Saturday, April 12, 2014


Bright eyes! 

Always in a pleasant mood

One of the things we have been loving about our new house is the playscape in the backyard. Since the weather was finally warm this month, Zoe came out here for her first time. 

She loved playing in the gravel.

New texture for her chubby little fingers and toes

And of course some had to go in her mouth

Levi loves Zoe SOO much. 

And he likes to help her when she's getting into trouble...

but I'm not sure she really wants his help.

Love this kid. He's an old soul.

Lots of hours of fun have been had out here.

The "pirate ship" is Tatum's favorite feature. She and the neighbor girl play on it often. 

The neighbor girl also has lots of makeup that she brings over from time to time. The boys had fun decorating Tatum's face. I think a make-up lesson is in order ;)

Tatum has been into heels lately. It's funny how stereotypically girly she is lately.

The Fab 4 all together. I think Zoe was hungry and had no interest in mama taking her picture.

I found this fun trampoline at a garage sale. I can see Z having much fun with this in the years to come. 

I love this pic. Zoe is her happy self, Levi and Tatum in typical costume and Colt is pensive (and a bit annoyed to have to stop playing to take a picture). 

Colt's get up on Cowboy Day at school.


Excited for a new year! 

My photographic eye has been lacking lately, so I was playing around with the camera a bit one day. 

Zoe is so silly! And she is loving carrot sticks (and bell pepper sticks) lately. We don't usually put her in shoes since she's not walking and they just fall off - she looks so grown up here with shoes on! 

Tatum was too excited to model for me :) 

Zoe continues to be a great eater. She loves chicken and ground beef, chunks of veggies. We will spoon feed her some, but she prefers finger foods. 

We have been giving our kids "kindness coins" any time they do something really kind for someone else. After they accumulate 10 coins, they can go on a date with either myself or Ty. It's a game we all enjoy! This time, they all ended up with 10 coins on the same day and chose to go to Amy's Ice Cream with me! 

This was also the day before we (ok, mostly I… Ty just went along for the ride and supported) chose for our whole family to go sugar-free/grain-free for 6 weeks. I had been having some stomach issues which resolved quickly on this diet. Levi has some intense asthmatic episodes which gave him no issue during this time of no sugar/grains! I was suspecting those might be the results, but one unexpected consequence was that Colt's focus dramatically improved. And I had more energy in the afternoons. 

Anyway, it was a very big challenge to eat this way in our society. We went through about 3 very grouchy days of withdrawal. The hardest part was that we couldn't eat out much so I spent most of the day in the kitchen. We would make our own sweets to take to birthday parties and snacks to school and church. Surprisingly, the kids didn't complain after the first 3 days! One day we were at Costco and an employee offered the kids a sample of chocolate. I was expecting a negotiation session of some sort but the kids simply said, "No thank you. We can't have sugar until Valentine's Day." I was blown away but proud! I think it helped to have an end date in mind. We are now trying to eat gluten-free (so we can have rice and corn products- GMO free if possible!) and limit sugar to one time a week. Some weeks we do better than others! I can definitely tell when I've had too much gluten to eat and can see a difference in Colt as well. After our gluten/sugar-filled trip to Disney in March, Levi definitely had another quick-onset asthma attack. While I don't like the negative side-effects of this food, I believe that food is medicine which is good motivation to try to put the best of it in us, even when it's SO hard, in order to help my kids live the healthiest lives possible. Fortunately, their school teachers and our care group are fully on board to help with this - they are the best! 

Since Colt's birthday is in July, his teacher allowed him to celebrate his half-birthday at school. This picture is of Colt and his teacher's aide/music teacher, Mrs. Caldwell. She is his favorite person at school and popped in during his party to say Happy Birthday. We made strawberry cupcakes topped with a whipped cream topping (made with coconut flour and sweetened with honey since this was at the beginning of our sugar fast). I was worried his classmates wouldn't like them, but most kids asked for seconds :) This was a fun day for Colt b/c he's never been able to celebrate his birthday at school before! 

Sweet Hazel at 11 months

Eliza turned 3! She's getting so big now! 

Ty and I started doing the new P90X3 workout. It's only 30 minutes compared to their normal hour workouts. All of the kids have been joining in with us, but Levi especially has taken a liking to these exercises. 

