Monday, July 28, 2014

Losing Track of Time on the Beach...

It didn't take long for me to already lose track of what day it was.  All day yesterday I thought it was Monday and as I was walking on the beach this morning I thought it was Tuesday and pleasantly surprised and excited to find that it was only Monday!  I suppose that's how it goes (and rightly should...) on a vacation.  Yesterday was our first day on the beach, followed by some pretty serious play time with my babies.  Parker Ann felt she needed a little "YaYa  Time" and requested at one point that we go to my room to play.  Well, of course, I took her upstairs and after we had been playing for a while, the door opened and in walked the other two little munchkins!  I wondered how they had made it to the third story when Poppi's head popped around the corner; "They were just standing at the bottom of the stairs looking up..."  And so it began; the chasing, tickling, playing hide-n-seek.  An absolute infinity amount of FUN!  And at the end of the day when all of them were bathed, smelling sweet and put into their pajamas they came one by one to crawl into my lap before bedtime.  Parker Ann looked at first at my crowded chair and said, "YaYa, Is there room in there for one more kid?"  All I can say is that they totally melt my heart.

Here are some of the photos that I have taken on the beach; I hope you enjoy!
Bringing this little blow up swimming pool to put under an umbrella was one of the best ideas we had!
Parker Ann has never been interested in getting in the water until this year.  Aunt CaCa took her out to ride the waves...
Sarah and Parker Ann.  I took this precious picture of mommy and daughter.  This will be Parker's last year to be an only child.
                    And Holli did not want to go in the water at all.  Instead she played in the sand.
                                             Beckett, on the other hand LOVES the waves!
                 Spending time with my babies and losing track of time.  That's what it's all about. 





Saturday, July 26, 2014

Let The Vacationing Begin!

We all left from different place to end up in Destin.  Justin, Sarah and Parker Ann traveled from Natchitoches to our house last night so we could begin our trek at 6 a.m.  David, Codi and Beckett started their journey from New Orleans this morning and Caitlin, Kevin and Holli hopped a plane from Cleveland.  The plan was for us to leave at 6 and make it to the airport in Florida in time to pick  the Ohioans up.  As fate would have it, I woke up at 2:15 and couldn't go back to sleep until after 4.  And then the alarm went off at 4:50 (sigh...).  We got up and were packed and on time when...the lights on the boat trailer weren't working properly (ugh...).  After making a trip to Wal-Mart to get new bulbs and gas our vehicles up, we were an hour late getting on the road. 

Caitlin and Kevin's plane landed early so David, who was ahead of us by a good distance, stopped and picked them up at the airport.  Justin made a wrong turn but still made it to the house before we did.  And then the boat had to be taken to the marina (whew...).  I was SO glad that Robby and I had decided to buy groceries before we left town this year because that is the worst part of getting to our vacation destination; traveling all day and having to go grocery shopping!
 Three buggies of food and about 1000 bucks later, we were ready for a week's worth of eating...maybe.
Poor little Holli Bug, our frequent flier baby, has taken to getting air sick the last couple of times she has flown.
Here's our home away from home for the week!  It takes a pretty big place to house 13 of us.  I don't know what we are going to do as our BIG, FAT FAMILY continues to grow.
         And here is the view from our room's balcony.  The beach access is right across the street.
The kids asked me for a shovel.  Apparently they found a planter full of dirt on one of the balconies and decided to have a little fun.
                  Parker's dirty hands did not compare to Holli's body covered in that dirt.
                       And Beckett?  Baby Boy was more interested in eating Cheese Puffs.

When Robby and Justin got back from dropping the boat off we grilled steaks and fish and cleaned those dirty babies up...
There was a good bit of playing between cousins and then it was bed time.  For the babies.  But I can sure tell you that I will not be far behind them.

Tomorrow we will hit the beach.  Well, at least the women and children will because I'm pretty sure that Robby will be going fishing!  That man loves to fish.
          Here's a Happy, Happy YaYa having almost all of her little chickies with her this week!


                                  WE MADE IT!!!  YIPPEE, YAHOO (and all that stuff...)









Friday, July 25, 2014

Preparing For Our BIG, FAT FAMILY VACATION!

Yep, it's that time of year again!  Each year our BIG, FAT SOUTHERN FAMILY packs it up and heads off somewhere for a week. Last year it was Disney World.  This year it is the beach in Destin, Florida.  Every other year we opt for a relaxing beach vacation as opposed to somewhere else because let's face it, getting a large number of people up, dressed and out the door each day is not an easy task.  So, Destin it is this year...with THIRTEEN PEOPLE in tow!  Sadly, Ryan and Allison won't be going again this year since he just started practicing dentistry (Oh, the woes of the "Real World"...).  But next year...who KNOWS how many will be traveling with us?! (This is a YaYa hoping for more babies in the coming year!)

