Wednesday, September 11, 2013

One EPIC Summer!

So when I realized that my due date would be right around the time that we usually go to Alabama every summer for our girls/cousin summer, I figured I would just skip going this summer, and we would continue on with next summer. I was a bit bummed about missing it, but thought it wasn't the end of the world. BUT...after talking to my mother in law and sister in law, they convinced me to still plan on coming down because they could help me with the other kids so I could focus on the baby, and that we would still totally have fun! I DO love our girl summers. They are the best and I feel so lucky to have married into a family with so many awesome women! Anyway, I didn't know how it was going to work. I was due June 10th, we usually go at the beginning of July for a few weeks. The thought of traveling with just a month old baby kind of made me nervous. But we forged ahead with the plans, not knowing exactly how things would work out. We then got the call from my mother in law, who was planning on coming at the end of June to visit us for a week, then me and her and the kids would fly to Bama together so I would have some help. Since Ben just can't ever justify taking time off work in the summer when he is so busy. Plus, summers are usually just the women of the family. So, she called us one day to tell us that she had to be back in Alabama by June 21st for a three day work conference. And that she could only really come that week before, because by the time she got back from the conference, all of my sister-in-laws would be in Alabama for their visits. That kind of threw a wrench in our plans, but we went with it. I was just seriously hoping and praying that miraculously Jackson would come early, so at least he would be a little bit older while traveling. No such luck, I should have known! My mother in law got to town the evening of the 11th of June, and it actually worked out really well because then she was there for Jackson's birth, and I was so happy to have her there! Jackson was born the next day, she was there all that week with us, while I went to the ER, and all of our Dr. appointments and then we flew out to Alabama on Wednesday the 19th. Jackson being exactly ONE week old! Luckily I thought beforehand to make sure there would be no traveling restrictions with an infant that small, because with Southwest any child under 10 days old needs a Dr.'s note to fly. So we got the OK and the note from the Dr. and we were good to go!
{We just had a few 16 or so! We fully took advantage of Tuckers & Taylor's tickets and crammed as many bags as we could fit into the van. It was TIGHT!
I have become a pro packer for traveling with kids. My mom just got my kids these awesome Pottery Barn rolling backpacks for traveling that are so cute, and I found these cute little insulated lunch bags at old navy and they worked perfectly! We were quite the sight getting in and out of the planes and through the airports, but luckily everyone was so nice and the kids were CHAMPS! I seriously couldn't have asked for a better more easy flight. The kids were entertained, Jackson slept the whole time. Of course, Taylor wanted to wear her favorite Tie-Dyed motorcycle shirt that Papa got her at Laughlin. It is her favorite, and she seems to always want to wear it with the shortest shorts she has so that it looks like she's not wearing any pants at all. We were really classy looking!:) But the big kids pulled their weight and totally took care of their own bags and luggage while in the airports and planes. They were awesome!
My big helper, Taylor on the plane:
Tucker waiting for the Tram in the Atlanta airport:
And finally after a whole day of traveling, we made it! We had to have take two separate cars to get back to my in-laws house with all of our luggage, neither one of them had a car big enough for it all! (In my defense, we were bringing things back to Alabama that we had borrowed, so I knew we wouldn't have quite so much stuff on the way home!)
Alabama was a bit different this year than most years. We still had a TON of fun, and packed in a lot of grand adventures, we just didn't get out as much.
Because of this little dude, who spent most of his time there doing this:
But I just couldn't help but take all these sleeping pictures, he is so precious!
Luckily in Alabama he even slept great! His car seat was his bed while we were there, so I could just put him in anytime anywhere!
Lounging on my bed! It's a rough life:
And he even slept here for a while:
Sleeping in grandma's arms while he is supposed to be having a photo shoot!
Since we're on the subject of sleeping, this little lady cracks me up in the mornings, I never knew how she would be when she woke up:
One morning, she was shirtless and in her pillowcase, kneeling by the bed! That was a new one!
And let me tell you, these kids were champs. All four of us were in one room, the two kids on the air mattress on the floor and me and Jackson (in his car seat) on the bed. And they slept through him waking up every few hours through the night when he was hungry. Granted he didn't, and still doesn't, have a very loud cry, but I was so relieved after that first night when they were able to sleep through it all, and we were able to all stay in one room together!
{Even Elijah got in on the sleeping action! Complete with his arms wrapped around his new trucks! Or Might Machines, as we like to call them!!!} :)
Speaking of sleeping, here is what my night arrangements looked like:
Car seat on the bed next to me, 5-6 bottles pre-filled with water,(sorry Jackson, the third child doesn't get warm water!) :) two of those formula containers that have enough for three bottles each, diapers, wipes, laptop and kindle all on the bed for ease of access, and one sleeping baby. He woke up pretty consistently every two hours or so to eat. And amazingly it wasn't all that bad doing it solo! My mother in law and sisters in law would take the older kids int he am and feed them and get them ready, then I could take my time and sleep a bit longer with just me and Jackson. I am so bad about going to be on time, especially in Alabama. It is usually a party once the kids go to bed. And this summer was no exception, I stayed up later than I should with a newborn. Some mornings I really felt it, but for the most part, I didn't feel too wiped out! Luckily!
But, believe it or not, we did do more than just sleep! Taylor got to go up one morning with her grandpa to Birmingham, which is like an hour away. He had to work up there, so he took her and dropped her off with her aunt Meri and cousin Kaiya for the day. She had so so so much fun! They went swimming, and painted their nails and did her hair! She came back that afternoon just beaming! Aunt Meri took good care of my Taylor while we were there! Kaiya and Meri got to grandma and grandpa's house a few days later to stay for the rest of the time we were there, so Taylor and Kaiya got plenty of playing time!
Jackson did a lot of this:
Just chillin' in his new tank-top! (Tucker was so proud!) :)
This was my view most of the time we were there! (and still is, in fact!) :)
Oh man, this kid cracks me up! He makes the funniest faces, and you can already tell just exactly what he is feeling:
My sweet sweet boy. We could not have asked for a sweeter little man!
This lady was a huge help and was always wanting to feed or hold Jackson. She was starting to warm up to him, and was my little helper!


