Category Archives: growing up

That Reese

I witnessed something remarkable the other day.

I took part of the day off of work so that I could chaperone Reese’s first field trip. We went to the pumpkin patch, but the field trip itself has nothing to do with this story.

Once we were back at the school, we had about 20 minutes to kill before the end of the school day. After the kiddos had the classroom cleaned up, and their week’s worth of papers stuffed in their backpacks, their teacher let them have free time.

At that point, she looked at me and said I was welcome to take Reese and get an early start on our weekend, but I had to wait for Rylee either way, so we hung out in the class. I stood off to the side and watched the classroom dynamic.

Somewhat off-topic: I’ve really been curious about the classroom dynamic and how Reese is adjusting to kindergarten. Often times she’s over-tired and very emotional when she gets home, so I can’t help but wonder if that’s how she is throughout the day, or if it’s saved up for when she’s at home. I was really thankful I had some time to just sit back and observe.

Immediately, all of the kids but one headed to the back of the classroom where there are books to look at and tubs of toys to play with. The one kid that didn’t go with the rest of the class? Mine.

Reese walked over to her teacher asking something I couldn’t quite hear, waited for the answer, smiled and quietly went up to the front of the room, where it’s clear they do their circle time, reading/letter practice, etc. She turned on the little karaoke machine, had the microphone in one hand, picked up the “pointer stick” with the other and started playing teacher. At this point she was “teaching” no one, but was reciting what I can only imagine is their typical daily routine.

All by herself, as content as can be.

After a few minutes of playing teacher by herself, one little girl went over at sat on the rug in front of Reese. Her eyes lit up. She was so excited to have a student. She called up her student to the front and together they practiced their sight words. Holding the microphone for her student, and pointing to each word. Within a few more minutes, there were five kids sitting there, letting Reese be their teacher.

A couple of the kids started arguing about who got to stand up and read the words into the microphone next. Teacher Reese diffused the situation quickly and the group continued playing happily until their real teacher said it was time to clean up and head home.

At home, I see the Reese that is often over-tired from school. I see the Reese that does everything in her power to push all of her sister’s buttons then gets mad when her sister retaliates. I see the Reese that hates brushing her teeth and hates going to bed. I see the Reese that doesn’t want to play what her siblings are playing but also doesn’t want to be left out. I see the Reese that’s loud and that likes to push boundaries.

The Reese that I saw that afternoon in her class? She’s independent. And content. And doesn’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. That Reese going to move mountains. Because when she talks? People listen.

I’m happy I got to see that Reese.

2016 Family Recap

It’s that time of year again! Christmas cards have been sent and now I’m sitting here (possibly procrastinating a work project) thinking, man I should have written a Christmas letter! Our little family really isn’t so little anymore. We seem to always be busy and running. 2016 was filled with extreme highs, some lows (like losing power for 5 days over the last week!), as well as adventure for our family of five and looking back, it was most definitely one of our best yet.
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Big picture-wise, a lot happened in 2016. In January we welcomed our first nephew on my side of the family! George stole my heart the minute I first held him. He’s growing and changing so much – I just wish I was able to make it up to Portland to see them more often. Then in May we welcomed twin nieces! Unfortunately they were born scary-early and spent a lot of time in NICU but now they’re home and healthy and growing more every day.

We had a lot of fun summer adventures that included our first camping trip as a family of 5! The kids had a great time… Andy and I needed a weekend from our weekend haha! It was so nice to get back out in the woods. We hadn’t been camping since Reese was a baby. We hiked 6 or so miles at Silver Falls with some friends. We road-tripped to Cheyenne, Wyoming in August and met up with some friends that live in Michigan – Cheyenne was the midpoint for both of us. It was a quick trip, but the kids did so great and it was so great visiting with our friends. We’ve already started planning our trip for next summer! We ended the summer with a long weekend at the Oregon Coast.

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Rylee turned 8 in May and started the third grade this school year. She continues to be involved with sports adding basketball and now even volleyball to the list. Between those, soccer and softball she’s playing some sport throughout the school year. Rylee works really hard at her school work and it really shows. Her teacher this year is really pushing her in all subjects and it’s so fun to watch her face new challenges head on. Her ability to understand math concepts blows my mind, and honestly intimidates me just a smidge. She will be better than me at math in no time. She also loves to read and devours books. Right now, she is reading 4 different books in preparation to compete in OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books).  Most recently she was invited, as one of seven 3rd graders and only 14 kids in the whole school, to represent her school on a team for a national STEM competition called Destination Imagination. I am still learning what all that entails, but she is very excited about all she has on her plate right now. Outside of sports and academics, Rylee enjoys helping Andy build things/complete projects around the house and property. She is an amazing big sister and has such a big heart.

