Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ava's Party

Ava's 2nd Birthday fell on a Friday, so on Saturday morning we invited the immediate family over for burgers and cake and ice cream.
Aiden, Ava, and Austen
The brothers posing with the Birthday girl before the guests arrived.

Ava would not sit still for me to get a picture of her, she was just too excited! This is the best I could get.

Daddy grilling for our guests. I am so glad he volunteers for this! He always does a wonderful job.

Two of her favorite gifts. The baby is almost bigger than her, but she drags it everywhere! The ride on toy was a big hit too. Nanny Lee got it for her because every time we are at her house, Ava sits in my old Barbie car and tries to drive it. This has already been in a few accidents, but no major injuries.

Sampling the cake ;-)

We opted for a store bought cake so I could relax and enjoy the party!
The best part of the whole day! This girl loves her chocolate, she is truly her mother's child.
Addy did attend the party (well, somewhat). We had to party during her nap time because of Dad's work schedule. We had a great day celebrating our oldest girl! Every thing went so well, that we decided to do it all over again for the boys' birthdays. More on that later.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Back in April, we were able to take advantage of the nice cool weather, (how I miss it so much!) and meet our friends at the zoo. It just so happened that it was Ava's birthday.

 Birthday Girl
We got to try out our new stroller at the zoo, and it worked really well. Since that trip Dad has done some "upgrades" and it works even better! We have also purchased a double jogging stroller, which I like even better. My philosophy is you can never have too many strollers!

Taking a break before we visited the farm animals.

Aiden and Ava
The W's were nice enough to share some tickets with us, and the little kids chose to ride these boats.

Aus and Ben
As you can see, it was a big hit!

 Ben, Griffin, Henry, Madisyn, Mary Claire, Aiden, Ava, Austen
The end of the trip, and my best group shot. I didn't realize until we got home that Addy was not in any of the pics! I think she was still in the wrap at this point. So much for documenting her first trip to the zoo! We sure did miss Ty (he was out of town) on this trip too, so this picture is missing two kids. We had a great time, but we will have to wait until the weather is much cooler to go back!

Ava @ 2 Years

Ava Marie, you are 2 years old!

You are 33 inches tall and weigh 21 pounds! You wear mainly 2T shirts, dresses and pants the same size but they need to have an adjustable waist. You wear small diaper covers and infant (green edge) pre-folds. If you wear a disposable, you wear size 2, same as your baby sister! You are very petite for your age, especially in comparison to Aus at 2 years old. You talk a lot! You sing to yourself when you are bored or sleepy. You sing Jesus Loves Me, Deep and Wide and your ABC's. You refer to yourself as Sissy. When you run through the house your hair bounces uncontrollably. You like to keep it pushed to the side with your hand and when you shrug your shoulders it is the funniest thing.

Seems like just yesterday we were headed to the hospital and eagerly awaiting your arrival!
You were so tiny compared to your brothers, 7 pounds 1 ounce, 21 inches long!
That lip still melts our hearts!
Ready to come home!

1 month
Still wearing your newborn clothes.
2 months

You loved your bouncy seat!
3 months
Getting hugs and kisses from Aiden.

4 months
You have always loved your bath/shower. For the past few months you have been saying "I Shower?" Which we have turned into a game, and now you say "I-I-I-I-I-I-I show-errrrr"
5 months
Crawling for the first time.
6 months
This is one of my favorite pictures of you, you have always been so smiley!
In your highchair, still one of your favorite hangouts.
8 months
Swinging with Daddy, Aiden or Austen is always a great game!
9 months
You could "ham it up" for the camera at a young age!
10 months
You are very mobile, climbing, jumping, running and spinning have always come easy. You walked for the first time at around 11 months, possibly sooner but you didn't want us to know.
One of your many trips to the zoo, you always have a blast!
Posing in the buttercups at Nana's house, look at those dimples!

You are very girly, bracelets, necklaces and bows are a must for your wardrobe.
 11 months
You enjoy playing with your dolls, pushing them in a stroller and carrying a purse. You also know how to handle yourself with the boys, and have been known to steal a few tractors, trucks and guns from your brothers.
You are very helpful, you like to help cook, clean and give orders. You can empty the bottom rack of the dishwasher, you help with laundry and put up groceries.
1 year
Sharing your cupcakes at your 1st birthday!
16 months
You are a water bug, just like Austen!
18 months
You love food! You like to drink milk; cheese, bananas, grapes, triscuits, applesauce, and any type of bread are a few of your favorite foods.
You still sleep in your crib and sleep very well unless you have had caffeine. After telling your Bees (boys) "good night," we let you tell your family good night in a picture hanging above your crib. You tell everyone "night,night" individually, including yourself.
If you had your choice, you would survive on chocolate and cupcakes. You like to sit at the table and color when the boys do school. When you see numbers you call them all 38!
You are very loving and are a Daddy's girl. "Wuv you" (I love you) "Close that dur, kay?" (close the door, okay) and "what you say, Mom?" are some of our favorite sayings from you. Aiden was one of the first names you said and you called Austen "Bubba" for a few months. Now you call him Aus or Aussy. You tattle often and if we don't acknowledge you, you will continue to say the same thing repeatedly until we do!

