Monday, August 21, 2017

FIVE - Charles Francis


The beauty of having three July babies is taking time out of a gorgeous August morning to write each of your blog posts for your birthday's.  But you almost weren't a July baby - you were actually due on August 1 and I remember how angry I would get when people would ask me "when are you due" when I was pregnant and the look on their face when I would say "August" - because I would always say "well, the beginning of August.  The FIRST of August". But we decided that you'd come on July 31 instead and unknown to us at that time, you would start the tradition of July birthday's in our family.  But really, you started so many traditions because you're the oldest and that's what oldest kids do, right?

This past year, you have grown up a ton - from that little almost 4-year-old boy that was walking into Mikey's hospital room beaming from ear to ear to be a big brother again, you are not walking so much taller as a 5-year-old.  While, yes, you still have your moments where you whine and cry and throw fits (I've heard that doesn't stop anytime soon I'm not holding my breath), it's amazing to think about things you do now that you didn't do last year.  And it makes you seem so grown up!!
You get dressed by yourself in the morning.  It's crazy.  I'm not sure when it happened, but all of a sudden, you started waking up and immediately getting dressed before you left your room.  Game changer right there. You can fill up your own water bottle from the fridge (YES!) and you even take your dishes to the sink when you're done eating (most of the time...). You go to the bathroom when you need to and rarely ask for assistance. You play independently (Isn't this what every parent is waiting for?? ha!) - and use your imagination!  I love watching you play with your legos, cars, wrestlers, name it.  There is always something exciting going on with your toys and it's so fun to watch you play.  You also FINALLY learned how to pump your legs swinging (I think this was due to hanging out with your older friend, Tyson).  And while sometimes you claim that your "pumping legs are broken", when they are working correctly and you swing all by yourself makes you seem like such a big kid.

You are the BEST dancer.  Ha, ok, not really.  But dang boy, you can sure bust a move.  You have your dad's love for music and some of your favorite songs are by the Eagles.  Oh, and Bruno Mars!  Whenever music is going, you are dancing and I love your free and fun spirit so much.  You are always up for a good time!!!  You have also grown a lot in your confidence in yourself.  To think that last fall when we tried indoor soccer you were literally crying every time we went to this last spring, you were rocking the t-ball games and then in the summer were a rock star soccer player (it was so fun to see you being aggressive and you got really mad when the other team was better than you- HA!). I'm so excited for what is come with your activities this next year!

You're also starting to communicate your emotions a lot more. It's crazy to hear you talk about your friends at school and talk about how someone made you feel (whether it's good, embarrassed, funny, etc.).  It's easier for us to talk about when you're feeling sad or excited and I hope you always want to talk about your emotions because while most guys don't, I think it's a great trait to have.  You are aware of other people's feelings so much more too. Now this is good and bad. Bad because you now know EXACTLY what it takes to push Maddie's buttons and you take full advantage of that most days.  I swear there are times when all you want to do is just annoy her for no reason at all - and while that is a "job" of a big brother, you are also teaching Maddie a good life lesson of holding her own.  Ha.  You two crack me up and drive me crazy all at once.

Speaking of big brother take that role very seriously. Watching you love on Mikey makes me so excited to see the friendship that is to come with you two.  You are always wanting to give him a hug or kiss or help me get his lunch ready, etc.  I never had a brother, but seeing the relationship that your dad has with his four brothers, it makes me so excited to watch your relationship with Mikey grow and develop.  And as for you and Maddie, I'm not quite sure what you are going to do without each other once you are in kindergarten next year and not at the same school.  While she will likely be close behind you, I am sure you are going to miss each other immensely!

Oh kindergarten. Yes, the July 31 birthday curse. I'll tell you right now, it was not an easy decision for us on whether to send you or hold you back.  But in the end, I think we made the best decision for you that we could and you spent two years in preschool and are going to rock pre-K this year before going off to kindergarten in August 2018. One more year to grow up, won't hurt you at all sweet boy, and I have a feeling that extra year will give you the maturity that you need in school for years to come!!  Pre-K started off with a bang (and UNIFORMS!) and you seem to be just loving school at Primrose and all that you are learning.  It's so fun when you come home and tell us everything you learn - you were talking about trapezoids and parallelograms the other day and we were like WHAT?  I also got you a puzzle globe for your birthday and you love taking it out, putting the continents where they belong and naming them.  Watching your little brain grow and learn is such a blessing.  One that I do not take for granted.

