Thursday, July 31, 2008

Our Vacation in Pictures (and some words)...

We left for vacation almost 2 weeks ago. It was amazing. And now...We're BAAAACK!

There's lots to tell.

We went to Dallas and spent time with Allen's family on the front end, dropped our little darling Taylor Tot off with them and headed out to Charlotte, NC, the place we spent our first 15 months of marriage. It was pretty cool how the Lord took us there to "leave and cleave" to each other with no one else we knew at the time. But it wasn't too long before he brought some Charlotte folk into our lives and they will remain there forever. We stayed with our best friends the Bridenstine's and their new little bundle of joy, Aidan.

Here is Allen with the boys.


Will and Aidan.


We played lots of Settlers of Catan with the B-Stines. Will won EVERY time. We're still not sure his tactics were completely honest, but we could be wrong! :)

We spent a couple of days in the mountains of Asheville, which is just a few hours away from Charlotte. Allen and I used to take weekend trips there when we lived there. We trekked up the mountain on a hike and the big boys wore the little boys in their carriers.


Beckett was SO excited that his legs were kicking practically the entire time! This made for an "uncomfortable" trip for Allen (hence the face he's making)...





I was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't even sore after such a strenuous hike! Maybe I'm in better shape than I thought! Perhaps...perhaps chasing after 2 children really is a workout in itself! This is great! Oh, and on that note, our little boy developed many new skills while we were away. He is now sitting on his own (mostly) and "scooting" around (I hesitate to call it a crawl, but he definitely gets around). I was hoping to delay this skill because it makes my job so much harder, but he is so proud of himself. I will post a video later.

The view from the top of the mountain was amazing. It's always such a wonderful reminder of the majesty of our God when you are surrounded with a view like this. We serve an amazing Creator. To think that this is only a glimpse of what the new earth will be like astounds me and makes me all the more ready for that day.







In Charlotte we visited our old friends, from church and work who we still keep in touch with. What a blessing it was to reunite with them and be able to mutually encourage each other.






Soon we were on our way back to Dallas, where we spent the back end of our vacation with my family and were reunited with sweet Taylor Joy. She didn't go with us to Charlotte, not only for the sheer convenience, but also the cost and the fact that the grandparents were dying for some alone time with her. It was the longest we had been without her and we were really missing that sweet girl. Apparently she missed us too. She ran up to us and gave us hugs and kisses and wanted to hold us for awhile. She was so sweet, too! Usually she goes through a little relapse in her discipline, but we haven't seen those effects yet, so praise the Lord for that! We really did pray for that and we have seen that prayer answered.



I have almost finished reading Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands over this vacation and Allen finished reading John Newton's biography. We had many moments of refreshment with the Lord and with each other. Thanks to those who prayed for our vacation and specifically for that.



We're glad to be home.

Home sweet home.

But sweeter once I finish the laundry, unpacking and go to the store to get some groceries. :)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not Her Best




A post by Carolyn Mahaney of GirlTalk and Sovereign Grace Ministries that I really enjoyed.

Not Her Best

I sometimes find myself wondering what my "thing" will be. How can I distinguish myself? Some women have gourmet cooking, some have elaborate decorating, some have childbirthing strategies, some have crafts or gardening that they are the best at and I find myself at a loss when I think about it.

Apparently I shouldn't be thinking about it. Not only is comparison the thief of joy, we as stay at home mothers are expected to do SO much that we need to be "well-rounded" when it comes to duties around the home. Not that we can't excel at something above the others, but it certainly shouldn't be at the expense of the others.

My main pursuit should be to become more like Christ, not to distinguish myself above others. With little time and much to be done, keeping the house in order, keeping the kids in order and keeping the hubby happy is enough for me to handle. Now the most difficult task will be to do all that while keeping the cross at the center.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's your bottom...



Although I hesitate to share this story, I really must.

The other morning I had yet to eat my breakfast since I had been doing the mom thing. You know, feeding 3 other people in my house, changing diapers, dressing everyone, getting ready, the list goes on... Well, as I was getting myself ready here is the conversation that me and Taylor had.

Me: (stomach growls...loud)

Taylor: Mommy, you toot?

Me: No, it's just my tummy.

Taylor: It's not your tummy. It's your bottom! (shouting and laughing)

I'm so glad this happened in the confines of our house and not while we were out in public somewhere! Oh, the things they say!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Safety Patrol



It turns out that our daughter is head of the Safety Patrol. At least that's what we are hearing by the things that she says. In case you don't know Taylor, she is very cautious, slow to jump in and concerned about safety. Here are just a few things she has said in the past few weeks.

We were at the pool one day and our friend Mallory began to spin Taylor in the float. She told Mallory, "That is NOT SAFE!"

She also told me the same thing one day when I had picked up Beckett's bumbo and told Taylor I was putting it in the car for Beckett to take to the splashpad. She told me that it was NOT SAFE (in a very serious voice) because she thought I was going to let Beckett ride in there.

When she sees an outlet sometimes she will say, "That will KILL!", also in a very serious tone.

When we are driving she will talk about how there are lots of cars ("tars") and we need to be "tareful" and how all the cars need to "STOP", said very matter of factly.

So, there's your safety lesson from Taylor Joy. Don't spin in floats in the pool. Don't ride in Bumbos in the car. Don't touch outlets. And stop your car when you see the Duty's driving on by.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Peace!



Lately Taylor Joy has been getting on her phone, mumbling something to herself, like, "I need to talk to fill-in-the-blank."

Well, she will then proceed to say, "Hi, so and so" and then abruptly end the conversation by saying, "Peace!"

The first time I heard this I couldn't figure out why she was saying this.

