Sam's 3rd Birthday

Sam turned three on September 18th - this post is better late than never :)  I remember looking at Sam that week and thinking that he is not my baby anymore, and that makes me sad!  For so long I have thought of him as my baby boy, and even though he will ALWAYS be my baby, he is not going to be the baby of the family.  And he is looking and acting like a little boy now.

Some things to remember about Sam at 3:

There is no in-between with Sam.  I am either laughing at him because he is so sweet and hysterical, or I am crying because he is making me crazy!

He is hungry ALL the time.  He wakes up at 5:30 every morning and comes to our room asking what is for breakfast.

He doesn't like hugs, kisses, or snuggling (heartbreaking), but he does say, "Mommy, I love you" all day.

He is Daddy's buddy.  He will follow James anywhere and everywhere.  James can do no wrong as far as Sam is concerned!

He is obsessed with tractors - seriously obsessed!

Some of his favorite foods:  Pop-Tarts (these are going to go away when I feel normal in the mornings again), macaroni and cheese, yogurt, any kind of fruit, muffins, cinnamon rolls  - Sam REALLY likes breakfast!

I am so proud to be Sam's mommy.  He makes all of our lives better in every way!

We bought some land out in the country last year and James has been working hard fixing it up.  Sam loves to go out to the land and ride tractors and just hang out with Daddy.  So, for Sam's party we met at the land and had a tractor party complete with a hayride.  It was very low-key and the perfect party for my little tractor boy!

Birthday Boy

All the cousins

When it was time to open presents, Sam asked, "Is it time to open my tractors?"

 Hayride - AJ and Sam
 Nick and Tyler

Cute girls!!
We love you Sam!!

Way Behind!

Well- once again I am WAY behind on my blog.  I just can't keep up with everything going on, and things are about to be REALLY crazy :)

Anyway, I wanted to pick up where I left off and maybe I will catch up to Halloween before this new baby gets here!!

A couple months ago we started our back to school routine which means we have something to do every day.  I do like having a routine and the kids are much happier having things to do every day, but I do miss sleeping in!  Here is what our schedule looks like:

Monday:  MOPS
Tuesday:  Preschool/Mother's Day Out 
Wednesday - Dance
Thursday- Preschool/ Mother's Day Out
Friday - Playgroup

And I am taking one class and completing 200 hours of my internship (on Tuesdays and Thursdays while kids are in school).  And in between all of that getting ready for baby!

Here are some of the shots from our first days:

We had to go to the store to buy some new ballet and tap shoes for Ava.  I told her that we could get one new leotard since the ones she wore last year are a little tight.  She saw this one and HAD to have it.  She has worn it every week and all she does is check out herself in the mirror :)

First day of preschool - I am SO not looking forward to kindergarten next year!

Sam on his first day of Mother's Day Out.  You can't tell from this picture but he screamed all morning because he didn't want to go.  He LOVES it though and is so excited to tell me everything about his day when I pick him up.

The Big Reveal

We did something really fun to announce the gender of our baby this time around.  Let me start off by saying that I thought about not finding out at all.  But since I thought we were done I had given away just about everything baby thing we had, and I am a planner I needed to know.  I have to decorate a nursery before this little one gets here!!  So we found out and planned a gender reveal party to share our news with everyone!

We knew that we would be thrilled with either a boy or a girl.  So James and I went to the ultrasound appointment on July 7th and found out the gender, and most importantly found out that everything looks healthy.  We were both sooo excited, but we had to keep our secret for a couple weeks until we had planned our reveal party!  It was really fun to keep the secret with James :)

On July 22nd we invited family and a couple of our friends over to swim, cookout, and to finally find out about the new little member of our family. First, we had everyone choose a team when they arrived - Team Pink or Team Blue!

Team Pink

 Team Blue - notice that both Sam and Ava are on this team!

 We had a great time visiting with everyone, and the kids had a blast playing with their cousins and their friends!

The kids having a great time!
James, Joey, and Brandon

Sam and his buddy Brooks

And then it was time to make the announcement.  I had made cupcakes earlier in the day filled with frosting to let people know the gender.  So we passed out cupcakes and told everyone to take a bite at the same time....AND


(Excuse my appearance in this picture - it was 110 degrees that day and I had been swimming and I have pregnant face)!!

It was such a fun way to share with the people that we loved and see all of their expressions.  Everyone was so happy.  James and I both feel blessed beyond anything we can have imagined , and we can't wait to meet and hold our son!  

Little Fish

OK - well I promised to update regularly and I have failed!!  I can blame it on a lot of things because we have been beyond busy.  But the truth is I keep this record for the kids and for me to look back on and they deserve better, so I am going to try to be better!! 

