Saturday, June 25, 2011

Working Together

In case you haven’t noticed, I have four kids.
Now, I don’t know how many of you have siblings.  Probably most of you.  I have a sister.  I love my sister!  But we DID NOT always get along growing up.  If you have siblings, I’m certain you didn’t either.
But I only had ONE sibling. 
My kids each have THREE siblings.  That’s three other kids who are constantly around you to take your stuff, want what you have, invade your personal space, and agravate you ON PURPOSE JUST BECAUSE THEY CAN. 
So when they all four came together and actually built a structure TOGETHER without a single child getting his feelings hurt, with no fighting, no fussing, no whining or crying, NOT ONE SINGLE UNHAPPY MOMENT FROM START TO FINISH!!! 
It was worth taking a picture.  I present my simultaneously pleasant children and their Monument to Sibling Peace Everywhere.
PS—I feel certain that shortly after this picture was taken they all jumped up to knock the monument down, during which time Zachary stepped on a block and commenced wailing, Thomas made a sudden leap of spasmodic excitement, accidentally punching Reagan in the stomach, and she fell over screaming and knocked Jonathan into the side of the couch.  Everyone was yelling, and no one said he or she was sorry.
I did not feel the need to take a picture of THAT.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Marching Along

Okay, back to catching up.  I really want this DONE!!  I want to talk abut their BIRTHDAY and turning FIVE and KINDERGARTEN!!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
Okay, so I got these cute pictures on St. Patrick’s Day:
Kiss us!  We’re Irish!  At least if you go back far enough in the family tree, we are!
Our beautiful Reagan!
Now, Jim and I have often been told how beautiful and well-behaved and sweet our kids are.  AND THEY ARE!  But they aren’t ALWAYS.  Sometimes they are like this:
Or in some cases, this plus whining or crying or all sorts of obnoxious unhappy noises and fussing because he hit me or she took my whatever or I don’t like this kind of chicken or this is not the show I want to watch.
blah, Blah, BLAH
ALSO IN MARCH, we celebrated my birthday!  Yea for me!  The best part was the surprise party Jim and the kids threw for me the day before my birthday!  It was a Thursday, and I’d had to stay late after school because it was Parent Conference Night.  I got home late, exhausted, and hungry and opened the door to this:
The kids’ artwork decorating the kitchen and a stack of presents!  (Please excuse the pile of stuff in the background.  We were painting the playroom)
Jim had taken the kids shopping and let each of them pick out a gift for me.  THEN he took them to the grocery store to pick out a cake.  Three children immediately pointed to the chocolatey-ist one they saw, and then everyone looked at Jonathan.  BECAUSE JONATHAN DOESN’T LIKE CHOCOLATE.  And Jonathan said:
I don’t like chocolate, but Mom does, so we should get the chocolate one for her because it’s HER birthday.
I swear, he’s one of the sweetest children on the planet sometimes.  I love all of my kids and they all have their sweet moments, but of the four, Jonathan is most likely to think of others before himself.
And Jonathan's sweetness on top of the fact that my kids were big enough to choose presents for me and big enough to write their own names on the card was more than I could handle and tears were definitely shed over those special moments and the thought of how quickly my babies are growing up.
I may go cry some more now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads and granddads in our life, especially my dad and my husband!  I love you!
In honor of Father’s Day, I’m skipping ahead in the summer posting catch-up to the BRONCO RALLY!!
In case you don’t know this about us, we have a Bronco.
And Daddy LOVES the Bronco!
So this past April we overnighted in Townsend (the kids’ first hotel stay!  Who knew hotels were so much fun!) and spent some time with other people who also LOVE THEIR BRONCOS!!
And we had a super-awesome time!
The kids in front of the Balloon Chaser Bronco Ambulance
Now, for those of you who don’t know much about Broncos, they generally seat four people, five if three squeeze themselves into the back bench seat.  BUT WE ARE A FAMILY OF SIX.  So that’s a problem.  Except my husband is a genius!  He figured out how to put TWO bench seats in the back of the Bronco, lining them along the sides, facing each other, like the back of an Army truck.  Voila!  Room for all four kids in the back!  Once we get some harness straps installed back there, we’ll be ready to roll all over town!
Until then, we can still take the Bronco to the rally and show off Dad’s handiwork!  The seating arrangement is an unusual one, so it got a lot of attention from the other rally-goers.  And JonZReaTom got a lot of attention too!
So what do little kids do at a Bronco rally?  Surprisingly, a lot!  There was a Kiddie Olympics with all sorts of sporting events and a medal and a basket of goodies.  There was an Easter egg hunt with eggs that had actual money in them!  And let’s not forget the coloring contest and awards ceremony!  We almost missed the announcement of Reagan winning SECOND PLACE in the coloring contest!
The boys all won honorable mention.  They didn’t get a big trophy like Reagan, but they did all get to pick out their own Matchbox Bronco toys!
And don’t forget that there were some really cool Broncos to look at!
The boys really liked the monster Bronco
Suzy’s was Reagan’s favorite!
Dad’s favorite was ALL of them!
It was a great, exhausting weekend!  I have no doubts that we’ll go again next year! 
Happy Father’s Day everyone!

