All About Luke: Back to Preschool!

After we sent Caleb off to 2nd grade, Luke and I waited one more week and then it was back to preschool we went! Luke was VERY excited to be moved up to the 3’s class with Mrs. Joanna. He spent many weeks with me up at my classroom getting it ready before school so he would chat her up in the hallway. A perk of a teacher’s kid apparently!

We celebrated all of us going back to school at the same time with just one Back to School Brinner so Luke was able to fill out some of the same things.

I don’t know if you remember Caleb’s but his was to be kind to spread the Gospel. Luke stayed in true 2nd child form and is trying to figure out how to control the world. So there’s that.

He is super pumped about making friends and thinks that it is so fun that the old Wee Wiggle coach is one of his teachers. And the new Wee Wiggle coach is Caleb’s best friend’s mom. Gotta love all the things!

A switch for us this year is our classrooms are not next door to one another anymore. That was such an easy and sweet thing for us last year and we were able to enjoy a lot of waves to one another. There are days where I don’t even see him so that will definitely be an adjustment!

We asked him our same annual questions…

What is your favorite color? Red

What is your favorite food? Hot dog

Who is your best friend? Well Caleb and Brooks (Brooks is definitely Caleb’s best friend)

What is your favorite thing to play with? My new toy from the dentist

What is your favorite animal? Lion, Tiger, and panda

What is your favorite movie? Encanto and Trolls

What is your favorite book? I don’t have a favorite book

What do you want to be when you grow up? A football player

Here are his answers from last year…

2 Year Old Class

And there you have it! He is certainly our little guy that keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh a LOT. We are excited to see what God has for him this year as well!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

All About Caleb: Off to 2nd Grade!

It is hard to believe but we are already in our third year of elementary school for our big guy! Something about second grade just seems BIG. But he was beyond ready! This year feels like his first NORMAL school year and we are SO excited for him.

A lot of his close buddies are in the other second grade class but he took it in stride and was excited to see who he might see again from kindergarten. The great thing about his small school is his grade level does lunch and both recesses together so he still gets lots of time with all of his friends.

Hot lunch has been free for the past two years because of the pandemic but that has sadly ended (for him and for me). Packing lunches has become a part of our lives again so that’s been a fun adjustment (for mostly me – ha!). Did I forget to send a drink one day already? Of course not.

He was VERY excited about the teacher that he got this year! When we asked him why he wanted that particular teacher, his answer was really only because she seemed to be friends with his first grade teacher. But we will take it because we are HUGE fans of his first grade teacher!

When his new teacher asked him what he was most excited about for second grade, he said writing! Which was what he said at meet the teacher last year too. So he’s nothing if not consistent. She has already made a huge emphasis on reading and it has certainly caught on! Caleb has always loved to read but now he seems to be reading nonstop if he has any extra moments. Mrs. Abney for the win!

Every year, our tradition is to have a Back to School Brinner {breakfast for dinner} the night before school starts. This of course makes the boys feel special but more than anything, it gives our whole family an opportunity to chat about the upcoming year and pray over the boys and pray for all the things. It’s been fun to see how much the boys look forward to this night!

The whole dining room is decorated in a back to school theme and I always lay out their backpacks to ignite some excitement. The boys were pumped to keep their Dude Perfect and baseball backpacks for this year.

Even though Caleb started a week earlier than Luke’s preschool, we celebrated both of them! Ever since Caleb started preschool, we have asked him the same exact questions every year. So this is since he was 2 years old! It has been so fun to see how answers change and how some have stayed exactly the same.

What is your favorite color? Green

What is your favorite food? Pizza

Who is your best friend? Brooks

What is your favorite thing to play with? My Pokémon toys

What is your favorite animal? Cape buffalo

What is your favorite movie? Planes

What is your favorite book? Dog Man and Cat Kid

What do you want to be when you grow up? I no longer want to be a spy because it seems dangerous if you quit that or get caught. I want to be a construction worker now.

Here are all his answers (& cute pics!) from past years:

1st Grade

Kindergarten

Jr Kindergarten

3 Year Old Class

2 Year Old Class

Y’all. His sweet little answer for how he plans to change the world. None of it prompted and all him. Moments like this, I am always reminded that this is Caleb’s mission field and our greatest ministry is disciple him and walk him through what it looks like to be a light in the darkness.

