First Day of School!

Last Friday was the First Day of Preschool for the boys! Mama was glad they were excited about their new Preschool, teachers and meeting new classmates! Sienna will be home with me another year and I’m excited about our one on one time together as the boys enjoy learning at school.  This will be Parker’s last year and Preschool.  With his September birthday, he’s in the Young 5’s class. He misses the cut-off for Kindergarten, but he’s going five days a week! I miss my morning time with him, but I know how much he loves school, and I enjoy the fun times we get to have in the afternoon!  Mason has always been pretty apprehensive about new situations or environments, so I was pleasantly surprised that he didn’t cry on the first day! He was so brave!  He’s growing up so fast.  He’s in the 3 year old preschool class and going three days a week.  It’s nice that he has a balance of three days at school, but still two days home with Mama.  He’s so easy going and enjoys his time at home too, so this was the perfect schedule for him.

Excited about the new school and a new year of learning and fun with these sweet kiddos!

Parkersfirstdayofschool

 

Masonfirstdayofpreschool

IMG_0139

Visit from Grandpa, Grandma and Uncle Chris

Rennie and Dad come down usually once a year in the summertime to visit, and all of us are always excited to see them and visit with them! The kids get lots of love and attention from them and this time they got lots of love and attention from Uncle Christopher too, who they haven’t seen in years! The boys had a blast building legos with Christopher, and Rennie enjoyed helping with coloring and sticker time at the table. Dad really enjoyed having some one on one time with Mason, reading his truck book and learning all about Mason’s monster truck collection. We ended our visit with a home cooked dinner and a walk around the neighborhood. It was so nice to get to see them and catch up on life together!

IMG_9980

IMG_9983

IMG_9991

IMG_9993

IMG_9995

IMG_0001

IMG_0008

IMG_0009

IMG_0010

#Shesgotlegs Challenge

A friend of mine over at In Balance Yoga Crystal, who I went to school with is an amazing Yoga teacher and great friend. We have two kids that are within days and weeks of each other! Our boys are a day apart and our daughters are a few weeks apart. When she challenged me to the #shesgotlegs yoga challenge, I thought it would be a good way for me to be intentional about my yoga practice at home. I’m more of a studio yogi and can’t seem to get motivated enough at home or know exact poses to do.  It’s a challenge where there are poses every day in the month of August, and you do the pose to the best of your ability and snap a picture of yourself in that pose and post to Instagram with the #shesgotlegs hashtag.  It’s that simple.

I thought it was a helpful challenge to me, but I learned some things about myself and ultimately I have decided to quite doing this picture-taking portion of the challenge.  I think it’s a great challenge and it’s great for people to encourage one another to go further in their yoga practice, but for me, it ultimately left me with some insecure feelings.

Let me elaborate. I  know yoga is for EVERY Body. I know… However, it has really brought out my insecurities about my weight having pictures taken of me in yoga positions when I’m not fit.  I know it may sounds very superficial and maybe self absorbed, but it’s true.  I know some of you understand.  The unfiltered truth is, that when you have extra weight on you, that not only is it more difficult to get into more challenging poses, but they don’t photograph as well either. You can’t suck in, you can’t do that “skinny” angle…it’s very open and vulnerable.

There’s good news in this though.  It has really been just the motivation that I’ve needed to get back into shape.  The right way… the feel good and look good way. The motivation not to stop until I’m living a life that I know I should. No excuses. I’m too young to be continuing on  the way I have and I’m too smart to not just “do what I need to do” to get there.

My grace period is over. I’ve had three kids in three years, gone through Lyme disease and the ailments that followed, and now that I’ve recovered, it’s time to get serious!  My goal is to focus on cardio and strength training 4-5x a week with yoga mixed in 2-3x a week.  Dan and I signed up for a 5k at Lake Lanier in November, so I am working on getting in shape for that.  I’m working on eating less and retraining my body limit foods with processed sugars, grains, carbs and  fill with whole foods and protein. Not easy, but totally doable! As a longer-term goal I can focus on next Spring when Dan and I will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary and even though we don’t have anything planned, I would love to be fit, looking good, and feeling good by then!

