Category Archives: CCPS

Fall Fun

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Y’all.  We’ve been so busy.  I don’t want to blog.  Well, I want to get my thoughts out, but I also want to play Candy Crush, watch TV, and let my mind veg.  Usually after the kids go to bed, the last 3 things win out (well those and laundry).  Laundry, oh you are my nemesis.

So, here are a few tidbits of info.

Caden has settled in at his new school.  He’s still making all A’s.  He just turned 8, and he had 6 buddies over for his party.  They went bowling and 5 of them spent the night.  They had SO.  MUCH.  FUN.  He had the time of his life.  We have been incredibly blessed by some sweet boys who are his age.  We are so thankful!

JL has started kindergarten.  Like I said in my last post, he was the first golden apple in his class, such an honor. :)  He has also received 3 bug awards for “Being Unusually Good.”  He continues to be thoughtful, caring, and compassionate.  We are so proud of the boy he is becoming.

EK is progressing in her language by leaps and bounds.  We have changed therapists and they mesh so well.  We are so thankful for Mrs. Kelli.  She is a GOD SEND.  EK has caught up to her hearing age, and now we need to get her caught up to her actual age.  So thankful for the progress we are making.  She is still in Pre-K at CCPS.  She is loving school and she is doing really well.  She enjoys going, which makes it so much easier for me to drop her off.  She’s my other half, so it’s weird when she’s not with me.  EK was golden apple for her class a few weeks ago.  What an honor for her.  So thankful she is an example of good behavior in her classroom.

My dad got to go to “Pumpkin Carving with Dad” for JL’s class.  Jeb had to work, so I was thankful Dad was able to take time out of his day to hang out with JL.  He even came early and ate lunch with me.  :)  Love my daddy!

Jeb took 2 of his best friends to the UT vs. UA game a few weeks ago.  We all went to the quad to tailgate, and had a blast.

The next day the girls and I went to Target and the guys watched the kids.  They climbed a tree. :)

Then there was Halloween.  It was supposed to rain on Halloween (which it did. bah!), so we went out to a church trunk or treat on the day before Halloween.  EK was Rapunzel.  She is slightly obsessed with Rapunzel right now.  Caden was a soccer player.  He’s not the dressing up type.  We told him if he didn’t dress up he didn’t get candy…he decided to be a soccer player.  JL was Yoda.  He lives to dress up.

I have made it a priority to eat lunch with the boys once a week.  They don’t get a lot of one on one attention, so I choose days EK is at school and I eat with them.  I am so thankful they still enjoy seeing me at lunch.  It won’t be that way forever.

Here’s Caden with his buddies from his bday party.  Love it!

He chose Shogun for his birthday dinner.  He LOVED the bday candle.  He wasn’t a fan of the ice-cream.  I was green tea.  EK LOVED it though.

JL lost his first tooth.  I tried to pull it out at home, but he HAD to wait till school for it to come out.  He was a determined little guy because it was out that afternoon when I picked him up.  He was so excited to get his sticker at school (you only get the sticker if the tooth comes out at school) and to add to to the tooth tally.

We all were really missing Disney, and we were able to make a reservation at there over Thanksgiving.  I am so incredibly excited!  We’re going for JL’s bday and EK is just to the point where she is in LOVE with the characters and such.  So so excited to see her there.  She’s finally excited about all of those things, and seeing characters, and all things Disney.

JL and EK had their Veteran’s Day program last week.  It was great!  We are so thankful for our Veteran, Grandaddy.  He served in the Korean War.  He has come to Caden’s programs the past 2 years, and now to JL and EK’s.  He did make it to Caden’s for the last 5 minutes this year.  Hopefully they won’t conflict next year. :(

One of my best friends went with EK and I to Disney on Ice.  EK was in awe of Mickey and Minnie.  She had a blast.  So glad we got to go!

We have a lot of trees where we live.  And this time of year, that means we have a lot of leaves.  I mean, like a ridiculous amount of leaves.  I’ve semi raked the front yard, and this is what happened.  Leaves are so fun to play in, and they were so deep the kids could hide in them.  :)  We LOVE all of our neighbors.  It is so fun to have so many kids out here.  Unfortunately there are no boys, but our boys make due. ;)

And, last but not least, we had pictures yesterday.  Here’s the before and the after. It’s not as bad in this pic as it was in real life. After pictures we went to Yogurt Mountain and they had chocolate and whip cream all over their faces and shirts. It was hilarious.  These 3 keep me laughing, keep me on my toes, and show me what’s important in life.  I love them to pieces.  

My Mom Thinks I’m Smart

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Caden started drum lessons.  It’s loud.  He plays in the basement.  I can hear them 2 floors up.  He is quite the musician, so I try to get over it. :)

I started chalk painting a little bit.  We don’t have the extra money to go out and buy all new furniture, so we painted what we had.  It was pretty easy, and looks good.

