Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last Weekend

Last Friday Randy and Andrew flew to Dallas to visit Uncle Ryan and see the Steelers and Cowboys game.
So we packed Jack up and he went off to Nanny and Pa's to hang out with his boy cousins and we had a house full of girls!
It was fun!
We ran to the grocery store for some supplies and the little girls wanted to ride on the dragon.
I said, "sure"....because at our house "ride on the dragon" means "pretend to ride."
I NEVER put money in it.  NEVER.  EVER.
So.....the girls were DELIGHTED someone had stuck 2 sets of quarters, 2 Christmas cards,  and 2 candy canes to the side of the dragon. 
They got to actually ride!!! 
Thank you Sweet Secret Santa!
I did make them ride together and share the candy cane so someone else could be blessed. 
They enjoyed it!
Sophie had Meridith over so EVERYONE loved that!

Girls are so much quieter then boys!
They were a treat.
Then Saturday we had basketball practice.

Sophie plays in a much more competitive league.  Last year she dominated.  Not so this year.  A lot of the girls she's playing with have played the competition is fierce!  The goal is higher this year too!  She loves it!
After basketball my brother Matt, and his wife Holly, and their kids came over.  My YOUNG Aunt Amy and her kids came over too. Uncle Matt started out by reading the kids a Christmas story.

Then we got busy decorating cookies!




They were all proud of their masterpieces!
Such a great tradition!

Then it was time for ornaments!

This year we made beaded snowflakes!
What a fun weekend!
After a night of sleepovers and a day of basketball and company we were all pretty tired.
So I gave the kids a box and I sat down and propped up my feet.
They turned the box into a Gingerbread House!
That house has brought a lot of fun this week!
Kids are so imaginative!

Whew....I can't believe it's almost Christmas!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Little Girls Tea

I got to go to another tea party today!!!!
I've decided I really like tea and tea parties!

The little girls did too!
So....I'm thinking I may include tea in my New Year's Resolution.....we shall see!
This tea was so special because each of the kids brought an unwrapped gift to be donated to the Durham Rescue Mission.
They wrapped the gifts at the party and made labels!
Before wrapping the gifts Mrs. Davis talked about the poor and how Jesus treated the poor and how we are to treat the poor.
Such great truth for these girls and their Mama!
Then Christi led the girls in prayer and gave them an opportunity to pray.  She told the girls they could pray for the person that would receive their gift anytime they thought about them.
She said when they saw their gifts under the tree to use it as a reminder to pray for the one that received their gift.
What should they pray?
That they would hear and receive the gospel along with this gift!
Then of course the girls ate!
 There was Fudge
There were Cucumber Sandwiches....Lydia ate 4!
Scones and Oranges
So sweet!
Then of course there was tea!
Three Choices: Nutcracker Suite, Gingerbread, and Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride.
Most of the girls picked the Sugar Cookie
It was so good!
After tea they played a fun M&M game!
Winner takes the M&M's
What fun!
They ended the morning by making a Christmas Card.
My only regret is that Sophie missed out.
She had a basketball game.
She would have loved it!
Her friends asked about her though and that made her day!
Thanks for inviting us Daphne we had a great time!
Today's Christmas Tea felt like it mattered.



Friday, December 21, 2012

Tea Time!

If you see decorated deer you know you must be at Emma's house!
I love her home!
I so anticipate our annual co-op tea party!
I see these ladies each week....but we are always busy working....
The tea is one of the few times that we get to sit, talk, enjoy, and fellowship for an extended period of time.
So many of my most favorite people all together at one time!
Emma knows how to host a tea!

She is English...for real!
I wish you could just hear her talk!
pictured above are:
Emma (standing), Marci, and Pattye
The menu (in part):
Tomato, Egg, Salmon, and Cucumber Tea Sandwiches
Scones with whipped cream and jam
Chicken Salad on crackers.
Cheese and Crackers
Meringues (my favorite)
Pound Cake
Mince Meat Pies
Sausage thingies.....
Ginger cupcakes
Yummy cookies (Hootie Cootie Cook-a-Dotties??)
Sugar Plum Fairy Tea with Sugar Cubes!
Ahhh....I feel like a princess!
Karen, Julie, Lisa, and Rebecca....LOVE these ladies!

