Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Welcome 2018!

2018 is off to a cold start, but we're glad it's here! Mike and I celebrated New Year's Eve with an afternoon date to Ninja and Home Depot, and then we enjoyed a cold night in with the kids playing games and watching the ball drop. New Year's Day we enjoyed a traditional lunch of ham, greens, and black-eyed peas to bring all the good luck, and then watched the Sugar Bowl with friends. Going back to school was a hard endeavor. Cold temps and so much fun together at home left us all a little less excited to get back to the routine. Once we started it was all good though, especially since we've yet to have a full week on a regular schedule.

Today's snow day has been enjoyed with sibling fun inside and neighbor fun outside. We have a lot to look forward to in the coming months. Brennan is playing Upward basketball right now, then flag football and baseball. Rowe can join the fun this spring, and so far wants to play t-ball. Mike has a couple of big projects going outside of his regularly full days. I'm working hard to keep a step ahead of my fourth graders, and trying to get a basement renovation underway. We are looking forward to seeing where God directs our path in 2018!

                              January 16, 2018 Snow Day                               
It wasn't a lot, but it was fun!

She insisted on wearing her bike helmet while sledding. Probably not a bad idea!

He finally got to try out his own sled, that he got for his birthday the year we had no snow.

2017 in Review

2017 was quite the year for our family! We started the year with a pulled apart basement. The basement flooded at the end of November 2016. It was the night of flooding rains and tornadoes in neighboring communities. The kids were asleep downstairs, I had dozed off in a chair close to them, and Mike was away in Oklahoma. At about 1:00 a.m. I heard water running in the mudroom. When I went to check, water was about a foot above the outside of all the doors and running in around the frames. I quickly moved the kids upstairs, got all of the electronics unplugged and everything off the floor that I could, then went out to try to clean out any clogged areas. It turned out the problem was much bigger than on our property. Water was gushing down the hill from the street and coming up through a drain that had no debris covering it. There was really nothing to do but hope it stopped soon. It ended up covering the floor in about 2/3 of the basement. Insurance did not cover the damage because the water originated outside. Thankfully the spaces we lost were not necessities like a kitchen, so we are still living without them. We are finally to a point of getting it back together hopefully, and are so ready to have a complete house again.

Then, one nice afternoon in February we were all outside cleaning up leaves and playing in the backyard. I said in passing to Mike that I was considering getting city pool passes when they went on sale in a few weeks. A few minutes later he walked over to our pool and commented on how clear the water seemed under the cover. He pulled the cover further back to realize it was empty! 25,000 gallons of water had disappeared! The liner, which had lasted way past it's expected life, had split. I know it was filled to the top in December. It blows my mind that a pool full of water can just soak into the ground with no notice. We ended up getting pool passes and spending last summer without our pool.

We enjoyed a spring of baseball for Brennan, and I filled a leave of absence at Falkville Elementary. Our plan had been for me to sub for 2016-17 and start working full-time in the fall of 2017. We had endured a few struggles with that plan as well, so ending the year in a classroom was great.

Our summer was filled with a great vacation to the shore of Delaware and several days in Baltimore. We wanted to take the kids to see where Mike grew up in Baltimore, but they really wanted a beach vacation. We knew they would love the city once we got there, but decided to check out a beach nearby. We ended up in Bethany Beach, Delaware. A precious, old beach town on the Atlantic. We stayed in a new hotel on the boardwalk. Unfortunately, it was very chilly while we were there. We spent some time in the cute downtown shopping area, enjoyed yummy seafood, and were able to go to the beach the last day. Then we were off to Baltimore for several days of sight seeing. It was a great family trip!

In July, I accepted a teaching job at Lacey's Spring Elementary teaching fourth grade ELA. It has turned out to be a great job. I teach two classes each day, and they are wonderful. It has been a great transition.

Rowe turned 4, started full time preschool, and has loved it. She is all about her school friends, her baby dolls, and doing anything Brennan does. So far she plans to play every sport. She enjoyed a pool party at Cullman Aquatic Center.

Brennan started 2nd grade, and just turned 8. He has done well with the transition to changing classes for reading and math. This year he played baseball for the Kentucky Wildcats and they won the league Championship, soccer, and flag football. He also enjoyed Camp Artselle again. He is currently a football fanatic. We took he and two friends to a Titans game to celebrate his birthday.

Our holiday season was a lot of fun! Brennan was in a program at church and Rowe had a program at her school. We rode in a few area Christmas parades campaigning for a friend. Hartselle had their first tinsel trail, and we enjoyed walking through and riding by it several nights. We also enjoyed the lights at Sportsman's Lake in Cullman one night. Our Christmas celebrations were very relaxed and enjoyable. It was one of our best Christmas breaks yet!

Putting out the reindeer food and Grinch dust. One child changed clothes as soon as he walked in from communion. 

Opening their first gifts, sibling gifts. Big hugs of excitement. 

The gift he didn't even know he wanted, but has enjoyed, Laser Tag.

And the gift he was waiting for but didn't think any box could possibly hold. He was right, but two boxes had it sneakily wrapped. 

Her first big kid bike. 

She also got the doll house that my grandfather built, and my grandparents gave me for Christmas when I was in 2nd grade. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Well, you know you need to blog more when you forget how to get to your blog. Four tries later I found it!

It was a beautiful Easter Sunday! We only had minor fussing over clothes, and one little person was eager for pictures. The other didn't mind so much, she just couldn't keep her eyes toward the camera.

More personality than a little body can contain

It's great to have a personal photographer eager to capture Mom and Dad

Time for THE HUNT

The Swaffords brought enough attitude to fill those buckets