Thursday, August 30, 2007

Happy Birthday, Sweet Afton




Since she was in her mother's womb, every night we have prayed for "sweet baby Afton." It has only been in the last few months that we have dropped the "baby" part. Now she is our "sweet Afton."

And, sweet she is.

She is a special little girl, and we love her very much.

I'll never forget meeting Afton for the first time. She was only a day or so old, precious, tiny, and dressed in pink. As Deana held her close, I leaned over sweet baby Afton and said, "She is so sweet. She makes me want a little girl. . ."

And, I will never forget what Deana said to me. . .

"You virtually have one now. . ."

That meant the world to me. . .

as do Afton and her parents!

So, today, her 2nd birthday, the boys surprised sweet Afton with flowers. We played a little bit and then went out for Mexican food! Is there a better way to celebrate a birthday than over cheese dip? I think not.




Happy Birthday, sweet Afton!

We love you!


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Three


The Three.

My three.

Everywhere we go I hear, "Boy, you have your hand's full," and, sometimes, "Three boys, bless your heart."

Oh, yes, my heart is blessed, blessed indeed.

They are busy, curious, and rambunctious. I often do my best to temper all of that, but I always fail. You can't keep a little boy contained. You simply can't. There is life welling up inside of them that cannot be contained. They are little overflowing cups of joy and boundless energy. And, I love them for it!

Last night, as I lay in bed completely exhausted, I tried to remember what it was that I did all day. Why was I so incredibly tired? I couldn't remember anything monumental that I had done during the day. All I could remember was changing laundry, folding laundry, fixing snacks and meals, nursing, changing diapers, taking JCT to the potty, pushing little ones on the swings, sitting in a lawn chair watching two little boys play some form of a football-like game, breaking up a few squabbles, taking the dog out, and attempting to muster up the energy to happily welcome Erik home at the end of the day - instead of collapsing and letting him take over - which is what I'd like to do - but that wouldn't be fair or right, and I know it. But, I did nothing extraordinary, and honestly other than a few baskets of folded laundry and a mediocre meal, I have nothing to show for all of my efforts.



But, I am amazingly satisfied.

Content.



And, three smiling, laughing, clean, lavender smelling boys are all the reward I need. Well, almost. . . The stalling at bedtime, the one more book, the one more hug, JCT's kisses through the crib rails, Joshua's "scratch my tummy a little longer," and Elijah's head nestled under my chin. . . that is my reward, and it is sweet. Little do they know that I am soaking up their smells and love like a sponge soaks up water. And, once again, I am thankful for another day with my three, my precious three.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Four Months, Little Guy!


My sweet Li Li, how can you already be four months old!! The newborn has completely worn off now! You are all bouncing baby boy now!! What an active little man you are!! You can now roll both ways - from tummy to back and from back to tummy! You are reaching for and playing with toys. You are smiling, laughing, and babbling (loudly) to your brothers! Oh, and you have found the best toy ever - your sweet little feet!!! You love to grab your little feet and pull them to your mouth. It is the best fun ever - at least to you - right now!
And, much to my chagrin, you are officially a finger sucker like your big brother JCT. I vowed that I would not let this happen again. But, there is only so much a mother can do. I try to give you a paci, but you won't have it!! You like your fist and fingers much better!! So, have at it, little man! We'll worry about breaking that habit later. . .
You are a constant source of joy for me! I love you to pieces, little fella! Can't wait to see how you change and grow this month!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Sweet Baptism for a Sweet Girl

My brother's oldest daughter recently made the decision to give her life to Christ. This past Sunday she was baptized by her Daddy in a lake near their home. Peyton is a special girl. And, I am not just saying that because she is my niece. She truly is a precious young lady - selfless and beautiful inside & out. And, I love her with all my heart. She loves hard like her Daddy. And, she loves my boys, really loves them. She is so sweet with them. I am thankful for her life, and I am even more thankful that she has chosen to give that sweet life of hers to Jesus. A little girl's life that will never be the same. A great journey has begun, and that is worth celebrating. Now here are some pics of the act that symbolizes that life change. . .
Kelly asking Peyton about her decision to follow Jesus. . .
Cecilia read scripture. . .
Friends and family. Mom is videoing the baptism. . .
Daddy, also, said a few words and stood with Kelly as he baptized his little girl.



Sweet Cecilia. . .




Peyton with her friends and sweet little sister on the left edge of the picture.




