Grady’s first ski trip – Angelfire, NM


We left on New Year’s Day to go to Angelfire, NM for a ski trip, and Greg and I were very excited to take Grady for his fist time! I have been wanting to take him since he was about 3 but was vetoed until this year.  Grady had a great time.  He went one day to ski school.  One of the most amazing things about the first day of skiing happened when Greg and I were riding a lift up the mountain and we hear, “Hey Mom! Hey Dad!” We look down and there is Grady with his ski school class waving like crazy to us.  He spotted us in the middle of hundreds of people bundled up in ski coats, masks, and hats.  He definitely takes after his daddy in observation skills.  I had to keep telling him to watch where he was going because he would ski and be looking anywhere but where he was headed (kind of like his dad drives!)


Grady did well in ski school but his instructor said he got a little scared when he felt that he couldn’t stop.  The next day we were able to park at a small public parking area on the slopes, put on our skis, and ski down to the lift.  I just skied Grady down between my skis.  We headed to the top of the mountain.  I went in front and Greg went behind.  We told him to just follow my tracks and sit down if he was worried.  The first couple of hills I just snow plowed straight down.  He was doing well so I told him to follow my tracks and we were going to make some “S’s”.  The little booger just followed right along.  We skied from the very top of the mountain to the bottom and he only sat down one time, no falls.  After that he was good to go.  We skied greens, blues, moguls, frontside, backside, and everywhere in between.  He had a blast.  The third day, I could tell if I was getting too far ahead of him because I couldn’t hear him SINGING!  He was singing, “She’ll be skiing down the mountain when she comes….” to the tune of ‘She’ll be comin’ round the mountain’.  The second verse was, “She’ll be skiing on yellow skis when she comes…”  He was cracking himself and everyone else on the mountain up.


We would ski to the pick-up that was parked on the slope to eat sandwiches for lunch.  Grady was with many other kids, cousins, and friends on the trip.  He had a blast.


This is the view from our front porch.  It was COLD.  The coldest temps I have ever skied in .  Negative 20-25 when we left the house and it would get up to about 9 degrees (actual temps).  No wind and full sun all day though.


Grady’s bear is making a snow angel on the bed 🙂


Grady was as happy as mom and dad to come home to his sister’s.  We stopped at the Big Texan on the way home where he got the hat.  Owen rode all the way there and back with us and Grady had a ball with him in the back seat.  Of course, I don’t know how many people are cooler than his cousin Owen, and Owen (age 12)  just takes all the time in the world with him.  We love him for that.  It was very different riding in a vehicle with 3 boys.  I didn’t have to take anyone to the bathroom or fix hair or anything.  I will say that I cannot believe how entertaining boys find a can of Flart! I got to listen to flatulent noises for about 2 hours of the trip.  Even Greg had to take a turn with it! Oh well, at least the noises were coming from a can and not a person.  Thank goodness for small blessings!

We can’t wait to share this experience with the girls in the years to come! Thanks to aunts, memas, and mamaws for making this possible with Grady.  We love you!

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“I’m a big girl now!”

My favorite thing about Josie is her feet. They are so expressive. Look at those toes.

