April 19, 2017

graham: paw patrol party.


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.


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).


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.


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 😍

March 26, 2017

outside fun.


Since I started doing my 365 project, I've found that I'm blogging less and less. I guess because I feel like y'all are already such a big part of my life through those photos? Maybe? Makes a little sense. And I'm not one for redundancy.

But... sometimes I'm snapping photos of my kiddos and there are too many to choose just one for my 365 project. Like today. Cayden's expressions while playing in the driveway were just perfection and I needed to share more than one photo. And I haven't been over in this area in over a month and I just didn't want to neglect it anymore.

So please enjoy our almost eight year old and his face. That last photo? I see a small hint of child left in those cheeks and that face. I know that's quickly fading; I feel like he'll be taller than us all too soon. And y'all, fall in love with those freckles on his nose. Because freckles on a cute kid's nose? The best.

February 14, 2017

valentines, 2017.


Jeremy and I never make a big deal out of Valentine's Day. We both feel that you should show love for each other every day of the year, and that flowers should really be given on days that Hallmark doesn't monopolize. That being said, we do feel it's important to do something small for our kiddos. And to try to make them feel special on these days. The boys all got a new snack-size lunch box, a small Dr. Seuss book (they're perfect for bathroom reading, ha!), a mystery Tsum-Tsum and a little bit of chocolate. Tatum got a new chime/chew toy thing. Apparently we should have gotten her some chocolate too? She kept trying to steal her brothers'. And we're about to wrap up the evening with cheesy (figuratively and literally!) heart-shaped pizzas. I might have also swung by Dunkin Donuts this morning and picked up a few heart-shaped donuts for dessert. Sugar and hearts... what better way to wrap up this day?

February 7, 2017

a tiny (bow) project.


Tatum is quickly amassing a collection of bows. Which I love. What I don't love? Not really knowing how to store them. Flashback to the days I wore bows all the time (yes, that did actually happen), and remembering a ribbon of some sort that all of my bows would clip on. A quick check of supplies and I had ribbon leftover from another project in her room, some adorable white and gold twine that I'd cut from another banner, some fray-check and my sewing machine.

After fray-checking the ends of my ribbon, I tied a knot in the twine, looped the ribbon through it and put a quick straight stitch to hold everything in place and I was done. It took the fray-check longer to dry than it did for me to complete the entire project. I also spent no money on this project... well, as long as we don't count the money involved to buy the adorable little bows.

And problem solved! Also? The bows look pretty stinkin' cute hanging on her bedroom door. And they match her decor in a way too. What about you? Have you done any quick projects lately?

February 4, 2017

all heart eyes over here.


Stud, indeed. All of them. Well, except for Tatum and what a little doll, right? Crazy8 was kind enough to send over some of their adorable Valentine collection for our kiddos to sport for the upcoming holiday. Wasn't that nice?

Know what else is nice? The fact that they had something that the 7, 5, 2 and six month old would wear. Ok, maybe the baby didn't get a choice. And maybe my big boys surprised me with their choices – I thought for sure our pizza-loving Cayden would pick the pizza shirt, but nope! While Cayden and Sawyer most definitely have their own ideas on style right now, they both flipped out over those hooded jackets. (They also flipped out over the fact that they're lined with a super-cozy material too.)

Graham never wavered on picking his "heart" shirt. He has no idea what it says, but I think it's pretty perfect. If you've ever had this cutie bat his long lashes your way, you'd agree. And those new kicks of his? Won't take them off. They're velcro though, so when he does decide to take them off, it's easy enough for him to put them back on.

Those jeans? My boys (all of them) have the skinniest chicken legs you ever did see. Skinny jeans are a must. They all got a new pair of Rocker Jeans. And since the boys are all so slim, the adjustable waist band is perfection. I don't want to talk about the fact that I didn't have to adjust Cayden's waist though. I refuse to believe he's about to be eight. The jeans are super-soft and thinner (read: less stiff) than some other jeans we've bought. They are going to be perfect for this spring when the temperatures start rising again.

And sweet Tatum... her very first legit tutu. It was all we could do to get her to leave it alone for a few photos. The sparkles most definitely grab her attention. What I love about her heart sweater? It's going to be fun to pair with jeans too. There's also a very real possibility that I could use it next year too.

All of the kiddos are looking forward to wearing their outfits for Valentine's day at school. I have a feeling we'll be wearing everything a few times before the 14th gets here though. What about you? If you could get something, anything, what would you pick out for your kiddos? Let me know below in the comments.

A big 'ol thank you to Crazy8 for sponsoring this post! Loving these clothes? You can head over to my Instagram account and enter for a chance to win a gift card of your very own!

January 27, 2017

graham & tatum.


Oh, these two littles of ours... You always kind of wonder how your children are going to get along with their siblings. Cayden and Sawyer are two years apart and are really, really good friends. Don't get me wrong, they definitely argue and fight over any and everything, but deep down, best buds for sure. Like first day of school Cayden grabbed Sawyer's hand and walked him into school type of best buds.

