Photo Friday

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Last week when I picked up Noah from school his teacher pulled me aside and said she needed to talk to me about something. My first thought was, aw crap. He was always well-behaved at preschool but my brain automatically goes to the worst case scenario. Luckily, she had awesome news. She had chosen Noah as the first student to receive the “Distinguished Coyote” award from her classroom. His school mascot a coyote, just so that makes sense. In order to receive the award, students need to show excellent academic effort, citizenship and behavior. I got all the feels and got teary so she probably thinks I’m crazy know. Oh well. untitled-3
We were invited to attend the assembly where he got the award. He didn’t know he was getting the award  or that we would be there so it was a fun surprise all around for him. He received a medal and has proceeded to only take it off at bedtime. He said “I didn’t know I was going to get it, then I did. I’m so happy.” And he was so proud of himself. What an encouraging, uplifting thing for a kid.
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The most important thing in my life is raising my children to be kind, loving, giving, respectful, open and understanding people. I work hard everyday to instill these things in them. I try to teach through example and sometimes I fail because I’m surely not perfect. And sometimes they don’t say thank you or react with anger because they certainly aren’t perfect either. But on this day, I felt like I was doing something right with this parenting gig. Like the proof was in the pudding. My kid was chosen first out of 23 kids. Those that know me well know I’m not one to brag or draw attention to myself, I actually do everything possible to avoid such things, but I’m just so dang proud of my boy. And it helps remind me on those days where I just don’t think I can take another minute of the attitude or bickering or non-stop chatter that I am successful in raising a good human being. I’ve told myself many times this past week “remember he won the coyote award, he’s a good kid we’re just having a bad moment, don’t beat yourself up about it.”And it allows me to give myself a little grace when I lose my patience or need to go hide in the closet with a cup of coffee just so I can have a moment of silence. untitled-5
Today, and always, I’m proud of my boy. For who he is and who he’s becoming. He’s kind of the most amazing 5 year old ever.

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Photo Friday

Have you ever heard of tanking? You basically float down the river in a stock tank. The lazy man’s canoeing. Perhaps a little red neck? Don’t hate. It’s apparently a Nebraska thing but I hadn’t heard of it until last year. On Sunday we officially became Nebraskans and went tanking down the Elkhorn River.
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There were lots of sand bars where we stopped to get out and run around. As you can see, the kids loved it. Hannah was getting a little ornery at one point on the tank and my mom told her she was going to throw her in and Hannah ran reached for her and said “yeah yes.” That’s how she says yes, little weirdo. These kids are little fishes.

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There was a lot of clay on the boundaries of the sand bars so the boys of course had to explore in it.
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We’re soaking up the last bits of summer here and hope you are too!

Photo Friday

Kitchen Craziness
I posted this photo on my social media earlier this week. This is literally the size of my kitchen. With how much I cook, I don’t know what I was thinking when I agreed to this house. Well, the thought was to eventually blow out the wall and take over the formal dining room then simply have the eat in kitchen for meals. We’re not fancy so no need for a big fancy dining room just a place for us to sit down together every night. I wish I was here to tell you that was happening, hah. It’s not. Just showing you what I’m working with.

And isn’t the middle of the kitchen the perfect place to color at 5:15 in the evening? Not the kids table in the eat-in kitchen literally 5 feet away. But I shouldn’t complain because they were actually being nice to each other. And they just want to be with me. But seriously, if I got one more stink eye for stepping on the coloring book. Really children, because I’m the one in your way? Those two are something else but it’s my crazy train and I love it.

Photo Friday

Noah’s first day of Kindergarten was on Wednesday. All of Tuesday I pretty much felt like I was going to vomit. Wednesday morning came and as he was hanging up his backpack in his classroom he told me, “this is the most exciting day ever.”
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Although his excitement helped ease the sting, I still couldn’t keep it together. I knew he would be awesome but I just couldn’t get past the fact that a huge stage in his childhood is over. Gah, it still makes me teary. He’s not my little boy anymore and I won’t have the same time I had with him before. I heard this song while working out the day before school started and it totally resonated with how I was feeling and I did my best to not cry as I figured I’d get some pretty weird looks. untitled-1
“I close both of my eyes and say my thank yous to each and every moment….I go where I know the love is and let it fill me up inside gathering new strength from sorrow.”
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“I pause, I take a breath, and bow and I let that chapter end.” Damn you Jason Mraz.

But I’m trying to focus on the positives, all he’s going to learn, the friendships he will make, his growing independence and the time I will have with Hannah. It was so quiet that first morning. Creepily so. But then we picked him up, got home and it was the usual utter chaos and I wondered why I hadn’t cherished that quiet time a little more.

We have quite a journey ahead and we’re all excited to see where it takes us!

