Monday, August 30, 2010

Butterflies

We went to a magical birthday party this past Saturday. The girls all filled up on scones, petit fours, fudge brownies, lemon cake, chocolate dipped ice cream cones with vanilla ice cream, and magical fairy punch! They fluttered around like butterflies, and I had the extraordinarily wonderful time of photographing the "butterflies"! Below is one of my butterflies....Bryna Mae. You can see more butterflies by clicking here!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The First Week of School!

The first week of school here was great. The first week at home after school...whew! I have some tired and cranky little girls....two little girls to be specific....and one of them doesn't even attend school yet. Despite the super early bedtimes, crankiness has taken over. I'll be honest and say that I don't do the whole....go to bed early for a week or so before school starts to help them get in a schedule thing. I do the whole....go to bed early the night before school starts and go on adrenaline the first few days...then crash and burn and fall apart. After a few weeks, we adjust....HOPEFULLY! ;)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Parents Do Know What's Best!

I remember people telling me...."Just wait til she's a teenager." I remember thinking...."My Addi will not be the typical teenager. She will still hold my hand while walking through the store. She will still kiss me in public. She will still talk to me about everything." I was wrong....she still does do a lot of those things, but she has definitely changed. She is growing up....coming into her own...wanting to make her own choices...giving me a little bit of attitude from time to time....did I just say that....about my Addi? She is a teenager. She is becoming a lovely young woman, and for that I am so very grateful; but there is a distance between us that wasn't there until just a year or so ago. I think it's part of "coming into your own", and I am hoping it only lasts through puberty and then she will see....that I am still cool and fun and am not trying to nag her but do have her best interests at heart! I can't imagine how difficult it must be to be the oldest of five and still have to live surrounded by 3 year old things when most of your friends are surrounded by teenage things....TV shows, activities, etc. She is allowed to do a few things that her siblings are not, but for the most part....our house is still a house full of YOUNG children; so we allow what's appropriate for them. I have explained to Addi that when she was 3 and 6, we would not have allowed her to watch......; and we are not going to allow her sisters to watch.....even if it may be appropriate for her, it's not for them. She is really good about it and understanding, but I think it does get "old" to her sometimes. I didn't have to compromise as a teenager or as a child at all really, since I was an only; so I can't imagine how that is. I do know that my children LOVE each other so very much. Sure they fight and get irritated with each other and sometimes don't like things another is doing, but they really adore each other. I have no doubt that they will all be the best of friends and very close when they are adults. I absolutely LOVE seeing this in my children....the comradery....not the fighting! ;) I have said it before, and I'll say it again....I absolutely detested middle school when I was there; so I keep thinking Addi will as well. But she doesn't, she really enjoys it. Remembering myself as a teenager, I realize that there are a lot of things that are different today for teenagers; but one thing I KNOW will be the same is this: when people use to say "Your parents know what's best for you. They only do those things, because they love you." And I use to think, "My parents were just being unfair or didn't trust me!" which honestly wasn't that often; I know now that my parents did in fact know what was best for me....at least most of the time! :)And I know that someday Addi will say...."You did know what you were doing when you made me do.....or didn't allow me to do.....! You did it, because you love me!" And I will smile and tell her I will pray for her when she has a teenager! ;)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

First Day of School!

The first day of school went great. Despite Drew falling down on her way into school, Bryna having a nervous stomache (what's that all about?), Addi longing for a few more weeks of summer, and Cal having an unsuccessful day at Pony Camp; the day went off without a hitch. The girls had a great day....two of them came home with homework...UGH! Cal's best friend's mom saw him while she was waiting in the long line at the office yesterday morning. She later told me that he was all smiles! When his teacher, Ms. Tandy, put him in the car...she said "He had a great day! NO problems!" He then told me, "I had fun at the middle school, and I see Addi at the cafeteria!" It was a good day for all....EXCEPT....Elliot! Although she is quite excited about her first day of preschool which still doesn't start for two weeks and was so excited for her siblings excitement, she was not so excited when they actually drove away!After we came in and closed the door, she said...."I hope they come back!" The large lump formed. I took a deep breath and assured her they would, trying not to let her see the water glistening in my eyes. She then said...."Can we go get B & H?" Those are the sweet little twins that stayed with us last year. I sadly said "No, we can't!" Then tried to sound more upbeat and said, "They get to stay with their MIMI this year!" Then I said, "But you can come to church with me and play while I work at the school today!" And her life was back on track, she quickly ate her purple toast (whole grain bread with blueberry cream cheese) and was ready to go. She would have been sooooo happy to see her siblings yesterday, but she was asleep in the car when we picked them all up. It was a good day! Thanks God!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pity Party and Gratitude....The Two Go Hand In Hand!

