Monday, December 19, 2016

The One About Thanksgiving

We hosted our second ever Thanksgiving at Squill Ranch this year! My how far we have come from last year (looking at you, uncooked turkey!).

It was our turn to spend Thanksgiving with the Moriarty Fam and everyone was excited to head out to Brenham! Some of us got there Wednesday afternoon which turned out great because it gave us time to unpack and get settled. Unfortunately, both my little girls were sick sick sick. Regardless, much fun was had by the cousins- and by the siblings and spouses too!

Thursday was spent cooking and taking care of sick littles and refereeing and playing and fishing. We had 22 people out there- that's just my immediate family.

My sickest little. Poor thing felt terrible.

How moms prep Thanksgiving meals! 

My other little sicky!

The big boy cousins brought their "retro" Nintendo 64 (what? those aren't cool anymore?!)
and a projector and played on an empty wall in the playroom!
Needless to say, my 6 year old was quite obsessed! 

The "middles" decorating the tablecloths!

Grandeb on Grandeb duty!

Crafting fun with Auntie Kiki!

All hands on deck around here! 

PawPaw always carves the turkey!

Cornhole fun! 

Probably my favorite picture from the weekend. 
It's always been a family tradition after the prayer to go around and say what we are thankful for this year. 
We are so so blessed! 

And when it was time to eat, you just ate where you could find a spot! 

Thankful for this guy!

Hard to believe they are all mine! 

We had a great Thanksgiving and were all exhausted afterwards. We still had a little in us to sneak in some fishing, hang out and visit some more, and make a fire and relax by it... well, when kids are around relax isn't the exact word I'd use. But it was fun the kids loved it!

Rocking on the porch!

More Grandeb duty. 
Let's talk about how awesome Sadie is. 
Kelsey, take a lesson! 

My odds! 

Charley Kate loved building!

Anthony in his happy place! 
I have never seen him so chilled out than after fishing. 

It gets dark FAST out there! 

Molly loves to snuggle with PawPaw!

Washing off the day! 

And of course, one giant Moriarty Family picture! 
The first picture of all 22 of us out there! 

Friday was more of the same- playing and fishing and hanging out. My cousin, Kelli and her family were in College Station from Pennsylvania visiting her parents, so we had all of them out on Friday. Ugh! I miss them! The kids all had an absolute blast together. I so wish they lived close and we got to see them more!

The Harmon sisters, plus their youngest babies, with their youngest babies! 
Lots of memories between Kelli, Michelle, and me! 
I hope our two girls her little boy can do the same!

Owen loved fishing with Anthony.
He caught the biggest catfish on record at the ranch... a 3 lb!

Kelli's middle and Molly passed out- facing the wrong end of the bed! 

Dickson is the cutest! 

Shooting skeet with Aaron and Josh. 
I was a terrible shot that day- and I'm normally pretty decent! 

It's just fun to visit and catch up! 

The girls loved playing together!

More visiting!

And our group shot! 

It was a fun day but we were all spent by Friday night. Most people headed back and my family, Michelle's family, and Kiki's family stayed and spent the night. It was an early night.

The next morning we all cleaned up and packed up and got outta there early- we had family pictures that afternoon!

Friday night shenanigans! 

And Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without some sort of mishap! 
The Fountains car wouldn't start.. Always something! 

After family pictures we celebrated Anthony's (and Owen's and Jill's and Scott's) birthdays at my parents' house.

It was a super fun, super hectic and crazy few days. We wouldn't change it for the world- except maybe a little less crazy and a little more sleep. Ha!

The best part about being out in Brenham is getting to be outside all the time. We aren't all just stuck inside one house for a weekend- we can get out and do things and be pretty spread out! Thankful we have a place to celebrate... but especially thankful for our wonderful and numerous blessings.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

6 Months Old.. For the Last Time!

I can't believe we have survived 6 months with four kids!

I am laughing so hard- I just went back and reread Molly's 6 month post. It was all rainbows and unicorns and how wonderful life was at that time... and I think about these past 6 months and I just don't have those feelings at ALL! Not saying life isn't wonderful and we aren't terribly blessed- because both of those are true! But the last 6 months have by far been the hardest of my life. So so so hard.

Four kids is HARD. Fussy babies are HARD. Four kids where one is a fussy baby is REALLY HARD.

But each month that goes by is one more month of us surviving, growing, and learning. And one more month where I feel like I earned one extra jewel in my heavenly crown! (kidding... sort of)

Kelsey is a sweet sweet girl. She is generally so very happy and easy... as long as she's with her momma. While all of my babies have been attached to me, this one is even more so than the others.

While it gets tough, it's wonderful knowing she trusts me and relies on me so much. I am her lifeline. I am her safety net. I am her world right now... and that is a pretty amazing thing!

