Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I don't know about you, but Fall is our busiest season for sure. We have lots of birthdays, I have lots of photo sessions and we have lots of holidays. On top of all of that, we're in the middle of remodeling our new house! SO much going on right now in our lives and I just don't have a lot of time to blog, unfortunately.

However, there have been so many fun and exciting things happen in the last week or 2 that I just have to share!

*First of all, I became an aunt again last Tuesday, November 17th!! My baby nephew is just the cutest. I was privileged to be in the delivery room for his birth and got to witness his entrance into the world. What an amazing experience and one I can't thank my sweet sister enough for. Here is a picture I took in the delivery room and one of the newborn pictures I took of sweet little Emerson Levi!

*Second, Jake turned 30 yesterday!! We had a party for him on the 15th of November and it was a great success. We had it at his brother and sister-in-laws house (since our house is out of commission right now). It was a 1985/Kansas City Royals theme (Since the last time the Royals won the World Series was in 1985, the same year Jake was born!) Here are a few pictures from his party.

*My dad has been working tirelessly on our new kitchen and it is coming along nicely! The back door is in and trimmed around, the walls have been painted, backer-board is down and ready for tile, a majority of the cabinets are in and some of the appliances have been placed! We plan to work there all this weekend, so even more will be getting done and I'll try and take my camera over to take some better pictures. In the mean-time, here are a couple of the kitchen that my dad sent me from this past weekend.

I've also painted all of the bedrooms and the hallway, Avery's chandelier has been installed in her room, we have new light fixtures outside on the back of the house and my dad has the whole basement pretty well tore out and ready to be put back together the way we want it. We've gotten a lot done and even though there is still so much to do, it's so great to be seeing so much progress lately! It's so exciting!!

*I was finally able to get Avery's hair in pigtails last week and it was just too cute. I took my camera outside to get a couple pictures of her in the leaves! She is at such a cute and fun age right now! I'm just loving it.

*We had Jake's family Thanksgiving this past weekend and it was so fun to spend time with family and eat yummy food! It was a really fun day!

So that's what we've been up to lately. We are gearing up now for Thanksgiving this week with my family and then we'll be working at the new house (or as Jackson calls it, "The Swimming Pool House") all weekend. I'm excited to see what all we get accomplished over 3 days!!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Ear Tubes for Avery

Back in early August, I took Avery to the doctor for a cold. She's only had one other ear infection in her life, but I'm always concerned about their ears when it comes to colds. Jackson has had quite a few ear infections and I just don't like to risk it. Thankfully, I took her because sure enough, she had a double ear infection. 

After 3 antibiotics, we finally got the infection cleared up, however, there was lingering thick fluid in her ears that her pediatrician was concerned about. He referred us to a Children's ENT to have them take a look.

We had an appointment with the ENT in late September. He said there was definitely fluid there but since there was no infection, he wasn't in a hurry to jump right into surgery. He said considering this was only her second ear infection he'd rather hold off and re-check her ears in 6 weeks and see if the fluid would drain on it's own. So we scheduled a re-check for 6 weeks and we didn't have any flair ups in that time. She has had a runny nose off and on but no ear infections. 

So this past Wednesday afternoon, we went back for her re-check. I was very hopeful that the fluid would be gone and we'd skate by without having to get her ear tubes. Unfortunately that was not the case. The ENT said the fluid, now chronic, was still there and she was probably only hearing muffled sounds at this point instead of hearing clearly like she should be. He was concerned about her speech being delayed and though he said he wouldn't pressure us to do the ear tube surgery, it was likely that the fluid wouldn't end up draining on it's own, especially now that we're in cold and flu season. He said we could wait another 6 weeks and re-check or we could just go ahead and have the procedure done and get it over with, but he wouldn't pressure us either way since the fluid, at this point, wasn't necessarily causing any damage to her ear. 

