{Group picture}

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

 This christmas was special! We were able to spend it with my brother &his sweet growing family. My parents were there too. We arrived Christmas day & the children picked up right where they left off. We all contributed to the christmas meal. I made a mint chocolate bundt cake that I will certainly make again. My Dad wanted a group picture for christmas. & right before we all departed for home we took the pictures below as place holders until we can get one where we are all dressed for the occasion & the conditions/lighting are better. I am so thankful to have my family near by for the holidays. I believe that growing up near my extended family gave me a sense of security & support that I otherwise would not have had. I know it will do the same for our children. Spending Christmas with family is always better than spending it with just the 7 of us. We like having those we love near us. I feel so lucky that my parents adore Rod! & I love even more that Rod loves my parents so much so that he practically begs them to move in with us overtime he talks to them. Christmas was magical. 
I hope that soon we can do christmas with Rods family. Its been a long time & We want the 5 to know & love the other side of the family too! Our thoughts were with them and 
we hope they felt our love. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas morning was a riot. The kids received gifts from each other and Santa & grandparents & us. We are still doing the 3 gifts were child thing & love it! We really enjoy picking out just a few special items. For example...Maddox wanted a chicken. A chicken to hypnotize to do his jobs. Santa didn't think a real chicken was a wise idea so he sent a rubber chicken to give us all a laugh! We had cinnamon rolls, juice & quickly dashed out the door for our drive to Dallas. It was the perfect christmas morning. The children were grateful for all their gifts from family. Every time I hang up 5 stockings my heart swells. I feel so blessed to have all these special babies here in our family. 

{Oreos on the 24th}

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The man of the house HATES his birthday. I mean really hates celebrating his birthday. So we went ahead & respected his wishes and kept it simple. I did however make him a cake...made completely of oreos. He sure loves oreos. Because Rod's birthday falls on Christmas eve we also read "The Night Before Christmas" & Rod & I exchanged gifts. Rod is always clever with his presentation. This year there was a gift from each child, something that would help me mother them happily. It was sweet. Really sweet. The children tracked Santa & fell asleep in anticipation of the morning & all the surprises it would hold. Rod & I made sure santa cookies & milk were left out & that the reindeer had carrots to snack on. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

   Our family put on a live nativity. Tre narrated this year. It was fun watching Britt & Maddox wait for their parts to be read as a wiseman & shepherd. The story was sinking into their growing testimonies. They were so focused. Presley wanted to be an angel, then Mary, then an angel. So She helped me in the roll of Mary. Rod was Joseph, Lucca was the donkey & Cooper was a sheep because he liked to wander around. I hope they remember these things & pass the traditions onto their own families someday. 


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ill be honest. I had high hopes for the days before christmas. Rod had the week off & I thought we would loud up the days before christmas with festive outings & cozy nights together. The children were not feeling up to it I guess. Because they all fussed the entire trip to see the lights, during the lights & the drive home. It became my own personal nightmare. Trapped in a car with 5 angry children for the better part of 2 hours. & Pretty much any other activities we attempted had the same result. You win some, you lose some. I think we are just in a place where all the kids are going through some kind of funk of a stage. Cooper isn't sleeping well because he wants mommy to sing wheels on the bus to him all night long, Presley doesn't sleep at all, Maddox sleeps great now, but is really rather sassy, Britton is scared of being alone, & Tre is ten on somewhere between baby & teen, respectful, but kind of emotional about everything. I just have to embrace it & remember that I will miss these things, just as I miss rocking infants all night. Even with 5 grumps its been so nice having them home. School stresses me out so much. All day kinder is a bit much for Maddox. His teacher is a bit much for me. I know he is a handful. I told her that before she even met him. I filled her in on his history as an infant & his therapy etc. I feel like she did not hear me. & I get email after email with pictures of his work and how its not perfect and how he will sit at his desk not sure what to do next. & I just want to say...go over to him! Help him! or buddy him up with a student who does know what to do next! I want a plan of action on how to help him & build his confidence, not just tell me what he cannot do. He is such a big hearted, blue eyed darling. He is a difficult buddy. I get that. I never denied that. But he also shares everything he has with anyone who asks. He loves everyone he meets at first glance. He is the first to defend someone being bullied. He really is a gem if you dust away some of the rough spots! I wish so badly she would take a moment & do that! This is all new to me. Britt & Tre are A++++ students. I know Madds can pick it up with some extra help & a teacher who believes in him.  I am not looking forward to the return to the classroom for the big boys & Presley. I am savoring these lazy days at home with the children. 

{deck the halls}

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Every year we film the kids decorating the tree. These videos are treasures to me!

{soap for sale}

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Every year at the boy's school the 2nd graders make items to sell at the annual economics fair. All the money earned goes to a charity. Its neat to see all the fun things kids make to sell. Britt followed in T's footsteps and made Lego soap. Once again they sold out! Britt was eager to make his rounds & spend his own money on his classmate's creations. Lots of our little friends from primary & the neighborhood were selling magnets & jewelry, played...all kinds of things. We saw Madds & T too. I love seeing my kids in the middle of the school day. 


