November 27, 2014

Little Gratitudes

Last night, I sat down with our little people while they wrote out what we are thankful for.  It's so fun to see what's important to them during this slice of time...

We settled in for a little list making.

Translation:  Miles' Thanksgiving List:  Mom and Dad and Noah and Scarlett and Sadie
Television   Football
Turkey and my Grandpa
and my grandparents

Translation:  Scarlett's List:  
Mom and Dad thank you for my bed and my kindle and just for love and kindness
Happy Thanksgiving.

Counting these four turkeys as some of my greatest blessings.

November 16, 2014

Sadie Is ELEVEN!

Dear Sadie,

Today, you turn eleven.  Sometimes I feel like saying, "Only 11?" because you act like you are older than me most of the time.  I was the same way growing up so I get it.  Baby- let me tell you something... RELAX!

You've had a huge year.  You finished fourth grade and you kept your all A's streak alive.  You started 5th grade.  Love, I think that was the biggest challenge you've ever faced.  It's really hard when you are a little shy to start a new school year.  It really overwhelmed you (and you've spent the better part of the school year with no eyelashes or brows to prove it!) BUT- you kept doing it (despite BEGGING me to homeschool you) and now you LOVE your 5th grade class.  Not only are you loving it, but I heard through the grapevine that you are busting out of your shell at school and even did a grand pageant wave when you got called up during an assembly last week.  WHAT?  My kiddo who tries to blend into the wall waved?  It's like I don't even know who you are anymore!?!?!
Not a fan of those standardized tests- but you brought home a lot of hardware for your scores.

You went to summer camp this year and learned how to ride horses.  You love horses like, well, like a preteen girl loves horses.  You've got that cliche down pat.  You got beside yourself excited when the neighbors moved some horses to the field next door.

Lovie, two of my favorite things happened this year.  One- you got a later bedtime than all the other kids.  That one hour of the day where daddy and I get you all to ourselves is the best thing ever.  We talk, we snuggle, you tell us all about the happenings at school.  I soak it in because I know that in the not too distant future, you might want to just be in your room all alone without us.  On Tuesday nights, we watch 19 Kids and Counting together in my bed- just us girls.  You gush over how nice the siblings are to one another and I provide the cautionary dialogue about how one shouldn't kiss too many boys but waiting for one's wedding day is a bit extreme and how permed hair deserves no place in modern society.  You just giggle at me because kissing boys and perming hair isn't on your radar but I'm glad for ways to get in these conversations now.  You are just so much fun to hang out with.

The other favorite thing this year was that we did a mother/daughter Bible study with a group of my nearest and dearest and their lovely girls.  Each session morphed into the moms talking to you girls about grown up girl friendships and vulnerability and relationships and life.  It was incredible to watch the whole thing unfold.  More than anything, I think it was awesome for you girls to watch us grown up moms connecting in deep and meaningful ways- you'll need that later in life.  You might go through a period in your life where you think you can do life on your own.  I hope that you will look back and see how rewarding and life giving friendships are and remember that life is so much better with great people in it.

The Bible Study Gals

You and Noah have gotten so close this year.  You two are just clones of each other- you love all the same things and have such similar personalities.  He looks up to you so much and you wear the big sister role so well.  He doesn't really know what to do when you go to a friend's house or when you aren't home.  He kind of just wanders around aimlessly and says, "When will Sadie be home?" over and over.

You donated your hair in the spring.  You took about 9 inches off and totally rocked a bob for most of the year.  Then you had to have a little conformity moment and dyed the tips of your hair bright red like all the rest of your friends.  You got glasses and you look adorable in them.  You wanted glasses so badly and I was sure that your repeated "I can't see" was less about your vision and more about fashion- but alas, you really couldn't see!

You have your best buddy, Lucy, in your class.  I can't tell you how much I love watching this friendship of yours grow and change over the years.  You guys met in preschool and it's darling to see you all remain besties year after year.

I learn so much from you.  You love Jesus with all your heart and you talk to people about him all the time.  You don't hold back.  I pray that I would have even a fraction of your courage about sharing Jesus with people.  You have the biggest heart of anyone I know.  You are precious beyond measure and everyone who meets you just loves you.

Keep being awesome, darling.  You are about to enter a strange time soon... middle school.  Keep your good head on your shoulders and you will do amazing!  It's such a pleasure to watch you light the world on fire!  I'm so lucky to get to be your mom.

I love you so much,

**** The tradition in our home is for me to "interview" the kids each year on their birthday.  You can see Sadie's other interviews by clicking on 2013,  2012201120102009.)  I love watching how their answers change over the years but how the fundamental aspects of their personalities stay the same. ****

Me: If a genie would grant you only one wish, what would it be?
Sadie: This one is always my least favorite question!  I guess it would be that I have a good year being 11.

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Sadie:  I wanna be either a nurse or an elementary school teacher or a chef.

Me: Do you want to get married when you grow up?
Sadie: Maybe.  Probably.  Yes.
Me: Do you want to have children?
Sadie:  Yes.
Me:  How many?
Sadie:  No clue.  Somewhere between one and Duggar size.

Me: Do you feel different now that you are eleven?
Sadie: Nope.  I feel ten.

Me: What is your favorite color and why?
Sadie:  Orange.  Not like Effie's hair in the Hunger Games- orange like in the sunset.

Me: Who is your best friend and why do you like them?
Sadie:  Noah is my best friend because we get along so well.

