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Always Looking Up

Updated: 2014-10-06T23:17:16.615-04:00


Bike Parade 2011


I grew up in a neighborhood that had a July 4th bike parade and costume contest each year.  I have so many memories (and pictures) of riding our bikes and/or dressing up for the contests! Well, this year, my friend Jessie invited us over for a bike parade.  Maddy was really excited about decorating her bike.  We didn't know where to start so I googled some pictures and we found this idea from the internet.  I loved it because it was bright and bubbly....just like my Maddy!:)She was hilarious going down the street....look at that grin!:)Here are the boys: Drew, Baylor and Grant!Jack was the flag leader:)I LOVED Gigi's scooter. Her mom, Andrea is so talented and creative.  She has an Etsy shop, Bowbakery, that she sells her clothes and other creative products!:)They had a "photo booth" set up.  Jack had fun with it:) Picture perfect Maddy and Gigi Me, Jessie and Andrea Maddy and I Jack and I Delicious cookies to end our bike parade!:)[...]

My Hallway Sleeper Creeper


Well, I am motivated to start blogging again so I can catch up to Josie's wedding!:)  Before I move onto events. I wanted to share pictures of Jack's sleep update (or lack of).    As many of you know, Jack has become a hallway sleeper creeper  in our home.  We put him in bed for the evening and he creeps his way into the hallway (so he can hear us at night) and then he falls asleep.  Well, going on our trip to Florida we "thought" he would actually sleep in the bed.  Well, we stayed with Marshall and Janice's home in Atlanta.  We put all the kids down and didn't hear a peep the whole evening so we thought they did well!:)  Well, after a night of playing games and talking we headed our way upstairs to find this superhero fast asleep:A few days later, we drove to Florida and we put Jack down to bed.  I kept checking on him and he stayed in his bed (awake) but the last time I came up there, this is how I found him.  First of all, this is HARDwood floors he is sleeping on (when there is a nice comfy bed a few feet away)!  Second, it scared me that he was so close to the stairs! (don't worry...I moved him right away).  This made me nervous so the next night I told him he couldn't sleep by the stairs it was dangerous.  So, he was to sleep on the bed.  Well, the next night, he partially "listened" by not sleeping by the stairway...he moved closer to the doorway.  I  guess that is an improvement. Well, now that we have been home from vacation....he continues to sleep in his bedroom (aka hallway).  Somedays he shifts to the doorway.  One time we found him napping like this (below).....he is fast asleep in this photo.  And other times we can convince him to sleep on a bed (with the "encouragement" of Austin, of course:)Jack is a little crazy (at times), we have learned to expect the unexpected with Jack...but regardless, we love this sweet boy.  And I can never get tired of seeing this face....even if it is in the hallway:)[...]

Destin 2011 (Part II)


I love taking pictures!!  As a beach is the perfect backdrop for family photos. So, I was so excited for my first opportunity to take pictures of my entire family. I took SO many family photos but I will only put my favorites (so i don't bore you:)  But there were so many great pictures.  We dressed up a few nights in a row to take a big family portrait but then my dad wouldn't do well. So we would still take a few photos.  But about halfway through the trip, my dad was doing well at sunset, so we took some wonderful pictures of our whole families!! I have SO many great memories of this trip!  I can't wait to go back again! She looks so beautiful! them! Cousins! This is probably my favorite picture of the two of us.  I think it just shows our personalities!:)   Beautiful! I was really careful to avoid people in the background....but I had to take this just cracked me up to have the guys in the background!:)   I can't look at this picture with tearing up.  I love both of them SO much! I love this picture of them.  I think they were laughing because I told them that the picture above was one of my favorite. My mom says it's bad when your daughter tells you the best picture of them is from behind! Hilarious:) Our family! My parent's with the grandkids My family Sweet BrookeI will cherish this picture!  He has been my role model growing up. I am so thankful for his support and love throughout my life!Already dreaming of going back....until then. I will think of this!:)[...]

Destin 2011 (Part I)


