Playing Catch Up [and a FUN Surprise!]

I didn't post in this series last week, so this is a combination of last + this week's photos. I've had a lot of people ask what I'm doing now that I'm home, if I'm ready to go back to the classroom, and just generic "how's it going?" questions. These pictures are a really good look at what many of our days look like, and here's my answers: no I'm not ready to go back, it's exhausting; and I love every second. Maybe not every second, because that would make me a legit Supermom, but I honest to God couldn't be more grateful for these days and months with Pierson and Reese. 

I want them to know their names when they start school, so we focus each week on a letter. Last week Reese learned how to SPELL her name aloud, which just amazed me! She's the busy bee--a very typical three year old probably? So she's not super in to the "school lessons" we do, but I put her name to a song and she GOT IT. Ask her how to spell her name, she'll recite it loud and proud! That's what the "R" is for in all of these photos [it supposed to be a R for rainbow and we attached some cotton ball clouds for fun] ;) Pierson gets really into these crafts and does such a great job! And Alfie is almost always with us, as you can see. The dining room has turned into my office AND classroom; last night at dinner I told Asa, "I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss bulletin boards!!" [I think 90% of teachers don't ENJOY putting up bulletin boards, ha! But I miss having a giant place dedicated to showing student work!]

With Valentine's Day being last week, we made Daddy some more Pretzel Bites to take to his his class party. We spend a lot of time drawing, coloring, painting, and listening to playlists on Pandora. I'm always making 'to do' lists to try and stay organized, and having that quiet time while they nap/rest is something I definitely treasure! 

Here's when they opened their Valentine's Day gifts. They were so excited to see bags sitting on the dining room table when they woke up. [Moment of truth: Asa bought the gifts the night prior because we completely forgot!! He did a good job!] An Ariel Barbie for Reese because she and I were going to the Broadway show of Little Mermaid; and Pierson put together and painted a bird house, as well as some fun Legos. And Pierson and Asa went on a boy date to see Lego Batman and get Mexican food while Reese and I saw Little Mermaid w/ the girls!

AND my exciting surprise this week!!! American Girl gifted us with their first ever BOY doll, Logan. He is Tenney's [another new AG doll!] band mate and drummer, is 18 inches tall, and is seriously the most handsome doll ever. Pierson was SO excited to add a boy to the mix because whenever Reese wants him to play with her dolls, his only options are girls! I think it's safe to say BOTH kids were thrilled with this awesome surprise, and I'm excited to watch them play together. (Thanks, American Girl, we love y'all!)

We had a great couple of weeks. Yesterday, we went to the Zoo with my friend Lauren [their former sitter] and "baby Jadon," and TODAY they joined us in the park for our picnic too! Her husband Josh came and the kids LOVED having him there to be all rough and tumble on the playground (and I loved having the extra set of hands.) So now it's time to finish my coffee and take some deep breaths because Reese definitely only slept an hour and I can hear her upstairs yelling at her brother ;)

Have a blessed weekend, everyone! And thanks for joining me here!

Hello, Michigan!

I thought I may be crazy when I decided to pack the kids and I up for a week in Michigan, but it turns out I'm only crazy for thinking that I may not be capable. Suitcases, winter gear, swim vests, a hundred snacks, DVD's, cameras and sound machines--and finally we were ready for the normally six hour drive North.

We left Kentucky at 10 a.m. on the dot and drove for two hours. The kids could have gone longer but I thought it was a good stopping point for lunch and to fill up the gas tank. I popped in a second movie and continued driving. They were so good to not ask me to turn around or get anything for them, and they even slept for a little over an hour. Around 3:45pm we could see my parents house from the road and I shook my head in disbelief. I had driven for the first time EVER with both kids for almost six hours!

Not to toot my own horn, (but definitely patting myself on the back), the trip once there continued to go smoothly. My parents helped read to Pierson while I put Reese down for naps and bedtime, and while I did do TWELVE consecutive tuck-ins, I'm amazed at what good kids I have. Yes, Pierson woke once or twice in the middle of the night to come find me, but Reese did amazing in her cozy closet/bedroom and slept the entire night each night. In the mornings, they were happy and playful, and I was always a little grumpy until I finished the first cup of coffee. But y'all...it was SO good to just be HOME. They had to go swimming twice a day, thank God for that pool! And got to the point where they allowed me to sit in a chair in the pool room to do work on my laptop while they played and swam--when did I get such BIG kids?!

My mom, their Mimi, had fun activities, baked cupcakes with them, and helped me with their lunches every day. They loved when my dad, Pa Pa, got home from work, and talked his ear off a mile a minute. During our Christmas visit the kids bickered, a LOT, and Reese was super challenging mood and attitude wise. But for whatever reason, and maybe they just matured a lot in the last couple of months? They got along SO much better and both were VERY sweet. [Thank the LORD!]

