This is very disconjointed, so please bear with me...these are things that I NEED to get down, but do not have the time to heavily edit.

In an effort to hold myself even more accountable, I wanted to put this here:
Wednesday I ran/walked to the post office with the kids. GraceAnne ran with me and the babies were in the bike trailer.
Yesterday I biked for about 20 minutes in the evening and then walked a couple blocks to cool down.
Each morning I stretch with GraceAnne and Violet and since we're doing school upstairs there have been lots of upstairs/downstairs trips with the kids.

I'd like to add situps and pushups to this regimen and I'd really like to get up consistently early enough to run before Allan goes to work. But for now, I am doing some type of cardio every day.

So...I was riding my bike yesterday and I had some questions running through my mind. Primarily, "Why am I doing this?" See, it's not exactly fun for me. I don't get done sweating and breathing heavy and think, "that was a blast, I love the rush!" I'm just not that girl. So I was talking to God and trying to figure out just *what* is compelling me toward this. The answer came in the form of a memory of a post I made on FB. I wrote, "Look, Paw, the outside matches the inside...all hurty everywhere!" Since I am admittedly out of shape, every muscle in my legs hurt. My teeth/mouth hurt because I began wearing my invisalign trays again since my teeth were starting to look bad again. My head hurts because of hormones, I guess??? My back hurts because I haul a 22lb 8-month-old around everywhere. And obviously my soul is aching. So I thought about that and I made these connections:

I knew some "cutters" in high school. They all said that it was a release because of 2 things: either they wanted to be sure they could still feel something other than mental anguish or it gave them a release...like hurting on the outside somehow makes the inside hurt less. While I don't think I'm being destructive, I see a very big correlation here. I am enjoying aching everywhere because it reminds me I'm still human and to hurt is to be alive. Sure...sounds like a morbid 16 year old, but it is what it is right now.

I am currently in the process of learning to grieve. Any other time in my life that I've been hurting I've reached out and tried to help other people and it soothed me except that I had nothing left for myself at the end of the day. Which obviously leads to depression in a very big way. I've battled depression before and I know this beast, so I know that avoiding it by hiding my own hurts in lieu of others' hurts is not going to do anything but prolong this process. Since I am sitting here in my pit, I feel the need to flee from it, because this is how I've always dealt with my pain. Since I'm not allowing myself to flee mentally, (and this goes both ways, I will fully live in my moment of pain, but I also fully live in a moment of joy. I'm trying to ride this coaster good or bad) I will flee physically. But as my wonderful friend Mary said on her running blog...I'm also running face first into the Lord. Which leads to my next reason:

I can't do this alone. On my own power I cannot handle the death of my baby and on my own power I cannot become a person who is good at and enjoys running. I don't have it in me. I've always been a much more sensitive person and while Allan can and does pick himself up by the bootstraps and move on, I am just not that girl, either. I need a little while to figure out which way is up before I move. I run to remind myself that God can help me through anything and He WILL help me through this grief. He's sitting here with me, crying and holding me and He's out there running and cheering me on.

The biggest reason I'm running, though, has to do with something my dear friend/cousin-in-law Gayle said on my training post..."I can think of 100 things I'd rather do than run." And she is SO right. Gayle is a true inspiration, (look for her blog on my sidebar...The White House) She is always doing something in the yard, with the kids, in the kitchen. I am not sure she ever takes a moment to rest and based on the things I know she hauls around that amazing yard, I know she's no weakling and no stranger to hard work. I pondered that for a couple days after she said it because Lord knows I've got plenty around here that could be spruced up, decluttered, or whatever. Outside I've got beds desperately waiting for me to take bottoms off and fix the soil up for fall planting next month. But I cannot do these things to help me through this. WHY???

