Helloooo Summer!

So technically, it’s still spring. I know, I know. It doesn’t feel like spring here in Georgia, but according to my calendar, the first day of summer is June 20th. For me, summer started the first day after the last day of school, which was May 21st.

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Looking at our Spring Bucket List, we did pretty good knocking it out! The only thing we haven’t done yet is camp at Stone Mountain, which we have scheduled for this month.

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Our Summer Bucket List is a bit longer, but this is the first summer in six years that I’ve not had a baby! All 5 of my kids are now potty trained and don’t require the use of a diaper bag or stroller! Can I get a Hallelujah?! Seriously. I thought this day would never come. But here it is! And I’m soooo excited to get out and do some stuff for a change! Maybe a bit too excited…I kinda over did it on the calendar and had to cross a few things out. I know my limits. I might want to catch a movie, go bowling, and take a family adventure to a park or beach here and there, but I know I’m not going to want to be out and about every single day (which is what the original calendar was looking like before I pulled the reins).

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I also decided that I cannot and will not live without a pool in my own back yard. Last summer, we threw out our 15′ Intex pool because it had served it’s purpose and I thought I wanted to go without a pool to care for and maintain for a change. Mind you, we’ve had one Intex or another in our back yard since we moved into our house 8 years ago. I figured I’d get a baby pool for the little girls, a sprinkler for the big kids, and we’d just have to hit up friends’ pools, the Splash Pad, the local beach (think sand by a lake), or do something indoors like go to a movie, bowl, or skate. But as soon as those temps rose into the 90’s and I saw/heard my neighbors splashing around in their Intex pool, I did a complete 180. Luckily, my sister just so happens to be getting a “real” above ground pool this year and no longer has any use for her 22′ Intex pool she bought last summer! I just ordered a sand filter pump to go with the saltwater system it already has, so I shouldn’t have as much of a hassle cleaning it like every other summer, and we’ll be able to leave the pool up year round (instead of having to take it down, clean it, store it, etc.). Our dump truck of sand (4 tons!) is getting delivered TOMORROW! I’m very excited! And so are the kids! I’m sure having the pool in the backyard is going to make it hard for me to want to go-go-go, but I still hope to get out and about more than usual.

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So far, we’ve already had a pretty busy summer! The first thing I wanted to do this year was get as much work done as possible to leave more time to play! Last summer, I didn’t finish the floors, which I had started the summer before that! I’m happy to say, the floors are complete! Well, I shouldn’t say that. I actually still have a small closet in the dining room that needs to be done, but that shouldn’t take 4 days like my room did!

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I can still say that my closet is done at least 🙂

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I even refinished a couple of pieces of furniture for my room since I had to take everything out to do the floors. We had an old ugly TV stand that I was beyond ready to get rid of, despite it being quite possibly the last piece of furniture I owned before I met my husband 15 years ago.

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I put the red dresser in my closet (it now holds my boots), and bought this old piece of junk from a friend for $45. I really liked the way the handles looked, and I liked the price and the fact that it still had all of its handles in good working order even better (handles can be pretty pricey and I wasn’t looking to spend more than $50 for a piece of furniture to refinish). Of course, I had to paint it. I like color, and since I was putting it among a bunch of white furniture, I knew it couldn’t be white. I already had bright blue trunks, so I had to steer clear of that as well. I settled on this green that I had on hand. Not having to buy paint saved me another $20! I primed it first, so some of the white primer would come through when I distressed it. I just love distressed furniture! Just about everything I own is distressed! You would think so much distressed furniture would look bad together, but I don’t feel that way at all!

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Here’s a close up of the distressing.

13254636_10206423526722549_9004835978580016579_oI had this jewelry armoire in my closet, but it wouldn’t fit in there with the red dresser, so I brought it out and painted it a teal I also had on hand, again to save money! I actually spray painted it the same blue as my trunks (that I still had) first so that color would show through once I distressed it. You probably can’t tell much from the picture, but it came out really cool! That’s part of what I love about distressed furniture! Unless it’s really distressed, you can’t really tell it’s roughed up unless you look up close! It’s like, “Surprise! I’m even more awesome than you thought!” LOL!

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The only thing I got Joe Daddy to help me with was moving some of the furniture and installing the new ceiling fan. We bought all new ceiling fans for the house when we started the floors 2 years ago so they would all match. We did away with the fans in the dining room/office. We didn’t use them much and we have low ceilings and they hung down kinda far, so they made the room feel much smaller. The fan in the living room was the same. It hung pretty low and had those lights that point down so you can see the light bulbs, which I hate. The new ceiling fans hide the light bulbs and hug the ceiling. I like them so much better! (Who doesn’t like boob lights? ;)) I’m just glad I was able to find them for $60! Ceiling fans can be pretty expensive!

