Summer 2017 Week 4

This week we had another VBS, this time it was at our church and I was a crew leader so I could spend the week with Ellery. It was rather exhausting, but I’m glad I got to experience Bible school with her this one time. I doubt my schedule will allow for it again, so I tried to soak it up this year. The theme was Maker Fun Factory and Ellery loved it! Her little friend Kaydence was in our group and they had a great time together.

For Superhero day I told Ellery we didn’t have anything that would work, she proved me wrong and figured out an outfit. I just adore her creativity! Tuesday nights are our family night, it also happens to be Hat Creek Burgers half price night. We grabbed burgers, went to pajama story time and then the girls danced until we were all in stitches, they have some hilarious dance moves.

Wednesday night was the family night at VBS, they served dinner and Kona Ice, had a bounce house and water inflatables, we had a lovely evening and it was a great way to beat the heat! Ellery memorized Ephesians 2:10 without me knowing it and went up to the stage to recite it. I was super proud of this little lady. She is such a Bible lover and I am inspired by her in this way.

On Thursday after VBS we went to see Critterman at the Library. When he pulled out the “really impressively large cockroach” my only thought was, hmmm I think I’ve had one that big in my house before. One of the downsides of living in Texas, the bugs are HUGE. Ellery really enjoyed seeing the creepy crawly things. Afterwards we headed over to Mimi’s house, yes my mom moved here THIS WEEK (my Dad will follow very soon). It’s been so nice to just pop over and say hi. I finally told my mom today that if she gets tired of her children constantly calling to stop by she can just tell us she’s busy.

Over the weekend I got to have 24 hours off to hang out with my mom so I don’t have pictures, but I know the girls had a great time with Andrew at the Thinkery. Whenever we are there I tell them there are certain things dad would be much better at, so they tried to hit those stations (like the microscopes). I enjoyed the weekend going to dinner, getting pedicures, shopping, and doing a little unpacking with my mom. I am overjoyed that my parents live 5 minutes from me!!!!

Overall week 4 was great. I missed Vaughn fiercely this week while she was in childcare every morning of VBS. I’m in for a rude awakening when my job begins (still waiting on approvals), but I know we will all adjust. She did great, I just am so used to being with her constantly that I felt sad to be apart so much. Counting my blessings this week: sweet friends, close family, a great church, a fabulous library, a postponed job start date that has allowed me so much more time than I ever expected, and still loving my little town!

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Summer 2017 Week 3

Week 3 of summer was off to a slow start. Ellery was at VBS Monday-Thursday so Vaughn and I just played catch up and ran errands, without too much excitement. Ellery did Lake Hills VBS and the theme was Mystery Machine. She LOVED it and we will definitely plan on going back every year! One afternoon Ellery and I spent the afternoon coloring and secretly eating hot fudge Sundaes while Vaughn napped.

Thursday-Sunday we hit the water hard! When it’s nearly 100 degrees everyday the only way we can play outside is if we are in the water. One day we joined our friends at their neighborhood pool and my kids were in love with all of the kid stuff. The other days we hit a local pool and had it almost to ourselves which was delightful!

The girls were ALL about Father’s Day this year and we tried to make it extra special. We were lucky enough to have some boat time in the afternoon, and then pizza, a movie, chocolate cake and ice cream before bed. The girls picked out gifts for Andrew and made extra special cards, they also decorated the box (and were super proud of that).

I felt pretty scattered this week overall. My mom was in town, I was studying for an exam, then had to take the exam and had worship practice the same day. I had to work a couple different childcare situations out in order to get all my stuff done and I felt like I constantly had to tell Ellery and Vaughn no, which was so sad to me after our first two weeks of summer where I felt able to say yes a lot. I have been so fortunate that my job has been taking longer to get started than I expected which has afforded me a lot of time with the girls I didn’t expect to have.

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Summer 2017 Week 2

Summer week 2 was unexpectedly delightful. I was supposed to spend the majority of the week in Dallas for a work training, but that has been postponed. So this week I got to soak up time with both my girls because we had no camps and I had very few commitments.

