Bad Mom Day

Today was not a day that I am proud of.

I have these days, oh, about once a month, and I simply can NOT say anything nice.  To anyone!  I have no patience with my kids.  I sound like Debbie downer when my friends casually ask how I am doing.  They expect the normal “fine, thanks,” not “well let me tell you…”

It’s Friday night, and I am in my pjs, in bed, with all 4 maniacs in bed…at 7:59!

That’s right, 7:59!

That just doesn’t happen in this house, but it was an absolute necessity today, or you were going to get to see my picture on the news…and not in a good way!  If I had the energy, I would make these.  The good thing is that I made it to the Cookie Company today, and inhaled a doozie already, so I can pass on the PMS Brownies…until tomorrow.

Annnywaaay,

Tomorrow is Baylor Homecoming and the Rose Festival.  We are not going to make it to homecoming this year (BOOHOO!!!), but hopefully we will get to “see the princesses.”

And I can say with confidence that tomorrow will be a better day.

Since my precious little wild ones are tucked away in their beds, sleeping soundly, I feel that it would be good for my heart to see some pictures of them having fun.  They can’t talk back or disobey in pictures.  Right?  See below.

First, my little athlete loves playing football, and I love watching him.  It’s flag football, which is just perfect with me.  He rocks at it, and makes this mama proud!

And this picture is from another game, but I had to include it.  My big bug left everyone in the dust for the TOUCHDOWN!

Also, last week, Brad and I took the girls to see the princess dresses at the Rose Museum, and they loved it!  They kept begging to be one of the princesses one day, but we just laughed and squashed their dreams and told them that it was NEVER going to happen.  That’s one of those “nevers” that I feel pretty confident saying.  Poor girls.

Seriously, he is the world’s best daddy!

Okay, so I sat on the ground and politely asked these 3 to stand with the pretty princess so I could take their picture.  What was that about not disobeying in pictures?  So here are a few attempts…

That is my child petting the dress, right above the sign that clearly states “Do NOT Touch!”

Seriously!

Georgia finally stood up, and the tongue came out!

I give up!  Just go run!

I do love these sweet maniacs!  They make me crazy on days like today, but I know for certain that I, too, make them crazy.

I am so far from the perfect mom and so VERY far from anything that can be called “together” and so far from the woman I want to be.  And it’s days like today that I am crying out to the Lord as I hastily spread peanut butter and jelly on a sandwich at 7:35 am, after giving my third spankin’ of the morning, that I am thankful that He forgives me!  Before I even had a chance to get coffee, I was fussing to God about my children being so disobedient and hard headed.  I was telling God that I give them everything that they need and almost everything that they want.  I love them and do everything in the world for them.  I give them my all, and they just give me crap!  They don’t appreciate me and they don’t listen and they don’t respect me at all as their mother.

It was then that I started tearing up, because I realized I was talking about MYSELF!  I am that person to MY Father!

I am just as hard headed and just as disobedient and just as ungrateful and unappreciative.  It’s not intentional.  It’s busyness and worry and no time for the Lord and too much time on facebook and too much time texting and too much time doing all kinds of “stuff” that doesn’t matter!

It’s me not taking time to smell the roses and thank God for all the glorious colors and smells and sites.

It’s me being too quick to fuss at my kids for getting every single pair of my shoes out, to notice how cute they are wearing my shoes.

It’s me getting so flipping frustrated that I cook every meal with an arts and crafts festival at my feet, as I dodge glue, and markers and try not to slide on papers, instead of sitting down to draw with them or appreciate their artwork.

I have now started to ramble and confess all my sins to the www.

My point is this…I needed to see pictures of my little darlings tonight, and reflect on my own sinful nature and just be thankful that I have a God that loves me, regardless of all my junk!  He loves me even when I have a bad attitude.  He wants my time and my energy, and I know He will give ME the energy to deal with all those little maniacs that make me looney!

It’s days like today that I forget to count my blessings.  It’s not that I don’t know I should.  It’s that I am so self consumed with my bad attitude that I forget to thank God for these wonderful gifts!

Lord, thank you for keeping me humble.  Thank you for blessing my life more than I could ever ask or imagine with these little live wires!  Thank you that they all have big personalities and strong wills.  I truly am thankful for that…but it sometimes makes me crazy!  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise them, and please help me to show each one of them how much I love them in the way they need to be shown. 

Lord, on days like today, please remind me to hug them even tighter, to step back and breathe, and to remember what matters most to them and to you.  Thank you for blessing our whole family with a man after your own heart.  Thank you for his love and his kindness, and that he can come in and calm us all down.  Thank you for forgiving my ugliness.  My selfish, covetous, lazy, time-wasting ugliness!  Please daily convict me, very strongly, to be in your word and in your presence.  Help me to make wise choices as I lead these little ones, and I pray that they will not remember days like today or the many ways that I am screwing them up! 

Lord, please allow us all to wake up refreshed and happy and ready to have a fun weekend.

amen

-kate

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My Plea for Prayers

I have 4 babies, and 3 of them are girls.  Since the moment I saw the positive pregnancy tests, I prayed that any girls I birthed would be blessed with precious friends that would love them, encourage them, be kind to them, hold them accountable, and lead them closer to the Lord.  Especially for girls, my prayer was that they would be blessed with friends…as I have been blessed.

I can say with certainty that I have been blessed beyond measure with lifelong, amazing friends.

Well this weekend, two of these precious friends were in a horrible car accident.

I know so many of you can relate to this, but my college friends are irreplaceable.  Yes, I have made friends since college.  Amazing, wonderful, dear friends!  But there’s just something about the women that you spend 4 years of your life with, that bond you forever as lifelong best friends!

Of course we don’t see each other as often as we should.  We have a million children between the few of us.  But all it takes is a second and we jump right back into feeling like we’ve never been apart.

We get each other.

We know each other.  We know each others’ home towns.

We know each others’ maiden names…and not just because it’s on Facebook.

We know each others’ struggles and quirks.

We know things…because we were together 24 hours a day…for years.

We know who fills coffee mugs full of ketchup and mustard for a snack and who has night terrors that wake the whole house up and who must clean her ears out every single day and who pops backs and who pops pimples and who is messy and who slept on a tiny corners of their beds because the rest of their beds were covered with clothes and books.  We know who showers every day and who should shower every day and who has a little gas and who claims she has NEVER!  We know who is responsible and who should never be allowed to pay the bills, and who would fall hard and fast for boys and who was skeptical and picky.  We know who can cook and who can eat and who works out, who makes messes and who cleans them up.  When we are hurting, we know who will cry with us, who will make us laugh, and who will punch the fire out of the offender!

We know each others’ family drama, skeletons in the closets, and Jerry Springer issues.

We helped each other through regrets and projects and deadlines.

We owned a cat together…and a goat.

We know what makes each other sad and how to cheer each other up.  We watched each other make wise choices and sometimes we laughed at each others’ walks of shame.

We watched crushes turn into relationships and sometimes we held each other as relationships dissolved.  We did more “drive bys” for each other than I can count.

We talked through a lot of “what ifs” and “what might have beens” over Taco C, big gulps, gut packs, and cafeteria take-out.

We cried on each others’ shoulders when we fell or failed.  We celebrated each others’ successes and accomplishments.

We baked cookies and muffins and rice krispie treats and shared so many bowls of batter that we should all weigh 400 pounds.

We learned how to pray together and learned the value of prayer together.

We grew from little girls into women together.

We have seen most everyone meet their mate, have giddy first dates and first kisses, and fall in love.  We helped plan engagements and plan weddings and celebrate wedding days together.

We have birthed babies that know and love each other (although not living in Dallas, my babies don’t get to see them as often as I would like.)

We love each other…the good, the bad, and the ugly…and we have certainly seen it all.

The photo below shows Ashley, Kristin, me, Kimberly, and Samantha.

…and this weekend something horrible happened.

Two of my precious friends were in a horrible accident.  Ashley and Kristin live in Dallas, but they were outside of Washington DC for Ashley’s little brother’s wedding.  Friday, Ashley was driving she and 5 other people, including Kristin, Ashley’s mom, and a few of her aunts, when a woman traveling the opposite direction veered into Ashley’s lane, causing a horrendous crash.  All 6 people in Ashley’s car were taken to the hospital.  Sadly, one of Ashley’s aunts did not survive the accident.  Kristin was the only one fortunate enough to walk away, but not without bruises and injuries and the mental horror of the accident.

Sweet Ashley is in very critical condition.  She was 8 months pregnant, and she has lost her little baby.  Travis, her husband, and Ashley’s daddy got to hold baby Charlie, but Ashley has been in a medically induced coma since the accident.  We were told that although Ashley lost her baby, the baby probably saved her life.  Ashley has had surgery to repair different parts of her broken and crushed body, but she has many more surgeries to come.  Her left side was basically crushed…her femur, hip, elbow, and shoulder will all have multiple surgeries.

She will one day have to face the reality that her life will never be the same.  She will awake to the very harsh realization that she is in a hospital, hundreds of miles from anything familiar; that her two children (Jack Henry and Finley) are in Dallas with friends and family, that she missed her only brother’s wedding and her aunt’s funeral, that her body is bound and broken, and that her tiny angel, Charlie, saved her life, was born, and has gone to be with the Lord.

She has a long, hard recovery ahead of her.  Hard mentally, physically, emotionally.

But Ashley is a fighter!

The Lord graciously spared her life, and though she is currently in critical condition, I have faith and confidence that He will restore her tiny body completely!  She is determined and I know she will push through for her babies and for her husband and for her whole family.  She is a marathon runner, a go-getter, and one of those people that just seems to be able to do it all.  She will pull through!  But it’s not going to be easy.

At this point, I am begging for prayers for my friend, for her family, for the bride and groom (Ashley’s brother), for the woman that hit them, for the doctors caring for her body, for the friends and family caring for her babies, and for her husband, Travis, to have strength through all of this!

Please join me in lifting this family up today and in the days, weeks, and months to come.  As I type this, Ashley is in yet another surgery, so I am just going to type my plea and my prayer to the Lord.

Lord, as I look at the picture of my precious friend and my baby girl loving on each other, i thank you so much for ashley!  thank you that she gets me.  thank you that we understand each others’ struggles and insecurities.  thank you that you chose to spare her life friday, and i am begging that you will quickly heal her body.  Lord, i know that she is mangled and crushed and that her legs and arms may never be like they were on thursday, but please help the doctors to be able to restore her bones and muscles and skin and all the many parts of her body that they are working on, to be whole again.  to work properly again.  to function without constant pain or a constant reminder of friday’s accident.

please, Lord, help the doctors and nurses to always have her best interest at heart and know that she is a mama and a wife and a young woman that wants to resume “normal” life again.  i pray that they will know exactly what to work on, when, and what parts of her body need the most immediate attention right now.  help her heart rate to come down a little more.  please keep her body free from infection or any illness.  please continue to heal her kidney and her abdomen.

Lord, of course physically, i want you to make her “Ashley” again.  i pray that she will run again.  i pray that you will give her the ability and strength and determination to strap on her running shoes and train again.  i pray that she blows doctors and statistics away with her recovery, her physical recovery.

Lord, i can’t imagine how hard this recovery is going to be for her mentally.  it is going to try her and stretch her and strain her mind…but please, Lord, PLEASE give her the peace that comes only from you.  please give her constant reassurance and knowledge of your love and your presence and your hand.  help ashley see YOU in every part of this, and i know that is going to be hard sometimes. 

please give her sweet husband strength.  he is going to need enough for both of them.  help him to understand her cries and her pain and her struggles.  help him to hold her and love her through it all.  give him a sensitive heart to the anguish that she will endure over the next year.  Lord, i pray that this accident will bring out the strengths of their marriage.  that they would see, because of this, why they love each other so much.  please help travis as he plays mama and daddy and care-taker and house-keeper and all the many hats he will wear.  help him to not tire, and when he does, please provide the people he needs to assist him, rejuvenate him, and keep him strong.

thank you, Lord, for all the friends you have placed in ashley’s life.  thank you for all the people that love her and care about her.  thank you for all the people lifting her up in your name, around the country.

thank you for her 2 precious babies.  please protect them as ash and trav are away.  please give them peace and help them to have “fun” and protect them from knowing all the details of what is actually happening.  Lord, let them welcome their mother home with open arms as quickly as possible.  please help them to maintain a sense of normalcy and help the people caring for them to try to do things as much like ash and trav would as possible.  comfort them as they are without their parents.

thank you for sending sweet charlie to save ashley’s life.  thank YOU for saving her life.  thank you for providing so many to help her get through this.  thank you that she knows YOU as her Lord and Savior!  Thank you that she knows you have a plan for her.  may she never forget that you DO have a plan for her. 

help her to feel all this love from all over the world that is directed at she and travis. 

for now, help her to rest peacefully and to heal.

thank you, Lord, for my sweet friend!

amen.

-kate

20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”  -Eph 3:20-21

LK’s Candy Land Birthday Party

Over a month ago, I had a birthday party for my big girl…and I am finally posting some pics.

My girl loves Candy Land…just like her mama.  She wanted a Candy Land swimming birthday party last year, and her party was SOOOO late that we went with a Princess Party at the Rose Parade, and postponed the Candy Land party until her seventh birthday.  And now, my baby girl is SEVEN!!!

Brad’s parents graciously allowed us to use their pool and their beautiful yard for the party, and it was perfect!

The decorations were super cheap and simple, but that’s the best kind.  Brad’s mom, Kay, helped a lot with them.

Party favors were easy.  Kids got to fill their own bag of candy.

The cake was simple and fun.  It was just white buttercream with fondant and candy accents.  My baby girl LOVED it!  She just giggled and giggled when I showed it to her.

I wanted to make a Candy Land board for the kids to play while they were at the party.  I never dreamed that it would be such a hit.  They played it the whole time.  In fact, I am not sure many of the girls ever got in the pool.  It was very simple.  The rectangles were just sheets of felt from Hobby Lobby.  They were $.25/sheet, regular price, and I am sure that you can catch them cheaper if you plan more than 2 days before the party starts.

The gumdrops at Gumdrop Mountain were buckets and pails and cups.  The lollipops in the Lollipop Woods were very obvious balloons and sticks with cellophane around them.  The stars and “snow” to the right are for the lovely Princess Frostine.  An ice skating rink wasn’t in the budget.

The Peppermint Forest was full of empty cellophane rolls, wrapped in white table cloths and red tape.

After the big girls finished, these three gave it a try.  They are hilarious together!  Poor drew has 2 little mamas.

And this one is just a little sassy!

But drew is so funny, that I know he can hold his own with those women!  Isn’t he the CUTEST?!?!

Some of Lilly Katherine’s sweet friends, Eden, Reagan, and Laura.

Preston and our most favorite TWENTY YEAR OLD…Tayler.

Caleb, AnnaLeigh, Charlotte, Ashley, and Truett.

My little bro and his precious baby girl, his mini-me, Brinley.

I am not sure what Aaron said to the crew on the swing, but it was apparently hilarious!

My beautiful nieces and my little monkey.  I could not make it at these parties without these 2 girls!  LOVE Y’ALL!!!

My big little brother, Taylor and my tired, tired smile.

My baby girl loved the “boons.”

My sweet nephew David (aka “Daby”) is the happiest baby I have ever seen in my life.  His sister, Laurabeth, has combined baby and David, and she calls him “Daby” which I am sure will stick with him the rest of his life.

My mother and cute little Brinley.

My baby loved her party, and I loved it, too!  Good times in Candy Land!

-kate

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Lemonade Stand: Supply and Demand

We have talked and talked about having a lemonade stand, and I am really good at saying, “That’s a great idea.  Maybe we can do it tomorrow.”  Well, last week, I wanted something fun to do in our last few hours of summer, so we made fresh squeezed lemonade and had a lemonade stand.  The kids were so excited!

We squeezed…

And squeezed…

And squeezed.

YES, I made them wash their hands WELL first!

I asked the kids how much they wanted to charge per glass.  LK and AnnaLeigh said, “50 cents.”  Preston (who could not be any more like his father) said, “That’s too expensive.  No one will pay that much.  I think we should charge 25 cents.”

I told the kids we could have 2 sizes and charge $.25 for small and $.50 for large.  And they were happy!

I told them to keep the money separate so we could see which size was most successful.

I have to say, it was a VERY fun lemonade stand.  We had so many neighbors stop by, like sweet Kendall.

and baby Hattie, and even Nana and Claire drove all the way to our house to get lemonade.

…and precious Presley came to join the party

As the lemonade stand was winding down, Brad got home for the last glass.

And then this little nugget woke from her very long slumber.  Is there anything cuter than that bed head?

They all wanted hugs from daddy.  This is my hard working, wonderful husband and his little ladies.

And the winner of the lemonade stand…

…by a LONG SHOT!

Preston was shocked that they sold so much more than he.  They made $9.50 to his $1.25.  It was hilarious, but allowed for many opportunities to teach about marketing, sales, supply and demand.  I couldn’t help it!  I majored in Marketing and Management, and there were just too many lessons to be taught with this one!

Later, we had a few lessons on saving and tithing.  The more you make, the more you GET to save and GET to tithe.  We have a lot to work on in those areas.

In case you need a recipe for Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, this is what we did.

Fresh Squeezed Lemonade:

  • 4 Juicy Lemons
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 8 Cups Water

Juice the lemons.  Make a simple syrup by heating the sugar and 2 Cups of water on stove, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Let the liquid cool.  Combine the lemon juice (We included the pulp), simple syrup, and water.

Serve over ice.

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Enjoy the last few weeks of our summer season!  It may be too late for white sandals, but it’s never too late for fresh squeezed lemonade!  And by the way, I am a total sandal rebel!  Oh yes I am!  You will catch all my girls wearing their white sandals until the weather is below 85…which in Texas, could be mid-October.

Now, go take those lemons and make some lemonade!

-kate

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First Day of School

So it’s been a whole months since I have blogged.  I have officially fallen off the blogging wagon.  However, I have a whole summer worth of memories to blog, so I will be posting all kinds of things as soon as possible.  I hope. :)

My two bigs are both at the same school this year, and they had a great first day.  I still can’t believe I have 2 babies in elementary school…and one of them is in FOURTH GRADE!!!  How the heck does it happen so fast?!?

I love summer.  I love having my maniacs at home.  I love having no schedule and no agenda.  I love having time to hang out and do whatever we want.  I love not packing lunches or yelling at children to hurry and eat and hurry and get dressed and hurry, hurry, hurry.  Actually, the truth is that Preston is usually telling me to hurry, hurry, hurry.

The start of school always brings tears…from my eyes…not theirs! :)  However, this year, I am so confident in their teachers that it made the first day of school a little easier.  Their teachers are wonderful, and I am so thankful for the women leading my little ones.  So here are all the pics…

Of course we had our annual pencil cake, but this year the first day of school was also Lilly Katherine’s birthday!  My baby girl is now SEVEN!  Crazy!

I love seeing how Preston has grown through the years.  Look how much he’s grown since Kindergarten!

Amidst all the chaos of the morning, AnnaLeigh spotted her buddy, Charlotte, and ran to her to say hi!  They are precious little messes!

And this is Charlotte’s brother, Walker, one of P’s best buddies.

Preston has the best teacher in the world this year!  One of our dear friends, Ashley!  I’m so excited for P to have her!

And as is tradition, we went home and talked about their first day of school…over a piece of pencil cake.

Good times!

I am so thankful to be the mother of these wild ones.  They make me so happy…and so crazy at the same time.  I am so proud of the little people that they are becoming, and I will miss the fire out of them every day that they are in school.

-kate

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We’re Moving!

Okay, so this is the deal…

After 10 1/2 years in our wonderful home, we have been BLESSED with the opportunity to buy a house.  We have been praying for this move for YEARS, and it has been so clear that now is the time and this is the house.

We love our home.  We purchased it in 2003 from Brad’s grandmother, a few months before I found out I was pregnant with Preston.  In our storage room Brad’s grandfather’s hat and calendar still hang right where he left them.  The calendar is still open to September 1996, the month he passed away unexpectedly.

This home is full of memories of Brad’s grandparents as well as years of our own family memories.  This home has welcomed four babies into the world with warmth and safety.  This home has been the stage of many performances, many baseball and basketball games, many first wobbly steps, many sleepless nights, many warm fires, many giggles and smiles, and also some tears, temper tantrums, and tee-tee accidents. :)

The move is exciting and we really are thrilled, but it will be sad to leave the place we have called HOME for so long.

So I am going to try to give a brief (but you all know that I am not very brief) version of our story.

Our current home is a 3 bed/2.5 bath home with 1 living area.  It is perfect for us, and has served us very well.  Currently Preston and AnnaLeigh share a room and Lilly Katherine and Georgia share a room.  It works really well for us.  The only space that is tight is the closet that all 3 girls share, but most of that is due to the fact that they have way too many clothes!  As Preston gets closer to middle school, we know that he is going to need his own space.  I have always known that we would one day move, but Brad and I have never felt an urgency to do so.  I have said for literally years that we would know it when the time was right.  I have told my REAL ESTATE husband that we would know the house when we saw it.  We are both in real estate and we see every single house that comes on the market.  For years I have let myself into houses that I have liked, but none of them seemed to be “the one!”

My sweet, dear, MALE husband has always said, ” I just don’t think the decision is that emotional.  It’s a house.  I don’t think I will ‘know it when I see it’ because I can make any house work.”  I would nod and smile and say, “Trust me…we will know it when we see it.  I know that the Lord has a house picked out for us.”

So, for the last year, I have gotten more restless.  Not restless in our home in thinking that we have to move, but more restless wanting to know where the Lord wants us to go.  Preston is in public school, LK will be this year, and we wanted to make sure we were choosing a neighborhood that fed into a school that was a good fit for our kids.  Brad and I tried to do our research.  We talked to many people, visited many schools, and did a LOT of praying.

In December we even made an offer on a house close to where we live now.  It had a floorplan that was workable, and it was on the outskirts of a neighborhood we really liked, however it  was hideous and had a pool, which made me nervous.  Due to an error made by the other realtor, our offer did not get accepted.  It was such a strange situation, because we knew that the woman that owned the house really wanted us to have it.  Up until the closing date, she was hoping the other offer would fall through so we could buy it.  The second we found out about the error, I was certain that God protected us from that purchase and that He had an even better house picked out for us, and I was relieved to have such a clear answer.

We had decided that we needed to start looking south.  We were considering buying several acres, developing it into a neighborhood, and living out there.  This would be a big change for our family, but we started thinking that we needed to be southbound.

About a month ago, a group of us got together to pray for another family.  We were praying for their move and for their new house.  We were praying specifically and expectantly for several things.  As I was in the middle of my prayer (out loud in the group), I became so distracted with my own words that I could almost not finish praying.  I was thanking the Lord for their opportunity and thanking the Lord for the neighbors they would have and the automatic friends they would have on the street.  I was thanking the Lord for wonderful friends for their children and a safe neighborhood in which their children could run and play with kids that were such sweet kids.  I was asking the Lord to bless all the relationships that would be formed as the children grew up together.  And in that prayer, in communion with God, I felt an overwhelming sense (for the very first time) that all the things I was praying for these other children were exactly what God wanted for my babies.  It wasn’t in any way a sense of jealousy of their situation, but simply a moment of complete clarity from God, regarding  where our focus needed to be.

Well, a few days later I heard that a friend of mine (that I had met at Bible Study Fellowship) was thinking about possibly selling their house and possibly going into missions and possibly leaving the country and possibly, possibly, possibly.

I figured it was a long shot, but I told her that if they ever sold, we would like to look at their house.  She let me in!

I could see everything that I ever wanted for my family was POSSIBLE with this house.  There are some things that we will change, but it was the first house we have ever looked at that all my dreams for our family’s home could be a reality.  And on top of that, it was in a price range that made my dear husband happy.  Plus, I can see God’s hand even in the little details…like the fact that it is attractive on the outside, it is a brick color that I like, it faces south, which sounds strange but I prefer north or south facing house, because I am weird!  It has a fabulous yard and a basketball goal worthy driveway (a MUST for Brad), and it’s in the neighborhood we have always liked, and it comes with the best group of kids for our babies.

Brad and I went back together to see the house, and he immediately knew that this was “the house” for our fam.  He admitted that the decision was MUCH more emotional than he ever thought it would be.  It was so amazing to see such confirmation from him.  He is also positive that this experience has made him a better Real Estate agent, but I just don’t know how he could get much better. :)

I will spare you anymore details, but I can tell you that a great deal of prayer went into the decision on our part and the current homeowners’ part.  It was amazing to see God open doors (literally) for us with the house, and at the same time, we had the opportunity to pray for their family and the life changing decisions that they were going to make.  We prayed for them to have clarity, because although we were falling in love with the idea of this house, we were not sure they were even going to move…and if they did move, we didn’t know if it was going to be in 4 weeks or 12 months.  We prayed for them to have a job opportunity that would be a clear directive from the Lord.  We prayed for timing and their children’s hearts and our own hearts and pride and our attitudes and so many more things, and I am telling you that I saw things answered before my eyes!

The homeowners received clear direction and have an awesome opportunity to move to Portugal!  Talk about life changing!  And they are moving in 2 weeks!  Talk about some quick answers.  Now, God is not always quick to answer, but when He started revealing things to us it all fit together like perfect pieces of a puzzle.

I know that this is the house that the Lord has had ready for us for all these years.

After we finalized everything with the other family, we took our babies to see the house.  It was such a precious and exciting day, and of course I took some iPhone pics! :)

Preston is so excited that he is going to have his own room, and the girls are most excited about the perfect little cottage that is in the backyard.  They were in heaven!

Now, here is my confession.  I spent all kinds of time in the Word and felt close to the Lord as we were going through the beginning stages of this process.   I prayed daily, hourly, almost every minute about the details of this home.  I truly felt His presence in the decisions we were making.  And then…everything worked out…and I…checked out!  I started thinking constantly about the house.  As of 2 weeks ago, I would officially call myself a Pinterest and Houzz ADDICT!  I mean A-D-D-I-C-T!

I have lost all self control!  I will spend HOURS, literally HOURS a day on Pinterest and Houzz.  They are fun and fabulous and so bad for me!  Let me tell you, my Pinterest house ROCKS!  Y’all are all going to want to come see how lovely it is…except that my virtual budget is a little different than my actual budget.  Funny how that happens.

I tell you all of that so you will know that every night I sit down to blog about this exciting news, and every night I decide that I will check Houzz “real quick” and the next thing I know it’s 2 am!  Yes, I think i went to bed at 2 am every single night last week…because I was on HOUZZ!

I wasn’t doing dishes.

I wasn’t doing laundry.

I wasn’t doing anything that would be beneficial to the 4 little faces staring at me all day long.

I was, however, designing a pretty amazing make-believe house…that will never actually come to fruition…at least not like my Pinterest boards.

On Friday, as I was doing my “Jesus Calling” devotional (you know, my 2 second devo, so I could quickly move on to Houzz) I was hit in the face with this.

Apparently, I am much like my children.  I heard the Word of the Lord loud and clear, I recognized it as a warning and a teaching moment, and I even told myself I was not going to obsess over the house, and then I was up until 2 am again.

So, last night I sat down to do my Sunday School lesson.  I teach High School girls, and our lesson was based on Matthew 6:19-34, which of course starts with this sentence, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…”

OKAY, GOD!  I see that I have a problem.  Then as I continued to read the text about “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink…what you will wear,” I noticed my note at the bottom, and as I read it I couldn’t help but cry and thank the Lord!

September 17, 2007!  Almost 6 years ago, I was claiming that God knew where we would live and had the perfect house picked out for us.

And He did!

And we are so excited.

And we are blessed beyond words!

But I have realized that the house does not need to become my God, but in everything I need to focus on the One True God and be so thankful for this amazing opportunity.  I will still have to make decisions, so I know I will have to consult Pinterest and Houzz…but not until 2 am, or all day long.  But I am so excited to move into the home in which we will raise our maniacs, and the home that they will refer to as “the house they grew up in.”

-kate

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Matthew 6:19-34

Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[c]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

 

Summa-Summa-Summa-Time!

I seriously cannot believe it has been this long since I have blogged.  I have so many things that I have wanted to post, but ain’t nobody got time for that!

I LOVE SUMMER!

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE summer!

I love the fun.  I love the lack of any kind of schedule.  I love swimming pools.  I love lunch with friends.  I love lying around in pjs until 10, and not worrying about needing to run anyone anywhere.  I love summer nights.  I love running at 8:30 pm, and still having enough light.  I love the heat.  Oh, yes I do.  I even love the East Texas heat.  I would take heat over cold any day of the week!

I love having these wild maniacs home with me.  Not that they are always nice or fun to be around, but they could say the same about me.  But I would still rather them be home playing than at school.

The tough thing is bedtime.  AnnaLeigh says almost every night, “But I can’t go to bed!  It’s the middle of the day!”  And then she comes out of her room 400 times until it is no longer the “middle of the day” and it is officially the “middle of the night!”  We have tried and tried to explain that in the summer time, it stays light longer and she has to go to bed when she can still see a little light.  However, come October, I will be happy to put her in bed at 6, if she is judging bedtime by when the sun goes down.  Two can play this game!

Soooo, what have we been doing?  I know you are dying to know.  Preston didn’t get out of school until June 6, which is a SIN as far as I’m concerned!  Labor Day to Memorial Day!  Why is that so hard to get?  Labor Day to Memorial Day!  I vote we bring that back!!!

Well, P got out of school and then we spent the next week with hand, foot, and mouth...again! :(  It was a fun start to the summer, and we did nothing that week but hang at the house.

So here are some pics of us hanging at the house.  Exciting!

Sweet Georgia scoots around our bathroom in the morning and she often puts this headband on her head.  I just love this picture because it shows my little monkey with her two favorite things…her pacifier (her “peep”) and her blanket.  She is my first paci baby, and her teeth are such bad paci teeth!  I’ll worry about it later.  Fourth child!

My beautiful girls were playing in the den as P was resting on the couch, watching The Rookie.

LK and AnnaLeigh were smiling in the pic above, but G wasn’t.  I said, “Smile, Georgia!” and this is the face I got!  Oh how I love her!

Lilly Katherine is always begging to have a garden.  She has a little tomato plant this year, and she loves it!  She is so proud of the puny little plant.  We have been watching the tomatoes turn from flowers to green tomatoes to red tomatoes.  She was PUMPED when she got to pick and eat this little jewel!

My little nugget loves to make faces.  She copies anything I do.

We are such an exciting bunch!  We did nothing for a week.

Almost nothing.  Brad and I did celebrate out 13 year anniversary.  I love this cute man!

The next week P had baseball camp.  I seriously can’t get over how big he looks in this picture!  He looks like a giant!  Like he’s all “growed up!”

I had my four maniacs and 2 of my sister’s maniacs (Truett and Caleb).

While P was at baseball camp, the girls and I picked blueberries one day.  AnnaLeigh had a blast, can you tell?  That is her face/attitude of choice lately.

This little monkey wanted us to give her little balls (blueberries) to eat.  She loved to hold them, bite them, squish them in her fingers, and rub them on her outfit.  She did not like to eat them!  Stinker!

In case you don’t know, Monday night is family night at Carino’s, and the family platters are half off.  It is by far the best deal around!   Our whole family can eat for about $17 plus tip.  It’s hard for me to cook anything for less than that.  Therefore, we eat Carino’s on Monday a LOT!  This time, my sister’s family and my parents joined us.  The kids always have so much fun together.

Last Saturday, my sister (who has a baby just 6 days older than Georgia…remember this?) had another baby!

First of all, let me tell you that she was due Friday, June 21.

On Saturday, June 22, she had been timing contractions for a long time.  She and Alan finally went to the hospital.  They told her she was at a 3-4.  It was her FOURTH child.  She was passed her due date, and they SENT HER HOME!

She was home for about 2 hours when she realized she needed to get back to the hospital…and QUICK!  She got there, Alan dropped her off at the door, she was taken to the room, and she was at a NINE!  From the time she got to the hospital to the time her sweet  baby was born was 45 minutes!  Now, that would be very typical of my life, but my sister and Alan are Type-A planners!  This was crazy stressful for them!

However, the fruit of her labor (literally) was a precious 7 pound, 1 ounce baby BOY!

Meet David Montgomery.

And this is the happy little family!  I never dreamed my sister would be the boy mom and I would be the girl mom.  She now has 3 precious boys, Caleb (5), Truett (4), and David, and beautiful Laurabeth (17 months).

Oh my goodness, I love him!  I am so excited about spoiling this little baby boy!  How could you not want to spoil that precious face?

This is going to be David’s life, so he better get used to the chaos!

This week, I got to take my 4 people and Caleb and Truett to the zoo, so Ash could hang with her littles.  We really had a great time, and the kids did really well…her kids did really well.  Two of my maniacs had a few “moments” but that’s life with 4 kids!

We put Georgia’s hair in piggies for the first time, and she was so proud!

Then we went to the zoo.

Picture before we went in…

Picture about 45 minutes into our zoo trip.  Recognize that face?  Yep, there’s a glimpse of the “moments” to which I was referring.

As rotten as that big boy is, times like this melt my heart.  He loves his baby sister!

I mean, look at that hair!  I just want to freeze time!

Snow-cones make everyone happy!

Especially this stinker!

And this is the picture we took right before we saw the mountain lions mating!  Or playing piggy back…  It was the most horrible noise I’ve ever heard.  They were growling so loudly and so constantly.  I couldn’t pull these kids away and all 5 big kids were making the same loud growling noise from the lion cage, through the zoo, and all the way to the car.  They thought it was hilarious!

Whew!  That was quite a post!  I promise to keep up with life a little better.

Yeah right!

Have a fabulous weekend!

-kate

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The Love of my Life!

13 years ago today, we said “I do!”

Brad was then, is now, and will forever be the LOVE OF MY LIFE!

Babe, I love you more every day!

Lord, thank you for this man.  Thank you for blessing my life and my world with this wonderful person!  Thank you for the love that we share.  Thank you for his loyalty and faithfulness to you, to me, and to our babies.  Thank you for how we just “work.”  We fit.  We compliment each other so well, and I cannot imagine my life without this precious man. 

Thank you for his cute, strong arms, and his cute hair.  Thank you for his humble, quiet spirit, and the way he encourages me.  Thank you that he likes to eat what I cook, and he doesn’t fuss about the disaster in which we live.  Thank you for his morals, his work ethic, and his determination.  Thank you for his health and his desire to stay healthy.  Please keep him healthy physically, mentally and spiritually.

Thank you for BRAD and the 13 precious years thus far.  Please, Lord, please let us share many, many, many more wonderful years together!

-kate

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Lake Day with Fabulous Friends

First of all, I want to thank the men and women who have given their time, their talents, their lives to serve our country.  We are so blessed to live in The United States of America, and we have the armed forces to thank.  My little brother served in the Air Force for 8 years, and I am forever grateful to the sacrifices that he made for us.

Thank you to all who have served.  I am forever thankful and so very proud to be an American!

Happy Memorial Day!

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We had a weekend full of fun, and a sick child, of course.  With 4 children, someone always has something.  Thank goodness this was just a little cold.

For Memorial Day, we hung out at Brad’s parents, with good food and S’mores.  However, I have no pics. :(

Saturday we had a day at the lake!

I am blessed to have so many precious friends in my life.  I have so many women that I consider “some of my best friends!”  However, there are two women who will forever be my BFFs, Kimberly and Samantha (aka “Aunt Kimmy” and “Aunt Sammy”).  We have been close since we were in 6th-7th grade, we lived together at Baylor, and we love each other like sisters!  My constant prayer is that my girls will find friends like these wonderful ladies.

We have 10 children between the three of us, we all live in different towns, and getting together is quite a challenge.  This weekend, Samantha invited our families out to her parents’ lake house, and we had a blast together.  I would have loved a few more days (or even hours) to spend talking to these two lovelies, but I am thankful for the few sentences we were able to complete.  I will take what I can get at this point in my life.

The three of us are so close, that I guess the Lord decided we needed to all have babies that would grow up and be best friends.  My children are each a year older than their children, but we all had a boy first, then 2 girls.  I was an over-achiever and went for #4!  And I can ASSURE you that this is the only area in life in which I would be considered an over-achiever above these two go-getters!

When we get together, our babies play together beautifully, and it makes my heart happy!  Here are way too many pictures from our fun day.  They are all over-exposed and washed out because my lens is messed up, and I am too lazy to send it back to have it fixed.  I am a serious procrastinator…and I get mad every time I use the darn lens…but I don’t think about sending it back until I am using it…which is not usually a good time to package it up and send it back…anyway!

The big girls…

My handsome hubby with his cute arms and farmer’s tan, and my Pinky

The boys.  Three cuties!  I’m thinking Preston is going to have the same cute arms as his daddy…complete with farmer’s tan.

I caught cute AJ in mid bite, but I love his little mud and lake water covered face.

My love loves his babies.

And they love him!

Sweet and sassy!  This is Samantha’s baby, Chandler…with bright blue teeth.

My girls told me their most favorite part of the day was riding the Sea-Doo with Aunt Sammy.  They love her!

Sammy wanted to take me for a ride.  This woman is absolutely incapable of going slow.  It’s been a problem since she was…born.  I knew her goal was going to be to throw me in the water and I was not wearing a swimsuit.  I made her swear on our friendship that she would exercise some form of self-control and not kill us both.  I made it back to shore alive and even DRY!  Quite and accomplishment considering this wild woman’s track record!

Me with my girls, and Sammy with Campbell.  Good times!

The besties.  Kim, me, Sam

The big brothers!  Aaron James (Kim’s), Preston (mine), Jackson (Sam’s)

The big sisters.  Clara (Kim’s), Campbell (Sam’s), LK (mine)

The littles.  AnnaLeigh (mine), Millie (Kim’s), Chandler (Sam’s), and then there’s sweet Georgia (not pictured). :)

This picture is just funny to me.  We are such dorks!

What a fun day, what precious friends!

Thank you “other mother” and Sparky.  We had a BLAST!

Happy short week!

-kate

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Homemade Puff Paint

There are days that are happy and wonderful and there are days that are…not!

Yesterday was happy and wonderful.

Today was…NOT!

All four children were up by 5:59, and if you have read my blog for any time at all, you know that I AM NOT A MORNING PERSON!!!

By 8:30, one child was banished to her room until I could see straight enough to allow her until she could control herself enough to join the rest of us!

