Wednesday, November 11, 2015


Neglected. Overlooked. Forgotten.

That's what's happen to this little space. But I love it still. And when I can sit and breathe, (which I shouldn't be doing right now because of All. The. Stuff.) I love writing here. Recording memories and sharing thoughts.

I do a lot of that on Instagram now, but in short bursts. I am printing those photos out in ChatBooks, and my sweet boys have loved flipping through the 12 we already have received! But they love the blog books I print each year as well and I'm afraid this year's book will be quite small! Yikes!

Fall is here, though different for me this year. We had a Fall Break the first weekend in October and were out of town the first 2 weekends, which threw me for a loop! I think I finally put pumpkins on our door step the middle of October! We actually added lots more pumpkins (because I can't resist the cute and beautiful and welcoming orange signs of Fall), but I took this before the adding. Needed a photo of our new front doors. I am in love!!! Wish I had a photo of our old ones, but they were cream, with tiny windows at the very top. And, they had the full, black wrought iron storm doors in front of them. Definitely gave our house an older feel. Now, I adore the outside of our house! The pop and open windows----so much more inviting!  Especially when there's a real, live pumpkin waving to you from the doorstep!! ;)

I have lots more to catch up on, but felt like putting down a few thoughts, to shake out the cobwebs up in my mind and to shake them out here on the blog! We are still around! Living, loving life!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

it's never too late--traditions in the sunflowers!

It's the first day of Fall and I never posted our sunflower patch tradition! Yikes! Still playing a little catch up around here! Of course, if you can see my header for this month, clearly, we did make it to the sunflowers before they were gone!

Getting our sunflower pics is always an adventure! The boys have room to run, check out the bees buzzing around and ALWAYS get sweaty. It's just that time of year. And every year when I announce it's the day to go to the sunflowers, I get push back. Ugh. Pictures. Even my Hubby isn't fond of the experience----but he is the sweetest photog assistant around and helps me score the shots anyway! This year, he had the boys prep their faces on the drive to the sunflowers. "On the count of three, give me your best "Bald eagle just landed on my arm" face!" Or something like that. He had them changing up their faces and acting out the scariest moments, most exciting moments, most shocked moments, etc. and they ate it up!!!

So before my peeps were all red-faced and dripping they were ready for their sunflower pics and Mommy was able to continue her tradition!

They love their Honey Bee Tees! I do, even more!! 
New or passed down, these are my fave shirts around!!

Sweet brothers and silly Waybe shots too!

Glory made her first sunflower appearance as well! And since my handsome, photography assistant was so sweet and helpful, he deserved a smooch! 
Upon seeing this pic, he said, "Ummm. Crazy eyes!!" Just crazy for you Hon, just crazy for you! ;)

 I love this tradition! Can't wait until the 10th anniversary next year! :)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Waybe turns 3!

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, 
Happy Birthday Dear Waybe, Happy Birthday to you!

And just like that, Way turned 3! It's hard to believe it has been 3 years since the day he was born!

(Of course, this was back at the end of July. Ahem. Playing catch up!)

It's been a family tradition to wake up birthday boys singing Happy Birthday to them, bright and early in the morning! Well, at least the ones who still stay in their beds until we wake them up! Way was the lucky boy this morning, on his 3rd birthday! ;) Clearly, he was a little stunned at first!

But just give him a minute and he was all smiles! Per usual! Sweet, joyful boy!

Because his birthday was during the summer, all of our boys were out of school, which means we went out for donuts!! But, because his birthday fell on a Friday at the end of July, Mommy and Daddy had to leave for an officer's church retreat on his actual birthday. Sooo, we celebrated the night before his actual birthday. Do you know how hard that was for me? Everyone else seemed to be fine and I knew it made sense. It was, realistically, how it had to happen, but there's something about tucking in my babies on their birthday night. It's the sentiment, it's the quiet moments of thinking back to the day/night of their birth. I missed that, but made it through snuggling him the night before!

Mimi, Aunt Mary and Uncle Kevin came over to join us for dinner and of course cupcakes! And sadly, my camera battery wasn't working, so my phone, once again, was my main camera, hence the slightly grainy pics. Way wasn't sure what to do with the cupcakes initially, but once he had that first taste, he was all in! Cupcake didn't stand a chance!