I think I could have stayed longer, but Pierson started to get SUPER homesick for his Daddy. There were lots of tears the second to last night we were there, begging to call and see him, and Asa told me that I needed to pick a day and come HOME. I had just been playing each day completely by ear, because honestly, I didn't really expect that I could do this EVERY day for six days! We decided on Tuesday, which gave Asa six nice long nights to NOT be woken up by kids, to only have to worry about ONE dish to clean, and to not worry about clutter or toys strewn everywhere. He has always been super supportive when I have made my weekend Tennessee trips, and I'm very thankful I was ABLE to give him this break. [Not going to lie, babe, I may need to take another soon, ha ha!] ;)

I've joked [okay, not totally joking] that we need to move either to Nashville to be near my brother OR Michigan to be near my parents because I've been in Kentucky for TEN YEARS and I just really miss my fam. I don't that will be happening... so I really can't be more grateful for this trip I was able to take and ENJOY. Any other ladies out there just feel like you need to be with your mama?! I miss mine ALL the time!

Thank you, Mom, Dad and Nathan for having us this whole week. I can't wait to be able to come back and do it again, maybe this spring! Enjoy the pictures, friends. I wish I had been better about snapping photos of the kids with my parents and brother but clearly I didn't this time. Cheers, and happy WEEKEND!

Patching Hearts, Target Trips, and Finishing a Book

Currently I am steeping a very hot cup of tangerine tea, just lit some candles, and have my book Present Over Perfect open in front of me. I actually just finished it, and I don't know about for you, but this doesn't come easy for me! But now I'm sitting here with this feeling of, "what's next?" and, "how can I apply EVERYTHING Shauna said directly to my heart and life?" I underlined a LOT of sentences in this book, as I did throughout Uninvited. Like this part: 

Because that's what I've been searching for: a sense of my own worth. That's what we're craving: the sense that we matter, that someone sees us, that we are loved and valued. And so some of us try to earn it...

and she continued, 

It is only when you understand God's truly unconditional love that you begin to understand the worth of your own soul--not because of anything you've DONE, but because every soul is worthy, every ONE of us is worthy of love, having been created by and in the image of the God of love. 

I'm still dealing with a lot of emotional stuff, if you will. Mending friendships, letting some go, trying to live in the present and enjoy the season I'm currently in. Not being in the classroom right now (and having taught for five whole years) has me feeling disconnected, funky, like, "WHO AM I!?" but I am trying to be SO thankful I have basically the next seven months left of being Mom. It's funny how a life change like this can just leave me feeling so off, but I'm hopeful that I can rest in God's unconditional love because really and truly, that's what I crave. 

Alright, you tired of the deep stuff? Ha ha, me too! This week was good but today was kind of a doozy. We have all those, right? We couldn't play outside because it was freezing cold and spitting sleet, so I bundled the kids up and took them to Target, duh. They got cake pops, I got a giant vanilla latte, and we walked around for an hour. It would have been nice to have been able to smell candles and look at home decor the entire hour, but it basically consisted of me bribing them aisle by aisle with, "we'll look at toys next," and "if we go see this, I promise we'll go to art supplies next," and then finally, I was just doooone and really wishing I hadn't gone as close to nap time as I did. I later texted Asa and asked if he could please take them to the gym when he got home so that I could just have an hour of quiet. [Lord I wish I had his patience.....]

So here's some of the stuff we did this week! Valentines crafts, learning about the letters B and C, doing a sink and float science "experiment, and lots of coloring, per usual. Reese enjoys helping "make breakfast," so she helped me cook some eggs; we read a lot in Mommy's bed, I drank a LOT of tea, and in the mornings after we finished our bible story, I let them watch the animated version--they LOVED that. Oh, and I made frozen yogurt bites, which they kids are now obsessed with. If you haven't yet made those, you should try it. Just use a ziplock bag and dump some yogurt in it, cut off the corner of the bag, and squeeze into little dots on a cookie sheet. Freeze for 20 minutes and you're good to go! 

 

Pierson is working on a computer intervention program that Asa's school uses, and he moved up an entire level this week--that's a big deal! It's his first academic "accomplishment" if you will, so today while at Target I let him pick a craft. He loves to paint and to be careful while doing art; I absolutely love that he chose this figurine painting set. He did the horse first, because he said he wanted me to put it in my 'office.' I told him my dream horse (a Bay) and by golly, he did an amazing job. Thanks, Kid, Mom needed more reasons to almost cry today! ;)  

Reese behaved well in Target and because I have a bleeding heart, I wanted to let her pick a toy out too. We went to the dollar section and she chose a Frozen notebook, right up her alley. Tonight I am hosting a women's night, where we'll actually talk about the book Uninvited and gorge ourselves on food and conversation. I'm super excited ProFlowers and Sharis Berries sent me some treats because the girls are going to LOVE these covered strawberries. So, that's it! Our week in photos. Our weekend ahead is very busy, and the plan is to go to MICHIGAN [sans husband, LORD HELP ME] next week; so I'm hoping for a little R&R somewhere between.