“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together there is something you must always remember, you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart I'll always be with you.”

~Winnie the Pooh


thanksgiving 2016

thanksgiving has come and gone and all of the sudden it's time for christmas.  how does the time go by so fast every year?  i feel like summer just ended, maybe it's because it's still so flipping hot here.  again, while i was trying to get pictures for our christmas card we were all sweating in our "winter" holiday clothes.  it always makes for a fun time trying to get the kids to cooperate when they're so hot.  and as usual, i hardly took any pictures of our thanksgiving.  andrew and i cooked the turkey this year upside down.  whoops.  fortunately, it tasted pretty good.  we didn't know it was upside down, it must of happened when we dropped it trying to put it in the oven.  it was quite a scene but all's well that ends well and we had a delicious meal and wonderful family around us to give thanks for all the that we have.  we asked the kids to write down some things they are thankful for and here is what we got.

carson:  family and batman.  and his teachers (after some prompting).  we are beyond thankful for the amazing teachers we have for him.  they are patient and kind and loving and excellent at teaching the group of kids in carson's class, all of which have different needs.  i've said it before, but we are forever thankful that we moved to such a wonderful school system.  we love buford!

brooks:  my friends, family and God.  well, if this kid drives me nuts on a daily basis i wouldn't know it by the tears in my eyes when he said these things.  again, moving here has been the best thing we have ever done.  the boys are surrounded by kids their age who love to play till they can no longer stand up.  we have made some of our very best friends that i think we will have for life.  it reminds me so much of the neighborhood i grew up in but on a smaller scale.  everyone looks out for everyone.  it's such a wonderful feeling.  just when i was telling brooks how nice it was he put family and friends he added one more.  God.  this kid.  we haven't done the best job of getting our kids involved in church and every year i think i'm going to work on that.  but eve without us going regularly brooks is so curious about God and religion and Heaven and all that it entails.  i'm so thankful that he feels it in his heart and i am going to do a better job about filling his desire to learn more.

shelby:  well, she doesn't totally get the whole idea just yet but my guess would be that she is thankful for her pink (her blanket, or actually, her shreds of thread that she calls a blanket) and her princesses. oh, and her brothers who she thinks are the best things in the world.  she follows brooks around and wants to do whatever it is he's doing.  which usually means he has to give her the ball, crayons, paint brush, etc.  and then there's carson.  she has him wrapped around her finger like no other.  she will lay with him and watch movies, play the iPad or just watch him play with his toys.  i am so thankful she has two very different but both very loving big brothers.

after our feast here we packed up and went to the lake for the weekend.  we ate, watched movies and football and played games.  now it's time to detox and get ready for christmas!

making noodles with aunt megan.  notice who is using the rolling pin.  brooks had it but someone saw him doing it and she insisted she got to do it, too.  this was literally the only picture i took of thanksgiving.  next year i'll do better.  maybe.  

wearing our cubs shirts in honor of our chicago family!  go cubs!

and this was one attempt at our christmas card picture.  can you feel the "joy?"  it was a hot mess as usual and i'm finding out my little one is one is the biggest hot mess when i'm trying to get a group picture.  lord help us.  but we sure are thankful for all three of these angels.


aunt megan has done it again!

every year we all wait and wonder if aunt megan will outdo herself yet again.  and let me tell you, she did!  this year for halloween shelby was the most beautiful cinderella with her very own carriage.  it was amazing.  she has made some pretty spectacular halloween costumes in the past but i'm pretty sure this one takes the cake.  shelby did not know what to do with herself all night long.  she would stand with her arms out just barely touching her dress, then she would twirl, then take a ride in her carriage (which, some poor little girl called a wagon...shelbs put her hands on her hips and promptly told her it was not a wagon it is a carriage).  we literally have glitter on every inch of our house, still, but it is well worth it.  maybe one day i'll pull it back out and take some pictures of her in it for real.  sadly, halloween was such a whirlwind that i barely had the sense to snap a few with my phone.  even sadder was that i didn't even take any of the boys.  whaaaaaat?  by the time i remembered to get some brooks was in the middle of a front yard football game and had taken off most of his ninja stuff and carson was running around with all the other superheroes.  sign of the times that they are getting older.  don't get me started...

