Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Promised Update, Skiing, Naming Chicks

Days in the Life...

It's Spring Break and I have lots of homework and reading I should be doing so naturally that would be the time a sudden desire to blog again would hit me for the first time in months. Literally lots and lots of months.... I just finished out a post I started late last year and explained that I know I'm horrible at being consistent here, but I do still enjoy writing. I don't want to put effort into something that people aren't reading and enjoying, though. Does that make sense!?

I figure y'all are due an updated though, maybe? Certainly a lot has transpired since the bringing of 2018 and now we are just a week away from Spring!

Mia (8.5) is still going strong in 2nd grade, although she is doing 5th grade math and doesn't even need spelling or much reading because she just "gets it". She has started taking piano lessons and is faithfully practicing every day, often multiple times a day. (For some reason I always feel like the word "multiple" should have a y in it somewhere....) As quite possibly the most adventurous one of us all, she has already gone swimming several times this year despite the fact that it is still dopping into the 30s during the night with some regularity. And goodness gracious she is getting tall!!

Gabe (almost 11) is doing really well in 5th grade and loves reading. His writing skills are coming along and he is extremely precise in everything, including his handwriting. Gymnastics has been a part of his world for about 2 years now and he is absolutely excelling in it! His coaches love working with him because he is so calm, focused, and even strategic as he trains. This competition season has been a very strong one for him and he always loves coming home to show off his grand collection of metals after every meet. We are all so proud of him and enjoy watching him practice his skills all day all over the house.

Ava (13) is ever the loving, nurturing young lady. She is doing very well in 7th grade and gets up before 7:00 am most mornings to get an early start on her subjects. Recently she has started a garden and is enjoying helping Chloe with all the baby chicks we have hatching right now. Most of them are dying within a few days of hatching, but not before we all fall in love with them, give them a name, and ask for frequent updates on their progress. We hope our hearts don't turn into too hard a kind of stone. If there is a baby around (and she can wrestle it away from me) she loves on it just as much as she does her animals and plants. Much like Chloe, she loves reading on her own time. She got her braces off a couple of months ago and is so tall and grown up looking!

Christian (17) is getting so close to his senior year and is loving continuing to compete in speech and debate. He has traveled for several tournaments and is doing particularly well in Lincoln Douglas Debate. He got a job at In n' Out Burger around Christmas time and is thriving there. It has not taken him long at all to receive several promotions and get on the good side of his managers. Everyone loves his hard work and positive attitude. He took his driving test in the middle of an icy, stormy week and PASSED with flying colors, just after purchasing his first white car. Between work, school, and traveling for tournaments he has had a busy first half of the semester. He is nearly 6 feet tall now which is quite amazing to all of us.

Chloe (19) is loving being a part of our community college's horse program as a full time student this semester. She also got a job at Chickfila and is enjoying that. Reading and writing and photography are all still a big part of her free time, along with caring for the aforementioned hatching chicks.

Mom and Dad are continuing to do an amazing job running our family and parenting all of us. Having adult children is new for them (new for us too, we've never been adults before!!), but they are doing great! Dad's work designing custom houses is still going well and we are all enjoying working on the rent houses we have been flipping.

Church is wonderful and although we are unable to host a small group during this season we are all so grateful to be involved in the ways we can be. Dad has been involved with some leadership things, Ava and Christian are both learning and helping in the technical booth, and I have been singing again every few weeks. The sermons we have been hearing the past several months have been focused on what is the gospel and what is sin and why is freedom so freeing. Here is the link to our temporary website with all the recordings if y'all are interested!

As for me I am also a full time student this semester in Flower Mound. (Let's be honest, I chose that campus because it was close to Edison Coffee Co.) Due to a whole host of reasons that I am not going to go into, I needed to leave my beloved barista job at Kimzey's, so that freed me up to register for 4 classes. I prayed long and hard that God would give me excitement and joy for the semester and He did! From day one of classes I was so happy to be back in the classroom and I loved being on campus so much more that I thought I would. (Up until now I had done most of my classed online.) I am taking Texas Government, US History 1, Public Speaking, and Intro to Fitness. For now my main job is nannying. I still watch Kate and Blaire, as well as baby-sitting for the small group on Monday nights. I have another family from church that I babysit for weekly and the Lord has been faithful to fill in the rest of my time with random requests from others. Most of my time currently is focused on my family, college, nannying, and church.