Well, try as I may, I could not convince Josie that she could climb over the rail of her crib.  The monkey tries to climb over everything else, but even when I showed her how to climb out of the crib, she shrugged and smiled at me and said, “No mama, my cand do it.”  So a few weeks later, I just got to the point where I told Greg, “It’s just time.  I am too nervous she is gonna decide to do it.”  So Greg turned her crib into a big girl toddler bed.  This is the first time we have been able to use the crib in this capacity.  We always had a little sibling coming along to claim the crib.
So we read 5 little monkeys as well as a couple of other books.  We put her to bed and… she stayed there.  The next morning when she woke up, she was yelling, “Maaaa-maaaaa, Gaaaa-gaaaaa” just like always.  Greg went to tell her she could get up.  She stood up and looked at him and pointed at her bed. “Fix it.”  She commanded.  Greg said, “Josie, you’re a big girl. That is a big girl bed.”  Josie shook her head and said, “No, my baby.” (She say my instead of me)  Greg said, “Oh, are you a baby?”  She said “yeth” and lay her head on his shoulder.
When he told me this story I said, “Well–put it back together!!”  And Greg, being the steady man that he is, said “No Jessica, it’s time.  She’ll be ok.”  And wouldn’t you believe it, she is.  I recall another time when I had only been a mom for about 6 months.  I had a perfect baby boy who liked to wake up about 5 times a night.  We moved him to his own room and he was not happy about it.  In the middle of the night, I had gotten up to try and calm him down.  Exhausted, after he had been crying for over an hour, I was laying on the couch crying right along with him when Greg took him from me, lay him in his bed – the same bed Josie sleeps in now – came back to the living room and took me by my hand and put me in our bed.  He didn’t say a word but I knew he meant that it was time then too.  Time for me to push myself a little to let go.  To know that Grady would be ok in his own room.  Sometimes I just need that little push or vote of confidence or whatever it is from him.  He is really good at knowing when to give it.  Grady did just fine in his own room and Josie had taken to her bed wonderfully.
Just like she wouldn’t climb out of the crib, mentally, I think the same barriers are up.  She does not leave the bed when she is put in it.  Grady and Clara had to be put back in bed numerous times a night.  Josie just gets a hug and a kiss and that is the end of it.  One more step in her (and my) growth.  Congratulations Josie!

Greg told her to pretend to sleep 🙂 She really does that with her hands though!

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The Next Step…


Meet Your Teacher Night

Well, here we go!  My six year old is all grown up and excited to start Kindergarten.  Kindergarten is all day and full of lots of activities.  We got to meet Mrs. Truelove on Tuesday night and see Grady’s new classroom.  He got a few kids in his class that he already knows.  Between Greg and Grady we probably stopped 20 times walking out of the school to say hi to people.  There were a lot of people.  There are approximately 620 students in pre-K to 3rd grade this year.

Meet your teacher night

The Night Before the Big Day
On Wednesday night we ate family dinner at Teresa’s house.  Grady never acted nervous when talking about the next day.  On the car ride home from Mamaw’s with Greg he did ask, “Well, what if I can’t find my class?”  Greg assured him that there would be a lot of teachers that he could ask for help if he needed to, and they would be very nice.  He also asked, “What if I need to throw up?”  So he answered that question too.   It was 8:00pm when we got home, and he headed straight for his room.  On the way to his room he said, “Mom, I don’t want a book tonight.”  He gave Greg a hug and closed his bedroom door.  Fifteen minutes later Greg went into his room to check on him.  All the lights were out, he had taken a shower, brushed his teeth,  gotten his pj’s on and climbed into bed.  Greg asked him what he was doing and Grady said he’d better get to sleep so he could be ready in the morning.  I went in a laid with him.  We talked about how the morning would go.  I told him a story about ‘Grady’s first day of Kindergarten’.  I got up and went to get ready for bed.  At 9:30pm he came out of his room and told Greg, “I am too excited to sleep in my bed but I bet I could fall asleep in yours.” So Grady slept in our bed and Greg rubbed his head until he fell asleep. {Clara slept on our floor because she was not going to be left out :)}

The Big Day

Grady got up and got dressed in the clothes he had laid out.  He decided on his Thunder Shirt and red shorts.  He fixed his hair into a Mohawk.  I made him his requested breakfast of oatmeal and sausage patties with peanut butter and syrup.  I packed his lunch with a lunchable (special treat), mandarin oranges, mini Hershey bar, water, chips, and a mini brownie and prayed it would be enough food!  We got the girls up and ready to be out for the day, more on that later, and went outside to take pictures.

