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Monday, December 30, 2013

End of School Year 2013

I missed the last two days of the school year and my kiddos missed their last full week due to my grandfathers funeral. Obviously God's hand was all over that because we were snowed in the weekend/beginning of the week before and wouldn't have been able to make it home..I'm so thankful that we were all able to come home and say good bye. Since being at my parents house I have been going through his old photo albums and finding AWESOME pictures. I have pulled some to scan and blow up to put in our home....awesome black and whites of my dad when he was Baby Boy's age, awesome wedding pictures from my papa and nanas wedding and a really neat album from his time in the air force with what look likes lots of top secret pictures and pictures of my Papa in uniform working.
I've already mentioned before that my dad and granddad repaired their relationship before he died but in all honestly I don't have a whole lot of good memories of him, just because of some choices he made that kept us from always being able to visit him. Those pictures allowed me to see a happier time in my dad and granddad's life and gave me another way to remember him. Don't get me wrong, I loved my papa, went to visit him every time I came home since we left Alabama, made sure my kids knew who he was....but just like all family there were some memories that are hard to forget. I will treasure the pictures he took (he loved to document like me) and I'm so thankful for those memories he left behind. On a lighter note, my dad told me that before he died the only thing he would drink was Pepsi......that's definitely where I get my love for Pepsi....I would choose that as my last food too  :).

Anyways, here are some fun pictures from the end of the school year that I did get to take!

Since the kids stayed in Alabama with my parents while we went back to TX to close on our home and give exams we had 2 free nights to ourselves.....we could have stayed at home and cleaned, or worked on the remodel or quite frankly just SLEPT..but instead we went to SIX FLAGS :). Check out this awesome funnel cake we split...there is funnel cake somewhere under all that ice cream, strawberries and whip cream.

It was really hard to have any fun without our kiddos though :).....said in complete sarcasm. (we did miss them, some, I promise :)
I'm so very proud of my 8th grade girls!!! I heard about this family where the mom was struggling to make ends meet (she is putting herself through school, without any help from a dad or other family), her two youngest were both just diagnosed with one as autism, one with diabetes and she was having a hard time paying bills and providing Christmas. The thing that drew me to her though was that she had given up her 4th child to be adopted 8 years earlier and was still in contact with the adoptive mom. The adoptive mom is the one that told us about her. They have a wonderful relationship and are a big part of each others lives. I presented the idea to my 8th grade girls to help provide Christmas for them and BOY DID THEY!!! The parents (as usual) were wonderful as well and we were able to gift them with at least 20 giftcards, several toys, clothing, cookware, groceries, a massage for mom :) a TV and just love on them. Here is the picture of us after we met them, cried with them, talked and told them how much we love them. I was one proud momma teacher :)
See the young girl in the middle?...by the time she left she was saying " i want them all to be my sisters"
Some of my girls couldn't be there for different reasons but here is a shot right before they walked in :)
Ribbit, mommy and CC went to get our nails done :)


Christmas Overload

Since the last time I posted we have been going full steam....today has been really nice since we have no schedule and the kiddos are content to play card games, color, play with my parents dog and catch up on their cartoons :).

In Huntsville we were able to have Christmas with both sides of the family. Some of the highlights were:

--Ribbit walking up to her cousin Emily (whom we had been telling her she would get to see and play with all morning) and saying " I thought Emily was brown"...ha. When we reminded her that Emily was in fact white she was ok with that too :).

--All of the stealing and oohhiinnng and aaahhiiing at Dirty Santa. I stole a super soft, really pretty throw and Ribbit immediately claimed it as her own and has slept with it every night since. The only time I have been able to use it is when she is sitting with me :).

--Watching Goober and Baby Boy play with their boy cousins.

--Watching all of my kiddos cling to their Aunt Erika and Uncle Jason as if they were gold :). Even the grandparents got by passed at some point which never happens!!

--Catching up with Adam's artsy fartsy cousin ;)...we got to talk real printmaking, none of this styrofoam plate junk :)

--Eating Nana Harvell's butternut squash soup (YUM) and Nannie Mashburn's fried apple pies.

--Watching Goober compete in the Olympic long jump while Uncle Ronnie raked the gravel every time for him to try and beat his record.

--Getting together with Adam's best friend from Huntsville, his wife and their sweet baby girl. Its always fun to hear stories about Adam before I met him, well some of them :).

--Grabbing all the chocolate in the house and hiding it before Baby Boy can find it, he has a serious problem and will eat ANYTHING chocolate...as much as possible!

We still have one more family Christmas with my parents side so I will sum those up later.

We left Huntsville with a VERY CROWDED van..good thing we brought the cartop carrier....my kids all got big gifts this year :).