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So here’s a couple things that you can’t get just from looking at this picture of my room after I put it all back together: 1) We put the mattress and box spring of the bed on the floor instead of the metal slats they’re supposed to go on. The slats have been bent up for years, but they held up the mattress and box spring, so we figured they were still doing their job. I thought the fact that I had to sleep in the same position every night or I hurt was just due to getting older. However, when we put the mattress and box spring on the floor in the living room while I was working on the floors, I didn’t have to sleep in my normal position! It was crazy! I hadn’t slept so comfortably in yearsSo despite the fact that I lost all my under-the-bed storage, I’m pretty happy that I don’t have to sweep under there anymore, I don’t have to climb up into bed, the kids love it, and Joe Daddy and I are sleeping more comfortably than ever! It’s been a bit of an adjustment to see it so low, but it’s totally worth it. 2) I used to have 2 curtain panels, but I decided to wash them since they hadn’t been washed in the 3 years since I purchased them. I didn’t even think twice when I put them in the dryer. Well, I went to iron them and the sun-blocking backing was all stuck to itself! I managed to pry one apart with only a little visible damage, but the other one couldn’t be saved. Of course, they don’t have those curtains at Walmart anymore (although they do have some very similar at Walmart.com that I’m still thinking about buying once I have an extra $30 I don’t mind parting with), so now I have one lonely curtain. It doesn’t look too odd since we don’t ever really open the curtains.

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One thing that did look odd, was my old dinosaur TV. It didn’t look quite so sad on that old stand, but look how pitiful it looked on the new dresser! Other than the TV in the kitchen, which I haven’t used in months, it’s the last of it’s kind in our house. We’ve tried only replacing TVs as the old ones die, but I quickly grew tired of these tiny old things after getting used to the newer ones everywhere else in the house. Last Christmas, we upgraded the girls’ TV and I figured we’d upgrade ours this Christmas. Well, then I had to redo my room right at Memorial Day when all the TVs went on sale! LOL!

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We found a 50″ smart TV on sale at Target for $350 (with tax after my 5% discount) and decided we couldn’t wait for Christmas. That meant the “old” (it’s only 3 years old) 46″ TV in the living room found it’s way to my room and filled the space perfectly! I still haven’t got to actually watch anything on it (oddly enough I don’t watch all that much TV anymore! LOL!), but I’m enjoying the view much better than before!

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After I got the house back in order after finishing the floors in my room, I tackled a bunch more on my Summer Work List! I finished painting the deck (I had painted the inside a few weeks ago, and finally got around to painting the outside), touched up the kids’ bathroom (we had to install a new toilet a few weeks ago and since it was smaller, I had to paint the wall behind it), put a new coat of paint on the kitchen cabinets (which I typically do once a year), organized the rattan stand (it has drawers full of kitchen stuff and a couple catch-all baskets on top of it), organized the linen closet (which houses all of the bathroom stuff that doesn’t fit in the bathroom like nail polish, travel accessories, first aid kits, medicines, hair bows, brushes, and overstock items of things like soap, toothpaste, etc.), organized the storage closet (which used to be Taylor’s “Doll Closet” and was completely trashed), organized the top shelf in my closet (which was full of pictures and old books and is now nothing but a catch all for Joe’s hunting stuff, LOL), and organized the pantry (which I was doing before grocery shopping every week but have not been keeping up with like I should). I still need to finish the floors in Joe Daddy’s closet (yeah, I had to kick the poor guy out of our closet and give him the front coat closet b/c I have too many clothes! LOL!), finish painting the trim on the house, and sell or donate all the stuff I found after the yard sale (I’m constantly finding more stuff I want to be rid of!).

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The girls have been awesome helpers! We actually got all of the laundry done and put away right before my sister and her family came to visit from Kentucky! It was quite a chore, but with everyone’s help, we knocked it out in no time! Even the socks! Of course, we’ve had such a busy weekend hanging out with them that it’s all piled up in the baskets again, LOL! Oh, well, such is life. I don’t know why I ever get so excited to get it all put away, other than it just rarely happens.

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Speaking of my sister…wow, what a nice long weekend we all had together! My sister Lauren lives in the hills of Kentucky, about a 7 hour drive away. She moved up there around 10 years ago to get clean. At the time, it was the best decision I ever saw her make! I was so over dealing with her in the state that she was in. I was kinda happy to be rid of her. Of course, she got clean, met a man and before we all knew it, she was married! I think that’s when I realized I missed her. But before she had kids, she came to visit like 3 times a year! The only time I’ve ever visited her is when she lost my nephew 8 years ago. She told me he was stillborn and I hopped in a car with my mama and drove until I could hold her in my arms and just cry with her. I’d drive back up there, all 5 kids in tow, if there was somewhere for us to stay while we were there. It just works better for her to come to us (especially since my other sister has anxiety and doesn’t travel very far). After Leland died, she had my niece Bailey (under very close monitoring). The visits died down to twice a year, but I was impressed she came to see us at all! Her husband could rarely make the trip with her so she would drive all that way, baby in tow, alone. Selfishly, I didn’t care. I just wanted to see her, and my BayBay. Last year, she had my niece Madison and I feared we’d never see her again, but around Thanksgiving, she told us she was coming for Christmas! Unfortunately, Bailey got sick right before they were supposed to leave, so they didn’t make it. So when I saw her on Saturday, it was for the first time in a year! And it was the first time I got to meet my Maddie Mae since she was born 9 months ago! Words can’t describe how much I love my sisters. They are truly my very best friends!

