Keepin' Up With the Tidwells

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

I blinked!

I blinked and 2.5 years went by and I didn't blog.  Life got busy!  A wonderful busy, but busy indeed.  The boys are growing and molding into cool little creatures.  I so enjoy this stage of life with them.  It's so challenging on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, but I can't help but think I'm in the heart of it right now.  We're smack dab in the middle and it's fabulous.  No one is leaving in the next year or so, no one is facing their lasts of anything.  We're just cruising and exploring and it's full of joy.  It's hectic and scattered and not picture-perfect by any means, but I love it!

Work keeps me running and gunning and that's been such an adventure for me.  I love work!  I love it almost too much.  It's my groove, but the juggling act is a constant tango and some days I'm better at it than others.  Fletcher is my saving grace and totally picks up the slack when I drop a ball or two at home.  We've added another boy to our crew:  Luke the Lab.  I'm not sure what took us so long, but we were totally missing out not having him.  He's such a part of our family now and we're loving watching him grow (and chew and chew and then chew some more).  He came to live with us on Christmas Eve and all three of my boys were elated....especially my big boy.  Fletcher has waited a long time for Luke and he's ready to have a bird dog.

Just going through the last few months of pictures, looking back and now looking forward and trying to set new goals.  We had a great 2017 and are excited about what 2018 brings!  We finished strong.  The boys got to serve alongside Fletcher ringing the bell for the Salvation Army outside our local Sam's Club.  They loved it and it was a great opportunity to serve our community.  Waterfront Mission is a tradition for us on Christmas morning and it never fails to bless us as we get to serve meals to those needing a little joy.

This year Beau turned 9 and Bennett turned 11!  How can that be?  

They're growing up!
This year brings changes and we're praying through some of those decisions.  We know God's hand will be on all of it.  

In full disclosure, we have mishaps in too.  Here's a picture of the latest and greatest!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Play Ball!

Well, spring has sprung, we've moved our clocks forward, and we've moved our bodies to our second home....otherwise known as the baseball field.  Little League is officially in full swing and we're up to our ears in practices and games and more games and more practices.  It's self induced, I realize, but we wouldn't have it any other way.  The friendships that develop at the ballfield are unlike any others and we're so blessed to be surrounded by families we can laugh with and are there to encourage and love on our kids.  They'll even throw in some tough love when needed.

The boys have their Easter break this week.  Most schools get a Spring Break and have a full week, but at the school the boys attend it is a shortened break for the Easter holiday.  Don't think for a second they haven't noticed the difference.  They're fully aware that while their buddies are at Disney or on the ski slopes, they were in carpool this morning.  Obviously, somebody's brain is in fun mode because I'm pretty sure a backpack got left at home today.  I'm no genius, but I'm guessing it's hard to study without your books.

Spring also brings more movement in the real estate market.  More listings means more showings which for me means more fun.  I've been showing a lot of new construction lately which might explain the pictures below.  Same song different verse.....same car, different tire.  Screws have been removed, tires repaired, and I'm as good as new!  Let's go look at houses!  OR let's get yours on the market if your looking to sell!

We have spring fever and we're in countdown mode for summer break!!!  We've got open calendars which right now sounds like a dream.  The Blue Wahoos are in season as are the University of West Florida Argos, so I'm guessing when we're not playing ball we'll be watching others "play ball!"  #boymom


Friday, January 8, 2016

Bring it on, 2016!

2016 is here and we're off and running!  We soaked up every second of our Christmas break and fell right into loving the lack of schedule and discipline.  Seems like that transition is much easier than the one getting back into the swing of things.  We loved every second of the holidays.  It's such a special time for us to get to relax and just be in the moment without having to rush all over the place.  I really savor that about our holiday traditions.  It's a peaceful time for us.  Here are a few pictures from our pre-Christmas celebration.
 The boys made a trip up to Mississippi for some duck hunting.  They had a blast shooting ducks and not taking baths while I enjoyed a quiet weekend home doing just about the opposite.
 Our Christmas Eve always starts with baking and decorating cookies.  We're not going to win any artistic accolades, but they sure taste good which we attribute to the loads and loads of butter!
The Christmas Eve service at Olive is one of our favorite traditions.  We get to worship and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Above is how I would like them to act, but below is my reality.  

