Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas, from the Nelson Family


photos by Mason Fotographie
and cute card designed by Jumping Jax Designs

On Christmas Eve I was picking up around the house and shuffling away papers, and I opened my nigh stand to find a handful of sealed, addressed, stamped Christmas cards. Oops. is our Christmas card! (insert sheepish smile) Some of my wonderful friends and family will be seeing this in their mailboxes in  3-5 days.

I hope your Christmas was filled with joy!

and here is another picture for the road.......


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do you ever feel like you are being busied with one thing, and then another thing, and going from one place to the next, and trying to get everything done and be everything to everyone, and do it all so well? And then when you feel like the end is in sight and you have met most of your goals/deadlines, you realize- wait a minute! I am missing it.

That's me, right now.

The truth is, I HAVE to do some things. I have to be at certain places. 

Like cleaning the house- that had to get done, because we listed it for rent. Having a yard sale, that sort of had to happen because, one- we made signs and announced it, and two- we desperately needed to shed some "things". Getting the kid's teacher's gifts- that probably did not have to happen, but I would have felt bad not doing it. 

I obviously have to take the kids to and from school. And I had to go to Jeremiah's squadron Christmas party, because I promised him I would go this year (I rarely go to those things, and I was reminded this year of why I don't.) I had to go pick up the kids Christmas presents, because they were paid for and waiting. 

It was all too much. Too many obligations. Too many things that needed doing.

And in all of it, my littlest was cutting a tooth and starting to say "get me up" (which is hysterical because she is loud and firm about it, and accompanies her declaration with a hand gesture). Jack was a potty-pooping machine. Kaiti was writing stories in her journals and so improving on her writing that she secured the only 100% in the class on their big story project. And Tyler was struggling with the idea that we would be saying goodbye to Jeremiah again very soon.

All of those things deserved my time. All of those accomplishments, milestones, and hardships warranted my focused attention. And they didn't get much. 

I am okay with failing at the cleaning, the baking, the reading, the laundry, the staying current on things. I am not okay with failing them- the ones I love the best. 

Most days I feel like balance is a myth. An unattainable standard by which we moms measure ourselves. Because, how can you possibly? How are we to do it all, and be it all, well?

And to top it all off, it is Christmastime. I should not be focused on things, but on Him. Am I living a life that pleases Him? Am I bringing glory to Him with the things that I am doing?

Not now, I am not. 

Because too much equals stress, and stress equates to shortened-patience, a raised-voice, and a not-very-fun Shannon.

(that was a pretty rotten look in the mirror, right there. deep breath.)

These things just steal my focus. The cloud my heart and they allow the unimportant to sneak in and grab hold. I got caught up in silly things, feeling pretty certain that they mattered, when they did not. 

Instead of scrubbing base boards, painting, magic erasing, boxing up, divvying out, buying, cooking, sweeping, stressing over a dress for the Christmas party or what kind of cookies I should make for the cookie trays, I should have just stopped.

Stopped and celebrated Jack's potty accomplishments, Kaiti's wonderful progress in her writing, Eve's grasp of new words and phrases. Celebrated the pregnancy of one of my favorite friends (who just got word that the celebration will be a pink one!!!!), celebrated the safe return of a friend from Iraq, who will celebrate Christmas with his family- something that just a month or so ago was in question. 

Stopped to sit and talk with my Tyler, to reassure him, comfort him, let him go through it all, with me at his side. Stopped to sit and let sink the emotion that the impending goodbye is loaded with, for him, my other children and myself. Stop and acknowledge that I cannot breeze through goodbyes with such amazing friends who have lifted me up, made me laugh, and jump-started my car these past 8 years. 

I need to slow myself. Because I don't want to miss a thing. 
(wow, I just worked an aerosmith lyric into what was turning out to be a pretty somber post.)

The best way I know how to get to goodness, to reshift my focus, and to drowned out the unnecessary is to just quit running and really be with my kids and my husband. No running around town, no planning or committing to eight thousand things, no cell phone, no tv. 

So that is where I am at now. Blogging it out because this is how I process. 

