September 28, 2011

Fall Has Arrived

I know I have posts every year extolling the virtues of fall, talking about how much I love the fall, and showing dozens of pictures of fall adventures. This year will be no different. We started a bit late, however, because we were sick the week that fall started!

On Sunday, the cousins came down for church and an afternoon at Triple F! The big highlight of the day was seeing the elephant that they have there every fall on Sunday afternoons (that we've always somehow managed to miss seeing). The best part about Triple F? You can enjoy a whole afternoon for free! Granted, there is a lot of fun stuff to do that requires money (elephant & pony rides, carriage ride, corn maze, etc.), but if you don't want to spend money, you don't have to :)
Looking at the ponies.
They had the pumpkins lined my children, of course, had to run through them. This entertained them the longest of anything!
Look at his face! So intense. He kept saying, "I go so, so, so fast!"
Pausing for a quick hug.
Baby D decided to get in on the action.
I wanted a picture of them on the hay with the pumpkins. Allie decided to add her own comedic spin...
Ryan quickly followed suit!
They have this great store full of beautiful items - new, antique, and classic. I LOVE this shop (although, I never buy anything...I want everything...). And I don't just love this shop because it is connected to the candy shop and BAKERY! It smells so good in there. SO good.
Ryan playing with an antique cash register.
They have a beautiful porch with a seating area and a porch swing that the kids loved.
Ryan pushing the girls.
Allie giving Ryan a turn.
Of course, the main attraction was the elephant (which we went over to see a few times). Once rides were over and it was time to pack up, her owner kept her busy by feeding her snacks. You can't see it in this picture, but they were feeding her whole watermelons. She would pop them in her mouth and eat them like they were grapes! She also ate a whole pumpkin in about 3 bites. Every now and then, for the enjoyment of the (small) crowd, they would have her trumpet!
"That elephant is loooouuuud!"
We had so much fun on our first fall adventure with our cousins! We're looking forward to many more!
P.S. In case you missed it in the assortment of links that look back to the past above, you can see the cousins last trip to Triple F HERE. We were waiting for Baby D to be born :)

September 26, 2011


Last week, a friend let us know that it was time once again for the local homecoming parade. We went last year, and had a blast, but the kiddos were sick last week and we didn't know if we would end up making it. Fast forward to Friday 4:23 pm. Lucas calls to ask if we are still going to the parade (it starts at 5:00). We were enjoying our first day with everyone finally feeling better (and by enjoying, I mean we were all having a lazy day in our pajamas because we finally felt good enough to enjoy it!). But we had so much fun last year... 17 minutes later we were all dressed, Lucas was home from work, and we were running out the door. 22 minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot to meet up with all our friends. We made it with time to spare! I've never dressed us all that quickly!
Picking up candy - this parade had GOOD candy, and tons of it! We ended up with more than we have collected from any other parade we have attended!
Our friend, B, was in the parade, and he was so excited to throw candy to us!
It wasn't long before Ryan just wanted to eat his candy (note: he picked the most random piece of candy of them all to want!)
Allie - who had already been a little street cleaner with the candy and collected tons - started to see if her generous friends wanted to give her more!
The twins' favorite part of the parade (besides the candy) were the fire trucks! I didn't keep an exact count, but I feel confident there were about a dozen rescue vehicles! They were half the parade!

Collecting their plunder. Daddy was so proud!
We ended the evening with dinner out with friends (totally spur of the moment), and then the guys took the kids home for the moms to have a spur-of-the-moment girls night out! So glad we got dressed, it turned out to be such a great evening!

