Sunday, September 11, 2011

Conflicted

Today has been an emotional day for our country. We've been approaching this milestone and trying to anticipate all of the feelings that go along with remembering such a day. The innocent people who were taken, the families of those people who had to move on without them. All of the first responders who rushed in to do way more than their job called for. While we were all instantly defensive against any outside threat, we also instantly came together as a nation willing to protect our own and have each others' backs. It's difficult to summarize the day or its impact.

I think that our nationwide observance of those awful terrorist attacks is absolutely merited. Necessary, even, for our abilty to remember those who we lost. That day changed our country and changed the world. I am thankful for the soldiers who have defended our nation and allowed us to continue living in freedom. I will never forget.

I'm frustrated though, as I try to reconcile all of the feelings that I experience when I think about evil in the world. As much as I hate to admit it, growing up in the world has given my heart a worldly slant that seems easy to justify. I don't think I'm the only one, though. I've read so many facebook status posts; things like "I hope those terrorists burn in hell."... I admit, those thoughts have't escaped me, but that's where I find my conflict.

As humans we tend to want justice. We also, for some reason, tend to think that we always know the appropriate means to achieve that justice. In this case, it seems that because they did something terrible to us that we should, in turn, respond with something worse and wish for them the very worst thing that we can imagine.

Really, though? Not everyone I know claims to be a follower of Jesus, but many do. I, too, strive on a daily basis to have actions, words and thoughts that glorify Jesus because I want to be more like him. I fail daily, and miserably, but that doesn't mean I'm not trying.

A couple things have come to mind this week, and I can't help but read them in light of the attacks we endured. We are told that we will all stand in judgment one day and give an account for everything that we have done. That's a sobering thought because without the blood of Jesus to cover my sins, I'm in the same boat as any other sinner. I absolutely can't imagine wishing that anyone would burn in hell--be lost for eternity. Because if God should choose repay that sinner with eternal torment, then what could He choose to repay me with?

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. I Peter 3:9

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son the the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17
So, when I read these verses, I'm conflicted. God created each one of us, and He doesn't want anyone of us to perish. Imagine the pain he feels when one his own rejects him. So as his child, does it please him for me to react with retaliation and anger and hatred or with genuine sorrow? Sorrowful for the loss our country has exprienced, but also for the loss of a soul.

It's tough, but I'm trying hard to let my heart for Jesus speak louder in my mind that the lessons the world would have me learn.

Has anyone else struggled with any of these thoughts or is it just me? Am I headed the right direction, or am I way off base?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Who's Who?

So I totally have a thousand other things I need to be doing, but last night I was looking at my kids' baby pictures and couldn't believe some of the similarities!! Since Tobin was born, everyone keeps asking me who he looks like and I keep saying, "My other kids!" Seeing these pics, I see why! There are definitely some differences, but, WOW!

Take a look...I've matched up some of Tobin's pics with his siblings' similar pics at similar ages. Go through and take a little test...they're grouped under their names in the last one.

Am I crazy? Or do they all favor? Let me know what you think!! And how you did! :)
Just the boys:
Wellll......??????

