Sunday, August 31, 2014


Summer is 4 years old!  We're still trying to figure out how that happened so fast...

She's been looking forward to this particular birthday since... December. She's had her outfit, activity, and treat planned out since then.  {I'll write more about all that on Monday}.

Until then, here are four things that I LOVE about Summer:

1. She has such a zest for life.  One very typical Sunday in church she was hanging from the pew in front of us, making all sorts of noise.  Josh whispered to me, "She just loves life."  Summer overheard and said very sincerely, "I do."

2. She has tremendous love for her siblings.  If I need help with Jackson, she's the first one to volunteer to keep him "comfany."  She follows her sister around everywhere, hoping to be just like her.

3. She wears her emotions on her sleeve.  You always know where you stand with Summer!

4. Her affection knows no bounds.  She loves everybody, even the stranger waiting in line behind us at the grocery store.  She tells me approximately 76 times each day that she loves me, and proves her point even further by giving me random hugs and kisses.

In short, we absolutely love her to pieces!  Happy birthday, beautiful girl.

Thursday, August 21, 2014


 It's so fun having kids in different stages of life.  One child is losing teeth...

 ...and another is getting them!

Friday, August 15, 2014

I wish this had a theme {but it doesn't}

My Type-A personality would love to tie all these pictures together with a neat little bow, but really the month of August has just been full of "stuff."

Josh's college buddy, Sherman, was passing through our little town again so we had the pleasure of spending an evening with his awesome boys.  The girls are already asking me when they'll get to come back.  They had such a blast hanging out with them at one of our favorite parks.

 This boy is growing up so fast.  The countdown to his birthday has begun!

We tried to make the most out of the last few days of summer vacation.  One rainy day the girls requested a Spa Day.  It's so fun to watch the girls get excited about make-up, curling irons, and nail polish.

That evening we headed to Kylie's school for her back-to-school ice cream social.  She was over the moon when she found out that she would get to sit at an actual desk... with 3 of her best friends {who are all boys, by the way}.

In our spare time we've been trying to yank this stubborn tooth.  It's totally hanging in the breeze and it should be coming out any day now.  Hopefully.  Everyday Kylie will give me "three good pulls" but I'm beginning to believe that tooth is connected to the top of her skull because it won't budge on one side.

Wednesday marked Kylie's first day of 1st Grade.  Per tradition we made rainbow pancakes.

While she was gone, Summer helped me bake chocolate chip cookies.

Before long, it was time to meet Kylie's bus.  She's such a pro at the whole bus-riding thing that she asked me to NOT come to the bus stop anymore.  I'm a tiny bit sad about her new-found independence, but meeting her at the front door saves me quite a bit of hassle.

While we ate our cookies, Kylie told me all about her first day.  Much like her report about Kindergarten, she said that "First grade ROCKS!"  It definitely helps that she's in a class with some of her closest friends from last year.

Yesterday the girls had dentist appointments.  No cavities :)

It's a little strange only having 2 kids at home now.  Summer and I do a lot of this...

With my loads of extra time {ha!} I've been working on a few projects of my own.

The old chore system wasn't working very well because the girls had to constantly return to the fridge where their charts were posted to move magnets.  Now, this is what they see every time they come down the stairs. 

My goal was to keep it SIMPLE.  The girls have only 4 sections to worry about: morning, homework, zone, bedtime.  They already have a pretty good idea of what is expected of them in the morning and before bedtime so that's what I shied away from the super-detailed magnet board.  Pretty soon Summer will be in preschool, which is why they both have a homework section.  {For Summer, "homework" might simply mean giving me the papers in her folder}.  And finally, the zone.  We rotate having a section of the house to be responsible for each day.  

The Popsicle sticks each have a chore and a value on them.  If they would like to earn a little extra money {they don't get money for their chore charts... at least not yet}, they can pick a chore.  If they'd like to earn more money, they can pick a larger chore from the "Work for Hire" section.  However, I also use that cup of Popsicle sticks if the girls are arguing, not listening, or being rude to each other.  The threat alone of having an extra chore has worked wonders.

I've also started making my own baby food.  No, I'm not typically a DIY kinda person.  But the idea of spending $1 per container was killing me-- it adds up in a hurry because my boy is not small.  It does take a little extra time to prepare the food but not as much as I anticipated.  So far it's been totally worth it.  It's also comforting to know that he's warming up to table food so I'm almost out of the woods :)

Josh has been working crazy long hours but he keeps a great attitude about it.  {Me, not so much}.  Hopefully the chaos will be wrapping up in the next month or two.  

I've been spending a lot of time reading this book.  It's the prequel to the book "Seven" that I read last year and LOVED.  I'm really thinking hard about changes I can make in my own life.  Honestly, it's triggered something in me that I'm still trying to identify.  All I know is that I feel...uncomfortable... and that usually means that change is coming.  I guess we'll find out!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Michigan: Part 2

We just returned from our second trip to Michigan for the summer.  As promised, here is a recap of our fun weekend!

Friday: Catching Up
Our first stop was meeting up with this sweet family.  I love them to pieces.  No matter how long we've been gone, somehow we're always able to pick up right where we left off.

Saturday: Color Run / Burgers & Badminton
Kramer and I participated in The Color Run in downtown Grand Rapids.  Any race that is held purely to promote healthy living and is NOT timed is "The Happiest 5k on the Planet" in my book!

Later that afternoon the whole family met up at my Grandma's house for burgers and badminton.  I just love seeing the family together.

Sunday: Poolside
I wanted to connect with a few friends from high school because it's rare for all of us to be in the same city {and available} at the same time.  They were kind enough to invite our family to the pool so the kids would have a place to play.

When we got home my parents surprised us with a bonfire.  We had the best time making s'mores and other yummy treats.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that was our dinner...

On our first day in town Kylie got stung by a bee on her ankle.  After a day or two it has swelled up pretty big.  This picture couldn't portray how she felt about that any better.  Poor girl.

Monday: Beachin'
On our way back to Indiana we stopped by the beach.  This picture is also quite accurate.  The girls had a total blast; Jackson... not so much.  He was teething.  He woke up every night multiple times.  It was hot.  He didn't like the texture of the sand.  He was pretty miserable to be around.  But we decided to make the most of our situation because we knew it would be our last opportunity to visit the beach this year. 

Although it was a wonderful afternoon, our decision to spend hours at the beach came back to bite us later.  On the drive home, Jackson had had enough.  After screaming for 30 minutes straight, we stopped at a gas station to offer him a bottle.  He wanted no part of it whatsoever.  We let him play around in the grass for a while, then got back on the road.  Within minutes he was screaming all over again.  After another grueling 45 minutes, Josh and I couldn't take it anymore.  We pulled off to the side of the highway to attempt the bottle again.  Fortunately he was more compliant this time.  

Side note: While Josh was feeding Jackson his bottle, a man pulled over and approached us to see if we needed any help.  That kind act brought tears to my eyes.
The rest of our drive went smoothly.  We made it safely.  Our car functioned properly.  We were blessed to spend a long weekend with our very best friends and family.  We can't complain :)