Labor Day at Lake Oconee

Hooray for a change of scenery. We had so much fun visiting Lake Oconee last weekend and celebrating Emma’s 4th birthday. We haven’t been ready for too much driving and exploration since the cross country drive in June, but we couldn’t pass up a chance to see a new part of Georgia, in this case middle Georgia. We wined, we dined, watched sparkly sunrises, read, took multiple baths in the huge spa tub, and watched some college football! I realized how strange it felt to take a little trip, since we haven’t done much of any traveling since the pandemic, and this first half of the year, all our focus was on hammering out our move.

We found a sweet chocolate cake for Emma’s birthday dinner and a local butter pecan ice cream, since pecans are a homegrown thing here. She is one of the best people to give things to and celebrate, she just makes it might be the BEST thing that’s ever happened. She is so grateful and bubbly about it all. We trekked up with various gifts from faraway fam and also did some unicorn decorations when we arrived, she was in pure awe. Aren’t four year olds fun?

It is a labor of love to take trips anywhere with kids, but I’m determined to get better at it. This was surprisingly smooth at times! Luke, Kate, and Emma could all sleep in the loft in the three twin beds which is still a shocker for me. Then again Jordan deciding to be able to climb out of pack-n-plays and cribs probably made up for all of it 😂 we tried that crib in every room until he was too tuckered out to try anymore. Whew!

Here are a few cozy pics from the trip, we basically were expert loungers for a good portion of it. There was some tooth-losing, football lakeside, shore exploring, and always coffee! We did some balcony and sunset watching too. And driving round the lake, seeing some incredibly beautiful homes and scenery. And nap time, because what else do you expect with a two year old in tow heh!?

Boys Birthday Catch Up!

Luke turned the big ol’ age of SEVEN months ago and I’ve been drafting this post since. Let’s pretend it’s disbelief, but probably it’s purely the chaos that has been our last six months, a story for another post. Whatever the case, enough time has passed that Jordy also turned TWO in the meantime. I have to say, reflecting on life in this space is incredibly valuable to me. And while it becomes far less frequent, the depths of these posts that I’ve written over the years for and about James and the kids are everything to me. It takes me back to that very specific spot in time, the entire experience of those moments that we enjoyed, lived through, felt blessed by, or maybe, just barely survived. And sometimes I cringe, and that’s really okay. Either way, it is a treasure trove to our family story.

LUKE IS SEVEN

This guy. A friend til the end. Luke is the most steady, patient, kind, tenacious, long-suffering kid. I can really spill my heart to him and he is so understanding, maybe not always grasping the whole picture, but he just gets that human side of things. He is insightful, aware of others, and I can see him wanting to make people feel safe at every turn. He is as active and athletic as all get out and thrives in pushing himself physically; there’s a verging on crazy drive to master things is in Luke. It’s so exciting to see his talents and passions unfold day after day as he discovers more about the world. My dear boy, you are growing in a million ways right before our eyes. It’s hard to believe in six months we will be staring eight in the face. Luke makes us so proud and brings us so much joy. He lights up our family and we pray the feeling is mutual 🙂

JORDAN IS TWO

This sweet boy really deserves a last year run down, at least an 18-month-er. We all adore our baby bear Jordan. He is such a curious, brave, strong, capable little boy. He walks to the beat of his own drum and I am wracking my brain to remember a time when he was afraid. How can this be?! I can’t think of anything. He has given us the most shocks with his quick growth and ability to do things overnight that we didn’t know he could. He is in that investigative phase, where he will inspect and be curious about anything and everything. He has always and continues to love music. We’ve actually had to wean him from certain albums. He lives life to the ultimate fullest and just brings so much sweet love to our crew.

Happy birthday sweet boys!!

New Chapter (we moved!)

Well, it’s been a minute but I thought it was a good time to start keeping my dear wordy and wildly emotional online journal. And the big news, especially as far as a journal would be concerned, is that we’ve moved! Out of state! Yes, we have ended up in the land of peaches, sweet tea, Outkast, and summer rainstorms, otherwise known as Atlanta, Georgia (or the metropolitan area therein). A move has been in the works for us for a while, but nailing down where and when has been the big question. Through the process of 2020 and the months that followed, we ran over and over through different job opportunities, schools, locations, and in Spring, we sent James off to a few interviews here in Atlanta.