Sooooo, it is great for me to sit in my quiet house, with all my wild people tucked into their beds and look at the pictures from our oh-so-fun day yesterday.  It helps me to reflect and realize that sleep deprivation is not our friend!  In fact, when my kind-hearted, sweet baby girl is in a bad sleep cycle, it rocks our world.  I need to do a post about this, but we have always struggled with sleep with Lilly Katherine.  Another post for another day!

So, yesterday was a blast!

Preston was in school, AnnaLeigh had her last day of mother’s day out, and Lilly Katherine was home with Georgia and me.  I wanted to do something that I knew would be fun and special to Lilly Katherine.

Anything involving paint and art makes her happy, so we made something that I haven’t done with her in YEARS!  We made homemade puffy paint.  Not the kind I used to splatter paint shirts with in 1990, but a microwavable puffy paint that is so much fun to play with.

My baby girl painted ALL DAY LONG!  She probably made 20 paintings, and they are displayed all over our house, of course.  It is so easy, and it really is fun for all!

Yes, I let her get that close to the microwave to watch her paint PUFF.  I’m a rebel like that!

She painted and painted.  My most favorite one that she made was this cute turtle family.  They were racing and the daddy turtle stuck out his tongue at the finish line to win.

I would suggest NOT making a face.  It was a little crazy looking before we microwaved it, but it was disturbing after we microwaved it.  It reminded me of the mask Bette Midler wore in Beaches.  Talk about a good movie…from a few years back!  Tears!

We had a great day together.  Thank goodness for days like yesterday.

Recipe for Homemade Puff Paint

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp Self Rising Flour (See below for instructions on how to make self-rising flour if you don’t have any)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Water
  • Food Coloring

Mix all ingredients and paint on cardstock with a paintbrush or Q-tip.  Microwave the painting for 10-20 seconds or until the paint has puffed.

I used the above recipe for each color.  So, I mixed up 5 batches of the above.  If you do not have self-rising flour, combine 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour with 1 tsp Baking Powder, 1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Baking Soda.

Have fun!

-kate

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Thank You, Lord, For My 3rd Grader!

It’s 2:31 am, and I have not been able to go to sleep due to the tornadoes in Oklahoma.  My little brother and his family live in Oklahoma City, and the tornado was headed straight for their house.  The path of the tornado is seen in the picture below, and my brother’s house is where the yellow dot is.

The horrible, devastating, destructive, mighty force was headed straight towards my sister-in-law Kelly, and my beautiful baby niece, Brinley!  Praise the Lord it dissipated right as it neared the lake by Taylor’s house.  Praise the Lord that Kelly’s parents have a concrete storm room in which she and Brinley ran to for shelter.

However, not everyone has been so fortunate.

I simply can not imagine what the people of Moore are experiencing, and I pray I never have to!  I just can’t help but be thankful for my third grader tonight!

You know, when the tragedy at Sandy Hook happened, all I could think about was Preston.  What would I do if something happened to my baby?  Any of my babies…but Preston is the only one in “school.”

When the Boston Marathon bombing took place, a little boy Preston’s age was killed.  Again, I just thanked the Lord for my son and prayed over him that night, thanking the Lord for him and begging for protection for he and his sisters.

Tonight, as I watch the footage of this horrible storm, already emotional because of how close it was to my brother, I can’t help but cry and thank God for my third grader!  So many parents tonight are longing to hold their babies, praying for hope, and devastated by so much loss.  I couldn’t help but stand over my baby boy, my firstborn, and thank the Lord above for him!

The picture is blurry because I was trying to take it in the dark, but I am so thankful for that baby boy!  He still sleeps with his blanket, though tattered and torn, and his dog, Rover, beside him in the bed.

I love him!

So innocent and yet so wild.  So big, and yet so young.  So smart, and yet still acts like a fool…but I am pretty sure that is part of the make-up of a 9 year old boy!

What would I do without him?

Today, I am thankful that he is peacefully sleeping in his bed.

Today, I am thankful that he got to play with his buddies in our front yard.

Today, I am thankful that he let LK “pitch” to him.

Today, I am thankful that he kissed me goodbye this morning with a smile on his face.

Today, I am thankful that I got to see him play baseball and pitch a great game!

Today, I am thankful for all his quirks and his little boy-ness.

Today, I am thankful for my third grader.

Lord, thank you for protecting Taylor, Kelly, Brinley, Linnie and Pat.  Thank you for stopping the tornado before any more destruction occurred.  Please, Lord, somehow, bring something positive from this horrific event.  I pray that your mighty hand would be at work through the hearts of all those affected.  Please help the people of Oklahoma seek you and find you.  Lord, please give these poor families who have lost loved ones an indescribable peace.

Also, Lord, thank you for Preston.  Please help me to love on him and show him how much I love him.  Please protect him physically, emotionally, and mentally.  Thank you for all these wild ones you have blessed us with.  Please, Lord, help me to protect them and love them the best I can, but I pray that you protect them from harm and danger.

Thank you, Lord!

-kate

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My Little Graduate

I am sure this is not the post in which I should express all of my opinions regarding Kindergarten Graduation, Elementary School Graduation, Middle School Graduation, and T-ball trophies!  But let me be the parent that shouts loud and clear that I am not a fan of any of the above.  I firmly believe that Graduation is an honor that should be reserved for those that have completed 13 full years of school (K-12) and for students completing college, or higher education…and that trophies should be earned and deserved, not given to every player that put on a uniform.

Can I get an AMEN?

And if any of you would like to start a petition to get this back to the way it was when we were kids, I am happy to jump on the bandwagon!

HOWEVER…

Despite my little rant above, my baby girl did have a graduation ceremony last week, and I am proud of her for doing so well in kindergarten, and I will so greatly miss LK being at her pre-school, and we have pics from the sweet little ceremony, and I would be a mean mom if I didn’t show up and allow my child to participate in the celebration (No, I am not that cold hearted), and soooooo…

Here is my post. :)

Lilly Katherine’s Kindergarten Graduation.

She had a precious class of sweet kids.  The teachers are the best Kindergarten teachers in the world, and they were Brad’s teachers when he was young.  I remind them often that they have to teach at least 5 more years…so all of my kids can have the wonderful foundation that Mrs. Mays and Mrs. Dean provide!

Brad’s mom (Nana) taught for years, and since she retired she has taught science every Friday to these kindergarteners, and they LOVE it!  She handed out their diplomas.

The class sang a few songs.

This was the picture in Lilly Katherine’s journal about graduation.  She is such a little artist.

This is our failed attempt at a family picture.

Most of them looked more like this!

Lilly Katherine with her sweet friends (twins) Isabella and Sophie.

The class was full of goof-balls.  They loved making silly faces, so they wanted a silly face picture.

We gave each one of them a framed picture of the class and they all signed it.

The kids were so excited about their picture.  LK has looked at hers over and over.

Lilly Katherine and Samuel.  We will miss being in school with them!  These two love each other like brother and sister.

Congrats my little kindergarten graduate!  I love you, and I am so proud of you.  I am sad that you will be going to school all day next year!  AnnaLeigh, Georgia and I will miss you!  However, you will love it, and you will do such a wonderful job!  I love you, baby girl!

-kate

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Church Artwork

I love my children’s precious artwork.  I love it when they trace their hands.  I love it when they draw cute stick people that have legs coming from their heads and big circles for hands.  I love when they sign their name with big awkward letters.

…and I love it when my child comes home from church with a drawing like this.

AnnaLeigh knows how to make me so proud!

-kate

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Red Lobster’s Biscuit Recipe

I am passing one of my most favorite recipes along to you.  This is one of my Dad’s recipes, and it’s for the unbelievably yummy Red Lobster’s Biscuits!

This is such a quick, delicious addition to any meal!  The recipe is posted below, but I just had to include a few pictures from yesterday.

First of all, my little Georgia Peach has had fever for a few days, and yesterday she slept almost all day long.  She woke up from a nap that was over 4 hours long, and with WILD hair, she was ready to play with her brother and sisters.  It was an absolutely fabulous day outside, and for some wonderful reason, my kids were all playing happily together.  They were giggling and swinging and having a lovely time together.  It was a true blessing!

Preston took Georgia on the slide over and over.  She acted like she liked it, but seeing the pictures, I’m not sure that she was having as much as we thought she was!

I love these four wild maniacs so much!

And these four wild maniacs love…Red Lobster Biscuits! :)

Sooooo…here’s the recipe for my diddy’s famous Red Lobster Biscuits.

What you will need:

Bisquick, Milk, Cheddar Cheese, Garlic, Butter, and Italian Seasoning

Combine the Bisquick, milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and minced garlic in a bowl.

Stir well.  The dough should be sticky.  If it appears too thick, add another Tablespoon of milk and stir.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a cookie sheet or baking stone.  Allow an inch or two between them because they will spread.

Melt the butter and add the Italian Seasoning.

Combine with a basting brush.

And paint the butter mixture on top of the raw biscuit dough until you have used it all.  Go ahead!  Use every bit!  Make Paula Dean proud!

Bake at 400° for about 15 minutes or until just starting to brown.  I like mine a little less done.

These biscuits are HEAVENLY!  They are so stinkin’ easy to make, and I always have all the ingredients on hand.  Give them a shot.  You will not be disappointed!

Recipe for Red Lobster’s Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Bisquick
  • 2/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Cheddar Cheese (Shredded)
  • 2 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
  • 1/4 Cup Butter (1/2 Stick)
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

Combine the Bisquick, milk, shredded cheddar cheese, and minced garlic.  Mix well.  If dough appears too dry, add a Tablespoon of milk.  Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet or stone.

Melt butter.  Combine butter and Italian Seasoning.  Use basting brush to coat each raw biscuit with butter/seasoning mixture, until you have used all the butter mixture.  Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until done.

Enjoy!

Have a lovely Tuesday!

-kate

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Honeysuckles for my Honeys!

Lilly Katherine LOVES spring!  She loves the flowers, but she especially loves the HONEYSUCKLES!

About 2 weeks ago, I was running with my friend, Andria.  We both caught a whiff of that unmistakeably sweet aroma, and our heads whipped around to find a huge honeysuckle plant.  As grown women, we couldn’t help but stop and enjoy the first honeysuckles of the season.  Oh, that taste and that smell just take me back to childhood faster than almost anything.

I knew then that I just had to get Lilly Katherine to a honeysuckle plant as soon as possible!  So, last week we headed out to our honeysuckle spot…

She ate and ate on those honeysuckles.  She even grabbed ZipLock bags for all the kids so they could take some honeysuckles for the road.

AnnaLeigh wanted me to take her picture.  Goodness I love that little face.  However, the DUMB dog in the background (Sam) decided he needed to go with us, too.  I swear he causes more gray hairs on my head than all 4 children combined…well…maybe not combined, but he’s the worst child I have, for sure!  :)

Lilly Katherine’s “To Go” bag.

The added bonus…there were also dewberries right beside the honeysuckles.   Beautiful dewberries!

It was like a nature buffet for my kids.  I loved it!  That is what I did as a kid.

However, let me allow you into my head and tell you that I was working very hard to suppress the mom-sense.  You know…the “WHAT IFs!”

The mom in me was thinking “What if there is a copper-head waiting to bite little fingers under that dewberry bush!” and “What if a dog peed on these plants” and “What if they grab a bee or a spider or worse…a WORM!”  and “What if they eat a bug.  I’m not washing these for them, so there’s no telling what they’re eating!!!”  aghhhhh!!!!!

Yes, it is hard for me to shut that crazy mom-sense up, but for the sake of my kids’ childhoods, I feel that they need to experience fresh honeysuckles and dewberries, straight from the earth…without my words of “wisdom” (aka FEAR).

So I let them pick…

…and pick

…and EAT! :)

Sweet Georgia just sat in her stroller watching the endless nature buffet.  I don’t even have a picture of my little love, but she was not much a fan of our finds.

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Thank you, Lord, for your creativity!  Thank you for your amazing colors and smells and tastes.  Thank you for allowing the beauty to grow wild, with no help from human hands, so that no one can take credit for your mighty and amazing works. 

Thank you, Lord, for time with these maniacs.  Thank you for your creativity with their personalities and their differences.  Thank you for every minute that I have with them.  After another lesson this week on life being much too short, please help me to spend more time stopping to smell the honeysuckles with them.  Help me to invest in them individually and together.  Please help me to parent with love and kindness, and please help me to be more patient with them, because you and I both know, that’s not really my thing. :/

Lord, thank you for trusting Brad and me with this amazing, huge, hard, rewarding privilege!  Thank you for equipping us, and I just pray that you would keep my babies safe from snakes and dog pee and bees…but most of all, keep them safe from harm, from sickness, from disease, from the people in this world that are out to do horrible things to others.  Please keep them safe in your arms.  Also, Lord, please guide their lives with wisdom and discernment that comes only from you. 

Thank you for all of your wonderful, awesome creativity!  You are amazing, Lord!  Thank you!

Amen

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-kate

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The Balance

This weekend, my brother and his family came in for a short visit.  It was quick, but wonderful.  My girls love Uncle Taylor and Aunt Kelly, but they are especially excited to see BRINLEY!

AnnaLeigh wanted to hold sweet Brinley all weekend.  LK fixed everyone’s hair (she is working on Uncle Taylor’s hair in the pic).  My little peach looks more like her Aunt Kelly than her own mama!

 

We tried to get a picture of the 3 littles, Laurabeth (15 mo), Brinley (5 mo), and Georgia (15 mo).  It was a screaming success!

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Also this weekend…

Lilly Katherine has learned to put her head down and balance on her head, by putting her knees on her elbows.  She has been upside down all weekend long.  She wanted me to try it.  The girls were giggling and laughing and skipping around me as I tried, and they were so happy when I actually was able to do it…for a second.

After 4 children, my core could use a little strengthening…to say the VERY least!

The funny thing is that SEVERAL years ago, these beautiful girls (my nieces) giggled and laughed around me as they taught me how to do this same thing.

That was many years ago, and I have learned that I am older and stiffer.  I thought I was going to break my neck on one attempt.

But I succeeded!

I balanced.

I was so proud!

That was…until they called Brad into the room this afternoon, so they could teach him.  Mr. Athlete seems to be able to do anything he tries.  Must be nice.

He balanced.

Then he popped into a headstand!  Are you kidding me?!?!

Knees on elbows…

Balance and extend legs up…

HEADSTAND!

I must admit, after being together for 18 years, there are very few things that I LEARN about this wonderful man.  I was blown away by this new-found talent!  (I think he was pretty blown away himself.)  He did it over and over, and could balance for a long time…unless AnnaLeigh walked up to “help him!”

The picture is blurry, because I was laughing so hard.  Brad quickly retracted into the fetal position as soon as she approached…for obvious reasons!

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Now let me keep it real for everyone.  We are not always doing cartwheels and headstands and giggling and having fun.  We are a real, ugly, sinful group of people.  I have 4 children!  At any given moment, I usually have one child that is happy, one child that is sleepy, one child that is hungry, and one child that is losing their ever loving mind about something insignificant.  Sometimes I have 4 happy children, and there are days where I have 4 crying, melting down, maniacs!

Today, we happened to have 3 happy babies…and one that was taking some aggression out on a few baseballs…instead of his sisters, for a change.

Despite the meltdowns and severe attitude problems that my children (and their mother) seem to have some days, I know I am the most blessed woman in the world!  I am so thankful for a way to freeze time…if only in photos.  This blog is my sanity break, and I love that I will see these moments with my maniacs for forever.

Have a wonderful week, loving on the wild maniacs in your life!

-kate

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Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

-Psalm 126:2-3

Sent From Above

Lilly Katherine had a dance recital this past weekend.  The theme was Remember When…and her dance was “Remember When…You were born,” with the song “Sent From Above.”

It was the sweetest little dance with 20 precious angels on stage.  My baby girl was absolutely beautiful…if I do say so myself.

She is a graceful little dancer and I love that she is so good at dance.  And sweet thing, she thinks the recital is a complete singing and dancing performance.  I tried to tell her she doesn’t have to sing, that it’s a DANCE recital, but she said, “No.  We’re supposed to sing AND dance.”  She sang at the top of her lungs the whole time, with a smile that could light up the room.

LK rocked her angel wings!  Well, she rocked them for the first half of the dance.  She was perfect and graceful.  The second half, we may have had a few moments of…um…confusion.  She never stopped smiling, and she kept right on going.  As her mother, I was sweating a little, but they were priceless Lilly Katherine moments that will make me laugh for years to come.

Of course we all told her she did a fabulous job, and she really did.  And if you ask her how she did (even after she has watched the video), she responds with an enthusiastic “Great!”  At the age of 6, that’s what matters!

And now for the pics…

Before the recital, her daddy surprised her with flowers…Lilies, of course.

She was THRILLED!

After the performance, I got a few pics of LK with her friends and fans.

Our cute friend, Katelynn and LK

Sweet Aunt Sugar (Anne) drove in to see LK.  Plus she brought cookies!

Almost all of my maniacs.

Granddear and Nana

A group of beautiful kids from Africa performed, and this little girl asked to take her pic with Lilly Katherine.

This is LK’s friend Sara.  They are the same age.

This is AnnaLeigh (with her new “cute smile” as she calls it) and her friend Ella (Sara’s sister).  They are also the same age.

These are some of our very good friends.  We are with this family every week!  After taking both pictures of the girls, I decided I wanted a FAMILY pic so we could see the height difference in our whole family (minus Georgia).  Scott and Elicia are tall.  We are short.  Our kids all match exactly in terms of gender, age, and grade…not height!  They are all a head taller than our not-so-tall crew.  Too funny!

Elicia and I decided we would take many more pics like this as our kids grow, so we can see how they change…and how the 4 adults stay the same, I’m sure. :)

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Well, another recital behind us, and I hope I get to see my baby girl dance for many more years.  Just as Brad is so thankful to share his love of all things sports with Preston, I am so thankful to share the love of dance with MY child!

This Psalm just makes me think of Lilly Katherine – her love of dancing, singing, and her heart for the Lord.  I love you, beautiful dancing baby!

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

-kate

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Rodeo Roundup

Last week Lilly Katherine and AnnaLeigh had Rodeo Roundup at school.  They didn’t have it on the same day, of course…that would be too easy. :)

They have been looking forward to Rodeo Roundup!  However, this little maniac has renamed it “Cowboy day!”

The girl loves to perform!  She would be headed straight to Hollywood if I would let her.  However, I don’t think this world needs another Brittney or Lindsay!

My little peach was not in a very smiley mood, but she’s still precious to me!

Brad’s mom (Nana) and Georgia

Laurabeth (my sweet neice) and Georgia

My sister (who is 7 1/2 months pregnant) and my precious little peach!

The Three Musketeers!  Truett, AnnaLeigh, Finley (Finn-wee, as AnnaLeigh says)

And LK’s Rodeo Roundup…

This is Lilly Katherine’s kindergarten class.  I will be so sad for LK to leave this sweet, small class and her wonderful teachers and school next year.

And this is totally random, and basically for myself.  I want to document things like this, because I have already forgotten so many funny things that my kids have said as little children.  Right now, my favorite words that AnnaLeigh says are:

Com-piano:  Piano

Shy-white:  Flashlight

Ew-jew-a-wee:  Usually (oh, I love it when she says that!)

Aw-da-mi-wo:  Armadillo

This is the deal.  She talks all the time.  She is smart and feisty, and I love her little voice (when she’s not screaming “NO” or “I DON’T WANT TO!” at me!).  She can not correctly pronounce her R’s or her L’s.  For example, she calls Lilly Katherine, “Wiwwy Kaffawine,” and I am not at all ready to start correcting it.  However, she’s trying to teach Georgia how to talk, and I heard her saying “Jaw-ja (Georgia), say AnnaWee!  Anna-Wee!”  So, we may have to correct her speach sooner than I would like, because she is teaching other children how to speak as she does…which is pretty darn cute if I do say so myself. :)

That’s all folks!  Happy Monday!

-kate

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Fishing and Fun

My wonderful husband is an extremely hard working Real Estate man!  He works almost every Saturday and Sunday, and for that we are thankful!  While we love that he is busy and keeps us all fed and clothed, we love the occasional break so that we can have some family fun.

Saturday morning, Preston had a job for us to do.  He had gotten FOUR balls stuck in a tree at his school.  He accidentally threw one ball into the tree, and then threw several more into the tree trying to knock the trapped balls down.  The tree was just EATING the footballs!  He got 3 footballs stuck, then decided to use a baseball to knock the footballs down.  The baseball even got stuck!  How in the world can a baseball stick on a branch!  Look at this!

And the balls were way up in the tree!  Brad thought he would take a ladder and a pole and knock them out, but they were much too high, so he thought he would just throw the pole (which was like an old shovel handle) into the tree to knock the balls out…and the POLE GOT STUCK!  The tree sucked it up like velcro!  It was crazy!

So dear Brad thought he would climb up a little and start shaking the branches to get the balls to drop from the tree.

That didn’t last long enough for me to get a picture! :)

Then this other 8 year old showed up and said he would get them out.  I never dreamed he would actually climb the tree, but in athletic shorts and CLEATS, he climbed that tree like a monkey!  He knocked the footballs and baseball loose.  We could not have done it without him!

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Then on Sunday, Brad didn’t have to work at all.  It was a true blessing to have him home all day!  Don’t get me wrong, we want him to have work and to be successful, but it is nice to have him around a little on the weekends.

The kids have been begging to go fishing, so we took them to our church and we had a great time!  They were actually vocal about how much fun it was…which is unusual!

When did my baby start looking like a 16 year old?  I mean, she’s acted like one for a while, but she is just looking so grown up!

AnnaLeigh caught the first fish, and she was so excited!

It was HUGE! :)

Then Lilly Katherine caught the second fish.  The picture below has to be one of my most favorite pictures ever!  It is so representative of my maniacs’ personalities!  Lilly Katherine is so happy because she caught a cute little fish!  AnnaLeigh knew I was going to take a picture of the fish, and she wanted to make sure she was in the picture, posing!  Preston is so competitive that he had smoke coming out of his flared nostrils, with chest bowed, and though you can’t see this in the picture, I am certain that his heart was pounding.  His sisters both caught a fish before him, but he would make sure he caught the last!

He “cast” his line right where the girls were, and he caught a giant fish!   He was happy!

It was beautiful weather, we had fun with the whole family, and we were all thankful to get to spend time with DADDY!

A righteous man who walks in his integrity—
How blessed are his sons after him.”   – Proverbs 20:7

-kate

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Photo Dump!

I have all these random pictures from the last month that I have never posted…so I am just going to do a massive photo dump in one big, obnoxious post with a million pictures of my maniacs!

The boy loves his baby sister…and she loves him.

Fun at the Dallas Arboretum on our way home from Oklahoma

My thug baby.  He loves to put his hat on her like this, and she thinks she looks pretty cute when he does.

My brother had a baby in November and we recently got to attend a Sip-n-See for them.  My girls were more entertained by the American Girls than by sweet baby Brinley.

My little peach loving on the American Girl doll.

Georgia and Laurabeth were trying to figure out why this little squirmy baby was crying!

The 5 girls of the family…my 3, my sister’s baby, Laurabeth, and baby Brinley, who was a little cross-eyed. :)

This is Nancy, Anne, and Laurabeth…my sister’s mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and baby.  Anne is the precious woman that does so many sweet things for my babies…and Laurabeth looks just like her Aunt Sugar!

Cousin pics…lots of cousin pics.

My 4 maniacs- AnnaLeigh, Preston, Lilly Katherine, and Georgia.  This was the best pic I could get.  It was cold and they were not too thrilled to be taking pictures.

My sister’s 3 cute kids- Caleb, Laurabeth, and Truett

My mom and Brinley

Sweet and Sassy!

The real AnnaLeigh!

My parents and all their grandkids (at this moment).

My handsome big bug.  It kills me that he is getting so big.

But this is really how he acts. :)

Opening day at the ballpark with my nephew, Garrett, and Preston.

The best daddy in the world!  He sure loves his baby girls…and they love him!

My baby girl likes food…like her mama.  When she’s ready to eat, she climbs into her bumbo and waits for food.  Love her!

Preston’s solar system that he was working on in this post.  He did it all by himself, and he did a super job!

My mother and sister have both seen Wicked and have wanted me to see it for a while.  Last weekend, my mom took us both to see it, and it was FABULOUS!

Georgia and Laurabeth cooking together.  They are not going to know if they are cousins or sisters…and I love that!

My little peach!

Yesterday I made a whirlwind trip to Dallas and was so blessed to see 4 of the most special women in my life!  It was a total impromptu meeting and it only lasted about an hour, but it was a true blessing to be with these wise, Godly women who are struggling through motherhood with crazy, little, funny people just like I am!

My precious dear friends, I know you hate me for putting this on here, but I love you all from the bottom of my heart!  (This is the kind of pic you get when everyone needs to leave and Kristin’s sweet little man takes the pic on his mama’s phone. :) )

 

Have a lovely weekend!

-kate

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Mickey Mouse Pops

I promised that I would post the instructions for the Mickey Mouse Pops from AnnaLeigh and Truett’s Mickey Mouse Train Birthday party.  Well, this may be 2 weeks late, but I am finally posting.

Also 2.5 weeks late would be our family Easter picture.  I would love to post all the pics of my maniacs hunting eggs at school, church, and at friends’ houses, but at this point, I think I have waited much too long to write about our Easter weekend.  Here is one family pic that was snapped before we walked into church.

And now onto our Mickey Mouse Pops.

They are really pretty simple, and don’t take too much time or skill.  Mine were in no way perfect, and I did not take the time to make them perfect.  I knew they were going straight in the mouths of precious little babes (and my big ol’ mouth), so I wasn’t too worried about perfection.  The kids knew that these were Mickey pops…and that’s all that mattered.

What you will need:

Mini Oreos, MEGA STUF Oreos, Chocolate Almond Bark, Lollipop Sticks

I went to the store to get Double Stuf Oreos, but I found these instead!  How could I resist?!?

They worked beautifully for the Mickey Pops.  You can use Double Stuf Oreos if you can not find the Mega Stuf.

Put one cube of Almond Bark in a ZipLock bag and microwave it on a low power.  You want your almond bark to melt, but you do not want it to be too hot to handle.  Once it is melted, cut a tiny slit in the corner of the bag.

Squeeze a dab onto a mini Oreo

Stick the Mini Oreos to the Mega Stuf Oreo.  It does NOT have to be perfect.  The chocolate can be globby.  Hm.  Spell check doesn’t like the word “globby.”  Oh well, you want enough chocolate for the Mini Oreos to stick to the large Oreo.

Set the Mickey heads on wax paper and let them completely dry before you put them on a lollipop stick.

Then push the Lollipop stick into the white center.  It will fit perfectly into the Mega Stuf Oreos and it works best if you apply a little pressure to the cookie, just so it doesn’t break apart.  If you find that the white filling is too hard, microwave each cookie for about 2-3 seconds just to barely soften it.  Push the stick almost all the way through, but not quite.

You will need a shallow bowl to coat the Mickey heads with chocolate.  Melt the almond bark.  Again, you will need to heat it on a low power so that it is warm, but not too hot to handle.  You will have to hold the bowl, so make sure it’s not too hot for your hand.  Also, if the chocolate it too hot, it will melt the ears off of your Mickey head.

Dip one side of the Mickey in the chocolate, making sure that you coat the white icing of the large Oreo and the small Oreos.  It works best if you tilt the bowl of chocolate over to get the chocolate as close to the edge as possible.  The chocolate needs to come all the way to the lollipop stick so that the Mickey pop stays in tact.

Quickly dip it on one side.

Then flip it and dip it on the other side.  Again, focus on completely covering the Mickey with the chocolate almond bark.  I did lose an occasional ear into the chocolate.  Just stick it back on and lay that one aside until it dries again…or eat it. :)

Lay them on wax paper until they are completely dry.   And that is it!  Mickey Mouse Pops!

We covered them with a little cellophane bag and put a red/white bow on them.  Ta-Dah!

See ya real soon!

-kate

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Mickey Mouse Train Birthday Party

Hello!  My name is Kate, and this is my blog.  I do exist, but the more I want to put on the old blog, the more I have going on, and the less likely it is that I will actually post anything.  I feel like I just can’t catch up!  Sooooo, instead of doing the 43 loads of laundry that await my tired body, I will sit and post my baby’s birthday party.

First, let me say that somehow we have a touch of the stomach bug again!  It’s nothing like the horrible one we had a few weeks ago, but it’s vomit nonetheless!

Anyway!

AnnaLeigh’s birthday was in January, but she wanted to have a party outside.  I told her we had to wait until it warmed up a bit, so we waited 3 months. :)  My sister’s son, Truett, is 5 weeks younger than AnnaLeigh, and we have learned that combined parties are best for everyone!

Last year we had a Hello Kitty Dumptruck party.  The year before that we had a Very Hungry Caterpillar party.

This year, we again asked the kids what they wanted.  AnnaLeigh wanted a Mickey Mouse party.  Truett wanted a train party.

Hmmm.

A Mickey Mouse Train party it is.  The themes are getting a little hard to combine.

Ashley and I decided that life is crazy and we needed simple this time.  We just had a few friends, mostly our regular Sonic group, join us at Sonic on Friday afternoon for some happy hour drinks and cake.  Pretty fancy, I tell ya!

It was the perfect day.  The perfect place to have a party.  The perfect time to celebrate their birthdays…even if it was a few months late.  We had a blast!  Here are a few pics.

This little maniac has decided that this is her new smile.  Pursed lips and sassier than ever!  Such a mess!

My sister made the Birthday Crossing sign and the cute food train.  The train had had a coal car (Coco puffs), a log car (long pretzel sticks), a gravel car (tator tots), a produce car (cuties), an animal car (animal crackers) and a favor car (little Mickey pops).  I will post the recipe for the Mickey pops later this week…hopefully.

(Mickey pop tutorial coming soon.)

My sister, Ashley, with her husband and precious Laurabeth.

Garrett is always a hit with the younger boys!

Walker, Preston, Sam…taking a quick break from football.

Brad’s parents and AnnaLeigh

My dad and my baby girl.

I was teasing with Georgia and hurt her feelings.  It was so pitiful, but it resulted in a few minutes of sweet hugs and love.  I love those sweet little cheeks and tiny little hands!

My funny grandmother, Memama, and the birthday girl.  We are so thankful that she is here and we get to see her every week.  It is so special for Memama to be able to attend all these crazy birthday parties.

My Pinky loved her cake…which made me happy!  She ate every bite, of course.

Sweet Truett couldn’t wait to get the train engine.  It was all marshmallow fondant and food coloring.  He ate the whole thing!

Crazy girl!  I love you more than you will ever know.  You certainly keep me smiling and keep my on my toes…and keep me humble!  I love everything about you.

You are a leader already, and the Lord can use you in mighty ways.  Allow him to lead you and let his love spill out of you.

People listen to you.  Speak words of love and kindness and truth.  Be a good friend and look for friends that are wise.  Make wise decisions.  Love your sisters and your brother.  Listen to your mama and daddy.  Give everyone the respect that you want.

I am proud of the little maniac that you are becoming.  I love watching you learn and grow every single day.  You make me smile.  You have my heart.

I love you, Pinky!

-kate

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Resurrection Eggs

This is a post from Easter, 2 years ago.  My kids have enjoyed this tradition so much, that I just had to repost it in case any of you wanted to make Resurrection Eggs for your kids.  If you follow our tradition of reading from one egg every night for 12 nights, you will need to open the first egg on Wednesday, March 20 and the final egg on Easter Sunday.

(Originally posted April 16, 2011)

When I was a kid I lived for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny.  I love the thrill of the surprise (even though I often searched for my presents hidden in my parents’ bedroom), and I love the mystery and excitement.  However, now that I have kids, I want them to understand that these holidays are about so much more than Santa and a silly bunny.  Not that my parents didn’t teach us the real meanings of these holidays, but my focus was just never right as a child.

This Christmas, Preston and Lilly Katherine followed the lead of my sweet nephew, Caleb, and they learned a good part of Luke 2.  It was so sweet to see the verses and the story of Christ’s birth come alive to them.

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to find another passage for them to memorize for Easter, but I couldn’t find a passage.  The Easter story is more spread out and it would be hard for them to memorize several chapters (not that they couldn’t do it…) :)

My Google search resulted in something I had not heard of, although I’m sure many of you have…Resurrection Eggs.  This seemed like the perfect visual for my children to memorize the details of Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.  It’s not a fun, Easter Bunny story.  In fact, it’s sad and horrible, but it has a happy ending, and it’s so important for my children to learn and know the REAL meaning of what we are really celebrating on Easter.

You can purchase Resurrection Eggs online, but I wanted to make them myself.  I got ideas from a few different people, then I chose all the verses I wanted to teach my maniacs.  I used different symbols than many of the eggs I saw, plus I have listed 3 additional symbols that you could use.  (Use as many as you want.  You don’t have to be limited to 12, but I wanted our eggs to store neatly in my egg carton, so I chose 12.  I’m weird like that.)

I have also created a printable PDF of the list of eggs and a PDF of the verses, so you can cut and put them in your eggs.  Please feel free to use these to teach your family about Christ. (PDFs at bottom of post)

 

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We started opening eggs 12 days before Easter, and we will open one every night.  On Easter we will open the empty egg, to symbolize that Jesus has risen, and the tomb was empty.  Preston reads the verses for us and then we talk about what each one means.  I have heard other people that open all of them and let their kids try to put them in order.  Just use this as a tool…there are no rules.  Once you make it, you can use it year after year.

A few little tips:

Day 1: Palm branch.  I just cut up an old fake ivy leaf that I had around the house.  Not sure why I have fake ivy as a decoration, but if you do, cut it up for your palm branch.

Day 2: Perfume.  If you have a small bottle of perfume, use it.  If you don’t, steal one from a friend, like I did. (Thanks, Dominique).  Or, you can just put some perfume on a cotton ball.

Day 3: Towel.  Use a small baby’s washcloth, or I just cut a piece from an old towel.

Day 4: Little piece of bread.  Some people use a piece of chex cereal, but we always have bread.  Once you put it in the egg, it gets hard quickly…it doesn’t mold.

Day 5: 3 dimes because Judas was paid 30 silver coins when he betrayed Jesus.  Sword can be made with cardboard and foil, or you can borrow one from an action figure.

Day 6: Crown of thorns.  I used a rose branch and twisted it into a circle.  (Again, thanks Dominique)

Day 7: Dice (crazy, but I didn’t have any) and for the clothes I just cut a little robe out of a piece of material.

Day 8: Cross and nails.  I just used 2 little sticks and bound them together with thread/floss.

Day 9: Sponge with a little vinegar.  I soaked it in vinegar and then squeezed it out.  The smell remains, but your sponge doesn’t stay wet.

Day 10: Spices.  Use whatever whole spices you have.  Cloves, Cinnamon sticks…

Day 11: Rock.  Any small pebble will work…even one from a fake flower arrangement.  This has taught me I need some decorations that aren’t fake greenery!

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How to make Resurrection Eggs for your family.  Here is a printable PDFs of the eggs, symbols, story, verses, and prophesies they fulfilled.

Resurrection Eggs

Here is the printable PDF of the verses, so you can cut them and place them in the appropriate egg.

Resurrection Eggs Verses

I hope you and your family are blessed by this project.

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Baylor Basketball at it’s Finest

Saturday night Brad and I took Preston to Waco for the Baylor vs. Kansas basketball game.  We were excited to spend time with P, because we realized that the last time we really had one on one time with him was when we took him to a Cowboy’s game in December 2010!!!

That was over 2 years ago!  Time for some QT!

So we headed to Waco, blaring Preston’s favorite CD, TobyMac (thanks to his Uncle Alan).

Side note, I loved DC Talk growing up, and Preston couldn’t believe that I grew up listening to TobyMac as well.  He was shocked to know that TobyMac is older than I am, and my goodness, apparently he is FOURTEEN years older than I am!  I have to say that it’s pretty impressive that he has wowed the Hip-Hop world for this many years.  Anyway, I told P that I loved listening to DC Talk, so Saturday morning I dug out my old “Free at Last” CD and just looking at the cover made me have youth group flashbacks!

I put the CD in, and immediately started singing every word of every song.  Crazy how I can remember those words, and I can’t remember my children’s names!  Well about 20 minutes later, CD still playing, I hear (BLARING from Preston’s bedroom)

“I don’t want it.  I don’t want it.  I don’t want yo SEX for now! 

S-E-X is a test when I’m pressed so back up off with less of that zest…”

and I’m telling you I couldn’t run fast enough to turn that thing off!  I took the CD out and decided we might not be quite ready for DC Talk.  Not that it’s a bad message!  I fully support the message, but I really don’t need my 4 year old maniac talking about S-E-X!  She can’t spell her name, but I can guarantee she would remember that!

So, as usual, I digressed!  Sorry…

Back to Saturday.  Jamming to TobyMac, we arrived in Waco at 3:59.  The bookstore closed at 4:00.  Preston and I jumped out of the car and slipped into the Baylor bookstore just in time to purchase a basketball for the players to sign…just in case we met any players. :)

The game was phenomenal!  It was the most exciting sporting event I think I have ever been to.  Those players are shockingly tall and we were just off the court, so we had a front row pass to the action.  It was a great game!

However, it wasn’t just the game that was special.  I got to see 2 of my college roommates, AND…

RGIII was sitting just a few rows in front of us!

WOOHOO!!!  In case you don’t remember, Preston is a HUGE Robert Griffin III fan, but what Baylor bear isn’t?

I wish I had pics from the game, but we only had our phones, and every image is blurry because those boys move FAST!

Baylor had an exciting victory over #4 Kansas, 81-58!

When the game was over, everyone rushed onto the court, including Brad and Preston.

Coach Tang even held Preston in the air so he could see Pierre Jackson being interviewed.

We stayed after the game and got to meet several players.  Other than the fact that my little worrier was convinced they were going to turn the lights off and lock us in there, we had a blast!

There was a Baylor Baseball game going on across the parking lot, so we dropped in there to catch an inning.

As we were leaving the ball park, I asked my baby boy, that LOVES Baylor, “P, so are you going to go to Baylor when you go to college?”  My logical, analytical boy didn’t hesitate.  He just looked at me like I was nuts and said, “I don’t know.  I haven’t started looking at colleges yet.”

But for now, my little man is a Baylor Bear!  Sic ‘em!

-kate

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Roasted Green Beans

All I can say is that it’s been a LONG 2 weeks!  We got the world’s worst stomach bug, and I have changed more vomit sheets and poopy pants (and washed my hands) more times than I can count!  Let’s just say it was NOT a 24 hour bug, and it was vicious!  It lasted 5-6 days each for all 3 girls.  My sweet baby Georgia was already too small, and after that nasty bug, my tiny 13-month old weighed just over 14 1/2 pounds.

