Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Thanksgiving, Huge Surprise, A 16 Year Old, Swimming, Lots'a Lattes

Days in the Life...

Monday morning Mom headed out early to get all the grocery shopping done for our Thanksgiving week celebration with all of her side of the family. At both Costco and Win-co she had to do two trips through the store because she could only fit so much in the cart. When she got home the car was overflowing and it was all hands on deck to get it unloaded and put away.

Chloe had 30 pans of cinnamon rolls to bake in order to fill all the orders people had placed for the week. Mom picked up over 100 lbs of basic supplies for her like flour, sugar, milk, etc while she was out.

Dad was finishing up stuff for work to be able to take time off later in the week and the rest of us had our own things to finish up. The littles got to take the week off of school.

In the evening the first group of family arrived for the week. It was so good to get to hug Aunt Amy, Uncle JC, Rowan (2 almost 3), and Eli (almost 1), from DC.

Tuesday was Christian's 16th birthday! Mom and Dad took him to Seven Mile Cafe for breakfast and picked up a few more grocery items, including Blue Bell Ice Cream for dessert later.

I watched Kate and Blaire for just a couple of hours that morning and then got to go home and visit with Aunt Amy and celebrate the fact that Christian and Chloe both get to go to Summit Ministries next summer like I did!

Blaire just crosses her ankles and hangs out.

In the evening Nana, Grandfather, and the others came over to have pizza and ice cream for dinner in honor of Christian's birthday. Our little cousins had to go to bed soon after dinner, but the rest of us finished the evening by watching "Parental Guidance". 

Wednesday we all worked together to finish last preparations around the house and such. 

I've been using my bullet journal to take notes on this 
personal development book. Essentialism.

In the afternoon Uncle Adam, Aunt Lini, Geneva (7), Charissa (6), and Sierra (5) arrived from South Texas. Our cat, Coal, ran for the hills when the storm of little girls came running. (Coal was a Christmas gift several years ago. I named him. He is black. We got him for Christmas. See what I did there?)

It was a beautiful day outside and the kids were out there having a blast for hours, while everyone else got settled and began visiting. 

Chloe baked cinnamon rolls all day Monday through Wednesday and by Wednesday evening they were ready for pick up and delivery. I went with her for one of her last deliveries and it was so beautiful to watch the sunset while we drove through the country. Texas is so pretty, y'all. 

That evening we visited with Aunt Amy and Uncle JC, who were staying at our house for the night. Uncle Adam and his family stayed next door with Nana and Grandfather, other family stayed at a hotel, and Chloe and Christian, who gave up their rooms, slept in a camper that we borrowed from friends. 

Thursday morning Thanksgiving day arrived!

Everyone at our house was awake (ish) somewhat early since Rowan and Eli are early birds. Breakfast was cinnamon rolls (we finally got to eat some after getting to smell them for three days!!!), eggs, fruit, granola, and yogurt. Everyone ate at the house they slept in.

About 8:30 Aunt Lauren and Uncle Phil finally arrived as the last family members yet to make an appearance that week and with them was the surprise! Nana's brother and his wife came all the way from Florida to surprise her for her 70th birthday which we were also celebrating that week. It was so fun to get to see her face when they got out of the car. We were all on the driveway waiting for them and then Nana finally made it outside having to be dragged away from the kitchen.

After lots of hugs and smiles out on the driveway, everyone made their way inside to get coffee and settle down to watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. I got to ensure my title as favorite oldest niece by making Uncle Adam a salted caramel latte. Not that my title was in jeopardy or anything, of course.

Enjoying the songs sung by people none of us had ever heard of. 

Everyone all together again.

Baby Eli got lots of snuggles.

Gabe with his marshmallows...and a splash of hot chocolate.

We had snack-y foods out for lunch that could be gotten whenever people were hungry. After the parade, Uncle Adam, Christian, and I teamed up against Chloe, Ava and Uncle JC to play Taboo. It's amazing what you can learn about people while playing that game...

The little girl cousins really enjoyed playing outside with Mia all weekend and Rowan followed Mia around everyone his mommy would let him. 

We ate our big Thanksgiving dinner about 5:00 pm. Everyone had a part of the meal they were responsible to prepare so it wasn't a big task for any one person. And with everyone working together, cleaning up took no time at all either!

The 30+ year old crowd sat in the dinning room and the rest of us were in the breakfast room, there was no way for all 24 of us to be at the same table. *wink* 

In the evening some watched football. Sorry, I have no idea who was playing. And some watched the new "Anne of Green Gables". We decided it was pretty well done, but it felt both extremely rushed and really drawn out at the same time. Nothing can really replace the original in our minds. 