What a year my brother's sweet family has had! God has been more than faithful. Their family is truly a testimony of the strength that Jesus provides during trials. From breast cancer to melanoma, God has been good. And, he has brought them through it all. Kelly and Cecilia are modeling a living, active, and real faith for their little girls.

Jesus, bless this family and bless this sweet little girl.

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God's Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.

Philippians 1:3-6

Monday, August 20, 2007

In case anyone was worried. . .

She is in there, I promise, you just can't see her! It is time to change the water again!!

Dora has been moved to her very own bowl. By the time Erik came home Saturday morning, Zack had made multiple attempts to scare Dora to death, literally. I think she was sure to have had a heart-attack had we forced her to share a bowl with Zack the fish tank killer much longer.

I met Erik at the door asking him to move Dora to her own bowl. He suggested that we give them more time to get used to eachother, but I wasn't sure she would live another hour with Zack attacking her. I was feeling a sense of urgency about the whole ordeal.

Erik was not.

He suggested that we look it up on the internet. He said he would look for an informative website about Bettas and read about whether we could keep two in the same bowl. He then proceeded to sit down at the computer. . . I paced in the kitchen while keeping my eye on sweet Dora. After about 15 minutes, Zack began terrorizing Dora again. So, I came running over to the computer to see what Erik had found out. . . Dora's life was in danger! We had to save her! What had Erik found out?

Nothing.

Nothing at all.

And, do you want to know why?

Because ( big surprise) Dan Patrick's website doesn't offer vast quantities of information on Betta fish. In fact, I'm quite certain that the word Betta does not appear anywhere on his site. But, he is a great reporter, and I wish him the best on all his future endeavors.

After I, once again, expressed the urgency of Dora's situation to Erik, he left Dan Patrick's website and searched for information that would save Dora's life. The information we read agreed with the instructions I read on the way home from the pet store. Due to the aggressive nature of the male betta only one Betta should be in a bowl.

And, in case you were wondering about the mating habits of the Betta fish, the male and female should only be put in a bowl together for an hour and a half to two hours at a time to mate. I cringe to think Dora was left alone with Zack in a small bowl for over 12 hours. Too bad there aren't therapists for fish. Surely, she could use one. I am just praying over her bowl daily.

JCT and I took a special trip to Wal-Mart and picked out a new bowl and some colorful decor fit for a lady. And, she likes it in her new trendy home. She is thriving. At least I think she is - the best I can tell. She is eating her food, and I think that is a good indication. Zack on the other hand is not eating. Bless his heart, maybe he misses her. He ate when she was in his bowl. I'm a bit concerned about him. But, I'm not losing any sleep over it.

Oh, and a note about fish to those who don't have them. I don't necessarily recommend fish if you are a neat and clean person. No one warned me about how dirty these creatures are. We have had them for 3 days, and I have changed their water like 5 times. It gets all cloudy, and it smells nasty when you dump it in the sink. They aren't the clean little pet I thought they would be. Big Mama was right - the honeymoon phase is short lived. Oh, and the food smells, too.

But, I still say it was worth it just to hear Joshua gasp when he saw his fish for the first time!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Fish Tale


Yesterday evening we took the big boys to the babysitter so that Erik and I could have a date (with Elijah, but a date just the same - seeing as Elijah doesn't do a whole lot of talking). We decided while we were out that we would run by the pet store and get the boys a fish. Fun!

I made sure that we talked with one of the employees and got all the necessary information about raising Bettas. How often do you change their water? How do you go about changing it? Feeding - how much? how often? And, the most important question. . . How many can we put in one bowl? The young girl assured me that we could put two in one bowl as long as one was a female. Two males would fight, but a male and a female should live in perfect harmony with one another. We'll see. . .

So, $40 later we left the pet store and headed toward home with Bettas secured in the cup holders of our beloved "Vannie." I decided to read about these new little guys on our way home. I couldn't help noticing that on the fish bowl's box twice this warning was written, "Due to the aggressive nature of the Male Betta, only one fish should be kept in a bowl." I instantly grew concerned for the little blue female we purchased. But, Erik assured me that she would be fine - after all, the teenage girl (Betta expert, I am sure) who worked there told us it would be fine. We'll see.

We went home, dumped the fish in their new bowl complete with decorative stones and fake foliage (which we later chunked), and took Sam (Joshua's pretend fish) in the untility room. We opted to take the advice JMom left in my comments the other day. She suggested that we switch the bowls and surprise the boys with a real fish when they expected to see the play fish. So, I put the new Bettas on the raised bar where Sam has been for the last 2 weeks. Then, Erik went to get the boys. . .

who had watched Nemo at the babysitter's house - how appropriate!

