Tag Archives: friends

my girls

Two years ago, my friend Valerie called me exploring childcare possibilities for her two young girls. I had just finished up two years of childcare with a wonderful family whose children were going off to school, and I was looking for a new job myself.  What I got in return from that one phone call was so much more.

The school year began and I had five little ducks following me now. :)  We got Trevor off on the bus together, we played play dough, we went on bike rides to the park, we baked cookies, we did our “workbooks”, we “painted the bricks” with water, we went to Bible Study Playtime (BSF) on Tuesdays, and Bible Study Class Time (BSF) on Wednesdays.  We laughed together, cried together, and ultimately fell in love with each other as a special second family.

I love the verse Hebrews 12:1. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” I believe our cloud of witnesses are those that have had some part in our spiritual journey and forever cheer us on like those on the sidelines of a marathon.  Not only those here, but our cloud of witnesses that have gone on to heaven as well- the whole physical and spiritual realm.  For me to have even a small part in these young girls spiritual journey makes my heart full.  I love them and will cheer them on the rest of their beautiful lives as a part of their cloud of witnesses.

Something God is constantly teaching me is that life is designed to move, everything is a season, and life is filled with endings and beginnings.  So while our regular time together came to a close at the end of this school year, I rejoice in knowing that I invested some of myself in Brooke and Ashley, and hope that I in some part contributed to their life long spiritual journey.

They left me with this precious gift of roses on our last day, and each rose had one of “a dozen reasons we will miss you” attached.  As I read each one, my heart filled and I thanked God for my girls. 

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You are always so happy to see us…Helping you pick out your necklaces…We love Lily and that ‘crazy’ Link!…You love Jesus and teach us about Him…Having rest time in your bed…We love your hugs…Bringing you coffee to learn about serving others…You teach us fun new songs…Picking DVDs on ‘our’ day of the week…Bike rides…Pizza and Breadsticks…Going to BSF.  

A second blessing to me the last two years has been my friend Valerie.  While we were friends before, she has become one of my closest friends the past two years.  We have walked through everything from sickness to heartbreak together, and I wouldn’t pick another mom to co-mother with.  She is a woman of strength, courage, and humility, and I admire her greatly.  Thank you Valerie, for entrusting me with your children, and for becoming like a sister to me.  I love you, and your whole family, deeply. :)

The boys and I made this video to commemorate our time with the girls and Elliott said, “This video makes me cry in my head.”  My thoughts exactly, Elliott ;)

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Stacy Leigh Lisi

I know I say this whole song and dance every time, but, Stacy is my mom’s college roommate Cindy’s (lovingly known as Cinne Binne) daughter.  So we have -actually- been friends since the womb.  And she just got married, to a great guy, Andrew Lisi.  So now her name rhymes. :)

Stacy is one of those friends that you can go a whole year without seeing (or even talking to  because of both of your phone phobias), but pick up right where you left off when you see each other again.  Like no time or distance ever separated you.

I have so many fun memories with Stacy it is hard to even count.  When we were 3 & 4 years old we decided it would be a good idea to paint my Grandpa Al’s work van.  It was dark brown so obviously we thought it would be best to use white shoe polish.  And once I even convinced her to get IN the van with me and I pulled the gear shift down and we started rolling down the driveway.

Also that year we made a guest appearance in my dad’s and her mom’s musical show at the retirement home.  We cried and pouted because we wanted the dress up clothes the other one was wearing while singing Ain’t We Sweet, though we were being anything but sweet.

