Has it only been 11 days?

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Nona bought Wiley a belated birthday gift.

Wiley started Kindergarten 15 days ago. My in-laws came into town 14 days ago. My husband took his dad on a much needed kayak/camping trip – just the two of them – 13 days ago. I had to finish writing music (the piano music we decided on was written for a piano/viola and I wrote the harmony part I sang) for a duet I sang in church – 12 days ago. The Total Solar Eclipse seen from our backyard – 11 days – also said goodbye to my in-laws. My Aunt came into town from Austin, TX to see the eclipse, and stayed in town to visit with me for a day.  My middle child turned 3 years old – 10 days ago. Danny started school. My mother performed in a ballet – took kids down to my parents – had to see the mother perform. Racing home from my visit, to see mom on stage, to teach my Sunday School class….and so on…

All this time I’ve had to let some things slide. A grocery bag of un-openned birthday decorations still sit on my closet shelf.

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They love reading.

Tyler, turned three, had the best day of his life. I gave him everything he asked for that day, I didn’t give him everything I planned, I gave him what he asked for and that made him happy. He wanted birthday donuts – no cake. He wanted to watch Youtube videos (supervised by me) during school hours. He wanted a tricycle – which he rides daily around my living room and kitchen – and Tow-Mater/Lightening McQueen cars. Done and done. Time in the sandbox. Play in the tub. Seems kinda like I was a lame mom for his birthday this year, but the birthday boy got everything he asked for, so I’ll call it a win.

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Park time.

Four days after my in-laws returned home to the Houston, Texas area Hurricane Harvey hit.

I have been glued to social media – watching through the eyes of friends – heart sick – as my old neighborhoods, libraries I visited, restaurants I frequented, trails I used to walk – all flooded.

I’ve been uniting in prayer with friends and strangers for the comfort, healing and rebuilding of Houston, Texas. Just as the country united only four or five days earlier to watch the amazing beauty of the solar eclipse, so many people united once again during the chaos and damage that hurt millions “back home.”

My husband asked me if he should take this semester off from school (where he studies civil/environmental engineering in Missouri) to help clean up and restore his home. My husband was born and raised in Houston, Texas. We met in Spring, Texas. Married in the Houston LDS Temple. Lived in our first home two blocks north of the Temple. In his mind, after spending this summer as a storm water management engineering-intern for the City of Columbia, he felt like he could do a lot of good in the after math of Harvey. My response was, “you’re eight months from graduating with a degree – you can do a lot more good when that is completed, when you’re done, you can improve infrastructure not just in Houston, but anywhere in the world.” Right now, it would only increase our financial burden with him not in school and not working.

Danny will continue to do much good for everyday life as he finishes his degree. He will continue to do much good when he graduates.

I’ll do good here in the home.

So, I am continuing to pray for the aid (physical, financial and emotional) of those hurt by Harvey. In all the chaos of my life, I have not forgotten you or the other people suffering in the world.

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After day four of Kindergarten, Wiley fell asleep like this.

No matter what is happening in our own lives, God wants us to think about and serve others.

Life can wear you down, just stop and rest a bit, but just don’t quit.

First Day of Kindergarten for both of us.

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I asked for a group shot on the front porch…Ty took off, Wiley turned around and Adri just listening to her music…

Monday was meet the teacher, which Danny and I took him to. Wednesday I took all three of the kiddos up to the elementary for Wiley to be evaluated. Part of the reason teachers do that is to get that one-on-one time between new pupil and new teacher, building the relationship. It also gives the teacher a baseline for where he is right now in his education. Come parent/teacher night, she’ll be able to show mom and dad some quantitative evidence of his growing knowledge!

Wiley is so intellectually curious, I’m thrilled to have Mrs. S help supplement his education, while I parent the two littles. Wiley is also very social, so now I wont be responsible for entertaining him everyday. Already my sanity is improving.

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All buckled up and ready to go!

Back in the spring when I told him about starting school in August, Wiley told me he didn’t want to go to school. I told him he would love it!! All summer we talked about school and I let him pick out his own clothes, backpack, lunchbox – all in effort to get this guy excited about school. Learning is fun, school is fun!!

