I’m proud of My Dad!

Today’s post is a little different for me.  When I write, I’m usually rambling about my kids or experiences I have had being a mom.  But today, I write from my perspective as a farmer’s daughter.  I will admit that this could be the first time I’ve ever told my Dad I’m proud of him.  I mean, really, how often do we tell our parents how we really feel.  A good ol’ “I love you” as we leave until next time or the end of a phone conversation, but never have I fully expressed to my Dad how really proud of him that I am.  So sorry about that, Dad, but here’s to you…the first man I loved!

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The story about my dad goes something like this…he is a hard working man, a farmer, a husband, a father, a grandpa/papa and a friend!  The biggest piece of him is farming, more specially, his herd of cattle.  When you are a farmer, you grow to love the earth you till for crops, and the livestock you raise as if they were a part of your family.  Today, my dad is letting go of a piece of his farming business, and he will say goodbye to the herd of black cows that were always there to greet him morning and night.

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My dad wasn’t always a farmer.  He used to work a full time job at the Ford Motor Company until his interest in farming became a realization.  The transition was a good one; I’m so happy he followed his dreams. His days as a farmer started before dawn and he wasn’t usually home until after dusk.  And he never once complained!  Plus, he still managed to support my brother and I in our activities.  Sure there were times he would miss events, but we knew he was working hard for our family.

Farming is not easy work, but its rewards are what drives the farmer to do what he does.  Raising cattle is what helped my dad establish a business for himself and at the same time, even provide his very own supply of beef meat for the family.  I’m pretty sure my dad would say that nothing beats enjoying the benefits of one’s hard work.

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One of the best experiences of growing up on a farm, was the opportunity to show cattle. My brother, cousins and I share some of our most precious memories from our times in the cattle barns on our grandparents farm! We raised them, fed them, washed them, and trained them to walk so elegantly around a ring all hoping for a blue ribbon or for the big show, a purple one! My final show was in the late summer of 1998…and I won that purple ribbon. My steer won the Grand Champion at the Prime Beef Festival livestock show! At the end of the sale that weekend, I had to walk my steer onto the trailer to be sold! I cried! A lot! He wasn’t just a cow, he was a like a pet, a friend…yes, someone I talked to in the quiet of the barn. My Dad didn’t quite know how to handle my emotions or even why I was feeling that way. Well, that day for me and this day for my Dad are somewhat the same…an ending to an era.  I bet he can understand how I felt that day just a bit more today.  I showed cattle and helped on the farm for as long as I could remember and probably since I could lift a bucket of feed or a bale of hay, but that day was my last. I was off to college that fall and my days of helping on the farm were officially over. Although my Dad will proudly walk away from his last delivery of cattle to the sale barn with a smile and some relief, there will be tears and sadness as he steps away from the cattle portion of his farming business.

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The days of grinding feed, filling buckets, chopping silage, baling and hauling hay are coming to an end.  The constant guarding of cows during calving season, middle of the night checks, wrestling down a calf for tagging or shots…those things are over too.  Whether it was heading out on snow/ice covered roads, trudging through muddy feedlots or dealing with frozen water tanks, my dad had one thing in mind…caring for his cattle no matter what it risked.  Although all that work sounds hard and uninteresting to some, I know it will still be missed for my dad because as with any job, something that you spend that much time doing and loving is hard to walk away from.

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I am proud of my dad for taking a step back from his hard labor work to enjoy life a bit more.  My Mom and Dad just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary last month and my Dad is turning 61 on Wednesday!!  My parents have worked hard in their lives, and will continue to do so, but hopefully at a much slower pace so they can relax, and make the most of their time together.  It wasn’t until the last few years that my Dad ever took a vacation other than our annual fishing trip to Minnesota. Hearing the happiness in my dad’s voice as he talks about his new experiences, the adventures he and mom take, the time he gets with all his grandchildren, is something I will look forward to.

