Volleyball and Soccer

This is definitely a year of firsts for us.
Ben played soccer for the first time and avery played volleyball.  Sassy said she may play something when she "is 6".  Her shyness tends to take over her desire to play, but she has been the most supportive cheerleader for both of them.  Ill let her remake her sporting decisions whenever she is ready.
Ben did so great and just loves soccer and avery loves volleyball.  It has been such a blast watching them and seeing them improve.  Sass also loves to make them little pins to wear and give to their teams to inspire their athletic ability.  Love her.  And I love to buy glowstick glasses after practice that ben breaks and gets the goo in his eye...win some/lose some.


My Bday

Well. I'm another year older. And sportier. Obviously.
My parents got me a super cool purple bike for my birthday. I was beyond surprised. I opened a gift from them and it was a pair of sunglasses and a helmet. I was so confused and kept asking, "why do I need a helmet?" Then I hear my dad coming down the hallway pushing a bike. It was such a flashback to my 2nd grade birthday. I'm pretty sure my bike was purple then too. 
I haven't riden a bike in forever. Ever since my accident, my balance is a little off. I have been on roller blades a few times and it's a sight to see. I was nervous about the bike. It took me a few minutes to get used to the feeling and I was definitely shaky but I love it! Not sure if we are all ready for a family bike ride yet, but maybe soon!

I also got to see Kristen and Lindsay during my bday weekend! It was so wonderful! I'm bummed I don't have any pictures of me with Kristen and Linds but at least I got a few cute ones of the kiddos.
We got to see Kristen and the kids at a family picnic and they had so much fun together.
We played over at Lindsay's house and McKenna and Ty were adorable together as always!
It was such a great weekend and my actual birthday on Monday was awesome too! Kristen's post made my day. It was the sweetest thing I have ever heard and I am so blessed to have such amazing friends. Life is good. 32 is good.


Late Last Night

Late last night, (while watching Parenthood) I kept hearing Sass coughing.  You know, the croup kind of cough that everyone has right now and is just so hard to listen to because you know there is really nothing you can do about it.  She has reactive lungs (pre asthma?) and has had breathing treatments since she came out in all her glory via emergency c-section.  It has been a nightly or daily routine most of her life during the fall and winter, and very often it is late at night when I get her up and she falls asleep on my chest.  It is always pretty fast, and I always treasure getting to hold a half asleep baby in my arms and then carry her back to bed, hopefully a little better than before.  
I dont think that she even really needed a breathing treatment last night, but we decided we would do whatever we could to help her get a little more sleep.
So, I carried her downstairs after I had gotten the whole set up out, and while I was trying to maneuver her onto my lap, it just hit me like a ton of bricks.  She didn't fit.  She was way too big, and sometime since the last breathing treatment, (and obviously much earlier than that) she had grown up. With tears just rolling down my face, I held her and tried to remember what it felt like when she fit so perfectly under my arm and in my lap.  And, simultaneously, tried to enjoy the feeling of holding the new big girl that she had become right before my eyes.
I know I wax on and on about this, so one would assume that I have come to grips with this growing that happens so constantly, but I guess I really haven't.  I have watched them go to school this year and be so so brave.  So much braver than I could have been.  I have watched our weekends go from plans around naps to plans around bike and scooter trips at the park.  And I have loved every single minute.  Which, I know, really should go without saying. But, my anxiety about this year, and all the changes that it brought, was so heavy that every time I was having fun, I couldn't help but be surprised.  Every. Time.  Talk about short term memory loss.
So, I guess, late last night when I couldn't go back to that moment where I held my baby late at night, and that baby smell was replaced with a big kid smell of pencils and glue, and the carrying back to bed was replaced with her walking herself back up, I finally got it.  
There are no more surprise- they are so big! moments.  I mean, I know they will continue to change and grow and that will surprise me, but the new normal is here and there is no going back.  They are people now- and the moments of babyness that I could catch glimpses of and hang on to, are now just memories.
I dont know what it was about last night exactly that made it all real, but in its bitter bitter sweetness, I am thankful for it.  I am thankful for the eye opening reminder that it gave me to hold on to every minute and enjoy every second.
Because it's just gone before you know it.