So here I am… flaws and all. Letting the chubbies all hang out. I enjoy practicing yoga, and I will continue to do the #shesgotlegs challenge on my own, I just won’t be taking any more pictures of myself in the poses! Crystal was able to give me tips on how to do a headstand too. I was using a chair to help me kick up at first, but now I can do one on my own without a chair. This week in Heated Power Yoga I was able to do my first headstand at the end of class. Something I had been working towards for several months! Baby steps! I never thought my body would be able to do all these yoga poses and inversions, but it has. This has reminded me that my body is capable of so much if I have faith that it can do it! I’m asking God to help me along the way with prayer and intention, to work through me during my workouts. More updates to come!

IMG_9111.JPG

IMG_9182.JPG

IMG_9091.JPG

IMG_9191.JPG

IMG_9230.JPG

IMG_9298.JPG

IMG_9224.JPG

IMG_9268.JPG

IMG_9343.JPG

IMG_9342.JPG

Enjoying Summer Break Part 2 |iphoneography|

This summer has FLOWN by. In just a few short weeks, the boys will be starting preschool at their new school!  The hustle and bustle of the school year will start again, and there will be a tad bit more normalcy in the homestead, but also maybe not as much leisure time as there has been this summer.  I’m looking back on these months past as we get ready for the school year, upcoming birthdays, fall baseball (a first in our house!) and I think we’ve had a great summer! Even though we didn’t take any vacations this summer (we just did Destin in the spring), we had lots of fun mini day vacas with the kids and little adventures that I think they really enjoyed.

As I mentioned in the first summer break post hereI set up a playgroup for every Friday during the month of June and July in order to be able to enjoy some fun activities with friends.  We really enjoyed those who came out to hang and made some fun summer memories with us! I know the kiddos really enjoyed seeing their friends, and of course, I really enjoyed getting to catch up with the Mamas too! A big thanks to those who took time out of their week to meet with us! We’ve also enjoyed our time spent at home, keeping it low key and finding fun things to do around the house! As sad as I’ll be to see summer go in a few weeks, I thinkwe’ve had a pretty successful one!

 

{Old Atlanta Splash Pad}

 

IMG_7469 IMG_7455 IMG_7468

 

{Home is where the Crazies live}IMG_7488

 

{Zpizza after haircuts}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

{Catch Air- Cumming Playdate}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

{Mall Fun}

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset IMG_7751

 

{Sharon Forks Library}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

{Sophia’s 3rd Birthday}

IMG_7824

 

{Play-doh creations at home}IMG_7850 IMG_7851

 

{Playroom antics}IMG_7863

 

 

{Noah’s 3rd Birthday}
IMG_7884

 

 

{Lego creations at home}
IMG_7918 IMG_7923

 

{Copper Creek Pool}IMG_7963 IMG_7976 IMG_7991

 

{Post Road Library Visit}IMG_8066 IMG_8074

 

{More Lego fun at Home}IMG_8081

 

{Thiele comes to visit from Chicago}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

{Swim Atlanta}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

{Catch Air Johns Creek-Playdate}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

{Art at Home}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

{Amicalola Falls Family weekend}IMG_8354

 

{Copper Creek walks}Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

{Fowler Park}IMG_8483 IMG_8484

 

{INK Children’s Museum-playdate}IMG_8493 IMG_8548 IMG_8504 IMG_8507 IMG_8547

 

{Neighborhood walks}IMG_8595

 

{Artwork at Home}IMG_8638

 

{Sweet Treats at Home}IMG_8662 IMG_8666IMG_8799

 

{Old Atlanta Park-Playdate}
IMG_8708

 

{Sienna’s First Haircut}IMG_8827

 

{Cumming Aquatic Center}IMG_8872

Stillwaters Farm- Visiting the Ashbys

We had been planning all summer to visit my grandparents, and this past weekend, we finally took time out of our weekend to go up to Hartwell, Ga and enjoy a nice summer day at the farm. Of course, the kiddos were so excited to see Great Grandpa and Great Grandma! We had a nice time together catching up. We enjoyed picking fruit from the garden, eating lunch together, driving out on the pickup truck to see the cows, riding in the tractor, climbing the hay bails, swinging on the tree swing, enjoying yummy ice-cream, snuggling on the sofa (with beloved Georgia Tech blanket), and enjoying conversation with my amazing Grandparents!  They are truly a living example of what God calls us to be. Humble, loving, gracious, giving and many more Christ-like attributes. We are beyond grateful for their love and Godly influence in our life! We enjoy savoring these moments with them, making lasting memories, and wishing that we could do it more often.

