Category Archives: Celebrating

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.  

Cullman to Huntsville to Opp to Huntsville to Memphis with Hartselle, Birmingham, and more Cullman in-between

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So, it’s July.  I’m way behind.  We’ve had a busy summer, and it’s almost over.  It hasn’t been the relaxing summer I had hoped it would be, but it has been awesome nonetheless.

It didn’t take very long for the dog to get acclimated to our house and for the kids to love her.  She became the 6th member of our family very quickly, and has become quite the protector.  We need to work on how to tone it down for when we don’t want her to attack someone.   Right now EVERYONE but the 5 of us are intruders.  She can’t turn off the protector inside her.

Jeb had a fun Father’s Day.  We actually spent it in Huntsville with my family.  Jeb is such a great dad to our munchkins.  We are so blessed.  It was such a blessing to be with my dad this father’s day and both of my grandpa’s.  My dad cooked some stellar Filet Mignon.

Some girls from our Sunday School Class went to see New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees, and Boyz 2 Men in Nashville.  It was SO much fun!!!  We didn’t get back till 2:30AM, and this grandma is getting too old for that.  I need more sleep than 3 hours…the kids didn’t care that I stayed out late.  They got up bright and early, and wanted to PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!!!

Ella Kate learned how to pedal her big wheel this summer, so we bought her a bike.  It’s still a little big for her, but she loves it anyway.  She went from not understanding pedaling at all to going full speed.  It’s hilarious to watch her focus and her little legs going around and around as fast as she can pump them.

She and “E-My-Tah” (Eliza) have become best of friends.  She loves her puppy to pieces and Eliza lets her lay all over her and get in her face.  She loves her right back.

Our appraisal and inspection went well with both houses, so we closed on our house July 1, and our house we are buying July 8.

Regardless of the amount of things that needed to be packed inside our house, we still played outside most of the day.  I have never been so behind in packing as I was this move.  It was crazy how much I didn’t have done just a few days before the move.  On the days Jeb wasn’t home or I didn’t have any help, I literally would get 2 boxes packed all day.  That’s all.  2 boxes.  It made it tough to actually accomplish anything, but we had fun riding bikes outside.

And sometimes we all played outside even when Jeb was home.  We just threw packing obligations to the wind and enjoyed time with the kids.  They’re only 3,5,and 7 once.

We had a laid back 4th of July.  It pretty much rained all day.  We grilled out and shot roman candles under the patio.  We also had wars with the little popper things.  We threw them at each other.  It made me laugh really hard.  We did get to shoot fireworks on the 3rd too…the kids talked us into doing it 2 nights in a row.  Thankfully it wasn’t raining on the 3rd. :)  

Ella Kate got a new Barbie doll.  She’s all about barbie dolls these days.  They take a bath with her, they go into Walmart with us, they sleep with her at night, their hair gets dragged on the ground….they ride bikes with her…and sometimes their hair gets tangled in the wheels…and their heads pop off.

We lived among chaos for a few weeks.  It was a little unnerving.  We FINALLY got everything out of the house at 11:50PM on moving day…we had to have it all out by midnight.  10 minutes to spare.  BOOM.  It was the least prepared I’ve EVER been for a move, and we’ve moved A LOT.  I hope to not move for a very very very long time!!

The day before we moved, this little girl had a 4th birthday.  I am so proud of her.  I’m proud of her progress.  I’m proud of her independence.  I’m proud of her determination.  She’s my girl, and I’m so thankful for her.

She makes me laugh really hard most days.  I love this kid.

The boys were in Opp for her birthday, so I took her to get some yogurt to celebrate with just us girls.  When Jeb got home we went to Logan’s to celebrate again (because it totally makes sense to do that on the night before you move).

We went down to Opp Friday and were reunited with these 2 crazy boys.

They were actually  happy to see us!  It was so nice to all be together again. 

Saturday morning, the boys, Jeb, Jacob (his brother), Kim (our sister-in-law), Gramps, and Wyatt (our nephew) went fishing.  EK felt like she needed to model a fishing hat.  Grammy and I took Colt (my other nephew) and EK to Jeb’s grandparents house in town.

