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! 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Adventure is Out There

Well I have a confession for you today. I have been cheating on this blog. My time and attention has been diverted elsewhere (if ya hadn't noticed!) and it has caused me to be very unfaithful to posting here as often as I would like.

It's not like I haven't been writing - quite the contrary. I have been a WRITING FOOL for the past several months, although it's not all been clicking keys around here....

I've been journaling like crazy, sharing a lot of my thoughts with a notebook instead of unleashing them all on the internet.

And then there's this whole cheating business....

I guess it's time for me to tell you all that there is a new blog.

It's a different blog, with a different name, and a different purpose. And it's been eating up a lot of my free time lately as posts keep coming to me and I keep writing and writing and reflecting on all of the things that I want to share. I had NO intention of ever starting a new blog, but one day God said to me...

"Adrien, start this new blog."

So I said, "Okay, God. I will. Later."

And he said, "Nope. Now. Now is the time."

"Are you sure?"

"Yes, Adrien, I am God."

It literally did go just like that. Yes, God speaks to me, and maybe you'll find out how...on the new blog! Haha. The truth is I'm going through a lot of crazy things right now and I had been thinking that, you know, maybe I should wait until life settled down or I had a few more answers to things before I jumped right in to start sharing the things that have been on my heart lately. But God. He wouldn't leave me alone about it, so here we are.

To clarify, the new blog which is called Standing Still (for many reasons that I'm sure will be explained over time) is in no way a replacement for this blog which I dearly love. This will still be the place where family-oriented memories are shared. This blog has been intentionally kept very small and shared with family and friends.

The new space is open to anyone, and while the content is DEEPLY personal to me, it won't be plastered with pictures of my kids quite like this one is. :)

My plan is to consistently upload at Standing Still on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So while there isn't much there today, by tomorrow there will be another post to read and share!

Whether or not you're a fan of this space or that one, both or neither, I hope that you will occasionally pop in and see what's going on! If only because we're pals, right?  Haha. Here's to new adventures. Thanks for checking in with us, and happy reading!

Friday, June 30, 2017

Evelyn's Pineapple Under the Sea

Yes, yes, we've reached the age where I can't just come up with random cutesy party themes anymore and get away with it. My children have these things...these pesky little things that cramp my mom know, opinions.

So apparently, "Ice Cream" and "Camping" and "Enchanted Forests" and the like are not all the rage anymore, but SpongeBob Squarepants...he takes the cake!

You'll notice I'm woefully behind on this one. I have some confessions to make. Those are going to have to wait for another post. But I couldn't NOT document a birthday party around here...that is Getting There blasphemy. So here we go. Just a few details here and there for one special girl's eighth birthday party!

Evie was thrilled with how everything came together, which is really all a parent can ask for. The best part of all is that all of the decor had to come from the store on this one, and we happen to have a Party City right around the corner from our house, haha. (Don't even attempt to find Spongebob decor at a typical big box store...couldn't even find a thing at Walmart!) In other words...I didn't have to stay up until 2:00am every night for weeks to make this one come together. Five kids, you needs a break! :)

Okay, I did take two minutes to cut out some construction paper fish...I guess I couldn't help myself.

There was under the sea punch and our best friend Patrick was doing cannon balls into some queso. This made me giggle maybe just a little bit harder than I should have....

So there wasn't a ton of organization to this shindig. It was just a really good excuse to get everyone together in one place! It also happened to be Father's Day. I hadn't seen my dad in a really long time. He had never been to our house, and he had never met Lincoln. God has been doing huge things in our family'll see him the background of one of these pictures. My dad, not God. :) I can't wait to share the story of how God has done miracles in our family with you someday.

Someday. :)

We had "krabby patties" for dinner, of course!

And here is the star of the show....

Growing up and growing more beautiful all of the time. We love our Evie girl. She is a sweetheart!

This was seriously the sweetest cake I have ever eaten. Pretty sure I still have a little bit of a psychedelic sugar buzz from this baby. 

