Monday, December 31, 2012

The Birthday Celebration

Seaside Birthday Trip

My dear husband is an almost Christmas baby.  When a birthday falls a few short days after Christmas it can be a bit of a bummer. Just being honest, usually the plans for his birthday start on December 26th and involve some groaning and harried shopping.

I wanted this year to be different.  I wanted to plan ahead and make sure the hardest working husband out there felt a tiny bit of the appreciation I fell.

I planned a getaway weekend for us to Seaside.  A chance for us to just be together and enjoy the quiet.

@McKT surprised me with a trip for my birthday. Happy.

We slept in, ate un-rushed meals, enjoyed the scenery,  finished conversations, and enjoyed being able to focus on each other.

Seaside Birthday Trip

With baby number four coming soon, it was not lost on either of us that this was probably our last getaway sans kids for a while.  We soaked it up.

Happy (35th) Birthday, Dear.  So glad to be marching through these years with you.

And here we are, the one picture of us both from our little escape.
Seaside Birthday Trip

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Comfy Christmas

I love when we get to Christmas and the only celebrations left are the immediate family ones which are casual and relaxing. The big gatherings and parties are fun, but I look forward to the quite (okay maybe not that quiet) easy times of celebrating with our little crew.

There was lunch with Pops and Grandma Jayne.

Christmas 2012

Where, quite obviously, the dress code is blue jeans and rockets are shot to the roof.
Christmas 2012

There is the chaos of six grandchildren (and dogs who think they are children) and all their surprises with Gammy and Grin.

Christmas 2012

And waiting for Santa on the fire truck, even if he never comes it is still fun to run around in the yard together (some of us in our new Christmas slippers).

Christmas 2012

And then the waking on Christmas morning, the joy and excitement through sleepy eyes.

Christmas 2012

And the building, building and building.

Christmas 2012

Not so long ago, Santa had to build all the toys before delivery.  Now the present is the boys getting to build their Legos. Oh time, how you are flying.


The new train even got a ride on blankie.

Christmas 2012

And it is just as much fun to watch mommy and daddy open their prizes that have been  (mostly) well kept secrets for weeks.

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Christmas 2012

Pretty much my favorite day of the year. Homemade breakfast, staying in PJs, busy children, and being washed over with gratitude.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Introducing the McCay Elves

Because they would never willingly dance for a camera.
The reactions were mixed: Walker giggled, Colin thought it was hilarious and wanted to watch it a 100 times, and Eli was mad and demanded I not show anyone ever. Oh well, we can't always get what we want.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Santa 2012

We have made our annual trip to see Santa and look at our darling boys.

Santa 2012

Oh, what? Someone is missing?  Really?

I couldn't tell if it was a fear of the camera or of Santa, but C Mac was not getting in that photo.

Santa 2012

No matter how much brother tried to convince him it would be fine.

Santa 2012

No matter what candy or toys were promised, he would not move.

Santa 2012

So Walker and Eli shared their thoughts with Santa while little brother watched from afar.

Santa 2012

And then we tried to get a picture of all three boys near Santa, and well, that wasn't meant to be either.

Santa 2012

But Santa was visited and Chick-fil-a was eaten so Christmas traditions can continue forward. Ho, ho, ho.

And because it does a Momma heart good...

Santa 2011

2010 (so maybe Colin hasn't always exactly looooooved Santa)
Santa Visit 2010



Walker, Eli and Santa

2006 (well we had just seen Santa, but for some reason beyond my understanding I do not have a digital copy of this Santa pic.  Oh, the horror)
Walker as reindeer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

School Days

We are slowly finding our school rhythm with these three busy boys, and even more shocking they are learning.  Occasionally we even have fun.

I want to keep some documentation of these days.  It can become a daily grind of checklist and plans, without noticing the highlights. I want to remember the highlights.

We met some friends at the science museum last week and had a blast.

Lovely morning at McWane with our buddies. Pretty soon we are going to have to make field trip reservations before they let our 2 families in at the same time. Ha! #instagrambham

Upon our arrival home they had to write about their favorite thing at the science museum.  Both of the boys decided their favorite thing was riding the zip line.  Walker had never done it in years past, but with a bit of maturity and a lot of friend induced bravery he gave it several rides. Mr. Cautious is growing up and taking risks.

