Saturday, July 23, 2016


I love milestones.
I love first words, first steps, the first loose tooth, etc. 
To me, learning to ride a bike is in the same category as those.

Alice has been quite motivated to learn since watching a friend ride her bike this past week.
She's been practicing with the balance bike in the garage, 
but this morning was our first time to go to a park to really give it a try. 

She did a few laps on the balance bike
and then Ben swapped it with the 2-wheeler pedal bike.
(I did NOT think she was ready.)

I still can't believe the learning curve!
One minute she couldn't do it and the next she could.
Such a fun day!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Ice Cream Truck!

We could hardly believe it when we heard the song!

I let them pick whatever they wanted as a "Thanks for being awesome while Daddy was gone" treat.
Sometimes when my kids pick grody treats,
I feel like I have failed them as a parent.
Like, last Halloween when she'd bypass the Reese's for a Tootsie Roll.

How does one choose a watermelon popsicle over a Snickers ice cream bar!? 
This should be a future homeschool lesson. 

{A side story}
Our ice cream truck is owned/driven by a mama and her son.
She said it was her first time out this summer because she went back to school to become a teacher.
She's taking 13 credit hours right now!
We chatted while her little boy gathered the treats for us.
I loved handing money to her.
I'll even head out to ruin their dinners again another day, if we get the chance!

Little People

I have a weird thing for vintage Fisher Price toys.
Maybe because they're so classic and timeless?
Maybe because they are seemingly indestructable?
Maybe because I dislike most toys marketed to my kids?

Anyway, this morning I saw these sets listed on Craigslist
and quickly called the sweet grandma who owned them.
After a little chat, I loaded up the girls and we went to claim the loot.
These sets were all from the late 60's and early-mid 70's.

{2pm. still in pajamas.}

They played with them for pretty much 7 hours straight today.
They'll eventually make their way upstairs, but for now, 
our living room is overflowing with vintage awesomeness.


In my purging of social media,
I've decided what I think I liked the very most about it:

This birthday (7.13) was so...quiet. 
My birthday wish count, 
only because I remember every single one since they were few and far between:
Texts: 6 friends and 5 family members
Phone call: 1...from my sweet husband

{Important to note: My heart is not to shame anyone!!!!
I was simply made very aware at how heavily we rely on Facebook.
I know I did!
I've even considered reactivating my account just to go through and put birthdays in my calendar.}

However, God met me in the quiet.
In the midst of Ben being out of town 
and our bathroom being updated (which was NOT quiet),
I had sweet reminders of God's love for me.

1. My sweet friend, Kelly, had some kid-free time that morning.
She chose to spend her time having coffee with ME!!
It blessed me more than my words can say.
{and she picked these gorgeous flowers for me, too}

2. I could tell Alice was NOT satisfied with my "special day".
She wanted to do more for me, but was pretty limited with her 6-year-old resources.
So, I found some frozen cupcakes, fancied them up a bit, and invited them to my birthday party.
Though their smiles aren't very convincing, this seemed to lighted all of our moods.
{oh! hello there, little eye/big eye. 
it's been awhile since you've shown yourself in all your glory. 
"welcome" back.}

3. Lastly, I scheduled our sweet babysitter to come over and put the girls to bed that night.
I went to a thrift store, then to a few anti-thrift stores, like Anthropologie.
Then, had dinner on an outside patio. 
Where a solo dinner on my birthday would typically make me cry,
it did just the opposite.
I had a lovely white pizza and a glass of wine.
I sat and wrote a few letters,
and read my new Bible (which I LOVE!!!),
{It's also gone way down in price since I purchased it last month!}
and watched the most gorgeous sunset.
I kept feeling like God was whispering to me,
"I see you and I love you!"

I came home refreshed.

And yesterday I had a massage + facial, 
so that's a fancy birthday deal right there, too!!

Ben is back home now and we're going to celebrate together this weekend.


{living it up at the pool}

Zoo night!

 Our zoo had a special "member's only" night while Ben was on a work trip.
(While the cat's away, the mice stay up until 9pm.)

The weather was perfect and we had a BLAST!

At this point, Alice kept saying,
"This is the best night EVER!! There's no way this night could get any better than this!!"

...and then they saw a showy peacock and pet a wallaby.
"It DID get better!! I cannot believe it!!"

{making a "toy" for the chinchillas}

You know what's really pretty?

The inside of a piano.

That's all. :)

That's not all.
The man who tuned our piano said it's dated pre-Depression. 
That means our crazy blue piano is likely nearing 100 years old.

A little shower for Kenna!

This was quite likely our last little k-group babyshower.
Kenna will be the 21st baby born in our original small group in less than 6.5 years.
That's nuts, y'all!

I cannot wait to meet you, sweet Kenna Joy!

Mystery clock

Before I ditched social media,
I was on this local Freebie group.

It was pretty awesome in that people would quickly come take away 
boxes full of stuff I no longer wanted.

And, sometimes I'd pick up treasures like this:

"Anyone want about an 1/8 of a cup of old dog food and this clock I don't know anything about?"


The weights were intriguing to me.

A pretty old clock that chimes!
It's currently at the clock shop to get a pendulum.
Therefore, the free clock will soon no longer be a free clock,
but I still love it!

The Fourth

We had a lazy 4th.
No plans, pretty much just the way we like life these days.

But, I DID serve blueberries and strawberries!
AND lit sparklers!
We also spent the morning at the pool 
and invited ourselves to Ben's parents' house to watch fireworks.

I'm going to write a book called, "The Lazy Mom's Minimalist's Guide to Holidays".

Fear not, it's a short book and I'll give you, my 2 friends who read this blog, 
the Cliff's Notes version.

Chapter 1:
Ditch the Decorations
You know how many times my family moans,
"But Mooooommmmm! Where is the flag banner for the fireplace!?"
0 times.
I might buy flowers that seem fitting...maybe.

(Also, I LOVE going into people's homes and seeing sweet holiday decorations!
It's just not happening here these days.)

Chapter 2:
Marry an Introvert
"You want to do anything today? Good. Me neither."

Chapter 3:
Get it Together
By putting the few holiday things/clothes we have in the same bin,
you can sometimes find a dress for your kid that makes you kind of look like you put forth effort.
However, you did not.
The dress was free...and she wore it last year...and might next year as well.
All of my non-Christmas holiday stuff fits into one box. 

Chapter 4:
Take a Picture. It Really Will Last Longer.
One day my kids will look back and see holidays celebrated in sweet little snapshots.
I highly doubt they'll say, "We only did ONE Easter craft!? My childhood was a joke."

Well, shoot!!
Now I'll never get this book published!
My editor will say, "You need new content! We cannot just publish a blog post!"

Monday, July 4, 2016

Coconut Macaroons!

One of the things we're doing this summer
is teaching Alice how to do some independent cooking.

This was probably the most complex cooking project to date.
She did 95% of it completely by herself.
(I put them in and pulled them out of the oven...and checked for egg shells.)

She even read the recipe by herself!

I should've taken pictures of the finished product!
We all enjoyed gobbling them up!

With her new kitchen independence, she needs reminders to "check first".
I've often come into the kitchen to see Alice and Clementine enjoying
some waffles or cinnamon toast at random times of the day.

Summer School {June edition}

We've been doing some serious learning this summer. :)

City planning and mapmaking:

{we ordered more caterpillars this year. SO fun!}

{she decided she wanted to learn cursive}

{learning exactly where to direct the water so it doesn't spray her back}

Physical Education:
{working HARD to perfect her cartwheel}

Culinary arts:
{made Jack and the Beanstalk soup for us}

Language Arts:

Creative play:
{I don't really remember exactly what they were doing.
"Cleaning the patio", maybe?
All I remember is that they spent over an hour doing it.}

More P.E.:

Arts and Crafts:

{making/growing crystals}

Sensory Play:

{Working collaboratively on a Minecraft world with cousins.
Two of them live in Nepal!}

More physics and P.E.:
{kite flying}

{climbing barefoot on a structure that twists}

{built a dunk tank. GoldiBlox are so fun!}

Science and Pretend Play:
{grew crystals and set up a Gem Museum}

Vacation Bible SCHOOL:
{She loved it!
Mamas of the world who get their kids up and dressed and out the door every morning,
You deserve all the gold stars!
I thought 5 mornings of it was challenging!}

Sunday, July 3, 2016

An Ode to Hoppa

Dear Hoppa,
You were gifted to Clementine when she was born.
Of all the loveys floating around here, she chose you.
She named you "Hoppa" when we was barely 2.
You are a faithful companion!
(Also, you stink and need another trip through the washing machine.)
You aren't allowed in public out of fear you'll be lost...
and my husband and I might never sleep again.
To say you are loved, is a great understatement.
Thank you for your service to our family.
Love, Melissa

Bass Pro

Bass Pro has to be the most bizarre place, really.
Redneck supplies, toys, boats, huge fish tank, clothes, fudge shop, restaurant,
bowling alley, shoes... 
It's strange.

Anyway, the kids love it.

They played in the water like this for a very long time.
I should've brought a book to read. :)

Thanks for the free entertainment, Bass Pro, you weirdo!