Monday, April 29, 2013

Celebrating 60 Years

In 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President of the United States, Disney's Peter Pan was released, and the Corvette was available for sale for the first time. It was also the year that Don and Beulah Robert were married, and this weekend many friends and family members gathered to celebrate 60 years of marriage!

The members of the wedding party who were able to be with us on Sunday. :)

It was a lovely afternoon filled with good food and company! 





Austin and Evelyn were very interested in the golfers outside, haha.


One of my favorite parts of the day was when I overheard Grandpa being ribbed by his friend for "being with the same woman for sixty years! My gosh!" Haha. He saw that I was laughing at him and gave Reagan and me a wink. It was so funny. :)



We love family events, because it's a great excuse for cousins to get together and have fun. Gracie has never met a baby she didn't want to kiss!



Tessa and Reagan got to really hang out for the very first time. What a blessing to see them rolling and scooting around the floor together!


 We were missing pretty little cousin Lilly, but there was an attempt to take a picture with the great grandchildren who were there. This was the best we got. :)


Can you believe that when Eric and I were married less than five years ago there were NO kids in the family? Now look! It certainly has changed things. :)


It was a fantastic day. Happy Anniversary to Grandma and Grandpa Robert!

The rest of our weekend was very much the same as usual. Eric whipped up a lamb roast last night, which was cooked to succulent perfection. Unfortunately, there are certain foods that, despite how tasty they are, trigger my gag reflex. Haha. Lamb is one of those things. Eric's whistling "Mary Had a Little Lamb" while he was carving it up did not help matters. :) 

And Reagan got to try baby food for the very first time. He loved it! Neither of the girls would ever eat the stuff, so I wonder if we'll have our very first baby food eating child.


We'll see. He hasn't wanted any of it today, haha. We'll keep trying!

It's a Monday, and it feels like one, but this week promises a few days of great weather, and we're going to enjoy it! Hope you have a great week and a happy Monday!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Stuff That Makes Ya Feel Good

Well, we owe an apology to one very adorable girl today. Little Miss Lyla's mommy gave us permission to use her cute photos in our slideshow for yesterday, and somehow I didn't see it. My heart just dropped when I realized my blunder last night. That would NOT do, no way, no how. No child left behind! :D

So we made a special little video just for her. Here you go, Lyla, we are very sorry. You are beautiful and so loved!



Erin - obviously this is yours to use however you please. :)

*If we missed anyone else that gave us permission via facebook last week, let me know! I didn't want to swipe people's photos without asking first, haha. 

Today we celebrate another cutie patootie, too. Reagan is six months old! Holy cow, I really can't believe it. We're halfway to a year already, and somewhere between dirty diapers and laundry piles time just slipped right on by!


I think our love for our son goes without saying. So I'll just leave it with, "Happy Six Months, Reagan!" I sincerely hope the next six slow down a bit!

And now for something really awesome. Eric got an email invitation this week from Jon Jerome, founder of Operation Homefront, to come out and share in honoring a disabled veteran and his family.




On Wednesday a wonderful couple from Collinsville, IL donated a HOME to a veteran - how awesome is that! Through the amazing work of Operation Homefront not only did this family receive a new place to live, but Home Depot donated a brand new washer and dryer as well as lawn equipment and even hooked it up for them. "Two Men And a Truck" packed up the family and moved them to their new home. It is so great to see a community come together to help someone out. Love that!


Eric said that there was a news crew and reporters there, and it was a wonderful, intimate event. We're very thankful that he was able to be there, and we continue to support Operation Homefront and all that they do to take care of our military families!

It's looking like our weekend might be a bit wet, but I'm holding out hope that it will still be a good one. We hope that you have a little fun, stay safe, and we'll see you back here on Monday! :)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

You Matter :)

"Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart." - Winnie the Pooh

Before I had children, I spent a lot of time with other people's kids. And as much as I enjoyed the jobs that I had, I distinctly remember thinking, "This is going to be so much better when the kids I'm taking care of are my own." What I never anticipated happening was that having my own children made me love ALL children even more.

