Harvest at our house...

Thursday, October 29, 2015
I recently got a question from a relative on the east coast, she sent me a picture as she traveled over Iowa and said "I bet you travel these patchwork quilt fields and roads daily".  The answer is WRONG.  We live in the burbs of a city BUT we do live on a cornfield in town and we don't own it.  We will literally cry the day they sell it, they will too all the way to the bank!  We love to watch them plant, watch the tiny plant sprout, pop up and grow knee high well before the fourth of July and then come fall watch the plants dry from green to brown and before we know it, we hear the combine coming.  We always hope we are home for all the fun!  It was right at dusk this year and we got to watch it all night long, they even combined well past dark and so we watched them traverse with their lights on up and down the field filling the tractor wagon over and over again.  I love that we can gift our kids a taste of agriculture and the hard work it takes to be a farmer.  Our backyard view is awesome and provides the best sunsets.  They just tilled so we are hoping that means another year of quiet neighbors and beautiful sunsets!  Happy Harvest!

Sunset on the harvest...

Working well into the night...

September in Pictures...

Saturday, October 10, 2015
September has come and gone!  It was a month full of ups and downs, trying to get into a new routine and find our new normal.  I am not going to lie, in this month I felt more overwhelmed with 3 children then I did when Lucy was born (hence the light blogging).  Its probably the kiss of death that I thought I would have all this time with Solon in school.  We had a great little routine going before school and we still haven't quite managed 5 weeks into school to perfect a new one with a LOT of running to and fro.  I do love getting a walk in every afternoon to get Solon at school and we did make it to the gym again after a 10 week hiatus.

In addition, we were very surprised that Solon did not take well to kindergarten.  We had lots of tears, sad nights, anxious mornings, lots of prayers, tears on mommy's part, emails to the teachers, tattoos of "I love you" on his arm, lunchbox notes and kitty the cat going in his backpack.  This has improved thanks to lots of prayers from lots of people -- thank you.  I also was thankful for the "we had that and it does get better" so thank you for that.  His teacher assured us this would pass and I did not believe her but I am starting to see the light at the end of the transition tunnel and I am thankful.  He has found some friends at school, realized that despite the myriad of discipline techniques he can escape pulling a crayon and even earned an award for excellent behavior.  He also has adapted to more seat work, less movement, and no singing.  His beloved preschool teachers had set the bar VERY high for all of us and we are all grieving that part just a bit ;)!    I am also learning to cope with not knowing who his friends are or who their parents are...I am anxiously waiting to meet Keegan and Logan at the fall party and am praying they are good sweet little boys...such a new experience to let them make friend choices on their own and hope they make wise decisions in the absence of mom :).

Couple that with Vera starting school, Scott reffing Friday nights, my parents visiting for a fun fall weekend, ISU football and Scott's parents moving to Ankeny at the end of the month along with swimming and tumbling -- we have had a busy month!  Let's take a peak...

We said good-bye to summer on labor day weekend with one last dip at the town pool with our friends, the P Family.  We even stopped by Sonic on the way home for 1/2 price shakes after 8 (except they weren't 1/2 price anymore, summer was officially over).  

Vera turned 4 on September 12th and we hosted a "Frozen" themed tailgate for the ISU vs Iowa football game.  Papa made a darling cake and she enjoyed playing with her camper and other presents at the tailgate.  Too bad the outcome of the game was a loss...

Lucy continues to grow up and get stronger, we tried the bumbo but she wasn't quite ready...she started to tip!

Solon moved up to Level 7 (of 8) at swimming lessons.  He was so proud.  He is now refining his side breathing, working on his breast stroke, and learning to flip turn as well as go longer distances and refine his other strokes.

He also earned the first "Main Event" award for his class.  The principal announces their name over the loud speaker Friday right before school lets out...since it was the first one, he didn't really know what it was all about but his teacher nominated him for his excellent behavior and hard work ethic.  Way to go buddy!

We also decided on halloween costumes...here's a hint and it rhymes with Belsa!  

Grandma also sends happy mail in the form of cute clothes, Vera now loves when the mid-afternoon doorbell rings ;)!

We got carpet in the basement signaling our basement project is about 95% complete.  We have lots of little itty bitty things to complete but its functional and we have already put it to work with hosting the P family for dinner and small group at our house!  We were all excited to dig everything out of storage including my fall decor and Solon was excited to find his marble works again!

I also am currently serving my 2nd and final term as president to my PEO chapter.  I hosted our annual visit meeting and potluck at our house.  We were joined by the state president of PEO, Kathy Wilke.  Luckily we past the test for 5 more years, phew!

3rd child problems...I hadn't taken a sweet fresh out of the tub photo of our darling Lucy so we corrected that this month.  As you can see, she loves to play with her newest toy, her tongue.

Solon loves to watch a show and have a snack after school...this was one day after school!  The helmet cracked me up but didn't inhibit his snacking skills...

