Category Archives: Road Trips

Loose Ends

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I am so incredibly behind in blogging.  That’s the beginning go most of my posts.  This post will tie up loose ends from the last post, and then I’ll have to catch up from Sept, Oct. and Nov.  So, EK got new glasses.  They were precious.  I mean so incredibly adorable.  BUT they weren’t sitting on her nose the right way and her eye started turning in again.  :(  We’re in the process of getting it corrected (as of today).  Until we get the bifocal put in the correct spot, we will be wearing her old glasses.  The old ones are the correct prescription, but her ophthalmologist wanted her bifocal to go down some.  

 

We went to see Mumford and Sons.  It was an incredible concert.  I didn’t realize it was a big deal we got picked out of the lottery to go to the concert.  You have to “apply” to go to their concerts.  For the money we spent (not much, like $40 a ticket maybe), it was an INCREDIBLE concert.  The best part was we have a friend who had VIP passes, and she got us into the VIP box at the end.  The last few songs were awesome.  We had this view.

A lot of our friends were there with us.  :)

And we even ran into an old Tuscaloosa friend who I miss bunches. :)

It was such a fun night!  We didn’t get home till 2 AM, but it was totally worth it.  2013 has been the year of the concert for us.  New Kids on the Block (ha!), Taylor Swift, Mumford and Sons, and Justin Timberlake (this weekend!!!!).

 

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

I think they made it fine without us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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!

Home again, home again

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We went back to Disney again.  If you’ve known us long, or read our blog very long, you know this is a normal thing for us.  We were just there in January, and the time before that was December.  This trip marked my 40th time to Disney, Jeb’s 22nd time, Caden’s 17th, JL’s 15th, and EK’s 11th.  This was one of my favorite trips to Disney to date.  EK was so much fun this trip.  The boys are getting to an age where they are easier to handle as well.

We went down a couple of days before Mom and Dad got there.  The excitement was through the roof by the time we got there.  We left home Thursday night AFTER Jeb got off work.  We ended up leaving about 630.  We had to leave the house “show ready” just in case someone called to see the house while we were gone.  That was quite the feat.  The kids only had a 1/2 day of school that day, part of that 1/2 day was Caden’s Bye Bye Brunch.  So, I had all 3 kids at home, while I packed us up, and loaded the car.  OH, I also got a text from our realtor that morning that he wanted to show our house at 1pm that afternoon.  You don’t turn down a showing, so I said “Sure!” and then I drove the kids around for an hour till he was finished showing our house.  Good times.  After that, I finished packing and loading the car.  We drove part of the way Thursday and finished it up Friday.  The kids were SO READY to be there.  We unloaded our bags, and headed out to the park.  We had planned to meet our friends at EPCOT.  We pulled into the parking lot and found this.

They woke up shortly after this.  Apparently I didn’t have my A game going this day.  We got there, got EK’s special assistance card, and then her ear started blinking that the battery was dying.  We had to cancel on our friends and go back to the hotel to get new batteries.  Thankfully they met us at the hotel to eat dinner.  We ended up going swimming afterwards so the kids were happy.

Look how cute this little rugrat is with her little pig tails.  LOVE.  She developed an undying attachment to her flip flops during our trip to Disney.  I’m not sure why.  However, I am thankful she’s actually able to keep them on.  This day, she wanted her “pop pops” but I was able to get her cute red Sun San sandals on and get her out the door before she took them off.  From time to time she’d start whining, and we’d think there was something wrong with her.  I’d ask, “what’s the matter?”, and she’d say, “Pop Pops!!!!!”  Cracks me up.

This is the obligatory castle picture.  I love a good castle picture.  I love that the kids all wanted to wear their hats.  EK still will get hers out from time to time and just wear it around town.

We always have to play the pig game.  The boys LOVE it.  It’s one of their absolute favorite things about Disney.  EK will cut you if you try to take the pig from her.  She designated herself as the pig carrier.  She actually crawled into one of the machines to try to get the pig back while the boys were playing the game.  We had to grab her by the ankles and pull her out.