I am really tempted to wrap this up with another lyric from that plump-mouthed man and his band, but my gut tells me only one aerosmith lyric per post. So I'll go with that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

making a list (or fifty) and checking off two

It has been a frenzied week and I have some wonderful things to share. I was going to say that our days have been so frenzied, I haven't had time to catch my breath, which is definitely what it feels like, but I am sitting here blogging. So it can't be that nutty, right?

We got a call from LMH in Norfolk last Friday and they have a home for us! Yay! It was my husband's first choice, my 2nd or 3rd or 4th. It is very, VERY small. But it feeds a wonderful school (the best of all of our options), is less than a half mile to my husband's squadron (which means saving $$ on gas, zero commute time, and frequent lunch dates), and is safely inside the gates of the base. Also, there are only 10 homes, all of which are historic brick town homes. The insides have been renovated- granite/stainless steel, ceiling fans, new carpet- but you cannot change anything in order to preserve the original condition. So that's neat. There is a little park at the end of our block (and since there are only 10 town homes, it is a small block and a not busy park). The homes rest under the canopy of beautiful old trees and are backed by a fence and a river. The location is removed from so much of the base busyness and it's a quiet little spot. All things that make me happy. But it's a shoebox. A cute one, but still a shoebox. So we are downsizing.

We have been going through things like crazy, making garage sale piles, goodwill piles, and trash piles. Jeremiah has painted 90% of our walls back to white. BLAH!!! He agreed. I kept hearing him mumble how boring white was as he was rolling on coat after coat. We have been cleaning like crazy. We are listing our house for rent this week, so we need to get it super duper clean so it is ready for pictures and ready to show. If you want to stop by, please do, and know this is what my house ALWAYS looks like.


I've made about fifty lists of things to be done. Christmas lists, project/craft lists, cleaning lists, moving lists. lists, lists, lists. The next month is going to be cuh-cuh-cuh-cuh-raZZZYYY!


I got accepted to grad school. I am going to start in January. Definitely going to be a challenge, but I tend to do best in these situations. Hoping that is still the case. So in January we will say goodbye to our friends and home in Jax, hello to our new home in Norfolk, hello to our kids new school, hello to grad school, and goodbye to my husband. wow. Typing that just made me hands start to sweat. I better go get a washcloth.

I'm back.

Okay, I need to go and cross something off the list before I have to pick the kids up from school. I still have to get presents for baby girl, one for Kaiti, and one for Jack. Tyler is done. And my husband's gift won't be purchased until I get my special paycheck. Does anyone have any great husband gift ideas by the way? He always tells me not get anything and refuses to give me ideas. I really want to get him an ocean fish in kayak, but they are around $600 and I don't have that to spend right now.

I'll leave you with a picture from our recent session with Mason Fotographie! Happy Tuesday friends.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

vocabulary lesson

irony- driving across town to the Navy Exchange to get a little portable potty to keep in the car for emergencies, only to leave the store and get stuck in standstill traffic (Vice President Biden was visiting Mayport today, and his motorcade caused traffic in all directions to halt). I wound up being super late and had to pull over on the side of the road and open the little potty so Jack could attempt to go potty on the side of the road.

-there's no picture for this vocabulary word- I was too busy trying to make sure pee didn't go everywhere in the back of the car-

grateful- after entering Jeremiah in a Military Appreciation contest hosted by Dell months back, he received an email a few weeks ago stating that HE WON (!!!!) and he could choose a computer that he wanted from one of 4 fun options! It arrived and it is awesome! It's a Dell Inspiron One Touch computer. It takes up very little space- as in I have moved it easily from the kitchen counter to the dining room table to the coffee table to the dining room table. The touch feature allows even Jack to play games on learning sites and have fun, and watching movies and listening to music on it is neato. I'm still a mac girl, but this computer is super duper and awesome for our family!

