September 6, 2017

graham: first day of 3k.


Ever since his brothers went back to school at the beginning of August, Graham has been itching to get back to his own school. Every morning that we did school drop off for the big boys usually ended with the question of when he would go back. At three, it's really, really hard to understand time and calendars!

But the day came! And Graham was still excited. We met his teacher last week and when it was time to go, he just didn't want to. I was hoping the excitement would carry over to the first day of school, and as far as drop off went, it looks promising. I'll admit, I was a little concerned about drop off. It's Graham's first year to do a carpool line. I guess I was worried that he'd pitch a fit and refuse to get out of the car? I mean, his first drop off in 2k last year didn't really go all that well... But he did awesome! Didn't look back at me once!

Me? I cried. I mean, what? It totally caught me off guard too. I was talking to Tatum on the way home and just kind of broke down in tears. But I'm all good now and looking forward to hearing all about his first day at big kid school.

August 14, 2017

first day of third and first grade, 2017.


Every year summer seems to get shorter. There were plenty of things on our to-do list that simply didn't get done. But I think it's okay; the boys seemed to have a great summer, so we'll let those things slide. And possibly save them for winter break.


We now have a kiddo at the intermediate school. I kept paying attention to see if Cayden was showing any apprehension about heading into third grade at a different school. But if he was nervous about it all, he certainly didn't show it. He was excited, even. And he's still excited almost a week in. Perhaps it's because they've started changing classrooms for certain subjects this year. Or perhaps he likes new adventures and changes (he must get that one from his daddy!). Also? I'm pretty sure he grew more over the summer than he did in the entirety of the school year last year. I'm not going to recognize him at the end of third grade, am I?


Sawyer ventured into first grade on his own this year. He's still at the elementary school and he told me this morning that he really misses Cayden on the bus in the afternoons. But short of that, I think he's going to enjoy first grade. He has a couple of friends from last year in his class – one even sits right next to him – so I think that's helped him transition better without his brother as backup. This year is such a big learning year for him and I can't wait to see what all he learns. And he was reading was already going well; I know this year he'll be unstoppable with all the new vocabulary. And again, I think he grew a lot over the summer. How is that fair?

August 8, 2017

white, gold & pink: tatum's first birthday and party.


We were fortunate to have all of our family come over to help us celebrate Tatum's first birthday this past Saturday... on her actual birthday. That hardly ever happens! It was cool because her birthday and party got to be on the same day. Not so cool? She only had one day to wear her birthday outfits. Or can we use the entire month of August to wear those? Yes? Perfect.

Anyway, the day was so much fun. We don't exactly know what Tatum's favorite foods are yet (um, she eats everything), so we just guessed as to what she would enjoy on her birthday. Eggs for breakfast, hot dogs for lunch and some Mexican food for dinner.

Oh, and a cake. All for herself. Which I'm fairly certain she enjoyed. Too much? Perhaps. But hey, it was her party and she got to do what she wanted.

First birthdays are always a little bittersweet. And with us fairly certain this is our very last baby (only a miracle from God would we conceive another – Sawyer's convinced [!]), celebrating Tatum's was especially so. But I love the years that are ahead of us. The first year is always a little hard for me. But now? When she's starting to become more independent and can communicate better? I have no complaints!

So a little one year update on our sweet girl:
– starting to stand up and take a few steps
– has 4.5ish teeth (and y'all, her two side teeth came in before the two front teeth; it's awesome)
– eats three solid meals a day and at least one snack
– still nurses four, sometimes five, times a day
– sleeps through the night (with an occasional random wake every once in a while)
– takes two naps a day – a longer one in the morning and then a shorter one mid-afternoon
– says dada and mama... but definitely prefers saying dada
– maybe has other words, but they don't mean much yet
– loves her brothers fiercely; they are her biggest fans
– loves her daddy but still slightly prefers her mama
– gets into everything. EVERYTHING.
– climbs on top of things she shouldn't
– is in a size 4 diaper (our boys never wore above that when potty training at 3!)

And I'm sure I'm forgetting some. Mostly? She's a sweetheart and we all love her to pieces. It was so fun to see so much pink at a birthday party around here. Even Cayden was confused for a bit on the girlishness of everything. But we were all super-okay with it and loved celebrating our sweet tater tot.

July 17, 2017

sawyer: first lost tooth.


The Tooth Fairy is going to be busy around these parts for the next few years. Sawyer has started the tooth-losing process. Finally.