Monday was one of my favorite days we’ve had in a long time. Ellery is VERY into making cards right now and wrote 30 or more this week, she also made “treasure maps” and hid the cards around the house for us to find. Our library has Kindergarten camp every Monday afternoon and Ellery says that was the highlight of her week. We are going to attempt to go to as many of those as we can, but wrangling Vaughn for an hour and a half in the library as we approach nap time is not exactly my favorite thing (perhaps I’ll pawn Vaughn off and work at the library during camp next time).

On Tuesday our movie theater has free kid’s movies so we hit that up in the morning. We saw Kung Fu Panda 3, which I wouldn’t recommend, but it’s always fun taking the girls to the movies. I was feeling extra generous so we drove through Starbucks and got the girls pirate cake pops. On Wednesday we went to our local burger place (with a sandbox, I know I know, it’s true love I tell you) and bumped into our cousins and that was a fun surprise. Thursday I got a special outing with my big girl Ellery, we went to the library and saw a children’s musician and then came home and baked some cookies.

Andrew took the day off on Friday so the girls got a special treat and Dad came to our afternoon library outing, Circus Chickendog. It was a little strange and not the most well done things I’ve ever seen, but the girls were entertained. We also got to go swimming this weekend which was so nice, the weather has been dry and HOT, so the pool made for a lovely Saturday afternoon.

Tomorrow we are off to the races with a super busy week ahead, but so far we are loving summer break!!

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Summer 2017 Week 1

I am trying to slowly dip my toe back into blogging (I miss it, but my life called me away from it for a season and I’m now a little rusty). I am going to try to do summer week recaps all summer because you know, I’ll blink and it’ll be over.

Summer week one involved Vaughn at her first summer camp! I was a little “meh” about sending her to camp because it was EXPENSIVE for the amount of time she was there, but she came home potty trained so I decided in the end it was worth it. It also purchased her a spot in preschool this fall, so overall I’m glad she went. She was pretty happy to go each day so I would assume she had a good time (she is still not much of a talker).

The beauty of her being in camp was that Ellery and I actually had some one on one time. I had made plans for her to have a playdate while Vaughn was at school so I could study, but in the end cancelled her plans so I could see her more. We went to Whole foods, ran errands, made a list of things she would like for her birthday and went to rolly pollies where I actually got to focus on playing with her instead of watching Vaughn the entire time.

Ellery has asked me for almost two years to go to McDonalds and I finally obliged and took them to get “food” there. She really just wanted to play on the playscape that is visible from the road we often travel. Bonus… the Happy Meals were $1.99 that day so at least I didn’t overpay for the mystery meat ;).

Other highlights of the week: press on nails from Mimi, bubbles, sister snuggles, slumber party with my oldest, news that the bestie and her little are coming in July, and playing at the Thinkery with some friends. We also swam twice at Uncle Bryan’s pool (okay the girls swam, it was too cold for mama).

Overall week one was pretty great. I functioned all week under the post-show funk that was inevitable after going back to high school and having one of the best weekends of my life (I hope to blog about that event soon because I know a lot of people have been curious about what this show was about), but despite my less than perky mood we enjoyed our first week of summer vacation!

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To my 4.5+ Year Old

To my lovely, delightful, little girl, Ellery Wynn,

Oh sweet girl.  It happened.  I have been anxiously awaiting the day for IT to happen, and it finally did, and instead of pure elation, which I was sure I would feel, I actually felt devastated.  You’ve decided you want to cut our bedtime routine down to just one book and a prayer.  You see girlie, bedtime routine had become a little ridiculous, here is what it did look like: potty, teeth brush, hair brush, pajamas, 2 short books or 1 long, a song, prayer, another song, talk about one thing, and then either mama snuggles or daddy jokes.  Oh, but then it didn’t even stop there.  Then we had to come check on you every 10 minutes for 30 minutes, then turn the light out and lay with you for another minute.  Add in a bath and a tantrum and some nights bedtime lasted well over an hour and it was exhausting.