Kelsey at 6 months...
-Sitting up, crawling to every single room, and yes... even beginning pulling up to standing. She is our earliest to crawl. Our other kids at 6 months were taking a few crawls here and there and this girl is absolutely all over the place.
-She has gotten amazing in the past week about sitting around with her older siblings and just playing toys. I can't even believe I don't have to hold her 24/7. This is amazing!!
-She's in size 3 diapers and 6 month and 9 month clothes. She is very long and needs that length! Most things totally swallow her up though- she's a very skinny thing!
-She's by far our worst sleeper. I tried her crib twice. Both times she was up a jillion times before 11:45 when I went to bed for the night. So she's back in our bed. And I'm nursing her back to sleep every time she wakes. She is bad. I am bad. I am too tired to even try to work on her sleep all night long. I. Just. Can't.
-She generally falls asleep around 8:30/9 for the night and sleeps until about 8ish the next morning. She naps twice a day (very well). Usually a cat nap around 10:30 and then again around 2 for several hours.
-She has a precious laugh and sweet little sense of humor.
-I know we all think this about our kids, but she is a smart little cookie. She copies and does things we do. She does "so big" on cue! And I know you will think I'm lying, but she did AND said bye bye this past weekend!!! She's been waving for a week now- and she absolutely knows what she's doing. It's not a perfect wave, but her little hand does the same thing and her arm goes up. And this weekend she actually did the wave then said, "buh buh." It was on cue with the wave and she did it several times! AND WE HAVE IT ON VIDEO for those who don't believe us!!!!!
-She's been pretty awesome lately with babysitters/nursery workers/other people. Thank you Lord!
-She is a great eater. Nurses every 3 hours or so and eats whatever between. She loves table food and whatever we are having. She absolutely hates pureed baby food! Ha!
-She is not so laid back... even a little. She's still pretty demanding of our time and attention. I know this won't last forever, but it's a little hard when your young baby already has such a strong opinion.
-She hates the car! Screams just about every time I put her in- stretches her back out and stiffens up and SCREAMS. Ugh.
-She loves her siblings so so much. They are wonderful to her. Always caring, always sweet, always understanding.
-And her pets. I think since the pets have gotten older they've just given up with the kids. She climbs all over both of them and grabs their fur and ears and pokes their teeth. They are so good to her.
-She had her first ear infection last weekend (after a nasty virus over Thanksgiving!) and it was a double doozy. Poor girl. On amoxicillin for the first time and broke out in hives a few days later. Doctor thinks it was due to virus! This one is certainly keeping us on our toes!

She really is such a joy to us. Her smile is so infectious. I love how she can draw anyone in with that happy face! She loves to ride forward facing in the Baby Bjorn and just be close to mom and explore the world safely.

We had her 6 month check up today and she is our skinniest baby yet and our tallest girl! You can absolutely tell by looking at her!

Height: 27.5 in (97%)
Weight: 14 lbs, 13 oz (26%)
FOC: 16 in (12%)!!!!

Height: 27 in (89%)
Weight: 15 lbs, 15.5 oz (48%)
FOC: 16.75 (61%)

Charley Kate
Height: 27.25 in (90%)
Weight: 15 lbs, 5 oz (40%)
FOC: ??

Height: 27.5 in (84%)
Weight: 17 lbs, 7 oz (49%)
FOC: 17.5 (53%)

We love you sweet Kelsey Jo! You are a precious child and our perfect little caboose. Can't wait to watch you continue to grow!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Lots of Kids = Lots of Programs

One of the things I didn't really think about when I decided I wanted to have a lot of kids was all the "stuff" that each kid would have.

I mean, I knew about sporting events and gymnastics and piano lessons and whatever interests they would have. I knew I would desperately need to rely on carpools and tribes and villages to make it all work.

But specifically, I never really thought about the fact that I would be attending three Thanksgiving programs in as many days the week before Thanksgiving. "Oh, really Courtney? Like that's a big deal or something?"

Let me tell you WHY it is a big deal.

1) Because each morning it means getting dressed- and I don't even mean dressed up... I just mean getting dressed in something other than workout wear or jean shorts and a shirt. Putting on makeup, doing my hair (which may or may not be clean). It also means getting whatever other kids dressed and getting out the door to attend a performance.

2) It means getting to the school early to get a decent spot all while keeping the kids I have with me entertained and happy while we wait for said decent spot without using all the fun things I brought to also keep them busy during the actual performance. Was that a run-on sentence? Yup. But that's exactly how it feels while keeping babies entertained and waiting. And I'm not going to lie, I got to the performances EARLY each time. And there was always a ton of people there before me. WHAT TIME DO THESE PEOPLE GET UP EACH DAY?

