September Randoms

This girl loves all things furry.  I think Lulu is saying the feeling is mutual. Some school days are normal…and then there are days when I teach a camo boxing clown!

Zoe had remarked to us a time or two that she couldn’t read things far away.  Words on the TV etc were getting hard to read.  So, off to the optometrist we went.  He found that her right eye was great but the left was a little off.  She needed glasses when looking far off.  Even though it is only a little off, she can definitely tell a difference.  Pay no attention to her photobomber in the background…life with brothers. Some days Emmie just needs to nap in a chair with a book about Star Wars.
As I mentioned earlier, Zoe is taking a Greek class.  These are her study notes.  Posted on my kitchen wall.  And her collection is growing. I think it’s pretty cool that she figured out a good way to study! These two boys were less than excited a year ago when we moved them into a room together.  However, this is their nightly bedtime routine now.  They read together until lights out.

Oh, just a normal lazy Sunday afternoon working on our computers…note the teenager in the background using hers too.

If ya’ll know me personally, you know there are two things that gross me out as a parent. Toes and teeth.  Give me a gash that needs staples or stitches.  Show me that bloody scrape but please, for the love of not seeing my last meal, do not make me pull a tooth or show me one hanging on by a thread.  I just can’t handle it.

But, alas, after fourteen years of mama-ing, it happened.  Mark had a meeting to go to and the girls had American Heritage Girls.  I took the crew with me.  As they were playing on the playground, Malachi let out a big cry and came running with a bloody mouth.  My insides started to turn.  Surely, this couldn’t be happening.  But it was!  The tooth that had been threatening to come out had to come out.  It was just dangling there.  He wouldn’t touch it.  I sucked it up….held my breath and pulled.  Out it came just as I started to gag.  Thankfully, I did not lose my supper. Mark ventured out with Ceili Rain to see a ballet production of Beauty and the Beast.  It was a last minute date night but definitely worth it.  She had a wonderful time and even Mark said the ballet was amazing. I have wanted to do an escape room group date with friends for a long time.  We grabbed up a groupon for one and let it sit for several months before we realized it was going to expire around the time Tobin was going to be born.   So we made plans to go and grabbed up some friends.  We had space for two more and a walk in couple joined our group too.  It was definitely fun!  We escaped with six minutes to spare and a little help from the referee/overseer/whatever.  I can’t wait to go again.
There is one thing I have craved this whole pregnancy…ice cream cones.  This one…did not meet my expectations, but it was still good.

Some days it’s hard being a dog in this house and you just pass out with your tongue hanging out.  For real Tot, we feel ya.

NF Walk 2017

With this pregnancy and just life happening all around, I haven’t posted much about our NF Walk.  But, regardless, it happened and we all had a blast. Emmie was so excited about the walk that she woke up at 2:30 the morning of, started to get dressed and cried that she was ready to go to the walk when Mark put her back to bed. Ceili Rain continued working on her cake decorating badge by helping with the cake and cupcakes. Ignore my big ol’ pregnancy belly and notice the cool bad/good guys in the background.  These guys were part of the 501st Legion-Georgia Garrison and volunteered their time to dress up in this hot costumes and make all of our kiddos super happy!  They were amazing and we were so excited to have them come…some of them drove up from three hours away to spend the day with us.

Emmie was shy at first and would have nothing to do with them.  She’s more of a clone wars-Ahsoka fan.  But after a while they were able to get her close enough to get a good picture.  During the walk, Mark was holding her when they walked passed the storm troopers and she lifted her head up and shot a quiet “pew” at them and grinned.

Even though the walk is over, we will happily accept donations to our team.  Any and all donations go to Children’s Tumor Foundation which funds research to end neurofibromatosis!  Our team goal is $2500.  We’re over a third of the way there and would love to meet our goal by the end of the year.

