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!

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.