Friday, October 30, 2009


I love living in an area that has 4 true seasons. Fall is especially my favorite. I'm sure you've noticed the fall colors and leaves on my blog page. That is exactly how many of the trees in Northwest Arkansas have looked during October.

We have some beautiful organge, yellow and red trees in our neighborhood. I took the picture below about a week and a half ago...I had no idea how quickly the leaves would fall though! The picture below is of the same trees as the picture above. This picture was taken 9 days later.... Such a good reminder that so many things in our life are only for a short time. Just like this fall season has come and gone so quickly, we have seasons in our lives that come and go. Some seem to go by so very fast while others seem to take soooo long. I am learning that there are even "mini-seasons" within big seasons. For example: I am in the season of being a young mom. But I have gone through different mini-seasons within these last 9 years.

~There was the season of being a mom of 1 child. We had friends that also only had 1 child. Every Sunday night we would drop off our child with grandparents and go out to eat together. It was so easy and carefree.
~Next came the season of having 1 child and being pregnant with another one. Feelings of guilt. Am I being unfair to child #1 by having child #2?
~Those feelings were forgotten as the new season of being a mom of 2 came upon me.
~My next season as a young mom was my husband quitting his job, returning to school full-time, and moving 900 miles away from everyone we knew. Scary. But we grew close as husband and wife and family. We only had each other. In some ways it was a great time!
~Season of leading and encouraging other moms as Coordinator of MOPS. So much of my spiritual journey started in that season. It was a blessing indeed.
~Season of growing in God's Word through BSF and CBS. Dragging that 4yr old and 2yr old with me each week. God truly rewarded my efforts with the love and knowledge of knowing Him more.
~Season of sending those 2 little ones off to preschool for the first time. Feelings of guilt again. Am I the worst mom ever for dropping my kids off with strangers?
~Season of feeling like a single parent while my husband was at the library and school studying. Sometimes for 11 or more hours a day.
~Season of finding the 2 best girlfriends I've ever had.
~Season of wondering "what's next?" Where will we move after Philip graduates? What does God have planned for us?
~Season of shock. joy. excitement. sickness. Yes, finding out we were pregnant with twins after having just found out we were moving in 9 months. Followed by literal 24 hour a day sickness. Couldn't keep anything down kind of sick. Laying in the bathroom floor kind of sick. Hugging the porcelain throne 10+times per day kind of sick. For 14 weeks.
~Season of utter dependence on God. How can I have 2 newborns and move 900 miles away when they are 2 weeks old? God was my strong tower. My stronghold. My deliverer.
~Season of adjusting to being a family of 6.
~Season of being strong and encouraging to my 7 and 5 year old as they start a brand new school where they know no one. I know no one either but am determined to be brave for them.
~Season of being homebound. Not literally. But definitely more than I'm accustomed to and more than I like. Taking 4 kids out, 2 of which are young babies, without any other adult help is not an easy task. Most days the easiest thing to do was stay home. On days that I did need to get out, I was usually in tears (and sweating) by the time we got to wherever we were going.
~Season to breathe a little easier. As the months pass, we meet more people and the babies are now more mobile which makes it easier in some ways. I can finally let out a sigh and await for the next season as a young mom.

One of my favorite passages from the Bible is about seasons.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,

a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Carving Jack-o-Lanterns

After picking out the perfect pumpkins on Wednesday, we had to wait a few days to carve them. (read that as: wait until Saturday when Daddy is off work and can do it!)

At our house, Daddy cuts the top off and then the kids have to clean it out themselves....

Next, they draw their own designs on it with a pencil. Daddy comes and checks the design to make sure the eyes, nose and mouth are big enough. He then helps them outline their design with a black Sharpie....
Then, he starts in on the actual carving of the pumpkins. (we had started this process at naptime when the baby boys were asleep. But, you can see in the background of this picture below, that by the time Philip started the carving, our first trooper was awake)

While I sat on the floor and took pictures, that same little guy scooted himself into my lap. So this is primarily all I was able to see....

Oh, how I LOVE baby feet!!! I could just kiss them all day. Look at the rolls around his ankles. Look at how fat and wide his foot and toes are. Lastly look at the black dirt between toes 2 & 3 and 3 & 4. Makes me smile just thinking about those sweet piggies!
And here is the end product...

