Monday, February 17, 2014

Alive and Well

2014 has gotten off to an interesting start in our house...

We made it to Georgia and spent all of January cleaning up and repairing the mess our tenants made in our house.  We had a rare snow storm that saw the kids building miniature snowmen and making Georgia snow angels. Two weeks ago we moved into a rental home and listed our house for sale.  Currently we are still unpacking the last remaining boxes and trying to make this house our home. 

Last week we had a crazy ice storm that left most of the Augusta area without power and with massive amounts of tree damage to be cleaned up.  Matthew and I spent an entire day hauling tree debris to the curb yesterday and we still aren't done.  Then we head back to the old house to do more clean up there.  On Friday we had a rare earthquake, followed by an aftershock yesterday.  Apparently our house is too loud because we didn't even notice anything. 

We have been welcomed back to Georgia just in time for the apocalypse!

There's so much more to share but our new house has two levels and I haven't purchased any baby gates yet, so I'm off to save Seven from The Wooden Stairs of Death.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Barf-free New Year!

We made it out of Arizona on December 7th and had an adventure driving 2800 miles across the country through snow and ice to Georgia and then Virginia.  We have been staying with my sister-in-law and this was our first Christmas since 2004 that we spent with family.  It's been great but I sure do miss celebrating the holidays in my own home... especially since we got the stomach bug for Christmas this year.  The nine of us are sharing one bathroom.  It wasn't pretty.

This move has been just as crazy and fun as our previous moves.  We spent a beautiful, cold night in snowy Albuquerque and drove miles over solid ice in Dallas.  Jason helped push a stranger's truck off the ice in Oklahoma and we slept in the van at a rest stop in Georgia when I just couldn't stay awake to drive another mile.  We made our familiar trek up I-95 to get to Virginia and had fun stopping at our "usual" stops along the way.

On December 20, we finally laid my grandfather to rest after he passed away back in early August.  Arlington National Cemetery is so beautiful at this time of year.  The ceremony was nice and our family all gathered after the service to have dinner together at the officer's club on Ft. Meyer.  It was the first time I have seen all of us together in years.  My brother was notably absent (he works for the post office now and couldn't get away) but it was still a great evening.

After the dinner we headed downtown to see the White House Christmas tree and stop for coffee in Georgetown.  We may be crazy to take seven kids into the city on a Friday night but we had lots of help from family that came along.  It was a perfect night.

Amelia was baptized on Sunday and we have spent the last two weeks driving around northern Virginia to visit family.  We drove past some of our old houses and showed the kids the park in the mall parking lot where Jason and I were married.  (We eloped and had a Justice of the Peace marry us in the parking lot of the mall where we'd met.  Long, crazy, fun story.  We never had a "real" wedding.)  The kids saw Santa at the same mall where Matthew first sat on his lap eleven years ago.
After looking at this picture, you'd think the big boys were not into the Santa visit this year.  In reality, they still wanted to tell Santa about their Christmas lists but didn't want to smile. When Christmas Eve arrived, they were the first ones to change into their matching Christmas jammies.  I have been reassured by friends that we may still have a few more years of willing participation in our little Christmas traditions.  I hope they're right.  I'm not ready for my big boys to be that big yet.

We still have a few more days here in Virginia before we head south to Georgia.  Here's to hoping that this awful stomach bug is completely gone before we all pile into the new van to drive another 500 miles.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I'm wishing you the best in 2014!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Seven is one

One year ago, Seven arrived.

In the bathroom of our house in Arizona we welcomed our new baby girl.  It was a triumphant birth.  It was a healing birth.  It was a tough birth... and yet so good.

You can read Seven's birth story here.

Last week, on Seven's first birthday, we moved out of the house where she was born.  It was bittersweet to be moving on the same day that Seven was born, especially knowing that we'd never be in that house again.

I decided to take a few photos of my sweet baby girl in the exact spot where she was born.

Her shirt says "born at home, surrounded by love."  I think that says it all.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

That crazy road tripping family

 Before we get started on yet another of our crazy road trips, I had to share a few photos from our last trip a few weeks ago.  I have been terrible at keeping up with my blog, partly because we have been in the middle of moving.  Again.