I had to deal with some unfortunate stuff toward the end of the summer.  Life isn’t always easy, and I’m never going to please everyone…then I found this on Instagram.  It was exactly what I needed.   And then, this glorious day happened.  It was PSL time again.  I had it 3 days in a row.  It came out the day before my birthday.  It was like Starbucks little present to me.  Then, I woke up one morning and decided to see how many calories my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte had in it…I get Nonfat and No Whip..surely it wasn’t many.  Ugh, a regular size is 210 calories. :(  I haven’t had one since.  Sad story.  It will definitely be a special treat, not an every day occurrence.  Alabama has been playing like a #1 team, and EK, the encourager, is happy to cheer them along.  ”Good job!!  Good job!!”JL was the FIRST golden apple in his class.  When Caden got upset that he wasn’t the first golden apple, JL told him, “It’s because I listen, obey, and am sweet.”  The same day he got the golden apple (which is basically an award for being polite, listening, following directions, etc.) he also got the BUG award (“Being Unusually Good”) for finding his sight words in a book.  He told me the night before he had been trying very hard and had been doing his best to get a BUG award.  So thankful he was rewarded for his efforts.
Caden had Grandparent’s Day and my Mom and Dad were able to come.  Don’t they look great?!?  I love my parents.  I am so thankful that they are so close and can be involved with our kids. :) This cracks me up.  ”My mom thinks I AM SMART.”  Well, yes I do buddy.  Apparently I tell you that a lot.  His favorite thing to do is go to Disney.  We all miss Disney.  It’s been since May.   Caden is playing soccer.  He had one rough game where he acted a little ugly to other players, but this game (when this picture was taken) I was SO incredibly proud of him.  His team was losing, he got a ball kicked in his face so hard it confused him for a few seconds, but HE PLAYED HIS LITTLE HEART OUT AND DID.  NOT.  QUIT.  So thankful and so proud of him.   He wasn’t the only one who enjoyed Yogurt Mountain (or Yo Mo as C calls it) that day.  The little 2 had a blast too.  Unfortunately Jeb was working. :(

Hey, I’m almost caught up with current life! Only glasses, a concert, and a few details in between. Yay!

First Day of School

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School started with a bang.  Our babies are growing up.  We started Pre-K4, Kindergarten, and 2nd Grade this year.  The little 2 are at school together and C is at a school by himself.

C walked into school and had to go to the lunchroom because it wasn’t 7:45 yet, we walked in and it was a bit overwhelming…until we saw some of his sweet little buddies.  The Lord is so gracious.  We walked in and there was ONE seat next to his buddy, A.  C told us he was good, and we left and took JL and EK to their school.

EK was in the same class with the same teachers as last year.  She has learned so much and progressed so far since she started.  We are thrilled and so thankful!

JL has a precious teacher, who we happen to go to church with.  She was one of the 2 we requested, and we are beyond thrilled for him to have her this year. He is loving school, but wishes he could play outside longer.  :)

Here are all three of them before school.  We managed to get up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and take pictures AND leave on time.

 

 

Jeb wasn’t off work the first day, but he managed to take everyone with me and just get to work late.  I made the rounds at the end of the day and everyone had a great first day!  We headed out after school to get a treat, and then onto soccer practice…and another year begins.

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Y’all, it has been such a great year, but we have been in survival mode since…hmmm…May maybe?  I’m hoping it’s calming down.  Maybe this is the new normal?  Let’s hope not.   Well, August has come and gone.  We had a beach trip which was pre-empted by a wedding.  We ended up going to the wedding with EK and sent the boys to the beach with Mom and Dad.

I think they made it fine without us.

The wedding was in Memphis, which is where one of my favorite people had just moved.  Meet Courtney.  We have lived in the same city since 2010, however we didn’t decide to start hanging out till about a month or so before she moved to Memphis.  Sad story.

After lunch with Courtney and her husband (who is also pretty awesome), we eventually made it to the hotel, and then to the “non rehearsal rehearsal dinner.”  That would be a rehearsal dinner without the rehearsal.  Here’s a pic of all the guys who have ever lived in Jeb’s old college house. The 4 on the right are Jeb and his old roommates.

Here’s the crew from college who celebrates “Truth Day” (Thanksgiving-FRIENDS style) and Christmas together every year.  We now have a new member, Brittany. :)

We got back from Memphis and slept on mattresses on the floor in our new house.  EK watched Fresh Beat Band because it seemed like the right thing to do at 10PM after riding home from Memphis.

Then the next day Jeb went to work, and I directed movers while corralling a wild 4 year old.  Oh, it’s every bit as stressful as your imagining, except MORE.

