Tuesday, December 1, 2015


It's the biggest's thirteenth birthday today.  You know what that means.  We have a teenager.

How did this happen?  I mean, really.  Who would have thought thirteen years ago that today I'd be dragging a man-child - bigger than me, mind you - out of bed to send him off to middle school.  Who'd have thought that teeny-tiny baby boy would be an honest to goodness, actual, real life teenager?  And so soon!

But here's the thing.  As shocking as it all is, it's the coolest thing ever.  He is the coolest thing ever.  Best thing that ever happened to me, that's for sure.  I know, I know, I have a husband and two other awesome kids.  I'll say they're all the best things that happened to me, as well, and it'll be true.  But honestly?  Jake is the first.  Made me a mom, yada yada.  And he's really nice.  I like him a lot.

So today, on his birthday, we sang and we ate cake and we gave him gifts.  And I insisted he let me take his picture.  And because he's nicer to me, he obliged.  And I got this.  Best picture ever.  No, it's not portfolio-worthy.  Lighting, composition, white-balance... all off.  But I love it.  This is my boy.

He's handsome, obviously.  That smile and those crinkly smile-eyes.  Knock your socks off handsome.

But there's more.  That look?  That's his, "What is my mother doing?" look.  I see it a lot.  Apparently, I'm pretty entertaining.  Probably a little embarrassing, too.  Good.  I'm supposed to be.  I am, after all, the mother of a teenager.

Then there's the hastily thrown on sweatshirt.  He doesn't wear a shirt to bed - or any other time he can get away without it.  Because, "Mom, why would anyone wear a shirt if they don't have to?"

And the superman pajamas he wears almost every night.  He's a little embarrassed by them.  Enough so that, when convinced he was about to be mauled by a bear at scout camp, he took the time to change out of the pjs (and put on a shirt).  Because he couldn't meet at the flagpole wearing superman pajamas.  And besides, "if the bear got us, that would be so embarrassing."  I'm pretty sure he meant the pants, not the bear-mauling.

Oh, and next to him?  That's Huggy Bear, the teddy bear he's slept with every night since his fifth birthday.  Except for scout camp, of course.

He's tough.  He's brave.  He's super smart.  He's a hard worker.  He's an athlete, a scholar, a talented cello player.  He's the best big brother there ever was.  He's helpful.  He's funny.  He's kind.  He's empathetic.  He's mine.

Happy Birthday Jake.  I'm so glad you were born.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

When Stonewall Met Jackson

Sometimes, I take my kids out of school and we pretend we're still home schoolers for a day.  Because as much as I love Gator-ville, there are just so many opportunities they miss by being stuck in that building all day every day.  Opportunities like a trip back to 1863 to learn about the Battle of Chancellorsville on the 150th anniversary of the battle.  And to meet Generals Lee and Hooker.  And Jackson.  We simply could not miss the chance to meet Stonewall on the eve of his final battle.  So off we went.  And it was wonderful.  Sometimes (okay, most times), I wish we could do this every day.

Note: Just in case you didn't know... my Jake's name is actually Jackson.  So there you go.  Makes a little more sense now, right?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Poor Jake

Jake has the worst Springtime allergies I've ever seen.
The poor kid has a "villain mustache" of raw skin under his nose.
But at least his baby brother thinks he hung the moon.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It's Regatta Time!

At five o'clock last night I found myself holding (or, to be totally honest, dancing wildly around the kitchen with) a teething toddler, making dinner, and blow-drying the glue on two little wooden boats.  I was singing, too.  Because life is good.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Spring and Baseball

Jake's favorite sport is football.  Cam and Dan both love soccer best.  But me, I love baseball season best of all.  Not because I like the sport any better than the other sports my children play, of which there are several, but because there's nothing quite like a Spring evening spent at the baseball field.  It just feels like the right place to be, you know?  Not to mention baseball has the best uniforms.  As a girl, I notice things like that.

So, we're right smack dab in the middle of this baseball season and we're all loving it.  The big boys play their hearts out.  Dan helps in the dugout or keeps kids on the sidelines busy with a game of catch.  Nico and I "discuss" why we shouldn't eat rocks or throw dirt.  And we all hold our breath, count strikes, balls, runs, and outs.  And cheer.  Lots of cheering.  It's perfect.

