Seven's Heaven

In August (that would be LAST August, as in 2014.. I know what you're thinking, but remember it's not nice to judge!), this incredibly handsome boy happened to turn 7.  Of course we did the usual: breakfast in bed, lunch with mom, choose your dinner and open gifts, but this time it was different.  THIS time I had a SEVEN year old boy!  Seeing as I am NOT a boy, and my husband is old and has a hard time remembering when he WAS a boy, figuring out what to give him was H-A-R-D!  Then I gained some "I think I really can pull this off" pride points (and major cool mom points as well, I might add!), when my trusty companion, Amazon, had the coolest shark tooth necklace EVER (and a scorpion encased in acrylic bracelet)!  That smile is holding back a LOT of excitement!  Apparently that's cool when you're 7..
As is this..
..and this.. (SIDENOTE: this was my first attempt at a non-boxed cake.  It was carrot because he likes orange.  And I like cream cheese frosting.  Hideous, but delicious!  Again, thou shalt not judge.  Especially if you happen to be a baker..)
Saving money is a worthy desire.. So is doing extra chores to do so.  He hasn't quite mastered that last part yet, but it's a cute piggy bank regardless! ;)
The Box Car Children series.  I couldn't remember much about them accept that I loved them as a kid and wanted to relive my childhood through him a smidge.
And then there's this.  I have a series of about a dozen shots just like this thanks to our little "Charming C" who is the new twister in the house these days!  Boys..
This was his only request.  The best part?  It has a zoom lens so he can get REEEEALLY close to his subjects.  I am now the proud owner of HUNDREDS of pictures of bugs.
Summer birthday parties can be hard, but we pulled off an awesome one!  Superhero style :)  They had to complete a series of "training" tasks to be awarded the ultimate reward and be dubbed as superheros!
Laser beam mazes.. it's serious stuff!
Because every superhero has awesome hand-eye coordination..
And web spraying skills..
The best part though had to be when I told my awesome husband that he was the super villain with the stolen loot of candy and armed the new found superheros with water balloons to knock out handfuls from him!  GENIUS I tell you!  It was priceless on ALL accounts! :)
Melty orange cupcakes.  Because I meant for them to look that way.  It's all the rage!
Seriously one super awesome party!! :)  And one SUPER amazing 7 year old that has me smitten with his little "not" smile that still shows his dimples and gives me joy beyond measure!


Before and After

Despite what Google may say, it is most obvious that the camera was invented by a woman.  "Why" you ask?  Because in her desire to remain sane, she needed proof that sometimes, sometimes she really did have it all together.  So she took a shower, got dressed and meticulously put her makeup on and took a picture to reminder herself that if she had time, she could look glamorous!  Then she scrubbed her house and removed all traces of life therein and took a picture to remind herself that if she had time (or no sweet children), her house would be spotless!  And then she took those pictures and put them somewhere special and would occasionally pull them out and admire them, reveling in those *brief moments whenever someone mistakenly told her she had it all together.  True story.

Thankfully that woman never knew me, because clearly, I really DO have it all together!  The fact that it has taken me over a year to finally get my "after" photos of our room makeovers (okay, the first two anyways) taken is purely a strange happenstance.  You are MORE than welcome to drop by and see my perfectly put together self in my perfectly put together home at ANY time!  As long as you give me 3 hours notice. ;)  But until then, the photos will have to do..

When we first moved into our home, brown was the name of the game.  Now don't get me wrong, I definitely think brown has it's place!  What would mud and human waste be without it right?  But on the floor, the walls, the windows & lights.. it tends to give that vibe that you're about 50 years older than you really are.  So against the will of every carpenter since the beginning of time, we (GASP!), PAINTED OVER THE WOOD.  I know what you're thinking.. poor beautiful tree.. but really, we just did it a favor.  Shine on bright tree, shine on! :)

