Monday, January 28, 2013

Birthday Mayhem!

Saturday, we celebrated Emerson's 2nd Birthday. He loves balls, what little boy doesn't? So we literally had a "ball" celebrating his little life with friends and family!

I will confess that, since we spent a portion of December in the hospital and then it was a fast and furious holiday season, Emerson's birthday (which is Jan 9th) didn't really cross my radar until a few days before his actual birthday. I usually love planning and prepping for parties, but this one just snuck up on me, with little time to plan!

I sat and thought about things that Emerson likes and balls are one of them so I decided to go with a bouncy ball theme. And since I was going with that theme and wanted the kids to truly be able to enjoy kicking, throwing and playing with all sizes and colors of balls, I decide to go easy on myself and booked the gym and play area at First Baptist Church. When I contacted the church there were a couple different time slots available, I took the first one (9-11) because the other time slot was during his nap time. It was early but it turned out great!

Due to the fact the party was first thing Saturday morning, we loaded the cars with all the party stuff the night before. I literally had 9 lawn and leaf bags filled with 26, large bouncy balls and 4 sacks of small ball pit balls too. As we were loading Adam's truck Emerson decided to be a real "helper" and chunked several balls down our street, Peyton and Adam took off running in the pitch black chasing these balls down our hill...they got back up to our driveway and again he chunked another handful of balls down the street...we love our little "helper"!

With trying to keep things simple and easy, I ordered or bought everything for the party...no home made items at this celebration...the only thing I did was cut out the printables...Mom, once again you came to my rescue and I loved the cupcake toppers, food labels, water bottles and invitations, thanks!
Emerson bday invitation

I picked up cupcakes and cinnamon rolls at Sam's, got donut holes from Shipley's, I purchased pre-cut fruit from Kroger and water bottles along with Capri Suns from Target. I thought it'd be fun to set out the donuts in cute little individual punch cups and I purchased the ball (cupcake toppers) from Vanness, a store here in Little Rock, which, by the way, is very handy for any and all cookie or cake decorating needs you might have.
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We had balls galore, which served as entertainment during the party and as the kids party favor too!
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It was a toddler's paradise...
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What a cute birthday boy! And he's getting so big!!
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The Dad's enjoyed playing some basketball...while the Mama's visited...everyone win's in these types of situations: kids are entertained, parents can play/visit, it was a score all around!
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The bounce house was lots of fun, especially with all the balls in there too!
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It was complete mayhem, but they had a blast!
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Getting ready to sing to the birthday boy...
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This was his favorite part, he'd been singing Happy Birthday to himself all morning!
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Happy Birthday to our sweet boy! Can't believe he's 2 years old!!
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Enjoying some cupcakes...
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We had fun celebrating with him! Can hardly believe he's TWO!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God At Work...

When everything I'm studying all starts pointing to the same topic, I have to wonder, "Is God trying to tell me something?" Or, rather, "what is God trying to say to me?!"

I have to say that 2013 has started off with a jolt, I'm being challenged and stretched in many ways spiritually. I shared earlier that I accepted the scripture memory challenge that Beth Moore is doing along with all her Blog followers, and that process has been fun and SO rewarding (I've even found an app on my i-phone that will quiz me on my verses...kuddos to me for jumping off into the 21st century and moving from my slider, who knew a phone could be so fun and helpful in this endeavor!?) I'm finally doing the study STUCK, by Jennie Allen, it is phenomenal and so raw, transparent and just plain good, thanks Grace, for meeting and sharing life along side me! My weekly Bible study, BLOOM, is studying Priscilla Shirer's book "The Resolution For Women" and I'm loving it!

All of these studies, keep coming back to a central theme, you can call them "tassels" (as Priscilla does), or "stuck places" (as Jennie does), or you can call them "idols" (as scripture points out)...no matter what you label them, they are places in my heart, or things in my life that I need to lay down before the Lord! Places I need to be real, honest and open with myself, cause God's already seen it, I might as well face it! Hebrews 4:13 "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is laid bare...." And part of my new memory verse is Philippians 4:8 ..."whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things."

Man, I find myself getting "stuck" in so many places, but I resolve (with firmness of purpose) to be devoted to Christ and to be defined by His word, to devote myself completely to His priorities and to continue practicing His presence---since He's ALWAYS there!

My tassels and stuck places often take the form of comparison, unmet expectations of myself, and simply not relying fully on God (which is PRIDE at its worst)...all of these areas are really just idols. These aren't gold shiny statues or a little fat man sitting on my mantle, but these are still idols, when I allow them to pervade my thoughts, consume my mind and time and effect my actions toward my kids, my husband and others!