Time to Dance

Last year, I started looking for a way to get Emmie moving and active.  She’s shown very minor delays in gross motor skills mainly because of the halo.  Then with the diagnosis of scoliosis, I knew some kind of activity was needed to keep her active and moving.  Gymnastics is out.  Having rods and screws in a toddlers necks and encouraging her to bend on it…too much stress for me and daddy.  So, I looked at ballet and was so excited to stumble across Steps of Grace.  A special ballet class for super awesome kiddos.  The ballet instructor is an occupational therapist AND (which is cool for us) a scoliosis warrior.  She has special helpers all of whom are in school for occupational therapy.  Win-win for us.  We signed her up as soon as it was offered in August. As you can tell, she was only a little excited about this class.

She absolutely loves it.  Her teachers are wonderful and she is usually the first to run into class and greet everyone.  She is a social butterfly and dancing and interacting with others has been perfect for her. We look forward to seeing her grow and blossom through all of this!

Curly Sue

So, Emmie had her first haircut at 21 months old when they had to shave her hair for her spinal fusion surgery.  I realized when we sent her back that day that they would probably have to shave it some.  I wanted to cry but realized how stupid that would be to cry over something so minor compared to what they were going to have to do to her neck.  So, I took a deep breath and carried on.  But the nurses at CHOA are amazing and realized the significance of a first haircut and saved her locks for me.

So, when Irma blew through, I decided to go ahead and give Emmie a little trim.  Her hair grows a bit faster and thicker around her plexiform (tumor) and so, the part that had been shaved over a year ago needed to be evened up.

Ta Da! Not that big of a difference…but it made Mama happy.

So, also in September, I stumbled across some curly hair care products and decided to give them a whirl on Emmie’s hair.  She’s had waves and curls but I confess I had no clue what to do with a three year old curly girl.  I’m only five years in to being a curly girl myself and never thought I would have a curly kid.  I think I’ve finally come to the conclusion that after three years her curls may stick around for some time.

And this is the end result of the products! The product is called Curl Friends.  Our morning routine takes about five minutes to do and is super easy.  I dampen her hair, apply the pomade and then spritz with the texturizing mist.  She also has her hair washed with their shampoo and conditioner a couple of times a week.  It leaves her with soft little girl curly hair and the sides have gone from wavy to significant curls.  She’s still trying to learn not to tug on her hair and doesn’t understand that she doesn’t need to comb or brush it like her sisters.

Hurricane Party

September meant that we got a little visit from Hurricane Irma’s aftermath.  We live far enough inland that we really only saw rain and a lot of wind and were without water for less than twenty-four hours.
We did food prep.

Me:  Hey Ceili Rain!  Do you want to make some chocolate chip cookies for Irma?

Ceili Rain:  Sure!  Just let me quadruple the recipe!

When the chocolate chip cookies didn’t fill us up, we resorted to cooking on our camp stoves…in the garage.

And s’mores with neighbors on the porch.

We were so grateful that we didn’t have to deal with any big damage or days without power.  So many people suffered through a lot this hurricane season and are continuing to rebuild and recover.

Family Camp ’17

Family Camp 2017 was a little different this year.  Who am I kidding?  Each year we’ve gone to family camp it has been crazy different.  The first year, I had just suffered a miscarriage and Emmie was fresh out of the hospital with her new headgear (halo brace).  Second year included a jet lagged new son and daddy.  And this year…I was 33 weeks pregnant.  We knew we were in for a fun weekend when we met this little guy staring back at us.

Holding this girls hand as she gets to sleep never gets old.

Emmie had plenty of friends hanging out with her while Mark and I did a few races during our family olympics.  Mr. J is a family favorite!

Zoe determined that our family olympics group would be Team Fun because, ya’ll let’s face it, I didn’t get to help much and we have a lot of littles.  Zoe kept reminding me of that when she told me to get my life jacket on to do the mother/daughter kayak race.  At 33 weeks pregnant.

I sat in our kayak.  It had a hole unplugged and I started going down.  The guys kept saying it would be fine…I think they were snickering behind me.  Either way, I wasn’t going out on the water until they plugged it.  Successfully done…we were off. We tied for last but we finished.  Honestly, it wasn’t my pregnancy that gave me’s turning around!  I can never get the turns. Pretending to paddleboat.  The only way it’s really fun! Family Olympics is always a big hit.

