The 4 Month Moving Update: Peanut Festival, Trampoline Time, and Turnips

the morning after Black Friday funnies

John David is a multi-talented child. He can unroll a TP roll, pee, and weigh himself all at once.

The Morning After…..Black Friday

I have a Black Friday hangover today. Not the kind you get from alcohol. The kind you get from spending one day driving and eating and the next day shopping too much and driving.

I slept until 8am this morning because I literally could not wake up before that. Beat. I am so beat.

We went shopping on Friday and spent like crazy. I actually told my mom–as in I actually SAID, “It’s okay, though. This is Black Friday, so the money we spend today is like not real money.”

I was sort of kidding, but not really. Presents have to be purchased, right?

But it is real money. Oh, but it is.

We had a beautiful Thanksgiving, y’all. Beautiful. We forced all of our children to wear shirts with collars, and then we forgot to even take pictures. (It’s like we’re just being mean on purpose. *evil laugh*)

Collared shirts aside, everyone had a wonderful time. The food was top-notch too. We got to spend Thanksgiving with my family. That was extra important to me this year because it’s been a tough year for them. We all went over to my parents’ new house and looked around. The flooring is in. The walls are almost completely painted. The landscaping is even done. All they are lacking is a few appliances and pantry shelves. So exciting!!!!

We have no idea what day they will get to move in. That depends on insurance and inspections and such, so we wait. I’m leaving my suitcase packed, on alert to go help move!!!

The Moving Update: 4 Month Mark

We’re adjusting. I tried to take on too many blog projects but couldn’t juggle them all. As it turns out, being a stay at home mom is still a full-time job. Therefore, I’m keeping my blog expectations low for a little longer. However, I am enjoying writing for Monterey Premier on the side. I’m lucky to get one article turned in per week, but every little bit helps. That’s been a blessing.

Alan took over laundry duty, which may be the most exciting this that has ever happened to me. He has always helped with laundry. Don’t get me wrong there, but now he is in charge of laundry. Fully!

Let’s pause to throw a party and whoop and holler with delight!!!!!

The boys are doing well. They still like their new school. Basketball season has begun for Joshua, but it’s a middle school team, so I’m not feeling too hot about that. I’d rather have him on a 5th grade team, but we’ll see how it goes.

Daniel is taking wrestling lessons, believe it or not.

We’ve all been up to a little bit of adventuring mischief. Here are a few photos of the fun, for those of you who do not follow us on Instagram:

The Morning After......Black Friday

Providence Canyon State Park, Georgia

The Morning After......Black Friday

Fall in Georgia

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Daniel lost a tooth. This was a BIG DEAL, but he insisted on keeping it in his pocket, so then he literally lost the tooth. We had to write the tooth fairy a note. Daniel said he doesn’t believe in the tooth fairy because his brother told him that she’s not real, but it was still important to Dan to leave a note……So I guess he really does still sort of believe.

Don’t worry. He did indeed get a dollar, a quarter, and a penny.

On a completely unrelated note, look what I found under my desk:

 

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John David and his black marker strike again.

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

Fun times with Mom

JD and I spent HOURS of November on our trampoline. And no, it did not result in any weight loss. Once your hips swell up with arthritis, I actually have no idea how to shrink that. Thoughts, suggestions, anyone???

I’ve had to squash my vanity and just exercise for the fun of it.

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This face of pure joy. I need to hang this picture everywhere.

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

These were such a life saver for us. Thank you notes that you just fill in the blanks. Best parenting hack ever.

Want some? My friend has an Etsy shop where you can score your own. See more here: lilmissgratitude.com.

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This Snoopy that I bought Daniel for Christmas last year is still making us smile this year, especially JD.

The Morning After......Black Friday

I got these awesome turnips WITH roots from my brother. I thought I could substitute bacon for pork chops and it would still be as good. Wrong. Pork chop required for prime yummy-ness.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Turnip greens with roots: a delightful Southern treat

 

The Morning After......Black Friday

Yard sale-ing!!! I have literally saved about $1,000 by yard sale shopping this fall, and I have had so much fun in the process. These sunglasses were $1.00! Say what you want. I super-like them.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Why I love Big Lots

The Morning After......Black Friday

I literally spent one day rolling in fall leaves on the trampoline with J.D. It was glorious…..until the hay fever result came rolling in that night. Ha! Still worth it!

