Monday, June 24, 2013

Furniture Update & the Random Happenings

For various reasons, we have been playing outside a lot this summer.  I've had my little furniture project to handle (more on that in a moment) and plus, if you're inside with a boy who is done with naps (for the most part),then you cannot stay inside all day.  I don't mean that he can't stay inside.  I mean, that I, personally, cannot stay inside all day long cooped up in the house.  Even if I lived in a 50 million square foot house, it might be too small for the both of us at some point in the day.  James has been LOVING his tractor - as soon as we go outside he drives it from the garage into the backyard, and it has all of my sandpaper/furniture scraper tools/drinks for outside/anything else we need in it in the trailer.  Sometimes he "mows the grass" if Daddy hasn't been able to get to it that week, and lately, he's been lining up his other toys in front of it and pushing them all at once with the front of the tractor.  He loves it.  This is an outfit from Cracker Barrel (now, don't be so shocked).  He had the 2T and now he has the 3T - I cannot remember which set of grandparents gave us which size, but I think both sets covered him with this outfit last year and this year.  Not sure how visible this is, but James started pulling back out these older Toy Story crocs and wearing them every single day.  They are too small to wear with the strap on the back, so he has to wear the strap pulled up on the front.  They have fuzzy stuff inside - like for winter - and the fuzziness does not come out.  I noticed a week or two ago that there was an awfully nasty smell going around everywhere we went.  Then I's those shoes.  The smell TERRIBLE.  I have tried to get him t trade them in for the Scooby's that actually fit and don't have fuzzies inside, but once his mind is made up, you can forget it.  Finally, I ordered him a new pair of Toy Story crocs in his current size and WITHOUT FUZZY STUFF inside, and they should be here tomorrow.  Thank goodness because I cannot quit gagging over those things.  Zappos is a great website to order shoes from.  Landon needed some new flip flps and ordered on it, and then I found the Toy Story crocs on it (the crocs website was out of his size in them).  And, you can return for free.  How about that? Convenient.  Anyway, it will be a happy moment when those shoes come tomorrow.
Alright, so here's an update on my furniture. I'm done. D O N E.  That's just it.  I did the chair awesome, then did the round table and two end tables pretty well, and the couch and final end table, well, they are just okay.  I asked Landon yesterday in the car if he thought I could be done with them.  He said, "I'm not sure.  I'll have to look at them to see what I think."  Then I realized.  I don't care.  I don't care what he thinks about it.  I don't care what anyone thinks about it.  I'm just done with them.  I'm ready to paint them, and you know what? Guess?  I don't care.  I am a finisher of projects.  I am not someone who starts things and doesn't finish them - especially if it's something that is basically junking up the backyard.  That, I especially cannot stand.  So, I'm ready to paint.  I'm assuming I can spray paint this stuff - wait, let me rephrase.  I'm planning to spray paint this furniture.  If there are pieces of paint that still chip off, then I'll have extra paint and will spray paint over them every time a piece chips off.  I need to head to Wal-Mart to investigate this next phase of my project.  So...painting should happen sometime this week - even in the midst of VBS, I am hoping - and I will be one step closer!  Whoo-hoo!

James has been big into this slip and slide that I bought at a consignment sale a while back.  The problem: he doesn't want to wear his clothes when he plays in the water.  Finally, yesterday, I looked and he had taken every bit of his clothing off.  Not even his underwear was on.  I just had to shake my head and keep moving on with my furniture scraping. I knew if the neighbors came out into the backyard that I would have to take him inside for some clothes, but until then I just let his little naked behind run around in the water.

 Grammie has sent a couple of funny things for James lately.  One is this preschool workbook that she wrote her name and GatorPa and James and Katie's on the animals...which cracks me up.  Then, she sent James a Scooby Doo magazine and me a little Betty Crocker cookbook.  When I thanked her by text for the little package with the magazine and cookbook, she responded, "Well, the cookbook's not that great."  HAHA.  This cracked me up - well, thanks for sending it then :)  I think no matter what your age, you are always excited to get something in the mail (that is not a bill!!).

