Friday, November 29, 2013

Travel here, travel there

 Josh's dad loves to fish so what had originally started as a guy fishing trip with Josh, his brothers and dad turned into a family fishing trip with Josh's entire family. We found a large house at Nags Head so we I packed our bags and headed down on Friday. Saturday everyone fished and shopped. Sunday afternoon Josh and I drove to Norfolk, Virginia and caught a flight to Atlanta, rented a car and drove 1 1/2 hours to Warner Robins, GA for my Aunt's receiving of friends. We attended her funeral service Monday morning, drove back to Atlanta,  flew to Norfolk and drove back to Nags Head. Tuesday, after a LONG ten hour drive we finally got home... I've never been so glad to see my house and my bed!

Isaac and the ocean

Eli-the little turkey fell in the water of course

Cold but beautiful

The only footprints on the beach were ours

Paw-paw and Olivia. She's decide to call Josh's mom "Maw" and his dad "Paw."  I have no idea where she came up with that.

Josh and I in the airport flying to Georgia

Friday, November 22, 2013

My 'favorites'

This is the post that I’ve been dreading to write. My sweet Aunt Jane passed away Thursday, November 21st at 8:00 am in her sleep after battling cancer. In less than four years I've lost 3 people off my 'favorite' list on my phone. That just sucks. My grandmother, Bubba. My Daddy. Now my Aunt Jane. It will be 3 years in January since she was first diagnosed with cancer. We found her cancer a week after burying my dad. 

Thankfully, my sister, my mom and I went to see her Friday through Sunday before she died and had such a good visit. Auntie had been asleep all day Friday but woke up an hour before we arrived. My Uncle Richard didn’t tell her we were coming and so when we walked in her eyes got so big and she smiled and said, “I had a dream about the three of you this morning.” We gave her hugs, kissed her cheeks, petted her hands, rubbed her head and told her numerous times we loved her. Saturday she was awake all day and we sat at her bedside. She finally fell asleep around 7:00 pm and we left to go eat dinner and go back to our hotel. While we were in a store Uncle Richard called and said she was asking for us to come back. So of course we did! We tucked her in and told her we would be back tomorrow. Sunday, she slept until we finally had to wake up her at 1:30 that afternoon so we could tell her bye. That was such a hard goodbye because I knew it was the last time I would see her. I had to walk out of the room several times because I didn’t want her to see me lose it. Aunt Jane has been so special to us and it hurts so bad to lose her. She’s loved us with a passion and my sister and I echoed the love.

Audra and I both wrote her good-bye letters and her friends said she asked them to read the letters multiple times to her during the last few weeks.  Here is mine:

Dear Auntie,

Let me start off with… I LOVE YOU! I know we’ve always joked about you being our favorite aunt but you are. Even if we had 10 other aunts to choose from…it would be you! You have spoiled Audra and I rotten since we were born.

There are so many things I could tell you but I wanted to start off with ‘thank you’. Thank you for the unconditional love you have shown Audra and I over the years. I’ve always known that you are on my side and I could count on you to be honest and truthful. That’s been that voice I needed to hear many times in my 32 years. It breaks my heart to lose you. 

We’ve had such wonderful memories and those are the things I am going to try to cling to in the upcoming months. Remember when you took us to Dalvay by the Sea so I could see my childhood dream.  I loved that trip with you, Daddy and Bubba as we saw the red clay cliffs and visited where Anne of Green Gables  ‘lived’.   The cruises we’ve taken to Bermuda, Alaska, Hawaii, and the Bahamas were so much fun. Heck, any trip with you was always fun. Thank you for introducing me to Europe on our trips to Ireland , Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. I will be sure to tell the kids the story of Audra and I fighting in the exquisite chocolate store. I smile when thinking about you taking us to the Moulin Rouge… our mama would have had a fit!  Wasn’t it beautiful to see Monet’s garden? I loved Ireland and driving through the countryside, staying in the bed and breakfasts, and helping Uncle navigate while you and Audra sat in the back. I think about our many Christmas’ together and opening presents on Christmas morning with everyone gathered around.  I still have a mental picture of Lilly with the red bow around her neck when you brought Audra and I our first dogs. To this very day I love Golden Retrievers because of you. I wasn’t homesick a bit when I flew with you and Uncle to Georgia when I was seven because I knew you loved me.  You have spent so much time pouring love into Audra and I and that time is priceless to me. You’ve always tried to teach us a bit of history, culture and open our eyes to the beauty of this world.  You are such a strong, smart woman and I’m so proud to be your niece.

