Monday, March 31, 2008

Lovin 'em in ChicagoLand

My brother Matt and his family moved to a suburb of Chicago a little over a year ago to start a church plant. Matt is the senior minister, and one of my younger brothers, James, is the youth minister. The girls and I flew up with my Mom and Dad last September to be there for the "Grand Opening" Sunday. It was a great success, and things have remained pretty steady since then. I know James has made a huge impact on the kids, and Matt (my FAVORITE preacher in the whole world) has worked very hard to get Crossroads Christian Church up and running. He has a heart for the people there, and a passion for communicating God's word. I know Matt and Janice both love to make friends and seek out people that need a place to connect and grow in their walk with God.
I'm so proud of all of them for committing their lives to the Lord and the work that they are doing for the Kingdom.

Check out their church website...

Game Time!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bryson's 1st T-ball game

Today was Bryson's first t-ball game. He was really excited! I snapped a few pics of him on the bench, at bat, and his 1st position to play... pitcher. It's t-ball... and he was the pitcher!!! ha. (get it? they don't pitch the ball... they hit it off the t). Actually, he had the most action that first inning as pitcher because the kids usually hit the ball in his area. When up to bat, he had a couple really great hits! He batted twice, scored once, and played 3rd base. Apparently there wasn't much action for the 3rd baseman. He later told me that t-ball takes too long (it's a 1 hour game time). He did have fun, but after playing the first inning as pitcher, I think he felt jipped standing at 3rd base and not getting any balls.
However, the snacks after the game made it all better again!

He has a game every Saturday morning through the end of May.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me

Today I turned 33. We had been planning to go eat at El Guappo's mexican restaurant in downtown Tulsa for my birthday celebration. The roof (3rd story) of the building has been turned into an open-air eating area/bar. I saw a write-up in the Urban Tulsa weekly magazine, and we made reservations and prayed for nice weather. Of course I wanted to eat on the roof! We invited my Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Lynette and Rick, and the rest of the fam to join us in the celebration. James and Lydia were in town, and my cousin Brad came too.
The day was beautiful! Upper 80 degree weather. Two of my friends, Stephanie and Christy, surprised me with birthday gifts. When Christy and her girls stopped by, they stayed awhile and we hung out on the back patio. I talked on the phone with Theresa and Jodi, and had a great afternoon. My kids about drove me nuts asking when Daddy would be home from work so they could give me my gifts from them. The girls each picked me out a neclace. Bryson got me a bath oil relaxer. Selah also got me a candle. Alan said the kids all chose my gifts very carefully. He said Selah smelled every candle over and over, choosing the one she thought I would like best ~ lemongrass and eucalyptus.
When we left for Tulsa, we were very excited, but noted the sky was looking cloudy. On the drive from Owasso to Tulsa (20 minutes) we watched the temp drop about 15 degrees. Needless to say, by the time we got to the rooftop, it was cold and windy. But, the food was good, the company was great, and the ring was the best...
My Dad pulled me aside and sat me on one of the stools at the bar. He told me a story about the time him and mom came to this very spot. He said they were sitting together at the bar, waiting for a seat. He kept getting up and walking a few steps away to check the score of a game on the TV behind the bar tender. When he would come back over to mom, he would kiss her, hug her, rub her back, etc. There was a young couple sitting next to mom, and one of the times he got up to go look at the TV again, she asked my mom if her and my dad were dating, or maybe newlyweds?? My mom laughed and told her that they had been married for 33 years.
As my dad finished telling me the story, he handed me a ring box. Inside was my mom's wedding ring. He told me he wanted me to have it, and he thought this would be a special time and place to give it to me. We both cried. I will remember that moment forever. In a painful sort of way, it really was a happy birthday.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Egg Hunting

Easter 2008

Easter was pretty mellow for us this time around. The kids woke up to their easter baskets sitting outside their bedroom doors. They each got a webkinz, a book, and a bag of candy. Of course the girls had their pretty dresses and Bryson a cute little polo with khaki pants. I bought Bryson a pink polo shirt because he told me he would wear it "one time!" I've been trying to get him to wear one for over a year. Since he said he would, I went and bought one for him to wear on easter (matching the girls' dresses). The night before I was tucking him in bed and he told me that he changed his mind... that he was NOT going to wear the pink shirt. Also, I went to put Charis' dress on her and it turns out the sleeve won't fit over her cast!?!?!? I've had that dress for weeks, and didn't even think about that! Luckily, I still had the easter dress Selah wore when she was 2 years old, and it is sleeveless. So Charis wore that one. The kids didn't all match, which is usually what I go for, but oh well.
The church service was great! My brother said their church service in Chicago went really good too. We ate at Mazzio's for lunch, just like every Sunday. Really, other than easter baskets, easter dresses, and the really full service at church, it seemed like a normal day.
The evening before Easter we met at my aunt and uncle's house for a family easter get-together. This was with my mom's side of the family. It was really great to see everyone. It was pretty tough being there without my mom. My Dad later told me that it was one of the toughest things he's done since she's been gone (going to a get-together on her side of family, without her). I know he had some really good "talking time" with Linda, and everyone was so happy to see him.
The kids had an easter egg hunt. They loved the fact that some of the eggs had quarters and dollar bills! More candy!!! No wonder my kids think they need their sugar rush... by about...oh... 8:30am. ahhhahhhahhhahhh!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Rustic and Restful

