Author Archives: laramichelle

About laramichelle

Wife to Shawn, Mother to Ava & Briggs and dogs Shiner and Skippy, Teacher to 4th graders



Some call him Gaston. Some call him Couvey. I call him Grandpa.
Mirriam-Webster’s Dictionary doesn’t even define Grandpa. They refer you to the word, “Grandfather,” and that is simply defined as the “Father of your father or mother.”
But Grandpa means so much more than that. MY Grandpa means so much more than that. If I could define Grandpa, the simplest definition I could give is a man who gives an infinite amount of love.

When I think about Grandpa, I think about mowing the grass with him on his riding lawn mower. I think about conversations while swinging on the back porch. And shelling pecans that were collected in the front yard. I think about his plaid shirts….that I so desperately tried to get him to stop wearing by buying him new shirts every year for his birthday. I think I was somewhat successful. I think about his shop and all of his wood work. I think about him driving Ryan and I into town as we begged him to speed down the “rollercoaster” hills of Kingsland while we squealed with delight in the back seat. I think about how he always had his milk at dinner. And exclaimed, “Aw, Lily” whenever Grandma told him something he didn’t like. I think about his chair and his lamp. And muting the TV when commercials came on. I think about how the first time I ever drove was with him in his Dodge truck…driving slooooow circles in the lot next to their house. I think about attending Mass with Grandma and Grandpa. Watching my Grandpa serve the Eucharist and spread the incense. Saying hi to their numerous friends, and always being proud to be Couvey and Lily’s granddaughter. I always felt like a little bit of a celebrity when we went to church with them…I imagine that’s a little bit of a taste of what it’s like when you enter Heaven. We always got ice cream at Grandma and Grandpa’s. Particularly because Grandpa loved his ice cream. Creamy Creations Strawberry Poteet to be exact. We ate lots of that sitting in their driveway at night after dinner. Gazing at the infinite amount of stars you could see in the hill country.
Probably one of my most favorite and lasting memories of Grandpa are on Christmas mornings. I think about those early mornings when Ryan and I would wake up at a ridiculous hour, open our stockings, check out all the presents from Santa, fall asleep on the living room floor, and then awaken around 5:00 am to Grandpa building a fire in the fireplace and making us hot chocolate. With lots of marshmallows. My brother and I were glad that Grandpa got up so early with us, as that was a sign we were closer to a normal hour of waking, but we still had to wait what seemed like eternity for the rest of the family to follow as we anxiously awaited opening presents. Once it was time to FINALLY open them, Grandpa was always the designated “Santa.” He would crouch below the Christmas tree, finding and delivering the presents to the appropriate family member while we all watched with anticipation as they opened the gift. And when it was a gift for Ryan or I, he would procrastinate as long as he could just to drive us crazy, and then laugh when he finally gave it to us. But what I remember most about those mornings, whenever he came upon a gift addressed to him, he would skip over it and act like he didn’t see it, unless we noticed and shouted, “Grandpa! (or) Dad! That’s for you!” and much to his protests, we would make him stop passing out presents so he could open his.

I could go on and on and on and on and on about my Grandpa and what he means to me. A part of me is crying tears of joy that I have had 33 years of memories with him and a part of me is crying tears of sadness that I don’t get 33 more. And then I remember where Grandpa is going. He is going to a place where he will no longer be in pain. A place where words like “cancer” and “congestive heart failure” and “no more bourbon tonight” mean nothing. A place where he is whole. Where he is reunited with his parents, his brothers and his sisters. And greatest of all. Where he is with our Savior and Lord. I can see him up there. In his plaid button down shirt and moccasin house shoes sitting in his beloved chair shelling pecans. Telling jokes. Waiting on Ryan and I to get there so he can take us on a tour of Heaven in his riding lawn mower, and race us up and down Heaven’s hills. But most importantly, I imagine him greeting us in a Santa hat with the ultimate gift under that Christmas Tree. A gift from Jesus Christ….eternal life with Him.
Your Little Meanie can’t wait to see you again Grandpa.
2 Timothy 4:7 reads, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”



Cheesecake Cupcakes!


Anytime you mention the word “birthday” to Ava, her mind IMMEDIATELY goes to cupcakes! So when I told her that Bumpy’s birthday was the next day, her first question was, “Will there be cupcakes?!” I knew my dad (a.k.a Bumpy) wasn’t big on regular cupcakes. I knew he loved cheesecake so I called my mom (a.k.a. Honey) to double-check. Then I went on a hunt for a good and EASY cheesecake cupcake recipe. I had no idea if one existed, but I was sure that it did, and leave it to Paula Dean to make sure that one did

Now here’s where it gets tricky. I am just now learning the blogging/cooking rules…and I was not good about making sure I took consistent pictures throughout the process. Anyways, the original recipe called for each cupcake to have a vanilla wafer bottom. My dad loves the traditional cheesecake, which comes with a graham cracker crust, and a vanilla wafer crust just didn’t sound that fabulous. So I decided I was going to figure out some way to do a graham cracker crust for a cupcake. And I only do easy.

I will also preface these pictures with…I’m sorry they’re blurry. I am no photographer, and I have a crappy camera. Well…when I bought it, it wasn’t crappy. It became crappy after I dropped it a few times, and I let my (then) two-year old start man-handling it (she still man-handles it at 3), and now I let my one year old man-handle it. It’s been dropped, and cracked, and fingers have been on the lenses, and I’ve wiped those lenses off with the bottom of my t-shirt that also wiped some boogies, I’m pretty sure. So please excuse the quality of the pictures 🙂 If you’re here to critique my pictures, then feel free to venture elsewhere. But, if you’re here to make some damn good cheesecake cupcakes, then the pictures will be good enough, and I hope your sweet tooth is ready!

Now for the graham cracker crust. If you recall I said, I only do easy…

So I bought a box of graham cracker crumbs

I then followed the recipe on the side of the box to make a graham cracker crust. This was so easy a 3-year-old could do it. And she did.

1 1/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs

3 tbsp sugar

1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted

1. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar.

2. Stir in the melted butter until completely blended (Ava and I mixed it until I could tell every minuscule crumb had some butter-lovin on it).  It looked a bit like this…

What yummy things are made of

3. Next, I (Ava) put cupcake liners in each of the muffin tins, since I would be using this to make a cupcake crust. I then scooped about a heaping teaspoon full of graham cracker crust into each muffin tin.