Because I need to do something that has no tangible/visible results whatsoever. Running is not going to give me a rockstar body. Running isn't going to turn this belly flub into a 6-pack of abs. Running doesn't produce anything that could be considered productive. But I need that because my body is not producing anything right now. I've got nothing in me that desires to produce anything but my baby and that can't happen, so I'm not going to seek production in other areas, either. (Please don't get me wrong...I am still doing dishes and laundry and cooking and taking care of my children...I'm just not seeking out physical activity that produces fruit)

So what exactly does that mean? Well, when we run we have faith that our bodies will grow stronger--our lungs should expand so that we can breathe easier, our circulation should increase, causing more oxygen to be delivered to parts of our bodies that may have been lacking prior. It's supposed to make our hearts healthier, (and I could SURE use some of that right now! Figuratively speaking...) We don't really *see* any of that, we just have faith that it is true. Technically I could become a runner and run 7 miles a day and be in the best shape of my life but die of a heart attack at 40. We just take it on faith that we will be better off for doing it.

And so it is with allowing God to lead me through this pain. I don't see any tangible changes right now. I still break down in the middle of the day. I almost started crying five times at WalMart last night--for no real reason. I'm still torturing my poor family with my random sobbing and my random anger and my random unwillingness to move at all. After all, it's only been 3 weeks. BUT...I have faith that if I am willing to keep meeting my Lord in this pit, He will continue to sit here with me. If I keep opening up His word, He will continue speaking to me. If I keep moving through the days, He will keep giving me some grace and one day-maybe not even soon-He will take me by the hand and turn me into a girl who desires to run after Him and He will show me exactly how He will turn these ashes into beauty.

Lord I long for that day. But I thank Him for giving me the time to feel these things that are so very human. I am grateful that it is okay with Him if I choose to feel my way out of this hurt. I am grateful that I can torture my body into being a better image of myself...inside to the outside...physically and spiritually.

That's all I got for now...this post may change a lot, but I want to again say thank you to all of you who read this and love me anyway. ;)


First day of School?

Our first day of school started around 8. By then I had all the kids up and they were ready to eat. While the food was warming up, we did stretches. My two primary worries with homeschool are that she will be unsocialized and lack physical activity. To remedy the first issue, she is in GirlScouts, church and we'll pick one other activity outside of home. The 2nd issue I'm addressing by stretching in the morning and attempting some type of activity during the day. Yesterday we did my walk/run regimen to the post office while I pushed the babies in the bike trailer. We also just joined a homeschool group that does a gym class on Fridays. Perfect because I picked a 4-day curriculum!

MMMMMM. GraceAnne had some sausage biscuits, (she's been requesting them since June) and Violet ate a granola bar and a sausage biscuit and Corbin had some Mish Mash.

And the first day was mostly special because instead of getting up and rushing around to get dressed in the coolest outfit we could find and brushing our hair up into piggies with big bows--we just rolled out of bed. Yepp, we spent the first day in jammies.

Here's what the 2 spawn do while we complete our lessons. They are pretty good as long as they're well fed, but it is LOUD in that room. Absolutely no carpet=horrendous echo. Sometimes we have to stop reading until they get done being super noisy.

And here she is on day 2 working on a worksheet.
So far it's been alright. I definitely wish that instead of being a crazy mourning psycho for the last 3 weeks I had been reading my curriculum and getting prepared for school as I had planned. However...thanks to the curriculum I chose the day is pretty idiot-proof. Unless said idiot doesn't realize she forgot to order a few things until the first day, but...if that were to happen said idiot could easily order the items online and recieve them in just a few days.
So far we're working on vocabulary, history, reading, math and bible study. We'll be starting science and handwriting shortly. Thankfully homeschooling goes MUCH faster than regular school or I would be in serious trouble with the babies and my sanity. We are currently done by about 10am and I suspect that will only go up until about noon with added classes once we get the hang of everything. I do have an art class sitting in the closet, but I think that will be just once weekly.
I also am extremely Blessed in that there is a woman here in town who has put 4 of her kids through Sonlight. Her oldest is 16 and she's had some of the same issues with her that I have with GraceAnne, (namely that we're so much alike we clash like crazy) so I am excited that she will be an invaluable resource. She also sits on the board of the homeschool group we joined, so I just know God is speaking to me in all this. I am completely inadequate to do this on my own, but He's going to help me get through it and in the end GraceAnne will have such an awesome education for it. Well, that's about it for now. Diapers this weekend, shall we?