Friday morning all the ladies headed to Denton to visit over coffee at Starbucks and then do a little shopping, while the men took all the kids to the park with a picnic lunch. Chloe had some college deadlines to work on and enjoyed the quiet house. 

Dancing to Justin Timberlake. 

Once we finished shopping, all the ladies met with everyone else at the park to eat before going home for some rest time. 

Late afternoon everyone congregated in the living room to play Uncle Phil's awesome game show! Since we were celebrating Nana's 70th birthday all the items in the game were things that were created or used or whatever else, during her lifetime. We split into two teams straight down the middle of the room and the competitive child Christian kept score, because, you know, that's important... 

After that Grandfather set us up with a crossword puzzle. The guys went to one room and the girls to the other and we saw who could get the most words right in the given amount of time. It was very close, but the girls won. Naturally. 

Dinner was two different kinds of chili. 

Cousin fun.

Chloe and Christian held down the fort at our house with all the kids and "Ratatouille" while the adults went next door to visit after dinner. 

Saturday morning my friend Emily came out to take pictures for us for a couple of hours. She did a beautiful job and we got lots of sweet pictures of different family groups and all of us together, etc. 

More football was watched in the afternoon and I got to enjoy the role of barista and make I don't even know how many lattes at peoples' request. 

Later in the afternoon Uncle Phil divided us into two teams to do an outdoors scavenger hunt. We had to take pictures of all kinds of things from people locked in the chicken coop, to someone doing something that looks dangerous, to something dead, to the attack of the tree people, and everyone's least favorite, putting everyone's feet in the pool. *Que a lot of screaming* 

Viewing the pictures from the two teams.

I had to leave after that to go to church early to sing and the rest of my family joined me in time for the service. 

Sunday was very quiet. Uncle Adam and his family were on their way home and everyone else had their own plans. 

We made our brunch meal and had a restful afternoon. 

We visited with Uncle Tom and Aunt Wanda before dinner and told them goodbye since their flight was early the next morning. 

That night we watched our first Christmas movie for the year, "Christmas Wish". 

The Herd: Quoted 

"I didn't choose to be so popular, it just happened!" -Mia in reference to her great popularity with all her little cousins.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dog Attack, Tiny Group, "Boy Away"

Days in the Life...

Monday mid October November (What was I saying?! Obviously I am not paying attention to the passing of the months very well...) was a pretty full, normal first day of the week. In the morning Dad and I took our family vehicle in to be checked and I babysat in the evening.

Tuesday I watched Kate and Blaire.

A typical day at their house goes something like this.

I arrive at 6:00 am and, once both their parents leave, settle on the couch to nap until one or both girls wake up. Some days they wake up before 7:00, but usually they make it to 7:30. One morning we all slept until 8:30 which was awesome!

When they wake up I change them both and get Kate into her highchair. She is usually a little weepy and wants to know why mommy can't hold her, but she perks up pretty quickly and is her normal happy self. Blaire is always super smiley when she wakes up.

Kate likes to eat breakfast for a long time...like an hour. But she can feed herself so while she eats I am able to give Blaire her bottle and sometimes get my own food. However, if I'm going to eat something, Kate will want to eat it too.

Blaire is usually ready for a nap around the time Kate is done eating. If I've still not gotten to eat (or make coffee) then I will have Kate sit on her little potty and watch a kid's show for a few minutes.

This particular day while Blaire slept Kate sat at the table with me and colored while I ate and had my Bible time.

Whenever Blaire wakes up Kate usually is happy to play with her dolls while I feed her sister. She loves to talk to me and make faces at Blaire. 

No, Blaire does not hold her own bottles, 
she only got to for this picture.

Kate is ready for lunch around 11:00 and Blaire is typically very content to sit in her bouncy seat during that time. After lunch we all clean up the house a little and then both girls take a nap. In an ideal world they would fall asleep at the same time and wake up at the same time, but that rarely ever happens. Most days I can get their naps to overlap at least for 30 minutes or so, though. That way I get to eat. 

After they nap they are both hungry again and ready to play some more. What happens in the afternoon changes most everyday and depends on how they are doing. 

Around 4:00 Kate has dinner and then after a little more play time and another tidying of the house, she gets a bath. Sometimes Blaire will sleep and I can bathe Kate with two hands, but usually I get to hold Blaire while I take care of Kate. Blaire's fussy time is in the evening, as is typical for most babies, so she doesn't nap super well or like to be set down somewhere. 

Once Kate is all dry and dressed in fresh pajamas, I change Blaire into a fresh sleeper (aka, one that is not saturated with the day's spit-up). Then we just hang out, read books, snuggle, and wait for their daddy to get home at 5:35. 