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Although my dad will still be driving a tractor and working hard during planting and harvest seasons, his obligations have decreased which means more time for the things he enjoys…fishing, family, road-tripping with my mom, and his grandchildren.  I hope my brother is ready to have dad around his business more because I’m sure as dad slows down, he’ll quickly think he needs to get busy again! 🙂

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I moved to Chicago 11 years ago and each day as I grow closer to The Lord I know He brought me here for a specific reason and He is using me in this city for His good.  Although the farm and small town are no longer my home, they have my heart and no one can take away the fact that I will always be a farmer’s daughter! I love you, Dad! We are all proud of you!!

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Living guilt free…

I couldn’t leave my last post just hanging out there, plus this is my 50th post on my blog so I decided it should be well-thought out.

Struggling with guilt is not easy, and I know I cannot be the only one who deals with it.  I decided to put a few thoughts together on how I am actually living out my new guilt free life.   They say it takes 30 days to shake a habit?  So why would it be any different when changing the habit of feeling guilty?  I am getting better…much better, but I know I need more practice at just “letting go”!

1) Blogging: As I write this blog, I am happy to be writing, but I will not feel guilty about NOT blogging for awhile.  Yeah, it’s true, I actually have felt guilty for the past 4 months that I haven’t written a single post.  This blog is more than just updating extended family on the kids, and showing off some pictures…I enjoy writing, but I just can’t find the time.  However, is it worth feeling guilty over and causing more anxiousness? Nope.  So I won’t be feeling guilty if you don’t see another post from me for 6 months.

2) Taking pictures with an actual camera…and then editing them:  I love my camera, and I love taking pictures.  It is just too big to carry along on excursions when I have so many other gadgets that need to be brought along to help with keeping three kiddos happy.  Plus, I have my phone, and it has a camera.  I have photos of my kids doing things…they may not be the best pictures, but Instagram sure makes them look good.  I have pictures nonetheless and I can quickly share to FB, text or email to grandparents.  I will not feel guilty that my children do not have pictures of everything they do as long as I am fully present with them no matter what we are doing.


3) My Phone:
I WILL NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR BEING ON MY PHONE.  –yes, I just said that! My kids and husband see me on my phone, a lot, but guess what,  my phone helps me do my job.  I’m not old fashioned anymore.  I do like the convenience of having everything in one place.  My phone is how my life and family are organized…it’s my recipe box, grocery list, Target list, reminders, family/kids calendar and activities, and not to mention my way of staying connected with my close relationships.  If I am out in public and looking at my phone, I am looking at lists or texting my husband while he is at work to see if he needs anything.  I will not worry that other people are judging me because I am on my phone while I am with my children.  My children know exactly what these phones can do…they know why I use it and what for…and yes, I randomly peruse Facebook but not at the expense of my children’s attention.

4) Facebook: Oh speaking of FB–I have a love-hate relationship with this social networking site.  I love it because I can see photos of friends and family far away and I can even upload a picture of the kiddos doing something fun.  I enjoy staying connected with so many in this way.  Then there are all those “good-read articles” that you see as you scroll down your newsfeed.  I read them, a lot of them actually, because I love hearing so many heart warming stories of people doing good and loving on others.  Then I read the occasional “i’m going to stop yelling at my kids” type of articles and I get a bit frustrated.  First off, I grew up in a home where there was no yelling…really, I have no recollection of really being yelled at.  I bet that was because I was so well behaved. HA! I used to actually cry when my husband would yell at our dog for something as I hated yelling that much.  Then I had kids…I learned to yell.  I don’t like it and I have been trying to yell less in my house, especially when it’s just not necessary, BUT…I will not feel guilty when I do yell.  Let’s face it, I have three kids, and they are going to fight, sometimes it is the yelling that only gets through to them.  I’m going to slip up and yell at a child who won’t put their shoes or coat on when I’ve asked them 3 times.  I won’t feel guilty, but I will say I’m sorry, ask for their forgiveness and move on.  If we feel guilty for everytime we slip up as a parent, especially in the yelling department, we are going to feel terrible about ourselves…at least I will anyway, so I’m just not going to do it.  I will end this part of my rant on a positive note…my kids know that I do want to yell less, plus they don’t like to be yelled at in the first place.  So I give them warnings, which are sort of my warnings too…I remind them nicely a couple times and before I flip my lid I let them know I’ve asked in my “nice voice” already and it might not be so nice next time.  It usually works, but if it doesn’t well, then, I might just yell.

