Last Wednesday, six of my friends (plus me) took off for Kansas City, Missouri for the national MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) conference.  Um, Kansas City is a long way from Michigan.  🙂  But we had a great time and had the opportunity to listen to Beth Moore, Jen Hatmaker, Lysa Terkeurst, and lots of great breakout group speakers.  I’m still processing all the great stuff I heard.  I’m such a learner at heart, so opportunities like this are like crack to me.  I cannot get enough.  

 And all while I was gone, I’d get photos like this:

 My Mom travelled up to be with Peter while I was gone and the kids were clearly distraught without me! 🙂  I was so thankful to get pics like these  because I knew that everyone was happy and having fun. While the big kids were in school, Eliza and Nanna went to Wendy’s, took a trip to the Pumpkin Patch, and even went antique shopping.  They suffered so without me!

 I got home on Sunday night, just in time for Eliza’s 3rd birthday on Tuesday. ( I love the story of Eliza’s birth– it’s one of my favorite blog posts . . . go here to read it).  I remember being so anxious during the days of her pregnancy, wondering if it was the right move for our fractured family, but she has brought us joy and healing in so many ways. What a gift she is to us!

We celebrated my being home and Eliza’s birthday by going out for dinner.  And for some random reason we decided we should take a picture.  This is what we ended up with.  I decided it was our gangsta pose.  I guess Will didn’t get the memo.  
Kate ordered potato soup.  Eliza ordered noodles.  Neither one of them ate anything until I suggested they trade and then they gobbled up one another’s food.  Sisters!

 Since our families usually can’t be around when we open gifts, we have to be creative to make us feel like we are together.  So Eliza opened her gifts from Peter’s parents while they watched via Facetime.  The new little grocery cart was bought with money sent by my Grandpa (the one who calls her Little Gracie).  I made her pose with all her loot so that we could send out pics to everyone.  She was pleased. Also, she looks about 10 miles tall in this picture, which makes me all weepy.

 But lest you think that all is wonderful and peachy, here is the newly turned 3 year old, after an epic meltdown when I told her to put on her pants.   I did eventually take pity on her and put the blanket on her . . .  Birthday weeks are exhausting.

 Happy Weekend!