As I balanced our bank account last night, for the millionth time this week, I realized that no matter how many times I balanced it....there wasn't much left. Money wasn't going to magically appear. So I started to throw myself another pity party, and I decided that I might as well check up on a few blogs while I pout. Honestly I am not usually this pitiful, but I guess yesterday was just not that great of a day; and I just continued my pity party throughout the day until.....I clicked on Katie's blog, and then my self pity immediately turned to gratitude. We have so much....so so so much....and I don't mean just money and things....I mean health, our faith, our freedom, our country, our Jesus! I have these guys....who are not only healthy but able to laugh and be silly....to run and play....to live somewhat freely.....to go to school and church....to be loved and to love.
There are children, people dying all over the world, right this very second due to starvation! I thank God daily for the opportunities I have been given. I thank Him for my family and our health! I thank Him for living in America. I thank Him for our jobs! I thank Him for people like Katie who are truly being His hands and feet! I thank Him for knocking me in the head sometimes when I am starting to think it's all about me! Think about sponsoring a child....through World Vision, Amazima, Compassion, your church. Think about it! Pray about it! Do it!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pony Camp and A Pity Party

I just want to start out this post by gently reminding anyone who is reading that this is my blog, and I originally set it up to use as a journal for my thoughts and feelings. With that being said, I am about to throw myself a little pity party here. Today was not the greatest of days....I know....I know it could have been worse, and I remind myself of that daily; but sometimes....just every now and then....I need to sulk. Today was Pony Camp....better known as 6th grade orientation. As anyone who has read my blog for the last few months will know, my son....Callahan....who has Fragile X and Autism is starting 6th grade....middle school....a completely new school environment for him. He has attended his elementary school since he was 3, and now he will be in a new building with new teachers and many new students. A little scary for a typical child....much less a child who doesn't do transitions or "new" anything very well. I could tell he was anxious this week about Pony Camp. He knows that he starts school on August 23rd, but he wasn't sure about what was happening on August 19th. His special ed teacher and his therapist were going to be there to greet us. I prepared him as best as I could, social story, answering the same questions over and over and over. But as the time approached, I could sense his tension and my own...to be quite honest. The last thing I want is for Cal to have a huge meltdown and scare the pants off of some of his "new"potential friends. I hate to admit it, but if I'm going to be completely honest....that is the main thing that is most challenging for me about having a child with special needs....the judgements and preconceived notions and stares and rude comments. It's not really even hurtful to Cal, because he barely even notices it; but it's so hurtful to me. I know it's not about me....I KNOW! As we started to drive to the school, I frantically began sending out texts and requests for prayers for peace for Cal and myself. I know I should maybe have thought about that a little earlier, but you know what they say....in your need is when you seek the most. As we walked up to the school, I saw many 6th graders who looked anxious as well and many parents too; but I kept thinking....you have no idea what anxiety is! There I was....making preconceived notions of my own....I don't know many of those families and their circumstances....but nobody could be as anxious as Cal and I....right? I saw children smiling nervously and parents leaving with that look of melancholy on their faces. As Cal and I approached the door, he immediately started to meltdown. He began to cry and scream. We went and sat on a bench and waited for his teacher and therapist to retrieve us. As we waited I saw a few familiar parents, some of whom know Cal and some of whom don't, and secretly I hoped they wouldn't speak to me right then. Some did, and I politely acknowledged them but didn't extend the conversation. I just didn't want anyone to speak to Cal at that particular moment....knowing full well that he would NOT speak kindly back to them. I watched a few parents wipe a tear from their eye as they left their now 6th grader in the middle school, and again I thought my tears are for a completely different reason. I just kept thinking....this is such a big day....we should be taking pictures and enjoying this milestone and I should be wiping away a tear of melancholy not disappointment....but instead I'm sitting here sweating with my 11 year old son throwing a fit and refusing to enter the school. After a discussion, an ultimatum, a bribe, everything we could think of with Cal....his teacher and therapist asked if I would be okay with leaving him there with them. I said "Yes, but are you okay with me leaving him here?" They had developed a plan....tell him you're leaving, then walk back into the school and out the other door....that way we will see if he will follow you into the school. So I told him I was leaving and would come back at 2:00 to get him....Cal lives his life by a clock and a calendar. He started to cry harder and said he wanted to go home. So I left and drove around aimlessly for 30 minutes....moping and sulking and wishing he was inside touring the school with his friends. I went back to get him, and he had agreed to go inside the school just to get to the other exit door where I would pick him up. There he sat....waiting for me....with his teacher and therapist. I talked with them briefly about drop off and strategy for the first day of school, and then met Cal in the car where he had already gotten in and turned the a/c on high. His teacher handed me a bottle of water to give him. She said, "He will need this!" When I got into the car, Cal asked me "What happened at the middle school?" which is his way of admitting that something didn't go the way we had all hoped. I calmly said...."You had a fit!" Then he said, "On Monday, I start school." I said, "Yes, will you go in on Monday?" He happily said "YES!" Let's just pray he does! I guess August 19th just wasn't part of his mental calendar!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Couch Potatoes