In my mind, I definitely don't want to take the risk of the fluid causing damage or her getting another ear infection on top of the fluid that's already there. I also don't want to have it cause a speech delay, which I'm somewhat concerned has already happened. She's not really talking much at all at 18 months old and though I know every child goes at their own pace, she's not really saying anything other than a few occasional words here and there. Jackson was a late talker and didn't really start talking until he was 2 1/2, but I just don't want to risk any delay when it could certainly be avoided.  

So November 30th, she will go in to get ear tubes. I realize this is a very common and very quick procedure. I realize the risks are very minimal and the pros definitely outweigh the cons. I realize that so many kids have to have ear tubes and it's very routine... but this is my baby we're talking about. I hate the idea of her having to have anesthesia (even if it is for only around 10 minutes), but I know it needs to be done and I'm praying and confident that she (and I) will do just fine and we'll be very happy we had the procedure done. I hear a lot of great things about it, so I'm hopeful that all will go well.

And because no post is complete without a picture, here are a couple pictures I took of Avery recently, wearing her jammies and my boots! She LOVES shoes and takes every opportunity to wear whoever's shoes are laying around! Ha!

I'll keep you all posted on her surgery and how it all goes.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Jackson's 4th Birthday Party

Several months back, when we were first talking about Jackson's 4th birthday, he said he wanted a Halloween birthday party at a park! So we tried very hard to make that happen for him.

We ended up having his party on Halloween and did in fact have a Halloween Themed birthday party... costumes and all. We called around to several parks to try and rent a pavilion, but were unable to reserve anything for that day, and quite frankly, I was a bit concerned with how the weather would cooperate for a party at the park in late October. So we then tried to reserve a room at a couple of different city community centers, but they were all booked up as well! Since we are renovating the house and the condo is way too small for a party, that just wasn't an option for us, so we finally decided to just have it outside on our church parking lot. My plan was to tell everyone to bring the kids bikes and we'd have soup and hot dogs and have a hay ride and then have washers games for the adults. Then as Saturday approached the chance for rain that day kept going up and up!! :-( I was so sad to have to move it inside, but just didn't want to risk it. I still told the parents to bring the kids bikes in case the rain cleared out in time for the party and we just had the party in the dining hall at our church. It worked out perfectly after all and the rain did hold off for the kids to have some time outside on their bikes!
All the kids and several adults dressed up in their Halloween costumes. I decorated for the party with Halloween decorations and we served soup for the adults and mummy-dogs for the kids! Jake and his mom made all the food and my sister made the cup-cakes! It was such a fun party, I almost hope he wants a Halloween Party every year from now on. It was so easy to find stuff this time of year! 

Jackson had a great party with lots of our friends and family. I'm always so thankful for all the people in our lives that love us and our kids and always make time to spend with us for a birthday celebration! It means so much to us!

Here are a few pictures from the party! 

I found a majority of the decorations at Target and Michaels. The centerpieces were an idea I found on Pinterest and put together at the last minute when we decided to move the party indoors. It's just a glass bowl filled with orange cheese balls and I found the jack-o-lantern stickers face at Target. :-) We used Jackson's "Blaze and the Monster Machines" pumpkin as decoration as well. :-) The banner over the food was from the $1 bin at Target. It was just a brown cardboard banner and the orange letters were sticky on the back. They were in the Target $1 bin as well. I spelled out Jackson on it and then we had an extra spot left where we turned one of the left-over letters into a 4! Ha.

After we ate, sang Happy Birthday, ate cupcakes, played a little game of pin the spider on the web and Jackson opened all of his gifts, we decided to let the kids go out and ride their bikes. Jake had gone to get Jackson's new power wheels car that we had gotten him for his birthday and he also brought his bike along too. He and Avery rode around in the car for as short time and then Jackson decided he wanted to ride his bike. So all the kids took turns riding/driving his car around the parking lot. Thankfully there was a break in the rain for Jackson's party and the kids had plenty of time outside before it started sprinkling again. I think all the kids really enjoyed the party and had a lot of fun!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Trick or Treating 2015

I had every intention of getting this post out much earlier in the week, but life happens and busy schedules get in the way. Oh well... better late than never right?

