Archive | Family

The Story of Her {yes, HER!}

Oh my, y’all, this month has FLOWN by! I’m sure it’s because she’s a newborn, the holidays, the three others I have at home, and the sleep deprivation…but still, it feels like just yesterday I was still miserably pregnant and itching to get her out and now she is here, smiling (yes! first intentional smile yesterday!) and cooing and completely oblivious to all the craziness around her.

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If you’ll indulge me I would like to share her birth story. I make a picture book for each child detailing their entrance into the world and putting it on the blog gives me the push to actually get on with it and not wait around until she’s six months old like I did with Lawson.

On Halloween my OB told me he would take her at 39 weeks and gave me the date of Monday, November 6th. (What’s random is that MM’s birthday is 1/8/9 (1 + 8 = 9) and Bonnie’s birthday is 11/6/17 (11 + 6 = 17)…how crazy is that?!)

That weekend it was a mad dash getting the house 90% ready for Christmas, packing the other three kiddos’ bags, and making sure to do one last thing as a family of five (corn maze…lordy!).

On Monday at 5:30 we arrived at the hospital to meet our delivery surprise. I’m not sure if you can see our stickers but his says “Team Pink” (he said it was a girl from the beginning) and mine said “Team Blue” (I’ve thought all four were boys!).

They took us right back and I got ready. What’s so strange and surreal about a planned c-section is that you don’t feel like you should be having a baby–your body (and baby) are just having another day and then boom! baby is out and the whole postpartum thing starts (I started producing colostrum within six hours of a planned c-csection–that’s pretty cool for my body if I don’t say so myself to go from growing a baby to nourishing a baby so quickly!).

We watched the news for a bit (a record breaking temperature day) and then it was time to be wheeled back and get my spinal block. You know how they make you sit down and lean forward to get a spinal block or epidural? Well, my yoga has made me so flexible that when they told me to lean forward I put my head all the way down between my ankles they told me I bent over too far–something they’ve never told a pregnant woman, HA! (Another random bit: I taught the anesthesiologist’s two daughters years ago and now they are both grown women. #iamold)

I had messaged one of my high school friends earlier in the week asking if she was working the morning of my c-section since she is a L&D supervisor at the hospital. She said that, no, she was getting off right as I was getting there, but that she would stay with me and take pictures for me in the OR. That was the sweetest gesture to stay a couple of hours after her shift ended just to give me some photos of my baby coming out since photographers aren’t allowed in the OR and I really can’t thank her enough (but I’ll try one more time: thank you, Katie!).

Now, of course nothing with me goes as planned. My blood sugar was very low (55, oops) and my blood pressure would dip dangerously low the whole time (90s/50s) so I was having to get lots of meds to bring it up or I felt like I was going to puke/pass out (with MM I had the opposite problem, my BP got up to 240/170!). And then there’s the whole having a c-section-after-a-tummy-tuck which took almost three times as long as my other two c-sections and was a bit more, uhm, intense.

november 6. bonnie birth_0005_edited-1

november 6. bonnie birth_0007_edited-1

And then we hear the words we’d be anxiously waiting to hear, “It’s a…” followed by

GIRL!

Now, I’m going to be honest, even though I was “Team Boy” I kinda knew it was a girl. You see, from the very beginning Mary Margaret was 100% positive she was getting a sister. She even said, “I was the only one praying for a baby. Every day I’ve been praying for a sister and God won’t let me down.” And y’all, when someone says that…well, you believe them. So when they told us it was a girl we both just smiled and said, ‘Good!’ (I’m sure we were the most unsurprised delivery surprise parents they’ve ever encountered!)

She was born at 8:28am and weighed 7 pounds, 4 ounces and 20.5″ long (so NOT the 99th percentile baby (in weight) they kept saying I was going to have, but she was quite long considering how squished she was in there with my muscle repair).

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november 6. bonnie birth_0030_edited-1

Within five minutes or so we knew something was a little off even though her APGAR scores were 9 at one minute and five minutes because she was grunting–just like her big brother did. All babies have fluid in their lungs (since they’re living in it) but it gets pushed out in a vaginal delivery so when you have a planned c-sections and no contractions and no pushing/baby in birth canal, many babies have fluid in their lungs and grunt. So they put her on oxygen and told us they were going to take her to the NICU for observation. Thankfully her daddy got to hold her hand for a second and I got to catch a glimpse of her.

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I went to recovery for a few hours {stayed two hours longer than planned because of blood pressure issues} while C. took our family to visit her in the NICU…but not our kids. Because it’s RSV season children under 12 aren’t allowed in the NICU  and to say MM was crushed was an understatement. She had waited nine long months (her whole life even?) for a sister and to be kept from her, oh my, she cried and cried.

