Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Jackson's First Haircut

Obviously, we're not talking about Jackson's GETTING his first haircut-- that was years ago. This time, I'm talking about his first attempt at GIVING a haircut.

I don't think it's a secret how I feel about bangs for Belle. Nothing about bangs is alluring to me-- especially the upkeep like fixing them or getting them trimmed. During an unfortunate instagramming-during-her-first-haircut experience, Belle ended up with some bangs and when we made it to the salon again last month, I was sure to be attentive and we made it out without any bangs! Whoo hoo! Granted, her bangs weren't quite grown yet and were known to be a bit unruly. But, her side sweep was cute and they were pretty manageable!

This was my last pic before "the incident." She was doing her best to not give me a smile for a pic to text to Derek.

A couple of weeks ago (on my anniversary, no less!) I came into the kitchen to find that Jackson had taken it upon himself to give Belle a haircut.

Of course I was really a bit agitated, but mostly just really, really sad. Oh so sad. 

Fortunately, I found support on facebook... because this really is the kind of thing you need a support group for... especially when my hubby is unavailable by phone all day while he's down at army training! But there were several comments that at least it was a straight cut. And yes, in this picture it is... however, this is not how her hair lies naturally (this is a early morning bed-head).  So unfortunately, the new haircut looks pretty bad most of the time. 

Before I rushed off to the salon to get her bangs fixed, I wanted to assess the damage-- to see how they looked with her hair done different ways and to see how manageable they'd be if I just attempted to grow them out (again). 

The good news is that I have found a way to more or less "hide" the damage by switching her part from the left side to the right side and using the long bangs to sweep over the short bangs. This works and looks great right when I fix her hair and if she doesn't ever move. 

The reason the haircut was so upsetting is that we had father's day portraits scheduled for the next day, but as you can see, it's hidden pretty well!

Her "everyday" look doesn't bode so well, but we're making due. This first pic is the best shot I have of how her bangs now lay these days. 

(side note: she called herself Jasmine the entire day at the pool that day and I was so confused. She's typically Belle and sometimes Cinderella (or Wonder Woman). Eventually, I realized that she was referring to her tummy showing and therefor was Jasmine.)

She wears a pony tail most days with a barrette to help keep the long bangs covering up the short ones. Her hair is so fine that her whole head pretty much looks like a hot mess, so her bangs really don't seem that different. 

I branched out this weekend to put some braids in her hair. 

If I could get her whole head of hair to cooperate with switching the part from one side to the next, we'll be in good shape. I'm not having much luck, but that's what I'm trying to do! If not, we'll just have awkward photos for the next several months. When the shortest bangs get to be a tiny bit longer, we probably will go in and get a professional fix. 

Oh, and where's Jackson in the rest of this? Well, it's safe to say that I was pretty upset at first and I thought I made it pretty clear that there is no haircutting in our house. However, I didn't sink in as I had imagined as I found him with the scissors again and he simply acknowledged that he was "only" pretending to cut Belle's hair this time. (SERIOUSLY?!) And then he whined the whole way through Target that I was buying Belle new things (barrettes) and he wasn't getting anything new. He is really oblivious to the whole-cutting-Belle's-hair incident was bad, because "Well, she just really needed a haircut mom!" 

Let's just hope he doesn't decide to practice being a surgeon or something. That'd be bad. 


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Take me out to the ball game

In the middle of last week, we were offered some tickets by some generous friends to the Royals game for Friday night. Taking Jack to a game has been something we have been meaning to do, but just never got around to making it happen. I am so glad we were able to go this weekend. Jack was overflowing with excitement all day and I had the best time absorbing it all! 

While running some early morning errands, Jack requested two very specific snacks for the game... how could I resist? He told everyone at the store about going to the game!

(Kauffman Stadium has an awesome outside food policy. The only restrictions are on liquids and drink containers. We always take snacks!)

We made signs in the afternoon. Jack really did do most of the work himself. I helped add pressure as he was writing, but he wrote all of the letters! And he made the baseballs in the "o"s all by himself. 

Showing off his signs to the sold-out stadium (including the celebrities in town for the Children's Mercy fundraiser. Thanks for hosting Paul Rudd!).

Jack's excitement was enough to keep me from realizing that we were going to a baseball on the hottest day yet to come this year... as I am days away from entering the third trimester. Derek brought me back this pint of ice cream during the 5th inning-- Jack and I are smiling because we finished off every last bite!