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Reese turned 4 in July. This girl likes to live out loud. Emphasis on the loud. Ha! She is full of spunk and always has a twinkle in her eye. She’s in the Pre-K class at her daycare/pre school and it’s very fun to see her put together letters and sounds and begin writing. The other night Rylee was teaching her basic addition – go figure. Reese has essentially spent her whole life watching her sister play organized sports and between Tball last spring and soccer in the fall, it’s clear that she cannot wait to get out on the field! She will be playing soccer when she starts kindergarten next fall and she is so excited about that idea. I often joke that if there’s a fight in our house, Reese is in the middle of it. Her and Lincoln get along great 99% of the time. Rylee and her however, well, there’s just something about sisters, I suppose because I remember doing the same things to my sisters. In general, Reese is very independent and strong-willed and will do things in her own time and feel her own feelings and most definitely does not care for her big sister telling her otherwise. She loves to play “home” and cart her baby dolls around the house. She is obsessed with all things baby mainly because of all of her new cousins! She loves to hold them and tells me “I am their best cousin, Mom.” … it doesn’t matter which cousin she is referring to.  She has even named one of her babies Éliane, after one of her cousins.

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View More: http://witnesseverymoment.pass.us/rice_haag_families

Lincoln turned 2 this year. If you’re around him for more than 5 minutes, his shyness will wear off and you’ll hear him talking a lot. It’s fun to hear him stringing sentences together and it’s downright funny hearing him reprimand his sisters… “Calm down, Rylee!” “Reese! Be quiet, Reese!” No idea where he hears those phrases! He is running all over the place – mostly chasing after his sisters. He also loves having sword fights, pretending to vacuum (with those same swords), or building/fixing things “like Daddy” with his toy tools. We offically had our very first trip to urgent care for an injury thanks to him. He jumped off the bottom step at my sister’s house and slipped on the hardwood floors. We thought he bit clear through his bottom lip. Turns out he didn’t and other than a fat lip, he was completely fine. FUN TIMES! He also loves trains and helping Andy build fires in the wood stove. He’s most happy when his sisters are including him with their play and will happily play the pretend husband or “babe” and carry around the baby dolls. Lincoln has a great relationship with both of the girls.

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Andy started his 13th year of teaching in September. His schedule this year includes P.E., shop, and construction math. He has worked really hard on building a shop program out there and has made some fantastic industry partners in the community. He is also team teaching a STEM class and has his “head teacher” position helping with transcripts, counseling, and basically running everything behind the scenes. New kid shows up? Mr. Rice can help. Kid can’t get into his locker? Mr. Rice can help. A parent needs a grade report status for another class? Email Mr. Rice, he can help. Anyone know how to set up the PA system in the gym? Mr. Rice can help. Kid needs a bandaid? You guessed it… Mr. Rice can help. He has even been voted by the senior class two years in a row to give the commencement speech at graduation. Because, why not? He truly loves what he does. While his work keeps him plenty busy with long hours, he has managed to help coach Rylee’s T-ball team last spring and it sounds like he will be helping with basketball next month too. Outside of all that, it seems like he’s always scheming, planning, or executing a major project around the property and the latest one is a home office for me. We are converting part of the garage into an office/guest room. No no, we will not be getting rid of Andy’s beloved Cruiser. There will most definitely still be room in the garage for that! One of these days, maybe his priority will shift to something for himelf and he will get those brakes replaced and install a steering conversion kit like he’s wanted to for the last 4-5 years. Maybe.

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In February I left my job at the IT training company to take a position at a tech company based out of Portland. Working from home offered a lot of flexibility with family stuff and traveling to Portland once a week for work meant seeing my sister and nephew on a regular basis and that was amazing. But after not quite 3 months with that company – basically out of the blue and thanks to facebook – I was offered a position as Director of Marketing for a hunting company. The company is based in Texas so I continue to work from home. DREAM JOB STATS: Achievement UNLOCKED I am so, so happy to be back in an industry I love. It’s been fun reconnecting with old colleagues. I have traveled to Texas a few times since I started in June and even had the chance to hunt whitetail in South Texas. 2017 kicks off with quite a bit of travel for me… I will be in Dallas, Vegas, and Harrisburg, PA for shows in the first 6 weeks alone. I am looking forward to sticking with this company for a long, long while with many more adventures. Hopefully a caribou hunt will be on the docket in coming years! Aside from work, I continue to really enjoy cooking and have also taken a liking to running. I certainly wouldn’t call myself a runner, but Julia (my best friend of 32 years) convinced me to run a 5K race with her back in May and we’ve done two others since then! Most recently was a holiday run on her birthday where we both took 3rd place for our age divisions! Next year we’re going to bump it up to a 10k!

