Jack’s First Communion

First Communion Blue White Gold Party

As usual lately, I’m a few weeks late on everything going on. Wrapping up the school year, being gone for 10 days in June, then returning to the flu, and a surgery for Carson has made June fly by and so far all of July has been recovery mode. That all being said, my sweet boy made his First Communion back on May 7th and we filled two days full of God, family, and parties.

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Ceremony

Back on Sunday, May 7th Jack and I arrived at church an hour early to check in and essentially wait. Apparently the little church ladies (you know the ones) wanted to make sure no one was late. We checked in and then I stole the chance to take a few pictures before the church filled up. It was such a lovely and quiet time with Jack while we waited.

First Communion Photo Shoot Boys First Communion Praying

First Communion Photo Shoot Boys First Communion Praying

First Communion Photo Shoot Boys First Communion Praying

 First Communion Photo Shoot Boys First Communion Praying Easter

After I left Jack with his teachers to line up and process in, I went and waited inside to grab seats for our family that was able to attend.

Anyway the Mass was so lovely and Jack was so happy after we saw him. He kept telling me how good he felt and it was a great day! Melt my heart. After Mass, Jack received a present and hand calligraphered (that’s a word I promise) certificate and we all celebrated with some cake!

First Communion Photo Shoot Boys First Communion Praying Easter Father

First Communion Photo Shoot Boys First Communion Praying Family Easter

Party & Celebration

Having to work around a blended family schedule and a weekend shift job, meant everyone came over for dinner on Monday evening. We did a BBQ style menu, with pulled pork sandwiches (smothered in BBQ sauce yum!), potato salad, coleslaw, fruit, and chips. It was easy food as I could prep most ahead of time.

First Communion Food Party Prep Blue White Gold Party

 

White Punch

I also made this sacrament punch. It’s white! How festive. I changed around a few things:

Ingredients:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
1 tablespoon almond extract
6 (2 liter) bottles carbonated lemon-lime beverage
2 (½ gallon) carton vanilla ice cream

Directions:
Over medium heat, mix the sugar and water in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add the evaporated milk and almond extract.   Chill until you are ready to serve your punch.  (I did this step the night before).
When you are ready to serve the punch, combine the milk mixture and lemon-lime drink (I used 7-up) in a punch bowl.  Add the scoops of ice cream, and stir to break up the ice cream, incorporating it into the punch. 

 

I made a fraction of this – oh my goodness it would’ve made so much! I also significantly reduced the amount of almond extract as it was SUPER sweet.

Sacramental Punch White Punch

Decorations

Then of course dessert and decorations are always my favorite part! I stuck with a light blue, white, and gold theme for as much as I could.

Boys First Communion Blue Gold White Party Decorations
The Cross Banner was made up of blue, white, and (attempted) gold — more brown — origami crosses.

Boys First Communion Blue Gold White Party Decorations

Boys First Communion Blue Gold White Party Decorations Hand Lettered Banner

I hand lettered using acrylic paint “God Bless Jack” on a burlap banner. Find similar here.

Desserts

First Communion Boy Deserts Blue White Gold Cake Pops Cupcakes Dipped Pretzels

First Communion Boy Deserts Blue White Gold Cake Pops Cupcakes Dipped Pretzels Rosaries Edible Glitter
The blue cake pops were made to look like rosaries & the white were just dusted with edible gold glitter.

He was so happy through all of it and so proud. Isn’t that what this is all about?

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Similar items can be found here and herePin this for later!

Blue White Gold Burlap Party Decorations First Communion

The Kids Behind the Blog | May 2017

TKBTB

It’s time for another round of the Kids Behind the Blog. We are well into May and looking forward to summer and our big trip to Florida! You have no idea how ready each of us are for sunshine, summer, and freedom. Before you jump in to May Kids Behind the Blog, you can hope over to April if you missed it.

If you had a Magic Tree House, where would you go?

Carson: I would go to France.

Ava: I would go to see the first landing on the Moon.

Jack: I would go to Egypt.

Finish this sentence: “Red Rover, Red Rover, …”

Carson: under Dover.

Ava: *blank stare*

Jack: the dog red Rover.

What is your best childhood memory?

Carson: At the house we used to live in with Mom and Dad.

Ava: My first days of school.

Jack: Getting my First Communion.

What is your favorite part of nature or being outside?

Carson: The sunshine.

Ava: I like to scooter, bike, roller skate, read and color.

Jack: Swimming outside.

What do you think Mom would like for Mother’s Day?

Carson: Awwww …. something.

Ava: My Mom? Probably just the card I made.

Jack: I don’t know Mom, what do you want? Another coffee cup?

 

They were NOT chatty at all this month! I swear all the running around, late nights, and long days of testing at school have these kids worn out. I did laugh that none of the kids knew what the Red Rover Red Rover game was. Thankfully Caleb confirmed the game I played as a kid was actually a “thing” at some point. After explaining it, the kids didn’t seem too impressed haha. They have fidget spinners and Minecraft, what else could they need?! (**insert sarcastic eye roll**)

Carson’s best childhood memory made me sad for him. He was so little when they divorced, but not that young. Sometimes I think all of us forget that he does have those memories or at the very least, the pictures that remind him of that time in his little life.

As for Mother’s Day gifts, I know Caleb was ahead of the game this year and had the kids all pick out presents for me, apparently Jack was a little lost on that haha. Caleb also plans on bringing Carson and Ava to pick out presents this evening for their Mom. It’s definitely not our favorite thing to do, but it isn’t about us, so we just do what’s needed.

Maybe next month I can get a little more out of them! What are your kiddos up to lately?

 

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The Kids Behind the Blog | April 2017

TKBTB

It’s that time of the month again – no, not that kind – it’s time to check and chat with the kids that made me a Mama and a Step-Mama! I finally feel like we’ve shaken the funk out of our moods lately and it feels oh so awesome. The sun has been shining more lately, we even hit the high 60s on Saturday! The kids behind the blog is a monthly link up with Stephanie from WifeMommyMe. Each month I ask the kiddos some questions and although I feel like the questions definitely are geared towards little kids, I’ll take the extra 1:1 chats with my bigs while I can! Want more? Read last month here!

The Kids Behind the Blog

thekidsbehindtheblogapril

What is your favorite thing about Spring?

Carson: It’s finally warmer out. 

Ava: You don’t have to wear heavy jackets. 

Jack: It’s finally warm and you don’t have to wear pants any more. Oh and summer is coming! 

If April showers bring May flowers, then what do May flowers bring?