My boys are good, too.  I know I say that a lot, and I don't mean to brag.  It just always blows me away to see them work hard and succeed as they do the things they love.  It's the best feeling in the world.  Kind of like a Spring evening at the baseball field.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Birthday Mayo!

Have I ever mentioned how very much we all love this old lady?
She's twelve today.
We're so lucky to have her.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thank you, Miss Sassy-Pants, for modeling Grandma's hats so perfectly.
Love this little lady!
(And her mama, too.  This picture sums up that relationship pretty perfectly, I do believe.)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Party Crashers

For Easter this year, instead of splitting our time between Dan's family and mine, we dragged Bubby and Poppa along to Granny and Poppy's house!  It was fun for everyone, and I think the experienced egg-tossers will forgive the Party-Crashers for winning the backyard toss!  Woo-hoo!

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore my grand-parents?  Because I do.  Just thought you should know that.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Egg 2013

We had a perfect and beautiful - albeit cold and rainy - Easter this year.  We celebrated the resurrection of our Savior, spent time with family, and played with eggs.  See, told you it was perfect.

Nico learned all about egg-hunting.  This is a very important life skill that his brother's have (almost) mastered.  That forsythia bush continues to be a bit of a problem for them, though!

The toss was egg-citing, as always.

And my big boys got to participate in the big one.  The Over-the House Throw!  They're really growing up!

And now, what we've all been waiting for...
The results!
Who won Egg 2013?

Was it...

Our returning champs, John and Maria...

Or my particular favorite, Mr. Handsome...

Or maybe it was this stunning duo...

But no!  It was Uncle John and Camden!
Congratulations, guys!

And Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


While reading through Jake's safety notebook, which contains important things like phone numbers of friends, family, and doctors, I came across this pearl of wisdom.  He's a smart boy, that Jake.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Springtime at Our Home

When it snows at the end of March, you do what you have to do.
In other words, you build a snow-bunny.

Happy Easter from the Far North!
aka Virginia

PS. For those who do not live in Virginia, please note that this is not normal weather.  We do enjoy a nice warm Spring.  Usually.  As in, every other year ever.  Just thought I should clear that up.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Our Mayo

We love our Mayo.
She's neurotic, cranky-in-her-old-age, and she drives me batty.
But she's my girl.  A good girl.
And we all love her.

PS. Baby hugs are her favorite.  Can't you tell?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Welcome to Virginia

It's the day after St. Paddy's Day.
Last week we played outside in short sleeves every day.
And today we're playing in the snow.
Welcome to Virginia.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

I Missed This

One year ago, we were in Key West.  And aside from the spring-breakers, the traffic, and the run of strep we experienced upon arriving on the island, it was marvelous.  I miss it.  Especially right now, as the snow falls outside my window.  Don't get me wrong, I love snow, but it's St. Patrick's Day, people.

But as much as I miss the warm weather, sunny skies, and days upon days spent on the beach, one year ago we were all missing something else.  We were missing Gator-ville.  More specifically, we were missing Gator Week.  A week dedicated to wearing orange and green, dancing with the gator rappers, and celebrating the fact that we are in fact Gators.  We go to the best elementary school this side of anywhere.

I bet your teachers didn't dress up as gators and do gangnam style with you last Friday.  Ours did.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy Snow Days!

Finally!  It snowed!  A real, honest-to-goodness eight inches of fluffy white stuff for boys to play in.  (Just so you know, I just spent a good five minutes trying to reword that sentence so as not to end with a preposition.  Not going to happen.  "In which to play" just sounds way to uppity for little ol' me.  Remember Jen, this is not your history thesis.  Been there, done that.  Moving on...)

Someone once told me that brothers wrestle because it gives them a chance to hug.  Yeah, that's it.

There is nothing better than a good snowstorm to get you outside and having fun.  Unless you count a nice warm spring day.  Or a cool pool on a hot summer day.  Or crisp leaves to jump in on a cool fall day.  But I digress. In the winter, there is nothing better than SNOW!  So bring it on!  Lots of it!

