Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas Fun

I must warn my sweet blog readers that I have the christmas spirit and I am not afraid to show it. I was determined this year to get the "must do" stuff off of my list like Christmas cards and calendars so I can just take a deep breath and enjoy what the kids want to do this holiday.

I have spent the last day or so baking. I do not love to bake-I love to cook. There is a huge difference in my head. Give me a big pyrex dish and I can fill it up with some yummy lasagna, casserole, or any comfort dish to feed my family. They consider me a good cook and they enjoy my nightly meals. Baking is just not for me and I am okay with that:) I have however baked my heart out to send to a sweet college girl from church for her exam survival basket. My church circle is making this girl, whom we adore, this basket of goodies that we are mailing tomorrow to help her make it through her tough exam week. She may read my blog so I better stop talking about it!

Today Ashley and I took the kids to a pottery place about 30 minutes away which allows the kids to paint their own pottery piece which they will fire (I think that is the right term) and we will pick it up in a week or so. We made a certain person a special gift that we are super excited about!! He reads my blog so I better stop talking about it, but just know we LOVE this place and the kids had a ball making a gift.

The pottery place has a play area for the kids in the shape of a pirate ship. Kyle watched David and Hope while we finished the project. This place is awesome and the staff was so friendly.
Here is David doing his part of our special art project. I would love to post a finish picture of what we did but it would ruin the surprise!

Thank goodness for Ashley! I made her do all the work because I was scared of messing up! I was so amazed that this place does not have a "you break it , you pay for it policy!" Very reassuring with my bunch:)

Here is the play area-isn't it gorgeous? This place just oozed creativity and funkiness and I loved it. I really want to take some mommy friends back and have a girls night there!

My sweet Hope is mesmerized with the tree. I would like to report that we have kept her out of the trees and she obeys when we tell her no. But, I have decided to not fight that battle and we have put only unbreakable ornaments on her level. If she wants to redecorate it then fine with me! I do not want to spend the next month popping her hand!

Since she is fascinated by the tree, I gave her a string of lights and let her just play last night and we had such fun. The boys were already asleep and just us girls stayed up and sang christmas songs and played with these lights under our tree. It is my first unforgettable memory of this Christmas:)

She just cannot stay away from our beautiful, crooked, lights strung unevenly tree. Have I mentioned how proud Kyle is that he put it up himself??

My girl reading David's hokie book under the tree. It does not get much more precious than this. I can guarantee that I did not pose her like this because she is stubborn and would not do it if I wanted her to!

So, this Christmas is all about just being in the moment. For now all three of my kids still believe, so I am holding onto that for dear life. I will take the next month of my life and follow my childrens' direction and follow them in their Christmas adventures and fun. I will not allow my desire for some Norman Rockwell moment to get in the way of joy and fun. God has blessed me with these little people and we will focus on the real reason for the season-celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

After this Thanksgiving weekend I just feel full. Full of yummy turkey and all the trimmings from my Mom's house, full of thanksgiving for the family and friends in our life, and full of family time. It has been a wonderful thanksgiving break and I really am excited now for christmas!

Thanksgiving day we went to my parents house with my two grandmothers, my brother and his family and my parents. It was a laidback fun day.
There was a little piano time for Hope and Dave.

David got some Memaw loving! As you can tell from this picture, my Memaw did not feel good at all, and actually spent some time in the ER last night for a bacteria infection. Her health is not great at all, but she was able to come eat some turkey with us.

My other grandmother, Mimi now lives with my parents in their new addition. She is doing well considering she lost my Pawpaw just three months ago. We all miss him so much and my heart was heavy during the thanksgiving meal because I remembered how much he loved to eat my Mom's cooking. But, we miss him but we know that he is no longer laboring to breath and he is with Jesus. That gives us all comfort.

Hope and my Dad. She wore her cute little ribbon shirt and turkey hairbow from Wendy's Personal Creations!