Yes, it was cool outside. Yes, our babies only have on shirts and diapers. Remember that they had just woken up from a nap? It was just too much to get them dressed again and sitting for a picture. So I just opted for the picture rather than the clothes.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

McGarrah's Pumpkin Patch

Last week I took the kids to a local pumpkin patch to pick out pumpkins for carving. We are going to a different pumpkin patch on a school field trip later this week, but I didn't want to wait so late to carve jack-o-lanterns.

This is the first thing Eli and Emma Kate found. I'm not sure why she was making that face. Maybe she was mooing?.... Next Eli begged her to be the farmer (she was really too short), because he wanted to be her scary jack-o-lantern....

We finally made it out to the patch. I just had to put this next picture in because I wanted to make note of Emma Kate's socks. She usually does a decent job of matching clothes, shoes, jewelry,etc... but this day she did not. She chose HOT PINK socks to go with her too-short jeans and her black & orange shirt....

Zane and Zander were waiting patiently in the wagon while Eli and Emma Kate scoured the patch for their "just right" pumpkins. Both of the big kids found these cute smaller pumpkins that they wanted to share with the baby boys....

After we came out of the patch, I attempted to take a picture of the 4 of them together. This one was the best I got. At least 75% of them are smiling. Despite what it looks like, Zander is not unhappy in this picture. He just usually does that serious face when I have the camera out. (which is SO NOT his personality. He is the comedian of the family. Always doing funny things on purpose)

Right before we were getting ready to leave, they announced that they would be doing one last hayride of the day. And it was FREE!! I told the kids to hop on!

Mr. Busy-body got bored with the hayride about 1/2way through it. He thought he could stand up and walk around. Of course that didn't work, but look how cute he is in his duds....

And here are the perfect pumpkins they chose. Emma Kate's is in the front of the wagon. Eli's in back.

Pumpkin carving pictures to follow soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Gator Homecoming

The day after Eli's 9th birthday was Gator Homecoming! Philip and I took Eli with us to the game as his birthday present.

It was unseasonably cool that day so we stopped at the bookstore to find me a long sleeve shirt. While in the checkout line, we spotted the black-out eye gear with scripture like Timmy Tebow wears. Eli thought that was super cool and really wanted some. I think he looks so cute with them on! The College of Pharmacy held their Alumni Bar-b-que before the game. As part of the "package" deal, they had a section of seats blocked off for the alumni. Philip thought we would probably be way high up in the bleachers. But we were so happy to find out we had GREAT seats 11 rows up in the end zone....

If you know me at all, you know how much I LOVE TIM TEBOW!!! My infatuation with him goes back to before he ever even stepped foot onto Florida Field in a Gator uniform. Right after he signed with them, Philip and I were laying in bed one night and he was watching ESPN (shocker, I know). They were doing a special segment about Tebow and his family and their faith. I was immediately drawn to their morals, values and priorities. I became an instant fan and still am. His performance and enthusiasm on the field is second-to-none, but its what he does off the field that I love. His commitment to sharing God with others and being the Light that Christ called us to be is so out of the norm. Look at this example below....90,000 + people around and what does he do before the game....stops, kneels down and talks to our Creator. You better believe that I pointed that out to Eli.

Although the Razorbacks played so well and Florida played so bad, we really had a good time at the game. (not sure if I could've said that had the Gators lost)

After the game as we were walking out of the stadium, I saw a group of people gathered around a trash can taking pictures. I walked over to take a peek and found this....

kinda funny, kinda gross!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eli's 9th Birthday

We celebrated Eli's 9th birthday with a few friends while we were in Gainesville. He wanted to have a Gator party and cake. I did a google search to get ideas for cakes done in orange and blue. Mind you I had no idea of making the cake myself. Just wanted to take a picture to good ole Publix and have them make it. Well... while searching, I came across this Gator Cakes website and was LOVING what I saw! I had Eli come to the computer and he liked them too. So thanks to technology, I was able to order a cake from 900 miles away! Here was the final result.... My sweet bff Bridget offered to pick up the tablecloths, plates and napkins for me. Not an easy task with 4 little ones, I know!

Since we were flying in to Gainesville and then having the party 2 days later, I wanted to keep it very small and simple. We invited 4 sets of friends to join us at Possum Creek Park for cake and ice cream. Here's the birthday boy with his cake....

Singing "Happy Birthday dear Eli"....
and blowing out 9 candles! (I had sent Philip to the store to buy the ice cream, candles, etc... Little did I know that he bought the trick magic candles. Eli blew all 9 candles out in one breath and I thought we were done. But, one by one they all started flaming again. Such a jokester that I married!)

