Monday, February 25, 2013

Movie Monday

We don't have cable or watch much tv but one thing my kiddos have been loving lately is to watch YouTube videos. Harper cannot get enough of the ones with babies laughing and Harrison loves watching space shuttle launches and funny ones with pets. Last night I searched for my channel (where I upload videos of the kids so I can then delete them off my phone) and we had fun going back and watching some of our home videos. I thought in order to be more intentional about filming more and also more accountable to uploading them on my blog I'd start up a "Movie Monday" series. It may only happen one or two Mondays but hey, you gotta start somewhere right?

I feel like I haven't talked as much about Harper lately. I should probably write an entire post about her at almost 22 months but by the time I get it wrapped up she'll be 2 so I'll just wait until then. :) She is growing up fast and becoming a little chatter box of words. Somewhere over the last couple of months she has joined the pack of big kids instead of hanging back with her momma. When we go to Chick-fil-a or the park she holds her own on the playground. She is cautious around other people but when it comes to adventure she has no fear. She's my little book worm and we read probably no less than 30 books a day. She could not care less about tv or movies but boy does she love to look at books!

She is SUPER sweet probably 98% of the time but lately we are starting to see glimpses of the terrible two's emerging. That girl has a temper and some sass and Rick and I are clueless about how we're going to handle it. I don't know if it's a second child thing...or if it's a girl thing...or if it's just a personality thing...but I am finding it much harder to discipline her than her brother! With Harrison, he was (and still is) so stubborn and strong-willed and I remember starting time-outs at 15 months and spankings at probably 18 or 20 months when the time-outs became a joke. But with her? It's just a lot harder for some reason. I think maybe it's because she gets her feelings hurt so easily. Harrison will never admit defeat and acts like any punishment you give him is no big deal. But sometimes Harper's lip starts quivering at even the slightest "no". Oh boy, we are in trouble!

But we are realizing more and more that we've got to get a strategy in place. The temper tantrums are beginning and my sweet daughter morphs into a completely different child. This morning I was putting her shoes and socks back on in the car (she takes them off every.single.time along with her pig tails and bows) and for some reason me putting her shoes back on royally pissed her off. She screamed "NNNNOO! NNNNOOO!" and started hitting me. Then when I got her out of her seat she refused to stand up and continued her tantrum flopping around on the sidewalk. So I picked her up and she continued to scream at me and arch her back trying to get out of my arms. I'm sorry, who are you again???

So in light of all of this, I'm posting two videos today of my Jekyll and Hyde doll baby. :)

This is our sweet Harper that we've come to know and love. Happy and smiling and always willing to share. Even a cookie. With her brother. Now that's saying something about her character, am I right?



And this was taken a while back but kind of goes along with her temper tantrum from this morning. For some reason this girl just doesn't like socks. Ha!



Whether she's happy or mad she still brings such joy to my heart. Oh how I love this little girl!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Go Texan Day


My cowgirl and cowboy

Two thumbs up! (or more accurately, one thumb and one index finger :)

I am looking forward to the livestock show and rodeo this year. I have a feeling that both of the kids are going to love it. And as for me? Well, yours truly has a date with Mr. Chesney in a couple of weeks. YEAH BABY! I'm usually not a huge fan of the rodeo concerts but I will most definitely make an exception to see him. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

MiX Weekend

We got home from camp Sunday night. It was called "MiX Weekend" because it was our Matrix (junior high) and MPact (high school) ministries from all three of our church campuses combined together at one camp. I'm not sure how many kids were there but we filled up 6 charter buses. I had such a good time with my girls. And if I'm being honest, I sometimes wonder if I am learning more than they are even though I'm the leader. I love how God continues to teach me in some of the simplest situations. That is pretty much just a nice way of saying that I am completely DENSE sometimes and need to beat over the head every single day with the gospel. Ha! (but really.)

