Friday, December 14, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Great RV Trip, Part II

Next up was one of the longer stretches of our drive.
It was only about 8 hours in theory but a host of things, like a Texas size rainstorm that lasted for about 2 1/2 hours of the drive {that had us keeping about 55-60mph} and an impromptu stop for dinner in Ozona, TX at a Dairy Queen that was literally the and filled to the BRIM hunters from opening day of deer season, held us up a little longer than expected. Since the kids were tucked in fast asleep for most of this drive, it was only Jer and I who were worse-for-wear by the time we finally arrived in San Antonio. The time that they were awake, though, found us filling out postcards, listening to some Greg and Steve, and learning about the state we were in. 
In a total a-ha! moment, right before we left, I hit up the library for an arsenal of books, books on states, books on CD, and some kid friendly road trip CD's. It was a hit! Everything was free, new to all of us, and provided lots opportunity to keep those busy bodies still. Highlight: painting Texas Blue Bells while driving through Texas. Lowlight: Singing The Number Rock approximately 234 times. Highlight: Everyone can count to twenty in their sleep. Lowlight: Not sleeping because The Number Rock won't stop playing through your head.
As for Grace, when she wasn't napping she enjoyed sitting in her high chair and watching most of the action. She also enjoyed the occasional marker that rolled her way and grabbing at the edges of an unguarded picture.
Once we rolled in, found a place to park, and changed to summer clothes, we hit the streets of downtown San Antonio. First stop, The Alamo! The fact that it was lunchtime, that it was hot, and that it was busy did not brood well for our clan. We did a little bit of reading {i.e. this momma tried to tour in about 6 1/2 minutes while the boys chased squirrels in what was most definitely zoned off grass} and then we moved on to the Riverwalk.
Again, busy, hot, and hungry made navigating our three man stroller through the narrow and uneven walkway a bit of a challenge. However, we soon found a restaurant and enjoyed an incredibly leisurely lunch, river side. Abe even did a photo shoot, sans help, while we ate. Here's what he captured...

And although our time in San Antonio was just long enough fill our bellies with some Tex-Mex and a quick cup of ice cream, it was time again to load up and start driving. After all we had plans {BIG plans} come Monday.
And they involved being in Louisiana!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Great RV Trip-Carlsbad Caverns

A couple of weeks ago, our six pack loaded up just about everything in our house that wasn't nailed down and started the 16 day and 4300 mile round trip trek to Lake Charles, Florida. Besides the obvious {and numerous} reasons for not wanting to fly with four children, four and under, Jer and I thought why not let some people from other states comment on the number and ages of our children make some memories and take our brood to see some cities and sights that they might not otherwise get to {like Breaux Bridge, LA!}. So after months of Googling the best tourist traps, the greasiest hole-in-the-wall diners, and least ex-convict ridden RV parks, we grabbed the coffee pot and a whole lotta gas money and hit the road. First stop...Carlsbad Caverns in Carlsbad, NM.
The first night found us tired, hungry, and with the intent of "boondocking" or camping for free in a Wal-Mart parking lot. 

That lasted about 2.4 seconds.

Besides sounding like the Indy 500 right outside our door, the parking lot was bright as mid-day and it was about 82 degrees inside our RV. Insert crying  wife children and Jer decided to high tail it out of there and to the nearest spot with 30 watt hook ups. Best $42.00 investment ever. Turns out a little air conditioning and electricity makes everyone feel a little less...hysterical.
Seeing how once one person turns over in their bed, the entire RV is up, we hit the trail bright and early. Believe it or not, this was actually my number one pick for our trip! I love the caverns and I couldn't wait to take the boys...until we hit about this point in the hike. Small, wiggly, clumsy offspring < big, black gaping hole.
Turns out the Lord had more in store for me at this little stop than some stalactites and stalagmites.
But once we were inside, it was an absolute treat to share with the boys that the same God who heard my prayers for our family's safety on our way down, was the One who carved this vast cave by telling each drop of water where to go. 
 For the majority, anyway. 
Despite the copious amounts of sweaty, "Don't you dare let go!" hand holding, the boys loved the cave and hiked the ENTIRE thing. Although, I think the postcards from the gift shop were equally exhilarating! 
And because they just did so well...geode's and icee's for all.

Grasshopper learning the art of slow icee slurping. Can you say, brainfreeze?

Next stop...San Antonio, Texas!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our Gracie Girl, Seven Months Old

Oh my girl! What a month you've had! You traveled through five states, lived in an RV for two and half weeks, dipped your feet in the ocean, and got your first bug. 
 You watched {and slept through} the Saint's game at The Superdome, Moby-ed your way through the Blue Bell factory, went on a swamp tour complete with wild alligators, navigated the USS Alabama, and even had a taste of a beignet from Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter. 
You napped on the sugar beaches of Destin, Florida, checked out The Alamo, and got kissed on by your family 2000 miles away at your 2nd cousin's I-DO! You danced under a disco ball, witnessed a Texas thunderstorm, and nursed on a boat in the bayou. But the biggest feat of all, darlin, is that in your seventh month you managed to sqeeeeeeeze your way into bed with your daddy and I every.single.night.of.our.vacation.

