Where did we leave off? I can't pretend that this is accidental anymore. I need y'all to know this is just who I am now.

I blog.


And I'm not that great at it.


Here's what we've been up ...

If you haven't joined the land of HQ then you are missing out. Y'all. It's a FREE trivia app and there is a DAILY cash prize. 12 questions and then BAM.... and I finally won! The entire office was celebrating... now I just need to decide what to do with all that dough...

April is a CRAZY month in higher education. Basically all the students decided long ago to every program or event imaginable in 30 days or less. Fun times. 

BUT, April is also when A&M hosts their official Family Weekend and I love love LOVE meeting the parents and families of the awesome Aggies I get to work with each year!

We also got to meet another new Aggie, my niece, Keirstyn, made her debut and she has already told me I'm her favorite. 

My students work on a somewhat limited budget which means they have to fundraise. They started a "small 5K" three years ago that has not stayed small.... we had 400 runners in the ramps of Kyle Field and this guy below made it all happen. He didn't need me one bit, but I showed up and pretended I knew what I was doing. ;) 

And also took lots of pictures. 

We basically never have any fun at these events.

Literally the best job in the world - I mean I don't know one thing about races, but they figured it out and made it happen. So so proud of all the work they do to make our community brighter!

That same afternoon was the burial of Mrs. Bush. I feel so honored that the Bushes chose our little town as their home away from home. The streets were lined with people waiting to pay their respect and show their admiration for her life of service. 

I caught a small one-hour of solitude at Starbucks and felt like a new person. 

We snuggled up with our new cousin...

Who was sweet enough to give us some gassy smiles. 

And Radley finished his soccer season with a win! I hate that I didn't get to see him play nearly enough this least half of his season, especially since he may be taking a break from soccer next year. He's ready to try something new and I'm ready to watch him shine with whatever he chooses!

My momma got me an "i.o.u." for a denim jacket ages ago (like, maybe 5 years)... and out of the blue asked me if I ever got one. I had not...but I knew which one I wanted and since she's an awesome momma and Dad decided the statute of limitations on an i.o.u. was 7 years... I am now part of the "cool kids" club. 

Ryan celebrates a birthday soon (a BIG birthday) and since he is such a supportive husband when it comes to making sure I have time to nourish my friendships, I surprised him with a weekend away with his buds. Stay tuned on all the crazy that I am sure will not happen! ;)

And that's us in an instant!

By 40...

So I celebrated my birthday two months ago but honestly, my mind has been on my NEXT birthday for much longer than that. I celebrate the big 4-0 next February and I'm pretty excited about hitting a milestone.

20 years ago, 40 seemed like forever away.
15 years ago, I thought I was a "real" adult.
10 years ago, I couldn't believe I was in the middle of 20 and 40.
5 years ago, I decided that this 30 something life wasn't so bad.

And now, I'm convinced that 40 is going to be even better.

When my dad turned 40 the entire JCPenney office was adorned in black. The "ladies at work" pulled out all their tricks of in-store marketing and displayed tombstones, black balloons and an infinite amount of "over the hill" signs.

He did not take that well.

When my mom turned 40 we went to dinner but I don't remember any major hoopla. Perhaps it's because we were trying to be kind and pretend that she was still young (which she clearly was, but I was 11 so I didn't get that). Perhaps it was because she didn't want a huge celebration. Or perhaps it's because she's a mom and sometimes we get looked over. (LOVE YOU, MOMMA!)

When Jody turned 40 we surprised him by flying him to Texas for Thanksgiving.
When Jeremy turned 40 he wanted to ignore it because he doesn't like attention or getting older.

Ryan turns 40 in May and I'm not going to tell you what we have planned.

And soon... y'all... I AM GOING TO BE FORTY!

My friends have celebrated 40 in tons of different ways and I'm looking forward to this "road to 40" journey that the next 10 months will take me on. I've made a list of 40 things I'd like to do in this year and I've gotten a pretty good start. I'll share my thoughts from time to time and hope that you enjoy coming along on the ride with me.

