You made me a mom.


8 years ago today, you made me a mom.  You’ve been the perfect firstborn… a rule follower, easygoing – so pleasant and fun to be around.  You’ve made parenting easy (most of the time).  There are so many things that make me proud of you.


You work hard in everything you do – whether it’s math problems, long bike rides or learning sports.  You are always 100%.  You like to work at it until you get it perfect. I wish you weren’t so critical of yourself because you are so good at so many things and I hate when you get down on yourself.


You know when to push back and fight for your opinion and when to let things go. There’s never a fight when I say it’s time to get in bed or ask you to try new foods.  But if you feel really strongly about something, you’ll dig your heels in.  As frustrating as it can be, I secretly like when you stand your ground and fight for your way.  I know that skill will serve you so well later in life.


At age 8, you are already so good at reading people.  As I get riled up by something, (hypothetically Brooks is still upstairs after 3 requests to get in the car for church), I feel my anger rise up and I start yelling.  Then I feel a gentle rub across my back, and it’s you, trying to calm me.  You know just the buttons to push or words to say to get 5 extra minutes of cuddle time or a few more minutes shooting hoops before dinner.


I get a little lump in my throat when I think about you turning 8 (…halfway to drivers license status!)

You’re really turning into a young man now.  Your values and moral compass are mostly established and these next years it’s a lot of me letting go of the reins and allowing you start figuring it out on your own.  Seeing you become more independent makes me realize how much my role is changing.  It’s bittersweet because I love your growth but also already miss some of your boy-ish needs.

You’re growing into a strong, well-rounded, amazing young man and I am proud of you every single day.

I love you Landy Pandy, Bubba, Boo, Sweet Thang.

Happy Happy 8th Birthday!


Valentine Thanks to my Main P

Dear Valentine:

I don’t say it enough but I am so thankful for you.  I know I’m so lucky to be matched with you.  In the day-to-day grind of life, it’s easy to let the little things slip through the cracks without showing a bit of gratitude.  So for Valentines Day I want to appreciate some of the small things:

  • Your ability to be late.  I know, it’s always because of me.  I always try to cram “just one more thing” in, which makes us even later.  Thank you for adjusting to my crazy and going with the flow.
  • For control of the remote at bedtime.  I know how much you love tv, but I love how you let me choose the show most nights.  (This is probably because you know you’ll be lights out 10 minutes after your head hits the pillow, but I’m going to keep thinking it’s because you love me.)
  • The way you make our kids feel.  You don’t know how many times during my tuck in’s the the boys say that the highlight of their day was related to you playing with them or spending time with them.  You make them feel so special, so often.
  • For all the Relationship Inventories and Cozi Lists. I know that I’m a little crazy when it comes to these things. I know I like to talk about plans and to do lists and you don’t. But you do it for me.
  • For letting me pursue my goals.  You’ve never once said my goals were out of reach or I was spending too much time working on them, you just give me the room and space to make sure I have some time to focus on things that are important to me.  I probably don’t reciprocate enough in this area and I really appreciate how much support I have from you.

While I know you’re much more likely to quote a “romantic” line from Wedding Crashers than The Notebook,  I appreciate the uncommon, “romantic” ways you make me feel so loved.

Happy Valentines to my P!



Celebrating Brooks Tubing and Ice Skating

To celebrate Brooks turning 6 we did two special things.  The weekend before his birthday, we did a cousins day at the ice skating rink.  We had Gigi and Uncle Joel take turns steering the kids around the rink. It was surprisingly packed… I had no idea ice skating was such a popular Sunday activity.

The cousins had a great time and they really improved from start to finish.  And yes, Brooks looked a lot like baby Bambi on the ice. The first picture is a perfect representation of his wild legs flying all over. It was adorable!

After skating, we headed home to have a pizza and cake party all together.


Then on Brooks’ actual birthday (a Tuesday), Dean and I surprised Brooks and Landon and picked them up from school at lunchtime to take them on a special birthday adventure.  You see, for his birthday Brooks told me multiple times he wanted a snow party.  Living in Charlotte, we see snow maybe 1 or 2 times a year and typically it’s a light dusting, so I knew chances were not good we’d have a snow party.

We packed up the car with our sledding gear and drove 2.5 hours to the mountains to go snow tubing at HawksNest in NC.  There were 9 total people on the runs and we were 4 of them. It was awesome – we had the entire place to ourselves.


It was so much fun.  Especially when we made chains with our tubes and rode together.

I’ll definitely say that after one hour of our two-hour window, Brooks was exhausted from walking in the snow (even with the people conveyors to help get you back up some of  the runs).  It was hard work for 6 year old legs!  So they slept really hard that night.

And wouldn’t you know, God heard Brooks’ birthday wish and sent some snow on Wednesday morning (the day after his birthday). With a whole 3 inches, they were out of school the rest of the week 😉

Happy Happy Birthday to my sweet, funny, confident, silly, awesome 6 year old boy.  I love you Mr. Brooksie

Meet Mr. Blouie Finn


Please welcome the 5th member of the Dean family.  Mr. Blouie Finn.  (I am not a pet/animal person, so this is a big deal for me to allow another living (non-plant) into my home. And who am I kidding, my plants rarely live so apparently I only do humans!)

For Mr. Brooksie’s birthday, my little animal lover got to pick out a betta fish as his first pet.  There were lots of colors and he selected the bright blue one.  When I asked him what he wanted to name him, he said “Goldie”. I laughed and said, it’s not a goldfish, it’s a blue betta, is that sure what you want to name him?

