Tuesday, April 30, 2013

He can't Sound Out da Words

IMG_1860Laying in bed with Nate on a night when he did get a nap, we read a few books.  I let him watch Goodnight Moon on youtube, and then gave him "space" to settle down in order to fall asleep. It's then that he says to me...

"Mommy, what dis say? Me not know how to sound out de words.

LOL!!  Spoken like a true preschooler who hears his siblings practicing their reading on a daily basis;)

 Can you guess what tomorrow is????

Will this momma shed tears?

It's your turn:)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Today is our furry family member's 1st birthday:)

Our story with Jack still is humorous to me; how we were in the process of talking about a dog and then ended up with one hours later... totally unplanned and last minute (two qualities that don't describe our normal decision making).

But we have Jack:) And it's working... I mean.... we still have him despite our lack of knowledge of puppies (dogs), our poor skills at training him and Jack's enormous amount of energy and ability to get into stuff (just like a 2 or 3 year old really... except he doesn't talk back or throw tantrums).

Don't let him fool you... he's no fru-fru dog:) He'll get right into the mud, dirt and water!
Jack is a great dog, though! He gets a bad rap because he can't defend himself!! LOL!!

So I thought I'd share some fun facts about our Jack!

*He loves fruit and veggies (well any kind of "people food" he can snatch)... but he will happily gobble up green beans, broccoli, carrots, banana, apple slices and now strawberries. He does NOT often get these things... but when we need a quick treat to make him obey or a kid drops something Jack is the first one there to clean it up... my floors have never been this clean:)

IMG_1093*Where every we go we often get stopped with questions and/or comments about our Jack;) He seems to draw dog lovers in with his look;)

*He loves ripping up ANY paper... and he'll tear it into a million pieces... he got into toilet paper today :/

*If someone is rough housing near him... he gets involved! He likes to be in the center of everything!

* He loves being outside.... it kills him when he has to stay inside when the kids go outside! He runs from window to window barking at the kids, especially when they are on bikes;)

*BIKES!! He LOVES, loves, loves racing the kids around the house; kids on bikes and Jack on his four, furry feet. Guess who wins???  JACK!!! Every time!  Even against Brian:)

*And he is slowly giving us back the ball when we play "fetch"... his favorite toy is a tennis ball and he loves to fetch it, but just doesn't give it, unless you have a trade for him (another ball or treat). Here is Lydia practicing fetch with him:)

He's a crazy 'ole dog but we love our Jack!

Happy Birthday, Jack!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Blessing of Seeing the Fruit

This week we did a Spring tradition for us....



Chris eating Strawberries at the patch
Chris in 2008 - eating from my picked bucket:)
We've done it every year:) Every year....

 I've done it preggo and  with a 12 month old. And then the following year with a 24 month old, 6 month old and preggo with another one (LOL!!). The next year it was an almost 3 yr old, 18 month old and 5 month old (that was just crazy!!)....

and on and on....

There were some years and times I thought I was crazy... no, I knew I was crazy! The pictures were adorable but often it was
LESS than fun. Remember.. pictures are only 1/50 of a second or less... they don't always capture the whole story;)

And the mess... I just came to expect it:) But the kids were messy! I just smiled and remembered that the hose at home was easy to hook up and everything was washable:)

This year was different.... WAY different!!

IMG_1793We'd had a long afternoon running errands and meeting up with people. The kids were tired, thirsty and tired!! And really, the idea of strawberry picking was quickly becoming "a bad idea". But the kids begged to go (mixed in with Nate's fussing b/c he was tired).

I lowered my expectations to... lets get a few strawberries, some "strawberry pickn pics" and be on our way... quick, easy, no quota:)

I was quickly surprised at the kids' abilities. They knew what to do, what NOT to do, they went down the rows looking for the ripest berries like pros, no complaining...


We picked and picked;) No quota but we came home with plenty for the weekend:)

And if only the berries and great attitudes were the measure of a great time than is was a successful trip, but I heard from the back of the van, "This has been a great day!"

I could concur:)  I was thrilled about something else too.


IMG_1785I was seeing the fruit of those many crazy years of dragging little ones down the strawberry rows so we could "stock the freezer". In my head I knew that the years were "training years"  but often my heart was distracted by the behavior or trying to make some "quota" or accomplish some temporary goals.