It was a BUSY weekend and I am feeling every single day of my age and then some. I just can't seem to hang like I used to. There were lots of fun games and relays (except for the games that included balloons. Those were not fun for me. I have a strange phobia of balloons...it's probably better if you don't ask). It was freeeeeezing cold but we didn't let that get in the way of our fun. Plus, we are quite resourceful. I somehow managed to get on 5 layers of shirts/hoodies, 3 layers of pants, 2 pairs of socks, and 1 scarf. I felt like I was wearing a fat suit. But hey, at least I was warm. Oh, and we got to eat lots of yummy cafeteria style camp food. You should totally be jealous.

mystery meat

But even better than all of the fun games and girl talk and being silly, we got to learn about and worship God together. It was awesome to witness the spiritual growth of so many kids. Several of my girls said that this was the first time they truly felt God's presence and some of them were even moved to tears. I told them that it was my prayer for them to reflect on everything they had heard and learned and ask God to show them how to apply it all to their daily lives. I've been doing the same thing.

The theme of this retreat was HE must increase but i must decrease (John 3:30). We were reminded about how God uses unlikely people. All throughout the bible we see this. Paul, who once tortured and murdered Christians, went on to be one of God's most faithful servants. It's so easy to think that we are too ordinary or unequipped to be used by God, but He just wants us to be available and to be obedient. He takes care of the rest. The speaker used an illustration that really resonated with me. He referenced the scripture about the potter and the clay (Isaiah 64:8). I don't know about you, but I often lose sight of the fact that I am not my own potter. I have my own ideas of the person I want to be and the things I want to do and I forget that GOD is the one who designs my personality and my life and He is the most beautiful artist that ever was and is and is to be.

He not only uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things, but He is also at work in even the most unlikely areas of our lives. He meets us in every moment of every day. Even the boring or ugly or trivial ones. He is present in our struggles and grief. The speaker used Paul's suffering as an example. He was called spread the gospel. He was obedient to this calling but at a huge cost. He was beaten, imprisoned, and eventually killed for his beliefs. But while he was in prison he was able to share the gospel over 2,900 times to elite guards with a lot of influence and power. Many of these guards became believers and began sharing with others. Had he not been in prison he wouldn't have had this opportunity. God took a very unlikely place for hope and did great things. He promises that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), even when we don't understand. The "good" might not seem so "good" to us in the moment (or ever) and we may not understand why we have hurt and pain in this life. But the point is that we shouldn't be focusing on this life. We should trust God's promises and by shifting our focus toward Him and off of our circumstances, He increases and we decrease.

Finally, we were reminded that as believers we are called to be a light for Jesus in the darkness around us. That our actions of our life should scream His name. Jesus encourages us in the Sermon on the Mount to go against the grain -- to do things others might not consider normal -- to be unique in a way that may have never been done before and respond in unlikely ways. So that we are living out the gospel in our daily lives where our actions seem refreshing and point others to God.  Do I turn the other cheek when I'm hurt by someone? Do I love my enemies? Do I fill-in-the-blank-with-other-Godly-character-traits? Being humble and having a servant's heart does not always come naturally to me (okay, rarely comes naturally to me!). But the steps to growing our faith through the sanctification process is not difficult.

1) Pray.
2) Read your bible.

That's it! Those two steps, when done consistently and faithfully, are all we need to stay focused on God. The speaker had a good tip that I think I'm going to use. He suggested putting your bible on the threshold of your bedroom door at night so that each morning you physically have to step over it as you leave your room. He said it's his way of holding himself accountable to reading before he starts his day. He also suggested putting a rock in your pillowcase if you're more of a night-time reader. As you go to lie down at night you'll feel the rock and remember to pick up your bible. Because it's hard to not feel convicted as you think I just don't have time for you right now, God. Ha. But that really is what we are saying to Him when he gets shuffled to the back burner. I know I am extremely guilty of doing that.

Very thankful for this weekend retreat. And also very thankful for a God who pours his love and mercy and grace on us because I definitely need it!


Friday, February 15, 2013

My Little Valentines




Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not really sure why...I'm not big about gifts or grand romantic gestures or any of that. It's probably just because red is my favorite color and I'm a sucker for love and all things cheese. (Not literal cheese. Who am I kidding? Literal cheese, too.)


Here's how we celebrated this year:

I took the kids to Chick-fil-a for breakfast. If your kids like to play at Chick-fil-a, I'm telling you it is a brilliant plan to go in the morning versus at lunch when it becomes a crazy mad house of loud, obnoxious, and dare I forget germy brats. Not that my kids are ever loud, obnoxious, germy, or bratty. Nope, never.

my little valentines

It was a great trip. We had the place to ourselves. They behaved perfectly and ate all of their food and were being so sweet.

