To Easton on your 4th Birthday

My sweet boy,

How are you already 4 years old? I feel like 2 & 3 years old were still “toddler” years, and you have grown into a big boy overnight.

You make us laugh every single day, Easton. Your personality is so funny, and your laugh is contagious. You love to be silly just like your sisters. One of your favorite things to do with them is build forts. The three of you use my dining room table and chairs and lay every blanket we have over the furniture. You get 3 flashlights and I can hear ya’ll giggling in the secret hideout. It usually ends in someone crying, but I enjoy it while it lasts :)

Four years later and you still don’t care to sit and play with toys…ever. When inside, you love to hit a balloon (mom had to hide all the balls) or “bottle flip.” You recently received a Nerf gun for your birthday. You shot it for a while, but then I caught you throwing the bullet up in the air and hitting it with the gun. Everything you find becomes a bat and ball. When you get punished from your bat, I find you stealing my wooden spoons from the kitchen drawer and using them as your bats. There is no denying your love for anything sports, and I cannot wait to see what becomes of your passion.

You are such a sweet boy, Easton. You love to snuggle and say, “I love you” randomly when passing me in the house. Every single time we go outside, I can expect that you will pick a flower from the grass and come up to me with your hands behind your back. You are 100 percent a “mama’s boy” and I love every second of it.

I hope you had a great first day as an official rider of the bus. You have been counting down the days until you were four so you could ride like your sisters. Dad and I love you so much, buddy. Stop growing so fast on this poor mama :)

Love, Mom

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To Jules on your 7th Birthday

Sweet Jules,
I cannot wait to see what God has planned for your life. You are one of the most special little girls I know, and I am thankful that I get to witness your life everyday.

You have a smile and laugh that is contagious. You have the dimples, the curls, and the tan that most wish to have. You are funny and goofy, and you are not afraid to laugh at yourself. You are an amazing sister. You are never boastful, rude, or impatient. You are always so laid back and “go with the flow” in most situations. I strive to be more like you!

What I love most about you is your carefree spirit. No matter what your friends are doing, wearing, or eating, you make your own choices. Other people’s opinions don’t matter, and I pray you keep that quality for the rest of your life. I remind myself often to be more like Jules.

You have one of the most kindest hearts. You remind me a lot of my Maw-Maw Stella. Fun fact: your name was almost Stella :) I’m grateful we chose Jules, though, since it’s unique just like your personality.

I hope you had a blast at your sleepover this past week. You were spoiled with your favorite toy right now – L.O.L. dolls. Thank you for being such a joy in our lives. I love watching you grow and learn, and I can’t wait to see what you have in store for the world. I love you, sweet girl.

Love, Mom

TEN.

When I was in sixth grade, I sat in my assigned seat on our school bus. A super cute little bitty fourth grader sat next to me. We talked and quickly became friends. Growing up in a small town, we knew of each other and our families. I knew she had a handsome older brother and remember asking her for his school picture. She brought the photo to me, and I remember staring at his crew cut, his spaced out teeth, this skinnier than a rail handsome boy. I was smitten. Imagine my excitement when she asked me for a sleepover at her house. I would actually get to meet him.

Of course at this sleepover, I was awkward and shy and spoke under by breath. I barely acknowledged he was there, because I was embarrassed at what his sister had been telling him. Obviously I was a little young to date, so the crush phase would have to do for a while. My dreams came true when we became boyfriend and girlfriend four years later.

Surviving high school drama and a long distance college relationship, I answered the easiest question he ever asked me six years later…

During marriage prep, I remember one of the first questions our priest asked us as a couple. “Where do you see yourselves and your relationship in 10 years?” Would I be a horrible wife if I tell you that I can’t remember Seth’s answer? I vividly remember mine, though. I immediately answered, “Sitting on my front porch, swinging on my porch swing, while watching our kids play in the yard.” That’s it. That’s all I ever wanted as a wife and mother…to have a simple and happy life and family.

In the last ten years we’ve:

  • been through pregnancies
  • had our first child…and thought that was so fun we had 2 more
  • changed a bazzillion diapers
  • progressed in both of our jobs
  • built a house
  • grown closer to God
  • had another fur baby
  • been on multiple vacations
  • had a couple of ER visits
  • grieved the death of loved ones
  • gained plenty of new friends 

We’ve been busy. We’ve been challenged. We’ve shed tears through frustration … and then some from laughing so hard.  We’ve grown. 

