Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse 2017

Our family was very lucky to be in the "path of totality" for this year's solar eclipse, along with all of our friends in Southern Illinois! I'm not sure if this was nearly as big of a deal in other places, but where we are from ALL anyone has been talking about is the ECLIPSE! Or, as Reagan kept saying this morning, the "apocalypse." 

"Mom, are we going to have to go inside during the apocalypse?"

"No, son."

"Mom, did you know that zombies come out when it gets dark during the apocalypse?"

"There are no such things as zombies, son."


People from all over the country have been pouring into our region, but we were super fortunate to be able to enjoy the show from our own yard. The girls' school planned an entire days worth of activities around the event, so we tried to have a little fun with it at home, too! We started the morning off with some eclipse pancakes.

We made mini pancakes, spread on some syrup, and then sprinkled them with powdered sugar.

Wala! Eclipse pancakes. Haha.

The kids got a kick out of it and said that they were the best pancakes they had ever had...which pretty much means I'm never going to make pancakes again without creating a giant powdered sugar mess. :)

The little ones and I watched some kid-friendly videos explaining the eclipse (because my son was obviously very confused!) and then we set out to do a few projects for fun. We whipped up a modified pair of special glasses for the kids to use, and we made eclipse handprints from tiny traced hands and white chalk. They turned out super cute!

I tried to make the day a little more special by ordering a super fancy lunch for us to enjoy.

I mean, it was round. Theme, people, theme!

Soon after lunch it was time to start going out and checking on the progress of the eclipse! For us, the eclipse began at 11:45am and it reached totality at 1:15pm. I can honestly say it's one of the COOLEST natural wonders I have ever seen. I am SO thankful for the sharp scientific minds who can keep track of this stuff and let us regular people know about it. :) God's creation is amazing, and I think it's absolutely brilliant that there is such order to it all. The more we learn about the world around us, the more we learn about the God who created it! 

Every 15 minutes or so we were outside looking for changes in the sun. Reagan was tickled each and every time. "It looks like the moon!"

As we grew closer to totality, the temperature definitely dropped and the lighting became other-wordly. I think that was one of the coolest parts. :) I wish that was the legit lighting we had on this planet all of the time. Cool for us, but I'm sure the plants appreciate the sunlight we have, haha.

Phone cameras aren't great for picking up the true lighting, but it was already dusky when Lincoln and I attempted a sun-selfie. Not something I would ever attempt on a normal day!

Linc was really only interested in grabbing the phone!

Soon the streetlights popped on in the middle of the day, and we got the coolest view EVER of a total eclipse! For just a brief moment we were able to remove our glasses and take a look at the sun. Goosebumps! I only wish I could have gotten a good picture of it, but I assume there are about a million floating around on the internet by now. :)

Distant cheers from kids who stayed home from school could be heard in our neighborhood. I saw a few other neighbors who were home enjoying the display, too, some with telescopes! 

Was it worth all of the hubbub for just a few minutes of astronomical splendor?


It really was.

I'm not saying I would join the throngs of people who travel the world chasing these things, but if it ever happens in your own backyard, totally make sure to enjoy it. I can't wait for the girls to come home from school today and tell us all about their experience!

I know that most of our friends and family live near us and were also in the path of totality. I hope you were able to get out and take in the sites! For everyone else, I wish I had better pictures to share, know...that internet thing can definitely hook you up there. :)

Thank you for sharing our experiences today with us! Have a great day, friends!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Happy Birthday, Lincoln!

The day has finally arrived! The baby of our family turns one year old today - I can hardly believe it!

Can you tell what the theme of his birthday party is going to be? :) 

Lincoln Theodore Robert is such a beautiful child, and he might just grow up with some sort of complex because we tell him so EVERY single day...DOZENS of times per day. :) No one can get over his cuteness! And he's so happy and good. Well, he's just the perfect little caboose on our crazy train.

Lincoln is a big boy these days with a mouth full of teeth and a hungry appetite. He isn't walking just yet, but he is getting close. He can pull up on and get into just about anything he wants. And that includes his favorite game, taught to him by big sister Charlotte - scouring the house for a toilet to splash in or throw things into!

Linc is, admittedly, a total mama's boy. That is not a problem. :) Haha, he's my little buddy! Nothing warms my heart like the smile I get from this baby. It spreads from his cute little lips to his dimples and his squinty eyes until his whole face is just one big ball of light and I can't help but scoop him up and give him a squeeze!

Unfortunately, being a mama's boy also means it's nearly impossible to get a good picture of this kid...if I'm down on his level, he wants to be in my lap. (And possibly eating my face.)


His favorite things include: going outside, dumping all of his food on the floor, digging in the pantry, hitting things and making loud noises, so uh yeah...he's pretty much a typical boy! Lincoln grunts a lot, which makes his big sisters crack up. :) 

Lincoln is the best cuddle buddy. He has befriended the nicest man at church who claims Lincoln in the nursery every Sunday. Every morning when I come to pick him up, he's sound asleep on this little old man's chest in a rocking chair, haha. "He's the sweetest baby." I know...I know. Could eat him with a spoon. I kindly request each day that Lincoln please not grow up. And yet, here we are. A whole year old!