As many of you know, my dads ability to travel has diminished significantly due to his health....but before his diagnosis he had big dreams to travel.  So, as long as we are able my family wants to do trips together.  We know each trip could be the "last".  So, we started planning a trip to Florida so that we could spend time together AND my dad would be able to be a part of this vacation.  We knew he would enjoy being with the grandchildren and we knew the kids would have fun going to a beach.  So, we planned a trip to Destin. We decided to rent a home that was close to the beach with 6 bedrooms.  We had a private pool....and it was a perfect vacation! My dad was not "around" much during the trip but we were able to take some WONDERFUL pictures of the family on the beach. I'll post all the "portrait" pictures tomorrow. I am embarrassed to say how many pictures I was a lot!:)  So, I will spare you and share only my favorites!:) Enjoy! Our home....just across the beach from the public beach! Our wonderful kitchen! Our private pool The living room Jack's first time on the beach!   The boys loved the water! My dad came out on the beach the first morning we were there! Our first family photo on the beach! I have a crazy obsession with jumping pictures on the beach.....this is my first one I took!:) One of my favorite pictures! The things you do.......when you love your kids!:) Maddy, Nolen, Drew, Kate, Drew, Ava and Kate, Beach Buddies! Drew LOVED boogie boarding. He was our bravest one. Future surfer? He LOVED the beach I would not typically put a bikini picture.....but this one cracks me up!  My sisters and I have fun together:) We went on a beautiful hike one morning.....but it was HOT! We noticed at the end of the week, the seaweed was more prevalent so we had a little fun with it!:) Mustaches! Love this man! Love this pic! Drew loves Brooke!   I love oysters!  It was so yummy! Seriously, could this pirate look more "real"?:)  Are you serious? Don't make me talk to the pirate!:) We took a walk on the Harbor Walk.  We had their pictures taken with the parrots.....luckily Jack didn't notice he was "missing out"!:)  Besides the fact that I look 7 months pregnant in this dress (which I apparently shouldn't wear again after seeing this picture)....I love this of our last nights in Destin   Our last night at the beach!Our last family photo on the beach!  [...]



On our way to Florida, we made a special stop to see my brother and sister in law.  It was my first time back to Atlanta since 1996 when I worked at the Olympics.   I sold Lemon Ice and Ben and Jerry Ice Cream Bars in high school for special occasions around town.  Well, I was asked to go to the Olympics the summer after I graduated.....all expenses paid by Coca Cola and Company.  I believe they paid for all travel, living expense and then paid us hourly as we worked the events.  It was a wonderful time with fun friends and I was able to watch....I mean, work the volleyball and soccer finals! The soccer fans were so much fun and it was an experience of a lifetime! I have pictures that I need to scan and share!:)Well, we had a great time staying at Marshall and Janice's home for a few days.  Our kids had so much fun playing together and were so sad to leave one another.  The first day we went to Centennial park with Janice, Joshua, Gabriel and Daniel.  It was hot the kids had a great time playing in the water park. It was so different than my first experience there!:)Joshua, Gabriel and MaddyJack had a blast!Janice's brother in law works at CNN. So, we made a quick stop at the CNN building. We went to the famous The Varsity dinerAustin and the kidsGabriel and DrewGabriel and MaddySweet DanielAnd then there's Jack!:)Jack was exhausted after a long day of play in the sun having fun!Same with Drew!:)The next day, Marshall took the day off work so we were able to go to a beautiful square. We let the kids play, walked around and browsed at the shops, and then got some gelatto! Yum!I love this picture of Drew....he was obsessed with trains when he was 2!  Brings back memories.CousinsIt was our 11th wedding anniversary so I had to take one picture of the two of us!:)I am so thankful for Marshall and Janice for hosting our visit to Atlanta.  We had a great time. The last night the kids rolled down the hill over and over again.  They had a blast!We had a great time in it's time to run to Florida![...]



For my devoted blog readers, here are two continued pictures as follow-up from previous posts.
Regarding the bird watching post:
We took down the bird sign and look what happened.....the rabbits came.  

Regarding Jack's sleeping posts. Jack has found a permanent sleeping area:
Austin and I tucked him into bed (fully clothed)...and this is how we find him
The next night, this is how we found him.  I guess he found his permanent "nesting" area. We now call the hallway, Jack's room. :) 

Sick Day


The other day, Jack got a 24 hour fever.  I would hate to say that I like it when my kids ever get sick....but there are some benefits.  Jack(my firecracker) just wanted to be held.  And he wanted to cuddle.  Now, I think the last time I cuddled and held him like this was the day before he started walking.....because once he learned how to walk, he never stopped moving:)  So, needless to say, it was a short sickness, with just a fever and I enjoyed every moment of it.  I told the kids "I only want Jack and me in the picture." So, Maddy and Drew thought it was funny to get in on my picture:) I held Jack most of the day, so I had to have a little fun with the older kids!:) Look at Maddy in this cracks me up!Austin and I have joked that Jack needs anger management classes.  I will give him a break since he was sick. But he got mad that Drew was laying next to mom.  It's nice to be loved and SO popular:)[...]

