ABC Trey!



Some time last semester (probably October) we were all sitting around having lunch and talking about report cards. Hayden was telling Haley that if she got all A’s and all E’s on her December report card that she could invite two friends over to either have a craft party or a sleepover…she could decide. Telling Haley she has a choice of two great things sends her into an emotional tug-of-war…what to choose??? She weighs out each choice carefully, to say the least. Well, for Haley to make all A’s and E’s on a report card is not a difficult task. This girl was born for school. She basically shows up and enjoys her day while making 100%’s on just about every assignment.

As Trey was listening to the promise of a reward for good grades, he asked, “what do I get?” So, Hayden made a deal with him. If Trey could learn all his letters- uppercase and lowercase- then he could pick a reward too. For Trey, the decision was much easier and never waived. He wanted a Pump It Up party…with cake! Trey didn’t make the December deadline but had come so far in just a short time that we extended his deadline. He worked so hard and would ask to do flashcards or games to practice…a lot of times, not all the time! President’s Day was coming up and I knew Pump It Up was having open play time so we really started working hard. I did not think he was going to make it- we had flashcards up on the walls, played games, downloaded ABC…the works! Then, on Sunday night I gave him a final shot. HE DID IT!! I told him he could have his party TOMORROW if he got them all. Talk about motivation! He did it twice for me, messed up once for Hayden, but then did it all again Monday morning perfectly. I was SO proud of him!

So, I hurriedly ordered the cake and called a couple friends to join us for Trey’s celebration. He kept saying, it’s my birthday! In my mind this was even better because he’d worked so hard to earn his fun day. It was VERY crowded but a fun time. It was hard for them to focus knowing there was cake in the car so we cut out a little early to feast!

Trey’s best study buddy!


My Mom came, Haley was able to be there because school was out, and Hayden took off work early to be there too. I was so touched. I am just the luckiest girl to have such a wonderful husband that is a super dad. He wouldn’t have missed Trey’s big party for the world and I don’t want anyone (especially him) to think I take him always being there for granted. That is the kind of dad I dreamed of for my kids…and I am blessed to have my wishes come true!


This is Hayden in action dancing around and crashing into the blow-ups…making Avery laugh in hysterics!

Christmas Sta-cation! (Part 3…last one!)

We did a lot of fun family activities to celebrate the Advent Season- making a concerted effort to keep family time and JESUS at the center of our focus. One of our family memories from this year that I am sure will turn into a tradition is the Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt. Hayden pretended to put the kids to bed- got everyone dressed in jammies and started to tuck them in. I had secretly place “golden tickets” on their pillows with instructions written on the back to board the Mommy Mobile for a fun ride! I had loaded the car with sparkly garland, hot cocoa and cookies. We set out with a check list in hand to find different things in peoples yards- snoopy, an airplane, 3 angels in one yard, a display with music, Santa on a roof, etc. The only one we couldn’t find was the Grinch. It was quite devastating not to see him but we vowed to keep looking on other days as we drove around. We decided we’d seen so many other decorations that we could skip one! The kids talked about it for days afterwards. (another nod to Pinterest!)

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Wednesday was Christmas Eve and we got ready for our traditional visit to Chuck E. Cheese. Poor Hayden was not feeling well. He took a few buddies hunting but came home feeling worse. After a quick nap for him, we were off. We had a blast tearing up CEC for a while. The highlights:
– the best picture I’ve been able to get with all three kids was of course, the one with Chuck!
-Haley put two tokens into a machine that didn’t work and got upset that she lost two tokens…Trey instantly reached into his cup and gave her four. He is our most generous and peace-making kid. He makes me swell with pride.
-Hayden was an absolute trooper doing a great job to mask how sick he was…as soon as we got home he threw up in the yard- couldn’t even make it inside. I love him.

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I usually have grand ideas of all that I’d like to accomplish for certain things. Many things I have to let go of as reality hits and one thing I almost didn’t get to do, I made time for on Christmas Eve. I really wanted to make Trey some Penguin PJ pants…and a matching set for his favorite bear, Beary. (again, literal children) But, since Hayden was sick in bed and the kids took naps, I snapped into action. I got both sets done and it was worth it! Trey LOVED his pants that were made especially for him and was surprised to see Beary looked just like him!

