Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Still Here!

Well, this blog is just so neglected that it's pitiful. I actually do have a really good excuse this time, and I can't wait to do a full life update soon. (Sorry to be so cryptic. I hate it when people do that... haha!) I just wanted to pop in and say that we're still here, we're good, and I AM going to get back into the swing of blogging hopefully very soon. Stay tuned for some new blog posts in the next few weeks!

Thursday, October 2, 2014


Lately, I've been....

-Reading some good books. I need to do a whole post on what I've read lately. My favorite recent read was The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). It was the second book in a series, and I can't WAIT for the next one. I have to say that this book was pretty graphic and way more "gritty" than the books I typically read. It was kind of creepy, actually. But there's no denying that J.K Rowling knows how to write a GOOD story. I was just SO into this book that I even cared about the weather in the story. Haha! I love it when I find a book that I cannot put down and that leaves me sad when it's over.

-Reading aloud to Aubrey. I always try to make it a point to read aloud to all of my kids, but I recently decided that I was going to make this part of our "school day" and read books that are a bit more challenging. We started with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I so enjoyed reading this to Aubrey and getting to experience the story for the first time again though her eyes. She LOVED the book! Everyday, I would read a chapter. And then she would beg for another chapter, so I would read a second :) This book totally consumed her mind, and it was fun to see that. She would talk about the chapters and wonder what was going to happen next all the time. She told me a couple of times, "Mama, I just can't get Aslan out of my head!" Super cute. We are going to continue with the series. This was a great book for her at this age because I know it stretched her mind, but she was definitely able to follow it and repeat back what I read. The language in the book is very British, so I know some things went over her head, but it'll be fun to read it again in a few years and see what else she picks up on.

-Watching Luther. This is a BBC series that David and I have gotten into recently. I really like it! It's funny because I've always avoided watching Law and Order or any other crime type shows because they're just scary to me. But now I basically feel like we're watching the British version of that. Ha! Luther is very graphic and I have to close my eyes sometimes. But I really enjoy the characters, and I just like being into a show with David. It's something fun for us to do together, and we usually have good discussions about the episodes after the fact. There's only 3 seasons of Luther, and we're about to finish the second, so we'll need to find something else to watch next. Maybe we'll have to give Law and Order a try. But it seems like I'm kind of partial to BBC stuff lately (Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, Sherlock, Luther....).

-Completing my kids' fall wardrobes. Thankfully, Alaina is now able to wear most of Aubrey's hand me downs. For a while the seasons didn't line up, but now it's evened out. So, I didn't have to buy a lot for Alaina. But I was starting from scratch with Aubrey and Jude. I had the hardest time deciding what to get for Jude to wear to church this fall/winter. Up until now, he's always worn Jon Jon's and longalls/shortalls. But now that he's FOUR, I think it's time to move away from one piece outfits for him :( Which is so sad because I just personally don't feel like there is anything as cute to fill that gap. I'm not really ready for khakis and belts. I think he's going to be mostly wearing gingham/plaid pants with polos and some sweater vests when it's cold enough. And he's probably going to be repeating the same 3 church outfits because I just haven't found a lot that I love.

-Decorating a little bit in the new house! Now that we rented out our old house and are no longer paying two mortgages, I get to have a small "decorating budget" each month. It doesn't go as far as I would like, but it's allowed me to buy some stuff for our house that doesn't fall into the "necessary" category. We're still trying to be wise with how we spend our money, and we're holding off on any BIG purchases (like a new couch and some other furniture that we need) until we do sell our old house (PRAYING that will happen in the spring/summer). It's just fun to be able to shop a little bit and think through how I'm going to spend my decorating money each month. I have a LONG list of things to buy, so I'm having to prioritize and learn some serious patience. I'm so thankful for our home, though, and even if I never bought another thing for it, we are SO blessed to have it!

