Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dare Devil!

This cute boy was so in love with his bucket swing the idea of sitting in a big boy swing was just not going to fly! 

I finally convinced him to sit on the big boy swing and he is hooked now. 

And it took him no time at all to start saying higher! He loves to get pushed higher and higher. 

When I'm busy working in the yard he's fine swinging himself. He'll either twist up and go round and round. 

Or he'll run out as far as the swing will let him and then lift up his legs and swing back. 

Ella is also getting really close to being able to pump herself. She was working on it and was keeping herself going for a little while. She still loves underdogs though! 

It's crazy how we are only down to a couple baby items....Zeke's Lightning McQueen booster chair...he doesn't use it at the table anymore, but I'm going to keep it so we have it to use when friends come over. My mom gave me the Pack & Play that was at her house. I was thinking about selling it, but I might actually keep it for friends to use as well. It is time to say bye-bye to the bucket swing though! 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Zeke Russell is 3 Years Old!!!

Holy Moly my baby is 3!!!! 

Zeke Man I still have a terribly hard time thinking you are 3! For starters you are just a cute little guy. So many people have asked us over the last year if you were 12 or 18 months old. There are tons of kids under 2 years old that are your same height. I think you are going to take after the Grant side of the family in regards to your stature. 

You have definitely transitioned to a big boy this last year. You no longer sit in a high don't sleep in a toddler can sit on a big boy swing. And the best part of all....NO MORE DIAPERS!!!! Let me tell you Mama is happy about that ship sailing! You still have some room to grow in regards to being more independent. You still don't initiate taking down your pants, but you are very good about telling us when you have to go. 

Your vocabulary is amazing! I try very hard to not compare, but I would say you and Jack are very similar with how many words you can say at such a young age. You crack me up with some of the things you say....for were at my friend Laci's house a while back and her dog surprised you. Ella said that you were crying like, "Waaa Waaa Waaa", to which you responded I was not...I was saying, "Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm", (like a whimper). Then you said, "that dog no want to eat me.......then I be all gone!" 

You love to have choices....what shirt to wear, what cup to use, what shoes to put on, what plate for lunch. Choices are your friend! As far as food goes you are at a plateau I would say. You are pretty much set with what you learned at therapy, but you haven't really ventured out into new territory in a while. That's fine with me. We have a good thing going and you are eating so I'd rather not rock the boat. 

You like to love to play on "ABP Mouse" and you like to be involved with Ella's preschool at home. You love to call me teacher while we are doing school. I would say your favorite thing about learning is singing songs. You love to sing....whenever we are going to have nachos I'll start singing "Nacho Nacho Man...I'm gonna be a nacho man" you love that song!!! 

You have not really been interested in any ride on toy or the power wheels until recently. I'm thinking it had to do with your height. Now you do enjoy riding on Jack's Y Glider......seriously the best scooter ever. You also have just recently started driving Owen's Lightning McQueen Power Wheels around in the garage. 

You still love to be snuggled and you still suck your thumb at bed time. I'm hoping that will be an easy to break habit for you like it was for Ella. We'll see come your 5th birthday I guess! 

It's hard for me to imagine, but come September it will just be you and me while the big kids are in school. Crazy! I haven't had just one kid at home since June 2008! Shopping will be different, going to MOPS will be different...everything will be different! I'm hoping that you won't be too lonely without Sissy as you two have become quite attached to each other lately. I have a feeling that you will be just like me and want to go to "Cool" early. 

Zeke Russell....I have mixed emotions about you growing up. I love seeing you discover and figure out new things. I love that you are growing and developing new skills that will eventually mean you can do it all by yourself, but at the same time you are my last! Not only will I never raise a baby again in the same way as I raised you guys, but I won't really hold and feel for another baby the way I felt about you guys until I'm a grandma....that's hopefully a long ways out which will be a good thing, but it makes me sad. This is another chapter in my life that is closing. Chapter 34....No more babies - On to big kids! time really and truly flies by! 

You are my precious baby boy. I could not even imagine our family without you. I remember laying on the operating table waiting for what seemed like forever for them to finally take you out and thinking...I hope it's a girl.....I hope it's a boy....I hope it's a girl...and then at the last second I really truly though.....I really hope it's a boy! The whole pregnancy I was wanting a girl, but at the same time trying not to get my hopes up, but then at the same time making sure I wouldn't be disappointed either was quite weird. God knew that we needed you! I thought Ella needed a sister, but she really needed you! I needed you! I knew almost the moment we had Ella that we would have a fourth child. Then after we lost Kyan I thought this can not be how I finish my childbearing days. I knew there was another baby and you were that baby. You are so treasured buddy. I know that God is going to lead you and guide you and when you fall He'll pick you up. When you struggle He will be there to comfort you....just like we will. I love you more than words can say Zeke Man! 