**not hens and chicks I can tell you that. Grr.**

Carson: Pilgrims! 

Ava: I think there’s actually an answer to this question, but I don’t know it! 

Jack: No clue. I don’t know anything about that. 

What does a flower need to grow?

Carson: Water, sunlight, and air. 

Ava: Water, sunlight, and dirt. 

Jack: Is the whole thing really about flowers, Mom!? Water, soil, and sunlight. 

Do you like when it’s starting to get warmer or do you like the snow better?

Carson: When it’s Spring I like it warmer, but when it’s Winter I like the snow 

Ava: I like fall, but not really snow. I guess warm so I can wear shorts.

Jack: Warm. 

What do you want to do over Spring Break? 

What do you want to do in Florida?

Carson: I want to see Grandma and the cool wildlife. 

Ava: Go to the ocean. 

Jack: Swimming in the ocean. 

Bonus! What is favorite thing about Easter?

Carson: I can go on my electronics again! 

Ava: The food. We have chicken and ham. My aunt Dani makes the best brownies! 

Jack: Easter egg hunts, candy, toys. Getting candy in the morning! 
My thoughts? I better be prepared to  move states as a grandma one day haha doesn’t sound like many like the snow of MN. 

Ava was all I know there’s an answer to the Mayflower rhyme but could not for the life of her remember, then Carson says it instantly and she was like oh duh ha. 

Since the kids also have already had spring break, we decided to check in about Florida! With Grandma in town as of yesterday and coming over today, we can start planning all the fun details. The ocean is definitely on my agenda too! 

We are all looking forward to Easter and all that the holiday brings! Good food, treats, our Lenten sacrifices will be over, and obviously the reason to celebrate in the first place!  

What are you looking forward to with Easter this year?

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**In case you were wondering about the hens and chicks. Apparently this Spring I will NOT be having my little hens and chicks (succulent type thing – brown thumb over here) back. I have no clue what happened, but they’re all just gone. And by gone I mean GONE. Caleb even asked if I transplanted them all because there is nothing left. My guess is bunny or deer. Such an awful fate.

The Kids Behind the Blog | March 2017

kids behind the blog

We interrupt this #anniversaryweek for a little Kids Behind the Blog! It’s the second Wednesday of the month and time to check in with the other loves of my life: our big kids! Sadly, Harv has taken another turn for the worse and another long night and day is ahead. Send health and good vibes. So I’m jumping right in with the kids and their questions and then off for extra baby snuggles.

Want to read more? Check out February’s here and January’s here!

What’s at the end of a rainbow?

Carson: Whatever you were looking for.

Ava: Happiness.

Jack: A port-a-potty. Haha no. Nothing I guess.

 

What do you like to do when it rains?  Jump in puddles or play inside? 

Carson: Binge watch TV.

Ava: Play games & eat snacks.

Jack: Play on tablet or games & eat snacks.

If you found a leprechaun at the end of a rainbow what would you do? 

Carson: Threaten it until it gives us its gold.

Ava: Build it a tiny house and then live it, ok I’ll just live in it myself.

Jack: Force him to give us 50 million dollars.

Tell me three ways you know it is spring time.

Carson: The top YouTube videos are all about gardening, Harv eating dandelions, & everyone else scooters too.

Ava: No more winter coats! The grass is green again. Shorts are allowed at school.

Jack: The sun comes out and the weather gets warmer. We also go outside a lot.

Do you wear green on St. Patrick’s Day? What happens if you don’t wear green?

Carson: Try to!

Ava: I try to if I remember, but usually I forget and it gets awkward because I’m not and everyone else is.

Jack: No.

Wow kids just wow. Apparently not only do we need health vibes, but maybe some positivity, too!

First of all, the binge watching tv, the excessive tablet playing, and YouTube watching doesn’t happen at our house. We try to limit that stuff as much as possible! Carson did however, give up screen time for Lent so I think it’s getting to him, you know after the week it’s already been.

Ava and I are totally on the same Tiny House-Big Living page! Ha, hello HGTV and future kid blogger! I will not be inviting any leprechauns to mine, though. Also, the fact that spring means no winter coats is pretty fantastic! And… Carson is right, he will happily scooter in 10° windy weather, whereas the rest of us are still camping out in the warmth. Spring means company for him!

Lastly, we had a nice chat about the beauty of a rainbow and the value of money. Oh! And Caleb found a picture.. That should clear things up about Jack… I was not involved with that. Just so you know.

 

There you have it, a very um… interesting… kids behind the blog. Wish me luck, wish me luck.

 

What are you all doing to prepare for St. Patrick’s day?? Anything fun! Can’t wait to hear!

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Jack’s First Time at Winter Camp

HLHS Camp

Jack was born with a heart defect, Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome to be exact. Essentially he was born with only half of a functioning heart. I’m collecting all my thoughts, heartaches, hopes, and pictures and plan to share soon.

Anyway, there is a local non-profit that fundraises all year to send all the “heart kids” to camp, both in the winter and the summer. Yes, we help pay a small fee, but the majority has been provided as a donation. It is so amazing he gets to meet other heart kids like him, enjoy being a kid in a safe and medically staffed environment, and just be a kid!

He went to summer day camp last year; read more here.

This year was the first year, we all decided he (and mom) were ready for overnight camp. Winter camp is just 2 days and 2 nights and just a short jaunt from our house; I knew it would be the perfect test to see if he was ready for summer camp. Summer camp is 6 nights, 7 days, and a few hours from home. Thankfully almost everything went perfectly!

Like most camps, they provide a very detailed list of everything needed for the weekend. Jack was extra prepared, because that’s me for ya. My mom also volunteered to keep me company and help with Harv, just in case (it was a lot of driving and he still isn’t besties with that car seat yet). So Jack, Harvey, and I picked up my mom and headed out.

camp building HLHS

When we arrived Jack chatted with his nurse, we both answered some medical questions, then we brought his stuff to his bunk and off we went. It was so simple and I knew if I stayed any longer it wouldn’t have been good for either of us. He seemed ok, so off we went.

Jack HLHS Camp
We stayed long enough for one pic!…glad it was a good one!

Monday rolled around and I went to pick him up myself. Caleb was home with the other kids and we both decided it was just easiest if I went alone. My mom offered again to drive with, but we had things to do in the morning and I knew my timeline was squished enough already as it was.

It was a long quiet car ride. I ain’t complaining. That never happens.

I arrived a few minutes later than I wanted to, but still in the perfect arrival time window. After a few goodbyes, checking out with his nurse, and grabbing his belongings we were headed home.

