Thursday, August 28, 2014

Deep Thoughts...

Instructions mean different things to different people. For instance:

"Clean off the table"

My definition: To clear the table, put away the leftovers and wipe the surface down clean.

My boys' definition: To eat anything leftover from dinner at a frantic pig-like pace and walk away leaving a bigger mess than before.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Our lives are made up of many mundane and seemingly insignificant actions. Over and over, we repeat most of these actions with little to no consequence, and very little memory that each such action occurred, as day after day blurs into the next.

When we look back through our memories, we may remember the routines and the rituals that were followed day in and day out, but our mind latches onto small pieces, significant moments that define who we are, where we have been, and where we are going.

A moment is defined as a minute portion of time, or a comparatively brief portion of time. However brief and fleeting, these moments in our lives can be so powerful that when we scan through our memories, it is often these bookmarks, that tell the unfolding story of our lives.

Stop and think. What are the moments in my life that have shaped who I am? Scan through and tell me what you see?

 I see myself on my wedding day--the moment I knelt across the alter from my husband. I see the moment I stood in a cold sterile hospital room and knew my father was no longer in that body lying on the table. I see that glorious moment when my eyes met the gaze of each of my precious children for the first time. I see and feel the heart wrenching pain I felt each time my phone rang to share the news that another precious loved one had passed on from this life. Each of these moments holds a place in my heart and my memory that will always be with me.

Tonight however, I was lying in bed as my mind began to quickly wander, flashing through memories, moments, unexpected moments that have unexpectedly changed my life. Moments when my character was defined. Moments when I had perfect clarity for only a few seconds. Moments that have etched a place in my heart, however small and insignificant it seemed at the time. As I let my mind wander, I would like to share with you a few of the moments where my mind stopped to reflect.

I remembered a moment stepping on the school bus for the last time, on my last day of 6th grade--My parents behind me crying and filming the end of a special chapter in their lives. I remember standing alone, looking down the long empty gate at the airport where my mother had just left me to fly home to the other side of the country. I remember standing on the grass in front of the capitol building, looking back as the sunset that last night I spent in Washington D.C. I remember the patronizing look on Colonel Mustard's face after I told him I would be going home to Mom because we had gotten in our first fight! I remember hanging up the phone after receiving the news that our daughter was allergic to everything but rice and vegetables. I remember my three older children hugging me and crying when they realized the doctor had just given the order that we would not be spending Christmas together. I remember Colonel Mustard stopping the moving van as he saw Andrew's friend riding down the hill on his bike for one last goodbye.

These are just a few of the bookmarks that my memory paused on tonight. There are many others. As I stopped the flow of memories in my mind, I was deeply impressed that these memories were experiences for my benefit. A gift of faith building, testimony strengthening experiences from a loving Heavenly Father. A bookmark that I can open to, and relive each moment as the need arises for me to garner strength to face today's new trials. A gift I am most thankful for.

Take a moment, to find those moments in your life. You will be grateful you did.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


The big man in the house is 11 now. I'm taking a year off from the sappy Mom... "I can't believe he so old." I'm saving up for next year-- when I may get a little more tolerance of my sappiness for the 12 year old milestone Birthday!

It has been a difficult year of change for Andrew and he has really stepped up to the plate and tried to handle it all with great maturity. Notice I said tried....He's has his moments of temper fits like the rest of us...but overall he's done very well considering the changes have been probably the hardest on him.

One sad story now I want to remember about Andrew this year. I feel that he has taken such a leap forward and my little boy is all but gone. The day before we left GA, many of you know we had to put Buddy down--just one of the many hard hands we've been dealt lately.  It it had been raining steadily all day and the hole was filling with water faster than we could empty it. Buddy was a large dog (about 125lbs.) and he was hard for me to handle alone, so Andrew came outside, in the dark that night, to help us. We dug frantically with buckets in the mud while it continued to rain, attempting to get the hole back to it's original depth for a proper burial. The mud was so heavy I could no longer use the shovel, so Andrew and I began scooping mud out with our hands. When we finally had it cleaned out enough, Andrew helped Byron and I carry Buddy (wrapped in his blanket) from the car to the backyard. Then we lowered his heavy body down into the watery grave as gently as possible. Andrew stood upright, looked down on his puppy that had been with us since the day he came home from the hospital, and he began to sob. We took a moment and cried with him, but we knew there was little time to finish the task and quickly began scooping the mud back in to finish the burial.

I remember feeling so proud of Andrew. Something I like to tell myself when I get overwhelmed with what life has thrown at me is, "I can do hard things." I recognize that in the last year, Andrew has really learned and embraced the meaning of that phrase. What courage, for a 10 year old boy to willingly help with the grueling task before us that night. To be able to do what had to be done, in spite of the emotional pain he was experiencing. I have seen in this last year, a little boy begin to take steps that will help him grow into a wonderful man. What an honor as a mother to experience these things with my children.

Ok--no more sad stories--onto the Birthday fun!

A height check at 11 years old.

Okay, okay, I took off my heels to make it fair!The day is in the near future. He reminds me often.

He asked for a spider cake this year. He agreed to a cute spider, but I think he wanted a scary one, so I made both. We call it "Sweet VS. Scary spider!"

Opening his gifts! I think he's going to have a lot of fun with his new Ripstick!

And lest we forget....he is only 11. He had a little meltdown when we said he had to quit playing with his new toy and go to he sat the baby stroller...and cried. Hey--we all do it sometimes!

And he cried with his Doc McStuffins fish....Don't ask-- it's a long silly story about why an 11 year old got a Doc McStuffins stuffed fish for his birthday.

Happy Birthday Andrew! Another great year for the record books! We love having you as part of our family!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day

First day of School. As you can tell, they were real excited to participate in this photo op.

First day of 6th Grade.

First day of 3rd Grade.

First day of 1st Grade.

 A little bittersweet this morning saying goodbye to summer and hello to a new year at school. The kids are well aware that they may be moving schools again in the near future so their enthusiasm is a little muted--going to schools where you hardly know anyone, and knowing friends you make will likely be short time friends. I am praying for them though and I know they're tough kids and will do just fine. 

Saturday, August 9, 2014


Our little Ava is six today and will be starting 1st grade next week! Wow!! She sure has grown a LOT this year and is no longer the shrimp she used to be. A lot of doctors and parents told me that after 5 you would never know she had such a rough start in life. Definitely true. In the last year I really feel that she has blossomed and overcome. She just looks like a sweet petite little 6 year old! Ava is really filled with personality and is my most outgoing child. She can make friends with just about anyone in 30 seconds or less! A great talent to have. And she is learning well how to navigate the waters  as "the middle child" in our house. One minute she is hanging with the boys and the next she is the little mama in charge of girl play. Even though she sometimes feels lonely in that position, I truly appreciate her ability to switch roles as needed.

We celebrated today with all things "Frozen!" Cause she's a six year old girl---and every six year old girl is STILL obsessed with Frozen. I can't blame them. I'm still pretty obsessed too!

Birthday Cake!


Downtown for a fun night at the Splash Park!

A very tired 6 year old on the way home!

Happy Birthday Ava Bug! We love you and are so grateful to have you as part of our family!