Sunday, December 13, 2015

Looking Like Christmas.

We have been in the thick of all things Christmas lately, with parties, parades programs and the like. The odd thing is that our weather has been close to 70 every day for the past week. I didn't complain one bit... winter tends to be a hard season for us, as being home bound for days on end tends to not mix well with boys (the lack of gross motor hits us hard!). So in between stringing lights and picking out trees and singing carols, we've dug around for summer clothes so we can play outside without breaking into an all out sweat.
This was the first year that I attempted a gingerbread house with the boys. They actually did really well, so this will be a tradition we will keep. Tyler just about licked every piece he touched, which wasn't that surprising given his age.

We went to Walmart one night as a family and picked out a tree. Brayden actually selected the one we ended up taking home, which was a delight for him.

I say this every year, but this may be my favorite Christmas yet. The boys have patiently waited all week to decorate the tree. They did it all by themselves and were so excited to see old handprints and artwork they've each done for ornaments in years pa
This is our first year to let the boys decorate the tree on their own (we had a little bit of guidance for them). They did so well and were so excited and proud of what they accomplished. I loved listening to them remember when they made certain ornaments or memories.

Impromptu night on the square to see the lights. #mboys2015
We made a spontaneous trip to our town's little square earlier this week. We figured seeing Christmas lights in the warmth was much better than looking at them in the cold.
Connor had his last preschool Christmas program. He was so excited to perform on stage and have us in the crowd. He kept thanking us the remainder of the day for coming to see him sing on stage.

We finished this week with our annual train ride on the Christmas train. I could tell Brayden was a little bored with it, which made me super sad. They grow out of their wonder and excitement so quickly. We ended up having an extra ticket, so we invited one of Connor's little buddies to come along with us. They had fun goofing off together. And Tyler was completely enamoured this year with it all. He has fallen in LOVE with Santa, which is comical because he will literally scream out for Santa anytime he sees someone that looks like or is dressed like him. He's also too little to discern if it's all a scam, like his older brother (Brayden pointed out to us towards the end of the train ride that the young man who was walking up and down the aisles, was in fact, the guy who was dressed as Santa earlier. When I asked him how he knew that he said "because he's wearing the same shoes." Smart cookie, that one).
creepy fake beard Santa that Tyler wasn't afraid of one bit.
the boys waiting in the station before we left
JohnJohn and Connor. They have been buddies since they were born!
A not staged, cute pic. They were so excited when we took off and sat glued to the window like this for quite a while.
please notice Tyler's posture in talking with Santa. He is a mess. Brayden told him he wanted an XBox 22. Good thing I can easily say that those don't exist... yet. Ha!

As I reflect during Christmas time, I find so much wonder and amazement in the beauty of the meaning of Christmas... that Jesus, the Son of God, came down as a babe to ransom us from our depravity. It is such a depth of joy and mercy that I am not sure I will ever fully understand. We have greatly simplified Christmas this year for our family, and in it I have found that it is still as abundant and filling as the years that we have packed it full. I hope that this Christmas season has started off filled with peace and joy for you too. Wishing you the Merriest of days this month....

Monday, November 30, 2015

And Then He Was Five.

Two weeks late but better late than never. Connor is now five years old. I can barely believe it were it not for his little reminders of the big milestone we've hit.

Life lately with Connor is pretty sweet. He's entered into the interrogation phase. This was a phase we never really went through with Brayden, so it's been an interesting journey navigating through one million questions a day ;)

Connor is my charmer. He can charm anyone from a mile away. Earlier this spring he said "Mom, at school, all of the "gwurls" (girls) want to marry me. But I don't know why... I'm just a kid." Oh, Connor, don't ever grow up.
Some of Connor's favorites at age five: Mario Cart on the Wii, playing scooters and riding bikes, drawing and coloring, action figures and Wild Kratts. We still haven't brought him for his well check, so I'll have to update this when we go... he's fairly tall for his age. This was his first year to play organized soccer for a team, and we played him up two levels on a U7 team with Brayden. He did great and even scored several goals throughout the season.

Connor has a great grasp on biblical understanding for his age, and one of my favorite things is to sit with him and listen to some of his insight on God, Jesus and salvation. Some of my favorites are: "We can never rip up or color on God's word... only use those light markers (highlighters). We can never punch or kick Jesus. That would just be mean and make rocks go in your heart (harden your heart). Mom, you are not the judge. God is the judge and He is the judge of you and Daddy and you cannot be the judge of me and Brayden and Tyler." Listening to his prayers are just the best and help challenge me to have the same childlike faith.
Connor-- I can't really believe that you're already five, and yet I can't even remember life without you. You are a joy and it is my honor to be able to call myself your mom. May you continue to pursue God with all that you are and all that you do, and may you grow deeply in love with Jesus more than you can comprehend or imagine. You are awesome and we love you so much!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


We have had a busy several weeks with life happenings. Such is fall.

