Posted by: howitallbegan | July 1, 2015

Video from Franklin

I did a quick mashup video of our first trip to Franklin from a week ago. 

Enjoy!

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 30, 2015

The Museum and The Breakdown

We left Michigan on Sunday morning and headed for Ohio and the National Museum of the Air Force. 

Mike had been planning this museum journey for weeks. He was pumped and had been talking it up to the boys. 

We got there around 1:30 and met up with Mike’s college roommate, Kirby, and his two boys. His younger son had a baseball tournament that day, so we chatted for a bit and then parted ways so we could get inside and they could get going. 

It was impressively huge. So many airplanes and so little time. 

   
  

Coen contemplating the wonder of flight. 

 

We definitely took some pictures with the selfie stick. 

  
That big green thing behind us is a the same shell of bomb that was an atomic bomb. And behind that is a picture of a mushroom cloud. Mike said something punny for this caption, like “the Trabuns are the bomb.”

Shiloh loves selfies. There’s a mirrored cabinet door up against the queen bed in the RV and the babies have loved talking to themselves and looking at themselves. Since then she’s found herself in my phone screen and she just starts giggling. It’s adorable. 

   
 

It makes for pretty good photos though. 

There were lots of steps to climb to look at things from various perches. 

   
  

  

 

There is NO FOOD, DRINKS, or WATER allowed in the museum. They have it for purchase, at reasonable prices, with little cordoned off areas to sit in. So we took a chips and water break halfway through. 

  
(Pretty great lighting, right? But Shiloh….)

I’ve got pictures of us. Pictures of planes. Pictures of us with planes. 

   
  

 

There was a spot where you could sit in a simulator cockpit. So of course we did. 

   

  

  

 

After a couple hours of much walking and everyone a little tired to begin with, we decided to quit while we were ahead.

We walked out to the RV and attempted to turn over the engine to no avail.

We had a couple of close calls with the battery seeming like it didn’t want to start the engine up, but we’d finagled our way out of it with the generator, the plug in at the campsite, and keeping the engine going to charge the battery. Since we’d just been on the road for five or six hours we thought we were good. 

Nope. 

   
 

At least it was cool out. And we had a working generator. After running the generator didn’t charge the battery and work we told the museum. They said they couldn’t help (they were closing in 30 minutes). We tried calling Security Forces at Wright Patterson. No answer. We tried jumping it with a car (Mike packed jumper cables). Nope. 

So we called USAA. 

They contracted a company to come give us a jump. An hour and a half later a dude shows up in a flatbed diesel tow truck. Do you see where this is going? He didn’t have enough power to jump it either. 

By now the parking lot had long since cleared out, and since they needed to lock the gate, the nice museum lady told us a Security Forces police car would be there shortly to sit with us. And that no one could get to us without a crazy unlocking of rarely used gates and escorts. 

Mike called the Lodging Facility and reserved us a place to stay for the night (a town home – nice!). Because now he’d called the RV rental company and told them to sort out someone who had the capacity to jump it or tow us if that didn’t work. 

Meanwhile. We played outside. When we exhausted ball chasing, fake hunts with sticks, and chase, Gage kind of whined that he wanted to scooter. 

Oh. We DID pack those. Helmets and all. So the boys entertained themselves with the swervy curvy sidewalks and scooters and I handled the exhausted babies while Mike juggled phone calls. 

  
The Security Forces were great. They got us a van to transport me and all the kids and all our junk to check in at the lodging facility on base – which was a legitimate 25-30 minutes away. 

While we waited on the van, the kids got to get inside the police car.  Well Gage did. Cade didn’t want to, but he watched. 

   
 

Meanwhile, we unpacked the RV of critical things and staged our junk on the lawn. 

  
The kids and I left in the Air Force van. Mike stayed back and met the towing company. The really nice Air Force guy driving my van carried all our junk in for me and even took it up the stairs. I got the babies in bed around 9:30, and the big boys bathed and in bed by 10 right as Mike was pulling up. 

It turned out to be a bad battery that a large vehicle towing rig had the power to jump, but no other vehicle could.

In the morning Mike’s college roommate’s son came and gave Mike a lift to the RV battery place, gave them the old, and got a new one. The boys took advantage of the excitement of steps in the two-story home, and I did all our dishes and laundry there in the house. Definite silver lining to all the drama. 