The big 3-2

I would say the number one question I get about allison from people that don't know her that well (or actually do know her) is "is she really that amazing in real life?  How does she do it?"  And the answer, from someone who talks to her sometimes 15 times a day, is always a resounding YES.  She is actually more amazing in real life. She often holds some things back that she just does for her kids, friends and family that she never mentions because they are so normal for her, but incredible to everyone who sees it.
Allison is the real deal.  I have known that since 7th grade in our matching outfits.  She is so beautiful on the outside that you would think she would not have to be kind and generous and thoughtful.  I mean, she could go anywhere with those looks.  But she is the exact opposite.  She is so kind and so thoughtful and so generous that sometimes I forget that she also looks like a supermodel.  And she is so self effacing and aware that she will talk about a bad hair day or tight jeans and I actually go along with it.  Then, I realize how incredible even her bad hair days are.
But, aside from her outward beauty, she has the most kind and real and genuine heart of anyone I have ever known.  Her sensitivity to others and love for encouraging everyone she meets with homemade card or package is unmatched.  And her creativity is something so innate and unique, but so simple and thoughtful every time.  Every single time she outdoes herself.  I am just like you guys, always on the edge of my seat waiting to see what she does next.  Her thoughtfulness knows no bounds and she is ready with a care package or just a listening ear anytime you need her.  She never wants to be the center of attention, but has the quiet confidence of someone who sits back and lets those around her shine.  She is always willing to be the first to laugh at herself too.  She may be sensitive to others, but she is always quick to play herself down and is not sensitive for herself.  It is the most incredible combination.  She takes things for what they are and doesn't turn them into all sorts of things by over analyzing like I do.  On one hand she is the most senstive and sweet and innocent and easy to please, and on the other she is strong and confident and ready for whatever fun lies ahead.
I can not tell you what a privilege it is to be one of the lucky few who have a front row seat to watch and get to be a participant in her kindness, creativity and love.
To say that she is better than she is on this blog is an understatement, but her heart is so pure and her creativity so big that I cant do it justice.  I hope you have the best 32nd bday al.  We all are inspired and encouraged and have been changed simply by watching how you live your life.
Thank you. 


Knitted Baby Goods

Just been doing some knitting for the babe and the babe's friends.  Nothing super exciting (unless you dream of purls and knits in your sleep like me) but I learned some new stitches and new techniques to make these and it was so fun.  The diaper cover was really fast and really fun (and I bought the whole booklet of patterns and they are adorable!).  And the romper took a little bit to figure out, but I like how it came out.  It is much whiter in real life, but the pic is what I envisioned in my head before I started, so I am leaving it up (false sense of reality much?)  The sweater is just the top part of the romper and the vest is actually a jacket (similar) that now has one arm and someday will have the other.  It is unfortunately moving at snail's pace bc I used tiny needles and tiny yarn.  But you know, I am nothing if not slow.
We are off to more games and friends and bdays this weekend (all those new years decisions to get pregnant) and we are pumped.
Hope yall have a great weekend!


Tiny Dancer

It doesn't get much cuter than this. 
McKenna just started her first ballet class and it might be my favorite thing ever to watch. Her tiny petite body in tights and a leotard trying so hard to point her toe is adorable. I love it so much. This is the first time McKenna has really taken any kind of class where she just goes in by herself so I wasn't sure how she would handle it. She loves it! She follows everything the teacher says and does it with the best facial expressions. Smiles, eyebrows raised with joy as she tries to sing along to the songs, and lots of McKenna shoulder shrugs that get me every time. She is a character and I love it all so so much.

Ella just started her first hip hop class and couldn't be more excited! That girl has had the hip hop gene in her since she was little so I think this could be her thing. As we pulled up to dance she told me she was very nervous. I reassured her that was totally normal and that there would be lots of other girls nervous too. I was so proud of her. She walked in with confidence and did the best that she could do. The class age range is 5-9 year olds so she is for sure the smallest and youngest one in there. I was surprised at how fast paced the first class was but she did her best to keep up and even though she was tripping over her own feet during the box step, she was loving it. That girl knows how to work the sass and being able to watch herself in a full wall of mirror only makes her shine more. We all know how Ella feels about big mirrors. 
I can't wait for the recitals. These things make me so giddy. Ella apparently is already thinking of the recital too. On the way home from her first dance class she already made a request for rainbow flowers at the recital. That girl. 

