Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday "Meesh"

In case you are wondering about the name "Meesh," Lauren's middle name is Michelle and quite a while ago we started calling her Lauren Meeshelle, which James somehow picked up on and started calling her Meesh or Meeshy. It has just sort of stuck and I think it's rather endearing. I especially love hearing James refer to her that way!
Yes, it's true...our baby girl turned 2 on the 25th of November! I cannot believe it! It is going quickly and it seemed she literally grew up overnight especially once Graham was born! We had a fun tropical fish themed birthday party for her and believe it or not I have a lot of pictures, but none that are that great! It was tons of fun, but there were LOTS of people and kids and Lauren was never sitting still OR facing the camera! uggg! So, here are a few of my favorite shots taken in the last few weeks!
Her birthday of her favorites...pancakes and a side of apple ju-ju (apple juice)

We had a few days of sunshine and the kids got in a good hour of playing outside. One of her favorite things to do is push the stroller around outside. She's a happy girl!
Last but not of her 2 year pictures that Darcy took. Most of you have already seen them, but this is one of my favorites. It shows her spunky little personality and also how much she is starting to look like a "young lady." Wow...just love this girl!
Here are some special things about Lauren at 2:
-she loves reading books by herself and being read to. She will often times crawl up on laps with a stack of books and sit through them all
-she loves food!!! This girl can pack away the food but you'd never know it by looking at her. She's a tiny one (in the 97% for height and 10% for weight) At this rate she could be a supermodel ;)
-she still hates veggies and can find them in anything and in any form. We've hid them well and she will be chewing, spit out everything in her mouth, pick out the veggie then put the rest back in her mouth. It's awful!!!
-she loves candy! We have to hide my tutoring basket which she has robbed many times and my purse because she will dig through it in search for gum!
-she loves to laugh and everything is a game (which has its pros and cons)
-she is a hairtrigger! She has been known to clear things off an entire table in a matter of seconds without a seconds notice. (we're working on that)
-she's very stubborn. She would rather miss out on something to stick it to us, than to give in and do what she needs to do to get it (like say please).
-she's been in time out more by the age of 2 than James has in almost 4 years :) Seriously...
-she loves her daddy....she will often times take her blanket to him and snuggle up on his lap for a long time!
-she loves to set up animals and play with James. That is until James doesn't think she is doing it right ;)
-she is very dramatic! This may just be a girl thing, but WOW she is so different than James as far as her emotions are concerned.
We just love her to pieces and will continue doing our best to mold her in to the young lady God wants her to be!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Trick or Treat

Well, we braved the wind and cold again to show off our cutie-patooties and gather some sweets. We thought they were just precious! And for the record, both of my kids dodge the camera when they see it coming out, so I don't have many great pictures of them. I think I'm going to dress them back up and get some more ;) They'd love that! HA!
Our little ladybug...
And the policeman....Both of those pictures of the kids was within the first 10 minutes BEFORE their noses were bright red and they couldn't feel their fingers.

How pitiful is she. I'm pretty sure her hands were frozen around her basket and yes those are Easter baskets. I have an excuse though; the little, plastic pumpkins were sold out everywhere and this was James' solution. I tried to talk him out of it. :) Really? Collecting Halloween candy in our Easter baskets?

We had a great time, but we only made it half-way around the neighborhood when Lauren started shivering uncontrollably and James started crying, so we went home, warmed up and headed to Grandma and Grandpa's for the rest of the evening. It was fun and memorable! We all end up at G&G's when we're done trick or treating and they give them treats and the cousins play. It's a great tradition!
Graham even got in on the fun. He was a red, hot chili pepper. I thought it was just precious! He obviously isn't quite so sure...
He's had enough! Graham and Lauren both loved his little outfit! :)

The Pumpkin Patch (twice)

So, for the last couple of years, we have taken the kids to get a pumpkin and enjoy the fall festivities that come with the pumpkin patch...hay rides, wagon rides, popcorn, apple cider, etc...This year was particularly difficult to find a time to go because it has been so cold and rainy. So, a few weeks ago when we had those beautiful days, we packed up the kids after an early dinner and took them to the pumpkin patch. Well... it was closed. ARGGG! It had closed a half hour before we got there. We knew we couldn't go home because the kids were anticipating a fun filled evening. So, we played at the orchard for quite a while. It worked out well because the kids played on the tractor in the hay and ran around and we didn't have to worry about staying out of people's way. So fun... Here are a few pictures from our first attempt...
Love this picture of James!
Boys being boys...
Doesn't miss Lauren look so grown up here? She had a blast running around...NO BOUNDARIES=HAPPY LAUREN! ;)
Graham even got in on his first fall activity. He slept in the car most of the time.
Pumpkin Attempt Take 2:
1 word for this morning out- FREEZING! It was cold and windy, but we bundled the kids up and ventured out for the perfect pumpkin. Here they are...oh and there was mud...lots and lots of mud!
The hay ride was by far the favorite event for the kids. Lauren laughed hysterically the entire time. If you are wondering what that rather large bundle is in my jacket, don't worry I'm not smuggling a pumpkin. It's Graham in the baby Bjorn. He stayed very warm in there and slept the entire time despite the incredibly bumpy tractor ride.
The "perfect" pumpkin
James is into these super, goofy faces right now for the camera. So, this is his happy face.

