Thursday, April 10, 2014

Sibling Day!

According to Facebook, wikipedia, and www.daysoftheyear.com today is National Sibling Day.  To be honest, I did not know there was an official day set aside to honor your siblings.  When I first saw people on Facebook posting pictures, usually old(er) childhood pictures, of themselves and their siblings I wondered how this all got started.

Here is a little background information for you straight from wikipedia.


Siblings Day is a celebration held annually in the United States on April 10 to honor the relationships of siblings.  The holiday was originally conceived by Claudia Evart to honor the memory of her brother and sister, both of whom died.  


It is a nice idea....Sibling Day.  Your siblings probably know you better than almost anyone.  And they know all of you, the child that hid in the bushes and ate all the Easter candy in one day, the teenager that came home tipsy hoping Mom & Dad wouldn't notice, and the adult with a mortgage, career, and kids.  They know your embarassing stories, your secrets and your fears.  They know what you wanted to be when you grew up and what you actually grew up to be.

I have the best brother and sister in the world.  We had our fair share of arguments and hitting matches as kids.  We picked on each other, tattled on each other, and got on each other's nerves.   Over the years we have grown up and grown closer.  Right now, neither my brother nor sister lives close to me.  Hopefully someday in the not too, too distant future that will change.  But without a doubt I would not have seen and experienced what I have seen, accomplished what I have accomplished, or be the person I am today without them.

So in their honor.....here we are.

It was more difficult that I would have thought to find a picture of the three of us without raiding my mom's picture albums.  I think that means we need to do a better job of getting current photos of all of us.  This was taken almost exactly 5 years ago at my brother's graduation from medical school.  That little bundle in my arms was a newborn Ella (or maybe Harrison, hard to tell from the photo) who will turn 5 next week.  She sure has grown but we haven't aged at all, have we?

John Robert and Anna, I love you both and am so proud and honored to be your big sister.








Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This Crazy, Busy Life

Life has been such a whirlwind these days that I haven't had a spare second to sit down let alone write a blog post.  Numerous times over the past months that I have been away I have thought to myself, that would make a great blog post but I haven't found or made the time to sit down and commit my thoughts to cyberspace.  Now that I sit down and start writing I realize again how much I miss blogging.  I miss the creative outlet writing gives me.  I miss putting my thoughts into words and communicating with others that are not under the age of 7.  And I miss having a record of my life, my family's life, my children's lives.  When I take a minute and reread older posts I am always struck by how much my children have grown and changed in such a short time.  Being with them every day, I don't always see the little changes that happen every day.

That being said, I always struggle with whether I should do a "catch-up" post when I have been away.  Should I try to document all that has happened in the past few months that has kept me so busy I haven't been able to get life into words.  Or in trying to catch up the blog will I only get further behind as life keeps going and time keeps passing faster than I would like.  It is quite the dilemma.  I think I have decided to do one, very brief, high level catch up to so that at least I have some small record of the past few months and all their goings-on.

My last post was Thanksgiving night when I gave thanks for some of the many, many blessings I have in my life.  Since then here's a little taste of what has been keeping us busy around here.


  • A trip to the Christmas Tree farm to pick out the perfect tree




  • New Christmas Pajamas for the "big kids"(Check our the 3 Southern Chicks facebook page for more photos of kids clothes and other adorable goodies available for sale.)
    Harrison's (John David's matched but didn't get a picture.  Ooops!)

    Ella's (Not a great photo, in fact, a terrible photo, but the nightgown was adorable & she loved it)


  • John David's Christmas party at school
  • Christmas pageant at church on Christmas Eve

So proud of my cow, angel and shepherd

  • New Vests for the boys for Christmas Eve

I made the vests to coordinate with the girls red courduroy dresses.  They all looked adorable.  As you can see, Harrison was not interested in having his picture taken and wasn't shy about letting me know.



  • 3 fabulous Christmas(es) with lots of family, fun, food, and laughs

Christmas #1

Christmas #2
Unfortunately Ava wasn't feeling well and we spent that afternoon at the after hours clinic at Arkansas Children's Hospital.  It turns out she had ear infections in both ears.  Poor thing!

Christmas #3

  • Someone turned 2 ....How did that happen so fast?




