Liberty Turns Double Digits – Dallas, Texas…

Five days after Manning’s birthday, we celebrated Liberty’s 10th birthday!

To start the day, Liberty went with her daddy to pick donuts. She chose an apple fritter and a chocolate coconut donut for herself, and she brought a slew of other options for her brothers and sisters.

We sang “Happy Birthday” and enjoyed the donuts. Then Liberty opened gifts from all of us. Also, we went around and told her what we like about her.

One of the gifts Liberty got was a Pom Pom Making Kit. She and some of her siblings spent most of the morning making cute pom poms.

Then, we loaded up and headed to Chick-fil-A for lunch – Liberty’s choice. She enjoyed nuggets, fries, a brownie and root beer.

After lunch, we went to Target. Just Liberty and I went in the store. She wanted to shop for a cute skirt or dress. It took awhile looking around before she found the perfect thing. She knew this dress was the one once she saw it.

After shopping, we enjoyed an afternoon of jumping at Urban Air. Our whole family had a blast there!

Then we headed back to our RV park and ate an easy dinner. We had a foosball competition that Liberty’s team won. And we ended the night by reading Liberty what each of us had written to her in her journal.

Liberty had a great birthday, and we loved celebrating it with her!

Little Liberty

Happy 10th birthday, Liberty Pearl! 💖 You are my cute, sweet, fun girly girl. You like all things girly and fancy. You are very disciplined and devoted. If you commit to something, you do it. Your funny side has emerged. You have a way of doing and saying things that causes me to laugh so hard I cry. I love hearing you sing. You are a great artist. You draw some really amazing pictures. You are a fun story-teller. You love, love, love to watch and caretake Bravely. I think you are foregoing your own fun by taking her to a playground, but you have convinced me that IS what is fun for you. You are a great little sister and big sister. You easily bounce back and forth playing with younger and older siblings. You have always acted very mature for your age. It’s easy to believe you are 10 because you act even older. You very much want to make sure people are ok with you, and you are quick to make things right if you hurt anyone. Most nights you tell me, “Best mommy ever!” And I respond, “Best Liberty ever!” You really are a jewel and pearl to our family. You add sparkle, pizzaz and shine to life! I love you so very much, and I absolutely love being your mom! 💗

Celebrating Manning’s 14th birthday – Dallas, Texas…

Manning and Liberty have birthdays five days apart in March. Since we were still hanging out in Texas for the winter, they requested we visit Jellystone Park near Dallas for their birthday week. So, that is what we are doing.

On March 18th, Manning turned 14 years old! It is hard to believe I have a child that old.

As usual, Manning went with his daddy to pick up donuts for his birthday breakfast. We made Manning a donut stack topped with candles and sang his favorite birthday song.

Then, Manning opened gifts and read what each of us wrote him in his journal. I was pretty excited about seeing his reaction to the main gift we got him – a kindle paperwhite. And the reaction from my book-loving boy did not disappoint. He was very surprised and excited. He reads tons and tons of books. The kindle provides very RV friendly book storage for him.

The only gift Manning requested was the card game Dutch Blitz. We got that for him, and he enjoyed playing it throughout the day with siblings.

Manning made exciting plans for the afternoon of his birthday. He, Rhythm and Daddy played paintball together at Jellystone. Manning, Rhythm, Tapestry, Cherish and Liberty played archery tag as well.

That evening we went to one of Manning’s favorite restaurants, Cracker Barrel.

Last year we ate at Cracker Barrel on his birthday, also. He ordered Granny’s Sampler then. This year he decided to share that same meal with Cherish, as he felt sick after eating it solo last year.

We ended the day telling Manning things we like about him. And we watched the movie of his choice, Pilgrim’s Progress.

We really wanted to take Manning to Medieval Times, a dinner show, for his birthday. They were booked because of spring break, but we were able to get reservations for a few days after Manning’s birthday. We all had a blast, and Manning loved every second of the sword fighting.

Manning had a great birthday, and we loved celebrating our boy!