After a few hours I was wheeled into the NICU on the way to my room so I could look at my baby for a few minutes. It felt so surreal, but familiar in a way, to finally see the baby that had been growing inside of me.

After twelve hours they removed my catheter and C. wheeled me down to the NICU. We weren’t allowed to hold her just yet so we just sat & stared at her (and couldn’t get over how much she looked like MM!).

At the twenty-four mark I was allowed to shower (I’d already been walking up a storm since my catheter was removed–I can heal from a c-section like no one’s business! And let me just tell you, I felt better (so much better!) 24 hours after my c-section than I did the last four months of pregnancy. The pain and pressure of a pregnancy after a tummy tuck is awful) and then I headed back to the NICU in hopes of being able to hold her. I was thrilled when the doctor allowed me to hold her for about an hour (but just once that day).

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november 7. bonnie nicu_0007_edited-1

It was so hard to put her down when my hour was up. We would go back down every couple of hours and sit by her side and just stare at her. She did great while in the NICU–blood sugar was perfect {always a concern when a mom has gestational diabetes no matter how well controlled} and she was on (forced) room air and tolerating that too. I brought 132mL of frozen colostrum with me to the hospital and started pumping and getting more at six hours. She “ate” through a feeding tube for the first two days and every feed was my milk (I think she took only 3 or 4 ounces of formula the whole time we were at the hospital which is great for a mom who has had a breast reduction) and left the hospital only 1/2 an ounce under birth weight (another huge deal).

This is one of my first pumps after delivery. Considering it took 36 hours for even a drop to come out for Lawson I was on cloud nine.

At the 48 hour mark we were allowed to hold her whenever we wanted (C.’s first time!) and I was allowed to breastfeed.

november 8. bonnie nursing_0001_edited-1

That evening (so 60 hours old) they moved her to the step down NICU and took her off her IV and breathing tubes. MM still couldn’t hold her but we were allowed to walk her to the door of the little step down room and she got to glimpse inside while the nurse held up her sister. MM just cried. Which of course made me cry.

The next afternoon (she had to be in the step down NICU for 24 hours without oxygen or feeding tube; she was now 3.5 days old by this point) she was moved into our room which felt so surreal (I feel like this whole post I keep saying it, but it’s true) to finally be able to take care of my baby on my own and put little clothes on her.

I don’t think we put her down!

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…well, except to take a picture or two! 😉

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That evening we had Mom bring MM by. We didn’t tell her that her sister had been released from the NICU a few hours earlier and had her laying in her bassinet as MM walked in. I think you can tell how MM felt about it. (Their matching shirts say “Besties for the restie”)

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The following afternoon, four-and-a-half long days after checking in, we were discharged. We walked our girl out to our car on a beautiful fall afternoon. It felt perfect.

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We made it home just in time for the oldest two to get off the bus (Moseby ran down the street towards us with the biggest smile on his face and screaming, ‘My baby sister is home! My baby sister is home!’) and Lawson came home shortly after. Her brothers were head over heels in love with her and there’s been much arguing over who gets to hold her first.

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And even though her birth didn’t go as planned and we had to stay in the hospital an extra day or two, I wouldn’t change a thing. She fits in perfectly and now that she’s here it feels like we were missing something before she arrived and now we are complete.

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So what’s her name?

Bonnie because it means “beautiful baby”. Grace after my grandmother, Mama Grace Harris, who made this world a beautiful place to live with her flowers and her loving heart for everyone she met. Who made me her granddaughter even though we weren’t related by our blood, or some legal papers, or even our skin color—it was our hearts that were intertwined—and my, how I miss her every day! Nuel is after my great aunt, Nuel Brown Melton, who passed away the week before Bonnie was born. She made this world a beautiful place to live with her sharp wit and love of family. I know our Bonnie will make this world a beautiful, and better, place to live as well and that is why we chose to give this little baby such a long (but beautiful) name as well.

And sweet Bonnie, you have our hearts and we are all wrapped around your little finger.

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The Longest I’ve Ever Been Pregnant

As of Saturday I’m more pregnant than I’ve ever been.

(I had my two bios at 37 weeks, 5 days and as of today I’m 38 weeks.)

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And lord knows, it ain’t all sunshine and roses over here. I’m sore, my core literally aches 24/7, my heartburn is constant, my skin itches, my face is puffy, my fuse is short, and I’m D-O-N-E.

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That being said, I know that the Natalie of almost a decade ago that was trying so desperately for another child would have been plain ticked off to hear someone complain about pregnancy when it was all that Old Natalie wanted. You know that saying: “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now”? Well, it hits home for me.