Hanging out in Uncle Jason's lap during present time...he is also sporting Aunt Erika's new elephant bag.
Helping Aunt Erika open presents
Homemade Christmas cookies with Lolly
Handing Nana Harvell her Christmas present.

More to come :).

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quick Recap

I took 2 naps today....and I'm still exhausted.

My paternal Papa died Friday, December 13th at 7 in the morning. We knew he was declining but I was holding up hope that we may see him one more time over our Christmas break. His service was very honoring....reminding us that he served 22 years in the air force, loved to travel and loved food :). The blue angels flew over during the burial and that along with the 21 gun salute, tapps and presentation of the flag made for a very sad good bye. Many good things came out of his death though, which is only possible through Christ. My dad has shared this publicly already so I feel I can to...he made amends with his dad before he dad after not having a relationship most of his adult life. He also shared the gospel with him and is very hopeful that he accepted Christ. Its so hard to share Christ with the ones closest to you but we have to remember that if we love someone enough to care about their soul then we must share.

That trip to Alabama went from Friday to Tuesday and the drive was once again miserable. We left the kids in Alabama with my parents and went back to work for 3 days :). We also closed on our house the day after we got back...huge blessing to not move but simply own the house you have lived in, remodeled, made your own and developed close relationships with the neighbors already! Adam and I also went to six flags by ourselves which was honestly weird, kinda like we didn't know what to do with ourselves...except stuff our faces with BBQ and funnel cakes...and NOT SHARE!

Then we drove back to Alabama on Friday night (miserable) and came to Huntsville for Christmas. The grandparents had exchanged the grandbabies the day before in Auburn. We have already had one Christmas since yesterday, gone to church and like I said taken several naps.

We are really contemplating Christmas at our home next year, like no joke. That or renting a limo and a nanny for the trips here and back :).

I can't upload pictures right now since I'm on the Harvells computer but will do soon.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snow Days

We are on day #3 of being snowed/iced in...so far so good. I'm thinking that tomorrow will be our last day indoors and hopefully we can venture out on Tuesday. Its kinda nice to have a cleared schedule and eat every meal with your whole family :).

So far we have gone sledding (2x) and we will venture out for another round after they wake up from their naps today. We have almost finished 8 homemade gifts (which involved mom repainting some after Baby Boy helped out a little too much. We have watched Auburn win the SEC Championship game and then as Ohio was defeated move on to the National Championship game!!!! California here we come!!!!

We have built a fire, moved the couches up close and slept out in the living room. We have cleaned out the playroom, bookshelves and toy bins in their rooms to add to our yard sale closet and to make space for Christmas :). There is only 1 basket of dirty clothes to be found in the whole house...which is not an easy feat. Most of the Christmas presents are wrapped and the best part is that Adam got the tile floor laid in Ribbt's bathroom :).

The kids have enjoyed building forts, making cookies, jumping on their indoor trampoline, watching Christmas movies, coloring, working on their homemade gifts, putting on puppet shows, running laps and stuffing their face with marshmallows and hot chocolate :).

Check out this stud!!
Look at that pitch!

Silly picture after winning 2nd place!! And his sweet teacher came to cheer him on!

Back home football is our kinda sport, especially after bath time!
And look who we caught using the potty together early on a Saturday morning...check out those faces!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Snow Day

We are under a blanket of snow! and school is cancelled for today!! YIPPPEEE.
We were quite skeptical since the last time they called for 100% snow it didn't even freeze..so the kids and the parents were very excited to wake up to find a winter wonderland surrounding us.

Ribbit has been asking "when is it gonna snow?" and reminding us that "we live in Texas so it doesn't snow that much here" for several days now. She was quite easily the most excited one of us all. She said "God brought the snow and we have to remember to ask him to clean our hearts :)".

We went up the school and used trash can lids and cardboard to sled down the huge hills into the football field. The kids had a great time and were asking for more but after an hour we had to stop because Baby Boy had a full diaper and cheeks were really red....and Ribbit's lips were cracked and bleeding :). I think they will take good naps today!!

After they wake up I'm gonna take them to see Frozen. We aren't your normal stay inside when it snows family...we drive carefully and get out in it. Adam is working on the bathroom remodel today and tomorrow since all of his basketball games and outings were cancelled!

Lately Baby Boy has been saying " MMMEE TOOOO" after almost everything the big kids say...he wants to be in the thick of it. He is running at lightning speed, and can go faster than I can on a scooter. He is still our biggest cuddler and loves to wrap himself around you and squeeze you until he shakes. He sings "jesus loves me" and says "he is strong" very passionately. He still sleeps with us about 3/4 of the night, every night. However, he has started sleeping around our waist which is so much easier on Adam and I. A foot to the shin is taken much easier than a foot to the gut in the middle of the night! He loves all things monkey, train and bball (every sport is bball to him!)

