Thursday, July 31, 2014

Another family weekend

Last weekend was another weekend spent with family, only this time, it was MY side of the family! My brothers' families and I are a bit spread out {not super far, and possibly going to farther} so we don't always ALL get together as much as we would like.  We pass through Springfield on our way back to Decatur for visits and on that drive we always pass a local outdoor water park.  Hudson ALWAYS comments and asks if we are going there.

Well, this past weekend, we did just that.  My parents, both my brothers and their families and our brood met in Springfield to make a full day (and a night) together.

This trip was really nice because, 1)it was only an hour drive and 2)we were just staying one night.  After several long weekends I could pack up this family for one night in about 10 minutes. ;)

We met at the park as soon as it opened and the boys wasted no time getting wet.  And by boys, I mean my my husband and  younger brother.  They (and J's wife Tori) took advantage of the fact that my older brother and his family hadn't arrived and the fact that it wasn't too crowded and went down some "big kid" slides.  Beau and Hudson wondered right over to a children's area and got in!

Not too soon after, Zach, Rachel and their boys arrived.  You may recall here where I talked about how close in age my nephews and boys are. Hudson and Graham are only 4 months apart.  Beau and Emmett are 6 months apart.  Yes, between both sides there are three 3-year olds and three 1(ish) year olds.  {And no, none of it was planned.}

Graham is a boy after Hudson's heart because he too was a fish in the water.  Totally fearless!! They rode slides, swam around, and got completely soaked!! Beau and Emmett loved the water too!!

Outside of the water park are some rides, a putt-putt area, driving range, and picnic area.  My parents brought all the makings of some yummy lunch so we took a break from swimming for lunch.  Four hungry boys never waited so patiently! 
Do Emmett and Beau not look like twins? I can not believe how blonde they both are!! 

Bless their hearts! I hope they are always close and can encourage one another as they get older to be the men God created them to be!! 


After lunch we continued the slides, pools, and waves for about another three hours! Just as everyone was getting tired, it became really cloudy.  Then a huge clap of thunder cleared the pools.  It worked out that we had the whole day there with perfect weather.  It only started to rain after we were loaded in the cars! 

Since it was a bit of a drive (Jay and Tori live in the suburbs up north) we opted to make a whole day and night of it.  We checked into our hotel and everyone cleaned up before heading off to dinner.  Bless my dad (or whoever it was) that called ahead.  Because when I walked in and said 10 and two high chairs the poor hostess' eyes got rather large until she realized we had called ahead.  {Could you imagine two parties that large coming in at the same time?} 

The original plan was to have dinner, change into pjs and head to the drive in once it got dark.  But with the rain we made a Plan B and went to the theater to see a movie instead.  Planes:Fire and Rescue if you must know! ;)

What's a movie without popcorn and peanut M&Ms?

Don't let Beau's face fool you. Dude was out before it was half over.  Emmett held strong though! 

The movie was pretty cute {I am actually not a fan of the Cars/Planes movies but eh..) and both our boys were zonked as we headed back to the hotel.  So tired they slept in until 8 the next morning.  We were in bed by 9:15 people! PTL for hotel black out curtains, amen?!!!

We all had breakfast together the next morning before heading back home! 

{Had to get Papa in one of the shots!}

It was such a fun little visit even though it was short.  I am so so thankful for our family, close cousins, and memories being built! That night my SIL, Rachel, reminded us that the next time we'd be together we'd be a crew of 13! It is amazing to see how God has grown our family.  

Picture overload courtesy of Gammy.  It's much easier to actually capture memories and moments when there are extra adults, one of whom is always toting a camera. ;) 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


I know I said July was full.  We were literally busy every weekend but every weekend was filled with family and fun and I would not have had it any other way.  Especially as it is the last month before becoming a family of 5 and all the busyness that will ensue with that transition as well as Hudson heading off to preschool! What!!!???

A few weeks ago we headed out mid-morning to meet Andrew's family (again) in Branson, MO.  Andrew hadn't been to Branson in years and I have never been.  I know it is famous for it's shows and touristy attractions but other than that didn't have any real idea what to expect.  The drive wasn't too bad.  It took about 6 hours total (maybe a bit less) and that includes a stop and a lunch break.  Our boys were fantastic.  They are really beginning to interact with one another and since Beau is talking more, they seem to share more conversations.  They watched one movie and then were content to take it all in!

