Welcome to the "crew"...

Stu, one of my college roommates,  got married this weekend and Ryan and I were so happy to be a part of the celebration! He is a great guy that be both love to death and married a sweet, precious, fun girl! :) We loved celebrating with them and wish them a lifetime of happiness!

Weddings can be a tricky thing. You spend months thinking of every tiny detail. The dress, the ring, the cake, the flowers, the music, the vows, the colors, the food, the open bar refreshments. The bride and groom spend so much time thinking about "the big day" that they can sometimes forget about the "big other days" (otherwise known as a lifetime) that come after it -- marriage!

Marriage is a forever commitment... a choice you make each and every day to live and breathe with and for another person. Marriage isn't like a buffet where you can pick and choose what parts you want either... you must order directly off the menu and "no substitutions are allowed". 

You have to accept each and every part about your spouse. 

His strengths as much as his, ehm... un-strengths.
His sense of humor. 
His corks.
His ups.
His downs.
His friends (on most days anyway).
His family. 

Which is where this post leads me.


Most people define family as individuals that are connected by blood or relation. However, in this case... Kelly joined a new family... the Crew of 3202. 

 My sophomore year of college, my parents did one of the best things they have ever done for Jeremy and I, they purchased a house in College Station for us to reside with our friends. This "house" quickly became so much more. 3202 was a safe haven, a pre-party, a hotel, a cooking show, a tailgate, a Thanksgiving dinner, a study break, a 42 tournament -- a lifestyle! :)

Over the years we had 15 (I am almost sure) different official roommates, meaning people that paid at least one month's rent. We had several other 'squatters' as well as some VIPs that we love just as much. Each with a fun story, each with a unique memory, each that are special and can count themselves as part of our crew. However, there are 5 of us that will continue to intertwine our lives for years to come. 

Jeremy, Josh, Katy, Stu and Jessica - "the crew". We have been there for our happiest times, celebrated weddings and babies, new jobs, fun vacations and just all around great days. We have mourned losses, lifted each other up, nursed hangovers, and skipped class. And we WILL raise our children, throw birthday parties, attend dance recitals, support, comfort and celebrate life together. 

Our significant others get to join the crew -- it's like an "automatic in". Cindy and Ryan have been around for over 10 years now and know every story almost as well as we do (because lets be honest, there are some nights that none of us remember at all!! :)) Zeke and Bonnie are not far behind and Kelly is our newest crew member. We are "that group"  and we would not have it any other way.

I could not ask for a better group of roommates. A better college memory. A better family. 

So Mom, Dad, Tony and Patsy -- thank you for letting us be a crew. Thank you for sending us all to Texas A&M. Thank you for buying a house and letting us create this family circle. Thank you for all that you did to raise us to be individuals that know the blessing of a circle of friends. 

And 3202... thank you for being my friends. My family. My crew for life. 
Love you all!


Too fast...

When did my tiny little baby boy decide to grow up?

When did he decide that he wanted to trace letters and learn to read and write?

And when did he actually LEARN how to do it?!?!

I'm so proud of him. Each and every day. His wit, humor, sensitivity, desire to explore, insight into adult conversations, vocabulary, and just love of living BIG inspires me. 

I look at him and dream about who he will grow up to be. And I know, that no matter what he chooses he will tackle it with the same enthusiasm as he lives right now in these moments as a toddler boy. 
I hope he always asks why. 
I hope he always ask for more from people. 
I hope he giggles when he's nervous as much as when he's happy. 
I hope he knows it's okay to cry as much at 33 as he does at 3. 
I hope he challenges those that he loves and that love him in return. 
I hope he blesses his sister first in his prayers forever. 
I hope that he fights for things that he believes in... especially when it becomes more about real issues instead of playing for just "5 more minutes."
I hope he skips baths every now and then because he can. 
I hope he looks forward to school as much for the learning as the time he spends with friends. 
I hope he helps his elders.
I hope he teaches Emmy what he has learned. 