AND, Great Grandma and Great Grandpa sent James the sweetest card in the mail with some money!  He was so excited!
Last night we went to Nicole Bramlett's wedding.  It was just precious. It is so fun to go to a wedding when you can obviously see the bride and groom are Jesus followers and sincerely desire to have that kind of marriage.  It was sweet.  We missed Jeanette though!  Jeanette...don't think we are going to let you stay there to live!!!!  We miss you too much here!
Colossal Coaster World VBS starts at church this week.  Here's James and me before church yesterday.  We are EXCITED!  We hope LOTS of kids come to hear about who can give them LIFE!
We went to Monterrey like usual yesterday for lunch with some of our favorite friends, and James and Ava lined the chairs up like this out on the patio (we were the only people sitting out there).  I thought it was really funny - and strange.  
And for my last thought.  So, one of my favorite new things about our van is that I could load some pictures of us in to be a wallpaper screen - isn't that awesome??  Well, wouldn't you know it, James HATES it.  I don't know why.  Why does he care?  Who knows, but I just know that every time that screen is on, he screams and freaks out about putting the "black" screen is crazy.  So, for some reason, he hates to see pictures of our family.  Just fantastic.  
It's going to be a busy week, and we are READY!  More VBS preparation today and then starting tomorrow...Colossal Coaster World!

Friday, June 21, 2013

James' Special 3rd Birthday

Well, I was trying not to upload too many pictures for this post, but I just couldn't help it!  It's been a LONG but wonderful day.  I was awakened this morning about 5:30am when James started talking in his room, and since he's not in a pull up anymore, I was afraid he was going to wet the bed.  So...I busted my sleepy self up in there and helped him sit on the potty.  I could see he was not that interested in going back to bed (since it's light getting a little light outside then), so I let him come into our room and sleep for a couple more hours with us.  While he was going potty this morning at 5:30 am he said, "Is today my birthday?"  Seriously?  That was the very first thought he had this morning.  He slept until around 7:30, and I had 3 little presents wrapped for him that were up against the wall in our room.  He sits up and sees those, and says, "Those are my birthday presents."  We headed into the living room to open them up...

 Then (Of course), we headed to Cracker Barrel to eat breakfast.  Ms. Kathy asked me a few days ago if we were going to bring James in on his birthday, and I told her, sure, we'd be there for breakfast.  I was SHOCKED when I saw what Rosemarie and Kathy had done for him.  They had a new Buzz Lightyear for him (which was AWESOME), a Buzz and Woody spin around thingie, and a Woody bouncy balloon.  Oh, and a cupcake that he ate ALL of the icing off of!

 Then, we moved on to Dr. Cohen's office for James' GI checkup.  That went great, except that we had to wait forever which resulted in a near nervous breakdown for me since James is rarely still - especially in a waiting room situation...
 Got milkshakes on the way home...
 THEN, we went to his first movie today.  He thought people were going to come out on the stage like the Dolphin Show at the aquarium.  He actually sat through the entire movie, Monsters University!  I think Landon was about to have his own nervous breakdown over how loud James talked though if he wanted to tell us something.  Landon kept saying, "Can you please talk quieter?"  And James would say, "No, I cannot."  It cracked me up.
 We finished the day at Krispy Kreme, so we basically (well, not basically, just truthfully) have had nothing but JUNK today.  BUT, it was sure a fun day.
I obviously never could have known what an incredible blessing a child would be.  I am so grateful for the gift God gave us by allowing us to be his parents.  Praying for many more years of great health for sweet baby James as he continues to grow into a "big big man" (his words). 


I had the opportunity to join a summer book club.  I decided to go for it, despite traveling lots of July and summer busy-ness. Right now we are reading the book Fearless, by Max Lucado.  Fear is something I've struggled with off and on (mostly on) - and it's my biggest "go to" when things feel out of control or new or I'm backed in a corner.  In the chapter I'm in now, I loved this one little paragraph so much, that I wanted to share it.

And to preface it, I was thinking especially about this while I was meeting with my Journey ladies last night.  Ladies who are going through really tough times of unfaithfulness in their marriages - the kind of times where it's the first thing you wake up thinking about in the morning and the last thing you think about when you go to sleep.  The kinds of times where you've cried in every room of your house all in the same day - the way that cancer rocks someone's world, or a tornado, or a deformity.  Here's what Max says.