Heaping teaspoon of yumminess

You’ll see that I almost completed the cupcake crusts before remembering that I needed to take a picture of how much I used for each crust…bear with me on this blog thing.

4. After spooning in the graham cracker crumb mixture, you’ll see from the above picture that I used a medicine cup to pack down the crust. It worked perfectly! I was amazed at my resourcefulness (that must be where my daughter gets it from).  Here’s a close up.

Who doesn’t have those medicine cups lying around? And if you don’t…let me know. I have a MILLION! Thanks to all the teething, ear infections, teething, and ear infections, and teething (have I mentioned the teething?).  And why do I save them when my children don’t use them? Ask my grandfather…I believe it’s in the genes.

5. AnyWHO (Since I mentioned my grandfather, I had to thrown in something from my grandmother), after I made all my crusts, they looked something like this.

I actually made these a couple of days before I made the cheesecake portion, so I covered these in Cling wrap, and stuck them in the freezer. I also only used a portion of the graham cracker crust that the recipe made, so I stuck that in a baggie and froze it as well.

Two days later, Ava and I made the good stuff…the cheesecake portion. As I mentioned previously, I used this recipe, with the exception of the vanilla wafer. It called for:

* 2 pkgs of cream cheese, softened (I try to do things on the light side when I can, so I used Neuchâtel cheese – 1/3 less fat {that means you can eat an extra cupcake})
* 1 cup granulated sugar
* 1 tsp vanilla extract (it calls for butter, but I used vanilla)
* 2 eggs
* Blueberry Preserves (It used raspberry jam and fresh raspberries, but I was feeling it blueberry style)
* Fresh blueberries

1. Notice the recipe called for “softened” cream cheese. That involves thinking ahead of time. I don’t believe in that. Life is a lot more fun when you live it on the edge, and don’t soften the cream cheese beforehand. So, to do it quickly, I just cut up each block of cream cheese into cubes, and let them sit there for about 10 minutes. I found other things to do while we waited…like keep Briggs from eating the dog’s food. That’s a full-time job right there.

2. Once I was fairly certain Briggs was finished eating dog food, Ava and decided the cream cheese was soft enough. I wasn’t reading the directions very carefully, and I added the sugar next (The original recipe says to beat the cream cheese until fluffy, then add the sugar). Then we used an electric hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until it was pretty light and fluffy. We did it for a while. Until we got tired of it, and it looked pretty smooth. Now is also a good time to start preheating the oven to 350 degrees.

3. We then added the vanilla extract, and beat in one egg at a time (I don’t know how important this is, but we did it this way). Ava likes to crack the eggs, so we cracked it into the measuring cup (to avoid any eggshells), and she got to pour the egg into the mixture, which she liked. After each egg, we beat the mixture until it was well blended.

4. Now it’s ready to pour into those cupcake liners we made a couple of days ago with the graham cracker crust! Remember I told you I’ve been bad about remembering to take pictures throughout the process, so it was about now that I remembered I should have been taking pictures. Here’s what the mixture looked like once it was ready to be poured (we had already poured most of the cups when I remembered to take this picture)


5. We used a ladle to fill the cupcakes. I only filled them about 2/3 full because that’s how I’m used to making cupcakes that rise, but these don’t rise (hello! I wasn’t thinking), so you can actually fill these almost all the way full. To be honest, though, I think they were perfect only 2/3 full…all the way full would have been a little much.

6. Since I only filled them 2/3 full, I ended up needing more cupcake liners with graham cracker crust bottoms. Luckily, I saved the unused graham cracker crust from the other day, so we just pulled it out, and made a few more. Ava got to assist in this.

This is Ava’s, “I’m working, Mom.” face

7. Once we had all 18 cupcakes filled, they looked something like this.

8. Now throw those puppies in the oven, and let them bake for 20 minutes. When they’re done, they’ll look like this:

The sunken middle lays the perfect ground for the topping.

9. Now all that’s left to do is put on the topping, but you want to let them cool first. I actually put these in the fridge for a while. As I mentioned previously, I was feeling the blueberry, so I used a small teaspoonful of blueberry preserves.

Sorry for the blurry picture…please refer to beginning of blog on my picture-taking skills 🙂

10. I then topped each cupcake with fresh blueberries. They looked divine! The original recipe called to dust each cupcake with powdered sugar, buuuuuut I forgot. Ooops. I don’t think it hurt them much 🙂

I definitely could have made these prettier, but I was in a bit of a hurry when I was doing it.

11. I totally didn’t plan on this happening, but when I took the cupcake liner off of mine, I thought it looked like the perfect little cheesecake! If I were to make these for a party, I would serve them without the cupcake liners. This picture is blurry, but you can get what I’m talking about.

All that was left to do then, was taste test. And the results were SPECTACULAR! Everyone loved them (except Ava, but she’s a weird child who isn’t big on sweets…she just ate the graham cracker crust off the bottom – silly girl). I will DEFINITELY be making these again, and SOON. They were so easy, and SO yummy!

Here are the recipes without all my commentary 🙂

Graham Cracker Crust (this makes way more than you need):

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs, Keebler brand
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted ( or margarine)

1. Combine crumbs and sugar in medium-sized bowl. Stir in the melted butter until thoroughly blended.

2  Spoon a heaping teaspoon into the bottom of each cupcake liner. Pack mixture firmly.

3. Chill at least one hour before filling.

Cheesecake Cupcakes

2 pkg.  (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup  granulated sugar
1 tsp.  vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup  blueberry preserves
Handful fresh blueberries
2 Tbsp.  powdered sugar for dusting (I forgot to do this in my recipe)

HEAT oven to 350°F.

BEAT cream cheese with a hand-held electric mixer until fluffy. Add granulated sugar and vanilla extract, beating well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

SPOON cream cheese mixture over graham cracker crust. Bake for 20 minutes.

ALLOW tarts to cool completely. When cool, top each cheesecake cupcake with 1/2 Tbsp. of blueberry preserves and fresh blueberries. Dust with powdered sugar. And ENJOY.

Holy Productive Saturday!


