Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Evie Claire Firsts

Christmas was so rushed and busy, I felt that I really didn't get a chance to visit with Beth very much, or hold Evie Claire as much as I would have liked. So, when Beth mentioned that Greg was going out of town for a few days and she and EC might come to visit us, I was thrilled! (Sad for Greg, but happy for me)

This is how a Mommy of a wee one travels.

For four glorious days, I got to love on Evie-Claire, visit with Beth while giving her a little bit of a break to do things like take a shower and actually dry her hair afterward. Little things that aren't necessities, but sure do make you feel a little better about yourself.

We took everyone to the indoor pool.

Anna and Layne joined us there.

Evie tolerated the pool.

She survived a "dunking"

All that swimming can plumb tucker out a baby!

Layne is shaping up to become quite a "water bug"

Abbey and Elijah got to work on their swimming skills

On dry land, Abbey and Elijah figured out how to make Evie Claire smile.

and what a precious smile it is!

Beth and I got to catch up on Downton Abbey. Neither of our husbands appreciate this fantastic show.

After four short days, it was time to say a tearful goodbye, (as all of our goodbyes are).

One last cuddle..

Evie was sad to be leaving her Mimi(at least that's what I want to believe)

and kiss

and then they were off to the big city.

I loved being able to spend time with Beth, to help allay some of her fears about motherhood and cheer her on. To hug her and let her know she and Greg are doing a fine job. To let her know that her fears are normal, and answer her practical questions. While I rejoice in these times, it's very difficult not to dwell on how much I miss because of the distance. I'd love to be able to have these conversations more often. But, I need to put on my big girl panties and be grateful for the smallness of today's world. Grateful that we can talk over the phone, even see each other over the phone, and stay in almost constant touch, all the while anxiously awaiting the time that we are together again!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

A trade off

My husband loves Carolina athletics. In the four years we were in college, I don't think we missed a single home football game. We went to every basketball game that we could. We camped out a couple of times and did the almost-camping-out thing for most basketball games. Once we graduated, we went to several games a year. Eventually, John joined the Ram's club and became eligible to buy season football tickets. He's spent many Saturdays in Kenan stadium cheering on our football team. Usually, one of our older boys went with him. As they moved away to college, their available football time was greatly reduced. Abbey and Elijah would take a Saturday and spend it with their Dad.

This year Elijah went to the MTSU game

Abbey went to the ECU game.

John, Jr went to the game against Miami and Daniel went to the Duke game(that was supposed to be mine, but, with his swimming schedule, he couldn't make any other game,  being the loving Mom I am,  I let him go).

I went to the ODU game. I enjoy the tailgating, half-time show and people watching much more than the game itself. I love being in Chapel Hill with John, remembering when how and when we first met and realized we were meant to be together for life. It's truly a special place for us!

Seeing and hearing the band play "Hark the Sound" still gives me goose bumps.

I love the excitement as the team burst onto the field.

This game was a bit unusual, the score was so lopsided that the coaches agreed to end it early. That was fine with me.

But…as much as John loves Carolina athletics, he loves this more…

being at the beach with our family. Growing up John's family had a place at the beach. The ocean has always been his "happy place". His parents had to sell when his Dad had a stroke, leaving John longing for a place at the beach to call his own.

For the past two years, we've been renting a wonderful house on Holden Beach. This summer for some unknown reason, I suggested we check into buying a place at the beach for our family. Neither of us really thought that we'd be able to pull it off, we were just dreaming. John had a positive conversation with a realtor and we looked at the outside of some homes in the area. 

After we had been home for a month or so, the pursuit for a place had cooled off a bit. I was browsing through some homes on the internet when this one popped up.

It caught my eye, because it had a pool. I'd longed for a pool. I like the beach, but I'm not a big fan of sand and sea creatures, and pools have neither of those things!

It also had 5 bedrooms and two living areas. It wasn't on the ocean, but did have a nice view of the waterway.

All of those things were things we had really wanted in a vacation home, and best of all…it was within our price range. I went to show it to John, as he was laying on the couch. He looked at me and said, "I had given up on that idea, what are you doing?" We both agreed it was interesting. The next day I was looking at it further and the chat blurb popped up. I thought, "Why not?" So, I asked about the house. The next day a realtor called; from then on things just ran along. We prayed for God to give us a roadblock, but none appeared. With every step in the process, we'd say if this doesn't work out, then we'll know it's not supposed to be. Everything worked like clock work. John agreed that he'd gladly forgo the Ram's Club and football tickets to help finance the house. A trade off he gladly makes.

At inspection we discovered these beside the waterfall in back:

Beatle rocks!!!

The Beatles' music has always been a huge part of our family, via John's influence. That sealed the deal!! (not really, but it made for great conversation).

So now we are the owners of a home in Holden Beach, Doz-A-Way by name.  We want to rent it to friends and family to help with the expenses. We've chosen to do that ourselves and not go through a realty company. That way we have control over who uses our home. This house, as everything we have, belongs to the Lord! We are grateful for the opportunity to use it to help others have a beach vacation for less money than they would have to pay a realty company.

I've enjoyed decorating and I must say I enjoy going there. I can't wait to lounge by the pool.  Our kids are extremely excited. We pray that our family and many others will create wonderful memories at the Doz-A-Way house in Holden Beach!!

(You can leave me a comment if you'd like info on renting)


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Christmas Morning

Believe it or not, our Chinese alarm clock was late going off Christmas morning, (too much night life on Christmas Eve, I guess). She was late getting her big brothers up, so our morning was late getting started. John, Jr, and Abbey and Elijah fixed cinnamon rolls for everyone. (Daniel joined them later).  They brought the breakfast to our room and we all ate. Then, down to the living room for presents, we all scurried.

Waiting patiently….

Trying to catch a few winks before…

Ready to catch it all on video…

Evie Claire's first Christmas…

Greg's 2nd Christmas with us

When the wrapping paper settled, and believe me there was no shortage of such, there wasn't much time to enjoy the gifts, we had to skedaddle off to Nana and Grandaddy's house.

Once there Evie met a lot of her family for the first time.

Aunt Anna

Great Grandaddy and Great Nana

Great Uncle Tom, Great Aunt Betty and cousin Jordan

and cousin Layne, who thought Evie needed a little pat.

Proud Mimi and Papa

First Christmas as a family of 3
My two big girls, now Mommies…

Layne thinking, "What can I get into now???"

The two John's…

 Needless to say, we don't get everyone together often, so we seized the moment and took some pictures.

My Mom and Dad's grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Our family…

I love them all so!!
After discarding mounds of  wrapping paper, making our bellies full, declaring basketball champions and catching up with everyone, it was time to say goodbye and journey back to our home.

When we got home, Anna, Jamie and Layne finally made it to our house to open yet even more presents.

What a Christmas it was! It was a time to celebrate our family and build more bonds and make memories. It came too quickly and went much, much too quickly!