Hi friends,
How are you?!
 Its been a while.

I've been dealing with sick kiddos
 from the start of the year :/
Just when their colds are about gone,
its been "shared" with a sibling, Ugh. 
My oldest 2 got over theirs quickly but
baby M has had his bout the longest.
We are currently on round 3 and I claim LAST
of his colds/high temps and sleepless nights.
We're continuing the Vicks rub downs (anyone else grow up on Vicks vaporub?),
snot removal (not fun), baby meds (Hyland's/Zarbees), honey and humidifier.

Happy to say he's feeling better!

Oh and by the way... he's now a strapping 14 month old,
has been walking really well, calls out 'mom, mama'
and holds his own bottle even though it's time to toss it lol
He never had a pacifier,
so we're not rushing it.

I'll get to his 1st and my daughter's 9th birthdays soon!


 Aside from ALL that
and trying to work on the marriage posts(current focus);
I wanted to share baby M's 11 month celebration,
 some family photos,
and a parenting moment,
 before I attempt to catch up on everything else ;)

So, lets pretend the holidays were just last week
and being the good friend, am sharing all the fun stuff haha

11 month celebration!

 Christmas cupcakes made by my mom
to celebrate!
We celebrated baby M's 11 months
aka his last unofficial birthday celebration
before his actual birthday.

Without a doubt, I was sentimental for all the changes and his upcoming birthday
but excited for all the milestones he'd reach this coming year.

Since his birthday is after Christmas
and 2 days into the new year,
we decided to celebrate as a family on his birthday
and planned for his birthday party and future ones,
later on in the month.
It worked perfectly!

Christmas tree hunt

This was a year of firsts.
Although baby M would never remember any of the holiday events,
I wanted to celebrate as many seasonal activities as possible,
including the tree picking!

Unfortunately, we only did a few of the things I would have liked
but with great reason.

There was a situation on our hands, one that had a subtle onset,
and increasingly disappointing displays.
The issue, like others I've spoken to,
is loss of sincere gratitude from our kids.

We've done our best to show gratitude and graciousness
and continually checked that our children were doing the same;
If not with us DEFINITELY with others.
We'd correct anything as soon as possible
and instruct on proper behavior/responses;
somehow the heart of the lesson
 wasn't integrated as we'd hoped.

My children were complaining more,
responding ungratefully and 'forgetting' to say "thank you's".

We have great kids, don't get me wrong
but this didn't feel like typical kid stuff;
we felt it was much deeper.

They'd say they forgot to thank so and so
for the gift, outing, etc.
I'd remind them that gratefulness, thankfulness, etc
comes from the heart NOT the mind.

parenting moment, gratefulness, respect

Well, we could no longer stand to see and hear such behavior.
We shared out heart, disappointment and expectations;
clarified that we're ONLY responsible for their well-being,
 spiritual growth, upbringing & education; nothing more.
Then reminded them that outings, activities, toys, games, etc 
have always been an earned privilege not a given.
That everything WE'VE had,
  (as in mom & dad)
we've had because of the Lord and hard work;
they didn't have a job or pay for anything.

We made it clear we would no longer invest in those things
during this time of elevated disharmony
entitlement & ungratefulness.
It would be a disservice to them,
the people they'd be around 
and the message we're teaching.

So what did we do? 
1. Informed family of the serious & immediate family changes;
       expected their full support and help in keeping the kids accountable
2. We scaled back entirely on fun family outings.
3. Held off on all the extras they were accustomed to.

They were disappointed but took it well,
it was family who had a harder time with it lol

So, all my planned holiday activities got put away-
No cookie baking, light seeing, Christmas plays,
or any others, until a dramatic change happens.

(FYI we didn't take way rewards for academic achievements or
Christmas/birthday gifts but DID scale back)

update:They're doing better
 but still working on it.

Community Frozen Event
4 total productions

This was such a fun, fun event!
It was hosted by our church for the community.
They got a message of hope, a chance to dance with the characters,
a photo with Olaf, Anna & Elsa + santa,
 hot chocolate, caramel apples 
and snow to build their own mini snowman!

You know I HAD to get in on the character action!
The best part was seeing all the little kids, even the adults with BIG smiles.
 It just goes to show the huge impact kindness has.
I have to give much credit to these amazing students in character,
they smiled genuinely, hugged tons of people and 
made their evenings extremely special.

We were all so busy working,
 I wanted to connect with my family even if for a brief moment.
Hubby helped in different areas, 
I was at the info/church booth with an awesome team
and my kiddos were in the children's choir.

Last day.
It was an awesome weekend!

Apple Hill 
This was one of the few activities we did participate in.
It's definitely more for us girls than the kids.

We pretty much had the place to ourselves as it had been raining on and off.
We came in to enjoy these and hot chocolate!

The little one didn't get any, his spork is just a prop lol

Kiddos, Tia B & Grama R

It started to rain when we left the original location and at this point was pouring!
We pulled into this little stop for a much needed potty break.
I loved the upside down tree!
Such a great use of space and a unique way to hang the ornaments.
Didn't hurt that it had a cute gift area and a bakery/cafe INSIDE.
The kids picked out a little gift courtesy of sis.
I found baby M a Christmas book and a handmade ornament for our tree.

I also found these!
Not a purchase just a great laugh.
Our church youth group had just had their Christmas party
the night before and it was "Redneck" themed.
These would have been a pretty classy addition :)

Family photos!

I definitely cut it close this year,
we almost didn't get a chance at these.
After service on Sunday we ran home,
changed, grabbed a few things
and headed to this park. 

We were even able to use the geometric star my oldest son
had just completed in class! PERFECT!
 I can't believe a year ago baby M was in my tummy,
our family of 5 became 6!

Gift wrapping
I believe the kiddos were in bed or at my sister's.
Either way, this little guy thought he'd "help"

So much for using that roll ahahaha

Christmas Eve 

Family came over for dinner
and the opening of 1 gift.
I have to point out that our tree is half decorated :/
Little hands would have pulled it all off,
as a matter a fact, he still tried. lol

 At the end of the night the older 2 left to my sister's

We woke up, got dressed and headed over to my sister's
for breakfast, a movie and gift opening.
The kids were pretty proud of their gift.
They helped my sis with chores and were able to purchase 
this for us.

Yes...musical toys for mama :]

A few hours later everyone met back at our house for the rest of the gifts,
more movies and Christmas dinner.

The A family!

It's a few months late
but I pray your Christmas and New year's were wonderful.

I hope to be back soon with baby M's 1st birthday & party
and my daughter's 9th birthday & party.

Have a great weekend friends!


  1. Wow! Your family has been up to several adventures! Loving all the family photos; you have one good looking family there! Keep up the great parenting strategies. :)

  2. Thank you Lindsey. I had so much fun planned and I was extremely bummed we would not get to do it but the lesson was and is still our highest priority. It gives us some leverage too, they know to keep in check or have a nice, long, quiet, spring break at home lol


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