Wednesday, August 31, 2011


The day Ryan has been waiting for since last August finally arrived...his first day of soccer practice! Poor guy was desperate to play last year as he watched his sister play (or hold hands with her friend and twirl mid-field, whatever). :) Ryan has been talking about playing almost daily all summer. His coach had them dribble around the cones and he did awesome! I was SO PROUD of him! They ended practice with a little scrimmage {precious} and he totally went for it--including blocking a kick with his chest. He looked like a total natural, until he began crying from the impact. A little sip of water and he was good to go. I can already tell I am going to love watching him play...and that there are hours of {Ryan} sports watching in my future. Bring it on! This is one proud soccer Mama!

Big boy soccer player!

With one of his best buddies, Jack. Ryan is so excited to play with so many of his friends from his old playgroup (and I love getting to reconnect with my friends!).

Jack seems surprisingly agile and naturally good at soccer. Then he got bored with dribbling the ball and found a new hat for entertainment. :) Cute boy. {and yes, it was sweltering hot}

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


This is my random thought process. No deep thinking, no cute kid phrases. Just contemplatin' as I fold my 3rd load of laundry for the day...

If you are a mother {and possibly if you aren't, though I don't remember having a strong feeling on laundry pre-kid} you understand that laundry is constant. In fact, it's more than constant. Even during that magical 37 seconds when the washer and drier are both empty and all of the clothes are actually ironed and put away, you and your family is still wearing clothes {I presume}. So really, it is lit-ruly (man, can't wait for Parks and Rec to come back!) never ending.

I can't express the deep satisfaction I get when I go to sleep with a vacuumed laundry room floor. My reasons are three-fold. 1.) If it's been vacuumed, it's visible. This leads quickly to 2.) There is no laundry waiting for me in the morning (unless I got a wild hair to change the kids' sheets for no apparent reason which means that Janelle's law is in effect. {Janelle's law being: "If you change a child's sheets, within 24 hours they will puke or have an accident."} 3.) If it's been vacuumed, it stands to reason that the rest of my wood floors are also vacuumed because really, who just vacuums their laundry room and nothing else?

And, that's it. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Manly Men

Parenting either gender is a huge calling and enormous responsibility. Today I've been thinking more about my boys, about their character and the kind of husbands and men I hope that they become one day.

Maybe it's because I've been spending extra time with my two boys lately, but I'm a bit overwhelmed as I think about the obligation of raising two boys who will one day, Lord willing, be responsible for their families. I pray they will be godly husband and fathers. But what does the training look like? Of course we train them to hold doors, wait for "ladies first", we teach respect for authority, to protect women and children and to stand up for what is right (well, we are working on this with Ryan. We are just working on talking with steps. Ha!). I know there isn't a formula for "do this and this happens" with kids, so I guess besides prayer I can just be thankful that my boys have an incredible model to watch in Chris. Any hints for training up godly young men are appreciated.

Funny thing, this picture is what got me thinking about it.

A friend (hi Emily!) remarked on facebook that this was hubby in training. I would like to think that real men are happy to help a tired wife out with the vacumming. I am so thankful that Chris is happy to jump in and help when asked, and often, without even needing to be asked! What a blessing!

And, just sticking with a's poor Jack with his first black eye. He had a little run in with the wrought iron railings as he fell down a few stairs (seven, to be precise.). Ahh, boys will be boys. :)

Friday, August 19, 2011


It's weird having my child picked up and taken to school and then delivered back home. I have always driven my own kids to school both ways (obviously had help in a bind and helped others, but generally I drove). Even though school is pretty close, the pick up is 2:05-right in Jack's nap (and regrettably, my monitor wouldn't reach. If I still had my monitor?? :) ). We were SO blessed that two of Anna-Kate's dear friends are in her class and that our schedules work together for a perfect carpool situation. Leigh-Ann and I are splitting mornings and late pick up (3) for an after school activity once a week and Jessica brings them home 4 days a week as her son is a little older and naps a bit later. It is absolutely the little things that the Lord just reassures that He is in this whole decision, process and that He works all things for good!

In her chapel uniform this morning. So cute!!

