Tuesday, October 27, 2015

My therapy and living on the edge

Friday was a very relaxed day (we blamed the rainy weather). 

Living on the edge. 

Progression of the morning

I don't recall that day being very interesting aside from two events. 

The first was I drove to Argyle to pick up a check for Dad. I was making great time...until I got to the Ponder train tracks. There sat a train, pulled forward only three cars too far. 

So I waited and waited and watched 3 semis turn around on the two lane road and almost hit everything and everyone

About 25 minutes later (Did I mention I haven't brought a book? I really should start leaving the house more prepared, we get stuck often enough by trains...) the train sloooooooowly started moving forward...and then stopped again after a looooooooong time, only three cars short of clearing the road for those of us patiently waiting. 

So I waited more. 

After 20 more minutes it finally finished pulling forward. I waited for a train longer than the running of my errand took total. 

That night we watched "Beyond the Mask" as a family. Wow! It was really well done and very enjoyable! We did notice that the music did sound very similar to "Pirates of the Caribbean" music...and the main character's name was "Will"... 

Saturday Mom went to breakfast with and friend, Dad had a meeting, and us kids...slept. 

Once they were back we all went to our bonus/attic/unfinished room over the garage to go through all the stuff we had in there and clean it because when we got our new roof a ton of dust and wood chips and stuff fell into the room and all over everything... Hours and hours later we finished and now it is mostly theater-ready. 

Mom found this picture of me, 
apparently I used to be a model and I didn't even know it. 
(I was in a baby magazine.) 

We all left for church together and arrived a few minutes early even! 

If you've read my previous post about Heritage Family Church and our church journey throughout my life you should have a good sense of the different church families we've been a part of and where the Lord has taken us in the different stages of our life. After church on Saturday we all knew for sure, without a doubt, that where we are now is exactly where we are supposed to be and what deep down we've known we've been looking for. I don't think I can even explain it. Just come visit us sometime, okay? I promise you won't regret it. 

After the service we went to Rosa's for dinner with several other families. 

Sunday morning we made our brunch and then had some rest time. Chloe and I stayed home and the rest went to a church get-together to watch a Cowboys football game.

Chloe and I opted to stay in our pajamas and watch "Lord of the Rings, Two Towers," or rather, Chloe convinced me to do that. Yeah, I don't think "Lord of the Rings" is for me. Too much gore. Plus the extended edition is really, really long... I'm glad Chloe enjoyed it, though!

Monday Mom and the littles were gone most of the day running errands and getting to appointments. The others stayed home for a normal day.

I went to have coffee with a friend and then get groceries for Mom from Sprouts. (I have more than one friend that I have coffee with, its just that that's what I do with most of my friends, get coffee and visit.)

That night I babysat for small group. Seriously, holding babies and talking with two year olds is my therapy. (Encouraging, one-on-one coffee visits with a friend is good therapy too, though.)

That moment when...

You notice the bruises you got surfing 3 weeks ago are still quite visible. 

Dad tries on his Coca Cola shirt he purchased when he was 15 years old and it still fits over his body-builder muscles. 

Dad wears that Coca Cola shirt to a party, a party that was not a costume party or a throwback-to-the-80’s party. 

The Herd: Quoted

"I almost forgot that you have to rinse canned beans and the seasonings almost got left out, but the soup should be in the crockpot correctly now." -Me
"That’s what happens when you try to cook before having coffee." -Mom

"Ah man!" -Me
"What?" -All the kids consuming Salted Caramel yogurt.
"I thought I was getting the same yogurt you got, but I just opened this container up and took a bite and realized that it was Plain! And I have to eat it. I'll try putting in Caramel flavoring and Stevia and see if that helps. Can I taste y'all's? *I taste theirs after trying my concoction* Rats! Yours is really good. Mine tastes like Stevia and Sour Cream!" -Me 
"YUCK!" -the others. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I wrote this post twice, so enjoy it

Tuesday morning Kate did not come until 8:15. I was glad to have the opportunity to exercise and shower before she arrived. The plan was to eat as well, but that didn't quite happen... So the two of us had breakfast together.

After adoring Kate for a bit, Mom, Ava, and Gabe went to Bubble Land. (Mia had a stuffy nose and stayed behind.) 

