Monday, June 30, 2008

More Fun at The Glade!

The kids really enjoyed getting to play with each other from the moment they woke up until they were "forced" to go to bed :) It is so nice that they all get along so well, even the 2 smallest ones who are both at that stage in life where they don't necessarily want to share. Some of the bunch are early risers and others prefer to sleep in. The "early risers" were nice enough to be quiet in the mornings so that others could sleep.

They passed that time by watching TV,

playing with bubble wands on the deck,

having water gun fights,

and making up silly stories.

There was also some watermelon eating (and wearing),

and large quantities of coffee were consumed!

We also enjoyed playing cards (alot) and another game called "horse racing"

Uncle Daniel and Rachel made yummy smoothies one night!

And cooked (Peepaw helped) a great meal of grilled shrimp and chicken with baked potatoes and steamed veggies (not only was it yummy but also really healthy)!

We had such a great time! It is kinda sad knowing this is the last time we will all be together as a whole family of 20 for 3 years, that is how long it will be before Daniel and Rachel (and baby Hannah) come to the US for a visit once they leave in October :(

Sunday, June 29, 2008


We spent the day at Dollywood for Madison's birthday. She loves going there even though this was only her 2nd time. She talked about nothing else for days after going a few weeks ago. This time Matt and Nana also got to go with us. We met Nana and Pops there and started on our way.

The first stop was the bathroom for Taylor and Madison. This was the first time Madison had gone somewhere without a diaper/pull-up. I took a couple changes of cloths just in case we didn't make it to the bathroom in time (good thing I did b/c we needed 2 of those changes since the bathrooms there are pretty spread out).

After the bathroom we headed over to a couple of roller-coasters for Taylor. We rode Thunderhead which is this awesome wooden roller coaster that isn't for the weak of heart. Sadly there are no pictures of this. NaNa and Matt rode this one as well.

Then it was off to Mystery Mine. NaNa sat this one out and helped Nana and Pops with the 2 little ones. They had great time while we were waiting in line for the roller coasters (the lines were longer this time since it was a Saturday). Taylor loved this roller coaster too. It is both an indoor/outdoor one that at times you are laying flat on our back look up at the sky. There are no pictures of this one either.

When we got done we went and found Madison, Caleb and the grandparents.....this is what they had been doing

There was this neat little water area that had waterways and you could float these foam disks down the waterways/waterfalls. Madison and Caleb were soaked but really enjoyed themselves.

Afterwards we talked Caleb into doing the Lumberjack Lift. It was these seats you sat in and had to pull yourself up them with a rope/pulley system. He wasn't really excited at first but ended up loving it. He wanted to do it again but mine and Matt's hands were red from pulling the ropes (Matt rode with Caleb and I with Taylor).

We also rode the train this time (it wasn't working last time). Madison really enjoyed it, she loves trains right now. She ended up falling asleep halfway through the ride. Caleb like it too though he kept saying it was a little loud. He also thought it could have been longer.

After that we headed to the kiddie rides over at "County Fair". We rode the Amazing Flying Elephants, Lemon Twist, Veggie Tales Roller Coaster, Ferris Wheel.

Matt and Taylor rode the Dizzy Disks and Sky Rider.

And of course we had to ride the little old-timey cars. This is the only thing that Madison talked about doing. She loves "driving" these cars, and I am so glad that she has many years before obtaining a license. She is so busy laughing and watching everyone else that she doesn't pay attention to the road. She doesn't want anyone helping her drive so we bang into the rails often.

Matt and Caleb got the "batman car". Caleb thought it looked like Batman's car.

Madison got the pink Cadillac which is her favorite car!

And Taylor was thrilled to get the sleek, silver Jaguar! (It is my favorite too!) The picture of her is on Pops camera I think :( I wasn't in charge of pictures this trip, the grandparents took all of them so I am going to have to get Pops camera and download it. I already did NaNa's but sadly there was no picture of Taylor driving the cars on her camera.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Madison!

Today my baby turned 3 :(

We celebrated her birthday by going to Dollywood. I will post pics of that later though. Today I will share her "birth" day pictures and enjoy "re-living" that day :)

I didn't want it to happen, in fact I refused to acknowledge it for awhile by continuing to let her "be a baby." I didn't push the potty training with her like I did the others (but am so glad she is potty trained). I have continued to let her have a paci (only at bedtimes though). I didn't enroll her in preschool this past fall but let her stay home with me :) I (and the rest of the family) have catered to her every whim. I just wanted her to stay a baby as long as possible.

I remember walking down the hallway to the OR with Matt on one side and my wonderful nurse on the other.

I remember being a little nervous even though it was my 3rd c-section.

I remember Matt and my dr discussing digital cameras (it seems my dr had just purchased the same camera we had so they were talking about how great it was).

I remember the "drug dr" as we call him saying "now once I put this spinal in you are going to be numb before we even get you laid down, and I was!

