Monday, September 30, 2013

So long, September!

Well, poop!

This blog will not be current until further notice.

We have two computers in this household. One can upload photos, but does not allow me to type or click on anything. One allows me to type, but it cannot upload photos. I am up a creek until one of them is fixed.

So we had a great weekend, and hopefully by the end of the week I can tell you about it!

Luckily it works out that today is a monthly wrap up. It's the last day in September - SAY WHAT??


Reagan

Reagan is 11 months old now. I know. I don't believe it. We're going to be throwing a first birthday party very soon!

My son developed a real sense of humor over the last month. The little dude cracks up over everything, and he thinks everything he does is hi-larious. Reagan is a real jokester, even though he can't talk. :) I can't wait to hear the things that actually come out of his brain someday, haha.

Reagan's hair gets blonder and blonder every day, and if you look closely enough you'll even see some strawberry streaks. Sometimes, in the right lighting, you don't have to look closely at all. Reagan takes after his Grandpa Greg A LOT, and if any of our kids ever have red headed children, it will be Reagan. Just remember that in 25 years or so...I totally called it. ;) Reagan still isn't walking, but he has definitely taken a step or two! If only I didn't freak out and scare the willies out of him any time he made an attempt, haha.

I wish there was more to say about my little buddy, but he continues to be a sweetie pie and a really great baby. We lucked out with him! He is low-mainetenace, a first-class cuddler, and a joy to be around. I love my third born more than words can say!

Grace

Gracie Violet is still one tough cookie to figure out. I feel like since the beginning of these monthly wrap ups...which would be since her infancy...I have played a game of ping-pong with her personality. One month she is my little pal, sweet as can be. The next month she can be a real challenge to live with. Haha.

I was just telling Eric in the car the other day that Grace and I already have one of those "hot and cold" relationships. The girl is only two! (Though...her third birthday is next month, too. Yowza!) I am a totally introverted person. I prefer the quiet, and I am often lost in my own thoughts. Gracie is an outspoken, boisterous, fiery personality. We're total opposites. And while I am still groggy and waking up in the morning, the very last thing I want to hear is a child shouting shrilly at the top of her lungs, "MOM - I WANT TOAST!!! AAHHH!!! TOAST! TOAST!"

"Please, Gracie."

"TOAST!! I NEED TOAST, MOM - AHHHHH!!!!"

I just. I can't handle that. Haha. This goes on all day long. Grace doesn't just ask for something, she immediately bursts out in a fit as if she's already asked ten times and no one is listening to her. She is all drama, all the time. I run from drama like it's the plague.

But her smile. Oh my GOSH. And her hugs and kisses - they are the best. When she is good, she is SO good, and she melts my heart. She loves dress up, she loves princesses, she plays and pretends with her dolls and it is the most adorable thing ever to spy on. :) Part of her is a little introverted, too. Grace is totally content if her big sister is playing with the other kids on the playground and she is left to her own devices. Gracie is just fine off on her own, pretending or chasing butterflies. So I guess maybe we're not total opposites after all. :)

Evelyn


This weekend Evelyn became the proud owner of her very first "Perfect Attendance" certificate from school for the month of September. I consider that a personal pat on the back that we managed to get out of the front door every day, haha. She is loving every minute of preschool, and I love hearing all of the stories she brings home everyday.

My mom works at the school, and occasionally she gets to pop out and say hi to Evie when she is in the lunchroom. The other day my mom came out and saw that every kid had a tray in front of them except for Evelyn.

"What's the matter, Evie? Aren't you hungry?"

Her teacher stepped in and said, "Oh she already ate her lunch - and she had seconds!" Ahahaha. That's my girl. :) My children love food, ya know.

One thing that is sort of maddening though...both at school and at home...is the amount of PAPER my child generates in a given day. Paper, paper, paper, all over the house. Paper with drawings, paper with letters, paper with "check lists." Evelyn loves to draw, and create, and make up stories. I should have expected this. I was a decent paper generator myself, back in the day. And I discovered long ago that Evie is a mini-me in that regard. So I guess it's just going to be something I learn to live with. Let her create, I say! Some day she will discover typing, and then maybe we'll save a tree or two. :)

The month of September was full of school days...


...Football....

...and family fun.


It was the month that we welcomed family home from China and Eric and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary! Of course, we will never forget that this was also the month that we saw the end to my fourth pregnancy. How different things would be right this very moment....

