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Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Next Chapter



And just like that, it is 2016. What has happened since I posted in July? Um, life happened. The good, the great, the bad, the ugly, and the what the heck it's December already?!? Maybe I will recap the Fall. I will put that on my to do list. Right after, 1. Shovel more snow. Because apparently we live in Alaska. Or at the least, Michigan or somewhere that you need to purchase a really good pair of snow boots. I'm sorry to disappoint, but Tom's wedge boots are, in fact, cute, but not so good for blizzard conditions. And while I sit and look at the irony of my pool still having a good 8 inches of snow all around the edge, I do have to get something off my chest.

It was during this so called, "Goliath" snow storm that a funny thought struck me. Blizzard conditions and and a foot of snow in Texas tend to make you slow down and smell the roses. For at least a week, I might add. I've had lots of days on my hands to ponder life's great mysteries, or at least think about if we have enough milk to make it till the grocery store opens back up. It was in these restful days that I was looking at my kids photos from our Christmas card session and the strangest thing occurred to me.

 I decided to just have the kids on the card this year, and the week before Thanksgiving this sweet lady took my kids pics. If you know me, you know I love a good photo to hang on the wall. One of my least favorite things to do, though, is to coordinate outfits for a family photo session. It's just a lot to match them all and it makes me nuts. But I did it, and we got all three ready and headed out to a place where we had never had photos taken. Kyle even bailed and said he had a meeting(hmmm I wonder if he was dreading this as much as I was), so I was on my own. I would be the the number one screamer. You know.....Look up, don't touch your sister, look at the camera, stop fidgeting, smile, dammit, smile. I always go into photo sessions with one goal in mind. Just get one good pic. That's all I need is one good pic for my Christmas card. And this was a new photographer so I was prepared to be really embarrassed yelling at my kids. Please, Lord, just let her get one good pic with everyone smiling. So with the one good pic goal in mind, we get out of the car, get everyone looking presentable, and she gets busy taking photos.

Then this happened. IT WAS PLEASANT. I mean, in all my life, I was shocked. Did we just take photos for an hour and IT WAS PLEASANT??? What in the world? My children were listening, getting along, smiling, and being rather sane. I kept waiting for the grenade to detonate and there was nothing. No tears, no whining, no deranged mom screaming. I mean it was purely blissful. Listen, 13 years. I mean for 13 years, photo sessions have been a dreaded, horrible, no good, very bad day. I used to be prepared to sweat. This, on the other hand, was nice. So in celebration for this momentous occasion, we went to Dairy Queen for dinner and I bought the entire CD of photos. They were all so good. I loved all the pics. This was a true miracle. This was pleasant.

My friends, I believe I have entered a new season of life. My kids are old enough to participate like normal humans in a photo session. I did not sweat nor yell. They are growing up. I realized this again when on one snowy morning last week, I awoke at 10 am. Yes, I said T-E-N A-M. I walked into the living room and Gunnar was on the computer and Finley was wrapped in a blanket watching cartoons on the couch. Who are you people, and what have you done with my children? Nobody(Gunnar) woke me up to get him milk. Nobody(Gunnar) woke me up and said mom are you awake? Nobody(Gunnar) kicked me in the face rolling around in the bed. Finley even got up and made herself a waffle. What in the world? Did I just sleep till ten o'clock and wake up on my own free will? I'm not sure I remember what that feels like. Nope, no I do not remember. I'm not sure how to respond. And as the snowy, lazy week went on, I found myself resting in my pajamas and dosing off reading a book. When I would get up and walk into the living room, Gunnar was playing, Finley was messing with her Christmas gifts. Slade is doing his own thing somewhere in the house.

I'm just trying to say that I rested my eyes. During the middle of the day. And the house did not burn down. No kid ate a plastic Lego off the floor. Nobody ran with scissors. Not one person threw a stuffed dog in the toilet. Not a soul opened the front door and ran off. This was a glorious revelation. For THIRTEEN YEARS I HAVE NOT RESTED without the fear of all hell breaking loose inside my home from a toddler running wild. I had to have another adult in charge or I did not rest. Period. So you can understand my joy. It's the small things that mean so much. A mother was able to relax in her home. This is definitely a new season of life.

In two weeks, my sweet baby boy that showed up during the noon hour, one chilly day in January, will turn 13. I will have a teenager in my home. I cannot believe this is happening. What in the world? And let me tell you this....we are totally winging it. We have no idea how to parent. We just wake up each day and hope to make it through with everyone fed and clothed and dropped off to the appropriate school. We love them and tell them things that we hope will keep them alive and make them productive members of society, even though Kyle says that probably one out of three will be a bum and live at home. But we have hope. We just want them to be Godly, kind, honest people. We are totally winging this, though. We have no idea. But we have really good intentions. We pray a lot. Like Bon Jovi says, we are most definitely living on a prayer.

So as I sit back and look at myself entering a new stage of life, I realize that it's the little things you don't really notice, that start to vanish. This year I put away baby spoons that have been sitting in the top of the utensil tray for so long. I folded two remaining baby blankets of Gunnars and stuck them at the top of the hall closet. He doesn't use them anymore. There are just a few sippy cups left in the cabinet above the dish washer. And yesterday, a lady online was wanting to buy board books for her little one. I was shocked to realize we don't used those baby books anymore. I have no use for board books. They are just sitting on the top bookshelf, collecting dust. My babies have already mastered their colors, shapes, and animals. It's just something that has been a part of my house so long, I hardly even noticed they were there. I came across a baby bib in the drawer of pot holders that had been pushed to the back. The monogrammed burp rags are now dust rags.