The kids continue to take tumbling classes but now Vera is in the morning (because no one is there and its so quiet for her class which is awesome) and Solon goes in the afternoon (the first 30 minutes of his 55 minute class are quiet and then crazy amounts of classes start).  Look at V go up that rope, we have seen huge improvements in both of the kids' strength and confidence.  Our expectations were for them to have fun, gain coordination, and work out wiggles.  They both love it so we will continue for now!

Now that we are finally realizing our new "life" without the boys, we have had some fun impromptu playdates and each of us has taken the girls for playdates so that the other mommy can get something done or nap ;)!  The girls play so well together...

...and Lucy is just always just chilling wherever she may be in the carseat (now without her infant insert, sniff) or when I set her down for a moment and she falls asleep on the couch...

And Bubby is so fun to listen to and we all celebrate when Friday comes and we get two days reprieve.  We have a 3 day weekend in October and Scott is taking it off too -- I can't wait!  I hoard those special days at home now!

And of course we finished off September with a little more football in matching girl outfits of course :).  I love dressing them alike for now, I know it won't last forever.  But I dreamt of the opportunity so  be still my heart...

Auntie Ellen and Uncle K even got in on the football action.  Our kids were SOOOOO excited to see them.  E and K dote on them and give them all sorts of love.  They are coming to stay with us in October for a few days, my kids are going to be in heaven.   We hadn't seen them since their wedding so it was fun to see them again and hang out!  We always have fun together...

...and just to end September right and start October with a bang...here's Lucy looking frightfully cute!  
You are welcome!

It was a crazy, birthday having, memory filled, ISU cheering, adjusting to a new normal kind of month.  We were stretched, overwhelmed and found ourselves in lots of prayer but God is faithful! Now onto cooler weather, pumpkin picking, pumpkin spice latte sipping and harvest in the backyard.

It's fall y'all!

A Fall weekend with Grandma and Grandpa...

Thursday, October 8, 2015
It has become a tradition for my parents to choose one of the football game weekends and make a full fall weekend out of it.  My mom comes early, we go shopping for my birthday and then my dad comes for the rest of the weakend and we tailgate at the ISU game and then do the orchard on Sunday together.  We look forward to it every year and always schedule it on the calendar early!

This year my dad was on business with some colleagues in St. Louis so it worked for them to drop him off at the Ankeny airport so we got to go and pick him up.  In an era of increased security, it was so fun to go check out the plane and run right up to Grandpa.  I have a similar memory of going to get my dad at the corporate jet as a little girl...

After we picked up Grandpa, we took everyone out to eat at Los Charros, Solon's pick and favorite before lots of playing around the house Friday night while daddy reffed.

The next morning was Vera's 4th birthday so we squeezed in opening presents before heading to the ISU game and celebrating with both sets of grandparents and watch ISU lose to the hawkeyes, bummer!  

Then the next morning, we learned the orchard had new hours but only email subscribers knew so I figured it might be light at the opening bell and we were right.  We were one of four families out there at 9am and had the place to ourselves.  I am turning into my dad and HATE crowds so this was a welcome treat.  We raced ducks, played in the corn pool, went down the slide (my dad and my favorite) enough times are quads were sore the next day and new this year we did the apple slingshot...we went through a lot of sour apples and had a blast catapulting them at the targets.

Some serious competitive duck racing...

Lucy's first time in the corn pool, she didn't mind it at all!

Of course I turn into one big kid when I can, I mean isn't that why you have kids so you can play and be a kid again?!  My philosophy anyway...a family that plays together, stays together!
And nothing says fall like a quintessential corn pool photo!

Of course we took some time to jump on the jumping pillow, mommy and daddy both joined in too! 
Then we rode the hay ride to pick some apples and it was Grandpa's lucky day because jonathons (his favorite) were available to pick that day.  We had lunch in the sun of the country and enjoyed the outdoors before my parents had to head out so my dad could catch his flight.  We decided to stay a little longer and visit the animals, reenact the 3 little pigs in the houses and visit the one room school house.  We sampled some fudge, got some apple cider doughnuts to go and 2 out of 3 kids were asleep as we pulled out of the parking lot!
It was a perfect way to kick off fall around here.  We hope to head back out and test out the new train they have and pick pumpkins with Auntie Ellen and Uncle K in October!
...and you know you live in Iowa when you find corn kernels in the laundry that week!  A good time was had by all.  I think this is the 5th year we have gone with my parents and we hope to go for many more years together!

Vera Ann is off to Preschool...

Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Finally the day Vera had been waiting for for months finally came.  The Thursday after labor day was orientation and first day of preschool and she was SO excited.  She was up with the sun and dressed before I was out of bed.  She just couldn't wait for her turn to go to school.  
We had to get a few shots of her in front of the tree with her new backpack that she picked out and bedazzled with her little trinkets of course!

My sweet girl...

Daddy met us at school and ushered Vera into this next chapter of her life!

