Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas parties and 9 months for Bo

What a full December we have had! I am thankful that most of my Christmas shopping was done during October and November, so by the time December got here, I was pretty much done with shopping and I could relax and enjoy all the fun events we've been a part of... Christmas parties at the girls' schools, Christmas programs, Craft night, looking at Christmas lights, baking and giving edible gifts to people, collecting donations for the needy in Houston, playing with friends we don't get to see very much, etc.

Tatum & Laney were very excited to celebrate Christmas at their little preschool. Laney's class had made special reindeer shirts with their footprint and two handprints. She looked so precious in her little handmade shirt!

Tatum loved getting to meet Santa. She gave him a big hug and told him what she wanted for Christmas.
Laney was terrified of him. This was about as close as her teacher could get her to Santa. Notice all the kids standing around looking at him and Laney clinging to her teacher for dear life. Her teacher had specifically asked us not to "rescue" our kids if they started crying, but to let the teachers try to calm them down. So I stood there with my camera and tried really hard not to laugh as I watched Mrs. Martin try to pry Laney's fingers off her clothes. In the end, Laney's class did get their picture taken with Santa, but she was sitting in Mrs. Martin's lap, a very safe distance away from Santa.

Tatum did a great job painting her Christmas tree ornament.
Laney calmed down once lunch arrived and enjoyed her pretzels and pizza.
They each got a new book in their party bags as well as gifts from their teachers and art work they had done.
I love this excited look on Laney's face when she pulled out these two presents from her party bag. One was from her to us for Christmas and one was for her from her teachers.
We got this pumpkin costume in one of the boxes of hand-me-downs we just received. Tatum was all over it, even though it was a size 12-24 months, Tatum strapped the whole costume on and wore it most of one day. I don't want to post immodest pictures of my girls, which is why I am only posting the headshot below, but just for humor sake, picture long, bare-legged Tatum with a baby's pumpkin costume strapped on, prancing around the house. This girl knows she is cute and funny, and makes the most of every opportunity to make us laugh.

Avery with the see-saw statue in front of her school
Avery loves Mrs. Van Pelt... she has been such a blessing to Avery and our family. This was at her school Christmas program... she is wearing the beautiful dress my mom made for her two Christmasas ago, which was a little big for her then, but fits her beautifully now. She looked like a Christmas present!
Tatum can entertain herself forever with puzzles, legos, blocks, etc. She came up with this idea of making lots of little Christmas trees with her blocks and she was very proud to show me her beautiful project.
Bodie just couldn't handle playing Groovy Girls any longer, so he passed out right in the middle of the floor amongst them. Poor guy, he is destined to spend much of his childhood surrounded with pink, baby dolls, dress up dolls, and all things princess.
The girls in their head coverings acting out the Christmas story, starring Tatum as Mary, Laney as "Jofis" (as Laney calls him) and Avery as the angel Gabriel.

Yesterday our little man turned 9 months! This first year of his life is flying by too fast! He is still in the 90th percentile for his size, measuring 29.75 inches and 23.5 pounds.
Back when Tatum was a baby, Brian's Grandma Kratky sent us this elf costume from NY... each year, one of the kids is just the right size to wear it, so this year it's Bodie's turn.

I am in love with his new toothy smile... one on the top, two on the bottom and many more all over his mouth seem to be very close to surfacing.
He looks angry, but he's actually laughing really hard here...
Such a precious, funny, cuddly little boy
The boys in the family sure are growing up! Matty (our nephew) turned ONE on Sunday and this was at his birthday party. Bodie is 9 months and Tyson is 8 months. We all just gather around and watch these 3 little boys play together... right now they all just sit (Matthew can crawl, but he is still pretty easy to keep in one place).. but next Christmas will probably be quite different with the three of them running around together.
This week we are enjoying lots of together time, which has also been an opportunity for our sanctification. But we are thankful for the ways God has gently led us and taught us and how even now He is revealing hidden things to us as we seek Him in all the details of our lives.

I've been studying Daniel lately, so I'll close with Daniel's song of worship after God revealed to him King Neb's dream and it's interpretation:

"Blessed be the name of God, forever and ever.
He knows all, does all: He changes the seasons and guides history,
He raises up kings and also brings them down,
He provides both intelligence and discernment,
He opens up the depths, tells secrets,
sees in the dark - light spills out of Him!
God of all my ancestors, all thanks! all praise!
You made me wise and strong.
And now you've shown us what we asked for.
You've solved the king's mystery."

