Posted by: howitallbegan | September 30, 2015

Atlantis Aquarium

At our last port, the big group of us decided to go to the Atlantis Aquarium in Nassau, Bahamas. It was the only port it didn’t rain, so we were all excited to get off the boat. 




Since I took a couple videos and had a bunch of photos, I thought putting it together on video was the best bet. I don’t love how vertical photos always get mega-cropped in the videos, but you can’t always get what you want. 

Here it is, for your viewing pleasure…

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 26, 2015


These two sweet faces turned one today. 

And though I have more photos and video of their state fair-themed party, I figured acknowledging the actual day was important. A post, with more photos, will follow. 

I said the following on social media, accompanying this photo: 

When I found out I was pregnant with twins I wasn’t able to picture how I’d survive All. The. Small. Children. When they were born, I told myself, “If I can just survive the first year I think we will make it…” Because with each new addition to our family it took me about a year to adjust and sort out a routine and really begin to feel like I wasn’t just barely keeping my head above water. Here we are though. We survived! And gosh, I can’t imagine our lives without these two sweet souls. Happy first birthday Coen and Shiloh. We are so fortunate to be entrusted with your care. (But maybe I should have aimed for surviving to the 18-month mark. 😂). We love you more than words can express. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 25, 2015

In Memoriam

Today my grandma, Bobby Sue Eastis Chapman, passed away.  She was a consistent presence in my life, and I’m so thankful she got to hold each of my babies and sing to them the way she sang to me and my siblings as babies.

She was an encourager to her core.  She never passed up an opportunity to comment on a blog post I’d written; send me an email telling me she was proud of something I’d done; leave a detailed note with a present she’d give me explaining why she thought it was perfect for me to have.

So I thought it would be fitting to leave a space here to recognize her passing into eternity with Jesus.  My mom wrote a great tribute of sorts on Facebook, and I thought it would be perfect to include here.

Grandma we love you, and we are so thankful you are where there is no weeping, where there is no darkness, and where you are fully known.  Like I told you just before you passed, you have a head start in joining with the angels singing because of all the hymns you know by heart.  Thank you for the legacy you have given us as a family.


Defining Mom

Cancer is a horrible tool of the enemy used to bring death and destruction to lives and families. Though not visible, I have the internal battle scars from being on the sidelines assisting in one degree or another with four of these struggles against this deadly force of evil. The latest has been fighting alongside my mom. While cancer will result in her death, it does not define her. She is so much more than it’s latest victim. And that is what I choose to focus on in the early morning light sitting by her bedside waiting for her to be fully and perfectly healed.

Mom is/was an amazing woman, as we sadly begin to talk in past tense.She was the youngest of five girls, who grew up being called and calling themselves the Eastis Girls. She loved to say she would probably not have been the baby if her father, who she was named after, hadn’t died the year she was born from the after effects of being gassed in the trenches of France during WWI. Having grown up a fatherless child, she could have easily slipped into a victim mindset but I honestly never remember in the almost sixty years I’ve known Mom ever hearing her complain about her circumstance. They were dreadfully poor, before any of the social safety nets in place today, with little if any help from extended family. These Eastis girls and their mama banded together to take care of themselves by themselves against all odds. I could write a book about everything they endured, but Mom already did. She wrote her book, The Eastis Girls: Growing Up in Abilene back in 2000 and self published it for her sisters and their families to make sure the stories didn’t get lost along the way.

Against all odds, she not only graduated from high school in the 1940s, but in my youth went back to school to earn not only her bachelor degree but also a masters degree from Midwestern State University and spend many years as a elementary school math teacher in WFISD. She ended up teaching math because in her first college math class she blew the top off the curve for everyone else in the class. At the end of semester her professor encouraged her to take more math classes because she had an apparent natural gift, or maybe the problem solving skills developed from growing up poor translate well.

She was never afraid of hard work. She started her first paying job at age ten, working at a soda fountain. She loved to joke that they must have thought she was really stupid since she had to work so many years at her after school job to work her way through high school. In my childhood I remember her working all hours of the night repairing and rebinding Bibles. In fact Lynn and I always shared a room because the third bedroom in our home was always “the shop” full of leather, glue and a gold stamp press. It later converted into a study of sorts when she was grading papers or she and dad were working on computers. She also was a pretty successful Avon Lady back when she was working her way through college. We were living in a small house over by Lake Wichita at the time and she had that route in our neighborhood. She walked door to door carrying her sample bag. She would tell stories of delivering product to one lady by candlelight because her power had been cut off for non-payment, but who insisted she had to have her makeup. Mom gave up her Avon route when she received her first contract to teach school. As hard as it is to believe today, she actually took a cut in pay when she started carrying paper to grade in her bag rather than cosmetic and perfume samplers.

