In my favorite poem by Robert Frost, Nothing Gold Can Stay, he reminds us that like the seasons of nature, life is one season melting into another, and quickly fading away. This is my attempt to document each season in my life and my family.

Kid Quote

Filed under: Family,Hailey,Kid Quote,Kids,Logan — Rachel at 8:19 am on Monday, January 26, 2015

Matt was gone for five days for the Army last week, and, Friday, Grammy (Matt’s mom, Alice) came and spent the night with me, Hailey and Logan. Friday night, we were sitting on Hailey’s bed, waiting for Matt to call us so we could FaceTime and say goodnight. The kids and I were chatting, and it went something like this:

Me, “I can’t wait for Daddy to get home so he can give me a kiss.”

Logan, “I can’t wait for him to get home so he can give me a kiss.”

Me, “I can’t wait for him to get home so he can give me fifteen kisses.”

Logan, “I can’t wait for him to get home so he can give me fifteen kisses.”

Me, “I can’t wait for him to get home so he can give me five hundred kisses.”

Logan, “Daddy doesn’t have enough time to give you five hundred kisses.”

Me, “Oh, yes he does. He gives me five hundred kisses every night.”

Logan, “No he doesn’t! That’s impossible.”

Me, “What do you think we do after we put you guys to bed? We start a timer and give each other five hundred kisses every night.”

Hailey, chiming in, “Nuh uh. You go put on music and start the shower.”

Grammy, “Oooookay then.”

Those kids. They just say the darnedest things!

A Few Random Thoughts

Filed under: Family,Kids,Quotes,Random Thoughts,Writing — Rachel at 1:23 pm on Monday, January 12, 2015

I’ve had a hard time getting into the swing of things since the kids went back to school. I slept late too often during their Christmas break, and it was hard for me…the total opposite of a morning person…to get used to getting up early again. I spent most of last week feeling tired. I did manage to write my first short story of 2015, though. I’m really happy with it, and am planning to submit it to a literary journal before the end of the month. I think it’s one of the best pieces I’ve ever written, and I’m pretty proud of it. Hopefully, someone else will agree with me. If it gets turned down by the journal that I’m submitting it to first, I’m going to submit it all over the place, since most lit mags accept simultaneous submissions.

My three little guys are playing basketball this year, and their first game is tonight. I’m pretty excited about it. They’re pretty cute playing. They’re all three on the same team, so that makes it easier on us. Kyra is playing this year as well, but she has only just had her first practice last night. I was surprised to see that she looks better than she did at the end of last year’s season. She has grown so much since then. I think that’s the biggest reason for her improvement. She’s not the shortest kid on the team this year! (I’m always hoping that my kids will not be short like me but that their dad’s genetics will take over in the height department.)

Speaking of height, Hailey has shot up recently. She is getting so tall! Just before Christmas, her pants fit perfectly. They were just the right size. Now, a couple weeks later, they are all an inch too short. These kids are breaking us up with their constant need to outgrow things!

I had two boys throwing up this morning, which is a terrible way to start a Monday. Elijah has a stomach bug, I think, because his dad had it over the weekend. So he had to stay home from school today. Logan, on the other hand, just has to take some really yucky tasting medicine and couldn’t hold it down the first time. My littlest guy has had severe stomach pain for a week. I took him to the doctor on Saturday. We aren’t sure what’s wrong with him. Doc thought it might be gastritis. He’s been on a bland diet over the weekend to give his tummy a break, and the doc put him on Zantac. So far, no real improvement, but last night was the first night he’s not went to bed at five p.m. I’d appreciate your prayers for him. If he isn’t showing a lot of improvement by tomorrow, I’m going to have to take him back to the doctor for some blood work and maybe some other tests, which I know he won’t enjoy.

Matt was gone for the weekend for ILE. Since our youngest three had practice and I also had my kids for the weekend since their dad had drill, too, I didn’t get to go along with Matt like I’ve been doing. It’s crazy how much you can miss someone when they are only gone for one night. He told me he didn’t sleep well that night, and it took me forever to finally get to sleep. I have gotten so used to sleeping next to each other, it’s hard to sleep when he’s not there. I just really don’t like being apart.

At church yesterday, the pastor was talking about our schedules, and I appreciated this quote from him: “Schedule what you want to be not what you have to do.”  I thought that was excellent, and went right along with what I’ve been thinking about in regard to my writing. Allowing myself to think of reading, writing and blogging as equally deserving of my time as cleaning house and running errands has made a real difference for me. I want to be a great wife and mother, but I also want to someday be a great writer. So, I’m building my schedule to allow me to do both.