The car ride back was anything BUT quiet. That boy was so excited to spill the beans on everything he did. It made my heart so happy!

He played gaga ball (still clueless what that is), basketball, arts and crafts, met sled dogs, ate all the camp food (apparently Caleb and I could use some pointers – insert eye roll), made tons of friends (With teenage girls! Say what?!) and says he can’t wait to go back.

There is also this sweet girl Elizabeth who has gone to day camp with Jack for 2 years now and attended Winter Camp. She is absolutely adorable and sweet and has the nicest Mom. I’ve tried to convince Jack they should be buddies, you know futuristic thinking on my part. He’s uninterested. Probably best…. for now.

They also sing the sweetest heart song all camp about having a heart deeper than people can see. You sure do little buddy, you sure do!

The only hiccup all weekend, was when we arrived back home and I asked him to clean out his duffle bag and put his dirty clothes in the laundry. He discovered his dirty clothes bag had gone missing! Yep lost, somewhere. We’ve contacted everyone we could and the.clothes.are.gone. My guess is the garbage by now. Ha. Next time I’ll remind him to put the bag BACK into the duffle at the end of camp. Could’ve been worse. Much much worse.

And for your viewing pleasure, a few pictures of him at camp taken by the camp staff:

Kids playing sports HLHS
Those are two doctors holding/supporting him and I cropped out the team of nurses in the background. Ha. Safest game of basketball ever.
Jack backpacking HLHS
He was acting as the pack was actually empty. Go figure.
Camp for kids with HLHS
Camp counselor (aka nurse) with Jack and bunk mate.

 

Do your kids do summer camp? Or any type of sleep away camp? Heck, do they return home from sleepovers with all their belongings!? Please tell me I’m not alone in that one.

The Kids Behind the Blog | February 2017

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I’ll admit we haven’t done a thing to the house, got ready for the kids, or each other. In fact, Caleb won’t even be home that night. If you’re thinking how horrible that is, then you and I view Valentine’s quite differently.

Yes, I love showing my people I love them and yes I enjoy the pink and red little holiday. However, love shouldn’t be just shown one day, it should be expressed every day and in little ways all the time. So, we’ll find little trinkets for the kids and we’ll find time this month to get out together, and we will do something nice for dinner as a family. But it won’t be extravagant AND that’s ok!

This month for the Kids Behind the Blog, we’re checking in on their thoughts on Valentine’s!

And if you’re new around here, each month I ask my kiddos a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and then share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Check out last month here!

 

Question 1:// What does the word LOVE mean to you?

Carson: Someone cares for you.

Ava: Compassion.

Jack: Excited, joyful.

 

Question 2:// Kids Choice! How do you want to spend Valentine’s Day?

Carson: Eating candy. 

Ava: I want to wear pink and eating candy.

Jack: How we normally spend it. I wake up early.

 

Question 3:// Do you have a Valentine? If so, who? Ok – so I got their answers 🙂 However in the spirit of saving their precious little hearts that are just forming, I will NOT be sharing. As they get older there is a point where I respect their grown up characteristics. This is one of those times. Instead, I’ll be sharing what they’re sharing with their classmates on Valentine’s Day.

Carson: Shark gels and Life Saver Gummies. 

Ava: Tsum Tsum tattoos.

Jack: Life Saver Gummies and Cards. I’m not excited to write all the cards.

 

Question 4:// How many days are in the month of February?

Carson: 28 sometimes 29. 

Ava: 28, 29 every 4 years.

Jack: 28 (he looked at the calendar!)

 

Question 5:// How do you show someone you love them?

Carson: You do good things to them back if they do good things to you. 

Ava: By saying you love them and by doing something kind.

Jack: Saying you love them, hugging and kissing them, and being kind to them.

 

Caleb and I were talking about how maybe we need to start having more grown up conversations about what love really is and how important certain aspects are to love and be loved. As they get older, instilling strong values of love and kindness towards the people they love is something really important to us. They’ve already got some big ideas of their own going (compassion?!) and like I said *sigh* they’re getting so old now! Real crushes exist and we aren’t too far off from boyfriends are girlfriends (yes years! LOTS and lots of years away, but still it creeps up…)

As for some of their sillier answers, Ava is thrilled about her Valentine’s! She picked them out with her Mom weeks ago and has had them signed and ready to go now for quite some time. The boys you ask? Well, theirs are still sitting on the kitchen counter… Maybe we have longer than I worry on these two 😉

The funniest part about all of this was Jack when I asked how many days there are in February. He walks away and leaves the room without a word then comes in and goes “Yea ok 28”. He had to double check the calendar haha. That kid. He also definitely wins my heart over with the hugs and kisses piece <3

 

How will you be celebrating Valentine’s? A special date with your Valentine or maybe a nice family outing? Or maybe you’re like us and it’s not quite on the holiday radar! Tell me I’m not alone.

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Linked to:// Stephanie // Crystal // Beth // Meghan // Jess //

The Kids Behind the Blog | January 2017

It’s January and time for a check in with the kiddos! I actually have two posts today, as it’s also Jack’s birthday! Go check out a letter to him on his big day here. But it’s also the second Wednesday of the month, so we’re checking in for The Kids Behind the Blog.

Each month I will ask my kiddos a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and then share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Check out last month here!

 

Simple enough, right? Read on for their answers! First one for the year! New button and images from the hosts. I love little touches like that! Makes the New Year so much more exciting. Plus I have a soul that needs constant change. I’m working on contentment.

Question 1:// What’s your favorite thing to do or play inside?

Carson: My tablet. 

Ava: Make forts and inside the fort watch YouTube on my tablet.

Jack: Play legos or play on my tablet.

 

Question 2:// (We live in MN, we’ve seen snow. I assure you.) What’s your favorite snow activity?

Carson: Sledding! 

Ava: Snowboarding.

Jack: Build a fort.

 

Question 3:// What was your favorite Christmas gift you received?

Carson: Ecto Goggles from my Grandma. 

Ava: My computer from Mom.

Jack: Deep Sea Exploration Lego set from Grandpa and Grandma or the Bad Kitty book from Mom and Dad.

 

Question 4:// What’s your favorite winter vacation you’ve went on?

Carson: The one where it was longer than this. 

Ava: Going to Duluth.

Jack: Nothing we didn’t go on any. I’m serious.

 

Question 5:// What you rather live where it’s warm all year round or have the four seasons?

Carson: 4 seasons because you can cool down again after a hot summer. Plus hot cocoa isn’t good when it’s hot. 

