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UUUGE catch-up!

So it's time for a UUUUGE catch-up (to be said in a bad Donald Trump impression- he never pronounces the "h" in huge).  July was my last entry.  What!?

Starting with August:
We went to the Amarillo Zoo!  It was a fun day trip and we had a great time, but I don't want to load up on just zoo pictures, so here's one with Jim and the boys-
August is also Jackson's birthday!
He turned 7 this year!
He decorated his cake.  Both the boys LOVE to decorate their cake, but ironically, neither one of them really like eating cake.  Heck, Harrison was afraid of his first cake.  They're so weird!
We just had a small celebration.
He's so cute!
Of course, we can't have a birthday in our house without Maggie.
How cute is this picture!?
Maggie is on her tippiest of tippy toes.  She's only 6 months younger than Jackson and she's 2 years older than Austin, but they both tower over her.  She's so little!
Jackson Red Robin for his birthday lunch.
Grandma and Austin-
Daddy and the birthday boy-
And Harrison.  Apparently, he was super excited for Jackson's birthday!
Jackson's did request one special activity for his birthday.
A water balloon fight!  It was soo fun!
I know the first day of school is actually in August, but It's still a September/fall thing to me, so I'm putting it here.
The first day of school!
I was soooo anxious and worried about this school year.  I felt soooo much guilt too.  I put Austin in full-time preschool.  I felt like such a terrible mom!  I felt like I was sending him to the wolves and I didn't do that to Jackson.  Plus, Austin cried and cried when he first went to nursery, and recently started crying when it was time for Primary.  I was just sure he wasn't ready!  But I started a new part-time job and putting him in full-time school was the best option.  The guilt was almost unbearable.  Seriously. 
2 things got me through this time.  First, prayer!  I prayed and prayed that Austin (and Jackson) would have good teachers this year.  Teachers that loved them and worked with their individual strengths.  And second, I knew that Wolffarth was such a GREAT school.  Jackson was loved and every teacher knew his name in the first 6 weeks.  They go out of their way to make students feel welcomed and loved.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE Wolffarth Elementary!
So, it was time for the first day.  Austin was super excited!  But I just knew that wouldn't last 10 minutes once he was actually in his classroom.
Here he is.  The first day of preschool (minioned out to the max)-
Sidenote:  Austin looks so much like my Uncle Glenn in the above picture, it's uncanny!
Another sidenote:  I made this blanket for naptime at school.  I think it came out great!
Third sidenote:  I already bought him Mickey Mouse fabric for his blanket, but he changed his mind AFTER I bought it.  I refused to buy more (minion) fabric since he already picked out Mickey Mouse fabric.  However, grandma was suckered saved the day, and bought minion fabric.
This is Austin with his AMAZING teachers.
These wonderful women are answers to my prayers.  They love Austin so much.  Especially Mrs. Lee, this woman is made to teach preschool.  She has so much love for her kiddos that it oozes out of her face, her smile, and her speech.  I love these women!
Austin and Mrs. Lee:
Austin and Mrs. Martinez (plus, a daddy/Jackson/Harrison photo bomb):
Ok, so he made it to class STILL excited.  I helped him get situated and took pictures, and I DIDN'T cry!  Until...
I was just making sure he was ok; basically, waiting for him to cry and fall apart.
But instead, he said, "Ok, mommy, you can go now.  You should leave".
You guys, I am STILL struggling to hold back tears as a write this.
I lost it.  His teacher saw that I was losing it.  I quickly said, "I need to go now", and she very sweetly said, "Yep, it's ok.  It happens all the time".
So, then I expected after a week or so Austin would cry or complain about going to school because in his mind he went to school and that was done now, but he has NEVER complained or cried about going to school.  Rather, he's cried when he's had to stay home for some illness.  He's cried if he thinks he's going to be late or if he thinks he's missing school because it's a weekend, but this little handsome LOVES school.  Loves it.  And a UUUGE weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.
Austin is reading and his teacher, Mrs. Martinez, is so proud of him.  She usually doesn't start her preschoolers in a reading program until the end of the year, but since Austin is showing so much potential, she started him in a reading program in the first 6 weeks!
Jackson's first day!  This is old hat for him (and me).
And with his teacher, Mrs. Blake.
This sweet woman has 30 years experience under her belt with 2nd graders.  I'm so grateful for her!
This year Jackson is doing UIL math and he loves it!  Thanks to Mrs. Blake for seeing his aptitude for math!
Here's where the rest of my mommy guilt comes in:  Harrison started daycare.