Praise the LORD, we are on the mend…I hope!

And thank goodness the Laundry Fairy has come to my house, because I certainly need help after last week!

So, that is where I have been.  I planned on posting this recipe over a week ago, but I was…occupied!

Moving on.

I have fallen in love with a new (new to me, anyway) way to cook green beans, thanks to my sweet friend Dominique.  It’s so simple, so delicious, so healthy!

Roasted Green Beans

You will need only 4 ingredients:

Green Beans, Olive Oil, Pepper, and Salt

And if you ever wonder what all my maniacs are doing as I cook, allow me to pan out…

In front of me, on the other side of the table, Preston was painting Styrofoam balls for his Solar System project.

And beside me, these two maniacs asked if they could paint…and in a moment of WEAKNESS, I said “Yes!”

It wasn’t long before I regretted that decision.  My bathroom sink may never recover, and I have a few towels that certainly will not!  I do not have just a ton of patience, and I have decided that painting projects with 2 little girls, requires a great deal of it.  Let’s just say they ditched the PAINTING, and just played with the PAINT!  They created their own color, which sounds real creative and stuff, but they used almost all of the paint, just dumping it and mixing it.

They called their color “New Purple.”

I would call it a shade closer to doo-doo!  Either way, it all ended in the trash when they tried to save it on a paper plate with a napkin as a cover.  Brilliant.

I digressed…sorry!

So on to the green beans.

Wash and drain the green beans.  Trim both ends.

Line them up.

Trim them.

Turn them around and repeat.

Drizzle the green beans with a small amount of EVOO, and toss to coat.

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Grind course black pepper on top of the green beans.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly brown, stirring occasionally.  As you remove them from the oven, sprinkle with salt.

Enjoy, and they are better than they look in that sad picture above.  And because we live on the edge, I let my kids eat these with their fingers.  For some reason, if they are allowed to consume food using their hands, they will eat happier and eat more.

Recipe for Roasted Green Beans

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pound Fresh Green Beans
  • 1-2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • Salt

Wash green beans and trim both ends.  Drizzle with EVOO and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Grind black pepper on the beans.  Cook at 350° for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When they are lightly brown, remove from oven and sprinkle with salt.  Enjoy!

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-kate

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I’ll Love You Forever

My sweet baby girl has felt pretty puny all week.  I think she has the stomach bug on top of an ear infection.  The ONLY good thing that comes out of having a sick baby is that I get to snuggle with her all the time.

I wish Georgia was a cuddly baby, but she is not.  If she can tell that I am trying to snuggle or sneak a kiss, she pushes me away and says in a very forceful 1 year old voice “OP!”

That’s right!  “OP!” (stop!)

My precious baby girl does not say “dog” or “cat” or “please” but she can yell “OP” like a champ!  We make feisty women, I tell ya!

Anyway, my little peach has been sick, and as a result I have gotten lots of love from her…and I have been bound to my house, but whatever.

Today I was reading a book to her that has been a favorite of mine since Preston was born, “Love You Forever.”

If you are pregnant or you have children, please make sure this is one of the books in your baby’s library.  It is such a precious book, and it has been well loved at our house.

I remember the first time I read this book, holding my newborn baby boy in my arms.  I remember rocking him back and forth and singing (very off key with my own little “tune”) the song that the mother sings to her little boy.

I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.

I remember getting to the end of the book and literally BUSTING into tears.  I am not sure that I could not even finish reading it.  I have read this book probably 100 times, and I bet that I have cried at least 40.  I might be a little on the emotional side, but to my credit I have basically been pregnant or nursing for the last 9 1/2 years, so I blame hormones for a few of those tears.

Well, as I read “Love You Forever” to AnnaLeigh last week, I noticed something.  I have always felt like the mom in the above picture, with that little baby.  I have also been able to relate to the part about the 2-year old.  I have been “that mom” for a long time.

However, as I read this page, I started crying in the middle of the book!  Look at this!

The little boy grew.  He grew and he grew and he grew.  He grew until he was NINE years old. 

NINE!  (Like Preston!!!)

And he never wanted to come in for dinner (Preston), he never wanted to take a bath (Preston), and when grandma visited he always said bad words (Preston better not!).  Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo (Preston!)

And look at the picture…

PRESTON!

The only difference I see in that picture and my life is that there are no dishes in that sink!

It seriously depressed me!  On the very next page of this book, the boy is a TEENAGER!  Then he moves out of the house!  I am halfway there.  Literally…half.way.there!

What in the world!?!?!

Since I haven’t figured out how to freeze time, I guess I will hold this baby and enjoy reading to my puny little peach.

May you all stay free from sickness, but take a minute to read this book to your baby…even if your baby is NINE!

-kate

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Salmon with Jalapeno Caesar Pasta Salad

I have not posted a recipe in FOREVER!  So, it’s time to post one!

But first…

My dear, precious husband knows how to make me happy, happy, happy!  Brad is truly the best husband in the world, and one of the sweet gifts he got me for Valentine’s Day was this coffee cup…probably hoping that I will wake up a little happy, happy, happy-er in the mornings than I do.

And just in case you have a child that decides she wants to

“Pwactice huh wettahs”

(Practice her letters) on your computer screen…

Windex doesn’t touch it.  409 doesn’t work.  BUT the Magic Eraser is truly MAGIC!  It took every bit of pen off of my computer screen, with ease.  And a certain little maniac will never make that mistake again!

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Moving on.

We love salmon.  It was on sale.  I bought a lot of it!

I think salmon is one of the easiest things to cook, and it is hard to mess up!  I usually just put it on foil, put a few thin slices of butter on top.  Sprinkle it with Nature’s Seasons, Montreal Steak Grill Mates, and Garlic Pepper, then squeeze a little lemon on it and grill until it flakes easily.

We enjoyed salmon with baked potatoes, green beans, and this salad, but I had leftover cooked salmon that I needed to use.

So, I made Salmon with Jalapeno Caesar Pasta Salad…

Of course, you could use chicken or steak, but we prefer salmon.

You will need:  Romaine Lettuce, Penne Pasta, Parmesan Cheese, Tomatoes, Salmon (or chicken), and Jalapeno Caesar Dressing (Recipe for dressing below)

While you are cooking the pasta, make jalapeno Caesar dressing.  It is so easy, and adds so much to the salad.

Recipe for Jalapeno Caesar Dressing

You will need Caesar Dressing, a Jalapeno, a Lime or a Lemon, and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

It is best if you choose a Caesar dressing that you are already happy with.  I used what I had, but a good Caesar would have been much better.  Also, a lemon will work, but a lime offers much more flavor, so use a lime if you have one.

I did not.

Roughly chop the jalapeno with seeds and place it in a food processor.

Add 1 cup of Caesar dressing, the juice from one lime (or lemon), and freshly ground black pepper.  Process until smooth.

Then you just combine the amount of lettuce and pasta that you want, and add tomatoes, Parmesan, Salmon, and dressing.

So easy.  So delicious!

Recipe for Salmon with Jalapeno Caesar Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
  • Penne Pasta
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Salmon or Chicken
  • 1 Cup of good quality Bottled Caesar Dressing
  • 1 Jalapeno
  • Juice from 1 Lime or 1 Lemon (about 1 Tablespoon)
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh Ground Black Pepper

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, roughly chop jalapeno.  Place jalapeno, Caesar dressing, lime juice, and fresh ground black pepper in a food processor and process until smooth.

In a large bowl, combine the amount of lettuce and pasta that you want.  Add the tomatoes, Parmesan, salmon, and dressing for your big, fat, yummy, Jalapeno Caesar Pasta Salad!

Enjoy!

Upon posting that last picture, my stomach has started growling.  It’s 12:30.  I have a cookie cake in the kitchen.  Hmmm.  I think I’ll have one little bite of it…just to make my tummy be quiet.  :)

Happy eating!

-kate

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Beep Beep!

Last year at Lilly Katherine’s Build-A-Bear party, AnnaLeigh loved playing with this little red Build-A-Bear car.

Because she had so much fun with it at the party, my mother-in-law gave the red car to AnnaLeigh for Christmas last year.  The kids have used it for their bears several times.

HOWEVER, this week it has become Georgia’s sweet ride.  She LOVES her new car!  Only my 1 year old would fit perfectly in a B-A-B car!

Beep Beep!

-kate

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Remembering MamaSara

Sunday morning, Brad woke me up with a phone in his hand and he said, “Kate, your mom wants to talk to you.”  I tried to open my eyes, and I groggily stumbled out of my bed to go sit in the floor of the closet, so I could talk on the phone and not wake my sleeping baby.

My mother told me that my sweet MamaSara had passed away in her sleep Sunday morning.  I am positive that as MamaSara stood before the Lord, he said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  While I am happy that her body is now whole and free of pain and free of cancer and free of the confusion of Alzheimer’s, I will forever miss this woman!

Every facet of my life has been marked by her…from the perfume that I wear, to the food that I cook, to the colors in my home, to the colors that I wear, to the dishes that I use, to the words that I choose, to the way I serve the Lord, to the way I love my husband.  She has touched literally every aspect of my life, and for that I am truly grateful.

MamaSara was adored by everyone that knew her.  She was such a servant to our family, constantly cooking amazing feasts for us and cleaning up after us.  If you fixed yourself a drink, you better hold onto it, because she had some kind of internal sensor that went off if a cup hit the counter, and she immediately put it in the dishwasher.  I did not receive that gene.

She served her church from the time she was 14, until October 2011, at the age of 81.  She faithfully played the organ for 67 years, every single week, and at every wedding and funeral that she could attend.

The most precious part of her funeral was the music.  They had recorded MamaSara playing the organ a few years ago, and every single note played at her funeral was played by MamaSara’s strong, talented, beautiful hands.

I will miss her hands.  Even when her mind was gone, her hands remained the same.  I could still see MamaSara in her hands.

My grandmother was a woman of class and grace and beauty.

She did not involve herself in drama or gossip.  If she heard us say something unkind about someone, her response was, “Well, just pray for them.”  And everything she said, was with a thick, southern, Mississippi accent.

Every phone conversation I had with MamaSara involved her asking about every single member of the family, and always ended with “Well, kiss Brad for me, and kiss those babies for me, and tell your mama and daddy that we love them.  I love you, honey.”

I can still hear her saying it.

She couldn’t come visit without bringing a little treat, that she always called “a little happy.”  And my MamaSara loved to shop, or “bump around,” as she called it.  That woman could sniff out sales from miles around.  She loved only the finest things, but only if it was a good deal.  My dad always joked that she would buy a dead dog if it was 75% off.

In our hometown, there were “SAKS” sales, and MamaSara is famous for buying a single Farregamo shoe at one sale, hoping that one day she would find the mate.  She found a solo match at the next sale.  It was a size off, but she made it work.

I loved to call her to ask cooking questions.  She never had exact answers or measurements.  Just a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  My cousin Amy Lauren and I have compared a few recipes of hers and you would think that they were from two different people.  She just cooked things until they tasted right, and her food ALWAYS tasted wonderful!  She and my papa have cooked many fabulous Italian/Lebanese meals together for our family.

MamaSara loved to fish with her grandbabies and she loved to play the piano with any babies that would sit with her.

MamaSara loved to hold babies.

MamaSara loved for us to come visit, and she would wait up for us no matter how late it was when we arrived.  She would greet us at the door and want to start feeding us immediately…even at 1 in the morning.  And when it was time to go back home, she would walk us out kissing us and hugging us, and trying to give us any food she had in the house so we wouldn’t starve on the way home.

MamaSara loved her family!  Her children certainly arise and call her blessed.  She was a wonderful mother to 5 children.

She was a wonderful grandmother to 16 grandchildren.

And a wonderful great-grandmother to 24 great-grandchildren (with 4 more on the way).

She has left quite a legacy!  MamaSara and Papa instilled incredible morals and values in their children, which have been passed throughout the generations.

MamaSara loved Papa!

MamaSara and Papa were married for over 60 years!

She loved her husband, and I know that the reason she was alive this last year, was so the whole family could witness the love they have for each other.  Papa cared for her every single day.  It was a 24 hour job, and it was a HARD job!

They moved in October 2011, and her health spiraled downhill from there.  She had cancer and Alzheimer’s.  Papa talks about how it was a blessing that she had both diseases and not just one.  I know that sounds strange, but it was truly a display of God’s mercy on my sweet grandmother.  If she had cancer alone, she would have been in excruciating pain.  But she did not have much pain at all, because her brain was so greatly effected by Alzheimer’s.  If she had Alzheimer’s alone, she would have lived longer, but it would have been a sad, sad, confusing life to live.  With both diseases, she was relatively pain free, and she only suffered about a year and a half.

My Papa was the perfect example of “in sickness and in health…until death do us part.”  I have never seen anyone love another person as he loved MamaSara.  He told her he loved her a million times a day.  He brought her sweet gifts, and took care of her every moment of the day.  She was uneasy if Papa wasn’t around.  She asked for him, and wanted him near her at all times.  Papa was the only person that she always knew.  Even until the end, she would poke at him and tease with him.  They had the kind of love that the Lord wants us to have for our spouse, and I pray that Brad and I will love as they have.

MamaSara will be missed.  I am thankful that I have peace knowing that I will see her again one day.  I am thankful for the Lord, and that our life here on earth is just a moment in time compared to eternity.

May my hope be in the Lord and my focus be on the Lord, as I strive to be the kind of woman that MamaSara was.

I love you, MamaSara!

-kate

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Proverbs 31: 10-31

The Wife of Noble Character

10 [c] A wife of noble character who can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still dark;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her servant girls.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Last Week

I have tons of random things floating around in my head, so I am just going to dump them in a post.

Happenings of last week….

Friday I was at home trying to get ready for Georgia’s birthday party.  I was doing laundry and baking cakes and making dresses and there was evidence of all my many projects all over the house!

ALL.OVER.THE.HOUSE!

So, it was 10 in the morning, and I was just minding my own business, baking cakes, and trying to keep peace between 3 little maniacs.  I was busy working in the kitchen…in my pjs and my fancy new house shoes, looking pretty scary!  All three girls were still in their pjs.  All of the sudden, my house FIRE alarm starts going off.  I had no idea why.  I had taken the cakes out of the oven, and nothing else was in the oven.  There was no fire.

We don’t have a house phone, except in the garage, and I heard it ringing and knew it was the alarm company.  I ran out to answer it and assured them there was no fire.  They told me that it was protocol to send the firetruck, and then she said the firemen were already on their way.

HOLY COW!

We live literally 2 blocks from the fire station.

I panicked!

I screamed at Lilly Katherine and AnnaLeigh, “Run to the window and tell me when the firemen pull up.”

I ran to my bedroom and threw on a bra and clothes as fast as I could, and I was shaking trying to get them on so quickly.  The girls screamed “THEY’RE HERE!” and by the time I could run to the door, the firemen were standing there…in full fireman equipment…and hats…with the big ol’ firetruck at my house.

I thanked them for coming and told them there was no fire.

They said they had to come in anyway.

GLORIOUS!

So, these kind gentlemen had to walk through every room of my house, AND my attic, checking to see if there was a fire.  All the while, Lilly Katherine, AnnaLeigh, Georgia, and I followed along, as I apologized profusely for our living conditions.  In my defense, I was working on many projects.

So, here’s a snap shot of what the dear firemen saw in every room of my house.  This is “Project Monkey Dress” or a better name would probably be “A fabric store threw up in my dining room!”  Keep in mind that the party was at my house Saturday morning, so it was all cleaned and put away before everyone arrived.  No, I did not sleep much Friday night.

After the poor firemen were gone, I realized that I am so thankful that they arrived so quickly.  I pray I never need them, but if I do, they are right around the corner.  And I am VERY thankful for how thorough they were and how kind they were.  The world is better because of people serving in rolls such as that.

And don’t you worry, I was telling myself the whole time they were here, “Kate, they have seen worse.  They have seen worse!”

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Also last week…

I decided to try a little Pinterest jewel I discovered.  HA!

I found this this great hair secret on Pinterest that was going to solve all of my problems, and I could not wait to try it out.

My hair was going to magically change into beautiful wavy locks while I slept, with these few easy steps.

Well I should have known things were not going to turn out well when my sock bun was not the cute little bun in her picture, but instead it looked like a monster was attacking my head.

So, what I learned is that if you have a MOP of hair on your head, as I do, your hair will not be beautiful round waves as seen in the above left, but you will look more like I did in the above right, which looked an awful lot like this…

And that really is what I looked like.  Brad was even laughing at me, and he never laughs at my big head o’ hair.  Soooo, give the sock bun thing a try if you have thin hair, and follow the link, because she gives good instructions.  You can have my sock.  I don’t think I’ll be trying this again.

Good luck to you.

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Also last week…

We were at church Sunday night for a parenting class that Brad and I are attending.  We are trying to get any good advice we can on raising these 4 wild ones!  Brad worked out before church, so he was wearing his athletic shorts and a fairly short t-shirt.  When our class ended, he went to pick the kids up from their classes, and our kids always react so differently.  Lilly Katherine runs, hides, and tells us “NO!” because she would rather stay there forever.  AnnaLeigh, on the other hand, will run screaming “MAMA!!!” or “DADDY!” with arms wide open, ready to jump into our arms.

On a few occasions she has gotten so excited to see us that she has excitedly BITTEN us.  Once, she bit me on the bottom so hard that I screamed and felt I hit the ceiling like a cartoon character.  Another time she excitedly bit Brad…but it wasn’t his bottom…it was somewhere more tender.  :/  He doubled over in pain, and she clamped down so hard it left a bruise.  I was laughing so hysterically!

This Sunday night, Brad got to AnnaLeigh’s classroom and she ran screaming, “DADDY!!!”  She ran up to him, hugged him, and PULLED HIS PANTS DOWN in the church hallway!

His hands were full, and he struggled to grab his shorts from his knees and pull them to his waste!  The saddest thing is that I MISSED IT!  I’m so sad I wasn’t there to witness this moment help my dear husband.

It’s always something.  Always. Something!

And lastly…

We had Georgia’s first birthday party last week, and I just wanted to put a pic of all of my babies at their first birthday party.

Oh my how I love that crew!  That wild, crazy, loud little crew!

Happy Friday!

-kate

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My Little Monkey is ONE!

Saturday we celebrated my baby girl’s first birthday.

This is little Miss Georgia Sarullo at 12 days old, and Georgia at one year.

How is that the same kid?  How is that big baby girl my little newborn?

CRAZY!

I’m telling you, I know I say this over and over, but I truly can’t believe how quickly Georgia’s first year flew by.  It seems like this and this happened about 3 weeks ago!

SERIOUSLY!  3 weeks ago!

But Saturday we celebrated my baby girl’s first year of life with a little family party.  We shared the party with my sister’s baby girl, Laurabeth, who is just 6 days older than Georgia.  I love that these 2 are going to be almost like sisters growing up together.

Georgia and Laurabeth both sleep with the same kind of lovie, a sweet pink lovie monkey.  They love them, so we decided to have a Monkey birthday party for our little monkeys.

We used Curious George books as the guest books, and let everyone write a little note for each of the babies.

This was the first time that AnnaLeigh had ever written her name out for me.  Yes, she is four, but she is the third child, and she REFUSES to write her letters.  she loved signing Georgia and Laurabeth’s books, and she did a great job.

We’ll get the left to right thing another time.

Laurabeth LOVES her lovie monkey!

This is my sister and her little growing family…and she is PREGNANT with #4, due in June.  Yes, we are all crazy!
My Uncle Carroll and Aunt Barbara

This is “Aunt Sugar” and she is my brother-in-law, Alan’s, sister.  She is a wonderful part of our family and she loves our kids so much!  She and Georgia share a birthday, so I put Aunt Sugar’s name on the back of the cake.

When Georgia saw the cake, she was so excited…which of course made this mama very happy!

Laurabeth is always picking on poor Georgia…stealing something.  “Oh look!  A bow that I can eat!”

We told Laurabeth and Georgia to grab the monkey’s head.  We had to make special “cakes” for them, because Laurabeth is allergic to eggs and Georgia has FPIES (but we think she is growing out if that quickly).  We couldn’t let them eat regular birthday cake, so they ate rice krispie monkey heads covered in fondant.  Sugar, sugar, and more sugar…with a little butter.

I think I like this!

My mom was teaching Georgia new tricks.

I know this is a gross picture of me, but it is precious of my baby girl and my cute hubby…and I love these two!

My sweet baby girl, you will never know how much I love you!  You are the perfect little exclamation point to our crazy family!

You are fun and funny.

You are my tiny baby girl, and I am so thankful you are so little at a whopping 15 pounds, although I would be okay if you gained a pound or two and slept through the night.  It’s time!

You are a great eater, and you love to play with toys…as long as you can see me.  I love holding you all day and hugging you every chance I get.  You like to stiff-arm me, but I still manage to steal several kisses an hour.

You are treated like a toy by 3 wild maniacs, and you do a great job of rolling with the punches…literally.  Thank you for being tough and holding your own around here.  You are going to need to keep that up…for another 15 years or so.

You are a true joy to me, and I am so thankful the Lord chose you for me to love!

.

Lord, thank you for this little piece of heaven.  Thank you for her fire and her fun little personality.  Thank you for her ability to hold her own and still roll with our crazy schedule.  Thank you for protecting her in this wild family.  Thank you for 3 girls that can be best friends, and thank you for Laurabeth, a precious best friend for my little Georgia.   Thank you for the love that Preston has for his baby sister, and I pray that they will have a special bond as oldest and youngest.

You have blessed me far beyond what I can hope for or imagine, and I thank you!  Please bless this sweet girl as you have blessed me…with a wonderful Godly husband, and good health and a precious family that knows you and loves you. 

Lord, thank you for her health and that her little body is fearfully and wonderfully  made.  Thank you for her precious wrinkled nose and her silly little teeth.  Thank you for her little pink toes and her wild hair.  Thank you for her sweet soft skin and her round little belly.  I could eat this little baby up, and I pray that you help me to never forget what it feels like to hold her little body in my arms.  Lord, help me enjoy each new moment and each new phase, and help me to savor this special time.

Lord, my prayer is that Georgia would know you and love you!  Please draw her near to you and help me to teach her and train her the way that she needs to be trained and loved.  Please give me the wisdom to parent my little love, and I pray that her sweet heart would be obedient to you (and to me!) :)

Lord, thank you for Georgia!  Oh, how I love her!

Amen!

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-kate

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Um…Yeah! I Worked Out!

A while back, my dear friend blogged about how she was tired of everyone always “slumming it” everywhere, and she decided that she was going to actually get dressed and put make-up on to leave the house.

A foreign concept to me!

I started thinking about it, and it really is a great idea.  I mean, there is not a SINGLE picture of my precious MamaSara in workout clothes, or without makeup, or with her hair in a pony tail.  In MamaSara’s generation, people dressed well.  People put on clothes and makeup, and they looked nice all day, every day!  MamaSara always looked impeccable.

I don’t have many pics of her in the day to day life that I am talking about,  but here are a couple.

MamaSara is on the far left with cute blue pants on, a button down shirt, hair fixed, with a scarf around her neck…to run around and play on the Indian mounds.

Think Donna Reed.

So, I decided I should try it.  One day I dressed in real clothes.  Nothing fancy…just a pair of nice jeans and a shirt with some boots that have a heel on them.  I even put on makeup and jewelry!  I enjoyed wearing real clothes.  I could tell I had a swing in my step and held my head higher.

The first hour of the “new and improved Kate” felt great!  I loved feeling “dressed and put together.”

Then I almost killed myself trying to step around toys in my heels, and my back was aching.

Then I got something on the shoulder of my outfit.  I have no idea what it was, but I think it was baby food of some sort.

THEN, I was bending over to wipe my child’s bottom, and my new earring fell out of my ear.  I heard the horrible “PLUNK” as it sank into the deep dark depths of the toilet on top of my child’s POOP!

Well, of course I am going to include a picture for you!  (Sorry, dad…but the moms understand this!)

I wanted to cry!  I fished it out with a hanger and washed it the best I could at that moment.  Then my poor earring lived in a paper towel in my closet for weeks because I just could not bear the thought of throwing it away…nor could I bear the thought of putting that in my ear.

It was then that I decided that dressing up is overrated!  I have FOUR kids!  And I have at least one, and usually 3 with me at all times.  And I want them with me, please don’t miss this point.  I want them with me.  I do not want my earrings in the toilet, but I like having all these wild maniacs around me!

So I wear workout clothes.

I might even go as far as wearing cute workout clothes, but I can confidently put on my workout clothes and hope that at some point in my day, I accidentally find myself in the gym.  I figure I am much more likely to actually go to the gym if I am already dressed to work out, and not dressed in my heels.

But that brings me to the point of this post.

I love it when I am dressed in my workout clothes…hoping that at some point I make it to the gym (slim chance, but I guess there’s a chance), and someone asks me,

“Hey, did you work out today?”

And usually I stare at them and tuck my tail and say, “Well, no, but I thought I might, so…”

But you know what?!?!

YES!

Yes!  I worked out today!  And THAT’s why I’m dressed like this!

I didn’t go to yoga, but I did all kinds of contortionist moves driving down the road trying to find Georgia’s pacifier, or hand AnnaLeigh a sippy cup, or swat at someone acting a fool in the backseat.

I squatted and bent over 4,579 times today picking up toys and clothes and shoes and children!

I sprinted across Target pushing 3 children in a buggy, because my child had to go to the bathroom “NOW!”

I lifted a sleeping child from the back of our car, over the middle seat and out the car and carried her in the house.

I chased a STUPID dog down the street as he barked at a passing runner.

I changed a darn crib sheet, and I swear that should be a CrossFit challenge.

I nursed a baby 100 times, which has to count for something!  I mean, that burns calories, right?!?

I wrestled a child that was FREAKING OUT and was in great need of discipline…or the LORD.

I brushed my hair and my teeth and put on socks and cooked dinner and did laundry and scrubbed countertops and tables and swept the floor and unloaded the dishwasher…all while holding a child in one arm.  And yes, that one arm is markedly larger and stronger.

And you know what?  You just can’t do that in real clothes!

A banker wouldn’t wear dickies to work, and a plumber wouldn’t wear heels.  I feel it is okay for me to dress for my job.

I am a mother!

So hand over the yoga pants, because this mama knows there is a time for looking cute, and there is a time for being a mama!  Today, I choose my workout clothes!

And if you ask me if I worked out, just know that the answer is going to be “YES!  I worked out!”

And if I do happen to make it to the gym for a “real” workout, you can guarantee that my next stop will be The Cookie Company or Chick-fil-A, so I can reward my efforts.  Because if I really make it to the gym, it’s only so I can eat all that junk and not feel as guilty.

So, happy working out, Mamas! :)  We can dress up when we grow up a little more…or when our maniacs grow up a little more.

-kate

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Caught Up!

I’m still catching up on December…

Christmas!

Christmas at Brad’s parents’ house.

My beautiful niece, Tayler, with my little peach.

Georgia opening a little bunny from Aunt Kara and Uncle Andy.

Christmas Morning.

There is no way the maniacs could come out of their room and not see all of their goodies, so we have to hang something up.  We have a redneck tradition of hanging (with duck tape) my old Strawberry Shortcake sheet in the doorway, so the kids can’t peek before we wake up.   Then we make them wait on the other side of the sheet while we “check to make sure Santa came.”

Love the cheeks!  Love the wrinkled little nose!  Love the total little package!

My big girl loves the same things that I love…and I love her!

Lilly Katherine is taking art from my friend, Carrie.  She did a self portrait, complete with the “side pony” she had given herself that day.  I framed it for her for Christmas, and she was so excited.  I’m so proud of her artwork, and I think she did a fabulous job!

LK also got a tea set, and the girls have loved it.  They had a tea party as they were waiting on me to cook lunch.

My maniacs on Christmas morning.

I took 39 pictures – THIRTY NINE to get the above picture!  It’s still not great, but they are all smiling and looking in the direction of the camera.  Most pictures look like the one below.  Georgia was trying to bust into the M&Ms.  Lilly Katherine was leaning on AnnaLeigh.  AnnaLeigh didn’t like it, so she, of course, was elbowing LK!  Preston just wants them all to straighten up and hurry with the picture.

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Then we went to my parents’ house and continued with the festivities.

Laurabeth and Georgia.

Me, My sister and Laurabeth, My mom and Georgia, and my wonderful, crazy grandmother, Memama.

My entire life, we have taken a picture on the stairs on Christmas morning…and we still do.

Memama and Georgia

In the middle of all the wonderful family time, it started to snow.  I’m not sure we have ever had snow on Christmas, so it was a beautiful surprise!

Caleb and Truett were opening their big gift, and my two big girls were ready for the action with their new cameras.  Maniacs!

Okay, so I HAVE to tell you about this HILARIOUS game that my sister-in-law, Kara, gave Preston for Christmas.  It was the funniest game I have ever played!  Well, I didn’t actually play it.  I watched and laughed until my cheeks felt like they were going to fall off.  I haven’t laughed this hard in a LONG time!

It’s a Jelly Belly game called Bean Boozled.

That little box of Jelly Bellies is a game. 

It looks normal, but you spin the spinner and you land on a jelly bean color.  You choose a bean that corresponds to the color you spun and you pop in in your mouth…but you don’t really know what you’re going to get.  Your bean will either be normal and delicious or HORRIBLE!

If you land on yellow/white speckled, you are either going to be eating caramel corn or MOLDY CHEESE.   If you land on Orange and Brown speckled it is either Peach or BARF!  And it really tastes like barf!  Or so I hear.  I can say that their breath SMELLED exactly like what they ate.  There is a dog food one that made me gag it smelled so much like canned dog food

I’m telling you if you have kids…especially boys, or daredevils or nephews…it is the funniest thing in the world!  I wish I had more pictures of people laughing, but I was laughing too hard to take pictures!  It made our Christmas so much fun this year.

The kids LOVED playing…as totally disgusting as it was.

Preston was all talk…until it was his turn.

I’m thinking it was not the good flavor!

We were all laughing so hard we were crying!

The next day, my brother came into town, and the kids convinced him to play.  It was still hilarous!

My brother brought his sweet little 5 week old baby, Brinley, for her first Christmas!  She is getting so big already, and I’m pretty sure she’s going to pass Georgia up soon!

The 3 baby girls in our family that were born in 2012!  Such special cousins.

My mama and sweet Brinley.  Oh she looks so much like her daddy!

And finally New Year’s Day!

Our tradition is to get together on January 1 to have brunch and celebrate the New Year and also Preston and AnnaLeigh’s birthdays.

I love our annual pancake picture!

I gave Preston a “9″ and AnnaLeigh a “4″ for their birthdays.  Preston thought his was a “P” so his is backwards.  Oh well.

Yay!  I’m caught up!   Caught up on the blog anyway!  I have so much laundry to do that I will never be caught up there!

Merry Christmas!  Happy New Year!

and

Happy Monday!

-kate

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I Am Going To Catch Up!

 

With all the lovely birthdays of last week, I have not yet posted anything from December.  In December I was too busy posting Thanksgiving.  I am SO behind, but I am going to post as much as I can right now so that I can be “caught up” on the old blog!

Wish me luck!

I’m going to need it, because I am having a hard time focusing as I watch old FRIENDS episodes.  Man, I miss that show!

In December…

We had a baby dedication at our church, and Georgia was a part of it…a very LOUD part of it!

We dedicated Georgia to the Lord, and it really was a special time.  We were able to do the dedication with my sister’s baby, Laurabeth, and their best friends, Eva, Thomas, and Henry.

They are in age order in this picture.  Laurabeth, Georgia, Eva, Thomas, and Henry My sweet baby had been quiet through most of the service, but the baby dedication was at the end.  About the time they called us up to the front, she had had enough.  She started screaming and literally nothing made her happy.  So all of us were at the front of the church and Georgia was WAILING!

Laurabeth’s dedication was first, and I’m not sure anyone heard any of it, due to someone’s very loud screaming!  Then our poor pastor said, “Sounds like Georgia is eager to be next,” so we were bumped up.  As soon as we got to the microphone, she was quiet…for a second. Brad read the verses we chose for her, which ended up being quite appropriate.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

 

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My crazy family (minus my brother’s fam)

Brad’s mom (Nana) and Georgia.

The whole crew…and NO, we did NOT plan to all wear the same thing!  Every boy is in a blue shirt (except Mere’s boys), and all the moms are in black and white.  I think we just spend so much time together lately that we share a brain.

Also in December…

We sang in a nursing home.  By far the funniest moment was when one of the children handed an elderly lady a candy cane.  She looked at him, politely handed it back, and told him he could eat it.  He said, “No!  It’s for you!”  She tried again to let him know it was okay, he could have it.  Finally, frustrated he said, “NO!  The candy canes are for the OLD people!”  Priceless!

LK was definitely the song leader of the group.

And AnnaLeigh was Miss Personality, as usual!  She was making sure that every single person she saw received one of the drawings the kids had made.

the choir of “angels”…

My maniacs

AnnaLeigh and her sweet friend, Audrey.

Also in December…

I gave Brad a gift that I knew he would love!  Our garage was HORRIBLE!  It was such a disaster…a big dark cave, full of strollers and balls!  For his birthday I gave him a surprise garage makeover.

I could NOT have done it without Brad’s dad!

I also had a crew come paint, because I wanted it to be a “while you were out” type surprise…and it would have been if my dear husband had not come home during the day (like his wife warned him not to!)  It was still exciting and a great gift to him, but just not the surprise I had hoped for…so there’s no picture of pure shock and joy on his face, but I still ended with the same result…a clean garage and a happy husband. :)

Don’t judge!  We have too much stuff!  WAAAAAAY too much stuff, but we have always managed to get 2 cars parked in the garage…it was just a MESS!

Okay, so I spent way too much time watching FRIENDS and not enough time posting.  I haven’t even gotten to Christmas yet!  There’s always tomorrow…except it’s 1:30, so I guess it already is tomorrow.  I’m not tired, but I know if I don’t go to bed, I’ll be as mean as I was today, so it’s time to say goodnight!

Nighty-night!

-kate

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Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

She Said She Wouldn’t Grow Up!

My maniacs are all precious and I love them all so much.  As a mother, each one holds a special place in my heart.

I love Preston, my firstborn.  He had my heart first.  Not only is he my firstborn, but he is my only baby boy.

I love Lilly Katherine, my firstborn daughter, for her tender heart and her love of doing things for others.  I love her because I understand her, and I know how and why she does what she does.  I get her.

I love Georgia because she will always be my baby!  I will savor her every move and try to hold onto everything knowing that she is my last.

And then there is AnnaLeigh!

My Pinky.  My middle baby girl.  My #3 baby.

Oh, how I love this little firecracker!  She makes me smile.  She has my heart!  She is easy to love because she is so lovable!  She is aggressive and feisty and funny and easily excitable.  She is a go-getter, our little “Supervisor” -  always keeping everyone straight.  She is dramatic and loud.  She gets out of anything with her father because she knows how to make him laugh!  She is a serious stinker, and I love her!

This world is better because AnnaLeigh Rose is alive.  Really!

And my baby girl, the one that promised me she would never turn THREE, just turned FOUR!  I’m not sure how it happened, but my sweet little ladybug is four!  It’s like she woke up looking older on her birthday morning!

We gave her 2 gifts.  A sleeping bag, which she was so excited about….

Then we had to stop opening, because these two yahoos could not say anything nice to anyone!  I made them do jumping jacks until they could smile, then they had to each hug AnnaLeigh and say “Happy Birthday!  I will have a good attitude.”

Then AnnaLeigh opened her doctor’s kit.  She and Lilly Katherine wanted a Doc McStuffins Doctor’s Kit for Christmas.  When I looked at them, I realized they were way overpriced and did not do much at all.  So I made her a kit out of real doctor “stuff.”

She loved it!  She immediately assumed the role of Dr. AnnaLeigh, calling me back to the room to be doctored.

“Mama.  Patient Mama.  I’m ready for you to be doctored.”

Then she and Lilly Katherine doctored all day long!

It was an animal infirmary.

She wanted a ladybug cake, and I am holding out on her real cake until her birthday party…which is scheduled…uh…sometime in the spring! :)  She wants a party in the park, and i told her we can’t do that in January.  Whew!  Out of another January party!

So on her birthday, I just made her a little cookie cake and tried to make a ladybug on it.  Again, pitiful, but she loved it.

Happy Birthday Pinky!

I love you so stinkin much!

Lord, thank you for this little life.  Thank you for her spunk and her fire.  Thank you for her expressions and her imagination.  Lord, thank you for blessing our family and all who know this tiny woman.  It is my prayer for her that she will know you and love you!  I pray that she will listen to you and desire to follow you, and we both know listening and following are not her strengths. :)  Lord, thank you that she is such a leader.  May she always lead people TO you.

Lord, this baby was the greatest surprise you could have ever given me!  She lights up my life, and I thank you so much that you chose me to be her mother.  Please help me to love the way she needs to be loved, teach her the way she best learns, and train her in your ways.

Thank you for AnnaLeigh Rose!  Please guide her with your word, and my she make every decision with godly wisdom and discernment.   Lord, please bless this baby girl with sweet friends that love you.  Please put wise people in her life.  I pray that AnnaLeigh will be a good friend, kind and loving, compassionate and understanding.  And please bless her with the same.  I pray that you are already preparing a man to love her and be her groom; a man that loves you most, and will love this little firecracker second.

Lord, thank you so much for every day I have had with this little joy.  Please bless her with a long, happy, full life.  Bless her with good spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health.  Thank you for AnnaLeigh! 

Amen.

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-kate

I’m Alive

I am alive, and this is the longest hiatus I have ever had from the blogging world.  I know I am not alone when I say that Christmas time is crazy and somewhat overwhelming, and I love every second of it!  I can’t get enough good food, family time, and fun with friends.

But at our house, we’re still celebrating!

You see, for some strange reason and some very poor planning (or complete LACK OF planning) this is what our BIRTHDAY schedule looks like.

December 21: My dear husband, Brad

December 25: Jesus (Christmas!)

January 2: Preston

January 5: AnnaLeigh

January 24: Georgia  (Thank goodness it’s at the end of the month, and CAN YOU BELIEVE MY BABY IS ABOUT TO BE ONE?!?!?!?)

So in one month, our one little family has 4 birthdays and Christmas.  I’m seeing another blog hiatus in my future…but hopefully not.

