Thursday, January 18, 2018

Arkansas' "Sno-pocalypse"

In Arkansas, we don't experience a lot of snow, so when the meteorologists began predicting some wintery mix for most of the state, people began going nuts. The bread and milk were flying off the shelves at Kroger as was the chicken broth and cheese.  I ran in to get some hot chocolate and chicken broth and was shocked by the hysteria.
When I woke up early that morning (4am to be exact--when Adam left the house to go check the roads and the parking lot at CARTI) I was excited to see the snow on the deck. Seeing the pure white, snowy calm outside was fun to take in.
On Monday night sleet and snow started coming down and the prayers for a snow day ended the evening for our kids.  They woke with snow day enthusiasm and were quick to ask me to get the ski clothes tote box out of the attic.  With it being 10 degrees outside, I figured that it would likely take longer to get the four kids fully layered up for the frigid cold then the amount of time they'd actually spend outside playing---and I was right, but since we only get one or two snow days each year--I did my motherly duty.
Playing with friends on a snow day was the cherry on top of being out of school!  We walked to the park and let the kids play for a bit.  Though we didn't last too long, just about half and hour before all our cheeks were bright red, our fingers were totally frozen (even inside our ski gloves) and we were ready for some hot chocolate, soup and a fire!
I sure love these four kiddos!  We enjoyed our extended four day weekend.
Oh.My.Word this little girl--she has my WHOLE heart! 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Emerson Turned Seven

This past week we celebrated Emerson's 7th birthday, I can hardly believe it.  This Star Wars reading, Wii game playing, paper map making, tape and glue loving, laser gun fighting, happy, fun little dude is SEVEN--how can that be?!  In the mornings when I go to wake him up and his eyes first open, he's just excited for a new day to dawn.   He usually wakes up happy and ready to get up and at 'em.  Most of the time he's chipper and excited about life.  At this point, he's reading well, makes good grades on his spelling tests, he enjoys his teacher and classmates and he's a good friend to his buddies and siblings.  He cares for people and is learning to help with chores around the house.  He regularly makes his bed, unloads the dishwasher and is learning how to fold and hang up his laundry.  He enjoys playing video games with his friends and getting in a good game of laser tag.  He's memorizing scripture and regularly shocks Adam and I with his comments about what a certain Bible verse might mean and seems to be able to articulate what he knows about who God is.  Emerson is pretty inquisitive and enjoys sharing his opinion on things as well as telling us his "high/low" each evening at dinner.  This little dude is quirky and kind, funny and respectful.  He's learning how to accept responsibility for his actions and not blame others for "making him do it" (whatever "it" may be.)  The character quality he is working on right now is having self control over his reactions and responses to others.  Our prayer for Emerson is that that fruit of the Holy Spirit would grow this kind of fruit in him this next year.
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We celebrated his actual birthday with grandparents and cousins and ate his requested meal of Creamy Taco.  We went with a Mexican "themed" little Fiesta for this family gathering and he looks forward to celebrating with his friends in a few weeks at his Mad Scientist birthday party.
For some time now Emerson's been asking for "cowboy lesson's" so I found a lady who had an opening.  To say he was beside himself with excitement would be an understatement.  He wanted to wear his "cowboy shirt and boots" and even wanted to wear his Stetson but I reminded him that he would have to take it off because she was going to require him to put on a helmet, so he opted to leave it at home. When he first met Ms. Samone, he had so many questions and kept commenting on how big Charlie (the horse) was.  He had a great time learning how to groom and walk the horse and even got to ride a little bit in the pasture.  He was thrilled with his very first lesson and looks forward to this coming Wednesday when he gets to do it again!
Emerson, you are a delight, you bring happiness and laughter to our home which Daddy and I are so grateful for.  You are silly and funny, you like adventures and doing things as a family.  Game nights and reading books like "Wonder" and "Indian in the Cupboard" have become one of your favorite evening past times.  I love curling up and getting cozy with you, its certainly a time I will always treasure.   Daddy and I hope you know how much we love you, Happy Birthday little Buddy!
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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

