Thursday, September 13, 2018

Spotlight on our Big Kids

Since our baby seems to get the spotlight at least once a month, I decided to do a quick spotlight on our oldest two. They are just as fun and exciting as well and keep our world spinning. Yesterday, I gave a few fun facts about the baby so I thought I'd give some of the big kids as well.

1. You are dressing yourselves and dress so grown up.
 I love watching children pick their own clothes. These 2 typically dress pretty formally. Riley picks polos and dress pants and shorts most of the time. Payton loves dresses (especially formal ones). The above picture is an outfit of their own choosing to demonstrate.

2. Payton started gymnastics and has changed so much since day 1 of class, a few years ago.
 Words can not even express how sad this picture makes me. The time has gone so quickly but we are loving every second we are given.

Riley has learned so much gymnastics from his big sister, without even setting a foot in class himself. He is definitely keeping up with what she is learning.

3. Outings are much more challenging but we are making them happen.
 Baby season can be hard with older siblings. It's more challenging to get outdoors and takes a lot of work to leave the house. We are making it happen though, sometimes on my own with all 3 and plenty of times after dad comes home and can watch the baby.

4. Visits from family are the best.
We have had a ton of visits from various family members and are just loving that! The big kids help me clean the house for guests and make so many plans to keep company entertained.

5. We are back into the school routine
This is always a work in progress (for me), but the kids LOVE learning and school. I can't even skip a day without one of them asking for their school stuff. It's crazier teaching 2 kids preschool and having a baby as well but we have quickly found a rhythm that works for us.

Payton and Riley, you are so much fun and have been so good to us. We are honored to be blessed with the opportunity to be your parents. May you continue to spread your wings as you learn to fly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

9 Months for our littlest man

Oh boy, boy, you are speeding life up for me. We hit 9 months and it still feels like we should be in month 2. Maybe your commitment to ensuring I don't sleep more than a few hours at a time is what has me stuck at this age? Let's just say, teething has been rough on you (and me) this month. But, you have 2 teeth to show for it and I'm certain a 3rd will come through at any time. Here's a few quick facts about you, sweet baby Jayden:
 1. You take the best pictures. Seriously. This was the second picture I took of you on this blanket. Your monthly pictures take me less than 10 minutes start to finish, including changing you and putting on an outfit.

May your day always shine bright like your smile.

2. You ALWAYS want to be held. That's probably why pictures go so quickly. You will smile if you think I will pick you back up. If I don't follow through, well, you probably know what comes.

I will carry you until you tell me you're too big. And then, my heart will break.
3. You love food and we are slowly adding to what you eat. We are kind of lazier parents and so we have slowly added to your food regime. You love eggs though and (fun fact) I thought eggs tasted so amazing when I was pregnant with you.

4. You are momma's boy. I am pleased to say I am definitely your preferred person in this life. I'll take that any day. You are also willing to do anything and go anywhere without an issues as long as your are carried by your mom.

I could spend all day every day with you. And I am certainly doing that day and night.
Photo courtesy of Payton.

5. You love to swing.
You enter your own little happy place when swinging. You sing to yourself, practice babble talking, let the world pass you by, and lay back to rest your eyes.

A singing child is a happy child.

6. You rocked our world when you came for the better and we would do anything for you.
There really is no love like a mama's love.

Or a daddy's love. Or a brother's love. Or a sister's love.

Just saying.

You are really the center of our world right now and we are so happy to have you here with us. Cheers to month 9.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Goodbye August, Hot and Crazy

Goodbye August, hot and crazy.
Hello September, cool and lazy.

This is our last year to have all 3 of our babies at home and we spent this month celebrating not having to face the reality that our children are old enough for school (and that we don't have to start shuttling them daily to school). I love having my babies at home with me but I am greatly aware that this season will come to an end all too quickly. I am wholeheartedly embracing the time I have.

My hubby and I made a promise to try and pack in fun exploring activities for the kids any chance we can since we still have a whole bucket list of area activities that we have yet to do. First up, a playground and petting zoo.
 Unfortunately, we didn't realize the zoo had switched to weekends only and we went on a random weekday. Their website hadn't been updated to reflect this. The kids were a little disappointed but were still able to walk the property and see all the animals. They just didn't get the joys of petting them and feeding them.

