"Being a family means you are part of something wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what." ~Author Unknown

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Labor Day Weekend

As is often the case, the weather wasn’t great on Labor Day weekend.  We weren’t too bothered though, we managed to fill it up. 

We took a road trip to visit Grandma Jackie.  We were hoping she could make the trip up to see us, but it’s just too long of a drive for her anymore.  Didn’t matter in the end, we just enjoy her company regardless of where it’s at! 



The nice thing about going to Kzoo to visit, is we drive right past MSU on the way home.  We originally were going to do a quick drop in so the cousins could see the dorm room, but Adrienne asked if we wanted to go to dinner(and take her to Kroger:) so we happily obliged! 


There’s a theater in the basement of Adrienne’s dorm and Sof and Nat didn’t waste any time making use of it!


Chili’s is our go to spot for dinner because we like to eat an absurd amount of chips and salsa! 


In keeping with our theme of gluttony we stopped at Starbucks on the way home!


We were about to enjoy the next day at home with nothing to do, but Liz and Scott had some U2 tickets that we couldn’t pass up.  It’s not really my taste in music, but I always love a reason to go out!


On Monday, we felt pressure to get the boat out one more time.  Had we known it was going to be 90 for most of September we would have let it go!  It was short lived, but we did it!


The kids were determined too.  They wanted that last tube ride! It lasted maybe 5 minutes and they waved the white flag.  It was too windy and wavy for even them!  We made the best of it and enjoyed our lunches!

IMG_1229IMG_1231IMG_1235 That is the tale of our last boat ride that really wasn’t the last boat ride. 

Note to self:  Chill out with the pressure to jam every last summer activity into Labor Day weekend.  It will get warm again in September and you’ll be doing it all again.   

Monday, November 13, 2017

The College Launch

It’s pretty surreal that we have now successfully launched a child to college.  It’s one of the greatest accomplishments of parenthood, and yet it’s a messy process to get there.  We felt nothing but excitement her entire senior year.  She was ready, and we were ready to see her move on to the next adventure.  However, the idea of sending her to college versus the reality of sending her to college is two different things. 

We started collecting necessary items to fill a dorm room.  Mark took her for all the big stuff- futon, fridge, microwave, etc.  Then I did the fun stuff- bedding, containers, decor, etc.  We had to have a come to Jesus in the middle of Target.  Dorm rooms are small.  You must choose everything based on a dual storage purpose.  Also, you might not be able to take all your shoes at once.


Once it started getting closer, emotions got a little out of whack.  What I mean to say is Adrienne was being an asshole everyone was a little testy.  We planned one last Friday hang out night with the cousins.  The cousins didn’t care that much.  But Em and I cared and we decided that everyone else WOULD care too!  Let’s just say some people Adrienne were not very cooperative about the whole thing.


*pictures all taken under duress

I can’t tell you how easy it was at this point to imagine dropping her off at that dorm room.  I had visions of coming to a slow roll in front of the door and kicking her to the curb.  I was researching low interest loans to pay for early move in.  I considered some sort of Uber/U-Haul combination to have her picked right up in our driveway.  Kidding, kidding.  Not really.

However, the next morning there was new perspective.  Em and I DO NOT mess around when it comes to these 6 girls.  We are a pack, and we will behave that way.  So, re-do.  We went out to dinner and had a lovely evening. 


The next morning was go time!  We loaded up everything and headed off to MSU!


Adrienne’s dorm is a smaller one, so move in was very smooth.  We pulled up in a parking spot, got a bunch of rolling bins, and loaded everything in them.


Her roomate and her family were delightful.  Both Mark and her dad are handy, so they got to work right away moving around beds and such.  Everyone jumped in and did a little something.  The girls were both very agreeable and not too picky about anything! 


It wasn’t long and it was all put together!  The girls opted not to match each other, but rather coordinate colors.  It turned out perfect!



We all went down to the cafeteria to eat together.  Lexi and Sof were in heaven when they realized there was a dessert bar there!  We had a nice time eating and chatting, but as we were winding down I could feel the tears start to come.  I enjoy Adrienne’s company around the house, she’s the leader of our tribe, the role model for the others.  Knowing she would thrive in this next phase of her life makes it exciting, but still a little sad.  We miss her daily presence.

The ride home was pretty quiet, mostly because of this…


I couldn’t resist going home and finding pictures from when Adrienne was a baby visiting Emily’s dorm room at MSU! 



I’m not crying, you’re crying.

I can rest assured that I did something right.  She texted me on her first day of classes, and said, “Don’t worry. I took a picture”!


Train ‘em up right, and you will never be without pictures.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


August felt like the first time we could relax a little and enjoy some slower summer days.  We had a ton of fun traveling, but I really love the summer days that include coffee on the patio and texting neighbors to see what’s up for the day. 