5)  Healthy eating: Another area in which I am choosing to not feel guilty over is how and what I feed my family.  Oy-vey…this has been a big one for me over the last year.  I am overwhelmed with what I should and what I shouldn’t be feeding my kids.  I’m not saying that I’m just feeding them junk.  Far from it, actually.  I try my best to feed my kids a good variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. but some meals just aren’t balanced and that’s okay.  I read a lot of foodie blogs, and some that are specified for healthy eating for children…the goal in reading this kind of information is taking what you can apply for your house and your kids. While I continue to learn, and try new things in my kitchen, I won’t feel guilty for not being the best cook.

6) TV:  My husband and I gave up TV for Lent last year.  What a blessing that was for us…we spent more time together, in the Word and more importantly doing those things around the house and with our kids that we didn’t do before because we were watching TV.  I started to read more, which was something I could never find the time to do.  Other than a couple favorite shows that are only on once a week, I have continued to live without watching TV.  That is unless I’m doing my guilt free activities of laying around with my husband watching the Chiefs or KU or a 20-minute episode of Bubble Guppies with my kids.  The guilt of all my shows on the DVR was lifted…I didn’t care anymore if I had missed 10 episodes of my 15 year addiction to The Young and The Restless, or hadn’t watched my daily ritual of Good Morning America.  The truth behind it all was that I would watch them when I didn’t have the time, then I would complain that I didn’t have enough time, and then I’d complain that I wasn’t getting to do what I wanted to do like read, write/blog, or edit pictures I’d taken for fun.  So, I gave up TV, and haven’t really looked back.  I still watch my two favorite one hour shows every now and then, but now I read, write and do things for me. So, my  TV and DVR won’t leave me feeling guilty.

7) Scrapbooking:  oh scrapbooking…Lana, if you are reading this, you better have forgiven me for saying this even before picking up the phone.  I love scrapbooking, it is my one true hobby, but I haven’t done it in over a year.  My best friend and I have had some annual weekend trips where all we did was scrapbook for 48-72 hours with a bit of sleep in between.  It was so much fun!  I have two full books for my oldest son, a partial one for my middle daughter, and not a single photo scrapped of my 18 month old son.  And then there’s the baby books, but I won’t even discuss those…it’s the same as my scrapbooks.  I always said I wanted everything equal between all my children, but there is one and only one thing that they are all going to get from me that is equal and that’s my love.  Maybe one day they will all have a few scrapbooks that they can cherish, but instead I’d rather live fully with them than with feeling guilty about not having all the baby books, and scrapbooks done that I want to have, so I won’t…I won’t feel guilty.

8) Getting babysitters and leaving our kids with grandparents for trips with my husband: I see it on FB, and I hear it from friends…I hate leaving my kids.  It’s totally normal and I dislike it too…it’s hard to leave the kids overnight, let alone 5-7 nights, but it is so important.  If I can just say to those that are reading this…one important thing you can do for your marriage, is to escape without the kids and make time to connect just the two of you.  It helps make your marriage stronger and gives you the energy you need to parent as a team.  Do not feel guilty for getting a babysitter, do not feel guilty for going on date nights and do not feel guilty going on a vacation with your spouse. Your love is what created this life and in order to enjoy this walk of life, you need to be continually work on your marriage.  My parents are about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary, yippee for them, but what an example for me.  Having kids in your home is really only a short 18 years of the many years of your marriage…as your kids grow, you grow and so does your marriage…grow together, change together and love deeper.  Get a babysitter and don’t feel guilty!!