All three big kids in the back of the van--Anna-Kate, Marin, Adam

Anyway, it's been hard for me (yet again) to let go of driving her and not being the first to hear all of the little tidbits of her day. But, it's good. Since we are moving to earlier bed time (7:30 to accommodate 7 am wake up for the first time in her life!!) I put Jack down for his nap 1-4. I get to read and play with Ryan individually until 2, then send him to his room for quiet play time. Jessica drops Anna-Kate off a little after 2 and I have a snack waiting for her and we sit at the table and chat about her day. She has been a little tired, so we will move to the couch and read a book, then talk about her day more, then read another book before she goes to her room around 3 for 45 minutes or so to play alone and unwind a little. The look on little Ryan's face when he sees his sister is priceless--he is PUMPED! He misses her so much! :)

These days are surely precious and I am beyond thankful for them (and that my girl will spill all of the details of her day!).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Just for kicks...

A comparison to last year...

Ryan, 2010

Ryan, 2011

Anna-Kate, 2010

Anna-Kate, 2011

My, how quickly time flies!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First day of school {kindergarten version}

Last night our school hosted its annual meet the teacher night followed by the back to school picnic. Anna-Kate was very excited to meet her teacher and we enjoyed getting her acclimated to where her cubby was etc. After, we hit the playground while Chris gathered our picnic blanket/chairs then headed down to the football field where there were various food options, (yet we still ended up with Chikc-fil-a!) bounce houses, ride on toys for the littles and carnival games. My kids were in paradise!

The first day of school has a late start so I decided to make a big family breakfast. As I was just putting muffins in the oven I turned around to Anna-Kate (at 7:30 am) standing in the kitchen, fully dressed in her uniform with a huge grin on her face. She said, "do I look beautiful, Mama?" {that would be cry #1 of the day, if you wanted to keep track}. We enjoyed a slower breakfast then began the photo shoot. :) She came up to me as I stood there watching my kids play together in the last minutes before we left for school and was overwhelmed with joy and the blessings I have been given. I had a few tears in my eyes, and Anna-Kate ran up to me, threw her arms around me and said, "Mama, I am just so excited to go to my new school!" (this would be huge as I usually have to drag her/pry her off me the first few days).

Sad Daddy! He is not happy about her growing up!

Precious siblings. I am blessed by them!

As we drove to school I looked in the rear view mirror and saw her sitting there in her big girl booster, and in the foreground, Jack in her old infant seat. I kept willing myself to pull it together (this would be cry #3, the second happened as I prayed for breakfast :) ). We walked up the ramp at the exact same time as her friend Adam and his family, so of course, I began snapping their first day together at school. Jonathan mocked my scrapbook efforts. Ha!

Adam and Anna-Kate...sweet friends. :)

After I snapped pictures with her teachers and got a quick picture with us and her, (dismal as it is...) Chris left for work and the boys and I headed to the annual kindergarten "tissues and tears" party. Aptly named. They boys had a hay day with the food and I must have looked fragile as I received numerous hugs {from strangers} and "oh honeys".

Last picture before getting shooed away.

Her TA, Ms. Byrd

Her teacher, Ms. Miller

I came home and began cleaning while the boys played, surprisingly well together. Other surprise of the day? Being one kid down, the noise level in my house rose significantly. Boys! :)

We headed to school for early pick up at 1:30 and to attend a popsicle party to celebrate the first day of school. It was fun to see her walking out with her class, put her bag away, and then my heart melted as she saw me, shouted "mama" and came running to a big hug. (this would be cry 12 or so of the day...). My heart is full. Even as I miss her, I know the Lord has guided this decision and this is the school He planned for her. We are so blessed to be a part of this school, and even more blessed to call her our daughter.

She saw me and came running...I LOVE this picture!

I missed her so much! What a happy reunion! :)

Class picture

Her and Marin

Monday, August 15, 2011

First day of school {preschool version}

Today was Ryan's first day of school! I was prepared for an emotional event. It was not. We all walked in to his room. I could barely get him to stop for a quick picture before he kissed me and said, "bye Mom!". So proud of him!

In front of the door obligatory first day picture.

Walking him in--like a champ!

SO ready to go!

Silly faces with Mama. I sure love this boy!

