When my little man sets his heart on something, you better watch out.  Because he will hold on tight with his 5 year old death grip on life!

IMG_5149 His preschool had an art festival last week.  It was the single best fundraising event I have ever attended.  Parents paid a $10 admission per child and the kids got to engage in numerous, fun, messy, outside art projects.  It was a glorious way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.  

During the art fest their was to be an auction for some items the children’s classes had made previous weeks in art class.

My son came home about a month ago all excited about a shelf his class had painted that he wanted to save up and buy to store his Spiderman stuff.  I told him he’d have to save his money and we could try, but that he might not win. 

A few weeks went by and he was at Pizza Hut with his Daddy looking at the little vending machines where you put a quarter in and out pops a 5 cent chocking hazard  trinket.  He asked his Dad how much it cost and he told him.  Not long after he found a quarter on the floor.  My husband pointed out that he now had enough money for the prize he had wanted.  My son said he wanted to save his quarter for the shelf he wanted to buy at the auction later that month. 

Scott was so impressed with his resolve to save his money that he gave him another quarter as a reward.

Yup, in 5 minutes he double his investment!  Pretty good return, wouldn’t ya say?

Well the weeks went on and he found a penny here, a quarter there…I was pretty certain they weren’t going to add up to enough for the prized Spiderman shelf. 

My son remembered he had his Christmas money from Great Grandpa which he hadn’t spend yet.  Then he received a check in the mail for his birthday from his Great Nana (Gana). 

His stock pile was growing.  Scott and I knew it wouldn’t be enough for the shelf (which we still had no idea what it looked like) but since he doesn’t have an allowance yet and thus no real way to earn an income,and we were impressed with his consistent resolve to save his money, we decided we would chip in some of our own money. 

When we entered the art fest he flew straight past the tie dye shirts, the mosaic stones and the splatter paint.  He couldn’t wait to show me the shelf he wanted to bid on.  The art teacher saw me and said, “He’s been telling me every.single.day that he wants to buy that shelf.”  I know I said, “He’s been telling me too!” 

After looking at the shelf, I became very nervous that we would be able to get it for the price we were willing to pay.  It was by far the highest price item at the auction.    We went around and participated in the various fun art projects until the time for the auction drew near.  As they were calling people over for the auction, my son made a beeline for his shelf.

He then began to panic when I too wasn’t standing directly in front of it.  I tried to explain that I was sitting in the audience so I could participate in the bidding.  He and his sister stayed under the tent guarding his shelf for the entire auction. 


Yes, there he stood, arms folded across his shelf while the auctioneer art teacher’s husband, held up the projects and started the bidding. 

When the three year old class’ book of footprints sold for $25 I began to panic.  Mercifully, they did the shelf not long after.  I think because they knew my son would stand there until they did. 

Bidding started at $35.

For a few glorious moments it looked like I was going to win the bid without anyone bidding against me.  A few of the moms in our class knew how much my son wanted it and were routing for us!  Then someone raised me  and then someone else raised it again.  I raised my hand and shouted out my raise.  It was my maximum bid. 

I knew I couldn’t keep going.  I couldn’t let my emotions run away with me. 

Going once, Going twice…

I was nervous, my son was looking at me with his arms crossed.  His sister stood faithfully by his side, ready to defend him and his prized possession. 

I wanted my son to learn the value of saving.  I wanted him to recognize that you don’t just get to go out and buy whatever you want whenever you want.  You have to save up for things.  You have to deny other things you do want and prioritize.

Someone pointed out that he could learn the lesson that you don’t always get what you want.

Yes, he could learn that lesson too.   I was praying that lesson didn’t have to be learned today. 

At the art fest.

In front of the entire preschool. 

When I was alone. 

With three small children.

Going twice….


WE GOT IT!!!  He got his shelf!!! 

I walked over to the tent and my son triumphantly left his post saying, “Now I don’t have to stand guard anymore.”   I don’t even want to know what he would have done had we been outbid. 

As we drove home I looked in the backseat and the grin on his face was worth more than you could know. 