Unfortunately it was raining, but fortunately for me…I wasn’t going.  I don’t like to fish in the rain…or really in the sun either. ;)

Caden on the other hand LOVED it.  He was in his happy place.  He caught some blue gill and bass.  JL did as well, but we don’t have a picture of him.

These 3 are best of friends, and I am so thankful.  They don’t see Wyatt very often, but they have a blast with him when they do!While we were in Opp EK got to use her new Aquabag from Cochlear.  Her implant stayed on so well and she LOVED hearing while she swam.  So thankful for the technology we have!

After we left Opp we headed back to Huntsville to resume our 20 days of living with my parents.  First day with all 3 kids was a fun one…we went to Ulta, Toys R Us, Panera, and hung out at the house.  The kids are getting so much better.  They have their moments where they act like wild hoodlums that have never set foot in public, but for the most part they’re taking steps in the right direction. :) They all got a pastry from Panera because they had been sooo good!   The boys requested that Grangran and Grandaddy keep them while I took EK to therapy, and GG and GD were beyond thrilled to do that…so EK and I had a fun lunch sans boys.  She thought it would be fun to wear a lei into Urban Cookhouse. Why not?

We spent some time with my meemaw and papaw too.  The kids love going to their house and swinging and picking vegetables…and EK insists on pottying in the garage.   After MM and PP’s we stopped by the mall and used $45 worth of gift cards a friend from residency had given us.  We got these 2 stuffed animals and these 2 kids were super happy.  Their names are “colorful” and “kitty cat.”  Our kids are so imaginative.  Except, not really. We had a little birthday party for EK at Mom and Dad’s on Saturday.  If you’re counting, that’s 3 parties for her.  I know.  She needs more attention.  It’s sad really.  Anywho, she picked out this precious dress to wear.  She’s big on wearing dresses these days.  

And she was so very thrilled with all the presents she got.  4 princess dolls, playdough, doll cars, princess slippers, princess sheets, and lots more. :)  So glad she’s a girly girl. :)
Her party came complete with entertainment too!  John Luke the amazing helicopter flyer show…and Caden…outside on the oasis…4:30, 5:00, 5:30.  Love them.  They put on quite the show. :)

Well, that’s an overview of what’s been going on up here.  I’ve been trying to finish this post for days, so there’s been more that’s happened since I started it…that will have to wait.  And Jeb took me on an incredible 10th anniversary trip, but that will get it’s own post.  BEST trip of my life.  We go to Memphis this weekend for one of our best friend’s weddings, and we move MONDAY!!!  So excited!

Dogs and Marriage

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Meet Eliza.  I wanted to name her Piper, but no matter how much I told the boys this house isn’t a democracy, they still tipped the scales when they sided with Jeb on Eliza.  I thought Piper was so cute.  Now we’re going to have to adopt a kid so I can name it Piper. ;).

Eliza is a full bred German Shepherd.  When she runs through the house it sounds like a horse is galloping through the house.  Her breeders said she’d get to be about 75 lbs.  She’s a little hyper right now.  She thinks when JL runs from her, he’s playing with her, so she chases him…which has led him to be terrified of her.  EK is skittish around her as well.

I’m hoping everyone will get used to her and she’ll get used to us soon.  She’s already wanting to play a lot more than when they first left her with us.       

 

And, 10 years ago today, Jeb and I got married.  Wow, things were different back then.  In 10 years we’ve moved 5 times (about to be 6), Jeb has started and completed med school and residency, we’ve had 3 kids, we’ve both had LASIK, we’ve lived in 4 cities, and we’ve been to Disney 19 times.  When we said “I do” we did it for life.  Every day isn’t easy, but we persevere.  It honestly has never been hard to be married to Jeb.  I never would have expected to have been here 10 years ago.  I am so thankful for the life we have been blessed with.  I can’t wait to see what comes in the next 10. :)

Life Update: Dates, Drama, Driving, Dirtiness, and Design

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We’ve had a couple of showings of our house. They didn’t accomplish more than forcing us to clean, mow the grass, and weed out the back hill…but I guess that’s something.