 And I hope that he knows that in all those moments as he is growing to become a man, that we will love him as much as we do as a boy. 


Tiny Tales Thursday...

Last night we were doing our regular routine.

Eat. Bath. Play. Bed.

I asked Radley what he wanted to play with and, as usual, "CARS!!" erupts from his mouth.

In toddles this adorable 3 year old boy caring what seems like 100 pounds of cars in two plastic bins. He gets them set up and ready to "race" and instructs me and Emmy to go sit on one side of the kitchen floor so he can push them to us.

Emmy and I are ready for playing to commence and Radley begins to push cars our way. 1 out of 10 actually make it all the way to us and we do our job by pushing them back to him. This continues for 20 minutes and every now and then Emmy picks up a car to explore inspect chew on.

At one point I think to myself, "Poor girl. She is never going to want to play with dolls. I don't even know how to play with dolls. Cars and trains will have to do."

We all keep racing toys when it happens.

Emmy picks up a car and "pushes" it to Radley (clearly on accident... although she is a genius baby).

I have never seen Radley light up with more excitement.


In that moment, it was all worth it to him. In that moment, he understood what we knew all along. That babies may poop and cry and eat and drool and spit up. But that "his baby", his SISTER was going to grow up with him and be a best-friend each and every day of his life.


Tiny hands...

The cereal puff. 
There is so much more to it than puffy goodness saturated with some type of fruit/vegetable flavoring.

 When spread across the top of a high chair appropriately, it can bring at least 5 minutes of joy to an 8 month old. She just laughs at herself as she eats them. Loving the independence that comes with feeding herself. She is very intentional with her selection and clutches onto these things as if her life depended on it.

And well, they don't leave major messes like carrots do. 

The toy train.

To the eye it looks as if it can go on wooden tracks. 

But to a three year old, it can fly. It can sing. It can talk back to you. It can be your best-friend. It can bring hours of entertainment to you and your imagination. 

It can be the one thing that you are looking forward to after school (except a snack of course).

And they can cause you to make the silliest faces, too.


Happy Birthday Mom/GiGi...

Happy Birthday, Mom!

I hope that your day is as beautiful as you are!

Thank you for all of the years of drying my tears and helping me through whatever it is I faced. I love you so much and hope you know how special you are to not just me, but to everyone that knows you. 

You are giving. 
You are kind.
You are loud.
You are gracious.
You are beautiful.
You are funny.
You are smart.
You are a terrible texter.
You are a wife.
You are a mom.
You are a best-friend.
You are a GiGi.
And most of all... 

You are LOVED!

Happy Birthday!! 


Weekend fun...

The kids and I headed to Waco for the day on Saturday and what a perfect day! I got to enjoy some fun girl shopping time with Jenni and the kids got to play and spend time with GiGi and Nana! The weather was GORGEOUS so Radley and Karli were doing this:

 all afternoon... 

What could be better than playing with 30 year old toys (these trucks were my brothers) in good ole American dirt?!?
Sitting on skateboards that are almost as old... 

with kitchen spoons? At one point I thought to myself, "There is literally a couple thousand dollars worth of toys at my house, and they are playing with dirt. And spoons. There will be no more toy purchases. Ever!" 

But then I remembered that GiGi (and Pops) purchase the majority of toys anyway! ;)

I loved just watching them sit and play pretend. They kept making up stories and adventures and giggling and running and laughing and just being three. Karli kept saying, "Honey, come over here, it's time to eat." I asked her if Radley was her boyfriend and she said, "No, he's my husband."

Too. Cute. 

Everything is just so simple at this age. 

And don't worry, Emmy was being well taken care of, too. She was keeping a watchful eye on the big kids which worries me a bit. As soon as she decides to move she is going to be all over the place! 
But for now, she is content in the arms of the ones she loves ;)... 