Ava: 4 seasons, because I don’t like hot weather.

Jack: Warm all the time, like Florida. Or the the United Kingdom.

Ok sooo hmm how I feel about this. Apparently Caleb and I failed on Christmas gifts this year as nothing we got hit the top ha bummer. They’re all also unanimous that their tablet is their favorite indoor play thing. Oh screens, you double edge sword. To clarify, we have a mini hill in our backyard and a kids “learning” snowboard, so don’t get all excited thinking Ava is some little snowboarding prodigy. Does make me think we should get the kids on the slopes though! As for our winter vacations, Caleb and I don’t believe in pulling kids out of school so they consider winter vacation the holiday break which was super short this year. Ava and Carson do go each year to Duluth (about 2 hours North) to see Christmas lights with their Mom. Andddd I’m totally shocked about the 4 seasons. I’m totally a 4 seasons kind of person, but I would’ve bet anything each kid would’ve said hot hot hot!

I love checking in with the big kids each month. They’re all getting bigger and less interested each day to be in front of my camera and have family time. It’s hard but I still can wrangle them in for a few pics and updates here and there!

Happy Hump Day!

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psst.. I also have a giveaway going on for birdrockbaby moccasins, read more here!

Linked to:// Stephanie // Crystal // Beth // Meghan // Jess //

Happy 9th Birthday Jack!

My sweet boy,

You made me a Mom 9 years ago today and I’ll never forget that brief moment I got to hold you and my whole world stood still for just a minute, until the doctors and nurses rushed you away. I unintentionally took a trip down memory lane last week. I was looking for a photo to send someone, and I started with the photos the day you were born and just keep scrolling by, watching you grow and your life unfold in the thousands of pictures I have of you. So many amazing memories together and so many that sometimes I just want to forget happened, but no matter how hard I try I can’t, they’re who we are. Dad and I laughed at how similar Harv looks to you in so many! Wearing your hand-me-downs wasn’t helping the twin factor.

Ignore the really old really poor quality photo. My tech has changed.

You’re growing up so fast. It’s been hard on me. Real hard. This last year I feel like this giant bubble popped up between us. I don’t drop you off of pick you up from school anymore, my job and Harv got in the way of that. That extra hour of the day I lost has hit me hard. I miss you. I worry about you. Lots. I worry about your grades, your brain, your thinking, your school work, your heart, your soul. I live for the moments where we can play together and it’s not on your tablet and it’s just you and me.

I knew getting married would make our life better, you have a wonderful person to call Dad and two step siblings to call brother and sister. I knew having Harvey would give you so much in such a different way. But I also knew it would be hard, because it would change what once used to be our little family. Sometimes I think you feel it, but more so I know I do. None of it helps that you’re just plain old getting older and I’m not really on your radar as much. Minecraft, toys, and friends have taken over. I thought I still had time for this. I’m not ready!

I still want to give you everything and I feel like I fail you. It doesn’t help that what I think is best, is not what you think is best. So listen to me now.

I promise you:

School is important even if you want to be a YouTube-r.

The only way you get better is practice.

Closing your mouth when you chew is polite and a girl will thank me one day. (Thanks Nancy, just in case you ever said that to Caleb, too.)

Doing chores teaches you responsibility.

Doing your homework works your brain and teaches you to be accountable.

Manners and hard work will get you places.

Respecting authority is needed to be a decent person in society. There’s a time and a place to stand up to and for people, but right now it’s not me and Dad.

College is not an option. Not in this family.

Harv does and will love you with a tremendous love, but holding his hands and forcing him to love you now, well you’ll regret it in 5 years love. Give him space now, he’ll give you space then.

You’re still the most special and important and lovable Jack I know. I loved you first. I’ve always loved you. I always will. My heart will always just grow.

Nine is our year sweetie, I can feel it. You have big things coming and I’m going to be right there with you. Just like always.

I love you. We love you.

Happy birthday King Bob!

xoxo

Mom

 

The Kids Behind the Blog | December 2016

Caleb and I somehow got sooo behind on everything! We have zero (yes ZERO) presents under the tree and the Christmas cards are sitting on my desk waiting to be mailed. I decided to take today off from work and be an elf with Caleb. We are headed out to buy all the kids presents and hopefully accomplish a few other family members on the way. Wish us luck! While we hustle, enjoy reading our monthly post all about our kiddos!

Each month I will ask my kiddos a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and then share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Check out last month here!

Simple enough, right? Read on for their answers! This an extra long Christmas version. Enjoy!

Question 1:// Which Reindeer is your favorite?

Carson: Rudolph because of his nose. 

Ava: Rudolph and Donner but I don’t really know the reindeers that well.

Jack: Rudolph he has a red shiny nose.

 

Question 2:// What do you want for Christmas?

Carson: Ecto Goggles. (These are all we’ve found on eBay….)

Ava: Architect Go Plus. The modern version (Find it here!)

Jack: A Bruder snowplow.

Question 3:// What would you do if you caught Santa at your house?

Carson: Hold him ransom until he told me the exact location of his hideout.

Ava: I would ask him his favorite cocoa flavor and where the North Pole is! Especially the cocoa.

Jack: Ask him “do you want some extra cookies or something to drink?” And then give him a present.

 

Question 4:// What would you do if Santa got caught in the chimney?

Carson: I would pull him down. 

Ava: Maybe give him a push or take a wrecking ball and lower him. Hmm.

Jack: Nothing much. Pull him down I guess and then grab the presents (Yep. He’s the kindness kid ladies and gentleman. Be afraid.)

 

Question 5:// Do you want it to snow on Christmas day or no? Why or why not?

Carson: Uncle. Yes, because it looks pretty! 

Ava: Yes, because then when you look outside it’s so nice and it’s always snowing on Christmas in the movies.

Jack: Yes the fluffy kind so I can play with my new toys!

 

Question 6:// Have you been naughty or nice this year? Why?

Carson: Mix. 

Ava: I’ve been nice.

Jack: Hmmm nice.

Question 7:// If Santa asked you to fly in his sleigh, would you go with?

Carson: Yea. 

Ava: Yes! Of course!

Jack: Um maybe, I’m afraid of heights though.

 

Question 8:// What is favorite Christmas movie?

Carson: National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. We watched it a few weeks ago at Mom’s house. 

Ava: Let it snow! (On the Hallmark Channel) Mom and I watch movies every weekend.

Jack: I don’t know any.

 

Question 9:// If you could change Rudolph’s nose color, what would it be?

Carson: Blue my favorite color! 