As the attempts at a nap for me Kate failed, I decided to take her and Mia to the park after feeding Kate again. 

Taking the two of them somewhere by myself was really fun, but also really weird. Even though I'm 18, I find it hard to believe that I'm allowed to drive and get to be responsible for so many kids throughout the week. 

Kate really enjoyed the various swings and my swinging-with-a-baby skills have greatly improved since my siblings were little. I have dropped each and every one of them off of a swing as a baby. Thankfully, there have been no signs of trauma and therapy has not been necessary. 

Mia had a blast "climbing to new heights" on the playground structure and concurring the fireman's pole. 

How can you not love her? 

Back at home I got Mia and Kate lunch and prepared mine one-handed. After Kate went down for a two hour nap (!!) I got to eat my food, do some school, read, and start preparing the house for small group. 

1 quart of green smoothie, a banana muffin,
and a spoonful of unrolled peanut butter ball stuff. 

The others returned about 3:00 and eventually headed to have some rest time. Meanwhile, Kate played with blocks until she left early (3:30). 

At 4:30 serious small group preparations began. All hands on deck! 

When you are making pasta for 30 people. 

I love small group nights... After eating, (that comma is very important, it saved the lives of many people) the adults and Chloe and I gathered in the living room. Praise after praise of ways God has been working the past 6 weeks were shared and then each couple shared prayer requests for their individual families. Even though I'm more of an observer, I always am so encouraged. 

Wednesday was a more normal school and work day. I babysat that night. (This time there was some dinner left over for me when I returned.) 

In the afternoon I got to start a drawing...
Please, please don't give up the things you are passionate about.
Make time for the things that cause your heart to sing and 
make smiles dance across your face.
Those things are important. 

How Chloe feels about raw chicken. 

Thursday I left the house at 9:00. 

Morning in our house.

After a pit stop at the bank for Dad I drove to the Starbucks I thought me and my friend were meeting at. I finished fighting the construction confusion and resulting traffic and realized that we had ended up at different locations. 

On my way to me her at the one she'd been abandoned dropped off at the power went out in that entire strip-center. So I picked her up and we fought our way back to the one I'd gone to originally. Finally we were able to get our Salted Carmel Mocas and (after a few minutes of chatting and sharing helpful study tips) begin school and work stuff. 

We both accomplished a great deal and had fun. 

I was going to take her to the church where her family had been doing science classes, but...we sort of kind of couldn't find it. We pulled over and found the address to the park her family was headed to and went 20 minutes the other direction to meet them there. The nice thing was we had lots of extra time to visit! 

Upon arriving at the park we discovered that it had been recently torn down and is now in the process of being rebuilt by volunteers. It was so sad! Both our families have lots of fun memories in that old park. The reason it has to be rebuilt is because it had been originally constructed with toxic material that, if eaten, would be fatal. I'm wondering who decided it was a good idea to eat the park and thus make everyone aware of the hazardous situation...

Mom and Chloe left for an eye appointment before I got home and a little while later Christian and I headed to speech and debate. (Chloe is getting glasses.) 

We met Mom and Chloe at club and got things set up in record time. 

Chloe and I got lots of good help with our duo and Chloe and Christian got to debate the most experienced team in our club! The report was they did really well. 

I left after speech time to run an errand for Mom and then deliver some things to Gramma and Aunt Candice. 

By 8:00 pm I was headed home, in the dark and pouring rain. (That description is not for added color and/or humor. It actually was storming and very dark.) It took me well over an hour to get home and I was praying for alertness and safety the whole way. It was probably the scariest drive I've ever done alone so far. 

The others weren't too far behind me, but thankfully the rain had mostly stopped by the time they set out. 

That Moment When...

You decide that it's cloudy outside so you don't need to take your sunglasses. Then the second you leave the driveway the sun comes out.

You are driving and realize you have no idea where you are going, or why, or how to get there.

You have not eaten in 9 hours and the last thing you ate was a snack.

You realize you spent 5 hours of your day driving and 3 of those hours were in the rain.

You try to publish the blog post you spent two hours on and it deletes EVERYTHING.

The Herd: Quoted

"That just had me freaking out, I'm going to do it again!" -Mia after climbing the rock wall at the park and sliding down the fireman pole. 