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Well, Wednesday we got to celebrate my sweet baby boy’s birthday.

And, my sweet baby boy was born yesterday!

Yesterday, in my mind.

In reality, he is NINE!

We just had a little family celebration, because he wants his party to be at the Ranger’s game in the spring.  Thank goodness it’s not in January!  We went to eat at Texas Roadhouse, and I think my son was mortified that I told them it was his birthday.  He looked scared to death the whole time he was on the birthday saddle, and as soon as it was over, he was back in his seat before I could blink.  It was hilarious!

Then we ran home to eat a bite of cake with his buddy Walker.

The cake was pretty pitiful.

Brad was home for lunch and as he was leaving, he said, “So I guess you’re not making a cake for Preston’s birthday?”

I took great offense of course, because I ALWAYS make cakes for my babies’ birthdays!  I love making their cakes, and I love seeing their faces light up when they see their cakes for the first time.

So, in a sweet and loving tone I responded, “Of course I am making his cake, but his party isn’t until April!!!”  To which my dear husband reminded me that we probably wouldn’t be able to take a cake into the ballpark!

OH NO!!!  My baby had to have a cake!!!

So before Brad could get out the door, I was pulling cake stuff out.  I had 3 little maniacs wanting to help make this cake.  It was then that I realized why I make cakes in the middle of the night!  I love to cook with my babies, but my skills have never been more challenged or questioned as they were with that darn cake.

“Why are you putting butter in the pan?”

“Why are you putting paper in the pan?”

“I don’t want paper on my cake!”

“Why are you making 3 cakes?”

“Why aren’t you making a pretty cake this time?”

“That’s not how you do icing!”

“You are using too much icing!”

“Why is the icing just white?”

“You just need to let me do it, Mama!  I know how.”

“You had 3 cakes, now you only have one!”

“Why is it so plain?”

“You messed up!”

“I can do that, Mama!  Just let me!”

AGHHHHHHHHHH!

I finally decided that they ALL needed to watch Wildcrats so I could finish!  (Which, as a total aside, I really like that show and so do my kids.  It’s very cool and educational!)

So it wasn’t a fancy cake, but it tasted good and it was a mini-Rangers cake for my big 9 year old.

I am so thankful that this maniac has been in my life for 9 years.  He reminded me that he’s “halfway out of the house!”  It makes me want to cry!  He is halfway to 18, and there are days that I’m not sure we are going to make it all the way to 18!  But if we do, he’s halfway there! :)

I love that Preston is ALL BOY!  I love that he is rough and tough, although a little too rough and tough with the 3 little balls of estrogen that live here.

I love that Preston is my walking calendar, because I would be lost and late (LATER), and I would miss so much if he didn’t keep me straight.

I love that Preston is responsible and self sufficient.  He is so good at taking care of what he needs to do without me asking.

I love that my girls have Preston as a big brother, and I know that one day he will step into the roll as the protector and encourager.  We’re not there yet, but we’re working on it! :)

I love that my 2 boys have each other.  I am so thankful that Brad has a son that is so much like himself.  They enjoy being with each other, and I am so thankful that they have the same hobbies, interests, and talents.  I am also thankful that Preston has a daddy like Brad, because there is no better example in the world of a Godly, hard-working, ethical, loving man!

I am a blessed Mama!  I am so blessed to be the mother of this wild little boy, a little boy that is quickly growing up before my eyes.

A boy that looks like this in my mind.

Or at the most, he looks like this…

But in reality, this is what my baby looks like!

Lord, thank you for my only little boy!  Thank you for this first born, type-A, precious little man!  Thank you for his smart little analytical brain and his ability to throw and catch and his love for all things sports.  Thank you for his smile and thank you that he looks so much like his cute daddy.  Lord, thank you for giving me a child that challenges me to be a better person and a better mother!  Thank you for giving him a mother like me, so that I can teach him to be flexible.  (and stress him out!) :)

Lord, please draw this little man close to you, and I pray that he would seek you and know you and love you!  I pray, Lord, that he will have faith in you and that you would give him joy and love and that comes only from you!  I pray that you will guide him, and that he would listen to your guidance!  Please help Preston to make all his decisions with godly wisdom and discernment. 

Please surround him with good influences and friends that will make him a better person and hold him accountable.  Please, Lord, help Preston to be a good friend, a good leader, and a good example. 

Please protect him from harm, and protect his mind and body from the craziness going on in our world.  Please teach me how to best love him and train him to know you and to be the man that you want him to become. 

Thank you for nine healthy, wonderful, unforgettable years with this little love of my life! 

Amen!

Happy birthday, P!  I love you!

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-kate

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Mississippi-Last Thanksgiving Post, Whew!

Yes, I’m still posting Thanksgiving.  My life is NUTS and I am SLOW and I am TIRED and this is as fast as I can go right now.  I had all these great Christmas ideas to share.  I’ll try to remember to share them before December 14th…next year.

We went to Mississippi for Thanksgiving, to visit my grandparents and many of my cousins.  I can not tell you how much I love my family!  We have so much fun together, and our kids have so much fun together.  It’s loud and chaotic and crazy, and I love it!

Donuts are always a very important part of our visit.  We can’t visit MamaSara and Papa without getting donuts.

And not just any donuts!

Shipley’s donuts!

Papa is so good about getting Shipley’s for us (mostly for ME) every single time we visit!

I can inhale Shipley’s donut holes like a 16 year old boy!  I literally can’t stop myself, and it’s only about 20 minutes later that I regret gorging myself on fried balls of sugar.

So, I eat something salty to take my mind off of the sweetness, of course.

Oliver, Noble, and AnnaLeigh

Our family multiplies like gremlins, and it is like a busy ant bed at MamaSara and Papa’s house when we are there, and this is only a fraction of our family.  As the chaos was taking place everywhere, Papa wheeled MamaSara into the living room and pulled a chair up next to her wheelchair and they sat and watched everyone buzz around.

The girls colored and played together.

The boys played baseball of football…as they always do.

I’m sure AnnaLeigh was not in the way at all.  She probably wasn’t giving them pointers or telling them how to play football either.  MANIAC!

…A cute maniac, but still a maniac!

Beautiful cousins, Lilly Katherine and Emma-Kate love seeing each other.

And sweet little cousins Rosemary and Georgia love seeing each other, too.

Rosemary is 11 days older, and just a tad bigger.  Georgia is SO little, weighing in at a whopping 14 pounds, 9 ounces at 10 1/2 months!  I have been trying to fatten her up, but I do love her little bitty body!

And more precious cousins,Lilly Katherine, Sara-Cooper, Eloise, AnnaLeigh.

My sweet grandmother has had a hard year.  Her health has declined rapidly from 18 months ago, as she is suffering from Alzheimer’s and cancer.  Papa has cared for her constantly, loving her like I have never seen a man love a woman!  It has been the most amazing example I could ever witness, and I know that Brad and I are changed just seeing them love each other.  It is truly a special love, the kind the Lord intends spouses to have for each other.

Papa has been such an example of a giving, generous man, a leader, and a Godly man that loves his family.  He might be a little hard-headed, but that runs in the family.  It skipped me. :)

This is my precious grandmother, MamaSara.  Georgia’s middle name, Sarullo (Suh-ROO-luh), is her maiden name.  I love my MamaSara and look up to her like a granddaughter should look up to her grandmother.  I have said all of this before, but she has always been the perfect example of grace, class, and beauty to me.  She is a woman that loves the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength.  It was an honor to be able to name a child after her, and I love that Georgia has seen MamaSara three times already.  What a precious blessing to me and to my baby!

A treasured moment!

This Thanksgiving reminded me how richly blessed I am, with parents and grandparents, cousins, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews and all spouses and in-laws included.  We have a special family bonded and rooted in the most important foundation, that of Christ.  What a blessing that MamaSara and Papa taught Christian principles to their five children. Thank you Papa, for loving and caring for MamaSara!  Thank you for loving the Lord!  Thank you for loving our whole wild family!

And thank you, Lord, for MamaSara and Papa.  Thank you for Papa’s health and ability to do so much.  Thank you for his love for MamaSara.  Thank you for all my precious cousins who have worked so hard and given up so much to help Papa care for MamaSara!  Thank you for a family that loves you and loves each other!

-kate

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Thanksgiving Day-Yes, I am Behind!

This has been a fun week!  Georgia has a double ear infection and the medicine has caused something horrible to happen inside of her little body.  Yesterday, we had the MOTHER OF ALL BLOWOUTS (and this ain’t my first rodeo!)  It was HORRIBLE!  I was in a new store, by myself with the girls, and let’s just say, Praise the LORD I knew the sweet store owner, who whisked me into the back room and saved my life!  (Thank you Meagan!)  Also, praise the LORD my little peach was wearing pantyhose, because it contained part of the green mess, while the other part was oozing out of the top of her diaper, through her hose, all over my clothes, down the chair, and onto the floor.  I never knew 14 pounds of preciousness could produce 14 pounds of goo!  So, that’s not what you planned on reading, considering the title is Thanksgiving Day!

My point is this…this week, Georgia has had ear infections, AnnaLeigh has a horrible rash from head to toe, Preston can’t hear because his (third set of) tubes are messed up, and we’ve had 4 Christmas parties, on top of just regular old life!  So, the old bloggidy blog has been put on the back burner…as well it should have been.

Last week was busy, but still a good week.  I should be preparing my grocery list and sleeping, but I have decided that midnight is a good time to catch up on Thanksgiving.

Mm hmm.

Soooo, Thanksgiving Day was spent at Brad’s parents’ home with his brother Andy, and his family.  We had a wonderful day full of food, fun, food, football, and food!  Here are a few pics…

Andy, Kara, Kay, George, Me, Brad

Georgia was not happy about the pictures, and Preston chose his own clothes.  To his credit, it was 80° outside.

She just wanted her mama…which is typically the case…and I LOVE IT!

We took a picture of all the grandkids, but my sweet niece, Claire, had just gotten her wisdom teeth removed.  Because I love her, I will not be posting any pics of her beautiful face.

However, this is a rare pic!  The brothers…Andy and Brad.

Georgia and Tayler

Garrett and Preston.  Eyeblack is an important part of Preston’s wardrobe!

Lilly Katherine, AnnaLeigh, and Nana.

The most important activity for some on Thanksgiving Day…watching the Cowboys!

And then playing outside.  It was too dark for me to get any decent pics, but these boys love to play ball!

It was a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.  We are blessed to be able to share Thanksgiving with so much of our family every year.  Thank you, Kay for a yummy Thanksgiving meal!

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Now, this is really late, but here are a few pics from the girls’ Thanksgiving performances at school.

AnnaLeigh was so excited!  She was born to perform!  Help me Rhonda!

Three precious little turkeys!  Finley, Pinky, Truett

Best friends, AnnaLeigh and Finley.

Of course my girls performed on different days, but it was fun to let each of them have their own time in the spotlight.  They both did a great job.

My goofy little pilgrim.

-kate

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My Little Recessive Gene

I have 452,000 Thanksgiving pictures I want to post, but I am so distracted by this little beauty.

Her look is so different from the rest of us.  Everything about her is unique.

Everything except her volume.

I birth loud people!  All of them…LOUD!

I am positive they get that from their very loud and obnoxious father.  Brad just talks soooo much.  Okay, so maybe that is a trait they have inherited from their mother, but why is that the one thing she got from me?

Oh well.

I love every single bit of her so stinkin’ much it hurts!

She is my little recessive gene…my little Georgia Peach!

And I would not know what to do without her!  I love you, Georgia Sarullo!

-kate

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The Newest Addition

We had such a wonderful, busy Thanksgiving.  It would take me a month to post all of the pics, so I am going to have to be selective, or I will be posting Thanksgiving pics until Christmas.  We spent a great deal of time traveling, but we got to see so much family.

Our first stop was to visit Brad’s grandmother.  We love MawMaw!  She is as quick as a whip and doesn’t forget a single detail.  It amazes me.

Our next stop was Oklahoma, to meet the sweetest little thing in the world!

Meet the newest addition to our family, the third baby girl born in our family in 2012, Miss Brinley Elise.  I love my sweet niece already!

I would take her in a heartbeat!  I don’t think anyone would notice.  Brad might meet me with a little bit of resistance.  Just a little.

Would you just look at that big 10 month old baby girl!  She looks like Georgia the GIANT next to little Brinley.  (a 14 pound 10 month old giant!)

Papa and AnnaLeigh holding sweet Brinley.

AnnaLeigh and Brinley

Lilly Katherine loving on sweet Brinley.

This is Kelly’s precious mother.  Brinley is her maiden name, so baby Brinley is named after her grandmother.  She has loved our kids, and now she will get to love on this sweet little pink bundle.

Brinley is my brother’s first baby, and she already has him wrapped around her little finger!  He loves this baby (his little TWIN) so much, and I know he will be the best daddy ever!

The kids and I made Uncle Taylor and Aunt Kelly some cookies.

Most of them said “It’s a girl” except this one.

Sweet Brinley, we love you and we can’t wait to see you again!  You have wonderful parents that love you so much!  We pray that you will continue to be healthy and perfect.

Thank you Lord, for this precious little blessing!  Thank you for choosing the perfect little lady for Taylor and Kelly.  I pray that Kelly will love and lead this baby with her humble heart and her quiet, gentle spirit.  I pray that Taylor and Kelly will teach her their compassion and love for all living things.  Please draw her to you and give her the desire to seek and love you.  As she grows, please give Brinley wisdom and discernment, and help her to know that she is so greatly loved by so many.  Thank you for Kelly and Taylor and please give them rest and allow them to soak up and enjoy every priceless moment.  Thank you Lord for such a special, precious gift!

“This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, who formed you in the womb:

I am the Lord,
who has made all things,
who alone stretched out the heavens,
who spread out the earth by myself,”   

-Isaiah 44:24

-kate

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Pumpkin Cobbler

I have no idea how it’s Thanksgiving already!  I’m still wondering where August went!  I feel so behind on life, and can’t seem to catch up with how quickly time is flying by!  However, I LOVE Thanksgiving, so I am happy to have this season upon us.

We have enjoyed many batches of Pumpkin Spice Muffins, and we got a very late start on our Thanksgiving Tree this year, but we’re getting there.

Then last week, my precious friend Andria shared some Pumpkin Dump Cake with me.  Of course I loved it, and of course I had to make some for myself…and of course I had to change the recipe because I can NOT leave well enough alone.

This is my version and it is no longer a dump cake, but a Pumpkin Cobbler.  It’s still so very easy, and would be a fabulous addition to your Thanksgiving dessert table.

Recipe for Pumpkin Cobbler

What you will need:

Yellow Cake Mix, Can of Pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, Eggs, Butter, Sugar, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Salt

Melt 3 Tbsp of butter.

Add 1 Cup of cake mix to the butter.

Mix well.

Press the mixture into a small baking dish.  I used a 7X11.  A 9X13 will be too large.

Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes or until the edges begin to slightly brown.

Meanwhile, combine the pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, eggs, and salt.

(A scant 1/4 tsp)

Stir well.  Mixture will be runny.

Pour the pumpkin mixture on top of the cooked pressed cake mix.

Then sprinkle the rest of the cake mix on top of the pumpkin mixture. Top the cake mix with pats of butter, using the remaining 5 Tbsp of butter.

(Alternate method:  you could melt the remaining butter and mix it with the remaining cake mix, then sprinkle it on top.  Slicing the butter is just easier to me.)

And by the way, I am usually so particular about how the butter looks, and to any of you that are as weird as I am about symmetry, I know that this is a sad, hot butter mess!  I was in a HUGE hurry!  Don’t judge!

Cook at 350° for 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  It is great by itself, but don’t be afraid to throw on some ice cream. :)

YUMMY!  It’s 1:00 am, and now my mouth is watering.  I may just need to get a little bite.  And maybe a little ice cream.  Just a little.

Recipe for Pumpkin Cobbler

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 1 Stick of butter (divided 3 Tbsp and 5 Tbsp)
  • 1 (15 oz) Can Pumpkin
  • 1 (5 oz) Can Evaporated Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Scant 1/4 tsp Salt (closer to 1/8 tsp)

Melt 3 Tbsp butter and combine with 1 Cup cake mix.  Press into the bottom of a greased small baking dish (such as a 7X11).  Bake at 350° for 7-8 minutes or until starting to slightly brown.

Meanwhile, combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt.  Pour on top of pressed cake mix.  Sprinkle remaining cake mix on top of the pumpkin mixture.  Thinly slice remaining 5 Tbsp of butter and place on top of cake mix.  (Alt method: melt remaining 5 Tbsp of butter and combine with remaining cake mix and sprinkle on top of the pumpkin mixture.)

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until top is golden brown.  Enjoy plain or with a big ol’ scoop of ice cream!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING WEEK!!!

-kate

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Baylor Homecoming

Last weekend, Brad and I loaded up the kids and drove to Baylor for Homecoming.  We planned on leaving our house at 7…HA!  Yeah, those that know me, know how laughable that is.  We left at 8:30, and managed to completely miss the parade.  We drove in the second it ended.  However, we got to see some great friends, and we had a BLAST!

We checked the floats out after the parade, and the maniacs decided that this was their favorite one!  It had many of the players and coaches that made this year “The Year of the Bear!”  Look how little AnnaLeigh and Lilly Katherine are compared to the people on the float.

RGIII!

Judge Baylor

Then we went to the game!  Actually, Brad and Preston went to the game, and the girls and I just tailgated and hung out with some of the most precious women in my life!

(Ashley, Kristin, (me), Kimberly, Samantha)

These women have been a blessing in my life for so many years!  I pray all the time that my daughters will have friends like these women!  We have shared oh so many memories together!  Love you, girls!

As we hung out, so did all our maniacs!

The girls cheered…

And the boys played football…

And sweet Georgia hung out with the mamas!  She was a perfect angel all weekend, despite getting little sleep and eating whenever I remembered to feed her.  Poor fourth child!

Allow me to add a little detail.  I have not smocked a dress since before AnnaLeigh was born…so almost 4 years!  I decided a few days before Homecoming that I wanted to smock Georgia a Baylor dress.  My dear, sweet, patient friend Mary Lynne helped get me started and encouraged me and reminded me how to thread a needle!  Then I basically didn’t sleep the 2 nights before homecoming, and I finished the dress as we were pulling into Waco!  It may or may not have have looked like Lilly Katherine smocked it and it may or may not have been rigged and safety pinned in a few places, but Georgia wore it with pride!

My babe and my baby!

This is silly Jackson, and this is the ONLY picture I have of him!

This picture makes my heart happy! Clara, Campbell, and Lilly Katherine have so much fun together, just as their mamas always have!  Kimberly, Samantha, and I have been pretty inseparable since middle school.  That’s a lotta years!  I just pray our babies will have the opportunity to have the kind of relationship we have.

The game was delayed due to rain, but as we were leaving, we saw this magnificent sign from God!  I’m pretty sure he was just smiling down on Baylor! :)

We stayed with our wonderful friends, Jordan and Blair!   Our kids had so much fun together, with the exception of some love spats between Preston and their daughter, Keely!  We saw this on Keely’s white board, and we were cracking up!

The next day we hung out on Baylor’s beautiful campus.  I can’t walk across campus without smiling and thinking of college and all the amazing memories made there.  I pray that my kids are really smart and get great scholarships…because four kids at Baylor…uh…maybe we should be pushing a different school!

Baylor has an amazing Student Life Complex that was built while we were there.

Preston did the rock climbing wall like a champ!  I was so proud of him for stepping up and doing it.  That was a big move for my cautious, logical first born.

We can not go to Baylor without visiting the Bear Pit.

Words can simply not describe that maniac!  And I think Lilly Katherine was talking to the bears.

This lovely picture is the best one I got of the 4 maniacs at Homecoming…and it cracks me up!  P is actually doing as he was told.  G is screaming.  A is as dramatic as ever.  LK is half asleep.

Speaking of half asleep, I’m there!  Off to bed!  Have a lovely Monday!

-kate

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BOO!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Yesterday I took all four of my maniacs to go vote.  I wanted them to see how it worked and explain how fortunate we are to live in the United States of America where our opinion matters.  I want them to know the importance of voting.  All the sweet little ladies there were so excited to see my “future voters!”  We were able to vote immediately.  Their opinion may have changed if we had been there for an extended period of time.

After we got home, we decided to FINALLY (as my kids said) carve our pumpkin. 

I asked how we should carve the pumpkin and they all had different ideas, so we decided to take a VOTE!  It was the perfect way to teach them.  I gave each of them a pitiful looking ballot with 2 choices.

They voted for the pumpkin of their choice.

And 2 against 1, the second pumpkin won.  However, after the majority won and we decided to carve the winning pumpkin, they had a little amendment.  They wanted the traditional toothy grin instead of the curvy mouth.  We voted again, and they all agreed!  I love democracy when it works that well!

The kids did a lot of the carving…and no one cut themselves or anyone else.  Praise the LORD!

Our pumpkin.  Our GEORGIA-lantern!  We made it’s teeth like Georgia’s crazy teeth, so we call it our Georgia-lantern.

Then we enjoyed the very fancy Jack o’Lantern pizza from Papa Murphey’s.

Tonight we dressed in our Halloween costumes – a Dallas Cowboy, a little Cinderella, a “wadybug” and Tinkerbell.

Georgia and her Georgia-lantern.

Our sweet neighbors, Presley and Peyton.

Georgia and cousin Claire

Georgia laughing at cousin Garrett’s new braces.  She thinks they are so funny.

Preston spent most of the time at the dunking booth.

It was a great night!  We got so much more candy that I thought we would.  In my OCD ways, I have already separated all the candy from the chocolate from the suckers and put them all in their own container.  Please tell me you do it too!  It’s just a sin to keep candy and chocolate together!

I may have made myself a little stash, and I may have made myself a little sick…already!  Self control is not my gift!

Happy Halloween from the maniacs!

-kate

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LK’s Rose Parade Princess Party

Lilly Katherine’s 6th birthday was August 26th, the day before school started.  Lilly Katherine has daily asked when her party would be, but in typical Kate fashion, I didn’t decide to do anything until last week.  If you have read this blog for any length of time at all, you will recognize a pattern here!  Her birthday party last year was in NOVEMBER!  Preston’s 8th birthday party was actually an 8 1/2 birthday, and the list goes on.  I NEVER have the party on their birthday.  This is not intentional, and it’s not that I don’t know when my children’s birthdays are.  I just procrastinate in every part of life.

I’m not proud of it!

And I vow to change every New Year’s Day.

And then I procrastinate on that, too.  I’m good at it.

Not only do I usually have the party much later than their actual birthday, but I am queen of very last minute parties, like this one.  On Monday, I decided that we should have Lilly Katherine’s party this weekend.  I called the church to reserve the date, and Brad’s mom reminded me that it was Rose Festival Weekend!  The Rose Festival is a big deal here, and LK loves to look at all the princesses in their dresses.  Brad suggested (Yes, BRAD!) that we have a few girls dress up and take them to the Rose Parade for her party.

Cute.  Easy.  Free.  Not at my house!

SOLD!

Sounded like a plan to me!  So I threw together some invitations, with Lilly Katherine’s help of course.  Then we ran them to a few friends.

 

Saturday morning was crazy, but we made it to the parade and had a fabulous time!  The girls were so cute in their princess attire.  Here are 4 million pictures of our Rose Parade Princess Party…

We set up a table with cupcakes and treasures for the little princesses.

The girls arrived with “the boss” leading the pack, looking in charge!

They accessorized with bracelets and rings…

…and crowns and necklaces and wands!  Great treasures from the Dollar store!

Then I armed them all with a noise maker, thinking they would toot on it for a second and put it down.

I was wrong!

It was like Rose Queen meets Duck Dynasty!  The girls blew on these stinking noise makers until they were blue!  The good news is that it drove any crowd that was around us, far, far away!

My beautiful baby girl!

I still can’t believe this little woman is SIX!

Then the parade began!

Lilly Katherine’s friend, Molly, was on the first float.

Lilly Katherine insisted on inviting sweet Molly, even though I tried to explain that Molly would be IN the parade and not able to attend.  That’s when LK had the idea that if the Rose Parade people saw all her friends dressed up, they would let them have their own float.

Hmmm.  Probably not.

But here’s beautiful Molly waving at our princesses.

And our little princesses excitedly waving back at Molly!

The Rose Festival dresses are always over the top and amazing!

Gotta love the Southern Belle Drill Team!

The “party” at the parade.

My three little princesses, AnnaLeigh, Georgia, and Lilly Katherine

The princess party attracted a little extra attention.

They kept asking Lilly Katherine and her princess crew, “Why are you guys here today?”  They were hoping she would say “For the Rose Festival!” or “To see the Rose Queen!”  However, no matter how many different ways they asked, Lilly Katherine’s response remained the same, “This is for my birthday party!”  “We are all here to celebrate my birthday!”  As if nothing else was going on around her or maybe that all those people were there for her.  I was cracking up!

Here are a few party guests.  I didn’t manage to get a picture of everyone…so sorry!

“Prince Preston” was there, but played football in the back most of the time.

Laurabeth and Truett

Mimi and Princess Georgia

Caleb attended, but spent a great deal of time like this, because he was frightened by clowns, loud vehicles, and the darn haunted house people that were in the parade.

Garrett, Preston, Uncle Alan, Caleb

Princess Tayler and King Brad

Oh Ella!  This face says it all!  I love how this child is going to brighten up her mama’s world! :)

The lovely Princess Claire.

My sweet baby Princess Georgia.  She is getting 2 new teeth.  Unfortunately they are not where you would expect.  Looks like I’ll have a little Jack o’lantern for Halloween.

We enjoyed a little hot chocolate and then CUPCAKES!

I made the princess cupcakes with little princess dolls.

I let each girl select the cupcake of their choice…starting with LK of course.

She chose princess Tiana.

The wind was too strong and the candle wouldn’t light, so we had a fake blow-out.

Princess Cinderella of course chose the Cinderella cupcake

While the girls were eating their princess cupcakes, I got to hold this little princess cupcake until she fell asleep.

Then we heard the Rose Queen coming up the road.

Ladybug, I love you!  I love that you had a great time at your party, and I love that life is a party to you!  I love your sweet voice and your giggle and the way you look at the world in a positive light.  I know you are going to touch so many people with your infectious smile and your desire to help others.  I Love you more than you will ever know!

You are a beautiful girl, but you must always remember what Memama, Aunt Barbara, Mimi, and I always say, “Pretty is as pretty does!” (and you may as well tack on “Don’t mess up cute by acting ugly”)

I love you birthday girl!

-kate

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God’s Faithful Provision

There were several things that happened this summer that I never got around to blogging about, because we were so busy enjoying summer.  However, this is something that I kept thinking I would post and I have put it off WAY too long!

When I first started this fun little blog, I posted about having a heavy heart for my dear friend Kellie.  Kellie and I have been friends for about 7 years, and in that time I have seen her endure more hardships than any person should endure in a lifetime.

Almost 4 years ago, Kellie called me and said “I just want you to know that Mark has been diagnosed with brain cancer.”

My thoughts were “WHAT?!?  How can that happen?  He’s only 33 and has a 4 year old son and twin 2 year old boys.”  I have to be honest, I got off the phone and thought, “Well, I’m sure he’ll be okay.  Yes, it’s cancer, but I’m sure they’ll get through this.”

I was wrong.

Mark and Kellie did everything they could to fight the very aggressive brain tumor, but only a few short months later, Mark passed away.  It was so hard to watch and I can say with certainty that Kellie was stronger than I!  She was a rock.  She mourned and was sad for her loss, but she never missed a beat with those boys.  She was super-mom all the time, and loved those boys enough for the both of them.  She kept her head up and kept going.

A little more than a year after Mark passed away, Kellie’s dad passed away suddenly.

A few months later, her house was broken into while she was at work.  They took everything of value!  They even took her babies’ piggy banks.

A few months after that, she got a call that her 42 year old brother died in his sleep.  He went to bed with what he thought was a cold, and never woke up.

I can not imagine losing my husband OR my father OR my brother, but Kellie lost all THREE in a short 18 months.

Still, Kellie stayed strong.  Of course she cried and had moments of “What the heck are you doing to me, God?!?!” but she continued to pray and love the Lord and know that somehow there was a bigger picture and a plan.

I would have failed this test!

I would have thrown in the towel, but Kellie kept her head up and kept going.

Kellie did not JUST keep going, but she kept going strong!  She went to work part-time for Brad, helping to keep our real estate business afloat for the past 3 years.  She has been a good friend to so many.  She continued to be a fabulous mother, teaching and training her boys to love the Lord and to be respectful and obedient and kind.   She has cooked and cleaned and payed bills and kissed boo-boos and made cupcakes for class parties.  She has wiped many tears and had many long, hard discussions with 3 little men that miss their daddy.  She has done every frustrating bedtime routine and changed every wet bed!  She has attended every school function and boy scout event and baseball game.  She has been a better mom than most of us that have a husband to come home to.  Kellie has truly been super-mom!

Well…

Fast forward.

Kellie started dating.  Now, if Brad were to leave me on this earth with 4 wild maniacs, I feel that I would never date again.  However, Kellie has the advantage of looking like a supermodel!  That is no exaggeration.  Not only is she beautiful, she is almost 6 feet tall and weighs less than my current 5’2″ body!  It’s pretty disgusting!

For so many reasons, Kellie is the total package!  I knew that any man would be lucky to have her, but I also knew that she had 3 little boys to consider as well.

Kellie met Will.

Will was instantly impressed and had a little crush on Kellie. :)  Eventually he met the 3 boys.  Now, Kellie’s boys are just about the most precious children in the world, and I hate to say it, but I don’t always like other people’s children.  (I know that sounds ugly, but it’s just the truth!)  When Will met the boys, he connected with them immediately.  He told Kellie they were 3 little bonuses to the relationship.

Don’t get me wrong, I was looking for things to doink him on…you know, flaws to pick at and reasons she needed to be cautious.  She had so much crap go on in her life in such a short time that I didn’t want some guy swooping in, showing her the world, and then breaking her heart…or breaking the hearts of those three precious boys!

Well, time after time of being with Will and Kellie, I really couldn’t find anything to doink him on.  Kellie started falling in love with this guy and he was falling in love with all 4 of them.

This past Mother’s Day, Will told Kellie he needed to run to the store.  He grabbed the 3 boys and they went to buy flowers.  A little while later, Kellie heard a knock on the front door.  She opened the door, and this is what she saw…

Will and all 3 boys were in suits on the front porch.  The boys screamed “Happy Mother’s Day!” and Will said “Will you marry me?”

And Kellie….she said YES!

Picture taken by Brooke Karaki – KarakiPhotography.com

Will had the the ring custom made for her, and allowed each one of the boys to pick out a diamond for a special little part of the ring.

What a sweet blessing!  The boys immediately (as in moments after the proposal) said “Now can we call you Daddy?”  I have been crying the whole time I’ve been working on this post, but man!  I just can’t help but tear up thinking about how excited those boys were to finally have a DADDY!

Picture taken by Brooke Karaki – KarakiPhotography.com

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On August 7, Kellie and Will were married.  My beautiful friend became a beautiful bride!

Kellie moved to Ft. Worth to be with Will…imagine that!  I guess she thought that relationship was more important than ours.  Friends!  Who needs them?  I’m kidding, but I tell you, I sure am sad she moved away!  I miss our weekly girls nights together, eating a bunch of junk food, watching Modern Family, Friday Night Lights, and just girl talk!

But what I want you to hear is this…

The Lord provided for Kellie and her boys.

Philippians 4:19 “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

He continually provided for them financially.  I can say this with full knowledge and conviction.  Kellie worked for Brad.  When the real estate market was down everywhere, my sweet hard-working husband was still busy!  His business stayed steady, and we saw how God was faithful to provide home sales for us, which also allowed Brad to continue to employ Kellie!  It was not an abundance, but it was sufficient!

He provided so many amazing people and friendships for Kellie and her boys.  Kellie had older women in the church that stepped in as mentors and “grandmothers” to her boys.  She had friends like Elicia, Monica, and Heather that stepped up and watched the boys at the drop of a hat.  She had a precious friend from Arizona, Lisa, that for some strange reason lost her job and couldn’t find another one.  Her job hiatus was at such a crucial time for Kellie, and Lisa made herself completely available to Kellie, even staying in Texas for weeks!  She had a precious woman, Molly, who sat with her day and night at the hospital and waded through bills and paperwork and insurance junk trying to keep Kellie’s life together.  Kellie had people she didn’t even know bring food for months.  I saw so many people step up to love on this family.  Meredith and I provided junk food and fellowship.  We tried to go to Kellie’s house every Wednesday night from the time Mark died until right before she was married, to hang out and EAT!  Occasionally our friends Tiffany and Elicia would join us.  There’s no substitution for good girl time, and we all benefited from that.  This is a picture from a party we had for Will and Kellie months ago.

(Monica, Me-looking very postpartum, Heather, KELLIE, Elicia, Tiffany, Meredith)

And God, in HIS perfect timing provided the perfect man for them!  Kellie has a sweet husband, her babies have a wonderful daddy, and they are growing together as a family!  Through all of the hardships in her life, Kellie has seen God’s provision and protection, and she is able to look at the past few years and speak about how the Lord has used some awful,terrible, horrible situations to protect her.  To protect her!  Isn’t that amazing!

You know, God sees the big picture.  Even knowing the Lord and knowing he has a plan, it was hard for me to watch Kellie’s life.  Kellie was a modern-day Job!  And she, like Job, remained faithful, and I know the Lord will reward her faithfulness.  He already is!  If Kellie can endure what she has over the past few years and look back and see God’s hand guiding and protecting her, surely I can!

She is the perfect example of Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future!”

Will, you better take good care of my friend!

Kellie, I miss and love you, friend!  But I am so happy for your new life, your new start, and I pray that this is your “Happily ever after!”

-kate

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S’mores in the Backyard

We had our first little cool snap this weekend.  I am a summer girl!  I like sun and heat, and I do not like any temp lower than 70!  Thankfully in East Texas, warm weather bounces in and out of November and December.  I just don’t like to be cold…but I do like S’MORES and campfires!

So the maniacs dressed themselves for a blizzard, complete with hats, scarves, mittens and rain boots.  Then we all went outside.

Brad built a backyard campfire in our little fire pit, and we roasted marshmallows.

Even my baby peach joined us, and she was looking too stinkin’ precious in her hat.

Lilly Katherine liked her marshmallow burned…like her mother! :)

Preston did NOT like his marshmallow burned!

This was as toasted as Preston wanted his.

My Pinky LOVED her s’more!

So did this girl.

And so did this boy!  Sam got lucky several times.

Even Brad enjoyed the fruits of his labor.

…a lot!

Preston took this picture of me holding Georgia, and I am including it for one reason.  I know it’s not a great pic of either one of us, but I read a blog post that a friend shared on Facebook this weekend, and I had to include a picture of myself.

This is a blog I have never read before, but I was very touched by what she said here.  I am so guilty of never letting my face show in pictures.  It is so much easier to hide behind the camera, because I don’t enjoy seeing pictures of my larger-than-I-would-like-to-be, lactating, postpartum with the FOURTH child body, that is rarely made-up, and usually topped off with a greasy pony-tail.  However, my kids need to see me in pictures.  They need to be able to know I was there…not just there behind the camera.  They need to remember what I did and how I looked and just remember me as part of the action.  They will not look back and see stretch marks or bags under my eyes.  They will see their mother!  They will see ME!  The real mama, wife, daughter, sister, cook, cleaner, driver, planner…the real housewife and mother that I am!  I need to not be ashamed of it, but embrace this stage of motherhood.

Wish me luck!

Maybe seeing myself in pictures will motivate me to shower or get dressed…maybe! :)

Have a lovely week!

-kate

17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”  -Acts 14:17

Septmeber Randoms

Brad took 2 of our kids to church and I am home with the 2 that didn’t need to go spread green snot and throw-up kooties to everyone.  You’re welcome!

I have all these random pics on my phone from September, and while I should be working on my BSF lesson, I think I will do a quick picture post…

My precious little nugget!

All my MANIACS!

My baby girls and their Baby Huggums.

This is so blurry but so much more accurate…

This stinker went and turned 8 months old on me!  She is so big that she even got to try her big girl swing this week.

When I took the above pic of Georgia, I realized that she DOES look like somebody!  She looks like my nephew Garrett!

Lilly Katherine left this sweet note on a bathroom mirror for Preston.  She has such a sweet, loving heart.

I found this note that Lilly Katherine wrote to her buddy, Asa.  She likes to chase him on the playground!  I need to be doing a whole lotta prayin’!!!

This was the inside of her little note.

“Asa

Please come over for our talk.”

My oh my oh my oh my!  When I was at Baylor we called that kind of “talk” a DTR (defining the relationship).

I will be keeping a close eye on these two!  When I was in seventh grade, I was stepping onto a church bus and Asa’s daddy had all his friends read me the verse “Greet one another with a holy kiss!”

Then…

Well…

He greeted me with a holy kiss!

On the church bus!

Then we “went together” and we were in seventh grade “love!” :)

And now 22 years later, LK and Asa are chasing each other around the playground!

Help me Rhonda!

Moving on!

My sweet baby Georgia loves to cook.

Georgia and her men…Thomas and Henry.  They are 5 weeks younger and MUCH bigger!

And here is a pic of all the babies…all 6 born within 5 weeks of each other.  Such sweet friends, and we are so blessed to have each one of them.

From oldest to youngest, Laurabeth, Georgia, Eva, Luke, Thomas, and Henry.

THE END!

-kate

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PMS Brownies and our busy lives

So I am pretty sure that I have NEVER been away from my computer or neglected my email or my blog this long.  I am still here, but just like all of us, life is crazy!

The week before last, my time was devoted to the CCC Sale.

Last week I was consumed with making baby food (and brownies) with Meredith and Carrie.  We made tons of baby food for our little ones, and had so much fun cooking into the wee hours of the morning.  I know we’re weird!

And this is just about half of it…

Then, this week I have cleaned up vomit, vomit, and more VOMIT!

My sweet little Georgia has a condition called FPIES (which is one reason I am making her baby food), and Monday night we added oatmeal to the list of foods her little body cannot handle.  So far she is intolerant to rice, prunes, carrots and now oatmeal.  They make her vomit until her body is completely rid of the food.

Then Tuesday night AnnaLeigh started throwing up and was miserable on Wednesday.  She was fine yesterday and then last night Lilly Katherine started throwing up!  I am praying my busy husband doesn’t get it and that the rest of us stay free of this nasty bug!