So yesterday, we were uber productive…I don’t know how it happened, but it just did. My goal this summer has been to get at least a couple Pinterest projects done…I’ve been pinning things like crazy since last August (I think that’s when I joined). I’ve made several delicious (and some not so delicious) recipes, and I’ve done some activities, but I hadn’t done a project. I did start a tutu table for Ava in January, buuuuuut that’s still on going…sometimes Ava tells me before she goes to bed, “Don’t forget to work on my tutu table tonight, Mom.” Maybe I’ll work on it some more when I finish blogging tonight…..maybe. Anyways, my other goal was to not only do a project, but to do one that will create more organization in our home, because our home seems to lack a lot of that. I finally decided my first project would be this one….

I thought this would be perfect in our kitchen! We have a big blank wall that I have never quite figured out what I wanted to do, but I knew we needed more storage. I had thought about putting up shelves, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to go on them, so we never got around to it. I’m so thankful I didn’t! We needed something with a purpose because our kitchen table and island quite often became the catch-all for every day things (Kids’ lunch boxes, forms that needed to be filled out, mail, etc.).

So last Friday, the kids and I took off to Michael’s (they had their baskets 40% off…I love 40% off! Baskets ain’t cheap!). Anytime I take a trip with my little tots solo, it’s always a fun time (I need a sarcasm font). If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m mentioning it now. Briggs is COMPLETELY obsessed with anything round, as in the shape of a ball. Did I mention the basket aisle at Michael’s is on the same aisle as all their styrofoam shapes…mainly styrofoam balls? So while I’m searching for 4 baskets, Briggs is screaming “Ball! Ball! Ball!” and Ava has discovered some Dora stick on things and is begging me to buy them. I was FINALLY able to find 4 baskets with liners that I liked, but they were different colors. There was one blue and brown liner, and three pink and brown liners. Since I had to search all over the store to find the 4 matching baskets (they were each in a different place), I didn’t care that the liners weren’t of an equal number in color, I just figured I would take out the liners. Anyways, 2 round through the cashier’s line, a fight over balls, and convincing Ava that the Dora stick ons could wait until her birthday, we finally made it out of Michael’s. I felt successful….and tired.

We went out of town that weekend, so the next Tuesday (kids were in daycare….thank goodness), I made a trip to Hobby Lobby to buy wooden letters, ribbon, and acrylic paint (to paint the letters). That afternoon, I painted the letters, and worked on tying the ribbon into pretty bows. I have never been particularly fabulous at bow tying, so I did what any girl would do…I went to Pinterest. My friend Koco had just re-pinned a site about how to tie a pretty bow (it was for hair bows, but hey – it still worked)! It was perfect! And after tying 4 bows, super gluing coordinating ribbon to dangle from the bow to the letter, and mumbling a few inappropriate words (okay, not mumbling…there was a little shouting, but no good craft goes without, right?), it was looking good, but I realized I still needed something around the edge of the baskets since I took the liners out. So on Wednesday, back to Hobby Lobby I went, for some sheer turquoise ribbon. I was able to make some progress during nap time…

I started weaving the ribbon in the middle of the back of the basket, and when I brought the other side around, I just tucked it into itself. Here’s a picture, but it’s kind of hard to see how I did it.

The part I’m holding is where I started, then you can see the long piece where I finished it up. I cut the long strip off, and tucked what was left into the loop…it looked seamless.

After looping the ribbon through the tops of the baskets, I then super glued the bows with the letters attached to the middle of the front of the basket (sorry, I am still getting used to this blogging thing, and didn’t take step by step pictures, but I think the picture of the final product is pretty self-explanatory). I finally finished all 4 baskets Friday night.

I never realized our initials spelled SLAB until I lined the baskets up on the wall

All that was left to do now was to hang them. Bright and early on Saturday morning, I was determined to get them hung. And this is where my husband comes in. The original picture I saw had them hanging by a handle, but mine didn’t have handles, and I wasn’t going to make any. I told my husband I thought we could just nail them into the wall (I bought brown acrylic paint to paint over the nail heads so you wouldn’t be able to see them), but my geeky fabulous husband is also handy fabulous (and since he is geeky fabulous, he is also super technical about his handy work), so he completely disagreed with my nailing it in. We discussed shelves, so I wanted to go to Lowe’s right then. He wasn’t super motivated to do so, so I mentioned doing it myself, and that got him motivated 🙂 So off to Lowe’s our little SLABulous family went. Once we picked out just the right shelves (I loved the idea of shelves because I could also add a couple of special touches to it), the hubs decided his reward for getting my shelves was to get some pepper and herb plants (we have recently gotten the “gardening” bug and since Shawn has the green thumb in the family, I leave that up to him).

When we got back home (it was only like 10:00, so I was already feeling super productive – we may have young children, but we still don’t get moving for a while on a Saturday), Shawn was wanting to get started on his yard work, but he could tell I REALLY wanted to get the shelves up (especially since the kids were about to take a nap, and there was hammering involved). After my geeky-techie-handy fabulous hubby found the studs, found the level, and hung everything accordingly, my first official Pinterest project was complete!!

I LOVE it!

I ABSOLUTELY love it! I just threw a couple of picture frames on the shelves for now, but Briggs is having his one year pictures done this next Friday (be on the look out for that blog post!), so I hope to be changing those pics out soon (and putting some up of Briggs :p) I want to get a clip for each of the baskets to hold any important papers that need to be filled out/taken to school/remembered, etc. I think I’m going to get a little wooden symbol for each person from Hobby Lobby (a ball for Briggs, a princess tiara for Ava, and something for Shawn & I, too), and super glue it on to a clothes pin. I am so excited for how much more organized this is going to make our kitchen! It was pretty economical, too…I’ll break it down for you:

4 baskets at Michael’s (on clearance…originally $19.99 got them at $9.99 each) –  $39.96

Ribbons, Wooden Letters, & paint at Hobby Lobby (ribbon was 1/2 off the week I shopped, and unfinished wooden letters were 30% off)   – $14

Shelves (2 each at $9) – $18

Shelf brackets (2 packages of 2 at $9 each) – $18

Total – $89.96

Close-Up of B’s basket. After looking at this picture, I notice that the angle I took it from didn’t get the bow very well, but I’m no photographer, and I’m too comfortable (*cough* lazy) to get up and take another picture 🙂

You could do it even cheaper if you don’t have to do the shelves. Shawn really wanted shelves because we would be able to really put some weight in our baskets if we needed to.

