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!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mondays Are My Favorites

So secretly (or not so secretly now) I love Mondays.  Now nothing compares to the full family fun of the weekends, but of the "regular  ole work days" Monday is just the best.

I realized pretty quickly into our homeschool journey that it was best for me and the boys (and now girls - still not used to that) to block out our Mondays completely.  We have no activities, no friends over, and no mandatory errands.  The idea is to just dive into the week's curriculum and maybe even catch up on some laundry. I found that if we went anywhere on Monday, it threw my whole week off and I felt like I was playing catch up all week.  Falling behind on a Tuesday doesn't feel as overwhelming to me as it does on Monday.  So our Monday's have become this calm stay home day with no pressure to rush around and I love it.

I guess I should acknowledge that really our Monday's start off right, in part because Sunday nights I have my small group with my girls. There is nothing quite like talking Jesus, praying and hugging my ladies to start off my week right.

This week Monday morning started slow.  New letters, new verses, new books, and new lessons. Of course it isn't all peaceful and serene (less you get a false image of what it is like with 4 kids home all day). This one would have for sure had a parent conference planned due to behavior, if well you know I wasn't totally aware already and such.

(not her letters, not her book, not her chair)

There was outdoor science, math and art.  The covered patio is quickly becoming my favorite classroom.

Look we have even grown some plants from seed, like actually had success and not had to go buy another plant already grown to continue the experiments!

There was baby napping and quiet reading.

There was a quick and easy dinner at home.

And after the 8 under set went to bed, there were cheap reality shows and intense good dramas on TV for momma and daddy with a bowl of ice cream.

And the day ends with happy feeling that we have started the week of right and we can handle another week of all-the-things that need to happen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Summer 2014

A photo documentary of our first Alabama summer in four years.

We kicked things off with Colin jumping headlong into five. It suits him well.

There was much backyard play

Popsicles in pajamas.

And VBS here and there

And lots of swimming

There were date nights enjoyed by mommy and daddy and children left to relish in spending time with the grandparents.

Days out with friends

And park days in familiar spots

And more backyard play

And more popsicles

And months of days filled with enjoying our time together with our favorite people in the world.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Sweet Home Alabama

Transitions are hard.  No matter how good I know they are for us, they are still hard. Leaving California was tough and moving is obviously a stressful experience.

We are finally settling in to our new home with our familiar surroundings and in arms reach of family and friends. Being with our people and settling into our home has been the best encourager around.

Isn't this what your moving crew looks like?

The backyard has already been such a joy.  Lydia would spend all her out there if her momma could stand the heat.

We are enjoying finding ways to stay cool in the backyard.

The neighborhood pool is super close and being able to swim with the cousins is awesome.

Also, did I mention the cousins are mermaids?

It took her a few minutes to warm up (or cool down as it were).

I really wish she had held on a bit of the fear.  Now the pool visits are straight up exhausting as LJ spends the entire time storming off into the water until she is covered head to toe with no concern for being able to breath.

I foresee many hours spent keeping cool in good company.

Much to say about the past month since our move, but here is me dipping my toes back into the sharing.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014


You know that one awesome piece of clothing you have? That top or dress that looks so great hanging in your closet, but doesn't quite fit right and never really feels comfortable, that one? It turns out living in California is kind of like that ill fitting shirt for us.  It is so pretty from the outside, but it just doesn't quite work for us.

We will be saying good-bye to the Bay Area and heading back to Alabama in a few short weeks.

It should great and there is so much to be happy with here and so many reasons that we should fit right in. But the thing is - it just hasn't happen.  We have been trying for the better part of three years to make this move fit, but the further we get into the more uncomfortable we get.  Jason and I have realized that this place just isn't a fit for us.  We have loved our time here and there will be much that we miss, but it is time to let go of this thing that will just never fit right or feel comfortable.

We miss our families. We miss our friends. We miss kind smiles and wide opened spaces. We are ready to settle and find a peace of place for our family. No house or city is perfect and there will be some things we still find uncomfortable, but it is time to go "home."