Oh precious Waybe! You have grown leaps and bounds over this summer! You are gaining more words and growing stronger right before our eyes! And, you are brightening everyone's day you see, every single day! You don't meet a stranger! You are definitely our social bug, always waving and say Hi or Bye Bye as they come and go! I'm thankful for how I've grown because of you and for the hearts you grow daily, through the love Jesus has given you! You are truly unbelievable! I have big hopes for you this upcoming year and so I'm handing them to the Lord and will continue to pray that you grow in wisdom and stature! Our biggest prayer, of course, is that you will grow up and love the Lord, bringing Him glory in all that you do. We have no doubt you will! You are fearfully and wonderfully made!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Way! We all love you with all of our hearts! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

the one where our hard has been fought and won

I'm naturally a people pleaser. I don't want to rock the boat. Whatever you choose will be good (and I'll deal with it if it's not). I avoid confrontation and well, I try to avoid "hard" if at all possible.

Yep. And I have a counseling degree. Albeit a school counseling degree, but nonetheless, I once took courses in counseling. You'd think I'd be better at navigating difficult.

Well, I'm not. But I'm having to learn how to be.

Our sweet Waybe turned 3 at the end of July (which reminds me, I gotta write a birthday post)! And at the age of 3, Way graduated from TEIS, our early intervention program in Tennessee. Which means, all of the therapies Way has been receiving (OT, PT and Speech) will now be paid for out of pocket. It also means that he is able to transfer over to the big-boy school system (if we choose to do so) and he gets an IEP, or Individualized Education Program, which is an education plan for a student who will need special education services.

And in July, before Way turned 3, we had to have our first IEP meeting.

I'll keep it short and say the meeting didn't go well and had to be continued. I was told I had to sign some papers or that someone in the school system would get a "bad mark." I didn't sign the papers. I rocked the boat. I didn't let them choose and I didn't avoid confrontation and I didn't avoid hard. Though I wanted to, so badly. I didn't though, because I am Way's advocate and I am his Mommy. Way, unlike our others boys, needs us to stand up for him in ways we don't have to for his older brothers. And some of that has already happened, but it was game on once the IEP meetings rolled around.

Our IEP meeting was finally finalized yesterday. And while I wasn't angry or frustrated yesterday at the meeting, I was very much disheartened. Nothing ideal happened and really, nothing good happened either.

I found myself following the rabbit trails of "What-if's." What if he doesn't get x service? What if he can't ever go to such and such school? What if we can't afford to send him to this and that school? What if we have to move? What if he still isn't walking in a year? What if he falls through the cracks? What if this? What if that?

And let me tell you, the "What-if" game isn't fun.

But, by the grace of God, and after a few tears, I felt peace. I had family and friends praying for that meeting. I knew that their prayers wouldn't guarantee a rosy outcome. I asked them to pray for my peace about the entire thing and for wisdom in my role as Way's advocate. The Lord delivered my peace.

I want to live my life with the big picture before me, His big picture. I want my life to radiate with an eternal perspective! It's a fight, for sure, in this culture we live in. Our culture is dominated by success, money, drive, the best education, the best school, the best, the best, the best. I'm not immune to it. But, I want to be.

I've realized if I'm not living my life with an eternal focus, there truly is no point to this life. He has gone before us and fought for us. He has told us, in His Word,

"that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." --John 16:33
So, life isn't easy. But, the Lord has already won! That doesn't mean that the things of this life, like IEP meetings or decisions about schools, work, houses, health, etc. don't matter. But it does mean, we shouldn't worry. The Lord has also told us he will take care of us. He knows our needs, He loves us and He will provide for us!
"The Lord is my shephrd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. " --Psalm 23
 I'm so thankful the Lord is Way's Shepherd!

Friday, July 31, 2015

What I've Learned This Summer

It is the last day of July, which around here means summer is coming to a close. Not weather-wise, of course. It'll be hot 'round here for another month or two.

But school is starting in 2 weeks, so we are soaking up our last days of summer!

Thought I'd join in with Emily (where we talk about the bigger things, but mostly the little things and the even more trivial things on these occasions) and highlight . . .

What I've Learned This Summer

 1. I've heard it before, but I've never tried it. Why? Not a clue. But we will never have another beach trip without bringing baby powder with us! That stuff takes off the sand faster than you can say "Yippee!" I know, because I did that with a squeal and some jumping up and down!!