Do any of these moments serve a purpose?  They do if we see them from an eternal perspective.  What makes no sense in this life will make perfect sense in the next.  I have proof:  you in the womb. 

I know you don't remember this prenatal season, so let remind you what happened during it.  Every gestation day equipped you for your earthly life.  Your bones solidified, your eyes developed, the umbilical cord transported nutrients into your growing frame....for what reason?  So you might remain enwombed?  Quite the contrary.  Womb time equipped you for earth time, suited you up for your postpartum existence.

Some prenatal features went unused before birth.  You grew a nose but didn't breathe.  Eyes developed, but could you see?  Your tongue, toenails, and crop of hair served no function in your mother's belly.  But aren't you glad you have them now?

Certain chapters in this life seem so unnecessary, like nostrils on the preborn.  Suffering.  Loneliness.  Disease.  Holocausts.  Martyrdom.  Monsoons.  If we assume this world exists just for pregrave happiness, these atrocities disqualify it from doing so.  But what if this world is the womb?  Might these challenges, severe as they may be, serve to prepare us, equip us for the world to come? As Paul wrote, "These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing" (2 Cor. 4:17 CEV).

Did you ever watch Seinfeld?  If you did (which we still watch reruns), remember how Kramer used to react sometimes?  When someone said something that was shocking or when he opened the door to Jerry's apartment, remember how he would like shake his head and body all!!!!!  That's how I felt when I read, "but what if this world is the womb?".  We've got it all wrong.  We've got it all backwards - including myself most of the time, and I allow fear to rob me of the peace I could have in the here and now. 

In another book I loved, the author referred to this life as if we were a flower, and this part of our life is the bulb part down in the bottom under the soil.  We have NO CONCEPT of the beautiful flower in the next life - just that it's all dark in this one and we cannot find a purpose for many things.

I have thought of this sentence every single day since reading it.  Could be life changing, if I'm not too fearful to allow it in.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cooking 2 Nights = A Domestic Goddess :)

