The arrival of Fall and Liam’s first hunting trip

It’s hard to believe Liam has been in school for almost a month now.  He absolutely loves it – every day when I pick him up from school, he comes bouncing into the car talking a hundred words a minute telling me all about a new friend, a game played at recess or something else amazing that happened in his classroom.

Ellmer the Elephant (Liam's painting)

Ellmer the Elephant (Liam’s painting)

Boys and their cars!

Boys and their cars!

Little brother Cullen also started school in August – he’s going to a private preschool at a local church two days a week.  He’s been such a little trooper!  Each morning that I’ve dropped him off he’s gone straight to his teacher with no tears.  To be perfectly honest, we think he’s just excited to spend the day with all of the girls in his class as he’s the only little boy!

Here’s a look at Cullen on his first day with his new teacher!

Cullen's first day of Pre-K

Cullen’s first day of Pre-K

Mornings can be a little hectic around our house with trying to get everyone dressed, fed and out the door on time.  (If Liam’s not in his classroom at 8:00AM, he’s considered tardy.)  Most mornings are full of chattering and giggles; however, one morning I found this little grump in my bed.  I don’t think he was very excited about waking up.

Where's my coffee??

Where’s my coffee??

The opening of dove season marked a very important time for Liam and his daddy:  Liam’s first hunting trip!  He got to camp out with his dad and seemed to enjoy the trip, although we think he enjoyed playing with the other kids more than sitting out in the field.

Liam's got his bag packed and his sleeping bag ready to go!

Liam’s got his bag packed and his sleeping bag ready to go!

A little air guitar performance!

A little air guitar performance!

Sweet Liam

Sweet Liam

Jeff and his boys!

Dressed and ready to go!

Dressed and ready to go!

Patiently waiting for the dove!

Patiently waiting for the dove!

While the big guys were off doing their thing, the little guy kept me company.  Although his allergies were giving him some trouble, he didn’t miss a beat with playing cars.

Sorting cars!

Sorting cars!

Cullen's love of Hot Wheels started very early!

Cullen’s love of Hot Wheels started very early!

(Don’t tell big brother that his super heroes get played with while he’s gone!)

Cullen & the Hulks

Cullen & the Hulks

Sweet Cullen

Sweet Cullen

Speaking of “beats”, here’s Cullen dancing in the kitchen while I was cleaning up after lunch one day.

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And it’s finally official!!!  I’m a licensed interior designer in the state of Oklahoma after getting my paperwork from Texas transferred to Oklahoma City.  Now I need to get my tail in gear and get some projects around this house completed so I can post some pics!!

Official license - complete with the gold seal!

Official license – complete with the gold seal!

We have a busy weekend ahead of us!  Jeff is taking Liam and me to Stillwater for our first OSU football game.  We’re looking forward to some football, Pistol Pete and Eskimo Joe’s!

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Kindergarten, here we come!

Parents say it all the time: “Where did the time go?!”  You can now add me to the list of mommas using that phrase.  Liam, our oldest, started Kindergarten today.  How is that possible?  When did this little inquisitive/funny/smart/sweet child get old enough to start school???  While he was a little nervous and apprehensive this morning, I think last night’s “Meet the Teacher” event certainly helped by letting him get a glimpse at his new classroom which he deemed suitable as it did have ample amounts of toys and books in it.  He did great this morning though considering the big step this was for him and our family.

The morning started off at 6:30 when his alarm went off and he got up on his own (Yes!) and got dressed before coming downstairs.  He helped pick out his outfit which included a favorite orange T-shirt, Scooby-Doo undies, Power Rangers socks and red Nike’s.  How could we go wrong with that?!  Breakfast was special and all about Liam: donuts and scrambled eggs.  Even “little bubba” loved his donut holes.  We managed to get a few pictures before leaving the house, and then it was no time before we were walking the big guy into his new elementary school.

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I am so excited for Liam and what this year means for him.  He will meet friends who just might turn into lifelong friends (right, Eastland girls??).  He will blossom in his teacher’s classroom – she seems great and we’ve heard wonderful things about her.  What I hope most for him is that he develops a love of learning and for school itself!

I found this cute Kindergarten Interview online.  He still misses his buddies from Arlington.  It will be a great day when he comes home and excitedly tells me all about a new best friend who is here in our new hometown!

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We love you, Liam, and are so proud of you!!!