-look at her! she's a sight to behold! much thanks DELL!!-

blessed- sitting on the couch with my little girl on my lap listening to Christmas music and watching as my husband merged together two sets of stocking to hang six from our mantle. Or we could just keep our two sets and hope for 2 more people to hang stockings for :)

-clearly I need to put some of my pins into action because my mantle looks pretty weak-

amazed- I am the queen of over anticipation. every time. I don't know why, but despite being proven otherwise, I still always think things will be worse/harder/more stressful/scarier than they really are. like potty training. it is a huge commitment and as much as I believe the kiddo has to be ready, so does the mama. and I dread it because while Tyler was a breeze to potty train, Kaiti was NOT. so I assumed Jack would be tough, too. but wouldn't you know it, this little guy is just chock-full of surprises. (how do I not know this, as well?!?!?) he has been wonderful, and we are on a full week of underpants and only a few accidents...the majority of which were not his fault, because we were driving. (see also: irony)

-on a lunch/park date with my husband and jack announced he needed to POOP! I heart parks with potties!-

ready- after wondering for the past few years about whether the timing was right and what I really wanted to do with myself, I decided to take the plunge. I applied for graduate school to get my MBA with a marketing concentration and hope to start in January, as in, 23 days from now. yowza! (that's what my mom would have said!) if I work my fanny off, by this time next year, I will have my MBA, and will be all set to start doing something I've been thinking about for a while!

-I just wanted something to fill up all my excess free time. heh heh heh-

lucky- I misplaced my glasses a few weeks ago. as the lens shop lady put it, I lost my "fancy going out glasses". -since I skipped my eye appts while Jeremiah was gone AND broke my glasses and did not replace them, my vision got worse after 8 months of reading/working with no glasses. so now I am supposed to wear them all the time. like a constant four-eyes. it doesn't count as name-calling if you are talking about yourself, right?- anyway. my all the time glasses. I got two pairs- one was on sale, and the other set of frames I really liked but they were coach and cost triple what I wanted to spend. I actually said to the lady at the frames shop, "what could I get for about twenty?". I do that a lot actually. but then my husband said I had the hot librarian thing going on, so of course I bought fifteen pairs. or just one. and of course, the glasses that I lost: the FANCY NANCY going out ones that cost me 3 toes and a knee (because arm and a leg are so overused). but just yesterday I asked my husband to hop out a place we had lunch at the day I lost them, and WHADDAYAKNOW? He comes walking out with my fancy schmancy glasses in his hand. LUCKY DUCK Shannon! that's what you can call me now. that, or Elle MacPherson. people call me that all the time, too.

-that Elle MacPherson can be soooooo dorky! also, someone needs to tell her that the orange instagram filter isn't doing her any favors. that, or eat less carrots.-

Monday, December 5, 2011

Not Me Monday!

It's Not Me Monday time! Where I get to share all the things that did not happen in my week, all the things that I did not say or did not do.

Because I've got it together. And ALL of my ducks are in a row. But you already knew that.

Who completely laughed (very much out loud) when she saw a perfectly put-together, furry-vest wearing,  ice-skating mother try to do an eloquent spin at the ice rink and totally fall on her butt? NOT ME! I would never........

Who kept calling a friend's husband the wrong name, even after being corrected several times? At the bowling alley with friends, who kept calling someone J.R. even though she had been corrected by her husband AND by another firend, and told more than once that it was JUNIOR and not J.R.? I don't know, but it was NOT ME! That would be just a little embarassing......

Oh, and the other day at Publix, who was that woman who dropped her purse upside down when trying to nonchalantly just toss it into the cart? Who was that woman who stood there with her purse contents spilled in the entrance of the store- the woman who turned bright red when she noticed a pair of little boys size 3T Cars underwear laying on the floor of the grocery store for all to see? NOT ME!!!! But if it was me, I totally would NOT have snatched everything up and then rambled somewhat loudly about potty training a three-year-old to no one in particular, making an even bigger scene. If that HAD happened to me, I would have been way more graceful with the recovery.

You know that not a lot embarasses me, right? It takes a lot. So, if say, I was having a pretty serious conversation with my boss and Jack came running up, screaming "MOMMY WIPE MY BOOTYYYYYYY CAUSE I JUS POOPED!!!!!", I would not have stammered over my words and cut the conversation short. NOT ME!

