Beckett is a SPARTAN!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Today, Beckett completed his first Spartan run! It was a total hoot to watch, and we can't wait to do more! We love any opportunity to promote athleticism, work ethic, and adventure - and this event totally fit the bill.



We were a BIT disappointed (ok, so totally annoyed) that the race was advertised as a mud run, and was actually not, but it was still a really interesting and fun activity for the kiddos. The dads got to join in on this run too (since the age is so young and may need help) and all I can say is I was soooo glad I wasn't out there running those stadium stairs!


Beckett has been taking Ninja Warrior classes while Charlie does gymnastics, and it's so fun to see his adventurous boy side come out (it's definitely not his default). Beckett had a total blast.  He couldn't care less that he came in far behind all of the big kids. He's ready to go again!



Of course, the cousins (and aunts and uncles and grandparents) were all there too, which makes it a bazillion times more exciting and special. We love this family-filled life! Plus - these kids together just crack me up. Check out their fierce warm-up moves. 😜




Send Hugs to Saint Louis Children's Cancer Care Center!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

These four cousins are on a BIG mission to send warm, cuddly hugs to kids at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Last year, you helped us gift 50 children with a sweet book and bear set. This year, we aim to DOUBLE that!


Will you help us?

Did you know that 43 Children are diagnosed with cancer DAILY? 12% of those do not survive. The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is only 6 years old. That’s the same age as Avaya!


We are on a mission to help raise awareness, funds, and HUGS for kids suffering from childhood cancer. Cuddle Bear is an unforgettable hero with hugs for everyone! Whether you’re feeling sad or lonely, scared or hurt, Cuddle Bear has plenty of hugs to go around. Imagine how comforting it would be to a child to have a book that addresses his or her scary emotions, as well as a sweet plush Cuddle Bear to snuggle?

Throughout the week, the kids will have conversations about the power of a hug, opportunities to practice encouraging someone else, and challenges to put their money where their mouth is by working to contribute a donation they've earned. You'll be able to follow their journey through Facebook!



Would you consider supporting our challenge with a donation of $25 or more? Each $25 donation will provide:
  • A 5% donation to the Scott Carter Cancer Foundation to help eliminate pediatric cancer
  • 1 Cuddle Bear plush toy to a child at St. Louis Children's Hospital
  • 1 Cuddle Bear Book to that same child
  • Plus, Usborne Books & More will match your donation at 50% so that even more children can enjoy Cuddle Bear's hugs!
  • You will also have the option to purchase your set in honor or memory of someone you love.
Our family will pray over the bears together, and then deliver them to Saint Louis Children’s Hospital. We are very grateful for this opportunity and hope you will join us in our DOUBLE challenge! Thank you in advance for your generosity (times two 😉)!

To gift your donation in honor or memory:
  • Comment below, or email the information here.
  • Complete this sentence: This gift was donated by your name in honor/memoryof honoree. [ie. This gift was Donated by Curt Uhll in honor of Emily Short]. 
  • You may choose one dedication per $25 donation.
To make your donation, click here!


A Glittastrophe

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Parenting the first child did not prepare me for parenting the second child. Charlie will be three in August and I still haven’t gotten the hang of TWO. You see, Beckett was not a mischievous child. I mean, yeah - he ate dog food no matter how much real food I fed him... but other than that, it was a pretty straightforward situation we had going. I would say, “markers are for paper.” And then he colored ONLY on paper. Isn’t that how that’s supposed to work? Charlie disagrees. She seems to think tables and floors and brand new white Apple Keyboards make a fantastic canvas for markers - especially permanent black ones. And yesterday when I said, “glitter is only for mommies” she verbally agreed (I even got a “yes, ma’am”), but this morning I came down to the most exploded sparkle situation you have ever experienced. Yes, this is a dust pan full of glitter.

So what happened was: yesterday I crafted for Nicole’s upcoming bachelorette cruise (wooo!) but wasn’t even close to done with my to-make list, so I left the supplies on the table so I could finish today. Don’t worry - I obviously told the kids not to touch.

I want you to imagine my face right now. Present Day Me is looking at Yesterday Me like I’m a total idiot. DENISE. YOU ARE NOT A ROOKIE. GET IT TOGETHER.

