Thursday, May 29, 2014

Brody's One Year Photos

Our sweet nephew Brody will be one in just a few short days.  I had the privilege of capturing his one-year-old cuteness in photos this past weekend!  It seems like yesterday we were racing to the hospital to meet him and shortly after taking his newborn photos.  
Brody honestly is one of the happiest little fellas I've ever seen.  When he smiles, he smiles with his entire face - I love to see his big brown eyes light up.  I feel so blessed to have captured such a sweet, sweet stage through photos and I'm overjoyed to share!  
Obviously, he was the most darling subject and so fun to work with.  His mommy had some great ideas, had the perfect outfit and props and both parents were the best assistants at making him smile :)

We love you Brody and can't wait to celebrate your big birthday very soon!
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You're 32... we love you!

Saturday, the 17th was Tyler's birthday.  He had to farm all day so we planned a little family party in the evening.  In the morning, the little cowboys and I set out to make him the best birthday cake ever.  His favorite cake is his Granny's wacky cake, which I've made before (successfully I might add) but for some reason the world was out to get me this time.  
My first cake went together smoothly.  I substituted white distilled vinegar for apple cider vinegar but assumed it would be okay... wrong!!  Cake #1 ended up in the trash.  
Cake #2 ended up in the bottom of my oven because I used a different cake pan that was obviously a bit too small (my regular pan was washing, duh).  I was so close to throwing in the towel and buying a cake until Keeler said, "This is going to be daddy's worstest birthday ever."  
I couldn't be responsible for the "worstest birthday ever"  so I rolled up my sleeves, cleaned the oven, borrowed flour from the neighbors and FINALLY ended up with a cake.
Keeler picked out all the farm decorations for the cake and while Kallahan was napping we decorated.  Keeler was so proud of our creation and Kallahan was very impressed with our work.  
Once we were finally done in the kitchen we headed out to the farm to ride on the new Ranger with daddy.
We had a great time checking cattle and then visiting with family.  We headed back into town and went to dinner.  Yes, dinner out - this mommy was not about to attempt preparing a meal when the baking universe was so obviously out to get me.
Once we got home, the little cowboys were both so excited to show daddy his cake.  Keeler was quick to explain the entire design behind the cake.  "It's everyone that works for TNT Cattle!  Uncle Troy and me are on the cake, on four-wheelers working cattle.  Side note:  we really wanted the cowboys on horses but they were too heavy for the cake.  Daddy you're on the tractor working in the fields and Kallahan is in the garden."
 Tyler said the cake reminded him of several of his cakes growing up ;)
My world, right there in one picture.
We had a great birthday evening.  And I hope and pray that Tyler knows how truly special he is for me, for us.  
Tyler, you are my best friend.  You are a wonderful father, friend, uncle, brother and son.  I'm so thankful to be married to you and have you by my side.  I can't say enough what a wonderful daddy you are!  Both the little cowboys just light up when you're around.  They both want to be you...  I love listening every evening what fun you can make out of bathtime.  I always envisioned that I would be a "girl mom."  But I know God got it right when he blessed us with two little boys because he knew you would be such a great father and so hands with our children.  Our two little cowboys needed YOU.  I wouldn't want it any other way.  I love you.  I loved you from the beginning.  I'll love you forever.  I wouldn't bake a cake three times for anyone else ;)
After cake and baths the little cowboys wanted to have a "camp out" in Kallahan's room.  I'm working on practicing more of a yes mom approach, so we camped out!  It only lasted a little while and Keeler asked to go to his room because Kallahan wouldn't stop talking to him. 

The next morning, our little chatty camper was refreshed and ready to start the day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend!

