Monthly Archives: October 2015

it was an eventful 7th…

last saturday samantha turned 7.
this was my final photo with my 6-year old….


since we hadn’t discussed gift-opening all together,
samantha actually slept in a bit on saturday (as usual),
instead of being the first one out of bed!

she was quite excited to find a pile of presents on the counter in the morning.
and to find donuts.
she loves donuts.

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after donuts were consumed,
it was present time.
she started with a gift from her big brother.
(he and i had shopped the previous weekend to find something.
he didn’t FIND the gift,
but he CONFIRMED that it was the right thing for her -
after veto’ing a large pile of other alternatives!!).

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i think it’s safe to say he knows her style a bit!

then she opened her gift from her sister.
(allow me to insert here that we are VERY thankful for our amazon prime account!)

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alex played no part in choosing this gift.
but they were on the birthday wish list.
and they were eligible for prime.
i think the birthday girl was happy!

next up:
she mixed and matched.
she opened one of our gifts:

(it was a full outfit that she chose on line recently but had forgotten about).

then she dug into nana’s gifts….

IMG_6693 IMG_6695 IMG_6696(she has already worn that dress AND that shirt.
nana knows what her granddaughter likes!)

then a card from grandpa & grandma:
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and her final gift,
(also from dad & mom):


she acknowledged that she didn’t get everything on her wish list.
she did.
but she also acknowledged that she liked what she got.
and she proceeded to spend a few hours playing barbies.
and being a fashionista on paper.
and then it was time for her birthday adventure/party….
ice skating with a friend from school (only 1 of the 2 girls she invited could attend).

before school one morning….

in our home,
our morning routine is usually quite rushed.
like considerably rushed.
we rush out of the garage door and run to get alex to the bus on time.
it’s just our life.
we’re learning to accept it.

but there are those mornings when the routine is altered.
a kid has to stay home sick.
alex doesn’t need to ride the bus.
those kinds of things.

this morning was one of those days.
samantha was sick.
so davey had a few extra minutes before heading to school with the neighbors.
and the bus was scheduled to pick up alex at home instead of at our friend’s house.

that meant i was able to snap a photo of the oldest and the youngest together….


it’s even cuter b/c she’s wearing davey’s shirt.
see, it’s tie dye day at her school.
but she owns zero tie dye.
but davey has this shirt that was supposed to be red.
his class made them for their recent fund raiser.
but the 2.5 boxes of red dye used in the bucket of water did NOT yield a deeper red.
it yielded pink.
the class changed their name to The Erasers.
it worked.
and even the boys were good-natured about the pink shirts.
but i don’t expect many of them to re-wear them.
all that said,
the shirt was JUST what we needed for alex today.
except it’s too big.
enter grey leggings, cowgirl boots, a hair tie, and some ribbon…
and a new outfit was born!


we sent davey across the street to the neighbor’s house:

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(yes, another neighbor owns a traveling donut food truck.
well, the trailer.
and all the equipment.
but it’s not really a food truck.
i’m not sure why i called it that.
but again…. bunny trail!)

alex was ELATED to have some time to ride her BIKES this morning:

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and then she was done….


but i told her she had to put it away….

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on to the tricycle from the neighbors who moved last march (we miss you, Paynes!):

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but then she was finished with that bike, too:


so she carried it back to the garage, also:

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and then she returned to the strider bike:

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what a goofy girl.

best part of the morning for her?
seeing the bus pull up in front of her house!
she RAN to it!

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and that was a wonderful start to a typically crazy and rushed morning!

the farm with friends

fall break started off with a fun adventure with friends.
while our breaks didn’t overlap,
we were still able to spend a day with the Woods thanks to their “extra” days off for in-service days. or conferences. or something like that.

while not quite “fall” weather,
we still managed to enjoy some fall activities.
including a visit to the farm!
the kids rode a barrel train,
saw some animals,
petted a few,
rode the see-saw,
pumped water for rubber ducks,
rode some cool pedal cars,
enjoyed another train ride,
slid down TALL slides,
jumped on inflatable pillows,
tested their strength with a sledge hammer….
and got really,
and thirsty!




today is a special someone’s birthday.
today she is no longer 6.
it’s time to change my hashtag for her from #6goingon16 to #7goingon17.
and yet it seems like it was just yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital.

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she was an angel baby.
in the hospital.
not so much when we got home.
nursing for hours at a time.
hourS plural.

11401354_800619460045089_6080390915850325504_n Easiest birthday party ever! Two friends. One sister. One pool. One pizza. Cupcakes. Ice Cream. ahhhh...! HAPPY 8th, Davey! IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0009 IMG_0013 IMG_0026 IMG_0049 IMG_0060 IMG_0089





she’s been a strong willed child from day one.
well, perhaps from day two – the day we brought her home from the hospital.
one day that strong-willed streak will be  a blessing.
an immense blessing.