We will be packing up these memories and experiences with us.  They have added so much value to our family experience.  We will be leaving a bit of our family heart here and part of me is sad that these California memories will fade for our young children.  But these few years of growing and stretching will impact who we are as a family and as individuals forever.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Life Snapshots

How does it go, "the best camera is the one in your hand?"  These are little moments captured on my phone for the past week or so.  I don't want to forget all of the nothing special but quite extraordinary to me moments.

When she demands a headband and a tutu with her pajamas, I feel like we are moving in the right girly direction.

The kids' favorite place to play is on our bed.

It's adorable, right up until it gets too rough and everyone gets kicked out.

Smoothies have become a favorite.  Well, of everyone but Colin.  But 3 out of 4 ain't bad.
And Baby Girl's favorite thing is to look out her window and watch the trees blow while she has a snack.

She is convinced she is a big girl. She wants to sit on the sofa with her brothers and drink her milk.  They think it is pretty special when they are the chosen one she sits next too (for 10 seconds).

The Saturday morning quiet before the busy.

I love the ease of feeding a toddler any and everything. After the last two boys having allergies or sensitivities that made meal time so much harder it is a joy to just feed her whatever we are eating.
And Baby Girl loves her protein.  Eggs, sausage and anything else you could get in an old fashion breakfast at Cracker Barrel makes her morning.

LJ has started grabbing her blanket from her bed, bringing it to us, and requesting a snuggle.  It is about the cutest thing in the world and pretty much erases any stress or worries of the day.

It is even cuter when big brother joins the snuggle.

We are still taking (very pricey) swim lessons.  Come on kids, swim already.

The spring fog and clouds has given us some pretty spectacular sunsets lately.

Lastly, I'll leave you with how Eli sits to watch TV.  Every time.  This cannot be comfortable, but it seems it is for him.

And now I realize how many of these pictures are of the kids watching TV.  Well, apparently, I take stationary however I can get it.

Happy Weekend to you!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Day Trip - The Monterey Aquarium

The morning began with oatmeal waffles (okay okay, chocolate oatmeal pancakes) and actual time to enjoy our coffee and chocolate milk.

Then baby took a fantastically timed morning nap while we all loaded up and prepared to head to Monterey for the day.  It is one of the most beautiful places on earth and one of our favorite places to visit.

There is a new exhibit called Tentacles so naturally there were inflatable octopus legs coming out of the top of the museum.  I'm so thankful for my one child who will participate in my photography funnies.

Harbor seals with their pups - the cuteness was astounding.  We talked about mammals and nursing babies, which I love is so natural for my boys.

Then Colin hatched out of a penguin egg.  Okay, not really Monterey local or anything, but still fun to watch.

Once Baby Sister was released from the stroller confinement she was wide opened and having the time of her life.

Being able to stand under the tide and stay dry, fantastic.

Then there was the point where she tried to throw her bow into the open ocean. I think she has underestimated my commitment to her accessories. She will wear bows and she will like it.  I got nothing but time.

And this - this just makes my momma heart overflow.

She did keep coming back to them in the "tide cave," but she did her fair share of stretching her legs at the same time.

And those legs own me.

A few more in the cave, because they won't fit forever.

Of course we rounded out our visit with a stop at Pinkberry.

No one complained.

Walker kept saying how much he loved Monterey and wants to live there.  I secretly hope he does end up living there one day and wants his momma to visit often to make his chocolate milk and chaperone his visits to the shore.

And visits from the past: October 2013, September 2012, and our first trip in May 2011

And and aside - as many times as we have made this drive south the hills have always been brown.  This time they were vibrant green.  It was breathtaking. We could not stop commenting on how amazing it looked.  I don't know if it was because of the recent rain, or if this happens every year but the green only lasts for a short window that we have missed. In any case, we feel blessed to have witnessed the rolling green hills of the California shore.

{shot out the car window as we buzzed along home}