Last night, I checked and double checked that Wiley’s backpack met the teacher’s checklist (towel for nap time, spare clothes for potty accidents)…

Kindergarten today – it was an early start 5:50 for mom, 6am for baby girl who heard mommy and Tyler soon followed. Wiley finally surfaced around 6:30.

Lunch was made, mommy got Wiley to eat something for breakfast while he stared blankly from his perch on the couch.

Wiley – “I’m not going to school if you don’t let me watch the show I want.”

Mom – “I’m sorry buddy, no TV before school, but would you like some chocolate milk to drink?”

Wiley – enthusiastic nodding

I had all four of us (mom, three kids under five years) dressed and in the car by 7:18am.

The car drop-off line was a tad hectic, but I knew it was just first day of school issues.

Kindergarten parents have the luxury (on day 1) of parking right in front of the office and walking their kids into their classroom. With overcast skies and cooler temperatures, I felt very comfortable leaving my two littles in their carseats for the 8 minute round trip walk to Wiley’s class.

With less gusto in his walk than yesterday, Wiley held my hand into Mrs. S’s room. I helped him put his lunchbox and backpack where they belong and walked him to his new desk!!

He wasn’t crying, he stood nervously next to his desk and I hugged him really tight, told him, “I love you so much, you’re going to have the best day!” Mrs. S came over and took over. I said ‘bye’ and headed toward the door, I turned around one last time and saw two little boys sitting at the first table inside the door, one spoke to the other, “do you want to be my friend?” I smiled, one last glance at Wiley taking a seat at his table. I knew this was going to be a great day for my little guy. I hurried to the nearest exit and sprinted down the sidewalk to my parked van.

The two babies were still listening to music on my phone (DJ Adri on duty). I sat in the drivers seat and my heart felt swollen, I resisted the urge to cry, a smile cropped up – ear to ear – on my face and I knew everything was going to be great for me too.

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I took the babies to the Post Office (closed till 9am), so I drove over to the Library (closed till 9am) – what the?! We went to a grocery store to kill time before the opening of the library.

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Meeting up with friends (Adrian now being the same age that Wiley used to be when he and I met up with our friends Tina and Haylee for library play!!)!

Followed by lots of outside playtime. Before I knew it – it was time to load the van again to go get our Wiley-man!

The carline for pick up ran much more smoothly than drop-off.

I was so excited to see how his day went – Mrs. S walked him to the curb where I waited and I squealed, “Wiley, how was your day?!”

Wiley burst into tears, “I wanted to take the bus home!!”  hahahahaha

His largest complaint is the time to eat lunch is too short…on a side note, Wiley was telling jokes at lunch. (While eating his grapes, “ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas!!” Dan and I asked if anyone laughed, “no.”) hahaha.

He didn’t want to talk much about his day, but I knew he just needed to chill awhile. By the time daddy got home from work and started asking Wiley about his school day, Wiley was really excited to share all about class, “and you know what my teacher said? She said to come back tomorrow!!”

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Finishing lunch!

So, with mom and dad’s excitement, Wiley feels excitement too.

The first day of school was followed by a date night – to the waste water treatment plant – because nothing says true love quite like taking a tour of the place where your poopy-water gets cleaned. I do however now know how that happens. I am grateful for engineers!!

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The aerators help boost the bacteria that love to eat our ‘waste’

If anyone is curious about fun facts, please send me or Danny a Direct Message.

Learning is fun.

 

 

 

You’re not inadequate, you’re the perfect fit.

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family walk time

I got a phone call from a friend I haven’t spoken to since – 2008? Now that I count it up, almost a decade ago! Wow. Thank goodness for social media to help keep tabs on those friends!!

We talked of many things, but something that stayed on my mind was the feelings we shared in our ability to be good mothers.

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run baby run

After pondering on the matter for some time, the thought came into my mind that my children chose me.

They chose me.

Of all the brilliant, kind, talented mothers in the world, these kids chose me.

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run dance run

I don’t have any evidence to prove to you that this is true, it was just something that came to me and brought me peace.

I want to remember that feeling any time the temptation to feel inadequate creeps into my life.

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our deep thinker

They knew you before they came to this earth and thought, “yeah, you’re going to be the perfect fit!”

