Friday, October 21, 2016

Eva's 5th Birthday Party

Our sweet girl turned FIVE years old back in September and we celebrated big! I made her a 6 LAYER cake that Ryan and I stayed up late into the night throwing sprinkles all over. PS Throwing sprinkles onto a cake is one of the most fun feelings ever.
Birthday presents! She got some fun gifts, we are so grateful for our generous friends and family.
 When I asked Eva what she wanted for her birthday, her one request was a rainbow pinata. I decided to be crafty (and frugal, because let's face it, it was just going to get smashed), and made my own but sewing crepe paper (super easy!), and hot gluing it to re purposed cardboard from cereal boxes.
 Party favors! She made each friend their own rainbow bracelet.
 Living room decor. This took a while to hang on the ceiling but I loved how it turned out and we left it up for a few weeks.
Play room decor: a rainbow of paper plates from Dollar Tree plus crepe paper.
Eva and her crew. She got to pick a few friends from school plus a couple from church. These are her people, y'all. She LOVES this group of friends. It's so cool to watch her actually develop her own friendships.

{A note on party invites...I am not posting this on Facebook, because I don't want any one to feel left out. Our house is not huge. We love lots of people, and wish we could invited everybody, but we couldn't. Hopefully there is nobody reading this that feels left out. We really just had to limit the guest list due to space and party funds.}
Sister cheesing it up with her girl friends!
Eva's other special request was outdoor party games. Mama delivered. Parachute? Check.
Egg race? Check.

Bean bag toss? Check.
Smash the heck out of the pinata? Check. Those kids went at it but in the end it was Mama's turn to smash it enough to break the candy free.
Getting her cake on in the playroom with her friends.

One more party shot with the littles included.
That same night we had our family over for Birthday Party 2.0. Sadly the photos on my real camera got lost so this is all I have.
One of her gifts was a karaoke microphone so the kids sang their hearts out.
"Letting it go" with Mallory! Thanks to everyone who celebrated Eva. She loves you so much!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

When We Pray Documentary

In 2015 I took part in a year long journey to document how my life, and the lives of three others, were changed through the power of prayer. It captured my experiences from pregnancy (I began filming two days before Jensen was born), post partum depression, motherhood, marriage, and life as a believer in Jesus Christ. There were moments where it felt hard or awkward to film, but I am so thankful that I said yes to this project because I believe God is going to use these stories to change hearts for His glory. Whether you believe in God or prayer or not, I urge you to watch this incredible film and listen to the stories from each of the participants.

I believe that God uses prayer to accomplish huge, amazing things. Please watch this film and join us in praying for that the message behind it can reach so many and change hearts.

View Here 

I would love to hear thoughts or feedback from your perspective after watching. Feel free to comment below or email me

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

5 years old

Dear Eva Kate,
Tomorrow you will turn FIVE years old! I keep thinking that I should feel that the time has gone by so quickly, but from my perspective it actually hasn't. In the most wonderful way, I can look back and think about your first five years and see how each year you have been growing up and turning into the kid you are now. It is the most unique experience to be a mom who gets to see all the seasons of her child's life in one continual glimpse. In my heart you are still that little toddler, yet you are also this five year old ready to become your own person. Eva, you are passionate. Some days you give me gray hairs and drive me to chocolate. Daddy says it's because you and I are so alike. I am, however, so extremely grateful that I have gotten to be at home with you every day for the past five years. I've gotten to live through the hard and see the ways God is shaping you. 
You are kind. Your heart has so much compassion towards any one who is hurt or sick or sad. A few weeks ago you made a bag to give to someone in need, full of snacks and toiletries, and Daddy and I gave it to a man we past by, even though you weren't in the car with us. We called you right away and you were so genuinely happy to have made a bag that somebody needed, and so interested to hear about the man you helped.

You are a friend. I love your great big social heart. You love your preschool friends, your church friends, anybody random we meet anywhere. And then there is your best friend...Jensen. Oh goodness do you love him. Of course you have normal kid moments, but your love and concern for his safety and happiness shines through. 
You are smart. You are learning to read and about all sorts of cool math and science things. You are also an expert negotiator. You are perseptive about people and situations, always listening and chiming in from the back seat.

You are funny. Sister, you are your Daddy's girl. You know how to make us laugh. 
You have big feelings. Sometimes this makes life with you more challenging, but I never want you to change the way you feel things. Maybe just your reactions :) But truly Eva, your feelings are a blessing, because they make you sensitive to the world around you. Your feelings are part of what makes you such a good friend. I believe God has some sort of wonderful plan for you where he can use the big aspects of your personality to help others. I can't wait to see what that is!
You are a little diva. For your birthday Daddy and I are surprising you with a ballet and tap class. I know that you will love it. You love to sing and dance to Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Ashley Gatta Albums, and even Rent (yes, we are those parents that let our child sing along to Rent). You are so dramatic and expressive. I guess that comes from me, but I promise that I never led you to be this way, you figured it out all on your own! The other day you asked me when you would be old enough to be in a maybe there is a bright stage in your future.

Eva, there is so much more I could write. I think I'll end with my greatest prayer for you. Love the Lord with all your heart. If one day you are looking back at all my letters to you, know that I love Jesus and I want you to love Jesus too. We never want you to be perfect, just to know that you are perfectly loved. You put the crazy fun in our lives. Daddy and I love you so much and are so proud of you.

HAPPY 5th BIRTHDAY, Eva Kate!!!!!

love, Mama

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

18 Months Old

This little chunk turned 18 months old in August. He is growing and changing so fast. I was able to take some photos to remember his delicious face in this stage of toddlerhood.

