Friday, December 28, 2012

After Christmas Fun

We took down our Christmas decor ASAP, getting ready to head up north!
We had our first fooseball injury, but a little ice & some hot cocoa and ML recovered nicely. :-)
This morning we caught the earliest flight I've ever been on - 7 am - yikes! And we are back in the land of snow!
Spent most of the day with the grandparents just hanging out, but we have big plans tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas Baby!

Merry Christmas! Following our usual tradition, each child got 3 presents from Santa & 1 from us, and I think we made fairly good choices this year! Not many pics of JR with his gifts because #1, he woke up so much later and #2 they took most of the day to assemble.

ML was up between 6:15 and 6:30. I think JR would have slept until 9 if we hadn't woken him up just before 8. :-). Sometimes I look forward to BOTH kids sleeping in, but I know I will miss this once it is gone. Sweet memories.

Hope your Christmas was wonderful!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It's My Birthday!

I think the birthday fort in front of the fire is my favorite present ever.
Sweet Big Daddy & my best friend threw me a surprise party last night. It was great. So thankful!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Not feeling so hot & sweet ML came in to read me a book. Makes me forget about how crummy I feel. So, so sweet!
(Please ignore piles of laundry. At least they're folded? Ha!)

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Father's Love

JR was somewhere between the ages of one and two when I sat in church and listened to an African missionary tell of how God had already prepared his heart for his 14 year old daughter's potential death.  
The missionary's sermon started off innocently enough.  There were pictures of orphans and stories of God's great works in Africa that brought tears to your eyes and joy to your heart.  The missionary told of his great love for the people of Africa, his calling to that land and how God had worked in the life of his family.
And then he dropped the bomb that shattered my perfect little suburban world.  It seemed this missionary's daughter had a dream of becoming a missionary herself.  Only she wasn't called to Africa.  No, she was called to the Middle East.  To countries with scary names like Iran and Sudan.  She was called to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in these Muslim countries whose leadership is so radical they will throw you into their disgusting prisons if you even so much as look the wrong way, much less attempt to practice freedom of religion.  
The missionary told of how proud he was of his daughter and how he knew that her calling might mean her death, but he was prepared.  And that he would never dare to stand in the way of God's calling on his daughter's life.  Never.
And I knew immediately that God meant that message for me.  JUST for me.  I knew what God knew - I considered my son "MINE" - mine!  Given to ME by God to love and protect.  JR was mine and there was no way I was going to allow him to even consider, much less encourage?!? a living where his life was in mortal danger.  I mean, I wanted him to go on mission trips and all, but I was looking forward to those missions having a certain start and end date.  To them being to at least 'safe-ish' places, led by protective leaders whose one goal was to return my son home safely to me.  

But I knew in that instant.................... I had gotten it all wrong.  I drove home with a heavy heart.  I knew that I too was called to relinquish my child................... no.  not my child............... God's child to the calling on his life.  I was to pray less for his protection and more for his mission.  After much wrestling in my heart (weeks of wrestling really,) I was ready to say the words that I still find difficult to speak, "He's yours God.  He always has been.  Thank you for entrusting him to my care."  Gone were my hopes that my son would grow up to be a nice, professional man with a 401k, a picket fence and some extra time to devote to 'good' works on the weekends.  
Instead, I now have no plan what so ever.  Kind of hard for this OCD gal, but my only plan is to take it day by day.  And each of those days to instill in my child the following, "God loves you.  God has a plan for you.  I don't know what that plan is, but you will.  Draw close to Him and He will guide your steps."  
And do you know what?  Releasing my child into the loving arms of God has brought me a peace about my children that knows no end.  That shouldn't be a surprise to me, but it is.  It's amazing - I can hardly believe it myself, but it's true.  One of the greatest joys of my life was being allowed to live long enough to see both of my children accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and to see them take on their faith as their own.  Such peace in my heart.  The peace that passes understanding

When I hear the news of Connecticut I am even more thankful for that day, so many years ago when God helped me to realize that He is in control. Today, instead of wrapping my children in bubble wrap and locking them in their rooms, I am able to send my children to school knowing that even in the face of great evil, God's got this.  He has a plan.  He is at work in their hearts and lives and in the world at large.
And that work is for good.  That work is to bring light and life and unfailing love.  That is my hope - my only hope.  I pray that you also have that hope!

"In him was life and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it." ~ John 1: 4-5
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Picking Back Up....

........Just maybe not picking back up where I left off?

I feel so discom-blog-ulated.  :-)  Ha!  My dad, Papa, went into the hospital in the wee hours of Thanksgiving day with a terrible infection.  It took until Sunday, but they finally figured out what was wrong with him and did a small surgery on Sunday.  We are hopeful that he'll be home tomorrow.

But this meant that things kind of went haywire for a while.  So I"m not even sure what I've blogged, and what I haven't, so bear with me, while we go through the 'random.'

Our Miss A is 21!

I got to babysit these sweet girls one day in November..... so fun to have 4 for the day!

JR made a few masks in November - so creative!