Then one day you said, “I actually just want a book and a quick snuggle.”  We compromised and added prayer time in there.  You signal that the snuggle time is over when you either A. give me a kiss or B. say you love me, and you tell me what the cue is going to be when the snuggle begins.  If I’m lucky you let it last a whole 30 SECONDS.  You also go into your room by yourself and get your pjs on and take care of all your bathroom business alone too, tonight it all happened with the door closed.

This IS actually great.  You are growing up, gaining independence and it’s important.  I’m crazy proud of you, to be honest.  I love the girl you are becoming and I know that this is part of life, but goodness it’s a little heart wrenching for this mama to think about all the times I shortened the songs or begged you to pick a shorter book, or tried to hurry you through it because all it took was 4.5 years and the long bedtimes are done.  Just like that, the blink of an eye, and we are down to one book and a prayer.  Now, I’ve gotten a little sneaky, so when I come in and turn off your light to give you a snuggle I have started asking you a question to get the conversations back.  Tonight I asked you of all the books you’ve ever read what is your favorite?  I was surprised by the answer, “Sometimes I’m Bombaloo,” but I can see how you can greatly relate to this one so it really shouldn’t have been shocking.  I’m crossing my fingers you let me have these little chats every night when I say the final goodnight, but knowing everything is fleeting I’ll just cherish them while I get them.

It’s fun to watch you grow up, it’s so hard to let you go, I am holding tight to my last few months having you home with Vaughn and me 2 days a week.  I feel so grateful that I have had the absolute privilege of staying home with you since birth, but goodness it makes it hard to think about being away from you five days a week come fall.  You are ready, you are so ready for kindergarten, but this mama, well I’ll get there…..

Love You Forever!

Mama

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Photo courtesy of Annie who makes these necklaces 😉

To My Future Self

Because I know myself, and I know that hindsight is in fact NOT 20/20 and rather it’s cruel, I’m writing myself this letter because it’s going to happen, I’m going to look back, reflect on the time my kids were under my care and tell myself I could have done so much better.

Dear Laura with an empty nest,

You are probably sitting down to enjoy your morning read in a quiet house that is picked up, cleaned, and all your carpets still have the vacuum lines in them.  Your house is quiet, a little too quiet, and you are reflecting on the years where you would have paid money (and on occasion did) to have a quiet moment to yourself.  And you miss your kids.  And you think you took the time they were home in your care for granted.  Let me assure you, you didn’t.

You’ll wonder why you didn’t hold them more, kiss them more, tell them you loved them more, or cater to their incessant requests more often.  Here’s why…. you simply couldn’t.  There were days that the kids cried for hours, literally hours a day, over the smallest seemingly insignificant things and you picked them up countless times and then you hit your limit, you simply could not bend over and pick up a child one more time that day.  You were not a super hero, a saint, or a magical being.  You were human and sometimes humans hit a limit, there were days, many days, where you hit yours.  If you had kissed those baby cheeks one more time they would have started getting chapped, I assure you, you didn’t take the plump cheeks for granted, you kissed tears away, kissed them while they were stretched tight from giggles, and kissed them a million times in the morning when they woke up and at bedtime when you said goodnight.  Your babies always went to bed feeling loved by you.  Speaking of love.  You told your kids you loved them constantly, it was probably annoying to them if we’re being honest.  But you felt a lot of love for those sweet little ones in your care and you made sure they knew it.  And the incessant requests, when you finally snapped and raised your voice, and hurt your tenderhearted child’s feelings, I just want to remind you about that human thing, you weren’t perfect, but you were quick to apologize and heal up that hurt heart.

Don’t be one of those older mama’s who while looking at the young mama struggling in the grocery store with her screaming kids tell them, “enjoy it, you’ll miss this when it’s gone.”  Even though you probably DO miss spending your days with them, you probably only remember the sweet times when they would lean together in the cart for eskimo kisses or giggle and beep their car carts at other shoppers.  Those moments were sweet, but they weren’t the majority of the moments.  Many times you did shame shopping where people stared at you and wondered why you didn’t have better control over your children as they were bawling while you walked through the store attempting to complete your shopping list.

