Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Playing Catch-up

I can't even begin to describe the last few months around here, so I'll just let the pictures tell the story, as only they can do...
We started school a little early knowing that we would take a break in October - how do I have a first grader??
Speaking of said first grader, she decided to send me further into mommy disbelief by losing her first tooth (she has since lost the one next to it and is wiggling the one above - just too much).
We spent some time on R's parents' farm, and came home with quite a few peaches! The kids ate their full, I made peach butter, and the rest of these beauties are waiting in the freezer to become cobbler.
Game night is a big hit around here, especially when your Daddy plays Jenga with some serious theatrics...
We started reading together after we finish school work every day, and The Mouse and the Motorcycle was the first pick. I even managed to find the old-school movie on You Tube, much to the kids' delight.
Cool morning + water table + a book = happy kids, happy mommy
P is practicing being a big brother and has taken to Tink's Anna doll, which I must admit, I enjoy watching even more than he does playing.
Our talented niece is in her first year as an OU cheerleader this year! (Don't ask me how she's possibly old enough for this to be possible). R got to see her cheer for the first home game, and I (and my pregnant belly), watched from the couch.
Tink had a rough bout of ear infection/strep throat this month, and P was sweet to check on her (You OK?) and keep her company on the couch.
Our porch is shaded in the morning, which is perfect for an hour or two of sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and pretend laundry...
Game Day!
P was very excited to see all of the baby gear come out of storage, and still likes to rock in the infant seat (I'm not going to admit that I almost cried when I saw how big he looked when he sat in it).
Tink and J got to see their first hockey game! J informed me when they got home that the players got to "hurt each other on purpose"!
One of our last pictures before we became a family of SIX... I didn't take many pregnant pictures this time, and I treasure this one especially!
We take turns bringing the kids out with us on weekend errands, but they always volunteer to be the one who stays home with Daddy.
I purchased my first woven wrap (to wear the baby on my chest/back), and one of the suggested ways to break it in was creating a hammock on the table - the kids were more than happy to help!
On a random Friday morning, P woke up feeling less than great and I was considering taking him in to see his doctor. As I changed his diaper, I noticed that his toe looked like THIS. After a frantic call to R (who was boarding a plane), and a visit to the pedi, we confirmed staph infection (along with hand, foot, mouth as a bonus). Luckily, we caught it in time to treat with antibiotics. Completely crazy that J had staph in his toe at exactly the same age... Thankful for quick intervention and antibiotics!
We spent the last weekend of the month with my sweet cousin and her family. The kids became fast friends and had such a wonderful time playing together as we enjoyed one another's company, as always. It's so much fun when your family are also those friends who can pick up where you left off, not matter how long it's been.
And then, came our sweet baby girl! She was born exactly on her due date, which kept me in denial through a full day of contractions :) Her birth couldn't have been a better experience and I am so very grateful for the care that we both received. We could hardly wait to surprise the kids with the news of their SISTER, and I've never seen a bigger smile on Tink's face. Our time at the hospital was the calm amidst the storm, as we discovered a water leak in our kitchen and were away from home for five weeks while it was repaired! We spent a few weeks with my parents, and the kids were more than happy to be near their cousins for Halloween. Little Miss got to meet my Grandad a few months earlier than expected, and he laughed and laughed that God gave me ANOTHER little girl that looks "just like me" ;)
