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Great Grandparents are the best

Allison

We were able to have a wonderful visit with my grandparents over the holidays, and E had so much fun with his Jenny and Thad.

They gave him an art easel, and Jenny and he had a super fun time playing with the letter and numbers. I love all the kissing photos!

I love these with E and Thad. E always plays so hard with Thad that it's difficult to get a clear photo of them. 

And, my favorite new photo with my people!

2015 Thanksgiving

Allison

Somehow all the stars aligned, and I got lots of great photos from our family Thanksgiving lunch at my aunt and uncle's house. 

And then this happened. Uncle B's dirt bike for the win!

E was a little hesitant at first, but loved it overall. 

I couldn't get a good photo of both of these guys on the bike together, but I think they both were pretty thrilled. 

Be sure to love for the photo of E's "whoah" face. Uncle B started up the engine in that one. 

Family Photo Shoot

Allison

We had not had professional photos taken of our little family in much too long, so I scheduled a short session with Ashleigh Peak of Well Worn.

I am so happy with the results! Everett was super good the entire time, and he let her talk to him and work with him alone for a while. It was an amazingly stress-free event.

Here are some of my favorites and a slideshow of the rest!

A glimpse at 15 year old E

Allison

Before school the other day, I looked over, and I saw what I imagine Everett will look like at 15.

Doesn't he look so old?!?!

KIDS HALLOWEEN PARTY

Allison

The Earls are nice enough to host a Halloween party for the kids where costumes are highly encouraged! This year was super fun with all the kids dressed up and excited to play together.

This is called, Get all the kids confined in the hall for a photo!

Gus was such a champ and was the first one there. But he got covered up in the group shots. Sorry Gus!

Gus was a fierce but adorable tiger.

The host was a duck, and a super cutie one at that.

And look at these Washburn/Heimke girls!

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Mommy and son snuggles are the best.

And there was an adorable family of Crayons!

The party eventually moved outside, and the quest for more group shots continued.

This is the closest winner.

The train boys found each other.

And, I jumped out from behind the camera for a few shots.

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Thanks Earls for hosting!

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THE THREE YEAR OLD PHOTO SHOOT

Allison

Every year, I make a pumpkin for E, and we take a photo for his birthday.

This year was a bit more work for me.

And then it got better.

Winner! Winner!

Third Birthday

Allison

For months, we've asked E what we wanted for his birthday party, and every time, he says, "chips and salsa!"

So we had a fiesta!

The maracas were a bit hit!

The day of his party, we were blessed with amazing fall weather and lots of friends with whom to celebrate.

 

THE DECOR:

CLICK THROUGH TO SEE THE SLIDESHOWS.

THE FRIENDS & FAMILY:

THIS IS A HILARIOUS FLIP BOOK OF E AND GRAN:

AND THE BIRTHDAY BOY:

Did I mention there was a margarita machine?

And Chris and I were there too!

THE FINALE INCLUDED CHOCO TACOS AND AN INTRODUCTORY TO DRY ICE.

Pumpkin Patch

Allison

Nothing like a pumpkin patch to bring back a blog!

It was really bright, and of course, the one time we didn't have E's sunglasses, he wanted them. So he traded off between mine and Chris'.

These wagons were available onsite, and they were great for hauling pumpkins and kids!

There were lots of animals to feed, and Everett wasn't scared at all to put his hand full of corn in the fence.

Happy farm boy!

I don't know the last photo E and I had together, so I'm really happy that we got several good ones on this trip.

Thanks, Jenny, for a great family shot!

Boys watching pig races...like ya do on a farm.

This is the pony E didn't ride.

Appropriate hay bale family photo. Check!

We found the swings on the playground, and that made Henry REALLY happy.

We went down this huge slide, and he nailed the photo finish.

We even rode a hayride to the big pumpkin fields.

Mommas and their boys are always so sweet.

E picked out his pumpkin.

And then it was about time to go.

Hugs all around.

Love this one of my guys.

E was pretty much tapped out at this point, but it was a super fun trip that we will do again next year!

Backpack Upgrade

Allison

E's teachers put his name on the outside of his backpack and lunchbox. His name is on the inside of each, but of course it's easier to see on the outside! 

 

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They used masking tape. Efficient but not attractive.  

So I found these super cute luggage tags on Shutterfly, and used his school picture.  

 

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They offered front and back for the same price so I put my contact info on the back.  

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Much improved! 

 

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They are actually made of metal so I think they'll hold up pretty well.  

This isn't sponsored by Shutterfly. I just love them! 

Friends at the farm

Allison

The stars all aligned and all of our favorite friends were able to leave their children behind, us included, and head to my family's farm for a long weekend. Man, was it awesome. We ate, drank, talked, kissed alpacas and llamas, shot skeet, ate, drank, talked, etc.

I took my camera with all intentions of documenting the entire weekend, but alas I seemed to be too busy driving the Ranger, walking in caves and off-roading in a pickup truck to take many photos.