We have had so many things going on this summer, but I am just going to start at the beginning.  The first two weeks of June Ava and Sam went to swim lessons.  They had the best teacher, Ms. Lynn, who I refer to as the miracle worker.  Prior to swim lessons Ava would barely put her chin under water and always used floaties.  And Sam was absolutely terrified in the pool - he screamed the entire time.  I don't know what changed for him from last year to this year, but Lynn told me that is pretty normal around the time a child turns 3 and just becomes more aware.

So I had pretty limited expectations for swim lessons, but I thought we would give it a try. Well, Ava now swims without floaties (unless she is in the deep part), swims under water, dives for toys, jumps in the pool without help.  I am seriously amazed.  She has become a little fish, and has even had swimmer's ear twice this year.  Sam still uses his floaties, of course, but he is not afraid at all and will even put his head under with a little coaxing.  I am beyond thrilled at the transformation this year, and I love seeing how much fun they are having in the pool every day!

For some reason, I still can't upload videos here, so you will just have to take my word for it about how great they both are :)


It is about time that I made this official.  The very week of my last post our lives changed in a VERY unexpected way!!  We are expecting baby #3 in November. 

I was extremely shocked (yes- we know how it all works) and terrified for a while.  I have to say James was excited from the very beginning.  There are so many reasons not to have another baby right now.  But through all of this I have come to know a couple things--

I know that I am blessed beyond anything that I could have imagined.  There was a time that I thought that I may not find the right person to marry much less have kids.  And I did find him and we have two beautiful, healthy kids and now one more on the way!  Being Ava and Sam's mother has been the blessing of my life and this new baby will be no different.

I am a planner - and I mean I plan everything.  I write lists for every day, every trip to the grocery store- EVERYTHING.  So when we had our little girl and our little boy - I thought I had really planned that out well :)  But, I have to step back sometimes and remember that God 's plan and my plan are not always the same.  And his plans for me have exceeded anything that I could ever have imagined for myself.

So - I am 16 weeks pregnant today.  I just came back from the doctor and the baby  looks healthy and wonderful.  The doctor tried everything to see if there is a little boy or girl in here, but he or she wouldn't cooperate so we can wait another month :)

And I thought I would share some ultrasound pictures: (Forgive the blurry pics- my scanner is not working)!!

Can you see the little hand- he or she is giving a high five!
 The baby's face- eyes, nose, and mouth

I promise lots of new posts coming soon.  We have been busy lately and I have so many things to post about the new things that Ava and Sam are into!  

Hooray for Spring

I was so ready for spring this year.  I can only think of so many things for us to do inside this house, so it has been a blessing to be able to get outside and play this week!  The kids and I made our annual trip to Wye Mountain this morning to take our pictures with all the daffodils.  I definitely got a workout :)  They could not stay still long enough for many pictures, but I thought I would share a few.

Ava wanted to dance and twirl in the flowers, so I have about 40 pictures that look like this!

I do all kinds of things to embarrass myself so the kids will look at me when I am taking their picture!  Didn't work here :)
 I promise I brushed their hair before we left home; it was just a really windy day

 Love this one!
 and this one :)

 Ava REALLY wanted to pick some flowers.  After I had told her that it was a no-no, she spent the morning looking for a hiding spot so she could snatch some without anyone seeing her - sneaky little thing.  Luckily we found a section of flowers that you could pick.  She was a happy girl!

Fancy Ava Birthday - Oooh la la!

We had a Fancy Nancy birthday party for Ava this weekend.  I worked really hard to put this party together, and I was really excited that all of the little girls had so much fun.  I spent a lot of time looking at other people's ideas ; I am not very original, but I am a great copycat! 

Fancy girls - Ava and Haven

Ava and Jennifer

Even Elle got fancy

When the girls arrived, they decorated fancy tiaras

Snack time - we made ham and cheese and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in fancy shapes, fruit kabobs, and pretzels coated in chocolate and sprinkles.

After snacks the girls got to dress up in boas, tutus, glasses, and jewelry.  They LOVED this part and they were sooo cute!  I seriously lost sleep over the fact that I did not get a group picture :(

Even Sam got in on the action :)

After dressing up the girls got to have their makeup done and fingernails painted.  Thanks so much to my mom, Jennifer, and Erica for helping me out!

James had just put on some music, and I walked in the room and all of the girls were dancing.  This was not part of my plan, but they were adorable. 

Cake and ice cream - the girls got to eat their ice cream in fancy glasses and made parfaits with sprinkles, m&m's chocolate chips and marshmallows

This party was everything that Ava loved, and I loved planning it for her!!  I owe a big thank you to Ann, Momma, Erica, Andrea, and Jennifer.  I seriously put them all to work as soon as they came over, and they were so willing to help.  I could never have pulled it off with out all of them.