Love is deep and a little bit mysterious, and I don't pretend to know all about how it works, but I do know that it possesses transformative powers that make you see the entire world differently. Love is patient. Love is kind....It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

I adore how easily children can love and how with their every move they are seeking for someone to love and accept them. They are so open and vulnerable to it, which is why it is so important that there are people in their lives who are ready and willing to give it.

Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, friends...we all know a child. Some of us love a child more than we can even explain. But. There are moments, sometimes days, sometimes even phases, when it's hard to feel "patient" and "kind" and all of the wonderful things that love is. As kids try to figure the world out, they are also pretty good at trying one's patience. :) And it's easy to feel like you're just not doing enough. How can we be loving when there's so much correction and discipline to dole out in a day?

There are days that I feel trapped in a hamster wheel...picking up the same toys, correcting the same mistakes, folding the same little laundry. Over and over and over again. What are my children learning from that? Are they learning anything? I get pretty down sometimes, and I feel like I'm not the parent that I want to be. Then a song plays on the radio just when I need it.

If you have ever stopped what you were doing to give a kid a hug, if you've shared a smile, made a meal, played pretend, listened to a long story, attended a game, high-fived, read a book, held hands, or shown a child in any way that you cared about them, it mattered. Despite what could have been a crazy day otherwise, your small gestures can and often will speak the loudest to them.

So today I'm passing on something that encouraged me when I needed it, in hopes that it might do the same for you. Our kids love this song and had fun helping! From us, to you. :)


Thank you to everyone who shared your families with us this week! I loved going through all of your pictures and memories. I can't tell you how many smiles your children brought me in the last several days. As the girls and I like to say to Reagan, they are all "precious little gifts from God!" :)

In a world that can be a scary place sometimes, keep spreading that love around. Have a great day, friends!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hello Wednesday!

Well, I was hoping to have something up today that we have been having fun with this week, but Eric wouldn't help me last night. I needed a password on our computer, and he wouldn't give it to me. I can't imagine why not. I only tried waking him up in the middle of the night to get it. :)

So yeah...

Have I told you lately how much I love this kid?



He's never getting married, cause he's mine all mine. Haha. I'm really grateful for the gift of a son. It's not a better or worse kind of love, but it is different. I can't even explain it, because I don't get it myself! My girls were delicate flowers and had their daddy wrapped around their fingers. Reagan was my handsome buddy from day one. We definitely have typical daddy's girls and a mama's boy!

***

To completely shift gears, I guess I should probably say something here about one of my blog posts the other day to clear the air. Because if one person had a problem with it, I'm sure I've made others feel the same at one point or another.

I've always said that Eric and I are easy to dislike, because our favorite things to talk about are everything you're not supposed to discuss at the dinner table and in mixed company: faith, politics, and personal finances. :) So here's the deal. When I make comments about how "easy" it's going to be for us to pay off $12,000 by the end of the year...I'm being sarcastic. Haha.

Seems that it rubs some people the wrong way when I start talking about money, and I suppose I understand that, especially if it's a sore issue for some. But here's the thing, and I'll keep it brief. My husband works THREE jobs so that I can stay home with our kids. Eric works six days a week which means I'm on my own for all of that time as well. We've had three kids in four years and a crapload of doctor's and hospital bills. We don't own a home, we don't drive new cars, and we don't take big family vacations. Practically everything in our house is a hand-me-down. Slip covers are our best friends.

It's true that we are blessed, and we've never wanted for anything, but that's because we've budgeted for that and sacrificed in other areas to make sure we're covered when emergencies come up. And that's it. I'm not here to judge how anyone else handles their money, but we do like helping others to enjoy the same financial peace that we have found. It's fun! When we get excited for reaching a goal that we've worked so hard for, it isn't fair to ask us not to share it. Especially, you know...on our own blog. Baha.

