Friday, August 30, 2013

Oak Island

Last month (I know, I'm a little late...) we went on a beach vacation with Eric's side of the family to Oak Island. This was the first time we have been to Oak Island, and it is also the first time we have got to take a trip with all of Eric's family. We all had a super fun time, and the kids really enjoyed spending time with their extended family. Like I had mentioned in a previous post, my camera is broken, so I didn't get many great pictures with my phone (my only "camera" I have when mine is out of commission). Here are a few moments I did capture while we were there:

Jackson, Ansley and Elsie loved playing in the sand and the ocean. Vada Belle, on the other hand, would scream if the water would barely touch her. We would sit our stuff up far enough away from the ocean that the waves wouldn't get near it, but when the tide would come in and a drop of water would touch her, she would scream. She made it clear she wanted nothing to do with the ocean! Jackson loved trying to boogie board, Ansley and her obsession of all things creepy and crawly spent a lot of her time digging and finding mole crabs (aka sand fleas), and Elsie would sit and play in the sand and shallow part of the water all day long!

We went out one night to try to get some family shots, but my camera only took one group picture before it messed up again. Thankfully I brought my phone and was able to snap a few of these sweet moments. 

A few pictures of Ansley and Vada Belle snuggling, Elsie and Vada asleep on the beach in the stroller, Vada Belle's sandy toes, and Kodia and Elsie eating ice cream! Uncle Gerald took us all out for ice cream a couple of nights, which was a very special treat for the kids (and adults, too!). In the picture that looks like it is just a picture of the ocean, it is actually a picture of an alligator that was swimming in the ocean. We were out swimming and playing with the kids, and when we came back out of the water, a man came up and told us that we might not want to go back out because there was an alligator swimming around, right near where we were. We looked out and saw it swimming back and forth in this little area of the ocean. That's when I decided we had had enough of playing in the ocean for that day. :)

One night we went crab catching with Travis, Kodia, Uncle Gerald and Aunt Sharon, which the kids LOVED! They weren't scared of them at all, and I think all 3 of the big kids even managed to catch one by themselves. We also caught some more sand fleas and a couple of little tiny fish that they wanted to put into a water bottle and show it to Gramma, Grandpa and Uncle Marshall when we got back to the place we were staying. When we left the beach to come home, somehow someone (Ansley Kate) sneaked that water bottle into the van, where those saltwater fish got to see some mountains in TN. 

A few pictures before we left to go home:

The difference between the drive down (full of excitement, singing & dancing), and the way home (some super sleepy little girls). Jackson can not go to sleep in cars because he just might miss something exciting- or at least that is what he thinks! 

Oh how I love getting away with these people:

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Nala Mae is 9!

Today we celebrated a birthday in our family. The birthday of someone that is usually in the background of so many of our pictures, the one that doesn't get jealous if we don't pay as much attention to her on any given day, and the one that was mine and Eric's first "baby", our sweet Nala Mae.
So, today isn't technically Nala's "birthday," but, it is the day we celebrate her birthday. Why?... because on August 11th of 2004 is the day that I brought that sweet little puppy that was in a cardboard box, home to be a part of our family. A couple of years ago I wrote about how Nala became part of our family, and since then we have added another little girl to our family (Vada Belle), and Nala has to tolerate even more love and hugs (which might seem more like torture at times) from all 4 of our kids. Maybe that has something to do why she has even more grey hairs on her face. Nala is our wonderful protector of our kids, loves to just be with us when we are outside, be right by our side if we are going to get the mail, walking to the kids off from the bus stop, or just playing in the backyard. She still tries to run and follow us up when we drive up to my mom and dad's, but she just isn't nearly as fast as she use to be. We wait on her to make it to the top of the hill once we get out of the van, and it seems like every time we go, it takes longer and longer for her to get there. :(
So today the kids wanted to get Nala something for her birthday, and they decided they wanted to get her a new bed to keep on the porch. She has one in the garage that she lays on a lot, but they wanted her to have one on the porch so she would "be comfy there, too!" They were excited to give Nala Mae her dog bed tonight, and she seemed pretty excited, too.
Happy 9 years, Nala Mae! We couldn't ask for a better dog for our family.

Ansley's first bus ride!