Links for your reading pleasure

Or whatever that means.
We are a little exhausted this week.  Whew.  I am so glad its the weekend!  We have soccer, volleyball, football watching  and birthdays to celebrate this weekend and we couldn't be more excited.  Who knows how these first games are going to go... We are fingers crossed that we don't hate them and then cry at every future event we have to attend based around said sport.   It has happened in the past so wish us luck.

Just been liking some things that are floating around.

This posthumous letter to a writers daughter is everywhere, but I just loved it.

Have yall been to patternbooth?  It is fantastic.

I love this dress.

Confetti Bedding?  Awesome.

Love these fall clothes.  Mostly because I can wear shoes and jackets! Shirts and jeans are much more of a squeeze... Come on fall.

And on amazing again.

Check out Julie's amazing cookies! She is so freakin talented!

And, on this friday the 13 I just wanted to say a little happy birthday to my mom and favorite youngest brother!  You guys are both so incredibly kind, sensitive, sweet.  I could not be more thankful for you both in my life, Jeff's life and the kids love you both more than I could have ever imagined! Yall are truly such a blessing to me and I cant wait to celebrate with you guys this weekend!
Love you both!


All I know is, everything's changed.

So, who doesn't love to start out a post with a taylor swift lyric?  I feel like it really sets the tone.
We moved to our new town all bright eyed and bushy tailed back in June.  Jeff had done a little internship at his job and loved it, our new house was getting a spruce up with help of my in laws and I was moving back closer to almost everyone I had grown up with.  It was exciting.  I was of course so sad to leave Tyler, but, I mean, rainbows on the floor.  We were excited.
In the short time that we have lived here I feel like everything has turned upside down.  I know that not really everything has changed, but the things that seem to have put a different light on the the things that are the same. Sometimes I feel so much doubt and fear and, if I am honest, shame.  
Jeff's job situation ended up not working out and he had to leave.  We were so sad for him to be leaving, but it was definitely what we had to do.  There were issues that were not being repaired and it was obvious that Jeff just couldn't stay there.  And hindsight is 20/20, so they say.  We were aware of some of the issues and chose to brush them under the rug for a while and then, when we were faced with them in a more direct manner, things became much more clear.  A lot of thought and prayer went into this- more than maybe other issues in my life.  There were lots of difficult parts to this, but I do know that leaving was something Jeff had to do.  Late at night, however, all my head is crowded with is that we moved here for this job and left a town, school and neighbors that I loved, for something that ended up being kind of a bust.  And Jeff had to leave his first (real) job in the first month.  It just feels so overwhelming and so out of my control.  I 100% stand behind Jeff's decision and feel like it was a necessary step, but it is still difficult to write and tell people about.
And we are having a baby.  What in the world was I thinking?  (my doctor is wondering the same thing) And kindergarten is kind of hard.  What if they have to repeat?  Will we ever make friends in this community? Should we sell our house and look for something smaller in the wake of all of these changes?  Why does it feel, all of a sudden, that every decision we have made in the past 6 months weighed on this job? The uncertainty of what is next is killing me.  Adult sized messes are so much more weighing than even residency sized messes, it feels like.  I know that I am being way over dramatic about the whole thing and that Jeff can moonlight, the baby will come and it will feel normal, and if the kids have to redo kindergarten than that wont be the end of the world.  So maybe my dramatic mine fill of a brain should take it down a notch.
And seeing Jeff have the courage to make the right decisions and chose the more difficult path because we feel like it is right, is an incredible feeling and I am so proud of him.  Sometimes, I just want to go back to secure, normal life.
(Who doesnt love a good debbie downer on a friday?  You guys are welcome.  I know coming here is usually a breath of fresh ballerinas and fun crafts by allison until I unload ridiculous amounts of waa waa waas.)
You see, consistency is my bread and butter.  I thrive on it.  I love a consistent friend, job, life, tradition, etc.   (I am also consistently late, bad at meeting new people and consistently over eating, biting my nails and drinking diet coke.  So, I guess its not all good.)  I dont over crowd my life with extra stuff if I dont feel like I can juggle all the balls at the same time.  Annnd mostly I like consistency because I hate change.  SO, there's that.
But I am trying to see this as dreaming the impossible dream (stay with me).  Consistency is not always the stuff that dreams are made of.  It is normal and consistent to work in a job that you get for more than a month, to operate under normal working hours and not to have constant changes all at the same time.  But how boring is normal?  (that's what I keep telling myself).  Who knows what is ahead? (not me)  Hopefully, and fully covered in prayer, things will be so much better than we imagined and what Jeff gets to do and what we get to do as a family will far exceed my consistent and normal limitations.  Hopefully, I will get to be more than consistent (and I would say normal, but I dont think I have ever been normal).  I will get to be brave and not fearful and peaceful and grow in spite of it all! (a girl can dream.)  When I chose my word of the year I really had no idea so much courage would actually have to go into this year.  But, hopefully it will really change me.  Turn me into someone who likes change (tolerates it), is open to growth and not afraid of tomorrow.
Anyway, we'll see.  Ill keep you posted on the impossible dream and let you know what is in store for us.  I know it will be things that we haven't thought of, and that it will be much better than normal. Or consistent.
Ill let you know.


