Thursday, January 22, 2015

Charlotte turns 5!

Charlotte had quite a few days of birthday fun this year! And we haven't even had her friend party yet! 

Mimi & Grandad came up on Monday to give her gifts to her and take her out for a special birthday lunch just the 3 of them. She pretty much thought that lunch was one of the best things ever! And, Sugar, Stewart and Cormac send her a box full of new bows and headbands that she's switched out and worn constantly. This "snowflake" headband is one of her favorites. 

She only had 2 requests for her birthday fun stuff -- lunch at the mall and a private tumbling lesson with Whitney. She's pretty easy to please. We met them and Charlotte had her favorite Chick Fil A and we tumbled and she had a blast!
Then we headed home for present time after picking the kids up from school. (Actually, we only picked up Madeleine. Harrison has had a fever for several days -- Matt took off and stayed home with him so I could take Charlotte out for some birthday fun. And, having her Daddy home that morning only added to the greatness of her day!). We'd decorated the night before and she'd woken up that morning to this...
She told our elf over and over during Christmas that she wanted him to come back for her birthday and he arrived with a little sign for her and balloons everywhere! So fun! I think Harrison thought it was pretty cool too!

She had only asked for a new stroller and some cheer shoes (aka white tennis shoes) for her birthday. We surprised her with some fun american girl toys and a cheer outfit for her AG doll too! And, she loved the gifts that Harrison and Madeleine picked out for her.

She is FIVE!
We had our usual Tuesday tumbling class that night and then she chose mexican food for dinner.

They bring you dessert and sing to you while you wear a big hat on your birthday.
After dinner it was time for cake! Charlotte isn't a big cake eater and so she wanted a cookie cake this year. We've never had one for our family cake before and it was really good! (and big!)

My girl is 5! So many fun, exciting things will happen this year at 5. I think she feels like turning 5 means you are a "big girl." She already acts like a big girl, but maybe that's the way it is when you have 2 older siblings.

At 5, Charlotte:
*is a fabulous eater. We often joke that she wouldn't want to eat something unhealthy. She is a super healthy eater. She loves salad, grapes, apples, yogurt, cheese, broccoli, carrots, chicken and turkey. She does like some sweets -- ice cream and skittles. :) She requests the same thing for lunch every single day -- cheese stick, yogurt, grapes, baked chips/veggie straws. Every day. It will be easy to pack her lunch next year. :)

*She is a great sleeper. Naps are a thing of the waaaaay past, but she sleeps a long time at night. However, she can also manage really, really well on not a lot of sleep. You can tell that she is good an asleep when she stops twitching and she twitches A LOT as she goes to sleep.

*She loves to tumble. Our house is pretty much one constant gymnastics routine. She has a gymnastics mat and she pulls it out and plays on it every single day. She can now do: backhandspring (on the trampoline/foam mat), front handspring, front walkover, back walkover, front limber, back bend, backbend and stand back up straight all on her mat. She can do a one handed cartwheel. And, she can do a roundoff back handspring on the tumble track at the gym with little help.

*She knows her letters and numbers and can count to 100 easily. She is so ready to go to kindergarten -- she will love it!

*She loves her baby dolls and her kitchen. She will get in the playroom and play dolls and cook for hours all by herself. I love to hear her in there talking to her babies and playing house with them. She is such a little mommy. She talk a lot about being a mommy when she grow up. I love this!

*She loves to sit and color and write and will sit at her table and do her "work." She brings her "work" with us each week when we volunteer at Harrison's school and is so good to sit by me for a couple of hours and work quietly. Again -- she will love kindergarten!