Friday, July 29, 2011

Amazing Interns

Our church's Children's Ministry hires interns to help out with the plethora of activities that go on throughout every summer. It's a help to the staff, but it is also great fun for the kids. My kids, for the last two years, have LOVED the interns that have been a part of Mayfair's summers. This year was especially fun because most of the interns have been around for at least one previous summer so the kids already knew them.
About 2 weeks before Lawson and Jordan were supposed to leave to spend a couple weeks in Oklahoma, I overheard them inviting each of the interns to an event at our house. I had not ever heard about this event--they made it up and took it upon themselves to plan all the details and invite the guests--the interns.
They caught each intern as they walked through the auditorium, and each time they explained the event it grew even bigger! So here's the rundown:
It was going to be a party
and they were going to watch
ALL FIVE
of the Land Before Time movies
and have dinner together.
And it wasn't going to be
just a party...
but rather a sleepover.
The boys could sleep on Lawson's bunk beds
and the girls could sleep in Jordan's room.
And if we needed more room
they could sleep on the couch and the ottoman.
THEN, in the morning,
they would get to eat breakfast
in the Living Room.
My kids were for real about this, and came home asking about when they could have it and we needed to make invitations and cards and draw maps so they could find our house. It was going to be a big to-do!
Too bad they were already scheduled to go to OK, so I had to tell them we wouldn't have time to have this party and they would have to tell the interns goodbye b/c they might not still be here when they got home... It was pretty sad. :(
Allllllll that to say that one day while they were gone, Jon and I went up to the church building to get some stuff done and a couple of the interns came up to me and asked if the kids could come up to the church one day for lunch after they came home--the interns wanted to throw them a surprise party since my kids didn't get to have the party they had planned!! Pretty sweet, huh!?
I ended up bringing them this past Wednesday to a party from the interns! They knew they were having a surprise but they had NO IDEA what it was. We showed up to a "Welcome to the PARTY!!" sign hanging in the doorway and a red and white checkered tablecloth spread in the floor. On said tablecloth, they had set out a full Chick-fil-A lunch. From there, I left my kids who were already involved in full conversation with six college kids! When I came back to retrieve my kids, they were playing video games, watching each other sing-a-long and raiding the prize bucket.
They had a great time and felt so special that the interns had planned a special party just for them. I'm sure it's a day that won't be forgotten in the forseeable future. As a Mommy, it made my heart so happy to see these cool college kids go to such lengths to make my kiddos feel special. I'm so thankful for the relationship that the interns form with all of the kids at church, but I'm also grateful to be able to witness they way they have connected with Lawson and Jordan!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Together

I’ve had a weird few days. A few weeks ago Jon’s mom called and asked if my big kids could come over to Oklahoma for a couple weeks. They’ve never been away from us for that long. In fact, I’ve never really been home for more than a couple days without them here because the other times they’ve gone to OK without us was when Jon and I were on Honduras trips. At first I didn’t think I could handle them being gone two weeks, but the more I thought about it I realized that it would probably be very good for them and for me.

During the end of my pregnancy and since Tobin was born, I’ve really struggled with my inability to do as much with the big kids. They’ve done GREAT, actually, by playing together. They’ve spent a lot of time playing outside, jumping on the trampoline, swinging and riding bikes. They’ve played inside in each other’s rooms with their toys, drawing pictures and doing crafts. I’m pretty sure they’re not going to be damaged because I’ve had a lot going on, but I have been struggling with some guilt about how much they’ve had to play ‘on their own’. I figured spending time with Papa, Nana and their cousins would be different and fun for them. It has been—when I talk to them they tell me about how much fun they’ve been having and I’m glad for them.

Here in Huntsville, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much quieter my days are with just a baby around the house. He’s still on a 3-hour schedule, so I’m definitely not just sitting round doing nothing, but it’s just been so much calmer. A newborn is just so flexible. They’re easy to tote around, pretty much anywhere.
Since the kids have been gone, Jon and I have had so much fun together. Even with Tobin around, it still seems like it’s “the old ‘us’”, the college kids who got married almost 10 years ago. In my mind, we’re still that young, but one look at reality screams that things have changed. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s hard to stop and remember how much fun those college kids had. Between work schedules, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, and everything else that goes into keeping a family running, sometimes it’s hard to find time to just be together and have fun.

We’ve seen a couple movies at the dollar theater and gone out to eat. We’ve gone shopping, rented a movie and ordered carry-out. We test drove a car that we’re probably going to buy. We’ve talked about the plans for the not-so-far-away future. We’ve cleaned out our closets and we’ve packed lots of boxes. Our friends even kept the baby one night and we went out ALL alone! And I have enjoyed every second of it!

