day in a car seat. Thirty minutes there, thirty minutes back. He's always accompanied me down the highway to my work town, where he's then dropped off at day care. On these drives we have counted cows in the pastures and laughed at the ones that wander into ponds. We've sung Uptown Funk and "Keri" Perry until our voices cracked.

Truth + Pumpkin Carving
I'd like to know the history behind carving pumpkins. I'm sure a Google search would direct me to a perfectly reasonable explanation of using these decorative gourds as lanterns on chilly autumn nights or something, but I want to know the turning point that made it parental torture.

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