*She adores her brother and sister. She wants to do everything Madeleine does (which is sometimes a problem) and she loves to play with Harrison. Those 2 are a mess sometimes! All of our kids play really well together. This is something we have stressed and taught from the beginning and it is paying off now. :)

*She loves for us to read to her. She loves Bible Class and wants to be the first one each sunday at lunch to tell us about what she learned. She loves her teachers -- Bible Class & Rainbow School. We have been blessed with some wonderful people around her.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fabulous Friday Fun

We such a great Friday! We've been wanting to go to a Razorback Gymnastics meet and this weekend we finally made it happen. We started our evening with dinner at one of our favorite spots for some yummy mexican food. 
We got there quite a bit early. Charlotte's coach had suggested that we get there early and watch warm ups and I'm so glad that we did. We were able to be down on the floor, and could seem the girls warming up and be just feet from them. It was neat to be so close. We walked around and ran into the Cox mascot and the kids had to get a picture.
There aren't very many reserved seats for gymnastics so we pretty much had our pick of spots to sit. We ended up pretty much in the middle of it all and right up close. :)

We met up with Charlotte's tumbling coach and his daughter and sat with them. Coach Joe used to coach college gymnastics (vault) and it was so interesting to sit by him and watch. And, Charlotte was captivated by all of it! It was an 8:00 night meet, and she got pretty tired, but it held her attention the whole time. :) And, she asked as we were leaving if she could go back the next night.

We are heading into a time of having to decide if we are going to keep her in tumbling or move her to formal gymnastics. We were wanting to see if she was interested in the other pieces of gymnastics and she also left that night asking to learn bars, beam, and vault. So, it's looking like we might have ourselves a little gymnast.

Here's Charlotte with Ms. Karla -- also one of her coaches.
And, her favorite coach, Mr. Joe
Joe also works with one of the Razorback cheerleaders and had told her we were coming that night. So as soon as it was over, Charlotte got to meet the sweet Hannah Claire who told Charlotte that "she'd heard all about Charlotte." Which made her night! She kept saying that she'd met a "real" cheerleader!
What a fun way to spend a Friday night. I know it won't be our last time to go! It was fast paced and fun! And, the Razorbacks came back in the last even at the last moment to WIN against Alabama which made it even better!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Birthday Countdown

Charlotte has been counting down the days until her birthday since last fall. :) Turning 5 in her mind is a very big deal. And, so I finally made her a little countdown to help these last few days go a little faster. She woke up one morning to find this fun surprise! She get up every morning and heads straight to her countdown to pull down the next day. And with each passing day her excitement grows!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Weekend In LR

We packed up after Harrison's basketball game and headed to Little Rock for a quick trip this past weekend. Thankfully he had an 8:15 game that morning so we were actually in LR by lunchtime. We arrived to a super yummy lunch that Mimi had made for all of us! 

Sharon, Stewart and Cormac were there all day with us and the kids had such a fun time! The big kids played Legos at the kitchen table pretty much all day -- so fun to see them playing with our old legos. Just goes to show that the best toys can last for generations. :) 

This little one spent most of the day playing with Cormac, She never gets tired of "mothering" him and he's pretty crazy about her. Charlotte is such a little mother -- she plays with her dolls constantly -- and having a real life little one to play with is about as good as it gets for her!
We also celebrated my birthday that weekend! I was super surprised with presents and my favorite ice cream cake (that we can't get here in F'ville). My parents shocked me and got me a pair of REAL wellies! I love them! They are super comfy and I know that I will get so much wear out of them during these cold, wet months. It's not often that I'm surprised by a gift but these took me completely by surprise!!
My sister got me this adorable print that I've already picked out the perfect place for in our home. It is just perfect and I love it! Another awesome surprise!
It was a quick weekend -- we had to leave at the end of church on Sunday to get Madeleine back to our church for her Lads to Leaders Mass Media event. But, I'm so thankful that we were able to squeeze in a trip. It seems our weekends right now are full from start to finish and I'm thinking that won't change any time soon.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sunday Supper

After a break for a few weeks due to other happening, we started back with our Sunday Supper tradition this week. I wanted to take a picture of the first supper of the new year. 

We've been doing this for almost 18 months and it's one of my favorite parts of the week! The kids call it "The Big Lunch" and look forward to it as much as Matt & I. 

