Category Archives: Family

Theodore turns 10

I’m certainly glad that we gave this boy such a big name. Everything Theodore does is done BIG, LOUD, FAST, ENTHUSIASTICALLY. Well, anything he wants to do that is. Not so much for chores and school work. He loved that his double digit birthday fell on the day of the solar eclipse and it was amazing to experience totality and then have family over to celebrate his special day. I think it’s something he will always remember. He also had a few buddies over to spend the night last night and Chris took them all to BrickUniverse (A Lego fan convention) in Knoxville this morning.  He has loved the special attention and treatment. I do believe he wishes every day could be his birthday.

Parker turns 8

This boy! He is so, so smart. He still loves to cuddle, crack a good joke and stay where the temperature and activity level are regulated. He has fallen in love with reading, which makes this momma’s heart happy. He is passionate about what he believes, which can lead to some temper outbursts that he’s working on controlling. Parker is very sensitive to what others say to him and think of him and he’s just as sensitive to another’s pain and trying to comfort them. He loves to eat. He usually eats as much as an adult. He likes to have all of the information and will become frustrated if plans change without warning. He is a good student and actually enjoys school work but struggles to own that fact because he has 3 brothers who vocalize their distaste for anything school work related. We are thankful that he is a healthy, active, kind boy.

Katie turns 11

My first little baby girl turned 11 years old in October. She has continued to be thoughtful, kind, giving and loving. She loves to laugh. She’s been changing and becoming a little more sensitive (pre-teen years here we come). What makes her such a good helper now and what will make her an excellent leader in the future is that she MUST know what is going on. She tends to eavesdrop on adult conversations so she can have all the information and then likes to quickly pass on the info to her brothers and friends. She has requested that she have her own planner she can write in and one of her first questions every day is “so, what’s on the schedule for today?” She likes to plan ahead and make cards for others (I think she made 40 Christmas cards to hand out to different family and friends). Her enthusiasm for life is contagious! It was her turn this year to have a party so we had a family dinner and a friend party. Nothing Pinterest worthy, but she said it was the best one yet.





Gulf Shores 2016


Parker’s 7

For the first part of his birthday this year he spent some special time with two other sweet 7-year-olds. Chris and I took the three of them to a movie, to Menchie’s for a treat and then home to play some video games. It was a great plan for a fellow who can still get cranky and lose his temper when overwhelmed or tired. The next day was his birthday day and I took him and Theodore out for a doughnut and to pick out his cake and birthday dinner. I love that he chose store bought cake, corn dogs and chips. He made it easy on mommy. We had some family over the next night for pizza and cake, so Parker had a third day to receive attention, love and presents.

Parker is a beautiful, healthy, strong boy and we are thankful he’s a part of our family!  He is still the one who consistently comes for a cuddle with mommy. He keeps cracking jokes and has a great sense of humor and timing. He would rather play inside than outside. Unless the conditions are perfect. If he’s well fed and hydrated, has a sibling or friend to join him, the temperature is not too hot and not too cold, if there are things to ride and room to jump, run and explore then he’s a big fan of being outside.

He’s weighing in at about 48 pounds these days, still has his pretty blond hair, is starting to read, loves Pokémon and Wii games, he’s easily angered but even quicker to laugh and giggle and be silly. The chores he can do well now (but not necessarily with a great attitude) are take out the big and little trashcans, walk Maggie, clean up the living room and make his bed.


Family Meeting

If I had to name two things that bring me joy they would be organization and change. I happen to think these are good qualities that enable me to be able to thrive in chaotic, stressful environments. My poor husband on the other hand really likes for things to be predictable. I don’t think he knew what he was getting himself into when he met me 15  years ago. Even when we were first married and we would be working different shifts or days, he would come home and the furniture would be rearranged and the plates moved to a different cabinet. I would be fired up about a new plan for getting a pet, moving, a new place to buy groceries or new budget spreadsheet. Bless him.