As if I don’t have enough laundry to do with 6 people living her, toss in a stomach bug and FPIES, and I have done nothing but laundry all week.  Plus, my hands are cracked and raw from washing them every 10 seconds!

Good times being the mama!

Needless to say, I need a lot of chocolate to make it through the craziness!  Well, lucky for me (and lucky for YOU), I have just been given a HORRIBLE recipe that I had to share!  My friend Heather posted this recipe on my Facebook page and claimed that they are the best brownies ever.  Then two other friends piped up and told me they really WERE the best brownies ever, so I had no choice but to make the stinkin’ brownies!

Lucky for you I did…and then I made them again…and then I made them again…and then I made them again.  I think I made 5 batches last week!  No lie!  They take about 10 seconds to make and they really can’t be beat!

Look at this gooey goodness!  iPhone pics are not the best, but that’s what you get here.

I have affectionately named them PMS brownies because there is a certain time every month when my body demands chocolate and no other food will suffice.  I will rummage through the cabinets and refrigerator eating everything that looks like it might taste like chocolate.  I will eat my children’s year-old leftover Easter and Halloween candy or an entire container of Nutella, and if that doesn’t do the trick, I will resort to raiding my baking supplies for chocolate chips or almond bark.  I usually end up baking something to consume immediately…as I hand my children raw carrot sticks and tell them they don’t need to eat sweets.

I know my father will not approve of the name PMS Brownies, but being a man he does NOT understand that this name makes perfect sense.  These are ingredients I will always have on hand, and this recipe is so quick, so easy, and so delicious.  When my monthly chocolate emergency arises, I can quickly satisfy the craving.  (Who am I kidding?  Monthly?  It’s probably closer to a weekly emergency!)  So the name is totally appropriate! :)

Anyway, If you have made my Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce, it is very similar but with the addition of eggs and flour.  If you have not made Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce, well then I would say you have TWO recipes to make today!

Recipe for PMS Brownies

What you will need:

Butter, Sugar, Cocoa, Flour, Vanilla, Eggs

Melt the butter.

Add remaining ingredients.Stir.

Grease (or if you’re lazy like me, spray PAM in) a small baking dish, like a 9X9 pan or whatever size you have.  This makes a smaller batch of brownies, so do NOT use a 9X13.

Pour brownie batter in the baking dish…while tasting a couple of bites.

Cook on 325° for 23-25 minutes.  Heather cooks hers longer, but I think my oven is hot…and I like gooey brownies! :)

YUM!  These brownies are fudgy and delicious and will disappear so quickly!

Doesn’t that look like something you need right now?  You know, that looks good, but…Yep.  That’s better! :)

Recipe for PMS Brownies:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Stick of Butter (I think salted butter is the only way to go!)
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs

Melt butter.  Add remaining ingredients (You can also add nuts if you like to ruin brownies with things like pecans) and stir.  Pour into a greased small baking dish (like an 8X8 or 9X9).  Bake at 325° for 23-25 minutes.

Enjoy!!!  Make Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce and have brownies, ice cream, and chocolate sauce and it will become your new favorite dessert.

Happy brownie making!  I pray you and your home are full of brownies…and free of vomit this weekend!

That may make the brownies less appetizing.  Sorry!

-kate

Griswold Style

In August, we went on our third annual “Griswold” Family Vacation with my parents, my sister and her family, and my brother and his wife.  We had a blast!  With the ages of our kids, we have found the easiest thing to do is rent a big ol’ house and just hang out together.  We went to Mansfield and found a few local things to do for fun.  We don’t need fancy!  We went to Hawaiian Falls, The Fort Worth Botanical Gardens, The Dallas World Aquarium, and spent time swimming, golfing, playing dominoes, and just hanging out!  It’s just nice to have a change of scenery…and to all be together.

I am about to post 4 million pictures, but I had more on my phone…that was erased…that our “forensic detective” is still trying to recover.  Here are a few from my camera.

Pretend like you are seeing several pictures from Hawaiian Falls like these pics from last year.  My HF pics from this year are in cell phone outer space for the time being.

We went to the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens and the grounds were lovely!  It was HOT, but beautiful!  We got to see two weddings, and there were 2 little girls super excited to see “princesses” at the Gardens!

We took about 452,000 family pictures.  My brother-in-law’s sister, Anne, took the pictures.  Anne did a TON to help out the whole weekend.  She came and stayed with us, which is always a treat…especially because the kids love Aunt Sugar!

The big kids…Truett, AnnaLeigh, Preston, Lilly Katherine, Caleb

My dad and sweet, happy Georgia!  Look how white my baby is next to her Papa’s Italian/Lebanese skin!

The whole crew!

Mimi and Papa with all the grandkids.

AnnaLeigh, Laurabeth, and Mimi

My little (big) brother and Georgia.  I can’t wait to hold HIS little baby girl in a few short weeks!  He’s just a little excited!

Exploring.

This is my family! 

Ashley (the baby), Taylor (the middle), and me (the oldest and wisest!), my mom and dad.  We don’t have a picture like this and I love how you can see that Ash looks more like my mom, I look like my dad, and Taylor is a mix.  Genes…they are crazy little things!

This is our newest family member!  Taylor, Kelly, and their sweet baby girl.  They haven’t decided on a name, but I’m pushing for the name Kate!

And this is how we got through the 1,000 degree photo shoot…FRUIT SNACKS!

And now, our little fam!  In my mind we are going to take another family picture closer to Christmas to use as a Christmas card pic.  Who knows if that will actually happen, since I am “that person” ordering my cards from Shutterfly on December 20, with rush shipping, optimistically thinking that I can receive them, stuff them, address them, stamp them, and get them back in the mail so they will be delivered the 24th or at the latest, the 26th (which of course people would assume it was late because the mailman just didn’t get it there in time!)   But my point is that if this ends up on a Christmas card, pretend like you never saw this picture! :)

Laurabeth and Georgia

My dear brother has never chosen the easy way.  He is the middle child in so many ways.  He went to Baylor, but did not stay long.  He left there and went to New Mexico to “find himself,” then he decided he was tired of everyone telling him what to do, so he joined the Air Force.  Ironic?  That is Taylor!

Taylor is smart!  He can do anything that he puts his mind to!  He knows random things about just about everything.  He can talk to a wall…for hours.  He loves animals, to the extreme.  He is big and giant and goofy, but his heart is even bigger!  He will be a great daddy!

Taylor did not chose the easy way (nor has he ever), but when we were on vacation we wanted to celebrate him for a wonderful accomplishment!  Taylor started going back to school while he was in the military.  He got his undergraduate degree, and decided he was not finished.  The boy who always hated school just got his MASTERS!  I don’t know how he has done it, but we wanted to have a little redneck celebration for him to show him we are proud of him.

My mom brought a (much too small) high school graduation cap and gown, and he was told to put them on.  My dad played the “graduation song” and we did a fake ceremony.  It was short and sweet, but fun to celebrate Taylor!  Congrats little bro!

Turning the tassel

And of course tossing the cap!

Congrats to my favowite bwudda! :)  Love you!

These maniacs didn’t know why they were proud of him, but they were fine to get a free hug!

On our way home we went to the Dallas World Aquarium…and apparently so did the rest of Dallas.  It was amazing, and I want to go back, but Sunday afternoon at the end of summer is not the time to go!  We still had a great time and saw some amazing creatures.  The Lord sure is creative!

Look at those beautiful dark eyes!  I love this baby!

We tried for another family pic.  HA!  AnnaLeigh was in quite a mood at the DWA.  The picture below was probably her happiest moment and it all went downhill from there.  I’m pretty sure there were some people ready to call CPS due to her out of control screaming, kicking, hitting, and flailing accompanied by my attempt to “train” and “teach” and eventually to just shut her up!

Long weekends make for tired babies, and AnnaLeigh was not the only tired child.  Georgia toured the whole building just like this…and I loved it!

Preston’s favorite!  The manatee.  It’s a crazy looking thing!

But speaking of crazy…this Alice in Wonderland looking thing has the strangest looking “face” on the underside.  How can you look at this shark and not know there is a GOD?!?  A funny, creative, imaginative, orderly GOD!

We had a wonderful weekend!  Thank you Diddy and Mama for everything!  Thank you Anne for all your help and your sweet gift to our babies.  Thank you Linny for all the fun toys for everyone!

I just can’t imagine being more blessed!  Thank you LORD!

The End!

Kadiddlehop!

-kate

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Tough Lesson Learned

For all of you parents who are hating the attitudes and the meltdowns that the first few weeks of school bring, please just know that you are not alone!  Just as I mentioned in this post last year, starting school has always been hard for Preston and now we have added Lilly Katherine to the mix.  Praise the LORD Preston has been much better this week.  I guess by third grade he has finally figured out that he HAS to read and it’s not my fault that he has to read!  I should also mention that he still LOVES his reading nook and reading pillow and he uses them everyday!  If you need an idea to motivate your little ones to read, something like this AND this may really help.

I have to say that what is frustrating me the most about my kids lately is that they absolutely WILL NOT OBEY!  I feel like I speak another language or maybe they all have hearing problems!  I catch myself screaming the Rush Hour line “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?!?” all too often!  They are driving me crazy with disobedience and “delayed” obedience!  You know the old “I was gonna do it, but I was just…”

I find that I am spending WAY TOO MUCH time and effort repeating myself, not being heard, and in turn punishing them.  Not fun!

Anyway, I need to make a little confession that I am no better than my maniacs!  I am one of them!  I have learned a VERY valuable lesson this week and I really feel like it’s one we all need to hear…or maybe I just need to put it in writing so my head knowledge becomes heart knowledge.

Over the last few months I have been convicted that my eyeballs are glued to my phone WAY too much!  I am not talking about texting and calling people.  Of course I text and call, and I will continue to do so.  I am talking about my fun apps like Words with Friends (which I love) and houzz, and Facebook, and stinkin’ Pinterest!  I have way too many fun things to look at on my phone…and I can justify each one of them.

Words with Friends keeps my brain sharp, and few things in my life do that right now.

houzz gives me design ideas for free so I don’t have to buy any home magazines…not like I really ever did that anyway.

Facebook is my connection to the outside world and allows me to interact with people that are taller than 3 feet!  I am a social person and it is a fun way to connect with people.  Plus, it is very entertaining in the middle of the night when you are up 37 times nursing a newborn!

Pinterest is a down-right obsession, and I can easily convince myself it will make me a better wife, mom, cook, cleaner, cake decorator, crafter, etc… as soon as I actually do all the things I pin!

Well, I have felt the Lord nudging me to get my eyes off of my phone and spend time with my babies.  They are young.  They are home.  They are wanting to play with me…and I am playing Words with Friends (and enjoying it!)  Lilly Katherine’s precious Sunday School teacher says (about her grown children) that she would give up all her worldly possessions to spend just one day with her sons as little kids again.  WOW!  I know I will one day look back and wish that I had spent more quality PLAY time with these maniacs!

Sometimes the kids play with my phone or beg to play on my computer.  I recognize when they have been on my phone too long and quickly remove it from their sticky little hands, and then wipe the screen off because I swear kids hands secrete something awful onto iPhones!  I do not love for them to play on my phone, and I rarely let them play on the computer…for many reasons.  I strictly limit their time with technology, but I do not hold myself to the same standards.  Why?  I have no good answer.  This is a classic “Do as I say, not as I do” way of parenting and it is not wise or effective!

Then I pinned something a few weeks ago that said “If you’re too busy to read your Bible or pray, then you are much busier than the Lord intended you to be!” and I was again convicted because this summer a Quiet Time with my Bible was darn near impossible!  However, I could have read my Bible app just as easily as I could have searched for chore charts (that I will never make) on Pinterest!

Also a few weeks ago I realized that I didn’t have an iPhone as I nursed Preston, Lilly Katherine, and AnnaLeigh.  Whatever did I do without Facebook and Pinterest as I sat alone, in a quiet dark room, feeding my babies in the middle of the night?

Oh, I remember…

I PRAYED FOR THEM!

I sang to them!

I looked at THEM, not at a glowing screen!  I looked at their sweet little faces and stroked their little heads!  I kissed their sweet hands and kissed their tiny little fingers!  I thanked the Lord for the opportunity to be the mother of such a precious gift!  Have I done that with sweet Georgia?  NO!  My iPhone and all my “fun” apps have been just as imperative as a burp cloth when I sit down to feed her.

Knowing that the tugging at my heart for this certain conviction was getting stronger, what did I do?  Did I listen?  Did I act?  Was the Lord screaming “Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”  Of course he was!

However I continued to ignore his request, just like a 3 year old maniac I know, and I justified my obsession and the stronghold in my life…a dumb phone!

That brings me to last Thursday…

My phone was so slow as I was trying to take this picture of our last day of summer.

I knew my phone was slow because my phone was full of pictures and videos and also because it had not been updated since, well, ever!  I am not sure I had ever updated my phone in almost 2 years.  Genius!  I know.  There are reasons, but I’ll spare you the technical details.

As I slept Friday morning, Brad was on the phone with AT&T trying to backup my phone so he could update it.  Somehow in the process, my dear husband restored my phone to factory settings.  That’s right!  Back to an empty, straight from the store, iPhone!

Because of my computer situation, we could not restore it to a previous backup because there WERE NO previous backups!

I was DEVASTATED!!!  I literally cried all day long!  I was angry and sad and mad, and I was not very fun to be around.  He had not only erased all of my contacts, my apps, my songs, my settings, but also all of my pictures, and all of my videos…the birth of my baby, Georgia’s first bath, the kids bathing her, my dying grandmother holding Georgia and talking to her, Lilly Katherine learning to ride a bike, and a million more!

After I got over the initial shock and devastation, I realized that I had asked for this!  I knew almost immediately that this was a result of my total disobedience from what the Holy Spirit was placing on my heart.  Why hadn’t I just obeyed?!?  I should have put the phone down! I deserved this and He needed to make this painful enough to get my attention!

The people at Apple said there was nothing we could do.  I went to stores that specialize in helping dummies like me, and they couldn’t help me.  My “computer geek” dad worked on my phone and my computer all weekend, and recovered absolutely nothing.  I tried to restore it with a previous backup from November, in an effort to recover some of my pics and videos, and as it turned out the backup never completed in November, so I could not even get that.

In the midst of all of this, I decided the Lord wanted my attention and I started by just reading the Psalm and the Proverb that corresponded to the day.  This is my go-to when I don’t know what to read for my quiet time.  So on August 29, I read Psalm 29 and Proverbs 29, and guess what I found…

Proverbs 29:1

“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy”. NIV

or the New Living Translation says

“He who stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.”

Hmm.  Hello Lord!  Would you like to be a little more direct?

My friend asked, “So you really think the Lord erased your phone?” and my response is this…I am positive that Brad erased my phone.  I am positive that the AT&T people were of little assistance in the process. I am positive that I was EXTREMELY upset.  I am positive that the Lord used this to get my attention.  Now, if only my apps had been deleted I am sure I would have just put them back on my phone and rocked on.  By deleting EVERYTHING, I realized how dependent I am on that little piece of technical equipment and how much time I spend on it!  What happened really got my attention!

And now for the rest of the story…(and if you read those words and you don’t hear Paul Harvey saying them in your head then you are too young!)

A local cell phone store gave us the name of a forensic detective (sounds serious!) that could possibly recover any information if there was a shred of info out there.  I had very little faith since several people and computer programs were not able to recover the images and videos.  He looks through computers for the police department and attorneys in criminal investigations.  I’m sure he sees some pretty crazy stuff!

Brad took my phone and computer to him yesterday and he looked on it for a few minutes and found nothing.  He tried almost all of his tricks and nothing!  He said to Brad, I may look one more place, and he saw a file that looked rather large.  He clicked on a tiny thumbnail of an image and it was a picture of my  one week old baby girl asleep on Brad’s shoulder!  Oh my goodness!  Brad said, “That may be it!”

He opened a few more images.  He saw the video thumbnails.  HE FOUND IT!!!!  He is actually still working on it, but we are hopeful that he will be able to recover my pictures and videos, and I honestly have no idea how!  I have no idea how they got on the computer, and I have no idea how he found them.

I do know that I have learned a very important lesson, and I am forever grateful that I have those videos and pictures back.

My plan of action:

I am going to put my phone down.

However painful it is, I am not RE-loading houzz, Pinterest, and WWF back on my phone.  I do still have Facebook on my phone because I have no contacts and no email, so it is my way of communicating with many people at this time.  Yes, I am very good at justifying things!  However, if there is a little maniac standing beside me saying “Mama!  Mama!  Mama!  Mama!” I know now to make that little maniac a higher priority than status updates of people I haven’t seen in 15 years!

I want to be a good example to my children.  I want to value them and let them know that I love them more than my iPhone!  I want to put the phone down and spend time with the real lives the Lord has put in my presence…that NEED me!

Join me!  Put your phone down and join me!

Have a wonderful phone free weekend! :)

-kate

“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed – without remedy”   -Prov 29:1 NIV

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In a FLASH!

This summer was absolutely wonderful!  We didn’t do too much.  We just had fun together doing things the kids wanted to do.  We did not go to the gym and my jiggly thighs are proof.  We did not go to the grocery store as often as we should have.  We did not clean the house as we should have, but we did swim a LOT, and pick blueberries, and play with friends, and go to the park, and go to museums, and play outside, and just have fun!  I love the ages of my kids right this moment!

I am mourning the end of summer!  I love the freedom and the fun.  This random picture from two weeks ago sums up our summer pretty well.

Preston is in FULL football gear from mouthpiece to shoes, anticipating the start of the Cowboys’ season.  He is loving on/messing with Georgia who looks a little happy and a little scared to death.

Lilly Katherine is quietly working on a little project.  She is wearing red sparkly shoes that were passed down from her friend Laura, and she has rarely taken them off in the past month.

AnnaLeigh is wearing Lilly Katherine’s recital outfit complete with mismatched high heels, and she is “cooking” me some coffee.

Monday all of that changed…

As of Monday, my world once again revolves around the school bells!  My house should be quieter, but AnnaLeigh has made up for any lull with some pretty sweet fits!

Monday, my baby boy started third grade…

and Monday my baby girl started KINDTERGARTEN!!!

So…of course we had to add LK to our annual Pencil Cake!

Preston…my big 3rd grader!

Preston and Nash

Lilly Katherine…my beautiful Kindergartener!

After they got home, we all enjoyed their sweet treat!

I love these big kids!  Seeing them hug each other is a very rare thing…and it ended with a very rough squeeze and some tears!  But the picture sure is cute!

The damage.  :)

I am so sad to see summer go.  Don’t get me wrong, those little people sometimes make me want to LOSE MY MIND!  But I actually like them around, under my wing…as absolutely crazy as they make me.  It’s quieter and easier when they’re not around, and a break is a welcomed treat…but I really don’t like them gone all day every day!  However, I have enjoyed loving on this happy, toothless, sweet little thing a little more this week!

Happy Back to SCHOOL!

-kate

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Learning to Ride

This post is a month old at this point, but it’s such a milestone for my babies that I must post it.

I have this little boy.  He is 8.5.  He is wild and he is ALL BOY!  He is rough and athletic and busy and completely scared of everything!  He is so cautious, analytical, and logical, and very much a worrier.  I guess he is a textbook first child.

A few years ago Preston got a bicycle for Christmas.  It had training wheels, and he never had any desire to remove the training wheels.  When he turned 6 we took the training wheels off, and at that point he just totally refused to ride his bike.  He decided he didn’t really like to ride bikes and he was never going to learn because bike riding is boring!  That would be what most of us refer to as a load of bull…or an excuse!

A few months ago at church they had a bike “ride-a-thon” and my son ran as his friends rode and he told people he forgot his bicycle.  The boy did NOT want to learn.

Through blood, sweat, and tears, the child finally knows how to ride a stinkin’ bicycle.  We had to get a little ugly, but Brad and I both MADE him learn.  Brad held him and ran with him, and Preston would try to give up, and he would give us a load of excuses.  All the while, Brad and I were telling him (quite forcefully) not to give up!  See, with Preston, everything comes easily.  He is smart and athletic, and most things just come naturally.  If something takes work, he tends to give up.  We want to teach this child to have determination to complete the task at hand…and that has been no easy task for this tired mama!

But the fact is, he did not give up, and neither did we, and now Preston (at 8.5) can ride a bicycle!

He can ride!

Without training wheels!

And I am so proud of him!!!

Now, somehow the same two people produced a child that could not be more different from our first born!  Lilly Katherine is 5 (almost 6) and she is happy-go-lucky, and lives somewhere in the clouds 98% of the time.  She flits and floats about and just loves life and all the new adventures each day brings.  My dad decided that if Preston could ride, we should take LK’s training wheels off.  She, of course, assisted in that process with her plastic wrench.

Lilly Katherine was not one bit worried about learning to ride.  However, Brad was trying to teach her and he finally had to call me to come do it.  He told me she needed someone that spoke her language…and that would be me!

LK would get on her seat, and start singing.  She could not focus on learning how to ride because she was too busy whistling while she worked!  I just held her and ran beside her as I CONSTANTLY repeated “balance!  Pedal!  Try to watch the road!  Balance!  Pedal!  Don’t hit the curb!  Use the breaks!  Balance!”

And all the while she sang!

She finally was able to ride a few feet by herself, and then she decided she could take it from there.  She had enough of me trying to show her and she wanted to learn by herself.  That is how she learns!  She taught herself to talk correctly.  She taught herself to hula hoop.  She taught herself to stop sucking her thumb (however we have since reverted back on that one), and she taught herself to ride a bike!  This week she’s trying to teach herself to dive into the swimming pool.  She learns best from a teacher she understands. :)

It is so amazing to watch her learn.  She never gets frustrated.  She remains determined and focused.  She sings and giggles as she works harder and harder until she gets it!  If she falls, she gets right back up and keeps going.  If she succeeds, she giggles and sings louder.  We have a video of her from the first day of riding and she was singing “We want a pitcher, not a belly itcher!  We want a batter, not a broken CRASH!”  as she crashed right into the basketball goal and just started giggling.

I love to see this will and determination used for positive things. :)  I pray all the time that she will be a strong woman and that she will always have this joyful determination to learn new things and conquer obstacles.

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These two kids…I love them both.  They are oh so very different!

And now they both know how to ride a bicycle!!!

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So after they both knew how to ride, we set out to test out their skills!  They rode to the park as I ran beside them with a stroller.  It was a wonderful adventure and we ALL had a great time, enjoyed some wonderful summer weather, and got some much needed exercise!

As much as I hate for my babies to grow up, I do love milestones like this where I can SEE them growing up.

I have a million and five pictures to post from this summer, but we will be spending the next week soaking up every second of summer!  I am so extremely sad that summer is almost over.  I bet you will find us riding to the park and back a few times this week.

Happy last few days of summer!

-kate

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Ice Cream in a Zip-Lock Baggie

Last year the kids and I made a “Summer Bucket List” and we did very few things on the list because I was so yucky feeling.  Thank you pregnancy nausea!  Last year we just survived!  This year, we are actually doing the things we said we wanted to do, and this was one left from last year! :)

So, last week the kids and I had fun making a little summer treat that is easy and delicious!  We made Ice Cream in a Zip-Lock baggie.  It takes very few ingredients, and it is a good way to let your maniacs release some energy and enjoy a cool treat during these blistering hot days.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE SUMMER!!  I would rather have 95 degree weather all year long than be stuck in cold weather, but sometimes we have to find indoor activities like this!

The kids and I each made our own bag, and we learned a few tricks and tips along the way.

Recipe for Ice Cream in a Zip-Lock Baggie

You will need:

Half and half, Sugar, Flavoring, Salt, Ice, Large strong Zip-Lock bags, Small strong Zip-Lock bags

The maniacs did most of this by themselves.  I measured out the half and half, but they did everything else.  This was an easy recipe for them to be “hands-on”

Open a small baggie and add sugar.

Then add 1/2 cup half and half.  Then add flavoring.  We used several different extracts because each children wanted something different, of course.  Choose from vanilla, almond, peppermint, or whatever extract you have on hand.  Just add 1/4 teaspoon extract to your baggie.

This isn’t necessary, but my kids LOVE anything that is colored!  I let them choose the color and add a couple of drops of food coloring to their milk mixture.

So proud!

Seal the bags very tightly, and we even taped the bag closed.  However, I would advise you to then place this bag inside another small bag that is the same size just to give it added protection and a barrier between the ice.

Fill the large Zip-Lock 1/4 full of ice.  Add 1/4 Cup coarse salt, like rock salt or I used sea salt.  The larger granules are better than plain table salt, but you can use table salt if that is all you have.

Place your small bag of “cream” inside the large bag on top of the ice.  Then add more ice to make the bag about half full of ice.  Crushed ice or smaller ice is easier to deal with than this large ice we used.

After you have sealed the bag very well, start shaking it up.

The girls shook theirs for about 3.5 seconds before they decided it was too cold to hold.  Brrrrr!

We found that shaking it inside a dish towel made it MUCH better!  I have also found that you can use a larger towel, wrap the towel in tape and toss it like a ball to each other.  This works great with Preston, but not so well with these little women!

Shake!  Shake!  Shake!  My little man is SO intense about everything in life.  Ice cream shaking is no different!

Lilly Katherine was singing the whole time…”Shake, shake, shake!  Shake, shake shake!  Shake your ice cream!  Shake your ice cream!”

Shake it for about 5-10 minutes.

Shake it until it’s firm.  If it is not firm, just keep shaking.  You will know when it is ready to eat.  It is fun to see the transformation from liquid to solid.

Open your bag and grab a spoon!  It’s ready to eat!

The maniacs loved getting to taste all the different flavors.

Mmmmmm!

We will definitely make this again, but here are a few helpful hints:

  • Double bag the small bag for added protection before placing it in the large ice bag.
  • Use crushed ice or small ice if possible.
  • Wrap the ice bag in a towel to protect yourself from frostbite.

Recipe for Ice Cream in a Zip-Lock Baggie

This makes 1 serving.  This recipe is PER BAGGIE:

  • 1/2 Cup Half and Half
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract or flavoring of your choice.
  • 1/4 Cup coarse Salt
  • Ice
  • Small Zip-Lock sandwich bags (not snack)
  • Large (Gallon) Freezer bags

In a small baggie, combine half and half, sugar, and flavoring.  Seal tightly.  Place small bag inside another small bag to protect it from sharp ice.  Fill large Zip-Lock 1/4 full of ice.  Pour 1/4 cup coarse salt on ice.  Place cream mixture baggie on top of ice, then add enough ice to fill the large bag about halfway or a little more.  Seal bag very well.  Wrap bag in a towel and shake your heart out for 5-10 minutes or until mixture is firm.  Open and enjoy!

Happy Summer!

-kate

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Preston’s Baylor Birthday Party

Preston’s birthday was in January and we had a little family celebration then.  However, in typical Kate fashion, we had his party this past Thursday!  I was 9 months pregnant in January and miserable and he wanted a swim party, so we decided to celebrate his HALF birthday this year!  It was wonderful!

The party was hot and fun, and we are so fortunate to have a wonderful place to have a swim party.  Brad’s parents always willingly open their home and their pool to us and to all of our friends, and our kids love to have parties there.

Preston decided months ago he wanted a Baylor party.  He actually wanted an RGIII or Brittney Griner party and asked if I could make an RGIII cake.  While I was flattered that he thought that was in any way possible, I assured him that it was not!  I told him I would make a Baylor cake, but it would not be a sculpted person, nor would either of those players be making an appearance at the party.  He was fine with it.

I did, however, call Baylor and tell them that I had an 8 year old having a party and asked it they could send me a few Baylor Magazines and any other little goodies for little guys.  They were WONDERFUL!  A box arrived a few days later with magazines, coloring pages, pennants, a rally towel, highlighters for all the kids and more, and it was all FREE.  Preston was thrilled, and I am positive he is SOLD on Baylor!  I also purchased shirts from the Baylor bookstore that were on serious clearance, and all that made for a pretty fun party favor.I wish I had more pics, but I think I was shooting in the wrong mode, because many of my pictures were too blurry to use. :(  Here are a few from Preston’s 8.5 Baylor Birthday Party.

When we received our box of free goodies from Baylor, Preston (my child who does not color, draw, or create ANYTHING unless a teacher is holding a box of sharpened colored pencils to his head) took the Baylor Bear fan, and drew a picture of the bear.  He did an AMAZING job, and I had to hang it at the party!

The cake…a Baylor baseball, basketball, football helmet cake.

I told Preston he couldn’t get in the pool until I had a picture of all 3 of the kids.  I got a quick pic of my kids, and about 5 minutes later I was taking pictures of Georgia and it hit me that I don’t just have THREE kids!  I have FOUR now!!!  Wow!  Sleep deprivation setting in.

George (Granddear) and Georgia

Nolan, Josh, Preston, and Michael

We got to use the field goal my brother-in-law, Alan, made out of PVC pipe for Preston a few years ago.

Ayden

Preston’s new trick!

Will

Papa and Claire entertaining Georgia…or Georgia entertaining them.

Charlotte

Happy half birthday, baby boy!

-kate

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Mississippi Part 3-Comparisons

First of all, I would like to state that it’s 10:38 on Saturday night, and I have spent the last 3 hours trying to convince myself I did not need to bake a cake for myself!  I WANT WHITE CAKE WITH BUTTERCREAM ICING!

I have rummaged through my cabinets and refrigerator no less than 43 times tonight trying to find something to satisfy this need for white cake.  I was hoping for a healthy option.  I even took the time to make healthy peanut butter/coconut balls, but they did not do the trick.  However, I did consume a fair share of them before I decided that they were no match for white cake!  I tried chai tea/milk and drank a lot of it, but it, too, did not stop the voice in my head telling me I needed cake.  I even ate chocolate and nutella and everything else I could find, but nothing satisfied that craving for creamy, sweet, delicious white cake with white buttercream icing.

I almost made a batch of icing just to eat (or dip pretzels into) and then I remembered that I had some marshmallow fondant in the fridge.  Well, I have a lot less fondant now, but my craving for cake has been suppressed a little.

The moral of my pitiful story is this:  When I am ravenously craving something, I should just get it!  You would think that I would have learned by now that if I am really craving it, I will eat WAY more trying to not eat it than I would if I just ate what I was craving.

Okay, so enough of the true confessions!  Just wanted you to get a sad little glimpse inside my head…and my fridge!

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So this is the last post about our short trip to Mississippi, but I just had to post a few comparison pics because it makes me so sad that my babies are growing up so quickly.  My cousin, Amy Lauren, and I have always been close.  Growing up, every year I would spend weeks of the summer in Mississippi with my cousins.  I have always had so much fun with them, and I am thankful to be part of such a close-knit family.  However, now that I have kids of my own, I am even more thankful to have family to walk this crazy road with me.  Many of us have kids around the same age, and we share many stories via text, email, and phone!

We often spend July 4th in Mississippi.  Amy Lauren and I took pictures of our girls on 4th of July weekend this year and 3 years ago.  AnnaLeigh’s birthday is January 5, and Georgia’s is January 24, so they are only 3 weeks apart in these pictures…but AnnaLeigh had a TON of hair!

4th of July 2009 (Emma-Kate-3, Lilly Katherine-almost 3, AnnaLeigh 6 months)

4th of July 2012 (Emma-Kate-6, Rosemary 6 months, AnnaLeigh-3.5, Georgia 5.5 months, Lilly Katherine almost 6) and I’m sporting the no make-up, no hair brush look.

Just the babies…

This was our last trip to Mississippi just a few short months ago, in March.  Rosemary and Georgia were about 2 months.

Georgia, Rosemary

And now they are almost 6 months!

Rosemary, Georgia

Then…

Now…

All these people are growing too darn fast!

I am tired, and apparently so is Brad.  He fell asleep next to me on the couch about 45 minutes ago, and his entire upper body is leaning on me…and he’s twitching!  He must go to bed!  Goodnight!

-kate

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Mississippi Part 2 – Oxford

All I can say is there is NEVER enough time!  I need a few extra hours in my day…everyday!  Here are more Mississippi pics.  They will bore you to death, but I want them for my memories and my kids memories, so skip them if you would like.  You won’t even hurt my feelings!

The title for this post would more appropriately be called “Mississippi-Chickens, Popcicles, Baseball, and More…”

CHICKENS…

We stayed with my cousin, Franci, and she has a FARM at her house, in the middle of a subdivision in Oxford.  It’s hilarious!  She has chickens (which I have been begging Brad for) among other farm animals.  The kids love playing with them.  I woke up and AnnaLeigh was outside feeding the chickens with bare feet!  Yes it stressed me out, but Franci assured me she would be fine…then I washed her feet off in the sink before she caught some crazy chicken disease. :)

The chickens loved what AnnaLeigh was feeding them, until one got a donut hole.  He was running around and all the other chickens were chasing him.  A few minutes later the kids in the pool were having CHICKEN fights!  These silly boys were so much fun to watch all week – Oliver, Creighton, Noble, Sherman, and Preston.

POPSICLES-

After swimming, they enjoyed their first of MANY popsicles.

Those kids ate popsicles ALL.WEEKEND.LONG! AnnaLeigh and Eloise became big buddies!

Emma-Kate

Preston, Creighton, and Sherman

Sara-Cooper

I even caught Papa with a popsicle!

BASEBALL!

The entire time we were there the kids (and the adults) played baseball.  They all had a blast!

Every time Noble stepped up to bat, he made this “game” face.

Maniac!

AND MORE…

Here are 500 random pics from the trip.

My baby girl loves her feet.  So do I!

The big girls always wanted to hold the babies, Georgia and Rosemary.  We have decided that Georgia looks more like Sophie (the precious cousin holding her) than anyone else in the family.

Who cares who she looks like!  I think she’s absolutely precious!  I could kiss those sweet kissy lips and those squeezable little cheeks all day long!

Lilly Katherine and the girls were tumbling down the hill in the yard and I just snapped a quick pic of her beautiful face before she rolled.  She looks WAY too old in this picture!  I can’t handle it!!!

Then down they went!

Rosemary and Amy Lauren.

Papa made bread almost every day we were there, and there’s nothing like fresh baked Papa bread with Papa’s special ribs!Sweet Emma-Kate brought tons of candy to MamaSara and Papa’s house and she set up shop!  She made a candy store for all the kids, and it was a HIT (especially with AnnaLeigh!)

Papa was so proud of his tomato plants.  They were huge and beautiful, and we reaped the benefit of his harvest!

Worn out!

Aunt Ree always brings all kinds of goodies for the little girls.  She brought buckets of beads and they made bracelets for everyone!  They just sat there on MamaSara and Papa’s bed stringing beads.

Papa is taking care of my sweet MamaSara as her condition continues to decline, and we are all seeing a living example of what it means to love your spouse!  Papa loves MamaSara more than anything!  He constantly tells her he loves her and I heard him tell her several times over the course of 4 days, “Honey, I told you I’m never gonna leave you!  I will always be by your side, Honey!”  It has been such a sweet testament of love.  Papa moved the recliners into the bedroom and put them at the foot of the bed so they could watch television together.  As the girls sat and played with beads, MamaSara and Papa sat and watched TV.

This is what love looks like!

Today is MamaSara and Papa’s SIXTIETH wedding anniversary!  They have been a wonderful example to their 5 children, their 16 grandchildren, and their 23 great-grandchildren! This is how you make you make a marriage last 60 years!

Happy Anniversary MamaSara and Papa!  I love you so much, and I pray Brad and I will have as many wonderful years together as you have!

-kate

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Mississippi Trip-Jackson and Grenada

We went to Mississippi last week to visit my grandparents and cousins.  It was a wonderful trip, except that my sweet MamaSara is not doing well.  The very long drive was as smooth as we could have ever imagined.  The kids did so well, and I think Georgia only cried about 5 minutes total!  It was amazing!

I took so many pictures that I am going to make several posts, so this is the first leg of the trip.  We drove to Jackson on Saturday and spent some time with the Jordans.  It was so much fun to see them again, and their new home is just beautiful…and somehow already decorated!  They just moved a month ago!  My kids absolutely love the 4 Jordan kids and we like Jeff and Dominique alright, too.  It was a fun (very quick) reunion.

The boys were instantly playing!Jeff jumped at any chance to hold sweet Georgia.

The girls played with dolls…

then they took all their babies to the store while chatting on the cell phone.

BOYS!

My little mess!

The crew (minus Georgia) Jeffrey, Wells, AnnaLeigh, Henry, Caroline, Lilly Katherine, and Preston.

We hope to make many more stops at the Jordan house on our way to see family!

We only stayed in Jackson about 3 hours this time, then we were off to Grenada to spend the night with my cousin, Tyson and his wonderful wife, Danielle.  Tyson and Danielle have worked countless hours and put blood, sweat, and tears into building a beautiful home.  They did so much of it themselves, and Brad and I were constantly amazed at their beautiful craftsmanship.  However, you will have to trust me on it, because I have no pics!

I do have a few pics of the maniacs.  AnnaLeigh is such a ham lately!  She rummaged through Neely’s closet and dressed herself in this little get-up.  Then she told Neely to play a song for her on the guitar so she could dance.  She’s a bossy little 3 year old, but so cute that people always do as they are told!  Dangerous combo!

The kids.  Bryce, Preston, AnnaLeigh, Neely, Georgia, Lilly Katherine.

How do I have a child that is so white she glows?  I don’t know, but I sure do love her to pieces!

Thanks Tyson and Danielle for being such wonderful hosts!

More Mississippi to come.

-kate

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Catch Up with iPhone Pics

I have never gotten this behind on my blog, but I have been so busy that I have had absolutely no time at all for blogging!  We have had crazy weeks with swimming, baseball camp, spending time in Mississippi, enjoying families that have come to visit us in Texas, hosting parties, and all the fun stuff that comes with summertime!  It’s been wild and fun, and quite honestly…I’M WORN OUT!  I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, but I have a quiet house and I would rather blog while I have the chance than sleep.  (I don’t know where LK gets it!)

So where do I start? I think I’ll just do a cell phone pics post to start the catch-up process. The Mississippi trip could be 15 posts alone, so I’m skipping that for now.

My little brother (Taylor) and his sweet wife (Kelly) live in Oklahoma.  (Georgia looks a little crazy in this pic.)

They came in town 2 weeks ago to share some pretty exciting news with us!

They are going to have a little girl, due in November!  Crazy!!! That means that my sister, my brother and I all will have little girls born in 2012!  What a blessing!  We grew up with so many cousins that we loved to visit and play with, and I am so happy that Taylor and Kelly are adding some crazy kids to the mix.  I’m even more excited that it’s a GIRL!  Taylor, I’m praying that you have a child just like you!  Sorry, Kelly!  :)  Maybe this child will be perfect like most first-borns are, then you can have a little Taylor for #2!