We have scrimped and saved and budgeted every last cent of our income to make a way available that I have been able to stay at home with the boys, so I felt/feel really terrible that Harrison is not going to have me full-time like his brothers did.  Especially since it's not a necessity that I work.  It's nice, but not necessary.  But here's the catch, he's only in daycare for 4 hours ONE day a week.  That's it!  That's a flippin playdate! But I still feel awful about it because he screams when I leave him every morning.  The first 3 weeks he cried almost the whole time he was there.  Talk about mommy guilt!  Last week was the first week that he didn't cry when I left.  He even wanted down from my hold, but only for a few seconds.  His teacher left before Thanksgiving, but we hadn't been back since she left.  His teacher was the only reason he was as comfortable as he was, but last week she wasn't there and he did great!  I'm hopeful he's getting more familiar with daycare as playtime, so it's not so bad.
Anyway, grandma bought the bigger boys minion backpacks for school.  I was just going to use the backpacks from the year before- I already had one for Austin (I thought ahead when I bought them on sale the year before) and Jackson's was still in great shape! But grandma's a sucker a hero, and since the boys wanted minion backpacks, she bought them new minion backpacks.  Because she bought the big boys new backpacks, she felt Harrison needed a backpack for school too since he was starting "school" too.
Here is Harrison with his new (super cute) backpack-
I didn't take pictures of his first day of "school" because, well, it was just heartbreaking- not quite the success story as Austin's was.
This boy loves his "pack-pack"!
September also brought us FALL!
Oh, how I love fall.
Anyway, I cut out the boys' handprints in different fall colors to make a wreath (last year), so I finally got the wreaths put together this year.
I adore them!  So cute!
In October, the college football season is well underway.  We live in Red Raider country and Jim and I pretty much hate it.  We loathe Texas Tech with a passion.  I have been a Tech student, so I have full rights to hate Tech as much as I want!  ;)  But really, we're not fans.
We do, however, LOVE the Oregon Ducks!
Aunt Julie bought the boys jerseys for Christmas last year, and they fit really well this year.
Goooo, Ducks!
October is the perfect time for the pumpkin patch!
We visited two this year- in the same day!  Yes, I'm crazy!
It was a really fun day.  My mom took the day off work and we played in pumpkin patches all day.
Pumpkin Patch #1:
At this patch, we picked out pumpkins to take home-
Just look at this face with his little goof-toofs.  I just want to eat him up!
Pumpkin Patch #2:
We went through a corn maze and a spooky hayride.
This is my favorite pumpkin patch.
Waiting for the hayride, Harrison got his wiggles out and made lots of new friends-
Then, it was time to decorate pumpkins!
Sadly, I somehow missed getting a picture of the finished products.  D'oh!
This year's Halloween pajamas-
Trick-or-treating, anyone?
The big boys helped pass out candy this year-
November brings our family my birthday, Thanksgiving, and Jim's and my anniversary.
We took some family pictures this month too!  I won't post them all because they're in our Christmas card and calendar this year, but this little beauty is my favorite.  Harrison was so grumpy.  I love this!
This month Jim also surprised the boys with lunch at school. 
Austin loves Subway-
And McDonald's for Jackson-
I didn't get too many pictures of Thanksgiving, but here are a few.
Our wall of gratitude.  I love how it turned out!
Harrison eyeing a Thanksgiving treat.  He's so dang cute!
And Jackson as a sad little turkey because he burned his finger helping Jim smoke the turnkey-
This picture cracks me up!
And finally, DECEMBER!
Ah, I've caught up!
First, we decorated the tree!  Ok, so this is a November thing in our house, but I'll just put it here.
Harrison is obsessed with all things Christmas tree.  Anything that has lights, resembles a tree, or has any sort of greenery is a "Tee!" to him.  He points and says, "Tee!  Woah!  Wow! Ooooh!"  It's so incredibly sweet!
Our traditions continue of unwrapping a Christmas book every night.
Harrison gets a turn this year!
And doing some sort of advent leading up to Christ's birth.  This year I switched it up a bit and we're studying Christ's life and making a coordinating ornament each night to decorate the tree in our front entry.  I have enjoyed this so much and it's really brought the spirit of the season into my heart.  The boys really love this advent!  They're doing such a great job with it!
And there's always holiday jammies!
1.  Ugly Christmas Sweater PJs
2.  Red plaid (they're wearing these on the Polar Express this year)
3.  And these adorable PJs with a gnome on them that read, "I'll be gnome for the holidays".
I ask you, does it get any cuter?!
We just visited the church Nativity celebration we do every year-
The boys' Winter Fest at school-
Jackson rocked his Christmas show at school.
Best little narrator around!
And just yesterday, I had a Christmas lunch with Jackson at school-
He has a super long Gene Simmons tongue that creeps me out!
If you made it this far, you made it to the end!
Congratulations (to you and to me for finally catching up on the blog)!


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