As I watch my sweet almost 4 year old snooze on the couch, I already miss summer. This last week, we have been really lazy....some might say couch potatoes. It's not officially over, but those laying around snoozing on the couch days are quickly coming to an end. Those days will soon be replaced by afternoons consumed of homework, activities, homework, chores, homework etc. It makes me a little sad, BUT I am not one bit disheartened about not watching another episode of FULL HOUSE! Good Grief....my older girls have been watching those like crazy. I'll have to admit I wasn't a fan when it was a regularly featured sitcom, and I am NOT a fan now. Some of them I find inappropriate as well, but that's another post all together. In a few days....there won't be time for FULL HOUSE (GRIN) or anything else (FROWN)! Did I mention I'm NOT a fan of homework either? Can't we just get it all accomplished at school? ;)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Remembering Chet!

Today I sit and think, stand and think, walk and think, talk and think, do everything and think....today I think....about my friend Leslie and her baby boy Chet. Five years ago today, Chet was born and died. Today instead of celebrating his life here on earth with a "rodeo tractor pull" themed party, we are celebrating his eternal life and the blessings we have received through his birth. I know it may seem cliche to say that the loss of Chet made us better people, but I know without a doubt; it did. The faith of his parents has grown in such an abundance and is reflected in so much of how they live and what they do that they almost glow with it. I love to spend time around them to experience it. Please don't misunderstand when I say how we are better people because of the loss of this baby, because my human self and theirs and anyone's who knows them would love so much to be watching Chet blow out his 5 candles and make a wish, to be riding ponies and opening gifts, to be grinning from ear to ear as we all sing "Happy Birthday". What I mean when I say we are better people cannot be described better than by these words written by Chet's mama today:

"remembering my baby boy, Chet, today on his 5th birthday. The loss of my precious baby forced me to cry out to God...with a broken heart i asked, "are you real God?...do you love me?...do you love my baby?"...and after 35 years of living as the center of my own universe...i realized I needed a savior...on this day 5 years ago, God showed up and I let Him into my heart, and I will never be the same! Halleluja! could a momma be more proud of her baby? Happy Birthday sweet boy! Thank you for helping to open my eyes..."

Sometimes it takes a tragedy, a devastation, a nightmare to get us to seek Him! And Chet's parents are seeking Him and sharing His word, and their faith makes my faith stronger.

2 Cornithians 4:8-9 says:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
I just want to leave you with this song by Mercy Me! It says it perfectly!
I have included the lyrics as well.

I can count a million times
People asking me how I
Can praise You with all that I've gone through
The question just amazes me
Can circumstances possibly
Change who I forever am in You
Maybe since my life was changed
Long before these rainy days
It's never really ever crossed my mind
To turn my back on you, oh Lord
My only shelter from the storm
But instead I draw closer through these times
So I pray

Bring me joy, bring me peace
Bring the chance to be free
Bring me anything that brings You glory
And I know there'll be days
When this life brings me pain
But if that's what it takes to praise You
Jesus, bring the rain

I am Yours regardless of
The dark clouds that may loom above
Because You are much greater than my pain
You who made a way for me
By suffering Your destiny
So tell me what's a little rain
So I pray

Holy, holy, holy
Is the Lord God Almighty

REMEMBER TO SCROLL DOWN AND PAUSE THE MUSIC TO HEAR BRING THE RAIN BY MERCY ME!







video

Saturday, August 14, 2010

What Has Blessed Your Life?