Well, everything got moved in, and we were making progress, and that’s when it happened.  The thing you don’t ever want to happen, but it happens all the same.  The Great Stomach Virus of 2013.  It didn’t pass anyone by.  You’d think it was gone, and then another man was down.  It was a rough week my friends.

And then, once it had held each one of us captive, it went on its merry way to attack another house.  And we were all back to normal.

Here’s JL before his 5 year check up and shots.  We were only 8 months late for his appointment.  No biggie.  We’re 14 months late for EK’s 3 year appointment.

 

And just like that, summer, or the lack thereof was over, and school bags were packed and traffic signs were made for PTO.  

May: The month that almost killed me.

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So, May came and went.  I thought November and December were busy, but May put them to shame.  The end of school madness is drives mamas to the edge of insanity.  It is finished now.  These pictures are not necessarily in any particular order because, well, I don’t feel like moving them around.

A good portion of a couple weeks in May were consumed with Teacher Appreciation Week.  We LOVE our teachers at Primary, and we make sure they know it!  Our dining room table became the hub for everything appreciative.

This was my look for approximately 2 weeks before LASIK.  I had LASIK the afternoon after field day.  I had every intention of taking a shower before surgery, but then, I didn’t.  I was SO FREAKED OUT about surgery, but it was a piece of cake.  I took a Valium, and they deadened my eyes…and then they shot lasers into my eyes.  No biggie.  It all seems like a dream now.  I never got panicky or anything.  Praise the Lord!  I remember coming back home and looking for EK’s ear, then taking a shower, and then trying to find her ear again (it had been lost earlier in the afternoon).  Eventually I got so tired (because I was on Demerol and Phenergan) I went inside and put the shields over my eyes and taped them on top of my hair.  That was not fun when Jeb had to put the drops in my eyes later that night and rip the tape off of my hair.  My hair was so tangled in tape, it was awful. But, then I woke up the next morning, and I saw 20/15.  LOVE LASIK.

Mother’s Day was great.  This was the card Caden made for me.  Please notice at the bottom it says: just made this a few minutes ago.  I love honesty.  I can’t remember what else we did, but I know I felt special and it was a great day. :)

Like I said earlier, these pictures are not in order, so here’s the teacher appreciation luncheon.  Isn’t it cute?  Those daisy’s were some of the prizes we gave away.  They were the first things to go. :)

Here’s the final product for the Haiti shirt.  I haven’t actually placed the order yet.  Oops. This kid cracks me up.  We got these Minnie Mouse pjs from a friend in Sunday school.  We turned around and she had put them on top of her dress.  She loves Minnie and she loves to dress up.Jeb works 2 Saturdays a month.  We go to Target.  It’s simple.
These 3 are precious.  I am so blessed to call them mine.   Here’s my mother’s day lunch photo.  We ate at Backyard Burger.  Yummy!  They have fantastic salads. This girl had her first ponytail!  How cute is she? This guy graduated from Pre-K.   We could not have had a better year.  I wish we could take Mrs. Amy with us to CCPS.  We LOVE her!  JL would run and jump in her lap and give her a huge hug every morning.   Here is the happy little couple. JL asked Sadie to marry him a few weeks ago.  She said yes.  I’m so glad he found his soulmate  at the age of 2.  I found a valentines day card Sadie made him when she was 2.  Melts my heart.  Love her. :) We were blessed with the BEST teachers this year.  Not only did JL love his teacher, but EK and C loved theirs as well.  It makes it so much easier to be able to drop the kids off when I knew they’re being loved on by these sweet ladies all day long.  And here are some comparison pictures for you.  JL first day and last day of school. Caden’s first and last day pic. EK’s first day at the school for hearing (in September) and her last day as a Firefly at CCPS. We ended up in Huntsville for some reason or another.  I can’t even remember why we were there now.  I do know we went to the cookie company and dropped $10 on 4 cookies though.  The kids thought it was totally worth it.  :) And this is so typical of JL.  They all had their baths and asked for a “variety tray.”  A variety tray is a tray with lots of different snacks on it.  Then they sit down to watch their show…and JL has on an eyepatch and a telescope.  Any time is a good time to be a pirate.  And in between all of this we had a few house showings.  We had Field Day.  We had bye bye brunch.  We had other various and a sundry things going on as well. May was so full!  I thought June would bring slower pace, but alas, it’s not the case.  So thankful to have this house full of munchkins to keep me busy.

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So, we put our house on the market. We don’t like to let things die down. If it ever gets slow, or I don’t have a project, I find something to do…this time it’s finding a new house plan, finding a lot to build it on, and selling our house. You know, no biggie. We love our house, but there are things we’d like to change…and we liked building…so we’re going to do it again!

