Sunset Beach 2014 {our nightlife}

I would say that of all the traditions our family holds, of all the things our kids expect from year to year, the ONE thing that they anticipate the most is our trip to Sunset beach with their cousins.

And when I say beach, I mean beach.  As in the sand and the surf.  Cause we are those people that pack sandwiches and more snacks that you can imagine and schlep tons of stuff down from the house around 10 and stay until the food is gone and bellies are rumbling.  

Every year we say that maybe this year we'll go see the USS North Carolina or that we'll check out that planetarium or go play putt putt.  And every year we spend our days soaking up the sun, building castles in the sand and surfing and swimming to our heart's content.  (this is what our days during beach week look like)

But eventually each day everyone is sanded and ready for a shower.  And then there is the question of what to do with the evening.

Typically that is answered by eating.

Either down in Calabash for dinner at Captain Nance's...

...or for ice cream at the creamery.

Occasionally we'll take a walk on the beach by moonlight,

and there is the annual trip to Callahan's of Calabash to pick out an oranament from St. Nick Nacks.

But usually leaving the beach house after showers means getting our Sunset slush on the island

or partaking in a bag of carefully selected salt water taffy from Wee R Sweets after our crab leg feast.

Or, on the best day of all, heading back down to the beach for foil packet dinners...

...what could be better than a great meal with a view?


Wordless Wednesday {library day reading buddies}

(yeah, they fight...almost daily.  but they love each other too!)


Sunset Beach 2014 {getting our crab on}

trying desperately to catch back up on the backlog...months of stories are still waiting to be told!

I don't remember how many years its been now that we've been eating at Joe's during our week at the beach.  

But it's been a few.

Enough that it's become tradition, something eagerly anticipated from year to year.

Even if there's one that doesn't actually like crab.

seriously, two years in a row we remembered that one of our kids didn't actually eat that $10 kids meal.
and two years in a row we couldn't remember which one.
for the record, it's the one that gets the most excited about the crab pounding tools.
next year he gets shrimp...
Natalie didn't know what the hype was all about, but she got caught up in the excitement of the others.

Grab your crab cracker,

bib up,

lick your lips,

grab a leg,

and dig in!

Table of crab legs for 13?  Yeah, that's what we're all talkin' about!

See ya next August Joe's!

my sister and her crew
if we're the M7, they are the C4


the triple 8s

My three "big kids."

With just 364 days from Ky to DQ with Caleb sandwiched almost in the middle, we have one magical day a year they are triplets.

Watch out world, this is a trio to be reckoned with...
triple 8 day!


and just because it's fun...even ifmaybe a bit see just how much they've changed since they've become a trio



in the Magic Kingdom...somehow overlooked the "just triplets" shot that day
but here they are, the three five year olds with the three year old


sadly, there is no picture of the three of them the day they were all three.
i'll chalk it up to jetlag having been home four days and still recovering from walking pneumonia...


Wordless Wednesday {Thing 1 ambushes Thing 2}

dr. seuss spirit day 2015


nine is just fine

There was a day that she didn't like being the center of attention.  She'd find somewhere to get lost on the sidelines, desperate to avoid being the center of attention.  Performances at school or church terrified her and left her in tears.

"who me?  really?"
Not anymore.  Watch out world, Kylie B has arrived.

My once shy, reserved, uber quiet little girl has become an outgoing, confident, assertive nine year old.

Nine.  There, I said it.  NINE.  As in halfway to eighteen.  As in we'll stop that train of thought right now...

I'm not sure exactly when she got so tall.  But these days she is all legs.

And smiles.

Kylie Boo,

It seems crazy that you are halfway to the point that you could be leaving the nest.  I say could be because your plan right now is to live with Daddy and I for the rest of your life...and I'm okay with that.    But I suspect that as your confidence continues to grow, you'll figure out that the world isn't quite such a scary place and you'll change your mind.  It wouldn't surprise me if you ended up spending extended time in the land of your birth and while I'd miss you, I know you'd be back to visit.
Over the past year you've declared yourself a "swimnast" and lobbied Daddy and I to be able to join a local year round swim team.  You also have truly become a voracious reader and it isn't uncommon for you to read four, five and even six novels a week.  Right now historical fiction attracts your attention, especially when set in the homesteading period or based around the civil rights movement.
As the oldest, you expertly fill the role of "leader of the pack" in our house and most days do a great job of encouraging your younger siblings.  You are willing to spend time with any of them though if you had your way, you and DQ would spend days on end playing with your lego friends or including Natalie when you three play with your Journey Girl dolls.
You occasionally drive me crazy with cries of "that's not fair" when one sibling gets something that you want (like a play date on a day you have swim practice or time on the computer that you didn't get) but that same sense of fairness that nearly makes me lose my mind also shows me that you have a heart for others when I hear you comment on how unfair it is that children around the globe don't have families to take care of them.  I truly believe that you have potential to be a world changer.
You and I butt heads from time to time.  You're just as strong willed as me.  I mess up in this role of parenting, but you are gracious and don't hold my inexperience against me.
I am grateful that I can call you my daughter.
My love always,



her "Gr8" day

In the blink of an eye (okay, okay, it was actually five years, but it feels like a blink) our beautiful birthday girl went from a "me focused" toddler with chubby little hands,

the eyes haven't changed a bit though...
to an amazingly compassionate big girl with guitar playing fingers.

I sometimes catch my breath when I think about how we nearly missed the blessing of having Darcy Q in our lives.  We weren't planning on three kids, we weren't planning on three kids within a year of age, and we certainly weren't planning on a crash course in pediatric glaucoma, port wine stains, craniofacial  orthodontia, and Sturge Weber Syndrome.

But God...

As I watched her open her birthday present (a travel set for her Journey Girl doll, Kelsey) I reflected on how she is an amazing gift to our family...and how the layers continue to delight and surprise us with each passing stage.

Darcy hasn't found "her thing" just yet.  Not that she hasn't experimented.  She's taken ballet, tap, and guitar.  She's a solid swimmer, a fast biker/scooter rider and can hold her own on a mile run.  She enjoys art and has a pure singing voice.  But nothing has made her tick just yet.

well, nothing beyond putting together lego friends sets
(she and ky got a large set as a shared birthday gift)
That's okay though.  Part of the joy of being her mommy is watching her explore her options.  There's plenty of time, and I get a front row seat watching her build new skills as she tries her wings in many new endeavors.

Darcy Q,
You are one in a million.  When you get frustrated or irritated, you just don't have enough mean bones in your body to stay upset long.  Even your most grumpy face is replaced by a smile and forgiveness quickly.  And that smile?  Well it is pure sunshine.
At eight you have pretty much read all of the Rainbow Fairy Books (time for a new series), you are a prolific writer, and you excel in drawing pictures/coloring/writing poems and notes for those you love.  You enjoy building with Legos, walking Amber, and playing dolls with your sisters.  You are proud of your Chinese heritage, love to sing praise songs, and live out the commandment to love one another better than most other people I know.  While you do still often add an extra syllable to your older brother's name (Ca-lub-uh) you and your "twin" are as close as ever.
Thank you for loving me despite my imperfections.
You make me a better person and I love you with all my heart!
Forever and always,