S is for…

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20 Weeks

  • You are getting really good at sitting up on your own!  It was a total accident that I discovered it too.  I haven’t really thought about having you sit up until the other day when I had you sitting between my legs and I realized you weren’t leaning on me at all.  You can sit up by yourself for a good 5 minutes or more before you lean too far one way and can’t recover.  :)
  • With all this crazy Oregon heat (I promise, it’s not normally like this), we have taken MANY trips to the beach lately.  You love just laying on the blanket and blinking into the salty breeze.

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  • We’ve also been on 2 camping trips already this summer (and have another just around the corner!).  One night, you were all sleeping in the tent and daddy and I were sitting around the fire still and we peeked in to check on you.  We discovered Asher (aka Cuddle Bug) had crawled into bed with you for a good snuggle-fest.


You didn’t really seem to mind… you love snuggling also!

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  • Asher insisted on feeding you, so I gave him a bottle and he laid on the floor to feed you.  You weren’t too sure what was going on, but you were a good sport.
  • You are the rolling queen.  I lay you on your back in your crib to sleep and within seconds, you’re on your hands and knees and crying because “how the heck am I supposed to sleep in this position mom?!”.  I go in and roll you back over, but you will roll over and get on hands and knees about 4 times before each sleep.  The other day, I gave up on rolling you back and you took a two hour nap on your tummy, after you’d given up and just laid your head down to sleep.  Asher was always a tummy sleeper too… Maybe you will sleep longer that way?!
  • You have gotten better about naps, praise Jesus!  You are sort of on a routine by now.  About an hour-ish after you first wake up, you take your second nap – which is about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes.  Then at 12:30 or 1, I lay you down for another nap when the boys go down and it’s often about 2 hours long.  Then, depending on what our evening looks like, you take either 2 short cat naps, or 1 more hour long nap.  Baby Girl…. I can’t say it enough.  Thank you for breaking out of your 45 min. napping streak.
  • You sure love your daddy.  It is so precious to watch.  He will look at you and say, “HI Sweet Girl!” and you catch his gaze, and you get this sweet, coy look on your face as you grin and shyly look away.  You love “face time” with daddy.
  • You also are really getting used to having 2 big bros.  They most often care for you well and lovingly, but they definitely can already pick on you and make you the topic of their jokes.  But you, for some reason, love it.  Usually I’m about ready to say, “ok, stop that boys!” when you just BUST UP in laughter.  I throw my hands in the air and give in.  Whatever, girlfriend.  Whatever.

You are almost FIVE months old, sweet thing!  Whooo!!

Calling All Writers!

Are you a writer, blogger, or just an avid reader in Oregon?  You may be interested in checking out the Oregon Writer’s Fair hosted by the Lebanon Writers’ Clique!

I had the chance to speak with some of the ladies from the Lebanon Writers’ Clique last month about blogging and they are a wonderful bunch!

The Oregon Writers’ Fair will be on July 18th from 10 am – 6 pm at the Adult & Teen Challenge campus in Shedd, Oregon.



 Come and support authors from all over Oregon!  Find new books to read, enjoy good food, and great company!


31700 Fayetteville Dr. Shedd, Oregon


· Local authors · Food · Entertainment · Fun · Family Friendly · Free!

(No ticket or reservation needed unless you are an author requesting a table. All proceeds from concession stand go to Adult and Teen Challenge.)

On another note…

If you’re a blogger local to the Pacific Northwest, I am inviting you to join us in discussion on the Willamette Valley Local Bloggers Facebook Group!


I’ve just started it in the last month but I wanted a place where local bloggers can gather, discuss, ask questions, get feedback, etc. about our own blogs.  No matter how big or small, how often you post, how much of a “legit blogger” you feel – you are welcome to join!  :)

Loving my writing/blogging community and hoping to see who else is out there that I haven’t yet discovered has a knack for writing!

{Kids Play} West Coast Game Park Safari

As a mom to busy young kids, I’m always looking for ways to burn off some of that cooped up energy!  (And often, the cheaper, the better.)  Knowing I can’t possibly be alone in this hunt, I wanted to give you (local) readers some reviews on the places we have discovered and are still discovering.  I always love when I stumble upon a list of ideas of where to take my family for a fun outing and hope this (ongoing!) list proves helpful to you as well.

