Friday, November 20, 2015

this is 5

Today is Andrew's big day.

So handsome...I can't even handle it!
Today, this guy turns 5.

For some reason, 5 seems so big.  Like, how is it possible that my baby is 5.

He loves all things super hero's.  He loves all things outside.  He loves Minecraft (mostly because his big bro loves it).  He loves school.

He's my big guy most of the time...but, sometimes I see a glimpse of my sweet baby boy.

And, it's hard to believe that this was happening 5 years ago.  {easily the most scary day of my life}

Andrew surprised us the day he was born and he's kept us on our toes ever since.  He's adventurous, outspoken, kind, and loving.

He's just perfect and I can't imagine a more awesome 5 year old kid.

Love this.
Happy 5th birthday, sweet boy.

Friday, October 30, 2015


As October starts to wind down, I'm starting to feel more relaxed....less stressed...I think it's the cooler weather, the calmer evenings, the less busy days and weekends.  I love this month.

I love it so much that I'm actually sad that another year of October is over.

This one was a little different.

We are in a new place.  With new traditions.

New schools with new school parties.

New places to wear costumes.

New Halloween decorations to place in new spots.

New people to share this time with.

I'm not gonna lie...yesterday during the school Halloween party when Parker's {award winning} Godzilla costume was mistaken for a dinosaur, when I looked in his mask and saw tears because the fan in the costume had fallen out and we couldn't figure out how to fix it, when he whispered to me that this was the worst Halloween ever....I felt like crying myself.  When other lifelong buddies were taking pictures together...and we are missing ours.  When everyone else knows what's going on and we feel lost.  But, I didn't cry.  I held it together and calmly told Parker that I would fix his costume after the school parade.  He was sad and I couldn't help him.  I told him that it was okay.  That he still looked awesome.  And, he made it through.

He ended up taking off his costume and enjoyed his class party...he actually had a great time after the parade and I was so glad to be there with him.

I keep telling myself that this one moment, was just that.  Just one moment.  And, we've had too many happy moments to count.

October has been good to us.

I turned another year older {25, again, you know}.

We ended a baseball season and two soccer seasons.

We celebrated 11 years of marriage...whew!

We have enjoyed spending time with new {and old} friends.

We've enjoyed cheering on the Royals.

Parker {despite the costume malfunction} is loving school and doing so well...Andrew is also and I forgot to mention that he loved his Halloween party!  Brandon was with him while I helped out in Parker's class and {although it was a last minute decision} Andrew made the best ninja ever!

We are enjoying new 'fun' places to explore.

I am absolutely LOVING my time at home with my boys {and my nieces}.  This has been my calling for quite some time now and I am so thankful to be able to have this time with my family.

Yep, as October winds down, I am reminded of just how blessed we are.  This is the best part of my life...being a mom, a wife, and getting to share so many moments {the good and the not-so-good} with my family.  Watching my boys adjust to a new place with new traditions has been amazing.  They are simply amazing.

As November approaches, I am going to try and remind myself more often of these many blessings and be more thankful in my writing.  Every day.  It's a challenge, but one that I feel like I need to do again this year.

Until then, Happy Halloween you guys!  Happy October!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

this is 8

Today is one of my most very favorite days.

Today, this guy has a birthday.

This is what 8 looks like.

Riding his bike to school...

{I know he could probably do it on his own, but every morning and every afternoon we pack everyone up in the stroller and walk with Parker as he speeds ahead to school on his bike.  I love it that he can do this...and that we get to do it with him.  Along with our sweet neighbor friends!}

Playing soccer...

Eating us out of house and home...but I love soccer pictures.

No, seriously, I can not keep enough apples in this house.  Today I bought 20.  And, peanut name it and this guy will eat it.  All of it.  

Playing Watching other people play Minecraft.  What is this crazy phenomenon?  That British guy...the airhead couple from Florida...the two year old who now has his own action figure at Target? Really?!  Why didn't I jump on this?!  