That’s all the news from our crew for now!

A Wonderful Year

Filed under: Family,Holidays,Kids,Love,Matthew,Me,Videos — Rachel at 3:39 pm on Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Today is the last day of the best year I’ve ever had. There have been years I’ve been so glad to see the old year go and the new year come because it was so difficult, and years that I’ve anticipated the new year because something I wanted was waiting there. This year, though, I’m simply ending the year with great contentment and satisfaction. It was a thoroughly good year. I’m happy to see a new year come, because I anticipate it to be just as wonderful as this one has been.

The obvious highlight of 2014 was my wedding. I am so very thankful that I got to marry my best friend. I have never in my life met a man like Matthew Holbrook. I didn’t even think men like him existed. He’s the perfect combination of tough and manly, sweet and romantic, funny, intelligent, successful, generous, and overwhelmingly kind. I don’t care if people get tired of me bragging on my husband. I’ll brag on him until the day I die. He is a gift, and I am so thankful that 2014 made me his wife.

Here is a link to the post about how our love story began.

Our marriage brought together two families, and I am so thankful for how well that transition went. We haven’t really had any major issues with the kids. They all like each other, and they get along just like brothers and sisters normally do. They play, fight, tattle, tease, get in trouble together, and have a good time. They’ve all went through their parents’ divorces and remarriages in the last couple years, and I’m incredibly thankful that they’ve adjusted as well as they have. Kyra, Elijah, Owen, and Abby spend equal time with us and their dad and stepmom. I think that has made it all much easier on them. They know all their parents love them and put them first, and that they will always get to spend time with all of us. They all like both of their new step-parents that this year gave them, and I’m so very thankful for that.  Logan and Hailey have had extra challenges, but they’re doing amazingly well. We have them with us one hundred percent of the time, so the three of us spend a lot of time together when my kids are with their dad. This has been good for us, because it’s allowed us extra time to bond with each other. Hailey took to me right away, and we’ve never had any issues. Logan has taken longer to get close to me, but things have gotten much better in that department. He sat in my lap and snuggled with me for the last two movies we watched together. Anyone who knows us knows what a huge deal that is. I’m very happy with the way things are going, and I’m very thankful for the family that was born of our marriage this year.

Here is a link to a series of posts about our wedding for those of you who are new to my blog and might be interested.

Another highlight of 2014 was our family vacation to Panama City Beach, Florida. This trip was a wedding gift from Matt’s Uncle David and Aunt Jennifer, and it was just the most perfect trip. My mother went along with us and helped us with the kids. Having her along allowed Matt and I to have a date night while we were there, which was an added bonus. We swam in the ocean, snorkeled, para-sailed, picnicked on the beach, fished, collected shells, laid in the sun, rented a pontoon, built sandcastles, and enjoyed some really good quality time together. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a vacation more than that one. It was just perfect.

Here is a link to my post about our first family vacation.

The rest of the year was packed with lots of firsts and lots of good times. From holidays to birthdays to our every days, we have been incredibly blessed. We’ve got to do a lot of fun things. We’ve been surrounded by friends and family. I’ve been so thankful for the family I inherited when I married Matt. The Holbrooks are beautiful people, and they have accepted me and my children with open arms. I’ve even gotten to know a lot of Hailey and Logan’s maternal grandparents and relatives, since we often take the kids to visit them, and that’s been a blessing as well.

Another wonderful addition to my life has been my involvement with the Roane Writer’s Group. This group of fellow writers has encouraged me so much, and I’ve really loved participating in the weekly meetings.

Our church small group has been another family to us this past year. Through all of the difficult moments of this year, they’ve had our backs. They text us and let us know that they’re thinking of us and praying for us. Whether it’s been court dates, sick children, discouragement, or any other thing, our small group has let us know that we are not alone. I’m very, very grateful that they are a part of our lives.

As 2014 comes to an end, I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude for the way my life has worked out to this point. There have been times in recent years when I felt like the bottom had fallen out of my world, and I would never be happy again. I never could have imagined that the Lord would bring me to this happiness. I don’t deserve it, but I am forever grateful.

Here’s to 2015 being as kind to us as 2014!

I already posted this slideshow as a standalone post, but I’m going to include it here, too. Enjoy!

