It already feels like a lifetime ago

I’m going to attempt to go back and blog about our vacation to California we took back in May.  It was only 2.5 months ago, but man, it already feels like it was forever ago while at the same time seeming like it was just yesterday.  I think that is the paradox of time and getting older.  Things seem like they were just yesterday but at the same time a distant memory.  Weird.

It’s almost midnight.  I feel a little loopy and waxing poetic about the passage of time if just not where this blog needs to go.  So back to Disneyland.

After much hemming and hawing, we decided to stay at the Disneyland Hotel.  I think it was a great choice.  I loved being right at the park and Downtown Disney.  I also loved taking advantage of getting into the park an hour early!  That perk alone makes it worth staying right on site.  I think it goes without saying that we had a wonderful two days at Disneyland.  But I’ll go ahead and say it.  We had a wonderful time at Disneyland.


1) For Connor, the roller coasters.  And for me, too.  I love roller coasters and it is so fun having a kid who is big enough and wants to ride them!  Space Mountain was awesome.  California Screamin’ was awesome.  Those two rides were definitely the highlight for Connor. He also went on the Tower of Terror a few times, although for that one he hated the creepy/scary side but loved the free fall part.

2) Logan’s facepaint.  He was so excited about his pirate face.

3.) The Toy Story rides.  Camryn was not really into the rides, but she loved the Woody and Buzz rides.


1.)  The Haunted Mansion for Logan.  Derek tried to take him on it and he totally flipped out.  Logan, despite being my wild and crazy boy, does not like scary rides and does not like rides where he can’t see the whole thing from the outside-which is like every ride at Disneyland.  He did have a great time, but it just meant there wasn’t a lot that we all rode together or even just the boys together.

2.) Any character.  Camryn freaked anytime she saw a character.  We didn’t have to waste any time waiting in lines to meet princesses or get autographs.

3.) It rained on us.  And it was cold.  It didn’t ruin the day or anything, but it certainly wasn’t the weather we were expecting in Southern California in May.

I really didn’t take a crazy amount of pictures at the park.  I was having too much fun to take pictures!  But here are just a few that I really love.

I couldn’t convince all 3 to take a picture in this spot, but each boy wanted one with Camryn.  Typical.

Logan made the cutest pirate.

And Connor’s choice, was….well…very, very Connor.  He’s always done his own thing.  He was happy and that’s all that matters.

Cami did a lot of hanging out while the big kids rode rides.  But she didn’t mind one bit.  She is such an easy going 3rd born!

My kids loved this bubble guy!  And I loved the chance to get some super cute and happy pictures of them.

How do you like Cami’s outfit?  I think it goes without saying this is a Camryn Original.  In most situations I let my kids dress themselves in whatever is weather appropriate.  I’ll admit it’s a little harder with a girl…she has a closet full of the cutest outfits!  But I always love seeing what they pick out and I have a soft spot in my heart for crazy outfits thanks to Connor.  I wish I had done a better job at tagging and organizing posts over the years because I would pull up some of Connor wearing gloves and headphones to sleep or covered in foil head to toe.  I love to look back at some of the crazy outfits my kids have put together!

When it was all said and done, we had to drive back to our condo in Lake Arrowhead (about 1.5 hours away.)  This was the scene in the back of the car within 15 minutes of leaving Disneyland.

Yup, I think it goes without saying that we had a fabulous time.

Just don’t ask Connor about this picture, because he swears up and down that he was not tired did not fall asleep in the car on the way home from Disneyland.

When Madison and Abby came to stay

(This post could also be titled When I Spent 3 Hours Blogging or When I Blogged 34 Pictures in One Post.  You’ve been warned.)

My step-sister, Cindi, and her husband Matt had the opportunity to go to Ethiopia a few weeks ago on a mission trip with their church.  Ethiopia is a place very near and dear to their hearts.  Their 4th child, Sam, was adopted from there about 18 months ago.  I had a lightbulb moment a few months ago as I was thinking about Matt and Cindi’s trip.  Why don’t Madison and Abby come stay with us for a few days while their parents are gone!  My kids adore Madison (who is 11) and Abby (who is 7.)  Truth be told, I adore them, too.  They are such sweet and spunky girls!

The fun began pretty much as soon as we arrived back at my house from the 4.5 hour trip to pick them up.  They spent the afternoon swimming, eating popsicles, and just playing together.  The dynamic between the 5 kids is so great–in some ways it was easier than when I am just home with my three!

