Wednesday, May 1, 2019


We've slipped quickly to the beginning of May, and it's only going to get crazier! Between the last two weekends of April and beginning of May, we'll have had birthday parties 3 Saturdays in a row. We had Easter, I had a women's retreat with our church, we've got Teacher Appreciation week next week, family coming to stay, field day, pre-k graduation, and Noelle's last week! Plus I'm making a super quick trip to MD for my sister's bridal shower, and then coming back to prep and execute my friend's baby shower (with lots of help thankfully!) It is full, full, full, but full of so much good!

April was good with both my birthday and Jonah's, of course. My birthday happened to coincide with Mule Day in the town 20 minutes south of us, and we decided to go down for the parade. It was a sunny day, and so much fun watching all the mules and horses go marching by. Last year when we went to the parade, it was below freezing (at the beginning of April!), so this year was much better and we actually watched the whole parade. :)

That evening we met up with friends for a dinner time picnic at a park in between where we each live, and it was good to catch up and let the kids run around and play. I got to eat yummy food, drink my favorite Starbucks drink while watching horses (but mostly mules) trot by, be with my family, meet up with friends, and enjoy the sunshine. It really couldn't have been a better day!

Easter, how I love Easter! I used to always say that Christmas was my favorite holiday, but now I think Easter is at least tied with being my favorite. As I've grown closer to Jesus, I just realize how much more He did for me than I can ever truly know. Me! Y'all, why God chose to work in my heart, I don't know, but I am so thankful. I went to Christian school, and I know that not everyone I attended with is walking with the Lord. And that's Jesus at work in my heart. I didn't, I couldn't!, choose that on my own. So, I'm thankful for Easter. Thankful for an extended time to remember and reflect on what  He's done. Thankful for Him!

Again, it's weird being away from family for holidays like this, but we're truly learning the value and importance of church family. We started the morning with a quick scavenger hunt for Easter baskets (always a favorite!), then off to church for a wonderful sermon in Mark. Then home for lunch, and while the kids were having downtime in the afternoon, I hid eggs in the backyard. I subtly pointed out that there was something out back, and as soon as they saw, they were out there grabbing eggs. I'm pretty sure we'll be working through egg hunt candy until Christmas, but it's all good.

That evening we headed to a friend's house for a potluck with a bunch of people from church. The weather was perfect, so the kids ran around outside, while we got to visit and chat with friends. I am truly so thankful for our church, thankful for friendship, and thankful for Jesus!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019


Happy 5th Birthday, Jonah!

Today you are FIVE. A whole hand. You've been looking forward to this for so long, and now it's here. You're a little brother and a big brother, and the perfect one to be right in between.

Your current obsessions are Mario Brothers, soda or lemonade, Mario Brothers, magnatiles, candy, and wait for it, Mario Brothers. You're already better at playing video games than I ever will be, and I know Daddy is loving that he can play with you!

Whenever we listen to the Christian radio station in the car, you ask what certain lyrics mean. I so hope and pray that you continue to ask questions- both related to Jesus and life in general! Your mind is always going, and I know come August when you start kindergarten, you will love it!

Your main buddies are Jack, Calvin, Evelyn, Macie, Cal, and of course your sisters. You and Noelle do almost everything together when you're both at home, and I so hope your friendship continues! When it's just you and Clara at home, you're either mad at her for breaking up your magnatile creation, or busy making her laugh.

I love that when you come say goodnight to me after Daddy reads to you from your Mario book, you kiss me on the nose and giggle. I know someday that won't happen anymore, so I'll soak it up while I can.

I love you so much, and I'm so thankful you're my son! I'm praying that you will truly know Jesus. That all the things you've learned at home, church, and school will not just be head knowledge, but will soak into your heart. Let Jesus be it for you.


Saturday, April 20, 2019

Jonah's 5th Birthday Party

Today we had a little birthday party for Jonah! Our little Super Mario loving boy is turning 5 in just three more days! As with the passage of time for all three of my kids, I'm left with the sadness of "how are we already here?" It's just been too fast, but at the same time it's so fun seeing them grow and learn. (And gain a bit more independence myself!)

It ended up being a few friends from church and a few from the neighborhood. Thanks to Pinterest, I labeled all our food with Mario Brother type things (that I had never heard of before.) Cheese balls were fire power, mini powdered donuts were ice power, a veggie platter was shaped into a fire flower, peach rings were Princess Peach rings, chips were Toad's Tostitos, and the hot and ready Little Ceasar's pizza was Power Up Pizza.

Noelle made all the labels for the food, and all the kids helped me get the food laid out (aka, they sampled the food.) We got a cake made by Walmart with a scene of Mario and Luigi racing. Jonah didn't even finish his cake and ice cream because he was too busy playing with the cars that came off the cake.

