Sunny August 2015

July showers bring August flowers, right? We had an awesome August! Between the sunshine, concerts, zoo days, farm visits, pool parties, the state fair and school starting...we are loving life and sleeping well :)

Some cute little things about the kids this month:
  • Briggs has gone from calling me "mommy" to "mama." He says it all the time and the way he says it is so endearing. I think he's a southern boy at heart
  • Kerigan refers to all food as "nummies" She came up with this on her own
  • He still loves Madagascar
  • She still loves Ring Around the Rosie
  • They both get giddy when they see their cousin, Kinsie
  • They are both crazy obsessed with Lola. Like they fight on who can take her on walks. Thank goodness that pup is so patient with them.
  • Kerigan's vocabulary has exploded this month, She went from maybe 20 words to over 100. 
  • Briggs thinks Kerigan is the funniest person known to mankind. Her sarcasm and sense of humor makes him laugh. Not giggle-but deep, uncontrollable belly laughs. Which just encourages our little comedian even more. 

Here is our August Video. It's a little longer than usual- but there were just so many sweet memories to capture :) What an awesome summer its been. I'm not ready to see it go- but some pretty incredible things are on the September horizon. :)

Enjoy the show!

Our State Fair 2015 a great state fair. Don't miss it! Don't even be late! 
We're soaking up more of fair season! Who doesn't love the state fair? It's the one day of the year where calories don't count ;-) I used to think all the fried foods were weird because I was secretly mad I wasn't trying them. But then I decided to live a little annnnd the donut burger changed my fair world. The kids love the fried potato chips, popcorn and lemon shake ups.  This year, they even tried their first elephant ear! I had to convince Briggs it wasn't a real elephant ear before he took a bite :)

We visited all the animals' barns, fed some goats, loved on some baby calves and took a tour of the Glass Barn to support my amazing cousin, Katie (or Kath, as I like to call her) who works with the Indiana Soybean Alliance.  

Loves her Yaya.

Twinkle toes, as Pops calls her

Family photo shoot at the Glass Barn. Awesome idea and so fun!

We got to pet horsies with Kinsie, ride a "tractor choo choo," snuggle with Yaya, have a family photo shoot, see baby piggies and visit our fave, the Dairy Barn for milk shakes.

My sweet bug. So happy to be at the fair.

Love this family and our Hoosier adventures!

Our August Hangout

So far this month, we have ventured to Traders Point Creamery a time or two. On Fridays, they have live music throughout the year, but August has been so darn beautiful that we haven't been able to resist frequent visits. We love the creamery because everything is quaint, organic, kid friendly and its a literal farm to table concept. The kids love to visit the cows. On these Friday nights, they even have a mini petting zoo which is extra bonus points. 

I brought my big camera to one of our visits, because I'm guilty of taking client photos and not enough of my own family's (the reason I learned to love photography). So here are a few I took and plan on printing to display at home. I love candid shots of my kids. This is who they are right now and I want to always remember that.

I love their relationship. I'm probably going to canvas this one, actually. 

The relationship he and Kerigan are forming makes my heart explode. When I catch him dancing with his little over. I fall more in love. 

These goofs. 

The essence of B + K

A close up of the stinkers. What is she plotting?

I'm so thankful for this beautiful month of August and places like TPC. Making good ole family memories this month.

First Day of School 2015

Monday morning was their first day of school. Briggs has started his second year at his preschool in the threes class and Kerigan was old enough for the Parents Day Out (PDO) class. Although she's so young, her class lasts just as long as B's and is a nurturing learning environment as well. I know my babies are in the best hands at their school. We have fallen in love with the staff and we know they love and truly value our little ones. 

 When I walked out to the parking lot after dropping them off, I walked out alone. No baby in my arms or on my hip. We are surrendering our future to God as far as having any more kids. Perhaps he will bless us with more or perhaps he wants us to just raise the two little souls he's already blessed us with. Either way, I was mix of emotions walking out. My heart is full though, knowing we are putting them in the hands of people who know and love B & K and want to teach them that God loves them.

As far as our first day traditions, I always want my children to get excited for school. I want them to look forward to it. So this is the reason we are starting new traditions this year. After talking to other moms, pulling from what my own parents did for me & the influence of pinterest, we decided on three traditions for now. 

Tradition No. 1: An encouraging gift for the teacher.

My degree is in education. I was in the field for around 3 years. It was a short time but a rewarding time. The reward came with a lot of hard work, tears, hours, confusion, planning, reading and more. I get it. I will always get it. Teachers are mission workers. I value every educator out there who truly has a heart for what they do. You are selfless, you are creative, you are brilliant. You need to know that.  People who have never been in the classroom may tell you differently. But I know. And I want you to know how much our family loves you.