good thing we still have this little nugget who we can dress up!  how sweet is she dressed as cinderella?!  

is that my prince charming over there?

no lie.  when she saw herself in the reflection of the oven she turned and said to me, "i'm pretty."  we about fell on the floor.  yes, you are baby girl!

she loved her carriage and being pulled around in it all night.

helping me pass out candy.

my little ninja turtle at therapy.  he waited for weeks to dress up with his OT.  we love our therapists!

batman and batgirl.  we couldn't miss out on the fun just because we're "adults"


i know i said i would be better about posting but oh my have we been busy.  by the time bedtime for the kids rolls around we're beat and ready for bed ourselves.  why is it that the days just seem to be going by lightning fast?  the other day i was getting carson out of the shower and it dawned on me that he will be 10 in a few months.  i typed that correctly...10.  double digits.  and not only is he getting older but he's getting taller, too.  i wish i could say he's getting heavier but i'd be lying.  the poor kid is stretching out like gumby.  just like when he was a 1lb 15oz micro preemie, he is all arms and legs.  skinny arms and legs, but all limbs none the less.  i remember thinking that this tiny little thing would never grow and now he's playing video games and growing out of pants and shoes by the day.  i have never agreed more with the saying, "babies don't keep."

since miss priss turned three we have been in full princess mode.  a different one a day, sometimes multiple ones.  if it has a crown, dress and pretty shoes she's on board.  we took the kids to disney on ice and she was fascinated with all the princesses that came out.  but when the lights went down and she heard the frozen music it was priceless.  she sang every word and covered my mouth so that i couldn't.  i'm pretty sure she thinks she is going to be elsa when she grows up.  she can be right there with her oldest brother who will be in any costume he can find/fit into.

waiting on frozen to start

here they come!  you can even see that brooks was excited but he would never admit to that.

i think the boys' favorite part was all the food and junk there to buy.

...and the shoulder rides to the car.

this princess life is rough.  sometimes you get put in time out for your "princess" like behavior and fall asleep.  win-win for everyone!


she is three!

dear baby girl,

the day we found out you were a girl was one of the best days of my life.  daddy was a little bit in shock at first but came around in the end.  but for me, the moment i heard the word "girl" i could see it all flash before my eyes.  i was going to have a mini me.  a little bit girly and a whole lot of tough all wrapped up in a cute outfit and a hair bow.  oh, and a ton of stubborn thrown in.  i don't think we ever knew how much our family needed you till you arrived three years ago kicking and screaming (there was a lot of screaming).  unlike either of your big brothers, your entry was on time and so "normal".  something none of us had experienced yet.  i even had time to take a shower and put on make-up before you arrived!  we were early to the hospital and had to wait for the doctor to get there something that had never happened before with your brothers.  we were determined that nothing would go wrong.  and you were just perfect.  all 6 lbs 14 oz of you.  every day since then has been some sort of adventure, lately dressed in a princess dress and heels.  thank you, miss shelby cooper for choosing us and completing our family.  we couldn't imagine doing life without you!

so typical...trying not to smile when i ask her to

how did she grow up so fast? 



this is her attempt at making the number 3...we may need some work on her fine motor skills.

what photo shoot is complete without an outfit change?!

three going on 18.  {sigh}

love her little freckles

happy birthday sweet girl!  


not too much going on in the hess household lately.  we've been busy getting back into our school routine, getting up at 6:30 am is not easy for my people.  we are not an early morning group.  that being said, the boys are doing great at school.  they have jumped right back into being the excellent students they are, and even better they get to see each other once in a while which makes my heart happy.  this has been 4 years in the making.  even though they were in the same system last year, they were in two different buildings.  this is the first time since preschool they are actually in the same building.  i'm not sure how much they acknowledge each other but i at least know they are together.  and actually, their classrooms are fairly close to one another which makes it even easier for me.  if i've said it once, i've said it a million times...this move was the best thing we ever did for our family.  we kind of went in blind and had no idea how it would turn out but man did we hit the jackpot.  we simply could not be happier.

