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We know this. It’s not a secret. One day you’re anxiously awaiting their arrival from the womb and then you blink and then they’re adults – or almost. Almost. How is it that just yesterday I was sending my first-born off to kindergarten, with her brand new glasses and her bangs pulled back off her chubby little face, a backpack as big as she was strung across her back, and a smile that went on for days? There was no fear, no tears. Just a lot of excitement. Last week, I sent that baby of mine off to her senior year of high school, glasses replaced with contacts, bangs dangling and covering her eyes which light up her much more matured face, a messenger bag over her shoulder, and a smile that went on for days. Ok, so some things don’t change that much, they just get bigger. But how can it be that she’s just 2.5 short months from being 18? An adult. *gasp* I always seem to think that I have this under control, I am always internally emotional but can sometimes hold the external together. I take each day in stride. I’m always so proud of my babies and welcome their wing spreading with open arms. But suddenly, almost instantaneously, it hits like a ton of bricks. My baby is almost an adult. Fortunately, I have 4 more babies to raise to adult so I’m still a bit of a ways away from having a full-out heart attack over here. The palpitations are building though.

I’ve now been typing this post for 5 days – seriously. I get THAT distracted by babies and things and OMG the internets. Let me try again while Lucas is distracted by Mickey Mouse and Levi naps, knock on all things that are wood, while I have 2 free hands to type effectively.

My big boys, they have grown like weeds in the past year. I cannot tell you how many pairs of jeans we have gone through and shoes. Shoes now get stinky before they get worn out. yikes! And this summer, the grocery bill, it seriously doubled. And they aren’t even to the stomach-is-a-bottomless-pit stage yet. It’s a good thing there is an 8 year gap between Dillan and Lucas, so we can rebuild the teenager grocery fund again! The physical things are easy to see, but through the summer, I saw a lot of growth in my boys as brothers and friends. They were given some more freedom, allowed to go to the park with friends without mom. It’s only 2 blocks away, but as a trying not to be a helicopter mom, this was a big deal. I send an extra cell phone with them, yep, they also have to be responsible, and they keep me posted about what they’re doing and who they’re with. They were allowed to bike to friends’ houses, too. And while this was hard on mama, it was so good. They argued and fought less, they played together and as a group of friends much more. And by summer’s end, when the soccer teams came out and a mistake was made and they had both been put on the same time, they BOTH asked to be kept on the same team. Yes, my jaw had to be scooped from the floor! This is big. A very BIG step in their brotherly development. The past couple of years surely have had some rough patches. To say that I’m a pleased mama is so underwhelming. I’m elated! But, they should not grow so much. So fast.

7 days – seriously, this blog post is taking far too long to complete. Despite the amount of time I can sit in the computer chair in a day, the typing just doesn’t get done. I need to be more skilled at one handed typing and allowing thoughts to flow while doing a multitude of other things – like nursing a baby, bouncing a baby, cleaning up baby urp from down my back and in my lap, while fetching a toddler off a desk or rescuing him from an annoyed cat or four, and trying to keep enough food and water in myself to sustain me for at least one more day. I will finish this now.

Only after I post some pictures. Because, as per my usual, I paraded them outside to the deck stairs, just like I do every first day of school, so I could take their pictures and “awwwww” and swoon over my precious, once were very tiny, babies. I don’t get teary, not on the outside anyway. I love that they can get out into the big world and spread their wings and discover more about themselves every day. I love that I can get a bit of a mom breather and enjoy a little bit of time each day to be just me, not me the mom, though those days are still so numbered with two little pipsqueeks still at home. I love my babies. So much. My heart is full.

And now, my kids have been back to school for 14 days and I have been trying to write this for 10 days! (enter failing blogger grumbles here). Life is busy, it’s crazy, sometimes overwhelming and frustrating but hey, I love it!)

So, here are the pictures of my kiddos on the first day of school – I adore them all so much!

Hannah – 12th, Connor – 5th, Dillan – 4th.

senior t-shirts are cool

Instagram is serious awesome. Here are a few more of those from the past week.
All my boys before school.

It’s Homecoming Week. Two days ago was “Neon Day” where she wore neon so much cuter than we ever did in the 80’s! Yesterday was “Character Day.” Hannah couldn’t be anything other than adorable Pikachu! Today is “School Spirit Day” and they aren’t allowed to wear their cheer uniforms to school (I know, right?! ridiculousness) so she rocked the tutu again with her cheer jersey. (I’m not too sure about those tights or boots though.)