-----and the grand finale, that happened about a month ago, but I didn't want to share because the woman in question would be so completely mortified!!!! but then said woman may have realized it's too funny not to tell and hopes you won't think she's just a terrible excuse for a parent---


While PG-cuddling with my husband on our bed one afternoon, I remembered something I had to tell him. I sat up, with my rear sitting on his thighs, and he was laying down beneath me, listening to me. So I'm talking and my husband, who is always very mature and appropriate and aware, and, my very mature and appropriate husband DID NOT try to be funny and bounce his hips up and down with me straddling his lap (before you ship us off to adult boarding school, we were FULLY CLOTHED), and since that DID NOT happen, there was no reason for me to laugh and tell him to cut it out. And you know what really DID NOT happen? My son sure as day DID NOT come around the corner into our room right at the moment, bust in the door, eyes growing as large as saucers, taking in all of this fully-clothed inappropriate cuddling (???) and shout out "MOMMY! You're riding Daddy like a HIPPITY HOP!!!"

Because, folks, if that HAD happened, I would have dropped dead right there on my husband.

I think I've shared enough for today.

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

Friday, December 2, 2011

InstaFriday (I made it!)

Here is our week (or two) in instagram photos. The commentary is a clockwise one :)

-Rainbow Cupcakes
-Chic Fil A Birthday lunch with his class (and a sneaky 1st grader who ditched her friends for a cupcake)
-Football cupcakes with sprinkles? Totally.


-Thanksgiving dinner, Evie style
-anniversary night, but two people snuck in between our cuddling
-a condo if my mom's ice cream pie and a pinterest version and asti. good times.


-bacon for spaghetti carbonara. my friend michele's mom made this for us a gajillion years ago and it is still a remembered favorite.
-Kaiti with some tea party loot she scored at Emma's birthday party
-gifts of thanks for teachers and school staff
-I achieved it. gold status. some might say that's a problem. I don't say that.


-Tyler was the Student of the Month! Yay Tyler!
-looks like Everleigh got my hair gene. poor thing.
-My husband getting our house rent-ready. apparently pink and white stripes are not "neutral". bummer :(

-perfect late fall morning at the park with my littlest ones-

-the force is with them
-my other daughter got my fun-socks gene. and that makes me happy.
-bought canned pumpkin for pies, but no one likes pumpkin pie in this house. they sure do love some pumpkin cupcakes though!

Linking up with Insta Friday over here:

life rearranged

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

a whole lot of nothing.

right now, I have 2 babies dancing on my bed, a husband and a son playing star wars, and a daughter in the bathroom singing to herself.


we pushed aside furniture tonight to clean the floors. not really anything all that unusual, but for the first time I noticed the incredible amount of space available.....with our dining room table shoved up against the window. and I thought how neat it would be to have that much free space in our house, around the table. and then my heart flipped it, and reminded me how sweet it is to have a house filled with little feet, little laughs, and little tater tot-grabbing fingers.

which is what we ate tonight. I was going to make a pinned meal but when I saw that I could do it in the crockpot with virtually no work except dumping things in, I opted for hot dogs, tater tots, and left over chicken. saving the crockpot soup for friday.

speaking of the crockpot, I better hurry up and type because my in-my-head timer is going to beep in 23 minutes-- the time I need to get the slow cooker breakfast going so we can have something yummy to eat in the morning. I am giving the cake flour and PWs perfect pancakes a day off. (oh, but they are perfect. and is it legal to add 1/18th teaspoon more of vanilla to the recipe and proclaim it your own to your children? I am the hero of the pancake, the inventor of tamazing fluffiness, according to them, and don't you dare tell them differently, okay?)

have you seen Ice Age? Jack has. that part in the movie where the tiger plays peekaboo with the baby and ends up scaring the baby into tears. apparently, jack connected with that scene. every day he walks up to evie and does this deep, growly voice "where's the bay-beeeeeeeeee, where's the bay-beeeee? there HE is!" it cracks us all up. because one, the voice. and two, the "he". especially since we have told jack that evie is a she seventeenhudnredthousandandeight times.

my home smells deliciously pumpkiny right now. but not because I am baking. being the only pumpkin pie fan in da house (I hope you read that like I wanted it to sound- if it helps, I had one arm up while typing), there's no sense in making a whole pie. although, my husband is the only fan of chocolate pie in da house, and that doesn't stop him from making a chocolate pie. but anyway. the smell is coming from my yummy candles I ordered from my friend Lauren. you should go order some ginger pumpkin candles and fill up your home with goodness.

did you notice my little blog makeover? Becca got exactly what I tried to explain with words perfectly! If you
are looking for a designer, Becca's your girl! Go check out her site. She does blog designs, and so much more!

evie is down to one binkie. (my computer just converted binkie to pinkie and had I not caught that, y'all would have had an awful visual) BINKIE. she has just one left. not sure I want to go binkie free just yet. and this girl loves that thing. she's like a little bunny. just yesterday a woman stopped us and said "well look at her sucking on that thing. sorta reminds you of that marge simpson."

image found here
Marge? whaaaa????