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On Saturday, we just hung out at my sister Monika’s house. She had rented a bounce house with a slide and had a little blow up pool for the kids. It was so nice seeing all 11 cousins hanging out together!

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Sunday was my sister Monika’s 29th birthday, but because my nephew (her son) is just going off with his friends for his 8th birthday (which was yesterday), and Trini really wanted BayBay at her birthday party but isn’t turning 5 til next week, we celebrated all 3 birthdays together! 13329453_10206471187034027_5323957302447381528_oWe had the bounce house/water slide, ice cream cake, grilled hot dogs, chicken, and ribs…

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…made s’mores…
13320353_10206464002294413_4642617454908139386_o…and finished the night with a movie under the stars, Minions! Taylor had the great idea to make tickets for everyone (and really made me tear the dang ends off as I gathered them from the audience, LOL!). We just printed them off a Google search onto some card stock. I bought everyone a box of movie candy and filled some cute bags I had on hand from Dollar Tree with popcorn.

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After dinner, Taylor and I set up all of the chairs my sister owns into rows and laid out the picnic blanket we keep in our car, while my brother-in-law hung the screen and set up their projector. The kids all picked Minions, so Minions is what my sister bought. I saw all of the glow bracelets and necklaces at Walmart while I was getting the candy and thought they’d be cool since we’d be outside in the dark, and I was right! The kids loved everything about the outdoor movie, and honestly, so did I! It felt like we were at the movies! I liked it much better than the outdoor movies I’ve been to at various parks surrounded by a bunch of strangers. It was nice having the house right there when we needed to pee or get a refill too! I definitely see another movie under the stars in our future this summer!

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I went to Kroger earlier that day just to pick up some sunglasses I passed up the day before and who do I run into, but my favorite Boy Scout, Jules’ BFF since kindergarten! He was selling flags, so of course I had to buy one! His mom thought she was being funny when she threatened to take a picture of me (since she knows I’m notorious for taking pictures), but I left my phone in the car, so I was like, “Go get your phone! You have to take a picture now!” LOL! Lucky for me, Tristyn is obsessed with American flags (and really all things patriotic, don’t ask me why), so she was pretty stoked when I brought it back to her.

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I mean, how could I possibly pass up these shades for $5???

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For Memorial Day, everyone came to our house. I barbecued ribs and did a crab boil pretty much by myself (although my mama was a tremendous help). I ended up having to run a couple errands that weren’t on the agenda…13323219_10206471193354185_7267648596838520278_o…and Joe Daddy came down with something that left him sick in the bed nearly the entire day. He was so adorable when he finally came out of the room dressed in the shirt I bought him (I can’t seem to pass up cute things for $5) asking for Jell-O. He kinda made a mess trying to eat it, but I was just happy to see him out of the bed! He wasn’t able to eat any food, other than the Jell-O, but he did take a couple pictures with me before laying back down!

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The kids were adorable too…in their own special way…as you can see, my sister and I have stopped even trying to get our boys to dress for the occasion. Jules definitely wins the prize for most inappropriately dressed this time! LOL! I don’t know how he was able to stand out in that heat with fleece pants on, or how Caden was comfortable in that turtleneck, or how Chase didn’t die in that long sleeve shirt (although it looks like he might be dying in these pictures, LOL). It was HOT.

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At least we have a pool, right? Hahaha!13329453_10206471192434162_2992434397191458974_oBomb pops were a great treat to beat the heat! And festive too! Did I mention they were cheap? LOL!

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The Jell-O cups we had for dessert after our late lunch were really good too! My kids love Jell-O and ask me to make it quite often. I started thinking about red, white, and blue desserts and decided I could pair blueberries and whipped cream with the cherry Jell-O and strawberries and whipped cream with the berry Jell-O. No Pinterest required! LOL! I love Jell-O just as much as anyone, but the whipped cream and fruit made it even better! And how cute are they?! Holly and Ty were pretty cute eating them too.

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Maddie Mae enjoyed a popsicle herself! She’s teething, so when she woke up grumpy, we broke out a coconut real fruit pop and man, did she love it! She got so mad anytime my sister tried eating it instead of giving it to her! LOL! Precious!

