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Faithful in Every Moment

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We spent the weekend and early part of the week in Michigan, if that wasn’t obvious from my last post. No, we aren’t moving back. Scott’s former boss invited him up to preach like he did last year during the pastor’s vacation, and he happily and excitedly said yes. We’ve been looking forward to it since we found out that we were going. That church and those people were so good to us. They are some of our dearest friends. Really, they are family.

This trip was so good for us. Our family has been through a lot over the past several years. It was really good to get away and recharge, even if it was only a couple of days.

We spent most of Saturday in the car traveling. We took the girls to a park to play and get their energy out after eating dinner. Sunday, we excitedly got ready for church and spent the day being overwhelmed with love. I already shared about Monday in Port Huron, and Tuesday was another travel day. We did a pit stop at the camp ground where Pastor and his wife were vacationing and spent a few hours with them. We love them dearly.

Getting to step back into the ministry role and being reminded of how much we LOVE doing ministry was so good. That– full time ministry– is our end goal. So many people act shocked when we say we aren’t staying where we are. I mean, if the Lord opened a door here, then we’d follow His leading. But, full time ministry is the end goal.

We know that we are where God wants us right now for this time. But, we also are incredibly unsettled because we know it’s not permanent. It’s a very confusing place to be. It’s a place that you truly can’t understand without living it yourself. I have always said that my responsibility as a mother is to make everywhere we are a home for our girls. In ministry, moves happen frequently, and nothing ever feels truly settled. I want our home to be the landing place where we and the kids feel safe and comfortable. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been at that. The girls do talk about missing the places we used to live… other than our tiny apartment. No one has missed that. haha!

I guess that is part of what I love about homeschooling. Even if we move in the middle of the year, their school is the same. Nothing about that changes for them. It’s the one thing that can be a constant. (There is so much more that I love about homeschooling, but that’s just a perk.)

Something that has surprised Scott and I the most is how much we actually miss living in Michigan. Maybe it’s that all of our babies were born there. Maybe it’s that we have spent most of our adult lives there. Maybe it’s the fond memories. Or, maybe is just that it’s SUCH  a beautiful state. I don’t know. But, if God opened a door to go back there (hopefully in a much safer area) we’d be thrilled. I am always up for a new adventure though. I love exploring new places, and that’s the fun side of moving. Packing is the pits, but discovering new places and making new friends is such an adventure.

I have no clue where I’m going with this. I’ve just had so many thoughts flowing through my brain this week. I’m grateful to be near family. I love them a ton. But, I am also restless for what God has next. I’m working on just being present in the exact moment that God has me in. I’m here for a reason, and God will open the next door when it’s time. I need to focus on what He wants from me TODAY. I want to be faithful in every moment.

 

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I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
 He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.
Psalm 40:1-3 (ESV)

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family life, recommendations, story telling, travel, Uncategorized

Port Huron, Michigan

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In our 7+ years of living in Michigan, Port Huron is my favorite place that we got to explore. The water is so beautiful and blue. You can see right down to the bottom. Just across the water is Canada. In fact, the Blue Water Bridge to/from Canada was over us when I took this picture.

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The girls always call Lake Huron the ocean, which cracks me up. It’s bluer than the Atlantic Ocean, and it’s unsalted. It quite literally takes my breath away every time we pull up to the water and I catch a glimpse. I could sit and stare at it all day.

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We sat and took it all in for a while before we headed to grab lunch. Our favorite place to go is the Raven Cafe. They have SUCH delicious food, and it’s in such a cool building. We used to go when we lived in Michigan, and have returned every time we visit the area. It’s that good. The people are that awesome.

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There is art everywhere.. I love the whole vibe of the place. They have the best grilled reuben. Their chai tea chiller is so good. So, so good.

Once we devoured lunch, we headed to the beach. One thing that you NEED to know about Port Huron beaches is that most of them are rocky. Water shoes are needed if you want to be able to move comfortably. I wore my Tevas in the water without problems. Scott ended up putting on socks to dull the pain. It seriously is SO painful if you aren’t prepared. ha!

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Since the beach sits close to where the river begins, you get to see tons of huge barges coming and going.

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This particular beach sits next to the Fort Gratiot lighthouse. We have yet to go up in it since we never remember that you have to wear close toed shoes. Who wears those to the beach?

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We moved up the coast a little bit and found a tiny slice of beach that was practically empty. It is a public beach sandwiched between two sections of private beach. It’s not as rocky, and the water didn’t have the same current as the bigger beach.

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Soak that in. The clear water. The beautiful rocks beneath. The blue.. so much blue. Every time we go, I fall more and more in love. I have seen three of the five great lakes, and Lake Huron is my favorite so far.