At age 9 & 10 we started going downstate together.  Downstate was one of the coolest Daddy/Daughter activities in the Birkeneder family.  When you turned 10 you got to go with Dad and Grandpa (and any other poor male soul of our relatives that wanted to go once us girls started going) to the Illinois High School Boys’ Basketball Tournaments in Campaign (later Peoria).  Being the eldest in our families, Stacy and I were the first girls to go on this all male weekend.  I think we forever changed “downstate”.  Instead of watching the games, we bought nachos, then ice cream, then hot dogs, then Pepsi, then cotton candy, then threw up all over the taxi.  We would drag Dad & Grandpa Al to the nearby mall to take pictures in the overpriced photo booth while sporting our huge gaudy basketball earrings. We spent all our money from the winning pools (don’t tell our moms or anyone else for that matter that we were underage gamblers) buying stickers from the sticker machine at Pizza Hut (smartly thinking we would sell them for profit when we got home).  And then we fought with each other and cried when one would win a pool and the other wouldn’t. One year we fell madly (seriously, it was obsessive) in love with one of the high school players- Alfredo Jimenez from Maine West.  We even stalked out where he would be after the game to get his autograph while we hysterically sobbed.

When we were 10 & 11 we started spending some of our summers at Camp Timberlee in Wisconsin.  We carefully shopped for matching outfits for every day of the week, including our denim ruffle shorts and side ponytails.  We would always room together and never leave each other sides and make sure everyone in the cabin knew WE were best friends so they wouldn’t infringe upon us.  In the middle of the night we would crawl into our bunks together and worry that we were blind because we couldn’t see anything, and nervously search for a flashlight just to make sure.

When we were in our teens we shared a profound love for all things Hanson and JTT .  We convinced ourselves we were marrying one of them and lovingly agreed upon who got which one (Stacy: Zac and Me: Taylor…Jonathan Taylor Thomas dropped out of the running when Hanson came along).  We decided the best way possible to make this dream a reality would be to form an all girl band ourselves.  So we reigned in our sisters and we became: Purple Daizee.  We co-wrote many one hit wonders and videotaped ourselves singing/dancing to them in the basement so we could send our videos to the Hanson brothers.  Making them fall in love with us, of course.

Stacy and I laugh about all these episodes and more whenever we get together. But there’s a distinct, life altering memory I have with Stacy that I don’t even know if she recalls.

My freshman year in college was rough. We had just moved to Texas and even more life shattering than that to me was that Michael and I broke up.  I started a new life in Texas, a double life.  I was good at playing the part of “good Jenni” when I needed to, but with my new friends I partied.  Hard.  And I got myself stuck in a web of alcohol, drugs, and sex.

At the end of the summer, right before I was going to start my sophomore year, Stacy came to visit.  She was getting ready to start her freshman year at University of Illinois.  While Stacy was there I tried to hide my “bad Jenni” side, though I’m sure she knew.  She met all my friends and was incredibly gracious to them all.  She was relevant, but unchanging and never wavered from who she was in Christ.  She was real.  When I was with Stacy that week, I felt my old self start to emerge…my real self that I had shoved away that year. I remember feeling God awake my soul again.

Stacy’s flight left early one morning before I was awake, but she left me a note on my pillow.  I remember finding it and getting up to read it before it was even light out.  In it she thanked me for spending time with her, told me she was thankful for our friendship, and that she was praying for me and all that God would do through me that year.  I broke down and cried.  I laid on the floor and just cried and cried.

God had been working in my heart that whole year, but He used Stacy in a major way to bring His prodigal daughter back.  She was the vessel that saved me from a life of destruction and despair.  I firmly believe God used Stacy to redirect my life.  She was loyal, faithful, loving, and gracious.  She didn’t judge me or correct me, she just loved me and prayed for me.  I will never forget what she did for me that summer.

And actually, if that hadn’t happened, I wouldn’t have gotten back together with Michael that year, married him that next summer, had 3 beautiful boys years later.  So Stace, you’re the reason my family exists. :)

I have a love/hate relationship with the journey we are all on in life.  I love the mystery of God and the excitement of seeking Him and joy in knowing Him.  Obviously life has some rough places, a lot of mine have been self inflicting, but I’m thankful for a God who redeems.  He is faithful, loving, and gracious and waits for me.  Thank you Stacy Leigh Lisi for being such a beautiful living example of Christ.

Dr. Chuck

I’ve prepped myself for days to write this post, and fresh with tears still I sit here at a loss for words.