Ava: Rhinestones and silver. Like a disco ball!

Jack: Lime green!

 

Question 10:// Sing me a Christmas Carol!

Carson: We wish you a Merry Christmas 

Ava: The Hot Chocolate song from Polar Express

Jack: Jingle bells

 

Ok first of all, my kindness kid stealing Santa’s presents. Hmmm. I see some issues this. Secondly, apparently Rudolph is a well loved reindeer! Mine is Olive (read more here). Oh! And a Bruder snow plow? Yea he doesn’t want that, but ok. The movie thing hit a sore spot over here, but I’ll just leave it at that. And YES, Jack has seen Christmas movies haha. I’m totally loving on all of the Rudolph nose changes, although disco totally tops out as my favorite! My absolute favorite part of the questions this week was the singing of the Christmas Carols! They all did amazing job of getting the words correctly, but Harv and I loved listening and giggling along with them. I shall be instigating random Christmas song shows again!

Hope you enjoyed! What were your favorites? Anything surprise you?

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Linked to:// Stephanie // Crystal // Beth // Meghan // Jess //

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Week |end| Rewind 3

This weekend was just as busy and holiday filled as last week and the week before! Although I had planned to take the boys to the Christmas Train on Saturday, I ended up scratching that plan because I was running on under 5 hours of sleep, had an extra 8 hours of work to finish over the weekend, and the house was a disaster. Maybe next year. I know that Jack and Harv would love it!

Friday Harv and I picked Jack up from school and then my sister and my nieces came over for a play date and pizza dinner. It was a great relaxing night which was much needed after a busy work week. After the boys were in bed, I worked all night, ugh my least favorite Friday night activity, but I’ve been swamped and behind. So it was necessary.

Saturday was spent cleaning, working and being pretty boring catching up. We did head over to my parents as we were invited for buffalo chicken pasta dinner. It was different than the recipe I use, but just as delicious! I’ll make it after the holidays and get the recipe to you all as well! Then you can decide which is better!

Sunday was really the big day on our weekend. We woke up and immediately got ready to go to church, Jack had his Advent Concert to go to after Mass. For the little time they have to prepare, the concert always turns out so nicely! Each grade level coordinates in a special color (Jack’s was purple and we bought an outfit last weekend.)

Right after the concert, we went to the hall for the St. Nicholas Breakfast that is put on. It was your typical breakfast menu with french toast, sausage, eggs, and bananas and juice or coffee. St. Nicholas came around passing around candy canes and told me that Harvey looks just like Ellen (as in Ellen Degeneres). Um say what? I don’t think so. He also told me that I MUST get that all the time. Um again. No I do not hear that my baby boy looks like Ellen often. Hmm. Actually ever.

Least his costume was on point.

With all the snow that fell overnight, I was prepared to go home after church, the concert, and breakfast, get Harvey down for a nap and then shovel but I had a few surprises in store! The first was that my Mom doesn’t like driving in the snow so she ended up coming home with as after breakfast, because she planned on babysitting anyway later in the day. So I now recruited a partner in crime (well, shoveling). But as I was putting Harv down and my Mom started shoveling, our neighbor came and bailed us both out which was awesome! I think he saw me struggling to get the car up the driveway hill and into the garage. I’ll take the pity if it means no shoveling!

Then we played! Until Jack and I had to leave for his First Confession in the afternoon and my mom stayed with Harvey. We don’t get my Mom all to ourselves very often so it was a nice treat.

Jack’s First Confession went (mostly) so nicely. It was a little disorganized, which is unusual for our church, but other than that it was great. They made special hearts to wear, then received clean ones afterwards along with a Jesus plaque. He was beaming all afternoon! He said he felt good. Love him so much! We celebrated with take out Panera as it was too cold and snowy to bring the baby out. My Dad even joined us.

He’s growing up so fast. Gah.

I hope you had a fantastic weekend! That it was filled with holiday fun, preparations, and lots of time with family and friends! If it wasn’t and it was filled with chores and sleep, that’s just as awesome sometimes.

 

Happy Monday!

 

 

 

The Great Room Switcheroo | 2

An update on the bedroom switching is WAY overdue. As I looked back, I realized it’s been officially since August, but a mini update in September. It’s time.

First, let’s check in with Harvey and Jack. The room has made a few tweaks over the last few months. Harvey’s mobile was added and hung above his bed and a few other decorations on Jack’s side were rearranged. Nothing major in the design factor. More so, they’re getting along great. I’ve learned to have Jack get ready for bed (as in PJs, books, night lights etc ready) prior to me getting Harv down, so as not to wake Harv. Jack enjoys having Harvey with him and Harvey has completely adjusted to being in there. His naps are awesome, bed time not so much. I blame him, not the sharing bedroom factor. The age difference has been zero issue. We’ve been pretty lucky in that regard.

Caleb and my bedroom has seen some changes, as well. It’s nice having a grown up space again. Yes Harvey still sleeps with us at night … don’t ask … but it’s looking and feeling more like our own. There’s lots we still need & want to do (like paint a different color), but here is the most updated view.

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The other side of the room is empty, like literally. Ha. Without all the baby stuff, I’ve been contemplating what to do with all the newfound space. I’ll keep you posted, don’t worry. But for now, just keep your eyes this way.

I also want to remove the shelf that we hung for Harvey and put up some of our wedding photos and memorabilia, but I have commitment issues so the shelf stays for now.

I’ve mentioned it many times, but we officially moved Ava into her room after yikes are you ready for this? almost 2 years. Yep that’s a long renovation. After a leaky shower where moisture and mold spread all over the bathroom and her bedroom, we (ha! Caleb.) gutted and redid the whole thing. He raised the drop ceiling to regular height, added in an actual ceiling (goodbye ceiling tiles!) rewired, sheet rocked, mudded, etc. etc. etc. It was a project. That man continues to amaze me each day. Updates scheduled to post next week, stay tuned! I can’t wait to share it all with you!

She is loving having her own space again and we actually all enjoy being in there! We’ve been reading nightly Christmas books in there! Carson’s room also got a great cleaning after moving Ava and all her stuff out. It was needed desperately. So far they’ve been adjusting just fine without each other. I was a little worried about Carson since he enjoyed having Ava in there with him. He has big plans though for all the room now. Oh boy. That’s a little scary.

So we currently stand with a 4 bedroom house again! Carson in his own room, Ava in her own room and Jack and Harvey sharing and it’s all working out pretty perfectly. I feel like we are finally settling into this house nicely.

I even sorted the last move in box this last week! Yep 3 years later. I can officially say we’re moved in! Ha.