Thankfully this isn’t what our lot looks like right now, but it did for a week or two. Every time I thought of it I played the Sanford and Son theme song in my head. I just tried to type it out…it’s not easy to type instrument sounds. The kids had a blast on all the broken toys and the adults enjoyed the broken chairs to sit in. Thankfully after all the junk was thrown away we still have chairs to sit in so we can all chat while the kids play.

Currently we have a dumpster in between our house and our neighbors house holding the contents of the vacant lot.

I got to eat lunch with these 2 kiddos last Wednesday. JL talked me into taking him to therapy. Surprise, when I got there, the head of the special ed program for Cullman City schools was going to sit in on our session. Well, that’s swell. Thanks for the heads up. I had told her about how awful EK had been doing in therapy, so I did have that going for us…better than flailing on the floor was a step up from what I had told her about. EK did fairly well. I threatened JL to behave and be a helper instead of a distraction. I’m not sure what I threatened him with…maybe his life, no, I wouldn’t do that.

 

 

Thursday, Jeb got LASIK surgery. I was more nervous than he was. So, I loaded up my reading material…house plans and Not a Fan (the book we’re reading in Sunday School…great book…convicting…steps on your toes). I had high hopes of picking out the house plan of our dreams and reading all of the chapter for Sunday School. I was adamant I wouldn’t watch his surgery. I walked back to sit with Jeb in the waiting area. We sat there for a while, and then they took him back. I got a wild hair, a surge of courage…I walked back to the observation window. I sat down. Jeb laid down on the table. I started reading. They started surgery. They put the thing in Jeb’s eye that kept it open, they started writing on his eye, then they made the flap to OPEN HIS EYE UP…um, that’s the time I started to feel a little light headed. I kept telling myself I’d be okay, I decided I should walk away. I walked to the waiting room. I walked up to the receptionist desk. I said, “I know this may sound weird, but I’m about to pass out and I don’t know what to do.” I thought about laying in the floor. I decided that might be weird. I said again, “I don’t know what to do.” I walked over and got some water and took it to a chair. The room started spinning. My leg started shaking involuntarily. I got very hot. I don’t remember what happened next. Then I remember starting to feel better. I took my jacket off and fanning myself. I ate lots of chocolate and drank more water. I don’t know if I passed out or not. I was by myself, so I guess I won’t ever know. :) Eventually Jeb got out of surgery and I went back to sit with him. He could already see better than before. It was amazing! I brought him back home and he laid down and took some medicine to make him stay asleep. He woke up the next morning seeing 20/15 without glasses. Crazy.

I realized how competitive I am during this process. Jeb can see without glasses and I still have to wear my glasses. And I was pretty sure I’d have a giant panic attack pass out freak out if I tried to get LASIK. I really struggled with it! If I get LASIK, which I am planning to do as of right now, know that it’s solely because I am competitive and I can’t let Jeb “beat” me. :) I’m not sure how I can prepare for it so that I don’t flip out when they put the laser into my eye. Small steps. I’m going to the consult first. Well, I haven’t even made an appointment yet. We have to save up money for that and the lot we’re buying to build on.

We had a couple come to look at our house Sunday. While they were here we took the kids and our neighbors kids to 32 degrees. We all had so much fun. We love hanging out with our neighbors. We will miss them terribly if we move. Our boys are just a few months difference from their boys. Every afternoon (well, the ones it’s above 60 degrees) we all gather in the lot between our houses and the kids play in the sand, ride their bikes, play in the fort, etc.

 

This week has been pretty low key so far. This afternoon I worked the book fair at school. EK stayed all day at school and even took a nap. She does so well there. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it , but she actually tells them when she needs to potty. Maybe someday she’ll do it here too.

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We are just finishing up Dr. Seuss week here.  Cullman City Schools do not miss an opportunity to have a dress up day.  This is the reason why I was cutting duck feet out of orange foam paper at 715 Friday morning and making bookmarks for Caden’s class at 9:30 Thursday night.  Thankfully Caden’s teacher didn’t go all out with the dressing up.  She only had them do things 3 days.  Not too bad.  I got so wrapped up in getting stuff done for Caden’s class and then JL had an Unbirthday party on Wednesday too, I totally forgot to dress EK up every day. :) Oops.  Poor 3rd child.

We also had to take JL and EK to the ENT Tuesday.  JL’s 2nd set of tubes is trying to come out, which is fine, but he has fluid behind the ear drum on the side that’s trying to come out.  We’re going to wait it out and hopefully not have to put more tubes in.  He does have some mild to moderate hearing loss on that side.  EK also has fluid, but if we put tubes in, it could get the internal part of the implant wet…so we’re hoping that clears up on its own.  After their appt. we ate lunch at The Summit at a place I can’t ever remember the name of, but it’s excellent.  Then we went to Target and bought 4 gigantic boxes of different kinds of fruit snacks because that’s what our kids live off of.  And then we checked Caden out of school, so we could go ahead and go to Publix instead of waiting 30 minutes for him to get out of school.  Before you call DHR on us, they were watching Green Eggs and Ham.  All he missed was a movie, and he got that in the car, so there.