Where we cannot enter, God is with him. And the most comforting thing of all is knowing that God loves him more and His plans are far greater anyway. So here we are again, trusting God with our guy as he walks the halls of second grade! We are praying BIG things for our BIG guy!!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

The Summer of 2022

As crazy as it is, this summer has come & gone! But what’s even more sad is that at some point, I stopped documenting our family’s adventures on this blog. It’s been a YEAR! I love to write and I love to keep record of what our fam is up to so here I am again to try and revive this old dusty thing! So here I am with a snapshot of our crazy busy summer!

We kicked off summer immediately with some of our best friend families on a road trip to Branson, Missouri! What could be more fun than 10 adults and 15 kids all in one house?! We played in the pools, putt-putted, boated & tubed like crazy, & even checked out some Branson shopping. It was SO MUCH FUN!

Next up was surgery. PARTY! The day after we got home, I had my gallbladder removed. So that obviously halted summer a bit. But thankfully I have an incredible support system that stepped in and took care of me and my family when I could not.

VBS TIME!!! Nothing like helping lead the charge on a huge event right after having surgery. I don’t always make the best life choices but I can honestly say that I sat WAY more for this VBS than even when I was pregnant with Luke. So I listen to doctor’s orders. Kind of. It was an absolutely MONUMENTAL week!!! (I had to throw that pun in for the last time.)

Caleb (and Coach Nick!) ended their baseball season! It was such a great time with fun friends and a really great team. I think the coaches had just as much fun as the boys.

Our favorite guy headed off to Poland to care for our favorite Polish friends!!! We were sad to not go with him, but we are holding hope for next time. He really enjoyed his time being able to reconnect with so many of his friends that he hasn’t had the opportunity to see in years because of the pandemic.

While he was away, my girls totally showed up and surprised me with a birthday party in my own backyard!!! Talk about the cream of the crop. These girls have my heart.

Aunt Katie came to visit too!!! We went to a fun ice cream shop, a concert in the park, putt-putted, and then…

We did the FRIENDS experience and took pictures with alllll the things!

Our best guy got home just in time for my birthday dinner at Chuy’s! Best birthday gift ever!

Our festive 4th of July weekend began with Red, White, & You with the whole town of Littleton!

We snuck in a night under the stars and twinkly lights on a dance floor with a bonus of fireworks that almost took out two of our hubby’s (including my own!).

A spontaneous visit from Aunt JJ was super fun and exciting!!

We ended the 4th with a BANG! celebrating with friends & fireworks at our house. Our culdesac on the 4th will always give me Sandlot vibes and I love it.

We had some lake days thrown in there throughout the summer!

And some pool days too! This is what summer is all about, right?! Especially when Colorado got all confused and it became a million degrees outside.

Nick and I had to reschedule our anniversary trip to July because of my surgery. But that meant we got to enjoy the rooftop pool! We stayed in downtown Denver at a hotel that overlooked Coors Field and it was all decked out in baseball decor. We joked that the baseball was for him & the pool was for me. And if anyone came to our wedding, it kind of accidentally/on purpose was baseball themed so it was perfect!

Next up was our small group camping trip to Glendo, Wyoming! It’s been a joke ever since we joined this group that I find a way out of the annual camping trip. Well this year I did it! A testament of how much I love these people.

Next up is where it’s about to get crazy! My dad flew up to help drive myself and the boys down to Texas for our 19 day adventure. Yup, you read that right. So I’ll try to break this trip down in sections…

The first part of the trip was at the cousins’ house where all the crazies could be reunited! It’s a shame they don’t enjoy being together.

Aunt Kaylyn took them to see Shrek Jr which was so cute! Luke was a bit terrified at one point because he thought Pinnochio’s nose was going to grow all the way to poke him but we worked through it. By me holding him the rest of the time.

One of my best friend’s family’s made the trek over to see us and it’s always so much fun to see how all the kids have grown when they are together again! That big teenage boy on the left was our ring bearer and now he’s deciding to show up all grown up with a girlfriend in tow.

We visited with our Aunt Janie who is my Grandad’s sister! It’s always so precious to be able to see her and have the boys get to know her.

Matching shirts are always a must.

Next part of the trip was time at Mimi & G-Daddy’s house! The boys and I got to eat LOTS of yummy seafood, take walks by the boats & water, play in the pool, and spent a night at the boardwalk which made up so many of my childhood memories.

We had to throw in a day at the beach since the cousins were there and the boys have never actually played in the ocean that I grew up right by!

The next couple days, the boys got to play with grandparents while I got some girl time with two of my besties at the beach! Way overdue and so, so great!

DUDE PERFECT TIME!!! Say what?! We surprised the kids with a 24 hour trip back up to Dallas to see DP. And even more fun was that Aunt JJ met us there too since she works with the twins’ dad and all. This whole show was SO MUCH FUN. Caleb’s hype level was absolutely beyond.