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I took this picture and all I could think was, “She’s not going to be a baby next time I see her.” I seriously wanted to cry! I was already missing my sister and nieces before they were gone! Madison slept most of the time and wasn’t able to do much with the rest of the kids, so I’m not too sad about her growing up, I’m just sad that I’m going to miss watching her grow! Hopefully, my sister will be diligent in taking pictures and videos and FaceTiming us more! She works full-time to care for her disabled husband, so I know that she does the best she can!

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My sister Monika didn’t want to stay late since the boys had baseball camp starting the next day, so we had one more sister photo shoot and then she and her crew went home.

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I spent about an hour cleaning up the aftermath, finishing up just as it was getting dark. We grabbed the sparklers we bought earlier in the week, lit ’em up and let the girls run wild! No one got hurt and everyone had fun!

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Tuesday afternoon, my sister packed her family and all of the stuff they had brought with them in their car and headed back to Kentucky. I hugged and squeezed all of them as long as I could without crying. They had a miserable 9 hour journey home since Bailey got sick and the baby is teething. I know they are glad they don’t have to make that trip often. It pains me any time I think about how much I miss them already. So I try not to. I try to think about their slow-paced, easy going life up in Kentucky, where the air’s a little cleaner. It’s not the kind of life I think I could live, but it suits my sister and her family, and as long as she’s happy, I’m happy for her. (Although I still pray daily that she somehow finds a way back home to us.)

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It’s hard to believe Trini’s 5th birthday is next week! When I asked her if she wanted to have a party at Catch Air (an indoor inflatable playground) and invite all of her friends from Pre-K or just go to the water park as a family and get bikes for her and her sisters, she chose the water park and bikes! We are planning on taking a couple trips to the park to ride as a family this summer, but for now, they are cruising up and down the driveway, and even in the yard on their new rides! Oddly enough, we’re going to Catch Air with our MOMS Club this week, so she’s still getting to go there and see some of her friends, it just won’t cost $300, LOL! We’re also going to take a trip to Chuck E. Cheese next week (which is what the birthday girl wanted to spend her birthday money from family on), and if we get the pool set up in time, we’re going to invite the neighbors over for a little pool party on her actual birthday. Summer birthdays rock!

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So far, we’ve checked off the outdoor movie, fishing, sprinklers, finishing the floors and the deck from the Summer Bucket List. We’ve got our camping trip with my sister’s family at Stone Mountain coming up in a couple weeks, then VBS at our church right after that. I’ll be serving with Trini’s group, which she is super excited about. We’ve also got some fun FREE events at a local library we’re planning on attending (a foam party, showing of Zootopia, a magician, an End of Summer Party, and a couple others), a couple planned events to go skating between June and July (which will only cost $10/visit since everyone gets in for free and The Littles have their own skates), a couple planned events to go bowling between June and July (which will cost $25/visit for shoe rental since the kids can play up to two games for free and I paid $30 for Joe, my mom, my sister, and I to play up to two games per visit for the summer, since it will pay for itself in less than 2 visits), 3 $1 movies (The Iron Giant, Peanuts the Movie, and Road Chip), a pool party with MOMS Club, a trip to the Splash Pad with MOMS Club, a Mom’s Night Out with MOMS Club, a trip to a local water park, some play dates at my sister’s with her new pool, plans to meet up with some church peeps at the local beach a few times, and hopefully a couple trips to some nearby waterfalls! At some point, I hope to sell or donate the items accumulating in my shed, finish painting the trim on the house (I’ve painted the part over the deck already!), finish the floors in Joe Daddy’s closet, and keep the garden alive (which I seem to be doing OK so far). And starting Friday, I have to get back into my exercise routine at the gym! I haven’t been in over a week! I’m only going to do 4 morning classes and 1 night class since Joe Daddy wants me to run with him 3 times a week. The Littles are excited about being about to go to the class Ty goes to while they’re at school all year long! LOL!

As much as I love to plan for things, sometimes the best moments are totally unscripted, unplanned, and unexpected.

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Tristyn is obsessed with catching fireflies.

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All 4 of my girls love seeing frogs, lizards, worms, butterflies, pretty much any kind of wild creature up close and personal.

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My kids have finally experienced the joy that is buying ice cream from a crusty man in a van! LOL! We’ve caught him twice this summer and hope to catch him again! Sure, I have orange cream and strawberry shortcake pops in my freezer that only cost a quarter each as opposed to $1.50. It’s just so much more fun to run to the street, watch that white music playing van pull up, hand your money to a strange (but very nice) man, and get a cool treat in return! You just haven’t lived until you’ve enjoyed the ice cream truck experience! LOL!

I hope you all are having the best summer ever! Whether it’s at Disney, Myrtle Beach, some beach in Florida, on a cruise, or simply in your own back yard, memories are memories! Make some good ones!

 

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