Friday, June 30, 2017

Mattie Claire's 4th Birthday



Dearest Mattie,

I am so sorry so many people have forgotten how precious you are, but as I have always promised, I will never forget you.  You are with me in my heart every day of my life.





 We will do a wonderful job of celebrating you today, I promise.  We will have decorations, cake, and fun things we know you would enjoy.



As I have pondered how we have come this far since the day you came silently into our lives, my heart breaks for all the wonderful memories we have missed with you.  I know you are so beautiful and happy and perfect in your heavenly home.  When I see other people say their living children are angels, I just want to tell them they have no idea what a real angel is.  I held one in my arms and kissed her beautiful face and will love her for the rest of my life until I can hold her again.












When I try to imagine what you would be like at four, I am lost.  I know you would be beautiful and sweet and fun as you grow into a little lady.  You would be learning so many knew things as you begin to prepare to start school.  You may know your ABC's and how to count and write your name and may even be learning to read.  You would probably be able to dress yourself and would probably have a unique style all your own.  With four brothers, I wonder if you would like sports and playing ball or if you would be mommy's girly princess who insisted on dressing up all the time and playing with your dolls.  Mommy would love that!






Mommy just wants you to know that you will always be loved.  She has a really hard time sharing about you because it is hard to talk about without crying and because most people just don't seem to appreciate you.  I just want the world to know how special you are, my little angel.  I hope that you are having the best birthday party ever in heaven and that you will enjoy watching our celebration here too.

With all my heart, happy birthday beautiful girl!  I love you!

Love,

Mommy

Monday, June 12, 2017

Welcome to Our New Georgia Home

After giving a tour of all of our bedrooms, I am finally going to complete the main tour of our new home.  While we do have some long term plans for this home, we are pretty content with the way it is for now.  We do think this is the closest we have ever come to living in a house that is both of our styles.  We like the traditional brick ranch style with plenty of room on the inside without feeling like there is lots of wasted space.  I think we both like not having stairs as well.  So far, it seems to be a well built custom home in a neighborhood of other custom homes.  It was built prior to large development builders moving in and putting up lots of homes quickly and cheaply; however, it is on the newer side of most of the houses in our part of the community.  Our street and cul de sac were the last phase of homes to be built in the early 2000s.  The community and builders also didn't cut down all of the trees to build houses so it feels like the houses have been here a lot longer because of all the mature trees and vegetation.  Our yard actually feels a little like we live in the woods, and Eddie particularly loves that.  The yard does still need some maintenance as some trees have fallen over the years leaving stumps that need to be ground up.  Last year's big hurricane actually did a lot of damage to this area although they don't actually get a ton of the big hurricanes because the Georgia coastline doesn't stick out as far into the ocean as farther north in North Carolina.  We are enjoying the neighborhood amenities, including a nice pool, and look forward to participating in many neighborhood events in the future.  We also like that our new church is just down the road.  We actually aren't in the city limits so I was surprised to learn that we are on a septic system.  Although I grew up on a septic system and never had any problems, I still feel a little nervous about that.  I guess I have just heard too many "horror" stories of septic tank disasters.  Haha!  I am enjoying the lower water and sewage bills though.  We do still get county water here so I am thankful for that.  We chose this area because it definitely had the best rated schools in the entire southeast Georgia area.  I am not sure what is up with the rest of the schools here, but we have been happy with ours so far.  I think what Eddie and I are the most disappointed with is that the town seems to have chosen poorly in the types of establishments to let in and keep out of the town so we are left with very few "good" options for shopping and dining.  The drive to Savannah isn't usually an easy one because they are still working on a long project to get a better highway through the low lying marshlands between us and Savannah.  We prefer to drive up 95 to the Pooler area because that area has made better decisions about growth and development and has a nice shopping and dining area.  Right now, the town we live near looks more like a truck stop dive than a nice family friendly town.  Ha!  There are still a few establishments we are missing (I am thinking of you, Pei Wei), but we are making do.  So without further adieu, we hope you enjoy the tour:

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The view from the street is a bit obstructed by some large trees and shrubs closer to the road.  The walk up to the house from the driveway shows how shady the yard is most of the time.  It is fairly well maintained but still a bit "wild" in spots.  I just like the look of a traditional brick house. 