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So, the rest of Christmas Eve was pretty calm…naps, easy dinner, play time, Hayden in bed…until SANTA CALLED!! Haley got to talk to him first, then Trey, then Avery. As soon as Haley had passed the phone to Trey, she said, “I’m going right upstairs to brush teeth and get in bed!” It was 6:30pm. I didn’t want to slow her down! Trey and Avery got to talk and Avery did not want to get off the phone. She kept saying, “Um, Santa?” Hayden’s Dad makes it a point to call each year and the kids go crazy about it. Luckily, we had already read the Christmas story, opened our Christmas pajama gifts, and made the cookies for Santa! The kids wrote letters and their own cookie placement on the table for Santa. Haley thought he’d like hot cocoa better than milk, so that’s what he got. (I couldn’t help but laugh thinking of the scene from Fred Claus, how Santa must eat ALL of the cookies laid out so as not to hurt the kids feelings. The kids had 10 cookies laid out- 5 for Santa, 5 for Mrs. Claus…and a couple extra tiny ones for Elfy.)

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Speaking of Elfy, this was the worst part of Christmas Eve. The night before Elfy had posted 25 pictures of himself around the house so the kids would have something to remember him by. He also left a Christmas Eve present- a disco ball so we can have fun all year! Luckily he left me a special note explaining that on his last night, each kid has a chance to hug him and say good-bye. It was torture at our house watching the kids. Haley was in tears, Trey was sad but excited to play with him in his hands for a bit, and Avery couldn’t believe no one was yelling at her for holding him! She couldn’t stop hugging and kissing him. (All month the kids did an excellent job of keeping her from touching him!)


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Christmas morning came early and we were all up at five. Santa had come!! The kids loved opening their presents and were pleased with all that they got. We pared down some this year and I was hoping they wouldn’t notice too much and they did not. I plan to do even less next year! Hayden gets the kids his own gifts each year and he did amazing this year…as usual.

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Favorite gifts:
Haley– the pink bow and arrow set from Hayden.
Trey– a Fur Real dog, he named him Buster, and a hot wheels race track
Avery– a case of baby wipes and three boxes of band-aids; also from Hayden. You have never seen so many baby wipes thrown around a room! She was in heaven. She constantly asks for baby wipes, we usually have to limit her.

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Even though it was cold, Hayden lit us a fire down by the lake after dinner and we bundled up to go sing Christmas Carols. Next year we might have to invite the neighbors- it was so much fun…hopefully another tradition in the making. We sang everything from Silent Night to “…Batman smells.” (one of Avery’s favorite.) Hayden and I still have our favorite from a Christmas Program that Haley sang when she was three- “How on Earth can God’s Baby Sleep?” That one was sang a couple times!

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In typing this and in planning the month’s activities, it seemed like we were doing a lot with the advent calendar, Elfy, etc. BUT, I heard of a truly great idea to start as a Christmas tradition. The Sparkle Box. It’s a box with a lid, paper and pen inside. Anytime someone catches any of us doing something for Jesus or that would make Jesus happy, we write it on a paper and put it in the Sparkle Box. Christmas morning breakfast took a little longer than planned so we read the papers at the breakfast table.

For the next several days we pretty much stayed home and PLAYED! Hayden and I found a new TV series to watch, we have cleaned up the aftermath of opening gifts, and played with everything the kids have gotten and then some. It has been awesome. Everyone has been happy and laughing and we wouldn’t do Christmas any other way. (Haley is the only one who escaped the stomach bug though.)

As the end of the year approaches…and is now upon us…I’m getting all sentimental about not having captured enough about the year and hoping I will remember how the kids are right now. Time is going so fast and I want to remember it all. Bad news- I have a terrible memory! So, I write detailed journal entries whenever I can. Hopefully, this wasn’t all too much info for you, but it’s really for me. 🙂

We are now at Millington. Hayden took Trey duck hunting this evening and is taking Haley in the morning. I’m a sucker for dressing for a theme- so we are all wearing our SIMONS t-shirts that Hayden’s Dad had made up for all of us. We love them!!

As for Elfy, we miss him a lot but we was so kind to send us a picture book recording his adventures with us this Holiday Season. It was a surprise that came in the mail and answered Haley’s question about whether or not he’d be back next year…YES! We will miss him til then.

