Two Little Monkeys

While the brother is away...

...the sisters will climb!

Maurah and Hayden have found a new fascination at their Grandpa and Grandma's...TREES! 

The last couple of days, while Cole was at school and the girls were getting cabin fever, we've taken them outside and have been climbing trees.  The first day, only Hayden was really interested in climbing. 
(Ugh...this picture makes me think of senior pictures...I do NOT want to go there.)

Maurah did for a little bit but I think just so she wasn't outdone by her little sister.  We started on this tree...a very sturdy, yet very mild form of tree. 

It's near impossible for them to go much higher than this, which this momma really likes.  Then, I walked outside yesterday to find them in this gargantuan of a tree! 

Of course it was their dad who introduced this big fella to them!  They were having the time of their lives!  Maurah was just as much into it as Hayden and, in fact, climbed up the highest all by herself! 

It was so fun to be taking these pictures of them. 
Again, senior portrait worthy.  These have GOT to stop!
I think their smiles tell it all, don't you?  Who knew all the fun we were missing out on by not having a yard at our last house?  Note to self:  next house MUST have trees.
Have a happy go-monkey day!

Cole's First Day of Preschool!

Cole's first day went great.  Neither of us cried...I was so proud of BOTH of us!  He was such a brave little man.  I can't believe we've started the school stage.  I said to Jake yesterday, "Do you realize that we will be a part of school for at least the next 18 years starting today?"  Craziness.  Here are some of our first day memories...

Winning the Race

We've had some bad days.  While the move did go well like I posted earlier, we have had some bad days.  Not terrible, but not too pleasant either.  There are lots of tantrums, screaming, arguing, hitting, hair pulling and whining.  I realize this comes with the territory of having two two year-olds and a four year-old but I'm also noticing a pattern.

The other day Cole had to be at his school at 9 A.M. for his preschool open house.  I dropped the twins off with his mom (just one of the perks of her working at the school!) and then rushed Cole and Laina to the elementary to be on time.  I wanted to be "The Mom."  You know, the one who has everything perfectly organized, her child perfectly groomed...and then you throw in my love for and experience in the classroom and I think I've got this role of "The Mom" made.  I'm a shoe-in!


What happened instead was me not getting all of us out the door in time, forgetting to wipe Cole's face from his cinnamon toast breakfast, putting his important medical form in my purse with Laina's uncapped bottle, only to have it leak all over my cell phone, wallet and melting that medical form to sticky shreds.  In the midst of yelling at Cole while he threw a fit that he didn't get to play on the playground like the twins, holding the door to the kids' bedroom shut with Maurah having an outrageous tantrum on the other side and multiple other little events that could mirror both of these images I've portrayed, I came across this post and I realized that I'm not "The Mom."  I'm "That Mom."  "That Mom" is the one that's always rushing because she never leaves herself enough time.  "That Mom" is always checking off her list but nothing ever seems to get accomplished.  "That Mom" can get overwhelmed at the littlest of things.  "That Mom" is forgetful and one of the biggest things she forgets is how her kids need her.  I never wanted to be "That Mom."

I'm realizing that a lot of my kids' negative behaviors are a result of a behavior either Jake or I have shown them or the fact that I don't leave enough room in my schedule...a.k.a. my just love on my kids.  When the fighting happens, I'm typically not in the room.  When the tantrums happen, we're usually hurrying somewhere or other.  When my kids throw fits at the word "no", it's probably because I've used it an awful lot that day.  I realize they're selfish too and want what they want when they want it....but mostly, it's me choosing to want other things over time on the floor, engaging in their worlds.  How hard is it to eat a delicious meal the girls have made in their kitchen set?  Or to build a fun city with Cole's blocks?  Or to sing songs and dance silly with Laina in tow?  You would think that sounds more fun than checking off a cleaning list, wouldn't you?

This is one of my favorite pictures of Hayden.  It's a little blurry but I still love it.  Jake had just gotten done building this robot with Cole and the girls and they were all so proud of the time and effort they took to make him together.

How crazy to think that moments like these can be had whenever a list is completed.  I may not be "The Mom" and, while I'm sure there will be many times that I'll be "That Mom," the most important thing is that I'm their mom...and I want to be a mom who really was there.

Life in the Mitten State

We are here!  Officially Michiganders again.

The move went incredibly well.  We are all settling in and meeting up with old friends and family members we haven't seen very much these last four years.  All in all, this is the very best place for us to be.  Of course, it's not the ideal situation to move four little kids and two adults in with their parents but it has worked out so well, I just know that God's hand was in our moving here.  Jake's parents have been so accommodating and pretty much moved all of their furniture out so we could bombard them with our clothes and toys of every sort.

We have kept very busy already in just our first week here.  We had lots of meetings to get Cole signed up and ready for preschool (Monday is his first day!), we've attended football games and the fall carnival and Jake was in Ohio all day yesterday for a job interview.  The meeting went really well and they're already down to the job being between Jake and one other guy.  We should know next Monday if they're pursuing just him or not.  Of course, in the middle of his interview, another church in Three Rivers called him, wanting to take their interviewing process with him further too.  When it rains, it pours!  

Could you please pray for us to have clarity in all of these decisions?  I almost wrote to pray that the church in Ohio would work out (and, if I'm honest, this is what we really want) but I know that ultimately we want God's will.  We always tell our kids that God's will is better than anything we could want, even if it doesn't seem that attractive from the get-go.  I'm trying to keep that perspective now myself.  It's funny how it's easy to "teach" something and much harder to really learn it, isn't it?  So, any prayers for God's will in our lives are greatly appreciated and so coveted!

Also, if you could keep our kids in your prayers, I couldn't be more grateful.  Every once in a while, we notice how they're struggling with our move a bit.  Whether it's praying for our "old" blue house, asking for friends, or just acting out in general, it's obvious they're in a stage of adjustment.  I'm a bit leery of moving again for this very reason.  We're just getting them settled only to uproot them again?  I worry especially about Cole with all of the newness happening in his life...a new home, a new town, new friends, new school, new's hard to watch him sometimes. 

I keep reminding myself that God is not just my God or just Jake's God.  My God is Father to all of us, including my children.  He loves them more than I could ever imagine to and He has a plan for them in all of this too.  The question isn't just, "Where is God leading Jake and Megan?" but "Where is God leading Cole, Maurah, Hayden and Laina too?"  After all, He knows who their friends will be, what school they'll attend, etc.  He's got it all under control!  I forget and tend to want to control those things myself for them.

We're on a journey, that's for certain.  It will be exciting to see just how God moves in all of this.  For now, we're treating this time as a sabbatical to just enjoy our family, make some good routines and habits and love on each other like we haven't really focused on doing in a very long time.  There's a certain kind of freedom we have now to do these things.  It's like a breath of fresh air.  I'm looking at this time as a time to treasure.  I don't know when/if I'll ever have days with Jake home all of the time again and, already, our full days at home with all of the kids are coming to an end.  God is using this season to bring something great out of it for our family, I just know it.  Thanks for being a part of our journey!

A New Spark

June also brought with it a somewhat new adventure for Maurah.  She joined MainStage Academy of Dance in the winter and showcased her work t...