One passion Mom had was contesting. It is a lost art in these days of random drawings and lotto, but these was a time when people would use their creativity to submit entities to be judged for prizes. She won my first bike and the 54″ oak pedestal table in my breakfast room had been hanging in my great uncle Willie’s barn until she traded them a steam iron she had won. If you are interested in understanding more about this time in history, the Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio is pretty spot on. There were just two kids in our family rather than the 10 in the Ryan’s house. I have the DVD and enjoyed watching it with Mom to relive the past. (It’s available on Amazon Instant video to watch and l’m sure you’ve wasted $2.99 on much less enjoyable treats.)

One other major life long passions has been reading. It is rare to see Mom without a book. She and her sisters would trade sacks of books as they all share the passion for the written word. As she has aged she has limited herself to only books with happy endings and was a weekly visitor to the Carrollton Public Library large print shelves, bringing home at least 15 books each week. Her favorite college class was Children’s Literature where she fell in love with all the books she missed as a child. She had planned to be a Language Arts teachers until that math professor got hold of her. She also lacked self control with her reading, staying up way too late many nights with a great book. She also made my dad hide the Hobbit from her when she was in the middle of college finals.

She was also a Life Member of Weight Watchers, having lost 100 pounds on their program over a two year period and had kept it off for over a year. She was confident this weight loss was what made her even eligible to begin her cancer battle and she was so grateful her amazing medical team took a chance on her. She still continued to attend weigh-ins while going through treatment to keep her Life status and worried about the few pounds she gained from extra eating triggered by the weeks she received steroids as a part of her treatment. The doctors were happy, but she was determined to stay on top of her weight. We also gave Mom a Fitbit for Mother’s Day this past May before her diagnosis. She set the goal at 2,500 steps a day and most days made her goal even while undergoing treatment. Lynn and I also have Fitbits, but have not been meeting our goals these bast few weeks. Plus Lynn and I have decided we will be joining Weight Watchers in her honor when we have more time on our hands in a few weeks. It seems we’ve both been eating our way through her battle, but this will give us something else to focus on together moving forward.

She loved well. She was a true balcony person. Joyce Landorf Heatherley wrote a book by the title in 1984 that describes her perfectly – “the gift and ministry of affirmation and those people in the balcony who shout words of encouragement to us and spur us on to be what God intends for us.” She never let a compliment go unspoken. She found something to love in every child she taught. She also was so proud of her family. She was a very involved grandmother, even when mine were way down in Houston. She showed up. She made memories and felt accomplished that they could make it around the corner before she started crying on the long drives home. She volunteered at my nephews schools after she moved to Carrollton and was always diving a bunch of hungry kids for pizza or sandwiches after school or practice. And oh how she loved to cook for people! Her second book was a collection of all the favorite family recipes and a few more stories called Kitchen Memories. Lynn and I still use it often as do our kids to make her Chicken and Dumplings, Big Mama Cake and many many more favorites.

Of most comfort to me right now is how much she loved the Lord. While she might not have known her earthly father, she has an amazing relationship with her heavenly one. While she grew up in the Church of Christ, she and Dad were married in the Episcopal church. He was Baptist and they both knew they didn’t want to get married in each other’s church. My Grandpa Chapman knew the minster at Heavenly Rest because he had bound books for him at the Book Bindery, so he agreed to perform the ceremony. Then years later, after failed attempts to find a home in the Baptist and Methodist churches, Mom attended inquiry classes at an Episcopal church. She was set to go through confirmation, when my dad asked her to wait until they moved to Wichita Falls so they could go through inquiry classes together. They did and we’re both confirmed there at Saint Stephen’s in the 1960s. She loved the church and especially the music and the glorious pipe organ well above the standards for a church that size. Our family memories are drenched in time spent there and later at All Saints. The Episcopal church was a safe place for dad as he found his way to the sobriety he enjoyed the last 22 years of his life. Mom loved the history and intellectual integrity she found there, devouring everything CS Lewis wrote. But hers was both a head and heart relationship with the Lord. She walked the Gospel. She loved well and was a true peace maker. She forgave the unforgivable experiences of her youth. She never blamed God for her fatherless life or the hard times she faced. She sought justice. Her current priest Father Reed described her best when he said, “Bobby may have been quiet, but she was never timid.” She loved to study God’s word and was always inviting others to come to Bible Study Fellowship with her. One of my greatest joys was being able to attend BSF with her and Lynn each week. Again she loved the songs we sang in the room full of women, but always worried that she might be talking too much in the discussion groups, but was too excited to share the answers she had found for the questions. This past year I had the double joy of bringing her with me to the Tuesday Morning Bible Studies at my church Bent Tree Bible Fellowship. The women in our group held a special place in Mom’s heart and they loved her right back.