May our Sovereign God reveal hidden things to you this Christmas!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bodie - 8 (and a half) months

Here's our 8 month old... now already half way to being 9 months!
The adoring sisters are always wanting to entertain him and make him laugh...
he is a blessed little guy, for sure. Laney likes to call him "Bodie Lukey" and he always gives them the biggest smile when they say any form of his name.
At 8.5 months, Bo, you are cutting two bottom teeth and at least one top tooth... I think the other top one is coming very soon too. You are wanting to crawl so bad, but right now you only get up on all fours and rock back & forth, then bellyflop to the ground again. Thankfully you have a pretty long reach and can grab things way farther away than I would expect. You can also roll around to get across the room and you also like to scoot backwards to get places. Your hair is growing longer so it doesn't stick up anymore :( and your eyes have turned into a very pretty shade of blueish-brown. You have become a great sleeper the past few weeks (finally!)... you go to bed around 8 and wake up around 6:30 - 7. You still take a short morning nap, about 1 hour, but you take a LONG afternoon nap, which is wonderful. Yesterday it was 4 hours! But usually it's around 3 hours. You wear 18 month clothes because you are such a tall boy already. Your little face and eyes light up when your daddy gets home from work. You and he already have some deep manly understanding of each other. It's precious. But when you are upset or hungry or tired or just bored, you are so happy to see your mama walk in the room. The crying stops, you get a big grin on your face, and you start to flap your arms like you're trying to fly up to meet me. You have started singing in the car with the rest of the choir... sometimes we all go silent so we can hear your beautiful grunts and ga-gas. You are eating 3 meals a day, although not always with the rest of us. Some of your favorites are carrots, yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, pears, squash and bananas. You are loving the new-found freedom of finger foods, and we are loving it too. You are a joy to our family and we all think you are the sweetest little boy ever.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last Sunday was a special day for our family. All four grandparents - Papa & Nana and Grandad & Gigi - and Uncle Brandon & Aunt Adriana joined us at our church for Avery's baptism. Brian was so excited that morning. He and Avery both could hardly wait for church to start. I didn't get a picture of the actual baptism because I was video-taping, but here they are right before church started.
We all enjoyed Chuy's for lunch that day. Papa & Nana gave Avery a new Bible cover with little tabs to put on the pages so she can find the books easier. She loves carrying her Bible around and flipping through her Bible so easily with the tabs, highlighting all her favorite verses with her new highlighters. Gigi & Grandad gave her a beautiful James Avery cross necklace engraved with AEK, 10-26-11 (the day she accepted Christ) and John 3:16 (her favorite verse). She has worn it every day since she got it.

I'm very late to post some pics of my cuties on Halloween. We decided to "light the night" from our driveway this year. It was the best Halloween we've had. Brian carved "God Listens" into one of our pumpkins and we taped stickers to all our candy that said "Taste and see that the Lord is good." The girls played in the driveway all evening while we visited with neighbors. It was such a great night. Praise God for taking back an evil holiday to bring glory to His name. Hallowed be Thy Name!
Here's the two Buzz Lightyears

Minnie Mouse
Our table we set up on our driveway with our pumpkins, the "Pumpkin Gospel" book and our candy. The girls also used the table to paint with their water colors. Brian gets credit for the sign! :)
Here's Cinderella, Jessie, Buzz and Minnie Mouse
Cinderella & Minnie painting on the driveway.
Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and family!
We hope to see lots of you over this holiday season!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Patch, Avery & Answered prayer

Bodie turned 7 months last week. Here's our little cutie. I am having lots of fun putting him in cute boy shoes now that it is cooler outside.
Peace out: Avery and her BFF Rylin on 60's day at school
The Bode-ster at the pumpkin patch last weekend
The girls with cousin Tara...
it was such a beautiful day and this pumpkin patch was just right for our group.
The boys... Brian & Bodie, along with Uncle Brent and Grandad
Future model... Tatum is always up for a challenge and she very determinedly tried until she got her little pumpkin to balance on her head
My sweet hubby knows my love language... it's chocolate chip M&M cookie cake. I had a great 33rd birthday. Eight little munchkins sung Happy Birthday (it was tuesday so we had our friends there) and we had three desserts... I had made a rainbow cake for myself since I knew we were staying in that night, then my sweet friend Bethany made us a pumpkin pie, along with a yummy dinner to feed all the kids that night so I didn't have to cook on my birthday, then Brian brought home this yummy cookie cake. So we all went back for seconds (and thirds) on dessert.

We went to see Team Impact at our church last week. After all the feats of strength, one of the men gave his testimony then asked anyone who wanted to, to say the sinner's prayer with him. Afterwards, when he asked for people to raise their hand if they prayed the prayer, Avery's little hand shot up in the air. So Brian stayed in our seats with the three little ones and I went with her up to the front with everyone else who had prayed the prayer and went to a room with counselors. One of our friends ended up coming over to counsel Avery. He talked her through her decision. I tried to keep my mouth closed to let this play out however God wanted it to play out without me interrupting. It was a moment I don't think I'll ever forget... hearing her answer the questions in her sweet little voice. Hearing the truth coming from her mouth. Knowing that this child God entrusted to us believes in Jesus and is choosing for herself to give her heart to Him.

