Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Few Milestones

As I was looking through my pictures over the last few days I found several fun "milestones" that I thought I'd share:

I've been keeping my sweet nephew, Theodore, for several hours a week.  I needed to run a few errands so I gathered some snack traps and sippy cups and headed out the door.  We went several places and finished up at Target.  Taking three kiddos (ages 3, 2 and 1) went surprisingly well.  I did have a few comments of "wow, you have your hands full", but that's to be expected.  For the most part, they did awesome and we'll venture out and do it again tomorrow (except we'll be at the doctors office for a 2 year check for Ava Jane.)
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And the milestone in this picture is that on the way home, all THREE of them fell asleep. They even made it through the "transfer process" into each of their beds! That's a milestone wouldn't you say?!!
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Having lunch with Daddy at the hospital shouldn't feel like a milestone, but it sort of does.  Because there have been rules about children under 13 not going up on the floors, so we have simply stayed away from meeting him for lunch at work.  But now that they have created a 30 minute time limit for young children to be on the other floors we decided to pay Daddy a visit.  Emerson was excited about his chocolate bread pudding.
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Our next "milestone" is that we now have everyone sitting at the kitchen table.  I finally got Ava Jane a new booster seat, which she LOVES.  She enjoys being a "big" girl and has even started wanting to drink out of an uncovered cup much to my chagrin.   (Sippy cups make it so much less messy, but she is pretty adamant.)  And please don't judge the paper plate usage.  We had been at soccer practice and this Mama was trying to make it easy on herself!
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This next "milestone" is pretty exciting for me!  Ava Jane has been waking up dry at nap time and tee-teed in the potty twice this week.  It will be quite comical to me if she and Emerson potty train in the same year; that'd be just amazing!!  I've always heard that girls are easier, and after the struggle with Emerson, I'm hoping that's the case.

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The next milestone is that I was able to attend Lawson's first kindergarten field trip.  They loved their bus ride.  How cute are these boys?   We got to enjoy a beautiful day for a picnic then watched Go Dog Go, a really cute play for kids that was done at the Arkansas Arts Center. There are lots of fun shows coming up so if you're interested in the Children's Theatre check out this link.
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Lawson was so excited to be out of school, you can't tell it from any of these pictures can you?
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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Weekend In Review

Friday night we did dinner and a movie with my family. The cousins always enjoy getting together, and since G-Dad and Gigi had never seen Frozen (insert a gasp, I know!) so we cozied up to a family friendly movie and enjoyed our time together!
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Then, bright and early Saturday morning we all went to Lawson's soccer game. He and his little buddies have done such a great job this season! They've been aggressive and scored many goals, which has been super fun to watch. You can see the intensity pictured in these faces and moves.
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Adam is enjoying coaching again.
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Immediately after the game we handed our kiddos off to my in-laws who were going to be keeping them overnight while we went on a quick road trip with friends. We ran home to change clothes and throw last minute things in our bag and waited to be picked up. I do believe that anticipation---no matter what kind of trip nor how long it lasts---is half the fun! We were so excited to get away even if just for a night. On our way to Memphis, we stopped at a "local" favorite (very local I must add, I bet you'd never guess that we saw license plates from about 6 different states including California, Texas and Illinois.) Nick's has quite a reputation and I must say the fried pickles were delicious!
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Upon arriving into Memphis we went straight to our favorite candy/snack shop. Sweet Noshings is a must to stop in at. For all popcorn fiends like myself, you'll think you died and went to popcorn heaven. They have so many flavors that are all seasoned to perfection. The worst part about the experience will simply be having to limit your choices; they're all so good!
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From there we visited the William Sonoma and Pottery Barn Outlets. To our husbands delight, we each came out with one little bag. After shopping a while we headed to the hotel to change for dinner and the concert. After a minor delay, that landed all four of us in one hotel room until others were cleaned and ready, we all freshened up and headed to dinner. We enjoyed our meal at The Grove Grill. It was recommended to us by several people and we were not disappointed.

The Darius Rucker concert was being held in the Botanical Gardens and was quite the venue. We did have to wait in a line to get in (and we were there two hours early.) The great thing is that you can bring in your own snacks and drinks, so naturally our men did the heavy lifting.
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But once inside, it was perfection. It was a big grassy field that had huge oak trees and they'd strung large bulb lights all throughout, it really was whimsical and made for a great atmosphere.
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It really was such an entertaining concert, he is so fun to listen to. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
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Though the trip didn't end exactly how our friends thought it would, we did have a great time on Saturday. Too bad that realities do exist and that yucky germs chose to attack on our 24 hour get away. Thankfully everyone is now on the mend and so far, we've managed to dodge the stomach bug bullet!








Friday, September 19, 2014

Seeking God...

The past few weeks I have had trouble sitting down and writing anything for this here blog.  There's been a party to plan, sick kids to take care of, bills to pay, shopping to be done and laundry to fold... totally first world "problems".  But for months now, I've had a lot of things swirling around inside my head and haven't quite known how to write it all down and share it or make sense of it for myself.  Then there's the added issues of life that carries on all around me, real life stuff that is messy and challenging and unjust.

There's the woman in India who lines up every night to sell herself so that she can just survive another day.  There's the little child who lies alone and crying in a metal orphanage bed who has no one to rock her to sleep because there are too many children and not enough workers to go around.  There was the story I heard a couple weeks ago of a large family of siblings who were all found in the woods here in Arkansas with a mom who was on drugs.  Then the grandfather in Florida who killed his daughter, four grandkids and finally himself.  There was the woman who physically abused a child so badly that he was found with burns all over his poor little body that was left limp and alone.