Some items are silly.
Some items are hard.
Some items will require courage.
Some items will require time.

And I'm honestly excited about what I will discover through the process. I thought about sharing the entire list but I think I'm going to keep it to myself for a while. I do plan on journaling along the way and some of that will be included on the blog.

So to all of my friends that have done something similar - anything I should think about? What would you put on your list? What would you leave off your list?

Here's to the journey...not the destination....


Meeting Keirstyn...

 After several hours of waiting the night before, the kids were busting at the seams to meet their newest cousin. Emersyn even decided to skip art and opt for a trip to the hospital so they'd get to hold Keirstyn (pronounced like "pier"-styn) longer.

After an extensive hand washing session they were all set to snuggle their baby cousin...

I can't get over my kids with babies. Radley is a baby whisperer - he hasn't met a baby that doesn't instantly fall in love with him. Emersyn would take them all home and care for them like the good mommy she is and Landry is so excited to be bigger than someone. She kept patting Keirstyn's bottom and I just died right there. 

She is one lucky little lady... 

and completes this crew perfectly.

Speaking of crews... not sure she was made aware of the crazy that she was joining... and Radley is taking the increase in girl:guy ratio just fine. I think he gave up three kids ago. HA!

Ps. Keirstyn - you have to be able to follow directions on cue when it comes to pictures. Their immediate reaction to "now look at the baby" came complete with facial expressions, "ooohhhs", "ahhhhs" and endearing smiles. 

That could be because they are all completely smitten with you!


Worth the wait...

Monday afternoon was filled with a lot of excitement, a little bit of silly and a full waiting room. It's been six years since we've all sat around waiting for a baby to arrive and that baby is my baby. Monday was filled with differences but chalked full of the comfort of similarities, too. 

Those big babies wanted to hear about their stories - who was in the waiting room for them, how long they took to come out, who cried the most, who held them first, who cried at their arrival. 

And we reminded them that even though that are big kids now, there is still plenty of space for them right in our laps (or they were just being silly and recreating a picture).

We were all trying to fill the space of waiting... 

and waiting... 

and waiting...

and waiting. We let the kids stay until 8:45 and finally sent them home for some sleep. They were as thrilled about this as you can imagine. The new hospital policy doesn't allow any visitors for at least one hour after delivery to allow for plenty of uninterrupted bonding time for mom and baby.

Where was this when I had kids? My momma and Cathy Lyles were beating down the door a hot second post Radley. 

Gigi, Pops and I weren't going anywhere and finally we got to say hello to Keirstyn Avery Guercio

As you can imagine, she was worth the wait... 

and no one had waited longer than this guy. 


Prehistoric fun...

I got to tag along with my favorite kindergartener on her last field trip of the year. 

Every year the kindergarten classes visit the Brazos Valley History Museum and every time I go, I tell myself that we should go more often. I seriously hate it when I don't take advantage of things in my own home town!

The kids were treated to some super fun and creative lessons by Aggies from the Parks, Rec and Tourism program, some of which were Aggie football players. This group of gentlemen were geniuses - they came prepared with stickers and kept handing them out to kids that were quiet or raised their hands to answer questions. They get an automatic A in my book. 

I never cease to be amazed when large groups of small children do things quietly and with a little order. I was so proud by how well this crew followed directions and paid attention. 

I missed out on the snake lesson but I managed to make the arachnids - including a ginormous tarantula and pretty creepy scorpion. Thankfully, they kept those critters behind glass. 

I popped out early to go grab her some lunch and met her back at school. She is always so excited when we come up to school - it's like she hadn't seen me in 20 years when it had really been less than 30 minutes. 

Love any time I get to spend with my lovely Landry!


Tiny Tales Thursday...