Have a wonderful year my little, precious, tiny, babies-will-always-be-to-me, children! I love you more than words and pictures can ever express. You all are by far the best things I have ever done in my life and I couldn’t be more proud to be your mama! Now, do your homework without me having to ask eleventytwenty times. 🙂

And for mama, let this be a lesson that blog posts should not take 10 days, with or without pictures.


This is one of those days that I look forward to all year long! I love that my kids enjoy school, and they thrive and they learn, and they have great fun with good friends. But I don’t love schedules and homework and papers and folders and planners and, and, and. The last day of school ends all of that! We can stay up later, sleep in longer (well, the kids can, I seem to wake up early no matter what), have big breakfasts, lounge in jammies all day, get out and enjoy SUMMER, enjoy the chaos that is neighborhood kids ringing the doorbell and jumping on the trampoline and water balloons and skate park and fun! Mostly, it’s time that I REALLY get to spend with my big kids. So much of my day/week/month is consumed by the littlest people in our family because everyone else just isn’t here. I love when we can really settle in and be a family without being pulled 50 different directions. I enjoy (in a weird and crazy kind of way) dirty, smelly kids – they’ve been playing and having fun! When the boys can manage to get along for long periods of time, there is laughter and creativity and imagination. There is a brotherhood – lately it is hard to find – but it is there. I can’t wait to see it more!

But first, they have to get through today – the day where teacher enlist the class to clean and tidy the room so it’s fresh and ready for next year, to have sack lunches, to clean out lockers, to say goodbye to friends for the summer. Hannah finds this harder every year. She watches the seniors graduate and go off to college. She’s always been sensitive about missing teachers and friends, but since starting high school, it’s different. She’s such a sweet and sensitive girl. Connor and Dillan just can’t wait. They’re excited to be done with school and in August, they won’t be excited to start again. We will absorb as much of this summer freedom as we can!

There are no big plans, no exciting vacations – not this year, we need to grow the babies some more – and no boundaries. Hannah will be quite adventurous and visit Spain in just a few weeks. We look forward to a visit from my dad next week. There is baseball every week. But all the other days will be full of play and play dates, local events, swim time, friends, picnics, playgrounds, biking, walking, the zoo, the library, sandboxes, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. We’ll do it all! And I hope to photograph most of it!

Today, my 3rd grader becomes a 4th grader…

My 4th grader becomes a 5th grader – it will be his last year in elementary school. [please pass the Kleenex!!]…

And my first baby, my only daughter, she finishes her junior year. Next year she will be a senior, and then graduate, and then leave me forever and ever. [please pass the Kleenex factory!]

I love you so much my big kids, I’m so proud of you!

Before school this morning, I handed them each a sheet of paper. Yes, their last bit of WORK to do before summer. I was met with grumbles but I know that someday, they will like it. I only wished I had started it years ago. I gave them an “exit interview” to gather some information about their school year. Also, it samples their handwriting at the time. I can’t wait to see what changes over the years. None of their answers surprise me, I feel pretty connected with my kids. But it really tickles me that Connor’s response to “what you learned” was “too much.” Oh that kiddo! Hannah and Connor both listed art as their favorite subject and Dillan chose gym.  History, music, and math were the least favorites. And I love so much that they all chose to put their last name on their paper also. Like I wouldn’t know who they are!  Good times kiddos, thanks for the giggles!

Dillan certainly has a style all his own – he’s pretty good about matching his clothes, when I tell him what to wear. He totally does his own thing and doesn’t really seem to care what others think. I love that about all my kids! Now if they could just teach me.

He’s grown his hair off and on for the past few years and this year it grew so awesome and I have loved it. He has just enough natural wave in it to make it flow just right. And thankfully in many ways, he has hair so thick, just like his mama. But that was leading to some seriously crazy bed head.

iPhone picture proof!

[p.s. I love Instagram so so much.]

It got itchy and hot and was getting in his eyes and sticking to his face. When he asked me to schedule a haircut for him, I thought he’d just get a little trim and maybe some thinning – but he opted for a much shorter look. In hindsight, a little shorter than he expected but it does grow quickly so that shouldn’t be a problem in a week or two.

Here are the before and after shots.


Is that even the same kid? Oh how I loved the long style, the way it feathered around his face and his bright blue eyes would just shine. I like the short too, but it really changes his look. Is that really my boy? Oh yes, I can see his bright blue eyes! And then there is this proof.