I'm 95% sure she meant her:

image found here

tomorrow marks 10 years of marriage for Jeremiah and I. TEN YEARS. a decade of loving on and living with this man = a very meaningful THANKSgiving. we are going to celebrate our anniversary on another night because for some reason, we could not find anyone to watch our little people tomorrow evening :)

and now my little marge simpson is pushing my laptop off my thighs so she can get some love. totally worth bailing for.

Happy {early} Thanksgiving friends! 

*yall know I think a post without pictures is like a stewardess flight attendant without nuts. like a baby without cankles. like a leprechaun without his bike. like clipping my kids fingernails without getting an eye injury. tmi again? they JUST GO together. so, just in case marge and maggie weren't  enough, here's a few pictures that have nothing do with any of my words. 


Saturday, November 19, 2011

not nice

I am writing tonight because I’ve got to get something out. It’s a little thing that has sort of manifested in to something  big- at least, bigger than I can sort through without typing it out. So here I am, with my typing fingers on.
I don’t know how else to say this,  but just to say it out.

I got really ticked off at a kid today.

It has been brewing for some time, but today it festered in my belly enough to get me writing it out. A few weeks back I kinda caught the end of an exchange between my child and another child. I overheard a little something that just kind of left me bummed out. That’s best way to put it.

My child had sort of reached out in a very small way and said something and this other child totally blew my child off. It was by “chance” that I heard the brief exchange, but it got me in the gut. Mostly because I saw all over my child’s face the sting of what the other child said.

I don’t want to go into details, but it was pretty minor- like a hey, that was pretty cool what you just did (my child just looking to make a friend) and the response was a ‘whatever’, combined with an obvious eye rolling.

It was maybe 5 seconds long, and barely a blip on the radar. Except for my child’s face.. I tell you, as a mama, it made me sad. I brushed it off – it really was super brief- and didn’t want to place a lot of weight on it. Sometimes kids are just in foul moods and like us adults, it can rub off on others the wrong way.

But I made sure to be a little more watchful.

And about a week later, I saw practically the same situation unfold again, where my child asked if they could join in on something and the other child turned his back and walked away. I had to bite hard on my tongue to not say “hey kid, that is all kinds of not nice!!!!” because I wanted to let my child sort through it. I am still finding my way here, and this was new territory so I was trying to not make it a big deal. Because I am sure this kind of thing happens more often than I’d like to think. But you see, all my eyes were filled with was the sad all over my child’s face.

Then  today. Same two children. My child calls out the other child’s name, one, two, three times, and is making an effort to say goodbye to him. My child is not even two feet from the other child and is yelling the kid’s name. The kid, finally looks over straight in the eye at my child who is smiling and waving goodbye, then the other child gives him this “why in the flip are you trying to talk to ME?” look.

My child was in front of me, so I didn’t get to see the reaction. But I could feel it. My child didn’t say anything the way home and was real quiet in the car. After we got home and settled in, I went to my child.

Again, I am not really sure what I am supposed to do here. So I sort of just followed my heart. I said I was sorry that some people are not nice, and I said how proud I was of my child, to keep trying to be polite and kind to someone even when they weren’t very kind in return . And then we talked about what to would do if we saw that happen to someone else, saw another friend be ignored and treated not nicely, and  how we come alongside a friend in that situation and be kind enough for both kids combined.

I also said some things that made my stomach curdle just to say. (because my kids are pretty young and I didn’t want to get in to the, ‘some people are just jerks’ talk quite so soon.) That sometimes we run in to people who just don’t want to be friends with us. For whatever reason. And it’s a bummer because those people are missing out on some silly, fun, awesomeness that they won’t get to be a part of when they close the door on that friendship. But that is each person’s choice- we just need to not let that person’s choice bring us down.