Most of you who read this are women, so you'll understand what I'm about to say. Sometimes while talking to my husband, I realize some very powerful truths that I was not tuned into until they come out of my mouth. Of course we all know this can be a dangerous thing, but in my old age I've become very reflective, (I suppose I always have been, it's just that it's become honed in the last few years) so I don't say the stupid stuff as much as I used to. Don't worry, I'm still prone to my usual stupidity...

At any rate, we were discussing just exactly the reasons why the loss of our child has hurt me so much. Besides the obvious, as I was speaking I told him that pregnancy is a preparation. From getting up 5x a night to pee to just walking around with 20 extra pounds attached to you the entire 9 months is an excersize in endurance, to be sure that at the end you are 1) ready to run the biggest marathon of your life and do the impossible, (labor and then give birth) and 2) prepared to be a mom. At the very end of your pregnancy you endure the hardest thing you never knew you could do and sit triumphantly while you gaze upon the miracle that you just got to be a part of. The following few days are an exhausted stupor, but one in which you are thrilled to be. Or at least I have always thought the first week home with baby is the most delicious time.

So I'm mourning the loss of the family I envisioned starting on June 7th...the picture of us with 5 kids above the mantle; the endless insanity that goes along with 3 under 3; the thought of who this little person would turn out to be in this big world; but I'm also mourning the loss of a test of endurance and strength. Mourning something I *know* I can't do on my own, but doing it because I have a wonderful husband to get me through and a glorious God to bring me through and because of the promise of the most amazing week of rest in which I bask in the awesomeness of a God who allows me to be a part of this miracle.

"Them was my magic shoes."

So today I started running. I don't know precisely what I'm training for, but I have big dreams of hiking through treacherous terrain with a toddler sized 14mo old on my back when we take our trip in March. I want to train for something completely outside of me and then achieve it and have a great week of rest afterward.

That said...those of you who know me, go ahead and laugh. Those of you who don't, suffice it to say I am NOT a runner. I have never been an overly physical type of person. I would much prefer to sit on the couch with a friend and a cup of coffee than go anywhere. I wouldn't call myself a homebody, but I am, for the most part, content to sit. Suffice it also to say that I have been pregnant or nursing for the better part of 3 years and none of that is conducive to being physically fit. I will start this journey at around 134lbs (I'm 5'5") and between a jean size 7-9. Yes...I am fairly small, however, all my smallness is "jiggly" save my arms, which get quite the workout daily hauling around a 22lb 8-month-old.

But as I said, today I started running. I thought to myself when I got up, "surely I can run all the way down to Main St." I got to the end of my block with 6 blocks left to go and gave that dream up quickly enough, so I guess that is my goal--to be able to run all the way to the main road. I opted, instead, for running a block and fast-paced walking a block, alternating like that all the way down and back. About the 2nd block on the way back I resigned myself to praying like a madwoman...aloud. So if you live around town and you hear a very out of breath woman praying, "You can do this, you ARE doing this. God give me strength. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have run a good race" etc, either ignore me or cheer me on. The last block I was supposed to run I thought I couldn't, but gosh-darnit, I did it anyway. I felt like I was going to die when I walked in the house, but we did it! Me and God helping me through. Just like every time I had a baby...

So there it is. Yes, I am starting off pretty pathetically, but I'm starting and that's a big sweaty deal for me. I haven't run in 7 years, (literally, to the month...it was 7 years ago in August I started training for basic) and then I got pregnant and haven't done anything physically exerting since. Prior to that I hadn't run since high school and that was only because I had to. I've never in my life owned running shoes, (yes, folks, the beauties you see above are actually my first pair of Nike's EVER) and I never in a million years dreamed that I would be doing this, but here I am. At one point in time I never dreamed that I'd want, love and dream of 6+ kids, either, so I guess all things really are possible through Christ Jesus.

