Absent from the blog....but definitely not from life!

What have we been up to?  Well....some lazy days, some vacationing, working, football, and a little bit of everything in between.  I've been fortunate in my new job to still get the summer home with my kids.  My schedule is a little different since I do have to work some days here and there instead of being off for a big chunk of time.  However, as of today, I have a whole month before I return to work full time.  Again...very fortunate to have this time!  I know so many moms would love to get the time I get, so I don't take it for granted one bit!

I could tell you everything we've been up to, but I'd rather show you.  Here you go:

Our first vacation was with Jeremy's family.  We spent a week in Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, TN.  It was a nice break from reality, but anyone with kids knows that traveling with kids isn't really a vacation.  At least I wasn't responsible for cleaning the house we stayed in.  That part was nice...to just relax a bit and enjoy being together.  I didn't take many pictures, but these were from our pool day.  The kids have swim lessons starting next week, so this was a good practice. Collen is getting more courageous.  Charlotte was ready to dive in head first...kept putting her face in the water.  I'm learning I have to watch her....she's quite spontaneous and brave for her small size!

We signed the kids up for Kindermusik this summer!  This was Collen's 2nd time, and he was much more comfortable and in his element.  He loved it.  He was the oldest one on the class, and I so loved watching him interact with his peers.  When he's at home, he's full-force...100 miles a minute, but around his peers, he is very reserved....to the point of insecurity at times.  I already see that we're going to have to be careful about being sure we build him up and positively reinforce him.  I see SO MUCH of me in him.  I know what makes him tick...and seeing him in this class just brought my suspicions to light.  He is tender-hearted and sensitive....words will hurt him more than anything else, just like I am....my sweet, sweet boy.  I love this about him, but it will be a task to be sure we aren't hard on him just because he's a boy and should have "tough skin."  Going to fight that stigma now so it doesn't follow us and him! We have always encouraged him to be whoever he wants to be.....like what he likes...even if it means he isn't rough and tumble like other boys.  He is Collen, and we love him and his sweet, sensitive, tender-hearted self. 

Charlotte enjoyed music class as well!  She hasn't had much time with babies her age, so it was nice to see her with other kids.  She was stuck to me for the first couple of classes, but you can see in this picture that she got in there with the group and joined in like a champ.  She's so quiet and reserved....yet she has no problem making herself heard.  I think she had the loudest squeals in the whole class!  I'm still learning her ways...what makes her tick....what she likes and doesn't like.  She is a lot like Collen in her silly personality, but she is also very different.  She is a thinker and an observer, much like her daddy.  

 We are getting so close to Collen being completely potty trained!  I would daresay he is ready to say goodbye to the pull-ups and go to big boy undies, but he is still resistant to #2 in the potty, and I'm afraid of it leading to an accident....which would then lead him to regress.  He's getting better about going by himself...he's even done #2 all by himself (without prompting).  So, we're getting close!  We continue to use positive reinforcement....even when it can be so frustrating after he's held it for 3 days in a row but continues to complain that he doesn't want to go.  We've brought in a prize bag for #2.  That has helped a lot!  Dollar Store toys have become a staple in building up his confidence!

My sister moved recently. :(  For the past 6 years, she's lived in the same town as me.  She is my absolute best, best friend, and it has been tough to not see her every Sunday....or do dinners during the week.  However, she's still working part-time at the hospital here, so when she works, she comes and spends the night with us!  And she gets to enjoy snuggles like this....  These snuggles are coveted because Charlotte doesn't do this with many people.  Aunt MiMi is a favorite in our household....our kids love, love, love her (and I do too!).  They are so blessed to have her as an aunt and a friend.

 Uncle J came and surprised us (well...he came to see Megan, really...) with a visit!  Collen was SO excited!  Next to Daddy, Uncle J is his 2nd favorite buddy!!

The dogs are enjoying being lazy this summer.  We've had to board them a couple of times while being out of town.  They did fantastic!!  Got great reports and we were told about how friendly and sweet they were.  No pics of Gracie...sorry...but the boarder gave us a picture from her pool party time.  She looked like she had a ball! I bet she'd prefer us to go out of town more often!  Scout is still getting acquainted with the family and how things go.  She's still very much a puppy, so she is high-energy, but she's quickly learning when it's time to slow down and when it's okay to play. :)  She is a sweet, sweet dog.  She and I snuggled up and watched a movie this week.  She's a party pooper....never makes it through the whole movie.

Collen has been very into dressing up and puppets lately.   He loves cowboys, so it's not unusual to see him in this get-up as he runs around the house.  He was being a pouty cowboy in this one.

Speaking of Charlotte's dare-devil nature...documentation of her first boo-boo.  She started crawling and pulling up, so she's getting into more things and sticky situations.  Her eyebrow met the table a few days ago.  She cried for a minute then went back to playing.  Not much phases her...

She enjoys feeding herself, too.  We're working on solids....she's not a fan of the texture and tends to gag most of the time.  She does well with puffs, noodles, and very soft carrots. :)  She prefers baby food, still, over anything else.

Pulling up and cruising (this happened this week)
 Loving the doggy...
 She turned nine months on June 4th (a little behind...as usual).  Her 9 month stats were:

Weight: 18 lbs 5oz (50%)
Height: 29 1/4 in (90%)

Still tall and skinny.  She does NOT get this from me. Lucky girl!

I am settling into my new job well.  It was the right choice for me to make this move.  That's becoming more apparent every day.  I enjoy the atmosphere and the low stress (compared to teaching).  I miss the classroom...a  lot.  I miss my co-workers at AGHS even more.  But I'm starting to fall in here...feeling more comfortable and confident with my position.  A lot of that has been because I've found a kindred spirit.  I had to put this on here because it was just too funny.  When I was hired, I kept hearing, "She looks a little like Emily doesn't she?"  This is Emily.  And we dressed alike this day (not on purpose).  We've decided we were separated at birth.  In some other universe, we are twins.  She and I were cut from the same mold apparently, and we have become fast friends.  Work is always so much more fun when you have people you connect with. :)

I still have a month left of my summer vacation.  We have a beach trip coming up at the end of July.  Expect the obligatory "first beach trip for Charlotte" pics to come soon.  Football is in full swing and about to get even busier.  The life of a football wife is always busy....I've gotten better at juggling it all, but I have loved having Jeremy home more this summer as he enjoys some of his break!

I feel like we're always on the go.  I've had several blog posts I've wanted to write about some heavier things.....getting back to the core of my blog....but it takes a lot of energy and time to get those posts written.  I'll get there.  I'm making notes...writing down ideas.  One day I'll transfer them.

Hope you are all well and enjoying your summer.

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