I only had a picture of him in a Minecraft shirt...I choose to not remember the hours spent on that game.
Playing baseball...

Watching baseball...

Everything baseball!

Reading, reading, reading...

{Well, I don't actually have any pictures of him reading...usually it's at bed time and I'm too tired to think about photos at that point.  But I like this picture.  I wonder what Parker is thinking about in this one?!}

Playing kickball, playing cul-de-sac baseball, playing 'beach' kickball, wrestling his brother on the trampoline, riding his bike, playing catch, playing a pick-up game of, canoeing, hiking...

Making friends.  Parker keeps telling Andrew that our 'move' is the best thing ever.  You get to make more friends!  He will be mayor one day...

I found these 'selfies' on my phone today...

Tall socks.  To the dismay of his mother.

Helping his brother.

Still wanting his mom to snuggle him when he has a bad dream.

See what I mean about those socks.  Ugh!  Pick your battles, right?!
And, learning how to 'talk back' to his mom.

Loving on his Bella.

And throw back hats.

Going EVERYWHERE with his, seriously, these two are best buds.

The year of being 7 has been good to our guy.  But, I think 8 holds a lot of promise too.  

Happy birthday, Parker!  I love everything that you are!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Feeling Settled

Tonight I experienced something I haven't felt for a few months.

Tonight I felt at peace.  I felt 'just right'.

I feel settled.

We moved in June.  Duh, right?!

Well, since then, we've been going, going, going...enjoying summer, working on our home, raising two little boys, going on vacation, and just living life to the fullest.  And, like it does every year, school started and it feels like I've just hit a concrete wall.  You know the feeling.  Bam!  It's here.  There's no turning back now.

And, with both boys going to new schools, this Momma's heart has been stretched to the limit this week.

But tonight I feel good.

This new place we're in.  It's perfect.

Our neighbors are won-der-ful.  You may know them?!  If you do, you know that we are pretty darn lucky to have snagged a house in their cul-de-sac.  Our kids have quickly become best buds and I am so thankful for their friendship and support throughout the summer!!  We are family now, just so you know.  Just don't involve Parker in any more 'building projects'....he doesn't need any more injuries! Ha!

And, let's not forget the other friends who now live close by who have quickly become my kid's best friends...and for all of us adults, it's like the past 10 years haven't changed us at all!  {I love these friends!}

The schools.  Ohhhhh, the schools.  Well, most importantly, the teachers!  Both boys have the sweetest teachers and every single staff member is extra sweet to this 'new' family.  Not to mention the kids.  I'm so thankful for the friends we knew before going in to this new school year.  And, the boy's super awesome cuz, who just happens to be a 5th grader.  What's more cool than walking home with an awesome 5th grader?!

Speaking of cousins...did you know that we are now closer to all of my nieces and nephews?!  We get to see at least three cousins, daily, and I couldn't ask for anything more than the sweet girls that come over every day to play...or do homework...or watch movies.  Sometimes it's like a circus around here, but I just adore all of the kids who come over every day.  Life is definitely exciting!

Oh man, am I thankful for the kind families and kiddos that we've met through baseball, soccer, and Cub Scouts.  Welcoming a 'new kid' onto your team or pack isn't always easy.  And, tonight when Parker was having a dry spell in hits, I love how every kid on the bench cheered for him and as he walked up to bat, each coach pulled him aside and gave him a pep talk.  Moments like this are reminders for my 'stretched too thin heart' that the boys are doing just fine and {still} have so many people looking out for them {even in this new town}.

