Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Welcome August.  You were highly anticipated because of the start of the new school year & our family entering the elementary school years, which will be present for the next decade of our lives plus some!  It has felt like a big step for all of us, and August you came right on time.

One thing we did not anticipate, was for James to lose his first tooth!! It started to get loose, and just fell right out one day while the boys were playing.  We couldn't believe it!  James was really proud & couldn't wait to use his 'shark pillow' which holds his tooth for the tooth fairy to find.  Our buddy started kindergarten minus one tooth!

The end of summer always brings the last few trips & back to school preparations.  Our family loves the drive down to the beach, and we love going into town to explore.  These crazy guys have been riding these same cannons now since they were tiny!

The boys needed new school shoes, so we headed to the mall one day.  Hayden calls his sneakers his 'fast shoes' & loved to show us all how fast they made him run.  We did not need to do much more 'back to school' shopping, but our boys do wear shoes hard at this age!  Not many more hand me downs coming your way Calvin...

Hayden had his well check for his 4th birthday & luckily did not have any shots needed.  It is pretty tough to get any of my older guys to agree that shots aren't so bad.  I guess they take after their momma (yes, my poor parents).  My big 4 year old fella was 41.5 inches tall & 41.5 pounds!  ((fun fact: nearly identical to James at the same age)

Ah Summer, we love your slow, calm days.  But Fall, we look forward to the new activity & the productivity that schedule can bring.  But first, we gotta draw a few more pictures on the driveway & enjoy the sunshine while floating on a pirate ship.

We shared our big news with our friends&family:  We are having a new baby boy!!  We found some blue shark candy for the boys to celebrate our new boy coming this February, and we jumped in a photo booth to capture our excitement. :-)  Little boy, we are looking forward to having you in our family!

We were able to take the boys with us to the ultrasound appointment to see our new baby's gender, and they had the best time watching him move up on the big screen.  James never stopped talking or asking questions, and Hayden&Calvin mostly just laughed & giggled about his little movements on screen.

One final trip to the zoo had to include the splash pad (or we all would have melted!)  We love our local zoo, but generally skip the water park because it requires that change of clothes.  It was a treat for a hot August day.

One more beach evening where James got to practice some surfing skills with daddy & the little guys played in the surf.  I love the peacefulness of the ocean & the contentment of our family.

On a very hot day, we decided to take the boys bowling to beat the heat.  They loved it & have begged to go again&again.  (They even got to go with Mimi&Grandpa in Sept!  I don't think I got a picture of that outing, but so much fun)

Open House & orientation came.  Our James was so excited & couldn't wait to meet his teacher.  He was so brave & didn't struggle initially in school.  He's had a tough time learning all the rules and remembering to follow them all.  It has been hard for mommy&daddy to understand how to help him adjust, but we have tried to continue to encourage him to do his best.   We are hoping he gets back to loving school like he used to.

Daddy decided the best way to celebrate James' last weekend off was to drive down to Sea World for the day!  These boys even sat in the splash zone for the Shamu show!

Happy First Day of School big guy.

James was so excited, he didn't even want to eat his cinnamon roll for breakfast.  He said he was too exited to go to school!

These boys have loved swimming more than anything else this summer.

We signed James&Hayden up this year to play t-ball, and we decided they should watch a baseball game to see if they could learn the rules a little better before starting their own season.  We went for a 'Christmas in August' (?) game and the boys really loved the mascot dog, Southpaw.   I'm confident their favorite part may have been the cotton candy, but it was a fun time together.

I haven't taken many pictures of my belly yet, but here was one from 16 weeks with our Prose baby #4!

Hayden & Calvin had their first day of Preschool the following week after James started, so it was nice to have a chance to enjoy each day separately.  We got to take their pictures & celebrate walking them into school as well.  Hayden was excited to be in the same class James' had last year, so he already knew his teachers, which made his transition totally smooth&easy. (thank you Lord).  Calvin of course had a little bit of sadness, but after he got to know his teachers, he has loved his class!

Grammy&Papa got to come down and visit us!  And they brought Clemson goodies for the boys to wear on a special game day in September...  We had such a great time having then stay for a few days.  My Mom got to spend time with just me (!) while the boys were all in school, and my Dad got to play some golf for his mini-vacation.  It was almost like I had a vacation too!

I have three mornings a week now that are just Calvin&me.  He has been such a sweet helper & loves to just be doing what I'm doing.  It is easier to shop with just one little boy in tow, but we do stay at home and play catch up on chores as well.  Our simple minion trips shopping & picnic lunches inside.  :-)

The end of August gave us a real treat, an answer to prayer.  I had hoped that my boys would be able to meet more of my family, and we were so lucky it happened!  My cousin Lucas was ordained as a priest just outside of Orlando, which was close enough for us to go and see him.  We were able to spend one night there, and we got to see my Aunt Cindy!  The boys absolutely loved her, and wanted to be with her all the time.  My Uncle Robbie was there, his brother Calvin (which was too much fun), my cousin Stephanie, Lucas' wife Delana, and Grandma Glenna.  My parents joined everyone for the ordination service as well- what a happy day!

