Friday, May 30, 2014 enjoy a bonfire

...who doesn't love the early signs of summer??

I love camp fires.

The smell.

The warmth.

The snacks.

In that order.

I think kids only love the S'mores.

These kids were ready!

Katie manned the S'mores station and was 'the-keeper-and-counter' of fairness and quantity.

She kept them all honest.

I think Luke annoyed with her rationing policy...we'll never be sure.  No matter.  I love the expression of his that I captured.

Donnie was trying to steal Abbey's...

Abbey won.

I think the marshmallow won against Paddy.

Will spent 30 seconds trying to create the perfect S'more.  His technique you wonder?

Put that marshmallow right in the flame and hold.

Then blow.

I am not why I didn't capture all the other kids on camera.  They were fast I tell you!  Cook.  Eat.  And run to play some more baseball.

I did manage to catch these two on camera though...

I don't think Friday nights in Michigan are going to be quite the same.

I'll think about that another day.

Until then we have several more Friday's here in NY to enjoy...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 share yet another ordinary

...yet-we-don't-take-these-things-for-granted activity...

Will asked me to have Mark start to wake him early in the mornings so he could go for a run with him before school.

Will was racked out when Mark went to wake him.

However, he jumped out of bed, dressed in a hurry, and was ready to go. he looks at his Dad.

All set.

Off they go.


Boy do I love those two.

Monday, May 26, 2014 pick a house

...the last week has been a whirlwind

Mark and I had the opportunity to take a few days to head back to MI to look for a home.  The trip there and back was e.a.s.y. all thanks due to my Dad for coming to watch the kids for us.

I have spent hours on the internet searching for houses and this was my second trip for a total of six days spent looking at homes.  And while I think some aspects of the process are fun and exciting, overall this is one tiresome, stressful process!

I think having a deadline probably has made this process so much easier.

We found three options that we are both excited about.

After several hours of discussion we made a decision this morning.  

When the time is right, I'll share a few photos of our new home.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 coach soccer

...for the little one

Look at her!

Isn't she!

Practicing drills...

Handling the ball...

(pay no mind to the dancing coach)

Lookin' all serious.



Yup.  That's her.  Drinking the Gatorade.

The ONLY kid wearing a sweatshirt?

Why you ask?  Why is she wearing a sweatshirt?

Because she is NOT running.  Thus, she is cold.  

This guessed it...she is NOT playing in that soccer game.

Nope.  Not even one minute of that game.

Me:  Audrey, why wouldn't you play in the soccer game? 
Audrey:  I told you like running back and forth and back and forth and back and forth.  

Only six more weeks to go.



(Check out these adorable serious soccer boys... 

... a big thanks to their momma for capturing these Kodak moments).

Sunday, May 18, 2014 share our

...ordinary days.

We are trying to find our groove.

We spent a lovely first week enjoying many, many cups of coffee.  And Mark made it home in time to celebrate my birthday...My 40th birthday...which happened to have fallen on Mother's Day this year.

He and the kids planned a perfect morning (and day) for me.  Breakfast from Panera, coffee, balloons, cards, and gifts.  So many thoughtful gifts.

Note:  The hooded photo bomber
The next day...

Mark started back to work...I went back to work...the kids went back to school...

And we went back to schlepping them to all of their activities.

Hanging out at baseball

Will's on the pitching mound.

More baseball fun.

Battle of the Books competition

Reading with Daddy at the Battle of the Books
And tomorrow will begin our second full week back in routine...and hopefully, to appease my few faithful readers (Isabella and our parents), I'll be back to blogging pretty regularly again.

Saturday, May 10, 2014 begin to find a new

...routine with Daddy

We started off strong with activities the first day that Mark was back.

Isabella had an Art show we attended at the Carthage Library where a few of her pieces were on display...

This still life piece was nominated for the Tri-County Art fair
Then we hurried right over to their baseball game...

This is how Audrey passes the time...snacking.
William at 2nd base.

Isabella at Left field.

Isabella protects the plate

William takes a solid swing!
Daddy's swinging Audrey around...

I'd like to say we are taking it slow.  You know, not too many activities, low-key days, quiet mornings...

I am afraid life with four-kids-an-a-dog ain't that relaxin'.

Good thing he has jumped right in!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014 welcome

...Mark home.

Mark's flight back was delayed.  There was trouble with connecting flights, not enough time to go through customs to make the connections...blah, blah, blah.  Mark was due to arrive into Baltimore, MD at 4:15 in the afternoon and then...he wasn't supposed to finish his travels up to Watertown, NY until Wednesday, May 7.

The kids and I didn't want to wait until the next day around noon to see we hopped in the car to go and pick him up.

Yes, we drove 15 hours round trip...

He's worth it.

The kid's were over-the-moon!

I think, by the look on Mark's face in this photo, we made the right choice.

This wonderful organization, Operation Welcome Home Maryland, has the area decorated with posters and welcome home signs.  They try to meet each flight, to personally thank each service member with a round of applause, and handshake or hug in addition to providing each service member with a goodie bag.  One of the volunteers takes photos of every soldier that comes through!  What a great organization!  If you are interested in seeing the photos of Mark's homecoming...she took a whole bunch of photos of our here.  In this photo, I can't take my eyes of the double doors, they are opening again....

Two of the volunteers
The kids and I arrived right at 4:15 to the international terminal and Mark's flight had just landed.  There were 400 people on the flight and we had no idea where Mark was in line in customs.

So we waited.  Maybe not-so-patiently...

One-by-one the soldiers would come through the double doors.

The kids held their signs for...the first two soldiers that came through.  At least I got a cute photo of the moment!

The little girls decided 'chase' was more fun.

Then finally...

They saw him.

Look at Abbey's face...she's watching my reaction.  

Of course I am crying.

I couldn't help myself.

Will was beside himself.

He wouldn't let Mark go.

Our family is together again.

The kids are happy.

Life is beautiful...

Monday, May 5, 2014 make a craft with Audrey her class today.

For Mother's Day, Audrey's teachers put together a small craft for the two of us to work on together.  It was a nice opportunity to spend a little time together.  Audrey was uncooperative while Meghan was trying to photograph us.  Weird.

I captured this sweet photo of Meghan with the boys...

The rest of the day was spent preparing.

I'm prepared now.

The house is clean.
The signs are made.
His birthday gifts are wrapped.
The balloons have been blown up.
His cheesecake is in the fridge.
The kids are bathed.
The outfits have been set out.
The welcome home sign is waving in the breeze...

Because of a change in his travel schedule, the kids and I are making a round-trip drive to Maryland tomorrow.

Can't wait.