-Thinking about our fall and winter coming up. It's going to be a really busy time for our family! We are making plans and trying to prepare for everything that we need to do, but we're also praying that the Lord will guide us and direct our steps. As always, it's our desire that we glorify God even in the midst of the busyness and sometimes big unknowns!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Aubrey is Six!

On September 12th, my first baby turned 6 years old! I still can't believe that I have a child who is 6. Aubrey is such a sweet, wonderful little girl. I love her so much! She's a typical first child - bossy, rule follower, and very responsible. She is SUCH a huge help to me. I really don't know what I'd do without her some days. She's so helpful, in fact, that I sometimes have to remind myself that she's only 6 and I need to just let her be a little girl. She's not my nanny ;) Haha! I'm all about having high expectations for my children - more often than not, they rise to the challenge - but I also have to be careful that my expectations aren't unreasonable for her.

She is hilarious. She says the most funny things in such a sincere, serious way (not trying to be funny), that sometimes I can't help but laugh. She can just be so intense in the way she says things. I wish that I could capture her mannerisms on the blog because I love them. Even though she does have a very mature, somewhat serious side, she's also VERY silly and goofy. She will crack up over the craziest little things (quite often this involves potty humor) and run something into the ground like you wouldn't believe. She has a hard time turning the silly down a notch or two when it gets out of hand. This is probably the biggest challenge that we deal with with Aubrey at this stage. We talk about and pray for self-control a lot with her :)

She has a sweet little heart. A lot of times in the evenings, she'll remind us to have our family devotion. I love that the Lord uses little children to lead adults sometimes. It's both humbling and convicting.

She loves school. She's very good at memorization. It amazes me how quickly she can memorize something. Way faster than I can, that's for sure. It's true that her little mind is just a sponge right now. She's very creative. Her two absolute favorite things are Legos (she spends HOURS building things everyday) and art. Right now, she says that she wants to be an artist when she grows up, and her favorite thing at school is art. I can't wait to see what the Lord has planned for our Aubrey, and I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that He gave her to us!
On Aubrey's 6th birthday, we met our family for lunch. She chose Broadstreet :)

That night, we went to a going away party for some friends who are moving to Malawi. Aubrey got to play with a lot of little friends and eat junk food. Perfect birthday for a 6 year old ;)

The next day, we had Aubrey's birthday party! She had decided that she wanted an "art party." I knew that this was the perfect theme for her, but I also knew that it wouldn't be an easy theme for me to pull off. But I took one for the team and went with it :)
I actually found a website where you order patterns and transfer paper and draw a design onto a canvas to paint. I know real artists would probably cringe at this ;) but I thought it was perfect for 5 and 6 years olds. We had two different designs for them to choose from. David and I had done all of the transfers before the party.
The art party theme ended up working out well because it became the theme, activity, and take home gift all rolled into one! The kids painted outside on our screened porch. We had the PERFECT day for it. The weather was overcast and cool. I think the kids enjoyed painting!
And yes, I do realize that I missed an opportunity to have super cute paint smocks for all of the kids. But let me tell you, an art party is not an inexpensive theme to pull off and we had kind of reached our budget's limit ;) So we told the kids to wear old clothes and had ratty t-shirts on hand. Perfect! Haha.
We had some snacks set up inside. I didn't go too crazy with the decorations, but I thought everything turned out pretty cute, though.
Um, don't mind the random cup sitting there and the water drips on the butcher paper. Ha! The party was fun; it wasn't perfect.
I LOVED the cake. We got it at Whole Foods, and they did a great job! Every last crumb got eaten!
After cake and ice cream, it was time for presents. Aubrey got lots of fun stuff from her sweet friends and family.
My parents gave her a Felicity American Girl Doll, which I was really excited about. David has been reading the Felicity series to Aubrey before bed every night, and she loves Felicity. I knew they no longer make Felicity, but my mom found one that was in perfect condition. Aubrey was so excited when she opened Felicity!
After the party, Aubrey told me that it was better than she even hoped it would be. That made every bit of time put into it worth it! We love our sweet SIX year old!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Catching Up. Again.