***

I'm really excited for this evening. The sun is shining (wahoo!), we'll be going to my parent's house a bit later, and then I'm actually getting my HAIR DONE. Ah, I haven't done anything to my hair since before Thanksgiving, and it's long overdue! If you're a girl, you know what I mean. My quality of life is about to jump up about 100 points. :)

I hope you all have a great Wednesday! My friends are always so encouraging to me, and I hope that tomorrow we can pay it forward. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shake Your Groove Thang

I put my babies to work yesterday, and their reward: a dance party on the back patio afterwards. If you heard random music and squealing on our street at about noon - why yes, that was us.

They loved it. ;) I realize it isn't the same without the music, but I already had the camera out. Couldn't resist!









Reagan pretty much lives his life in a sea of tulle and twirling tutus. Just another day for this little brother....




But he draws the line at being used as a maypole. (Though he's kind of stuck at the moment, haha.)


"Seriously? This is happening?"

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. Not only did we spend time outside at home, but the girls got to go to the playground with their grandma, and our whole family enjoyed the evening air on a walk last night. Sunshine is good for the soul.

And when the sun goes down, we turn to our trusty glow sticks to light the way. Bringing glow sticks on our walks was the single best idea I think I've ever had in my life. Kids love glow sticks. That is a well known fact. Turned into a necklace and whoa - watch out. So when the sun sets and kids get antsy in the stroller it's time to crack and shake and watch the magic begin.  Plus, they are great for alerting crazy drivers that, "Hey, we're here. Don't run us over."

Alright, enough of that. The kids and I are brewing something up, and I've got to get back to working on it. Later taters!


Monday, April 22, 2013

Baby Love & Marker Hate

Hello, friends! We hope that you had a really good weekend. We had an interesting one. It was mostly great, though. :)

Haha, I always feel so weird taking a picture of myself, but Reagan was making such cute faces in the mirror on Friday night. :)

On Friday evening we attended the annual Life Network banquet, which is ALWAYS refreshing to my heart and soul. Eric and I have opinions and convictions on a lot of things, as many people do, but we are very selective in the issues that we choose to devote the most time to. We happen to think that the biggest civil rights issue of our generation, the one that will be discussed in history for years to come, is the right to LIFE and what we are doing (or not doing) to protect it.

We love babies. We love women. We have a heart for strong family units and for adoption. This is OUR issue. And so we are very thankful for organizations such as Life Network who offer unexpected moms and dads free, non-judgemental services - from ultrasounds to counseling and all that's in between. Most importantly, we are excited to support an organization that offers hope. You can't buy that, and it is often hard to come by. Thank you, Life Network, for all that you do!

And as always, thank you McArthur's Bakery for donating your delicious desserts to the banquet. Baha.

{P.S. I feel the need to say this, just because. A little side-note, if you will. I never ever (ever) want any man or woman who has experienced abortion to think that we would judge them or think less of them for a past decision. That is probably my worst fear in bringing tough issues like these up, especially to an internet world of friends I may never see face to face, which is usually why I don't. I think it's important to know that, while we advocate life always, we are equally invested in healing and forgiveness and love.}

I don't think you want to see pictures of what we did with the rest of our weekend, haha. So to break it up a bit - here are a couple more pictures from last weekend. Hey, at least it's something! :)

 Evelyn cracks up every time she sees this. :)


Once Saturday rolled around we had one mission for the rest of the weekend...to remove permanent marker stains from our kitchen floor. ACK. Thank you, Gracie, thank you. I alluded to this a bit on Friday, but that was only the tip of the iceberg. Our darling middle child is going through the "color on everything" phase, as her big sister did before her. I walked into the kitchen last week to find our refrigerator plastered in black scribbles. Then I noticed that our kitchen floor was covered. I mean...seriously...a LOT of floor, nothing but big black PERMANENT squiggles. And then I look up and see that every single lower cabinet and drawer also has Gracie's signature sprawled on it.

I think I had an out of body experience at this point.

In case you're new around these parts: we are RENTERS, so "our" kitchen isn't ours. Of course I immediately started scrubbing with every solution I could find, and nothing worked. I googled. I found a million "tricks" for removing marker stains, and none of them worked. None. That crap wasn't budging. Finally Eric came home with Magic Erasers, which actually did a great job getting the cabinets clean, but didn't touch the refrigerator or floor marks.

