My sweet Jayden,
So here you are, just a month short of turning 10. You're stuck between that age of being a "kid" and being a young man. I've already started seeing the changes. From wearing deodorant to politely saying you are too old to play in the Chick-Fil-A play area, you're changing. It's so bitter sweet. I still remember your sweet little face when I brought you home from the hospital, and I can't believe it's been 10 years. Time has flown. And my baby boy is not so much a baby anymore.
But last week when we were at the mall with your cousins and your Daddy told you that you were too old to play in the play area, you collapsed in my arms with tears - something you never do. I knew that getting older was getting a little bit hard.
I remember being at this point, my sweet boy. Being at the place where you don't quite fit in. And being the oldest, makes it a little harder. I know because I've been there. You're treading your own path. A path your two brothers and sister will soon walk in. And you will make it a little easier for them because you've already been there. They will have you to look up to.
But today, I want you to know that I'm soooo proud of you. You are so strong. You are strong in your beliefs, you are strong in your faith, you are strong in yourself. You are a leader. That's why God chose you to be the firstborn. And as hard as it may be, it makes you extra special.
You're so responsible already. Always there to help with Owen or give a hand at making lunch. You're so independent sometimes it hurts. But I know that's what makes you, you. It's a special gift God has given you. But I also want you to know that it's ok to need me and your Dad sometimes. It's ok to cry in my arms every now and then and it's ok to feel vulnerable and be a little unsure about growing up. We will always be there for you.
I can't wait to see the amazing person you will become. Every day I watch you as you just do your thing. School, chores, sports, being a big brother. You are an amazing little guy and I can't even begin to tell you how much I love you.
We are wrapping up the school year over here! Can I get a whoop whoop! I'm honestly not sure who is more excited, me or the boys. Regardless, Friday will be our last day and I can't wait to get summer on the move.
As we move into this beautiful new time of the year I wanted to blog about something that has become dear to my heart over the last 3 months. Break time.
The thought came to my mind right after basketball was over. Owen was 8 days old at the boys first game and we didn't miss any of them. The initial reaction was GASP, I could never. But after I mentioned it to my husband we decided it would be the best decision for our family.
In this day and age, we are so busy. Sports, dance, gymnastics, school, birthday parties, music classes, I felt like I never saw my kids anymore. We rushed from one place to another. Shoveling in dinner in the car or eating a quick sandwich while standing in the kitchen so we could make it to the next practice on time.
Don't get me wrong. I LOVE this season in life when my kids are active and I am so blessed to be there for every. single. second of it. But after basketball ended in January, we decided to take a break. We skipped baseball. We skipped flag football. We skipped the boys spring classes with our homeschool group. We decided not to start Avery in dance yet.
Sure, the boys were a little upset at first. Even though they are not huge baseball fans, they still enjoy playing and we haven't missed a season since Jayden was 5. But once the initial shock wore off they handled it well. Ok. It's short term. We will get though summer and start football up in August.
So what have we done the last 3 months. We've lived. We've enjoyed spring nights eating dinner on the patio together. We've taken afternoon walks and played at the park. We've thrown balls and had numerous basketball playoffs in the driveway. We've slept in on Saturday morning. And most of all, we've just enjoyed each other.
Will it continue, no. In fall, we will start back to football. It's one of my favorite things about being a boy mom. Avery will start dance. We will get to our homeschool classes and life will get busy again. But I won't forget this time. And if I get the chance again, you better believe I will take it.
So, make sure you take some break time this summer. Snuggle those babies up and just enjoy them. There will always be time for activities but your time when they are small is so short. In the end, I promise that they will thank you.
My sis stole my daughter for a little modeling over at her site today. But... I couldn't help but share this cuteness as well. :-)
You should have seen this little fashionista posing for every picture. We got her dressed up and ready and she made sure all the details were in place. Painted "fingertails", her bow, earrings, and shoes. I have no idea how I got such a little Diva!
I love this little outfit. Avery picked it out herself and I have to say it is one of my favorites!
Head over to Stilettos and Diapers for these adorable outfit deets!
Linking up with Mrs. In Training for Trendy Tot Tuesday. You should too!
It's no secret that Jarrod's been smitten with this girl since the day she was born. The youngest of 4 boys, he questioned the entire time I was pregnant how he would be a Dad of a girl. And the moment she was born, all those questions faded away. He has been wrapped up tight ever since.