I'm not sure I've talked to many moms lately that aren't playing The Greatest Showman soundtrack on repeat these days. We were slow to watch the movie but once we did we fell hard. While we were watching the first time I asked the girls if they recognized one of the characters... it took them a minute to register it and then...

Is THAT ... TROY BOLTON!?!?!?!?

Later that caused some terrible confusion and frustration for Emmy especially. He (Troy Bolton/Zac Efron/Phillip Carlyle) ... you guessed ... falls in love and they sing a song together...

During maybe our 10th time to watch the movie, Emersyn had finally had enough... "Troy Bolton is KILLING me!"

She's a loyal Gabriella Montez fan club member.

She managed to forgive him by the time he made his big entrance into the last song...

That Zac Efron makes my heart sing.

Me, too, Emersyn King... me too.


Flowers and weeds...

The girls and I spent the Saturday morning before Easter working in our garden. The months of neglect left nothing more than dead tomatoes, dried up basil, a resilient rosemary and weeds. Tons and tons of weeds. As we were tilling up the dirt, cleaning out the dead leaves and pulling those weeds, Emersyn asked, "Mom... why do the weeds grow so fast?"

I didn't bother with a scientific answer because, frankly, I'm not sure. Instead, I used the quiet moment of the three of us together, filling our finger nails with dirt, knee deep in literal weeds to hopefully teach a lesson. 

I explained that the weeds are like sin... creeping in to take over the good parts of us. Flowers and gardens are harder to grow because they need attention and care - they need light and water and fertilizer to bear fruit. 

Just like us. 

We need His light. 
We need to be baptized in His water. 
Her need his Word to fill us and help us grow. 

I told them that we get to choose what we want to be.... 

A weed. Or a flower. 

Telling lies is easy.
Not standing up for someone is simple. 
Disobeying is in our nature.

Those are all the weeds. The weeds can take over quickly if we let them. If we ignore the truth. If we don't stand up for someone. If we do what we want instead of what we are asked... the weeds creep in. 

"But some weeds are pretty, Mommy... are they bad, too?"

And I looked at her sweet face smudged with dirt and said that yes... we can be deceived by beauty. The enemy puts beautiful things right in front of us to trick us but we have to look around that distraction and focus on what God tells us to do. 

And He tells us to keep pulling those weeds...making sure to grab them by root to make room for the flowers that are waiting to sprout. 


Texas forever and ever...

Spring time in Texas ... when the pollen tickles your nose and makes your eyes itch to the point you wish you didn't have them. One day it's 90 degrees and the next you are kicking yourself for putting away your winter clothes. The rain falls the hardest in the morning when you are dropping kids off at school or picking them up in the afternoon. Thunderstorm warnings are followed by endless tornado watch postings and kids and animals are running into your room in the middle of the night because they think the actual lightening is out to get them. 

But then... there's.... 


(Which also leads to #momswithfancycameras pretending to act like they know what they are doing and force their children to sit in the bluebonnets and smile.) 

This year I promised them it would take 10 minutes or less if they just sat and smiled... 

Years of picture taking practice paid off... 

and we were done in 10 minutes exactly!

Emmy even found time to twirl (and if I was more than just a #momwithafancycamera this picture wouldn't be blurry). 

I can't get over how big these kids are getting... 

the tops of their heads keep getting further and further away from the tops of those bluebonnets. 

And because I'm a sap... I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and... 

This kid is going to make an awesome husband and dad one day for like a thousand noble reasons, but also because he smiles on cue. 

Favorite bluebonnet pictures of all time were when Emmy just was not having it. And she hasn't changed a bit... when she doesn't want to do something, she's not doing it. 

This sweet baby - I have pictures of Rad and Emmy in this spring tradition but they aren't on this computer, so it just feels like I didn't take them until Landry was born. I mean - that's the exact opposite of third kid mom behavior! 

So, spring time in Texas may be crazy... but it's also awesome. 

Texas forever and ever and ever... 

(ignore my Colorado tshirt!)