I see that you are smart and savvy like your Daddy, and strong like your Mama. You’ve battled this cancer for almost 3 years and even though you’ve had your down days you’ve been a warrior and people have remarked on strong you are. Just like Bubba who kept her cancer a secret for 5 years; you’ve trudged without complaining and fought back. Though you may not see it, I see that you are a caretaker and gentle and kind like your brother. You came to his side when he needed you the most and took care of him until the end. I thank you so much for taking such good care of my Daddy…he was comforted the most knowing that you were there. I’m glad it was your voice that called me and told me he passed and your arms that wrapped around me sobbing. You will be together again.

Though the last 3 years have been tough I’m so glad you fought. We’ve had great times at Pawley’s Island and I’m ever thankful for the time you spent taking Isaac on the Wind Jammer. Thank you for supporting me with Olivia’s hearing loss and coming with me on my conference to keep her. We had such fun on that trip and I love that picture of you two looking and each other cooing. I will never ever regret naming her Olivia Jane… because she is named after a remarkable woman. 

I’m thankful for the last 3 days I spent with you. Sitting by your bed, rubbing your hand and crying. I know you wanted me to sit in your lap but I got as close as I could without wanting to hurt you. I’ve sat on your lap now for 32 years and loved every minute. I’m crying now because I’m going to miss you so incredibly much and honestly can’t imagine our lives with you gone. Don’t worry about Uncle; we will make his Snickerdoodle cookies at Christmas. He is our family too! He’s sure going to miss you  and has taken such good care of you.  You are loved. You have so many outstanding friends that have come to your aide. Most people only dream about being loved as much as you are. 

Take peace in your salvation by the grace of God and rest. I don’t want you to be in pain and suffer. You’ve had a marvelous life and have touched many lives for good. Mine is one of those. I don’t want to say good-bye, my heart hurts, but I will see you again. These are the verses I will cling to. Go with God.

“For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me.” Pslam 31:1

“And I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. “ John 14:3

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

I love you Auntie Jane!

Your niece,


Aunt Jane last year at Pawley's Island

All the Janes! Olivia Jane, Audra Jane, and Hettie Jane

Aunt Jane and Olivia Jane at our hearing conference last November

Uncle Richard and Aunt Jane-- these pictures were taken in Spruce Pine about 2 weeks before my Dad died

Aunt Jane and Me (I was pregnant with Eli) at my baby shower

Aunt Jane, Audra and I in Ireland during 2005


Aunt Jane and her friend Jeanene in Antarctica. 

Aunt Jane standing beside whale bones in Antarctica. She truly traveled the world and gave me a love for travel as well. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Olivia's 18 months old

Miss Olivia Jane turned 18 months old this past week. She weighs 23 lbs and is 31 1/2  inches tall (50% percentile for both). I was holding her today cradled in my arms and I thought about how she's so small compared to her brothers at that age. Eli was almost 30 lbs at 18 months and several inches taller and Isaac was a big baby as well. She is still wearing size 3 diapers and is in 12-18 month size clothes. I'm letting her bangs grow out so right now they are below her eyes when it isn't pulled back. I love watching her little personality develop- she definitely lets you know what she wants.

What can Olivia do now?

Olivia is on the go everywhere, climbs up and off things with ease, and tries to jump (she doesn't get off the ground but she says "jump" and makes an effort to squat and come back up). She especially likes stairs and inclines and thinks it's great fun to go up and down one hundred times. She will go down our stairs holding the rail but I still like to stay close by her in case she falls. I haven't put a gate at the bottom of our stairs and most of the time she leaves them alone... exceptions are if someone she wants goes up. With Eli I had to barricade everything. I also don't have cabinet locks... She has 2 kitchen cabinets she knows are hers to play in and the rest are Mommys'. Occasionally she will try to get into one of mine but really minds well when I tell her no.

