Tuesday, July 21

on the fourth of july

We had a sweet little fourth of July celebration with friends this year.  They invited us over and made yummy grilled food while the kids took over their backyard with their shenanigans.  We have been friends with Erica & Doug since before we had kids and they are special friends.  They are the kind of friends that would do absolutely anything for you and not think twice about it.  We love them.  And our kids love their kids.    

Their neighbors have a little playhouse that they let them use whenever and our girls did not want to leave that little house.  How cute is that little porch swing?

Tyson is always happy to have a boy to play with and the water gun wars and soccer playing made him so happy.

I was planning on taking a little fourth of July photoshoot of the kids before we left but ran out of time so as it got a little later in the evening and the lighting was just right, their yard was the perfect backdrop for few fun photos.

And since Erica & Doug are so awesome and thoughtful, they took a few family pics of us too.  This one was my favorite.  Our little goof troop.

And I just adore these pictures of all the kids together.  So sweet.  We have pictures of Avery & Evan as babies together so it is fun to watch them grow.

Jason even got in on the red, white, and blue without any prompting from me.  He just knows the drill at this point.  Such a good man.

We brought some sparklers along and were excited because our kids had never experienced them before.  They thought it was awesome.

We thought we had covered all the bases on safety with sparklers but apparently Mia didn't catch that you don't put them near your mouth.  I am not sure what she was trying to do but thankfully, no harm was done to those sweet lips.

Violet was not sure about the whole sparkler thing but she was content to observe and hold the box.

This picture makes me laugh each time I look at it.

I did not get a single good photo of them watching the fireworks but I still love this blurry one.  We just drove over to a local high school next to Kings Island and watched their fireworks from the parking lot along with a ton of other people who had the same idea.

It was totally worth keeping them up late. And they even slept in the next morning which was nothing short of a fourth of July miracle.

Monday, July 20

a new nephew

We have a new (great) nephew and he is amazing. Tia & Tyler along with so many others have been praying for and dreaming of this baby boy while anxiously awaiting his safe arrival into this world.  On Thursday, July 2nd, Xavier Scott Jones made his debut.  

None of us could help but fall in love the second we met baby X.

Jason took the day off and so all six of us headed to the hospital that morning and spent the day there.  We even gave the kids a full experience with lunch in the cafeteria.  The kids loved him and Avery was so happy to be able to hold him.

Tyson got to hold him next and he is sure that Xavier already loves him.

Seriously, my heart melted with him in my arms.  He is such a beautiful gift from God that we are all so thankful for.  It's so wonderful to have a new baby in the family.  It made me miss his big sister but I kept picturing her celebrating with the angels in heaven over the birth of her precious baby brother.

It truly seems like yesterday when I was waiting at the hospital for my sister to give birth to Tia and now she is a Momma herself.

I was so happy for my big sister to be a grammy once again.  Such an exciting, peaceful, and beautiful day and I am so thankful to have been a part of it.

Thursday, July 16

my best friend got married.

After years of hoping, dreaming, and praying, my best friend, Sara met the man of her dreams and not even a year after that, they got married.  Jason and I decided to just take Avery and Mia, the only ones that would care so he stayed in a hotel with the girls while I stayed with Sara the night before the wedding.  The wedding weekend began with the rehearsal dinner on a gorgeous night in the country of Lexington, Kentucky.  There was a pool so the kids were all loving life and having a blast. It was laid back and such a sweet way to kick off the celebration.

Sara chose Brittney and I to stand beside her on the special day.  Brittney is her cousin and best friend and the three of us make a great trio.  We have the best time together and I just love these girls so much!  After we left the rehearsal dinner, we headed to CVS to get some snacks and other necessary randomness and then we arrived at Sara's house for the night.  We laughed a lot, cried some, ate snacks, and looked through an old photo album from college.  It was awesome and we did not want it to end.  Sara finally came to a point where she just could not stay up any longer so Brittney and I headed to the guest room and ended up staying up for hours talking.  We refused to look at a clock so we actually have no idea how late it was when we finally said good night.  It was awesome and time I will never forget.

