Two Years

Two years ago today, we walked into a hospital kissing and hugging our little 15 month old daughter closely.  It would be 8 more long months before we could feel her cheek against our lips or her head resting on our shoulders.  After this day, two years ago, six of the longest and hardest days of our lives followed followed.  We watched our daughter, lay in a bed weighed down trying to stretch her neck out to gain her just a little more time before spinal fusion surgery.  Mark and I were on the road twice a day swapping up our time between her and the rest of the kiddos and seeing each other only briefly between tag teaming.

I praise God for his protection and provision over those six days, those eight months, and these past two years.  We have seen His hand move over and over and over.

And Emmie, well, this was her two years ago:

And today:

She sat with me in church humming the hymns, trying to do the Scripture memory and cuddling sweetly as she slept.  She ran down the steps from Sunday school and placed her head on my shoulder when she was tired.  Have we kissed those precious cheeks that we missed two years ago?  You bet we did!  She laughs.  She plays.  She fights with her siblings and has normal three year old demands.

Our unstable 15 month old old has turned in to a very confident, often silly, and fully loving three year old.  We praise God for all He has done!

Don’t forget about the NF Walk!  Join Team SuperEms Sidekicks or give and help us raise funds to fight NF through the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

May Randoms

All of our May normal-ness rolled up into one post.

Ceili Rain enjoys reading to her brothers and sister.

We lit up our house to “Shine a Light” on NF!  Really, these two little spot lights were super cheap and cast a perfect glow for NF Awareness. Sometimes, video time is sleepy time for Emmie. We had a very cold snap in May.  Emme and Bryant decided to dress for the occassion.  Complete with short short skirt, shorts, and no shoes…and don’t forget the winter coat. We found out the week of that our local theater troupe was doing a school performance of their Beauty and the Beast show.   I didn’t really think there was any chance I could snag 10 tickets to see the school performance (which was around $5 a person) but decided it was worth a shot.  It turned out they still had tickets available and Emmie got to see her Belle and Beast on stage!  She was thrilled.  They put on a great show too!

Ace built a Studio C ‘C’ for a competition.  He didn’t win but I thought it was pretty creative. These boys were not super excited when we swapped their rooms around and put them together.  That quickly changed and we can often find them playing together or reading before lights out. Raising awareness on NF awareness day, May 17th. Malachi was an overachiever and decided he wouldn’t lose his first tooth…but his first two teeth!

Emmie and flexis are pretty standard wear on Sundays. Daddy selfies are always fun.

Diving In

We had two boys decide to join the summer swim team this year!  This was our first year on a team and a really big learning year for us.  

Liam did great and showed some major improvements in sportsmanship, diving and swimming in general.  He actually won the award for most improved in his age group!  And he won several ribbons for relays and backstroke (which proved to be his strongest race)

Silas loved every second of swim.  He improved on his times for all races and declared that the butterfly was the best stroke.  He won several ribbons for relays and freestyle and also a couple of heats in backstroke!  His year end award was “Most Excited to Swim.”

There is a dad on the team who can make magic with sharpies!  The boys called them tattoos.

We’re excited to see what next summer holds for these two and, hopefully a couple of other kiddos!

Our first meet was super long.  And all of us felt it.  Mark and I quickly realized staying for an entire meet did not work for any of us!  

Baptism

We are in a great church that really encourages leadership in the family.  Mark has definitely been challenged and stepped up to lead our family closer to God.  It’s a sweet blessing that he has baptized one of our kids and now, a second one.

Liam made a decision to follow Christ a couple of years ago but wasn’t ready to follow through in believer’s baptism until recently.  I can’t explain what a blessing it is to watch two dads baptize their sons as a public profession of their faith in Christ. Liam decided before he was baptize to just start the process and dunked himself…hence the reason he was already wet. Our pastor is to the right of Mark giving a brief explanation of what it means to be baptized.

Baptized!