I'll have lots of blogging fodder in the next few days...we are cloth diapering and our first official day of homeschooling is tomorrow, so I'll be sure to take lots of pictures. I know the blog has been seriously devoid as of late. I thank all of you who have been reading anyway. I love and miss you!



Think of people with power…how few people they probably truly care for. Some of them would sell out their own families for a little more power. Consider Sadaam Hussein, Adolf Hitler. Even thinking back on the good ones, how many people do you believe they truly cared for? Maybe as few as their immediate family? Princess Di probably cared for thousands, but do you suppose she cared for millions? The most caring person I can think of would probably be Mother Theresa and I’m willing to bet that she cared for millions, but how about everyone who ever came or ever will?
Imagine one of these powerful people asked you to lunch. Barack Obama himself called you and asked you out for lunch because he wanted to impart some wisdom to you. The CEO of a fortune 500 company called you for a brunch date at your home-town IHOP because he decided he cared enough for YOU that he wanted to give you some knowledge on how he got from the streets of the Bronx to where he is today. Would you take some time off of work? Would you brag to everyone around you that these people were interested in “little old you?”

And so it is with God…I see that He holds ALL the power. He created the heavens and the earth and He created all that is in it and with the blink of His eye He could end it all or Bless it all and He gave us these wonderful gifts—like free will and being able to enjoy a spouse and being part of the miracle of gestation and child birth. But mostly what brings me to my knees in awe is that He cares deeply for ME. He who holds the most power--the creator of all that exists cares that I ache on the inside over the loss of my baby. He cares deeply that I am having a hard time caring for my living children the way I should and He’s not mad at me…He’s weeping with me. He knows me intimately and STILL He longs for a relationship with me. Not one where I am just in reverence of Him, but one where He speaks back to me and I hear Him. He doesn’t just care for me now…the Christian Tara who goes to church and reads her bible every morning, but He cared for me THEN…the unbelieving Tara who spewed her doubts on every baby Christian she could find—taking pride in the fact that she could make them question their faith.

The all-powerful, almighty God of the universe wants desperately to have lunch with us but what do we usually tell Him? “Sorry, Lord…I’m real busy today. The dishes are piled up and the laundry needs folding.” “Sorry, Lord…I need to get to work, I’m running late.” Do we boast to our co-workers, relatives and friends that He wants to meet us and come to us in our place? He’s flying a big old jetplane to see ME in my home on my terms and do we tell anyone about how intimately He cares about “little old me?”

God can Bless us so much more fully than the people we choose to align with power. What can any human being on this planet really do for us? They can comfort us, they can love us, they can make us feel full sometimes, but who hasn’t been hurt by even the greatest love of their life? Even my husband and children, whom I love and adore and who make my life on this earth complete let me down from time to time. They may even break my heart one day or *gasp* die and leave me alone. I am amazed and intrigued that God will never ever leave me alone. Even when I think He has He doesn’t. He promises that He won’t. Oh, how He loves us.

So I’m going to brag…the Lord of all creation wants ME. He loves ME. He is pursuing ME. Do I deserve the perfect love of anyone? No. I’m still selfish and sometimes mean and despite all the beautiful changes He’s made in me I’m still far from perfect. Last night I was angry and I gossiped. I don’t deserve a love that would sacrifice life for me. But I got it. Wow. So did every person who ever was, who is now and who ever will be. Even the people I don’t believe deserve it. I know despite this people will walk away from Him. What continues to enthrall me is that He knows exactly who will walk away from Him, but he pursues anyway. He wants them anyway. He loves them anyway. I know I can’t say I’d love someone who would walk away from me and my efforts time after time



It's the Little Things

Sometimes God's Blessings and encouragements are so small you have to be broken to see them. Sometimes you have to be broken to even recieve them at all.

Through this entire crappy situation of losing our baby, we've had some wonderful people loving on us. We've always craved deeper relationships with people and it seems that now the door is opening. We're all beginning to see that NOW is the time. Not in a week when things have calmed down, not in a month when this project is over but RIGHT.NOW.IS.THE.TIME.

