Tuesday, October 15, 2013

So. It's Been A While

I think that should be the title of every post I write going forward. Because I only seem to be able to come here every year or so. :)

I think I mentioned we're all moved in to our new home. And. LOVING. It.

Carleigh is one year old, Cavan is four, Cullen is six, and Christian is 11.

I can't believe how big my babies are getting!

Christian has been home sick the past two days. She has strep throat. Hubs had it, but not as bad as she does. So he's back at work today. I had it two weeks ago, and it knocked me down hard. I didn't get out of bed (or my jammies) for five days. It. Was. ROUGH.

Tomorrow we lay to rest my great aunt. She's the last living sibling of my grandmother, so it will probably be an emotional day.

And that's really all the updating I have time for now. I have to put together outfits for six people, down to socks and shoes, and make sure they're all ironed and ready to go. Plus find silent forms of entertainment for the littles.

I'll see you when I see you.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Cullen Made a Decision

Cullen has come a long way this year. He has grown so much, and changed so much, in so many ways.

I visited with his teacher last week, to see how he's progressing.

She showed me charts that indicated he was below grade level at the beginning of the school year, but now he is working at a first-grade level. So he's about a year ahead of where he needs to be.

He has progressed emotionally and socially as well. His teacher was upset when she arrived to work that day, since she had just received news a friend's son had died. She had been crying, and was still teary, and Cullen found his favorite thing in her classroom, and brought it to her. He told her it would make her feel better. Then he pulled out a chair next to his, patted it, and told her to sit next to him. :) My sweet, sweet little guy. He is so stinkin' smart. He's reading now, and writing, and spelling. He's looking at numbers, and really recognizing what they mean. He's retaining lessons he learns and stories he hears. I just love it. I am amazed that I get to have this little boy in my life.

Just now the two of us were outside. He had been playing with the water hose, so he was wet. I wouldn't let him come inside, so I just picked him up and held him like a baby, deciding I would just hold him and hug him until he dried off.

He started asking questions about God and sin and other eternal matters. I told him that we all sin. Every one of us. I told him God hates sin, but that He sent His Son to die for our sins, so we could be forgiven. I told him God's Son defeated death, and rose from the dead, so someday we can, too.

Very quietly, he whispered, "I love you, Jesus. Forgive me, Jesus. Come into my heart and save me from my sins."

Just typing those words brings tears to my eyes. I love this little boy so much it hurts.

And I'm so happy I get to spend eternity with him.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Grampa's 89th

Yesterday was my Grampa's 89th birthday.

He's buried two wives, and a daughter.

He's worked his whole life, raised a family, and is now in a wheelchair, in a nursing home.

His hearing and eyesight are just short of deaf and blind, he has trouble remembering people and events, but he's still hanging in there with a smile on his sweet face.

He's not perfect, but he's my Grampa, and I love him.

I had been contemplating going to visit him today, but at the 11th hour decided we would take the kids to see him on his actual birthday. We baked cupcakes (they helped), we made him cards, and got the kids dressed in their matching Easter outfits. We hit the road, Hubs in his truck and the rest of us in mine, since he had to go work for a couple hours last night.

A few miles into the one-hour trip, I noticed the vehicle was driving rough. It felt like I was driving on a flat tire. The whole steering wheel was shaking, and with every gust of wind, it felt like I was going off the road. I hadn't made it anywhere near the 75 mph speed limit.

I pulled over and got out, and watched as Hubs just passed us by. (???!!!???) He called me on his cell phone, and I told him something was wrong, so he turned around.

I was circling my vehicle, checking the tires, when he got back to us.

It was the left rear tire. Not flat, but more egg-shaped. Ovular, even. With a hump in the middle. And a rather wide, long strip of tread gone. The tread was missing on the inside of the tire, where it wasn't really visible while in place. 


No telling how long until it would have shredded, or blown out on me. I'm so thankful it lasted as long as it did, and that I listened to the Still Small Voice that said to pull over. Had I continued, I would most likely have been alone with a baby and a preschooler, trying to change a tire on a one-ton super-duty SUV.

God watches out for us in so many ways, and I am so deeply thankful for His protection yesterday.

Hubs changed the tire, and we continued on our way. So our one-hour trip was closer to two.

Yesterday was the first time Grampa and Carleigh saw each other. I usually visit him with just my dad, because, well... our family is a whooooooole lotta chaos in his little room!

The kiddos gave him their cards and the cupcakes, and I decorated his door... which I forgot to get a picture of. We poured him a cold beer, since he misses them so much. He told me how much he thinks about the other times I've brought him beer and cupcakes. (Side note: I don't know why it's always cupcakes I bring with beer... I really need to figure out a better accompaniment!) We talked for a bit with him, and let the kids talk to him for a while.