Once that project was complete, Shawn wanted to get his new plants planted. We ended up buying a jalapeno plant, a bell pepper plant, and a basil plant. Shawn decided that he was going to build a little planter’s box along the fence to keep it off our patio (between a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old running around, the plants surely wouldn’t last long there). We eventually want to do a garden box, but that’s a project for another Saturday. Anyways, when Shawn brought me out to help and hold the laser (we have a pretty severe grade in our yard), I realized what an optical illusion we had going on…

Is the board level or slanted?

It’s perfectly level! Crazy, I know!

The finished product!
Jalapeno plant on left, bell pepper in the middle, and basil on the right

This project took Shawn about a total of an hour (and that’s just because he had to run back up to Lowe’s to get one more board). He already had all the wood (minus one board). And excuse the weeds, Shawn was planning on mowing and weed eating right after he did this…which he did, and then it rained – we were very thankful! Total cost for this project…

Plants (3 @ $2.98 each): &8.94

Pots (2 @ $1.98 each…we already had 1 pot): $3.96

Potting soil (1 BIG bag): $2.98

Boards (1 @ about $3 each…we had the other boards): $3

Total: $18.88

Now to grow some peppers and basil! I can’t wait for the basil, Shawn can’t wait for the jalapenos, and Ava can’t wait for the bell peppers!

Now we had both these projects done, the yard mowed, weed eaten, and edged, and the house picked up (not truly cleaned, but there’s only so much productivity that is allowed to happen on any given Saturday) by 3:00! Holy productive Saturday!!

That evening we had some friends over for dinner, and the babysitter because we were going to go out with said friends. My brain must have been mentally exhausted from all the productivity because at dinner, I had to perform the Infant Heimlich Maneuver (this is essential to know! We never had to do it with Ava, but we’ve had to do it with Briggs TWICE…he inhales his food) on Briggs when I gave him a piece of apple (with peel) that was a little too big. Then right after I had Briggs strapped back into his high chair with his water, Ava said in an extremely sweet and innocent voice, “Mommy, can you please take the knife off my plate.” I looked over, and sure enough, after having cut up her hot dog (so she didn’t choke), I left the serrated steak knife sitting on the edge of her plate. Thank goodness we have talked to her NUMEROUS times about the danger of knives, she knew she wasn’t allowed to touch them. After I praised her for bringing that to my attention and for handling it appropriately,  she said, “Mommy, you shouldn’t leave knives on my plate.”

And at this, I will conclude the blog post because I know you all are wanting to take the time to nominate me for Mother of the Year. Oh, and for more to add to my Mother of the Year nomination, this same day, Briggs used his snack cup to pour water from the dog’s water bowl into the dog’s food bowl, then picked up the bowl and drank the water. Yep. Mother of the Year.

Our DESTIN-ation!

Our DESTIN-ation!

Our family FINALLY got to take a beach vacation this year. Shawn & I hadn’t been to the beach since our 1st anniversary, and our kids had never been, so when my parents said they got a beach house in Destin, we immediately jumped at the opportunity! Ava had seen Dora’s “Beach” episode several times, so she was also very excited to go to the beach. She started asking almost every day if we were going that day, so I decided we should make a beach countdown.

Beach Face!

After we made the countdown, I told Ava to show me what her face would look like when she sees the beach, and this is what we got 🙂 Since we were driving to Destin with my parents, we drove to Huntsville the night before (on Friday). When we got to Huntsville Friday afternoon, my dad watched the kids while Shawn and I had some things to take care of, so he thought it would be appropriate to test out the beach shelter my mom got. Ava got to tear off her last ring to the beach vacation countdown.

One more day!

Ava showing us what she’ll do when she sees the beach

So Saturday morning we were off! Since neither my parents or Shawn & I have a vehicle that can seat 6 people, we decided to rent a vehicle so that we could all drive together. That vehicle ended up being a mini van…

The Mini Van

This was going to be a true family vacation….we were just hoping it wasn’t going to turn in to a Clark Griswold family vacation 🙂 The drive to Destin was going to take 10 hours (of drive time), so we decided to break it up and do 5 hours each day. Saturday we were going to drive to Baton Rouge, and stay with my Great Aunt Narcille (my mother’s aunt). The kids (Ava) were very excited to get going, and they did REALLY well on the trip!

And we’re off!

An hour into the trip…

Unfortunately it didn’t stay like this for too long…Mommy needed to go potty (darn Route 44s)

We arrived in Baton Rouge about 6 hours after we left, and the kids did very well, but were definitely ready to get out! We met my Aunt Narcille and Aunt Martha, and we all went out to eat at a Restaurant called The Chimes, right across from LSU’s campus. With the Aggies becoming members of the SEC this summer, this restaurant was more intriguing than it might have been in years prior. Nevertheless, it was absolutely delicious! Those Tigers know how to eat! After dinner, we rushed to bed, anxious to get an early start so we could spend the next afternoon on the white beaches of Destin! We were sure to get a picture of the kids with Aunt Narcille, though…it had been a VERY long time since we had seen her!

Aunt Narcille and Ava

Aunt Narcille, Briggs, & Ava

We’re off again! Ava’s working on saving ALL her energy for the beach!

We’ve made it to Florida!

The kids look thrilled, don’t they :p

Now, I do have to tell a little story with the hat. The morning we were leaving, Ava went with me to Target. I told her she could get a beach hat, and she had a hard time choosing between this hat and a pink cowgirl hat. She eventually chose this (after I told her this would be what Dora would wear to the beach…I loved the cowgirl hat, too, but this hat had more coverage). Anyways, she is usually not crazy about wearing hats, so I made her promise me that if I bought it, she would wear it. Apparently, she thought that meant everywhere! She didn’t take it off until we actually got to the beach (she would have lost it in the waves).

It wasn’t too long after we crossed into Florida that we made it to Destin. As soon as we checked out our condo, and got unpacked, we were in our suits and off to the beach!

We’re here!

The kids LOVED the beach! Ava had tons of fun in the waves, which were HUGE! We were in Destin at the perfect time. The week before they had lots of rain, and then we left right as the tropical storm was coming in. We were really lucky…all we had to deal with was a strong surf. The big waves scared Briggs, so he wasn’t so crazy about the ocean water, but he loved the sand…so much that he ate it by the handfuls (God made dirt, and it don’t hurt, right :p). Here are some pics from our first day.

