Sunday, May 23, 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thankful ME

So I just got back from San Antonio, where I spent a couple days with my parents. My poor dad is having the same bleeding issues he had a couple years ago when he almost bled to death. Thankfully this time, they caught it before he lost too much blood, but the doctors still don't know for sure what is causing it. My dad is planning to have surgery on Monday to remove the part of his colon they believe is the source of the bleeding, so we're praying that God will confirm during this weekend that that is the right decision and that it will solve the problem for good. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for him and we would appreciate your continued prayers for his surgery on Monday. Thanks!!

We had a very busy, very fun time last weekend. My precious neice Tara turned ONE last week, so we took her to Chuy's for dinner and celebrated her birthday with Brent & Jenn and Gigi & Grandad on Saturday. We got her a doll stroller and a baby doll for her to push around since she's just started to walk a little the past week or so. Laney's favorite thing to do is push her baby dolls all over the house in her doll stroller, so hopefully Tara will have lots of fun playing "mama" too. Brent, Jenn & Tara are moving to Austin soon, where they will have a bigger house and lots of room to play. We are so excited for them (but secretly wish they were moving to Houston instead of Austin)!!!

Here's our sweet One year old - TARA!
Here's our sweet Three year old... I took cupcakes to her school for lunch last week.

Sunday morning before church, she got to open her gifts from us... a new Thomas the Train movie (her idea) and a new kid-size pink and black baseball glove (our idea).

Opening her card from Aunt Shelia, Brian's aunt in Midland,
who always sends them the coolest cards.

Here's our big THREE year old on her big day!

My parents came in town that afternoon to help us get ready for the party. My mom MADE these beautiful princess dresses for the girls for their birthday. They have been asking about these dresses for months, and they finally got to wear them on Sunday before the party. They were squealing with excitement as they put them on for the first time. Here they are dancing around the gameroom.

Princess Belle dancing with her Prince (my dad)

Beautiful Cinderella

Princess Belle

Here's Nana with the two princesses

Brian posted a few pics on his blog today of the birthday party, but I have to add a few more.

Those two top teeth are not long for this world. She will be a cute fraggle-tooth very soon!

This one is adding new teeth almost daily now, poor thing.

Brian might have had a little too much fun with his super squirt gun!

Tatum trying to escape from her daddy!
They had so much fun!

I am thankful this weekend for family and friends. Over the course of the past month, I have slowly but surely finished reading The Shack. I know I am about three years behind everyone else, but I've been afraid to read it because I am scarred so easily by things like that. Anyway, I did finally read it and I'm pretty sure I am scarred for life. But in a good way. I hope I always remember to think of God the way I did while reading that book. Maybe I will need to pick it up and read it again when I forget the wonderful image it painted in my head of a God who doesn't force any rules on us but gives us Himself in a relationship, which is the most wonderful, satisfying, peaceful way to live life. Imagine a God who would pursue us... why on earth would He go to so much trouble for such selfish, prideful, independent people as us? In this book, I realized that I will never understand His ways or why He allows tragedies to happen. I may not get my questions answered the way I think I should. But I will not stand as His judge. His ways are so much better than mine. I am in awe that I have been invited to be friends with Him, to hang out with Him anytime I want, to get to know Him without any rules, and therefore to trust Him. Because there is no other option. "Lord, to whom would I go? You alone have the words of eternal life." John 6:68

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday Tatum!

My sweet Tatum Mary turned 3 yesterday! We had a super fun birthday party for the girls yesterday and all day I just thought about what a precious gift Tatum is to our family. She loves to sing the song "You are my sunshine" and she truly is the sunshine of our family. She brightens everything up and makes us laugh. We chose her name "Tatum" because it means "cheerful bringer of joy" and I give God the credit for helping us choose that name because He alone knew it would suit her personality perfectly.

I don't mean to brag, but I just have to be honest and say, Tatum is so easy to love. Everyone that knows her, loves her. She is easy going, warms up to everyone quickly, is enthusiastic about everything, laughs easily, and is just fun to be around. As we walked through the halls of church yesterday morning, Brian was holding Tatum and she was wearing the birthday crown her Sunday school teacher had made for her. As we walked, several people I didn't even know, came up and called her by name and told her Happy Birthday! And she just smiled and showed everyone her little hand holding up three fingers.

Tatum gives the best hugs ever. She wraps her whole body around you and squeezes tightly, just like she's a little monkey. There is nothing better in the world. She loves to give butterfly kisses, doggy kisses (we touch noses), goat kisses (we bump foreheads), fish kisses (we suck our cheecks in and kiss our lips), and monkey kisses (we fill our mouths with air and pop our cheeks).

She is my kitchen helper. She loves to help me cook. She sits up on the island and stirs, pours and sprinkles. She loves to make smoothies with me. We fill the magic bullet with all our smoothie ingredients and she always gets excited to add our "secret ingredient": honey. Don't tell her I'm letting everyone in on our secret! She is my shadow whenever we go places, like our friends' houses. Her sisters both wander off and play, but Tatum usually sticks pretty close to me. When we're outside in the backyard, she often comes and sits on the porch swing with me, while her sisters wander around and play. I love that she likes to be near me.