Married for 10…together for 16…I love that our love story is my favorite. I hope in the next 10 years, we still sit on our patio late at night listening to music while the kids sleep. I hope he still slaps my butt when he passes me in the kitchen. I hope I still start his truck for him on cold mornings. I hope I still get random inappropriate texts.

I may mess up a lot in life…I may be the biggest hot mess around, but I know I made the right decision in marrying my husband. He is a man of God, an involved father, and a supporting partner. As an added bonus, I still look at him and think, “Damn that guy’s hot.”

I am forever grateful that my dream for a marriage and family came true – and that we sit on our front porch often, swinging on the porch swing, while we watch our kids play in the yard.

Everything else – the jobs, the house, the vacations, the absolute chaos…is a complete bonus.

I still pinch myself when I look at the jackpot I won in the marriage department. Lord knows it is not always easy. I don’t know a married couple out there who claims it’s easy and perfect.

But I so enjoy trying.

Our Favorite Elf is BACK!

To say we have been busy over the last month would be a huge understatement. So busy, in fact, I have not had time to update this blog in over a month! We are back just in time, though, to share some photos of our favorite elf from the North Pole.

Herbie returned the day after Thanksgiving. He flew through the wrong window in our house, and ended up in our coffee bar!

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The next morning we found him singing nursery rhymes in Mom’s teapot!

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The kids were all giggles when we found he was trapped on the fridge in Easton’s underwear!

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That little stinker took one of our marshmallows and made himself comfy by a fire.

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He thought he was taking some of our cookies the next day, but he actually took the dog treats! I don’t think he was happy.

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He was showing respect for our manger scene by taking off his hat and kneeling the next day. The girls wanted to know why he was getting bald!

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All the kids had to brush their teeth in Mom & Dad’s bathroom the next morning. Herbie filled their sink with marshmallows to take a bubble bath!

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As we were getting dressed for church the next morning, we found him in our Advent wreath reminding us it was the first Sunday in Advent!

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He flew very high the next day…we almost did not find where he was hiding! He was at the top of our Christmas tree!

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I had to leave for four days and head to Texas for a work trip. I was super nervous at how Herbie would act without me around. However, he did not miss a beat! The kids Facetimed me every morning to show me where Herbie was before they left for school. One morning he was in our utility room trying to buy some laundry service!

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He flew to the light and then to the bathroom the next days. On the night I came home, we found him making snow angels in the kitchen!

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Easton was fussing Herbie the next morning when he found that he was riding his train. I bet Herbie was nervous being so close to the ground, but Easton did a great job of not touching him once!

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“MOMMA! O.M.G!!,” is all I heard from the bathroom the next morning. Herbie apparently poops tootsie rolls. Those elves are something else!!

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We found him admiring all of our Christmas cards we have been getting in the mail!

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That little stinker took the kids’ underwear and hung them on the tree! He does this every year, and the kids laugh and laugh.

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Another little elf told Herbie about this activity about giving. He set out a basket in the playroom and had the kids fill it up with toys they no longer played with. He took it to the North Pole that night to give to children who needed toys. I was actually surprised at how much they put into the basket. It was overflowing!

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We enjoy our time with Herbie so much during the holidays. He adds so much JOY to this season! We don’t have many more days left with him, so we are making the most out of his remaining days!

 

Kennedy’s 8th Birthday – Beads Everywhere

We had a small get together for Kennedy’s close friends and family. Cake and sweets were on menu!

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We had ten girls over to create some adorable jewelry. The owner of a local boutique came over to help the girls make beaded bracelets! They were so proud of their creations!

We tried to keep Easton out (girls only!), but he kept making his way in somehow.

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I love to watch Kennedy open presents. Obviously, she is the dramatic one out of the bunch ;)

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For her last surprise, Nana & Grampi held her eyes closed until Daddy rolled it to her for the reveal. At the rate her legs are growing, she’ll need a larger bike every year!

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After the jewelry making was done, we had the rest of our family and “boy” cousins over for some cake!

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Thanks to everyone to came to Kenn’s party to make her feel extra special!