It's been a pretty busy week trying to prepare to get out of here at 6 am tomorrow morning.  Robby has worked every day trying to get all the lose ends of his businesses tied up, along with fiddling on his bay boat that we will be taking with us.  I...Well, I slept till 8 this morning.  Don't ask me why, when I know I have so much to accomplish today; my suitcase isn't even packed yet.  Oh, there are things laid out all over my bedroom floor, just not packed.  The washing machine is still churning while I am basking in the last few moments of silence before part of the crew comes in tonight.  Because silence is one thing we won't be having for a week.  The babies that grow up in this family learn to live with noise.  Because we are one LOUD family!

So, as I sit here, I try to imagine what each day of our trip will be like (so I like to dream...don't judge me).  I would like to wake up each morning and take my walk out on the beach and then mosey back to the house and have breakfast with everyone else.  Then, walk out to the beach with all the kiddos and play in the sand and surf for a while and later when they are all cleaned up and napping,  pull out the book I'm reading and read myself to sleep.  Now THAT'S a dream.  It is totally NOT what the reality will be but I don't care because chaos comes with this bunch and I still choose them any day.

Be prepared for photo overload on the blog this coming week as well.  I took my first photography class yesterday and learned SO much about the camera I have had for years.  I hope to capture some great shots of all our fun on the beach with this vast amount of knowledge I am now armed with...in a notebook. Yes, the teacher and student in me compelled me to do that.  When I pulled the little notebook out, the poor kid who taught me (one on one), at first paused every time I wrote something down.  Never looking up from pen and paper I said, "You don't have to stop talking, I can multi-task.  My husband says there is no such thing as multi-tasking but when you have four kids, believe me, you can multi-task."  Anyway, I got some really great pointers for capturing the sunrise and sunset on the beach and I promise I will share some of those with you.

Now that you know where I will be posting from this next week, I need to get up from here and go for my walk, board the dogs, get groceries for the trip...Oh yes, and PACK!
                                          
                                                WE'RE BEACH BOUND OR BUST!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Favorite Things: LEMONS & LACE Hair Accessories!

I'm humming that song from "The Sound of Music" again..."These are a few of my FAVORITE things".  One of my NEW FAVORITE things is a little shop called, Lemons & Lace.  The owner of this shop is a friend of Caitlin's who lives in Cleveland.  Caitlin met her because her husband is also a resident at the same hospital where Kevin works.

Lemons &  Lace sells mostly unique headbands.  And just to be clear...I am in LOVE with them.  Well, I guess as much as one can be in LOVE with an inanimate object, that is.  Caitlin and Holli have both been wearing them for quite some time now and I just recently got started on my own little collection.
          These two are my favorites because they are so classic and go with just about anything.
Soft and silky, this twisted knot style holds my hair in place most days.  They are especially good for me to wear to my yoga class.  And YES, I get compliments on them!
                       The style and fabrics, both texture and prints,  are just so fun and original!
And these two I can barely wait to wear!  One is for my New Orleans Saints team, the other for the LSU Tigers.

The Lemons & Lace web site is great.  Look through it first to see the different styles of headbands on models and then go to Design Your Own to create the exact look you want!  Here are just a few of the creations we have purchased...
                                      A "Duo" for a matching look for mommy and daughter.
 Here's Holli using her Lemons & Lace headband in a different way to dress up her hat that is equally as cute!
I ordered Parker Ann and Holli these matching headbands to wear with their Easter dresses this year.  Aren't they adorable?!
       And here's Holli and YaYa ready to go out for the evening wearing our cute headbands.

The headbands are my personal "favorite" but there are some more really cute items on the site as well; scarves, little boy bow ties and binky clips.
            This little floral wreath was also made by Lemons & Lace and I just adore it.

So, there you  have it...My newest obsession and FAVORITE THING!  What are you waiting for?  Click now and start shopping.  But beware, these things are very addictive and you too may have a NEW FAVORITE THING!
















Monday, July 21, 2014

A "Sweet Treat" You MUST Keep In Your Cookie Jar: Cinnamon Bars

While rummaging through my mother's recipes the other day, I came across an old favorite that I had not made for quite some time.  I took that recipe card home with me and immediately began making this quick, easy and delicious recipe that I determined should never run low in my cookie jar!

Originally a recipe of one of my great-aunts, these Cinnamon Bars are sure to become a favorite of everyone who tries it.  Not super sweet, with that yummy hint of cinnamon, makes it the "perfect" snack with an afternoon cup of coffee or in the evening with a cold glass of milk.

CINNAMON BARS:

2 Cups flour (self-rising)
1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks margarine (softened to room temperature)
1 egg yolk

Mix well and mash into cookie sheet using your hands. (NOTE:  For this to fit on a normal size cookie sheet you will need to double the recipe.)  Glaze with egg white.  You can also finely chop some pecans and sprinkle them on top of the glaze.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.
                                                    Now doesn't that look just delightful?

                                                               HAPPY MONDAY!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Meet ACE, the Newest "Pet Member" of Our Family!