This year we went over to Jake's brother and sister-in-law's house for Trick or Treating. They purchased a home in St. Peters, MO (a suburb outside of St. Louis) earlier this year and since we're still in the condo, we decided to trick or treat in their new neighborhood with them. Jake's other brother and sister-in-law, his mom, his sister-in-law's parents, my parents and my sister and brother-in-law and all of the kids of course, went trick-or-treating together! It was a really fun time and the kids got a ton of candy!

When we first headed out, it was sprinkling a little but the temperature was nice and we didn't even need a jacket! The rain did finally stop and it ended up being a really nice evening for trick-or-treating. 

Jackson said "Trick-or-Treat" at just about every house and also said "Thank You" after getting his candy. I told him on more than one occasion before Halloween night that this was the nice and polite thing to say for Trick-or-Treating and I'm glad he used his manners. :-) He had a great time with all of his cousins!!

This was Avery's first year of Trick-or-Treating and she did GREAT! It only took her a couple of houses before she became an old pro! She loved it and was pushing her way through her cousins to be front and center at every door! She gladly took the candy from each house and quickly became very protective of her bucket. :-)

We had a great time Trick-or-Treating this year and are looking forward to it again next year!

There were a couple of homes that had a blow-up Mickey Mouse that Avery just LOVED! She wanted to go right up to them and touch them. She loves her some Mickey Mouse!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Pumpkin Carving 2015

Last night we went over to my parents house for dinner, as we typically do on most Thursdays. My sister and her family and my Papa always come over too and the kids have the best time playing and driving us crazy!! ;-)

Every year, on a Thursday night around Halloween,  my mom will have pumpkins to carve for the kids. Before we had kids, my sister, Jason, Jake and I would carve pumpkins of something we wanted, now we carve pumpkins of something the kids like. The kids are really too small to carve pumpkins still, so it's really more for us, but they love seeing the finished product so we continue to do it every year. :-)

Here's a year by year picture of our pumpkins since we've had Jackson.

Landon's was Incredible Hulk, Jackson's was Mickey Mouse and Mason's was the Owls.

In 2013 we painted pumpkins so the kids could be a little more involved.

Jake carved a really cool Ninja turtle for Jackson! Landon's was a Transformer and Mason's said Spooky (pictured above with the 3 boys).

Mason's is Peppa Pig, Landon's is the Minion and Jackson's is Blaze and the Monster Machines!

Avery wanted nothing to do with any of it! Ha. She was totally grossed out and actually scared of the pumpkin guts. Ha. She's such a girl.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Avery is 18 Months Old Today!!

Wow, how did that happen? 1 1/2 years old! It just doesn't seem possible.

You are tall and skinny. You have pretty much lost your baby fat and have slimmed down quite a bit. You are tall enough though, to reach things that are on the edge of the counter, which is somewhat frustrating! Ha. You weigh 24 pounds!

You are still wearing mostly 18 month clothes, but I've bought mostly 24 month clothes for you for Fall and Winter so that you can wear them for the whole season.

Shoe Size
Size 5

Still a Size 4

You have all 4 top front teeth and all 4 front bottom teeth. You also have all 4 of your 1 year molars and your 4 incisors have just recently poked through. So at 18 months you have 16 teeth!!

Light Brown hair and Brown eyes

You sleep pretty good for the most part. You usually go to sleep between 8 and 9 and then sleep til anywhere from 6-9 depending on the day. You sometimes wake up once in the middle of the night and are hard to get back to sleep but thankfully this doesn't happen often. You usually take a morning nap for around 1-2 hours and then an afternoon nap for around 1-2 hours.

You're not really eating much these days. You do love chips and french fries though and I never have to twist your arm to eat those. Ugh. You also love fruit snacks too which you can't seem to get enough of. You will try new foods which I love about you and there really isn't much you won't eat. You still love macaroni and you really like pizza too but you'll eat corn, peas, carrots, green beans... there really isn't much I've found that you won't eat. The problem is you just don't eat very much of anything.Which probably explains why you've slimmed down.