How did it get to be August already? So many holes in the blog – so many pictures and stories left unshown and untold. Maybe someday I will get back and fill in some of the gaps or maybe I’ll just keep chugging along.

We’re busy! I love my family, I love my kids, I love my life! I’m really tired some days and I get stuck in some ruts, but really – I wouldn’t trade it! This is the crazy “back to school” time so we’re rushing around with appointments and shopping and planning. Trying to get back into some sort of routine may be the death of me but with just 2 weeks to go – something has to start to fall into place. I’m really excited for school to start – I love all the extra time I get to spend with the kids but I like the routine, I love seeing what they learn, I love the lack of in and out, in and out, in and out that goes on here most days of the summer! But back to school brings cooler weather. We’re already dipping down quite a bit at night, it feels nice, but it’s that subtle reminder that summer is coming to an end and the dreaded winter will be here soon. I’ll soon be trading my sparkly magenta painted toe nails for warm socks. I’m just not ready. Though I never am.

Hannah spent 5 weeks with her dad this summer – she attended a cheer camp and teen retreat. She helped teach a kids art class and checked out a college. The day after getting home, she was back to cheer practice and that will continue until next spring! I admittedly am sad to not be a part of the swim team this year but I know she will love cheering just as much. We went to see the new high school already and it’s awesome and amazing. I’m so excited for her! Orientation is tomorrow, she’ll get her crazy schedule. Thank goodness she passed her driving test [the 2nd time] and can now drive herself as needed.

Connor has gotten out of skating mode this summer. He still likes to but he prefers biking right now. He’s been really helpful to me and we’ve had some good time together. He’s an excellent big brother to Lucas, he always wants to help and care for him.

Dillan is all about skating. He wants to drop out of school now and just have a skate shop! He and friends have been taking apart and putting back together skateboards all summer. He’s done really well with learning some new tricks and is gaining good skill. He spent a week of summer being sick, which stunk, but it was good for us to just hang out and be mellow together. As trying as he can be at times, he really is just awesome when we’re 1 on 1. I am still trying to figure out how to bring that out all the time.

Lucas is growing, growing, growing. He’s now 8 months old and crawling and cruising furniture – determined like crazy! I call him Scar Face this week since he’s pretty dinged up. He’s mad if I hold him back but not quite as sturdy as he wants to be when trying to do things on his own. He’s eating solids so well, figured out the sippy cup, can say ‘mama’ and a few other babbles [we’re waiting on dada]and is just as cute as can be! I can’t believe how fast these months have gone by and how fast he’s growing. I know James is so thankful he’s had a change in schedule and is able to be here a few days a week and stay caught up with him.

It’s taken me 3 days to make this update! I just have to laugh – I love this life!

After 2 days in the NICU and an overnight in my room and a day getting ready to go home, we finally made it home. There are so many exhausting details – some I will probably never get around to getting caught up on. The main points being that all is well, it was hard and draining – and experience I hope to never have again, and we are just so happy to be a big family and home all together. This is just going to be a picture post of the past few days.


This year I was asked to help with both boys’ parties at school. I try and help out as much as I can, I love being in the classroom with them. This year I had previously scheduled my OB checkup for about the same time so I arrived late to both and only caught a few snaps before the end of the day. Connor had actually asked me if I was going to come to school to take pictures – that was cool – I love when they ask me to be a part of their day and document them!

I stopped in Dillan’s classroom first where the party was well underway – they played some games, wrapped up like mummies, took some pictures, had yummy treats and decorated small pumpkins. Dillan is going as Ironman this year.

Yummy idea! Carved out oranges, stuffed with orange sherbet and frozen! YUM!

Dillan's partially decorated pumpkin.

Then I headed down to Connor’s room where their party was much more low key. Connor was dressed as a bloody skeleton ghouly thing but had already taken his costume off before I got there. I think he was disappointed in how it work – kind of cumbersome. And he just didn’t look like he was having any fun anyway – but he was glad to see me!

He couldn't even smile with his pumpkin.

But he did have fun decorating his face!!

Winter is here. I’m usually in total denial to the start of another long stretch of frigid months but it’s pretty much smacking us in the face right now. Just 3 weeks ago it was 80*+ and we were sweating. Now the heat is on, winter gear is out, I made a big pot of potato soup – always a sure sign of winter – and the temps didn’t get above 35*. We had a winter weather warning a few days ago – it rained, and sleeted, and even a bit of snow fell. Crazy enough, the river is on the rise – minor flood stage actually – this does not make spring a lovely premonition.