2017 Recap: A Year of Firsts

It's hard to believe that ringing in 2018 has come and gone. With all the wrapping up that the holiday held, enjoying time with friends and family, along with taking a little social media hiatus, I am just now getting a chance to recap what 2017 held for our family.  I wish I'd gotten this post written in a more timely manner, but better late then never right?  2017 held a lot of firsts for us!  There was the first time everyone went snow skiing, the first time Ava Jane took dance, the first time I rode in a cycling event, the first time we took the kids over seas, the first year of baseball (for Emerson) and flag football (for Lawson), our first Festival of Trees events with CARTI, our first time to stay at the Peabody, Peyton's first NBA basketball game and his first time to kill a deer.  Looking back, 2017 held a lot of fun and a lot of memories made.  I'll look back on this year of firsts with fondness!

We started the year on a snow skiing trip with the kids.  Peyton and Emerson had been skiing before but we had everyone do ski school the first couple of days-- it didn't take long before they'd all quickly caught on.  We had such a great time and we were thrilled to pass on our love for the ski slopes to our kids.  We hope to go again soon!

The year started off by celebrating Emerson's 6th birthday with a long requested Lego themed party.

In March we celebrated Lawson's eighth birthday in classic Lawson style, with a full on glow in the dark dance party!

We did a quick trip to Branson for Spring Break and enjoyed the new indoor adventure-land called Fritz's Adventure which turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone.

We did a little camping with Grammy and Poppy in the Spring.

There were a lot of firsts that happened this year, from Ava Jane's adorable first dance recital to my very first time to ride in the Heart Hospitals Cardiac Classic, I was quite proud of myself that day!

Lawson and Emerson played spring and fall baseball for the first time at Junior Deputy. We spent many a night out at that ball park and ate our fair share of hotdogs, popcorn and Elephant Shaved Ice.

The highlight of our year was taking the kids and traveling to Rwanda to see some dear friends, the Sengoga's. Our time in Rwanda was eye opening and such an incredibly wonderful experience, getting to meet our sponsored kids and their families, seeing the church plants that we've helped to support, meeting the men and women of this beautiful country and simply getting to spend time with Annie, Joel and their kids--what a pleasure and privilege!

The kids did awesome, they truly were traveling rock stars! We were grateful to have gotten this opportunity! The kids LOVED getting to go on a real African safari---as did I!

We loved spending time at the lake as always!

We started year #2 at Little Rock Christian in 5th, 3rd, 1st and Pre K4.

That fall Lawson wanted to give flag football a try. It was a lot of fun because all his little buddies were on the team which meant the boys had as much fun as the mommas!

August brought a lot of change for our family--particularly Adam.  He was asked to come onboard at CARTI to provide directional leadership and ultimately to turn around the unsustainable trajectory of this amazing cancer center that doesn't just touch the people here in Little Rock but reaches across this great state of Arkansas.  He was (and still is) humbled and honored to have been chosen out of sixteen candidates from across the nation and is excited to see what the future holds as he locks arms with the BEST physicians, nurses and medical staff around.  We enjoyed getting to participate in the week long fundraising event-- Festival of Trees this year.   Getting to know the people who make this organization what it is, has been our great pleasure.

With all the transition and with our Anniversary coming up, we took advantage of getting away together TWICE in the fall!  It was really so wonderful to get away together, once to Big Cedar Lodge and then to celebrate our 14th anniversary in Memphis staying at the Peabody.

In September we celebrated Ava Jane's 5th birthday with a Tea Party.  It was a lot of fun to plan and attend!

For Peyton's 11th birthday, we surprised him with tickets to go see the Golden State Warriors and his favorite player Steph Curry, it was one of the most fun surprises I've pulled off!

