May 22, 2017


cayden: marvel tsum tsum party.

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We have an eight year old. Eight years. Eight years since we became parents. Which seems like yesterday and a world away all at the same time. Our Cayden is the sweetest kid around. But he's also pretty fierce when he's passionate about something. I love the way he loves others. And his little servant-heart keeps showing itself; I hope it'll continue to grow and he'll never feel embarrassed or ashamed of how well he loves and cares for others.

But enough of that mushy stuff! Cayden chose a Marvel Tsum Tsum theme for his party this year. And um, there's nothing out there for that. A regular Disney Tsum Tsum party? All the things available. So this mama had to get a little crafty and creative... which just so happens to be one of her favorite things!

Cayden also wanted his party to be a scavenger hunt. I was a little concerned that I wouldn't be able to pull something like that off, but it seems that I do ok! Good clues, the kids were running around and everyone seemed to have fun. So win!

A three layer cake was requested this year thanks to an episode of Carnival Eats that the boys had watched earlier in the year. We had a vanilla, strawberry and chocolate layered cake with blue icing at the birthday boy's request. I tried a new buttercream icing recipe; it wasn't as sweet as other recipes I've tried and it paired perfectly with the cake. I think everyone enjoyed it as there wasn't a slice left. At all. Signs of a good party, right?

Cayden received all sorts of wonderful gifts and it was so nice to celebrate the day with his favorite people. Eight years. Really?

April 19, 2017


graham: paw patrol party.

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We celebrated Graham's upcoming birthday on Saturday. He turns three on Friday! Each year it gets harder and harder to believe that we've gone another whole year, but I guess that's just the way time works. Graham is big into Paw Patrol right now, so it was no surprise to me when I asked him what kind of party and cake he wanted.

I decided it was time to try another fondant cake. The last time I tried one was about four years ago for Cayden and Sawyer's joint Jake & The Neverland Pirates party. I knew I didn't want to get quite as crazy with this cake – just a simple two layer cake (strawberry, of course) and a red fondant icing. Y'all, as simple as that sounds, getting red icing just isn't easy. I should have remembered how hard it was from the year I did red icing on Sawyer's Baymax cake, but memories fade I suppose. Either way, I think my technique has gotten better, but I'll probably stick with buttercream icing for the most part.

Note: No more red icing cakes from here on out. Fondant or not.

But the Paw Patrol cake turned out super-cute and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We used toys as cake toppers and I found the puppy's badges online and printed those to round everything out. Add three candles, and ta-da! Done! When it came time to blow out his candles, Graham was all about it. So much so that I believe he almost ate a candle while blowing them out. Good stuff!

We're looking forward to celebrating him this Friday too. He's already picked out what he wants for breakfast and dinner (homemade waffles and Chickalay, respectively). And maybe we need to grab some cupcakes so he can blow some more candles out!

April 16, 2017


easter, 2017.

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The Easter bunny came! And after an initial meltdown where Graham thought that Tatum's basket was his – y'all, he was ridiculously upset that his basket didn't have the same things that his brother's had in it (except it was Tatum's basket he was looking at!) – all went really well! The kids even slept in past six... which is an Easter miracle all on its own.

After digging through their baskets to see what came, we got ready for church and headed out the door. Jeremy was able to shoot a few quick photos of the kids while I got myself dressed. Church on Easter Sunday is always so emotional. I just get overwhelmed with all the feelings. Sadness, and then unbelievable joy. Can you even imagine what it would have been like to be there that day? I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Amazing is the only word that I can think of. Well, and maybe really, really weird, but mostly amazing.

I think most churches have a flower cross somewhere on their property for Easter morning. Of all the years we've been to church here, we've never once taken the time to have our photo with the cross. And I'm really glad that changed this year. New tradition? Most definitely.

After church, we headed to my mom and dad's for a delicious lunch. Tatum chowed down on her own little feast – mac & cheese is her new favorite. Although she did really seem to enjoy the green beans too. A fun egg hunt in my parents back yard followed – they have some excellent hiding places at their new place.

We were also able to shoot some more family photos. I have no idea what Graham was doing with his leg in the photo of me with the kiddos; it had me laughing ridiculously hard. I love this little family. And I love getting to celebrate these special holidays with them.

April 11, 2017


tatum: eight months (and a few days).

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I knew I'd never remember to do a monthly recap on this sweet girl. Time keeps slipping away, you know? Which isn't my favorite at the moment...

But, sweet Tatum at eight months old is a lot of fun. She's "talking" all the time. Sometimes we hear a "mamama" slip out. A "dada" may have slipped out on occasion. Mostly? I think she just likes to hear herself make sounds. She is an excellent sound-maker. She's also an excellent clapper. And I find her rolling around, pausing to clap every so often.

Speaking of rolling, she finally decided that her belly is not the enemy and has started moving all sorts of places. Just yesterday I caught her trying to pull up (not ready!) on a toy. If she keeps trying to pull up in her crib I guess we'll have to move the mattress down. Thankfully she isn't to the point where she can sit herself up yet, so we might have another couple of weeks of the high mattress.

Tatum's slowly discovering the crawling thing. She can get up on her hands and knees and rock like the best of them. It usually ends in a belly flop of some sort. She did manage to move one hand last night... which led us to wondering how in the world we should baby-proof this house. It's a lot more open than the last house we lived in; the boys were all walking around by the time we got here. Having one crawling around will be, um, fun?

We still have an amazing nursing relationship going on, which I am very, very thankful for. A little after six months we started offering a little food. Sometimes it's baby food, and sometimes it's table food. She especially likes her mama's waffles and pancakes. Mac & cheese was on the menu last night and she had no arguments with it. She's taking after Graham in the teeth department. Current count? Zero. Graham was almost a year old before his first one popped through. (Cayden was about seven-ish months. Sawyer was maybe six months?)

She still loves her brothers fiercely. She has a stronger relationship with Sawyer (perhaps because they're basically twins?) and he can make her belly laugh better than anyone else. It'll be interesting to see how all of their relationships develop over the years.

We're already three-fourths of our way through her first year. I find myself buying cute things for her first birthday party as I come across them. Slightly neurotic? Perhaps, but I'm afraid I won't be able to find the same things come August.

March 29, 2017


zoo fun, spring 2017.

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Since the kids are on Spring Break and since today was the only day without rain in the forecast, Jeremy took the day off so we could all go to the zoo together. Which was apparently a brilliant idea! Because everyone else in the Birmingham-metro area had the same idea. But we went with it, parked a million miles away from the entrance and enjoyed the morning. We even got to see the new jaguar, Khan in all of his beauty. Also? For some reason I thought jaguars were a bit smaller and sleeker, like cougars, I suppose? But they aren't. They're big. Not as big as a tiger, but still big. And did I mention beautiful? Because wow.

The kids all did so well at the zoo. And they were so aware of other people walking around, and I'm proud of the way they behave in public places like this. Know why I'm SO aware that our kids are being awesome? Because everyone else isn't. I ran over a couple of kids because they literally walked right in front of a moving double stroller. When our kiddos stopped to look at something, they made sure they weren't blocking a walkway. I really could not have been more proud of them today. (Please note: This isn't always the case. Target is another story, but we're working on it.)

And I don't even want to talk about those photos of Tatum and Jeremy together. Because they made me all melty. No worries, I'm just a puddle of goo over here 😍
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