Before the game, we met up with my parents and traded Belle for Papa Johne. We knew he'd enjoy the game much more than she would. Look at my handsome men in blue! :)

The game was a bit disappointing as we handed over a win to the Mariners in the 8th inning, but there were a few very exciting innings earlier in the game. And boy was Jack enthusiastic. I did capture a few pics, but it doesn't quite reveal the dancing and cheering that went on for well over 2-3 minutes. 

We were getting excited because we had bases loaded and one out! 

Things didn't go so well after his and Jack was giving out great pointers to the players-- if only they could hear him! It was Firework Friday, so we did get to enjoy a good display after the game! 

 The next morning, we had to wake Jackson up so he could be in his first parade float with his t-ball team! 

Jack is having a ton of fun with his team and is doing very well. He loves to play and practice. Sometimes he'll play ball with different people here and there and can actually do a good job of batting, even when the ball is pitched (as opposed to using a tee). Next year, we'll probably skip the next level of t-ball and move to machine pitch. 

At his game this past week, he actually hit a home run! It wasn't out of the park, but it went clear in the outfield and he was running home by the time the other team got the ball back to the infield! He was so proud. Technically, there are no home runs in t-ball, so the coaches had him go back to second base, but it wasn't until after he got to run all the way home, which all that really mattered. It was so exciting! 

I'm headed to another Royals game on Friday with the ladies ministry from church. Hopefully it's cooler than Friday's game. It'll probably be the last one while I'm pregnant with this baby. The heat and the walking is enough to wear me out for days! 


Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day

Can you believe I didn't take a picture of Derek and the kids yesterday? I must have been really out of it! We'll just have to make up for it soon. Derek will be so excited. :)

I took the kids to get their pictures taken for Derek's Father's Day gift. The last time they've had their pictures taken in a studio was two years ago for the same gift and so it was overdue! And I got around to getting Belle's two three three-and-a-half pics taken! I have a hard time justifying pricey pics when I take about a bazillion all of the time. I love how they turned out and they'll look great on Dad's desk at work! 

Jack helped put together these surveys for Derek and his grandpas. I found the survey template online, but was too lazy to try replace ink cartridges, so I just did it by hand. I love how they turned out and how Jack's handwriting looks. 

My favorite is that Derek tells the kids he loves them everyday-- and that the kids listen!

I think a topic for discussion regarding our Grandpa's is that they always say, "Yes." Remember how accommodating they can be? Honestly, I was a bit impressed with how perceptive Jackson's answers were with really knowing some of everyone's favorite things. As opposed to how Belle answered all of her favorite things, such as favorite food being goldfish. The truth is though, that if Belle's favorite food is goldfish, the grandpa's probably agree because she convinced them with her baby blue eyes. 

Overall, we had a great, simple and relaxed weekend! Derek got home on Friday, but he had to wake up early for another half day of army work-- including a pt test that earned him his top score. We enjoyed some family time in the afternoon, which included a much anticipated promised trip to the swimming pool. What is it about kids having no thermostat when it comes to swimming? I sat with my toes in the water while wearing a light hoodie while the kids splashed and played. Later that night, Derek and I enjoyed a nice date. 

Our Father's Day celebrations were simple, which basically just consisted of more family time. Derek went over to his parents to "watch" the NASCAR race for a bit in the afternoon (watch = nap) and we got together with Derek's extended family for dinner at Great Grandpa's. 

We are super thankful for the great dad's and grandpa's in our lives, on Father's Day and every day!


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Guardsmen life: Annual training

First thing tomorrow morning, Derek will complete his two week training course with an exam and head home! It's no so much a multiple choice test, but more of a practical exercise that has an allocated time frame of six hours to complete. Pass/fail. Sounds terrible to me, but Derek's feeling pretty confident about it.

I figured now was as good as time as any to explain a bit of the logistics behind Derek's training and responsibilities in the guard.

As a part of his National Guard commitment, Derek spends one weekend a month and two weeks a year minimum fulfilling guard duty. Every year, there is a two-week (at least) training exercise that guardsmen from across the state and division that work collaboratively in an exercise referred to annual training. 

Now, though Derek has been gone for the last two weeks, he hasn't been at annual training. He's been at a training specific to his job position that he took when he got promoted to E-5 last year. Officially, a training course fulfills his obligation for two weeks of active duty. There are years that he has not participated in the annual training exercises when he has completed a training exercise instead. Preparing for active duty not only consists of being trained individually for a role within the unit, but being trained along with the unit and working together too, so there is a balance that exists between them both. There have also been times that Derek has completed training courses along with annual training in a given year (four+ weeks of active duty in a year). 

