Friday, August 29, 2008


Oh, those precious smiles and coos from Anna just bless my soul. She first started smiling when she was a month old and her sweet little coos followed a couple weeks later. There's almost nothing more heart warming than when she looks up at me and gives me a good old gummy grin. And then when she starts "talking to me" - I love it! It's so cute, when she's about to coo, she flares her nostrils and does this sweet little thing with her lips. The joys of mother hood are such a gift!


Mary Scott loves Anna. The new has definitely not worn off! She loves holding her and giving her her passie. She has also started showing her toys and reading to her. The other morning we had "story time" while Benjamin and Catherine were at school. It was so sweet watching and listening as she read to her. Mary Scott even showed the pictures to Anna. I'm so thankful to be at home with them to share in sweet little moments like this!


Anna's nursery has been a fun project for me. I've enjoyed creating it and have even done a couple of art projects for her. The walls are such a sweet shade of pink - yes, we're pink lovin' girls at our house. And the accent color is apple green. She has the same bedding that Mary Scott had when she was a baby. The rocking chair in her room is special to me as it was passed down from my Nanny & Papa (my mom's parents). It was one of their first pieces of furniture. My mom had it recovered for me with some fabric we found that goes well in Anna's room but can be used other places, too. The art projects I mentioned include 3 animal prints that I made with an art canvas, fabric, and scrapbook paper, and I also painted two pictures that are hanging over Anna's crib. She has a wooden peg shelf hanging on one wall that was in my room when I was a little girl.

Anna - I hope you enjoy your room. I hope you feel safe and loved any time you're in it. It's your little haven that I created with all the love in my heart for you. You are a perfect addition to our family filling up our last bedroom. I know we will make many memories there: reading, praying, singing, playing and even crying sometimes, too. But in all of those times, there will be love and much thankfulness that you are my baby girl. I love you, Anna --- Mommy

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Proud Wife

I just have to say I am married to the most wonderful man. Brian has such a heart for his family and so deeply desires to be the best husband and father he can be. It is so evident to me on a regular basis.

Today, I want to celebrate him and his newest accomplishment. A few days ago, he got a promotion at his job. He has been working there for over 12 years and is now a BI Architect. I'm not exactly sure all that entails but as far as I understand, he will continue to be technology based with responsibilities focused on designing and building software through the use of several different computer languages beyond his current knowledge. He is very excited and says he has a lot to learn. It sounds like he will definitely be challenged. I am so proud of him and all of his hard work. He's had to wait on the Lord for all of this to play out at his job, and it's been difficult at times. And through the process, he and I have both learned some valuable life lessons, especially in regard to pride. It's awesome how the Lord is always teaching us, growing us to be more like Him. And just at His perfect time, Brian received the promotion he had been hoping for for quite sometime. God is good and His timing is perfect! And today with a very grateful heart I say, "Thank you Lord for my husband."

I love you babe and am so proud of you!

Monday, August 25, 2008

1st Day of School

It was off to school last Wednesday for Benjamin and Catherine. Benjamin started 3rd grade and Catherine's a 1st grader now. My, my how time flies! Taking them to school on their first day was a family affair. Brian and I, along with Mary Scott and Anna, walked them to their classrooms and wished them well. They were both excited about their teachers and excited to reconnect with their school friends. I'm praying and believing for a great year for both of them.
Oh, how quickly my sweet Catherine is growing up! She celebrated her 6th birthday on June 27th, and for nearly the whole past year, she has been asking to get her ears pierced for her birthday. I must confess, I didn't even want to consider it because in my mind she would've been several years older.

Well, one thing I'm learning as a mom is that my children have desires, wishes, feelings - they are little people, too. And sometimes the best thing I can do as their mom is grant their wish (as long as it doesn't dishonor me, Brian or the Lord). I've realized they have a need to express who they are, and that is not always a direct reflection of who I am - they are not me. Yet, God's given Brian and me this incredible opportunity to make deposits into them, direct them, discipline them and help shape who they are and who they become. Again, not becoming us, but instead becoming who Christ created them to be, so long as they are surrendered to him.