Chuck and Linda Musfeldt came into my life over 10 years ago, and soon became affectionately known as “Dr. Chuck and Nana Nu”.  The first time I met Dr. Chuck was when I was a member of the BSF Senior High class in Lombard.  Whenever I would walk by and say, “Hi, Dr. Chuck! How are you?”  he would always reply with a huge, gentle smile, “Like a million, great to be alive!”  I would giggle and keep walking to my class.

Shortly after my family moved to Texas for my dad’s job, the Musfeldts followed when God called Dr. Chuck to BSF headquarters as well.  It is then that God blossomed our friendship into the deep-heartstrings-connected relationship that it is today.  The Musfeldt/Birkeneder union quickly became the Musfledt/Birkeneder/Zielke/Walker/Hobbs union as God blessed our parents with descendant after descendant!  Our lives were and are forever intertwined.

Dr. Chuck lived a “larger than life” life.  He impacted SO many during his life, and will continue to do so in his death.  As proven by the over 104,000 views of the live streaming of his memorial service and over 196,000 views of it since then.  As Michael and I read through his obituary we were in awe of all he did.  He knew life was a blessing and he lived it fully!

I had the privilege of being mentored by Linda during the early years of my marriage and young motherhood.  She is an amazing, wise, God honoring woman that I have so much respect, love, and admiration for.  She lives life with such grace, elegance, and humility.  As is obvious with her response since Chuck’s death.  She is the perfect helpmate to Dr. Chuck.  I will be blessed if I can be half the wife and mother that Nana Nu is.  Linda is one of the most encouraging people in my life, always cheering me on and nudging me to be more like Christ.  I love her with all my heart.

I made this video in memory of Dr. Chuck’s life, and in honor of Nana Nu his helpmate.  It chronicles our time together, and then the time we celebrated his life and rallied together having joy in knowing that because of Christ’s perfect blood sacrifice we know with certain hope that we will spend eternity with Him.

The first song, You Are Good, has a double meaning for me.  God is SO good to me and He alone sustains me, enables me, and gives me life.  But God has used Chuck and Linda’s presence in my life and my family’s life as such blessing! I have no material thing to thank them for ALL they have done for me-spiritually, emotionally, or physically.  They are irreplaceable and I will be forever grateful for them.

 

 

 

What month even is it!? Time flies…

So it’s only month 3, and I’ve already fallen behind on the Simon updates I wanted to do for him. Oh, goodness!

When Simon was two months old (Feb 15th) he experienced his first move!  We boxed everything up and unpacked everything, and are starting to actually feel settled in our new home!  I still have lots of “projects” I want to tackle (Michael rolls his eyes at my daily mentions of spray paint, sandpaper, and refinishing…)  But we are getting settled nonetheless. Simon, you are such a joy!  Your brothers think you are the greatest little ball of fun ever, and I love watching you smile back at them thinking they are just the most hilarious capsules of energy ever!  We like to watch you discover your hands too.  You get so excited about them and kick your legs excitedly.  You sure are packing on the pounds too!  Just like Trevor was, you’re close to the 100th percentile for weight!  Unlike your brothers though, you’re really tall too!  The boys were always in the 60th percentile for height, but you’re in the 80th! We love to “talk” with you and you sweetly coo and gurgle at us while smiling.  You have such a sweet spirit.

You started your first BSF  class this month too!  I walked by your 0-2 year old class on the way to my lecture and all the babies were in a circle in their carseats or in the teachers’ arms (my friend Becky was holding you) and they were telling you the about 4 sentence Bible story that was an abbreviated version of the one your brothers and I were hearing (Isaiah).  Then they started singing the hymns over you!  I cried.  How awesome that seeds of God’s truth are being planted in you so early.  2 Timothy 3:15 rings true! “and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus”!