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He loves to bring me flowers

Keep trying your best. Keep giving them your time, your love, your hugs and kisses.

Keep praying that they will continue to grow up to become the incredible humans you pray they will be.

Keep taking the time to do the things they want to do – even if you can’t finish all the things you want to do.

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They need you. They want you. They are your greatest treasure.

There are still long days ahead. They will need your guidance, your patience, your understanding and most importantly…

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everyone gets a turn on daddy’s back

They need to know that you love them.

Each child will understand, feel and show love in different ways.

Just like you understand, feel and show love in different ways.

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Take the time to learn how they communicate.

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In time you will see that not only were you not inadequate, you were exactly who they needed you to be.

“Life must be understood backward. But… it must be lived forward.” -Søren Kierkegaard

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hold on as long as you will

In writing this open letter to myself I want other parents to know that you are doing better than you think you are.

XOXO

Me

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Enjoying more fully the Light.

I read a story about post-partum depression today, it wasn’t a happy one, which reminded me that I haven’t updated the internet on the state of my health:  mind, body and soul.

It’s good news. [Sigh of relief]

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My baby boy.

I don’t really feel like talking about the depression, it’s part of my past now and I know that it could potentially be part of my future. For now I’m going to tell you what I’ve been doing, about what makes me happy.

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My oldest niece, the Mermaid. (side note, this was a candid shot, I caught her mid-imagination).

I needed more Family time, spouse time and time just for me.

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First, I called my mom and asked if she would pay for my gym membership. I knew that all the time away from the gym was one reason I was sad. I missed regular exercise!! I started making better choices with my food and I started pampering myself.

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Anyone who knows me, knows that when you think of me, you don’t necessarily think “cheapskate.” But, for years I have rarely paid for haircuts (ask a friend or sister to just cut it right over a trash can), I almost never go into a salon, I have never had a manicure and I only get pedicures once or twice a year (because if I didn’t, my entire foot would turn into a callus). I also never spent money on makeup, hair supplies or skincare.

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My sister, her husband and their sixth baby.

My skin care routine – up until this year – was usually going straight to bed without washing my face. Rinse face in morning or just wait till I took a shower…whenever that was.

Wearing makeup was usually reserved for Sundays and the makeup I did own was either purchased for me by a mother or sister or given to me by a sister or my mother (because it came as a free gift during a purchase)! I spent very little money in the hair, skincare and makeup department.

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Candid shots really are the best.

In the spring and summer of 2016 when I struggled with pink eye, I had to throw away all of the makeup I did own – which included some new and nice (gifted) things. In addition to throwing out all my makeup, I threw out all my bed pillows (nice, newer pillows I couldn’t afford to replace).

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We were also very broke when this happened.

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Somewhere between back to back pregnancies, a husband who was gone all the time for school and with church responsibilities, a four year old just barely potty training (read “three kids in diapers”) – I was feeling pretty haggard.

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My sister and her baby and she’s pregnant with her seventh! (how amazing is she?!)

Well, I discovered a multi-level marketing company that has amazing skin care and makeup. I knew I couldn’t afford to buy/wear good products unless I sold some. So, I signed up to distribute.

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Along the way, I started having fun with my life again and taking care of myself made me feel good.

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So, I’m going to the gym, taking care of my body, eating healthier and getting better sleep – now at bedtime, I don’t lay in bed trying to un-wind from a day that pulled and stretched me, I go to bed, I think of all the things I’m grateful for and all the things I can do better tomorrow.

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Then, I stop thinking and go to sleep.

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I started singing around the house more often, letting the messes sit later, snuggling with my babies a little longer.

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I decided that dates with my husband were worth the cost of a babysitter (again, where I tend to be cheap – “let’s just not get a baby sitter and stay in or take the kids with us.”

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These two never want their daddy out of their sight!

I re-took my Athletic Training exam (to re-certify) and was 23 points short of passing!! [I mean, I can’t be too sad, I’ve been out of practice 11 years!! With very little study time I squeezed in, I almost passed!! Yes, I’m taking it again].

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My mother in law fostered a love for the ocean in my husband, and here she is with her grandchildren (whiny and all).

My energy levels increased and the chemicals in my brain have found balance as I allowed for more positive thoughts.

