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Monster Party of 6

Gibson monsters were in full force this year for Halloween. Addie decided she wanted to be “something scary”. Mavis’ black hair and lipstick were enough to convince her that Hotel Transylvania was a good choice. Coen was going to be Johnny, but somehow we switched at the last minute to Dracula, so Beckett went as Johnny instead. Holden was the cutest little Dennis though out of context, he was mistaken for Carrot Top. Jimmy was Frankenstein and I was Eunice. We “decorated” a trunk this year for our church’s Trunk or Treat. I had to make a box a few weeks prior for candy donations, so just decided to snag it for our trunk once we separated out all the candy bins. Addie and Josie cut out all the bats and stuck them to my car. It was by far the least effort put in to any of the trunks, but it was really nice to have a “home base” for the kids for the event. And when the sun went down, they just hung out inside the car eating candy. Perfection! On Halloween night, we drove to the community across the street and met up with Coen’s baseball buddy. Two hours, four overflowing buckets of candy, four exhausted children, very minimal planning. All in all, a great way to spend another Halloween!

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Texas Tourists

The day after Beckett’s surgery, we had one day to spend in Texas. There’s a ton of kid-friendly things to do, but with Beckett still pretty groggy and no other kids to entertain, we wanted to keep it cheap. Bonus points for FREE! So, we went to the NASA center and spent some time at the FREE Rocket Park. It was pretty fascinating! I was sending pictures to my mom to share with Addie and Coen. They were pretty impressed! Next trip, we’ll have to bring them and do the full NASA Center tour. The size of the Saturn V rocket was insane! The pictures don’t nearly do it justice. Then we walked around at the Kemah Boardwalk, went to the stingray aquarium, had a quick lunch and headed back to the hotel. Quick and easy day in Texas!

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Horse Pictures

The kids’ horse therapy program had a professional photographer take pictures one day and I just now am getting around to downloading them. Enjoy 🙂

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OK, seriously, I haven’t even posted about the kids’ first day of school yet? Ridiculous! Taking it waaaaay back to after Labor Day, Addie and Beckett started 1st and 2nd grade at their amazing school. Addie teacher is new this year, and so far, love her! Beckett had Addie’s teacher from last year, so we already knew she’d be awesome. The parents and PTO planned a welcome line the first morning where they had signs and cheered on all the kids as they came in to school. Beckett’s fabulous OT and his friend Brielle wheeled him through the line! Luckily, my friend caught this perfect photo of the moment since I couldn’t see through the tears streaming down my face! I seriously love this school, these kids, the teachers and administration. It’s the best!

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The first weekend of school, we made a last minute decision to go with friends to the balloon races, the unofficial kick off to fall. It’s always a struggle to get motivated to get up at 4 am but always worth it! The kids danced and wrestled, the sky was gorgeous, the weather wasn’t too chilly. Perfect morning!

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A couple weeks later, we had jog-a-thon at the kids’ school. Always such a fun time and with the help of some of our generous friends and family, their school raised $82,500!!!! Their goal was $30,000. I’m completely blown away! This is the biggest fundraiser for the year that the kids do themselves, so really awesome to see them nearly triple their goal! Thank you for all our people who donated. Addie will be sending you each a thank you card in the mail soon, I promise!

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Addie had her first official sleepover (at our house) with our friend, Brooklyn, over fall break. She spent two days with us brunching with friends, crafting, singing and dancing, and putting on a performance with the brothers. All my kids adore her!

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Aside from that, more birthday parties, more horse lessons, more baseball, and peanutcracker rehearsals. We’ve been busy!

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Two weeks ago, we took our annual trip to Beckett’s vision doctor in Pittsburgh. She’s always so uplifting. His vision has improved and we seem to be on the right track academically with his wonderful teacher adapting curriculum for his vision needs. And, this weekend, we’re in Texas with Beckett. This morning, he had SPML surgery to release the spasticity in his hamstrings, adductors, biceps, and pectorals. He’s been sleeping all day! Hoping tomorrow brings loose limbs and the months ahead bring more strength and mobility. Super busy but so many good things and more to come!

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So Long, Summer

Two posts in one weekend? Who am I? We have a big day tomorrow, so we need to get this last summer post out of the way! We spent our last days of summer in El Dorado Hills reading books, coloring, playing outside, and visiting with family.