I could seriously just eat this little girl UP.


"Happy Valentime's Day!!"

See? So sweet.

After Chick-fil-a we headed to Target. It was totally the kids' idea. I don't even like the place. We were on a mission to get their daddy a little something for Valentine's Day. As you can see, I am making it a priority to teach them important principles such as giving and procrastination. :)

If Harrison had it his way, Rick would have ended up with either a vacuum, a baseball bat (MUST. BE. BLUE.), or a big dump truck. I have no idea where the vacuum idea came from but I sure hope the boy improves his gifting ideas before he gets married one day. We ended up compromising on a Jason Aldean CD which is perfect because he's Rick's favorite. Next to Kelly Clarkson anyway...but he's in luck because Jason and Kelly did a duet on the CD we picked out. Score! (Just ignore the fact that he loves girl pop). :)


Bus drivers

Next up was Petco, where Harrison asked/begged/pleaded/bargained no less than 1,403,938 times for a "pet fishy." He and Rick went fishing a couple of weeks ago and ever since then alllll I hear is, "I just miss my fishy so much. Mommy, can we get some water at our house and bring the fishy home with us to our family? Pretty please with a cherry on top? It's my special really big fishy that my daddy and I caught together and I just miss him so much." (whine, boo hoo, whine. All day long.) He's good, too. I actually found myself considering it. But then I remembered that we live in a zoo and if one more living thing requires me to take care of it I will officially lose my mind. So yeah. No more pets. But I do love that he's an animal lover!

Silly boy

Then I decided to treat myself to a car wash...at the expense of this poor little girl. Whoops! I guess if I washed my car...I don't know...EVER...I would know she was deathly afraid of them.

No! No! Go! Go! GO!

After that trauma, we came home for some lunch. Harrison helped me cut out cheese and lunch meat while I made their pb&j sandwiches. Not sure why silly things like this make me so happy but they do. It's all in the details.



Then it was time for Valentine's arts & crafts.

This girl loves to paint and draw...

And this little boy loves to destroy! :)

finished products

When Rick got home we exchanged gifts. We usually don't do gifts for Valentine's Day but mixed it up a little this year. The kids got board games and Rick got the CD from them and Uno from me. I am a big spender. Be jealous.


Rick got me a gift certificate to a spa and a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. I should point out that it's the second bouquet of flowers in a week...I think he's trying to make up for working 392 hours a week for the past month. ;)  I'm also thinking I should have also gotten him a gift certificate to a spa instead of Uno since he is wearing himself completely out. Hopefully things will balance out soon because we miss him and I know he's exhausted.



I didn't take any more pictures but we got to go on a date tonight! He made us 8 o'clock reservations at Birra Poretti's and arranged for my mom to keep the kids. Was SO great to have a meal with just my hubby.

Harrison's mad photographer skills. And proof I own a dress.

Here are the kids' Valentine's goodies I made for them to give to their classmates:



Add caption

I leave tomorrow for a weekend youth retreat with my 6th graders. Which means I should be packing or at least sleeping right now instead of blogging...but did I mention that I might possibly have an issue with procrastination? :) I've never been to church camp before so I have no idea what to expect. But I'm really looking forward to it. Not only will I get to bond with my girls but I will not have to cook or clean or wipe noses and tushies for 2 glorious days! I may be sleeping in a cabin in a sleeping bag but it is going to feel like a spa vacation. Ha! I am going to miss my crew but I'm glad Rick will have a couple of days to hang out with the kids just the three of them. I'm sure they will have a great time and make lots of memories...and my hubby might just have a new appreciation for me upon my return ;)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fifty Shades of Gray (on my head). And other randomness.

I decided to chop off my hair again. This is what always happens...I start to grow it out and then realize my hair is way too thick and heavy when I grow it out and then I cut it off again. My friend Amy is usually who cuts and styles my hair but she was still on maternity leave (I am dying to meet Miss Savannah so my family's immune systems need to really get with the program already!). This was the second time I went to another stylist while I'm waiting for Amy to get back. As she was hi-lighting my hair she blurted out, Have I done your hair before? I didn't think I had but now that I'm getting to all this gray it is totally jogging my memory. I definitely remember all this gray! You just don't look like someone who would have so much gray hair but then I got to your sides and here it all is! I think there may possibly be a compliment of some sort in there somewhere? Maybe? Ha!


