Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Leaf Soup

Jancsi and Laughter have been making leaf soup these days. We have a big mineral tub out back and they have loved filling it with leaves and stirring them into the rain water that has collected there. They have a blast and take it very seriously. As I watched them today, my thoughts went back to when I did the same thing with my brothers and sisters. Great memories. 


Today my parents moved out of my childhood home of 20 years. The movers came yesterday, the truck was filled, the boxes packed, the floors vacuumed and bathrooms scrubbed.

I remember when we moved in. My siblings and I ran from room to room doing cartwheels and getting lost in the size of it. It poured down rain the entire day and I remember eating dinner on cardboard boxes in the kitchen that night.
 photo 2014-12-17 15.40.46.png_zpswtphqqqi.jpeg
My brothers, sisters and I roamed the woods that surrounded us as we played cowboys, Indians and lost orphan children of the frontier. We’d make leaf and grass soup down by the creek, grateful we had something to eat as we battled enemies and cold winters. We built tunnels in the creek bed and literally cut roads into the steep embankment behind the house for our bikes and spent hours racing through the trees. Later when we were older our forts were turned into paintball barriers for the epic battles that went down.

Mom and Dad took us to our first circus and for months we’d put on our own show on our playground in the side yard. I split open my knee going down the slide one summer when we decided to make it into a water slide with the hose.

After the Winter Olympics one year we spent the rest of the Winter and Spring racing down our driveway on roller blades as we ‘speed skated’ through traffic cones.

We would sneak out the boys bedroom window and sit on the roof- something my Mom was always terrified of us doing. We girls would go out while she was gone on errands and tan up there. We’d run for the window or duck behind the chimney when we heard her car coming down the gravel road.

I got my first goats in that house and Mom never said a word about me keeping the bottle fed babies in our playroom in an old pack and play. We’d have 6 little kid goats at a time running around our playroom.
 photo 2014-12-17 15.40.16.png_zpsm2fltnrc.jpeg
Photo credit: my brother
One year, three days before Mother’s Day, all us kids decided we were going to paint and remodel the kitchen for Mom. I still have no idea how she stepped back and let us do the whole project ourselves. My oldest brother brought in the chain saw and cut the counter clean through. We put a back on it and turned it into an island. We took down all the cabinets and painted everything. We did it all in three days. There is still a section of floor that was never put in from where we moved the counter. We hid the spot with a rug.

We enjoyed blueberry pancakes from Dad’s blueberry bushes. I can still hear him shooing us all away from the oven until he had a huge stack piled up. When I’d complain if the pancakes were whole wheat he’d say “they sit like a brick on your stomach and they’re good for you!”

We’d build huge water slides down the hill in the front yard with big tarps and we’d slide all day. By dinner time we’d be covered in bruises from going over roots and pine cones.

I ran our well dry when I left the hose on in the side yard. We had this old little kiddy pool and I noticed there were tadpoles in what little water there was at the bottom. We were leaving for our big family vacation the next morning so I didn’t want their little pool to dry up in the heat and all of them die. I turned on the hose to fill the pool up and forgot to turn it off. We woke up the next day to no water and the yard flooded. I got in trouble for it but remember being most upset that the tadpoles had all floated over the edge of the pool and were now dead in the yard.

We built forts and swam in the pond down the road. We caught turtles and built a barn. We got a pony and attempted flying with handmade gliders.

I remember raking our yard of pine needles, putting them in trash bags and walking around our gravel road asking if anyone wanted to buy some. We sold three bags and made $9. When we dropped them off the guy had a driveway full of pine bales stacked up. I knew he had just bought our little bags to be nice.  

During one of our many ‘all hands on deck’ cleaning episodes, a nest of baby mice was unearthed from some deep dark corner. We were able to save one and I fed it with a eye dropper. It lived and grew and was completely wild and terrifying. I was keeping it in a box in my bedroom and Mom finally told me I had to get rid of it. I put the box out in the shed that night. (I was going to let it go the next morning.) It got cold that night and by the next day my little mouse had died. What a horrible way to go, I felt terrible.