I am beginning to think that my Skinny Pop moment was way more life changing than I’d originally discovered.  I am at a place in my life where I have finally realized my time on earth is precious.  Letting go just feels really good.  Stuff, things, and guilt cannot run my life.  I am blessed beyond measures with a man who loves, children who need me, and a God who gives me Grace to live each day fully and honoring to Him.

Go. Live. Guilt Free.

Life lesson I learned from Skinny Pop popcorn!

Have you ever had one those moments when something so insignificant actually creates a profound thought or discovery?  Well, that’s exactly what happened to me just a couple of weeks ago while eating my daily dose of Skinny Pop popcorn.  If you don’t know what it is, you should definitely try it.  Skinny Pop is one of my favorite guilt free snacks.  Why?  Because it says so right on the package (lower right corner).  See for yourself:
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Let me preface this moment by saying that I’ve now officially been a stay at home mom for 3 years and although I feel extremely blessed to have this wonderful life God has provided for me, I still continue to feel guilty…a lot!  I’m not quite sure how it really started or even when, but there are things that don’t mean a lot in this lifetime, and I still feel guilty about them. And the worst part was that this guilt was due to me wanting to spend time with my husband, kids or do something for myself.  What a joke, right?

I often find myself thinking about what else I should be doing other than sitting and reading a good book while my kids nap, just sitting and watching a show with the kids because that’s all they wanted at that very moment or even while lounging on the couch watching a football game with my husband.  I shouldn’t feel this way nor should I act on those feelings.  It is important to have time for myself to recharge and it’s even way more important for me to enjoy some simple minded television watching while cuddling with my spouse.  Yet those little things that bring so much joy, are usually just a thought in the back of my mind because there are dishes to be done, or other household meaningless tasks.

Now it wasn’t until I had my oldest son home from school for Christmas break when that little phrase “Indulge Guilt Free” from Skinny Pop actually triggered something for me. The first official day of Christmas break I spent time with all three of my children together…building forts, playing games, coloring and eating snacks all day.  It was pure JOY!  The next day was Christmas Eve and I had SO much to do.  I felt guilty having “wasted” the whole day before getting nothing prepared for our Christmas.  Why in the world should I feel guilty about that?  Not sure, but it happened.

A few days after Christmas, my oldest and I were laying on the living room floor with a bucket of Lego’s enjoying what he calls “Mommy time”.  We had our snack of popcorn and possibly some dark chocolate, and we were building away.  This was relaxing, good quality time with my boy who was now in school more than with me.  I sat there feeling a bit fidgety as I always do anticipating what I would “get done” next as soon as we were done building.  Then as I took another bite of my popcorn, it slapped me in the face, the big Skinny Pop phrase “Indulge, guilt free”.  Why am I not FULLY enjoying this simple pleasure of quality time with my son?  It was then that I was set “guilt free”.  We moved on from Lego’s, to reading books, and downloading a new game on the iPad that has become a competition between the two of us as to who can get a higher score.  Since then I sit down often with no qualms, and enjoy these precious moments with my family.
It was a simple thought then but things really have changed for me over the last couple of weeks.  Guilt just isn’t healthy…it isn’t good for me to live with and it’s not good for me to always be somewhere else and not fully present with my family.  Adios to you my guilt…please do not resurface again when things change as they always do.

Homework conversation

I will definitely be posting a blog soon about all the school fun, changes and newness for us, however, this one had to be documented ASAP or Momma would forget.

I was helping Parker with homework tonight, which so far has been sort of a challenge. It’s only been two days, but he’s not a fan of it. I know it’s because he has to draw a picture. This kid can color but drawing is not his thing. Grandpa Stine may need to teach him a few tricks with drawing.

Here is how things went down…he’s frustrated bc he can’t draw like other kids and he said he copied their pictures during school.

Me: Everyone has diff talents, bud.
P: Drawing isn’t mine…being a ninja is my talent.
Me: Yeah but do u think you can get a job being a ninja?
P: If I move to China!

He is so matter of fact and has an answer for everything. I love this kid!