Big Girl Beds!

I no longer have a crib in my house. Makes me kind of sad. I am SO excited about Kristen having one in her house again! I can't wait!!! 
I am super excited about McKenna being in a big girl bed and I'm still shocked at how easy the transition was. She loves it and actually stays in it! 
We have been doing some major flipping of the rooms around here and I just love it. We moved our tv room into the formal living room and moved the polka dot playroom into the old tv room. Then we moved Ella's full bed into the polka dot playroom as a guest room now. Then we moved McKenna's crib into the attic and got two twin beds for the girls room. I feel like every room of the house really gets used now and I love it! 
I saw this headboard on pinterest a while ago and loved it. I showed it to my talented husband and he made it happen. He spent hours drawing out the shape and getting all the measurements right. The only help I was during this process was food and beverage girl.
They look fabulous and I couldn't be happier! After he finished them, we stained them with a grey stain. We used Minwax watered based wood stain in charcoal grey. I then rubbed a wax finish over them. I used Johnson's Paste Wax.
I ordered the girls bedding from Land Of Nod and put it all together while they were at school. They were beyond excited when they got home and saw their new room. 
The Land Of Nod does sell these super cute initial pillows but they don't let you choose what colors. So I just made my own and it was so easy. I took an old sheet and sewed an envelope pillow with this great tutorial. I then cut out the letters with my silhouette onto some vinyl and then I heat pressed it on. If you don't have a heat press, you could easily cut out the letter onto freezer paper and just stencil it on with fabric paint. 
I love that the girls share a room. They love it too but I know there will be a day when they are ready for their own rooms. Until then, I cherish all those moments and giggles that I hear on the monitor every night. 

McKenna's First Day!

It still feels weird taking the girls to two different schools. I could tell that McKenna felt a little lost without her big sister there on her first day. She did great though and there were no tears!
She was very excited to give her teacher the card she made. 
She also gave her some yummy carmel dip that I made for the teachers last year too.
While the girls were both at school I finished putting together their room. (all that in the next post) I couldn't wait to pick them both up and let them see! Who doesn't love a good While You Where Out makeover?!

The Fall of McKenna!

The Summer of Ella was so special and so much fun! I loved all the one on one time with just her.
 Now it's McKenna's turn! 
Since she only goes to her school two days a week, we have three days with just us while big sister is at school. McKenna cracks me up. I have been looking forward to this time where I would get to be with just her and really focus on her fun and hilarious personality. She is a non stop ball of joy and makes me smile so big. 
I have made a little list of some planned activities for just McKenna and I to do during the next couple of months. I just wish it would start to feel like Fall! I'm over this Texas heat.
It was so strange going to all our normal places the first week Ella started school. The first time it was just McKenna and I at open gym, she didn't know what to do with herself. Every other time she was running around with Ella. She just sat in my lap the whole time. Made me so sad for her. She warmed up to the idea pretty quick though. The next visit to the gym, she was all over the place.
We went to this cool truck activity where she got to learn all about all different kinds of trucks and tractors. She didn't really know what to do with her girly self but I think she enjoyed it.
We have been on lots of walks with her baby dolls. It is her latest favorite thing to do. She insists that I push a baby stroller as well so we make for a pretty funny sight for anyone driving by.
We did a little kid yoga in the park the other day and it was so cute!
Can't wait for more Fall of McKenna fun!