Memphis Milestones

For Spring Break, I loaded up the kids and drove us all to Memphis, BY MYSELF FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!  And by the grace of God and very carefully timing stops with the ends of movies and the distribution of food, we managed to make the trip quite successfully.  I was really proud of how patient the kids were with the fact that I couldn’t climb back there to retrieve every dropped toy or pass out snacks just whenever.  BECAUSE I WAS DRIVING FOUR FOUR-YEAR-OLDS SIX HOURS ACROSS THE STATE OF TENNESSEE!
So why take on this crazy journey?  Because I couldn't wait any longer to see MY NEW NEPHEW!!
Baby Graham was born at the end of January, so we HAD to go and see him!  Isn’t he a cutie? 
Bud and KayKay’s SEVEN grandchildren!
Aunt Jojo’s house is SO MUCH FUN!  We had a great trip even if it wasn’t very long.  Love you guys!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

And the Fence Was just Gone

Apparently we didn’t do much in February, except mourn the loss of our fence.
You see, it rained a little that month. And a little more, and a little more, until eventually there was A WHOLE LOT OF RAIN which created A WHOLE LOT OF FLOODING.
I was just leaving work one afternoon when I got a call from my neighbor Liz. She wondered if I had been home yet, and since I hadn’t she said we’d had some flooding in the neighborhood and she thought something might be wrong with my fence. Then she said she and her husband Chip would be home and to call if I needed any help.
Help? Surely I wouldn’t need any help!
As it turned out, she was speaking conservatively about the flooding that had occurred in our cul-de-sac. She said later that she didn’t want to freak me out.
When I got home, I freaked out anyway.
You couldn’t really tell from the street that there had been any damage, but I could see the backyard through the kitchen window as soon as I got inside.
I gasped. Literally. My hand covered my mouth.
I called Jim. I don’t think I actually panicked, but I must have sounded like I was on the verge of hysterics because he left work and came right home. I also must have been babbling because although I’m certain that I told him on the phone that the fence was GONE, he was shocked to come home and find that the fence was REALLY GONE.
Two whole panels had broken off and were lodged on the bank on the other side of the creek.
The rest of the fence along the creek had collapsed towards the creek. LOOK AT THE DEBRIS ON THE FENCE! You can imagine the water rushing through our yard, trying to get back to the creek, crushing against the fence until over it went. And don’t fail to notice that the timbers that bordered our play area are now resting on the fence too!
Part of the problem was that not only had our fence collapsed, but so had our retaining wall! See the posts sticking up in the air? They used to be horizontal and covered by yard!
The deluge started here, in the overflow ditch. You can see where our fence fell down into our yard, pushed over by the water rushing to fill the ditch. When the ditch overflowed, the water went two directions: across the yard toward the play area where it then crashed into our fence headed back to the creek and between our house and Laura's where it knocked open the gates on its way to the street.
According to Liz, when she came home from work, the entire cul-de-sac was flooded and she couldn’t even get to her house. The water covered the whole street and flooded the entire downstairs of the house across from us! That poor couple had JUST MOVED IN within the last month.
Here you can see how high the water was as it rushed towards the street! UP TO MY KNEES!!!!!
And here along the back of the house! We can't believe none got in! At least we know that our house is watertight!
So in the end, we only had to have the fence repaired. This also involved Jim fixing the retaining wall. Interestingly, the only portion of the retaining wall that wasn’t damaged by the flooding, was the part on the end nearest Liz's house, the part that Jim had constructed himself! The part we paid someone to do had not fared as well.
So Jim rented an excavator and got to work! And with a little help from me, he made the wall better than ever! (He even taught me how to drive it! Now I have a skill to fall back on if the teaching gig doesn’t work out!)
We’re so thankful the damage wasn’t any worse than it was!
And I’m glad I was at work when it happened! I can’t imagine being at home and watching all that destruction while it was happening! STARING IN FEAR OUT THE WINDOW WHILE THE WATER SWEPT CLOSER AND CLOSER TO THE HOUSE AND DESTROYED MY BACK YARD RIGHT BEFORE MY VERY EYES AND THE EYES OF MY TERRIFIED CHILDREN!!!!!
Yeah. I’m glad I missed out on that.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I Got a Gun.