(Buuuuut, I am human, haha! And I am over being pregnant.)

2009 and 2015

I can tell #4 is happy as can be in there too and doesn’t have any plans on coming out of his/her own (I am “not dilated at all; not even one little bit” as my OB told me last Tuesday) so until the doctor decides *I* am healthier with it on the outside (meaning it’s doing more harm than I can handle), it’s staying put.

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Which means it may be in there until November 14th at 7:30am. (Please please please don’t let me go to 40 weeks, 1 day is what I pray ’round-the-clock.)

So, there’s my update: my baby is still cooking with no plans of coming out anytime soon!

All pictures in this post were taken at 37 weeks, 5 days…too bad the most recent ones {taken by MM!} were not in a hospital gown!

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Boys’ Room

Yesterday the last nail was put in place and the boys’ room is officially finished.

One room down, one room (nursery) to go.

While I love rearranging rooms and getting everything just right, it feels so good to be DONE.

boys bedroom. september 17

In case you didn’t read about it last week, we moved the boys in a room together last weekend. We moved them into the old nursery (both Moseby and Lawson used this room as their nursery for their first two years; Moseby moved into another bedroom before Lawson came along) and Moseby’s old room is becoming the new nursery. That’s not confusing, is it? HA!

This is only their make-do room for the next two years or so until we do renovation 2.0 with the house and then this will become MM’s room (it has a kitchenette connected to it–can’t see the door in any of these pictures–that we will convert into a private bath for her; our house was a boarding house, remember?) and the boys will move across the hall to our master bedroom (and we’ll move downstairs). The baby will move into MM’s old room and its room will become a study nook. Gosh, that makes me tired just writing it!

It’s not exactly laid out how I wanted–the radiator beside Momo’s bed made us push the beds off-center from the window (which kinda makes my eye twitch) and you’ll spy a chandelier in some of the pictures that we didn’t change out because it will become MM’s room before we know it and it seemed silly just to take it down for a couple of years.

Anyway. Enough of all that.

So the details:

september 17. boys room. snickerdoodle_0010_edited-1

~The beds are old hospital beds that we bought a few years ago at a local antiques store that came from a local hospital (that my mom was born in actually). I’m guessing they’re from the 30s or 40s.

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~The bedding is from Target and cheap (and was an extra 20% off a couple of months ago) because I can only imagine what those boys will put it through!

Comforters similar here. Bed skirts. Moseby’s arrow sheets. Lawson’s cactus sheets. Euro shams are Pottery Barn from a few years ago but very similar here. The quilts are their baby quilts I made when we were waiting/expecting. Rug is six years old but similar here.

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“Play” containers found at At Home (similar here). Vintage school chart found on Etsy (similar here.)

~I got the nightstand/chest of drawers/whatever last week at a local antiques market because we need all the storage we can get! I “measured” with my hands before I went to the store and I would like to brag that the chest was the perfect size (with not an inch to spare). #skillz

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Flying pig lamp from At Home (similar here) and is Moseby’s most favoritest thing in the whole wide world. Picture frames from Hobby Lobby (similar here).

~It’s “fun” (insert eye roll) to get to decorate a mantle in almost every room (we have six mantles in our house!).

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Rawr sign. I bought the Georgia made from bottle caps at the Yellow Daisy, but the artist’s Etsy site found here. “Little Man Cave” printable ($1.61!).

~Moseby has had this little tool bench for a few years now and didn’t want to part with it just yet so we made a little tool/car corner.

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~And he also had a bunch of “treasures” he wanted to keep away from Lala (a pirate piggy bank, a special flashlight (he’s scared of the dark), his favorite book, a drawing his birth mom made him, his soccer trophy, etc.) so we put them in special container that Lawson is not allowed to touch. He also chose some “special” trinkets to put in the vintage printer’s tray (similar here)–his choices (a bow tie, some Canadian coins, a small armadillo, a Mickey Mouse figurine, etc.) crack me up.

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~Their dresser that yes, is girly, but I didn’t feel like moving in Moseby’s old one for a two year stint, just keeping it real.

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I tried to include pictures of the two of them all around the room (board found at Hobby Lobby). Just look at these two cute little boys!

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~The last little space I’ll show you is behind their door. I didn’t realize until they moved in together just how many hats these two had! So this was a last minute addition, but probably my favorite little corner!

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Arrow hanger found at Hobby Lobby (similar here). Giraffe rocking horse. Custom sign from a couple of years ago from here.

