IMG_7344This year it worked out in our schedule to take the kids back to our old neighborhood on the 30th for trick or treating at the shopping plaza there.  This was always a tradition for us, but last year we weren’t able to make it happen.  It was fun to get an extra night of trick or treating in…and to run into some friends. 

Originally, our 3 year old said he wanted to be a choo choo train like last yearNo problem I thought to myself, saves me having to buy one more costume this year.  But, after seeing the firemen on Sunday, he’s been all things fire trucks all week.  Yesterday my oldest son dug out his old fireman costume and the three year old happily wore it all day… even napping in it with his red hat and fire truck by his side on the floor.


When it was time to go trick or treating, he decided he wanted to be a fireman this year instead.  Still no problem for mom, as we were all set costume wise.

This year we had Aragorn from Lord of the Rings, Wonder Woman, Super girl, and “Firetruck Man.”


Most people thought he was Robin Hood when he went out.  At the end of the evening, my 6 year old said, “It doesn’t make any sense why everyone thought you were Robin… you look nothing like Robin.”  Hahaha… she was thinking of Batman and Robin. 


Super girl strikes a pose!


I kept hearing the song from Wonder Woman in my head whenever I looked at her.


Not a fireman, but a “fire truck man”


My beloved super heroes.  I love the way these pictures capture the care free goofy stage of life they are in… Oh, how I pray that these two are best friends forever.


When we got home we watched my favorite Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin and then Daddy helped carve out the last of their jack o lanterns.  Fun, fun times… AND we get to go out again tonight!

A few weeks ago Scott and I attended the wedding of a friend of ours from high school.  As we sat there watching, I had this rather startling realization. 

Weddings are different for me now than they used to be.  I can remember going to wedding for friends when we were in college.  As I rejoiced with our friends over the start of their life together, I also found myself taking note of things I’d like to do in my own wedding “someday.”    Then in the years shortly after we were married, each wedding would instantly bring me back to our own.  As I watched the bride walk down the aisle, I’d also look up to see the look on the groom’s face.  I’d remember the way Scott looked at me on our wedding day. 

At this wedding when we watched the bride walk down the aisle, Scott leaned over and said, “Man, I am going to be a puddle on the floor when I walk our girls down the aisle.”  When the father of the bride gave a speech at the reception and he talked about “what happened to his little girl who just yesterday was yea high”  my throat constricted a bit in my chest as I thought of our own kids just yea high… and then the mother/son dance.  Oh man… that dance has never been the same for me since I had my boys.   Both sets of parents handled the day with great dignity and grace.  I marveled at how they did it. 

And as I sat talking with Scott at the reception table, I realized the great paradigm shift which had occurred.  Somewhere in the 12 years we’ve been married, we’ve found ourselves relating to the roles of parents of the bride and groom!  How did that happen?  There were still moments when we watched, that I was taken back to our special day.  When they said their vows and exchanged their rings, I held Scott’s hands and remembered our own sacred vows.  But, man, my heart found itself hurting for that momma as she danced with her boy!  Much like most everything else life, my perspective is different now that I’m a mom myself.  Weddings just aren’t the same as they used to be….they are so much more. 

This afternoon after church we took the kids to the county’s Public Safety Expo.  The Police and Fire Departments for the country put on an INCREDIBLE expo.  It was both fun and educational.

I think going into it my oldest son was a little like, “big deal we are going to see fire trucks”  while my 3 year old was all “WAHOO We are going to see Fire Trucks”  but everyone was surprised by all we got to see and do.  Yes, even the 9 year old was impressed.


Because, we didn’t just see fire trucks.  We watched firemen cut into a car.  We watched them cut the doors and roof off of a car.  And we watched them put out a REAL fire. 


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We saw robots from the bomb/explosive division.  We watched a K9 sniffing demonstration.  We saw the tactical response unit.


And we slapped 5 to Sparky the fire dog.  We even snacked on some popcorn and hot dogs.  We also got to see a Police Helicopter up close and personal.


While we found it both interesting and fun to see all of these things up close, I found myself overwhelmingly grateful the entire time.  I was grateful that these men and women would take the time to talk to my family and explain their jobs to us.  But even more than that I am grateful to live in a community with so many men and women dedicated to providing for our safety.  I am thankful for the wealth of technology and machinery available to them to help them do their jobs.  And I am thankful for the training they receive to do their jobs well.  I am immensely thankful to the many, many men and women who dedicate their lives to serving our community… to protecting and caring for us.  We are so richly, richly blessed.  This afternoon as the kids had fun climbing in trucks and checking out the machinery and even weapons up close, I was blessed with a reminder of how very fortunate we are.


My kids have gotten the Minecraft bug.  Started first with my oldest son.  He shared the obsession with my 6 year old daughter… and then even my child who doesn’t really like to play games, joined in the fight against zombies.  