If you’ve even made it this far into this , I want to say—I know the whole thing sounds minor and like nothing. And reading it here, it does to me, too. But then. I am the mama, and I saw the sad face. I saw a child just wanting to make a friend, and being brushed off and ignored. And hurt.  This was a first for us.

It got me thinking about a lot. And I guess that is the blessing in this.

What if when I am not looking, that is my child doing that to another? What if my child is the one doling out his friendship like it’s some prized possession? What if when I am not looking or not aware, my child makes another little kid sad?

-Can I also say here, I am not thinking my children are exempt from any of this. I just watched as my child was on the receiving end. I know my children are not perfect…..I know them more than anyone else here on earth and I am not so high on my mama-pride to think that I’ve done such a good job at parenting to make sure they’d never treat people in an unkind way. It makes me just as sour in the belly to think of the fact that my child might have done to this another child at some point. -

I may be over dramatizing here, but it really feels like this is the kind of thing that gets bullying as far as it does. I don’t think kids become bullies over night. I think little things happen and they continue to happen, because nothing is done. (which very much made me question whether or not I should have said something here.)

I’m not trying to vilify this other child. Because it could be any kid, really. We’d all like to think our child would NEVER, but I bet you my fuzzy ugg boots that this kid’s mama would be saying her child would NEVER, too.
I am not sure what to think in all this. I know we don’t have to be friends with everyone. But I think we do have to be kind to them. We don’t have to make our kids play with everyone, invite everyone to their party, and hug or high-five every child. But I think we do need to teach them to at least acknowledge them, maybe even smile and say hi to them.

I don’t get it. And I’m going to say something that might tick some people off, but it’s the truth……the kids that I have seen not being kind to others….so many of them come from “good homes.” Where the kids go to church on Sundays, and Wednesdays, too. They say yes ma’am and no sir, and please and thank you. I am saying that because I sometimes wonder if people think doing these “good” things is enough to immunize their child to this type of excluding behavior.

It’s like we focus so much on their manners and being respectable, that we sort of brush over their hearts. What if when I was teaching my sons and daughters yes please and no thank you, I tell them why we say that. Yes please is not a two choice option to whether or not you’d like  a glass of water. It’s yes, thank you for getting me some water and taking your time to help me out. It’s no, thank you, I don’t want a piece of gum, but that was nice that you were willing to share with me. If someone is waving to you, it shouldn’t be an obligation or a chore to lift your head and your hand and say hello- it’s a blessing that someone else is happy to see your face. We acknowledge that we see them and we let them know we are happy they are there.

I’m not expecting my child to say all that or do all that on every occasion. But I’d love it if that was the sentiment behind what they said and did. If they were genuine and kind and did not reply with the standard response because their mama’s are within earshot. 

You know what else I’d love? I’d love it if my child remembers this little brush off/ignoring/leaving out thing and how it felt. If my child knows that everyone may not be nice and kind in every moment, but that is no reason to change their own hearts. It stings a little, yep, it does, when someone treats you not nicely. But to be able to still smile at the other person after. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me proud. That is living a life that honors Him.

God does not care if my child brings home all A’s, has the coolest friends in school, or whacks a ball into center field. That is not the kind of stuff that pleases Him. Being kind, caring about someone else, and coming alongside another person. I want my kids to always remember that is what living a Christ-like life is.

But you know what I’d really, really, really love? (besides a pumpkin spice latte in my hand this very moment.) I’d love it if just maybe you made it this far into my post and maybe my words spark a conversation with your child.  That maybe you insert your child into this story, as either the giver or receiver of this behavior, and you talk about it with your child…..but more than anything else, we just listen. That we don’t praise them for memorizing bible verses but rather we watch as the meaning of these verses sink in. That we do our best to show them that being good doesn’t just mean being mannerful and following the rules….it means giving people the best pieces of our hearts and handing out love and kindness instead of snarky looks and cold shoulders. I am reminded of a passage from Matthew, and I think it is a wonderful one to talk about here. (and so many other places)

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40

Monday, November 14, 2011

Old Glory

Last Thursday was the Flag Retirement Ceremony at my kids school. The retired the flag that had been flying for the past five years, since the school's opening, and replaced it with a new one. 