Just plain fun…

Before long you will start to see everyones “first day of school” pictures posted everywhere…i’ll be one of those people too, but it’ll be different than the preschool pictures. Those days I said “see-ya” to Parker for 2.5 hrs, 2-3 days a week. That allowed me time to run errands with only two kids and I was back to pick him up. It didn’t change my daily routine too much.

This time I’ll be dropping him off for 7 straight hours, 5 days a week. This means morning fun and lunch will be different. But one thing I realized today was that my afternoons will be quite lonely, until I adjust. Parker hasn’t napped in almost 2 years. Ryann and Garrett both nap so this has always been our quality time. We do his daily devotion and we talk about how we see God in our lives (this will continue just at a different time), we read a high-five magazine, God’s Big World magazine, practice sight words by shooting them with nerf dart guns on a dry erase board (more on this another time) and then other stuff that is just plain fun. Oh, and play ipad games that my 5 year old is way better at than me. More importantly, we have great conversations…one of the key things we always hear as a parent is to “keep the communication lines open”…I pray every day that no matter what my child hears in school that he brings it home to talk about it with my husband and I. I can only hope that the valuable time I’ve spent as a stay at home mom over the last five years has built a solid foundation for Parker to enter in this new world of elementary school.

I will admit that yes, I’ll be sad to have my boy off at school, however I must also admit that I already have a list of things I want (not need) to do in that 2-3 hour window my other two are napping. I will have 5 days in a row of a small time slot to myself…the options do seem endless. 🙂

Today’s plain fun with my kids consisted of fun at a splash pad with friends, and then more specifically with my boy during nap time: acting as ninjas w fly swatters, learning how to snap (video below), goofy pictures and lots of laughs. Here’s a glimpse of what we share…
Parker’s learning to snap

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Camp Week = Life Lessons

It’s been over a week since we experienced our first week of camp, and I’m finally feeling like I can come up for some air.  Wow, who knew that having two kids in different camp sessions, and one in nursery all while I was volunteering would take so much out of me.  Thankfully, we gained so much more from our experiences than the energy we lost with being on the go.

To set up the scene for the week:
Parker was in Spotlight Youth Theater Camp which is an organization that focuses on  “Reflecting Christ Through the Performing Arts” from 9am-3pm.
Ryann was in Preschool Arts Camp which focused on God’s creations through the arts from 9-11:30am which is also where I was volunteering.
Garrett was lovingly cared for in the nursery at the church.

Mom’s life lessons learned:

Lesson 1: Planning and organization are ESSENTIAL in pulling off a week like this with 3 kids.  I would start my day by working backwards in time from when I needed to be in the van with all the kids buckled knowing that there would be traffic getting downtown.  I know the commute there and back is 20-30 minutes each which means if Garrett & Ryann do not eat lunch before we head back home they will fall asleep in the van; therefore, lunches need to be made and ready to eat at the church following camp. Packed lunches take some time to prepare.  The night before I lay everything out from clothes to lunch boxes and have the water bottles filled.  (I save the lunch prep til morning though.)  I wake up an hour before the kids to get myself ready, make lunches and have breakfast ready when they get up.  We eat, potty/change diaper, change clothes, brush teeth and are out the door!  No traffic, we are early…Day one=Success!

Day 2 does NOT follow suit.  I sleep 15 minutes later because day one went smoothly.  Garrett wakes up early needing tended to before lunches are made.  Ryann hollers from her bed before the toddler clock is green and needs to go pee.  I’m not ready.  We eat breakfast while I’m still trying to make lunches.  Garrett has a poopy diaper.  I’m rushing and break a glass dish…shards of glass fill my kitchen floor.  Everyone HALT!  I clean everything up…we are now late…Garrett poops again.  No one brushes their teeth and we get in the van…today, there is traffic.  We were 15 minutes late, but no one noticed…except for the kids, as they got the brunt of the unplanned, unorganized and frazzled Mommy!

