December 16, 2011

Been Too Long!

Gosh it's been forever since I last posted an update! Does that tell you anything?! Most days I feel accomplished when I remember to feed everyone on time, read with all 3 kiddos at some point in the day, and get a shower before midnight! :) This crazy life is beyond wonderful...and beyond exhausting! :)

Livi is loving school at Lexington Baptist. She enjoys "teaching" me all about what she's learned! It's also so cool to see her little mind working out new thoughts and ideas. She's especially interested in Biblical topics, asking all sorts of deep questions about death (sounds morbid, but she's lost 3 grandfathers in 3 years, so it makes sense), Jesus on the cross, Heaven and how to get there, etc. We've had some really special times together just talking through these concepts and I love that she WANTS to learn more! Praise God! :) She has learned to tell knock knock jokes (though they usually make NO sense) and she is really into putting on "shows" for the family (wonder where she got that from:). She does such a great job with her brothers; she's part mommy, part friend to them. She and Brooks clash the most! They really know how to get under each other's skin :) Livi is WONDERFUL with Landon. She loves on him constantly. I could not be more blessed than I am with my precious daughter. She is sugar and sassy rolled into one :)

Brooks is a M-E-S-S!! That child has put some grey hairs on my head for sure! He is into everything and runs full speed ahead all day, every day! He loves anything dealing with trucks and trains, mainly Thomas the Train. His favorite sayings include: I did a lotta lotta things!...I had so much fun!...Fanks (thanks)...Heeeeey! (to everyone he sees - at school and church they call him "the politician"!)...We're goin' to Monkey Joes?...You ok, Viv? (love that he shortens his usual "Vivi" to "Viv")...Let's go in threeee minutes! :) His most recent bedtime routine consists of Matt and I reading to him, he gets into bed, I cover him with 3 blankets (1 thicker blanket and 2 thin ones), we pray and I tickle his back, then I leave while we blow kisses to each other...then, as I close the door, I have to laugh out loud and he mimics me! I have no clue where it all came from - one step seemed to lead to another, then another, then another til we had this strange sequence that has to be followed perfectly! I can't begin to explain how his smile can brighten a room - you just have to see it for yourself! He's the most perfect mix of sweet and mischief :)

Landon is our BIG boy! :) He weighed 26 lbs at his 1 year well visit! Needless to say, he's off the charts in height and weight! He enjoys most any food we give him, though he may have a slight milk allergy (ayiyi, right?!) We'll keep praying about that! He's such a bundle of laughs and love (Though the sweet people at our church might think otherwise since he's the token screaming child everyone avoids on Sunday mornings! Sorry! Love those of you who try to keep him happy!) Landon's also into everything...and UP everything including our hardwood steps (Livi taught him how to climb them, ugh!:) He has 4 teeth on top and 2 on bottom. In addition to "mama", "baba" and "dada", he loves saying "bye bye" (though he says it with a "d" instead of a "b":) and also "uh oh"! He uses "uh oh" so appropriately, too! He's finally (FINALLY) sleeping past 6:30 in the morning...I mean Matt and I are finally (FINALLY) feeling like real, live people again! It's amazing! :) We love our little guy so much and are so thankful for his heath and his happiness :)

September 1, 2011

Catching Up

So, we've had a lot going on lately with the start of a new school year (for both Matt and "The Bigs"). Here's a small update (mainly to help me remember for future reference).

Summer 2011:

Matt has taken over some new academic responsibilities at school, ridding him of a few disciplinary duties. It's been a nice change so far. He's enjoying the challenge of learning how to navigate a variety of testing and curriculum tasks. We're so proud of him and the hard work he puts in at the high school. He's definitely a 100% kind of guy, whether at work or at home. He's such a blessing to the kids and me. He's doing a new study called "Uncommon" by Tony Dungy. It's a challenge for sure! He still loves running and doing P90X. I'm so proud of him and his healthy lifestyle!! (Now we just need to get me on board:)

Livi just started her 2nd year at the LBC preschool. She's in the 3 year-old class and is loving every minute so far. They've made bracelets and other crafts in the 1st few days. Her favorite aspect has been that she now gets to go on the "big girl" playground (though she lets the boys play, too:) It has a tire swing and apparently she stays on it the entire play time :) She's a bundle of excited information every day when I pick her up! Makes me smile/laugh :) Lately she's really enjoyed a scheduled craft time at home, play dates with friends, her new fav channel is Sprout, she loves playing on Matt's ipad, and she's all about performing (have NO idea where she got that;). Livi's favorite sayings: "Are you kidding me?", "You're special", "Have mercy!", "You're a sweet boy, aren'tcha?!", "I don't want to talk about that", "Brooks, you need to obey Mommy", "We should pray about that", "Is that in the Bible?". She's great at saying the mealtime prayer.

