Thursday, September 26, 2013


Backyard Clover

"Mommy, mommy, look! It's a miracle.  Look what grew overnight!"  Eli and Walker were thrilled to discover the gift of clover covering natural areas of our backyard.  They rushed inside to bring the rest of us outside to share in the joy.

Last Saturday we had the first rain since our move in May.  All the weeds in the backyard took a nice long drink and have exploded.

I mean really the field of clover is just rampant weeds, but that isn't how the boys saw it.  I could feel the excitement in their voices.

Backyard Clover

"They are all tiny hearts," one says with a sideways smile.

"Our mission is to find a four leafed clover.  It's a big job," another one leads us in our afternoon task.

We did not find any four leafed clovers, but the searching was fun.  And Eli ripped off one leaf, two leaves each with two sections remained and declared he had made a four leafed clover. The literal loving Walker wouldn't buy it, but let Eli make his own solution to the searching.

Our days and nights have been a bit "weed filled" lately.  Baby girl is a bit more needy at night; the source of which seems to be a moving target.

The four year old is going through a bit of a shocking learning time; and his behavior has suffered.

School is only getting more intense and demanding, but we are learning so that is a good thing.

Yesterday was no exception, when I walked out of the nursery after getting Baby Girl down for her much needed morning nap, I was greeted with, "I made a bad choice," and a four year old covered in glue.

And then there were request (demands?) for the second, third and fourth breakfast.  Always, so hungry these boys.

There was no traction - no marking things off my lists.

Then writing was done and outside time had come - and the "miracle" was discovered. So much joy and interest from the unexpected and the unplanned for; the things growing in the wrong place.

Oh, how these are our moments.  The greatest joy and love comes in these times beyond my plan or my needs or my expectations.

And I realize how much I need to take the time to write these things out, even through the tired and the busy because I need for all of me to know and remember.

Backyard Clover

Also, another obsession: backyard caterpillars.

{We researched and asked many friends to help identify our little buddies. For a while the boys were convinced they had discovered a new species, but we had one dear friend who knew what these were. So here is a webworm and apparently in about a month we will be overrun with white moths (and some of us couldn't be more excited).}

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Baby Girl's Unbirthday

Lydia 6 Months

Our precious baby girl has has passed the half year mark (which seems rather impossible to believe). This seems the appropriate time for a general baby update.

She is turning in to quite the character around here.  She is growing into a little personality and we couldn't be more thrilled to learn more of who she is each day.

Ruffle Bottom

If she is awake she prefers to be outside.  Must be her Pops in her. The trees, the sunshine, she loves it all. It is also probably related to the fact that she will never remember the stepping outside and immediately passing out from heat exhaustion (our little California girl).

Ruffle Bottom

She squeals and yells happily with delight all day.  She seems just happy to hear herself.  She makes some ahhhh, bbbbbbb, and waaaaa sounds, but nothing intentional. If she is anything like her big brothers, I'm sure she will be fighting for her turn to speak in just a hot minute.

Gone are the sleepy infant days of napping all day.  They have been replaced with sitting, crawling and exploring.

Ruffle Bottom

I cannot believe we have arrived here so quickly.  She is moving as she pleases.  She rolls where she wants to go, and is up on all four and crawling off the designated "baby space" as quickly as she is put down.  She is pulling up to her knees and Jason has already had to lower the crib.  This baby girl is wasting no time growing up.

{I promise we don't treat her like a puppy (often), she is just most interested in what her brothers have}

She is eating dinner and getting after it. She prefers avocado over sweet potatoes. Peas and bananas have been outright rejected.  She pretends to chew with each bite I take and makes it harder for mommy to steal treats during the day.  She might be the baby who mostly skips the baby food stage, which would be just find with mommy.
Eating Avacados

She is still nursing! This is huge.  She has lasted the longest of any of my babies.  I have prayed and pleaded over our nursing relationship and I'm so grateful the Lord has granted me this gift!  She is still super interested in me over the bottle.  We have to use the bottle (I have always had a finite supply no matter the supplements, pumping, prescriptions, and so forth I have tried), so it can be frustrating that she would rather wait for the momma milk that will never be sufficient, but I am so happy that we are still here.  She has not had any sickness and her skin still looks great (could be totally unrelated, but I'm grateful just the same).  I am so happy our momma and baby nursing relationship is still going strong.

Nursing at 6 Months

{Bonus happy baby pic unrelated to what I am saying}

Her favorite people in the world are still her three brothers.  And the adoration is mutual.  Lord, may they always love each other so dearly.

The "out takes" from Baby Girl's monthly pics are my favorite. So much big brother love, I can barely get one of her alone.  #OhMyHeart

Part of Walker's reading assignments each day is to read to his sister.  They both get something out of it, until Lydia decides it is time to chew on the book then we move on to the next assignment.
Walker reading to Lydia

Bedtime is firmly at 8 o'clock each night, her choice not mine.  She sleeps for about a seven hour stretch at night and then decides she has missed me so much that she needs a middle of the night snack.  I really don't mind the waking and snuggling, until about four o'clock in the afternoon the next day, but these days are fleeting and all too soon she will not need momma so much and I will miss it (she says as she slugs down another cup of coffee).

Napping Lydia

She takes two great naps during the day, which has made schooling so much easier these days. I am so thankful for the mild California weather, because we can take our schooling time outside.  And when we are outside, baby girl is much more accommodating to me focusing on her brothers.

