Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Old Fort Days Rodeo

Did you know that about 80 years ago, Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley were in Fort Smith attending the rodeo? I didn't either until tonight.

Nora still doesn't know.

Aunt Rachel, Eli, Luke and Ryan drove in to join us and we had a lot of fun. As far as I know, none of these children had ever been to a rodeo so it was very exciting.

Cowboy Eli Wayne and his seƱorita, Eily Bandita.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Family Vacation 2013

I was MIA from the blog this week for a very good reason. We took our first-ever family vacation.  Jason was commissioned by a family in Tennessee to do five paintings of their lake house and the surrounding land. They wanted the paintings done on location and from life so Jason has spent the last two weeks in Tennessee, finishing the commission. The owners of the lake house no longer live there, so they told Jason to have me and the girls come up and join him and have a little vacation.

The view from the back porch.

This place was such a great set up for our family. It was about 20 minutes from the nearby town and totally private.

Watching the sun set

There was a nice long driveway that led up the the house and they had beautiful landscaping the whole way.

Back porch sunset

Hi, Lake house!

I had looked ahead at the forecast and knew there was bound to be some rainy days so I had stocked up on a few craft projects. Thursday, we pulled out the canvases and paint and the washable (thank goodness) markers.
"Mama, Nora, Rachel, Mama, Rachel."

"What? I'm not supposed to cover myself with this paint?"

Creating masterpieces

Painting like Daddy

Making memories
Jason's parents live about fourty-five minutes from where we were staying, so on Friday, per Bebe's suggestion, we dropped the girls off for a little Bebe and Bubba time and Jason and I left to go paint the town.

First up, haircut for Jason and a pedicure for me. I typically get two pedicures a year. This is number one for 2013.
Hi there, soft feet. I've missed you.

After that, we went to the theater and watched The Great Gatsby. It was interesting but strange.

Shh! The movie's about to start.

We were pretty hungry by the time the movie let out, so we went to a hibachi grill restaurant we had seen on our way to the theater. We were seated at a table with a couple a little older than us that had four children, one of whom was just two months old. (His name was Jason.) I spent the rest of the meal trying to convince my Jason to reverse his vasectomy because "we really need to have just one more," which I'm pretty sure is what I said before Eily and before Nora. Don't get your hopes up Grandmas, I didn't get anywhere.

I was too embarrassed to let out table neighbors see me take a photo of us so I snapped one under the table ledge.

On Saturday, Jason had to go meet with the owners to wrap things up (get paid) so the girls and I took a walk around the property to see what we could discover and so that I could take pictures. Before we started, I had them pose for a picture by the playhouse. I love this playhouse. Imagine your dream playhouse and multiply it by ten.
The coolest playhouse ever! See the post Claire is holding? There used to be a railing between that post the the one on the far right.  I'll give you one guess as to what happened. (The answer is, Nora happened.)

It's a bad picture, but if you look closely you can tell there's a ladder behind Elaina that leads up to a little loft.
Claire organized and straightened the playhouse all day to prepare for her tea party.
To the left of the playhouse door, there was a charming lamp post and water fountain.
On our walk, we discovered a side road with a sign that read CABIN.
Side road :)
Walking a little ways down the road, we found this very cool tree house. I didn't let the girls go inside because it looked like it hadn't been used in several years and I wasn't sure what we would find, but I know the owners are planning on cleaning it up, so it will be something to look forward to if we ever get to come back.

We also found a grapevine. There's really not much to say about that, I just thought it looked neat so I snapped a photo.

We spent the rest of the day swimming (I now resemble a lobster), eating (I now resemble a cow) and napping (I now resemble a sane mother.) Then Jason and Nora ran to his parents' house to get some frames he had stored there and I took the older three girls out to supper and a movie. I think that's the first time I've gotten to do something like that with just the older three and it was really, really fun. 

Then this morning, we took our time getting ready and packing up and then we ate lunch at Cracker Barrel with Jason.  We then said our goodbyes and he headed off for Maryland, us for Arkansas. It was so nice to spend some slow, stress free time with him. And guess what! He's only going to be in Maryland for a week and then he'll be home for two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

And this well-rested, stress free Mama thinks that sounds mighty nice.

Monday, May 20, 2013


It was a good weekend. It seems like I didn't get to sleep much, but that happens every now and then. Sat night, Eily called me in her room around 3am.