It could have been way worse. Hotter. More serious repair that required a tow. On the side of the road. Etc. So even though it sucked and threw a wrench in our plans, we are grateful that it happened when it did and where it did. 

Never a dull moment. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 29, 2015

The Wedding

The genesis of this whole adventure was to get to my little brother’s wedding just outside of Detroit. Gage was the ringbearer and Mike did one of the readings for the service. 

We got up and met my family at the hotel. It was way cold and raining the whole day so we decided to do some mall walking. It was just adjacent to the hotel. 

The selfie stick came in super handy. 

   
 

We came back, showered everyone, and headed for the wedding/reception site. 

The kids all fell asleep on the way, which was pretty miraculous. Maybe like the second time that’s happened this whole trip. 

  
When we woke everyone up though, it got a little nuts. 

Gage didn’t want to put on his fancy ring bearer clothes. 

   
 

And Cade proceeded to lose his mind over a toy we got him at the mall. Like, lose his mind in a way that is heretofore unprecedented. It eventually got taken from him and thrown in the trash, never to be seen again, because I about missed the wedding completely, but instead watched the beginning from the side foyer once I got him to stop crying and we could get in from the rain. 

It was a special moment. 

   
 

That was my view of her walking down the aisle. Haha. 

Gage turned it around and did pretty well up there with some gummy bear bribery. 

   
 
Eventually I just put both babies on me and left Cade in the stroller to pout. But we stood at the back in case they wanted to talk some. 

   
  

Mike reading. 

 

Kelly reading. 

Wedding selfie with two babies way interested in my necklace. 

  
Mike manning the pout.  

 

Kat and Bart walking out. 

My parents walking out. 

  

The reception was just next door. We were juggling all the children and the ongoing meltdown. But we did get some food, a few photos, some chatting, and some dancing in. 

   
  

  

  

  

  

 

We didn’t get to eat the cake there, but we did get to eat a couple of to go pieces courtesy of Bart and Kat. Especially considering the cake had been the subject of a FaceTime a few weeks prior. 

We let the boys have one bite on the way home. (It was late. They were beyond exhausted. We didn’t want to give them any sugar high). 

   
 

It was as good as promised. 

We are so happy to welcome Kat to the family!

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 26, 2015

Franklin, Tennessee (Day 2)

We had so much fun hanging with our friends in Franklin.

We lounged around (well with a ton of kids, but, you know); ate some BBQ for lunch; made a grocery store run; and went to our other friends’ house (who aren’t there at the moment and are in the middle of a house remodel) and shot guns and played with their “toys” (a swing set, a four-wheeler, a side-by-side, a home-grown gun range…)

Here’s some pictures from the day. I made a video too, but it says I need wifi to upload it so I’ll have to wait. 

   
  

  

  
    

  

  

    

  

  

  

Some other good friends came and met us for dinner. All of these people were great friends of ours from our church out in Los Angeles.  Because of moves and life in general, we haven’t seen any of them in person in five years! 

We didn’t have kids the last time I saw these two girls – one was a Cade’s age and the other was a baby. Crazy how I can look at this picture and see their sweet attention on our two bigger boys. 

I love how these sets of siblings are posed the same way. The girls were telling the boys about their trip to Disneyworld recently. 

  

When we got back to Phil and Vanessa’s house we grilled burgers and caught up amidst the chaos of seven kids and six adults. And just before the babies had to go to bed, I busted out the selfie stick and we got some awesome photos of all of us. 

   
 

Jess and Mandy, man. The sweetest, most sincere people…

  

It did our souls so good to see all these faces, even if only for a brief amount of time. So worth the hazing exercise of that RV drive on Wednesday. 

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 24, 2015

Scenes from Road Day 1

Sheesh. As I type we are 15 minutes out from our friends’ house in Franklin, TN 

It has been a day of basically nothing but driving. We’ve stopped once at a rest area to fix the generator’s circuit breaker that had popped because all the ACs were on; the side of the road to close the door to the generator that had popped open; and three times for gas. That’s it. We microwaved our lunch, and we used the crockpot for our dinner. In fact, Mike and Gage ate dinner out of a cup from the front seats. 

