Tuesday, August 19, 2014

First Day of Kindergarten

So the day finally came-- Jack started kindergarten today! He was so excited and reported having a good day. He's looking forward to tomorrow because it'll be his first full day (and then I might actually have some tears. ALL DAY!) 

Notice the new shoes? We bought them about a month ago. Jackson tried on every single shoe the store had in his size and he speed and cross-train tested each and every pair. He narrowed it down to the "run faster" shoes and the "jump higher shoes." He chose the faster ones and is so thrilled that he is finally able to wear them!

And speaking of tough decisions getting ready for school- this is Jackson picking one his folder. He spent TWELVE minutes deciding on a folder. He kept saying, "but this is a really tough decision!" :)

Okay, back to the school pics. It's a shame my poor kids are so boring and don't have any personality. Kidding, of course! I love these pics that show he's such a goofball! He's a pretty funny kid and loves to make people smile. :)

And of course he's wearing his Allermates bracelet! It gives me such a peace of mind that it's an extra reminder of Jackson's nut allergy 

 Belle is hardly going to know what to do with her big brother gone all day! Good thing she'll have a baby sister coming soon! :)

Jack with his teacher Mrs. McMillian (who is AMAZING! We love her.)

My handsome fellas! Jack is enrolled at the same school at Derek attended-- the same school that Derek started kindergarten 25 years ago! 

 Here's a comparison of Derek and Jack on their first days of kindergarten. Thanks to my mother-in-law who dug out this picture for me!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Summer Recap!

School starts on Tuesday! It feels like we were just kicking off summer a few weeks ago! In terms of being pregnant, this summer has been absolutely amazing. I mean, so far it's labeled the 5th coolest summer on record and we haven't even broken 100*. In terms of having lots of fun with the kids-- it's been absolutely amazing, too! When we weren't busy reading a ton of books, attending VBS, playing t-ball and going to baseball games, or getting tic tacs out of Belle's nose-- we kept quite busy! 

We've played at the splash pad with friends...

Checked out animals at a petting zoo...

Picnicked at Crown Center and watched The Sandlot...

and enjoyed sno-cones, too!

The kids armed themselves to prepare for water fights with Papa Johne...

played at the park with Aunt Laura after she came home from East Asia...

and had fun slipping and sliding at a friend's birthday party!

Last weekend, we visited Derek at the Armory for Family Day hosted by the FRG-- and that's always a summer highlight for the kids!

And, of course... LOTS AND LOTS of swimming. 

Belle loved hopping in the water like a frog and just a few weeks ago, she started going underwater for fun! :)

Jackson loved everything about the water! He really liked playing "water baseball", diving for toys, and practicing all sorts of new jumps! This one is called, The Helicopter. 


Oh, and once he was brave enough to do the tube slide one time, he never wanted to stop!

Jackson is more than thrilled that school is starting. Depending on the day and time, I am ready to send him off or sobbing because he's growing up! Either way, we definitely made the most of our summer as a family of four! :)


Friday, August 15, 2014

34 weeks (with a pregnancy we decided not to pursue)

So, we're approaching 34 weeks with baby girl! Less than 6 weeks (hopefully!)-- it's getting to be crunch time! We've made progress to clean out the nursery and it's almost organized. Once we finish, we'll have space to set up the crib and we'll probably bring out the swing, bouncers, and other miscellaneous baby gear, too. Then it'll really feel real when baby stuff takes over our house! Weight gain is slow and steady, I'm measuring right on track and growing an inch every week. Baby girl is growing and every week that passes just gives her more time to develop and be as healthy as possible when she joins us!

33 week pic. I've gained another pound and an inch since then! 

It's time to move along with our pregnancy story that started waaaay before we found out we'd be welcoming baby #3. You can catch up on part 1 here.

We left off at the point when I was challenged by a friend to recognize the miracle that is a child in ANY womb, even if it wasn't my own. I prayed this prayer hard! And fortunately for me, it became a reality rather quickly. I feel like I had come into a cold, hard "no" from God and it must have been the simple closure that really helped move through my grieving process.

God really gave me a peace about giving up this dream of a newborn addition to the family. But at the same time,  I just knew inside that our house wasn't full enough; we had more love to give; our family wasn't finished! Somewhere, somehow the topic of foster care came up in our house, as it had a handful of times in the past. Only this time, it wasn't something we would do "someday" it became-- is now the time?

Participating in the foster care system has always been kind of my thing that I'd bring up time to time. It's something I feel passionate about supporting and so I wonder from time to time how our family fits into that picture. It's not that Derek was ever completely opposed, but it's safe to say that it was never really his passion. I knew our conversations were headed into action as Derek became equally engaged and convicted this time around.

We talked about it a lot. We prayed about it a lot. Our pastor even preached about it and so did some of our personal devotions. And we even heard a guest pastor talking about it-- all within a matter of a few weeks. As a couple, we both agreed that we needed to explore the steps and move forward!