We hugged dad goodbye and loaded up the van.  On the way to the school Clara, Josie, and I all took turns praying for Grady.  I told him that lots of people were praying for him today and I thank you all for doing it.  Please continue. After prayers, I quizzed him the rest of the way, “What grade are you in?”  “Kindergarten.”  “Who is your teacher?” “Mrs. Truelove.” “What do you do after school?”  “Ride the bus to Mema Donna”  “What grade does Mema Donna teach?”  “5th!”  I was like, OK, OK you’ve got it.  We stopped a couple blocks from the school and went through our normal routine of kiss, hug, hug, and kiss on each palm (for him hold onto)(Side note: We started this routine when I dropped him off on his first day of daycare when he was 4.  The teacher could not convince him to un-ball his fists all day.  He was afraid he would drop my kisses.  We then had to teach him that kisses were sticky and don’t even come off if you wash your hands).  As we got closer to the entrance, I asked him if he wanted me to walk him in or drop him off.  He said, “I think you can just drop me off.”  Even though it hurt a little I did not want to undermine his confidence and bravery.  We pulled to the drop off site where there were teachers everywhere helping the kids out of the cars.  A teacher opened the van door for him.  I had the passenger window down so I could hear.  She said, “Are you excited about your day?” He nodded, smiling.  Just as I was pulling off I saw him look at her confidently and say, “Sooo, where do I go?”  I am very proud of him.

Waving Bye in front of the school.

Grady and the teacher who helped him out.

My Day

The girls and I headed to the city.  I was keeping the nursery during the celebration service for a friend of mine who had to say goodbye to her daughter way too early.  Emotion on top of an emotional day, and I am so happy that I could do something to ease the stress of this day for her and her family.  We stopped at McDonald’s for sausage biscuits.  Clara said, “Does this mean I get to unbuckle and pass out the food?”  I smiled and said yes.  She jumped right up and helped Josie arrange her food and put her straw in her drink.  This is a job that Grady has always performed.  She was sweet and helpful and I told she was a great big sister, thank you.  On the way home from the service Clara sat in Grady’s seat and Josie sat in Clara’s.  The changing of the guard.

Grady’s Report

Grady found his class just fine.  He did not throw up (although one girl in his class did/poor baby).  He did three papers, went to PE where he reports he won some races, went to music, ate everything but the brownie out of his lunch, gave his note to his teacher, went to recess and climbed all the way to the top of the dome jungle gym, got on the bus after school with Mr. Hinkley (my 7th grade basketball coach), and all in all had a seamless day.  He told me he was tired.  He said, “We didn’t even watch any movies all day!”  His favorite part was PE.  And the details continue to trickle in 🙂

In Summary

I was more emotional that I thought.  I am so proud of his independence, and it hurts at the same time.  I am excited for him this year, but the year is looking really long.  Mom is going to need more time to adjust than Grady is!  He was really excited to get up and go back the next day.  I am thankful for this opportunity to experience a first, because today is a reminder that firsts are not a guarantee.  So I will do my best to fully experience every milestone that I am blessed enough to be granted.

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Vacation Bible School


This year I was again in the pre-school room at Tuttle Christian Church’s VBS.  Grady has moved beyond us but he had a great time with his Kindergarten class and teachers.  I had as many as 35 (yes thirty-five) 3 and 4 year old’s this year! The picture above is from crazy hair night.  Rachel helped me and I don’t know what I would have done without her!  Also, Grace was wonderful with the kids and I would love to have her help any time she wants to volunteer.

Definitely chaotic most of the time but the kids learned to “TRUST GOD” throughout the week.

They ran around outside, sang songs and danced, had snacks, and heard bible stories.

We are going to continue to make improvements but all in all, we had a fun week!

