Monday, July 27, 2015

How We Survive "Camp Week"

Once a year my husband takes off for 9 long days a week for Young Life camp. Now I am only speaking a a mom and wife of a husband who very rarely is gone out of town. I have absolutely no idea what it is like for all the super mama's out there who's husbands are gone frequently or even every week. I can't imagine. But for me and Eva, this has always been a hard week. Some of the more dramatic three year old lines this week were, "I don't think I can make it. Can you make it?" {spoken only minutes after Ryan had left} followed a few days later by, "Remember when I used to have a Daddy?" Oh, the sadness....
I've done this a few ways over the past 4 years. When Eva was a baby I kept her with me at home the whole week. The past 2 years we did more grandparent house hopping around. TWICE I have had to pack up my home and get us ready for the next big move during this time {let me say, that is no picnic}. I felt like this year though was our best "camp week" yet. I didn't take photos of all everything for the week, but we did do some good things. Here is how we survived:

1. Grandparents. God bless these wonderful people. This year Eva spent one night at my parent's and one night at Ryan's parents. For us, this was perfect. It left her get out to be spoiled. It gave me some snuggle one-on-one time with little man.
2. Plan some fun outings. We saw Inside Out at the movie theatre. We went to a live animal show at the Southlake Library. We went to the dentist. {Does that count as fun? Eva told me it was her favorite part of the week...} We went to the pool.
3. Plan some days at home. For my child, this is key. I have realized that Eva does SO.MUCH.BETTER. when she has some normal just hang out and do puzzles, paint pictures, and play with Barbie doll time. Overall we all sleep better. Our moods are all better. There is consistency, which is so important while Ryan is gone.
4. Meal plan. Figure out what will be the least stressful. I planned a few nights to eat out at places we like {Chick-fil-a} and I cooked only simple foods that I knew wouldn't create a dinner time battle or require much prep or clean up {tacos, macaroni}. We ate very little vegetables. We will survive.
5. Make a calendar or schedule. Eva LOVED this. I wrote out a piece of paper for each day and clipped them on a piece of yarn. We could read about all the things to look forward to and at the end of each day we took down that day's paper. It helped her be able to track time until her daddy was home.
6. Schedule friend time. Friend time for you. Friend time for your child. We saw so many wonderful friends this week! I appreciate everybody that made plans with us, I wish I had taken pictures with everybody to make a huge awesome collage, but I did not....also a big thank you to all my friends who sent check up texts to see how we were doing throughout the week! {Side Note: We live in the best neighborhood. We have lots of friends right here and that makes hanging out easier. We have tried to have this where we lived before and it just never happened. I think we know more than 15 families in our neighborhood, which is so awesome!}

7. Be thankful for technology! Face time. Texting. Phones with cameras that make it so easy to send photos and videos back and forth. This helps so much!
8. Pick up a few cheap movies or hit up Redbox so that you can be entertained with something other than watching Frozen for the millionth time.
9. Take about feelings. We did this a lot. I've realized that it helps both me and Eva to be able to communicate "I feel ____" Sometimes just verbalizing that she missed Ryan and felt sad helped curb some behavior issues. Also since we had seen Inside Out we could talk about the different emotions and help each other out. I wish there was a "Stress" character in that movie :)

10. Occasionally bride with ice cream. Or snow cones. Once in a while a little "encouragement" to make it a great day is okay and helps keep the calm for everybody.
And finally, I could not have made it through without tons and tons of prayer! I prayed on the very first day that the Lord would wake me up early enough each day to spend some time reading my Bible and in prayer before my little children woke up and He was so faithful to do this! Sometimes it can be so much easier to stay under the covers in the morning but every single day I had the alertness and the energy to wake up a bit earlier so I could start my day with Jesus. This made such a wonderful difference and helped me set the tone and my heart for the rest of the day. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

7th Anniversary

This past weekend Ryan and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary! Our real anniversary is this Sunday but Ryan will be away at Young Life camp. How has it already been 7 years? It seems so fast and yet we've lived a ton of life in those years! 
It was my first time leaving little man over night. I think I did pretty well....I had a few tears when we were driving away but was okay the rest of the weekend. I'm so grateful that we have both of our parents living close to help with our kids. It makes it easier to leave your little blessings behind when you know they will be loved.
We checked into our fabulous suite at the Gaylord Texan.  We stayed here for our 1st anniversary, too, so it was fun to go back.
The view from our suit. If you've been you might remember they have a replica of the Alamo and our room was on the 8th floor directly above the Alamo.
After settling in we decide to relax and enjoy the pool. We went to their new(ish) water park area but then spent more time relaxing in the regular pool and hot tub. I hadn't been in a hot tub since in like 4 years! That's too long. 
We dined at the steak restaurant that was inside the Gaylord. It was so fancy and delicious. 
For dessert we headed over the the Glass Cactus. The patio over looks Lake Grapevine so we also enjoyed seeing some Friday night fireworks. Our table was perfect for watching the sun set.
We ended the night by going inside and dancing around with the band. They were an 80's cover band and so funny! I think we only lasted maybe 5 or 6 songs before calling it a night but for us it was perfect. Even without my children I'm just not a night owl. 
We enjoyed a relaxing morning the next day before heading to see Jurassic World, which was awesome!