When I picked him up his teacher, Ms. Wanda, said, "if all of my students are as respectful and obedient as Ryan, this will be the easiest year of teaching I've ever had." I about fell back (and was SO proud of him!). She said that every time she told the kids to do something, he was the first to stop what he was doing, say "yes ma'am" and move to the next thing. Way to go, Ryan!

To be completely honest, (and if you know me IRL this is not a surprise) I was disappointed in Ryan's teacher for this year. I specifically chose days of the week (MWF) that I didn't particularly want, for the teacher that I thought was perfect for Ryan. The teacher I chose is strict, very routined (is that a word? it should be) and calls Ryan out on his crap. She doesn't let him get away with anything, and he thrives under that sort of structure. Anyway, late last week there was a switcheroo pulled at school and, because of various reasons, some shuffling of teachers. If you have ever read this blog you know I am not the most flexible person and don't do well with my ducks getting pushed out of their little line (sigh. A character flaw the Lord is graciously trying to work out of me, evidently). Here's the beauty of believing in the sovereignty of I told Wanda about Ryan's breathing issues and croup problems, (which generally brings raised eyebrows and "well don't bring him if he's sick!") she just listened. When I finished talking she said, "well my granddaughter has the same exact thing. Does it sound like this?" (She then perfectly mimicked what Ryan sounds like in the beginning phase of his breathing problems). I was blown away at the Lord's provision. As my dad said today after I told him, "So you are saying God chose what you needed better than you did?". Why yes, yes He did.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I just wrote a really long blog post. I couldn't push publish. I try to portray myself honestly, but sometimes the ugliness of my heart is too much for me and this semi-anonymous-yet-extremely-public platform.

I am wrestling with a lot of emotions as we gear up for school next week. I am thrilled with the choice we've made and how we have seen the Lord work, but I am fearful of the unknown and of leaving my kids with new people. I wonder if they will make friends and how they will fit in. At the same time, a small part of my heart will breathe a sigh of relief to get my house back in order and reestablish a routine after the relaxing summer we had (lovely though it was).

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The summer of travel

I CANNOT believe summer is coming to a close! Seriously? Anna-Kate starts school next week {But that is for another post. I fight back tears to think about it. School starting, not writing another post. Ha.}. We have had a lovely summer and done so much! As I somehow managed to document, we went to Disney and St. Louis. We have also had multiple short trips to my parents' house for blueberry picking, visiting my grandparents and hanging out. Leigh-Ann and her kids came with us one week (as we love to do--so fun!). Last week was our turn to visit Leigh-Anns' parents' house. We loaded up the van again with all six car seats (and if you need a tutorial on which brands work in which spot, I can help!). We had a lovely week spent playing with {new} toys and playing in their awesome neighborhood zero entry pool (why doesn't every pool have zero entry???). Leigh-Ann and I (despite not having even one pictures together) had a fantastic time and enjoyed our evenings out as her parents stayed back with sleeping kids--so fun!

We stopped at outlets on the way up. Yes, we went shopping with six kids. While I wouldn't advise it, it wasn't too bad. :) Their reward was playing on the little ride on things...without any money in them. Yep, cheap thrills!

How we kept them all contained as we gathered pool toys, towels and packed a lunch. Thank you, Tom and Jerry!

"Adams' Nana" swinging with the kids.

This years stair picture. Sad it's blurry...this seems to be the one with most people smiling and/or looking. Actually, the best picture I accidentally cut Dave's head out of, so opted not to use that one. Oops.

So, we are done traveling for now and hunkering down for school. We are getting very excited and were thrilled to hear that 3 of the 4 kids (2 of her sweet girlfriends and Adam!)we knew going to our school (and entering kindergarten) would be in her class!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Aww nuts!

"Aww NUT" is how Ryan says it, but in any firm, this one of my favorite things the kids' say (thank you, Donald Duck!).

And on a different note, I believe I determined why I don't like nuts--texture. Last night Leigh Ann and I went to a little coffee shop and got milkshakes. Vanilla Icecream, a spoon full of peanut butter and chocolate chips. The flavor was super, but I began chewing and it was full if nuts, I thought, and I declared to hate it. The reason? There was stuff stuck in my molars(not between my teeth). Ya, upon closer inspection, it was the chocolate stuck in my teeth. So now I don't like the texture of nuts or chocolate and how it sticks in my teeth. Just relaying info as I get it. ;)