Boy moments.

My little Brooksie is becoming such a boy.  Yes, at 4 it’s not surprising that his toddler-isms are nearly gone, but lately I’ve seen new ways he’s turning into a smart, complex thinking, coordinated little boy.

When he talks, he uses these adult-like phrases for being such a little thing. (“Actually, I think Jesus would want me to listen and eat my dinner.” “I like vanilla, mom, but my alternate choice is cookies and cream.”)

He’s started asking about situations and people he can pray for.  Like when we rode down the highway and a car was broken down. Brooks wanted to pray that their car would be fixed and they would stay safe.

This week when we played baseball outside, he started hitting daddy’s overhand pitches (a first!) and looked good out there doing it. It wasn’t his usual whiff at a few balls and then go ride his bike.  Instead, he had this all-boy coordination and focus that I haven’t seen from him yet.

He rattles off these math problems that I don’t think he should know the answer to yet.

He’s losing the few remaining toddler traits he had and is becoming all big kid.

If I’m being honest, I’m just a little sad about it.  As my baby, I notice these last things fading away and it’s a reminder that my role as mom is constantly evolving and he continues to become this bright, fun little man.

He’s needing me less and less as he grows. And I’m conflicted – because I love his little boyisms so much, but I’m also so proud of who he’s becoming.

Lake Day

My company hosted a lake day so we could all spend time outside of the office in a stress free environment🙂  Yes, our jobs can be stressful at times, so it was nice to have fresh air, cool lake water and boat fun!

My kids had a great time – this was our second year doing lake day and it was even better this time because it was late Sept last time we did it and  a little chilly.  This time, the weather was great!

Our hosts were awesome. They had the kids fishing off the dock (Brooks even caught his first fish),there were tons of rafts to float on and we took several boat rides!

The highlight was Brooks being so brave and jumping off of a 12+ foot boat dock roof into the lake.  He did it twice with mom. (And I definitely screamed like a girl when I jumped!) It was higher than I expected.  He cracks me up how confident and brave he is with most things.


What a great lake day!



Love week 2016

Each year, our church (Elevation) hosts a week long love fest for our city.  We’ve done it every year (except for the first year). (Here are some of the things we did for 2014 Love week.  2013 Love week.)  There are thousands of projects we can sign up for – serving food, delivering furniture/food/goods, cleaning, packaging items, etc.

We always try to get a couple hours of service in and I hope that as our kids get older, our service level grows as their capability grows.  There are a lot of tasks that kids can’t do, but definitely enough for them to get out there and spread love to Charlotte!

This time, we prepped rice meals for Servants with Heart. I think as a church we prepped  a million of these meals. Awesome!  Landon and Brooks got to help this year and did a great job.  They measured, poured and delivered.  (In past years we’ve done this but they were often too little to really help. They “managed”.)


Another day we hit the Mens Shelter to play games and have an ice cream social with the people who stay there.  It was really sweet to see these big guys just love seeing the boys and connect with them over games. Plus the kids got ice cream too so they were in heaven!

And the last thing we did was prep sneakers for Samaritan’s Feet.  This one required kids to be older so just Dean and I did this with our couples eGroup.


I love that our church gives us easy opportunities to give back to our community and serve others.  This is a huge value I want to instill in our kids and I love that they enjoy these service opportunities.

He’s a little rockstar.

Landon’s done a bunch of camps this summer so he isn’t stuck at home with daddy all day. This gives him some structured entertainment and he’s had the opportunity to do a ton of fun things.  Basketball and sports camps, nature camp, science camp, superhero week, vacation bible school, and more.

One of the last ones was rock star camp where over the course of the week about 15 kids learned instruments and vocals to two songs.  Pretty impressive, huh?!

On Friday, Kitty Band (they came up with their own name) put on a rockstar performance!

Of course, I got a little tear in my eye during their performance. It was definitely better than I expected and I’m always proud of my kids’ accomplishments.

He really loved rockstar camp, so who knows, maybe music lessons will be in our future! I know Papa would love that. He needs more musical people to hang with!


We bought, I mean, WENT to the zoo.

My sister came up with the great idea to do a cousins day at the zoo this summer.  So we packed up 6 kids and 5 adults (those are good ratios!) and hit the Columbia Zoo for a day of fun.