One other thing you LOVE?  Wrestling and playing with your dad!  It's no surprise, under his influence, you have found a love for Star Wars and WWE wrestling this past year.  You were dying to turn 4 and get to watch Star Wars and ever since then, it's been a love affair.  The number of Star Wars legos you have now is amazing, but you love to have your own battles with them as well.  You are starting to learn about giving more, as we have had several rounds of "what toys can we donate to kids who don't have any?" have come about, in addition to learning about money and the concept of earning it and saving it.  I.e. you want the lego death star that is $500 (AH) so you talk about saving your money daily.... haha. 

As for you and me.  Your dad says I still treat you like a baby sometimes.  And while I try not to, the fact of the matter is.  You will ALWAYS be my baby.  The one that made me a mom.  Changed me forever and made me realize how beautiful this life is. I cherish so much the times that you still let me hold you, hug you, take your hand, lay with you, snuggle you, tuck you in, sing with you, pray with you, talk to you...because someday, when I least expect it...I know it will be the last time for a few of those.  Others of those, I pray that I will always get to do with you, sweet boy.  No matter how old you get, I hope you always can talk and pray with your mom.

Your FIVE year old stats:

weight: 42 lbs (59%)
height: 44 in (73%)

Thank you for being you, Charlie Carter.  Thank you being a leader in our family and the best big brother.  Thank you for bringing so much joy to our family daily - through your dancing, jokes, laughter and hugs and kisses.  I'm so proud of the little man you are becoming and can't wait for more fun adventures in the upcoming year!

ONE - Michael Eugene


Where in the heck did the last year go?  I have a one year old.  My sweet baby boy that I was DYING to meet last summer - it now feels like I've always known him.  I'm not going to lie in saying this last year wasn't a challenge. Because it was. Three kids, four and under, two full time working parents, activities, commitments, cooking, cleaning, laundry. But we survived. And dare I say it was a pretty amazing year? And I really think this guy has everything to do with it.

While this little man gave us a little scare by having to go to the NICU right after he was born, I'm happy to say, for the most part, it has been smooth sailing ever since.  Yes, he had a ridiculous amount of ear infections. Seemed to always be fighting a cold, getting teeth or just MAD.  But those newborn days and struggles of his dairy intolerance and constantly using gripe water seem SO far gone.  Because all of a sudden, he's turned into a little boy.

Michael. Mikey. Big Mike. Chunky baby. Whatever you want to call him. He changed me. He changed US. Our family. I am not quite sure how it all happened, but looking back on this past year, I became a different person and a different mom. I knew adding a third kiddo wouldn't be easy, but he made it easy. Yes, he was MUCH more easy going than our other two kids and (THANK GOD) he was a good sleeper - I mean, 1/3 is not the best odds, but I'll take it. But before he was born, the one thing I wasn't worry that would be lacking in our house was LOVE. And he brought in even more love than I could have imagined.  He brought more love into my heart (and patience, appreciation, thankfulness) AND to our older kids.  They love their little brother so so much.

My favorite thing to do is go into his room in the morning and "wake" him up (I put that in quotes because usually he's somewhat awake and he's just laying in his crib, quietly hanging out). But it's not only my favorite thing - it's EVERYONE'S favorite thing.  His big sister and big brother BEG to go into his room almost daily and wake him up. And who wouldn't want to when you're greeted with the best little baby smile??? And he's a snuggler. Oh yes. The best thing ever is when he snuggles his sweet little head right into the perfect spot on my shoulder/neck. You know, just like this :)

He doesn't want to let go. And you know what?  Neither do I.

Oh when they say the days are long but the years are short...that describes this first year with Mikey.  We had some LONG days. And nights. Some of them all blurred together. But this year? It flew by.  When his big day came on July 19, I felt like it was only a few weeks ago that I was sitting in the hospital holding him and telling Jimmy how I couldn't believe next year we would have a 1, 3 and 5 year old.  And how lucky we were.

I want to bottle up his sweetness because I do know that while he will always be my baby boy, pretty soon, he will likely be protesting clothes, screaming for snacks, yelling because he doesn't want me to put his shoes on or for some other unknown reason.  Because that's what happens.  They grow up. Get opinions. Learn new things. And oh do I want him to experience all of that, yes I do.  But I never want to forget the way he looks at me and smiles when he knows I'm about to nurse him. Or the way his eyes light up when he sees me come into the room.