This is the part of the trip where it got kinda cray! We ended up driving to Houston, picking up Nick (YAY!!!), driving back to Dallas because plans got thwarted, and spending the week back up there. But the Nanan showed up a couple days in and all was well!

The trip ended with a youth group reunion where we got to see people that I probably haven’t seen in over a decade! It was so great to be able to reminisce and really celebrate all that God has done through that group.

We have taken a picture in front of the Sam Houston statue ever I started visiting when Caleb and Maddie were only 1 on our drives from Houston to Dallas. The tradition lives on!

We spent a lot of life with my sister’s family during those 19 days! A good bit in the car driving between Houston and Dallas, a night with all 8 of us in one hotel room, a ton of time in their pool, and some helping put their kitchen back together. (Because we totally showed up at the tail end of their home renovation just like all good guests do! Ha!)

We ended the summer with a pool day with JoJo!!

Whew! This was QUITE the summer where we really packed it in. It was definitely full of memories and fun! We are sad to see it go, but know that routine & structure & school are calling.

Farewell Summer 2022, you were one for the books!

All About Luke: Off to Preschool!

Y’all, I don’t even know how we have arrived here. My little baby has decided to get all big enough to go to preschool. And what is even more fun is now I’m a preschool teacher and his class is literally right next to mine! It was always so fun knowing that Caleb was in the same building as me when he was in preschool, but it’s different actually being apart of the preschool with Luke. And by different, i mean that it’s really fun!

We celebrated Luke the same night as Caleb at our back to school brinner and we have steadily been trying to pump up the whole preschool thing. This summer, Luke has been crying every time we have dropped him off at his Sunday school class so I was a bit nervous about how this whole thing was all going to go. He kept saying he was excited but he’s also two years old so obviously he’s not always easy to believe! He is in the 2 year old class with Mrs. Paulette which is the same exact class that Caleb started in. We all went on and on about how amazing his teacher was, including big brother!

Since I’ve been asking Caleb the same questions since he started preschool, it was time to ask Luke the same ones! I have had lower expectations for him just because he is two months younger than what Caleb was when he started. But his answers were still pretty cute!

What is your favorite color? I love red!

What is your favorite food? Eggs (I’m pretty sure this was just because he was eating eggs at our back to school brinner. His favorite food is hot dogs ALL DAY LONG.)

Who is your best friend? JoJo

What is your favorite thing to play with? My car

What is your favorite animal? Lion

What is your favorite movie? Uhhhhh, I can’t remember that. Wreck it Ralph.

What is your favorite book? Uh… uh…Luca. Oh dinosaur book – I love that book! (He may or may not have received some help from JoJo on remembering about the dinosaur book.)

What do you want to be when you grow up? Uhhh.. GO TO SCHOOL!

The great news is that he went right into preschool with no tears at all! His teachers said he did great and every time I walked past, he was happily playing or participating. He gave us a report at the end of his first day that he had a good day which included playing at the playground (NOT in the sandbox), he ate his colored goldfish, and he is just going to go potty at home. He is not potty trained yet so apparently every time they asked if he wanted to try to potty, he said ‘I just go at home.’ 🤣

His backpack looks like a baseball and his water bottle is red so he pretty much loves everything about all of that! We are excited for our little guy and hope that he will have such a great year making some buddies and getting to be apart of something that is his own. When filling out the preschool paperwork, I wanted to write ‘he’s nothing like Caleb!’ 🤣 While Caleb is cautious, Luke is fearless. While Caleb loves to follow rules, Luke loves to be a little stubborn. The little guy loves to be silly and he makes us laugh on the regular! And one thing for sure is he loves his big brother BIG time. So anything to make time pass by until Caleb gets done with school, Luke is all about!

So here is to a super fun year for Lukey Bear! We love you buddy!

All About Caleb: Off to 1st Grade!

Here we are again – sending our child to elementary school in a pandemic! Although last year was so strange, Caleb absolutely loved kindergarten. His teacher and school were so wonderful and made school so much fun even amidst the weirdness. The great thing is that he didn’t really know the difference since it was his first year in elementary school anyway. And now he is off to first grade! We are choosing to celebrate the small victories like visitors (aka parents) being allowed back in the building, field trips coming back, and the biggest one for Caleb is eating lunch in the cafeteria. He is also pumped that they can play on the playground and eat lunch with the other first grade class since a lot of his buddies are in there. So again, not back to normal but choosing joy!