Daily she asks Jarrod if he will marry her and daily Jarrod says yes. But today, she decided she needed a formal proposal. She gave Jarrod the ring and told him to get on one knee. Then, she told him to ask her to marry him. After her response of yes, she threw her arms around his shoulders, gave him a big kiss on the cheek and said, "You're the most handsome man in the world!" I saw his heart melt like butter in one single second.
I have a feeling the day he has to give this one away will be one of the hardest days of his life. :-)
I was singing to Owen the other day:
Give me your answer do!
I'm half crazy,
All for the love of you!
It won't be a stylish marriage,
I can't afford a carriage,
But you'll look sweet upon the seat
Of a bicycle built for two!
The song that my mom sang to us, and her mom sang to her, and since it was written in 1892, I'm going to assume that it went on for a few generations before that.
It made me stop and ponder all that a Mother ingrains in her children. The traditions, the values, the foundations. I thought quickly at the little things that I do every day that I learned from my Mom.
I thought about how blessed I am to be able to be Mom to these 4 amazing children. To spend every day watching them grow, hearing them laugh, teaching them, loving them, and smothering them with kisses. Thank you Jayden, Evan, Avery and Owen for filling my heart with more love than I ever thought possible.
So Happy Mother's day to my amazing Mom. Everything from washing clothes to cooking meals, balancing my checkbook and balancing life, I learned from you. I have the sweetest memories of back scratches before bed, bike rides, and doing our hair and makeup together. And today, I'm so glad to be able to call you one of my very best friends. My cheerleader when being a Mom is hard, my shoulder when life doesn't turn out like I thought it would, and my front porch, coffee drinking friend to share laughter with.
To my sister. You are such an amazing Mother. You never cease to amaze me with your creativity. From throwing birthday parties to cooking up the most delicious meals, your love of motherhood shines through every part of your being. I love that we are able to walk through this time when our kids are small together. To share frustrations and baby clothes and experience all these new "boy" things we never grew up with.
And to my Mother-In-Law. Who almost single-handedly raised 4 rowdy boys. Who still to this day will blindly swear to how perfect and well behaved they were as kids. :-) You raised my soul-mate, the father of my children and the love of my life. I can't thank you enough.
And to every Mom. I'm convinced we live every day with our hearts outside of our bodies. We worry more than anyone should and we love deeper than anyone else in the world. We are Mother's and today we celebrate that amazing blessing.
Happy Mother's Day!
A couple of weeks ago, a wonderful friend of mine blogged about her son going to TeenPact. I was so impressed I immediately signed Jayden up for the one day class. TeenPact is a hands on leadership school which trains students to understand the political process. There is a one day class for ages 8-12 and a 4 day class for ages 13-19.
We have been studying early American History this year. We have learned about how the Constitution was written, how are laws are passed and how the voting process works. I thought this would be a great way to end the school year and leave him with a visual of what we have been reading about.
He had a list of homework requirements he had to do before going including writing a letter to our state Senator and Representative encouraging them in the work that they do, writing a sample bill to "present" to the TeenPact Legislature, and reading a book on our rights and responsibilities as citizens in the political process.
I wasn't able to take him because it was an all day event and I was afraid Owen would not do well with me being gone that long, but he got to spend the day with his Grandmother, which I think they both enjoyed!
He had to get all dressed up to head to the Capital. He looked so handsome!
They had hands-on training and a public speaking course.
Then he presented his "bill" on why he thought home school kids should be able to play high school sports with their local school if they wanted to. He wrote and typed the whole thing himself with just some small help from me.
Then, they had a Scavenger Hunt to locate things throughout the Capital with clues from history.
I love that he got to experience this and would highly recommend it to anyone! We will definitely be going back!
I think I say this every month but I seriously can't believe my little guy is 4 months already! 1/3 of a year has passed. It makes me sad!
He has really grown this month too. He holds his head up so well and I expect him to start rolling over any day now! We've made it to our side just not a full flip yet. :-)
He is still quite the cuddle bug and loves to be held. I need to post some pictures of this guy as a baby. Owen is quite the look-a-like.
Most nights you can find him curled up on his Daddy or I like this. He usually falls right to sleep with his blanket.
He also enjoys working on his man skills of falling asleep in the recliner. He had been quiet for a few minutes so I asked the boys if they were still holding him. They answered, no, he's asleep in Dad's chair! Lol.
Happy 4 Months little man!
This day.. It's a day that will forever be burned in my memory. It's the day my husband lost a brother. A dad, husband, uncle, and son. A day that I have looked back on with sadness, fear, and pain.
But this year is different, why? Because this year on this day, I am celebrating life. The life that is so full in my home. My precious children. My flesh and blood that will carry on my name, my heritage, my legacy.
