Summer Vacation

Last summer, we didn't leave the city. Jeff had a ton of work and the girls and I entertained ourselves with lots of swimming and play dates.

Probably six months ago, Jeff started talking about a road trip that he wanted to take for this summer. Here was his dream
criteria –

1. Leave the day after school.
2. Don't even pack. Buy whatever you need on the road.
3. Drive and see every national park that is west of Texas (with the possible exception of the Grand Canyon since we were there in 2010) – Yosemite, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Grand Tetons, Glacier, and maybe even Mount Rushmore.
4. Spend lots of time in cooler weather.
5. Be outside as much as possible
6. Come back a few days before school starts again.

I wasn't completely sold on this idea. Sure, I liked the idea of cooler weather and seeing some national parks I'd never seen, but the idea of driving for hours and hours (and hours) with my three wonderful children didn't seem so exciting.

So after much talking (and lots of looking at maps), we compromised. We would do a lot of Jeff's list – but with a little bit more structure…and a little airplane ride thrown in there. 😉

We started off our trip by getting up at 2:30 am (girls got up at 3) to catch our 5:30 am flight to Denver. I know, it's a bit crazy, but when it's the cheapest flight by a landslide, you just gotta go for it.

Fortunately, our Airbnb home was ready super early, so we were able to go straight from the airport to the house to drop off our stuff.

From there, we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park and went straight to the top – about a hour or so on winding roads – where I had to calm my nerves by looking at the beautiful mountains and not the side of the road. We heard later that several times a month (a month!) people accidentally drive off the side of the road.

We parked the car and hiked up even further. Yes, yes I hiked. I guess it's hiking. Does walking up a dirt path count? In Toms? Carrying Kate most of the way? I'm counting it.

Selah before we hiked up –

And Macy when we got to the top.

And a quick windy family shot with the elevation sign. Toto, we're not in Houston anymore.

The girls had one wish while we were on this trip – play in the snow. Not just see the snow at the tops of the mountains. PLAY in the snow.

Well, you know Jeff. Challenge accepted.

We found a little spot that we could walk to about a 15 minute drive from the top.


The girls had fun sledding down the snow on their bottoms. If we would have had a piece of cardboard as a makeshift sled, we may have stayed there all day.

By this time, we were all feeling the jet lag and were ready for dinner (at 4:30) and bed. We found a really good Mexican restaurant – with $2.50 tacos for happy hour – and headed back to the house for baths, a quick TV show, and an early bedtime. Amen.

Firsts and Lasts Round Two

As mothers of multiple kiddos know, if you do something for one kid, you’ve got to do it for the others – ergo, here are Macy’s first day of school pictures. 😉


And the last day –

Macy’s last week of school was BUSY.  She had the end of year award ceremony and the end of year second grade party.


Super proud of her perfect attendance award.

Next up was the second grade party.  This was so fun for the kids because they get to play outside all morning at different stations.  My station was the eat-a-donut-with-no-hands station.  Best. Station. Ever. 😂



And just like that, we say goodbye to second grade.  You’ve been good to us, but we’ve got no choice but to move on. 😉


Today I wanted to call my mother and ask her which bedding she liked for the girls.  A friend of a friend is possibly gifting us some bunk beds (let’s all say a prayer for that – my biggest fear is that Macy breaks her arm on the second day) and if we get them, we “need” some twin size bedding for the top bunk. I’m standing in the aisle trying to make a decision and wanted to call my mom.

Mother’s Day and I have a complicated relationship.  On the one hand, my girls are so sweet and they make me cards and they give me gifts and lots of extra hugs. We usually take one picture of the four of us – which may be the only one we get all year.  If I’m feeling extra lucky, I may even get one of me with each girl by ourselves.


But on the other hand, Mother’s Day is a day when everyone else is celebrating their mom.  The social media posts begin, the pictures pop up, and everyone makes plans to take their mom out to eat.  It’s not that I don’t want people to celebrate their moms – they absolutely should – but I start to feel a little sad.  I want to post a picture with my mom, I want to take her out to eat.  I want to have the girls make her cards and buy her gifts and give her lots of extra hugs.