It’s been hot. Incredibly bouncy (more than I pictured). Sweaty. Lots of work. All day on my feet juggling kids while Mike has to focus on driving with both hands and full attention. There was a moment about two hours in where I was about ready to say forget it and just turn around and find a campground near Dallas and hang there for a week. But we have persevered, and now we find ourselves halfway through Tennessee. 

The big boys were anxious to get out the door with much fanfare. They’ve since realized what they are in for. 

  
   
  

  

  

  

  

 

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 23, 2015

Random Compilation

We’ve been without Internet for a couple of days, and then we are packing up an RV today to take on a weeklong adventure. So I wanted to catch up all the photos on my phone so we could start afresh with RV antics. 

Warning: This will be random. 

The boys took a two-week summer swim class intensive at the beginning of the month. Cade graduated from Dolfin 1 to Dolfin 1-2. He had to get 14 skills marked off his bracelet to accomplish this. When you graduate they do a “ceremony” where they ring a bell and announce you graduating and then take a picture for their wall. This was met with much trepidation. 

   

  

Gage stepped in to assist Cade who wanted no part in the bell-ringing. (Until the next day when he felt he actually now DID want to ring the bell from yesterday and they graciously let him do so). 

 

We went downtown a couple of times. The first time was in pursuit of going to the top of the Chase Building (free) to look out at Dallas. It was closed for a party. Womp womp. So we explored the skywalks and the lobbies of several other buildings instead. 

   
  

 

Cade (actually I) found the first cicada bug shell of the season. It is officially summer. 

   
  

  

 

I made four bow ties and one headband with a bow tie, all because Gage will be the ring bearer at Bart’s wedding and I didn’t want them to have to pay a dumb rental fee for something that wouldn’t even be cute. So then everyone wanted one.  

  

  

 

We went BACK to downtown, this time calling ahead to know for certain that we could go to the top part of the building. 

   
  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

Shiloh and I sewed bow ties together. 

   
 

  

 

We had friends come to town and had twelve people – two families of four kids each – at Chick-fil-a. 

  
I got a selfie stick in anticipation of all the travel and fun times ahead. (see above downtown photos… I’m tired of not fitting everyone in the frame. 

   

  

 

We celebrated Father’s Day by letting Mike take like three naps (no joke) I one day. Here we are getting croissants to keep the house quiet. 

   
  

 

The babies got their cribs dropped down because of all the sitting and crawling. But not without playing together one last time. 

   
  


I showered all four kids (and myself!) a few times. At first I was a little sad that our house tub situation doesn’t really offer a tub big enough for everyone. But then I realized the shower is way better because it’s about a zillion times safer. 

  

And I’ve been packing. And packing. And making lists, and reminding myself there’s always Walmart if we forget something. 

  

(The kids’ clothes). 

This morning while Mike was getting the RV we played out back and found a cicada bug with deformed wings. Cade built up the courage to let it crawl all over him without wigging out. Gage not so much. 

   

  

 

Coen has been crawling all over the joint. He loves to crawl over to his window and look out while standing up. Time is flying…

   

The RV has now arrived, so I have to get moving. Here’s to the adventure!

   

  

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 19, 2015

Eight Months

The babies are closer to nine months now than they are to eight, but I thought I’d post photos anyway.

  

This eighth month they are hitting milestones. Coen is a crawling fool. Shiloh can crawl backwards and can roll around to get pretty much anywhere she wants. It is only a matter of time before she figures out the forward movement.  

  

Coen currently has five teeth with his sixth just on the cusp of busting through. So that’s two bottom, two and three (almost four) on top. 

Shiloh just got her first bottom tooth busting through. 

  

They are smiley and happy, especially Coen. He laughs a lot. Shiloh reserves her laughter for things she finds legitimately funny – she’s not so easily amused. 

  

They do a great job of self-entertaining, which is so great. They explore around and play with all the things they find interesting. 

  

They are eating two meals a day and generally still nursing about every two hours. 

They still wake up to nurse two times a night. I’m hoping to figure out how to drop that first midnight feeding, but I’ll probably have to separate them to do it. One always wakes up to the other’s cries and wants to eat too. 

