Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014

Adventures are more fun when Daddy gets to come along.

Like visiting the pumpkin patch farm for a field trip.  It's just better with Daddy.


(We've decided the pumpkin is Julia's stand in since he can't hold her yet. So look at that daddy with his adorable crew.)

How these two adore each other...


It was quite a bit of fun, but it was also 150 degrees.  Okay, maybe it was more like 85, but was super muggy and really did not feel like an autumn day.  We soldiered on and did fall-ish things in the summer weather.







Between the heat and the hay and the animals poor Colin was miserable. I felt so bad. I can't believe I didn't have any Benadryl to help him out.  We've never had this kind of trouble at the pumpkin patch, but we haven't done a real working farm or had it be so stinkin' hot.  He recovered quickly as soon has he got home and had a bath, but oh how hard it is for him when the itching starts.



But hey, cotton picking


Boys with baby sister...heart eyes for days.





She really adores them all in their own way.



Lydia became very focused on the task of rearranging all of the small pumpkins in the display area.





She eventually included her brothers in her plan and forcing them to do her bidding,



which they did, of course.



Then she was satisfied.



Another year blessed to pick pumpkins with these folks.



Pumpkin Patch 2013
Pumpkin Patch 2012
Pumpkin Patch 2011
Pumpkin Patch 2009
Pumpkin Patch 2008
Pumpkin Patch 2007




Thursday, October 9, 2014

Better Now Than December

Naming folks is hard. It is an amazing honor, but it is hard. And it gets harder each time. I mean, they have to carry this for all of their time earth side. The pressure is real.

I feel like we have done a pretty good job four times over now.



But oh have we struggled with this baby girl.  I hate not being able to call her by name.  We've had a few finalist for a while but just not the perfect fit.  Until now.



We like the classic, pretty sound of Julia and Kathryn is my middle name.

Disclaimer: Jason thinks name meanings are silly and actually mean nothing, but just for the record:
Julia means youthful. Since she will, at the very least, always be the youngest of five it seems appropriate.

Between the name and the carseat I think we are all ready for her arrival.  Prepping for the fifth baby is dramatically different than prepping for the first (ha).

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Babywearing Reflections 2014

I've written about babywearing before, but it's been 4 (!wow!) years.  It is international babywearing week and I felt compelled to put a few more thoughts together.

Ultimately babywearing has allowed me to be the parent I have wanted and needed to be as we have nurtured, moved and expanded our family.  We like to go and explore and experience life with our kids and this includes the little ones as they have joined our crew.  It is not the perfect or only answer for every situation but it has allowed me to take care of my older children while meeting my babies' needs.  I cannot imagine doing this gig without it.

Here are a few of my favorite babywearing moments.

With a tiny Lydia in my Sakura Bloom


Babywearing and a bow.  So much momma happiness in one shot.



{Let's pause at the tininess - shall we - because wow I can't believe how the time flies.}

I find going out to eat with a snuggly baby much easier than with a baby who wants in on the dinner action.




And really it doesn't take them long to figure out when dessert is being served.


Our California beach trips were made so much easier with my sling.  Even if she got down and played for a bit, just the logistics of getting to down to the shore is so much easier with free hands.






And if it was freezing cold, it was much easier to handle with her nice and close.


{her first ocean visit}



Visiting the tide pools was a new experience for us all and it was easily had with the baby close.


Sightseeing and travel in general are so much easier for me with my baby close and comforted and me not fighting with a stroller.

Above San Francisco


Above Birmingham

(Please ignore the boys faces. They are not miserable, just tired of pictures.)

And to crowded the train shows.


Pumpkin patch train riding


It really is the only way for me to travel with baby.


We can go places we couldn't with a busy toddler without babywearing, like forest field trips.



And visiting Disney -

Lydia sacked out in the babyhawk at Disneyland


Lydia's first Disney ride - tucked in the sling.


Colin "ready to ride" in Disney World (where it is much hotter to babywear than Disneyland).


Colin was really the first kid to get much babywearing documentation (any guesses when I got my first smart phone? wink).