Good times with friends and family


Here are a few pictures from the past month with friends and family.Maddy, Drew and Jack at the Children's Museum for Ava's birthdayMy mom and Maddy "dressed up"Jack loved the jaguar. Jack, Austin and Kate on the carousel Drew and Maddy Justin, Naomi and Ava (the birthday girl, turned 2) It's a staring contest!:)I really enjoyed hearing Natalie Grant perform at the Women of Faith conference.  This is a picture from my camera of Angie Smith (Bring the Rain blogger and wife of lead singer of Selah), Jessie (This is the Day blogger and wife of executive VP) and Jamie (Always Looking Up blogger and wife of  the most wonderful husband and new business owner:)  I love Angie Smith as a blogger and speaker. She is so down to earth, real, and witty/funny....I'm sure if she lived close to me, we would be good friends:) Jack loves his Papaw Maddy, Drew and Jack visited the firetruck at the library's Summer Reading program kick-off. The kids were so happy that their friend, Captain Brandon was there.   Tom and Austin lounging before our dinner at Harry and Izzy's Austin and I met Jessie, Tom, Sarah, Tommy, Andrea and Dave for dinner at Harry and Izzy's. It has been a long time since we have gone on a date with friends. We had a great time! We went to the Indians game and I was so sad that I forgot my camera.  But when we got there, I randomly saw my friend Erin there and tried to jump in on a picture she was taking of her nephews:) Erin and I at the gameMaddy, Drew and Jack had a great time at the Indians game! Thank you, Erin for the picture. I love this one![...]

Swimming and Water Fun


Summer is here and we are excited to spend time in the pool and the sprinkler. Maddy and Drew took swim lessons with a few friends. Here are the pictures from their lessons!On the last day, Baylor, Drew and Grant wore the same shirt:)Maddy and CooperGrant, Maddy, Jack, Drew, Baylor and CooperMaddy enjoys doing the back floatMaddy jumping off of the diving boardJack jumping off of the diving boardBaylor doing a canon ball!Jack saw me take pictures of Maddy and Drew and asked me to take a picture of him!:)I love this picture of Andrea and ElenaWhat a precious girl!Maddy and Jack playing in the sprinklerTodd and Maddy pouring water on their head. Love this series of pictures (you might have to click on the picture to actually see the picture)Jack had to be a part of he poured it on his head, too![...]

End of the School Year


I can't believe the school year has come to an end. Both Maddy and Drew had wonderful teachers, friends and growth in learning this year.  It makes me really anxious and sad to think that Maddy will be in school all day next year:(  I have spent most of her 6 years taking care of her and she has been such a joy to raise.  As I write this I am already starting to tear up thinking that she will not be around throughout the day.  She is really excited to be in 1st grade and I know she will do a great job.  Drew finished off a great year of growth in Preschool. He will be in 1/2 day Kindergarten next year.  Drew at his field trip to a local ice cream storeDrew and his friend, Ella, at the zoo.Drew and Ella picked flowers and put it in front of the window and the walrus really enjoyed seeing the color and kept going up to the flowers! Drew at his Pre-K recitalWe celebrated by going out to get ice cream. Jack loved it!Drew enjoying his ice creamDrew really enjoyed getting to know Ella. She is such a sweet girl.Maddy and her teacher, Mrs. RDuring the award ceremony, she turned back and saw me. Look at that big smile!:) Melts my heart!Maddy and her friends, Madison, Natalie, and Kayla[...]



This spring, we told Drew that he could pick one sport to play.  So, I told him he could play soccer, soccer or soccer.  So, he chose, baseball.:)  Okay, I really did give him several option and he responded "Since I am already good at soccer, I will try baseball". Fair enough, so we gave the soccer league a break from their star player:) and signed Drew up for baseball. It was a great 1st season.  Drew improved a lot over the season.  I am not convinced he really understands the game of baseball, nor am I convinced that he was more interested in the snacks than the game......but either way, it was fun to watch and Drew had a great time learning and playing.  Here is Drew's teamWe often noticed that Drew was more interested in the surroundings than paying attention to the game:)He's so goofyWe loved having Drew and Baylor in the same team.  Uncle Tom spoiled Drew to some Dipping Dots and Sprite the first game:)  Drew in actionI loved watching Austin and Drew out on the fieldReady for the ballUp to batDrew loved having dad help out at the gamesSnacks....the best part of the gameI had a hard time paying attention to the game sometimes, because of this little guy:)He wants to be just like Drew and play baseballJack and Cooper played together during some of the gamesParker and Jack loved having snacks during the baseball gamesMaddy loved playing with Cooper in the field. And I loved chatting with Jessie during the games! We got matching shirts, don't we look like twins:)[...]

