Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Will!

It's hard to believe that 8 years ago today, I was holding my first born son in my arms. I was so thrilled that he was here, healthy and a boy! Keith named him "William", which is Keith's first name, and "Dale", after my dad. Since day one, he has been a sweet, compliant child.

He is SO smart and nothing gets by him. After our recent trip to the caverns in Alabama, I was telling my parents about it. I was saying that the opening is supposed to be the largest cave opening in the world. Will chimed in and said, "Yeah, it's 126 feet wide and 25 feet tall." I looked at Keith in disbelief. I guess he overheard the park ranger and retained the information. I don't even remember them telling us. And that is just how he is, his brain is a little sponge and soaks in everything and can then recall that info. Amazing!

He loves soccer, baseball, school, his siblings, and mashed potatoes. His favorite toy is by far Legos! He spends hours every day building, rebuilding and modifying. One of his birthday gifts was a Lego set for ages 8-14. He sat down and had the entire 407 pieces built correctly in less than 40 HIMSELF! He was so proud and so excited that he immediately took it apart and did it again, this time in about 25 minutes. I think you get the picture.

God, Thank you for my wonderful son Will and for the blessing he is to me. My heart rejoices over him! Please continue to work in his heart and call him to be Yours.

Will, Happy 8th birthday! Mommy and Daddy love you so much and are so proud of you!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I should never plan a party...

Last month I planned a joint family birthday party for Will and Charlie. The day before the party, we passed Hand, Foot, Mouth around our family and had to cancel the party. I rescheduled it for today, surprisingly, everyone could still come. Well, of course, Jack started running fever Thursday night. I figured it was a reaction to his vaccines early in the day. Friday morning, Keith had to wake him up at 8:30am and his fever was still high. He laid around all morning and even let me rock him for a hour. Sure enough, I took him to the doctor and what-do-ya-know, it's the swine flu.

So again, we have cancelled the birthday party and had to reschedule it. Jack started Tamiflu last night and is feeling great today. No fever since last night, appetite is back up and he is running with the big kids. Hopefully no one else will get it, although I'd rather us all get it now than spread it out for the next 2 weeks.

I'll keep you posted.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Katies

Before leaving Fort Worth, I got matching outfits for the girls. The last day, we dressed them up and did a little photo shoot. It was the most animated the girls had been with each other all weekend. (we know now to do that on the first day.) After I got a few good shots, I told them they could go play, but neither one wanted to leave, so we just sat and played with the camera.

Girls, can you give each other a hug? Ok, or a kiss is fine too...

I hope this is the next generation of BEST FRIENDS!

Our Last Day

Monday was our last day. Keith wanted to take the boys fishing one more time, so they headed over to the pond. Keith caught another one, but the boys didn't get anything.

I may be fishin', but I can always stop to look at an airplane!

We had plans that afternoon and evening to go to a nearby park, but rain changed those plans. The kids did great playing inside together. All the adults sat around visiting and marveling that we had 8 kids ages 1-8 under one roof for 4 days and there was not one argument or disagreement the entire time.

Tuesday morning we got up and left their house at 4:45am. The kids went right back to sleep in the car, they were worn out! The flight was wide open, but we sat in the very back again. (closer to the bathrooms) When traveling with car seats, they have to be in the window seat. Both boys were begging to sit by the window, but we kept explaining that the babies had to be there. The flight attendant pulled me aside and said, "This flight is going to be pretty empty if they want to sit across from you." So Will sat in one row by himself and Charlie sat behind him all by himself. They both did great. I sat there watching them during the flight as they ate their snacks and played with their games, wondering how in the world my little boys got so big and wondering how the time goes so fast.

As we were walking through the airport at Love Field, I looked over at one of the gates and saw Herb Kelleher standing there waiting to check in for a flight to Houston. He didn't have anyone around him, so I walked up and asked if he would mind talking a picture with our family. (I knew he would love it, he's a HUGE people-person.) I told him Keith was a dispatcher for Southwest and we had just flown in from Birmingham. He was so sweet to visit with us for a few minutes and take a picture. Thanks Herb! (For those of you who don't know who he is, he was guy who came up with the idea of Southwest Airlines and was its President and CEO for YEARS!)
We were back home by 11:00 Tuesday morning.