Thus, we granted Catherine's wish for her 6th birthday and granted her permission to get her ears pierced. She waited so patiently as Anna was born and then we went on vacation. But, we finally took her last Saturday, August 16th, to get them done. She did beautifully - sat up in the chair as big as ever, got one ear done and then the other with no tears shed. While she was sitting waiting to have them done, I asked her if she was nervous. She said she wasn't then Benjamin, who was standing by her side, quickly said, "I sure am scared!" I thought, what a sweet big brother to stand their in support of his sister. She is so proud and loves showing them to everyone. She looks beautiful!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Treasures from the Sea

Those who know me well may know one of the things I most enjoy doing at the beach is taking pictures of our children. To me, there's no better backdrop than the sea and its surroundings. God's creation takes my breath away!

In my final blog about our 2008 St. Simons vacation, I want to share some of my treasures from the sea - the ones I'll treasure for years to come. This is my collection of beach photos of all 4 of our children: Benjamin (8 1/2), Catherine (6), Mary Scott (2 1/2) and Anna (6 weeks). They make our lives fun and sometimes stressful but are truly our richest blessings - treasures that God has graciously entrusted to us - our precious children whom we love beyond measure.

Meeting Grandma Neysa

Sadly, our vacation had to end after 10 days at the beach. On our trip home, Grandma Neysa (my dad's mom) along with Uncle Ben and
Aunt Donna met us for dinner at Cracker Barrel in Pooler, GA. It was great to introduce Anna to them and have a chance to visit for a little while.

My Little History Buff

One morning Brian and Benjamin took a little trip to Ft. Frederica. For any of you history lovers...Ft. Frederica was established in 1736 by James Oglethorpe to protect his southern boundary. Benjamin surely enjoys history. He's my child who could sit and watch the history channel for hours.

Nana & Papa visiting at the Beach

Nana and Papa (Brian's parents), along with Grandmother Stephens, came down Thursday to spend a couple days with us at the beach. When we first connected with them, they joined us at the one and only putt-putt course on St. Simons Island. Brian, Benjamin and Catherine were putting away when they arrived. Once Catherine heard the ladies were going to browse through a few shops in the Village, she quickly handed her putter to Papa for him to finish the game. Catherine loves to shop just like her mommy.

On Saturday, we drove to Aunt Peggy's, Uncle Greg's and cousin Jessica's house to enjoy a little more family time. We rarely get to see them as they live down in Jacksonville, FL so since we were only about an hour and a half away from their house, we couldn't give up the chance to see them. We had a great time swimming in their beautiful pool, playing games and eating yummy food. Just plain fun - that's what we had!

On the note of Relaxation

One thing's for sure, there was not much time for relaxing with 4 children - even at the beach. But occasionally, the setting was just right for setting the mood for relaxation. The beach in the evening was just such a setting for me. The pleasant temperature, ocean breeze, holding Brian's hand as we strolled down the beach and taking in Benjamin, Catherine and Mary Scott playing as I cradled Anna in my arms - for me, I was able to find relaxation in that place. Oh, if only I could find myself there more often.

A couple of evenings while we were enjoying the beach, I asked Benjamin, Catherine and Mary Scott to hold hands in the edge of the ocean so I could get a picture of them. I got so tickled at Benjamin, now 8 1/2 years old, making sure no one was looking before he held Catherine's hand. He kept saying, "Mom, you're embarrassing me." Sorry Benjamin...thanks for letting me get the pictures...I'll treasure them always.

Playing in the Sand

I think digging in the sand and building sandcastles are things most everyone identifies with the beach. There is something almost magical about them. I mentioned earlier that Mary Scott had a great time in the sand. Well, really we all had our moments of fun in the sand. Whether during our day trips to the beach or in the evening as we were fairing well to our day, the sand was always a main attraction when we went to the beach. In fact, one evening Brian and I were sitting watching the children play in the sand, and it hit me that we hadn't had to "intervene" a single time. Those buckets, little shovels and all the billions of grains of sand seemed to keep them happy at play and happy with one another. I guess that's part of the magic.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Memorable Dinner in the Village