"I'm sorry, Dad, we can't serve the cookies..." -Me (aka they are so good I don't want to share them with the small group)

"Ava, stop eating like you are hungry!" -Christian 
"I am hungry!" -Ava

"I'm just going to name my child...oh what's his name...?" -Mia
"Please don't name him 'what's his name.'" -Mom

"That's just some fudgey marshmallow thing." -Mom 
"Veggie marshmallow thing." -Christian 

"How many sticky notes do I need to see in order to remember to close the piano lid?" -Me referring to the 3 notes stuck on the piano.
"Well, you keep leaving it open!" -Dad 
"I do? I was positive that I was closing it!" -Me
"Nope, every time I come in, it's open." -Dad
"Well, whenever I come in it's closed so I figure I remembered to close it." -Me starting to laugh
"No...that's because I'm closing it..." -Dad laughing too

"I want a Mango Penut Butter Sandwich..." -Dad referring to the sandwiches in Maui that "save puppies from burning buildings."
"Me too... We haven't even been home as long as we were there yet!" -Me
"It's still probably over 300 days before we go back." -Dad sighing
"Yes, but it is less than 11 months!" -Me 

"Can I go next door?" -Mia at 5:45 am
"Why?" -Dad
"I don't know..." -Mia
"You are still asleep." -Dad 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hair in the Bread

Wednesday oh that was so long ago, why did I get so far behind?! I keep promising myself I won't do that again. A lot of good I'm doing for myself. What should I do to myself to remember....schedule times..? Already do that... *sigh* Well I can at least catch up now and promise myself again that I won't get behind. Someday I'll get this right. This is a very long pep talk. Well now y'all get to keep me accountable, since I just shared my- what's the word for -oh yeah, I shared my self-lecture with you.What day were we going to write about? 

*Checks first word* 

Wednesday was one of those days that took a lot of strategic planning of who was going to take who where and when was the other being picked up and by whom and who had to be where when and who was with the littles at different points in time and in general we were everywhere but everyone made it back to home-base after the game of a-crazy-day-in-the-life ended. Are you out of breath yet? I am. *Smile* 

The first someone who was taken somewhere by someone else was Chloe. She took the PSAT at the Ponder High School starting at 8:00 am and ending at noon. Mom dropped her off and faithful Grandfather picked her up. 

Meanwhile, Ava and I went with Nana to the Bible Study she leads so that we could provide the childcare. (We did this the week before we left for Maui, for those of you who didn't remember that, probably you all did remember though...anyways...) This time we had two little girls and two babies, which was very easy and so much fun. 

At home Christian did school and Mia and Gabe worked on chores. Dad left for a meeting at 10:30 am and Mom got ready to go. As soon as Chloe got home Mom was able to take off for an appointment and soon after Ava and I returned. 

We had about 10 minutes before our friends arrived early for a play practice. (I was actually still trying to eat when they arrived. Kicking them out of the house so I could finish didn't work.

Since we had not seen them in almost 2 months there was a lot of noise more than usual. Everyone talked a lot and I finished eating. 

Before Mom took off she asked me to cook the turkey for dinner. I have never cooked a turkey. In fact, I have cooked very little meat ever (I can cook though, I can cook lots and lots of things, but usually they don't involve meat or Mom has already cooked it ahead of time). So I asked Abigail and Rebekah if they could help me thinking surely they had cooked a turkey before. They had not. So they texted with their Mom throughout the entire ordeal. Thank goodness the poor turkey was already dead. 

Between the three of us, and Chloe and Ava giving advice from the sidelines, we got that turkey cleaned out and stuffed with onions and into the roasting pan. Then we dragged Noah into the kitchen to lift it into the oven. 

Finally we were able to get organized and start our play practice, which is the reason they came over in the first place. 

We had lost a little ground having not been together for so long, but it really did go well and we hope to be ready to preform sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

Climbing the cliff. 

Little girl and Gramma

Prince and Rugen

The critic
This needs no caption 

"If you wish her dead, come closer." 

We saved time after the practice to talk and play "Signs" for a few minutes. There was also a failed attempt to play piano and guitar together and of course the second we turned loud music on Mom walked through the door. *Wink, wink* And Dad was soon to follow.