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this girl is sweet,
and so much more.

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she loves school.
she loves teachers.
she loves people.
she makes friends wherever we go.
she loves life.
she loves adventure.
she loves to try new things.

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she has patiently endured soccer and t-ball.
she excitedly anticipated gymnastics.
and dance-cheer-chant.
and karate.
and soccer skills camp.

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she isn’t perfect (who among us is?).
she can cop a serious attitude.
she can be moody.
she can be stubborn.
she can be nosey.
she thinks she’s in charge.
she thinks she’s the mom.
she doesn’t like to work.
she hates chores that she HAS to do.
but she’s amazing despite those few short comings.

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this girl is a second mom to alex.
alex even calls her “mom” half the time!
she hovers and mothers alex -
and other “littler” kids -
with joy.
she happily jumps up to help when asked.
she has a smile on her face 95% of the time.

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her favorite colors are black, blue and red.
she enjoys gymnastics, soccer, and karate.
she’s about to take a drawing/art/cartooning class.

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she has multiple best friends.
and i LOVE that she is open to being friends with everyone.
she LOVES her family.
immediate and extended.
some of her happiest days are those spent with family members.

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she loves to go to the park.
she loves to be outside.
she loves to swim.
she loves to ride her bike.
and her scooter.
and her skateboard.
her favorite thing at the park are the monkey bars.
she used to be obsessed with them.

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she LOVES to dance.
but she never wants to take dance lessons when i offer.
she enjoys family hikes.
and walks.
and exploring new places.

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she loves to play school.
she’s always the teacher.
and house (which she calls “family”).
she loves to read and is at a 6th grade reading level.
this summer she read ALL of the Ramona Quimby books (by Beverly Cleary).
most recently, she’s enjoyed the Whatever After series.
and some original Babysitter’s Club.

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her favorite fast food is Jimmy Johns.
she asks to go there ALL. THE. TIME.
but she also loves Chick-Fil-A and McDonalds.

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she’s the only Munchkin (to date) to have broken a bone (her elbow).
she’s approximately 4’1″ tall and 45 lbs.
she’s wearing size 5-6 and 6-7 (depending on the brand).
her shoe size is 13 and 1 (again, brand dependent).

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this girl LOVES LOVES LOVES her sister.
and babies.
and toddlers.
i think she’s counting down the days until she can babysit.
i think she wishes she had more younger siblings.

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i love that she still wants me to help in her class.
i love that she still wants me to eat lunch with her at school.
i love that she still wants to hold my hand.
i love that she still wants hugs and kisses (on her cheeks).

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she is currently obsessed with ice skating.
she didn’t really enjoy bowling the one and only time she went.

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she loves to be going…
to be out….
to be moving.
she loves surprises.
she enjoys shopping.

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this girl has focus.

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she loves Jesus.
she loves music.

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she’s so grown up,
yet still my baby.
she likes high heels.
she likes long dresses.
she likes nightgowns.
she likes jeans.
she likes boots.

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for her birthday treat in class she asked for Dunkin Donuts.
specifically, she asked for pink, white and brown frosted donuts with sprinkles.
but she wanted a boston cream donut for herself.
i did the best i could.
which was pretty darn close.

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she still loves princesses.
and dolls.
but she’s morphing her interests to the barbie stage.
thankfully they make barbie-sized princesses!
she loves to watch movies and is starting to enjoy non-cartoon movies.
especially if they’re about gymnastics,
or ice skating.
that said, she’ll still (gladly) watch shows with Alex.
shows like octonauts,
word world, and
super why.

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in school,
she enjoys reading,
and geography.

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she’s a fashionista in her own right.
she knows what she wants and what she doesn’t.
i can’t shop for her without her opinion anymore.
she REALLY LIKES shoes.
she ALWAYS wants to try them on.
especially high heels.
her taste in dresses is VASTLY different from my own.
but i’m trying hard to let her choose her wardrobe pieces.

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she has an extremely tender heart for the well-being of others.
she doesn’t want anyone to be sick.

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this sweet girl lost a few more teeth this year.
she flew on an airplane (again!) this year.
she went camping (again!) this year.