There’s nothing really new going on with us.  Just day to day stuff.  Jeb had to work today, and Caden likes to get out of the house on Saturdays, so we headed to Decatur to return some things to Old Navy, and wander around Target.  Tonight Caden went to his first spend the night party with friends.  His best friend Peyton turned 7 yesterday, so he had 4 boys over to spend the night.  I haven’t gotten a phone call that he wanted to come home yet, so I guess it’s going alright.  We went to dinner after dropping him off and ate with JL and EK…it was so calm.  It’s weird how you can drop any of the three and the crazy level drops dramatically.

Oh, last weekend we went to Birmingham (me and the kids) to try out the aqua bags Cochlear is coming out with.  EK loved wearing her ears in the water.  She laughed and threw her head back in the water.  The boys had a great time swimming too.  We swam about 30 minutes and then headed up to get changed into dry clothes.  I don’t know if you have been to the YMCA lately, but it’s not the best place to get yourself and 3 kids changed.  Our options were a bathroom stall with a hole in it where the trash can should be (so you could see to the adjacent stall), a shower, or the middle of the locker room.  We chose the middle of the locker room and hoped for the best.  We got dried off, ate some pizza there, and headed to Gardendale to eat at Full Moon.  I had promised them Full Moon, but they ate the pizza Cochlear provided as an appetizer.  We had our 2nd lunch and then went to Target to look around (apparently this is what we do on Saturdays Jeb is working).  We ended up buying a Skylander and some other stuff we probably didn’t need.

Tomorrow Jeb’s teaching Sunday School at our church and then we’ll head to Daystar to go to worship there and pick up Caden (that’s where his buddy goes to church).  Then our friend, Michael, and his girlfriend are coming to spend the night with us tomorrow night.  The boys are very excited about meeting her and seeing Michael.  They’ve been asking me questions all week.  When I told them her name was Brittany, they got excited because one of the Chipettes is named Brittany.  I hope they’re not disappointed when she shows up and isn’t a 6 in furry chipmunk with a dress who sings “All the Single Ladies.”

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We gave away Cat #1. She went to a sweet friend with 3 kids. From what I hear she had an exciting trip back home trying to keep the cat in the box, and then the cat somehow squeezed itself out of the box through a handle in the side. I haven’t heard from her since then. I’m just going to assume all is well and Ally is loving country life.

This is JL’s santa suit. It was sort of a Santa superhero outfit. He walked around the house saying “Hohoho, here’s your Merry Christmas present.” He makes me laugh.

Jeb got a new car. His old one had a hole in the back bumper, the speakers were dry rotted, the passenger side door had long scrapes down it, and the front bumper had been gashed on rocks and had hit a dog. Poor car (and poor dog). I’m glad he has something he loves driving.

This is the hat JL got to wear at school on his birthday. He also wore it the day after his birthday because he said, “Mom I’m STILL 5, so i can wear it. It says John Luke IS 5.” Well, yes, that does make sense. Wear whatever you like buddy.

He wanted me to send a picture of him to Pops. This is what he did for the picture. He is not right.

So, long story short. Jeb is going to the National Championship Game with my dad. I was sad. He was sad that I was sad. Mom and Dad had the idea to go to Disney World so we would all have something to look forward to. I wasn’t sad anymore. This is the face he made once I wasn’t sad anymore. He’s so very very excited. :) we will all head to Orlando, stay for a few days then the guys will drive down to Miami go
To the game spend the night and head back for one more day with mi mowe (what ek says for mickey mouse)

Sadie and JL last Christmas.

Sadie and John Luke this Christmas. Let me just get this out in the open…praise the Lord he didn’t have to wear a reindeer shirt with a bow under the fluffy ball nose this year. He is a boy. Also, please notice they BOTH have food on their faces. If this relationship doesn’t work out, I don’t know what will…they are perfect for each other. Maybe they’ll at least be friends for life.

This is JL with Mrs. Amy. He loves her. She has been such a great teacher this year. So thankful for her!

We had EK’s Christmas party this week too. She had to see Santa to get her present. She wasn’t too sure about it. If only he had Mickey ears on. She was all about going to see Mickey Mouse.

She was much more relaxed once she was a safe distance from Santa. I don’t blame her. It’s creepy. I used to tell my dad to tell Santa to leave the presents on the porch because I didn’t want a stranger coming into our house.

