Monday, January 29, 2018

Lark's 1st Haircut

Lark is getting so much attention lately. He's doing new things faster than we can see, and it's his birthday week! We can't stop talking and gushing over our little baby. (The older kids are OBSESSED!) Saturday, I took all four kids to a kids hair salon place (a new experience for me) and didn't yell at anyone as we all worked to keep Lark distracted during his first haircut. 

Before:


While I shoved goldfish in his mouth, Burl and Fern took pictures. They were so sweet. 
During:



Ridge was there but I have no idea what he was doing (probably eating hair and bumping into people). Here is Lark after:


The haircut plus the polo shirt paint an accurate picture. Lark is growing up at a faster rate than the older three, but I guess that is what happens when he has five people cheering on each new move.  


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Nursing: The End

I've always made it to 12-13 months with nursing each child. I don't have a dog in the nursing fight. While breast milk is shown to be healthier, I trust that the Lord is sovereign over everything and if a mom does formula, I wholeheartedly support that. My personal reasons for nursing are two fold: a. it's free and 2. I love the sweet time. 


Over Christmas break, Lark was getting too distracted and busy to nurse well and I was constantly telling John, "I'm not sure that he's going to make it until his birthday." My predictions came true, unfortunately, and he stopped abruptly midday. Just stopped. On his own!?! My kids have never done this before, so I was a little offended. 

John told me with encouragement, "well you're done making and nursing babies!" and I burst into tears. It's been such a sweet season! I couldn't remember any of the demands and only remembered how much it meant to me. I'm very thankful that my body has carried,  delivered, and fed four babies, and I will always look back on the time with love. 

Later that day John showed up with flowers, because he knows a fragile mama when he sees one. 

Now I am free! My body is my own, and John and I have already noticed an increase of my energy level since I stopped. The barn door is closed on all that work and I'm happy to continue to the next chapters of parenting. 
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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Phone Dump!

Hello! How's everyone doing out there? We are going on our third straight day of cancelled school due to weather, but we don't have any weather to show of! It's like fake news over here, but I'm not complaining. I love having them home with me, but they have a lot of energy and not a lot of things to do with it. We're all a little:


Crazy but happy! I don't have anything special to share, so I grabbed some special pictures off of my phone to post here. 


Here's one of Fern and her sweet teacher. Fern loves school and adores her teacher. We do too! Fern looks up to her in all the ways, from writing in her journal to style to enthusiasm, Fern is inspired by her teacher. 


A trip to the kids' museum with all these children of different ages is insane, but we found some common ground in the mechanical room. Burl is engineer minded like his dad, so the circuits drew him in quickly. I could not imagine a more engineer like picture of a seven year old. 


Having two little boys at the same age has proved so special. A trip to the playground was made exceptional when they found a teeny tiny slide puddle! 


Burl has been saving his money for a long time to go laser tagging. Joseph's schedule allowed him to take Burl, and Burl's world was transformed. Joseph treated him to the whole night, so Burl got to save all that money! Joseph has researched and perfected his uncle responsibilities and it's not lost on the children. (Thanks Chloe for the picture!) Ps. Burl looks like a teenager here-I join the chorus of everyone we know, "Burl is so tall!"


More on this later, but Lark is changing so.freaking.much. and I love him more and more everyday. We can't get enough of him. 


We've found refuge in our public library. Computers for babies to bang on and cheek improving headphones? Yes please! Let's all remember sweet Fern at the same age doing the same thing

There's a short update of some day-to-day nonsense of my children. This time is so short and special to me and I love sharing them on my blog project. Stay warm, people!
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Thursday, January 11, 2018

14 Years!

Two weeks ago John and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary with the best, most expensive meal of our lives. 


We stepped away from the madness of nighttime hustle and indulged ourselves fully. This marriage feels magical and special, and I love celebrating this gift with John. 
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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Gas Station Lunch

What an exciting time for my simple children! They've been watching the creation of a new gas station near our house. (The underground work it takes for a gas station to operate is amazing!)


They spotted the sign that said "cafe" and begged to go. For weeks. Luckily the gas station started sending mailers to our neighborhood, and I collected $20 worth to use at their cafe. I splurged on cokes for everyone. 


We walked there, ordered our food, and ate at the only four chairs that they had. The kids said it was the best food ever, and we have to come back with Daddy! Later Burl said, "it's not that tasty after you eat it for a while." His accuracy rang true. 

This outing scored me a lot of mom-points for saying yes to such fancy requests!
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tree Bonfire


Every year we watch as some fun-loving 20-somethings grab our discarded Christmas tree on the side of the road. The kids freak out that someone is stealing it, then I explain what fun they are about to have. "They're going to light a bunch of trees on fire-I wanna do that!-we can do that at Pops' Farm!"