Brooks just started his 2nd year at LBC in the 2 year-old room. With 8 boys and 3 girls, his teachers need all the prayers we can send up! :) They're beyond wonderful and so patient, I know he'll have a great year! He is in to everything...literally...Matt and I joke about wishing they made larger Exersaucers so we could keep him still for just 1 minute while we cook supper. He enjoys building things and, of course, knocking them over, playing with trucks/cars/planes, coloring, jumping off anything over 2 feet tall, wrestling, being read to, playing hide-n-seek, and throwing footballs/baseballs. Brooks' favorite sayings: "Rain storm coming?", "I see you!", "Hippo coming?" (I have no idea:), "C'mon Vivi, let's go jump on bed", "Go time out?", "Dear God Fanks for sun moon stars, Aaaamen". He's such a contradiction of sweet and spice. He has the softest voice and snuggles 1 minute, then the next he's running up the stairs with Hulk-like ferocity and bulldozing Livi! He might be small, but he's tough and scrappy :)

Landon just turned 9 months and is a chunk!! He is close to 25 lbs and is 29 inches long! (He's got Livi and Brooks beat by about 8 lbs and at least 1 1/2 inches when they were his age!) Ayiyi! I haven't found a food he doesn't like yet! He's still having a mad love affair with his bottle...8 oz 4 times/day. He also loves yogurt, any kind of veggie or fruit, spaghetti, turkey and dressing (baby food), Puffs, Cheerios, etc etc etc. He's crawling all over the place and pulling up on everything. He is such a little ball of love, cheer, and drooly sweetness. The only time he EVER is cranky is when he's feeling the pain from teething or when we leave him in the nursery at church (but even that has been better lately). He's just a joy, a pure joy...and SUCH a flirt!!!! Heaven help me! :) We had him dedicated on August 21st with plenty of family in the pews! Of course my parents (Grammy and Gramps) came and my Aunt Carline drove all the way from south GA to see the dedication! She brought her granddaughters, Jessie and Brooke, and also Grandmomma! Matt's parents (Grandma and Pop) and almost everyone else in Matt's family came as well! :) It was a special day!

As for me, I'm just doing my best to juggle it all! I'm still finding our family rhythm since Landon's sleeping habits change weekly (he likes keeping us on our toes:). I'm doing a new study called "Every Woman's Marriage"'s a nice little kick in the rear to help me be the wife I should be for my amazing hubby :) I just started tutoring a middle school student in MATH...I know right?! Me + math = hmmmmm...but so far it's been great! I also signed on to sell Thirty-One! I've only had a few parties, but so far it's been really fun! Anything to bring in a little extra $$ without taking away from my time with the kiddos :)

The verse I've identified with most lately is Hebrews 3:14 - - "For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God to justify as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ." (NLT) I need to continue to thirst for Christ like a newborn believer, but with a more mature faith. I need to live with the same excitement as I did when I first came to know Him, but also with a deeper understanding of where He has led me and how I can impact this world for Him. 

July 2, 2011

New Pics 7/2/11

Livi was in awe at the Georgia Aquarium!

A look of wonder...there was SO much to see!

White Water!!

Excited about going out to eat!!

All dressed up to visit Matt @ school on his birthday!

Livi's 1st movie ("Cars 2") with friends! Ka-chow! :)

We had a blast :)

Our neighbor gave us a great blow-up slide/pool!

Silly boy!

Brooks explored the tunnel :)

1st ponytail!

Bowling with friends :)

My babies aren't babies anymore!

1st trip to the bowling alley!

7 months!

My little builder :)

"Dead Weight"

This was a great devotional fro Proverbs 31 Ministries. It really spoke to me about 1)my own need for "dead-heading" the negative thoughts and actions in my own life and 2)"dead-heading" friendships that rob me of spiritual growth and joy, while continuing to pray for the wilting "bloom" I cut.

Dead Weight  by Karen Ehman
“Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21 (NIV)

Ever have a reoccurring bad attitude drain the life right out of you? It can cause your spirits to wither and your joy to die, leaving you limp and lifeless like a water-deprived plant.

I was feeling that way recently when I remembered something my husband’s mom had taught me. She is famous for growing wonderful herbs and colorful perennials. In fact, her garden boasts an array of color from the first hint of spring until late fall.

One day I asked her to share her green-thumb secret. She explained that the secret to helping plants thrive is called “dead-heading.” Here is how it is done: As soon as any beautiful blooms begin to whither, fade, or turn brown, they must be removed.

I’ve discovered it is a tedious, never-ending task. Just when I think I have removed every dried up blossom, the next day a dozen more appear. But if I want my flowers to keep blossoming, I have to dead-head daily because the deceased blooms sap nutrition and strength from the core of the plant. They rob the flowers of energy that could be used for new growth.

However, if the dead and debilitating weight is properly plucked, the stems will give gorgeous petals throughout the entire life of the plant.