IMG_7464When we got home he eagerly placed it in his room and began to organize his baskets… one for Spiderman toys, one for his Transformers, one for his GI Joes, and one for his Lincoln longs.

Later that day he told me that next year when we go back to the art fest he doesn’t need to bid on a shelf.  He wouldn’t want that shelf, because “this one was special because me and the kids in my class decorated it.  I wouldn’t care about the kids in the other class’s shelf.”  


Check out 5M4M for more WW!

Not sure how many of you noticed my new little feature on my side bar.  But over on the right I have a widget (thanks to my tech support hubby) which links each day to the post I wrote a year go on that date.

I clicked on it today, and that post gave me quite a chuckle. 

Check it out:  A Year Ago Today

Been sorting through the kids clothes, bagging up the stuff too small, cleaning out stuff in the nursery....

I am so sad.

It is so weird to think we might be done having babies.... so strange.... so sad.... I feel on the brink of tears. 

I have been trying all week to mentally prepare that we  might be done, to figure out how to clean out the stuff and move on, but it is a lot harder than I thought.

I thought  I  could be ok with it.... I am not sure. 

My son has always been a thinker, thinking things through one step ahead and drawing some unpredictable conclusions.  The following conversation took place last week between my son and his Daddy.

Son: Dad, I really want to go fishing.
Dad: Oh, that does sound like fun.  The bummer though is that it's not fishing season so we can't go fishing.
Son: Why is it not fishing season?
Dad: Well, if we fished all the time we would run out of fish to fish.  Instead, we give them a break so they have a chance to have babies and make more fish.
Son:  So then we can destroy the families and eat them?

Today was a big day in the life of sibling relations at the circus. 

Around my daughter’s third birthday, my strong willed, independent, knows what she wants toddler, morphed into a “whatever big brother does, that’s what I want too” little sister (she still kept her strong will however).  Her favorite color went from purple to red (her brother’s fav color).  For the past  week she has been telling me how she wants a Spiderman cake just like her brothers when it is her birthday.

But today things changed.

There was a face painting booth at our local grocery store today.

What?  Your grocery store doesn’t offer free face painting?  Man, how prehistoric! 

My son walked up and of course asked if she could paint Spiderman on his face.


Nothing earth shattering there.  If you follow me on Twitter, you know we’ve been fully immersed in the world of Spidey here at the circus.

But, then  it came time for my daughter to get her face painted.  I was sure she too would want Spiderman.

When the lady asked what she wanted on her face, she replied “Dora”IMG_7383

Do you get the significance of that choice?  Not only did she pick her own thing, but she went second.  So, she actually picked something different than her brother! 

This is a huge banner day here at the circus!

My little girl has a mind of her own!

(Yes, it appears that I am celebrating the fact that now in addition to looking for all things Spiderman, I also get to look for all things Dora…I am celebrating commercialism at it’s finest).  That’s ok, I’ll take it… I am just happy to see my little girl think for herself!

Apparently my daughter’s week long rebellion was against sleeping alone in her crib and not on sleeping in general. 

Tuesday was a break through day for us!

She napped and slept through the night without screaming for hours first.

As I said goodnight to her in her sister’s bed, she had the BIGGEST grin on her face.  Seriously, I have never seen a kid so excited about sleeping in a bed. 

I did have to go in their twice because I heard them giggling and running around.  One time I caught her sitting up “reading” on her bed.  When I opened the door, she threw the book on the floor and laid down. 

Um, nice try missie, but you are busted!

Scott had to go back a third time and he threatened to make her go back to her crib if she did not stay in bed. 

We didn’t hear a peep from her the rest of the night!

When we went in to kiss them goodnight before we went to bed, we found her sleeping on her floor. 


Naptime Wednesday also went well.  Though she was disappointed not to have her brother and sister napping with her.  (I have a strict, “keep them all separated at nap time” policy).   She cried for a little while and then she fell asleep.  (on the dog’s bed this time).  I’ll be honest I didn’t care whose bed she was sleeping on, just happy she was sleeping. 

Tonight I had to go in only once to tell her to stay in bed.  After that all three of them were asleep without a fuss. 