I hope that if you are ever in Michigan, you can visit Port Huron. If you do, you must stop in at the Raven Cafe! Also, find this house and if it’s ever for sale let me know!

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I will share more about our trip another day. For now, you can soak in the ten million pictures of this beautiful city with me.

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Uncategorized

Friday Favorites

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1. CSA- This week was a gooooood week! There’s so much squash. I am hoping that it will still be good when we get home from our trip this weekend. I love that we get the chance to try some different vegetables that I wouldn’t typically buy at the grocery store. There’s nothing like fresh from the farm veggies!

2. PRIME DAY!! July 16th is Amazon Prime Day!! While the rest of the blogging world is pumped about the Nordstrom Sale, I’m psyched for Prime day.  If you haven’t joined my deals & steals group on Facebook, jump over there and do so. Take the poll and let me know what kind of deals you want me to hunt down for you.

3. I snagged this cookbook when it was on sale, and I am SO GLAD I did. Danielle said that out of all of her cookbooks, this is the one she would recommend most if you had to pick one. I’m so excited to have foods that I can eat for every holiday. These recipes will be used year round. The price has gone up a little since I got it, but it’s still on sale if you want to grab it, too.

4. I made these muffins and put them in the freezer. I pull one out for breakfast, or whenever I feel like it. You can throw it in the microwave to heat up or just let it thaw.

5. The second season of Anne with an E is FINALLY on Netflix today. I loved the first season and have been (im)patiently waiting for the next one for over a year. I’m so excited to watch. Have you watched it?

6. This kitchen. All the heart eyes. (I really love Holly’s Instagram account.)

 

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I am trying to get everything packed for my family and our trip to Michigan. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by it all, even though I started my list WEEKS ago. I also have to pack all of our dog’s stuff so he can party with my Dad while we are gone. I hate coming home to a messy house, so I’m also cleaning all the things. Send coffee.

 

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Uncategorized

Red, White, & Blue

Happy “every parent is dog tired” day. Anyone else’s neighbors shooting off fireworks until way too late?

Tuesday morning, I saw that the recreation department was doing a fun event for kids at a park down the street. It was 20 minutes until it started, so I rushed the girls to get dressed and we power walked there. They got to decorate t-shirts, do a craft, and decorate cookies– all for free! So rad! I shared it with my sister, and she came also! Hooray for cousin/sister time!

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We had our big celebration on Tuesday night. Our town has always had “Blue Ribbon Days” on July 3rd. Last year, we had just moved to down a week before. I wasn’t prepared for anything. My mom and sister brought fun things for the girls to have while we were there, and I was so grateful. This year, I bought red, white, and blue glowsticks in advance and packed loads of water and snacks.

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Someone was scooping free ice cream, so of course we hit that table up. (shout out to my wipeable Gathre mat for allowing me to not stress about sticky situations)

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The fireworks were a huge hit. Harper got up halfway through and started dancing and singing a fireworks song. There was a lot of squealing from our group. I love getting to go to this event with my family. It was a favorite memory from my childhood, and it’s really special to share it with my own children.

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Are you even a girl mom if you don’t have matching holiday nails?

 

Confession time: I slept nearly half of the fourth away. I have been battling what I think are allergies straight from Satan himself… or a sinus infection? I spend most of the nights coughing and barely sleeping. On Tuesday night, I took a lot of benadryl. I woke up at 3 AM coughing again and took some more benadryl. I didn’t join the land of the living until almost 11 AM… I’m sure I coughed all night again and didn’t get rest, but I felt like I was in a coma.  I’m good with not remembering the misery. I’m praying our trip to Michigan will give me some relief.

Scott was the grill master for our Fourth of July lunch and dinner. He made kebabs for lunch. Yum. Grilled pork chops and peaches were on he menu for dinner! He loves to grill, and I love that the house doesn’t heat up. We had gluten free patriotic cupcakes for dessert.

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They aren’t Pinterest worthy, but the girls loved them and they taste great– which is really all that matters. We had a pretty calm day and played on the slip n slide until our neighbor came out yelling and dropping f-bombs every three seconds while trying to build a table.  We hustled the girls inside pretty quickly.

Now, we are moving on to the rest of “birthday season” for us. Harper turns four in a few weeks, and I cannot deal. She wants another Paw Patrol party, so I’d better get busy.

 

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holiday, kids, recipes

Fourth of July Fun

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I love the 4th of July. I love dressing in red, white, and blue. I love doing fun crafts and themed food! I love holidays, and have passed my love on to my daughters. Addi has been planning cupcakes for what feels like months! Here is a round up of some fun things you can do or make for the 4th of July with little time to prepare!

