Baby Boy Turns 4 Months


Baby boy is now 4 months old! 
Here are some pictures from this past month. 

My baby boy along with his cousin Raven, who is 2 months older than he is. Very close in size. 

Smiling at the webcam, while skyping with Grandma K in Wisconsin. 

We had beautiful weather throughout October, so he enjoyed some stroller rides outside.

He likes to stand in the exersaucer now. There's so much to watch at our house with all the older siblings. Constant entertainment.

He sits in the high chair, so he can get a better view of all that goes on in the kitchen. And he sits with us at the table now for meals, watching. 

He is not really into a sleeping pattern yet, but he is starting to sleep a little bit longer stretches at night. 

He's a big guy and full of smiles. He loves to smile at anyone who will pay attention to him. He has a wonderful belly laugh too now when he's tickled. 

We love you, Mr. Man! 

Fall Festival

We recently attended a Fall Festival. My youngest kids dressed up and were, of course, adorable. 

Little 2-year-old boy was a giraffe. Such a cute costume.

My almost 4-year-old girl was a princess. She had a blast with her best friend Addie, who was a cat. 

My baby boy was in his Tigger costume, which included a tail. Too cute. 

Dress up fun for all! 

Neighbors and Health


This week I'm paying tribute to our neighbors. 
They are moving across town and our family will truly miss having them so close. 

Today I want to mention Kathy. She's the mom to Sarah and Liz, whom I mentioned in the previous blog posts. Kathy and I were cordial to one another, but not close for most of the last 9 years that we've been neighbors. However, about 2 years ago, I was losing weight through the Trim Healthy Mama plan (read more about that in this post) and Kathy asked what I was doing to lose the weight. I told her. In fact, I was really excited to tell her because she is not only in the medical profession, but also specializes in diabetes education. Trim Healthy Mama is a great plan for diabetics, so I asked her to read the original book explaining the plan and let me know what she thought of it, from a professional standpoint. She did read it. And more than that, she decided to jump on the bandwagon and try the plan herself. She has had her own success story now, losing weight and gaining health. 

Since we now had Trim Healthy Mama in common, we started sharing recipes and then sharing samples of many goodies we tried. Having a neighbor to do this with has made it 10 times more fun! To share the treats, the ingredients, the recipes, the knowledge and the questions... our relationship went from "just neighbors" to "good friends." 

For Christmas 2016, Kathy made us matching THM aprons. Love this!

So, as Kathy moves away this week, I will miss her. I understand her need to downsize, as her kids are all growing up and she'll soon be an empty-nester. But I will miss her as a friend and as a neighbor. Thankfully, she isn't going far and if we're intentional about it, we can still share some recipes and samples now then. 
Come over any time, Kathy! And I mean it! 

Neighbors and a visit to the ER


We had a milestone this week: our family's first visit to the Emergency Room! My oldest son (age 9) was whacking at a root in the backyard, using a shovel. He ended up hitting himself on the head and required 2 stitches to sew up the wound. It was a bloody mess for the first 10 minutes, but we remained cool, calm and collected. I was proud of myself for that! (When I was a child, I HATED the sight of blood and would run the other direction, so I've come a LONG WAY since then). 

As it turns out... our friend Liz (sister of our nextdoor neighbor Sarah) was working in the ER at that time. She is a Child Life Specialist. Her job is to entertain kids who come into the ER, to keep them calm, distract them and help them know what to expect. So she was there as one of the first faces my son saw when he arrived at the ER. And she loaded him up with so many toys and goodies that he changed his tune from "a scary visit to the ER" to "that was fun because I got toys!" Liz is great with kids. She's babysit our kids on a few occasions. And she has a therapy dog with her in the ER too. All of this makes her great at her job and I'm so glad she was working when my son paid her a visit!

Hopefully there won't be any more ER visits, but if there are, we made these "notes to self."  Remember to take some reading material, as the wait time is long. Also remember to grab some snacks to eat. My son injured himself at 5:15 pm, right before supper. So when he and my hubby took off to the ER, neither had time to eat. And they didn't return home from the ER until after 9:00 pm... and still hadn't eaten. 

We are thankful to our Heavenly Father for sparing our son's life in what could've been a much worse situation. And we thank Him for medical care that is so readily available and for little things, like friends on duty in the ER, to remind us of His tender mercies and care. Thank you, God!

