Monday, December 27, 2010

The perfect Christmas

I have a very bad habit of building something up in my head and being sorely disappointed when it doesn't pan out like I think it should.  I have grand ideas of traditions to uphold and memories to make.  Pictures to take, expressions to memorize.  But sadly I fail miserably every time I encounter an event that isn't quite what I had in my head.


I made up my mind before hand that I would be content, not restless, happy with every moment.  And life did not disappoint.  There were PLENTY of things that could have really put a damper on the season but I didn't let it bother me. 

You see I love Christmas.  I mean love it!! I love the entire season between Halloween and New Years. The feel of love, spirit of giving, saying thanks, showing gratitude towards others, family and friends coming together.  I love every single busy, crazy moment.  I love the kid's Christmas parties.  I love shopping for the perfect gift to spoil my loved ones.  I love the stories we listen to to help us remember the reason we are celebrating this day.  I love the tiny baby Jesus' that give me butterflies when I look at Nativity scenes.  I love the thought of making my kid's imagination work over time for a few weeks. 

This year there were several things that could have made me sad and disappointed.  I could list them all and allow you all to really see how much you should feel sorry for me!  But suffice it to say that even though it didn't turn out to be a perfectly sequenced Christmas week it was perfectly wonderful!!

I think I kinda go into a funk the first few days after Christmas but this year I am looking forward to the new year and new opportunities that are headed our way. 

I took way too many pictures to narrow them down enough to post of our perfectly wonderful Christmas celebrations but just close your eyes and think of something incredibly perfect.  That my blog readers is what our Christmas was all about!

Friday, December 3, 2010

First Snow

We had our first snow a couple of weeks ago and it was beautiful.  The rain that came before hand was monsoon like and the snow that followed was unexpected and very destructive.  We still had many trees with leaves so once they were wet and then with the added weight of wet snow there were branches broken all over town. 
The kids were so excited to see the beautiful fluff!  It was gone within a couple of days though.  I am ready for the REAL snow to begin.  I love winter here.  I  never knew photographing the snow was so fun.  School drop off was anything but the kid's managed.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Just a season...

Up until a few years ago I had never heard the terminology of something happening in your life as a season. Like when your kids are little, sick, frustrating, growing, sassy, etc... that it was just a season and like all seasons it will change as quick as it came. But when you are in the middle of that season the end is never in sight it seems.

We are at the end of a season. Literally and figuratively. Cam's mowing season is coming to a close and I breath a sigh of relief. We made it another year. Another year of long days. Another year of trying to keep our head above water. Another season of seeing Cameron age in a way that is not recorded just by his birthday passing. I thankfully say goodbye to 2010's mowing season and bid it farewell. (I'd like to give it a good swift kick in the pants, but I am respectful of our bread and butter.)

The figurative season we are saying goodbye to is the feeling of hopelessness in our finances. We clawed our way out of a very deep hole which we refer to as 2008. And like everything else in life it took twice as long to fix what we messed up. We accepted our fate in the matter and slowly but surely made decisions that led to change. It was hard, frustrating, and time consuming. We had great counsel along the way and I am very grateful for that. But in the end I can say the light at the end of the tunnel is there. And it is BRIGHT! Can I get an AMEN?

Another season we are in is my favorite season of all. I cherish the Christmas season from start to finish. The decorating, excitement, anticipation, gatherings, spirit of giving, helping others, and so much more makes me just plain giddy. I love CHRISTMAS. I love everything about it. I love every single religious act we observe in respect to Christ. I love all the childish things we do to help our children anticipate Santa. There can be a balance of both without confusion and priorities being screwed up. The way I look at it is that we are Christians all year long and showing my children the love of Christ is a daily walk for us. We guide them DAILY. So having Santa added to the mix for a few weeks isn't as big a deal in the whole scheme of things. I get why people don't do Santa. I fully see why it isn't ever incorporated in their families and I respect their decisions completely. For me I think that if my child ever gets confused then it is a reflection on me and my teaching. Then I need to spend the other 340 days of the year working harder, teaching more boldly, making sure that my children see Christ in their lives instead of just at Christmas time. That's our thinking on the matter at least.