She was also content hanging out with her friend, Cooper. Look how giant she looks! It's so funny how much 8 months is a difference now but in time it will even out and they will be running and playing and laughing and giggling just like Radley and Karli. 

This weekend was just another great reminder to slow down and enjoy the moments around us. Because if we aren't careful, they will be gone in an instant!


Tiny Tales Thursday...

Have I mentioned that I don't particularly love Thomas the Tank Engine? Oh, I have? Well... I really don't love him.

Have I also mentioned that Kasey, RYAN's dog, drives me crazy?!? Oh, I have? Well... she does.

So... to the tale.

Last week Kasey left us a "present" in the garage. I was trying to be a nice owner and let her stay in the garage since it was sub-arctic temperatures outside. How does the dog repay me? By pooping. In the garage. EXACTLY where my tire would roll (without me noticing).

So, instead of coming home, winding down and playing with the kids on this said day, I throw gently place kids inside, distract them with snacks and toys and then hose down the garage. With soap. And water. In sub-arctic temperatures. All while NOT killing the dog. :)

Fast-forward to the next day.

We are driving home from school and are pulling onto our street...

Radley: Kasey in the garage, Mommy?
Me: No, buddy. She's not in the garage.
Radley: Oh. She's in the backyard?
Me: Yes, buddy.
Radley: So, Kasey not poop in the garage today?
Me: No, buddy.
Radley: Good! 'Cause that made you really cross!

Me (thinking to self): Really cross? He's 3 years old...how does he know what 'cross' means and how does he know to use it in the correct context? Really cross?

And then it hits me. Thomas the Tank Engine is "really cross"... or his friend Percy, or James, or Sir Toppemhat. I guess the guy isn't so bad... he is after-all expanding my child's vocabulary.


My funny Valentine...

Roses are red
Violets are blue
There are 100s of reasons

For 12 wonderful years
You've completed my life
From Honey-B Queen
To becoming your wife
You're true to your word
In all that you do
And, well, I'll just say it
You're pretty hot, too!

I love you more now
Than I did way back then
And if given the chance
I'd do it all again

You're the man of my dreams
You make my life complete
And to watch you be "daddy"
Makes my heart skip a beat

I just needed to make sure
That you'll forever be mine
So, Ryan King
Will you be my Valentine?

Happy Valentine's Day...



No, the title of this blog isn't for some random countdown to a sale at the Gap... it is the ages of the children that I got to play with tonight!
Radley (3), Caroline (2), Annaliese (1), and Emersyn (0) were all in my care and supervision while the HMMs went to a FCA banquet! 

Not going to lie; I was a little nervous especially when I was welcomed into my garage by a "present" left by RYAN's dog (that's a whole 'nother blog post)... but I rallied and succeeded!

And who wouldn't be excited about playing with this crew...

The picture above describes our four children perfectly:

Radley: microphone in hand, silly expression on face, mouth open so he can be as loud as possible
Annaliese: microphone in hand, cute expression on face, mouth up to microphone so she can be as loud as possible
Caroline: taking care of Emmy/being a mommy
Emmy: sitting contently letting Caro "take care" of her and be the mommy.

Our kids are a mess! And we love it! (most of the time)

Now, I am an "achiever" and all, but I wasn't about to tackle an extravagant dinner tonight. So we all shared in my favorite selection: brinner... also known as breakfast for dinner.  It's so nice to have a bunch of self-sufficient kiddos to watch. Dinner was actually a breeze... the hardest thing about it was trying to keep Emmy's attention long enough to shovel food in her mouth feed her dinner. 

You never realize just how many toys your child has until friends come over. Then they somehow manage to find every toy with every tiny piece attached and then all pieces end up in toys that you never knew existed (follow that?). To avoid this situation, we have learned to let the kids pick one room to destroy and go from there. Luckily tonight, they picked the train table which isn't that much of a mess at all. The "choo choos" and giggles that came from a quick game of "Radley telling everyone how to play with a train table" reminded me just how much they are actual growing up since I am used to hearing "mine" "no" "stop", etc... followed by some tears. 

