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Sope Creek ROCKS!!

August 7, 2015

Yep. Sometimes the pun is just too good!

Who is up for a casual little in-the-middle-of-the-suburbs hike? (Mommy too!) Grana kept Max at our house and Aunt Anna met us to bring Papa & Julius and pick up Elizabeth for a little playtime one-on-one. Anna definitely does better with limited kid responsibilities. One is good! Love you sis.

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What a great little venue for a day with nothing on our calendar. Those days are quickly fading with the impending school schedules quickly sneaking up on us. I don’t plan to begin our schooling until after Labor Day, but none-the-less our extracurricular classes are beginning much sooner. For today, we enjoyed hiking in the city while everyone else in our county enjoyed their second day of school.

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Totally cool history and an easy walk for our four & five year olds in tow.

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We parked in the lot and were able to take one path in and a different one back to the car. Shorter is always better as you fight to finish a hike, especially with little ones. Thankfully, we lucked out without any requests to go potty. I wasn’t quite sure what we were going to do as there were no facilities of any kind on-site. Interesting!

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This is the coolest piece of history I’ve seen in a long while. The kids loved climbing of course, but it’s really a neat structure, even in its current state. To think Confederate money was printed right there before being burned down by the Union army. That is really cool to me. We didn’t have history like this growing up in Kansas.

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Michael was climbing down the way a bit and came running back to me in tears. Something had flown between his eye and the lens of his glasses and stung him. Sweet thing. He had trouble with sunscreen in his eyes at Six Flags a week ago. I was proud of him though for pulling through and when Papa offered to go back to the car, he said “I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day. I’ll be fine.” Tears and all, he did pull through and the day ended great. The “bite” created a welt for about 5 minutes and then totally disappeared. Sure wish I knew what it was. The only thing I had with me was witch hazel, TerraShield, and Arborvitae. At least the witch hazel would have helped draw something out. Maybe? I don’t know. That’s what we told him and then we promptly poured water over it when he said it didn’t help. HA. No doubt, it made the sting worse. Oh well. Character building, right?!

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There’s something about rocks and water that everyone in my house loves. It’s really, really not my thing.

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This little leaf Katie found. Isn’t it cute?

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However, these leaves seriously ROCK. I have no idea what they are but they were sure fun. Umbrella anyone? How about a mask? A hiding place?

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Poor little girl was so annoyed by the sand inside her shoes that Papa took pity and helped her wash her feet before hiking back to the car. You know, if their feet would stop growing, I could more easily justify real water/hiking shoes for everyone.

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The wildlife was cool too.

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Katie rated this day a #8 for fun. I love that both kids thanked us profusely for taking them. Good attitudes and lots of fun were rewarded with a free Wendy’s Jr. Frosty on the way home. Adventures make all of us happy. Hhhmmmm, I wonder what’s next on the list? Thank you to Michael’s new Cub Scout troop for introducing us to this little gem. (Michael and Nate hiked it for the first time last weekend. Michael was itching to go back and of course show us too. Awesome buddy. Awesome.)

Our ordinary days

July 28, 2015

Sometimes I wish I thought to photograph our everyday a bit more. It seems my camera is a little less in my hands during the everyday things. I find I have pics on my phone the ipad and my husband’s phone and the kids’ tablet and on my DSLR. One of these days it will be a grand surprise to get them all downloaded and pass through my photo editing process. For now though, here are a few glimpses of how we spend our time both at home and outside the house. Our days are always full with lots of demands, adventures, play, and of course and abundance of love. God bless us and all we do as a family.

Katie and her friends made some seriously sweet cupcakes during one of their girl days here at our house. Aren’t they really cute? (The girls too, right?!)

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With Anna’s input she was brave enough to try her hand at making some little polish flowers. I’m seriously impressed, really! Having never worked with rubber cement, I assured her I thought it would work better than tacky glue. Sure enough, it works fantastic! She’s making these for a friend. I got the first bouquet which is stuck into one of my windowsill flower pots. Thank God for preteen pinterest accounts for a crafty, independent girl.