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Christmas (Part 2)

The kids got some Christmas money this year and I wanted them to buy each other gifts. So, they got their money and we all went to the Dollar Store. Hayden took Trey and I took Haley. Avery kindof just ran crazy around the store. They each got a basket and had to get each other gifts. It was so cute listening to them on the way there talking about things they might like- nothing specific. “something cute and fuzzy, maybe with sparkles.” They were FIRED UP after picking their own gifts, paying with their own money, and checking out on their own. They couldn’t help ask each other and us questions. “Dad, do you like to drink coffee? Maybe on the way to work?” “Mom, do you like zebra print? Do you like to sew?” “Trey, do you like things that glow or light up?” I loved what the kids got me. Trey got me a paint brush, which I actually really need. Haley got me a pin cushion…it is a zebra print high heel shoe ring holder, turned pin cushion. Best gift! (or maybe the best gift was watching them so excited to GIVE their gifts to one another, not just GET on Christmas morning.)

Monday at the house was COOKIE DAY!!! One of my favorite days of the year. Julie came over about nine and we all got started- first things first, aprons on! Last year I made us all aprons and I’m so glad I did because they add the perfect touch to the

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day. We even got the twins aprons, but sadly their plans changed and they weren’t able to make it in time for Cookie Day…but we dressed them in the aprons for their first taste of cruschiki. We all pitched in and made three batches- will probably do four next year. They were good and everyone was able to help out which made it really special. My Grandma Bretzler would have loved it!! I love that she passed down this polish recipe because it keeps her memory vividly alive.

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(Pants optional!)

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Tuesday we celebrated Christmas all together at my parents. We had dinner and opened presents. I think it may have been the first time we had all been under one roof. It was a really special time and I loved laughing with everyone. Having the twins and Reed there- our newest members of the family- made it feel more complete…and that includes Demarkis! Haley made a game for us to play- pin the presents under the tree. She got two books and had one almost finished by the time we left. Trey was awesome at helping to sort and hand out gifts. He was such a gentleman and little trooper.

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(Growing up we always had to pose for this picture…20 years later…and it still embarrasses KJ evcry year! Me and Julie just look at each other and know what picture to take next!)

Nashville Girls Trip

December 2013

Last year my best friend, Laura, mentioned taking the girls (our three oldest daughters) to see the Rockettes In Nashville.  Laura had just had a baby so the timing wasn’t right last year but this year we made it a priority!  After Haley’s Christmas party at school we hit the road!  We decided to go up a day early and stay with some family.  Justin and Erin LeGrand live in Nashville and we asked if we could come for a visit.  We loved getting to catch up with them and see their newly renovated house.  My only regret from this trip is not getting a picture taken with Justin and Erin!  A Platten family Christmas tradition is to eat lunch with the LeGrands in St. Louis the day after Christmas…and to take a group picture.  I know we won’t be at that lunch, so we should have taken a picture of our own get-together!

IMG_2355We treated ourselves to milkshakes at Steak n’ Shake to kick off the weekend right!

Friday we had most of the day to play until Laura and her girls got to Nashville.  We started the day off getting our nails painted, then drove to Opry Mills to eat at Rain Forest Café.  That place was awesome- perfect for a mom-daughter date.  We shopped, played Legos in the Lego store, took silly pictures, and wore ourselves out!!  We decided to go rest for a bit at the hotel until the Holmes’ arrived.









There was an overbooking of our room so they upgraded us to two adjoining rooms!  We didn’t mind a bit…the Moms got a room to share and the girls got their own room!  After checking in, eating some chocolate (compliments of the hotel because of our “inconvenience”), we jumped on the bed and then rested while watching a movie.  We met Laura, Caitlyn, and Emily at the Aquarium restaurant for dinner before going to see the movie, Frozen.  The restaurant was awesome, we learned a lot about fish, and were just excited to be together.  The girls didn’t stop gabbing or giggling…and neither did their moms!



After the movie- which was AWESOME!!! – we pretended to either be frozen or ice skating all the way to our room.  The girls got new matching pajamas…with snowflakes all over…and laid in bed talking the rest of the night.  Caitlyn made a book for Haley as a Christmas gift- such a treasure!  As Laura and I laid in bed talking and listening to the girls in the other room we agreed this was our college dream come true- that our girls would love each other like family and genuinely enjoy being together.