Then I overheard Allen on the phone. "Alright, Aaron. Peace." And he was out. That's how he gets off the phone.

The light went off in my head. Oh my word! They pick up everything!

So, if Taylor says "Peace" to you, now you know why!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Duty Cuteness

I know several of you (Mom, B, other family members) have been anxiously awaiting new pictures of your little Duty sweetums (aka Taylor Joy and Beckett). I apologize for the lack of pictures lately, but get ready to get a fix.

I've felt a little more busy than normal, but in a great way. Taylor and I have been taking advantage of Beckett's naptime by doing a summer reading program with Half Price Books, and we have her little chart on the fridge to track her progress. Each week she completes the chart she gets to go pick out a book to keep! She is very excited about it!

You wouldn't believe the progress she's made with her letters! She can not only identify her letters, she can also tell you the sounds that they make. I have to attribute most of that to the Letter Factory, which she absolutely loves. I totally recommend it! She literally asks to watch it everyday, and Allen and I like to make fun of it, so we watch it too. After watching these videos with Taylor I find myself picking apart everything about them. Do other parents do this too? Like, for instance, let's just pick a show that Allen despises...The Happy Monster Band. A 5 minute show that comes on the Disney channel in between other programming. Listen to their voices when they talk backstage and then compare that with their voices when they are singing...complete opposite. One is high pitched and the other is way deep. This perturbs me. Anyway, off that tangent, yes, we are learning about letters with Taylor and the importance of reading.

I also have 2 notepad pages front and back filled with hilarious things that Taylor has said these past few weeks. I think I'll start this week and post a funny saying every day. So, stay tuned...

Okay, onto the pictures!

Their bottoms are probably the same size or Beckett's may be bigger...



This is very typical... wild Taylor Joy and concerned Beckett



Bathtime bundle...



Hanging with Aunt B. Beckett is already excited about the deep theological books as you can see...


Daddy's got my BACK...thats what his shirt says...



Me and the cutie


This picture makes me laugh...Taylor's always having a hayday and Beckett's always looking at her learily (is that a word? I think not, but I'll still use it because it best conveys what I'm trying to say. Oh, and I'm sure I'll hear about that from my husband, aka Grammar Nazi)



Nanny and naked Beckett






Big boy riding in the wagon

Monday, July 07, 2008

Not Just a Baby Toy

What does 30 MINUTES of fun look like to a 2-year-old?

Apparently THIS!




Who would have known that our little infant, who hated this contraption, would grow up to LOVE it! It's funny how they begin to think things are fun again when they have a sibling who is using it. It's not only the exersaucer that she loves, she also spends time in the Bumbo (getting in and putting on the tray herself), desiring so badly to sit in Beckett's swing and jumperoo, as well as under his gym. My oh my...how the tides have turned...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

He's Back!


I'm just SO thrilled to have my hubby home after 5 days without him!

It's beautiful when we can go to Dallas like we did and spend time with our families (i.e. be distracted that we are missin' the man of the house, have someone else take care of the kids, be cooked for and waited on...).

Ha! Sounds like I got a vacation while he was gone at Youth Camp! Not really, but we were so blessed by our families while we were there and it's just so fun spending time with them. I'm never eager to have Allen away at these sorts of things, but I am always renewed of my appreciation for him while he is away and extremely giddy when he does get home.

Praise the Lord that we not only survived, we THRIVED! That's not always the case.

Taylor Joy kept kissing and hugging him, saying "I love you, Daddy. I missed you." We would start to do something else and she would come up to him and just give him the biggest kiss and hug and say it again. There's just nothing sweeter.

June

Oh my! June has been a whirlwind of great proportions! We often look forward to summer saying that it will be relaxing and low key, but then the Lord has something different in mind.

Can I just say we are GLAD that June is finally over?

My heart has been heavy all month long, starting with the passing of my 49-year-old Uncle Joe and then with the passing of 9-day-old Abby, the newborn of a precious family in our church body.

I can't begin to express my emotions over everything. Many times I wanted to just break down and lose it. Many times I did. Other times I felt completely in control (of myself at least) because I felt like Jesus was my solid rock to stand on.

Some things I've realized through this month:

-We are so not in control, even when we think we are

-Life is but the blink of an eye (most of the funerals I've been to in my life have NOT been because of old age)

- There aren't any words we can say that heal the grieving, only the Lord and His words. This has made it easier for me to talk to the grieving families, knowing nothing I can do or say will heal, but to let them know that I'm mourning with them may be the greatest comfort they can receive from me. All I can do is point them back to the Lord and pray that He is the comfort that they turn to, not people, not things, not anything except Him.

-our church body is AMAZING and growing all the time...I would always want to be part of a body like this in good and bad times, for sure

-I have to be so intentional with what the Lord is doing in my life...not that He depends on me, but that I can be the light He's called me to be for however long that is.

-Being in control of your life isn't actually a good thing. When we think we're in control and hold to tightly to the things in our lives, we're actually putting those things in the place of God instead of Him. I've seen this in my life and it causes so much stress in the relationships around you, especially when what you're holding onto is a person.

I feel like I'm in a healthy place right now spiritually. The Lord used June (we'll just call the collaboration of events, June right now) to teach me many things that I have a hard time even putting into words, but can sense that He's stretching me and taking me to a place of growth I've never been before.

I do praise Him for that.

I'll continue to pray for those families. I've heard the feelings of sadness are worst after everyone has gone home and they are all alone. I've heard the hardest times may come a year after the death of their loved one. The hardest times may be after the busyness of life slows down.

I know that they will continue to need our support.

I pray that July will be a month of rejoicing with others instead of mourning with them. I pray that He can use something different to grow us this month. Pray with me.

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