What season are you saying goodbye or hello to?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Thankful Spirit

I am so full of love and thankfulness this year. I have much to be writing about but I will keep it short. There is mashed potatoes to be made after all.
I am thankful for abundance. That we are overflowing with love, blessings and gifts from our Lord. We are so abundantly blessed that at times I have to stop and realize just how much we have it going on around here.
(Hey 3-year-old, hold your ring pop still so that my focus doesn't fall on your hand!)
Scheesh who said working with kids was a piece of cake?
Hey sassy-pants, don't talk to your mother that way,
unless it is to tell me all the ways you love me...then talk away!
Dude, we have got to have boundaries at other people's houses. I am sure Lily isn't impressed that you were playing with her potty. (Oh wait was it clean, empty, wiped out??)
Dear sweet son, your eyes are going to stick that way. (No they won't, it's just something I am suppose to say. I think I remember signing off on that page at the hospital. But I do need to complain. There was soooo much they didn't tell me!)
I am thankful for all of these beauties. They make my life sweet. I was sitting in the floor with Cannon and Grace and thought, goodness this sure is quiet and fun just sitting here with an 8 and 5 year old. We can play a game, we can talk, we can actually get through show without pausing it a bazillion times.
Then along came Mason, there is NO OTHER PLACE HE WANTS TO BE BESIDES YOUR LAP, and we happily obliged in letting him join our circle of quietness. We were squirmy but doing better than expected.
Out of the blue (how long did I really thing #4 would stay away?) Reece came a crawling up. He has no clue about personal space. When he is around he commands the floor or the space or the couch or the chair or get the idea.
All I can say was that it was BLISS.
We could have stopped at 2. Our boy and our girl. What society deems the perfect family. But gracious I am so thankful today that we didn't. Because being a mommy to these darlings is just about the most perfect thing in this world I could write about.
And I wouldn't want to be a mommy to these kids without their daddy. He is by far the best. I find such joy being his wife.
So yes, we are blessed, graciously blessed, abundantly blessed, over the top blessed with such wonderful blessings on this Thanksgiving Day.
May you be abundantly blessed as well my dear friends.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Check out this giveaway


Check out this site for a giveway and EXTRA cute Christmas shirts. Also there are lots of cute gift ideas. She made Reece's birthday shirt and I loved it!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Just talking

No pictures this time, just talking.

I got a new camera last week. I really thought I was in over my head (and still do) but it has been fun. There are a few things I have picked up just by being around great photographer friends but mostly it is trial and error.

Along with a new camera we all were sick. Except for Cameron. Whew...avoided that one! But each day another bit the dust so to speak. But from start to finish we passed it around in record time-4days. It was just the tummy bug and it was very short lived! Praise God because those 4 days seems like eternity.

Reece has six teeth. While I was in the mountains a few weeks ago he sprouted 2 more. His grin is much different with so much white showing. He still hasn't learned to walk and actually refuses to put his feet down to walk with us but it's still early. Gracelyn was 13 1/2 months but the older boys were both lots older. 17 and 15 months. So I am not surprised. He just had all the potential though. He crawled at 5 months so he has been mobile for a LONG time.

Mason is loving school and learning so much. He just goes 4 days a week so Mondays are special mommy time. It is so strange to see how his attitude is different when it is just me and him (and Reece of course) as compared to all the kids being home. Either way I love it. He is my grocery buddy.

Cannon is thriving like I knew he would in Pre-K. He has learned a GREAT amount just by being at school. Of course he *gets* what his teacher is teaching but just the school environment in general is teaching him so much. I always knew he was bright and observant and his teacher confirmed that for me.

Gracelyn is just wonderful. I am so blessed by her and her sweet spirit. She is so much like me as a young child that it is scary. She is extremely sensitive and although it can be annoying at times I know how to deal with her. How to calm her down, how to comfort her. Much like what my mom would do. The biggest thing I learned from my mom and dad growing up was it wasn't that important if the other people got punished for hurting my feelings or whatever but it was that I was valued, loved, cherished despite what other people did to me. I don't even know if they know that is what they taught me. I know that is what all children crave but some kids just need extra doses of this type of parenting.

Cameron is rounding out his season and he has GREAT things in store for his business and our family. The best thing about Cameron is that he is a dreamer. It can get frustrating to people who aren't, but for me I see that his dreams are born of a place to want more for me and our children. I am perfectly content in my life but that is not good enough for him. He doesn't strive to be content. He strives to be abundantly blessed. God is showing him how to get there. Praise Him for his guidance in Cameron.

This is very random but I am contemplating giving Blaze a bath and allowing him to be an inside dog. Every time I see him have to work at getting up from a nap, my heart gets a little tug. Winter is coming and can he really stand to be outside much on those cold days? He spends the majority of the time in the sun room during the winter so it isn't like he is outside 24/7 but it would be a huge change for him. I know he is a dog and there is a reason God made him so hairy but he is getting old. 9 actually. Don't you think if you have survived our 4 kids for so long you deserve some perks?

Many blessings!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

October recap...

It was full of FAMILY time. We are getting to the time of year where Cameron is home earlier and not working 6-7 days a week. (It has been a long season!) So we are slowly working ourselves into a more regular routine of being a family of 6! I love FALL!

