Sunday, September 17, 2017

FAM PICS BY MAIN STREET STUDIOS

Back at the very end of July, Luke took our family pictures while we were in Siloam Springs.  It should be noted, that one of my children, who happens to be male, was EXTREMELY OPPOSED to this photo session.  But Luke was able to make photo magic anyway, because he is super awesome like that.  It is unbelievable to me that the same person who took our engagement pictures many many moons ago has now taken pictures of us as a family at every stage.  My best advice for this is to have your sister also marry a fantastic photographer.  I am so grateful.

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The girls were all extremely willing participants, especially since I kept slipping them Smarties, my go to photo bribe due to lack of messiness.  Do you ever catch yourself looking at pictures of your children and being just floored at how beautiful they are?  That was my sensation when I saw these.

8 year old Lily

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6 year old Bella

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4 year old Violet

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4 year old William

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I've been sort of obsessed with balloons, so I brought some, along with a helium tank.  We blew up four before the helium ran out, and then one floated away. 🤣 So, my vision didn't exactly come to fruition, but we still got a few fun shots.

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That last picture sums up life pretty well.  I'm bringing the fun, John is bringing the steady, and the kids are clinging and/or running depending on the moment.

Thank you so much, Main Street Studios!  To see our past photo sessions with Main Street Studios, click here.  And, if you are in NorthWest Arkansas, you should definitely book Luke to take your pictures - he is amazing!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

POTTY TRAINING: CHILD 1 VS. CHILD 4

We hit a major milestone a couple of weeks ago.  All of my children are potty trained!  It only took us a million years and two million Pull-Ups to get here.  As we've arrived in this enviable position, it barely even registered with me, which shows just how far I've come as a mother.

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There are myriad differences between walking a road with your first child compared with your last.  Even though the span between my oldest and youngest is only 4 years, so much has changed in those 4 years.  Mainly, me.

Here's a little review.  When child number one was potty training, I was a psychopath.  Let's take a little walk down memory lane, shall we?  Since I chronicled every part of the journey 🙈, we've got it easily accessible in memorandum.  When Lily was three, I started seriously trying to potty train her, which I found humbling and difficult and was sure to lace with lots of drama - the post was titled, "Trying to Tame the Bladder of Steel." That didn't work, which I mentioned in this post, and then I took her to ACH to get an ultrasound of said bladder. 🤷🏻‍♀️ The next step I took was taking us both to a child psychologist. 🤦🏻‍♀️ How am I not kidding with this?  I am not.  Not even a little bit.

Y'all.  She did finally get potty trained.  Obviously.  We survived, though not unscathed.  I was much more chill about child number two, though I still made a pretty big deal about it: see family trip to Wal-Mart to pick out a toy, dinner out at a Chinese buffet and a family donut date.  No skimping there.

Fast forward some years to the twins.  They've had some developmental delays, but the truth is, they are both quite bright.  Here is the other truth, I did not care one lick about when or whether they potty trained.  After the major drama of potty-training Lily and realizing that she finally did it when she was ready AND ONLY THEN, I was scarred and gun-shy.  And also lazy.  And there are two of them, always.  Potty-training twins sounded like the worst thing ever, so I basically tried to avoid it completely.

Plus, I'm just worn down, with a lot of other things going on now.  There are 4 kids, instead of 2, and we've got other fish to fry.  So, when Violet showed a lot of interest, it was fine, but I moved very slowly.  She's been fully potty-trained for quite some time now, though it took a long time to get there.  She's also still my most avid toilet tourist and never misses an opportunity to use a public restroom - what a joy! 😒

However, William had zero concern over peeing in a pull-up - and why would he?  It was convenient.  It was comforting.  For both of us.  At the most recent school conference, they asked about whether or not I was considering potty-training (they were very gracious, though we all fully recognized that it should have already been done), and they also volunteered to help.  "Send him in undies!" they said.  "We'll deal with it!" they said.  I felt guilty about letting them do ALL of the work, so I put him in underwear, very much against his will, one Saturday.  It was a disaster that included two accidents, that were not actually accidents since he smiled right through them, while we were at the mall and then at the movie theater.  John put a mostly empty popcorn bin under him to catch the urine streaming down his legs the second time.

But Sunday came, and he realized we were serious.  He's had an almost perfect record since then for both day and night.  I guess he was ready.  😂  He was extremely pleased to be rewarded with SpiderMan Legos for the first full week of getting it done a while back.

Just like that - my four children are potty trained!  I never thought this day would come - especially when potty training child one seemed like the hardest thing I might ever face.  Even though John and I lead by example in this area, it seemed a difficult thing for many of our kids to catch on to.  But the years and diapers flew by.  We are onto bigger, better and honestly harder things.  We all grow together.  I'm not sure the next thing I will be a psychopath about, but I'm sure it's looming.

Til then, I'll be hoping and praying for wisdom and grace to prop us up along the way.  And, I'll try to remember to have a little levity and a long view, because Lord knows, we're all gonna need both.  For now, I'm reveling in the lack of a diaper bag, while always always always keeping wipes in my car because life.

Monday, September 04, 2017

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

I honestly thought we didn't do much this weekend, but then I looked through my phone and realized that we stayed on the go, mostly because sitting around our home all day is not a very pleasant option with our kids, and it was the last weekend to enjoy the pool, so we did a lot of that.

The other sort of bizarro thing is that we really kicked off the weekend fun on Thursday night with the Hogs season opener in Little Rock.  The rain stayed away, and the evening shaped up to be unexpected fall perfection.  We attended the game with John's parents and thoroughly enjoyed cheering the Razorbacks onto victory!

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Friends came over Friday night after bedtime, and though this is the only picture I took, it was truly a delightful evening filled with spicy edamame, wine, sushi and lots of laughing.

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We really did spend a lot of time at the pool this weekend, trying to soak in the last of the summer.

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Another favorite pastime was driving very slowly through our neighborhood looking for rabbits, geese, deer and rainbows.

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We hit up Loblolly, which is quickly becoming a family favorite due to their large selection of dairy-free ice cream.  We love it!  This time John and I split a flight which was a really good life decision.

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Today was mostly spent trying to tame Violet's precious curls into a protective style.  We did take a mid-day break to eat lunch at CFA with a sweet friend who I met in Rwanda who happened to be driving through Little Rock today - so fun!!

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Hope your weekend was filled with good things! Cannot believe we are really working our way into fall.  I feel like I am trying to ready myself for the way the days speed right up as September zips along into October and then the holidays and then its 2018, just like that.  At least, that is how it will feel. 😳😜

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RANDOM AUGUST FUN

Here are a few things I didn't want the blog to miss out on.  August has been chock full of fun, and these are some of the highlights that haven't made it here yet.  I'll run through them pretty quickly with lots of pics - one of my favorite kinds of blog posts!

Adorable Tea Party for Taylor: There were cute dresses, make up, friends and a delightful tea.  Lily and Bella super loved it!

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John got to go to a couple of Dodger games while he was in Atlanta and take a couple of our team members.  You better believe there are CFA cows in that stadium.

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The big girls got lots of time with Grandma (and Grandpa) this summer!

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We've had fun with SnapChat filters.

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There was a lovely morning spent on a friends' creek.  This August has largely been cooler, and we enjoyed the shade and playing and picnicking and wearing Chacos.  Thanks, Livers - it was a blast!

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Immerse (the organization that I serve on the board of) launched a new ministry called Immerse Families to help support adoptive and foster families.  The first event was this month with dinner and inflatables and live music, and our family LOVED it!

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All in all, August has treated us well, and it's hard to believe that it's almost over!