For another random outing, we took the kids fishing. They actually had a choice between the splash pad (one of their favorite spots) or fishing. We were shocked when Payton caught a bass within minutes of her first cast.
Riley said from the beginning he would catch a little fish. He was totally right! It took a bit more patience and waiting but his response made it so worth it.
Adding in random food and dessert experiences, and the kids thought this month was a total win.
We have to give so much credit to little man, who is the best trooper hands-down. He is so content to do what everyone else is doing and loves watching his family entertain him.
Back at home, we snuck outside any chance we got to play the day away.

Fresh air, flowers, and warm air never felt so good.

I left my phone outside to grab a snack for the kids and they chose to take the opportunity for a photo session. One of the pictures I found:
Same eyes. Oh yeah, definitely siblings. I love catching quick glimpses of life through a child's eyes. It's amazing how fresh and simple their perspective on life is.

We haven't been all play and no work. Our schooling at home started and we've been working hard on the alphabet, numbers, Spanish, and sneaking in art projects as applicable.

 It is harvest time around here so you can find us picking and processing apples, working the garden, and/or roasting veggies regularly. This was our first year to have cantaloupe and we have quite the surplus, which has been so exciting!

Here is one of our apple picking collections:
 During the winter I am so thankful for our harvest and preserving foods but when we are actually doing the work for this, I am not nearly as happy. I think every year that I shouldn't do it and when it's over, I am so glad I put in the effort. This year did not disappoint. I drug my feet the most but ended up with more apples than we have ever had in our 4 years on our property. My 2 oldest children helped immensely and are the happiest helpers. For this, I will be forever grateful.

Hello September, Cool and Lazy.

We are starting to slow down a bit and the weather is taking a slight turn. We love fall and all things football related (most of us come for the food though), outside sports play, changing leaves, camping, and sitting out on the patio any time we want. Our schedule is still staying a bit tight but we plan to take full advantage of our quiet periods in our week.

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Baby Jayden is 8 Months

Whew, where has the month gone? It's been fast and baby Jayden is growing, you know, like a weed.
 You aren't slowing down little man and neither is time. We will rapidly be approaching your first birthday. And then I'll blink and you'll be three.

You are so easy going and that makes life so very easy for this mama. You got your first tooth this month and that was pretty hard on you. You were fussy but never stopped smiling. You did stop sleeping however.

As long as you are part of the group, you are good. Leave you alone, for any reason, and you are one unhappy camper. Speaking of camper, my husband took the big kids camping this weekend and that gave Jayden some much needed time with mommy. We did head out to the lake Saturday and seriously sat there mesmerized and in awe of the big kids and their daddy.
They had the best time camping and, for a short time, we had fun watching them live their best life getting outdoors together.
Even in the heat, Jayden, you are the happiest baby. You refused to nap though so the day was a struggle with me trying to keep you on routine and also enjoy the time at the lake as a family. You struggled that night sleeping as well but are spending most of today playing catch up. Teething hasn't been fun with any of our kids and we will be thankful when Jayden has his teeth in.

We plan to keep this week low key as we have a busy weekend ahead with family coming to visit. We will keep soaking up this 8 month old baby and all the smiles and laughs he has for us.
Jayden, you make life look easy and find life so fun by wearing your emotions on your sleeve. You kick and bounce like crazy when you are excited and happy which is most of the time. This leaves you a constant dancing fool and we can't help but smile at this. You love full blown open mouthed kisses and grab onto us to make sure we can't move. You are strong. Much stronger than you will probably ever know. Your strength gives us strength and reminds us that God has much bigger plans for you than we could have ever imagined.

We love you more than you could ever know. Thank you for choosing us.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Reviewing our life: What have we been up to?

Well, to answer that, a whole lot of everything. Seriously, we stay busy. This is really another post where I'll just show you rather than tell you what we've been doing. Pictures are more fun anyways.
 1. Museum Tours
Now that our oldest is 5, it definitely seems like a good time to get out and explore venues nearby. We went to a local train/prairie museum that focused mostly on the old west days period of time. This was perfect for our kids who are currently obsessed with Little House on the Prairie any thing. They loved playing in an old school house, seeing a hotel from the early 1900s, and touring a train. There was also a playground that represented what children used to play on in the early days and the kids had a blast on this and didn't want to leave.
 2. DIY Projects 
I'm trying to get a few things of my own done. Here is our new WELCOME sign and refinished matching chair for our front deck. The succulents are also new additions this year as I have an increasing love for these low maintenance plants!
 3. Art Projects, Outside, and Easy Fun Stuff
I am almost always down for an art project that lets the kids express themselves creatively. When paint is done outside you are almost guaranteed a total win. No inside mess to worry about and clean.