I always hear older, wiser people say that one danger of raising kids is to become so wrapped up in the kids that you grow apart as a couple. Then one day, when the kids are gone, two strangers are left behind. I don’t feel like that’s happening, but it’s always something that sticks in the back of my mind as we sometimes trudge along day-to-day. That’s why this past week has been so great for me. It’s refreshing to be assured of how much I not only love my sweet husband, but I really, really like him and I love hanging out with him. He’s so much fun and we laugh so much together.

Times like this, when we get to just be together, are fun because it’s like the old days for us. Except it’s better because we’ve come this far…together. Our history makes us stronger. And I can’t wait for our future!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Our last weekend with "Just the Big Kids"

It hit me last week that this was going to be our last weekend with just big kids. Tuesday, our world will change. It will be new. It will be different. It will be good. Everything will be okay, I just have to realize that it's our new normal.

I really wanted to spend some time doing fun stuff with the kids Saturday to celebrate just how big they've become. They are able to do so many things and I have really been enjoying the stages that they are at right now. They've gone from 'little-kids-that-I-have-to-take-everywhere-with-me' to 'big-kids-who-come-places-with-us'. They require so much less hands-on maintenance now, but much more conversation and social interaction. More than ever, their personalities are coming out in the way they act and play and talk to others on a daily basis. They really are neat little kids!

We woke up late yesterday morning, so we went for late breakfast/lunch at IHOP. We chowed down on some pancakes and eggs, then decided to go putt-putting. We took them last summer, and they remembered it when we pulled up. We had so much fun as a family! They still had a few pretty terrible shots, but several of their turns were actually really good!!! It was amazing the amount of control and concentration they've gained in less than a year! I didn't take a ton of pics, but here are a few...

I absolutely love the times that I just focus on enjoying and loving my kids! They are such special gifts from God! Saturday night a friend watched Lawson and Jordan so Jon and I could go out on a date. We stopped in a book store for a while and as I was flipping through a book I found this quote that I love:

The Psalms call children a "reward." Not a curse, not a tragedy, not an accident--they are the expressions of God's favor. It is a thrilling right to see your children through the lens of Scriptures as His trophies.
--Howard Hendricks
I think this is so true! Some days I can get so caught up in frustration, exhaustion and focus on some of the negative things in my life, but when I can keep myself focused on the abundance of blessing that has been poured into my life it changes how I see everything! My kids definitely are a blessing in my life--if they are indeed expressions of God's favor, then I am humbled at how much favor he saw fit to give me!

We are now only a day away from our "Baby Day" and we are all SO excited to meet our sweet new baby...but I am grateful for this time we spent together as a family-of-four this weekend!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Self-Entertaining

These last couple weeks, I have just had a declining amount of energy (wonder why??!!)! Luckily when I need to rest in the afternoons, my kids have been able to entertain themselves and play together to pass the time. They have been coming up with all sorts of things to do, and I've been entertained by watching them play together so well!

From swinging to playing pirates on the swingset, from jumping on the trampoline to coloring the driveway with chalk. The other day was a rainy day and I was trying to get laundry and dishes done--they had been quiet for a while which sometimes causes me a little bit of alarm! They had been playing in their rooms for a while, but when I peeked in, I saw them sitting on Jordan's bed and Lawson was reading her a book. I think they were looking at the pictures more than reading the story, but it was sweet. Not too much later, I heard giggling and then they came out to the kitchen. Lawson held his hands out like he was making a grand presentation, and Jordan walked in like she was the hottest model on the runway! He had put her play make-up all over her eyebrows and lips, and she had put on a ton of jewelry and 'fixed' her hair! They were SO proud of themselves! I had to take a picture of the, ahem, artwork!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

First Tee-Ball Game 2011

When I told Jordan that she had a tee-ball game to play, she threw a fit not wanting to play. We have gone around and around--she wanted to play when it was time to sign up, but now she doesn't. We're making her play. We told her she doesn't have to sign up for anything, but if she signs up, she will play. Turns out that once we got her out there and started, she did great and had a lot of fun! She was a little grumpy for a while, but I was able to get some cute pictures by telling her that she was so grumpy that I wanted to take a picture of her grumpy face...so what did she do? Start smiling. She thought she was tricking me, but who got the cute pictures? ;)

