Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cruisin it Up!

Nathan and I were so excited to go on our 2nd vacation this year - a cruise! We've been wanting to do one since we got married and it finally worked out. Now don't be thinking we've hit the big time or anything, we did one modest family beach vacation and this was your basic cruise. Both were pretty affordable and nothing luxurious but still lots of fun!

To make it even better, we were able to go with a group of our best friends! We sat down together early in the year, found a date and stuck with it as best we could. It worked out for all but one couple which is pretty good, 4/5 were able to make it. I would highly recommend going on a cruise with friends, it just adds to the fun. We commented a few times that it may be a little boring with just our spouses, ha!

We didn't take the kids. Kaleigh stayed w/ Nana and Papa so she wouldn't miss school. We stopped on the way down and met up with my parents to take the twins and Emory stayed in New Orleans with my brother and sister in law. They all had a blast, I think, which was an answer to prayer.

We went on a 5 day cruise, the Carnvial Elation, out of New Orleans. We had a little time that morning to explore the city before leaving at 4. 

After the boat left and we got the safety drill out of the way, we jumped right into things!
One of the first things we did was a little gameshow. They had two rounds of trivia and we had a friend in each of the rounds! Ben won the first one and Sara lost to a Trivia Guru in the second but still got a medal.

 We were pleasantly surprised by the rooms - they were more spacious than I expected. We got a window which I highly recommend too. The room attendant was excellent. He knew our names right off and we loved the twice daily turn down service and of course the little towel animals!

The food was definitely a highlight. I loved seeing the menu selections every night and being treated like royalty by our wait staff. Being able to order as much as you want is such a treat too. We were very pleasantly surprised by the food. I love being able to try new things.

We ended that evening with a volleyball game on the top deck of the ship. It was a nice friendly competition that carried over the next couple of days.

Our days were filled with relaxing on the deck reading, eating wonderful food, seeing some authentic Mexico and buying some cheap homemade goods, napping, dance classes, and eating.

Our evenings were eating, dressing up, watching comedy and karaoke, seeing the shows, dancing or watching people dance, taking pictures, and just having fun doing things we wouldn't normally get to do!

"Single Ladies" Beyonce Dance Class!
Two other highlights were the excursion at Cozumel where we went on a catamaran, snorkeling and to a private beach with slides and other water activities. It started off terrible - rainy and cold. It got a little better but rained quite a bit while we were snorkeling. It was still really neat though. The weather cleared up by the time we got to the beach and the water was nice and warm so we had a good time. It was very memorable.

The other highlight was dressing up for fun with our friends. This is where traveling with a group really gets fun! It has been a while since I laughed as much as I did this night. We ate and got a kick out of the looks we got, then had a blast taking pictures with the photographers on the ship! I love having friends who don't mind being goofy!

It was a great vacation - I am already dreaming of the next one, especially with this coollld weather, brr!

I will be putting lots more pictures on facebook too!

Friday, August 16, 2013


So, I've decided that blogging 3 or 4 times a year is much more efficient than once or twice a week. This has totally been my plan all along...of course. You can go ahead and set a reminder for somewhere around January 15th for my next post. Cause, you know, December's busy and all.

This is going to be a summary of our summer (just in case you missed the title of the post). Mainly not to brag or post pictures for family, but so when my kids complain that we never do anything I can yell at them "look! Look at this blog and see what all we did this summer!" Can't argue with the blog, right? Of course they will then pull the one thing off our Summer Bucket List that we didn't do as retaliation.

"But Mom, we never made homemade Ice chalk and that's the only thing I wanted to do!"

"Oh really? Then why did I take you to 3 Vacation Bible schools?!" (really, that was for me but it will be years before they figure that out)

Our first summer activity wasn't actually quite summer yet, it was in May during school because lets face it, I couldn't wait any longer to take a beach vacation. (I'm thinking of planning our 2014 vacation for next month) So here we are in all our squinty eyed, white dress beautifulness on the beach.

 We went to the lake with friends and family - Kaleigh even learned to water ski!! She stayed up for more than 20 seconds. Okay, that sounds like a joke but really 20 seconds is a pretty long time for a newbie water skiier...We were very proud!

We frequented our new local splash pad. It was a lot of fun. And best of all with a splash pad you don't have to worry so much about E.coli, meningitis and other joys of public swimming pools.