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For Father’s Day this year I wanted to make my dad a meal that he only gets when he goes to see his parents.  I made several of our favorite foods from MamaSara and Papa’s house…the best Lebanese and Italian cooks I know!  Maybe one day I’ll post these recipes.  For now I am posting pics because it was a pretty delicious meal and reminded me so much of my sweet MamaSara.  In fact, my sister and mom gave me the best compliment they could possibly have given me when they said, “It smells like MamaSara’s house in here!”  Oh how I treasure that smell!

So, to any of you who can appreciate Lebanese or Italian foods…I made stuffed squash, spaghetti with homemade spaghetti sauce, Kibbee (Kibba, Kibbie, however you choose to spell it), cucumber and tomato salad, and stuffed artichokes.  The only things missing were fresh baked bread, canolli and divinity!  Next time…

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This is something else we have been up to.  My dad was taking the training wheels off of Lilly Katherine’s bike.  He started taking one off, and she ran inside, grabbed the plastic wrench from the play toolkit and ran out to “help” him.  I’m telling you, this child can be so stinkin’ precious!

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We got to spend some time with the Williams twins.  They are so cute!  Georgia is 5 weeks older than Thomas and Henry, and about 5 pounds lighter…well, almost. :)

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This beautiful little face was looking up at me.  She was promising me that she is never going to grow, never going to say “NO!” and never going to leave my side…ever!  I think the others told me that too, but they lied.  She’s not lying!

Sidenote:  When AnnaLeigh was 2 she used to always tell me “Mama, I’m not going to grow up!  I’m going to stay 2 fowevah and evah and nevah weave you.”  One day she got in trouble and was in timeout and she started screaming the only mean thing she could think of to say to me, “I AM NOT GOING TO STAY TWO!  I AM GOING TO GWOW UP!  I AM NOT GOING TO STAY WIF YOU FOWEVAH!”  It was hilarious!  And yes, she got in trouble for being ugly to her mother…after I had a good long laugh in the kitchen.

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And this is my new obsession.  As a nursing mom, the iPhone is such a fun toy!  My Aunt Teresa introduced me to the fancy little time-sponge and I have wasted far too long on it the past week.  It’s a fun app!  Have fun!

The kids are now awake.  The rain has started falling.  Time to put the computer up.  Much more to come.  For now, have a happy Wednesday!

-kate

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Who Does She Look Like?

Every single day someone says to me, “Where did those blue eyes come from?”  or “Who does this baby look like?” or “She just doesn’t look like y’all!”

I call my sweet Georgia Peach my little recessive gene.  We don’t know where her sweet blue eyes came from, or why she as white as snow, or why her hair is coming in blond!  But I love her little unique features.  I hope her eyes will be as blue as the sky.  I would love for sweet Georgia to have her own unique look.  But the Lord only knows, and she may end up with darker hair than everyone.  The skin, however, seems to be white as white can be.

I wanted to find pics of Preston, Lilly Katherine, and AnnaLeigh at about this same age, so I spent HOURS and HOURS looking through old pictures this week.  There is nothing more fun to me than looking at my babies’ lives in photographs.  I love seeing how much they have grown and changed.  It’s good for me to see them as babies so I can see how quickly time is passing.  After the week of screaming temper tantrums, poop in panties, and sleep deprivation, it’s good for me to see their sweet faces and remember that they are growing up before my eyes and one day I will wish we were having screaming fits about vbs crafts and naptime…and not boys.

Anyway, here are a few pics of my sweet maniacs at around 4-5 months.

Preston’s eyebrows were always raised with a concerned look and he rarely smiled.  He was always serious…or crying.

Lilly Katherine was happy and sleepless from day 1.  Her eyebrows talked for her and so did those big black eyes.

AnnaLeigh always had an open mouthed smile, and precious thick, curly, dark hair.

And my baby Georgia and her big sweet toothless smile.

They all look different to me.  All cute.  All unique. All Rotten!

God has truly blessed me with the cutest little stinkers on earth!  They are all maniacs, but I wouldn’t trade them for the world!

3 Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.

-Psalm 127:3-5

-kate

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Last Weekend…

Hello world!  It’s been a busy summer, which means not much time on the ol’ computer!  I (as always) have so many things to post, and I am going to do my best to get to them up in the next few days.

We just finished Vacation Bible School at church.  Let me be perfectly honest, VBS completely backs up a statement I have always made…there is a special place in heaven for teachers and nurses!  It takes WAY more patience than I have to be a teacher.  I truly believe that those of you who are called to serve as teachers and nurses are a blessing to the world, and I appreciate you!  (And I use the words “called” and “serve” very intentionally!) I do NOT know how you do it!  Which brings me to my second statement…I was NOT called to be a teacher!  My mother, my sister, my mother-in-law, and my sister-in-law were all called to be teachers.  I was not!

Give me high school kids and YOUTH CAMP!  I can handle that!  I love high school drama.  I guess that’s a good thing, because I see a LOT of drama in my future.

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Okay, so where do I start?  Last weekend we went to Ft. Worth for another baseball tournament.  Preston did a great job, but we did not come home with a win.  We did however get to go visit Brad’s wonderful Grandmother, MawMaw.

MawMaw is funny, witty, and sweet.  She always has a little tub of Hershey Kisses for the kids, which my girls really love.  And MawMaw can talk baseball with the best of them, which is what Preston really loves.

MawMaw got to meet Georgia…finally! :)

MawMaw is a precious gift!  Her attitude and determination have been an amazing example to our whole family!

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Last weekend, after the baseball tournament and getting to visit with MawMaw, Brad’s mom graciously took the 3 big kids home, and Brad and I got to enjoy a night in Dallas (with Georgia) for our TWELVE year anniversary.  I don’t have a picture because we were constantly tending to my overtired little Georgia Peach.  It was still fun to hang out with the hubby for a little while, though.

I must say that this man I married is still the man of my dreams!  I love him more today than I ever thought possible.  He is a wonderful man, a constant gift to me, and an incredible example to our children.  I pray that my baby girls ALL marry men just like their father!  He loves the Lord.  He loves me.  He loves our babies.  He is loyal, faithful, kind, patient, and I love him more every day!  I know how blessed I am!  Love you, babe!  Since I don’t have a pic, here are a few from last year.

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I totally failed at Father’s Day this year.  I have not celebrated Father’s Day with my dad (my Diddy), but we are celebrating as a family this weekend.  More on that later.  But for poor Brad, the best FATHER in the world, he got nada from me!

I have to say that I also have the best Father in the world.  Yes, he is out of control, hard headed, and drives me absolutely crazy!  But I am so blessed to be his little girl.  He (and my mom) taught me respect, the importance of family, how to serve, the meaning of integrity, strong morals and values, and LOVE.  He has always loved me as his baby girl, and he has always dropped whatever he is doing to give me a hand.  He can fix anything.  He seems to know everything about everything…and can draw any diagram, chart, map, or picture in the world on a napkin.  :)  He makes me crazy, but I would not want any other dad in the world driving me nuts!  I love you, Diddy!

And here is a pic of the sweet cousins.

-kate

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The Maniacs…

We are LOVING summer!  I cannot tell you how much I love spending time with friends all day, hanging out at the pool, eating lunch outside, and having absolutely NO SCHEDULE!  I am a SUMMER GIRL, and we have had a great start to this summer.  Here are a few things that we’ve done over the last couple of weeks (although our summer just started one week ago.)

The last week of school, Preston’s friend Nash was at our house and the kids were hunting for lizards.  They were very successful at catching critters with my gardening gloves.  It was so funny!

Nash caught the lizard.

The boys were excited to create a little “habitat” for their lizard.  I’ve forgotten his name, but my friend Andria said, “That lizard is still alive and kicking.  Well, he’s alive.  I’m not sure he’s kicking.”  Poor tortured lizard.Then they found this little guy!

Preston wanted so badly to grab it.  He sat there for about 3 minutes looking at it with his hands like this…but he could not bring himself to grab it.  I can’t say that I blame him!

However, Lilly Katherine could not get close enough!

Nash came through again, and caught the frog!  He was so excited!

The poor frog was locked in here, until we decided to release him from his plastic prison.

And what was AnnaLeigh doing as they big kids were catching lizards and frogs?

Why she was instructing and pretending to take pictures, of course.

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Now that it is finally summer, Preston loves to come get in my bed after Georgia wakes up so he can come love on her…and jiggle her…and mess with her.  He loves her so much!

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I have spent as much time loving and kissing on my little Georgia Peach as I possibly can!  And by the way, she is a NEW baby!  She is happy, content, and more precious than ever!

I have decided that I want to freeze time right here!

4 months!

4 months is the absolute most perfect age, and I would like to freeze her here!  She laughs, coos, smiles, and loves me!  She can’t go anywhere, she can’t walk, can’t talk, can’t talk back!  She can sleep and sleeps often if given the opportunity.  She is big enough to hold and run around, and still small enough to be my little baby girl. She is happy and can play with her feet or hold a toy, but she is not old enough to reach and grab at things while I am holding her. I just want to stop time right here!  I love this little monkey…and she loves her little monkey! :)

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My beautiful, wonderful, precious niece,Tayler, graduated from High School last week!  I am so proud of the woman she is, and I am so thankful my baby girls have she and her sister as role models!  What amazing women God has placed in my baby girls’ lives!

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I have no words for these two MANIACS!  I could not find them in the house and then I realized they were in the backyard looking like this…

Just scooping poop in their pearls…and heel (singular) and rain boots!

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Nothing says summer to me like picking and eating fresh blueberries!

AnnaLeigh and Audrey

We went blueberry picking this week with this wild crew.  I carted my big stroller all over that farm to carry things like my camera and our lunch.  Then I didn’t take a single picture until we were finished picking.  Now I’m not even posting those pictures because Brad has our camera today.  Oh well, here are a few phone pics that Meredith and Carrie texted me.  One day we’ll be smart enough to take pics before we start, instead of taking pics of hot, tired, hungry children.

Please notice that little maniac in the bottom right corner.  It’s my nephew Truett.  He was NOT excited about a picture…and I love him so much!

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And finally, we have been seeing a LOT of these sweet babies lately.

These pictures were taken last week.  They are in birth order: Laurabeth, Georgia, Eva, Thomas, and Henry

And this week all of our big kids are taking swimming lessons, and the babies have gotten to hang out in the shade.

Yay for a fun start to summer!  I just pray we have many, many more days of summer fun.  I pray that I will be able to teach and train my children this summer.  We are working HARD on attitudes!  I also pray that my kids have fun with each other, with me, and that they will remember the fun times we had together and with friends!

-kate

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Splash Day!

My crazy son lives for specific days on the calendar.  Splash Day would be one of the days he anticipates from the first day of school until it happens the last week of school.  He loves it!  I’m a little behind posting…since school is finally OUT, but here are pics from Preston’s Splash Day.

The pledge and then the “parade” to the field.

Denver and Preston.  Denver’s parents (Ashley and Justin) were high school sweethearts, too.  We were friends way back then, and we still love hanging out with them.  It’s so fun to see our babies get along and have fun together.

Preston’s wonderful teacher!

Tug-of-war…boys vs. girls.

The girls won!

Since there were more girls, the teams had to be divided more evenly.

The beautiful girl behind P is his friend Faith.  She is precious, spunky, fun, and outgoing.  Preston and my girls love to hang out with her.

Apparently Faith is responsible for my naive, innocent son’s first kiss!  The class was in the library and Faith told Preston to close his eyes.  He cluelessly obeyed her request, then she held a book up and kissed him behind the book.  He had NO IDEA she was going to do it, and when Brad and I asked him about it he said he was going to tell on her so she would get in trouble.  What a mess!  We encouraged him to not tattle with the intent of “getting her in trouble” but to talk to her directly.  I just hope he continues to be oblivious to girls…at least for 12 more years!

The below picture makes me sad!  My baby looks so big!

The boy had been so excited about the dunking booth.  When the class walked up, the dads working the booth told the kids that no class had gotten more than 3 total dunks.

The first four kids that went missed all 3 of their shots.  I’m not criticizing.  I would still be throwing balls if I had to hit that target!  Well my little athlete stepped up and threw a cannon!

WHAM!

Down she went!  It doesn’t look like it from this picture, but he hit the target and she went down.  He was so excited.

He got ball #2.

WHAM!  Down she went again!

By this time my son’s chest was bowed and his head was big enough to explode.  He got ball #3.

He barely missed!

He did get to throw another ball before they left that station and dunked her one more time.  My goodness!  The boy had so much fun!  I’m sure he will be counting down the days until Splash Day 2013.

So many more pics to come.  We’ve taken pics with the babies, gone blueberry picking, had a graduation party for my precious niece, and Preston’s team WON the Coach Pitch Little League Championship!  It was a very exciting UNDEFEATED year…which was a huge change from last season…however I LOVED our team last year!

Anyway, many many more pics to come if I can get my act together.

Happy Tuesday!

-kate

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Let’s Play Ball!

First of all, happy Memorial day!

I ended last year’s Memorial Day post with this statement, but I feel I should say it first this year.

We are so blessed to be able to spend time regularly with our family.  We are so blessed to be able to enjoy freedom, to live in this great nation, to be able to worship the Lord freely, to be able to attend church and school, to have choices and rights.

I am thankful for all the men and women who have BRAVELY given us this freedom.  I am especially grateful for my little brother!  I am so thankful for you and so proud of you for serving our country for 8 years!  Thank you, Taylor, and to all who have given their time, their freedom, their family, and their lives to allow us to have moments like these.  Thank you for your service and dedication!  Happy Memorial Day!

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Last weekend Preston had the opportunity to play in a baseball tournament on the small field next to the Ballpark in Arlington (where the Texas Rangers play).  Brad agreed to sit in the stands and help me wrestle little maniacs instead of helping on the field, which allowed me to be able to watch the games.

The boys are holding up the number 4 in support of their teammate (#4) Collin, who is battling cancer.  I simply can’t imagine what he and his family are going through.  Collin received treatment on Friday and still came to play with the team on Saturday.  Please pray that Collin will win this battle!

The team…looking tough…and tired!

And what did the little maniacs do while their brother played ball all weekend?

They did this…

I know this is a gross picture of me, but I love Georgia’s sweet face so much!  I could just eat those cheeks!

I really do love watching you play, big boy!  I am glad I was able to go, and I hope one day you can live your dream and play on the field behind you!  No matter what you choose to do, I will always be your biggest cheerleader…with 3 little cheerleaders in tow!

This is the sign of a fun weekend.  Four sleeping kids and a quiet trip all the way home! (Preston was asleep, leaning all the way over, in the back seat.)

-kate

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Abracadabra

When I think of toys from my childhood…

I think of my treasured Cabbage Patch Kids,

I think of my very fancy keyboard,

I think of board games like Operation and Mall Madness,

and I think of my Fisher Price Magic Show!

My girls love to play with my old Magic Show…especially Lilly Katherine, of course.

-kate

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Saying Goodbye

I have mentioned my sweet friend Dominique a million times.  She is a precious woman, a wonderful mother, an inspiration, a wise woman of God, an encourager, a cooking/baking machine, and a dear friend.  I am so sad that she and her family are moving to Clinton, Mississippi, but I’m so thankful they will be so close to my Mississippi family that I will be able to visit!

My maniacs love their children, and we love them!  When you have a big family, it’s hard to find another family where the moms get along, the dads get along, and all the kids get along.  We found that kind of relationship with the Jordan fam!  We are very sad to say “Goodbye,” but we know this is a good move for their family.

My friends Elicia and Meredith and myself put together a little surprise going away party for them last week.  Our little get-together reminded me of a college mixer and it was a wonderful night, with wonderful weather and wonderful friends.

Here’s the surprise…

Party pics…

Meredith, Kellie, Tiffany

Betsy, Jenni, Dominique, Me, Megan, Ashley, Laurabeth

Kellie and Dominique

Tyne, Dominique, Ann

Elicia made Dominique this book and I wish I had taken pictures of it.  It was such a precious idea.  We each submitted a family picture and a family recipe and Elicia created a Shutterfly cookbook with all of Dominique’s friends and their fav recipes, then we all signed it (like a year book).

Kyle, Jennifer, and Ben looking at the “cookbook.”Elicia and Scott, Jeff and Dominique

I made them a little cake.  Actually, Mere and Elicia helped.  They kneaded the food coloring into the fondant.  Couldn’t have done it without you girls. :)

Jeff and Dominique

Dominique and Megan

The hubbies…Kyle, Brad, Scott

I just had to put this pic in because it cracks me up.  Thanks, Wade!

Scott and Elicia, Kyle and Meredith, Dominique and Jeff, Me and Brad

The girls.

Dominique, we will miss you so much, friend!  You better come back and visit, and you can count on many late night phone conversations from me in the future…especially on cake baking nights.  You have truly blessed my life, made me a better mother, challenged me, uplifted me, and made me feel “normal” more times than I can count.  You are beautiful inside and out and you and your family will truly be missed!

-kate

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Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce

This is a family recipe that has been passed from generation to generation.  I don’t remember my grandmother making it, but I remember my mom making it, and it’s always been called Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce!  Yesterday I taught Lilly Katherine how to make it.  I was telling her what I remember about my Grammy.

Grammy was my great-grandmother (my mom’s mom’s mom).  I don’t remember much about her, but I do remember that she had a “mo-ly mo-ly mole!” (or two) on her face…and they were hairy and scary to me as a child.  I was telling Lilly Katherine about her and I said she was pretty short, but she was strong and feisty.  To which LK responded, “So she was like AnnaLeigh.”  Why YES…much like AnnaLeigh!

Grammy passed away about 20 years ago, but they still talk about her at the nursing home because she escaped, then she jumped the fence and broke her hip.   She is probably still talked about in her old neighborhood, too, because she apparently left the house wearing NOTHING but her belt, her boots, and her necklace.  At least she was well accessorized!

I guess I come from a long line of crazies.  I don’t have a prayer!

Well enough about Grammy.  This is her wonderful Chocolate Sauce!  Sometimes I eat it on ice cream.  Sometimes I just eat it!

I make it all the time!  This recipe is so easy to memorize.  We call it a “fourth, a fourth, a fourth, a cup, and a teaspoon.”  Not too hard to remember!  This recipe takes less than 5 minutes to make and uses 5 ingredients that you are sure to have on hand.

Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce Recipe

What you will need:

Milk, Cocoa, Sugar, Butter, and Vanilla

Place all ingredients in a saucepan.  Lilly Katherine did the entire thing for me so I could take poor quality pictures with my phone. :)

Turn heat to medium-high.  Stir frequently.

When the chocolate comes to a rolling boil (which will not take long), set the timer for 1 minute.

Boil rapidly, stirring occasionally for exactly one minute, then remove from heat.

Serve over ice cream or just eat it by the spoonful. :)

Refrigerate leftovers.  You will be happy to have leftovers, trust me!  Because the next morning when you wake up, this will be waiting in your refrigerator…

My favorite part about Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce is eating it the next day…maybe for breakfast.  It solidifies in the refrigerator into a rich sugary fudge!  MmmMmmMmm!

You can only see the top of my head in the reflection of the spoon, but you can tell that I’m excited about that bite!

YUM!

Recipe for Grammy’s Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients:

1/4 Cup Butter

1/4 Cup Cocoa

1/4 Cup Milk

1 Cup Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla

Place all ingredients in a saucepan.  Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat.  Let it boil for exactly 1 minute, then remove from heat.  Let it cool a few minutes before putting it over ice cream.  Refrigerate leftovers.

Eat the leftovers with a spoon (or reheat in microwave if you want to serve it over ice cream.)

Have a lovely ice cream and chocolate sauce filled weekend!

-kate

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Where have I been?

I have so many things I want to blog about.  I have lists in my head of events that have occurred lately and stories to tell,  but I am in between computers, and my blogging has been put on hold.  I ran out of memory space on my old computer, and it sits 5 feet from Brad’s head as he and Georgia are trying to sleep, so we decided it was time for a laptop.  I know, welcome to the 21st century!  Anyway, we got a new computer and it didn’t work, so for a few weeks I have been in limbo…which is why I have blogged VERY little!  My sweet hubby (and my dear friend Kellie-who just got ENGAGED…which could be a whole blog post) have worked and worked to get my computer up and going.  We’re almost there.

In the meantime, I wanted to post a few pics…

My sweet little Georgia has gotten so much happier.  She turned 3 months old, and she magically became a better baby.  I contemplated putting her on medicine, because it was obvious that she was in pain due to acid reflux.  She would scream and then spit up and scream more.  I don’t love to medicate my kids if it’s not absolutely necessary, so I briefly (very briefly) thought about cutting certain foods out, like dairy.

I LOVE FOOD!

The thought of cutting food out made me want to cry.  Many friends wisely told me that things like dairy were probably upsetting her tummy and making her fussy.  I decided to do something that no good mom would do.  Instead of giving it up, I ate as much dairy as I could in 24 hours…quiche every meal, smoothies with yogurt and milk, etc.  I figured if dairy was the culprit, I was sure to know it after all the dairy I consumed.

I know, foolish!

However, that was Georgia’s happiest 2 days!  I decided then that depriving myself of cheese and yogurt and ice cream and CREAMER, would not make Georgia happier, and it CERTAINLY wasn’t going to make me happier!  I guess many of my friends were right when they told me to wait until 3 months.  Her little tummy finally figured things out a little better.

Praise the LORD!

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Here are a few pics of Laurabeth (my sweet niece) and my baby girl.  They get to see each other almost every day.  They are starting to notice each other and coo.  It’s so sweet.  I tried to get a pic of them, but they would never smile at the same time.  Here are 2 pics, so you can see both of their pretty smiles! :)

My friends Elicia, Meredith, and Carrie, and I took our kids to see Chimpanzee.  Great movie.  Good times.  I got yelled at…literally YELLED at by a grumpy old lady in the movie theater, but that’s for a later post.  Here’s a very poor quality pic of all the kids we had in the theater.  Please notice that I put Georgia on top of poor Eva in the car seat.

And lastly, this is what I found my 8 year old son reading to my 5 year old daughter last week.

Heavens to Betsy!

That was not a discussion I was ready to have…so I avoided as much detail as possible.  I know, I know…I will tell them all about it one day…but not at age 8 and 5!!!

Have a lovely Tuesday!

-kate

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Oatmeal in a Muffin Cup

I have mentioned many times that I LOATHE mornings.  I am a night person!  For example, it’s 12:44 on Sunday night and I’m eating a muffin and starting a blog post while washing loads and loads of laundry.  I go to bed LATE, and I love it…until the next morning.  Because of my bad night-owl habits, I try to simplify mornings as much as possible.  My kids and my sweet morning-person hubby have learned not to talk to me too early.  Bad things happen.

Morning for me often starts when my poor son is standing over me begging me to make his lunch so he can go to school.  I wait as late as possible, then I stumble into the kitchen half asleep, fix my coffee, sit down and try to open my eyes.  When I am able to stand without falling asleep on my feet, I make Preston’s lunch and try to talk myself out of going back to bed…since there are usually 3 other needy little people standing at my feet.

I don’t always eat breakfast, but when I do, I love things that are easy!  Many times I will have Granola Bars or Banana Bread on hand that I can reach for, but lately these little muffins are my most favorite breakfast/snack!

My friend Lisa made these delicious oatmeal muffins for me a few weeks ago, and I have made them 3 times since then, including tonight.  They are so very easy and delicious!   They took only 12 minutes to make, start to clean-up…and I’m slow!

These little oatmeal muffins are just like a bowl of oatmeal in a muffin cup.  They are so delicious, fast, and healthy!

Recipe for Oatmeal in a Muffin Cup

You will need:  Oatmeal, Brown Sugar, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, Craisins, Milk (Regular Cow’s milk or Coconut Milk), Egg, Vanilla, Butter, and either Pumpkin, Banana, or Applesauce (but not all 3!)

Mix all of your dry ingredients (oatmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and craisins) together in a large bowl.

Form a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.

Beat one egg.  Add the vanilla to the egg, and stir.

Pour the wet ingredients (Milk, melted butter, egg, vanilla) in the well.

I have never used Coconut milk in my life!  If you don’t have coconut milk, just use regular cow’s milk.  I just wanted to try something different, because my sister and my friend Elicia are always talking about using things other than cow’s milk.

Coconut milk or cow’s milk…I’ve made it both ways…it tastes great either way.

In these pictures, I used half a can of pumpkin puree.  You may use a variety of things for this step.  Use ONE of the following, or make up something crazy!

2/3 cup Canned Pumpkin Puree (about 1/2 the can)

or

1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce

or

2/3 Cup Mashed Bananas (2 small or 1 large ripe banana)

Stir all ingredients well.

Fill 12 lined muffin tins evenly.  Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes.

As I was making the muffins, this crazy maniac put on her sister’s recital outfit, her jewelry, and “make-upped” herself, then told me to come listen to her show.  She has learned LK’s recital routine and performs it all day every day, singing it at the top of her lungs.  It’s become Pinky’s theme song!

“I am a stah, a stah that’s bwight!  I weawy am a gwamowous sight.  In the movies, stage, ow on tv, peep-oh wuv to wook at me!

“…From my head down to my toes, I am a stah the ho wowd knows.”

The girl is a mess!  A serious mess!

Back to the oatmeal muffins…

Take them out of the oven and let them sit in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove them and let them cool on a cooling rack.  Otherwise, they tend to sweat too much and the paper gets a little soggy.

Enjoy!

Store them in the refrigerator.

Recipe for Oatmeal in a Muffin Cup

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Oatmeal
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 scant tsp Salt (more like 3/4 a tsp)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Craisins
  • 1 1/2 Cups Milk (Coconut milk or low fat cow’s milk)
  • 2 Tbsp Melted Butter
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1 Egg
  • Choose one of the following.  1/2 Cup Unsweetened Applesauce OR 2/3 Cup Pumpkin Puree OR 2/3 Cup Mashed Ripe Bananas

Combine the oatmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  Stir well.  Add the Craisins.  Stir.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Beat egg and stir vanilla into the egg.  To dry ingredients, add milk, egg, vanilla, and melted butter.  Next add either applesauce OR pumpkin puree OR mashed bananas.  Stir until all ingredients are combined and fill 12 lined muffin cups.

Cook at 350° for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them stand 10 minutes.  Take them out of the muffin tin and let them cool on a cooling rack.  Store in the refrigerator.

Have a lovely Monday!

-kate

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Lilly Katherine’s First Dance Recital

I SWORE I would not be “that mom!”  I was not going to be the mom that had a 5-year old in dance class.  Then I had this little girl who came into the world spinning and twirling and begging to take dance.  I finally gave in this year, and I am so glad I did.  This sweet baby girl has LOVED taking dance.  She would attend every class and not stop smiling from the moment we arrived until the moment we left.  Preston came to watch one of her practices and he even said, “Why is she smiling the whole time?”  She just loves it!

She had her first recital this weekend, and I am pretty sure this was the first of many.  The theme was “Dancing with the Stars” and my baby girl certainly was a STAR!  She did so well!  Since I have my mother’s crying eyes, and I had tears streaming down my face when her performance was over.  I was so proud!  I have always loved dance, and I am so thankful that she not only loves it, but does it so well.  It made this mama so very proud!

My little dancer nailed it!  She did every move with grace and beauty…with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye.

Almost our whole family was there.  It was so sweet of everyone to come watch LK.

The grandmothers held the little sisters.

Aunt Kara and Uncle Andy made little Georgia smile and coo.

Truett and Caleb came to see their cousin’s big debut, of course.

This picture is washed out, but I have very few, if any, of just these 2 maniacs.

I looked up and my girl was at the top of the stairs, glowing!  When did my baby girl turn 16?  She looks so old and so beautiful, and I just love the little maniac!

My girls stopped to smell the roses magnolias on the way to the car.

LK got to pic the restaurant since it was her big day, so we ate Mexican food…and ice cream!

Lilly Katherine, It was a fun day, and a day I will remember.  I am so proud of you!  I am so happy that you have found something that you love to do and I hope you continue to enjoy dance!  You are a wonderful, beautiful little dancer!

-kate

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Delightful Dinner

The weather has been so absolutely gorgeous lately that we have been outside soaking up God’s gift of nature and SPRING as much as possible…before his gift of summer and mosquitoes arrive.  Last week we decided to walk to dinner in order to enjoy as much of this season as possible.  It truly was a fun evening.

As Preston and Brad walked ahead, the girls stopped to blow dandelions.  Lilly Katherine would blow every single one of them if I would let her.

Then they stopped to smell the roses.  That will be LK’s theme in life.  She is very good (sometimes too good) at stopping to smell the roses.

At the end of dinner, the waiter brought the kids free push-up pops.  My kids had never eaten one before.  What kind of mother am I?  I have totally deprived my kids of push-up pops!!!  They loved them, of course.

This little maniac thought her push-up pop was a “mic-a-phone”!

Then I introduced my maniacs to another little treat…HONEYSUCKLES!  I’m not sure how Preston has made it 8 years in life and LK 5 years and I have never taught them how to eat a honeysuckle…a childhood delicacy!  I love the smell, and I love the taste, and I love the memories that come to mind when I think of that sweet little flower.  I know that from now on Lilly Katherine and AnnaLeigh will want to stop and eat honeysuckles every time we see them.  I am actually okay with that!  That’s what you are supposed to do!

Good times with the fam enjoying the amazing colors our creative God has given us…just because he loves us!

-kate

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First FRIGID Swim

I love to walk or jog, even with all my maniacs, but lately I look like a side show when I do it.  I am usually pushing Lilly Katherine and AnnaLeigh in our double jogger with Preston running beside me and Georgia in a sling around my body!  I know that people do double-takes as they pass me and say to themselves, “Bless her heart!” or “Look at that crazy lady with all those kids!”  However, we too must leave the house for fresh air and exercise, and so off we go…bringing the circus with us!

Yesterday it was just too pretty to stay inside, and I was in the mood for a little walk.  I have to encourage my clone (LK) to get up and be active, because she, like her mother, would rather sit still and lazily enjoy life.  So, I told Lilly Katherine she was going to “get to” jog with me this time.  She was pumped, not because she was going to run, but because she was going to get to wear her running shorts and running shoes.

We headed out with no destination in mind, but I decided we should walk to Brad’s parents’ house (half a mile away).  They were working on their pool, which has been covered all winter and my maniacs were most excited!

We were in their backyard for about 2 seconds before the kids started begging, “Can we swim?  PLEASE?!?!”

Are you kidding?!?!  The water was FREEZING!  Of course I said “NO!”

After about 5 more minutes of PLLEEEEASE, PLLLEEEASE can we swim?” I finally said to Preston, “If you can find a swimsuit here then you can swim.  If not, you can NOT, because you can’t walk home in wet clothes.”

About 2.5 seconds later he was outside in a swimsuit…standing on the diving board.  I was cracking up because I knew he was scared to death.  He made up 100 reasons why he couldn’t jump in at that moment.  I just sat there laughing and telling him it was going to be cold.  I looked at my mother-in-law and said, “If he ever jumps, which I doubt he will, he will come up telling me the water is not cold.”

Well wonders never cease!  He actually jumped!  I was proud of him for doing something “crazy!”  Crazy for my little logical, analytical, scared-to-death-of-everything, tough guy!

And guess what he said as his frozen, shaking, frantic little body emerged from the ice cold water…

“It wasn’t cold!”

Whatever!  The poor guy shivered and shook then ran and got back in the pool.  MANIAC!

Well you know what happened next…I then had 2 little ladies begging to go in as well.  I told them if they had swimsuits they could get in, but that I was not taking them home wet or naked!  They found 2 BOY swimsuits and started stripping down!  Oh my goodness!  At that point I was choosing my battles and decided that if they wanted to be soaking wet and freezing cold, why not.  They were in those swimsuits and in the water as fast as their little bodies could move.

They loved every minute of their ice cold swim!

Good times!  There will be many many more swimming days to come.

Thank you, Lord!  Thank you for water in which we can splash.  Thank you for this gorgeous weather you have given us to enjoy.  Thank you for little giggles and fun memories that I can treasure!

-kate

Easter…Finally

This is so late that I am just going to post a few pics.  I did not have my camera, so all of these pics are from my phone!  Pitiful!

We enjoyed a beautiful Easter with our family.  The weather was gorgeous and it was truly a perfect day celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord with the people we love!

We went to church, then we ate and played at Brad’s parents’ house.

Kay and George (aka Nana and Granddear) gave them all sunglasses for Easter.  That was a big hit for these maniacs.

I tried to get a pic of the maniacs…on my phone.  Georgia was not too happy about that.  She is constantly reminded (but has still not figured out) that she is the FOURTH child and simply cannot cry so much!  She’ll figure it out. :)

Ready…Set…GO!!!

LK swinging with Nana

The girls.

I have this wonderful friend named Tiffany.  She is funny, witty, smart, real, beautiful, and I love her!  Her mother is a precious Godly woman and she made the Easter dress and shoes Georgia is wearing.  I love them!  They were the perfect outfit for Miss G to wear on Easter, and they matched LK and Pinky’s outfits so well.  The dress and shoes are gift I will treasure and keep forever!

Look at those cheeks!

Brad and Preston were playing baseball, and I decided I would give it a shot.  Haha!  I know, I know.  To all of you out there that are laughing…stop!

I MADE CONTACT!  YEAH!!!  Brad was pitching to me, but I asked for a new pitcher.  I figured it had to be his fault that I couldn’t hit it.  I guess I was right.  :)

The Fam!

Happy LATE Easter!

-kate

Open Wide

It’s been a busy week around here.  One day I will get to posting Easter and a recipe, but for now I thought I would share this…

Trips to the dentist are always fun.

I have actually said to my kind dentist that I would rather give birth than get a filling.

It’s the truth!

Well, most people don’t have pictures of themselves getting their teeth cleaned.  Most people don’t have pictures of the insides of their nostrils, either!

Jealous?

Most people don’t have a maniac sitting on their lap taking pictures of them with their phone while they are getting their teeth cleaned.

Now I know you are jealous!

The ladies at the front desk were holding Georgia…until she started screaming.

Most people don’t have TWO maniacs in their lap while they are getting their teeth cleaned.

Good times!

I’ve heard that dentists really love it when you show up 10 minutes late AND bring 2 loud little people with you! :)

It’s a darn good thing they’re cute!

-kate

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Eggstravaganza!

We had our annual church Easter Egg Hunt and Potluck Lunch this past weekend…always a fav for my fam!  It was so much fun!  My sister and I decided to stick around and take a few family pics after the festivities were over.

What do you get when you have 7 tired children who have been at church for 5 hours all dressed in their Sunday best- running around sweating and hunting Easter Eggs and playing with their friends and eating Easter candy? (besides a run-on sentence?)

You get pictures that look like this…

and this…

and this…

and this…my goodness, this was the only smile AnnaLeigh would give me.  It’s FRIGHTENING!  She’s in that lovely awkward stage of trying to find her “picture” smile.  We haven’t mastered it yet.

Of course, I sat my sister’s kids down and told them to smile.  I took 3 pics.  They were all perfect!

Here are the pictures from our day.

AnnaLeigh just picked up all the eggs that were falling out of the bigger kids’ baskets.

Lilly Katherine was so thrilled that she had a shiny egg.  With a smile on her face, she kindly donated an egg or two to children that didn’t have many.

Preston had a strategy on how to get the most eggs.  He ran to the back and worked his way forward instead of starting where everyone else was.  My little analytical planner.  I love this type-A kid!

While these 2 were busy taking inventory…

These 3 maniacs were messing with a caterpillar.

Sidenote:  I literally hate worms of any kind more than anything!  I cannot look at these pictures because it makes me GAG!  The picture above and below I had to post without really looking at them because it makes me have the heebie-jeebies!  I HATE worms.  Oh, I just got a full body shiver just typing that!  AGH!  These pics gross me out!

Sidenote #2:  My children think these things are called cal-a-pillas.  They also all three say cim-a-non, which has nothing to do with this post, but I love little words like that and I don’t correct them.  I will one day.  Not today.

Here’s my handsome hubby!

I feel like he should have a “Senior 2012″ stamped in gold at the bottom of this picture.  Except it would say “Senior ’96!!!”

And this is the best family pic we got.  No lie!

Ok, well there’s this one, but let me point out a few things…

Brad has a pacifier on his finger.

LK is holding an egg, which she informed me today she did that on purpose so we would know this picture was from Easter.

AnnaLeigh is looking sassy as usual with her hands on her hips.

Georgia is screaming.

My face is round like Kelly Kapowski’s in the later days of Saved by the Bell.  You know what I’m talking about!

Moving on.

My skinny sister and our baby girls…

My maniacs…

The whole crew…

My beautiful blue-eyed baby girl!

Have a wonderful Easter and remember that Easter is not about a silly bunny and bunch of candy stuffed plastic eggs, or even about getting cute pics of your maniacs.  Easter is a time to remember and reflect on the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  He suffered the ultimate price for me, for Brad, for Preston, for Lilly Katherine, for AnnaLeigh, for Georgia, and for YOU!  Know the truth about Easter.  Know that our LORD did not just die, but he ROSE!  He is alive and he wants you to know him!  Learn more about the true meaning of Easter here.

-kate

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Opening Day and Sic ‘em Bears!

This Saturday was Opening Day at the Ballpark, and my little calendar (Preston) has been counting down the days!  He LOVES baseball and was so excited to get the season started.  This is his second year of 5-pitch and I thought I had everything ready for him…

Black shirt-check

Black socks-check

Black belt-check

Black hat-check

Gray pants-there were some clean pants in the drawer, so CHECK

As Preston was getting dressed about 20 minutes before he had to leave, he started to panic a little and he said, “Mama, I think these pants are too tight!”

I looked at him and my poor baby was sucking in with all his might to get his pants buttoned, and there was no way it was going to happen.  I am very familiar with that feeling and it’s not a good one!  I could have let him borrow my “bella band” or taught him the dance I do to get my pants up and buttoned, but I decided he would not appreciate it at this time.

I realized that the clean pants from the drawer were from t-ball and there was no way he could wear them at this point.  Being the good mom that I am, I dug through the DIRTY CLOTHES in order to find his “good” pants.  My poor baby boy had to wear FILTHY DIRTY pants to his first game!

What a good mom I am!

Despite the dirty pants, his team WON and he did a wonderful job!  My boy loves sports and there will be many more baseball pics to come.  Here are a few from opening day…of everyone.