This Kindergarten thing.

It took us a while to get the hang of this Kindergarten thing but I think it finally feels real now. It started off a little bit different than I had anticipated.
 My sweet little Ella Reese got in trouble on the THIRD day of school! I can laugh about it now, but it sure did throw me for a loop and a whirlwind of crazy mom emotions.
The first day of school went great. Second day she was a little more nervous and was holding back the tears during drop off but was great when I picked her up. Third day went great at drop off and she even had a little extra pep in her step because she had slept in braids and was loving her wavy hair. When I picked her up from school she seemed a little more quiet. Then she says in a very quiet whisper, "Mom, I need to tell you something." Ok babe, what is it? "I got in trouble at school today." I'm kind of shocked and very calmly ask her what happened. She then tells me that she snuck off the playground during recess and went inside the classroom to play toys. She told me that it was her idea and that she talked 2 boys into going with her. I lost it y'all. Not in a screaming mom voice kind of way, but in a I can't even talk because I can't stop crying kind of way. The way that Ella told the whole story upset me the most. She didn't seem upset about it at all and almost had a little smirk on her face each time I asked her more questions about it. I wanted her to realize that what she did was wrong and dangerous. I wanted her to feel bad for scaring the teacher. I wanted her to be sorry for talking her friends into breaking the rules with her. She told me that when she asked some of her classmates to go with her, they said no. I asked Ella what she said to them next that made them change her mind. She said to them, "Come on, lets have a party!"  Are you kidding me?! All that was going through my head was a vision of Ella swinging a beer can around and saying to her friends, "Come on, lets have a party!" I mean, I am the mom who loves to make every moment a party so I can't really blame her reasoning with them. Our life motto is to celebrate always...
Once we got home I told her there would be no tv for the weekend and that she needed to start working on an apology letter to her teacher. I wrote out I am sorry on 5 different sheets of paper and had her write it 50 times. It actually ended up being great practice for her. She usually doesn't let me push her that hard when we work on writing and I give in. This time she didn't even try to complain. She picked her pencil up and began writing. 
Once Bob got home we talked about it and he reassured me that this did not mean she was going to be a rule breaker all the time. We sat her down and had the whole talk about respecting the rules and what the teachers say. Her teacher was wonderful with the whole situation and showed so much grace towards Ella. She is such a fantastic teacher and I can already see the huge blessing she is going to be for us this year.
We have gone through a couple weeks of school now and Ella really seems to enjoy it. I feel like I have gotten the hang of it too. Bob is the only one in our family that is a morning person so the whole getting up and going by 7:45 was an adjustment for us girls. I have gotten to eat lunch with Ella at school which was so fun! I love getting to see all the kids and how they all act in the school setting. I have even gone to my first PTA meeting already! I have kind of been waiting my whole life for stuff like this. School programs, field trips, pep rallies, football games. I just love the whole atmosphere!
I will keep you guys updated on my little rebel:) 


Family Photos

My cousin Heather came over a few weeks ago (well, maybe a couple of months now.  Julyish?  I dont know.  i cant keep track of anything these days.) to take our family pics.  It was so much fun.  She is just a genius with her camera and every pic is something I will cherish forever.  Thank you so much heath for capturing us at our house, playing, lounging and eating gummy bears (of course).
We clearly rarely brush our hair and I must have eaten every type of salty food I could get my hands on the night before, but swollen and all, I just love how these turn out.  They are a great depiction of who we really are and how we live.  Jeff even had to run out for a minute and work, so it was real real life.  I can not tell you enough, Heather, how much I cherish every single picture and how I am forever grateful for what you did for us by capturing these memories.  You are our memory catcher.  We love you to the moon.
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