But these big kids were all smiles tonight! I even dared to give them a bath... all at once. By myself! Why, yes I am now accepting Mom gold stars!

In that moment, as I was going down the assembly line of washing tiny human body parts, I laughed at myself thinking that I was "so under control". I mean, there are tons of women that do this every. single. night. with their basketball team of kids. Now, those mom's deserve a gold star (or a bop on the head for being cray cray... kidding). 

After bath, we all got dressed, played some more, picked up our toys and then snuggled on the couch for some movie time! Ryan got home in time to eat and get them settled while I put Emmy to bed. They all got some snacks and were being so sweet. I actually told them thanks for being so sweet when Caroline replied, "I always sweet to my boyfriend, Rad King." Seriously... you can't make up that cuteness!

 And then the quiet lasted for about.... 15 minutes. 

Movie nights are no fun when you 3-2-1. 

More books, toys and games are much more exciting!

So exciting that we have to make silly faces when Mom tries to take a picture! (Seriously, what are these two doing? Radley looks like a pirate with a giant eye and Caro just has this cute smirk... oh they make me smile). 

We finally settled on some Dr. Seuss and were finished in time for Cindy and Josh to pick up the girls. And as I type this up to remember my "first time with all four" I think of all the future times that "all four" will be together and it makes me want to cry... because from play dates to prom dates the time will go by in a flash.


Tiny Tales Thursday...

We do a lot of "I'm sorry's" in our house. With a hyper, enthusiastic, sensitive, loud, talkative, opinionated three year old boy this is expected.

One night last week Radley kicked a toy which is a big no-no (some kids don't even have toys, so we try to teach him to respect and love his). So I told him not to do that, tell the toy he's sorry, etc... To which the reaction was a giant fit complete with tears to which MY reaction was: go to time out.

He is very good at going to "time out". Goes straight to his room, takes all his stuffed animals out of the time out chair, sits, cries, etc...

Radley has been throwing a lot of "unnecessary" fits lately so I was determined to prove a point. I told him he had to sit in time out until he thought 3 minutes were up and come apologize to Mommy. I also let him know that we needed to think about what he was sorry for before attempting the apology (I know, he's only 3). About 10 minutes later he comes up to me and says he's sorry.

Me: What are you sorry for?
Rad: I don't know
Me: Then go back to time out until you know.
Radley proceeds to go back to time out, inching his chair closer and closer to the hallway to be near us.

Attempt 2:
Rad: I'm sorry, Mommy
Me: What are you sorry for?
Rad: I don't know.

Again back to his chair.

Attempt 3:
Rad: I'm sorry, Mommy.
Me: What are you sorry for?
Rad: Kicking my toy and throwing a fit.
Me: Thank you, Radley...you can go play now.
Radley: Wow, Mommy; that was really tricky!

And then I obviously smiled and regretted that I sent him to time out at all. I mean, who can be mad at a kid when they say the cutest things in the world?!? 


Snow Day...

I am clearly playing catch up with these posts since it is currently a sunny 61 degrees, but a mere 5 days ago this was outside our backdoor:

You can clearly never predict the Texas weather and while our little blanket of snow was not even a full inch it was enough to make a 3 year old little boy extremely happy! We were all pleasantly surprised with the gift of a 3 day weekend (even UPS shut down... please insert "you live in the south joke here") and tried to make the most of our time together! Radley couldn't get out of bed fast enough!

He was especially excited about the footprints he got to make on the patio, deck, yard, street, etc... 

 Emmy was pretty indifferent about all the white stuff... maybe because we held her and only let her sit in it for about 2 minutes (I am sometimes a neurotic momma).Both of the kids looked adorable all bundled up and ready to play! I'm surprised Radley sat still long enough to let us take a picture.

He just had to go down the slide and get all snowy...

And then we decided to bundle them up even more and take them on a "train ride" in their wagon!