We stayed in a lot this trip because on the first day we were there, the kids ran outside to play before we could spray them down. We always have to spray down with sunblock and bug spray when we go outside to play at grandma's. But the kids were literally out for like 10 minutes before we realized they weren't sprayed, and this is what my children's leg's looked like:
Taylor's are up, and Tucker's are down:
The mosquitoes were awful this year, and we could barely even be outside. Even with bug spray on! It was awful! So we had to get creative inside:
Lots of playing with toys:
Lots of reading books and playing or reading on the tablets:
We even busted out some puzzles. And they were so addicting! It was nearly the death of us, and one of the reasons for my even MORE lack of sleep, but totally fun to do with my sister's in law every night and during the day, too!
We seriously wanted to karate chop this stupid polar Bear's head off by the end of the week, but WE DID IT!!! It was the greatest feeling ever! :)

Of course, some matching cousin time: Taylor & Angelynna. When these girls were running by, at first glance, we couldn't tell which was which! Angelynna is 10 months younger than Taylor, believe it or not!!! :)
Tucker & Jonah, BFF Cousins:

Taylor and Kaiya in their matching jammies:
I seriously love these girls so much!!!
The Tucker & Jonah chair! These two always sit on this chair together! It is so cute, they have been doing it since they were itty bitty! 2013 at ages 6&7:
In fact, I have photographic evidence:
Here they are at 2&3 years in 2009 (Jonah is exactly a year older than Tucker)
July in Alabama 219
And a year later, in 2010 at ages 3&4:
Alabama 2010 202
A year later, in 2011 at ages 4&5 they got invaded by some cousins and aunt Meg with her new I-pad. I'm sure they still sat together on that chair just the two of them like they always do, but somehow that year I missed getting a picture of just the two of them! :(
summer road trip 11 374
And in 2012, at ages 5&6 still sitting together in that chair! I think it's so cute! :)
Then the latest pic from this year at the top!
OK, back to 2013 EPIC summer. The word Epic seemed to be the word of the summer for these boys, and everything was 'EPIC!' I thought it was so funny that they were already using the word epic at their age. :) It was the older cousins who taught the younger ones, the older boys being 10! :) That word definitely has become way popular these days, and it WAS a pretty Epic time we had down south this summer!!!
Meribeth had a fashion show with grandma's old prom dress we found in the attic. She has some grand plans for being a zombie prom queen this year for Halloween!!! :) The dress is in perfect condition for it! :) Such a southern belle dress!!!
Eating lollipops with our cousins, and unfortunately for Kaiya, also getting it wrapped all around our hair while trying to play inside of grandma's old prom dress! It kind of freaked her out a bit!
Being stuck inside, we decided to do a little game of go fish with some treasures that grandma always stocks up on for the kids:


Grandpa was such a big help! Grandma went out of town for a few days for a work conference and I don't know if he felt like it was his time to finally shine, but it was awesome! He was so cute with the boys and especially this little man. I gave him Jackson to hold, and realized that they were totally twinners! Grey pants and blue striped shirt!
This little man got his first bath in grandma's sink:
Riding on the rocking horse that their parents played on as kids:
We finally did venture out a few times. Toby and Bear desperately needed baths:
My dog loving boy was more than happy to help:
We forced them outside for a picture with grandma one morning:
Sat out a few times for a front row seat to a good ol' fashion southern rain and thunder storm.
{They are absolutely amazing!!!}
Of course, got treated to some of grandma's delicious cooking:
It took me a few years to understand and realize that a huge and delicious dessert doesn't have to have an excuse to be made. It is like a daily occurrence to make a pie, or a cake or any sort of dessert for no good reason! Not that I mind a bit! :)
My mother in law makes the best Banana pudding:
Like I said, my mother in law went to San Antonio for three days for a work conference while we were all there, so we made her some welcome home signs when she got home. We kept up the kids WAY past their bed times to do it, but it was worth it, they were so happy to see her, and she was so happy to see them! :)
A visit from some old friends. These ladies are my sister in law's old college roommates, but I see them every summer while I am down there, so I feel like they have become my friends too! :) I love Elizabeth and Beth!
Sometime in there we squeezed in a trip to the water park in Birmingham. (which I couldn't partake in...have to wait 6 weeks, ya know!!!) So my kids two surrogate mothers (aunt Meri & aunt Lynlee) took my kids and had a great time while I hung out with Jackson under the big shade umbrella lying on a lounge chair. Actually what I did most of the time was walk around with him in his stroller searching for A/C. It was so so so hot if you weren't in the water to cool yourself off. So, we would stroll from restaurant to gift shop to ice-cream parlor (it was a big water park!) and enjoy delicious treats and delicious a/c.
I just love this picture of Tucker & Kaiya:
Swimming the lazy river with their aunties:

One of my best friends' daughters', Madison just happened to be in Birmingham. Her husband was selling pest control (I think ???) for the summer. So I called her up and her and a friend met up with us at the water park. The kids were excited to see her, and it was fun for her to see a familiar face from home. I know that is always nice. And who wouldn't want to go to a water park!?? :) Taylor enjoyed having a friend that could giver her some one on one time! :)