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First visit to the Tulsa Zoo

It’s funny.  I thought once I was a full-time wife and mom I would have more time to do things I enjoy like blogging and reading.  Haha.  Joke’s on me.  I go for days (or weeks) without opening up the trusty ‘ol laptop, and since I hate typing emails or anything long on my smart phone, I don’t get around to sending as many emails to friends, looking online for inspiration or getting on this blog to actually post something.  

With kindergarten right around the corner, Mimi and Popaw traveled up from Texas to visit last week.  We had a wonderful time and took Popaw to the Tulsa Zoo, which was the first visit for us all.  We really enjoyed it – especially their dinosaur exhibit.  Well, actually Liam really loved it.  Cullen wasn’t a big fan of the dinos!

Liam found his favorite dino - T-Rex!

Liam found his favorite dino – T-Rex!

Cullen just wanted out of there!

Cullen just wanted out of there!

I’ve mentioned it before: I know our move to Skiatook was a complete God thing.  Our family is meant to be here.  This time last year I never would have thought we’d be living in Oklahoma.  While I had hopes of one day being a full-time wife and mom, we didn’t know how that would happen but here I am.  My days are very full with appointments, trips to the library, lots of playing, lots of hugs and quite a few trips to the snow cone stand outside of Tractor Supply.  It’s hard some days too.  Liam has physical therapy and we’ll be starting occupational therapy soon – we’re having more good days than bad, but the bad days sometimes make me want to crawl in a dark closet and just cry.  I’m in the process of having my professional license as an Interior Designer transferred from Texas to Oklahoma and needed a passport-style picture for my application.  I actually said to Jeff yesterday that we needed to get it done after church since I would have my hair fixed and make-up on, both on the same day.  I haven’t yet stocked my closet with only yoga pants, however, because I have to have pockets.  When carrying Cullen, my purse, Cullen’s backpack and the bag of drinks/snacks, those pockets are a must for the car keys!  

Cullen is up from his nap and Liam’s episode of “Mighty Machines” is drawing to a close so it’s back to “mommy duties” for now.  I have a baby to snuggle.  🙂

Mimi and Popaw, we loved your visit and can’t wait for you to come back up north of the Red River again soon!

It was hot and humid when we stopped to have a snack next to the elephants.

It was hot and humid when we stopped to have a snack next to the elephants.

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A small town July 4th

Growing up in a small Texas town, I remember all of the fun we had on July 4th.  There were fireworks out at the lake at Mary & Tommy’s cabin with Courtney.  There was the big “city” fireworks display at the park with Mel and her family.  While living in Arlington, Texas, we always planned on going to the 4th of July parade downtown but never made it.  It was either too hot, too crowded or both.  It was really nice getting to celebrate our country’s independence this year here at our new hometown.  The holiday kicked off the night before with fireworks and live music at our municipal airport.  The 80’s cover band was so good at doing Van Halen that Jeff and I thought it was a radio when we first got there.  There were even fried Twinkies, fried cheesecake and funnel cakes.  But best of all, there were plenty of parking spaces and room for everyone to enjoy the festivities.  And we didn’t even have to get there hours early to score a good parking spot!!!  If you ask Liam what was the highlight of the night he’d tell you the port-a-potty.  I’m not sure why but he has a thing about those.  He says “it’s disgusting but it’s so cool”.  Go figure!  Glad he has a daddy who will take him in there because I don’t go within ten feet of them!

On the morning of the fourth, we traveled up to Pawhuska for their annual non-motorized parade.  I admit… I had grand ideas of horses and bicycles by the dozen.  While the turnout wasn’t quite what I had envisioned, there were plenty of cute kids and pets decked out in red, white and blue to celebrate July 4th.  The city event also had a live band at the gazebo and free hot dogs and homemade apple cobbler nearby.  I think my favorite “float” from the parade was a duck hunting boat that held children dressed as George Washington and another patriot, riding that boat like they were crossing the Delaware.  Liam also enjoyed playing in the city park.  

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The night of the fourth ended on a high note with Liam and his daddy setting off the fireworks we bought in town.  While we didn’t have nearly as many – and they weren’t nearly as large – our little fireworks display was a lot of fun just because Liam and Cullen enjoyed it so much.  Wherever you were, we hope you had a wonderful July 4th surrounded by those you love!

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Will the fun never end?