Team Fun!

Archery tag was a new and fun activity!  Seriously, who doesn’t enjoy pelting their siblings with rubber arrows?!

Another fun feat…I hiked up the Little Stone Mountain Mill Trail. We started way down where that little road is. And Emmie?!  She also hiked the whole way up.  Mark and I were in tears.  We didn’t go up the first year.  Last year, Mark carried her the whole way.  And this year…she walked all on her own.

Such a lesson to us to take our mountains step by step…knowing that sometimes God is carrying us through the years…other times we just need to hold His hand to remind us He is with us.


The Long and Short of It

Zoe decided this summer that she was ready to get her hair cut.  Well, she said she did but she wasn’t quite ready but then she was…and then she wasn’t.  She finally pinned down that she wanted it cut before we went to family camp the first weekend in September.

She also knew she wanted to donate as much as possible.  This is her fourth hair donation and second time to donate to Wigs for Kids.  It’s fun to see her giving and adventurous spirit.

I have to admit that I held my breath through this process but she was chill and excited.

And after.  We measured about 20 inches that she had cut off.  She’s enjoying having short hair and has said she wants to go even shorter in the future!

August Randoms

Lulu is always eager to help kids do school!
She also is very loyal at guarding the bathroom.  Seriously…not hands…a tail. Our kids passed around a fun virus in July through August.  It included a day or two of fever and then feeling fine for a day or two.  Then, the fever would come back.  Usually, this lasted a week.  A couple of the kids kept having the fever but several doctor visits later and a few blood tests yielded nothing more than a virus.  Thankfully, everyone was better before we left for the beach.

This is a pile of taco shells on fire.  Forgot they were in the oven from the previous night when I set the oven to broil and make toast.   Thankfully, nothing but the taco shells caught on fire and I used my brain before taking a picture. Aunt B and I have had some pregnancy brain issues which meant a few kids lucked out and got to extend their birthday celebrations into August.  As you can see, they were totally (not) disappointed. This was the look of a puppy who needed mama time so bad she fell asleep on my computer chair. Silas decided to make a paper crown for Emmie and the result was pure happiness.
After over a month of being timid of Mark, Lulu finally decided he was okay and climbed over me to cuddle with him. My belly is still a great prop for her though.Zoe working on getting her id for SAT.

At the end of the month, I was able to take the big kids to a Samaritan’s Feet event volunteer.  For three hours, we cleaned out water tubs, washed kids’ feet and handed out new shoes and socks.  It was a ministry to a lot of kids but it was also a huge blessing to us.  

Bake It and Make It

Ceili Rain has been wanting to earn her cake decorating badge since she started American Heritage Girls.  I decided that this year would be the year.  First up, making cupcakes and decorating them.

I love how she tackles most things with such determination.  We had fun with these!  She wanted to make blue and green frosting for NF!

The Great American Eclipse 2017

We headed out bright and early on the 21st to find a good spot for the eclipse.  Unfortunately, as we drove, we kept getting in to the pop up showers.  We made it to a decent spot and found a church where we could park.

Make sure the angel’s eyes are protected.

Unfortunately, as we sat watching the beginning of the eclipse, a storm started coming in.  We made a snap decision to load up and try to outrun it to see the total eclipse.

We didn’t make it to where there wasn’t cloud cover but we definitely got to see the effects of the eclipse.  It was like night time for two minutes and then quickly changed to daylight again.

Silly clouds!

We were all amazed even if we couldn’t see the shadow bands or diamond ring from the eclipse.  We’er anxiously awaiting and planning the next one in several years!

As we drove home and away from the storms, we realized that the eclipse wasn’t over.  Mark pulled over at an exit and we hopped out to watch the last few minutes as the moon crossed in front of the sun.

What a great memorable experience for our crew!