Monday, December 31, 2012

Lighting of the Square

My parents came up for the annual light of the Bentonville Square. It was a fun day filled with shopping, watching football, a few Daddy-dos around the house, and playing with the kiddos. The kids loved dancing to the music in the square with Mimi and Papi and watching the lights turn on. Thanks, Mimi and Papi for making the drive!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Catching motto lately.

 November flew by. Flew. By. I'm not even really sure what all we did, but I know we were busy... The weather was unseasonably warm, so we spent most of our time outside. The kids loved playing in the leaves and playing hard with their friends. Owen got a touch of whatever bug was going around, but other than that we were healthy - praise the Lord!

Part of what made the month so crazy is that I decided it was time to completely redecorate my whole house. I'd been putting everything on hold till Chris decided whether or not we were going to be moving, but with him accepting a new job with another local candy company, it gave me the green light to dig my roots a little deeper here. (yay!) We re-painted our kitchen, a wall in our living room, and the front room all back to the original khaki color that was there when we moved was our 5th time to paint our kitchen in 4 year. My poor hubby. I then painted our front room ceiling teal. Yes, teal. I knew we'd been painting too much when it started to become a party of Harper's every day pretending...
Michelle, I'll post better pics soon. :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

19 Months

This girl makes me laugh. I caught her at her brother's school desk today (somewhere she's not supposed to be playing), and in her sweetest voice she said "Hiiiiii, Momma!" The rabbit ears didn't help. Yes, I'm in trouble...

She's becoming more independent these days, but she still wants me to hold her all the time. Especially when I'm making dinner. She stands and pulls on my leg yelling "HOLD". She loves antagonzing Owen, and if Ethan will pay attention to her she's in heaven.

I took her in for her 18 month well-check and to no one's surprise, she wasn't even on the charts for her weight (at a whopping 18 lbs). She was in the 5th percentile in height and 80th in head size, naturally. (that seems small compared to Owen's 99.99% size head!) We've been working at fattening her up by giving her whipping cream or half and half in her whole milk. I'm also covering all her food in butter. She's successfully gained 3 pounds in past three weeks!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Halloween 2012

 We hosted our 3rd Annual Halloween block part this last week, and it was a blast! We invited all the neighbors and other friends to grill out before it got dark enough to go trick or treating. I think we had over 30 kids all dressed up jumping in the jump house and playing games in the yard. There was everything to super heroes, Legos, and Bob the Builder to kitty cats and Egyptian princesses.
 Only a few moms dressed up this year, but it didn't stop us from having a good time! I'm so thankful for these crazy ladies that keep life as a mom fun!
 Owen was Bob the Builder again this year, but I don't think he ever had his complete costume on all at once. Ethan was Wolverine, and he was so busy playing I never had a chance to get a picture of him in complete costume. Harper was a cute kitty, and she loved wearing her costume and saying "meow". Chris dressed up as Ethan Hunt from Mission Impossible (hence the hood and no smile!).
It was such a fun night of hanging out with friends, eating good food, and getting to know new people. Who would have thought Halloween might turn into one of my favorite holidays! ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Breaking in the new house...

 We broke in Mimi and Papi's new house a few weeks ago, and the kids didn't seem to miss a beat staying in the new place. Ethan was concerned about all the same toys being there, Owen just needed a place outside to play, and Harper needed a shopping cart to push...I think needs were taken care of on all accounts. Of course having their cousins there helped too. We're looking forward to putting LOTS more memories into that place!
While we were there, I was able to sneak my favorite goddaughter away for some ice cream. Lily was a little shy on the ride there, but after eating some birthday cake ice cream and putting on some lip gloss on afterwards, she was all sorts of chatty. I think she's pretty used to her big sister there to help answer all her questions, because she wasn't sure what her favorite color or toy was. It looks like we'll have to have several more dates so she can figure it all out!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

18 Months Old

 Ahh, my girl is growing up! This spunky little thing is keeping us on our toes and laughing along the way. She's the perfect mixture of rough and tough and girlie as well.
 She loves carrying her purse with her phone stuck to her ear and pushing babies in her stroller. Shoes are a passion; the sparkly the better. She loves jewelry and rocking her favorite baby.
 She's also not afraid to get dirty. And rough. Jumping on the trampoline with her brothers is one of her favorite things to do, and she doesn't seem to mind getting bounced all over the place. She's learning that punching and scratching isn't the best way to get people's attention, but at least she can say "sorry" now...

