First and Last for Kate

Somehow we’ve made it through another school year with Kate. Kate certainly has changed this school year – learning her letters/sounds, tons and tons of songs, and how to write her name. I’m sad to see it end, but excited for what the summer has in store for us.

Summer, here we come!

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The Real Mother’s Day

You know, I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves for Mother’s Day. We, as in the mothers, I think. We want the extra good behavior, the picked-out-the-night-before-coordinating clothes, the polished picture, the thoughtful gift. But to our kids (well, at least to MY kids), Mother’s Day is just another day.  What are we going to do today that’s fun? Can we go to the playground?  Can we see our friends?  Can we eat ice cream?  How come there’s no Kid’s Day??

Of course I want to have Mother’s Day. I smile when the tent at Kroger goes up just thinking about the chocolate covered strawberries that Jeff will most likely pick out – even though I’ll tell him not to. I love the homemade gifts my girls make at school and the little questionnaire I knew was coming from Kate.  What’s your mommy’s name?  How old is she?  What is her favorite food? What do you love the most about your mommy?

On Mother’s Day, my kids will still fight.  They’ll probably still cry/whine/complain about something and how it’s not going their way.  They (well one of them more than the others) don’t want to take a picture because the sun is too bright. They’d rather go outside and play than sit in my lap.

So I’ll take my Mother’s Day how I can get it. Which, if you think about it, is every day that I get with my girls. On Monday, when I got each girl her own slushie from Sonic to celebrate Macy’s first day of STAAR testing and Kate accidentally put a hole in the side of hers with her straw and hands it to me while I’m driving and the whole thing is oozing sticky grape Nerd-filled slushie all over my clothes/steering wheel/seat until I have to open up my door and dump the whole thing out, that is Mother’s Day.  It’s Mother’s Day when Kate cries and says, “I wasted it!” and Macy hands her her own slushie and says, “Here you go, Kate. You can have mine.”  That is Mother’s Day. Or when Selah steps on glass two days before her field trip to the science museum and I carry her through the entire butterfly exhibit because her wheelchair can’t do the steps, that is Mother’s Day.  When she giggles because a butterfly lands on her little hand, I thought – this.  This right here is Mother’s Day.

This year, Macy made me a Joy Jar for Mother’s Day. It might be my favorite gift she’s given to me up to this point. It’s a jar filled with “compliments” about her mommy.  I love it when you are there for me when I am scared.  I love when we spend time together.  You are a great mom because you care for me when I am hurt. When you pick me up early from school, you make me happy. When I am upset, you help me calm down.

As I opened each one of these, I was overwhelmed. That my sweet little girl, who was a baby just a minute ago, is able to express herself so well.  That these little things that I do are being noticed.  That she loves me so much.

As I went through my Mother’s Day – with all its bumps and bruises – I tried to think back on all of these compliments.  I tried to hold them in my heart – the way Mary did when Jesus was born.

The truth is, we’re only going to get a few Mother’s Days – the real ones and the in-between ones. My own personal Mother’s Day will never be the same, because I no longer have that person to give a gift to, to spend time with, to tell her how much she means to me. So my hope is for however many Mother’s Days I get is that I won’t over-pressure myself.  That I’ll be able to step back and enjoy it, even when nothing seems to be going to plan. That I’ll get to hold my girls and love on them as much as possible.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there.  Your kids are thankful for you.

Four Years of Kate!

You know what they say – better late than never to post about your baby girl’s birthday. It was hard for me to believe, but my teeny tiny baby girl was turning four and it was time for cake and presents. When she was first born, people would stop and stare and ask me if she was a real baby. I almost miss those days, but let me tell you – four year old Kate sleeps a whole lot better than teeny tiny Kate did.

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Kate has the best birthday month because of all the ways we get to celebrate.  Always on the list – bluebonnet pics.

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And next up – the rodeo.

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Next year, we’ll have to ditch the hats just to fit in the barrel. 😂

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And this year, we got to celebrate Easter on Kate’s birthday weekend too.

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It’s not every day your baby turns four, so we celebrated in typical style.  You know – lots of cakes, lots of partying. Oh – and a giant baby chick. Or duck, according to Kate.

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Happy fourth birthday sweet girl. We love you.

Christmas in Pictures (Again)

I’ve come to realize there are just certain times you are not going to be able to come up with a creative title.  But you might – just might – be able to come up with some good photos.

One of my very favorite things about Christmas is the Christmas Eve candlelight service that comes right before it. It was always my favorite thing as a little girl and I love seeing it through the eyes of my little girls.

Why do children just look more angelic with candlelight shining on their faces? ❤️

My mom started our Christmas tradition of opening stockings first thing in the morning and then doing presents and everything else later on.

This year, Santa brought light up notebooks with each girls’ initials on them.  (I really should never have walked into Justice 😂).

Now it’s time for the annual quick-photo-in-front-of-the-tree before our outfits/hair get messed up.

Heart officially melted.

