Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Look Back - January 2013

Hotel Crashing

It is very rare that Eric requests something specific for this blog, but he did mention one thing in particular that he wants me to bring back for 2013, and that is monthly updates on our kiddos. Once the girls were both a little older it became harder to do the updates, because not much was changing from month to month. But now that we have another baby in the family, it makes a lot of sense to bring them back!

If you don't remember, or if you're new around these parts, we just recap the month in pictures and what's been going on in the lives of our kids. So here we go!

Our three children could not be more different, and yes, even at three months old I can already tell that Reagan has his own little personality. What's kind of funny, though, is that all three of them fit their birth-order stereotypes to a T. :)

Fun at home

Our firstborn baby is super outgoing and friendly and loves to steal the show. Evelyn doesn't mind being the center of attention one bit. :) And yet she is (usually) so kind and sweet, and the perfect personality to lead her siblings as big sister. Evelyn shows a lot of patience for her age, particularly when dealing with a little sister who likes to swipe toys. Her vocabulary is off of the charts, and she is one smart cookie - she even teaches me things from time to time! Evelyn thrives on knowing that she has made mommy and daddy happy and is constantly seeking our approval. Yes, Evelyn is a classic firstborn.

Gummy bears :)

And then there is Gracie, our middle child, and what a middle child she is! Grace is our squeaky wheel - the one demanding attention at all times of the day, and if you don't give it to her well...then something WILL be broken, spilled, torn, or lost forever. Haha. She is free-spirited and strong-willed, a personality that is HARD to parent, but I know that I know that she will be successful in whatever she decides to do someday. She is a gorgeous child...really, she's beautiful, but I rarely get to capture that in pictures because she seldom smiles for the camera, usually choosing to run the other way. I get the impression she will be one of those blossoming types when she's older...tom boy one day and breathtaking young lady the next. We'll see. :)

Reagy Bear

Our baby is Reagan, and he is SO the baby (and not just because he's a baby), because he will always be MY baby, haha. He is so smiley and cute and he loves cuddles, which is wonderful after having Gracie baby who didn't ever really like to cuddle at all. (That was torture for me!) He's very laid back, go with the flow, and he does NOT like when I raise my voice to get his sisters' attention. I see that lip start to curl and quiver and then he lets out the most adorable cry I've ever heard. He's a mama's boy already through and through, and he makes the perfect baby of the Robert family!

Snow fun!

Playing at church

January Stats:

Evelyn: Three and a half years old
Favorite toy: Jessie doll
Favorite movie: Brave
Favorite activity: Playing with Austin and John all day long (that's what she said, haha)
Doesn't like: monsters :)

Grace: Two years old
Favorite toy: iPhone
Favorite movie: Cinderella & The Lion King
Favorite activity: climbing, getting into makeup, playing dress up
Doesn't like: bedtime

Reagan: Three months old
Favorite thing: Being carried in the Moby wrap!
Makes him smile: Anytime a family member smiles at him or when big sister Evie comes around - he's really fond of her. :)
Favorite activity: sleeping
Doesn't like: loud noises, riding in the car for too long, his routine being thrown off - Sundays are hard

First Bumbo attempt

John's 5th birthday

Grandma and Grandpa's house

What is home life like at the moment?

Probably the most noticeable difference that this month brought about was a change in our middle child. Grace's vocabulary is expanding super fast right now (seriously, like overnight) and while she still has a temper like no other, her tantrums are getting just a tad shorter and easier to control. If we can get her to use words more I think we'll have a much easier road with our cute and stubborn two year old. Evelyn and Reagan are beginning to form a very special bond. Evie LOVES to entertain her brother, and Reagan gets the biggest kick out of her. Grace likes to sneak Reagan kisses when she thinks no one else is looking...but I see her. :) She loves her brother, too, she just hasn't had much to say these past few months. That's all starting to change, though!

We've been spending the cold January days watching movies, playing dress up, drawing pictures, and eating way too many snacks, haha. We can't wait for warmer weather, but family movie nights and warm blankets are nice, too. :) Overall, we can't complain - things are pretty grand! Looking forward to February!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

From the halls of Red Bud High School to the shores of Tripoli!