We didn't stay long. Again. Mass chaos.

Everybody hugged and kissed him, and told him "Happy birthday!" and then it was time to go.

As we were walking down the hallway, I turned around to wave goodbye, and there was my grampa, still in his wheelchair, following as fast as he could. His wife came up behind him, grabbed his chair, and was almost running, pushing him down the hall towards us.

I asked if everything was okay, and she said, "Yes. He just wants to follow you out, so he can watch y'all as long as he can."

Broke. My. Heart.

Happy birthday, Grampa.

I love you, and I'll be back soon. I promise.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Baby Love is Growing Too Fast

We celebrated his sixth birthday today.

I can't believe I just wrote that.

It seems like just yesterday I was walking down the halls of the hospital, stopping every couple minutes to breathe through a body-splitting contraction.

My baby boy came into the world at 8:10 am, and our little family of three grew to four.

He is such a special little boy.

He loves to sing, and I love to listen to him.

He is constantly busy, and running, and talking, and, always-always-always scheming.

He loves to hunt and fish with his daddy, and snuggle up with his mommy on the couch, or help me cook and bake in the kitchen.

He thinks his big sister is the coolest person ever, and goes back and forth with his baby brother: thinking Cavan is his best friend one minute, and his worst enemy the next. He loves "his baby," and can always make her scream with laughter.

He is absolutely fascinated by huge machinery. He is always talking about truck-drivers (eighteen wheelers; it has only been recently that I figured out why he calls eighteen wheelers "truck drivers": because every time we see one on the road, that's exactly how we refer to them!) and tractors and trucks and backhoes and loaders, etc.

His smile lights up my whole world. When he smiles, it's with his whole face, and when he's excited, he does an adorable full-body wiggle.

He has such a unique personality. I have known and interacted with lots and lots of children, and I have never met one with a personality like his.

He has added so much joy and dimension to our lives, and we are so thankful God trusts us with his life.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Cullen.

You'll always be my Baby Love.

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Line of Cards From Shutterfly

I love making cards. Birthday cards, greeting cards, birth announcements, Christmas cards... you name it. It's a hobby that adds just a little stress, since I always have to top my last one.

But Shutterfly has a new line of cards that can help me out, and take some of that stress away.

They're launching Treat, a new brand of greeting cards, that makes it easy for all you over-achievers to send one-of-a-kind greetings, for whatever reason you can dream up! And all the major holidays and occasions, of course.

To kickoff the new line, they're giving away one free card to every one of my readers.

All you have to do is visit Treat, and enter code TREATBLOGR at checkout. But you have to hurry! It's only good on Monday, November 19 and Tuesday, November 20.

Send someone you love a completely personalized card from Treat, and let them know how special they are to you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

First Day of School

I realize school started 12 weeks ago. I do. But I'm a little behind with the picture-taking and blogging and laundry and whatnot.

I've had these pictures sitting in a draft for a while, and just found it.

This is what little Carlito looked like twelve weeks ago.

She's such a sweet, beautiful little baby.

And here's her sweet, beautiful big sister on the first day of school.

And her adorable big brother on the first day of school.

And here's what I bribed his teacher with. I knew it was going to be a rough time for him, and it most definitely was. So I gave her a care package on the first day to help get her through. She's an amazing teacher.

Here they are in front of our fireplace. Back then it wasn't finished. I'm now happy to say it's done, and I'm typing away in front of it, wishing it's cold enough outside to have a fire in it. Sigh. Fall in South Texas.

They're so sweet. And growing waaaaay too fast.

Speaking of growing waaaaay too fast... here's Carlito Burrito twelve weeks ago...

And here she is now, in her new hat, in her new chair, in her new home.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I wanted to post the winner of the Shutterfly contest a looooong time ago... but we moved into our new house right when the contest ended.

 We went 10 days without any phone service at all... and over 2 weeks with no internet. It was not a fun time.

 Soooooo... the winner of the contest is...

Which was this comment:


Thank you all for entering. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ready or Not, It's Coming

Christmas is my absolute favorite time of year. Hands down.

I love the music, the decorations, the food, the parties, the dressy clothes, the lights... I could go on and on.

I really love the meaning behind it, too. I love that it's the time of year that we celebrate our Savior coming to this world.

I don't love that stores (ahem. Hobby Lobby, I'm talking to you.) start putting out Christmas stuff in July, but I get why they do.

Maybe I just get annoyed because I'm nowhere near ready for Christmas this time of year.

But I am giving myself a little pat on the back right now.