 

Pomp and Circumstance

My oldest niece graduated from high school ya’ll! Oh dear,  I feel old.  She is a beautiful young lady who is going to do some pretty amazing things!  I can’t wait to see it all!  

Aunt Yaya with her best friend, K,  and my niece J.

K has been like a second mother to J.  I love seeing my niece getting all the love!

After graduation, we got to spend a couple of days with Grandmere and Papa.

And I met a little chipmunk as we left!

Camping and a Confession

May and June were just plumb busy ya’ll.  We had something every weekend and pretty much every day.  So, when we realized the girls may not get to go to an AHG camp planned for June, Mark and I decided to give up our only free weekend (which also happened to be our anniversary weekend) for the girls and our whole family to participate in an AHG family camp.  And then a week before, I got an email asking me to plan and grocery shop for the meals for camp.  I agreed because I felt the Lord was telling me to do it.  But I didn’t agree with a joyful heart.  I grumbled and complained the whole week.  Got my ducks in a row, got the groceries for around 50 people and we loaded up and went.

We got to camp and were about a 1/4 of a mile from bathrooms (don’t forget I’m pregnant ya’ll).  There was no running water on the site. And we thought that we were missing a pole to a brand new tent.   I about had a two year old temper tantrum at the campsite.  Mark made the sleeping arrangements work with our small four person tent and other large tent. After calming myself and chatting with God and friends, I decided the self-pity needed to end and I had to just enjoy it.  We found out later that the camp coordinator was told there were bathrooms right near the site and that running water would be onsite.  And as we loaded up the following evening to beat the rain, we realized the missing tent pole wasn’t missing.  We had just misread the directions. God blessed us with an amazing sunset!  Just seeing this made it all worth all the headache. Watching the kids get filthy….trekking in pitch black dark to the bathroom and making new friends.  Once my attitude adjusted, it was a wonderfully fun trip!

A Night at the Symphony

Last year, we planned our beach trip the same weekend as the local symphony’s annual free performance, Pops!  Under the Stars.  We made sure not to miss it this year though.  We were blessed to be able to meet up with several of our church families…which meant our kids stayed entertained, we enjoyed music and there was enough food to feed a small army.  Church people don’t starve.
It was pretty sunny and some of our friends needed to protect their delicate skin from the sun! Emmie and selfiies…yes thank you! Of course, we had to get one in.   Tot wanted one too!  He loved all the pets but the fireworks were not his friends.  He made it through though.

Plotting, planning and playing.

Our littles were super glad that some church members were home from college and literally, attached to their backs!

And Ace really got into the music.

Super Ems Turns 3!

I can’t believe it’s been three years since this little princes/super hero/silly girl made her entrance in to this world.I don’t think any of us would trade her for the world!

She has lots of loves but Minnie Mouse and princesses are in the top spots (okay, so are all animals).  I couldn’t resist grabbing up a Minnie Mouse outfit for the occasion.  And, of course the ears. Her brothers had to get in on picture time too. And a Minnie Mouse balloon made it a great day.

Emmie loved opening gifts and enjoyed each one.

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided making a Minnie Mouse cake wouldn’t be too hard.  If I hadn’t messed up on the fondant the first time (and threw it all over the kitchen table), it probably wouldn’t have been bad…Regardless I am super happy with how it turned out and seeing the smile that stretched a mile wide on our birthday girl was worth every bit of the headache I brought on myself.

For those who want a challenge:  Here is the video I used to make the cake.  Take note that in the comments, it also includes a link to a template.  Templates make life a little easier.  I also make my own marshmallow fondant using this website recipe.  Finally, this little image saved me from a lot of headache trying to figure out how to get the peachy/light beige color of Minnie’s face.

Here’s the photo montage of the process to get to Minnie!

Minnie has a face! Phew….at this point, I felt like I might survive.

Bowed up.  Because we had an extremely busy week, I had to get her face made about five days before her birthday.  I just put her in the fridge until we were ready to use her.

The birthday girl with her birthday cake!