And that’s the boys’ room! Hopefully in a week (or so) I’ll have the nursery finished (I’m feeling the nesting bug kicking into high gear the last couple of weeks ago–I am 32 weeks along today actually!) and can share that with you too!

 

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Irma: A Blessing in Disguise

I hope this finds you well…and with power, fellow Georgians. We fared the hurricane (tropical storm? thunderstorm? wind storm? whatever it was!) well at Brogdon House surprisingly. When you live in a 130 year old house with 130 year old (or older) trees overhanging most of it the idea of tons of rain and record-breaking winds sends shivers down your spine. Buuuuut, we never lost power and no tree fell on our house or carriage house! We did lose a half-dead dogwood in the driveway, but C. & my dad cleaned it up in 15 minutes or so yesterday morning after the storm passed. We feel so thankful that it turned out this way when some of our neighbors did not.

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Before their first sleepover (of many!) Saturday night, matching jammies and all. 

On Saturday (while it was still nice & sunny) we moved Moseby out of his old room and into Lawson’s room (& gave them matching twin beds). We took that crib and put it in Moseby’s room which has now become the nursery. We have five bedrooms, but one bedroom is downstairs so it seemed easier to just move the boys into a room together (our plan is to move downstairs in about 2 years and will do musical chairs with the upstairs bedrooms again then).

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Crib sneak peak!

Since we had power, but I didn’t have to go to work (my county has canceled school Monday – Wednesday), I spent hours and hours and hours going through closets and shift robes and dresser drawers of every child (and even the unborn one!). As of now every single piece of clothing (even socks!) fits the child for who it is intended. Y’all, I don’t think that has ever happened since I started having kids!

A tiny bit of wall decor hanging has been done as well. 

And while I wish I could say that the boys’ new room and the nursery were perfectly put together, I can’t. Their closets? Oh my my, perfection. But the decor…heck, even the wall and closet color in the nursery…not so much. But we’re getting there.  At least now every child has a bed so Baby B can come whenever he/she chooses because the decor can wait (though we’d prefer if he/she waited at least six more weeks, thankyouverymuch!).

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And just look at this little boy (with his bed skirt-less bed and no decor and make-do nightstand and horrible flying pig lamp that Moseby loves with all his heart)–he thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips next to his big boy bed (where he sleeps like a champ, holla!).

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All in School…for now

Lala started preschool on Wednesday.

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He’ll go four hours two days a week and has the same teacher that both MM and Momo had.

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Buuuuuuuuut, he has yet to learn that preschool is fun. Or that Mommy always comes back. I’m sure that will come. For his sake and his sweet teacher’s sanity. #nobodylikesacrier

Sorry this is a short post, folks. These short weeks are so brutal! And we’re gearing up to move the boys in the same room tomorrow (I got teary eyed just now thinking about the fact that it will be Lawson’s last night in a crib and I’m not an overly emotional person AT ALL. But he’s my baby (for another month or two at least) and I can’t believe he’s growing up). I’ll share lots of pictures of their “new” room on Monday!

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Junk-Themed Birthday Party

I posted a couple of weeks ago that my darling, but slightly strange, youngest (for 8 more weeks or so, ha!) kiddo turned two.

Whenever I plan a birthday party for a child that’s too young to tell me their opinion I try to do a theme with their favorite thing.

MM’s first birthday party was all about pink, parfaits, and pinwheels (her three favorite things). Her second birthday party was a cookies and milk party because girlfriend loved her some Oreos.

With Moseby his first birthday party was a fox party (we called him our little fox). His second birthday party was a peppermint party because he looooooooved old-fashioned peppermint sticks.

With Lawson his theme was a no-brainer. He LOVES junk with all his little heart. He has an innate sixth sense of knowing exactly where anyone’s junk drawer is in their home. And if he is awake there is a 100% chance he’s carrying around some random object in his little hand. His favorites? Flashlights, tape measures, phone chargers, and any sort of spray bottle.

lawson birthday invitation

His invitations came from here.

We chose to do rainbow colors with the decorations and we chose to do brunch because Lala LOVES him some breakfast food (Momo had a breakfast-themed third birthday party himself because he was such a breakfast fan too, by the way).

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Table cloth found here.

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Bacon quiche recipe found here. Ham & broccoli quiche recipe found here.

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His cake matched the invitation and was made by a local bakery that has done our cakes for years.

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We asked for no store-bought gifts because other than some loveys, Lala doesn’t play with toys. And y’all, he was so cute opening all his little junk “gifts”. He ooh’d and aah’d and held on tight to each napkin ring, set of tongs, feather duster, or paint brush.

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I didn’t get any great pictures of his shirt but it says, “I’m the Garbage-Collecting, Junk-Loving Birthday Boy!” I found it here.