Weight: 26 lbs
Height: 33 inches
Diaper: size 5
Clothing: 18-24 months, some 2 T
Shoes: size 6
Favorites: Being help by Mama as much as possible, nursing as much as Mama will let him, his blankie, Daniel Tiger, playing with Little People zoo animals and any type of car/train/truck/plan, seeing dogs, eating cheese
Dislikes: Thunder, loud construction sounds, Mama having to set him down, bugs 
Jensen you are still a chubby little man, but you eat much less that you used to. Usually 2 good meals a day with a couple of healthy snacks here and there. This past month we tried and failed at moving you to a toddler bed, so it is back to the crib for you! You also had a double ear infection that led to a scary high fever and a yucky rash. Mama is so thankful that you are doing much better now! You love to read books and play all day long. You are a typical "into everything never wanting to slow down dump out all the toys all over the house all day long" toddler, but I love it. Sometimes you get mad about silly toddler things, like when you want Eva's sippy cup instead of your own sippy cup, but mostly you are a happy man. You take a good 1 1/2 hour nap during the afternoon and usually sleep 7:30 PM - 7:30 AM over night.
You most amazing development over the past few months has been your understanding of language! You can follow easy directions and know what we are talking about even if it is in the other room. You say more than 25 words, with your bests being Mama, Dada, Uh-huh, Bye, and Bubbles. My new favorite sounds you make are "Choo-choo" for train and "Moo" for cow. Why is it so stinkin' cute to hear a toddler make animal sounds???

I love you so much and am so thankful you are my son. I plan to soak up every day of you being a toddler.

love, Mama

Eva's First Day of Pre-K

Today was Eva's first day at Pre-K. We had been waiting for this day for weeks, especially since "big kids" started last week, so today she was full of excitement. She came bouncing in our room this morning shouting "School! School! School!"
Her first real back pack! She picked the super unique Frozen themed one :) It is sparkly and has a matching lunch box. This year she gets to go 9am - 2pm, two days a week. She thinks she is pretty hot stuff going to school two full days a week. Yesterday she was so happy getting her backpack all ready with her blanket for rest time, and she kept getting her lunch box out of the fridge and admiring all the food. She even practiced opening her food containers so she wouldn't need help from her teacher.
I am really looking forward to getting into a good routine. I know she is social and smart and will do great. I thought about her all day long, but only in happy ways. 
Jensen is the only one who may be a little sad that sister is gone all day. I am looking forward to special time with just my little man, but I know he will miss having his playmate around. 
Once we got inside we put her backpack in her cubby and she got straight down to business. She has lots of friends in her class from last year so she sat down by her friend and was good to go. I went to say goodbye and she just kinda gave me a side hug like, "See ya later Mom."

She said she had fun and that her favorite part of the day was PE. She also said that at rest time the teacher had to tell her and a few other girls to stop talking, "a few times." I can't wait to see all that she learns this year!

Friday, August 26, 2016

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

At the beginning of the summer, I'll admit I was a bit apprehensive of having 3 whole  months of unscheduled time. I was loving the rhythm of the school year and our planned activities. We are now about to head back into the rhythm (HOORAY!!!), so I wanted to reflect back on what we did this summer. We may not have accomplished all of my dreams like making a trip to the mountains or the beach, but maybe those things will happen in our next season of life. Turns out life with a toddler and a preschooler can get a bit crazy! Here are some things we did do....
1. We swam. Jensen went from splashing around to actually enjoying floating in the puddle jumper, and Eva became a professional mermaid. She can now swim all the way across our neighborhood pool all by herself. I am a bit over the whole apply sunscreen and load up all of the pool stuff process. But it was fun for a season.
 Jumping off with a friend! This girl even taught herself to do front and back flips off into the water.
 2. We played in the back yard. Usually either in the morning before it got too hot or after dinner time. Ryan and I were big fans of letting the kids play in the hose and run around while we did the dinner dishes. Peace and quiet for the win!
3. We played in the playroom. My kids are at a perfect age to play together, and for the most part do so quite well. 
Little buddy learned to color and Eva spent tons of time doing art. Our glitter infested table is proof of a very creative summer.
4. We celebrated birthdays for friends! Emily had a Frozen party....
Amanda and Nana had a celebration at Cheesecake Factory....
Dede had a pizza party at our house....
and Kim got to celebrate the big 5-0 with a surprise party!
4. Eva went to Bara's Summer Rec for 2 weeks worth of sunshine and games.
6. Then she did the Cave Quest VBS that was hosted by the church where she attends preschool. They celebrated the last day with a visit from the ice cream truck!
 7. Ryan went to Young Life camp in Colorado and conquered the mountain again.
 8. We celebrated 8 years of marriage. Who else could I get through this wacky life with?
9. We had lots of play dates with friends. Moms' group friends, neighborhood friends, church friends, preschool friends. These play dates were a sanity saver! So grateful for all of the friendships we continued over the summer. 
10. This girl learned to READ. I started going through the Hooked on Phonics series with her, along with some BOB books that coordinate with her lessons. It is AMAZING to see your child really begin to read. She is loving it and I am so proud of her.
11. Jensen slept in a big boy bed! For a week. Or rather, we took down the crib rail for a week after he climbed out. It didn't work well, and after nights of very little sleep, we put the rail back up and lowered the mattress to the floor. You win some, you lose some.
12. We took a few zoo trips, including one to see the Fort Worth Zoo's new baby gorilla, Gus. He is the cutest little gorilla ever. 
13. We partied it up with Young Life students. My littles do enjoy a good teenage gathering where they can soak up the attention.
Now we are ready to head back to school. Eva's back pack is all packed and ready! We have Meet the Teacher on Sunday afternoon, then she starts Pre-K on Tuesday. She is so excited because she gets to go to school 2 FULL DAYS a week. Hallelujah! Summer was good, but this Mama is ready.