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Friday, June 29, 2012


June is almost over and I feel like I am living the phrase "the days are long, but the years are short."  I have heard several moms say this before and I believe it!  I want to soak these days up and record them before I forget!
We have been swimming, swimming, swimming!  We took swim lessons with the "Swim Nazi" Miss Lynn for 2 weeks straight in June.  The first two days every single child cried I believe.  It was rough, but Miss Lynn powered through.  She was used to it, and had our little angels swimming beautifully by the end!  I went ahead and signed John Burke up, because as I am learning his personality, he does not care to be outdone by his big brother in anything.  (Turner is potty trained OFFICIALLY now - we have been in big boy underwear solid for a month now so I feel secure announcing it.  So, John Burke insists on going on the potty at least twice a day.  Fine with me, but he will be in diapers until he can up that number!)
A pretty accurate picture of my 2 during lessons - Turner felt the need to reteach everything to Burke Burke during the lesson.  He is nice like that.  Luckily, Miss Lynn was all over it.
Anyway, I called Miss Lynn the night before the class to make sure she was up to teaching our little spirited crew of 8 children, ranging from 2 to 5.  She assured me that she felt certain in commanding the class and wouldn't waste her time or our money and if she couldn't get John Burke to do it, she would let him out after a few days.  Well, I am glad I sent him!  He and Turner can jump off of the diving board and swim to the side!  
John Burke and Turner about to jump off the diving board at Granny's in Panama City
And swimming to Pop Pop

Now, before I brag too much, they took about an hour to get "warmed up" to the board at Mom's today after not swimming all week, so I better get them out to practice.  These lessons were not cheap!  But, I am very very impressed with all that they learned and would HIGHLY recommend this teacher and style of swim lessons, though it is not for the faint of heart!  Let's just say the tears shed the first 2 or so days mostly stopped by day 3 and we were amazed at what all she could communicate with her no-nonsense approach!
In between swim lesson weeks, we headed down to the beach for the weekend of Father's Day.  
An Instagram view of sunset from Frank's condo in Panama City
Key point from the beach - Collins' first trip to Thomas Donuts

Pap played with us at the beach...while this lady pointed her toes and watched sweetly from her tent for a couple of hours
And then we played in the pool and had it almost all to ourselves!
The next day Heath and his dad and Jonathan played golf, and Kelly and I took the kids to play at Granny's pool.  It was Granny's first time to meet Collins, and she loved all the attention and love that Granny gave her!
And we had an added bonus when cousin Hannah and her family were there!! 
Aunt Laquetta and Granny with Turner, John Burke, Winston, Sam and Henry

This little lady is 5 months old now, and she has so far been very sweet and laid back.  She sleeps usually 10 or so hours in a row at night and pretty much hangs out in her car seat wherever we are going during the day!  But, she will let you know for sure when she is hungry.  She is babbling and laughing a lot, and thinks her hands are pretty neat.  She loves her bunny lovey but will have nothing to do with a paci - very different from her brothers!
When we have been at home and not in the water, we are very into super heroes.  This charge is led by Turner, and is humorous because he knows very little about actual super heroes besides their names but considers himself an expert.
But John Burke loves "Pider-man" too

John Burke still marvels in this little girl every morning.  I will walk by her (as I try to train her to fend for herself so I can shower, get ready without having to hold her) and say "Hey pretty girl."  He likes to  copy me "Hey pwetty giwl" and she just laps it up.  Most of the time she indulges him!
He is talking so much more, and I feel like it has been since his second birthday.  He has thinned out so much and really looks like a little boy so much more than a baby!  He is loving being a big boy, but I am glad he is still a sweet hugger and very sensitive.  I say that, but he can get a look in his eye and whack Turner if he pushes his little sensitive self too much.  He says  "Nuh Nuh hit. Me!" and today in the car he asked where my Mom was and I told him she was getting her hair done.  He leaned up and said "Gi Gi cute!"  He is a funny little bird and I want to remember how raspy his cute little voice is in this phase and the look on his face when Daddy walks in the door.  (This is getting long but while I am having these fond memories of him, I also need to mention that he picked up a styrofoam cup today, walked to the toilet, scooped up some water and drank it.  I won't be sad when those type of phases pass.  No shame.)
Turner has finally noticed Collins.  It just took a few months!  He asks to hold her all the time, brings her paci to her (not that she takes it), and loves to talk baby talk to her.  Since he is 3 and so past that himself! :) She rides next to him in the way back of the car, and he loves to lean over her sweet and say "Hey baby Collins!" and "Baby Sister!"  I love that they have taken so well to her, and that she already loves all the attention from her brothers.
Today he told me John Burke was his best friend.  Sweet, but he hasn't mastered the superlative yet - everything is his favorite or his best friend, but I didn't tell Burke Burke.  I rolled with it.  Daddy and Mommy are his best friends, York and Hughston and Brooks are his best friends.  The Veggie Tales theme song and the Thomas the Train intro music are his "favorite" songs - we are still grasping the concept.  And tonight he told Heath he loved him very a lot, and wanted to squeeze him.  Also, in an unrelated note, he likes to smell different people's cars and asks people frequently if he can.  He smelled our friend Emily's Altima the other day and said "Mmmm, delicious.  Mommy, your Jeep was stinky." Work in progress, but cute.
We are thankful for our lazy summer days of cookouts and play dates (and some lucky nursery drop-in days thrown in!!).  I love summer - even with these 100 plus degree days - and I am blessed to have my 3 amigos with me to spend the days!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Collins' Baptism