Well, what is this world coming to?  I have cooked two nights in a row AND made a pecan pie on Sunday afternoon.  Just call, who? Like the Little House on the Prairie lady, oh wait, no, June Cleaver.  Just call me June :) I've never been a huge fan of pecan pie, but after Cracker Barrel introduced their chocolate pecan pie (or whatever it is), I started sliding down the slippery slope.  I decided to make one Sunday afternoon in an attempt to do something special for Landon.  Vanilla ice cream is a must have with this pie.  It is Gooooood. 
It's been a busy and good week so far.  Just regular stuff.  Looking forward to eating lunch with one of our favorite people today and looking forward to playing with sweet Ella and Ava this morning at our house (I've got to get off my tail in a minute and get that kitchen cleaned up or Lacey may take one look and start screaming and running back to her car with her kids). 
Yesterday afternoon, I was working, and James was laying with his Geotrax in the floor.  He kept bringing the bridges to me and wanting me to cover them with Landon's socks (just out of the dryer...a day ago - ha).  I tried to help him do it, but the bridges are wide, and I could just see Landon up on the platform trying to preach with socks around his ankles because I let James pull and stretch Landon's socks over all his Geotrax bridges.  I tried to get him to get a blanket and cover them up.
He then said to me, "God said the people of the Lord don't do that." I'm sorry, what???  It's like, how do you respond to that.  You just don't.  I just shook my head and moved on, knowing next Sunday, the socks would be around Landon's ankles.
Another funny thing - you just never know what's going to come out of his mouth now.  My good friend, Malissa, from work, had taken a fabulous trip to France (I think) and brought back a little bottle of lotion for me.  That bottle has been sitting on our baker's rack for um, a year maybe?  I keep thinking when I am in the car that I NEED some lotion, and I keep trying to remember to throw that little bottle in, because I know it is great lotion.  I pulled it out yesterday and put some on.  James (of course) wanted some, as well.  I gave him some and then smelled my hands and said, "Oh my goodness, this smells so good - like lemon."  Then he smelled his hands and said, "Oh my goodness, this smell like poop.  Dog poop."  WHAT?  It clearly did not. Ha.  So, sorry, Malissa, about the really nice lotion you brought me from France - it's going in the van, and I think it's wonderful and lemony, but James thinks it's basically dog poop.  I have no clue what's going to come out of his mouth at any point in time.
Finally, we made a big transition last night.  When James turned 2 last summer, we switched him to the toddler bed (took the front of his crib off and put the little bar up on the side).  The way our house is laid out, James room and our room are side by side down a little hallway by the garage.  I could not stand it when he first had the freedom of being loose because he would come out of his room and stand in he hall, and Landon and I would be watching tv.  I could sense his presence in the hall.  It seriously creeped me out.  I could not look up and would say to Landon, "He's there.  I know he's here."  And then, sure enough, he would peek around the corner and be out of his bed.  Very quickly, I could see that I was losing my sanity (which is a quick trip) and so we tried putting a gate up in front of his door.  This has been FANTASTIC.  We've had it up all year, and now, this week, James turns 3.  He's started this new thing where if I get on to him, he runs to his room and slams his gate and shuts his door.  I get that he needs a minute alone and I don't care about that, but because of the gate, the door won't shut quite right and he's slamming that door over and over trying to get it to shut.  Just.  No.  I cannot take that.  I can't take anything happening in the house where it's like we are destroying, I took the gate down.  I explained that he was welcome to close the door if he wanted just a minute alone when he was upset (but not lock it and NOT slam it).  He was SO UPSET about taking that gate down.  Landon tried to explain to him that "Daddy is a big big man and doesn't have a gate in front of his door, and James is getting to be a big big man too so he doesn't have a gate at his door."  So, we made it through night 1 fine.  I am just waiting for the moment though that I have heard about from so many parents - the moment where you wake up and your kid is in your face just staring at you.  Um, yikes.  I will be at the funny farm if that happens.  So, it's a new day.  No gate and complete freedom.  Better make sure the garage is shut and all the deadbolts are locked or that bro will be out at the street.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Goodness.  I have so many thoughts today about my own dad, my Grandpa on probably his last Father's Day, and Landon. 
We did a few gifts for Landon after church and lunch - that's how we have to roll at the preacher's house :)  James was so excited to help Landon with his cards and presents!
 A tile with James' handprint he made in preschool before summer specifically for Father's Day.  He said on a card that the thing he loved most about his daddy was that "he wrestles with me".

 And, Landon desperately needed a new ipad cover, so that's what he got.  Just looking at this picture makes me smile.  I am really blessed.

 Speaking of blessed, this picture below is Grandma and Grandpa with all three of their sons today.  Grandpa's health is continuing to decline, and it was such a blessing to see them last week when I was home for the day. 
 We ran to the mall this afternoon for some stuff, and some people stopped me while walking through the mall and were just laughing and laughing at what James had on.  I said, "Um, yeah, so I'm that mom who lets her child wear whatever in the world he wants to in public...".  They just laughed.

I am so thankful for my own daddy - for He and Momma introducing me to Jesus, but also for the integrity of his life.  I have never, ever questioned his word.  I have never ever questioned what I would find it I was looking for something in his chest of drawers or glove compartment in his car.  He is a man of integrity, and I am so thankful for this example and the trust I can put in him because of the way he's living his life.  Makes me think of one of my favorite verses that begins with, "A man of integrity walks securely," in Proverbs.  I am so thankful for James' daddy, my husband, for the integrity in his life and for the genuine LOVE and QUALITY TIME he spends with James.  Being a dad is a special and VERY HARD job.  So thankful!