"Eily, what do you need?"
"I need help getting my panties back on."

*slight pause*

"Why are your panties not on you already?"
"Well, I had a dream that I had a crown on and and I needed to take it off but then I woke up and I had taken my panties off instead."

And that's pretty much the way the weekend went; funny things happened, strange things happened, regular things happened. Claire and Eily have their ballet recital this evening and Eily woke up twice last night sobbing because she was so nervous and she didn't want to do it. But then this morning, she came bouncing in so excited that today is recital day. She's a hard one to figure out sometimes.

Kathryn and I have enjoyed a delicious cherry/kale/avocado/flax/caco/honey/chia smoothie this morning and are about to get the day rolling. There's a lot to do to get two little ballerinas ready!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Finals

It's the weekend. What are your plans? We have a full calendar for the rest of the month. Tomorrow we are going to the farmer's market in Fayetville and then Aunt Kat comes in late tomorrow night. Then on Sunday we have church and the dress rehearsal for the girls' dance recital. Then on Monday, we jump into the activities lined up for next week. Here's a few photos to get you through the weekend and I'll see you back here on Monday!

Pee Wee and Brown Bear (as the scarf)

This guy. He's dead. Very, very dead.

In a word? Michael. :) And yes, I changed my pass code but only because the girls figured it out, too.

"Oh! You mean eyeshadow is only for eyelids?"

Blakeley and Claire, having a blast.

Ryan and Nora, having a blast.

This much dirt on her face can only mean it was a great day.

Elaina= Best big sister an Eily could ask for.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

It's 9:23pm (And if Jason were here, he'd say, "Happy Birthday!"because my birthday is September 23rd.)

Sometimes, when he's away, I'll get emails or texts that just say, Happy Birthday. Or sometimes he calls just to say it. And I kind of love it. When he see's it on the clock, he does something about it. :)

It's funny how I'm learning to chill about the mess in the house, and yet the house isn't really any messier than it was before. I think keeping a clean room is really starting to become a habit for the older three girls. The schoolroom becomes a jumble of paper, scissors, glue and stickers every day, but around supper time they clean it all up and the house looks pretty good. As long as I do regular deep cleaning and keep the laundry caught up, it's all ok. And I'm learning to let the schoolroom stay a mess for most of the day, which is also a good thing.

Aunt Kat's coming in this weekend. That's always the most exciting thing ever.
She's coming to see Claire and Eily's ballet recital. You should come too!

Nora seems to have resigned herself to the fact that when I put her down for a nap or at bedtime, she has to stay in her toddler bed and go to sleep. And while it took her a pretty good while to realize this, she was nothing compared to Claire. My goodness, that child was stubborn.

We tried a little potty training today. Nora sat on the potty for about an hour, playing on my phone. Then it was lunch time so she ate lunch and afterwards I told her we should try to go pee pee again. Then Jason called so I got distracted and five minutes later she had gone all over the floor. It seems to always work that way. We are so close and yet miss it every time. Someday...

My oldest nephew turns 15 on Saturday. I remember babysitting him and watching him do his signature dance move in his diaper. And I would like to let the world know that I was his very first date. We watched Monster's Inc. at the theater and I let him get the special kid box which was popcorn, candy and a drink in a Monster's Inc. cup. Now he's taller than I am and driving.


But he still has dimples to die for.
Happy Birthday, Michael!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Who will they be?

I think when a child truly loves something, she'll naturally do it all the time. Therefore, Elaina draws picture lists. She writes books and then draws the illustrations. She designs clothing on paper. I think Elaina loves to draw. Claire twirls everywhere she goes. She prances and jumps. She walks around on her tippy-toes. I think Claire loves to dance. Eily--- hahaha I just thought of a good one for Eily because she likes to bump, but I'll just move on...  Eily reads. And reads. And reads. I think Eily likes to lose herself in a good book. Nora walks around with Khaki bear. She sings. She rocks. She bounces. She pretends to feed. I think Nora likes to nurture.

Except when she's mad and then she tries to tear you apart, limb from limb. Gotta love the two's.

It will be interesting to see what they are doing a year, five years from now.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

ACME craft- March

I'm a bit late posting our March ACME craft and I haven't even had the girls make the April craft yet. Maybe that will be on tap for tomorrow.

