Text 11 Sep 1 note Life’s little treasures

Watching football with my main man!

Text 3 Sep 2 notes Big Muddy Challenge

Being healthy is a lifestyle I want to try to encourage the kids to live by.  We eat our fruits and veggies, we try to mainly drink water, and we spend as much time outside as possible instead of being glued to the TV. 

I saw an ad for the Big Muddy Challenge which is a family oriented mud run.  I thought it would be a neat opportunity to show them how fun (and dirty) exercise could be all while creating memories. 

I asked them first if they would be interested and showed them a video.  I thought Addison might be reluctant to get dirty but she was game.  I signed us up and we started “training”.  Addison would do laps in the yard to build up her endurance, often times falling in the mud or mulch due to wearing inappropriate shoes/boots.  I got a kick out of watching. 

After much anticipation race day finally arrived.  We got all checked in and went through the rules and warm up.  I was to run with Addison per her request and Uncle Vince was running with Gavin (much to Vince’s chagrin-Gavin is quick and doesn’t like to wait around so he had his work cut out for him trying to keep up). 

The horn blew and we took off running.  The first obstacle was hay jumps.  we made it over two and when we got close to the third Addison said “oh dear”.  She hadn’t incorporated jumps into her training plan.  We made it through all 6 before heading through the corn maze on our way to the log river.  We had to pick up a log and carry it through the “river” to the other side making sure not to lose our shoes in the mud.  Gavin grabbed the largest log he could find because he had something to prove.  Luckily Uncle Vince intercepted the log and talked him down from being a hero, passing him a smaller branch instead.  We crossed the river to make our way back through the corn maze and on to our first mud wall.  Gavin and Vince took off while Addison composed herself.  We climbed the mud wall using the built in rope ladder and ran to the next, ladderless mud wall.  Addison made her way up first and grabbed my hand to help me along. 

Next, the muddy slip and slide.  Gavin didn’t waste time.  He and Uncle Vince showed the crowd how it was done sliding belly down, face first into the mud.  Addison and I (at her request) took a more delicate approach walking down and jumping in to the mud.  We made our way through the forest and across another lake before reaching a rope web.  After negotiating our way through the web we ran toward the Hercules mud wall.  It was a 10 foot wall of nothing but mud.  With the help of a rope we all negotiated our way up and slid down the other side into yet another pool of muddy water. 

We were in the homestretch.  We ran back to toward the finish. Our last obstacle…..the muddy army crawl.  We had to slither underneath a bungee web in a mud pool to cross the finish.  Gavin and Vince didn’t mess around.  They crawled like navy seals battling the waves to the finish.  Addison and I sifted through the water moving cords out of our way to avoid the mud getting too close to our face.  We still are ladies after all. 

In the end we all high fived and laughed before making our way to the fire trucks to get hosed down and collect our champion tshirts (which Gavin had to wear the next day).

We had a great time and I hope to make this a yearly tradition. 


It’s a real thing


signing in


the corn maze


getting a running start for the slip-n-slide


don’t waste the precious seconds


ohhhhh that’s messy




steady as she goes


like a gazelle


a giggling gazelle


we escaped the forest


I love this smile


trying to navigate the web with a highstep




a muddy mess


slightly cleaner

Text 15 Aug 5yo

I was a little sad this year that the start of school coincided with Addison’s Birthday.  Her birthday week was riddled with school activities and the way the schedule was set up we weren’t sure if she would have her first full day of school on the day before her birthday or her birthday until that week.  That made it really difficult to try and plan our special birthday outing that we try and do every year.  I had to improvise a bit.  The weekend before the three of us went to one of our favorite places, Defy Gravity, for a little trampoline extravaganza.  That place is exhausting.  We jumped for a solid hour before heading home to get milkshakes and some rest. 

Gavin had to start school the next day and Addison had school that afternoon.  Since we had a crazy week with school we had to make that morning our special day.  We had talked in the days leading up to that Monday what we were going to do for her special day.  After much debate she said she wanted to go to Frankie’s, get a milkshake, and then snuggle.  It’s not the first time she has said she wanted to just snuggle but every time she does my heart melts. 