Taylor also helped out with this little guy:
Then there was this beast of a slide. Which someone went down (I won't name any names) and there may have been a wedgie incident that ended in bleeding. That's all I'm saying! Remind me to never go down one of these slides in a two piece! :)
We also squeezed in some pictures of the cousins. I love busting my camera out for these guys! Except the mosquitoes were so bad, that we had a very limited time. It was just miserable! But we just have to take advantage of the beautiful setting at my in-law's house.
My sweet and funny niece Kaiya. She is seriously unlike any other. She is so full of excitement and energy and is so social and wants to be a part of EVERY conversation, and she just knows everything about everything but is so sweet and funny! I just love this girl!
One of the funniest things she said while we were down there was this conversation between her and her mother, my sister in law, Meribeth. It went something like this:
Kaiya: Mom, I want you to be my step-mom
Meribeth: How do you even know what a step mom is?
Kaiya: From Cinderella
Meribeth: But step-moms are mean, why do you want me to be a step-mom?
Kaiya: Well, you can be a nice one.
Meribeth: ummm....ok fine, whatever
Kaiya: OK, step-mom I'm hungry, can you get me something to eat
Kaiya: step-mom, I'm thirsty, can you get me some water
And the step mom thing went on for the rest of the day. She refused to call her mom anything but step-mom.
It was pretty funny!
She also told us that she learned to dance at Costco. 
She came running in crying one day and said, while sobbing, 'I want to spit on Santa and Taylor doesn't want to!!!' we were all a little confused and concerned, and it took us forever to realize that she was talking about the Santa place mats that my mother in law has for the kids during the holiday's. Someone had gotten them out and put them on the table, and apparently Kaiya wanted to spit on Santa! :)
Cute Everett. This guy cracks me up! He is a beast with the highest voice you will ever hear. Ok, not the highest. But for how big and boy-y he is, he has this sweet little voice, and is just hilarious. What is even more hilarious is watching him in his own little world do his karate moves! He's got mad skillz!
Oh Angelynna, our princess football player! :) This petite little thing is almost a year younger than Taylor, but bigger and thicker than her! And Taylor is a big girl! :) But she is so sweet and mellow and the perfect end to her all boy family!
Jonah is also one of my most favorite kids ever! He was the starter of the 'epic' movement. His cute little lisp and that smile get me every time! He is fearless and fun and oh so sweet! My favorite story of Jonah is his breakfast club story. He found out that his school served breakfast and started going in before class every morning to have some. They just assumed that his parents knew, so they would take it out of his 'fund' at school. My sister in law was wondering why his lunch money seemed to be going down so fast. Then a few other parents noticed so one of them finally called the school to find out, and they told them that Jonah had started this little breakfast group with his friends, and they assumed that the parents knew. That's totally Jonah! :)
And Noah, I can still remember when this guy was born! I can't believe how big he is! He is so smart and funny and kind. He reminds me a lot of Tucker physically. They have the same build. They have some of the same mannerisms, Noah is a lot more low key and mellow than Tucker, but they totally remind me of each other! 
Then there's this beast! :) Elijah is the baby of an all boy family and you can totally tell! :) He is all boy and hard core! He loves his Mighty Machines. He had this video about Mighty Machines (trucks, trains etc..) and I heard that theme song enough times to last a life time. I still find myself humming it! :) One afternoon while we were in Alabama, I had just put Jackson to sleep in his car seat, burrito wrapped in one of his blankets, and I put the car seat in the corner of the living room with a blanket over it, which I had done a few times. No biggie. Then I went into the kitchen to help with lunch or dinner or something. A few minutes later I heard Jackson crying so I went in to check on him. Jackson's car seat was in the middle of the living room, Jackson was lying on the ground unwrapped, with Elijah standing over him holding Jackson's blanket, just looking down at him. Now if Jackson would have been crying bloody murder, I would have been concerned, but since he just seemed to be whimpering like he was uncomfortable, or that he was pissed that he wasn't sleeping anymore, I knew that he wasn't hurt or anything. Elijah's face was priceless. He just wanted to know why this bother of a baby was crying! :) We're still not sure what exactly happened, but I sure am glad it didn't seem to be too big of a deal! :) I just always made sure to put Jackson out of Elijah's reach after that! :)
Oh, then there was the photo shoot with my own children, that went something like this:
'Tucker look normal. Stop looking down and push up your glasses, they are falling off your face. And move just a little bit so the sun isn't in Jackson's eyes. Taylor, stop pouting and go sit next to your brothers!''
'Taylor stop crying, you can hold Jackson next'
'Taylor stop looking at Jackson, look at me and smile. Jackson is starting to cry and I want to get it before he....never mind!'
And that's all I got of my three kids. Luckily I can take them out anytime, but still!!!
I did get some cute ones of them with their cousins:
These two cracked me up:
This pretty much sums up how excellent my children are in front of the camera! :) I love this photo so much!!!
My mother in law always likes to do a big 4th of July celebration every year. Usually it includes a parade around her property on their bikes, a delicious feast and lots of treats and streamers and American flags. The weather was pretty wet this year, with lots of rain and storms. So, we decided to take the celebrations inside. We went down to her library (she is the head librarian for a private school in Montgomery. It is a very prestigious school and a beautiful library!) So, since there are no students in the summer, she often takes the kids to check out books. We decided to have our feast there. It was somewhere indoors, that wasn't grandma's house, or a fast food restaurant and the kids could read and check out some books
The decor (and the bookworms, Tucker & Noah)
{No Pyper party would be complete without Coke Zero Vanilla and of course, a few desserts}
Taylor found a few books:
Me and grandma and Meribeth and Lynlee. I love these ladies!
My mother in law invited her childhood friend, who happened to be in town that day. They have been friends since the 1st grade and he told us some fun stories about my mother in law as a child and teenager. It was fun hearing all of their stories! We need to write them down!
Finally, the time came and we had to pack up and head home. It is always mixed feelings when leaving grandma and grandpa's house. We are ALWAYS sad to leave, but the thought of being home in my own bed, in my own house seems so wonderful after three weeks away! I just couldn't believe that I survived with a newborn for three weeks across the country without my husband! Luckily I had a lot of help and had a great time! I got us all Auburn shirts to fly home in for when Ben came and picked us up at the airport! :) Our Auburn gang heading out for the long trip home. Ben almost flew down to Alabama the day before just to help me fly with all three kids, so I wouldn't be alone. He told me he would. But I though that that would be a huge waste of money, so I roughed it alone with the three crazies, and it was surprising very very easy!  Luckily my kids are easily entertained! :)
It helped that this guy did this the whole time:
I kept on telling Tucker to hang on to the rail in the Tram at the Atlanta airport, because it goes pretty fast, but he made sure to point out to me just how relaxed and lounged he was while riding. I had to get a picture of it! :) Silly boy!
With their treats and activities, they do just fine...
{My view of all three kids during the flights}
Finally we were almost home!!! And although we had a wonderful time and love going to Grandma and Grandpa's house. It felt SO good to be home!!!


Jeff and Erika Mitchell said...

Great picture post. Such cute, cute kids!

Jeff and Erika Mitchell said...

Great picture post. Such cute, cute kids!