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Friday, June 27, 2014

*Soccer Stars*

We finished up our little 8 week soccer season nearly 2 months ago. In fact, the boys will start basketball tomorrow. It should be interesting. For whatever reason I never got around to posting some great photos that my dad had taken of their soccer games. Both Holden and Pax had a great season. It was so much fun to watch and cheer from the sidelines.
Pax had watched Holden play soccer for 2 seasons. So going in to the sport he already had a pretty good idea of how things were played. He had a much better first season than Holden's first season. He was a full year older than when Holden began. But we also think that watching so many games helped prepare him a little.
Pax had great control of the ball and shocked us with his aggressiveness on the field. In life, he's just not a "get after it and go fast" type of guy. Lo and behold, in a soccer game, that is exactly who he is!
He was rarely ever far from the ball. He always went after it.
 water break but still watching the game.
 I love seeing these action shots.
 Pax was accused by the opposing coach of pushing this little girl down and hurting her. Pax is a pretty gentle boy. And look at her throwing elbows. I think she can hold her own. :) A parent from our team turned that volunteer coach in...suggesting he not volunteer again. Ha. He was a bit ridiculous. It is NOT supposed to be all that competitive. They are 3 and 4, people! They normally don't even care who won the game. They just want to know what the snack is afterwards!
 And he scores! After scoring (which he did often in this first season) he always looked at us with a big smile and a thumbs up. He was so proud of himself.
And here are a few pictures from one of Holden's game. Holden has a long legged stride and speed to help him in soccer. He loves to race other kids and play chase because he is typically the fastest. And he is pretty competitive. This was his third season of soccer. By now he knows the sport pretty well, and he loves it. 
 Taking it to the goal.
And he scores.
 His humble victory run down the field. Several times during this season, Jeremy said out loud, we really need to work on humility. You can tell after each goal, when everyone is cheering his name, he's half shy about it but mostly loving all the glory. It made us laugh every time.
I am not a competitive person. I don't play sports. I don't enjoy watching many sports. I was cheerleader for 8 years. I rarely watched the football game...didn't know if we should be doing an offensive or defensive cheer most of the time. That's right...don't nominate me to be head cheerleader. I would have made us look a fool! But watching my own little boys participate in sports and activities that they that's a different story. Being their personal cheerleader brings more joy than those 8 years ever knew. Soccer was fun. And now we are all looking forward to basketball!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Curb Appeal

When we bought our house in December of 2009, the front landscaping looked something like this.

I hated it. The overgrown bushes, the plastic faux rock edging pieces and the lack of anything pretty to look at. But it was a crazy season in our lives and so we complained about the eye sore that it was, but we never worked on it. We just trimmed down those ugly bushes when we thought they were getting too out of control. But last spring as we settled into our adoption wait on baby #3, we decided to landscape and do a little extra work to the font of our house. Jeremy had watched the professionals create for us a new backyard patio. So with that knowledge and a little googling, he thought he could do something similar, yet smaller in the front of the house. I was spending alot of time in the driveway watching the boys play, so I asked for a little sitting area that would be shaded most of the time. And wallah. He never ceases to amaze me.
And with grand plans to create more to this area, we got the call for Abe and never finished this little project until a few weeks ago. A little over 1 year later! Jeremy got to work, using his friend Google again to figure some things out along with his incredible talent and eye for detail. And I think he's finally created for us a little curb appeal. Here are a few pictures from some of the process.

 And the completion. He amazes me. I seriously can not believe he did it all by himself. It took a lot of time. We are more than glad it is completed!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Father's Day 2014

Last night we celebrated my dad at our house with a Mexican fiesta. I didn't snap a picture. Today we celebrated Jeremy. Our day went like this: church, lunch at home, naps for the boys while Jeremy and I watched a couple of Scandal episodes (we are HOOKED!), dinner out, back home for his gifts, icecream and trampoline time with daddy. Jeremy is an incredible daddy to these three boys. And the best partner I could have hoped for in raising our kids.  
 The boys didn't know about the gifts. They can't be fully trusted with secrets.
Abe thought the camera was out for him, so he was cracking me up in the background. The boys were oblivious to him showing off because they were so into the gifts.
Abe loving on daddy. He really is so affectionate.
Something practical. Somehow this guy survived a beach vacation without any flip flops or sandals. How? I'm not even sure! And a book on CD by a pastor he really enjoys. Jeremy doesn't really make time to read books, so now he can just listen. :)
My interviews with the big boys.
It was a great day of celebrating a very special daddy.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

School is Out!

We finished up our first official year of homeschooling on Thursday! I had really hoped to finish our curriculum before our vacation, but that didn't happen. So we officially have a 1st grader and Kindergartner in our house. Pax will be a very young Kindergartner. But mentally, he is more ready than Holden was at this time last year. He has chosen to sit at the table with us every single morning and participate in school. There were a handful of mornings that I didn't think he was feeling it. I gave him the option to go sit in the living room and look at library books. This is actually an activity that he really loves. But he always chose school. Always. And I believe because of that, he has pretty effortlessly learned to read. It wasn't something I was pushing yet. Jeremy hasn't even started the reading lesson book with him that he has taken Holden through. But even so, the boy is reading. So we have decided that there is no reason to delay it another year because of his age.

I will say that I am very pleased with how this year has gone. It has not always been easy. At all. Many days had their own sort of challenges. Whether it be my lack of motivation, one of the boys lack of motivation, relational conflict, lack of energy...I'm just admitting that we faced challenges, but it always felt worth it. Each day we began school time with prayer and ended our time with prayer. And if I ever skipped this step, someone reminded me. It was sometimes those little pieces in our day that always seemed to confirm to me that this is where we wanted to be with our family right now. We've never committed to homeschooling for the next 20 years. We are taking it 1 year at a time. And so, for now, I am looking forward to starting it all again in August. We will have an almost 2 year old that will have probably given up that morning that I have depended on for school time. So it will be a new set of challenges, different dynamics and a new schedule to figure out. But that's what we will do. We will figure out how to make it work for us.