The Christmas list Caden gave me yesterday…for any last minute shopping.
1. Art supplies
2. Glo brix
3. 3DS (I don’t know why he turns his 3s around sometimes)
4. Once upon a Christmas (I had to get help deciphering this one)
5. Series 1 (trash pack)
Love this kid. He is always thinking. And, to make this even better…he did it while he was in time out for acting like a crazy loon at dinner. I guess he knew he’d get back in good graces soon.

We started out our Christmas vacation today. Jeb had to work, so we went to Decatur to buy the last 2 Christmas presents on our list! WE ARE FINISHED! We also ate at Panera. Yummy! The kids asked to eat at a restaurant where they could go inside and sit down. I thought they meant like a “real” restaurant…like Olive Garden. I asked them what that meant, and they said KFC! Um, no.

Ella Kate is going to school 4 days a week now. The day she doesn’t go to school is when she’s at therapy in Birmingham. She’s really starting to take off. She talks to me all the time, but I can only understand about half of it. I’m starting to decipher more and more. I haven’t been counting lately because I forget, but I’m thinking she’s well over 500 words she understands and over 300 words she expresses on her own. She’ll repeat just about anything you ask her to repeat.

We went to Disney last week. I have lots of pictures, but I’ll give them their own post.

At this time of year we always reflect back on how the Lord has blessed us over the past year, and this year is no different. We are so very thankful to have our babies in our arms alive and well this Christmas. That’s more than some parents can say. We pray we never take life for granted. We pray for those mama’s and daddy’s who don’t get the same luxury as we do of rocking their babies to sleep this Christmas. We pray during the wake of the tragedy in CT, the victims and the parents are not forgotten amongst the quarrels about 2nd amendments rights and asinine protests by hate groups passing themselves off as people who love Jesus. I hope I never forget. I hope and pray I keep my new perspective. Hug our kids a little tighter. Not get frustrated as easily. Love more. And on a somewhat funny note, Monday was the first day we took the kids to school after the shooting. We prayed together before school and we took the wise counsel of Jon Acuff (who writes a blog called Stuff Christians Like). He said why do we pray for a hedge of protection, why not protection of lions, or of fire breathing dragons…they’re much more likely to protect you….so Monday, when I was about to start boohooing, Jeb prayed for a hedge of fire breathing dragons around our boys that day (EK had therapy)…I loved it. We picked both of them up that afternoon. I kept hugging Caden for long periods of time, and eventually he said to me, “mom, have you ever thought about giving me away?” I said, “Um, no, do you think I’m giving you away because I keep hugging you so much.” He said, “Yes, yes I do.” So then we had to have a talk about how I wouldn’t ever give him away, and I just loved him and that’s why I was hugging him (they have NO idea anything happened in CT. I didn’t want to give him a complex and set him up to be terrified to go to school. Let’s face it….I was terrified to drop him off until I found out a uniformed on duty policeman was at the school all day. If I was scared, I know he would have been. We want to shelter him from unnecessary fears, so no news is good for him.)

Merry Christmas to all of you. Hug those babies tight. Don’t take them for granted.

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Something I forgot to mention in my last post, the boys have their own rooms now!  They decided one Sunday morning they wanted to split up.  I thought it would be tough on them since JL hadn’t had his own room since he was 15 months old and Caden hadn’t since he was 3, but they really seem to like it.  Here’s a mid-way through photo of JL’s room:

Ella Kate got a little room makeover too.  Her room is the only one I have a final photo of, of course.  Poor boys.  They get the photo shaft most of the time.

We also got a cat.  Yes, my daddy is allergic to cats, so I was raised to think cats were closely related to Satan himself.  After I left my parents home I held firm to that belief, but eventually did some soul searching and concluded that cats weren’t all that bad.  My friend Jesse would like to take credit as that being her legacy to our children, cats.  She brought cats into our world.  They have 2 cats at their house, Edgy cat and Sally cat.  They started naming their animals after U2, but for some reason they stopped after thier initial naming of The Edge (aka Edgy cat).  I kind of wish our cat was a boy so we could have named it Bono.  Cat number 1 was given to us by a friend from Sunday School.  It was a pretty cat.  It hung around for about a week and a half.  We played with it on Halloween and then put it back outside…and haven’t seen it since.

Ever since Allie the Cat (aka Shila – the name given to her by her original owner) ran away, the kids (mainly JL) have been bugging me to get a new cat.  One afternoon we were discussing how after we knew Allie was definitely gone we would get a cat from the shelter.  I talked to them about how it was good to get a cat from the shelter because it had already had shots, been spayed or neutered, and had a micro-chip inserted into it…and they put animals down at the shelter after they’d been there too long…so we needed to rescue one.  Well, they started asking if there was any chance our cat who had run away was there…oh I definitely didn’t see that coming.  We ended up going to the shelter and Pet Depot to make sure Allie wasn’t at either place.  At one point during the afternoon I thought we were going to end up with a school of goldfish and a cat, but ended up with NOTHING.  I felt like that was a huge victory for moms everywhere.  However, he next day JL started in again about wanting a cat.  He knows how to get me to agree to something…bug the crap out of me until I cave.  Worked like a charm.  We got another cat.  This cat’s name is Izzie.  