Apparently, she had decided she was done sleeping in her crib and she wanted in the room with her brother and sister.  And apparently, this little girl of mine has a strong will, as she was relentless in proving her point that she did.not.want.to.be.in.her.crib!


I have been planning to move all three of them in a room together b/c I didn’t want the youngest to miss out on the bonding that takes place during the whispering after lights out.  But, I had been planning to wait until we got bunk beds for the older two.    Seems, we can’t wait that long.

Luckily my middle child LOVES to sleep on the floor.  She did not bat an eye about giving up her bed for her little sister.  I took the crib mattress from the crib and put it on the floor for my 3 year old.  She is happily sleeping on it until we can find a bunk bed for them.

We still need to work on waking up and leaving the room quietly so as to not wake the others in the room, as this morning one child woke crying which quickly led to three children screaming before one of us could get out of bed and into their room to quiet them down. 

But, all in all, it was the best night of sleep she and we  have had since we’ve been home from Texas last week


Two cookies


One mug of milk


And two sisters


Visit 5M4M and Angie’s 7 Ring Circus for more Picture Fun!

Since we first brought my youngest home from the hospital at two days old, she has been a good sleeper.  You could just lay her down and walk away and she would soothe herself to sleep.   Scott and I commented a few months ago that we haven’t had to go in the middle of the night to help soothe her back to sleep.   Even when she threw up in her crib in the middle of the night, she just rolled back over and went to sleep.  We never knew till morning.  She was my low maintenance baby.

Was being the operative word. 

Then we went on our grand Texas vacation.

Since we have gotten back, she has been incredibly clingy.  I was paged by the nursery at church on Sunday b/c she was crying so hard.   She wants held by me all the time and fights with her siblings if they are in my lap or arms. 

And bed time has become the battle to end all battles.   Since we returned home a week ago,  she has screamed and cried when we put her to bed.  I am talking screaming at the top of her lungs for up to an hour.  The first night,she was screaming, “No sleep, I want couch,in living room, to watch movie, monkey.” 


Since when did she say living room?

And when has she ever slept on the couch while watching a movie?

The other morning at 3 am she woke and was screaming, “No sleep, No sleep.  I want down.  I want out.” 

I have gone in and soothed, but she then just screams louder when I leave.  I have given her a drink.  I have talked to her.  I have let her cry it out for HOURS, she doesn’t cave. 

This morning after she was up from 5-7am,Scott went in and took her out.  She came in to our bed and promptly fell asleep beside me.


I think we’re developing some bad habits here.

We’ve ruined our low maintenance, self soothing baby.

Tonight I am trying something new. 

Because our current plan isn’t working. 

I’m going to put all three kids together in the same room.  It is my hypothesis, that she misses being with her siblings.  I am thinking about moving her to the big girl toddler bed b/c every night she keeps asking for it.  Her big sister LOVES to sleep on the floor, so I think I am going to let her sleep on the floor until we get the bunk beds for the big kids. 

We’ll see if this works.

I could end up with a whole other problem of a three year old who doesn’t want to sleep in her bed but only wants to sleep on the floor. 

But desperate times, call for desperate measures. 

IMG_7082My son is obsessed with all things Spiderman.   I remember when he was about 2 and he saw a picture of Spiderman on something in the grocery store.  He asked me what that was and I told him Spiderman.  I remember he giggled saying that was so silly, to have a spider man.  Sometime since then, he got bit by the spidey bug!   I love this picture…the smile on his face was worth all the effort it took to make that cake! 

I am not sure what made him pick Spiderman of all the super heroes to latch on to.  What was it about Spiderman that was more appealing then say Superman or Batman?  It’s not as if he watched any of them on T.V.  His love was born from merely seeing the character. 

When he was born my brother bought him a Spiderman onesie.  Perhaps his obsession was born then?   Has it really been 5 years since this picture was taken?  When did my baby grow into a little boy?

