Friday, May 30, 2014

Our Start To Summer

We rang in the start of summer by heading to Lake Ouachita. It's one of my "happy places", it's beautiful and mostly relaxing (aside from the few tantrums and crying fits). It's a place I've been going each summer for most of my life and there's lots of fun memories there.

Gigi loved on Emerson.

And Aunt Whitney loved on my sweet girl with the Buddha belly. (Is she not adorable?) Oh, I can hardly stand it!

Though the weather kept us guessing, and we actually had to take it to the dock at one point and wait out the rain, we ended up still being able to stay. It was a bit cool and the weather was quite overcast at times but we had a pretty good time.

Here is Emerson singing Matt Redman's Holy, which Emerson calls "the holy song". This is his all time favorite song and he belts it out at the TOP of his lungs. It's pretty cute.

And here he's really letting loose!

The boys were excited to try out the trainer ski's. Peyton did awesome, Lawson gave it a good try, but honestly, the water was so cold that he didn't want to stay in it too long, and I really didn't want to stay in there too long either so we didn't push him to keep trying. These new training skis allow you to start them off closer to the boat without having to use a boom pole. Peyton did great!!

There were definitely those hairy moments when Ava Jane fell down AGAIN and knocked her head in the same place as last week and made it bleed, then just a few minutes later she fell down again and busted her nose and lip. With all the rough waters she had trouble keeping her balance and the poor thing just kept taking a beating. After a good bout of screaming and fussing, she finally got comfortable and nodded off to dreamland. So ya know what we did? We just drove and drove. There was no way we were gonna turn that boat off and risk waking that baby up. So we got a good look at everything from Mountain Harbor to Ouachita Shores and everything in between.

It was a fun first trip to the lake!

The boys had such a good time.

They had been counting down the days until the pool opened so on Sunday night we let summer time commence!

This little boy is precious. He's happy go-lucky, kind and polite, when I see his sweet smile it just warms my heart! I am truly blessed!

And this baby girl is a dream come true! I love being her Mom!!

I'd be remiss to not mention my love for the military as I recap our Memorial Day weekend. I love that one of the churches in town puts up all these American flags, I honestly get choked up when I drive by them and remember our own time in the Army, thinking about all that others have done for me and those we still know who fight regularly for freedom. I'm so thankful and truly grateful for their sacrifices and this wonderful country I call home!! Here's 2013, 2012 Memorial Days.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Hard Questions, Tough Answers

Yesterday was our regularly scheduled playdate with friends. I like to think of it as Wonderful Wednesday's because letting the kids play while I get to visit with life long friends is doubly wonderful!

A few months back, after the Jen Hatmaker conference, all of us Momma's were discussing how we wanted to take the opportunities in our every day moments to teach our kids different realities that exist within the world so that they are aware of what could be and also give them tangible ways to be thankful for what they do have. I must say this is a hard idea to approach. Looking at and then trying to explain some peoples realities to my kids has definitely been challenging.

One of the harsh realities is the fact that there are homeless people. It's not every day that we drive by a homeless person, but this past week we have seen several and it always leaves me wondering, what should I do? Offer money? Give them an unopened water bottle that's sitting in my cup holder? Lock the doors and look the other way? What's the right response? What would Jesus' response be?

It's hard to know what to say sometimes and how to answer my precious little boys questions when they ask things like, "Why is he homeless? Why doesn't he have any food? Where is his family?" Even at their young ages they recognize and pick up on the fact that its not right for someone to not have all their essential needs met, that it seems crazy that they don't have a cozy bed to sleep in or a loving family to go home to. On the one hand, my kids' "normal" is a good one and for that I'm so thankful, they think having a home, a family, a car, food in not one but two refrigerators and filling up our pantry is "normal"…but explaining to them that its not everyone's reality has been challenging and thought provoking.

I want myself and my kids to always be aware and sensitive to others around us. So, us Momma's were talking one day and threw out the idea to pack bags for the homeless that we could keep in our cars and hand out whenever we came across someone in need. So yesterday, we gathered at a park with all different supplies and packed some sacks. The kids were able to do it pretty well (with some assistance) and I look forward to the first opportunity to give away what we have packed with love. I hope as my kids watch what happens that they'll be impacted to always give what they can to others and to assist in a positive way. It's often hard to find "ministry opportunities" where young children like ours can participate so I loved the fact that they were able to pack these bags, see what all was going into them and to know that they'll be helping someone who is in need even though they are young.

I'm certain that this is just the first of many challenging topics and conversations to come. I hope that these talks, while driving around in our normal, regular, routines, will spur on more thought provoking questions and answers. And for the moments when I don't know what to say or how to answer, I pray that God will give me the words.

I love that "just doing something" can be small, it doesn't have to be Earth shattering or a totally new concept. Being challenged by Jenn Hatmaker to "just do something…anything" has pretty much been the mantra that keeps going round and round inside my head the last few months.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

A Weeks Worth of Catch Up!

This past week was filled lots of planning (for upcoming trips), list making (for all the different places we'll be going in the next three weeks from the lake to the beach and of course, to China). There have been lots of appointments and unplanned trips to the doctors office but there's also been fun with friends and family. It's been a busy week and it's making me super excited that the start of summer is just a few days away!

Last Wednesday, Lawson got to experience the Kindergarten Safari at Roberts Elementary. He was so super excited to go to the "big school" that he literally got dressed going down the stairs. He willingly went with all the kids while the parents went to an informative meeting in the dining room. But when I asked him to take his picture he wasn't too cooperative, so these were the best I could get.

I'm excited that these little guys are going to be entering Kindergarten together. What a fun group of friends he will have there.