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I do still dream of a large front porch with rocking chairs for sitting and enjoying the view.  Unfortunately, I doubt I would use it much here these days.  Maybe when I am old and watching my grandchildren play.  

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This little corner next to the porch could possibly be converted into a little patio area some day. 

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I planted some new flowers in my pots, but we actually got a late frost in March after weeks of gorgeous weather in February so some of my new flowers didn't fair well. 

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The front door.  Eventually, I would love to paint the door a lighter color and update the outdated brass hardware. 

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Alas, welcome into our home! 
Living Room

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I did get a new front door rug that was on sale at Lowe's, but I think I could get a much larger one for this space.  It isn't a separate foyer from the living room, but it is a large enough space to feel like a defined space. 

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Front door entry is open to the main living area and the formal dining room. 

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I do love that the main areas of the house have beautiful hardwood floors that look brand new.  They have a very shiny finish to them, and I think they look great with the large handwoven Turkish rug my parents brought back from their stay in Turkey.  I have been happy to see people starting to bring back this style of rug, and I have always loved this one.  I am looking for a decent priced large farmhouse style wall clock to hang on this wall.  

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I hung all of our family portraits in here because they are each special.  They  are the portraits we had made when each of our babies joined our family.  I am thinking about silver leafing Evan's black frame to match the others. 

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There is a two sided fireplace that connects this room to the sunroom behind it. It is kind of plain, but I could see it being lovely with a natural stacked stone facade. For now, I have tried to liven it up with some rustic farmhouse style accessories and my large Greek vase.  Up high is the safest place for such pieces right now. 

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I had to hang my Summer banner. 

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I created this printable because I liked the simplicity of this little saying and felt it went nicely with a farmhouse style. 

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I thought our burlap monogram letter went with the farmhouse style as well, but I also love those small black Greek vases that were my mom's.  I also have a love for blue glass and added another one that I found in the Target dollar bins recently.  I wanted some cotton stems for this one and made a trip to Hobby Lobby to get some.  They had some little cotton bunches very cheap so I brought them home and attached them to sticks we found in our yard.  I think it works well. 

Dining Room

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This is a room I dream of redecorating.  I want to lighten the walls to a lighter color.  Maybe a light blue or gray at the top and white beadboard or board and batten at the bottom for a more farmhouse country style.  Then, I still have plans to redo our table with a stained dark wood top and lighter white or gray stained bottoms and chairs with some new upholstery on the cushions.   Eventually maybe a new farmhouse inspired light fixture for in here too and a buffet or China cabinet to match that style. 

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I couldn't find a better spot for our precious portraits.  Maybe everyone doesn't decorate with portraits, but these are what make me smile the most. 

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The other wall is our portraits of our babies with room for baby Grayson's to be added. 

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I just love them. 

Kitchen

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The kitchen probably needs the most work cosmetically.  It is very plain and builder grade and still has linoleum flooring and cheap countertops.  I would love to refinish the cabinets, add some nicer solid surface countertops (probably quartz) and a nice tile backsplash and tile or hardwood flooring.  A farmhouse apron sink would be nice too. 

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We decided to use the space behind the kitchen as an office/playroom area.  We just can't live without a playroom right now. 

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I don't love the white appliances, but they are all fairly new and work well so we are living with them for now. 

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The laundry room/mud room isn't very big, but it works. 

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Those always important family rules. 

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This refrigerator is a little smaller than ours so the boys' sports magnets really fill it up.  I don't know what I will do when I have to add Mattox's and Grayson's.   


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Brody's side. 

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I decided to get a little table and chairs for this large empty eat in kitchen area.  One day, it would be nice to have a large center island here.  
Cocoa's Room/Sunroom 

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The other side of the fireplace is in the sunroom which we affectionately call Cocoa's room.  At this time, I just cannot handle her shedding all over the house so this works best for her.  The boys often join her in her room to play their video games. 

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The room gets a ton of natural light although the trees do provide a good filter from the direct sun.  We also plan to use this space as the home gym when Eddie gets it set back up. 

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We don't close her in her crate anymore, but she does lay in there sometimes.  We have bought dog beds galore, and she tears them to shreds in days.  Our old patio chair cushions lasted her the longest so we just let her use them as a bed.  She mostly lays on the rug though. 

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The hard tile floors and simple decor makes it easier to clean this space and keep the dog hair to a minimum.  