Getting the kids to bed that Sunday was quite the feat.  First day of school jitters were flying around all over the place.  Once they were asleep I didn’t hear a peep until the next morning when Addison woke up early to hang out with me (see the kindergarten post).  After having breakfast and getting the obligatory first day of school pictures we made our way to school to drop off Gavin and begin our adventure. 

Our first stop, Walgreens.  Why Walgreen’s you ask?  I have no idea either.  But, she insisted and when I tried to argue she said it was her month so we should go in.  “Well, that conclusion came a lot quicker than I anticipated”, I thought.  Apparently, there was some toy she and Gavin had been eyeballing for a while and since it was her day she thought it was the perfect time to get it….but then, she realized it was more a Gavin gift than an Addison gift and she found something else she wanted instead but she was torn.  I told her she could pick one.  She sat in the middle of the aisle and debated internally with herself which one was the right choice.  The joint gift or her own special gift.  “why do I have to be so dramatic” , she asked.  “That’s just part of being a female my dear”, I responded.  In the end I let her get both because they were only a couple dollars each but I let her sweat it out a little. 

We made a pit stop at party city to pick up a few items for her birthday party that weekend before making our way to Frankie’s for some go carting, air hockey, bowling, and, of course, claw machine fun.  Much like her brother, she gets extremely excited about the claw machine……but the candy one.  She couldn’t care less about the stuffed animals.  Never ever have we played the candy claw and won…..ever….until today.  Addison did it all on her own and she was elated.  After a few more games it was time for lunch.  I gave her a host of options and she settled on sushi….(my kids are going to make expensive dates).

We enjoyed our soup and sushi over conversations about kindergarten and Molly.  We had about an hour to spare after lunch so I asked Addison if she was ready for her milkshake.  As we started walking to the car she looked at me and said, “Nevermind, I don’t want a milkshake. I just want to go home and snuggle!”   Holy cow…that girl.  We did.  We went home snuggled a bit and then played school for a few minutes before heading back for the real thing.  We had a great morning to celebrate her birthday. 

Turns out she actually had the day of her birthday off so I took her to breakfast.  She was so excited that it was just her and I going out for breakfast.  She thought long about where she wanted to go and finally settled on Panera.  We sat down and I put a candle in her bagel and sang happy birthday to her…..twice.  I had to relight the candle so she could blow it out again. 

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, I am one lucky lady.  My heart is overfilled with love for these two kiddos.  There is nothing on this planet that makes me happier than seeing these two. 

Happy 5th birthday sweet girl!


oh the decisions. 


Kid in a candy store


taking party city literally


taking the track by storm.  the little man let us go a few extra laps. 


she’s a race car expert now


it’s gonna make it…


she’s a fan of the tofu….


a bigger fan of the sushi


you can put a birthday candle on anything


take 2


frozen party balloons. 


frozen food


it’s a small cupcake but 5 candles had to go on it. 


the frosting is the best part. 


I didn’t tell her to pose like this.


ELSA!!! or ANNNA!!! (I don’t know which is which)

Text 4 Aug 1 note The Kindergarten Post
How has this day arrived so quickly? My oldest in first grade and his shadow beginning her first year as an elementary student. I woke up early and went to start the coffee when i heard some shuffling upstairs. I started making my way back up and turned the corner to see Addison open her door, fully dressed. We both stood there staring at each other. I gave her a giant grin and she came running to me with arms wide open. She told me she was the first one awake and when i asked why she was up so early, without skipping a beat she replied, “i wanted to hang out with you”. My heart almost exploded with love in that moment.

We made our way downstairs to work on breakfast before waking Gavin up.  We had a big day.  Gavin started his first full day of first grade and Addison had a half day (in the afternoon) to help transition in to life as a kindergartener.  After discussing our plans for the day we went to wake up Gavin for breakfast on the patio.  The discussions were priceless.  Gavin told Addison everything he could remember about kindergarten and what she could expect; how to line up to go to the lunchroom, when she could expect to get something from the treasure box, and all the different ways they could call out her carpool number.  