Allan and I decided that despite being "broke" for the next 10 months, we're going to plan for a family vacation in March. It will encompass the day the baby would have been due, (March 10th). We know that since God made this baby we want to see something GRAND that God made. We want to be swept up in His majesty and beauty as we remember the hope and excitement that we had and the hope and excitement He promises we'll have again.

We had set aside a little tax money for doing random things with the kids during these 10 months, but we decided to make it "seed money" for the trip instead. Since we use cash we accumulate quite a good amount of change, so we're saving that, too. And every other extra penny that comes into this household is going to go into this trip. We have no idea where to go, but I think the perfect place will come to us.

And that brings me to the tiny things. Even though we shouldn't have anything to put aside, I was able to sell some of the baby's things I was saving. I have a rebate from switching our energy provider coming in the form of a gift card soon. Today I got a WM gift card in the mail. All of these things will go into the jar. I know God will Bless this trip and the planning because despite our pain we are seeking Him.

And it's not just monetary...like I said above, God puts some amazing people in our lives...people we would never have expected to lift us up when even some of our closest friends and family run away. Today I also got a card from someone on my coupon trading board of all places. We only ever exchanged a few private messages while securing a trade, but she saw somewhere that we had lost our baby and sent a card and a "Big Hug." Today a friend from church is coming over to spend some time because Allan is gone and she thought I might be lonely, (too true!). I have play dates set up this week in the land of "let's-get-together"-but-we'll-never-really-do-it. I had an amazing friend take my girls last week for a few hours so I could decompress a little. None of this would have happened if it weren't for our little bean going back to Heaven.

I still would rather hold my baby in March than take a trip, but for now I'll beam at the little things.


Letters to God

Dear God,

Can we just say that this month (or maybe the last 8!) have been very difficult? This family has certainly seen its share of Blessings, but we've also seen our share of heartaches. Nevermind just the stress of daily living with a 2-yr-old and an infant...we've been from RSV to systemic thrush to mastitis x3 to clogged milk ducts and tear ducts and countless medications to hospitalizations to a premature end to nursing to losing half our income to whooping cough to complications from a vasectomy to losing our child. Top that torturous sundae with the whipped cream and cherry of being spiritually beaten down by satan and I'd say it's given us more than just a belly/toothache! Through it all I know you've been crying right along with us and giving us strength to get back up and face another day.

You know that we've struggled with studying your word and praying the way we should. I feel guilty about that, but I'm so grateful that you're not an angry God who sits back and wonders WHEN we're going to get our act together and do right. I'm so grateful for your saving grace.

I want to affirm a couple of your truths that I've re-realized in the last couple of days. You are who you say you are and you do what you say you'll do. I may never understand why Melissa and I had to lose our children this week, but I know you told me I'd get pregnant...I assumed the having a baby part. You were faithful and I did, indeed get pregnant. You told her that her body would heal and she would again have life inside of her. You were faithful and her body did heal and she did, indeed have life inside of her again. I know that you are mourning our losses just as we are and that our children are safe with you. I know that you are holding us, even if we feel we are alone sometimes.

I know that you do not tempt me to do evil. When I am ready to snap and scream and freak out at my children it is not you who is "testing" me. You are not tempted to do evil and you do not tempt others. I know that satan is alive and well and that he is trying his best to keep me from you. Even though your love for me never ends, the guilt and anger I feel can keep me from approaching you and can break our communion.

So I call on these truths and I will seek your face as you've told me to. You know how twisted and broken I am on the inside. You know I am weary. I know I can't do any of this without you. I confess that I have tried, because it is in my nature not to burden anyone else--not even you--with my troubles. I confess that I have doubted your strength in me. I understand that to do wrong when I know right is sin, no matter how "understandable" the sin may be on this earth, it is not what you want for me.