Kitchen back carries




Grumpy Colin in my first ring sling


At the pumpkin patch while documenting the older boys with the now outdated camera.


The older boys did get a couple of photo booth shots with the computer.

The positioning is off, but this is all of the boys in the hotsling.
Walker

Eli

Colin


And Colin riding a train with his great-grandparents.


It is doubtful that I would ever use this carrier again, but I just can't get rid of my first carrier.

When I don't have a baby to wear, I have been known to borrow a baby.
Wearing my nephew while pregnant with Lydia


And my snuggly nephew-in-law(?) at dinner one night not too long ago.


I've invested in this gorgeous purple sling for our new little girl coming in December.


And Lydia as needed, because toddlers still need a snuggle every now and again.  And of course, momma does too.

Babywearing is not for everyone. It has to work for momma and baby.  But it has been a big part of my parenting of littles. It is a part that is a short window of time in the grand scheme of parenting. This week's babywearing events are a reason for me to write things down for my one-day-memories when everyone is all big and independent.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Thankful in the Busy, too.



Y'all, yesterday was crazy cakes.

There was morning schooling, lunch in the car, afternoon co-op, racing home for a toddler nap (that wasn't to be), traffic and traffic and traffic to dinner, dinner with friends and family, baths and showers all around, late night grocery shopping ($$$) and finally two exhausted parents who fell into bed.

And at the end of the day all I could do was weep with thankfulness for this God-designed family.

My kids are healthy and growing and learning.  I do not deserve these blessings, but the abundance of them was overflowing yesterday.

It is overwhelming the number of friends and acquaintances whose dear little ones are sick or hurting or facing obstacles we will never understand.  Jesus be near.  Jesus come quickly. Let me remember to pray and help and never forget how many walk the-very-hard-road each day.

And Lord, do not let me squander these moments where you reveal a glimpse of your glory in our days.

*This is for me.  I have needed to keep these thoughts fresh on my mind today.  I was awoken with "mommy I don't feel good" from a very grey looking child.  And the day has followed with much tummy problems, fevers and spending the day washing everything on the sanitize cycle.

We have given up on couch schooling and have moved onto movie renting for the afternoon. And still, He is showering me with blessings. Amen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The B-Side of Vacation

We had a fantastic vacation with memories for a lifetime, but let's be real. Four kids is a lot of work no matter the location.  No one wants to read (or hear) about the daily grind of keeping everyone alive and well, but sometimes there are stories that are so bad we laugh even while they are happening.

Backstory:

So poor Lydia had an upset tummy for most of the trip.  As one can imagine this made the swim diaper status less than ideal, but she really was in a great mood considering her digestive situation.

As we got up for the day of departure, Walker let us know he had been sick that morning.  This poor kid has a problem stopping once he starts, but he is pretty good about handling it.  He was fine in between episodes, but it is a lousy way for him to have to travel.

Also, Colin has decided making regular potty visits are, sometimes, just too much trouble.

All four kids need new athletic shoes.

And SCENE:

As we were approaching Sikes and Kohn (the random country store on highway 231 between Montgomery and the beach that sells name brand goods for about 25% off every day), Lydia finally fell asleep in the car, which is her least favorite thing to do. Naps be darned momma said, pull over anyway cause we need those discounted shoes.

Of course as soon as the car stopped she woke from her 10 minute nap (for the day).  We unload and start to head in and realize Colin is in need fresh pants. We back up the whole crew,  make the change and head in on a mission.

We miraculously get everyone fitted and they pick out their shoes in a rather short amount of time. Momma was pleased.

Jason and I agree to make one lap through the grown-up shoes just to see if there is something that caught our eye.  He heads right with the boys and I left with Lydia.  I quickly realize she is dirty and the diaper isn't holding.  I wave Jason down and head to the car to deal with her.  Leaving him with 4 boxes of shoes and 3 boys.

I realize during the clean up that LJ needs new pants.  I'm not interested in digging in a suitcase at this point. I text to let Jason know we will just wait in the car. No new shoes for momma.