The house is covered in glitter. Two children and two dogs have made it their mission to track it everywhere. It’s in every room upstairs and down. In my large floor rug. On the dog beds. On my bookshelves!


I’ve quarantined the children to their rooms and have been periodically vacuuming the bottom of my feet in a vain attempt to minimize the dispersion. Four hours of cleaning and I’ve decided to embrace it. Our new family motto will be, “Leave a little sparkle wherever you go.”


Charlie Grace's First Tumbling Lesson

Thursday, March 22, 2018

It happened. Charlie Grace had her first tumbling class and I'm sure you can imagine my giddy-levels are through the roof! To make it even more squeal-worthy, we scheduled her and Avaya for the same time. Even though they're not in the same class, this. is. so. FUN.


We tried a toddler tumbling class with Beckett and it was NOT a successful experience. He ran all over acting like a crazy person, which is not what I expected from him. With Charlie, I was prepared for full on sass and low-interest in following instructions. I was SHOCKED at how wrong I was. She was ALL IN. She did an EXCELLENT job of paying attention to the instructor and following along. 



If the cute factor wasn't enough to make you swoon, watching this girl with her daddy totally would. This class requires parent participation and she wanted Dad to be her coach this go-round (he's the favorite). I'm so grateful for his willingness to jump in and do all. of. the. things. with these two kiddos. They're so lucky to have him as dad! 



She was enthusiastic and confident throughout all of the class, which was not surprising. She's a little dare-devil. She slipped off the beam once and was annoyed but got up to keep trying! 



She was a bit shy about her coach, and still wouldn't even give her a high five by the end of class, but she'll warm up. She was having such a blast she didn't want to leave, and asked if she could go back as soon as we got in the car. When we got home, she didn't want to take her leotard off. I think we've got a winner! 


2018 Spring Break Staycation

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Who needs to go anywhere when you live in a a city chock full of fun things to do? This week, the cousins are on Spring Break and we're on Staycation! Of course, the happenings of the week will be recorded here.

Saturday. 

Saturday, we kicked off our Staycation with Nana & Papa in town for the start of the soccer season! Beckett had his first soccer game EVER and Eli had his first outdoor game of the season. It was a full morning of cheering on our little quasi-athletes.

After the games, we headed downtown to the Arch. It was a first for most of the group (kids and grands), so that was a fun thing to share together. Since Saturday, Beckett has noticed other arch-shaped objects and referenced our adventure, which makes this nerdy teacher-mom even giddier, of course!

Left: First time sitting "booster seat style" with the seatbelt instead of 5-point harness.
It was a one-time thing, but he was THRILLED.
Right: Four-year-old boy face at it's finest. And sweet Charlie Grace.
The ride up itself was hysterical. If you've ever been in one of the eggs up the to the arch, you know they are MINISCULE. One of the attendants tried to get all NINE of us in one of these together. This situation would make sardines look like they had space to do yoga. Luckily I had been up before and knew that was a DUMB idea. I wonder if the attendants have actually ever RIDDEN to the top. SMH.

Couldn't even get a decent selfie in such close quarters. This photo doesn't do it justice.
We were so grateful for two little people between us.
Fortunately, the Wildcats had just won the SEC Tournament Semi-Final game. (Go Cats!) UNFORTUNATELY, they all seemed to think that the arch was a great post-game activity. I've never been in such close quarters with so many fans in blue. I love you so, Wildcats. Congrats on winning the whole tournament. Now, go away.


Entertaining this small child. #MomLife 
While the adults in the crew were IMMEDIATELY ready to leave, the kids didn't seem to mind. It was fun to see them climb to the windows together and ooh & ahh over the views. It was even more fun to come down and show them from the ground where they had just been. Hopefully next time we go, it'll be less sardine-y.



Tuesday.

Tuesday consisted of Chick-fil-A (the ultimate happy place) and The Painting Spot! We loaded all four kiddos into one van together (their idea of a fun time) and headed out! Everyones loves CFA. We get to let the kids play long enough to eat our food in peace (praise, hallelluyer!), and then they join us once their food has cooled and we're less on-edge. WIN-WIN!

The kids play SO WELL together right now. I just can't get enough of it. They spend most of their time paired off. Avaya & Charlie hold hands everywhere they go. The situation is pure sweetness (ok, fine. There are occasional moments of sour).