It is a process of the highest effort, brain space, emotion, prayer, organization, and nearly miraculous parenting to pull off. Historically, we do not shy away from a challenge, and apparently this was an exercise in making sure that’s true 😂 This has been the hugest challenge, with so many moving pieces and aspects. I wish I could say I’d be writing some follow-up posts (‘Five tips for moving cross-country with 4 kids under 7’) but I’ll spare you. It has been a will to survive at times. For example, driving cross-country with 4 children. Or arriving to find our house has no washer or dryer (pictures lied!) and waking up to vomiting children the very next day. Or being sick and getting lost at 3AM on the way back from the Urgent Care. For a second there, I thought Georgia was going to chew us up and spit us back out 😂 But we weathered a few of those storms and have a little Georgia grit now (well, maybe..) and we’re getting our footing now.

Regardless of those regular life hiccups, we are so thankful to be here, and honestly, it was totally worth the efforts. There is so much we do already miss in California, but we already have a beautiful friend group that is here, James gets to again be at school with the big kids, there is so much to explore and see, and there’s so much vibrancy here. The South is truly charming and the hospitality is real, people are so friendly. I had no idea Atlanta was the city in a forest, we live in the trees! I take so much comfort in that (feels so familiar) and I even woke this morning to fog (textbook coastal California).

We are unsure of the amount of time we’ll be here or the long-haul plan, but we’re really happy and thankful. I see so much opportunity here for us, in our goals, enjoyment, faith, family time. I have always had an itch to live somewhere else and so in some ways, this feels like a long time coming. We can’t wait to explore more and more of the gems around us. Sitting here in my new home office and looking around, I can’t believe we actually went through with it, and it’s been a pretty amazing adventure so far. More to come!

Kate’s 5th birthday

This girl. She is a party and a half, and one of our snuggliest. And sneakily turned five on me. She’s joy bottled, always creative, ponders life so deeply and is such a wonderful processor. She asks the most insightful questions in real time and always gets us with her thoughts on life, one of these beyond her years folks I think. But she also is good at reminding us she’s only 5! Giggles, tea parties, arts and crafts, fort building, princesses sometimes (ha) and a million books each night.

With each child, we can benchmark the milestones in our lives that took place as each one came on the scene, and Kate came at a pressing time. She was early, almost like we needed her presence and cuddles and sweetness all the more. But since then she has brought laughter, thoughtfulness, friendship and warmth to our family. She is so hospitable, thinking of the little things and details that not everybody would see. She is so struck when someone thinks of her, and I can see she is built that way, thinking of how to bless others and give them out of whatever she has. I can’t believe the fifth year is here and I’m holding on tight for the big exciting things this year will bring for her. Love this sweet girl!

Fall and Christmas

Christmas pretty much began back on October 31, when, for the first time, James and I became avid Hallmark Christmas movie watchers. We didn’t see it coming, but we didn’t see anything this year coming, so we went with it, and we are hooked. Nothing like a predictable love story a la Lacey Chabert to wind ya down at night! In my apparent evolution into tried and true grandma, I’ve also become wildly enthralled by going to bed early. It’s almost exciting. And with Jordan on a steady diet of 530am wake ups with full energy, ready to climb on tables, which he does, it’s become necessary. But however offensive that hour has been, when I’ve had enough sleep, it’s the sweetest hour. And possibly the quietest. Which is somewhat of an unusual experience with four babes 6 and under.

My hands down 2020 must haves have been an exorbitant amount of coffee and popcorn. What are yours?? Coffee is great for kick starting my morning, an afternoon pep and summed up with a nice evening jolt. Truly it’s a massive problem, I will need a proper detox someday and look forward to functioning normally again. Popcorn can be utilized likewise. With all the popcorn and coffee, I did find I was much too busy for frivolous things like social media so I took a nice 6 month break. But really though, I needed a break. In its place, I did some online learning, listened to a ton of podcasts, and I maybe have a masters now, heh. It’s been nice, so freeing as they say. I’m often inching closer to throwing my iPhone in the ocean (or somewhere more eco friendly) and doing away with the whole thing, unplugging completely, writing letters, using a day planner and keeping a diary..

Had you heard the royals do this? I’ve watched the Crown and many documentaries over the years, but the members of the royal family are often keeping a diary, making entries daily! They are later submitted to the Queen’s archive and accessed for certain purposes. I stopped journaling when I grew out of my Lisa Frank stage, but I’m sure it’d be gold to go through now. I may need another fluorescent furry lock and key diary again someday soon.. recommendations welcome.