To commemorate the occasion, a Color Guard from the Navy assisted in the taking down, while students sang patriotic songs, and Tyler's class read aloud the book of the month: America's White Table.  The story is touching and is told in a way that younger children can understand some of the sacrifice that our military make. All of this obviously coincided with Veteran's Day. 

A note was sent home a couple weeks ago asking any active duty military parents to come dressed in uniform, and since Tyler had a speaking part, it was even more special that Jeremiah was able to attend. You guys......he never gets to attend anything! Anything!!! He has missed all of the student of the month celebrations where one of his kid's was honored, he has missed all quarterly classroom awards and honor roll ribbons, and holiday parties and fun runs and everything else you can think of. Since my kids have been at elementary school, he has been either deployed or to busy to be allowed a little time away to be at any school function. 

But he made this!

Here are some pictures of the event. I was really impressed. One of my favorite sounds is hearing children sing together, and listening to the precious littles voices singing our Nations's anthem gave me soft chills.



And then the book. Just trust me on this, you should read it. Especially if you are a military family. Most of the children who read an excerpt from the story were military children. In one particular part, tears filled my eyes.


"We push an empty chair to the table for the missing soldiers who are not here....."

The little boy who read that part had no Daddy to stand behind him, because his Daddy is serving in Iraq. I think people sometimes overlook the fact that their are families left behind. More importantly, there are children who are without their mommy or daddy. 



I was so happy that Jeremiah was able to be standing there behind our first little love. But a part of me was heavy with sadness for the little boy who was without a daddy that day.



"That piece of red, white and blue bunting means five thousand years of struggle upwards.  It is the full-grown flower of ages of fighting for liberty.  It is the century plant of human hope in bloom." ~Alvin Owsley

Insta Fri---err, Monday?


I told you a couple weeks ago, didn't I?

I am always just a little bit (okay, A LOT) late to the party.

No matter. I'm partying anyway. So my Insta Friday is just one, two, three days late. My husband doesn't believe in being late. I sometimes wonder if he married the wrong girl. Oh, and this week's excuse for tardiness is the usual (I get side-tracked, I'm not the best at time-management, I have kids, and someone always needs to be changed just as we are on our way out the door), and add in the pre-moving activity of painting the whole darn house. So that is sort of justified, right?


~clockwise from the Clone Trooper~
1-An unexpected Intergalactic trooper sent to oversee the cross walk (fine. and promote the book fair. but mainly to watch over the cross walk.)
2- hide your tooth brushes folks, there's an obsessive cleaner in the mix
3- 4 kids and 2 parents later, our Geo Trax are still going strong
4- apparently, even backs and necks have limits. when I quietly wish for a tiny wee little bit of time to myself, I don't mean this kind of time to myself.


-I get to keep her. that's fun.

1- Doing some fixing up around this joint and this made me wish we didn't have doors. until a mosquito bit me.
2- Spoonfuls of everyones fro yo and walking with her daddy. Doesn't get much better than that, according to Evie.
3- The preparations have begun. And now that it's all spiffy, I don't want to leave.

1- I love walking in a room to see this. Like instant deep sigh.
2- And I love this, too. Him, more than anything.
3- Tried Sherri's sock buns. I probably did it wrong, but it made my hair even larger than normal. which, as you have probably already guessed, is ALL KINDS OF HOTNESS!

1- Good friends + funny conversations + campfire + loads of kids running wild = another something I will miss
2- Her "I was just sorta naughty, but it's okay when you're little and cute, right?" face.
3- I like that I live in a place where stop lights (or go lights, in this case) hang on wires. -for the safety patrol, I was a passenger, not the driver


Happy Insta (fill in the blank)________day!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jack's Grand Slam Party!

I opened this up to get my writing on and noticed that this is my 250th post! Oh my wow! It's a sweet coincidence
that this post is about Jack's 3rd birthday party, considering I started a blog to share what was on my heart and mind as  we learned more about Jack's genetic condition.