Thank you for your forgiveness. Thank you for seeing this beautiful mess and promising me beauty for ashes. Thank you for never being ashamed or disappointed in me. Thank you for not being anything that my mind can make you out to be. Thank you for the Blessings of living in a country where things come so easily, my beautiful home, my mom and sisters, a husband who cherishes, adores and encourages me, 4 wonderful children, your Son and your word.

I'm hurt and I'm confused, but I still love you and I still need you. Please strengthen me through your love and encourage me through your word and Bless those who have to deal with me in this season. Bless those who choose to deal with me in this season--pile so many good things on them that they can't help but know who you are, too.

You are my salve, your word my soothing ointment. You never said it would be easy, but you promised the end would be worth it. I will follow you and choose to love you despite the world's best efforts. I love you.



Over Already...

Dear baby-yet-to-be,

We learned that you would be joining us on June 7th, when the Lord told us about you. We saw a positive pregnancy test on June 27th. All at once I was scared, excited, nervous and pumped to be swept up in God's glory. Afterall, He would have to lend us a lot of grace to get through homeschooling, cloth diapering, 3 under 3, losing half our income, etc.

On July 5th the Dr told us you may not join us afterall and I refused to believe him. I knew you weren't a blighted ovum because I saw you in there. I held fast to faith and 2 weeks later saw you and your precious heartbeat. Over the next 2 weeks I told everyone how good God is to reassure us. I was even arrogant. I am remorseful for that now.

Naturally, I settled into becoming your mother. As hard as it is, I praised the Lord everytime I had a wave of nausea. Everytime I peed *again* I said a prayer of thanks for you. Everytime your big brother and sister got me up in the night and I thought to be grumpy, I decided against it and praised the Lord that I get to be involved in the miracle of all these precious lives. Having lost a baby before, I tried to roll with every pregnancy symptom I felt. "it's only a few months." "the reward is so great." "it just means the baby is happy."

But the hormones get the best of me--always have--and so sometimes I wasn't the nicest mommy to your brother and sisters. Sometimes I was grumpy and lazy and paid for it later in the form of their attitudes and unwillingness to help me. Now I wish I had celebrated every moment instead of saying, "it will be better in a few more weeks." I wish the only memories your siblings will have of you were not me sitting on my butt and barking like a mean witch.

On August 4th your daddy went in for his vasectomy. We contemplated a long time and decided that we were taking a leap of faith. Several moms told me to wait...make sure you were okay, but I was just so arrogant. Besides, I didn't want *another* baby; I wanted YOU. I wanted you because the Lord told me about you and changed my heart when I thought I couldn't love another child. I want you because you are my miracle baby and I want desperately to cling to a miracle-to be a part of feeling and then watching that miracle grow.

On August 5th I went in for a regular appointment and had another ultrasound. The nurse-a good friend of mine-and I joked about how we hoped/thought you would be a boy. But then the Dr only found your sack and your yolk. And I stared at that screen, knowing what it meant, but not wanting to hear it or know it. And he told me that you were gone...being reabsorbed into my body. He said your sack may stay with me another month or more. He said he is sorry and gave me a hug. You must have been very special to get Dr Kingsley and I to hug.

On the drive home I cried for you. I told God that I am angry He could promise me something and it would be ripped away. I feel lost and it just doesn't feel fair. I told your daddy a few days ago that I felt like I was floating at sea and waiting for God to save me...just floating, not really in agony or in pain, but just waiting. Now I feel like I'm drowning in this sea, but I know I won't because He will help me breathe in this awful place.

I feel stupid for being so arrogant. For being so prideful. I feel remorse for not being joyful every moment of your tiny life. I feel jealous that other people get to feel their babies grow but I will be stuck in perpetual pregnancy until the Lord sees fit to release me. I feel anger at Satan for ruining my dreams, because he is the one who kills, steals and destroys. I feel a mixed feeling of being angry that I let your daddy get a vasectomy because I just desperately want a baby to fill this void and feeling glad that I let him because no other moment in our lives will be "perfect" again and we will never be able to fill the space in our family you would have filled. Mostly I just feel lonely without you. I'm so grateful you're with our Father now, but that doesn't stop making me wish that I had gotten to feel you kick, that I got to hold you and kiss your tiny cheeks and watch you grow and learn.

