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 Saturday! Yes, probably not the best thing to do to myself….but the sunflowers were SO beautiful. And I had fun taking pictures in them.

1st Day of School, 2020 style

Well, it has been a blur of a 3 weeks getting ready for the 1st day of school, but today was the day! According to our headmaster, it had been 147 days since these kiddos were in an actual classroom. Our kiddos were SO ready to go back to school today. Josie was up at 3:30 this morning, raring to go! I was glad to be teaching IN PERSON, too!

This year we have a 7th grader who is over the moon to finally have a locker and the freedoms that come with being an “upper schooler” at our school, and we have a fourth grader who has his mom for his teacher. (Small school….it happens.)

We all survived and thrived today, and are all quite ready for our beds tonight!

Josie- 12 Year Old pictures

Josie has been helping me with several of my photo shoots here lately. She is a great assistant! Over the course of the photo shoots, I’ve snagged a few pictures of her, too. So her 12 year old photo shoot was done over a few different days. 🙂

First up was the sunflowers at our farm! I actually used these photos to advertise for sunflower mini sessions for my photography business.

I cannot get over how old she looks in these.

I grabbed this one real quick when she was helping with Carley’s pics.

And these this weekend when she was helping me with her friend Hannah’s shoot.

Can.not.believe. how old she looks.

The rest of July

We have been BUSY since returning from vacation. As soon as we got back, I had to jump back into school mode. I couldn’t actually go to school right away, because of needing to quarantine for a bit, but I did a ton of work from home, and then when I was deemed “safe” to go, the kids and I have been there almost every day. (except the days the kiddos have stayed home with Jake). Our school, because of Covid guidelines and needing to have enough space in the classrooms to put all the student desks 6ft apart, has had to do a MAJOR overhaul. Every single teacher/faculty member had to change classrooms and/or offices. Every one. It is actually a good thing, because we are making a LOT of changes we were going to make in the future anyways…they’ve just had to be expedited! We moved back the start of school from the 5th to the 10th, just to give us a little more time to get everything ready.

Anyways, there has been a lot of soaking up the last days of summer, too.

We got so used to going on our after dinner walks at the campground, one night we decided to do it at home, too. And the sky was BEAUTIFUL that night.

We’ve SO enjoyed our garden this year. It has been an excellent year for growing things. There is nothing like eating veggies fresh from your garden the day you pick them!

Masks. They are the new normal. The kiddos and have gotten LOTS of practice in wearing them while we’ve been at school. They are not my favorite thing, but are definitely a necessary evil right now.

The skies have REALLY showing off here lately….

And this happened. Meet Cleo, the newest member of our family. 🙂

Josie has practiced diligently, all summer long, on perfecting her slack line technique. And now she can make it all the way across!!! She was so proud of herself!

One night our friends came over for a fire night. The kids had so much running around the yard with them, and we got to meet their new puppy!

I’ve had so many photo shoots this summer, but this week I got to do really fun ones- Emery’s one year shoot, and Carley’s SENIOR pictures!! Josie came with me and was my photo assistant.

After a LOOONNNG week at work, we decided to have some fun Friday night. We went to an actual restaurant for the first time since March (I mean, we’ve picked up food and brought it home, but not actually eaten out). We went to Sax Deli and ate at their outside seating, and it was absolutely delicious! Then we hit up the Mexican popsicle place and sat outside and listened to a band play while we ate our treat. We ran into a family from church, and it was SO good to see them. We are missing our church family, so badly.

This has been a fun and busy weekend, too, but more about that later!

Dale Hollow Trip

We always love our trips to the lake, and this one, albeit different than normal, was no exception.

There was lots of sleeping in and lazy mornings, swimming, riding in the boat, kneeboarding for the kids, skiing for me, ice cream, Nana’s homemade desserts, bike riding, pretty sunsets, and a beautiful stars every night.

We were there with Nana and Shshr, Mom and Dad, Casey and her kiddos, and Chad and Lesa and their kids. Andy and his family was at their house up there, and Uncle Bill came up for a few days, too.

We decided that we were going to let our Covid guards down just a bit, and let Nana and Shshr and Mom and Dad be in our quarantine “bubble” for just the duration of the trip. We decided that was a risk worth taking. That being said, we were still almost always only outside with them, and pretty much still 6 ft away all the time, except for just a couple of dinners eaten in campers together. We still didn’t eat in docks. We got ice cream at a couple of the docks, but stayed outside. We avoided other people in bathrooms and when we had to go on the docks, etc. So…all that made the trip feel different than other years, for sure.

The end of our trip was little stressful. Chad found out while we were on the trip together that one of his work colleagues had test positive for Covid…so he had to go get tested, even though he had no symptoms….and the day before we came back, we found out he had tested positive. He was completely asymptomatic, but to be on the extreme cautious side, our entire family decided to quarantine for this week, even though we were all almost only outside with him, ever on the trip. And, thank goodness, no-one came down with symptoms at all (including Chad and his family), and now they have all had negative tests…..but still-it was a stressful, anxious way to end our trip.

