Birthday Boy! ((And early-birthday girl.))

Thank you so much to everyone who came out for Bennett’s party last weekend! It was packed with over 20+ people! We actually ran out of food, I felt kinda bad. But there was plenty of dirt cake for all. Yum. Bennett’s cake turned out amazing, but it was almost too dense for him…so he noshed on dirt cake. And a spoon, he was obsessed with the spoon.

I’m behind on writing thank-you’s, but we also got some wonderful cards & gifts in the mail for our sweet boy…thank you, thank you! They’ll be out by the end of the week. =)

I just can’t believe he’s one! My sweet preemie boy. He had a doctor’s appointment and he’s still on the small side. 5% for weight and 30-50% for height (and yes, that’s adjusted for his prematurity, so he hasn’t caught up yet). He’s walking, though! It’s adorable. And he’s 100% on track developmentally. We got him a Little Tykes fire truck and it’s one of his favorite toys, he likes that it has a handle and the button to push is great.

And McKenzie got to open an early birthday present from Aunt Jessica…holy cow, she’s obsessed with My Little Ponies! She plays with them daily. We also took her into the doctor to have a follow-up for a persistent cough. They think it’s asthma or allergies, so she had blood work and a chest x-ray to confirm or eliminate. I called this morning and there’s still no word—and the cough is still here. I’ll let everyone know how that goes. ((UPDATE: It’s viral bronchitis/walking pneumonia, she will be getting a “z-pack” and we’ll see how that works)).

And STILL no word on the house. It’s a back & forth, they’re not budging on their “fair market value” price and had us add an amendment. I’m over it. But we really like it! It’s a tough one.



Brown Alison - August 20, 2014 - 4:05 am

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us.The baby is so adorable and I must say the party looka awesome.

Birthdays, birthdays!

August is all about B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y-S in our house! First Bennett, then Papa, then Nina, then McKenzie. Oh boy! But really—how is Bennett going to be ONE next week?

We have a super-special “Very Hungry Caterpillar” party planned for him this weekend for his FIRST birthday. In reality, it’s just an excuse to barbecue with all our friends, but he’ll be doing a “smash cake” for sure! I can’t wait, I think those are impossibly cute. =) I made some cake toppers for the cake today (see pic). The dots will go around the bottom, and the sun & caterpillar will be on top. I bet he will eat it all, that boy has an appetite. 10541403_10103363461792487_2797911869550271923_o-1

I also did his first birthday photos today. *swoon* I got his outfit handmade on Etsy. I always did it with McKenzie and she wore them all year, so why not? And it’s adorable. I also got this customized First Birthday Chalkboard Digital Download off Etsy as well (KatesKanvas)! How cute is that?!hungrycaterpillar16x20bennett


As for McKenzie, her party is going to be a fabulous Cowgirl Bash. She’s so excited! We got a unicorn piñata today….that works, right? She’s never had a piñata before, so she’s over-the-moon about that. Her party will only be two hours, and I figure I’ll have an “itinerary” planned, of sorts, so there’s some direction and no fighting. Maybe some water balloon relay-races and such? I did these photos for her invites. =)10463858_10103339334553667_1622284725282312817_o10497243_10103339334922927_4756678159751300093_oCowgirl Bash

In more news around the house, our chicks aren’t so little anymore! Since my last post, Elsa, the little yellow chick, died. It was very sad. I just opened the coop up in the morning, and she didn’t run down with the others. I had separated her from the others the day before because she seemed “off.” I think the older girls were blocking her from food & water to establish their pecking order. =( Anyhow, we re-named Anna “Esther.” Here is a picture of Esther, Penny, and Flora (top to bottom). They love to scratch around the yard and eat bugs when we’re outside, but we daren’t leave them out when we’re not around…the hawks literally circle their coop and call. We also got the “run” addition for their coop so they’d have a little more space.10450055_10103360349893757_46461963119181649_o

We also have STILL not settled on a final price for the house. F%^*&^!#  short sale. Ugh. We should have an answer by tomorrow, and new prospective closing date is August 29th.

Dana P - August 1, 2014 - 11:27 am

I love the hungry caterpillar idea! Can’t wait to see how the cake turns out. Hope everything gets settled with the house soon.

Angie - August 4, 2014 - 2:53 pm

What a fun month of celebrations! Can’t wait to see photos of Bennett eating his cake and McKenzie’s party.

It’s been awhile.

We’ve had a busy few weeks since school got out! We just got back from a Madison/Minnesota trip. We had SUCH a great time visiting friends in Madison. McKenzie was absolutely thrilled and played non-stop for 3 days.  She was exhausted! Our swimming buddies were gracious enough to host us, and offered up their basement suite. She’s been asking to see them ever since we moved, so she was over-the-moon!


After that, we drove to Minnesota to meet Mark Monroe, the newest addition to the family! He’s so handsome, and such a good baby. I got to do some newborn pics, yay! McKenzie and Abbey had fun playing on the trampoline and (mostly) got along! Bennett was very curious about the baby. As for Bennett, my sweet little prince has TWO teeth now. The traveling was pretty smooth for having the two kiddos by myself. McKenzie got airsick (threw up) on the first flight, so that was no bueno, but the rest went well.