I don't know who was more excited... the kids are Ryan (note the sarcasm). He pulled them up and down for about 10-15 minutes before coming back inside. I, personally, stayed outside long enough to "capture the moment" and then headed indoors to make some pancakes!

I think our neighbors thought we were crazy, but Radley and Emmy just laughed and giggled the whole time! 

Radley continued to "check" on the snow all day just to make sure it was still outside. I finally just let him stay out there and play and would check to see what he was doing from time to time. He burried toys, played in dirt, made footprints, and did what all little boys will do...


But who could resist a taste of that white stuff!


Babies everywhere...

 Please meet Cooper Scott Kent... 

Cooper is the newest addition to the Kent's! He was born on January 28 to my best-friend, Jenni, her husband, Bryan, and big sister, Karli. I almost missed the blessed occasion when we got knocked out with the flu, but I made it (because I would NOT have missed it for the world!). He is just so tiny and precious and I love him so much already!

Cooper and Emmy plan to get married in 2040 once she has earned her masters and PhD and he has an established career in the MLB. :) 

I am so so blessed and thrilled to share this season of life with Jenni. We have seen and done it all together and it would not be the same without her! I love you, Jenni! And I am so glad that Cooper is here!

Another friend of mine, Amber, had a little girl last Thursday!


Jillian Annalise Acosta arrived on Thursday, February 3. I had the honor of being there for her delivery to take pictures and help capture that moment for Julian and Amber. You can read about Jillian's arrival here. I clearly have been in the delivery room for my precious kiddos and both were wonderful moments, but to witness it through the eyes of another was amazing! Thanks for allowing me to share that sacred moment with you, Amber and Julian! I am so glad that baby Jilly is finally here! 

ps. I apologize for my scrappy appearance in these pics... clearly looking rough! :) 


Happy Monthday...

 Happy Eight Month Birthday, Emmy!!

What have you been up to lately?!?

I feel like you have grown a lot this month! Your little face is getting so round and I love it! You are just like your daddy (and momma) and love to eat! You still nurse 4 times a day and also have fruits/veggies for lunch and dinner. You can not eat enough "puffies" and I think  know you would eat table food if we would give it to you! We may venture out and try some small soft foods like peaches and bananas this month, but I'm scared and I don't want you to be old enough to eat! You still wear 3-6month and 6-9month clothes and are in a size 2 diaper. I think you weigh around 16-17 lbs but your next check up isn't until next month.

Your hair is getting so long!! Which also makes me very happy because it means that you now wear a "pony tail" almost every day! Last week I even put your hair in pig tails and my heart melted. Your daddy has attempted to "fix" your hair a few times but hasn't quite mastered it yet. I love that he tries so hard to get you dressed and dolled up. 

Your personality is still so sweet and happy. You are not much of a napper these days, but that's okay because you are so easy going. You sleep from about 7:30pm - 6:30/7am (thank you!!). 
You haven't gotten any teeth yet but that's okay because I LOVE your toothless grin!

You are on the verge of moving. You roll over until you get to where you want to go and you also do this little "pounce" stance where you lean onto your hands and stay on your knews just looking at something. You can get frustrated sometimes because you haven't quite figured out how to move forward. You "scooch" backwards and just think that you are so big! You can go from laying down to sitting up all by yourself and you are so proud of that new little "trick". 

You are dying to be able to play with Radley! You just follow his every move and giggle and laugh whenever he is near you! He loves to make you laugh and gets so excited when he is around you. (sometimes too excited and we have to remind him to "be easy")

You make all sorts of fun sounds. Your noises include "ma ma", "da da" (neither in context -- well maybe mama), "a", "o", "gah", and more. You blow raspberries and bubbles and your newest favorite noise is
to "smack" your tongue onto the top of your mouth. Too cute!

We just can't believe that it has been 8 months since you joined our little monarchy! 
We love you sweet girl!! So so much!!