So I'm cheating and sending you to Laura's blog. She spent a lot of time taking photos for us, and her post is an awesome telling of our time together. Go here and read all about it!

Here are some photos I did manage to take during our co-ed skeet-shooting adventure.

And I got some photos of Darrin's AmeriCanadian cake in celebration of his U.S. citizenship that day!

A learning moment

Allison

Our front yard has a nice flat space to play but it does turn into a hill toward the sidewalk.  

I tell E not to run down the steep hill part but to walk to the smaller sloping area. I'm afraid he will get going down the steep part and fall face first.  

The other day, we were playing outside, and he started to run toward the steep down slope. I asked him to stop, and told him not to go to the steep part.  

He turned around and said, "I need to try, Maaw (mom)." 

That kinda burst in my brain, and I realized I was the one who needed to try. Try to not be afraid. Try to let him grow and learn new things. He may fall doing it, but he needs to learn all things. I surely don't want to be the one standing in his way. 

So I told him yes. You do need to try, baby. And there he went, unscathed and laughing down the steep part of the yard.  

Anual beach photos

Allison

Since we are fortunate to go to the beach every year, I decided to take photos of E in the same place each year. This year was difficult because two year olds don't love sitting around all day having their photo taken. Imagine that.

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This chair was the main focus of my photography attempts. I really want a photo of him in this chair every year. The other shots are just gravy.

It took some time to coax him into sitting in the chair.

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I'm counting this next one as my win.

January 2013

January 2013

July 2013

July 2013

January 2014

January 2014

January 2015

January 2015

Can't wait to try again next year with a three-year-old!

To the beach!

Allison

After Christmas we head to the beach with family. This year was super fun with E. Although he wasn't a huge fan of the beach thanks to his daddy taking him down without shoes on the first time, he did get a bike so all was not lost!

Chris wanted to give him a push bike for Christmas, and we waited until Seaside to give it to him. Mom and Jack got him the helmet so we wanted him to know the bike and helmet go together. Even with the lowering kit, he still needs about two more inches in his legs to make the bike really comfortable.

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But he gave it a great effort several times over several days.  

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He was a champ on the way down too. He watched some Daniel Tiger, read some books and are some waffles.  

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He and daddy even took a nap together.  

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This was also the year of the selfie stick thanks to our good friends the Earls.  

We used our selfie stick proudly for some family shots at sunset.  

 

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Then Chris made mom and Jack try to operate it by themselves. It worked our pretty well.  

 

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Two teenage girls walked by us and said, "Wow, they have a selfie stick." Not sure if that was said in jest or jealousy.  

Then a man walked by us with a huge Nikon camera around his neck. Huge. He asked if we wanted him to take a group photo for us. Sure! 

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That was it. I guess just because you have a fancy camera doesn't mean you can take a photo that shows peoples' faces. Oh well.  

So we headed back inside and continued to use our selfie stick uninterrupted.  

 

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School Photos

Allison

E nailed his school photos. Seriously, they were all so good that I ordered way too many.

Thankfully they made nice Christmas gifts too!

Click on the photo to advance the slideshow and enjoy!

Christmas morning

Allison

After our Christmas morning at our house, we packed up and drove to Jonesboro to see Chris' family. Both our nephews were there so it was a house full of boys hopped up on gifts and Christmas spirit!

When we arrived, there was already a train track set up. We knew it was going to be a good time.

When we arrived, there was already a train track set up. We knew it was going to be a good time.

Colton and E played well together, and thankfully, Grandma got plenty of new trains to share.

Colton and E played well together, and thankfully, Grandma got plenty of new trains to share.

Brothers.

Brothers.

Bryce was patient with the little boys, and he helped them with the tracks.

Bryce was patient with the little boys, and he helped them with the tracks.

E rewarded Bryce for his help with a sweet hug.

E rewarded Bryce for his help with a sweet hug.

Aunt Crystal gave E a new train book, and she got some love too. We read it every night now.

Aunt Crystal gave E a new train book, and she got some love too. We read it every night now.

Colon is always a fan of Uncle Chris. Love these smiles.

Colon is always a fan of Uncle Chris. Love these smiles.

Pretty good for a large family photo!

Pretty good for a large family photo!

Of course we couldn't leave well enough alone, and tried for another photo where Chris and I switched places.

Of course we couldn't leave well enough alone, and tried for another photo where Chris and I switched places.

We did manage this one. What's family for if not for a good family photo?!?

We did manage this one. What's family for if not for a good family photo?!?

Merry Christmas!

Friends Christmas

Allison

Another post that is out of the time slot here is our amazing Christmas with our friends and their kiddos. 

With a bunch of kids, two and under, there is no formal sit down time where everyone eats. We all take turns and eat in shifts, but that's the fun of it. 

I didn't get too many real photos, but the gift opening and excited kids made it wonderful. 

 

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Henry will be up and jumping soon enough. 

 

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Henry doesn't understand why the big kids are back on the floor when he just figured how to get up. 

And sometimes you just can't reach what your heart desires. 