I took this picture of Haley, age 6, at the Grand Ole Opry.  She has aspirations to “own the stage” during the Singing Christmas Tree at church.  She even prays for this often.  One thing I know about God- He often answers our prayers in ways we could not even dream or imagine.  So, just in case her future includes an amazing singing career, I thought I’d do all the talk shows a favor and take this picture of her where one day she may just own this stage!



I had so much fun being care free and focused on Haley.  She doesn’t get that undivided attention much and it helped me realize that we need more time together like that and what a fun kid she is!  She is growing up.  I hope weekends like this will keeps us especially close and keep those communication lines OPEN!


Christmas Stay-cation! (Part 1)

It all started with the arrival of Elfy and putting up our Christmas decorations. This is only our second Christmas in this house so it’s still fun figuring out where the decorations go…and picking up a new item or two to add to the stuff we pull out every year.

Elfy is our Christmas Elf. I had been hesitant to bring an elf into the fold because we try not to initiate Santa discussions for the most part and do what we can to keep the focus on Jesus and the real reason for the season. However, we opted to get an elf and do our own version. I found a really cute and posable Elf at Kirklands for like $5 and decided to go for it. Elfy (named by my incredibly literal children) came with a note explaining that his job was to make sure we had as much family fun as possible this season, as we prepared for the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. He was watching out for us to be extra kind, generous, and loving…while having fun with all the traditional Christmas excitement- marshmallow snowmen, hot cocoa, reading books by the fire, buying and wrapping gifts for others, having Christmas music dance parties, etc. Having Elfy at the house was priceless! Every morning was like a taste of Christmas magic as the kids would race each other to get up and find him each morning…and then rush in to tell me…at 5 am! I couldn’t help but smile, but had to force myself to get up and go look.

We visited Hayden’s parents mid-December and had a great visit. Before heading to Jackson, we stayed in town to see the dress rehearsal of the Singing Christmas Tree. It was amazing. Haley had the opportunity to see part of the try-outs and even got to sing for the director. He told her that one day, “You’ll own the stage.” She has clung to that and reminds us often. Seeing the show lit her up and I can’t wait till she plays the lead one day! She talks regularly about trying out when she is in third grade…and how it’s only 2 years away. I tell her, “then it’s only two more years til you see me sitting in the front row crying tears of pride and joy!”

A fun game we played on the way to Jackson was the “thankful game”. I got a similar idea from a Family Fun magazine a while back. I pretended to throw each kid a present. They had to open it and I’d announce what it was- some good, some not so good. “It’s a stinky sock!” The kids had to say “Thank you” and make a comment about how they could use it or why they were glad they had gotten it. It was a ton of fun and great practice for getting gifts they may or may not love. We had a talk about how it’s important to be grateful and show appreciation for the time someone took to pick out a special present for us.

We had so much fun openning gifts right after our arrival. Mammaw is kind not to make the kids wait! (Although I don’t know who was more excited- the kids to get their gifts or Mammaw to watch them open their treats!) Haley’s favorite gift was a sewing machine and Trey loved his lego sets! Avery loves it all and just likes to be in the middle of everything. After opening presents and playing with all the fun gifts Friday night, we went with Seth, Caleb, Laura and Ryan to the Children’s Museum on Saturday. It was really fun and the kids loved exploring it all. The highlight was Haley winning the dance competition! She was moving and grooving to the music and won a backpack full of goodies as her prize. She was also treated to a shoe shopping spree by Mammaw and Pappaw after lunch so she was feeling quite special. That night we went to Laura and Ryan’s for pizza and a movie- ELF! Can it be Christmas without that movie? Not at our house! We all laughed and the boys took to opportunity to have extra play time. Another activity that kept the kids and Pappaw Gary busy was trying to catch a bird. Their hard work and determination paid off…as you can see!

