What's Up Wednesday!

It's the last Wednesday of the month {how in the world did that happen?!}, so I'm linking up to share what's up with us!! :)

What we're eating....
 I've haven't been feeling 100% lately {I'm recovering from a bit of bronchitis & I serioulsy don't think I've EVER coughed this much in my entire life!!}, so we've been eating super easy suppers this week like spaghetti and then leftover spaghetti--you get the idea! ;)  But even when you're sick, you still need dessert! So we've tried a couple of new dessert recipes. I kept seeing brownies made with cake mixes pop up on Pinterest, so we gave {THIS} one a whirl...but we weren't too impressed. I mean, it was good and all but I don't think it's any better than just making a regular boxed brownie mix.

What I'm reminiscing about... 
With the start of a new school year, I've been reminiscing about all of the "first days" for our Shelby-girl! It's hard to believe next month will mark the beginning of her 4th year of "school!" Here she was on her very first day of Mother's Morning Out in Biloxi just a week or two shy of her second birthday. I thought she was SO BIG then!!
What I'm loving....
Reading chapter books with Shelby!! We just started Charlotte's Web with her this week, and we're both loving it! It's been a little nostalgic for me too b/c I always used to read that book to my kindergarteners! :)

What we've been up to....
Not much new is going on with us lately, which is a good thing I think! :)  The Goins' twins arrived earlier this month, and we helped decorate their front yard when they finally got to bring both babies home from the NICU. A very happy day, indeed! 
Other than that, we've just been in the thick of our summer routine! We usually spend one morning each week at HEB, one morning at the library, one morning at the pool, and we usually do a fun outing the other two days like to Pump It Up or the aquarium.

What I'm dreading....
I'm currently getting everything squared away for our annual fall family photo session, which I dread every single year. The pictures are absolutely priceless & I'm always so thankful for the memories that were captured, but the act of coordinating outfits and getting everyone to cooperate for the camera....it's just exhausting!

What I'm working on....
Filling out Shelby's paperwork for school & getting everything scheduled for the start of a new year--haircuts, hearing/vision screenings, lining up a sitter for Parent Orientation Night, etc. As much as I'm not ready for the end of our summer days, I do love the start of a new school year & the routine that goes along with it! I was totally that kid who had their backpack all organized and the "first day outfit" picked out and ready to go weeks before the first day actually arrived! ;)

What I'm excited about...
My mom will be here in just a couple short weeks to help us celebrate Shelby's birthday! We CAN'T WAIT to have her here, visitors are the BEST!

What I'm watching/reading....
I'm anxiously awaiting the start of fall programming {ahem, NASHVILLE!!}, but until then I just kind of half-way watch whatever Derek has on...except for the group Naked & Afraid show, I'm fully engrossed in that one! And here's what I'm currently reading:

 What I'm listening to....
The only music I ever listen to is what Shelby picks out. ;)  Lately, we've been listening to an old Dr. Jean CD that I used in my classroom....that is, until Shelby came across a few new VeggieTales CDs at the library yesterday...lucky me!! ;)

What I'm wearing....
It was a pool day for us today, so we were dressed in swimsuits! 

 What I'm doing this weekend....
We're super bummed that Aquatica (the water park that is right around the corner from our house) is closing after Labor Day Weekend. I mean, I realize that fall weather is quickly approaching for some parts of the country, but this is SOUTH TEXAS for crying out loud! Why do they need to close so early when the temperatures are still regularly reaching 100 degrees?! Anyhow, we fully intend on spending as much time at Aquatica as possible between now & when they close! So that's where you can find us this weekend! ;)

What I'm looking forward to next month....
Shelby's birthday!!! How in the world is our baby going to be FIVE YEARS OLD?!

What else is new.... 
July 1st marked the beginning of Derek's second and final year is his Allergy & Immunology fellowship program here at Lackland AFB in San Antonio. The first year of Derek's program was a bit of a culture-shock for all of us. Derek was suddenly dealing with city traffic and a long commute home in the evenings after our 4 years in Biloxi, and the biggest adjustment of all was the studying. He would leave for work before 6am and get home around 6:30 in the evenings, just in time for the dinner-bath-bedtime routine and then he had to study. It made for really long days for both of us. But all of that studying paid off! Derek is not only really enjoying his program, but he's doing quite well at it, too! ;)  But while the first year was full of adjustments, this second year has been a delight from the start! Derek's call schedule last year was pretty good, but this year is even better! And the best part is, Derek has gotten to the point where he usually doesn't have to study at home anymore in the evenings! It's been so nice to have our "us" time in the evenings again after the girls have gone to bed! 


