The Pumpkin Patch

We went to the Pumpkin Patch today.  It is a tradition.  We go every year.  We take hay rides, cut pumpkins off the vine and eat homemade farm goodies.  It’s the best!  

This year, as we walked through the petting zoo and as I watched the kids enter the corn maze, I reflected on years past.  Every year for the last three years we have taken different groups of kids to the Pumpkin Patch.  Every year we have made different memories, but the goal has been the same.  We go to spend time with each other.  We go to play and have fun.  We go to bond and reconnect.  And every year I love it!

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Back-to-School Teacher Gifts

I got creative this year.  Being a foster parent, I’m used to having WAY more going on at my house this time of year.  But, since it’s just me and my forever kiddos right now, I had time to come up with some fun “back-to-school gifts” for their teachers.  Here they are.

Washed out and cleaned soup cans with brand new crayons hot glued to them make an adorable holder for freshly cut flowers from the garden.  Thank you Pinterest!  

I simply believe that every teacher probably needs chocolate to get through the first week of school.  A cute or funny more taped to the front makes it more personal.

And of course, I had the kids make a card or a little note for their new teachers, because really it’s all about making it personal.  

Happy Back-to-School!

Back-to-School 2016

In a little over a week my kiddos go back to school.  No more lazy summer days, spending hours out by the pool, doing nothing but playing and playing some more.  I love the summertime.  I love the freedom it provides my children to just “be kids.”  

Here are some sweet pics from our time at the beach.  I’m so glad we went!  The weather was gorgeous!  The beach was beautiful and relaxing.  I took a walk one day and just prayed and prayed the entire time.  God is so good to me!  He has blessed me beyond measure!

Baby Girl playing in the sand! 

The cousins in their matching flip flops!

My brave Middle Girl caught a crab!  

6 Kids and Santa!

Yes, yes we did!  We took six children ages 14, 11, 8, 7, 2, and 4 weeks old to see Santa this morning.  Boy, am I glad that I made reservations online this year!  We got to the mall and literally had to wait less than 10 minutes while others were waiting two hours to see Santa.  They all smiled!  Nobody cried and The Baby slept through it! It was a Christmas miracle!  I just love this time of year!  

Soccer

So, I’m kinda scared.  Our Oldest Girl just tried out for and made her very first “club” soccer team.  She’s played for the YMCA, for military teams, and school teams, but this will be our family’s first experience with “travel ball.”  My husband played soccer up until his freshman year of high school and he played pretty competitively until he decided football was more fun for him in high school.  Two of my three sisters played soccer and one went on to play in college and now coaches.  I danced.  I was never real “sporty” as a child.  I was a dancer.  I did tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop and loved it!  I was on a college dance team and I danced all the way up until Oldest Girl was born.  I don’t do soccer.  I’m “soccer stupid.”  I know absolutely NOTHING!

So, tonight as I stood there in the very first club meeting with my three little ones and my Oldest Girl I felt, um well… out of place.  The room was filled with “soccer people” filling out paperwork and getting it notarized.  I had to provide a copy of her birth certificate to prove her age!  This stuff is no joke!  What have I gotten us into?  I know Oldest Girl has a future in high school and maybe even college sports.  She’s amazing and everyone tells me that she’s a natural, but I’m not a “soccer mom.”  I don’t know the rules, I don’t know the coaches, I don’t know the “right” teams to be on, I’m just a mom of an incredibly talented 13-year old girl.  So, wish us luck!  Practices start in July and I’m terrified!

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He’ll be here in 4 hours!