When Simba, our yellow lab, died several years ago, Robby swore he would not get another one.  If you never read my post about Simba, click and read it.  He was a really special dog that grew up with our kids and losing him ranked right up there with one of the most terrible days.  I thought that enough time had passed this spring and had convinced Robby that we needed another lab and had actually found a friend whose dog was having puppies.  But something happened to the mama dog and she lost the litter.  That seemed to strengthen his resolve even more not to get another dog and we decided to give up on finding another puppy.  And then I saw a post on Facebook!  A good friend of ours black lab had a litter of puppies that were six weeks old and he was ready to start selling them.  I casually asked Hubby if he knew about this and he did not.  I wasn't going to push the issue but I had put the thought in his head.  The next afternoon I heard him talking on the phone and it was to the friend about the puppies.  I tried to appear as though I was not paying attention to him but when he got off of the phone he asked me if I wanted to go look at the puppies the next afternoon.

Well, if I get as far as going to look at a puppy, it is pretty much bought!  There had only been two females in the litter and both had already been sold.  We had discussed getting a female, thinking it would not be as "lively" as a male (aka:  Simba).  However, when I saw the little runt, I was instantly in LOVE.  I picked him up and snuggled with him and told the guy I would be back as soon as I could make a trip to the pet store to get some food and bedding for him.

I was thinking it would be the weekend before I could make it back to pick up our little puppy because I had a pretty busy week and Robby was out of town working on Wednesday.  I got home that day and was preparing dinner when he walked in holding our sweet little black lab!  Justin, Sarah and Parker Ann were visiting and Sarah excitedly ran over and took him from Robby snuggling him into her and commenting on that precious "puppy smell" and it wasn't long before we were on Face Time with the rest of the family, introducing the newest pet member of our family to them all.

While we snuggled and played with this little black bundle, we began trying to think of a name.  Most that we suggested were rejected by Robby and I couldn't understand why since I thought they were all pretty good names.  And then he explained it to me, "A name is pretty important when a guy is sitting in a duck blind.  Simba was a powerful name and everybody knew Simba; he had a reputation.  You can't just have a dog called Pudding and call that name out in front of other hunters."  Hmmm...OK, so I got it.  There was one name that was thrown out that he did like and by the next morning when I got up, Justin and he had already begun calling our little pup; Ace.  When we had gone to look at him, each puppy had a collar with a number on it and his number was 1.  He was also black, like a playing card with an Ace of Spades or Clubs on it.  And, of course, we own an Ace Hardware store.  It was done; his name was Ace.  OK...I call him Acey because, after all, he is still a baby.

I wondered how my weenie dogs and cat would take to Ace and was not disappointed.  Oh, at first, Sissy was only a little curious, but within the period of a couple of days, she was running and playing with him...
video

And I am enjoying sitting in my chair each day, while Ace sleeps in my lap.  And Robby has already got in the pool with him to show me he knows how to swim and cannot wait until he can go to the trainer that Simba went to, to become "Man's Best Friend" in the duck blind.  There will never be another Simba, but it had been enough time for us to make room in our hearts and home for a new little pup with lots of antics of his own to share with us.  Welcome, Ace!




Friday, July 18, 2014

Beckett's Birthday on the Bayou!

Birthdays around our house are pretty special.  Beckett turned one on the 5th of July and I realize that I am a little late with this post but as they say, "Better late than never!"  And this 1st birthday party was a really unique one with Codi making LOTS of the decorations, herself and spending just as much time planning and implementing the party.  So, here ya go... BECKETT'S BIRTHDAY ON THE BAYOU!

Living in Louisiana was the inspiration for the theme of this party and here are some photos of the SUPER CUTE decorations...
                                                        It all started with this invitation!
               The party was outside and this display could be found where the guests entered.
             Codi made this banner.  Each triangle held Beckett's monthly photo for his 1st year.
                 She also made these "Bayou Themed" party hats for the other children at the party.
                          Treats of gummy worms and such could be found on the entrance table.
   Along with these adorable tackle boxes containing gummy worms and goldfish, tied with a bobber.
 And my FAVORITE photo of the "Birthday Boy"!  This says it all..."Mommy, I'm SO over taking these birthday photos!"
                                         Here is another view of his monthly photo banner.
            Beckett's birthday poster sat over by his cake and contained memories of all his 1st's.
                Here is a close up shot of some more party hats that Codi made; SUPER CUTE, huh?
                   And here is the birthday cake, sitting on an old stump, surrounded with moss.
                          Beckett had his own birthday hat, bib and banner for his high chair.
                                                   He had a ball opening all of his gifts!
                             Notice his cute birthday outfit with the smocked crawfish on it!
                           Before he dug into his cake, Beckett took some shots with his daddy...
                                                         And both great-grandmothers...
 
                                                               And, of course, YaYa!
                                                                      And Poppi too.

                                                        And then it was CAKE TIME...
                                                          He finally decided to dig in!
                                                              And it was YUMMY!
                                                                 Sweet little family.
 
                               This little boy sure does love his daddy.  You can't tell, can you?!

                        HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BECKETT...AND MANY MANY MORE!