Beach or Backyard Redo?

This past weekend I was given the option to spend Saturday at the beach or to work on the backyard.

My first thought, why these two things?

I want to do both!

Even though it hurt my heart to turn down a day at the beach, I picked the backyard. I mean, I have been trying to get the mechanic to do something in the backyard FOREVER!! If I ever had a chance of getting it started, it was definitely now.

It is a GREAT backyard! The trees give an awesome forest feel, makes me go back to being a kid.

DSCF7543

And it is one of the reasons I LOVE this house so much! The soon to be extended patio will go here. The sink in the corner there is from the kitchen and being saved for a mud kitchen for the girls.

DSCF7544

With the help of all the kids and the whole day Saturday, it looks amazing!

We packed a pallet of flag stone, piece by piece, to the back. Because the mechanic is so awesome, he found all of this for almost nothing!

DSCF7545

The 11-year-old, helped me piece together a patio. Not an easy task!

DSCF7548

We are by no means expert patio builders or landscapers, we kind of just winged it and did it your own way.

The mechanic put down some paver sand.

DSCF7551

These three just chilled out and watched in the shade. It was so hot!

DSCF7546

While I spread the sand, the boys started building the tree house/fort/clubhouse.

DSCF7547

Nothing fancy, just nice and simple in the shade.

DSCF7549

The baby finally got her swing put up. She LOVED it! And yes, we did sunscreen and bug screen the littles.

DSCF7552

The mechanic always says he is not a carpenter. I say it is so not true, he always does an amazing job with all the projects I give him. And this tree house/fort/clubhouse is perfect! We have to add some things…lights, curtains, plant some flowers, and a few decorations before it is totally complete.

It still works for a picnic lunch though!

DSCF7557

We didn’t totally finish, still need to plant a few things, trim some trees, build a mud kitchen, and add some furniture. But, for now I am happy!

DSCF7575

Yes, those are my beach chairs! They fit perfectly back there, right in the sun.

DSCF7578

I LOVE cows!

cows

I LOVE cows! I am not sure why but, I find them to be very beautiful. Yes, I am a little strange. Maybe they take me back to my roots, make me think of my Daddy. We found these cute little guys on vacation a few weeks ago at the Grand Canyon, on a off road trail. Just look at those faces!!

Learning with a 4-year-old

This summer we are totally getting geared up for some PreK learning. This should be easy, right?

The truth is, for me, it’s just a bit scary!

Ok, I am totally terrified!

When we started homeschooling the older kids, they had already been in public schools for a few years. Someone else had been in charge of teaching them phonics, how to recognize letters, how to write, and to read. I was just kind of an at home teacher’s aide who helped when they had a problem.

Now the younger kids, I am completely responsible for. There is no one else to blame if we don’t get it right!

AGGHHH!!

See why this is scary?

So my plan…

1. Find fun learning websites…check! She is in LOVE with ABC mouse. We have been working with it since January. And she does not need Momma to navigate through it. All the mechanics kids are crazy smart with a computer!

2. Lots and lots of books to read and workbooks…check! Thanks to the two used book stores down the road for making reading with 6 kids more affordable. The Dollar Tree also had several different workbooks and with the help of my little laminating machine, the mechanic bought me, they are all now dry erase pages.

This is her PLEASE can I write in this book face!

DSCF7411

And I have to say, she does a pretty mean A!

DSCF7416

3. As many different flashcards as I can find or make…check! We have ABC’s, shapes, colors, site words, addition, and subtraction.

DSCF7410

4. Magnetic and felt boards…check! These pizza pans are perfect for only $.88 at Wal-Mart. Canvas boards wrapped in felt are AWESOME fun!

DSCF7418

5. Her own workspace…check! She bought this little table at a yard sale last fall, it makes the perfect little desk. The little red bear stool the mechanic found at a thrift store for like $3, fits just right!

DSCF7423

6. And total organization of all home school supplies…check! The kids old toys boxes made great shelves once we took the lids off. Each kid has their own box for papers, pencils, notebooks, binders, and books.

DSCF7421

I do feel somewhat more prepared for this journey but, at the same time, still completely terrified!

It’s going to take a lot of patience, love, work, and understanding, but we so got this!

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl!

It is incredibly hard to believe that this time last year we were sitting in the hospital trying to stop contractions. Well, it didn’t work! This stubborn little girl was beyond ready to make her appearance, even if it was 5 weeks too early.

image

I was a total nervous wreck! This was my 5th baby, 5th c-section and the most scared I had ever been. We were in a new state, my Mom didn’t have time to get here, none of my sisters were here, it was just me and the mechanic. This was when I truly knew, without a doubt, I could count on him forever.