Today we went shopping as a family. I thought retail therapy might take my mind off of you and the empty sack that's taking up residence in my body, with no promise of life. While I soaked up every minute of your siblings and the miracles they themselves are, looking around only made me think more of you. Waves of grief threatened to consume me as I passed baby blankets, the sling I wanted to buy to carry you around in, the stroller I wanted to get to carry you and your brother in, Motherhood Maternity and all the gloriousness of covering a growing belly with stretchy fabric. I pray you can see your mommy and know that she wants you so much and that you are so well loved by me, your daddy, your sisters and your brother.

Baby, I will hope and pray for you until the moment I start bleeding. Then I will miss you so very much. I will mourn you--probably past what other people think is okay or normal. I will pray that one day God shows me how He'll turn these ashes into beauty. And I will always love you.



Over already!?

Well, just like anytime you plan like crazy for a party and then the actual party date arrives and your guests show up....or anytime you have a child who only gets to come see you 3x/year...the time FLIES by. I can't believe Rhiya has been here a month already. We've packed so much into these few days, though she may feel otherwise. There's been the zoo, the aquarium, the planetarium, swimming and swimming and swimming. Treehouse building, church camp, 4-wheelin', etc. All in one month we've cured our 2 youngest of a potentially fatal disease, worried and prayed and been reassured about the life of our new one on the way.

One day in particular that we spent together has been my favorite, so I'll share a few pictures of it here.
Cedar Hill has an outdoor mall with a water feature in the middle. We picked up an edible arrangement on the way and sat at the bench eating fruit in the shade. Let me tell you, it has been a SCORCHER, too. We're talking 103+ degrees and WONDERFULLY dry. I don't know if I've ever mentioned this or not, but I adore this weather. 75 with 80% humidity is too hot for me, but today was 107 with no moisture at all and absolutely perfect.
Corbin loved the fruit, too. The watermelon was perfectly squishy for him to gnaw on.

Of course, the only fruit I really want in the whole arrangement are the chocolate covered strawberries, but so does everyone else! Punks. But of course I shared because I'm a nice mommy...okay, so maybe I threw a little fit, but I still shared ;)

Pretty daisy with a pretty daisy!

Help yourself, why don't ya, Violet? Can you guess what she was picking?
See that poor boy's eye? He had to finally get it probed because it blew up for the 3rd time. It's gone down now, but he may still need to see the plastic surgeon. We're praying that's not the case. The babies were also diagnosed with Whooping Cough and everyone in the house was on antibiotics. We were quarantined for several days, so this trip was our victory, (we beat it!) trip. Hahaha.
Then we got to play. YAY! Corbin and I sat in the shade while the big girls played in the water and had a blast!

This water feature is so nice. Apparently everyone within a 25 mile radius had the same idea we did that day. We had way too much fruit, so we offered the leftovers to a table full of mommies and kids near us. In the end about 15 kids got to be happy with the fruit besides just mine. It was a great blessing.
Rhiya is a great big sister and helps with the babies lots. I'm sure she gets tired of it, but that's how we get out of the house, so she deals. And in the end she gets a lot of joy from them. (no less than the joy they get from her!)

She decided to let Corbin in on the fun and one of the squirters got him right in the butt and he freaked.
So instead she filled the edible arrangement bucket with water and let him splash in the shade. He loved that!

After we got our fill of sun and water, we went to Wetzels Pretzels and had some lunch, (AWESOME!) and a little bird told us that the cupcake place was giving out free cupcakes. They had almost 30 different flavors! Rhiya had mint chocolate chip, GraceAnne got red velvet because it had a pink sprinkle flower on top and Violet had vanilla. Violet only ate the frosting.

And since everyone was tired on the way home, they all konked out. It was a fabulous day!
I have a ton more pix, but I'll take a few more days to enjoy the rest of Rhiya's visit. Love and miss you all!