Last year on the night of the 6th, I had been at Target and walked past the candle isle and just "knew". The smell, the way it hit my nose, or better yet, my stomach. There is only one thing that gives me that feeling. I brushed it off as being crazy and went home.
The next morning, at 5:00 am, I stormed out of bed and threw my clothes on. Jarrod was already in the bathroom getting ready and thought I was crazy. I told him I was going to Walmart and would be back. 30 minutes later, I was sitting in the bathroom bawling my eyes out. How? When? Why? That little word "pregnant" showed up faster than I could tell myself it wasn't true.
Although we had never done anything permanent we were always careful, so careful, to use all the means necessary to keep the swimmers from reaching the goal... So how?
I have to admit today that I was in such shock. I was upset. I had my hands so full. How could I have another baby?! What was God thinking?!
Of course, once the shock wore off I was finally able to be excited. What a blessing. To be chosen to once again be a mama. To create life, to feel that life inside of me, and to birth life.
Today, I am so thankful for our sweet Owen's life. This little life that tells me every minute of every day how precious life is and what joy life brings.
I'm finally starting to feel like myself after having baby Owen. At 16 weeks post-partum that may seem like a long time but it took a good 12 weeks to feel like I could really PUSH myself and then feel good while pushing myself.
6 weeks ago, I started Jamie Eason's Live-Fit Trainer. I started slow. Worked with my body and progressed as I felt like I could. The great thing about this trainer is the first couple of weeks are nice and easy. It's weight lifting but not too much. No cardio, although I still ran. And no abs. There is a very doable diet that goes along with it. 6 weeks later I am pretty happy with the results. They aren't the results I would have gotten if I wasn't 16 weeks post-partum but they are results. I'm stronger, more tone and feeling healthier than I have in months! I HIGHLY recommend this program to anyone who needs a schedule like I do. And the best part, it's FREE!
Last weekend my sister-in-law invited me to do a spur-of-the-moment 5k. It was my first race post baby. I have done several outdoor runs of 3, 5, even 6 miles but there is something about a race that MOTIVATES you. Makes you run a little faster and push a little harder.
I sorely underestimated how cold it was that morning so I ended up running in my jacket. :( But I loved seeing all these girls I haven't gotten to see in sooooo long!
And I even got to see one of my Ohio besties! Love this girl to pieces!
It was such a fun run and my Nike tracker had me at 3.43 miles in 28.28 minutes! I was pretty impressed. Now I'm ready to get back into the saddle! I've already signed up for another 5k in the summer but I'm shooting for a half by fall. Sometimes it just takes a little getting out there to get the juices flowing again! :-)
Hope you have all had a fit week!
I'm linking us with Jen for Health and Fitness Friday. You should too!
After Avery's meltdown a couple of weeks ago because she didn't get to do her own fashion show, I thought she would get into having her own photo shoot.
She is in a pose for every.single.picture. It cracks me up.
For those of you who haven't heard yet... I LOVE having a girl. My boys are awesome, fun, and amazing in their own way but this gal just melts my heart. I can't imagine not having this princess to play dress up with and paint "fingertails".
The thought of her being almost 4 is enough to give me heart palpitations. Where has the time gone?!
Shirt: Target (Similar)
Jeans: Gap Skinny 1969
Hightops: Target (Similar)
Traveling with kids is no foreign task for this family. I grew up visiting grandparents and traveling on a very regular basis. Now, since my family is so spread out, I have found that traveling is just part of the routine. Although I haven't ventured out with all 4 kiddos yet, I have several trips to FL under my belt with just me and the older 3.
Since we are heading to Disney in 3 weeks and since summer vacations are just around the corner, I thought I would share my mandatory first aid kit for traveling with children. (And yes, I am already packing. Lol)
I am soooo very excited! Our last trip was taken when Avery was two weeks old. I'm crazy. I know. This time, instead of hitting the road, we are flying. Yay!
No matter how you are getting there, there are several items I have found that are mandatory for traveling.
- Tylenol - Adjust for the age group with the Children's or Infant's version. I can't tell you how many times we have been on vacation trying to locate a store in the middle of the night because someone woke up with a fever or earache.
- Benedryl - It never fails that when we travel someone ends up stuffy. Whether it's the change of climate or allergies in general, I always travel with Benedryl.
- Vick's Vapor Rub - I still use the baby version and you can buy it in a small travel size too. It's great for stuffy noses and coughing, which, of course, always happen in the middle of the night.
