Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Happy 5th birthday, Josie!

Dear Josie,

On November 30, 2016 you turned 5! You are a funny, happy (usually), opinionated girl.  You have a mind of your own and you aren't afraid to tell us exactly how you feel...especially when it comes to your outfits. You are SO caring with your brothers. Sometimes when I frustrated with Jack - you actually say what I want to say BETTER than I could. You have a calm and rational side that has started to emerge over the past few months.  You are a great friend. You take people under your wing and you truly find FUN in life's littlest moments. You love Jack and Nolan SO incredibly much! I feel like you are the BIG sister to both of them sometimes. Actually, if we're being honest, I'd leave you in charge of them in a heartbeat. You also LOVE your dad. Every night when he comes home from work - you run and hide so he has to find you. You are an old soul, Josie.  I see you interact with your brothers and your cousins and your friends - people are drawn to you and you give them your full attention.

Right now you love coloring and your American Girl doll, Lea.  You like playing with Barbies, too. You are a girlie girl.  That being said - you can also wrestle Jack to the ground if you have to... You can hold your own on the soccer field and play video games with the boys.  You LOVE school and I know you will be SO ready for Kindergarten next fall.

We may butt heads on clothes - but you are a mini-me.  I think the world of you and I'm so proud to call you my little girl.

Happy {belated} birthday!
I love you!

Monday, October 3, 2016

IU's Secret Weapon

In case you missed it - BUT HOW COULD YOU??!?! Our INDIANA HOOSIERS beat Michigan State this past weekend. AND.IT.WAS.GLORIOUS.

If you're wondering who the new mastermind is behind our sudden ability to play defense...well, I have some news for you. The IU staff is consulting with Nolan. I know what you're thinking: "A TWO YEAR OLD?" But he seems to have an innate knack for defense.

Above you can see him discussing some coverage options with his mentor, Papa Denny. So - there you have it - the Hoosiers' secret weapon wears diapers and sleeps with a stuffed dog.


I should excitement for the win over the weekend was ELEVATED when I was standing in line at Target today and overheard two girls talking about the game. They were both wearing Spartan gear (the SHAME) and I just smiled (like a creepy person who is eavesdropping on a conversation in the checkout line.) ZERO CARES. "Ugh, I can't believe we lost that game...blah blah...we were winning by SO much...blah...I didn't even know IU was that good..." Well, we might just be! We've waited TEN long years for that win. We've lived in Michigan for (roughly) 8 of those years! This win was a BIG deal. UUUUGE.

Friday, September 30, 2016


Here are a few snapshots from the second half of our summer:
We got to spend a couple weekends with Aunt Kim at the lake. Here she is with Nolan - hugging his "dog" that she gave him for Christmas last year. It's his fave.

Idaho came to the lake in JULY. It was so fun to spend time with Agnes (and Devin & Kristin).

Nolan went to his first movie! The Secret Life of Pets. He ate plenty of popcorn...but couldn't quite make it through the whole movie. 

This is Josie's reaction to her pre-Kindergarten shots at the pediatrician's office. When my dad saw took him back to ME at 13. I literally did this.

We had an AMAZING summer with Mia and were sad to send her off to MSU for her sophomore year. We miss her already.

Oh - hey Uncle Joe.

The Carsten family came up from FW to visit one weekend. Made Jack's summer. We all took in (half) a Tigers game. 

Bedtime antics. Crazies.

We spent Labor Day enjoying the lake! What a fun summer. So many great memories made at the new lake house! Already looking forward to next year.

Sorry. But when did my baby get so big. {tears} Napping with "Dog."

IU soccer played at UofM. We had to take the kids over for the game. IU is ranked #3 in the country right we witnessed a really great game! Hoosiers won 2-0.