All of my reviews will be categorized as “Kids Play” if you want to search for all of the places we’ve discovered!  Also, I was in no way compensated for any of these reviews. These are just my honest opinions about our adventures!


West Coast Game Park Safari

(Bandon, Oregon)

We were recently planning a trip to Wildlife Safari and camping in the general region, and then 90+ degree weather hit and it wasn’t looking to cool down if we ventured to Southern Oregon.  Having heard about a “similar to Wildlife Safari” place in Bandon, we shifted vacation plans and headed towards the small coastal town and cooler temps.

We found a really great State Park right there in Bandon (Bullards Beach State Park) where we rented a yurt.  On one of our days camping, we headed the 9 miles or so south just outside of Bandon, to the West Coast Game Park Safari.

I have to admit, upon driving up and seeing a small gravel parking lot in front of a giant wood fence and a smallish looking house, I immediately felt a little unsure of what I had gotten ourselves into.  I had heard from numerous people that it was “similar to Wildlife Safari” so I didn’t even bother to research it any further.  I was expecting a drive through experience like at Wildlife Safari but as soon as we arrived, I knew that wasn’t the case.

We parked, got out and wandered into the house-like building.  It was a small gift shop and a young lady behind the counter.  Still a little unsure what we were even getting ourselves into, I was a little hesitant to pay the admission cost which was around $55 for our family (2 adults, 1 four year old, 1 two year old and an infant).  We bought a couple cones to feed the animals for $1 each also.

As we walked through the back door of the house into the game park, I knew our money was well spent.  Immediately we saw monkeys, wallaby’s, foxes and a few other critters.  We were able to get up close and personal with them!  This felt like a very intimate zoo or petting zoo.  Like a “behind the scene’s” look at these wild creatures.

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See the joey in her pouch?!

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After seeing these few animals, you can push through another gate and all of the sudden, you are fully immersed in wildlife.  Goats, deer, sheep, peacocks, llama and donkey are just roaming freely.  I know Zeek was in heaven getting to see all these deer right up close like that.

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Asher was (understandably) a little unsure of all these huge animals right next to him, so his daddy pulled him up on his shoulders for a less frightening feeding of the deer.


However, he quickly decided he didn’t want to feed these deer and held the cone up as high as he could.


Daddy started walking, Asher still holding the cone above his head, and all the animals just started following…


…and following…


…and following.  Skyler said he felt like Evan Almighty.


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This was Asher’s reaction every time we set him down and then a deer would start wandering over to him.  “Get me outta here!”




First time in history that Zeek was like, “MOM!  Take a picture of me!”  He is obsessed with birds and peacock’s are pretty high up on his list of cool.

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They had special petting areas where they brought out different animals. We got to pet the little black bear cubs, ferrets, a baby fox, baby opossum, and even a baby skunk.

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It was unreal how close these animals were!  It was so cool to be able to watch them and their mannerisms up close.

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Some sort of bird eggs that we found…


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Now let me break it down…

Name: West Coast Game Park Safari (Bandon, OR)
Website: http://www.westcoastgameparksafari.com/

Children under 2 – Free
Children (Ages 2-6) – $7.00
Children (Ages 7-12) – $10.00
Adults (Ages 13+) – $17.50
Seniors (Ages 60+) – $16.50
AAA, Military, etc. Discount – 10%

Cleanliness:  The grounds were very well kept – other than the to-be-expected animal droppings from the free roaming animals.  However, even with that, we saw several zookeepers walking around constantly sweeping up and removing the droppings.  The animals all looked well taken care of.

SafetyNo safety concerns!  There WAS one episode where a big male deer was a little aggressive with my feeding cone.  He cornered me against a fence and was pressing his head into me until I gave him my feeding cones.  We had just bought 2 more cones for the boys to feed the animals and this male deer bullied his way to the 2 cones before I even had the chance to hand them off to my boys.  Zeek was mildly annoyed and didn’t like the “mean deer”…

Employees: The staff were all friendly and very knowledgeable.  The front gal seemed a little less than thrilled to be at her job and could use a bit more pep in her step to really greet folks coming in and explain how the park works, but she wasn’t UNfriendly.