Yesterday they finally figured out how to do multi player, which means they can all play at the same time on various different wireless devices in the same world.  

Giggles could be heard as they found each other walking around in their worlds.  Hooray I thought to myself.  I can get a few things done while they happily play together.

hahaha… this of course was short lived.  Did you know you can hit someone in mine craft?  Suddenly I find myself refereeing real fights in an imaginary world.  As the fights escalate and tears begin to fall, I have to put a halt on my semi productive kitchen clean up and try to get to the bottom of the problem. 

“She is ruining my world.  She dug a ditch and it took me forever to repair it.”

“He won’t let me in… He doesn’t let me build anything, he says I can’t cut down any trees.” 

Insert Mom who has never played this game ever…Though I have read up a little on it, as I try to dig deeper, find out the real problem… more than just cutting down trees and stealing stuff from peoples treasure chests… more than not letting her into his world or her destroying his house. 

It reminded me of a fight I had to referee years ago… they were probably 3 and 5… tears were flowing, accusations being flung back and forth and I recall vividly spending what felt like forever working out who did what to whom, who needed to apologize, who needed to seek forgiveness… and only after 30 minutes or so of this hard core mediation, did I realize this fight was over an IMAGINARY toy.  When the child finally uncurled her first I realized for the first time, there was nothing in it… it was all over a pretend object.

Here we are again, I thought…. fighting a fight over something that isn’t even real. 

It doesn’t matter though. Because the sin was very much real.  The way they handled their frustration and hurt, that revealed just as much about the state of their heart as if the trees were real and the ditch did need to be repaired.  

So, we talked it out… one on one, one on two, one on three.  We talked about how we treat each other, in a game or in life.  I led them in reluctantly confessing their sin and seeking forgiveness.  And then I took Minecraft away from them for the rest of the day as a consequence. 

Whew… some kind of recess…. I kind of laughed as I realized the cyclical nature of their playing and fighting…

Hopefully though these battles are lessons in repentance and grace.  Hopefully now while they fight over pretend toys or imaginary worlds, they will learn how to confess, repent, and seek forgiveness.  Hopefully they learn that their relationship matters more than being right, being successful and getting their own way.  Hopefully these practice sessions on peace making will take hold so when they are older and the stakes are higher, they will know how to navigate these waters because they’ve been down them many times before.

My dad called me last week and said he had 3 tickets to the Steelers/Ravens game if we wanted to come join him.    His boss had generously given his tickets to my Dad and my parents generously offered to share them with us.  I quickly called Scott who said, “Yes, we’ll make it work.”    And make it work we did.

Our weekend was already jam packed with commitments so the only way to make it back was to drive from Annapolis to Pittsburgh and back in one day. 

We spent roughly 10 hours in the car and about 6 and a half hours in Pittsburgh.  But those moments in the burgh were worth every mile.


Last year when we were invited by my dad Scott toyed with giving his ticket to our oldest son.  In the end we decided he wasn’t quite old enough to fully appreciate the experience.  But, I knew photo (18)this year the time was right.  Last year he played fall and spring flag football.  He can follow plays.  This year he played fantasy football with us using NFL rush, a fun kid version of fantast football, which has introduced him to players all across the NFL.  He has loved it.  And he’s watched every single game with us on TV… start to painful finish all season long as well as some none Steelers games he wanted to follow due to his fantasy team.  He gets football.  He loves football.  And what better place for his first NFL gamphoto (19)e than Heinz Field and what better game than against our biggest rivals the Baltimore Ravens?  I knew the time was right.  I gave him my ticket.  Scott offered to let me go with my dad and our son, but truthfully, as much as I love football, especially Steelers football, I wanted Scott to be there with him for his first NFL game. 

We took the whole family to Pittsburgh and while the 3 big guys watched at Heinz Field, My mom and I took the other 3 next door to this concert venue called AE stage.


It was a big warehouse type room that had a HUGE movie screen televising the game.  We were able to bring in our snacks and food, watch from “stadium like” seats in a warm, fun, family friendly environment.  It was PERFECT.  The place wasn’t all that crowded b/c it is used more for tailgating before and after the game… during the game, most people are actually AT the game, so we had room to breath which was nice with 3 kids.  

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IMG_7039Prior to the game, we enjoyed walking around Point State Park and around Heinz Field.  My kids have spent very little time in the city of Pittsburgh.  So it was super fun for them to walk by Heinz Field.  Also, since we live in enemy territory and are used to living in a sea of purple and black, it was super fun to be in the city for all the hoopla and festivities with thousands of other Steelers fans.  It was a rare treat for us. 