Well, I feel like I can officially breathe a sigh of relief because the first couple of weeks of school and Aubrey's birthday party are now behind us. I feel so awful that I didn't even write a post for Aubrey on her 6th birthday :( We were in full party planning mode then, and I was just overwhelmed, to be honest. The past few weeks have felt SO busy. I love staying busy, but this was too much. I just felt like there were so many things on my to do list that had to happen immediately and everything else had to fall to the wayside. I don't function well when my house is a mess, and it seemed to be in a constant state of messiness. Ha! I also was finally able to say out loud that I don't enjoy planning parties. Admitting that was a little freeing ;) I think I put this pressure on myself to make my kids' parties super cute and perfectly planned, and I always wait until the last minute to do everything (yes, ALWAYS. I never learn), and it just becomes stressful instead of fun (for me. My kids always enjoy their parties, which of course makes all of the stress more than worth it in the end). Anyway, all that to say, I'm glad that the party is over now :) We've enjoyed a more low-key week so far this week, and I'm feeling more on top of things now.

Jude had a.... very interesting first day of school. Oh, I'll just go ahead and say it. It was awful. We both ended up in tears. And I'm not even usually a big crier! That deserves its own post, so I'll leave it at that for now. Everyday has gotten better since then, so that's an answer to prayer. Aubrey is LOVING school. No surprise there. She's doing great with our work at home, too. She's been a really fun child for me to teach so far because she enjoys her work and usually catches on to new concepts really quickly. Our school routine is another thing I'm planning to blog about soon!

I'm really enjoying my time with Alaina while the other kids are at school two days a week. She's such a funny little thing. She says the most hilarious and adorable things. I love this stage.

I also want to post some pictures of our house on the blog. We've gotten pretty settled in. There is still a LOT that I want to do, but I'm pacing myself :) I thought it would be fun to post some pictures room by room and include my "wish list" for each room. We really love our house, and it definitely feels like home, so I'm enjoying it just the way it is for now. But it's always fun to dream and plan for the future.

I think that's it for now. Hopefully I'll be back with some more posts before another 2 weeks or a month passes ;)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Getting Ready for School!

The past couple of weeks have been a little busy! Aubrey and Jude start their two day a week school program on Monday, and my to-do list to get them ready for school has felt a mile long. There were lunch boxes and water bottles and school supplies and ballet outfits and tap shoes and violins and school shoes to buy. Oh my! I've gotten most of that crossed off the list, but there are still some last minute things to get this weekend. Aubrey has to make an "about me" poster for the first day of school to present in class. She loves being artistic and making things, so I'm going to let her decide what she wants to do. I might offer a suggestion or two ;) But I know she'll have her own ideas. I had a full day of shopping for all of these items planned for yesterday, and then Aubrey woke up in the night with a stomach bug. Ughhh. Thankfully, she was fine by that morning, but it forced us to have a laid back day at home. Not necessarily a bad thing. But my to-do list was screaming at me in my head.

We have back to school night tonight, and I'm excited for the kids to meet their teachers - especially Jude, since this will be his first year at school. I've been a little worried about how he's going to do. It's just always hard to send your baby out into the "world" for the first time when he's been with you everyday of his life. But today when we were fitting him for his tap shoes and measuring him for his violin, he was so sweet and cooperative. It gave me a little bit of confidence that he's ready. The time is right, and I'm praying that Aubrey and Jude will both have a great year! Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to a little bit of one-on-one time with Alaina. Last year when Aubrey was at school, I really enjoyed my time with just Jude and Alaina, so I know this time with Alaina will be sweet. Because, let's face it, the thought of running errands and getting stuff done with just one child seems like a walk in the park! Ha! I know last year, just having two kids made it SO much easier to get in and out of stores.