It’s hard for me to realize that most of the people I am friends with now have never even met my mother.  She’s been gone for so long that I actually spend more time with people who  never knew her than I do with people who did.  This is why on Mother’s Day, I wanted to go back to my home church – the place where I grew up, where I believed, where I was baptized, where I was married, where I was commissioned, where my mother’s funeral was held.  It’s always felt like home to me, but without my mother, it feels a little smaller, a little sadder. Most people don’t know me anymore, most people didn’t know her.  But it’s still my church.  And it’s still her church.  And I wanted to go to church with my mother on Mother’s Day.

I sat in the area that she would have sat in. I sat with one of her friends.  I thought of her the entire time and gosh, I missed her more than words can say.  But it was so worth it – because I went to church with my mother on Mother’s Day.

So I guess from now on, Mother’s Day and I will always have a complicated relationship.  I suppose all relationships are complicated anyway.

Happy Mother’s Day.  Tell your mom you love her.  Tell her how much she means to you.  And don’t forget to give her extra hugs on Mother’s Day.

Firsts and Lasts

Whoever came up with the whole take a picture of your kid on the first day of school and put it next to a picture of your kid on the last day of school was a genius.  It’s so fun to see how much they change.

First Selah –

And then Kate-Kate –

And then together –

Love it.

The Last Day

As a kid, I always thought of May as a time of beginnings.  The beginning of freedom, the beginning of summer, the beginning of a new job.

As an adult, May has become the month of endings. My calendar is full of the end of school year stuff – field day, teacher appreciation week, mother’s day tea, last day of school parties.

Yesterday was Selah’s preschool graduation. There’s not much cuter than a whole bunch of five year olds dressed up in cap and gowns.


First we got to listen to the graduates sing –




Then each kiddo got to walk across the stage and receive their diploma –


I can’t say enough good things about Selah’s teachers this year. They have been the most loving, supportive, encouraging and kind women I could have ever asked for. They love my Selah and she loves them right back.

We only had a minute to take a couple of pictures with the graduate.


At this point, the cookie was winning over any more pictures. Can’t say that I blame her.

You would have thought that all this pomp and circumstance would have had this momma falling apart, but I really did okay through the whole thing. Even through the slide show of baby pictures, I made it without a tear.  I thought I was home free.

That is, until this morning, when it was time for drop off.

Here I am, pulling up in the car line outside the girls’ school, and it suddenly hit me.

This is the last time I will ever drop Selah off as a student here.

When Selah first started at Foundry, she was two years old. My mother had only been gone a year and they only had one spot left in the Turning Threes class.  I didn’t know anyone there except the director who gave us a tour of the building and showed us where her classroom would be.

For the first two weeks of school, I brought her inside to her classroom.  After those two weeks, you had the option of doing drop offs from your car if your teacher thought your child would be okay.  Selah’s teacher approved right away and from that day on, she’s been getting out of my car to go into school without looking back.

That was THREE years ago.

I love her school, her teachers, the staff and the parents.  I love how much they love the kids.  And gosh, I love my Selah.

With Macy – as I’m sure most moms are with their firstborn – you can’t wait for them to get to the  next milestone.  First food, first step, first big kid bed, first day of school.

But with your second, wow. You just want time to slow down a bit.  Let me savor that first step just a little bit longer.  Let me keep you in your crib just a little bit longer.  Let me hold you like a baby.  Just a little bit longer.

And that is how I feel today.

Let me keep you here in preschool just a little bit longer.  You are safe here, you are encouraged here, you are loved here.  Let me keep you in the place where school is only a few days a week and I get the extra time to play with you and hug on you and hear your songs.  Let me keep you this age just a little bit longer.

So this morning as I pulled up into the car line, I pulled Selah into my lap and hugged on her so tightly.  I kissed her head and told her – this is my last time to drop you off at your school.

She smiled at me and said, “Today’s the last day Ms. Sandy’s going to open my gummies for me.  She’s going to be sad too.”

Thank you Selah for making me laugh through my tears.  I may be sad you are growing up, but I am so proud of you for who you are becoming.  I love you more than words can say.