You know... those years were hard! I didn't always have the right attitude. I didn't always have a good game plan trying to go in between naps and meals. But I still tried year after year... doing something that was supposed  be fun... wondering if it ever would be "fun"!

I was exciting to see the fruit of those training trips!!! I look forward to more strawberry patch trips this season... and  maybe get to stock the freezer???

But it definitely challenges me to keep training...

I'm not  out of those "training years" yet! Motherhood can be challenging but I wonder how many more things we will soon be able to enjoy more as a family if I remain faithful to train my precious crew!!

For those who care there are also more pics of our picking this year... including Anna's biggest berry, Nate looking grown and  a furry member of the family who also likes strawberries:)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TTT: An 8 yr old's text

We had a field trip last week and I didn't have a pocket for my cell.... I know not a good idea for momma not have a cell pocket:/ My trustworthy first-born agreed to help me out... she definitely enjoyed the privilege:)

We had a laugh though when Brian came home from work. More concerned than usual, he asked how my day had gone. When I quickly said that it had been a good day he looked less worried. I asked about his releif.

He relayed to me that he had received a text stating "Chris is driveing me crazy!" earlier in the day. And how he had worried all day that Chris and I were have an off-day.

LOL!!! Too funny that my 8 yr old is texting secret messages to her Daddy:)
We made a plan for her to use an "A" at the end of her texts from now on so we don't worry Daddy all day:) LOL!!

It's your turn:)

Our Last Outing with Pey & Eric's Words

 I appreciate all the prayers and notes concerning Pey (my stepdad)... he did go to be with the Lord recently. We are so blessed with all the moments we had with him during his 2 year battle with colon/rectal/liver cancer. He fought hard and lived life to the fullest on the days he could;)

The kids and I remember well some of his words to us in mid-January.

We were wanting to get out one day and use the day exploring a "Civil War" site or local fort. Pey was determined to join us! He told Anna before we headed out for the day, "Anna, when I prayed and talked to God this morning I asked Him if I could have just another day to keep up with you guys! I am determined to enjoy the day with you."

It was an awesome day:)

To find out the specific role of this northern controlled Virginia fort was pretty cool:) An earlier station for General Lee pre-Civil War and then the jail where Jefferson Davis served time post-Civil War. And then the fort being a safe haven for runaway slaves and a school to many freed and escapee slaves. Fascinating but special because

and he did keep up with us and the kids...



but now that we know it was our last outing with Pey makes it priceless!!!

And even in the midst of last "moments"... it was only in the back of my head  that some of these moments were "last moments". I mean we knew.... but there was always hope!!

And Pey napped or slept in late... but he always pushed himself to do "one more thing".

In fact we were excited when Grammie and Pey came to our house for the day in February. The kids got to share some of their Civil War projects with them. They showed Pey their fort in the back of the yard:)

 And then clowned around on the couch before they headed home:/

It wasn't long after that visit to our home that Pey's care was transferred to Hospice. Thankfully for most of his weeks on Hospice he was home where we visited as many times!

We will definitely MISS our PEY! Definitely!!

My youngest brother's testimony at my dad's funeral was touching and fitting. And it definitely sums up all of our thoughts about Pey!