From one of my lasts shifts at Kimzey's 
with my favorite co-wrokers. Shhhhh.....

At Edison before my first day of class.

Here are a few Christmas pictures. We spent the day at home and enjoyed having Mom's family around later in the day.

Gabe...always showing off his skills... 

I believe I mentioned in a way old post that we would be going on a ski trip in January and it was a blast! Nana, Grandfather, Aunt Lauren, Uncle Phil, and the 8 of us Linns left the week after New Years to drive to Colorado Springs for a week. We left before 6:00 am and made the 12+ hour drive with only 3 stops! Our three vehicles were stuffed completely and we barely got ourselves in!

Our week in the mountains was so special! The first couple of days we got settled into our lovely rent house, grocery shopped, played games, and got acquainted with our surroundings. Chloe, Christian, and I rediscovered our love of riding bikes and Mom quickly found a coffee shop 5 minutes away (not a Starbucks). Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil got massages and Nana and Grandfather took advantage of the same opportunity a few days later. The littles found a fantastic new (but actually really old) board game called Survive and played it almost 24/7 the rest of the trip.

With Uncle Phil in charge of dinner we never had a bad meal!

The game area downstairs was awesome!

The kids love their Uncle Phil... 

Chilling out..

Our first day at Wolf Creek Pass was gorgeous! Mom and Uncle Phil decided to pass on the ski venture in favor of reading and relaxing at the cabin, but the rest of us were excited. The littles had never skied and us older ones had, but it was 11 years ago. The adults are all experienced skiers, but had not skied in many years. All us "kids" got to take lessons and that was a good call. Mia had her own ski class and Christian had opted to snowboard, but the rest of us were together with 5 other teens and adults.

The lessons were well done and the kids and Chloe did awesome. For some reason I had some trouble the longer the day went on. Skiing as a 20 year old was way different from skiing as a 9 year old. Points of interest were me screaming before we were even on a slop, almost falling over on the conveyer belt tunnel, not realizing someone was trying to flirt with me until Ava pointed it out, being asked if Gabe was my son, winning the award for the four worst wipeouts, ending up in a ditch, and getting rescued by a snowboarder. 

Yes, a ditch, like, not on the slope any more, but off by the trees and orange tape saying "don't go here". I think the main problem was the bottom of the hill was especially steep and very icy so I kept loosing control and even if you fall "the right way" it's still not comfortable and it's really hard to get up, even more so when you are tired. By mid-afternoon my knees and hips were shot and I could barely stand up so I decided to be done... Unfortunately falling like I did really, really scared me.

Everyone else had a GREAT day though! Even Nana and Grandfather had fun and and Aunt Lauren and Dad were thrilled to be in their natural habitat again. Christian had an interesting time snowboarding, but I've heard that's a lot harder to learn, so it was understandable. 

Back at the cabin we were all exhausted and could barely stay awake to tell all our stories. 

We all took a couple of days to recover and then Nana, Grandfather, and I decided to stay back with Mom and Uncle Phil while the others went to "conquer the mountain" again. (Seeing as how I was still having trouble walking, I didn't think trying to face my new fear of skiing would be wise.) Christian and Chloe said they enjoyed their second day much more than the first and the littles didn't need any more coaching and made the others work to keep up with them! Dad and Aunt Lauren had so much fun skiing with them. 

The best story from the whole day was when Dad got big time body slammed by a snowboarder out of nowhere! Dad lost all his equipment and they tumbled a long way. Aunt Lauren said it was so dramatic she was scared Dad was hurt and she was going to have to get all the kids together by herself. Thankfully they were both fine and once Dad recovered from his shock he was just so glad he was the one who got hit and not one of the kids!