To all you moms out there in the same boat as me, happy last day of preschool.

The Bluebonnet Do-Over

When you are living life with kids, there are going to be times that require a do-over.  A mulligan.  A let’s-try-it-again.

I just never saw it coming with the bluebonnet pictures.

We usually do our bluebonnet pictures in the late afternoon/early evening when the sun is starting to go down so you don’t get that whole squinty eye thing.  I realize that this is not the most optimal time frame for children, but you gotta work with the sun here, people.  Usually, my bribery (ice cream for everyone!) and the fact that we are surrounded by flowers seems to supersede the fact that we are out during the “witching” hour. I even chose a weekend day so that we’d feel more rested.

None of this seemed to matter.

We got to the bayou and the whining started.

It’s hot.

I don’t feel good.

My arm hurts. (Macy had hurt her arm pretty badly at a birthday party right before the pictures)

When can we go home?

Well, this wasn’t going to be good.

About two seconds later, Macy cut her toe and started to bleed.  Now we had the hurt arm and the bleeding toe.

We pressed on. We tried to smile.  We tried to bribe. We tried it all, my friends.

It wasn’t looking good.

I left there feeling pretty defeated.

The good news was that my friend is amazing and despite all the crazy, she managed to get some beautiful shots of the girls individually.


This, in itself, was a miracle.

But because of the all the drama, none of them cooperated for the group shot.

This momma was sad.

Until my friend stepped in and saved the day.  She suggested that we come back and re-take the group shots. I LOVE HER SO MUCH.

At the last minute, I suggested to the the girls that they all wear boots – mostly to protect their toes from cuts – and it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made.  Nothing says Texas like little girls in pink boots surrounded by bluebonnets.



And one family shot – for prosperity sake of course. 😉


A very special thanks to my incredible friend, Emily, for taking these pictures for us. I will treasure them forever.

And thank you Lord for always giving us a do-over. 😊

Baby Three is Three

Today is the day my littlest little turns three. Sigh. Her birthday snuck up on me this year (which it tends to do) and I finally decided that she had to have at least a little “party” at Chickfila.  Apparently, I’ve made this decision before for some other three year old birthday parties.  Two others, to be exact.

Once with Macy and her Minnie Mouse cake –


And once more with Selah and Tinkerbell –


And now it’s Kate’s turn! She chose Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Belle.


If this cake looks vaguely familiar, it should.  Selah chose it for her birthday.

Look, it’s my two children who love to pose – and the one who doesn’t.


Ok, ok.  Here’s all three.


Time to sing!


Make a wish, Kate-Kate!


That cake must be yummy.

IMG_7407 (2)

Quick pose with Avery


Our attempt at a family shot.  Lol.


Then time to go home to open some presents!


At three years old, Kate –

Is POTTY TRAINED!!! This is truly amazing, because wow. I have NO CHILDREN LEFT IN DIAPERS.  Let’s just pause for a second and appreciate this moment.

Ok, ok. Moment over.

Loves her family with all the feelings.  She always wants to go wherever someone is going – with Jeff to Home Depot, with Papa to the mailbox, with Macy and Selah to school.  She also loves her time with just mommy when the bigs are at school.

Eats a lot of sauce.  Cane’s sauce, Chickfila sauce, ketchup, salsa, ranch, you name it.  This girl loves her some sauce.

Runs really fast.  Especially when I am trying to get her to do something she doesn’t want to do.

Can throw a fit with the best of them.  (Like right now, she’s throwing a fit about Legos.)

Likes to sit in my lap and read books. This doesn’t get to happen like it did when I only had one kiddo and I try to really savor it. She likes Brown Bear, Goodnight Gorilla, Pat the Bunny, Spot books, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Goodnight Moon.

Enjoys singing at the top of her lungs.  Especially in the car.

Loves her teachers and friends at school.

Has chosen pink as her favorite color.  Surprise, surprise.

Prefers her pink cowboy boots to any other shoes because she can put them on herself.


Oh my Kate-Kate. We love you so much.  No matter how big you get, you’ll always be our baby Kate. You were so wanted and so prayed for – even before we knew you were. Happy, happy birthday sweet girl.