She is a great eater and isn't very picky at all. Her favorite foods are oatmeal, spaghetti, bread, fruit and peanut butter. She definitely has a sweet tooth and loves anything with sugar- which we limit! She does pretty well with a fork and spoon as well.

Olivia absolutely loves her pink silky blanket and has become unbearably attached to her pacifier. When she was a little baby she didn't even like the paci and would barely take it at bedtime. I don't know why she decided she wants it but she asks for that thing continuously. I'm going to have to suck it up and take it away before long.  She is a great sleeper which I am soooo thankful for. The older I get the more I need my sleep! That's one thing that keeps me from wanting #4... sleep! She goes to bed around 8:30 and sleeps until around 8 the next morning. At bedtime we read a few books, take her 'ears' out and then turn off the light. She will say "bed" when she wants me to lay her down in her crib to go to sleep.

She was all interested in the potty a while back and went for about a month pee peeing in the potty before her bath. Lately she's decided she's not very interested in it so I haven't pushed anything. She does love her bath and fights with Eli over who's turn it is to drink the cold water from the spigot.

Language? Oh yes.. she's a verbal little thing. We are well over 100 words now and she's starting to combine words together. This afternoon she was suppose to be napping and I heard "Mama, Mama". I went in her room and she said, "Poo Poo".  As I changed her she said, "stinky, dirty diaper" and then said "up" and "down" as she lifted her little legs up and down. She knows clothing items, body parts including: hair, eyes, eyebrow, teeth, nose, mouth, ears, head, belly, knee, hands, toes, feet. When you count she will say the next number up to 10. She loves books and asks to 'read' all the time. She follows directions very well and right now I'm working on getting her to find two critical elements. Sometimes she will only pick the last item she hears so we are working on increasing her auditory memory skills. She's also working on speech babble for auditory memory as well. I will give her a pair of nonsense sounds to repeat such as "meebow" and she has to repeat. She will usually get first part but not always the second. As far as speech she is using all developmental speech sounds. She will even put /s/ in words such as 'horsie" so I know she's hearing it! We went to Asheville to have new ear molds made and ordered pink with gold sparkles this time. She does great keeping them in except when she is tired. If she gets sleepy those things are first to go and if I don't catch her in time she pulls the mold from the tubing. I now have a set of thin tweezers I carry in my pocket book for putting the tubing back in. She begs to get in the car to watch her "moomie" (movie) I think because with her FM system she hears it so well.

I always imagined being a boy mom... but it's so fun having a daughter and amazing to see the differences between boys and girls. Olivia loves shoes, bracelets, necklaces, baby dolls, and having her nails painted. She asks to wear her 'bows' and wants to prance around in her boots. She can sit and watch me put on makeup (on the rarity when I do) as long as I let her. Her favorite show right now is Sophia the 1st. I was such a tom boy when I was a little girl I think it's funny that she is so girly.

Olivia, we are so blessed to have you in our lives and can't imagine it any other way. You have us all wrapped around your little finger and when you grin with those dimples we just melt. I love you my sweet girl!  Love, Mommy

                                         Here's a little clip of Olivia reading her favorite book

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Pajama day

Saturday I seriously stayed in my pajamas from when I woke up until I went to bed! These were not just any ole pajamas either.. I was wearing my grandmother's old flannel nightgown that covers my neck all the way down to my toes. It's so big and roomy that I don't even have to wear a bra- very attractive I know. Josh just loves it when I wear this nightgown but hey.. it's so comfy! My mother and father-in-law stopped by but it didn't bother me. Josh's mom actually started laughing and said she's not laughed that hard in a long time. She needed the laugh with her mom just dying and it didn't bother me a bit. Unfortunately or fortunately one I didn't get to lay and watch TV all day; I cleaned instead. I know I did about 12 loads of laundry, got the house vacuumed, mopped, kitchen cleaned, bathrooms done, and dusted. So I had a pretty productive day..even if it was in my pajamas :)
Olivia 'helping' Mommy. She was filling up my mop bucket with water.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Is this not outrageous!

We were leaving Josh's parents house last night and came across a freshly born calf in the middle of the road. We stopped and tried to get him back to his mama cow who was standing on the other side of the electric fence mooing loudly. Josh held the fence up and I pushed the little calf under- he was still wet with afterbirth and had an umbilical cord hanging out. I used baby wipes to wipe my hands but Josh being the germ freak he is had to stop at McDonalds to go wash his hands.