Thursday, December 18, 2014

I have been really down lately. I have 5 wonderful children, but they are growing and rather quickly. I see Mom's at the bakery or market with 2 sometimes 3 little pre school ages children. They are young & glowing with the excitement of the start of their young family. I see them with little babies in carriers & my stomach tightens. That was me. I just had babies. Little children in my care. Now I have a ten year old. I am not that young Mom. I mean I am young. Young to have a 10 year old compared to many, but I am not a new mom anymore. I used to think I was so excited to have all my children in school. I thought i would want to go to the gym more, nap, have lunches with friends. But its coming at me like a freight train & I cannot run fast enough away from it. The thought of Cooper starting pre school in 2 years is devastating. Those naps and workouts that i thought sounded so appealing no longer seem desirable. So what does that mean? Do I want to fill this nest with more babies to keep me young & with pre school aged babies? I do not know. I am in such a weird chapter of my life. It feels like I am way in over my head. You know that song from Annie where miss hanging is singing "little girls, little girls, everywhere i turn there is little..." I swear I feel that way with boys most days. Swimming in dirty footprints & school papers. Not to mention the emails from certain kindergarten teachers who I swear is out for my blood! Its a lot to deal with, but I still have that yearning for babies. & so I juggle between drowning in children & wanting more children. It flip flops from moment to moment. Lots of my friends from high school are now just starting to have their 1st or 2nd babies, my social media is birth announcement after birth announcement. How am I supposed to fight off the baby hunger with all these sweet fresh to the world faces in my feed? But like I said...I have a 10 year old now. TEN. Its crazy! When he was born I was clueless & weepy & not sure I would ever really feel connected to this new squishy faced baby, but it happened. At 3am mid nursing session with princess diaries or elf or sense and sensibility...something...playing quietly on the TV...I fell head over heels in love with his rose cheeks, his blue eyes & his sweet sweet disposition. He loved to be held & so I did just that..I held him. Every moment of every day. He slept in the bjorn on my chest while i did classwork or I washed dishes, cooked dinners. I walked him everywhere. I was so proud to be a mom & so I took him out in public every second I could so everyone else could ohh & ahhh over his smiles & belly laughs. & They did. Everyone commented on MY baby! I loved it. He loved it. That time in my life was magical. It was often just me & Tre. We were a pair. Ten comes with its joys. Tre is so helpful & smart  brilliant, he is a leader in his school with student council & he was invited to be on the math team, & choir & fitness club & goes on. There is a wall at his school that says "HO Elementary leaders." Tre is in 4 out of the 6 pictures. The only reason he isn't in the others is because he is not yet a 5th grader. Ten is also tricky it means lots of "talks" about "changes" & no one told me how sensitive 10 year old boys can be! yikes. But He is worth all of it! I cannot imagine a better son to make me a mother & help me learn along the way. He is a dream of a child. Everyone refers to him as our angel. They are not wrong.

For T's 10th birthday Rod & I really wanted to do something special for him. The last 3 birthdays have been pretty lame. He was sick with the flu last year & the 2 previous years Rod was gone (okay so its been 4 years that Rod has been gone) & we didn't do much of anything. This year we told T wad a surprise planned but that he wouldn't know till after school on the day of his birthday. We wrapped up 4 packages. each had a clue for him. for example one was 4 hats to the local NBA team, the next was a basketball, the next parking passes at the city's NBA arena. He was so excited when he put it all together & figured out I was taking him & his 3 best friends & a mom to keep me company & sane to a basketball game. We had a great time! We stopped at T's 2nd favorite burger place, the boys played a game their on a phone called "heads up" so funny. then we made it to the game & had a great time cheering & trying to get on camera. Tre has such good friends. They are all pretty amazing! I took pictures of the night on my phone because lugging a big camera to a game sounded not fun. Ill have to get those on here at some point, but for now these are the pictures from the day & the unwrapping of the clues. Also he loves cream cheese raspberry pie.

{getting the tree}

Monday, December 08, 2014

Saturday started early with a choir performance at the winter festival in our area of the city. Tre did a great job & had 1 of the only 2 speaking parts in the performance. The boy is so well rounded & diverse in his interests. It was nice having Rod home for the day. Its not long, but we will take whatever we can get these days. Its been months without him home. We watched santa arrive in a helicopter & ate mango snow cones, had a meltdown or two (the kids this time. not me.) We decided to find lunch at a local restaurant. Having my mom here makes everything better, and then add Rod in too! There were 3 adults vs 5 kids rather than the typical just me. It was nice. Since Rod was home only for the day we decided that after naps we needed to go get our real tree. We have a few faux trees up in the house already, but we have a love for the scent of the real tree & the hunt for a good one. Or at least we did love the hunt. Last year was magical. The sun was setting. The lights were strung up & gave a soft glow. the children went from tree to tree feeling and smelling each one. they held hands & were enjoying the moment. this time.... it was like crazy monkeys were climbing on everything, hitting each other with sticks. Let me stop a moment. It was not all the kids. Just Britt & Madds. but when they are "on" they are the equivalent of 100 kids. Each. So the search for the perfect tree became the search for any tree so we could just get the heck home! In the end we found a pretty tree. I prefer slightly odd, fat trees. I don't know what that says about me. We will wait to decorate it when Rod sneaks home again next weekend. The children are anxious, but not a one of us wants to do it without him here.

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