Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sort-of Sick Day

Last week Lucas was sort-of sick. 

Moms, you know the scenario-- snotty nose, cough, tired eyes from several nights of restless sleep, but no fever (unless 99 degrees counts for something), no vomit, no major red flags that require a stay home day from school. It's one of those times where "mom instincts" kick in. You just know your baby needs a day off to rest and recover. And that's the kind of day Lucas and I had.

He wasn't sick enough to just lay pathetically on the couch, so I let him guide our plans for the day. What did my boy want to do?
We started with games. If playing games is a love language, it's at the top of this little guy's list. We worked our way through his favorites: Spot It, Connect 4, Checkers, Jenga, Crazy 8's, and Chutes & Ladders. He is a tough competitor!
Next, he wanted to "bake a cake." I rummaged through my pantry and found this Red Velvet cake mix. Perfect. He loves to help me in the kitchen. Cracking eggs is a special skill he has mastered. And don't get me started on stirring. He can stir and mix with the best of them. 
Later, after the cake cooled, we made cream cheese frosting to complete our baking experience. 
Next up was coloring. When he was a toddler, he was too busy to sit down and draw. But this year in particular, he has found a real love of art. He enjoys creating, drawing and coloring, and will sit still for long periods of time to focus on his work. The top photo is a mother/son collaboration featuring Mike reaching up for a napkin before digging into a giant ice cream sundae. The bottom work was a guided activity--I told him to draw a scene where everything has "normal colors." Then draw the same scene where everything has "not normal colors." 

At this point, Mom needed a break and we needed some lunch, so it was movie time. He vegged out on the couch and watched Turbo while I got our lunch ready and straightened up the house a bit. 

After the movie he wanted to do a science experiment. I went with a super easy one. Pour milk into a pie plate. Add four drops of food coloring. Add a drop of dish washing liquid, then use a toothpick or straw to swirl the colors around. It makes a cool tie-dyed effect. 
He had a good time predicting what would happen next,talking about color mixing, warm vs. cool was simple, but he enjoyed it. 
Like staring at a lava lamp, it was hard to look away.
Next up--books. This is Mom's favorite and Lucas loves it too. He's reading now (simple stories), so he likes to try to point out words he knows or read a sentence or two. Current faves: the Teacher from the Black Lagoon series, Frances the Badger books, and Mister Muster. 
We had so much fun just the two of us!
And this eventually happened shortly after his sisters came home. 
Later that evening, we were snuggling on the couch and he randomly told me, "I enjoy loving you, Mom."

Heart. Burst.

I sure love this kid. And I'm happy to report he is feeling much better. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween 2015

There was a lot of drama leading up to this year's costume choices. I'll spare you the details, but it involved scouring the Internet, not ordering in time, one costume way too big, a full day of searching local stores for accessories, and many theme changes. With that being said, I'm happy with what we ended up with. May I present the Galloway kids of 2015: Cleopatra, Darth Vader and Katniss Everdeen.
Ready to stop taking pictures and start knocking on doors! 
Hannah as Cleopatra--this was her fourth choice for a costume, but she rocked it. 
Leah is obsessed with The Hunger Games right now. She has read the first two books and we let her watch the first movie. She gets it. She can handle it. We are ok with that. Katniss is her hero.
Darth Vader in action. This was a hand-me-down costume from a friend. The new red power ranger costume we had purchased turned out to be about four sizes too big.  We will save it for next year. Bummer.
Lucas and his buddy Houston.
Hannah, India, Leah and Adilee.
Our neighbors really got into the decorating this year!
Lucas and James
Beautiful Halloween sunset
Toward the end we were all cold and tired, but like any good parent I kept snapping pictures and making my kids pose. 
Another festive neighborhood yard. This came complete with the Ghostbusters theme song playing on repeat.

We came home and sorted through our spoils. And we all ate a few (Leah gave me a Heath bar! Woot!!). The kids' friends India and James spent the night and as tradition states in our home we must watch the Disney cartoon version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It's narrated by Bing Crosby and retells the Washington Irvington story so well for a young audience. It's just a little spooky, but mostly fun. We love it.

Later, after all five kids were put to bed, someone in our neighborhood started shooting off Halloween colored fireworks! They were loud, big and lasted for quite awhile! Oh my! A new tradition?! I suppose we will have to wait until next year to find out.

Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Second Birthday Pic

This is my mom and I at my baby show for Lucas. She was so excited for Lucas to arrive. It was a beautiful day--so bright and sunny and full of family and friends. And I'm so glad I could share it with her.

Gosh, I miss her smile.

One of my biggest fears is that I'll forget her. That's why I love to look at pictures and retell stories and listen to videos of her voice.

No, I'll never forget. How could I forget a part of me?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Birthday Week

This Friday is my mom's birthday. I spent 34 birthdays with her, and this will mark the 4th without her. I've been thinking about her so much lately. Yesterday, I thought about her and cried off and on all day. Today I've been thinking about her and smiling. Grief is weird. 

In her honor, I thought I'd share one photo of my mom a day leading up to her birthday on the 30th.
The back of this photo reads, "Barb gathering pecans, 1301 Edgewood Dr, Graham, TX, Fall,1975." 

I was about 18 months away from being born when this picture was taken. Mom was at the end of her battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. She had recently finished brutal rounds of chemo and radiation. Her hair was starting to grow back. She was thin and weak, but so very happy to be alive. She had been told that because of the radiation she received, having children would be a slim possibility. I know she was struggling with this--the thought that she might never have children. But she trusted God. Sought His will. And found refuge in the shadow of the Almighty. 

The following May of 1976, my mom found out a baby was on the way--me. And I would be her only baby. 

I look at her face in this picture and see the strongest, bravest woman I've ever known. 

Thank you, Lord, for letting me be that miracle baby. 

Friday, October 23, 2015

August 2015

August in Oklahoma is one word: HOT. Usually over 100 degrees. It's delightful (not). Yet, if you can be near a pool or some sort of water source, it's not that bad. I still prefer the ease of summer--throw on shorts, tank, flip flops and you're good to go. Sleeping in, no set schedule, vacations...,I digress.

With school staring August 13th this year, we only had two weeks of summer left to play. 
My dear friend and college roomie, LeAnn, came down from Kansas for a visit with her boys. She surprised me with the news that she is pregnant with her third baby--a girl! LeAnn is amazing--smart (has her PhD in biochemistry and microbiology), beautiful, patient and so genuine and kind. She is a friend to everyone. I just love her and cherished our short, but sweet visit. 
We took in another fun Energy game!
We finally started the project of redoing our girls' room, taking it from toddler girls to young ladies. We started with new paint and carpet, then added bunk beds, new comforters and a desk. We still aren't finished, but we made big strides forward in August.
Getting there! We definitely freed up more floor space! 
My dad took Lucas to a Dodger's game for a special Guy's night out. They had a blast!
The second weekend in August, my friend Nikki and I decided to take a quick Mothers/Daughters' road trip. We decided to make this an annual thing from here out with these simple rules: 1. It will just be a weekend trip 2. It will be to an off the beaten path kind of place--no theme parks or or gimmicky kid traps. These girls' only trips will be focused on the journey, the quality time and a quirky experience so we can bond even more over the unique experience. For our innaugural trip, we chose the exotic town of Graham, TX. Why, you ask? This is the town I was born in and lived until I was ten years old. It's a quaint, small town of 8,000 in north-central Texas Hill Country. And it's only a 3.5 hour drive from OKC. 
We arrived around 1:00 and went straight to the Dairy King of course. That's right, Dairy KING, not Queen. The King is a total greasy dive that has been in Graham forever, and you must get a vanilla cream Coke when you go. It's the law. It might even be the eleventh commandment. Served with crushed ice and a classy super sized styrofoam cup, it's summer perfection. 

Next we checked into our hotel then changed and headed to the city pool where we swam the afternoon away. 
                    Cooling off! 
Later, back at the hotel, we did facial masks, manicures and pedicures. The girls loved it. Then we went next door to Pizza Hut for dinner before our final event for the evening--a drive-in movie! 
I grew up going to this drive-in! The firstv movie I saw here was Flight of the Navigator with my friend Shauna. We sat in the back of her dad's brown and orange pick-up truck and loved every minute of it! 
This night's feature was Pixels. It was meh, but the girls had tons of fun. Especially since we loaded them up with candy too.
The next morning we slept in, ate breakfast at the hotel, swam at the hotel pool, then checked out. On the way out of town, we stopped by Shauna's mom's house which happens to be across the street from the house I lived in. We got to sit and visit with her for a bit before we hit the road back to Oklahoma. But not without another Dairy King drive through!

Then, a few days started!!!
Hannah and Leah started 5th grade at Deer Creek Intermediate School! A new adventure!!