The rides were definitely a hit. We did each at least twice!  From the carousel to the horse rides, trains and the splash pad.


Future equestrians and bear lovers:



And the sweet cousin caboose!


It was a hot and fun day!  We hit just enough shaded and indoor areas that it kept the crankiness at bay. The kids all did great and I think having all the extra “friends” to hang with made it the best day ever.

Recipe: Garlic Shrimp Tacos with Watermelon Tomato Salad

Summer is time for light, easy to prep meals.  It’s not time for slaving over a hot pot of stew or a running oven!  This recipe was on the table in about 20 mins and it was delicious!


Garlic Shrimp Tacos
Olive Oil
Chopped Garlic – used about 2 tablespoons
Medium Shrimp – I had about a lb to feed 4 people
Red onion – sliced (about a half of a small onion)
Cilantro – a small handful, with leaves torn
Juice of a lime

Heat skillet on medium. Add oil and when hot, add a couple tablespoons of chopped garlic. Don’t skimp on the garlic, it makes it delicious.  Once garlic has been cooked for a minute, add the shrimp.  After about 3 minutes of cooking the shrimp, throw in a half of a small red onion, sliced thin.  Let the onion and shrimp cook together until the shrimp is pink and cooked through.  Season with salt and pepper. The last minute, add the torn cilantro and juice of a lime.  Then serve on hot flour tortillas with Watermelon Tomato Salad (see below).  (Usually, I just wrap a stack of tortillas in a wet paper towel and microwave for 30-60 seconds – depending on how many I’m making.)

Since I had tail-on shrimp, I just de-tailed them once they were done cooking and I was piling the shrimp on the tortillas.


Watermelon Tomato Salad
1/2 cup diced seedless watermelon
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/4 cup diced seedless cucumber
2 radishes – finely diced
2 tablespoons red onion – finely diced
chopped fresh cilantro
Champagne Vinagrette – I use the store bought Girard’s (in the fancy glass diamond shaped bottle)

Mix first 6 items together in medium bowl.  Add a few tablespoons of dressing and mix.  Taste and add more dressing and S&P, if desired.

This salad is delicious on it’s own, it’s really a great summer taste.  Would be good on a bed of bibb lettuce.

The hot tortilla and shrimp are perfect with the cool salad on top. Definitely a dinner win.


Last weeks of summer bucket list

The last weeks of summer are hanging by a thread.  We’re enjoying the long days and looser schedule.  Lately, I’ve been thinking of the last things I want to do to make our summer complete:

  1. Go to a movie.  The kids love doing special things like this and I don’t think we’ve hit a movie theater as a family in over a year.  I’d like to spend the time getting in a fun movie on a rainy weekend afternoon.
  2. Evening swimming. This one is my husband’s idea.  He’d like to take the kids to the pool for an hour or two right before it closes – when it’s starting to get dark out and the lights come on.
  3. Explore a fun park we haven’t visited before.  There are so many great parks around Charlotte and we tend to go to the same ones over and over.  This time, I want to find one that my kids love exploring.
  4. Feeding the ducks.  I’ve done this once or twice with the kids and they loved it.  It’s been a while and I’d like to take them to a nearby pond for a picnic lunch – both them and the ducks.
  5. One last ballgame.  We did our first O’s game as a family earlier this summer. Dean and I have also hit the Knights games (local AAA team) with our neighbor friends this year.  We have one more on our calendar before calling it a wrap on baseball season!
  6. Water balloon fight.  We’ve had a few this year and the kids are the perfect age for it.  We want to squeeze in at least 2 more before it starts getting too cold to soak each other with water missiles!
  7. Dinner outside.  We tend to avoid this during the hottest months of the year, but there is something awesome about a little sweat on your back while enjoying a burger or cold watermelon.  I want to do a few more dinners outside.  Bonus if we invite friends or family over to enjoy these with us on the back patio.
  8. A little travel.  A trip to Atlanta to see family, a visit to the beach, maybe the mountains for a day… I’d like to do 1-2 quick trips before we get into the full swing of things with fall.
  9. Treats!  Of course, saving the best for last.  Whether it’s gourmet donuts or fro yo piled with toppings, we’re gonna get at least one more fun treat day in with the kids.

Anyone else have a end of the summer bucket list they’re trying to work through?