We took a stroll down Main Street in Placerville visiting with Grandpa Larry. Addie and Coen had to get new mini dream catchers to chase away their nightmares. And bags full of gumballs. We visited Aunt Carol’s store where Addie got all glittered up and got to pretend to be a mermaid. It’s pretty much the coolest store ever. We ended our outing with ice cream, yum!

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Addie enjoyed an afternoon of garden talks with Nana. She learned about “Naked Ladies” and photosynthesis. Don’t worry, Nana hasn’t gone cuckoo. That’s the nickname for a flower that I can’t seem to remember at 10 pm, but I’m sure tomorrow it will come to me. Though I clearly had no problem remembering “naked ladies”. Well played, Nana. Beckett and I swung on the swing during garden talks. He was pretty pleased to have some peaceful time outside while the other sibs were distracted.qqcyEfdERvufzEs+Z1f3HggpC5DQ0vS4OUJAc3LD1weA9hZv7LFiRs652B+PpUCPnAauSbgTAkTQy08A%I5KBxDgjxRh7UhwS0yns1A2fe3dJQGEqsDV5ATBS1wGQ43lUbkQcvHbncYmTXq++B%JyN3Z0g3bIPaOnTQMC11xaJMV7QgQDWYUQCilSu+LsNuNyhEEjQ

The kids had some quality cousin time with Haylee and Emily. Holden was fascinated by a baby. He’s always the baby, so really wasn’t sure what to make of her. The cousins ran around like crazy people outside (and inside), traced themselves in chalk again, wrestled, and tore up a bunch of tissue paper and threw it on each other’s heads over and over again. What a blast!

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Today, we headed back home to get ready for the first day of school tomorrow! Addie and Beckett had an ice cream social at their new, huge, beautiful campus. I didn’t take a single picture but trust me when I say it’s seriously the most gorgeous place! And it’s only halfway done. I can only imagine how amazing it will be once phase 2 is complete. Addie and Beckett saw so many friends. I think both are so ready to get back to it! After seeing the school, I’m seriously so excited for them to start tomorrow. I think it’s going to be the best year yet for both of them!

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In a last-minute decision, Coen started a new school this year for pre-kindergarten. While we’ sure love our Brookfield Bears, we just couldn’t justify paying more for 3 days a week than most of our friends pay for full-time, extended days. So, we made a few calls and found a school where we’d had friends going last year that had an opening. And, we dove right in! I’m not sure if Coen’s loving it. Every day, I ask “how was your day” and he says, “I don’t want to tell you about it”. Four-year-old thing or does he hate it? Not sure, but there are at least 4 friends in his class with siblings at Addie and Beckett’s school, so at least here he has a chance to continue on to kindergarten with friends. y2c+BU7JR+a51OXkjX7rig

Addie’s rounding out summer with a bang! She did a yoga camp with a bunch of old Brookfield friends for a couple days, went boating in Lake Tahoe for her friend’s birthday, went to farm camp with school friends for a couple days (and got to play with chickens and baby pigs!!! I was a little jealous!). And, got to have a park play date with a bunch of second graders from her school, new and old friends! So fun!

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While Addie and Beckett still aren’t back to school, fall activities are in full force! Addie’s dancing three evenings a week, this year doing hip hop, ballet, modern, and competition team. She’s having a blast! And, in make my boy-mom heart swoon news, Coen started little league! Truly, the day I’ve been waiting for since hearing “it’s a boy!” He’s the cutest little thing ever! We spent a day at the mall buying all the things (and tons of new earrings for Addie since we’ve hit a new milestone…dangly earrings!). Though the gear and earrings were pretty great, I think the mall toys were a bigger hit. Even without any coins to make them move.

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And now, the cutest little baseball player ever! He had one practice before the first game. They do coach pitch for about 5 tries then switch to the T (is that even how you write that? I’m not quite up on my t-ball writing!). Anyway, first at bat and he got a hit. Not even joking! It was pretty awesome even if it only went as far as a bunt. And, of course, a picture of his first time on base. It is rookie little league after all, so of course they all scored. Not going to lie, it’s a little tough to watch. Coen randomly sits on the ground between every hitter. He runs toward first base for no reason any time the other team hits the ball. He has to be reminded to run to the next base (especially when he’s on second) when his team gets a hit. I’m kind of the worst baseball mom ever, yelling “Run, Coen, run!”. He’s going to hate me when he’s older. Oh well, it’s so much fun!

