9.25.2017

GALlery Day...

Cindy and I always talk about how eerily similar our kiddos are accordingly to age order. Out of the six, Emmy and Anna are our creative spirits - the artists of the bunch so Emersyn insisted that for Anna's "experience" birthday gift we host a "gal"lery day at our house. 


I love how fearless they are. I would sit and stare at a blank canvas afraid to mess something up; they go straight to work creating as they go. I hope that confidence and assuredness stays with them and carries over beyond their love for art. I hope they are confident in their words and thoughts and actions and I hope they know they always have each other to help them be confident when they aren't so sure.  


They painted a "best-friend" flower to share and I think it's my new favorite thing since the friendship bracelet. 


They would rotate between painting, drawing, playing, dancing all the while laughing and talking. I loved peeking into their worlds and listening to them plan when they grow up. 


They are going to college to become artists and then they'll live together with their families and run an art studio (as yet to be named). I think they settled on 4 kids each but we'll see how that goes. 


I love how they lift each other up - they offer support and encouragement and celebrate each other so well. That's such an important thing for women to do for each other and I'm glad that they are learning that now. 


At the end of the day, everyone was invited to their art show complete with movie... 



these girls teach me so much about love and friendship and confidence and the beauty that we all hold within. And I totally want a craft day with my besties now!

9.24.2017

InstaKings...

Here's what we've been up through my phone's point of view... 

The kids take theme days really seriously around here. Kindergarteners have "color days" for two weeks at the beginning of each year and I'm pretty sure "brown" was Landry's favorite day... 


I mean, the girl can accessorize and also falls asleep every single day on the ride home. 


Radley had a major tooth emergency this week.  He had been complaining about an ulcer, but it turns out he had an abscessed tooth. Poor kid was in so much pain and we couldn't figure out why. Praise God that we have great friends that are dentists and a dentist that is easily accessible. We had an appointment with an endodontist and he took one look at him and said he needed a root canal. So Wednesday was not the best day ever for Radley. 

(He asked me not to share the pictures of his sweet face all swollen.) 


Meanwhile, these girls were proving that you can TOTALLY wear white after Labor Day.


The next day they were back in black... I kind of wish that every day had an assigned color because it made getting dressed so much easier. 


Emersyn has become a favorite at Landry's gymnastics class... she brings art supplies and paper and the little kids flock to her. Radley isn't usually with us but since he couldn't play soccer he and I were talking about how glad we BOTH were that we are past this super little kid stage in our lives. Emmy is already a much more patient mom than I ever was.

;)



When I asked her what she was working so hard on she showed me these notes for her "happy teachers"... y'all... I hope she never learns how to spell "always" correctly.


They ended "color days" with pink AND maroon and they absolutely insisted on wearing both. 


We ended our week with the beginning of my FIFTEENTH year advising MSC FISH. I'm not really sure how that happened but if you can make out the words on my shirt, you may have a good idea.

;)


And that's us in an instant!

9.22.2017

Texas Aggies...

I don't remember quite what made me want to go to A&M - it had to have been the fact that my brother went to basketball camp with his friends when I was in maybe the 4th or 5th grade. We checked him and got him set up in the dorms and my friend, Katy, and I refused to leave. (Me more because Jeremy had really cute friends, her because she was a really talented athlete and probably wanted to learn and improve some basketball skills.) The campus was about half the size it is now and was still huge - I loved everything about it. I think it must have been from that trip that I knew I wanted to be a Fightin' Texas Aggie. 


We have a saying that from the outside looking in you can't understand it and from the inside looking out you can't explain it. Never has a crazy cliche of a phrase been more true. You can't explain it and you certainly can't understand it until you've lived it. I loved the first 4.5 years so much that I decided to stay for grad school. I knew the next two years would teach me more about the profession that I was going to pursue but I never in a million years thought that those years would bring women into my life that would teach me so much more.


They teach me how to raise kids with intention...


they teach me how to support husbands with crazy jobs. How to speak up. How to find joy. How to love deeply. And although some of us are spread by thousands of miles, we still find the time to laugh and cry and connect. 


This past weekend I got to show my girls the power of women friendship through the love of our Texas Aggies. 