At this point, we're kind of freaking out. I mean. We already have to paint this entire place when we move out because of the artwork on the walls. (Gee, we sound like great parents don't we? Haha.) But to have to replace flooring?? We took a special trip to Lowe's and bought sprays and chemicals that specifically stated on the packaging that they were meant for removing permanent marker stains. Hallelujah - we were saved! Not. Those didn't work, either.

Finally, on Sunday, we resorted back to one of the first things we tried. We had run out of 100% acetone on the first day, so we went back to get some more, and that finally did the trick! It was a last ditch effort, and we were beyond relieved to see those dark marks turn to stains, and then stains turn into barely visible lines. We are still working on it, but with a little more elbow grease no one should ever be able to tell the difference.



If you have a baby or toddler in your house, throw away the Sharpies!!! Seriously. Even if you think they are hidden under lock and key. Even if you have some strange hidden addiction to Sharpies. It's not worth it. Trust me. And don't say I didn't warn ya!

And just in case there are any future landlords out there reading this - I promise we are not hooligans set out to destroy your property. :) We'll leave this place BETTER than we found it, but man having lots of little ones sure does make me glad we're not in our "dream home" yet. Haha.

^^By the way...if any of you are ever bored out of your minds and really hungry for pizza, I invite you to a painting party when we move out of this place. :D

Sunday is usually the only full day we have as a family, so after Eric took care of the yard and scrubbed the floor we went for a walk, came home to a very late dinner, and then we crashed. Well, my family crashed, I'm the only crazy one still awake. Blogging. Here I am.

Today promises to be a beautiful day. I need to think of something fun to take advantage of it! Hope we all have a great week ahead!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Confession Friday 4-19!


I confess that Sharpies are no longer allowed in our house. But if you ever need to know what will or will not remove marks from cabinets, a refrigerator, or a floor - let me know! It's been a long week....

I confess that any time I see a smiling picture of a celebrity posted on Facebook anymore my first thought is that someone must have died. "Oh no, not Larry the Cable Guy!" False alarm.

I confess that sink holes continue to creep me OUT. Like I need a new phobia!

I confess that last night, without thinking, I made a big bowl of ice cream to share with the girls. A few minutes later Eric had disappeared into the kitchen and I found him mixing up some sugar-free pudding. With the most serious expression on his face, he turned to me and said, "Don't ever eat eat ice cream in front of me again." Haha. Whoops!

I confess that Eric and I rarely argue, but our most heated discussions are usually over one topic: how often our family will go to Disney World. I'm not joking. It gets personal. :D

Baha...Evelyn just ran out of her room all excited shouting, "I guess God was RIGHT!!" I have no idea what is going on, but yes sister, God was right. Best to learn these lessons early. :)

I grew up with a trampoline, and I never once got hurt on one. So why does it freak me out to watch my own kids jump around? I confess that I hold my breath every time the girls climb on, haha.

I confess that Reagan's feet make me laugh. He has the stubbiest little toes I've ever seen. They're adorable.

I confess that Reagan is officially in my favorite baby stage, and now would be a good time to find that remote control that pauses real life. Sigh. Even Evelyn asks if he can stay a baby forever.....

I confess that Gracie has pushed me to the brink every single day this week, yet she remains my favorite cuddle buddy at the end of every day. How can one hug erase hours of stress? I don't know. It's the magic of parenting, I suppose.

Woop - I confess that I just saw a number on the scale that I haven't seen in a very long time. Finally!

I confess that the girls just shut themselves in my closet, and I'm terrified of what they might destroy in there...but they're playing NICELY, so I'm letting it go. Eeeee....

I confess that I'm already looking forward to carnival rides, parades, and funnel cakes. Especially after dreary weeks likes these. Let's go, summertime!