September 23, 2011


You might have noticed lately that I've let Ryan's hair get pretty long. I just loved those curls! But it was getting to a point where I needed to "style" it for it to look nice...and was occasionally just hiding it with hats...and I knew I needed to give in and cut his hair!
We forgot to take a "before" picture. But this is from the cousin photo shoot...a few weeks before the cut!
The big deal was that I decided to buy a clipper kit (that I spied a while ago and was waiting for it to go on sale!!!). My freshmen year of college I made extra money by cutting guys' hair in my dorm lobby. I ended up giving that kit away when I stopped cutting hair. A bummer since it was definitely better than the one I got. But it suits our needs. The good news is that, even though it had been 9 years since my last hair cut (with clippers...I've cut Ryan's hair a couple times with just scissors), I still remembered how to use it!
Between an Elmo movie & the cool clippers he enjoyed the haircut!
See how much is on the cape?
I also decided that Allie was going to have her first haircut. In general, I haven't felt a need to cut her hair. I love those curls! But, the tangles at the end were starting to get too difficult to comb through, and I thought a trim might solve the problem...
Posing for her "before" picture.
She was great. The cut went fast. She was incredibly thrilled to be getting in on the hair cutting action!
The only problem is that I accidentally cut more than I intended (I was trying to get a decent sample to save...), and I accidentally layered it more than I wanted. I planned the haircut out ahead of time, but got preoccupied with saving hair and my plans totally flew out of my head! The biggest problem being that her sweet curls actually curled up more once they were shorter, and now she has a bob that sticks a little closer to her head...still cute. And it made a huge difference when I comb her hair after a bath/shower - mission accomplished!
The "after" pictures. We forgot to get one of Allie, but she posed for a quick picture as I was writing this post! I've been told that you can't really tell a difference, but if you look up at the other picture you can tell there is some volume gone. I feel like there is a HUGE difference...but I spend a lot more time each day with these curls :)
Ry-guys haircut made the biggest difference though. He immediately looked older. He loves it. For a full 24 hours he giggled every time he looked in the mirror! I can't get over it. I keep touching his hair (or lack thereof), and I'm in awe of how much it changed his appearance. I feel like he officially lost any "baby" look that he had left. If I had known that 10 minutes with the clippers would take my baby away, I probably would have put it off longer!!!
Now Lucas wants to see if I can cut his hair...He's far more picky than the twins, so I'm a little unsure. But, I always hate when he gets a haircut (they cut it too short, I love his curls too!), so I might like the opportunity to have a little more control...and perhaps he will be consider not cutting it so short when he knows he can ask his barber for a trim anytime he wants!

September 13, 2011

A Not-So-Fun First

This morning, Ryan is RUNNING!! He still says his foot hurts, but clearly not enough to keep him down:) YAY!
Today we experienced an unfortunate first. Ryan's first x-rays.
My day started nicely. Lucas let me sleep in. The twins woke me up sweetly. Lucas told me Ryan wouldn't come unless he was carried because he said he hurt his foot. I assumed he stepped on a toy (that's how I regularly hurt MY feet!), and didn't think much of it. It wasn't until after baby music time, an hour later, when he chose to stay in his crib with his books rather than come play with Sis, that I realized I never put him down between me waking up and baby music time. I had no clue what the extent of his injured foot was. It took about 30 seconds for me to figure out. I tried putting him down and he cried and wouldn't put his foot down. When I asked him to take a step, he sweetly did, and fell over, and cried. Lucas and I went over the whole morning, and while he felt there was a specific activity (penguin wrestling) that could have led to an injury, Ryan NEVER cried. And then I had to call the pediatrician and tell them my son wouldn't walk and I didn't know why. I felt like the worst mom ever.
We couldn't get an appointment until the afternoon, so we propped up his foot and let him watch movies. Allie commiserated with him :)
After examining him (throughout which he constantly smiled & never cried, even when we could tell it was hurting), she sent us for x-rays to see if it was a fracture. We headed to the hospital (where employees marveled over my cheerful children, and re-assured me that they see many toddlers with similar injuries who don't cry) for this unfortunate first. Ryan was great. He thought the x-ray machine was so cool. He would hold his leg exactly like the technician told him. She said he was the best kid they had ever. I was so proud. Then she gave him some stickers (including a few for sis)!
He proudly wore all 3 stickers the rest of the day...and asked me to save them on a piece of paper!
Lucas actually needed to do some pastoral visits at the hospital, so the twins and I hung out. We rode the "alligator" - their most favorite adventure thing to do. We checked out EVERY stuffed animal in the gift shop. We bought a couple of the mini-balloons. We hung out in the lobby and cheered up people going by. The twins basically thought they were back at the carnival. I wouldn't have been surprised if Ryan told me that THIS was the best day ever. We know how to do x-rays right!
Hugging their balloons - sunshines & smiley faces...more favorites!