A blessing, (also used to refer to bestowing of such) is the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one's hope or approval.

I use to think blessings were things given to us by God, and I still do to a certain degree. However now I don't necessarily think the stuff I have is a blessing. I think of blessings more as the relationships I've been allowed to be part of. Sure I think it's a fortunate thing to have a house, a car, a good school, food, etc.; but I don't necessarily think those actual things are blessings. I use to think God blessed me with this house, and believe me I LOVE my house and am very thankful to have it; however, I don't necessarily think of it as a blessing.
One day a few years ago, I was sitting outside with my Lifelong friend Leslie. She had just come home from an extended stay in the hospital after having a stroke during childbirth where she lost her baby and nearly her own life. We were sitting out on her porch looking over the lake....which is one of my favorite places to be....and talking about faith, God, life. She said something that I will never forget and that really changed my perspective. She said how grateful she was to be alive and to be able to have more time with her husband and daughter and what a blessing that was. She said all of this, and she pointed her hand out over the lake, means nothing! This house and that boat mean nothing. It's the gift of life, the relationship with Jesus, my family and friends that are blessings.
I really thought about that and started thinking more about blessings. I realized that I thought she was probably right. Don't misunderstand, it's very nice to have a wonderful place to live and she thinks so as well; but it's part of our circumstance that brings us there. Now along the way, I don't doubt for one minute that there are many blessings that may have brought us to that place; but I don't necessariy think that God looked at me one day and said...."I am going to bless you with a house!" and then looked to someone in Africa and said...."I'm not going to bless you with a house!" I think being born in the country I was born in was definitely a gift which in turn allows us to do many things that others in our world are not able to. But I also think that many others in our world who don't have a nice house to live in, or car to drive, or school to attend, or even food to eat are equally or maybe more blessed than I. How can that be? There are so many people in the world who are blessed by the realtionships they have with others and with Jesus, and they don't have a dime to toss in a wishing well much less to spend. On the flipside, there are many others who have tons of money, several homes, cars, etc. who are not nearly as blessed as I am. I find myself wondering often why I have so much and others don't....but I've decided to try not to fret over that thought and just act on it. I've decided to thank God for giving me the gift of living in the USA and having the ability to make choices for myself and my family, and yes I do thank Him for allowing me to have a roof over my head, food to eat, etc.; and for showing me that with some of this stuff I can serve Him. I've decided that we can give more, serve more, pray more and help more. I don't know why some are born in countries of abundance and wealth and free choice and some are born in countries of extreme poverty and starvation and disease with no right to decide for themselves and where Jesus is never heard of. What I do know is that we are called to love ourselves and our neighbors....no matter what the circumstance! We are all His children! So tonight I thank God for many things, and I thank Him for my many blessings!

Summer Is Slipping Away!

Some things I will miss about summer...in no particular order...

Sleeping late!
Staying in our pajamas for as long as we want!
Addi making lunch nearly every day!
VACATION!
Having my children home with me!
Swimming!
Not having a schedule to follow!
Being laxadaisical!
Staying up late!
Road trips in the middle of the week!
Sleeping late! I know I already said that, but I am really gonna miss this!


Some things I won't miss about summer....in no particular order....

100+ degree temperatures!
That's about it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

ROOM RE-DO #2

Working....working....working....well not really me YET! NPayne is now painting Drew's room while she is away for a few days...remember back in June....we surprised Addi with a room makeover? Now it's Drew's turn! I can't wait to get in there and get my hands on everything....rearranging, hanging stuff on the walls, reupholstering her reading chair! It's gonna be so cute! A cute room for a cute girl! We're going western themed which suits her to a tee, since she absolutely LOVES horses. I have this fabulous vintage western bedspread that I've had for a while and now it will finally come into use! NPayne is painting the walls country blue, and we are leaving her floor painted RED! Can't wait to get it done, and can't wait to show you. I'll try to post pictures of Addi's room too....although hers isn't completely finished yet....as NPayne hasn't painted her floor....what can I say, there's only so many hours in a day.