This year, we were able to go in person for Meet the Teacher! Caleb took us around on a tour of his school since Nick and Luke had never been inside. The school had a Jumpstart week and Caleb was able to get to know his new teacher there so he was pumped when he found out he had her for first grade!

Back to school means it was time for our Back to School Brinner {breakfast for dinner}! We celebrate the night before school begins with a special dinner. This gives us plenty of time to celebrate the new year, talk about school, and just bring some excitement to the new chapter! Caleb absolutely loves it because he is just like his mama – loves any reason to celebrate anything.

This year, Luke is starting school too – preschool! I always lay out Caleb’s backpack & water bottle on the chair in the corner so it got a little extra crowded this year. This year was back to Super Mario for Caleb and all baseball for Luke. Their favorite colors for their water bottles for the win (which their awesome Aunt Ley Ley & Nanan decked out with their names). Luke doesn’t start for another week, but we wanted to go ahead and celebrate both of them!

Our brinner is always decked out with place settings and decorated with school supplies. We always have some kind of variation of eggs, cinnamon rolls, fruit kabobs, sausage balls, and this year the boys went the chocolate milk route!

Our family has a red special plate that my family had growing up as well. It’s always a big day when you get to eat off the special plate! The problem is solved right now because Luke can’t eat off breakable plates yet (and doesn’t understand the significance of the special plate). Guess we will have to figure out something different when he gets older! Right now Mickey Mouse does the trick.

Ever since Caleb started preschool at 2 years old (in the same class that Luke is starting in!), I have asked him the same questions every year to see the difference. He is the one that now reminds me that it’s time to ask the questions!

What is your favorite color? Green

What is your favorite food? Pizza

Who is your best friend? Brooks & Hava

What is your favorite thing to play with? My Mario Kart cars

What is your favorite animal? Lion

What is your favorite movie? Yes Day

What is your favorite book? Dog Man books

What do you want to be when you grow up? A spy!

This kid is nothing if not consistent so he pretty much keeps the same answers every year. The last few are newer answers, especially because he can actually read this year! He flew through all the Dog Man books this past summer along with a lot of Nate the Greats.

Here are his answers (and cute pics!) from years past…

Kindergarten

JR Kindergarten

3 Year Old Class

2 Year Old Class

Our guy is so ready for first grade! He loves school – everything from learning to hanging out with friends!

When his teacher asked him what he was most excited about for 1st grade, he said writing! His first day of school included his favorite specials class… can you guess? PE! He was quick to report that he also has a new PE teacher this year because the last one retired. He has been so cute to explain differences between kindergarten and first grade but so far, only good things!

A couple nights before school started, our family prayer walked around the school. (Huge benefit to it being basically in our back yard!) We all took turns praying for Caleb, all the students, all the teachers & staff, and for God to move through his entire school and for the Gospel to invade all the spaces. We are well aware that it is another strange, less than ideal year. But we also know that God has prepared Caleb for just a time as this and placed him in that school for a purpose. So we are praying BIG things for our BIG guy!

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Farewell to Summer, Hello to a New Chapter!

Wow! Looking back at my last blog post, it was OCTOBER. This feels like right around the time that life really geared back up to ‘normal-ish.’ But let’s be honest, normal is all pretty relative these days. Life just started to feel more full last fall when up to that point, it had been pretty bare. So apparently with the adjustment back, I clearly had no time to blog! This past summer has brought about a new chapter of my life so I’m hoping that means a little bit more time to write again.

After serving on our church staff for over five years, we feel like the Lord was leading me to take a step back. When Nick and I met, we were both working in ministry at two different churches. I left my staff position when we got married and it had always been our prayer that we would one day serve together on the same church staff. God was so incredible in answering that prayer and allowing us so many years to be in ministry together. As much as I have LOVED it, God was just tugging on my heart to focus more on my boys while I still have them at home. I’ve taken a position at our church preschool that I’m pretty excited about! When I came off church staff when we got married, I taught in preschool for a couple of years. So it’s not my first rodeo, but it will be the first time I have a kiddo at the preschool where I’m teaching which is fun! That’s right – Lukey Bear is headed to preschool this year. We also aren’t quite sure how he got old enough to do that but here we are. A new chapter for all of us!

Before we move to this next season, I wanted to do a quick highlight recap over our summer. Because it was FULL, FULL, FULL – especially compared to summer of 2020. We have reflected on this a bunch this summer. As excited as we were to be able to do things we missed, summer of 2020 will also be remembered as such a fun, chill summer where we just spent time with our bubble of people.

Here is our summer of 2021…

We went to Mexico with some of our favorite people in May! This should have been a whole blog post in its own because it was SO MUCH FUN.

