Monday, August 21, 2017

ECLIPSE WATCH PARTY

I love any excuse to party, so when it sort of dawned on me what a big deal this eclipse was, I knew I wanted to make a thing of it.  I checked the big girls out of school and invited us to a homeschool watch party.  Everything is more fun with friends.

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(Just call us "Five Blind Mice, See Where They Look" - you cannot see anything but the sun through those glasses, though they certainly kept our retinas nice and intact!)

Back on our family trip, my extremely thoughtful (and science-y) step-father hooked us up with glasses and info.

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I made some eclipse cookies last night in preparation, because every event requires cookies. #duh

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I also whipped up some "Galaxy Lemonade," which didn't change color nearly as much as I wanted, but still made for a nice cool drink to get us started.

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Everyone brought eclipse inspired food/drinks/snacks.

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It was both amazing and a *teensy* bit underwhelming where we were located with only a 90% coverage.  Turns out, 10% of the sun is still incredibly warm and bright.  It was incredible to see how God created our world and to feel everything moving and see the shadow of the moon.  Both kids and adults thoroughly enjoyed watching the crescent change throughout the eclipse.

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It didn't get dark enough to really appreciate glow sticks, but they are fun in any kind of light - especially weird eclipse partial light.

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The twins stayed in school, but enjoyed playing with the glasses during therapy and after school.  I enjoyed snuggling their half-sister Lizzie. 😍

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Thanks, Christy, for letting us party crash!  Now I'm super excited to know that Little Rock will be in the path of totality for the 2024 eclipse!  #holdingontomyglasses 😜

Monday, August 14, 2017

BACK TO SCHOOL

It's that time of year, and it snuck right up on me.  I'm sitting on a couch in my house by myself.  No one is asking me a million questions.  I don't have to get another round of Cheerios for anyone.  My house is not actively becoming messy.  I am not sad that these things will not make up a large chunk of my weekdays for the foreseeable future.

The end of our summer has shown me that it was time for school to start. 🤣 Summer has mostly been great, but it's time for more routine and a little bit of separation.  It really can make the heart grow fonder. 😜 Please know that I love and cherish my darling children.  But, for now in life, school is what God has for our family, and I'm thankful for the opportunities that it provides each of us.  Last year I was a crying mess, but this year feels like finding our feet on solid ground and knowing this is what's best for this time.  There are many years ahead where I will bawl my eyes out over some giant family landmark, but this is not that year. 🙌🏻 Instead, I feel more like taking a nap. 😴

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This morning was eerily smooth.  No one cried or screamed, and I can tell you from first-hand, recent experience that this is not currently the norm with our crew.  Our photo session was relatively painless and required very few Smarties to complete.

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We met the teachers on Friday night and Sunday afternoon.  I'm hoping and praying that they learn and grow and have fantastic years together!

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This morning, everyone walked into their classes, ready to start the new year.

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I did make Back to School cookies, though I didn't sell them.  I try to start off on the right foot at the beginning of the year, since there are many ways that I will fail as the year goes on.

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It is crazy to realize how quickly time passes.  I am so thankful for the times we've had together this summer.  Every year brings different challenges and joys, and it will be interesting to see what emerges as we press on.  I'm praying that God gives us strength and grace and kindness as we go through our days and looking forward to seeing what this school year will bring!

{FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2016}
{FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2015} {& HERE}
{FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2014} {& HERE}
{FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2013}
{FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2012}

Friday, August 11, 2017

TRIP TO NWA: POOL TIME & EVEN MORE EATING

I really do love time with my siblings.  Truth is, I wasn't super close to them when I lived at home.  My brother and I were very different, and my sisters were 6 and 9 years younger than me. (this is still true.)  We didn't have a ton of common ground, and I went off to college and then got married.  But as the years have passed, and our life stages have caught up, I've found out that my siblings are some of my very favorite people.  It doesn't hurt that they all picked fantastic spouses, so our time together is truly filled with lots of laughter and rich conversation.  (Mom and Wes are also super awesome.)

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I blogged about the first half of our trip here.  We took things slower on Saturday morning, and John took our kiddos for a walk on the trails around campus while I slept. 😴🙌🏻 

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When he got back, John explained that he saw a buck with several deer around it down on the rugby field, which seemed pretty amazing.  Then he spotted a bear, and then a mountain lion and a big-horned sheep and wondered what in the world was going on.  That is when he realized that the entire field was full of decoys for a hunting and fishing expo. 😂🤣

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We spent some of the morning at a playground, since there were 10 children who needed to expend some energy.  Truth be told, I spent very little time actually at the playground, because we had to make a bathroom run to a nearby gas station for a twin and a different twin wanted to throw a fit in the car.  Ahh, the joys of parenthood.

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(My niece Mae, wearing one of Lily's old outfits - how the time truly does fly!)
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For our afternoon entertainment, we chose the Siloam Aquatic Park, which is sort of nostalgic for John and I, because we went there every orientation week of college, and it has views of the church where we were married.  Naturally.  We all enjoyed our afternoon in the sun with plenty of cousins and aunts/uncles and Nana/Papa to play with.

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That night, my sis had arranged sitters to stay with all of the children once we put them to bed, and we adults set out for a night on the town.  28 Springs was calling, and we all gladly answered the summons.

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Being able to finish sentences and complete thoughts was such a delight!  We all reveled in this novel form of fun.

The next morning, we were back to business as usual with the other, louder half of our party, and we finished out our family fun at Cathy's Corner with a gigantic breakfast.

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Instagram filters kept us entertained while waiting for food.

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Saying goodbye to cousins was hard, and William was especially crushed to not take Max home with us.  Max is a year older - I just have some tall children.

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And since we were in Siloam, we went ahead and knocked out this year's family pictures, which had extreme highs and lows.  One of our darling four year olds did not want to smile, though, as you can clearly see in the picture above, he knows how to do so.

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But, as usual, Luke was awesome and patient, and I am sure he will dazzle us with whatever he got!

Until, Thanksgiving, fam! We love you all - thanks so much for family tripping with us!