How'd we miss an Eli pic?!
After lunch, we swung through Starbucks (obviously) and headed out to The Painting Spot, a cute pottery & canvas painting place. Brian took a break from work to join us for this excursion, which worked out REALLY well for this mom of two littles. Who invented painting, anyway?!




Just kidding. The experience was mostly really enjoyable. We got to sip our coffee and enjoy each other's company. All of the kids were great, and we have some serious masterpieces to add to our homes. Lucky moms.



Wednesday.

Can we just talk about how glorious it is to finally have kids old enough to go play on the playground without me playing shadow? Praise hallelluyer. I'm in heaven. Even though Spring Break is a little early, the weather cooperated enough today for us to get out to the playground. For my kiddos, it was the first time making it out to our local playground since we moved back, so it a pretty momentous occasion.



After the playground, we took four children & two babies (ok, dolls) into Steak & Shake for lunch. It was exactly has healthy and relaxing as you are imagining. The boys donned their cheesy hats and played with their Steak and Shake folded cars while the girls shoved their faces and played momma to their littles. With the exception of not being able to have an adult conversation without being interrupted 278,208,873 times, it was fun to watch them just chill together.



We finished the day with a trip to Hobby Lobby (the moms get to have fun too) and then scurrying home for soccer & dance practices. It was a simple day, but full of sweet bonding moments between these four awesome kiddos.

Thursday.

Today the cousins decided to each do their own thang (absence makes the heart grow fonder, ya'll), so our little crew decided to start at the library for the first time since we've been back to St. Charles! I was so pleased with the librarian who led story time. She was spunky and fun and PERFECT for the preschool crew. We will definitely make this a regular part of our routine.

Today was St. Patrick's Day themed, of course, so she read several hilarious stories (even I was entertained by her on-point animation) and then did a St. Patrick's Day Version of "Going on a Bear Hunt." HOW BRILLIANT IS THAT? Here are the kids going "under the rainbow" on their search for a Leprechaun.


While Beckett was all about following her silly instructions, Charlie wasn't quite sure what to think. It's fun to see their own little preferences and personalities shine. When it came time for crafts, roles reversed. Beckett did the bare minimum to get the job done, and Charlie was the LAST ONE to finish, insisting she color both the front and back of her Leprechaun disguise to perfection. What a hoot.



After the library we drove through Crazy Bowls and headed to a different playground to take advantage of this INCREDIBLE weather! Dad took a break from work to meet us for this part of our little outing. The kids wore themselves out, having a blast. We are so so glad happy weather is here. We have so many new playgrounds to explore!



Beckett's First Soccer Game

Monday, March 12, 2018

Beckett had his first soccer game on Saturday. It was, hands down, the most entertained I've been in a LONG time. First, he spent just as much time running past his (rather large) cheering crowd, giving us the good ole "thumbs up," as he did actually running after the ball. We've officially labeled it his Signature Move.



The pure joy and delight on this kid's face made this momma heart SWELL. I cannot believe how much he was just sincerely enjoying himself. The confidence and lack of inhibition in a four year old is inspiring.  He's never stepped foot on a soccer field, let alone play a game with a group of other boys he doesn't know, but he definitely didn't hold back.



At more than one point during the game, he took a detour from his game path to come entertain us. HILARITY. The number of people yelling that child's name, urging him to focus on the ball instead of us, was just awesome. He had a huge group - aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins - all cheering him on. Dad even took a break from the SEC tournament with the boys to make it back for this epic event.


This video is hard to see (we need better qualify video, and there may be a 7 year old thumb in the way), but as the whole crew of kiddos runs down the field, Beckett makes a sweet loopty-loop to swing by for a thumbs up.


Later in the game, it was his turn to throw the ball in. He did as he was told, and then waited patiently for his invite to join his team on the field. How did he NOT hear us all yelling?!


Outside of seeing Beckett have the time of his life, my favorite thing about this day was watching the family come together and just be a family. It's so sweet to watch the boys playing soccer together. I pray they remain close throughout their childhood. It's so amazing to hear the whole family screaming and cheering him on. THIS is the reason we moved home. So we can do life together with the people we love. We are so blessed.


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