While our hospital visit ended up on a good note - I felt the best possible of all x-ray resulting circumstances - our trip home ventured into the bizarre. Our power was out. And I panicked because the doctor was supposed to call, but our answering machine wasn't working, and I might have missed it, and therefore wouldn't know if my baby was broken until tomorrow (can you hear the hyperventilation I was experiencing?). Then our ancient, corded phone on the wall rang, and it was the doctor, and I was able to relax and focus on finding food for my family!
"I lubs you, Buddy."
She was so good to him all day - picking up toys, giving him the best nap spot, offering hugs.
The x-rays cams back negative. That could mean 2 things: 1) soft tissue injury (deep bruise, slight sprain, etc.) or 2) hairline fracture (which frequently don't show up on initial x-rays). The next 48 hours will tell us which it is. If it is a soft tissue injury, it will be significantly better in 48 hours. If it is a fracture it will be the same/worse. So we wait. He limped around for a few minutes as I was talking on the phone with the doctor and we were ecstatic. Then he returned back to his non-weight bearing status (although significantly more whiny). So we'll see what tomorrow brings!

September 12, 2011

It Makes Me Want to Cry

After the carnival, the twinners wanted to play outside. They were riding bikes in the driveway, Lucas was unloading things from his car. The next thing I know, I turn around to see this:
They snuck in through a door left open, and Ryan was taking them off on an adventure! It totally made me think of This commercial. I snapped a quick picture (with my phone, thus the poor quality), thinking "This is the picture I will post on their 16th birthday!" Then I pictured them sitting in that car as teenagers - excited to enjoy their freedom by driving alone for the first time to hang out with their friends. I know that I will look at them then, thinking of this day, and feel like I just blinked and they were suddenly this old.

Slow down, sweet babies! Don't grow up so fast!

September 11, 2011


Yesterday our church hosted its second annual Community Carnival. You might remember last rained...buckets. This year there was rain in the forecast, but it actually turned out to be the most perfect weather! It was a truly fun day...even better because we got to spend it with many of the people in the community we have come to know through some of these events this past year!

Now...this post could have been titled "Firetrucks & Ambulances" because, to my kids, that was what the carnival was really about. The obsession with all things firetruck related led to us getting a firetruck book on our most recent trip to the library (the most awesome firetruck book I could think of - kids pretending to be fire fighters, real firefighters showing up & letting them explore the fire engine, a quick lesson on what to do in a fire - it has everything!). Daddy told them, after reading the book one night, that they would get to see REAL fire trucks up close on Saturday, and this has been ALL they have talked about the rest of the week. They even woke up Saturday morning saying, "We go see firetrucks now?" So this was, of course, our first stop at the carnival.
Exploring inside.

They could access more places inside the ambulance though (and the paramedic, desiring that they feel excitement and familiarity with the ambulance should they ever have to ride in one, let them explore & push buttons to their hearts content), and Ryan loved to sit in the front and "drive."
Another favorite stop was the balloon animal/face painting tent. I desperately wanted them to get their faces painted (how cute would those pictures have been??!!), but they only wanted balloon animals. They are still loving on their balloon dogs.

They played lots of games...even ones that were too hard for them...but they ended up with almost 50 tickets to split between them for prizes!
Duck pond!