Okay, before I get to more snow, here’s a cute story to finish up the visit from the cousins.
In addition to celebrating Tyler’s birthday, we also celebrated Christmas, so there were presents for all the kids to mark the occasion.  Clay and Carey had decided to get the kids each a Nerf gun.  Tyler loved the one he got for Christmas, and they knew our kids would love them too. 
And they did!  At least, three of them did.
Reagan, admittedly, was not thrilled with her present.  You could see the thoughts in her mind.
It’s a gun.
I’m a girl.
There’s nothing pink or sparkly about this thing.
Of course, as wise adults, we all knew that she would enjoy the gun and be SUPER MAD if all the boys were running around shooting up a storm and she didn’t have one.  But that didn’t mean anything to Reagan right then.
It meant even less when Avery opened HER present…Disney princess dolls!  In all their sparkly princess glory! 
Reagan was SO disappointed!  And Uncle Clay felt SO bad!  It didn’t matter that she’d play with the gun like crazy.  It only mattered that she was sad right now. 
I think Clay was ready to hop in the car and run to Target, when we remembered that we had some spare toys hidden in the closet BECAUSE YOU JUST NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU’RE GOING TO NEED SPARE TOYS!  One of those spare toys happened to be a Disney Ballerina Belle!
We quickly threw Belle into a bag and Clay gave her to a very delighted Reagan!
Since then she has definitely learned to appreciate the fact that she has a gun too.  She may not like it as much as the boys like theirs, but she knows it’s good to be able to defend yourself against your brothers!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Visits from Family

The rest of Christmas Break was filled with family!
First Bud and KayKay…
…then Uncle Clay, Aunt Carey, and cousins Tyler and Avery!
Avery and Reagan

Reagan in the Christmas dress my mom made for my sister when she was little!  (Or was this one mine?  I can’t remember.  We both had one, just in different sizes!)
As we usually do when we get together around this time of year, we celebrated Tyler’s birthday!  He turned FOUR this year!
Jonathan, the angry birthday monster!

Static Electricity!
While the cousins were visiting we also had visits from Aunt Jayne…

…and Pawpaw and NeNe!
It was a VERY busy Christmas Break!  I could have used one more week before school started back!  Oh, well!  School started back whether I was ready or not! 
Coming up…more snow!