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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Embrace the Camera: April 18, 2013

McKenna Jane is embracing the camera with her two favorite peeps outside our immediate family. 
Mema and Papa. 
There is no one she would rather love on and receive love from. She squeals when they enter our house and {almost} always runs for hugs.
McKenna loves it when Mema is reading to her or best of all singing to/with her. 
I believe her favorites are "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the Morning" and "Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam."
{Correct me if I'm wrong Mom} 
Papa is known best for his silly antics, tickle attacks and crazy talk. 
It's safe to say they have a crazy love! 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Easter - Come and Gone

Easter Sunday.
We attended church services then stopped at Papa's & Mema's for pictures on the way home.
We feasted on Travis's "famous" pancakes at the kids request in lieu of brunch.
We spent much of the day outdoors.
It was a quiet, restful day. Nothing fancy or festive. 
We had a wonderful meal and time at Lake Lotawona the evening prior with Papa, Mema, Uncle Brett, Aunt Linda, Tyler & Paige. 
Gabrielle loves shopping and found this dress which she insisted on having on sale at Dillard's. 
There was an additional 40% savings on sale items so we couldn't pass up such a good buy. 
She asked nearly daily if she could wear it, not wanting to wait until Easter Sunday. 
Big D sported 2nd hand clothing which I bought at a girlfriends garage sale several years back and tucked away. 
This kid. 
He was in full on model mode during our 2 minute photo shoot. 
Case in point :)
Little Miss is gracing a gifted dress and a 2nd hand cardigan sweater & shoes. 
Looking through pictures - both old and new - is a reminder at just how blessed we are to have three healthy, beautiful children who we are raising in the church. My hope is they will know the true meaning of the celebration of Easter. We serve a living God!

This is my revelation
Christ Jesus crucified
Salvation through repentance
At the cross on which He died

Now hear my absolution
Forgiveness for my sin
And I sink beneath the waters
That Christ was buried in

I will rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live
Lyrics to Beneath the Waters by Hillsong United

They received Easter baskets from GG several weeks prior to Easter filled with candy, change and small gifts and dyed eggs during our trip to Iowa over Spring Break so not all secular forms of celebration were withheld. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stratton Oaks Annual Egg Hunt

Each year Ms. Kiersten organizes a neighborhood egg hunt. She purchases the candy and goods and stuffs what I'm sure ends up being hundreds of plastic eggs.
The kids all gather on the main hub (113th) and line the drive divided by age. Kiersten gives the instructions and the kids are off in the pursuit of some sugar loot.
Dawson was being a sweet big brother trying to keep McKenna in the correct line of kiddos.
Kiersten gave the go ahead and this was McKenna's response.
Complete deer in the headlights :)
I may have shouted for her to get her hunt on. 
There were enough plastic filled eggs for each child to seek out and collect 16.
McKenna landed on 5. 
I'm confident she will have her game face on at next years hunt now that she understands she is collecting sweet treats.
Dawson intent on investigating what treasure awaits him.
These are the boys who live directly next door to us.
Ben - age 6 and Noah - age 8
These four spends countless hours playing together! 
I wanted to include these last two pictures for memory sake. 
This is our super sweet neighbor girl, Madelyn, who I care for a couple hours every week. 
She LOVES her time at "baby Kenna's." 
PS. We don't refer to her as Kenna but I don't mind that some of her younger friends do.
This pint size ball of personality is Ellaina. Lainey {or Buggie as I often times call her} spends Thursdays with us. She is 3 months older than McKenna. They are such great play mates for one another. My hope is they will grow to develop a good friendship as the years pass. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Meeting James

Have I shared with y'all that I became an aunt again? 
Well, not exactly but close enough.
My little sis' from another mother, Molly, had her firstborn on January 4th. 
Remember this post about what's in a name?
Now you know where my love for the name Molly stems from. 

We got to meet him the end of March and it was instant heart melt. 
He is perfect. 