I don't believe I've mentioned it here yet, but my baby sister Shannon...you know, this one:


...decided quite a while ago to enlist in the Marines. 

The Marines.

THE MARINES.

Ahhh! Not the Army. Not the Air Force. But the Marines.

We all took our turn trying to talk her out if it of course, haha. Tried to convince her that she was a little insane in the membrane. But she was dead-set on enlisting, and it was going to be the Marines or nothing. Her dream was to be an MP (Military Police), but she's a petite little thing like the rest of the women in our family, and Shannon came up just a couple of inches too short. That didn't deter her, though. She's just as excited as ever to leave our tiny town and start a new adventure. 

As her big sister I've been worried about this whole idea from day one, but Shannon has really proven that this is exactly where she should be. Already in her training she has won awards for being the fastest or best all-around female in our region - which encompasses all of the surrounding states. Well, alright then! We hear ya, sister. Go and be a Marine. :)

Shannon leaves for bootcamp on June 3 after she graduates from high school , which also happens to be Eric's birthday. We're praying that she has a not-too-terrible experience (because can anyone really call bootcamp "good" or "fun?" haha) and that she learns and grows from it! 

And that brings us to yesterday. Shannon asked me to help her out with a presentation for her Senior English class. Her assignment was to demonstrate something that she is good at, and since she pretty much eats, sleeps, and breathes this Marine stuff, she decided to demonstrate how to do a military bun hairstyle for females. Of course she needed someone to model for her, and that someone was me!

My rad name tag. I couldn't remember the date, so I guessed. I guessed wrong. :)

It was so weird walking into the high school where I spent four of my own teenage years while the school day was still going on. It's different being there for a sporting event or something else. But to have to sign in and be a visitor? Weird. Weird like moving away from home and then having to sign in and wear a name tag when you come back, haha. 

I did learn something though while practicing with my sister for her project. There is a regulation for everything in the military, and how the ladies wear their hair is no exception. The bun has to sit "so far" from the nape of your neck and be no wider than three inches and not too high and if you have any fly-aways you get strung up by your toes or something. Okay, I made that last part up, but really. Fly-aways are a no no. :)

I didn't take any pictures while I was at the school, cause that would be awkward, and well...no cell phones allowed in class! So I tried to get a picture when I came home.


I'm really NOT good at self-portraits, haha.

And Gracie couldn't resist me sitting there....


 That would be a huge chunk of apple in her mouth. I love her even if she is a mess!

I feel like I was channeling on my own inner Olive Oyl here.


Yep, you get the idea. A bun! :)

I have actually grown kind of fond of wearing my hair this way over the past couple of days. It's pretty easy and quick, and my hair is not in my face. Awesome! Maybe I should be a Marine. BAH! Funniest thing I've said all year. 

We're planning on having a big graduation/send off party for Shannon this Spring. It's gonna be so strange not seeing her around all summer long. But we are very proud of her and wish her all the best! Good luck, little sister!

Monday, January 28, 2013

We're the Praying Kind

Yesterday was the first day I made it past the end of my driveway in a WEEK. I know that some people find this insane, but I'm a little insane, so I don't really mind it all that much. :) I'm seriously a hermit in the winter. I might as well hibernate. (And who in their right mind wants to pack up three children ages three and under and take them somewhere alone? Not this chick!)

We've been enjoying lazy nights at home watching long movies and relaxing - it has been fabulous! For the first time in a very long time Eric and I have been able to watch adult movies (not that kind) before we put the kids to sleep. Evie and Grace are finally old enough to entertain themselves or be set up in another room with a movie of their own to enjoy. It's the little things, but really, we feel like we have a part of our old life back, haha. We ordered take out and just took it easy most of the weekend. Hermit life is kind of grand.

Snapshots from our weekend:

Our girls took their love for the iPad to a whole new level.

The kids had fun at Grandma and Grandpa's on Sunday:

And Reagan turned 3 months old!