The NICU was definitely in our future, 13 long, crazy days. The mechanic, totally amazing, right by her side. He knew all the details, all the right questions to ask, and took great care of everything (work, the doctors, the kids at home, the baby, and me).

wpid-imagejpeg_0_6.jpg

Eating was a big challenge for her but, she finally got it! I will never forget the day she decided she no longer needed that feeding tube and pulled it out.

image

It’s funny how with every kid all the things they do is like being a first time parent all over again. Every first is still such a big deal.

We have definitely had an exciting year, that’s for sure.

From our first beach trip, napping under the umbrella.

DSCF4864

To helping Daddy with some paperwork!

DSCF5628

Learning we really, really like the drums!

DSCF5583

And your very first Happy Meal!

DSCF5738

She had her first long road trip where we discovered she is NOT a very good long distance traveler.

DSCF6309

Discovered that the swing is a really good place to spend the afternoon and nap.

DSCF7127

More beach trips…She is definitely a Beach Bum Baby!

DSCF7236

Playing in the kitchen, one of the best things ever!

DSCF7310

And even enjoy reading the paper while waiting for breakfast to cook.

DSCF7358

She is always waiting with a smile, absolutely refuses to totally walk by herself or completely give up the bottle. LOVES to torture Rylee by always wanting to play with her LPS, napping with Dixie, laughing at Katie, and giving the boys weird looks. She totally adores her Daddy and is a complete Momma’s girl. She was a complete surprise and totally is my serendipity!

I can not wait to see all the new things she discovers and learns to enjoy! So Happy 1st Birthday Miss Reagan Jayne! There is absolutely no way I could tell you just how much I LOVE YOU!

DSCF7248b

Umbrella view

umbrellaview

Oh, how I would LOVE for this to be my view today! Relaxing in a beach chair, sitting in the sun, listening to the kids play in the water, with a good book and a big glass of sweet tea.

Jalapeno Peppers, Please

peppers

A few weeks ago, me and the girls decided to go ahead and plant these seeds we had lying around for over a year. We weren’t really sure they would do anything, but here they are, growing into little Jalapeno plants, ready to be transferred into a bigger pot. Maybe one day in the not so far future, we will be sharing a pic of an actually pepper. That is if we don’t kill these first!

Happy Father’s Day to Heaven

This week has been incredibly emotional for me. This Sunday, which happens to be Father’s Day, makes 13 years since the day I lost my Daddy. His passing was not completely unexpected, he had been really sick for years. But it was entirely too early.

My Daddy was a GREAT man, the BEST! I am not just saying that because he was mine either. He genuinely cared about everyone around him. His love for his family was the most important thing in his life. He was caring, hardworking, respectful, and very proudly served his country for 20 years.

family1

This week also came with another good man who received his angel wings a little to soon. I had not seen him for many years, but his family was a big part of mine for a long time. I remember dinners, birthdays, a wedding, and lots of laughs. Thankfully, Facebook has allowed us all to reconnect over the past couple year. Like my Daddy, he had a great LOVE for his family, was hardworking, and also proudly served his country. This is him with my sister Sam.

rufuscook

This time of year is always a little rough for me, but with his passing it has brought a lot of those feelings back that I had 13 years ago. I wish I had some words to say to make it feel better but there really is nothing anyone can say, words don’t take away the pain.

The part of you, the unselfish part, is happy that he is no longer in any pain and you don’t have to see him suffer any more. The other part, the very selfish part, that is the part that is mad. That’s the part that wants to know why him? Why my Daddy? That is the part that wants to just have him there, no matter what. To be able to hug his neck one more time, kiss his forehead, to be able to just smell him, hear his laugh, see his face light up when he smiles, and listen to his stories for the 1,589th time.

I can say this, it is very hard and takes a long time but it will get better. Do you ever really forget the pain? No, you don’t! Do you ever think about them? Yes, you do, every single day of your whole life!

My Daddy has been with me every single day for the past 13 years. I remember our good times, our bad times, our laughs, our cries. I remember holidays, birthdays, the day he came home from Desert Storm, and so many more. I remember how I never once questioned just how much he loved me. I remember the little smile he got on his face the day he found out he was going to be a Grandpa for the very first time. I remember his excitement that he was the first to feel the baby kick, even though he never actually got to meet that baby. I see him every time the baby smiles that certain way. And even though he is not hear with, he is. He is alive in all my memories and my thoughts every single day.

family

So here is a huge HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to Heaven to two of the GREATEST fathers I have ever known!