Monday, September 21, 2009

Sterling @ 9 months old!
This baby is something else! She is the busiest little thing-into EVERYTHING!!! We have had to move things, child proof, block off doors. I never had to do that with her brother. It is a whole new world around here. She is also the happiest of babies-smiling and giggling all the time. She thinks her brother is the greatest thing ever! She is crawling fast and furious, and has zero fear. 

She has this past month, out grown more than just her clothes! We have had to put away her bouncy seat, her car seat, the bath tub, and the swing. We took pictures of her in them just so we could compare to when she was first in them all and it is crazy how much bigger she is now. She thought getting in each of these was great fun-she hadn't been in them in a while so they seemed like "new" toys to her.  She was sad when we took her out and threw a minor fit, then she was off crawling to get into something else!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

First Day of 8th Grade
I know that I start so many posts with this question in some form, "Where has the time gone?" but I truly ask myself that nearly everyday. Chandler just started the 8th grade-his last year of Middle School. Only one year left till High School. 4 and half till college. Where has the time gone? 
He is LOVING school. He started playing football, is in all pre-AP classes, and is in select art, he also is playing soccer outside of school. He is a busy little bee. He is a typical 13 year old kid, but funny, kind, and he is in love for the first time (however, it is with his baby sister- more on that later:) 
I just wanted to share his "First Day Look" (it looks thrown together, but trust me- LOTS of thought went into this).  We are so proud of the kid that he is and know that we are really lucky that he is ours!

Family Photo Fun!
It NEVER fails. We can be together for 10 days, but the last night at the very last moment possible, we panic because we don't have a "family picture" This usually results with
all the guys complaining and LOTS of crying from the kids. Oh if you could just be a fly on the wall when we are trying to take this pictures. It is quite hilarious.
In the end, we always get something fairly good with our ever growing family 
(21 and still counting). We are so so blessed.
All the Grandkids with Maw Maw and Paw Paw-
from the left: Ella (3) Julia (1.5)  Caden (4) the twins, Emmory and Amelia (4 weeks)
Brandon (6) Chandler(13) Ainsley (1.5) and our sweet Sterling (8 months)
Just the girls- only 4 out of the 6 are crying-no too bad.
 cracks me up

Chandler wants to live with Melinda & Travis.

My sister and brother in law bought a house this past spring. IT IS FANTASTIC!
The best part is the property. It's gorgeous!!! This is their front yard 
(view from the front porch). Isn't it great? You can't even see the road- it is country livin'
with out being out in the boon docks! Chandler ran and rode four wheelers, shot
fire works, climbed trees, explored, played with the dog...every night he was filthy dirty and
completely exhausted from playing so dang hard. The other reason that he would love to move in with Travis and Melinda (besides that they are so fun and all the kids favorite aunt and uncle despite my trying to beat them) Travis is a vet and they got to borrow a horse for a few days.
Chandler love love loved it! 
He's a natural.

Family Day on the lake!

We rented a "party barge" one day while we were in TN. We were on the lake literally  all day! We had a great time and the kids thought it was so fun. We cooked out, rode tubes and jet ski's, then we found this teenie little island right in the middle of the lake. It was so cool. Everyone hopped out of the boat and swam for a bit, laid out, some of us even fit in a quick nap. Our family is so fun! I love being a part of it!
"Our" island
Sterling in her float- she loved it, can you tell?
Paw Paw let Chandler drive the boat. He did great!
My guys- love them!
Ok, not super attractive, but Chandler loves these kinds of pics!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Ryman, Tootsies, & Hatch

One of my favorite days in Nashville, was the day we walked around downtown. It is such a cool town, lots of historic old places, cool people, and TONS of music. What could be better?

We started out at the Ryman Auditorium. I really am embarrassed to say that I had no idea what this place was. It is the original  "Grand ole Opry" and it is SO great! The history that is in that place (especially if you are into music) oozes out of the walls and it is really beautiful. It is where Johnny met June and you can almost here Minnie Pearl holler, " HOW-DEEE!!!!!" It just makes me smile to even think about it. They still do concerts there with people from the Jonas Brothers to Willie Nelson. I am really hoping that we can go back to concert this fall.  

Next stop, was "Tootsies" I had heard of it before, but didn't realize what a cool place it was. It's a teenie tiny little bar, that is just across the alley from the Ryman. Tons of artist have
snuck out of the back door of the Ryman and into "Tootsie's" for a little fun. It is also where loads of musicians have started out on the 12 x 12 foot stage. I know those walls could tell some really great stories! Tanya Tucker was actually there in the upper room, we just missed her (she scooted out the back door before we saw her). 

The last place we went was "Hatch Show Print" It is one of and probably the most famous press printers in the country. They have done show posters for the "Ryman" for years. They still use the wooden blocks that they lay out in a tray and crank it through the machine. ( i know it is much more complicated, but you will have to just trust me) It is a really cool art form. I would love love love to have one of their prints someday!

This was so fun! I am fascinated with all three places and how they are all in a way a part of each other and also such a big part of some of the music that I love! If your ever in Nashville, you should check it out!

The Outside of the Ryman.
This is what the musicians see just before going out on stage. 
Johnny and June, Minnie Pearl, Dolly Parton, Hank cool!

Us back stage.

Garrett and I in Tootsie's
Yes, have taken our 13 year old and our 7 month old baby to a bar. 
'cause we are good parents! :)
This is the upper room. See all the hand writing on the walls?
And in the picture, that is Tootsie herself!
This is inside the printing place. It is so cool. See all the wood "print blocks"? 
This is one of the blocks that they were working on- I wonder what it turned out like?
These are some of the posters. They are so retro and cool!
Loveless Cafe
{Nashville, TN}

When I knew we were going to Nashville, I started asking around for some great restaurants. My friend Kate @ Juxtapose Photography (check out her pics) said that we HAD to go to Loveless Cafe. So, I obediently looked it up and dragged our whole clan there for lunch! I was worried that it wouldn't hold up to the greatness that i heard that it was. Let me just say,  it SO totally did!!!! AHHH-MAY-ZING!!!