The McCrarys came to stay over Memorial weekend and we had a blast together! They hadn’t been to Colorado since Luke was born so it was so much fun to actually leave our house and do fun, non-newborn things.

Pretty much all that happened between Mexico and this picture was VBS PREP!!! It was exciting to have VBS back in person this year even with all the restriction obstacles. This is a week where our entire family is serving & having fun together and we love it!

Bri and I were back at it this year with our themed birthday party! A 90’s Just Dance party was absolutely hilarious and such a totally awesome blast! Zack Morris would have been proud.

Student Camp was totally different this year but still so great!! Our awesome student ministry team hosted it on our church campus which was an incredible amount of work, but I’m pretty sure they would say it was totally worth it. Our boys certainly loved living that camp life every evening!

A family trip to the infamous Seaside was next on the agenda! Us and all of the southern states seemed to be vacationing together, but who can super complain when your days consist of beach & pool?

We celebrated the 4th of July with a pool party, fireworks, & LOTS of red, white, & blue!

These guys would definitely say a highlight was the All Star Game in Denver! Nick also got to go to the Homerun Derby while I rocked it as a boy mom and watched the whole thing on TV with the boys.

We spent TWO weeks in Texas this summer!! The first week, we hung out in DFW area with the cousins which included lots of swimming, splash pad, Fort Worth stockyards, a date night for the parentals, and family time!

Week two was at Nanan and Pop’s house in the Houston area which definitely included a lot of Olympics watching! Peep the banner and Olympics shirts.

Lake Boat Day!!! Lots of tubing & swimming for the cousin crew.

Water park day! These kids were living their best lives in the sun and water. The rest of the week was full of swimming and trampoline parks. Both things they absolutely love. Both things makes them sleep good at night. 😉

We spent a fun day in Galveston with Mimi & G-Daddy at the aquarium and eating yummy food! And LOTS of ice cream.

Some of my college besties and I met for brunch and my heart was so happy to be with them. These girls have been by my side since I met them, even if distance doesn’t always let us see each other.

Then I was able to end my Texas trip for a beach weekend with some of my other besties! We all became so close when we worked together over a decade ago (how is that even possible?). They are my original children ministry besties and I’ll love them forever!

Our trip came to an end and I survived a day in the airport with these two crazies! Both June & July trips brought cancelled or delayed flights which were definitely NOT a highlight of the summer. 🤪

Our family did a day in downtown Denver! I had not been down there since right before the pandemic so it was great to be back. We did the splash pad and checked out the new McGregor Square to watch the Rockies game.

Some family drove thru our part of Colorado for a trip which turned into such a great evening together! I say it all the time but if you’re ever in Colorado, PLEASE tell us because we want to see you.

These two besties got lots of fun play dates together during the summer! They may not have each other in school but they’re still partners in crime.

It’s been our family tradition for quite a few years now to do some time in Breck at the end of the summer. This year it had to just be a day trip, but it was still worth it! The annual trips with the boys in the same places makes my mama heart so happy.

And just like that, summer is over! The boys have all their back to school items and they are ready for the upcoming year. It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, but we can’t wait to see what this school year will bring with new rhythms for our family!

A Sunny Spot Amidst the Chaos

Man, this year has been a doozy. From a pandemic to social injustices to super vocal differing opinions about EVERYTHING, this world feels overwhelming and stressful. When my mom called and invited us to a week at the beach on a pretty low-key island in the middle of October, we said YES. Would we have to miss work and school? Who cares. We were ALL IN. So that’s exactly what we did a couple weeks ago and it was pretty much the best decision of all 2020.

This guy couldn’t have possibly been more excited about an early morning wake up call at the airport. We had two flights ahead of us but one included COUSINS!

We arrived in Panama City with 4 crazy kiddos and a whole bunch of luggage! There was a 2 hour car ride between us & the beach (and Nanan & Pops!).

We had arrived to our home for the week and all the rejoicing ensued! Just in time for some seafood for dinner. The travel may seem intense for little ones but believe me when I say that it was WORTH IT.

The next morning, we were up & ready for the beach!

Floppy hats were a must!
Safe to say everyone was a fan!
A lot of sand castles were made during this week!
It’s a Luke in a hole!

We took a break around lunch time to head back to the house to eat & rest. This became our routine everyday. Beach, lunch, rest, pool. Now that’s a schedule I love! Lounging around on our back deck was pretty much incredible too. I would happily just move in to that deck.

We had bikes for the week so an afternoon bike ride usually got fit in there too.

That evening, we decided to walk down the long pier on the bay side. Four small little ones walking down a pier with no railings is a bit ambitious but no one landed in the water so all was good.