After a few fun weeks in Oklahoma, we decided it was time to come back to Texas. The kids were excited to stay in a hotel, and we raided Dollar Tree for activities to fill our afternoons. We also had several sweet visitors that brought fun presents! While in the hotel, P turned two. We celebrated with a party before leaving my parents' house, had our own little breakfast celebration as a family, and met R's parents for dinner at Babe's! After two weeks in the hotel, we couldn't have been more thankful to come home just in time for Thanksgiving. It was definitely an adventure that we'll talk about for years to come.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The kids were really excited about fireworks this year, and being at the lake with their cousins provided the perfect opportunity for sparklers, snakes, and smoke bombs.
We also joined the annual fishing derby near Ryan's parent's lake house and J learned to cast by himself!
After the derby, there was a turtle race, and Tink won $20! Her turtle wasn't the fastest, but it walked under a sign of an event sponsor ;)
The "big boy" cousins came home from the lake with us and we had fun swimming, going to the movies, and at Legoland. I'm always impressed by their kindness and patience with my little ones - such good boys!
We spent the following weekend with my family, which HAD to include an evening at Kiddie Park.
R spent some time working during our time away, and one morning, returned to his laptop to find that P had taken over, ear buds and all!
We never miss the opportunity for free lunch at Chick-fil-A on Cow Appreciation Day! We had fun making cow masks and J spent most of the day telling people to "eat more chicken!" P was in love with the cow and spent most of our time in the restaurant waving and calling out to it :)
P's new favorite thing is singing and playing the piano - our future musician???
We spent the last weekend of the month on Ryan's parents' farm, and the kids had a blast picking tomatoes, peaches, and even a watermelon! They also enjoy lots of rides on PaPa's golf cart. I came home with plenty of tomatoes to can and peaches for some pretty great peach butter.
This summer has been strangely cool (no complaints here!), so we haven't spent as much time in the pool as expected. Nonetheless, the kids will get in any time we offer, and the older two are becoming quite the swimmers.
Climbing the rope ladder at Pie Five
P spotted one of these cars and the park and was instantly in love. I searched for weeks to find a used one, and he was not disappointed! The glorious weather makes for some great walks on our neighborhood trail, and this car is just the thing.
We decided to move forward with school over the summer so that we can take a break in the fall, and J is very excited about being part! I found the Letter People at a consignment sale (that Ryan and I remember from kindergarten), and he loves the inflatable people and old-school videos. Tink is very excited about first grade, and is becoming quite the little reader.
Enjoying the sunset with their feet in the pool....
Tink gets dressed on her own most days, and we were surprised to find that we matched one Sunday morning :)
We were excited to spend the morning at Homestead Farms' farm camp, and it was better than expected! The kids got to feed and milk goats, pet a two-week-old kid, plant seeds, pick tomatoes, and gather eggs! P watched from the carrier and enjoyed his time almost as much as the big kids.
As the summer goes on, afternoon naps have become pretty common around here. Every once in awhile, someone sneaks in to cuddle, and I can't say I mind too much...
The last weekend in June, we enjoyed a fantastic fireworks show from our own driveway! Our neighbors host a charity event every year with a pretty spectacular display, and we were excited to have family in town to enjoy it with us.