He started walking about a week after his first birthday.  I was somewhat convinced that it would take much longer than that because he seemed to be quite content with his crawling skills.  But he was determined to keep up with his siblings and all of a sudden, he started walking.  It still startles me sometimes to see him just toddling around - I forget how fleeting time is sometimes. Luckily, he is a great eater and took well to the sippy cup transition too!  I'm still nursing him in the morning and before bed because #icantstop (ok, I can) but mainly because I'm not pumping at all during the day and those two times of the day gives me a peace with him that I know won't last forever.

About being the youngest?  He soaks it all in.  He LOVES watching and playing with his big brother and sister. No one can make his smile - or SCREAM - like they can.  For the most part, they still see him as a little baby.  Because he sits in a high chair, sleeps in a crib and {god forbid} still wears diapers (this is all according to Maddie's definition).  But lately, he's started to follow and chase them around...stealing their toys and screaming at the top of his lungs when he doesn't get what he wants.  He loves to wrestle with his dad and Charlie (and Maddie too!) and can't miss out on the fun of that!

On his first birthday (July 19), he still only had 2 teeth!  Can you believe it?  But in the last month ---- he's now already 13 months old!! --- he's got two of the top ones and two more on the top JUST popped through, so he's up to 6 total.  He does so well at daycare with Ms Marie and we just still love her so much. And he FINALLY got a pair of real shoes because he now insists on walking everywhere...and so it begins :)

As for his dad?  Well, he's a little Jimmy.  FINALLY - one kid that looks like him.  Ha.  Jimmy always says he feels bad for him, but I'm pretty happy because I not only know he will be good looking (yes Jimmy, I do think you're good looking)...but I know he also got his dad's heart.  Because Mikey is the sweetest little boy.

As we start this next year, I'm looking forward to some fun milestones for Mikey and our family.  Being a mom of three is NOT for the faint of heart.  Being outnumbered often means that at least one kid is off doing something they are not supposed to do, so that always leads to excitement.  But I'll hold onto this little boy for as long as he will let me because I know before long, all he will want to do is run wild with his siblings!

Yes, these three.  At least we know that Mikey will be the toughest one of them all.

Your one year stats are:

weight: 23.8 lbs (84%)
height: 31.2 in (94%)
head: 18.5 in (76%)
teeth: 2 bottom (as of your first birthday!)
diapers: size 5
clothes: between 12-18 months, some 2T

Sweet Mikey, thank you for bringing our family so much joy.  I tell your dad all the time how I feel like YOU changed our family for the better.  You changed my heart.  You gave me more capacity to love and brought me more focus to my life and family.  You took me out of my comfort zone and made me see how chaos can truly be so sweet. I will forever look back on the first year of your life and smile.  While yes, there were hard times, I choose to remember the joy.  Because that is what you bring to me everyday my baby boy.  It sounds cheesy, but it's true.  You are a constant reminder for me to be thankful.  Thankful for three healthy children and the love that we have. So keep on smiling, growing and changing.  And remember to always be nice to your mother :)

THREE - Madeline Abigail

One of Maddie's favorite books is "Oh the places you'll go" by Dr. Seuss.  At this point, she has it pretty much memorized.  Which is so fitting because - oh MAN, I cannot wait to see all the places this little firecracker is going to go in her life.  She also loves Go Dog Go and a few others.  She is a bookworm. Loves to read to herself and her "friends" (aka pretend friends on the stairs) and when she can get her little brother to stay in one place, she loves to read to him. 

She is also a bag lover. She will find any and every bag that is available and shove a million random things in it.  Then she will put it on her shoulder and yell "see ya later mom, I'm going to work".  And instantly my heart swells and breaks because I know that will actually happen sooner rather than later. 

She loves to color. Her preference is markers. She really likes the permanent ones the most, but she doesn't discriminate.  However, after a few too many incidents of coloring all over her body --- she is mainly stuck with colored pencils and crayons to her dismay. 

She doesn't really like to get dressed and when she is dressed, she likes to change her mind frequently.  It always makes for an interesting adventure each weekday morning. And apparently she has also taking to changing in different outfits "for fun" in her extra clothes at school. However, her pete the cat shirt and puppy shirt are a few favorites that she does like to wear on repeat.

She rolls her eyes. I'm not quite sure where she learned this one from. But I have to hold back my laughter when I see her do it in the rear view mirror when I ask her a simple question and she doesn't answer. Like "Maddie, how was your day?".  No answer.  Look in the mirror and she's given me not only an eye roll but now the silent treatment.