  • Snow..or really Ice days at home
  • Scraping popcorn ceilings that were painted of course which makes the process much, Much, MUCH harder.
  • Living in the guest room while our master bedroom is a construction zone.  The guest bedroom bed is a full rather than the master bed which is a queen.  You would think that would mean I would not be sleeping as well but the matress on the guest bed is so much better my sleep has actually improved.  
  • Bring your Valentine to Ballet day (Husband was such a good sport)  I have photos and video of my husband in his first ever ballet class but they are all on his phone which is obviously with him at the office.  I will have to swipe it some night and share the fun.
  • Helping put together a Mother Daughter tea party fundraiser for the dance studio
  • John David's 100th day of Kindergarten


  • Trips to the Museum of Discovery

  • Helping plan and put together a big silent auction fundraiser for John David's school
  • Teaching tap and ballet classes
  • Choreographing dances for the upcoming recital....even choreographed a tap dance.  There's a first time for everything.
  • Knitting Ella a scarf.  Ava's is started (barely) and then it will be on to the boys'.
  • Making wreaths as part of my side business 3 Southern Chicks (check out our facebook page 3 Southern Chicks)



  • Nights at the gym.  Husband and I joined a local gym in order to get back into shape.  My brother's wedding is coming up in September and that has given us the extra incentive we need to make nightly trips to the gym.  We joined one that is open 24 hours so at night, after all the children are asleep, we tag team and take turns sweating it out at the gym.  
Now Husband and I are off to Las Vegas for a few days by ourselves.  This will be the first time we have gone on vacation alone, without children since John David was born.  Thankfully our wonderfully families are sharing the child/dog/house watching duties.  My in-laws will be here running the show for the first two days and then my parents are taking over.  Getting ready to leave town and all that that entails, is more work than if I was just staying home.  I am a little overwhelmed trying to get everything accomplished but I know once we get there it will be worth it and it will be nice to get away just the two of us.  Husband has a work conference (the actual reason we are going) and I am tagging along.  The nice thing about this conference is he only has meetings until lunch each day and then has his afternoons free.  That means I can sleep in in the mornings while he goes to class, get my daily work out in, maybe sit by the pool and read, and then in the afternoons and evenings we can take in the sights, eat, catch some shows.  An added bonus is that my brother and soon to be sister in law live only about 7 to 8 hours away from Las Vegas and already had taken some time off from work at the same time we are going to be out there.  They are driving over to spend a few days with us which will make the trip even more fun.  This will be the first time since meeting Jessica that we have gotten to spend time together without children.  The first time I met her was on vacation in Orange Beach, AL.  Husband had to stay home and work, but my parents, a pregnant me, and the three big kids drove down to spend the week with them at the beach.  It was lots of fun and I knew right away Jessica was part of our family.  She became Ella's BFF immediately, a fact which hasn't changed in the 2 years since then.


Whew!  That's a lot to happen in the span of a few months.  I'm sure I left things out but I tried to hit the highlights.  My brief, high level catch up seems to have gotten kind of long but I guess that 's what you get when you take a 3 month break from blogging when you have a life as crazy busy as ours.

Baseball season is just starting, spring break is upon us, and recital time is approaching so there is lots more fun and craziness on the horizon.  Plus I promised you photos of husband in ballet class.  Stay tuned!




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Blessings...

On this day we stop to give thanks for all we have been given.  We remember all the blessings we have and, at least for one day, don't dwell on those things we don't have or that haven't gone quite right in our lives.  As we celebrate this Thanksgiving I am overwhelmed with how truly blessed I am.  This year I am thankful for...

My wonderful, loving family.  
My four beautiful children that are my reason for getting up each morning. 
A husband who loves me for exactly who I am both good and bad and supports me in everything.  He is the love of my life and my best friend.
Parents who have always been there for me and showed me how to be a caring, compassionate woman and mother.
A brother and sister who love me, my husband, my crazy children, and who I depend on more than they probably realize.
For an extended family that is always there for me and thinks nothing of driving 2 hours to come visit for 45 minutes.
My future sister in law who has not just accepted but embraced all of us and become one of the family.  I can't wait until she is "officially and legally" one of US.
For wonderful friends who have been there for me through good times and bad with shoulders to cry on, a good joke to make me laugh, or a glass of wine (or something stronger) when needed.
My ballet students who make me smile and make going to "work" not work at all.
For a church and church family that helps me see God at work in the world every day.
For my husband's firm that allows us to live the life we have and let me stay home and be Mommy.
And of course, on this turkey day, for the food on my table, especially the pumpkin pie.  Yummy!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all of you.  
May your life been filled with family, friends, good food, and all the blessings life has to offer.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Husband to the Rescue

Normally the fact that my family is larger than average doesn't even cross my mind.  In the back of my mind I realize I do more laundry than other families, we eat more groceries, we take up more space, etc. but all of that becomes normal so I don't really think about it.  But I never feel more like a large family with four young children until the stomach bug comes to visit.  Then....well, then it hits me what having four children means.  What it means it that it will be a full month (at least) until everyone is feeling better, the laundry is caught up, and we can resume our normal lives.