Riding the monorail is also one of our favorite things to do.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve always loved it and now the kids do too.  Everytime EK saw it she’d point and say, “Boat!” and I’d ask her what it was and she’d say, “Monorail.”  She still calls it a boat and a monorail even when we look at pictures.  Not sure why she gets it confused with boats.  We stayed at Bay Lake Tower, which is part of the contemporary, so we had the monorail coming through the atrium when we’d eat at the hotel.  She LOVED it.

 Before we allow JL to go to kindergarten, we really need to teach him the importance of wiping his face.  I fear this is how he will look every day when I pick him up from school.

The guy on the bottom left is one of the parking lot attendants we saw at Animal Kingdom.  We thought he looked like one of our friends (top right).  We send text messages back and forth with friends and this was the final list of the 4 people who look similar.  Couldn’t they all be brothers?  I think it’s pretty crazy how alike they all look.

I told Caden to give me a warrior pose.  It’s obviously not his forte.  He can play instruments with the best of them.  Dressing up, not his thing.

This guy, he excels at dress up and role playing.  He LOVES some dress up.

EK loved this ride.  We went to Animal Kingdom one night and there weren’t a lot of people there.  We were able to ride this over and over again.  The ride would finish and she’d say, “No, ride again!”  I don’t know how many times we ended up riding this ride, but I’m glad the adults took turns riding with her.  Going around in circles for long periods of time isn’t as easy as it used to be, which is why I sent Jeb on the teacups with the boys.

The last night we were in Disney Jeb had the boys at EPCOT riding Test Track and I took EK back to the room so I could pack.  She sat just like this for over an hour watching Fresh Beat Band.  I was able to get all our packing done.  So thankful she was able to stay entertained while I got some work done.

We had such a fun trip.  We were exhausted as usual, but it was good.  We move at our own pace at Disney these days.  We wake up whenever our kids wake us (usually at 7ish on vacation), we get ready, we eat in the food court area, and then we figure out where we are going.  This is so much different from the pre-kids Disney trips…I used to have spreadsheets, dinner confirmation numbers, and parks picked out every day…all done months before our trip occurred.  We always do quick service dining because we don’t want to have to plan our day around where we are eating a meal.  Next time though, the boys have already requested to eat at Chef Mickey’s and to eat in the castle.  So thankful I have been able to carry on this vacation tradition with our little munchkins.  So thankful I was able to bring Jeb over to the Disney side.  Once you go, it’s hard not to be hooked. :)

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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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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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The next 3 posts are going to overlap some.  I would do one long post, but it would take me days to finish it and no one but my mom would actually read the whole thing. :) We went to Dallas, I celebrated my birthday there, then on my actual birthday EK started her first day of preschool.  I’ll try not to repeat too much. :)

So, we woke up at 3:45 Friday morning.  It was an ungodly hour, but no kids were awake…so that made it a little easier.  We had a friend come over at 4am and get the run down about EK’s ears and such.  She stayed with the kids until Jeb’s parents came into town that night.  We are so very thankful for friends and family who are willing to hang out with our kiddos while we get some time to ourselves.

We boarded our plane around 630am.  Being up that early while only caring for myself wasn’t bad at all.  I don’t know if I ever realized how much easier it was when I didn’t travel with kids. :) Jeb did Sudoku, I read magazines (and here’s where Jeb would pipe up and say, “if by read you mean looked at the pictures” – and he wouldn’t be lying).

When we got into Dallas we got our Chevy Malibu and headed over to Denton to see some of our favorites, The Vicks!  The McGuirks were visiting them as well, so that was double the fun.  It was shaping up to be an awesome weekend already.