Little Slugger
In the dugout
Hopefully the rest of the season will go smoothly!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Falls Mill



The kids and I were able to participate in a field trip about an hour away in Tennessee with our home school group. It was a really neat field trip and a great way to get back into a routine after all the craziness of the storms that passed through April 27th. We enjoyed learning about the old machines and the history behind this very old mill that is still completely water-powered. We heard explanations and saw demonstrations of the mill grinding oats and grits, how thread is spun, how material is woven, and how the mill can operate so many machines. It was a beautiful day and we learned a lot!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How did we go from this...

to this...
It seems impossible that those little kids in the first picture have gotten so big, and even more unbelievable that in 3 weeks from today we will be headed to the hospital to meet our precious 'surprise' baby!!!

Last week, on a beautiful, sunny, breezy day the kids and I walked to a duck pond that is pretty close to our house. Well, scratch that. It looks pretty close to our house when we drive by it in the car! When we walk, with two kids, and I'm all-the-way-pregnant, and we didn't bring any drinks, it's actually quite a hike!!! It was a fun day, though, and the kids had a blast. As I sat (resting, trying to summon up enough energy to make it home whenever they decided they were done!) on a nearby bench, I just found myself remembering the days of going to feed ducks pushing a loaded down stroller and being terrified the whole time that one of my small children were going to topple over into the nasty water! This particular day, though, they just looked so big. It was one of those moments where a little bit of sadness hits you even though your heart is smiling. A little bittersweet.

On a day to day basis I strive to enjoy the gift that I have in my children, and I long to bask in the joy they bring to our family each day. The loving way they play together, the fascinating way they learn, the way they sing and pray to God... There are so many lessons for us as adults as we guide and witness our children growing and developing. It's a scary job, but we trust that God will guide us along the way and that he will be able to fertilize our feeble efforts and mold our kids' hearts into strong Christian servants.

We're so close to this new chapter in our lives--I'm days away from being back in that spot where I'm packing a diaper bag every time I need to leave the house for even only 15 minutes, and pushing a loaded down stroller everywhere I go. A little bit scary, I must admit. It's been almost 5 years since I had a baby. Even more than that little bit of fear, though, is growing excitement. We're ready to move forward and see what lies ahead.

Blessed. That's what we are! :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Welcome back, T-ball!

Well, due to lots of rain Jordan finally had her first t-ball practice Saturday morning! She wanted to play this year, and Lawson didn't, so this will likely be our only athletic activity this year due to our year being heavy with 'other activity' later this fall! ;)

It was a beautiful morning and even though she started out shy and didn't really want to play she warmed up pretty quickly and had fun during practice!
Run like the wind, girl!!!
Safe on first, and cute as a bug! :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter 2011

I can't believe that we actually got up early enough to get ready, get our stuff together and take pictures without being rushed this morning!! I am thankful--we actually got some good pictures this year! Last week when Jon went to preach he wore a suit, so this week Lawson told me he wanted a "preaching coat." We've never done a suit or jacket for him, so I was hoping I could fulfill his request--and I found one on sale!! He was so excited!! He was even more excited when Jon said he would wear his jacket to match him. He put it on this morning and sighed and said, "It looks just how I pictured it!" When I showed him the pictures on the computer he said, "Oh!! I didn't know I looked that handsome!!" We're thankful for our church family and the uplifting day we spent reflecting on the Empty Tomb that gives us hope for a future and eternal life. Then we were blessed to share a delicious meal and fellowship with several friends. It was a wonderful day of family, friends and worship!!

There are a lot of pics--I just didn't want to leave any good ones out! :)
Happy Easter from us to you!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Day of Play

Spring has been a little tricky this year--just when we think it's here, it goes away again!!! Who knows what it's going to be like in a couple days!! This morning we did our school work, but as soon as Lawson was done they were outside playing, eating lunch, then playing again! I went outside to try to get some pictures of them playing...