I hear a lot of different opinions about who Lincoln looks like...which is pretty much the same with all of our kiddos. They all look so different, I think! But this my handsome like dad! I think he's a little Eric. :) 

Evelyn's favorite memory of Lincoln from the last year was visiting him the hospital after he was born. Reagan's favorite memory was watching Lincoln learn how to stand up. Gracie's favorite memory was celebrating Lincoln's first Christmas this year. It took Charlotte a little while to warm up to her baby brother, but now I can't go a single day without her smothering him in kisses and asking where the baby is 20 times when he takes a nap. :) 

In a couple of weeks we'll blast off and celebrate this cutie! It's a crazy weekend around here getting ready to go back to school, so we're letting things settle down a little bit before tackling a first birthday party. But I can't wait to party in outer space with our little Lincoln! 

Happy first birthday, little buddy! We love you!

Hope you all have a great day!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Babies Everywhere!

I think it's probably pretty clear that we love babies around here. Can't get enough of them. (Okay...that is a little bit of a stretch. We definitely have enough here!) But now we can focus our attention on OTHER people's babies, which is great! Haha.

There are some new faces to add to the cast of characters that you might see around here from time to time. My sister Shannon recently finished up her time serving in the U.S Marine Corps. Yay, thank you for your service, sister! And it was just in time for her to welcome her first baby into the world. Meet Mr. Tyler Ortiz.

He is cute. Like, seriously SO cute, I cannot get enough of his little face.

Shannon and her husband Tyler moved from South Carolina back to Illinois JUST in time for baby Ty to make his arrival. There was no time for celebrations beforehand, so soon we will be having a little post-baby baby shower for the little man. As you might guess I am knee-deep in all things blue around here getting ready for that. Fun! I think these types of showers are becoming more popular anyway so that people have a chance to actually MEET the baby when they arrive. So see Shannon, we aren't late, we're trendy. ;)

On the other side of the family we will soon be welcoming a baby GIRL into the mix. Eric's brother Denny and his wife April are expecting their first child in early September. Just like with my sister and her husband, Denny and April recently moved from Arizona back to our neck of the woods. It's so crazy how all of our worlds are converging all at once, haha! From opposite sides of the country back to the good 'ole middle. I am SO GLAD to have all of these faces back in my life on a regular basis!

Over the weekend we were able to have the shower for baby girl Robert. My sister-in-law Amy was a total rockstar in pulling everything together for the day. There is a reason why we all get along SO well...we have extremely similar interests, haha. And I have to say, April has become one of my very best friends since they moved back. We talk every single's fantastic. :) We have way more in common than we ever imagined we would. April is my prayer partner and most trusted confidant. We share devotionals and check in with each other all of the time. I love these girls!

It's a family joke that we all have "A" names. We're missing cousin AMANDA who completes our crew on this side of the family!

We cannot wait to meet the new addition!

April keeps dropping hints that she would love for us to squeak out one more baby so that their kids will have cousins very close in age. HA! :D I think Lincoln will have to do there!

On this side of Heaven there is simply nothing better than family. I love mine and I'm really happy that it's expanding. So...who's next? Roger? Amy, you were just saying your kiddos wanted some more siblings, right?! Give me all of the babies!

I'll be excited to share Shannon's shower a couple of weeks from now. Hope you have a happy day, friends!

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Recapping the 4th!

This year our family had a great Fourth of July filled with special memories. I couldn't let another holiday pass around here without at least documenting a bit of it!

We loaded up the family and went back to Red Bud as we do with so many holidays. My mom and dad barbecued for the whole crew which included lots of other family, too. The weather was awesome, and the kids had a lot of fun!

If I had to sum up our afternoon it would be: bottle rockets and BB guns!

I walked outside and found my darling second daughter sitting on a bucket with a big bow in her hair and a gun in her hands, haha. Did not surprise me one bit that it was Gracie paling around with the boys all day! All of the kids love hanging out with their uncles. Maybe their uncles possess some kind of mystical pull that they gravitate towards...or maybe they just let our kids get away with things mom and dad might raise an eyebrow at. :)

Gotta love the old "light and run!"

Haha. Independence Day: The day it suddenly becomes acceptable for your children to play with fire.

This is Charlotte telling me to "Go away, mom." She was just fine. She did not need to be supervised.

(Here's to first piggy tails! She didn't keep her bows in all day, but I was happy that our youngest daughter finally has enough hair to pull up into some teeny tiny pony's!)

After lots of fun and filling our bellies with yummy food (thanks parents!) we came back to O'Fallon to enjoy the evening. I don't know if I will ever get used to the craziness of living in suburban Missouri during the week of July 4th. All week long our kids were clamoring at the windows watching the world explode right outside our front door. 

Sure enough, as the sun was setting last night the Revolutionary War began once again with more pops and booms than I've ever heard. We were surrounded on all sides with every other house in the city putting on their own fireworks shows. This year we decided to check out O'Fallon's official show, so we popped our popcorn, grabbed some juice, and stayed out WAY passed our bedtime!

We had front row seats to some of the best fireworks I have ever seen outside of Disney World! And much to my surprise, not a single one of our kids were scared. Big thanks to Eric for suggesting we do this! We promised the people sitting next to us that we would be back at this same spot next year. :)

I love my family so very much, and it was great having this time together!

It's been one year now since we made the move from Illinois to Missouri. I have changed so much in this past year. So so much. The priorities in my life have completely shifted. We moved further from family and I moved closer to God. Our family is not the same as it was when we left. When you are in a time of flux sometimes things just feel foreign and uncertain. So I am thankful for days like these when everything just feels okay in the world again. A little normal. A little familiar. It is well with my soul. :) 

I hope you all had a great holiday as well. Happy week! 


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