This was our most fun Christmas event because of all the kids. There is just nothing like the holidays through a kid's eyes. 

E was in no mood to sit with the rest of the kids for a photo, but this is the only shot I have of Thomas. Thankfully he was happy to be held and not on the floor in the middle of the chaos.  

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No more paci

Allison

I'm going to jump in the holiday festivities to say that E no longer sleeps with a paci. 

Of note, we called his paci Whoo hoo because it was a paci with a monkey attached to it.  It's one of the things that began his love of monkeys. But lately we had used the ones without the monkey attached because I figured it was pulling on his teeth.

The week before Christmas, I took him home to see my family for an early Christmas trip. I knew I wanted to end the paci, but I was planning on doing it after  the holidays, trips and once we got back into our routine in the new year.  

I traveled to Little Rock with two pacies. One he was using to nap and sleep, and the other was a backup. He had begun biting through the pacies on accident so I always had more than one on hand.  

The second morning we were in Little Rock, E woke up and said, "Whoo hoo (paci) broken. Need new whoo hoo. "  

Only halfway thinking and planning, I said, "Whoo hoo is broken. No more whoo hoo." As the words left my mouth I realized that I would have to stand behind them. Dang. I just killed Whoo hoo forever.  

He fused a little then, but got up and moving and didn't worry about it. Until naptime. When I went to put him down for nap, he asked for whoo hoo. I repeated the line,"Whoo hoo is broken. No more Whoo hoo. Let's put broken Whoo hoo in the trash. You can sleep without him. You are a big boy." 

Oh the terror. Oh the sad wails and crys and begs that followed. I laid him down once, and left the room. It was not pretty. It was not fun. And I hated to do it at my folks' house. But, if I had let him have a come-a-part, and then taken him the second paci, he would have suffered and learned nothing. 

So he cried, and I felt awful. But he finally slept. When he woke up from his nap, I praised him for not using a paci. We called Daddy and told him all about it. Everyone danced around and clapped. 

That night there were still some more tears for Whoo hoo, but they were very short lived.  

When he woke up the next day, I praised him again. That day's nap included no mention of Whoo hoo. So when he woke up that time, I didn't say anything about it.  

The rest of the trip was great with no paci.  

We got home, and he got into bed that night and said, "Need new Whoo hoo at home, mommy." Dang. He thinks "home" has a new paci like it always has. "No Whoo hoo,"I said. "Remeber Whoo hoo broke at Gran's and you threw it away?"  

He rubbed his face against his sheet and said, "But I need Whoo hoo, mommy." My heart broke because I really did want to give him that backup Whoo hoo and buy ten more on Amazon. But I made him suffer the lose, and I couldn't take his achievement away from him. "You are a big boy and I'm proud of you. You don't need Whoo hoo to sleep." I teared up. Rubbed his head and left the room.

That's the last we've talked about Whoo hoo. It makes me a bit sad because it's a big lose for a baby and a big step toward a big kid. Yet, I'm so thrilled that he has done great without it. Such mixed emotions. 

Night night, Whoo hoo.

 

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Christmas morning

Allison

We did a small Christmas morning with E before heading to Jonesboro with Chris' family. The first gift we gave E was Percy the train. It's a simple green wooden character train from Thomas and Train and Friends.

He tore one little piece of wrapping paper off, and he immediately knew it was Percy. He was super thrilled!

The second present E got on Christmas morning was actually from our neighbor. It was so sweet of her to give him a gift. Chris and I saved it for Christmas morning, and kind of acted like it was from us....

It was the fun rocking giraffe, and he loved it!

Then off to Jonesboro for more Christmas!

More Birthday Pics

Allison

As I was uploading photos from my camera, I saw a ton of photos from E's 2nd birthday party that didn't get uploaded before my other post. I can't believe I forgot about them because they are some of the best of my family!

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After a big party of food and playing, sometimes you need to go pantless. Totally get it, E.

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And finally, this is a photo that in my mind would be amazing. Us in matching conductor hats; mine pink and girlie; the boys in matching blues. However, the key would have been to take this before the party. The day before even. A week before maybe. But after the party, this is the best we got. Happy birthday, E!

Halloween

Allison

I decided our tactic for the Halloween costume this year would be to not tell E about it. Really at all. No need for him to worry about putting it on--the fact it had a hat that made the entire outfit--etc.

So we didn't. We just changed his clothes and went to our friends house who were gracious enough to host our entire friends group plus kiddos for a photo opt.

This photo may be one of the best ones of E and me, ever. Especially because he's a sockmonkey in it!

"Mom, am I wearing a costume?"

"Mom, am I wearing a costume?"

"Yes, baby. And it's adorable."

"Yes, baby. And it's adorable."

Getting photos of all the kids was difficult, of course, but the drama of it all made it fun.

It was a hot day, and Victor the train needed to cool down in front of the fan.

It was a hot day, and Victor the train needed to cool down in front of the fan.

Maybe the only real photo of kids plus parents I got!