Come back next week for Ava’s official room reveal!

November Goals Update | 2016

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s December! The year went by so fast. They all do though.

Am I right?
Am I right?

I have one more month to really get my goals on track for the year! As I continue working hard for myself and my family, let’s check in and see how the last month went. Check out October’s goals here.

goal 1: be more positive with the children & encourage their growth.

Jack and I have been working hard on extra homework lately. He is a little behind in school and gets tons of support at school, but as his mom and a teacher we work at home too. I have seen so much progress in ability and attitude lately it’s been awesome!

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The little boys and I ventured out a few times for some Mom and boys dates this month and it was … umm fun? Ha. Crayola Experience at the Mall of America sounded like a great idea. Then we actually went. Harvey lost a shoe, threw about a million tantrums, Jack’s crayon didn’t print right the first time, it was witching hour so they were hungry, and Mom lost it. Oh fun. But at the end of the trip we came home with colorful candy, a Bob crayon (Jack’s special nickname from Caleb), a Chuck Norris crayon as a present for Caleb, a Harvey crayon, packages of clay, lots of artwork, and two smiling kids.

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We also know we owe Carson a Sam and Dad date and since our clock is ticking before the end of the year, we need to get on that! Check out Jack’s here and Ava’s here.

goal 2: be more creative and allow time for the projects we have and want to have.

Tis the season for crafting! Without giving away any surprises or presents, I can assure you I have been working on this!

Also, Caleb finished Ava’s room! Praise God. Ok well almost finished, still working on the closet, but we’re soo close I can taste it. He has been working so hard, he also has made progress in both the bathroom and laundry room. Updates soon!

goal 3: dates. more dates.

We had one date – kind of. Harv with us with and we ran errands, but we finished up with sushi and and a movie. Read more here.

goal 4: finish grad school. 

Complete read here.

goal 5: document life more. it all goes so fast. 

I planned on giving each of the big kids’ personalized photo books as part of their Christmas present, but there’s no way I’m going to finish all 3 in time and I’ve learned that it’s an all or nothing deal. So let’s call these Valentine’s presents. Whomp whomp. Least they don’t know.

goal 6: find and stick to a prayer schedule.

A few weeks ago, I went to a speaker on prayer and it was so uplifting. He gave us a process to focus on and permission to forgive ourselves when we fail. Getting into a new habit or routine is so hard and no one is perfect. I really needed to hear that continuing to try is just as important as success, but also that it’s ok if it doesn’t happen naturally or perfectly.

And our Fall bucket list. Last month, I said that nothing else would get crossed off. Ha. I ate my own words, because literally the day after I posted it, we raked and played in the leaves!

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This time I can assure you, nothing else will get crossed off. Apple orchards are closed and Caleb decided he didn’t want to do his last year’s birthday present. Oh well. Still count it all as a success!

Alright, bring on Christmas! Come back tomorrow for our Christmas bucket list! There is sooo much on there!

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The Kids Behind The Blog | November 2016

It’s that time again! This month, I’m checking in on the big kids about the holidays.

Each month I will ask my kiddos a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and then share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Check out last month here!

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Simple enough, right? Read on for their answers!

 

Question 1:// What are 3 things you are thankful for?

Carson: 1980s movies, Minecraft, and Harvey (as a little kid)

Ava: Friends, Arts Supplies, and Family

Jack: Heaven, Family, Roblox

 

Question 2:// What is your favorite food served at Thanksgiving dinner?

Carson: Turkey Drumsticks

Ava: Aunt Dani’s Brownies

Jack: Green Bean Casserole

 

Question 3:// If you could be President for a day, what would you do?

Carson: Make it so Hilary and Donald couldn’t be. 

Ava: Give everyone trampolines!

Jack: Give everyone freedom.

 

Question 4:// How many feathers does a turkey have?

Carson: 29

Ava: 22

Jack: 30

 

Question 5:// Who is your favorite relative to see during the holidays?

Carson: Uncle Mike, Aunt Missy, Ethan and Addie (Mom’s sister and family) 

Ava: Aunt Dani, she always has cool apps to play.

Jack: Harvey.

 

Ok so my thoughts on all this? Carson was very clear, that he really is thankful for Harvey since he’s little, but may not be as he gets older. Haha. So true. Poor Harv. Green Bean Casserole is like the single best part of Thanksgiving, I knew that boy was mine. Ava’s funny, she’s really serious, until she’s not then she’s really not. Trampolines? Yep, that may all make us healthier and happier. Maybe she’s onto something… She actually said something else first in her complete and utter silliness then quickly retracted, because she didn’t want it posted. I’ve seen that lots lately, another post of another day, but they’re starting to be very aware of themselves. Also, apparently turkeys are bald in my family, 20-30 feathers sounds like NOTHING!

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed November’s Kids Behind the Blog Q & A. Enjoy your Thanksgiving and remember to check in with your kiddos, it’s pretty funny to see what they come up with! So much going on in those sweet heads of theirs.

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Linked to:// Stephanie // Crystal // Beth // Meghan // Jess //

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Happy Halloween!

From our gnome to yours, we wish you the spookiest and safest Halloween! 

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Jack is “Freddy Faz Bear” #boymom
He was less than thrilled with the hat. Let's hope he keeps it on tonight!
Harv was less than thrilled with the hat. Let’s hope he keeps it on tonight! Pictures were fast and furious since the hat stayed on for like 2.2 minutes.
Now he's happy.
Now he’s happy. Go figure.

This year, Carson and Ava are with their Mom for the holiday. Ava is a tsum tsum Minnie Mouse and Carson is a Ghostbuster. Hopefully we’ll get a few pics!

Happy Halloween! Can’t wait to see all your pics of your costumes and kids’ costumes!

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The Kids Behind the Blog | October 2016

Happy Wednesday! We finished our family Christmas pictures yesterday and I cannot wait to show you all how they turned out and our theme for the holiday season! But until then, let’s have another round of The Kids Behind the Blog.

Each month I will ask my kiddos a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and then share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Check out last month here!

Simple enough, right? Let’s get to it!

 

Question 1:// What do you want to be for Halloween?

Carson: Ghostbuster

Ava: Minnie Mouse Tsum Tsum (um what?! I had to google it.)

Jack: DanTDM or Freddy from Five Nights at Freddy’s.

{Harvey: add libbed by mom – a gnome! DIY and how to coming soon!}

 

Question 2:// Do you like handing out candy or collecting it?

Carson: Collect it! 