Tatum loves dressing up! This is her Mary costume (with princess shoes on that are hard to see). 
January was a fun month! It was the first in quite a while where things calmed down in our busy schedule. And Zoe started waking up less at night, which meant we all got more sleep, so maybe that helped make the month great too :) 

Friday, April 11, 2014


The kids got to open one present each on Xmas eve. I was SO excited for Colt to open this particular gift - an ant-eating vacuum. Colt loves ants so should have tons of fun with this gift. 

Aunt Ashley helped Tatum assemble her new paint set.

Axel is one of the best gifts to this family! 

Aunt Alethea and Axel

Love this one :-0

We had a great Christmas at our house with the Dillman side of the family. We (Dad, Jennifer, Abbey and the 6 of us) went to a Christmas Eve service at Austin Stone (Aunt Ashley's church), then continued our tradition of serving breakfast to a group of homeless folks early on Christmas morning. Aunt Debbie and family, Alethea and Emmitt and Andrew and Amy and Aunt Sharon all joined us later Christmas day for a delicious Christmas dinner. After we hung out for a couple of days, my parents took the older 3 kids to Houston for a few days to see Andrew and Amy's new house, which was the best Christmas present for me and Ty :) 

The next weekend we had Dishman Christmas. Nana had worked so hard to make pocket quilts for the kids. Here they are opening them while she shows them the goodies in the pockets. 

Aunt Chez, Eliza and Hazel peeking in the pockets.

The kids with their new quilts. It was a labor of love from Nana. Thanks! 

December… aren't my titles creative? ;)

The kids in their red and green. My mom sent these cute outfits for the girls. 

Colt made a joke while wearing this hat that he was Justin Beaver. Ha! 

Tatum was playing catch with Ty one day and was really into it.

But, she had some trouble catching...

Maybe b/c her eyes were closed.

Colt lost his first tooth! 

Some of the kids in Colt's class have been getting into Pokemon cards, so he got a few packs for Christmas. He and Levi got online to watch an explanatory video and picked it up quickly. 

He is so intent on learning! This is one of the things that I am loving about homeschooling Colt. When he knows that he isn't doing something correctly or as well as expected, he works diligently on it until there is improvement. I would say he is a pretty average student at this point, but I love that he works so hard (usually without complaining or getting frustrated) to meet his goals.

We drove to Cedar Park one FREEZING December evening for "Follow the Star," an event that follows Jesus's life, death and resurrection. This is the first stop where the angel is announcing the Good News to Mary.

We are all bundled up - it was literally freezing outside! 

The boys are watching The Last Supper

Cutie with a red nose. I didn't get a picture of it, but one scene was Jesus and the 2 criminals on the cross. They were only wearing loin cloths.. and it was freezing outside. What a bunch of toughies. It was a bit gruesome with a whipping scene and the crucifixion scene and I had to walk ahead with Tatum, but I think the boys really got a lot out of it. Another thing I will remember from this night was watching Jesus' ministry. He was in a town where crowds were all around him. He went out of his way to find a begging leper and not only did he help her, but he gave her a big, warm hug. How many times do I try to just help the lepers in my life, but not fully embrace them as He would? Some food for thought.

I found Zoe asleep like this one day. Ha! 

Levi had a special chapel at his preschool one day. He got to act out the part of one the shepherds. One cute shepherd! I love how he ran over to sit in my lap when I walked in the room :) 

We went to the Trail of Lights with some friends. Zoe loved riding on Dad's shoulders and all the lights. 

Zilker Tree. Stand under it and SPIN! 

I love this man!

We took a break at the library one day to play in the leaves. 
In December and part of November, we had a girl from church live with us. She just needed a place to stay before her new apartment was available for move in. We loved having Julia in our home and miss her now that she's gone. She was a trooper to put up with the kids. They had to learn to give her privacy and would bombard her with stories from the moment she walked into our house after work. She was a big help around the house and a great houseguest. She even hooked me up with some beautiful jewelry from her employer, Kendra Scott, for Ty's work Christmas party. Too bad I didn't get a picture of that or even of Julia. But thought I should mention it since she was a big part of our life this month.