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Holden’s not missing out on the fall activities. He finally is swimming without one of us in the pool. Yay! It’s so much easier to get two kids dried and dressed when you don’t have to worry about yourself!

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And, I’ll leave you with just some random funny pictures. Addie and Holden spent a day at Grams practicing their pickle ball skills. Addie & Coen put a million bows in their hair, just because. I love when she dresses him up all girly and he just goes along with it! He’s going to love these photos when he’s older 🙂 And Addie discovered she can pull her eyes and look super creepy, so of course they all had to try it. Holden just pokes himself in the eyes. It’s pretty hilarious!

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What a jam-packed summer it’s been! Capped off by two bonus weeks from Addie and Beckett’s school since construction isn’t quite complete. That’s OK, we’ll take two extra weeks of summer any time! Backing all the way up to July. Beckett was in full-blown therapy mode, attending Thrive five days a week, so once again, with 4th of July being in the middle of the week, I stayed home with two sleeping boys while Jimmy took Addie and Coen to see fireworks. After a hot day of water fun in the backyard, they headed up to Windy Hill to see fireworks from all over the valley. The next day, back to therapy, as usual!

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That weekend, we decided to have an impromptu baptism. Something that’s been weighing on my mind for 6 years now. Auntie was in town for 5 days and Shawna and Perry somehow found the time to make it to Reno on crazy short notice to serve as Godparents to three awesome brothers! We had such a nice ceremony, after church services so I didn’t have to stress over my children being loud or acting crazy. Holden wanted to wipe the water off his own head and his face while blowing out the candle was hilarious! Coen was a little apprehensive, but ended up cooperating amazingly well. Beckett was great, as Beckett usually is. We had a nice little swim party and sandwiches to end the afternoon. Prefect, low key, and they’re finally baptized with three awesome Godparents, so a success in my book!

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Addie had the huge honor of dancing on the amazing Sand Harbor stage for the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival. She’s been rehearsing all summer and her final performance is tonight in Carson City. This show is with a lot of older dancers, so has been a more mature production than what she’s done in the past. It’s been such a good experience and she’s been able to share it with one of her favorite friends, Addison. Her school had a special preview of the Reno show last week and her principal came backstage and played with the girls for a few minutes before they went on stage. We are so blessed by this amazing school and supportive “family” we’ve found! It’s been truly wonderful! All these kiddos below go to Addie’s school and are so sweet!

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Next up, Beckett’s 6th birthday!! Miraculously, it did not fall on a Thrive day this year, so we got to have a relaxing day at home followed by pizza at the Pub and Dragon Lights. It was way past Beckett’s bedtime, but he loved every minute of Dragon Lights. It was pretty incredible! We spent an entire two hours there and no kids complained!

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In what we had anticipated to be the culmination of our summer fun, off we headed to Lake Tahoe for our church campout. Just to set the tone of my camp life…Jimmy and I have been together for 17 years this November. We have camped once. 17 years ago. The whole precess of buying/borrowing gear, food shopping, packing, was overwhelming! The immediate dirt factor of my children was overwhelming. The bears sniffing our tent in the middle of the night…overwhelming! But, we were in great company and actually enjoyed ourselves. And dare I say, we fully plan on doing it again next year. In an RV. I need more than a flimsy tent separating my children and bears.

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Aside from all that fun, we’ve just been hanging out, doing puzzles, building towers, playing in Gram & Gramps’ garden, going to plays with friends, reading books, watching way too much TV, and just playing (sometimes fighting) way too late into the night. Coen starts a new preschool Monday. Yikes! I’m not ready. More on that later as it’s a big, unexpected change in our lives. And with our bonus weeks of summer for Addie & Beckett, we plan to have a lot more fun before we’re all back into the groove.

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Oh, one funny thing, I make birthday posters for each kid’s birthday, but after a couple years of making them for Addie and Beckett, and adding two more kids to the mix, I got really sick of designing these posters! So, I implemented the posters until 5 rule. Addie doesn’t like that the younger brothers still get posters and she doesn’t, so she made her own. For her 8th birthday. 5 months from now! She kills me 🙂

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