You know that old saying "It never takes up as much space on paper as it does in your head".....well, I started writing here to test that theory. And almost 2 and a half year laters, all I can say is- WORD.

Back to the here and now.

Jack's birthday party was on his actual birthday this year, which was a Friday evening. I was worried because we had rain and thunder in our forecast, and Jack's party was at Kavanaugh Park on the base. I didn't really have a back-up plan, except maybe huddling under the covered area and stuffing our faces with cake. Which, now that I think about it, it's too bad it didn't sprinkle for at least a little bit.

This was one of my favorite birthday parties. It was pretty low key, we had great company, there was room for the kids to run and play and get their crazies out, but most importantly- my husband was right by my side! Yippy for husband's being home!

Jack wanted his party to be about baseball and firetrucks. We flipped a coin and baseball won. Except not. I chose baseball because I thought I could get away with buying the least amount of things. We had a bouncy house, which has nothing to do with baseball at all. But he is three and he really, really, really wanted a "bou-see hass".

To all who came out to celebrate our little guy-- thank you!!! We had a blast and we love how our friends love on our kiddos. I am blessed with friends who come early to set up, arrange gummy cups in the shape of a "J", and stay well into mosquito witching hour to help us clean up. Thank you friends-- y'all are the BEST!

The lowdown on the party stuff is below all the pictures!


His big birthday present was his big boy set of wheels! He loves his bike! I think it's the first big thing he has gotten that is all his own! He put on his big brother's old Tow Mater helmet but decided he needs a new one because it messes up his 'do.


Evie was a little ticked that she was the only one without a ride. So she let me know it.


See. This is her "Not impressed, people" face. (Sidenote: do you know how thrilled I was that I gathered enough hair to hold a clip AND she left it in for more than three minutes?!?!)


This was what we served all the babies. And those straws just make me so happy.


Guess what was in these bags? I'll give you 3 chances.


These adorable striped bags had peanuts. They were perfect!


Oh gosh, could you just die from the cute? Those little striped cups!! OH gosh!! And one of my sweet friends took it upon herself to arrange these in a "J". I love having friends that think of things like that!


Cracker JACKs (hehehe) for everyone and paper sack goodie bags. You can read below where I downloaded the template for the baseball circles from.


The boy bags had Cracker JACKs (am I the only one getting a kick out of that?), a pack of Topps baseball cards, Fun Dip, and some other little goodies. The girls had Cracker JACKs, Lip Smackers, mini nail polish, and other goodies. And for the babies, it was Teddy Grahams and Buddy Fruits.


The cake, from Publix, adorned with a Braves baseball, of course, because that is his big brother's team!


I don't know who those hooligans are up on top of that little bus. Another child, that will remain anonymous, was at least wise enough to jump when he saw the lady with the camera coming.


This is so them. Tyler, carefully making his way down one step at a time and asking if he was good. And then Kaiti, who, in her flimsy little flip flops, just jumped right off when I told them to get down.


A bou-see hass, A BOU-SEE HASS!!!


Lexy went in to jump with Jack so he wouldn't be alone.


Sweet girl!


And where Lexy went, Kaiti followed!


Okay, so I may have put my camera down for the bulk of the party. Meaning all of it. And then I remembered it when it was time to open presents. It was also pretty dark by then, so the pictures I got are a little ehhhhhh.


He had so much fun!!!!


Look at the curls! Love these kiddos!


Straws, striped bags, and striped cups from Shop Sweet Lulu!

Bounce House reserved from MWR Mayport.

Popcorn Bags, table cloths, cups from The Dollar Tree.

Baseball Birthday Circles on Treat Bags can be found HERE!

I used the Lomo and Vivid 2 actions for photos from The Coffee Shop Blog (awesome site!!!!)


Needless to say, this little boy had a Grand Slam Birthday. (it ain't easy being cheesy folks.)

Thanks to all who came out and loved on our Jack! We had a wonderful time and realized driving away how much we are going to miss this place!

Elyse, Sarah, and Wendy-- you girls are awesome for helping me get everything going! And Dan and Al are pretty awesome for staying to help us take everything down, too!

And for anyone who thinks I am a have-it-together mom, here you go......

What kind of woman forgets candles for her son's birthday cake?!?!?

NOT ME!!!!


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