She LOVES chapstick and lip gloss and all kinds of make up.  She loves dolls and carries them everywhere.  But give her a WWE wrestler or a Star Wars character (her recent favorites are Finn Balor - wrestler - and Darth Mall - Star Wars bad guy) and she can hang too. Love her versatility - I'm hoping that will serve her well in life.

She really doesn't like when you try to do her hair. She's more of a free spirit (HA). Many times her hair has been compared to that of Gene Wilder...and I'm confident that someday soon, she will be more conscious of the way she looks and beg for her hair to be done very particularly, so for the time being, I'm like - let it go, girl.  Crazy hair and all.

She has the best smile and the sweetest heart - when she wants to (but really, doesn't everyone?).  She can be downright frustrating and I'm convinced she's going to be the mean girl of the class --- but then she'll prove me wrong by giving someone a huge hug that needs it or sharing her toys unprompted.  Her laugh literally lights up a room.

She talks like she's 6.  Which is quite confusing to people that don't know our family because she's rather tall also.  So we have had several people ask if she's a twin with her five year old brother.  When I say no, they ask if they are Irish twins.  And when I say they are two years apart...people give me a funny look. But I love that people think that because to me, it means they are pretty amazing siblings.

She doesn't like to go to sleep at night - I think she's convinced she's missing out on something.  She FOR sure gets that from her dad because she's the kind of kid that you pop a movie on and she's determined to stay awake for the whole thing.  And when she crashes, she crashes hard. She fell asleep ON me the other night because she was so tired and I almost cried. Because feeling her sweet three year old body limp against mine was the best feeling in the world.  At that age, those moments are so rare and as the years go on, they become even more rare. 

She negotiates like it's her job.  Actually I'm pretty sure she's convinced that is her job.  Just to negotiate with her parents on every limit we set.  We say 5 minutes, she tries to get us to 10.  When that doesn't work - maybe 7?  She'll trade movie time for outside time or vice versa and "if I don' have to take a nap....I promise I'll go to bed early".

She has proved to be completely different than her older brother, which, of course, brings new parenting challenges with each age and stage.  But I always go back in my mind to the day we found out that Maddie was a girl during our 20 week sonogram. We were both so in shock and somewhat terrified. A girl?! How were we going to know what to do with a girl? We felt like we were "expert" boy parents (you know...with a 15 month old - HA), but no idea how to raise a girl.  And yes, she's had her challenges and continues to each day...but God knew just what He was doing when He made our Madeline Abigail.  And she is going to challenge me for the rest of my life - teaching me more about love, strength, perseverance and complete joy.  I know we are going to have lots of rough times as mother and daughter in the years to come - but I hope and pray that during those tough times, I can always go back to this moment right here that Ali captured between us.  Remembering the utter joy and privilege it is to be your mom every single day. And see you grow up, learn, explore, love, be challenged, imagine and bring our whole family so much love.

And as for this guy?  Well, he claimed he didn't know how to raise a girl because he grew up with four brothers - but Maddie and her dad, they have the most amazing relationship.  I'm so thankful that she has him in her life to love and cherish. I'm also confident that she can ask him to do anything for her and after a few minutes of negotiating, he will give in ;)  But the love between these two is something I love being a witness to everyday.  And it has grown so much in this past year. He knows exactly how to raise this sweet girl and she loves everything about him.

Three years have flown by.  Our firecracker baby that surprised us early in the morning on Fourth of July, continues to amaze us.

Your three year stats are:

weight: 37lbs (92%)
height: 39.5in (94%)

Sweet baby girl, my prayer for you is that you continue to see the world with the fresh and positive perspective that you have right now.  You take each day and challenge one step at a time.  You overcome obstacles, break down the walls and continue to love unconditionally.  As your mom, everyday when I'm having my own struggles, I think of you. Knowing that someday, you will be a grown woman sitting in the same place I am and I hope some of the things that I struggle with as a woman in the workplace and in this world, you don't have to.  I'm so thankful that you are my daughter and I pray that our relationship continues to grow each and everyday.

Happy number three, Maddie!!! 

(well, this is a tad your birthday was July 4...but life is crazy and you'll learn that soon enough!)