Sure, it takes some planning and some time on Saturday  to make it happen, but I love that we all sit around the table and talk about what the kids learned in Bible Class that day, talk about our upcoming week and sometimes just act silly. Our lunches can last for quite a while, and it's a great way to connect. We have some very interesting conversation about church and our beliefs and I love seeing what they are learning through their eyes. (On a side note, last fall Harrison learned about the Northern & Southern Kingdoms in the OT and I was truly amazing at the Bible knowledge he came home with. He knew those kings by name, whether they were good or bad and what they did during their reign. I'm constantly impressed and thankful that our church places such importance on teaching our children the Bible and giving them good Bible knowledge.)

Sunday we had one of our favorite meals -- it's one that everyone LOVES which is always a win in my book! We had PWs Chicken Pot Pie (with a few tweaks to lighten it up a bit), our favorite green beans and rolls. I try to keep it simple. But, I usually make dessert too. If I tried to stop making dessert now, I'm pretty sure there would be an uprising at home! Ha! The kids love it too much. I've been on a bundt cake kick lately because they are easy and so yummy. Yesterday we had Dr. Pepper bundt cake and it was great!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


This is Harrison's first year to play basketball. We are playing with Upwards at a PG church just up the road. It's wonderful! He plays with some kids from school on his team and he'll play against others from school during the season. He has a very sweet coach and he is LOVING it!

I wasn't sure what to expect from his first game. Harrison played the first quarter and he looked a little lost at first, but he caught on quickly! By the second quarter (which he also played), he had it all figured out and he was hustling! 

He scored 6 points and at one point he caught a rebound, ran to the other end of the court and scored! Not bad for a first game! But, the part I loved the most, was that after anyone on their team scored, he would run by and pat them on the shoulder and tell them good job or nice shot. What a great teammate -- he already knows how to be happy for someone else. There are a lot of much, much older players (even adults) that don't know how to be happy for someone else when they make a great play. So, yes, while watching him play well made me proud, watching him have a Christian attitude out on the court made me even prouder. 

Harrison loved that they got introduced and got to run out to a cheering crowd. He said it was just like the Razorbacks. :) 
 A few candid shots...

 And, after the game. He was HOT and SWEATY!! He played hard! And, he got the Christ-like star for the game.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Saturday Fun

I'm glad we decided to have a "home day" on Friday, because Saturday we hit the ground running for the spring semester! First up was Harrison's first basketball game early Saturday morning. He did great! I'll do another post just about it, but let me say it was so much fun to get to cheer him on!
 After Harrison's game, we headed home, to pick up the house and get ready for the girls to have some friends over to play. After lunch we went and picked up Lindsey & Whitney to come and play for a few hours that afternoon. Madeleine had been asking for a playdate with Lindsey over break and time just flew by and before I knew it break was almost over! It's impossible to have Lindsey come over to play without having Whitney come for Charlotte. These 2 little girls just love each other and play so well together! Madeleine and Lindsey painted nails and soon were joined by the little sisters. :)

We had quite a nail party in our bathroom! Ha!
Madeleine and Lindsey also started these cute little cake bites in Madeleine's easy bake oven, but they didn't get them finished before the girls had to go home. But, our family got to enjoy them after dinner that night. It's nice to be a the point where Madeleine can do and create these things for us by herself -- she is so proud!
 It was a fun, full Saturday!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Family Friday

Friday was the final day of our Winter Break. It's been so much fun and I've enjoyed having everyone home. It was nice to not have any type of schedule and get to just spend some time together as a family. 