Other: They had many many more animals than I’m showing you with my photos!  They had black panther, elk, llama, camels, bobcat, leopard, cougar, emu, capybaras.  TONS of animals to see!

Cons:  Very very minor, but worth noting… A few of these cages had some “camera hole openings” in their fences so you could stick your camera through for a picture without getting fencing material in the shot.  Such a great idea!  Except most of the holes were high up and at 5’2″, I was too short to reach to put my camera through the holes.  :(  Also… could work on curb appeal so that newcomers are confident that they are coming to something spectacular, and not just a thrown together mom and pop petting zoo.

Rating: A, suited for all ages

Overall, we really enjoyed our time there and are really looking forward to going back.  The boys loved the animals and talked about it for days.  I think Zeek’s dream came true when seeing the deer so up close and personal.  He also loved seeing the huge elk and black bear and the white tiger was his favorite.  I am *pretty* sure they have buy one get one deals in the Entertainment coupon book, so I think I may buy one this fall when it’s released and we can try to go back again next summer.  It’s worth it even at full price, but at half price would be even better! :)

Thanks West Coast Game Park, we had a great experience and family fun day!

R is for…


My word!  There were too many cute ones to choose from this week!

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Your big brother sure loves cuddling with you.  He loves to squish you and with his teeth clenched, says “CHUNK!”  I’m so so SO sorry if that name sticks with you for a while.  It was him.  Not me.


Good grief.  No wonder so many people always say to me, “you can definitely tell she’s an Anderson.”  I guess we make little clones.  :)


You and your BFF Ivory.  You guys sure love each other!


Girl… someday you may find yourself in the same situation and you may realize that mama usually stays behind the camera and doesn’t get in many photos.  I realized that someday when you’re grown, you may want some photos of you and your mom.  So I’m doing my best to rectify that when I can and will be snapping some pics of us together.  Here you go:


19 Weeks

  • Grandma pointed out to me this week that your thumbs are double jointed.  Not sure how I didn’t see this before, because now that I’ve seen it, I can’t un-see it.  Holy cow girl.  It’s insane looking.IMG_3428
  • It still weirds me out looking at you deeply sometimes (or especially in photos) because girlfriend – in the same way that I’ve always said looking into Asher’s eyes is like looking into your daddy’s eyes, it’s the same with you.  Looking into your eyes is like somehow looking into my own.  Blows my mind.  I’ll have to dig some of my photos out soon and do some side by sides.
  • You’re either having a growth spurt, or you’re breaking your 45 min. nap streak (that’s lasted 2.5 months now)!  You’ve had a couple hour and 15 and even one 2 hour nap in the last couple weeks!
  • You still go down so easily.  In bed, binky, lovie in arms, blanket on top, and you roll to your side and close your eyes.  Done and done.  Thanks for being so easy on your mama.  Lord knows I need it after Asher.  (Shhhhh, don’t tell him.  I still love him.)
  • I think you’re leveling out a bit in your growth – praise Jesus.  I was getting super sad that all these cute clothes you had, you were only fitting into for a few weeks!!
  • This past week, I posted a photo of you in a box and called it a ghetto exersaucer.  You seemed to wanted to sit up and play with toys and it’s what I had, so into a box you went.IMG_3465
  • A few days later, my sweet friend Katie told me, “so um, I saw the picture of Ellery in a box.  I have an exersaucer I was going to get rid of… can I give it to you?!”  *laughing tears* hahahahah, WHOOPS, wasn’t meaning to play the “cry for help” card.  You seemed just fine in your box, but you LOVE your new-to-you exersaucer!  Thanks Katie! ;)IMG_3521
  • Many moons ago (ok, 5 years ago exactly), I was pregnant with your big brother Zeek.  We didn’t know if we had an Ezekiel or an Ellery in my belly and so I bought a few girl and boy items that were my favorites.  This was one sweet shirt that I bought for my Ellery.  I so so love to be able to see it on you now – 5 years later!


Love you, little dumpling!

Q is for…


4 months old already?!  Say what?


I just had to take a pic of you in my favorite dress!  Also. Girlfriend is officially obsessed with sticking her tongue out!