Besides skiing we had some family game tournaments, took a day to explore Durango and go see "The Greatest Showman" for the second time, and had many delicious meals, sweet conversations, and fun movie nights.

Of course we had trouble with the truck sliding on ice at least once.

We liked the coffee shop we found!

The Herd: Quoted

"Are you ready to go conquer the mountain?" -Mom to Gabe the morning of the second ski day.
"Oh I am going to bring it to it's knees!!" -Gabe

"Watch me and see if my legs are going apart when I spin this way." -Gabe to Dad as he practices a gymnastics skill.
"They seemed pretty close together." -Dad
"Oh, well they are supposed to be apart." -Gabe
"Well they were kind of apart..." -Dad not being helpful.
"Dad!!!" -Gabe

"So have you figured out a name theme for this next batch of chicks yet?" -Ava to Chloe
"We could do the books of the Bible." -Gabe
"Genesis has had her beginning." -Chloe
"Exodus is on his way out the door." -Me
"Lamentations has been giving his mother a lot of grief today." -Chloe
"Or it could be book characters." -Dad
"We could have Peter Chicken!" -Me
"Oh that's perfect!!" -Everyone
"Peter Chicken who likes to get into Mr McGrandfather's garden." -Me (this is a running joke because our chickens love playing in Grandfather's garden, but only when he is around to see them doing it.)
"Huckleberry Fin!" -Ava
"NO." -Chloe
"What about Period Dramas?" -Dad
"Lydia has run away with a duck!" -Me referencing Lydia Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.
"We have to have Mr Darcy and Bingley the ducks." -Dad
"It's a good thing we have so many chicks that will need names, but we don't have to love all the names because we already know most of them probably won't make it." -Me
"Hey, I know we have a bad track record in our success rate with chick survival, but lets not jinx it!" -Chloe
"One of them was crawling across me from one shoulder to the other and over my neck and even onto my head today!" -Ava
"That's the one we should name Polly, like a parrot. But why in the world would anyone want to let a chick crawl on them like that?!?!" -Me
(This conversation lasted the whole of dinner and extended far beyond these boarders, but this is what I was able to remember/the best ideas we had.)

An old post, an explanation, and a bunch of quotes

Days in the Life...

*Opens the blogging site to see when I posted last.*

*Finds this post I started and never finished.*

*Inwardly moans.*

I'm not even sure when I started writing this post, but it must have been months ago because these pictures are from around Thanksgiving time... I don't want to ditch what I already wrote, but it is a little outdated, so here's this finished out and I will post another truly updated post soon to follow with a real update.

I'm sorry, but I don't think I can truly be consistent with my posting and I have no real way to predict when I'll have time and inspiration, but I don't want to totally give this up, unless y'all have lost interest and then there would be little point...haha. So here goes.

My guess is this would be from around mid to late November of 2017.

I feel like 86% of pictures taken of me show me holding a baby. 
So here is another one... 

Most every Monday night I am still babysitting for the small group. Some nights Ava has been going in my place, through, which she has greatly enjoyed. Getting up for work at 5:00 am means 8:30-9:00 pm is bedtime for me so I'm too tired to go out in the evening... 

Speaking of work, here is some mocha latte art I was pretty pleased with. 

I made a fruit tart pie thing. It was good and we ate it all. 

One Saturday I took Kate and Blaire on an outing for the first time by myself. I've taken Kate somewhere before, But Grandfather was with me and it was just to get my driver's license renewed when I turned 18, so I don't feel like that really counts as a real outing. Right? 

Before they got up that morning.

From the time they woke up until we left, we spent every minute getting ready to leave, a whole 2.5 hours! So if it was 2.5 does that make it 2 whole and a half rather than just a whole? I knew it was a production to get young children out the door and I had planned for it to take a while, but seriously, getting yourself and two babies ready for the day, feeding them, loading the car, installing's no joke! 

We went by the house to pick up Ava to go with us so I would have a couple extra hands and headed to Kimzey's for a family festival type thing that was completely free! 

Kate loved all the blow up slides!

Ava enjoyed this ride, but Kate got scared.

I started making kombucha with Toby the Scoby!