Presenting Father Lucas Small!

The whole gang.

This cuteness.  I am so thankful for the camera on my phone.

Lord, Thank you for new beginnings, even when they are scarier than we imagined.  Thank you for answering my prayers for my boys to meet my Aunt Cindy & a number of other family.  Thank you for our final summer outings, for trying new things & enjoying our favorites as well.  Thank you for the time we were given to spend together, and how it seems to continue on so quickly.  I am so grateful for writing down our memories, even just the basics, so that the boys may have them from me.  Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Oh July.  You always bring the heat, the celebrations, and the vacations.  June seems slow, steady & predictably unscheduled.  July provided more excitement & scheduled activity.  July, we welcome you with anticipation!

Matt&I celebrated our 9th anniversary, but also got to celebrate something very special the same day. We made a fancy dinner & bought an ice cream cake.  The boys loved having a 'fancy' dinner together!

We cut the cake & decorated it with some sweet decorations.  We asked them to guess what else we were celebrating, and they were able to guess from the baby bottle decoration.  WE ARE HAVING A NEW BABY!?!  yes, yes we are!

We were able to see our parents & tell them our news in person with some fun little baby gifts.  We made a trip up to visit my parents first for the 4th of July.  They watched our boys so we were able to take a little night away to celebrate our anniversary at a B&B outside of Atlanta.  

We would highly recommend staying at the Twelve Oaks Bed&Breakfast just about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta.  The home is beautiful & restored with great taste.   It was lovely- the small town was perfect for a quiet walk and dinner.  We ate at an awesome restaurant called Mystic Grill.  It was more than we expected, and exactly what we had hoped for.  Lovely time away together.  Two thumbs up!!

The boys had their own adventure with Grammy&Papa to Bass Pro Shop, where they all got matching red hats!  (those hats have come in handy!)  I'm so glad for fun memories they can make with their grandparents.

We headed back to our home & had to get ourselves ready to go again.  The normal routine of laundry, cleaning, packing, and working hard to cook at home is mostly all I can keep up with these days.  It doesn't seem like much is actually accomplished, the doing & undoing & redoing.  But these sweet summer days of swimming & popsicles is made memorable by these sweet faces.  Especially when they decide to swim in their undies!! 

We got to see this family picture from Matt's cousin's wedding this past March (which was just a gorgeous setting!!), and my sons just about stole the show with whatever faces they are making!! haha, I tell you what, with kids you just never know what you are going to get.  I love this picture.

Matt and I were able to attend a work conference just south of where his parents live the weekend before our family vacation, and his parents offered to keep our boys!  We had two weekends in a row where we could rest & go on a date; how spoiled we are!!  But honestly, it was such a gift.  I was only 8/9 weeks pregnant at that time, still stick, and pretty worn out most of the time.  Thankful for a chance to take a nap, get my nails done, and go on a date.

We took this 'baby sitter kit' to the Proses as our way to announce our pregnancy.  We filled it with a little pack of diapers & a paci.  Matt's dad almost stole the surprise, because when he saw the word 'baby' on the bag, he jumped to the conclusion before we even said so!!  We tried to tell them to go ahead and open the bag, and of course then he found out he was right.  "baby!!  I saw the word baby..."

We picked up our kiddos after the conference & headed to the beach for our family vacation!!  The boys were so excited, and they could hardly wait to run right out to enjoy the Gulf!  ((I had a hard time not calling it the ocean, haha!  We had never taken them to the gulf before, and they didn't understand the difference.  Kept making that mistake all week!))

The resort we stayed at had lots of fun activities for the kids to try while we were there.  They loved these big dolphins to sit on, making s'mores in the evening, sitting in the hammocks, and especially loved the giant inflatable slide on the beach!  We tried the paddle boats, swam in the pool, sat poolside for dinner and watched the day unwind.  The boys played corn hole & watched cartoons in the morning.  Many fun adventures!

Matt had planned to take his Dad on a deep sea fishing trip, so Mimi was going to spend the day with us at the beach!  But, the trip was canceled due to weather, so we got to spend the day all together!  We got to have breakfast next to a huge fish tank & spend the morning playing.  Everybody took naps all week long, and then Mimi&Grandpa even took the boys up the big slide!  We were so glad they could come & the boys wanted them to stay longer (as they always do).  Yummy food, fun & sun, memories made.