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Cocoa says "Hi!" 

Boys' Bathroom and Hallway

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This hallway on the other side of the house leads to the boys' bedrooms and their bathroom. 

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I decorated their bathroom in blue and orange using a shower curtain we had from our first house. 

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It is a small bathroom but it works for the boys and a spare one for guests.  Great-Grandma Mattie painted that picture of her childhood home. 

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I found some cute dinosaur prints from Hobby Lobby that went perfectly in the boys' bathroom.  This bathroom needs a new countertop for the vanity, and I hate the cold hard ceramic tile floors, but it works for now. 

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Play Room/Office

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The home office just consists of an old  metal file cabinet we spray painted oil rubbed bronze and a new wooden lateral file cabinet to hold all of our important family documents.  It also contains the printer and other household office supplies.  I love the wall of art from the kids, and I could hang so much more than that. 

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The Dr. Seuss prints help define the play room function. 

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Since this room isn't a large separate space like our old play room, I couldn't use the full play cafe in here, but I utilized the shelf units we had and the front part of the cafe to create a little kitchen space. 

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Mattox demonstrates how it works. 

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I plan to go all the way up this wall with the kids' pictures. 

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I need a new kids' table for in here eventually, but Mattox's ball pit takes up a good amount of space on the floor. 

The Backyard

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We don't have a fence, but the trees and foliage make the backyard feel very private.  We can barely see our neighbors from here.  The deck is also in decent shape and has had a new coat of paint/stain. 

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Just a few steps down to the yard so nothing too scary for kids. 

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Those french doors lead into the kids' play room space. 

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The outside of the sunroom area which also has a door which makes it easy for Cocoa to go in and out. 

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The house from the backyard. 

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Some bushes could use trimming.  

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The kids have a decent area to play back here with nice grass although the other side of the yard is heavily wooded. 

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The grandparents gave all of the kids money for their birthdays so they got this little swingset to use for the time being.  We eventually want to build them a bigger, sturdier playset. 

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There is still plenty of shade to help make the yard more tolerable in the summer heat. 
We hope you enjoyed the tour!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Brody's Last Days of Kindergarten

This one is an important milestones post for sure.  How have I survived two years of kindergarten?  Of course, I still have a couple more years to survive the learning to read and write drama.  Ha!  Kindergarten has really been such a good experience for Brody, and he even handled changing schools like a champ.  He has just been such a sweet, loving, and motivated little learner, and we are so proud of the little man he is becoming.  Of course, we are glad he reserves his less than stellar attitudes for home.  Ha!

His last months at his new school were fun and challenging for him.  He was really pushed more academically to master his reading and math skills, and he came so far.  He does seem to enjoy math a little more than reading although he and I started the Magic Treehouse series that Evan enjoyed at this age, and he has been very excited to "read big books like Evan."  I had purchased all of these for Evan for the kindle, but I will just say that with an early reader, it is a little more difficult to read on a device because you can't touch the screen to follow along with your finger or you mess up the page you are on.  Haha!  #firstworldproblems

Brody also got to go on another fun field trip (sans parents this time), participated in a special field day event at the local high school, and even went to several birthday parties with his new school friends.  He wrapped up his year with a little presentation for the parents in which they performed some sweet (think tearjerker) songs, told us what they wanted to be when they grow up (painter/artist for him), had a beach theme party with yummy treats, and got lots of treasures from his teachers to remember the year.

{I must give many thanks to his teachers for taking many of these pictures for us!}

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Brody's class got to visit a small local aquarium and were able to see and touch many specimens of marine life. 

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The kids watched some demonstrations, and one of them was dressed up like a crab (I think).  

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Brody seemed to enjoy the touch tank. 

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Oh my!  No fear here.  Probably why he was so excited about "catching" some hermit crabs a couple of weeks ago at the beach.  We visited an inlet on Hilton Head during low tide, and there were millions of hermit crabs in the riverbed. 

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There was a loggerhead sea turtle and a horseshoe crab (I think) to touch. 

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Watching some shows with his class. 

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The kids were greeted with a little mess in their classroom for St. Patrick's Day.  A leprechaun had left his tracks everywhere. 

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Brody enjoyed making lots of new friends.  He was excited one day that he won the school "lottery" where they get picked to go to the Principal's office for a special treat.  They get "tickets" to enter for good behavior. 