We ate brunch at a local cafe called “Cafe Loco.”  It was so very yummy.  I decided on steak tacos…which turned out to be a theme for the weekend.  I’ve ruined Mexican for myself for at least a week.  I ate it approximately 2 meals per day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  We chatted at the Vick’s house and then went to a neat little artsy section of Dallas.  We had to head out early because Jeb was taking me out to a fun birthday dinner.  When we left Denton we headed to our hotel to check in and change clothes.  We noticed some people who were dressed in an interesting way, but we didn’t think much of it.  Once we got into the hotel we noticed TONS of them.  Turns out there was an Anime Fest Convention at our hotel.  Seriously?  Yeah, these things happen to us.  Not sure why, but they do.  I do love a good story though.

Not only did we have Anime-palooza at our hotel, but we also seemed to book the official Michigan hotel.  For every 10 Michigan fans there was approximately 1 Alabama fan.  I’m not even kidding. It took us what seemed like 10 years to check in because…did I mention there was an Anime Fest going on?  Yeah, they all had to check in too.

The restaurant was recommended by Dana, and it was SO good.  It’s called the Capital Grill.  We had the best wine we’ve ever had and the steak was absolutely to die for too.  I wish I was eating it right now.  Sadly, if I ate steak with crab meat and cream sauce every night, I’d weigh 300 lbs.

We got back to our hotel, dealt with the heat in our room because of the “green initiative” they have in place (the air conditioning doesn’t come on until you enter the room)…I know first world problem…but I want my air conditioning…WE PAID FOR IT.

So, that brings us to Saturday…GAME DAY!  It was the day we’d been waiting to come for over a year.  As soon as we heard Alabama would be playing at Cowboy stadium we said we’d be there…little did I know, we actually would be there and we’d have tickets to sit in a BOX!!  Gameday was on in our room and the thought of fall was in the air…the feeling…not so much, it was approximately 132 degrees outside.  Dallas is the hottest place I’ve ever been in my life…and I was determined to wear my new cowboy boots Jeb got me for my birthday.

Like I said, there were about 10 Michigan fans for every 1 Alabama fan.  It could have been really ugly if we had lost.  Southern Hospitality is just that…southern.  Mom and Dad picked us up to head over to the stadium early.  We wanted to take in all the ambiance it had to offer…however it was HOT…did I mention that?  We ended up in the McDonald’s in Walmart.  Keeping it classy.

And we passed the time by looking at our phones, eating ice cream, and drinking diet coke.  We stopped by to see a few friends on our way into the stadium, and then saw a few more after we got in.  Strangest thing…we were cheering doing our thing in our box, and looked at the box next to ours and a friend from college who works for Tyson in Arkansas was over there!  So crazy!

This is our view.  My word, it was wonderful.  We had shrimp, salad, chips, dip, some sort of fried cheese mexican blessing from the Lord, steak fajitas, fruit, pizza, dessert bars, brownies, ice cream, and cute little personalized M&Ms that said Cowboys, oh and all the drinks you cared to partake of.  The whole experience ranked up there with top 5 of my lifetime experiences (you know not counting, marriage, babies, becoming a Christian…only counting entertainment).  I think this would take a close 2nd to the U2 concert we went to last July.

This is Jeb, my parents, and I excited after our victory.  Good times.  But the weekend wasn’t over!  We still had more family to see Sunday and more friends…Dallas was so fun.

We met my Aunt and Uncle and 2 cousins at Abuelo’s Sunday for lunch.  I am sad to say I didn’t get a picture of us all.  We had lots of fun catching up on college, new jobs, family stuff, etc.

Jeb and I headed out to try to see a few more friends before they headed home, and then spend some time with the ones who were staying.  I get anxious about…well, you name it and I can get anxious about it…boots closing in on me so that I can’t ever get them off? check.  Caden hitting me in the neck with a floor pillow and hearing my neck crack and automatically thinking of the 2 cervical spine fractured football players from the day before? check….so, any who, I was a bit anxious about hanging out with people on the day we were flying out of town.  Yeah, we were flying out at 8:30, but I still thought we needed to be NEXT TO THE AIRPORT…JUST IN CASE.  However, I fought every anxious bone in my body, and we hung out.  We went to Starbucks, Freebirds (which I hear it’s a travesty that I had already eaten and didn’t even try food from here), and then back to the Vicks.