My brother had a gocart and we’d tear up and down the road and on the trails through the woods. One Sunday he added a seat belt of his own invention. Just because. That same day, just moments later, we taught my younger sister Joy how to drive. She froze up at the wheel and floored the gas. She went flying across the yard and plowed straight into a large pine tree. I remember everyone screaming and Mom and Dad jumping off the porch and racing down to her. The seat belt kept her from flying out when she hit the tree. There was a big chunk cut out of the tree and the frame of the gocart was pushed in from the impact.

So many memories. The big Christmas trees, the egg hunts in the front yard on Easter, the summer our pool went in, family dinners with everyone squished around the kitchen table, friends coming over and playing capture the flag in the dark, family sing a-longs with Dad on the guitar and Mom on the piano, Mom’s flower gardens, our giant sandbox Dad built.

And now as I get ready to go home for Christmas, we are going to a new house. There’ll be a new stairway that all the kids will race down Christmas morning. A new yard to explore and neighbors to meet. It hasn’t fully hit me yet but I know it will when we pull into the driveway and there are no bumps where tree roots have pushed up through the pavement. But as I was sitting here thinking about it, yes we’ll miss the old house. It’s special and holds a lot of memories for our family. But it’s not the house where most of my fond memories come from, yes they happened there, but it’s the people that make the memories stand out. And all those people will be with me this Christmas. That’s what matters and that’s what I’m most thankful for.

So here is goodbye to a great old house that put up with 8 kids doing a lot of living and life across its floors. Here’s to the old house and all the memories.

And here’s to the new, and I bet the leaf soup will taste just as good over there.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Two Months [Hayva Joy]

Hayva’s first Christmas is fast upon us and we are soaking it all in. How is it possible our littlest is two months old already? Hayva is taking after her big brother and is weighing in at 12lbs 11oz and is 23 ¼ inches long! She is already in 3 month outfits. Yikes!
Out and about.
I got my first baby giggles out of her yesterday. So fun, and seriously, nothing cuter then a baby’s first giggles. I totally must have looked ridiculous because once you eek out the first one you just have to get another one so you’ll do absolutely anything and everything to get them laughing.

Little Miss Hayva Joy is finally starting to sleep better. She gave me a couple nights last week where she was only up three times. It was glorious. This week we’ve been back to our old routine of 4 or 5 times a night.  But I am hopeful!
Happy girl!
I was thinking the other night how much has changed since Jancsi was at this stage. I dreaded the nights. I would be literally asleep nursing him and was exhausted all the time. Motherhood has way of making you able to survive on basically no sleep- so here we are at baby number three and I feel great! Lol I am actually enjoying the nights with this little one and the special just me and her time.

She still wants to be swaddled at night and doesn’t fall asleep on her own very well. I am still having to nurse her and walk the floors to get her down. I know this will eventually have to stop, but I’m soaking up these baby times because I know all too soon she’ll be crawling up those stairs with her big brother and sister and not need me as close.  I love how in the wee hours of the morning, she starts grunting and squirming in her bed. I pull her in with her Daddy and I and pull the covers up. She always grins and does a few more wiggles just for fun before dozing off completely comfortable and right where she wants to be. I love her so immensely.
 photo 20141211_144704_zpswy3lmjg0.jpg
Love those cheeks!

So tonight, on her two month birthday, I am so incredibly thankful for her and her little chubby self.  Each day is an undeserved gift. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Winter Live List