After they left we had some down time, all of us back home. Then, because Mom's appointment had gone so well, they decided we should go out for dinner! So we didn't need the turkey in the first place... *Sigh* 

The turkey survived!!
(And that would be Christian's hand.) 

Nana, Grandfather, and Aunt Cendei all ended up coming to Babe's with us and we had a wonderful dinner, during which a man came up behind Chloe and me to thank us for having long hair and Grandfather was sung to by a young woman. 

Thursday morning by the time us big kids got downstairs, Mom and the littles had already met Aunt Cendei at the school track to run/walk and gone all the way to Denton to get Starbucks. I only slightly regretted sleeping until 7:00 am. 

In the afternoon Grandfather took us three older ones to Speech and Debate while the others got to enjoy the day at home. We have been asked to come early for the rest of the year to help the director and her family set up the rooms. We arrived first and after 10 minutes started wondering if we were the only ones who had missed the fact that it was fall break or something. Turned out everyone else was just late. Way to freak us out though. (We have to drive almost an hour to get there so...) 

Club went really well! Chloe and I were able to preform our duo several times and get very helpful feedback on it. 

After a quick dinner Chloe and Christian found out they would be debating for the first time. They did not know this beforehand, nor did they have a case, nor were they very excited. The other team gave them their negative case so that Chloe and Christian could use it. This mean't the other team already knew what they would be against and Chloe and Christian did not have time before the debate to look it over. All in all, they did alright! Considering all the factors, that is... 

Friday morning I met a friend for coffee and then came home to work on school. Everyone else had a normal home day as far as I can remember. 

Saturday Chloe, Ava, and I went next door 5 miles away to help Aunt Cendei prepare for the welcome banquet after church. (We were welcomed our new preaching elder.) 

She sent us to the field (on a golf cart which Chloe almost killed us on) to get weeds flowers for the table center pieces. When we returned we put them together and then tied together crayons for the kids to use on the butcher's paper to color. Actually, Aunt Cendei said it was for kids and blondes. 

Next we all worked on wrapping up the cutlery sets. We took out all the napkins that I unknowingly bleed on. Finally we started working to prepare the food. 

Back at home the boys and Dad were finishing mowing and then the process of getting everyone a turn in the shower and preparing for church began. 

Mom, Christian, and Ava left early with Aunt Cendei to help get the church set up and the rest of us left a little later to hit Sprouts before joining them. 

Mia asked for a wedding hairstyle. 

The church service was so so so good. I could have kept singing all night and everyone's favorite part was when the one musician, our worship leader playing the guitar, had to pause mid-song to adjust his music sheet. Our church wants to get as far away as possible from the "show" and focus on what is real. And having to fix your music sheet is definitely not something to be embarrassed about. 

So many friends and family of the new elder came to support him that there were more non-members there than members! We were a little considered that we would run out of food, but we didn't! 

After the meal we stayed to help put all the chairs and tables up, clean the floor, put away food, etc. 

Sunday morning Mom and Dad left to make a few stops and get brunch at Seven Mile Cafe. About 12:30 I drove the rest of us, except for Chloe, to meet them at the Denton movie theater. Chloe, meanwhile, went to ride the neighbor's horses. 

Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil also met us to see "Woodlawn." The movie was very well done. 

After it ended we all headed back to our house to have breakfast for dinner. Chloe and I worked on the pancakes and such while the others played outside. No one choked at dinner. 

Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil left and we went on a short family walk. I feel like evening walks are often so romanticized. This is what our walk looked like...

Two footballs flying back and forth on the street.
One child asking the most random questions the entire time.
A neighbor child bringing his cat over to show us.
One child staying behind with the neighbor.
Getting dirt in our shoes from walking on a new house site.
A dog running up to us and jumping on all of us.
Two other dogs barking at us the entire time. 
One child dancing all over the street. 
A gorgeous sunset. 
And returning home after walking about a quarter of a mile. 

Back at home we got ready for bed and met back in the living room to watch a "Waltons." 

Monday was a very typical, boring, school, work, and chores day. I also went to babysit for small group. There may or may not have been any dinner left over for me when I got back... 

That Moment When...