Here are all the mommas and kids that came. These 3 sweet girls are what I miss most about Gainesville. They are truly terrific friends! (On a sidenote, look at how many kids we have between the 4 of us! 13 kids ranging in age from 13 months to 9yrs old!) Too bad we aren't standing up behind our own children. It would make it easier to tell you which child belongs to which momma. We were doing good just to get them all sitting down and looking in the same direction!
It had been raining on and off all day. The party was scheduled at 4:30pm and around 2:00 it came a torrential downpour. I quickly tried to think of what else we could do inside on such a short notice. Philip and I talked to Eli and decided to just cancel the party and have the cake and ice cream after supper with the Guillot family. (that's whose house we stayed at) We thought Eli was okay with that but he got really quiet and we knew that he was sad about not having his party. Around 3:45 the rain had stopped. Bridget and Terese (the blondes in the above picture)convinced me that we could still do the party at the park. We'd take towels to dry off the play equipment and the actual playground would be fine since it was mulch. That worked out very well and I'm so glad we went ahead and did the party at the park. However, a few minutes after we finished the cake and ice cream, the torrential downpour came back....

We all stayed under the pavilion to stay dry. (well the adults did. the kids would dart out in the rain every so often. They had such fun doing that!) We waited until the hardest rain seemed to pass and then we made a mad dash run to the car. Here's Eli, Emma Kate and Philip (carrying Zander) as they make a break for it....
I had told our friends not to get Eli any gifts since we'd be flying back on the plane and didn't have the extra room. I'm sure you know that they did not go along with that! He was so surprised and excited to receive Toys R Us gift cards and a Gator shirt from them! Before we left for our trip, he also received a HUGE Nerf machine gun and a Nintendo DS from his grandparents. His present from us was going to the Gator Homecoming game (I'll be posting about that next!) Hopefully this will be a birthday he won't soon forget!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Back in Gainesville

One week ago today, we flew back to our old stompin' grounds in Gainesville. We lived there from 2003-2008 and absolutely loved it! The last 3 years that we were there, we made several lifelong friends, so its such a treat to get to go back and spend time with them.

This is the first time that we've taken all 4 kids with us. Philip and I went back for a few days in January and took Zane and Zander. But this time, we wanted to take Eli and Emma Kate as well. It was Eli's birthday while we were there and we were going to a Gator football game, so we decided to do it BIG! We had no idea what it would be like to fly with all 4 of them, but we were pleasantly surprised!

Per my usual, I started off the trip by taking lots of pictures and then was taking nearly none by the end of the trip.

The picture below was while we were waiting to board the plane for the first flight. I'm pretty sure all the other passengers were a bit concerned as they watched my two toddlers climbing up and down and over the seats in the waiting area. But, look how good the other two were being. Here they are both doing schoolwork. Not that they volunteered to do work, but they had been given a set amount to do on each flight before they could get out the "good and fun" stuff from their backpack.

Most of you probably don't know that 2 lap-riding babies (meaning they are under 2yrs old and you didn't buy an airline ticket for them) cannot sit in the same row together. (due to lack of oxygen masks) So, Philip and I always have to be split up.

Eli, Philip and Zander on the first flight....

Me, Emma Kate and Zane's ear on the same flight....

Okay, so all of those were taken on Wednesday. Now skip to Friday, which was the next time I even took my camera out. (I told you I fade fast with the picture taking)

We stayed with our bff's Tom and Terese. We love them and just all get along so well. They have 2 boys ages 5 and 2 that my kids love to be with.

Friday afternoon my baby boys were particularly cranky, so I popped in a Baby Einstein DVD. Colton (their 2 yr old) decided to watch with them. Look how cute they all are together....

Colton and Chase have this little kids table & chairs set that my little boys loved! They are so happy to be eating their snack at this table rather than in highchairs....

The trip was nearly perfect! We had such an enjoyable time getting to see our friends. We were able to do a date night with Tom and Terese, I got to do a lunch date with my other bff Bridget, and Philip was able to see friends and professors from his time in pharmacy school.
Here we are with Tom and Terese right before we left to go back to the airport on Sunday....

Good Times.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

School Pictures '09

Today is school picture day. I have a feeling they are going to be quite memorable this year.

For Eli, he has some fever blisters/I-don't-know-exactly-what-they-are red sores under his nose. (click on the picture to see them life-size!).