  

They love their brothers and their dogs. And their parents. When we are out and about, if someone comes and starts talking to me Shiloh generally starts to cry, even if I’m wearing her. Major stranger anxiety. People are always stopping me wanting to talk to me when I have all the kids by myself and I wish I could somehow communicate, “Please leave me alone. You are going to make one baby cry and possibly another, and there’s a really small window of time I have before I need to get home or everyone loses it. Please don’t touch my babies I don’t know you. Please don’t talk to her you are the reason she is crying.” Without being rude. Instead I just try not to make eye contact with anyone. It’s like we are a circus act or something. 

  

They live to be outside and to go places. They get stir crazy like the rest of us if they are inside too much. 

They are a complete and total joy, even on the hard days. We are blessed to have them in our little tribe and we wouldn’t want it any other way. 

Here’s a link to them babbling. They’ve really started “talking” much more and it’s so cute to me.  

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 10, 2015

Pump Station and Filter Building

We discovered a new (to us) treasure near White Rock Lake. 

It’s an old pump station and filter building for the water department. It’s right on the lake. 

   
    

 
There’s a big giant hill that the boys to love to run on. And the babies dig the grass they can pull. 

   
  

   
We’ve been a couple times, because it affords the right amount of freedom to roam, and ability for me to have eyes on them wherever they go. 

   
  

  

  

 

The babies get some exploring in too. But they also get some good sitting time. 

   
  

 

I will say, these two are sure little heaters when I tandem wear them in the heat that is the beginning of summer here. 

   
 

But hey, we’re all happy, even if a little toasty. This is Texas summer, after all. And the mildest of Mays had us forget just how hot nearly 100 feels. Whew! On to inside activities…

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 9, 2015

Arboretum with Grandma Clare

Grandma Clare and Mr. Bob came to visit us all the way from Florida last week. 

The first full day they were here we took them to the Arboretum. The temperatures have been on the rise back to their usual summer self, and so we caught the right day to go before it reached baking hot. 

Cade and Gage did some independent exploring.  

  

  

 

And Coen and Shiloh enjoyed the view (and the shade) from the stroller. 

  
They did get a chance to stretch their backs though, on a lawn in the shade of the trees. 

   
  

  

 

Coen is my obsessive grass-puller. It’s such a different response than Gage, who couldn’t stand the feel of the grass in him. 

   
  

  

  

  

 

We took a few group photos. 

   

But then we had to beat feet home to try and get to bed in under the nap wire. 

It was a fun trip back to a familiar place (after letting out membership lapse for almost a year because the twins were born), and we look forward to more trips there again soon! 

Posted by: howitallbegan | June 8, 2015

Three!

Yesterday was a big day around here. 

Gage turned three!

   
  

He got donuts and balloons in the morning, and got to open a couple of presents before daddy left for church.  

  
Mike was preaching for the first time yesterday , too! I said on FB/IG that it was fitting they shared this milestone together. We moved here to Dallas only six weeks after Gage was born so Mike could attend seminary. And here we are, nearly three years later, and as many told us yesterday, Mike knocked it out of the park. 

   
 

(If you want to listen to Mike’s sermon you can click here: http://www.trinityfellowship.org/media/sermons-media/?sermon_id=285

We are super proud of him and all his hard work. 

After church family came over and celebrated Gage’s birthday. 

 
Gage decided he wanted an Octonauts themed birthday, so the decor was courtesy of my mom and the boys and went with the undersea theme. 

I store-bought a cake and then adjusted it for the Octonauts theme. I made the logo out of melting chocolate and just plopped it on there once it cooled. 

  
Gage loved when we all sang happy birthday. 

   
  

    

  
And he did a great job blowing out the candle.  

 

After naps Gage decided he wanted to go somewhere. When I asked him where he couldn’t make up his mind. I presented him a lot of good options, and in the end his sweet tooth won out and he landed on the ice cream store. 

After dinner, and after the babies were in bed, I took him on a solo outing to Yogurtland. 

He was a fan.

   

 

 

They had a special going where they had a few different popsicle flavors. His choice was rocket pop flavor (you know, those ones that are red, white, and blue?). 

   
  

 

We couldn’t skip the addition of some gummies…

   
 

Let it be known that this was also the day that he learned how to scoop ice cream out of his cup by holding the bowl from the outside, scooping the spoon to the side of the bowl, and lifting up. This is a very important life skill. 

   
  

  

(Can you see him asking for more in the next photo?)

  

   

All in all, he had a great day. Can’t believe we have a three-year-old now!

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