Top Five Friday!

5. Spinach lasagna roll-ups {HERE}
My friend Lauren made these for us after Hadley was born, and we quickly put the recipe into the regular rotation of meals at our house! It's now one of my go-to recipes to make when I need to deliver a meal to someone. The Goins & Gallimores both received this meal this month. ;)

4. Blog book!!

At the beginning of summer, I made a short list of our "summer goals." One of the things on the list was to finally get our 2014 blog book printed. I was waiting for a coupon code to use to get a better price, and a deal finally popped up in my inbox a couple of weeks ago! I'm not going to lie, it was quite the ordeal getting this book printed! I use the Blog2Print website for our blog books, and usually I feel like their site is super user-friendly...but this time around, I just kept running into glitch after glitch with their website. It was beyond ridiculous! I finally ended up placing my order over the phone without actually seeing the final draft of the book, which definitely made me more than a little nervous! I was incredibly relieved to finally receive it in the mail this week and discover that it was perfect!! And of course, the girls have already spent an extraordinary amount of time with the new book! I always thought these books would be appreciated one day when they're older, but never in a million years did I think they would be enjoyed so much now!

3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
As much as Shelby loves reading, she really hasn't been all that interested in chapter books. I would occasionlly try to point out a chapter book to her here and there, but she wanted nothing to do with them so I just left it alone. Well, wouldn't you know the books that finally hooked her in were chapter books that I had saved from my childhood--Chocolate Fever and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Shelby adores these two books, and we're now reading the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Derek apparently watched the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory move a lot growing up, and he had the best time introducing Shelby to it after we read the book! It's so fun to see your kids experience the things you loved as a child!

2."Mama, can you back downstairs now?"
I haven't 100% decided if this should be included in my "favorites" list or not, but here we go! This house had an extra bedroom in the floorplan, so we made into a little playroom for the girls when we moved in last summer. However, it never really got used all that much b/c the girls spent most of their time playing downstairs in the living room. It was just easier to keep them close to me (which is where they wanted to be anyways), so I could get up and switch out the laundry or unload dishes while they played and then I could quickly come back to join them. We really just used the playroom as a change of scenery sometimes. Well, fast-forward to this summer...and the playroom is like their little oasis. We suddenly went from me trying to entertain whiny kids while I put groceries away to them disappearing upstairs while I get to put groceries away & organize my pantry in peace...WHAT?! In the past couple of weeks, the girls have just randomly been disappearing upstairs to play together for longer & longer blocks of times without needing me to jump in and referee every two minutes. It's the strangest feeling in the world to just be in my kitchen alone and the girls be completely content without me. Yesterday the girls again disappeared upstairs while I was cleaning up from lunch. When I got upstairs to join them, Hadley greeted me with this: "What are you doin' here?" Quickly followed by this from Shelby: "Mama, can you go back downstairs now?" WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING?! I went downstairs and truly didn't know if I should cry or jump up and down in celebration for their independence?! Either way, this is what these two look like in their element--they live to dress up and play in their little kitchen!

1. {THIS} article: Cargo Shorts for the Win!
This article was written just for Derek, seriously! I love it so, so much!

Happy Friday, Everyone!! :)


That's what she said

--Shelby came bounding down the stairs one afternoon to show me she had created a map of our trick-or-treating route for Halloween. Clearly, she wants to be preared in ample time!

 --Shelby had been in her bed for probably 30 minutes after I'd tucked her in for nap one day, but she was still awake so I went upstairs to let her out of her bed for some "quiet time" in her room until naptime was over. I told her she could come downstairs at 3:40, and then when I went to leave her room I said: "Remember, at 3:40 you can stop playing to clean up & make your bed and then you can come down." Shelby quickly retorted, "No, I need to stop playing at 3:37 so I can clean up, and then I'll come down at 3:40." Touche, my friend, touche. But seriously, how did she get so smart?!

 --As we were driving to the aquarium earlier this week, Hadley started to whine about something. Before I had a chance to say anything, Shelby imparted her wisdom: "Life is life, sis. Whatever happens to you, it's just part of life." ;)

Love that neither of them are scaredy cats like me yet, they both willingly touched the snake!

