Monday, October 20, 2014

celebrating royalty

My youngest baby isn't much of a baby anymore.  Miss Kendi Hope turned 4 years old last weekend!

She is a self-proclaimed princess, which I believe suits her just fine.

She lives big...and loud!! :o)

She loves even bigger . . .

Like many little girls, she is all about Frozen, so she was quite giddy about getting Frozen undies!

The Queen Elsa doll that sings the theme song from Frozen was also a hit.

She only had one birthday request, & that was for an Elsa dress AND an Anna dress, because she couldn't be Elsa without her sister, Anna (which is always played by Kemeri)!!

This was by far the favorite gift, & right after this moment, she promptly handed Kemeri the Anna dress.  Like I said, she loves big.

Reese cupcakes were the requested birthday treat.

My precious Kendi Hope, you are beautiful inside & out.  We love your sweet, sassy spirit with all our hearts & are blessed by your wonderful self!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

happy places

There is just something about being outdoors.  Being outdoors with children is even more wonderful.  We have a nice trail nearby that goes through the woods & then empties out onto a grassy field with a paved trail around the perimeter.  We have been intentional about getting outside to enjoy this beautiful fall weather.  It's good for the soul.
On another afternoon, I took the two littlest girls back while the others were in school.  They each had a baggie for collecting treasures.  Being in the woods ranks right up there with being near the ocean.  It just feels good.
Thankful for the peaceful moments spent with family.

Monday, September 15, 2014

we can still wing it

Joe reminded me yesterday that sometimes the spontaneous plans can be the most fun, so we took advantage of a beautiful day & headed to the zoo.  It seemed a bit crazy b/c we didn't have much time, but we did it anyway.  I'm ever so glad we did!  The big boys even came along, and we were able to visit the new "Africa" section of the zoo along with a few other favorite things along the walk back to that area.
We just happened to arrive just in time to feed the giraffes & see them up close & personal.  So fun!
You'll note Kaya is M.I.A. in the next picture & looking like an angry photo-bomber in the one after.  You'll have days like that!  It's funny b/c we've learned to embrace those moments (& find the humor when you happen to capture them in a picture).  Add one to the classics!
Sweet girl has a special love for her brother.  Fun day, & now we're on to Monday. :o)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I heard you

Raising children is hard sometimes.  Raising children that come from a rough start that didn't include you for the first 4.5 years of their life is hard a lot of the time.  I've mentioned before that I always want to be real on my blog while also protecting my children.  But I want to be honest about the realities for those considering adoption.  Or just parenting in general!! Most things worthwhile take huge emotional investment, most especially when raising kiddos.
K'Tyo settled into life in our family with relative ease.  Over the last couple of years, though, we have begun to have to address and work through some academic and behavioral things.  Some days I struggle because I feel like every interaction with my son is corrective in nature.
Enter soccer.  K'Tyo asked to try soccer this year instead of playing flag football like he has chosen the last couple of years.  Before the first practice, I had a chat with him about really focusing on what his coach was saying so that he could learn this game that a lot of the other kids have already played a couple of seasons.  I was thrilled to see him during the first practice (& every practice after) tuned in and putting forth a great effort to do the things as they were being taught.  Even better, I could praise him for that!!  Praise can be such an amazing connector.  I try to notice every positive thing aside from scoring because I don't want him to ever feel like praise is strictly athletic performance-based. That may sound funny, but one thing I've learned is that when a child has lived in survival mode, they learn quickly how to get the attention & approval of others by putting on a "show". I want him to know his life isn't a's a series of opportunities to learn, grow, try, fail, try again, & ultimately be motivated by the desire to do the right thing in every opportunity.  We all get moments to shine, but let that be the by-product and not the goal.
This past Saturday was K'Tyo's first soccer game.  Turns out he has some potential in this sport.  His coach made him the captain for this contest, he scored 2 goals at forward, & had 3 saves (allowed no scores) as goalie.  It was very exciting, & K'Tyo had one of those days where all the hard work gave him that opportunity to shine!  When it was over & we were walking to the car, K'Tyo looked at me & said, "I heard you.  You were cheering for me."  He heard me.  Not all the other parents (and believe me, I was not the loudest one!!).  MeHis mom.
I am thankful for the moments that take my breath away and remind me that traveling the tough road is worth it.  I get to be his mom. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

the mister is a doctor {& other fun things}

Yes, indeed, the Mister is a Doctor.  It's done, final, over...Whew!!!  To be honest, it's been the strangest thing to have something be such a demanding focus for what seemed like forever 4 long years & then it's just done.  We are trying to find our way back to what "normal" is.  For instance, we took the kids to the school playground the other night.  It was bliss, I tell ya!  We just sat there & enjoyed talking & watching them run around instead of me watching & Joe reading, studying, or just not being there at all.  Anyway, what next?  I'm not sure.  We are asking God what it is He wants us to do with this degree/extra education.  We shall see!  I think there's a picture of Joe down below cap & gown yet since they only do that once a year in the spring.
At any rate, we had some fun tagging along with Daddy to a conference he was presenting for in Nashville.
Kaya is officially a swimmer!!
We had a rainy day while we were there & the resort was right by an amazing outlet mall (I seriously want one of these close by...they actually have outlet-type prices!!)  We decided to get the back-to-school shoes taken care of.  Well, if you thought Miss Kendi had some spunk before, check her out when you add Converse!
And then there were cupcakes. :o)
Ok, and this?  You guys, our little people are HUGE fans of sushi.  It was all I could do to get a few pieces from this platter (Joe doesn't eat it).
After we got home from Nashville, Joe & I did something we haven't done since before the little ones came along.  We took a little trip without them.  The two littlest stayed with Kaelee & Kaya & K'Tyo stayed with Grandma & Grandpa.  They had a great time, & so did we!!  We took Kade & two of his friends to Florida for a football camp.  It was a whirlwind trip, but with a stop on each side of the camp to stay the night at Kearsten's & the camp being awesome, it was totally worth it!  Not to mention I got to hang out with my husband without any bit of school work to do. :o)
I had so much fun with all these guys.  Really, you haven't lived until you've been in a vehicle with 3 teenage dudes (& one grown dude) for an extended period of time.  Laughter is good for the soul, no?
Me & My Kearsten Lindy
Ha, finally a picture of Dr. Joe in the midst of everybody else lol
Being on the beach in the morning has to be one of my favorite things.  God's beauty & greatness never ceases to overwhelm me when standing at the edge of the ocean.  As the summer winds down & we embark on another school year, I am thankful.