Heading out

I shared on my Facebook page but there were so many funny little sayings we heard, I have to share them here too!

Hudson: Look at those horses!!
Beau: Moo!

Hudson: AHHH!
Andrew: what, bud?
H: I need to potty NOW!! {when this kid realizes he needs to go, there really is about a 5 second window. No worries; we made it!}

Hudson: Know what I'm drinking, mom? (We've stopped for lunch)
Me: what, babe?
H: Lemlonlaaaade. (Pauses looking at cup) Do you think this is made out of glass or plastic?

We got there late afternoon so we met up with his family, checked in, let the kids play a bit and then went to Panera for dinner.  We could have eaten anywhere but after being in a car all day I just really wanted a salad and our kids LOVE Panera.  Plus it was like 5 minutes away and I was all about not being in the car again for too long! 

The next day was very relaxed.  My father-in-law and brother-in-law, Aaron, drove down Friday night after Aaron got off work so didn't get in town until the wee morning hours.  We went to the grocery store to get some items for breakfast and lunches that week, and then spent the afternoon by the pool.  Our boys were in heaven! Another weekend to play in the water! Our boys ended up falling asleep late that afternoon since we skipped nap time so we didn't eat dinner until late.  Aaron and Jaci whipped up some Mexican and we us girls mapped out our Sunday plans.  

Sunday we headed over to Branson Landing to do a Duck Boat tour.  They have tours that go various places but our particular tour left from the Landing, took us to College of the Ozarks {did you know that the students there work to pay for their schooling/housing/etc so they leave with 0 student loans??}, around downtown and then out onto the water.  I'm not really all that sure that the kids cared about the tour part {until we got on the water} but the tour included these little duck quacker whistles and they were perfectly content blowing and playing with those! Except Paise--who slept the entire time! :) The other three all took turns driving the boat on the water too and thought that was pretty cool!

We rode some rides while we waited for our tour to start.

Hudson wasn't a fan on the noise

On the tour

That face!

From there we headed to the outlet malls to grab lunch and do some power shopping.  After lunch I swear it was every {wo}man for {her}self because Jaci, Vickie, and I all headed in separate directions on the hunt for what we had in mind! Hudson REALLY needed some fall pants. He is so thin that last year he still wore some of his 24 month/2T pants during the winter months.  It wasn't until right around his birthday that they got short so he had very few pairs of 3T to start the fall.  Beau got a few things and of course, baby G did too! Thank you Carters! 

Sidenote: Andrew was quite impressed {although I don't know why because I tend to shop this way all the time when we have our kiddos} that I found a wardrobe practically for the boys in about 15 minutes.  More impressed was he when I had googled a coupon for said wardrobes before the cashier had completed ringing us up.  $50 off our entire purchase--he was pleased! #noshameinmygame

We passed Beau off to my in-laws as we made our way into the Disney Store.  Our main reason for stopping was that Andrew and I had decided we wanted to get the boys some figurines of their favorite characters as big brother gifts for when G arrives.  Little did we know, Hudson would spot a Planes: Fire and Rescue backpack and be smitten! I mean smitten people!! We had been talking to him about getting a backpack for preschool but this mama isn't a huge fan of character apparel so wasn't really planning to go that route.  But y'all, he put it on, went to a mirror and turned around looking back to admire.  *Melt. My. Heart.*  He would have worn it out the store I am sure.  He was so stinking proud of that purchase! 

Then we ran into one last store, because at this point, it was way past nap time and our kids {all four} were fading fast.  I had passed Aaron once pushing Paisley in a stroller, bogged down with bags himself so I know Jaci was in power shopping mode herself.

Under Armour was calling my name.  I love workout clothes.  Love them! Always have! But before, when I didn't really workout, I couldn't justify the expense.  Now however, I told Andrew I needed new "work" clothes for fall.  He really couldn't deny me that since my uniform pretty much consists of workout clothes and he is probably tired of seeing me in my high school tees I've rocked this summer since pregnancy trumps fashion when playing with toddlers all day! :) 

When we made it back to our room our kids were hot so we decided to take them to the pool to cool down.  Lila, Mimi and Uncle Aaron joined us.  I am not sure who had more fun, the kids or Uncle Aaron and Andrew, but needless to say they all enjoyed themselves! I even rocked my teeny bikini and played with boys while getting some sun.  Heavenly!