Saturday, July 29, 2017


I sat in the hospital room on July 21, 2016, as we were getting ready to take Mikey home.  It had been a LONG few days.  Getting up early to get to the hospital on July 19, having our sweet boy and then spending a night in the NICU, finally having his siblings meet and hold him....Jimmy and I were sitting there with our new little bundle of joy.  I looked at him and said "can you believe this time next year that we are going to have a ONE, THREE and FIVE year old?".

And here we are now on July 29, 2017.  Charlie is going to be FIVE years old on Monday.  Maddie turned THREE on July 4 and our sweet little baby that was 9lbs on the dot when he made his way into the world, turned ONE on July 19 and weighs a whole 23lbs.

And you know what?  I can't believe how this last year flew by.  But I also can't believe how our sweet family just feels so right.  And how this sweet baby boy brought so much happiness to our family.  

I have this weird feeling of being completely overjoyed with happiness and then completely overwhelmed about three different times a day.  HA.  Totally normal, right?  I think that life with three kids and two full time jobs will do that to you.

So here I go.  Ready to finally blog about my three sweet baby's birthdays.  And relishing all the feelings I had when this picture was taken last July.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday confessions...

Ok I finished Mikey's 10 month blog onto his 11 month (need to finish up) and then start on Maddie's THREE year old post (she turns three on Tuesday)!!  And then Mikey's ONE YEAR.  And then Charlie's FIVE YEAR. babies.

Anyways, I haven't blogged in FOREVER about random stuff and not sure when I will again because life is busy, but here we go.

Linking up with Sparkles & Lattes today.

  • Totally haven't had sugar for a week and was so good ---- treated myself (and the kids, really) tonight to shaved ice and it was SO good
  • Traveling to Chicago is BLAH.  Had to do it again this week for work and while the weather was nice, the flight is's still BLAH and I'd rather be at home with my peeps and going into our KC office.  Ok there, I said it.
  • We got a new cable provider and now we have all the premium channels - and while I rarely watch TV, I have started watching The Affair on Showtime on demand because I read an article about the show's writer as a working mom and "having it all" and she intrigued me and so then I decided to watch the show - it kind of reminds me of Big Little Lies so far --- not really, but kind of.  I want to know what happens but don't have time for these episodes every night!!!  But I do love that one of the doctor's from Chicago Med (ok, I do watch that show on DVR) is on there!
  • I took off last Friday to buy everything for my kiddo's birthday party's this next month - I did and bought a bunch of the random Party City stuff for favors (for big kids) and told myself I'm DONE.  That's it.  But you guys - I have issues and just can't.  Mainly because there were some REALLY easy DIY projects that I can do that my kids and their friends will love.  So yes, I'm taking all that favor stuff back to Party City and we are DIY-ing some light sabers with pool noodles AND DIY-ing princess wands.  Not sure when I will do that, but since I'm combining Charlie and Maddie's birthday parties...what the heck, right?  Jimmy is annoyed....but I can't help myself to a nice little DIY project
  • However....I will confess I am NOT going all out for Mikey's party (sorry bud!).  Just a nice little family BBQ for his first birthday celebration....that's allowed, right?
  • I go back and forth like every hour between the two mentalities "I'm SO tired, I should just chill out and stop doing everything" to "I LOVE MY JOB, I LOVE DOING BEACHBODY AND I LOVE MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS --- I WILL GIVE 150% TO ALL OF THEM" #crazylady #seriously #butstilltired #thatiswhatcoffeeisfor
  • My family (aka Jimmy and I) have an online shopping problem - even our neighbors said something to me last weekend about how we ALWAYS have boxes on our porch #oops
Ok - I think that's all for now.  What do you got for me today?  Something you need to get off your chest?  For some reason, that felt good to get off my chest (even though I'm guessing literally no one reads my blog anymore haha!!).  Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

10 months of Mikey Carter!

Oh Miguel.  10 months old.  

I'm incredibly behind on your monthly updates.  I have actually had SOME thought about your first birthday party - I promise.  Ok, kind of.  I'm going to order the invite this week.  I promise.  And you can ignore the fact that you turned 10 months old 17 days ago (ok 17 days ago when I WROTE this....but it's now over a month now since I hit publish.....).  EEEEKKK.  But what I can promise you sweet boy, while your monthly progress on the blog hasn't been kept up to date in quite as timely as a manner as your brother and sister might have been, you have been loved on just as much and I would argue EVEN more.  Why?  Because not only are me and your dad loving on you, but your siblings are OBSESSED with you.  Still.  Which is good news because you're turning into quite the little man and fight/play/steal/"talk" back to them and they still like you - so YEAH!