However, the trip itself was still wonderful, and restful, and just what we all needed. It was so good to be around my family. Especially knowing that we are going to need to get stricter with our quarantining again once school starts, to protect them from all the germs Jack, Josie, and I will exposed to every day.

So…here is the trip in pictures. 🙂

One day Pappy took Jack and Josie fishing and they caught TWENTY FIVE brim! It was a good fishing afternoon! Jack caught most of them (because he fished a lot longer than Jo did). He was over the moon excited. Pappy fried them up for us one night on the trip, too-they were great!

Lake sunsets are the best. We always make it a point to go down to the dock and watch one from start to finish, at least once on our trip.

One week day night we waited until the dock was almost closed to go get ice cream, that way it wouldn’t be crowded.

Yes, that is my goofy girl riding down to the boat on her bike with a flamingo float around her neck.

We really enjoyed being able to just ride our bikes down to the boat every day instead of having to drive the truck. Having bigger kids definitely has its perks!

One day we all drove to East Port for the day. We rode with Shshr and Nana in Shshr’s boat (Jake drove the boat). We ordered our lunches to go at East Port, and then ate on our boats. We stopped at Sunset on the way back for ice cream and so the kids could feed the turtles.

We found a new “sunken” island near Hendricks for the kids to explore.

This was the easiest year yet to get all these kids in one picture!

One evening (Emery’s first birthday, actually!) we all stayed late on the island and ordered pizza from the dock for dinner and had a picnic. Uncle Bill and Uncle Andy bought a ton of glow sticks and glow toys for everyone, and we had a night swim. It was so much fun. The kids LOVED it-these are the kinds of things I hope they remember forever. 🙂

The next day we had a waterfall day. We hiked to the Sulfur Creek waterfall, and then also went to the Mitchell Creek waterfall and played around on it. Then we went to Mitchell Creek to get some ice cream. (Ice cream abounds when we are a the lake, LOL).

Sunday was HOOOOOTTTT. We packed up and then the kids and I jumped in the lake for a minute to cool off before we headed home. We are always sad to come home, but always glad to be back in our house once we get home. 🙂

We are blessed, for sure, to have the ability to get to take trips and own things likes campers and boats, and to have a family that is close enough to get to come with us. These are things we try not to ever take for granted.

Week 17

Sorry for the silence for a bit. We just got back from our annual Dale Hollow camping trip, and I’m just now sitting down to do some blogging catch up.

The week before camping was mostly….well, prepping for camping. There are always a lot of things that need to be done before we go. I had some photo shoot and school work to do, things needed to be cleaned, laundry done, camper packed, etc. etc.

We also did a few fun things, too!

Monday I got to go take sweet Cora’s newborn pictures!! She is so, so sweet. I wore a mask the whole time, and only touched her to arrange her for pics…but I just wanted to squeeze her! 🙂

Monday night we had the Roses over for a fire night. It had been awhile, because they had been out of town and then laying low for a bit after their trip. The kiddos played in the sprinkler. It was really good to see them and hang out.

Tuesday was a busy day. This spring, I was supposed to help chaperone a junior/senior overnight hiking trip.. Well…Covid, of course. I had tried to reschedule, but just couldn’t make it happen. So I decided I would host the (newly graduated) seniors only for a camp out night at our farm. It was a good time. They came after lunch on Tuesday and I took them down to the swimming hole to play and explored the creek. Then we hiked back up and pitched our tents. Jake came to help me grill. Everyone brought their own dinner. Jake grilled steaks (tuna for me) and veggies-it was SO good. We hung out by the fire and roasted s’mores. Jake went and got the kids and went home about dark (the kiddos had hung out on Mama Judy’s deck for a bit so he could come). The seniors and I hung out until midnight, just talking and snacking. I slept in my hammock-and slept SO much better than I usually do in my hiking tent. The next morning I cooked pancakes and sausages on the griddle for everyone. It was a good event, and I think the seniors appreciated one last hoorah before they all go their separate ways. 🙂

Wednesday afternoon I took the kiddos swimming at our neighbors. I grocery shopped on my phone for our trip while they swam. 🙂

Thursday was all about packing, picking up groceries (had to go to both Walmart and Kroger for pickups to get everything I needed), prepping meals, and picking corn. Mama Judy came and helped pick the corn, and then we put it all up in the freezer in the shucks.

Friday we finished packing and cleaning, and then the kids and I headed to the lake. I was pulling Shshr’s boat up there for her. Jake came after he got done with work with the camper. We were GLAD to be on our trip.

The rest of Week 16/4th of July

The start of July has been pretty good.

Wednesday Mrs. Pam couldn’t do swimming lessons, but told us to come swim always, so we did. The kids had fun just getting to “play” and still got a ton of practice in!

Wednesday night we drove over to the farm to see how our sunflowers had been growing, and then drove to Pleasant View Golly G’s for a treat. The Greenbrier one has still been super busy, so that’s why we went to Pleasant View.

We are getting a TON of blackberries right now. Thursday morning I made blackberry muffins.

Thursday I went to mow at Nana’s, and the kiddos went with me. Then Nana went with us to swimming lessons to watch, and Grammy was there, too.