All of these pictures are from my phone so they are really random! :)

At Jack's birthday party! He's 5 now-time is passing too quickly!Amy and I took a little vacation to Cuchara, CO. It was so much fun and you might remember we posting about our summer trip here. Our purpose (or rather her purpose) was to photograph the fall foliage. Well we missed it just a tad. It snowed up there while we were driving. It was just beautiful the next morning but then the sun came out. That day we actually drove LOTS and got beautiful pictures.
I use the term we loosely.
I sat in the car A LOT and played Words With Friends. Look me up-I'm 5299keri.
Amy photographed A LOT! I can't show all the pictures here but soon I will share a special picture taking escapade we went on. Like I said I was her 2nd shooter, without the camera, experience, or knowledge of what I was doing, or any idea of terms. Basically I just held her lenses. I was good at it.

Brrr...looks cold Amy! Thanks for leaving the car on for me. I was nice and toasty.
We got a new(to us) dishwasher and Cameron had a great helper with the install.

On to Halloween. The only thing we do for holiday is dress up. I don't decorate the house, I don't fret over costumes, I don't make a big deal of all the spiritual implications upon my children. I let them dress up and we get candy for it. Simple as that. It could be as random as a Tuesday evening to our family. Like I said it is simple for our family and not something that gets much face time in the whole scheme of things. In fact, the day before is usually when I am asking what kids want to be for Halloween. We search for the dress-up accessories and go from there. :)

Reece was a Lion (which actually was Mason's first costume but really came from here) and his little buddy Jett was a Tree Frog. They stared at each other and I am sure thought, "Humph! Your mom got you too?"

Gracelyn was a Sassy Sailor (don't forget the Sassy part!) Mason was a Rescue Hero Police Officer and Cannon was Batman again

And here's my giggly lion again. He laughed and laughed when we put the hood on. Isn't he cute?

I had great visions of us sitting around the pumpkin digging and carving and marveling at our work. After 10 minutes I knew better and ended up carving a pumpkin to my liking because the little turkeys had lost interest. So I sat by myself digging, carving and marveling at my handy work.

Some friends gave us some clothes for the boys and we were going through them this morning. Cannon wanted to try some on. When I got him all tucked in and belted up. He struck this pose. He thought he was hot stuff for sure! He looks so much like Tyler to me!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Is it Monday yet??

These words hardly ever get muttered from lips, especially mine. But this week I am asking this question A LOT!!! I am getting away for a few days and I couldn't be more excited. Literally over the moon excited to be able to sleep in, eat hot meals that aren't kid friendly and DO WHAT I WANT!!

Pinch me because it sounds like a dream!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Check all these new posts out

Here are a BUNCH of posts that get me all caught up. It has been a busy 4 months these moments are just the high points!!!

Around the time I left off
Cuchara, CO
My oldest is 8!
Turning into a big boy
It was bound to happen sometime
Tri-State Fair 2010
Our birthday monkey
Running and no one was chasing me!

Running and no one was chasing me!

Yep I ran without anyone chasing me. I wasn't trying to get away from a water hose, booger, or the resident tickle monster (Cameron). I signed up for a RACE!

I will wait for a moment while you gather yourself. It is awe inspiring isn't it??

Mason's school hosts a HUGE carnival each year and one of the events to help raise money during this shindig is a family fun run 1 mile and 5K. Yes, I am fully aware that we could have done the 1 mile. In fact I pondered that BUT NO!!! We went all out and signed up for the 5K. So on purpose I paid money to get up early on a Sat. morning and be chilled to run without being chased.

This girl made me do it. Peer pressure sucks.

And at this moment I thought surely I would die. I had lived a good life...
I won't lie and say it was fun or even enjoyable but we finished. With a few people behind us even. Although I was a little sore that a little pipsqueak of about 7 passed us. But the rumor is she had been training. HARDCORE, or something like that. Did I mention that we hadn't run in quite a while? Well I ran the Monday before the race for a little bit but who am I kidding it wasn't anything like running outside!! And there were hills. Oh wait we live in Amarillo, there are no hills. But there was traffic. Oh wait there were cones and cars to block people off (except for that one lady who got extra close to me...I was hoping she would hit me so that I would be put out of my misery). But there was... oh forget it. It was brutal. BRUTAL I tell you. But like I said we finished. I got a t-shirt. I wore it proudly and promptly got Italian sauce on it. But I'll still wear it proudly.

I Keri Melban ran a 5K on October 9th, 2010. And word is I might do it again!

Our Birthday Monkey

Be prepared. There will be TONS of pictures.

What a fun party we had for sweet Reece. He turned 1 on the 6th and there was just so much anticipation and excitement in the air. Monkeys was the theme and not really jungle monkeys but more sock money/traditional monkeys were used. I loved it because it reminded me of his room (that he shares with his brothers) and just his personality. He is a mover and shaker and all around monkey boy! I will put this out there that I should have just hired Amy to plan the whole thing because seriously this party wouldn't have been 1/2 as cute if it were left up to my own devices. She did so much and I appreciate her tremendously

Each table was decorated with photos that Amy had taken of Reece and balloons.