Kaleigh got to go to Family Farm. It is a wonderful place and I highly recommend it to those in the area. They learned bible verses, rode horses, went fishing and canoeing, rode paddle boats, built sand castles, played with the farm animals, did archery, and more! I think Nathan was most proud when she told us about her bulls-eye in archery. Here she is with all her awards... 

Visited our family in Louisiana and went to a children's museum...

My picture taking dropped off immensely at some point in the summer. Pretty much after our beach trip in May. Here's the other stuff we did that I didn't get pictures of: 
  • made sun catchers
  • mall
  • Magic Springs (Kaleigh & Emory with my sister)
  • Vacation Bible School 
  • Swimming in friends pool and the lake
  • picked strawberries
  • visited family
  • camping
  • $1 Summer movies
  • K learned to ride her bike 
The 3 older girls took swim lessons. We did our library summer reading and all five of us girls completed our goals. We took part in many of their programs, which are great! And K ready probably 50 chapter books this summer. I wish I had kept count. She read a ton! I can't say how happy that makes me.

We planted a garden. I approximate that I spent about 50 dollars and 17 hours and we got maybe 10 edible tomatoes, 10 cucumbers, lots of basil, some other herbs, a few squash. All in all, a rousing success. (you can't discount the satisfaction of eating your own home grown food, even if six people are sharing a 3-inch cucumber.

Well, that was our summer in a nutshell. I'm happy with it. So what if I intended to teach the twins to read and only made it through 8 lessons? Or that i wanted to read one book of the bible to my kids and we got through about 4 chapters? Or that my garden fed more bugs, worms and rabbits than it did us? We survived the summer, relationships intact. Most importantly, I got lots of ammo to fire at my kids thru at least the end of the year when they tell me they never get to do anything. 

Monday, February 04, 2013

Happy 3rd Birthday, Emory. Oh Emory!

Well, our "baby" Emory is three. How can this be? We love this little girl to pieces. She may not be a baby anymore but she will always be our baby of the family. She wears the role of youngest to the fullest! She came into life ready for the party! She's social, outgoing, and loves the spotlight. She loves to have ALL Mommy's attention if possible (not usually possible) and pasttimes include getting into messes and tormenting her sisters for fun. :)

I've written down a few of her quotes over the past year. So many more that I didn't get, but just know that you never know what will come out of this funny girl's mouth!

This is called "mine"!

Us: Emory, you're cute.
E: I'm not cute, I'm a crazy woman!

Me: Hey Pookie.
E: Yes. I DO want a cookie.

E: Mommy, Avery pokded me.
Av: I didn't poke you Emory, I poinked you.
E: Oh. Mommy! Avery poinkded me!

Her favorite quote: I'm gonna tell you a secret. It's not gonna be a really funny one, it's gonna be a pretty one. (Breathy whispers in our ear) - Tomorrow - can we for for a walk at the playground?

My fave quote: I love you, mommy :)

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Reflection and Resolution

2012 was a pretty exciting year in our family. Nathan, Kaleigh and I took an awesome ski vacation with some great friends and Kaleigh skiied for the first time! We had lots and lots of fun with the girls, going places, making crafts (thanks, Pinterest!)... We took our first family vacation with everyone, finished out most of the basement, and Nathan started a new job! The twins started preschool and Kaleigh went to first grade. The little ones and I started Community Bible Study, which we all love.  I survived the year with my parents being far away and Nathan's mom working. Survived being a key word there... Overall, there were some downs, but many ups and it was a great year.

2012 resolutions - 
Nathan- spend more time w/girls one on one. ---- Didn't do so great but it has been hard, schedule wise. We will try again...
Shelly - work on photography & cut down on sugar ---- Not so good, and okay....
Kaleigh - she wanted to learn "to make snowballs". Wanted to get better at "Swimming", and her Biggest Goal was to "make ice cream with snow".- improved swimming a little, we never did get those lessons..., made ice cream and snowballs on December 26th - how's that for cutting it close!

2013 Resolutions
Nathan - Be more intentional (make more plans), become a better marksman, continue family dinners, one on one time w/girls
Shelly- Learn to can & make fermented vegetables, make my own yogurt, organize photos, learn to shoot
Kaleigh - go ice skating and roller skating, plant flowers, fruit trees & vegetables, learn to ride bike
Avery - play with toys :), learn to set the table
Alexis - diaper free at night
Emory - plant flowers, stop wetting pants, learn colors and shapes

In addition, as a family I hope we will all grow spiritually this year. Looking forward to seeing what it brings and I will try to keep you updated.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ode to Dad on his 60th Birthday


Many, many years ago
in the good ole days of polio,
when Clint Eastwood was just a lad,
A man was born who I call Dad.