- Neosporin To-Go - I love this stuff. It sprays right on so you don't have anything to spread. A perfect size for the diaper bag too.
- Benedryl Stick - This thing is awesome. I picked up a couple last year and always keep one in my purse and diaper bag. It is great for mosquito bites, bee stings, or any type of itchy rash. The pen size makes it easy to carry and is not messy.
- BandAids - Scrapes and cuts happen. On a regular basis I am needing a BandAid for someone.
- Kleenex - The travel packs are perfect for diaper bags, purses or car compartments. I pretty much have them everywhere. From runny noses, to a food that someone doesn't like, they are great to have on hand.
- Purell - I don't know about you, but when I'm somewhere like Disney, you can't give me enough hand sanitizer. I am pulling it out after every ride and before every meal. Especially when young babies are with you, germs need to stay as far away as possible.
- Thermometer - Although not an absolute necessity, a thermometer just gives me peace of mind. I can tell by the touch of a hand if the littles have a fever or not but sometimes it's nice to know how high that fever is. It helps me to gauge my level of panic.
- Sunscreen - I love the travel version of Coppertone's Water Babies. Its a great size to take on a trip but no too small to use in one day.
- Chapstick - A must. Where there is a cold there is also chapped lips. I carry one in all my bags but this one for sure.
- Wet Ones - If you're a germaphobe like me, these are essential for wiping off tables at restaurants, carts or rented strollers. They are antibacterial and come is perfect sized travel packs to carry with you.
Remember if you're flying to buy the travel sized bottles so you can carry these items on. If we are in the car, I usually carry full size just in case. But for the most part, the travel sizes will get you buy until you can at least get to a convenience store or pharmacy.
Do you have any favorite first aid items for making traveling with kids easier?
I have so enjoyed writing during this blog series. Thanks to all the awesome girls, Jenna, Mandy, Shay, Jenn, Lindsey and Megan, who put this together!
Today, being the last day of the Love and Marriage Series, I thought I would touch on a couple of things that I haven't talked about yet. Expectations and Vision.
Expectations: We all have them to one extent or the other. I expect my husband to help out around the house every now and then, take out the trash and assist in the bedtime routine. The problem with expectations is when they don't get met. It is very hard not to take this personally. And in our marriage, is one of the main fight starters.
Marriage and family takes a lot of work. From both sides as a husband and wife and as a father and mother. We have to remember that each other is human. As much as I
know believe I am Super Woman, the reality is, I'm not. And there are days that I need some extra help. The perfect scenario is that Jarrod pitches in and helps on his own - and that happens a lot. It's when the dishes are piled in the sink, dinner is half done, the laundry is piled 10 feet high on the couch and needs to be folded and the baby is screaming his head off, and Jarrod is sitting on the couch leisurely scrolling through Facebook, that I tend to lose it.
We as women have to remember that men don't think like us, don't multi-task like us and don't generally even hear the same sounds as us or see the same mess as us. That doesn't mean that they shouldn't try. It just means that sometimes a little nudge is needed and the way we, as wives, give that nudge is generally how he will react. Communication goes a long way. And sometimes it's critical to humble yourself and just talk about why your frustrated instead of starting a fight because he hasn't read your mind.
Vision: I think vision is a key element to keeping a marriage strong. Short term or long term, we all need to have goals to reach together. Some of our long term visions are raising Godly children, the vision of "till death do we part", and the vision of being that old married couple that still holds hands while eating breakfast at Waffle House. And while vision is good, it is not enough to just have. We have to keep striving, keep walking, keeping working towards those goals.
Whether it's speaking each others love language, praying together, morning coffee, night time devotionals, dates, or weekends away, whatever works for you. Share the vision. Share your goals and dreams and work on them together. Be supportive and encouraging when times are hard. When we are working together to accomplish each others dreams, we are investing in each others lives. It's like a safety net that is continuously woven throughout our marriage. And eventually, it's like thinking of walking away from a billion dollar investment because "it's just too much work."
I love the scripture verse in Matthew 6:21, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. This can be applied in so many areas of our life. We love what we invest in. Your marriage is worth investing in. When we do this, we are also investing in our kids, investing in our futures, and investing in the image that God gives us as his love for us. It's seeing past the "flaws", and reaching towards a higher goal. It's being a cheerleader when one of you is unsure. It's knowing that you're there for each other to pray, encourage, help, and love no matter how hard it gets. It's making your marriage work. And as I've said for the last 4 weeks, it's totally worth it!
If you haven't had the chance to read the rest of this series here ya go!
Week 2: When the Going Gets Rough
Week 1: How We Met