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The actual week of Christmas was crazy but awesome. My parents came to pick up the kids Sunday night to go get the kids Christmas presents at Build-A-Bear. I had invisioned this big night out and the kids going crazy wanting everything there. They came home- a snowman, a bunny, and a kitty. The snowman was the only one with clothes. My dad laughed and said he offered Avery every outfit that place had but said she didn’t want any of them. They did have a fun time and enjoyed being out with Grandma and Grampy. What did Hayden and I do with our few hours of freedom? Go to the mechanic and grocery store, of course! So romantic, I know. However, we didn’t stop laughing the whole time and took advantage of the Starbucks at Kroger. Our Kroger got fancy this year. The laughter of that night set the tone for the rest of vacation.

Monday morning was a hunting day for Hayden. He’s been going with a few different guys this duck season and they have had so much fun and have even seen some ducks this year! Last year was a very dry year- hardly any ducks flying. This year they have only come home empty handed once. Hayden’s gotten to enjoy more time with a couple guys from church and our teenage neighbor, Dylan.

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Snow Day! (Ice Day)

December 2013
I was so excited and relieved to hear that school was cancelled for today- Friday. This is our second year to use an Advent Calendar I made. It’s a countdown with a fun family activity to do for each day of December. I was smart to make it quick and easy, but hopefully memorable things to make the Christmas season more fun. However, this has been a VERY busy week and we haven’t had time to do all of it. So, we used today to catch up, take it easy in our PJ’s and HAVE FUN! It has been the best day we’ve had in a while.

Haley has been asking for a week to make Elfy a Christmas stocking. She loves to sew and it’s something we do together when we get an idea for a project so I really wanted to wait when we had time for her to do most of it. She drew the pattern, pinned the pieces together, and manned the sewing machine…then sewed on the bells! She is a quick study! It looks adorable and she is super proud.
While she finished that, I started white washing our chimney (inside the house). I picked to start on the upstairs chimney portion because it was

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a manageable size and less noticeable to visitors…in case the project didn’t go as well as I hoped. I am really impressed and feel like I’ve learned enough about my process to start the downstairs tomorrow. I can’t wait!
On a normal day, if I get all three kids bathed before noon, I feel like a rock star. Today, everyone took a bubble bath! So even if the list of what we got done ended here, I’d be amazed.
I cut some

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green Christmas trees out of felt yesterday for the kids to decorate with felt ornaments. All three kids LOVED drawing, cutting, and placing their ornaments on the trees. (One of our Advent activities from our calendar.)




After lunch it was nap time. The kids laid down late and took a really good nap. They didn’t get up till about 5. I worked on the chimney, Hayden made bread and got his gear ready for hunting in the morning, I took a nap, read my Bible, and then we watched TV together…with a fire roaring.

As the kids came to life, we started watching The Sound of Music. They were loving it and SO many memories came flooding back. Hearing “These are a few of my favorite things” made me think of my Mom and all the awesome things she did for us growing up, like I try to do for mine. And it made me think of how we always know we are her favorite things.
The funniest thing happened as I announced it was time for dinner. Haley looked at me and said, “WHAT? Dinner? What time is it?” She didn’t know she had slept and then thought it was morning. I was dying laughing. Then Hayden, who overheard us from the kitchen came in and said, “What do you guys want for breakfast? You go upstairs and get ready for church and I’ll get it ready.” She was flipping out. It was hilarious! So, what did we do? Made breakfast for dinner, of course!

After dinner we did another Advent activity. We all stood outside and I told the kids to tell me when they felt cold. (It is 30 degrees here tonight.) After about 2-3 minutes, the kids told me they were cold and I announced we were going to have a sleep over OUTSIDE! They all looked at me with disbelief. I told them I’d get them a couple blankets and a coat. We stayed outside a few more minutes then decided the best solution would be to sleep inside where it was warm…and talked about how blessed we are to have a warm place to sleep. We ran to the fire and each kid prayed for those who don’t have a warm place to sleep tonight. We took the kids to the Manna House in Memphis earlier this week and they got to help serve dinner to the homeless/less fortunate (another Advent activity).
Next on the agenda…making Christmas popcorn! I found the recipe on Pinterest and knew we had to do it. It’s popcorn mixed with melted white chocolate chips and sprinkled with green and red sprinkles!! We will finish The Sound of Music…or another Christmas kid movie while we eat it!



I think we have taken FULL advantage of this day! And had SO much fun. Days like today remind me of all the joys of being a MOM. (Oh, and Trey learned to spell/read Mom…and tried to write it on a paper for me. Oh, be still my heart.)


