November at a Glance

November flew by, as all the months seem to do.  We enjoyed spending time with our family over the Thanksgiving holiday.  We were disappointed though that we were unable to camp or even go hiking due to the busyness of our days over the break.

Here are a few pictures of our happenings

Max and Maddie stared soccer back up.   Ethan and his friend helped coach Max’s team (though they faded out quickly).

Homeschool days with our friend.

A boy and his dog, we are so glad Max got over his fear of dogs.

Maddie wants to be a chef/baker so bad.  We don’t normally allow sugary treats in the house so this was a special day for her as she was able to bake many treats.

Visiting the fam

Time to put up the tree!

We are so very thankful for this life and all the abundance of love and goodness that comes with raising three children.

Halloween 2017

Wow, our life seems to be one big blur right now.  John’s new job has him working well past bedtime every night.  I am basically navigating this parenting gig solo.  Due to this, some nights dinner is at 8:30, yikes!
We cling to the moments we get to all be together.  Things feel far from Epic, but we do have plenty of good times thrown in as well!

Finally carving pumpkins, the night before Halloween!  Max did this one all on his own!  I forget he is not so little anymore.

As I was typing this and uploading photos, I was reminded of how much we actually achieved this month.  It feels like we did nothing together…

Here are some of our October happenings:
We made it to Canyon’s,  fall festival on the square.

We made it to Maxwell’s Pumpkin Farm and were able to play for 45 mins before a huge storm hit!

Max went on a  homeschool field trip to a different pumpkin farm and the two littles went roller skating.  Max wanted to try the big kid skates and did really well!

We were able to fit in a hiking trip and a round of laser tag!

Of course, we picked out pumpkins!

And finally we celebrated Halloween!  The kids went to a carnival one night and then on the big night we went to a few cool houses, walked our street and had a bonfire in the back yard!  It was a lovely night!

In the end, it was a really great month, even if the parents felt like they were drowning at times!!

September Happenings

September flew by for us.  With two of our children celebrating birthdays this month, John starting a new consultant job and school in full swing, it got a bit hectic!  We did enjoy a few moments though.

Grandpa got a new boat and we enjoyed a day out on the lake.  Don’t let Max’s smile fool you, sadly, he was terrified of the boat and spent the rest of his day wading near the shore.   Ethan and Maddie however, loved being pulled behind the boat and were sad to leave.

After the lake we threw a birthday party for Ethan and 19 of his friends!  They were all so well behaved. We didn’t take a single photo though…

Ethan and his bestie made the gold team in football! 

Ethan also went to his first homecoming game with his girlfriend, Nova.

Ethan Turns 14!

Our first born turned 14 this week.  It is truly crazy how time flies by.  I have been a wreck crying over the fact that he only has 4-5 summer vacations with us.

Ethan is a very talented child who we are so proud of.  He continues to make straight A’s, has made the football team, basketball team and all region choir so far this year.  He keeps us running all over town with all his happenings.  Most days we have to shut down something or other that he is cooking up with friends!  He has a big love for God and his friends and is working on his love for his siblings.  Ethan loves his hair and can still be found fixing his hair many times a day.  We know he will be a great man soon and we are cherishing the time we still have with him.

Early morning birthday breakfast

A visit from the grandparents and dinner at Kabuki

He asked for a big home party this year and big it was.  He had 19 kids show up for his party!  They seemed to have a good time.  We loaded up on junk food and pizza.  I was shocked that we had so much food left over.

What a sweet, handsome boy!

May you have a wonderful year Ethan and many more to come.  You are loved more than you know.  I know it is hard being the oldest child!

Max Turns 7

Another year has passed for our youngest child, Max.  We had a wonderful time celebrating this victory!  Max is the sweetest child we have ever raised!  He has a real compassion for others and loves to cuddle his Mama daily.  He has changed a lot over a year’s time.  He is not so timid of life and is now a bit more into “boy” things like Ninjago, video games and Power Rangers (of course that could be because of all the T.V. he watched this summer).   He still has his two baby dolls and often asks me to play family with him.  It is the sweetest thing the way he looks after them!  One of his favorite things to do is play in his room with his family and he can’t get enough of board games (we raised him well)!  He Is a complete artist and draws incredible pictures.  He also makes really creative things out of bits of trash.  We can’t wait to see what this boy becomes later in life. But of course don’t want to rush these magical years.

We spent the last week of August making a piñata for his party.  Though we were frantically adding the wire and tissue paper to the top minutes before the party started!

As always, I made him a birthday shirt and stayed up until 1 doing so.  When will I ever learn to make their shirts a week before?

We took him out to get a big cookie, to share of course!  We love The Bagel Place cookies!
He received his birthday blessing right alongside of his Godparents.

Then it was party day!  He chose to have a Power Rangers party.  We played many games and had a Morphin good time.  I love home parties because you get to be a bit more creative with the activities.

Max, may you continue to stay humble and kind.  You are loved far more than you know!  Here’s to a great year!  We love you!

August 2017

August was a crazy busy month for us Epic Parents.  Work seemed never-ending.  We had to train 4 new employees due to our old staff heading off to college.  We normally train one new teacher a year but four teachers within days/weeks of each other was insane!  We made it through just in time for school to start!

August around our house probably was not very Epic, there are very few photos taken…

Maddie won a young writer’s award.  She received 1st place!  She wrote a story about girls swimming in a pool and being sucked into a new dimension.  We were so proud for her!

We sent the older kids off to school.