I just ordered the kids' outfits for our Christmas cards today. (!!!) So I can cross at least one tiny little thing off my Christmas to-do list.

I love Christmas Cards. I've sent them out every year since Hubs and I got married. Which makes 15 years of Christmas cards, for those of you who are counting! This year will be our 16th card.

My favorite kind of card is always a photo card. Not only is it my favorite kind to give; it's my favorite kind to receive. I always display the Christmas cards we receive each season, and I keep the photo cards from years past. I love looking at the old cards. I love seeing how families change as time passes.

Shutterfly is making my Christmas cards waaaaaay less stressful this year. I've already found the one I'll be making for our family. All I have to do is upload my pictures to their website, personalize it, and I'm done. I don't have to spend hours in photoshop trying to add the perfect touch, just the right color, or changing the font 47 times. They've already done it for me.

Check them out! They have HUNDREDS of Christmas cards to choose from.

Aren't these beautiful?

Right now, they have special offers that can help save you time and money on photo cards, calendars, gifts and so much more.

Even better? They're giving away $50 off to one of my readers!!!

One of you will receive a promo code for $50 off your total order! This does not include shipping, and cannot be combined with any other offers.

Just leave me a comment, telling me which is your favorite photo card, and you'll be entered to win. Giveaway ends October 29, 2012.

Want to keep up with Shutterfly?

Like them on Facebook, or follow them on Pinterest.

This is a post sponsored by Shutterfly. I received compensation from Shutterfly in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are 100% my own.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How Cool is This???

I LOVE Shutterfly.

I have a few of their hardcover photo books, and have ordered Christmas cards and photo cards and such from them over the years. I've never been disappointed.

Right now, they're running a really cool photo contest: The Long Live Summer Photo Contest.

Win a trip for four to The Bahamas and a professional photo shoot so you’ll remember your vacation forever.  All you need to do is upload your favorite photo and caption based on the theme of the week.  Get a gift from Shutterfly just for entering! You can enter at any point during the 5-week sweepstakes period.

•       Week 1(7/9): Americana
•       Week 2 (7/16): Great Outdoors
•       Week 3 (7/23): Water Fun
•       Week 4 (7/30): Sports & Activities
•       Week 5 (8/6): Parties & Celebrations

•       Instant win prizes just for submitting a photo!
•       Weekly prizes (contestants can enter one time/week)
•       Weekly featured photos: up to 5 weekly entries will be selected from the gallery and featured on the Facebook fan page and awarded a $500 gift card on Shutterfly and a copy of the new Lonely Planet travel photography book.
•       Grand prize: trip for 4 to Bahamas, 4 nights, family photo shoot

For more information, go to:  http://bit.ly/sweepS

Good luck! (And take me if you win.)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Blinked, and a Month Went By

My little tiny baby is one month old.

This picture appeared in our local newspaper, announcing her birth. Sweet baby girl.

She is okay with baths, but isn't crazy about the part that comes next.

By the time we get around to drying her, and rubbing her down with lotion, her patience has evaporated.

I love the look on (all four) of their faces as Hubs burps them. I hope I never forget it.

Yeah. We went there.

This is, most often, the position Cavan assumes when he's "holding" her. He always puts his hands behind his head, and looks as if he's on vacation.

I love how newborns will nurse on anything that comes near their mouth!

Sweet, tiny little baby! I set up this shot in our kitchen one day, while everyone but me was asleep. I made it into her birth announcement.

Sleeping... she's very good at it. She is now a month old, and has been sleeping through the night for a few weeks, since June 23. I usually wake her up after about 9 hours... because I'm about to explode!

Sweet girl. Most of her clothes and sleepers are waaaaay too big for her. We've never had this situation before! (I actually call her "Tiny Hiney," because her little booty is about three inches wide!)

Sisters. Love this. I'm still not used to saying Christian has a sister. "Your sister." Weird to me.

She's sooooo warm and snuggly. I love that she loves to sleep with her arms thrown over her head.

Her first real bath, in a bathtub. June 25.

We had a busy day on July 4th. Poor Cavvie fell asleep sitting up on the couch.

I took these last night, on her one month birthday.

When she's awake (which isn't that often!) she is really alert.

Wide eyed, and ready to par-tay!

She only tolerates it for so long... then out it goes!

Sweet, snuggly baby, warm and cuddly after her bath.

Aaaaaaaaaand, she's out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

It Wasn't What I Expected... AT ALL

Hubs and I headed to the hospital at 1:30 am Monday, to be induced. We got there, I changed into the cute hospital gown I brought for the occasion, and the nurses got to work.

