Mother’s Day Hike

I am a hiker. My husband is a biker (and I’m talking more of a motorcycle biker…). So we don’t jive the greatest when it comes to taking nature walks. But this year, my Mother’s Day gift was for one free hike!

So! I cashed in my coupon on the most perfect evening when the wind was barely breezing, the sun was fully shining, the air was just above jacket worthy, and the kids were looking for an adventure.

We went out to the Marty Bender Nature Area, and I’ll tell ya what! We were so impressed! It was a lovely 2.8 mile trail leading me through places I would not have pictured in Kansas. We both were reminded of our various places we’ve been: Konza, our St. Louis hike (minus the complaining children!) and even the Texas wilderness. The trail takes you through prairie land, as well as through wooded areas nestled along the Smoky Hill River. We climbed some hills. We looked over cliffs. We ate our picnic dinner on the highest point overlooking several shining ponds and farmland. It was a perfect night.

One of my favorite Mother’s Day gifts yet!

O: Year 3

Olan’s third year of life starts today! This kid has not fully crossed over into evil toddlerhood yet, and man, this stage is just so much fun. I’m glad to have been able to hang on to it for a little longer than Evie allowed… so thankful. I just know we’re going to go through the dreaded potty training and the sleepless big boy bed transition all at the same time, while I’m pulling my hair out taking two classes at a time and teaching full-time. Jesus have mercy. Ha! But for real.

Enough of that doomsday riffraff.

  • Olan is starting out year three as more of a daredevil. His gait and demeanor is that of an athlete. The way he runs and throws and perseveres… I guess we’ll see where that takes him!
  • He is all about baseball, cars (I love watching him babble while he lays on the floor and zooms cars around), tractors, trains (he literally knows where all the train tracks are in town and asks to go over them), heavy construction machines (good thing Grandpa Henry has given him some up close experience!), Paw Patrol, dinosaurs – everything a little boy would hope to love.
  • This summer, we got to go to Sky trampoline park a few times, and he loved it. Jumpy jumpy jumpy for infinite.
  • He loves to play “chase” around the house, and I’ve not been able to wear him out yet. He could run forever. He sweats like his Grandpa Baldwin! 😉
  • He is definitely an introvert. He is still shy around new folks, and loves being held and snuggled by momma. I still can rock that 37 pound baby at bedtime, believe it or not, AND he loves it. He wants to “hide” under his blanket to be tucked in, which I’m like, “Why?” He’s so hot under his super thin swaddle blanket, but it’s what makes him feel secure. Okie doke… weirdo. 🙂
  • Olie’s speech has just skyrocketed. He says everything, and pretty darn clearly now. He can kind of say his alphabet, but has little drive to finish. He counts to 16.
  • He enjoys reading books, but almost never opens one on his own. If I start reading something, he is all about it though. We gon’ need to fix that. Ha ha! Super into Green Eggs and Ham at the moment.
  • He loves to play, of course, but over the summer months, he has adopted a new catch phrase, “Play with me, momma!” in his squeaky little dude voice, and it’s pretty difficult to turn down. Goodness, he is freaking adorable.
  • His imagination has bloomed in wonderful ways this year too. Daddy is the best play-er around, and they dream up all sorts of fun things to play, including wrestling. Both our kids love to wrestle and tickle with dad.
  • He is my little encourager. “You’re a good cook.” “You look pretty!” “Thanks!” “How was your night?” “Can I help you?” are phrases I hear pretty regularly from Olan. Love that big heart of his.
  • He can get Hulky angry, so don’t let his politeness fool you forever.
  • He’s learning how to make friends. Some of his pals I hear about often are Lydia, Marley, Silas, Evie, Ariya, Payton, Nolan, Adeline, Ames, and Thomas.
  • Olio is quite the jokester. He likes to pick on Evie (she haaaates this), and can seriously make us laugh for real! He’s made up a few words that he knows gets us going… He’ll randomly answer questions with the word “bap”, and whenever we ask where he lives, he gets a smirk on his face and says, “I live at Kansas Wesleyan!” Goofball.
  • Olan can be pretty particular. He will not wear a collared shirt willingly. He picks out his own shirts each day, and he has certain pants he likes. I don’t know where this Nike snob business comes from (okay maybe I do), but he adores his Nike shoes, and there was a time when he’d throw a fit if he had to wear anything else. They learn young that Nike is superior. Ha! It is interesting that I don’t feel like I have endorsed this in a big way in our household, but somehow he’s got a preference.
  • He’s always been a great eater, but lately he’s become much more picky. Boo for picky eaters.
  • Wearing 4T clothes, size 10 shoes, and sleeps from 8pm-7am and 2-4pm. It has been a dreeaaammyy summer.

Olan is the loveliest little guy you’ll meet! Welcome to year three, little buddy!


To Six-Year Old Evie

Evie! It’s your sixth birthday! I am so glad you are a part of our family, and that we can celebrate another year of life with you. It has been a year of unforgettable memories that I will cherish for a long time. You have come so far in just one year, and you have so many wonderful traits that make you special.

First of all, I have been very impressed with your perseverance in many areas of your life. You have a strong drive to accomplish whatever is in your mind. Your will to keep trying in the midst of failure is better than my own. Keep solving problems, girl!

Your creativity in building things, fixing toys, and imagining scenes is so unique. How many rolls of tape did we go through this year? Ha ha! I love to see your imagination blossom as you go on adventures with Simba, Stripes and the gang. I love to see the crazy forts you dream up in any given room in the house. I love to read your little notes to friends and family that show them how much you care.

Do you want to know something that makes my heart fill with joy? It’s watching and listening to you be a gentle and compassionate big sister to Olan. The times when I walk by your room and you are reading a book about trains to him, or when you’re in the dining room building a tower for him to knock down over and over again, or even when I see you are trying to protect him from a dangerous or naughty situation… these times are a glimpse of what I hope is the start of an undying friendship between the both of you as you grow up.

I am still so proud that you are a lover of books. It is not uncommon for you to be completely lost in a book for hours. I wish I had your zeal… I love reading and all, but man! You could read all day long! That’s pretty cool. Think of all the things you will learn from books after a lifetime of reading! What a gift from the Lord it is to be literate.

My hope for year six is that God would continue to develop your capacity for self-control, and that we would start having more and more conversations that dig deeper into your heart and mine. I know that He is going to do some amazing things in and through you! I have already seen glimmers of Jesus getting a hold of your heart. Praying that you will love others well and that you will choose to love God most of all. What can God do with one girl whose heart is sold out to Jesus? I can’t wait to find out!

Daddy and I love you an incredible amount and for always, and we are thrilled to have been entrusted to be your parents. I hope you feel that love each day, and especially today, on your birthday! Have a happy day, sweetie pie!



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