The next morning, Sara wore her Feyonce shirt proudly for one last time of being an actual fiance.  We were hungry and needed breakfast so we did what most girls would do several hours before their wedding, we ate sandwiches at Panera and then went to the best donut place in town for dessert.  Ha. We were laughing at ourselves.

But I believe those donuts were totally worth it.

Brittney had some robes monogrammed by a friend so we could wear them as we got ready that morning.  But due to unforeseen circumstances, we never did get a robe pic with Sara so we made sure to at least get one of the two of us.  The hairstylist/make-up girl came over that morning but after finishing Sara, there was not enough time left for the rest of us so she ended up just doing Brittney and the flower girl's hair.  I was on my own for hair and make-up which was not a big deal, we were just a little anxious as time was moving so quickly.  Then Sara had to leave because her and Mark were going to have a "first look" at each other before the ceremony.  Britney and I were not ready yet so she went alone and that part made us all sad.  It was all good though and we arrived at the wedding location just in time.  

When I first saw Sara, I began to cry like a baby.  It was such a surreal moment, she looked gorgeous, and I was beyond happy for her.  I couldn't hold it in, it was one of those moments that simply called for tears.  We just kept saying to each other, "Is this really happening?".  The weather had been all over the place during the week leading up to the wedding so we were a bit worried.  And then all of a sudden, the forecast changed and it ended up being a perfectly beautiful Spring day.  I am quite sure God was bombarded with prayers for great weather and he outdid himself with the beauty of that day.

The ceremony was simple, sweet, and absolutely as beautiful as one could imagine.  I was incredibly nervous as I walked down the grassy aisle.  I was literally shaking and holding back the tears.  I felt better when Brittney was at my side but then Sara started walking down the aisle and I lost it.  I cried through pretty much the entire ceremony.  It was just such an amazing moment and I was so thankful to be a part of it.  

Avery, of course had to make them a sweet picture for a wedding gift and it was precious.  I especially love the little people at the top of the cake.

The girls could not wait to see Sara up close.  Mia was in awe of her in that dress.

It was an incredibly special day and you could just feel it in the air.  My family even drove hours to be at the wedding which meant so much to me.  Everyone was just so happy for Sara and Mark.

Mia and the flower girl are sweet friends so she was happy to hang out with her during the reception.

Jason snapped a couple quick pics of us girls together before the ceremony and I am so happy he did. I just love this picture.  Sara could not wait to get on her honeymoon but Brittney and I did not want the day to end.  It was such an amazing day and I love re-living the moments in my mind because I never want to forget them.  I am extremely thankful to have stood by her side as she married the man of her dreams.  God is so so good.  

Wednesday, July 15

dear tyson...

Dear Tyson,

You are seven years old today.  I have loved every minute of these seven years with you.  I fell in love the second I laid eyes on you.  You surprised us by coming 2 weeks early and I'm so thankful for that extra 2 weeks we had together.

You are a precious little man.  Your heart is so tender and you love your family deeply.  You constantly tell me I'm beautiful and all kinds of other things that make my heart happy.  You are quite the encourager in our family, in school, and on the ball field.  You make us so proud with your big heart and kind soul.

You do not like change.  You cried when we remodeled our kitchen this past year.  You still talk about the old floor because you miss "jumping on the squares".  You don't like it when we change things up in your room or when we even mention getting rid of a toy that you haven't played with in years.  However, you will go into any classroom at any church with a smile and act like the first day of school is no big deal.  You are confident in new situations and handle them like a pro but your sentimental heart can't handle new kitchen appliances.

You're a funny guy.  You make us laugh and you love that.  You like making people happy.  You have been known to give up the last bag of fruit snacks so your sisters can have it instead.  You are an incredibly special brother.

