Category Archives: Fun with the Neighbors

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.  

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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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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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Ella Kate would like to tell you, she’s so excited about the Cullman city school system agreeing to provide her with AV Therapy!  They will be paying for her to go to therapy in Birmingham at the HEAR Center.  We are praising the Lord!  These meetings were prayed over, and we give Him 100% of the credit for the outcome.

She’s pretty pumped.  :)  We had a 2 1/2 hour meeting Monday morning trying to revise her IEP.  I am very pleased with the outcome.  She will continue 1 hour of speech therapy in Bham 1 time per week and also start the preschool at the Primary school in our city.  She will resume School for Hearing when she is 100% potty trained.  I don’t want to put her in and then her have another accident. We may wait until November or so…

Remember the adoption fundraiser I mentioned in the last post?  This is the treat John Luke wanted from Frostings.  He called it a “cookie burger.”  It was close to the size of this head.  He ate approximately 1/8 of it and said he was finished. $5 well spent.  Glad 25% of it went to Jim and Kelly to bring Anna Grace home from The Congo.

This makes for some interesting conversations with Caden.  He has quite a time saying different words right now with his lack of teeth.  He has to try multiple times to say certain things.  He has 2 teeth growing in on the bottom, and no teeth on the top.  We’re having family pictures made in 3 weeks.  :)

This is our neighborhood biker gang.  Aren’t they fierce?  One of EK’s favorite things to do when she gets home is to go play with them and steal one of their bikes to ride.  :)

We had speech therapy today and we have 10 vocab words to work on with EK this week.  She’s going to be “tested” next Tuesday to see if she’s learned her words and can say them.  This is a new challenge for EK.  Hoping we’re to the point where she can rise to the challenge.  I have high expectations for her.  Praying she decides to not be stubborn, and meet my expectations. :)

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This past week the boys had Challenger Soccer Camp. It was for 1 1/2 hours in the morning, so it wasn’t incredibly hot. It didn’t hit the 100′s around here until mid afternoon, so at 90-95 it was a regular frozen tundra out there. Caden’s coach’s name was Simon, and he stayed at our house all week. It was very interesting to hear the cultural, religious, and language differences between us. He just left this morning, so he gets the award for person who’s stayed the longest at our house.


We tried to help him with an American accent, but it ended up sounding like a British person impersonating a Northern American trying to do a Southern accent. He was a lovely house guest, he was very respectful, and very nice….but it is nice to go back to “normal”…like EK running around without pants on and going peepee on the potty in the kitchen and such. And let me tell you, I am looking forward to getting the kids to bed and sitting in my bed tonight. We’ve been getting the kids to bed and then sitting in the kitchen with Simon and talking until 11pm or midnight. The boys had loads of fun playing outside with the neighbors last week too. The found a “hill,” but it’s really just an incline, they would go up and then ride down on their big wheels. EK rode up and down the neighbors driveway for an hour or so. Here’s JL going down the hill. He doesn’t look too sure of it, but he really was having fun. This is what EK did the whole time…. Caden stopped a minute for a picture. He loves this razor the neighbors have. Here’s Harrison, he’s JL’s age. Isn’t he precious? Here’s Jackson. He was having some ear pain, so Dr. Hornsby came to the rescue. Curbside prescriptions for the neighbors anytime. :) Jackson is 6 months older than Caden. All 4 boys have lots of fun together, and EK enjoys joining in as well. We’re finally getting into a groove this summer. Now that it’s blazing hot, I can’t run in the evenings, so Jeb and I take turns running in the mornings. Then when we get home I’ll do therapy with EK. It’s nice to not have to be somewhere right off the bat in the mornings. Therapy lasts about 30 minutes to an hour depending on how stubborn she chooses to be. Some days are better than others. She has a lot of will power and stubborn in that little body of hers. It will pay off one day…for now it makes it tough to teach her the language she needs…we will power through though. After therapy we run any errands we need to run, and then do lunch. At about 2pm everyone goes down for nap or rest time. The boys look forward to this part of the day because they get their phones (iPod touches). EK goes down for a real nap. She’ll nap about 2 hours. During that time I get to SIT on the bed and watch White Collar while looking at the internet. It is glorious. I drink Coke Zero, eat some sort of snack, and enjoy the peace and quiet (that is sprinkled with a few “MOM!!!….Caden’s in my bed, my phone died, can I have a snack, I need help with this box on where’s my water, etc”). During the school year I never got to enjoy nap time. It was always too rushed because I had to pick up the boys, so this is a nice change of pace. I refuse to do lots of work during nap time. It seems to help me retain my sanity. ;) After naps we have to come up with something else to do for a couple of hours before Jeb gets home. I don’t cook very often anymore. It’s just too tough with 3 littles. I make time for what I want to make time for, and cooking a big meal and cleaning up a big meal, is not on that list, so during the 2 hours after nap time we usually go outside and kill some time. Playing with bubbles….

I am so thankful we’ve found our routine. We even have a couple more months until we have to find a new one. I know I thrive on schedule and routine, and I think the kids do better as well. It a good thing we’ve found our groove, because at the beginning of the summer I wasn’t sure how many of us would make it to the end of the summer.

The kids are downstairs with Jeb playing mario brothers, and as much as I’m enjoying the back porch quiet, I probably need to go provide some back up.

He was a *little* upset their Big Wheel had fallen into 4 pieces. They literally rode it until it fell apart.

He was much happier on Christmas Day when he realized he was getting an even better Big Wheel