And although we had I think it was 27 (that's right - I heard it on the news) separate days with snowfall, only one other time did we even get enough to stick.  That was the time my children collected snow from all the neighbors' yards to pack enough on the hill for sledding.  The next day they sledded in the mud.

But yesterday it snowed all day long.  Actually, it snowed for almost thirty hours.  That's right folks!  It was perfect.  Lots of snow, lots of fun.  

Note the sock-gloves.  He can't get those off so easy.

Today, it's in the forties and we're melting fast.  By this afternoon, there may be more mud-sledding going on.  But while this late-season snow is here, we are soaking it all up.  Quite literally.  My dryer may not make it.

It's so, so worth it.  Because boys need snow.  And moms need snow days to spend with their boys.

Off to enjoy the last snowballs of the season!  Hopefully.  :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Joy is...

...rediscovering favorite childhood games with your own children.

Anybody else remember Blockhead?

Friday, March 1, 2013

That's Awesome

You know what I think is awesome?
That my children think I am awesome.
That is what I think is awesome.

This morning I dressed a little Aiden Cooper (The Bridge to Neverland, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pierson) and a Crispin (The Elfstones of Shannara, by Terry Brooks).  It is amazing what some smudges of eyeliner (for the dirty boy look), a paper bag elf hat, and Dad's shirt can do for a boy's imagination.  And for Mom's status as "The One Who Can Do Anything."

Speaking of Mom's status, there's another thing I think is awesome.  My boys still love to hug and kiss me.  Even in front of all the other kids at school.  Lots of moms told me this would stop in fourth grade, but so far... I'm still awesome.

I sure do love my boys.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Giving It His All

Can you find Camden in these pictures from last week's basketball game?

Hint: He's the one who doesn't touch the ground. Ever.

Camden plays basketball much the same way he lives his life.
Full throttle.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Anything they can do...

We have on our hands a 15-month-old who idolizes two big boys.  He'd like to do everything they do.  So, now he wears shoes.  But he forgot how to walk.  And now he sits on the potty before his bath.  But he saves the piddle for the tub.  Thank goodness.  I wasn't really ready to give up this baby quite yet.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Big Christmas Photo Dump

It's a new year!  I LOVE a new year!  May this be the year that I get organized, learn to manage my time, make yummy dinners every single night, and get back to my blog.  Yes?

Right now, with my baby boy sleeping, would be the perfect time to clean out the craft closet.  Or take a good hard look at that as-yet blank calendar.  Or make a menu...

I think I'll start with the blog.

Here's a photo dump - and when I say dump, I really mean dump - of our Christmas holiday.  No order.  But what's the fun in order?  We'll get to that tomorrow.  Maybe.

If that isn't the perfect Christmas morning face, I don't know what is.

Those, too.

Nico totally bonded with his Della.
We left him with Bob and Della for one afternoon and now he hits, head-butts, and growls...

The Christmas Eve reading of the classic, "Wonder Walnut."
Best story those boys have ever heard.
The girls, not so much.

I was a bad mommy and gave my boys an extra week off school before Christmas.
Sometimes you need more time for cuddling on the couch with your brothers.

And the scientific process of creating a grasshopper pie.
Long story.  Remind me to share sometime.

And kissing your Dada.

Poppa's aunt's little rocker.

Lots of time for laying on the floor with my baby boy!

I get lots of help every day, but Christmas-jammied help is the best kind.

Finally got Aunt Amy on the Hunger Games bandwagon.  She's hooked!

And Uncle Clark is just hooked on his little boy.

Find Della...

Just being real here.
We're not always smiling.

Just most of the time.

Please pretend you don't see the feet.
My dad and brother have seriously ugly feet.

Sometimes, Santa needs to do some of his assembling during the day.
Sometimes, boys get to play a new computer game.

Nico is in love with his new "house."

His brothers are in love with Darth Maul.
And legos.

And new bikes!
Cam's already had one pretty impressive crash.
Impressive as in, that barrier used to be upright.  And in one piece...
We're glad Cam's in one piece - and that he got right up and back on.
Oh, and he won the race...

Black magic with Poppy and the uncles.

We're getting ready for Pinewood Derby time!

One little boy has a few years to wait.

See you next time, and here's to hoping it'll be better than a dump!

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