Beautiful fall morning. 

Missing Maui is always hard, 
but walking in our neighborhood was a good distraction. 

Whenever I take a project with me to 
Kate and Blaire's house they love to "help" me. 

I love our sunsets!!

I babysit other children besides just Kate and Blaire and one particular 4 year old girl told me to be "A-punzel" and she would be my "mom" and do my hair. I lost count after 9 bows... 

First batch of Kombucha ready to go! 
(That's Toby in the bowl. He reproduced in the process.) 

Christian had a great start to the Speech and Debate season and I really enjoyed going to judge the events one day. Mom and Dad were happy to let me do that instead of them for a change. It's a long and taxing day, but super interesting. This tournament was in Irving so we left the house around 6:30 am for the first round to start before 8:00 and it went until 9:00 pm that night. 

I particularly enjoyed judging Lincoln Douglas Debates and Interpretive Speeches. 

Christian won something! 

For Thanksgiving we spent the day with Dad's side of the family, but Mom's whole family was around for the following couple of days so we spent time with them too. 

We were all excited to meet our newest cousin, Lilia. 

For some reason our family always buys white cars. 
Except for me, I have a black one.... 

Thanksgiving with the Linns in Southlake. 

The Friday after Thanksgiving the ladies went out for breakfast to celebrate Ava's 13th birthday a month early and did some shopping. Then we met all the men and kids at the park for a picnic lunch. 

I definitely hogged Lilia. 
When we took our family picture 
they had to explain to me why 
I could not be the one to hold her. 

Dancing on the tables. 

We took family pictures with the Linns as well and I do have some of them. 

I have definitely lost my status as the tallest grandchild. 
Everyone is fine with that, especially Christian. *Wink* 

That moment when...

The owl decides to sit outside your window and sing you to sleep...or rather sing you to not sleep.

The Herd: Quoted

"Why aren't y'all saying anything? Its' sooooo quite." -Mia to Chloe and I at the dinner table.
*A moment of silence later*
"Say something I've giving up on you..." -Mia singing.
*We burst out laughing*

"If these dogs want to smell my car all they have to do is run 100 miles-- 100 yards-- to where my car is parked." -Chloe
"Yeah, all they have to do is run 100 miles." -Me

"How much does he want for it?" -Gabe asking about a truck that is for sale.
"2000." -Christian
"$2000?!" -Gabe
"No, 2000 grains of sand." -Christian
"Exactly 2000 grains of sand." -Mom
"Well I'd rather dish out 2000 grains of sand than $2000." -Christian

"At least there won't be any sea urchins on the mountain while we ski. My everlasting knee friend..." -Chloe referring to the sea urchin spines she still has in her knee from trying to surf a couple of years ago.
"Yeah it's a real good thing. 'Ugh! I'm never trying something new again!'" -Me guessing what Chloe would say if she found an urchin while skiing.
"It would be a snow urchin! Snow urchins on the mountain, though, Chloe. Get it? Snow urchins, no urchins?" -Mia

"Outside smells like my childhood memories of days at the park." -Me

"It's so weird how sometimes you can think of an amazing sentence in your head and start saying it out loud and it's just perfect, like, so sophisticated and formal and makes all your points understandable with rich vobicabulary..." (not a real word there) "....and then other times like exhibit A it totally falls apart when you're speaking it from your mouth!" -Me completely falling apart because I was NOT trying to illustrate my point by messing up.

"So I drive up to they bank drive thru and they say "hi". I say, "Hi cashed please." "What do you want done with it?" "Cashed please." "You want it cashed?" "Yes..." -Chloe 

*Gabe comes inside and puts his hands on Mom's face*
"Ooh, cold hands!" -Mom
*Gabe moves to do the same to me*
"Oh, no, thanks, I'm sure you're hands are cold and I don't need to feel." -Me
"Gabe! Go wash you hands! You just came inside from taking care of the trash." -Dad
"Ewww!!" -Mom and me together.

"But I need to see her! I only have vivid memories of her." -Gabe talking about a cat.
"Do you mean vague memories?" -Mom