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably noticed I’ve posted a few pictures with the hashtag #jessupfamilylivelist. I got this idea from another Istagramer Mom who has been doing Live Lists for over five years with her family. So I can’t take any credit!
 photo 20141130_135735_zpsgmpulgzj.jpg
At a friend's buck-out. The kids love this truck!
Anyway, our Live List is basically a list of activities we all came up with that we would like to do this winter. Because our kids are still pretty young, the items on our list are simple and age appropriate for them. Things like –make a snowman. - family sleepover. –go on a hunt for Christmas lights in our jammies. -make ginderbread houses and -drink lots of hot coco!
 photo 20141202_121506_zpsdbydmgcr.jpg
Baby girl is 7 weeks old!
The idea of the list is not so much a bucket list to check things off, but more to look at each day as an opportunity to make memories and make each moment count. I also wanted to incorporate some service/do for others activities into our list. It’s so easy this time of year (for little kids especially) to really get caught up on presents and ‘me’. I wanted to encourage the real reason for the season. So we added some things like –memorize Isaiah 9:6. –pay for someone’s order behind us in a drive through. –give someone at church a hug. –send a ‘thinking of you’ package. –learn a new Christmas carol.  -fill a box for Operation Christmas Child.
 photo IMG_20141202_170711_zpsd9uiorgb.jpg
My first go at chalkboard paint.
We have been having a blast and the thing I think we are all enjoying the most is that we are doing it all together as a family. We are making it a point to slow down and enjoy each other.
 photo 20141203_074546_zpslcjrv3e1.jpg
Our list on our fridge.
 photo 20141204_192524_zpsd45cthbo.jpg
Sleepover Jessup style!
Last night after dinner, we put on our bathing suits and took a giant bubble bath! We pulled out the sleeper couch and sleeping bags, dished out bowls of cheez-its and mugs of hot coco. We had a sleepover in the playroom and watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Jancsi and Laughter were giddy with excitement and it’s a memory I’ll always treasure. 
 photo IMG_20141204_104853_zpsufjuylry.jpg

Monday, December 1, 2014

Simple Gifts

I love these days. They are so full. They are loud and messy. They are crazy. They are fun. They are no make up, hair in a pony tail kind of days. I’m learning I need to slow down with three kids. I tend to run around like a crazy person and get all stressed when I get thrown off my busy train. Problem is that as soon as we are stepping out the door, someone needs to be nursed, someone has a poopy diaper or everybody can’t find their shoes….there is really no end to the reasons why getting out the door can be tough. I’m finding its ok to just let things slid and chill out a bit.
  photo IMG_20141126_191456_zps79c1dd08.jpg
We’ve had a few family sleepovers with sick kiddos and I treasure the nights with everyone tucked in close. It seems so natural being a family of five and I am so thankful.
  photo 20141130_141421_zpsb799067c.jpg
We just got over three solid weeks of being sick- everything from colds to throwing up. Thanksgiving came right in time for us to be feeling better and it was a breath of fresh air to get out of the house after being stuck at home.
 photo IMG_20141124_194135_zpsbcc7838c.jpg
We picked out our Christmas tree on the way home from Fort Worth. We ran into Guilherme Marchi and Silvano Alves in the parking lot and my husband light up like a 4th of July firecracker. For those of you non rodeo fans, these guys are the best of the best and are world champion bull riders. They were only too happy to sign Jancsi’s hat and Sebron was beside himself. : )
  photo 20141129_131926_zpsce14f97a.jpg
Laughter has been taking ornaments off and putting them back on ever since we set up the tree on Saturday. I’ve been finding little stashes of ornaments in different places around the house.
  photo 20141129_181115_zps50c2fc86.jpg
Hayva is packing on the chub and still wants to be held all day. Jancsi and Laughter are still enthralled with her and Jancsi greets her each morning with a cheerful “good morning my sweet baby girl!”

My days are full and I’m thankful.


After being sick for three weeks, I think its safe to say we are on the mend! We had a bit of everything including coughs, colds, bronchitis, throwing up and just plain don’t feel good stuff. Thankfully we began feeling better right before Thanksgiving and all of Sebron’s new family was able to come for dinner!

Sebron’s Mom (Meme) married Poppop this past summer and Sebron now has four step siblings and the kids have a whole slew of new cousins! It has been a joy to get to know our new family and everyone has been so welcoming! Most of the family was able to trek down here for Thanksgiving, all the way from North Carolina. We had a wonderful house full and Jancsi had an absolute blast with his older guy cousins and they spent most of the day wrestling on the trampoline. It took Laughter awhile to warm up to the girls but she and Baylor (they are three weeks apart) ended up best buds and ran around screaming and jumping on the bed.

We spent the next day down in Fort Worth walking around the Stockyards, watching the cattle drives, eating and visiting everyone’s favorite western store. We ended the day with a rodeo and finally crashed at a hotel for the night. Everyone was exhausted and although the older two kids slept with us in the bed, we were all out like a light. I even had to wake up Hayva to nurse!

I am so thankful for these new brothers and sisters and little nephews and nieces! God is so good and I look forward to many more family gatherings!