They walked into the house. And, as they were taking off their crocs and putting them away in their baskets, I asked Joshua if he had fed Sam today. He said, "No, I don't think so. . ." as he pushed his basket back under the bench. Then, he looked up at the raised bar to see Sam.

And. . .

I heard the sound that every parent begs to hear. . . the gasp. . . that loud, long, joyous, excited, Christmas morning-like inhaled breath of air. "HHHHhhhhhhh!" A satisfying sound to a parent's ear - more than satisfying. We did good.

Both boys ran to the barstools and climbed up in them to gaze into the fish bowl. Joshua claimed the large red male naming him Zack. Actually the full name given to him by my tender, loving little boy was, "Zack, the fish tank Killer." Then, JCT named the sweet little blue female, "Dora." And, so Zack and Dora have become part of our family. JCT kept putting his sweet little hand over his heart and saying, "You got me a weal fishy, a weal fishy for me!!" If you listened carefully, you could hear our home singing for all the joy that was dwelling within her last night! It was a good night.

Erik got up early this morning to ride bikes with his friends, so I had the great privilege of helping the boys feed their fish for the first time. We sat and watched them eat. I was happy to see that Zack the tank killer was allowing Dora to eat. I had a fear that he might eat all the food and that she would die of starvation due to his aggressive nature. They both ate to their heart's content as much as they could in two minutes - according to the box's instructions. Anyway, I offered the boys cartoons, but they declined saying that they would rather watch their fish. I opted to do something else. Diagnose me with ADD, but fish are just not stimulating enough to capture my attention for an extended period of time. So, I began to piddle around in the kitchen when I heard my sons exclaim, "Mommy look, Zack is gonna eat her! Look what he is doing!!!" I ran to the bowl. I am feeling a certain loyalty towards Dora. After all, we are the only females in the house, and we girls gotta stick together.

Zack was flaring up his bright red tail and swimming at her over and over, hitting her with his mad, red face. And, Dora, bless her heart, was just trying to get away from him, but in a tiny little fish bowl there really isn't anywhere to go. I began to wish we had left the foliage, simply so that she could at least attempt to hide herself. He was vicious. Joshua was quite intuitive - the tank killer was an accurate name for him. Poor Dora. I could see her holding still, scared stiff, just waiting for him to attack again. I am telling ya'll, it hurt my heart. Now I, myself, am afraid to touch these fish for fear of killing them. And, Zack has since backed off, but if he does it again, I am going to ask Erik to move Dora to her own bowl. I will not allow domestic violence to take place under my own roof and not do anything about it.

Zack, the tank killer. . . you have met your match!





Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lovin' Lijah




He is irresistible, I tell you. Simply irresistible!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Mr. Big Stuff.

Well, I made it through Sunday. Joshua went to the Sunday School Pancake breakfast. He looked a little frightened at first. When I left him, he was sitting on Mrs. Becky's lap. I am so thankful for his sweet teachers. When I went to pick him up, he was all smiles holding up a frame that he had made and a sports water bottle that he had been given by his teachers.

So, we went to church. He sat very quietly, attentively. He even attempted to sing the hymns with us. He'd catch on to the choruses and sing away each time the chorus came around. And, when it was time for the 4-6 year olds to exit, he did his thing. I just wish that I could have videoed him. Our good friend Sean (Joshua calls him "Brother") was sitting by the aisle, so he softly pushed Joshua out into the aisle. As if all eyes in the church were on Joshua, he walked with his hands held tightly behind his back, his head down, and a sweet bashful grin on his face! It was quite possibly the cutest thing that I have ever seen!

He left children's church with a bookmark and a new attitude. He was the big man in the van on the way home.

To say that he was manic all afternoon Sunday would be an understatement.

He chattered on and on all day. It didn't help that Daddy invited Joshua to go with him to do a physical on a college football player while JCT took a nap. So, not only did the big boy not have to take a nap, he got to go hang out with Daddy and a football player. Oh, yes, he was Big Stuff. He came home from the physical even more pepped up!

Then, he ate 2 Krispy Kreme donuts for a snack.

He was too high for our ceilings, so I had to take him outside and attempt to keep him from floating up to the sky. He was wild. Climbing and throwing himself around. . . Occasionally telling JCT that when he got bigger he could go to big kid Sunday School and Big church.