Santa brought more than we deserve and maybe more than some of us (Beau) expected.  He was a little nervous once bedtime rolled around when he began to rethink some of his behavior choices. Thankful Santa has a forgiving heart and delivered treats (and a little advice) in spite of many "questionable moments."

We spent some time in Fannin County the week after Christmas visiting family and friends, but from the pictures it looks like we just sat around and held cats.

We made it home to Florida before dark on New Year's Eve...just in time to ring in time to watch the festivities on eastern time and get to bed.  We're party animals at Casa de Tidwell!  Momma had a pure barre class to get to in the morning, so.....priorities!  We're all about at least keeping our resolutions past Jan 1st!

This week has wiped us out trying to pretend we didn't spend a majority of our time off from school staying up too late, watching football, and eating too much sugar.  We've ripped off the band-aid and jumped back in full force.

2016 brings change for our family.  We are building our first home in northwest Pensacola to get closer to the boys school and work.  We have lived in many homes over the years, but never built one of very own, so we're excited about all that comes with that experience.  Another big change is that I've gone back to work after about 9 years of being a SAHM.  I actually joined Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in November, but wanted to get through all the in-house training before I really dove in headfirst.  Well, now I'm diving in and I'm enjoying it just as much as I thought I would.  I love the real estate industry.  Having worked in real estate marketing before, I knew this was a business I would enjoy getting back into once we could plant more permanent roots somewhere.

We are excited about what God has planned for our family and yours this year and pray for health and happiness all year long.  Happy New Year from the Tidwells!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

And They're Off!

And just like that, summer is gone!  We LOVE summerime!  As schedule-oriented as I am, I can totally embrace that "non-scheduling" that comes with summer.  And we really embrace it!  I should be embarrassed to admit, but in the summer, we sleep in, eat late breakfasts which leads to snacking through lunch, and then by dinner....well, we just tend to wing it.  We swim until we're bored, go home for a break, and then maybe swim again.  When we're over the pool, we hit the beach...and repeat all summer.  We play baseball through June, take July off, and start back in August.  We watch too much TV, play too many games on the IPad, totally adopt ice cream as a food group.  We just love every minute of feeling footloose and fancy free.  We enjoy it so much that when it comes time for school to start back up, we're actually a little ready for it.  We feel like we sowed our wild oats. :)

The boys started back to school this Monday.  They were pumped!  Both hopped out of bed ready to take on the world.....or at least 1st and 3rd grades.  I walked them in savoring the fact that they both still hold my hand, kissed their sweet little cheeks, and prayed the whole way home.  I couldn't wait to here how their day went and I was thrilled to hear on a scale of 1 to 10 it was a 12.  The best answer I could have gotten.  The boys are excited about their teachers and we're praying for a happy and healthy school year.

Texas on My Mind

It's been a week since we've returned from our summer trip to Texas and I'm just now getting the chance to write about it.  First of all, I know it's a little overkill with the pictures, but Texas is my happy place.  Going back there is truly the place I'm at ease.  I feel my shoulders go down, I sleep better, and I fall right back into the rhythm I love so much.  Sadly, due to busy schedules, flight fares, and life in general, it had been a full year since the boys had been back.

