We spent the weekend at my cousin Britney's to take care of her 4 kids while they were away celebrating their 10 year anniversary. We went to the zoo with 6 kids and while it was crazy, it was a blast!

A woman at church recently was moving and tried to sell her piano. When she had no luck she decided to give it away for free! So now I have a piano here in Athens and I am going to try to build up a studio here to help make some money while john is still in school. I am grateful to be able to contribute and to use my love for music to help others and our family.

We have great neighbors.  The other day the I bought a pool at Walmart for $7.88 and filled it up from the sink bowl of water by bowl of water.  The kids jumped in their bathing suits and ended up washing the cars out in the playground! They used a whole can of shaving cream and they loved it!

We have been studying creativity and imaginination at joy school and the kids learned about spontaneous delight at Amy's house and we played with shaving cream and they had so much fun! I love what joy school is teaching them, sometimes Joy and Happiness is a learned skill.  It is so important to find joy in everyday life.

Yesterday the kids and I went to Sandy Creek and hiked the trails and went to the nature center.  They were running full speed through those trails and Avett didn't even care when he would fall and trip over the roots on the path, he would just get right up and keep going,  I loved their enthusiasm for nature.  It's in their blood I know it! 

Evaleigh has been taking an art class and she loves it. We go once a week to the Lyndon House to a beautiful art studio and she creates something, a take on a Van Gogh sea scape or land scape.  She was very proud of the horizon lines she painted two weeks ago.  I feel so proud when i see her creating and being comfortable in her own element.  She loves art so much. 


Easter weekend

Our Easter weekend was so packed. 

Friday we went to mom and Michaels and played around the house and property and mom made a meal and we ate by candlelight.  That afternoon Michael taught Avett how to hit the carpenter bees drilling holes in the barn with a stick.  Then we all took a turn and it was so fun! Then we had a little Easter egg hunt and the kids loved it. 

Saturday john had to work but E and A and I went to my dad and Jen's.  Dad brought us each back a little something from his recent Europe trip. Evaleigh a porcelain doll, Avett a soccer ball, and a delftware vase for me.   Evaleigh fell in love with her doll right away. The kids played dress up and that lead to an Easter egg hunt outside in their dress ups.  A ninja and a queen bobbled around the backyard to find their eggs.  Avett was all over the place and very in to it! Evie was carefully walking around since she was resolved to hunt in plastic high heeled slippers. 

Saturday night I got to go to the General Women's Session Broadcast with mom.  It was so great to sit with her and hold her hand.  She brought me a notebook to write in and I took notes of all of the ways I could be more patient and loving to my children. 

Sunday we had church and I taught Sunday school. When we came home we are pork tenderloin and some waaaayyyy too salty sweet potatoes.  John was kind to even get seconds.  Then we did the resurrection eggs that I grew up doing as a child and then watched the easer story on Mormon Channel.  Whenever Jesus was being crucified Avett would go up to the tv and say, "Bye bye Jesus, I love you Jesus."

I'm so grateful for my Savior.  I'm grateful because ever good thing I have in my life is because of His grace and love for me. He means everything to me. 



A couple of weekends ago I went to Augusta to visit my sister.  I just couldn't stand it anymore, I missed her and I missed her children.  So I packed everyone up in the car and stuff to stay for a couple of nights and we took off.  The drive from Athens was so beautiful.  I love the southern country side.  The kids were both asleep within 20 minutes or so and I just drove and thought.  I love that kind of solitude.  I can see my babies in the rear view mirror with their shimmering closed eyelids and those pouty sleeping lips.  I can sigh a breath of relief knowing that they are with me but somewhere else completely. 

We had so much fun with the cousins. On Saturday bekah and I got the bray idea to go get the girls ears pierced together.  Evaleigh had been asking for quite some time.

Joe kept the boys and we went off on a girl date.  We stopped off and got the girls matching summer sandals first and then went to Claires in the mall. Evaleigh was determined the whole time.  She never faltered with her answer every time I asked her if she was sure she wanted to do this. 

She picked out a pretty pink glitter heart pair of earrings and hopped right up in the chair. I stooped down and held her hands to help her stay brave.  They counted to three and "pop!" The earrings were on and her face didn't even change.  

I learned a lot about that brave soul.  Not a tear, not a frown, not even a wiggle or wince. Just sheer excitement and courage. I was so proud of her bravery to do something hard, face it head on, and own it! If her reaction tells me anything about her future and how she will come to handle life then I've got one less thing to worry about.  A rite of passage in to girlhood, she suddenly looked older.

Kate cried, but then they were both so excited.  I loved doing that together, such a sweet memory.