I don't have a way to wrap up my conclusions and thoughts with a pretty red bow just yet, I'm definitely still processing, but I am confident of this, that I am resolved to focus, as I press hard up against Christ, to stay in His word, to learn to listen to Him speaking and to obey. I want "whatever" I think on to to be true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy!! Whatever I think on is eventually going to come out in my thoughts and actions...Satan knows the influence my thoughts have on my words, actions and responses, so I am going to continue striving to take every thought captive (II Cor. 10:5) and am trying to "practice His presence", because He truly is all around me, if I would just be still and take notice!!
Most beautiful show at sea - Madeira Portugal

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ballin'

Well, we have now entered the world of Basketball. He loved his first practice! Is he no SO.STINKING.CUTE!
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We put Peyton in Upwards Basketball this season and he's enjoying it so far. If you know Peyton at all he's a little bit timid at first, it takes some warming up before he feels comfortable with new things. Luckily, he knows a couple of the boys on his team and he has a great coach, both, just happens to be our neighbors across the street. We are so thankful for Coach Deidra and his friends Hayden and Garrett.

Today was the first game at Agape. He loved wearing his jersey and shorts. Here, he came out as they introduced the "Gazelle's"...its not the fiercest of creatures, definitely not intimidating, but the names of the other teams were the Giraffe's and Polar Bears, just saying!

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Prepping before the game started...
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A few of his fans in the stands...
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They match each kid up to guard certain players with similar skills as them, and the way they identify who they are guarding is by wearing matching wrist bands...Here they are lining up meeting who they are guarding...
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And there's our cute #3...
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And an action shot!
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And here, he's shooting...he got it up there but it didn't go in...maybe next time!
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We'll be there every Saturday morning, can't wait to watch him play over the next several months!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Time with Friends

The Lord has blessed me with life long friends! Literally, we have all been friends since grade school. We've been through Jr. High and Sr. High School, cheered together, were in coaching groups together, went through graduation, college days and sorority life; we've been in each others weddings, hosted baby showers and prayed for one another during hard times (in person and on the phone). God has blessed me with these precious women...I am grateful for their words of encouragement and the times they've spoken truth into my life! We have so much history and for that I am thankful! Truly, we have been iron sharpening iron, and my life is much more rich because of them!

Though it's been 8 years since we all lived in the same town, we've maintained our friendships even though many state lines have divided us and hundreds of miles have separated us; each time we get together we somehow pick up right where we left off, what a treasure, what a blessing! And now we've grown from 4 friends with no children to 4 friends with 11 little ones (all of them are 6 years and younger!) I'd say we've all "been fruitful and multiplied", and it's keeping us crazy busy!! Wish we could've done a coaching group reunion, we missed Lindsey, Christy, Katie and Kambry (if we all got together it'd be 8 Mamas surrounded by 17 littles, WOW!!)

I was more interested in actually talking and visiting then taking pictures, but here's a few that I snapped!

Out of all 17 kids, these are two of only three girls in the group! Hope that Ava Jane and Lily can be good friends in the years to come!
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We got to enjoy our "usual" (quiche and salad), we let the kiddos chow down on chicken nuggets along with mac and cheese.
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Steph, sorry I didn't get a picture with you! Here's two of her kiddos Caleb and Jacob
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Precious Luke! Steph's youngest little one...
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Sweet Liberty! Katie, you CANNOT deny this child! She is adorable!
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All of the kiddos in action (minus Jack and Davis), we'll have to get together with everyone soon!
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Katie, so glad you had to come back Monday to get your dogs, it made for a great spur of the moment excuse to see friends!

Then on Tuesday, Adam had to drive to Fayetteville to speak with a client so I packed up the kids and rode up there with him. I felt that having 4 kids fed, dressed, car packed with snacks, DVD's and car toys then out the door by 7:15 am was quite impressive! Don't you think? Here was the beautiful sunrise as we crossed the river!
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While he went to do business, I had the fastest lunch EVER with Lindsey and her kiddos! Literally from start to finish it was less then an hour that we got to visit, so sad, but honestly it was such a treat to actually see her face and sit together even for the briefest of moments! She's always called me her "kidney friend" and truly I am thankful for her in my life!

Linds and her sweet little Connor! Wish he and Emerson could play more often, they'd be best buds!
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And here's her cutie patootie, Brayden!
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Lindsey, my only regret is that we didn't have more time to talk! Thanks for chasing Emerson for me while I fed Ava Jane...maybe one day we will have a quiet, leisurely lunch! I'll look forward to that!! Love you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Challenge of 2013

This past year Adam read through the entire Bible and began regularly memorizing verses. Scripture just started jumping out at him and becoming so alive to him through the process of scripture memorization. He would share his verses and have me "quiz" him; he is quite disciplined and its such a great example for me to watch. He's even been teaching Peyton some of his scriptures on their car ride to school each morning; he is great at discipleship and I'm so grateful that Peyton gets to have that time with him each morning.

Every New Year we sit down and write down the praises from the past year and set goals (spiritual, physical and financial) for the coming year. This year my goal is to read through the Bible in its entirety for the first time ever. Our church is reading it in chronological order and I am enjoying it very much, if you're interested in getting on board with this challenge you can follow this link to the daily sections of scripture readings.