10 days old 00810 days old 007

Given his love for all things Spiderman over the past year, it seemed only fitting that his fifth birthday party be a Spiderman party.  He even wore his Halloween costume to the party!  We played a few games, such as “Pin The Green Goblin to the Spider Web” and “Tag with Dr Octopus “(aka Scott), but the biggest hit by far was shooting the bad guys with spidey web (aka Silly String).    I drew two pictures of Spiderman Bad Guys and had the kids spray silly string on them.  They loved this!!IMG_7054 

I gotta confess that my knowledge of Spiderman is very limited.  The truth is I’ve seen the first movie, but didn’t pay all that much attention to it and I think I slept through the second one.

But my son has been pumping us with questions about the webslinger…How does he fight bad guys?  Who are the bad guys?  What did the bad guys do?  And my lame evasive answers have stopped doing the trick months ago. 

I realized just how little I knew about the super hero world as I prepared for his party.  As I was trying to find pictures to look at in order to draw the bad guys for our silly string game, I came across one who was not labeled.  After drawing him I showed him to my son.  He thought he was pretty cool but wanted to know what his name was and what he did that was bad.  I had no idea, but it looked like bricks were breaking around him, so I said, “He breaks bricks.” My son looked at me and said, “Mom, breaking bricks is not bad.  What does he do?”  I turned to the internet and then to face book seeking out someone who could help me.  A huge thanks to my friend who responded with three Wikipedia links and the answer to my question…It was Shocker and in fact he didn’t  break bricks… he had electromagnetic power and was a thief. 

Through a varied series of events, I have really grown to like the Super Hero genre.  These guys are great… they are all these smart scientists types who fight evil!  I love it! As I type this I am doing my self induced “Super Homework” as Scott and I are beginning a movie marathon watching all 3 Spiderman movies.  When we told our son what we were going to do he was so excited.  He asked if tomorrow when he wakes up if instead of watching T.V. we can just sit and tell him all about “Spiderman.” 

I may end up eating these words later on, but I think I could support my son’s superhero obsession. 

Sorry to leave you all hanging with my sarcastic tribute to San Antonio…I’ve spend the last 24 hours prepping for and then hosting my son’s 5th birthday…(How did he end up being 5 already)?  But, I’ll save that for another post… one involving sinister villains, and superheroes…be sure to come back next week for that one! 

I do want to clarify, that even though we did spend 4 hours in the urgent care facility, we did have a great time in San Antonio.  My son thoroughly loved the Alamo (he even asked for an Alamo GI Joe set for his birthday so he could be Davey Crockett only when he played the good guys would win) ( I had to tell him no such set exists to my knowledge).  We rode the river boats and visited the Children’s Museum.  I hope that my posts from our vacation have not given you the wrong impression.  I have not meant to come across as whiny, in my attempt to keep it real.  I just wanted to be truthful, and the the truth is we did have a great time, but we also had some moments that were, well less than great…

But, one thing is for certain, and that is the hospitality we received in Texas, was out of this world.  We had the wonderful opportunity to stay with family at the beginning and end of our trip.  This was a huge blessing and provided some of the highlights of our entire vacation. 

My sister in law and brother in law in El Paso truly helped to get our vacation off to a great start.  When we arrived we were greeted with a package of chap stick and a huge bottle of lotion, which we used the entire time in Texas…you don’t know dry weather till you’ve been to the  south west.  There is dry and then there is desert dry.  

IMG_5413My BIL played games with the kids and answered 101 army questions from my son even after getting up for PT at 5:30 am and working all day. 


IMG_5614 My preggo SIL was constantly lending a hand whenever she could…be it sitting up with my daughter at 4 in the morning, taking the kids to park so we could repack and prepare for our 4 day camping adventure, taking me grocery shopping, helping us find a pharmacy, or making our favorite foods.  I owe her BIG TIME and can’t wait for the chance to spoil my little nephew and give his parents a much needed helping hand, when they come my way next fall.  You can read about our visit from her perspective here.  Thanks guys, we owe you BIG TIME and love you tons! Your oldest niece talked about her time at Uncle Jim and Aunt Karen’s for the rest of the trip (and she LOVES your trashcan that you can open with your foot). 