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Anna spent a few days with us last week. The little girls were especially excited to have her here. My ipad has a really fantastic book app for the kids. It’s called EPIC and it has a zillion (seems limitless really) picture books. Some of them have audio so the girls can listen/read on their own, but many more we get to read to them. They even got Anna to read a few too. She’s a sucker. Gotta love aunts with English degrees.

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The boys are soaking up every minute possible with Reilly’s move getting closer and closer. Thankfully, he’ll only be 20 minutes away, but it’s going to feel like it’s across the world I know. We’ve become quite accustomed to him being in our house. Everyone has their own little love for this amazing kid. I pray the days to come are special and meaningful in new ways.

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Clare has gotten a few playdates these past three weeks with different friends…just her friends. It’s a rare occasion and certainly the first opportunities for her. I have to admit that it has been fun to watch her interact with her friends.

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Our public library system in this county is awesome. This summer they have put on some of the most fantastic programs. We were able to see a birds of prey show, and although it was seriously hot on the pavement, the information was really impressive. Having seen many of these shows at various venues, I was pleasantly impressed to have learned new things from him. He has a lot of experience for sure. In fact, he was telling us that during a show at Callaway Gardens 12 years ago, he let an eagle free fly up over the lake and he got away from him never to have been lured back. Fast forward 12 years to just last week and our presenter is in Alabama and spots this same Eagle. In fact, he got his attention, gave him a command, the bird followed the command, and recognized his old trainer. Impressive, right?! I love this story! He couldn’t get him close enough to perch, but it was amazing to think that the bond was still there and indeed the bird had survived in the wild all these years despite it’s injuries. So cool! At any rate, here are a few of the birds he showcased.

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She loves her tablet. It’s the first real tangible purchase she has used consistently with great joy. Delighted with the camera, she takes tons of pictures now. You can imagine how happy it makes me. HA!

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This little man turned 10 months old this past week. He’s starting to move beyond the “I’m content to just stand” phase and has started to let go and balance in mid-air for seconds at a time. It won’t be long and he’ll be pressing his luck and taking those first steps. Such a sweet, sweet baby and still our little man. He’s such a peanut!

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We are off to Six Flags tomorrow…as a family this year. Max gets to hang with Grandma & Papa and Aunt Anna tomorrow. I think three to one is great odds! He’s bound to have a great day. Wish us luck and offer a prayer too if you think about it.

It’s a high flyin’ kind of day

July 18, 2015

Ahhh Michael. It is so fun to see him start to come into his own. Lately, he’s been showing interest in more things. He’s becoming more athletic and keen on all things physical and athletically challenging. I love it. It’s so good to see him venturing forward and with such a great attitude too. For me, it’s one of those proud momma moments. Today, he checked something impressive off his list.

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Yep. He really did!! Today, he took an intro class with Akrosphere, formerly the CirqueFreaks. They advertised a free intro class through our homeschool group. It’s one of the local places that offers a homeschool class during the week. It took Michael half a second to say “yes” to my invitation to take today’s class.

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Our boy has come to really love climbing and working on his upper-body strength. He still regularly practices his chin ups on the indoor bar hung in the closet doorway. This class was the perfect opportunity for him. “Try it for an hour. If you don’t like it, don’t do it again.” (Thanks Papa for the continual words of wisdom.)

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Of course, he loved it.

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Although, he would have preferred to have been suspended much higher off the ground, it was so cool to see him “flyin”. His smile speaks volumes, right?!

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He likened the experience to climbing trees (another favorite past-time of his). The pressure of the ropes was a new sensation, and admittedly would take time before it was no longer noticeable. Although, this could have been a tough instance for him with his sensory processing “issues”, he did great. The director was (playfully) jealous of his ability to bend/arch his back. It was impressive. However, I think yoga would do him well. Neither of our oldest children are very flexible in their floor stretches. They come by it naturally for sure. Today, however, he could claim a previously unknown to us talent – back flexibility.

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Clare had enough courage to ask if she could try it. We insisted that she ask the man herself. Although she’s not generally shy, we try hard as parents to instill in our kids a sense of independence and ability to speak to adults clearly and with good manners. Today, she got to practice. He was gracious to retie the knot closer to the ground and assist her in hanging upside also. Awesome! She was pretty excited. Cute, right?!