I also get to monitor their two indoor dogs; make sure they have food and water, put them outside, keep them off the furniture, put them up during the girls' naps...

It's always a long day, but I seriously love my job so much!

At home that day I think everyone else had a pretty quiet day. 

Gabe went to gym and Dad and Christian spent the evening running errands and reviewing Christian's school stuff. 

When I got home I caught up with the others. Mom and the little girls had been at a friend's house for a little bit. We all had a yummy dinner made by Chloe and then watched "Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken". 

Wednesday it was sunny and warm. (Welcome to Texas in November!) I took Ava to gym class and then later Ava and Gabe to the park to meet up with friends before engagement group in the evening. (Mia had a slight fever and so missed both activities.)

Mom was kind of dragging a little that day and Chloe was hard at work on class deadlines and I think cinnamon roll baking. 

While the kids were at their friends' house playing outside a big dog came running up to Ava barking. It scared Ava so she started running which made it chase her. Their friend runs inside screaming that Ava is "being attacked by a dog". Her parents come flying out of the house yelling for Ava who is in a ball in the bottom of the ditch where she had tripped while running. Brave Gabe was standing between her and the barking dog holding his arms out and telling it to go away. 

The poor adults thought Ava had been bitten and their child's summons had scared them big time. 

When they all arrived for small group we got to hear the kids' version of the "attack" and the parents' version of the "dog that chased Ava, but never actually hurt her". 

Ava was just fine, don't worry. 

Group was good. Several people couldn't come, but we still had a special time. 

Thursday I babysat in the morning and then had a couple of hours at home before going to worship/Bible study in the afternoon. 

Gabe went to gym and I had dinner with a lady from church. 

Waiting at a coffee shop between things and trying to journal.

Remember that post months ago where I started it out by saying that I was 10 days behind in my journal and feeling sooooooo behind? I wish I was only 10 days behind right now.....

Friday I watched Kate and Blaire again and then got to be home for family movie night. I think we split up to watch multiple things. 

Saturday we all got up in time to go to Gabe's practice gymnastics meet. It was a chilly morning! Earlier in the week it was in the 80's and that morning it was in the 30's.

Mom and I made salted carmel mocha lattes that morning to take with us. We decided we really don't need Starbucks anymore.

The meet started at 8:30. It was just the boys at Gabe's gym, so it was nice and small. All the families of the boys got to be in the gym and walk to each station with the boys to watch the different events.

Gramma, Grandpa, and Brennen came to watch a little bit later in the morning.

Christian and I waiting outside for them.
Our eyes were watering so badly from the sunshine and cold.

Parallel bars.

He HELD this position for several SECONDS!!

High bar.


Gabe also did the mushroom (beginner pommel horse) and vault. He did really, really well in everything! I'd never gotten to see him do tricks outside of our home and I was SO impressed!! Gabe is SO strong and is easily one of the strongest/skilled in his level. 

The meet lasted until about 11:30. Then we all went to lunch at Chuy's. 

Mom and I both had separate errands to run, but the others all headed home after lunch. Once she finished, Mom went home and I headed to church. 

I got to church at 2:00 to be helpful with the Operation Christmas Child Box packing party. 

Of course I held a baby the entire time I was packing boxes. *wink*

The growing stack.

Many hands. 

After all the boxes were packed those of us on the worship team had to start rehearsal and then begin house of prayer. Everyone else came in time for the service. 

After the church service was our Thanksgiving meal as a church family. We stayed late and got to visit and help clean up afterwards. 

It was a long day, but a really fun one. 

Sunday morning we invited Nana and Grandfather to join us for brunch so they would hear about Gabe's tournament and see the super impressive videos Dad got of each event. 

In the afternoon several of us took naps. We had some recovering to do from the previous day.

That Moment When...

The friends that live 5 miles away call saying their kids are at home with the babysitter sitting in the dark because the power has been out for an hour and they have no flashlights and could you go get them.

The Herd: Quoted 

"You get to have birthday number 20 in Maui next year, Lydia!" -Christian
"What? Really? I'm going to be 20?!?" -Me in real shock.
"Did you forget that that's what comes after 19 or something? This shouldn't be a surprise..."

"Shhhh...that was the first meal I ate today..." -Dad to me talking about dinner.
"Dad!" -Me
"Well, I wasn't hungry..." -Dad looking through the refrigerator.
"Mmhmm..." -Me
"And I'm not really even hungry now." -Dad
"Which means you need to eat something, given your track record, my track record...you know..." -Me

"What? They aren't coming either?! This isn't small group, this is tiny group." -Gabe when only 20 something people came to engagement/small group.