See, his lower two front teeth have kind of been wiggly. Not super loose, but not unmoving either. About a month ago we looked in his mouth to discover that both of those permanent teeth were already making their way in. Fearing that we would need to get the baby teeth pulled, we made a trip to the dentist to see what he said. He assured us that this happens all the time, to enjoy his shark-like double row of teeth and to just keep working on them.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and one of them proceeded to loosen up after biting into a stick of cheese. I am NOT the tooth-pulling person so I made Sawyer wait until Jeremy got home to take a look. It was definitely looser, but still not quite ready...

... until yesterday. We noticed that the gap between his two lower teeth was getting bigger, and a small touch to the tooth showed that it was much, much looser. After lunch, Jeremy reached in to get a feel and as he was going to push on the tooth, Sawyer snapped his mouth closed. Jeremy felt the tooth flick, Sawyer had a look of surprise on his face and all of a sudden, Jeremy was saying, "Spit it out!" Sawyer spit and there it was. The first lost tooth.

Not at all how we pictured that first tooth coming out, but a great story nonetheless! A couple of years ago when Cayden started losing teeth, I went on a hunt for a tooth fairy pillow. I fell in love with the one we found. And after seeing Sawyer's wiggly teeth, I went on a hunt to make sure we could still purchase a similar pillow. Thankfully the Etsy shop was still around and I went ahead and purchased tooth pillows for The Allen Four. They are so adorable and easy to use.

And thankfully they hang on the outside of closed bedroom doors. Making it easy for the Tooth Fairy to sneak in a dollar at 5:15 in the morning. What?!?! She was running "late."

June 28, 2017

sawyer: lego batman movie party.


For some reason, every year when Sawyer has a birthday coming up, I'm in complete denial. I don't know what it is with him. Cayden gets older? Fine. Graham has another birthday? Awesome. (I won't even talk about Tatum's upcoming birthday because she's going to stay a baby forever.) But Sawyer? I just can't even with him getting older.

Tomorrow he turns six. Six! Two hands now; can't make six fingers on one hand. He's had such an awesome year. Five was really good to him – we're hoping six is just as nice! Kindergarten was so fun. And learning to read has been so entertaining for him. (And us. And also sad as he learns to say words correctly.) We recently discovered that he has two permanent teeth sneaking their way in behind his bottom two baby teeth. He's adopted a new nickname because of it: Shark Boy. (No worries, the dentist says the baby teeth should still fall out on their own. But sadness because he'll already have full-size teeth replacing them. We'll just keep our fingers crossed that his top two teeth give us a nice, big gap one day!)

But anyway, this past weekend we celebrated the upcoming birthday Lego Batman Movie style. We have quite a few Lego Batman pieces, so it was pretty easy to decorate. And I had leftover Lego party supplies from Cayden's party last year. (As a note, having three boys? Has taught me to save birthday decorations. Chances are we'll have a repeat of something at some point.)

We spent the morning slipping & sliding, playing with water guns and throwing water balloons. After everyone dried off, we came inside, sang Happy Birthday, ate some cake and let Sawyer open his gifts.

Tomorrow we're looking forward to our bi-annual trip to Chuck E Cheese to celebrate our favorite second-born. He's a pretty amazing kid and we're fairly certain six is going to be a fun ride.

June 9, 2017

a new (library) tradition.


I don't think people set out to start traditions? Or maybe they do? I mean, I guess that makes sense if they do... but for us, our newest little tradition just kind of happened. It's nothing big: We go to our little city library, stay for story-time, look through books, drop checked-out books in the car and then play on some old metal playground equipment.

It's only happened twice. But, we've only been to the library twice. So I think it's safe to say a new tradition has begun. Y'all, the metal slide that is opposite the metal jungle gym probably should be retired. It's super-fast, and the kids love it. It does, however, dip on one side. With some fearless kids who think they should do flip tricks in the middle of this slide, well, it makes this mama's heart beat a little faster than it should. Thankfully none of my kiddos have gotten hurt (yet!), so it's all good for everyone.

And watching Graham try to climb the jungle gym... Y'all, it's hilarious. He can get up on the bottom rung, but he's not quite long enough to reach the next level. He's perfectly happy to run around in the bottom area while his brothers climb to the tippy-top though. Tatum? She just sits in the stroller watching her crazy brothers. I can't even imagine what it's going to be like when she starts walking and climbing. Pure chaos, I'm sure.

June 6, 2017

tatum: ten months.


I cannot believe we're only two months away from this sweet thing's first birthday. But, we are. And I guess I have to be okay with that. Mostly.