--I walked into Hadley's room one morning after she woken up.
Me: Good Morning, Hadley!
H: I wanna get dressed.
I guess she was ready to get started with her day! ;)

Coloring with Daddy

--Shelby loves to make up alternate names for all of us when we're playing imaginary games. Hadley randomly came up with a new name for herself and it has stuck: "Chiney the man." And you have to saw all three words--Chiney the man--when you refer to her. ;)

--I have no idea how or why this started, but whenever Shelby talks about her or Hadley's birth she always refers to it as "popping out of Mommy's tummy." Well, on the day the Goins' twins were arriving, we were talking about the babies. At the end of our conversation, she asked: "Well, how are the babies going to pop out of Mrs. Angela's tummy?" At this point, I was busy doing something so I tried to pretend like I just didn't hear her to see if she would just go about her business. ;)  This was something Derek & I hadn't dicussed (ie. how much we would tell her how about babies being born), and I didn't know how honest to be with my answers! A minute later, she rephrased her question: "Well, I mean, what exit are the babies going to come out of? Her mouth? Nostrils?" ;)  I was literally dying at this point, I mean seriously?! And I quickly realized we were going to have to have this conversation right then & there whether I was ready or not, ha! I told her there were two ways babies could come of their mommy's tummy. Shelby is familiar with what surgery is, so I first explained to her that some babies are born through surgery by opening the mommy's tummy and then sewing it back together. Of course she couldn't let me off the hook that easy, so she followed up by asking what the other way way babies could come out was. Shelby refers to her private area as her "potty parts," so I told her that some babies come out of the mommy's potty parts when they are done growing. I thought that might be too real or too traumatic or too something for her, but she just thought about it for a minute and then stated matter of factly: "I want my baby to come out of my potty parts b/c I don't want surgery." ;)  When I relayed this story to Angela, she just laughed and said Shelby was taking her stance really early in life on the mommy wars over C-sections. ;) 

--As we were nearing naptime this afternoon, Shelby was having more & more issues with self-control. I'd already had a talk with her once about self-control and then there was another unnecessary outburt from Shelby. Before I could even get on to her, Shelby threw her hand on her face in an exasperated fashion and said in the most melodramatic tone of voice: "Ugh, I just wish I wouldn't have gotten up so early this morning! I woke up at 6:34, I'm so tired!" ;) 


In case you need us, here's where you can find us!

In case you need us this summer, here's where we spend most of our days! :)

at the pool

at the library
{This picture was taken on craft day at the library}
 at HEB
{This picture was taken as we were waiting to check out. Shelby spotted an Inisde Out book near the register, so the girls were delighted to get to look at a copy while we waited in line. As you can see, they were both totally engrossed in the book!}

at Chick-fil-a

And a total side note, but I think all stay-at-home mamas can related to this video. It's spot-on!!

And last but not least, you can find us at home hanging out with the Goins boys or the Gallimore girls trying to keep the insanity at bay. ;)  Between an insane number of appointments for Angela with the upcoming arrival of their identical twins and a few ER visits + 1 hospital stay for Casey dealing with a kidney stone debacle, Shelby & Hadley have gotten lots of playtime with their buddies! Even though it's been nothing short of crazy having 4 kids ages 4 & under, we're so thankful to be here in San Antonio to be able to help our friends out so much. It's hard being so far away from family when things like this happen, so it's been a huge blessing that all of us came here together from Biloxi.

Ready to make pancakes for breakfast!

Sweet Ana, she is seriously the easiest baby in the world! Love her!

Shelby & Adam made a little fort area for themselves to play in ;)

Will trying the Barbie shoes on for size ;)

Can't believe we're almost half-way through August, summer will be over before we know it!


One More Year

Reason #178 why I am so grateful our Shelby-girl has another year before Kindergarten:

Naptime :)

I'm sure some people think it's crazy that Shelby still regularly naps despite the fact that she is turning five years old next month. ;)  We had a birthday party to go to this afternoon for one of Shelby's sweet little friends from school, but the party was at 1:00. She typically goes down for her nap around 1:30, but lately there are a couple days a week where she doesn't fall sleep but just "rests" in her bed. So we had planned to let her go to the party and then just have a little rest time afterwards. Well, when we got home we decided to try putting her down for a short nap b/c she was just worn out from the party. {Side note: who plans an OUTDOOR birthday party at 1:00 in AUGUST in SOUTH TEXAS?!?!} But we really weren't sure if she'd fall asleep or not b/c she was so wound up from all the birthday fun and of course the cupcake & two lollipops! ;)  As you can see from the picture above, she took quite the nap! Then as I was tucking Shelby in for bed tonight, we were recounting our favorite parts of the day & she thanked me for letting her take a nap today b/c she was so tired--I mean, seriously! What kid thanks their mom for a nap?! She really is something else! :)