1st Grade perspective:

Kindergarten perspective:

Clearly we could all use a lesson on writing the letter "Z" you know, not backwards.

There is no homework (well, technically I guess it is all homework), but the boys love sharing with Daddy what they have accomplished during the day.

School lunch with Daddy. No mystery meat or square pizza here.

Santa letters as part of school.  I did this in my classroom years ago, but I wasn't shopping for the items on the list as my students were writing.
Children writing letters to Santa. "Santa" researching prices as they write. #AreLegosMadeOfGold?

These little daily tasks are slowly adding up to this amazing growth and development that our little boys are having before my very eyes.  Thankful for the blessing of being here with them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving Leftovers

It is fantastic that we have so many people we love in our lives that a one day holiday is stretched into a weeklong event, such was Thanksgiving.

We made it over to Mississippi for a day trip to see the Brown side of my family.  Recently our family has been filled with little boys.  Literally all the kids at this gathering of 75 are boys.  A group of 9 rowdy boys (I claim the 3 rowdiest).

I forgot the memory card for my camera and the only picture I got on my phone is unfortunately centered on a unnamed relative's backside. So no pictures from this year. {you're welcome}
Here is one from 2010, just add 2 years of little boy growth and baby J. Mason to the front. :)

Well my sweet niece Evie, broke the boy trend the day before Thanksgiving.  Admittedly the cross country trip was a bit too much to expect they day after being born, but none the less she kicked off the little girl trend with 2 more expected in the spring. 


Aren't they all just adorable? Can we talk about how it is killing me to be a country away from that little bit of darlingness? They are doing well all the way in California and someone else is collecting all my baby snuggles.  {sigh}

Back to Thanksgiving events...
On Saturday we had a Thanksgiving meal/Football view party with Jason's side of the family. Let's not talk about the football, on to Gammy's amazing casserole extravaganza that left us all stuffed, but it was worth it. 

It was a lovely relaxing time of just hanging out and enjoying each other's company.  Grandma and Grandpa Hermie even made the trip from Atlanta. 

Thanksgiving 2012

Look out, McCay kids with sticks.  {they are quite the tough gang}
Thanksgiving 2012

We finished our Thanksgiving celebrations with popcorn for dinner and Star Wars watching. {just right for our little family}
Popcorn for dinner and a Star Wars marathon.  Post Thanksgiving recovery.

What an absolutely wonderful way to kick off the holiday season.  We are already looking forward to the fun times ahead in December.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Week That Was

Y'all, last week was a week.  Seriously.  We live a blessed life, but *whew*.

Monday morning, Walker woke with a fever.  Like a really-high-for-him fever. Then he started throwing up.  I appreciate him getting off the carpet, but that is about all he saved.  Somewhere in the midst of this "someone" poos his pants and attempts his own clean up.  He was extremely unsuccessful in his clean up. There was much showering, clothes washing and steam sanitizing going on. Hot water and bleach were my partners in germ fighting.

Then the hot water ran out and never returned.  First world problem, that totally made me realize my complete dependence on this luxury item.  Sanitize is my favorite cycle on any washing appliance.  Jason comes home to determine that, in fact, it is not the pilot light and that it is too late to get it fixed that day.  The contaminated linens pile grew and grew and grew...  Also, dear friends are ones who when you call at 9:30 desperate for the use of their shower to wash away the gross of the day, say yes.


Tuesday.  My fantastic husband worked from home to arrange and manage hot water heater repair.  Walker continues to run a high fever but is able to stop throwing up, which is huge for him.  We had to miss our co-op day, which stinks for us all.  It really is a highlight of our week and to miss it leaves a gap in our week.

Also, the parents were getting rather tired by this point.

Wednesday. Walker woke up with no fever and eats some toast!

I had a fantastic baby doctor appointment.  Baby girl is growing well.  She is still laying sideways, and the doc reiterates that this is fine at this point.  All the boys were head down at every check up, so I've never worried about a baby getting in position.  Anybody have personal experience with a baby hanging out sideways and turning in time for the grand exit?

And then, Walker crashed and his fever spiked up again.  We determined he needed a trip to the doc.  Off we go.  Diagnosis: Strep.  Boo and poor kid.


