Parties, cats, and strep throat

To catch up on the rest of October, here is a very miscellaneous blog post:

At the beginning of October, we hosted my XC team at our house for an outdoor end of season party. It went great!

Jake says I’ve turned into a crazy cat lady. And he’s right. I am not sure WHY these cats bring me so much joy. But they do. Maybe God knew I would need to be a crazy cat lady this year.

Why, yes, that IS a bunch of grits I spilled all over the floor….

Good truth.

We got to celebrate Pappy’s birthday with him on Wednesday, with an impromptu outside pizza picnic at their house. It was so good to be with my whole family in one place-it doesn’t happen often!

Thursday night we took the kiddos to Golly G’s to celebrate a couple of big accomplishments for both of them. Josie shared something with her class that we were very proud of her having the courage to do. Jack finished a BIG chapter book, his first really big novel. They are good kids, and we are proud of them, and this was a good, tangible way to show them that this time. They are funny, though-neither of them got ice cream! Jack wanted an iced “sunflower” latte, and Josie wanted an iced “chunky monkey” mocha. Ha! My coffee addiction has rubbed off on them.

Everyone was feeling great in this picture. But by Friday morning, Josie had a horribly sore throat. She stayed home from school, and Jake took her to the doctor- strep throat.

Saturday morning JACK woke up with a horribly sore throat- I took him to the doctor- yep, strep throat, too. The best thing about strep throat is, though, that antibiotics work FAST. They are both totally back to normal today!

We had a wonderful, much needed VERY lazy family day yesterday. We binged watched America Ninja Warrior, ate donuts and Chinese food, and just rested together. It was life-giving for sure.

Fall Break

Fall break was relaxing and much needed. The weather was beautiful-it actually felt like fall! Perfect for relaxing under blankets, coffee drinking, sitting around fires, and smore making- and there was plenty of all of those.

We went camping at Dale Hollow Dam as normal. Normally we leave Dale Hollow halfway through the week to meet Jake’s family at a state park. But this time they were staying at Standing Stone State Park, just right up the road, so we stayed put and drove over there to meet them each day. They came to us some, too.

Not pictured, but not any less important or fun: LOTS of card playing, star gazing on the beautiful clear nights, movie watching, lots of 4 square volleyball and soccer games, bike riding, reading, SO MUCH FOOD, and of course our traditional after dark hide and go seek game!

It was a good trip, and none of us were ready to come home, even after 10 days. But home is always so nice to come back to, too.

Jack’s Cross Country Season

Jack finished up cross country season in September, too, but I thought this deserved a post all to itself.

Jack, our boy with BOUNDLESS energy, finally put all that energy to good use…..he got first place for his age group (3rd-5th grade boys-usually about 20 runners) in EVERY cross country meet this season! As a fourth grader! We are pretty impressed with our little dude for working so hard and meeting his goal. Also so, so thankful for his excellent coach, who has high standards for his runners, but also makes it fun for them-Jack never left practice without a smile on his face.

Running in a rainstorm at one of the meets

His awesome coach always gathered them up at the end of every meet to talk to them.

Loved this pic another mom sent me!

After the race at our farm

Running in first place at the championship race!

He got first place at the championship race, and also got first place overall in his division for the season!

His team actually got first place overall as well-and swept the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in the championship race!

It’s fun watching your kid succeed at something they enjoy so much! 🙂

September

September has been a long, hard month for many reasons that I’m not getting into here. BUT there have also been many reasons to be thankful, and many bright spots, and I AM going to get into those here. 🙂

The first week of September brought the opening of dove season, and the inaugural dove hunt at our farm-and it went well!

Jake’s work sent me this beautiful flower bouquet! What a sweet surprise.

So, so grateful for this handsome guy.

We went back to our church (in person, we’ve been watching online) for the first time since MARCH. We celebrated with a picnic Cracker Barrel lunch afterwards!

One night I made homemade apple fritters and we had a fire and Mama Judy came over. It was the perfect night for a fire. Jack even fell asleep outside. 🙂

We had a fun outdoor BBQ with our friends on Labor Day. It was so much fun to get to hang out with all of them-it had literally been MONTHS thanks to Covid.

Our church celebrated its TENTH anniversary, and we had an outdoor picnic to celebrate. I am so thankful for this place and what it means to us as a family. It has been surreal to see something through from literally the ground up.

We love our cats, just a little bit. They are a good comfort when you are having a bad day!

Just a little golf practice on a Sunday afternoon, LOL.