A friend of mine showed their kids painting cardboard while laying on their swings. We decided to give it a try and had a blast.

Outside of art projects, you can find us running through the sprinklers, riding bikes, watching chickens, and walking our side road regularly! This year corn is growing next to our road and it makes our road feel more private than ever.
 4. Friends and Parties
With everyone preparing for back to school, we have seen a lot of all of our friends, which we love. We have had several play dates a week, evening barbecues, and recently a baby shower complete with a bounce house and trampoline. All of our kids are having a blast. And are oh so tired.
 4. Bath time fun
Bath time is a regular part of our routine each night. Jayden is sometimes joining in on the fun with the big kids but this picture entirely represents that time. Busy big kids, baby taking front and center, and what you don't see, mom and dad a tad nervous about this arrangement. Not ready to make this permanent yet, but soon baby Jayden. Soon.

 5. Way too much TV
Yes, there is a thing of too much screen time and yes, we are meeting that point. But, when the two big kids lay like this and ask nicely for a show I just can't resist. I know when we get back into the groove of a schedule, we will slowly wean ourselves off of tv again. Pray for us during that time.
 6. A 3 year old dressing himself
I have started to give this little man more freedom to dress himself and he always shocks me. He picks the most dressy outfits he has and rocks them so well. I love seeing our children's personalities come through and getting to know more and more about them and what God given talents they are blessed with.
 7. Story time and picnics outside
We love using our outdoor blanket and heading outside to spend some time reading and eating. I haven't done much of this during this summer like I planned but we are totally making up for it in this last week.
 8. Popcorn and more screen time
See #5. Definitely too much screen time but we love a good movie with popcorn. The kids recently discovered our biggest popcorn container (formerly used as storage for our smaller containers) and now constantly beg to use. It's huge! And it's loved!
 9. Baby Snuggles
It won't be much longer and this boy will be ditching us constantly. He is go, go, go but since he isn't quite mobile yet we can hold him as much as we want still. Our days are numbered though. We are soaking it in as much as we can.
 10. Harvesting
Our garden is producing so it's back to the grind of harvesting food for the winter. We didn't grow corn this year but were given some last week and so we spent a morning working on that. The apples in our yard should be ready soon for us to start and we are already roasting tomatoes.

This is a time where I am spending a good chunk of my own time on personal reflection. This will be our last year to not have all our children at home with us as next year our daughter will start kindergarten. I'm soaking this all up and working hard to enjoy this, albeit short, season of life. Time goes so quickly and I feel like I'm going to blink and all my kids will be in school.

We hope your summer is wrapping up as well as ours is!


Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Camping Birthday Party and the County Fair

A few weeks ago, one of my babies turned 3. We celebrated his day by taking our annual extended family camping trip that weekend so he really got a full few days of fun celebrating how great he is.
All Riley wanted was a dirt cake, paw patrol, and tractors. So, we combined it all together. It was simple. It was easy. It was so much fun.
My parents were there, my husband's parents, and my siblings and their families were all there. Both sets of our parents rented the cabins available while most of us camped in campers. We had a blast just hanging out and keeping everything low key. The kids loved making kinetic sand, riding bikes, chasing ducks, and doing all things kid outdoor related. And us adults all survived with 7 kids under the age of 6!

We came back home and had a few days of rest before my husband's parents made the trip to see us. It happened to coincide with the start of fair so grandma helped the kids make cookies to enter and we rounded up a few pictures the kids have made over the year to enter in as well. Riley also wanted to add in one of his lego creations (a motorcycle) he recently put together with his daddy.
Their hard work paid off as the kids had so much fun finding their items at the fair and learning that every item they entered placed either first or second.
Both kids won $5 each and they are so, so excited.

Our fair is a lot of fun and we look forward to it each year. Monday night we went to the free dinner, looked at all the animal exhibits, found our fair entries, and got free balloon animals (or a mermaid and ball in my children's cases).
Yesterday, we went back to have supper again and ride the Ferris wheel, one of the main goals my children plan for each year. I think this has to do with a Barbie book Payton has where the child only wants to ride the Ferris wheel. I wasn't sure if Riley would do it despite how much he talked about it. He surprised me by acting so brave and doing it! We also rode the carousel and let the kids play the duck game to earn a few toys. They picked play guns...
We ended the night with the bounce house and sno cones.

It was the most beautiful few nights. I love our local fair.

And, it must be said, I am so thankful for an easy baby #3. He hung out, observed intently, and slept the entire fair time.
County Fair 2018, you were a total hit for our family. We can't wait for next year!

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