Monday, December 5, 2016

So Loved

I saw this image somewhere and it is just so happy. And it made me think of my kids {obviously}. I hope that regardless of how crazy things get around here (if you follow me on Instagram, I use #my3ringcircus quite frequently because, well, it is oh so true), that most of all, my kids know how very loved they are. Not only by Brad and me, but by so many others - friends and family alike. I try hard to show them and tell them how much they are loved, and I hope they really listen!

Here are a couple recent pictures of #my3ringcircus...
{December 1st - when Alvin came back!  They were all so excited!}
{Last night eating dinner at Newks - a pretty consistent Sunday tradition!}

Be sure to check back for some more updates of the fun we have been having!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Fall Break Getaway: Fun on 30A

In early October, we packed up and headed south!  We hadn't told the kids we were going, so it was fun to pick them up from school early and tell them where we were headed that very day! 
Since we didn't leave until mid-afternoon, it also meant a late arrival to the house we rented!  Once we got everything unpacked and the kids down, I finally sat down and enjoyed some quiet before heading to bed!
Everyone woke up eager and ready to go the first day down there!  The house we rented was amazing - it was the first time we didn't stay right on the beach, but it was so nice!
We enjoyed the wraparound porch at the house!  It was perfect!
After getting bathing suits and sunscreen on, we headed to the beach!  It was gorgeous!  30-A is most definitely my favorite place...I can just feel the stress roll right off when I get a glimpse of the beaches!
This may be one of my favorite pictures from the trip...Katie loved wave jumping!  The spot where we set up each day had a big sand bar so we could walk our pretty far and it was only a few inches deep!
And a picture of us together!  Love this one!
And some other kids came to dig and play - of course my fourth child (Brad) was in the middle of it all playing too.  Love that!
And a family picture!  Love this!  Goodness...amazingly beautiful water!
The crazies had a big time digging holes and wave jumping!
Where do you think they learned how to wave jump? :)
After some quiet time (and nap for Rhino), we surprised the kids and showed them that the house came with a GOLF CART!  They couldn't wait to hop on and take a ride!
I'd say they liked it!  Here we are close to two months since the trip and Ryan still talks about the golf cart almost daily!  That night we went to Bruno's Pizza (one of our favorites) for dinner!
We were able to catch the end of the sunset too!
After everyone got cleaned up, we found some puzzles at the house.  Katie and Brad really got into the puzzles!  We ended up doing two different puzzles on the trip - and actually Jack got into it too!
The following morning, these three finished the first puzzle after breakfast!
Then it was time to hit the beach again!
I got my picture of the three kiddos facing the ocean! 
It was at this point in the trip that it got intense.  After taking the picture of the three gazing out at the ocean, we couldn't find Jack.  It was the scariest bit of time (felt like an eternity, but in reality it was at most a minute or two).  I went one way yelling his name and Brad went the other way (I was carrying Ryan and Katie stayed at our towel set up area).  Finally we saw him walking toward us from down the beach.  Good grief.  I was so relieved to see him and waited until bedtime to ask him what he was doing.  He definitely is our wild man, but he stays close at the beach.  He said he looked up and saw a man in a orange shirt (like Brad) and a bunch of toys that were red, yellow, blue, and green (just like ours), so he went down that way thinking it was our stuff.  He also said a mom asked him where his parents are (thanks to that lady!), so I think that made him realize he wasn't finding us and encouraged him to turn around.  Thankful was quickly alright!  He was back to wave jumping in no time!
Ryan was happy for a little while.  After that he was just crying and miserable.  Brad ended up taking him back to the house to give him Tylenol (he had a canine tooth come in) and he fell asleep in his arms.  So Brad watched the Auburn game and was keeping me in the loop on football scores while I was at the beach with the big two.
It is unusual to see a lot of seaweed, but there was a fair amount this day.  It certainly didn't stop the kiddos from playing though!
Me and the big two crazies! I love this picture!
Brad and Ryan came to get us and we hung out at the house for a while - hello, Tennessee football - before heading out to find somewhere for some dinner.  We ended up at Whiskey Bravo on the rooftop to eat and kept watching the UT game.  I am not sure we will go back there for a while - it seems like it would be more enjoyable without kids!  Or at least with older kids.  But the rooftop was great!
And we caught another sunset!  We actually made it down to the beach to see this one!
Here is the kiddo crew heading down to splash for a minute!
And we got a family picture in front of the ocean too!
And a girl picture!
And it was time for another puzzle to begin!
And then it was time to head to the beach on the last day.  I think we developed a pretty basic routine down there!  Breakfast, puzzle, beach, lunch, quiet time, play, dinner, sunset, puzzle, shower, bed. Ha!
And as long as Ryan had snacks he was good.  He was happy some of the time and then started hurting again!
Brad checked on him and thought it was sun in his eyes or that he was hot or something...
And then he fell asleep in Brad's lap again.  Dumb teething.  Sweet Daddy though!
And day three of wave jumping!  Love that they were wanting to do it together!
When Ryan woke up, we were digging a big ditch and made a waterfall.  Ryan loved it when Katie and Jack poured water in there and splashed us.
I just need to document this.  Sweet brothers.  Cute buns.  And good GRIEF Jack was tan!  We called him our little Oreo!
That afternoon I went to visit sweet friends from college!  They were down for the weekend and I'm so glad I got to visit with them (even though it wasn't nearly long enough)!
I raced back so we could head to dinner...we went to my favorite spot, The Great Southern!  We got there and had a wait, but the kids had so much fun playing in the amphitheater!
Katie took a pretty good picture of me and Brad!
And once again...my four kids running around :)
Then we walked around and had to stop for a picture of the kids with the big duck in Seaside!
Goodness.  It doesn't get much better than this.  Grits A Yaya and Coconut Mojito.  This meal is one of my favorites EVER!
Monday morning we got up, packed up, and took the golf cart for one more ride to see the ocean before we loaded up to head home!
Had to get one more beautiful ocean picture :)
And I love this cute pic of the kids sitting on the front porch of the house we rented!
And the house!  We would definitely stay there again.  It was three bedroom with one of them having a bunk bed...the big kids loved having that!
Yay for slowly catching up!  That trip was great...I could've stayed for a couple extra days, but alas...we do not get a full week for fall break around here.  I will take any bit of beach time I can get though!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Gobble, Gobble: Thanksgiving 2016