As we are sitting in the van I see Jason stick his head out of the door of the store.  Then Eli knocks on the car door. "Mommy, Daddy told me to stay with Lydia because Walker is throwing up outside." Sure enough there the poor kid was, head over a trash can and another mom had come to give him some napkins from her car. He calms down and I get him to car and settled.

3 kids in the car.  Daddy, 1 kid and 4 boxes of shoes inside. And momma's pregnant bladder necessitated a trip back inside.

As Jason and Colin were coming out, I was running in. Upon passing him, I grabbed Colin from him who was clearly 5 minutes too late for a potty trip.  So another clean up and the excuse of he didn't think they had a restroom (sigh).

On the final exit the nice older lady (who is always there), said, "Y'all come back and see us!" I my head I replied - "you don't mean that." But I smiled sweetly just the same.

And finally we were off again.  With new kicks for everyone.  I would do it again for the deals in a heartbeat.

Sunny and Warm - Beach Vacation 2014

We needed a get away. We craved some focused family time and a chance to do something different for a few days. We waited for the temperatures and the prices to drop and made our escape to a Florida beach.


{PS - I planned the kids outfits (minus Colin's red shorts...sigh), but didn't really think through Jason's or my attire - oh well, but hey all 6 (7) of us in one frame}

Pops and Grandma Jayne were even able to join us for a few days.

{read: great family bonding time, plus bonus date nights}

After visiting the chilly California beaches, the warm Gulf waters were amazing.  Everyone dove right in.


Well, most of us.  *Someone* didn't care for the sugar white sand sticking to her hands and feet.




But she got over it.


It was rather funny for her to have such an unexpected reaction. She is typically so brave and independent.
Now the other three, we couldn't drag them out of the water.  They all (even the cautious first born and the water fearing little brother) found their bravery.


And little sister eventually splashed on in.


Sea life watching up close and personal, without fear of hypothermia.


Beach still life {also, my favorite}



Hey, look all of us in one frame again!

And every great beach trip seems to involve some mini-golf.


Which, of course, is crazy with 4 young kids, but crazy-fun is our favorite kind.



Walker wakes up early, no matter the location.  At the beach he just slipped out on the patio and watched the sunrise and the ocean life in silence.  One morning Momma managed to drag herself out of bed to enjoy the conversation and the view with the oldest.




Double dolphin fins with the sunrise reflecting in their fins.


I never regret a little extra one on one time, and I was able to snag a nap later on.   Of course the eight year old didn't need a nap, but momma sure did.



Beyond thankful for the family building that happen along those shores.

{And less you think it is all perfect shots and smooth sailing: The B-Side of Vacation}

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Kicking off the Football Season with our Crew

One of our very favorite family activities is watching the Auburn football games together.

Saturdays last fall were a bit hard knowing we wouldn't be able to celebrate with our extended crew of football loving folks. Not so this year. The boys counted down the days. Bring on the football parties. The grown ups love the community of being together. The kids love the basically unsupervised play time with the cousins and friends, the junk food and dressing in a theme (ok maybe I'm exaggerating that last one).

Well at least LJ loves documenting adorableness.


And, y'all, our first pigtails...I die.

They lasted about 20 minutes, but it was enough for momma to be happy.

We tried to get a picture of all the kids together early on, but could not coordinate having all of the little ones awake at the same time. By the point in the game watching when we finally were able to get a picture there had been playing in the rain that led to outfit changes, but still worth it to get all the kids in one frame. Well almost everyone, this shot is missing baby number 10, and by next season there will be 11 and possibly 12 to keep tabs on during our football viewing (ha).


Seriously...this is how are football viewing years began (2004).



(Which, for those of you keeping score, is TEN years ago. A decade! How does it feel like yesterday and a million years ago all at the same time???)
My, my how things have changed. The blessings abound.

And because now and then are just too fun,
First Auburn game of 2014


First Auburn Game of 2013


And the way back to 2009


So happy to celebrate our Tigers with those we love. War Eagle!