Cheese face:

Hehe.

Yesterday we spent the entire day away from home, and it was a wonderful day of family from start to finish. You will NOT believe who was able to come to church yesterday morning! (Unless you were there, of course!) She sat right behind us, too. :) Along with her mom, dad, and big brother, BABY TESSA brought her bright and smiling face to give us a bit of sunshine on a rainy January morning.

Eeeep!! Everyone was SO excited to see her, including me! I've always been at home watching our own babies while Eric has visited Tessa in the hospital and at home, and yesterday was the first time I was able to lay eyes on our niece since before Thanksgiving, when she was diagnosed with Wilm's disease. Anyone who didn't know better would never guess that Tessa had just undergone major surgery to remove tumors from her kidneys - she was smiling with her big bright eyes wide open looking around and taking everything in. What a huge blessing! Thank you, God! Our church family has been praying faithfully for Tessa, and it was awesome seeing her and her family all together again. :)

I will never forget the first time I held baby Tessa in my arms, when she was just a teeny tiny newborn. It was a warm August day, and we were all outside enjoying the sunshine. Everyone else went inside, and I was left alone to cuddle the sweet new addition to our family. Being pregnant myself at the time, I was soaking in every minute of getting to love on a baby I could hold and kiss and cuddle. And I took full advantage of our quiet time together.

Pictures from that August day:



I remember stroking her tiny face and whispering to her that she was a very special gift from God. While a soft breeze blew lazily by, I prayed out loud a prayer that God would watch over and protect her and guide her all the days of her life. We couldn't have known then what would lie ahead for this precious baby, but before a diagnosis, before chemo treatments and surgeries and so many nights away from home, Tessa was being lifted up in prayer.

On the evening that we were given the heartbreaking news of Tessa's diagnosis, I remember my head spinning with all of the information.  It was the night before Thanksgiving, and we were getting into bed when we received the word. Neither Eric nor I had ever heard of Wilm's disease, and it was so hard to grasp this news. But while it was certainly scary and way too much to process all at once, I distinctly remember going to bed that night with a peace in my heart that it was all going to be okay. I prayed for Tessa once again, and I felt an overwhelming response of, "Don't worry, I've got this. I have a plan. Be still, and know that I am God."

We don't know all of the answers just yet. There are results yet to be given and more treatments looming ahead. I don't know what "the plan" is, and really, it's not my job or anyone else's to know. What I DO know, is that there is one. :) And no matter what news is given in the coming days, I will still know and believe with all of my heart that Tessa is in very good hands.

And Tessa is not the only person that I pray for, just in case you're wondering. :) I'm beginning to learn that it is good to let someone know when you're in their court, rooting for them and praying for them. So friends, please know that there are so many of you that I have prayed for, wept for, pleaded and begged with God for. Through miscarriages and infertility, through marriage issues and kid issues, through broken relationships and worries that you have shared - I have always been your silent partner in prayer. Always.


I have enjoyed watching you have those babies, mend those relationships, and get through those tough times. And I have also continued to pray when there didn't seem to be any answers. When life only seemed to get harder. And I know that some of you are still right in the middle of it. I know that you might not have the answers that you want. But just like with baby Tessa, I also know that there is a plan for you. I know it, because I feel it in my GUTS, and also, and much more importantly, because the Bible told me so.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I know that there are readers and friends of mine who don't believe in this stuff - I have the comments to prove it. I have some really, really hateful comments to prove it. :) Guess what? I pray for you, too! BAHA. So take THAT. :D

There are some good friends of ours who are in the middle of a pretty awesome story of their own, and I invite you to check it out right here. <-- When your ultrasound tech asks you if there are people who have been praying for your baby still in the womb, you know that there's something going on!

Yes, it was a sweet sweet Sunday to have Tessa's WHOLE family there with us, and I really hope that they can come again! ;) We polished off our weekend with lunch at Eric's parents house and then dinner at my parent's house - complete with a brownie sundae dessert that I'm kind of wishing I had some more of right about now....