Your sibling pulls a piece of hair out of the bread you cooked to go with dinner. 

The Herd: Quoted 

"The kids wanted to know why it took Dad and I so long to get home, so I asked them if they wanted the truth or a funny story. Gabe wanted the truth so I said I'd tell both and they could guess. Either we pulled over to make out or we were pulled over by a policeman. Chloe and Christian both thought we'd pulled over to make out. We were pulled over." -Mom

"There is a piece of hair on the side of the turkey pan." -Mom
"Are you kidding me?!" -Me
"Nope!" -Mom
"Well there were four of us girls with long hair working on this turkey... And Noah who we got to put it in the oven had blonde hair." -Me
"Yes, but this is definitely a very long very blonde piece of hair." -Mom

"I didn't realize the guys checking me out in Maui was such a big deal, it happens all the time here. But I can't flash then hang-loose here in Texas because that means 'call me' to people who live here." -Me

"I wanted to grow my hair out some because I thought it would get curly again if I did, so when the curls started coming back I was like 'oh yeah baby!'" -Gabe 

"First things first, I agree there is a problem with *pauses* the issue being questioned tonight..." -Christian starting out his first debate speech

"The other team is saying that things in China are not progressing fast enough. But they are progressing, just not quickly enough to satisfy these guys. So obviously my opponents have patience issues..." -Christian joking while debating 

"Where are you going?" -Gabe 
"To have coffee with Brittany." -Me
"Me too." -Mia very matter a fact 
*Everyone laughs*
*She comes over, crawls in my lap, and looks at me smiling*
"You're so pretty..." -Mia 
"Thank you, but that's not going to get you to coffee with Brittany." -Me 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I have a child and live with my grandparents.

Saturday we all slept really late. As in, 11:00 am to noon or past, late. After dragging ourselves from bed to face a beach-less day, we continued the process of unpacking and catching up on things that still needed to be done.

Mom left with Aunt Cendei early (10:00 am) to go to Town Talk.

I continued going through my things to get rid of stuff I don't need. It is so freeing!

We all wore our picture outfits to church at Dad's request because it is totally still 85 degrees at least during the day here in October.

Before and after Maui, tan comparison. 

Got protein shake? 

We were so excited to be with our church family again. And after the service a large number of us went to Rosa's for dinner. 

Sunday morning was mostly gone by the time we got up and finished preparing our Sunday brunch meal. 

Christian woke up not feeling well and remained in bed. 

After eating everyone else got ready to go. I stayed home with Christian, Mom went grocery shopping, and the rest went to Gramma's house to meet her new puppies! 

Having a restful, quiet day, mostly to myself, felt wonderful. When mom got back we made okra and butter, I mean, we made brownies. The brownies were largely composed of okra and butter. They were some of the best brownies ever!! 

The others arrived close to 7:00 pm and for dinner we had smoothies, popcorn, and brownies and watched "The Trouble with Angels." 

Monday morning my goal was to get up at 7:30 am. But we all were still having trouble falling asleep before midnight. So it was about 7:45 when I rolled out of bed. I still managed to be the first one up. A five hour time difference adjustment is no quick thing! 

Most all of us got to have a semi-normal at home school day. Christian was still sick and I didn't see him all day. 

I counted down the hours all day until it was time for me to leave with Nana and Grandfather to go to their small group. I missed all the children so badly, sometimes it was real physical pain. And no, I did not get over it. I'd say that was one of the hardest parts about being gone, not seeing all of them. 

All of the children seemed to have grown and it was so wonderful to receive all their sweet hugs and listen to all they wanted to tell me. Sadly, Kate was already asleep and Sadie was sick and not there. Mom asked me if I cried. No, not quite. 

Tuesday was get-readjusted-or-bust day for me. I had to be up at 5:30 am to exercise before Kate finally arrived at 6:00 am. I had her all to myself until 7:15 because no one else particularly felt the need to rise quite so early. 

My loving, reliable Grandfather offered to take me to the Decatur DMV to renew my license that morning. The goal was to leave at 7:30 am to be there when it opened, but getting out the door all by yourself with a baby is a little harder than you might think. Or maybe not. Maybe it was easier for me than you would imagine it being for yourself. I don't know. At any rate, we left at 7:50. 