Ava: Collecting it, but handing it out late at night is fun, too.

Jack: Collecting.

 

Question 3:// What should Mommy and Daddy be for Halloween?

Carson: Something really silly like all hot dogs and fries. 

Ava: Sam and Dad should be police officers and Harvey could be the little police pup! Mom and Rick should be a pencil and a sharpener. That’s a really good idea!

Jack: Bananas! Hahaha. Nope that would be weird. Maybe Dad is a cop and mom is the prisoner.

 

Question 4:// Do you like to make scary or happy pumpkins?

Carson: Scary. 

Ava: Happy, but I want to paint this year. I’m thinking an ice cream cone.

Jack: Scary, it’s ok Mom. I’m used to scary things.

 

Question 5:// What is the best/worst part of Halloween?

Carson: Candy and dressing up. But it’s only one day. 

Ava: Dressing up and going to the Parade! Nothing is bad.

Jack: Candy is the best part (BIG smile) and I don’t like that it’s at night. I have to wait too long.

Ok so my thoughts on all this? First of all, we live near the Halloween Capital of the World (sounds fancy right?!) so it’s a big deal. Kids wear costumes to school, be in the Parade, or watch the Parade, big parties at school etc. Whole nine. Secondly, this year I’ve let the kiddos start to really pick out their own costumes. I always have to an extent…but Jack’s choice is a little out of my mom approved box so we’ll see how it goes. Lastly, I did NOT ask the kids these questions at the same time, so why they really hit the police force hard for Caleb and I is beyond me. And really?! I’m the prisoner. Hmph.

 

Hope you enjoyed October’s Kids Behind the Blog! Catch ya again in November!

Will you be celebrating Halloween this year? What will your kiddos be? Are you the buy kind or the DIY kind?

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Linked to:// Stephanie // Crystal // Beth // Meghan // Jess //

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The Kids Behind the Blog | September 2016

I decided to link up (twice today!)with a few great Mamas and give you a chance to get to know the “kids behind the blog”. I write lots about our day to day happenings, but I figured this would give you all a chance to get to know them!

Each month I will ask my kiddos a handful of questions that the TKBTB hosts provide and then share those answers with us in a link-up post the second Wednesday of each month. Simple enough, right? Let’s get to it!

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Question 1:// What is your favorite sport? Why?

Carson: I don’t like sports, but if I have to choose then soccer.

Ava: Softball, because I can hit the ball really far.

Jack: Track, I like to run.

{Harvey: He’s 1 year old, he won’t be partaking 😉 }

 

Question 2:// If someone gave you a million dollars, what would you buy?

Carson: I would donate most to charity and my family. Then I’d buy groceries.

Ava: I want a fitbit flex, an expensive car with a big bow, lots of school supplies, a new fancy expensive bat, more bedroom decor and a trip to Florida to visit Grandma.

Jack: I would save for college, give to charity, and then buy a really cool car.

 

Question 3:// Tell me 3 things that kids do better than parents.

Carson: Understand kids, buy presents for my friends, and I don’t know what else.

Ava: Handwriting, driving, and decorating.

Jack: Magic, crying, and snuggling. Kids are great at snuggling.

 

Question 4:// What is your favorite thing to do in the fall?

Carson: Leaf Jumping

Ava: School

Jack: Leaf Jumping and getting ready for Christmas!

 

Question 5:// Share 3 things about yourself.

Carson: I like magic, I have a great sense of humor, and I’m very intelligent.

Ava: I’m good at batting, building forts, and I have the best cursive.

Jack: I’m good at roblox (video game), playing in forts, and being a big brother.

 

Ok so my thoughts on all this? First of all, I’m a little worried about Ava’s spending habits. We’ll have to work on that for her (and our) future! Secondly, kids are great snugglers, and I love it! Ava is spot on about the handwriting business ha. Also, Jack is a fantastic brother! And yes, Carson is very smart, but humility is good, too.

Hope you enjoyed September’s Kids Behind the Blog! Catch ya again in October!

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Linked to:// Stephanie // Crystal // Beth // Meghan // Jess //

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The Great Room Switcheroo | 1

We are in the middle of a huge bedroom rearranging situation. Caleb is in overdrive to finish Ava’s remodel before school starts and get her out of Carson’s room. I’ve been preparing to cut the umbilical cord and get Harvey into Jack’s room from being in our room. So the house is pretty much in complete disarray.

Jack and I have been preparing both physically and mentally for Harvey to move in. We first started by cleaning and purging Jack’s room to actually make room for a crib, rocker with ottoman and dresser space in Jack’s dressers. Knowing it wouldn’t be enough space for all of both of their things, Caleb and I began talking about new furniture. We settled on a half closed, half open book shelf. I wanted some hidden space for all the crap stuff they hoard, but also some space for pictures and other items.

So over the weekend Jack and I went to town assembling the bookshelf and rearranging his room. I was so thrilled to get the bookshelf up! I love it, exactly the style I’ve been heading towards more and more lately.

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I am beyond thrilled the old, completely falling apart armoire thing is gone! Now there is lots of space to move Harv in and reconfigure all the wall hangings.

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It’s ready for Harvey!

As Jack and I have been working, we’ve also been having lots of talks about what sharing a room will look like, especially given that Harvey is still so young. Jack is pretty excited and I think a little naive about the situation. It’s probably best for all of us!

Ok, where we stand now:

  • Move Harvey’s crib, rocking chair & ottoman in.
  • Once all that is in, bring in clothes and curtains and sound machine (Harvey needs his room to be just right to sleep! No jumping too fast or I’ll regret it later)
  • Decide on art, pictures, and wall hangings – which will stay, go, and where they will be placed.

Optimisms:

  • Jack is excited and keeps asking when Harv will actually come in.
  • They will bond. Lots.
  • Harv is only really next door, possibly closer to me than when he is in our room!
  • Caleb and I will sleep better, Harvey will sleep better, and Jack will still sleep soundly through it all no matter how it really goes.
  • Caleb and I can go back to reading books, magazines, talking etc before bed actually in our bed instead of “shhhh don’t wake the baby!” all the time. That’ll be nice.
  • It’s only till we move houses.

Pessimisms:

  • Harvey and Jack will never sleep and be up all night playing.
  • Mom guilt is code red on kids sharing rooms. (Don’t even talk about Carson & Ava sharing)
  • Am I really ready for my baby to grow up and move out of our room???
  • I may get less sleep.

