Monday, December 29, 2014


Drew has flourished this year in school at Fairview's CDC and loves Ms. Lynn. I'm so grateful that she leaves detailed notes on the day, especially since Drew isn't really a "talker." I get lots of "I don't 'member" as responses to my questions :-) 
This note in particular brought tears to my eyes...Ms. Lynn perfectly summarized Drew's sweet, special personality. I pray The Lord continues to guide me and Sam (and that we always seek!) so we can continue to cultivate his precious personality. I pray this can always be said of him...

Choir Shows!!

Both boys had "choir shows" in December, and I was so proud of both of them! They are both so lucky to have such wonderful choir teachers!!
Drew's 3 year old choir class had their performance for family and friends. I was totally unsure of how Drew would perform. He's never done anything like it, and although he enjoys music, he's not much of a singer. But he absolutely shocked me and Sam! We were so impressed. He sang and did all the motions. He was so proud of himself. 
All was going wonderfully until he sang out a second too early, and the crowd kinda giggled. It was cute. However, it totally embarrassed Drew, and he shut down after that. He bent over and stopped singing altogether. Luckily, there was only one song left after that. I spent our drive home getting him to understand that he did a great job and people laughed because he did so well and not to make fun. I think I convinced him ;-)

Mac's choir sang on a Sunday night in the sanctuary to start the children's Christmas program. My boy still loves to sing and did a great job, "commotions" aka motions and all! His buddy, Ross, figured out they were live on the screens, so they were temporarily distracted for a few minutes while looking and laughing at themselves. Haha 

Home Sweet Home in Missouri

A few weekends back we went for a visit to Forsyth. I had been anxiously awaiting and counting down to this trip! I miss my friends so very much and couldn't wait to be reunited! The main purpose for this trip was to host a baby shower with Brooke for our best friend, Jamie and baby Lydia...but we packed the entire weekend doing our favorite things and seeing our favorite people. I was super excited to be able to stay for church on Sunday. Felt so good to worship with "family" :-)
Me, Jamie, Brooke and Nora (Nora was born a few days before Clara...she loves her mom so much that she never leaves her side! Lol)

Oh how I miss this! The views, constant reminders of God's beautiful creation

Our small group, which has since split and grown, gathered for a reunion. And we had a blast! The Carters had to leave before our picture. I LOVE these people!!

Branson never disappoints and always has fun...Optimus Prime was in town and my boys were thrilled!

Having some silly fun in the crazy mirrors

This was our fourth year to take Santa pics at Branson's Bass Pro Shop. We weren't prepared to see Santa, so we weren't dressed in Christmas gear. But, hey, it's a good pic, so I'll take it just like it is!

The boys had such a good time with old friends! It was so neat to see light bulbs go off as we visited places and people that they remembered. We also took Mac to his old school in Taneyville, and he was so very excited to see Ms. Lisa and Ms. Rebecca. He even stayed long enough to join in for a few dances and exercises. 

No trip to Forsyth is complete without a trip to Yummy Donuts! We all look forward to this breakfast!

We had the greatest time on our trip back to Missouri...and I'm already counting down to my return! :-)

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Spreading Christmas Cheer

Some friends from church had the idea for our kids to hand out hot chocolate and candy canes at a local grocery store just to tell them "Merry Christmas" and offer an opportunity for us to teach our kids to think of others and not just ourselves. I wasn't quite sure how it would turn out with two 5 year olds, one 4, four 3s, one 2, and two infants (see, you're not sure either! Haha) But it was a huge hit! The kids had a blast, and the people coming in and out of the store sure seemed to enjoy seeing and talking to our kids. The kids were not content to leave until every last candy cane was passed out (or they eaten them!) Some were more shy than others, but they all spread Christmas cheer to all we saw that afternoon!
How cute are these shirts??? Jess had the design from their recent trip to Disney, so we took advantage of it and had super cute shirts for school Christmas parties. After we school we headed to the grocery store, Sunflower, to hand out hot chocolate. 

Most of the crew. I was so proud of them. 

In action. "Merry Christmas, sir! Would you like a candy cane or hot chocolate?" 

We Did It!

We actually managed a picture with all three looking AND smiling! Christmas miracle right here!

The attempts...LOL

Christmas Pics...

They don't always love it, but I always try anyway ;-) Not too bad considering I was attempting this one solo. They're growing up way too quickly. I vividly remember taking Mac's first Christmas picture when he was 3 months old. Now it's my third child's first Christmas!!!

The many faces of Clara...sweet, usually smiling but sometimes downright angry! The girl gets madder than a hornet if you don't do what she wants. (We could be in trouble with this one ;-) 

My Heart

I LOVE this little girl! (And I'm still loving the super cute nativity dress my mom found for her!) 

Christmas 2014!!

The boys enjoyed making cookies for Santa on Christmas Eve. We went to our church's Christmas Eve service that evening, looked at lights, ate dinner at home and finished up with "The Grinch." They were so excited to go to bed!
Santa came!!! (Don't you love the gingerbread house that CeCe and PePaw made with my kids?!? We call it the gingerbread mansion.)

This is genuine excitement...and Mac's excitement is actually for Drew. He was so excited for Drew that he got what he asked for-a puzzle. Angry Bird Transformer Telepods topped Mac's list this year. 