But we are still counting our blessings. We are in a really great place right now and in a position to start seeing some things come together. We are not far from realizing some really huge goals we have had since the day Eric and I were married. It's kind of surreal that we've come this far. Life is good! Even on the hard days, life is good.

Starting tomorrow...let a season of traditions begin!! I love the month of October. Probably my favorite of the entire year. So...holy cow...gotta get these darn computers fixed!! There are too many memories to document and pictures to share. My sister comes home SOON, and we've got birthday parties galore. I'm ready!!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Confession Friday 9-27!

Hello, Friday! Time to do some confessing.

I confess that we are cleaning the carpets this weekend, and to me...well...it might as well be Christmas. Wahoo!!!

I confess that I have goosebumps, because right now, possibly this very moment, my sister is hiking to her WARRIOR BREAKFAST after the Crucible at boot camp. For all intents and purposes, she is now officially a United States Marine. AHHHH!! I can't even explain how proud I am of her. One week until graduation!

I confess that every day that Evelyn has music class, Eric bugs her to ask Ms. Black about her yarn ball. (This probably doesn't mean anything to most of you, but if you went to RBES, you know exactly what I'm talking about!) Evie just kind of rolls her eyes, but finally this week she said, "Well, I asked her about the yarn ball, but she didn't hear me." So Eric said she would just have to try again next week. Evie hesitated and said, "I think we're skipping music class next week." Ahaha...take a hint, dad!

I confess that I think bribing is a totally valid parenting choice. If you do something, you'll get rewarded for it. You work, you get paid. You clean your room, you get a little toy from Dollar Tree. :D Everyone can use a little motivation, right? Mom is happy, kids are happy...but most importantly...ROOM IS CLEAN. Haha.

I confess that the girls and I have a new hobby...and we're a little bit obsessed....



We have so much fun together beading bubblegum necklaces! I highly recommend choosing a hobby that the kids can help with. It's been awesome!

I confess that I was sorely disappointed when some of the beads we ordered were defective and didn't have holes drilled all the way through. So this mama got to teach herself how to change a drill bit and wield some power tools. I drilled the crap out of those beads. RAWR.

I confess that I now join the ranks of other boy moms who lament the fact that there just isn't enough cute stuff for boys. We've got hats...but now my kid won't keep hats on...so now we've got nuthin.

I confess that I think I have an addictive personality. Pretty sure I'm addicted to caffeine, as evidenced by the headaches I get when I don't drink it. I'm certain I'm addicted to food, because I eat a ton of it. And goodness gracious, am I addicted to the computer - you don't want to see me when it's not working properly. Like. Right now. Gah!

I confess that several of my friends on Facebook have similar names, and I get their lives confused all.the.time. Wait...you're skydiving today? I thought you just had a baby?? I mean. My mind is blown daily.

I confess that I cannot explain how much I wish I had a scrolling marquee in the back of my car...


Only mine usually wouldn't say nice things, so probably best that I don't have one. :)

So it's the WEEKEND and tonight is our town's homecoming football game! If you're wondering where the Robert's will be, wonder no more. We'll be with half of the rest of the town at the high school. :) Looking forward to some Friday night lights and clean carpets! Haha. Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Surviving

If you've looked up in the night sky lately, I'm sure you couldn't help but notice this gorgeous sight.


Oh, the harvest moon. It made our walks so much more AWESOME  for a few days. Beautiful.

However.

I am almost certain it turned my children into crazy people. Hooligans, I'll tell you what. I'm not exactly sure what magical mystical powers that orb possesses, but I can't say that I'm sad to see it go.

It's after one in the morning and I'm just now getting to sit down, because our house needed to be picked up desperately...an impossibility with the hooligans running around. So while the little ones are nestled all snug in their beds, I run around like mad trying to accomplish things. And I'm blogging from our old computer still, because our newer...better...preferred (oh how I miss it!) computer is still in the shop. AKA: sitting on our kitchen counter in disrepair waiting for the new hard drive that was just delivered to be installed. I can't wait to get it back!

It's hard to blog when most of my pictures and most of my everything is out of my reach, but here are a few pictures of the kids from yesterday.



Haha, poor Reagan.

Proof that they're still alive. I must be doing something right. 

I really want to show you Evelyn's school pictures, but they're on a disk, and I'm afraid this dinosaur computer will eat it alive, haha. I'm not joking, it would not be the first time. And I would love to show you the new hobby I'm picking up for the girls that I'm super excited about, but it's not coming in the mail until later this afternoon. In other words...I've got nothin. We're just surviving!