Although we went out for dinner several times, our most memorable dinner was at Zuzu's. I would liken Zuzu's to an old time soda fountain. We sat on bar stools up at the counter, ordered and then watched as they prepared our food from scratch. Brian and I especially enjoyed our unusual but delicious burger. It was a fat juicy hamburger topped with applewood bacon, a grilled granny smith apple slice and some crumbled blue cheese and was served on grilled Texas toast. Catherine and Mary Scott shared chicken fingers, and Benjamin got a BL sandwich (bacon,lettuce and no tomato). And Anna, well she just slept peacefully in her stroller allowing us to enjoy our dinner. Brian wouldn't even let me get her out for our family photo. He told me I dare not wake a sleeping baby.

And dinner wouldn't have been complete without ice cream for the kids and milk shakes for Brian and me. Yum Yum! After looking at the pictures, I'll give you one guess at what flavor ice cream Mary Scott had...

After dinner, we took a leisurely walk down to the pier and then headed to the beach for another little walk. Definitely my idea of a great day!

Going to see the ocean

We were all looking forward to getting our feet in the sand. It felt so good. Of course Benjamin and Catherine made a mad dash for the ocean. And Mary Scott was happiest enjoying the ocean from afar.

Benjamin got a skimny board and was determined to master it. After a few busts he began to get the hang of it. Catherine enjoyed floating in the waves with Brian or me. And Mary Scott mostly played in the sand. She and I made a sand castle together on more than one occasion. She would say, "Dig with me, Mommy." Brian attempted to take her out in the ocean against her wishes. She cried and held on for dear life the entire time. And precious baby Anna just relaxed in her little "bouncy bed" enjoying the breeze and squeezing in naps here and there.

We made fun memories each time we journeyed down to the sea whether by bike or by car. We didn't go everyday because it was so much work transporting everything and everybody, but each time we went, we had a great time.

The first day of our summer vacation

I'm finally sitting down to share about our family vacation to St. Simons Island. I'll include several posts because I have a number of photos.

We travelled down to the beach Friday, August 1st. We didn't leave until nearly 9pm that evening because Benjamin had a flag football game. Although a number of my friends have spoken of travelling during the night so the children sleep, Brian and I had never tried it. Once we got past the first 30 minutes and the children settled down, we had peaceful driving, and the trip went much faster than normal - about 4 hours 15 minutes.

After arriving late, we slept in Saturday morning. Once our day finally got started, the children were anxious to go jump in the swimming pool. So off we went with a basket full of pool toys and a beautiful day. I loved watching them swim their little hearts out. Benjamin and Catherine are swimming great this year. Brian coached Catherine on how to swim and touch the bottom of the pool in the deep end, and she mastered it very quickly. They all had fun putting on their goggles and "fetching" torpedoes from the bottom of the pool. And little Mary Scott was perfectly content playing with her toys on the steps. If anyone went near her, especially Brian, she would climb out of the pool in a flash. She had absolutely no interest in going into the "big water" as she called it. It thrilled my soul to see Brian just hanging out having fun with them.

My mom, better known as Meme to the children, joined us by mid day to spend the rest of the weekend with us. She was especially anxious to see Anna because she hadn't seen her since the day after she was born. She brought some yummy Georgia grown summer vegetables (thank you, Mama). I especially enjoyed the fried okra. It's always been one of my favorites, and I think Benjamin and Catherine like it almost as much as I do.

Although our visit with my mom was short, we had fun. Since we don't live in the same area as any of our family, it always seems there's just never enough time when we get together...but we'll take what we can get!

Meme and Anna getting to know one another

The children enjoying some time with Meme

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

We returned late Monday night from our annual St. Simons Island beach trip. This was our 3rd summer going. It has become such a sweet time for our family - one we look forward to all year. We dream of having a place there someday, and I'm believing dreams do come true. We did lots of swimming in the pool and the ocean, played in the sand, took walks on the beach, watched movies, played games and rested (thankfully for Brian and me). I'll give more details and photos in an upcoming blog, but for now this will have to do. I plan to journal specifics of our trip but don't have time right now. So until then, be blessed!