Monday, June 2, 2014

May was such a fun month!
1. Ryan and I started the month with a short trip to West Palm Beach - I haven't been able to join him on business trip in quite awhile, and it was such a treat! We also took a few days to visit friends in Orlando, and take a peek at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
2. This kid is really into dressing up right now. Usually it's hats and shoes, but this time, Mr. Potato Head glasses were just the thing.
3. We got to take Ryan's parents with us to Sea World, and had a wonderful time - perfect weather, the kids had a blast with the rides and shows, and we enjoyed a night on the Riverwalk.
4. Apparently, when you're 18 months old, you can handle your own luggage, thank you very much...
5. J saw these sunglasses and I couldn't resist. He kept looking at us funny when we called him "Maverick" :)
6. Tink and J were invited to our church carnival by sweet friends, and had SUCH a fun time! We are so blessed to be loved by friends, especially without family nearby.
7. Sometimes, being the smallest just isn't fair... (We just moved this loft bed into J's room. After his first night, he told us that sleeping in it was "brilliant"). Yes, the ladder is missing. There's now a climbing rope in its place, much to the dismay of the aforementioned smallest one.
8. The fourth "peanut's" first picture!
9. You know "times have changed" when your six year old sees something out the window and quickly grabs your phone to take a picture of it.

Just a few other May happenings:
Mother's Day was such a treat! Ryan and the kids made my FAVORITE breakfast in bed (lemon ricotta pancakes), showered me with sweet gifts, and I took a nap after church - couldn't have asked for a better day!
Before our Sea World trip, I got to fly to New Braunfels for a few days away with one of my very closest friends. It was such a wonderful time that we decided we need to do it more often!
The kids survived swim lessons during the coldest week of May - our swim instructor is fantastic and they were troopers, but I don't know that you could have convinced me to get in with them...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Long time, no see...

I'm afraid I must admit, adding a third kid to our family officially knocked blogging off of my "to do" list... What can I say? I've had (what everyone who sees me in public points out) "my hands full" :) Might I add, though, that my heart is even more full? When people give me that smile of pity, I want to say, "No, wait! I love this, we have so much fun!" My hands are absolutely full, and I have days of feeling overwhelmed, just as anyone with young kids does, but we are abundantly blessed, and I wouldn't trade our life for anything in the world.
I do realize that there just isn't enough time for an extended blog post every month, so instead of giving it up entirely, I hope to post a collage of pictures taken from the month with a little bit of what's been going on, mostly for my own memory's sake, but also to share a fun glimpse into our crazy wonderful life :) So without further ado, here is a collage from the first four months of this year...
January 2014
1. We got some really fun games for Christmas, and our kids regularly ask to play games after dinner. Disney Headbands is a new favorite (for the record, J is TERRIBLE at this game, he gets too excited and yells out your character before you can guess!)
2. In December, we celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary, and planned a January getaway to Cancun, Mexico! We stayed at a beautiful resort and spent lots of time relaxing on the beach.
3.  When the tent just isn't cutting it, there's always the crib for the perfect ball pit!
4. Reading has become even more fun now that Tink can choose a book off the shelf and read it to her brothers.
5. What hasn't become more fun is P's ability to open doors - let's just say he loves flushing toilets...
6. J celebrated his fourth birthday with a fun crocodile-themed party at the Hills Church Playscape, and enjoyed a day of birthday fun at home, complete with birthday pancakes
7. and, of course, a trip to Rainforest Café!
8. J also got to try out soccer, and loved it!
9. Homeschool is much more fun when you can bring your babies along :)

Feburary 2014
1. J randomly decided to turn all of his Lego Cars into "monster trucks" using an extra block - where do boys get this stuff?
2. P's first pair of shoes (because his brother's were way too small, mind you).
3. Aunt Nigel brings the best presents!
4. Nana and Papa got to spend Valentine's Day at our house, and Papa joined in on some of the games that I had planned for the kids.
5. Peek-a-boo! This empty part of our built-in in P's favorite spot :)
6. Pinkalicious at Casa Manana!
7. Daddy Daughter dance
8. When you have a big sister, you always have access to the coolest accessories....
9. A rainy afternoon snuggling with Pete the Cat

March 2014
 1. Watching the big kids play in the snow
2. March brought an unexpected visit home, which meant cousin time!
3. Spring Break at the zoo (just in case you missed the memo, NOT a great idea).
4. How I Became A Pirate!
5. Laundry is much more fun with a cute helper. And by "helper", I mean sitting on top of the laundry and putting it on the floor so that you get extra exercise reaching to pick it up :)
6. Happy sixth birthday! Tink celebrated with a Frozen party (of course).
7. Remember what I said about sisters having the coolest accessories?
8. A birthday train ride.
9. We couldn't resist adding the AG doll of the year to Tink's collection - they practically share a name! Going to the store to buy the doll made it extra special (thank you Grandparents!)

April 2014
1. Announcing a new Linders - coming in October!
2. He's really good at sharing, especially if you have a Sonic drink.
3. This, my friends, is what ONE night in a hotel with three kids looks like...
4. Just a typical spring evening reading in the tub while Daddy watches the radar.
5. First time to put their feet in the pool for the season (still WAY too cold for this girl!)
6. A boy, a stick, and some dirt. What more do you need?
7. An end-of-the-season soccer medal
8. Showing off her gymnastics skills
9. A great-grandchild tradition - getting a sucker from my Grandad's pocket