Now I imagine there are going to be LOTS of mornings like this in the fall as I begin to figure out what life will be like getting 3 kids out of the house to walk one to school 5 days a week.  yikes!  Hopefully I can continue to plan and organize to make sure we have more successful mornings than not.

Lesson 2: Crying is NORMAL. Now you would think since Parker went off to camp for a full day away from Mommy that he would be the one crying right?  Nope, it was me!  This was the first eye-opener for me that the social aspect of parenting was going to be hard.  Since the younger two and I were having lunch after our camp ended, we would see Parker at his lunch time.  On Day One, he grabbed his lunch (super excited b/c it was the first time in his new superman lunchbox), sat down, opened it up and started eating.  Sounds good right?  Well, this is when I started to worry…here sat Parker, all by himself.  My gut sank, my heart thumped and my palms were sweaty.  He couldn’t see me, he didn’t know I was watching, and there he sat, totally content eating his lunch by himself while others ate in groups.  I continued to ignore the scenario and fed Ry & Garrett.  Our family pastor came over to talk to me and said “how’s he doing”…and I lost it…the tears were flowing.  He comforted me saying “You know this is normal, right?”…to which I replied “which part…me crying or him being alone” and he said “both”.  You see, anyone could attend this camp, and the majority of them were from other church campuses so Parker didn’t know anyone in his camp.  As the week went on, I observed this every day…Parker would grab his lunch, sit down, open it up and eat happily, but still alone.  He would ask his teacher to open his yogurt or show her his treat for the day, but never really mingled with other kids.  On day four, something was different, he sat down with his lunch, opened it up and grabbed something out and just sat there…he looked around, put everything back in his lunch box and moved over to a group of kids to sit with them during lunch.  This was the “normal” part our family pastor was telling me about…Parker learned about courage.  He took it upon himself to move into a group of kids and joined in on the lunch conversations…this is when I cried again.  It wasn’t much, just a few tears as I was really proud of my boy!

I’m just grateful I was able to observe this and hopefully it’ll be less of a shock to me in three weeks when Kindergarten begins.

Lesson 3: Identifying strengths vs. weaknesses in our kids.  This was the biggest lesson I learned this week.  Now, this doesn’t mean that I’m always pointing out weaknesses in my children.  But what it does mean is that I think I have tried to connect my weaknesses to my children when that just might not be the case.  So, the example above with Parker at lunch time, was something we talked with him about every day…he didn’t seem bothered, camp was fun, and he was excited to go back every single day.  I was in the backyard playing with the kids one day after camp, and our neighbor was visiting with me about the camp. I was telling him about Parker and the situation, and how I was sad for him…and he said “why?”, my reaction was “because I don’t want him to be alone. I am afraid it may take him a while to make friends in school.” He response made so much sense to me, “but he is confident on his own, isn’t that a good thing?  You have instilled confidence in him that he isn’t afraid to be independent.” That point from an outsider looking in, made my week.  It helped me see Parker’s independence as a strength…one that will probably continue to build his confidence in all areas of life.  I can definitely say my self-confidence wasn’t as strong as Parker’s at 5 years old.

Parker’s life lessons learned:

Lesson 1: Lunch time is too short.  “Mom, they never let me finish my lunch.” and “Fruit roll-ups take too much time to open and eat them.”.  Looks like I need to limit his lunch time at home so he gets some practice eating without playing and talking too much.

Lesson 2: Scheduled potty breaks are important to take. For the first two days, I would pick up Parker at 3pm and he wouldn’t have used the restroom since 8:30am when I had him go before camp started.  He has always had some holding power, but he was dancing by the time I picked him up.  He now knows the importance of using the scheduled potty breaks.

Lesson 3: Money for snacks = junk food.  In the parent notes of the camp instructions, it said we could send $0.50 for snacks.  My assumption was that they weren’t allowed to take the time and get into there lunch boxes middle of the morning or afternoon.  By day two Parker was complaining of a stomachache.  As I asked what he had throughout the day, I found out that his morning snack was a 6 pack of Oreo’s day one and a bag of Doritos on day two.  I definitely give my kids plenty of junk food but nothing on a regular basis let alone in the morning.  Parker realized on his own that a granola bar was a much better choice…to avoid the stomachache.