Yes...this fell down with her on it about 3 seconds after I snapped this picture. She was fine. The game completely broke...
Which is why Daddy had to hold it up for Ry-guy here.
Allie getting instructions on how to bowl with a coconut (side note: she listened & it helped!)
There was also a bounce house (which they played in 3 times, but because there were always so many other little kids in there, I didn't climb in to get pictures), and a fun slide/house/climbing wall combo for toddlers that was recently given to our church! We spent plenty of time there :)

And then BACK to the firetruck & ambulance (we went there 3 times!)
We stayed until cleanup (it ended up being about 3 hours!), and the twins clearly thought they were in heaven. Every time I would suggest something new, their eyes would light up and they would give me these looks like they couldn't even believe so much fun could exist in one place. At one point Ryan said, "This is the best day ever" - a phrase he picked up from who knows where...but I think it was true!
Running to the van when it was over with their arms full of prizes :)
SUCH a fun day! Bonus: they slept VERY well last night!

September 07, 2011

Cousin Candids

For a while, we have wanted to get a picture of all of the cousins from Lucas' side together. It isn't like we are incredibly far apart, but somehow it has never worked out. But now one cousin is moving to Texas (insert big sob here), and it became one of those "we-will-do-whatever-we-have-to-do-to-make-this-happen." kind of things. Thankfully, Lucas' sister & Baby Handsome were up for a few days and it ended up not being too difficult to make it work!

Since having kids I have discovered that I kind of hate the perfect, studio pictures of kids. The process of photographing kids can be crazy and frustrating. It is always entertaining. While it is nice to have some of those perfect, beautiful pictures, I enjoy clicking away and capturing (and sharing) some of the not so perfect moments. I've shared them before, and here are some more! The fabulous outtakes from our photo shoot with the cousins this weekend :)
Heading out to the van to go to the park. I couldn't get them to walk in a straight line...the twins just sort of dragged H along...
"We're going to get our pictures taken!"
I thought it would be really cool to climb to the top of the play structure to get a picture of all of the cousins lying down and looking up. It started out ok...
...and then we added in the youngest cousins...still going ok...
...and then it all fell apart. There wasn't a single decent photo from this angle! Fail!
We decided to try a park bench. Once again, we put the oldest 3 on first (since they did the best job of sitting still while we situated the other 2). This time, Ry-guy was not happy to be waiting...
I love Allie's "Blue Steal" look in this picture!
Then we thought the stair steps on the play structure would be a fun place for a picture.
Setting up the picture...
Yay! We're all having SO MUCH FUN!!!
Aaaaaand we're gone!
After a weekend of 90 degree temperatures (which Mindy & I sweated out having a joint garage sale!), it ended up being 54 degrees the morning of the photo shoot. We were pulling out warm clothing, jackets (to cover the warm clothing we had carefully selected), and blankets to keep Baby Handsome warm! Craziness.
We wanted a picture of the boys together. I got a dozen pictures of Ryan face down or covering Hugsy...but I deleted them! So not like here is one of the actually decent pictures of the boys (but not the one I thought was THE best, since that would be so contrary to the character of this post)!
And then one of the girls. We actually wanted them in the middle of the bridge facing out at us...they wanted to be by the edge. So then we thought they could stand with their backs to the edge, and I would get pictures from the other side. Nope. They wanted to play peek-a-boo over the edge. So we went with it!
Come back Baby D!
When she says, "Look over here!" where exactly do you think "here" is?
I wanted to get a picture of the kids on the bridge. Of course, it had to be a running photo. That's all my kids will do! I love how Allie is practically dragging Ryan down the bridge. That's sisterly love...
We did get some great pictures. Frame-able ones even! An impressive feat considering all 5 are 2 & under! The cousins had fun together (we let them play on the slides in between pictures), and we were relieved to get picture of the Fab 5 before 1 moves far, far away (insert another giant sob). I just love having these fun memories on film (or in digital files on the computer...). The smiles, the tears, the craziness, the candid cousins :)