July 17, 2017


sawyer: first lost tooth.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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!
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