Life's curve balls

Josh lost his job a month and a half ago. He carried all three kids and himself on his work insurance. Needless to say life has been a little interesting around here. This is the longest he has been unemployed since he was 15 years old! He even worked throughout college. He was with his old job for the last 6 years and it's been a hard transition for him not having to go to work everyday. The first few weeks it felt like a vacation.. having us both home, getting to spend time with the kids, go to Isaac's games, work on our outrageous pool project. However now.. it's time for him to find something! He is putting in resumes each week so we are hoping and praying he finds the job he is meant to have. In the meantime I have picked up some part time speech work and we have made cut-backs in our daily living.  I am thankful everyday we don't have a mortgage or debt to pay because I'm not sure what we would do. God does provide even in situations like this! We are never guaranteed of anything.. our jobs, our financial security, our health, or the health of our children. I am so thankful every day for those blessings we have. I think about Job in the Bible that had everything taken from him and still praised God. I'm hoping we can be faithful in the good and bad.

Josh's grandmother passed away this week and my Aunt Jane only has a few more days left on this earth. I will blog more about Aunt Jane later because I'm not ready to go there. It's so hard losing family you love.

Our pup Sampson fell this week while chasing a squirrel through the woods and has fractured his knee so he is on complete bed rest. At the end of two weeks he will go back for another x-ray and the vet will decide if he needs surgery!

So as you can tell, life's been a bit unsettled around here but we are still smiling. We've got a house to live in, 3 smart beautiful babies, warm beds, food in our bellies, our health, and family and friends. I need to be thankful in all things.


Sampson and Isaac

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Grandma Edith

Josh's grandmother died this week on November 3. Edith was 92 years old and had a wonderful life. She was alert and awake the day before she passed and was able to visit with all her family members. A hour before she passed she had her hands raised praising Jesus while listening to a worship song. She was a saintly woman and loved Jesus and her family...I know she's rejoicing with her Heavenly Father now. Though her family will miss her terribly there is no sting in death because she was certain of her salvation and had lived a full life. What a way to go.. surrounded by your family, in your own bed, at 92 years old. We could only be so blessed!

Grandma Edith

Josh and his grandmother at our wedding

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Happy Halloween 2013

This was a fun year for Halloween. Eli actually liked dressing up and wore his costume to his pre-school class party on Halloween day. He came home with a full treat bag and a belly full of sugar. Surprisingly Olivia loved her costume as well. She's such a big girl! She saw it and started saying, "cat, meow, meow." After that it was on and whenever I asked her what a kitty said or she saw her costume she started meowing. I was putting on my make-up and I spontaneously decided to make Olivia whiskers with my eye liner and blacken her little nose. She held so still. Isaac said he was too big to dress up and go 'trunk or treating' but he did wear a ghillie suit with his cousins and try to scare people. Click here to see our Halloween from last year and how much everyone has grown! Happy Halloween!

I think Eli was making vroom noises and Olivia's looking at him like he's crazy!

I love this one with her grabbing her little kitty belly and Eli grinning

"meow meow"

Giving Sissy a little kiss

I love these tights!

Family pumpkin carving

Eli is Mommy's little monster for sure

Isaac was less enthused with the pumpkin carving and ate an Italian ice while watching

The finished product and no lost fingers!

Coming home from our festivities- one sweaty teen and a tired kitty

It was too cold for Olivia to wear her princess dress but she pranced around the house  with her little Cinderella heels anyway

Eli thinks he is Lightning McQueen  so he loved this. He is all the time running out of gas or needing more power. I hear 'vroom' noises multiple times a day.  We got his costume when we were at Disney and he was excited to wear it.
Josh and I went to one of our friend's house for an adult Halloween party the weekend before. I dressed up as Rick from the Walking Dead and Josh was my zombie. He had fun scaring all the girls-he was a bit creepy. I usually don't watch stuff like that but he got me into the show so now we watch it together. 

3 Generations! My Nanny's (my mom's mom) birthday is on Halloween so we celebrated with a party at my house on Friday night. Here is a picture of my Nanny, me and my Mama.