Sunday, March 30, 2014

Work with daddy = fun with mommy

The kids love to go to work with Chris. They dream about their turn many days before it actually happens. They will pack their own backpack with a few small toys, paper and coloring utensils, and some snacks. Charlie lasted from just before lunch to dinner time at Chris' office.

Gwen and I painted each other's nails and made chocolate banana n'ice cream shakes. She actually held really still for her turn and did a fairly decent job on my nails. I was way impressed. 


Gwen's turn to go to work with Chris was a few days later and she lasted about an hour. :) Charlie and I still had time to play soccer and make another shake so it ended up being fine. Fun times. 

In Frederick news he can be very vocal at times and is the cutest talker. 

He still wakes up at least twice during my night so that's a bit rough but he's filling out nicely and loves to be rocked and bounced which gives me a nice workout. I don't know if it's because of it being #4, or not being able to run throughout the pregnancy, or the stress(eating) of the past 6 months, or because I'm almost 30....but man, this baby weight is just hanging around. No fun.  But I sure so love these quiet moments: 

And these silly, and loud playmates make me smile:

Alec is working hard in school and getting fantastic grades, reading well and excitedly doing math problems (the harder the more excited he gets) and singing made up songs that say, "I like science.....science is cool" Inspired by Bill  Nye. Poor boy is gone most of the day and therefore doesn't get many picture taken of him but I'm often caught off guard by his good looks. He looks just like his Daddy. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Post vacation rest syndrome


7 hour drive each way for 3 days at the beach followed by a less than 24 hr stop at home before another 10 hr car trip to Nashville and back within 24 hours makes for a tired crew.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Spring break beach vacation

It really has been a very difficult past couple of months...no...make that 6 months ... or 8 months...well when do I even stop? But the last couple of months have been excruciating at times so we decided to throw caution to the wind and  rent a condo by the beach in Destin, Florida for 3 days, 4 nights during spring break! We've all been looking forward to it and made zero plans for it besides relaxing and swimming as much as we can. 

On Friday after lunch we picked up Alec from school and drove the 7 hours (with stops) to the beach. The condo was beautiful and sooo nice, too nice really but Chris took care of that real quick by putting up above the kitchen cupboards all the pretty, breakable decorations within the kids' reach.  There was 1 bedroom with a king sized bed (perfect for Chris, Frederick and I) and a little hallway alcove with a set of bunk beds for the boys and Gwen slept in our closet. 


Saturday morning Chris made the meal Alec requested (German pancakes) while I slept in a bit. Before 10:00 we were all dressed, lunch packed, and enjoying the sun at the beach.  Sand castles, burying everyone, jumping over waves, playing catch with gloves and baseballs, and snuggling Freddy about sums it up. 



By 3:00 we (mostly Frederick and Gwen) we're ready for some indoor time and we left the beach and walked the 5 min walk across and down the street back to our condo to put clothes on to grab a few things at Walmart and go out to eat at a yummy mom and pops pizza place. 

Then we came home, put on swimsuits again and swam in the awesome pool at the condo...in the dark, under the stars, when it was way past bedtime. The kids loved that.  They also loved that we let then eat ice cream and peanut m&ms and watch dirt bike racing until 1 by 1 they fell asleep on the couch. 



A pretty awesome vacation day. 

The rest of the days of our vacation were less awesome between bad sunburns, kid tantrums, and uncontrolled emotions from everyone. But here are the highlights: 

Sunday we slept in and attended an 11:00 church 30 min away and stayed for the first 2 blocks. Then we found a shady (remember the sunburns?) park and had a picnic lunch and little family testimony meeting. 


We ate Charlie's pick for dinner: macaroni and cheese and hung around the condo playing uno and speed and battleship. 

Monday we had sunshine pancakes for breakfast and swam at the pool most of the day. Then Chris took the 3 older kids miniature golfing while I hung out with Frederick at the condo. At 6:30 we walked down the street to a local burger place for dinner followed by a starlight walk on the beach.  Sounds romantic but with 4 tired kids 7 and under it was more adventurous than romantic. It was fun to use Chris's star-constilation finding app. 