Thankful for my husband who is always there by my side. It was so wonderful to leave the children and get time to ourselves. Here is to lucky year number 7! {Or was that actually this past year?} Hoping for 70 more years of life with this handsome guy!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

4th of July

Way back with the rest of America, we celebrated our country's birthday on the 4th of July. Just now getting around to blogging, so here you go! We started our star spangled weekend on Friday....
 I saw that a friend had done this with her child and totally stole the idea. I used a foot for Jensen's and it is proudly displayed in his bedroom. Then there is Eva's wonderful handprint flag...let me share the backstory :) I showed her a photo of what it should look like - both the actual flag and what we were going for. I explained to her the steps to make it look like that. She insisted on doing it all by herself. She ended up with a great "collaboration" of red and blue all over the board. She asked me how it looked so I set aside my need to control her supposed-to-be-a-keepsake craft and said, "I can tell you liked using the patriotic red and blue paint to celebrate the 4th of July!" Y'all. It took everything in me to not want to correct her, to just let it be her thing. Then all on her own she said, "Hmm...I don't think it turned out how I was thinking. Can I try again?" And then Miss All.By.Herself. figured out how to do it. It was a win-win for both mama and her little artist.
Then while Jensen napped and Ryan mowed we did patriotic mani-pedis. One of the perks of having a little diva.
Later we hit up the pool. Jensen used his baby float for the first time. I guess Eva was about 8 months when she started using it so he is still kind of small and needs us to help hold him to use it. He isn't the biggest fan but will tolerate it for a little bit.
What is July 4th without a flag cake? I have been dreaming of flag cakes for years and never got around to actually making one. Mine is the version you create when you are baking with an enthusiastic three year old sous chef. She loved coloring the inside red and blue and making the flag out of sprinkles. And it tasted great!
Friday night we had our friends Brooke and Matt over and grilled out before sharing our delicious cake. 
Then it was off to see some fireworks. Eva got to do her first sparkler this year....also Eva got burned by her first sparkler this year.
I figured Jensen would just crash before the fireworks started, because Jensen can sleep anywhere through anything, but he was actually awake and watching everything.
On to the big day! Eva has worn the same dress every year for the 4th. I posted this on my instagram but it's too wonderful not to add in here as well. How do the years pass by so quickly? I miss that baby girl.
Saturday morning we rode in the Trophy Club parade. Our church bought an old bus the week before and the youth group decorated it for the parade. Eva was very excited to get to ride on a bus.
We also saw our cheerleader friends at the parade! Is it football season yet?!
Towards the end Eva decided she wanted to help Ryan and the crew passing out cold waters to everybody along the route.
The Trophy Club splash pad and pool always had free admission on July 4th so we went and played there for a few hours. Of course my babies were in their coordinating patriotic swimwear, but sadly this is the best photo I could get.
This one makes up for it! That evening we went to the Trophy Club celebration. They had bounce houses, fireworks, and lots more so we enjoyed an evening outdoors. {This photo is no optical four month old really is that size compared to my almost four year old.}
My handsome men. Jensen mostly looks like me but here he looks a bit like his Daddy.
My beautiful firecracker-of-a-girl daughter. It was truly one of the best 4th of July's I can remember. Thankful for all the freedoms we are blessed to have and for the brave soldiers who defend them!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Five Months Old

Little man, you are 5 months old now! I love being your mama so much. I love having you as my son more than I knew was possible. You are truly the best, calmest baby. People always comment on your easy going personality and ask it that's how you really are. Yes, it is!  You are flexible and content. Wiling to play by yourself for a while but always greeting us with a giant smile when we come back to check on you and hold you. Your smile brings my heart so much pure joy.
You are my squishy cuddle bug. I wish I got more downtime to just hold you but you don't seem to mind. I know that one day your chubby cheeks will fade and your yummy legs will be used to run off and play. I love you being my baby and want you to stay little as long as possible.
 Lately you have taken such an interest in Eva. Sometimes she may be a bit in your face but I can tell you already love her and you are very patient with her antics. You two will always have each other so I hope you grow up close.
You have your Daddy's beautiful eyes, my hair, my ears, my dimples (although they are way cuter on you). When our home gets loud and crazy you and I enjoy retreating to your room to nurse. You especially enjoy early morning snuggles and this afternoon we took a cozy nap together.
You give great big open mouth sloppy wet kisses to us - so fitting for a baby who gets hundreds of kisses each day. The only time you fuss is when you're ready to eat. You nurse 6-7 times a day but we've started you on a few ounces of solid foods each day. Your favorite food is.....FOOD! Haha, it doesn't matter to you what is is as long as you can eat! You are one happy baby in your high chair!

I love you deeply, I adore how God created you, and I will always be YOUR mama.