Last Saturday I took the boys on a “date” to Chick fil a. It was “Mother Son Date Knight.” We had a lot of fun. Ella Kate stayed with Jeb at home, but she still needed to take a picture with Mama.

At dinner we chatted, made a family crest, discussed life, ate dinner…and then they ditched me for the playground. I felt lots of mothers eyes looking over at me judging me for not being able to keep my kids at the table…until their boys did the same thing. I ended up hanging out with a couple of friends for a few minutes while they played.

After dinner they talked me into going to Walmart and Gamestop. We’re wild and crazy. JL bought a 35 mm camera and needed film, and they wanted to look at Skylanders at Gamestop. It’s apparently been too long since I’ve loaded a 35mm camera, approximately 10 years, and I completely screwed JL’s camera up. I loaded the film and then accidentally rolled it back into the film canister thing. After that, we gave him our old digital camera we were trying to sell (that no one wanted). He loved it and wants to put Skylanders stickers on it (the camera he bought was skylanders)…WIN.

Last Friday night Mom and Dad kept the boys (because we had bad weather Thursday and she couldn’t come). Jeb and I had EK by herself. It was crazy easy. It’s amazing how easy one kid is after having 3. We had big plans to get her to bed early and watch lots of TV. I know, I know. However, we got a phone call saying we were going to have a showing Saturday, so we cleaned, pulled weeds, and mowed grass instead.

Jeb had to work Saturday, so EK and I headed to Huntsville to pick up the boys before mom’s 10am appointment. We had some time to kill before we met Mom and Dad for lunch, so we made some returns at Bridge Street and then went to Toys R Us. Much to the boys delight they found Wham Shell, which is one of the last Skylanders they were needing. Currently, we only need 1 to have all of the Skylanders, (you can file that under the category of ridiculous). I mean, sure, they don’t have a Light Core Prism Break AND a Series 1 AND a Series 2 because that would really be ridiculous…they just have one of each kind.

Monday night we learned why Ella Kate needed a nap every day. Can someone say, DIVA?!? This was what happened when I told her it was time to go inside. We were supposed to eat dinner with some sweet friends, but that did not happen. No one wants to take this into public.

I picked JL up early from school one day last week, Tuesday maybe? I’m not sure..all the days run together. We took cookies up to Jeb at work. JL and EK had to have some before we dropped the rest off. I think she liked hers.

Late Tuesday night our realtor dropped some T-shirts off in the mailbox for us. The kids were pretty excited. They were even more excited he put them on his company Facebook page. :)

Our Sunday School class is raising money to send some little Haitian children to VBS this summer. It’s $30 per kid and that provides meals and a tshirt and such for them. I designed this shirt we are going to have printed and sell for $15 to help raise money. Our goal is more than $600 raised for the Haiti’s Eden VBS. This is the design on the back of the shirt.

And then Thursday night EK came down with Strep. So, we made her get a shot and this is what she felt like a few hours later.

Those shots are amazing. She did, however, have a bit of a fever around bedtime, but woke up raring to go Saturday morning. We had a big birthday party Saturday for some of our best buddies, and the boys were going to throw a fit if we didn’t get to go. They actually threw a mini-fit at the idea of possibly not getting to go.

EK LOVES Livi. She has 2 friends named Livi, and she is LOVES both of them!

This little train/car ride was the hit of the party for our kids, especially Ella Kate. I rode with EK most of the time because I was nervous she was going to decide to bail in the middle of the ride. She never did, and she had a blast. The boys loved it too!

This is JL with his buddy Cameron. Cameron turns 5 today and Livi is his little sister. She turned 3 Friday. :)

We finished off the weekend with church, lunch at Sweet Peppers, naps, looking at potential neighborhoods to live in once we sell our house, and eating dinner with our dear friends. It was definitely a great weekend! Looking forward to next weekend because Jeb will be OFF work!

Oh, and I went to my LASIK appt. and I qualify for surgery. I have surgery scheduled for May 16. Eeeeeekkkkk!