A few weeks ago we FINALLY dedicated Tyler at church. Bless his heart, the third child just gets put on the back burner sometimes. We were super grateful to dedicate him before he started Kindergarten. Ha!
Tyler was super impressed. :) I am so grateful for our community of fellow believers (who we call our chosen family) They not only encourage us in our walks with the Lord, but also come along side us to ensure that our children walk in truth too.
I have to brag on my bigs for a second-- I was SO nervous about having them up on stage. Anyone who knows us knows that my boys are not necessarily known for their still and quiet spirits. They did SO well the entire time we were up there.

Since family was already going to be in town due to Tyler's dedication (and because October weather is more predictable than November in terms of temperatures), we decided to throw Connor an early birthday party. Connor marches to the beat of his own drum and I love him for it. He basically chose every theme that you could have (sharks, power rangers, star wars and transformers). Can't believe my middle guy is almost five... where does the time go?
we just did a simple party at the park with a few of his friends from the various events we are a part of.
my friends have informed me that we are "pinata" people. Not sure how I feel about the title, but considering my kids think that hitting and destroying things is the best thing ever, it's at least the most fitting title we could garner.

This past weekend we had Halloween festivities. Friday Brayden had his school fall carnival, at which I got ZERO pictures. It was basically like shoving 1098271 children and adults into a small, overcrowded cafeteria and then telling them all to dress up and play games. By the time Drew lost Tyler and Connor, we were ready to go. Brayden did have fun seeing all his friends and his teachers though, which is really all that matters. Saturday we went trick-r-treating with friends. The boys had a blast, although I was quick to recant my approval of black ninja costumes for 4 year old boys. Connor was a streak of invisibility the entire evening, which left my heart in my throat much of the time as I feared he'd get hit by a car. Next year we are going for brightly colored costumes (or at the very least, lots of stick on glow sticks).
love my little super heroes!

We are gearing up for Thanksgiving now, even though the temperatures have us believing we're well on our way to a second summer. I hope and pray that as we approach the holidays that you and yours are able to take some time to reflect on how blessed we are and how many things we have to be grateful for.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pumpkin Patch 2015.

Looking at our fall schedule, I wasn't even sure if we would make it to the pumpkin patch this year. But Connor kept insisting that we go (I think he is my traditions boy... he remembers everything we have done and will not let me forget it!), so we found a spare few hours one afternoon several weekends ago to make it happen.

I tried to take pictures at the beginning of our trip in order to have happy faces. I'm not sure there is ever a successful time to take pictures of 3 boys. They're much more interested in active things than sitting stagnantly with fake smiles for their mom.
Can't believe how big they all 3 have gotten. Halfway through our trip at the farm I looked at Drew and said "in four years, this won't be that awesome to them anymore." Sad reality of growing babies.
Connor was the only one who braved the ponies. He was all smiles the whole time.
feeding the animals was a highlight.
the boys had asked if they'd be big enough for the peddle cars this year, to which I had responded negatively (the big ones are huge!). We were so excited to see that the farm had added smaller karts for younger children. The boys had a blast pretending to be race car drivers.
Tyler helped Daddy drive a big one.
Brayden and Drew tried their hands (or feet, rather) at human foose ball.
trying to get other people to use my camera is always interesting. This was the best we could get of the family as we were headed out on the hay ride to feed the cows.
Since the entry fee into a lot of the pumpkin patches can be a bit pricey, we let the boys "pretend" to pick out a pumpkin and then went back to Walmart to get the ones we'll carve. Not sure we'll get away with that next year-- Connor let me hear it when he realized we didn't actually purchase the one he had found. ha!
we closed out our pumpkin evening fun hanging out with friends. Look at all of these Razorback boys! So grateful for such great friends that the boys can grow up with... we are so blessed!

To see our previous years of pumpkin patch fun:
2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012| 2013 | 2014 

Playing Catch-Up.