Izzie is a sweet cat.  Until today she’d try to dart in the house any time the door opened, but tonight she calmed down and would stay in the garage when we’d open and close the door.  She went on an adventure with Jeb and the kids this afternoon.  She stayed right with them like she was a dog.  :)  That’s what I need, a cat that acts like a dog.  I really want a dog, but don’t need something else to potty train…because apparently I’m not so good with that these days.

Caden had his 5oth day of school last week.  They celebrated by dressing up in 50s attire, having a sock hop, drinking soda, and doing other 50sey things.  

We were rebels on Halloween.  We didn’t go to our church fall festival.  Yes, I know, we are horrible people.  Y’all don’t realize how much those things stress me out and make me anxious.  I do not cope well in crowds with Ella Kate.  Someday it will be fine.  Halloween 2012 was not that day.  We went trick or treating with some sweet friends, who I have deemed will now be our Halloween buddies.

Caden didn’t want to be anything for Halloween.  I don’t really push Halloween, so I didn’t really care that he didn’t want to dress up.  Dressing up isn’t really his thing anyway.  At the last minute he decided he would be a Trash Pack kid.  He was Rank-instein…or stink-instein…I don’t remember it’s Trashy name.  JL pulled an audible at the last minute and decided to be Mario.  Whatever.  I threw EK’s outfit together that day.  She was “girl in poofy skirt with adorable ‘pig tails.’”

I love these 2 boys.  They are the best of friends, which makes me so happy.

Here’s JL and Sadie.  They have been good buddies since they were 2.  Wow, I can’t believe it’s been that long!    

 

JL says Sadie is his girlfriend.  He also says he’s “in love with her.”  I asked him what he thought love was, and I’d give anything if I had the conversation between him and Caden that followed my question.  JL mentioned love had to do with holding hands, getting married, and going on dates…then Caden chimes in, “Oh you can’t be in love then, you don’t have any money to take a girl on dates.” JL is notorious for spending every last cent once he gets any money, leaving him with nothing.  Here are a couple pics of Sadie and JL from Christmas last year.

This picture cracks me up.  Lukey is laid back on me all spread out, and Sadie has her hand perched on his knee. :)

And here they are before their Christmas Program

 

If only we could do an arranged marriage…

 

The Friday after Halloween was a Community Field Trip for Caden.  They visited different places in our community and learned about each one.  After they finished, the parents were asked to meet them at Depot Park for a picnic.  It was Caden’s birthday, so he got to wear his birthday crown.  He loved it.  He also loved that he got to check out after the picnic.  I need to add more about his birthday, but it deserves a post in it’s own.

We had some friends over Saturday night for the UA vs. LSU game.  That was one of the most nerve wracking games ive seen in a while.   I may have screamed at the top of my lungs and scared a small child toward the end of the game. The kids played together so well, which made watching the game more enjoyable.

Sunday I grabbed a craft I had planned on doing over the summer with them.  Better late than never.  The boys had fun building with their gum drops.  Ella Kate preferred to eat them.  

And that bring us to this past week.  You know, I envy the people who sit down every night and write on their blog.  I wouldn’t have to catch up on 3 weeks of info in one post.  I’ve almost fallen asleep 3 times since I started this…pressing on…We celebrated election day (not the election results…just the day).  I love a hands on activity, so I googled electoral college map and printed one out.  The boys then colored in each state as it was called out.  They had a great time, but then got too tired to stay awake…much like me right now.

Caden’s school always does a Veteran’s Day program, and honors the student’s family who are veterans.  Grandaddy has been able to be “Caden’s veteran’ the last couple for years.  I can’t get my picture of the two of them to upload to the blog.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

Here he is with his teacher.

Today, Caden had his pizza party for his class winning most box tops.  They had 2,200.  That is so great because it means their classroom will be able to get $220 from Box Tops for Education!  Such a great program.  We cbecked Caden out after the party and hung around the house all afternoon.  We even got most of our Christmas decorations up.  :)  Well, that’s all I can muster up for tonight.  I still have NYC and C’s 7th (yikes!) birthday to post about.

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A couple weeks ago we went to The McWane Center to celebrate Dr. Woolley’s 300 implant recipients.  He’s done many more than 300 implants since most of the kids he implants now are bilateral.  EK wouldn’t look at the camera for our pic with Dr. Woolley…probably because the room we were in was LOUD and full of people.  We are so thankful for the gift of cochlear implants and are forever grateful for them and Dr. Woolley.  The McWane Center is such a neat place, but I was happy to be headed home afterwards.  I’m not much of a museum person…especially with a 3, 4, and 6 year old.  