We scheduled it the same time that Daniel was there picking us his dog, so the kids were double happy. John stayed back with Lark while I got to take the truck and the three big kids on this adventure. 


As we pulled off the paved road and onto the gravel road that cuts through the woods, the kids noted the change. This is Pops' road! It was a normal, cold winter day, but still they want to celebrate our almost-arrival. "Mama, can you roll down all the windows?" "Yeah, and turn on a song and turn it up? A fast song so we can dance!" Loud dance music I took care of, but the windows stayed up.


We had a little bit of daylight left to roam around before we ate our hotdog dinner. Then the fun started. 


Here's the thing about Christmas tree bonfires: they are no joke and we were surprised. All it took was my dad lighting a few branches on fire with his lighter, and next thing we know, WE.IN.TROUBLE.


For a reference the tree standing up in the fire (pictured above), is 7-8 feet. The flames were enormous. Immediately my dad pulls out his hose, and immediately we realize that it's frozen or busted or both. 


My dad goes for buckets and the flames calm down. Daniel and I rearrange some things and have a decent bonfire going that is covered by the skeleton trees. There were too many sparks, so my dad put out the fun fire. We headed inside, the kids made hot chocolate that they didn't drink, and we passed the time like true locals-TV on the big screen!


With not nearly enough experience, Dad and I already declared this a annual tradition! Christmas Tree Bonfire, or as my dad called it, Meet Your Local Fire Department. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

January Clearing Around The House


"I can't think of anything happier than all these cozy decorations," I declare every year when we put up the Christmas tree and add the layers. Then, as soon as Christmas passes, I'm over it and want calm and clear and bare and quiet. 


Packing away all the Christmas love avalanches me into more clearing. This year, I emptied the mantel and it's currently stark naked. 


I tackled the crammed bookshelves. Anytime I do something book related; whether it's letter writing, journaling, reading, magazine-ing, purging; the kids always join me in their own flavor of it. Fern was my partner in crime. 


I looked through and said goodbye to my beloved Country Home and Cottage Living (bring back CL!) while she made a collage of cute pictures. I'm a recovering book hoarder-ah the days I worked at the book store! Now, I keep good ones to re-read or loan and the others get sold


After I organized our books, there were several gaps on the shelves, so I had to style them-something I'm never confident doing. Style them is a fancy way of saying "finding stuff for me to put in the holes."


I've trimmed down a lot of my house accessories, so there wasn't much to choose from: 
A washing bowl and towel, a gift when you join our church
A vase I bought on a trip with John
Some feathers my mom used to wrap a gift
An egg, my very first painting from an art class I took years ago
Burl's first communion cup 

The tinkering was fun and it's already changed since I took these photos.


Now, it's on to more spaces that need some clearing. That's how I'm addressing these cold hard months: by cleaning and calming. I would almost be tempted to use the word quiet-ing, but I have too many children for that.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

From Breakfast To Dinner

A couple of weeks ago, these three spent their entire day outside. From the kitchen window I saw them relaxing after lunch-a collective pause in their very busy day of play. I had to take a picture. I had to record it. It's my job to remember, as no one else in the house plays the job of Remember or Over-thinker or Recorder like I do. It reminded me of this quote:


"Some days I felt an urgent responsibility to each change of light outside the sunporch windows. Who would remember any of it, any of this our time, and the wind thrashing the buckeye limbs outside? Somebody had to do it, somebody had to hang on to the days with teeth and fists, or the whole show would had been in vain." 

An American Chidlhood by Annie Dillard

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

EPB Christmas Windows, 2017

This is the last Christmas post for this year. Stay tuned for how we've rounded the holiday corner and turned into 2018. 


I missed last year's Christmas window tradition because I was 4,000 months pregnant and had the flu. I was excited to get back at it again this year, with another set of babies to take with us. Ridge and Lark are the cutest pair together and I love watching them together. 


Burl and Fern have aged out of standing in awe at the windows. They're jumping off the bus stop, climbing benches, and getting yelled at for getting too close to the street. 


This year's visit was ramped up to the speed of four families. We did our normal routine: Lupi's pizza, free shuttle bus, windows, done. Not only did we go with another good family, we ran into two other families we knew doing the same thing. Game on. We were barely outnumbered, 9 children:8 adults, and we were pre-apologizing to everyone. I'm sorry for the noise, I'm sorry he stepped on your foot, oh I'm so sorry-did he hit you? Everyone was gracious and kind as we dragged our metaphoric sleigh ride around downtown. 


This year we added a stop by the Chattanooga Choo-Choo to see all the festivities there! It was a great, chaotic night out! We look forward to the years that everyone can walk (and keep up) on their own. This year, we had no problem breaking our backs and cramping our arms to see their little faces take it all in.