I have tried hard for his sake to limit these changes and he’s done an awesome job at realizing that his wife isn’t trying to make him crazy, she just loves change.

When it comes to having children in your home, whether its one child or eight children, organization and change are imperative. Now, I am not saying that consistency goes out the window. All children flourish with consistency. What I’m talking about is organizing environments and schedules and being willing to change methods and plans.

For example, yesterday morning I called a family meeting with the kids. There were 3 major discussions we needed to have; chores, schoolwork/reading time, “that’s not fair”.

In the area of chores, our kids have a good amount of responsibility. Now that everyone is getting older, I’ve added a few more to their list. We talked about combining a few chores and made assignments for the next week or two. For example, Foster has laundry and bathroom #2. He is responsible for washing, drying, putting away all the laundry. He also wipes down the bathroom sink, mirror, toilet at least once a day. He only has to scrub the tub if it needs it.

The second thing we discussed was the expectation that they need to either work on schoolwork (we never finish Math in a typical school year) or read for one hour before they have any screen time or friend time. With breakfast, chores and reading time they should be done by about 10:30 am and that leaves the next 8 hours for them to be free and have fun.

The third item on the agenda was about attitudes. We discussed how much we have in way of toys, clothes, safety, security and comfort compared to other children. We talked about gratitude and not comparing what someone else gets to what we get. In our home, we have lots of discussion regarding “sometimes its your turn and sometimes its not”. This week Foster was able to spend extra time with visiting family and go to the science museum. Katie got to go with them to the Lost Sea. The younger boys got to go to Chick-fil-a (like go inside and play, which is a rare treat).

This understanding is imperative in our family because not everyone is the same age and maturity level. And the gap will just continue to widen as everyone gets older. When Foster gets a phone or is able to drive the younger boys will still just be 12, 10 and 8 years old. They’re going to have to see him with a lot of privilege and freedom that will be years off for them. In keeping with that, I told them that if I hear “that’s not fair” in any form, like “but he got to, Katie got more than me, I didn’t get a turn,” then they would get a check mark on the white board in the kitchen. Each check mark equals 5 minutes earlier bedtime.

When we have these family meetings, I try to keep the list of items or things we’re changing or working on down to 3 or 4 items so that the kids don’t get overwhelmed and the expectations are clear.

The kids really respond well to these meetings. They will chime in with their own ideas and opinions. They are willing to be flexible and try new routines and rules. Each time I make these changes in the house, I’m showing them that they can learn new things and change their own attitudes. Chris and I are trying to teach them that a family is a team. We work together and not against each other. When we do work together, we feel closer and we can accomplish more.


Grayton Beach 2015

My parents’ generosity allowed the kids and I to experience another adventure. We left 2 days after Thanksgiving and made the 9 hour trip in their RV to stay at Grayton Beach State Park. This park has a lot of restrictions like no pets on the beach, no walking on the dunes, that kind of thing. Also, you either pay to stay in the campground or you pay by car to visit for the day. The restrictions didn’t bother us and we were thankful for the pristine, peaceful beaches. It was the prettiest beach I’ve ever visited. Even on the weekend days, there were maybe 30 other people around. Filled with plenty of places to bike and walk nature trails, it was an excellent destination for people who aren’t looking for a lot of partying or shopping. There was a Publix close enough and some small little shops around but it wasn’t overgrown or overcrowded. Of course, we were there in December so that could have a lot to do with it. We lucked out and had 3 days that were above 75 degrees. While back home our friends and family were virtually floating away from inches and inches of rain. The last day there the rain caught up to us, so we decided to watch the new Peanuts movie at a local theater.

The kids had a wonderful time. And I enjoyed being with the people I love most in the world. But, I missed Chris (he was bear hunting and working). I also missed personal space, quiet and solitude. With 8 people (5 of them under the age of 12) in an RV you don’t have much of that. Being an introvert has its challenges.