Photo Friday

Today I’m sharing some more photos from our vacation. I loved all the wildflowers and these were some of my favorites.
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All kinds of crazy cave formations.
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One morning we took a big hike around the property where we were staying. They had 40 acres and built several trails along their land.
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Hiking to Caramount Falls.

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She needed to have both hands held. Silly girl.
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It was a long, uphill battle but we made it. He had to check out everything with his binoculars.

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Want a bite of Larabar?
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Walking across the freezing cold creek. About 20 times.
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We went to the Royal Gorge where I almost had my first panic attack. Hah, I’m sure I was quite a sight. I walked about 40 slow, calculated steps down the very middle of the bridge. Then the panic took over and I told the boys to go across and we would wait for them. I turned around and quickly started walking, which turned into a slight jog then sprint by the end of the bridge. Totally wasn’t conquering the fear that day.

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Instead of crossing the bridge, we took selfies.
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She was determined to get to every rock, ledge and potential hazard. Because I didn’t freak out enough already.

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All the sun and adventure took it out of her.
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We went to the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center and it was incredible. The kids weren’t huge fans but we really learned a lot. Day 7
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They caught a branch…

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A storm was rolling in on our last night which resulted in a rainbow and gorgeous sunset.
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I’m not big on nature but you just can’t beat that.

Photo Friday

We had a blast on vacation last week in Colorado. I took about 800 pictures so took awhile to sift through and edit them. I’m going to share some of my favorites with you today.

On our first day, my 29th birthday, we went to Elitch Gardens in Denver. It ended up being a pretty stressful, grumpy day but it was nice to get it out of the way (isn’t there always one of those days on vacation?). The kids got up at 5:45, it rained, all the rides closed and the kids were wild. But they did have a blast on most of the rides before the rain. The tea cups were definitely the favorite and this ride was the least. I loved it but Noah wasn’t too fond of the fast spinning and going sideways.
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Day 2 was Noah’s 5th birthday so we decided to ride the cog train up Pike’s Peak. When we got there, it was sold out…for the day. I had a moment of panic but they put us on the waiting list and we were able to get on the next departure. Apparently a lot of people make reservations then end up not showing because of altitude sickness and such.
Day 3We had a great ride up and Noah actually fell asleep. People, this never happens so it was a little birthday miracle. Clouds started to roll in as we approached the top so we didn’t get a great view but that was ok with me since I’m terrified of heights. Day 3
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My parents, Noah and I didn’t react well to the extreme altitude so we were thankful it was a short stop before heading back down the mountain. We had a great time though and couldn’t leave the top without trying the “world famous donuts.” Well, we weren’t impressed. To each their own. Day 3
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The next day we went to The Gardens of the Gods and Cave of the Winds. Before we started exploring, we had a picnic lunch. We also stopped by the visitors center and of course had to stop to check out the trucks with Uncle Trey. Day 4
Here’s the girl exploring.
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I was fascinated by these. They looked like giant dandelions, or wishers as we call them. Like something you would see in a Dr. Seuss book. Day 4
Hiking on the rocks at Garden of the Gods.
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I don’t know why but this makes me laugh. Day 4

Breaking rules and being goobers. Day 4
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This is turning out to be a super long post so I think I’ll share the rest of vacation with you all next Friday. Sunday Inspiration will be back this weekend so keep an eye out for it!

Photo Friday

We celebrated Noah’s 5th birthday on Saturday with a sports party. It was unbearably hot so we didn’t get to play outside as much as we would have liked but it was still a good time. We even got to end the celebration with his last t-ball game of the season.

Just to warn you, this week’s post is a lot more picture heavy than usual. I just couldn’t narrow it down to a reasonable amount of pictures.

I love a good theme party so for the favors we went with baseball, peanuts and cracker jacks tied together with a whistle. Sorry parents.
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Delicious {store-bought} kettle corn, a baseball glove filled with bubble gum and some fun sports shaped candies. We used this candy mold and candy melts to make them. He made them all by himself, except for the microwaving.
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Side note: when Noah was little he asked if he could have gum and we told him he had to be 5. We just picked a random age, not thinking he would remember. But our little rule lover (not that he loves all the rules but he’s very much of a 1st born personality and likes to have clear boundaries set) remembered and has been waiting for the big 5 so he could have gum. So of course I had to buy the huge bucket of Dubble Bubble for the occasion.

Here he is trying it for the first time. He was so excited.
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All the sports food {plus hot dogs and homemade lemonade not pictured}.
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Joel set up a bunch of different sports stations in the backyard. Noah's 5th BirthdayNoah's 5th BirthdayNoah's 5th Birthday

Presents.
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Funfetti cupcakes with cotton candy frosting, recipe coming soon.
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Pinata time.
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Sharing a seat at Noah’s t-ball game.
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