We've started our school routine at home, too. Nothing too hardcore yet. Their school gave us some assignments to get done before school starts, and we've had fun working on them. I know that homeschooling isn't always going to be a piece of cake. I actually expect it to be pretty hard and challenging at times. But I'm SO thankful to have this time with my children. Our school situation feels so perfect for us right now. Our kids get to do so many wonderful things through their school and they get the opportunity to make some sweet friends, plus I get some guidance and accountability in the work that we do at home. But I feel like the days that I get to spend at home surrounded by my babies are such a gift. I'm so glad that they'll be with me more than they'll be away from me. There are definitely times when the thought of sending them all to school and having 4 or 5 days a week to myself is VERY appealing, but even in the midst of that, I have such peace that this is the right fit for our family right now. We'll see if I still feel that way in January..... hahaha!

So, we've been busy with life, and that's why the blog has once again been neglected. Things should calm down and return to normal next week, so I'll hopefully be able to post more regularly then :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Weekly Highlights

Last week started out really rough with Jude's sickness. I was super worried about him, and I also just felt really isolated in my house for most of the week. I feel like I didn't get out or see anyone all week, and it just wasn't a good combination. Thankfully, by the end of the week, Jude was MUCH better and we had a good weekend!

Aubrey, Alaina, and I went to church and Sunday school on Sunday, and David and Jude went to the doctor. When we got home from church, Jude was asleep on the couch.
I cooked spaghetti for lunch, and we ate. We took naps that afternoon. David and the girls went to church that night, and Jude and I stayed home. He pretty much just laid on the couch with his head in my lap. He didn't want to watch a movie or anything :( When David and the girls got home, we ate dinner and then put everyone to bed. It was a long night with not a lot of sleep.

I took Jude back to the doctor Monday morning, and David stayed home with Aubrey and Alaina. Jude and I were gone for a couple of hours, and they did lots of tests at the doctor. Everything looked pretty normal, so they said he likely had a virus. We came home, and David went to work. The rest of the day was long. Jude was whiny and fussy all day. He took a nap in his room during rest time, but he wasn't any better when he woke up. Megan stopped by to pick up her freezer meals that I had cooked over the weekend. I had dinner going in the crockpot, and I put some potatoes in the oven. I then took the kids to church where David was teaching karate. David drove the kids home, and I went to a consignment preview sale. I took my time looking and found some cute things for the kids. It was nice to be out of the house. When I got home, everyone had eaten dinner, but Jude was still whining and I got stressed out again. I ate my dinner, and David took the kids for a walk for a change of scenery. I stayed home and enjoyed the quiet. We put everyone to bed when they got home. Sadly, we had another bad night.

When we got up on Tuesday, we called the doctor and told them that Jude wasn't any better. They said to watch him that morning and to bring him in for an x-ray that afternoon if he didn't improve. Well, wouldn't you know, he acted a lot more normal that morning! He still said his tummy hurt, but he wasn't crying and whining non-stop. I was pretty encouraged. We actually even did some school work to distract him.
He LOVED cutting stuff out.
I was able to get a few things done around the house, too. We ate lunch and then I put the kids down for rest time. Jude fell asleep again, and he woke up crying and screaming that his stomach hurt :( After such a good morning, I was SO discouraged. I went to his room and laid with him and we both ended up falling asleep. He was still unhappy when he woke up. David came home for a little while that afternoon. He had a meeting at church that night, so he had about an hour and a half at home before he needed to leave. I let him take over kid duty, and I went to Book A Million. I just browsed for a long time and bought my book club book. I then went to Whole Foods and got myself some dinner. When I got home, Jude was playing but still complaining about his stomach. David left for his meeting, and the kids and I loaded up in the car and drove through Chick Fil A to get dinner for them. Jude cried the whole time we were in the car. When we got home, we took their dinner outside to the deck to eat. Jude didn't eat much and complained about his tummy constantly. We came inside and I bathed the kids. Jude's complaining just escalated until he was literally wailing about his stomach. I was stressed to the max. I did manage to get everyone to bed, and David got home shorty after that. I told him that we definitely needed to take Jude for an x-ray the next day, and he agreed. But then our night was better than it had been in days. Jude still woke up several times, but he calmed down much more quickly and went back to sleep more easily.