The Morning After......Black Friday

Reveling in the fall leaves (and the pollen—achoo!)

The Morning After......Black Friday

We went to the Peanut Festival, just the two of us!

We ate funnel cake, we rode 4 rides, and then we got so nauseous we gave the rest of our tickets away to some kids and left. Haha! So much fun though!

The Morning After......Black Friday

My favorite ride as a kid. It was fun, but this is the ride that did us in.

The Morning After......Black Friday

My other favorite ride: The Swings!

The Morning After......Black Friday

I was so pumped to share my childhood stompin’ grounds with Alan. We’ve been married 14 years, and this was the FIRST time he’d ever gotten to go to the Peanut Festival.

The Morning After......Black Friday

Cotton and mums

4 month moving update

John David got tired of the 6 pumpkins on our porch, so he tossed ALL of them into this bush.

4 month moving update

I love Caleb’s drawing so much I can’t stop sharing them.

4 month moving update

Another new Lula Roe top!

4 month moving update

Alan’s seriously creepy Halloween costume

4 month moving update

And last but not least, I found 20 DOLLARS in my jeans from last year. Wahoo!!! What should I buy first!!???

 

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”   –Isaiah 46:4

 

Come back on Cyber Monday!!!!!!! I have a giveaway planned!!!!!!!

 

3 Months Since the Move: Snakes, Pumpkins, and Smiling

baby snake

Baby snakes have been hatching around our house. *Shudder*

The other day we went outside, and Joshua said, “Hey! Mom! Look a snake!”

That is not what you want to hear first thing in the morning.

But then I saw it.

“Is that a worm?”

“No! Look how it moves!” Joshua insisted.

“Yeah, yeah, you’re right, but that has to be a baby snake.”
By that time, all the brothers had arrived. Caleb grabbed a tennis racket, and well….poor baby snake. But you see, when you don’t know what kind of snake it is, you have to kill it. Better the snake than your children.

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Caleb the snake slayer

Okay, one baby snake, killed quickly. I didn’t worry too much more about it….

brown snake

Until a week later, when I found a slightly bigger one.

In my life time I have spared almost zero seconds of thoughts on snakes, snake species, or what to do about them. I left them alone. They left me alone. We were good.

I was out in the backyard with barefoot John David. John David is ALWAYS barefoot, when I spotted this thing in my grass. I might have freaked out (in my head) a little bit.

As I mentioned before I don’t have a lick of knowledge about snakes. Therefore, I decided it was best to assume this one was deadly, a poisonous Copperhead for sure.

I closely examined this animal, which seemed to be frozen in place, and then I whisked JD out of that grass and into the house where I proceeded to quickly google copperheads. I found a few pics of infant copperheads that looked very similar to this. So I decided that this one must die, just to be safe. My kids play back there all the time.

“I MUST SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!!” I thought wildly. It’s time to be a hero!!!  This is my moment!!! I looked frantically for a weapon.

Alan has hidden all of the shovels from our children because they like to use them to dig holes, so I had to settle for a puny fireplace shovel. I made JD stay on the porch while I bravely headed out with my pathetic weapon choice.

This was so hard for me! Aside from the occasional spider, I’ve never killed anything in my life!! But I knew that if it were a copperhead, I could not let it live, so I took that shovel and beat that tiny defenseless snake against a rock. In my mind, I was like Joan of Arc or something.

It was traumatizing for both me and the snake, but at least I did live, while I am both proud and sad to tell you, tiny snake did not.

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The harmless, tiny, docile brown snake: eats worms and such

I came back in and Google-searched a little harder. Next time I need to know what I’m dealing with. Apparently, snakes are a common occurrence here.