So thank you very much for stopping by and letting me waste some of your time today. Ya'll have been a real nice audience. Don't forget to tip your waiters and waitresses. 

PEACE. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

For Real Fall

We don't have to fake it anymore! It has finally arrived. It's changing leaves, it's trick-or-treat, it's gobble 'til you wobble Fall time, baby. I'm sitting here with my pumpkin spice m&m's enjoying life. Please, anyone, alert me when Dairy Queen starts selling the pumpkin pie blizzard. We buy those things up and freeze them, haha.

It was a grand weekend, I must say. Especially yesterday. We went to church, ate some bbq, ran a super important errand, took a 2 1/2 HOUR walk...yes, we did...and ended our day relaxing and bubble bathing. Wonderful Fall kick off, if I do say so myself.

I tried to take a picture of the kids yesterday morning, and I can already see how enjoyable that's going to be this season....


 I could buy stock in little boy hats that I have stashed away, and this is what Reagan thinks of them.


Little stinker with motor skills and a mind of his own, gosh darn it. :)

So after lunch we needed to go on a mission to spruce up our front porch with a little more texture and color. The best place to do that in our neck of the woods is at Pumpkin Blossom Hill. Only...this was meant to be a short visit...not the official trip for the season. Haha. A little pumpkin picking quickie, if you will.

We didn't take a ton of pictures. Those are for next weekend. ;) But we did get a couple, because how could we resist? Even on a hi/bye trip we have a blast at that place.



We got permission to go around back and check out the stuff that hadn't been put out yet. And here's a hint: We were told that the crop is very low this year. If you're thinking about getting anything from PBH, you need to get there in the next couple of weeks!



We were trying to pick out things with lots of different shapes, colors, and designs. Even found a Reagan shaped gourd! ;)


I love transitioning seasons. So much fun! We have a ton coming up in the next month. My sister will be HOME on a ten day leave after her graduation from bootcamp (October 4th.) That week is going to be chock full of activities - including Grace's third birthday party. I'm not even sure how we're going to fit in all that we have planned!

We also have lots of Fall activities and a special boy's first birthday to celebrate before we can even think about trick-or-treating and all of that fun stuff. :) It's our busiest month of the year, and I can't wait for it all.

Peace out, and have a happy week!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Confession Friday 9-20

Hi, friends! We are having some technical difficulties in the Robert household this week. We may be looking to replace our fourth computer hard drive this year. FOURTH. This year. Our children looove the computer, and they also loooove to drop it. Step on it. Fight over it. Crack screens...it's no big deal.

Poor Eric. He is constantly tinkering with our stuff. If it's not the computer, it's usually my phone which has been everywhere from the bottom of the toilet to being chucked across the room. I laugh to keep my sanity. :D

In other news, it has been way too long since I've done a Confession Friday, so it's happening. Right now.

I confess that I have two birthday parties to throw next month, including a big first birthday, and I'm just now getting started...what the heck is wrong with me? This will be, and I promise - for real this time, the last year for a while that we're having parties for birthdays. Next year we're going to Disney, and that's IT. Haha.

I confess that I have been so emotional lately. GoodNESS. Any little thing on facebook sends me into a first class ugly cry. Sobs.

I confess that Eric and I are seriously thinking about going into the bucket selling business. Light up buckets, that is. :D Eric especially loves the idea, because he wants the nickname "Mr. Bucket."

I confess that we are chugging our way up the debt free chart....


Choo choo! Ready to pull this bad boy into the station and be DONE.

I confess that I haven't breathed a word about our debt free journey lately, because apparently it ticks some people off. Guess what? I don't care anymore!

I confess that I'm a terrible cook. There. I said it. Been trying to deny it for years, but it is what it is. Do like to bake, though!

I confess that if the school asks us for money for ONE MORE THING...I'm gonna give it to them. My kid gets to go to school for free, despite lack of any state funding. And one town over we'd be paying $200 a month per kid for the same program at a public school. Thank you, Red Bud. You rock.

I confess that I'm considering changing up a huge family tradition this year a bit - gasp! We always go to the Belleville Eckert's farm for pumpkin picking, but I thought it might be fun to try the Millstadt location for a change. Hey locals, which one is your favorite??

All because of this video they posted this morning. :)

I confess that I've been wearing my hair in braids almost every single day. I just don't feel like doing it when I take Evie to school. I'm sure I look like a 12 year old while carting my three kids around, haha.

I confess that nothing irritates me more than whiiiining. But the way Reagan says, "Mamamama mooom" when he's upset...it makes me smile. Oh, I'm so doomed.