next up is miss shelby turning 3.  it makes me want to shed a few tears that she will be that old but am also loving this time with her (well...not all the time.  she is a firecracker.  we like to call her "the beast" sometimes, even warning people to not make eye contact with her).  i didn't put her in a preschool program this year, deciding since she was my last one to keep her home one more year.  it sounded like a good idea, talk to me in january and see how i feel about it then.

picture day.  where did my babies go?

talk about not being a baby anymore...check out this little thing.  i can't handle this bathing suit.  too cute!
just a normal day shopping at wal mart in our cinderella dress.

and coloring our face dressed as minnie mouse.  typical day in our house.

but the best is seeing her with her brothers who love her so much.  especially this guy.  he is her biggest fan.


back to school

can you tell that we have gone back to school?  i can since my last post was at the beginning of august.  whoops.  i'm not doing a great job of keeping my promise of posting more often, am i?  lots has gone on in the month of august, most importantly back to school!  the boys weren't so excited about it (and to be honest, i wasn't either.  i'm more of a summer mom...staying up late, sleeping in late, etc.) but i was glad to get back on somewhat of a schedule.  the best part of going back to school was that the boys are FINALLY in the same school.  can i get an amen?  we have waited for this day for years.  since our school system has a different building for K-1 brooks was at a different school than carson, but not anymore.  they both get on the same bus and get off at the same school.  if i go to lunch with one, the other one is just down the hall.  if we have to donate money for one fundraiser, it counts for both (kind of).  my point is, it is so much easier!  of course, now that they are getting older it's not as much fun to see your brother at school.  the other day carson told me he saw brooks on the playground but he didn't wave back to him.  i was kinda ticked at brooks but when i asked him why he didn't wave to his brother he said, "i was busy chasing some girls."  oh, great.  but the next day brooks said he saw carson in the cafeteria and he waved.  i don't expect them to run and hug like they did in preschool (i am a little sad that time has passed) but i do at least want them to look out for one another once in a while.  now they can do that. 

3rd and 2nd grade with the best teachers at the best school.  go wolves!

before we headed back to school (too early in august if you ask me) we had one last vacation to the beach to visit our buddies who have been in brazil for the past year.  it was so great to see them and play in the sand for a few days.  it was the perfect end to a great summer.  complete with brooks learning to ride his bike without training wheels.  he had gotten pretty comfortable riding around with the training wheels on and didn't seem to mind.  we kept telling him that he could do it, he just had to try a few times.  maybe fall once or twice but that he would learn.  well, the word "fall" kept him from even considering it.  until our buddy mimi, who is 4, zoomed past brooks on her tiny 2-wheeled bike.  that was just the motivation he needed and one try later we were on two wheels.  when i asked him what made him want to try he said, "mimi rode by me on two wheels and she's 4!"  a little peer pressure never hurts, right?

sitting at the water's edge, just where he likes it.

toes in the water, butt in the sand.  we could get used to this.

beach nap with our buddy, mimi.

this may or may not of been right before she decided to throw an epic 2 year old fit and throw sand at me when i put her in time out.  please tell me they get easier at 3.  

no stopping him once he learned.  we went on a bike ride every morning, afternoon and night.


the candy bar!  a new favorite spot.


she wasn't sure what to do, she wanted it all.

someone thought this looked like a good choice.  um, try again bubba.

sweet friends and beach buddies.
feed them sugar

we survived with 6 kids at the beach and celebrated with a dinner out.  till next time, hopefully sooner than later.




oh my shelby

i love this little peanut and everything about her.  she is sassy, silly, sweet and spunky!  our little shelbs is growing up!  in a few months she'll be 3!  and then i'll blink and they'll all be grown.  just trying to savor all these little smiles and moments before she starts to roll her eyes at me when i pull out my camera (the way her brothers do).

almost 3 shelby3

you never know what is going through this little mind
almost 3 shelby2

almost 3 shelby4

such a little doll
almost 3 shelby