BEACH


A Day At The Beach














Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Thoughts

Sometimes I find myself thinking the following:

I am really the mother of 5 children! Not only that, I am the one in charge!
I can't believe I'm running in the heat!
I hate to sweat!
What was I suppose to do with that?
What was I thinking?
Did I just say that?
GOD IS GOOD!
Why am I standing in the kitchen holding the remote control?
Did I put dish soap in the dishwasher or didn't I?
I need some caffeine....I have a horrible headache!
Why do I have things so easy when there are so many who don't?
How did I ever end up married to the best man in the world?
I really miss my dad!
GOD IS GOOD!
I can't believe Cal just did that (in a good way)!
She is so stinkin' fabulously cute I could eat her!
How many pots of decaf will this be?
I would really like some Blue Bell about now.
Where is my To Do List?
What day is it?
I wish my dad could have been here for that.
GOD IS GOOD!

And at the beginning of the school year, I think these things for the first couple of weeks:
What time do I pick them up?
It's time to go get them already?
What day do you have dance?
What day do you have soccer?
What day do you have Jazz Band?
GOD IS GOOD!
Didn't I already pay for that?
Which day did she want to buy her lunch?
Is it really time to get up?
Is it really time to go to bed?
I hope they don't ask to have a sleepover.
You mean they need more money?
I don't want to spend my Saturday doing errands and cleaning!
GOD IS GOOD!
I can't wait to get to church!
Did I remember to sign her book log?
I'm exhausted but happy!
Just say NO!
I can't believe it's almost Halloween!
I don't want to lose my tan....then I need to wear makeup! UGH
GOD IS GOOD!


Monday, August 9, 2010

The Ocean Is Good For Your Soul!

So we're back from our ever so lovely vacation, and I am happy/sad to be home. I love being home....anyone who knows me knows that....but there is something about the beach that stirs up lot of emotions inside me. It makes me feel very much like this: Although I never put on a stitch of makeup, and I let my hair rule or be unruly if you must know the truth....I felt beautiful at the beach! I find the ocean is very cleansing....just listening to the sound of it....I could literally sit there for hours on end. There was one point while I was sitting in my lounge chair watching my children frolic in the waves that I actually became so overwhelmed that I began to cry....watching them be transformed by the ocean as well. They are so happy there. I'm not saying they aren't normally happy children, but something about the ocean and the sand and being together there makes them (and me) realize that we do not need anything but each other and GOD! Watching the crabs and seeing all the seashells, building sand castle after sand castle....it all makes me appreciate what God has created. I think the thing that really touches me about the ocean the most is how much my boy loves it.....I can't begin to tell you in words....how much Cal LOVES the beach. He does things there that would typically drive his autism into complete overdrive, but instead he has a constant smile on his face and radiates joy. When we were leaving the beach, Cal cried...and so we decided to drive up the Texas coast line into Louisiana which was our next destination, so he could see it for as long as possible. On our way, we stopped at one particularly secluded part of a beach....nobody was there but us. I got out my camera to snap some photos, and Cal kept saying...."We need our swim suits to get in the ocean!" He didn't realize that we weren't planning on swimming....just taking some pictures and taking in the view....but what we didn't realize was that he had to swim. So we got his swim suit out, and he promptly ran to the water. He got in and stayed in until we made him get out.....all the while with a smile on his face. After that, he was at peace with leaving the beach and heading to our next destination. He needed some closure and one last encounter with the ocean....his new best friend....to hold him over until we bring him here again. And we will bring him here as often as we can. The ocean is good for your soul! It cleanses me and clears my head like nothing else, and I simply love it!
Oh and I LOVE this too:
More beach photos coming soon!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Things A Brewin

I've got a lot on my mind lately.....things a brewing! Our vacation has stirred some things up inside. Stay tuned!

Vacation

We are currently driving all over the South of Texas and into Louisiana for vacation....without internet service....ugh! I finally was able to get some service in Louisiana at our destination. We will return shortly, and I will update with lots of beach photos and stories! I LOVE THE BEACH....sand, ocean, shells, cool breeze....I love it all!

Monday, August 2, 2010

PHOTO SHOOT REVEALED!

Here they are....my adorable twinkies, their handsome brother and their lovely parents. For more photos, visit my photography blog.
And the above photo is my favorite shot of the day!
Although she's not directly looking at the camera,
I love the expression on this mama's face...
she loves her house full of boys!