When Jude woke up on Wednesday, he acted totally normal. He was playing, eating (a ton!), laughing, and not mentioning his stomach at all. David and I agreed that I'd watch him that morning and if he started complaining about his stomach at ALL, we'd call and get him an appointment. But he didn't! It was the strangest thing. After such an AWFUL evening the night before, it was like a switched was flipped and suddenly I had my happy child back. I was super thankful but almost afraid to fully exhale. We just hung out at home again.
This little girl is my shadow. How dare I walk up the stairs without her??
We did more cutting that morning. I put the kids down for rest time. I was nervous because that was when Jude went downhill the day before. But I could hear him in his room playing instead of napping! (This is what he normally does. He had only been napping since he had gotten sick. I was SO excited to hear him banging stuff around and playing up there.) My mom came over during rest time because she was over on this side of town. It was nice to see another adult :) I let Aubrey and Jude come downstairs early to play with her, and my mom agreed that Jude seemed totally fine. Megan came by and dropped off my freezer meals that she had cooked. My mom left to go to church early, and David came home. Things continued to go well with Jude. This was our first Wednesday night back at church after the summer break, and Aubrey, Alaina, and I went while the boys stayed home. We ate dinner, and then I taught the 4 and 5 year olds (This is Aubrey and Jude's class. I've never taught my own kids at church.) My friend Anna and I are teaching together. After church, I brought the girls home, and David said Jude was still good. My mom came and picked me up, and we went to Whole Foods for coffee for a friend's birthday. We had fun! I got home late, and we went to bed. For the first time since Friday night, we actually SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT!!

Things were still good on Thursday, so I knew we NEEDED to get out of the house. We got ready and went to Wal-Mart to get some school supplies. Taking the kids school supply shopping with me was kind of a mistake. They wanted everything and Alaina was screaming and I couldn't focus at all. I threw a few things in the buggy and decided that I would go back without them to finish out the list ;) After Wal-Mart, we ate lunch at McAlister's. It was pretty packed which always makes it tricky to navigate with all of the kids by myself. But I was still so happy to be out and about! When we got home, I put the kids down for their rest.
I was even able to do my nails during rest time. Things were definitely looking up!
David came home that afternoon, and then we went to dinner with his family that night. His sister who lives in California was in town, and it was so nice to see her! We ate at Corner Bakery and had a nice time. It STORMED while we were there, so I got some coffee and we waited it out. Again, I was just so happy for a change of scenery, so no complaints from me!

There was another consignment sale that I wanted to go to on Friday, so my mom came over to keep the kids. Meanwhile, David and my brothers were at our old house getting the "last few things" out of there since we are renting it. I found some good stuff at the sale. Then I got in line. And stood there for over an hour. Oh my goodness, it was SO SLOW. When I finally got out of there and got home, my house was full! Of people and STUFF. My mom, dad, two brothers, and David were all there. And the kids, of course. And our house was a WRECK.
Thankfully, David had gotten pizza, though, so that softened the blow of the messy house a bit ;) Everyone left (David went to work for a while), and I got the kids down for rest. I then got to work trying to get the house put back together. David came home and we got a lot done. We moved furniture and hung some stuff on the walls. We got the kids up and went to dinner at Jaco's Tacos. We then went to Home Depot and got blinds for Jude's room. We hung one set in Jude's room when we got home and put the kids to bed late.