A Beautiful Wedding


I absolutely LOVE going to weddings.  I honestly would LOVE to be a wedding, if there was no shame involved (alright, if it wasn't rude and wrong, too!:)  I love seeing all the details, the love, the couple surrounded by friends and family, the great food and the dancing! We were invited to Phill and Abby's wedding.  It was the only wedding this year so I was anxiously anticipating this wedding!  I LOVED the fact that the wedding was taking place at the Bride's parents home.  It was on a beautiful farm, in the backyard, with a stream flowing behind them! Words can't describe what a picture perfect wedding  it was. The bride was so beautiful.  And I just have a huge heart for the groom's family, since Emily (our babysitter) is a part of their big family!  The day was a hot and humid day with storms expected to come.  In the middle of the ceremony, the wind started picking up and dark clouds started to fill the air in the background....but the ceremony completed just in perfect timing.  As soon as the guests started to fill the tent for the reception, the rain started to pour.  I was anxiously anticipating a night filled with dancing and fun since we had the kids at home with Austin's parents. But we got a call that Drew was sick so we left early from the wedding:(  I was so bummed to have to leave the wedding I only have pictures from the ceremony.  Congrats Phill and Abby!  It was a beautiful wedding! I loved the bright colors and the fans/programs. The fan/program Phill looked so nervous before the ceremony, I love watching the groom as the bride walks down the's my favorite part of a wedding!:)Abby looked so beautiful walking down the aisle  They both looked so happy to be be hand in hand! Love that!:) Exchanging of the ring Love the sheep in the background! One of my favorite pictures! The bride and groom! I loved how the bridesmaids gave her a big hug after they went down the aisle. They were cheering that it didn't start raining during the ceremony! Josh and Erin (and the sheep:) Austin and I on the pasture! You know me....always looking forward to an opportunity to act crazy (and convince a friend that she should, too!:) Sarah, Becky and I Such a wonderful couple, Andy and Becky Love these two, Sarah and Tommy Our friends, Jess and TheresaAustin and I.....married 11 years this coming Friday! I love this man! [...]

Easter and Mother's Day


Easter is a time that I will always cherish because of the significance in my life since college.  Although, I don't know if any Easter will top this one (, the year Maddy asked Jesus into her heart.  It is one that will always be so special to me.  This year we had a wonderful Easter with family, we had an amazing lunch with Austin's family (Austin's dad makes the BEST turkey ever.....seriously. I'm drooling now, thinking about's that good). Then we came over to my parent's home for a dinner brunch (because that's how we roll:) and then we ended in a fun Easter egg hunt for the kids!  And then for Mother's Day, we did a pitch-in and celebrated mother's day, my mom and dad's 36th wedding anniversary and my dad's 71st birthday (wow, that sounds old, I still think of him in his 40s...time flies).  Because of my dad's Parkinson's Disease, I sometimes feel really sad for all that he is not able to do and all the things I think he deserves in life after all he has worked hard for....but at the same time I see many blessings.  Because of his diagnosis, I feel like it reminds our family constantly that life is short and we need to cherish the time together....because we never know when it will be the last. My dad's doctor told my mom that he was considered late stage Parkinson's Disease, which to me is hard for me to grasp what this means.  My mom shared that his neurologist said that something could happen tomorrow or he could live for another 5 years (which she stated last year).  So, we know our time with my dad is precious.  The toughest thing for me is finding a way to connect with him. It is something I am trying to figure out (but not feeling really successful at) and trying to find a way to share with him the love I have for him and to share the love of Christ with him. It's tough with 3 kids and it's tough when his time of "normalcy" is so short.  This has really been on my heart recently, so if you could just pray for me (and my dad), I would really appreciate it.  I know our family has been blessed in SO many ways.  I am really enjoying this season in our life when we are healthy (and happy). I love that we have both parents close by and so many family members and friends there to support us in all that we do. I know that we are always one moment away from a diagnosis or a devastating phone until it happens, I enjoy life like it is at this moment!  Wow, such a serious post...not what I was planning but just sharing my thoughts! I hope all the moms reading this had a wonderful mother's day.  Enjoy each moment and know that you are making a difference!:)  My mom with the grandkids Having fun! My dad was doing okay for a few minutes so we took a quick photo. Maddy on Mother's Day Maddy wanted to do her jump (like she did on her last birthday)! My best shots of Drew....are ones in which he doesn't know I am taking a picture He is such a sweet boy Love this boy Really, I do.....even when he is mischievous Because he smiles.....and it melts my heart!I love when they are all smiling You really don't want to know what I have to do to make them smile like that.....because basically it would embarrass me, if anyone ever saw me.  (I basically have to make a fool out of myself.....weird faces and crazy sounds to make them giggle like this).  Oh, how I love these three! Maddy, Jack, Ava and Drew I love this picture!   One of my favorite family photos ever! I love that they can now talk to each other.  They are so funny together Jack[...]

Proof that Jack is no longer sleeping in our bed.....