Easter Weekend

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We had an Easter egg hunt at church on Saturday.  They divide the kids in 3 different age groups.  It’s more of an Easter egg gather than a hunt.  They just throw the eggs all in a field, and the kids pick them up to their hearts content.  :)

 

These 4 boys are such sweet friends.  My 2 would spend all all day every day with them if we allowed it.  And Ella Kate is in love with Micah.  ”See Mi-Ka!  See Mi-Ka!!!!” 

 

 

 

 

The boys were serious about their hunting.  They fit as many eggs into their basket as they possibly could.  

Ella Kate preferred to twirl and occasionally pick up an egg or two.  Then she wanted to swing.

 

We went to church Easter sunday of course.  We just stayed for Sunday School and then headed back to the house.  We went to Meemaw and Papaws house in Huntsville for dinner, so we wanted to make sure the kids got a rest break that afternoon.  Before the kids took their Easter clothes off we took some pictures!  I was so excited they cooperated!

 

 

At Meemaw and Papaw’s house we had another easter egg hunt!  Mom stuffed these eggs with money, which is the best prize. :)

 

 

 

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The verdict of the spend the night party was: success!  I texted Peyton’s mom on Sunday asking if Caden wanted us to pick him up before our church service and he said, “I want to spend as much time as possible with my friends.”  So glad he had a good time!

The verdict of night with Michael and Brittany was: success!  We always love catching up with Michael, the kids adore him, and we all loved Brittany too.

A couple weeks ago JL had Dr. Seuss week.  His teacher made it low key too.  I’m a big fan of that.  We had to send him in black for cat and the hat day.  Mrs. Betty sewed all of their hats.  Isn’t it cute?  He had to wear green on green eggs and ham day.  On “Oh The Places You Will Go” day he was supposed to dress up as what he wanted to be when he grew up, he chose a teacher…then a builder…then a teacher…then he was undecided.  We went with wearing his CCPS shirt and jeans because “Mrs. Amy said teachers wear regular clothes.”

This little girl is growing so fast.  She’s learning more and more words, it’s slow, but steady.  She’s definitely making progress.  We’ve had some issues with her complying in therapy and are trying to work through them.  The last couple of weeks have been MUCH better, so hopefully we’re past the brunt of the therapy battle.  We have an appointment for her to have a Sensory Integration Evaluation in April too.  She shows signs of having sensory issues, so hopefully this will help us know how to treat them.  She’s still loving school.  She’s started telling them when she needs to go to the bathroom.  She still doesn’t tell me at home, so hopefully she’ll start that soon.  We’re working on oral motor skills like tongue movement and trying to pronounce things correctly.  Like instead of “A-ee” saying “Amy” and being able to move her tongue from side to side and up and down.  She’s making progress, so that’s great!

She’s pretty funny these days.  

Caden is such a big boy now.  He can read so well.   I love how he can read pretty much anything I ask.  That is very helpful!

He loves to write too.  We were playing outside Sunday and the kids had been fantastic.  They were playing in the pile of sand our neighbor was using to mortar his bricks in his backyard (we live next to a builder).  Our neighbors were playing in the sand too, so no harm no foul for messing up the mortar sand.  They got tired of that, so they started playing on old broken toys our neighbors are getting rid of.  Currently they’re all piled in our empty lot between us.  It looks like an episode of Sanford and Son, but has provided much entertainment until the dumpster hauls them away.  Once they were tired of that they all decided they wanted Chad to drive them on the Razr.  Everything was well and good until H’s foot got stuck on the gas and then I’m not really sure about the part between the beginning of the story and the end…I do know how it ends… they flipped 1 1/2 times and landed on the side.  The boys were suspended in the air by their seat belts and Chad was thrown all around the Razr.  H got a burn on his neck (as you can read in Caden’s letter).  As soon as this happened my boys were emotionally FINE.  They escaped completely unscratched…and not emotionally traumatized.  I cannot say the same for Carrie and I.  I kept looking at Jeb, who of course happened to not be home when the incident occurred (he was at a SS teacher meeting) and saying “It just flipped.”  Which was a take off of “That dog just died” which is what we kept saying to each other after we went to visit friends for the first time ever and within 2 minutes of being there (and meeting their kids for the first time) their dog just died.  Like dead as a door nail.  For the next week we’d just look at each other and say, “That dog just died.”  It was emotionally traumatizing.  So, “it just flipped” was my catch phrase for a few days.  And Jeb would say, you’re still thinking about that?  Why yes, I am still thinking about what could have been and how I saw it all with my own eyes.  We are all so very thankful they are all in one piece and still living life like little growing boys should.  Here is the letter Caden wrote to his teacher IMMEDIATELY after it happened. (TRANSLATION:  Yesterday we went on a ride but unluckily we fell over. When we fell over I was hanging by the seat belt.  But luckily I didn’t get hurt.  But my friend Harrison got a scrape on his neck and his dad got a dent in his leg and my brother didn’t get hurt.  I think we should not do that again.  I don’t know how it happened.)