At the end of our trip, Scott’s cousins took us in for 3 days and nights.   We showed up tired and sick and with our children’s sleep/eating schedules completely out of whack.  Somehow in switching from ET to MT to CT, we ended up getting our children on PT.  (Seriously, they were up till 10 and sleeping in till 9).   It was great to have a few days of having them go to bed on time, take naps and eat at normal times.   It really helped our transition home to go much smoother.  When we arrived they told us to consider this time our vacation from our vacation and to make ourselves at home.  We were treated to outstanding, kid friendly cuisine (again we were making a preggo woman wait on us) which totally hit the spot.  We were able to worship with them at their church on Easter Sunday and the kids had a blast searching for eggs and devouring their chocolate bunnies.  (They even got bunnies for our kids since they knew we wouldn’t have time).IMG_7008

The kids truly enjoyed playing with their cousins and are already begging to go back.  Scott and I have always clicked well with his cousin and his wife and we appreciated the time we were able to spend together.  They told us next time we are in El Paso, to be sure to swing by Houston again to see them!!  

I was truly touched and blown away by the hospitality we received from both sets of family members.  They both went out of their way to make us feel at home and to meet our needs.  They didn’t even bat an eye at the circus and all it’s mess and sickness and crankiness.  They showered us with love, willingly gave us whatever we needed (including lending us their GPS for the trip and giving up their Nyquil and other cold meds so we could sleep well) and fed us very well.  I felt welcomed and cared about and comfortable to be myself.  I hope that when I have guests at my home, I can make them feel the same way.  It was a true lesson in good ol’ southern hospitality! 

Thanks guys!  We love you!!!

**This concludes my series of posts on our TX vacation…next week it is back home at the circus life…never a dull moment here with laundry and birthday parties and baseball games.  Thanks for sharing our journey with us!  Hope I didn’t overload you with pictures and anecdotes.**

After 4 days of camping at both Guadalupe and Big Bend NP, the next big destination on our trip was to San Antonio.  We were quite excited about showers, and more room to spread out.  After checking into our hotel at noon, we were off to see the sights.

Where to first?  The Alamo? The Children’s Museum?  The River walk?  So many choices…

We thought what better place to go to really experience the city than the urgent care clinic.  And it was a mere two blocks away from our hotel!!  How perfect!  So without stopping even for lunch, we quickly set out for our destination!


We were greeted by a kind and friendly staff who told us we could stay in the waiting room for 1.5 hrs before seeing the Dr.  How delightful!  After spending the day before strapped into their car seats, the kids were so excited to get to sit quietly and wait in a waiting room.  

We got to wait in not one, but two waiting rooms as part way through our wait, they sent us to a doctor office next door.  This way more people in this lovely city got to experience Life At The Circus.  IMG_6607 

At a little after 3 we were shown into our room.  Have no fear about us not getting to see the city.  We got to see the city from our very own waiting room! 


Eventually the doctor came in and checked all 3 children’s ears. 

IMG_6617 Turns out the flight out to El Paso had strained their ear canals causing infections.  The pink eye we thought my son had earlier in the week was actually part of the congestion and ear infection.  So, we didn’t actually need to give the kids those eye drops all week.  The doctor prescribed rounds of amoxicillin for all three!  Then we got to figure out where the nearest, open pharmacy was on Good Friday.  After 30 more minutes of waiting in the waiting room, the prescriptions had been called in and at 4:00 we were off to find us some lunch!! 

The kids were just loving San Antonio at this point.  And Mom and Dad were so glad that we scheduled in this day of fun to recover and refresh after our week of camping. 

After lunch/dinner in the food court, we set off to see the Alamo before it closed at 5:30.  We were able to squeeze in a quick tour, during which our youngest fell asleep on her daddy’s shoulders.  We then headed back to the hotel for a little rest and nebulizer treatment before figuring out how to top of such an exciting day! 





**please note any sarcasm detected in this post, was purely intentional**

The sun’s rays cast a bright orange glow on the rocks when it rose in the morning.


As the day went on, the bees came out to pollinate the flora.


As the day progressed, we were able to pose for the very significant sign shot.  Click here to learn of it’s high importance.


As the sun began to set the rocks began to change color yet again.


As if that wasn’t pretty enough, right above was a bright blue sky with a full moon shining.