Words.. what are the words??  That's a LOT of brown there folks!
Rip that sucker out boys!  ..entertainment shelves 18" off the floor for your pricey big screen TV with lots of littles to push it over?  No thank you.
It's beginning to look a lot like heaven!
Paint.  How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways..
Don't you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside??  I was VERY skeptical about painting the room blue.. would it give me a headache?  Would I tire of it too quick?  Well, it's been a year and I still LOVE it!  Hurray for taking risks! :)
Onto.. the kitchen!  Now I LOVE to cook, but I wasn't quite feeling inspired in here about food I'll be honest.  So what did we do you ask?  Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, (or so they say)..
This was a rather intense process, so thankfully we had some amazing family close by who let us bunk up with them for a few nights!  Migraine worthy fumes aren't good for anyone, let alone wet paint and toddlers..
Now for a little decorative glazing :)
My awesome husband installed the hardware and earned about 1,000 sexy points :)
...and now I cook with a smile on my face!
The moral of the story?  Paint is your friend.  Learn to love it and it will treat you well all the days of your life.  That and get a good camera.  Unless you have kids, then get a REALLY good camera.
On my to-do list is to get a collage of canvas prints up behind the coach where that large black frame is.. someday.. someday! ;)
Now repeat after me, "Wow! 6 kids AND a clean house?! How does she do it?? She must be amazing or something.."  Why yes, yes I am. (HA! *wink wink.. just please be sure to give me a call at least 3hrs in advance of wanting to "drop by" for a tour!)

*No children were harmed in the making of this post.  Forcing children to the outdoors is not abuse nor neglect if you have a fence and a great baby sitting dog to care for them..  There is a reason the woman who made the camera did not enable sound in still shots.  I'm sure she didn't invent side doorbells the kids can reach either.  Now stop gawking and join me in a Hershey bar.  Costco sells them in bulk.


Names & Blessings

Each of my kids has had a name carefully selected for them.  Their first names were just ones we liked, but their middle names are more meaningful.

Miss B has my middle name, Elizabeth.  Handsome H has his father's middle name, Glade.  Sir L has his Grandpa De Groot's middle name, Norris.  Princess P is named after my best friend from high school, who's nickname was Bre.  Charming C was born in Sao Paulo, so we gave him a Brazilian middle name, Luiz.  And Baby M was named after his daddy's brother, and has his middle name of Scott.

Originally we were going to stop naming our kids after someone (or something) after our first daughter and our first son, breaking the tradition with #3 Sir L, giving him the middle name Steel because I thought it sounded cool ;)  Then he unexpectedly came 3 weeks early on my dad's birthday and that changed everything, and I am SO glad it did!  It is such an amazing thing to be able to explain to our kids why we chose their name and have it go deeper than "we thought is sounded cool".  And so it was with our sweet Baby M.

With 4 boys in the house, I have seen some pretty tender brotherly moments.  As a woman I always figured the need to have a lifetime bond was more of a female trait, and put more emphasis on my girls and their sisterly relationship over my boys and theirs.  That all changed when we moved to Texas, 15 minutes down the road from my husband's brother, his sweet wife and their 6 children.  Seeing my husband with his brother, strengthening that bond that I don't think he ever realized he needed until now, has been such a rewarding thing to see.  They are as different as night and day (and not just in appearances!), but that doesn't  seem to matter at all!  It helped me realize that I need to encourage my boys to have strong bonds as well, and not just my girls.  Despite whatever differences may arise between them, the day will come when they are all wise enough to realize they can each benefit from one another, regardless of history or birth order.  And who better to help you reach your potential than your brother?  Hence, our sweet Marshall was given the middle name Scott, after his Uncle Brian Scott Hooley, in hopes that someday the story of his dad and his dad's brother, their relationship and individual as well as collective strength, will give him resolve to always stay close with his brothers.  I am so thankful that for his blessing, both his father and his Uncle were there and worthy to participate in this special and sacred day!
Baby M and Grandma R, the mother of the brothers :)
Having family close is made all the more fun with cousins to play with!
Even Bella has a playmate when we get together! :)
And when you've warn out your dad with sweet talk, there's always an Uncle you can try out.. ;)
These two are truly fantastic!  Texas just wouldn't be "home" without them!
Proof that I was there that day.. in all my awkwardness..
..but that runs in the family too it seems..
Despite the lack of sandy beaches, mountains and visual seasons, there is no doubt in my mind that we are where we need to be right now.  They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I have inherited a pretty great one!  And because of that, despite whatever this world throws at us, this little man (and ALL my children for that matter), are going to be just fine!