To Kennedy on your 8th Birthday

Kenn,

When I think of you, I think of chubby little cheeks, pinchable thighs, and a little girl always on the “stage” of our fireplace for nightly entertainment. When I look at you lately, I see a young lady almost as tall as me, wearing adult shoe sizes, with a sarcastic wit you get from me and Daddy. You are only in second grade, and sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a 20 year old. You make us laugh all the time, and I hope you continue to make people smile everyday.

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I don’t think you realize how smart you are. Dad and I are always looking at each other silently thinking, “how does she know that?” You love to read, and you have a broad vocabulary for an eight year old. Just a couple of months ago, you were reading picture books. Lately, I see bookmarks in thick chapter books, and it blows my mind! This will be so useful to you in whatever career you choose. Keep reading, my dear!

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You are so funny, Kenn. You have a sarcastic wit that I believe you are still trying to figure out how to use. Sometimes it gets you in trouble, but mostly makes us belly laugh. Pair that with your dramatic nature, and you are one hilarious young lady. I cannot wait to see where you end up when you are older …. I’m pretty sure it will be on a stage of some kind. We have said from when you were little, that you would win an Academy award one day ;)

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You are at the stage in your life where you are figuring yourself out. You loved gymnastics, but wanted to try something new. As hard as it was, we sat back and let you decide for yourself that you wanted to try dance class. If it were possible, you would want to enroll in gymnastics, dance, acting class, art class, and singing lessons. You love to learn new skills…and the thing is…you are good at them all! You don’t realize the talents you hold.

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As you grow older, I long for my chubby, bright eyed little baby. But, I love watching the young lady you are becoming. Happy 8th birthday, my sweet Kennedy. Never stop entertaining us!

Love, Mom

 

Finding My Place in the Superdome

This past weekend, I attended the Saints run with my husband and a couple of friends. It’s a race around the city of New Orleans that ends inside the Superdome on the fifty yard line. Let me tell you about a passion I don’t have…running. I will never understand how people can just jog or run sprints for fun. Even in the stage of my life where I was the most fit and most in shape my body had ever been….I still couldn’t run. Let me not say that I can’t run, but I choose not to. It’s an activity I was never interested in, and as much as I try to like it, I just accept that I don’t. I struggle running to my mailbox. I only run if I’m chasing one of the kids, or if I’m getting chased by a wild animal.

Ya’ll, I had to borrow tennis shoes for a 5K, because I did not own a pair. So why on God’s earth did by friend sign me up for a freaking race around the city of New Orleans?

We left our house and headed for the race at 5:00am. Seriously, tell me again who does this for fun? We arrived and I immediately felt like an elephant at a mouse convention…out of place. There were people stretching, listening to motivational songs on their earphones, and putting tape in weird places on their legs and ankles. Some were drinking protein shakes, some had special running gear, expensive tennis shoes, and fancy running apps on their phones and watches.

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I was in awe of the time and practice these people were obviously putting into this race. I was standing there, with my fancy runner’s number safety pinned to my shirt, wondering what the hell I would do when that buzzer sounded to start the race. I would get trampled on and probably die from the stampede of the seven thousand people who were in line.

The buzzer sounded, and I took off with the rest of the crowd. I positioned myself to the far left so I would not be in anyone’s way. I saw my husband and friends way ahead of me, and I was so proud of them. But then, I stopped.

I got off of the path and I stopped, because I knew I did not want to keep on going. I knew I would get crap for not finishing. I knew I would get “I knew you wouldn’t do it” smack talk. But then I had an epiphany. Maybe my place there was not to be a runner, but to be a supporter.

I immediately started up the side ramp to enter the Superdome. I headed down to the field straight to the finish line. I hung out with the mascot for a while, and I waited for my tribe to come inside and do what they came to do…finish.

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I was able to video each of them crossing the finish line – something they would not have if I wasn’t their cheerleader friend. I was there cheering as loud as I could for each of them, and I had goosebumps when they came through the finishing arch. Did I feel like a failure, or secretly want to cross the finish line myself? Actually, no. I felt so much peace that day being exactly where I needed to be at that time.

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We all have our abilities, and obviously running is not one of mine…but maybe that’s why I like to write or take pictures. Accept your weaknesses, because there’s a reason why you have them in the first place.