The goes down with a grand finale (please note these colors were not doctored at all, this is the real thing).


After sun down, there is still more magnificence to enjoy as the stars came out and the full moon lit the cliffs up.


Big Bend does a masterful job of showing off our Lord’s handiwork!

Click here for more fun national park sign shots!

And click here for more WW and here for WFW!  Two times the fun!!

I’m trying my best to summarize our almost 2 week vacation, so as to keep you up to date with our circus adventures, without boring you with every.single.picture we took (if you knew how many pics we took, you would realize this is NO.SMALL.FEAT).  I realized today though that I haven’t really posted any pictures of the actual parks yet.  Hmmm…perhaps I should do something about that.

So, any guesses on which national park this is from?


Still no? 




Here’s our itinerary, if ya wanted to narrow it down some.


Want a hint?

IMG_5777 - Copy

Ok, how about now?


Come back tomorrow for some more glimpses of God’s handiwork in Texas .


picnic lunches


sweet treats


hot springs


big leaps


dirty hands

While I have enjoyed the many ups and downs of our vacation to Texas, I have decided that I never again want to go on vacation the week prior to Easter.  I was very careful when planning our trip to make sure that we would be with family for Easter so that we could go to church and worship our Lord.  I didn’t want to be camping or in the middle of nowhere for Easter Sunday.  I am certain we will have a wonderful and special day as we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection with them. 

But, being away on vacation this week, I’ve been kind of off the radar.  I’ve been out of my routine and haven’t spent the time I would like focusing on and preparing for this special day.  I would have loved to have done some Easter crafts and projects with the kids.  I really feel like the crafts and projects help to create a sense of anticipation and excitement as well as focus on the day.  We did read the Easter story in the hotel the other night on Good Friday.  And we’ve been talking to the kids about how Easter is coming and why we are celebrating.   While the same could be true if I had spent the week at home, I don’t feel like this year I have personally spent much time in preparing my heart for worship.  I think that is largely due to missing church on Good Friday.  The Good Friday service at our church is by far my favorite church service all year.  I love the time spent focusing on confessing our sins and worshipping our Lord, who took the consequences of MY sin by dying on the cross.  I love the visual reminder and the often creative approach our pastor takes in helping to personalize the message.  He always drives home the fact that MY sins nailed him to the cross, that He died FOR ME.  It blows me away time and time again. 

I’ve spent some time reflecting on that this evening as I sit at the computer while the house sleeps around me and I am glad for this quiet time.   I hope I can keep a right perspective tomorrow as I scurry to get three kids dressed nicely and out the door while also visiting with our cousins and their two kids.  I hope I don’t fret more over getting the girls hair just right then I do the condition of my heart as we prepare for worship.   I hope I remember the reason for the season. 

He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!  I hope you join me today in worshipping our Risen Savior!!

Besides taking in the beautiful scenery (of which there was much) at Guadalupe and Big Bend National Parks, we really enjoyed being able to just be together (most of the time).   Each day at Big Bend we took a very, long picnic lunch.  One day we went to the western portion of the park and enjoyed a leisurely picnic.  I thought it would be fun to make our own ice cream in coffee cans using a recipe I had found online.  This was a lot of fun.  I gotta admit it wasn’t all that cost effective since I first had to buy the cans of coffee, just for the cans, but we had a great time.  (Yes, $9 in sunk costs right there… if I had been at home I am sure I could have gotten an empty can from a friend or something, but we had no spare room in our suitcases for empty coffee cans). IMG_6001  The kids enjoyed rolling the can back and forth and then Scott and I took turns kicking it up and back across a field to really get it working.  IMG_5995I was so happy it worked!  (We would have had a very disappointed circus crew if it didn’t work)!



After enjoying our home made dessert, we saw a wild javelina across the way!

IMG_6017 (blog edit)

1 lb coffee can…..$3

5lb coffee can…..$6

rock salt…..$2.99

chocolate syrup…..$2.50

whipping cream….$2.00 (was supposed to have used half and half)

sugar….(borrowed from my gracious SIL)

2 egg beaters……$3.00


smiling circus crew……PRICELESS!!