Beautiful Life

Hey child up and go; A big world is out there waiting for us to live in every day. Outside you will find, there is love all around you; Takes you, makes you wanna' say; That it's a beautiful life and it's a beautiful world and it's a beautiful time to be here, to be here, to be here. -Fisher

Friday, October 21, 2011

Another Year

I can't believe it, but another year has gone by and our oldest, is 22.  That hardly seems possible.  Hardly possible that she could be a senior at College of Charleston. 

Hardly possible that this time next week she will house sit for us.  Because it seems like just yesterday she needed a babysitter!

Hardly possible that this time next year she could be working full time somewhere as an Anthropologist.  Or going to GRAD school!  Or worse {better for her, worse for us} living overseas learning neat things about other cultures.  Because it seems like just yesterday she was graduating from kindergarten! 

Life needs to slow down a bit.  Way down! We are starting to realize that it won't be too much longer before we have to face the fact that we really aren't going to be seeing her much.  We are trying to enjoy every single minute we can squeeze from her schedule!

So, despite the fact that Claire is again under attack from a vicious uti and Asher tried to rip the ear from his head WHILE I baked Lizzie's birthday cake {From scratch.....because that's how I roll}, we had a lovely dinner to celebrate another year with our Lizzie. 

And yes!  Yes, she is beauty and brains.  Not even kidding.  And yes.  Yes, I did put 22 candles on that cake.  And when she blew the them out, there was in fact a cloud of smoke.  

We sang, we laughed and we listened.  It was good.  No presents this year.  Just cards, loaded with money of course.  Which is all a college kid wants anyway.  Am I right? 

I just hope the next year doesn't go by as quickly as the last.  I don't know how much more this mama can take.  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rite of Passage

Soon to be 15.


Their dad decided this morning before church would be a good time for a shaving lesson.

To rid their faces of that dirty upper lip look.

And while I'm happy to have my baby-face boys back,
 not so happy about how we arrived at this!

Does anyone know how to turn back the clock?
13 years would be good. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Good Excuse

It turns out that having two pre-school aged kids in the house is a pretty good excuse to take advantage of a Friday morning field trip to the Pumpkin Patch.  Something we haven't done in years.  You know, due to the lack of pre-schoolers in the house. 

Yeah, yeah.

I know Claire has been here for three years and she definitely qualified as a pre-schooler.  But, there was the whole mobility issue to consider. 

That first year would have involved me lugging her around all day.  Or dragging the stroller through the patch!

The second year was better, but she used a walker.....not exactly conducive to the terrain of a working farm.

We did visit a barrier island and if I remember correctly, I hauled her around on my back most of the time.  Because a walker won't go on a hike across a barrier island either.

Ya know?

The third year was a possibility.  She was walking on her own.  However, balance {or lack of} was a huge issue when I made choices about activities.  She fell.  A. Lot. And I saw the real possibility of her falling in a cow patty unattractive. 

These are the things I think about.

This year?  Well, our girl has really come into her own.  She works so hard and has made such strides.  Her still an issue.  I mean, we did just visit an ER with a head wound.  But.  BUT, believe it or not, she doesn't fall nearly as much as she used to.  She is finally able to navigate curbs, steps, humps and bumpy ground.  Somewhat.  Which is better than never.  Which was last year! 


To the pumpkin patch we went!   

She was ready!

She had very little trouble with the landscape.
They picked their pumpkins.  I loved that there were little ones just right for little hands!

And what is it with this kid and balancing things on her head?

Isabel got her pumpkin two. 
This one is bound for glory as .....{her favorite jack-o-lantern design}vomiting pumpkin.

I know! 
What do you do with that?

We hauled our produce to the car.

And went back to feed the animals. 
 Asher wasn't too sure about this option.
But. what a good sport!

He even fed the cows.
Why yes. Yes those are swarms of flies!

Life is good!

And no one fell in a cow patty.

This Mama is thankful for a good excuse to play around.  Thankful for a local farm that we can support and homeschool group that we can hang with.  And very, very thankful for a little girl that can walk around on a farm like everyone else! 

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Different Normal

One of the things I enjoy most about homeschooling is that if you decide on the fly to pick up and go somewhere, you can.  You just tweak the school schedule.  And that is exactly what I did when I realized that Paul's national sales meeting was going to be held in Nashville this year.  Why? Because some of our favorite people live near Nashville!   

I had to steal this from their own blog. Why haven't I thought to take a new picture during one the two weeks we have spent together this year?  I do not know. That idea won't escape me next time we are together! I hope.

I ran my idea past Anna and got the okay to pack up my crew in the monster van and drive up with Paul.  We offered to stay in a hotel.  Didn't want too, but I was afraid that our brood would prove too much for their small house.  And let's face it, if you aren't used to the noise and activity that comes with so many kids, it can be overwhelming.  But, they would have nothing of it, and set themselves up for the punishment.  They called it great fun.  Ha!  I think they are just being sweet.  But, I will have to say that they handled our invasion with the utmost grace.   

We piled into their home and lives, wreaking havoc on their schedule for 7 days and nights.  And though there were a few moments of stress, it was so good to be together that those moments were forgotten quickly. 

The big boys got to camp out for a night before we pulled the plug due to near freezing temperatures one night and made them sleep on the kitchen floor.  The little ones sleep on the floor in the room with YoYo and FuXia.  It was a logistical nightmare for the Caudills to get their boys off to school for 4 of those days, but they never complained.  No doubt, these are just plain good people. 

It's amazing how our families could get along so well.....well enough that they could over-look the complications of having us in town on school days!  And now that I'm home and had time to reflect on the visit, I realize one of the major reasons I enjoy their company so much is because when we are together it isn't odd to be dealing with/thinking about/talking about cathing schedules and braces and adoption bonding/discipline issues......because they are dealing with ALL those things too.  And when we are together, Claire isn't the odd one out.  She isn't the only one that has mobility issues or a cathing schedule or special things to consider.  She gets to feel normal....a different kind of normal, but normal all the same. And that is good!  It's good for her and for me.  Just to see first hand that our normal isn't completely foreign. 

Oh how I wish I'd remembered to take pictures of us all eating around their table {some having to sit on plastic tubs, or step-ladders} or sleeping in sleeping bags all over their house.  The toys strewn across every room and the front yard.  Four older children, plus the men folk around a little poker table in the living room having a blast.  Us laughing our Beeeee-hinds off at the movie Monsters Vs Aliens. The chickens.  The chickens make me smile and remind me of my grandma's house.  Sitting around the chicken coop talking and feeding them clover from the yard.  The kids having a water fight in the yard.  Asher dressed as Superman for two days.  The three little ones coloring on the floor. I took pictures of none of that, yet those were some of the best times of the trip! 

But, I did get some pictures of the train ride, which all the children thought was cool....even the big ones, and that's saying a lot! 

 Asher was beside himself excited about this!

Claire and YoYo had a photo shoot waiting for the train ride to happen.

And I even managed to get some pictures of some of the kids at the playground.

But, for the most part, I was just enjoying the visit and forgot about the camera.  Am I sorry?  Yeah.  But, the only thing that is really sad is that the visit is over......for now anyway.  My kids have to get back to school and the Caudills have to prepare for some upcoming medical travel {something we understand}. 

But, that's okay.  I have a feeling we all enjoy the different kind of normal we feel together and will end up planning another way our families can hang out together soon!