Many of you have shared with me how much they have enjoyed my sleep entries. So, I would like to share (aka prove) that Jack has not been sleeping in our bed.   Now, I never said he was actually sleeping in his room.....sometimes we may find him in the closet Other times, I can say he is "sort of" sleeping in his room  (FYI: He is fast asleep in this picture. I just thought this picture reminded me a Wizard of Oz, so I had to take a picture:)Other times I can say he is sleeping in his room...but just didn't make it into bed.Other times, I can say he is sleeping in his room and "sort of" on the bed.  I never know what to expect with this kid!   At least, I know that a bed is not "essential" for Jack its just a luxury.  And some days, I get lucky and he sleeps in his bed. On a side note, I have shared this story with a few people.....but one evening I woke up to noise coming from our family room. So, I woke up Austin telling him that there was noise coming from the family room.  He was fast asleep and didn't move so I went cautiously out to the hallway, to find our hallway, kitchen, dining room and family room light all on with the pantry door wide open.  I walk towards the pantry door when I hear "Hi, Mom! I was Huuunnngry" as Jack puts his hand in a Sam's Club size bag of Craisins.  Seriously, what 2 year old does that? Maddy and Drew clearly would have awoken Austin or me up before they would help themselves to food. But clearly, Jack is of a different breed.  I never know what to expect with him.  Speaking of food, a lot of experts recommend small meals throughout the day....and Jack is a big fan of this method.  He would prefer about 15 mini-meals throughout the day. I am constantly telling him to get out of the pantry!  So, recently, when I tell him no more food, he responds "Bubba is hungry. Bubba wants pepperoni." (FYI: Bubba is his doggie blanket he carries around).  He is so creative and smart! :)  Also, when it is nap time, his response is "Jack not tired. Bubba is tired.".  Jack has recently exploded in his vocabulary and is talking like a little man.  I love hearing him talk in full sentences and he really has a vast vocabulary for a 2 year old.  I think it is because he is always trying to keep up with his siblings. He really wants to go to school.  I told him he couldn't go to school until he gets older and that if he goes to school that he has to be a good listener and listen to his which he responded " I not listen to my teacher, my teacher listen to me".  Um, I think I'll have to teach him a few basic rules before I enroll him in least I have a few years!:)[...]

Bird Watching


One day Papaw made a bird feeder with the kids. They hung it on the tree outside of our window. There have been lots of bird visitors (but we have also had chipmunks and rabbits, too)
   At most bird feeders, the birds find the food by chance. At our house, we clearly advertise our bird food....
 with a sign (that Maddy made) like this..."so they would know where the food is" Maddy told me.
 Clearly, the birds have been reading the sign and enjoying the food, because our feeder is a  popular spot amongst the birds in our neighborhood!:)
Other birds, have clearly missed the sign and will have to starve!:)  

St. Louis


During spring break, we spent a few days in St. Louis. We visited the St. Louis zoo and the Magic House (a children's museum).  But the best part of St. Louis was seeing Becky, Michael and Emerson!  We had a great visit....but it went by too quickly! Maddy was brave and touched the snake. Here are the boys with the guinea pigs. Me, Maddy, Emerson and Becky Jack loved playing with Emerson I love the penguin exhibit. We were so close we could have reached out and touched them! No matter where we are....when a train goes by the kids will stop to watch it go by. The kids were excited to see the train go by! We live near a railroad track so we can vaguely hear the train going by from our house.  Since Drew loved trains as a little boy, it is our "trigger" to pray for our kids. So, I love hearing the train go by!:)   A nice picture of all of us and then there's Jack!:) In the morning, Austin "babysat" the kids while Becky and I were getting ready!:) Becky and Emerson at the Magic HouseMaddy creating a magnet houseThe Magic House was very interactive! We loved it!Drew and Maddy imprints!Maddy inside of a huge bubbleJack's bubbleFuture President in 2052?  I won't hold my breath!:)Love this picture!:)One of the best surprises of our trip was that Maggie (one of Drew's crush:)  was visiting St. Louis, too!  So, we met up with them at the Magic House. Here is Drew, Maddy, Olivia, Maggie and Jack.Maddy, Olivia, Maggie and Drew climbed up this petal jungle gym! They enjoyed going up and down several times!On our way home, this is what happened in our car the whole drive home!  It was a great visit![...]