The grandparent corner! :) It was so fun to have them all there!

Reece was so distracted by the commotion of big kids around him. He couldn't stay focused on his cookie and candle!

Lily is making sure Reece likes his cookie! :) Reece's shirt was made by a friend's sister that I haven't ever met but I feel like I know. Shannon has a online site that you can go check out. The coolest thing about working with Shannon was that she was so nice and just knew what I wanted. I wanted monkey~check, cute~check and his name~check. I was so pleased with how it turned out!!

Oh Lily!! What can I say about this girl?? I think she loves me almost as much as I love her!

Ashlyn, such a sweetie with the best hugs!

Miss Marlee. Always full of something to tell me!

Baby Joseph~when do you stop calling a child Baby? He will be 2 in 2 months but he is still called Baby Joseph by just about everyone.

Baby Joseph's sister Alexis. Cannon used to call her Sexy. He worked so hard at Alexis and it came out Sexy every time. How we first caught on was one time he was talking about Ms. Jill and said Sexy's mom...

When I asked to take her picture he quickly stopped playing and did her head tilt. I remember the day when Gracelyn picked up this little pose. It is adorable.

Jordyn~A.K.A. the new big sister. She has a new baby at her house that is about 5 weeks old I believe. Alyssa is a mini Jordyn. So of course she is going to be just beautiful.

Ahh...Nathan I got you!!! You only thought you evaded the camera!

Gracelyn and Macy

Kennedi~She is waiting for her baby brother from Russia! We are all on the edge of our seats in anticipation of the arrival of Baby Boy Rawlins. Go check out their journey here.

Lainee Lou~Which isn't her name at all. She is a Lainee Mae just like Gracelyn but for some reason Lainee Lou came out one day and it stuck. I sure hope she doesn't mind Teresa!!! Cameron calls her Laineebug. What ever name she goes by she is simply precious in our eyes.

I thought I turned this photo around but apparently not. This is mischief 1 and mischief 2!!! Two peas in a pod these two. Maggie is one of my favorites!

Ava Cakes. This is one girl who loves her momma! I don't blame her I do too!

This sock monkey was a hit! Reece hugged him right away. And now he sleeps with him. I only push the cute lovies on him!

My kids should take lessons from me while taking photos. I am almost falling off a squishy cube. I mean squishy!!! It couldn't be because I was too big for it at all or anything. But still I am looking up and smiling. The boys just had to sit there and still managed to make silly faces or turn their head. Sheeesh!!!

All in all a GREAT party. I loved working on his party and all the details. It was a fairly cheap event but turned out great!

Dear Reece,

My sweet baby boy. You bring so much life to our family. Daddy and I look at you every single day and can't believe you are so sweet and ours. We find ourselves constantly telling each other how much we love you. We are positive your older brothers and sister have taught us this love. You have added so much personality to our lives and we are so grateful. This past year has been one of much appreciation and love for our kids. You have taught us to slow down and enjoy the moment. I have tried to soak up every single second of your babyhood. Things that were the same between you and your siblings is that you came out looking just like daddy. BUT the red hair was certainly a wonderful surprise. I love it and hope it never changes. It is a unique trademark to set you apart from the rest. Your sleeping habits mimic Mason's (I'm not impressed) but your eating habits are all your own. At a year you weigh 19.2lbs and are 30 inches tall. You nursed for 1 year and 4 days. Quite the accomplishment if I do say so myself. I am proud of both of us little man. I love how you lay your head on our shoulder and although you don't pat us you give up hugs and your kisses are super sweet.

Love you more each day,


Tri-State Fair 2010

Do you have those traditions that you set in place YEARS ago that you didn't really know would be a tradition or annual event but developed into one? We also have a few sporadic events that I wanted so bad to become reoccurring things but it just never panned out. Like pumpkin patches. My kids have wondered patches and gathered their own pumpkins off the vine. At that moment I could have sworn that I would fulfill this desire of mine annually no matter what. Guess where our pumpkins came from last year? Wal-Mart! Yep the grocery store pumpkins were not only cheaper but cleaner, more convenient and easy!

But one tradition that has STUCK is a fair trip. I don't like the fair after 2:00pm. In fact my kids have NEVER ridden a ride at our fair. They have at carnivals like Dogie Days but I generally stay away and never mention rides at fairs or carnivals for the most part. We go for the exhibits, petting zoo and food. Boy do I sound old! I load up the kiddies along with the Ramsey crew and we eat, pet animals, walk in all sorts of weather from one building to another. This year was no exception.

I mostly took pictures of the petting zoo BUT there was so much more to be seen. It is the story of my life when I am in the moment I am soaking it all up and the last thing on my radar is taking pictures. I think I am too reliant on other people's pictures. I need to change this habit of mine.
I loved this guy. I think his eyes were so sweet!