We started our visit this year flying into Amarillo.  Grammy and Papa (my dad and stepmom) had arranged for us to go up to Dodge City, Kansas for the Dodge City Days.  They have a great longhorn cattle drive, a big western gunfight, and an awesome rodeo, so it was perfect for the boys.  I loved it too!  After two nights in Dodge City, Kansas, we headed back to Papa and Grammy's in Lipscomb, Texas.  The boys couldn't wait to get there because they have old friends there waiting to greet them.  Their old friends include Rio (Papa's & Grammy's dog), Belle, Jack, Hank (their horses), and Charlie (the unruly jackass).  They absolutely love it out there.  Bennett and Beau spent their days outside riding horses, looking for arrowheads, practicing their lassos, riding the mechanical steer.....and then doing it again.  They helped their Papa get ready to go to the sale barn and got to go along for the ride.  It's a special place for us.  The boys learn so much every time we're at the ranch and they love every minute of it.  I love the special relationship Bennett and Beau have with their papa.  He takes the time to talk to them and teach them what being a cowboy really means.  They want to be just like him when they grow up and even though they've never actually gotten to live in Texas, they claim to be Texas by birth.  It suits them well.

We left the ranch in Lipscomb and flew into Midland.  Nina and Pa (my mom and stepdad) picked us up at the airport and we headed to Fort Davis.  This is an annual trip that has held a spot on our calendars for most of my life.  Pa has been attending Camp meeting in the Davis Mountains since he was a child.  It's a little piece of heaven and a place I have made lifelong friends and memories.  I feel so grateful that my boys are getting that same experience.  With no television, limited phone reception, and tons of fresh air, you can't help but unplug from the world and plug into the Word.  The boys climbed trees, went to church, and made lots of friends, while I took long morning walks, caught up on some reading in the porch swing, and put together puzzles with Mom.  We would "run to town" each afternoon and make our stop by the Ft. Davis Drugstore for old-fashioned milkshakes and pop into the local shops.  It's just a special place.  We headed home refreshed, renewed, and ready to take on a new school year. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Staycation 2015

As I said in my previous post, we had originally planned on heading south last week.  It was the week before Fletcher started his new job an we had a break in commitments.  It seemed like a good plan until the month of June hit.  It was an overwhelming month with more going on than I can get into.  Needless to say, the thought of packing and heading out for a week had lost its excitement and the idea of staying home and recouping was calling our names.  Staying home doesn't really mean not doing anything.  Have you met my children?  They are busy, busy, busy!  We planned out some fun things to do around our local area and got to play tourist.  We started Monday off with a 7-mile canoe trip down the Coldwater River.  It was beautiful and a good workout.  One observation:  River people really was hard to ignore the sign that read "Paddle faster!  I hear banjos!"

Tuesday I took the boys to the Blue Angels practice at the Naval Aviation Museum.  They do their full show in these rehearsals without all the crowds.....LOVE!  We've seen them fly several times and it never gets old.  I'm always amazed and impressed! 

Wednesday was our down day.  Our sweet friends invited us to a low country boil and swimming later in the afternoon, so I used the morning to catch up on a few things.  I thought for sure the boys could entertain themselves for a bit while I caught up on laundry and cleaning, etc.  Well, they definitely entertained themselves!  It got a little quiet in the house, so Fletcher checked outside on them only to find them swimming in the reclaimed water "new pond" they found.  YUCK!  Fletcher threw the boys in the bathtub and scrubbed them clean.  All was well....aside from the shoe Bennett lost in the "new YUCKY pond."  About 30 minutes later we heard some shuffling in the garage only to find Beau had climbed up on the top of the storage shelves with a bungee cord trying to make a "zipline."  A zipline?!  To where?  Why would this be a good idea?  Questions that never entered his mind!  Then, I'm working in the kitchen on a dessert to take to our friends' house when I hear banging in the playroom.  The boys had gotten all my almonds, pistachios, and crackers and were crushing them with the hammer.  What in the world?!!!!  They're making homemade birdseed.....yes, homemade birdseed.  That's expensive birdseed!  Almonds are expensive!  We've got a new rule now that I didn't know I needed in making birdseed in the house.  Luckily the boys survived the day and made it to our friends for the low country boil.  Fletcher and I, on the other hand, felt like we'd been put through the ringer!