She really loves her brothers. She can say Owen's name, but Ethan is still "bubba". We're working on it. She and Ethan have a special bond when it comes to playing outside on the jungle gym. The only problem she forgets that she isn't 5 years old and tries to keep up. The Lord protected her one day as she tried to swing across the monkey bars and fell a good distance while I wasn't looking.  She and Owen have a love/hate relationship. She knows how to push his buttons, but she does love playing outside with him.

 And one of my favorite things about having a daughter is seeing her have tea parties with her dad. Every night after she gets ready for bed, she plops on the floor, pats the floor beside where she wants Chris to sit, and she pours him some tea. She has one good dad!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Daddy & Daughter

It's moments like these that I really wish I had a clue what I was doing with my camera! We met Chris at park for lunch and Harper was needing some Dad-time. It was really sweet seeing them together. You can tell she's pretty nuts about him!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A new pet, a hurt nose, and homeschooling

 None of these pictures really go together, but they kind of do in a way. Harper is turning into my daredevil child. She's climbing on everything and getting into everything. She was out back playing with her brothers and tried to climb a mini-rock wall on our jungle gym. She slipped and her nose took the brunt of the fall. Luckily she's a tough cookie.
 The climbing has coincided with the start of our homeschooling year, and it's making things interesting. She really, really wants to be a part of her big brother's work, and will do about anything to be really close. I turn my back for a minute and she's on the table with a sharp pencil ready to draw. If she's not on the kitchen table, she's on his desk...or on the counter top.  I am starting to wonder if a play pen is a good idea.
And this leads us to our new pet, Hazel the Kitty. What better way to entertain my almost-18 month old than to give her a new kitten to play with, right?! That wasn't the initial intent, but it has been working out well. Harper loves Hazel, and thankfully Hazel is very patient as Harper carries her in a headlock everywhere she goes. I'm praying the "new" doesn't wear off anytime soon...otherwise, we will be looking into a play pen...

Monday, September 03, 2012

Baby Henry

 This is over-due, but a month ago my 4th nephew was born! Henry (or Hank...depending on whether you're talking to my brother or SIL) joined the Dodson family and became Mimi and Papi's 8th grandchild. We spent a day with the family getting to know sweet Henry and entertaining his big brother and sisters. Between Claire, Lily, Harper and Mica, the poor little guy will more than likely end up in baby doll dresses and be very "pampered"!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

St Louis 2012

 My niece was baptized this past weekend, so we decided to go to St Louis and make a mini vacation out of the event. We hadn't been to see Josh and Caylee since Caylee and I were all just pregnant with Harper and Mica, so it was about high time!
 Caylee and Mica met us at the zoo on Friday morning, and it was about the highlight of my trip seeing those adorable pig-tailed girls check each other out. Their personalities were fun to watch...Mica a little more serious seemed to have a mission in mind, and Harper was happy to follow and jabber along the way.
The St Louis zoo is amazing, and the kids had a blast checking out all the animals. The monkeys were a huge hit, but I think the highlight was the sea lion show.
That night we ate dinner with Josh, Caylee and Mica. The boys ADORED their dog, Oliver. Ethan has been asking when Oliver can come visit. Mica and Harper played well together passing Harper's "baby" back and forth and running all over the house. 
Saturday morning we walked from our hotel to The City Museum. There are no words to describe this place. People tried to explain it to us, but it wasn't until we walked inside that we fully understood how amazing it was. The kids were heaven. It's a 10 story building that has the entire inside turned into a giant maze/jungle gym. We could have spent an entire day there, but we decided we'd have to get a group of the kid's friends and come back for a weekend.

Sunday morning we had a amazing opportunity to go to City Church and watch Mica be welcomed into the covenant community. Their church was such a beautiful mixture of people from all over the world and walks of life. It was a true blessing...