Three years ago, I would have never thought it possible for me to go several weeks without blogging. Sure, a couple of days. But even weekly seemed manageable. It's funny how life changes. When I first got into blogging, I had an enormous amount of extra time on my hands. Brayden slept most of the day and my house was clean most of the time. As the years have past the blogging world has changed, but so has my personal world as well. I now have three very active children, and a lot of times blogging means that I am giving up something... time with them, time to fold laundry, or time to relax with my husband after the kids have gone to bed. So for the past couple of weeks I just allowed myself some room. Room to be a mom. Room to be a homemaker. Room to be a wife. I have missed blogging, but I think in a lot of ways I would have missed more of my real life than I would have if I had spent time to write it all down. Plus, Instagram has totally made it more manageable for me to capture the every day moments that I truly want to remember. SO... today I play catch-up. This is what we've been up to over the past five weeks that I've not logged or written.
We've been inundated with sports. We took two risks this year with sports: playing Connor up two age levels so Drew could coach them both at the same time, and playing two simultaneous sports with Brayden. We've had a 50/50 ratio of success. Connor has done well with playing up, and it hasn't phased him at all (I was concerned it might affect his confidence levels, but he's been able to keep up well with the 7 year olds). The two sports at the same time-- WEARING. Wearing for me as the momma, because Saturday mornings have started out as early as school days, and end up with me throwing different cleats and jerseys in the back trying to get Brayden to change on the way from football to soccer (the games overlap, so he's not able to play a full game, which stinks). Live and learn. Overall it's been fun, especially watching the boys play on the same team as each other (Drew's also co-coaching with a friend of ours, so their twin boys are also on our team, which has been super fun for Brayden and Connor).
A fun week with my momma ended today. We sure do love her bunches and bunches! #mboys2015
My mom came for a visit. My mom had been wanting to come and visit, and I knew Drew had a business trip at the end of September, so we were able to overlap the two so she could come during a time I'd need an extra set of hands. It was so fun having her here (and definitely helpful for me... not sure how I would have been able to juggle everything without her help!)
Tooth #2 fell out during football practice! So sad I've missed both of his teeth falling out so far. Can't believe how big he's getting! #mboys2015
Teeth. Brayden had his second tooth fall out during football practice this week. Unfortunately I missed it because I was home with two sick preschoolers. I was so bummed I've now missed out on both of his teeth falling out. He was so proud and so excited to get another gold $1 coin from the tooth fairy.
Glasses make him even cuter...  now for the predictions on how long it takes before they're broken or lost ;) #mboys2015
Eyes. While my mom was visiting, she noticed that Brayden was blinking more than normal and asked if he'd ever had an eye exam. I had noticed the blinking before but didn't think much of it, but after my mom mentioned it I decided that perhaps it would be good just to get things checked out. We had his exam today and everything went great... except he needs glasses {insert mom guilt from letting this go on for longer than necessary}. Thankfully the doctor is hopeful that since we've caught his vision early enough, that he may only need glasses temporarily. Here's to hoping. Brayden seemed eager for the possibility to wear glasses going into the clinic, but then when reality set in, I could tell he was a little more apprehensive. Thankfully I was able to talk him off of the ledge of despair when he realized he couldn't have the Nike glasses (help us all, the obsession with Under Armour and Nike will be the death of me), but ended up settling for a TMNT (teenage mutant ninja turtle) pair that he seemed to like just as well. He still looks just a cute with glasses on as he does without them ;)
Life. Besides sports, I feel like I have now entered into the very beginnings of the mom taxi service phase. I feel like most days we are living in our minivan more than our home. It's funny, I always kind of bemoaned a lot of the minuscule things about having babies at home. And it's true that things seem so monotonous. But there's also a sweet simplicity to life that I am not sure you fully appreciate until you are well into the other side of things. I just feel like I should warn all of you though: If you are holding a baby in public and you happen to be in my presence, I will swarm you and swoon over your little baby until you decide I am crazy and try to quietly tip toe away. I have become the crazy baby lady in public. But when you're baby now talks in complete sentences and tells you all about their day at preschool (including friends and activities), one can get a little desperate. I took this bee picture while we were visiting a local pumpkin patch/farm. I have a ton more pictures of our farm trip, so I've saved those for another post. I hope that the rest of your week is a good one!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


We're in the thick of change of seasons. There are days that are humid and hot and just feel like summer may never end.