After New Years Eve and the kids staying up so late and not really sleeping all that late, we put them in bed super early on Thursday night! They all wanted to sleep in Harrison's bed and by 8:00 they were all OUT. Matt and I were close behind them -- staying up to ring in the New Year was tough on these early bedtimers! Ha! I snapped this pick of them all in the bed just snoring away. 
 We had a "home day" on Friday We watched movies and played in our PJs. It was a great way to end the break. I turned my phone off for much of the day and we focused on the kids. It was perfect.
I think everyone will be ready to head back to school on Monday. I know that as great as our break was, I'm ready to get back into a schedule and I think the kids are too. Poor Charlotte doesn't go back to school until the following week, and she's already asking about going back -- she's ready too. This is the first time in 8 years that Matt's had a good Christmas break and I can even tell that he's ready to get back in the swing of things -- which is a first for him. It's amazing what some good family time and rest can do, huh?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

We rang in the new year with some great friends last night! I don't know how we all stayed awake, but at 12:30 we were still there and the kids were all going strong but the parents were all yawning. We got home a little before 1:00 this morning and everyone crashed. Thankfully the kids slept until 9:00, but I have a feeling that early bedtimes are going to be happening tonight. :)

2014 was a great year for our family. Matt finished his Ph.D. and that pretty much was the capstone of our year. We moved to a new school district which we've all fallen in love with and discovered that the little town it is in is a great fit for us as well.

Matt and I had one big goal for 2014-- besides him finishing school. :) We decided to read through the whole Bible together. I haven't read the Bible in a year since college and it was something that we both felt extremely convicted to do.

Doing this has been life changing for me. I have read a lot of great Biblical based books, and I will continue to read them. But reading what someone says about what the Bible says and actually reading what the Bible says are not the same. There are a lot of great Bible scholars out there that know a lot more than I do; however, I learned so much from reading the Bible in its entirety that I might never have learned otherwise. I have learned that reading a Bible Study Book cannot compare with opening my Bible and reading the truth of God's word. I plan to do my best to never let a day go by that I do not sit and read His word, even during the busiest times of life. This is something that I want to model to our kids -- I want them to see us praying, reading our Bible, and I know that Matt feels the same. The habits that they see in us will hopefully become habits they develop one day.

There are some things I learned this year during this that I want to remember--
*I really enjoyed reading some parts of the OT that I wasn't expecting to enjoy. I thoroughly enjoyed Kings and Chronicles. We did a study of these books at church late in 2013 and I was excited to read them through again.
*I noticed how many times it says that God Changed His Mind in the OT. I needed to be reminded of the fact that we can pray and God may change His mind.
*This began to be one of the highlights of my day. Matt and I were keeping the same reading schedule and talked a lot about what we were reading. It help our spiritual life as a couple grow more than ever before.

So, what's new for 2015? Well, I never set goal for the new year until a few years ago. Now it's something that I think about and pray about each year starting late in the fall. And, every year it seems to be clear what I need to try and accomplish in the new year.

This year, my biggest goal is going to be getting up early and doing my Bible study. Last year, I often did it at night before bed, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I wanted to spend the best, freshest part of my day doing this. I used to be quite a morning person, but years of very interrupted sleep and days that seem to be packed from end to end have made me less and less a get up and get going person. I'm hoping that if I maybe write it down here, I'll have to actually do it. :)

So, for 2015, I'm planning to read through the New Testament and Psalms. We didn't get to the NT until late this fall and I just felt a little rushed reading it, so I'm going to take my time and go through it this year. And, I'm hoping Madeleine will do the NT with me. I also have several books sitting by the bed already that I'm looking forward to reading.

My other goal is to blog more -- at least 10 times each month, but hopefully more. It's been hard finding time to sit down and write about our life, but I know that I will regret not doing it one day.

Finally, I'm hoping to continue with something I started last fall -- making the most of this last year with Charlotte at home. I know that the coming year will bring a big change for her with starting kindergarten, but also for me as I transition from being a mom with kids at home to be a mom of school age kids. It's a transition that I've dreaded for years, and I have loved having my kids home with me. But Charlotte will be ready and I'm planning to embrace this new phase when it gets here (after lots and lots and lots of tears, I'm sure!).

So bring on 2015! Hopefully, you are filled with lots of laughter, fun and great memories!