Ribbit has been singing "feliz navitod" (feliz navidad) a lot....and "rain rain go away, the old man is boring, he went to bed, he bumped his head and didn't get up in the morning (a combo of two songs) a lot!! She loves to sing and she doesn't want anyone to sing with her...she always ask me to start off "rudolph" but once she gets the rhythm then I am ordered to stop singing at once. She is doing much better at school..9 stickers in a row...WHEW HEW!! She cries nightly for either Uncle Chris, CiCi or Lolly. She will ask you the same question about 9 times in a row until you either a)give her the answer she is looking for or b) give her a long explanation that is too boring for her to pay attention to. She changes about 9 times a day and has great fashion sense!

Goober has been doing a lot of football watching lately with dad and is getting to where he can have a conversation about it. He loves playing the cardgame WAR with mom and is pretty good at making forts for him and the babies to play in. He is the best eater and compliments every dinner I make him...even if its just ramen noodles :). HE LOVES CILANTRO rice and asks me to make it constantly. He eats ALL the time and has 2nds at almost every dinner. He had a really rough day when Uncle Chris left..he cried at least 5 times throughout the day and at 10:00 that night came out of his room saying how worried he was that Uncle Chris would wreck. Good Byes are so much harder on him ....not sure if that is because of his past or how much he loves his Uncle's constantly wresting, football playing and love :). I also brought up a work that triggered a memory of his past and it reminded him of his birth mom. He said he couldn't stop thinking about memories and that his heart felt like it was beating to fast...needless to say we had a long good cry that night and he slept with momma that night (oh and later Baby Boy joined us). Poor Adam, he is getting used to musical beds every night!

We are almost completely done shopping for Christmas...I got a huge chunk done on Black Friday....so now we just need to wrap, label and pack it all for the long trip to Alabama coming up in 2 weeks!

Pictures from a wedding of one of our dearest friends here in Texas....we love Debbie and we were so happy for her and Jim!!! (in the white wedding dress on the left and Adam on the far right doing a totally different dance :)
 Some of our closest friends from work...I am so glad we get to have the same group of friends everywhere we go now :) The couple right beside Adam and I both also work at our school!
The hubs and I
Sweet sweet friends..the one in the black and white to the right of me is also our neighbor!!!
I could stare at this picture all day. Ribbit looks so grown up and so BEAUTIFUL in this picture. This was at her friends princess birthday party...it was her first party by herself. She went with our friends since we were heading to the wedding. She cried as we left which broke my heart but we heard she had a great time!
Sometimes Goober and I go on ice cream dates....he is so sweet about figuring out which flavors taste the best and reminding me that we are alike when it comes to our favorite flavors...so I normally just follow him around and get exactly what he gets....it never disappoints!
Ribbit is always helping me STIR things..she drags a chair over and goes to town!



Sunday, December 1, 2013

War Eagle

Did you see that?
That awesome 109 yard touchdown run?
That #4 team beat the #1 team?

We are all emotionally and physically spent :).... Sore throats, bad backs and still comforting our children and letting them know that we are happy, not insane :)

This thanksgiving week was even better since Uncle Chris was here...for 10 whole days! We have gone to Disney on Ice, Christmas parties, played settlers, eaten good food, and watched tons of football. We are always glad to have more family around.

The kids have had lots of play and wrestle time and have been sleeping pretty late , Unlce Chris would disagree though since Ribbit comes and wakes him up every morning at 5, steals his phone and takes several pictures of him.

We got 99.9% of Christmas shopping done, some on Thursday night and some today....even though we are adding Iron Bowl shirts to our list :).

We decorated for Christmas, set up our Jesse tree, and got things squared away to close on our home :). That's right, we will be homeowners again on Dec 20. We are already picking out paint colors and choosing which walls to knock down and just how to lay out our new master closet.

Ribbit finally got 5 stickers in a row at school last week so she and Adam went on their Daddy Daughter date... She of course chose "Old Mcdonalds"!

We have been taking bets on how many times Baby Boy will come out of his room before either a) finally crashing on the floor right inside his door or b)crying himself to sleep from spankings.
Most nights he averages 4 to 5 times, but I think be came close to 10 for today's nap.

We had a great Thanksgiving meal....we aren't big turkey fans (besides the roast from Jenny o) so we opted for steak :). Then we all had our favorites.....potato salad, deviled eggs, Watergate salad, southern baked beans, croissants, two kinds of homemade Mac and cheese, stuffing, sweet potatoes, canned cranberry sauce, blueberry fluff, peanut butter pie and then the kids made peanut butter turkey cookies. And of course, sweet tea!...I haven't cooked since :).