Several were missing: Denise, Kay, Sarah, Carolyn, Lorene, and Amy couldn't make it!
Above are Linda, Beatriz, and Pattye.
Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of Aleksandra.
Here is Emma with her mom.
Her parents were visiting from England.
So it was fun to meet them.
They were so cute!

These women are the sisters of my heart.  They labor week in and week out and pour out their time, their money, their knowledge, their educate my children.  I am deeply indebted to each of them.  I am SO happy these women are investing their lives into my children.
They are treasures!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

If you were Gone....

If you were gone I'd miss you.

I would miss the way your eyelashes rest on your cheek when you finally drift off to sleep.
I'd miss singing "Hush Little Baby and You are my Sunshine" every single night.
I would miss how your laugh erupts into peels of joy and everyone around can't help but laugh along.
I would miss the weight of your body as you lean heavy on my shoulder.
I would miss your voice.  I'd miss hearing you rant about politics.  I'd miss your play-by-play of every sporting event.  I'd miss watching You Tube videos with you.

I would miss the slamming doors.  The piles of laundry.  The clatter of dishes.  The mess in the bathroom. The bikes in the yard.  The fingerprints on the wall. The Spills.  The Smudges.  The Stains.  The toys strewn all over the house.

I'd miss your friends.
I'd miss your text messages.
I'd miss you skyping me from the next room.

I would miss your tears.   Your hand pressed into mine.  I'd miss the tangles in your hair.  I'd miss the books I read you.  The shows we watch.  I'd miss driving you to practice.  I'd miss listening to your music.  I'd miss cheering at your games.  I'd miss listening to you perform.  I'd miss watching your recitals.  I'd miss flossing your teeth.  Inspecting your room. Tucking you in.  I'd miss Good morning hugs and goodnight kisses.  High fives.  Thumbs up.  I'd miss reading your papers.  I'd miss your art.  I would miss Candy Land.  Cookie Bars.  Doctor appointments.  Speech.  The Orthodontist.  The dentist.  Co-op.  I'd miss checking your Math. 

I'd miss your fighting and fussing.  I'd miss your whining.  I'd miss you tattling.  I'd miss figuring out whose turn it is to sit up front, take out the trash, feed the dog.  I'd miss reminding you to make your bed, put your dishes in the sink, buckle up, say please and thank you.  I'd miss painting your nails and washing your face. I'd miss cutting your hair and buying you shoes.   I'd miss trimming your fingernails and cleaning your ears.  I'd even miss reminding you that shoes go in the shoe closet, to give me a hug, and to wear a jacket. 

I'd miss making your breakfast.  Packing your lunch.  Cooking you dinner.  I'd miss sorting your clothes.  I'd miss bedtime prayers.  I'd miss birthdays and stockings and valentines.  I'd miss finding a babysitter.  I'd miss memory verses.  I'd miss trying to help you find the purple vitamin.  I would miss hearing you play the recorder.  I'd miss those big blue eyes and wide smiles.  I'd miss the way you love so fully. 

Being your mom is the pleasure of my life.
Heartbroken for any parent who loses a child.
Prayers for the families in Connecticut.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Big Week

It has been a good, busy, full, week.  It started out with a visit to the Rehabilitation Center my Granny has spent the better part of two months in.  She had just gotten out at the end of November and fell and broke her she has been back.  It was good to have a visit with her and I think she enjoyed seeing all the kids and they enjoyed making cards to decorate her room. I am hoping we will make it over tomorrow for another visit!

One big highlight of the week was that we (me, Randy, and the whole crew) got to have lunch with one of our most favorite people in the world, Shay!  That was a treat and the kids were all so happy to see him.  He of course loaded them up with candy and sent them on their way.  I have a feeling he's going to be good at this grandpa thing!

Then of course we've been busy with school.  That always fills our WHOLE day.  We had speech.  We had dance lessons, basketball practices, guitar lessons......Andrew had the driving part of drivers ed.  He did great!  Can't believe he's going to be DRIVING soon!  We had friends over and basketball games....We got to visit with my parents....which was very nice..AND I somehow managed to fit in exercising!!!!   I've also been lugging wet laundry to my mother-in-laws....because my poor dryer is STILL broken...but praise the Lord the part arrived and the repair man is coming in the morning!  I've been cleaning like a crazy woman and cooking because we decided to host Home Fellowship at our house.  CRAZY....but it was good.  It gave folks a window into our lives and let me be vulnerable which is a good thing.  It went well and we somehow managed to fit everyone inside....and it was a BIG group.  Had to be around 35 people.  It was cozy!  What a blessing this fellowship has been and we are starting to feel a part of the group.  I really like these people.  Thank you Lord!