Family: Part II


 "These boots were made for walking and that's just what they'll do""One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you"...well, hopefully not. But they sure look cute in my boots!:) Jack's first day playing in the snow. Maddy ready to play Drew ready to throw snowballs! Maddy and dad made a snow fort together Austin and I have found that carrying Jack on our shoulders is a good containment method. So, we do it frequently!:)The boy that never stops eating....and making a mess. Love those dimplesOne day, I was just getting out of the shower in the morning and Austin told me he was going to go out to snowblow.  Well, after a few minutes, I realized that Jack was awfully quiet, so I went to look for him. I went out to the hallway to find the door to the garage wide open and Jack walking down the driveway like this.  Scared me to death (even though Austin was just outside).  When he has a thought...he is determined. Another time Jack was quiet...this is how I found him.  On top of my dad's walker...with the biggest grin on his face.  Jack and I on the carouselMaddy and Drew at the Children's MuseumThis is what I chose to do for my birthday.....go to Monkey Joe'sReally I wanted to go, not the kids......but I finally convinced them that they would have a good time!And we had fun!We had a lot of ice this winter!  Austin and I cleared the driveway and decided the ice blocks would make a really great fort. Here is our finished projectHere are the kids on St. Patrick's DayMy little leprechaun.It may not be the luck of the Irish but I sure feel lucky to have these three.Drew had to disguise a turkey for school and he wanted the turkey to be batman.  We thought it turned out well!:)Jack and me at the school program. I was doing laundry and found something really dirty:)See...he really requires a bath after every meal.The first day we were able to take out the gator. We had so much fun![...]

Family: Part I


I had over 100 pictures with I am breaking this into 2 sections. Here are a few pictures from different events during the winter and spring:Jack, Drew, Maddy, Nolan and Kate....getting ready to celebrate Kate's BirthdayIt never gets oldCrazy cousinsHappy Birthday, Kate!Sir Drew and Princess KateTwo beautiful princess (with subtle eyeshadow:)There is no explaining why Jack does the things he does.....Having fun at the Princess Theme partyDrew got into the activitiesThis is what I get whenever he sees me with the camera.My wild child has a sensitive side. He loves baby BrookeI took my mom and Maddy out to have a tea party. We had a great time!She loved the attention spending time together with the girls. She is so sweet!Our family at Brooke's baptismThe kids lined up....surprisingly they stood still for the picture!Halmonee and MaddyWe are surrounded by slides and jungle gyms and they still decide to climb on me! This is how I stay in shape!:)Kate and MaddyWe celebrated Drew's birthday party at Monkey Joe's.  They had a great time!After a few pictures.....this is what happensOne Sunday, I ended up babysitting all 7 kids at one time........whew, I survived the time. I was thankful all the kids enjoy spending time together. I will note that the pictures shows the 2 trouble makers in the group!:)Speaking of trouble makers.....I baby sat Ava one Sunday and had to take a picture of the two of them together. They love each other so much!Jack thinks he is SO much older than Ava and likes to "take care" of AvaClassic picture of Jack. Sometimes I dress up Jack (like a little man) so that when he is being naughty, I still think he is a little cute!:)[...]

New Year Traditions


One of my favorite childhood memories is celebrating the New Year with family friends. Since we didn't have relatives in the area, my mom had a really good group of friends in which we spent most holidays together.  Every year we would dress up in our Han-Bok and do a traditional ritual called Sebae.  Here is a good description written in Wikipedia: "Children wish their elders (grandparents, aunts and uncles, parents) a happy new year by performing one deep traditional bow (rites with more than one bow involved are usually for the dead) and the words saehae bok manhi badeuseyo (Hangul: 새해 복 많이 받으세요) which translates to please receive many blessings in the new year. Parents typically reward this gesture by giving their children new year's money (usually in the form of crisp paper money) and offering words of wisdom, or deokdam. Historically, parents gave out rice cakes (ddeok) and fruit to their children instead. Before the bowing ceremony is held, children sometimes where hanboks or clothes worn in Korea long ago. Hanboks are worn as a respectful way to appreciate the ancestors and elders."  My mom bought the whole family Hanboks at her last visit to Korea. So, we had fun dressing up in our hanboks and all the adults and grandchildren bowed to my parents the blessing.  Here are a few pictures from our New Years. Kate, Jack, Nolan, Drew and Maddy Here is the whole family together! We are so blessed! Tammy, Brooke, Kate, Dad, Mom, Nolan and Steve Jack, me, Drew, Dad, Maddy, Mom, and Austin Naomi, Justin, Dad, Mom and Ava My parents with all the grandkids.  Oh how the kids love their Halmonee and Halaboji! My wonderful parents. I truly hope they have many blessings in this upcoming year.  Tammy, me, Naomi, Dad and Mom......I love them so much.  So many wonderful memories. I am pretty sure I can dig up over 30 pictures like this one!:)   Jack said most of the blessing....he was excited about the money!:) Even Brooke "said" her blessing!:) Here is Austin and I saying the blessing to my parents!:) Drew loves gum! Sophisticated women!:) The kids acting goofy[...]