Me: What is your favorite TV show?
Sadie:  19 Kids and Counting

Me: What do you like most about school?
Sadie: Writing.

Me: What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Sadie:  I like that I'm kind.

Me: What do you think is the most exciting thing that's happened to you this year?
Sadie:  I started fifth grade.
Me:  That was kind of a hard thing.
Sadie:  Yeah- that was a hard adjustment.

Me: What is your favorite song?
Sadie: I'm into gospel music right now.

Me: If you could have any super power what would it be?
Sadie:  To fly!  It just sounds fun.

Me: What is your very favorite thing to do?
Sadie:  I like to play outside, be with my friends, and play on my Kindle.

Me: What is your favorite thing about Noah?
Sadie:  He loves me.

Me? What is your favorite thing about Miles?
Sadie:  When Miles is around that means there's always someone fun to play with.

Me:  What's you favorite thing about Scarlett?
Sadie:  We both enjoy... ummmm... we don't really have a lot in common.
Me:  What's your favorite part of her personality?
Sadie:  She's upbeat.

Me:  Tell me what your perfect day would look like.
Sadie:  I would get to wake up late, go eat Cracker Barrel, then go hiking in the woods, then have a picnic, hike some more, go fishing and then go out for dinner at Moe's then stay up late watching TV.

Me:  Tell me what you think your life will look like in 10 years.
Sadie:  I'll be in college and that will be my last year!  I'll be learning as much as I can before I graduate.

Me:  What do you want your mark on the world to be?
Sadie:  I want people to think of me as a kind and enjoyable person to be with.

Food: lasagna
Book: Taking Flight, The Divergent Series, Wonderstruck and Maniac Magee
Movie:  I love Disney and Hallmark movies
Activity to do on one on one time with a parent:  with Daddy I like to go to the music store and with mom I like to go shopping
Activity to do with friends:  TALK!  I love to talk.
Sport:  swimming

Sadie's Last Year in Pictures

November 15, 2014

Vacation 2014

It's no secret we love to travel.  We get to travel a lot for my husband's work, but when we travel on our own we do some budget traveling.  Our kids have a week long fall break every year and it is the perfect time to catch some great off season deals.  This year, we decided to go to Destin, Florida and found a gem of a place on VRBO.  We always use this website when we book travel because it is so much cheaper and we find that the owners of the rentals are almost always willing to negotiate- especially when it's not peak season.

Speaking of seasons... some of our kiddos have been stuck in a weird season.  It was starting to feel a little tense and I was kind of nervous about traveling (especially 13 hours in the car all together).  However, it was FANTASTIC!  Aside from a three hour time span one day of the week where we thought the children may take each other out hunger games style, it was such a lovely week.  The kids rolled with it.  They all played TOGETHER on the beach and in the pool and there was none of the typical "I feel left out" type of thing we deal with at home.

And that's why we travel.  To make precious memories.  To do something different.  To be different people.  To connect.  My vacation self is a lot nicer, a lot more patient and a lot slower to anger.  I've decided it's all the fried food we eat on vacation.  Fried food makes me a kinder gentler version of myself.

It was so good to go and relax.  Our typical day was: go to the beach, go to the pool, go to dinner, go to bed.  Those are just the most perfect kind of days there are!  Our kids are usually pool people.  This trip they were beach people all the way.  No one had a fear of the ocean and they spent hours in the water looking for fish with their little goggles on and their heads bobbing up and down on the surface.

Here's a peek at our vacation album.

 First minutes on the beach... excitement was high, y'all.

Miles threw and insane amount of football on the beach.  Like for HOURS.  We finally starting walking up and down the beach finding teenage boys we could coerce into coming to play with him.  Teenage boy moms were happy to get their boys off their phones and we were happy because exhausting. 

Little heads bobbing about.  They found two stingrays and were THRILLED.  That kind of stuff sends me running for the hills.  

This boy and his sweet gap toothed smile.  Sigh. 

We went out on the Destin fishing pier one morning and saw an entire school of manta rays.  It was such a beautiful thing to get to see!

I'm calling this next series of photos "The Day Scarlett Got Overwhelmed With Vacation And Fell Asleep Everywhere We Went All Day Long"  It was almost like "Weekend at Bernie's"

 Still snoozing.

Car snoozing.

 Beach snoozing.

Pool snoozing. 

 Still asleep- standing up this time.  It's her superpower. 

Vacations are for reading all. the. books. 

"Mom!  I'm ready to go to the beach now!"

Muscles don't take vacations. 

We spent one morning at the Gulfarium.  It was so much fun!  They had dolphins and sea lions and all kinds of other fish. 

The Gulfarium is this future marine biologists happy place.

Oh mom. 

Mr. Cool himself.

I can not for the life of me figure out how this kid got this old.

Shark goggles are not just for kids, in case you were wondering. 

This one is not afraid of anything.   Just ignore the hair.  Vacation hair is just whatever.

Our boys got tired one night so the girls gave them a lift.  We have strong girls in this family!

Dads and daughters.  Love. 

When you eat goldfish on the beach, prepare to be in the middle of a bird stampede. 

 Birds are kinda scary!

Bird photobomb. 

Heading home!  Did I mention we took our dog on vacation?  She was not a fan.  She missed our living room rug too much.  It was so nice to come home refreshed and relaxed!  For a minute... until real life set in again.  Wouldn't it be awesome to be able to bottle our vacation selves?  I'm ready to go back!

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