I remember shaking horrible (I always do).

I remember Matt sitting by head, talking to me and smiling at me. He kept asking me if I was ok :)

I remember not even knowing they had started the surgery until Dr Tatum said "are you ready to meet your baby?".

I remember seeing tears in Matt's eyes through my own tears as Dr Tatum said "it's a girl"!!! I remember thinking she is beautiful!

I also remember hearing Matt say over and over "Holly, she is tiny!" and thinking "well honey all newborns are tiny" and him saying "no, Holly she is really tiny1". And she was really tiny.

I remember her head of dark hair and me trying to figure out where all that dark hair came from as the others had heads of blonde hair.

She was born at 1:03 PM after being untangled from her cord. We are so thankful that she was a scheduled c-section since she not only had her cord around her neck twice but also around her body twice (she did a lot of moving around in my belly, not those sweet little fluttery kicks but punches and flips that made my whole stomach shift).

Most of the rest of day is a blur to me as I had a dose of morphine at the end of the surgery. In response to the uncontrolled itching that started soon after the morphine they gave me benadryl which pretty much knocked me out. We now know not to give me morphine after an event I want to remember. A few other things I do remember are:

* my mom crying when we introduced her to "Madison Jane" (my mom's name is Jane)

* the nurse washing her hair in the sink b/c it had so much yucky stuff in it

* Taylor being so excited it was a girl

* Caleb not wanting to come to me as I was laying in bed with O2 mask and IV's (scary looking to a 2 yr old)

* Caleb being instantly in love with Madison

* Madison not crying much, seriously she was the calmest baby!

Matt bringing Madison over for me to see! He was so proud!

She was pretty mad in this picture.

Caleb looks like such a baby here! What a cutie! All he wanted to do was hold "Madison Jane".

He just kept kissing her. Seriously look at how dark her hair is compared to his!

This doesn't even look like Taylor :( Where is this little girl!

Getting her ready to come home. She was so tiny my mom had to go and buy some preemie things and they were still too big.

Proud Daddy!

This is Madison and my niece Shelby who was born in February. Madison doesn't even look real I don't think. She looks like a doll :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pool time!

On Saturday everyone was finally together and we spent some of the day at the Indoor pool swimming and visiting. Even Jim and Paula joined us for the day. We also did some birthday/baby celebrating later in the evening and enjoyed a yummy dinner and cake but that is for a different post!

Peepaw and Jim just relaxing and visiting.

Some of us enjoyed the hot-tub more than the pool.



Madison and Matt



Corey, Don and Shelby

Nana and Caleb


Shelby and Don

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

We're Back!!!

We had such a wonderful week with all of Matt's family at The Glade in Crossville. The cousins played together so well with minimal fussing. We had a wonderful place to stay,it was huge and nicely decorated with a golf theme that I could have handled being in my house. There was a ottoman that I seriously tried to figure if I could get it in my car (I could have only if I left the kids behind) and that they wouldn't notice it missing :) There were also some golf pictures on the wall that were really nice, they too would have fit in the car but I wouldn't have had to leave the kids for those!

We kinda all arrived in a trickle over the week/weekend. Matt's parents, brother and pregnant SIL arrived on Tuesday evening. Me and the kids plus SIL and her 5 kids from Nashville (minus her hubbie) arrived on Wednesday. Matt arrived on Thursday after I drove to Knoxville to retrieve him and a birthday cake from Sam's (long story). Amy and her kids arrived on Friday along with SIL's hubbie from Nashville. Saturday morning brought in Amy's husband. On Saturday all 20 of us had arrived and we celebrated all day. Rachel's parents came for the day on Saturday as well and we enjoyed getting to visit with them.

The whole week was just spent relaxing, talking, laughing, playing Five Crowns, Horse Racing (this is a game not actual horse racing), eating (though we didn't just pig out all weekend since the majority of us are trying to lose weight), golfing and swimming! It was so nice. We adults would send the kids to bed and then sit up playing games. I think the earliest we went to bed was midnight and the latest was 2 AM!

The guys enjoyed many rounds of golf! They didn't all play every round since we were trickling in but I believe some of them got in 4 rounds :) The golf courses are really nice there. My SIL (from Nashville) wanted to go and drive the carts but the courses charge for you to ride, we didn't want to ride along bad enough to pay!

We celebrated some birthdays on Saturday too. Taylor, Caleb, Kelsey, Gabby and Madison all got to celebrate their birthday with a great cake from Sam's. Presents were distributed and everyone was happy...........well almost everyone.

I plan on doing some more posts of the week but breaking them down as there were so many pictures of so many different things that I thought that would be easier.