Derek and the kiddos last year right after his promotion to sergeant!

Factors such as the unit's position in deployment rank, state funding to pay for additional time on active duty, and the nature of the training exercise all factor in the decision to participate in annual training if Derek has already completed a training course. This year, it just happened to work out that his training course this year was at the same time as annual training so he didn't really have a choice to participate in both.

Derek has attended training courses every year he's been enlisted. Part of those courses are an obligation for advancement in rank and some are specific to the job roles that he is a part of within his unit, which is sometimes part of a promotion, but not always. Derek switched positions within his unit upon becoming an E-5 last summer, but he also took a new position this spring at the same rank. While it seems like a lot of moving, it's really beneficial to the unit for Derek to be cross-trained in terms of needing back-ups and having competent soldiers to rely on. It's also good for Derek as the army continues to decrease enlistment numbers as he is a valuable soldier to keep around. 

As for us at home, Derek doing his two-weeks seems to be getting easier as the kids grow older. It's nice that they have obligations, like t-ball and VBS, that bring variety to our days. That really helps! When the kids were younger, it seemed that the hardest part was just making in through each day caring for two small kids on my own. The hardest part now isn't the physical help of caring for kids, but for emotional support I guess I could say. Just the little things like relaxing together at the end of the day, talking about our day, making decisions collaboratively, and all of that mushy I-miss-my-best-friend-stuff.

The kids and I celebrated our wedding anniversary at my favorite pizza place this week. :)

Our families have become great support systems. They have called to check in and do little things like invite us for dinner just to make things a little easier. I spent a few days with my parents and we've seen Derek's parents regularly. I even had a friend bring by a meal, including carrot cake (!) just because she was making extra. We are supported by such great friends and family!

Feel free to ask any question about guardsmen responsibilities and our life as a guardsmen family! Curious as to what Derek's specific duties are in the army? Feel free to ask him. There are parts that he is free to discuss and parts that are classified. Just don't ask me, because I don't even know. It's not that I'm not super supportive! It just doesn't matter to me. I do know that he takes his responsibility seriously, he's good at what he does and that the leadership in his unit respect and appreciate his work. That's enough to make me a proud army wife! :)


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Eight Years

Eight years. EIGHT YEARS! How did we get here? 

With certainty, I can say that I loved him with all of my heart the day we said, "I do." But as the years have passed that love has grown and grown so much more! 

For richer not-so-poor or for poorer, in sickness and in health. Through career changes and grad schools. Skiing down mountains, walking along the beach. Welcoming babies one and two and preparing for number three! Basic training, AIT, monthly guard duty, annual training! The good times and hard times-- we've learned to love a bit more and more along the way.

Spending the anniversary apart isn't ideal, but it's okay. We've been here a few times before and most likely will celebrate apart in the future. But that's okay. Because we still have each other even when we communicate via phone calls and text messages! Plus, he managed to get some espinaca dip delivered and waiting for me when I returned home from picking the kids up from VBS! Does he know the way to this pregnant woman's heart, or what?!? 

When I called to thank him he said, "Isn't the 8th anniversary present queso?" Haha. If not, it totally should be! I'm up for the change. Who wants pottery or bronze anyway???

Here's a collection of my favorite wedding pics! 


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Memorial Day Camping Trip

Once upon a Memorial Day weekend, we went camping. Yet a few weeks have passed and I haven't gotten around to sharing about our fun outdoor adventure. Here's what happened: Our goal was to keep our phones away as much as possible and we did, which was actually really nice! I knew I'd want to use my phone a little bit to take some pictures, but I found myself just really in the mood to enjoy it and not take a ton of pictures. The whole break from our phones and computers stuck around for a bit even after we got home and so here I am now a few weeks later finally catching up.

We had so a great time camping. The kids helped pitch the tent, we cooked over the campfire. The kids made a ton of new friends at the playground right behind our campsite. The kids rode bikes and scooped dirt into buckets. We spent a couple of hours cooped up in the tent dodging the thunderstorm that came through. We roasted marshmallows and enjoyed s'mores-- it was a typical camping experience!

Here are the very few pictures I snapped.

Jack had a ton of fun playing in the trees. They were bases on a baseball field and a battle zone for getting bad guys. 

Music around the campfire! 

Bike riding!

Learning to play Go Fish by the light of the lantern. 

Daddy and Jack fishing

Going camping was actually a lot of work. Too much work for this pregnant woman so I know we won't be going out again this summer. But we had a wonderful time enjoying the outdoors as a family and I can't wait to plan another camping trip maybe next summer, for sure. 

It was a great break from our typical routine and even though we were less than 20 miles from home, it felt like we were really far away! The kids loved the outdoors and created a lot of their own fun. They didn't love the work of setting up camp, washing dishes, or even the patience it took to wait for dinner to cook, but it's a great for them to experience daily tasks "the old-fashioned" way. In fact, it was good for me, too!

The best part is the memories we have with the kids, even if I don't have a ton of pics to look back through! The kids still talk about it and have asked to do it again, which is what makes the experience a success in my book!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Five on Friday


This week has gone by so quickly! I've worked a bit, we've been to pool, and we've had a few more t-ball games. We've done some cleaning and purging of stuff, too! Hopefully next week will pass just as quickly and Derek will be home before we know it!

Another afternoon, another day at the pool! :)

Also, the kids refer to the tubes as "tutus" and it cracks me up. "Can we go get a tutu around the waterfall!?"


The library had a super fun program this week, Dino O'Dell. He's a fun educational entertainer. His theme was outer space and so Jackson loved it, of course! Belle, on the other hand, sat and pouted the whole time wanting to go home. Jackson got to go "on stage" to help show motions at the end of the program and he felt so special! The kids also learned their first prize book this week for the summer reading program!


My back pain got worse this week before it got better. On Wednesday, I spent pretty much all of my time on the couch. I was up to do little things here and there, but even that left my back hurting worse and I having cramps, so back to the couch I went. Cooking (and cleaning) dinner was simply not going to happen, so I took the kids out. When we were seated for dinner, Jackson nearly sat down, but then got up from his seat, pulled my chair out and said, "Here, Mom, I pulled the chair out for you since your back is hurting!" Oh my heart. I teared up then and I teared up just thinking about it as I wrote it. Teaching my kids to think about others is so important to me and it makes me proud when they show love to others. 

The heating pad and rest seemed to do the trick. I was feeling better Thursday and haven't had any of my lower back pain or cramping today! 


So potty training this week has been interesting. Some days, no accidents! Other days, only accidents. There is not a potty-training guide out there that can make a child motivated to use the potty. At least we're making progress. On most days, anyway. Yesterday was particularly rough, so I picked up some espinaca dip after t-ball for a wonderful after bedtime treat for myself-- as a reward for all the extra laundry, of course!

It was unexpectedly chilly at Jackson's t-ball game last night and so we snuggled as we cheered on Number 4! 


I've had quite the dilemma this week as I've been looking for a new planner. My planner is basically sacred ground for me and as the kids get older (and we keep adding more to the mix) I really need an efficient way to store the info I need to all in one place. Preferably, I want a weekly view, but I want my days vertical and side by side as opposed to daily sections stacked on top of each other.  The one from the past year has been great-- only I can't find another one anywhere! My current one ends at the end of this month, but of the few that are in stock in stores don't start until August! The internet hasn't helped much in terms of stocked agendas-- some are even selling 2013 calendars!  I've eyed the Paper Plum Planners before, but never figured Derek would go for it! Much to my surprise, he gave the go ahead as I explained my desperation and now I'm in a new dilemma-- I can't chose a cover!!! Well, that and there are other customizable options that I have to figure out! Whatever I decide, I'll need to order soon to get it in time before my current one ends! I'm sure I'll be back to show it off once I get it!

I'm linking up for 5 on Friday today! 


Tuesday, June 3, 2014

24 weeks

Today marks 24 weeks! It's been eight weeks since my last pregnancy update, so I figured one was in order! Plus, we got a second sonogram and I have pics to share (because this baby girl wasn't very cooperative at her first photo op!)

How far along?: 24 weeks
How big is your baby?: Almost 1.5 pounds and about the size of an ear of corn. (I had no idea she was that long, but it would explain the simultaneous movements down low and up high!)
Total weight gain?: 10ish
Sex: Baby GIRL! We've seen her twice, so we're pretty confident!
Maternity clothes: Always and forever. Except when I wear Derek's t-shirts.  
Sleep: Not bad. I'm definitely in a better sleep cycle now than the first trimester and I know it'll get worse, so I won't complain about the time or two I have to get up to use the bathroom. And I've managed a way to psuedo-sleep-on-my-stomach and so that's keeping me happy. 
Symptoms: Heartburn- occasional yet terrible when it comes along. Back pain- Lots! It's very localized to my lower back, left side. I'm thinking it must be a nerve, but whatever it is, OUCH. 
Stretch marks: None yet! Hoping it stays that way.
Movement: Lots!!! This is my favorite stage of baby movement. I love to feel her move, but her movements aren't big enough to really jab my other organs. Derek has gotten to feel her move a couple of times. Jackson has tried, but he isn't super patient to wait for it. Hopefully soon! 
Best moment this week: Feeling relaxed for the first time in several weeks! And I want to count getting another sonogram, even though it was technically 8 days ago.
Food cravings: Not hardcore cravings. But I could eat espinaca dip from Jose Peppers every single day. 
Labor signs: Hope not! I'm fairly certain my back pain, occasional cramping, etc is simply because I have two kids already and we keep busy. 
Belly button in or out: Definitely in, but becoming more shallow. 
What I miss: Non-back pain. And being able to fit into a bathroom stall and close the door without squeezing in my belly. 
What I'm looking forward to:  Picking out a name. Hopefully we'll come up with one before she's born. It's actually kind of stressful for me not to know, so sometime soon would be great, too!

Check out this full body shot: Her arm is up by her head, and you can see her legs at a diagonal from the rump!

Here's a head on shot. I know these shots look kind of weird, but she's got two eyes, a nose and a mouth. Doesn't get much cuter! 


And check out the teeny, tiny feet! I can't wait to kiss them! 

I love getting a little glimpse of our sweet baby girl! The weirdest thing happened during my sonogram. She made a super huge movement that startled me from feeling it, but it was even more crazy that we saw it on the screen at the same time! So cool.

Lastly, here's a conversation from the sonogram room:

Me: Jackson, do you hear that?
Sonographer: Oh, you like that sound?
Jackson: No, I don't like creepy things.
Me: But, Jackson it's the baby's heartbeat!
Jackson: Well, I don't like creepy heartbeat things either.

Hopefully he'll learn to filter his responses by the time he is in this process with his future wife! He may not like that sound, but I sure love to hear it!


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Our Officially Summer Kick-Off

We had a weekend full of our first official summer fun! Friday night, we hung out with friends at a birthday party. Jackson played kickball and dodgeball with the older kids while Belle and her little friends picked "flowers" in the same field completely oblivious to the big kids. It was fun to watch them both! Late Friday night, Derek and I snuck out for a late date after the kiddos were asleep. Espinaca dip is a totally delicious bedtime snack! 

Jackson was looking forward to his pictures and his first tball game. He blasted into our room at 6:30am insisting that we needed to get up and ready so we wouldn't be late for either. I was already ready for a nap before our 8:20 am picture session. 

Jackson and his cousin, Gabe, are on the same team! A good lookin' set of boys, if I do say so myself!

Game time!

The kids enjoyed a super fun pool party in the afternoon for my nephews, Gabe and Eli. I love this pic of ALL of the kids, looking, and smiling. I feel like there should be some sort of award. I enjoyed visiting with everyone at the party as much as the kids enjoyed playing with all of their little friends.

This morning, we said goodbye to Daddy as he heads out for a couple weeks of army training down in Arkansas....which Jackson informed us today that some people used to argue that it should be pronounced Ar-kansas (like adding the 'ar' sound to the beginning of the pronunciation of the state Kansas). I love his little random facts of information he brings up! :)

After church and lunch over at the in-laws, the kids and I spent the afternoon at the pool. This park is literally across the street and behind our neighbors house. The kids are pretty stoked about spending many summer days here!

Summer must be exhausting! This picture seriously has had me laughing out loud multiple times today. Jackson fell asleep on the couch the moment we walked home from the pool. I asked him to get off the couch because he is notorious for rolling over and going back to sleep (and also staying up late if he naps at all during the day). I left to get Belle out of her swimsuit and came back to this. He sure didn't make it far off the couch! Belle fell asleep the moment she sat down, too. I let them nap for about 15 minutes and then I had to use hard-core snack bribes to get them to wake up! 

I'm so glad summer is here! Last summer I was so busy finishing my internship and school that I feel like I missed so many of the super fun summer things-- like we missed the library programs, never went swimming, or even visited a sprayground. We're all set to make up for it this year-- and we're looking forward to it!



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