 

{iphonography} IMG_8778 IMG_8777 IMG_8775 IMG_8776 IMG_8757 IMG_8773

 

{DSLRphotogragphy} IMG_9863 IMG_9867 IMG_9870 IMG_9872 IMG_9875 IMG_9878 IMG_9883 IMG_9887 - Version 2 IMG_9894 IMG_9899 IMG_9901 IMG_9904 - Version 2 IMG_9905 IMG_9913 IMG_9917 IMG_9931 IMG_9935 IMG_9939 IMG_9940 IMG_9947 IMG_9952 IMG_9955 IMG_9957 IMG_9960 IMG_9962 IMG_9968 IMG_9974

Sip and See Baby Hudson

I mentioned in my last post that my neighbor Lauren had her baby last month. Baby Hudson arrived, and a few of us ladies in the neighborhood got together to throw her a Sip and See.

Cherie was responsible for the decor, and she did a great job with the grey and yellow color scheme!  She said after having three boys of her own, she was over blue. It was fresh, new and perfect for a summer party.  I thought a cute idea would be to have onesies as a banner, and have her place stickers on them with his name so that she can use them as decoration as well as have Lauren bring them home for Hudson. I think it turned out super cute! Sarah, Jenny Gray, and Jenny Scroggins also were a big help with food and party items!

It was a fun time of celebration with neighbors, friends and family for the newest member of the Sanders family, and a cute little future buddy for all of our children!

IMG_9814

IMG_9821 IMG_9824 IMG_9828 IMG_9831 IMG_9835

Independence Day Neighborhood Fun

We really lucked out this year with the weather for the 4th of July.  It was perfect.  Last year it was raining, and even though we had a great time having a few friends over, Mason burned himself on a sparkler, and we had to call it a night early.  Sienna wasn’t really able to enjoy it either because she was so little, and was asleep most of the time.

This year, we had our friends and neighbors the Sanders over.  They recently had their fourth child (a sweet baby boy) named Hudson, and instead of providing a meal for them, we decided to just invite them over to join us for dinner on the fourth.  Parker and their son Davis who is two years older than Parker, always have such a great time playing.  They also have two girls, who are around the same ages as our kids, and they  enjoy playing together too.

I had fun making a American Flag inspired dessert- Angel food Cake topped with homemade strawberry syrup, cool whip, strawberries and blueberries.  Corny, I know, but after looking at all the fun patriotic desserts on Pinterest, I decided to make up my own.  It was delicious.  A tradition in the making, perhaps!

After dinner, we were joined by another family in our neighborhood for fireworks and lined up all the lawn chairs on our grass in the front yard for some grocery store firework fun.  Next year, we’re bringing the big bangs!  We stayed up until 10pm, and the kids did so well without sleep. They were playing and laughing with the other kids, and it made for the perfect little home-based holiday!

 

IMG_9725 IMG_9733 IMG_9734 IMG_9738 IMG_9741 IMG_9750 IMG_9753 IMG_9755 IMG_9761 IMG_9768 IMG_9773 IMG_9777 IMG_9781 IMG_9783 IMG_9790 IMG_7944 IMG_9801 IMG_9807

Our Colorado Trip

So, it wasn’t really planned to take this trip together.  Dan called me from work one day and said he had booked his Colorado trip.  It would be a weekend trip out to Colorado to visit with family and attend his grandmother’s memorial service.  We had discussed him going ever since they made plans to have the memorial for her, but didn’t discuss me going.  When he called to tell me he had booked the flight, we got to talking about maybe having me go out there too.  We have never left the kids and gone out of state except right across the boarder to Highlands, NC for a New Year’s trip when Parker was 13 months old. Never since having three kids.  We starting talking about my Sister-in-Law Lisa “Aunt LiLi” watching them since she was free during the summer with her youngest, and she is so great with kids and did such a great job with Sienna last time.  I loved the fact that the kids would be at our house instead of in someone else’s house.  I think it’s hard enough when the parents are gone and someone else is watching them, but stick them in a new environment, and it gets even trickier. So, Lisa was able to help us out and stayed at our house, and I booked my flight out there.  Conveniently, my Mom wanted to visit that weekend too, so the kids got a lot of attention from her as well.

Since we had it on our minds, and heaven forbid anything ever happen to us, we made arrangements with a family lawyer to have our Last Will and Testament drawn up.  We hate to think of anything like this, but even more so since we were traveling out of state.  We did not want our children going into state hands, or having our estate divi’d up by the state.  So, we got that completed and signed by witnesses before we left.  We felt like it was the responsible thing to do, even though nobody wanted to think about it!