Thursday we road our bikes to our neighborhood pool and then took the boys to the Wahoos game.  It's one of our favorite things to do!  It never disappoints to spend a night cheering on our Blue Wahoos!

Friday we spent the afternoon on the boat with friends.  Beau paddle boarded, I visited with friends, and Fletcher fished.  Fun was had by all!

Saturday was July 4th!  It's one of our favorite holidays in the year and we celebrate big.  This year we spent the afternoon with some sweet friends, the Owens family.  They have a beautiful home on the water, so the kids stayed entertained jumping off the dock and playing on the floats.  After the fish fry, we loaded on the boat to head over and watch the fireworks on the Blackwater River.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate Independence Day!  I would say we had a successful staycation!  I hope the boys would agree!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


It's been way too long since I've posted on our blog and I can only say it's because we've been more than busy.  I have just come up for air!  We've been so busy that I actually opted out of a vacation.  Crazy, I know!  But truthfully, the last 3 weeks have been filled with emotional highs and lows that I couldn't fathom packing a suit case and heading anywhere....even if that anywhere happen to be Key West.  South Florida will be there when we're more rested and ready for a road trip. :)  And to be honest, our "staycation" has been nothing short of pretty awesome!  I think my two sidekicks would agree if they weren't outside having a blast in this summer's heat.   

This post is solely in honor of my kindhearted, generous, over-achieving husband and those that love him.  He just retired from the Marine Corps on June 19th after just shy of 16 years, and he was so honored by all of our family and friends that made the ceremony and reception.   We've been so blessed to always be surrounded by loving people (both family and friends).  Everywhere we've moved, we've carried our old friends' love and encouragement and added new ones to the mix.  What is so wonderful is that this amazing group seems to blend so well.  Our old friends have now gotten to know our new friends and it makes the best extended family we could ever be blessed with.  So I guess really this post is about Fletcher and the people that love him (me included).

Funny enough, everyone that sees Fletcher and hears that he's now retired can't believe he's old enough and/or could have enough years in to possibly make that claim.  Fletcher looks so young....God love him....he has youthful looks.  Not fair, I know!  Trust me, I know!  I'm married to the youngest looking guy on the planet and I'm adding wrinkles and gray hairs by the day.  On a side note, I can explain why my grays are multiplying considering we just found my boys swimming in reclaimed water and had to disinfect them entirely....that was right after we found our youngest on top of our storage shelves in the garage with a bungee cord trying to make his own zip line.  Smart kids with no common sense!  The joys and hazards of being a boymom.  Also, Fletcher took the early retirement which was offered due to the downsizing of the military.  Don't get me started on my opinion as a taxpayer of downsizing our military, but I can tell you as a mom and a spouse, it's a big WIN for my family.  A big lose for America, but that's a whole different post. :) 

A photographer was present at the ceremony and took some really sweet pictures that I wanted to share.  I'm so grateful she was there and did such a great job documenting this day because I was all over the place trying to make sure flowers and cake and all that stuff that doesn't really matter was in place.

To say thank you to those of you that have prayed for my family over the years doesn't seem nearly enough, but I am so thankful.  It's been those prayers that have given me comfort and strength during the times when Fletcher was away and I really just wanted to pack up and go home to Texas.  When I was worried or scared or just plain overwhelmed, it was those prayers that kept me taking one more step.  Our family walks by faith, but we couldn't do it without those prayers.  This is the longest, round-about way of saying thank you to our prayer warriors.

What's next?  We're thrilled to get to stay in Pensacola.  I'm raising beach boys and it suits them well.  The boys love their school and are learning so much about academics and more importantly about God's purpose for their lives.  Right now, they both think it's baseball, but we're hoping that will evolve. Fletcher starts his new job on Monday with a wonderful company called Johnson Controls.  He's excited about the opportunity to learn and serve in a new capacity.  The future is bright!