Oh, you precious girl. You started preschool today. Actually, you’re at preschool right this second. I miss you to pieces, and as unnatural as it feels to leave you, I’m happy for you because I know how you love to be with other kids. I’d love to be selfish and homeschool you and keep you all to myself, but you’ve always been like a flower to me, and I saw you blossom in a way I haven’t before during those weeks at summer camp.

I bet you’re being such a big helper right now. I bet you’ve tried to hold someone’s hand by now and tell them stories about your crazy little brother. I bet that you’ve been smiling the whole time and bet you’ve gone to the potty at least twice by now. I bet you’ve announced that you’re tired at least once and that you did a huge fake yawn to prove it. I bet you’ve twirled a lot, too because you picked out the perfect dress for your first day. I bet you’ve asked your teacher when it’s time to go outside, and I bet when it is time to go outside that you’ll run with all your might to the playground as soon as your feet leave the pavement and hit the grass.

And I’ll bet I’ll spend the rest of this morning stealing glances at the clock until it’s finally time for us to come get you, and I bet that when it’s time, I’ll be the first mom there.

I hope that your first day is going exactly like you deserve it to. Welcome to a new chapter, my love.

We just got back from 5 full days ocean side, and I think the bottom picture of Lily a few minutes before we left the campground is a pretty accurate portrayal of how we all felt and are still feeling about leaving. 

Tim and I don’t need the tropics or exotic locations. We don’t want to travel the world. Give us a week in a camper beside the Atlantic and that’s paradise. 

Home is where you park it. 

There are 3 1/2 years between them. Sometimes it matters, and Lily doesn’t want to play with him as much as he wants to play with her. At almost 5 years old, she asks for privacy often, and I make sure she gets it. 

But other times the 3 1/2 years don’t matter at all, and they play and hold hands and do things together like little friends. He follows her, and he does just about anything she says. He kisses her more than anybody else, and he does it without anybody asking him to. When she falls or cries, he’s often the first one to get to her and kiss her boo-boo.

Sometimes I have to remind her that all he wants to do is play with her. I tell her that she has a built in best friend who thinks she is the best thing ever, so she scoots over and makes room for him or she grabs his hand and includes him in whatever she is doing. 

"Follow me, Drew," she says, and I bet you that he’d follow her anywhere. 

This is Bailey, our foster buddy for the weekend. He fits right in!

This is Bailey, our foster buddy for the weekend. He fits right in!

Y’all.

I cut my baby’s hair. 

I couldn’t take another minute of his scraggly bangs in his eyes and the perma-bed-head he was being forced to live with. Tim had some clippers (obviously not used in a LONG time), so Granny and I plugged those suckers into the wall and gave Drew his first cut. 

He looks so tough on his Barney scooter, huh?

She’ll by 5 in less than a month.

I go back and forth between feeling like I only just held her in my arms for the first time and feeling like she’s been in my life forever. Mostly, it seems like forever because it’s hard for me to even remember a time when her smile wasn’t lighting up the room. It feels as though she’s always been here with me, and maybe, in some way, she always has. 

She’ll by 5 in less than a month.

I go back and forth between feeling like I only just held her in my arms for the first time and feeling like she’s been in my life forever. Mostly, it seems like forever because it’s hard for me to even remember a time when her smile wasn’t lighting up the room. It feels as though she’s always been here with me, and maybe, in some way, she always has. 

It took way too much sweat and a million mosquito bites to get a family picture, but we did it. And I only made the kids cry once each. 

It took way too much sweat and a million mosquito bites to get a family picture, but we did it. And I only made the kids cry once each. 

She’ll be 5 next month. Wow. She’s riding her scooter while she’s humming and singing, “I can beeeeeeeee anything. I can be a dragon. Tomorrow I could be a dragon, and I could climb a mountain.”I want to go grab her and hold her forever, and knowing her, she’d love it because she loves that kind of attention. Even though there’s still another month remaining, I can say that 4 was a really great age. I bet 5 will be too.

She’ll be 5 next month. Wow. She’s riding her scooter while she’s humming and singing, “I can beeeeeeeee anything. I can be a dragon. Tomorrow I could be a dragon, and I could climb a mountain.”I want to go grab her and hold her forever, and knowing her, she’d love it because she loves that kind of attention. Even though there’s still another month remaining, I can say that 4 was a really great age. I bet 5 will be too.

I had her all signed up for ballet camp this summer, and a couple of days before she was set to go, they had to cancel. As excited as I was to get her the slippers and the outfit, I was kind of glad they cancelled. The more I thought about it, the more I worried that it wasn’t going to be what she thought. She wanted twirls and lots of pink and time with friends, and after some extra digging and talking to a few other moms, it seemed like the place I choose to send her wasn’t going to be the best fit. There was more talk of rules than fun, and that doesn’t work for us. 
I was worried that she’d be disappointed when I gave her the news, but you know what she said, “Does that mean I get to stay home with you all day?” 
So for now, we’ll stick to twirling in the yard and putting on performances in our house. Nobody’s going to dull Lily’s sparkle and shine. 

