Sunday, March 27, 2016


Farm fresh eggs produce incredible colored eggs. I love the earthy tones. We also added some traditional store bought eggs for a variety of results.

Toddlers coloring eggs is just one of my favorite Easter traditions

He really hoped the Easter bunny would bring him a watermelon. But it isn't watermelon season and the bunny shopped three different stores to confirm that fact.
There was that one awkward moment when I walked in to my bedroom on Saturday and discovered the kids playing with the hula-hoop I planned to give them with their Easter baskets and Kate asked, "hey, Mom was this supposed to be for Easter?" Ever try to hide a hula-hoop? I contemplated claiming it was mine but quickly realized that story would haunt me for years.

During our Easter dinner, Makenna suggested I write a book called The Planned One. It would be a story about how we chose to have her and love her the most. Lauren countered how perfect she and Erin were so it was only logical we'd plan to have another. And then Erin made a public service announcement reminding the entire family they are eating for two because Jesus lives in each of us. This is apparently her daily motto. Life with this group is never dull. Or quiet.
My handsome grill guy made a delicious dinner as usual.
That moment in church when your kid starts crying his belly hurts and then falls asleep. You spend the remainder of Easter service praying he doesn't wake up vomiting his Chocolate Storm Trooper because nothing says Happy Easter quite like that.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Spring Break In Indy

Greg and I took Kate and Ty to Indy for an overnight get-away. It was their first hotel stay and trip to both the Children's Museum and Indianapolis Zoo. They loved all three but Ty has decided he'd like to live in a hotel so someone else makes his bed. Come to think of it, I would like that too.

Both Kate and Ty enjoyed learning to write with Chinese characters so much, we are looking for a book to expand upon their new found interest
Spring break trips always include some weather risks but we battled torrential downpours during three block walks to enter the over-crowded museum on Thursday and then endured 34 degrees at the zoo. We made a lot of memories and will return to this beautiful city again someday; someday warmer and sunny. 

Colby and his family joined us for our day at the zoo and it was especially fun to have them along. Colby and Ty haven't missed a beat in their friendship. They still have a brother-like relationship even after all these years. We all miss that boy. His family is pretty special too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Somehow our baby has turned twenty-one. This seems impossible given the fact she was born just a few weeks ago. Erin has blossomed into an incredible person with a heart for underprivileged and hurting people. She is strong and determined, holding herself and those she cares about to exceptionally high standards. It's been wild to stand back and watch her stand strong in her convictions with a heavy does of humor as she is wickedly funny. She has taken on a leadership role in the small church she has called her own and has aspirations to use her dental skills to serve in a third world country someday. It's exciting to hear her plan to join a mission field team but simultaneously terrifying. We couldn't be prouder as we watch her soar. Being her parents has been a blessing as she has made the job pretty easy. But 21? I honestly can't wrap my head around it. I was her age when I had her and that reality hit pretty hard today. Time flies.

I took Erin out for the evening on Saturday. We shopped and enjoyed dinner at the Melting Pot together.  Hanging out with grown up kids is pretty sweet.
Greg and Erin have celebrated their birthdays together the last couple of years by going out as father and daughter for hot wings. Tonight he bought her first legal drink too. He has discovered having a birthday the day after his kid is a lot more fun now that she is beyond the pink birthday party phase.
Happy birthday Erin Gabrielle! We love you!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Spring Break Launch

The kids emerged from the bus today at three and we were immediately immersed into Spring Break! It has finally arrived and the only people more excited than us are the teachers. Everyone is ready for a break. We have two birthdays to celebrate this week, a small get-away to Indy for a few of us planned, a sister night in the works and Ty is hosting his first sleep-over. We've had lots of preemptive conversations about how to be a good host and he has embraced the role, offering Gavin first dibs on every last decision. It's a welcomed change of pace. The boys have had a great time.

Funny story. My parents gave us their old luggage the last time we saw them. Ty was pumped! He has played with those suitcases more than any toy I can recall in recent history. Not only does Ty love "going on vacation" over and over, but he has now had two separate playmates join his imaginary adventures. It amuses me, to say the least.

While the boys stayed with us, Kate went to have a sleep-over with Lauren and Erin. Kate talked about this night for days. They have hiked trails at two local parks, colored together and are planning a special day Lauren and Kate have coming up in April. Sister bonding melts my heart.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Obscure Holidays

Today was St. Patrick's Day. I honestly never gave it any consideration but with two kiddos in elementary school now, it appears someone best be aware of these things. But to protect tired moms who fail to watch the calendar, the school principal was heard making announcements throughout the morning reminding students there was a no pinching rule in school.

Ty declared he knows what a leprechaun looks like because he colored one in school today. From there, he kept his eyes peeled in hopes of seeing one. Lo and behold, he spotted one in the tree line out back after dinner tonight! No one else could see it but no one else is an imaginative six year old.

Erin had the day off work today and was able to have lunch with the kids for the first time. They loved it! Erin came away with new-found respect for Kindergarten teachers everywhere and has also decided  pediatric dentistry would not be a good fit for her.

However, when she asked Ty what he was going to wear to Easter Sunday service at her church and he answered with a shrug, "I don't know, some costume probably", she didn't bat an eye. There is always some confusion around here.

Ty had a wall jump out in front of him this evening. He has a massive goose egg on his forehead and can't believe we are sending him "to school tomorrow looking like this!". He is embarrassed. I noted it matches his head-start summer legs and elbows which are covered in bruises and scraps from tumbles off gravel mounds and bike wrecks. However, I couldn't help but see the irony. The same child who wants to wear a costume to Easter services, is embarrassed by a bump on his head.