And now, today, I'm going back to high school. For the first time since my college field experience, I'm stepping back into the classroom during school hours - but not to teach. I'm helping my sister with a presentation. We'll see how this goes! Haha. Have a good day! :)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Confession Friday 1-25!


Not wasting any time today!

I confess that I'm already planning Evelyn's future for her, and it includes a semester in the Disney College Program. Too late for me, but who wouldn't want to spend a semester working for Disney?? Haha, she's a Disney nut, she'll love it. :)

I confess that I just took three STACKS of clothes downstairs that Reagan has outgrown already, and I could cry. The word "outgrown" should NOT apply to my child yet.

I confess that my new favorite exclamation of frustration is "fart shoes!" Why? It's hilarious. Use it. You'll see. Turn that frown upside down, my friend.

I confess that I NEED $150 for some stuff, and I'm trying to think of clever ways to drop hints to Eric about it. Hmm...hey, Eric? I need some cash, dude! HINT. :)

I confess that I tried to drop hint #1 last night as Eric was trying on some new shoes. "I sure wish I could get some new clothes," I said. He said nothing. Fart shoes!

I confess that about this time last year I was confessing that I thought I was pregnant, "but I'm so not, so don't worry!" Heh.

I confess that I thought I was experiencing some sort of weird deja vu when I saw pictures of Eric and Grace from the day we went swimming:


Then I realized that's because I have a bunch of the same pictures of Eric and Evie from when we took the kids swimming last year!


Ah, she looks so little!

I confess that I had to apologize to my children this morning for a state of morning grogginess that included telling Evelyn to get her own dang juice - it's not rocket science, I said. Haha, I was half asleep! 

I confess that when I read old blog posts I always think I was just a little cooler then than I am now. I think it's the kids. My cool quotient drops with each child and is replaced with a bit of CRAZY.

I confess that I always pictured my Reagan to have dark hair and eyes like his daddy, that's just what I knew he would look like. Instead, he's my only blue eyed child and the new hair that is growing in on his head is super blonde! I've never been good at predicting anything about my babies....

I confess that that baby is cooing at me and giving me his flirty eyebrows, and well...I'm outta here! :)

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I was up way too late last night doing who knows what. I really don't know why I do it to myself all the time, but I have ALWAYS been a night owl, and I will ALWAYS be one. It's just how I'm wired to be. Unfortunately, I was preoccupied and totally forgot about blogging until I was finally feeling tired and ready to go to bed, haha. So I'm typing fast and furious this morning before my kids have the chance to get into too much trouble!

Today we're going to play a little game of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. And it goes a little something like this:



The Good: PartyLite's 3-wick candles are AMAZING. I love love love them, and when I have one lit it's like having another little lamp sitting right where it's at. It's the perfect candle to fire up on a long winter's night. Hearts and rainbows.

The Bad: Last night as I was sitting at the computer I started to hear a loud trickling sound coming from somewhere nearby, and it turned out to be my 3-wick overflowing all over our computer desk and onto the floor - we're talking wax Niagara Falls here, people.

The Ugly: Wax. Everywhere. Stuck in the carpet. Aaaand the $45 price tag ain't pretty, either. Good thing I probably got it for free at some point, haha.

***

The Good: I finally figured out how to use my Moby Wrap, and it's been great! For me....

The Bad: I've been wearing Reagan the wrong way for the past week.

The Ugly: Poor kid was dangling by the crotch for 7 days...BUT he did keep smiling! That's my boy. :)

***

The Good: I'm married to a man who cares a lot about taking care of himself and visiting the gym regularly. Thank you, Eric, we'd like to keep you around for a while!

The Bad: I'm like the complete opposite of that...womp womp.

The Ugly: I was reminded of this yesterday when Eric got a new fat pincher thingamabobber (I believe the technical term is "body fat caliper" but...psh...my term is way better) and he pinched my hips so I could know how chunky I currently am. (And then he laughed at me when I told him it hurt!) Haha. Still waiting on my P90X junk!

***

The Good: Gracie has really started picking up on her vocabulary - trying to say more new words every day! (And we've been a little concerned about our late bloomer.)