We allowed them to take a picture at the very beginning where there was a railing. However, Luke was still required to stay in his stroller because homeboy is unpredictable.

The next day we did it all over again!

Can you spot a Lukey Bear & his daddy?

Back for lunch, rest, & then pool!

The pool view wasn’t too shabby either!

Don’t forget our bike ride! This one wasn’t quite as leisurely due to some wind but we powered through. Biking to town and back on an island just makes me feel like I’m straight in an Elin Hildebrand book.

We rested in the ginormous beach chair in town before heading back!

This guy also loved him the back deck too!

Day 3 began a little differently! The men left to go golf for Chris’ birthday while Ash & I went for some yoga at the beach. Grandparents for the win!

I love me some yoga but I REALLY love me some yoga with this view!

But don’t worry, we still made it to the beach with the crew!

Luke’s favorite activity was having someone fill his pails with water to then use it to fill up a bucket. Back & forth all day long.
Luke & his pails!
It’s important to make sure these ‘Colorado boys’ love the beach!

This was the calmest day on the water. It almost felt like a lake with how still it was which made for great paddle boarding!

Yay Pops for making it all happen!
How many kiddos can you fit on a paddle board?
We even got Mom out there!
Pops got in on the sandcastle action!

After resting, it was pool time! It’s funny how quick the kids learned the ‘new’ routine. If only life could be as easy as deciding between the pool and beach everyday.

Luke definitely thought being in a boat was hilarious!
This picture depicts their personalities nicely.
Do you spot his pails? His activity knew no bounds between the beach & the pool.

We decided to venture out into public for dinner that evening to celebrate Chris’ birthday! We even went off the island to the nearest town to hit up a restaurant there.

Shrimp & Grits served to me by a girl with a southern accent made me feel like home!
I finally got a picture with this stud!
My two favorite girls.
Nanan & Pops and all the little crazies!

Can you guess what we did on Friday?!

These two have been besties since day one!
I read all of the books & he ate all of the snacks. This is how we vacation.

Nick & I actually snuck in a bike ride on this day! At one point, I thought he was going to have to tow me back because of the wind but I’m happy to report that I did it all on my own.

Don’t let my smile fool ya.

Pool time was a little shorter that afternoon because we also had to get ready for family pictures on the beach.

Hey girl, how you doin’?

Family picture time! Can you hear all the kids groaning from there?! Ashley came armed with gummy bears to try and ‘encourage’ the children.

We are full of squinty eyes & love!
The whole fam!
My two little studs posing on the beach looking like little kid models.
Since Maddie is the only girl cousin, she gets to be in the big girl pic!
Behind the scenes with these crazy boys!
And all the children were rewarded nicely with J Rae’s cookies packed in a suitcase from Texas! Because my sister is awesome.

Saturday was our last full day and we were definitely feeling the sadness. I think God knew that we were going to need some help leaving, so he made it a little chilly and windy. This led us to start off with a walk instead, all decked out in tie dye. Because if you go to the beach and not wear tie dye, did you even go to the beach?

Some of us decided to ride more than walk..

It warmed up a bit and we made it to the beach!

Cheese puff hands + sand = only kids
I think all 5 of them were in their happy place!
Think they’ll still let us match them in high school?

We decided to explore the little town that afternoon, especially the lighthouse. When we were there two years ago, Dylan was too little to go up and I was too pregnant. Now he had made the cut and Luke watched from below!

We ate at a restaurant right on the water which is something I miss in Colorado! Seafood while staring at the ocean makes my heart so happy. If you’ve seen Facebook, our oldest even got bribed to try an oyster. He conquered so he’s now the proud owner of a new hot wheels track. I’m pretty sure he will never eat an oyster again, but I guess both boys got what they wanted.

D-Mac had nothing to do with the oysters!
BFFLS
Smile!
…but this is who we really are!

And that’s it! If anyone has made it thru this massive trip recap besides my mom, job well done! We got up the next morning and made the road trip and two flights home back to reality. And this is how I felt about it…

This is how the boys handled it…

And yes, this does mean that I was across the aisle in a row all. by. myself.

This trip really was the brightest spot of this whole year. A whole week dedicated to rest and fun, without having to worry about any single thing. Obviously that’s what is always so great about a vacation, but it felt like an actual gift during this crazy year. So thank you to Nanan & Pops and thank you to the precious Saint George Island!

Caleb is SIX!

Just like that, our first baby went and turned 6! Who does he think he is getting so old that he has to use BOTH hands to show his age?! This kid has had such a huge year. He started kindergarten, he’s handled a pandemic like a champ, and he chose to follow Christ! We are SO proud of him and thankful that God chose us to be his parents.

