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14 years of joy

I can't even comprehend how my little boy turned 14 today... :)

He's becoming such a handsome, grown up young man. (insert sniffles here)

His sisters and brothers love him so much:

They spent weeks preparing for his birthday, and even created a treasure hunt through the neighborhood for him:

He was given a stack of books this year (and little else, haha!):

We did buy him one book that had a few chess pieces though, haha! :)

We all enjoyed celebrating with him, even Naomi Love:

He is quite special to all of us... :)

We knew we were blessed by God when this little (big) boy made us parents 14 years ago, but we never imagined how much more joy he would bring us in the days that were to come! :)

a terrific little vacation

It's incredible to me how just a couple of days away can be so refreshing! I think we all came back a little more relaxed after two days of beautiful sunshine. (Though I did take a long nap today with the baby too, which helped!!)

Here are a few more pics from our stay at Beaumont Ranch:

I really enjoyed not making a meal! We looked forward to the homestyle buffet every day:

We worked out, played, boated, and chilled on the front porch of our little house while the kids made a movie using their western town. 

After we left the ranch, we headed to Dallas to pick up a candle and go to dinner. We almost never go to the mall together, but thankfully it wasn't busy and we accidentally got to stop in at the Lego store. :) 


Everyone else stayed outside in the courtyard while the baby and I ran in to pick up my favorite candle:

Anthropologie just wins the award for gorgeous displays, if you ask me. :) 

After that quick stop, we headed out for a wonderful dinner together and then home to our chickens. 

We took off of school and kept life super easy today- I made a pot of coffee in my sweet new French press (!), ran the laundry, worked on planning out the rest of the week, and then made lunch. After lunch the little girls and I took a long nap, so I missed my time to exercise and do all the regular things to catch up that I normally do in the afternoon. But hey, I feel great!

Hopefully we'll all get back in the saddle tomorrow!! :)

35 and amazed

I had the most perfect 35th birthday today. :) I don't even have words for it, but it was wonderful, and extraordinarily special to spend the whole day with my mom and dad and family all together!

We've just arrived home happily exhausted, but I hope to share more about our day tomorrow if the Lord allows! :) I have been blessed with the most loving family, and I am so grateful that the Lord has allowed me to experience 35 years of life on this earth!!! :)

a gorgeous family getaway day

We rented a little vacation house for a couple of days to celebrate our birthdays this week! I so missed blogging this weekend because I lost my computer cord, but thankfully I found it at my dad's house yesterday afternoon so I could be able to share today. :)

The kids are always so excited to pack up and go anywhere, even if it's just a couple of hours away:

And then they always enjoy the traditional snack gathering: 

But my favorite part, hands down, is this kind of morning in a cozy room:

We have been soaking up every minute of the wonderful weather too! It was just gorgeous out:

I had the best time running a new route. We live in a very hilly neighborhood, so a flat road felt amazing!

Ahhh, I do believe the south has the prettiest sky views:

No matter where we go in Texas, it's just lovely. I'm so thankful to call this huge state home. :)

serving up all the hot food (eats lately)

All week long I was a day off- I thought Friday was coming much sooner than it did. ;)

We've had a beautiful week here in Texas, and we're so enjoying a little break from the heat. October is my favorite month by far, though November feels much more like fall. :)

Even with the hot temps, we still eat warm food on a regular basis! It's been a little while since I got to share what we've been eating lately- here's a taste... ;)

1. Polenta grits. Just corn, water, and salt:

The adults like boiled cornmeal, but the kids- not so much... :)

2. Our quick lunchtime version of chicken tikka masala:

Surprisingly, most of the kids eat this one! I only have one who won't eat the chicken, and one who won't eat the rice. :)

3. Omelets:

The parents ate this egg white one, and I let the kids make their own eggs:

4. Fried sweet "doughnuts":

The kids made dough for bread and for the first time ever, we fried it and added sugar and caramel for a dessert similar to a funnel cake! (but way more filling!)

5. Chicken penne pasta inspired by this recipe:

I took the leftover pasta (sans chicken) and made a different lunch with sour cream and Italian dressing:

It's definitely taking more hearty meals to fill up the big kids these days. The oldest three eat more than most adults! We add staples and carbs to a lot of meals just to give them more roughage! ;)

I still eat this really often instead of pasta or pizza:

6. Speaking of pizza, we found a new favorite we've never had until a couple of weeks ago: Domino's! It's delicious!!

I can't believe we're up to four of them now. I wonder how many pizzas will we be eating in another 5 years?? 

Good thing we only have to take it one day at a time, right? :) We don't have to be anxious about anything (Phil. 4:6)- God always provides food we need for His growing little humans. :)