Charlotte Mason educating is so much more fun when it is 75, sunny and zero humidity. #homeschool

Lydia is, in many ways, my most enjoyable baby and my hardest baby.  It is fantastic how the Lord has woven those two things together.  We are slowly figuring out how to balance three big brothers, busy school lives, crazy Daddy business building and making our new home during this first year of our Baby Girl's life. Sometimes the hardest things are the best and that is right where we are!

It's Friday, y'all! Wearing our hope and our happy, cause she's too young to have a vote about coordinating with mommy.

She makes us all so happy and our family is so much richer for her being here.  Happy six months Baby Girl, so excited to see you crawl, toddle and run through the rest of this first year.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Many Moods of the California Beaches.

One Sunday we made our escape to the beach.

When we arrived it was foggy and grey, but honestly? It was pretty nice.  There was no wind and no need to be smothered in sunscreen.

Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

The lack of wind meant Baby Girl was happy for a bit.  Wind is her beach enemy.  When the wind hits her face she's all gasping for air and jerking wildly in my arms.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

Then the sun came out, and everyone was able to frolic in the waves.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

And the sand.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

I even let Baby Girl's toes get dirty, which is a big deal since they are in her mouth 90% of her waking hours.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

And then someone was done with the sand, waves and returning wind.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

And that someone needed a nap.  So there was a ring sling, a paci, a blanket and a towel to get just the right mood.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

When boys dig holes, get in them and refuse to get out, it is likely the end of our beach day.  The wind had conquered us all.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

And and this place I feel the need to tell you about how after each beach trip Jason must wash off overly tired and dirty boys in icy cold water on our way back to the car.   Then he must dry and change these grumpy boys under the slight cover of the minivan.  Then mostly dry and clean boys can get in the car and relax on the way home.  No small task. So grateful he takes on the lion's share of this less than instgramable beach task.
Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

Such a blessing to have a beach escape an hour away!

Santa Cruz 8.18.2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Final Stages of Letting Go of the Alabama "Home"

Our house in Alabama has sold.  It is someone else's shiny new adventure.  The home where our little family started to blossom has become firmly planted in our history, not our present.  While it is a huge blessing to be relieved a mortgage for a home we are no longer living in, there is a good bit of sadness over knowing it is gone.

Jason and I scheduled a babysitter for Friday night to have a little time to process the big change.

Cheers to a night out with @jasonmccay celebrating/lamenting no longer being homeowners.

A welcome night out with Katy.

It was lovely and just what we needed to remember that we are just where we are supposed to be.

And then I found this unfinished post in my drafts and it seemed the prefect time to post about how we said goodbye to the fair city of Birmingham.

So without further ado: Our Farewell Tour 2013.


We have had two summers of sort of leaving Birmingham, so we have had a few tries as figuring out what we would miss.  During our last few weeks we tried to hit all the high points.  You will note that most of our  high points involve food.  That is pretty accurate and there is no need for a further explanation.

Kona Ice a a local country festival, where the boys complained about how hot they were.  Ha! Missing Alabama summers has made us all weenies.
Kona ice at the Calera Strawberry Festival. #farewelltour2013 #instagrambham

See, country...
 Gettin' our redneck in before heading to Cali.

Milos.  Grilled onions, extra sauce to dip the fries and a large sweet tea.  It seems this is one thing only appreciated by those of us born and raised in Birmingham. Oh, how I pray they remember and love it as we do.
Saying a long goodbye to the burgers and sweet tea. #farewelltour2013 #milos #instagrambham

Our neighborhood had a great walking trail with lots of things to discover along the path.  It was often my solution when we needed to get out the house but did not want to load up in the car.
Our neighborhood trail on a warm afternoon. #EnjoyingTheSmallThings is easier when you know you will be missing them soon.

Also, the sunsets from our front door were spectacular almost every night.
Fiery sunset.

Chick-fil-a with the great-grandparents.  There is a Chick-fil-a about 45 minutes away from our new house, so it is different than the one on every corner in Alabama, but much harder is the distance from the grandparents and great-grandparents.
CFA with the (great) grandparents. Hardest part of #farewelltour2013 {the grandparents not the chicken}

Blessed children to be loved on by so many family members.

Great-Grandparents Visit

Great-Grandparents Visit

Cousins, who they love so dearly.  They daily discuss having them move here.

One more play date with the cousins. #farewelltour2013

One last fried green tomato BLT from Edgar's and lunch with these two friends who make my heart swell and hurt all at the same time.
And one last lunch with these ladies for whom there are not words to describe my affection. #farewelltour2013

Vulcan's best side, because obviously.

Dinner at the Depot in Helena.  Our favorite burger spot with the kids.
Now burgers at our favorite Helena spot. #farwelltour2013 #depot #instagrambham

Not pictured: ridiculous amount of trips to Jim and Nicks, Dairy Queen drive thru, one last creme brûlée from Fox Valley, absurd number of Zaxby's chicken fingers and drinks over crushed ice, Joe's Donuts on more than one occasion, and the list goes on.

Eli really wanted to make on more trip to Moe's and the McWane Center.  We just didn't have the time, we will have to hit those the next time we are in town (which is already feeling close as fall and the holidays approach).

Back to the house: No more Easter pictures outside this front door.

Easter Morning

Jason and The Boys

Of course the good news is that we brought the stars of the pictures and their younger siblings with us.  So our sweet family will continue to blossom.  We will continue to take Easter morning pictures, and we will be thankful for the houses and towns we are given the opportunity to make home.