Last weekend we were invited to a horseback riding party. The boys were excited to get to do this and I must say on several occasions, leading up to the weekend, I did use the invitation as a reward for correct behavior. The boys couldn't wait for their turn to ride the horses, it was such a fun party!

I love these boys! So grateful they're such good friends.

If you couldn't tell from the pictures and all our heavy fleece jackets, it was unseasonably cold last weekend. It felt like February, not the weekend before Memorial Day! And this little stinker has become Miss Independent and does not want to be held or sit in my lap. She's all over the place and into everything.

If was a really fun party, Happy Birthday sweet girl!

After the party we had the opportunity to do a cookout and bonfire with friends. These "little people tables" were just the perfect fit for all our kids. (Gotta thank Sam's for those.)

The kids enjoyed playing outside in the sandbox and on the driveway.

What would a bonfire be without the sugary goodness of smores?

And these sweet friends had fun being silly together.

On Sunday, we celebrated a belated Mother's Day with brunch at After Thoughts in Hillcrest. Mom got to have her Mother's Day on the beach last week while she relaxed and enjoyed the sun so it was fun to all get together and catch up. There was a cute little merry go round that the kids thoughts was "awesome" and Gigi even got in on the action too.

I am so blessed to have such a thoughtful and caring Mother. One who always sacrifices and invests in me. I would not be the woman I am today without her dedication and willingness to love and care for me even on the hard days and in the rough moments. Now that I'm a Mother too, I am so grateful for her love and commitment as I know how hard it can be at times. I love you Mom and am grateful for all your support and encouragement! I'm so thankful for you!

And as for this week its not been dull either. Yesterday Ava Jane ran smack dab into the leg of our kitchen table and got a huge goose egg knot. I ended up taking her in just to verify that it was all ok and after an x-ray of her skull they confirmed that it was just a knot on the head and would go down within a few days. We were so thankful it wasn't anything serious.

Its pretty crazy how last weekend we were all bundled up and now just four days later we're getting ready to welcome summer with cute bubbles, American flags and the summer time staple of flip flops. Looking forward to summer and fun in the sun!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Precious 24 hours

This past weekend me and six of my dearest friends got away for a Mom's Night Out in Memphis. I must say I wasn't sure it was going to happen, even up until about 3 hours before we were scheduled to leave town. You see, half my family, caught the stomach bug and were down for the count most of the week leading up to our get away. I made several trips to the store stocking up on Probiotics, Anti-Diarreahl medicines, 7UP and crackers. We were doing the BRAT diet trying to get everyone cleared up in time. But as fate would have it, Adam ended up staying home from work again on Friday and Ava Jane needed a bath and her entire bed changed out by 8:00 that morning. Needless to say, I was having extreme Mommy guilt and asked Adam a number of times if he was sure I should go? He assured me each time that they'd be fine, it was just 24 hours.

So we left town as planned.

Once there we went straight to the Pottery Barn and William Sonoma outlets. We didn't do too much damage but we did find some fun things! We checked into the hotel, did a quick outfit change then headed to our reservations at the Melting Pot.

This was our flaming chocolate sauce for dessert with several dipping items, the rice crispy treat was my favorite to dip.

If you've never done fondue, you should totally try it. It's quite the experience and perfect for seven mommy friends who just want to sit and talk for hours. (Which we did, for about 4 hours to be exact!) It's amazing the conversations you can have when they're not interrupted and broken by our sweet little peeps. And between the seven of us there are 23 precious little people (8 and under) with 1 on the way. So when we all get together, with our kids, there are definitely some broken/interrupted conversations!

We stayed up late into the night chit chatting which was super fun!

Saturday we slept in a bit, ate breakfast then headed for a little pampering for mani's and pedi's.

We got to see the house where one of our own is moving in just a few short weeks. It was fun to actually see with my eyes the culmination of many answered prayers for this sweet family! What a beautifully quaint part of town they'll be living in. We're praying that they'll be able to connect and find a church home quickly.

If you're ever in Memphis, you should definitely eat at The Elegant Farmer. It prides itself on being farm fresh and I must say, it was delicious and truly worth the wait. We did have to wait to be seated and it took quite some time to receive our food, but it was divine, I didn't leave a crumb on my plate! The ham and pear gorgonzola sandwich was a terrific decision I must say.

From there we went in a few antique stores. There were some really lovely things to take in.

And when we got thirsty we decided to hit Starbucks for a little pick me up. When we pulled into the drive thru there was a Happy Hour sign but much to our chagrin we missed the cut off by 1 minute and 55 seconds. Thankfully this strapping young man asked if anyone had a reward card and we did so he was able to extend Happy Hour for another full hour and we got our drinks half price! Yay!

If you know me at all, you know that I'm a popcorn fanatic, I love me some homemade, fresh popcorn. So, on our way out of town we'd been told to find Sweet Noshings. It was A-MAZ-ING! I got 3 bags of popcorn (Salted Carmel, Spicy White Cheddar and Cheddar JalapeƱo) they're all so good! You must make a stop into the adorable candy shop, there's something for everyone!

The road trip home went by super fast. We chit chatted the entire way and could've kept talking. It's wonderful to have such sweet friends to live life with. I'm grateful for their friendship and the way that we're able to encourage and challenge one another. I feel tremendously blessed! I loved my time away with you ladies!!

And if all that wasn't wonderful enough, my precious husband had mowed the yard, cut the hedges, cleaned the house, washed the sheets (and put them back on), fed and bathed our peeps and cleaned up the kitchen, all by 8:30 when I arrived back home. He gets Husband of the Year! I love you Adam Head, I'm so grateful for you!

Lake Day With Friends

Back in March, Adam and I began setting aside weekends on our calendar to go to the lake this summer with friends and family.  It felt a lit...