Running with Bumpy into the waves

The beaches are gorgeous!

Daddy showing Briggs how to build a sand castle

So…can I eat this now?

Mom, aka “Honey”

Ava & Bumpy hangin’ in the surf

Ava is loving it!

Still playing in that white sand

Briggs bear-crawling back to Daddy

This sand is tasty

I love my baby boy!

Ava & Shawn

Playing in the water with the kids

After playing on the beach for a couple of hours, we got showered and dressed for dinner. We headed down to the Harbor Walk to find a restaurant and see some sites. The Harbor Walk restaurants were all pretty crowded, and we were worried about how the kids would handle it considering they had driven in a car for about 6 hours, played hard on the beach for a couple of hours, and were eating dinner way past their bedtime. We ate at Harry T’s…it was super yummy, and the kids did extremely well!

Briggs was hungry…apparently sand isn’t that filling

Briggs with his Daddy

Ava with Honey & Bumpy

The kids slept WELL that night! We got up Monday morning at headed to the beach as soon as possible!  Ava played hard then napped in the beach shelter.

Play hard….Rest hard

Honey relaxing after working all morning!

After playing all day at the beach, we went out that evening on one of Destin’s famous dolphin cruises. The boat ride was fun, but after the boat took off, the captain told us that the dolphins had been sparse lately…gee, thanks. We did find two dolphins, that we, along with 2 other dolphin cruise boats, followed around the bay. Like I said, the boat ride was fun, and it was exciting when we did see the dolphins, but the whole trip could have been about 45 minutes shorter (to be fair – it was prime dinner time, so that probably didn’t help).

Ava found a pirate while we were waiting on our cruise

Happy as a clam

Mom & Dad
aka Honey & Bumpy

Ava was in a very silly mood that night!

Sportin’ Bumpy’s shades

Striking a pose

Trying to get this silly girl to smile for the picture

They let the kids go up and take a picture with the captain!

Ava loved it…she thought she was going to get to drive the boat all the way back.

Briggs, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure about it

After the dolphin cruise, we ate dinner on the Harbor Walk again, this time at Crab Island Cantina…again, very yummy! Briggs out-ate everyone, I’m pretty sure. After dinner, we had to walk to the other side of the Harbor to get to our car, and they have lots of fun things for the kids. The night before, Ava had spotted these life-size bubbles that you get blown up into, and she REALLY wanted to do it! Ava must have been quite convincing, because Honey took her to do it! It was quite hilarious! I was a little worried that she would get a little claustrophobic and freak out when she couldn’t get out, but I shouldn’t have been she absolutely loved it, and she didn’t get out until she REALLY needed to go potty.

Getting blown up in the bubble!
The guy told her to cover her ears while he blew up the bubble

All blown up and walking to the bubble pool!
We had to tell her she could uncover her ears…she thought she had to keep them covered the whole time. Silly girl!

Crawling into the bubble pool
Most of the kids that do this are a bit older, so she had quite the crowd

Trying to stand, and not being successful

Trying to stand again

Falling down

Finally stood up!


The next day was spent where days in Destin were meant to spent, on the beach! Here are some more beach pictures!

Bumpy and Ava lounged on the beach in their new beach chairs

Bumpy got buried…he didn’t seem to mind

Honey lounging

The beach was red flagged all week, with big waves and a strong current! It sure was beautiful, though!

Ava collecting sea shells and ocean water

Tuesday evening my parents’ friends Alfred and Ava (we call her Big Ava and our Ava Little Ava when we’re all together :p) joined us on our vacation. We stayed in that evening, and my dad grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.

Briggs liked the lounge chairs.

Big Sister was making sure Briggsy-Bear didn’t fall off the chair

Love these two!

Trying to contain her brother

Some friends of ours, Nina & Kevin, who moved from College Station to Fort Walton about a year and a half ago also joined us for dinner that night. It was good to catch up with them!

Shawn & Nina used to work together at the hospital

Wednesday was probably our favorite day. We rented a pontoon boat, cruised the bay, and spent the majority of the day at Crab Island.

Gorgeous!!! The water and my sweet baby girl!

Briggs was NOT a fan of the puffy life jacket…can’t imagine why!

My Briggsy-Bear & Me!

Honey, Ava, & Bumpy hanging out at Crab Island!
It was like a salt water pool with a sand bottom and a current!

Big Ava!

The self-employed never stop working…even on vacation!

Alfred….aka Scuba Steve inspecting the waters

Briggs taking a break with the beach ball

Briggs thought the towel made a nice pillow

No better place to take a nap!

My Ava baby taking a break from the water

After swimming at Crab Island, we took the pontoon for a cruise through the bay.

Hehe…love this picture

Ava got to drive with her daddy, too

Then Ava fell asleep…A day in the sun, sand, and water is exhausting!

That was such a FUN day! Crab Island is a must do if you ever go to Destin! We rented our pontoon boat from Blue Heron, and they were wonderful! We definitely recommend them and will rent from them again next time we go. Wednesday evening we also headed back to the Harbor Walk to eat at Dewey Destin’s….a place we had heard a lot about! We were anticipating having to wait for a while, so we took the wagon with us, and walked along the Harbor while we waited. That was Shawn’s idea…and it was GENIUS.

Briggs was ready to go


He’s got animal crackers…she has cheese its. Happy kids!

On the Harbor Walk

3 generations!

Sunset walk

Sunset on the harbor

Two hours later, we finally got seated at Dewey Destins, and it was very yummy. You have to go there, though, expecting to wait. If you know you’re going to wait, and you’re okay with that, then you can enjoy it. If you go without that expectation, then you won’t be very happy.

Thursday was a bit more relaxed than the previous days. My dad and Alfred got up CRAZY early and went deep-sea fishing. The rest of us did some shopping. Dad got some pics of their fishing trip.

All the fishing boats heading out to sea

Alfred pulling in a snapper (I think…I’m no fisherman)

Alfred doing his thing

A body-less King Mackerel (I think…again, I’m not a fisherman). It was a full-bodied fish, until a shark needed breakfast…this is what was left.

The guys got caught quite a bit of fish and cooked it for dinner Thursday night along with shrimp and hush puppies…YUM!! Before dinner, though, we all did some late afternoon beach time.

Bumpy took Ava on a wagon wave ride.

Look at those skies! This was the only day we had less than sunny weather. It only lasted about an hour or so, and it didn’t stop us!