At one point yesterday, Joshua got in trouble for attempting to throw a paper airplane into the flame of my gas stove. Erik sent him to time-out. What did he do?

He stood in time-out dancing.

The child could not hold still for anything. Anything. Erik called him over to talk to him about why he was sent to time out. The conversation went something like this. . .

Erik: Do you know why I sent you to time out?
Joshua: Because I threw the airplane after you told me not to.
Erik: Do you know what that is?? That is direct. . . .
Erik left the sentence open so that Joshua could fill it in. We talk a lot about direct disobedience at our house, so Joshua knew exactly what he was supposed to say. But, he chose an alternate route and answered this way. . .

"Direct. . . TV."

And, the mania continued until. . .

We went to church that evening. All was well and mania intact when we arrived. Joshua even gave JCT a little shove on his back when we got to the nursery door. As if to say, "Go on, little baby. I'll see you after BIG church is over."

But, somewhere between the special music and the beginning of the sermon, Joshua decided that maybe growing up isn't all it is cracked up to be.

He sat there sweetly, quietly. I gave him armies, tickled his back, and played with his hair. He drew our family and a few letters. He looked page after page through the hymnal. Bless his heart. He did great, but it is a long time for a little guy to sit still. And, he wasn't quite as manic on the way home.

And, so an important lesson was learned by my little man yesterday. Growing up can be new and exciting, but it can also mean doing things that might not be so fun. Like learning to sit still and being quiet for an hour at a time.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

We really oughta get the poor kid a fish. . .


Meet Sam.


Sam has been Joshua's pet fish for a week now. He has been faithfully feeding him (a palm full of salt) each morning and changing his water frequently.

My sister, Kristin, has a large and beautiful aquarium in her living room. So, I am blaming Joshua's fish fetish on her.
I don't really know why we haven't gotten Joshua a fish yet. I feel certain we will. Just waiting for the right occasion, I guess.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


The winds of change are coming, and I am not one to particularly like change. Therefore, I am bracing myself and praying that I will be ready when the time comes. School started yesterday for our school district which means that in one year my Joshua will go to kindergarten. Why am I not excited about this? Not only am I not excited about it, I am downright upset about it. It will be a soggy, tear stained PB& J that I eat for lunch this time next year. Lord, help me.
Joshua received a postcard in the mail today. It was from the children's ministry at our church. This Sunday, August 12th, my baby will officially graduate from the church nursery. I will now take my two youngest to the nursery and then walk Joshua to his Sunday school room upstairs. After Sunday school I will go and get him. Then, he will sit with us in "big church" until it is time for the message. At that time, the pastor will call all 4-6 year olds to exit and go to children's church. I will coax him off my lap, push him toward the aisle, and watch him walk out with his friends. And, I know that this is a good thing, but it still makes me a little bit sad.
I love my guys. And, I love having them around me. I send them to the babysitter sometimes once a week, and I miss them while they are there. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the freedom. But, there is still a piece of me that misses the chatter, the noise, the laughter, and the hugs.
Yesterday I sat on the back porch and blew bubbles to entertain Joshua and JCT. They danced around popping them, and I relished the moment. I love them. I love watching them play together. I love playing with them, showing them new tricks, cooking with them, etc. They are my little buddies, my constant companions.
This year I am putting Joshua in preschool two days a week. I opted not to do 3 year old preschool, but this year I know that I need to get him ready to go to school. So, I am sending him on Monday and Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday he takes his little creative arts and athletics class. Thursday will be our only at home day. Erik only works a half day on Friday, so by the time I get going, he comes home. This year ushers in a new era for our family. The beginning of the busyness that school brings. The last fous years have been sweet to say the least. I am a bit sad to see them go. . .
My baby is growing up. My first born. The one that I sat and held and stared at for hours on end when he was an infant. My little man is truly turning into a little man. And, slowly I am teaching him to spread his little wings. But, he will always be my baby. They will all always be my precious babies no matter how tall they grow. No matter if they tower over me like their father. They will still be my darling babies!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

He's the one!!

You know how every family has one. One child who does all things crazy. You had one in your family. One sibling that tried to pull all the off the wall stunts. The one that when your family gets together at Christmas or Thanksgiving and reminisces about the good old days all the stories seem to revolve around the antics of this one child.