I consciously made it a daily effort to push negative thinking away and only see the positive. I had let negative thoughts camp too long in my mind and I didn’t want to be sad anymore.

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Happiness had been my life before and I wanted that life back.

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I never stopped praying during my struggles. I never stopped hoping. I knew that change would come if I just kept trying.

God knew me, He had faith that I could overcome my circumstances and He has faith in you too. The tools are there, we just need to reach out. Ask for help and take steps to change.

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Those ‘gulls see food and in they swoop.

Postpartum depression is not an old friend, but foe. An enemy I may face in the coming years. But I have hope that my faith and past experience will help me defeat him again.

Disappointments still arrive, but I see the light and know that everything will work out.

Tiny humans are my favorite…

Daddy wasn't at the beach this trip...so I had to make my own tent.
Daddy wasn’t at the beach this trip…so I had to make my own tent.

I keep looking at my baby and think, “he’s turning into a little boy too soon!”

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Right now I’m so happy to have him as my little koala baby. He is eight months old already…

Cousins!
Cousins!

My, now, three year old just walked into my bedroom holding some wildflowers that he and his daddy picked in our backyard.

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When Wiley isn’t telling me what to do, he is pretty stinking cute himself.

My sister pregnant with her sixth baby!
My sister pregnant with her sixth baby!

I was always tired when Wiley was a newborn, so it’s hard to remember anything from that time period in my life, but I do remember just loving that baby boy (even though he was probably the worlds most high maintenance infant).

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I was so happy to be a mother.

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Baby T, who is now crawling and pulling himself up and getting teeth…I remember very well his newborn-ness.

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He was a good sleeper, so that mean’t I was getting more sleep, he was (and is) so chill when I had to put him down to take care of Wiley’s needs.

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Ready to go??

I constantly felt bad how often I had to put my new baby down to help Wiley (the ever high maintenance child – haha) and now that he’s turning into a toddler, I feel like I missed out on his infancy.

Ah, the difference between March in Texas and March in Missouri.
Ah, the difference between March in Texas and March in Missouri.

My baby also started whimpering for pureed food far earlier than I had expected and again, I felt like he wanted to grow up too fast.

Get your coat!
Get your coat!

It was God’s plan – when I got Little T – he sent me a baby that was going to be okay when I had another baby fifteen months later.

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On Good Friday I learned that I was going to have another baby (along with a 1/3 of all the women I know…).

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Today marks Nine Weeks into my new pregnancy.

Don't worry, Wiley is a great older brother!
Don’t worry, Wiley is a great older brother!

The nearest ocean is eighteen hours away, sorry son…

Danny and his dad made a beach hut...from a tarp and some sticks.
Danny and his dad made a beach hut…from a tarp and some sticks.

Since our return from spring break, at least twice a week, my son has asked if we can, “go to the beach mommy?”

Wiley's first step in...brrr

I know he doesn’t understand, “the nearest beach is about 18 hours away buddy.”

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Yeah, our town has a pretty cute lake, with sand and he loves going there too, but it’s not the same.

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The “beach” at the lake doesn’t have waves that tease you – charging after you, only to run off again – time and time again.

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While we were in Texas in March we spent two afternoons down at Galveston State Park.

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The first visit was with Danny’s parents. Before we stopped at the beach, we made a stop to see Danny’s grandparents in Houston.

Danny and his paternal grandparents.
Danny and his paternal grandparents.

It was the first time the great grandparents saw baby T.

Sorry about the red eye, I haven't made any time for photo edits, they are what they are.
Sorry about the red eye, I haven’t made any time for photo edits, they are what they are.

Danny’s grandpa is is a man of many interests, he has a shop for his woodworking and a shop for his stained glass lamp making, where he makes Tiffany lamp replicas.

Here is our lamp!
Here is our lamp!

A Tiffany lamp? I didn’t know what one was until I married into this family.

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My husband has been saying for years how much he wanted a lamp – well – this trip his grandfather presented a lamp he made just for us!

Wiley playing with Dolly!
Wiley playing with Dolly!

Had we realized how much stuff we would be hauling home, we may have packed lighter before we came…

Grandpa stained glass workshop.
Grandpa stained glass workshop.

His grandmother also gave us some lovely Moon and Star glassware (up until then, we didn’t have a salt and pepper shaker…so we were really happy to get some beautiful glass salt and pepper shakers) for us grown ups and some soft stuffed dogs for the boys.

Hm...Grandpa managed to close his eyes on every photo. See the shelf above him in the background? All those lamps he says he doesn't like!!! Well, they look fine to me!
Hm…Grandpa managed to close his eyes on every photo. See the shelf above him in the background? All those lamps he says he doesn’t like!!! Well, they look fine to me!

I am reminded during visits with grandparents, that children grow very quickly and when they are gone, there will be plenty of time for hobbies and personal enrichment.

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right now isn’t the time for me, but it will come soon.

Danny was drooling over grandpa's collection.
Danny was drooling over grandpa’s collection.

I made everyone take a hundred photos…

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Wiley is not really a fan of taking photos…

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Dan’s not really a fan of taking “posed” photos…

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Four Generations…but the striped polo with jeans apparently ended with Danny’s dad.

After the great Grands treated us to lunch, Nona and Grambo took us to the beach.

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Baby T, you come from great legacy on all sides of your family…someday I’ll tell you more about it. 

Wiley had so much fun in the water, he didn’t want to come out even when he was teeth chattering cold.

Daddy took more arial photos...welcome to 2015 people.
Daddy took more arial photos…welcome to 2015 people.

It was a pretty warm day, but the water was about 65 degrees – which is still much warmer than the Pacific ocean!

With promises of another trip soon, Wiley reluctantly got back into the car to go back to his Papa and Gregre’s house.

We'll see in June Galveston.
We’ll see in June Galveston.

The weather is still trying to figure out if it wants to be warm or cool, so we haven’t made it to the lake “beach” here yet, but it is on our summer to-do…but so is another trip to Texas, so he’ll get to see the Gulf again in a few months.

How Some People Live..Not ‘me’ people, but some people.

Wiley spent the first two years of his life on a ranch, but in the last year our lives have been very suburban and it’s easy to forget our country life.

Papa and Gregre have lots of kids...baby goats.
Papa and Gregre have lots of kids…baby goats.

Replaced are the early morning sounds of the rooster, cows and baaing sheep. I’m now bothered by large trucks zipping by or cars blaring awful music that occasionally threatens to shatter my windows.

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It’s not coyotes that howl late at night, it’s college kids racing their crotch-rockets.

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The life I’m living now is so far from what I had as a child growing up…from what I can remember.  I wonder how much of this my children will remember?

Texas Longhorn
Texas Longhorn

So getting away for spring break was perfect for lots of reasons, first to see family and second to escape the city.

His name is pronounced "Bo-Sea-Fus"
His name is pronounced “Bo-Sea-Fus”

We stayed with Danny’s Papa and Gregre (the grandparents who looked like Barbie and Ken) and we got to watch silent film of when my mother in law was a toddler!!

T-Rock soaking in the rays...or what rays he can get in the shade.
T-Rock soaking in the rays…or what rays he can get in the shade.

Wiley got to play freely outdoors – free to dump sand in his hair – any time I couldn’t find him, Papa would say, “did you look in the sand?” (Which Wiley called the beach) that was right outside the door.

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Wiley was always playing in the sand when he could.

One afternoon, my in-laws took us out to see the property they purchased. They bought a huge plot of untouched land in the middle of a “sub-division”… not the typical sub-division you’re thinking of or living in.

large black doors on Right is the airplane hanger. Garage and house on left side of building.  Grass airstrip in front of the "house."
large black doors on Right is the airplane hanger. Garage and house on left side of building. Grass airstrip in front of the “house.” Open plot to the right of this is my In-laws…as is the forest of trees in the back of photo.

This “neighborhood” consists of “homes” that are mostly airplane hanger with a garage/house attached.

20150325_140050A beautiful grass airstrip makes up the majority of everyone’s front yard, where old guys go pleasure cruising…in their planes, not classic cars.

We enjoyed the park while Daddy and Grambo took arial photos of the new property.
We enjoyed the park while Daddy and Grambo took arial photos of the new property.