We have some sad news as well. The day we got home, one of our poor chickies was snatched by a hawk! At least, that’s our only conclusion. She just vanished. Poor Hera (she was Jon’s). We went out and got two more girls this week, their names are Anna (gray, Easter Egger—lays blue eggs) & Elsa (blond, Buff Orpington). Here is a picture of McKenzie with the new little girls, and another of our new coop!10495698_10103281727668327_6257987627326222204_o10368340_10103277070511307_2361300452422334641_o


Flora & Penny (the older chicks) have stayed more separate from the newer girls, but they’re pretty close in age. They’re super low-maintenance, and really interesting little creatures. They go up in their coop at night all by themselves. We’ve started giving them mealworm treats, and they’ve become much more friendly. Like everyone, the way to their hearts is through food, I guess!

I’ve also been very busy with my new work-from-home job. It’s definitely not easy with two kiddos running/crawling around! But I’m very grateful to have such a laid back job, and I love my time at home, however “busy.” I can’t believe Bennett will be ONE, one month from tomorrow! My baby will be a toddler! ='(

P.S. STILL no word on the house, we *should* know something by next week, but the closing date would now be July 30th at the earliest. I’m getting irritated/anxious! But it’s a short sale, and those are never straightforward!

Angie - July 15, 2014 - 7:32 pm

Congrats to your sister and her husband!
You do such a good job braiding McKenzie’s hair – impressive! Finley’s hair is starting to fill in but only enough for one barrette.

Raine - December 2, 2015 - 4:31 pm

Heather, I love your Emerson quote, Every artist was first an amatuer. A friend, who also attended the conference, and I were just talking about that subject. In any creative endeavor, periods of verbal self-flagellation are inevitable. When I was painting, we called it the Uglies. That term still works in my writing. I force myself to work through it. Writing everyday (with occasional exceptions) is a rule. I put pen to paper, or fingertips to keys for at least an hour. That usually turns into two or four. My mantra is Just do it. (By the way, I used that term before Niki!)

End of Kindergarten

IMAG3355Today is McKenzie’s last day of kindergarten! I guess yesterday was the last full day, but school’s out for the summer as of 12:55 this afternoon. Oh boy! I sent her in with two plants—one for her teacher & co-teacher, and had her make cards that read: “Thanks for helping me grow!” and she colored pretty pictures to go with it.

Yesterday, Bennett and I joined her class for the end-of-year ice cream sundae party. Yum! She loved seeing Bennett and me in the classroom, and B was definitely a hit–we were surrounded more than once with exclamations of his adorableness. Anyway, it was fun to see the kiddos get sugar-high and dance to music and play musical chairs. Her teacher also played a cute slideshow she’d put together for the class of photos throughout the year. Her school has TONS of assemblies—drummers, dancers, Chinese Acrobats, SWAT units, canine units, etc—so it was really cool for me to see the stuff she’d been up to while at school in addition to the classroom routine.

Last week was their last “Award” ceremony, and they performed 3 songs before the ceremony. They sang one completely in Chinese, and it was crazy to hear how good they all are! Their accents are excellent. During the ceremony, McKenzie got two awards—an Accelerated Reader award and the Principal’s award. Both are for academic achievement, so I’m extremely happy that she caught up with her peers. Jon and I are still uncomfortable with her being the youngest in her class (she won’t be 6 until August), but ultimately we want her to be challenged. ((P.S. See those sparkly TOMS McKenzie’s sporting? Only $10 from a local resale shop. And Bennett’s Converse All-Stars were $3.50. Ama-ZING!))


Summer break should be interesting with my new full-time work-from-home position. It’s pretty stressful making sure I’m getting all the interview calls done on time, but I’m compensated very fairly. I can’t complain.

And our chicks are doing great! They’re getting so big! I can’t wait til we have a coop, they’ll be a little more hands-off then. It’s so funny how they all have their own little personalities already. Penny (mine) is very sassy, Flora (McKenzie’s) is very friendly and doesn’t mind being handled, and Hera (Jon’s) is timid but sweet. Speaking of coop, there’s still no word back on our short-sale offer—but we’re supposed to hear later in the week. The “not knowing” is driving me nuts, our expected closing date is only 35 days away!

In baby news, Bennett turned 10-months-old on Friday. He got his first tooth, and he’s still cruising everywhere, walking along all the furniture. I’ve been giving him some Ibuprofen before bed, and that seems to help with the pain at night. He’s otherwise very happy and crawls around contentedly, exploring while I make calls for my new job.

And in even more exciting baby news: IT’S A BOY! My sister and her husband welcomed my new nephew, Mark Monroe, on June 8th at 5:12pm. He’s named after my dad. ♥ He was 8lbs 3oz, 20.5 in, and he’s absolutely perfect. He’s a great mix of them both, and is nursing like a champ already. They’re being discharged from the hospital today and I can’t wait to meet the little guy soon!