You turned 3 months old (March 15th) this month!  I cannot believe how fast the time is flying.  We received devastating news that Dr. Chuck died suddenly, and we flew down to Texas right away to be with Nana Nu and family.  It was precious to see your sweet smile bring joy to people though even in the midst of tragedy.  Auntie Laura (Musfeldt/Walker) carried you all around one afternoon because she said you were helping her cope with the loss of her amazing dad, even if it was just for a few hours.  You sure are a blessing.

I tried putting you in your room overnight a few days ago, but around 11 pm, I went and picked you up- sound asleep- and brought you into our room!  My heart is having a REALLY hard time with you growing up!  Last night I decided I was going to try again, and I seriously had to talk to God about it for a good ten minutes, asking Him to enable me to hold you with open hands- for I know it is GOD who sustains you and carries you, not me.  I asked Him to help me to embrace the next stage of life with you and not hold on so tightly to the past.  He is helping me because sure enough, I put you down in your crib at 9 pm with great peace, and did not go back to get you until 7 am!  He’s growing me Simon! :)  Thanks for being His instrument in that!

I captured a few of your smiles (but, Lord help me to figure out my camera settings better so they aren’t so fuzzy!)  Love you little dumpling! (Thanks for the nickname Charlene Hoadley!)

Two Months
Three Months

Loving on our sweet friend Oliver!
No joke, I found Elliott asleep on afternoon like this! He loves Lily!

Inspired by Abbi

I love my dear friend Abbi.  She makes me feel better when we have chats on the phone that consist of our embarrassing and tiring  Mommy moments with our boys, followed with tear filled confessions of how our hearts couldn’t possibly love them more.  I love following her blog: http://ourlaughterandnoise.blogspot.com/ and she often inspires me to seek God and be a better mom.  I love her!

This was a recent post that I read and seriously, each line I thought, “Oh my gosh, me too!!”  I hope you enjoy it as well. :)  xoxox to you Ab!