So even though Avery prayed the prayer with me about a year ago, I don't think she really understood it until Wednesday. She was excited and beaming and so convinced of her answers to the questions. So we believe Avery gave her heart to Jesus and was saved on Oct. 26, 2011. When we got in the car to go to church that Wednesday night, we were just going because we thought our kids would enjoy watching some big strong guys break baseball bats and chop cinder blocks in half. We had no idea God had arranged to draw His child, our child Avery, into His family, once and for all in that place.

She was very excited when our children's pastor called the next day to ask if she wants to be baptized. We were planning for her to be baptized in church today, but found out a few days ago that after Brian is ordained as a deacon on Wednesday, he will be allowed to baptize her himself! So we are planning for Brian to baptize Avery in church in two weeks! I can honestly say I would never have dreamed that would happen, but I am so thankful for God's faithfulness to our family.

Just today, God answered three very specific prayers I've been praying. It's so exciting serving a God that listens and comes to the rescue.

First, I am supposed to give a talk at our women's retreat in a couple weeks, just a 30 minute breakout session. God already showed me what He wants me to talk about, but I haven't been able to actually write the talk and every time I sit down to get my thoughts together, I feel like my mind turns to mush. Literally, I feel like my brain is mashed potatoes. Finally I realized that that is the enemy and God is not a God of confusion or mush. So I stayed home from church this morning with Bodie, who has been sick, so it was a good morning to stay home from church. And I prayed specifically that God would let Bodie take a long morning nap and that He would give my brain clarity and focus so I could write my talk. He totally did. When Brian & the girls got home around lunchtime, Bodie was still asleep and I had just finished writing my closing thoughts. Answered prayer.

My brother and his girlfriend came by to visit us today. I love my brother and was so glad he would finally get to meet Bodie. He has been living in Washington DC and hasn't made it here since Bo was born. So I was very excited to have Matthew & Tracie come visit. We had such a great time catching up. Answered prayer.

Uncle Matt & Bo

We are paying out of pocket for Avery's learning center fees... long story short, it's expensive and we're tight as it is, so I wasn't exactly sure how we were going to pay for November. I've been praying for God to provide and give us wisdom with our money. So tonight I received a check from someone who told me that I had taught her something. That instead of using the money to buy a "fishers of men" themed gift, she wanted to use that money to put "fishers of men" into action. So she gave us the price of the gift she was going to buy, which was the exact amount we need to pay for November. Answered prayer.

This has been an encouraging day. God has reminded me over and over that life is not about the mountain top experiences. It's about living out the daily task, the mundane, the everyday stuff with a Christlike attitude. Doing the next thing, however small, makes me feel His presence with me, sometimes with even more authenticity than those "high" times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hodge Podge

We had Bodie's parent-child commitment at church on Sunday. I think there were about 21 of us there with babies ... when we first starting coming to church here I think the nursery caregiver had less than 5 babies regularly coming each Sunday. She was pretty sad there were so few babies coming to church. Well in the past year, there has been a baby boom at our church ... such a blessing to have the nursery packed with babies and needing to expand.

Bodie means "shelter" and Luke means "bringer of light." Brian heard the name Bodie while I was pregnant and it quickly became his favorite. I really liked it too, but it took me a while to be sure that was the one. We have both always liked the name Luke, so it was pretty easy to decide what his middle name would be. And yes, we know "Bo" and "Luke" are the names of the Dukes of Hazard, and that's okay with us. He is a gift from God and we are enjoying our gift so much!

Three little girls having fun trying out all the ATV's and boats at Bass Pro.

A neighbor down the street put this wagon out in their front yard with a sign that said "I'm free to a good home." The girls were so excited to get out of the car and pull the wagon all the way back to our house. Avery got dish towels and cleaned it up, then they played with it all afternoon. The people who live in that house have no idea how much their old wagon is loved now!

Little man in the princess coupe

I am starting BSF this week. I've been hungry to be in a Bible study again, but hadn't heard of any that would work for our schedule, or they were already full when I looked into them. Anyway, a friend invited me to try BSF last week and it turns out they have a spot for me and for Bodie! I've always heard great things about it, but never had a chance to try it myself. So I am eager to jump in and start digging into Acts this year!

I made my first batch of homemade baby food yesterday. I don't know why I never tried it before, but it turned out to be really easy. I made three separate batches of sweet potatoes, squash and carrots... I steamed it, pureed it in the magic bullet, then froze it in ice cube trays. For a very small price, I now have three freezer bags filled with ice cube shaped baby food. It was so gratifying to feed Bo his first bowl of homemade carrot baby food, and he loved it! I'm excited to try some more foods next week.

Brian was invited to be a deacon starting in January. He had his first meeting on Sunday and found out several other guys that we are friends with are going through the process with him. He will be ordained in November then serve three years on and one year off. It's so neat that God opened this door for him to have a specific place in our church to serve.

That's about it for now. Happy Fall, Y'all!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Half a year!

Look who is a sitter now!

I just can't get enough of this boy. In some ways, these 6 months with him have gone by really fast, but in other ways, I feel like he has been a part of our family forever. All I know is, I already can't wait until I get to hold him again in the morning.