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Kid Quote

Filed under: Abby Jo,Kid Quote,Kids — Rachel at 12:47 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday morning, Abby was showing me a little package she had wrapped in Christmas paper. She had made a gift for a little boy in her class she likes named Peyton. She said she made some flowers and a Naughty and Nice list that had her and Peyton’s names on the Nice side.

I said to her, “You better be careful. He might fall in love with you.”

She grinned up at me and said, “That would be ok.”

Kid Quote

Filed under: Family,Kid Quote,Kids,Logan,Owen — Rachel at 12:44 pm on Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Poor Logan has the flu, and I have warned the other kids to keep their distance. I’m dreading an influenza outbreak in the Holbrook/Harmon house.

I heard Owen saying to Logan that they could sit close because Owen wouldn’t catch the flu anyway. I asked why he didn’t think he would catch it. He said, “Because I’m awesome!”
I said, “Being awesome didn’t keep you from getting sick all the other times.”
He said, “I’m a lot more awesome now!”

 

Kid Quote

Filed under: Family,Kid Quote,Kids,Owen — Rachel at 2:23 pm on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

So, every time we eat dinner, we do this thing where we go around the table and everyone shares the best part of their day. For the last few weeks, we’ve added a question that everyone answers as well. For example, we’ve asked “what’s your favorite food” and “what’s your favorite disney character”. Just random stuff.
Last night, Matthew said we were going to share the best part of our day and then share one thing we like about the person to our right.When it was Owen’s turn, I told him to be serious, because I knew he would be tempted to say something funny about Kyra, who was to his right.
He said, “One thing I like about Kyra is that she reads a lot of books.”
We all looked puzzled, and I was about to ask why he likes that about her when he grinned and explained, “It keeps her quiet!

Hailey Grace is Seven!

Filed under: Birthdays,Family,Hailey,Kids,Photos — Rachel at 12:04 pm on Monday, October 6, 2014

Our middle girl had a birthday this weekend. Hailey Grace turned seven years old! She has been so very excited about her birthday. She wanted to have her party at a local park. We had a nice day, other than it was the only cold day we’ve had so far this year. It was a little chilly, but otherwise perfect.

Hailey wanted a panda bear birthday party theme. I managed to find some panda decorations online and ordered them for her, and then Matt and Mammy collaborated on her birthday cake. This was no small feat, as Matt and Mammy have been warring over who is the best birthday cake baker since March. It had split pretty much along bloodlines, with Logan and Hailey insisting Matt’s cakes were better and the other kids insisting that Mammy’s were better, until Hailey’s party. Hailey was torn, because, while she insisted her daddy’s cakes were better, she wanted Mammy’s decorating skills so she could have a panda cake. So, she asked for Mammy to make her cake, but Mammy was out of town for the days preceding her party. The compromise? Mammy made the rice paper panda and balloons for the cake, and Matt baked the actual cake and put the decorations on it. I thought the Great Baking War of 2014 was going to be laid to rest with this act of goodwill from both sides, but then Mammy started trash-talking Matt at the party, so…we’ll see. The end result, however, was a beautiful cake that Hailey loved!

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Our pretty girl with her birthday cake.

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Blowing out the candles!

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Hailey loves her 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Carter, and she was so happy that she was able to come to her party. In this photo, Mrs. Carter was singing to her.

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Birthday presents are always the best part! 

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I loved that this photo shows the braid I put in Hailey’s hair. I’ve never been able to french braid before, but I’ve taught myself on Hailey’s hair. I’m still not very good with Kyra or Abby’s hair, but the texture of Hailey’s is so different from theirs that it’s much easier for me. That’s all…just proud of a newly acquired mommy skill.

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Hailey was very happy to see almost all of her grandparents at her party. She’s got four grandmothers in this photo. (Isabelle managed to evade the camera somehow. I didn’t get her in any of the photos.)

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Favorite Uncle, Aunt Katie, Daddy, and Grandpa Don.

 

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One last shot of the birthday girl. She was giving her notorious dirty look to, I think, her Mammy. Classic Hailey. 🙂

Happy birthday, Hailey Grace! I hope your seventh year brings you so much joy! We love you so very much, and are so very proud of the beautiful, smart, sweet, and funny little girl you are!

Homecoming Princess

Filed under: Family,Kids,Kyra,Photos,School — Rachel at 11:29 am on Monday, October 6, 2014

Kyra ran for Homecoming Queen for her middle school this year. She didn’t win, but she did really well. Her classmates voted the girls into the homecoming court (three girls from each grade), and then the girl who raised the most money for the school was Homecoming Queen.