The Bad: Many of those words still sound a little like gibberish...

The Ugly: ...except the ones aimed at me, like, "No, mom!" and "Get out of my box!" Of course those come out clear as day!

***
The Good: Getting to cook with brand new pots and pans this week!

The Bad: No dishwasher for the new cookware. :(

The Ugly: My face as I'm hand washing everything. Waah!

***

I have more, but my kids are not going to let this happen, haha. You get the gist!

I have to run! Hope you have more "good" than "ugly" today. :)



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Reagan the Big Boy

Hey hey hey! It's a good day. No particular reason, I'm just telling myself that. :)

I don't have much to share today, so I'm going to show you pictures of my baby. Yes? Okay.

Some of you may have seen one of these on facebook recently, but they ALL crack me up. Reagan has had insanely good head control since...well...his entire existence outside of the womb. He is a STRONG baby. So when we were hanging out in the church nursery on Sunday and saw a Bumbo seat just innocently sitting on the counter, we decided we'd let little Reagy give it a try. (Eric hates when I call him that, haha.) He's almost three months old after all....

I'll just let Reagan do all of the talking.  :)

"Hey guys, what are we doin' here, eh? What is this yellow bowl thing?"

"Yeeah, I'm not so sure how I feel about this, pops."

"Just...don't let go of my head."

 "Do not let go of my head."

"Do NOT -"

"'EY, 'EY, 'EY!"


 "What was THAT? This guy - who is this guy?!"

"A practical joker, eh?"

"I'll forgive you, because I'm cute, and that's what cute people do."

"But don't ever do that again."

Hehe.

That's all, folks!



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hotel Crashing!

What do you do when it's the middle of winter and you desperately need a way to let your kids burn off some energy? Well, I can tell you what the Roberts do. They rent out a hotel room for a day and take full advantage of an indoor pool. :)

It's a tradition that Eric's parents started when Eric was a kid, and it's rather ingenious, I think - even better than visiting a typical indoor pool at a rec center. At a hotel you have your own private bathroom and room to dress - really it's a home base for the day. It was perfect to be able to put our stuff in a room with a lock, have a private place to nurse babies or let kids nap, and even come back to grab a snack or watch some TV where it was quiet. It was awesome!

Cousin Austin got to come along, too, and the kids had way too much fun ransacking playing in the hotel room before we got to the pool!


That would be an ice bucket on Austin's head.


We got suited up and staked out a table poolside. At the hotel we visited, there was a main pool, a kiddie pool, and a hot tub, and the kiddos spent the day bouncing back and forth between all three. They had a BLAST!





Reagan and I walked around and observed from the sidelines. He is such an easy going baby - it's wonderful. And when he got hungry, we went back to our peaceful room and I was able to feed him with my feet propped up watching some HGTV, haha. This was about as exciting as it got for little man all day:


And believe me, he was fine with that. :)

The kids swam until well past dark. It may have been a chilly January night, but it may as well have been a hot July day as far as they were concerned. Hooray for heated pools!


You can barely see them in this picture, but Eric and Evie were swimming in the big pool. This is a BIG deal for our oldest daughter. After a slip in a pool last summer Evelyn has been a little leery of the water, so she was very proud of herself to be swimming around on her belly! "I'm doing it! I'm swimming!" It made me smile. :)


Our kids had the kiddie pool to themselves in the evening!

Eventually the adults had to pry the children away...Grace could have spent the entire night swimming, and that is not an exaggeration. But it was dinner time, so we ordered some pizzas and had them delivered to the room. (Grace threw an epic fit about leaving the pool until she got a plate of pizza put in front of her. If there's one thing the girl will concede to, it's FOOD!)




While the room was paid for and someone could have spent the night in it if they wanted to, we had church the next morning. So we packed up our things and headed home. We are so thankful to Grandma and Grandpa Robert for treating us to this day. The kids had so much fun, and we'll have to do it again soon!

Hotel crashing is definitely recommended by the Robert family. You should do it with your family, too! Haha. Happy Tuesday!


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