I found little bags for the kids to decorate, and then we had an indoor Easter egg hunt thanks to the chilly and somewhat wet weather. Luke hid clues around the house and the kids went on a scavenger hunt to rescue Princess Peach who had been taken by Bowser. Noelle especially loves scavenger hunts, and now that she can read, she and another little boy were able to read all the clues!

We ate the cake and ice cream, and then pulled the strings on the Mario pinata which was stuffed full of chocolate coins. Basically I sent the kids home full of sugar just in time for Easter tomorrow. :)

A Q&A with the birthday boy!
What do you want to be when you grow up? a builder
Who are you going to marry? Summer (a girl we sometimes see at church)
What is your favorite thing to do? play video games
What is your favorite book? Mario book
Who is your best friend? Noelle
What's your favorite color? green
What is your favorite outside activity? t-ball
What's your favorite animal? squirrel
What's your favorite food? cheese pizza
What's your favorite thing to do with mom? snuggle
What's your favorite thing to do with dad? tackle daddy!
What do you know about Jesus? that He made everything!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Catching Up On November

November seems so long ago now, and looking back it was mostly filled with every day moments. Like trips to Target in pajamas while the big kids were at school.

Hanging out at home because it gets dark so stinkin' early!

There was a family day at a park up in Franklin where the kids got to craft and play games and go on a wagon ride.

We took a family walk to the neighborhood playground and snapped a family selfie. And of course timed it just right to get Jonah's facial expression when Noelle stepped on Jonah's flip-flop wearing feet.

And we ran to Lowe's to check out the fake Christmas trees, but I couldn't bring myself to go with a fake one. But maybe we will. I should be checking sales now. It was still fun to see ALL the Christmas things!

And this little chick finally wore a future Grover onsie.

And loved to pose right in front of the cabinet whenever I wanted to take a picture.

One of the highlights of the month was going to Knoxville to meet up with some friends! They had been in our small group in MD, and moved down here a few years ago. Some of our other friends who live in Nashville, and who were also in that small group, met up with us as well. It was fun getting all our kids together and catching up!

Some sweet friends from our church lost their youngest son to cancer at the beginning of December, but before then, they grabbed the chance to celebrate an early Thanksgiving and Christmas with him. Their entire neighborhood turned out for a Christmas celebration with Santa, The Grinch, pizza, cookies, and more. It was incredibly precious.

Their entire front lawn was covered in Christmas blowups, and were all facing the front window so that their son could see them.

This girl is always up to something, and any time she can find a marker/pen/crayon, she is on it!

We had Thanksgiving at our house, just the five of us. Definitely weird not being with family, but it was a slow day making memories with just us!

We bought our skinny little Christmas tree, and Clara did a pretty good job not taking down all the decorations. And I had fun dressing her in all the Christmas jammies we've somehow accumulated over the years.

Clara continued to develop her own little personality, and has certainly learned to stand her ground. Noelle loves to love on her, and Clara will just push her away. Jonah likes to make her laugh, but also they both seem to want what they other has so she runs away from him.

Jonah makes me laugh on the regular. He also asks some really good questions, and just talks about God in our every day conversations. I truly hope and pray that his heart begins to understand more and more.


And my sister came! She had a work trip in Knoxville, and decided to drive over and spend a day with us! It was so good to see her! We got coffee at the Fainting Goat, wandered around a boutique shop with my two littlest humans, she took family pictures for us, and we got some Delta Bound for dinner. Next time she needs to stay longer! And bring Holden (and Jason can come too!)

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Catching Up on October

Let's rewind a bit.

October was a busy month with trips to the farm with our MOPS group, church friends, and Noelle's school! But the kids loved it, and I enjoyed the nice warm weather. :)

I met up with my sister-in-law and niece at the zoo one day while the big kids were in school. Definitely a lot easier with only one kid!

We went to two birthday parties for babies turning one! Both were held at a playground, so perfect spot for a range of kids! Some were friends from MD who moved down to TN before we did, and some friends from college.

Noelle had her fall break, and we went to the mall to wander around, and visited daddy at work.

and Jonah is always moving for pictures these days
 Noelle got her face painted at the Farmer's Market, and it matched her shirt perfectly!

And I'm so thankful that I get to raise these babies, and do life with Luke!

We went to the zoo again during Noelle's fall break with a bunch of friends from church. Always more chaotic with more kids, but also more fun!

Clara is my buddy on Tuesdays and Thursdays while the big kids are in school, and we keep finding little things to do, or we hang out around the house. I'm so thankful for this baby girl!

We pick Jonah up from school at 2, and then have an hour until we need to pick up Noelle. Often we spend it with our best friends playing on the playground, at Chick Fil A, or at McDonald's. I love seeing the relationship growing between Jonah and Clara. He makes her laugh, and she wants so much to do whatever he is doing.