Thank God for hair dye...

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Last week Harrison treated his sister and me to Whataburger with his gift card he got in his stocking. He was so stoked to buy us lunch. And both of the kids had a blast swiveling in their "grown up" chairs. You'd think they would want to go to Chick-fil-A where they can play on the playground but they were happy as larks twisting in the chairs. It's the simple things.



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In other very exciting news, my baby girl is becoming a BIG girl. I think she has decided to potty train herself. She keeps taking her diaper off any chance she gets and repeats tee-tee, poo-poo over and over until I let her go on her little potty. She has gone #1 numerous times and #2 twice on there over the last couple of days. She gets so excited (and so do I) and claps and yells "yaaaaay!". It's crazy to me because we just got Harrison fully trained less than 3 months ago. She's only 20 months old and it seems kind of young but I am definitely seizing this window of opportunity. Wish us luck!

Look, Mom! Poop!

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Stacie had her baby last week. Scarlett Anne made her debut on Wednesday and she is absolutely precious, just like her big sister and brother. Abigail came over to play the day before she was born and it was so cute seeing the girls play together. They kept kissing their princesses and were loving on their dolls and it's just neat to see how differently they interact than how boys do.



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Harper found out that markers don't taste very good. Thankfully it was not a sharpie that she experimented with.






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Sydney, who is now usually referred to as Rick's Dog, Bad Dog, and/or SYYYYDNEEEEY!!!!!, has been acting out in her old age. Y'all. She has been through obedience school twice. You used to be able to leave a steak unattended within her reach and she wouldn't even think about touching it. Now she seeks to destroy things any time we leave the house. Recently she got our pantry door open and ate an entire bag of brown sugar and chewed through boxes of food to get to their contents. This is what we found after returning from a 5-minute walk to the mailbox a couple of days ago. She got the kids' backpack off the table, unzipped it, pulled a lunch box out of the bag, unzipped it, got the lids off of the tupperware and ate the leftover food, got my wallet out and unzipped it and ate an entire package of gum (foil papers and all), chewed through the squeezie pouches and squeezed out and ate all of the applesauce, and who knows what else she devoured that she didn't leave any evidence of behind. She obviously has a digestive system of steel. Harper was NOT happy when we walked in the door. She is a little  OCD and doesn't like messes and cried and pointed saying "uh-oh! uh-oh! uh-oh!" over and over until I cleaned every last piece up.




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Someone who isn't OCD? This boy. This is how he eats donuts. This is pretty much how he eats everything.


But I can't really blame him for devouring his chips and dip. Who doesn't do that?


Even Sister overlooks her anal-retentive tendencies in order to throw down on some yummy queso.



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Brandy was off work on MLK Day so we took the kids to the zoo. So did the rest of Houston. But we still had fun...even when we were getting on to the kids every 3 seconds. :) We felt it quite necessary to end the trip with treats from Sonic. Because why wouldn't you want to sugar up a bunch of overstimulated kids before you drive back home? Ha!




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And last but not least, have you ever dated someone where you lost interest in them and so every little thing they did bugged you? Well Rick has a friend that I'm assuming was in this type of relationship. I say this because one of the reasons he was considering breaking up with her was because......wait for it........she had a crease on her chest after she woke up in the mornings. I seriously laughed so hard when he told me about it. I mean, come on. Who even notices things like that?! (Except I totally started noticing when I would wake up with one and it started really messing with my head. Thanks a lot, Rick's friend, for fueling a ridiculous insecurity b/c I definitely didn't have enough of those before. Ha!) Well, apparently lots of other people worry about this problem, too, because I saw this advertisement in a magazine the other day. It's a really good thing my boobs disappeared after having kids so I don't have to worry about this dire situation any longer. :)