16 whole days, Dolly. 

Now one night would have been a home run for one of you Sloan babies. But you, my sweets, you simply knocked it out of the park.
This month, you cut two more teeth {the top but not the middle two} which absolutely makes me turn inside out each time I see your gaping grin. And even though yours is the fourth gummy smile I've seen give way to pearly whites, I'm still amazed just like it's the first. The fact that yours is coming in a little backwards doesn't hurt the cause either.
You've also started crawling, pitching a fit when you get your diaper changed, and feeding yourself all sorts of goodies that you find on the floor. {Can you say fruit stickers?}Your brothers think you are the most hysterical thing EVER and their favorite is when you gag on a new food. Seriously, dinner time could double as the comedy hour around here. But really they do love you. Abe lives to make you laugh, Judah {despite spankings} can't resist picking you up {I hode it!} and Ben looooooves to sound the alarm when something runs amuck. Your bases are covered, girl, whether you like it or not.
  This month you have gotten really good at mimicking sounds although your favorite is still growling and boy am I hearing a lot of, "Ma Ma Ma's." And have I mentioned you're loud?  

You love finger foods, your paci, and the jumper but you LOVE your brothers toys. You cry when we leave you alone in the room, still wake up sometimes twice a night to nurse and have *nearly* outgrown your car seat. You're also good motivation behind waiting on the Christmas tree :)

We love you to the moon and back, little girl. 

You're our Gracie Girl and your seven months old. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sunday, October 28, 2012


...the letter T(t).
...a broken arm.
...a music lesson. office photo op's.
 ...nightly fires burning.
...weekend trips with Grandpa and Nana.

Just a bit of what we've been up to lately.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Our Gracie Girl, Six Months Old

My darling girl, can it be? Half a year already? If time flies with the first and flashes with the second and simply warps with the third, what can be said of you? Your days of little somehow seem shorter and yet I know the time was just as fair as it was with each of your brothers. Life's a vapor and He tells us just that but still this mother laments; didn't we just bring you home tiny and swaddled in pink with your olive skin and smushed nose? Wasn't it just yesterday that I traced the outline of your check for the first time and kissed your swollen eyelids and breathed you in while you slept in that just arrived hibernation like sleep? I know it couldn't possibly have been that long since your daddy's phone calls, breathless still with the realization of a daughter, and your Auntie's cry-laugh when the doctor declared, "Girl!" but the calendar says different. Six months old, my love. You are simply and shockingly six months old.
That day is still so fresh, even with the fog that comes from birthing a baby. Pink bouquets abounded and three little sick boys hovered over your every sigh with great curiosity. They weren't the only ones with minds wondering though. Dear girl, how my mind whirled a few times, as well.  How to mother a fourth? How to mother a daughter? How to do anything at all when life keeps twisting and changing and you just always feel a bit tossed about. The Lord was merciful to me though. Years before he ever gave me you, he gave me a very present reminder for my amnesia prone soul. His Truth turned name. Grace. Little did I know just how fitting it would be when those lines turned pink and I cried, the Lord already knitting you within. 
 I sit at this old computer and tap keys and backspace, tap keys and backspace; the story of your name still not coming to paged type. I long to write it out but words fail me. Maybe for today, maybe for forever. Only the Lord knows. So for now just know that there's more to your name, your start, and your momma, my little Grace Ruth Ann. And know that it all ties back to Him and how He works all for good in the lives of those He loves and who are called according to His purpose. And if you know nothing else, just know He is good. And worthy. Even when darkness clouds. Trust your Mama. I know.
Sometimes while you nurse, the house still from brothers long tucked in, I look into those eyes threatening brown and I wonder who you are. I think about what things will make you laugh and what you'll struggle with. I wonder how you'll grow our family and what life will look like with you and for you. I think about what you'll look like, a woman grown, and about the conversations to come on faith and life. I wonder if you'll sing like your daddy and bake like your momma or bake like your daddy and sing like your momma. And then, as I hold you close and whisper out lullabies as you drink to sleep, the Lord's leading reminds me to pray for your little heart. "Take out her heart of stone and give her a heart of flesh," is the cry of my own. And then I smooth back that unruly hair and kiss under your milk dripped chin and relish every sweet soft coo. See there is nothing in all the world like having a baby in the house. And right now, precious jewel, you are it. 
Happy Half Birthday, Gracie Girl. You are a treasure from our Lord. And I am so very thankful to Him for you, my sweet daughter. I pray that in these next 6 months, 6 years, 60 years you'll grow in the grace and knowledge of the only One worthy.

I love you dearly. 
Your Mama