Here's a better shot of what was stuffed in my coat...a sweet, baby boy! :) We had such a great time and made great memories. It was worth the bitter cold the second time around. And just for the record, after braving the wind and cold for a pumpkin, carving or "guarding" it as James calls it didn't fair so well. As soon as we cut the top off and started to pull out he insides, James started dry heaving terribly. Yep, our weak stomach child couldn't take the sight or the smell. I couldn't stop laughing. Lauren enjoyed it a bit more. James left the table never to return to the pumpkin..Oh well...there's always next year!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

You're Gonna Miss This...

You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days, hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times,
Take a good look around,
You may not know it now
You're gonna miss this...
This is one of my favorite songs right now by Trace Adkins. If you don't know have to find it! It's the best and I just LOVE it! You all
know I don't need a reminder about savoring each day and moment with my kids, knowing
it's all going to go way too quickly...I'm a real sap like that, but I'm trying to relish even
the everyday, mundane, sometimes monotonous "duties" that come with
being a mom. Sometimes our kids want us to do things that we have done "a million times before" or when we just sat down, but we know they are going to grow up and that we would do anything to do the little things just one more time... (I'm teared up as I'm writing this. I told you I'm a sap. I'm ridiculous!)
These are some things I/we want to enjoy every day...even though sometimes I'd rather be doing something else...

-building countless animals fences, barns, and hospitals
-feeding them various things such as grass and green pepper
-reading Shiver Me Letters and Guess Who I Am 10 times a day
-making countless play dough snakes, pizzas, and bird's nests
-giving bucking bronco and piggy back rides until my back hurts
-playing hide and go seek and pretending every time that I'm shocked James and Lauren found me ;)
-eating breakfast, lunch and dinner together...even though sometimes I feel like all I do is prepare and clean up meals
-playing Gone Fishin' even though trying to catch the fish on that little pole annoys me!
-answering MANY questions about things that sometimes I don't have a clue about
-looking for raccoons, deer, cows, and horses anywhere and everywhere we go
-stopping to look at the horses and buggies even if I'm dying to be home
-building forts and tents of various shapes and sizes
-putting together the same puzzles
-blowing on bellies

I try and cherish each day with the kids. Some days I'm better at it than others. I've been reminding myself to do it more especially with 3 little ones now, I'm trying to stop
and enjoy the little things even more because let me tell's busy! I believe I have
the best job as well as the most important job on earth!
Here are a few pictures of some of the things I don't want to miss out on...

James and Lauren destroying the house, but having a BLAST and using their imaginations!

More imaginations being used...even though my first thought was, "Really...can't we just leave the seat alone?" They had everything imaginable in this seat...books, clothes, blankets, stuffed animals...

This is my favorite...Luke gives James and choice every night of how he wants to get to the bathroom to brush his teeth. James always asks to be hung upside down. Then Luke brings him to me and I blow on and tickle his belly...every. single. night. It gets old and at one point Luke was done with it, but he said, "When he's 19, I'm going to wish I could swing him by his feet just one more time." (And I'm teared up again...)

You can't see her feet, but she has one my high heels...Love it! In a few years, this won't be "cool" at all...

He won't be this small forever...savoring these newborn snuggles

This was a long post...but my challenge to you mommies out there is to enjoy the little things with your kiddos today even if you want to be doing anything but what you are doing. Remember, You're Gonna Miss This... what would you give just one more time to do with your kiddos? Tell me...

Friday, October 2, 2009

He's Here...

Yep...I did say HE...Graham William was born at 4:55 p.m. Wednesday, September 23. He weighed 7 pounds 10 ounces and was 21 inches long. I just can't get enough of him!!! He's just precious! My delivery went really well and I didn't have to be induced. I was given one dose of cytotec and 12 hours later went into full-blown labor. The delivery was PERFECT and I only pushed for less than 25 minutes!!! And thankfully it was a quick delivery because the cord was wrapped around his neck pretty tightly. Thankfully he was fine, but he was an ashy color and didn't cry for a bit which is really scary for a mamma. Within the hour he perked up fine and has been just perfect ever since! The kids love him, especially James which hasn't surprised me one bit. It's been funny, he thinks he's going to see him grow up like...NOW. He asked me over the phone last night if he had his teeth yet? I couldn't help but just laugh. Lauren is good with him when she pays attention to him, but she's just been doing her own thing. She hasn't seemed too
jealous yet which is great! The kids have been with Luke's parents this week and I miss them terribly! I can't wait to have us all home together although it has been a HUGE help! Here are the pictures of our little man. This was right before leaving for the hospital. Going to have a baby!!
Here he is

We were so proud and shocked that our little Graham was a boy!!