Thanks to the St Louis Dodsons for a wonderful weekend. We love you!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

1st Day of School

My firstborn started kindergarten last week; it was hard on his momma. Other than me trying to figure out how to home-school him 3 days a week (that's a different post for a different time!), I'm very thankful that he's only gone to school for 2 days of the week.
The first morning of school, he woke up quite melancholy and resistant to the fact that he was having to go to school. However, once he got his uniform shirt, his belt (which he's been dying to wear), and his khaki shorts on, he was in a fantastic mood. Getting him to stand still long enough to get a picture was virtually impossible!
 Some of Ethan's best friends are going to school with him, and it was absolutely perfect that all 4 families arrived at almost the same time to walk in together. Watching the boys together made us parents say several prayers for their teachers and the staff...
 The parents were able to walk the kids to their classroom and take a few pictures before the day started, and it was so cute watching the kids find their table and get their name tags on. Ethan briefly got clingy as I told him good-bye but was quickly distracted by his friend, Brady, telling him it was "time to be respectful to the teacher" (I hope that good influence lasts!!). I rushed out before I was a weepy mess. I fully expected to bawl in the car, but Owen quickly reminded me that I still had 2 other kids to take care of as he talked my ear off the whole way home. When I asked him if he was going to be sad about Ethan not being home 2 days a week, his response was, "Nope. I'm going to love it." And I'm pretty sure he has.

The first day went well for everyone, but I think Ethan was exhausted when I picked him up. The first thing he said when he got in the car was, "That was the longest I have ever spent anywhere!" His favorite part of the day was recess, big surprise, and he told his grandma that he didn't like anything else about it. I don't think that feeling last long, though, because he was very excited to go to school after a day at home.

Monday, August 20, 2012

15, 16 AND 17 Months...Oh, my...

The last 3 months have been a blur. When people ask how old Harper is, I keep telling them 14 months old... My brain needs to get caught up with time...
Okay, so I LOVE having a daughter. The boys have been doing several things with just Chris lately, and it's fun to have Harper to hang out with. The picture above was from a morning at the Farmer's Market with her. She's one of the very few people I would share my crepe with!

I think the most common comment I get about her is how small she is. We really are trying to fatten her up, but she's holding strong at 18 pounds. Maybe by the time she's 2 she'll be able to face forward in her car seat. She really started walking well at the end of 14 months. Within a week, she went from toddling to almost running everywhere. It made for a much happier girl (and Mom!). 
 She seems to be a great mix of a girlie-girl and a tom-boy. She carries her pink satin purse outside with her as she plays in the dirt with tractors. She loves her baby and pink blanket, but she can throw a mean left hook. It is a little disconcerting, though, when she's the kid making others cry b/c she punched them or is growling at them. All I can say is that she has 2 older brothers...
Getting dirty is one of her favorite past times. If she can find a mud puddle or dirt, she's quite content. I'm fairly certain she's ruined more clothes than her brother's combined. Another passion of hers is ranch dressing. She wears it well. (see, we really are trying to get her fattened up!)

She does have a flair for the dramatic. She can be bawling like the world is ending and as soon as you say, "Would you like some ice cream?", the waterworks stop and she's as happy as can be. Oh, how fun will the teens be...
It's been a really fun summer with Harper. She has loved swimming with her floaties on, and she loves going down the slide by herself at the pool. She climbs on anything and everything, and is thankfully tough as she's taken her fair share of falls. (When I say "where are you knees", she says "boo boo" as she points to them!) I'm so thankful for this feisty little lady and am looking forward to the fall with her and her brothers!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A full camera...

I didn't realize I had over 184 pictures in my camera from events starting in early July. I'm not entirely sure where the summer went, but I'm going to do my best at catching up!

These pictures were from our 4th of July block party. It was SO hot, but it didn't keep us all from having a great time. We had wonderful food, good conversation, and lots of entertainment watching the kiddos run all over. Once it got dark, our party walked from our house to Orchard's Park where the city put on quite an impressive fireworks show. It was Owen's first year to watch the fireworks, and after he got used to the loud noise, he was a huge fan.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Lake

This is a little after the fact, but we got to go to Lake of the Ozarks with our buds, The Harris', a few weeks ago. The trip started out with Amy and I questioning our sanity as we decided to go early without the dads and with all six kids. Amazingly, the trip went smoothly and we only a few tears towards the end. That's a success in my book! 

The next day was spent out on the boat, and the kids had a blast. Ethan was able to try out their ski trainer, and he was hooked. (Owen tried it the next day while it was hooked to the jet ski and loved it too.) We all enjoyed swimming, and the night was topped off by eating dinner at a restuarant we boated to. I lost track of how many comments we got about HOW MANY KIDS we had with us! 