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Haley’s teacher taught her all about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, so Haley ran to my room early in the morning asking if they could watch it.  I set them up with a fun Thanksgiving breakfast in front of the TV so they could watch it.

IMG_2081Hayden thinks duck sounds better for his Thanksgiving breakfast!  He went hunting…so he earned it!

IMG_2082The kids were busy making place mats for our Thanksgiving dinner.  They got bored with the parade pretty quick- too much talking, not enough floats!

We spent this Thanksgiving in Memphis.  My Grandma Dee was in town and the only ones we were missing were the Caswells.  This was Julie and Reed’s first Thanksgiving as a family and it was wonderful being all together.  (Although, John, Margie, Megan and Tom Platten are always the missing piece to a Memphis Thanksgiving to me!)  Dressed in Maroon and White we had a great dinner and many laughs sitting around the table.  Haley and Trey got to break the wishbone.  Neither of them had done it before and my Dad loved teaching them about it.





My favorite thing about the night was listening to Grandma Dee and Avery laugh together.  The sweetest sound.  Whether they were playing hide and seek or just giggling on the couch, the two were inseparable!

Another great part of the night- WINNING THE EGG BOWL!!  I was in line at a store chatting with an Ole Miss fan when the final overtime score came in.  VERY exciting.  Although, I wished I’d just gone home to watch it with Hayden.

Because of the “new” shopping hours for Black Friday/Thursday, the traditional sister shopping experience wasn’t what it used to be but I took Haley out to hit a couple stores on Black Friday afternoon then stopped for Mexican.  It was so much fun having lunch, just the girls!IMG_2101


Little Athletes

We have had a busy fall.  Trey played soccer, and Haley is cheering.

Trey mentioned he wanted to play soccer so we signed him up to play this season.  He liked, but didn’t LOVE Tjust making faces at us as he ran up and down the field.  When it wan’t his turn to play, he’d find other ways to keep himself busy with kids on the sidelines, but it didn’t have to do with sports.  We had a great coach, and it was a great learning experience for us all.  I think we are going to give ourselves a little break from the games/practices and wait till Trey is a little more interested.  Can’t expect too much from a 4 year old.  🙂  Although, with a dad that is a photographer, he made Trey look like a pro in these pictures.




Haley wanted to play soccer, but we missed sign-ups.  So, she tried cheerleading.  Our church started using the Upward program this year.  The girls cheer for other girls playing basketball one game each week.  There is practice once a week as well.  It has been really fun and Haley is enjoying it.  Don’t laugh, but they asked me to help out with the teams, so I’m the assistant coach.  If you know my “cheerleading” background, you are definitely laughing right now.  I am not very coordinated and I’m sure it’s hilarious to watch.  Hayden has been very kind not to point that out!  It is really fun doing this with Haley though.  As a bonus, Avery is getting great exposure to cheerleading.  She marches around the house doing the cheers ALL the time!  We need to do a video of our family doing them because we are all getting the cheers down pretty well by now.  I’m amazed at how easily the girls have learned several cheers and a dance routine!  Oh, it is SO cute!!




Avery’s a trooper going to all the practices and supporting her Big Brother and Sister!  She can spell “HUSTLE” and we do that cheer a lot when we are in a hurry.


One of the cheers the kids chant the most often is the one my Dad made up on the fly to try and impress the kids with his cheering know-how: “Rock ’em.  Sock ’em.  Kick ’em in the pants!  Don’t forget to step on the ants!”  Maybe my cheering skills are inherited.  LOL.

Halloween Night!

We did a terrible job decorating for Halloween. Usually we do the spooky spider webs on the front porch- in addition to the ones already there!- pumpkin garland on the fireplace, crafts hanging around that we’d made from Pinterest. But not this year! We went simple- carving pumpkins and having them lit on the front porch.

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In true Haley fashion, she made a very elaborate face- five eyes with fire, a nose, a mustache, and a mouth with fangs. Trey went with a really spooky face to “freak everyone out” and we made a silly face for Avery. It was a really fun family night and the kids could not have been more excited or proud to put the candle in them and let ’em shine!