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everytime i see this photo of samantha and her cousin amity,
i will remember amity’s sweet ballet dance moves,
while samantha sang My Country ‘Tis of Thee,
on the 4th of July
with most of Dave’s family watching.
and i will always remember uncle jeff’s wet eyes afterwards.
it was a sweet
and innocent
display of child-like wonder and entertainment.
and it was perfect.

this girl lives life to the fullest.
very little scares her.
she does struggle with going to bed “on time.”
part of the issue is she’s a night owl.
she needs a kiss on a cheek, a hug, a high ten, two high fives, and music every night.
many nights, though,
she’ll come back downstairs asking for medicine for her leg pains.
or she’ll ask her daddy to rub her leg.


she marches to the beat of her own drum.
i am simultaneously dreading and anticipating her teenage years.
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i think age 6 has treated you well,
sweet samantha.
i know you are eager to be 7.
and i know it will be a great year for you.
but try not to grow up TOO much, please.
at least, not too quickly.
this mommy loves you.
and needs you to stay little for at least another year.
mommy and daddy love you so very much.
we are so thankful that you are in our family.
we pray that you will continue to love Jesus and grow in your knowledge of Him.
continue to strive to do your best – we’ll never ask for more than that.
be diligent and persevere.
laugh and have fun.
run, dance, skip, and play.
enjoy your childhood – what few years remain.
don’t try to grow up so fast that you lose these precious days/years.
and always, always, always remember that SIX was a great year for you!
i love you bunches and bunches!
sweet sammy jj.
- love you, always your mommy

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fun park days return

i think we’re finally about to enjoy life in arizona again.
it’s been a LOOOOOOOONG summer.
a very loooooooong, hooooooot summer here.
we finally dropped out of the triple digits,
but then we had a few random days here and there that included triple digits again.

you see, it’s fall/autumn everywhere else.
i’m ready for jeans.
and boots.
and scarves.
and cardigans.

but more important than that,
i’d love to be outside with my kiddos.
i’d love to not endure mosquitoes all the time.
i want to enjoy the park.
and hiking.
and bike rides.
and just general life outside.

earlier this week, the weather dropped to the LOW 70s.
for ONE day.
and it was a GLORIOUS day.
i wore jeans.
and boots.
and long sleeves.
and, i repeat, it was glorious!

but the weather has been rising ever since.
again: sigh.
it hasn’t hit triple digits again.
in fact, it hasn’t even hit the 90s again.

since last week was Fall Break for the Munchkins,
that means that THIS week is parent-teacher conference week,
which means HALF DAYS at the end of the week (Th & F).
and with temperatures only in the low to mid 80s….

it was PARK TIME.
but even better?


(violet, davey, luke, lily kate, drew, samantha, reagan).
(not pictured: Kayleigh, Alex, and Sarah)

sarah tolerated life in her stroller for a solid 90 minutes.
and then she wanted to be out and about.
but she can’t walk yet.
so she was “stuck” for awhile!  ;)

the great thing about the little park near our house….
we can SEE MaryAnn’s house from the park.
which means it’s a GREAT place for bathroom visits.
or gathering new things to play with.
like Halloween BINGO:


or crayons:


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but it’s also a great little park with some fun climbing trees.
sometimes the MOMS will even climb them to get a different angle for a picture!
(or maybe it’s just me.
maybe i’m the only MOM who will climb the tree):



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TOTALLY worth the climb up the tree.
and yes,
i did almost fall.
and my shoe DID get stuck.
but it was worth it.




 we stayed long enough that ALEX joined us.
her bus driver let her off at the park.
her bus driver rocks.
i ran across the field and “waved her down.”
but still,
she recognized me.
and stopped.
and did it all with a big smile on her face.
thanks, Lisa!

sarah finally escaped for a little jaunt down the slide….



this girl LOVES to play “school” or “teacher:”



IMG_6525the location doesn’t matter.
in fact, i think the more locations, the better.
go ahead and check PLAY TEACHER AT THE PARK off her list!


and THEN we stayed long enough at the park that Kayleigh’s dance class was over and she (and her mama) joined us. Kay was wearing an amazing SPINNING skirt, so we asked for a demonstration:



pretty amazing, huh?!

and after two hours (minus a couple of minutes),
Sarah was DONE in the stroller.
and she was DONE with being on the blanket.
and it was time for Katie & kids to head home.
and the rest of us headed out, as well.

but it was only about 2 hours later that this happened:



and then this:



and then this:



outside playtime is SO. MUCH. FUN.
i’m so thankful for this cooler weather.
and i’m so thankful that we plan to do it again today after school!

my crazy family

on sunday night, i was showing the family some very old photos that were on my phone. photos from before the littlest munchkin was born. and we found this gem from February 1, 2010:

feb 1 2010

and Dave got the idea to recreate the photo….


but then the other munchkins wanted to try, too….



and then the first one wanted another turn…


and then the munchkins started to pick up each other:


and then one Munchkin decided to try to pick up the other two:


thankfully, that didn’t end badly.
but as you can see, there were LOTS of smiles.

but then daddy thought it would be a good idea to try to pick up all three Munchkins at once….


it was a wild and crazy and laughter-filled time in our home.
these are the moments i want to remember.
especially when they’re driving me crazy.
especially when we can’t pick up even one of them anymore, let alone two or three.
especially when they don’t want to hang out with us on a sunday evening.
especially…. always.