This last month has been full of all sorts of awesome. Tatum started crawling toward the end of April. (Since I never shared a nine month update, it feels ok to share that here.) For about a week, things were pretty slow... and then all of a sudden, girlfriend was into everything. Still is. She is now pulling up on anything and everything. Thankfully she finally figured out how to sit herself back down and no longer stands in one spot crying until someone helps her out. Yes, that was fun. In the most sarcastic way possible. She's even started cruising along most furniture. I have a feeling we might have a pre-one walker on our hands, but I won't be disappointed if she waits a little while.

Tatum finally got her first tooth this month! And then her second! And now her third, fourth, fifth and sixth are all coming through. There have been a lot of tears over these teeth – mostly hers, not mine! Once they break through it's all good though.

Our sweet girl loves to eat. All the food. We purposefully tried to avoid baby food as much as we could and just went straight to table food. It's so very messy, but also super-awesome. I mean, she loves broccoli. Loves it. And, well, we actually haven't found a food she doesn't like yet. Her thighs are definitely testimony to her love of eating. And milk.

Speaking of, our nursing is still going strong. I'm extremely grateful for that. Jeremy and I just went on a three day trip. It's the first time I've ever left a kiddo while nursing, so I was a little anxious about it all. We got back home and it was like I'd never been gone. Whew! I plan to nurse her as long as she's willing. Graham and I went for 21 months; I'd love to go that long with Tatum (or longer!), but we'll take each day as it comes.

Playing with her brothers is one of her favorite things. She also loves eating, nursing, clapping, yelling, crawling, pulling up on things, crinkling her nose and her mama. She doesn't love laying down – for naps or bedtime (but sleeps beautifully!), being buckled into her carseat, being left in a room alone or cutting teeth.

Ten months is amazing. She is still completely amazing to me. And I'm so, so thankful.

June 1, 2017

some favorite free summer fonts.

As promised, here's a small grouping of some of my very favorite summer fonts. Use them for what you'd like... but they would definitely come in handy if you grabbed that free summer-o-fun poster that I shared on Tuesday!

Each of these fonts are awesome as standalones. Pair them up with others for even more fun. And if you like those cute little summer icons? I grabbed them from here. They were too adorable not to use or share with y'all!

May 31, 2017

cayden reads.


We made our first summer trip to the library yesterday. On Tuesday and Thursdays, they do a storytime at 11am for the kids. It seemed like a brilliant idea to combine a book trip with a storytime trip. And it was. I was a little anxious that Cayden might be on the old side to enjoy the stories, but I was wrong. There were actually kids older than him there, so all was well. They got to listen to a story, jump and dance around like crazy people to some music and go on a little picnic adventure. All three seemed to enjoy it, and Tatum sat in her stroller so very quietly watching all the big kids. High-five to storytime!

After the story was over, we went hunting for books. It took Cayden about five seconds to find the Diary of a Wimpy Kid section and he quickly picked out two of them. Since they're chapter books, I tried to encourage him to just get one and pick up something a little easier. I wasn't sure how quickly he'd be able to get through them, and I wanted to make sure he had time to read them before returning. But... more on that in a few.

Sawyer found one of his favorites – I Spy – and grabbed it off the shelf. This was the first year we actually got to pick up real reading books for Sawyer (so exciting!) and he picked two out without much effort.

Graham dug through a box of board books and grabbed a Lion King book and one about a Grumpy Santa. Y'all. I double-checked to make sure he wanted a Christmas book. He looked at me like I was an idiot. (So much laughter.)

We made our way to the counter, filled out a little paperwork, and voila! The big boys now have their very own library cards. They couldn't wait to tell their daddy all about it when he got home from work. Such proud little guys.

But... back to Cayden. Less than 24 hours after we got home from the library, the first chapter book has been devoured. A total of 219 pages down. I'm so keeping up with his page count this summer; I think he'll be surprised at the end of the summer about how much he's read. At this rate? We'll go through the entire library before the end of summer!

May 30, 2017

summer-o-fun, 2017.

Last summer I was pregnant. So pregnant. And it was hot. So hot. I did a lot of sitting on the couch in the air conditioning. Which means the boys did a lot of sitting on the couch in the air conditioning. I really did feel terrible about it. But I didn't have the energy to feel that terrible, ya dig?

I did, however, promise to give them the best summer ever this year. And we're going to do our best to make that happen! Lots of fun things planned. We're also members of a pool this year, so that alone should help a ton. Although four kids, eight and under, by myself in a giant vat of water IS a little intimidating. Swim lessons are also on our list of things to do, ha!