This picture makes me laugh because Lawson and Jordan had found a place where the training wheels were on the ground but the big wheel wasn't. They were pretending it was an exercise bike and spinning that back wheel as fast as they could but not going anywhere! They took turns and did this forever!
There are several of Jordan--she was in a posing mood tonight, I guess!! Also, my kids are going through this phase where they can just look at each other and start giggling--before I know it they are in full-out belly-laughs!! They think it's just hilarious. Sometimes I agree, but sometimes it drives me batty!!

Anyways, I am thankful for this day that they were able to spend playing together, and I'm thankful that they have so much fun together! These are definitely good times!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Baby #3's Baby Shower #1

Our friends at church had a Diaper Bag Shower for us yesterday!! We were so excited, and we shared the shower with two other families who are expecting babies soon. Our table is the one on the far right...
We had a delicious lunch, then got to come home and let the kids help us open all of the diapers and supplies our friends hooked us up with!! What a blessing!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Jordan Show

Here are a couple of Jordan...The first one is her singing Have Thine Own Way, which is one of their favorite bedtime songs. She doesn't sing all the words just right, but that's part of what makes it cute! That and her crazy low, monotone voice--especially when she's being shy or a little bit embarrassed!

You can especially hear this low voice in the second video. At first, she's being very bossy to Lawson and it cracks me up, but then she decides she wants to sing a song that she made up (I'm assuming at that very second). I know that when she's all grown up, nights like these will be some of the memories that I cherish most!
video
video

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sing. Sing a song. Sing out loud. Sing out long.

For Christmas Jon and I struggled with what sort of gifts we wanted to get for the kids. In particular I was struggling with not wanting anymore big plastic toys to clutter up the floor, especially since we are preparing to move and will soon be trying to get rid of some of our excess stuff. I didn't want them to have "No Christmas" just couldn't justify buying a bunch of junk so they'd have stuff to open!

On Black Friday I struggled with what I was going to be shopping for...but finally decided that I would just buy them some games for their Leapsters then keep my eyes open for something else that would be suitable. While my friend Jamey and I were at Toys R Us, I saw something that I thought would be just perfect--not just for the kids, but for our whole family! It was a karaoke machine!!

How much fun could we have with this??? My kids LOVE to sing, and having a microphone to sing into only makes it more fun, right?? Plus, I thought it would be fun for Jon and I to play with, or to use when we have friends over... I snagged one on a great sale and crossed my fingers!

Well, the kids opened our gifts before our trip to Oklahoma and then we left the next day. They took their Leapster games with them, but we didn't really get to use the karaoke machine. Then we came back and had a thousand errands and field trips and other things to take care of. Then we went to Honduras for a month. I thought we were never going to get to use the darn thing!

Well, the other night Jon was working late so I decided to hook it up and let the kids play with it for a while. They had so much fun singing and being silly. We don't even have any karaoke CDs, they were just using the microphone to sing and talk. I took lots of videos, but here are just a couple of them.

The first one is of Lawson singing a Spanish song he learned while we were in Honduras. He doesn't quite have all the words right, but for memorizing a whole song in a language he doesn't know I think it's great! The second one is of Jordan singing Blue Skies and Rainbows.

Enjoy the videos....I may post more later!
video

video

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cousins in Green

Jon's parents came over and brought Maddison to visit during her Spring Break this past week. The kids had so much fun playing together, and we also got to go to the St. Patrick's Day Parade together! Huntsville puts on a great SPD Parade and the kids LOVED it! It was a beautiful day and I had some fun taking pictures of these kiddos in their green shirts!


Waiting patiently...

Still waiting...
The parade pics look like, well, parade pics. Fire trucks, police cars, dogs, marching bands, bicycles, dancers, etc...So I'll just wrap up with this one of my sweet girl: