Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Our Sweet Baby Girl

I've been in slow blog mode for quite some time.  I would like to update it more...and then I always find other things to do with my time.  We're getting ready to start school.  I've been busy (for me) with photography.  And, life right now with the kids the age they are (I'm sure it doesn't get easier) is just crazy at times.  So, the blog falls behind.  Oh well.  And, with each new child, I find that I document a little less.  Yes, each baby is in a ton of photos, but I don't think I've even started a baby book for Genevieve, and Carter's might be the only one I really completed.  I'm praying they don't care when they grow up. 

Genevieve is now nine months.  

I know I'm her mom, and I know there is some bias in that, but she is just the sweetest.  Her little demeanor reminds me so much of John Paul's when he was this age.  She's as laid back as can be, and she's always smiling.  She's not grumpy, and she only cries if she gets scared (or the usual tired or hungry). She's a dream.  And, I know how blessed I am to have five kids who were amazing babies. She's one of the best.

She might have been a bit upset here because, well, she had poop from head to toe upon waking.

But, she quickly got over it.

She's crawling, eating everything we eat, has two teeth and a bit more hair, and she says, "eh?" to almost anything you say.

We adore this precious angel as we do the rest of them!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

His Big Birthday

Jeremy turned the big 4-0 last week.  It's so hard for me to believe.  Anything to do with how quickly our lives pass is hard for me to believe these days, so it's par for the course.  I'm not the best gift-giver.  In fact, I think I have gift-giver's anxiety, hehe.  I'm making that up, but still.  I can't watch someone open a gift from me.  And, I feel like I have to explain exactly why I bought what I bought and why they might not like it, and what I almost bought, etc.  Ha!  I'm weird.

Anyway, Jeremy has never been one to say he really wanted anything for any special occasion, and typically, if he does, he wasn't something very useful.  This year, instead of doing many gifts, we are making a trip out of a wedding I'm shooting near NYC...taking a few extra days for just the two of us and celebrating the birth of this special guy.  He said not to get him anything, so I tried to follow through, and well, I don't think I'll ever do that again.

Fast forward to his birthday morning, and Carter was up asking where the streamers and balloons were...when we were going to get out the party favors and everything else that makes a birthday special.  I had a photo album of the forty things we adore about our Jeremy and forty photos of him with his kiddos.  That was it.  We made some yummy sticky buns for breakfast, but Carter was a bit perplexed.  So, he got out one of my lids to a big pot and put it on top of Jeremy's plate...uncovering it when he was ready to eat.  And, then this happened: as I was wrapping the album, Carter said he had the perfect gift for his daddy.  His very own wallet, filled with $28 that he's been saving for a special toy for months.  He wanted his daddy to have it, and he will.not.take.it.back.  Sweet, sweet boy.

So, on to the evening of his birthday...my mom invited us over for dinner.  And, let me tell you, it was a dinner in pure Elley fashion.  As we drove up, Carter said, "I cannot wait for the party favors!" Feeling pretty guilty, I told him, "Carter, I didn't get party favors either."  "Oh mom, Elley thinks of everything, don't worry!"

And she does.

She had the dining room set up with her beautiful dinnerware, steaks on the grill, a funny black cake made and other cupcakes for the kids, party blowers, funny masks, noise makers and the works.  Mind you, she and my dad work daily keeping the ranch in order, caring for community members, watching kids of mine or my siblings', spending time with their parents, etc.  What I mean to say is that she does so much (they both do!)...and all of it is for others.  She wanted to make Jeremy feel special on this birthday of his, just like she made (and continues to make ) each of her kid's birthdays special every year, and again, she went above and beyond.

I know I'm pregnant, but it was so hard not to just cry as I walked in the door...seeing just how very much she loves all of us, and how humbling that can often be.

She's the definition of selflessness, and I'm so thankful for her example in our lives.  Here's a peek:

All in one photo!
I'm not sure if you've realized which one is our little clown yet...

Some days I don't think we tell this guy enough how grateful we are for him.
Some personalities shining through...

It's just like feeding a baby...we all felt if we put our mouths just right, we'd help Jeremy with his candles.
And, then everyone got their own turn.

She just wanted to watch.
And, then we had a little time outside.  Sophie just wanted to walk her Duke.

They boys couldn't wait any longer and ripped open Jeremy's present!  After that, Carter had a little apple splitting show for his dad.  It's a plastic sword, fyi.

And, this guy, who adores his little Gen, kept her entertained. 

It was the best evening...one in which I realized that a little bit of effort goes a really long way...one in which I realized I want to be more like my parents...and one in which I has a bit of time to reflect again on how very blessed I am to be a part of this man's forty years.  He's our light, our leader and our love!

Happy birthday, Jeremy!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mid-week Likes & Links

I don't know about you, but these were my favorite books as a kid - well, these and anything from James Herriot!  My mom still has part of a set at home, and I've never wanted to ask her for them, because I love that she can read them to my kids when they are there.  It just all brings back so many childhood memories of sitting on my mom's lap and learning of heroes and virtues!  So, when I found these for $1 each on a facebook group the other day, I about died!  And...I bought them all!

Then, this also came in the mail the same day.  You know how much of a planner person I am.  And, this one takes the cake!  Blessed is She is sold out of its very first planner, and I hate it for you, BUT, we're making calendars I hear, so stay tuned!
Look at all of the details!  Prayers, feast days, verses...everything!
 I'm assuming these will become a yearly staple, so be on the lookout for the next one!
These mini-me shoes I bought for Sophie.   And, these for Carter that look like his dad's.

I hate chalk.  The feel of it, really.  So, I have a dry erase board instead.  But, the markers aren't my favorite, so look what I found!  Win/win.

This might be a good fall purchase.

His podcasts are always my favorite, and I especially liked this last one I listened to!

I ordered a few of these for Jeremy's birthday, and the kids are devouring them!

My sister sent him some beef sticks from this place, and they are a-mazing!

I've never been a runner...nor have I really wanted to, but I love the idea of it.  Ha!  So, I bought this little app to get in a bit better shape for this pregnancy...and can I tell you how humbling it is to think you're running a certain pace and then to see that it is quite different than you thought?!  Ha!

What are you loving these days?