We started to head in to finish getting ready just in time to realize that we lost Addison’s new sandals.  No other shoes would suffice.  Everyone was on the hunt , throwing cushions on the floor, pulling out toy boxes, looking in the freezer.  After a 10 minute search through the entire house we finally found them in the back of her jeep in the garage. It was a near catastrophe.  

After a few photo ops we finally made it to the car.  Once we were on the road Gavin started back in on his tips and tricks for surviving the big K.  It was such a great conversation to listen to.  

Parking of course, was a mess.  We ended up parking at the drug store across the street and walking over, the kids hand in hand.  We got inside and found Gavin’s class.  I gave him a big squeeze and he tried to avoid my smooches but i threatened to do it inside the classroom so he grinned and gave me one (I didn’t think he would be embarrassed so soon).  

Addison was so brave when it was time for her to go into the classroom.  She has become a bit clingy over the past year and I really thought this transition would be tough for her.  It certainly has come with it’s moments but i was very proud of her on her first day.  She went straight in.  I walked in with her to look at all the sights before squeezing her tight and whispering how much i loved her.  I made my way out the door and peaked in from around the corner.  A little piece of my heart broke that day as i realized how quickly my two angels have grown.  I remember so many times waking up to the dinosaur sounds they would make in their sleep as infants, to the way they would grab little cheerios as they were learning to eat, and how they would stumble to the ground in an attempt to walk across the room.  I have a hard time trying to figure out how this moment got here so soon.  My heart is filled with so much adoration for these two little wonders.  I can’t wait to see what the next chapter brings.


Not the most photogenic of pictures but I find everything about this one hilarious.


Breakfast on the patio


Mom wants a picture, let’s give her one. 


Wait….we aren’t just going to smile.


Karate pose….check


Square dance pose..check


All grown up


Deep breaths!



Text 14 Jul A new skating parlor

Earlier in the spring we attempted to take our leftover stones and see if we could assemble them into some sort of patio in the back portion of the yard.  It was an epic fail but an entertaining endeavor where Addison bossed me around.  After the idea got in my head, though, I couldn’t shake it.  I scoured the internet for options and got quotes and settled on stamped concrete.  It was reasonably priced and achieved the esthetic appearance of a flagstone patio. 

The patio was a great decision.  The yard looks inviting and the patio itself serves multiple purposes.  On the weekends we wake up and have our coffee and breakfast while the birds chirp.  We’ve had a couple cookouts complete with smores consumption. In the evenings I sit and watch the kids chase fireflies while molly chases them. 

One of the greatest benefits is it serves as a great space for roller skating.  Both Gavin and Addison got new skates.  The patio is a nice alternative to skating in the cul-de-sac.  Here lately, the proper skating attire appears to be a swimsuit.  Our typical routine at night is dinner, put on our swimsuit, go in the backyard to skate for a bit, turn on the sprinkler as a little precursor to going to the pool, and then gather up our  gear for the pool. 

I love being outside with these two crazy kids.  I could watch them play and interact all day. 

Text 9 Jul 1 note Preschool is over

Graduation day is a big deal.  You spend your whole life looking forward to that next big milestone and I think it all starts with preschool graduation.  It signifies the transition from toddler to big kid. 

Addison’s big day was as exciting for me as it was her.  I don’t need an excuse to get out my camera but it makes me feel better when I’m not the only one snapping away.  The graduation processional began and the class entered the auditorium in an orderly fashion.  Addison was near the back and when I saw her she looked embarrassed.  Her head was down and she peered at me through her glasses.  Come to find out she wasn’t embarrassed, her head was a little big for the hat and she was just trying to keep it from falling off.  Eventually it just came off and staid off. 

The kids took turns in groups singing songs and showing off their math and literacy skills.  Every so often I would stand up in front of a column (to avoid blocking someone’s view) to snap some pictures.  Addison would grin really big and point her finger at me and mouth “sit down”.  Little does she know this is just the beginning of me embarrassing her. 

I managed to hold it together for the duration of graduation….That was until they started showing videos with sappy music of all the kids.