Showing off a seashell

Heading back to the condo

After devouring the delicious freshly caught fish, we headed up to the top deck to watch Destin’s Thursday night fireworks.

Ava is ready for the show

The crew

Ava striking a pose with Honey

Bumpy and his silly monkey!

Big Ava & Alfred

Cameras never take good fireworks photos (at least mine don’t), but here’s one! We had a great view, especially when you consider when were in the comfort of our own private deck, with our own beverages and no crowds

Friday was our last full day in Destin, so we spent it all at the beach, and didn’t get any pictures taken, just enjoyed the day. Friday was also the day Shawn and I chose to celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary. Our actual anniversary is June 24, and we would be spending it driving back to Texas, so we took advantage of being in Destin and having babysitters on hand, and we went out to dinner.

Can’t believe it has been 6 years since we said, “I do!”

We took the advice from Nina and Kevin, and ate at their favorite restaurant, Bonefish. It is now our favorite restaurant. It was SCRUMPTIOUS!! I was extremely thankful I wore a nice flowy dress because I pigged out! If you find yourself in a city with a Bonefish, you MUST go!

Saturday was a sad day, as it was the day we were departing Destin. We made our last meal in Destin breakfast at the Donut Hole.

A group picture before heading back to Texas

Nina and Kevin stopped by to tell us bye! It was so good seeing them, and hopefully we will get to see them again soon.

The kids were zonked from such a fun week, and passed out not even 10 minutes after leaving Destin

On the drive up, the kids both did really well with a 5 hour drive time (really 6 including stops), so we decided to do the same again.

Playing catch during a “stretch” break

We drove an extra hour and made it all the way to Lafayette, LA. The restaurant Prejeans came highly recommended, and we ate an extremely tasty Cajun dinner.

Ava thought Briggs needed help eating…HA

It was the perfect meal for our last vacation dinner.

Ava got quite friendly with the band, and now she wants an accordion.

Sunday morning, we woke up bright and early, ate breakfast and drove back to Huntsville. It was the shortest leg of the trip, at only 4 hours, but it felt the longest…I don’t think anyone was ready to say good-bye to such a magnificent vacation. Once we arrived in Huntsville we unloaded the mini-van, cleaned it up (20 hours of driving to keep kids appeased with gold-fish, cheese its, etc gets quite messy), and repacked our car, we were off to College Station to get back to the real world (kind of – I’m still on summer vacay :p).

There were so many wonderful things about our vacation, but the WORST part was….we actually liked the mini-van.

The Penny


So if you’ve been following me on Facebook (which that’s where all of my blog views come from, so I’m guessing you have been :p), you know that we thought Briggs swallowed a penny Friday morning, and it has kept things entertaining. We found the un-swallowed penny (thank goodness!) tonight, and I was inspired to write a story to go along with the actual penny. So here it is…

The Penny

The Penny

There once was a penny; quite mischievous was he.

He was born in 2008, and we all know how 2008 babies can be!

He decided a life of lying on the floor

Was a life too boring, and he yearned for more.

He thought, “How dull to sit here and watch things happen.

I’m dying to be a part of the action!”

He saw his chance when the baby called Briggsy-Bear

Was put down to play, and he crawls everywhere;

Getting into any and every thing he should not

His parents try to tame him, and he just laughs at them… a lot.

Quickly, The Penny shined and he shimmered

With his entire penny might, he gleamed and he glimmered!

“I did it! I caught the eye of the babe!”

But as Daddy came close, Briggsy-Bear took a defensive measure

And shoved The Penny into his mouth to hide his shiny treasure.

While being changed on the table, Daddy got a see

Of something not quite right in the mouth of his baby.

When Daddy reached in, The Penny knew this wouldn’t be good,

So he shot out as fast as he could!

Flying through the air, he landed softly in a basket.

And this is when The Penny caused most of the racket!

The Daddy never saw The Penny come out, you see,

So he called Mommy quite frantically.

The doctor said, “Don’t worry, just wait,

The Penny should pass in 24 to 48.”

Mommy and Daddy waited ever so anxiously

For each poopie diaper they had to dig through carefully.

After three days, no sign of The Penny was to be seen,

And their sweet little Briggsy-Bear was looking a little green.

He started to run a fever so high

That not even medicine could get it to subside.

Mommy rushed him to the doctor crying of The Penny

That was causing so much trouble in her poor baby’s tummy!

With a temperature over one hundred and four

The doctor said, “Rush that baby out the door

And to the ER to get a good look

As to where The Penny might be caught in a nook.”

An X-ray was had to determine the danger

Only to discover The Penny that was, was no longer.

The doctor said it was simply a virus that caused the whole blunder

“But what has happened to The Penny,” Daddy said in a wonder.

Meanwhile, The Penny, lied there in the hamper

Wondering if he was doomed to sit in dirty clothes forever.

It was the next day when Mommy was doing the laundry,

And Alas! She came across The Penny that caused this great quandary!

While The Penny did feel a little remorse, he made his confession

And shared how he hoped the Clarks learned a great lesson.

Pennies weren’t minted to be spent on the floor.

Pennies were minted to be spent at the store!

Rubber Ducky, You’re the One!


As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I wouldn’t be posting until after Briggs’s first birthday party, so here we are! I didn’t think I would be posting the evening his party was over, but I’ve been so busy every night getting things ready, that I just don’t know what to do with myself, so I figured I would blog 🙂 (Side note – I started the blog last night, but didn’t finish it until tonight).

Briggs’s first birthday party was rubber-ducky themed…here is his invitation:

I made several things for the party through out the week (birthday banners, monthly pics banners, tag/name cards for different items), but Friday night there were several things I would need to do/make, so my parents took Ava for the evening. I got a night to finish birthday preparations with only one child, and Ava got to go cheer on the Lady Hornet softball team in the 3rd round of playoffs versus Montgomery (My sis-in-law, Calli’s dad, is their head coach). Sadly, the Lady Hornets lost :(, but Ava had lots of fun at the game, and Aunt Calli has started “training” Ava for her future in softball. Here are some pictures of Ava getting her first “lesson” from Aunt Calli.

Batting lesson

Running the bases!

Calli has her work cut out for her  🙂

Now back to what I was originally posting about – I spent Friday night making pretzel ducks, Oreo pops and duck-shaped rice krispie treats (no link – those were my creation), and Briggsy’s birthday hat.