Everything we own was loaded onto a truck last week and we've been living in a hotel.  It's much more difficult to live in a hotel than in the RV.  Unfortunately, we don't have our camper anymore because of a manufacturing defect in the frame.  So we're all staying in a hotel for the next few weeks.  We leave on Saturday to head east and spend the holidays with family for the first time in years.  Needless to say, life is crazy.  Typical for us.

On our most recent trip we decided to visit some of the National Parks in our area before we move away from the southwest.  We had previously visited the Grand Canyon in 2009 when all six of the big kids were six and under.  (Link here.  Funny to read how I thought Sarah was weaned then.  Those girls had me convinced several times but they didn't wean until they were four.)

We returned to the Grand Canyon and found that it was even scarier visiting with older kids than with a herd of little ones.  Nathan has no fear and isn't as easily contained as he was a few years ago.  I had a few minor heart attacks while we walked the rim.

Matthew wanted to take photos of his own.  More heart attacks for me.

At least Seven was safe in the carrier.

We saw snow on our trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.  This called for an immediate stop so the kids could get out and play in it.  Six pairs of muddy shoes later, everyone was happy.

So far, Big Blue has been to 15 states.  We got her at the end of May.  That's a lot of miles!  We stopped at some Arizona favorites (Flagstaff, Winslow, Show Low, Phoenix) and the St. George area.  We even hit Las Vegas.  Such a fun trip!

One of our favorite parts of the trip was our hike into the bottom of Bryce Canyon.  It was steep, a bit scary, and most people probably thought we were crazy for hiking down there (and back up) with seven kids.  
Of course the kiddos thought it was the "coolest hike ever."  Fair enough.

 The view from the top was pretty amazing though.  And there was more snow!

I think we are leaving Arizona on a high note.  We've seen a lot, done a lot, learned a lot, and changed a lot in our time here.  Our family grew too.  I think we'll all have fond memories of desert life... mostly.

Saturday, November 23, 2013


New cuts for both girls!  Sarah was quite pleased that she was still able to donate her hair and was able to get the same cut as Leila.  I'm thrilled that brushing their hair now takes seconds instead of many minutes.

The movers came on Thursday and we are almost completely packed.  It's hard to believe we are moving again.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Cut short

Leila and Sarah woke up on Saturday morning with long hair.

But by the end of the day, Sarah's hair looked like this...

I'm not going to lie.  I may have freaked out a tiny bit.

She had toothpaste in her hair and a certain someone (not Sarah) chopped off about 7 inches of hair to get it out.

The girls and I have been growing our hair out so we can donate it.  I've been doing that every 2 or 3 years since 1999.  Leila and Sarah have never donated before so they were excited about it.  We'd talked about a friend's daughter who has alopecia and how they can use donated hair to make wigs.

Imagine my shock to find a large chunk of the about-to-be-donated hair in the trash can.  It's just hair, I know.  It'll grow back... (in another 18 months!)

Sarah asked me if they can put her hair back or make it grow back faster.  I'm pretty sure that every victim of a bad haircut wishes that was possible.  

So now I'm scrambling to find a stylist and have Sarah's hair "fixed" before the movers come on Thursday.  The movers come on Thursday.  The movers come on Thursday.  Oh, yes... this will be a fun week!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

What not to do...

When moving, it's probably best not to go on vacation the week before your movers come...

When on a road trip with small children, you might regret letting them have a snowball fight and traipse through the mud before piling back into the van...

When hiking with a herd of children, it is probably not a good idea to hike into the bottom of a canyon on a narrow, steep trail with no railings...

When driving through a narrow, winding, long tunnel in a somewhat over-sized vehicle, you might not want to let your husband drive while seven children excitedly scream in the back seat...

When staying in a hotel, it certainly isn't wise to let four twins share a bed- even if they beg to do it and promise to go right to sleep...

Well, we all know I like to do things I probably shouldn't because those things are usually the most fun.  Right???

Photos coming soon because we just had the most awesome road trip adventure and we lived to tell about it!

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