She is such a big girl these days. She was super shy around family all day. It takes her a while to warm up to new people and situations.

Clayton wanted a picture with baby Hope, so this is the best I could do taking a picture with four of the grandchildren! Thank goodness it was really warm that day and the boys could play outside while dinner was cooking.

We are trying to get Hope to start sleeping in her own crib some and weaning her out of our bed. Mike and I both enjoy her in our bed, but she is getting longer now and she sleeps sideways:) It is time to start her in her own bed. It is a little sad that this is our last baby to have in our bed. I know people think we are nuts that we allow our babies in our bed for the first year or two, but it works for us and I will never ever regret one minute of the snuggles we have gotten with our babes-precious, priceless memories. Also, as you can see the weaning from the binkie did not go so hot!!

Here is my Dad frying some fish to have for thanksgiving. He and my brother caught it just the day before and they were excited to have fresh fish on the table. I was cool with it unless I had to smell or taste it:)
This break we also went to two very very cold football games. Friday night one of our high school teams played Radford high for a regional game. It was super weird to be at my alma mater as a visitor, but Kyle and his friend, Caleb sat in the press box with my Dad to watch the bitter cold game.
Saturday we went to the Virginia Tech-UVA game in Blacksburg. It was really cold, but that is what Kyle wanted to do for his birthday this year. He took his sweet friend, Caleb and they had a sleepover and we went to the game and then ate at Cici's pizza! He wanted to do that this year instead of a big friend party. My baby is growing up.
Here are Kyle and Caleb having an in-the-car tailgate before the game. It was way too cold to stand outside and eat our chicken!

Sweet David and Pops at our in-the-car tailgate! Tech won big and the game was super fun. We were bundled up to stay warm but it was really a fun day.

Here is Mike (in his UVA gear) putting toasty toes warmers in his socks before the game. We really did not give Mike a hard time at all that our Hokies crushed his Wahoos! :)
So tomorrow is back to the real world. I am just as sad as the kids when they have to go back to school after breaks. Three more weeks and then we are off for Christmas!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Overwhelmed with Gratitude

I have truly been pondering my long list of what I am thankful for this year and I just got overwhelmed. In my extended family this has not been a great year. My Dad had some super scary health issues, my Pawpaw fought a good fight against COPD and is now resting with Jesus, and overall life is sometimes just difficult.

But as I ponder my Thanksgiving list it almost seems longer because it has been a tough year. When you go through difficult times is when you realize how faithful our Savior is, how important those friendships truly are, and how family is your rock.

I am so thankful for my marriage. When I would come home from the hospital from being with Pawpaw, it was Mike that would love on me and give me some perspective. Watching my Mike tenderly carry my Pawpaw's casket when he was a pall bearer swelled my heart with love for him. He loved him as much as I did. We will celebrate eleven years of marriage this weekend and I just love him so. Our marriage is not perfect but he is perfect for me.

I am so thankful for my three babes. I am home with them this morning and I love listening to their little voices and watching them interact. Being a Mommy is such a blessing and I am so thankful that God chose me to parent these three. Right after we got married I was told that getting pregnant could be a challenge for us and three children later I am so thankful that God was bigger than any little medical issue:)

I am so thankful for Mike's job. It is super stressful at times for him and we sometimes feel a little bit like fish in a fish bowl, but his work is important to him and it brings him joy. His work directly impacts our children and lots of others and I am proud of him for how well our system is doing right now considering the budget constraints. His job also allows me to stay home with the kids which is really important to me.

I am thankful for church and all the friends I have there. I am thankful for my childrens' teachers and all the love they show my kids every day. I am thankful for Facebook and blogs which help me stay connected to people that really mean a lot to me. I am thankful that my children have cousins that they adore and all our extended family.

There are so many silly things I am thankful for like my makeup and Diet Dr. Pepper, but what matters more than anything is that I am thankful for a Savior that promises unconditional love and salvation. He has given way more than I ever deserve and today I am thankful that my Redeemer lives. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's Beginning

To look

A lot


Christmas around here!