Inside of this giant box there was a box within a box within a box...all leading down to one very small package that Evelyn had been BEGGING for forever and which I don't think she actually expected to get. But you know...daddy might be wrapped around her little finger a little bit. :D Haha.

Now Evelyn is the proud owner of her own phone, and let me tell you, the text messages I get from my daughter are priceless! Haha. (Yes, it is set up with extremely tight restrictions!)

She was just a little bit happy about it. 

All in all it turned out to be a great day for everybody. I was happy Evelyn's dreams came true, haha, and she finally got the party she had been wanting for a long time. I don't know what it is about that Spongebob! 

I feel like our days of these kinds of parties for Evie are running short. Soon she will want to go out with friends for her birthday and have sleepovers. I foresee trading in afternoons with cake and punch to nights at the movies and late night giggles. :) That's okay. Our first baby girl is growing up and we'll treasure these days while we can!

Thanks, all for checking out Evelyn's Spongebob birthday! It's was tons of fun under the sea!  Please check back next week for some new things coming up on the horizon. See ya Monday! 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Here's to Dads!

This weekend many families will be celebrating fathers, and grandfathers, and father figures all over our great country. I LOVE an excuse to brag on our resident father, Mr. Robert. Evelyn, Grace, Reagan, Charlotte, and Lincoln are truly blessed to be able to call this guy dad....

There are so many reasons to honor Eric today for his role in our family, but we're picking our 10 favorite things about him to highlight on this Father's Day weekend!

Dad's night at school. :)

* Evelyn says that she LOVES cuddles and snuggles with daddy! Yes, I must say he is an excellent cuddler and snuggler. ;) Haha. I know there is no more precious and safe place to be than in the arms of a loving father. Thank you Eric for showing love and affection to our babies.

* Gracie says that she loves surprises from her dad. Eric finds himself away from home quite a bit, but his kiddos always know that he is thinking about them when he brings little surprises home from his adventures. Eric enjoys buying small gifts for our kids all of the time, and I know that someday they will always remember the image of their dad standing in front of them with a sly smile on his face and his hands behind his back filled with special tokens just for them.

*Reagan loves having "a sleepover with daddy!" So, very recently our AC went out and our family found itself scattered for a night to beat the heat in our house. Eric and Reagan ended up together in his parent's basement, and I think our little man was just tickled pink about that. :) I don't think he'll ever forget the night he and dad spent together at grandma and grandpa's!

*No one makes our babies eyes light up more than their dad. Charlotte and Lincoln can't say a lot just yet, but take it from the person who spends pretty much 24/7 with these two, it's a special time when daddy comes home! In her limited vocabulary, Charlotte has added "Where's daddy?" She always wants to know when he is coming home. I know there is great comfort for the littlest ones when our family is all together and whole!

*I so appreciate that Eric is a dad who shows up. If there is a special event at school, a volunteer opportunity, a conference, or ANYTHING involving his kids, he is there. Those of us who are grown already know how much this really means to a child, so thank you Eric for always being there.

*Eric is a hard worker and a diligent provider. When God established Eric as the head of our household and leader of our family, He gave all of us a great blessing. I only hope that we are able to be a blessing to Eric in return! All of the things he does for this family, big and small, do not go overlooked. I pray that God pours out his blessings right back on him!

*Maybe one of the most special times of the day with his children is right before bed, when Eric helps them brush their teeth, and he reads scripture and prays with them. This is sometimes a chaotic routine and often ends with a "Oh my gosh kids, get to sleep!" haha. But this is another one of those things that they will never forget, and I hope they are learning through their father's example to speak the love of God to their own kids someday.

*Eric makes sure that his children get to have fun. He is always up for a trip to the movies, a family outing here there and everywhere, and even special dinners one-on-one when he can sneak them in. Quality time is high on his priority list, and I know it always will be! With five kiddos jostling for attention that requires a lot of his time and patience, and he gives it freely. He's a superhero. :)

Grace's birthday card for her dad this year. :)

And Evie's....