I was both relieved and guilty-feeling to learn that this was actually just a harmless little brown snake, extremely common in the Atlanta area.  Also, it’s a protected species in Georgia. Ummm….oops….yeah…okay…protected unless the killer thinks it is poisonous and then I can assure you the killer makes no apologies.

This site was masterful at explaining how to tell the difference. By the way, in Australia, there is a snake species also called a brown snake that is deadly. So know your snakes according to where you live!!!

Here’s the site you should check out, in case this happens to you! Juvenile Copperhead Vs. Brown snake

See, you CAN learn important things on the internet!

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Thankfully, there are also many advantages to moving here. First and foremost, we get to be there for family events. Remember that wedding where I couldn’t decide what to wear? Here are a few pictures.

By the way, when I went to get dressed that day, my hips were so swollen I couldn’t wear any of my regular dresses. Arthritis is a terrible disease.

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Here’s my handsome little man, wearing the same outfit his daddy wore at his age, smocked by his great-grandmother.

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Our favorite family of all red-heads

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Alan, reunited with his college friends

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I found this bench at a yard sale for $10!!! I was so excited, I bought TWO of them!

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The kids have all been taking turns being sick. I held him in my arms as he slept and enjoyed it so thoroughly.

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We had an “all night party” with Caleb, the night before his EEG. See, he was supposed to be sleep deprived. We only managed to keep them awake until 12am. They all had a contest to see who could stay up the latest. I lost.

The EEG results were normal, and Caleb is now coming off of Keppra gradually!!!  This is very exciting for our family. However, we are still watching him closely, as he may have more seizures as he coming off of the medication. In which case, he’ll have to go right back on Keppra. Seizures are not good for your brain, so this matters.

 

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The boys are making more and more friends all the time. How adorable are they, playing with this family of three boys, exactly their ages?

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Since it is fall, we’ve been collecting pumpkins. Caleb likes to draw faces on the pumpkins and gourds.

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I think I’m going to go ahead and create our thankful tree this week. After all, it is fall already, and there is something about a constant reminder to be thankful that I need in my life. Don’t you?

We’ve been back in the South for over three months now, and after 7 years of living away, it’s an adjustment! At first, I was bogged down in the signing up for this, signing up for that, finding doctors, finding a grocery store, and using my GPS just to find my way home. During that time, it was hard to even smile. 

And by the way, Southerners, I am convinced, smile way more than other people do. I like that about us, but at first I did not appreciate it. It got on my nerves, bigly. (hehe)

My thoughts went like this, “Ugh, we got four boys dressed and loaded in the van, made three wrong turns to get here, and now everyone expects us to look happy. What kind of sick joke is this?”

Moving is hard, y’all!!  We don’t know which streets are parallel and which ones curve. When you have four kids talking to you, it’s super easy to miss a turn.

And the heat! Oh, man was it hot!

Thankfully, fall is finally here. I need to spend today digging through bins for toddler pants.

I’ve met so many new people, and I’m starting to get everyone’s name right on the first try. Plus, I have just enough comfort level now that I’m starting to smile again.

Moving truly takes a year to fully settle in. We’re 1/4 of the way there.

Today we are thankful. Thankful for fall, for Google who tells us when to worry and when to not worry about a snake, thankful for adorable children, and thankful for a Father in Heaven who made us and loves us.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.  Psalm 28:7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Way to Teach the True Meaning of Christmas

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Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Caleb’s Stories

getting-creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Caleb's Stories

Today I want to talk about creativity. When I was a child, it was greatly celebrated, but I was never so sure that I actually possessed any of this creativity stuff. There were only two subjects I disliked in school: P.E. (We’ve talked about this) and Art. Yep. I never liked Art. I love to admire other people’s artwork. I would just rather not make any myself.

Sure, I write all the time. Non-fiction. All of my work is simply jotting down what happened, what’s funny, and what is true. Reading fantasy, sure, I’ll do that. Dream up fantasy? Wait. I do that too, but I keep those thoughts to myself. Be thankful.

