Emersyn is EIGHT...

This tiny tot went to bed a precious seven year old and woke up making us the proud parents of a darling eight year old. Y'all. How in the world did we get so lucky? 

At eight, Emersyn is creative - she comes to life when she is making something. A new piece of art, a fancy recipe or even a board game. I hope we can keep nurturing this gift in her to use in the best possible ways. 

She is kind - she senses when one of us is sad and needs some extra attention and is so quick to offer an extra hug. She's also not our snuggler so hugs and attention from her is extra sweet!

She is so quick to forgive - Landry isn't the easiest baby sister... she retaliates in the typical physical 6 year old ways like shoving when we aren't looking and Emersyn simply turns the other cheek. 

She is ours. And that's my favorite part of her. 

She wanted to celebrate at Freebirds which I think is funny because I feel like the only time we ever go there is on her birthday. Maybe we should go more often!

Her special request was to bring her cake (that she decided she didn't want at her slumber party) and share with the crew. 

 And what an awesome crew we have. Seriously, I love that we have a village that shows up to celebrate the big and small of life. That no one complains when they hear the restaurant of choice and shows up all smiles! 

No one's smile was as big as hers! We had so much cake that the kids decided to ask other customers if they wanted some, too. Y'all. Some of these college kids had the best reactions to FREE CAKE - some even opted for two pieces.  

Most importantly, our girl felt loved and celebrated by friends that are family...

family that added to our crew... 

people she idolizes... 

and people she's stuck with whether she likes it or not.

Eight years of loving her is one of the easiest things I've ever done. 

Party patrol...

As soon as we got back from picking Landry up at camp, we went straight into birthday mode for Emersyn. She couldn't decide between a pool party and a slumber party, so we decided to do both. Her friends met us at the pool late that afternoon so they could swim and work up an appetite before dinner. 

One of my favorite childhood memories include slumber parties. At my house or friends' houses it didn't matter... the evenings were filled with giggles and being goofy and all the girlie things. Too much make up, licking icing off cake and maybe sometimes freezing bras and undies. 

I still love the noise and the silliness and the make believe. I love the cooking challenges and the make overs and the movie marathons. There is just something so beautiful when you are in the company of other women... women that lift you up and know your secrets and simply just make you laugh. 

And on top of that... pick out the perfect gifts to celebrate you!

I have a little tradition of taking a sleeping picture the night before the kids' birthdays... my attempt at remembering them just as they were at that age. This picture is a total fake because I wasn't about to stay up as late as the girls to get one. 

I'm not sure what time they actually fell asleep - when you come from the school of Gigi you learn real quickly to just put away all the breakables and hope for the best. Regardless, they were all ready for some morning "cake and ice cream." I ordered her an actual birthday cake, but at the last minute she decided she just wanted her friends to sing to her the morning of her birthday with donuts and ice cream. Well... 

This may be the best birthday cake ever!

They all had the best time... even this guy... who was the hero of the party and survived an 8:1 ratio for 16 hours. 

Can't wait for the next (no) sleepover! 


Landry goes to camp...

Landry finished kindergarten on a Thursday and that next Sunday we packed her and Millie up and shipped them off to their FIRST OVER NIGHT CAMP.

What in the world? They are JUST BABIES!!

But she was more than ready to go - she had been talking about "Camp Carolina" for WEEKS, asking us daily when she got to leave. She was 1000 percent more ready to go than I was ready to let her leave. I mean, yes... #thirdkid but also the BABY.

We got her all signed in, and her smile never left her face. She was practically pushing us out of this room to get to her cabin. 

Campers are split up by age groups (K-4) and this year Landy was a zebra. 

As we were moving all her stuff in, we noticed a new little addition to the cabin - each camper was assigned a chore for the week. Millie and Landry hit the jackpot, y'all.  

She was especially excited that she got a top bunk since she sleeps on bottom at home. They tried to shove us out of there but we insisted on making them actually walk us outside. 

Emmy didn't want to let her go. 

But they were more than ready for the four days ahead!

I love that Carolina Creek uploads pictures each day, so we can stalk check in on all the fun the kids are having. She was all smiles that next morning... 

and throughout the entire week. Cindy and I would text back and forth when new pics were uploaded but both noticed that the girls weren't in any pictures together. This could mean:

1. They had a fight because it's Millie and Landry and they are more like cousin siblings than anything
2. They are comfortable in their friendship and did a great job of including other people

We went with option 2. 

And on the last day we finally got to see their smiling faces together!

By Wednesday morning we were ready to see our girls and got to camp just in time for cabin awards. Landry received the "kindness" award for including others, being kind, and making friends with everyone. 

::Mom heart explosion:: 

We couldn't have been more proud of this girl!

After cabin awards, we all made our way to the gym to get a glimpse of what a day at camp looks and feels like. Counselors do a skit, campers sing a song and you hear testimonies from campers - the whole thing just lights up every part of these kids faces. 

Plus, you get to run into your old counselors making your anticipation for when you get to come back THAT MUCH GREATER!

A few final pics... 

and we were heading back home, a complete set of three once again. Radley was so excited and proud of Landry. I love how much he loves them.

Thanks, Carolina Creek.... see you in August!

A little help from my friends...

You know what the worst month in the history of all the months is?