He thought for a minute and said, “I’ll call him Blouie (or is it Blue-y) Finn (or is it Fin).”

And he’s been enamored ever since. He gives his little carrier lots of hugs and he wants to feed him a lot, so we hid the fish food – for Blouie’s sake.  We also got a really fun aquarium that we’re setting up in Brooks’ room.  I think Blouie will love his new home.

We also rounded Brooks’ day of fun with a movie – we saw Sing in the theatre, then went to Brooks’ choice of the Japanese steakhouse.  He loves the fire and egg in hat trick. We finished our day back home with a homemade cake – Brooks picked the cake mix flavor (funfetti), icing flavor and sprinkles/decorations.  Plus both boys helped make it the night before.


Before the steakhouse show began!


It tasted way better than it looked 🙂


I love my boys relationship. Of course, they have moments of fighting and teasing, but so often they are doing sweet things – like this “cyut” (cute) note from Landon to Brooks.

I asked Brooks about the best part of his birthday and he quickly said, “getting my new fish.”  Welcome to the chaos, Blouie, you’re in for a wild ride!





5 is a big deal.

This week my youngest babe turns 5.  And I love how it’s a big deal for him.  In the past month, I’ve noticed an overall improvement in his behavior.  Less fighting at meal times.  Less fighting in the mornings.  (Notice I didn’t say none, just less. 🙂 )

Many mornings he hops out of bed, gets dressed, brushes his teeth and makes an attempt at his bed without any prompting.  When I commended him for a great job, he responds, “it’s because I’m almost 5.”

When I ask him to run up at bedtime and get a shower, dry off, hang up his towel and get pjs, he does it quickly.  Less fighting us to  go up the stairs.  And when I tuck him in and say great job on his bedtime routine, “It’s because that’s what 5 year olds do.”

This sweet, fun, compassionate boy of mine.  He loves being loved. Snuggles, affection, praises.  He openly soaks them in.  He gets up at dinner at least once a week just to give me a hug during the meal.  Many weekend mornings, I find him nestled next to me.  Sneaking in our bed around 7am for a weekend wake up.

He’s so tough.  Being the little brother does that to you.  He can hang for several rounds of “Fighter” – a made up game between he and big brother that involves a lot of wrestling.  And he’s not just physically tough but also mentally.  This boy has a strong will.  It’s a fine line to parent him so that he keeps this strength but can also be obedient.

I love that Brooks is so excited about life.  He wakes up each day with a smile on his face.  Ready to make the day awesome.  He’s my little optimist and I love that his joy is contagious.  I’m so excited about what 5 means for him.  It means he’s going to kindergarten this year. It means he gets to skip more naps.  It means he can earn allowance for chores. And it means he gets to start sports this year – spring baseball here we come.


Brooksie Bear, You are my favorite snuggler with the biggest heart. I love that you’ve started seeing “need” around you and wanting to change it.  You want to make our world better.

I love how you love being around people.  You’re this confident little boy who can do anything.  I cannot wait to see you do all sorts of new things this year – sports, kindergarten, special trips.  And because of your adventurous spirit, I know you’ll excel.  You’ll have no problem making new friends in school and on your teams.  You’ll work really hard in everything you do and I know you’ll make me proud.

There’s still so much in this great big world you haven’t seen or experienced and my goal as your mom is to expose you to as much as I can.  So here’s to another year of adventure.  Cheers to 5 baby boy!



Welcome 2017.

Yes, I’ve been MIA for a while.  Maybe a month or so.  Life just got the better of me and I had a lot on my plate for the holidays, so I took the month to live in the moment.  I don’t think I took one picture on Christmas Day. Not of my kids or their presents or the stockings or our Dean Family Christmas Cinnamon Rolls.  Not one.  I just enjoyed the moments of our day.  The excitement of my kids opening their Nerf guns (the highlight gift of the Christmas holiday), visiting friends and family in town and out, enjoying a Charlotte December – where I was in tshirt and shorts for my Christmas week runs.

I think the best part of the holiday season is there was no gift finding stress.  This year, I just didn’t care. I put my husband in charge of all the gifts for his family and most of the gifts for our boys. I also really tried to cut back on the number of gifts we bought for our kids.  They just don’t need more stuff.  And while there were a lot less presents under the tree, I don’t think they felt one less ounce of Christmas joy.  It was awesome.  My boys have gotten to play together for about 2 weeks straight.  No school or preschool, just tons of family time. Cousin time. The four of us playing card games and I Spy.  Eating lots of donuts and cookies.  Watching Elf and Home Alone on repeat.

We just spent time together.  It was exactly what Christmas should be.  After all, I can’t think of a better way to close out 2016 and start 2017.

And in 2017, I hope I do a better job keeping up with my blog 🙂

This boy.

This boy.  He’s always the first to help out and be my special assistant.

This boy.  He loves to be outside. He bikes, runs, catches and throws.  Basically, his daddy’s dream.

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This boy. He loves playing make believe with his brother.  He’ll be the dino, the mom, the baby, the lion.

This boy.  He can carry on a great conversation.

This boy.  He loves school and getting better at his academics.  The smile on his face when he sounds out a long word is dazzling.  Watching him have “lightbulb moments” is so much fun.grad9

This boy.  He has such a good heart and soul.  He’s older than his 6 years.

This boy.  An overachiever who always wants to get better. Earn more stickers. Get more green marks on his Daily Report.  Be the fastest in a foot race.

This boy.  Proof enough that we hit the firstborn jackpot.

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Happy 6th birthday to the sweetest kid.  We love you so much Landy Pants!