You will tell yourself that you should have worked less, I know you will, but work was a source of sanity for you and you needed it.  Not only did it give you something outside of mother and wife, but the money was helpful in those early years.  Don’t kick yourself for contributing to your family in this way, your kids learned valuable lessons while “working in your office” with you and learning how to entertain themselves.  It also made you much more intentional during the rest of the hours of your day when you were with your children you focused more on being present with them.

You loved your children well, you did everything in your power to enjoy the journey.  It wasn’t always easy, some days you wanted to get a full time job (you considered it on several occasions), but you made the choice to stay home with your kids while they were little and you did not take that privilege for granted.  Some days it was a sacrifice, some days it was a total blast and you felt spoiled that you GOT to stay home with your kids, and ALL of it was worth it.  So don’t beat yourself up, don’t wish you did anything differently, instead remember the good times, remember the bad times (that you can now laugh about), and above all enjoy where you are TODAY, enjoy where your kids are as adults outside your home now, and enjoy the journey….life is quite a ride!!

From your 30 year old self raising a 4 and nearly 2 year old….

Here are some photos that give you a sampling of what life was REALLY like day in and day out with these two, because you don’t always take pictures of the rough moments and I don’t want you to think your instagram feed is a good representation of your life at this time!

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Ellery 4 YEAR letter

To our kind and considerate Ellery Wynn,

Four going on fourteen.  You’ve started saying things like “seriously mom,” I’m not exactly sure where you got that phrase or the sassy tone to go with it.  For the most part you are super considerate.  If I’m busy preparing for something you’ll come up to me and ask, “mom, what can I do to be helpful right now?”  I find this so incredibly endearing and it’s a habit that I absolutely adore, I also have no idea where you picked this up.  You will even think about what Vaughn might miss while she is napping and save television shows for later because you think Vaughn might want to watch it.  You’re laugh right now is hysterical and you have a great sense of humor.  Your favorite hobby is taking pictures which I have to frequently delete from my phone so I actually have storage space left.  You are an avid reader, and I don’t just mean you look at books.  You are a READER, like at least second grade level, which both blows me away and terrifies me, because WHAT WILL YOU DO IN KINDERGARTEN?!?!  This is truly no credit to your dad or me, you just were genuinely interested in reading and essentially taught yourself with a few videos and paying attention to words while we read to you.  One day you were playing with a friend and said, ” That’s actually called a dromedary, not a camel, because that one only has one hump.”  Later I asked how you knew that and you immediately recalled that it was from a book that you read in your bed at night sometimes, wowzas!  This year sleep has been one of our biggest issues, I would say 5/7 nights per week you have woken up screaming and begged us to come to our bed, and basically we let you every single time.  I used to have a very strict rule about no kids in the bed and then I realized you’ll outgrow this phase so I better enjoy it while it lasts.  It is starting to sink in that this is my last long summer with you ever, which basically has me wanting to homeschool you so I don’t have to come to terms with sending you to school in mid-August every year from here on out. Since turning four you have become incredibly brave, one example of this is tubing.  You went tubing with Hudson and me last weekend on the lake and I was so proud of how long you stayed on and enjoyed it.  Your Dad is SO sarcastic, which is completely lost on four year olds.  He is probably going to give you an anxiety disorder before the age of five, but you are STARTING to sense when maybe he’s not being total serious and you’ll incessantly ask, “dad are you just kidding????” until he finally answers “yes, or course I’m just kidding.”  He has also convinced you that Yittle Baby (instead of little baby) is actually a term that means big girl and you make sure to tell everyone that is what it means.  I love spending time with you, especially one on one, and I’m committing to being more intentional about our time together this year while you still want to be around me!  You are sweet and enraging, funny and challenging, considerate and selfish, basically you have become a whole human being this year and I just love having you in our lives.