He napped more this week than he has in a year.  We are talking sleeping for 20 hours a day.  He wouldn't even watch tv, much to the dissapointment of his feeling-fine-but-willing-to-watch-tv-all-day brothers.

Thursday.  We had to cancel plans to attend our homeschool's group Thanksgiving feast, due to W's fever the day before.  Of course, Walker acted completely fine all day (so grateful he felt better, but annoyed that we had to miss another event).  We all started to go stir crazy from the staying at home.

I decided Walker had enough strength for a walk so we head out to our neighborhood trail for some fresh air and vitamin D.  It does us all good.

Colin practiced walking independently  as opposed to mommy carrying or pushing him in a stroller.  I don't want him to resent me carrying baby girl all the time.  And by practicing I mean he cried for the the first half of the walk "mommy carry you" and there was much "good-bye to Colin" as I walked off.  Walker reminded him if he stayed in the woods there would be no chocolate milk for breakfast.  He came right along.


I made dinner at home (which is of note these days).  I smoked up the entire house and it still smelled like burnt garlic the next day. It isn't a particularly horrible smell, it just isn't want you want to smell while sipping coffee.  

Friday.  Everyone woke up feeling well and we were past the 24 hour fever free mark.  Off we went to McWane center.  The excitement was palpable.
Science museum trains! So exciting. We wait all year for this.

Little brother was just as excited. (Although not praying to the trains as it appears)

The big boys promised to do their writing work without complaining when we got home and Colin promised not to pee in his pants while we are out.  Colin made good on his promise, the other 2, well...they got it done, eventually.


Unrelated to the illness, but adding fun stuff to our week:  It has been a full week since I have changed a diaper.  Hot dog, after six and half years of continuous diaper changing, it appears I will be granted a few months reprieve. We waited a long time, a couple of attempts were abandoned, and suddenly my baby is joining the big boy club.

So here is my documentation of a hard momma week.  Love my kids, love being able to serve them and it would be just fine if they never threw up again.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Cross Country Travel July 2012

In honor of those military families who give up more than civilians (myself included) ever could imagine.

In chatting with my sister-in-law last week she casually mentions, "I'm not worried about the first time my child draws on the wall.  I'm worried about her first birthday without her daddy here."  The thought took my breath away.

As a military wife, her world is not my world.  Her realities are not my realities.

Our brave veterans are teaching me...

The older I become and the longer my brother serves in the Navy, the more parallels I see between the beauty of our veterans' lives (family included) and the complete surrender to Jesus our Christian lives call for but I so often bristle at.

What an amazing model these veterans have given us.  That we would be willing to get up and go, even with the cost, the unknowns, the hardship that we are sure to endure.

{And never question the authority of the one sending us.}

It isn't just the moving or the risk or the rules and regulations.

It is a dying to self.

Your life is not your own.  Decisions, plans, wishes and hopes are voluntarily given over to someone else.  For our safety.  For our security. For our future.

These soliders, their families,  and their futures follow orders.  They give it all up to follow the command of those they have pledged their allegiance to for what they believe in.

Some orders are harder than others.  Some people are sent to more difficult places, but they all have made the choice to obey.

They sacrifice for those who disagree, who  are disrespectful and for those who will never say thank you.  They still know their mission.  Our response is not their motivation.

When Jesus calls are we ready to leave our family? Are we ready to miss those special occasions? Are we ready to leave our comfortable familiar homes?  Are we ready to change culture and friends?  Are we ready to leave our family and our support networks?  Are we ready to trust that the Lord will provide all we need?  Are we really ready?

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be.  My Father will honor the one who serves me.
John 12:25-26

Visit to Hanford
So thankful that my boys have their Uncle to be this blazing example.

{Inspired to hit publish by Ashleigh Baker's gorgeous post at Heart and Home honoring the wives our our brave service members.}

Friday, November 2, 2012

Halloween 2012

Candy, costumes and all the fun three little boys can be.

Halloween 2012

I love that the boys expect to trick or treat with their cousins.  So much fun.

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

The goal is a much candy as quickly as possible.

Halloween 2012

We were very successful in this goal.

Halloween 2012

Colin was so camera ready all day.

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

A final pumpkin patch trip, because why not?

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012

Halloween 2012