Meet James Terry Conlon, named after both his paternal and maternal grandfathers
 Reading time with Mommy Mo
 Obviously happy that he had an audience joining in on his story time
MJ attempting to steal a kiss
This is how McKenna spent much of her time during the course of our stay.
That or asking repeatedly "Where baby at?"
 Grandma Barb with a sleepy baby James
Our kiddos like Matt a little.
OK, they love him.
He is incredible with them!
 The Conlon family of 3 - Molly, baby James & Matt
I celebrated with tears of joy the day we received your "We're expecting" announcement.
I may have thrust it in Travis's face shouting "Look at this!" when he arrived home from work.
I laughed until my eyes filled with tears again when I received your clever shower invitation.
Where on earth did Becky come up with that?! 
I itched with anticipation as your due date neared.
My patience wore thin when the New Year came and went and still no news of a babe.
Then I awoke on the morning of the 5th to learn that your son was born. A boy!
It killed me to not be one of the first ones to rush into your hospital room and meet your new little one.
I couldn't wait to give you a huge congratulatory squeeze and to get my hands on the little bundle of love.
I lived vicariously through your Instagram photos. Ogling over a sweet boy I had yet to meet.
I have James'birth announcement on display in the kitchen above my office area where I can stare at his cuteness each and every day.
When the week of Spring Break provided the time off school and other commitments, I jumped at the chance to come visit.
My heart  exploded when I saw you in action as a Mommy. Motherhood looks good on you :) 
And Matt ... well, you couldn't possibly pick a better Daddy if you tried. He is a natural with kids and is obviously very proud of James.
You will forever hold a special place in my heart. I will always look to you as the little sister that I never had with a family of her own that I love dearly.
Thank you for opening your home to the monsters kids and I after a busy 9 day streak returning to work. Thank you for cooking for us, coming up with fun activities for the kids, for letting me fold your underwear (ha!) and for providing me some "time away." Most of all, thank-you for sharing James with me. 
I love you!
P.S. 6 hours is too far away when it concerns my need for a baby fix :)
Come visit KC soon.
That's an order.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Daddy Turns 4_?!

This handsome young middle aged man turned 42 {shhhhh, don't tell} on Sunday, March 24th.
The kids and I were gone to Iowa so his birthday was spent working a bit of overtime in the morning and watching movies at a deafening loud level in the afternoon.  
This is the most recent picture I snapped of Travis on my iPhone while traveling to Springfield several weeks back. 
We stopped at the local DQ as we pulled into KC to pick up an ice cream cake. I didn't pre-order so was happy they had a golf themed cake ready for sale. $25 and 5 minutes later, it was personalized for our Daddy-O. 
Little Miss wasn't very patient when the cake was set out to thaw in order to cut and serve. 
We caught her green handed :)
Little stinker is what she is!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Spring Break Festivities

Spring Break breakdown:
Monday we started Spring Break off right with donuts at KC Donut with some of the kids favorite friends, Tatum & Evan, followed by a fun filled outing to Zonkers at The Great Mall.
We have frequented Zonkers several times, but this el cheapo momma has only allowed the kids to play in the free play zone area. Spring Break found me feeling generous (cough). Rene and I split the daily deal which allowed each of the four older kids two rides each and five game tokens plus a large pizza and four soft drinks. Somehow luck have it the girls hit the jackpot on one of the games which afforded them a truck load of tickets that the bigs quickly cashed in on some junk loot.

Tuesday morning I dropped the kids off with their absolute favorite babysitter, Ms. Heather, and had my annual well women exam. More than you cared to know? I am happy to report, all is well.
Wednesday morning we picked up our neighbor who is also Gabrielle's classmate, Harper, and headed down to Science City at Union Station. We met up with my friend Monika and her daughter Olivia. The kids had a blast at the new Science of Energy exhibit in the big "hamster wheel," playing in the train car at the KC Rail Experience and digging for fossils in the DinoLab Digsite. We packed a sack lunch and played into the early afternoon. The finale was the kids entering the Wild Winds machine not once, but twice. Seeing their expressions and hearing their giggles was priceless. McKenna wasn't even phased by the 78mph peek winds.
Thursday morning found us at another doctor's appointment. This time a filling for #1. I am a floss fanatic!!!! so I take full responsibility for Gabi's need for this filling. The kids floss, but not consistently. I vow to do a better job enforcing flossing from here forward.
We rounded out the week with travels North to my home state of Iowa. We made a brief stop in my hometown of Primghar - The Only Primghar in the World - to drop my mom off at her lifelong besties house where she was staying for the weekend.
Fun fact: Our family will return to Primghar this summer to participate in the Quasquicentennial celebration and my 20th class reunion gathering. Before you hit up google in search of what the heck Quasquicentennial refers to, it is our little towns 125th birthday celebration. I remember back 25 years ago participating in the 100th birthday celebration on cobblestone paved streets.
We stayed in Spencer with the Conlon's.
More on our time with them soon.
We hit the highways back to KC on Monday but not without a stop in Council Bluffs at DQ for a late lunch and ice cream.
Dear DQ,
There is something truly magical about you. You are the perfect sweet treat all year round. 
Signed, One Family addicted to Ice Cream 
This was our view out back that greeted us at home. KC got another approximately 9 inches of snow Saturday into Sunday.

I'm so thankful for Spring Break. For time off from providing childcare to focus on my kids. For dear friends. For wonderful, attentive doctors. For the companionship and time of connection with my mom during our time on the road to and from Iowa. For a quiet time of resting for Daddy. For safe travels. For welcome arms from Mary, the Morris's & Conlon family. And honestly, I'm thankful that school reconvened on Tuesday and I jumped right back into my normal routine and schedule.