This guy turned the big 3-2 on March 9.  We had a fantastic weekend celebrating him!  We started his birthday out at Waffle House, which was interesting with our 3 kids.  I left feeling like I  needed to bathe in sanitizer and then take a shower.  After that Jeb played Skylanders with the kids and I cleaned up the house, which was fine with me.  I didn’t realize it would happen this soon…the kids already know more about certain things than I do.  Skylanders?  I have no clue about.  They were asking me questions in the car yesterday about which was the first water element, undead element, etc. they bought…I said I don’t know.  JL said, just guess mom.  I said, no, really I can’t even guess.  I have NO idea.  That’s something they do with Daddy.  I just go with them to spend their money buying new Skylanders.   Back to Jeb’s birthday, that night we went to Fleming’s with some of our best friends, The Yeagers, and had a blast as always.  The food was wonderful as was the conversation.  The guys always discuss new business opportunities and Jennifer and I discuss life and then throw in our 2 cents about the guys business plans.

I started this post a week or so ago…I feel pretty confident something new is going on, but I don’t know what it would be.  Honestly, it’s been pretty quiet around here.  Quiet is relative when you have 3 kids.  Nothing out of the ordinary is going on.  No kids are playing sports (amen).  There’s nothing going on with PTO at school.  Caden had a field trip last Friday to Sci-Quest, so EK stayed at school all day.  That was a pretty big deal for her.  We decided to stop going to our church for Sunday School and Daystar for Worship, we need to be committed to one church.  Jeb’s medical practice is doing well.  He’s seeing 65-75 patients a day.  The restaurant I couldn’t remember from the last post was Urban Cookhouse.  We’re selling the boys “Trash Pack.”  The bidding is up to $91…for rubber trash type things.  Crazy.  Our dryer burns our clothes when you put too many clothes in it.  After burning Pottery Barn sheets, one of Jeb’s favorite GAP non iron (so it’s my favorite too) shirts, and a few JCrew Shirts, we have decided we need a new dryer.  You might think we should just put less clothes in, but no, we have a super capacity washing machine…we fill it to capacity…and then the dryer can’t handle it.  I have someone cleaning the house weekly again instead of biweekly.  It has been a God send.  I can’t tell you how much it has lightened my load.  I’m actually sitting right now while EK is at school…all the clothes have been folded put away and ironed (except for the ones in the washer/dryer right now because lets face it…it never REALLY ends), the beds have been made, the floor is swept, and the counters are clean of clutter…it’s a March 20th miracle.  I haven’t made dinner though.  I should probably think about doing that.  My car’s pretty trashed though.  Oh, and I need to buy EK eggs for her egg hunt.  They were due today.  Oh well, maybe someday I’ll have it all together.  I guess that’s about all the random I can muster for one post.

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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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Well, now that it’s January 23, I thought it would be a good time to tell you about our Christmas.  You know what I’ve learned over the holidays?  Don’t sandwich the holidays with trips to Disney World.  It’s too much fun packed into too little of a time frame.  I know, I know, and my diamond shoes are too tight.

The weekend before Christmas Jeb had to work.  We had returned from Disney earlier that week, and had various Christmas parties, lunches, and field trips.  We hadn’t been able to fit in making Christmas cookies yet!  I had to make them, from scratch, on Saturday with the kids.  I tried to find the pre made sugar cookie dough, but Walmart was ALL OUT!  This brings me to letting you know, I need a new sugar cookie recipe.  The one I have is for drop cookies, not cut cookies.  They DID.  NOT.  TURN .  OUT.  WELL.  We didn’t let that stop us from using an obscene amount of sprinkles.  

