Third Day Naturals-A Little Give Away

I'm hosting a give away from a sweet little company that sells beautiful soaps, balms, and lotions.
The company is called Third Day Naturals and you can read about how it was started here.  (I love reading about how someone gets an idea and has the gumption and passion to start a business.)

All of their products are high quality, hand made, and natural.

I love the soap.  I had these products in my closet for a few days, and Abbey walked in my room and said,"Mom it smells so good in here-it smells like Grammy's house!"  A few of the other kids came in sniffing and said, "It does! It does!"  That was the Lavender and Oatmeal soap.  (It is now on Abbey's nightstand because she loved the smell so much.)  I've used the Nude Soap for Janey and I and it's wonderful.  I also the Zinc and Castor Oil creme when I feel Janey might have a little rash coming on in the diaper area and it is gentle but effective.

This little lotion bar is in my purse now-for my hands that are always so dry from dishwater.  It works wonder-not too greasy but just really effective. 

If you would like to try a product, leave your name and I will draw a winner on Friday for a $25 credit to the store.


Ordinary Back To School Days

Look at that face, she knows exactly what she is doing.

I wouldn't normally let a baby eat BBQ chips just so you know, but this is a baby being raised along with teenagers so she might just be exposed to more things, like BBQ chips, and let's leave it at that.

The day before school starts.

Ten birthday candles.

I was so excited to get this for me, I mean Janey.  Isn't it cute?  I couldn't resist.

She's into blinking.

Abbey is going to have a great year, I just know it.

They are all ready to be with classmates and be busy.
(Excluding Janey of course.)

Remember my row of pink impatiens in front of my house that I lovingly planted in spring?

And I just bought these a week ago.
I feel like I look the same way.

Praise the Lord.
It's always bitter sweet.
I always feel like crying.
Like sobbing crying, not just tearing up.
But I will admit some of those tears are shed for me.
I did it.
I survived an intense summer of a baby, and kids and teens.
I did it on little sleep, I did it all myself pretty much, everyday, with no breaks, I did it. 
Swim team, and t-ball and tennis.  Soccer and cross country and lacrosse and crew.  Two work schedules for teens with one car.
Hundreds of load of laundry.
Thousands of dollars of food bought and put away and prepared.
Busy teens and late nights, and early mornings, and a baby who nurses at night and is a light sleeper during the day.  
I did it.
I don't know if I did it well.  I don't think I did this summer. I did it in survival mode and I did it with patience and probably lots of impatience and some frustration too.
I did it with tears and laughter and major self-doubt and prayers.
And some yelling and some arguing and some slammed doors and some sharp words.
I tried to enjoy it but sometimes I just did it, because I'm the mom and because I'm supposed to and sometimes it's not all enjoyable.  Sometimes it's just hard work.
I think I will look back on this summer and laugh one day and be a little less critical of myself, just for being here, doing it, as best as I could at the time.

Not so sad anymore because he is going too!

After his first day.  So cute. Loved the bus.

Four down, one to go.  College packing.

You know what I am doing this week.  Sometimes I am embarrassed to live on my quiet little street.
We are loud and our grass is patchy and we have SO much garbage especially when we have birthdays or mom goes on a cleaning and decluttering rampage, or both.  I've got a tight schedule this week to get this ship in shape and it ends with a major carpet clean which I am more than giddy about.
And the grand finale of all photos for the week. A beautiful collage.
I wondered why my camera was loading 97 photos, and then I found these gems. 
It's that laugh/cry thing all over again.
 Unbeknownst to me, Patrick had taken about 50 photos of me pulling up those dead flowers.  ALL at this beeeuuutiful angle.
Making a collage of my big butt weeding just seemed the perfect way to end not only this summer, but this blog post as well.


Number One

My dear Janey-
I can't believe you are one already!
From the minute I found out I was going to be given the gift of a new child, my heart was full of love for you. 
You are a little light in our home.

Your quiet sweetness, big bright blue eyes, contagious laughter, your little bunny teeth, your insatiable
appetite at dinner, your dimples, your chubby thighs, the way you bump heads with me, forehead to forehead, nose to nose, how you put your head on my shoulder or on Daddy's when you get shy with strangers, how you laugh so hard at all the silly things your sister and brothers do, and then always get the hiccups, and your gentle spirit, have brought so much joy to us all.  

Happy First Birthday to my sweet little Janey!  


Happy Birthday Andrew!

Andrew is 10!  Andrew is such a great fun-loving kid, and such a helper.  Jeff and I joke that Andrew could survive for weeks by himself.  He knows how to get around town, how to make his own meals, how to operate just about every appliance-he learns quickly and observes and takes in everything around him.  
He hears everything also-he cracks us up with his ability to catch the little things and then bring them up at dinner.  (The teenagers aren't fond of this trait but we can't help but laugh.)

We love you so much Andrew!  You have brought such joy to us all!

Happy Birthday Andrew!  


Ordinary Days

A blurry photo of Patrick and Grandpa in the workshop.

Two good books I've read this summer.  I loved Gracelin O'Mally and just requested another Ann Moore book, Leaving Ireland.  The Yonahlossee book is a little racy at times, but it is a really well-told story, with great characters I loved.  I stormed through both books in a couple days each, they were both so compelling.

Really, really good.

At the park one day.

Jeff's birthday.  We celebrated with cake and t-ball game.

T-ball-we made it!

Abbey and her friends at the game.

Abbey's back to school shopping trip-she went with friends, which is a little sad for me since we loved to do this together, but she knows what she needs, and knows what she likes, and with strict instructions to not go crazy, she picked out things I loved too.... white notebooks, white binders...everything matching, lots of index cards....and she uses them-look at that stack from last year!

After dinner, the boys usually run out to the trampoline.

These next four weeks I have four birthday to celebrate in our family (Jeff, Andrew, Janey, Abbey), our 20th anniversary, and three different school start dates, along with all those orientations and meetings, and long supply lists (which I tackled last week).