Game days are the best days to be on campus - the energy and excitement can not be matched and the girls were so excited for their first Aggie game. 



Right up until they walked up three ramps and sat out in the sun. Landry was clearly not into any of that nonsense. 


Emmy was TOTALLY into the nonsense and provided some amazing entertainment to everyone around us with her "come ons" and "what are you doings" and "GET THE BALL"!


Landry was forcing smiles. 


But they kept asking me about the new people they met, the stories we were sharing and why I loved being a Texas Aggie. I pointed to all the people sitting in those stands, sticking out the heat to watch the Aggies play a PITIFUL first half of football and just said, "Aggies are our people. We bleed maroon. We stand up for each other. We fight for each other and even when we disagree, we are all bonded by being Aggies." 


They whooped and gig'ed and "AAAAAed" right along the other 80K people in the stands. They swayed and saw'ed 'em off and fell a little bit more in love with the place that went from being my school to becoming my home. 

9.21.2017

Tiny Tales Thursday...





And every single person sitting around us wanted to know the same thing. I'd say that Emmy has entered the life of an Aggie right on cue.

9.20.2017

InstaKings...

The kids' school celebrated Grandparents' Day by inviting all grandparents to enjoy lunch with the kids. (Because nothing says "I love my grandparents" like eating cafeteria food.) Gigi never misses a chance to come visit and even though I told her to get all the kids the same lunch... she clearly didn't listen. Emmy's teacher sent me this sweet picture - she wore "little piggies" because they are Gigi's favorite. 


The kids have decided that they are going to save to buy a lake house (yay for me!) so they are always looking for ways to earn some money. They were selling some shiny rocks crystals in the front yard and this darling delivery man stopped and purchased some with his freshly earned tip money. Let's get this kid a raise. 


I'm not even going to deny that I tried this jacket on in the largest size so that I can be as awesome as these girls are. 



Y'all.

For the first time ever, Cindy and I got to hold newborn babies at the same time! Luckily, they aren't ours! ;) We got to bring dinner to a friend that had twin girls and they are the sweetest little things. 


Our babies holding babies - aren't they going to be the sweetest babysitters someday? 


Speaking of babies... the one with long hair in glasses is the first baby of the bunch. Now he's a junior at A&M, singing and writing songs and making us so proud. In typical fashion, Michael kept right on singing as the kids were playing, we were talking and he just kept his focus. One of life's greatest gifts and one of my greatest privileges is to raise babies with my besties. To be part of the big and small moments of the every day.


On Thursday we decided to share some sunshine with everyone that walks and runs up and down the sidewalk. They were so proud  of their work so I think we may just need to make this a little weekly tradition. 


As we were heading in for the night, a neighbor that we hadn't met was walking by and the girls got so excited. They got to share about their drawings and she asked who Landry had drawn under a bible verse, assuming it was a drawing of the girls. 

Landry replied, "Oh no... that's Jesus and Mary."


This girl is kindergarten tired. She falls asleep pretty much every day in the car and sometimes extends that nap into the house. I finally got her to wake up to remind her that it was gymnastics day. 


We had a pretty awesome movie night last week and while we were enjoying Ratatouille ... 


she was living her best life with some pizza and drinks with some gal pals from school. When her mom texted me this picture I instantly thought of this same group during the next 10 years of celebrations - homecomings, proms, graduation... it's just all too much for me to take. 


Unless she always brings home a strawberry tart and then I'll do my best.
;)


We ended an awesome week with some awesome friends at an awesome Aggie tailgate. Texas A&M brought me the most amazing friends and anytime I can get together with them makes for the best day. 


And anytime one of them gets to love on my kids makes my heart so dang happy that I can't even take it. Three days of Auntie Sooze needs to happen more than every two years.... Emmy agrees!


And that's us in an instant!

9.19.2017

Being brave...

About two weeks before school started, Landry started to get worried about kindergarten. Really worried. Crying during prayers worried. We honestly weren't prepared because Radley and Emersyn couldn't wait for kindergarten. Turns out that each kid really is different.