The next day, we took the boys to see Winter the dolphin at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium/rescue center.  We were so glad that Jack&Max could come with us!  The boys had fun looking at all the animals & watching a dolphin training.  We got to try our Frenchie's restaurant down at Clearwater, and it did not disappoint!   (We even went back for one more meal, haha!  Two thumbs up).

One of my favorite spots we found south of St. Pete Beach was Pass-a-Grille beach.  What a lovely small town feel!  No buildings on the beach front.  Great restaurants, all local, and we could walk across to see the sunset.  What more could you ask for!  This section was more my speed- I love the slow, the quiet, the experience more as it is (versus what we can build on it).  One place I would go again!

I love these silly, sweet guys.  It is hard to choose a favorite image of them!

Sea shell hunting, sunset beauty, shadows & silhouettes.

We did have our fair share of rain through the week which kept us indoors more than we had anticipated.  But this beautiful double rainbow kept us company one morning.  I never cease to be amazed by the sense of promise that comes from seeing a rainbow- moments that feel more significant & the sense of the Lord's presence in the small.

The castle building, surf riding, sea shell road designs, crab catching.  The beach never disappoints.

I almost forgot about this!  The boys were able to try this 'surf board' ride which the operator only moved little bits at a time for them.  It was like a mechanical bull ride, but a surf board instead.  They loved it!!

Calvin liked to sit by me under our cabana.  He surprised me with his attention span to just sit & watch the world go by.  This little guy loves to just be with me, and I try to remember to not take that for granted.  What a wonderful family vacation - until next time!

We ended our vacation by going to our nephew Max's 1st birthday party!!  I was so excited to be able to be in attendance, and our boys always love seeing their cousins.  I regrettably did not get a very good shot of the birthday boy, but of course Aunt Natassja did an incredible job decorating and making his party special.  Happy 1st birthday Max!  We love you!!

We got home from the beach & we were able to go for our first sonogram of our new little baby.  Matt got to go with me & we had a sitter for our boys.  Seeing this new little life on the screen & watching the movements, heartbeat, and body is one of my favorite things in pregnancy.  Praise the Lord for a healthy baby!

Of course, our July ended with Hayden's birthday party, many different pool swim sessions & playdates, lots of popsicles, many thunderstorms & movies, and crazy heat.

I was able to get myself a little something to celebrate my spring teaching term this year- new pool bags!  I had seen this american-made company based out of FL, followed their instagram, and decided to wait for a sale to try it out!  Hayden Reis is the company name, which of course I love because of my Hayden.  Overall, I have been very happy with my sail cloth bags & have enjoyed the waterproof feature!!  I recommend them if you are looking for a great carry all. :-)

We were really surprised that James had his first loose tooth this July!!  Our dentist had said his teeth wouldn't be moving quickly when we saw her last winter, so we did not expect this tooth to be ready so soon.  He was beyond excited.

Happy Birthday Fletcher!  Our boys love spending time with their buddies & birthday parties are extra fun at this age.  And I love spending time with my beautiful friend & neighbor.  We are so thankful for y'all!!

Matt is always so sweet about his birthday & never makes a big deal out of celebrating.  Because he & Hayden are back to back days, the excitement is never absent, but he enjoys doing all of that for his boy.  So, I surprised him by getting a sitter on his birthday so we could go out alone & celebrate together.  Happy birthday sweetheart!  You are the best.

We were surprised by a fun chance to spend the day with all of Matt's family at the Rainbow river!  Luckily, Matt's schedule opened up a chance for us to be able to make it during the work week, which for him is always tough.  The boys all caught their first fish (although mommy caught Calvin's & Max's), which was of course so exciting for them!  They floated down the river back and forth & loved swimming.  The water was so clear, fishing was really fun because you could watch the fish coming up to bite the bate.

Our group shot!

How many Prose boys can we fit in a tub??

Calvin has been working on his potty training now that he is two.  I just adore the pictures of the boys in their little undies for the first time.  He was so proud & really did great!  Mommy wasn't up to pushing the challenge further, so we are taking the long road.  He does awesome going pee pee in the potty, but hasn't gotten the hang of other key elements.  Mommy will get on board & put him in boot camp soon enough. haha

The last day of July we got to hang out with our sweet friends the Zepps!  They are so dear to us because we've known them for so long.  Our schedules have been opposite with nap times & all, so it had been too long!!  Our boys enjoyed it as much as Lindy & I did. :-)  Love y'all!!

Thank you Lord for a beautiful month of time with family & time at home.  Thank you for birthday to celebrate with our loved ones & parties to throw.  Thank you for milestones: loose teeth & potty training & learning to swim.  Thank you for all the good things, all the small things in our lives that we forget are true gifts.  For apples & cheese & nuts as a snack, and for pizza night together.  Thank you for friends, as often as we see each other.  Thank you for the community of living around those who love us & have become so dear.  We are so grateful for all your mercy to us Lord. Amen.