Okay, so, tonight I laid down to read to {super sleepy} Andrew, and after a crazy night at the ballpark, where Andrew {accidentally} had sand thrown into his eyes...and after the mom of the boy who {didn't mean to} did it apologized like 50 times, and after a day where we {the neighbors who are like 'family'} walked Parker to school while he rode his bike, and I walked up to the school where the principal came over and chatted with us and even acknowledged Andrew by his name and told him good morning, and then I ran into a baseball mom who told me her son would be at Parker's birthday party, and then we spent the  morning playing with one cousin only to pick another one up from school where we got to see our very best friend, Jayma...and not to mention we saw a little friend from the lake, and then when we dropped Andrew off at school in the car line for the first time and I felt like I wanted to burst in to tears because he is getting too big, only to get a wave from his new speech therapist as I was pulling out of line, which put my heart at ease, and then the girls and I had a quiet afternoon, leading to a cra-zy afternoon after school with all of the kids gathering at our house {Brandon came home to find me playing in the basement with 7 kiddos!}, and a night at the ball park, with new friends and grandparents and a very apologetic mom and a sad Andrew...leading me to the moment I was putting Andrew to bed...where I realized that we are settled.  We are feeling settled.

And I want to write about it.


I can't wait until I have time to share some photos.  I can't wait to show you just how settled we are!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The 'Ultimate Smile' and Other News

Why, hello there old friend.  It's been a while.

I've taken some time off from this friend of mine.

There have been many, many, many days in the past few months, where I've wanted to share a story or an event or even just some fun memories about our family, but I'm gonna be honest, it's been hard.

Not hard in a bad way, but hard because our family has had a lot of uncertainty these past few months.  A lot of 'what-ifs' and a lot of 'maybes'.  It's been hard for me to focus on much lately, other than just focusing on life...and the three most important people in my life.

But, the other night, Andrew (who is always giving us something fun to talk about), who was having a really hard time falling asleep, gave me something to write about...and it's a good lead into our 'other news'.

For a couple of weeks now, I've been promising my kiddos that 'if they slept in their own beds all night for 7 consecutive nights, I would take them to Chuck E Cheese.''s taking them a while to get to 7 nights.  And, the other night, as Andrew would not fall asleep and the hour was approaching 11:00 pm, he came up to my bed and asked to snuggle me, and I said, "you know what?"

Andrew: "What, Mom?"

Me: "You know who I think is going to be the only one to get to go to Chuck E Cheese is?"

Andrew: "Who?!" {thinking it was him}

Me: "Well, she's the only one whose been staying in her bed's Bella."

I looked at Andrew's face and he cracked the biggest, most silly smile I've ever seen...then, he started cracking up.

And, so I told him, "Oh, Andrew, I love that smile of yours."

Andrew replied, "Well, Mom, this isn't any old smile...this is my ULTIMATE smile."

And, he couldn't wait to tell Parker this the next morning...and, he did finally go to sleep.

How I love that boy {and his brother too!}.


This past week has been the most intense week for us.  I'm thinking that if our marriage survives this week, then we can survive anything.  On top of gymnastics dress rehearsals and programs, multiple soccer games and practices, as well as a Cub Scout overnight camp out (this was cancelled due to rain), and multiple work obligations, friends coming over, homework, helper days at preschool, board meetings, and everything else that happens in life, we actually SOLD our house!

It's true.

And, not only that, we also BOUGHT a new home!  Yep, it's the one we wanted...we've been eying it for months and I am so so so so so happy that it has all worked out. {And, thankful for the new friends we've made in this process...}

I know all of you know that I carry a bittersweet heart about all of this moving mumbo jumbo {tears}, but I can't tell you how happy I am that we now know what and where we will be in six weeks.

You also have to know that almost every time I talk about this, I a baby.  Like 10 times a day.  Really...I cry at work, I cry when I drop the kids off at school, I cry when I'm doing the dishes, I cry during gymnastics performances, I cry picking kids up, having friends over, talking about the name it, I've cried all over it.  Living in a small community for 10 years will do that to a girl.

But, then I smile....and let me tell you friends, this is my ultimate smile.  I'm smiling because I know of the new adventures that are ahead for us.  I know it's not all going to be easy {so, you Mommas out there that have moved your kids to a new town, please, please, please give me some advice!}, but {like I told the boys} no matter where we are, as long as we are together, we will be just fine.  And, this is a super duper exciting time in our life!


