Monday, April 9, 2018

This is Us...

Well, it’s be a while since I last updated. Mostly, it’s because of life in general. We have adjusted quite well to life with 4 kiddos. To say we are busy would be an understatement, but we are taking life day by day. Running our business is a full time job, and running our household is also a full time job. On St Patrick's Day, we opened our expansion to the brewery, a restaurant portion called The Porch at ETX Brewing Co. So far the feedback has been tremendous and we are excited to finally share our completed project with everyone! It, like the brewery, has been a labor of love! I honestly can’t remember the last time we have had a day off.  It’s been 7 days/week. To give a bit of perspective…one of our day nurses (who works 12hr shifts) told me today that she hasn’t seen Brian since January! WOW! I knew he was putting in long hours, but I did not realize that he was gone quite so much. Since he is gone from home when the kids wake up each day, I make sure to take them up after pre-school to catch some quality “daddy time!” I love that even when he is swamped with work, to-do list, projects, meetings, phone calls, finances, emails, etc…he always takes the time to make the kids feel special and that they are the center of our universe!

As many of you know, the Brewery is 100% our family business. Brian and his brother, Matt, embarked on their dream when they began the business plan back in 2013. Thankfully, we have watched that dream turn into a thriving business over the past year. Our family business has expanded a bit more, not only in square footage, but also in family members. The restaurant portion is the dream of my sister and her husband’s (Meredith & Aaron). Seeing their dream come to life and watching it pair beautifully with our brewery is excitement beyond words!

2017 flew by! Drake and Kennedy will turn 6 in June! Hayes turned 2 in October and has the vocabulary of a 5 year old. Collins is 10 months old! She is the absolute happiest baby in the entire world! She loves her siblings, army crawls, loves to eat and says Mama & Dada.
The questions I am most often asked include: How do you do it? Do you ever sleep? What is it like having nursing in your home 24/7? Since, other people probably have these same questions, I would like to address these…

How do you do it? I wish I could say that I have a profound answer to this, but I do not. We just do it each and every day. We do what we have to do for the betterment of our family. It goes along with ‘how can you be so strong?’ Because I have found when being strong is the only choice that you have, you find it. That’s it, that’s all I’ve got.

Do you ever sleep? Surprisingly, this question actually comes most often from the nurses we have in our home. The answer is…not nearly enough!

What is it like to have nursing in your home 24/7? Well, imagine having a house guest…ALL the time! Our nurses are here for the happy moments, the sad moments, the frustrating moments, and the everything… It is hard to explain. Even our nurses who are here with us for their 12hr shifts don’t understand what it is like. Even though they are here with us day in and day out (or night after night), they still get to go home. Don’t get me wrong, we like our nurses and we are thankful for them, but there is always someone here. This past weekend our day nurse was out sick. So, I wore my mommy hat and also stepped in with my nurse hat. It’s definitely more challenging and more of a juggling act when I’m the nurse, but I also enjoy having some time with Just Us. One of the highlights for me is having one-on-one time with my Drakey. With the exception of hospital stays, which are miserable, we don’t get to have our one-on-one time as much as I would like. This was a personal struggle for me when we went from some nursing to increased 24hr nursing. I remember crying to my dad about missing my Drake even though he was here in our house. It was just very different, and took some time to find our balance. To be perfectly honest, one of my favorite things on the days we don’t have a nurse is not wearing a bra in our house! Lol! It really is the little things. I’m not going to lie, Brian likes being able to walk around the house at night in boxer shorts on those nights. 

I am planning to write another blog post very soon so that I can update on some of the exciting things our Drake has been up to lately! He's one amazing little boy! More to come soon...

Toy Story! 

Hayes turned 2 in October


That laugh! 

Collins' 1st Christmas!

1st day of Pre-K for these two

His smile lights up the room!

We took a short camping trip in the fall. Thankful Uncle Aaron stayed with Drake so we could have a little getaway with these three! 

Always helping daddy at work

Snow in Tyler!

My amazing sister, Meredith! 

St Patrick's Day at the Brewery!

Drake loves swinging in the backyard

A VERY full swing!

My little shopping buddy 

Helping little brother

Daddy can always make her smile!

Taste of Tyler! 

Dance pictures

Sweet Siblings

Family Easter pic

Cuties on Easter!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Party of 6

It’s hard to believe that we have been a family of 6 for two weeks now! Our sweet little Collins June Gilstrap was born on May 26th, 2017! She weighed 6# 7oz and was just under 19” long. She is absolutely perfect & our entire family is in love with her! We thought we had completed our family when we were 5, but obviously God had other plans for us. Clearly we were meant to be a family of 6. My c-section went really well and I am on the road to recovery. I will admit it is a longer road than I remember, but at least I’m already 2 weeks into the recovery. Another change this time around is that Brian isn’t able to take off of work. Being a new business owner doesn’t really allow “time off” for personal business. Luckily, Aaron came in town for the weekend of Collins’ birth to help out in the tap room which allowed Brian to be with me during my entire hospital stay. Matt had everything under control up at work and we were all thankful to have Aaron’s extra help. My mom (Mimi) came to stay at our house with the kids and help out with Drake’s nursing care needs. She has since been splitting her time between here and her house with Kennedy & Hayes. Since I haven’t been able to drive or pick up Hayes, my mom has been the biggest help of all with the two of them. Brian’s mom has been great about coming over to help, too. Our family is such a huge blessing!

Adjusting to our new normal at home is going really well so far. Kennedy is over the moon excited to have a baby sister! She keeps saying, “I can’t believe we have a baby sister!” Hayes is excellent to pointing out “baby” to us wherever we have her in the house. It’s also fun to watch Drake with her. He clearly knows that she is there when I place her next to him. He’s much more careful with his movements. He is definitely aware of her. We miss Kennedy and Hayes terribly when they are away in McKinney for part of the week, but I am well aware that I need the help right now. This is a short term change in our life, and before we know it all 6 of us will be back together on a permanent basis. 

Welcoming sweet Collins June!

A little time hanging with her big brother

Thanks to Grandparents we were able get away for an anniversary dinner...15 years!

Pretty sure Riot is in love with our little princess!

Rocking his Mickey Mouse socks!

Miss Bright Eyes!

Checking out "Baby!"

Snuggles with Daddy!

Sisterly LOVE!!

It's going to be fun watching these two grow up together!

Newborn pics!

A little family walk & lake time with Hayes & Kennedy!

1st day of Pre-K and Last day of Pre-K!

Makes my heart happy!

He's so careful when she's next to him. 

We're in love with this sweet baby girl!

Pool time fun with cousins while visiting Mimi & Poppy!

Love these boys!!