This past Sunday our town had the Christmas parade. The weather was beautiful and we all enjoyed getting into the christmas spirit. Hope enjoyed her first lollipop!

David was so cute and spotted Santa on the back of the fire truck before any of us did and he started jumping up and down for Santa.

We were feeling so merry and festive that we came home and started digging out the Christmas decorations. My kids adore this snow globe that plays Christmas carols and these two were mesmerized.

The true Christmas miracle thus far is that Kyle put up the entire tree by himself! I could not believe how excited he was to put this thing up. I thought he only wanted to decorate it, but no, he wanted to actually do it all! I love having helper bees in the house!

Here is the finished product. It is definitely not how I would have done it and it is indeed a little (well actually a lot) crooked, but that is fine with me. When I look at it, I see my Kyle who worked for hours to get this tree just like this. If he thinks it is perfect, then indeed it is:)
The saddest story of all is that this morning David woke up and was so excited to see the tree again. When he came into the living room he stopped and just sat down and started to cry. He then said "tree up, Santa?" He was so broken-hearted when he realized that just because the tree is up does not mean that it is time for dear old Santa. I guess it is time to dig out the advent calendar and count down the days until he arrives!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hoops Weekend

We have had a fun basketball-filled weekend! David had an Upward game Saturday morning and he actually got some steals and got in on the action! Ashely, GG, and Pops came to watch him play and he was super silly!
My parents kept David and Hope Saturday afternoon so we could go to Kyle's AAU tournament. They put up the kids Christmas trees while we were gone! Here is Hope's cute little girly tree.
Kyle's AAU team played in a tournament in Elizabethton. They played three games-we lost all three, but they played so hard and the second game was really close.

In between games the kids had a blast playing on the video games in that complex and the parents enjoyed the tv's all around for catching up on college football games! The facility was super nice:)

Here is our sweet team huddled before a game listening to the coaches' last minute instructions!

My Mom bought Hope this cute little dress that she wore to church this morning:) The next few pictures from the tournament were taken by Sarah Martin with her swanky lens:)

Here is Kyle doing the jump ball to start the game! I joked with Kyle today that he got his jumping ability from me! Thanks to Sarah Martin for these great pictures of Kyle playing hoops. She really should start a sports photography business:)
Concentrating for the foul shot!
Headed towards to the goal. Our team has such spirit and heart. They have come a long way with their defense-now we just need to work on confidence and foul shots! Mike LOVES coaching this team:)
We are all so ready for a few days off for Thanksgiving break to catch up around the house, RELAX, and enjoy family time. We are headed to our town's Christmas parade this afternoon which will get us all in the holiday spirit!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Turkey Time!

I just love holiday outfits! I ordered this cute ribbon shirt, headband, and turkey clip combo for Thanksgiving from Wendy's Personal Creations (you can find her easily on Facebook)

I am just so amazed how little girl Hope looks these days to me. Sigh.
But, it is all good because she is such a ton of fun right now! I love some of her cute phrases such as "hold you" which really means hold me now!

Look at this adorable turkey clippie that can be used with the headband or without!

Hope is ready for turkey time now! Our town is having a Christmas market this weekend and I so enjoyed buying tons of gifts from local crafters today. The boys also sampled some fried oreos and twinkies!


I am so thankful that it is Friday. This week has been pretty brutal. Mike went out of town for two days which leaves me flying solo with three kids. I have been involved at Kyle's school a lot this week vounteering and helping with their Winterfest last night. I love being involved in the kids' schools, but it is exhausting.

Earlier this week I took Hope to the doctor because I felt that she was sick. She had run a fever for two days and just was not feeling well. Sure enough, she is not sick, but is cutting three molars at once. That explains the sleepless nights and fussiness, but she has definitely been high maintenance! On a good note, her little mouth has hurt so bad that she has not wanted her binkie, so we are on day #6 without a binkie!! We just have to stay strong and not cave for the next few days and we can consider her weaned! I am so thrilled but on the other hand, that is a big girl step that makes me sad my baby is growing up.