The Van Buying Experience

Well, first of all, James downloaded an app to make Care Bears postcards - ha.  This cracks me up. 
So, we bought a van.  Every time I say this it reminds me of...We bought a know, that movie?  We had hoped the Murano (well, orange car, as James calls it) was going to make it one more year with us.  It would have been 10 next year, and I mean, we were hanging in with it.  We have loved that car and put some serious miles on it.  Anyway, we just spent a ton of money doing some work on it around Christmastime.  Then, a few weeks ago, we found out that more was wrong with it - like a couple of thousand dollars, it was time to make a decision.  Thankfully, we had the flexibility to go ahead and make the decision.  Landon and I were stuck between the Honda Odyssey (my choice) and the Nissan Quest (Landon's choice).
For our first trips into the dealerships, we were alone, and I joked about why in the world there was a kid play room and why in the world parents would bring young children in while they were trying to make a decision like serious.  Well, I get why now.  We had asked Carolyn to help with James so many times while we looked, that we had to bring him with us finally!  It was getting ridiculous!!  So, we got our new free Netflix trial (we had canceled Netflix a few months ago and they wanted to get us back and gave us a free trial), and got ready for the Scooby Doo's.  James was FANTASTIC.  Oh my heavens.  Speaking of Scooby Doo's, could someone please just tell me what is the deal with the two different Scooby's that are on the cartoon network.  From what I gather, the one that I DVR for James, What's New Scooby Doo, is more like what I'm all about.  BUT, just so you know, there is another one called, Scooby Doo, Mystery Incorporated, and it is like a sort of "adult" Scooby Doo.  They have shady outfits on (revealing) and adult sort of conversations, and it is not cool.  Well, of course, that's the one Netflix has.  Not cool. That was an aside.
It was a very long day, but we finally decided on the Honda Odyssey.  It was what I wanted all along - loved all those safety features and rating - and Landon let me go ahead and get it.  He still wanted the Nissan, but we rock, paper, scissored for the final decision and that was it.
Here we are celebrating after leaving the dealership about 10pm. Sometimes you gotta do fun stuff.  James is pretty upset about orange car going away, even though he does like the van.  He keeps saying, "orange car was sick, but I will go back to that dealership and get it."  
So, the van is our newest member of the family and will hopefully be here to stay the next 10 years or so.  I am thankful!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Retirement...Or is it?

What an exciting week this past week!  I am sitting here on the couch, exhausted, and as I reflect back on this past week to write this post, I am SHOCKED that I am even still alive - ha.  No wonder I am tired!  My mom had a retirement luncheon at her school this past Monday.  I knew the big day was coming (retirement), but I was so unsure about how to celebrate this huge accomplishment.  My mom is not someone who desires to be out front and "noticed" :).  I knew she would not like a reception or party in her honor.  Then, she told me the school was doing a luncheon for the 4 retiring teachers.  BAM.  I knew that's what we had to get in on.  This past Monday morning, I got up at 4:40am and was leaving my driveway at 5:04am headed to Crestview.  I arrived in plenty of time for the luncheon to meet Matt and Krista and Dad and got to surprise my mom!  It was really exciting!  I had been avoiding calling her for several weeks because I didn't want to accidentally spill the news and I was so excited that I was going to get to see my family. 
My momma is special for a million different reasons, but let me just focus on some things I know from my childhood.  She juggled a family and a more than full time career incredibly.  She was always at every important event I had, she made pancakes made out of shapes on Saturday morning (Mickey Mouse!), and she took me to the public library every week to check out books.  I remember what seems like millions of afternoons in her classroom after coming from the elementary school and playing Oregon Trail, Number Munchers, and some kind of spelling game on like the first computer ever.  She has been an incredible teacher.  You have no clue how many times I have rolled my eyes when we have seen one of her past students in public and she not only remembers the person's name but remembers his or her family, and all this other stuff, and genuinely wants to know all about their entire life while I waited annoyed in the wings.  :)  That's a sincere teacher.  Pre-planning and Post-planning days?  Those were just a suggestion because Momma didn't always know when they began and ended - she always had more work to do and was up at the school or working at home whenever she needed to.  I can't even begin to fathom how many essays she has graded or sentences she has checked the diagramming on. 
I have a really thoughtful momma.  For all important events, or sometimes for no reason at all, Mom would write notes or have little gifts or posters for Krista and me.  The main one I remember was the day I left for UF.  When I walked out of my room that morning, there was a trail of UF confetti from my room, down the stairs, through the hall, out the door, and into my car :)  It was really special.  She has a huge gift of thoughtfulness.  Krista and I thought we'd turn the tables on her and make HER some special posters.  Here are a few:

p.s. James made the blue one above, and I realize it looks a little like a serial killer might have designed it - haha, nope, just an almost 3 year old made that for his Grammie!