We bathed our boys and pulled out the sleeper sofa for them to watch a movie while Andrew and I got ready for dinner.  I don't think Beau made it five minutes into the movie! They were so tired! 

That evening we went out for BBQ and ice cream and walked around some shops.  We all went to bed pretty early since the next day would be an earlier start.

Our boys were still sleeping when we drove to dinner!

Monday, after breakfast, we loaded up and headed to Table Rock Lake.  We had put in to rent a boat for the morning.  The weather was beautiful! Not a cloud in the sky! Not humid but warm enough already to want to be on the water! We brought some tubes and noodles with us and our kids all had their own life jackets.  It was so much fun! I love boating! My family used to boat every summer on our vacations so I have really fond memories.  And Hudson was his true self, jumping right into the water.  It took him a little bit to warm up; jumping into Andrew's arms, jumping off the side with Andrew, jumping off by himself, to eventually Andrew throwing him into the water.  And I don't mean a little toss.  Hudson got launched.  And LOVED it!! He was such a little fish! The water was perfect temperature and so clear.  Beau was a fan too..again..if he was with mama. But he also liked to play on the boat with Lila and the water squirters.  Paisley had fallen asleep, again. {It must have  been the lull of the boats!}

We were on the lake for about 4 hours.  Just as we were coming in to the dock did it start to get really busy.  And HOT! I am so glad we went out that morning and not during the afternoon!  When we got back to the rooms, we made lunch and then bathed the boys. I for sure thought they would pass right out in our bed with a movie on for a long nap.  I mean, they were non stop for the last 6 hours.  So I jumped in the shower and then did a little work and started my next book.  About 20 minutes into reading, both boys came around the corner.  I think the only one who had fallen asleep was Daddy because he came around the corner a few  minutes later looking quite sleepy! Our nieces, and everyone else, were still asleep so we took our  boys on a drive, looking for something to keep us occupied.  It turned out they just needed to get comfy because they both passed out in the car.  

We ordered pizza that night and then about 8 o' clock Andrew and I packed up the van to head home.  We originally were going to leave after breakfast on Tuesday morning but Hudson had preschool open house Tuesday night, our fridge was empty, and this mama was craving her own bed.  So we drove through the night, which I prefer anyway, and got home a little before two.  Andrew already had Tuesday off so we had a late breakfast, got caught up around the house and had a lazy day before Hudson's open house that night.  

It was another really great weekend together.  I couldn't believe how many times I looked at Hudson and Beau and saw how BIG they were getting.  Beau still has such a baby look about him but every now and then I saw it- another big boy. And Hudson's independence blows me away.  It hurts to see how big they are getting but also made me thankful for our time away.  Made me mindful of how intentional Andrew and I need to be in our parenting.  And grateful that soon I would have another newborn to snuggle when I feel like my boys are getting too big on me! ;) 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

4th of July

This month has been JAM-PACKED so I am taking some time to rewind and catch up.  I really do hope my boys will look back on this blog and read about our family, their childhood and everything to come.  A virtual scrapbook, one without the glue, stickers, and typical mess that would probably send me over the edge!

The weekend of the 4th we headed up north to join my in-laws, as well as Andrew's brother's family for a weekend at the water park near starved rock.  It was about a three hour trip for us and we only stopped once for a quick bathroom break and snacks.  {I'd say that is pretty good for an 8 month pregnant woman and two toddlers}

We got in around lunch time and picnicked in a park before checking into our suite.  It was really like a condo with a full kitchen, an upper and lower floor, two bathrooms.  It was great because it allowed us all to be in one area so we had lots of family time.  We changed our kiddos {my nieces are stair-stepped with our boys: Lila- two months younger than Hudson and Paisley-about 2 weeks younger than Beau) into their swimsuits and headed towards the water park.

The lodge had this cute little train that picked up people that were staying in the condos versus the lodge attached to the park.  It was hit with our train loving boys.  The water park was also indoors which turned out to be a blessing because it was not typical 4th of July weather.  By the evenings it was chilly out, so I appreciated the water park being indoors and heated. :)

Our boys showed no fear and got right into the water.  I knew Hudson loved the water but oh my he has turned into quite the fish.  No fear! Went under water, didn't want anyone to hold his hand or get to close.  He wanted to swim on his own! Now, the child has never had swimming lessons and I use the term "swim" loosely but he sure was happy in the wave pool chest deep, trying to keep afloat! Beau didn't seem to mind the water either.  He liked to stay close to his mama but that is typical anywhere! Both boys loved the slide they had.  Beau developed a feet first on his belly technique and Hudson tried every which way possible; feet first, on his belly, face first-- he didn't care!