If you know me, you know we love to celebrate us some birthdays! And I’ve raised Caleb the right way in expecting the same thing. (But don’t worry – he loves to celebrate anyone else’s birthday just as big!) Ever since Caleb turned one, we always start with balloons in the bed as he wakes up. It is always a fun way to start the day!

Now we have a little helper to assist us with the celebration!

We decided to let him open gifts from us before school to add some excitement. The pizza was from us and the ROAR dinosaur was from the little bro.

Safe to say he was pumped! He was a little confused on why he was required to go to school on his birthday. His teacher has the same birthday as him so that made it a little more fun! And sure enough, he got celebrated big at school too!

It made it even more fun that Mimi & G-Daddy were in town for his birthday! He was excited that they got to pick him up from school too. (And check out that crown – he was obviously the birthday king for the day!)

JoJo came over after school so the rest of the day consisted of presents from grandparents and a special dinner at a restaurant of his choosing. Old Chicago was the pick! The kid loves him some pizza but he went and ordered the largest mac & cheese he could find. He’s no fool – he knows we don’t ever let him order mac & cheese as an entree so he took full advantage of pulling the birthday card!

He was sad for the day to end but he was looking forward to Saturday – Birthday Party Day!! He invited some best buddies to come play with him at a playground & celebrate Pokémon style! (The kid loves a theme – Pokémon is his backpack, his birthday, & spoiler alert – his Halloween costume!)

It was a fun time of just letting the kids play at the park! Nick kept me from planning out activities & games the entire time and instead just let kids be kids. Apparently all they really do need is a playground.

Well I guess I should say all they need is a playground… and cake and presents!!

This kid felt super loved and had a blast! Times are weird so it was nice to have a normal, low-key birthday party for him.

Although we didn’t remember at the park, we were able to get some family pics when we got home!

It sure does feel just like yesterday when we were celebrating his first birthday in Texas (right before we moved!).

We sure have come a long way! Now we have a sweet, caring, routine-loving, chatty, silly, extroverted, Pokémon-crazy 6 year old. Sometimes being a mom can drive me all the way up the wall or straight off a cliff, but this little boy can say the most thoughtful things that brings me straight back and makes it all worth it. During his prayer the night of his birthday, he thanked God for such an amazing birthday and prayed that his little brother would have an awesome birthday in two months. So all that to say, it really is such a gift to be his mom and he is definitely worth celebrating!

Here’s to six years of Caleb & to MANY, MANY more!

A Little Life Lately

Welp, life is a bit busy again! Having six months ‘off’ from all the things sure does make it a shock to the system to return to routine. It’s so interesting how hard it was to adjust to having NOTHING on the calendar when the world shut down in March. We grieved all the things that were cancelled, but somewhere along the way, we adjusted to our new normal. And now here we are… adding things back to our calendar with obligations requiring our attendance… and it all feels a bit bittersweet. Things may not look exactly how they used to but we are making the best of it!

We officially have a football player! And his team is even the Broncos! He’s now played t-ball, soccer, basketball.. and now he’s giving football a shot. If you ask him his favorite, he would absolutely choose all of them. It helps that he’s played with his best buddy on every single team.

NFL is also back!!! Can you hear the excitement from all the Jones boys?! Luke’s brainwashing seems to be going well and has joined in the festivities. We just won’t talk about all the Broncos players that are injured (this is me warning you to not bring that up to a certain husband of mine).

We have been loving outdoor services at church! It’s so great to gather together again as a church family. It may not be what we are used to, but I do love it after months of only online!

My mom & stepdad came into town for another weekend and we had a quick little getaway to Breck again! Perfect timing with all the changing of the colors. Fall in Colorado is THE. BEST.

A certain somebody loves ANYTHING of his older brother’s. He has now discovered Caleb’s house shoes and absolutely cracks up as he walks around in them.

Walking Caleb to school has been such a blessing! The fact that we basically just walk around the corner to his school is so fun. We also drive by his school anytime we leave our house so I’ve totally seen him outside playing! That makes this mama heart happy since he’s in a brand new school.

Nick preached this weekend which led to a funny moment where these two boys totally matched for the filming. They were clearly feeling all the fall vibes.

With daddy back at work multiple evenings a week, we are making the best of it with these boys kicking me out of the chair while we do bedtime. It helps that they’re cute.

Picture Day already happened for this handsome boy!

Now we are gearing up for this kid to turn 6 this week!

And there it is, a little life lately for our fam!