  • Two months of crawling has made you like a pro.  Ha.  You are EVERYWHERE.  
  • Pulling up on everything
  • Don't kill me ---but I *THINK* this is the month that you got your first teeth - been a long time coming for sure, but those two little guys on the bottom popped through!
  • You moved up to pretty much all 12 month clothes this month as we busted out the summer gear for warmer weather.  I love seeing you in Charlie's old onesies and clothes - makes me all nostalgic!
  • Size 4 diapers still but I think your dad changed to size 5 on subscribe and save
  • You still were taking 3, 8 ounce bottles at day care during the day + eating breakfast, lunch AND a snack there.  You are quite the little food lover!  I can barely keep my milk supply up!
  • Speaking of food - you will pretty much eat and try everything.  You have your favorites - love turkey, black beans, cheese and all breakfast food (eggs, waffles, pancakes, french toast).  You fit just right in our family because we are breakfast LOVERS.
  • You kicked off month number 10 with a bang - April 20 you FINALLY got tubes.  Oh man, it was a long time coming and you did great.  We spent the day at home together and after one day you were sleeping better and feeling great.  You did have one ear infection right after and at the two week follow up you had to get the gunk sucked out (HORRIBLE if you have ever had to do as a parent watching your kiddo!), but after that and the steroid drops, you have been golden.  AHHH!!!  Love tubes. 

Things you like:

  • Still love your milk - from the boob or bottle - you don't discriminate!
  • You love crawling around and finding random toys to play with - as long as they are not tiny legos (which we have a TON of those!), we're ok
  • You LOVE balls.  Soccer balls, baby balls
  • Bath time with your siblings.  You could sit in there forever splashing around.  You don't even seem to mind when Maddie pours tons of water on your head.
  • Love playing in the play kitchen and opening up/closing the fridge and oven doors
  • You love playing peek a boo too - the little giggle is just AHHH.  Melts my heart
  • You have found the beer fridge and you like it 

Things you don't like:

  • Getting set on the ground when you're in a bad mood - but sometimes mama needs two hands and you are HEAVY!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Still not a fan of screaming in our house....Maddie tends to do that a lot

Special memories:

  • Celebrated your cousin's, Jay, first birthday party!  It was an awesome fiesta - you boys + George (Jay's cousin) are all within a few months of each other and we decided we need to bring this picture out at your high school graduation!!!
  • Went up to Lawrence to hang out with your bud Calvin - you guys were a riot together and he had lots of cool toys! (insert pic from May 7)
  • Went to your second Royal's game - but this one was at the Hall of Fame suite with mom's work - that's the way to roll!
  • Celebrated our first Mother's Day together - I am so lucky to be your momma, sweet boy!  And your siblings - you guys are just the best.  

A note to our sweet boy:
TEN months doesn't seem like that's possible.  You are seriously the happiest little man and we love having you as a part of our family.  Your siblings love you SO much that they keep asking for another baby (HA) - probably because you're so great.  Even Ms Marie constantly reminds me of how awesome and sweet you are and she should know with all the kiddos she has taken care of.  Your skin is so soft and you smell so good - two things I wish I could bottle up and keep with me forever as a reminder of this short time in your life as a baby.  Your first year is coming to a close and you are doing more "big kid" things than I would like to admit.  I love it and hate it because I love seeing your personality emerge more and more and see you learn and have fun with your friends/siblings, but I'm already like WHERE DID MY BABY BOY GO?  And looking at your siblings and how they have grown so quickly, I know that feeling will continue.  Can't wait for the fun and excitement of seeing all your new skills and tricks to come in the next few months!

We love you!
Mom & Dad


Charlie | Maddie | Mikey 10 month comparison pic!

hahahah these kids!!

Other fun pictures from the month too!

Love me and my baby boy!

His brother LOVES him so much.

Grana and Pops with grandkid #11 and 12!

Oh MADDIE. She sure gives you a run for your money!

While he's been a good sleeper - he does have some early morning wake ups and he doesn't mind hanging with mom while she works out!

These three are always up to SOMETHING.

I have been traveling at least once a month for work and it kills me to be away from them.  While dad holds down the fort, coming home to these three is so sweet!

We did Noah's 5K - despite the cold and rain and we all survived!

He's like "mom, you're crazy!"

THESE TWO = TROUBLE.  I just love watching their relationship!