As always, it was very pleasingly wrapped and included detailed instructions.

We started by cutting the fabric into long strips. We had to take turns using the good scissors because the kid scissors just weren't cutting it. (Get it?)

Once we had all the fabric cut,

I tied the ends of the rope into loops and we started assembling the garland.

I laid the rope across the fabric strip (which was folded in half),

and then pulled the ends through the loop, making sure to catch the rope.

It kind of looked like a tie knot, but inside out.

The girls got a little bored helping by holding the rope while I looped the fabric strips, but eventually we got them all put on and then Claire and I picked out a spot in her room to hang the festive garland.

It looks really good and I'm pretty sure this is one decoration that will stay in the family for many years to come. It feels very durable.

Monday, May 13, 2013

This day

Today was a busy but nice day.
It had its ups - like sitting on the couch with the girls and watching a movie before bed, making supper with Elaina, watching Nora's obsession with her new shoes (I found her in bed a few minutes ago, still wearing them), getting in some good exercise
It had its downs - Grocery shopping with all four children in the late afternoon, having Nora try to deface me with her fingernails as I'm trying to pay for those groceries, missing Jason

But the biggest up, the best blessing of today, was having my brand new nephew, David, make it through a surgery where they had to remove part of his intestine and then attach the rest to his rectum. He's only nine days old and his parents have amazed me with how well they have handled the whole situation.
Thank you, Lord for such a merciful day.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Two less

Eily's had a wiggly tooth for quite a while and tonight, we decided,  just had to be the night it came out.
She was very excited and very brave (as they all have been with the first one) and even though she couldn't wait to get to it, she let me snap a before picture.

Can someone please explain to me how she looks fourteen here?

She cried a tiny bit once the tooth was out but her tears were from how strange it felt instead of from pain. We distracted her with a Skype call to Bebe. There's nothing like a "Surprise! I'm down one tooth!" call to the grandparents to get a kid grinning again.
Bebe responded appropriately, and Eily and I nonchalantly left the living room and had Claire entertain Bebe for a minute.

Minus one tooth!

We quickly ran to the bathroom, she opened her mouth, I popped another one out, and we ran back to the living room. 
"Bebe, I think you need to look at the space where the tooth used to be. I think your first look wasn't quite sufficient."
Bebe responded appropriately. It was such a fun trick. :)
Minus two teeth!

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

The Hotel Party

Eily is five. Unbelievable.

Remember how I told you about Jason coming home for a brief visit? Well, while he was home we gave Eily her present. It was a scooter and I have honestly not seen her enjoy a present more. Score!

Kisses for Daddy. (Get in line, Eily.)

Isn't she so pretty? They look alike in this picture.
Yesterday, Eily really tried to enjoy her last day as a four year old to the fullest. She basked.

Eily basking. On the kitchen floor, no less.
We make a big deal about fifth birthdays around here and will eventually make a big deal about tenth birthdays. For Eily's fifth, I decided to do a Hotel Party. I rented a room at a hotel in The Fort and invited Aunt Ashlie, Allison and Audrey to come along for the day. We started off by changing into our suits and heading down to the pool.

Cute cousins

Since it had been over a year since I had taken the girls swimming, Nora and Eily were terrified despite their Puddle Jumpers. Before too much time had passed, Eily realized she wasn't going to sink and took off like a little tadpole. It took Nora a lot longer, but by the time we got out of the water, she had been trying to dip her face in the water, float on her back, let me dunk her head underwater and she even tried to float by herself with out the Puddle Jumper. She had absolutely no fear of the water. It was quite a transition.
No help from Mama


Birthday Girl
After swimming, we went to the mall and all seven girls had their fingernails and toenails painted. I was trying to keep Nora entertained and wasn't paying that much attention to what was going on and before I knew it, Elaina had the lady paint her fingernails black with white zebra stripes. It's....different.

Getting those little toes buffed

Nora's turn

She stole my phone

And then Audrey came over and they took self portraits

They made this one the background screen on my phone. I think I'll leave it that way for a while.

Then we ate supper and came back to the room and watched a little TV. Right now they are all asleep. We have to get up and get out of here quickly in the morning because my realtor called a few minutes ago and let me know that there is someone coming to look at the house in the morning. I'm telling you, this guy is good.