You may want to immediately jump to December because of all the holiday stress, but you'd be wrong. Because at least at the end of December, you have some fun new gifts and a darling baby savior sent for your eternal salvation. So, nope. Not December. 

The absolute worst month ... 

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End of school madness.
Teacher gifts.
Sports that never want to end. 
Kids still insist on eating lunch.

Oh, and you have to somehow be a functioning adult through all of it. 

I'm still recovering. 

But you know what helped me tremendously this year?

Thanks to Shelly and her amazing #momsrockmaystyle challenge... I didn't have to think about what I was going to wear. 

This was kind of out of my comfort zone...but it was totally worth it. I wore things that have just been hanging in my closet for way too long. I tried new combos. I even fixed my hair more often (ha!). 

So, Shelly... thanks for being amazing. Thanks for sharing your talents and style tips with us. Thanks for empowering women. YOU rock every single day!


Being selfish...

I have a confession.

I can be a little selfish. No, really. It's true. Most of the time I'm pretty good about putting others before myself, staying humble and attempting to live a life of service. But there are two days a year where I am completely selfish. Where I say and do exactly what it is that I want to do. No questions. No apologies. No excuses. The day is about me. 

And Mother's Day is one of them. 

Here's usually what is included:
Saturday mass
Sleeping in
My choice for breakfast
Time alone
And a family outing near the water.

So that's exactly what we did... oh, and I got to do the girls' hair anyway I wanted without complaints. 

On Sunday morning, I woke up late, packed up my computer, calendar and other "to do" list items and headed out to breakfast... alone. 

"But, Katy, aren't you supposed to be with your KIDS on MOTHER'S DAY?! I mean... aren't they the whole reason you GET Mother's Day?"

Yes... they are. But also, y'all... we do a lot for our kids... all the time. Truthfully, we should do more for ourselves more often, so I didn't feel guilty in the slightest as I ate one of my favorite indulgent breakfasts, sipped on a perfect iced coffee and did whatever it was that I wanted while they stayed home and CLEANED THE HOUSE.


I came home in time for lunch, refreshed and reenergized and fully ready to just be WITH them without the distraction of that running list. A little time to ourselves and FOR ourselves is so dang important for this exact reason. Sometimes I catch myself resenting my most favorite people instead of rejoicing in them. Crazy? Maybe. But true. 


After our bellies were full, we headed to the lake and enjoyed an amazing afternoon with our favorite family. I've typed so many words about friendship in this space and I will never get over the gift of them. The gift of each of the amazing women that share this ride with me and how lucky I am to have them near and far to shoulder burdens, rejoice in success, cry in sorrow or cuss in frustration. The gift of motherhood is amplified when you are sharing it with dear ones. 

Including the one that shares this crazy parenting gig with you. He hardly ever questions my crazy ideas. He tells me "yes" more often than he should. He makes me laugh. He annoys the heck out of me. He eases any burdens and carries most of my fears. 

He tries so dang hard to make each of my dreams come true that sometimes he forgets, he already has.  So eternally grateful that I get to be selfish from time to time simply because of him. 

Family Skip Day 2018

One of my favorite things to do is surprise the kids. Big or small - it doesn't matter. I just love seeing their reactions to the unexpected. (And full disclosure - I have had to learn to be happy with a big or small reaction. Ehm, Disneyland 2013). 

During the last few weeks of school the kids had a dentist appointment one morning and Ryan and I arranged to take that afternoon off and surprise them with our annual Family Skip Day. Last year I had a whole theme lined up - this year we decided that a trip to the Houston Zoo was the perfect way to spend time together. We bid on an annual pass at their school festival because miracle of miracles, it was for a family of FIVE and we just couldn't pass it up. 

Cue the perfect Monday. We felt like we had the entire place to ourselves and scored with pretty perfect Texas weather, too. 

This was our first time to the Houston Zoo and we loved every inch of it. They are doing a big renovation but we were still able to see tons of amazing exhibits including the big cats, red pandas and some crazy looking (but adorable) monkeys.

Landry decided to bring a journal so she could write down the names of each animal we saw. She was so dang cute about going to find the info sign and copy the names exactly. 

The bugs are always Radley's favorite stop - mainly because he knows it's my least favorites stop. Even I have to admit, that some of these critters were pretty dang cool. 

We just enjoyed a fun and unexpected (to them) afternoon together. The best thing about our "skip days" isn't how big or how planned or how themed it is... the best thing is showing these three that we have time for them. We prioritize our family. We love being in the moment of the right now enough to enjoy a random Monday as much as a big event. 

I dare you to try it one day... could be during school, in the summer or even just a weekend...you'll never regret skipping out on all the extra of life to soak up the right now with them!


And the Awards Goes to....

Another fun part of the end-of-year-madness includes annual awards for each grade. I appreciate the our school keeps each ceremony to one hour while still recognizing every single kid in each grade. They have it down to a science and I'm impressed every time. 

First up:

Emersyn King
A/B Honor Roll
Future Teacher Award

Radley King
A/B Honor Roll 
(poor kid, got one 89)
Excellence in Math
High Achievement in BOTH languages
Third Place Boy in number of laps run for the year 
(276 laps!!)

Landry King
Creative Problem Solver Award

It's such a fun way to celebrate their achievements and each kiddo leaves with a smile. My favorite part is watching their friends celebrate each other - I love when people lift each other up! 

And I couldn't be prouder to be their mom each and every day.