August 21, 2015

Savoring the Firsts

First time hanging in the bonus room as a family.

First meal at home.

First time at the neighborhood playground.

First afternoon nap.

(Connor got so tired that he crawled up on his bed and fell fast asleep all on his own. A definite sign this 3-year-old loves his new room.)

First time hanging in his own room as a teenager.

First whirlpool bath together.

First time doing our own thing at night.

First time reading before bed.

It's been fun making memories and doing all these "firsts" in our new house!

August 18, 2015

Jacob // Thirteen

Yesterday my first-born became a teenager. Thirteen years old.

Only 5 more years before he officially reaches adulthood. Yikes!

You'd think I'd feel more prepared or be full of wisdom with this whole parenting gig, but I don't. Just tonight, our new teenager blew up from all the work + stress + exhaustion he's facing in 8th grade so far (our big move, his birthday party with friends + his visit to his dad's definitely hasn't helped) - on top of some other behavior issues from our other two...and it turned out to be quite the night.

Jake's finding out - this last year before high school is no joke. His days of playing + messing around or having lots of free time during the week are mostly gone. He's learning to hunker down and do homework each night, ask questions if he doesn't understand, stay organized + on top of things, prioritize what's due + when, eat well + get plenty of rest...all those vital things you need for those challenging high school years ahead.

Today may not have been one of our better days, but Jacob's 13th birthday was yesterday. And it was a really great day - a great day to remember!

I woke up at 5am to fix Jacob's special birthday breakfast - cinnamon streusel muffins + sausage biscuits + a special birthday card. (No treats for school because it's 8th grade and that would be embarrassing, you know.)

Dinner was a feast - homemade lasagna + bread + meatballs + Italian green beans. And his absolute favorite - cookie cake!! Just a good ol' family celebration.

We sang to the birthday boy, then he opened our gift.

He's wanted these slip-on Cardiff Cruisers skates for awhile now, so he can zoom right past me during our neighborhood walks. :) 

Between the sunset + Jake's new skates + our family time outside, the night turned out to be pretty darn awesome.

Whether it's the good days or the really hard ones, we are grateful that Jake is with us. Our family wouldn't be the same without him.

Here's the top 13 things we love about our new teenager:

1. Jake has a big heart and is super loving. Always hugging and showing affection to those he loves.

2. Jake is very responsible and acts much older than his age.

3. Jake is a great big brother, helping his siblings whenever it's needed.

4. Jake is strong-willed and stubborn, so he will do whatever he sets his mind to.

5. Jake is funny, always telling jokes and making me laugh.

6. Jake is an eater and is appreciative of anything I make + put in front of him. He's never been a picky eater, and I just love that!

7. Jake's love language is physical touch and words of affirmation.

8. Jake doesn't like to watch TV.

9. Jake likes spending time with family and friends the most. He doesn't like to sit and play video games all day. What a blessing!

10. Jake loves staying active + going places + doing things outdoors.

11. Jake has a servant's heart + is a true gentleman. Always helping friends, holding doors open, thinking of others first.

12. Jake loves God and had a blast doing missions work during the week-long church camp this summer.

13. Jake has a soft heart, willing to let God mold + shape him and help him become the man God wants him to be.

Love you, Jake. Hope you always know how much you're loved.

August 16, 2015

Jacob's 13th Birthday Party

Jacob's 13th birthday celebration crept up on him, and he didn't even know it. His birthday is officially tomorrow, but with school starting and his visit to his dad's this past weekend, we decided it was best to do something the week before. So, 6 days after moving and right after we registered the kids at school on Friday morning - we surprised Jake with the idea that he had "visitors" coming home with us. His friend Jordin spent the night with us on Thursday and was able to spend Friday with us and the rest of the boys.

Here's Jake and Jordin on Thursday - eating dinner, going night swimming at the neighborhood pool, staying up late playing video games:

Little did Jake know this was all part of his birthday celebration...

On Friday, Scot took the day off and went with me and the kids to school registration at 8am. After meeting the kids' teachers and delivering all their supplies, we picked up our "visitors" + all their stuff and had a packed van. (Scot drove separately to have room for Connor and Brooklyn.)

Ever see six 13-year-olds crammed into one minivan?? One party bus here - ha!

We stopped and got Subway for lunch on the way home, and the boys had a little free time for video games. Then, we surprised everyone by taking them to Nashville Shores water park for the rest of the day! Jake's favorite place on earth. :)

Here's Max, Josh, Michael, Daniel, Jordin and Jake:

The boys went off on their own, Scot went around with Brooklyn, and I stayed in the kids area with Connor...where he eventually collapsed on a chair and fell asleep.

Mom's hour-long moment of peace. :)

Scot took the kids with him and headed home, dropping Jordin off on the way. I took the boys with me, stopping to get candy + soda, pizza and DQ ice cream cake. Any teenager's dream - hey, you only turn 13 once!

The boys devoured their "goods" and hung out in the bonus room the rest of the night. Playing video games, watching movies, staying up late telling jokes...according to Jake - it was "Totally epic. The best day ever."
This would have never been possible in our old house, so we're thankful for the space to entertain and celebrate birthdays with friends. Making memories that I know the kids will always remember.
Jake's 13th was definitely a special one. I'm not ready for all this, yet...but teenage years, here we come!
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