The other goal I set for 2013 is to intentionally memorize scripture. I joined Beth Moore and her "Siestas" Scripture Memory Team as she is challenging women across the nation to memorize two Bible verses a month. By hiding God's word in my heart I find myself meditating on God's word much more frequently throughout the day, and from what I've experienced from watching Adam, is that once the verses start rolling around in his head it starts naturally just flowing out of him in conversation and in the choices he makes. I'm looking forward to more of that in my own life! It's not too late to join the challenge, if you're interested you can follow this link to the directions, its not hard (you just have to post your verse the 1st and 15th of each month) and this serves like an accountability partner. It's never a bad thing to memorize scripture, it takes time and determination, but I don't think I'll get to the end of the year and think "why did I waste my time memorizing scripture"...if it's anything like Adam, I'll wish that my mind could absorb more of God's word! My first verse of the year is Hebrews 4:12-13 "The word of God is living and active sharper then any double edged sword. It penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

The words "nothing" and "everything" jumped out at me when I first read this verse. It's so convicting! "Nothing" and "Everything" means my snappy responses, my impatience and my "angry eyebrows" (as its called on a Veggie Tales video) never go unnoticed by God, and always is seen by Him. I've always known this but when I think about my EVERY thought and attitude, and as the verse goes round and round in my head, I'm reminded of how ugly and sinful my heart really is.

Thank you Lord Jesus, for loving me in spite of my sinfulness, thank you for being big enough to carry my sins and for being able to remove it all together! How amazing that when I repent I look white as snow to you, thank you for being such a good God!

Winter Wonderland


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Emerson!

Oh my goodness, how fast two years have FLOWN! I honestly have trouble believing he's TWO! Truly, how can that be?!!

Emerson, what can I say about this little guy?! He's all boy, he's rough and tumble, he falls down and usually pops right back up with maybe a few tears shed but not usually, he loves to laugh, he is very curious, he loves to climb, sing, talk, run and mow or vacuum just about anything! He is full of life and oh so cute! We love him and are so grateful God chose us to be his parents!
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He is talking so much! Both his Mother's Day Out teachers and the teachers at church say that he talks and sings more then any of the others, which is probably because he is trying to keep up with his two older brothers who talk constantly! Right now his favorite songs are the ABC's, Jesus Loves Me, The Clean Up Song (which, might I add, his teacher told me he's the only one in the class who actually helps clean up the toys each day...he's gonna be a good hubby to some sweet girl one day!!) He loves to play with my spatulas and spoons, and cook in his kitchen. Here he's helping to make pancakes with Daddy.
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When he plays with the Mr. Potato Head he can't help but put the glasses on backwards around his neck (just try to take them off, he'll communicate clearly with you!)
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He has a tremendous fetish with shoes right now, every morning when he wakes up he opens his drawer, pulls out his shoes and all out demands that we put them on (doesn't matter which kind, could be his crocs, tennis shoes or his brown ones). He says, "please and thank you" regularly, he often says "help me please" and "I do it"...and here he's "doing it" himself, carrying his motorcycle back to the car.
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And faster then you can say "mess" he'll surely make one...here he decided to completely dump out freshly potted pansies, its a good thing he's a cute mess maker!
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He put Poppy's boots on and tried to walk around in them. He usually accomplishes what he wants to do, he's got great drive for sure!
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And did I mention that he LOVES to eat! As long as people are sitting at the table, he thinks he still needs to be eating; he truly is going to eat us out of house and home, he eats as much as I do and he regularly out eats his brothers who are 2 and 4 years older then him! Here he's sitting in his favorite place and another one of his favorite past times is what we fondly call "banging" where he bangs his back up against the back of the highchair fast and furiously going back and forth! I have no idea why he does this but he seems to love to do it!
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He loves playing with his cousin Jojo, nothing like good friends sharing a snack!
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And this is what he looks like most mornings when I come in to get him...oh he's a sweet one!
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Sweet Emerson, oh how we love you!
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We celebrated with his favorite meal, spaghetti along with some cupcakes. But like every one of his birthdays we were interrupted by an act of nature. His birthday, 2 years ago, was when Little Rock had a huge snow storm, we were literally gonna be snowed into the hospital so my doctor let us leave earlier then normal since he and I both felt and looked good. Then for his 1st birthday (in Birmingham) almost our ENTIRE family got the stomach bug at the same time (that was not fun), he was the only one who didn't get it, so he got to eat cupcakes all by himself, poor guy! Then yesterday, right as I was finishing up dinner our electricity went out, so we got to enjoy dinner by candlelight, then got to pack our things up and head over to my parents house for the night. Maybe next year we will have better luck!!

We enjoyed celebrating with him, and will get to celebrate some more with friends and family in a few weeks; I will post more pictures from his ball themed birthday party then.



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