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As for costumes, we went LOW budget. I sold a ton of costumes that we didn’t wear or fit and told the kids to pick one out of the closet to wear for Halloween. Trey picked SpiderMan…and so did Avery. We have both sizes so it worked out perfectly! (both bought at a garage sale for under $2 two years ago!) Haley, in true Haley fashion, went a more creative route. After thinking and being VERY concerned for weeks ahead of time, she decided on being a Book. Yes, a Book. She had a grand design plan and we set out to make it together. I laughed because she was overly tired one night and overly concerned about what she’d dress up like for Trick-or-Treating. She was crying and I just had to laugh because she was so upset about something that wasn’t going to happen for 2.5 weeks! I’m more of a “wait-til-the-day-before” kind of worrier. 🙂

The book design was all hers and was better than what I was thinking in my head. She drew the letters for the Title (I didn’t even know she could do bubble letters), cut them out , and taped them on herself. She was determined for her book to have pages and came up with that part as well. My job- collect the cardboard and poster board. We have done a few projects together lately and it has been the most fun. We love that we are both creative artists and come up with really fun ideas together. (Just wait till you see her Polar biome for school!!)

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Our prayers were answered (great teachable moment) because the torential downpours stopped an hour or two before it was time to go out to collect some candy! We visited our close neighbors- our favorite stop was Mr. Will. The kids love him and he gets visits from the kids pretty often…he is our adopted Grandpa! He’s got a jar of peanuts and the kids get to go over to eat peanuts with him! So sweet. I call them the Peanut Pals. Well, he came to the door in a skeleton mask and surprised the kids. We rolled with laughter…and fright! Avery kept saying, “You a pirate, Mr. Will?” She thinks the skeletons are pirates because of the skull and cross bones flag on a pirate ship. 🙂

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Next, we met up with our friends (who also had a mini-Spiderman…plus, Captain America and a Ninja Turtle. We were feeling VERY safe that night surrounded by crime fighters. We went to a trunk-or-treat. THIS is the way to do it! (at least for our kids’ age group.) The kids had fun and we didn’t have

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to hustle Avery up and down driveways trying to keep up with the faster kids. Haley’s costume was an absolute hit! Everyone was remarking at how creative it was. I laughed becasuse I loved seeing people’s faces when she told them what she was- A book. They got the, “DUH!” look. My sweet literal child, I just love her!!!! I told my friend, the Mom of the other Super heros we were with- we get the award for bringing the biggest group of heros…and the cutest! She agreed, so I’d say it was unanimous. 🙂

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Now we have candy galore and the kids are thinking of ways to earn it. We have our not-so-hidden, and increasingly shrinking stash of chocolate hidden in the freezer!

Backyard Camp Out

Fall 2013

Hayden has been wanting to have a backyard campout for a long time! But until now the kids have been too young. I’m not exactly sure how it came about, but the decision was made NOW is the time! So, we gave the kids some money and allowed them to pick out and buy their own back packs. Haley had it in her head that she wanted a pink one with flowers on it…no characters. Amazingly, a pink sleeping bag with flowers on it was found!! Walmart had one. Trey jumped at the SpiderMan sleeping bag and the kids were ecstatic about picking it out and buying it themselves…not to mention that there was enough money left over to buy Astronaut Ice

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Cream too! Could it get better? The kids slept in their sleeping bags on the floor of their rooms that night. It was so fun.


hotdogs over the fire, pretzels, and roasted marshmallows…dinner of champions. We even had some neighbors stop by to roast a hotdog. The kids had a blast playing outside and running around. Haley was intent on setting up house in the tent. She brought pillows, games, books, and more. Trey was in and out of the tent all night…in between casting his pole in the water. (Um yeah, we are completely spoiled and LOVE our house!!!!) Avery was right in the middle of everything, as always. She ate more marshmallows than anyone.





After telling stories by the fire, I went inside…so Avery wouldn’t be in the house alone (and so I didn’t have to sleep outside! I thought to myself, the kids might actually do it. I had no faith that they’d actually sleep outside. But, they were SO tired and as I went inside I thought they’d just pass out after a fun-filled day and actually fall asleep. Twenty minutes later, everyone was tucked snuggly in their beds. Good trial run!IMG_0197

I’m glad to have a husband that will go through all that for a fun-filled family night. Who knows, maybe we’ll turn into a camping family. Good to start in our backyard. 🙂