 

Recipes

The easiest desserts are the classic bomb pops! They are so good, easy, and fun.

Festive Red, White, & Blue Bark

Firecracker Jello Snacks

Fourth of July punch

Tie-Dyed cake

Firecracker Popcorn

Berry Trifle

Cheese and Fruit Platter

 

Crafts

Patriotic Pom Pom Garland

Patriotic Ribbon Wand

Parade Wands

Slime

Paper Lanterns

Fairy Crowns

Patriotic Necklaces

 

Decorations

Painted Yard Stars

Painted Burlap Banner

Photo backdrop

Pool Noodle Firecrackers

 

Fun

scavenger hunt

Bingo

Bean Bag Toss

Squirt Gun Races

Tin Can Toss

 

 

Our local fireworks show is tonight, and we can’t wait. I hope that everyone has a SAFE and happy fourth of July. Remember that our freedom was never free.

 

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5 Toddler Must-Haves

 

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sound machine // We use one at home and every time we travel. It helps them feel more comfortable to have something familiar. Bonus: if they have older siblings, it drowns out their noise.

Munchkin Miracle cup // Stainless steel doesn’t break and keeps their drinks cold for hours. This cup doesn’t spill unless dropped juuust right. Even then, it’s much less than with any other cup– maybe a small splatter.

stroller // Toddlers have found their independence. But, you will reach a point where you’re about to lose your mind. You will want to put them in a stroller and bribe them with a snack to stay there. Snack trays and cupholders are a must, which is why I don’t own an umbrella stroller. haha! This stroller is my absolute favorite, and I’ve used an embarrassing amount.

Indestructibles books // These are so good for keeping toddlers entertained at restaurants, doctors appointments, and in the car. The pages can’t be torn, and if they spill food all over the book, you can throw it in the wash.

High chair // The boon flair was my favorite high chair when Harper was a toddler. I actually regret selling it because she gets down from the table SO. MUCH. (Check out the “open boxes” for a really great deal.) Save your sanity and get a high chair that can last for a long time.

 

 

To sum it up– you need products that will help trap your toddler, and entertainment that they can’t destroy. Tell me what else you would add to this list! I always love hearing what other parents love!

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Uncategorized

Travel Essentials for Kids

We are getting ready for a trip to Michigan in a week. It has been almost a year since we traveled, and I’ve been making a list of all of the things that saved our sanity in the past. We used to travel 8+ hours to see our families multiple times a year, plus the moves where I was solo with all three kids. Finding things that would keep the kids entertained so we could focus on the road was a must. Now, I feel out of practice. Here are some of my favorites from the past.

Travel Essentials

water wow books // These are our favorite travel companion. The only mess is possible spilled water, which I don’t think has ever happened to us in the YEARS that we have used these. Without fail, every time we give these to our girls in the car, they are quiet for at least an hour.

books– //  We love the “1000 things to spot in..” for the big girls and “very first book of things to spot in..” for Harper; which are both by Usborne. They are like I spy books, but much less overwhelming to my eyeballs. These kinds of books give the girls something to do besides ask how much longer the trip is.

Snacks// for obvious reasons. Goldfish, Clif KidZ bars, and applesauce pouches are some of our favorites. Use discretion when going the pouch route. If your child is young enough to squeeze it out everywhere without thinking, DON’T. Save your sanity. Also, think about your child’s age and choking hazards. A tip- we use cups to put snacks in instead of bowls because they can stick it in their cupholder. We avoid a lot of spills this way.

DVD player // For the long trips, this is a life saver. When we took three days moving from Michigan to Oklahoma, we went through a lot of movies! But, it made the trip so much less stressful for the mama who was driving the van. I want my kids to learn to be bored and entertain themselves, but sometimes a DVD is just necessary to avoid a mama mealtdown. The scholastic movies are honestly some of my favorites!

Water Bottles // You don’t want to spend a fortune on buying water at the store. The price of water bottles has gone up so much! Not to mention the fact that you are wasting so much plastic. You can refill them when you stop for lunch at whatever fast food joint you chose. You can also put juice or whatever drink you want in it.  I love Hydro Flask because they keep everything cold for so long.

Car Diffuser // I finally got one before our last move. I put calming oils (lavender, stress away, or cedarwood) in it for the trip to keep the crazy away. I also put a drop of Thieves in it to support our immune systems. We used to always get sick after a trip, and I am so thankful we’ve avoided illness since getting this.

These are all things that we have used for every trip.