Baby tips- Preparing and feeding yourself and a baby breakfast takes more than just 30 minutes. And I totally forgot the other tip. 

The DMV was a little full by the time we arrived and the moment we walked in everyone became very sympathetic looking and kind of sighed. They ooh-ed and ahh-ed over Kate and said I was very good with her. 

Walking in Grandfather noted, and I agreed, that everyone would probably think that Kate was my baby and that I live with my grandparents because my parents disowned me, etc. We laughed over that and Grandfather said however I wanted to play it, he'd go along. I went for the truth, and tried to explain that I was only her nanny, although it probably didn't sound very believable. Honestly, I really didn't mind. 

I've been asked since I was 12 years old if this cousin, or that sibling, or whatever child I was holding in public, was mine. It's a sad reality in our culture, but I am used to it and know how to give gracious, truthful answers without becoming flustered. (Now.) 

And we got my license renewed so I can drive again! 

Chloe prepping for the PSAT

Mom and the littles went to Bubble Land and were gone most of the day. Christian is feeling some better and worked on school. 

I very much enjoyed my day with Kate. 

Could this be more adorable? 

All of us kids practiced our lines for the play and talked to Kate. It was a good day. 

The Herd: Quoted

"They probably didn't believe me though, there was no way I was not going to kiss Kate for a whole 30 minutes." -Me
"You kissed Kate in public?!" -Christian
"Yeah, why not?!" -Me

"Both Chloe and Christian were going to take the PSAT originally and then Christian got sick so we thought maybe he wouldn't, but throughout the day he has seemed better so we thought maybe he would. But ever since I said he seemed better he has started visibly drooping again..." -Dad
"Yeah, I saw that smile!" -Mom to Christian
"I noticed the same thing!" -Me 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Where We Belong

Thursday morning we pretty much got up and got ready for the beach. A little packing continued while we waited for each other. 

It was cloudy to start out and the water was about the same, still kind of rough, and not that great to be in. It was not, however, super windy like the couple of days before so that was nice. Later in the day the clouds cleared away and it got sunny. 

We spent the morning crying on the beach enjoying our last beach hours and talking about things that would need to get done when we got home, like renewing my driver's license which expired on my birthday. 

After lunch some of us started towards the pool and then showers. After I was all cleaned up I was able to complete my packing and rest for a bit. Aka blog. Then the rest of the crew arrived to shower and pack and go through food and finish laundry and everything else which has to be done before a family leaves Maui. In the midst of that Mom and I got to slip away and get pedicures. 

This is the view from my bed that I'm going to miss. 

And this view while driving.

Mom and Gabe had to take a shuttle to the airport as the mini van could not hold all of us, much less all the luggage. The rest of us left at 6:02. The goal was 6:00. It's a record! 

In the car the other kids retold all their surfing stories and what the should and shouldn't have done on each wave. 

Dad returned the renal vehicle while we waited at the curb...


Once we were all together again we went through security. For the first time in my life I was terrified to go through. I didn't have my passport to be current ID. And, as I already stated, my license had expired. They totally could have told me I couldn't fly. 

Mom decided to divide up the kids and have Dad take three and her take three and try to "these are my children" approach hoping they would not think that I or Chloe looked 18. Chloe's group went first and she was immediately asked for ID (which she had). Mom and I started sweating. 

The guard took one look at me and asked if I was 18. We said yes and he asked for ID. I gave it to him. He scanned it. He said it was expired. And let us all through. Praise God, hallelujah! I wasn't arrested and I got to come home. Whew! Never. Doing. That. Again. Ever. 

But the rest of security was crazy too. Chloe and I both got patted down. Her for no reason. Me because of my hair. Then Gabe's backpack was taken and searched. When we were finally all through with all of our bags (I almost left mine on the belt...) everyone was sighing with relief. 

We got the the gate and dropped all our bags. Then went to the restroom. 

I did way better flying alone. With so many people I kept leaving my bags and I almost face planted while walking. 

Dad took all us kids to get dinner while Mom guarded the millions of bags. 

I think that was maybe the first time I ever ate at Burger King. I had a veggie burger. *Ducks* 

Eating. Chloe was there too. 