This year the BSF study is Revelation. She was so excited to get the call from her new group leader and was just a little concerned it might be over her head. But she was looking forward to what God was going to show her through the study of His word. Now Lynn and l and all those who love her can take comfort that HE has desired she can have all the answers now as she sees Him face to face. We are confident she will soon be totally healed and will live forever with Him in glory. If you don’t share that same confidence and want to know how you can too be sure Heaven is your final destination, please don’t hesitate to ask us! Nothing would make Mom happier than knowing that God used her life and death to draw you to Him. She would love to see you again and spend eternity with you!

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 22, 2015

Water Park Fun

The cruise ship had a water park, which was the highlight of the cruise for Cade. We spent a lot of time there during our at sea days. 

Luckily those turned out to be sunny, because that wind sure made it cold!


I took a lot of video and slo-mo video while we hung out there. Kat was a champion water slide buddy to Cade. Because most of the time Mike or I wore the babies, while the other kept an eye on Gage. The babies couldn’t play because there were no swim diapers allowed. 

I did let them put their hands in the sprayers and they laughed watching Gage on the slide. 

But it was fun, and I compiled all the images and video into an iMovie on my phone. 

Here it is, for your viewing enjoyment. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 16, 2015

The Wedding Day

I don’t have a ton of photos to post from the actual wedding. I was juggling the twins while the “nannies” had the big boys walking around the ship, and Mike was officiating.

But here’s what I do have. 


There was a bit of a wait. We hung out in the conference room until everything was ready to go. 

Mike had the distinguished duty of officiating the wedding. He was excited to do it, if not a little concerned whether or not it was premature on his part. But he did a great job. 


So did Hudson, who was the spontaneous ring bearer carrying a nicely jeweled shell. 



He did a great job. 

Here’s the bride, groom, officiant, and the boat photographer. Haha. 


Jaime did a good job of making decorations and packing them all up to carry on to make the ceremony look the way she wanted. 


I made a quick iMovie of the couple snippets of video I got from the ceremony. And, shockingly, I could upload it with the ship’s wireless internet access.

And then we were off!

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 12, 2015

Galveston, Day 2

Our day started early. 5:45 the babies were up and at ’em. Cade first roused at 5 but was coerced into being quiet. 

So rather than kick against the goads, we got everyone dressed and headed for Starbucks, which incidentally was just next to the cruise terminal. A big giant ship was in port. It was kind of cool to be down by the water with coffee before most people in the city were awake. 


We returned home for Cars movie watching with the cousins. 

And all the guys and big boys went to the Air Museum while the girls and babies stayed home. 

Then our Houston family arrived for a visit!

It was really good to see everyone and let the kids meet all the faces that they know names for. 

I, of course, busted out the selfie stick. 

Testing 1, 2… Tap, tap this thing on?

Poor Shiloh has been running a slight fever and been fussy and clingy. I think it’s her top teeth coming, but I guess only time will tell. I feel so bad for her though. 

And we got almost everyone in a single shot. We were only missing Beckham, who went down for his nap before I could round everyone up. 



Hard to believe this photo spans four generations – ranging in age from 11 1/2 months to 90 1/2 years. Pretty cool. 

Tomorrow is the big day. A wedding! A cruise ship! Anchors aweigh….

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 11, 2015

Road Trippin’

We packed ourselves up (and left the house and dogs in the able-bodied hands of a house sitter) and headed south. Destination: Galveston. 


We stopped a handful of times, but made it in pretty decent time (in spite of rain and traffic throughout Houston) with only a reasonable amount of tears shed. 

Our first stop was Centerville. The babies took turns nursing and standing in the passenger seat leg area. 


Once we arrived in Galveston we were all relieved to be out of the car and exploring a new place (a rented beach house). Steps are super exciting for the big boys, and though the babies have successfully climbed the stairs (with careful supervision), we bought a baby gate at Walmart tonight. 

Until then, there was lots of baby wearing.  

There’s a shark theme emerging, because my brother Jason and his fiancée Jaime have selected the hashtag 2lesssharksinthesea for their wedding (because they are both lawyers). Then my mom found a shark stuffed animal and dubbed it the mascot. 

We took a walk down to the beach once the drizzle let up. It was fun for Cade and Gage to explore and run around. They even met a friend, Chase, who was out exploring the beach with his mom and baby sister.  



Galveston is better than no beach, but I’m definitely glad we started here, will go to the beaches of Key West, and then the Bahamas – not the other way around. 

Everyone was exhausted from the lack of naps. Coen always has the hardest time settling and getting to sleep and will scream a LONG time in a new environment. So he got some extra snuggling in after Shiloh was asleep in spite of his crying. 