"What did you put in there, 'Boy Away'?" -Gabe making a disgusted face as he smells the oil diffuser.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Wise Words of Mia, Still No Feeling, Dogs, Dogs, and More Dogs

Days in the Life...

Monday I had still not heard from any of the establishments I had submitted job applications to. However, while Mom was at the dentist, the woman who cleaned her teeth asked for a nanny/mother's helper recommendation, so she gave her my number.

Another mom in the area needed help organizing after having moved recently. So I was over at their house for several hours.

In the afternoon Mom and I had a spontaneous tea and visit session to go with the dreary weather outside and our dragging energy.

Tuesday I babysat for the lady from the dentist in the morning.

Gabe had gymnastics. Dad and Christian took him and then went to the library to visit about Christian's school and such. Then they had dinner out and brought Gabe home.

Meanwhile us girls at home had cinnamon rolls and watched "Two Weeks With Love".

Wednesday I watched Kate and Blaire.

Kate was a bit emotional all day, but still so sweet with her sister.

This is her "no-afternoon-nap" face. 

Back at home everyone else got to get up for breakfast and witness a huge chicken massacre. They literally watched two large dogs walk into our pasture, tear in to the chicken coop, and kill 6 chickens, including all of our roosters. By the time they realized what was happening it was too late. I heard there was screaming and yelling and arm-waving and running, but the dogs had already done the damage and were running off with their freshly killed breakfast. 

Then there were tears. Chloe had raised two chicks and gotten them to where they would eat from her hand and perch on her shoulder and head. *Shutters* Both of them were killed. *Tears* 

I got to hear the story via text and then again when I got home. 

Thursday morning I went back to help with organizing and such and then had my worship Bible study in the afternoon. 

Gabe went to gym and the girls went to play at a friends house. 

Christian is joining Debate Club again, so Chloe took him to that. This year he will be competing in Lincoln-Douglas Debate (LD). Lincoln-Douglas is a value debate and is also much shorter than Team Policy (TP), which is what he and Chloe did together last year. It requires quick thinking and lots of logic. 

When I got home the others were getting ready to go to dinner with the friends who had Ava and Mia over. It was fun to visit while we waited half of forever for our super yummy food to arrive. Mom left from there to pick up Gabe and Chloe and Christian came home around 9:00. 

Friday was a gorgeous morning.

Yes, I have a lot of books, notebooks, and planners. 
Yes, I use them all daily.

So that week was the week of dogs. We had the two the killed the chickens and then another dog showed up on Wednesday (I think) and stuck around our house until Saturday morning when we finally figured out who it belonged to. Thankfully this other dog was much nicer and actually played really nicely with the kids who all begged to keep it. All except Mia who has only one fear, a fear of dogs. I feel like there was another dog(s) that showed up, but I can't remember. 

I babysit for the same lady I helped on Tuesday. This time I took her baby on a 45 minute walk, which ended up being a bad idea... I decided to go on a huge loop around the neighborhood and about half-way the baby decided he was done. He cried until I picked him up, but he weighs 20 lbs so trying to carry him, push the stroller, and walk didn't work. So...I won't do that again. I got a great workout, though! 

Friday night is family movie night whenever we are all home. Usually we stay together, but this time we split up and some watched "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" and others watched "Love Begins." 

Saturday Chloe and Christian began preparing for our Thanksgiving week celebration with family by cleaning their rooms really well. 

I left for church around noon to attend a worship-workshop all afternoon and then be there for normal worship stuff for the services. All of it was really good. Everyone else met me there later.

Sunday was super restful and laid back for all of us. 

A week later I still had no feeling in my two fingers after play the guitar. No, I did not play it again all week, just that one time. 

In the evening we had our FPU class.

That Moment When...

You drop the dryer lint catcher and all the lint goes everywhere.

You are left to babysit and the mom never told you the name of her baby. 

You finally find a monogramed baby blanket!

The Herd: Quoted 

"I've just been really trying to work against being prideful. Like, when people tell me something good that I do or give me praise, I want to go to tell other people what they said, but then I'm like, 'No, that's prideful.'" -Mia

"If you are talking to a guy and it's not going so well, but you really like him and maybe want to marry him, just make your hair fall over your face a little and then the guy will put it off your face and everything will start going great." -Mia

"Yeah, but when I get up early then Mia gets up and she is so loud." -Ava
"I'm not loud!" -Mia
"Well, you talk a lot." -Ava
"That's because after being asleep so long all my words have piled up and I have to tell them all to someone! They just keep coming out and you have to let them out because they stick to ya like laugh-y taffy!" -Mia 

"Chloe said they now have a coffee, tea, and hot chocolate bar set up at debate." -Me
"Well I guess that means you will be going next week." -Mom
"Yup!" -Me