Cliftons, thanks for another great trip! The food was delicious, the fellowship sweet, and the friendship priceless!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday, Fun-day

Sunday we went to church with Chris and Crystal. They have just started teaching in the 7th and 8th grade Sunday School and they did a great job. It brought back so many memories of being that age...and I still don't want to go back to it!

That afternoon, we put the little ones down for much needed naps! Keith and Chris took the big boys across the street to their neighbor's fishing pond. Our boys had never really even cast before, but they did great learning. Parker and Luke were so sweet to share their rods. Both boys caught their first fish all on their own and now they are "HOOKED"! (sorry, I had to say it)

Cathedral Caverns

The Girls

The Boys

This group is not easy to photograph!

Saturday morning we drove about an hour away from the Cliftons house to Cathedral Caverns. Our kids had never been to a cavern before. We played and took pictures while we waited for the guided tour to start. It had been rainy and was cool, but thankfully was not raining while we were there.

I used a hiking back pack carrier for Jack and we took the double umbrella stroller for Katie Beth and Katie Marie to ride in. It worked out really well. When we started the tour, they said it would last about an hour and 45 minutes. I wasn't sure if we'd last that long, but all 8 kids did GREAT! Jack even slept a little bit and neither one of the girls ever asked to get out of the stroller. The tour was really interesting and although I tend to be very claustrophobic, the cavern was so huge that it really wasn't a problem.

All that riding in the stroller wore Katie Beth out!

That night, Crystal had arranged for a couple of babysitters to come and stay with the kids so the adults could have a night on the town. We went to PF Changs and walked around a neat shopping area in Huntsville known as Bridge Street. (Still kicking myself that I forgot the camera!) So great to have adult conversation! I told Keith when we got back to the house, "The best part is, we still have 2 more days here!"

Sweet Home Alabama

EARLY (5:00 am) in the morning of October 9, Keith and I loaded the car with 4 sleeping children and headed out in the rain to Love Field. We were headed to our 7:50am flight to Birmingham, Alabama to go see my dear friend Crystal and her family. Traffic was a little heavy for so early, so we knew we were going to miss the Southwest employee shuttle to the airport. We decided to park at The Parking Spot which is closer and has shuttles running constantly. (We also get an employee discount there.) It was so nice to have the shuttle meet us at our car, and have the driver help us load all our stuff in the rain.

We got to the airport in plenty of time. We looked like quite a sight with 4 kids, a double stroller, 2 car seat, 2 suitcases, 4 carry-ons and Katie and Jack both holding their blankets and bears. We went straight to the ticket counter and ditched the suitcases. Then we headed to the gate.

The 7:50am flight was our first choice, as it was a non-stop flight. Unfortunately, it was looking pretty full and had 22 stand-bys listed. Thankfully, there was a flight at 8:00am that went through Houston and it looked wide open. We decided to check the 7:50 flight just in case. The agent said that it didn't look good, but to wait and see. A few minutes later, he called our names to board. Turns out the weather had delayed an incoming flight and those passengers were not going to make the flight. Jack ended up having to sit in my lap as EVERY seat was taken, but we were just thankful to be on. All the kids were picture perfect on the flight. We sat on the very last row of the airplane. Once we go to Birmingham, an older man 2 rows up turned around and said, "You know, when I saw you coming back here with all those kids I thought, 'Oh no!' But you know what, I have never seen such well-behaved children on a plane. They were a pleasure to fly with. You are truly blessed." What a compliment! We made sure we told the kids about it on our drive and bragged on them.

After an hour and a half drive from Birmingham to Priceville, we got to Chris and Crystal's house right at lunch time. Of course, Crystal being the Martha Stewart that she is, had lunch cooked and waiting for us. Chris came home early and we spent the rest of the day visiting and catching up with each other. The kids were so excited to see each other!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Out with the with the new!

When we bought our house, we knew the garage door was starting to rot and sag. Then, not long after we moved in, an unnamed child accidentally broke one of the panes and it has been taped ever since. However, it became a back burner project when we had so many other things today.

Recently though, the sagging got so bad that it broke another pane. We knew it was only a matter of time until the door fell down on us or a car. Well today was delivery day!!!

Out with the old... with the new!

Charlie acted as on-site foreman, even getting the workman a much needed Dr. Pepper.