I confess that I have the best friends ever. Seriously. I am still getting cards and encouragement after our rough last week. Love you!!

Evelyn says: I confess that... I'm going to try to be a good girl. :)

I confess that I sorta missed Confession Friday. Might have to bring it back as a regular thing again. :)

I honestly don't know what this weekend holds for us, but I hope it's a good one. The weather promises to be perfectly Fall once again...appropriate, since the first day of Fall is Sunday - wahooo!!!

See you in the next season! :D



Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Faux Fall

Someone down the street put a scarecrow on their front lawn, and well, don't have to tell me twice.


Poof! Instant Fall. Or at least a start!

Our straw bales were delivered on Sunday, so there was really no stopping it. I'm actually quite proud of myself...I waited until September 15. Must be some kind of a record for me! We're starting out slow and steady. Just a few things now...but I'm anxiously awaiting the opening of Pumpkin Blossom Hill so that we can spruce this place up with some pumpkins and gourds...then it will feel real. :)


I'm really only posting this today because of how cute Evelyn was sweeping loose straw off of our front porch. :) She was SO proud of herself on Sunday for helping to decorate. Honestly, Evie did a lot of it. I lifted things, but she decided just where everything should go, and then she insisted on finding a broom to tidy things up. That's when I grabbed the camera...cause when a kid is volunteering to clean...that's a Kodak moment.

My kids wouldn't even know what Kodak is. Haha.

Inside we've been decking out anything we possibly can with fall leaf garlands. The one great thing about being married in September is that I have lots of leftover decorations that we reuse year after year...and that includes tons of fall leaves. No shelf shall be bare, no ledge will be left empty, no flat surface neglected...everything gets the "leaf treatment."

So while we don't officially flip seasons until Sunday, we are enjoying our nice faux-Fall here this week. Yesterday we even tested out our straw bales' true purpose (to make our porch more interesting for all of the fall photos that we take) with a picture before school....



I was pleased to envision the potential cuteness. But my girls were a bit distracted. By what, you might be asking?

By this.


Right across the flippin street. Hooray...unexpected construction! BEEP BEEP BEEP. RUMBLE RUMBLE. BEEP! BEEP! All day long. Starting at the crack of dawn. Awesome.

All I have to say is they better be building some three bedrooms, cause then we might just pack our bags and move in when it's all said and done. :D

Reagan likes it though. He could stand at the door all day and watch the big machines do their thing. It's super cute. And speaking of Reagan, standing, and cute things, the kids had a dance party last night and I caught the tail end of it with the camera.



 Too big! Much too big. I won't be having such nonsense around here, I'm putting bricks on his head.

I keep telling the girls that one day, more than likely, their baby brother will be bigger than they are. I don't think they believe me. :)

Eric is getting ready to leave for work and he has to take the computer today. (Boo!) That's my cue to say "Sayonara!" I hope you all have a lovely day and that it's feeling a little fallish wherever you are!

Monday, September 16, 2013

An Almost-Fall Weekend!

We had an awesome anniversary weekend, and our cups are running over with love and good family vibes. I think the amazing weather helped us out a bit. It's hard to be down when the air is crisp, the sun is shining, and there is always a gentle breeze to walk alongside you. Fall is coooommming!

Friday night was the first home football game, and even though it was our anniversary, and despite the fact that Eric and I really have no interest in football, we just love strolling through that classic small town scene on a Friday night! The kids love it, too. :)


Reagan's first game!

The girls thought it was pretty awesome that they got to pick some candy from the snack stand as a treat. And when asked what their favorite part of the evening was they said, "Watching the baseball game!"

Yep - definitely our kids!

On Saturday Eric and I decided to change things up a bit. It was our anniversary weekend after all. So instead of a quick dinner and a trip to Aldi after Eric got off of work, we went to a SIT DOWN dinner....and then a trip to Aldi. :)

It was really nice taking our time to eat a meal and just enjoy each other's company. And Reagan's company. He makes a nice third-wheel. Happy Anniversary to us!

Sunday was our last opportunity to spend some quality time with Eric's brother Denny and his wife April. After living for a year in China they spent some time hanging around our neck of the woods before driving home (today) to Arizona. So Amy and her kiddos and Eric's parents and the rest of us met up for a nice day of family fun at one of our favorite local spots, Eckert's. It's apple picking season, and so the Belleville farm was in full swing with their annual Apple Fest!

We enjoyed all of our usual favorites. The kids rode some rides....