I have thought about getting this for the big girls, but am not sure that they would be able to see well enough out the back windows. I’ve also thought about getting these over time to replace Water Wow books. The books last for a long time, but do wear out after a couple years.

What would you add to this list? How do you survive long road trips with kids?

 

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health, natural living, recommendations, Uncategorized

My New Favorite Shampoo and Conditioner

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I received this product for free from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) to use and post my honest opinions. Compensation for this post was provided and this page may contain affiliate links.

I have been on the hunt for a good, clean shampoo and conditioner for quite some time. Two years ago, I dyed my hair platinum blonde and it got destroyed. My hair had never been so unhealthy, and it’s been a long process of restoring the health and stopping the breakage. When Moms Meet contacted me about trying Desert Essence anti-breakage shampoo and conditioner, I jumped at the opportunity!

Honestly, I always get a little afraid. What if I hate the product and have to write that?! I won’t ever be dishonest or deceitful in what I share with you.Thankfully, that was not the case. I have been using Desert Essence Shampoo and Conditioner for several weeks and LOVE it!! I’ll have a special discount for you later so you can give it a try for less!

Here are some facts about Desert Essence Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner:

– It is infused with an exclusive blend  that helps reduce breakage by up to 61%. There is biotin right in the product, which is what you get when you buy any vitamins for your hair!
– It is rich in nourishing jojoba and coconut oils, aloe, and saw palmetto, which smooth and fortify hair cuticles and revitalize hair strands to minimize breakage.
– The botanical oils and radish seed extract provide shine!
– The aloe and moisturizing shea butter in the Anti-Breakage Conditioner help de-tangle and condition hair.

Another fun fact- Desert Essence was the first company to bring Jojoba oil into the marketplace! So cool!

 

The shampoo lathers up really nicely and leaves my hair feeling clean. The conditioner is thick and creamy. I love that when I am done washing and conditioning my hair, I don’t feel any build-up. Do you know what I mean? Some conditioners leave behind a lot of build-up that feels so gross and weighs down your hair.  My hair just feels fresh and clean. It feels smooth and much less frizzy than it had been. After having such badly damaged hair, it is so nice for it to feel healthy again.

I am sure that you are wondering about the scent. I always want my hair to smell nice. There is not a fruity or spicy scent– it’s just clean and fresh. Are you noticing a theme? I really love the way my hair smells after I wash it.

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Earlier, I said that I had been on the hunt for good, CLEAN shampoo and conditioner. I don’t want a bunch of hormone disruptive and unnecessary ingredients in my bath products. Every Desert Essence product is rated incredibly well on the Think Dirty app. While the anti-breakage shampoo and conditioner and not specifically rated YET, I feel really good about using a brand that’s worst score is a 4; most of the time just for fragrances that may trigger allergy or asthma problems.

If you are unfamiliar with the score system, ten is the worst. Each product gets a score and a green, yellow, or red color for how harmful the ingredients are. Most of the Desert Essence products are a ZERO! How awesome is that! Desert Essence really cares about the ingredients that are put into their products. Each one serves a purpose. The Anti-Breakage Shampoo and Conditioner is also gluten-free.

Now, I know that many people roll their eyes at this. “It goes on your skin. Who cares what’s in it?” Did you know that EVERYTHING that you put on your skin (including your scalp) can be found in your bloodstream after a certain amount of time; some as early as 26 seconds after application? THAT is why you should care. That is why I am passionate about products like this. We put tons of chemicals onto our skin that get in our blood stream, and then wonder why everyone is so sick and infertility is so common. At some point, we have to say enough is enough. Speak with your dollars, and only spend your money on the products that aren’t harming us and our children.

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You can find Desert Essence at Natural Grocers, Lucky’s Market, MOM’s Organic Market, and many other local natural food stores. If you want to find it in your area, visit desertessence.com/store-locator. My readers can take 20% off Anti-Breakage and Smoothing Hair Care Products on dessertessence.com with the promo code DELovesMomsMeet

Please let me know if you have any other questions about Desert Essence Anti-Breakage shampoo and conditioner. Let me know if you give it a try! I’d love to hear what you think!

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Uncategorized

Exploring Springfield

We celebrated our ten year anniversary two weeks ago. We had been planning a trip to Springfield, IL  to celebrate. It was close enough to not spend the whole time traveling, but far enough that it felt like a real getaway. I have to say a huge thanks to my sister and brother-in-law for graciously taking all three of our girls for the night. The girls stayed up annoyingly late and woke up annoyingly early and she didn’t strangle me when we picked them up. So, she’s the best. Scott’s brother stayed at our house with the dog so we didn’t have to worry about him either. It takes a village, y’all.