As for now, we are all happy to be taking a little break. This summer we will be filling our weeks with trips to the water park, swimming with friends, morning bike rides before the heat hits for the day, playdates and trips to the library. I know we'll have some mini school sessions and little projects and crafts thrown in there. Originally, I thought we would keep a little bit of our school routine. The routine has been good for my boys. But the more I've thought about it, I want us to really enjoy the summer break and do those things that I haven't made as much time for during the school year. You know we are huge readers. Well, during this first year of school we did less reading time and less trips to the library than in years past. I was glued to the curriculum and I didn't make as much time for social outings. So this summer, I want to take advantage of our freedom to do all of those things.

Here are some pictures from our school days...
homemade applesauce
leaf collecting and sorting
a fun pirate pumpkin
a shape dinosaur drawing
the beginnings of our ant farm
creative pencil storage
 A little yoga video with mommy. ;)
 Seeing daddy at work for engineering week at the Children's Museum.
 nightly reading lessons
collecting and sorting rocks
 We watched the process of caterpillars transform to butterflies. And then they were able to set them free.
 Our very last day of school. They graduated! :)
And they wanted to have a water fight. Why not!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Yesterday Abe turned 18months! We don't recognize half birthdays at our house, but I always make a mental note in my brain when the date rolls around. What can I tell you about Abe at 18 months...where to begin? He's sweet. I'm so in love with this little boy. My baby boy. I still think of him as a baby. I'm a very affectionate person with my family. It's just part of who I am, and I think he loves it. He gets at least 200 kisses a day from me and never turns them away. He has mastered the kiss, and now gives us closed lip kisses rather than the open mouthed baby kisses. The boy IS NOT verbally communicating and it just baffles us. I've felt pretty unconcerned about it. He understands a whole lot of what we say. But we definitely have some communication barriers that lead to frustration on his side. Mainly his side, sometimes ours. He tends to sign "more" when he wants just about anything. So the "more" sign just lets us know he's not perfectly content at a certain moment. He can use it the correct he wants more grapes to eat. But it tends to be his fall signing more at the back door to let us know he wants to go outside to play. Ha. So I haven't been very intentional with baby sign language this time. Surprise surprise! Shouldn't that be expected with #3!? But you'd think it would make him practice some verbal skills. But it hasn't...unless screaming falls into the category of verbal skills.
The boy loves to be outside. He loves to swing. He loves to be on the new trampoline. He loves to be pulled in his wagon or pushed in his stroller. He loves to throw balls and has a great arm for it. He loves dogs. Just loves them and gets giddy excited when he sees a new one! He LOVES to play in the water. He had his first waterpark day yesterday and hung in like a champ until after 2pm with no nap. Had he not been having fun face planting in the water, he would not have been a happy camper. But he was so content. Someone commented on what a chilled out boy he was. Ha. He can be a tricky one. But it made for such a pleasant day. And I'm hopeful that our days at the waterpark always go so well. Abe loves his big brothers. Loves them so much. What's even more special is to see how much they adore him. Goodness, it steals my heart at least once a day when I see them play and care for another. I never imagined these big brothers would enjoy a new baby as much as they have. It's been such a blessing for me to see.
Abe is a great eater, though he is still a little finicky. His favorites are broccoli, corn, peas, green beans, any beans, rice, oatmeal, quinoa, grapes, berries, kiwi, pear, pineapple, ham, chicken, yogurt, cheese, cheerios, applesauce and bananas. He still doesn't love any type of bread and most starches other than the ones listed above. It makes for a healthy diet, so I'm not complaining, but it's a little harder to prepare convenience foods for him. Abe is an average size but sometimes mistaken for a 2 year old. Maybe it's the 3 inches of hair on top that makes him look taller. He is 32.5inches (46%) and 26lbs and 11oz (79%). His head circumference is 48cm (66%). He is often mistaken for a little girl. Weekly this happens. It doesn't hurt my feelings, though people are very apologetic. I never correct people. I just let them think he's a girl. But sometimes they just realize it because he's dressed boyish. Or like today, sassy Pax SNAPPED at someone "He's a boy!" (Oh Pax...he'll do anything for a laugh. And he sometimes sounds very rude in his attempt for a comedic moment. We are working on it.) We haven't cut Abe's hair, as much as Papa J has rooted for us to do so. I just know he'll look so different. He'll look like a completely different child. I love his curls. And this momma just isn't ready. I thought I would be by 18 months. But I'm not!! He is a beautiful boy. With beautiful long eyelashes and big curly hair. I know why people sometimes call him "princess" by mistake. :)
Some fun things at this point in his little life. We say "Abe, show me your silly face." And he scrunches up his nose and squints his eyes with the biggest smile on his face. I think he started this all his own. And it's a cute and fun game we play. He sings Twinkle Twinkle Little Star but only says "ba ba ba ba" the tune of the song. It's hilarious to hear the tune, but only that one syllable coming from his mouth. He loves to laugh and be tickled. He loves to hug when you get down on his level. It never fails, every time I am tying someone's shoe, he comes from behind me and hugs me while laying his head on my back. He's just so sweet, sometimes I can't believe I'm the lucky one to be his mommy. He's also a busy body and into everything. He can destroy a room in 10 seconds flat. And it's a favorite pastime of his.
Abe is a precious addition to our family. Each day I am so thankful that God gave us this gift! A few more recent pictures of our baby boy...