So for our teachers this year, Briggs and I made chocolate covered pretzels to look like apples. We put them in little buckets and wrapped them up. 

The buckets read "Colossians 3:16"
Let the teaching of Christ and His words keep on living in you. These make your lives rich and full of wisdom. Keep on teaching and helping each other. Sing the Songs of David and the church songs and the songs of heaven with hearts full of thanks to God

We pray that these simple little buckets can be a reminder of encouragement to last the whole year.

Tradition No. 2: A Special Breakfast

My mom was a high school teacher when I was growing up. She always had to be at work pretty early. So dad was in charge of getting us dressed, doing our hair (kind of), making us breakfast and getting us on the bus. One of my favorite things about those mornings with dad is that he would get so pumped to make us a great breakfast. Cooking for others is his love language :) His enthusiasm was contagious and always started me off with a great day. 

So to continue dad's tradition, we made the kids a very special breakfast. They had pancakes with sprinkles and scrambled eggs with cheese. Then each of them got to have one apple pretzel for "dessert".

Tradition No. 3: Photo with a Chalkboard Signs

I love this idea! I know it's not original but its brilliant. So we got some chalkboards at HobbsLobbs on sale a few weeks ago. I used old school chalk to make the signs because that's just fun. We plan on taking a last day of school photo with them as well to compare. 

I hope the kids let me take their pics for their whole school career :)

It's a lot of pressure to keep your back pack on and hold the sign ;-)

Kerigan recruited daddy to help hold up her sign. 

Morning drop off went pretty well! We went as a family which made it extra special.

Briggs is showing us his name tag. 

Kerigan waiting out in the lobby until her class starts. 

Walking in and ready to give her teacher her present.

And she's off!

Briggs had a great drop off and was full of excitement to start preschool. Kerigan cried when she realized we weren't following her into her class. Thankfully her teacher said it didn't last too long after we left. In her PDO class, they do a "Baby Doll Circle Time". That was her hook and the key to Miss K's heart. When I picked her up at the end of the day she was pointing to my face and her face and saying "eyes...nose....mouth" And if you know Kerigan, this is a huge deal! I think she will love her class. I pray our sweets will have a wonderful year, learn a lot, and know that God loves them. 

Cheers to the new school year & hugs for your preschool friends!

Our Madagascar Zoo Day

Today is the kids' first day of preschool. So instead of crying in a corner, I'll channel my energy into telling you about our scavenger hunt at the zoo. (First day of preschool post and pics coming soon!)

Our Madagascar scavenger hunt at the zoo was the love language to my son's heart. He already has a passion for animals. And as mentioned before, he has been on a Madagascar kick since June (all three movies of the series). 

So when we arrived at the zoo on Friday morning and I showed him our scavenger hunt map...he smiled so big I think I saw tears in his eyes. Our mission was to take a picture with every "Madagascar" animal below. He has told everyone he knows about our "Madagascar Zoo" since we left. Since we are already members, it didn't cost us a dime and made for the perfect last day of summer for us. 

Here is our scavenger hunt map. If you're in the Indy area, feel free to save and use yourself! Notice, there's no Gloria...we need to put in a request for hippos at our zoo to complete the Madagascar experience ;-)

If you've sent the third movie (the Circus-probably Briggy's current favorite) then you know Vitaly the tiger. Here he is with the real tiger ;-)

The monkeys play an important role in the second Madagascar movie

That silly bear with King Julian.  Kerigan was loving that the real bear was taking a bath. 

Marty! This is who Briggs wants to be for Halloween...right now.

Mr. Melmin. Kerigan was playing peek-a-boo with the giraffes. 

Alex was show boating while the real lion was relaxin' on the rock.

So I know Gia is actually a jaguar and this is a cheetah...but it counts for our scavenger hunt ;-)

King Julian with the lemurs

Stefano swimming with the seals and sea lions. K is in her happy place.

The lovable penguins with Skipper and his crew

And....Finish! We did it!

The zoo is somewhere we frequent often but with just a little twist, you can make it a whole new adventure. With a fun and restful weekend behind us, we are ready to tackle the school year!

Disclaimer: [All three Madagascar films and all characters' images are property of Dreamworks] The magic of photoshop was used in order to make my son's day. 

Fellowship Friday: Being With

Brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being seperated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. 
-1 Thessalonians 2:17

Remember when I said I just want to be this week? It's more difficult said than done. I was supposed to work from home Monday and Wednesday this week. And then work things came up. And guess what's the first thing to get sacrificed? Yep. Mud pies, scavenger hunts and neighborhood parades.