She has an intense desire to be listened to, and gets very angry when she is ignored, which inevitably happens sometimes, with two other little mouths all talking to me at the same time. It's funny, but I have the exact same hang-up on being ignored. Nothing aggravates me more than when I'm talking to someone and I feel like they aren't fully listening to me. Some people can talk on and on and not really care if anyone is paying attention. But me, I shut down if I feel that way. And Tatum is the exact same way. She will shut down or throw a fit if she feels like I am not giving her my complete attention. And oh my, she is a talker. I'm pretty sure if you counted the words she says on an average day, they would be double what the average child says.

In the car, her carseat is right behind my drivers' seat. Recently, I have had to accept some changes to my driving "rights." I very much like to listen to KSBJ and sing along while I'm driving, and when one of my favorites comes on, I turn it way up and we all belt it out as loud as we can. Anyway, lately, Tatum has become very offended when she tries to tell me something in the car and I don't respond to her because I am singing along to the radio. She says "I'm trying to tell someting to you!" Anyway, she is such a blessing, so I am working on turning the radio down and listening to her many, many comments and questions as we drive along the streets of Houston.

For some reason, Tatum calls me "Mommy"... Avery & Laney call me "Mama" and I always call myself "Mama," but for some reason, Tatum always calls me "Mommy." I like that she has her own name for me and I love the way "Mommy" sounds coming from her sweet mouth. She also likes to say to people, "I have muscles" and holds her arms up in the flexed position. She loves to use her muscles too. She works very hard at opening big heavy doors of buildings, she will grunt and groan with effort when she's trying to push or carry something heavy. She has a good work ethic.

She LOVES Avery and Avery LOVES her. They are best friends and that blesses my heart so much. She is truly maturing in the way she treats Laney. She struggles with sharing attention with Laney, but as she grows older, she is becoming a sweeter and gentler big sis to Laney.

Tatum loves to color pictures and always makes sure to color in all the white space on the border of the picture too. She loves to dress up like a princess, and she especially likes to put on high heel shoes and a tiara on her head. I love that God gave her blonde hair. I love her beautiful green-ish eyes and the cute little dimple on one cheek when she smiles.

Tatum, I am so proud of all you are learning and so thankful for all you have taught me these past three years. I am so crazy about you and I love you with all my heart, my precious child. Thank you Lord, for blessing our family with Tatum and bringing us so much joy in her precious life.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Birthday Weekend

This five year old had a very fun birthday weekend. I don't think she really expected to get what she had asked for, so she was truly surprised when she opened this up:

This was her favorite thing to do on her new skateboard

Despite my doubts, she really loved it, and got the hang of it pretty quickly.

Tatum got a turn too

This little cutie had fun watching

We are having a birthday party for both Avery & Tatum in a couple weeks on Tatum's actual birthday. So, to make Avery's actual birthday special, we had her BFF Rylin sleepover at our house that night. It was our first official sleepover, and it was so much fun!
They watched movies on their sleeping bags until after midnight... Tinkerbell & the Lost Treasure then Jungle Book. Avery fell asleep first, Rylin & Tatum were still awake at 12:30, so I put them upstairs in beds. They were out in minutes.
We got dressed up for tea & crumpets ~
Our tea was apple juice and our crumpets were marshmellows, chocolate chips and popcorn.

Laney isn't really crazy about dressing up yet (although her big sissies definitely have tried)
but she loved playing with the big girls outside

Here's the three princesses on their royal carriage...

I thought they might sleep in a little bit since they were up so late, but they started making noises around 7:30 the next morning. So we made froot loop necklaces for breakfast! Yummy!

I also got to speak at our FCA girls' Purity Retreat this weekend... I'm never sure how much to share or what God wants me to share when I talk to these students about my personal testimony. I was so busy all week, I really didn't prepare anything, but I just prayed before I went and trusted God to speak the words He wanted me to share. My sweet Kim & Sam, two seniors who I adore and admire so much, were very prepared and asked me very specific questions, which made it very simple for me to answer. I don't remember all that I said, but I left feeling blessed and thankful that God gave me the opportunity to speak to these teenage girls about Jesus' grace and love in their relationships with boys.
I was also so encouraged on Sunday as our church had "Youth Week" where the youth group led every aspect of church. They led worship, gave the sermon, took up offering, were ushers, taught our nursery/pre-school sunday school classes, even gave personal testimonies in all the adult sunday school classes. I don't know why I'm so emotional about it, but I was fighting back tears the whole time watching these teenagers serve Jesus in such mature, courageous ways.
I feel so hopeful for the future knowing that there are teenagers that love Jesus and are sacrificing popularity and "worldly" gain in order to serve Jesus every day.