The 5 Year Coloradoversary

I can’t believe it. We have lived in Colorado for five years now. Sometimes it feels like way longer and sometimes it still surprises me that I don’t live in Texas. But here we are, five years in. As I was reflecting on all the things, I remembered that I wrote a blog post right when we moved here so I had to take a look (and you can too if you want!). It made me smile to think of that girl entering this brand new world and chapter, not having any idea what to expect. I was definitely gun shy on this whole idea of moving my little family to a different state serving a church family that I had just met. It was a whole new element of trusting God in a big way. Something funny about being a ‘transplant’ is that we still get asked often if we plan on staying. If this is what we would consider our forever home. If we love it. If we miss Texas. So why not just answer all of that here?! Plus it only felt right to commemorate this 5 year Coloradoversary with all the words that I feel about this state, this move, our life here.

Here we are, arriving at a house we had never even seen! Straight rented it off Craigslist praying it would be fine. Our movers didn’t show up for days later without feeling the need to tell us or give us any kind of ETA. So clearly that all felt like a really great start. However, the house ended up being a sweet little beginner house for us in Colorado! (If you haven’t heard, Texas and Colorado aren’t quite the same in the house pricing department. Like at all.) Caleb was not even a year old yet so it was quite the feat to move and get unpacked without knowing anyone!

Moving to Colorado in fall is a HUGE bonus. It’s like I showed up in a movie with the changing of seasons and colors. Never thought that was an actual thing before. And then the snow. It was all so fun!

When we moved here, my heart was in a place of healing and also expectancy for what God had in store. I hoped so hard that God’s faithfulness would show up in a mighty way through this new church and our new ministry here. And I can honestly say it did! We were embraced and welcomed immediately and I even mention in that 5 year old blog post, it naturally felt like home. Which is exactly what our hearts needed.

We flew out to Colorado for Nick’s interview in August and moved out in September. At his interview, I was so nervous about whether this would be a good move for us. With our history, I didn’t want to miss ANYTHING during the interview. I kept wracking my brain for any and all questions to ask. But through it all, God just kept putting my heart at peace. The last day we were here, one of the staff wives sat on the church floor with me (because I had a 10 month old crawling machine) and shared all about what it looked like to be on staff and a pastor’s wife at this church. It was unprovoked and the most encouraging thing to me at that time. God totally knew I needed that. And like they say, the rest is history.

The hardest part about moving was leaving behind my entire family and my amazing friends. My sister and I had both just had a baby and only lived like two miles from each other. Talk about hard to leave. The moment Nick accepted the position, we began praying for this next chapter and specifically for a great community for our family. I was so intentional with putting myself out there the entire first year we lived here. I never turned down an offer to hang out and constantly showed up alone to events nervously hopeful. It certainly was not easy and probably the most difficult part is how much time it took. Good friendships don’t just happen over night and I felt years behind in all of the friendships around me. But here we are, five years later, surrounded by a fantastic community that we love and love us right back.

So will we stay? The planner in me wishes it was that easy! Do we hope to stay? Absolutely. We have fallen in love with our church, our town, our state (Nick had a head start in this department!). Everything in me hopes this is our forever place. But the tricky thing is it’s not quite up to us, is it? We serve a sovereign God that has a plan for our life that we want to always follow. If you would have asked me eight years ago, I would have said that I wanted my forever home to be Texas. So obviously we stay open-handed to God’s will, but our desire would be for Colorado to stay our home!

Do I miss Texas? You better believe it! I yearn for the coast during the summer months. My heart hurts anytime I miss out on something because of distance. I hate that friends and family can’t be just a quick weekend road trip. I miss the sweet tea, GOOD Mexican food, southern accents and all the things I didn’t even realize were ‘southern’ until I moved here. Texas will ALWAYS have my heart.

It’s safe to say I love our life here. Our new house that God blessed us to buy in a great neighborhood with friendly neighbors (not always a guarantee!). Our boys growing up in a gorgeous environment with mountains surrounding us. The opportunity to spend so much time in God’s glory that is the outdoors here. (Sorry Texas, not much compares to the mountains here.) The people that we get to live life with daily. The church where we are both able to serve on staff together. This is home.

A running joke in our fam is that Caleb & I are Team Texas and Nick & Luke are Team Colorado since that’s where we were all born. We often split up in ‘teams’ for any contest or competition that is happening. I’m sure Nick wishes that Luke would get a little older to help him out a little because Team Texas is blowing them out of the water.

So there it is, folks! A bit of an update and celebration of 5 years in Colorado. God is faithful. His ways are FAR greater than ours.