I FINALLY went Christmas shopping.  I have put it off this year.  Not done....but at least I finally started. 

AND.....Another highlight of the week was that we joined First Baptist Durham on Sunday and it became official on Wednesday.   It was a special time for our family.  After meeting with an elder for lunch after church one Sunday and having a chance to ask questions we decided, after prayer and conversation, to proceed with membership.  We attended a membership weekend, which was fun and informative.  Then we had an interview and a chance to share our testimony and about our walk with the Lord with an elder.  Finally, we were presented to the congregation and as the congregation read the covenant we signed the covenant.  It was a sweet moment. 
FBC Church Covenant
Having been led as we believe by the Spirit of God to receive the Lord Jesus
Christ as our Lord and Savior, and
On the profession of our faith, having been baptized in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,
We do now in the presence of God and this assembly most solemnly
and joyfully enter into covenant with one another as one body in Christ.
We engage, therefore, by the aid of the Holy Spirit to walk together in
Christian love;
To strive for the advancement of this church in knowledge, holiness, and comfort;
To promote its prosperity and spirituality; to sustain its worship, ordinances,
doctrines, and discipline;
To give it sacred preeminence over all institutions of human origin;
To contribute cheerfully and regularly to the support of the ministry, the
expenses of the church, the relief of the poor, and the spread of the
gospel through all nations.
We also engage to maintain family and personal devotions; to religiously
educate our children; to seek the salvation of our kindred and acquaintances;
To walk circumspectly in the world; to be just in our dealings, faithful in our
engagements, and exemplary in our deportment;
To avoid all tattling, backbiting, and excessive anger;
To use our influence to combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol and the spread
of pornography and other practices which lead to moral and spiritual decay;
And to be zealous in our efforts to advance the kingdom of our Savior.
We further engage to watch over one another in brotherly love;
To remember one another in prayer; to aid one another in sickness and
distress; to cultivate Christian sympathy in feeling and Christian courtesy in speech;
To be slow to take offense, but always ready for reconciliation and mindful of
the rules of our Savior to secure it without delay.
We moreover engage that when we remove from this place we will as soon as
possible unite with some other church where we can carry out the
spirit of this covenant and the principles of God’s Word.


Love this!  So excited to covenant with this body. 
Then Wednesday night at the members meeting they voted to accept our membership.  YEAH!!!!

So needless to say it has been a busy week.  It has been full.  It has been good.  And it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Monthly Weight Update....

It's that time again....The Great Weight Update!!! 

Welp, Randy has been plugging along.  He had a small bump while on the cruise but jumped right back into his good eating and exercise when we got back.  He is now down 65 pounds!!!!   He's been at it for 25 weeks.  He's averaging 2.6 pounds per week.  Woot-Woot!  He is looking mighty fine!  He exercises ALL. THE. TIME!  He works out for 42 minutes and burns around 850 calories.  He is much better at exercising then I am.  His biggest excitement was that he reached his first goal this week.....He is no longer obese (according to the BMI chart) he is now overweight!!!!  Yeah Randy!

I'm still at it too.  I am sooooooo excited that I FINALLY passed the 50 pound mark! That has been a big goal for me.   I've lost 53 pounds total now.  I've been on the plan for 26 weeks.  I'm averaging  2.04 pounds a week.  YEAH!!!  I exercise about 5 days a week.  Sometimes 6.  I workout 30 minutes and burn about 410 calories. 

So together that is 118 pounds!  We are getting close to an Andrew!  We are both excited Christmas is near because we both don't fit in our clothes anymore....which is a nice problem to have!

I'm trying to stay really focused over Christmas with all the parties, celebrations, gatherings, and recitals....and not overeat!  My holiday plan is to focus on the people and the events and not the food.  I'm also going to try to be extra faithful in my workout because that gives me a little more freedom with my eating. 