“As I was working in some Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo into my hair for the third morning in a row I started thinking about life before little ones. Back before every square in of my life, my house and my heart was covered in Cheerios and Lighting McQueen cars and sticky finger prints and spit up….I mean there was a point in my life where I was actually on top of buying MY shampoo before it ran out…and it wasn’t anything special or expensive, it was just mine. Now I am just thankful for the never ending supply of yellowy orange tear free shampoo that seems to be stuffed into every drawer in my house in travel size bottles (as if moms of small children do so much traveling)!! I have no idea where it comes from, but we always seem to have it on hand. Being a mom leaves little room for things that are just mine. I was prepared in part for the transformation that doing this job would be…at least I figured I was, since I had been obsessed with baby dolls since childhood and I ran kid camps in the summer and worked at a day care and babysat all the time and taught 2ndgrade. I figured the trip from being a working wife to full time mom would be sort of like a walk across a small stream….a few rocks on the way but relatively a quick and easy trip to the other side. Some days are like that, flawless and lovely and sweet. And others it feels more like what the pioneers must have felt, already exhausted and run down, when they reached the Mississippi and realized that they had no other choice but to figure out some way to cross this daunting and massive body of water…turns out it ‘aint just some bubbling brook and neither is motherhood!
This got me thinking about being a parent….becoming this whole other version of myself. If I could go back and prepare myself for this journey, even just a little bit, what would I say to ease myself into the transition? Is there anything you can say:)? Here’s what came to mind as I was thinking it over, and since I am not yet through fully transitioning into “life as we know it” I think I may re-read it over and over to remind myself on the hard days and encourage myself on the good, what this is all about for me.
Dear Pre Motherhood Me:
You are about to become a mother. The position you have waited your whole entire life to hold. The one you obsessively imagined as you cradled your beloved American Girl baby Doll. The one you pictured yourself doing as you babysat and nannied your way through high school and college, and then added Ryan into the day dream some years later. The day is finally here when you will hold a sweet pink toed little bundle in your arms and call him your own. You will snuggle and hold and hug and dress him. You will pack him up in that adorable little car seat in the cutest outfit you have ever seen and tote him around to coffee and lunches and get together so he can meet all of your friends and family and neighbors and grocery checker outers. Everyone will tell you how cute he is and marvel at the miracle of his existence and you will just know that your baby must be the most adorable creature on earth. He will sleep soundly to your lullabies and wake with a smile ready for a new day.
….And yes, sweetheart I am here to tell you all of this is true. You think you have felt your heart “melt” at perhaps a really cute puppy or some sappy movie, but when you look down at your baby you will LITERALLY feel this sensation, heart melting like butter on hot toast. Your baby will be the sweetest, cutest, pink bundle of love you have ever laid your eyes on this side of heaven (and this will be true for each additional child). You will actually experience a kind of explosion inside from the adorableness of tiny toes or a sweet smile or the first time you hear MOM being called in your direction. You, a person who formerlywould catch a spider crawling in your house in a cup, and set it free outside, would actually consider murder at the thought of someone harming this sweet soul that now resides in your care. You are sure there is nothing better than a newborn snuggle and then your baby reaches for you and then calls out for you and then hugs you and kisses you and then says “I LOVE YOU” and you resolve that each of these affectionate gems are just all treasure in the chest of motherhood and each is as priceless as the next. Each stage has something to wonder at, admire, stand in awe of and savor. The relationships in your life take on a new dimension…people that love on your kids become heroes, your parents…saints and life savors, your spouse is basking in this same baby love you are and sharing in this quest together deepens your marriage in a way you didn’t think possible and the Lord is just a step closer in your heart as you can’t imagine this angelic creature coming from anywhere but a most loving God.
And while all these feelings are absolutely real and wonderful they are not the only side of the story in motherhood. There is a side that is going to test every single idea on the subject you have ever had. It will stretch you (body and soul) in ways you had no idea you could stretch to. You will wonder where YOU went in between all the kid stuff that has filled every minute of your everyday. It starts from the very beginning. You know from TV and movies and such about the typical woes of pregnancy, so I won’t brief you on those. It’s after the arrival where things start to get REAL. No one ever tells you what happens to your body after you have a baby….and now that I am thinking about it, it might just be that it is one of those “bridges you cross when you get there” kind of things, so I’ll just let you figure it out. But while you are waiting for your belly button to return to normal (much the equivalent of waiting for pigs to fly) you will be entering the everyday, and that is where things get dicey. Somewhere between wiping the spit up out of your hair and feeding that little milk machine you will wonder what has happened to you. Your sweat pants have taken a full time position on your legs and your high heels?? They have a fine layer of dust collecting on them as we speak. You will realize that as silly and strenuous as those observations from your boss seemed, at least there were check points, feed back and encouragement where as this new one rarely comes with even a thank you. You will wonder if you are doing things “right”. You will sit straight up in the middle of the night and literally ask yourself…how many days in a row is too many to feed your babies mac n cheese? And what about vaccinations and organic food and did you paint the nursery with toxic fume paint and are you reading them the recommended number of books each day in order to produce a future college graduate? You will worry like you never have before. Anxiety will actually grip your heart about when to introduce dairy into your baby’s diet. Big fat alligator tears will roll down your face as you realize your kids will experience heartbreak, just like everyone else and there is nothing you can do about them…in fact you will probably cause the first few. Your furniture will have slime and Cheerios and goo in every crack and crevasse. The beautiful tray you got for your wedding will get smashed onto the floor and you won’t have money to replace it because you are trying to pay for “kid rock” classes and match box cars and all that organic food. You will have no idea what the latest tunes on the radio are, but you will sing quite the rendition of Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Don’t Bite Your Friends” most of the day. You will get all dressed just to get puked on.
You will lose your patience, your keys, sleeping in, going out, your privacy,
your sense of normal.
But, never fear. I am here to tell you that a new normal will set in. You will cherish memories of the days with just you & Ry, but then you will wake up some morning and in between you and that husband of yours will be 2(+) extra sets of feet, and all will be right with the world. Because you see, being a parent is the hardest job in the world (your doctor tells you so every time you go in for an appointment!) and you are doing it and for those 2 sweet smiles it is worth it. Dad once said, that anything worth having is worth working for, and that is more than true with parenthood. Sometimes I wish I had enough money to get a nanny to do all the hard parts and then I could just swoop in and read stories and play games and do the fun stuff. But the best and most beautiful things in life always have tough patches and brokenness and distress. That’s how you build relationship and trust, and that’s why the things you really had to work at look so darn beautiful and priceless. Being a parent will force you to grow up and your heart to grow out, and sometimes growing hurts, thats just life. It will force you to love more fiercely than you ever have before. And the most glorious thing about being a parent? That you really get Jesus more than you did before. I know it sounds cheesy but you do. You get why it would be such a sacrifice to send your son to die in a VERY tangible way. You get why he wanted to do it. You see why he loves us and forgives us and wants the things he does for our life. You are a parent now, and he is your parent…and we want the same for our children. Any experience in life that gives you that perspective is worth every ounce of hardship and effort you put in. Amazingly enough, he set up that way. And don’t worry, YOU are still there. You still love all the same things and have all the same talents and love your husband for all the same reasons. Parenthood is just giving you the opportunity to adapt all of those things into a new situation and use your gifts in new ways!
So enjoy each step. Don’t take anything too seriously. Cry when you need to. Love your kids like crazy. And remember to laugh, that will get you through….everything is temporary, like it or not.”
-“Becoming” Me