Happy Birthday! 

Thursday, May 21, 2015

It's Graduation Day!!!

May 12th was Ella's graduation day from MOPS. It's so hard for me to believe that 3 of my 4 kiddos have graduated out of MOPS. 

The kiddos that were graduating got to come down from their class to where all the moms were. 

They did a couple songs and a couple scripture verses. It's always so cute to see the different personalities of the different kids. I was sure Ella wasn't going to say anything since she did when the kids did a little performance for us at Christmas, but she actually did participate! 

Then it was time for the ceremony! 

They look so cute in their caps! 

Oh my word....she's gonna be a kindergartner!!!! 

Then Miss Terri who is in charge of all the MOPPET workers....the people who volunteer to watch the kids....called each child forward to receive their Bibles. 

Waiting to here their name called! 

Ella was so excited to get her Bible! 

She was actually excited the whole day she has never hugged so many people! She just kept loving on all the workers....I think she really understands this was it....this chapter of her life is over. Next stop school! 

The most precious thing Ella said was on the ride home from MOPS she was looking through her Bible and she came across a map and was so excited...."Mom....the Bible has a we won't ever get lost!" Such precious words....yes baby girl...if we follow the Bible we will never get lost!!!! 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Burning The Midnight Oil!

We have been really busy and have not been making Ella and Zeke take naps. On this particular day it had been maybe 3 days since Zeke had taken a nap. Michael sat down on the couch to read a book to Zeke and he crashed! 

Our kids never fall asleep on the couch unless they are sick and even then sometimes they don't. He was just plain tuckered out though! 

Michael just kept reading the book and he just kept on sucking his thumb! 

I've been telling him recently that if he wants to suck his thumb he has to be in his bed....I made an exception for this though! 

You know when the thumb comes out he is really gone! In fact Michael had to get up and go help the older boys and he still stayed asleep even though he was laying in the weirdest position. I was reading to Ella so I didn't get a picture of that. Ella was yawning up a storm and I kept asking her if she was tired and she kept saying no. Then she got a really bad headache and I talked about how that happens to me sometimes when I'm really tired. Zeke woke up a couple minutes after that and I took him potty and then put him and Ella to was 6:30pm! They both ended up sleeping over 12 hours! When you are are tired! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Key Jar!

On the night of our anniversary my friend Alicia gave us this fun activity to do with our kids. She emailed it to me, but I hadn't gotten around to printing it out at the library yet. It was so sweet of her to think of us and to print them out for me. 

These are questions that you can discuss at the dinner table with your kids just to get conversations started. 

Here's Instructions! 

It came with this label that you cut out and put on a mason Jar. I also had to cut all the questions into strips and then fold them in half. 

Here are some examples...some of the questions can get pretty deep. 

This was the one we first talked about. Jackson totally floored me when he said..."Telling people about Jesus!". Is this kid awesome or what. Of course that's the most important job....EVER. Michael said, "Being a Mom". We did talk some more and Michael did bring up a good point....a water worker....Michael's pretty darn important. Without water life would basically stink! 

Thanks Alicia for thinking of us....the kids have really enjoyed using these at dinner! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Anniversary Date Night!

It was pretty low key evening for our anniversary this year. My parents came over and took the kids out to dinner and ice cream. Michael and I went for Chinese at our favorite place in Des Moines....The Madarin Kitchen! 

Fortune Cookies! 

After dinner we came home to drop off the parents had already left with the kids. When I ran into the house I saw a card from my mom on the kitchen counter so I opened it and put the card on our mantle. Once we got home I found out that they searched the whole house and interrogated the kids to see if one of them had taken the card. Oops! 

After dropping off the food we ran to The Dollar Tree to get candy and then we meet up with our friends Alicia and Rich to watch a movie. They had gotten free tickets and gave us some as well. We saw Do You Believe?. It's from the same production company that made God's Not Dead. I have never heard one word about this movie, but I watched the trailer and really wanted to see it. It was amazing!!!! I loved it!!

The next day was not so hot....poor Michael woke up feeling not so good which turned into a full out stomach bug. This also happened to be Mother's Day weekend and I will neither confirm nor deny that I acted like a total spoiled brat and was super obnoxious about the timing of his illness! I will say that I love my husband and I'm so happy he is forgiving! :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Lord Business!