Time to open presents at Grandmommy and Buddy’s!

IMG_8328IMG_8330IMG_8334IMG_8336IMG_8340IMG_8341IMG_8343IMG_8345IMG_8349 Selah’s Christmas/birthday list pretty much was made up of fake animals that act like real animals – the cat in the picture above, Hatchimals, Chubby Puppies – you get the idea. I’m the meanest for not buying her an actual animal. 😔

Pause for another photo op of family in front of the tree –

And the grandchildren –

IMG_8371.JPG And now you’ll notice a little break in my picture taking because it was time to come back home and host Christmas lunch for the whole family. This year was a little different because we had the Avid Coffee truck parked in our driveway.  Super fun for everyone.

Photo cred: @plantpoweredmommy 😊

Once everyone left, it was time for clean-up, gumbo dinner, baths and our last round of present opening.

IMG_8385IMG_8389 Yep. Animal theme still going on.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

A Very Six Year Old Selah

Selah’s birth story is always one of my favorites.  Being super pregnant at Christmastime, my parents just making it in time to see her birth, going in labor while my doctor was on vacation, Jeff asking me if I wanted to go to the roof of the hospital to see fireworks after she was born – she is certainly my most exciting birth story.

Because of the hurricane this year, we ended up with a set of six plane tickets to anywhere.  It was my dad’s idea to use them to go to LA over the holidays and Selah’s birthday, see our friends and do Disney. Why not? I thought.  It’s always amazing to be in California for the new year.

So off we went, with two new umbrella strollers and an Ergo in tow, ready to Disney it up.

We arrived in LA pretty early, but got to spend most of the day with my bestie and her family.

The first thing we always do is hug the dogs.

Then, we decorate our cookies. This year, Auntie Kasie bought ugly Christmas sweater cookies. 😂

And then more playtime outside.

Plus sweeping, of course.

One of the cutest moments was when Ryker and Kate shared Goldfish. Heart melted.

 

When we do Disneyland, we are the people who stay on property to get the extra “magic morning” hour and then get to the gate by 6:40 AM. You’d think we would be the only ones, but alas we are not.

On day one of Disney, my main objective was to try and recreate this shot from 2013 – before all the crowds showed up.

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I mean, c’mon.  That’s a pretty magical picture.

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This one wasn’t too shabby either.

Anyway, I ran all the girls over to the same spot, hunted down a Disney photographer, and set them up.

 

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And a couple more shots…

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Alright, folks.  We’re done with our Disney pictures for the week.

The first day was the early morning into the Disneyland side, so we went ahead and rode as many of the smaller rides as we could before the lines got too long.

Also during this time, I familiarized myself with the relatively new Disney MaxPass. Life. Changing.

With the MaxPass, you can get your Fastpasses on your phone – without running around the park getting paper tickets. I could get the big girls and myself Fastpasses to say – Guardians of the Galaxy, Space Mountain, or California Screamin’ – while getting my dad, Jeff and Kate Fastpasses to Buzz Lightyear or Toy Story. So amazing.

After riding the rides in both parks a few times, we figured out when the camera was going to go off –

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Selah posing as a kitty cat.

 

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Whee!!

We did manage to squeeze in a few princess visits…

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On the morning of Selah’s actual birthday, the first ride we rode was Radiator Springs – always a hit.  But before I could ride it with her, the ride broke down. So we headed over to one of my personal favorites – California Screamin’. I wasn’t sure if she would like it or not, but she did. For the rest of the trip, she kept asking to ride the big white rollercoaster. (If you were wondering, we did all eventually get to ride Radiator Springs the next day.  That poor ride was really having some technical difficulties.)

 

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Happy SIXTH birthday, my Selah girl!!

 

Kasie and I did manage to get one picture together during one of our dinners. We took way more of our children.

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Two fun observations about this photo – 1. why does she look taller than me? and 2. this may be the very first time in our entire friendship that my hair is shorter than hers.

For our final night, we got to go back over to Kasie and JB’s house to eat some dinner, love on the dogs and Ryker and watch a movie.

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And then, promptly fell asleep. Night, night.

It’s almost time to go back to Texas now and have Selah’s “official” birthday party. Happy New Year!

 

School Pictures

My experience with school pictures has been – well, ok. Some of them have turned out pretty well, but some of them – not so much. I usually buy one sheet.

That is, until Kate’s school pictures this year.

I may have overbought this year. Just a little. 😂

Although that top one is my favorite, I liked these pretty well too.

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I mean, you gotta buy some for posterity, right? 😉

The Pumpkin Patch Tradition

Even though I feel like we are a home without a ton of tradition, fall does seem to bring out everything I’ve got. First up on the list is, of course, the infamous pumpkin patch.  This year, I had to do it solo, but I was so proud of the girls and how well they now pose themselves and encourage each other to smile for the camera. (what??!!)

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After some successful picture-taking, we rewarded ourselves with pumpkin bread and more time to play.

I sure do love my little pumpkins.