Of course, what made it truly awesome, was that not only were we in Pittsburgh to see the Steelers play the Ravens, but we were in Pittsburgh to see the Steelers BEAT the Ravens! 

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It made the drive home SO, SO much more enjoyable!  Thanks to Dale for so generously sharing your tickets with Dad.  And thanks Dad and Mom for sharing this opportunity with us.  It was a memory filled day we will all cherish. 

This weekend was full of hayrides and pumpkins.  Friday afternoon we went with some families from our 1st graders class to a pumpkin patch. 


It was beautiful.  Hay rides are so fun.  I am a sucker for them.  How can you not have fun riding around on the back of a tractor looking at sunflowers and pumpkins?


My youngest child particularly enjoyed the hay ride and seeing some chickens and goats.

Then of course we got to pick our pumpkins.





Then this morning the girls had their fall outing with the gymnastics team.  They got to spend the morning with their big sis/lil sis on a hay ride and corn maze.  As an added treat, my 3 year old unexpectedly got to ride on the hayride as well b/c there was extra room on the second wagon.  He was thrilled and I was grateful for the unexpected treat.  It can be rough being the youngest… often getting drug around to the events of your older siblings.  As I sat with him on the hay ride and listened to him point out the cows, and the birds, and the sheep, and the horses, I recalled being at that same farm probably 6 years ago with his older brother on my lap. 

I love the age of 3.  I really feel like the personality of your child fully starts to emerge at 3.  And 3 year olds are funny.  I love their sense of humor and logic and cute little mispronounciations.  And they start to pretend.  3 is really fabulous in my humble opinion and I am most def going to mourn the passage of time when I no longer have a 3 year old in the house.  Maybe even more than the lack of an infant.  After all 3 year olds sleep through the night and use the potty.  Smile 

This week my 3 year old said to me

“Mom you have black hair and I have yellow hair.  So you are a monkey and I am not.”

“What?  Why am I monkey?”

“Because you have black hair.  I have yellow hair so I am not a monkey.”

I know I wrote this on facebook, but I am recording this one here too.

“Hey Mom, ya know what is funny?”


“See ya later alligator.”

That is funny.  After while crocodile.

“No, Mom, No.  That is not what is funny.  What is funny is See you later alligator.”

Another thing I love about 3 year olds, is their new sense of style and fashion.  When my 3rd child was three I posted about her NUMEROUS outfit changes in one day.  Well, her brother also likes to change his look, but instead of changing clothes, he simply adds a layer.  It is a rare day around here when you find him wearing simply one shirt.  He likes to pile them on top.  Especially when he wears Steelers jerseys (which is pretty much for at least some portion of EVERY day of his life).  Why wear one jersey when you can wear three?  I’ll put him down for nap or bed and it NEVER fails, when he wakes up I find a different shirt on top of what he was wearing when he went to bed.  Yesterday I posted on facebook:

6- the number of shirts my 3 year old is wearing

3- the number of Steelers jerseys he is wearing

When I drove him to his siblings practices, I could barely squeeze him into his car seat b/c he was so thick.  He looked like either a munchkin or a fully padded football player.   But, when I got home from going out with a friend last night, he came out to say goodnight and I noticed he added YET ONE MORE shirt to his layered look.

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He kept on all 7 layers until the next day when I suggested we take them off before heading to the dentist. 

He makes me laugh and smile every single day and I am truly enjoying getting to know his unique personality. 

I love the ever changing smiles on my kiddos faces as they lose teeth and then gain new/big teeth.  Over the past month  or so my 7 year old lost 3 teeth… the latest one to come out was last night. 


She’s starting to look older to me lately…

I haven’t had time to really update the blog lately.  In fact, I have found my days to be quite full now that we are in full swing with our school and extra curricular activities.  Bursting at the seams full. 

But, I have whipped the camera out a few times, so I decided today to download them and at least try to preserve some memories of everyday life around here.

Football is a big time favorite past time around here.  The kids love making plays and having their own games in the backyard… the tee ball stand and folding chair are their yard markers.  They take turns being defenders and wide receivers and quarter back.  Sometimes they even do a running play or two with a RB.


We’ve had a lot of “wildlife” visitors round here…  We also have a turtle that lives in our yard and makes an appearance from time to time.  Today we decided to name Percy. We have also spotted a green snake (eeww).  Check out the praying mantis on our front door.


Wendy and Cartwheel have fully immersed themselves into our family. They are an active part of each of our days and participants in our homeschooling as well.

The cat is so patient.  Tolerating snuggles and love. She also patiently listens to math flashcard lessons and read alouds.



Wendy also sits patiently through school lessons. Either by our side or at our feet.


And sometimes they both sit with us.


Sisters working together on math… love the random costumes that pop into our school days.



I have to say, I am liking our rhythm of life these days.  It’s busy.  But fun.