Kyra looked so pretty in her dress, and I loved how her personality shone through. She chose to wear Converse sneakers with her dress, and she looked fantastic. Everyone loved it. She’s definitely my daughter!

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Kyra’s hair looked really pretty!

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I can’t believe my baby girl is in 7th grade. Time really flies!

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Matt caught me and Kyra checking out our selfie. 🙂

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Kyra with her escort, Dillon.

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Kyra and her cousin, Mackeinzie.

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Kyra with her Daddy and her stepmom, Brianne.

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Kyra with Mammy and Papaw.

This is where I would have posted the photo of me and Matt with Kyra, but we asked someone else to take a photo of us with our camera and they didn’t actually take it. I was so disappointed! Oh, well. Maybe next time.

We are so proud of you, Kyra Joy! You are wonderful and beautiful and so very smart and kind. We could not ask for a better daughter!

Kid Quote

Filed under: Kid Quote,Kids,Owen — Rachel at 1:06 pm on Wednesday, October 1, 2014

We were playing Scattegories last night after dinner with the kids. The letter was “L” and one of the topics was “something in this room”. Owen’s answer was “Love”, and his explanation was, “Mama and Matt are in this room, so there’s love here. It’s everywhere.”

What’s New?

Filed under: Abby Jo,Elijah,Family,General,Hailey,Kids,Kyra,Logan,Owen,Reading,School — Rachel at 11:20 am on Thursday, September 18, 2014

Things are going well and we are very busy around our house. We’ve got so much going on all the time. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I was still in school. I know we could have made it work and got everything done that needed done, but I can only assume that Matthew and I would be running ourselves ragged.

The kids’ activities keep us very busy. I’m really glad that they are able to participate in things that make them happy, and I’m thankful that I have more time now to be involved as well.

Kyra is running for Homecoming Queen at her middle school, so we’ve been busy trying to raise money for that. We’ve sold donuts, and Kyra, Brianne (her stepmom), and Mammy (my mom) have made hairbows in the school colors to sell. The three little kids got in on helping sell the hairbows at Elijah’s football games. We were all getting cracked up at Logan last Saturday. He was carrying a ribbon full of hairbows around, selling them with sheer cuteness. I think he sold seven bows. The three of them even managed to sell a bow to Papaw John! Kyra is also still taking piano lessons, and is working on a classical piece for her recital that’s coming up. After her first report card, she had all A’s except for one B. I’m really proud of her grades. Every time she gets an A in Math, I do a little victory dance in my head!

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Elijah is playing football, and he has practice three times a week and games on Saturday. This boy loves nothing more in life than to play football. He’s doing so very well this year, despite being one of the smallest boys on the team. He plays hard every game, and really puts his heart into it. During his last game, he got a fumble recovery, some tackles, and he almost sacked the quarterback…he hit him right as he was throwing the ball, forcing an interception. It was so funny watching him come off the field after that. Elijah doesn’t get excited over much of anything, and was still all business coming off the field. His coach picked him up and bear hugged him. After the game, Elijah was trying to keep his game face on and not smile, but, when I told him  I bet he had just won himself the defensive player of the week medal, he grinned really big. I tried to snap a picture of him smiling, but he ran away. I gave my phone to my mom to take a picture, and I grabbed him and tried to hold him still. He was trying to get away, but you can see his happy spilling out anyway.

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Monday at practice, I went to pick him up, and I was so excited, watching from the van, when I saw the coach give Elijah the medal he had been working hard to earn since the beginning of the season. I admit, when his team started clapping for him and one of his teammates slapped him on the back, I teared up. I was just so happy for him.

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Along with football, Elijah is also doing two after school classes, one of which is Dodge Ball. Spending an hour playing Dodge Ball after school on one of the days he doesn’t have football practice is good for him. Otherwise, he has entirely too much energy! Elijah is also an honor student, and got all A’s and B’s on his first report card. Of the two B’s he got, he was one point away from an A for both of them. I’m really proud of him!

