Friday, April 22, 2011


Well, after weeks of begging Daddy to take him out to the driving range, Harrison finally got his wish! Matt took him and bought him a right-handed club and soon after took Harrison to try it out. They've been doing some putting the past few weeks in the evenings, but Harrison was so excited to go hit! One think I love is that Harrison calls it "scoring a goal" when he gets the golf ball in the cup!

They chose the windiest day possible to try and do this. And, they were hitting straight into the wind! But, Harrison just couldn't wait any longer (and neither could Matt, I think).

Matt takes golf pretty seriously & starts them out the same way. First thing: stretching & loosening up.

One of the best parts about where we live is this -- a picture I took of our house from the range (with a tiny bit of zoom). We're so spoiled to live this close!

This year, Madeleine was ready to hit as well. She's already such an amazing golfer for a 6 year old. This day she was hitting it a consistent 75 yards into a 25-35 mile-per-hour wind. Amazing. Much better than her momma can do! :)

Matt says she's very coachable and a fast learner, which has made her a fun golfing partner. I love to look out my kitchen window and see the 2 of them out there practicing. She's at the age now where they can split a bucket of balls and Madeleine can actually hit them well without Matt working with her on every ball.

I think that Harrison had an image of him getting out there and doing it just like Matt and Madeleine immediately. He got frustrated pretty quickly and we didn't last long this day. He'll get there. Matt's decided that he's naturally a left-handed golfer, so we'll be getting some lefty clubs before his next attempt.

This is a very very frustrated Harrison. One of the things I love about Matt is that he helps them when they want help, but is quick to back off if they want to work it out themselves. He never pushes them and is quick to complement and encourage. I think that's been a big key to Madeleine's success & love of the game.

We ended the day with quite a few balls unhit (Madeleine wasn't too thrilled -- she wanted to keep hitting) and headed to the putting green. At this point a very windblown Charlotte & mommy headed inside. All in all, I'd say the afternoon was a success. Harrison came inside later thrilled that he'd make a "goal" on the putting green all by himself. Way to go Harrison!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Welcome Spring!

With the warmer weather, we've been spending most of our afternoons outside. I love being able to get the kids out and let them run off all that energy! And, it's the one place that Charlotte is happy during her usually cranky hours. :) We've broken out the bubbles, chalk and digging stuff and sometimes I'm not sure who is having the better time -- me or them! I love getting out there and playing with them and I know we're making some wonderful memories. Welcome spring! We've been waiting for you!

Charlotte has discovered bubbles and is mezmerized by them. And, of course, sweet big sis is always happy to pause and entertain her! I love that Madeleine has such patience and love for Charlotte. She's going to be such a great momma one day.
Madeleine gave Charlotte her bubble-blower and Charlotte put it right in her mouth. Yuck!
On this particular day, Matt was off early & we were still outside when he got home. BONUS! We got some fun outside playtime with Daddy. Doesn't get any better than that!
Madeleine and Harrison were drawing houses for each person in our family, complete with each name written on the welcome mat at each house. They worked together & so hard on this! Harrison drew a robot in his house and the next morning he told me that he was going outside to play with his robot. Not sure how that worked out for him....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Charlotte's Favorite Toy

When I was pregnant with Charlotte -- and, remember, we didn't know if we were having a "he" or "she" -- I stumbled on the Target 75% clearance sale one day. Mostly I was looking to add to my birthday stash or find something for the kids on a rainy day. But, they had so many baby toys. And, while I knew this baby was going to have plenty of toys handed down from big brother & sis, I also knew it would be nice to have a few new things, too. One of the toys I found was a fisher price shopping cart. Obviously this toy was a dud because they had mountains of them left! But, it was priced at $8, so I went ahead and bought one. As time went on and we had a girl, I left the cart in the attic & decided we'd buy the cute pink stoller as her push toy. Since I'd been helping with our nursery updating at church, I decided to give it to the nursery....until the night Matt put it together & Charlotte claimed it as her own. :) She loves this toy. Some days, it's the only toy she plays with all day long. She can get around the house very fast with it and is quite possessive about it! Ha! She's gotten particular about what's in it & if she ever gets her hands on one of the big kid's toy, you bet it's going in the cart! On this day the cart held: a headless polly pocket doll, a packet of Chick Fil A sauce (stolen from the pantry), two princess bowls, and a shaker toy. I love to see what's in her cart. Matt & I have joked that she's become a cart-lady. She has all her most prized possession inside and she's not letting go!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two Peas in a Pod

Yesterday I came into the living room and discovered Miss Charlotte had gotten into the pantry and helped herself to a snack. Actually, I think she might have had a wee bit of help. :) Seeing this made me think of this post about Harrison. I am beginning to think that our Charlotte might just have a bit of Harrison's personality! They're certainly quite a handful sometimes!