We consider ourselves very blessed to have found our new house and have spent the past six plus weeks unpacking and settling in.  It feels like the “fun” of moving will never end!  I unpack what I think is the last box of toys for one of the boys only to find another one, full and waiting on me out in the garage.  Having stuff in storage for over two months makes every day a little like Christmas.  We get to open boxes without labels – or labeled very vaguely – only to be surprised to see something we hadn’t thought of in a while.  The next fun part is finding a new home for that item.

Today was a special day for our family.  We visited a nearby church with hopes of finding our new church home.  Afterwards, we took a few pictures in front of the house and woods to include with our “new address” postcards going out to family and friends (soon, I hope).  More pictures and details to follow, but for now, here’s the new house and land we now call home.  It’s a smaller house that we love and find perfect for our family sitting on 5-1/2 beautiful acres outside of Skiatook, Oklahoma in Osage County.  We’re actually located on the Osage Nation Reservation land in northeastern Oklahoma.  It’s a beautiful area of the state with lots of trees and beautiful lakes, including Lake Skiatook which isn’t far from our house.  Each night when we go to bed, I look out at the dark sky dotted with stars – stars we couldn’t see back in  Arlington, Texas – and thank Him for this beautiful, peaceful countryside setting we get to enjoy and raise our boys on.

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Where to begin?

Today marks three weeks since we loaded the cars, the trucks and the trailers for Oklahoma.  It wasn’t an overly emotional goodbye to our Arlington home at the time.  Honestly, if things hadn’t been moving at such a frantic pace and had I actually gotten a chance to stop for more than ten minutes and think about all of the moments we shared in that house, the emotions would have completely overwhelmed me.  We bought the house in 2006 and it was everything we wanted.  I envisioned children’s birthday parties, holidays and all of the special times we would have there someday.  The babies arrived in 2009 and 2013, and they came home from the hospital to that house.  It was the site of their first Christmases and so many other firsts.  It was the last house my grandmothers would get to see me in, albeit only in pictures before their passing in 2007.  

Our move to Oklahoma happened so quickly but maybe that’s how it had to be for me to make it through each day of packing, through saying goodbye to our friends and neighbors and even that last day when I picked the boys up from their day care and said farewell to the wonderful teachers who had taken care of, taught and loved them.

Before we drove away for the last time, I got a quick picture of the boys in front of our Texas home.

Before we drove away for the last time, I got a quick picture of the boys in front of our Texas home.

There is a mountain of “stuff” calling my name from my father in-law’s storage buildings.  It’s overwhelming to look at the boxes stacked so high.  Everything from our life in Texas is there.  I am anxious to start weeding through everything into the “keep” and “sell/donate” piles.  When we knew we would be putting the Texas home on the market, we frantically de-cluttered and got a lot of our things out of the house and into storage here.  Those few weeks we were living in the house while it was on the market were actually enjoyable.  I felt like I could breathe.  Getting some of the stuff out of the house was liberating, and with the house clean and picked up constantly for those last-minute showings, our family actually had time to relax a little.  We could sit down and enjoy a movie together or go to Chop House Burgers for Saturday lunch.  I didn’t feel like I was in the bottom of a hole, digging myself out only to have more dirt fall in around me with each bit of progress I made.

My kids, my husband and our time together are worth so much more to me than the “stuff” we had shoved into closets, that overtook the garage, that spilled out into our living spaces.  Less is more when it means you have a better quality of life for yourself and those you love.  Leaving Texas and this move mean we have a fresh start in so many ways.  For that, I am truly thankful.

I bought a book several years ago that I started but never finished.  It is just what I need right now to help get me in the right mindset to tackle those overwhelming stacks of boxes.  Have you heard of “Organized Simplicity” by Tsh Oxenreider?  She’s a blogger I’ve followed for some time and find to be very insightful and inspirational.  She calls her book “the clutter-free approach to intentional living”.  When packing up my books back in Texas, I intentionally held this one out so that I could begin it again.  Only this time, I will finish it.  So I’ll start Part I with “Stuff: Our Modern-Day Slave Master” which describes exactly what I was feeling for so long.  This fresh start in Oklahoma will be wonderful for our family for so many reasons.  I haven’t figured out why exactly God moved us here, but it’s clearly evident that He has a plan and for that, I am thankful and excited.

I have so much to learn and figure out about WordPress, but I just didn’t want to wait any longer to start posting.  I’ve had this need for a creative outlet for weeks now, and I also know this will be a great way to communicate the changes and experiences our family has now that so many family and friends are far away.  Thanks for visiting!

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