Pretzel ducks

Oreo pops pre-dipping and first batch of rice krispie ducks

Post-dipped Pops
I dyed the white candy coating a light blue to look like bubbles then sprinkled crystal sugars on top

Birthday Hat! I used blue cardstock to shape the hat, I found a bubble font on, and used a clip art rubber duck. I then found curly ribbon in just the right colors (I had to pull out the pink ribbon) to attach to the top. I actually tried to line the bottom of the hat with ribbon, but I realized that was going to be way too difficult (I’m all about easy). I was at a loss with what to do, and was gazing through my arts and crafts stash I use for Ava crafts, when I came across these yellow poms we used during our “Y” week….Genius! It came out really cute!

Saturday we spent the morning putting everything together. I was able to download this free rubber ducky template I used to make his monthly pics and birthday banner! Shawn helped teach me how to use photo shop so I could make it just the way I wanted it.

His monthly pictures…can’t believe how much he has grown!

The Birthday Boy’s throne! I used a portion of a shower curtain for the mat and the tray skirt.

The Oreo Pops and Rice Krispie ducks I made. It’s supposed to look like the ducks are taking a bubble bath, but I didn’t get the right kind of styrofoam (because I didn’t feel like going all the way to Hobby Lobby). Being that this was the very FIRST time I did anything like this, I impressed myself – I would do it better, though, next time 🙂

The AWESOME cake made by the super talented, Lisa Paholek! She never lets me down!

Close up of the cake before we put it on the table

The “Duck Feed”
Colored goldfish in one bucket, and pretzels (topped with my pretzel ducks in the other). I used fancy scissors to cut the tops off of white paper bags and attached a “Duck Feed” label to put the snacks in.

The smash cake!

“Thanks for coming! I had buckets of fun!”
The favor table…mini buckets with bubbles (I didn’t know they were mini until they came in the mail – Oh well!) At the end of the party, Ava deemed herself the “Favor” police, and made SURE that everyone took one. I pitied the fool that told her, ‘No, thank you.” She didn’t let you pick your color, either. Her motto was, “You get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit!” A teacher in the making 🙂

Unfortunately, I forgot to get pictures of our outside decorations. I used a rubber ducky shower curtain, cut it into strips, and hung it on a tension rod outside our door for our guests to walk through. In the back yard, we had 3 tents set up with a baby pool and a splash pool for the kids. I also had all the drinks outside in blue galvanized buckets along with tags using the above template to label each bucket with what kind of drink was inside.

Everything was now set up and ready to go!

Briggs waiting on his friends!

When my parents arrived with Ava, we snuck in a quick family photo before everyone got wet, messy, and things got too hectic! The last thing I wanted was to end the party with an, “Ahhh – we never got a family picture!”

As soon as people started arriving, we all booked it outside to enjoy the weather and the pools!

Mason enamored with the super cool rope :)! Mason is 3 months (to the day) older than Briggs. His mom, Melinda, and I teach 4th grade together….and can’t wait for summer 🙂

Cousins came! Here’s pretty Kate letting us know that she doesn’t just give pictures away for free 🙂

Cousins only 4 months apart! Briggs and Haden playing in the splash pool together!

Haden the stud!

The birthday boy!

Miss Audrey splashing away! Audrey’s daddy, Ryan, was college roommates with Shawn.

An action shot of Jack going down the slide! Jack’s parents, Luke and Julie are good friends of ours we met through my cousin, Joey.

Ava’s turn! Funny story with Ava…
After we took our family picture, she couldn’t wait to get in the pool, so she started to strip naked outside. I quickly put a halt to that, rushed her inside, and got her in her bathing suit. Later in the party, when it was time to get out of the pool, she decided she was cold and was going to fix that problem right then and there…so IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PARTY, she stripped completely naked! Her daddy swooped in with a towel , and she ran with the towel covering all but her naked little bottom up to the house, and left the rest of us laughing hysterically (for now – hopefully she doesn’t make that a habit :p).

Alex getting his feet wet! Alex and his parents, Rose and Tomasz, are our next door neighbors.

The kids had a blast playing outside in the water, even though it was pretty chilly for mid-May (highs in the low 80s). I NEVER imagined I would have to worry about a splash party being to cool this time of year in Texas! Crazy! But you won’t hear me complaining!! Once everyone came inside, it was time for birthday cake! I couldn’t wait to see what Briggs would do with his smash cake. Ava cried and wouldn’t touch hers at her 1st birthday party. At the time, I thought it was because of all the people watching her, but we later learned it was because she doesn’t like cake (WhAt?!). Briggs, on the other hand, has not kept his sweet tooth a secret.

Checking it out

This stuff’s pretty good! (Excuse the goldfish – I had to keep him occupied while we were preparing everything, and he will only happily sit in his high chair if there is food in front of him).


At this point I realized I never put on the birthday hat I spent hours making (Grrrr!) So I threw it on him for a quick photo op!

Love this boy!

Briggs paused for some deep thoughts

Once I finished photographing Briggs, we passed out the big cake for everyone else. Along with the cake, we served ice cream. I found this super cool idea to scoop ice cream into cupcake liners before the party, and then freeze them so you don’t have to scoop ice cream the day of. Brilliant! I went one step further and stuck cup cake toppers in them (which -bonus- made them super easy to pick up that way). They were a hit!

Excuse the lumpy ice scream – my ice scream scoop decided it was time to retire while I was doing all the scoops…of course 🙂

Now it was present time! At this time, Ava decided it was her duty as big sister to take over the presents (imagine that). Lucky for her, Briggs still hasn’t figured out the whole “presents” thing, so he happily obliged. I think he’s in the background at least in the pictures :p She’s going to be REAL disappointed next year!

The audience

Ava pushing the big gift all by herself

She means business when it comes to presents

After present time, Ava convinced Aunt Calli to open up the fire truck ball pit she and Ryan got…

We had to give Ava a gentle reminder that this was meant for Briggs, but that he would share 🙂 Briggs is all ready for bed and driving the fire truck, just like Uncle Ryan was doing that night! We missed him at the party!

Briggs’s first birthday party was so much fun, and we are so thankful for all our friends and family that made it so special! Our children are SO blessed to have so many people who love and care for them!