Curli-locks (aka Emma Kate) is in the process of letting her bangs grow out. They are at a not-so-good in between length right now. If I pull them back for school, they have fallen back down in her face by about 8:30am. I tried clipping some of them today...we'll see how that goes. Praying that the photographers take the 1st graders pictures EARLY! (would it be too much to ask that they take them before 8:30? School starts at 8:15. I think they can work it in!) Also including a picture taken this morning of Eli with his "All About Me" poster project. They are due Thursday but we are going to be in Florida so he had to turn his in today. I gave him some suggestions and guidelines, but I think he did a GREAT job!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

If These Walls Could Talk

If the walls in our new house could talk, they would tell you that they have been empty for far too long. We moved in to this house in June '08. I brought nearly all our pictures and wall hangings from our house in Florida, but when I started trying to put them in this house, they just didn't seem "to go." Not sure why. I even had 2 other females (one of whom seems to have a knack for decorating) confirm my thoughts.

Seeing as I had 2 newborns at that time, I didn't really have many opportunities to go out searching for new prints. Then, month-after-month passed and I just came to know our house-of-empty-walls as "home" and it didn't really bother me. (until someone came over. Then I'd have to explain or apologize or something as to why we had empty walls)

Now over a year later, I finally have a few walls that are no longer empty!! And I must say the wait was so worth it! So I am sharing my 2 favorite walls. Kind of an odd thing to be blogging about I know. But I just love how they turned out. Both totally different but both totally my life.

The first is a canvas painting that Emma Kate's Kindergarten teacher did. She has had no art instruction but is sooooo amazingly talented. Last November, I told her I wanted an ABC canvas but not cheesy or childish. I wanted each letter of the alphabet to be something that represented our family. It took me a loooong time to come up with something for all 26 letters. Finally this spring, Ashley (the artist), started trying to help me think of things. She helped me think "out of the box." As in the letter "K" for example, doesn't have to start with the letter K. She said she'd just accent that letter to make it stand out more than the others. Ashley also had me take pictures of our house and empty walls to give her an idea of color scheme, etc...
In May, the canvas was all finished. I was BLOWN AWAY when I saw it. Absolutely speechless. She went way beyond what I had imagined. Here it is hanging in our house....

And here's a close-up below. You can click on the picture if you want to see it even bigger.
See? I told you she is AMAZING!! Take a look at her Busy Brush Website and Busy Brush Blog. Not only is she so very talented, but she is also one of the sweetest, kindest persons I've ever known. We (me and Emma Kate) were so very blessed by getting to know her last year!

My other newly decorated wall is of my babies. I had all 4 of them professionally photographed for their 1yr birthday and subsequently purchased framed 16X20's of my favorite pose. These are hanging in our dining room (which as a sidenote still has NO dining room furniture. It does have a balance beam though in case you like to eat while practicing gymnastics!) It is so nice to walk by this room and see SOMETHING finally hanging on the wall. Click on the picture to see them in chronological order left to right. Do you think any of them look like each other? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Toilet Papering @ 17 months

Zane and Zander are 17 months old today.... They (or maybe just one of them) decided to celebrate by unrolling the toilet paper in the bathroom. (Not sure why the door was open to begin with. Since I caught Zander unrolling several months ago, I always try to keep the doors shut.)
So this is what I saw first.....

Now does that sweet face look like a toilet paper caper?
I think in the picture below, Zane is looking at Zander like "Dude...she caught me sitting in here so now she thinks I did it, but you know who is guilty bro."

Then this little face turns around and looks at me as if to say "Who? Me?"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blue Lightning

Eli is playing fall baseball for the first time this year.

His team is the "Blue Lightening". These pictures were taken at one of his games this weekend (he usually has 2 or 3 every weekend.). His favorite position is catcher.

In the next picture on the right you can see him smiling at his siblings.

Here is what his sister was doing during the game. Scratching her head with her feet...

and then making her chair fall to the ground while she was in it....

His brothers stayed in the wagon for a (very little) while...

They also thought they wanted to sit in my chair, but that lasted all of about 15 seconds!

Most of the time they were walking around pushing their wagon, petting dogs and putting their hands in the fence. I could hear Philip yelling (from out in the field where he was coaching) "Get him back. Get his hands out of the fence." I know hands in the fence is not safe but 2 boys in 2 different directions makes it hard to keep everybody doing what they are supposed to be doing!