Once everyone was asleep, we went to Walmart for some shopping for dinner tomorrow. And then we found this. 

The drought has ended. Please let it be in time for the holiday flavors. Please oh please. 

We will be here until Sunday when we board the ship for the wedding and set sail that afternoons. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 8, 2015

Homeschool, Day One

Today we started in our adventure in homeschooling.

It’s nothing too crazy. And it doesn’t require a ton of effort here in the beginning.  Since Cade is a mere 7 days from the cut off of Sept. 1 for what grade he would technically be in, we’ve decided to start with preschool this year.  The good thing about that is that Gage can join in right alongside Cade in what we are learning and discussing.  I think he’s more enthusiastic about all things school-related than Cade is.

We’ve chosen to do the curriculum from Five In A Row, and we’re excited to see how that pans out with time.  Basically, each week focuses on one book.  You read that same book all five days that week (get it… five in a row…), and you develop your other aspects out of learning from within that book.  For those keeping score, Five in a Row would fall under the “unit study” realm of homeschooling.

IMG_1384Aside from reading and talking about the book, today included: dropping off and picking up our van at the dealership to get a roof rack on (read: piling a lot of kids in a car for 35 minute round trips where we go “no where exciting” on their barometer of fun); we played in the sandbox; we watched some TV; we played in a circus tent and tunnel; we built with blocks and played with cars; we ate lunch; we talked about the days of the week; we sang some songs; we cut everyone’s fingernails (hey, that’s noteworthy); we packed some more stuff for the cruise we leave for in THREE days; Gage helped me measure and count and pour for our pancakes for dinner; and art class was held in the shower.

I bought primary colors of the Crayola soap paint so I could show them how mixing the three primary colors gets us all the colors of the rainbow.


That was super exciting to them.




Cade wouldn’t let Gage wash off the colors.  He was really sad in the end to have to wash his creation off the glass door.

IMG_1399All in all, I’d say it was a good start to the first day of school around the Trabun household.

Boom.  Day one down… Only 13 more years to go.

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 4, 2015


(Conversation this morning with Cade while watching Octonauts with an underwater volcano on it…) 

Cade: Mom, why do they call it volcano?

Me: I don’t know, buddy. It’s just the name they gave it. 

Cade: (after thinking for a second) Mom, what does vol mean? 

Me: I don’t know buddy. 

Cade: (after thinking for a second) Vol is like volume. So that’s why they call it volcano. Because it SO loud. 

Me: (smiling) That’s some good thinking, buddy. 

Cade: I may not know a lot about volcanoes, but I sure know a lot about lava. 

Me: ?

Hahaha. That kid’s always thinking. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | September 3, 2015

On Toys, Collections, and Enthusiasm

If you’ve spent more than a few hours with Cade, you know that he has an affinity for all things toys, making collections of toys (and things), and talking incessantly about the toys and collections he’s made. 

If you haven’t spent more than a few hours with Cade, I present this video as documentation of this truth in his life. 

Jennie sent him a birthday present, which she asked if he could open early, so as to savor the present before other presents invaded and made that present not cool anymore. 

She spent an hour researching on Amazon just what to get, and landed on a collection of My Little Pony figurines. 

He’s seen this show a handful of times before we realized that we didn’t like the way the ponies were mean to each other. 

It’s true. They are catty, they tease each other, and they are generally not super kind to each other. And he’d watch an episode and be the same way to us afterwards. 

Ain’t nobody got time for that. 

So the show has been banished. If you ask Cade why he can’t watch that show he will tell you, “Because the horses are mean to each other.”

A stuffed My Little Pony horse was the source of Cadepocolypse 2015 that almost made me miss Bart and Kat’s wedding in Michigan, and generally made the entire wedding and reception a complete shamble for Trabun participation. Here the horse is pictured in our family photo. 

It’s a point of much contention, still. Ultimately we were concerned about how much sway that stuffed horse was having over Cade’s attitude that entire day, and the amount of tears and gnashing of teeth and manipulation it caused, and so Mike threw that horse right in the trash at the wedding reception site – a mere six hours after it was purchased. 


Back to Jennie’s gift. 

Cade was pretty excited to get it and he talked about it all day. At some point I decided to just start filming parts of the day, capturing snapshots of conversation and play throughout  that first day.

I made a mashup video of it. And folks, this isn’t all of the discussion. This is just a sampling.

His thoroughness and focused attention towards a single subject are noteworthy. I’m not sure what it will mean for him in the future, but I’m thinking an engineer. Or maybe an architect. Or maybe a scientist. Or maybe, like Tom Hanks in Big and Tim Allen in The Santa Clause, he’ll design toys for a living. 

Only time will tell. 

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