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(This is him walking around mid-party snacking on a handful of quiche…and when it’s your birthday party you can do whatever you want, HA!)

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And Now He Is Two {Say It Ain’t So!}

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Yesterday my sweet Lala turned two.

And this is what I wrote on Facebook:

Today you are two. Everything about you is such a juxtaposition, sweet boy–it seems like just yesterday you were born, but I’m certain you’ve been with me whole life. You were so unplanned at the “wrong” time in my life, but really it was perfect timing and you made everything right and good again. You are happy go lucky, but opinionated; you are calm, but have a wild streak; a pleaser, but mischievous; a cuddle bear, but “all boy”. Basically, you are perfect and I can’t imagine my life without you for one single second, Lawson Thompson and I can’t wait to see what you will grow up and be (please lay off the junk hoarding tendencies though, ok? Ha!). 

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Two Days Old

The prayer that I pray every time I’ve rocked you since the day you were born is for you to be a good and honorable man one day. I pray you see the good in the world and that every day of your life you speak truth and goodness to others. That you will make the world a better place…and I’m certain you will because my life in infinitely better with you in it, darling boy. 

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One Year Old

I love you to the moon and back and back again, my sweet Lala. Happy birthday.

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Two Years Old

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Tour Alabama Series: Our Week in Dauphin Island

We got back from a week at the beach on Saturday. It was relaxing. And laid-back. And none of us got sunburned.

Basically it was perfect.

Since MM was 1 we’ve been Tybee fans. It’s 4.5 hours from our house and right outside of Savannah (my favorite city in the world). We always stayed in the same condo and it became a habit.

This year though I decided to change it since none of the kiddos had ever even seen the Gulf (sacrilege!). I asked around and settled on Dauphin Island off the coast of Alabama (between Mobile and Biloxi).

Dauphin Island isn’t huge and there are no fast food restaurants and just a few restaurants and shops, but there were plenty of bike paths and things to do (fishing is huge on the island). Given Lawson’s age (right on the cusp of 2) and the lack of lots of restaurants I decided I would cook dinner every night in the house using fresh seafood–I plan on doing a big recipe post this week ’cause we ate so good at the beach, as well as a must do/must see/must eat guide for the island as well!

We wanted a place (didn’t matter to us if we were in a condo or house) that was very close to the beach, had access to a pool, and had at least three bedrooms (my parents go with us).

We found all that in more with Island Time II–a house right on the beach with a pool on the porch and four bedrooms. It was perfect for our needs.

Here’s some pictures of our time on the island.

First up, our fishing adventures. Including our encounter with a snake.

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I caught this beautiful red snapper at 8:10am. Guess when snapper season ended? 12:01am. That’s one lucky fish!

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It’s just a salt marsh snake–probably got washed into the “ocean side” of the island from all the storms.

But we didn’t just fish, oh no! We did lots of goofing off, laying around, and napping. You know, the really important parts of any good vacation.

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The two youngest are sort of twins in this picture: Lawson is 23 months old and Baby B. is 23 weeks in utero.

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Lawson went to three new states for him: Alabama, Florida, AND Mississippi and got to meet his Mama J.

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We lived in bathing suits and t-shirts and shorts with elastic waists and pajamas. It got so bad that the last night there I MADE us put on “normal” clothes and take a picture (we seriously could have packed two sets of clothes each and been fine!). These pictures were taken right in our “backyard”–it really was the perfect setting!

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Oh, Dauphin Island, you spoiled us, girl. xoxo

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At the Beach and It Feels so Good

We made it to the beach.

It’s not surprising that I  or C. made it to the beach…it is however a little surprising all three kids made it down here alive. HA! (We always go to Tybee Island (Atlantic) which is about a 4.5 hour drive from our home, but this year we chose to go to Dauphin Island (Gulf of Mexico) which is a 6.5 hour drive. And we survived, but I definitely do not want to go any further away than this any time soon.)

We’re enjoying it here: beach and pool during the day and cooking fresh seafood at night.

…now if only Lala would sleep past 7:30 (which is really 6:30 here) that would be fantastic.

Here’s a few pictures from today. We’re here until next Saturday and would love to hear your favorite things to do/see in Dauphin Island…if you’ve ever even heard of it, haha.

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4


Happy Fourth!

…from our FOUR kids.

Yep, hold those sparklers folks–come this fall we’re going to have FOUR children!

I’ll give you a second to pick your jaw up off the floor.

It’s okay. I was that shocked too.

june 9. 23. granola bars. baby reveal_0021_edited-1

{Lots more info to come, promise! Check back tomorrow for the full story.}

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