They water park featured slides for older kids too but ours weren't tall enough. There was also a lazy river and play area that featured sprayers and dump buckets.  Our boys played there for a few hours before heading back to our suite for dinner! They were definitely tired by the end of that day!

Saturday morning we got up and around to breakfast and made another trip to the water park.  I seriously think Hudson could have been there open to close.  Beau was ready for a break after a couple of hours. It worked out to be about lunch time so we headed back to feed our boys with the rest of the group who had already returned.  Beau went down for a nap and Hudson went with Andrew and Papa Sam to see Starved Rock. This mama sat in the sun and read the latest Nicholas Sparks book, The Longest Ride.  It was bliss, I tell you, bliss!!

As we prepped dinner, the kids played outside with bubbles, colored, did stickers.  It is so fun to have cousins so close in age! {We actually have it that way on both sides!} Then we headed for ice cream and set up to watch the fire works! I simply love fireworks and love experiencing them with our boys. It was fun to watch Hudson oooh and ahhh over the display of color in the sky! Beau seemed to like them too, except they both covered their ears during the finale! :)

The next morning we packed up the car after breakfast and headed home.  It was such a quick but fun little weekend away.  I am always grateful for time that we can be with our extended family; time that we can build memories and invest in our boys.  I know that these years will pass so quickly so I am completely ok with jamming in lots of fun even though it can be exhausting!

I was so bad about taking photos on this trip but we were in the water so much that I didn't want to mess with my camera or phone.  I just wanted to soak in the moments with my boys.  I did take a few...
Terrible lighting but the boys and I made Mix and Match Mama's Red, White and Blue Rice Krispie treats to take to share here

Near the lodge was an amusement park area. Super blurry but Hudson and Beau rode the slide (Beau with daddy)

Getting some ice cream 

Friday, July 18, 2014

We're Off!

Another weekend in July and this family is packing up and hitting the road..again!

The weekend of the fourth {which I have yet to blog about} we were out of town. Last weekend we were home for our photos. And today we are heading out for a mini vacation with Andrew's side of the family.  We are hitting up Branson, MO.  We have some plans but if anyone out there has some things they just LOVE to do in Branson-- send them my way! Totally open to ideas!

I don't know about you but I love little get-aways. I've also seem to realized that before our get-aways, I have quite the routine.

Empty Hampers
Before we leave, I like to have all the laundry done. I will even do a small load if need be just so all my baskets are empty.  My theory behind this is that we always will bring home some dirty laundry.  Even if our condo or where we are staying has a washer and dryer, there will be some dirty laundry.  Who wants to come home with a ton of dirty laundry from vacation on top of the dirty laundry that has sat in your laundry baskets while you were gone. Not this girl.  I just get it done.

Empty Dishwasher
This philosophy is simple.  Do you really want your dirty dishes, no matter how well you rinsed before loading them, sitting the dark, dank dishwasher the entire time you are gone.  No? Me either.  We always run in the night before and empty it in the morning.  We do that and then have a super simple breakfast and hand wash everything before leaving.

Clean sweep
As I pack a room, I like to do a clean sweep of the room.  Wipe down the bathroom counters and floor, vacuum the living room, pick up stray toys, socks, etc.  That scene from Home Alone of that family just trying to get out the door in panic mode, and then Kevin wakes up and the kitchen is spotless--not reality. I do not want to be packing and throwing things together and then walk in after a nice relaxing trip to a train wreck.  Not good for this clean(ish)-freak mama. ;)

New Books
I love to read in the car, by the pool, at night after the boys go to bed.  I just love reading but feel like reading on vacation is just a must.  Before we go I always download 2-3 new books to have in addition to the ones I am currently reading.  I don't always stay up on the latest released because, I mean, let's be real, I don't have time for that, but I do try to vary the authors even though I have my favorite go-to's.

I haven't done it as much this summer because it seems like all the trips back home this past holiday season and spring have made me quite the packer (I literally packed my boys and myself for 5 days in about 15 minutes) but usually, I pack from a list.  I write out all the things the boys will need, I will need, toiletries, snacks, etc.  I do this about a week or two before said trip so I can add to the list as I think of other items I missed the first go around.  Then I use this list to pack and check off the items as they are packed.  It sure helps me remember the little things, especially if the trip is going to be more specific where some key items would be needed versus a little weekend away.