Who needs the actual LEGO Movie LEGO set....Ella can make Lord Business with what we have already!!! 

Friday, May 15, 2015


Our cute Jackson is still working on riding his bike without training wheels. 

Michael did take his training wheels off and has been trying to practice with him....Jackson doesn't really like to practice though. He would much rather just stick with what he knows and that's riding his scooter. 

He really needs to gain confidence in his abilities. He can actually ride without our help, but once he realizes we not holding on he starts freaking out and gets all wobbly. 

My friend Natalie told us how they got their kids to learn how to ride and I think we are going to try that method. What they do with their kids is observe them and find out which side they naturally lean to and then they take the training wheel off on the side they don't favor. After the kid gets used to not having one training wheel on then you slowly start raising up the wheel on the side they favor. She said this method worked really well for their two older kids.

Zeke Man love Jack's scooter and he's really good at it. I can't rave enough about the Y Glider scooter. They are just awesome! 

He's such a shortie! 

And of course this pretty girl was out riding as well. We might just try to get her to ride without training wheels at the same time as Jack. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015


All of the kids have "piggy" banks....Jack's is the only one that's an actual pig, but even it's a pig in a TMNT costume. Owen's an old chocolate covered raisin container from Costco covered with stickers. Ella's is a cupcake bank from Ga-Ga and Pa. Zeke has had a few banks. The first was an old Tigger bank that was Michael's when he was little, but it was so small it didn't hold barely any money. So we switched him to Jack's old bank which is a pair of cowboy boots. That bank just drove me nuts was super hard to get in to and then when you opened it you had to shake it so much because the coins would get stuck in all the little nooks and crannies. Also whatever kind of material it was made of would flake off from the inside. So I decided to make Zeke a new bank.  

I had an old Starbucks Hot Chocolate container from Costco lying around so I decided to paint it. Zeke picked the blue color...the only other choices were red or pink so it wasn't surprising. 

The blue color was a great base for him to add his own flare to his bank. Pa had given me a bunch of Cars stickers that he didn't use for the Disney scrapbook he made of our trip last year. This was a perfect for those stickers. 

Of course Ella didn't want to be left out so she was sure that her cupcake needed some pizzazz!

I love how these little simple things can bring the kids so much joy! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jackson's Concert!

About a week ago Jackson had his 1st grade concert at school. I love that our school has music...I've heard that some schools are doing away with it, but I'm not sure if that's correct or not. I think music is such a wonderful brings joy and laughter and it makes it easy for you to memorize things. 

Jackson wanted to get all dressed up like he did for school picture day so he wore his nice burgundy button up shirt and his black bow tie. He's in the front row on the right. We had front row seats on the left, but I never thought to ask Mr. Heintz which side they were singing on. Of course it was opposite of where we were sitting. 

At first Jack was front and center, but then slowly he started moving back. He's actually on stairs with stairs behind him so I don't necessarily think he was moving back as much as it was the other kids were moving forwards and he was following the rules. 

Disappearing a little more! 

And...where's Jack? 

I actually took this picture and started laughing. Zeke wanted to look at the pictures during the performance and I asked him to find Jack. He studied that picture for minutes and then he was so excited when he pointed out Jack's red Nike's. We had a good laugh! 

This is the song at the very end that the kids were super excited about singing. Earlier in the concert they sang the song...Fruits and Vegetables, but this time around they changed it to Frogs and Jellyfish. So funny! 

Here's my cute first grader after his performance. He is just too this guy! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015


When you're little you depend on your mom for your very survival. Then as you age you slowly start to come into your own or in my case loudly! You assert your independence when you want to, but then come crying to mommy whenever someone has wronged you or you have a boo boo. As you hit the teenage years you think your mother couldn't possibly understand what you are going through...even though she's been there done that. Then as you navigate the early married years you want to make your own mistakes and you still think you know more than she does as things most certainly have changed since she was a newlywed. 

All the while she lovely waits. 

She waits for the day when she becomes a grandma and her daughter becomes a mother and the realization hits her daughter that...


She is the giver of my life...she is my biggest fan... 

she is my encourager...she is my counselor... 

she is my sounding board...she is my favorite shopping partner...

she is my supporter...she is my comforter...

she is my role model...she is my friend...

She is my Mom!!! 

Happy Mother's Day Mom! I love you! 

Side Note: For those ladies out there that have lost your mom, don't have a good relationship with your mom, have lost babies or are longing babies....this day can be such an emotional downer. I'm praying that the God will grant you peace as you navigate through the pain!