I am so excited about Christmas and I have been a little shopping elf online this week!! Our christmas cards are pretty much ready to be mailed and I am ready to start decorating the house. There is nothing like Christmas with young kids in the house!!

We are off this weekend to Kyle's AAU basketball tournament about an hour away. Thankfully it is just a Saturday thing, but they have practiced so hard and they are all anxious to play-including Coach Mike! Ha! Coaching is his joy and he gets as excited as the kids do:)

On a fun note, David is super excited that he has been cast as an angel in the church Christmas pageant! I am excited (but a wee bit nervous) for him, but I know he will do great. We have joked all week that he is going to be a precious angel with a crooked halo! Music and performing are things that David really enjoys and I am so thankful that he has those opportunities through church.

I am off to a local Christmas market! Have a great weekend and I will post basketball pictures this weekend:)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Yesterday the kids and I went to a local restaurant to celebrate Ashley's birthday! We had a ball eating with her friends and family:)

Ashley has been with us for a year and a half and we are sooooo thankful for all that she does for our family. She is with us pretty much every day after school for a few hours toting Dave around to therapy appointments and helping with homework, helping me stay sane and get everybody where they are suppose to be!
She has a great personality that works well with David-she is firm yet silly with him, motherly but way cooler than me, and she is so invested in David. All my kiddos love her to pieces. Hope even says her name with the most southern drawl ever-"Ash!"

David is also quite taken with Ashley's father, Bradley. He prays for him nightly and Bradley is just a good guy.

Ashley's friend, Wendi brought her little girl and she and Hope were sharing the mashed potatoes by digging in them with their fingers! HA!

David is always the comedian and here he is trying to fit in Hope's high chair!
It was such a fun night to celebrate with Ashley and her family. We are so thankful that God brought her to us:) When I went into labor she was the first person we called until my parents could get here. We totally trust her with our babes knowing that she is as protective as I am-which is saying something:) Happy birthday sweet Ashley and next year we will get you up on stage to sing at your party! :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today I heard a great sermon at church on contentment. We studied Philippians 4:11-13 I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

This scripture really has made me think today about truly what makes me happy or content. Back when Mike and I first got married I drug him around every weekend "shopping" and looking around. It created in me a restless heart for things and stuff which caused many discussions as I tried to explain to Mike why we "needed" what I "wanted"

I am so thankful that with a little maturity I have finally realized that my contentment now comes from

watching my three angels romp and play in a pile of leaves versus pursuing the next "must have gadget" at a superstore.

Now I find my contentment in the small joys that come when you have little ones under your roof

instead of worrying about square footage and living in the "right neighborhood." Our house is by no means swanky or magazine-worthy, but it has a great washing machine that keeps the uniforms clean, a functional and warm kitchen that keeps us fed, a great romp and play basement for the kids, and for me that is enough right now. We are so busy chasing our children that our house is pretty far down the totem pole. We are okay with that for now-we will have years down the road when yard and housework will make it higher up the priority list.

But right now I am most content when

I am investing my time in the two things that matter most in this world-my relationship with Jesus and my children. I will never regret one ounce of time that I invest in either of those relationships.

Goodness knows that I have lots of other spirituals issues to wrestle with and mature in, but I am thankful that I have learned a little bit about what is really important in life and contentment. Lots of folks think that we are crazy for keeping the busy schedule we do with the kids, but I am thankful for every ballgame, every mile we ride in the car, and every fast food meal we eat because we are together and content.

I desperately want to be a person that chooses people over things and to live a selfless life. I want my children to know that I am always going to choose them first and that their activities are at the top of my list. I know when I am old and gray I will never regret one ounce of time and love I poured into these little souls God put into my life.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Checking In

This has been one of those weeks that I have not had a moment to sit and leisurely surf the internet much less blog. I pray that next week slows down a bit because this Momma needs a break:)

This week I have not felt the best but I know it is just a virus. I know that I have not felt well when there are ADORABLE pictures just sitting on my camera that I have not had time to download. Ashley took some amazing leaf pictures with the kids this week that I will get to.