Saturday started out rough. The kids were just having a BAD day. One was throwing temper tantrum after temper tantrum and the others were just wild and not listening. David and I were about ready to run out of the house screaming by mid morning ;) We were also trying to get a lot done around the house because we were having his family over that night. We did manage to get a lot done! While the kids napped, I went to the grocery store. We cooked hamburgers that night, and David's parents, sister from Texas, and his mom's cousin came over. My mother-in-law's birthday was the next day, so we had a little celebration. It was fun!!
After they left, we got the kids bathed and to bed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sick Days

It's been a LONG week around here (and it's only Thursday!!). On Saturday afternoon, Jude started complaining about his stomach hurting. David and I didn't think too much about it, and we went on with our night as usual. (I should add here that Jude can be a VERY dramatic child and at this point in his life, his pain tolerance isn't super high. We never know when he says something is hurting if we should worry or just take it with a grain of salt.) As the night progressed, the situation just escalated, though. Jude was crying and talking about his stomach hurting pretty constantly, so we knew that something really was up. He had an awful night. None of us got a lot of sleep. We knew that we'd be taking a trip to the doctor on Sunday.

On Sunday, I took the girls to church like usual, and David got an appointment for Jude. Before they left home, Jude threw up. I was actually relieved when David texted me to tell me because I assumed that he just had a regular stomach bug. (This is probably the first and ONLY time you'll ever hear me say that a stomach bug was a relief.) They saw the on call doctor at the after hours clinic, and she ran a bunch of tests. She did a strep, blood, and urine test and everything looked normal. She thought maybe he was constipated (sorry for the TMI) and told us to give him Milk of Magnesia. As the day progressed, he still wasn't feeling well at all. He actually took a long nap that afternoon, and we were hoping that he would feel better when he woke up.
Sadly, he didn't feel better when he got up. We also began to think that he wasn't constipated after all. (Ahem.) He never got sick again, though. He had another bad night. Up most of the night crying. We even contemplated taking him to the ER at one point, but then he fell asleep for the rest of the night. I knew that we would be going back to the doctor as soon as the sun came up.

I took Jude to the doctor this time, and we saw our regular pediatrician. She repeated all of the same tests from the day before, and everything was normal again. She did say that his blood work looked more "viral" than it did the day before. She also pushed and mashed on his stomach a lot and didn't feel anything to alarm her. Based on the location of his pain, she was able to rule out appendix. She said her gut instinct was that it was a virus and then his blood work supported that. She said that he probably was just having a lot of cramping but that it would have to just run its course. We could give him Mortin for pain.

I left feeling a lot better about the situation. But as soon as we got home, and he started screaming in pain, I got nervous again and my mind went to dark places and terrible possibilities. I thought that it was probably a pretty harmless virus but not knowing for sure was so insanely frustrating for me. This went on for several days. By Wednesday, David and I had decided that if Jude was still in pain, we were going to take him in to have his stomach x-rayed. But, miracle of miracles, on Wednesday he acted perfectly normal all day! He played, he rolled around on the floor with Aubrey, he jumped and laughed and actually seemed happy. A few times, he mentioned his stomach hurting, but it was always with a grin on his face while he asked for "medicine." For the first time all week, when I went to get him up from his rest time, he had actually played instead of napped. I knew the real test would be that night, though. And.... he slept through the night! I was SO so thankful. It seems that maybe it was a virus after all and it's hopefully passed as quickly as it came on.

Anyway, all that to say, this whole sickness just took such a mental toll on me. I was just so worried about him all week, and I felt drained. It's just scary to not know exactly what's going on with your child. As is usually the case when we experience sick spells, it really reminded me to not take good health for granted. It's definitely no small thing to have healthy children, and it's good to be reminded of what a blessing that is.

I haven't blogged this week because I just haven't had the mental capacity to sit down and do it. So, last week may never be recorded on the ole blog ;) I am going to do my Whole30 post at some point because it was my last full week, so it needs to be documented.

I'm just so thankful that Jude seems to be on the mend. I don't think I'll really draw a full breath until we're farther away from the sickness, but I'm just so glad to see improvement. The last few days are not ones that I would want to repeat!