Christmas Festivities


So, this is SO embarrassing. I am officially blogging about Christmas in May. Unfortunately, this means I am going to cluster blog several of posts over the last 6 months.  And most of these posts will be enjoy! I am very blessed to have so many great memories with family and friends! This was a special day. We celebrated Erin and my birthday.  And I will never forget the special news that Megan found out she was pregnant this very day!  We are so excited for Zach and Megan! I was invited to a very special Christmas party. It was a party for the palate.  Jessie's mom, Missy, bought some of her favorite foods and desserts from all around the city.  The food was SO delicious and everything looked so beautiful! Jessie and Missy are the best party planners!:) Here are a few of the girls at Missy's ornament party: Me, Lindsey, Andrea, Jessie and Jenny Maddy had a Christmas recital for dance. I love this picture of her! I went to a cookie exchange and made cookie wreaths. Jack said, "I just watch". Jack then moved on to "I just touch".....which moved on to "I eat one" We had a Christmas Party with my MOPS leadership team. Here are a few of the ladies on leadership:  Heather, Shelly, Nicole, Kyndra, Jamie, Steph and Brandi. So, thankful for the ladies on my leadership team. They are the best! Here I am with the mentor moms and my co-coordinator Marte.  We have a lot of fun together....they were acting goofy, not wanting to being in a picture.   We got one good picture of all of us:)  Cindy, Karen, Becky and Marte We had a MOPS Christmas Party.....guess what was Jack's favorite part of the party!:)What a goof ball, look at that face!:) Santa and Mrs. Claus came to the Christmas party. The kids had fun visiting Santa.Sarah, Rachel, Theresa and I had a night out going shopping and I thought it would be fun to get a picture with Santa. I think Santa liked the idea of the picture....look at him with his arm around me.  Must have been a change from the line of kids to have 4 beautiful women!:)  We have enjoyed getting to know the couples in our small group. Here is our Christmas party picture.....before we broke up!:)  Our group was so big that we broke out into 3 different small group. We had a great night having a white elephant gift exchange! One more picture with Drew and SantaMaddy with SantaAdorable picture with Jack and Santa[...]

It's All About Sleep...


To my devoted blog readers, I promise I have not deserted blogging. It has just been on the last of my to-do list at this time. But I will catch up (even if I have to blog about Christmas in July....which seems like it may be a reality).  Until then, I thought I would share a little update on my sleep situation.  Drew and Jack have been sleeping in their bed most days of the week and most of the night. I'll leave it at that.......because there was one night that I was ready to go to bed and found this:As you can see, there isn't much space left for me.:)  Well, I have talked to Drew and Jack and told them if I wake up (which is code for: I can't sleep because I am sleeping sideways....since that is all the room I have between Austin and Boy A or Boy B) then I will put them back into their bed. This has been the true reason for our sleep training working so well. I can't say that it has been a joint effort....but that's okay because I'm actually getting sleep!:)  But, obviously, my kids are picking up on which parent to "contact" to get their way when it comes to sleeping. This is what Austin and I found tonight:For those who can't read it, it says "Plees sleep with me dad.  Love Maddy."   On the right it says "Than you."  In the circle it says "Do not" and a picture which looks like a mad face.  Oh kids, they are so funny. They think they can get their way just by writing a cute note. Well, um, maybe they can.....because the house is quiet now....everyone is sleeping and my bed is empty.  Now I have all the space in the world (okay maybe the size of a queen size bed) to fall asleep but instead of sleeping in my own bed and enjoying the space I'm considering sleeping in Maddy's bed with Austin (because A:  As I have mentioned, I kind of need Austin's chest to fall asleep and B:  I am wondering what the boys will do if they wake up in the middle of the night and find our bed empty). As I write reason B I realize that would be a bad idea.  So, I will go to my bed....and if a little boy decides to creep into my bed sometime at night I might have to break my rule of putting them back into bed......just for this night.I am realizing that these sleep blog entries are really exposing a great example of our "wonderful" parenting skills of  "not caving into your children".  But hey, it's tougher than you think when you get an unexpected note from your daughter or you are half asleep, it's in the middle of the night and an adorable little boy wearing Superman or Batman slips into's hard to stand up to a super-hero!  Well, I am off to my next sleep adventure....until next time, sweet dreams!:)[...]

As I Lay Me Down To Sleep....