Lesson 4: “True friends are the ones who don’t tell on me.” This one was a self-learned lesson.  Parker had said the word “butthead”, yep, my kid uses naughty words every now and then, especially when he doesn’t think mom or dad will hear.  Parker told me he said the word while he looked at another kid, but he wasn’t calling him names.  This young boy wanted to tell on Parker, but the little girl sitting with him said, “we shouldn’t tell on our friends, he said he was sorry, and I don’t want him to get in trouble.”  Thankfully Parker had a good friend sitting next to him, hopefully he will remember this scenario and return the favor sometime.

Lesson 5: I might be a little shy.  Parker participated in a showcase on the last day of camp.  While all the other kids were jumping, waving to their Mom and Dad’s, he just sat there and wouldn’t even smile at Chris or I.  The production went on, he danced and sang, but with not too much reaction to anything else going on.  Each group would go up to the microphones for their skit and as Parker’s group stepped up, he was still sitting.  I knew his line as we had practiced it that week and I knew it was coming up…I felt helpless as he was still sitting there.  20 seconds went by which felt like forever and his little friends start yelling “Parker, it’s your turn…Parker, get up here”…he slowly walks up there and with an angry look stands at the microphone like he’s not going to say anything and then quickly says his line “wait, you heard that”…below is a quick video of it.  Parker said afterwards that he had fun but maybe it’s just that he’s shy sometimes.  I’m sure it had a lot to do with first time stage jitters!

We all had a blast at camp and learned so much.  I love that I’d ask Parker every day what he was doing and he’d tell me they played games and sang songs.  Not once did he mention that he was dancing and then at the showcase on the last day he dances the choreography to 3 songs. I’m sure there will be a lot from school he won’t be telling me too…I’ll have to get used to not knowing everything and being okay with it! We all learned a lot during camp week…mostly what to expect when Kindergarten starts in just 3 weeks.

Summer Bliss!

6 weeks of summer down and 6 weeks to go…yikes!  I feel like it was yesterday that I was at Parker’s preschool end-of-year celebration and here we are, summer is half over.  By now I am starting to hear people say, “I’m ready for school to start so we can have a routine again.”  I’m definitely the type of person that runs better on a schedule, but I am not wishing these last 6 weeks away by any means.  So much is about to change for our family with having our first child enter elementary school that I’m doing everything I can to enjoy my days of being a SAHM of 3 before I have to learn to re-balance life again.

June was fun but it went by fast.  We opened up our summer with playdates, trips to the parks, celebrating Garrett turning ONE, celebrating Chris for the wonderful father he is, our family road-trip, and it ended with a carnival.  (Phew, if summer had ended then I would have said we had a great summer.)

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July has been about being outside and enjoying this beautiful weather God has blessed us with…I cannot get enough Vitamin D (I think I’m mentally stocking up for the winter months in Chicago…oy-vey!). We hit the beach for the 4th of July, along with fireworks at our friend’s place downtown.  We celebrated Chris’ birthday with a night at Top Golf.  What a great place to enjoy golf and friends…it actually sparked an interest in the sport for me.  We will see where that takes me! 🙂

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Some of you just may not realize how amazing it is to have a backyard when you live in the city.  The space is limited and most units come with a small patch between the house and garage.  We are so fortunate to be living in a home where we have a shared backyard across three units.  This is very rare, let alone the fact that I am the only one home with kids during the day so it’s all ours.  We have had a blast with all our outdoor toys, pool, sprinklers, jumpy house, and friends!

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I continue to be ever-so-grateful for the time I get to be at home with my kids, enjoying this gorgeous weather and most importantly making memories every chance I can get.  Here’s to the next 6 weeks of summer and continuing to praise God for the beautiful life He has given me.