I'm still here - just slacking big time on staying up to date with all the things we are up to!  I still need to do posts about Fall Break (at the beach!), a quick trip Brad and I took to New Orleans, a girls trip I went on, Halloween, the big kids' fall sports seasons...my goal is to try to do a post at least every other day (being realistic here) to catch up!  We will see how that works out...

Since Thanksgiving just happened, I thought I'd go ahead and do a current events post :)  I have to say it was nice to not really set alarms and have more of a relaxed schedule, but goodness I am looking forward to a little bit more of a routine.  The boys are dying to go back to school, and I think Katie will be so excited to see her friends and get back into her routine as well!

On Thanksgiving Day, I got up and tried a new fitness place.  They were offering free classes for the weekend, and I knew I would be eating terribly, so it was definitely a good idea.  I met some friends there and did a long class and loved it!  Definitely a hard work out - but it was awesome!  And since I was up early (it was a 6:45 class), I figured I would see if Starbucks was open...of course it was!  So I got myself a tall skinny peppermint mocha and payed for it and the person behind me!  I love doing little things like that.
When I got home, it was parade time!  I love watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...and I have my kids into it too!
Ryan was obsessed with it!  Everyday he has wanted to look on my phone for the "Thomas balloon" - ha!  He is also one to remember to bless the food at each meal!  Brad made a delicious breakfast and I snapped a picture of Ryan singing "God Our Father" before chowing down.
We didn't get together until midafternoon, so I actually got to watch the whole parade (and also do some laundry and other things) before starting to cook!  I made crockpot mac and cheese, cranberry chipotle meatballs, green bean casserole, brownies, and cinnamon roll monkey bread.  I also heated up some rolls and got the cranberry sauce out of the can :)  Look at this spread!  YUM!
Here was the cinnamon roll monkey bread!  I had to dump it from the bundt pan onto a cookie sheet so that it would cook a little longer. That meant it wasn't quite as pretty.  But good heavens it tasted SO GOOD!  I will definitely be making that again!
And before we started fixing plates, I got my mom to take a picture of my crazy crew.  Love this!  We didn't have to go anywhere on Thanksgiving Day, so I was in my house shoes after my shower...and I didn't wear any makeup! 
And my plate!  It was so good.  I love a good Honey Baked Ham!
I also love a full table of people we love!
After eating, I got a picture with my brother...not too shabby! The outtakes, as usual, were the best part :)
And as Cee Cee and Uncle Will were heading out, my crew wanted to sit and wave.  I got them to cooperate for a quick picture on the front steps and it turned out kinda cute!
And this was everyone's sentiment after eating all that yummy food.  Lazy.bums.
After getting the kids down, I went down the street for Round Two of desserts!  Thankful for friends that are like family!
When I got home, I marveled at the fact that there was NOTHING on the kitchen island.  No piles of papers.  No toys.  No NOTHING!  I am aiming to do better about keeping it clean.  We will see how long that lasts.  And we ended the evening by watching Elf!  That is something Brad and I have done for the past few years!
Friday afternoon we went over to Brad's aunt and uncle's house for another delicious spread of food!  His aunt is an amazing cook, so everything was delicious!  I snapped a quick picture of the kiddos in their backyard before it got dark!
And Brad's mom took a picture of the two of us!
After eating (and listening to Ryan whine and complain and cry about the food and pretty much refuse to eat - kind of like he did at my house the day before), the kids actually settled down and were still!  Even it was for only a few brief minutes.  But I documented it as it is a rare occurrence, especially at their house!
Now we have our Christmas tree and stockings up and are working on the rest of the décor!  I love having everything decorated, so I was glad to go from fall décor straight into Christmastime!

After the parade was over I had Katie read a Pete the Cat Thanksgiving book to the boys and it prompted discussions of what we are all thankful for.  I love that Jack was the leader of that conversation and asked everyone what they are thankful for.  It is so important to take some time and count our blessings!