It was fun watching our kids hang out and make memories together. I think trying to keep up with Timmy helped give Harper some incentive to walk. She loved following him around and laughing at all his crazy antics. (that kid is hilarious) Of course the big kids had crazy amounts of energy and were either wrestling, singing at the top of their lungs, or running in circles. Thank the Lord for cartoons and wine!

The kids went fishing one of the morning we were there, and Ellie was the first to catch a fish. (much to the guys chagrin) Those poor boys had a hard time focusing on that bobber! Thankfully, they all managed to catch one and have a photo op to prove it.

The trip ended with a visit to after-hours emergency clinic. Ethan had a case of severe swimmer's ear, and he was NOT a happy camper. Luckily it was the last day, and we were able to pack a weekend full of good memories in. Thanks, Harris Clan, for the memories!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hillary's Wedding

 My sweet cousin, Hillary, got married this past weekend and it was quite a family affair! Ethan, Jack and Claire were all three in the wedding, and my dad performed the ceremony. I think the rest of us provided lots of entertainment for the wedding party and guests...
 We were a little nervous about how the 3 kids would make it down the aisle because at the rehearsal there was a lot of hesitation. However, come wedding day, they were rock stars and looked like pros.
Ethan was very excited to wear a tux - to say the least. I saw these "GQ" poses multiple times through out the day. I can't imagine where he gets them...
Owen was a little disappointed he didn't get to be a ring bearer too, but Aunt Keela and Hillary still got him a wedding party gift (construction trucks), so all was well with the world. He was most excited about the "dance party", and I have never seen that kid so uninhibited. He was the first and only person on the dance floor for awhile and it did not phase him. He did, however, form a little crush on my cousin Katelyn, and he really wanted to dance with her but never could work up the nerve to ask her. So he stared at her the entire time he was dancing. It was hilarious. 

Harper was only concerned in getting her hands on a cupcake and some champagne. (seriously) She did have fun dancing with Papi, and eating ice out of Mimi's cup. 

It was a beautiful wedding, and we couldn't be happier for Adam and Hillary as they start their life together!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Paw Paw's

It was Paw Paw's birthday this week as well as Father's Day, so we headed South to celebrate with him. Harper has been so obsessed with farm animals, it was time to show her the real deal. It was cute watching her soak up all the animals that she'd really only seen in books. Paw Paw managed to get us really close to a large (but gentle!) bull that let all the kids pet it. She was hesitant at first, but it was cute hearing her "mooing" sounds once she was back in the truck.

Of course Owen was happy as can be as he helped collect eggs and even do some brush hogging on the tractor. Ethan was in his element when they went down to the creek to swim. (I didn't get pictures b/c Harper and I opted to stay at the house.)

And of course no trip to Paw Paw's is complete without playing at the pool table. 

Happy birthday AND Father's Day, Paw Paw!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Oh Summer, where are you going??

 I'm starting to panic as I realize that June is winding down. July is already looking busy, and next thing we's going to be August. August is when my flexible, easy-going life ends. Okay, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but Ethan will be starting school for the first time and this marks the beginning of our family's life being divided up into semesters!! Noooooooo! I am excited for him and for this new stage of life, but it certainly has been nice to not HAVE to be anywhere most days. I'll probably be in mourning the rest of this summer, so be prepared.

  At the beginning of May we added on to our back porch. Owen was in HEAVEN as we had backhos, dump trucks and cement mixers in yard for 3 days. I opened a window for him to look out of, and he talked to the workers as they worked. Of course he had to wear his boots, hard hat and utility belt the entire time.

Once the back porch was completed, we had an impromptu party with a few friends to celebrate. Of course s'mores were the highlight.

We decided to do swim lessons with Miss Donna this year at our friend's, the Harris', pool. Not to anyones surprise, Ethan loved it and Owen hated it. Ethan has been our fish from the beginning and it hasn't changed. He learned to dive and has been enjoying diving for objects in the deep end. We showed him some video of Michael Phelps and he's decided he's going to be an Olympic swimmer now. Owen, however, would rather spend his pool time eating, watching the golfers through the fence, or maybe...just maybe getting in with his floaties on. 

And these are just because I think they're cute.