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Work in Progress

I didn't really make any new year's resolutions this year. Honestly, I'm kind of tired of setting my self up for failure. There are the typical things that I hope to accomplish as we break out the fresh calendar -- like getting more organized, being a better time manager, and getting back in shape. But instead of setting rigid, external goals for myself I'm trying to focus more on some inner heart issues. I've been in a little bit of a funk lately. I know that it's just a hard season. But how many months can I say it's just a hard season before it really becomes a reflection of my character? I seem to have shifted my focus off of the bigger picture of motherhood and my perspective has gotten lost down here in the mud of the trenches. And it shows in big ways. My patience has been paper thin and I've been a giant stress ball of ugliness and while I preach that I never want my circumstances to define me, lately my attitude would tell you otherwise. I hate that I'm letting the frustration and the challenges of this season rob some of my joy, and in turn, some of my family's joy. Over the last several weeks I've been asking God to reveal the specific areas in my life that I need to focus on and discipline myself in. Trust me; there are many, many areas that need attention. But he has repeatedly given me the same one word.

Gentleness.

So that's what I am planning to focus on and work at this year. To be more gentle with the people I love. To be more gentle with people I don't even know. To be more gentle with myself. To be gentle in not only my actions but also in my thoughts. To work on my pride and on my temper (it's going to take a LOT of work). To discipline my children with a loving gentleness instead of anger or impatience or frustration. To lower my expectations of others and even myself and instead offer a little bit more grace.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22-23

You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.  Psalm 18:35

Monday, February 4, 2013

Baby Colt

I got a text from Ashley on Friday night saying that her water had just broken and they were headed to the hospital. About 7 hours later, Colt Jakson made his arrival!

Colt Jakson, 8.0lbs, 19.5in., 2/2/13 at 3:34am

It was very special being a part of both Joel's and Colt's birthdays. I got to be in the room each time and no matter how many times you've witnessed or been through childbirth it is still such an awe-inspiring miracle each time. You know exactly what's going to happen but then when it's happening you just stand there speechless and amazed. We serve a marvelous God!


Friday, February 1, 2013

Is it spring yet?

Every day this week Harrison has asked, Mommy, is it spring yet? He knows t-ball is right around the corner and he can hardly contain his excitement. It's funny because I told him that it's still winter but spring will be here soon and his response was but there's no snow anywhere and the grass is green so how can it be winter? Trying to explain seasons to a boy who only knows Houston climate is a little challenging. :)

But I have to say that we have been thoroughly enjoying our spring-like winter weather lately. After our family has spent the better part of 2013 battling pink eye and ear infections and the oh-so-fun stomach flu that wiped us out one by one, we were getting a little stir-crazy around here (especially a certain mama with expired patience). We have been thankful for the gorgeously sunny and warm afternoons that have allowed us to play in the backyard and ride bikes and take walks to the park. The fresh air has been medicine for us all.


I'm ready to go outside now. I know you said it's too cold and rainy but I put on a hat so suck it up!

Sitting in a laundry basket watching Cinderella for the 1000th time is getting kinda old...and because you've been camped out on the bathroom floor for the last 2 days is no excuse.

Did I mention we've been a little stir-crazy??



Harrison had lots of work to catch up on at his "worksite." He got busy with the construction of his "giant garage tower" and didn't have time to bother with a picture.




It's been so much fun taking him on bike rides. He hops right on and takes off. I'm really not even sure how he learned how to ride a bike because I don't think either one of us taught him. But he's a pro now and he will make sure you know it.

Look, Mom, no hands!




One day he was riding and saw a cat way ahead of us. I don't think the bike had even made it to a complete stop before he had jumped off and was headed towards it...that boy is such an animal lover.

"Hi, kitty! Come here, kitty! Kitty! Kitty! KITTY!

Mommy! A kitty! I love him so very much! Can he pretty please come live in our family?

Harper, however, didn't have the same warm and fuzzy reaction when she saw that ferocious monster of a feline.

Bubba! What are you DOING? Don't you know cats are related to lions and that lions EAT PEOPLE???

How do we back this thing on out of here?!


But after a few minutes of skeptical observation she shocked us all by leaning over and reaching for it! Maybe she's finally coming around? It's probably more likely that she was actually attempting to strangle the poor unsuspecting kitty.


She kept saying, "uh oh! no-no! GO!"

This year is so much easier than the last 3 in terms of playing outdoors. Now both of them are at ages where they can walk and play and I'm not having to worry about chasing a toddler while carrying a baby around. I have a feeling this is going to be a great spring and summer!













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