The Glenn Murphy Ranch: Spring Break part 2

Yesterday we got dirty and learned a lot.  Papa drove us around and we spotted Burrowing Brown Owls and Meadow Larks.  We went to the bone yard and the kids were introduced to the circle of life by seeing two decomposing cows.  They both rode Sassy, Avett's first time on a horse. He was beaming and mesmerized.  We watched daddy Papa Erin and Aunt Janice cut the calfs first thing in the morning.  We picked more fresh oranges and sat on and on every piece of farm equipment.  

After our hibachi Buffett dinner we came home and played another game of corn hole, (John and I won!) and then we put the kids to bed and watched a Elder Holland's LDS face 2 face broadcast. Lisa sang and I beamed with pride for my friend.  Wonderful gospel conversation followed by cards and a late bed time.

The kids woke up at 5:55am this morning, a fluke. But not a fun one. Now we will spen the morning at the Verona Lake beach to get all of the wiggles out we can before we take off for Georgia.  It's been a blast of a visit to the ranch.


The Glenn Murphy Ranch: spring break

I'm laying in bed with wet hair from a late night shower and John is sound asleep next to me.  I couldn't have been in there for more than 10 minutes but it was enough time for him to fall right to sleep.  He had an early morning on the ranch today working cattle with Pops.  When he came home about lunch time he had cow blood on his hands and jeans, a few true marks of true hard ranch work. 

Every time we go outside I am met with the smell of orange blossoms blowing through the breeze. I'm so in love with it here, I could just sit and stare at the grove for hours.  The kids and Grammy and I had a little snack picnic under the shade of a Hamlin orange tree a couple of days ago.  We were accompanied by some gnats and Avett wanted to climb as high as he could in that tree. 

Today around lunch time the children were getting restless so I asked john to ride them around on the gator while I warmed up lunch. Grammy is the best at making bulk so we've always got plenty of leftovers on hand at a moments notice.  I was so grateful for the uninterrupted moment to fix lunch while I heard the hum of the gator in the distance and the sound of little voices becoming clearer as they zoomed closer back to the house.

Today Grammy and the kids and I took a spontaneous tour of the old Jacaranda Hotel, built in 1926.  Grammy asked if we could see a room and the receptionist gave us two keys to go and explore as we pleased. It was such a charming hotel.  When we came back down I asked the man in the lobby playing the piano if I could sing with him.  I asked for "How Great Thou Art" and he obliged.  Avett started to cry for me so I finished it with him on my hip.  The acoustics were so beautiful I could have sung there all day and well in to the night. I imagined singing old jazz tunes and gospel favorites with a classical twist.  

Afterwards we went over to Verona lake and had a disastrous meltdown with both children ending up in the lake up to their chests and me running in after them up to my thighs.  Our exit was dramatic, sandy, and wet.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you loose.

We end every night here gathered around the dining room table playing cards.  Different versions of Pitch and To Hell and Back.  I'll never forget the first time John tried to teach me Pitch.  It was the most intimidating and complicated sounding game I'd ever heard of and I never thought I'd catch on.  But then just last night I whooped Pops and John fair and square.  It was a proud moment for me mastering the family favorite, a true badge of honor in deed. 

I love Pops' theatrics as we play and how almost every decision as to what card to throw down is as if he is weighing some of the biggest decisions in life. He says something to the effect of, "Well that is just enough to get a man in trouble."  As he repeated rubs his forehead.  

Tonight as he got out a box of whoppers and offered them to all of us he generously said, "Anybody want some of this manna from heaven?"  I keep a running list of all of the best things he says, I just love him.

This ranch is starting to carve deep memories for our children.  Feeding horses hay, walking around the ranch, picking oranges, riding on four wheelers, visits to grannies, pulling Spanish moss from the trees, Lilly the Lizard on the screened in porch, dancing in the light of the headlights to Papa's music while the adults finish up a night time game of corn hole in the back yard, night time family prayers all kneeling in the living room, Avett's first movie at the theater in Sebring in the recliners, picnics under orange trees and after church, petting Gus and watching him run all over the place and so much more. Evaleigh had her first experience with fireweed a few days ago.  She fell back on the ground after Gus knocked her down and her palm landed right on it.  It started to sting and she cried as John whisked her over to the barn to rinse it off with some alcohol.  An experience not too soon forgotten.

I love that this place is a part of my children's heritage.  It makes me feel like we are a part of something special.  And we are. Something so rooted and deep and rich with a long line of their ancestors working and making something incredible of this beautiful land.  

I am so happy to come here over and over for years to come.

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