Favorite Toys:
You love anything Mickey Mouse Clubhouse related. You carry around our stuffed Minnie Mouse and Daisy and even sleep with them some nights! It's really cute! You also like to play with whatever Jackson is playing with at the moment, which he is not a fan of. You are a collector, which you come by honestly from me. When you're in the bath, I will give you a few toys to play with and rather than playing with them, you gather them up and just sit there and hold them and then if one of them gets away from you, you cry because your hands are too full to try and get it back. Ha!

Other than the new tooth, there really haven't been too many big milestones lately. You have attempted to say a few more words I guess but that's about it. You are a climber and can climb all the way onto the kitchen table! Little stinker! That's one milestone we could have lived without! You also know where many of your body parts are like: eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, hair, fingers, toes, butt and belly button! We've been saying bed-time prayers recently and you are so cute! I've taught you to put your hands together in the prayer position and I will tell you to close your eyes and you do, which is so stinkin cute! We say the "now I lay me down to sleep" prayer and before we're even done you start clapping at the end. We're working on getting you to say Amen. You try, but you don't quite have it down yet. ;-)

There are a few words that you say often like Momma, Dada, Papa, Ball, Hot, Hi, Hello, Eye and you try to say Brother. You also try to say my sister's name, Ashlee. Lately we've been working on animal sounds which you've got dog, cat, duck and bear down pretty well. You also try to do the cow and chicken most times. We're wondering if your speech may be somewhat delayed because of thick fluid in your ears. You had an ear infection in early August that ended up taking 3 antibiotics to clear up. Though the infection went away, the fluid in your ears never did. So the pediatrician referred us to a child ENT. We saw him in late September and he suggested we wait 6 weeks and re-check your ears to see if the fluid would go away on its own.
We had your follow-up at the ENT yesterday and the thick/chronic fluid was still in both ears. So the doctor said he wouldn't pressure us, but thought Ear Tubs would be a good idea. He was concerned about speech delays and thought with the fluid that you may not be hearing as well as you should. So we are looking into scheduling tube surgery soon.

You are feisty and relentless and you will do whatever it takes to get what you want. This will help you in the career world, but it's not very fun for your momma right now!! Ha. You throw fits and have a little temper. We're working on this but it's hard. You are sweet though and give kisses and squeezes when you're in the mood. You're a girly girl and love to wear jewelry, play with baby dolls and you love shoes! You are ornery, but yet can be so sweet and cuddly. You love your brother and when he wakes up or you are reunited after him being gone somewhere, you almost always run up and give him a hug. You have the cutest walk. It's like you have a little bounce in your step. It's almost like your walk even has a personality. Ha. It's too cute!

I think that pretty much covers you at 18 months pretty girl! 
We love you to the moon and back Avery and are so thankful for our sweet girl!
Mommy! xoxo

And a little side by side comparison of Avery over the last 18 months.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Boo at the Zoo

This past Saturday night we took the kids to Boo at the Zoo!! I've always heard how much fun it is, but had never gone in the past. This year we dressed the kids in their costumes and made it happen and I'm so glad we did. It was a lot of fun!! There were lots of things for the kids to do and see and they had the very best time!! It was so fun to see all the kids dressed in their adorable costumes! There were lots of activities and light displays set up. After we left, we asked Jackson what his favorite part was and he said riding the carousel. :-)

The animals weren't really out or where you could see them, but we did get to see the Polar Bear sleeping, which was pretty awesome. He is new to our zoo and when we were there a couple months ago, we didn't get to see him, so it was cool to see him sleeping (not something you would normally get to see during the day). 

Avery had a Minnie Mouse outfit that she got for her birthday earlier in the year. I loved it and just hadn't really had an opportunity for her to wear it yet. So I thought I'd dress her in that for this event since she LOVES Minnie Mouse right now!! Jackson wore his Batman costume again and just loves wearing it. :-) 

We had a really great time and will more than likely try to make this an annual event!!

There was one area where the kids could dance to The Monster Mash song. It was adorable and I was surprised that Jackson actually got out there and danced. It was the cutest, so I had to get it on video!!