For a couple months before we moved to TX, we seriously contemplated the possibility of sending Shelby to Pre-K our first year here in San Antonio and then to private Kindergarten this coming fall despite her missing the September 1st cut-off. We were having some angst about the decision and not knowing which path was the "right" one to take--sending her to private K this fall right before her 5th birthday or waiting for her to start K right before she turned six. I'm so glad I had my friend Cindy to turn to with my doubts. I taught with Cindy when we lived in VA, and I deeply respected her as a friend, a teacher, mother of 4 grown children, and an Air Force wife. I still tear up when I read the words she wrote to me:

Another year with you to help her navigate the big scary questions and situations in life is an incredible gift....The extra year at home will give her maturity to deal with ever increasing rigor in her studies as she goes through each grade. Another year to insure that she is a leader, not a follower. Another year to insure that she works and thinks independently, making thoughtful connections and observations and is a good team player...Give her that extra year to play and grow her imagination; to be care-free. Give yourself that year to relish her Shelby-ness. You and Derek only this get this one shot at the very beginning of your little family's life to be THE major influence. All too soon, you will compete with others that want your girls' time and attention. Treasure your "center of her universe" time. 

One of the hardest parts about this military life is every time we move, we are leaving behind friends who have become like family to us. But the upside is all of the sweet friends we have made along the way! These are people we certainly don't get to see every day or even for years at a time, but I know they're always there for us & when/if our paths cross again we'll pick up right where we left off.

As summer is starting to wind down and we are beginning to gear up for a new school year, Derek and I have said to each other countless times how immensely grateful we are that we have another year before Kindergarten. And every time we think about that, I think how grateful I am for Cindy!  

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Phillipians 1:3


That's what she said

The girls definitely keep us laughing all day long with the crazy things they say!

--We were at the pool a couple weeks ago with friends, and I took the girls to the bathroom to change into dry clothes before going home. I changed Shelby first, and then when I started to get Hadley's swimsuit off she pulled away from me and stated matter-of-factly: "Me need a changing table. Where's my changing table?" She spun around and spotted the changing table that folded down from the wall and exlaimed in the happiest of tones: "Oh, there's my changing table!" ;)

Kiddie Park in downtown San Antonio

--The girls and I were at the Chick-fil-a playplace with Angela & her boys, and we were all getting ready to leave. Angela was reminding Adam that it was time to put his shoes on, and I overheard Shelby telling Adam: "Make sure you listen to your Mommy because I can only marry good boys, Adam."  ;)

--We were eating dinner at Schlotzky's one night, and the girls' meals came with cookies. We told the girls they could eat their cookies after they'd finished eating their dinner, but of course Hadley literally asked after every.single.bite if she'd eaten enough to earn her cookie. I have to give Hadley credit for her persistence & politeness--she never got upset even though she'd heard the word "no" every single time in response to her very sweetly worded question (she was sure to say "please" every time!) Then finally towards the end of our meal, Hadley just yelled out "COOOOOOKIEEEEE!" and Derek and I both just burst into uncontrollable laughter. It was as if she was thinking "I've asked politely in as many ways as I can think of, so why not give this approach a try?!" ;)

Found this picture from the Fourth of July & just had to share it, love that cheesy grin!
We were at Sea World waiting for a show to start.

--In the middle of breakfast one morning, Shelby randomly said: "Mama, I don't know when my baby's birth is gonna be."  ;) You just can't make this stuff up, people!

--Hadley had been playing in her crib for a good thirty minutes after I'd put her down for a nap one day. so I went up to check on her (sometimes when she's been playing it means she has a dirty diaper). When I discovered her diaper was still dry I reminded her it was naptime before I turned to leave. My last words were "It's naptime, Hadley. Go to sleep." Her response: "I won't." And she didn't. ;) 

--After I put Shelby down for her nap today, I saw her pillow was over her head when I checked the monitor. I went upstairs to see what was going on.
Me: What are you doing?
Shelby: I'm hiding.
Me: From what?
Shelby: {looks at me and speaks in an exasperated tone as if she can't figure out why I don't know what's going on} From you & Dada, you're dragons.