Best picture ever.

We enjoyed fellowship and encouragement.  I got to talk to Kelly about cochlear implant stuff (her son has had them much longer than EK).  We ate food…lots of food.  We watched the Grape Lady video on you tube multiple times.  We laughed a lot.  We talked decorating.  We talked about churches and Jesus.  It was so refreshing.

Us with the Vicks

Me, Kelly, Rachel, and Dana

Josh, Ryan, Jeff, and Jeb

We came home refreshed, encouraged, and ready to see our babies.  We haven’t really been without the kids for any length of time since…well, mom and dad kept them when we moved to Cullman so I could get unpacked, Jeb’s parents kept Caden when he was the only one and Jeb and I went to Disney with my parents.  Other than that, it’s been a day or two here and there…that’s all we could get worked out schedule wise.  So, we are very thankful for our friend working it out so she could keep the kids until Jeb’s parent’s could get here, and then for Jeb’s parent’s keeping them AND fixing a leaky faucet that had caused water damage in the basement, and for my parents for the AMAZING seats at the football game.  We are so very blessed with friends and family.  I’ll be back soon with more birthday and EK’s first day of school. :) Oh, and just in case you were wondering…we got to the airport in PLENTY of time. :) No need to worry.

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Well friends, I’m still here. Summer proved itself to be bad for the blogging. What have we been up to? Well, we had EK’s birthday party, but I need to be more awake to write about it. We’ve been to the beach, but it deserves a post in its own. Here’s what sums up the trip for me…Build-A-Bear and a lot of sand. What I have for you is a bulleted list of day to day stuff with promises of posts about EK’s birthday and the beach.

  • We have been doing A LOT of therapy. I was told by Ek’s therapist that she was behind. I already knew that, but it was hard to hear. This was Tuesday and we left for the beach Thursday. The beach was a great time to work with her and try to get a handle on her speech and listening. Since that day, EK has moved to bigger groups of things to choose from when listening to a group of tasks (like give the grapes to Woody), she’s changing vowels in babble (like he ha, na no, nay ne, etc.), she started saying her n’s, she’s gone from saying around 25 words to 100 words ( to count it as a word she has to come up with it herself, she can’t just repeat it), and she’s gone from understanding 115 words to at least 265. It’s been a good month. She’s still behind, but I am amazed by her progress in one month.
  • We’ve still been potty training. It’s going alright. She needs to be trained enough to fake it by September 4. That’s when she starts school.
  • We watched a lot of the Olympics. I’m still sad it’s over. I wish there was still swimming and gymnastics on every night. Love it. 4 more years…
  • Caden learned to ride his bike! Yay! I mean, really, it’s somewhat taxing to teach him anything. Jeb should get a medal for patience. He loves riding his bike so much! He will go outside and just ride in circles. :)
  • The kids enjoyed time hanging out together this summer.
  • Ella Kate is doing just fine with all the extra attention now that the boys have gone back to school.
  • We tried to go to Chick fil a appreciation day, but ended up at Arby’s instead. CFA was so crazy! 3 hungry kids waiting an hour for food wasn’t going to cut it.
  • We thoroughly enjoyed our summer. We enjoyed the lazy-ish days. Not having to be anywhere. That’s all over now. We’re enjoying the schedule and routine too, we’re just in the middle of the change over. The change is always the hardest. I’m hoping a couple more weeks will get us into a good groove.
  • In other news, EK isn’t terrified of the neighbor’s cat anymore. I give you exhibit A
  • School started monday, so I need to add that to my list of posts that need to be written…Here’s a pic of the whole crew on the first day. I have many more, including comparisons of the boys from last year to this year. I’ll save them for their own little post, which I may write within the next 3 months…who knows. I promise JL wasn’t choking her. It certainly looks like he was, I know.

Well, I need to call it a night. It’s 11:30, and Jeb is working tomorrow…and EK has been making it a habit to get up at 5:15am, and each of the boys have their first soccer game (that Jeb will miss because he’s working. :( Sad story.)

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…