Now I will end this post, with Happy Mother’s day! Mother’s Day unfortunately took a back seat to all the birthday festivities this year, but it was still a special day. We got to spend Saturday with both of our mothers, and gave them each a phone call today. Wish we could have done more, but Shawn had to usher at church, and then because he was busy with birthday party duties all day Saturday, he had quite a few work things that needed to be done today. We are also still trying to get the house back in order (I wonder how long the wall decor will stay up…hmmm). We had the lovely ladies over at Domestic Services, BCS clean our house Friday, but Shawn and I decided that the next party we have at our house, we’re going to schedule a cleaning afterwards!

What was I doing?


That’s how I feel lately, like I’m always asking, “And what was I doing?” All I have to say is, I can’t wait for summer! 20 more school days (not that I’m counting). I know I haven’t blogged in a couple of weeks, because, well, I’ve been tired.  I think I last left off right before the STAAR test….whew! Glad that’s over!! (Although I had a student today ask me when the “real” test was….*deep breath* *deeeeeep breath*).

I am sad to say that what I predicted came true :/ I have not kept up the pace with our letter of the week activities. We have still been doing them, but I have not been doing them every night (I knew that was a bit ambitious), and I have not been taking as many pictures…we’re just lucky if we get the damn thing done. Oops….did I say that? Bad Mommy.

After the letter O, Ava picked the letter G for guitar! Shawn went through an “electric guitar phase” when he was younger, so we have had an old electric guitar in our house that Ava loves to play with. On Wednesday night (our first night of letter activities), we had gymnastics, and then she came home and serenaded us with the guitar. She sang quite a few songs (written by Ava), and put on quite the concert 🙂

Ava’s concert

Again, I wish I could say I planned that activity rather than doing a color page, buuuuut, I didn’t. This is how it happened. Pick up kids from school, get home, feed Briggs, give Ava a snack, get her dressed for gymnastics  (If you want to go to gymnastic you have to wear your leotard – no, you can’t wear the ballerina tutu because that one’s dirty – you can wear the pink leotard or the black leotard – I want the ballerina tutu – sorry, that one’s not available – wa wa – she eventually got the pink leotard on), go to gymnastics, come home, eat dinner, do baths, where’s Ava – I can hear her singing, Oh, she’s in the office singing with the guitar – perfect, that’s our letter this week. Done. 

Thursday night we did a “real” activity 🙂 I found a template with a big G and a little g, and she went outside and collected grass to glue on the big G, and then glued green glitter on the little g. It involved glitter – so she loved it, of course!

G is for Green, Grass, Glitter, & Glue!

The next thing we did (notice I’m not going by days anymore – this is when we stopped doing a “daily” activity – we always at least talk about the letter and its sounds) was make a guitar. Again, I would love to say that I came up with this on my own, but it all started with Ava, again. It must have been Sunday because she’s wearing a dress in the pictures. She got a paper plate out of the pantry, and asked to paint on it. I got out her paints, and she wanted green. We then talked about what letter “green” starts with, etc. While she was painting her plate, she told me it was her guitar (another G word), so I was like, “Oh, Yeah! We can make this a G activity!” I went rummaging through Shawn’s office to find something that could make the handle, and I found a box that I cut a flap off of. Ava then painted it, and I stapled it to the paper plate.

Painting the neck of the guitar

Then I had some green yarn (I know – I’m super prepared), that we used to make the strings and the strap. And no craft is complete, of course, without…….glitter! So we had to add green glitter to the guitar. Ava (and Briggs – to Ava’s dismay) have been using her guitar ever since – I think we have a star in the making  : )

Ava playing her guitar

After I took a picture of her playing the guitar, she wanted to take a picture of me playing. This picture is courtesy of Ava 🙂

For our “G” food for the week, we had Grilled steak with Garlic bread, and a salad (that didn’t start with G :p)…I don’t remember what night we did that, though. Probably Sunday.

Monday night we did read, “Goodnight Moon.” This was Ava’s favorite book when she was around 18 months, and so I was a little nostalgic reading it to her….she’s growing up so fast!

Before we knew it, it was time for another letter….V for volcano! I had high hopes to actually make a volcano this week, but that never happened – maybe during “review” week. I really failed during “V” week. We didn’t do much with it. We just flat-out skipped Wednesday night…Thursday night, she was supposed to dot letter “v’s” with her paint dotter. This website has awesome pages with a “word search” like page for each letter. Ava really liked doing that, except she wasn’t content with just dotting the v’s…she wanted to dot all the letter (hence the r and the y), so I let her get the yellow dotter, and I would tell her what letter to dot (I focused on the letters we have previously worked on). She also practiced writing the letter “v” at the bottom.

On Sunday, we ate vegetables, vermicelli with chicken and cheese , and I tried to get her to eat Vanilla ice cream for dessert, but if you know Ava, you know she is not big into sweets, so she wanted nothing of the ice cream, but she did want some Pringles.

For our V craft, we were going to make  a V is for Vase craft with flowers, etc, but we never got passed coloring the coffee filters for the vase. Ava doesn’t really like to color with crayons, so we didn’t get very far, and I was too tired to push. Terrible, I know. 

Monday night we read “Dora’s Valentine Adventure.” Ava did her usual, “I’m going to pretend I don’t know what the letter v looks like and drive Mommy crazy,” but we did manage to get through the book (Ava had to “read” the story to me, of course) with her pointing out the V’s. 

And now it’s Wednesday night, and we have not chosen a new letter yet. Again…oops. *Sigh* At this point, I’m just happy to be getting the kids to bed on time. Have I mentioned I’m ready for summer? 20 days…

And Ava’s not the only one keeping us entertained….Briggs has been doing his fair share lately…

Briggs just started standing by himself – AHHHHHHH!!!!! That only means his first steps are sooo close! And what did he stand for? Pizza. Yes, that would be what he stands for – he will do anything for food. If you eat anything in front of him, you better plan on sharing! I am still trying to come to terms with the fact that he turns 1 in just 2 short weeks. I love my Briggsy-Bear!

I have also been busy planning his first birthday party! And when I say busy planning, I mean I’ve been busy thinking about what I’ve been planning in my head. I still have so much to do for that. So, don’t hold your breath for my next blog post. It will probably come after his birthday party (which is May 12), and then comes his actual birthday on the 16th….so as usual, life will be crazy. I wouldn’t have it any other way!