Well, it's been a restful 2 weeks. It started with a week spent in Alabama with my Sister-in-law and nephews. The kids played and goofed off with their "big boy" cousins. Theresa and I had a nice relaxing time too. We saw a movie, decorated her kitchen counters (so, we shopped), watched movies, talked a lot, and worked on my Christmas stockings. It was great. The kids did pretty good on the drive too. I'm really looking forward to going again. One really great thing... I took a nap!! I haven't done that in I-don't-know-when. Oh, and I must say, when I got home the house was spotless. Alan had cleaned everything. He evened vacuumed and washed all the sheets. He had a candle burning and flowers on the kitchen table. The best part was the big smile on his face when we came home. When I walked over to the table to look at the flowers, there was a little box wrapped in newspaper (typical). Diamonds? Nah, but it was a really cool pink ipod!! With songs already downloaded on it. He's the best! I love him!

THEN... Alan took half a day off last Monday and Tuesday to kind-of give me a little break. Wednesday he and I left for a little "Get-Away" just by ourselves. Alan's parents watched the kids, which was great for us and them! They had a great time (the kids, anyway)-ha. I'm sure Grandma Lou Lou and Grandpa Gene enjoyed it too. It's hard work taking care of my 3 little ones, but it sounds like everyone had fun. The kids did lots of fun crafts, and they even had a sleep-over with their cousin Kalea. My girls both love to spend time with her, and I'm sure it's something they'll think back to and have good memories of. HUGE thanks to Gene and Lou Anne for that!

We stayed in a rustic little cabin right in the heart of Branson. It's hard to believe these cabins are 1/4 mile away from Tanger Outlet Mall. They're nestled in a patch of trees. The particular cabin was called the "honeymoon cabin." Not sure how we ended up with that one, but I'm not complaining. It was great. I think I would have named it the Rose Cottage. It was beautiful with rose-decor everywhere. Although, the headless Bride was a bit freaky~~ notice it in the picture, above the jacuzzi tub. Speaking of jacuzzi tub, I love the tub being right in the middle of the cabin. Alan and decided that if we ever have a house built, we'll build a master suite, with the tub open to the bedroom, with a little sitting area and a fireplace. It was very rustic and restful. Alan read a James Patterson novel, and I made it 3/4 of the way through The Confessions of a Shopaholic. I also read a couple magazines. It was so nice. One night we popped popcorn and watched a movie. We shopped a little and ate outdoors at The Landing one evening. He and I had several really long talks on the couch, which doesn't seem to happen too often anymore. It was so nice. (long sigh) I look forward to the next time.

ps. we had several offers to help us out with the kids... from Matt, Dad, Theresa, and Lynette. Thanks to everyone for realizing that Alan and I... okay... maybe more "I"... needed this. Love you all.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Great Aunt Lynette

My Aunt Lynette has been a God-send (confession... I'm not exactly sure if I'm using "God-send" correctly here... but is sounds right?!?!?!). She has been there for me, my kids, and my Dad with dealing with the loss of my Mom. She has eaten lunch out with me and the kids (which can be a crazy experience) several times. One day we just drove around and gawked at million-dollar homes. Mostly just to talk and enjoy the sunny day. She has brought me little pick-me-up gift baskets. She and I have spent time talking on the phone. And perhaps the BIGGEST and definitely the BRAVEST thing yet, driving all the way to Atlanta, Georgia with me and the kids. She was such a big help. Most of all, I loved the time talking with her in the car. Er, uh, actually most of all I like the new snacky food she turned me on to... Laughing Cow soft swiss cheese (light). You eat it with crackers. YUMMMMM! I now crave it. Having her with us made the ride really enjoyable. I am thankful to her daughters, my cousins Heather and Jennifer, that they are sharing her with me. You know, my Mom can never be replaced, and no one is looking for that or trying to do that, but she has been there for me in the way my Mom would be if she were here. It is very hard not having my Mom here. But I am sure that it would be even harder if I didn't have Lynette here to be there for me in those "mom" kind of ways.