The atmosphere is so fun! There are lots of little shops to look in, the art is really retro and cool, there is lots of history in that little restaurant. And the best part...the FOOD. Good ole, down home, country, fry everything cooking. YUM!!!

Chicken fried steak, fried okra, mash taters, gravy, cobbler, iced tea!
SO GOOD!!!! 
If your ever find yourself in Nashville, hop in the car and take a scenic drive to Loveless. You will not be disappointed!

Here we are waiting for our food to get here.

Just out side of the cafe, there are several good photo ops. 
I love this- look at Sterlings tiny little face-so cute!
Old antique tractor. We thought we might put the kids to work to pay for our meal.
This is me and the famous Carol Faye, aka the Biscuit Lady.
She and the cafe have been featured on the Food Network. 
She is the only one who knows the magic recipe for those dang good bisicuits! 
Doesn't she just look like a "biscuit lady"?

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The 4th of July!
we were in Nashville for the 4th too. i LOVE the 4th. i LOVE a cookout. i LOVE fireworks.
we went to church saturday morning, had a cookout to celebrate both the 4th and my sisters in-law birthday. then set out to see some fireworks. it flipping POURED DOWN RAIN. HARD. we still tried to go and see them from the car-which is not near as fun as sitting out in the grass with a picnic, but we made a memory anyway. we scrunched up and mashed our faces up to the windows, but all we saw was lightning. we gave up and went home. 
chandler got a pic of randy and i huddled up in the car.
and here they are in the front seat-waiting for the light show.
.....and sterling. she wasn't interested at all! she slept through the whole adventure.

we are so blessed to live in a country where we can worship the God that we love. 
we can love who we choose to love.
we can be who and what we want to be.

happy 4th, and thank you to those (and their famillies) who have sacrificed
 so much for us to enjoy our freedom!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cheeks Family Vacay 2009

Our family vacation took us to Nashville this year. We had a GREAT time. Nashville is where half the 21 of us live and since my sweet sister in-law gave us twins in June we didn't want her to have to travel, so Nashville it was. It was our first time to travel with Sterling, we looked like we were moving to Nashville with all the stuff we carried. It's amazing all the stuff you "think" you will need on vacation. Anyway...both kids did great on the flight. Sterling fell asleep as soon as we took off and woke the second we started to land (she is the best baby). Garrett read and listened to his ipod and ordered a coke and was happy as could be. We met every one for dinner and then got settled in at Melinda & Travis' for the week. Lots of  "doin" to be done this week and had to get rested up!
Getting read for a plane ride
Loading up

i know i sound like a broken record but, how cute are they?!?!
Sunday, we loaded everyone up for a short road trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky. There were some underground caves to check out. it was cool. chandler and the other boys thought it was great. we toured the cave in a little flat boat and ALL the kids had to wear life jackets (even though the water was about 2 feet deep. sterling was NOT a fan and neither were the other babies, but she did great (however, she looked hilarious). 
this is them in the cave (just before this, we were all practically laying in the floor of the boat, cause the ceiling of the cave was SO low- not for the claustrophobic)
After we made it out, we wandered around in the woods and came across a "Paw Paw" sign that we couldn't pass up. (the "extra" baby is our darling niece ella)
of all the grand kids (9 with one on the way) these are the only boys.
they love to be outside. brandon and caden wear chandler out every visit.
they just want to run and wrestle, and hike, and play.
chandler sleeps really great every night after being with them.
and finally, one last picture from "cave day" 
me and my girl. she was so super happy.
right after this, it literally came a monsoon. we were soaked to the bone.
then a late lunch at the cracker barrel and on our way
back to melinda's to hang out. 

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Happy Father's Day Randy

One of the reasons that I am so in love with Randy, is because he is the Father to my children. He loves them in the most precious way. When he is with them, there is a tenderness to him that is spills out on to Chandler and Sterling. He always says that he is "tough" and "has a reputation to protect" but the heart that he has for them doesn't surprise me, it is really who he is deep down. He smiles at them in the most fabulous way and his eyes light up with so much joy that they belong to him. He is strong, and gentle, and ornery, and loving, a sacrificial provider, a source of aggravation (mostly to Chandler) and laughter. He has opened my eyes to what "devotion" to your children can look like and we are a family that wouldn't be as strong with out him. He thinks his daughter is the most glorious thing that has ever been. He loves Chandler as if he was his very own. He knows that Chandler has his own "real Dad" and honors and respects that, but is more than thrilled to be his Dad in the day to day, and calls him "my boy." This year, several people wished him a "Happy first Father's Day," my sweet husband was quick to say, "This isn't my first Father's Day, it's my 3rd." I think that is reason enough to love him. These are a few of my favorite pictures of this year. They aren't great shots, but they hold precious memories of the love that he has for my children. Thank you Randy for the father that you are. You are a everyday unexpected gift that I NEVER imagined that I would have. I love you so very much!

Being a Dad is dirty work.
His gift for Father's Day. Pictures of the kids playing in mud.
They are so cute and he loved it.
(thank you Major Images)
Our trip to Sea World

This is SO what there relationship is like. They both love each other and 
aggravate the fool out of each other. I don't understand it at all, 
but it makes for an interesting life.

The first time that he held Sterling in the NICU. He was overjoyed!

This is the day that Chandler shot his first two deer. 
I don't think that Randy could have been more proud! 
He smiled for days after this.
(and no, that is not an extra kid that we picked up-just a darling little friend)