Little Manning

Happy 14th birthday, Manning Isaac! How’s my baby boy 14 already?! 😭 Manning, you are an amazing son and kid! (I’m not ready to say young man quite yet. 😁) I love your funny, witty jokes and sayings. I love that you love having conversations with kids and adults alike – and even with your good ‘ole momma. I enjoy playing games with you, going on walks with you and conversing with you. I love watching you with your little siblings. You care for and entertain each of them on their own levels. You are quick to jump in and play a game or create a game for them. You even spoil your little sisters with gum, candy and prizes. You are definitely the fun big brother! I love that you jump at the chance to try most any activity. You give a heavy talk about what you are good at in a joking way, and you are quick to say what you aren’t good at or isn’t quite your thing. You almost always have something witty or entertaining to say. You voice your opinions clearly and you want what you want, but you respect your dad and me. You listen to our reasoning and seek to understand and care. Also, you reason well and are a good persuader and negotiator. You’ve won me over many of times. You are a bit of a brainiac, and we all rely on your brain power to some degree. You definitely make homeschooling easier. Thank you for always stepping in to help or explain something to a younger sibling without me even asking! One of my favorite things is watching and listening to you sing. You melt my heart with your lyrics and voice, especially when you wander off in worship. I am very proud (in a non-prideful way 😂🤣😘) of who you are, Manning! I love you so very much, and I am so happy to have the privilege of being your mom! ♥️

The Texas Freeze…

We were near our hometown of Brenham, Texas when we heard that a freeze was coming.

We have below freezing temperatures in Texas about one day a year, if that, typically. So, we didn’t think much of the coming freeze. Being married to a plumber, we knew to drip our water faucets. “It’d be over in a day and that would be that,” we thought.

A few days prior to the freeze, we looked at our weather apps and saw a forecast quite unusual for Texas. It was supposed to be below freezing for multiple days.

Below freezing in Texas usually means a temperature of 31 degrees, at lowest 28 degrees. The forecast showed a 6 degree prediction.

At that point, we realized our RV pipes might not survive the freeze unless we completely drained them down. So, we made the decision to drain our RV tanks and pipes and make the three hour drive to Lolli and Pop’s.

We were a bit late leaving. We would have left the day before if we didn’t have a family wedding to attend. Ryan had to scrape ice off of our RV slides with a pocket knife just so we could get them to retract. The roads were already icy, and Brenham looked like a ghost town as we drove through it. We drove 40 mph max the first hour of the trip. After that, we hit a little bit warmer temps and the roads weren’t bad.

We had called around looking for propane so we could fill up our RV tanks before we left. There was no propane to be found anywhere within that three hour range. Fortunately, our brother-in-law let us use his extra propane tanks. We were hoping not to have to empty the RV of all fluids – soaps, lotions, laundry detergent, drinks and all the things we may not find or remember.

We arrived safely at my parents’ house and plugged our RV in so that we could run our electric fireplace along with our gas heater. We bombarded my parents’ house with our bodies and many of our things.

We went to sleep in a warm house, and we woke up to the most snow we’ve ever seen in Texas! It was exciting!

We walked around outside, took lots of pictures and played. It was so much colder than we’d ever experienced in Texas, though! It was hard to stay outside for very long. Texans aren’t very prepared when it comes to winter or snow clothes. A simple hoodie or cardigan usually suffices for a Texas winter.

We enjoyed the day looking at and playing in the snow!

But then, we started hearing and seeing that this freeze was getting bad for people all around us. People were losing power. Their houses were freezing. Many of their water pipes were freezing and busting because dripping water when you have no heat inside your house doesn’t work well. I started getting a slew of messages with plumbing questions for Ryan. He did his best to help people know what to do from afar. The roads were bad for driving. We definitely weren’t prepared for this type of freeze in Texas! No one would have known or felt a need to be prepared. It was just something we’d never experienced!

Thankfully, we were close to the Louisiana border. We briefly lost power once. My parents have a generator because they’ve lived through hurricanes and lost power for two weeks before. But we sure felt bad for our friends, family and all those without power and/or water!

Ryan spent the next two weeks back in our hometown repairing busted pipes. The calls for repairs needed were endless.

I am so thankful we decided to go to my parents’ house to ride out the Texas freeze!

Our RV even survived with no broken or busted pipes. And the propane barely lasted until we were able to get propane again. Maybe we’ll be a little more prepared should we ever live through a Texas freeze again!