We initially had planned on going kayaking, but the weather was terrible for it. It was rainy and cloudy. The high for Friday ended up only being 75. That is dream weather for me, but on the water it’s COLD. We asked the front desk for a later checkout time, and spent the morning swimming and sitting in the hot tub. Then, we decided to roam around Springfield and soak in the history of it all.

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It was so strange to just take the day slowly and not have a schedule to keep. Our first stop ended up being the capitol. We didn’t go inside, but we did walk the grounds outside. The building is beautiful, and I couldn’t get enough of staring at the details of the architecture.

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We went to lunch and then decided we’d go see Lincoln’s Tomb. We don’t remember ever seeing it before. During elementary school, we frequently went on field trips to the historical places in Springfield. Neither of us could remember going to the tomb. It was very moving to see and take in.

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The skies opened up on us at one point and we stood in the rain reading about the different monuments. Lincoln has always been my favorite president, and I love learning more about him and his legacy. We were able to go inside and see the place where he is buried, along with three of his sons and his wife. It was heartbreaking to see how young his sons were when they passed away. One is buried in Arlington.

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We drove around the cemetery and found the war memorials. Both of us ended up in tears. Never forget the sacrifice that was made for our freedoms– that is all I can say about the memorials. Never forget.

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We weren’t really sure where to go  next, so we just drove.

We ended up passing the train station that Lincoln departed from to be inaugurated as the 16th president of the United States. We ironically got stopped by a train next to it, so I hopped out and grabbed some information that they had outside– things that are especially fun to have as a homeschooling parent. Then, we stumbled upon the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.

We arrived just in time to see Abraham Lincoln “himself” give his farewell speech, which is what I picked up at the train station. It was so fun to walk around and see the restored homes. Inside one of them, we got to see pictures of the restoration process and all of the work and care that went into each one. It’s truly amazing.

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This is Lincoln’s home, which he departed from to become president and sadly never returned to. You can purchase tickets to tour inside, which is so neat.

There is so much to do in Springfield; such rich history. Everything that we did didn’t cost a penny. New Salem is another awesome place that you can visit for a suggested donation ($10 for a family). We want to take the kids there, and bring them back to see the places that we visited.

I never realized how fun it would be to come back and play tourist in a town that you’ve been to a million times as a child. It is completely different as an adult who fully appreciates all of the history. I really encourage you to visit Springfield if you live anywhere nearby. There is so much to see!

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Uncategorized

Dance Camp and Growing Up

Yesterday, the big girls had dance camp. Their Mimi P saw that the dance studio in her town was doing a dance camp a couple of days this summer and asked if the girls would like to do it. Since I don’t have a car during the day, and Scott goes in at 5 AM (NO way am I waking the kids at 4 to take him) she said they could spend the night with her and she’d bring them home. They always love having slumber parties with Mimi. I always enjoy it, also, because I get some one on one time with Harper.

I bought a huge slip n slide at Aldi last weekend, and finally set it up in the morning yesterday. She had a blast. It’s not very easy to actually slide down, but she loved scooting around and getting sprayed with the water.

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She really loved sitting in the little pool at the end.

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Mimi sent me some pictures and videos while the girls were at dance camp. They ended up being the only two in camp that day. Crazy! I appreciated feeling included. I was beaming with pride because Addi was REALLY nervous about whether she would like it or not. She really wants to do gymnastics. Chloe was also following instructions so well.

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When they came home, Addi was going on and on about dance class. She was showing me all of the moves they learned, telling me all about their snack, and showing me her art work. I had to drag the information out of Chloe. haha! When Scott got home from work, Chloe blabbed his ear off about camp. #favoriteparent Addi had us do some dance moves and stretches with her. Ladies, find yourself a husband who is willing to do ballet moves with his daughters.

I know that Chloe had a blast, she is just more quiet about it. I keep finding Addi wearing her ballet slippers. They are hand-me-downs from Chloe. This morning, she finally took them off and I found this.IMG_6800

Ignore how dirty they are (Chloe used to start dance class in tap shoes and then change into ballet half-way through. Dirty dance floors.)  If you can’t tell, she crossed out Chloe’s name and wrote her name (in cursive) and age. I love seeing them so excited about trying new things! The next camp day is a month away. I’m sure we’ll have a count down going soon. 😉 It is crazy to think that my little girls are growing up so much.

Parenthood is funny like that. We can’t wait for our kids to grow up because we are exhausted or frustrated or struggling. Then, they do and we are heartbroken. I was just reading through old posts from my Blogspot blog. I’m so thankful to have documented their childhood- good days and bad. The memories are so fun.

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