Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Connor Turns 10!

I'm a little ashamed to admit that our family doesn't make as big a deal about birthdays as others might. While many friends of ours celebrate kids' birthdays with big parties every year, we usually stick to a low-key celebration for the kids with maybe a few of their close friends over for some cake. This year, however, I had prepared myself to throw a big party for my firstborn. It was a big milestone birthday for him, as he was hitting double digits!

Connor on his 10th birthday

He managed a smile even though I made him wear a collared shirt, ha!

His natural pose -- the "dab"!

Many months before Connor's 10th birthday in early May, we began discussing and planning for the big party he wanted to have. We threw out several ideas and Connor was excited for the celebration. As it got closer to the date, though, I casually mentioned something about the cost of the party being equivalent to a big gift. He had actually been wanting a particular big gift for a while and asked me if he could get that instead of his party. I was worried about cheating him out of the special birthday party memories, but Connor was more than excited about the "deal" we struck.

No birthday party = extra special birthday gift! And I'd say he was super happy about the outcome...

Connor with his birthday gifts (in lieu of a party).

He knew what he was getting for his big gift.

And he was SUPER excited about everything that came with it!

We even managed to pull off some surprises. I love his expressive face!

He was so happy about his birthday gifts that even his sister got some love!

Since he wasn't having a party to commemorate his big day, he invited his closest friends over for a little low-key celebration at the house. They played Connor's new Xbox, swam, and enjoyed some pizza and cake. It was the perfect way to celebrate Connor's 10th birthday.

These boys crack me up. They were preparing for an indoor snowball fight but struck their cool pose for me.

Enjoying some pizza outside before a swim.

Connor got a notebook for his football cards.

And a cool Texans thermos. I love that his close friends know exactly what he would want!

Time for a swim.

And now for some birthday cake.

He tried not to smile but he was having way too much fun.

The cake didn't last long!

Soaking in some sun while the cake settled.

It turned out to be the perfect celebration for Connor's decade of life on this earth!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Spring Photo Catch-up

In my attempt to continue getting caught up with our 2016 family memories, I found some random photos and updates that I wanted to share here.

On a random spring day with cool weather and beautiful sunshine, I was walking Connor into school that morning because I needed to be there for a PTA meeting. He grabbed my hand and leaned over to kiss my arm while saying, "I love you, Mom." Then I stopped to take a picture of us together to remember the moment. The conversation continued and I just had to post about it on Facebook. It was such a gift that has now become a memory I know I'll cling to in the years to come. Love this kid!

During the week of Valentine's Day, our favorite breakfast stop, Chick-fil-A, was serving chicken biscuits in the shape of a heart. Super cute!

There is no shortage of the Memory Game in our house. Here Kaitlynn plays with her friend Sophia.

We love playing games. This one is A Ticket to Ride.

They were so excited when they got to visit Target for some goodies.

A common sight in our house -- dolls and football cards.

This was a productive visit to Chuck E Cheese.

More tickets and Connor is just too cool, ha!

I might have told them to show me how excited they were at all their tickets. Hence the strange expressions.

The flu visited our house this past spring. Look how awful she looks. Breaks my heart!!

She was so sick.

She was so sick but still sweet enough to send such thoughtful and loving text messages to me.

And NOT pictured was ME being even sicker a couple days later. Yep, my sweet girl passed her flu germs to me. I was miserable for days. I honestly don't ever remember feeling so bad in my life. Horrible!

For Jeff's birthday in April, we got him his favorite chocolate cake from Treebeards.

He was so excited about the cake!

I didn't make it to Field Day this past spring, but Dom's mom sent me this cute pic of the girls. They had a blast!

Friday, September 16, 2016

A Girl and her Dolls

Ever since Kaitlynn developed a love for all things American Girl, she has been inseparable from her many dolls. Whether it's her American Girls, her babies, or her Target Our Generation dolls, Kaitlynn is rarely alone these days. She even manages to pack spare activities and outfits to bring for the dolls, you know, just in case!

Ready for a day of shopping with her baby.

Getting her three babies ready for bed.

Sweet smile for her baby who apparently dropped her paci.

Matching her doll for bedtime.


Kaitlynn even gave her doll her own device.

Sheer excitement to add more accessories to her collection.

Sharing some breakfast with her newer doll from Target, Maralynn.

Time for some shopping and Anna is ready to go.

Shopping wore them both out.

I come across scenes like these often and all over the house.

Kaitlynn even managed to bring her dolls to school every once in a while when she won a "stuffed animal" pass.

Dolls are a sure sidekick at most meals.

And of course Kaitlynn has to bring her girls to tumbling, too.

You never know which doll or which outfit might be making an appearance!

Despite what our family tree may show, there's no shortage of girls in the Courtright house. Ha!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Cartwheels, Hand Stands, and Back Handsprings

After Kaitlynn wrapped up her cheer season last fall, she decided she was probably done with cheering for a while. Instead, she was begging for me to enroll her in gymnastics and tumbling because she was learning how to do cartwheels from her friends and thought it was so much fun. Once the new year started, I finally agreed to let Kaitlynn take some classes.

We decided to enroll in Westwood Gymnastics where the kids often attend events like Parents Night Out. At first I was confused on the difference between gymnastics and tumbling. After Kaitlynn began taking 1 class of both, she very quickly decided that she preferred the tumbling side of things which is just the floor exercises like cartwheels, round-offs, etc. whereas gymnastics includes work on the bars and beam.

Kaitlynn took so quickly to tumbling and just loved every single second of it. She was SO focused on learning how to do various tricks, and it seemed like she was always practicing her cartwheels and handstands everywhere she went. As she perfected her cartwheel, she moved up from the beginner level to the intermediate level of tumbling in about a month. Then she set her sights on learning how to do a back handspring, and within another month she had progressed enough to move up to the accelerated level. She continued learning new tricks every week, including a backbend bridge, bridge kick-over, and soon began doing running back handsprings on the mat. Jeff and I couldn't believe her quick progress, but we have had so much fun watching her improve and set new goals for herself to achieve.

Our little tumbler

Kaitlynn doing a bridge. Connor cringes when she does this!

Here she is stretching into her splits in the yard.

Connor cringes even more when she does THIS! Ha!

Getting some pointers from one of the coaches at the gym.

Kaitlynn recently decided to switch to a different gym, Adrenaline, where the coaches are pushing her even harder. Although she sometimes feels nervous about trying new things outside of her comfort zone, she loves that she is improving with the tougher coaches. In her accelerated classes, Kaitlynn is usually the smallest kiddo in the class and tumbling side-by-side with girls much older and bigger than she is. We are so proud of her hard work and goal-setting and can't wait to see what she achieves next!

As I was looking back through the videos of Kaitlynn's progress through the months, it's amazing to see how far she has come. I decided to make this compilation video to show her how much she has accomplished in such a short time.

So proud of our girl!!