Except I was already in active labor. I had been having contractions all day and night, and they came every five minutes the entire drive to the hospital. I was already dilated to a four, so they called the doctor. He said to start pitocin at 6 am, to get my contractions stronger and faster.

They gave me an epidural around 4 am, and we settled in to wait.

Some of us were more settled in than others. Don't worry; Hubs didn't let those nurses interrupt any of his precious sleep.

Throughout the day, my doctor and the nurses checked on my progress. I stopped dilating at 5cm, so they upped the pitocin, and my doctor broke my water around noon.

But then the baby's heartrate dropped, so they backed off on the pitocin. And once again, progress stalled. After this happened a few times, and my blood pressure dropped, my doctor called it: a c-section. It was the scenario I refused to mentally prepare for, since I was dead set against it. But with a baby that wasn't happy with stronger contractions, there was really no way around it.

So Hubs changed into his scrubs... as you can see, this was at 3:30.

We were both quite nervous.

Twenty minutes later, at 3:50 pm, Carleigh Addison was here.

And she was perfect!

She was bigger than Cullen, but smaller than both Christian and Cavan.

After they fixed me up, they took me back to my room to recover. Hubs had already made it there with the baby.

I got to hold her for just a few minutes, because something went terribly wrong.

They took my epidural out in the OR, and it was supposed to take about two hours to wear off.

But it started wearing off in 15 minutes.

At first, I just felt a burning sensation in my lower abdomen, but it very quickly worsened.

Within minutes, I felt like I was being ripped open. Which I guess makes sense.

At first, I grabbed the bed rails, trying to deal with the pain. But as I gained more and more feeling, grabbing the bed rails stopped helping.

I began shaking, and crying, which progressed to full-blown sobbing, as the pain became more than I could take.

There were a lot of people in my room, and Hubs asked them all to leave, while the nurses tried to get some pain medication into me as quickly as they could. They just weren't expecting the epidural to wear off that quickly. It was so bad, I was completely tense and had my back arched off the bed. I couldn't relax my muscles enough to actually lie on the bed. After about 45 minutes of this, I first started to get some relief. With each push of the button that dispensed medication every six minutes, I felt just a little better. An hour later, and I could finally stop crying, start taking deep breaths, and deal with the pain.

At least I had this as my reward.

While I was doped up on three different pain medications, baby Carleigh got her first bath.

There I am, on my way to some relief, holding onto that button for dear life.

Grandma helped the nurse get her ready for her first photo.

All four of my babies wore this outfit for their first hospital picture.

Isn't she gorgeous???

I'm looking a little loopy.

I just wish I felt as loopy as I looked.

Hubs fell in love with her in the OR.

Actually, we both did.

He's the official burper in the family. I am almost incapable of getting my babies to burp, but he does it every time.

He's also the official swaddler. I suck at that, too.

Our first night with her was so sweet. She was definitely the best of the four while in the hospital. She hardly ever cried, and nursed and slept like a champ.

Unfortunately, Cavan got sick with fever and vomiting, so the other three were quarantined at my in-laws' house for a few days. They didn't get to meet Carleigh until Wednesday night when we came home, and then they left for a few more days. I missed them so much.

So many sweet people brought us thoughtful gifts and beautiful flowers and plants.

We brought our precious girl home Wednesday afternoon, after two days in the hospital.

She is so stinkin' cute!

Her hair is darker than the others, but otherwise she looks just like they did as newborns.


As I write this, she is now six days old. Hubs keeps saying that it's so weird how she just got here, but it feels like he's known her forever. He's so right. Lord, I love that man.

And I love this sweet little girl, too.

And this one.

When Hubs and I saw this picture, we both laughed. I'll have to find it, but somewhere we have this *exact* picture from when Cullen was born: Christian cuddling him while he's on a Boppy pillow. Unless I'm mistaken, he's even lying in her right arm, just like Carleigh is here.

The kids fell in love with her the moment they saw her.

My precious ten year-old, holding my precious two day-old.

He says she's his baby.

Which makes sense, I guess. He's the only one she talked to while in utero ("She said B, Mommy!!! She said, B!!!").

Cavan was pretty taken with her, too.

But he thinks her umbilical cord is the most disgusting thing he's ever seen!

But her super-cool binky makes up for it.

So... our little family has grown once again.

We're settling in, and trying to find our new normal.

Unfortunately, once again, my boys are sick. Cavan came down with fever today, and Cullen followed suit shortly after. So they're gone again, at my in-laws' house.

And it absolutely breaks my heart. When they're sick, all they want is to be in my lap. And all I want is to hold them and kiss them and hug them and love them.

Twice this week, I haven't been able to.

I really hope we find our normal soon.