As I pluck my dead flower heads, I am reminded of my life with Christ. There are places in my heart, thoughts in my mind, and actions in my will that stem from bad attitudes. And they are nothing but dead weight to my spiritual life.

Often these deep-rooted thought patterns and their companions — doubt, fear, wrong choices, old habits, nursed grudges, or current conflicts — threaten to choke our growth and prevent us from displaying the splendor God intends for us to show.

We start our day hopeful yet give in to the hurtful. Our self-doubts or judgments of others often take root in negative thoughts and counterproductive actions that not only have the potential to ruin our day, but also affect those around us. However, if we are intentional in nipping these at their first appearance, we will be more likely to experience new growth in our walk with Christ and health in our relationships.

Today’s verse from James tells us to get rid of such issues and instead to humbly plant God’s word deep in our hearts. So, instead of dwelling on a temptation in our thoughts and allowing it to morph into sin, we quietly focus our hearts on a truth from scripture such as “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are — yet he did not sin.” (Hebrews 5:14)

Dwelling on scripture empowers, rather than drains us. It is spiritual dead-heading at its finest. This switch in our thought pattern can save us from wrong choices, unhealthy relationships and self-inflicted heartbreak.

Could your heart use a dead-heading session? Are there faded blooms you have been carrying around that are sapping your spiritual energy and strength, causing heartache and tears? Get rid of the bad. Plant God’s good Word in that spot instead. Then stand back — patiently now — and watch beautiful blooms begin to appear.

June 22, 2011

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things...

Livi (43 months) - - Livi's totally into Landon and loves telling him he's a "big boy", a "good boy", a "sweet boy", etc. She likes asking him if he's ready to eat supper?? go outside and play?? have tummy time?? to which he grins ear to ear and she says, "Aww, he's so excited about that!" She's all about her wedding (when she's "bigger" like mommy). She's excited about having her own baby one day (AFTER her wedding:)  She asked the other day when she could wear a bra!!!! LOL! She's definitely a know-it-all, which is a little annoying at times, but sometimes she IS right! She enjoys reasoning with Brooks when he's being unreasonable. She and Brooks have such a love/hate relationship and it can turn on a dime! She loves wearing dresses but can rock a pair of jean shorts any day! She's a great performer, a silly dancer, and an amazing actress. She wants a band aid whether she's bleeding or not. She wants to do pretty much everything on her own - - bathe, dry her hair, pick out her own clothes, etc. Her new fav movies are Bolt and Cars...we act them out all the time! She asked for a baby sister "next time" and I told her she'd have to talk to daddy about that! She gets a kick out of calling Matt and I by our first names in public (as in, "Maaaaaatt!!" when she can't find him in the grocery store!:) She always wants to know what time it is. She aced her swim lessons and is now an official fish :)

Brooks (26 months) - - I just love to sit and watch Brooks play. He is so full of joy! He can roll a train or truck around the floor, up the wall (though he knows he's not supposed to!) and all over the furniture for hours! He's so easily amused. We often find him sitting in the living room quietly reading book after book. He loves Thomas the Train and Backyardigans. He always talks about a idea why...but the hippo comes up in every conversation whether it's with me or the Queen! The hippo follows us everywhere! :) Favorite sayings: "Happen, mommy, happen?", "Doin', mommy, doin'?", "Ok daddy?". He said his 1st prayer on Father's Day: "Dear God, Fank you for trees, sun, moon, stahs, Jesus. Amen" He was so proud of himself. He's a little politician, shaking hands and waving everywhere we go. He loves the waiters at San Jose...and they love him, too, always giving him high-5s and pats on the noggin'!

Landon (7 months) - - Landon is just pure happiness. He'll smile at you whether you're young or old, friend or stranger. He enjoys sitting up, banging toys on the ground/table, and watching Livi and Brooks run around. He's taking big boy baths now and had his 1st bath w/Livi and Brooks last Sunday (6/19). He likes pushing up and trying to get his knees underneath him, but he's still not crawling yet. He gets up around 6am whether you put him to bed at 8pm or 11pm. He grunts at his stuffed animals and squeals when he's excited. He'll eat just about anything we set in front of him. He's not ashamed to take a power nap in your arms. Livi can make him laugh like no other! He's sharing clothes with Brooks!!

April 29, 2011

New Pics 4/29/11

 Story time!!
 These are the days :)
 Rollin' over!!
 Brooks and his buddy Mike!
C-L-E-M-S-O-N...T-I-G-E-RRRR-S...Fight Tigers, Fight Tigers, Fight Fight Fight!
 Brooks' birthday morning!!
 Livi's MMO class @ their Easter egg hunt!
 Brooks as Harry Potter!
 Livi loves holding Landon :)
 Landon had a blast meeting Mema!!
 Landon LOVED on Grandmama all weekend :)
 Sweet Brooks and Gramps :)
 My color-coordinated kiddos :)
 The "bigs"
 Family shot @ Easter in Ashburn :)
Livi and her "bruvvers" :)