Andy and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary in August. Last March marked 10 years living on our property. We have three amazing, healthy kiddos. It’s hard not to look at this life we’ve built and smile. We are looking forward many more adventures in 2017!

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Now looking back at this letter, I realize why I could never write one to include with a Christmas card… I may as well bind and publish this bad boy as a short novel! If you made it all the way to the end, BLESS IT! Gold star for you. xoxo

*Photos by Elizabeth Crow Media

21 Months x3

Every once in a while I crack open my laptop and go through old photos. Last weekend I used my real camera to snap a few pics of the kiddos playing in the sprinkler. When I uploaded them it sent me down a rabbit hole. I did a little math to figure out Lincoln is about 21 months old, then proceeded to search my iphoto for photos of the girls at about that same age. This is what I found…

Rylee – Feb. 2010
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Reese – April 2014IMG_6992

Lincoln – July[ish] 2016DSC_0029

Yes, Reese is sitting on the toilet. Turns out that girl did not smile very much when she was that age. That was the best photo I could find that wasn’t her mean-muggin or with a binkie stuffed in her face hole.

I think Reese & Lincoln look SO much alike. I’ve always thought it, but now seeing them at about the same age, it really shows.

I don’t remember Rylee having such CHEEKS. She is so slender now, it’s hard to remember 6 years ago. Also… SIX years ago!? Holy moly.

I definitely think all the kiddos have the same nose in these photos.

I wish I had a photo in here on Lincoln without a hat on, because it’s so funny to me how I have 3 kiddos that all look so similar but all have very different hair colors… and how it’s been like that since the day they were born. Rylee with the red hair, Reese with the light brown/dirty blond, and Lincoln is a total toe head.

I also wish the photo of Lincoln wasn’t quite so dark. But fixing that would take time and well… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I can’t wait to do this again in the future. I love how much my siblings and I all look alike. In all honesty, it makes me feel more connected to them and I’ve always hoped my kiddos share that too.

12 Months of Lincoln

I was going to call out which of these are my favorites, but as it turns out they all are. I love all of them for slightly different reasons from newborn squish, old man sweaters, to discovering feet, to gummy smiles, to toothy grins, to so.much.personality. I know I’ve said it before but this boy… he owns my heart!

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Lincoln at 18 Months

How is my little man 18 months old!? We had his well check this morning, so I thought it’d be fun to do a quick update! This boy is super laid back and so happy… Unless you’re doing something he doesn’t want you to do or he’s doing something you don’t want him to. Ha.

It’s been a little while sine I’ve done one of these, so there’s more than a little bit to catch up on. (A recap of the monthly pics might be fun!)

Lincoln started walking at 11 months old and it didn’t take him long to start running. Andy and I have so much fun watching him run after/play with his sisters. He really idolizes them (especially Rylee). Unless Reese is trying to boss him around. Then he yells no at her. Sometime followed by hitting, pushing or hair pulling. Good times! But his sweet side shows any time he sees or hears one of his sisters crying. He immediately stops whatever he is doing and goes right to them, puts his face inches from their face and rubs their back or pays the top of their head.

Homeboy was rocking a pretty solid mullet until his first haircut at 13 months old. To be honest, the poor kid needed a haircut at 9 months, but his mullet was just too good to not make part of his Halloween costume. So We (I) dressed him up as Joe Dirt. Fricken hilarious! Since then he’s had 3 haircuts and is due to get another this weekend. So far I’ve done all of them. They never look that great but his hair is so blonde and so fluffy yet wirey it doesn’t make much of a difference.
He says a number of words and has even said a sentence – “I want more!” Words include: please, up, no, mama, daddy, Dante, Rylee, Ry, Reese, hi, bye, more, cheese, night night. His first word was Dante. Just like his sisters.

The stats: height: 32″ (34th percentile), weight: 22 lbs, 15 oz (31st percentile)

Likes: me (I’m still his favorite!), playing outside, pretend cooking, dancing, sword fighting, Dante, brushing his teeth, baths, messing with you if you’re lying on the floor.

Dislikes: being told no, Meat that’s not ground beef covered in taco seasoning, Drinking milk out of anything other than a bottle (Too bad that’s gonna change as of today no more bottle. Cold turkey.) Getting pushed around by his sisters, Me putting him down.

Sleep: He may have taken the longest to sleep through the night, but he’s making up for it now. He goes down for bed SO easily. At bedtime, as soon as his PJs are on, he makes his rounds to the family giving loves and waving good night. Then I take him into his room and we sit in the rocker. Within seconds of rocking he points to his crib. So I kiss him goodnight and put him in his crib. As I turn around to walk out, he blows me kisses, waves and says “night!”  I miss the snuggles but I love the easy routine.

I really have no words to describe how much I love love love this little man. He has my heart. I just… I’m his biggest fan. And I think I always will be.