You were almost potty trained before Addy was born, but have since regressed. Now you use the potty on your terms, and can tell me when you are ready for a diaper change. Hopefully we will make more progress in the next few weeks. You can put on your shirt and pants by yourself, and most of the time your shoes are on the right feet.

You are such a blessing, our first daughter has taught us so much. When we think about how gracious God has been to us, and the fact that he let us keep you, We are so thankful! At one time we didn't know if you would make it to two years and if you did, what kind of life you might have. You are a perfectly happy, healthy, beautiful little girl, with a very grateful family. Thank you for letting us be your Mommy and Daddy. We love you Ava Marie!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Chattering Children - Austen

With the recent storms, we have been seeking refuge at my Nanny and Papa's house. Austen was looking very carefully at Nanny's glass shelves in her dining room which hold collectibles and lots of pictures. I have to constantly remind not to touch and BE CAREFUL when walking near them. Tonight he looked at them very thoughtfully and remarked, "you know Mom, I don't know why Nanny wants to put her breakables on the very edge!"

He was also watching the weather reports very intently and listening to the direction of the paths of the storms. At one point he walked to the television and pointed to a broad area, "I think this might be uhhh, North America. Yes, that's right North America."

I get so tickled listening to his observations!

Chattering Children - Aiden

This is the first of what will be recurring posts about the cute things the kids say. At one time, I felt like I would never forget about all the precious things they have said, but now I know that was crazy and I want to be able to remember them.

With Jake's new schedule, he has to miss some church services. He always asks the boys how church went. One Sunday afternoon this is how the conversation went.

Jake- So how was church?
Aiden- Good! Lucifer was there.
Jake- What!?
Aiden- You know Lucifer.
Jake- No, I don't know anyone at our church named Lucifer.
Aiden- Yes you do. You know, Ms. C's Momma's little boy.
Jake- No, Aiden that little boy's name is LUKE!
Aiden- OOOOOOOHHHHH! I thought his name was Lucifer! I knew it was one of them L names from the Bible!

Not only was it hysterical that he had his name wrong, Ms C's Momma as he described her was really Ms. C's older sister by only about 2 years!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Addy @ Two Months

 Addy Kay, you are 2 months old!

You are sleeping better at night, but not all night. You like to eat pretty constant from 6 pm til bedtime and wake up 1-2 times at night. You are still sleeping in Mommy and Daddy's bed. I'm thankful for the sleep but it's difficult to get anything done after 6, it is also hard to go to church during your fussy time. But compared to your siblings you are the least fussy! Maybe Mommy is just more laid back this time around.

 You still wear a preemie prefold with extra-small/newborn covers. Most of your clothes are 0-3 months, but some are a little short in the stride and most of your dresses need to be 3-6 months to cover your behind. You like tummy time for about 10 minutes but your favorite way to be held is facing out, so you can see what's going on. You are still not in love with the wrap, but we did make it through the grocery store once with you in it.
You had professional portraits made and slept through most of the photo shoot. You like your bouncy seat again, and you will sit in your swing for a short period of time thanks to the mobile. You went with Mommy and Ava to get Mommy's hair cut. You behaved very well, because you ate the whole time. You are a very noisy eater and everyone laughed at you. Ava sat in the new stroller and looked at magazines and sang to us. I really enjoyed our girl time. You girls were the talk of the beauty shop! You also attended your first birthday party for Madisyn this weekend. You got lots of compliments on your pretty dark hair.
Each day I think you look like someone different. This week I see a lot of Austen expressions from you, especially when you give me that precious smile. You have started talking to us and you are becoming more vocal. When I change your diaper in the "girls' room" you really enjoy laying on Ava's toddler bed (which is not being used). You are very content to lay there and look around for 10-15 minutes, I just have to make sure Ava's stays off of you. Ava gets very upset when you cry, to the point of trying to put her hand over your mouth. Ironically you usually stop crying when she comes near you, maybe you think if you are quiet, you are safer that way! Even though I compare you to your siblings, you are very unique and special in your own way. We love you so much!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Siblings are a true blessing. I love the fact our children have each other! When I think about the future, I wonder what it will be like when my parents are gone. Prayerfully, I will have them in my life for a long time, but when they are gone, who will I remember my childhood with? Our kids have someone, and will always have a lifetime of memories to reflect on and share with each other. I am so thankful for this and I wanted to share some pics that show their special bond.