Anyway, whenever the kids are at home – whether it's the summer, Christmas break, spring break, etc. – there are always so many questions. Most of them revolve around food (boys, y'all) and if we're going somewhere. After I saw Allison post a photo of her summer rules on Instagram it got my brain going. I wasn't really looking forward to fielding a million questions about having a snack (or lunch) by 8:30 every morning. So I whipped up this little Summer-O-Fun poster for our kids to refer to.

There's a section for everything I thought they might need answers to. Since half of our kids can read now (!!!), they can look up the answer for themselves. Graham can't read yet, but his brothers love telling him what to do, so it's really a win-win situation for everyone.

First, I included a morning section. I wanted them to know what I expected of them every morning. On the flip-side? It's also keeping me accountable. If I expect them to wake up, make up their beds and get dressed in the morning, it only makes sense that I need to do these things too. (As of this morning, they have completed everything on their morning list. Me? I'm mostly there... still need to brush those teeth!)

A food section was a no-brainer for our house. I am not even exaggerating when I say that Graham starts asking for lunch as soon as breakfast is over. We now have set snack times, with set snack items. The boys love watching the clock for when it's time to eat. I guess it's like a game for them? Whatever makes it fun. For them. And me.

Media. Whew, media is a tricky thing with kids. Ours can watch hours of TV before I'm even really aware of it happening. We have a set of questions that have to be asked, and if they can answer yes to them, then they can have media time. We've also set up a no media day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I'm really trying to push some creative play their way; we'll see how we hold up.

Rest time/quiet time is a must around here. Graham and Tatum most definitely need naps still. And if I'm being honest, Sawyer probably still needs an afternoon nap most days (the ill is strong in that one if he's tired). The older boys have to have an hour of quiet time, and at least half of that time must be spent reading. The good thing? They should still be smart come fall, right?

Summer isn't all about rules though. On Wednesdays, I've designated that adventure day – a day to do something special each week that we won't do any other day of the week. They're already looking forward to a summer flick at the local theatre tomorrow. (I'm just crossing my fingers that I can get Tatum to maybe nap through part of it? It could get interesting.)

The b-o-r-e-d section? Just a few ideas of how they could spend their time. Hopefully it'll help!


And because I love y'all, I'm including a link to download your very own blank Summer-O-Fun poster! Fill it in however works best for you. If you'd like for me to customize one for you, I'm sure we could work something out for a minimal fee – just shoot me an email. Oh, and later on this week, I'm going to give y'all links to some of my very favorite summery-fun fonts. You could totally use them to do your own poster.

Happy summering, friends!

May 25, 2017

last day of school, 2017.


These posts are always one of my favorites of the year. I mean, I love birthday posts of the boys just like the next person, but watching our kids grow throughout the school year is just so fun. We officially have a first and third grader in the house, btw. I mean, what?

This year? I had the boys wear the same outfit from first day of school for the last day of school. I saw someone do this last year and I loved the idea of seeing how the clothes fit differently at the end of the year. I was not disappointed!

Sawyer rocked his first year of grade school. Kindergarten and Sawyer were a perfect fit. And he had the most amazing teacher; I'm already plotting on how to secure her for Graham and Tatum in a few years. Final report card shows that we have one smart kiddo on our hands. We couldn't be more proud of how much he's learned and what an excellent reader he's become. (Mom brag for a minute? He finished the year on a reading level I. Requirements for kinder are a C/D!)

Cayden's second grade year (and last at our elementary school!) went entirely too fast. He learned cursive this year which was a total surprise to me. I didn't even know cursive was still taught, let alone in second grade! He's doing math problems that I know I didn't start until at least third, if not fourth, grade. (Does it seem like kids these days are way smarter than we were? I'm thinking yes.) Also, I don't really want to talk about the difference in Cayden's first and last days... he went into second grade still looking like a child. And came out looking like a young man. Big people teeth seem to do that I guess. Please stop.

And while I didn't document Graham's first day of 2K this year (I know; I'm the worst), it still seemed like a good idea to include him in these photos since he was in the beginning of the year photos and I like watching him grow too. He did awesome in school for the half-year he was there. We still have a little work to do with our colors. And well, 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, isn't quite right (but start him at 15 and he'll count correctly to 20), so we have some work to do there too...

But, we aren't going to work on school stuff all summer, promise! We have the pool, the zoo, bowling, trips to Target, etc. to hit up to have some fun. Not to mention all the board games and our awesome swing set in the back yard. I'm sure come fall we'll all be ready for a return to a schedule. For now? We are anticipating an awesome and adventurous summer. Do you have any fun plans for the summer?
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