Hello. My name is Eric  and I have had the privilege of being one of Al ’s sons. I have been thinking about what I would say today for almost two years and I have been blessed to have that time to reflect about my dad’s life. I was honored to help edit my father’s obituary that he had written. He wrote it a few months after his diagnoses in April 2011 and he wrote that “Al B had died after fighting a short battle with cancer,” but we stand here and can be glad that he fought strong until the end and made it longer than any of us had imagined.
Dad was a good father and a good husband. He not only provided for my family, but he taught me a lot about being a man. Some lessons he taught through words, but most he taught me through his actions. He taught me the importance of supporting his children. He taught me to be truthful and honorable. He taught me how to drive, how to shoot a basketball, and how to make a fire. Dad wasn’t the perfect father, nor the perfect husband, nor the perfect boss, but he did what he thought was right and did everything with his full commitment and passion.
The most important event in my dad’s life wasn’t marrying my mom, watching his children be born, being friends with all of us, or getting a chance to see the world. The most important event in my father’s life was when he gave his life to Jesus. It wasn’t an explosive event after and no one asked him for his autograph, but it was a real genuine change in his life. Slowly God was molding and changing him and using my dad for God’s Kingdom. No longer did he look to money or a big house or a sweet job for his security, but instead he relied on Jesus to be his joy. My dad finally had peace in his life. He didn’t have to rely on his goodness to be his salvation, but instead he could rely on the goodness of Christ to be his salvation.
My dad had an impact on this world not because he went to my soccer games or because he built a family here or because he helped build a company on the other side of the world. The kingdoms we try to build will all eventually fade away. My father had an impact on this world because how God used him to build God’s kingdom. His mission trips in Africa, Asia, and Europe, his work with the boy’s home in North Carolina, his changed heart, and our changed hearts. These are all evidences of how God was working and how God was able to take a prideful and stubborn man and turn him into a tool to build God’s kingdom.
We will miss him, and his mustache, but please do not feel sorry for him. He had two years to say goodbye to his family and friends. He had two years to go on adventures, to travel the world, to watch movies, to see his children and grandchildren grow, to see two more grandchildren come into this world, to see me graduate college and get married, and to see beautiful things in this world. And although the last two years have been hard for him and for us, I am so thankful that we had the time to say goodbye. I am thankful that Al  is my father and that he is now at peace and able to be with his True Father.

 We saw the ways God works in timing of key events in my Dad's life and during his death. but also God's sweet mercy in the details. Even in a time when sad tears are shed, there are also joy and thankfulness tears. Tears of wanting him to call with details of another adventure and tears of sweet memories.
Thank you again for your prayers!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

TTT- Summer, Little Boy Logic and An Upcoming B-day

"And that's why I like summer, we get all the good stuff!" says Christopher after learning we were going it grab some Popsicles and head to a friend's house for a little bit one afternoon.


Chris and Anna have had plenty of loose teeth and we've been anticipating Lydia's " loosing teeth journey". This week we found that her permanent teeth are popping through behind the baby teeth. And I asked her,"Haven't you felt the teeth poking through?"

Lydia responded, "Yes, I knew they were there."

And Chris' response,"Well, when I feel something hard in my mouth I punch it real hard. If it doesn't move it must be a tooth."

Really?!?!  Little boy logic:/

Speaking of little boys:)  My Nate has become a fantastic storyteller... definitely passed down from his brother! Of course most of the endings of Nate's stories involve someone's head being "banged off"!

Nate has definitely grown up in a more "boy" atmosphere... lots of  swords, cars, dirt:) Chris broke us in and Nate is ready to follow in his big brother's foot steps.

And Nate.... Is it possible that we only have 2 WEEKS until he is 3???
When in the world did that happen?? (As I write this Nate is falling asleep and giggling in his new sleep.... like an infant.... precious!!)

If you ask Nate about his upcoming birthday.... this is what he'll tell you:)

It's your turn:)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Tiny Talk Tuesday

"I told myself, "Don't Panic!" when I got to the hard problems!"
was Chris' response when I asked him how he kept his cool during a 5 minute timed fact test. He had stayed focused the entire 5 minutes... which was a miracle and has yet to be repeated!! LOL!!

But I loved that he calmed himself and worked through a tough assignment... which BTW, he ASKED to do:)


The kids were trying to be silly and they were making up silly things to eat on top of their hot dogs. Lydia's caught my attention...

"I'd like to eat my hot dog with Chocolate."

Of course we were just listening, so we didn't realize that she meant eat a hot dog along side of her toy dog, Chocolate. She had plenty of "ewww!s" before she told us it was Chocolate and not chocolate;)


And my attentive and tender-hearted first born has been soaking in the teaching in her GA class. Her teacher challenged the girls to "give up" something for Lent. Unknown to us, Anna had chosen to give up something and had been doing it secretly.

Finally she told everyone when the middle two were begging her to let them play Angry Birds on her Kindle. She firmly told them that she couldn't help them get on to play because she had "given up playing Angry Birds on my Kindle for Lent" :) Too funny and sweet!

Brian found a true treasure at Goodwill this week:) He found a huge box of matchbox car tracks... we're talking can make laps around a room huge:) The kids LOVED it;)

Chris hugged around Brian's neck and said,"Your the best Dad in the whole world!" 

During all the fun putting the track together, the races, the giggles, Chris' words and an immediate Thank you note, Brian was quick to say that it was the best $8 he could have spent;)

It's your turn:)