This just can't happen again. It just can't.
Watching the weather . . . on the third anniversary of The Thing.
Oh, how time flies!
If anyone still reads this blog considering the pitiful job I do at updating it, try to hang on . . . I'm really hoping to get some great birthday shots and put them up on here!
More later . . .
He has been such a fun little guy lately. He's always been such a happy and good baby but his little personality is really shining through now. He is SO ticklish and laughs so good heartedly. He loves his big brother and sister. They can make him smile quicker than anyone else. He is a snuggle bug. He gives great big wet kisses, just when you least expect it! He is crawling all over the place! He steals Preston's toys and is the only one who can get away with that. He happily goes with me anywhere and everywhere.
I love him to pieces!
Of course, I love my other children as well but I am so enjoying this unexpected extra dose of mothering a baby.
When I was asked (as I was many times) if we planned to have any more children after Callie and Preston, I never knew quite how to answer. I don't suppose we ever really said we weren't having any more, but it was pretty well understood between Shane and I that two, a girl and a boy, was enough. Somewhere in my heart, though, that never felt quite right. I always said if I had been younger when we started having children, I would have definitely wanted more. (I was 31 when Callie was born and turned 32 before she was two months old!) Realistically, however, I knew we were probably done.
And then Peyton arrived, quite, well, make that VERY unexpectedly, and I am so in love with him. I feel like he was just supposed to be here and he makes our family truly complete.
Don't get me wrong, having three children under the age of six is no picnic, mind you, but I wouldn't trade them for the world!
You see that teddy bear he's holding in the photographs? It's mine. My parents bought it for me when I was about two years old and it quickly became my best friend. Teddy went with me everywhere. I slept with him, even when I was a teenager and had a bad day. When we were expecting Callie, I put him in her nursery, thinking that maybe she or her future siblings would enjoy him. Not to happen it seemed. Neither Callie nor Preston took to Teddy. Sure, they played with him occasionally, but he never became special to either of them. He just sat in his little corner of the nursery, keeping watch over their comings and goings silently.
When we were packing to evacuate before the storm, I grabbed Teddy and took him with me. I still wonder just what made me do that. While he certainly holds a special place in my heart, I surely wasn't cuddling with him anymore and he didn't mean anything special to my children. There is no way that I could have known that he would have been lost forever if I had left him behind, yet I took him. While we had evacuated many times before, this was the only time Teddy was carried along. I suppose that was meant to be as well.
So far, Peyton shows only a passing interest in Teddy as well, but I thought the two of them would look cute together in some photos.
Hope you enjoyed them.
P.S. We're going to DISNEY WORLD!!! :) More on that later . . .
He is EVERYWHERE now and it's just rocking my world. It's been so long since I've had to worry about the safety of an exploring baby. Add to that the heap of new toys, complete with small choking hazard parts, that his 6 year old sister and 4 year old brother received for Christmas and I feel like I am on constant patrol! What a lot of work this is, let me tell you. This baby went from sitting still to crawling a little to crawling all over the place and pulling up to stand in less than a week.
Oh, about the photo. It is related to all of this. Even everyday chores are different now because I need to keep a constant eye on the little Creepy Crawlie. Have you ever tried to complete a load of laundry from wash to dry to fold to put away while stopping about a zillion times? Anyway, the basket he's sitting in in the picture is the one I toss his dirty laundry into. I decided to pop him into it to keep him in one place while I folded his clothes. It worked like a charm! He was completely happy, the clothes got done in record time, and I got a few cute photos, too!
In other news, we are FINALLY about to start real work on the house repairs! To date, only the electrical stuff has been done. Shane's meeting with a plumber today to set up an appointment to have the house inspected to see just what, if anything, needs to be replaced before we insulate and close the walls. At this point, we think only minor plumbing repairs will be needed and we're only planning to change a few things, so that work shouldn't take long.
We also learned, quite by accident, that one of our old neighbors, Mike, makes cabinetry. I wrote about Mike and his wife, June, some time ago and would love to reference that post but the ability to do that escapes me. (Yes, I am pretty technically ignorant! Mostly from the lack of free time to poke around and learn new stuff!) Anyway, Mike is the kind of guy who won't do anything unless he can do it right and I'd love to have him hand make our new cabinets. We plan to use some of the fallen pecan trees from the property to build them. I'll keep you posted on the progress.