When Jeb got home it was time to make the gingerbread house.  This year, the Lord showed favor upon us, and he led me to the PREMADE GINGERBREAD HOUSE.  You read that correctly, it was pre-made!  That means we didn’t have to have a parent time out because of being so frustrated at the gingerbread house for continuously falling down.  Oh, don’t act like you haven’t been there, when you want to curse the day gingerbread was invented because the stupid wall won’t attach to the stupid door.  Good times.  Also, my camera setting was apparently completely messed up for these first two pictures.

Christmas Eve we went to meemaw and pappaws house.  We face timed with my awesome cousin Courtney, who I really missed seeing this year.  I only get to see her at Christmas, and she had to stay in Oklahoma this year.  Growing up and having responsibility is no fun sometimes.  We played a couple fun family games, ate lunch, chatted with everyone, and headed home.  Christmas Day we stayed at home for a while and opened presents while watching the Christmas Day parade.  Actually I’m pretty sure we had opened all of our presents by the time the parade came on.  These kids don’t mess around when it’s Christmas.  They woke up EARLY, well, it was regular time for them…which is EARLY.

Each of the boys got new Alabama jersey’s, and they were such a hit we had to get EK one too.

 

 

After we got ready we headed to Huntsville to spend the day with my Grandaddy and Grangran.  I’m an only child and an only grandchild on that side, so when we get that side of the family together there’s only 9 of us.  :)  It was a super relaxing day filled with food, watching tv, playing with toys, and enjoying chatting with one another.  We have taken a family photo in front of the fire place since I was little.

 

Later that week Mom, EK, and I took the boys to Montgomery to drop the boys off with Jeb’s parents.  They kept them for a couple of days until we met them down there for Christmas (which we celebrate on New Year’s).  Jeb has 2 brothers, and they have 5 kids total, so there are 8 adults and 8 kids between us.  We rent a little recreation center to have Christmas at so the kids can run and play.  We spent a lot of time at Jeb’s grandparents pond.  They own a lot of land and have a little house with a pond behind it.  We rode the go cart, golf cart, shot bb guns, shot fireworks, played with sparklers, and had a blast.  The boys did not want to leave!

The boys got to spend the night with their cousin Wyatt and they had a ball.  They wish he lived closer to us.  He’s one of their favorite friends.

 

We had a fantastic Christmas.  It always goes by too fast and seems hectic, but it’s always so special to be with family.  We are so blessed.

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First of all, let me tell you…I wasn’t worried about the world coming to an end Friday…1. because The Bible tells us no one will know b. I think the Myans are kookie. and 3.

This made me laugh.  We love James Spann at our house.  Apparently I blog about him quite a bit.  For some reason, more people come to this blog because of James Spann than Cochlear Implants, go figure.

Now, onto Disney.  We DROVE to Disney again.  Jeb worked Tuesday and we were supposed to leave Wednesday.  Tuesday morning I got the idea to leave Tuesday night.  Jeb agreed, and I worked my tail off to get us packed by the time he got home.  I worked from the time I dropped the kids off at school until Jeb came home at 7pm.  We left and headed down 65 and onto I-20.  We ended up stopping south of Atlanta around 1am eastern time.  The trip was painless getting there.  The kids were SO good.  They watched movies, played with the iPad and 3DS.  We stopped ONE TIME.  Once we get on the road, I’m ready to get to our destination.

This time we stayed at the Art of Animation in the Cars Suites.  It was such a neat hotel.  We didn’t do the dining plan this time, just to see how it worked out money wise.  We saved around $75, assuming we saved all the receipts.  We would have gotten a lot more food if we had done the dining plan.  With 3 kids and Disney just charging $11.99 per day for kids, it is totally worth it to do the dining plan (in our opinion).  I ended up getting kid food some days (for myself) just because I didn’t want to pay $12 for what may or may not be a good plate of chicken.