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I failed most days of Dr. Seuss week to dress him up, but we did dress up for book character day.  He was the Mean Monster from "The Monster Who Lost His Mean." 

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I hated that I forgot to dress him in orange for Lorax day.  He brought home his first "pottery" which went perfectly with the one Evan made at the same age.  Brody said his was rainbow colored. 

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The boys both enjoyed "economics day" at school where they got to use money to buy things at stores set up all over the school.  Brody apparently wanted to spend his money at the hair and nail salon and came home with pink nails and red hair.  Ha!  Oh and a tattoo! 

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At field day, Brody's class won their tug of war match.  I was happy another parent got a sweet picture with Brody in it because I failed to make it in time.  This was a "district field day" event that only a couple of classes in each grade level got to attend at the high school, and both Evan's and Brody's classes got to go.  I did get there in time to see Brody before he left to go back to school.  His class went early and finished up before Evan's class arrived.  

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I found Brody in the gym after their lunch and awards presentation.  He didn't mind not getting a ribbon and just enjoyed the day.  He isn't a really competitive athlete, but he participated in the long jump and cornhole.  He really practiced his long jump with Evan's help so he knew how to do it. 

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The end of year presentation was so sweet.  Brody was very energetic doing the motions, and I could hear him singing above the other kids. 

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I think his big beautiful smiles say it all. 

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Enjoying his beachy treats.  They had a brunch style feast with muffins, doughnuts and fruit. 

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He received a bag full of memories and keepsakes from the year. 
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One of the parents made them some cute beach buckets full of goodies too. 


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My sweet little kindergarten "graduate." 

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Brody gave his teachers their little gifts of a pretty flowering plant in a pot we painted.  Thank you, Mrs. Daniel and Mrs. Smith. 

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They didn't wear caps and gowns for an official graduation, but his teachers had taken pictures of them and put them in their bags with their "diplomas." 

Friday, June 2, 2017

A Blue and Gray Nursery/Guest Room {Grayson's}

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The nursery is still in a bit of a transition from Mattox to Grayson with just a couple of projects needed to finalize it.  I still love the blue and gray colors and decor but part of me still dreams of more of a woodland theme.  I may wait to do that in a big boy/toddler room though.  For now, it is still a sweet, dreamy space in my humble opinion.  The new lighter blue gray wall color is just a bright and relaxing color for a nursery.  The room isn't huge and is the smallest of all the bedrooms, but I think everything still fits nicely.   The closet wasn't a walk in, but it has some great built-in storage that makes it very practical.

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This wall is still in transition.  I have to move Mattox's 1st year frame to his and Brody's room (and add the last picture when I get it printed...sigh).  Then, I have to get a new 1st year frame for Grayson which I am so frustrated will not be like the other boys' because PBK discontinued this style after many years.   I actually lined up all of our boys' ultrasound pictures on the bookcase in here because I don't want anything to happen to them, and I like how they look together. 

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I also need to get Grayson's name art for above the crib.  I am going to do the same type as Brody's and Mattox's.

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I don't plan to replace the mobile I made for Mattox's nursery as I still like this one. 

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I still have the same white bed in the room from before with the addition of the Be Brave pillow.  I have switched out the personalized pictures and art in the room for Grayson.  

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I just reprinted the top center picture with Grayson's name.  I want to get frames to hang Mattox's personalized pictures in his room. 

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I actually ordered these art prints from Shutterfly for Grayson because they were the free gifts.  They really aren't free since you have to pay crazy shipping, but since I needed them anyway, it still made sense.

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I created this print of pictures from Grayson's birth that I thought was perfect.  

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This dresser and most of the accessories are the same.  I still like my simple white sheer curtains with my homemade bunting.  

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This "free" dresser has served us well as a changing table for three babies.  We first refinished it for Brody's nursery. 

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My special bunny art from my childhood collection fits a nursery perfectly.  The little sailboat was a new little gift from Aunt Naomi when she visited this Spring. It says "Savannah" on it so it is a perfect addition to our new Georgia home.   It is also blue and gray so it matches perfectly. 

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I love that little stack of Bibles with each of our babies' names on them from their Great-Aunt Dava.  

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Before I switched out the pictures for Grayson. 

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