This morning my kids were messing on their Leap-Pads and started freaking out because they found some pictures of me before I lost weight.  Oh. My. Word!  I may have to post some before and midway photos for your viewing pleasure next month.  WOW!  I don't think I realized how big I had gotten.  I still have a LOOOONNNG way to go.....but looking at that picture I realize how far I have come.  WOW!

Anyway, Hope I don't bore you...but knowing I'm going to update my blog each month helps keep me motivated and accountable. 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Deck the Halls

I can't believe it is already Christmas!
We are all decked out!
I love decorating.
I love spending time with families and friends.
Usually I'm really into traditions, events, shopping.
This year I'm not.
I am still excited about Christmas.
I'm just irritated by how commercial it is....really, really irritated.
However I'm trying to get in the Christmas spirit so I thought I'd do a little Christmas blog.
I've done like NO Christmas activities this it's strange. 
BUT I am really enjoying the peace in letting go.
One tradition we have and will be continuing this year is decorating cookies and ornaments with the Crabtree cousins....Here are some of our creations from years past:
The buttons ornaments
Candy Canes

Decorate it yourself plastic ornaments


I love the hand print snowmen we made a few years ago!
There was also the year of tinsel covered jingle bell cups.....thankfully none of mine survived!
They were a MESS!
Sweet memories with our cousins!

Here are a few of my favorite ornaments
Matthew's Ornament!
I'm so glad it was it won't break!
We bought it the Christmas I was pregnant with him in anticipation of his first Christmas!
So glad I have this treasure!
I also love my teacher ornaments!
I know most teachers probably get sick of them because they have so many.....but I only have a few so I really like them!

Love these.  A sweet mom of one of my son's friends made them for me a few years ago.
A whole set and each one is different!
Such talent!

This is the extent of my sewing skills. 
A felt Christmas pillow I made last year.
My very favorite decoration is our tree stand.
I got it several years ago at an after Christmas sale for a steal!
It is a PAIN!  But I love it!
I got this nativity the same year....
The real reason for the season!
Now that is something to celebrate!
And of course our advent wreath and our crooked candles! 
 They got a bit beat up in the attic heat!
Oh well...they still work!
Hope you all are enjoying this wonderful season!

Friday, December 7, 2012

A BIG Lesson

I have learned something this a heart level.  Like REALLY learned it.  This is it....God allows what he does for our good and his glory.  I would have told you this was true 15 years ago.  I have known this intellectually for a long time.  But this week it hit me.  I really got it.

I wasn't planning on an epiphany this week.  I wasn't thinking about Matthew this week.  But the Lord is still healing my heart.  I thought I had learned all the lessons from the chapter of my life called Matthew.....I guess not.

I knew God allowed Matthew to die.  I knew he had a plan in it.  I knew his plan was good. His fingerprints were ALL over the situation.   I knew he would be glorified in it.  HOWEVER......I realized this week that God thought it out.  He didn't just make it good after the fact. He didn't JUST bring beauty from the ashes.  He allowed the fire in my life.  He prepared it in advance.  He actually weighed it and measured it and decided in his love to allow it.  He said yes.  Allowed it.  He portioned out what was good for me.  Not only because he IS good...and he is......but because it was good for me, and as hard as it WAS for my good.  At one point this would have made me angry....but now it just humbles me.  He is real and he is aware and involved in the intricate details of my life and he cares.  He thinks about me.  He plans for me.  He decides what is best for me.  That is love.

He is amazing and he is good.  He cares about the details...and portions out just what is good....measures it out....says I will allow this much....and not an ounce more.....and it is out of his goodness and it is part of his plan.  He did not wave his magic wand over our heartache to make the bad stuff good....but wrote out his plan for my life and he orchestrates the heartache because it WAS good for US.

What a wonderful Savior!

(If you don't know what I'm talking about you can read about Matthew here)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

An Amazing Product has been BUSY around here!  Coming back from vacation is hard work!!! 

Reality has hit hard and there has just not been a lot of time for blogging!  I jump up around 5:00 and it has seriously been NONSTOP!