Yesterday I had an oppotunity to help out another family by keeping their children (ages 3 and 1) while their Dad worked and their Mommy was in the NICU with their baby brother who was born extremely early and has Down Syndrome. I do not have any cute pictures from my day at their house because my arms were full of two cute babies all day-Hope and their little boy who are about a month apart. It was a fun day, but I was definitely ready for bed last night:)

This week we will once again have to divide and conquer. David has an upward basketball game here and Kyle has a swim meet in Christiansburg, so Mike will stay here with Dave and Hope and I will travel with Kyle. After a week of being home with a toddler it is fun to have one-on-one time with my big (almost) nine year old:)

I will post pictures after our weekend:) I have also been in cleaning mode this week trying to declutter our house to start decorating for CHRISTMAS!!! I am so excited and ready to get this house looking merry and festive:) Christmas cards are all done and the wrapping of gifts has started.

I am off to rest while sweet Hope is sleeping. Resting during the day is truly my salvation when I know that both Saturday and Sunday the alarm will go off at 5 to get to the swim meet in time. Here is to another weekend of cheering on our kids and of course my Hokies are on Saturday afternoon!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brown Bear

Here is my daughter "reading" the book Brown Bear Brown Bear. She is obsessed with this book-we read it at home and she sings it in the car with a CD. I also love that David tries to hijack the video! I love capturing my kids little voices with my Flipcam:)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Our Weekend

Another Fall weekend that has been action-packed with fun. I am not sure how much longer we can keep this pace up, but it has been a great weekend full of soccer, Upward basketball, church circle meeting for me, and more soccer. I am so thankful for that extra hour of sleep we got this weekend due to daylight savings time! I love the weekends and despite being on the go we are together cheering on our kids.

This might be one of my favorite pictures of Kyle playing soccer. This kid has fallen in love with this sport and he has loved this travel team that he has been on this fall. We traveled to Bluefield Saturday for two games and it was freezing! We saw snow during the second game.
It was so cold during the games that we stayed in the car to watch!! Hope was thrilled crawling all over the car and here she is reading her favorite Elmo book.

Saturday morning we started our day at an Upward basketball game for David. I could write a whole post on how proud of a momma I was during that game watching David play!!! Kyle and Caroline hung out with the big kids and played DS:)

David and Tommy playing on different teams, but having fun. David put his uniform on Friday night to wear to the game Saturday morning!

The two teams praying before the start of the game.
Saturday between basketball and soccer we stopped by and got our pictures taken for the church directory. Everyone joked with Mike that he was pretty dressed up for a basketball game, but we went dressed for the pictures. Here is sweet Hope in her new dress jacket:)

She loves to dress up-she is also obsessed with my makeup which is scary:)

After the fun of the weekend, I do believe that this was my favorite part: David being announced at his Upward game!!! At the games, Mr. Albano announces each child's name and they run through fog out onto the court. That was thrilling for this little boy and Mommy even wiped a few tears away! He has waited years to get to run through this fog and have his name announced!!! (pause blog music to hear the video)!

Also this weekend I worked in my circle meeting for church. We had a social dinner/meeting Saturday night and it was really nice. I took gooey bars for dessert and the host had made wonderful vegetable soup. It was a fun girly night out for me while Mike stayed home and watched football with the kids.
We have put a ton of miles on our car this weekend, frozen our tail feathers off at soccer, smiled for pictures, eaten fast food between events, but there is nothing else I would rather be doing than investing my time in my kids. This is what makes us happy-being together and cheering our kiddos on in their adventures. I know when Mike and I are rocking in our rocking chairs in our elderly years we will recall all these crazy weekends with a smile.