James just loved him!

Here we are as a family

I can't get enough of our snuggle time

Here he is...wide awake!


This is the closest Lauren has gotten to Graham!

We are so grateful and feel so blessed to have another healthy baby! I'm so happy andcontent with all I have!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Zoo

Luke and I have been wanting to take the kids to the Ft. Wayne Zoo all summer, but our weekends have just been too full. I decided it was now or never since we have a baby coming in less than 2 weeks. So, I asked Luke's parents if we could all go when I stayed with them this last weekend. It was perfect! We had such a great time. Little Miss Independent a.k.a. Lauren, isn't in as many pictures because she wanted to be out and walking and not riding in a stroller. Therefore, she was eating many snacks while looking at the animals.
We rode the train which was lots of fun and both kids enjoyed that. In fact, I would
have preferred taking the train around the entire zoo! ;)

Lauren enjoyed the farm animals because she could get up close and personal with them.

We opted not to go into the goat pen because they were mauling the other people in there. A bit much for the kids...they were content with petting them through the gate.
This was the BEST part of the entire zoo (at least I thought). James got to feed
a giraffe. It was amazing to be that close to them. It scared him the first couple of
times when the giraffe stuck out that tongue to get the lettuce. He just thought it was great!
He even got to play some bongo drums....another highlight of his day!
This was the end of a very long, fun time at the zoo. Lauren was a few hours past nap time and we were all spent! Thank you Grandma and Grandpa for a great day!

Where has time gone??

So, James had his first day of preschool yesterday and what can I say, he LOVED it!
We had debated sending him to school this year since he has 2 years before kindergarten,
but thought he would not only enjoy it, but benefit from it. You all know well how much
James loves his mama...and being with his mama...all the time. I was a bit apprehensive
of how he'd do, but he was a CHAMP! He was so looking forward to going and got right out of the van, said he loved me, and walked away. I was shocked, but pleased. No tears or anything.
Well...from James that is. I cried a bit and thought, "This is it..."

Here he is ready to leave the driveway. He was annoyed that I wanted ANOTHER picture.
This is terrible lighting, but I couldn't resist the picture. This was baby right before
heading out the door for his first day of preschool.
He loved painting and snack time. He liked painting and being a firefighter. He said he liked painting
because they got to wear "big daddy shirts" so they wouldn't get paint on their clothes. I loved hearing that! He could even tell me several of the names of kids in his class and who he shared
toys with. I can't believe he is growing up so quickly...I need to stop blogging now or I might get all emotional again!

Hard At Work...

So, I told you all in my last house that we were working on some internal transformations and I'm glad to inform you they are finally FINISHED! (well...almost....some of the trim needs to may its way back on the walls). Bless Luke's heart he worked for 3 1/2 days straight...literally...with like 6 hour sleep breaks to complete the ceramic tile! Wow, was that time consuming. I don't think we would ever do that large of a space again, but we LOVE it and it looks great! Here are a few pictures of the changes. I only took one of the before...I know...terrible...but it was kind of an afterthought. We also got new carpet and I picked out some new's like a whole new house!!!

The "before" picture. I've always hated this awkward wood design that was supposedly a transition from the kitchen to the living room. Luke has always said he was sure the builders were covering something up and BOY WAS HE RIGHT! We found all sorts of mishaps underneath that awkward wood design.
Here is the view coming into the front door....

Looking toward the front door. This is the best angle of the tile (I think). Luke did a great job!

Here is some of my new wall decor which I also love!
And another new addition to our house is simply because I have the BEST in-laws ever!
Yes, you read that correctly....they are great! And this picture proves it! This last weekend the kids and I spent the weekend at their house while Luke worked on the flooring. I have been
sleeping miserably lately and my emotions proved it! They had gotten a new mattress set in Luke's old bedroom
that I got to "try out" for 2 nights and my sleep was 100% better...

So...literally 8 hours after I returned home with the kids, my in-laws showed up with an entire new mattress set for us/me hoping I would sleep better. Is that amazing or what?!?
It wasn't in stock in the Ft. Wayne or Elkhart stores, so they drove all the way to South Bend
to pick it up!

This picture doesn't show it's true height. Luke said I should've taken a picture with a yard stick next to it. It's almost 36 inches high.

The only trick is the's SO TALL! I tried to get some pictures to show you just how tall it really is. I'm still getting used to getting in and out of bed. I have to roll out right now with this belly right now ;) (And yes, that is a baseball bat underneath the bed...I am paranoid about intruders and I'm sure to ward them off with that!?! That...and the Ab-roller next to it!)