In my family it was my brother, Kelly. Oh, yes, no doubt about it, Kelly was the one, the one and only one. From nearly catching the neighbor's house on fire while playing with matches in their yard to riding his Big Wheel down the middle of a busy street in Phoenix, AZ while cars lined up honking behind him, he was our family's main character. I say that because he is the main character in all of my favorite stories from childhood. He adds a splash of bright color to our family. And, we wouldn't be the same without him.

And, in my family now, I am beginning to think that JCT is the one! He is revealing this to us more and more each day. He has brought life and bright color to our family. . . especially since he turned two.

A couple of days ago, I asked he and Joshua to use the bathroom before we had to leave on an errand. Now, JCT knows how to use the bathroom (tee tee, anyway) by himself. So, I busied myself with fixing juice cups and finding my keys.

A few minutes later JCT came up to me saying, "I tee tee in dare, Mommy. I tee tee in dare."

"Good," I said not completely understanding why he felt the need to tell me this.

"No, Mommy, I tee tee in the stull. In the stull, Mommy," he said with a proud grin.

"In the stool, baby?" I said and walked in the powder bath to inspect.

I flipped the lid on the top of the stool open, and this is what I saw. . .



He tee- teed in the stool just like he said. Potty training has alerted him to a new toy, a toy hose that God gave him. And, I guess he just thought it seemed like a good place to use his new toy? At least he didn't tee-tee in the oven. That is where my brother, Kelly, used the bathroom once when he was two. Yes, the oven. I can just see my mother's face when she realized what the smell coming from the oven was. . .


Then, this morning JCT was left alone for all of about 5 minutes and look at the damage he did. He found my foot creme beside my bed and helped himself to the entire container!! Thankfully, I had not yet made my bed, so most of the damage was done to the sheets and his clothes. This picture truly does not do the whole ordeal justice.

I am little afraid to imagine the stunts he will pull in the future. . . the stories that we will repeat over and over again.




My goodness, I love you!!! Thanks for the color you bring to our family!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Our spot. . .

I am embarrassed at the way that I found out he was coming. I was in such a hurry that morning. Hurridly, I got Joshua and JCT dressed and ready to go. Joshua had a creative arts class 30 minutes away, and I was determined to get him there on time. I piled the boys in the van, drove to Wal-Mart, and bought the necessary item. I drove home at lightening speed, left the boys in the van, ran inside, took the test, and without even glancing at it, I hurried back to the van. As I took off down the street, I pulled my sunglasses down over my eyes and picked the test up out of the cup holder. I held it up in front of my face so that I could clearly read it.

And, there they were. . .

Two sweet pink lines. . .

Elijah had been conceived. He was alive and well and living inside of me.

My pregnancy with him was a wild ride to say the least. I didn't have the oppotunity to spend hours daydreaming about him. Instead, I spent hours driving to and from the lumber store, the cabinet store, and the lighting store. I spent hours talking to Mr. Cole (our contractor), Gerald (our electrician), James (our tile guy), Mr. Kent (the concrete stainer man), and Home (the everything guy). Those months were busy to say the least. And, he was another precious son, so there was no real baby shopping to do. I did buy a sweet chandelier for his nursery, but other than that we didn't do much in preparation for his arrival.

He came early one morning in April. He conveniently made haste in the delivery room allowing his Daddy the opportunity to be at work on time. Always fitting in, conforming to our schedule, he is a doll like that. And, while I was in the hospital, I did get to spend a little bit of time holding him close and gazing dreamily at him without distraction.

Then, I came home.
And, I was met at the door by two very cute, but very needy, young men. And, bless his heart, he learned early what it means to share your mama. And, he shares me beautifully. He is truly a sweet and content baby. I do my best to divide myself equally among my guys during the day. But, to be completely honest, it is a struggle at times.




This is our spot. This is where I feed my Lijah. While the boys play like wild indians in the living room, we snuggle up in this soft rocker in my room. Our spot. It has become somewhat sacred to me. And, after he eats his fill, we sit, and we talk, and we have a really sweet time together. He smiles and laughs and cooes. And, I tickle his baby tummy and feet. I trace his baby ears and nose with my finger. I examine his daily loss of newborn hair and his finger and toenail growth. It is a peaceful time.
It is, at least, until. . .

someone comes running in wanting juice. . .

or tattling on his younger brother. . .

or crying big alligator tears while holding up the affected appendage.
It is then, that I emerge refreshed and return to my duties as mother of 3. But, I do believe that I will never forget, when I look at that soft rocker, the sweet moments Lijah and I had there. . . in our spot.
My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.

 

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