Tuesday we had to be checked out of our place by 10:00 and then spent the rest of the morning at the beach. It was a bit cold and overcast so we left around 1:00 to drive back home to Mississippi. We were quite lucky in the weather since all of our full days were warm and beautiful.  It was kind of interesting to watch all the college spring breakers party it up. Between them and the retired couple population I felt like we stood out a lot with our big young crew but most everyone was very kind and smiled at the kids...especially Frederick. 


We really enjoyed the break from life and hope to be able to do things like this more often in the future. For the rest of our spring break Chris has a day full of tests and appointments on Thursday up in Nashville with the Vanderbilt doctors as a follow up from his stem cell transplant...so it's off to Nashville tomorrow. 

Frederick's blessing

We had a lovely morning on the special Sunday that Frederick was blessed. Chris had to leave early for meetings like usual and I got out of bed earlier too so I could have a better chance at making it to church on time. All the kids needed baths, breakfast and to get dressed so I had my work cut out for me. I was very careful to not get mad or frustrated at the kids because I wanted to be able to have a sweet spirit about us for Frederick's blessing. I tried not to think about the fact that we don't have any family nearby to help make this day feel special or any get together with delicious food. I started singing made up songs to little Freddy about what a special day it was and pretty soon all the kids caught on and everyone pitched in to get ready mostly happily.  Alec set the table and gave everyone their favorite color of bowl and cup...Charlie helped me get Frederick dressed in a new white footsie outfit and held him whenever I couldn't. I even had time to throw a frozen crockpot dinner bag into the crockpot and Gwen peeled some extra potatoes and carrots to enhance it. 




I had the thought (inspiration, I'm sure) to put a few little notebooks and new pens in our church bag. While we weren't exactly early we were very very close to on time to church.  When Chris got up to bless Frederick, I passed out the notebooks and pens to Alec, Charlie and Gwen so they could help me take notes during the blessing (read: so they would stay quiet and occupied so I could listen and focus!) It worked! Chris gave a very nice blessing. These things stood out to me: 

That Frederick was born into a family full of love and God's love and that he can internalize, reflect and magnify that love.  He was blessed with the ability to feel the Spirit and to quiet his own mind. Also that he would be a true friend and brother, bring others closer to Christ and find his place in time and in God's eternal family. 

Frederick looked so cute in his soft white footsie onesie. I wish we could've gotten more pictures of him. 

I made carrot cake as a celebratory treat and brought some to our first branch choir practice.  We're getting ready for a Good Friday musical fireside. 

Turns out all my pictures of his blessing day are on our home computer so here are a bunch of The Cutie Pie I took of him the morning I was supposed to be packing for our spring break beach trip...his cuteness distracted me. 

And here are finally the pictures from his blessing day
 



Monday, March 3, 2014

First race!

Chick-fil-a put on a little race in Starkville. There was a 10k, a 5k and a 1 mile. I've been trying to get back in shape after having Frederick but it's been a long road and I've got sooooo far to go still.  You'd think my overweight body would be enough motivation but I'm finding it hard to get the energy and motivation to exercise and stop eating treats.  Anyway, I've digressed...I'm blogging about Charlie and Alec's first race!  Those two hoodlums and I signed up for the 1 mile. The day before I had a fever and major aches I didn't make it out to pick up our race packets and in the morning I still wasn't sure if I could run it and not knowing how the course would be laid out I wasn't comfortable sending the boys by themselves (Chris still is recovering and couldn't run it in my stead)   


We all get dressed and I decide I can probably make it for just 1 little mile and we head out to the race. It's such a small town/affair we find a parking spot within 50 feet of the starting/finish line. BUT packet pick up had closed already! Thankfully one of the workers thought they could print off some bibs for us but told us they were all out of shirts. Which is pretty sad since they looked really cool and the boys would've loved them...ok I would've loved one! 

The boys and I had "trained" for this and ran a mile the Saturday before so I don't think either of them were nervous as we lined up at the starting line. The boys took off like rockets and competitive Alec ran along with some other kids way up ahead and Charlie trotted in a perfect running gait 20 feet ahead of me the whole time.  Such cute kids, I'm so proud of them.