mornings

Our mornings are so slow. I love them. The days we have to be up and somewhere totally throws me off, and is only made better by the fact we always get a Starbucks on those particular days. But mostly we have no where to be in the mornings (and most days), and that is just how we like it.

We all wake up between 8 and 9 am, long after Jarrett has gone to work. The boys come into my room and snuggle with me for a little while and then I get up and make coffee. I let the boys have some milk coffee with me, they love it. Conner woke up the other morning and said, “Mama, is the coffee ready? Coffee is my life”. Haha, I totally get it. 

These pictures were from Monday morning. I woke up that day and the first thing that popped into my head was that I needed Apple pie, like right then. So while the coffee was brewing, I started on it, knowing even though I wanted it right then, that it would be done before I knew it, if I would just get it going.

Thankfully the boys are not hungry for breakfast right away after we all have our coffee. So we have about 1 hour where we all just relax, talk, and play, and drink our coffees. 

This morning I was on a mission to get the apple pie done, so there was no lounging about for me. I did play about 10 games of Connect 4 while making the pie though, Peyton was insistent. 

After I got the pie in the oven, we started homeschool. I have never timed how long we homeschool for. I think somewhere between 1 1/2-3 hours, depending on the day. It’s one of my favorite times of the day. I have learned that I cannot get up (except for a drink or the bathroom), the boys do so much better when I just sit there with them. They are so funny and fun, and I am getting to know them in a whole new way as I teach them and we learn together. 

And then the pie was done.

28 weeks-maternity shoot

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I received a message a couple months ago from a friend I had met through the blog. She asked if she could offer our family a photo shoot either after the baby was born or for pregnancy photos. I was so thankful and excited! It worked out for her to get down to Galveston this past week. I met up with her (and met her officially!) at the beach on the first truly warm evening of the year. It was wonderful and I felt ‘for reals’ pregnant! If someone else is taking maternity photos of you, then you must be truly pregnant!

Thank you sooo much Tonya Underwood Photography!!!!

on my machine, camera, and heart

On my machine-

a potholder (with many more to come-I have none to speak of right now-ouch!)

handkerchief curtains (they were my Granny’s)

On my camera…

Baby Dawson-6 month photo shoot

I have 3 photo shoots waiting to be finished up editing on my camera right now. I had my first wedding (soo fun and very nerve wracking-no re-do’s!), met a new family for a shoot, my nephew, and a newborn photo shoot this weekend. So many beautiful people, I really enjoy being able to peek inside of, and being apart of people’s love for a moment.

On my heart...

-Friends who lost someone so dear to them…Wylder Nation-No Words

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**our little girl**

getting ready for the baby-PINK!

I am 27 weeks today. Still plenty of time, but feeling ready to get a few things done. Thinking and talking about her name every day. And just loving on her as she grows inside of me. I am amazed, yet again, that there is a little living person inside of me-I really enjoy growing children.

**Trek**

It’s a wonderful, yet hard cluster right now of Trek. His 3rd birthday is coming up exactly one month from today. I am having an easier time around 2-3 year old boys-I almost enjoy it, taking a moment to imagine Trek and how he would be. We booked a weekend at Great Wolf Lodge for his birthday and Conner’s (they are 7 days apart). We spent his 1st birthday there, and that’s all I could imagine us doing this year.

The baby is due just one week before the 2nd anniversary of Trek’s death. She is due on the 13th of June and he died on the 21st. I know its meant to be for so many reasons, but it keeps me thinking. Her day of birth will always be days from his day of death.

I am going through all of Trek’s things, and since we only had him as a baby, all his things are baby things. It has been special and tearful. What can she use that is not too boyish, what can I re-make that was his to fit her, what do I save, what do I give away?

This is our last baby, so there is no reason to keep the tubs of little boys’ clothes anymore. Thankfully Jarrett’s brother is having a son soon, so they are going to a special place, but I am still a big boob about it.

I know mixed in with my Trek sadness is also this is the last baby sadness. I do feel ready to move onto our next phase, I am ok with this girl being our last, but I think every mother mourns a little when its all officially over. 

6 little boys wore these clothes-they are full of soooo much love, onto baby #7 for a little more lovin

I have more clothes and things to go through. Trek only grew big enough to wear 9 month clothes, so getting rid of bigger sizes is not as painful. I saved Peyton and Conner’s special outfits if they want them one day for their sons. I am packing things of Trek’s for Peyton and Conner to have, and for our daughter to use-to wear or maybe her baby dolls to wear. I have a couple boxes of his things for Jarrett and me to save forever, and go through any time we want to ‘feel’ or ‘see’ him tangibly (when we have a bigger house, I can put it all out).

I put more and more of his things around the house every day. The boys talk about him more than ever since he is everywhere in their sight-there have been tears and many conversations the last few months about their brother. He is soo very loved. I wish more than anything his sister could live with him as we did. Even though I know in a very special place, that they already know each other, and have met before I will ever meet her myself.

 

Survival Class with the Boys

Jarrett and I never thought we would homeschool our children. I had big plans to be room mother and bring cupcakes up to their classrooms every Friday. But it never happened (at least not yet). Homeschooling is just something that has evolved, for many different reasons, into our lives. One of the things that is important to us is that the boys (and soon to be girl!) will know and live life skills including survival and outdoor ones on a daily basis.