It was fantastic! Such a special time for our family and duh, for Mom, especially.   I headed back to Atlanta Tuesday morning at 7am. It was SO WORTH THE TRIP.  And, I am really thankful for Landon watching James so that I could go!!!! 
Now what will Mom do?  She may help out some at Wise Equipment...which is so busy that it is like a black abyss of never getting out :)  Praying she will have wisdom with the decision to work with Jim Wise (haha!).

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Odds & Ends

Just some fun pictures from this last week.  I got James out of the car at Wal-Mart and saw that he had this on.  HAHA.  It cracks me up.  The last three Sundays he has not fought me at all as far as what I wanted him to wear - yay!  Making progress!!  However, he does still go to Wal-Mart dressed as Woody :)
I am pretty much obsessed with birthday cake pops from Starbucks.  If the Starbucks I am at doesn't have them, I literally have driven to the next closest one to see if they have them.  I had to trade in my white chocolate mocha for a mocha Frappuccino now that it's hot outside...
We had the sweetest family over the other night for dinner.  You know how they say when you are operating within your strengths that you know it because you feel like you have energy and could do whatever you are doing for hours and not even realize it?  (this is something I learned at work from Marcus Buckingham)  This is how I feel when we have families over that we want to get to know better.  We don't do it often enough, but this family on Wednesday night is just PRECIOUS, and although we have known them fairly well for quite awhile, I am praying God is going to grow our friendship more and more - Jeremy and Heather have two children, a boy around James' age, Jackson, and a little girl, Emma, who is about to start kindergarten in the fall.  God has blessed us with some incredible young families at Bethabra - so much potential for His Kingdom!!!

 And you know, some of our very favorite friends are the Wakeman's.  I don't think there's a family that is just closer to our heart here than they are!  I don't know what it is...I mean, I can think of many reasons, but regardless, they are just a great blessing and encouragement to us.  I LOVE THEM (if you couldn't tell).  They are about to go see Jeanette's parents for a while, and so we went over on Friday night to celebrate Addie's 1st birthday.  Look at that sweet, sweet girl!

 AND, my porch furniture saga continues.  Carolyn offered to make the cushions for me, so I decided to take her up on it (since if I bought them cushions and had them made it was going to cost between $400 and $500.  Seriously.  That's what happens when you don't have a standard size couch.  Yikes.  Anyway, we picked out the cutest material in Hobby Lobby and got everything CAROLYN needs :) to make the cushions!  I am so excited.  Now I've got to finish chipping the rest of the paint off.  My goal was going to be to have that finished at the end of this past week, but it didn't happen.  I guess I will give myself until the end of this next week as a new goal - yuck. 

I am so privileged to serve alongside Landon at Bethabra.  It is such a blessing to be on the platform with him some Sunday mornings while I play and he preaches, or like today, plays the guitar.  I shake my head in amazement at the plan God had for my life...and wonder what else He has up His sleeve!!?  It can be a challenge many times, but I am so thankful for sweet times that the Father encourages me and gives me such contentment and excitement about serving.  We are a good balance.  We were driving down the road today, and I have gotten my feelings hurt because of something that's happened, and I was trying to tell Landon that I needed to message that person and basically, back them in a corner so that they would have to at least face us to talk to us (I know, I'm not always the nicest person...).  I aways can respect people if they at least hurt you to your face...that behind the back stuff is bad news to me.  Landon talked me off the ledge - and helped me see that hurting them back or trying to get more answers from them would only hurt us more.  God sees.  He knows.  He's sufficient to take care of us.  He is so good to me.   

AND, thankful for my parents today. They are celebrating 39 years of marriage.  They still gross me out sometimes when Mom sits on Dad's lap...yikes.  However, as I get older, I am SO THANKFUL for the example they've been to me.  They have sure given me a wonderful example of a godly marriage - shown me what it's all about to support your spouse, get through hard stuff, and be intentional about pouring into each other.  LOVE YOU BOTH!!!