I'm really looking forward to seeing things move along with the house. In reality, I know it will probably be more than a year until we can even hope to live there full time again, but I still miss it so much. We've been in the house we're currently living in for almost 18 months but it still doesn't feel like home in the way my house does. I was there for only a short time last week and it felt so good. It's a feeling that I really can't describe. There just don't seem to be words to fit.
In addition to missing my home and more familiar surroundings, I miss my family a lot these days, too. My family is growing by leaps and bounds lately and being more than an hour away is killing me! My older nephew married a girl with a child from her first marriage. Together they have a son that is only two weeks older than Peyton and are expecting their next son in just a few weeks. (Yes, that means they'll have two babies less than a year apart!! Can you say OOPS!!??)
My younger nephew and his longtime girlfriend are expecting a baby in July. That means next Christmas we'll have 7 children ages 7 and under!! They will be 7, 6, 5, two 20 month olds, an 11 month old and a 6 month old!! My sister is freaking out at the thought of hosting the Christmas Day festivities like she usually does. I, on the other hand, think it sounds wonderful! I grew up in a very small family. Holidays were just my parents and me, plus my sister, her husband and their two boys, my nephews. I always wanted to be a part of a big family and now I'm getting that chance. I love the fact that my kids will grow up amongst literally dozens of cousins between my side and Shane's side of the family. My goal is to have our home complete enough to host Christmas Day. I don't care if it's all froo-froo I just want walls, floors, and working bathrooms so that all of the kids can spread out and play.
More later . . .
Our property at home includes many grafted pecan trees. Originally, there were 16 but Cindy took one or two (I can't remember now how many) and my dear friend Katrina toppled her share. The total count of live, healthy trees escapes me but suffice it to say that more than half are still around and doing quite well.
Each fall I love pecan picking. The trees almost always provide many, many more nuts than my entire family could hope to consume. A few years that had very dry summers produced smaller quantities or poorer quality but there are always some pecans. Walking the huge field, bucket in hand, feeling that first crisp fall air and filling your bucket to the brim was such a peaceful event. I'd then head home to crack the nuts and bake pecan pies or make pralines. YUM!
Since the storm, we haven't picked any pecans. That first fall was too chaotic to even think about it and last year the whole deal just passed us by without so much as a thought. This year, though, I was determined to take my kids to pick pecans, Baby #3 in tow, on a pretty fall day. That day came just a few weeks ago and it was wonderful! The trees gave us a huge harvest this year and although working around still downed limbs and overgrown fields of high grass made it a tad less than ideal, we still had a great time! The air was cool. The sun was shining. A soft breeze was blowing. It was almost as if nothing had changed over the past two years. I felt peace and I was happy. And I needed that experience pretty badly.
Peyton is napping SO WELL these days! It seems the days of the 30 minute cat naps may be behind us for good. He usually puts in an hour to an hour and a half for each nap. YEA! Now if only he would sleep through the night . . .
We've all had turns with a nasty cough, Shane and Preston having it the worst as is typical. I swear, when we all get something, those two are the sickest. Callie barely had a touch of it, I had a mild bout, and Peyton (thank you breastfeeding!) never coughed once!
Halloween was a blast for everyone and I hope to get pictures of all of the kids up soon.
Meanwhile, we are now nearing the end of the hour and a half naptime so I need to run! He'll be hungry for his lunch and then we have errands to run--what's new?
More later . . .
Somewhere, yes, I do still exist. SO much has been going on lately that I rarely even walk into the room with my computer anymore. This three kid gig is a tough one! Let me try to sum things up just a tad . . .
School has started. Callie's in first grade, Preston's in pre-kindergarten. Both love it. I love the routine, hate the getting up SO. DAMNED. EARLY. School starts at 7:30 AM. I'm up by 5:30, kids by 6:15ish to start the day. Callie has homework now. Every night. That doesn't always sit so well with her, but we manage.
Peyton's blissful sleeping habits have gone down the toilet. Don't know where things really went wrong but they did. I'm in the process of trying to fix that now and it's not fun. For any of us. Fortunately, he is still the happiest baby around. Learning to eat solids now and doing a splendid job--he is oh, so ready at almost 5 months. Tips the scales at 20 pounds and measures 28 inches in length. Yes, you read that right, he's a ginormous baby!