It's beginning to LOOK a lot like fall in Michigan. (not so much FEELING like fall yet) If you've never visited Michigan in the're missing out. It's beautiful! Oh, and we have amazing CIDER mills with Cider Donuts. Nothing better.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Back to School Blues

Jack started 1st grade the Tuesday after labor Day. We are SO excited for an exciting year ahead. He has lots of friends in his class and has been VERY positive coming home every day after school. He has Mrs. Harris this year.
Miss Josie started her year in Pre-K with Mrs. Bugar. She has a super small class - but equal number of boys vs girls. If you know Josie - you know that the start of the school year means we are now having fights every morning about clothes. So every MWF - you can just send up a patience prayer for me around 8am. Because Lord knows - we're fighting.
Oh and then this happened. NOLAN is going to school, too. He's doing the 2's program with Mrs. Laux. He's actually repeating this class because he already did it once as a newborn (with Josie). I can say - when Josie did it she turned 3 soon after the start. She was totally independent. TOTALLY different experience this time! {patience prayer, again} Nolan is personable and funny...but he's also STUBBORN and ORNERY.

So - there you have it - back to school...

Monday, September 26, 2016

Soccer Mom

It's official. I'm a Soccer Mom. Jack is playing on the U7 Rush travel team this year. They travel around Metro Detroit playing other U7 teams. It's a big commitment - BUT he actually does LOVE it and it feeds his competitive nature. He's a pretty loud voice on the field (and from the sidelines). We've had to remind him to be more encouraging...but the kid HATES losing. Because of that - he's a pretty badass defender. Don't get me wrong...he also loves scoring. But his competitive nature makes him protective of the goal and coaches love kids who hate losing. He's aggressive and focused on the field. We've had fun watching him develop as a player. That being said - we will also continue baseball and possibly add basketball to his line-up. People can say what they want about kids being "over-scheduled" - I get it - but I also know that a BUSY kid stays out of trouble. We're keeping them busy.
And then there is Josephine.  She's playing on a U6 Rush Academy team this fall.  She practices once a week and plays a game every Saturday. She LOVES it and is really improving. The biggest positive for her is self-confidence. She is always following in Jack's footsteps - so having her moment to shine is really fun to watch. Here's a story from her first game:

Tyson took her to the field for the pre-game practice. Her coach (who is Jack's full-time coach) was on duty to coach the girls.  He asked is she wanted to be called Josephine, Josie, or a different name.  Tyson told him we call her Josie or Jojo. He was like "Great! I'll call her Jojo." So the ENTIRE game he's yelling "JOJO!" from the sidelines and she is totally oblivious that he's talking to her. Needless to say - we are switching her "soccer name" back to Josie for all future games.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nolan TURNED Two!

Well - in an effort to document my third child's life...I have failed. I'm a terrible blogger lately. A million, crazy schedules, lack of sleep, etc. Regardless - I owe Nolan a birthday post.
Somehow my BABY turned TWO on August 20. He's such a little man. We celebrated in Warsaw with my parents, grandparents, Joe, Gina, and the cousins.

Uncle Jon and Cassie called in via FaceTime to sing HAPPY BIRTHDAY (or Happy You You) to Nolan. I think that might have been the highlight of his day. The singing.
While we were in Indiana - we had a chance to visit a few of my great-aunts. Aunt Kate (top left) is 101 and Aunt Mary (top right) is going to be 100 next month. Of course, Gigi and Grandpa Gigi came over to celebrate their youngest great grandchild. Nolan felt preeeettttty special.

Some info on the two year old:
Nolan weighs 30lb and is 33in tall. So basically he's a future running back. He is a snacker. Meals? No thanks...he'll just snack all day. Nolan is a talker! He has a lot to say and he will talk non-stop. Unfortunately, there are only a select few of us who speak his language. He's SO friendly and outgoing. He can make someone's day at Target or the grocery store...with his happy wave and "hello!" I literally see people brighten up in his presence.  His favorite people are Jack, Josie, and both of his "papas." Nolan is funny and also very opinionated. We are so thankful he's part of our family.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer Days

Summer is flying by! We try to make the most of these hot, sunny days. We've had plenty of sprinkler days with popsicle snacks.
LOTS of visits to the lake this summer. Just making up for not being able to go last summer... Boy is it a fun place to spend a weekend!
An occasional nap. Cooper is the King of Naps. Nolan is, too. Jack and Josie could use some work on their napping skills.
And plenty of side walk chalk, too.  I try to keep them busy - but we also enjoy our down time. The school year is right around the corner and that brings LONG days and LONG nights. Soccer will be starting and both, Jack & Josie, have full schedules. (which means so do mom & dad...and Nolan) These are the days.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Clevenger Family Lake Time

A couple weeks ago we were able to have my family at the lake for some family fun.  Nolan was in heaven because his Papa Jerry was there. My dad and Tyson's dad are celebrity status in Nolan's world.