You just slowly flow into the next stage, without even realizing it. You look around and traces of baby are gone from your house. You never even noticed that you stopped buying Baby Magic. The stroller is collecting dust in your garage. It just vanishes and it's sad.

Then on some snowy afternoon in December, you realize you fell asleep on accident and when you woke up, nobody had taken an entire bottle of baby powder and shook it in the living room floor. The next stage is looking pretty swell.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Happy 9th, Finley!

My precious girl is NINE today!!! How in the world is this her last year in single digits!?! She has been a blessing to us since the day she was born! I wish you 99 more birthdays! Love you!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Ceta Canyon '15

If you want to know what it feels like for your heart to be outside your chest, then put your firstborn child on a bus and watch it drive out of town. Mama Smart had to cut the apron strings let me tell you. It's just hard to let this precious little person you've done every single thing for and loved more than anything in this world, get on a bus and leave. Prayer. It takes lots of prayers. 

 Slade, Bob, and Preston packing all their junk under the bus.

And the whole group headed to Ceta Canyon. On the plus side, he made it home safely and he loved his week. He told me that he didn't really miss us, and wish he could have stayed another week. I say that's the sign of a great camp when you don't want to leave! Third trip to Ceta Canyon-check!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Braces, Fireworks, Anniversaries, & Fun!

It is July! How is this possible??? I want to cry because a month of summer is gone. Sighhhhhh. Whether we like it or not, we've started July out with a bang! Hello 4th of July fireworks! Ha!

 We went to see Inside Out in 3D. Loved, loved it! Even great for adults! I just don't usually love kids movies, but this was a great one! Slade went too, but he was already in the car.

 Finley was super pumped to get her top expander AND her top braces off!!! Yay! She's had her share of tears and pain, but she looks so happy. It really is extraordinary what they are able to do with teeth. They are so straight on the top now. This was phase #1. She will wear a retainer at night now and she still has the bottom expander. They will now wait for her to loose more teeth and her mouth to grow more till phase#2.  I think they were worth EVERY. DARN. PENNY!!!

 We kept our sweet friend, Laney, one day and she needed a matching side bun like Finley.

 Poolside snack break with Gunnar, Logan, & Laney.

 My sweet honey and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary on June 29th. I like to call this the photo BK (before kids). Yes, before our three children, we were so fresh and well rested..........

 We got a sitter and went out and had a nice, quiet dinner. I did not have to cut up one thing or clean up a spill. It was glorious.

 I had to take pic of myself with makeup and hair done. It is few and far between this summer.

 In other exciting news, we traded in the Burb. It served us well since Gunnar was a baby but it was a beast to back up in tight spots. I will always be grateful for the years it gave me. Many children, groceries, dirt, and food morsels were carried in this car.


 And 21 inches smaller(which is HUGE when one is backing out of the grocery store!) meet our new friend, Smokey. I drove over Friday and picked her up. She's a GMC Denali and she is very nice and sassy.  Yay! I can even call people with my voice!

 Happy 4th of July!!! Gunnar, Logan, Laney, Camille, & Finley. Slade and Payton were running around somewhere.

 Watching the fireworks show.

 My patriotic table scape which is code for pulling things out of the closet 15 minutes before our friends arrived to eat dinner. Nana's red tablecloth and a few blue vases from my hutch. Done.

 Beth and I enjoying the show and mosquitos and children running amuck.

And last but not least, I made mom's YUMMY potato salad. It was soooo GOOD!!!
No matter what, we still have the greatest country in the world. God Bless the USA!!!
(P.S. I do have a twelve year old son. He does live with us. I have no idea why he's allergic to my camera.)

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Art Show

In May, Finley had an art show where she takes classes. She was able to pick two pieces of art to display at her show. She picked two favorite canvases.

 Proud of her work!

 This one is one of my favorites.

 Cita even happened to be in town so she was able to go to the show.

Finley and Campbell taking part in the yummy refreshments!!!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

On Top

I'm the King of the World!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Nana's China Hutch

We've been up to lots of stuff. It's this little thing called LIFE! Seeing that I have neglected this blog this past school year, it just really doesn't matter where I start at this point. So here it goes.....





So I was able to get my grandmother's hutch when we cleaned out her house. I played with her dishes in this hutch for hours and hours growing up. It is a little piece full of memories for me. It also sat in her dining room where our family shared family dinners, birthdays, and many Christmas dinners for as long as I can remember (See above photos). Good, good times! The food was good and the company was even better. Ahhh, to remember the fun times.

And because my sweet husband is just, well, sweet, he took a trailer four hours down to pick up this hutch and her piano for me and then drove four hours back. He's kinda good like that. I knew I had a spot for it. Of course, I had to put my touch on this little hutch. After lots of elbow grease and late nights, I was able to transform it in to a piece for my home.

 Before.........




And AFTER!!! 

Yes, it's purple. And it's awesome. And it has lots of goodies inside that mean the world to me. It sits where my kitchen table sits. Now it's going to start a new chapter in my kitchen. Where the food is good and the company is even better. I hope that many family dinners, birthdays, and holiday dinners will be held in it's presence. Time to make more fun memories.