December 5, 2016

santa, 2016.


I think every year that we go visit Santa, there's always that split-second moment where you wonder if and which kid might start screaming their head off. And with four kiddos to sit with Santa now, the likelihood of that happening seems like it should be greater. Except... we somehow managed to get a photo without anyone crying this year! Tatum loves everyone right now though; she might be telling us all a different story next year. Graham has never once cried for Santa. He was a little unsure of him last year (and also wearing the same shirt apparently!), but no tears. This year he sparked up a conversation with Santa – so much so that we had a hard time getting him to look at the camera. Cayden and Sawyer are at their peak fake smile season; they almost literally need to be laughing to get a genuine smile these days. But it's all good – we're excited to add this one to our collection of Santa photos.

November 30, 2016

thanksgiving, 2016.


We spent our long holiday weekend in Gatlinburg. The very same Gatlinburg that was ravaged by wildfires just two days after we left. We went to bed Monday night wondering if the sights we had seen just days previously would still be there when we woke up Tuesday morning. Most places made it, but there were some that just... didn't. The landscape in Gatlinburg will definitely be different next time we visit, but while we were there, it was just like we remembered.

The last time we went to Gatlinburg, our nugget was just a tiny little baby in my belly and Cayden was about 18 months old. I think this trip left a bigger impression on them, ha! We drove up on Thanksgiving day and had an awesome feast at the Tennessee welcome center. When we got to our cabin later Thursday afternoon, we settled in while mom heated up the wonderful Thanksgiving dinner that she had prepared days in advance and watched some football. The time change messed us all up a little, but we tried to pretend that it hadn't changed... which equals to littles going to bed at 9, rather than the usual 8.

No worries though! They were still all up at 5 the next morning. Well, our kids were up. My sister's kids we most definitely awoken by ours (sorry, Rachel!). We have early risers. That somehow seem to be getting earlier. But I digress...

We hit up Ripley's Aquarium first thing before the crowds started rolling in. I've been several times, but this was definitely fun to experience through the kiddos eyes. A leisurely afternoon lunch surrounded by family was enjoyed. We headed back to the cabin afterwards and got in a few family photos before the daylight went away. And then, like crazy people, we decided to pack up and go to the local outlet mall. On Black Friday. In all honesty? It wasn't as bad as I was thinking. We lucked up and found a parking space almost immediately and were able to hit up all the stores we wanted to go in. My sister and her family definitely Black Friday shopped harder than we did – pretty sure they closed the place down (in all fairness, we only got there a couple of hours before they closed and the place is huge).

Saturday morning saw us heading up into the mountains. All of us were ready to trek to the top of Clingman's Dome... which was quickly put to bed when we got out of the car to realize it was way colder than any of us were dressed for and the wind could knock one of the smaller kiddos over. Fine! We'll just take a few photos of this view! Oh, the memory card is in the laptop back at the cabin from the day before. My sister was able to get in a few shots for everyone with her awesome phone though, so disaster saved.

On our way back down the mountain, we caught a glimpse of Chimney Tops burning – looking like true chimneys. We had no idea what was to come of that fire.

Another leisurely lunch in town, a quick walk to some of the shops and we found ourselves back at the cabin in time to watch most of the Iron Bowl. (Roll tide!) Slowly the kiddos put themselves to bed (no naps or rests will do that I suppose)!

We rounded out our trip with a breakfast stop at The Apple Barn in Pigeon Forge before heading home. What should have been a five hour trip ended up being close to eight hours for us. The traffic was terrible; we sat in Chattanooga for over an hour. Add in nursing stops and a potty-training toddler... and well, eight hours. But our kiddos were rockstars – absolutely amazing in the car. Only one child asked repeatedly when we'd be home, so out of four, I'll take it!

November 21, 2016

couch hangs.


Know what I love about our school system? We have the entire week of Thanksgiving off. Know what I don't love about our school system? We have the entire week of Thanksgiving off. I know, right?

But in all honesty, I do love that our kiddos have the entire week off. It's just, a little challenging to remember what to do with all four kids home by yourself. Tatum? She's easy. Make sure she's fed, naps and has a clean diaper. Generally, the boys require a little more effort. So today? Today we declared a jammie day. And an introduction to Harry Potter day. After watching the first movie this morning, they're happily playing a Harry Potter lego game. And we have been the epitome of lazy. But tomorrow? Tomorrow daddy's home and we've got things to do. Thank goodness for daddy.

Now that I think back to summer, I only had three kids at home. So this whole four kids at home during the holidays is a newer thing for me. And now I'm not feeling so bad relegating ourselves to jammies and tv today.

As a side note, I picked up the real camera to shoot these and couldn't figure out what lens was on it. Apparently it's one that I didn't like in the past (according to the husband) and now I'm all heart eyes over it. I'm thinking it might be the perfect lens for playing around this weekend.

November 16, 2016

outside homework.


One day last week, I had been struggling to get Tatum down for a nap. She finally fell asleep about ten minutes before Cayden and Sawyer were due home from school. No matter how many times I ask the boys to be quiet, they are just so wound up after school that it's almost futile – to no fault of their own! Knowing that Tatum needed to sleep and that the boys needed to be loud, I made the executive decision to march straight through the house to the back door and do homework outside.

And we've done it every day since! If Graham and Tatum are still napping, they join us when they wake. I think the change of scenery for homework is doing everyone some good. Once homework is done, it usually means playing outside for at least an hour – until it gets too chilly or too dark. Something so simple makes me wonder why I didn't think of this sooner...

November 14, 2016

tatum's baptism.


We had our sweet baby girl baptized yesterday on Sunday, November 13 at Riverchase United Methodist Church by Dr. Tyler Christiansen. She wore the baptism gown that my great-grandmother made for me while my mama was still pregnant! Y'all that's a 37 year old gown that still looks perfectly beautiful. My mom is going to have to teach me how to keep things looking good like that while being stored for sure.

But anyway, we've had all of our littles baptized in the same church, all at about the same age. All three boys did awesome – not a tear shed, but I'm pretty sure they spit up all over themselves at some point before walking in front of the crowd. Tatum was the exact opposite, ha! She kept her spit-up to herself, but definitely made sure the entire congregation could hear her lungs. It was a short cry though and a beautiful little moment during our church service.
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