--Shelby was telling me she wanted to wrestle with Derek when he got home from work. She said us girls should pretend to be the Isrealites and that Derek would pretend to be Goliath--perhaps we've been spending too much time listening to Veggie Tales?! ;)

And here are a couple snapshots of what life is like with an almost five year old in our house these days....

We'd gone to check the mail one afternoon, and one of Derek's finance magazines was in our box. As soon as we got home, Shelby just sat down, opened it up, and started reading it aloud to us. It was so funny to hear her reading about the IRS & income tax. I thought this would last all of one minute and then she'd get back to playing. But she continued to do this for a good 15 minutes! It was hysterical!

And then we had an encore the next night when Derek came home from work. ;)

And last, but not least...one of Shelby's very favorite pasttimes--swiffering. And I'm totally not even kidding! This girl loves to swiffer!! Our typical floor cleaning routine is Derek will run the Roomba in the kitchen after we eat dinner while we're upstairs bathing the girls & getting them ready for the bed, and then I will run the swiffer over the floors in the morning after I've showered. Well, I've had to start waiting to swiffer until after Shelby comes down in the morning, otherwise my quiet time to get chores done in the mornings will be over in a flash. She can be dead asleep or in the middle of reading a book in her bed, and she can hear me as soon as I get that swiffer out and comes darting down the stairs to "help" me. :)


Weekend Wrap-Up

Happy Monday, Everyone!! We had a fun weekend! As I mentioned in my What's Up Wednesday post {HERE}, we had a sitter scheduled bright & early on Saturday so Derek & I could finally go check out TopGolf! We had the BEST time! It was so fun! We said this the last time we tried to go when there was a four hour wait, and we said it again this weekend--we wish we would have thought of the TopGolf concept or could be in on the TopGolf franchise b/c they are seriously doing a killing!

We had so much fun playing but only lasted an hour in the direct sunlight & 100 degree temps! ;)  And playing for 60 straight minutes was clearly enough for us old folks--Derek's shoulder is still tight from his swing and my hip has been hurting from the way I was swinging my club. Seriously, how old are we?!

It was a really fun change of pace having a day date on Saturday morning, and then we spent the rest of the day at home getting the grass cut & cars washed. Unfortunately, Derek doesn't get much help from us girls. ;)

This silly little baby pool that we got at Wal-Mart in Biloxi is still being enjoyed!

That's my pink chair in the background where I was sitting supervising. ;)  Shelby did help Daddy washing the cars though!

Sunday morning brought swim lessons for Shelby, the 11:00 service at church, followed by lunch & naps. After everyone was fast asleep, I snuck out of the house to get a pedicure with Angela. It was such a nice little escape from reality for the afternoon! After my pedicure, we went to Schlotzky's for dinner & then made a quick trip to Target. Derek's squadron at the hospital was having a backpack drive, so we let the girls pick a backpack and the school supplies to fill it for a little girl. Shelby & Hadley had so much fun picking out the backpack (princess themed, of course!) & girly supplies, and we were so proud of them for being excited about it and never once asking for anything for themselves (especially b/c there was some super cute Frozen stuff!!). Sometimes when your kids are whining all day and driving you crazy, it feels like you are the worst parent in the world. But our little trip to Target made us feel like we've a least done something right with them. ;)  Shelby also included this illustration/note to go in the backpack:

Dear Friend, Hope you have a good school year. Your teacher will say "Welcome to our class!" I love you. Hope you like your school supplies. Love, Shelby  P.S. What is your name?
Clearly, these words were all Shelby's. ;)  I would try to give her a little guidance or suggestion on what to write, and she wasn't the least bit interested in my opinion. I'm pretty sure her exact words were: "Come on, Mommy! No telling me what to write in my note!" ;)

It was a great weekend, and we're back to the grind today! And by grind, I mean Derek's at the hospital and we're hanging out with Adam & Will while Angela's at another non-stress test for the babies. :)

Sometimes having two 4 year olds & two 2 year olds in the house can be a little chaotic to say the least, but there are quiet moments here & there where I can actually overhear their little conversations with one another. Today as Shelby & Adam were working on a puzzle of the 7 continents, Shelby told Adam that she had to ask him a question after they finished North America. I figured it was going to be some big important question since they had to get to a stopping point before she could even ask said question. By the time they had North America complete, I was so anxious to hear the question! "Adam, what did you look like when you were a little boy?" ;)  His response was that he wore a diaper and then when he woke up, he was a big boy! :)  Then they started talking about how much fun they had when they were babies, it was seriously too much!

Hope you have a fabulous week!!