To complicate matters my dryer is broken.  Tragic I know!  Praise the Lord I am able to use my Mother-in-laws who lives nearby.  To complicate matters even more Randy and I decided to invite our Home Fellowship group over on Sunday.  The lady who usually hosts is celebrating her birthday and asked if someone else would host.  There was a long pause and then Randy looked at me....and I nodded.  So I'm pretty excited about having everyone over....but I'm not the neatest person in the world so I'm pretty nervous about all the work I have to do!!!

Well....I didn't log on to write about this....the reason I really logged on is to tell you about the most awesome video I found for Sophie.  Sophie has REALLY struggled with memorizing the times tables.  Which is very common for kids with dyslexia.  Sophie understands multiplication.  Sophie can figure out the problems, she just has to count by whatever she is multiplying.  So it takes a long time and it is very frustrating for her.  She just can't memorize them!  We drill them all the time.  Nothing seemed to help.  Rote memory is just really difficult for kids with dyslexia.  So.....I kept researching for ideas and I found it!  It is a video called Times Tales.  If you know anyone who struggles with multiplication RUN  to the store and buy it.  It is genius.  It has taught her to multiply in less then 2 hours by watching a video over two separate days. I've been trying for about 2 years to accomplish the same results! It is unreal.  I am so crying happy!  It attacks multiplication in a TOTALLY different way.  It makes it memorable and relevant by making it very visual and attaching meaning to multiplication.  It really has changed her life  Not in the salvation sense....but definitely in the day to day sense  YEAH!
I do think it would benefit her to watch it again as review.....but honestly I am amazed!

So why am I telling you this?  Because if you teach or you have a child who struggles with multiplication or you sometimes can't remember a few of the tricky this video!  Save yourself years of frustration.  Your child CAN memorize the multiplication tables and if  you have a left brained child.....this may just be the key!

and no I don't sell this, know anyone who sells it, profit from this in any way.....I just am THRILLED with the results....and of course it was created by moms!  That makes it even better :)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Vacation Part 3

So here is a closer look at some of the details of the trip....
The Disney Cruise Oceaneer Club is the BOMB!
The kids would BEG to go back!
They had so much fun!
Jack loved Woody's Room!

Lydia LOVED the dance floor!

They had air hockey.

They had movies.  They played games.  They cooked.  They built volcano's.  They made crafts.
Such a great time!
The teenagers had their own cool hangout!
Their own pool.
Tons of electronics.
A DJ class. 
Special off boat excursions.
Andrew met lots of people.  He had a great time.

We met ALL the princesses!

Love my little piggies!
They ate WAY too much ice cream!

They met ALL the characters!
I think that was Audrey's favorite part!

Radu spoiled us.  He knew we (Tyler and I) liked lots of ketchup and splenda.
He also knew everybody's drink order by the last night and had our drinks waiting for us.

The two little girls and TL got to go to the Bibbity Bobbity Botique!
Thank you Grammy and Pepaw!
They had so much fun
and they really did look like little princesses!
They also got to have breakfast in Cinderella's castle!

While dining all the princesses stopped by for autographs and pictures!
What a special time!
The girls looked so pretty.
As we walked around the park the girls were gushed over.
 They were told OVER and OVER and OVER again how pretty they were.
We live in a society that REALLY values beauty.
It was almost as if they were more valued because of how they looked.
I want my girls to know that they are beautiful because they are created by a brilliant creator. 
I want them to know that they are valuable because God made them. 
I do not want them to find their identity in how they look. 
 I do not want them to live for the approval of others. 
The other thing I noticed was how EVERY little girl looked at them.
Some looked and were happy.  Some looked and were sad.
It made me sad.
I'm so happy my girls got to play princess for the day.
I just wish every single little girl in the world could feel like a princess for just one day!
I really do.
But all fairy tales must come to an end!
And the aftermath is sometimes a bit messy!
Love my little princess.
Now as a footnote. 
We spent a week and a half being catered to and spoiled.
And I most certainly do NOT want spoiled children.
So the grandparents did their job and my children (and I) thoroughly enjoyed it.
Now it is time for Mama to do her job.
I have made it my mission to remind them that the world does not revolve around them.
So since we have been home....there has been a lot of school, a lot of cleaning, and lot of extra responsibilities.  We have also spent a lot of thinking of ways to serve others.
It is not about us!
I do not want bratty children.
Beauty really is skin deep but ugly (attitudes) are to the bone!