Drew is excited for Mac and trying to catch a glimpse of his new Ironman watch. They honestly were as happy for each other as they were for themselves. I know they're mine, but those are some sweet boys :-)

Christmas morning selfie with my girl...chewing on her new rubber teething lamb

She liked her new toys, but the lamb was an immediate hit!
Suited up ready to skate...or at least to attempt and learn!
Slap bracelets and Pez, exactly what should be in everyone's stockings! My boys have a slight obsession with Pez candy at this time. Mac even got chocolate flavored...who knew such a thing existed???
Bananas and cinnamon rolls, her very first sweets :-) And as you can tell, she thoroughly enjoyed it!

Christmas Fun with Mim and Pop

The weekend before Christmas Sam's parents came to visit and celebrate an early Christmas. The kids were thrilled to get gifts early, and we all had a fun time visiting and playing. 
A quick family picture after church...everyone was ready to go eat :-)

Getting a pic with all three looking and smiling is a feat! I take what I can get...

Clara with Mim and Pop. The boys had tired of pics by this point. 
Opening their fun gifts...they especially loved the Legos and Superman costumes that had a steel bar only Superman is strong enough to bend!

Hanging out before the evening Chrsitmas production at church

Sweet girl and her many faces while eating lunch at Peppers. 

Big Time Clean

Back in November I transitioned Clara to the big girl tub. She was thrilled to be sitting up in the tub and loves playing with toys in the water. In fact, she screams when you take her out! It was an instant hit!
She LOVES a bath!

Drew helping to entertain Clara. He was very interested in watching her in her big girl tub. The boys get so excited when she reaches new milestones. They are truly her biggest fans. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Thanks, Charlie!

It was a great Christmas season with Charlie the Elf. The boys loved finding him each morning and took the job of not letting Clara touch him very seriously! 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 Months!?!

How in the world did it happen that I blinked and Clara was 10 months old!?! She is always happy, always smiling, loves to eat and knows exactly what she wants (and can throw a big ol fit when she doesn't get it!) She can find the tiniest little things on the floor and try to put them in her mouth. She also understands "no"...doesn't always listen but knows what it means! Haha She crawls, pulls up, claps, and waves. She also just started patting me on my shoulder when she puts her head on my shoulder to sing her a goodnight song while patting her back. So sweet :-) She loves toys with a face, so dolls are a hit. She smiles and tries to talk to them. She can say "da" (daddy), "ma-ma", "ba-ba" (bottle) and tries to babble all sorts of things. We just confirmed her milk allergy and have her drinking soy milk twice a day. She makes my heart smile! (And my tired eyes are beginning to smile since she has FINALLY, more consistently started sleeping through the night...hoping it lasts!)
I haven't really found a food yet that she doesn't love to eat! Mac always laughs and comments about how fast and how much she eats. We call her a food vacuum :-)

Those little fingers will grasp at the tiniest little thing

Watching the boys play outside, hollering at them with a little bouncing and laughing when they look her way. 

She has some teeth wanting to come in soon on the top...that's why she sticks that little tongue out. Although it could also definitely be because she thinks Uncle Hayden is silly! Lol

I couldn't ask for sweeter children! They are the best of friends and always looking out for each other. Makes me tear up as I'm thinking about it...

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blog Worthy!

Hooray for Sam!!! He has a "new" to us truck! I am beyond thrilled for him.  He has been driving my 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee for several years (we clunked his vehicle back in 2009 with the Cash for Clunkers program).  And the Jeep was a great vehicle, but it had seen its better day. In the middle of the bitter Missouri winter temps last year the heater went out, it leaked, made crazy noises, often overheated, and the list went on and on.  Sam kept a myriad of tools and fluids in the Jeep in an attempt to be as prepared as possible for whatever else could go wrong. I never let him drive the kids around in it either! He definitely took one for the team...he never once complained about it (not even when driving in below freezing temps with snow coming down and no heat!) and has always made sure that I have a good, safe vehicle to drive.

But the day had finally come for us to let the Jeep go and find Sam a good, reliable vehicle. He has always wanted a truck and after hours spent looking on car lots and online, he landed the perfect truck and the perfect deal! We are all excited and proud...and we can all ride in this one!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mac's Special Day

On each birthday, the birthday child gets to choose what they would like to do for the day.  Since Mac's birthday fell on a Tuesday, which is a school day for us and the first soccer game of the season, we celebrated Mac's special day on Monday.  The day began with cinnamon rolls, one of Mac's favorites for breakfast.

Ready to go out for a fun day! He chose to head to McDonald's for lunch and play inside.  Then, go to Tupelo for fun at Chuck E. Cheese. We also went to the mall so they could play on the indoor playground and ride the train, and we finished up that night with shakes and snacks from Sonic. It was a good day!

Ready in her jeggings and Twinkle Toes.

At McDonald's...I'm kind of a germaphobe mess up in that place! I try not to dwell on the nastiness of that play stuff. A prayer, hand sanitizer, and lots of sweet tea for survival

They just figured out that good ol Ronald is the namesake of their fav "restaurant," yes, I use that term lightly!

Virtual coaster at Chuck E.'s. For a long time we were seriously the only people in the place. It was great!

Hanging out, doing what she does best :-)

This is Mac on his actual birthday. I still cannot believe I have a 5 year old, a pretty darn cute and sweet one at that!

Still has a major obsession with Angry Birds, especially Angry Bird Star Wars. These jewels will join the collection of other stuffed toys on his top bunk.