I can barely stand it!  I’m so excited!  My hubby and the father of my precious children will be home in four hours!  He’s surprising the kids!  I’ve got to play it cool!  I don’t want to give the surprise away!  All day he’s been calling me as he’s been on the road.  He’s coming home for Oldest Girl’s soccer tournament this weekend!  He’ll get to see her play in at least three games.  That is three more games than he’s seen her play in over a year!  Being the daughter of an Army Dad is like that.  I teach my children that what Daddy does is incredibly important.  What he’s doing would have to be to keep him away.  He takes amazing care of us and because of his job, I get to stay home and be at all of the events, games, recitals, etc.  I know it doesn’t help when they miss him, but at least they understand and know that he would be here if he could be!  So, soccer games and a social worker visit on Monday and he gets to be here for all of it!  I am super pumped!  

To the beach for the day

Taking Baby Girl to the beach is so much fun!  When she sees the ocean she squeals, “pool!”  She runs, she plays, she digs in the sand and today she floated with me on a blow up inner tube for a good hour.  I thought she might fall asleep out there with the gentle push of the beautiful salty waves, but she didn’t.  The big kids boarded in the waves and dug a huge hole in the sand.  We enjoyed our picnic lunch and decided icecream was needed before heading home.  We had a great day! 

 I love these sandy feet! 

He loves surprises!

He’s coming home next weekend and will get to stay for four days.  He’ll get to see Oldest Girl play in a soccer tournament and he will get to be here for church!  I’m not telling the kids yet.  First of all, things in the Army change without any regard to families.  If a soldier is needed to work the weekend or to cover a shift, they do it.  It doesn’t matter what they had planned.  Also, my husband loves to surprise the kids!  If their daddy has to be gone a lot, at least they get some really awesome surprises when he does come home unexpectedly!  

So, I have a really fun secret to keep for six more days!  

I’m a better mom in the summer.

I like summer.  I always have, I probably always will.  No schedules, no early mornings, no hurry or rush, just fun.  We swim all day and sometimes swim all evening.  It is just the best!  I’m a better mom in the summer.  I’m chill, I’m happy, I’m totally relaxed.  But, summer only lasts two and a half months.  It won’t last forever.  We’ll be back to schedules and routines and early mornings before we know it, so I’m going to enjoy this while it lasts.  I’m going to enjoy sitting on the porch eating popsicles, I’m going to enjoy watching my kids be kids again.  School seems to just suck the life out of my kiddos sometimes.  Summers provide them with an opportunity to be little again.  They dig in the dirt, swing on the swing, and run through the yard with their shoes off.  They look for butterflies, watch ants marching in a line, and try to find the turtle that visits our neighbor’s yard.  And THIS SUMMER we are going to fulfill one of my childhood dreams!  We’re building a treehouse!  We have no tree to put it in, but we’re still building it!  It will be built and secured to large poles cemented into the ground and attached to our existing swing set.  I have wanted a treehouse since I was a very little girl.  I’ve asked my husband for years if we could PLEASE build one for our kiddos.  The time has never been right, but NOW… now is the right time, this summer!  I’m so excited!  Sooooo, check back to see our progress!  I promise to share pics of our adventure!  I simply cannot wait to build our treehouse!

You are wanted!

Baby Girl, you are wanted.  You are loved and you are adored.  Your little life started out so rough and I give all of the glory to God that He rescued you out of that bad situation at just 6 1/2 months old.  The moment you were carried into our lives through our front door, that lonely November night, your entire life changed.  Your sad little face took a few weeks to show happiness, but the joy came quickly after that.  You started to giggle and babble in your highchair right away, watching your siblings being so busy around you.  After we bonded and attached, you clung to me for several months, not ever letting me go.  You did not want to be left alone.  You would fight sleep and try to stay awake, I have no idea what your fear was, but we held you close and eventually you would drift off to dreamland.  We answered your every cry, running when you made just one peep.  You were loved from the beginning and 17 months later you are still the center of our world.  The whole house follows you around and watches your every move.  You have our full attention and you know it!  Telling you, “no” is hard and you definitely don’t like to hear it.  You dance, you sing, you have favorite songs and rhymes.  You play “patty cake” and “wheels on the bus,” and we all sing along with you.  You are our daughter.  You are our sister.  You are our joy.  Baby Girl you are loved!