Monday, January 26, 2009

FRIDAY NIGHT BASKETBALL IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY

We're enjoying cheering Benjamin and his team on as they play basketball on Friday nights.  For me, there's something about walking into the gym... the smell, sounds, the hustling up and down the court that just wake something up in me.  They remind me of all those years growing up when I played basketball.  I started in the 5th grade and played until I graduated high school.  I certainly wasn't an all-star, but I enjoyed it and worked hard.  Last weekend, Benjamin came to me and asked, " Mom, didn't you used to play basketball?"  And I replied, "Yes, I played for a number of years, but it's been a while."  And then he asked, "Do you think you've still got it?"  I'm thinking I never really had it to begin with so I replied, "I'm not sure."  Then he kindly invited me to come outside and play basketball with him.  After a little while of playing, I asked him if he thought I still had it.  Thankfully he said, "Yes, I think you do."  Oh from the mouth of babes!

So far, Benjamin is having a good season.  He's doing especially well playing defense and is really hustling.  He is working on passing and using proper technique when he shoots. Keep up the good work, Benjamin.
video

BREAD ALONE!


Last Thursday, Mary Scott and I had a field trip to the Hanrions to make bread.  The girls played while Elisabeth and I (well, mostly Elisabeth) made bread.  We used fresh wheat flour that Elisabeth ground shortly before Mary Scott and I arrived.  I enjoyed learning more about the process of making fresh yeast bread.  It almost seems like an art.  And I enjoyed the chance to spend time with Elisabeth.  Once finished, we had baked bread and made rolls to keep in the freezer.  The bread is so yummy.  I can slice it and eat it - plain and not toasted - DELICIOUS!  I think I could live off of home-made bread and sweet tea with lemon.  Well maybe not... Matthew 4:4 tells me, "Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."  So I think I've got it... I can sit down with a loaf of home-made bread, a big glass of sweet iced tea with extra lemon and enjoy them while reading my Bible - then my body and my spirit are being nourished.  Now that's the ticket!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A FUN DAY IN THE SNOW

Our 4 blessings - Anna's first snow!

Benjamin
 
Catherine

Mary Scott

There's a cross in the snow angel's dress - so neat!

Benjamin making a snow angel

Catherine and our friend, Abigail, trying to get to a good spot to sled

Mary Scott and our friend, Lilly, watching the sledding show

Mr. Matthew was the sled ride captain

Mary Scott's idea of dressing warmly!

Benjamin & Catherine watching the snow fall

Mary Scott said, "This is yummy mommy!"

Nothing like a warm cup of hot chocolate after playing in the snow

Benjamin, Catherine & Mary Scott are celebrating the snow

We so seldom get snow, it's a really big deal and very exciting when we do, even if only a small amount.  The kids went to bed last night praying it would snow and the kid in me was hoping for it, too.  And our answer was plain and simple this morning... it was snowing and school was cancelled!  Benjamin, Catherine and Mary Scott were so excited.  Mary Scott kept telling Brian over and over again while he was getting dressed for work, "Daddy, it's snowing outside!"  They played in the yard for a while then came in for a warm cup of hot chocolate.  All the while, Benjamin and Catherine were begging me to go and get them a sled.  I finally decided to take the plunge and get them one.  The enjoyment of watching them have fun plus all the laughs we've had... it was worth every penny of the $14 I spent.  After purchasing the sled, we headed over to our friends, the Hanrions, to sled with them on this great hill in their front yard.  I captured some great rides on video.  Except for Abigail's bummed up knee after sledding into a tree, it was great fun!  We also went to a local park to do a little sledding.  It was definitely a day of good memories in the snow.


video
video

A MONDAY AT HOME


Brian was off from work and Benjamin and Catherine off from school in celebration of MLK day.  We had a relaxing morning and a special treat from Benjamin.  He made waffles... from scratch... all by himself!  I was so proud of him.  The waffles were delicious and enjoyed by all.  I think we should make it a Saturday morning tradition.  I could get used to someone treating me to breakfast every weekend.  Thanks Benjamin!

Monday, January 19, 2009

ANNA'S FIRST TRY AT RICE CEREAL



It seems the six month mark has offered Anna all kinds of new experiences, markedly blowing raspberries and having her first tastes of rice cereal.  She's also gotten a lot better at standing up with support and gets this look on her face like "look at me how big I am!"  Her newest sound is "ba ba ba ba."  I love the wonder of all those little accomplishments that happen from month to month in the first year of a baby's life.  It's quite amazing, actually, to think of all that's learned in the passing of a single year.  

She's quite amused by blowing raspberries.  It's a wonder her lips don't stay numb because when she gets started, she sometimes continues for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.  She acts likes she's having so much fun.