Sunday, March 13, 2016


On Saturday Kate, Ty and I drove to London and back to spend sometime celebrating Mason's ninth birthday. How it is exactly he is already nine beyond me but that's not the point. The day was centered around nerf guns, happy kids and lots of family time. Everyone had a great time.
Happy birthday Mason!

Only in Kentucky would you hear your brother in law instruct a group of kids to get their guns, their ammo and line up for the draft as though this was normal. Capture the flag was a blaring success.

400 bullets were purchased to keep the "war" well stocked.

On Sunday Brad and Jessica brought the girls to spend the afternoon with us while they attended one of Makenna's shows. They too were impressed with the quality of the production. We got to spend some time crafting with Lizzie and Lexie. Time getting to know the girls a little better was time well spent. 

It's not often we get to spend time with our nieces and nephews so seeing them all in one weekend was pretty sweet.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

This Week I Am Grateful For......

  • Sunrise before the kids get on the bus
  • Warm weather and sunshine
  • Playing outside all day!
  • Breaking fevers and antibiotics
  • Reminiscing through old photos
  • Ty being so big and brave at the dentist! He is proud of himself too. 
  •  Legos with kids
  • Ice cream dates to celebrate completed standardized tests
  • Plans to see cousins this weekend
  • Gracious friends 
  •  Cuddly babies and sarcastic preschoolers
  • Sisters in group chats
  • Stale Peeps
  • Getting reacquainted with my porch swing
  • Seven place settings at the table rather than four, if even for one meal
  • Greener lawns and spring flowers
  • Layla's new vibrating collar (It doesn't hurt. I promise.) Is it wrong to desire more for a few additional family members?
  • Spring break plans
  •  Laughter

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Jiminy Christmas

My paternal grandmother passed away suddenly when Lauren was a newborn. I was heartbroken. It had been months since I'd last seen her. The holidays arrived after Lauren's birth and that was the year I put my foot down and refused to wander from grandparent to grandparent for Christmas. Greg and I were blessed to have grandparents on both sides of our family and I even had a great grandmother on my mom's side. There were many people all over Ohio who wanted to get their hands on our newest baby. But we had a toddler and a newborn and just decided it was time to step back and simplify our holiday experiences. It's an on-going navigation to this day.

On the day we got word Grandma had a heart attack, I was at the photo studio with little Lauren. I wasn't able to make the hour and a half drive to the hospital in time to tell her one last time I loved her. By the time we arrived, Grandma was gone. Our good-bye was sterile in a hospital room and not the way I want to remember her.

My grandma wasn't the warm and fuzzy nurturing grandma who made cookies with us but she did teach me how to cross stitch and made special items for both Erin and Lauren. She worked in an office until retirement and had her mother-in-law help her raise her children. She had her hair done weekly and wore nice clothing but wasn't unable to enjoy horseshoes in the yard or camping on the weekends. She loved her coffee with cream and sugar and would often slip sips to her granddaughter when no one was looking. She had an ornery wink she'd share just before snapping at one of her sons for saying something smart. Trust me, with that crowd, someone was always saying something sarcastic or wildly inappropriate but ridiculously funny. Her whit and humor are the thing I remember most about her.
We were in Breckenridge Park in San Antonio, TX and I was shaking the ride despite my Grandma's fear of heights. Whereas I was pretty tickled, Grandma clearly was not.

I am somewhat known for my loud laugh. Grandma was too. I suppose these things can be hereditary. One of the many expressions she exclaimed on a regular basis was "Jiminy Christmas". It was something she said when she was surprised, alarmed or amused. Lately, I have noted it is a phrase Lauren uses often. She cracks me up with all the different situations she uses it.  And it's caught on. Kate has said it a few times and just the other day, I heard Makenna say it too.

I just smile because even after all these years, I hear Grandma's voice each and every time.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Show Must Go On

Enjoy this brief video highlighting some serious talent and a lot of long hours dedicated to producing something magical. Her support line reads, "Makenna Grace, Assistant Stage Manager, Bossing People Around Since 2002. Love Mom and Dad". She giggled because she recognizes truth when she sees it.

Opening night brought about more unpleasant surprises than necessary. They don't call it drama for nothing. There were two broken bones, a kid throwing up back stage and two unable to make it due to missing school for illness. The crew pulled it together and produced an awesome show. The audience remained blissfully unaware of the stress behind the scenes. And then Makenna woke up sick on Saturday. Of course she did. She pulled it together for two additional shows and a house full of company. The show must go on.

Friday night is sleep over night in our house. It's growing increasingly more challenging to find room for me in my bed on Friday nights but these faces? It's so worth it.

Greg text, "where are you?" and I replied, "on a date with Batman". When I told Ty we would have a few hours to ourselves while Kate saw a movie with friends, he suggested Chick-fil-a and dressed appropriately. Sometimes I wonder how many more super hero memories we'll make before the costumes are retired. I suspect I will miss these days soon.
With the exception of needing me to sign off on the title of her old car, she did this all by herself. She is pretty proud of her purchase and loves the 42 mpg of the econ model.  I have heard rumors she appreciates the turbo charge too but choose to pretend I don't.

Lauren ran some errands with me Friday. She wasn't expecting to end up at Target (is that real?) so she didn't have her purse with her and was drooling over a coloring book.  I bought my grown up kiddo a coloring book and markers. She was as excited as her three year old self would have been. It was worth every penny to see her grin. She hangs out with me a lot these days. I suspect my full pantry is the real reason but it's nice to spend time with her anyway.

Saturday night Erin kidnapped me and took me painting with her best friend and her mom. We had a blast. It was a fun surprise and a nice way to spend time laughing with the girls who are now old enough to be in the final stages of planning Carlyn's May wedding. Where does time go?