Island Adventures

Here it is!  The long awaited kitchen island renovation.  We started work on the island in April.  I planned out two weeks without a dishwasher and island and Mark worked hard to get us working by then.  I think he did a great job!  Regardless, we didn’t get it fully finished until May.  Even now, we need to install our disposal button and fix a little bit of a leak.

So before:

The wonky angled sink and the the extremely high bar made the island counter space pretty much useless. (note our sweet Sunny girl who passed away at the end of May.  She was our sweet baby.)

And close to after. Right now, the floors are all torn up…new flooring is going in this month.

Here’s the process:

Getting the tile in.  We used white ceramic tile and some beautiful hand painted talavera tiles.We bought the cabinets and Mark started the planning process

Yes, I would have loved a farmhouse sink, but we found this one and the size and style was perfect.  We thought we wanted a double sink, but we did a lot more research and talking to others (i.e. surveying friends and Facebook peeps) and realized a large one bowl sink may be what will work.  After using it for over two months, I am in love with it.  We go the largest and deepest sink and it’s great for our large pans and dishes!  It’s also going to make a sweet bath for baby Tobin!

Industrial?  Commerical?  Sure, but it was just the style I wanted.

Demo day.  Mark got the bar granite removed while I was away but I got to watch the rest of the island come down.

Bye, bye crazy island set up.

Putting the cabinets in place. We did very little moving of the plumbing and Mark built a box around it to make it easy to get to if needed.  Saved us thousands of dollars in plumbing re-location.  One of the joys of a concrete slab. Since I know next to nothing about how to construct things, I got to paint.  See, I’m the visionary and Mark is the one who makes it happen.

The night before we tiled the counter, was spent arranging, rearranging and sending pictures to friends for approvals and ideas.

Finally decided what we wanted.

The next morning, we go to work.  I did most of the tiling.  Mark did a lot of the cutting.

The couple who grouts together, stays together…right?!  After we finished grouting the whole thing, we we went out on our cruise.  We were exhausted but it was the perfect way to relax.

Mark turned gray from a day of cutting tile!

 

My parents have a lot of stuff because they have an antique booth, go to estate sales, and are frequent auction attendees.  As such, when I mentioned I needed drawer pulls, my mom told me to shop with them first.  And I did.  I found these brass and ceramic pulls that I thought would look great with our already decked out island.  Just needed some slight updating.  

A good ol’ cleaning eraser and some oil-rubbed bronze spray paint….Ta Da!  Brand new drawer pulls.

This island has been wonderful!  We have plenty of room to do meal preps, and all the other things we need to do.  Because we took out the bar, and set it at a proper rectangle, we also have a much wider space.  Our living room looks huge!  I can not wait to get the floors in and see it all finished up (and to get my house put back together.).

April 2017 Randoms

On the way home from the NF Symposium and airport, we stopped to grab supper.  When we got back to the car, this was on our window. Such a sweet finding.

Tot is clearly a very social dog.  He loves people but he equally loves visits from other dogs.  We loved being able to watch our friends’ dog, Riley.  Tot and Riley are best buddies! Expecting some rough weather, we battened down the hatches but wound up getting just rain…which meant we had some fun in puddles! Emmie’s first ponytail!   Emmie’s first person!  I personally think we got a smart girl on our hands! Teaching Ceili Rain to crochet. Bryant is a teeth losing machine! Waiting on Zoe to find a dress for Easter, the other two girls decided to have a fashion show.  What happens on long drives.

Meeting a friend’s newest and beautiful daughter, O.  Look at all that hair! Obviously, we have a very busy house and some days are busier than others.  We can gauge how busy our days are by Tot’s comatose state.  This particular night, he wouldn’t budge until we started turning lights off and heading to bed.
Emmie’s figured out how to take pictures with our phone.  And edit them.

Sunday mornings are no longer bow mornings for Emmie.  All she ever wants is a flexi!  I miss the bow days but I have to admit she can wear a flexi just as well.