Baby Ava started us off with some kind of tummy bug over three weeks ago.  I blogged about how pathetic she was here.  She had trouble shaking this bug and it hung around for a week or so.  Then John David came down with it.  I wasn't surprised.  While all four of my children have inherited a weak stomach from me, John David is far and away the worst.  If there is a stomach bug going around he will catch it without fail.  He was sick one weekend and bounced back quickly.  Yeah!  Just when I thought the rest of us would escape the crud it knocked us out flat.  Ella and Harrison came down with it this past weekend.  If you are counting that is the third weekend in a row someone in our household has been sick.  Ella was still feeling a little puny on Monday so she stayed home from school but by Monday afternoon was back to 100%.  You might think we would  be in the clear at that point.  All four had been sick so we should be on the mend.  You would be oh so very wrong.  Monday afternoon  was when everything started to go downhill fast.

I picked up John David from school Monday and he seemed fine.  He was animatedly telling me all about his day in Kindergarten when out of nowhere he got violently ill all over my car.  He then proceeded to be ill every 5 to 10 minutes for the rest of the night.  We keep a stash of anti-nauseau medication on hand at all times and gave some to John David but it did nothing for him.  By 11:00pm that night he was so weak he couldn't even lift his head.  We've been through this before with him and know how easy it is for children to become dehydrated when they are that ill.  We kept having him drink small sips of ginger ale every time he got sick hoping to at least keep him hydrated.  When he was three and we were on vacation in South Carolina he came down with a vicious tummy bug that landed him in the hospital with dehydration and a minor tear in the lining of his esophagus.  Having been through that once before we were watching for any blood when he vomited, and bingo, around 2:30am we had blood.  Very scary.  By that time the vomiting had slowed to about once every 45 minutes to an hour.  We gave him another dose of zofran and crossed our fingers that it would work.  If not, we were prepared to head to the ER at Arkansas Children's Hospital.  Thankfully, this time the zofran worked, the vomiting slowed way down, and he was able to get some sleep.  We talked to our pediatrician on Tuesday and followed doctors orders.  Unfortunately there is not much they can do for a minor tear in the esophagus.  We kept him on the zofran to keep the vomiting from returning, kept him on clear liquids, and didn't let him eat most of the day.  He was not happy about the no eating thing.  He spent part of the day watching Food Network and by the time late afternoon rolled around he was complaining of being starving.  I don't blame him.  After watching Cupcake Wars and all sorts of other yummy food shows I would have been starving too.

By Tuesday afternoon I was again feeling hopeful that things were looking up.  John David was better, the twins were back to normal, Ava was fine, and husband and I had escaped.  That was when Ava woke up in the middle of her nap sick again.  It seemed like this tummy bug was determined to take us all down and by Tuesday night I had fallen victim.  Now husband was the only one left standing.  And he did a fabulous job coming to the rescue.  He ran carpool, handled meals, did laundry, and waited on me in my puny condition.  Thank goodness for him or I don't know how we would have survived.  I hesitate to write that so far he hasn't come down with this bug.  I know the second I do he will come in the front door, home early from work because he is sick.  I pray that doesn't happen.  Not for our sake, although I don't want anymore sickness in the house, but for his sake.  Speaking from experience this tummy bug was painful and I hate to see him suffer too.

Right now, as I sit here and type this blog, I have most of the windows in the house open, even though it is 59 degrees outside.  The house is a bit chilly, but I don't care.  I am airing things out.  I want the germs out and fresh, clean, non-infected air in so hopefully we can all get better and not start another round of this.  Maybe this weekend we can actually do something outside of these four walls.  Maybe we can all go to church together for the first time in a month.  Maybe we can spend our weekend having fun as a family instead of being sick.  But hey, we did get sick as a family.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pumpkin Patch Take 3

Our third trip to the pumpkin patch this year was a field trip with John David's kindergarten class.  Ava was sick with the tummy bug so she and the twins stayed home with my mom and just John David and I got to go.  It was nice to get to do something just he and I.  With four of them and only one of my it is hard to get as much one on one time with each of them as I would like.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous the day of John David's field trip and the children had a fabulous time.  As I've said before, the pumpkin patch is much more involved than it was when I was growing up and this patch did not disappoint.  They had lots of activities to keep us all entertained.