I don’t have any pictures on account of my mother in law’s camera wouldn’t upload to my laptop. L

Saturday, November 15, 2014

One Month

I’m always amazed at how quickly these little ones change. Hayva Joy is a month old and has the cheeks to prove it! She is full of smiles these days…those wide, amazing open mouth grins! Jancsi especially likes to get in her face to try to eek one out of her. It is precious to watch. “Baby Hayva you’re so cute! Do you know that I love you Hayva?” Yesterday morning in an attempt to keep his little sister warm, he placed his most coveted mug of hot coco beside her little chair “to warm her up Mommy!”. Love his heart he has for his girls.

We are falling into our new rhythm and flow as a family of five. Hayva has easily joined into the craziness of our daily life and just seems happy to be here and be a part of it all. =) The past two days she has happily bounced around as we’ve drove through the fields in the old ranch truck as we’ve helped Sebron feed cows.

This week has been busy as I’ve had errands and outings everyday by myself with all three. I have to say it’s been very smooth other then when the littlest gets hungry and all screaming breaks lose. The most exhausting part of it all is getting everyone in and out of car seats at every stop. I did have a moment at Walmart when I had the older two looking at me as I tried to figure out where I was going to put all the children AND all the groceries…. Then there was trying to go to the bathroom. In a Walmart stall. With one strapped to my chest and two trying to touch everything and look at people through the opening under the dividing walls. My stall was the only one in the full restroom with endless conversation.
“Guys please don’t touch that.”
“Mommy are you peeing?”
“Mommy does that potty flush by itself?”
“PLEASE don’t touch anything!”
“Wow that was loud flush!”…..
 photo DSC_0329_zps46d3f01a.jpg

Night times are still long with so many up times. Hayva will normally do a good 3-4 hour stretch when she first goes down, then she’s up every 1.5-2 hours wanting to nurse. I change her diaper all night long. For a child who went 48 hours in the hospital without pooping when she was born (they wouldn’t let me go home till she went), she has certainly been making up for it. She easily goes through 5-6 poopy diapers a night. None of the other kids got even close to that. It’s wild.
 photo DSC_0359_zpsff68b316.jpg

I simply love watching Laughter and Jancsi interact with Hayva. I love listening to the little conversations they have. Jancsi telling her his stories and laying his pirate sword across her “to make her happy”. Laughter likes to quietly hunch down beside her. She’ll just stare with a cute little smile on her face. I can’t wait to see them grow up together. She loves to show everyone her “baby.”
 photo Hayva_zpsd7e44272.jpg

We are all so thankful for a healthy little one. We are so in love and can’t imagine life without our sweet Hayva Joy! 

Monday, November 10, 2014


 photo DSC_0323_zps93f3a27e.jpg

This woman. I am blessed to be able to call her my mother-in-law. I feel like she needs a vacation every time she leaves our house. She works the entire time she is here. How many times she kept the two older kids so I could take the baby to different appointments and run errands? I don’t even know. She bought groceries, made dinners, cleaned… there is just no end to it. She put up with us- we are not a quiet family…and we wake up kind of early. She took everything in stride, sleepless nights, long days, everything. She took over the upstairs at night. Answering any cries for water, bathroom runs, bad dreams and just needing midnight snuggles. It allowed me to turn off the monitor and just focus on Hayva and sleep. She even put up with our barking dog at night. She blessed us immensely the entire visit.

She wasn’t even supposed to get here until October 17th or 18th. She called the weekend before and said she just felt she needed to come early. She couldn’t explain it, just felt the Lord leading her. She got here on the 12th and Hayva was born the 15th. God is so good!

This woman can do anything. She can fix a broken dryer, rock a crying newborn to sleep, paint, and just about anything.
 photo DSC_0306_zpsf348808a.jpg

To say our children love their Meme is an understatement.  They adore her and wake up asking where she is. She jumps on the trampoline with them and even makes eating our vegetables fun! We never left Walmart without fruit snacks and squeezers in hand!
 photo DSC_0334_zpsc09931df.jpg

I had the privilege to watch through the window one day when Meme and the kids were on the trampoline. Their little faces were a glow with smiles and I could hear the giggles through the window. I am beyond blessed to have a Mother-in-law who truly loves our kids and pours love and life into them. That is the greatest gift of all.

Thank you.