PS: Thinking about Liz and the fact that her family is moving this week, made me track down a few pictures of Liz with my kids over the years. 

This is Liz with my son in 2011 - same boy that she'd be helping in the ER in 2017.

Liz was the best babysitter ever. Here she was playing in the backyard with my two oldest kids. She was always game for playing whatever crazy games they thought up.

This is Liz with my 2013 baby girl. 

And here she is with my 2015 baby boy... and the rest of the gang.

Liz moved away from our neighborhood a few years ago. She lives at an apartment complex with a pool, so once or twice we visited her so the kids could enjoy her company and her pool! 

Not sure how often we'll get to see Liz now... but I do hope those future visits will NOT be in the ER! :-)

Neighbors, Pretzels and a Tribute to Sarah


Our dear friend Sarah has been our nextdoor neighbor for about 9 years. She (and her mom, who is also a dear friend) are moving soon. We are sad about this and will miss them terribly. My children especially are super fond of Sarah, who has babysat them over the years and has always been a friendly, helpful presence in our lives. 

One thing we have done a few times over the years is make soft pretzels with Sarah. I think we were doing this once and she just happened to come visit while they were in process. She stayed to help and got to enjoy the pretzels too. She was hooked and now it's a tradition that we invite her over whenever we make pretzels. 

So this week was our last time making pretzels with "our neighbor Sarah" but hopefully not he last time we make pretzels with "our friend Sarah." 

This makes me want to walk down memory lane, so here are a few photos of Sarah and my kids through the years.

When we first met Sarah, she was very outdoorsy. At first, she didn't like us as her new neighbors, as we cut down a dozen overgrown trees from our property. She forgave us, eventually. But she took to the kids right away and would play with them outside a lot. 

They loved to work with Sarah on any outside projects, but just being with Sarah was fun, no matter what.

Playing in fall leaves - way more fun with Sarah around!

This led to backyard camp outs with Sarah...

Inviting Sarah to join our family when the circus came to town...

And still lots of outside fun and goofiness. 

As tom-boyish as Sarah was, she took seriously my daughter's invitation to her "Dress Like a Princess" birthday party. So beautiful!

Eventually, we invited Sarah inside our house (ha :-) and she played crazy games with the kids. Mostly, she just let them climb on her like a jungle gym!

She'd read to them. 

Sarah was always a good sport to play with playdough or work on puzzles or do whatever the kids initiated. 

She so quickly became a good friend to us all!

Through every season, Sarah has been a regular face in our front window, heading to ring the doorbell and see if we're home... even in snowy weather when she still wears shorts!

It wasn't all on Sarah to create the fun and games. She mentioned once how fun it would be to have a pie in the face (yup, she asked for it, literally) so I surprised her one day! Actually, I pulled this off twice!

But, of course, time has passed and Sarah has grown up. We were there when she earned her Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do and we were there for her high school graduation.

Now she's in college and working full time. But she still finds time to come over and visit, often bringing along her dog Chewy.

Our family has grown too, adding more children. Here is Sarah holding one of the newborns.

And with this most recent baby, she visited at the hospital like she was one of the siblings. We all loved that! 

Since she's been driving, Sarah often invites my oldest daughter to join her on a quick trip to Dairy Queen or PetSmart or wherever. It's been so good for my daughter to have a positive role model to look up to in Sarah!

Without a doubt, Sarah has been one huge blessing to our family. All of us enjoy her company, her friendly chatter and helpful spirit, her distractions during long days at home, and her friendship. We know the day is coming when Sarah will likely marry and/or move farther away, but we sure do cherish all the memories we've created together. And we have grateful hearts to the Lord for leading us to such great neighbors, who share our faith and are encouraging to be around. 

You might be moving across town, Sarah, but you will always be welcome here! We love you! 

Daddy Dancing


These pictures were from a few weeks ago, but make me smile every time I see them. Daddy and little girl dancing together in the kitchen. Smiles. Tender moments.

My 3-year-old was so excited about this new dress - not just any dress, but a fancy, swirly dancing-like princess dress. It was a hand-me-down that we got for free and probably was a flower girl dress for some other princess! 

Then little brother joined in the dancing. 

Oh so fun!

May we always be able to enjoy life and dance together!