I had her all signed up for ballet camp this summer, and a couple of days before she was set to go, they had to cancel. As excited as I was to get her the slippers and the outfit, I was kind of glad they cancelled. The more I thought about it, the more I worried that it wasn’t going to be what she thought. She wanted twirls and lots of pink and time with friends, and after some extra digging and talking to a few other moms, it seemed like the place I choose to send her wasn’t going to be the best fit. There was more talk of rules than fun, and that doesn’t work for us. 

I was worried that she’d be disappointed when I gave her the news, but you know what she said, “Does that mean I get to stay home with you all day?” 

So for now, we’ll stick to twirling in the yard and putting on performances in our house. Nobody’s going to dull Lily’s sparkle and shine. 

16 Months
We’ve officially hit the most precious toddler stage in the world. He’s full of hugs and kisses and snuggles, and if he ever hears any one of us say ouch, he’s quick to kiss boo-boos. He doesn’t say too much, but he can say uh-oh, momma, dada, yuck, bye-bye, and night-night when he really wants to, but only when he wants to. He loves dogs and tractors, especially a Deere, and there are few things he loves more than sitting down and having a book read to him. He loves his big book about animals, and his mooing and oinking always makes me grin. 
He loves his sister and wants to follow her everywhere and do everything she does. She’s always been his favorite. He loves his toy trucks, but he’d rather play with Lil’s My Little Ponies even more, maybe because he knows it drives her crazy. He loves shoes, and the first thing Lily does in the morning is turn the light on in the walk-in closet so he can ramble through everybody’s shoes. He puts on Tim’s or mine, and he marches through the house. You can hear him coming from a mile away. 
He’s eating more than ever these days. He loves corn above all else, and he loves beans and meat, too. A bag of potato chips will stop him dead in his tracks, but we’ve got to watch him with those because he thinks he can swallow them whole. He eats popcorn and pickles and he likes popsicles, too. Anything sister has is really what he wants most.
He’s curious and adventurous, but oh-so shy around strangers or people he doesn’t see often. He warms up quickly, though, and he flashes that devilish little grin often. He’s made it to the point where he just wants to run from me, and he doesn’t understand that we should be holding hands. If I try to stop him, he’ll throw himself to the ground in an instant. He’s full of drama, and he has a hard time when he’s not getting his way. He’s sensitive and soft in a way that I never would have expected from such a rough and tumble little fella.
He claps and waves bye and he loves to blow kisses. He stacks blocks and knocks them over, and he’s quite the climber. He loves wandering around outside, and Daddy’s tractor or Blazer are amongst his favorite things. He doesn’t like pools or lakes or oceans, but he loves baths. 

He’s an adventure that I never could have imagined having, and I couldn’t love that snuggly, dirty little boy more. 

16 Months

We’ve officially hit the most precious toddler stage in the world. He’s full of hugs and kisses and snuggles, and if he ever hears any one of us say ouch, he’s quick to kiss boo-boos. He doesn’t say too much, but he can say uh-oh, momma, dada, yuck, bye-bye, and night-night when he really wants to, but only when he wants to. He loves dogs and tractors, especially a Deere, and there are few things he loves more than sitting down and having a book read to him. He loves his big book about animals, and his mooing and oinking always makes me grin. 

He loves his sister and wants to follow her everywhere and do everything she does. She’s always been his favorite. He loves his toy trucks, but he’d rather play with Lil’s My Little Ponies even more, maybe because he knows it drives her crazy. He loves shoes, and the first thing Lily does in the morning is turn the light on in the walk-in closet so he can ramble through everybody’s shoes. He puts on Tim’s or mine, and he marches through the house. You can hear him coming from a mile away. 

He’s eating more than ever these days. He loves corn above all else, and he loves beans and meat, too. A bag of potato chips will stop him dead in his tracks, but we’ve got to watch him with those because he thinks he can swallow them whole. He eats popcorn and pickles and he likes popsicles, too. Anything sister has is really what he wants most.

He’s curious and adventurous, but oh-so shy around strangers or people he doesn’t see often. He warms up quickly, though, and he flashes that devilish little grin often. He’s made it to the point where he just wants to run from me, and he doesn’t understand that we should be holding hands. If I try to stop him, he’ll throw himself to the ground in an instant. He’s full of drama, and he has a hard time when he’s not getting his way. He’s sensitive and soft in a way that I never would have expected from such a rough and tumble little fella.

He claps and waves bye and he loves to blow kisses. He stacks blocks and knocks them over, and he’s quite the climber. He loves wandering around outside, and Daddy’s tractor or Blazer are amongst his favorite things. He doesn’t like pools or lakes or oceans, but he loves baths. 

He’s an adventure that I never could have imagined having, and I couldn’t love that snuggly, dirty little boy more.