We have five kids ranging in age from nearly 6 to 9 1/2.

It isn't uncommon for the volume in our house to be at max.
It isn't uncommon for our kids to be scattered across our home each lost in their own activity.
It isn't uncommon for arguments to pop up or for voices to raise.
It isn't uncommon for feelings to be hurt.

I suppose that's what makes moments like this timeless.


On this particular day, a beautiful, low humidity, clear NC blue sky morning, Ian and I planned to take the kids on an easy hike to fully take advantage of the weather.

But they were all together.  Interacting happily.  Creating a Lego/My Little Pony/Pokemon world where each of them had a part to play.

So we saved the hike idea for another day and instead brewed a pot of coffee.  The harmony emanating from the playroom was better than any time we could have spent outdoors that day...



Natalie is in kindergarten!

The 25th was a trial run...her kindergarten assessment day.

She. LOVED. it.


And we got the complete play by play run down that evening.  The whole schedule of events for the day.  Including bathroom breaks.

On the 27th we went to find out her assigned class for the year.  She got a brand new, super sweet, very excited to be teaching kindergarten, teacher.  And her assistant teacher is a member at our pool.  Perfect!

And on the 31st (which also happened to be Daniel's 7th birthday...almost too much for a Mama's heart on one day), she went for her first real day of kindergarten.  Of course it rained like crazy that morning, making our usual walk impossible.

So Ian let the six of us out at carpool and I followed Natalie and Daniel down the hall as he took her hand and escorted her to class.  She was super confident and barely stopped to give me a smile before waving (obviously my dismissal) and heading to her desk.

I managed to keep myself busy and couldn't wait to hear how her day went.

While she was pretty exhausted...and therefore not extremely talkative...her expressions convey just as much as 1000 words could have.

Kindergarten was a hit.

And this little one?

She's an obvious star of the show!


half past nine

She's now officially halfway through this last year before she hits double digits.

Why can't she be a little less excited?


Just yesterday she was a chubby, very girly-girl, little toddler who refused to wear anything but dresses and today she's a willowy, strong-willed swimmer who seems to think athletic shorts and t-shirts are required uniform.

when you have four siblings you always have a photobomber...
Okay, so she wasn't really a toddler just yesterday, but this "blink of an eye thing?"  It's so real.  The passage of time makes me catch my breath on so many occasions.  I miss the tiny little girl she once was, but I do love watching her bloom into the uniquely cool person she is today.

So instead of lament how quickly time is passing, I will celebrate the amazing girl who turned 9 1/2 today.  We may have gone for donuts last night.  And tonight may have again been a school night.  And we may even have had to work around open house at school.

Still, we went to sing "Happy half birthday" to my big girl...and got another round of donuts.

Because that's how we roll.  Sugar rush and all.

K-Boo, today at 9 1/2 your favorite pass time would be toss up between swimming and reading.  If you aren't at practice for the Marlins, you are most likely to have your nose in a book.  Historical fiction is your favorite, specifically books set in the civil war period or in pioneer times.  You also have greatly enjoyed the Recipes for Adventure series by Giada de Laurentiis, probably because you love to step into the kitchen to help out whenever you can.  You are selective with your friendships, but those that you've let into your circle are friends for life.  This year you've also been active in Chinese dance, performing several times back at CNY and now with three performances coming this fall.  You love to braid both of your sisters' hair and enjoy a close relationship with both of your brothers.  To date your favorite foods are meatloaf, pickles and BBQ pork baozi.

We're (meaning the whole family) thankful to have you in the role of leader of the pack.

Happy half birthday my sweet!


Darcy + donuts = a new 8 1/2 year old

A donut run on a school night?

For the M7 it means only one thing...

Someone is being celebrated.

Happy half birthday to our "powdered sugar, chocolate creme filled" donut loving' girl.

At 8 1/2 you still LOVE to read...currently your two favorite series are The Doll People and The Cupcake Diaries.  You've just started a combination ballet/jazz dance class and it is a joy to watch you develop your natural talent for "feeling music."  You have several close friends from church and school, but your siblings remain among your favorite people in the world.  Most afternoons you can be found either playing spies with your brothers and little sister or bringing your Journey Girl doll, Kelsey, to life alongside your big sister with her doll, Kyla.  Your favorite foods remain dumplings, steamed BBQ pork buns and donuts.

Obviously donuts.

About those siblings.

You guys drive one another crazy from time to time, but maybe that is because you all are a little crazy.  I guess you bring out the best in one another...

practicing pirate faces for "talk like a pirate" day
 After we finished singing Happy half birthday to you and all the donuts had been consumed, you were content to stand and watch more deliciousness being made...

...with your posse by your side.

Of course.


Happy 7th D-man!

Once upon a time I had this adorable toddler.

Then he had a few birthdays and turned into a pretty amazing SEVEN year old.

A rather amazing, rather energetic seven year old.

One who has learned that a little drama is necessary in order to keep up with his big sisters...

Seriously though, it seems like just yesterday that this guy was celebrating the day he turned three, which was his first birthday home with us.

But when I ask him if he's three, four or even five he just keeps flashing seven fingers at me.  I suppose that he does look older.  Thank goodness his eyes still disappear when his face breaks into a full grin!

Daniel, at seven you are totally into Pokemon.  You were just a little excited to receive your mega pack of new cards from us.

You also adore Chinese food.  Especially noodles.  And you get a bit glazy-eyed when you talk about "that sauce with the chicken" from Pei Wei.  (Honey seared chicken).  I think you also are a sucker for the free-style Coca-cola machine, but whatever.  You chose Pei Wei as your birthday dinner spot several weeks in advance and smiled as you slurped your noodles and enjoyed the rare treat of a soft drink with refills.

Another love of yours right now is baseball.  Actually any sport makes you happy, but you love...and I do mean play baseball in the front yard with your daddy.  I was so happy to find a set of bases for you to use at the Dollar Tree when I went to pick up wrapping paper.  Seriously, I think this $1 gift made you just as excited as your Pokemon cards.

And then there was your cake.  Buddy, it's a good thing you don't play cards for a living.

Because "You have a great poker face" is not something anyone will ever be able to say about you.

You asked for a Pokeball cake, so I did the best this "Pinterest-fail mom" could do.

And you loved it.

Thanks buddy.

D, You are a blast of energy in our family.  If you aren't snuggling or sleeping, you are in motion.  While you can pitch a fit with the best of 'em, you can also be one of the most loving kids I know.  And I love how you are in tune with your heavenly Father.  It's not uncommon to hear you comment how nice it was for God to paint us a beautiful sunset or give us nice flowers to smell.
I'm blessed to be on the receiving end of those million dollar smiles of yours and sometimes can't believe I get the honor of calling you my son.

I love you and I like you.



the littles {a monumental day}

Today was a big day for the two littlest folks in our house.

He turned seven.

SEVEN!  Why oh why does that sound so much older than six?

And if that wasn't enough to nearly cause a break down...she waltzed out of the house for her first real day of kindergarten.

For the love!

More on both of their exciting days to come.  But before my head hits the pillow tonight I have to forever record one of the moments I'll treasure forever that these two shared this morning.

As we walked into the school building she asked him to show her where her room was.  Taking his role of big brother ever so seriously, he guided her to turn down the kindergarten hall.  Then he grabbed her hand, and said, "Don't worry Nata-wee, I'll show you where your classroom is.  Remember you are right beside me!"

And away they walked.

In a perfect world this would have been taken on my "big girl camera" from a stationary spot instead of on my phone while walking.  But I just couldn't miss the moment...