The Wedding

Christina and Tyler had an absolutely gorgeous wedding and I was honored to be a part of it.  It was at a beautiful country club out in the hill country of Texas.  I loved all the unique things- outdoor seating at fireplaces, not the typical banquet room-but lots of open rooms, the rustic Christmas ambiance, and food stations such as a pasta bar, guacamole bar, and potato bar with my favorite- sweet potatoes in martini glasses complete with all the toppings.  Everything was simply amazing!

I can’t wait to see the professional pictures because I didn’t capture very much.  The pictures of the ceremony on my camera are terrible.  I gave it to Sarah who took great pictures, but I had the settings on my camera all wrong so they’re really poor quality. I’ll be sure to post the professional ones later if Christina gives me permission. :)  Which, P.S., the photographer was our good friend Catherine, who is from Germany AND was 4 weeks away from her due date for her second baby!  She was a pregnant photographer superstar!  I’m pretty sure I complained my whole last month of pregnancy and you would never catch me photographing anything let alone an entire wedding day.  Catherine, you’re my hero. :)

The highlight of the wedding was when Christina and my dad did their choreographed Daddy/Daughter dance.  Did I mention how crazy I am about my family?  They are my favorite people ever. :)  Needless to say, the dance was a hit!  If I can wrangle a copy of the video I’ll post it for sure!

Emily, our neighbor growing up in Elburn (Elliott loved her :) )
The cutest Ring Bearer and Jr. Groomsman ever!

Beautiful Elli!
Limo ride!
Christina and Tyler's moms :)
needing a snack break...
Trevor had two jobs: to escort my mom, then walk back by himself to meet Dakota, and escort the flowergirl and stand up at the front...
both jobs he did SO well! We were very proud, and so was he :)

I love this picture for so many reasons...Dad, Bin, AND Cinne Binne in the background!!

Inked

Last year, our pastor Scott Hodge did a series called “Inked” at our church The Orchard.  The tagline was “life beneath the surface” and the whole series dug into deep life subjects.  Each week a new person would be profiled in a video clip, explaining their tattoo and it’s signifigance to their life.  The idea was that our lives are “tattooed” all over the place with things God has done.  There are signifigant changes and monumental moments that make a mark we won’t forget.  When we look at that moment, we think of all God has done/is doing.  The same went for these people’s tattoos- it was a reminder of a signifigant “God moment” in their life.