Owen doesn’t stay as busy as his big brother, because he’s not really into sports. He played football one year, but wasn’t a fan. He is taking an after school class, though. Like Elijah, Owen is doing Dodge Ball every Wednesday. Yesterday was their first day doing it, and he really enjoyed it. A few weeks ago, the elementary school had Open House, and I was so pleased after speaking with Owen’s teacher. She just gushed about him. He looked a little embarrassed while we talked, standing there with his hands shoved in his pockets, not saying a word. His teacher said he was an excellent student, he was very quiet and obedient in class, and she said he was very sweet. I was actually kind of surprised. I would have expected to hear that he goofs off and talks when he isn’t supposed to, because Owen is our resident comedian. He is always being silly and making everyone laugh. I guess he knows when to be silly and when to be serious. So good on him! I was over the moon, though, when she showed me his TCAP scores for reading. My boy is in the 99th percentile for reading. In case you don’t know what that means, let me brag on my boy. That score means that Owen reads better than 99% of kids his age in the whole country! I was so proud of him!

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Hailey hasn’t been involved in extracurricular activities since she finished her baseball season this past spring, but she’s gearing up to be a little busier now. She is also taking an after school class. Yesterday was her first day of ballet class. Mammy told her the other day that we were going to get to see just how graceful Hailey Grace is. I was cracking up yesterday when Hailey was showing me in the kitchen what she had learned in ballet. Hailey is on a waiting list with Kyra’s piano teacher for a spot to take piano lessons from her. I’m really hoping that will open up soon. Hailey loves sitting down and playing around on the piano, so I would really like to see her get to start lessons soon. She’s also thinking about playing basketball this year, so, if she does, that will be starting up soon. The thing I am most proud of her for right now is all of her progress in reading since the school year started. Hailey has more homework than the rest of the kids combined. Apparently, first grade is serious business. At the beginning of the year, she was really struggling to read, but she’s doing so great right now. I work with her every day after school. She has developed a really good work ethic when it comes to homework, and she comes home every day, sits down with me, and we get it done. She reads each one of her stories to me twice, and she’s really doing the work to get better at it. At Open House, her teacher had lots of good things to say about her, and Hailey obviously loves her teacher and her class.  She’s got several friends at school, and is really doing great at her new school this year.

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Me and Hailey reading before bed.

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Our silly girl with her homework.

Abby is loving school! She was so excited for it to start, and she’s learning so much. Unlike Logan, Abby didn’t go to pre-school, so she’s learning everything for the first time in Kindergarten. I’ve struggled with feeling really bad that I didn’t have the time to work with her more. Especially since I homeschooled the first three and was so involved in teaching them the basics. So, even though it’s just Kindergarten, I feel like we’re already playing catch up. Besides homework, we’re doing a lot of other work with sight words, letters, numbers, and flash cards. Abby is super smart, so I know she will catch up to Logan soon. Socially, she’s doing great, too. She’s got some little friends at school, and also has decided she has crushes on two different little boys. She cracks me up talking about them! She also, apparently, goes by Abigail at school. The school doesn’t offer any after school classes for Kindergarteners this year, so Abby doesn’t have any extracurricular activities. She spends most of her free time playing with her siblings.

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Abby on her first day of Kindergarten.

Logan is doing fantastic in school. His teacher gushed about him at Open House. She even mentioned that she thinks he might be gifted. He definitely went to a fantastic preschool, thanks to Matt, so he is ahead of the curve when it comes to Kindergarten. He has one especially good buddy at school, and we got to meet the little boy’s parents at Open House. Apparently, he talks about Logan as much as Logan talks about him. Like Abby, Logan doesn’t have any after school classes available to him this year, so he’s pretty much just chillin’ at home after school. He keeps himself busy drawing, coloring and playing with his brothers and sisters. They’re all a bit obsessed with Club Penguin lately. It’s kind of funny to me when the younger kids bring back the things that the older kids were really into a few years ago.

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He had just said, “Rachel! Look at me! I’m a ninja robot!”

As far as Matthew and I go, we are mostly busy being parents. We do make a conscious effort to spend time alone together, though. Matt has been working from home on Fridays, which I absolutely love. It’s so nice to be home with him, just me and him. We’ve also had several date nights recently. We’ve done everything from a simple dinner out to a pre-season NFL game. We’ve went and looked at several properties, as we are wanting to find some land to build our dream house on. We’ve also spent a lot of time lately cuddled up on the couch watching football. (I must admit, though, that I have a propensity to cuddle up with the intention of watching football and falling asleep on him instead.)

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At a Cincinatti game!

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A quick ice cream date!

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On our way to drop the kids off in Matt’s sexy truck! 🙂

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At my nephew’s birthday party.

So, that’s all the latest for our crew. We are busy all the time, just enjoying being a family.I have a feeling that it’s only going to get better, too.

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