First order of the day.....pig races.

Then it was time to try and get a class photo.

Definitely hard to get 15 5 and 6 year olds to all look at the camera and smile at the same time.
 But they are adorable just the same.

Next up....a hay bale maze. 



And then off to the petting zoo to feed the goats


And pet the donkey


This pumpkin patch didn't have the huge pit of corn to play in but they did have a hay bale play area with a slide and tunnel.

I'm King of the hay mountain.


 Cow Train....He loved his heifer...Daisy

Hayride with his sweet friend J.  I hear about J all the time.  



 John David's class got to have a picnic lunch at the pumpkin patch before picking out that perfect pumpkin.  Here is his selection.


The result of all our trips to the pumpkin patch......


12 total pumpkins plus our Jack O Lantern.

Now that's a lot of pumpkin.  Good thing we love pumpkin pie!


Pumpkin Patch!

Picking out pumpkins at the pumpkin patch is a family tradition.  It is something my family did when we were all younger (and older) children and it is a tradition husband and I have carried on with our brood.  There have been years when I wanted to throw in the towel, forget about ever going to the patch again, and just buy my pumpkins at the grocery store.  But....then I think of all the memories I have of trips to the pumpkin patch from my childhood and know that good or bad, stressful or easy, I want those memories for my children.  So it is always back to the patch for another year.

This year was no exception.  Collectively we made three, yes three, trips to the pumpkin patch.  Once for a birthday party and then two school field trips and we had a blast every time.  In order not to really over do it on the visits to the pumpkin patch, we combined our annual family trip with the birthday party.  That meant husband wasn't able to go with us but I just thought four trips in one year was a tad too much.

The weather on our first trip to the patch for a friend's birthday party wasn't great and wouldn't you know it, I forgot my real camera.  I took a few shots with my phone but they were't anything special so no photos from trip number one.

Trip number two was a field trip for the twins' preschool class.  On the drive out to the pumpkin patch the fog was horrible and I was worried the weather would be nasty and make for a not so fun field trip but as soon as we got there the sun came out and the weather was wonderful.  Yeah!

These days the pumpkin patch is so much more involved that it was when I was a child.  It isn't just about picking out the perfect pumpkin, although that is important, there are all sorts of other activities as well.

There are farm animals to feed and pet.















A totally fun hayride



A corn pit in which to roll and play.







All of them LOVE this corn pit.  I don't know what it is about rolling around in a huge pile of corn that makes it so fun but without a doubt every single child had a blast in the corn.  Maybe I need one of these?

After all that fun comes the serious part.  Selecting the perfect pumpkin.

Harrison was in and out quickly.  Ready to get back to the fun on the corn pit and hay bale maze.  

His selection.




Ella took more time to look and study and find the perfect one.

And Ava just wanted to show everyone she was a big girl and could do anything the big kids could do.





 Trip #2 is a SUCCESS!








Thursday, October 24, 2013

How Pathetic! UPDATE


The tummy bug has hit our house and baby girl is the victim.  Husband blames me because not two hours before the vomiting started I asked "What else can go wrong?"  Obviously that meant someone was bound to start throwing up.  Poor Ava.

This was her yesterday morning.


So pitiful!
And this thing has hung around for longer than I expected too.
She had to miss out on the pumpkin patch field trip with John David but thankfully she is slowly on the mend.  Keeping my fingers crossed no one else falls victim to this bug.


UPDATE:
So apparently I spoke too soon.  After thinking poor baby Ava was on the mend, the vomiting returned last night in full force.  This is about what she looks like again today.  She is curled up in my bed taking her nap.  For some reason sleeping on my bed was more acceptable to her than napping in her own bed.  I will definitely be changing the sheets before I go to sleep tonight.  I'm not taking any chances.

In addition to the return of the tummy bug...I went outside to our "beer" fridge in the garage where I keep all the extra food I can't fit in our regular fridge to get the meat out to defrost for dinner and found the entire freezer and everything in it was defrosted.  The extra farm fresh eggs from my mother in law I keep in the fridge were warm to the touch.  So I spent part of my morning emptying out the "beer" fridge and throwing everything away.  I don't realize how much I rely on having the extra freezer space out in the garage until something like this happens.  

I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend.  Shopping for a new refrigerator.