You love helping your Daddy work on just about anything.  You love your bike rides with Daddy as he runs.  You and Daddy are buddies and it is so sweet.  You both love adventure and especially an adventure together.   You finally got to ride big kid water slides this year with him at the water park and you thought it was awesome.

You love to be read to and can remember just about everything you hear.  When we picked you up from church while we were visiting Aunt Stephanie & Uncle Dave, the teacher said you were very smart and knew your Bible stories well!  That was music to my ears.

Legos are your favorite toy right now which is no change from last year.  You can create some pretty impressive things with Legos.  You want the sets as gifts but except for a few select ones, you usually take them apart and build your own thing.  You love trading Legos with your big cousin Shane and he is still your favorite person in the world.

Chips & salsa continues to be your favorite snack although I am not even sure you taste the chips due to the extreme amount of salsa you put on them.  You can clean a chicken leg and corn on the cob better than anyone and strawberries are by far your favorite fruit.

When you are mad, you get a crazy look on your face.  You sometimes say, "I am so mad, I don't know what to do, I just want to hit something."  I totally know what you mean.  You try so hard to do the right things but nobody can be perfect.  I love watching you grow into a big kid and practice that self-control we have been working on since you were tiny.

You fall asleep pretty quick at night and you're my earliest riser.  We have a rule for you to stay in bed until 7:00 or else we would see you at 6 and that is much too early for anyone of us to be awake.

You are close to reading independently and if you cared a little more about it, you would be.  But math continues to be your thing and comes more naturally to you.  You don't mind practicing math and love to ask us crazy math questions.  In fact, you love to ask questions period.  Your favorite is when you show us two Lego guys and ask us which is the good and bad guy and who we think would win the battle.

You are such a neat little man and we are constantly in awe of you and the way you are growing into such a big and incredibly special kid.

My favorite thing about you is the way you seem to grasp how amazing God is and you truly have a heart for Him.  That is our biggest prayer for you buddy, that you will forever have a heart for God.

Thank you for loving the way you do, thank you for treasuring time with your family, and for all the sweet things you say to me as I tuck you in at night.  You are so quick to forgive my parenting fails and make me feel like the best mommy in the world.  Thank you for being you Tyson Carter.  I love, love, love being your Mommy.

And of course, I love you WAY more than you love me no matter what you say!


Tuesday, July 14

our little all-star

We all thoroughly enjoyed Tyson's t-ball season.  He had a blast and so did the rest of us!  The girls found sisters of other players to hang out with and everyone enjoyed their time at the ball park.  He had plenty of fans come and watch him play during the season like Grandma & PaPa, Grandma Hinten, Aunt Beth, Aunt Julie, Grandpa Hinten & Barb.  When my sister Beth came to cheer our little guy on, she brought her camera along and caught some beautiful shots of Tyson in action.

Always a funny guy.

Beth got some fun shots of the fans too like this one of my Mom, Violet, and I.  Judy Marie, Tiffany Marie, and Violet Marie.  I love it!

Tyson's awesome Kindergarten teacher also came to a game which was so sweet and he was thrilled.  It gave us a chance to talk and we got to know her better and now we love her even more.

He is just the cutest little thing.

His coach was so sweet and good to him.  Always patting him on the head.

He celebrates every move and I love it.

And then at what we thought would be his last game of the season, the coach informed us that he was one of three from the team to be picked for the All-Star game.  We were so excited.  Jason almost cried.  For real.

So we got to watch our little man play ball in one extra game for the season and it was an awesome one.  The all-stars definitely kicked it up a notch with the action and excitement.  Such a fun game to watch!

I love how the girls would entertain themselves during the game.  This particular day was wet and muddy but they found plenty to do in their rain boots.

It's all fun and games until somebody falls in the mud.

The players seemed to have a great time and it was the cutest game to watch.  We were sad to see the season end.  Next year Tyson will move on to coach pitch so we'll see how that goes...