I'm happy to announce that our sleep training is progressing in the right direction. Um, Jack is no longer IN my bed!:)  Luckily, he understood me when I told him he couldn't sleep in my bed. So, I guess he thought this was as good as it gets!:)
Okay, seriously, we have progressed. Jack is now officially sleeping in his room all night and Drew, well, is being Drew (and usually ends up in our bed sometime in the evening).  I'm finally getting some sleep!:)

Sleeping In Your Room (Not Mine!) Bootcamp Update


Just thought I would give you an update on our "Bootcamp". I think it's going, okay, so maybe this picture sums it up. I think A) "Upper Management" needs to start enforcing the rule B)Austin and I need to start sleeping in the boys twin bed or C) We need to upgrade to a king size bed.  The solution should be obvious.....but it's tougher than it seems!:) Jack


It's 2:30am and I am wide awake. And I have been wide awake for over an hour.  The 1st hour I amused myself into thinking I would be able to fall asleep. The problem is we have moved the boys into one room together and Drew has taught Jack a new "habit".
Now, Austin sleeps on his back every night and doesn't move an inch and I tend to sleep on his chest.  So, in reality we could sleep on a twin bed because we do not take up much room on the bed. Like I mentioned in one of my last post, Drew is our bed creeper.  He comes in like a thief......smooth and sly....and honestly, I'm okay with it since Austin and I hardly notice him until we wake up.
Well,  I woke up around 1am with an eerie sense that somebody was watching I turned over to find a 2 year old standing by my bedside, staring at me. He nonchalantly says "Hi, mom!" in the only volume that he knows.....LOUD. :)  So, I sweep him up and put him in our bed.......(Note to self: very bad idea).  He fell asleep within a few seconds and I would like to say it was a mother's bliss to be sleeping next to her beautiful baby boy....but this Mom was never one to advocate attachment parenting/co-sleeping....and I was reminded quickly why this was the case.  A few minutes go by and I start to hear deep breathing, then I hear bodily noises beneath the sheets and then I hear him giggle in his sleep.....yes, all of this from my precious 2 year old!  Then he stirs around and ends up in a spread eagle....taking up half the bed.  For 1/2 an hour I amused him into thinking he owned half the bed, while Austin, Drew and I were on the other half.  But after I got an elbow and then a foot in my face. I called it quits.  I have stopped at the computer on my way to the boys room......since SOMEBODY should sleep in their room tonight. (Sigh....I might need a nap today).
Sleeping In Your Room (Not Mine!) Boot Camp begins tomorrow.



 I have so much to be thankful for this year. Every year I like to list off all that I am thankful for in the past year. So, here we go...God - Always faithful, merciful, in control, and always true. Austin - My rock.  We had a wonderful celebration of our 10 years of marriage. We were able to go on my dream vacation to Tahiti to celebrate our anniversary. As in any marriage, it is hard work. But, I love that each year we have both committed to work on our marriage whether it is reading a book or going to a conference.   We have only grown in our love because of the work we both have put in.   He always amazes me at what a wonderful husband and father that he is. I am especially thankful to Austin for the wonderful pictures we were able to take at Thanksgiving of my family.  The span that we have to take pictures with my dad when he is "normal" have been slim and narrow and we all know that we may no longer be able to have these opportunities. So as my family was in the hustle and bustle of cooking and taking care of my kids at Thanksgiving, Austin saw that my dad was doing really well and encouraged all of us to take pictures together.  And I was SO happy that we did. I have to be honest that each time that we take pictures the thought comes in my head that I will never know how long my dad will be around.  So I want to capture moments together (especially with and for the kids) so they remember him and know what a great man he was and is.  So, I am thankful for my thoughtful husband who knew how important it would be for me to take these pictures. This meant so much to me. I love you, Austin. My children - Maddy, she is such a huge blessing to me. She is always there to help and take care of her younger brothers.  She has such a creative mind...always ready to learn.  I love her beautiful art work and her creativity with activities at home. She bring such joy to our house.  Drew, he is my most sensitive and fun loving child.  He is my cuddler (and I love that).  He is Austin's mini-me in so many ways...that I know one day (many many years from now) he will make a great husband!:)  He is also our silent creeper. He sneaks into our bed at night and Austin and I don't even wake up because he just snuggles up next to us. So, we often wake up to find Drew cuddling up to us in bed!:)  Jack, oh Jack.  He is full of life and as many people describe him: funny.  He has a lot of energy and I think that's what makes him so funny....the way he talks exudes his energy and his "commitment" to his will!  Some may call this strong will, I call it determined.   He loves and insists on being included and I love that he adores Maddy and Drew.  My extended family. I am thankful for each one and their support of our faith, our marriage and our parenting.  We LOVE spending time with we know we are blessed.:)  I am especially thankful for Austin's mom and dad in my life. Their example and their love for each other, their children (including all the in-laws) and their is not "normal". :) They are always serving, loving, caring, praying for each one of us. What a great example to have. I am so thankful for their impact in my life.  I would marry Austin just to be a daughter-in-law of Poppa and Momma P (okay, only teasing....but THAT is how much [...]