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

We left early on a Friday morning and got to Denver early afternoon.  We gained a few hours in the air, so we had time to spare.  It was so strange flying with just the two of us.  We haven’t flown together without kids since I was pregnant with Parker back in 2009 on our way to Hawaii!  When we arrived, we got our rental car and headed to downtown Denver.  We thought we’d walk around and shop for a bit, and eventually grab lunch.  Dan’s cousin owns a medical marijuana shop in downtown Denver, so we were planning on visiting him too.  We found a nice area that had stores and a nice Fresh Market that had THE YUMMIEST grub.  We decided to eat there for lunch.  The city was different.  It was a little dead at first and then it picked up with the lunch crowd.  There was an interesting mix of hippie grunge folk, young teens, semi-professional daily-grinders with a sprinkle of businessmen here and there. It was great for people watching as well as shopping (new pair of Toms, and make-up at Bare Essentials). It was so nice walking around an not having to keep a mental note where the bathrooms are (for the kiddos), rushing through stores (due to kids boredom) or what time we need to scoot home for one of the kids’ naps!

IMG_7566

During our walk we found a Federal reserve.  They had a very small museum, so we decided we’d check it out!

IMG_7570 IMG_7571 IMG_7573 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

It was pretty interesting.  However, not as interesting as Dan’s cousin’s Eric’s Medical marijuana dispensary Lotus Medical.  It takes away all stereotypes of what amarijuana dispensary should be.  It’s upscale and unlike other dispensaries in the area, he only deals with medical clients who have a red card.  Even though recreational use of marijuana is legal in Colorado, they didn’t want to bring in the rift raft of the general public. They’d rather keep it upscale for their valued clients.  He’s got a good thing going there!  I was shocked to see all the different products available.  Everything from patches to cartridges for e-cigerettes, to candies and other ingestibles.  It was interesting to see.  It definitely opened my eyes to the good uses for marijuana.  Anyone who has had two glasses of wine to “feel better” can identify with the feeling.  It’s a feeling of no worries, introspection, relaxation and even pain reduction.  There’s certainly a use for it.  In moderation.  It can quickly become a crutch if you let it, as well as a de-motivator. Just like anything…moderation is key.  Know when you need it, and know when to stop. I personally don’t feel comfortable as a Mom using it because it makes me feel incompetent and unmotivated.  It also makes me over-analyze everything to the 100th degree, and those that know me know that I don’t need ANY help in that area! Haha!  I think my smoking days are in the past, but can definitely see a use for it, for those who need it.

IMG_7578

IMG_7579

 

On Saturday, we met up with Dan’s family.  I met several aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. that I had never met before.  We met at a local restaurant that Ming loved, and enjoyed a beautiful memorial lunch with family.  Everyone had such sweet things to say about this amazing influential woman and I learned a little bit about her, but also quite a bit about each one of the family members there that day too.  It was beautiful.  I got to meet Jess of Boston Baby Mama.  I have been following her blog for a several years now, and we have kids around the same age, and it was nice to finally get a chance to chat with her, and meet her beautiful daughter Marlo.  Her youngest was with Daddy at home due to an illness, but I hope to meet her in the near future as well.  Dan’s cousin Steven and wife Janine have the sweetest little family with their adorable little boy Vinny.  It reminded me of all the joys of life with one, our first born! Lots of sweet family members, great memories of days past shared, and sweet memories of their dear Ming, who was very missed.

IMG_7597 IMG_7611 IMG_7605Our last day in Colorado, we checked out of our hotel room, grabbed breakfast and drove up to Mt. Evans.  We stopped along the way to take some photos, and then there was a restaurant/hotel that we stopped at and ate lunch.  Dan was impressed with his Tetris shaped tater tots! The views were amazing.  It was also interesting to see how the trees changed the higher up we went.  Very beautiful!

IMG_7627 IMG_7634

 

IMG_7638 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset IMG_2986 IMG_2989 IMG_2994 IMG_2996 IMG_3004 IMG_3011 IMG_3013 IMG_3018 IMG_3020 IMG_3029 IMG_3033 IMG_3036 IMG_3041 IMG_3042 IMG_3047 IMG_3056 IMG_9664

 

We tried to make it up to the top, but it was snowing and very windy, so we  made our way back down.  We couldn’t get over the steep cliffs off the edge.  Fortunately, Dan and I were equally as terrified, so he drove very slow around the turns. Once the snow and wind picked up, we decided we just couldn’t stomach going any further. It just wasn’t enjoyable because it made us both sick thinking we could slide off the side of the road, down the steep cliff to our demise. Very scary!