Our flight didn't leave until 9:30 so we had some time to eat and clean up and put on jeans and sweatshirts.  


So excited. Not.

She asked and they obliged. 

He got the sweet end of the deal.

Yes, we were photobombed.
No, we didn't see it until afterwards.

Leaving Maui.

I watched it until there were no more lights to be seen.

The flight was about 4 and 1/2 hours long. We all tried to sleep. We all sort of failed. None of us find it very easy to sleep on planes. Christian even let me lay across his lap. I think I dozed. I did discover that hats are great for wearing over your face to block out light, though! I've never worn a hat before. Until I bought one while we were in Maui. 

About to land in San Fransisco. 

We arrived at 5:30 am and all went to our next gate. The layover was 2 hours long and gave us enough time to rest, stretch, and eat a little something. 

Breakfast and sunrise.

The second flight left at 7:30 and was 3 hours long. The seatbelt sign was on pretty much the whole time because of all the turbulence. I think some people were able to sleep. Our landing was extremely  bouncy and rough. 

Gramma, Aunt Candice, and Brennen brought us our truck and Dad was able to get all of us and all our bags in it. We were not expecting for that to work, but were very grateful it did. 

We were in...

...but not by much.

We all went to Jamba Juice in Southlake Town Center and enjoyed catching up some by the fountain. 

I walked over to Starbucks to see if my friend was working and she was! I just wanted to say hi to her and I didn't have any money with me. She blessed me so much by offering me whatever drink I wanted. My Pumpkin Spice Latte was so good. 

Now they sleep.

We got home a little after 4:00 and unloaded all our stuff. I pretty much went straight to the piano. I missed it. So. Much. Playing the piano is a way I release stress, calm down, and process, plus I just really enjoy it. I was so excited to be able to play a few songs from memory without hesitation or mistakes! 

Everyone worked on unpacking for a majority of the rest of the day and Mom and I started working to go through our stuff and find things to get rid of. 

While we were away we noticed once again that we really don't need a lot of things to be happy. We all pack very light to go to the beach because all we wear is swimsuits and pajamas a majority of the time. Also, we don't need "toys" or a lot of other things because we just spend time enjoying the beach and visiting with other people and playing games and being creative. At home obviously there are different dynamics, but we still have so much more than we need. 

So as soon as we were unpacked Mom and I both got started and already there is a large pile of things to take to our church's garage sale in a couple weeks. 

Once everything was mostly taken care of and put away (around 8:30 pm) the others turned on American Ninja Warrior. 

We were all really tired having not slept on the plane much, but because of the time difference it was still mid afternoon for us so going to bed would have been useless. I think most everyone stayed up until at least 10:30. I went to bed at midnight. 

That moment when:

Your brother decides to order your meal even though you are standing right there.

Your siblings get you confused so that when you get on the airplane you try to kick people out of the seats you thought were yours.

You almost face plant in the middle of a crowd and get told by the people giggling behind you that you were very graceful.

The Herd: Quoted 

"Prefect crying weather." -Me on the beach  

"What is that?" -Dad and Me at the same time.
"It could be something gross." -Ava
"It came from the freezer, it won’t be gross." -Dad
"That's the fish Christian caught and smashed and cut up!" -Chloe 
"Dad, that is gross!" -Me

"Thank you for buying food Mom and Dad." -Mom reminding everyone not to complain.
"You’re welcome." -Chloe very sleepily. 
"Hey, what?" -Mom
"oh oops, sorry, thank you." -Chloe
"what did she do?" -Ava
"She took credit for something she didn’t do!" -Mom 

"Whew, we are through. I thought I was going to have to call Mark and ask him to come get you." - Mom after we got me through security 
"I'm still shaking, I'm so glad they didn't tell me I couldn't come." -Me 

"They gave me a pat down again!" -Me leaving security 
"Why?" -Mom
"Because I have long hair." -Me 
"That's what they said? Was it a woman?" -Mom
"I think so...I can't remember." -Me 

"Let's see how many times I can almost forget my bag." -Me after almost walking away from my carry-on for the second time.

"I was talking to that woman and she asked, 'Are all those your kids? I thought you were their sibling or something!'" -Mom

"It took all of about 2 minutes for one of Keely's coworkers to ask me how old I am." -Me