Ansley has been wanting to ride the bus since her first day of kindergarten, so we decided that on Friday she could ride it home from school. I wasn't nearly as nervous about her riding it the first time like I was Jackson, because I knew that she would have big brother there watching out for her.  When the bus came to their bus stop on Friday, I snapped a few pictures of them getting off (I know- it isn't necessary for me to document every second of their lives with pictures- ha!), but I'm glad I did. I got this super sweet sequence of pictures of just how precious my kids are. Jackson gets off first, turns around and waits for Ansley to get off, and then they grabbed each others hands while walking up the road. Ansley had huge tears in her eyes, and Jackson is saying how bad she missed me. I started crying and held my baby girl, (which was more focused on using the bathroom because her bladder was so full!). Elsie, Vada Belle and Mamaw Di were also at the bus stop with me, and once Ansley used the bathroom and got a snack from Mamaw, she was laughing and telling us about her day. She did say she cried three times throughout the day, but other than that she had a great day. Ansley has always, always been a mommy's girl, and this is the first time she has been away from me other than just a couple of hours here and there. I know she is going to get over this (missing me throughout the day) very soon, but I told her that I too was sad several times through the day because I missed her and Jackson so bad. I remember in those three short years that I taught, and through my student teaching, I would see students cry here and there because they missed their mom, but I never really got it until recently since my kids have been in school. When I (hopefully) go back into teaching, if I see a kinder crying, I hope I take a quick second to just give them a hug and remember that this growing up business can be tough! I hope someone took a second to give my baby a hug on Friday.....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Ansley Kate Is Off To Kindergarten!

Let's see if I can write this through all these tears.... ;)

This morning after attempting to wake Jackson up, I also had to go and wake up my little girl (that LOVES to sleep late), because for the first time this morning, she was heading off to school, too. Kindergarten. Ansley Kate is in kindergarten!

Last night before bed she picked out what she wanted to wear today, and she laid it all out. She even had to accessorize and lay out her shoes, hair bow, necklace and earrings that she wanted to wear. We then read "Look Out Kindergarten, Here I Come!" and "The Kissing Hand", and she asked if I would lay with her a minute. I climbed into her bunk bed with her and she says, "Mommy, I'm going to miss you the most tomorrow." I'd be lying if I said I didn't shed a few tears, but I told her that I was going to miss her, too, but I was so excited for her and reminded her how proud of her daddy and I are. We talked about how exciting it is going to be meeting new friends, her teachers, and learning all kinds of fun stuff. When I woke her up she sat up, crawled to the end of her top bunk and put her little arms around my neck. I got her out of her bed and while she was still in my arms, she whispered, "Mommy, don't forget my "Kissing Hands" today." I laughed and told her of course I wouldn't forget, and then told her to put on her clothes while I went to try to get big brother out of bed (again).

We then went outside to take a few pictures:

and then Mamaw Ollie and Bella pulled in. They said they would stay with Vada Belle and Elsie while we went and dropped Jackson and Ansley off at school. When Ansley first woke up, she seemed a little nervous, but by the time we left she didn't at all. When we pulled into the school, she was nothing but smiles and SO excited. We get across the parking lot and realized that she forgot her backpack (thankfully only in the car), so dad went to get that for her while we snapped a quick picture in front of the school.

We went into the gym and dropped Jackson off in his class line, and he was also very excited that his little sister was at "his" school. All the way to school it seemed like we were having a question/answer session in the back seat about school, and when we pulled into the parking lot we hear from the back in a very exciting voice, "Oh Ansley! Are you ready!" We then took Ansley to her class line. The bell rang and I told her that meant it was time to go to class. I thought maybe this would be when she would get tears in her eyes, hold my hand a little tighter, but no. She gave me a kiss and a hug and was on her way (with the bottom of her little skirt tucked into her Cinderella backpack- oops!). I watched her walk out of the gym with her long curls bouncing, and I couldn't fight back the tears. For (almost) five years now, I have been her teacher, her playmate, her nurse, and so many other roles, but from now on I have to share those roles with other people. If she falls and scrapes her knees, or if someone hurts her feelings, I won't be the first one she runs to for a hug and for comfort (but hopefully she'll still tell me all about it once she gets off the bus). So long are her days of sleeping however late she wants (and with Ansley, she loves to sleep late), spending her days care free with no assignments due and no clock to watch to make sure you are going to be on time. With the blink of an eye she turned from an infant to a kindergartner, and we couldn't be more proud of the awesome, smart, kind and loving kinder that she is. 
This afternoon when Elsie, Vada Belle, Bella and I went and picked her and Jackson up from school, I asked how her first day went, her exact response: "It was AWESOME!" Yeah! We then all went to get a special treat, some ice cream! She told me tonight at dinner that one time today she started missing me, "but then I put my hand on my cheek and I could feel love from ya." So sweet. Tonight when her head hit her pillow, it didn't take but a minute or so before she was out. 