I had big plans for each day that Madison and Abby were with us.  The first day, we went to gymnastics, grabbed a quick bite to eat, and headed down to Galveston to play at the beach.  I was nervous about going to the beach by myself with 5 kids, but it ended up being a ton of fun, and even a little relaxing!  There were NO waves the day we were there (hello, Lake of Mexico rather than Gulf of Mexico).  Camryn wasn’t thrilled with the water, so she never wanted to go past her ankles.  Madison and Connor are both great swimmers and as long as they stayed together, they were good to go.  And Abby and Logan just weren’t allowed to go past their waists.  We all had so much fun!

There was plenty of playing in the sand,

And even more playing in the surf.

Proof that I was there too.

On day 2 of the great cousin adventure, we went to a waterpark.  I didn’t bring my camera with me, and I didn’t even take any phone pictures!  Just like with the beach, I was nervous about going to a waterpark with 5 kids, ages 11, 8, 7, 6, and 3.  While it wasn’t as relaxing as the beach because it was more crowded, it was still really fun.  Madison and Connor were great ride buddies while the 3 younger ones and I went back and forth between the lazy river and the small slides.  Pirate’s Bay is a relatively small waterpark, which is perfect for my life right now.  We cam home happy and tired, which made for a really easy bedtime.

On day 3, we spent the morning at the Kemah Boardwalk.  It was a new level of hot that i don’t think I’ve ever experienced before.  But on the upside, it really wasn’t very crowded at all because no one in their right mind goes to Kemah during the day in the summer.  Summer nights are a totally different story, but I knew I didn’t want to fight those crowds.  Despite the sweltering heat, we had fun riding rides, eating pizza for lunch, and finally cooling off in the fountains.

The boy’s all time favorite game at Kemah is to sit on the fountains and wait for them to spray.  It’s like a universal boy thing because as I would look around, all the boys were just sitting on the spouts, waiting for the spray while the girls all run around squealing.  I think I could do an entire gender study just on the behavior I saw at the fountains!

In a crazy turn of events, it actually started pouring down rain on us at the end of the day!  You would never guess it by these pictures, but a big cloud rolled in (thank you Jesus for the relief from the beating sun!)  It has not rained here in months, which is really unusual for us.  So I figured there was no way it was going to rain.  But the sky got darker and darker as we tried to cram in one last ride for everyone.   Unfortunately, the sky opened up just before Abby got to pick her ride.  We tried to wait it out, but after about 10 minutes we decided to just call it a day.  It was quite the adventure trying to get 5 kids through a parking lot and into the car in the pouring rain!  I have to admit it was pretty fun…I love playing in the rain and it felt SO good after the ridiculously hot morning.

On day 4, our final day, the kids decided they wanted to spend the morning having a lemonade stand and swimming at our neighborhood pool.  They were so cute making all the preparations for the stand.  And this wasn’t your ordinary lemonade stand.  They were also selling paper airplanes, origami yoda, paper fortune tellers, and origami ninja stars.  Madison and Connor worked so hard and sat out there for over 2 hours!  I think they came away with about $7 which isn’t too bad except most of it came from me, my neighbor, and a nice man who just gave them $2 for sitting out in the hot sun and didn’t even buy anything.  Honestly, I was really amazed that more people didn’t stop.  We set up at a prime spot in the neighborhood and lots of people drove by.  I, for one, never drive by kids selling lemonade without stopping to buy a cup.  The kids were happy and entertained, and I guess that’s what really matters.

The best thing about not having too many customers…plenty for the workers!

And that wrapped up our week of cousin fun.  That afternoon, we drove them back home, and the next day their parents got home from Ethiopia.

It was such a fun week!  My kids are already asking if Madison and Abby can come back next summer.  Camryn has proclaimed them her “best friends.”  I, for one, am all for it.

Newbie {Clear Lake Texas Newborn Photograpy}

There is nothing better than spending a hot summer afternoon cuddling a precious new life.  This little man was adorable!  And big!  At not even 2 weeks old, J was pushing 10 pounds!  I love a chubby newborn with a head full of hair and beautiful pouty lips and perfect features.  He had all of the above.

Mr. J is also blessed to have a super spunky 3 year old sister.  As it goes with most 3 year olds, you just never know what you are going to get during a photo session!  This session was all about capturing J’s newborn sweetness, but we also tried to get a sweet picture of J with big sister A.  I think this one perfectly captures the toddler-ness and newborn-ness of these two cuties.