 *No matter how crazy things are here, at the end of the day Eric always reassures me of his love. When he shows me great kindness and respect, our kids definitely notice. Sometimes we forget how closely kids watch the relationship of their mom and dad. Because of the covenant we made together and with God in marriage, that love will never be extinguished, no matter what. God's promises never fail - what a great comfort to our family.

*Eric is a child of God, and reflected through his Father I see so many admirable qualities that they share...there is no idleness in his hands...he has a real conviction for fairness and justice...he is generous...he has a love for children and special place in his heart for the rights of the unborn...Eric is a wonderful counselor in times of trial...he speaks with confidence...he shows no partiality...he is always learning and growing in depth of insight. To say that I respect and admire him is a huge understatement.

We are pulling double-duty this weekend as we celebrate dads and Evelyn's 8th birthday on Sunday. I simply couldn't let our daddy be overshadowed by Spongebob Squarepants (Evelyn's choice of party theme, haha!) I hope that Eric gets some time to just relax, maybe tinker in the garage like he does so much these days, and feel the love his family has for him this weekend.

Eric, you are one in a million, pal! Love you! Happy Father's Day. :)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Evelyn is Eight!

Today we celebrate one very special girl's eighth birthday. Eight years since Eric and I became parents to this sweet and spunky kid - holy moly!

Evelyn hadn't quite entered the world yet at the time that I am writing this post, but Eric and I had already spent one very long night waiting in the hospital for her arrival eight years ago. I didn't get a wink of sleep that night, tossing and turning and thinking about meeting our very first child. We were so woefully so many ways. :)

I remember the hospital room being cold and Eric didn't have adequate blankets to sleep with. We had no idea that we had control over our room's thermostat. It was a long night for both us! This whole routine, one that would become quite familiar to us in the coming years, was all brand new.

Evelyn was one of the babies where the epidural didn't work the first time during one of the hardest labors I would ever have, and she gave us all quite a scare when her heart rate plummeted and we nearly had to have an emergency c-section. She made her entrance into the world full of drama...and she has never stopped enjoying being the center of attention! 

There is a lot that becomes a blur over the years. The details can become foggy when you have had five babies. But I will never forget as Evelyn made her debut hearing Eric's voice call out to me, "Here she comes!" I had never heard a tone of such awe and expectation come from my husband, and I have never heard it since. He was about to be a dad for the very first time. He was seeing something he had never seen before. I didn't look. Haha! Eric held my hand, and we finally met the little one that would change the course of our lives forever. You don't get moments like these twice. And they are over so quickly. I hope Heaven comes full of instant replays of some of the highlights of our life. :)

Our Evelyn Lily was our honeymoon baby, so she has quite literally been with us from the very beginning. She was an unexpected and special gift. God orchestrated her very existence even by manipulating our wedding date. I wanted our wedding to be on September 20, but the hall was booked already. So the 13th it was! If we had been married one week later, we might not have had our little Evie. No coincidences. No mistakes. She was just meant to be. :)

I see the stirrings of a "big girl" in our oldest already. Evelyn is more emotional these days. She likes to spend quiet time by herself in her room. I am often calling out all over the house to find her, because she is perfectly content to wander off by herself to read a book or watch a video on her own. I was thinking forward to the festivals we will attend this summer and how there are some rides that she will have outgrown by now. I can't believe we are here already. I can't believe that we are preparing to leave another stage of life behind with her. She is shedding more and more of the little kid stuff every day and looking forward to the things she will do when she is bigger. We are sort of at an in-between stage at the moment, and I will be holding on to that for as long as possible!

Evelyn still wants to be an artist when she grows up, and her dad picked out all sorts of special gifts for her to hone her skills. We're already discussing the Disney college program out world. Ha! We're hoping to pull a little party together for her his weekend, because of course we want to celebrate this amazing kid properly. For now, we're enjoying a quiet day at home with all of our normal birthday traditions - cake, presents, and Evie gets to pick dinner tonight. I hope she can feel our love for her!

We love you so much Evelyn, and I know that your eighth year will be full of fun and great memories! Happy Birthday! 


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