Halloween of course was so much fun, and spread out over multiple days. Clara was the cutest little Princess Leia.

We went to some local shops for their trick-or-treat event, where Noelle dressed as Princess Elsa instead of the bumble bee she insisted she was going to be for months.

And Jonah  was just the cutest Luigi!

At the Franklin Fall Fest, Noelle dressed as Cinderella, and met some of the princesses!

And we had a pumpkin painting party with our friends from church!

We voted early, and Clara came with us as our tag-along. When I checked in, they told me my name was spelled wrong in their system and told me to check in with the people in the front after I voted. I don't know if it's just a small-town thing, but they didn't even verify that I was who I said I was and changed things in their system.

And actual Halloween dawned nice and warm, and we barely  made the half mile loop in our neighborhood. Jonah tripped, Noelle complained about walking, and I carried Clara for the last half hour. But she did catch on pretty quick to hold out her bucket for candy!

All in all, a fun and busy first October spent in TN!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Christmas Break Highlights

Maybe, just maybe, I'll get back into regularly recording our everyday family adventures. Maybe. :)

For the first time since we moved down to TN on January 6th, we went back to MD! It was much needed, and was so so wonderful.

1. The drive. I was super worried about the drive knowing that Clara had screamed the last 1.5 hours of our drive back from Knoxville back in November. But they all did SO well. We left after Noelle's half day of school on Friday and did about 6.5 hours of driving with a potty stop and a break for dinner. The kids were so excited about sleeping in a hotel, and then we finished up with about 5 more hours of driving the next day. There was minimal crying, and the big kids did mostly well waiting until we allowed screen time. I only spent part of the trip sitting in the back with Clara, holding her hand.

2. Church. Both Sundays we were in MD we went to CPC and got to see some friends. It was so precious seeing them, and I was even able to grab lunch with a few after church on the second Sunday. It was like time had barely passed and we jumped right in to catching up and talking about our babies.

After church the Sunday before Christmas
3. Christmas Eve. We spent most of that day and evening with my side of the family, as we usually do. My brother, sister, and her fiance flew in from CO and stayed with my parents (we stayed with Luke's parents), and Heather, Jason, and Holden all came over. We opened all our gifts from each other, and then, as usual, my mom's best friend and her grown kids joined us. We ate our spaghetti dinner and then did a gift exchange that involved rolling a die and passing or stealing gifts. 

It was of course so fun seeing all the cousins together!! My nephew gets too big between each of our visits. :(

And little Miss Clara did well despite being so out of her routine and being kept out late.

And, as has been tradition for the last three years, all 20 of us wore pajamas.

4. Christmas. The kids didn't wake up super early (probably mostly because they were still on Central time) but were eager to open gifts once they did get up. Two of Luke's sisters were staying with his parent's as well, and after some cinnamon rolls, we dug into presents. Soon after we started, his youngest sister and her fiance joined in the happy chaos. There was lots of laughter and excitement from the kids. Between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, Noelle is now well stocked in craft supplies and cute clothes, and Jonah has multiplied his Mario brothers clothing collection.

Two of Luke's sisters left that day to head back to ME and VA, and the youngest went to spend time with her fiance's family. We hung out with his parents and the kids played with some of their new stuff, and then we ate some Chinese food at my sister's house to end the night.

5. The 26th. The day after Christmas we did dinner at my parent's house so that we could hang out with my uncle and catch up with him. We also said goodbye to Becky, Austin, and Nathan who left the next day.

And Jonah convinced me to use the timer my phone to snap some pictures.

And my mom got my sisters and me matching sweatshirts so we all wore them.

6. Running. I've been building my running back up over the last twoish months, but it's been almost exclusively on the treadmill and mostly run/walk. I decided to take it outside in the cold, hilly Westminster and it reminded me how much I do love running outside. I even got to see a beautiful sunrise on New Year's Day.

7. Other fun. Since Lydia got engaged the day before we got to MD, I was able to join in the fun of wedding dress, bridesmaid dress, and flower girl dress shopping. So excited for Lydia, and leaving didn't hurt quite as much knowing we'll be back in February.

We also got together with some of our closest friends who we went to college with, and who then came to our church when they moved to MD. We met their almost six month old (!!) and it was SO good catching up. We also were able to attend their annual New year's Eve party kid-free (thanks, Nana!)

On New Year's Day we joined some other close friends for lunch at their house. They had just arrived back from traveling the day before and I'm so thankful we were able to catch up!

It was a really good trip. The kids had their moments but overall they did really well for being so out of their routine and not getting nearly enough sleep. I loved being able to spend time with both Luke's family and my family. I don't know if we'll be able to come back this summer since we already have a beach trip and trip to CO for Becky's wedding planned. But after this trip, it makes me eager for another visit with our MD people!