We’ve been doing therapy as usual.  We decided to mix it up a little and put together a Mr. Potato Head.  EK did this by herself!  I told her to pick up various body parts and put them in, and she would do it.  Yay!  She was proud of herself too.

We’re still reading books nightly.  This particular night Caden read aloud to me while I was cleaning up the kitchen.  Jeb was working late, and we had to make it work.  EK decided she would “read” with him.  It was fantastic.  What she was “reading” made NO sense, but was priceless nonetheless.

I’ve been a regular up at Caden’s school too.  EK started preschool there.  I expected the worst when I picked her up the first day.  Much to my dismay, they went on and on about how awesome she did.  They were so impressed with how well she learned routines, sat in group time, etc.  We decided to extend her to 3 hours 2 times a week.  She did fine with the extra hour, but it messed up our therapy we did at home.  We decided to change it back to 2 hours, and add an extra day.  She’s going 3 days a week, 2 hours a day.  I am so thankful for this little class.  They work one on one with EK, as well as give her time to interact with other kids her age (who aren’t her brothers)…and she doesn’t have to be potty trained to go. :) The past couple of weeks have been full of box tops, fall festival, Golden Apple, and Parent Picnic.

Here’s the basket me and the other homeroom mom got together.  This is one of the fund raisers for the school PTO.  It’s a basket for the silent auction.  Our basket brought in $190. :)

The wretched box tops I had to count, cut, and separate for Caden’s class.  In case you are wondering how many are in the 3 gallon zip lock bags, that would be 1600.  1,600 box tops.  So far, Caden’s class is winning.  Caden is so excited they will probably win the pizza party given to the class who brought in the most box tops.

Golden Apple is awarded to students displaying “good citizenship.”  We are so proud of Caden for his award. :)

After the Golden Apple presentation I took the little kids home to do a quick therapy session before we had to get back to the school for Caden’s Class Picnic.

After the picnic I checked Caden out of school and we geared up for a fun weekend!  We headed to Walmart, like we usually do on Fridays.  We buy our dip ingredients on Fridays.  Last weekend we had 3 dips.  It was UA vs. UT, so that called for a lot of dips.  We had Pioneer Womans Black Eyed Pea Dip, Buffalo Chicken Dip, and Snickers Dip.  I think I’ve gained 10lbs this football season.

Saturday morning Jeb woke up wanting donuts, so he took the little 2 with him. JL had just gotten his Toad costume the day before, so he decided he should wear it to the Donut shop.  EK couldn’t be the only one without a costume on, so she found her skirt and put it on top of her pajamas.  I got them all to pose before they left, because I needed proof of what they went out in public wearing. :)

Later we made caramel apples, went to the boys soccer games, glittered pumpkins, ate dip, and watched football.  Such a fun fall Saturday!

Before soccer, dipping our apples in caramel…

After soccer decorating our caramel apples…

Decorating pumpkins with glue and glitter.

Jeb has a new little football set up.  He watches 3 games at once now.  Ella Kate kind of likes it.  She sits her little chair in front of one of the little tvs and just takes it all in. :)  

This past week we’ve been immersed in planning for the Fall Festival.  I’m PTO Treasurer, which I’ve found out is more than just writing checks every now and then.  The Fall Festival was a huge success, but full of stress along the way.  We are so thankful for the school Caden goes to and the parent involvement.  We ended up making close to $6000 for CCPS.  

This past weekend we made Mississippi Sin Dip in honor of playing MSU.  It was about as good as MSU.  It had the potential to be good, but fell short when it counted.

We also had:

Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
2 chicken breasts, still frozen
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can corn kernels, do not drain
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pkg. Ranch dressing mix
1 T cumin
1 t chili powder
1 t onion powder
1 8-oz pkg. cream cheese
_________
Put the chicken in the crock pot.
Top with the tomatoes, corn,
the drained and rinsed beans,
ranch dressing, cumin, onion and chili powders,
stir to combine then top with the cream cheese.
Cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring one or twice
to blend in the cheese.
Shred the chicken into large pieces
and serve over rice.
Can also serve in tortillas or taco shells.
Serves 4
This was SO easy and it was phenomenal.  It will definitely make it in the regular rotation of soups around here.
Today we went to our niece’s 8th birthday party.  The kids had a great time, like they always do with their cousins.  When we got home I took a few pictures of the boys looking cute in their warm jammies.  I take pictures of Ella Kate all the time, but I don’t take them of the boys too often.  After we got EK to bed tonight (she fell asleep on the way home from Millbrook) we did our Bible story time together and I took some phone pictures of the boys.  So thankful for these two wild kids.  They make me laugh on a daily basis.  They are so full of love, thoughtfulness, and crazy. :)