Tattoos are a hot topic among Christians, some think they are wrong, and I respect their view…however, I encourage you to read this article which sums up my perspective.   Tattoo and The Bible/ Sacred Ink

This past year God has brought me on such a profound heart journey.  I’m so thankful for the work He continues to do in my heart. I guess my theme for this year would be “letting go of my plan, and embracing God’s best”.  One way I’ve done this is by embracing my role as a wife and mother of three sons.  I know this is a huge responsibility, and I take it very seriously.

My friend Miranda, my Aunt Debbie, and my sister Elli, and I decided we all wanted to go together to get our tattoos.  The whole experience fills my heart with SO much joy.

#1  I was engraving my signifigant God moment on my body, to represent what God had already engraved on my heart.

#2  I spent time with (and loved) a group of people at the tattoo parlor that I’m sure the “religious” people would have avoided

#3 the artists were the nicest people ever, and loved Simon.  They said, sure bring him in!  We all have kids!

#4 even at 3 weeks old, Simon witnessed me embracing diversity and loving as Jesus does.

See how I'm gripping my finger so tight...it hurt just a bit :)
Simon was totally alert the whole time. My Aunt Debbie said, "He's found his calling!" haha!
Michael Trevor Elliott Simon, "MTES" engraved on my heart, soul, mind, AND body


Countdown to wedding

We did lots of fun things while in Texas- but really, when do we not have fun when with my family?  Nothing less than stories galore, laughter every minute, and sisterly bonding.  I love imagining what my boys will be like when they get together as adults.  If they are anything like my sisters and me, they will have very full hearts!

While we were there Trevor reached a milestone- he lost teeth!  Not one, but two teeth!  Normally I am grossed out by wiggly teeth, but his were pretty much bloodless.  They just kind of fell right out.  No pain involved!  That’s my kind of way to lose teeth. :)  The tooth fairy was a little confused, maybe he has a rookie tooth fairy assigned to him?  Or it could be the fact that we were on vacation and Trevor “bed-hopped” which resulted in multiple tooth fairy deposits.  :)

As usual, we spent lots of meals at Taco Cabana.  (Remember the homework ABC book?  “T”: Taco Cabana…oh, and “M”: Missing tooth)

Trevor was super excited that the hotel gave him his very own key card.  (He called it his credit card…)  “H”: Hotel key

Whenever we visit TX, Michael has a “food list” of places we HAVE to visit for at least one meal.  One place is Rudy’s BBQ. (ABC alert, “R”: “Rudy’s)  Yumm-O! :)

I just had to post this one...I knew my sister Elli would love it :)

Obviously, Simon was a HUGE hit this trip!  He was one popular little fellow.  Can you blame him though?  He’s just so darn cute!

Simon's Great Aunt Kathy
Simon's Great Uncle Tom
Simon and Laura
Simon and Sarah
Landon holding Simon and saying "Oh! I almost pulled his head off!" :)

I just happened to be a part of the most GORGEOUS wedding party ever- oh yes, then there is me- the pale faced, mom of 3, 2 weeks postpartum chubby one. But let me tell you, for being moms, Sarah and I still hung with those girls at the Bachelorette party! So what if we had to come home 3 hours before the rest of them to feed a newborn, we still participated in the festivities. And that impressed me. :) This is the morning after the Bachelorette party. See what I mean? It’s the makeup free morning after and each one of these girls are drop dead gorgeous. I’m honored I got to tag along. :)

pedicure bride :)
only Simon would be the two week old getting held at the nail salon...actually it would be hard to get him away from Bailey if I tried!

More to come… :)

The Elkins

Josh and Jessica are some of our best friends. We were with them probably every day when we lived in Texas.

They also happen to be the couple we chose to be Elliott’s Godparents (spiritual prayer warriors/mentors for his life).

with Jessica May 2008
with Josh May 2008

We spent the afternoon with them and remembered why we love them SO much!  They are the greatest- and their family has grown by 2, we love you Shelby and Hayden! :)

This picture is terrible, but I had to post it! It's symbolic really, since Chick-fil-A is so central to our relationship.