We had been in the neighborhood about twenty minutes when a plane pulls out of it’s hanger, taxis about and takes off (maybe) 40 yards in front of us.

I’m waving at the pilot as the plane lifts off the ground right in front of me and he waves back, like he’s in Mayberry…full of planes.

Another perfect day.
Another perfect day.

What the heck? People actually live like this?

They do! And if my father in law gets his dream, he will too and my kids will experience this type of thing on a regular basis.

One of the awesome parts of marriage is you get to experience ways of living that never existed before your partner came into your life.

I’m so blessed and grateful for my life and my family…and so sad that spring break is over already. Take US back!!

Oh The Irony…I Love Irony, But I Love The Outdoors More.

My due date is less than three weeks from today – here I’ve waited NINE months for this and suddenly I think, “I can’t have the baby yet!?!? I have more projects to finish!!”

Wiley loves his life.
Wiley loves his life.

The time for projects are coming to a close – for a while – I still work on small things between taking care of my family and getting chores done.

Jumping at the river for the big boys.
Jumping at the river for the big boys.

What I have been making time for, once or twice a week, is meeting up with a friend or two and taking Wiley swimming.

I may be huge and my swim suit may be getting smaller on me, but I look forward to time with friends and Wiley loves the pool or like today, the lake.

Man Crush Monday to Monday and everyday.
Man Crush Monday to Monday and everyday.

The photos on today’s post are actually from late May.

What A SWEET boy (that is, unless he is biting another child...)
What A SWEET boy (that is, when he is not biting another child…)

On our way home from visiting family in Texas, we stopped in southern Missouri just outside of Houston (Houston, Missouri – not to confuse my family in Houston, Texas) at a swimming hole along the Piney River called Baptist camp.

Wiley can't wait to be a big boy too.
Wiley can’t wait to be a big boy too.

I still wasn’t feeling well the day we went, so I sat on the shore and took photos of my husband, brothers, friends and my son.

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Wiley has a tendency to be hesitant at first around water…after 40 minutes he has no fear and I have to stay right on top of him.

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Today I met up with a friend of mine who is also pregnant (about six weeks behind me) and also has a two year old.

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We met up a a place in Columbia called Stephen’s Lake, which is a lake/splash pad combo and Wiley was not hesitant at all today. He jumped right into the sand and crawled straight into the water.

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I didn’t take photos today – but I’ll have to get some pictures eventually – it is a beautiful park.

DSC_0695I guess I’ll have to go back soon…maybe I’ll take Danny too if he isn’t at work or completing Honey-Do’s.

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I’m glad Columbia has so many parks and pools, it has helped me through this summer, as has the weather.

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I have been really blessed this summer.

DSC_0710Happy Taco Tuesday Ya’ll!! 🙂

 

 

 

TING – A New Frisbee Game! Check It Out

The Peterson family invented a [family] game called ‘TING’, which originated on an outdoor basketball court.

Really this game was played in the dark!
Really this game was played in the dark!

There are two teams and two bases (the pole that the basket sits atop of).

It is like ultimate frisbee, in that, when you have the frisbee in your hand, you can’t move your feet. After the frisbee is thrown, you can run and jump around again.

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The Peterson’s started calling the game ‘TING’ because of the sound the frisbee made when it hit the pole – ‘TING’ game point!

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That’s what happens when you play TING on a Sunday after church…usually she is dominating in gym shorts.

So, when a few families gathered for a birthday dinner – the after dinner games were inevitable.

A small group played Pinochle, others basketball.

Dan guarding his goal
Dan guarding his goal

I started tossing the frisbee with one of the girls, which turned into a group tossing the frisbee, which ended in a large group playing TING…that’s when I stepped out for my pocket camera.

Juliet and my boy.
Juliet and my boy

Somehow, I and the original frisbee thrower ended up sitting in the warm living room, while TING was being played.

I got the fun started, my work here is done.

………

So, imagine our surprise, when Dan opened a fortune cookie and we saw the word TING!

TING in Mandarin (right?) means, ‘to hear’ and JiaTing means ‘Family’

Birthday Gril
Birthday Gril 

WHAT?! A family game, invented [by a family] and named from the sound they heard after scoring!

Cool.

Xǐyuè!!!

P.s. I love languages.