That’s where we leave off, for now. Still things to do and ultimately make the Harvey switch, but it’s progress and the little boys are embracing it all pretty well. I’m hopeful that it’ll be a positive change for the 4 of us, but worried it’ll blow up in our face. Never know though! With that, wish us luck, give us tips and share your sibling room stories! Please. It may ease my mind!

Also, Ava and Carson room switch will be fantastic! Zero concerns there. Can’t wait for that girl to enjoy her gorg room!!

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Harvey’s First Trip to the Zoo

I decided to be adventurous and brave the weekend crowds. Usually I avoid, because I can and its great for the sanity. However, Harv has been teething like crazy & frustrated with my current lack of ability to decipher his “words”.  So, I was going insane.

We needed to escape (crowds seemed more appealing than a day at home with Harvey again) & since Harvey loves animals. Like seriously. All of them. He can bark like a dog, this funny snort like a pig, ee (??) like a monkey, and more. I’m not sure where this innate love of animals came from, but it’s certainly not me or Caleb. It was only natural that at some point he’d attend the zoo.

I was shocked when we got there and he was completely quiet the entire time. I’m still debating if he was in such awe it left him speechless or if he was meh about it all. He literally was next to (with like those 3 inch glass walls between) a giant gorilla eating lunch and he just looked at it all “been there done that, move along mama”. Say what?!

gorilla

Harveyzoo
Amused or bored? What’s your vote?

The tigers seemed to intrigue him the most, maybe because they were clearly visible and the most active…?

tigers

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Anyway. He wasn’t cranky, I stayed sane, and Jack had fun, which is what matters anyway. Plus it was on our summer bucket it list and since summer is winding down (3 weeks?! Ahh…) it was great to cross it off!

giraffe

boys

Plus we had dip’n’dots and everyone loves those 😉

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Trying to escape pictures already.

Hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Monday!

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Camp Odayin – Camp for Kids with Heart Disease

Jack has hypo plastic left heart syndrome. He was born with a heart anomaly & happily and healthily lives to tell the tale. Mostly. He has zero recollection of any it besides stories and pictures and books I’ve told him. But he is happy and healthy.

**If you want to know more about what he actually has, you can check this out. Maybe one day I’ll feel brave enough to talk about those rough early days of motherhood and his life. Today is not the day.

Anyway, to honor those kiddos in the zipper club (google it!) there is a camp program dedicated to them. Camp Odayin. I first was told about Camp Odayin when Jack was in utero. Pretty sure I didn’t think twice about it. First of all, he’s not born and I’m supposed to be planning for him to go to summer camp as a kid? Huh. Really. Second, I honestly wasn’t sure he’d live to be around for summer camp as a kid. Didn’t want to count my chickens before they hatched.

Well, thankfully Jack has attended not one, but two! summer camps through Camp Odayin. So far Jack has only attended day camp, which is just for the morning till lunch for 5 days. Next year though, he’ll attend overnight camp with the “big” kids. Camp is filled with arts n crafts, animal discovery, books, songs, and games! Some is educational, some is just plain ole fun (like hunting for gummy worms in whipped cream…without using your hands!). Plus the camp “counselors” are 100% volunteer nurses & doctors to ensure the kiddos are safe. Cue sigh of relief.

The only part about camp that Caleb and I dislike is the timing and distance combination. It’s about an hour away plus traffic to drop him off and it’s only 3 hours long. Driving back and forth to drop off/pick up is ridiculous, so we wait. But that means trying to kill 3 hours. While Jack had a blast, we took turns on days driving and running errands, catching up on to do lists, and wandering around target. Lots of wandering. Harv and I also went for a walk one day when the weather was nice. The last day each year is a talent show, so my parents came with and occupied the gap with breakfast out and a trip to Gertens, which was perfect. (Thanks again Mom- tell Dad, too!)

And…. the pics – they are in zero order and not the greatest (I didn’t take any!). But they’re his memories and something we’re all pretty proud of!

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He’s a little unsure #cityboy
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Finger painting with pudding

 

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He got a gummy worm. It’s not puke. #ipromise

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Hunting for ….something. In typical Jack fashion, he relayed the info to Caleb & once was sufficient.
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Water games!
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So many amazing people around MN donate stuff to heart kids! Stuffed animals was one gift.
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Working with clay & his buddies!

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Fleece blankets was another gift. Seriously the generosity and love for these kids is so awesome!

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Selfies & photobombs with the volunteer counselors. Jenny & Jason

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Small group this year!

Have a fantastic Thursday! #justonemoreday

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Happy birthday buddy!

My dear little boy,

Today is your birthday! You’re officially 8 years old! This breaks and heals my heart daily. Every birthday is such a blessing. One day I’ll share your story and we can count our blessings together. For now, let’s just talk about how wonderful you make our life.

I still look at you and see my sweet baby boy, but each day you’re becoming more and more grown up. I can’t lie and say that it’s all perfect, because you wouldn’t believe the good if I wasn’t honest about the bad. Sometimes you drive me crazy [I think you’re supposed to]. There’s usually too much burping at the dinner table for my liking and our listening skills fall sub par on more occasions than not. The constant musicals tend to get a tad overwhelming for Dad and I. But we love you the same.

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When I look at your heart I couldn’t be more proud. You are so kind and loving to your baby brother. You are the best helper when I need a diaper, to do the dishes, or even a shower after a poop explosion that sends you into hysterics. I love watching you two bond, even from years apart.

I feel so proud when you come home with a spelling or math paper and you know you did good. I know school is hard and it’s not your favorite, but I respect the effort you put in day in and day out. Sorry if I push you too much. I can be blinded by a “good grade”. Please know your best is all we ask.

I love your energy. Yes. You have lots. There’s always some thing rearing to go in that brain of yours. I thrive on it and well, see above too. [One day – karma buddy.]

I’m sorry I can’t sit in the playroom with you every day for hours on end playing Legos and trucks, like I know would fill your bucket. Things like laundry and dinner to fill your stomach instead, take over. Not to mention that brother who is currently pretty needy.

Thank you for trying out new things and finding who you are. I love that you march to the sound of your own drum and you lead your own parade. You’re fearless and I love it, unless it’s about being late. Sorry for that anxiety. My bad.

You’re fun. It’s my favorite part. You know how to make anyone smile and laugh. You touch people’s souls and bring them to life. Your crazy antics and made up jokes make us all giggle and love you even more.

You’re not the baby anymore and I can see how hard it can be for you some times. But you’ll always be my baby. You’ll always be my first person. You’ll never be replaced and my love will find you wherever you go.

Happy birthday buddy ♡ 8 is going to be great!

All my love forever,

Mommy