Friday, April 15, 2011


After months of begging, bribing and trying all kinds of tricks to get Harrison interested in writing, he finally decided he wanted to learn to write. It was a couple of weeks ago on a Thursday night when Madeleine & I were going over her spelling words. All of a sudden -- Harrison runs into the playroom & returns with the white board & a marker. He tells me he want to write a word. What word??? Because. Because. The first word Harrison ever wrote on his own was "because." I didn't even think to take a picture of that! Maybe I was completely in shock that after all this time he'd decided to write.
Since then, we write every. single. day. He picks the words & I write them and then he copies it underneath. Sometime if he doesn't think he can get a letter, I'll write it in yellow marker & he'll trace it in a darker color. We've written everything from "grass" to "poop" to "poptart." However the spirit moves him, that's what we write. :) I find myself excited to see what word is going to pop out next! I did take some pictures of a few words we wrote that night. His writing is actually improving a lot & he's gain quite a bit of letter recognition. I guess it just goes to show me that kids will do things in their own time. I knew he'd get interested at some point with us doing spelling words for Madeleine each week.
I have to brag for a minute & say that, while they do work on their words some at school each week, all the reading Madeleine does is making such a difference in her spelling. We usually go over her words one time the night before her test on Friday & she had a 97% spelling average for this past quarter.
A couple of weeks ago this is the test she brought home. Numbers 14 &15 were a bonus. Yep, she got a 108% on that test!!! That's my girl!
When I was looking at the test a couple of days later (from it's prominate spot on our fridge!) I noticed something that made me BUST out laughing. Look at her name. It's misspelled! How funny is that??? I'm guessing she started writing her name, then stopped & took the test, then came back to her name, but still. 108% and she misspelled her name. Still makes me crack up! That silly, silly girl!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Ups & Downs of Ph.D School

Since I started this blog to document our life, I want take a snapshot of what our life is like right now. I realize that there are a lot of people out there with lives much, much harder than ours; but at the same time, our life now isn't easy. One day things will slow down. I tell myself this often. But, when that slow down does come, I also know that my children will no longer need me like they need me now. One day, I'll no longer fall into bed each night, asleep almost before my head hits the pillow. Exhausted both mentally ("mommy, mommy, mommy") and physically (from carrying around a sweet 23 pound girl).

Don't get me wrong, I love our today. I love that my kids depend on me for just about everything and I cherish this time because I know it won't always be this way. I'm already seeing that with Madeleine and it makes my heart ache. A lot.

The reason that life is tough right now is that Matt has an insane schedule. Insane. PhD school -- and yes, I realize it has a formal name "doctoral school" -- is basically a full time job. A very very hard job. Hard. Hard. Hard hard hard. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since it is the highest level of education one can achieve. It's just that Matt already has a full time job -- teaching. And, to anyone that thinks that teaching is some easy-peasy, 8-3 job let me clue you in right now: YOU ARE WRONG. So, in essence, Matt is working 2 full time jobs. And, we have 3 kids. And we're involved in church. And, he does quite a bit of "extra" stuff for our school district because he wants to & because often it's an honor to be asked.

And, I'm completely supportive of him. Well, most of the time. There are those days when everything goes wrong and I'm not such a happy mommy. :) But, thankfully those days are pretty few and far between. But, it's still a tough time for our family. The usual week consists of Matt not being home at night until the kids are either asleep or getting in bed to go to sleep. And this is happens anywhere from 3 to 5 nights during the week. And when he gets home, he's not done yet. He still has more reading/work/writing/grading to do. It's not uncommon for him to go to bed well after midnight. And, no, I don't stay up with him, but I am happily supporting him from my spot in bed. :)

Sadly, this schedule cuts into "family time," but on the positive side, he does have several weeks, several times during the year that he has NOTHING to do and we can make up some of that missing family time. It probably evens out. It's just the good times are amazing and the tough times are really tough. At least it's not forever. Just 48 more college hours. 10 more classes + dissertation. 2 1/2 more years. 5 more semesters. Just that. Not that we're counting or anything. :)

And the end result will be worth it: He'll be Dr. Wilson. Forever. And, there will be more/better opportunities too.