My dad took Peyton deer hunting with him several times fall and Peyton shot and killed his first deer! Dad said he was shaking from adrenaline and was smiling ear to ear in pride.  In pure "manly" fashion, when we ate "his deer" Peyton was proud to have been able to provide several meals for our family.

Time with family at Christmas is always a treat and this past December held lots of fun and memories to be made.

There have been some difficult and challenging things this year, things that neither Adam or I could have imagined or anticipated.  Thankfully, with counsel from older, more seasoned mentors, we were able to prayerfully navigate the challenges and see the Lord show up in ways we are still so grateful for.  I've said it before, but its worth saying again, thankfully life is not all hard or all good but usually, the two run parallel--side by side like train tracks.  And isn't that a mercy from God, that its not always all bad or always all good?  I do hope that in 2018 you are able to identify the good and the bad (which isn't so hard to pick out), remember to be grateful for the good and seek help from a trusted friend, mentor, or advisor on the things that hit you blind sided.  Doing things "together" is often times so much easier then going it alone.  We all have blind spots so inviting someone who you trust to speak into your life to help you see what you can't or asking them to pray for you when you need strengthening, is truly a gift!  Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas 2017

We spent Christmas Eve with my family and enjoyed our time spent togethers.
We celebrated Jesus' birthday with a birthday cake where the ingredients all stood for different aspects of the Christmas Story.  This year, my Mom introduced us to this new tradition and I loved it!   The shape of the cake was round to represent the world into which Jesus was born.  The bottom layer was chocolate representing that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, which is why Jesus chose to come to earth.  The center layer was red symbolizing Jesus' blood that was shed for our sins and the top layer was green denoting the new life we can have in Jesus Christ after our sins have been washed away.  The frosting was pure white standing for the righteousness and purity of Jesus.  The border of red hearts stands for brothers and sisters united in Christ as his witnesses to this world.  And on top, was a gold or yellow star that heralded his birth and lit the way to where he was born.  In the very center was one large candle representing Jesus who came into the dark world to bring light and truth to us all.  We read the Christmas story out of the book of Luke and then sang "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.  We then each lit a candle and sang "Silent Night".
Christmas morning, Peyton and Ava Jane slept until almost 8:00!  Emerson and Lawson could hardly wait for them to get up so they could all finally come downstairs.
This year Peyton started collecting football and basketball cards so he was thrilled to see all of these in his stocking.
And Lawson LOVED his stocking stuffers, particularly the rubik's cube.
Ava Jane was thrilled with her horse on a stick and her Melissa and Doug castle.
We had our Christmas usual, breakfast casserole, muffins, fruit and mimosas.
blackberry muffinsBrunch Idea for the Weekend:  Bacon, Potato & Egg Breakfast Casserole
My three sons and the love of my life snuggled up close on that wonderful Christmas morning.
And here's my girl and me.  We aren't picture perfect in these Christmas morning shots, but this was the way we spent our morning, in our pjs, opening gifts, eating our big breakfast casserole while enjoying just being together and playing with their new gifts.  It was a truly wonderful Christmas.
And as a total surprise to me, my sweet husband had a fun treat set out for me.  I've been in need of a new set of cookware for a while now.  Adam got me this beautiful copper and stainless steel set that is as beautiful to look at as it is to cook with!  We were supposed to have just done stocking stuffers, these clearly didn't fit in my stocking but I was grateful he got them for me and thrilled to get to have used them the last few days!
I do hope that your time with family was filled with wonderful memories made and time spent with those you love.   We have thoroughly enjoyed time out of our regular routine with the kids and time with our family playing ping pong, Gestures, Beat the Parents and Twister.  Enjoy the last few days or 2017 and may the New Year hold many blessings for you and yours.

Arkansas' "Sno-pocalypse"

In Arkansas, we don't experience a lot of snow, so when the meteorologists began predicting some wintery mix for most of the state, peop...