And then there are days that are cool and literally smell like fall and tempt me to pull out my jeans and my comfy boots and welcome the colder weather with open arms.
Found the one person who actually finds joy in the weeds blooming. As for me, I'm getting stabby about the pollen situation. #mboys2015He's never far from his football. #mboys2015
To remind us that the seasons are indeed changing, the pollen count is super high, which has wreaked havoc on all of us despite my best laid plans of essential oils and rigid antihistamine dosages. We are a sniffly bunch, my clan and I and can't decide if we want to bask in the heat of summer a bit more or switch full on into football and sweatshirt season.
Hindsite being 20/20, it would probably have been best if I had taken their picture BEFORE we spent 4 hours swimming. Goodbye summer 2015! You were good to us! #mboys2015
we scrambled to the water park for their last day to use the last bit of our passes. We'd held on to them in hopes that Brayden would hit another growth spurt before summer's end and finally reach the coveted 48" height requirement for the big slides. He grew just in the nick of time. I left more exhausted than I had ever left a water park... somehow the stamina I possess at 33 is not the same as I previously held in my teen years during my own water slide glory days. Lord, give me strength to make it through the teen years of water slides and roller coaster adventures with these boys.
Hot, sweltering fun at the Hogs game today! It was our first Bielema game to attend... the last game we attended was 3 years ago.
Drew and I were given the opportunity to attend the first Hogs game of this season- our first to attend in over 3 years! It was loads of fun despite the near hellish temperatures (wearing eye makeup to a football game is not encouraged when said game is close to 95 degrees. I was a hot mess express by the time the game ended).

I got to spend some rare alone time with Tyler today. He is a spit fire kid, full of personality, and many of my days are spent trying not to pull my hair out as he gets into 29276 things... so alone time with him allows me to really enjoy the phase of life he is in and overlook some of the hardships that come with having a two year old. I can't wait to see how the Lord uses his big personality!

I reflected a lot today on how the seasons of life have changed for me over the past couple of years. I have gone from having mostly all diapered children to only having one (and hopefully on the end of that road soon!), from having all 3 kids at home, to this being the last year to have multiple children with me at home, and from going to feeling like I am drowning in the sea of motherhood to feeling like I have finally gotten to a place where I am comfortable, confident and happy with where I am at. In a lot of ways I feel like the seasons of life ebb and flow just like the seasons of weather. We go back and forth until we are comfortable with where we are at, but each change in seasons brings with it a few uncomfortable things, much like allergies accompany the change of seasons with weather. And just like the change of seasons brings about mixed emotions (I want summer to stay, but then end up begrudging feeling like I am melting at every turn), so the change of seasons in motherhood goes as well. I think I'm in a bit of the allergy season right now-- I feel the change of our lives coming (in mostly good ways), but am not really sure that I'm ready for it. Thankfully the changes are always slow, and so this one will be too. So I'm off to soak in every moment I can of these "little" years. (And if you read my last post, I'll be recording a lot of it too! Gotta capture those sweet little words while they still sound little!).

Monday, August 31, 2015

First Day of Preschool 2015.

Today was the first day of Connor and Tyler's MDO program. This is also known as my sanity break.


Connor and Tyler were both so very excited this morning when they saw their lunch boxes packed and ready to go. The hardest part is waiting between the time of dropping Brayden off and their own school starting. The waiting is oh so hard.

I can't believe that this is Connor's last year in preschool. This morning he walked into his classroom, put his stuff in his cubby and then sat down to do his work. I asked if I could have a hug and he laughed as if he was embarrassed and said no, before resuming his work. It's a shame he's so emotionally attached to me.
last night as we decided on what he would wear he chose the batman one. At first I was hesitant (I am weird with kids clothes, which is surprising considering I normally look like I just rolled out of bed), but then he said "I just need this shirt because I really am awesome like batman, mom!" Couldn't say no the the awesome kid (see also: no one will ever be able to accuse my kids of not having self confidence).
Connor is really one of the sweetest boys you'll ever meet. His heart is as big as a lion's, and he is constantly seeking out how to help others. Can't wait to see how much he learns and grows this year!

And this stinker. He HAD to hold his "blue other pack pack" during his picture. He got the hand-me-down lunch box this year. He was most excited about the hammer on it (Thors gavel).
I asked him to put his hands in his pockets (it's easier to take pics of him if his hands are preoccupied). He couldn't find his regular pockets so he put them in his cargo pockets. He is HILARIOUS.
I was a little nervous he'd have a melt down as I left since he was a little emotional about being at school during open house. But he walked right in, started playing and didn't even look back when I told him good-bye.

I was able to be productive today, and my house stayed clean upon it being clean, which is always a refreshing feeling. Tonight I was reminded about how quickly these baby and preschool years are fleeting... I happened upon some old pictures and video I had no idea were still left on a memory card. They are of Brayden when we first moved into our current house (about 3.5 years ago!). He is SO little and precious and he says words incorrectly and has a speech delay that at the time freaked me out but now I just think is the most endearing thing ever. I don't have a ton of regrets in parenting, but I think the biggest one is that we have never owned a video camera. It just kills me to think of all of the memories that we have missed in preserving. So obviously I am taking my emotional unrest on my babies growing up to research video cameras. If you own one, leave a shoutout in the comments if you would recommend yours! And if you don't, join my boat. We can't all be regretting this when we're in nursing homes in 40 years.

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