I'd like to say I get a trip to the salon before our trips but that doesn't always happen.  Irregardless I always like to have freshly painted toes and nails.  I have no idea why but I do! I just love it!! Especially in summer time!

What about you? Are there any pre-trip rituals or routines? I'd love to hear them! Happy Friday and happy weekend friends!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Family of 4.5

Hello, dear friends!! I have been terrible about taking the time to sit down and blog but goodness it has been so busy at our house this month and this is no sign of things slowing down until baby arrives! I have been reading y'alls blogs when I get a chance.  I so love reading the blogs of others that I follow! They are fun and insightful and engaging! 

Anyway, I really need to go back to the weekend of the 4th and blog about our fun weekend away but that just seems like more work than I want to put into a post tonight if I'm being honest! 

So I will go ahead and share with you all some of my favorite photos from our family/maternity session last Saturday!

Family pictures typically make me a little anxious just because, well, I mean, we want great photos.  We want photos that capture our family and personalities, that show our love and that are just natural am I right? So I get anxious if the boys will cooperate, if the weather will be good, etc, etc.  Well, none of that this time.  One of my very closest friends is an AMAZING photographer and did our last set of family pictures (when I was pregnant with Beau).  She was out of commission for a bit, busy carrying and adjusting to life with triplets (she's a super mom y'all) but she is back behind the lens and I am so stinking thankful! My boys love her so they weren't too shy. And because I know her I didn't get bent out of shape when my boys weren't super cooperative every single second.  A relaxed shoot is just the way to go!

We met her Saturday evening to do some outdoor shots. I love it when pictures don't look to posed or formal.  I love beautiful lighting and backgrounds. And Teran has an eye for all things beautiful. 

So without further adieu, here are some of my favorite shots.  I can't wait for when baby G actually arrives to do some newborn shots and get our first photos are a family of five!!! Whoa--crazy! 

**If you are in the central IL/IL area and are looking for a photographer, I highly recommend TEP.  She is a beautiful person and has such a talent.  

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Room Redo: Nursery #3

We are getting so close to meeting our newest edition.  Our third boy.  I can't believe we are having another boy but honestly, every day I think it is so fitting.  I adore being a mom to my boys and can't wait to see how this next one fits into our family.

The only downfall of three boys--is three boys! I struggled to decide what to do for a nursery.  We battled and racked our brains (and google) for name ideas.  It was just harder.  We did a really themed nursery for Hudson, a simple nursery for Beau (just really bedding and some wall decor).  For this baby, I decided I wanted decor and elements that were classic.  I knew the colors immediately.  We were using the same glider we used with our other two and we switched out Hudson's dresser to a different one.  So we bought a new crib to match the deep wood of the pieces we had.

We went with a blue grey {definitely came out more blue but I love it} for the walls.  It really warmed up the room.  I didn't want to really do a bedding set this time.  One- I just couldn't find one I liked in the color scheme I liked. And two- I just wanted it more simple, less fussy.  So I bought a bed skirt and lots of crib sheets in different patterns in our color scheme. The blanket is actually a really soft throw.  We also added a rug for a pop of color and pattern. I loved doing this.

I've always liked to think of our boys as little  men.  So when I was thinking of decor ideas, I wanted masculine elements but nothing too intense.

So without further adieu, here it is, our sweet boy's nursery!

As you walk in..

Still searching for a lamp shade. If you see a rusty orange one send it my way!
Also need to add more decor to the shelves. I am thinking a stats sign after he is born and maybe a piggy bank with his name since our other boys have them also. I also can't wait to fill that frame with a picture of my THREE boys!

I can't wait to rock sweet baby G in this spot!

This photo does not do the cuteness of it justice.  I seriously adore the painting we found of the lab. 

The soft throw and patterned sheets. 

Can you guess his name?  It obviously begins with G.

Gabe Samuel Bruce

We are so ready for our sweet boy to arrive!

Wood Frame- Hobby Lobby
Metal G - Hobby Lobby
Shelves - Hobby Lobby
Shelf Decor- various
Throw - Target
Pillow - Target
Sheet- Target (other sheets here and here)
Curtains- Target
Rug - Kohl's
Deer Head - Z Gallerie
Lab Painting - Etsy
boy sign- Etsy