Addison has grown leaps and bounds in the past year.  I am so excited to see her as she starts this new journey as a “big kid”.

sit down lady

diploma in hand

Addison’s biggest fan…

…but the kisses are embarrassing

Text 6 Jun Breaking personal records

Last mother’s day the kids did the Run like a mother 1 mile kids fun run.  If you recall it was quite an adventure. Addison was chased in by the police while Gavin recovered from his superfast run with an snow cone. 

This year Addison decided to cheerlead while Gavin tried to break his personal best record of 8 minutes and change.  I laid out his running gear the night before so we would be ready to roll bright and early.  When he woke up he was excited until he saw what i had picked out.  He put started toward the closet and I asked what he was doing.  He started asking about the red shirt with the big P on it.  He had worn that one last year for the race and wanted to wear it again.  We found it and albeit a little on the small side if you have lucky shirt you have to roll with it. 

We arrived onsite and Gavin’s nerves started to hit him.  I get that way every race myself so I knew the feeling.  He tried to back out of it but I wouldn’t let him.  we had trained so hard (you know those handful of times we ran the neighborhood in the few weeks leading up to the race). 

He was to run this race by himself so when they called up all the kids we walked over and he parked himself in the back of the pack.  Addison and I gave him kisses and I told him how proud I was of him and that if he got tired to stop and walk a bit.  He nodded but I am not sure he heard me through all the nerves. 

Addison and I walked to the other side of the street so we could see him off.  the horn sounded and they took off .  Addison and I cheered and then anxiously waited at the bottom of the hill near the finish line for the kids to start coming in.  I started to get anxious myself.  I knew there was someone directing the kids at the turn around point but I was still very nervous.  The first kid came in at just over 6 minutes.  People started cheering and then a few more trickled in.  In the distance I saw a red shirt.  I pulled out my camera and zoomed in really close and sure enough it was Gavin.  He was booking it.  I turned to look at the clock and it was just under 7 minutes.  Addison and I started screaming.  He saw us and paused grinning from ear to ear and I yelled for him to keep going. He crossed the line around 7:45, shattering his record from last year.  I was so proud of him I was about to jump out of my skin. 

settling his nerves

lining up reluctantly


Text 27 May Genetics doesn’t always work in your favor

I received a packet of information from daycare regarding Addison a few weeks ago.  At the time it was very alarming and I really should mention it to the people in charge.  Short story is the packet implied Addison had a potentially serious eye condition.  Come to find out it was just nearsightedness with a heap of astigmatism.  I made the eye appointment for both kids seeing as I was already going to be there with both of them.  Gavin passed his with flying colors.  Addison did not.  They were both brave troopers and did everything the doctor asked of them.  In the end though, Addison and I were both a little disappointed that she was going to have to get glasses.  I knew it was bound to happen seeing as Chad and I both have terrible vision.  But, I was hoping it would be a little later in life so that they would be more receptive to wearing them and/or could opt for contacts if they so chose. 

After the exam the little man took us to the kids eyeglass showcase.  There weren’t too many to choose from but enough to really tick Addison off.  I picked out a couple that I liked and tried to let her pick out some.  She declared her distaste for all of them and refused to wear them…..EVER.  I took her aside and told her if she didn’t pick out a pair she liked that I was going to pick them out and she probably wasn’t going to like them at all.  She begrudgingly tried on about 6 pair for a total of 12 seconds slamming them down when she was done.  I decided that was enoungh because I didn’t want to pay for all of them if she broke them.   I narrowed it down to three…she agreed on one. 

We discussed it in the car and she, again, said she would not wear them.  We had about a week before they were to come in so I did everything I could to try to convince her it would be fine.  I even pulled Gavin aside and told him that when she got them to tell her how beautiful she was.  Sweet Gavin didn’t listen to all the instructions.  Later in the day he looked at Addison and said, ” I really like your glasses. You look so pretty in them”, and then looked at me and gave me a wink and a nod.  I giggled and whispered, “Dude, you were supposed to wait until she was wearing them”.  He shrugged. 