Love you forever,

Mama

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To My 3.5 Year Old

To my gorgeous growing girl Ellery Wynn,

About a month ago someone asked if you were about 3.5.  I responded, oh no, she actually just turned 3 in July. Then it hit me that you were in fact pretty close to 3.5.  It’s amazing how much a kid changes in 6 months.  If adults changed this rapidly they wouldn’t be able to maintain friendships because they would literally be unrecognizable every single year.  I don’t just mean you’ve changed a lot physically in the past 6 months, but emotionally you are so incredibly more mature.  I’m not sure if it’s school, your age, or the way we have been working to grow you emotionally (it’s probably a combination of all three), but I REALLY like the person you are becoming and I rarely count the minutes until your bedtime anymore.  You are so much fun, you have a fantastic sense of humor, you are so very loving, and I’m not sure if you could be any more independent.  I enjoy spending time with you alone so much that I actually bribed you to go to the grocery store with me the other day (which used to be my one escape to spend time alone).  The other night I overheard Nana ask you “What your favorite thing to do is now that you are a big girl,” your response, “working out with my mom” (heart explosion).  We obviously still have our moments, brushing your hair still has a 50/50 chance of a total melt down, transitioning from one thing to the next can be really hard, and being tired or hungry can throw you into an epic tantrum.  Since I threw away my perfection expectation about 3 days into motherhood I have learned to just roll with all these ups and downs and enjoy the ups that much more because the downs are so challenging.  I was never a sentimental person, and then I became a mother and I am always one commercial, book (thanks Nancy Tillman), or memory away from a teary eye.  I have been thinking back so fondly on the days when it was just me and you all day everyday, when we would sometimes not leave the house for a week (Illinois winters were brutal).  I wish back then I would have realized how temporary that period of time was.  Now our days are filled with school, playdates, errand runs, meeting people for meals, going to church and hosting small group.  While I wouldn’t change it at all (it’s so much less lonely, and so much more fun), I do sometimes miss the days of me and you snuggling, watching Daniel Tiger, eating our lunch together while listening to baby tunes, reading countless books, and enjoying literally just watching you discover the World.  These past 3.5 years have been some of the best in my life.  I adore you so much and enjoy you more than I ever thought possible.

Love you forever!!

Mama

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Ellery Letter

To my PRESCHOOLER Ellery Wynn,

I must say of all the milestones of motherhood this one is hitting me the hardest!  You started preschool this week and while you haven’t even flinched at going to class and haven’t questioned it once I’ve been questioning my decision to send you all week.  The preschool is fantastic, the people are loving and the environment is happy.  I however feel like suddenly I’m missing out.  Like you now have a life outside of me (and that’s a really good thing), but it makes me feel a little sad that it’s more than just us in our bubble.  It hit me hard the first time while standing in the office ordering the embroidery on your bag and buying your preschool t-shirt that we are entering a whole new phase of being in structured organized situations.  It just feels like some of our free-spirit lifestyle and lazy days are going to become fewer and farther between.  I have had the absolute privilege to stay home with you almost exclusively for the past 3 years and keep you in this safe positive bubble where you are surrounded only by people who love and care for you.  Rarely have you encountered meanness or feelings of uncertainty.  Unfortunately both of those are realities out in the “real world” and are undoubtedly things you will encounter this year at school.  While I’m pretty sure you would make it VERY known if you didn’t like school, everyday when I ask you what you liked you respond, “I didn’t like ANYTHING!”  So I’m still not sure if you have enjoyed school at all, but you haven’t cried or said anything too negative so I will just chalk it up to you hearing your cousin say that about school.  Despite your best efforts to convince me you are having a terrible time, I’m told you really enjoy the playground and are already making some friends.  We are getting into the routine of getting up and out the door and I’m so excited to watch you grow this year as I’m giving you your wings after planting your roots for the last 3 years.  You are a shining star and I’m praying everyday that you are bringing that light into your classroom and bringing the Kingdom of God with you every where you go.  I adore you!

Love you forever,

Mama

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One Day In May

One of my dearest friends, Jenna, came to town for a few days in May and snapped these absolutely precious pictures of our girls.

campbell-0668 campbell-0491 campbell-0666 campbell-0644 campbell-0728 campbell-0524I had a terrible time narrowing these down!!  So thankful for a great friend with a fabulous talent.  Can’t wait to see her hopefully SOON!