We talked lots about being brave those nights and how the best way for her to be brave is to lean on God and know that He is always here for us. I could tell that she was still nervous so one night Ryan and I went old school and made some friendship bracelets for the kids. We made them from the same colors but in different patterns and the next morning gave them to Landry and let her know that this was her "bravery bracelet"... she could wear it and know that she has two of her biggest fans with her at school and that God has weaved us together as a family to support each other just like we weaved those bracelets. All of us are different, but we are connected through our faith.

She heard, "here's a fun new bracelet... wear it and it will make you brave."

Flash forward to our weekend hunkering down from Harvey. I kept giving updates on friends of mine impacted by Harvey which helped the kids understand just how bad the storm was. I showed her videos and pictures of two of my friends that had to evacuate because of flooding. Emmy decided that they needed to make "bravery bracelets" for them so that they would keep being brave even after the storm.

We set up a little assembly line so they could get to work. They worked for two days and by the end had created 10 bracelets.


Emmy wrote notes to include and then I added a little explanation so they would get the whole message of what a bravery bracelet means. 


And guess what - they LOVED them and the girls were so excited to see them wearing the bracelets they made. We sent extra bracelets to Chrissy to give to her friends that rescued her and helped demo her house once the water had receded. Both made a point to say that these came in the mail at the exact right moment. 


Watching Harvey unfold was surreal and I felt so helpless watching the devastation that my friends endured. I wish I could have done more, but the Lord shows up mightily in even the smallest of gestures. Praying that my girls always live with such compassion - let us know if you need help feeling brave. They want to keep making them for anyone that needs one!


9.18.2017

Living her dream...

I can remember the day Emmy started dance - her entire face lit up. She had waited her whole life (which was only 3.5 years) for that day and when Landry was old enough, she wanted to dance just like her sister. But she never had that spark - sure she had fun, liked her teachers and loved those fancy costumes, but I never really saw that fire inside of her. 

Half-way through dance she started talking about gymnastics - she asked me 10148 times when she could start gymnastics and 10148 times I had to tell her "next year". Until... 


She could not have had a bigger smile on her face or more excitement in her heart. 


When I think about my favorite moments as a mom, they all include watching my kids do something they love. Even more than that is watching their siblings get so much joy watching them do something they love! Emmy was just as excited to be up on that balcony looking down at her sister do her thing.  



If I ever looked away she'd be quick to say, "Watch, Momma." 


So I did... I'll keep watching her find her way  offer all my love and attention that I can offer. I'll watch her discover new things that she loves and things that she doesn't. I'll watch her try and succeed and try and fail, too. I'll watch her win and lose and want to quit. I'll remind her that we are her biggest fans. I'll watch her light up when she figures out what makes her heart shine. 


I'll relish the moments where she is living her dream, because that will always be mine. 


9.17.2017

One more...


If you didn't notice by now, we like to celebrate around here. Sometimes obnoxiously. Since Radley's birthday fell on a Wednesday we didn't really get to celebrate with friends and family. And since he got a pretty big gift, we definitely were throwing a party. Instead, we kept it small and intimate with our nearest and dearest on a Sunday afternoon. 


My momma wore the shirt the day he was born - go ahead and grab some tissues. 


He was surrounded by the people that have been celebrating him since day one... 


the same people that came to hold him in that hospital... 


are the same ones that are holding him now. 


And have kept loving, laughing and holding us, too!


My momma made me laugh when I was setting up the fancy HEB cupcakes - "Thank God you got over that need to do crazy stuff like bake cakes in mason jars!"

PRAISE JESUS!


These $7 gems were just as big of a hit as any of the fancy things we've done over the past 10 years!



And create colorful smiles just as easily!


His gifts clearly had a theme this year...  


I did something I'd never usually do and emailed the people that usually purchase him gifts and asked that instead of buying him more legos, books, toys, etc... to consider giving him money so he could buy souvenirs on our trip. (Because the trip does not include merchandise from us!! ;))

Y'all... his people showed up and he could not wipe the smile off his face package, after package, after package... 


I also have to give Gigi and extra shout out because this is the first birthday that she hasn't purchased gifts for siblings..AND THEY SURVIVED! (I was more worried about Gigi than the girls.) 


We had a great big day celebrating our amazing big boy!


Ten years of loving him has been one of the greatest joys of my life!