So today, I’m going to let Caleb tell the stories. His stories are grounded in fantasy, but they sound quite believable. In fact, one of them IS TRUE. See if you can guess which one.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

The photo wall I’m most proud of. This is as creative as I get folks: picture arrangement.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

See my fire-place mantel scarecrow. You can buy him at Hobby Lobby, often on sale. It makes me smile every time I look up at my fun fall mantel.

 

Caleb’s Stories #1: Aiden, the Wolf, and Me   (Written as Told by Caleb)

One day me and Aiden were playing in the woods. This was before we all got poison oak, and you told us we couldn’t play back there any more, Mom. We were just on the edge of the woods. All of a sudden, we saw this whole herd of deer, and they just came running by us. They didn’t even see us.

Me and Aiden were like, “Whoa! What the…” Then a WOLF ran by!!  Two wolves! Two wolves were chasing the deer, because it was getting dark outside. Aiden and I just froze.

One of the deer was so scared, he even fell off the little bridge into the ditch! I guess he just wasn’t looking where he was going or something, but then he was stuck down there and couldn’t get out.

It was the scariest day of our lives.

 

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Each of the boys drew a self-portrait in art class at school. I thought this was impressive for a kindergartener! Daniel is a perfectionist, so he covered up some black splotches with paper, as you can see.

 

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Nonna has her house all decked out for fall too, and I thought this turkey centerpiece she made was cute and festive.

Story #2: The Raccoon Family

One day, it was starting to get dark, and Joshua and Aiden and I were playing in that big tree. You remember, that one that was so awesome for climbing? We saw a whole family of raccoons come out of the SEWER!

The dad was super fat, too. Then there were like four little raccoon babies. They were so adorable! Like kittens! We wanted to pet one, but of course, we didn’t because we were a little bit scared to do that. We tried to throw a rock at the big fat dad, but then we were like, no, just kidding, and we didn’t throw a rock at him. We did scare him though, and we didn’t think he’d be able to fit back into that sewer. It was hilarious!! We were all dying laughing.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Nonna created this coffee table arrangement with a basket and fall gourds and silk flowers. Love it!

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Even our littlest man has been getting creative.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

I just loved how Caleb set this table up. That’s an octopus, wearing a baseball cap, with its tentacle wrapped around JD’s sock monkey.

Last, but not least:

Story #3: Bats!!!

One day, it was starting to get dark, and Aiden and I were still playing outside. We were whacking the trees on the hill behind our house with sticks. Whack! Whack! Whack! Whack! Then, all of a sudden, like FIVE bats flew out of the tree we were hitting!!! Aiden and I looked at each other with the wide eyes like, “Aughhhhhh!” Then we just took off running. He ran to his house, and I ran to our house. It was crazy. I’d never seen bats that close before.

 

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Daniel’s drawing of Grandaddy

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Before: Our new house has these two windows that you could see through a little too well.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

The new window treatment was hard to photograph from outside, so I took this photo from inside. See the pretty new windows? Alan got these static cling strips from Lowe’s and stuck them right on there. Now you can’t see straight into our living room any more.

 

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Caleb loves to draw sharks, and he’s also enamored with that swirly-sky Monet painting. You can sometimes see signs of that in his art. Looks like this boat is in a lot of trouble.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

We love to draw monsters.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Spongebob characters, by Caleb

My husband is surprisingly creative too. I guess that’s where the kids get it from. Recently, the cover completely fell off of my Bible. Alan decided to fix it for me one morning while I was away and surprised me with this when I got home:

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

Duct-Tape Bible cover

Teal is my favorite color, so he bought teal duct-tape and white duct-tape. Then he wrapped my Bible in it. It turned out cute too!

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

The original burgundy cover doesn’t even show through.

Getting Creative: Windows, Duct Tape Art, and Make Believe

I was impressed.

So which of Caleb’s 3 stories do you think was true? Leave your guess down below or on Facebook, and I will tell you if you got it right. If you haven’t liked my Facebook page yet, be sure to do so. It’s hard to keep up both a personal FB page and a blog FB page, so I am trying to move to primarily using the blog FB page. You can follow me on Facebook here.

Happy fall, y’all!!

 

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