I’m always cold, that’s no secret, but this time of year, I’m down right frigid [but warm at heart!]. I’m always bundled up, inside and out. I have the heat on in the house, in the car, and sometimes lean on a heating pad. Totally pathetic, I know, but I hate being cold. [I wear sweatshirts in the summer because the air conditioning is always too cold!] The kids all think I’m crazy. I think they are!

To kick off the start of Halloween weekend, the boys carved their pumpkins Thursday after school. This was a monumental pumpkin carving day for them – they were allowed to carve their own for the first time ever! I bought those cute little knives – still sharp and dangerous , holy cow! – and they went  to town! I carved out the top, they scooped all the guts and did their own designs. And they even cleaned up! I just had to do the seeds which is fine with me. Here’s some documentation.


Dillan wanted a 1 eyed, 1 toothed pumpkin this year.


He paused his carving to give a little wave.


And then he finished and did a great job!


Connor had some good detail and worked really hard - he loved doing it all himself!


I didn’t take any of the finished product but will once they’re all lit up on Halloween. I never put them out early for fear that they will become road decorations – I hate when people do that!

I can’t wait to have some potato soup to warm me up – and while I’m not a fan of Halloween, I’m ready to bring on the chocolate!



No matter how much we plan ahead, the first day of school always  sneaks up on us. We did plenty of last minute supply and clothes shopping, running around, planning, and getting everything in order. With plenty of shiny new items, backpacks, and clothes, I sent the kids off to the first day of a new beginning this morning.

Hannah left bright and early for her first day of 10th grade. How did my baby girl become a sophomore in high school? She was really excited to see friends she hadn’t seen all summer, to find out what her classes were like, and to wear her new clothes and show off her new dark hair and green eyes! It is about the fashion and friends, ya know. She has many long days ahead – a rigorous course schedule and demanding swim schedule. Many days she’s gone 12 hours or more. She’s more than capable and determined, I just hope she finds some time to sleep!

Connor was so excited for school that he was awake and dressed at 6am! He got his breakfast and brushed his teeth and got all of his things together and then had to wait so long before it was actually time to leave for school! 3rd grade – I really don’t know how these kids grow so fast. It seems like I was just taking him to kindergarten. He’s developed his own sense of style lately, bracelets and hats and all things ‘cool.’

Dillan is never excited for school – but this morning he was actually up very early on his own and got ready for school just fine. He was full of smiles and a little excited for the first day. I’m sure that will wear off by the end of the day but at least we had a positive start to the morning! He and Connor have similar styles, though Dillan is less concerned about matching than Connor is. He did a good job and my baby baby is off to 2nd grade!

My kids have become obsessed with skating – which has put us at the skate park many early mornings this summer. The mornings are cooler, there are far fewer people, and it’s just a fun way to start the day. It’s even more fun when friends are there to share the fun. I invited a bunch of the guy pals for the boys and they all had a great time. I took just a couple pictures but put the camera away before they all showed up and forgot to take it back out again. Bummer.

This was our last trip to the skate park for the summer – we still may go on a weekend but with school starting on Wednesday – this was our one last hurrah for the summer.

Fun times!

Connor plans to be in the X Games someday. He has some natural skills! [and he’s cute too]

Dillan had a little wipeout – but he was able to laugh about it!

Hannah has a skunk hat – must be cool skate wear!

Hannah designed her own Converse this summer – funky and totally her!

My kids are all natural fishies – they love the water. The boys and I have spent several days at the pool this summer, soaking in the sunshine and chlorine all afternoon. Hannah starts swim team again soon and I get really excited for that – I love those meets!  Both boys finished up their 2 weeks of swim lessons today – I want them to be strong swimmers even if they never compete. I took my camera for the last day and got some fun pics to share. I’m so proud of both my boys who really worked hard and had some fun. They get a break from lessons until winter – when sitting in that humid pool area actually feels good!

Connor practicing his strokes

Connor learning to dive from the block

Dillan wanted to dive from the block too but he was a little nervous

He thought about it

and looked pretty nervous

finally he got the form going

but then couldn’t do it!

he’s pretty cute though

and happy to just be in the pool

Connor walked in front of the glass window and I caught this silhouette and just love it

July 2018
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