Category Archives: Holidays

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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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.

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Okay, now that I’ve updated on birthdays, here’s the day to day stuff going on. Pictures and bullet points is all I’ve got for you. We met my Daddy for lunch and discussed important world issues like SEC Football…actually I think we may have discussed some politics, but you see how that stayed with me…I definitely remember talking about our possibilities of going to a national championship game.

We have still been doing therapy. We usually take one or two days of formal therapy off on the weekends. We just try to make it more of a life therapy those days…work it in where we can but spend more time as a family. This particular day we did babble and used the turkeys feathers as a “reward” after she repeated the correct phrase. (i.e. I say pa pa pa, and she has to repeat exactly “pa, pa, pa”)

JL had a feast at his school. His feast included rolled up lunch meat, chips and dip, and carrots.

Ella Kate crashed the feast. JL didn’t mind having her there.

Our friend who works for Robert Aderholt pulled some strings and got this sign put in our neighborhood 1 day after she asked for it. One day turnaround in city government!?! Yes, it can happen.

JL put this on in Target. I said, “Take that off! You don’t know who’s….wait, let me take a picture first…okay now take that off!” I feel like he was channelling his inner Cousin Eddie.

We went to Opp and back in less than a day for Thanksgiving. To say we are running on empty around here would be quite the understatement.

After Opp we welcomed some of our best friends from college for the weekend. We celebrate Thanksgiving together every year and we watch Thanksgiving episodes of Friends as part of our celebration. We call our get together “Truth Day.” Remember the episode where everyone is telling everyone else’s secrets and Ross screams, “It’s Thanksgiving, not TRUTH DAY!” Love it.

This is a picture of Michael teaching the kids some sort of English lesson. Caden was giving us homework while we were watching the Alabama vs. Auburn game. At this point we were ahead 49-0.
We had 1 cat. Cat #1 left. 2 weeks later we got cat #2. 2 weeks after that we found cat #1. We have 2 cats now.  I have recently discovered I am allergic.  Good times.

We had craft day at our house after Truth Day. Our Sunday School class came over and we made these little nativity scenes. Caden created a lego version.

A couple of years ago I bought a doll at the Dollar Tree and we made him baby Jesus. We swaddled him and the boys LOVED it! Now on Dec. 1 we get out baby Jesus and they kids take turns sleeping with him and carrying him around during the day. It’s just one more way we can drive home the point that Christmas is about the birth of Christ!

My super talented friend Rachel designed some short advent lessons and posted them on It has been so fantastic to have a SHORT advent lesson to do with the kids. They are so ADD when it comes to sitting down and learning as a family. With time I know it will get better, but now, 3-5 minutes is our max.

Also, Jeb and I have both had the flu. We both took tamilflu and were better within 2 days. It is a miracle drug! Jeb tested positive for flu A. I never got tested, but was having severe body aches. I started tamiflu and was significantly better after a day! We both had flu shots, so I think it lessened our symptoms and it wasn’t too bad. The flu is rampant around here. Jeb’s seeing 80 patients a day in Hartselle. He’s exhausted by the time he gets home…and so am I.

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It’s summer and we’ve stayed busy. If we’re in town we have found something to occupy us, like VBS, playing outside, grocery shopping, swim lessons, or soccer camp.

We’ve taken 2 trips so far this summer, and the 3rd will be coming up in a couple of weeks. All that to say, when we get the kids to bed I usually veg instead of updating the blog. We had EK’s 3rd bday party today, and I wanted to update on that…but before I can do that, I need to do a catch up….so here are a few pictures to get you up to speed. Wow, that was a long run on sentence.

Ella Kate has become opinionated about what she wears and that includes her shoes. She decided she wanted to wear soccer cleats to Wal-Mart because her brothers were at soccer camp that day. I pick my battles with her.

JL continues to be the sweetest big brother. He fed EK dinner one night so she would be able to have dessert. She ate every single bite he gave her. Seriously, they LOVE each other so much. It is just precious.

When we get stuck inside because of rain ALL. DAY. LONG, we get creative about how we watch TV. They thought this way would be more fun.

That brings us to 4th of July…the holiday where we ate a LOT of watermelon.

…and then did shirtless coloring on the back porch. EK needed to be dressed like her brothers, so that meant she went shirtless too.

We met my parents at Jim-N-Nicks for dinner on the 4th. Isn’t this just the best picture? Everyone int his picture makes me so happy. :)

We succeeded in getting a decent family photo. It would not be the “true us” if everyone was looking at the camera smiling. Looking at the camera is so last year, it takes some of the fun out of the picture.

On the way home, the kids talked us into getting fireworks…or maybe it was that they talked us into actually shooting them of that night instead of waiting on all of them until we got to Opp, I can’t remember.

That brings us to the end of the 4th of July. Next up…trip to Opp, and various and a sundry other things.

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Happy Father’s Day to my awesome hubs.  We all love you to pieces.  The kids light up when you walk in the door after work, and let’s face it, I do too.  :)  Thank you for being the spiritual leader in our family.  You are such a great daddy to our munchkins, and I am so thankful for you!

Happy Father’s Day to my daddy too.  I don’t have any recent pictures of us together (Dad, we should take care of that), so here are a few of him with our littles.  My dad has always been on top of it with giving me advice, sometimes I would want it, and sometimes I wouldn’t…regardless…he was almost ALWAYS right!  It’s crazy.  The older I get the more I appreciate his wisdom and the advice that comes from it.  Dad makes me laugh, a lot of it comes from past experiences, and inside jokes.  I do love an inside joke.  Thanks dad for the 30ish years of love, talks, laughs, inside jokes, wisdom, lunch dates, and bail outs (those came mostly during high school and college when I’d make a not so smart decision and he’d help me get out of it…like buying my Camry from me when I couldn’t afford the payment anymore). I love you!

And, as an aside, my mom gets the short end of the stick when it comes to blog posts about her on Mother’s Day.  On mother’s day I’m always trying to relax and enjoy my day to the fullest, so I never end up blogging.  So, she’s going to get part of the Father’s Day blog post.  My mom is awesome too.  We have a great relationship.  She listens to countless questions from Jeb and I about business related things, and answers every single one of them.  She comes down every Thursday to help me with the kids and bring dinner to us.  She loves on our babies, and they adore her.  She has turned into a friend, and I am so thankful for the relationship I have with her.

From these pictures, you can see some of the reasons why our kids love their Neena. :) She’s not afraid to climb and slide…

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Maybe someday we’ll get a picture with everyone looking at the camera and smiling. :) It wouldn’t portray our lives correctly if the picture wasn’t a little chaotic looking. Love these little munchkins. So blessed to call them mine. They’ve taught me more than I could have ever imagined.

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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

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Caden got to shoot a gun at Mama Nette and Daddy Bill's Pond House.

JL practicing his shooting at MN and DB's house when we went down for New Year's

Nanny, Pop, Gramps, Jeb, Jamey, Jacob, and all the kids

Mama Nette, Daddy Bill, Jeb, and the kids at MN and DB's house