Fed some animals...




They hopped on a pony...



Grace of course had to choose the biggest pony there was, and nearly induced a panic attack in me a couple of times, haha.

We stuffed ourselves in the restaurant for lunch. I'm pretty sure Evelyn ate her weight in biscuits and apple butter.

\
Then there was more fun, playing on the Fun Farm.


"Why can't I bounce, mom?"
Baha.



And eating frozen custard....


Reagan was mighty cozy on his aunt April. :)

The one thing we did not do during Apple Fest - pick apples! Haha. We spent four hours walking around, and we had more than enough fun for a day. Maybe we'll make it back sometime for apple picking...or maybe we'll save that bumpy hayride for the pumpkins. We'll see! Either way, obviously you can spend an entire day at Eckert's and not run out of things to do.

I'm not sure when we'll get a chance to see Denny and April again. They spend a lot of time traveling, and I know that our girls will be asking about them constantly. There wasn't a single day that went by over this past year that Evelyn didn't say something about China and how her uncle Denny and aunt April were there. Not a single day when the sun was going down that she didn't say, "It's morning in China!" I'm glad we were able to spend time with them. I'm glad that they were finally able to meet Reagan. Family is so important, and those are lessons we learn more every day.

Last night we took a walk in the cool late-summer night. It was nice and quiet, and Eric and I need those walks to talk about life. There may be some big changes for our family coming on the horizon. In fact, I know there will be, it's just the timing...will it be sooner or later? Big decisions will be made in the coming months. Oh, life!

I hope that you were able to have a great weekend! I know there were lots of parties and things happening, and we wish we could have gone to them all. I hope that whatever you did, some memories were made and smiles shared. It's a wonderful time of the year!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Eric,

I cannot honestly start this post by saying, "Oh my gosh, it's been five years already?! Whew, how the time has flown!"

Because if we're being honest here, what I'm really thinking is, "It's only been five years? Holy moly - feels like twenty!" Eric Joseph, we've done a lot of living in just five short years, haven't we? It's kind of insane looking back on all that we've been through together and realizing how very different we were just a half a decade ago. Five years...that's like nothing. Just a blip. Just the blink of an eye! But it's been a pretty awesome five years.

Is there anything I can say today that hasn't already been said? Are there even enough "I love you's" in the world to express how I really feel about you? 

I knew I loved you when I married you on September 13, 2008....


...but I didn't know just how much until we were bonded together by the news of our first baby just a few short weeks after our wedding.


And I knew I loved you more in 2009....


...but I couldn't have possibly known how much until I saw you as a daddy.


I loved you even more in 2010....


I was terrified to be the mom of two babies so close together. You were never worried.

In 2011 we experienced a great loss in the passing of your grandma Zada, and I loved you even more as we grew together in realizing to never take one day for granted.


Oh, how much I loved you then.

In 2012, we welcomed yet another baby into our family...and our hearts did not grow crowded, they just grew larger.


Haha. That bed, however, was pretty crowded. :)

In 2013 we thought our family was complete for a good, long while.


We were happy and content - learning the ropes of a family of five. Doing life together. Loving each other.


But then we experienced another loss as we said goodbye to our fourth, unexpected, precious little Robert baby. It was a punch in the gut, but still...we have loved...through everything.

Sometimes it feels like God has pushed some kind of fast-forward button on our lives, and we've been living this life together at a breakneck speed. There has not been much rest. There has not been a lot of complete alone time for you and me. We are both pulled in a million different directions every day. So how are we not fighting like cats and dogs? Maybe we're just too busy to disagree. Haha. :D

Or maybe God has shown us a lot of grace and mercy as his finger is on that remote. Love is patient and kind...it is quick to forgive and it doesn't hold grudges. Those things aren't in my nature, but still somehow I can never stay mad at you for long about anything. WHY do I love you so much? HOW do I love you so much? I don't know! So I'm giving it to God and many many years of answered prayers. :) We can love each other, because he first loved us. God IS love. So long as we both keep him first in our lives, nothing can divide our marriage.


So let's keep doing what we're doing, what do you say? When we slipped those rings onto each other's fingers five years ago, it was like clicking the safety belts on a roller coaster ride. We've been dipping and diving and barrel rolling ever since. It's been a fun ride so far, though, and I wouldn't want to be sitting next to anyone else while enjoying it. :)

Love you! And here's hoping the next five years are more like one of those relaxing rides at the amusement park...like a lazy river. That would be nice. :)

Happy Anniversary!


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