Hospital pics.  Waiting to see Papa:

Thanksgiving night we went to our local botanical gardens to see their annual Christmas light display.  It's a drive through display, so I wore my pajamas - only to arrive and discover they have added a 'Santa' part where you get out and walk around at the beginning!  So out we went - me in my pajamas!

Back before Thanksgiving, I was lucky to help with ML's class Thanksgiving party- 

And Big Daddy and JR had one last "War Eagle!" day before the end of the season.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mid Week

Monday night, I told Big Daddy - Tomorrow will be one of those Tuesdays, that is like a Monday, but you're cramming 2 days worth of stuff into one day.  So, a double Monday.
And boy did it live up!

It was one of those days where I had to almost pump myself up for certain hours - like the hours between 3:15 and 6:00, where we had to be at - basketball practice/ ballet/ community chorus/ and bible study (at our house) all within the same 3 hours!  Whew!

So glad we have things like Operation Christmas Child to keep us grounded.  And remind us that the stresses of 'our' world, are so little and small compared to the stresses of those living in poverty around the globe.

 ML picked out this reindeer for her Operation Christmas Child box.  ML loves stuffed animals, so she was determined that the little girl who receives the box she packed would have one to love, even if it cost a little bit more of her allowance money.
This is drop off week for Operation Christmas Child!  Just go to their website {HERE} and type in your zip code to find a drop off location near you!
It's so easy to pack up a box of love.  A bar of soap, a toothbrush, a few small toys, and some school supplies and you have brought the meaning of Christmas to a child.  Hope you'll pack up a box too!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans Day Weekend

Woo Hoo!!!!  A 3 day weekend!  It's a cold, rainy, rainy, rainy Veteran's Day (observed) here and our Veterans Day parade has been canceled, which makes us sad.  The kids and I really love making a "Thank you!" poster and holding it at the parade each year.  So I guess this blog shout out will have to do:

To those who serve, those who have served, To those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and to those who let them go - our deepest thanks.

It was an eventful end of the week/ weekend around here!

Thursday was JR's football banquet.  He looked so handsome!

 And ML looked beautiful as always.....

 Look how grown up these boys look!

We had a great speaker at the banquet and I was so proud of how well the boys all sat and listened...... and look at them sitting together as a team!  They did that all on their own.

Well, I really enjoyed the ENTIRE 12 hours we had 'off' from sports!  Ha! Football banquet Thursday night, Basketball practice Friday.  :-)

Saturday night was Miss A's 21st birthday party!

We can't believe it.  Miss A was our first ever babysitter.  And, I'm pretty sure it was just yesterday we were celebrating her 16th birthday!

Sunday the small group girls got together to make Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. (The deadline is fast approaching!  Going to try to put together the ones with the kids today.)
 And of course, there was some baking involved.  We made chocolate chip cookies with Oreos inside.  Yummo!

Dinner out with the fam and that's a wrap on our weekend thus far!
So much to be thankful for.  Thank you Veterans!!!
Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Just a Whole Lot of Normal

Not too much going on here!  Just taking the kids to school and doing the usual.

Yesterday I went to the polls (hope you did too!) and ran into a sweet friend:

Target has all of their Halloween 70% off so I stocked up on some window decorations for a special trip we'll be taking next October with my family....... bet you can't guess where!  Ha!
I was so excited about these battery operated window decorations that suction cup to the window.  I think they will look awesome hanging in our hotel room windows next fall. 
I took this video and texted it to my sister.

 This is my first attempt at posting a video.  Hope it works out!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekend Recovery

We have had a nice relaxing weekend - so nice after all the busy-ness of the past week!  Friday night, we all 4 sat down to dinner at home as a family (a rarity in this house these days!) and had a family movie night.  
Saturday we had a birthday party and a few things to do, but most exciting was JR's first performance with the local Community Children's Choir!  

 They preformed a little Christmas music at a local Christmas Shopping event - which so okay by me because for some reason - this year - I am so ready for Christmas!  :-)

JR did a great job!  

We are so lucky to be in the chorus with some friends JR has known since he was just a little guy:

Great fun!  Hope you had a great weekend too!
Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

As usual, Halloween night flew by and I got far too few pictures!

But I did make it a point to take some pictures of the kids before the party started.  It was hard to get a good picture of my Tom Sawyer and Minnie Mouse!  
 First the sun was in their eyes.

 Then I wasn't thrilled with this pic.

 We finally got the 'winner' by the side of the house!

 I can't believe I don't have any pictures, but the D- family triplets were there!!!  And they were so adorable.  Above, my dad is feeding one of them before they go trick or treating.

 So much fun to have dinner with our family and friends before trick or treating!

 This year, we started a new tradition!  Big Daddy got his trailer from work, and we filled it up with hay bales and took all the kids on a hay ride to trick or treat.  It was so much fun!

My kids and neighbors declared it the 'best Halloween ever.'

We made it home for one more pic with my dad.

And then it was time to crash from our candy high.  Hope your Halloween was wonderful too!