I have taught the boys how to can strawberry jelly, make bread from scratch, make and use our own sourdough, sew basic stitches, and grow and tend to plants, herbs, and vegetables.

My learning list for them and myself in the future is long, especially now that they are older. I want to learn and teach them to make candles, sew more complicated items, kill and skin their own meat (including fish), forage for food (we have a class coming up for this!), take art classes from a real artist, and many other things that I am so excited about!!

Some things I will read up on and learn myself, some things we will find someone else to teach us. (I have shot and killed a squirrel before, but not skinned it-totally farming that teaching lesson out!)

I wanted to find a wilderness survival expert to teach the boys a class on how to build a fire, what to pack when you go hiking in case you get lost, and how to make a shelter using nature. I was beyond excited when I found Bruce who lives and teaches classes in the next town over. He has weekend courses, but they are aimed at older children and adults, so I asked him to do a private class for our family tailored to the boys’ ages.

Just to add in, this is my favorite book on letting kids be free in nature and teaching them basic wilderness skills. Its a really fun read and has some great ideas.

So anyways, after weeks of looking forward to this, I was unable to go:( I had just gotten out of the hospital and not feeling well at all, so the boys and Jarrett had a guy’s day and went surviving without me. They had such a great time!

Bruce showing the boys what they should bring on a hike or camping-its amazing what comes out of that little bag!

Bruce’s sons also came. One reason I asked Bruce to do this class was because he had sons. I thought he would know a little about holding 2 active boys’ attentions for a couple hours:)

going through different items for making a fire

Conner calls this moss “beard papa”-hehe

This was such cool and special day for the boys (and Jarrett!)-thank you so much Bruce!

Bruce’s Wilderness Survival School 

This is not the first time the boys have made fire. When we lived on Maui, we built a few fires with flint and an “almost” fire rubbing sticks (we got it smoking:).

and look who was chilling near by….

Trek:)

on another day-our attempt to make a bow-drill (it did not go so well:)

while the boys made fire, Trek and I enjoyed the sunset (do you recognize this shot? its from the set that I used to make Jarrett’s book cover:)

that was such a happy day, I remember every part of it. It was nice to use a picture for the book from a timeless, happy moment before we knew

And now, I give you Peyton making fire!

26 weeks

We are 26 weeks along in this journey growing this little girl! It has been so much fun and so exciting. I feel the best I have yet-I love the 2nd and 3rd trimesters-the 1st one is always the hardest for me with all the sickness. Thankfully that is all over and I am feeling great.

I love when I get to this point in a pregnancy when if, for some awful reason, the baby was born now, she would survive. Even though there is no reason for that chance, it always makes me breathe a little easier. 

This is the only pregnancy picture I could find from the last 2 weeks-haha. Me and Conner were being silly, so this is all I have! (we were trying out my new camera lenses-yeah they came in!)

The boys helped me further set up her baby corner in our bedroom yesterday. We took out all the cloth diapers and folded her cleaned clothes. There is a lot of blue and greens in her wardrobe right now-haha! I know I will get more pink, but I had fun going through Peyton, Conner, and Trek’s old clothes picking out some that were not too boyish, at least nothing that a matching head band would not fix:)

And while we are on the subject of babies-I have some wonderful news to share for some amazing friends! I think most of you know the Laffoons, Wylder’s family. He also had NPA like Trek did and passed away shortly after Trek. Well, Wylder just became a big brother!! You can go check him and all his cuteness out here.

Now that I am feeling so good, we have been getting out a lot more. We have met with the homeschool group a few times now and we have been having a lot of fun.

We met at the beach last week to do some ocean and marine biology learning-it was a little cold, but of course none of the children minded.

Conner collecting sea shells

Peyton found a fish jaw bone

one of the moms brought a big seine net and caught some fish for the children to look at and then release

We also have been having fun learning at home. The boys are at such a fun age (I say that about every age:). They listen so well, and they are learning things I can teach without having to research or re-learn myself. Its been fun for all of us.

brain dissecting day! It was only a jello mold, but Conner could barely get through this activity because he was so grossed out! (little does he know I am going to order owl pellets next-hehe:)

We found a new park last week, it was really fun, and made me even more excited for this spring when we can finally get out again in shorts.

the boys, as usual, made friends with everyone there

One of my friends posted this on facebook, and I knew the boys would love it (they totally did). A box of $1 glow bracelets in the bath, with the lights off of course.

Bamboo grafting success! We had a bamboo stalk that was a little long, so I trimmed the bottom off. I was curious if the top stalk would die without all the roots and if the bottom would regrow leaves. It took over 3 months, but they are both still alive and regrowing roots and new stalks.

I have been having the boys help me keep track of our grocery total as we shop. It has been so much fun-they write out the item and the price and keep a running total for me. It takes a loooong time to grocery shop, but it is so cute to see their little handwriting:)

Our name list for the baby is getting a little shorter. We are pretty sure we have a name (at least two that would fit and we like), but I am not 100% yet. If I ever get to certainty I will share, but I have a feeling we might have to meet her first and then decide. I really like both names and I still feel like there may be another one out there we still have not found.

I also got to photograph my first wedding this week!!! I will share that and some other photo shoots soon.

I hope you are all doing wonderful too and have an amazing week!

Sending you lots of love, Chelsea