Once they finally came in Addison wore them for about 10 minute stretches at a time, but refused to ever wear them to school.  She went so far as to say she looked like a Lady Officer that walked the halls of the mall (her words not mine).   I wasn’t going to fight it.  I knew it would take some adjustment time.  I told her I would wear mine too so that we could match and that seemed to help a little.  My final saving grace was daycare.  Addison adores her teacher, Mrs Shalia.  I told her all about the glasses and she had Addison bring them in to show off during circle time.  Ever since she wears them to school all day.  She looks absolutely adorable and I hope she never feels self conscious about them. These days glasses are an accessory.  I still wear mine from time to time even though I don’t have to  because I like the look of them.  I can’t get Addison to wear hers all the time right now but I feel like once she gets used to seeing better she will always want to see the world the way it was meant to be seen. 


It looks scarier than it actually is. 


These glasses will not do




two girls wearing glasses


owning her hipster ivy league look

Text 5 May Half a dozen and counting

This year’s theme for Gavin’s party was teenage mutant ninja turtles. It’s funny how all of the cartoons i grew up with are starting to cycle back around. I wonder if it’s a lack of creativity on Hollywood’s part or the sheer awesomeness of the cartoon requires that they be experienced by a new generation. I’m going to go with the latter.

Gavin wanted to keep it low key this year and just have a house party with his buds from the neighborhood. That suited me just fine. I dusted off the angry bird tree and sling shot, fashioned some sort of javelin structure out of pool noodles and hooley hoops (Addison’s term), and made ninja turtle costumes from spray paint and dollar tree roasting pans.

The costumes were a hit.  All the kids chased each other with their sais while wearing their ninja masks and turtle shells.  One friend used the shell as a shelter for the giant beetle she found in the yard. Some used them as shields to ward off flying angry bird pigs.  Molly chased everyone and everything.

As usual, the party was a success.  Not because of the fancy games and great food, but because of the wonderful friends and family who were there to celebrate the most amazing little boy I will ever know. 

I still can’t believe that I am the mother of a 6 year old.  How has time flown by this quickly?  Not a day passes by that I don’t think how incredibly blessed I am to have these two in my life.  Gavin is a true treasure.  He is selfless and caring and wants nothing more in this life than to shower those people that he loves with his kindness.  For having only been on this earth for 6 years, he truly has taught me more about selflessness than anyone I have ever known.  I hope I grow up to be like you one day Gavin Cleveland. 


Costumes for everyone


Addison helped me cut all the “tags” off of Gavin’s birthday skates.  Some of the tags were the shoe laces.  so he got some replacement sneaker laces that don’t clash at all. 


Testing the costumes the day before


javelin competition


Go ninja go ninja go ninja go


reviving the angry bird tree

Text 24 Apr 1 note Get to work

We have some leftover stones from a plant border project that had just been tossed in a corner until a suitable use could be determined.  The weather was nice the other weekend so I decided to move them around the yard a bit.  The kids thought it would be fun to help.  I turned on our jams and pulled out the wheelbarrows.  They have a mini one of their own that they like to break out for any and all yard activities (i.e. moving rocks, picking up sticks, chasing molly, etc). 

I started loading stones into mine and they did the same.  My instructions to limit the number in the wheelbarrow fell on deaf ears so there were a couple of barrows that ended up overturned followed by an “OH DEAR!”. 

About 20 minutes in to the project Gavin received a better offer from the neighbor to go play in his back yard.  Addison declined the offer so she could show off her muscles a bit longer.  

I didn’t realize how many stones we actually had until about an hour into the project when only about 1/4 of them had been moved.  Addison left me a couple of times go have a snack but would promptly get back to work after she had finished…..until she didn’t.  After one snack she went back in to get us both something to drink.  After that break she told me she was going to take a break and lay on the hammock….maybe have a siesta.  She laid down, I gave her a push and she stuck her thumb in her mouth to settle in for a little R&R in the pleasant 70 degree shade. 

I started moving again stacking rocks along the plant beds near the deck. After a few hauls back and forth I paused to respond to a text.  In that moment I heard the “POP” of a thumb come out of Addison’s mouth.  She yelled over to me, verbatim, “HEY! Why aren’t you moving those rocks?”

Say what?  Did this little 4 year old really just pull the supervisor card on me?

Moving Rocks

Losing rocks


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