Category Archives: Opp

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!

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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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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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July 5 we woke up early to head to Bham. We had to get to the HEAR Center at 8am for an audiogram and speech perception. Here are Eks results…

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Compare the 2 audiograms. You can see how well she hears with her implants on. It is very exciting to see how she hears almost everything on the audiogram. She may or may not hear the birds chirping or the leaves rustling, only time will tell. Her speech perception test had 3 parts. The first part was the only part she was expected to pass. She had to get an 8 out of 12 to pass. If she got below an 8 they would recommend we try some other form of communication with her, or we begin a different approach in some way…she got a 12 out of 12. So encouraging! She didn’t get many of the next set right and just said a few syllables/letters of the repetition part, however she should make progress and
be able to pass these as well. We are so thankful for these signs of her progress.
After testing we headed to Opp for the weekend. We did a LOT of swimming. The kids had so much fun with their cousins and we enjoyed our time there as well.


EK loves the water so much. We tried to keep her ears on her while she was in, but she kept wanting to get her head wet. We ended up leaving her glasses on (so she wouldn’t cross her eyes) and we’d put her ears on her when she’d wander out of the pool. I can’t wait until
Cochlear comes out with the pouch do she can swim in her ears!


She wore herself and me out with the swimming and not napping.
Here’s a pic of the kids with Grammy and Gramps at their store. They love their Grammy and Gramps!


We headed toward home Saturday with a stop in Millbrook for our twin nieces bday party. We got home late Saturday and resumed our regular schedule Sunday…


That brings me to 2 Sundays ago…I’ll add more in a little bit…

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Last week week was a bit of a blur.  Monday we had therapy with EK.  Monday night I found a dog in the middle of a dark busy road on my way to Wal-Mart.  It was a little Yorkie, so I knew it had a home somewhere.  I picked it up, took it back home and then went back to wal-mart (and added dog food to my list).  We gave it a bath and took care of it for about a day.  We tried to find it’s owner to no avail.  Tuesday night’s we ALWAYS go to CFA’s kids night.  It’s tradition.  It was time to go, so I put the dog outside in the screened in porch and headed out.  The dog started scratching wildly on the back door.  So, I put him in the laundry room.  He freaked out even more.  So, with much frustration, I got the dog and loaded it in the car and we took it with us.  The dog, we named him Max, sat outside with us while we ate our dinner.  It was a bit frazzling if you must know.  Jeb wasn’t with me.  It was me, 3 kids, and a new dog.  Oh, and have I mentioned on here EK is petrified of dogs or really anything that moves and isn’t a human?  Yeah, it was a bit of a DAY if you know what I mean.  By the end of dinner I had decided I couldn’t do the dog thing anymore.  I told Caden we had to take the dog to the shelter the next morning.  We made a deal that if he was a big boy, I would take him and buy him whatever zhu zhu pet thing he wanted and I’d buy JL an imaginext toy too.  They liked that idea.  I thought I came out pretty good since the house we’d have to buy to keep the dog was $35, the dog had to be neutered, had to get shots, needed food, etc.  I mean the stress is mind boggling when you already have a husband who works out of town and 3 kids.  Back to my story, we got home and in a last ditch effort I asked a neighbor if they recognized the dog and they did!  It belonged to a family down the street from us!  And get this, his name is ACTUALLY MAX!  How crazy is that?!?  So, we took Max back to his owner, Caden shed plenty of tears because he had grown to love Max, I soothed him with the fact that Max just lives down the street from us, and we bought them a toy.  After the toy was in possession they were totally different boys.  Ahhh, bribery, I’m not above you.

I forgot to  mention, on the way home from CFA, Max was in the car and I was getting gas, so EK was screaming at the top of her lungs because she didn’t have me holding her while Max was close to her.  All of this of course brought some attention our way, and the lady next to us told me she worked at Wal-mart in the tires and my tires were very dangerous.  She went around and looked at all of my tires and said they were all in need of replacement but a couple of them looked like they were about to blow soon.  SO, I added change tires to my list of things to do.  Wednesday morning we went up to McGriff’s and they recommended we get 4 new tires.  Our sweet friend Jennifer came and picked us up and let us play at her house until our car was ready and then she took us back to the tire place.  I was so thankful for her because, the kids there for 2 hours would have been a nightmare.

That night I went to Bham to eat dinner with one of my best friends from college to celebrate her birthday.  Karenina was my 1st Bible Study leader in college and sort of “mentored” me.  And now, 10 years later (has it really been that long?) we are still best friends.  We had a great group of fun girls that met at Chuy’s at the Summit.  So.  Much.  Fun.  Love those girls!

Thursday morning, we loaded up as early and quickly as we could and headed out to Opp.  I was pretty stressed out because the beginning of the week was a bit chaotic.  We stopped and ate lunch at McAlisters in Prattville and by the time we got down to Opp I was a little more relaxed.  Tales of our trip to Opp to come next.  JL caught a fish, EK got a virus, Caden learned to swim, and EK swam with her implants on…not in that order.