I've been really grouchy this week because my schedule with the kids didn't  necessarily go as planned. Then yesterday I opened my devotion "Savor" by Shauna Neiquist. The devotion for the day was titled "On Being With" (Isn't it incredible how God knows our hearts?) He reminded me that I need to show myself grace. That he has given me the opportunity to do what I love as a living and have my dream job of being a mom.

I love what Shauna says here:

I love what I do, and I'm so deeply thankful to travel for work to so many beautiful parts of the world, but at the same time, I don't want to miss even a moment in this, my every day life, the blood and bones of day to day. 

Maybe this is how it's supposed to be. My friend Steve says that you're a lucky person when you love to go to work in the morning, and you equally love to come home at the end of the day. So've resolved to be here, present to what life hands me here. And when it is time to be somewhere else, I will be there, present to what life hand me there.

If any working moms out there have ever struggled with "mom guilt" not just because you work, but you enjoy what you do, take heart, maybe this is God's intention. Be present. He wants us to not only pour His love into our littles, but also the lives of others we reach every day. I'm thankful He reached me yesterday. It's natural for me to want to be with my family any time. I need to allow myself to be present at a job I love. When I'm at work and reaching the heart of others, its okay to want to be with them too. Because I do love what I do. 

We are blessed beyond measure to have a community of loved ones who enjoy spending time with our babies when we're not. I'm learning this is God's intention too. These individuals are helping shape and form our babies into the God-loving adults we are praying for. My kids need balance. They need other adult mentors who love them and who help nurture their love for Christ. 

Balance is important. And while I'm learning to give myself grace in loving my career, I'm not going to lose sight of the blood and bones of every day either. 

Savoring Summer

Today begins our last official week of summer. The kids (yes, plural) start school next week. Both will be attending preschool come Monday, so we are savoring our last summer days and nights. Lucky for us, we will still get to experience lots of summer since the kids only attend school 2 x a week for now. 

We're so thankful for such a family-oriented summer. Ryan and I have learned the art of saying "no". It has been a priority for us to not over schedule and live in the moment with each other. We still loved seeing our friends, play dates, cookouts and more but at the end of the day, before making a decision on a potential outing, the kids and family time came first. So glad we stuck to our guns. If your calendar feels overloaded, I challenge you to try to simplify as much as possible. God calls us to do so. It's what our hearts desire.

This weekend we swam and played at Yaya and Papa's. My grandma (the kids call her Rara) came to visit as well. We cherish all our time we get with Rara. Every visit from her turns into a fiesta. Amazing food, music, bonfires and company.  

Summer nights at Yaya and Papa's

Rara dancing with her family. Love this beautiful soul. 

Ummm...let's stop and talk about this for a sec. Sis's first french piggies! 

Summarizing Summer. As we savor these last days of summer, we are thankful for the memories made these last few months. Vacations to Orlando and Brown County. Pool days, lake boating, park play, zoo trips, family meals, concerts, wagon rides, playing soccer until we're sweaty, getting covered in bubbles and sidewalk chalk, popsicles, library parties, adventures with Emily (their babysitter), days at Kendra's (their other babysitter), slumber parties at Yaya and Papa's, weekly meals with Pops, swing sets with Kinsie and lots and lots of Ring Around the Rosie. This summer has been one for the books. 

Last Summer Goals. This week I plan on taking a couple days off just to be. I want to limit my phone use. I want to increase my engagement. I want to listen to them. Learn from them. I want them each to pick an activity to do each day. I don't want to rush. I don't want to over plan. We might make mud pies. Or we might have relay races. We may even have a puppy parade through the neighborhood. I just want them to be kids. Thats the beauty of summer. 

Before wrapping this up with Back to School brainstorming, I have a quick praise. As some of you know, my mom hasn't been feeling her best. Without going into too much detail, she had a procedure done this week that we were praying would bring her some relief. And although she's not completely pain free, I witnessed her for the first time in a long time, be in the moment with her grand babies without pain on her face. You have no idea how much relief and joy this does for my heart. This woman has been the most self-sacrificing, sweet, nurturing and loving mom to Kara and I. She deserves to be able to give all the love she can to her grandkids. That's what brings her joy. They adore her more than life itself.  These photos above mean everything. Mama, you know we pray for you every day. So glad to see sunshine in you again this weekend. Praise the Lord!
Back to School Brainstorming. While my main purpose this week is to savor up the rest of summer, I also want to be proactive and start brainstorming some fun back to school traditions. Since both of the kids will be in school this year, I thought it would be the perfect time to start implementing a few. I want them to love school and get excited for it up! These are just some ideas I found on Pinterest. I'm sure we will give an update on what we decided to go with. Until then, Happy last week of summer B & K!