Preston’s biggest fans, his cousins, watching him play.

We watched Preston’s game, my nephew Caleb’s game, and then my nephew Garrett’s game.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and we were at the ballpark for over 5 hours.  We all had a blast, but we hit meltdown point as we left.  When we got home I realized that my sweet baby Georgia was SUNBURNED!!!  Another stellar mom moment!  It wasn’t horrible, but her face (which was covered almost the whole time) was a little red.  She is my most fair child and I guess I am going to really have to watch it!

This is what the girls did at the ballpark.

Georgia was passed and passed and passed from friend to family to friend and she was so happy!  She slept all day long.  It was wonderful!

She also had a very in-depth conversation with her Aunt Kara.

LK and Pinky just played and ran and giggled all day with their friends Paige and Laura.

And they ate yummy baseball cookies made by Aunt Sugar.

I have to brag on my nephew, Caleb.  He is 4, but the boy knows what is going on in the field.  He had a great first game…and thus got to enjoy…a great first snowcone!

Here is a shot of Caleb’s 2 biggest fans…his daddy and his little sister, Laurabeth.

It was a fun day.  My sweet boy did such a great job!  I am so glad we all enjoy the ballpark, because we have many years of baseball to come.

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Sunday night, we got together at my parents’ house to cheer for the Lady Bears!  GO BAYLOR!  It’s been a great year for Baylor, and my girls are always looking for a reason to wear their cheerleader uniforms!

The little Baylor Bears…

Truett, AnnaLeigh, Caleb, Laurabeth, Preston, Georgia, Lilly Katherine

The serious game watchers…

The not-so-serious game watchers.  Georgia’s eyes look crazy, but this was the only pic of my THREE girls. :)

Aunt Sugar (My brother-in-law’s sister, Anne) made these cute Baylor dresses for Georgia and Laurabeth.

Maniac!

HEEEEEEEY SIC ‘EM BEARS!

Congrats Baylor women on an exciting win!

-kate

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Family Fishing

Every Sunday night we have “family dinner” at my parents’ house with our family, my sisters family, my parents, and my mom’s mother, Memama.  It is a fun, crazy time with 7 wild maniacs acting like they haven’t seen each other in months.  It is often very loud and very out of control.

My dad got smart this weekend, and we had family dinner OUTSIDE!  We were able to enjoy the absolutely amazing weather, enjoy time with the family, and catch some FISH!  It was a fun Sunday night, and the kids had a blast…just as we did this time last year.

We caught a ton of little fishies…emphasis on little!

Thanks, Diddy!

My big bug loves to fish!

The big one!

AnnaLeigh and Papa

Memama and AnnaLeigh.  Memama is my loud, fun-loving, crazy grandmother!  She loves to fish, loves to play games, and loves to have fun.  When I was a child, Memama and Dedaddy had a travel trailer, and they traveled all over the south with a group of friends.  One of my most favorite memories is staying with them in their trailer.  You can call us big dorks, but Brad and I would love to have a travel trailer or motor-home one day…one.day!

LK, Caleb (my nephew), and Pinky

My sweet Georgia

What a fun night.  What beautiful weather.  My oh my, how richly I am blessed!

-kate

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Easter Ideas

I simply cannot believe that Easter is only 2 weeks away!  I should have posted this sooner, but you still have time to get your Resurrection Eggs together.  If you’re like me, you will wait until Tuesday night to do it anyway. :)

Last year I made Resurrection Eggs for my kids.

They are a wonderful visual tool to help with the true Easter story.  Click here for complete instructions and pictures as well as PDFs of the verses (found at the bottom of the post) on how to make Resurrection Eggs.  We open an egg a day for 12 days leading up to Easter.  We will open our first egg this coming Wednesday night, so get busy making eggs!

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We also enjoyed making Resurrection Rolls last year.  I did not take pics, but my friend Mandy posted the recipe with pics here.

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I am hoping to make these Holy Week Cookies this year.  A bit more ambitious than the rolls above, so we will see.  I am taking it one day at a time!

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Enjoy the beautiful spring weekend!

-kate

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Georgia meets MamaSara

My little Georgia Sarullo is named after two very special people…Brad’s dad and my wonderful Italian grandmother, MamaSara, whose maiden name is Sarullo.

This picture was taken 5 months ago when MamaSara was recognized for faithfully serving the Lord as the church organist for SIXTY-SEVEN years.

(I love that Papa is ready for cake with a fork in his pocket!)

One month after that photo, MamaSara fell and her health has rapidly declined.  I know Georgia will never have the opportunity to know the amazing woman we have all been blessed to know, but she will take with her a special treasure being MamaSara’s namesake.

In December we thought we were going to lose MamaSara.  She had a brain bleed and she got to the point where she couldn’t walk or talk.  My grandfather, who is so completely devoted to his wife of almost 60 years, elected to do a brain surgery that the doctor advised against.  The doctor told them she would never walk or talk again and would likely never go home.  She awoke from her surgery giving praise to God and telling my grandfather that she loved him.  It was a beautiful testament to her life as she is completely devoted to the Lord and to my Papa!

Through what I see as a miraculous recovery, she is home.  Due to the horrible disease of Alzheimer’s, she is not the same woman she was in the above picture, but she walks, she talks, she eats, she loves God and she loves her family.

I have too much to say about MamaSara to squeeze it all in this post, but I love her so very much.  I have wanted to go see her, and I couldn’t wait until Georgia was old enough for the LONG road trip.  Brad and I knew it was not going to be easy, but it was so important to me.

The trip to Oxford, Mississippi is about 8 1/2 hours if driven straight through.  Well, when you’re traveling with an 8 year old, a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a nursing newborn, there WILL BE a few stops!  We loaded the kids up and prayed for safety, speed, and silence. :)  Maybe not silence, but at least a peaceful ride.  The trip was better than we ever dreamed it would be.  Seriously it was so smooth!  Georgia was wonderful!  She cried the whole time we were in Mississippi, but she probably only cried a total of 30 minutes in the car.  Praise the LORD!

When we got to MamaSara and Papa’s house, I hugged MamaSara, my grandmother who has always looked impeccable.  Her hair, make-up, clothes, and jewelry have always been perfect.  She is still beautiful, but now she has a “hospital haircut” from her brain surgery, and she is so cold all the time that she wears whatever layers Papa can find to make her comfortable.

I grabbed her hand and took her to the table to meet Georgia.

I said, “MamaSara, I want you to meet Georgia.  This is Georgia Sarullo.”

She looked at me and said, “Oh my goodness, I’m gonna cry!”

I said, “Well, she’s named after you.”  Then that precious frail woman wrapped her thin, strong arms around me and hugged me so tight and for so long as tears just streamed down my face.  I looked at my cousin Amy Lauren and as she wiped away her tears, she said, “Well that was worth the drive, wasn’t it?”

It was worth every second!  It was a moment I will never forget and will treasure always.

Then MamaSara said, “Give me that baby!”  She spent the next little while hugging, kissing, and loving on Georgia.  She just kept saying, “I love you so much!”   Thanks to my phone, I have it on video.  What a precious unforgettable weekend!

She called Papa in to come hold Georgia.  How blessed I am that my babies know so many of their GREAT-grandparents!

We stayed with my cousin Amy Lauren.  Her daughter Rosemary is 11 days older than Georgia. She is so squeezable and happy.  I just love her little rolls!

This picture was taken on our last visit in November.  My sister, Amy Lauren, and I were all pregnant, and none of us knew what we were having.  We all had girls within a few days of each other.  So fun!

The kids had so much fun playing together.  Please notice the differences in BOYS and GIRLS!  Boys are so wild and so rough.

Preston and Noble – tried to kill each other…

AnnaLeigh, Emma-Kate, and Lilly Katherine – tried to heal each other…

The boys used a truck to try to run over the photographer (me)…

The girls used chalk to create the game of hopscotch…

The boys played basketball outside…

The girls sat on the floor and played with a bird inside…

The boys had a wrestling match…

The girls had a dance party…I am just glad everyone had fun!

My cousin Franci always has random livestock living at her house…in the middle of a subdivision in Oxford!  She’s had pigs, bunnies, birds, chickens, dogs, bees…you name it!

Well, this time they had several little chicks and the girls (especially Lilly Katherine) fell in love with them.

The girls

Georgia and Rosemary

Noble.  I would steal this little man from Amy Lauren in a heartbeat!

AnnaLeigh could NOT stop loving on MamaSara.

Sweet memories…

And the reason for our trip…

MamaSara and Papa, thank you!  What amazing examples you both are to our entire (enormous) family!  We love you very much!

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

-Proverbs 31: 28-31

-kate

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My Weight Loss Tactic

Somehow Georgia is 8 weeks old today!  Somehow she has eyes that are this blue!!!  I know this isn’t a great pic, but it’s one of the few that shows her eye color.

Somehow I have 3 girls!!!  Somehow they all ended up in my bed this morning. :)

Somehow I have FOUR children…

And somehow, things just aren’t bouncing back quite as fast as they have in the past.  I want so badly to wear real clothes and not maternity clothes, but I have so much weight to lose!  At this point, 8 weeks after Georgia came into this world, I outweigh what I did when I went TO the hospital to GIVE BIRTH to Lilly Katherine!

That’s bad!  That’s really really bad!

So, today I decided to do something about it!  I want to lose weight, and I want to lose it NOW!

So I did!

I lost weight quicker and easier than I ever thought possible!  I got my hair did…actually, I cut a small animal from my head.

(Hope that doesn’t make any of you gag!)

Whew!  I’ll start there.  I’ll think about going to the gym tomorrow.  :)

When I got home, AnnaLeigh and LK were so excited about my haircut.  AnnaLeigh just giggled and kept telling me she loved it.  Then she said, “I need to put make-up on you to make you just beautiful!”  How could I resist that offer?  She “make-upped” both of us…as she does almost every.single.day!

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I have so many pics to post from our Mississippi trip, but that will be tomorrow.  I have people that need me right now.  Happy Tuesday!

-kate

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Veggie Quiche

Life has been so busy around here!  We have had screaming babies, sick babies, spring break, birthdays, trips to Mississippi, and more!

I’ll keep from posting the sick pics, but I need to post about all the other things!  All of these pictures are all from my phone, so the quality is marginal at best.

My mom’s birthday was last week and Lilly Katherine made her a cake.  Well, I made the cake, and LK decorated it with very little assistance.

My mom’s favorite color is yellow and she loves yellow roses, so we made her a mini yellow rose cake.

She received yellow roses from a friend and they looked great together.

Lilly Katherine was so excited to give Mimi the cake she made for her.  She also made this special hair bow for her. :)  LK has such a sweet, giving heart.

Yesterday my sister and her maniacs came over.  Her sister-in-law, Anne (aka Aunt Sugar), made these precious dresses for Georgia and Laurabeth.  I’ll have to get details and show you how.  They are so cute.  Aren’t these little cousins growing so fast?!?!

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I haven’t posted a recipe in FOREVER!  This is my new addiction!

My precious friend Andria brought us this delicious quiche after Georgia was born, and I have CRAVED it ever since.  I have already made it twice and I just had to share the recipe.  It’s packed full of colorful nutritious veggies, and I eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

Veggie Quiche Recipe

You will need:

Refrigerated Pie Crust (or make your own if you are ambitious!), Carrots, Zucchini, Bell Pepper, Mushrooms, Fresh Spinach, Grape Tomatoes, Eggs, Havarti Dill Cheese or Swiss Cheese, Milk, Italian Seasoning, Salt and Pepper, Butter

You will NOT need the cute little feet that insisted on kicking up as I as trying to snap this photo.

Unroll your fancy pie crust into a pie plate.  Pinch the edges and poke the bottom a few times with a fork.  Bake for 6 minutes on 375°.  Remove the pie crust from the oven and let it cool.

Meanwhile, shred the carrots, zucchini (or yellow squash if you prefer), bell pepper (red or yellow…or do as I did and use both!)

Roughly chop the grape tomatoes, mushrooms, and spinach.

Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms.  Cook them on medium-high heat until vegetables are tender crisp, stirring often.  Add the tomatoes and spinach and stir to combine.  Remove from heat.

Shred your cheese.  By the way, I have made it with Havarti Dill and also Swiss.  Use whatever your little heart desires.  If you use Swiss, add about a 1/4 tsp of dill to give it an added pop of flavor.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  Add the egg mixture and cheese to the veggies.  Mix well.

Pour the egg mixture into your cooled pie crust.

Bake on 375° for about 40 minutes or until it’s set.  Let it rest 10 minutes before cutting.  Crust will brown unless you take the time to put foil on it or have one of those fancy crust rings.  I did not.  I do not.  I do not mind brown crust.  I do not like green eggs and ham.  I think the sleep deprivation is getting to me.

This is the lovely veggie quiche!  Doesn’t that look DELICIOUS?!?!  I might have to make it again tonight!

Recipe for Veggie Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 1 Refrigerated Pie Crust (or make your own)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1 Zucchini or Yellow Squash
  • 1/2 Bell Pepper (Yellow or Red)
  • 3/4 Cup Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Cup Grape Tomatoes
  • 1 Cup Fresh Spinach
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Cup (4 oz) Swiss Cheese or Havarti Dill
  • 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper

Unroll the pie crust and place it in a pie plate.  Pinch the edges and prick with a fork.  Bake at 375° for 6 minutes.  Remove and let cool.

Meanwhile, shred or chop the carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, and spinach.  In a large skillet, melt butter and saute the carrots, zucchini, bell pepper, and mushrooms until tender…about 8 minutes.  Add the tomatoes and spinach.  Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.  Grate the cheese.  Add the egg mixture and the cheese to the vegetables.  Stir well.

Pour into cooled pie crust and bake at 375° for 40 minutes or until set.  Let it stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

-kate

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The Tale of the Gray Tooth

There once was a beautiful little princess that had a smile as bright as the sun, eyes that sparkled and danced like the stars, and a dimple that could light up a room.  Everywhere she went she smiled, and the world smiled back.  She was a joyful little princess.  She loved to sing and dance and talk and play, and all the while she smiled.

One day, the little princess decided to boogie board across the living room floor.  It was an ingenious idea, or so she thought.  The little princess, being as coordinated as her mother (the queen) should have known that boogie boarding could lead to some sort of mishap…and that it did!  The little princess lunged forward and dove for the pillow in which she was using to slide across the floor.  However, she misjudged her dive and missed the pillow altogether.  The little princess and her beautiful smile and her beautiful dimple and her perfect little white teeth went down, down, down and smashed into the hard floor.

It was a royal catastrophe!  She cried buckets and buckets of tears as the queen tried to console her, to no avail.  When the tears subsided, the little princess was taken to a kind dentist who told them all would return to normal soon, and they would live happily ever after.  However, something the kind lad did not mention, was that her beautiful pearly white tooth would soon be replaced by a dreary shade of gray!

A week after the incident, the joyful little princess smiled just as much as usual, but now she would carry the scar from her ingenious idea with her everywhere she went.  And the vain, superficial queen was just thankful that her happy little princess was okay…and that the little gray tooth was a baby tooth!

And the little gray-toothed princess and the superficial queen lived happily ever after.

THE END.

-queen kate

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More babies!!!

My sweet baby Georgia is now 5 weeks old!  Where oh where does the time go?

Lilly Katherine loves her and wants to hold her all the time.  I have prayed for the bond that these two will have.  I pray that they will love each other and support each other and really have a sweet special relationship.  So far, it may be a little one sided, but I’m sure Georgia will come around. :)

Preston can’t wait to mess with her when he gets home from school.  He’s such a boy!  He wants to love on her, but he does it so differently than a little girl does.  He wiggles her and jiggles her and messes with her.  He loves his little sister!

I think she loves him, too.

Laurabeth (my sister’s baby) is 6 weeks old today.  The two of us went to the hospital to let our little ladies meet the Williams boys!

(Remember that my sister and I were pregnant at the same time as some of our best friends, Meredith and Carrie, who are also sisters.  Sounds a little strange, but we’ve grown up together and all happened to be pregnant at the same time.)

Here are a few awful belly pics…

November (Me, Ashley, Meredith, Carrie)

December (Me, Ash, Carrie, Mere)

January – The picture below was the day before Laurabeth was born.  (Mere, Me, Carrie, Ash)

Meredith had her twins yesterday, and bless her poor sweet swollen heart…the TWINS were bigger than any of my single babies were!  She birthed twin boys that were 7 pounds 3 ounces and 7 pounds 5 ounces!  Can you even imagine?!?!  I can’t.  I complained so much with my 6.5 pound peanut, and Mere never complained as she was carrying almost 14.5 pounds of baby around.

Ashley, Carrie and I went to the hospital and got to take our babies first pics together.  I have a feeling they will be very tired of us taking pics of them as they grow.  Great wedding video material.  We’re hoping out of all of our babies, surely there will be at least one marriage.  I’m all about arranged marriages.  I have learned that parents really do know what’s best for their kids, so let’s bring arranged marriages back!

Here are our precious gifts from the Lord!

Laurabeth-6 weeks, Georgia-5 weeks, Eva (Carrie’s baby)-8 days, Thomas and Henry (They finally have names)-1 day

“Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him.”

-Psalm 127:3

-kate

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Because I like to Procrastinate

Things have been rocking along around here, but we are in the newborn fog a little because sweet Georgia has had a cold for about two weeks.  She can’t breathe, so she can’t eat, and she can’t sleep, so I don’t get to sleep too much.  My poor baby.  It’s so hard when they are so little that they can’t tell you what hurts, they can’t blow their little noses, and they have to just depend on mama to figure it out and make it better.

She has spent a lot of time in my arms and a lot of time with a giant green hospital bulb aspirator (booger sucker) up her nose.  I’m pretty positive I’ve stretched her little nostrils out forever.

Anyway, Georgia is asleep for the moment and because I like to procrastinate, I decided I would rather write a short post than clean my house.  Last week she had two good evenings and she slept really well, and as she slept I got to do something that I enjoy doing…I got to bake a cake for my sweet friend Andria’s little boy, Drew.

Since Georgia made her grand entrance into the world, Andria has been picking Preston up from school.  Anyone with school age children and several NON-school age children knows how hard it is to wake up and load up sleeping children to go retrieve the one from school.  Sweet Andria has helped more than I can ever express by saving me that daily trip to get Preston, so I talked her into letting me make her precious baby boy a birthday cake.

Drew loves basketball, so she wanted a basketball cake for him.  He loved it and that made me happy!

(Disclaimer:  I did not come up with this cute idea.  I merely copied this picture I found online.  I certainly am not creative.  I am just a plagiarizer!)  :)


When no one was watching, Drew climbed on the dining table and his daddy caught him just as he was lunging for the cake.  Drew said, “I want to pway wif da ball.”  When they tried to explain that it wasn’t a ball it was a cake, he said, “I want to pway wif da cake.”  He wanted so badly to get the ball from the basket.  That made the cake totally worth it and made me so happy.  Here is a pic of his little attempt at getting the ball out.

Happy Birthday, sweet Drew!

Many of you have asked about my fondant.  This is Part I of the video I used to learn how to make it, and this is part II.  I need to post some pics and helpful hints, but that will be another post for another day.

Now for a few random iPhone pics from this week…

AnnaLeigh has make-upped herself…several times.  Here are 2 pics.

Lilly Katherine tried to boogie board on a pillow across our hardwood floors.  It didn’t work out so well for her.  She missed the pillow and her face skidded across the floor instead.  It was still bleeding 4 hours later when I took this pic.  We went to the dentist, and we think her little teeth will be okay.  It was traumatic for her…to say the least!  Of course, as it happened I was trying to feed Georgia and wipe AnnaLeigh’s bottom, which caused all kinds of screaming from 3 little girls that all needed me at once.

And one last pic.  This little angel…she’s just growing too stinkin’ fast!

Have a lovely Saturday night!

-kate

Friday Fav #24-YouTube Videos

This is a random thing to post for my Friday Fav, but I wanted to share some of my fav YouTube songs.

I learned a song a few years ago when AnnaLeigh was a baby, and I searched online to make sure I was singing it correctly.  I found this precious couple on YouTube singing the song, and then I sang it over and over to AnnaLeigh.  I have listened to it again lately as I’ve sung this sweet lullaby to Georgia.

I don’t know these people, but I love the old decor as it reminds me of my Sicilian great-grandmother, Nanna.  I also love hearing the dialogue at the end, “That wuza vera nice!”

The third verse is the sweetest, which they don’t sing, but it is this…

“I do Believe
That God above
Created you
for me to love
He picked you out
from all the rest
because God knew
I’d love
you best”

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The next 2 videos I love because they basically sum up my life. I’m sure most of you have seen both of these, but if you haven’t, watch them. If you have, watch them again. They will get your day started with a little laugh!

This song sounds like my crazy, wonderful life:

This song sounds like ME:

And while I’m posting YouTube videos, I might as well another one of my most favorite songs:

Happy Friday! :)

-kate

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Random Pics from our Exciting Lives

Lately, we haven’t done much of anything.  We have worn pj’s a LOT!  We have not fixed our hair.  We have barely ventured out of the house and I have worn my new house shoes almost every day.  I live a very exciting life.

Here are a few random pics.

The big girls have played together daily.  I’m so thankful they have each other.

Laurabeth has been over several times.

This pic just makes me smile because they are both grinning and it looks like Georgia is saying “YESSSSS!”

Laurabeth was fussing.  She didn’t like to be naked or photographed.  I’m pretty sure Georgia would be sassing me if she could talk.  Those eyes say it all!

Oh, I could just squeeze this little body!

Georgia had her first bath!  The kids got to help bathe her.

She loved the water, but was not a fan of getting out.

Mimi has spent time loving on both girls.

Papa had his turn to love on Georgia.

This reminds me of a line from “Little Red Riding Hood.”  Some of you will get that.  Some of you are very confused right now.  I love you, Diddy! :)

Sunday morning, this is what my bed looked like.  Crazy kids!

And then there’s this maniac!  I asked Preston to entertain AnnaLeigh for a few minutes.  This is what I ended up with…a 3-year old maniac running through the house yelling, “I’m a basebaw pwaya!”

Um.  Close.

She even did the Rudy Huxtable dance!

I know that every mom thinks their child is beautiful.  Well, I think sweet Georgia is beautiful, and I think this is what God uses to humble me!  My kids get the WORST case of baby acne followed by a year long case of cradle cap.  This is a pic from day ONE of baby acne, and it’s gotten worse from there.  Poor pretty little girl.  Just as I want to get her out and show her off, her sweet face looks like THIS!

One final pic.  I’m still doing a WHOLE LOTTA THIS, and I’m loving it!

I am going to try to go to the grocery store tomorrow.  Pray we don’t have a day like this one!  I’m hoping it will be a smooth trip.  I’m sure I’ll have a story or two to tell.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

-kate

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BFFs 4 Ever!

First of all, I am a MOM.  I have had more bodily fluids on me in the last 24 hours than any person should.  Between my lactating self, a baby who squirts poo-poo and tee-tee on me, then spits up all over me, to a 3-year old who has decided she should pee all over the place again, to a daughter with a cough and a son with a cold who can’t remember to cover their mouths, I’ve been covered in GOO!  I need a shower just thinking about it!

Second, I need to let you know that although sweet baby Georgia has been an absolute DREAM, and I can’t put her down, and I’m more in love than I ever thought possible…things haven’t all been smooth.  I never want to deceive anyone to thinking our lives are perfect.  Georgia is making the transition to 4 kids as easy as possible.  AnnaLeigh on the other hand…

Little miss sassy pants is having a HARD TIME (to say the least) adjusting to not being the baby of the family.  I’m doing all I can to love on her, but let’s just say we’re getting a good taste of what seventh grade is going to be like with this little diva!  We’ve gone from sassy to down right hateful.  She has pretty much screamed for the last 2 weeks.  It’s been really fun.

I’ve been called a “bad mama” and I’ve been told (after punishing her for a hateful act towards her sister) that I “should-of-ent waked up!”  (That word is should-haven’t…should have not). Her most favorite things to do lately are hit, kick, say “I’m not eva playin wif you eva again!” or hide things…like our REMOTE!  We went without a remote for 3 days, TEARING OUR HOUSE APART looking for it.  Brad finally broke down and bought a new one.  We used it for 24 hours when AnnaLeigh magically remembered where the old one was.

You should pray for her!

You should pray for ME! :)

We’ll get adjusted…hopefully soon!

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Speaking of Seventh Grade….

Seventh grade is such an awful year.  Such an awkward year.  Such a BAD year!

I would not relive seventh grade for all the money in the world!

But it was seventh grade that gave me the 2 most precious friends in my life!  I have been blessed throughout my life with many wonderful friends.  Some are friends for a year or two, some are friends for a season, and a very few are life-long friends!

Kimberly and Samantha are two of my life-long friends.  (We took a pic Friday, but my postpartum self does NOT need to be posted on the www at this point, since AnnaLeigh repeatedly tells me I still look “preg-nick.”  This is a pic from a few months ago.)

Samantha, Me, Kimberly

It’s been said that if you have 5 true friends, you have a great life.  Well I’m certain I’ve been blessed far beyond that 5, and for that I am truly thankful.

However, Kimberly and Samantha have walked through life with me for over 20 years!  They have been by my side through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Through woven belts, rompers, perms, braces, crushes, break-ups, drill team, overalls, bad hair, dorm rooms, all-nighters, Chi Omega, Baylor, vacations, weddings, children, fat days, skinny days, move in days and move out days!  They have basically ALWAYS been there for me…right by my side!

They are some of the most precious gifts God has given me!  I have prayed for my children, especially for my girls, that they would be blessed with BEST friends like I have been blessed with Kim and Sam.

Girls just need sweet friends!

Well, Kim and Sam drove in town last week to meet this little thing!

They came bearing gifts and giggles!  This is a side note, but so strange I have to mention it.  Kim, Sam, and I all have boy first, then girl, then girl (then I have little miss G!)  They brought their giggly girls with them, and I love that our girls will know and love each other.  I just wish we could play more often!

Here are a few pics of the girls.  I wish I had more, but I spent my time in adult conversation with my 2 bffs.  Plus the pics I did take were blurry, because my camera was on the wrong setting.  Oh well.

Starting with AnnaLeigh (in green) and going clockwise.  AnnaLeigh, Lilly Katherine, Clara and Millie (Kim’s girls), Campbell and Chandler (Sam’s girls).

The big girls…Campbell (Samantha’s oldest daughter), Clara (Kimberly’s oldest daughter), and of course Lilly Katherine (my big girl).

Samantha is so good about playing with the kids and hyping them all up!  It’s her specialty!  “Aunt Sammy” is a much more FUN mom than I’ll ever be!

While Sammy was winding up the maniacs, sweet Kim was loving on Georgia.

Sammy had some sweet Georgia time, too.

Before they left, our girls did several group hugs.  LOVE!

Lord, THANK YOU!  Thank you for so richly blessing my life with friends who have encouraged me, listened to me, loved me, stood by me, laughed with me, and been positive influences on me (most of the time!) :)  Thank you for their love for me and acceptance of me, and for the love that they show my family.  Thank you for our special bond.  Please, Lord, give my girls friends like Kim and Sam!  Thank you that you have blessed my girls with sisters, built-in friends.  I pray that they will love each other as friends, but as they grow (and as they deal with the emotions and hormones of seventh grade) please put special friends in their lives that will lead them closer to you.  Friends that will love them, encourage them, and be life-long friends.  Please help my girls to BE friends to other sweet girls.  I pray that they are the kind of friend to others that Kimberly and Samantha have been to me.

Thank you for Kimberly and Samantha.  Thank you for how they love their babies!  Thank you for how they love MY babies.  Thank you for allowing me to see them often (though I wish it were more often).  Thank you for the ability to pick up where we left off…always!

And, Lord, please help AnnaLeigh to straighten up so that she’s allowed to make it to seventh grade!  Oh, and please help her to realize that she’s only 3…and I don’t need the seventh grade attitude quite yet!

AMEN!  :)

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-kate

Blessings from Friends-Unique Baby Gifts

My sweet baby girl is 12 days old already, and I love her even more today!

She is so sweet, and rarely cries…except when I’m ready to go to bed.  Some of that is due to the fact that I simply can’t put her down.  I hold her 99% of the time.  Brad asked me a few days ago, “Did you hold Preston this much?” and my pitiful response was, “Absolutely not!  I was afraid I would mess him up if I held him too much.  I didn’t want to spoil him!”

Isn’t that sad?!?

My advice to any new mom is HOLD THEM!  I know what the books say.  Preston was a BABYWISE baby!  I worked full-time, he was in daycare, and I left work to nurse him twice a day.  He HAD to be on a strict schedule, so I read Babywise, used it, referred to it, stressed about it, and I just knew I was ruining his 2 week old life if I made any missteps.  Well, this is my fourth child and my philosophy has changed a little.

HOLD THAT BABY!

What I’ve learned is that your little angel (and my little Georgia) will be bigger TOMORROW!  They grow every single day.  One day you’ll look up and realize that you can no longer pick up that sweet little baby.  It’s a sad day.  I can barely pick Preston (8) up, and I know my days of being able to lift him are numbered.  Not that I lift him often, but just to know that I can never pick him up again makes him seem so much bigger…older.

So for that reason, I will hold this baby!  I will hold her, love on her, kiss her, squeeze her, and I will be perfectly happy to spoil her rotten!  Of course I want her to learn how to go to sleep without me holding her, but she’s 12 days old…I have time for that later.  Now, my house is the thing that may be suffering from my new way of thinking.  Eventually I will have to put my little bucket o’ love down and pick up my bucket o’ cleaning supplies.  Sigh!

The other wonderful thing that has made it possible for me to constantly hold little miss Georgia is that we have precious friends who have provided so much for our family!  Our friends have brought food every single night since we’ve been home from the hospital.  I cannot tell you what a blessing it has been to have so many delicious meals, and I have some new recipes that I can’t wait to share with you!  Thank you to all of you who have provided for us this past week!  Brad and I are truly grateful and appreciative!

Other than wonderful meals, we have received so many sweet gifts.  It’s been fun to see GEORGIA written and monogrammed on several little pink things.  I love gifts with my babies’ names on them, because we have so few of them.  I guess that’s because we never know what we’re having!

I just had to post a few pics of some of the gifts I have received that were cute and unique.  With this being my fourth, I was surprised at the things I had never seen before, like these…

A Stroller made out of diapers!  I’ve seen diaper cakes, but never a STROLLER!  Some of the precious women at Brad’s office, Sheryl and Penny made this, and I know it was a labor of love!  LK and AnnaLeigh think this is for their babies. :)

Dominique brought her fabulous cookie cake to the hospital the night Georgia was born for all of our family and friends to enjoy.

Meredith and Carrie brought a meal and these AMAZING cookies that our friend Amanda makes.  She brought 6 little (actually they’re big) pink crowns with Georgia’s initials on them.  I ate 5 of them.  I couldn’t help myself, they were just too darn good!

Michael and Lisa sent a cookie bouquet, and they were so sweet to have a cookie made for each child.

It made these 2 maniacs very happy, despite the forced smile on AnnaLeigh’s face.

When Laurabeth was born 6 days before Georgia, our wonderful friend, Peggy, brought Ashley these cute little panties.  I was a little jealous because I could picture a sweet little 7 month old girl crawling around with a tush full of ruffles, and I knew I wouldn’t have a ruffly baby girl.  HA!  When Georgia was born, sweet Peggy brought my baby girl her own pair of ruffle panties.  They’re MudPie, and they will be so cute on those 2 little bottoms!

Okay, now this is a gift that I know many of you will want to copy!  This great gift was given to me by Angie, a friend that I really wish I knew better!  Our husbands play basketball together in the middle of the night (4:45 in the morning) and we run into each other occasionally.  She is always doing crafty things for people, and I know if we ever got to hang out we would have so much fun!  This is called a Memory Can, and I’ve never seen one before, but I will definitely be copying her idea…you should too!

My two bestest friends in the whole wide world, Kimberly and Samantha came in town to meet Georgia last week.  That is truly one of the best gifts you can give!  More on that later.  They brought loads of monogrammed goodies for Georgia, and this was one little treasure that I’m sure most of you have heard of.  I have never had one of these little guys, but I’m so excited about it!

You put your wipes and a few diapers in it and keep it in your diaper bag.  As the baby gets older, this is all you have to lug around.  For me, this is a great alternative to having diapers bunched in my purse with goldfish crumbs smashed in them!

My friend Holly organized all of our meals, plus she made us  PW’s Cinnamon Rolls and PW’s Apple Dumplings and some yummy enchiladas!  And let me not forget to mention that one day last week my friend Amy called to ask what I wanted from Starbucks and she left a hot Starbucks coffee at my door.  That’s certainly a treat no mom would pass up.  My friend Elicia is also so good about offering Starbucks.  When you’re stuck at home with little ones, sometimes that’s just the pick-me-up you need.

Lastly, I have to tell you about the gift that my amazing hubby gave me.

(MEN: make a mental note of this!!!)

Brad had a bracelet made with 4 diamonds on it, one for each child.

It’s dainty and beautiful, and I love it!  It was a wonderful surprise, and the perfect “push present!”  My dear husband has been there for 4 babies now, and he has finally figured out that his bratty wife would like a little “thank you” or “good job” for carrying and bearing his children.  It took several children for him to learn (and maybe a little help from my friend Kellie), but I would say it was worth the wait!  Thank you, babe!  This beautiful gift was a true surprise and much better than flowers!  You went above and beyond and I love it!  I will wear it everyday, always!

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Thank you to all of my sweet friends!  Thank you for blessing my life and my family!  We truly appreciate all the thoughtful gifts and meals you have given us!

-kate

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Birthin’ Babies Ain’t for Sissies!

It has been a few days since my last post, because I’ve been holding this sweet little peanut!

And kissing this sweet little body!

And loving on this sweet face!  (See that little dimple?!)

And managing to figure out life with these FOUR maniacs!

I’m trying to soak up every second…kissing on that little neck, smelling the sweet smell of baby lotion and spit up, squeezing every inch of her little body, and avoiding housework while holding all 6 1/2 pounds of my little Georgia!

We know this is probably our last child (I say probably because I know what our plan is, but the Lord may have another…and his usually wins), and it makes me want to savor ever single moment of this sweet baby girl!  So if you don’t hear from me for a few days, that is why.

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Now, on to my post…

What I learned last week is that birthin’ babies ain’t for sissies!

This labor and delivery story is very different from any of my other deliveries.  It was different in every way!  I’ve always gone into labor early, timed contractions for hours and then gone into the hospital, only to deliver a baby a few hours later.  I have always had an epidural…kind of.

Preston was 2 weeks early, and my epidural worked like a charm.  However, it made me itch like I was covered in poison ivy and I left the hospital looking like I had been in a clawing match with a bobcat.

Lilly Katherine was one week early.  My epidural only worked on one side for a long time, but by the time I had to “push” it was working completely.

AnnaLeigh was 4 days early.  During labor, my body progressed all the way to a 10 as the anesthesiologist was threading the epidural into my back.  I had a fast labor, and I knew I needed to push.  They laid me back before he got the medicine in the cath and the nurses confirmed that it was time!  However, the doctor wasn’t at the hospital yet.  They decided since I had already paid for the epidural at that point, and it was in my back, they might as well give me the meds to hold me off until the doctor arrived.  I was so upset, because we pay CASH for our babies, and that was $1000 that I would rather not spend on a 15 minute epidural.  On top of that, it was a painful epidural, and my back was sore for days.

All that being said, I thought I might try this delivery without one.  I know how fast my body progresses, and I knew my body had made it to a 10 without meds, so I was seriously considering no drugs.

Well, in case you don’t know, induced labor is much more intense than natural labor.  That’s right.  I learned that the hard way!  I got my Pitocin at 6:30 am, fully expecting that I would deliver by noon at the latest.  HA!  I was only at a 4 at noon, and the contractions were coming on pretty strong.  I told myself I could go a little longer, giving myself time/contraction “mile” markers.  My mom, Brad, and my sweet sister-in-law Kara were there to encourage me.

Well, I’ll spare you all of the lovely details, but let’s just say I was in serious pain by the time I was at a 7…3 hours later!  I quickly progressed from 7-10 in a matter of minutes and I started motioning that the baby was coming!!!

They told me NOT TO PUSH until the doctor was there.  Let me tell you something, NOT PUSHING was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done IN.MY.LIFE!  Seriously, God tells you when it’s time, and waiting is not an option!  I “panted” through 3 contractions and finally the doctor arrived.  As scared as I was, I knew I had to stop the pain and get that baby out!

I pushed though one contraction and it was the most horribly wonderful thing I think I’ve ever done.  Have you heard of the term “Ring of FIRE?!?!”  That’s a fairly accurate description.  The head was out, and I decided then that the rest of the body was not coming out.  I was happy to have the head out, but I was done.  On second thought, my body told me I was an idiot!  Through a great deal of wonderful pain, out came what I would have sworn was a linebacker!

The doctor asked Brad if he wanted to announce what it was.  We both KNEW it was a boy as the doctor lifted this slimy, wrinkly, screaming little pinkish-grayish baby up in the air.

Brad hesitantly (because he was questioning himself) said, “It’s a girl!”  We were both in shock, but I was in SHOCK!  I kept reaching for her because I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that precious baby!

As they were cutting the cord, cleaning her off, and wrapping her up enough for me to hold her, I was reaching for my baby and the flood of every emotion I’ve ever felt in my life hit me all at once.  I started weeping uncontrollably!  I was a total basket case instantly!  It was as if all of the self-control I was able to maintain and all of the pain I was able to withstand for HOURS was released at once.  The floodgates opened and a SEA of emotions like I’ve never experienced GUSHED out of me!  Happy, relieved, proud, scared, surprised, thankful, joyful, exhausted, overwhelmed, blessed…a little bit of every emotion!  It was almost out of body as I cried and shook and longed to hold that precious baby GIRL!

They finally handed her to me and it was INSTANT LOVE!

INSTANT!

I couldn’t wait to kiss her!

I loved on her and hugged her, and her proud daddy held her.

We named our sweet baby girl Georgia Sarullo, after Brad’s dad and my grandmother.  Then we prayed for her, thanked God for her precious little life, and spent a few special minutes with her.  As we were doing that, there was a crowd waiting in the lobby to meet our new baby.  I am so thankful that Kara took pictures to capture all the details we missed.

This maniac was excited to find out what we had.

The cousins were all waiting (except Laurabeth)

Grandparents were waiting.

My babies were anxiously awaiting the call to come meet their new brother or sister.

