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.

November 9, 2016

tatum: three months old.


Our bitty baby is quickly approaching fourteen pounds! And is solidly in a size 2 diaper. She's also all smiles, unless she's extremely hungry. She'll let you know. And she's started really talking in the past week or so. Like full-on conversations. I remember when the boys started talking it was usually just one long sound. But not Tatum. Nope, she breaks up her sounds so that they could totally be words. It's so fun to see these little differences in our sweet girl and her older brothers.

Tatum still sleeps a solid 10-11 hours a night. She'd probably sleep longer in the mornings if her brothers weren't so loud! We haven't gotten into any kind of nap schedule yet. Some days she'll wake up, nurse and then go back to sleep for a few more hours. And then some days, she'll wake up, nurse and not go back to sleep for hours. Guess she's already keeping me on my toes that way, ha!

Tummy time is still not a favorite. And probably never will be since she hardly ever gets put on the floor. There are just too many little feet running around and the ground is not the safest place for baby girl. She seems to be learning to hold her head up fine on her own though. She might not ever learn to roll over, but doesn't that just mean she'll never learn to crawl and will therefore stay small forever? Whew, ok good!

We celebrated her first big holiday this month with Halloween. She completely slept through the whole trick-or-treating thing, but at least she was able to be with us – Graham's first Halloween was so cold and windy that I couldn't stay out with him. Alabama falls are like that though – you really never know what you're going to get from day to day.

We're looking forward to a fun holiday season with our four littles and can't wait to keep photographing these sweet little moments in their life.

November 1, 2016

halloween, 2016.


We have this tradition on Halloween. We load up in the car, head to my parents' neighborhood, trick-or-treat and then eat chicken enchilada soup and grilled cheeses on homemade sourdough bread. It's pretty much the awesomest. And I don't really feel guilty about traipsing through their neighborhood rather than our own because it used to be our 'hood too. And also? There are a ton of houses and the boys love it!

This year was no different! My sister's family comes over too and all the cousins go together. I think the cousins have been trick-or-treating together since Cayden came along... so this makes the seventh year. And this is the fourth year? perhaps fifth? we've done it at my parents house. Maybe longer? (I'm really bad at remembering these types of things.)

We have to set rules for the boys every year (the only girls are my almost 14 year old niece [who we rarely have with us on Halloween] and Tatum – so FIVE boys), and every year they get completely ignored. We did have improvement this year on not actually entering anyone's home, so I guess we'll call it good. Perhaps next year we can work on yelling at the door and peeking in windows when no one answers.

Everyone had a really good time. I think we walked a little further than we had planned; pretty sure it was close to a mile and a half round trip. The littlest never once complained though (ok, the smallest littlest slept the whole time, but the two and three year old were awesome!). This is definitely one of my favorite days every year. And despite it being warmer than it should be, that soup and grilled cheese were absolute perfection after all that walking.
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