Just after this picture, J made it clear to us that it was time to eat!  After that, it was time to get those sweet, sleepy newborn pictures.  It took a little while to get him settled, but the end result is always worth it!

I had the best time spending the afternoon chatting with J’s sweet mama, cracking up at A’s spunky personality, and all the while getting my newborn fix.  I know I probably sound like a broken record, but I love my job.

The mullet was the indicator

I knew last night would be a good 4th of July celebration when the first thing we saw was the most perfect mullet I’ve ever laid eyes on.  The silver ringlets glistened in the setting sun as he proudly celebrated this great country.

Then, during the fireworks show, they played John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” which is hands down one of my favorite JD songs.  I love John Denver! (yes, I’m a dork.  And yes, I’m serious about how much I love JD.)

In short, last night was fabulous.

I’ll just let the pictures do the talking.  (well, mostly…you know I always have to chime in a little…)

I just love when Cami wants to hold one of her brother’s hands.  Connor was the chosen one last night.  The boys are so sweet to her!

I feel like I’m looking at future Cami in this picture.  She is looking so grown up these days!

Three generations of Thurman men.  Connor spotted me…he is so difficult sometimes!  It’s not even like I wanted them to look and smile.  All he had to do was sit there.

When I did ask him to look at me, this is what I got.  Awesome.

Derek was more cooperative.  And, I’d like to state for the record that he was the only member of our family sporting patriotic colors, which he didn’t even do on purpose.

Camryn is always a little easier to take photos of.

Although she does deliver some gems like this.

And this.

And this.

Sometimes she shows her thoughtful side as well.  She was stressing out about a helicopter that was taking off a little too close for her comfort level.  Reason 4,321 why girls are so different than boys. Logan had already run over to get a closer look at the chopper while Camryn stood stock still with this look on her face.

Let’s talk about Logan for a minute.  He’s also impossible for pictures these days.  He is in constant motion–pretty much every photo I take of him is blurry.  (I actually kind of like this even though it was an accident.  I love happy photography accidents.)

If the photo does happen to be in focus, 9 times out of 10, this is the face I see.

Before the fireworks, there was a carnival with bounce houses, pony rides, etc.  We were a little late getting there and unfortunately for Logan, he waited in two separate lines and both times the bouncies closed just before it was his turn to go inside.  When he saw the hulk deflating, he and some other jilted kids ran over and started beating up on it .  How dare the Hulk close down!

Finally, finally it was time for the show to begin!

For Connor, last night was all about the fireworks.  Forget that we were at a park with a carnival and family and friends.  All he could think about was those fireworks!  This was his face pretty much the whole time.

Logan and Camryn both loved the fireworks, too.  The fact that none of my children covered their ears and snuggled in close during the fireworks is a sure sign that my kids are growing up.  It’s really a beautiful thing.

The end of an era

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to fix Camryn’s hair in two pony tails.

There are a few things you should know about Camryn:
1. She is extremely opinionated.
2. She pretty much hates having her hair fixed or wearing any kind of hair accessory.
3. She is extremely opinionated.

However, on this particular morning, I somehow finagled her into letting me have more than 6.4 seconds to fix her hair. She didn’t even notice what I was doing until it was all said and done. I was so happy–there is just something so classically girly about a toddler with two pig tails, and I totally soak that kind of thing up.

But the very moment she noticed that she had two ponies…
(and I feel like I need to apologize for the quality of these pics…I didn’t have the right lens on my camera and the light in her room is terrible for pictures in the morning. but I just had to capture this moment…)

The weeping and gnashing of teeth continued as she expressed her hatred of her pony tails.

The angst and the torture were written all over her face as she pulled the wretched rubber bands out once and for all.

And finally, she had her way.  No ponies, just a clip.  Even in her victory, the injustice of the morning’s events burned behind her eyes.

Slowly and surely, she began to walk the long road to healing.

And finally, all is forgiven.  Joy abounds.

PS-No toddlers were harmed in the making of today’s post.  The above events happened in about 45 seconds or less.  No, she’s not dramatic at all.  And no, she definitely doesn’t get her flair for dramatic over-reactions from me.  Uh, or maybe she does…

PPS-I am almost positive that was the last time Cami has sported two pony tails.  She made her point and I’ve relented.  Clips or little pony tails with NO bows and the occasional single ponytail or braid are all you’ll see around here these days.

Pony tails or not, I love this girl.