Callie lost her first top tooth!! Oh, does she look different already. Growing up way too fast. *SIGH*
I've started going to the gym in hopes of losing these last baby pounds and toning up. Maybe I'll be ready for NEXT bathing suit season! *BIGGER SIGH*
The anniversary of The Thing is coming up and that makes the whole month of August just crappy when it should be wonderful. It's the month I was married in (8 years last week, by the way). It's the month my two older children were born in (6 and 4 now, can you believe it?) We had a great birthday party, but it's still crappy. I could write so much more on that and will at some point. . .
Looking forward to next month (for the above reason, of course) but also because it's my birthday month and because I'm getting a much needed new vehicle! Yea! No more squeezing three kids/car seats into much too small a space or driving a much too old hand-me-down vehicle. Can't wait!
Hope to find more time to write more soon. Don't count on it though, at least not until Peyton gets his act together. I tuck in shortly after he does most nights so that I can function somewhat reasonably the next day.
See ya . . .
OK, I've been hinting around lately that there was a special reason we went to the beach recently. In fact, I think I mentioned something about Shane having a fishing tournament there in a past post. Here's the whole story . . .
My husband is a die hard fisherman. He's been fishing, oh, I don't know, since he could walk maybe? A couple of years ago he got into tournament fishing for redfish. He and his dad piddled around with the whole deal taking short trips here and there and enjoyed themselves in the process.
Shane, however, really wanted to take this whole deal to the next level and had the opportunity when a friend contacted him a little less than a year ago. Charlie used to live just 5 minutes away from us before the storm (and, coincidently, is only about 10 minutes away now) and has been a professional charter fisherman for years. He used to do a weekly spot on a local news show and has been fishing the professional redfish circuit for almost 5 years. His former partner was no longer interested in tournament fishing and so Charlie needed a new partner.
He chose Shane.
When Shane first got that phone call, he was hesitant to accept the offer on the spot. A lot was going on in our lives, not the least of which was recently learning that we'd be adding a new baby to our family. Serious tournament fishing means a fair amount of time away from home to travel, pre-fish, fish the tournament, etc. He needed me to be OK with that and I was. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I knew that my husband really wanted to do this and he might not have another opportunity like this one. I gave him my blessing for everything except the tournament that was scheduled for the week after Peyton was born.
Shane and Charlie make a great team! They both LOVE fishing, get along great, are family oriented sort of guys, and both have kids around the same ages. They give and take well with time and resources and have been doing consistently well on the circuit. Well enough to fish the recent All Stars tournament in Orange Beach, Alabama. Thus, our trip. The kids and I played on the beach, at the pool, and at local amusement parks while they fished the tournament. In the afternoons, we'd head to the marina for the weigh in to see how they were doing.
After the first day of fishing, they were in fifth place out of thirty teams. Not too shabby! After day two, Shane and Charlie moved up to second place and earned the opportunity to fish on the third and final day where only the top five teams go out. That day would be tough since the weather was much too rough to head to the places they'd been fishing on the first two days and would be in "unchartered waters" so to speak.
Before each tournament, a lot of time is spent pre-fishing. Teams go out and fish to see where they will find the fish they need to catch in order to do well in the event. Because of the windy weather and rough seas, no one would be able to get to the good spots they'd found before this tournament began and would be fishing in unknown areas hoping to find good fish.
As each of the five teams weighed their fish on the last day, tensions mounted. A lot was on the line here. These tournaments pay out pretty nice prizes and there's a good deal of respect for winning teams amongst the other anglers. Not only do you need to catch the biggest fish in a certain size range, but you need to keep them alive. Stiff weight penalties for dead fish are assessed.
After the last team weighed in, Shane and Charlie were the winners!! Callie and Preston were ecstatic, as was I. It was so much fun to see my very own husband turn into an instant celebrity signing autographs for child and adult fans alike. Photographers and reporters surrounded them.
ESPN covers these tournaments and this one will be broadcast sometime in October. Don't worry, I'll be happy to give you the details once I know exactly when the air date and time are!!
Here's one quick picture of Shane and Charlie weighing in on day two.
Shane is on the right. There's a ton more coverage here and a nice local article here which features one photo of all of us having dinner at the restaurant near the marina after the big win. Take a look, if you'd like!