The theming for the Cars section (and I’m sure the other sections too…we just didn’t walk through them) was phenomenal.  There were little cars (just like the one the kids are sitting on) all through the area.  The pool was like the motel in the movie and they had little cabana’s made to look like orange cones.  So fun!

The kids got new hats this trip.  Caden and EK opted for traditional Mickey ears.  We are beyond thankful JL landed on this Perry boggin.  The 2 he had decided on before this one were HIDEOUS.   One of them included the little propeller on the top of it.  JL is a treasure.  A treasure.

The first full day we were at Disney it was misting all morning, so we took that opportunity to tour the hotels and see the awesome decorations they had.  This was a gingerbread small world at The Contemporary.  We also stopped at the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian.  Grand Floridian was fantastic as usual.  The tree was gigantic, as was the life size gingerbread house they sell cookies out of.  We all got yummy treats.

She thought it would be beneficial to do some lunges while eating her cookie.

This was EK’s first experience with the characters.  She was so excited.  She was not a fan of waiting her turn.  The boys were not as excited as she was.  Caden is so over meeting characters.  She was a little nervous once we actually got up to see goofy.  She was more at ease when we got to Donald.  By the next day when we saw Minnie, Pluto, and Mickey she acted like a pro.  She *may* have tried to pull Pluto’s tongue out of his mouth.

This is one of my favorite pictures of the 2 of them ever.  The little 2 were asleep in the stroller, so we played would you rather do, this or that with Caden.  He kept asking me this or that questions all trip, so we gave him a turn.  Such as, would you rather stay at Contemporary or Polynesian.  Would you rather ride Big Thunder Mountain or Space Mountain.  He loved all the attention. :)

We headed back to the Polynesian for dinner after a long day at Magic Kingdom.  We were having a lovely time and EK had what we like to call a “poo-splosion.”  She is not potty trained.  It’s not because she can’t be…it’s because she doesn’t want to be.  Good times.  I smelled her and said, “Ella, did you poo poo in your pants?”  She said, “bah eawl.”  That’s “bad girl” if you have trouble understanding. :) So Jeb cleaned her up, and we put the pants in a bag, and wrapped her in a blanket.  We didn’t let the poo-splosion keep us from this photo op though.  ”Dad!  A Tree! With ornaments bigger than our heads!!!”

Day 2 was spent at EPCOT Hollywood Studios (that night for Osborne Lights)

Love this picture of them.  EK just wanted to touch and look at the characters.  She didn’t want to look at the camera. :) She calls him “Mih Mow!”

This looks sweet and innocent, but she’s actually got her hand in his mouth trying to pull his tongue.  She seriously LOVED all the characters this time.

Here’s Jeb and I in front of some of the lights.  They were AMAZING.  At this point in the day, JL was asleep.  He doesn’t last too long without a nap.

 

Day 3 we went to Hollywood Studios again.  Caden was excited to ride Rockin Roller coaster and JL wanted to ride Star Tours.

I got to ride Star Tours with the boys this time!  Usually I let Jeb go first and then I’m so exhausted from entertaining EK while they rode that I wanted to move onto the next ride.  I had so much fun with these 2. :)

 

We decided we were going to eat a late lunch at Downtown Disney and shop for the kids for Christmas.  We had bought 1 thing for them prior to our Disney trip.  Since we were eating later we decided we needed a mid morning snack.  Ice cream, nuts, and popsicles!

 

 

 

These three delight me (most of the time). :) EK has to do EVERYTHING exactly like her brothers.  They were stretching their arms out with popsicles, so of course she needed to as well.

 

 

And here’s Caden and EK doing their glow bracelet ninja moves on the way to dinner at the hotel.  They are too much.  I think JL was asleep again at this point.  We did wake him up to eat. :)

We woke up Sunday morning, got ready, and headed out early.  We got home around 4pm.  It was a fairly short trip, but so much fun!  We always have a blast at Disney, but are also ready to get back home to normalcy.  It’s definitely tiring with 3 young ones.  The memories, the smiles, the laughs, and the togetherness make it so very worth it!  We’re headed back 2 weeks from today!!  Roll Tide, Merry Christmas, and Happy Disney.

 

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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.