We called the kids in to come meet her first.  We gave them each their own camera so they could take pictures of “their new baby” and have their own special pics from her birth.

Of course, they didn’t understand why they couldn’t see the picture on the back after they snapped it!  Darn 35 mm cameras! :)

Preston, Lilly Katherine, and AnnaLeigh filed in and I looked at my handsome big bug, my only boy!  I wanted to tell him he was blessed with another sister and also blessed to be his daddy’s only son!  I worried a little about how he would take it.  Let’s just say my baby boy is in love with sweet Georgia!  He’s just fine with another sister!

Then the whole crew came in.  The girls helped me announce what we had with little signs.

(The look on my VERY swollen face says, “Can you believe how wrong I was?!?”)

Preston announced her name, Georgia Sarullo, and then we began passing her around.

Georgia met her newest cousin, Laurabeth (just 6 days older) and they have already locked arms.  What a sweet bond these two cousins will have.

Laurabeth started licking Georgia’s head, and since she hadn’t had a bath yet it stressed my sister out just a little bit.  She quickly removed Laurabeth from “latching on” to Georgia’s amniotic fluid covered head.

The nurse let the maniacs give Georgia her first bath!  This was a huge treat, however now AnnaLeigh feels she’s capable of bathing her all the time.

When she was good and clean, she got to snuggle with Laurabeth.

Getting ready to leave the hospital…

Georgia wore a very special outfit home…the day-gown that I wore home from the hospital when I was born.  My brother and sister also wore it, as well as my other three maniacs and Laurabeth.  The blanket was made by Brad’s grandmother for Preston.  The bonnet is a precious gift from her Aunt Kara and Uncle Andy.  She will use it again on her wedding day.

And due to the fact that i ordered this “neutral” carseat canopy a few weeks ago, I had to tell several people on the way out of the hospital, “No, actually I had a girl.”  Guess I’ll need to do something about that.  :)

Welcome Home Georgia!  The maniacs were excited we were finally home.  It was much later than we anticipated, so the girls were already in their pj’s.  It was a long few days for our parents as they watched over these wild ones.  Thank you everyone for all your help!

As for this pregnancy and delivery, would I change anything?  Not much.

I wouldn’t be so sure of myself in thinking I was having a boy…or at least I would have kept my opinion to myself a little more.

Looking back, and I know that hindsight’s 20/20, and I remember how miserable I was, but I wish I had been more patient and given my body a few more days to try to go into labor.  I truly believe that God’s timing is better than mine and I lost sight of that.  I think the labor would have been easier if it had been natural.

I am glad I did it without an epidural.  It’s not for everyone, and I don’t judge anyone who gets one.  I’ve had 3 epidurals, and I’ll tell you there is a reason people get them!!!  However, it was really amazing to feel and witness how God made our bodies to birth little babies.  He equips us for the job and labor/delivery can show you how fearfully and wonderfully made we are.  I don’t know how you could experience natural birth and not know that there’s an all mighty, all powerful, very creative GOD!  It was certainly not easy, but it was an experience like no other.

Am I happy to have a girl?

ABSOLUTELY!!!! I am THRILLED…tickled PINK!  :)  I honestly did not care if it was a boy or girl.  We have both already, but I just thought it was a boy.  I have said all along, I love the bond of sisters, and we live in girl world right now, so a girl would be easier at this point with all our baby dolls, lipstick, and smocked dresses.  Now, middle school is another story.  :)

I know that the Lord knows exactly what we need, and sweet Georgia is the gift he chose for us…

…and I love her with all my heart!

-kate

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It’s A…

It’s a GIRL!!!

Can we say SHOCKED?!?!?!

I am still in shock that the Lord has blessed our family with a perfectly tiny little PINK bundle of JOY!

Meet Little Miss Georgia Sarullo…

Georgia was born Tuesday afternoon, weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces.  She is perfectly precious and we love her so very much.  I have so much I want to write about, and I want to document her birth story, but it will have to wait until tomorrow.  I think I should sleep while Georgia is asleep.

Because so many people have asked, I wanted to at least write about her name, Georgia Sarullo.

Georgia is named after Brad’s dad, George.

George is a kind, patient man with a servant’s heart and a gentle smile.  He loves his family and he loves the Lord.  He has always been a wonderful example to his sons, Brad and Andy, and to our children.  It is an honor to get to name our sweet baby after her Granddear, George.

I have written about my wonderful Italian grandmother, MamaSara, many times like here and here and here.  Her maiden name is Sarullo, pronounced suh-ROO-luh.  Her health is quickly deteriorating and I doubt sweet Georgia will ever really know her MamaSara.  With Sarullo as Georgia’s middle name, she can carry MamaSara with her always.  I pray that my little Georgia will be much like her namesakes.

She has been a true joy already.  I can simply not stop kissing her.  I don’t ever want to put her down!  As shocked as I was that she is a GIRL, and I mean S-H-O-C-K-E-D, I love her more than I could ever imagine.  She is the perfect child to complete our family, and I can’t wait to love on her forever!

Here are a few pics of Georgia meeting some of her most favorite people…

THREE GIRLS!!!

My sweet big boy LOVES his newest little sister.  It helps that she looks EXACTLY like he did.  I’ll have to post some comparison pics.  It’s crazy!

Many more pics to come.  :)

-kate

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Keeping My Mind Off of the Induction – Zucchini Bread

How’s that for a title?  I am trying to not let my nerves get the best of me, so I decided to post a recipe that I promised MONTHS ago!

First, let me tell you that I went to the doctor today and decided to schedule an induction.  I have very mixed emotions about the whole thing!  I have never gone this far, I have never been this big, and I have never been this miserable.  All my other babies have come naturally and early.  I never DREAMED that I would go to my due date with NUMBER FOUR!!!  But here we are.  Therefore, we are inducing tomorrow morning.  I’m so excited to hold this precious little wiggly life, and I’m scared out of my mind at the same time!

I will have FOUR kids tomorrow!  FOUR!

So many of my friends have sent messages telling me how wonderful it is to be induced – to know that the baby is coming and when it’s coming.  I know I’m so weird, but I think it’s better for me NOT to know.  I left the doctor’s office a total mess!  I called my mom and could hardly talk because I was crying!  I’m just an emotional wreck, a ball of nerves, a basket-case!  I think that for non-planners like myself, we need to GO into labor.  I need to be awoken by painful contractions and labor through the night.  I need to have time to mentally prepare and gear myself up through the process and excitement of labor.

Just typing that makes me sound like a freak.

So why induce?  Well, my body is being beat up from the inside out and if we didn’t induce tomorrow it would likely be NEXT Tuesday.  The thought of this baby growing another half pound as it kicks and stretches makes me more nervous than inducing tomorrow.  Sooooo, tomorrow it is!

WOW!

Tomorrow!

I’ll post a picture of my sweet baby boy or girl as soon as I can.  All along I have thought that this maniac is a boy, however, in the past 3 days I have had more people tell me they think it’s a girl than ever before.  I am so confused.  I have no idea what it is!

My prediction…BOY and at least 7 pounds, 10 ounces.  My other babies have been much smaller, but this one just seems so much bigger.  Maybe I’M just so much bigger.  We shall see very soon!!!!!!   AGHHHHH!!!!

Okay, so to take my mind off birthing a baby in a few hours, I am going to post a recipe.  That’s a great use of my time, right?

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My Zucchini Bread Recipe is almost identical to my Banana Bread Recipe.  In fact, they are the same recipe with a few minor adjustments to make one healthier.  They are both delicious.  Give them a try!

Recipe for Zucchini Bread

What you will need:

All Purpose Flour, Whole Wheat Flour, Salt, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Apple Sauce, Sugar, Eggs, Zucchini (or Bananas…but not both)

Grate your zucchini.  This step is a breeze if you use a food processor…and have 2 little helpers.

We must all get a turn, you know. :)

Set the zucchini aside and beat your eggs in a large mixing bowl.

Next add the dry ingredients to your eggs.  I prefer to use 1 1/2 – 2 cups of Whole Wheat Flour and about 1 Cup of All-Purpose Flour.  You can use all Whole Wheat if you would like.

Add the Apple Sauce and Vanilla.

And mix well.  Batter will be a little stiff.

Fold in the grated zucchini.  This will take a little muscle.  Look at all that zucchini you’re packing in there!

Your batter should be thinner now.

Next grease and flour…or as this sugar addict does, butter and SUGAR your pans.  This recipe will make

  • 2 large loaf pans (this is what I prefer)
  • or 6-8 mini loaf pans
  • or lots of muffins
  • or any combo of those.

Pour an even amount of batter into the pans.

Bake 2 large loaf pans at 325° for 50 minutes.  Remove them from the loaf pan and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar.  This just adds a lovely little crunch and sweetness on top!  I guess you don’t have to do this, but it really does make this bread a little more delicious.  :)

A Little Healthier Version:  Zucchini Bread or Banana Bread Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 3/4 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
  • 1 Cup All Natural (No Sugar Added) Apple Sauce
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt (slightly heaping, but not too much)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 2 heaping cups grated, raw zucchini (about 2 medium zucchini) or 4 Very Ripe Bananas (DO NOT USE BOTH)
  • If you want to ruin your zucchini bread with some chopped nuts, go ahead and throw in 1/2 cup chopped nuts with the zucchini.  I prefer to not mess with the smooth wonderful taste and texture of plain ol’ zucchini bread.

Grate Zucchini.  Beat Eggs.  Combine all ingredients except zucchini (or bananas).  Mix.  Add zucchini (or mashed bananas) to mixture.  Mix well.  Pour into 2 large greased and floured (or sugared) loaf pans.  Bake at 325° for 50 minutes*.  Sprinkle with sugar after baking.

For mini loaf pans or muffins, reduce cooking time significantly.  I’m sorry I do not know exactly how long to cook them.

I guess the next time I post anything, it will be pictures of my newest maniac.  Oh my goodness I’m so nervous.  Please pray for a smooth delivery and a smooth transition for our family.  We are so excited and we know we are so blessed to be parents once again.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us, checked on us, sent us messages, and FB stalked us.  We love you and we are excited to share our news with you tomorrow.  Now, I must pack and try to get some sleep.  Yeah right!

-kate

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Friday Fav #23 – Remember Nguyen

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Friday Fav, and this is one I just have to tell you about.

In case you haven’t heard me say this, let me be the first to tell you that I am CHEAP!  I don’t buy it if it’s not on sale CLEARANCE!  I’m one of those weirdos that will not pay full price for anything.  It’s a curse, but it works for us, and I know my frugal husband appreciates it.

This Friday Fav is for Remember Nguyen (pronounced Remember WHEN), which is one of my most fav children’s clothing websites.  Remember Nguyen is having a HUGE sale, and all of their clearance and sale items are an additional 60% off.  I may or may not have loaded a cart full of goodies online yesterday.  :)  The great news is that I don’t think I spent more than $20 on anything…even monogrammed outfits.   You just can’t beat that!

The clothes are precious, and it’s hard to find new, smocked dresses for $12-$25 anywhere!  I’m not sure how long the sale will last, but they usually don’t last long.  My advice is sign up for their email list so you will know when they have these great sales.  Just don’t buy the sizes I need until I’ve placed my order, okay?

You can thank me later!  :)

Here are a few outfits I’ve purchased from Remember Nguyen.  Love them!

The clothes seem to run a little bit large, but my girls seem to run a little bit small, so I may not be the best judge.  :)  The site is www.RememberNguyen.com.

Oh, and yes…I’M STILL PREGNANT!  No baby for me yet, but I take this as a sign that this sweet baby just really loves his or her mama so much that it just doesn’t want to come out yet.  I keep reminding myself that though I’m uncomfortable, this baby is easier while it’s in there!!! :)

Happy Shopping!

-kate

It’s a GIRL…Niece!

Today was a long, exciting day!  Yesterday morning my sister, Ashley, and I went walking, both determined to get these babies out of our bellies!  Last night we were both timing contractions starting at about 9 pm.  Mine were 10-15 minutes apart and hers were getting a little closer.  At 2 am she texted me and told me she was heading to the hospital.  I was awake until 6 am timing contractions, and finally fell asleep for ONE WHOLE HOUR!  I just knew we would both be at the hospital together.

Ash’s contractions continued to get stronger.  Mine continued, but didn’t get stronger.  I packed.  I showered.  I got everything ready to join her at the hospital.  We even asked the nurses to reserve the room next to Ashley.

By noon, Ashley had a baby.  We didn’t know what it was yet, but she had a baby.  As I did squats in the waiting room, I was losing hope that I would have mine today.  I was right.

Attractive isn’t it?

Sorry.

Anyway, Alan came and got Caleb and Truett so they could be the first to find out if they had a brother or sister.

Then we all got to go into their room and find out that Ashley and Alan had a beautiful baby girl!

Miss Laurabeth Anne was a whopping 6 pounds, 3 ounces and 20 inches long.  She’s tiny and perfect and we love her already!

Sweet little hands!

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Sweet little toes!

Then these maniacs arrived to meet her!  (Thank you George and Kay!)

Truett told them it was a boy.  :)  He’s such a mess.  Have I mentioned that he stuck a peanut up his nose this week?  I love that little man!  And he LOVES his new baby sister!  He could NOT stop kissing and loving on Laurabeth!

Neither could this little one.  Truett and AnnaLeigh just love her so much.

We gave her a little pink outfit…that may one day fit that tiny little body.

And she has already received a birth-day cake from Aunt Sugar (Aunt Anne).

As Truett and AnnaLeigh were loving on her and kissing on her, Lilly Katherine, Caleb, and Preston were much more entertained by a cell phone.  Kids these days…

Uncle Taylor and Aunt Kelly were able to drive in today to meet sweet Laurabeth.  Taylor has been in the military, and he was overseas more than he was home.  They have never been able to come on the day the baby was born, so this was a special treat…to all the kids!

Laurabeth is already fussing at her cousin, “COME OUT!”

Hopefully soon.  I wish I had pics of my new little maniac today, but I know the Lord has much greater timing than I.  After the afternoon I had with the 3 I’ve got, the Lord may be teaching me that I need a little more time to grow than my precious baby does.  Some days are exhausting.  Only getting 1 hour of sleep doesn’t help.  Now, I need to get off the computer and get sleep while I can!

Nighty Night!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!  And praise God for sweet Laurabeth!

I can’t wait to spoil you, sweet girl!  (And AnnaLeigh can’t wait to “polish” you…with nail polish!)

-”aunt” kate

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Stuffed Artichokes

I have been having contractions for about 24 hours.  Some strong and some not.  I am getting VERY anxious.  So much so that I tried to take a brief nap today and my heart just kept racing, my contractions were strong, and I was feeling that this baby would be making it’s appearance sometime in the NEAR future!  Probably not tonight, but I just can’t imagine it being much longer.

AGHHHHHHH!

I know this is my fourth, but still I have all the questions, nerves, anxiety…

Am I ready for this?

What am I going to do with a BABY?!?!

Is the baby okay?

What will I do if it’s not?

Will my kids have a hard time adjusting?

Will this baby sleep?

Will I ever sleep again?

Will this be like starting OVER?

THE LABOR!!!!  Do I try to do it without an epidural this time?  We pay cash for the stinkin’ thing, and I went all the way to a 10 without an epidural with AnnaLeigh (accidentally).  I know many woman have birthed babies with no drugs…but do I want to be one of them?!?!

Is it a boy or a girl?

Is it 6 pounds or 11?  It feels like it’s 11, but I know it’s not!

Will it be wearing a name tag when it arrives?  “HELLO my name is…” :)

Anyway, I am nervous, to say the least.  I decided that as I contract, I’ll post a recipe that I intended to post in AUGUST.  Better late than never…that’s kind of my motto in life!

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I’ve mentioned my precious and wonderful MamaSara before.

MamaSara is my Italian grandmother, whom I adore and would give anything if I could see more often.  She lives in Mississippi and her health has not been good lately.  We have not stopped thinking about her and praying for her.  She has always catered to everyone has always welcomed our huge family with open arms and a feast of delicious food!

Stuffed Artichokes are one of MamaSara’s specialties, and my family literally fights over them!

If you are feeling adventurous, give them a try!  You may find a new food that your family will love!

Now, just like any good grandmother, she does not have actual recipes for anything!  She just uses “a little of this and a little of that.” I’ve done my best to make them taste like hers, but MamaSara’s artichokes will always taste better to me!

Stuffed Artichokes

What you will need:

Fresh Artichokes, Italian Style Breadcrumbs, Chopped Olives, Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil

Cut the stems off the bottom of the artichokes.  Make them as level as possible, because they need to be able to stand upright.

Next trim the artichokes to look like the one below.

Clip the points off the leaves, being careful not to stick yourself.  They can be sharp little boogers!  LK wanted to cut them off, and so she helped with this process.

Start near the bottom first and work your way around and to the top.

When you get to the top, just take a sharp knife and cut the whole top off.

After you cut the top off, open the top leaves up a bit and use your scissors to trim some of the inner pointy leaves.  It just allows you to stuff more breadcrumb goodness into your artichoke.

After that I think it is important to clean them as well as you can.  Run them under warm water, spreading the leaves apart trying to get any clippings or critters out.  Then sprinkle them with salt and turn them upside down in a pot of water for about 30 minutes.  If they won’t stay upside down, you can put a plate on top of them to hold them in place.

As they soak, mix your stuffing.  In a large bowl, combine Breadcrumbs, Chopped Olives, Parmesan Cheese, and Olive Oil.

Mix well.  The consistency should be crumbly but able to hold together a little.  If you feel it’s too dry, add a little olive oil.

Remove the artichokes from the water and shake excess water from them.

This will be a little messy, so place the artichoke on a plate to stuff the little guy.  Spread the leaves out one at a time, starting at the bottom, and just drop a little of your stuffing into each leaf.  This step is not hard and does not take very long.  Lilly Katherine did it by herself and did a great job!

Make sure all the leaves are stuffed.  I like mine full.  Preston likes less stuffing.  Do whatever floats your boat!

Make sure you stuff the top, too.  Lightly drizzle the tops with olive oil just to add a little moisture.

Place the artichokes in a pot that will allow them to stand up supported.  If there is too much room they will turn over, making them soggy.  If there is not enough room they don’t steam evenly.

Fill the pot with about half an inch of water.  Just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan and a little of the artichokes.  If you have too much water the bottom leaves and stuffing will get soggy.

Remember to check them as they cook.  You need to maintain the water level and not let it get so low that the pan burns.

Cover and bring it to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and allow it them to cook at a very low boil for about an hour to an hour an a half.  Make sure to add water periodically.  If they are really large artichokes, they can take up to 2 hours to completely steam.

They are ready when the leaves are a little curled, and you can gently tug on a leaf and it comes out with ease.  If it takes force to remove a leaf, then cover them and steam longer.  YUMMY!

Serve your stuffed artichoke with your most favorite Italian meal.

Of course, it’s best to serve them with MamaSara’s homemade spaghetti sauce and homemade meatballs, and MamaSara’s Salad.  Oh, what I would give to have a bite of this meal right now!

To eat the artichokes, scrape the leaf with your teeth removing the stuffing and the soft bottom part (the “meat”) from the artichoke leaf.  I prefer to turn each leaf upside down and scrape with my bottom teeth.  Of course, Preston uses his top teeth.  I’m not sure how that child came from me!

When you have eaten all of the outer leaves and stuffing, the heart of the artichoke is absolutely delicious with a little bit of salt and lemon juice.  Sorry no pics to show you how to get to it.

I would call this a bowl full of SUCCESS!

Recipe for MamaSara’s Stuffed Artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Artichokes
  • 1 3/4 Cups Italian Breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • Small can Chopped Olives
  • 3-4 Tbsp Olive Oil

Cut the stems off of the artichokes, making them as even as possible so they will stand up in a stock pot.  Trim the leaves by clipping the sharp points off with kitchen scissors.  Use a knife to cut the top of the artichoke off, and then trim the inner leaves with scissors.  Run the artichokes under water, spreading the leaves to remove any excess clippings or critters.  Sprinkle with salt and put upside down in a pot full of water for about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the Breadcrumbs, Parmesan Cheese, Olives, and Olive Oil.  Mix well, adding extra olive oil if needed.

Remove artichokes from water and shake to remove excess water.  Start at the bottom and stuff each leaf individually with the desired amount of stuffing.  Stuff the top well, also.

Place the artichokes in a large stock pot, making sure that they can stand without falling or being overcrowding.  Add about 1/2 an inch of water to the bottom of the pot, covering the bottom of the pot and a small portion of the artichokes.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and keep them at a very low boil for 1-1.5 hours.  Check water often and add water when necessary.  The artichokes are ready when you can remove leaves with ease.

To eat, scrape the stuffing and the “meat” or bottom soft part of the artichoke leaf with your teeth.

Enjoy!

-kate

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Fun Family Day

Soon and very soon I will be bound to the house with a little bundle of joy, so I wanted to get my people out of the house today to enjoy the sunshine.  Brad was working, so my mom and I took the maniacs to the zoo.  They loved it and I was hoping to induce labor.  No luck yet.

LK took her Hello Kitty camera and she took pics of everything.  Again, she is just like her mama! :)

The giraffe’s tongue was like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  I had to stop watching it because it was making me gag!  It was like a big giant snake going in and out of the giraffe’s mouth!  Crazy!

The giraffe and the kudu were so cute together.  The giraffe kept licking (kissing) the kudu.

My son could not stop thinking about hunting these poor animals.  What can I say, my husband enjoys hunting.  If that offends any of you, please take comfort in the fact that they never kill anything…or even see anything.  :)

MANIAC!

For $1 you can purchase a popsicle stick of birdseed to feed the birds.

Preston loved it!

Lilly Katherine loved it.  “Hello little birdie.”

AnnaLeigh did NOT love it!

As we were on our way out, we ran into this little maniac!

Great minds think alike, right?  Ash and I had both decided today would be a great day for the zoo.  We passed them as they were arriving and we were leaving. 

We got to spend a few minutes together feeding the fish.

We tried to get a picture.  They were much more interested in taking a “crazy pic” of course!

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We capped the day off with our most favorite family tradition…

WATCHING THE COSBY SHOW!

It’s always a special treat when we get to eat in the den…on a quilt…by the fire…and watch The Cosby Show.

Good times!

It was the perfect way to end a wonderful day as our little family of FIVE.

Now, bring on the contractions!  I think I’m ready to be a family of SIX!  :)

-kate

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Already a MANIAC

I am excited and so anxious to meet baby #4!  This baby has already earned the title of MANIAC!  Glad he/she will fit in with the other 3 maniacs that I am raising!

Warning #1:  If bare pregnant bellies freak you out, do not watch the video.

Warning #2:  If the Linea Negra (dark line on pregnant bellies) freaks you out, do not watch the video.  I’m Italian and Lebanese and it’s apparently darker on darker skinned people…so my linea negra is quite pronounced.

That being said, I would like to introduce you to MANIAC #4!

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

-Psalm 139:13-16

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-kate

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Homemade Reading Pillow

I’ve mentioned before that getting Preston to do his homework is often the hardest part of my day.  He is so smart, but he just doesn’t like to sit still long enough to read.  I needed something to motivate him and a Reading Pillow sounded like a good idea.  A few months ago I ran across a similar idea in a magazine and tucked it away in my scattered little brain.  I can’t remember what magazine…probably Family Fun, and probably a very old issue.  Sorry, I’m not sure.  Anyway, I decided to make Preston his own little Homework Pillow.  I’ll do anything to motivate that child to read!  ANYTHING!

I gave Preston his new “Reading Pillow” for his birthday, and he seems to really love it.

Remember his “Homework Nook” that’s located in our bathtub? It has really worked out well for us.  It gives him his own space and he really does use it every day!

There was a naked white pillow in his nook, with no pillowcase on it.  I decided this was the perfect opportunity to dress it up a little…for less than $4.

I made him a Reading Pillowcase for his pillow.

It has a pocket to store the book he is currently reading, plus a place for a sharpie or pen.

As he completes each book, he gets to WRITE THE TITLE OF THE BOOK ON THE PILLOWCASE!  :)  That’s right!  He gets to write on his pillowcase the title of all the books he completes.

He can see his progress and it motivates him to finish reading his book!  It helps that this is his special pillow and the girls are not allowed to touch it, write on it, look at it, or breathe on it!

Of course my wonderfully type-A child wrote the title of his first completed book exactly where the book itself was placed.  My sweet son lives  inside a very small box, friends!

I wish I could show you how to make a Reading Pillow.  Unfortunately I did not take a single picture of this process…because at 2 am the night before my son’s birthday (when I decided to whip this little puppy out) I was just trying to get things done!  :)

Select enough fabric to cover your pillow.  This Euro sized pillow took about 1 1/3 yards.  I used white on the front and red on the back.

I used fleece because it’s so cheap and easy to work with, however I’ve discovered that it’s not very easy to write on.  If you choose fleece, you don’t even have to sew the edges.  You could just knot it as we did these blankets.

Easy.  Cheap.  Motivating.  My kind of project!

By the way, WE ARE ONLY DAYS AWAY FROM MEETING BABY #4!!! :)

I know it’s easier to care for this baby while it’s safe inside my belly, but I’m so ready to see what Cletus the Fetus is, to hold it, to love on it, to kiss those sweet soft toes, and to see that sweet sleeping grin!  What a precious gift from God!  I’m having a contraction just thinking about it!!!

Happy Wednesday!

-kate

Dump Truck & Hello Kitty Birthday Party

Right before Christmas, my sister and I realized that we needed to have Truett and AnnaLeigh’s birthday parties asap, because both of us are due in January.  Truett’s birthday is February 11, and last year we did a joint Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party, and it worked out beautifully.  We have the same guest list, so we might as well combine our efforts, plus the kids love doing their parties together!

I asked AnnaLeigh what kind of party she wanted, and she said she and Truett wanted a Hello Kitty Party.  Hmm.  I’m not sure that would be Truett’s first choice.  She disagreed.  I tried to convince her to do something else, but she wanted a Hello Kitty party just like Lilly Katherine had a few years ago.  Why argue.  I decided to let the girl have the party she wanted.

Truett’s very into big trucks and dump trucks, and we decided that we didn’t have to have a unified theme.  They could both have their own theme…at the same party.  They could literally have their cake and eat it too! :)

In typical Kate fashion, I was running late.  As our families started to arrive for the party I was not all the way dressed, had no make-up on, hadn’t fixed my hair, was in the process of “decorating” (if you can even call it that), and I was scribbling “AnnaLeigh” on the cake.  Why oh why can’t I just be ready on time?!?!

Anyway, here is our Dump Truck and Hello Kitty Birthday Party.

My mom and I made the invitations, which were a dump truck invitation with a Hello Kitty driver.  The “dirt” pulled up and out for party details.

The rocks in the front end loader and the Hello Kitty Pops are both Oreo balls, which are so flipping delicious! Here are my very imperfect Hello Kitty Oreo Balls.  I know most people use cake, but I prefer Oreos…plus they’re way easier.  I just copied this design.  Not too difficult.

My girl…she loved the Hello Kitty “cake pops.”

Ash made Truett’s precious dump truck shirt.  I used the Hello Kitty Pillowcase dress I made for Lilly Katherine a few years ago.  AnnaLeigh was excited to wear it, and I was excited to recycle it.  Win-Win! :)

The cakes!  Ashley made delicious “dirt” for her dump truck!  Boy-moms, this is the greatest cake ever!  I did this for Preston’s 4th birthday.  Just buy a cute dump truck (it will also double as a gift) and fill it with “edible dirt”…Oreos, brownies, heath bits, peanut butter chips, and pudding.  Serve it with a little plastic shovel.  Easy and delicious!

My cake was not as successful…or easy!  The cake tasted great, but something went wrong and I didn’t have the patience to figure out what!  I was icing the cake at midnight (which is super early for me!) and the icing just wouldn’t stick.  This ain’t my first rodeo, but something just wasn’t working.  I’m so tired and uncomfortable, that when I visualized myself picking the Hello Kitty cake up and throwing it across the room I decided it was time to stop trying to ice the cake and go to sleep!  The cake was not my best, but AnnaLeigh was excited about it and that’s what matters.

You like the chunks of icing missing?

Pinky had to sneak a little bite of icing.  She’s my girl!

AnnaLeigh got a car for her Build-A-Bear from Nana,

a giant Hello Kitty from Memama (my grandmother) that now sleeps with her,

and a “Minnie the Pooh” movie!  :)  We watched it in the theatre and she loved it!

The guests were our family.  (Taylor and Kelly, maybe one day y’all can come join the chaos, too.)

Claire and AnnaLeigh

Caleb, Lilly Katherine, Claire, AnnaLeigh, Preston, Truett, and Garrett

AnnaLeigh and Mimi (my mom)

Brad’s brother, “Silly Unlce Andy,” loves to harrass my girls everyone, and he does it well.  He was messing with AnnaLeigh and she loved it!

A pic of my Pinky and her very large and very tired mama!

I’m only including this because my mom says that one day I will be glad I have pictures of myself pregnant.  I’m not sure this is the pregnancy I would like to have documented, but here goes.  AnnaLeigh asked Ash and I to take a picture back to back, so we did!

OUCH!  I look miserable (as my grandmother points out every.single.time.i.see.her!)  Brad also might have said to me this weekend, “It just looks like your belly is hanging!”  YES DEAR!  It IS!!!  Oh my, I’m having a contraction just thinking about that conversation!

Soon and very soon we will meet this new little one and I will officially have 4 kids…and 3 KIDS’ birthdays to celebrate in January!  Woohoo!

Happy Birthday AnnaLeigh and Truett!  Let’s keep those double birthday parties going as long as possible! :)

-kate

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Happy Birthday, AnnaLeigh!

Thursday my little baby girl turned 3!  She promised me she wouldn’t.  She told me she would stay 2 foh-evah, but she lied.  She’s growing up just like the rest of them and she turned 3 years old this week!

I love this little maniac more today than ever!  I love her smile and her feisty little self!  I just can’t get enough of her, which is good since she’s with me 99% of the time!

I just looked at my birthday post from when she turned 2 and not a whole lot has changed.  She still lives on my hip (my very pregnant hip), she’s still feisty, she still rules the roost, she still cracks all of us up pretty much all of the time!  She is funny, dramatic, expressive, and bossy!  And I love her so much it hurts!

The morning of her birthday, she woke up at 7:38, which was the exact time of her birth!  Crazy!  We all quickly went into her room singing “Happy Birthday to Pinky” and whisked her out of her baby bed, into the den to open gifts.

Preston had to leave for school and he wanted to see her open her big gift.

My little tiny baby girl got her very own “big girl bed!”  TEARS!

She was so excited!  All 3 kids were pretty excited!

We had to move her into a big girl bed because the baby is going to need the baby bed.  She and the baby are going to share a room, and with limited space, we decided a toddler bed was our best option.  That and the fact that she is miniature (weighing a whopping 25 pounds) and a toddler bed is PERFECT for my little Pinky!

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That night we moved her new “big girl bed” into her room and tucked her in and she said, “In da mornin when I wake up and you come get me out…”  SWEET!  She didn’t realize that she had freedom!  However, the next day Brad overheard LK telling her, “Now that you have a new big girl bed, you can get out whenever you want to or when you wake up.”  Leave it to Lilly Katherine to teach her how to avoid sleep!  Thank you, daughter!

She has slept in her bed 3 nights now.  They have not been easy or smooth!  They have been long, rough nights for her, for Brad, and for me.  I am one of those mean moms that doesn’t like to go backwards once I start something (and the fact that I am going to have a baby ANY MINUTE NOW that will need that other bed is encouraging me to not retreat.)  She is going to figure the new bed out, and it really is perfect for her.  The adjustment has just been a little harder than we anticipated.

The good news is that she is staying in her bed.  Praise the Lord!  She just cries and wants to sleep in her crib.  Not an option.  We will get through this!  Just another fun parenting hurdle.

However, somebody please tell me…what was I thinking doing this 2 weeks before I’m due?  I NEED SLEEP NOW, because I know I will not be getting any sleep in the near future!

Yesterday we had a birthday party for AnnaLeigh and Truett.  My goal is to post the pics tonight.

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Happy Birthday, my baby AnnaLeigh!  You will always be my baby, even though you will not be my youngest.  I love you so much!  I love that you love me!  I love that you want me!  I love that you have such a precious, loud, fun, strong personality!  I love that you love your brother!  I love that you love to play with your sister.  I love that you have the most precious facial expressions and you make us all laugh so much!  I love that you are such a little boss, because I KNOW you can and will hold your own!  I love that you are a woman who can get things done!  You can do anything you want to do!  I love that you love Sammy-dog, and any other animal you see.  I love that you “skip/gallop” everywhere we go.  I love that you are so tiny and compact that I can still hold you and carry you for hours.  I love that you can be reasoned with and talked to.  I love that you are my Pinky!  I love YOU!

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Lord, please protect this little woman!  Please keep her physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy!  Please keep her spunk alive and help her to be anything that she wants to be as long as it’s within your will.  Please help AnnaLeigh to live for you and love you every day of her life and with all of her heart.  Lord, thank you for this amazing surprise blessing!  Thank you for knowing what I need and what our family needs.  Please help this little maniac to be a wonderful big sister.  Thank you for giving her the example of Lilly Katherine as a good big sister, and I pray that AnnaLeigh is as kind and loving to our new baby as LK has been to her.  Please keep those girls close, and thank you for blessing each of them with a sister, just as you did me!  Thank you for the special bond sisters have!  Lord, please also bless AnnaLeigh with wonderful friends that will encourage her and help her to look to you.  Please help me to teach her and train her to BE a good friend and a positive influence in others’ lives.  Lord, please help her to be kind and loving to all people, not judgmental or exclusive.  Please give her your Godly wisdom and discernment with every decision she makes all the days of her life.  Lord, please help her to know how much I love her and help me to SHOW her that daily.

-kate

Happy Birthday-New Year!

Today my first born, my baby boy, turned 8!

8 years old!

He’s not a baby, or a toddler, or a little boy anymore.  He’s 8!

I remember being 8!  It wasn’t that long ago.  Ok, so it was.  But still, I REMEMBER being 8!

And now I HAVE an 8 year old.  A pretty stinkin’ cute 8 year old!

My baby boy has worn his football pads, eye black, and sweat necklace every.single.day since Christmas!  He’s a man with a plan, and he’s planning on wearing this whole “get-up” for career day…whenever that may be.

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This morning our wonderful family came over for brunch, chaos, and a birthday/New Years celebration.  It was the perfect way to celebrate the New Year and Preston’s 8th!  We plan on having a “friend” birthday party for him this summer.  He wants a swimming party for his half-birthday…which, of course, must take place on his half birthday!

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Here are the kids with our annual “year” pancakes.

2012: Lilly Katherine, Garrett, Caleb, Preston, Claire, AnnaLeigh, Tayler, and Truett

These gifts may seem odd for an 8 year old boy, but my boy doesn’t really play with toys.  He likes sports, sports, and all things sports.  He was so excited about his new “sports” clothes.

I realized after he opened all of his gifts that we had not sung happy birthday, and I had forgotten to put candles in his #8 pancake.  Someone suggested that I put candles in our leftover football brownies from our Baylor Bowl Night, and so that’s what we did.  Pretty fancy!

Nothing like finishing off your cinnamon rolls and pancakes with a brownie!

Happy Birthday, baby boy!

During the party, AnnaLeigh was busy being a HAM!  She’s a total maniac these days and loves to giggle and entertain as she hops from family member to family member.  She’s the life of the party and loves everyone!

She loved on Aunt Kara…

…and Tayler

She did her own make-up, in case you couldn’t tell.  Then she did Claire’s make-up.  Lucky Claire!

It was such a wonderful morning.  It was so much fun to celebrate my baby’s birthday and the New Year with so many people that we love.  We are so blessed to have this family!  We are so blessed to see them often.  We will hopefully be seeing this same crew Saturday as we celebrate AnnaLeigh’s 3rd birthday!  Crazy!

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Happy birthday sweet boy!  I’m glad you had so much fun today!  I love you so much and I am so proud of you!  I still don’t know how in the world you are 8, and I don’t know how in the world I birthed you.  We are so different.  Thank you for challenging me, trying to make me on time, and being my human calendar.  We would be a mess without you!  Thank you for your intensity and dedication to the things you love.

Lord, please guide and direct this child as he grows.  Help him to make wise decisions about the friends he chooses and the friend that he is to others.  Please help Preston to be a good brother and a good example to Lilly Katherine, AnnaLeigh, and this new baby.  Please give he and this baby a special bond.  Lord, please tug at Preston’s heart and give him the desire to know you, love you, and want to follow you.  Lord, thank you for this little man that you put in my life.  I need him!  I love him!  Please teach me how to always show him I love him.  Thank you for the amazing earthly example he has with a daddy like Brad!  Please help Preston to be a man of integrity, hard work, wisdom, loyalty, and devotion to YOU, just like his daddy!  Thank you, Lord, for P!

-kate

Welcoming the New Year

Every New Year’s Eve we hang out with my sister’s in-laws (Alan’s parents) and we ring in the new year at their house.  We’ve gone there since I was pregnant with Preston.  This year, we will be attending a wonderful wedding for a precious, fun, and very deserving woman, Morgan…YAY! :)

Since New Year’s Day is on a Sunday, we are going to push our annual Pancake Breakfast to Monday morning, which is actually Preston’s birthday.  We’ll have the whole family over (or anyone willing to wake up and join us for brunch), and make our annual “YEAR” pancakes, plus celebrate my baby’s birthday…2 birds with one stone!  Since we’ll be doing it on Monday, I thought I would post past pics of 2009, 2010, 2011.  I’ll post 2012 next week.

This is such an easy, fun tradition that the kids love, and I love seeing how much they change from year to year.

The pancakes are no work of art.

The kids are a sleepy, pj-wearing mess.

That’s the way New Year’s morning is supposed to be!

2009-Caleb (1 1/2), Preston (5 on Jan 2), Lilly Katherine (2 1/2)

2010-Preston (6 on Jan 2), Caleb (2 1/2), Lilly Katherine (3 1/2), Truett (almost 1), AnnaLeigh (1 on Jan 5)

2011-Truett (almost 2), Caleb (3 1/2), Lilly Katherine (4 1/2), Preston (7 on Jan 2), AnnaLeigh (2 on Jan 5)

2012 pic to come, then in 2013 there will be 2 more precious babies in the picture!!! :)  I can’t wait to see what they are.  What a blessing and what a way to ring in the NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!

-kate