A little fall crafting a decorating is always in order for September. Picking out pumpkins at Smiley’s is literally one of Josie’s favorite days of the year!

Jack got to have his first official sleepover at a friend’s house. We are still being cautious with Covid….but they are together every.single.day at school and XC practice, so it seemed like a moot point. He had a blast!

More sleepovers with our friends, complete with fort building and fire making and “camping out.” (Again, we are with them every.single.day at school, so moot point.)

Board game night- introducing Jack to the game “Risk.”

Another project- stools/tables for our fire pit. Jake cut these a few months ago, and they’ve been drying out. They were finally ready for him to peel the bark off and sand them down, and then I put a few coats of spar urethane on them.

Yum. We now have TWO excellent coffee shops right up the road from us!

Some good truths I’ve been resting in this month.

The rest of August

The rest of August has kind of been a busy blur.

We’ve had two cross country meets. Jack has gotten FIRST at both of them! He’s doing great this year! I don’t have any pictures of just him, only with teammates, so I’m not posting them here. But-he’s having a blast!

Josie loves 7th grade. She loves having more “freedoms” and a locker. AND she published a school newspaper, all on her own! It is called “The Edwards” and she is going to publish it monthly. I love her creativity and her ability to stick to an idea once she decides she wants to do it.

I have the best husband. He is patient, and kind, and will do anything for me. I’ve leaned on him a lot this month.

I am very, very grateful for the work of an organization called Project ADAM and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. They had come out to do a teacher training at our school, the first week of August. Without that training, the outcome of my runner probably would have been very different. Check them out here.

Here is a bunch of random end of August pictures:

I’m praying for a more peaceful, less eventful September.

August, Week 2

The second week of August started with 4 more sunflower minis (Yes, 8 in one weekend!) and Emery’s first birthday party!

After her birthday party, we ran over to the farm to show Shshr and Nana the sunflowers, and so I snagged a few pics. 🙂

The next day was the first day of school (already shared most of those pics, but here’s a couple of more…).

The beginning of school started pretty uneventfully. We had to get used to wearing masks and new cleaning protocols…but we were all SO glad to be back at school, in person, that nobody minded too much.

And then. Wednesday happened. After school at cross country practice, one of my runners went into sudden cardiac arrest. It was the most terrifying experience of my life. I’m not going to tell the whole story. But, with the help of three other wonderful ladies at my school, we performed CPR, used our school’s AED machine, called the ambulance….and he survived. He later underwent surgery to implant an internal defibrillator…and he is doing great, he was back at school the next week.

However… what I would never, ever have expected, especially since the outcome was so positive, was how I would feel afterwards. It has been hard. It truly was a traumatic experience. I am very, very grateful for the ladies that were there with me that day, for a school who was so understanding and kind to give us some time off, for church family (and our own family members) who provided my family with meals, and for my very patient, sweet, caring husband.

August, Week 1

Well, per normal for August…..I am behind on blogging. So. Here I go, catch up time!

We started off the first week of August with a fun birthday celebration for Hannah! I did a fun 13 year photo shoot for her on her birthday, and Josie came along. We did some “best friend” pictures. 🙂

6 feet apart pictures, just for kicks

And, then. I told them to get close and hug, without even really realizing what I was doing. It was just in “photographer” mode, and not even thinking…..that this was the first time they’d been allowed to touch or hug in MONTHS. They were SO excited. They almost cried. It was very sweet.

After pictures, we went to Torino’s and picked up some dinner and ate it in the car. 🙂

And then we headed to the farm, for a surprise for Hannah-we were doing a fire and FIREWORKS to celebrate her birthday. 🙂

That same weekend was the start of my August sunflower mini sessions at the farm. The sunflowers were BEAUTIFUL. I had 5 photo shoots that first weekend of August alone.

I had Mama Judy be a model for me one day before my photo shoot people got there. 🙂 I have the best MIL in the world. 🙂

Also spent SO MUCH TIME AT SCHOOL, getting ready for the first day. The kiddos were with most of the time the first part of the week, but they went fishing with Grammy and Pappy on Thursday, and ending up spending the night on Wednesday night and Thursday night. 🙂

One day at school I dropped a cubby on my toe. It hurt SO bad. Still hurts, in fact, almost a month later.

I was at school late on Thursday night for our virtual back to school night, and late on Friday night for our in person back to school night (for the new to JECA students). It was a long week. Not a bad week. But a looonnnggg week.

I ended that week with 4 more photo shoots on Satu