Austen is the most loving little boy! He always wants to rub someone's ears to fall asleep. Even when he is not tired he is constantly touching an arm, leg, face, whatever skin is exposed!  Aus fell asleep in our bed watching a movie and I laid Addy beside him. This is how I left them.
An hour later, this is what I found. They had found one another and snuggled. How sweet!
Ava and Addy, you can tell by Ava's expression how proud she is to be a big sister.
This picture was taken right before Ava was born. Aiden was 4 years old and Aus was 21 months. They still share a twin bed, they have separate beds, but they want to sleep together. It's fine with us because we know it won't last forever.
Last year at Wye Mountain, Ava was so little, I can't believe how much she has grown in a year.
Last spring at Garvan Woodland Gardens. This picture is the definition of brotherly love!
Aiden and Ava one morning before church. No, I didn't type that wrong. It is Ava in this pic, not Addy!

A few weeks ago, we thought it would be nice if Aiden spent some time with Daddy on his own. Austen had fallen asleep and we told him about our grand idea for the next morning. We asked him if he would like to go to "coffee" with Daddy. (Occasionally, Jake goes to "coffee" with Preacher and other preachers from our area.) Aiden immediately asked if Austen was going. We told him no, we thought it could be a special day for him and Daddy. Aiden told us he was not going if Aus couldn't go. He wanted to spend time with his Daddy but he knew how disappointed Austen would be when he woke up and they were gone without him. It was so precious to Jake and I that Aiden would think of his brother's feelings. Those boys love each other so much! Yes, they fight, argue, sometimes hit, but they are always so willing to forgive and make up. They are best friends.

Now, I am going to get on my soap box. When are siblings not best friends? What causes siblings to not be close? When they are replaced by a peer and it is no longer "cool" to hang out with baby brother/sister. I think it is pretty ironic that most sibling rivalries rear their ugly head around age 5. Most people associate this with the age/independence, but I believe it has to do with being sent off to school. With this new schedule comes a lot of change, responsibility and independence. Responsibility is one thing, and helps build character, but independence gives a child a sense of superiority when given too soon. Kids have to grow up too early when put in the school systems, if not they would never survive. When an older sibling goes off to school and the younger is left behind the bond is weakened and sometimes severed for life. The older is now better than the younger and self-sufficient. The older sibling answers to the school and parents only get to parent when the kids are at home (which is significantly less than the time spent at school.) The bond between Aiden and Austen is the sweetest and most innocent thing and I can't imagine how heartbroken and betrayed a younger sibling must feel when the older one goes off to school and replaces them with a new best friend. I think of my relationship with Christ. If I don't spend every day praying, reading and studying, I am not in fellowship like I should be. What about other relationships? If Jake and I don't share our hearts and feelings with each other everyday, we tend to disagree more and no longer feel like we have become one. We become distant, cold and if this were to go on long enough it would be detrimental to our marriage.

I believe the relationship our children have with each other is the most important one they will have on this earth until they find their future spouse. Mommy and Daddy are close and important too, but we are just temporary in their lives. Siblings will be in their lives the longest.

It is our job as parents is to raise them, not anyone else. We want them to be independent God-fearing adults who will love and serve Him. At some point we will have to cut the apron strings, and that is when our parenting is tested. Don't get me wrong, I will always be there for my children when asked, but it will not be my responsibility to "mother" them after they marry.  What about a sibling? Can they always be a mentor? Yes. Can they be an open ear and shoulder to cry on? Absolutely, and they should. Our prayer is that our children will always have this special bond. Home schooling strengthens this bond and we are able to teach our children the qualities God desires from us. I can't imagine how different the boys' relationship would be if Aiden was away from home five days a week. Aiden enjoys helping with his brother and sisters, he talks about the times he will be able to "teach" them. This is not why we home school, it is just one of the many added benefits. I am so thankful that God has led us to home school and my prayer is that we can continue for all the many reasons we started.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lunch and a Treat

Last week we met Mimi and her friend Denise for lunch. Denise was wanting to meet Addy and we finally got the chance to see her. Denise has been Mimi's friend for a long time and she is so sweet. She has an embroidery business and she made shirts for the kids and a bib and bag for Addy. They were so cute with a monkey on them. I had not had a chance to get big brother/sister shirts. All of the shirts in stores that were Ava's size said "little sister." I had intentions of having some made, but what can I say, we have been a little busy.

 Denise holding Addy, Austen, Ava, Aiden

The boys had been with Daddy at Uncle Beef's house and were in their play clothes but I still wanted a picture of them modeling their shirts with Ms. Denise. Ava has claimed the bag for herself. We had to make a trip to Little Rock that afternoon and all we heard was, "sissy's bag!"
Denise, Addy, Mimi

Thank you Ms. Denise!