One of those days ended up creating a monster!  Jill and I decided to try out open gym at Bounce.  Sof has been there before, but it’s been awhile.  She wasn’t quite as into gymnastics then.  This trip she basically decided she was Mary Lou Retton.  From this day on it’s all she ever wants to do!  She begs to go to Bounce EVERY SINGLE DAY.




We loaded up two of the triplets as well, because these girls and Colin are a pack.  


We turned in Sof’s reading log at the library.  She was able to pick out a book from a shelf full of choices.  She chose one called “A Hundred Dresses”.  I wasn’t familiar with it, and pushed her towards some other titles.  Of course she was having none of that.  Months later we actually read it, and it was such a good book!  Basically a story about bullying told from one of the bully’s perspective set way back in time.  A great read for elementary age kids!


Lexi went to a cheer camp in Georgia.  It was a fantastic opportunity for her, but we missed her!  Everyone(including Scratches) was so happy when she got home!

IMG_0455IMG_0457   Joni was supposed to leave the end of July, but she extended her trip a little into August.  We were so happy!  We were able to have some library dates.


Knowing how to stunt sure comes in handy when you just have to have that last bag of BBQ chips on the top shelf. 


We got out for a grown up dinner with Barb and Jeff. 


Sometimes lazy summer days are exhausting!


One morning I was reorganizing some of the girls stuff in the basement. I flipped through some paperwork I had saved from Sof’s adoption.  All of the sudden this picture was there.  I have no recollection of ever seeing this or being given it!  Our meeting with her head doctor was short and jam packed with information we had only one chance to absorb.  I was frantically taking notes during that time and stashing away each piece of paper they gave me.  Then they handed us our baby girl and it was go time.  I clearly never looked at that stuff ever again!  Finding a baby picture of your internationally adopted child is like winning the lotto!  For the longest time I only had 9 pictures of her before the age of 2 1/2, now I have 10:) 


Even though we got more weeks with these two than we expected, we still want more.  We enjoyed one more bittersweet evening together!

I was running in my neighborhood on this particular morning, and this wagon was sitting on the curb with a “free” sign.  I finished my run, but thought about it the whole time.  Sof and I jumped in the car when I got back and went and picked it up!  It’s perfect for these two!


It’s not good bye, just see ya later, but please don’t grow before then!

Impromptu is always how it works best for us, and this night out with Brian and Ami was perfect! 


Emily was out of town for a weekend, so I had to do Milford Memories alone with these 4.  It was crazy busy and we didn’t last long!


Our bigs are actually getting so big.  And pretty sassy too.  No way they were going to actually LOOK for a picture!


We had a total lunar eclipse and I tried the selfy strategy to try and capture it.  Basically I have a lot of pictures that look like this, and none that look anything like an eclipse.


This is around the time of the month that not only is the new school year looming, it’s time to take action to be ready for it.  My staff likes to ease in a little with paddle boarding and cocktails on a beautiful summer night.




Lexi had her registration day.  Sof was there to help carry all the paraphernalia along the way!

IMG_0983IMG_0984 When you realize that outfit that looks so cute in person actually looks like a stripper in your school pics.


To be fair, this is the zoomed out a little version.  On her school ID it cuts off before the top of her shirt so all you can see is the black bralette strap.  Fail.

I’m not ignoring the fact that we had a kid launch to college this month.  It was a process that deserves it’s own post.  However, I will tell you that one Sunday I had the realization that we only had one week till move in date and then it will forever be difficult to get family pictures taken.  I called a photographer and she got us in that Thursday.  I didn’t stress too much about clothes, but did buy Sof a new little outfit.


She loved it couldn’t wait to model it!  The rest of the family was not so enthusiastic about the pics.  There was a lot of complaining of which I gave no cares about.  And so happy I didn’t, because these pics were worth it!


Lexi and Sof went to camp with their cheer teams.  This was not cheer camp, but just regular camp with cheer.  A chance to do some fun things and build friendships with the girls you’re going to spend the year with.  Lexi thought it was the worst thing of her entire life.  Bugs, camp food, and bedtime pranks are not her thing.  Sof, on the contrary, thought it was amazing and can’t wait to go back! 

I used the white van to drive 13 girls there!


The last day of camp was my first day of work and Sof’s open house at school.  I made Mark take the day off to go get the girls and get them back in time to shower and meet me at Sof’s school!  It was a rush, but it worked out!


Lexi had a pool party with her cheer team.  It’s still summer after all!



Adrienne was able to support the Pom team at their first home game. 


Our last job to get ready for school was getting new glasses for Sof.  She couldn’t be cuter. 


I still can’t believe summer 2017 is over already!