Uncle Jon and Cassie were visiting from Naples! They volunteered to go tubing with Jack and he had a BLAST!

My grandparents also came over for the day.  My grandpa had a total hip replacement in June and is doing awesome! It was fun having them there with us. Joe, Gina, and their kiddos were there too...which would be why I have zero pictures of Josie on here. Her cousins are her BFFs and there wasn't one picture I took all day that didn't have Millie or Emma in it with her. She's a lucky girl.

Thankful for time together and a fun place to spend a weekend!

ALSO - this is my 2,000 published blog post. Which is crazy. I haven't been the best blogger lately...but I definitely want this running timeline for the kids - so I will be better.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Soccer Goals

Mid-June marked the end of Josie's 2nd soccer season. She played on Team Chile or as she said "GO TEAM CHILL-WE!" She must have picked up a lot from her older brother - because the girl is on a mission on the soccer field, beast-mode.
In her last game, with only a couple minutes left - she was working hard to get the ball in front of the goal so her teammates could score. She got the ball in scoring position...and a little boy kicked it away. Again, worked to get it to the goal - same boy (opposite team) kicked it away. Third time, gets it back toward the goal...the little boy comes up and Josie straight put him in a headlock and took him to the ground. She'd had enough of him. Obviously - I was SO embarrassed - but also SHOCKED. I called her off the field. Other parents were laughing, because, well, it was kind of funny...but just NOT when it's your child. I made her apologize to the boy and to his parents. His mom was very sweet and we shared a laugh together. Someday, when she's 17 and comes home talking about a cute boy named Ethan...I will be able to tell her she once took him to the ground in a headlock on a soccer field. Something tells me that this story - in 13 years - will still be 100% Josie.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The End of Kindergarten

June 16th marked the end of the school year in Michigan! Jack made some great friends and was sad to say goodbye to his teacher. But - he was REALLY pumped for summer break...and looking forward to lots of time spent at the pool and in the lake.

This is Jack's "girlfriend" Victoria. She is - not only adorable, but super smart and hilarious. She always had me laughing when I volunteered in the classroom. When I asked Jack what it means to call her his girlfriend he told me "it just means we know each other, mom." (and then he walked away)

And finally - our favorite 5th grader is moving on to the middle school. This is our neighbor Chase. He's one of Jack's favorite people, so I had to snap a picture of them on the last day. It's the only time they will ever be under the same roof in school and we will miss him next year...although he is just steps away from us...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Summer Mode...almost

 I've been spending lots of time with these two. Josie is out of school and our days are filled with...well, each other. Lots of time with each other.
 I've been keeping some crafts around for Josie. She's a crafty girl...must be in the blood.
The pool opened - which means we are ALL happy. Nolan is quite the swimmer! Swim lessons for everyone this summer!
 Oh - and Snapchat...when we're bored. It's so ridiculous, but so funny.
Josie is realizing how boring my "day to day" life is while she's at school I'm pretty sure she thinks I have dance parties at Chuck-E-Cheese... False. It's grocery shopping, and Costco, and laundry. Never grow up.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Memorial Day

We spent Memorial Day at the lake and it was AMAZING. Everything. We got to spend the whole weekend with family and friends...which is pretty much the best case scenario. There were a couple games of chess...

Lots of swimming in the {just a tad cool} lake. Both Jack & Josie will pretty much be fish this summer.

We took plenty of boat rides. Nolan decided he likes the boat.

 ...and taking baths in the sink.
 ...and reading the newspaper with Papa Denny.
 We got to hang out and play with the Dixon/Wright clan. Jack is the oldest at 6...Maddie is two weeks older than Josie (peas in a pod) and Will is two weeks older than Nolan. This is a crazy crew.
 Grandma Shirlee and Grandpa Jerry stopped by Sunday for a boat ride, lunch, and the Indy 500.

 Oh - and there was plenty of desserts. Cake & ice cream. Jack was in heaven. Looking forward to MANY more weekends at the lake!