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Ellery June (4 mo) & Eila Grace (2 mo)

Cousins, and future friends… whenever they get a chance to meet.  :)

18 Weeks

  • You are seriously obsessed with your tongue these days and I can hardly sneak a picture of you without it poking out!
  • You have reverted back to your blow out days and are going through 3-4 outfits a day again.  What in the world?!
  • You’re getting to be a pro at pulling your binky out and putting it back in.
  • You play in your Johnny Jump Up a lot – you love just standing in that thing.  The door frame you are in is perfect because you can watch your bros in the play room, your mama in the kitchen, and the leaves out the window.  Entertainment for days.
  • You’re sort of sinking into routine.  You still don’t nap longer than EXACTLY 45 min at a time, but you probably take 4-6 naps a day.  Those are fairly random – except one is always 45-60 min after you first wake up, and another is at 12/12:30 when the boys nap too.
  • You go to bed around 8:15-8:30 every night and usually I nurse you once or twice at night, and you wake up about 8:30-9 in the morning.
  • You are SO easy to go to sleep though – so your 45 min naps don’t bother me as much as they could. ;)  You just start arching your head back when you are tired.  We go lay you down, give you a binky, and a stuffed animal to cuddle (either of your two bunnies or your lamp), cover you with a blanket and you almost immediately arch your head back and close your eyes to sleep.
  • You love “face time” with daddy.  He holds you and looks into your eyes and tells you all sorts of lovely things, and you just look deep into his eyes, grin and coo at him.  You love to be loved!
  • You also do this thing where when someone is looking at you and smiling, and you catch their gaze, your do a quick upward shift of your eyebrows and break out into a huge grin.  It’s the best.

Loving seeing more and more of you as your personality is starting to develop and shine through!  You are a true JOY, Ellery June!

Goonies Day & Beach Mini Vacation

For the last couple of months, we have really felt called to lay a few things/commitments down and walk into a season of rest.  We’ve stopped our paintball tournament business, which we have owned and operated for 6 years.  We’ve stepped back from our position as leaders for Young Life.  Skyler wrapped up his Bachelors of Science of Nursing degree a couple weeks ago.  Literally the only things on our plate now is Skyler working 3 days a week at the hospital and my involvement with our local MOPS group.  No other commitments, no other obligations or running around.  Rest.  We finally get to rest after 6 years of many many obligations.  It feels weird and surreal.  There’s much more to be said about it – but later.  :)

In this season of rest, we decided to kick it off with a last minute mini-vacay.

We had learned that the Goonies 30th anniversary was coming up and they were having a weekend festival in celebration in Astoria – the main town where the movie was filmed.  We aren’t Goonies fanatics by any means, but being local Oregonians, we figured it would be silly to not go when so many people were flying in from around the world for the event.

We woke up early Saturday morning last week and started the 3 hour drive to Astoria.  The sun was rising and shining, 3 peaceful children in the back of the van who were excited to see the pirate ship there, I had hot coffee in my hand, sunglasses on my face, and a handsome man in the drivers seat next to me.  It was a goood start to our day.  :)


Our first stop was checking out the Lady Washington pirate ship (which was used in Pirates of the Caribbean, Once Upon a Time and a few other films).   The boys had been looking forward to this all week.  It’s been 2 years since first loving pirates and they’re still at it!

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Dad and his little dudes.


Blurry picture, but had to post.  Asher was SO excited to find a pirate map!

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I just love this cool kid!  Strutting along… :)

Then we headed to check out some of the Goonies adventures they were having.  For having several thousand extra people in such a small town for the weekend, it sure didn’t seem near as crowded as we anticipated (other than some backed up traffic on the main road).


At the Goonies house.  We’d been there a number of times before, but you know.  If you’re IN Astoria on Goonies Weekend… you kind of have to go see it again.  It’d be a tragedy not to.

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After we Gooned out for a while, had lunch and schlepped the kids around town, we loaded everyone back up in the van and headed south to Newport beach.  We had gotten a hotel for the evening to be able to just relax, swim, sleep and wake up the next morning to go clamming in our favorite spot in Newport on Yaquina Bay.


Check out this little dumpling in her first suit!  It’s a 9 month suit and quite snug.  *crying inside*

We braved “Barefoot Clamming” this time, as we had watched several people do before us… and this particular day, the muck seemed especially hard to walk with boots in… so we all shed ours.  And… yuck, is all I can say.