I hope that you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  The little cowboys and I spent the weekend away with family and had the best time.  We played, went swimming, I had a true Mom's Night Out with my sister-in-laws and of course took full advantage of some great Memorial Day bargain shopping ;)
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We try to explain to the little cowboys on a regular basis how wonderful it is to live in America.  We talk about advantages of our country, "the land of the free."  Keeler is starting to ask more questions and of course really likes to celebrate holidays.
While driving (listening to Dr. Laura) during the holiday weekend I happened to hear an incredible commencement speech by U.S. Navy admiral and UT alumni, William H. McRaven (we'll disregard that he's a longhorn #gunsup!).  I was really moved by the speech and as a parent I'm holding onto these life lessons to share with my little cowboys once they get older.  For now, we're going to start working on #1:  
If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed...  
"I have been a Navy SEAL for 36 years. But it all began when I left UT for Basic SEAL training in Coronado, California.  Basic SEAL training is six months of long torturous runs in the soft sand, midnight swims in the cold water off San Diego, obstacles courses, unending calisthenics, days without sleep and always being cold, wet and miserable. It is six months of being constantly harassed by professionally trained warriors who seek to find the weak of mind and body and eliminate them from ever becoming a Navy SEAL.  But, the training also seeks to find those students who can lead in an environment of constant stress, chaos, failure and hardships.  To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.  So, here are the ten lesson's I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.  Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.  If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that's Navy talk for bed.  It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection. It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.  If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.  By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.   If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.  And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.  If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."  
Read more here.
image via my instagram
 I am forever grateful for the men and women who have served and are currently serving for our freedom.  Thank you is never enough. #GodblessAmerica


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keeler's Preschool Graduation

Keeler is officially a preschool graduate.  It feels a bit like deja vu since Keeler graduated last year but since he has a summer birthday we decided to have him complete one more year of pre-K.  Based on how well he has done socially this year I know we made the right decision.   
Here's our handsome graduate!  He was really excited for the program.  It was over 90 degrees so I had him shorts out to wear but he was insistent that he wear jeans.  "Don't you think they look nice, mom?"  - of course little buddy.    
He's done so well with school this year.  Last year we still had a few weepy days but this year he was excited to go almost everyday.  I can't believe that preschool is over and will forever be grateful for the three years that he had to grow and learn before setting off to "big school."
He's really excited about going to kindergarten.  It's been nice that his preschool teacher has taken the class over to the public kindergarten a few times to allow them to see the classroom and get a feel of what's in store for next year.

Before I walked Keeler into his classroom for the very last time, right before graduation, I had to take his picture by the entrance sign.  Look how much my little cowboy has grown.  What fond memories he's made at SMCC Preschool!

Kindergarten, here we come!
He was so proud walking down to the ceremony.
We've been blessed with Mrs. Winner.  She's great and has been his teacher for the past three years now.  She might be ready for him to leave :) The school is getting a little break from our family next year but Kallahan will start attending the next year.  Man how time flies!

Here's a little snippet from the program.  What do you think Keeler says he wants to be when he grows up?

...big shocker, right?!
"Hats off to graduation!"
 Granny and baby Cooper came to the ceremony and joined us at the reception for punch and cookies.  Keeler loved having them there.

On Monday night, my mom came up for the graduation.  It was so fun to have her stay the night and have her at graduation.  She also brought  her little babysitting kiddo Bailee with her - she's the best!  

Keeler really hit it off with Colton this year.  They have a lot of common interests (tractors, John Deere, tools, etc...).  It sounds like they are inseparable at school.  I'm so happy that he found such a sweet buddy.
My Cowboys, My World...
Both the little cowboys went back to Texas with my mom for the remainder of the week.  Keeler was a little hesitant to go but Kallahan just jumped in the car and was ready to go.  They're so different.  They have a fun week planned but this mommy might go crazy without them.  Like I told Keeler, "just two more sleeps."
In the mean time my evenings look a little like this...

DVR catch-up time and I may or may not be eating watermelon for dinner - on the couch.  My TV doesn't know what to think about not being on Nick Jr. or Disney Jr. before 8pm. 
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Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

Good Morning! I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day Weekend.  Ours was over-the-top fabulous.  Tyler’s brother and Erica got married this weekend and we couldn't be more happy for them.  Everything was pure perfection about their special day and we are so thankful to be a part.  Tyler made the most handsome best man and Keeler rocked it as a ring bearer with his cousin Bryon.  My heart just exploded with pride watching him walk down the aisle.   

On Saturday morning Tyler and I snuck away to go shopping because I needed some shoes for the wedding.  While we were out he said I needed pick out my Mother's Day gifts.  I knew our time was limited with such a busy day ahead but he insisted that we slow down and enjoy the time together.    
I am so blessed to share the job as parent with this man.  He constantly tells me I'm a good mommy but I couldn't do it without him.  So for Mother’s Day I say thank you for the privilege and blessing of being a mom. Without you, I would never know the unexplainable joy of the best job in the world.
And to my little cowboys:  Thank you for allowing me to love you from the first moment I saw you.  You have both opened up a piece of my heart that loves like no other.