So world, this is the first step in letting my green eyed, curly long hair, tender-hearted princess, go. Take care of her, and please treat her well, matter what...she is always going to be my little girl. 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

First Day of 1st Grade!

Does it seem like its been a year since I wrote about this little, now big, boy going to kindergarten?! Today he started his first day as a first grader. 

He has been back and forth on as to whether he was ready for to school to begin, but last night when he went to bed and asked if I would lay with him for a minute, I could tell that he was nervous about today.  This morning while he was getting dressed, he admitted just that. I reminded him how he was super nervous about kindergarten, and it was just fine, and that I was certain first grade would be the same way. Plus, he gets to take his awesome Mario backpack that he has been so excited about, and show it to his friends. :) 
We then took a picture of him with mom and dad, drew our "Kissing Hands," and off to school we went.

Once we got to the school and went to the gym to find his class line, I could feel his hand grip mine just a little tighter. Jackson's best little buddy, Caleb, is in his class this year (wahoo!), but when he came in and didn't see Caleb in his line he started to get upset. I told him that we were just early and that Caleb would be there soon, and we started talking about all the people in his class that he knew from last year (there are 3 different classes per grade at his school).  It wasn't long before Caleb walked through the door, and the tears I could see building up in Jackson's eyes and the look of worry on his face instantly disappeared as Caleb ran towards him. He jumped up when it was time to leave, gave me a kiss, and seemed so excited to head off to 1st grade. He only had to go a half day today, which was long enough for me and the girls, and the girls were ready to see their brother get off of the bus (Vada was so excited that she decided just to nap instead of going to the bus). 
After we ate lunch the kids wanted to go play out in the little pool and on the slip and slide daddy set up for them. I say that is an awesome way to finish your first day of first grade! 

Now, I've got to go get myself prepared for sending one of my baby girls off for her first day of kindergarten tomorrow.... lets the tears begin! :)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

July 2013

Independence day celebrations, birthday fun, Tweetsie trips, rainy days at home, a trip to Oak Island with family (which one day soon I'll post about), playdates with friends, the kids had a camping weekend with Mamaw & Papaw with their cousins, & visiting other churches Bible Schools, all made for a fun and busy July.  Now it's time for school to start back (which I am NOT ready for), and I'm wishing that time could slow down just a little. Here are a few more pics from our busy month:

Tweetsie fun, and even though we don't watch Spongebob at this house (I just can't handle some cartoons- ha!), the kids enjoyed watching him at Tweetise, and they even got to join a dance party on stage with them.

We had a horrible hail storm, and these first two pictures are the day after the storm, at around noon! Doesn't look much like July, huh?
For some reason my kids often prefer to sleep on the floor rather than their beds, and Ansley and Elsie sneak into their make-up pretty often these days.

Elsie had a pretty rough month, as you can see! As we were leaving Tweetsie she fell on the pavement and busted her forehead, and then one night at Bible School she was coming down the big slide (one of those air walk type slides) and got this horrible burn on her arm! She never complained of her head once (she scraped her knee at the same time, and since that is what she could see, that's all she was crying about. Once first-aid at Tweetsie put a Hello Kitty band-aid on it, she was all better!), but that arm hurt her for days! After 4 days of it hurting and not getting any better, we took her to the doctor where they gave a great prescription cream to rub on it, which healed it up in no time. She was also at the same time running a high fever and felt horrible, but thankfully that only lasted for about 3 days.
 By the end of the month she was feeling 100% better! Here she is at her 3 year well check up appointment (which was actually on August 1st), where she weighed 29.8 lbs., was 36 inches, and overall checked out wonderfully.
 This picture is from one night while trying to fix dinner she kept repeatedly yelling for me. I walked in the dining room to see what she needed and she says, "Mom, you know why I'm laying like this? Because I am STARVING." What a mess!

Also this month we were excited as Eric was able to fill in and preach at our church one Sunday.  We know that God is calling him somewhere in the ministry, we are just not sure where, yet. Please help us be in prayer that God will show us the best place to serve Him at this time. Thanks, friends!