And Lucas started kindergarten at Deer Creek Elementary School just down the street. My handsome boy!!
Once school started, I could really start devoting a day or two a week working on the House of Healing Gala. This is Nikki, Kathy and I working on securing auction donations downtown in Bricktown one afternoon. 

I blinked and August was over! 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

On Napping

Hi, my name is Emily. I'm 38 years old, and I've been allowing myself a nap time as needed. There. I said it. No guilt about it!

As moms, I find that there is a tendency to find ourselves filling up our time to overflowing most days. Then as if to show our "good mom badge" we list off all the things we do in our day and all the activities we take our kids to justify how tired we feel. 

Is being a mom physically exhausting? Yes. Most days. 

Is it ok to allow ourselves to say "no" to some activities (let's don't jam pack our days, shall we?) and allow ourselves a break during the day? Yes! It's ok! It doesn't show weakness or defeat at all! 

It usually hits me around 2:00 in the afternoon. My eyes feel heavy, my body just wants to be still for a little while. And I realized, that by 2:00 I have been up and working for eight hours already! After working eight hours at any job, you would get a break. And guess what? From the time my girls walk in the door at 3:00 until I crawl into bed around 10:30 or 11:00, I've worked a second eight hour shift! No wonder moms are tired!

So if time allows for it, and if I feel sleepy (some days miraculously I don't!), I give myself permission to lie down on the couch and close my eyes for 20 minutes or so. And that little break for my mind and body does wonders for me. I feel like I can tackle the afternoon with more energy. 

And I'm ok with that! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Tenkiller 2015

This fall break marked the seventh time we have gathered at my aunt and uncle's house at Lake Tenkiller in NE Oklahoma. Our good friends, the Reutlinger's (also from OKC) and the Miller's (from Dallas) meet up with us there every year for a week of togetherness and family fun. It truly feels more like hanging out with family for the week. Our nine kids have grown up together and get along great. And the six of us adults laugh and talk and play games. It's seriously one of my favorite things every year. 
Our days started and ended on this back patio--coffee and pajamas in the morning and a glass of wine or sangria in the evening. We may or may not have still been in our pajamas in the evening. Don't judge. 

Arriving late Wednesday afternoon after a three hour drive from Oklahoma City, we got unpacked and settled in. My aunt Mary and uncle John live in Tulsa and use the lake house all summer. They are not there as often during the school year, so they graciously let us use it! Their home is at the top of Buckhorn Mountain. The front yard gives a view of the lake while the back yard looks out into the woods. It's so very peaceful. 

Looking out into the woods from the back patio. 
Tradition states that we end every day with a sunset walk. 
The Millers brought their sailboat, so Thursday we hung out on the water all afternoon. It was unseasonably warm (90 degrees), so we actually let the kids swim! In October! 
Mike and Reed learning the ropes.

Nikki, Angie and I doing our sailing pose.
Proof that our kids actually swam in the lake in the fall. They said it was cold, but not too bad. This momma didn't jump in though! 
Later, after the kids were all in bed, we opted for Bananagrams and Sangria. We might have been singing, "Your Lips Taste Like Sangria" all evening. 
                Day Three breakfast. 
Four years ago we built this fort in the woods. Every year the kids add to it. They literally play in it all day breaking only to eat and go to the bathroom. The girls really beautified it this year! 
Silly girls: Leah, Hannah, Marlee and Madison
There was corn hole. Lots of corn hole. And jokes about saying "corn hole." 
Brian kissing his new pal, Bob the (fake) Bison. 
        Late night Clue. Mrs. White did it. 
Day Four started with pumpkin carving.
Then somehow transitioned into an adult pyramid and a Whip and Nae-Nae dance off.
        Our traditional soccer game. 
The old faithful playground nearby always gets a fair amount of abuse by our kids each year.
                  Yum s'mores!
                  Yuck, s'mores! 
Chicken Creek woods provided the perfect playground for hide and seek and capture the flag. There was lots of running followed by sore muscles the next day.
The Galloway Pumpkin at night. It's Rumble, the Bison--our NBA mascot. He looks a little more sinister here.
The kids! Ages 11,10,10,8,8,6,6,6,3
The ladies! I'm not going to show our ages, but they are all under 40 for now.....
                 The Galloways!
                 The Reutlingers!
                     The Millers!
Can't wait to do it again next year! Only 11 months away. :)