I've hardly watched the news in the last several months simply because I don't want my kids to hear all the horrible, violent, unthinkable things that happen in this world.  But I sat down and watched a few of my DVR-ed newscasts the other night after they were tucked into their beds.   I sat stunned on my sofa as the reporter continued to relay all these different stories of horrifying and unbelievable atrocities.  And they don't all happen "over there", they happen here, in America, in this great Natural State, on the streets (or in the woods) of Little Rock not all that far away from my home.  And I'm left wondering WHY?!!!  What is wrong with these people???  I asked Adam, how can people do such things?  How does a grandfather go in and kill all his daughters family including the three month old baby?  How do you get to that point?

Ultimately, it comes down to the fact that we live in a fallen, sinful world that is in desperate need of a Savior.  For someone to see and hear of these things and still deny that we are sinful creatures, is pretty much unbelievable to me.  It's pretty obvious that I'm sinful when my little one comes into my room whining and crying at 5:30 am interrupting my "easing into the day".  And immediately my irritation level pops its head up and I'm quickly (almost immediately) on edge and the day's not even really begun.  Then I'm reminded, "the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can understand it?"  Yes, that's right, that's the gnawing question, who can understand it?  "Those people" (the above mentioned) are sinful, and I'm completely and desperately wicked, everyone is; its an epidemic, this need for a Savior.

And the next burning question is, what can we, what can I, do in light of all of this?  What should our family do?  What has God planned, in eternity past,  for our family to accomplish in this time, in this place?  What is He calling us to?  What is He asking us to sacrifice?

This morning I was reading from Psalm 27 and loved verses 4, 8 and 11.  "One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord forever…My heart says of you, seek his face!  Your face Lord, I will seek…Teach me your ways Lord; lead me in a straight path."  These verses, really seemed to come alive and put words to my thoughts and feelings.  Also, in Ephesians 2:10 it says, "For we are God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance."  "In advance", so He has a plan, a purpose, a path that He already knows we will (and should) take, I only need to seek Him, seek His face, look to Him and He will light our path.   I certainly don't want to miss it.  I want my heart and my eyes to be wide open to whatever it might be that He would be asking us to do.

Thankfully, though life is hard, and struggles are all around us, people are suffering and children are aching, we have a God who cares, who is mighty to save, who empowers the weak and offers peace and hope to those who seek after Him.  And that is "the gosple"…that is the good news!  I'm so thankful for the cross and for Jesus' willingness to get up on it and to stay there.  To walk through the horrible, violent and unthinkable things that God had pre-planned for Jesus, so that you and I might have the opportunity to spend the rest of eternity with them, is a miracle, an amazing story.  It doesn't get old and it always offers hope!
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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ava Jane's 2nd Birthday

I had such fun planning Ava Jane's birthday party, though I can hardly believe she is two years old today. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing that sweet girl home from the hospital! She has brought such joy into our family and we can't imagine life without her. We are so thankful for her little life and the precious years that we have had to make memories. God has been gracious to her (and to us). At each of her heart checkups Dr. Bornamiere says she looks good and after each report we are so grateful for God's provision and protection over her.

As I thought about what kind of party I wanted to do, I thought it'd be so fun to have a fall farm themed party with baby animals. I started searching Google and ran across Cockrill's Country Critters out of Cabot. Janice, the owner, was so nice and super easy to work with. I also thought a morning party where I served a big country breakfast sounded cute so that's what I set out to do. I love planning parties, gathering ideas, executing them and seeing the kids excitement as the party come to fruition and this one was a hit for sure!
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I planned the party about two months before her actual birthday which was before we'd started Lawson's fall soccer season. Since Adam is the coach, when I finally realized that I'd scheduled the morning party during the same time as the soccer game I had a bit of a hot flash knowing that he'd have to be there and I'd have to set up the party by myself (with my other three "helpers"). So I did what anyone else would do, I called Mom.  She and my Dad came over that morning and helped me get everything set out, I couldn't have done it without them!
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The baby animals were so cute and friendly. The boys loved getting to walk them around the yard and play with the baby rabbit, pigs, goats, and chickens.
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The llama and the miniature pony did a little "damage" to a bush and some sod, but for the most part the animals were docile, calm and easily loved on. Poppy got to do donkey duty and twice G-Dad managed to wrangle the adorable little pig who kept trying to escape!
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Ava Jane loved seeing the cow (and kept saying "moooo") which is one of the animal sounds that she does know how to make; it was pretty cute to see her get excited about the animals!
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Emerson had a wonderful time,  he was thrilled to get to hang out with the llama, he said, "it's my favorite, Mom!"
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She wasn't quite sure what to think about the group singing Happy Birthday nor did she know what to do with the candle as you can see from her expression. But she definitely enjoyed the icing!
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I ordered some little animal finger puppets, farm animal suckers and stickers as a favor and tied it all up with some twine. I thought they turned out pretty cute!
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Oh how I love this girl! Is she not adorable? I'm forever thankful for the chance to be her Momma! I cannot imagine a day without her, and am so glad that God saw fit to give her to us! She is our little miracle and my heart swells and my throat gets a big lump when I see her growing and thriving like she is! I praise God for who He's made her to be and look forward to watching her story be written!
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Happy Birthday sweet girl, we love you so much!!
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