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Sweet Summertime

We have had a great summer.  This year we were much more mobile thanks to one more year of age on the munchkins!  Oklahoma granted us an early and extended spring this year and we had already been to the lake 3 times before Memorial Day! We also spent most of the weekends in June at the lake as well.  All of the kids have grown this summer.  Clara started the summer adamant that she not leave the steps on the pool or venture over waist deep at the lake (with life jacket, of course).  Now, with encouragement (and after little sis did it), she will jump off the side of the pool.  She will also swim all over with her life jacket on, whether or not she can touch.


I call Josie my little waterbug. She has loved the water.  She does great with her life jacket all over the pool.  The girl can move wherever she desires in the water.  She wanted to jump into the water like Grady.  We began by catching her of course.  It wasn’t long before she was yelling, ” No! Moob (move)! I dood it bysef (myself)!” So we let her.  And she loves it.  She comes up sputtering at times but always smiling.  Then it was time to move on to the diving board.

She looks so little up there.  Her first time was so funny!  She scooted to the end of the board and curled her toes around it.  She bent her knees and her eyes were as big as saucers.  She counted, “Free, Fo, sick, seben, two, GO!”  And she went.  She was so excited and there was no stopping her after that.

Grady has been all over the pool and lake.  He has ridden the ski board behind the boat, flipped into the water, and is swimming well.  He loves to ride his bike and shoot his BB gun and his bow.  Anything Papa and Dad are doing he wants to do too.  It has been a great summer.  Our summers are about to get a whole lot more defined.  I am ready for the next step!

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“We don’t got no COOKIES!!!”

This is a picture of Josie throwing up her hands and yelling, “We don’t got no COOKIES!” from the back seat.  She is making fun of me 🙂

About six months ago, we were riding in the van.  Greg was driving and I was in the passenger seat.  Josie kept saying, “Cookie” and pointing to the center console area. I calmly explained that, “We don’t have any cookies.”  She would whine and look out the window.  A few minutes later we would repeat the process. The cycle went on about 5 times until I became not so calm in my response.  Finally, I turned around and threw my hands in the air and yelled, “We do NOT HAVE ANY COOKIES!!!!”  She insistantly pointed at the console and nodded emphatically, “Cookie!”

Then it dawned on me.  The word she was saying sounded like, “ewe-eee.”  I was hearing ‘cookie’. She was saying “ewe-ink” or “drink” but not making the k sound very good.  I said, “You want a drink?” Her sippy cup was sitting in the console.  She clapped and nodded.  Greg started cracking up and turned around and threw up his hands and yelled, “WE DON’T GOT NO COOKIES!!!”  The all three kids started doing it and they do it to me all the time.  They think it is halirous.  Any time I tell them anything in the car they all throw up their hands and look at me and yell, “WE DON’T GOT NO COOKIES!!!”

In my defense.  Greg didn’t figure out what she was saying any sooner than I did.

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Sharp Shooter

Grady and I are so alike in many ways.  One of those is that we both write with our right hands, but swing left-handed. However, Grady is left eye dominant.  When we figured this out, we began to try to get him to shoot his toy guns with his left index finger so as to have him easily aim with his left eye later.  He has adamantly argued that he wants to shoot right handed.

After getting dental work done last week, Grady got to shoot guns at Mema Donna’s house as a reward.  The plan was to blow up some gallon water jugs with a shotgun.  After they got out the cowboy guns and targets, Papa Larry asked Greg if Grady could shoot Mema’s .38 Ruger revolver.  Grady has had plenty of experience with a .22 pistol, shooting varmints trapped under Mema Francie’s trailer (skunks and the like). Greg said yes so Papa Larry loaded it up (he downloads the bullets so they don’t kick as hard).  Grady proceeded to shoot right handed, therefore closing his right eye and laying his head over to aim.   He hit 13 of 15 targets.  After targets, he drilled some more holes in the gallon water jug.  Papa Larry was so impressed (and Mema Donna, and Greg)!  Papa Larry and Greg then shot the water bottles with the shotgun and blew them up.

I guess I’ll lay off trying to get him to shoot left handed!

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