It's been a looong week, but we made it!
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

So Close We Can Taste It

Let's just keep it real today. I've had a different blog post typed up (at least most of the way) every day this week, and by the time I wake up in the morning I think "Eh. Not feeling it." Same was true last night. I start typing about something I'm excited about, I get sleepy, and then the next thing I know, I just don't give a care.

So today's post will be short, but it's something I definitely DO care about. At least I'm 99.9% sure this one will get published. ;)

Check it out.


The Robert family "We're getting the heck out of debt!" thermometer.

Because we are so dead serious about this debt thing. The day Eric and I realized we only had ONE MORE student loan to pay before we were debt free was a very sweet day, indeed. There was much rejoicing throughout the land. The way we had set up our student loan repayment was by listing our debts smallest to largest and knocking them out one at a time. So now we are out to tackle not only our last, but our LARGEST single debt yet. 

$12,000. 

That is what separates us from the dream we have had since the day we were married.
We think we can do it by the end of the year.
I KNOW we can do it by the end of the year.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy. ;)

Every once in a while I'll post a picture of our progress. It's an awesome visual for us, and just one more way to keep us accountable to our goals! What will we do with ourselves when we have thousands of extra dollars to keep instead of sending it off to Sallie Mae every month? I'll tell you what - we're gonna save a crapload of money, go to Disney World, and finally buy a house, THAT'S what, haha.
Oh, Sallie Maaaaae....Ready or not, here we come!
Let's do this thing! One LAST time. :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Evelyn the Photographer Part 2

So my yesterday just sucked. There is no nice way to put it. I was literally channeling my inner Goldie Hawn by the end of the day. I could barely form words. This was me.



If you've never seen this movie I invite you to jump into your Delorean and get your last 20 years back, because your life was not complete for all of that time.

So full of redneck goodness.

Being a stay at home mom rocks, not gonna lie. There are many perks involved. It can also be a one-way ticket to the loony bin if you're not careful. I find that there is a very fine line between "insane" and "mom of three little ones." From a distance one might not be able to tell the difference. "Bub buh-buh buh buh...."

Ha! Gets me every time.

****
Evelyn has been up to her old shenanigans - taking random pictures with my phone for me to find later. I can't even tell you how many times I think "What in the world...?" when these pictures pop up on our computer. But she is just as proud of them as always!  So I thought I would let her share a few more and explain what is going on, in her very own words. :)

Evie's explanations are in pink, and some if them make as much sense as the pictures themselves, haha.


 These crack me up. Seems like every time you turn around people are protesting something. It's no different in the Robert household - even our dolls protest. Equal rights for all shapes!!

So what does Evie have to say?

"Oh, they are just playing, they are so friends. And I like to play with them, They are very nice."

Here's a lovely picture of Eric!

"Haha - I made this! Daddy has a whole bunch of hair." :D 

My kids dress themselves. Clearly.

"Gracie was on the floor, and...zoo da da da..."

There are always a few TV pictures....


"I was taking a picture of Monsters Inc. That's Boo in a newspaper."


"I took my shoes off at your parent's house, and I jumped on the trampoline."

This darn gourd has been floating around our house forever. The girls even poked a bunch of holes in it, and it was still going strong. I finally tossed it when no one was looking, but apparently not before Evelyn photographed a beloved "toy."

"A pumpkin and my slipper - how did you know?? I took a picture of that, because it's my favorite."

"That's daddy and Reagan. Uh...where is my dad? Daddy was holding Reagan, and he liked to hold him tightly."

"Belle and Reagan in his pumpkin carseat. That's a baby one, do the baby one!"

And this one made me laugh out loud. What in the world?

"Uh...what's her name? WHAT? That's silly! Oh yeah, that's Gracie." :)

When asked if Evelyn had any parting words to summarize all of her photography, she said, "I like to take pictures in Red Bud. The End." Haha. So there you go!

The amount of time and effort spent just trying to put this short post together this morning already has me walking the tightrope of insanity for today. I've been typing with one hand, feeding a baby, serving up snacks from the couch, a child is screaming in my ear. And a naked kid just ran by. I gotta go. Happy Wednesday? :)

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