Unfortunately, the a/c unit was not cooling the facility so it literally felt like a sauna. Admittedly, we were all quite ready to get in the car. We are pathetic southerners for sure.

Even after a great afternoon, I think Michael’s decided to stick to his weekly P.E. class instead of taking an aerial class. It’s more than twice as expensive and further to drive…I’m not so overly disappointed. As one of five children, both are important considerations for me. The class was fun and definitely new to all of us. We’ll for sure keep in tune to their events and class schedules. You never know when the opportunity will present itself in the correct time or circumstance. I’m thankful to have seen our little man shine doing something totally impressive. Well done Mikey! Thanks for a fun afternoon buddy.

As an unsolicited aside, we’d highly recommend classes with them. I was impressed with the joy of the instructors, their positive manner, and their level of comfort with the silks themselves. Ms. Jen was encouraged independent exploration, but also gave solid instruction readily available to correct or guide his form. She’s a natural teacher that clearly loves her profession.

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It’s Cow Day!!

July 14, 2015

As my husband says, “This is my favorite day of the summer!” It is true. We all look forward to our little mid-summer southern tradition. Atlanta being the home of the famous cows, it’s only right that we participate. I saw a hashtag today that sums it up perfectly; #eatallthreemeals. Love it.

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So my husband, getting ready this morning, was almost giddy with excitement. It makes me happy that he loves to do these fun things every year. Actually, he so loves his CFA chicken breakfast burrito that the thought of having them for free, make it almost as great as Christmas morning. I love the thought of him in costume in the drive-thru. Hilarious. One of these years I’m going to stalk him just for a picture of it.

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So…how do I pull off these costumes with our busy life? One costume at a time. Last year, I did a more major overhaul and painted several new shirts. My mom taught me (when I was a kid and she was painting shirts) that you can purchase cheap acrylic paint and mix the fabric additive to the paint, and it becomes a washable fabric paint. It is cheaper than buying fabric paint and you can get it in much bigger quantities also. Making these shirts was easy. Print the image onto regular computer paper using your computer, lay the paper under the shirt, and paint what you see. It’s the no fuss way to “trace” an image.

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I also keep a box in the attic with all our Chick-fil-a paraphenalia and add to it every year. In fact, we add to it throughout the year as we find cow things that might come in handy in July. The only stipulation….any addition has to be free or pennies so as to still make our food “free”. This year we added Nate & I’s cow hats…a purchase off Amazon.

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My shirt was a new addition last year. I had a large pregnant belly and no “maternity” shirt. I resorted to buying an over-sized shirt. Wanting to be different and highlight the baby fever, I added my little calves to the back of the shirt. It makes me happy; my little calf crew.

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Admittedly, I was going to “phone in” Max’s costume this year and just dress him in his white onesie and give him the cow toy to hold. However, Grana came to the rescue this morning while I was tutoring (an hour before we were leaving for breakfast) and sewed spots onto his onesie. It was complete with a little cow tail even. She got him bathed and dressed, and even accessorized with mismatching black & white socks. What a great surprise for me and a precious little baby too. Gotta love our little man. Thanks momma!

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Yep. All seven of us will be in costume today. Tonight, we’ll enjoy dinner together, but this morning, it’s breakfast with Grana and Papa. I guess they haven’t been southerners long enough to dress in full costume. In fact, dad had his hat folded and trying to hide it in his large papa hands so as to be inconspicuous I guess. However, their accessory gained them a free entree and a few memories with the grandkids.

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Breakfast was never so much fun.

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Our little blonde-haired girl enjoying her Chicken Minis.

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We got Reilly to agree to join us, but only if he didn’t have to dress up. He was quite happy to tell me he’d gladly buy his own breakfast.

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Lunch was at Chick-fil-a with friends. I love to see the girls together. The big kids had enough of the noise and crazy in the playplace so they opted to read and play on their tablet at a table just outside the door. I can’t believe they are old enough to do such things. I love it though that their worlds still cross and yet they clearly have their “big kid” moments too.

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EAT MOR CHICKIN!!!! (You know it’s what’s for dinner too. Hmm. How do I say that sentence correctly?)