Here’s my sentiments about it that I shared on Instagram:

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After a long morning of clamming, we were all starving!  We headed north towards Lincoln City (the direction we eventually would have to drive to get home anyway), and made an impulse stop at Artic Circle.  I hadn’t been since I was a young kid and all the sudden a burger and shake sounded awesome.  Did you know they have something like “mini cones” for only $.35 and they’re the PERFECT size for a toddler!?

Then we wanted to hit up a beach that neither of us had been to in years – Fogarty Beach – in between Newport and Lincoln City.

The sand was more coarse (isn’t it funny how different sand can be just a couple miles apart?!) and there was a creek with rocks in it.  We knew the boys would love adventuring around there.

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Zeek found a kite handle, aka “fishing pole” and stood on this rock casting his line and trying to catch fish for the good part of the afternoon.  Sad to say, he didn’t catch any.  But I couldn’t burst his bubble that there weren’t any fish in this creek – he was just way too excited about the prospect of it.


Then daddy got in on the adventure and they started “clamming” and digging for fish in the sand.  At least they found some cool shells when they started digging.  :)

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Asher, trying his hand at “fishing”.

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And then!  Boat races!  Daddy struck gold in that genius idea.


They followed their boats down the creek and then snatched them up, brought them back and raced them again.

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Oh yea, and we’re here too!  I had to document that I was actually on this trip also… (Any mama’s out there relate?! haha)


Yes, and this little munchkin was there too – though she spent most of her afternoon sleeping on me.

We had such a great little impromtu, short, but fun mini vacation!  It’d been too long since we’ve done much of anything like that.  With Skyler finishing up his loooooooong earned degree a couple weeks ago, a celebration and vacation was definitely in order! ;)

P is for…

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17 Weeks

  • Girly Bob!  You are continuing to grow up into one feminine looking version of your big brother Zeek!  If it weren’t for all the pink, I know I would have a hard time in the future telling baby pictures of you two apart!
  • You have been finding your tongue and spending your days sticking it out at your brothers.
  • When taking these pictures, your daddy just grinned ear to ear and said, “oh darling girl!  This is my most favorite outfit I’ve seen you in yet!”  Mom laughed, thinking I’ve put you in so many cute outfits already and what made this one so special?!  He said it was something about the pretty pale pink, the dainty white undershirt, and the cute pink bow.  It melted him.
  • You can pull your binky out now and often put it back in your mouth by yourself.
  • Nicknames you’ve developed: El, Ellie Bell, Ellery Bellery, Elleroo, Gordita (I’ll tell daddy to stop with this one…), and Zeek’s favorite – Roo.

Love you, Baby Girl!

Motherhood makes you an emotional sap.

Just yesterday, Skyler and I were commenting on how grown up Zeek looked in his cargo shorts with his thinned out legs.  How tall he looked.  How much he looked like a 5 year old or some far off age.  And then we both smacked each other in the forehead.  I guess he IS 4 and a half.  He IS almost a 5 year old.  No wonder why he looks like one.  When did he stop being a toddler?!

I’m not sure what it is about motherhood that makes one an emotional sap, but it’s hit me and it’s hit me hard.  Especially when I’m sitting at the kitchen table and Zeek comes to talk to me and his head is a good 10 inches above the table – and all I can do when I look at him is remember when he could barely peer over the tabletop, even on his tip toes.  Especially when I see Asher sleeping with his dad and instead of the little baby balled up in daddy’s armpit like he used to be, his body stretches halfway down Skyler’s.  Especially when I look at Ellery and think, “good grief.  I can’t hardly even remember Zeek and Asher being this little.”  It wasn’t even that long ago.  But I still can hardly remember.  Thank goodness for being in the era of digital photos to jog my memory.

The other day, I was continuing my “spring cleaning” purge and listed a well-worn pair of Robeez shoes on one of the Facebook group pages to sell, because I knew I wouldn’t be putting Ellery in them.