This little girl was baptized this weekend at Covenant.  We have a new pastor in the last year, so she was our first child to be baptized by Reverend Bill Boyd.  We love him, so we were very excited.
Needless to say, we don't do anything halfway in this family.  It was a hot mess.  I got these pictures from my friend Jami and from my phone because my camera decided to stop working when we got to the church.  I should have seen it as a sign!  
Months ago Jami and I decided to baptize our babies together.  That was the only thing that went right! Here we are beforehand...the calm before the storm.

Collins and Sims hanging out before the service
Sims likes to lean on Collins - he was just jealous of her bonnet...which Heath was NOT a fan of and we just wore for this picture :)
This was the least stressful baptism (overall) of our three, because I knew what to expect I think.  Our church likes for the whole family to come to the front and I KNEW it would be chaotic.  Well, miraculously my dad entertained John Burke at the end of the pew with his trademark tiny notepad and pen that are always in his pocket.
Turner sat by my mom, then Heath's dad, then me.  Of course he hopped around.  And he watched Thomas the Train on my phone...until he figured out the camera.  He snapped 57 pictures before I finally yanked it out of his hand.  Though he was quick, that might give you an idea of how long the little sermonette talking about infant baptism was.  We love our new pastor, but I was sweating and didn't hear a word of it as I was waiting for everything to explode.  Here are a couple of Turner's masterpieces...if only you could have seen my expression.
At one point, I turned to some friends sitting behind me.  I asked them if it was going a little long or in my head...they reassured me it wasn't just me!
Next came our big moment in front of the church.  Before we were called to the front I leaned to my mom and brother and said "If the boys get wild (I KNEW THEY WOULD!!), please come and get them and walk out."  I could have sworn Mom and Derek nodded and agreed, willingly.
We got to the front and John Burke was bucking me from the start.  He might have made it a minute and a half before the paci was in his mouth.  I looked at Derek and tried to get Mom's attention.  (Keep in mind how graceful I am not anyway)  I smiled and nodded, mouthing to come get them.  Nothing.  I tried again - laughing, smiling - screaming with my eyes.  Nothing.  Thank the Lord that I have a sister who gets me!  I immediately turned to the next pew with desperation in my eyes and Lindsey came and retrieved my hooligans.  Phew.
Well, at this point Collins completely lost her mind.  And have I mentioned that she won't take a paci like my other 2 have?  Awesome.  Well, Heath was in proud papa mode and was intent on getting her calm.  Great - I had Turner, who had already gone up to the choir loft and announced he needed to go tee tee.  (While I am proud that he has mastered this, I knew he would choose RIGHT THEN to ask me.  The weasel!)  
Lindsey coaxed him back and our friend Tom even stood up to help her corral them downstairs.  I was busy trying to calm Collins down (to no avail), and Turner sprints back up to the front - from the back wall.  He wasn't missing his moment in the sun and miraculously didn't have to go to the bathroom anymore.  
Here is our pastor about to sprinkle her.  She looks calm but she was probably just taking a breath to reload the screams.  Seriously, she cried harder and louder than maybe I have ever seen her do.  She wouldn't let her brothers show her up.  Appreciate that. 
The only time my little angel calmed down was when the congregation sang "Jesus Loves Me" as the dads paraded the babies down the aisle.  She smiled and smiled then.  At that point, I was overcome at emotion and teared up - at my precious little girl and my love for her and Christ's undying and ultimate love for her, that Heath's mom wasn't there to see it as she was with the other two and I knew that this day was bittersweet for him and that Turner was singing every word in my ear.  It made the day worth it and the Lord snapped me back in - He loves and cares for me amidst all the chaos.  Praise Him for that!
Luckily we made it through, and I am sad to say that while most of the deeper spiritual implication was lost on me, she is blessed and baptized (though obviously she wanted everyone to know she is still a sinner - she likes to keep it real) and I will be able to take it all in better at next month's baptism - when my little angels are tucked quietly away in the nursery.  :)
Afterwards, my family and Heath's dad and our faithful neighbors came over for lunch at our house.  We kept it very easy and had Taziki's cater.  I picked up a chocolate pie the night before and Mom made a peach cobbler and we were able to relax and share a meal in our house.
I cooked a (frozen - I know, so gourmet) pizza for the kids.  Lindsey and I went to Ikea the day before and I had picked up these bibs - inspired by my sister-in-law, Kate.  The kids insisted on wearing them and they were cracking me up.  I want them to think it is the cool thing to wear smocks - it would save a TON of clothes, especially on my dirty little Burke Burke.
Morgan modeling the smock - she is so cute!
Look who was all smiles - that little stinker!!
Except Pop Pop made her a little nervous - I think he was reliving the church service with her!