Gotta love water

July 4, 2015

Water balloons have certainly taken over our outdoor playtime this past week. We are almost in need of purchasing some more after having had several of these packages for many years unopened. I’m not going to comment on these pictures. I think they speak for themselves!

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Happy 4th Birthday Clare!

July 3, 2015

Oh sweet girl I can’t believe you are already FOUR. You truly bring so much life to our house. I pray that you always know the fullness of life and find the ways to celebrate even the small things. This world needs so many more of you! We love you and enjoy celebrating you!

Ice cream and presents for breakfast.

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Storms and lots and lots of rain mean indoor play is your ticket today. Thank goodness Julius is here to play also.

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Aunt Jenny and Julius brought Henry Hugglemonster. I guess we’ll have to join the 21st century and find out who he is. HA. Isn’t he cute though?!

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Thank goodness the sun came out mid-afernoon and there was time to enjoy the present from Papa…the water gate. We call it StarGate. Seriously cool, right?!

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Love this girl and her joy.

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Thankfully, Elizabeth was happy to play after her nap. It was a great surprise for her also.

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Sweet Max was more content to avoid the grass and the cold water also.

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Gotta love sisters.

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Silly brothers are pretty great also.

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This one will flash his momma a great little smile at every opportunity!

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Katie made the best little birthday cakes. Cute, right!?

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Nate has been repurposing an unused/broken baby bed we had in our attic. Thankfully, he has learned to humor me when I get an idea in my head. Katie & I tried several options to get these little gems to stand up without falling over. There has to be a better option. Of course, I headed to Pinterest, but without success. Okay. So what do I really need? Something with holes would work perfectly. Next option was to head to the garage and look around. This cute little piece was perfect. Thankfully, the drill bit was the right size not to split the wood or drop the cones too far down. A quickly little paint and wah-la. This is awesome. I’m so in love. We make a pretty good team Nate & I. Isn’t it great.

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In addition to the super cool dessert board, I’m so thankful for our super-sized table that holds it. The table was imagined in my mind and created by Nate & my dad. I love it. (It has a few structural issues still, but I love it!) Look, there are 11 people around it for dinner!!

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Dinner with all of us and our friends/Clare’s Godparents. It’s a great way to celebrate the evening of a four-year-old birthday – complete with food and presents and fun!

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We love you sweet girl. It’s an honor to celebrate you in every way!

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It was a river kind of day

June 15, 2015

So Poole’s Mill has been a favorite spot of many of our friends, but I’ve never dared brave it on my own.

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Last summer I was pregnant with two small ones and this summer although not pregnant, but still with two littles AND a baby. Thank goodness for six adult hands to manage our outdoor adventures.

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This girl surprised us all. She’s generally our more hesitant one, but today, she was all IN on this adventure. We had to put her floaties on just in case as we couldn’t be sure how adventurous she was actually going to be. She had so much fun!

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This picture makes me smile. She tries so hard to keep up with the big kids and for the most part succeeded today.

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This little shallow pool was the perfect spot for our littles.

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It provided lots of still water for play.

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Papa had his eyes on Ellie-za-beth (as Papa calls her) most of the afternoon.

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Elizabeth spent most of her time here. The rocks were smaller and the climb a bit easier also. She could slide and walk around and slide down again.

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However, she fell a lot. On one particular fall, she bit a nice sized hole in her lip. Sweet baby.

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There really was endless climbing and falling and sliding by everyone.

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Even daddy got in on the river rock fun. The combination of both is a sure bet for him.

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Brothers in spirit!

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Sweet baby is such a trooper. He played, ate, cat napped and after two hours hit the wall.

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Oh what fun we had today! Papa tells me there’s a chance we’ll be able to pick up some heavy-duty inner tubes from the tire store and add a new element of fun to these natural rock slides. I think it’s safe to say everyone wants to return. We will bring chairs, water toys for the littles, and antibacterial next time. The falling is inevitable! Happy kids. Happy adults.

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Nate likes to comment as we find more and more local places that are nothing like what we had growing up in Kansas. We love Georgia and are happily seeing more and more of it!

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