 

IMG_9673
Then we headed to Idaho Springs, and it was a cute little town, but right after we parked, and got ice cream, the sky opened up, and it was pouring rain.  We didn’t get a lot of time to look around the stores and shop like we had hoped we would, but that’s okay.  It was definitely different not having the kids around.  It was quiet and uneventful.  Don’t get me wrong, I love one on one time with my husband, but it is just different when you’re used to having three rambunctious kiddos around, and then you don’t for a few days. We love our time together, but also cherish our time as a family too.

On our way back to the airport, we stopped at an Outdoor World.  It isn’t the mothership, but it was pretty close. Biggest Outdoor World we had ever been to.  It was very cool to see camping tents set up, lots of clothes, outdoor gear, etc. Very fun… They had some serious stuffed taxidermy animals (one that looked scary like our old dog Summer) and we got a little carried away without the kids.  I guess we missed the kids so much that we started acting like them. Haha.

IMG_7647 IMG_7649 IMG_7651 IMG_7653 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

 

We made our way back home that evening.  It was brutal flying a delay’d red eye out of Denver.  We didn’t get home until 2:30, and the kiddos were up bright and early at 7:30! Back to reality! It was nice seeing them though.  We had missed them so much, but we really enjoyed our little mini-vaca away, spending time catching up as a couple and enjoying our one-on one time! Lisa and My Mom had had a great time spoiling the kiddos and taking them places.  It turned out to be a real fun time for the kiddos as well.

Enjoying Summer Break |iphoneography|

This summer with the boys out of school and having three mobile kiddos to entertain and keep up with, I’ve been working to keep ourselves busy without feeling exhausted from too many planned activities. One of my favorite things about having a break from preschool is not having to rush out the door early in the morning with three kids. I love snuggling in the bed with the kids, enjoying cartoons and delaying going downstairs for breakfast until after 8am.
I did plan a few things over the summer to keep the kids entertained. I decided to put together a playgroup for every Friday during the summer. I invited little friends that Parker and Mason either go to school with, or friends that they don’t get to see as much during the school year from previous play groups, and a few new little friends from the neighborhood. It’s been two weeks and there was a great turn out both weeks! Lots of little friends came to play at the park with us. We’ve done Wills Park and Sims Lake Park so far and we have Old Atlanta Splash Pad, The Art Barn, and Sharon Forks Library to celebrate the famous Author Eric Carl’s birthday for the month of June.
We’ve also been to the zoo with some friends, which is always a big hit with the kids, even if it’s slightly exhausting for us Mamas!

20140609-110352-39832444.jpg

20140609-110352-39832635.jpg

20140609-110714-40034442.jpg

20140609-110714-40034324.jpg

20140609-110713-40033595.jpg

20140609-110712-40032593.jpg

20140609-110713-40033175.jpg

20140609-110713-40033950.jpg

20140609-110714-40034810.jpg

20140609-110714-40034146.jpg
Last week we enjoyed some grown-up time away from the kiddos, and went to see my favorite musician Jack Johnson. We went with a couple in our neighborhood who had mentioned that they like his music too. We had dinner beforehand and then headed over to Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. We enjoyed a wonderful evening of music, drinks, friends and summer fun!
20140609-132653-48413381.jpg

This weekend Parker went on a Father-son vacation with Daddy to go see his best friend Jim and his family in Philadelphia. Parker had a blast going to Sesame Place, enjoying a few local parks and spending some quality time with Daddy while he showed him around where he grew up.
I spent the weekend with the two youngest, playing it low key. We enjoyed park time, pool time, indoor play time and sweet treats.
20140609-132248-48168620.jpg

 

20140609-132246-48166438.jpg

20140609-132248-48168199.jpg

20140609-132246-48166957.jpg

20140609-132249-48169485.jpg

20140609-132248-48168409.jpg

20140609-132245-48165752.jpg

 

This week we have the boys enrolled I swim class. We feel they need a refresher course, so our mornings are packed with towels, swim suits and lessons for the week!

20140609-133019-48619065.jpg
Looking forward to seeing what the rest of the summer holds. It is my favorite season of all!