3) It's juggling a baby and at least one other kid (but likely two other kids) while filming the performance. And even if Daddy or Grandeb are there, it's just NOT THE SAME if Mom isn't answering you. And if you haven't kept a baby and toddler happy and entertained and filmed all at the same time then you haven't really lived.

4) It's spending hours in the morning prepping and waiting to watch these performances for about 15 minutes. 15 minutes! 15 minutes of watching your kid get blocked out by the other 100 kids around them and stand there and maybe sing. Then just like that, it's over!

5) If the kids are in preschool then that means you take them home for the day after the morning performance. So yeah, that day is SHOT. It shouldn't even be included in tuition. You go to school and drop them off, you go straight into the auditorium, you watch the show, you take them home early. That's just how it is.

6) And it's having THREE DAYS IN A ROW completely shot the week before you host Thanksgiving. Not to mention the girls are out of school the week of Thanksgiving, so any errands I have to run means the girls come with me. Grocery shop for Thanksgiving meals 9 days before Thanksgiving? Yeah, doesn't work that way, so... um, yeah. Can't wait for the grocery store this week!

As tough as it was making all these school programs work all week and having three days where I seriously got nothing done (oh, and did I mention that Kelsey worked her way back into the Fussiest Baby in the World category!?), there is something about watching your babies sing that just completely freaking melts you.

Seeing their faces and watching them sing their little hearts out and watching them look through the crowd to find you... Gosh, that moment they find you- it's got to be one of the top 10 parenting moments ever, right? Seeing them find you and smile and wave and watching their little chests puff out just a little more... Dang, it makes all the crap and chaos above so. stinking. worth. it.

These faces. They get me every time!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Squill Ranch Anny!

It's hard to believe we've had our ranch for a little over a year now!

We have enjoyed this place more than we could have ever imagined! We've celebrated (almost two!) Thanksgiving(s), New Year's Eve, spring break, Easter, birthdays, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and countless weekends. We've had so many friends and family members out (and if you haven't been out- COME!).

The house was pretty much move-in ready, but we made some personalized touches here and there (paint, etc). We have taken our time furnishing the house and finding all the right pieces and fixtures (also because it's expensive to furnish two homes!)!

We have seriously loved all of the memories we have made. The kids learned more in a year about the outdoors than in all their years combined. Dirty nails, chasing grasshoppers/lizards, digging in the dirt, climbing on hay bales, hacking through trees and brush, finding gophers, picking sticker burs out of feet, poking fires.... the list could go on and on and on.

There is no way I could pick favorite pictures from the past year out there... but I'm going to try! I will inevitably leave out too many, but here are some of my favorite things from throughout the past year!

Closing Day! 

Moving Day! 

First day out there that we owned it! 

Tex is a huge fan! 

First family weekend out there!
Everyone stayed busy! 

The beginning of a beautiful relationship between Anthony and his pond! 

The first (and now only!) campout! 

Family fire time! 

Jay has fallen in love with fishing! 

...and shooting! 

A random warm November day...
And the kids wanted to "swim"

The beginning of the hide and seek with our gopher! 


Grandma and Grandpa at Thanksgiving!

Anthony and his best bud Jake fishing on his birthday!

Christmas parade in Brenham!

New Year's Eve crew!

The mommas on NYE! Wild and crazy! 

Random fishing fun! 
It's a family favorite! 

One of our favorite parts of being there on the weekends...
Porch church! 

St. Patty's Day in the bluebonnets!

A random Mommy/Molly day! 

Jay loves finding new creatures out there! 

Easter egg hunt with the cousins! 

Iowa family in town! 

The girls from Iowa (plus me!)

Our biggest porch church yet...
Memorial Day weekend!


Baby Kelsey's newborn photos at the ranch!

Julie working her magic! 

A family shot at the ranch...
It was SO important to me to have our pictures taken there! 
We love it so much! 

 4th of July with the Moriarty clan!

I waited TEN months to enjoy the mint from my garden! 
It was an occasion to celebrate! 

More 4h of July pics! 

Mom helped me brave the Brenham water park with all four kids!
We were exhausted but it was worth it! 

Grammy came for a visit! 

Grandma and Grandpa help set up the ping pong table!

One of the kids' favorite things there is the HUGE bath tub! 

Dove hunting on opening weekend from the porch in the rain! 

Mom and I exploring the local spots! 

I love this shot! 

Good times with friends! 

As you can see, it's been a fun-filled and jam packed year! This isn't even a tenth of the photos! We are so excited to add more memories!

We have filled our lives with this place more than we could have imagined. This ranch has blessed us more than we knew! Every time we go out there we fall in love with the place all over again. So thankful for Squill Ranch.