Keeler's Mother's Day Gift from Preschool
Good Cook?  At least I have someone fooled ;)
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Monday, May 5, 2014

Random Thoughts and a weekend recap

Kallahan goes with me to take Keeler to preschool after we eat lunch together almost every day.  He loves going into the classroom and watching Keeler get settled in.  We can't leave until Kal has bid a proper farewell with a high-five and fist-pump.  Keeler quickly let Kallahan know that hugs were not acceptable in front of his classmates!  
With Keeler's preschool era coming to an end, in just a few short days, I can't help but be a little sad.  I love eating lunch with both my little cowboys.  I love that he has mornings off to go get a donut with his Granny.  I love that he has Fridays off so we can take long weekends on a whim.  The reality is setting in:  full day school, five days a week.  I don’t know if I’m ready for that.
I've been resistant to change his entire life, all of mommy-hood for that matter.  I never really cared if they stopped a pacifier, weaned from a bottle or moved to a big-boy bed to name a few.  However, both my little cowboys keep growing and moving through stages.  It's always easier on them than on me.  I know it's okay to be sad and at least I still have a few months to digest it all.
 I'm so proud of you, Keeler.  And somehow I will find the courage to let you go, little by little.

We can't express it enough how excited we were for the weekend and beautiful weather!  Our recent wind storms were really starting to wear everyone down.  
Kallahan was literally "jumping with joy" when I picked him at his Granny's on Friday afternoon.

When we got home, Tyler was working in the yard.  I helped him finish and then we played with the neighbors.  We are so blessed to have such a fun block!
When Whitney and her family moved in next door she was pregnant with this little man, Banx!  It's been so fun to watch him grow and I'll tell you what, he thinks he's twice as big as any of the older boys.  He's so much fun... dangerously fun ;)
The boys spent the evening riding bikes, Gators, chalking and then we had a visit from the Gross family.  It was a perfect kickoff to the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I had two things I wanted to accomplish:  clean out the garage and wash the car.  The little cowboys were great helpers - they love to work.  Once we got home from washing the car, they washed several of their toys which turned into a neighborhood water fight.
We went through four sets of clothes on Saturday but it was totally worth it.  
After our water fight we had a picnic with the neighbors.  Tyler made it home from work shortly after lunch and stayed with Keeler while Kallahan and I went to a birthday party.  Once we got home we convinced the little cowboys to take a short nap because they needed to rest before we went swimming in the evening with Whitney and her family at her parent's house.    
 We had the best time!  We had plans to go to the local Bull Bash but once we started swimming no one wanted to get out.  When we first arrived Kallahan did not want to get in.  He set at a side table with Tyler and just watched.  After some convincing, he got in and it didn't take long for him to get comfortable.  He LOVED the water.  He jumped in to me over 100 times and smiled ear-to-ear every time.  By the end of the evening he was paddling around by himself saying, "I swim, I swim!"  Keeler did excellent too.  He kept up with the big kids and jumped off the diving board several times with ease.  This summer is going to be a lot of fun!  We ended the evening with a nice meal with great friends. 

On Sunday we spent most the day in the city.  We started the trip with a nice family lunch.  Tyler needed a new edger and weedeater for the yard so we hit up Sears and Home Depot.  Tyler and Keeler got haircuts for the wedding this coming weekend (less than a week away Erica, eeeek) while I shopped around for clothes for the little cowboys.  We ended with grocery shopping and stopping off at a local greenhouse to pickup some fresh goodies.  
I love this man.  Thanks for always putting up with me - I know it's not easy ;) 
I cherish the days when it's just the four of us.
 We wore the little cowboys out and they crashed as soon as we got in the car to head home.  They had a nice rest and were ready to play outside when we got home.  I finished up chores in the house while Tyler tested his new yard tools and then we had a nice Sunday dinner with the Edward's family outside.
I'm feeling overwhelmingly thankful for my family, our friends and just this particular moment in our lives.   I'm thankful for the love that fills our lives, and spills over.  It’s far from perfect but it’s us.  I’m thankful for being us.   

P.S. Happy Cinco de Mayo!  I have the chicken for these tostados in the crockpot and I made the little cowboys a kid-friendly version of these lime sorbet skinny margaritas.  Mommy and Daddy's will of course need a little tequila - it's a holiday so let's celebrate!
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