Max had a few more weeks before he started his two day school, Tandem.   We soaked up the sun in our tree house, read books and played many board games.

Although Max didn’t get to officially start homeschool until mid September due to all the training Sara had to do at the preschool.  
We set up our new Bus Lab studio!  We are thrilled this space will be used again and we are even more thrilled with this new adventure!

And, Ethan could still be found shooting hoops until it got dark out.  He wasn’t quite ready to give up the summertime freedom! Usually there is a group of 3-5 boys playing right alongside him.

July 2017

After our quick vacation, John and I hit the ground running with work.  We didn’t have much time to be Epic, sadly and the kids got hooked up to the T.V. again.  We are writing this post on November 4th, even though I will time stamp it as July…  Things are still crazy busy around here and us parents are starting to name this period in time “Epic Fail.”  More on that later!

We did have several great moments during the summer and boy did we soak those moments in!

First up was John’s Birthday.  We had a nice chill celebration at home with just our family and made a delicious new recipe, black bean loaf, for dinner.
Fourth of July was next.  We celebrated with friends and family.  We attended the local parade.  Every year I say we are never going again and every year when it comes time I get nostalgic and have to go!

Then we were off to Grammy’s for fireworks!

We enjoyed a few days of swimming with friends, playing at the park and water balloon/gun fights in between all the working.

We were able to take a short trip to Fort Worth.  It was supposed to be Maddie’s big weekend seeing her love of 6 years, Justin Bieber.  But sadly, 3 days before the concert he canceled his tour.  Maddie was beyond heartbroken.  We took the kids to a water park to cheer Maddie up.  We were also able to fit in a Ranger’s game.   We had an absolute blast!

We were shocked that our timid child, Max, wanted to ride this giant slide over and over again!
It was a hot, 101 degrees the night of the game, but we made it through!  The kids loved their first professional game.

Our Summer Trip to San Marcos/Austin Texas

Our vacation this summer was small in comparison to our big Epic trip last summer.  It felt a bit like a let down staying in the mountainless Texas heat, but we really enjoyed our time with family and the chance to pause for a moment.

Our first stop was to Fort Worth to celebrate our grandma’s 86th birthday!  The kids enjoyed laser tag and bowling at The Main Event.

After a nice three day visit, we were off to San Marcos.  We were thrilled for the chance to stay with and see the kids’ Godparents, Tim and Lois.  They sure have a lovely, quiet home tucked away in the hill country.  It felt wonderful to sleep in and relax.  Everyone enjoyed watching the deer roam by the house and viewing the birds.  The chiggers were not nice to us though!

We enjoyed coming together at the end of the day to work together to get dinner on the table.  It was refreshing to eat whole food meals and to try new recipes. 

We chose to take a slow float tubing adventure and boy was it slow!  At the beginning, we were not moving at all (we had to use our hands as paddles to get going), but by the last half of the trip we were moving quickly and even hit some mini rapids.  At one point, Maddie was terrified when our tubes disconnected and we were drifting from each other.  The funny thing was: the water was moving so slowly that sometimes the wind pushed us backwards and the water was only a few feet deep.

Only a few miles away from the river spot was Canyon Lake.  What a beautiful place to visit.  It was fun to see Ethan playing like a little kid again with his siblings.  The kids had a hard time leaving.

We had so much fun at the lake, we went back the next day.

That evening we ventured to Austin.  Tim and Lois treated us to a fabulous dinner and then volunteered to drive our kids back home so that we could have a night out. While the kids were treated to s’mores, we were able to visit our friend Chris at his new whiskey distillery, Still Austin.  We enjoyed hanging out and taking a tour.  The Yard was a happening place with great energy!

Thanks to our hosts, we were able to relax much more than we anticipated on this trip.  It was lovely getting to see new sights and people we love.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s day was simply wonderful over here.  The kids all made me handmade cards and treated me to an oatmeal buffet for breakfast.  We went on a long bike ride and then played a few board games before heading off to evening church.  It’s crazy but there were zero fights between the kiddos.  That was a treat in itself!

The kids let me relax for an extra hour in the morning before they came in to give me hugs.
Max and Ethan made me a few cards.  Max’s of course were super cute and funny while Ethan’s card actually brought me to tears.  It was so very thoughtful.

While Maddie went with a more comical style.  Don’t worry I get her humor now.  You may be wondering where all the hairballs came from… Well, I had been saving them to give to the birds for their nest making, but then I read that hair is harmful to them.  So, that’s how Maddie acquired them!  Maddie is obsessed with giving all girls beards and mustaches, ha.

Then it was time for our bike ride.  Maddie convinced Max to try his bike without his training wheels and within 2 mins. he was off and riding.  He did fall a few times and cried a bit but got right back up and kept going!

Whew, this mother gig sure gets tiring but I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Easter and Sara’s Birthday in Taos, 2017

We had a wonderful, quick trip to Taos to celebrate Easter and Sara’s birthday.   The weekend was spent: playing games, reading, hiking, visiting Twirl for a craft,  exploring and overall just relaxing together.
John and I both enjoyed watching the kids play by the river for well over an hour.

We decided to make Rice Krispie treats for the first time ever.  Of course the kids liked them but they will not be making an appearance at our house anytime soon! 
We enjoy visiting St. James Episcopal church when we are in town and were thrilled to be here on Easter!  We like the simplicity of their services, however, we were all a bit homesick for our own church.  We have formed 14 years of family traditions that was hard to break.  I did like that their egg hunt was super simple and the eggs were not candy filled!