Back to Christmas. The kids enjoyed the advent season this year, however strange it was. I’ve noticed that a lot of life has been increasingly low key for us with the way things currently are. The typical pandemic outing has become so difficult to navigate with littles. We’ve been home so much, trying to explore new corners of our house and yard, hoping it’ll feel fun and different day to day. Some days feel a bit boring in comparison to only one year ago, when day trips, eating out and going to the park were so normal. Parties, date nights out with friends, feast days at church, grocery trips with the whole family, or just the normal beach walk and stopping to see whatever familiar face. Remember that? It’s not that any of this is impossible now, it’s just all so different. The kids are aware of it too, and they know how much work it is and how unique it is to just freely spend time with others in this current time. I found myself laying low this Christmas and hanging on for a more communal holiday season in the future.

So here are a few snaps of the last month or so. Everyone is growing and sprouting unnecessarily fast and we have another year of birthdays about to unload which I will gawk at constantly—how are you 7!? 5?! 4?! 2?! That’s what is about to happen my friends. Wild.

I hope you are safe out there, healthy and enjoying yourself endlessly this holiday season. Or as much as you can. And I hope you enjoy your last few days of this 2020 year. I am rolling the dice and praying this next one is a wee bit better. ❤️

Emma is three!

My little love turned three earlier this month. These toddler birthdays are truly the sweetest! The realization that they are the special birthday person is pure joy, and the siblings excitement just made it that much more fun. Emma has been easy peasy happy since the day she was born. We always talk about how spoiled we were with the easiest third child. She would go anywhere, sleep anywhere, nurse anywhere, and would let me wear her at any point. It’s hard to believe how obvious their personalities are right from the start, and this was the case with Emma. The last year we have seen her completely become a little girl, no longer a toddler. We still call her one of the babies, but she is a little girl in every sense.

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Summertime, 2020 style

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Well! Summer of 2020, and here we all are, living through strange, unbelievable days. This year did not have me holding my breath right from the get go, and though I didn’t declare any particularly aspirational goals this year, rest assured I’ve accomplished nothing. I am mostly pleased to get a proper shower, ‘specially one of the long, purely and wholly uninterrupted, steamy ones where I emerge as Cinderella herself. It’s heavenly. Overall really, our summer is so out of step, as is our long list for sunny day outings.. we’re fairly entertained at home and at certain parks or outdoor areas but maintaining this over so many months is not easy. But we’re healthy, somewhat mentally stable, which I’m sure the kids would argue, and we still manage to have some fun 🙂 Continue reading “Summertime, 2020 style”

A first birthday for Jordan

Last month we celebrated Jordan turning ONE! This first year with everybody’s baby brother has been such a special one. It is a real wonder to watch Jordan through the eyes of our family. He is happy to be everyone’s baby. But in all actuality, he seems like he might outgrow us all before we know it! He is one hundred percent a cuddly, wrestly and mostly happy (except when grouchy!) bear cub! He has no fear.

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Quarantine journal

Captain’s log, day 35. I wonder how you all are hanging in there. It’s so funny how we’ve all acquired the same words for this era!—strange, bizarre, odd, are we ‘holding up’ or ‘hanging in’. Well, as much as is possible, we are all of these. It seems like the shelter in place began like a pioneer adventure and we found ourselves eager to test our home-steading (staying..) skills.

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Luke turns 6!

A few weeks ago, our Luke turned 6, and I’m still sitting here trying to add up on my fingers how. This means that almost 7 years ago, I was pregnant for the first time, and 6 years ago, our world flipped upside down and we had our first taste of sleepless nights, busier days, baby giggles, breastfeeding pangs, newborn blowouts and the like. While it’s hard to wrap my mind around, what’s easy to see is what a blessing Luke is to our family.

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Easter hymn

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I love this hymn below written by Isaac Watts in 1707. Given the state of this world this Easter and Holy Week, I have found I am more engaged in things than years past; not that I’m less busy or tired! Ha.. ha?? Not sure how i should feel about that. But either way, the outside distractions are just different as we shelter in place. I’m busy all day long but in new ways. I have the people and tasks right but only what is right in front of me. My headspace has been Continue reading “Easter hymn”