2. And speaking of the beach, I posted this pic on Instagram about a little perspective I gained. . .

Way and I were bowled over by a wave. Just sitting on the beach. He tasted his first gulp of salt water and was quite stunned! But just as quickly as that wave left, he was smiling and saying and signing, "Go! Go!" because he was wanting more! He loves the ocean! Lord, when things interrupt our days and stun us, may we all learn to "roll with things" and bounce back easier like Way, thanks to You!!! 

 3. Something surprising I learned? I never thought a TV show could be truly inspirational and bonding. Don't get me wrong, I've seen and watch some great shows. Shows that are uplifting or teach me something about humanity in a couple of messages. But I wasn't prepared for family of 6 to gather around the TV in awe of so many amazing people. Do you watch American Ninja Warrior? I know it's been around for a few years, but our boys are just the age to be aware of it and we heard about it from friends at the finale of last year's season. We've been waiting with baited breath til the start of the new season this summer, and it hasn't disappointed! 

Our boys are outside every single day creating and attempting ANW courses to complete. They are obsessed with getting in shape and even more inspired to get a "6-pack!" And while we are thrilled with their interest in health, I'm even more touched by their hearts. They've been moved to pray for one of the families on the show! If you haven't seen American Ninja Warrior. Check it out. Family friendly and on prime-time. That's rare!

4.  We are blessed to have boys who like to read. Some more than others, but there's not a day that's gone by this summer, where they haven't been plopped down somewhere immersed in a book! This has been our first summer to record books they've read. They are excited to add a new book to the list as soon as they've reached The End! I had no idea a list to tally the books we've tackled could bring such a sense of accomplishment!

 I know there's more that I've learned, but I'll stick with these 4 for now!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Sun-kissed, sandy, salty and sweet!

I'm aware that our city is not the only city sizzling in this summer heat right now. But, oh my stars!!! The heat indexes and humidity may be the end of me!
We took all of our boys on a walk up to our church playground this morning--only a couple of miles away--but I knew it would be tough for them in the heat. We brought water and even a Frisbee to hold water so Glory (who came too) could drink. Everyone was doing fine on the way there. We had lots of fun practicing for American Ninja Warrior (our boys are pumped to be American Ninja Warriors, but they have to wait until age 21, yikes) at the playground!

But then, on the way home, obviously hotter than when we started, people struggled a little. One of them just couldn't keep scootering and had to walk (though that just made him hotter). And then there was me. My fair skin and born-winter-girl body was about to collapse. I decided to run while pushing Way, because the faster I get home, the faster I get cool--if I make it home!!

And yes, I made it home, but as I was running down our street, the heat kept rising and I could feel my desperation to get inside. Get out of my way, don't talk to me and get me inside or take me to the ER! Whew!!!! 107 degrees is nothing to mess with! ;)

So what do I do when it's sizzlin' at home? I reminisce about our lovely beach trip!!

It was just last month, when we were at the beach, and the sun was out, but it was glorious! Not too hot and the ocean water was so very inviting! Way loved watching the waves, sitting in the water, calling out "Go, Go GO!" as the waves came up to him and trickled back down. He was hardly phased when one of the waves knocked us over! And the bigger boys took to their body boards and Daddy, who made it safe for them to enter the waves with the red flags!

We love the beach. We are good at the beach. Ya know? This family "wings" things. We are on our own time table at the beach. Nowhere we have to go. Only places we want to go and when we want to go there. It sounds extravagant, luxurious even, to me. And it is. Some people want schedules, routines, a plan. We can handle them, but we do every other week of the year. So our week in Florida is always a welcome change!

We splurge on seafood dining too. Not much better than Smoked Tuna Dip! Mmmmmmm!!! And we discovered snow balls at one of our fave restaurants this year! A treat indeed!!

On the days we do leave our beach, we sometimes head over to Seaside and enjoy a meal, a book stop, some treats and maybe even a game of Frisbee! Or we head over to Baytowne for ziplining and trampoline bouncing and more seafood! Aahhhh, the beach life!!

But still . . . being down on the beach, playing in the waves, going for walks, reading, building sand castles, burying brothers or sons or Daddy--it's all a good Jackson family time!

So thankful for our family beach trips to Destin! #J6Destin2015 in the books!


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