Not long after I posted, I saw that magical word “sold” appear underneath them.  And as soon as I saw that 4 letter word, I had a mini panic.  “Wait what?!  Oh my gosh.  I can’t sell these.  Asher wore these.”  Not just wore them but lived in them from ages 6 months to about 16 months.  And while most of Asher’s babydom is a blur because of all the colicky screaming, these little shoes are one memory I do have.  A good memory, at that.  Good memories, I really needed to hold on to and treasure.

So in a quick effort, I emailed the girl that wrote sold.  To her, they were just cheap hand me down shoes.  But to me, these little shoes carried a soul of their own.  I had made a mistake.  I needed to keep them.  My mama heart just didn’t realize I needed to keep them until it was almost too late.  Thankfully the other gal was a mama also and understood the need to cling to filthy little shoes for sake of memory.  I was partly shocked with my own need and desire to keep these things – it was just a sudden wave that washed over me.  I’m thankful I felt it then at that moment, instead of after the gal had already picked up the shoes.

I’ve always saved special things of the kids’ that are fond memories for me.  They each have a box in their closet where I keep their items.


I keep special things like my birth trophies, my annual Chuck E Cheese birthday pictures with the boys…IMG_3300

Special little outfits that I have specific memories of…


Decorative birth certificates…


And now, those well-worn and well-loved shoes rest right on top.


If I can’t keep my babies little, at least I can keep a little of their baby-hood.  :)

What silly, but special, little things have you kept that remind you of your kid(s)?

{MOPS} A Fierce Flourishing

You may know that I am a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) addict.  Seriously.  I’m a groupie.  As in, I belong to two MOPS groups, that’s how much I love it.

One MOPS group I go to and just get to sit back and enjoy and the other MOPS group, I am on the Steering Team (leadership) as the Publicity gal.

For the one I’m on leadership for, we just had our last meeting for the school year (which I sadly couldn’t go to, thanks to the Egg Plague that hit our family).  The 2nd to last meeting, we introduced the theme for next year – A Fierce Flourishing.

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Taken from the MOPS website.

Along with the description of what the theme means, MOPS also posted this promo video:

With all that in mind, we really wanted to focus on celebrations, pampering, fancy & pretty, and all things lovely.  When I think of that, I think of florals.   So – naturally, because I love the watercolor florals on my blog, I used the same elements to design another wreath and some goodies for our MOPS group to use this year.

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To introduce the theme, we wanted to have little goodie bags for each mom set at her place around the tables.  I made these little “Tiny Celebration” bags with the theme Bible verse in it:


I also made magnets with our park days on them and invites to our LimeBerry fundraiser:


We put all of these and a chocolate in bags for the moms:


At the meeting, our Coordinator, Heidi, shared about the upcoming theme and showed the mom’s the promo video.  Then the Steering Team walked plates of little cute cupcakes (related to the promo video) out to each table for the moms.

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It was so fun and I CANNOT WAIT for this next year!  For fancy.  For celebrations.  For seeing my mom friends again.  So so in love with this upcoming theme!

Do you have a mom’s group in your area?  What kinds of things do you do with your group?  I don’t know how I would survive early motherhood without mine!  :)

O is for…

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Look into the light!


Cousin Kaily time!  She took such good care of you all day!


15 Weeks

  • You are enjoying your Johnny Jump Up!  Thankfully there’s the perfect doorway for you – right in the laundry room door frame.  Then you can watch the boys playing in the playroom AND me working in the kitchen at the same time.  You love being in there and bouncing and swinging and spinning yourself in circles.
  • You are officially in only 6-9 months clothes (and some 12 months), but 6 month clothes are fitting you snug.  I’m getting a little tired of constantly changing out your wardrobe, little missy.
  • You love laying and cooing at your chandelier over your crib or the hanging rose ball over your changing table.  Super exciting.
  • I feel like a broken record – but yep – still only 45 minute naps.  Probably 5-6 of them a day.  Unless I’m wearing you – then you can sleep for 3-4 hours at a time.  Silly girl.  But you sleep so well at night and go down so easily.  Most often I just notice you sending me your sleepy signals (you’re not subtle), and I lay you down in your crib, give you your binky, and head out the door and within minutes you’re asleep.
  • You love being outside.  Fresh air, warm breeze, blowing leaves. Love it.
  • You looooove your brothers.  You grin and coo at them every time you catch their gaze.