{Thanks for the most appropriate hash tag ever, to my friend who just moved her family to a new state.}

And...the best part is...the boys are really excited about this!

Whew!  I know there's a gajillion other things I want to tell you, but that's about all I can handle for now.  So, until next time {because, let's be honest here, I don't know when that's going to be}, I hope you have many 'ultimate' smiles...and some regular smiles too.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Moments

We had a wonderful Christmas!  And, a nice break from the daily grind of school and work....tomorrow we go back and I am {kind of} looking forward to getting back into our routine and getting my house back from the Christmas chaos.

Today I had time to upload my photos from Christmas...all 386 of them.  Ha! We captured some pretty fun moments through these photos and I just love looking back through all of them.

We had a fun Christmas Eve at the farm...although we were missing one of the C and C duo and were sad about that...we improvised and the boys {and Miss O} had a pretty special time doing their 'crafts', sharing a Christmas Eve lunch, and opening their gifts.

I love how Andrew is always trying to get Miss O to smile.  He is successful 100% of the time

We are very blessed to have Great Grandma Elaine at Christmas. Miss O loves relaxing on her lap.

We really missed Cameron and Aunt Kasey this year...the boys even took a photo and pretended that their missing cousin was in the picture!

We missed you, Cam!

I love our new(er) tradition of spending the evening of Christmas Eve at home...just the four of us.  As it has been for the past three years, Andrew has fallen asleep on our way home from Christmas at the farm...thus making a very impatient older brother.  

This year we had an extra special gift for our big guy and we let him open it up while Andrew was still snoozing.

Never in a million years did Parker think we would buy him an iPod.  But, he's been talking about it for about a year now.

And, with his newly found love of listening to music, we thought that this would be a wonderful surprise for our him.

I just love these pictures of him finding out that he got something he was totally not expecting to ever get!

Love these two techy guys!

Then Andrew woke up!

Andrew's favorite gift was one that his big bro picked out for him.  Parker saw that Super Man robot and just knew that Andrew would love it! most parents feel this time of gotta be fair.  So, Andrew received his own iPad mini this year.  {Thanks to a nice sale at Target on Thanksgiving!}

Parker even took his first selfie with that iPod on Christmas Eve!

And....after a night of many threats to my kids that Santa would NOT be stopping at our house if they did NOT go to sleep, he arrived...leaving goodies for the boys to find in the morning. 

And, out of all of the gifts they received from Santa, I think I can safely say that they love their new slippers the best! Ha! 

Even mom {myself} got something special from Santa.  I just love this wall hanging that my out for me!  It fits our family so well.

Parker was very excited to try out his new Melt N Mold!

And...Andrew in his dinosaur slippers.

Christmas is special to me because of these two.  I just love their kind and giving hearts...and I love the excitement they have from giving and receiving gifts at Christmas time!

Later that day, we headed to De Soto to spend some time with more cousins and Grandma and Papa!

The kids always enjoy being the Elves and handing out gifts.  And, of course, they enjoy opening them as well!

No Christmas is complete without a magic show!

Or a game of Mustache Smash!

Andrew liked pretending that the packaging was a castle!

We had a wonderful Christmas day with family and I love it that every year seems to out-do the last! 

Did you know that celebrating Christmas in our family is a week-long party?!  Well, it is.  And, the weekend following Christmas we got to visit more family and celebrate this wonderful holiday!

Grandpa Mike always seems to surprise my kiddos in some way and this year they were overwhelmed with gifts and love from him!  Even Aunt Dani had a few tricks up her sleeve...making the boys unwrap 10 or so boxes before they could find her gift! 

Miss Olivia was there also!  Look at those smiles!  And, yep, Andrew is always in pajamas! Ha!

Our Christmas was merry and bright and full of magical moments.  I can't believe it's over and that we're 5 days in to 2015!  

2014 is going to be hard to beat...and, I'll do a countdown of our favorite moments of 2014 soon, but until then, stay tuned...I think 2015 is going to rock our world!