We hadn't really announced our plans for getting involved in foster care because we weren't even quite sure what we were envisioning for our family and especially because weren't sure what God had in store for us. We had more questions than answers, but we knew we were headed in the right path to taking the initial steps, knowing the specifics would work itself out in time. In December, we attended an informational meeting and our first in home visit was scheduled the week we returned home from our vacation in January.

Our FL vacation was soooo relaxing! When can we go back?

I started planning for our future with foster care. I started exploring the Heart Gallery checking out profiles of all the kids who need homes. crossword puzzles and mini-golf, we capitalized on the abundance of uninterrupted conversation to discuss the "check list" of what we were willing to sign up for in the world of foster care: ages, gender, siblings, long-term, short-term, emergency care-- SO. MANY. DECISIONS!

I created a "secret" board on Pinterest for foster care announcements and found a handful of blogs that I immediately followed and categorized into a foster care folder! (I have all of the blogs I follow separated into categories, it's how I roll.) We began to plan out bunk beds and bed rooms to make us the most flexible for the genders and ages of the kids who would need us. And while we enjoyed our time away in Florida with

There was a such a peace about this process. There was an ease in which it formulated itself into an actual plan of action. The communication between Derek and I went smoothly and I was void of any bitterness or longing. In fact, I was a bit relieved to put the newborn stage behind me. Feeding a kid every two hours, sleepless nights, more diapers-- I crossed those things off my to-do for good!

I even talked to Jackson about it one afternoon when he asked if I was ever going to have a baby in my tummy. I mentioned that instead, we thought we might invite some kids into our homes who might not have a mommy and daddy and that we would be their family. And you know what he said, "Awesome! Can we invite 10?"

Ironically, as we were planning the logistics, having our home visit, writing off the newborn stage-- it turns out God was working on something COMPLETELY different! And you obviously know what that is, but I'll finish with part 3 soon with more details of discovering baby girl and the journey that has landed us here just a little over 5 weeks of expecting our own little newborn.

(Does God have a sense of humor, or what?)


Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's Football Season!

Ladies and Gentlemen-- it's football season! Sure it's only pre-season, but the season kicked off this week and we're a happy household! It couldn't have come at a better time as this was undoubtedly a crappy week at work and ending my work week at Arrowhead was the perfect medicine!

Derek and I enjoyed a wonderful date night watching the Chiefs beat the Bengals on Thursday night. We actually had great seats courtesy of Jack winning a pair of tickets from the Kansas City Chiefs Kids Club. I was so disappointed when I realized he would be camping with his grandparents and unable to go! But, not so disappointed that I wasn't going to let perfectly good tickets to go waste. Don't worry-- we bought Jackson a ticket to tag along with his grandparents later this month so he will still get the stadium experience!

The kids haven't been without some special treatment from the Chiefs, though! Several weeks ago, the Kids Club hosted a special event at Arrowhead Stadium and the kids had a blast. There were bounce houses, places to practice kicking and throwing the football, and even reasonable "family-priced" concessions. :)

Of course, meeting KC Wolf is always cool. He's a great mascot, but out of costume, he's also a great Christian speaker.

Jack tried on some football gear. :)

And the kids met some cheerleaders!

One of my children was in a better mood than the other. Can you guess? 

The World Championship Game (pre-super bowl) Trophy

The locker room- Jack was SO happy to find Eric Berry's name and number. Unfortunately it was empty, but it was still his favorite part of the evening. 

We got to go hang out on the field!

And the main event (as if all of this other cool stuff wasn't cool enough) was watching a movie on the big jumbotron. It was a beautiful evening and so aside from being a little uncomfortable from laying down on the field for an hour and a half, the whole night was wonderful!

We can't wait to cheer on our Chiefs this season! We're looking forward to another winning season... and hopefully a better playoff experience than last year. (I'm still not ready to talk about that game, so please don't bring it up.) Go CHIEFS! :)


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Reading Rockstars

We did it!!! It took us until the last week of the summer reading program, but WE DID IT! We completed the Super Duper summer reading goal and completed FIVE lists of books we've read this summer. For the first three lists, the kids earned prize books. But then, Jackson was super eager to get to the 5th "level" (according to the decorations in the kid area) and to earn a certificate. Five lists equals 120 books in the last two months! Needless to say, we've been reading a lot and my living room has looked like a mini barnes and noble as of late.

The important thing to note here is that this is a list of 120 different books, so it doesn't even count the bazillion (yes, it's a real number!) times I read Pinkalicious or Curious George Plays Baseball. I kind of think I deserve a certificate, too! But as a mom, having kids that love to read and for them to be so excited about reading challenges is pretty much winning in itself. 

Plus, I made Jackson practice writing... which was pretty much torture. I'm all for natural learning experiences- no need to have practice writing pages when there's actual writing waiting to be done! And I say it's not bad for a guy who hasn't even started Kindergarten yet. 

I'm hoping to get a post together in the next week or two of our favorite books from this summer! As a mom who has read over 120 children's book in the last two months, I can say with certainty, all books are not created equal. 



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