I have spent time explaining to the kids that she is their great aunt Lynette because she is my Aunt, and because they are my kids, she becomes their "great" aunt. But I must say, to me she has always been, and maybe even more in these later days, my Great Aunt Lynette.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

To brag, or not to brag

Okay, so the other day I was going on about how Charis potty trained "so easily"... yadda yadda yadda. Well, that's what I get for bragging. We went to the mall to play on the little indoor playground. Yep. That's right. At the bottom of the slide. Just as she and I locked eyes, she had that look on her face. Then I saw it. The little dark circle expanding around her feet, as it was soaking into that green carpet. I picked her up (she wasn't finished, so we had to run find a bathroom). Of course Selah and Bryson were feeling jipped because we had only been there for about 10 minutes. I decided to buy an inexpensive outfit and a pack of panties so the kids could play a little longer. Ahhh, the joys of little ones. The joys of being the Mommy of the little ones. The joys of being the Mommy of the little one who is peeing on the carpet where all the other little ones are landing as they slide down the play ground slide. Okay. I'll stop.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Calling All Friends...

Okay Friends, this is pretty pathetic, I know... but I have realized lately that I don't know what music I like. I mean, I know that I like Harry Connick Jr., 80's music, Christmas music (who doesn't), some country, rock and roll, and of course contemporary Christian ~ praise and rock. HOWEVER... I honestly haven't listened to music much in the past 6 years or so. Music used to be such a big part of my life! I used to wake up to the sound of a favorite CD rather than the ever-annoying beeping of an alarm clock. And I went to bed with music playing.
Since we've had kids, it's pretty much been toddler tunes or peace-and-quiet!!!

SOOOO, I'm calling on all my friends to help me out here! What are some of the latest really great groups/songs/etc??? Oh my gosh, I really can't believe it's come to this! Okay... I really do need to "get out more."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Broken Arm

Well, we have had a family first today. A broken bone. Charis. The kids and I were jumping on the trampoline today (first really nice day this season and we were livin' it up). I thought Charis was against the edge. Just as I was bouncing Selah and Jenna pretty high, I looked and saw Charis right behind me. Her feet bounced out from under her and she fell back on her left wrist and arm. She cried a different cry. No tears. Kind-of a dry, fussing sort of cry. This went on for a couple hours. Not too much crying, just wanting to be held, and she was really favoring it, saying that her elbow hurt. Bryson was even being goofy and trying to make her laugh. She would laugh at him (as he was falling on the floor, running into the walls, etc.), then her laugh would start to sound like a cry. She was so tough. At first Alan and I thought she might have just jarred it, and we thought we would wait until tomorrow to see how she was doing. There was no swelling. But I just knew something worse was going on. I told Alan we really needed to take her to the ER.
By the time we got there, the Motrin we gave her was making her feel pretty good. The nurse even had her reach up in the air to grab at stickers, and he said "her range of motion is fine!" I said "no, she was arching her back and lifting her shoulder off Alan's chest to grab the sticker... not just raising the arm straight up." I told him that I thought the Motrin was masking some of her pain. He said we could still do an x-ray. Later he came in and said "Well, kids are so resilient... it's broke."
I must admit, I was surprised it was broke (Alan was even more surprised). I thought maybe something was pulled out of socket or something. She is one tough little girl. She was fussy and she was favoring it. But I guess I'm surprised she didn't really cry and carry on more since it was broken. Poor baby.
The next couple days will be hard, I think. She doesn't like the temporary sling wrapped around her. And you know 2 year olds... when they don't want it, they DON'T WANT IT. We try to reason with her~ yeah right~ she's in pain, got her arm strapped to her, and she's 2!
Aww...Man... I feel awful. I should have picked her up to jump with her like we used to do. Monday or Tuesday the permanent cast will hopefully be on.
Selah was very sweet and nurturing. At home she was bringing Charis her stuffed animals and her blanket. And when it came time to go to the ER, Selah wanted to go with us to make sure Charis was going to be okay. Bryson went to the neighbors house for a movie and popcorn. Thanks to Mark and Amy for helping us out with that.
One little funny thing Charis said... when we were still on the trampoline and I was sitting there holding her and moving her arm a little bit, talking to her about how she felt. I said "is your arm hurting really bad?" and she replied "Yes... I need a vitamin C drop!" ~ ha.