It was a wonderful week and I'm sorry it is over. There was however many great memories made and also some milestones................Madison is officially potty-trained!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am diaper free. Not certain what made it click while we were gone but she only had 1 accident and it was Wednesday night and I think she just got distracted by all her cousins. She is going to the bathroom all by herself. She sometimes yells to me "I'm going potty" and sometimes doesn't. I'm so proud of her :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Busy Week!

The past 2 weeks have been pretty busy. Last week Taylor and Caleb attended FBC's VBS during the morning hours and I got some one on one time with Madison. It was very nice and the kids had a blast at VBS! They love going to this particular VBS but it is AWESOME!!!!! They do their very own boxed VBS kit for them, they actually have a team that writes theirs. They even do their own music. Like I is awesome! After VBS we would head over to Nana and Pops and swim until they were exhausted. Then if was bath, dinner and bed. It was great :) I had taken pictures of them from VBS but they are on NaNa's camera. NaNa and the camera are in Crossville so I can't post any pics.

On Thuesday evening and again on Friday evening and all day Saturday we got to enjoy spending some time with Uncle Daniel. The kids really enjoyed getting to be with him even though Madison couldn't figure out why he hadn't brought Aunt Rachel. She kept calling him "rachel" which comes out "angel". We aren't sure why she can't say "rachel" as she says "ryan" plain as day. here is everyone enjoying laughing at some videos on Youtube :) Please make sure and notice the kids lovely attire. They played dress-up all day.....not sure what Taylor is wearing but Caleb is dressed as Dash and Madison is a princess or so she said :) Last time I checked princess's didn't have wings this one did :) And she kept walking around saying "I'm beautiful"....humility isn't a trait this child has yet :)

This week we had CSPC VBS in the morning. It too is a really good one. The older 2 could only go 2 days as we are going to be gone the rest of this week and the first part of next week. We get to join NaNa, Peepaw, Uncle Daniel, Aunt Rachel, the Overall gang (all 7 of them) and the McCrady gang (4 of them) for a week at The Glade! I can't wait.....many days of cousins laughing together (and fighting too I imagine), swimming, eating, playing games (and some golf too), and even a boat :) The kids are all excited (so are the mommies and daddies)! I know there will be many adventures to blog about upon our return as well as lots of pictures.

Tonight me, my mom, Taylor and Hope got treated to pedicures by Pops :) It was wonderful! I can't remember the last pedicure I had....probably last summer when my toes were seeing the light of day :) Madison sat in my lap and just watched. Caleb and Pops went walking around at Turkey Creek while we ladies were pampered. I forgot my camera but my sister had hers. She got some great pictures but they are on her camera so I am going to have to wait to post those. Taylor really enjoyed getting to be a "big girl." She got the full package just like us. We were treated to a sea salt scrub and then a mud mask on our legs and feet. It was heavenly :) Madison wasn't too crazy about them putting the mud on my legs, she kept saying it was yucky and that it looked like yogurt :) She is a hoot!

We had such a wonderful time. After our pedicures we headed over to Salsarita's (not sure if that is spelled right but it is a Mexican cafe here that is really good) for some dinner. Now I am home and really should be packing since we leave in the morning. Instead here I sit reading blogs and typing my own post :) Well guess I am off to finish packing.....see everyone in a week!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!

"A father is loved not for how tall he stands but for how often he bends to help, comfort and teach."

We had a wonderful Father's Day (or so I think). After sleeping in a little this morning (we didn't make it to class this morning b/c the kids as well as Matt and I are battling runny eyes, noses and sneezing uncontrollably) we got ready for church. The kids matched their daddy (everyone was wearing yellow) but alas I had no yellow so I didn't match the family.

Caleb had a bad case of the giggles while trying to get a good picture of the kids and Matt.

This was the best one out of about 10 pictures I took.

After church we (us and my parents) met Hope and Chris at IHOP for a Father's Day breakfast/lunch. IHOP was Pops choice as he was the Father that got to choose. Matt didn't care where we are just as long as we ate. Here is Matt and Caleb waiting for our table which only took about 5 minutes. I was impressed with such a short wait as there was 9 of us and it was Father's Day. Maybe other fathers picked fancier restaurants. My dad isn't fancy though :)

We enjoyed a wonderful lunch/breakfast after which Pops opened his present. We let me open ours there but Hope's was too big and was therefore brought to their house.

Hope and Pops (She reluctantly let me take this picture as her hair was wild b/c her and Chris had come in his convertible and had ridden with the top down!)

We were trying to get the IHOP sign on the door in the picture. We didn't realize until we got home that it looks like we ate at the "IHO" not the IHOP :)

Once home Matt got to open his present which was Selah's Timeless Collection. He has been asking for this for awhile now.

and then sit on the couch and enjoy watching the US Open. He was "off duty" today. (I got that present on Mother's Day so it was only fair that Matt get it on his day) He didn't have to change any diapers, he didn't have to break up any fights, he wasn't responsible for discipling any kids, etc. He got to sit and relax :)