STANDING UP one day!!!!!!!!!!!

Flexing with his mama.

Ergo and loving that beer with his dad!

And...while he's mostly really happy....there are ALWAYS moments like these because of #teeth #tummyissues #younameit  But I still love him when he's angry!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Memorial Day road trip!


Radio silence up on this blog because #work #kids #life

I HATE not blogging.  So much.  But I'm going to be honest with you, it just is the last thing on my list of "to-dos" right now and as much as I hate that, it has to be because the other things are priority.  But it's my job as the mama to document life.  And while my IG is always bumping, I love this blog - so when we took a trip to over Memorial Day weekend to visit my grandma and then tagged on a quick drive up to Minneapolis, I took a bizillion pictures like I always do...but was determined to get them on here!!  And here we go.

We kicked off the trip actually by leaving somewhat on time - YEAH!  Getting everyone in the car and picking up my dad by 8AM - calling that a win.  I had plenty of snacks and was the designated snack passer outer from the back seat while Jimmy drove and my dad was in the front.

I'll spare you the details of the drive.  Estherville, IA is supposed to take around 6 hours (according to Google Maps), but of course it takes us 8 :)  Because kids and their bladders.  I don't think either of the big kids slept except.  Oh wait, they might have right before we got there but it's ok.  At least there were no accidents in the car and plenty of movies and snacks!

The best part is always making it there is going into my grandma's room and seeing her smile!!!  Literally her face when she sees our kids is just so awesome and worth every tantrum and stop and whine that our kids give us on the drive up.  They also feel the same way about her.  

The last time we saw her in person was last September when Mikey was only 2 months old.  So you can imagine how excited she was to see our kiddos because while Charlie and Maddie are older and have grown, Mikey is a totally different kid!!  What a difference 8 months makes.

We brought her lots of pictures to hang up, some flowers, licorice and lots of hugs and kisses.  We even went on a tour of the whole nursing home (when we were there in September, she was actually on hospice care and was very weak.  By God's good grace - it wasn't her time to go - and here she is in May holding Mikey and having Maddie and Charlie take her on tours!!).  Since we had not even gotten to our hotel, we left my dad there and went to check in and, of course, the most fun --- went to the pool.  This was second on the list under seeing Great Grandma.  Indoor pools are the bomb!

I didn't get any pictures, but my aunt and uncle who live in Estherville came to our hotel after they got off work and my aunt and uncle who live in Cedar Rapids came in town (so nice!) so they all came - with my dad and grandma - and brought Godfather's pizza and we all ate it and drank beer and then watched the kiddos go swimming.  The weather was just perfect too, so we got some patio time in.

And then.....bedtime.  In a hotel room.  My dad stayed at my aunt and uncle's house, so it was just the five of us.  But it is so hard with just one room - when we are used to four!  But it was big enough to put Mikey down in the pack n play on one side of the room and then play Star Wars on our laptop on the other side while everyone snuggled in a bed to watch a movie.

While the beds were full (minus Mikey in his pack n play), we only have one wake up and I'd say overall it was a good night!!  The next morning we got up and ate some breakfast before heading back to see my grandma.  The kids and my dad helped hang up some new pictures we brought her on the new bulletin boards - she loves the pictures.  And all she wanted to do was hold Mikey!

The weather was BEAUTIFUL (no wind even!) so we decided to take grandma out to the park just around the corner.  And BOY was it a park!  I took some snaps of it but didn't get pictures.  (and on this trip I learned about the memories setting in snap chat - wish I would have learned about it sooner!)  It was AWESOME.  Maddie loved the pea gravel - thank goodness we have it at home!

Since most of our pictures with Grandma are in her room - this was an awesome one with Iowa scenery behind us!

About lunchtime, we headed out from Estherville to the big city of Minneapolis!  Now why would we drive EVEN more?  Ha.  Well, what's surprising is that the drive home from Minneapolis is the same or less than to Estherville because it's a straight shot on the highway.  So we figured - extra day off - why not take an extra road trip to a fun city and make some more memories??

For some reason, that 2.5 hour drive was SO long.  Ha.  But we made it in time to check into our hotel and walk over to the Mall of America.  Yes, we stayed right outside of the mall and it was touristy, but great.  Walking there made it SO much easier because we could just take our strollers and not have to deal with in and out of car seats and the parking there!  It was great!