So, while Matt's working so hard on his degree, my job is the house, the kids and everything else. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it. Ha! I'm so thankful that Matt's supportive of me staying at home with the kids & there is no other job in this entire world that I would rather be doing. I know how blessed I am to be able to committ all of my energy to raising our children. I'm also constantly amazed at single parents. I absolutely don't know how they do it. Whenever I have a long stretch of "single parenthood" I feel like I'm doing the worst job. Thankfully, Matt & I have worked out our schedule & it generally runs like a well-oiled machine. And, I have created a weekly & daily schedule for the kids & myself that works pretty great....lots of trial & error, but I've found it! I'm usually able to ensure that Matt comes home to a clean house, with something to eat (might be cereal, but that counts!) and happy kiddos. And, our routine works great most of the time.

I've often told Matt that I think it's taking a church to help our family survive this. It's people there that help me get in/out of church when Matt's in class and I need an extra hand, it's people helping take/pick up my kids from Bible class when I'm on my own, it's friends that are understanding & supportive when I cancel playdates because I'm tired, and friends that are happy to meet up and play and talk when I'm having a rough week & we need out of the house. It's friends that pray for us and friends that pray with us. It's the constant reminder that this winter of our life is not forever and then comes the spring. It's knowing that we're not in this alone. I firmly believe that God led us to our church. I believe that He knew what we would need before any of this even started. And through all of this He has continued to bless us. We've found some of the best friends of our lives. I've found a group of girls & friends that make me smile just thinking about them. I love them. Time with them is one of the highlights of my week. It's the time that has kept me sane some weeks. And, I know that God knew I would need them. My only hope is that one day I can bless their lives just as much as they have blessed mine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Disney Day 4 and The Trip Home

The last of our vacation posts! :)

Our last day of Disney was a sad one. We got up that morning & packed up what I hadn't packed the night before. Our plan was to spend a little over 1/2 the day at Disney then start the trip home. We knew it was going to be a long day, but we wanted one last visit to the park before heading home.

Madeleine has really gotten into journaling lately. She is constantly writing stories and making lists! I really encouraged her to write about the things we were doing on our vacation, with the hope that she'll enjoy reading them later on. Charlotte checking out the pool view one last time! This is Charlotte's new trick -- when you ask her something she doesn't know, she'll raise her hands together like this. I think it's pretty cute! Waiting on the ferry! They'd had such a fun week! Our plan on the last day was to let the kids just do whatever they wanted to do before we left. We'd promised them they could each pick out something to take home as a souvenir, so that was also on our agenda.

Soon after arriving, who should we run into, but BuzzLightyear! He's Harrison's favorite right now & he was just a little more than excited to meet him! He ran right up to him to give him a big ol' hug!! Buzz signed (actually stamped -- can you imagine trying to write with those big plastic hands?!) their books and we left to find Minnie & Mickey, who we'd yet to see up close. We timed it just right and were able to get right into see them with almost no waiting! yay!

We headed back toward Fantasyland and Madeleine stopped to play in some sprinklers and cool off.
About this time, Madeleine also chose her souvenir. She chose a charm bracelet & picked out 4 charms for it. They had over 100 charms to choose from & she and I had such a fun time looking at all of them! It's something that she can add to when we (hopefully) visit again. (hint, hint, Matt!!)
After Fantasyland, we went to Frontierland to get Harrison's souvenir and found Donald Duck on the way. Again, great timing & we didn't have to wait!
Harrison knew from the moment we said they could pick out something that he wanted a Lotso Bear. The ones in the stores here are nice & clean & happy, but the ones at Disneyworld were dirty & mean looking -- just like in Toy Story 3. This was exactly what Harrison wanted!

We also stopped for one last Micky Ice Cream too. :) I'll admit -- they are a little expensive, but oh so yummy! And HUGE!

Charlotte even got in on the fun and ate over 1/2 of mine.

We wrote & mail some postcards while enjoying our ice cream. I let Madeleine write them & write whatever she wanted. I had to take a picture of this -- I loved it. It says: I hope you guys are having fun because we are having a big time. How cute is that!
One last trip down Main Street.
I think Madeleine had been around some princesses this week -- check out that pose!

Finally we were on the road. I'm not sure I want to remember the trip home. The kids were awesome but the road was long! Going home is never as fun as going there. It certainly helped that Madeleine can read -- I think she read 3 books during the trip and a good portion of Charlotte's Web! Good for her!
Here we are: Almost home!

It was the most wonderful week. I know there is a lot of Disney that we didn't see this time, but our main purpose in this vacation was not to be crazy busy. Instead it was to spend some fun time together as a family. This has been a really rough semester for all of us (another post for another time) and we just needed a break from our life & some time together, just the 5 of us. And, this trip turned out to be just what we needed. It was such fun! And since we'd decided that we were going to go slow and enjoy being together, it took so much of the stress away. We went with the flow & did what the kids wanted and enjoyed. And as a result we had such a great time that we're already planning another trip!