When Graham came along, there was almost a three year gap between him and Sawyer. And that one extra year makes a difference somehow. Those two fight all. the. time. Not over anything, but everything. (They are awfully cute when they accidentally fall asleep together though.) Graham and Cayden though? At a five year difference? Best of friends. I haven't quite figured that one out.

And then came Tatum. Only a two year difference between her and Graham, but would the girl thing make a difference? Eventually? It might. But for now? If she's sitting on the couch, Graham's sitting on the couch. If she's in the floor, Graham's in the floor. As they rolled around on the floor together this morning, he reached over and took her hand. (Heart eyes for sure!) A week ago? I don't even think Graham knew she existed. And now? Besties.

The dynamics between these four is going to be so fun to watch grow. Hopefully. Do your kids having siblings? What are there relationships like? It's always such an interesting thing... relationships.

January 11, 2017

one of our new goals.


We aren't really a goal-setting family. I mean, a long time ago, Jeremy and I would sit around and talk about things... but it's been a while since that happened. And with the new year upon us, we decided that this year we would set goals. To make those goals into something, we decided that writing them down needed to happen too.

One of our biggest goals this year is to get ourselves out of debt. We took a Dave Ramsey course a couple of years ago and it really resonated with us. And we were on the right path... until someone's vehicle needed a complete engine replacement. We weren't even close to having a fully funded emergency fund when that hit, so you guessed it, out came a credit card. Ouch.

But, but! We're ready to change that this year. And we're also ready to get our kids on board with understanding money just a bit better. Dave says to pay your kids commission rather than an allowance; come up with chores that they get paid for actually doing rather than a set amount (allowance) they get every week regardless of performance.

With our boys being old enough to help around the house, a commission chart for them also became a goal for 2017. The problem? I couldn't find any charts that I liked (I'm picky, people!). Good thing I know someone in graphic design! And ta-da! Whipped these beauties up this morning! If you're looking for something like this, all three colors are being offered in my Etsy shop as a digital download. (I also finally uploaded another print that I've had in the works for a while. You can check that one out here.)

We're really looking forward to putting these into rotation. I might even get crazy and laminate ours so I can use them with a dry erase marker. And I know there are some little boys around here who will be excited to get paid for helping take out recycles (they love this chore in particular for some reason, ha!).

January 5, 2017

tatum: five months old.


It's hard to believe we're quickly approaching that half year mark with Tatum. Each kiddo keeps going faster and faster. And it stinks when it's your last kiddo because you most definitely want them to take their time. But time? It waits for no one... so here we are, five months in.

This last month was a big one! First Christmases were celebrated... even though Tatum slept through most of them. A couple of weeks ago she decided that instead of rolling belly to back like most kids, she'd just master the whole back to belly thing first. Which is cool. Until she couldn't get roll to her back again. No worries though, she figured the whole belly to back thing out just a couple of days ago. Once she combines the two? I have a feeling our lives are going to get a lot more interesting.

We still have a hard time getting an actual laugh out of our sweet tater tot. It definitely surprises all of us when one shows up. It makes her brothers laugh like crazy. What also makes them laugh? Tatum sitting at the dinner table with us in her bumbo! I think the fact that she's sitting up and able to look around thrills them. And she's pretty smitten with her brothers too. Always keeps her entertained.

We're still nursing really well. Tatum's starting to show a little interest in food – especially now that she's sitting with us at the table – but we'll probably hold off on closer to six months to start food. She seems to still be pretty content with mama's milk, so no rushing there. Also? I'm in no hurry to start changing solid food diapers, ha!

Sleeping is still going well. This past week has been a little different. Some restless nights and early mornings... but she's probably having a growth spurt (mentally, for sure!). It's also getting colder at night so I do wonder if maybe she's been a bit chilly at night. Fleece jammies and sleep sacks to the rescue!

She's a sweet, sweet baby. Keeping us all laughing and swooning with her special dimple and smiley eyes...

January 1, 2017

christmas, 2016.


Before the holidays are completely over, it only seems fitting to share some of our Christmas morning. We finally were able to get over the sickness that seemed like it would never leave. On Christmas Eve morning, we headed northwest to visit with my in-laws for a few hours. We had an awesome breakfast, some good family time, exchanged gifts and headed back home to prepare for our Christmas Eve service at church. That service is always special, and as the boys get older, it's so nice to share it with them.

We made it home after church to cook up some chicken and waffles (a new tradition, I believe!). The boys served up some milk and cookies for Santa, checked on his location, left some reindeer food and then rushed to bed to make sure Santa would stop by.

At 3:45 – in the morning – the older two boys decided it was time to check to see if Santa had come. After they saw that he had indeed come, we made them go back to bed and sleep for just a bit more. That was just too early for us, ha! At around six-ish, we were all officially up and excited to see what was brought. I think everyone's Christmas wishes came true!

We wrapped up our Christmas festivities at my parents house that night with a big dinner of the best breakfast options. Tatum slept through most of our festivities and missed out on most of the photos – I promise she was there for them though!
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