We love you, little Collins!  All eleven (and a half) pounds of you, my little nugget!

Monday, June 4, 2012

May Bullet Points

Does anyone else write blogs in their heads?  I have been doing that over the last few weeks, but it doesn't do any good unless I actually write them on here.  We have had so many fun things going on and I figure the easiest thing for me is to write them in bullet points.  And, they aren't tied together well at all.  Oh well, here is our May in a recap.  Hopefully I can post more frequently (instead of laundry or cleaning or napping or watching the Real Housewives during naptime)...

- Mother's Day weekend we headed to Atlanta to hang out with the Hendersons.  It was our first Mother's day without MeMe and it was nice to all be together!  We went to the aquarium and had a blast!  Here is Frank with all of his grandkids:
We went to the aquarium a few years ago (before children), and it continues to be so impressive!  Frank also treated us to the Dolphin show, and it held everyone's attention!  Fabulous.  Seriously, SeaWorld came to Atlanta!
This guy loves animals more than anything, so he was all about the aquarium!  Also, he was spoiled because he got a birthday party with the Henderson side of the family while we were over there.
The 3 Musketeers - Ellie is sweet to put up with these crazies!  And I think Turner and Ellie favor each other!

- The next week was our last week of school, and it was crazy!  We had a fabulous school year, and next year Turner will be in the 3s, John Burke will be in the 2s, and Collins will still be downstairs at MDO with me.  I am so blessed to have such wonderful teachers for all 3 of them!!
- I turned 31 on May 19th and we were in Orange Beach for the week!  Heath drove us down and stayed the first weekend, then drove home and Lindsey and I kept these 6 weasels for the week.
This is a clothed picture of them, plus cousin Chloe on the far left

We had so much fun!  It was wild, exhausting, hilarious...worth it!  Lindsey and I agreed you have to really love a person and their children to spend a week in a condo with them by yourselves.  Good thing we do!  
We watched a LOT of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse 
Played and chased each other in and around the condo - you should have seen people look at us.  I guess it was shocking to have a 4 (almost 5) year old, 2 3 year olds, a 2 year old, a 10 month old and a 4 month old, but that's how we roll.  EVERYONE made comments.  A lady at the donut place asked us if we were Catholic, that is the first I have heard it like that.  And I wish I had a nickel for everyone who told us we had our hands full.  Believe me, we knew.  Most people were very nice and understanding - only a few ugly looks.  And a lady in Target told us we looked like the Duggars when they saw this:
Yes, that is Kate holding Collins.  And after an hour in Target, she carried her down the aisle and to the cash register like this.  I was fine with it, not so much for others around me:)  Kate was my little Duggar helper!
-We went out to eat several times, and of course didn't have a chance to take any pictures!  But, we did do a LOT of swimming at the pool and at the beach.  And Collins and Morgan hung with us, and napped in the tent when they needed to!
- On the day of my birthday, Heath took the 4 "big kids" (it's all relative!) on a sailboat ride.  We thought he was a little crazy, but it gave Lindsey and me time to lay out so we went with it.  

They had so much fun!  The captain was named Mr. Richard.  He was great with them, and indulged them as they waved and blew kisses to him the entire rest of the week when they spotted him on the beach in front of the condo.
We had a gorgeous week and precious family time, with some relaxation thrown in (especially Morgan here!) So thankful, and it made 3 kids look like nothing afterwards!  All about perspective I guess.
-We returned from the beach Memorial Weekend, and we were able to hang out at the pool and the lake with friends.  Here are our favorite neighbors after a cookout.  We love York and Perry, and baby brother Ramsay is almost here...

- John Burke loving chocolate ice cream.  He gets a lot of attention - demands it really - lately.  It is because he is 2, not necessarily terrible 2s, but he is just all over the place still.  He is talking a lot more, and seems like more and more of a little boy and less of a baby.  But then he pours chocolate chips all over the floor or draws on the wall with pen or jumps in the water when no one is there to catch him, and I remember he is still my baby too!  This weekend he told Heath to "quit following him" and he told me to turn around in the car when I was talking to him, so he definitely has some spice to his  personality.  But, he is a lover and I am constantly amazed at how different he is from Turner!  

- Turner (taken on Vulcan's leg at a work event at Vulcan for Heath) is currently obsessed with super heroes, though he knows very little about them.  He will wear his big boy underwear consistently now as long as they are Spiderman.  Easy enough for me!  And, Heath did not appreciate it like I did but I asked him to walk out to the car and get something and when he did, he looked at me and said "Who gon' check me, Boo?' a la Sheree from Real Housewives of Atlanta.  He hasn't seen it, but I will say I am realizing how much he is listening when I don't think he is as I quoted it a lot at the beach with Lindsey.  Wow.
- Lastly, this is a picture of Collins with her boyfriend, Sims.  They better get to be fast friends, because they are going to be thrown together a lot!  She is pretty sweet and laughs and smiles a lot. (She is crying in my lap as I write this because it has taken my attention for so long!)  She eats well, sleeps well and narrowly escapes John Burke's "love" every day!  Her baptism is coming up this Sunday, so she will be the center of attention, if only for a brief while :)!