Your parents called you Michael Pete,
what your sisters called you I shan't repeat.
I don't really know what you were like as a boy
I'm sure you would say that you were a joy.

You were living your life all hunky dory,
then comes a good part of this story.
You joined the army to make your way,
God brought this little lady & you married her straightaway.

Ya'll had one kid & he was alright,
The next one, well - what a delight!
Another fateful day, God said "don't squack"
But I want you to lead my flock.

So you went on to become a preacher,
from South Louisiana - an unusual creature.
Around that time our family grew again
with the addition of Kelly Lynn.

Now many years later those kids are grown
Living out in the world on our own.
You're a Papaw now and a good one at that.
You run in the morning so you don't get fat.

Dear old Dad you're just so funny.
You like to collect toys and money.
You can tell a good story and have us all rollin,
but you're accident prone so we don't take you bowlin.

You love your family & we love you too.
The girls love their Papaw & eating your fruit.
We're so thankful for you & the life that you've had,
I look forward to many more years with Dear old Dad! 

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


  Life has been extra exciting lately - Nathan accepted a new job position and will be starting next week! So, we decided to take a little weekend trip with the family I'm not going to call it relaxing, but it was fun.

We drove down to Dallas and stopped to picnic on the way.

Our first stop in Dallas was the Arboretum. It was the #1 rated attraction on Trip Advisor. It was really beautiful, just hot! The best part was the temporary exhibit, these glass sculptures that were created specifically to display there. They will have this exhibit until November and I would highly recommend a visit if you are in the area.

the girls loved running through the grass! I don't blame them, do you? I told Nathan he needs to make our yard look like this, ha!

After the gardens we went back to the hotel, which was wonderful. We changed then went to eat at IHOP. The girls devoured everything so we had to order more food, which they also devoured! I don't think that's ever happened before.

We went down to the swimming pool and had it to ourselves for a while. The girls loved swimming in the pool but mostly playing in the hot tub!

In the morning we ate breakfast then went to the butterfly gardens. It's really hard to see the butterflies in the pictures but rest assured they were everywhere. It was neat.

Then we went downtown and rode the vintage streetcar. Again, neat but hot!

Afterwards we shopped at the galleria, played there, then went back to the hotel to swim some more. This time it was crowded but of course the girls made some friends with people there. At one point Emory asked this big burly man "are you a boy?" which he & his family found hilarious.

The next morning was my pick - IKEA. It was lots of fun, just crazy busy. We shopped for a while with everyone then we were able to put all but Emory in the childcare where they got to play. We got a really cool surprise for the kids too. I'll just leave you in suspense on that.

We stopped and ate on the way home and made it just in time to see the Saline County Fireworks that were rescheduled from 4th of July! The girls liked it much better this year, though Avery was shaking and hiding her face for a while. They still ask if we are going to eat watermelon and watch with Andy & Liz like we did when they were 1, I think. They hated those fireworks but I think they are finally over the trauma, ha!

When we got home my brother and sis in law were still there to greet us. They drove up the week before from New Orleans and ended up staying a whole week because they didn't have power. It was good to see them again before they left Monday morn.

Monday we relaxed then that evening got together with friends. All in all a nice, fun long weekend and some good memories!

Sunday, August 05, 2012

The Great Basement Redo cont...

Oops, it's been over a month since I last blogged. Of course it would stand to reason that the busier we are, the more I need to blog and the less time there is to do it! But I do what I can :)

So here's what we did yesterday...

 It's amazing in a month's time you can go from this...

to this...

And in between we've been doing a lot of this - 
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So thankful for friends & family who have pitched in and helped us so much! We always tell people - don't offer if you don't mean it cause we'll probably call you, ha! We were on our own yesterday though. The girls got into some mischief and then "helped" us out a little too but got most of it done. They loved playing in the big empty space when it was done too.

We still have to tile the bathroom, somehow I'm doubtful that will be done in one day.
The checklist also includes: painting the bathroom, laying tile as I said, tiling bath/shower area, installing sink, building 3 closets, painting kids space under stairs, building shelves & storage, molding, windows, and so on... So still lots to do but we're getting there! And I'm enjoying the process, honestly.