Saturday, May 31, 2014

Let the summer {memories} begin

Summer is here!  Well, I'm not sure if it is technically "summer" yet, but who really pays attention to the calendar start date??

For us, summer begins when the school schedule ends, the pace slows down a bit, the sun is hot, and (unfortunately) the air is sticky.

I'm not going to lie.  Last summer, I was scared to death.  I wasn't exactly sure how we I would handle a full summer with all 4 monkeys. But this summer, it doesn't seem as overwhelming.  I've learned to be smart about the activities we choose to participate in.  (I still can't do anything and everything with this whole crew)  And we have developed a few habits that seem to make out-of-the-house activities a little easier on everyone.  (More on that later.)  But the kids truly enjoy each other, and I am trying to practice a few spiritual disciplines to really help me relax and focus on these precious years.  (More on that later too.)

Caleb just finished his year of Transitional Kindergarten with the Fish Class.  What a wonderful year it was!  He had lovely, caring teachers who appreciated his spunk and encouraged his little mind to learn and be creative.  He loved it!

First day of TK - September 2013
Last Day of TK - May 2014

We were at Caleb's last day celebration at school.  He was so excited and enjoying the party.

And then I saw him start to slowly back against the wall.  His eyes got big and his brows began to furrow.  I leaned down beside him and put my hand on his back.  "When are we coming back?" he asked.  The realization that this was the last day of his Fish Class was just sinking in.  His lip started to quiver and then he began to sob. And so did his mama.  I still haven't mastered the mom skill that is able to maintain composure when your little one is a bawling mess.

Poor little guy.  But, at the same time, what a lucky little guy.  He was surrounded by friends and teachers that loved him.  He felt safe and looked forward to every day.  And even though my Caleb is drastically different that his big sister Eveley, he really enjoyed school and learning new things.

Some of you have asked whether we are still practicing a strict diet with Caleb, and the answer is a resounding YES.  I will definitely detail this more at a later time.  But let's just say that we tried to stop or even let up a bit and quickly realized the true benefits.  So it looks like we are in it for the long haul.  (Definitely more on that later.)

Our little man will start kindergarten in the fall.  I am admittedly a little nervous about the whole deal.  But he is definitely ready for a full day of fun and learning. And he is excited to be riding the bus with Eveley.  Oy vey!

We also spent this past week celebrating Robbie's birthday.  He would have been NINE on Monday.  It can be hard to balance the emotions of remembering Robbie with explaining the situation to his young brothers and sisters.  They ask some crazy questions.

Sweet Eveley is always very attentive and sentimental.  She made him a birthday card and was excited to release some balloons.

The other kids are still trying to understand.  But they are all happy to talk of him.

That morning, I told the kids at breakfast, "Today is Robbie's birthday.  We are going to celebrate it this afternoon."   Caleb's eyes got huge, "Are we going to heaven?"

Not today, I said. =)

So far, our summer is going well.  The kids have enjoyed their somewhat relaxing mornings and we have already had a few adventures.

We visited a friend's farm

enjoyed a picnic

had fun at the school's festival (where I HAD TO introduce Eveley to a funnel cake).

and are spending most of the days at the waterpark.

Eveley still has a couple weeks left in school, thanks to Ole Man {and stubborn} Winter.  While she loves school, she is excited to join in our day fun.

Our summer calendar is pretty full with a couple Vacation Bible Schools, two family vacations, one adult vacation, one mama vacation, and a trip to the Tennessee farm.

There are many memories to be made!


Wednesday, May 21, 2014


One of the reasons I decided to return to blogging was the unbelievable joy I found when I began the crazy process of reading through the past FIVE years of blog posts.

For several years, I have wanted to transfer this blog into a printed book.  It would make me feel better since none of my kids have a legitimate baby book.  I can just print off multiple copies and give them to the kids when they are married and actually interested in such stuff.

So, as I began to read through the funny stories, difficult days, and recaps of how God continues to move in our lives, I knew that the recording of this journey had to continue. 

In the 365 days that I was absent from the blogging world, so much has happened.  (My kids are a riot.). Thankfully, many of the snippets were recorded through Facebook and Instagram.  But I'm not sure I can diversify my memory making.  It's much easier to keep it all in one place so I remember where to find it.

Yesterday was one of those glorious memory-making days.  At least it started off as such.  My husband was away for a couple days at a conference.  This is certainly difficult but, at the same time, it has a few perks.  The biggest one is that I don't have to prepare an organized (and very late) dinner.  Instead, we get to eat bacon and eggs, some strawberries, and a few cucumbers around 5:30 and call it a night.

Yesterday afternoon, the kiddoes were running off some energy outside and enjoying the sunny but cool temperatures.  Eveley ran into the house and said, "Mom, you've got to come see this.  It's the cutest thing ever."  Now, you never really know what this may mean.  Her definition of "cutest thing" is not always in line with mine.  But this time, she was correct.

They had used their tinker skills to make a train out of plasma cars.  (Side note:  If you have a little one and have not yet been introduced to plasma cars, you are missing out.  These are awesome!  You can find the real deal here or the knock off version here.  We have one of each, and they are basically identical.)

Anyway, it was a beautiful site for a few minutes.  They giggled and wiggled as the leader-of-the-minute pulled them around the yard.  It also brought much disagreements as to who would be the next leader, how many trips around the minivan each person's turn included, and who had to double up.

In any event, it provided a few precious minutes of smiles and laughs.

Then, we got a little adventurous and tried this.

What can I say?  I failed physics.

End of the story:  Ryan had a few "boobies"  (this is what she calls boo boos), Caleb was mad, and Eveley was ready to go again.

The real point of the story:  They all were exhausted and were snoring by 7:30.

I'd say this constitutes another successful day of memory making.  We'll wear the helmets next time.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


No, I am not talking about a book in yet another captivating trilogy.  I am speaking of my resurgence into blogdom.

Exactly one year ago, I quietly, but reluctantly, walked away from the blogging world.  A sabbatical seemed to be in order for a time of refreshment and renewal.  And, let's be honest, my four precious monkeys are a handful.

But a lot has happened in a year.  My hands are still full, but my heart is fuller.  (That is a word.)  And it only seems proper to re-enter the scene as my babies turn THREE.  (Three? Three?  How can that be?)

Guess who is 3 ??!

This guy.

And this girl.

These two love each other.

And share most everything.

Birthday morning hugs began as this.

But morphed into this.

The twins received a sandbox for their birthday.  It was a major hit.  (And I am very thankful for that since I hauled 800 pounds of sand from Lowes (Sixteen 50-pound bags), into my minivan, and then filled the sandbox.  The depth of a mother's love....

We were all a little tired.

Mother's Day weekend was filled with exactly what I would have wanted.  Dirty, loud, crazy, beautiful kiddoes who call me Mama.  (over, and over, and over again.)

I'm excited to see what this year will hold.