Of course the first thing we hit up was the rides.  The kids love it.  But so did Jimmy. HA.  Maddie didn't nap, so she wasn't quite as excited.  And I have a little run in with a #judgymom - yep.  Maddie was getting off a ride and literally sat down and threw a fit on the floor.  This mom that had a daughter younger than Maddie (who obviously is unaware of the fun that almost 3 years old will bring) literally looked at me and her and me and her instead of just walking around her.  Seriously ladies, MOMS need to support each other.  Not judge.  I was pissed.  Ha.

But on a more exciting note - Mikey got to go on the carousel with the big kids.  And he LOVED it and so did the big kids.  Yeah for three kids all doing the same thing!!!

We went on a few more rides and then it was time for the LEGO store!  Oh how I wish I had saved those memories in snap chat because I got some awesome snaps and IG stories of these kids in awe of the walls and walls of legos.  They, of course, went straight to the Star Wars section and they picked out some of their favs.  Maddie loves Rey and go that!!  They were THRILLED!

And Mikey?  He was thrilled with the map of the rides.  And I love him for that.

We did a few more rides before we got hungry...

....and just angry in general (she was angry but smiled for me)

We got some take out and headed back to the hotel for the best part - swimming, right??!  

One thing that I have found from this trip ----- these two?  They are going to be up to NO good.  Haha.  Their relationship.  I swear. It's one of a kind.  One of my favorite things is seeing all three of my kiddos relationships develop with each other.  

And remember my aunt and uncle that I said live in Estherville?  Well they were up in Minneapolis for the Twins game on Saturday and came to our hotel to hang out some more.  They apparently didn't have enough of our kids!  And my uncle Bruce tried to show Jimmy that Mikey was a Twins fan - Jimmy was like NEVER. 

After swimming...the night didn't end!  We were on vacation and that meant late bedtimes.  So everyone got in on the lego fun!  Love this crew! 


And then it was time for movies with Papa!!   

We stayed in a TownePlace Suites and it was great because it had 2 bedrooms and a kitchen and living room area - so plenty of room but also the two rooms (with doors!!) was key!  

Maddie slept in and WHOA bed head!

Free breakfast and a workout in a gym!?  OK!  My dad was awesome and instead of doing it upstairs with no weights, he told me to go get it done!  Great way to start the day!

And seriously.  Just this kid.  I love him. 

We decided to head downtown to go to a 1:10 Twins game.  And it was crazy but fun!

Awesome awesome weather and even better company!

And thankful for somewhat empty concourses so this lady could just push her brother around and entertain him! 

And thank goodness for diaper bags full of all kinds of goodies - including colors and coloring books!

Mikey was the only one that snoozed (#canthang) and then (of course) I made us grab a group picture before headed back to our hotel.  We had dinner reservations at a Japanese steakhouse that night at 6, so we wanted to make sure we had time to get back and relax a bit before then.

I'd say they were pooped!

Dinner was AWESOME.  The kids were mesmerized and the adults were stuffed!

The saddest part of the trip was us totally not realizing it was SUNDAY night and stores in the mall close early then.  We had told Charlie he could go back to the lego store and get another set of legos if he was good all day.  But we finished dinner around 7 and it was closed.  He was devastated.  But thankfully, after a few kicks and stomps, we told him that there was a WalMart near by (Papa had told him he was buying - and I told Papa he got the good end of that deal!!!) and they could take a boys trip there when we got back.  They did and he was thrilled and I got to spend some time with my younger two and laugh at them!

The next morning we were up and on the road by 8.  It was a LONG drive.  Charlie was whiny.  

But we made good time and a stop at Chik fil A - so that was good.  And we played the animal game (where you are supposed to think of an animal and then other people ask questions about it to try to guess what animal).  It was fun but Maddie picked CORN as her animal.  Oh jeez.  Probably a had to be there moment but I laughed so hard that I cried on that one. 

 We got home around 4 and then my mom came over with dinner at 5:30 (along with my sister and her husband), so by the time that was over with.....we had a LONG weekend.  And everyone was feeling it.  Especially this little man.  He was a TROOPER.

But really - any trip with kiddos is tough.  I'm thankful that my dad tagged along and got to see his brothers and mom, but also for that man to man defense.  Lord knows we always need that to make sure no one goes missing or gets stolen (#paranoid).  Even though it was exhausting --- especially because I literally had to get home and do laundry and then head to Chicago the next day until Wednesday night --- so worth it.  I'm guessing our kids will be talking about those hotel pools for years to come.... ;)