a big ole update....

Alright, so if I'm not the worst blogger ever, then I don't know who is.

A lot has happened since I posted last. Since Benjamin's birth (we so very lovingly call him B for short), a whole lot has happened with our family.

11 days after he was born, my mother passed away. It was sudden, but then it was kind of expected. She was so sick for about a year and her healthy just deteriorated. As a nurse, I knew that she was not going to get better from the condition she was in, but it was still hard to say goodbye over the phone to her. I don't know if she heard anything I said, but I hope she did. Ben and I flew up to Ohio from Mississippi when he was two weeks old to attend the funeral. Everything went well with that. I still miss her and sometimes reach for my phone to hit "Mom Cell" and call her and talk to her to tell her about the kids and ask for her advice. It's so strange that she is gone.

Grandma and Ben in the airport on the way to LA! April 2013
We no longer live in Mississippi, but in California. Los Angeles to be exact. Actually, that's not exact, we live in Santa Clarita, which is just north of LA, though we are still in the LA County. Thomas got a great job offer here so after a lot of prayer, we decided to go for it! I mean, who wouldn't want to live in one of the coolest cities on the planet for a couple years? We don't know how long we will be here but it will be at least two years. I told my hubs that I'm not sure if he could ever get me to leave! The weather is perfect all the time. No, really, ALL the time. We are in a desert area so it does get a little hot, but it has rained maybe twice since we moved here back in April. And "rained" is used lightly, it was more like a cloudy mist came upon us a few times. Seriously, though, it doesn't rain. Which can be good or bad. Bad because I can't keep anything growing (in the ground, that is) due to the dryness and I can't seem to remember to water with a hose. I do miss the rumbling of a southern thunderstorm, though. Good because, well, the weather is perfect. All the time. No wonder everyone wants to live here....
Hanging out at a mall in Glendale, CA. May 2013.

The girls playing on Venice Beach. May 2013.
Thomas and the kiddos standing in front of our house. April 2013.
 We really do love it here, though. I don't think it has been that different from the south. Ok, people here REALLY love their reusable bags, but I guess that's not such a terrible thing... except I always forget to bring mine grocery shopping. Oops. They are outlawing plastic bags in stores soon, so I need to get better about that. (Outlawing plastic bags.... Really???) But overall we've just been enjoying the area, trying to get out and do different things every weekend. During the week it's just me and the kiddos so we try to get out and explore the parks and kid friendly places. Lots to do here, that's for sure!

Charlotte and Clara sure are a growin'! Those that know me know that I've struggled with them about their speech. I've always worried that they were behind, and really, they probably were for awhile. But thankfully they both seem to have caught up. Actually, I think Clara (who is 2.5 yrs now) has surpassed Charlotte in the language department. The stuff that child comes up with, I tell ya... She already knows all her colors, can count to 10, and is learning how to read right alongside Charlotte. She really blows me away sometimes! She really was one of those children that just has a language explosion, I don't think I would have believed it if I hadn't experienced it myself.

She is still a very (read: VERY) strong-willed little girl. She is very persistent and stubborn sometimes, but I think those will be very good character traits when she is an adult! It's just very hard to parent a future leader when they are a toddler. ;) She has a big ole personality, though. She loves to make people laugh and be silly. Also loves to tantrum every night around 5pm and likes to wear my nerves down to the very wire.... Why I don't have grey hair yet, I'll never know. She is a mess but Lord knows I'd be lost without her.

I don't recall which beach this was. Yes, we go to the beach a lot.
She's still pretty small for her age, about 20th percentile. This is strange for us because Charlotte has always been so tall and lean, and Ben has, well, he's always been a monster baby. Thomas and I are average weight and so tall that I really don't know where she gets her short stature from! Ben is almost as big as she is and he's only 8 months old! I'm thinking she'll hit a growth spurt soon and shoot on up there with the rest of us. She doesn't nap anymore unless we happen to be out in the car during nap time, so I'm pretty tired most days. What two year old doesn't nap? Better yet, what two year old doesn't nap when the four year (almost five!) old still does? Strange. She's Miss Energizer bunny, always has been!

In just a few months, my first born baby girl will be FIVE years old. I can hardly believe that. It just seems so surreal. The past five years really have just flown by and if you would have told me five years ago that I would have this beautiful, smart, funny, witty daughter I would have just been too excited to wait for it. She is just wonderful, she really is. As I said above, her language has really caught up to speed, thankfully. We talk about all sorts of things. Lately she has been telling me a lot about how Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I guess she really does listen when I tell her things. :) She loves to mama her baby dolls, loves to do crafts, and right now we are starting her official PreK year at home. I'll try to post more about that later.... But overall she is just a happy kid who loves to laugh, play, and loves to be with her siblings!

My B at 4 months. April 2013.
My B at 8 months old. August 2013.
 And THEN... There is my sweet, sweet B. It's funny, before I found out I was pregnant with a boy, I don't think I really ever wanted one. Maybe it was the foreignness of it? I had never grown up with brothers and just didn't know much about them. Honestly, I still don't! So when I was told a year ago that we were having a boy, well, it was a little uncomfortable to venture into this new world of "boys." But now? Whoa, nelly. I love this little guy so much. He has been the happiest, smiliest, easiest baby I've had yet. How can you not love a little ball of fat that smiles as much as he does? He makes me want to have a house full of boys.
Trying to take a few steps! July 2013.
And he looooves his mama. Oh, does he love his mama. Like I said above, he is 8 months now and is attached at my hip, pretty much! He was born 10lbs 7oz and at 5 months was 20lbs, lol! He is breastfed so he packed on all the weight quickly at first, but now he is only about 22lbs, so that's slowing down a bit, thankfully! Boy loves to eat, though. He hasn't eaten a single food he hasn't just gobbled up. This might prove to be trouble when he is a teenager. :) He rarely fusses, has been sleeping through the whole night for quite awhile now, and loves to ride in the car. When he does wake up, he goes back down smoothly. I can put him down when he's tired and he just rolls over and goes to sleep. Now, this might seem like normal baby behavior to some, but in my experience (and history with my girls!), this is SUPER baby behavior, haha! I am so grateful to have such a happy, easy little guy for a third baby. God knew that I needed it easy this time around! Other than that, he is completely healthy and has had no issues at all. I am so blessed to be his mama!

Speaking of babies, my sister had one! A baby girl named Seven Lee, to be exact. She was born in May, so she and Ben are 5 months apart. I think they might be pretty close growing up! She is a sweet baby and she and my sister are living with us right now so we get to see a lot of baby Seven. The girls just adore her and love to touch her soft skin.
Baby Seven, just a few days old. May 2013.
Baby Seven, 3 months old. August 2013.
And from here on out I'm just going to share random pictures, if you want to see them. Thanks for sticking around this long! I guess this blog is more of a scrapbook for me, or should be (or will be? maybe).
Clara and Ben. August 2013.

Clara at a park. May 2013.
A park in Beverly Hills. No celebs that day! July 2013.

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