...and then Mommy stayed for a little bit and we checked out the classroom together.  She especially likes the kitchen area complete with all the fisher-price gadgets from MY childhood.  There was also a fishing pool and camping area for the first thematic unit of the year and then a gross motor area to climb on and slide, etc.  We even colored some pictures together at the art studio area.  Before we knew it, it was time for mommy to head to the parents meeting and Vera was ready to go with a hug and a kiss goodbye.

She was full of very specific and detailed stories from her day (so much more info than I got from her brother).  They walked in a circle, had a cheese stick and goldfish for snack, sang songs and did some art.  She was also thrilled to be the very first to bring the snack bucket home from preschool.  She took chocolate chip cookies we baked together on the following Tuesday.

She has amazing teachers and 3 of her best little lady friends to play with.  She is excited the 2 days she gets to go and its fun to see her learn and grow but I sure do miss her.  Luckily we have a little more time together before I have to let her go everyday (sniff, sniff). She is a shining ray of sunshine and I love her to pieces.

Happy VERY 1st Day of School Vera Ann!

Life of Lucy Violet: 3 months...

Sunday, October 4, 2015

 Welp!  Another month has come and hurried by...and Lucy Violet is bigger, cuter (if that is possible) and more alert and interactive every.single.day!  We just adore her and she is the HAPPIEST baby and must know her birth order, because she is VERY flexible!

She smiles with her whole face and loves kisses from everyone...even her crazy siblings who are ALWAYS in her face.  They both want to sit by her at the table so I got ousted from my seat ;).

Can you guess who she was smiling at off to the right of the camera?  Yes my photography assistant, Vera!  She was very good at her job which was to make Lucy smile :).
Lucy has the cutest teeny feet and chunky monkey thighes and just like her siblings cheeks for days and a round full tum-tum!  We don't miss any meals around here :).

Something about this pictures just makes my heart smile...sweet sisters.  I am so glad they have each other...

Happy in V's arms...

...and just to prove Lucy is put in her bed from time to time...here she is posing on her navy polka dot sheet!  She likes to look in her crib mirror while I do laundry or put clothes away. 

So What is Little Miss Lucy up to...
  • Lucy is now mostly in 3-6 month clothes and wears size 0 shoes  (Someone has teeny feet, a family trait).  Luckily it turned fall because Grandma and Mommy went shopping and get some cute things for her but it was all long sleeves.  She has the cutest animal print tights on right now and sweatshirt dress...yummy!  
  • She is all smiles and laughed TODAY for the very first time (at mommy being silly of course) while Daddy was holding her.  I was so happy we both got to witness it and I may have teared up.  Nothing like baby giggles...
  • She is just moved into her room but still sleeping in the rock n'play.  We are loving the video monitor so I can check on her in the night.
  • She goes to bed around 9pm with a feeding and wakes up anywhere between 3:30-5am for a feeding and then back to bed until around 7:30am...unless she is woken up by the commotion around here.
  • She is thankfully flexible on schedule because everyday is slightly different.  She takes lots of naps in her car seat but occasionally naps at home in her rock n'play...lots of times mommy holds her too - yes she is spoiled and mommy loves every moment!
  • She loves bath time and splashes her legs all around.  She takes a bath every other night these days...she starts to smell like puke after a few days.
  • She is still Miss Volcano after feedings and still dislikes when mommy eats tomatoes or anything TOO spicy.  We still don't do ANY dairy as well.
  • She does NOT like tummy time at all so that lasts about 5 minutes a day.  She does however like to lay on her activity mat and watch the lights and sounds on the display and look in the mirror.  
  • She now tolerates the mommaroo pretty well for 20-30 minute increments if mommy needs to clean or put her down (I am typing while holding her right now ;).
  • She doesn't mind her stroller ride to pick Solon up after school.
  • The verdict is still out on the pacifier, she fights you hard and mommy seems to have the best luck getting her to take it.  
  • She really likes sucking on her hands and playing with her tongue.
  • She loves to be sung and talked to and will coo back.
  • When she is laying on the ground she kicks her legs and flails her arms LOTS.
  • She poops the signature golden yellow poop a few times a day.  The kids think it smells bad, just wait kiddos ;)!
  • She went on her first hayride, sat in the corn pool and picked some apples at the orchard.  She met some more PEO sisters at a meeting mommy hosted and has gone to 2 more ISU games.
  • She knows her family and will light up when they pay her any attention which is all the time.
  • She still prefers to be in mommy's arms.
  • Likes her high chair to watch the action while mom cooks dinner and likes to sit with all of us while we eat.
  • Nurses every 3 hours for a total of 7 times a day.
  • Will take a bottle begrudgingly if mommy is gone but sometimes will fast until mom gets home.
  • Loves to be bounced and rocked to sleep.
She really is the happiest, most flexible baby and I am so thankful.  We have to be on the go with sibling activities and she is just a little ball of sunshine everywhere we go.  She has cheeks for days and a big smile for everyone.  We love our little miracle and love watching every first she has.  Here's to another fun months of firsts and special moments with our sweet Lucy Violet :).   You are the perfect completion to our family and we love you more than you will ever know!

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