Up until two nights ago, her soul nourishment had been breast milk, but the time had come for her to begin learning to eat from a spoon.  Benjamin, Catherine and Mary Scott were so excited!  Anna wasn't so sure.  Over all I'd say it was successful.  She seemed somewhat receptive to the rice cereal but the first try didn't go without a few protests.  Of course, she entertained us with some very interesting faces and sounds.  Catherine took a little video of Anna eating her cereal for the first time.
video

Saturday, January 17, 2009

ANNA IS 6 MONTHS OLD




She's what???  6 months old!  My goodness how quickly the months go by.  Actually, she's 6 1/2 months old now so it's been a couple of weeks since her check-up.  On the  29th of December, Anna weighed 18 pounds 14 ounces and was 27 inches tall (above 90% for both).  Her check-up was good with the exception of an unresolved ear infection in her right ear so another round of antibiotics was in store.  She has more rolls than you can imagine and feels so yummy in my arms.  She continues to be so even tempered and lights up when she sees Benjamin, Catherine or Mary Scott.  She loves Brian but continues to have times that only Mommy will do - just the way it should be for now!  She's mastering sitting up and is starting to really enjoy playing with her toys. And her feet are her new found favorite things to play with.  She loves chewing on her toes!  One of her favorite hang outs down stairs is in the rainforest jumperoo kindly loaned to her by her cousin, Carter.  She loves to jump and play with all the little toys around it - oh what fun!  I am daily thankful for the sweet blessing of having Anna as a part of our family.

ROAD TRIP TO MISSISSIPPI

Ezra steeling a suck on Anna's passy

Anna playing with Uncle Casey

Abrahm was so gentle and playful with Anna

Famous "Kool-aid pickles"

East End Grocery - home of  "Kool-aid pickles"

For Anna and I, we hit the road a traveling on Friday, January 9th.  We headed to Cleveland, MS for one of my cousin's weddings.  We drove to Atlanta where we picked up my brother, his wife and two youngest boys and drove the remainder of the trip finally arriving in Cleveland around 10:30 pm Friday night.  Let's leave it at saying we drove through a lot of "in the middle of no where" places - certainly not a scenic trip.  

Saturday morning took us and several cousins on an adventure to find "Kool-aid pickles."  My cousin, Rachel, had read about them in a magazine.  After a little hunting, we finally found East End Grocery, home of the famous pickles.  I brought a huge jar full to the children as a treat from Cleveland, but after giving them a try, well... they didn't really get rave reviews.  Needless to say though, some fun laughs.

Millicent's wedding was lovely, and she can definitely say her family turned out.  I pray she and Clint's marriage is centered on Christ and is blessed richly in the days and years ahead. 

After the wedding and reception, we loaded up the crew and began the trek back towards home.  We drove to Montgomery, AL to stay Saturday night.  It was nice to have a little down time and sleep before finishing the trip on Sunday.  Upon my arrival back home to Rock Hill, Anna and I had traveled over 1200 miles from Friday to Sunday!  Boy were we happy to get home.  The trip went so smoothly and our little ones, Anna, Abrahm and Ezra, were great little travelers.  Thank you Lord for a safe and pleasant trip.

"HORSING" AROUND





The first Saturday of the new year offered our family an invitation to celebrate Isabelle's 3rd birthday.  Isabelle and her family live in our neighborhood and are special friends of ours.  Her party was at Cherokee Stables, a really neat horse stable in York, SC.  It was a cold Saturday morning so we bundled up and went to "horse" around.  Benjamin, Catherine and Mary Scott had so much fun riding horses and ponies.  They also got to ride on a really fast cow train, and Brian joined them for a hay ride that didn't have a stitch of hay (still trying to figure that one out).  It was a great party for all.  Benjamin and Catherine brought the fun home as they rode their stick horses for the rest of the day.  Thanks Isabelle for a morning of a whole lot of fun!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

HOTEL JUDD OPEN FOR CHRISTMAS

   The Whole Gang

   Nana loving on a few of her grandbabies

     Benjamin and Anderson could play "tackle" all day


Catherine and Kit, her 1st American Girl doll, lovingly given to her by Nana and Papa

By Christmas afternoon, Brian's family began arriving... Mark, Heather, Anderson and Carter then a little later Mom, Dad and Katie Beth.  Paul, Rebekah and Avery arrived on Friday afternoon to complete our guest list.  We had a wonderful few days together, all 16 of us under one roof.  Sometimes I'm amazed we can fit so many in our seemingly modest sized home, but it always seems to work -  sort of like when Jesus fed 5000+ from just 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread.  Our days were filled with yummy food, good conversation, gifts, a little shopping, play, games... simple good family fun.  We always treasure the times we can all be together.

CHRISTMAS MORNING - 2008


Our stockings were hung by the chimney with care, and the children were so excited, especially Benjamin and Catherine.  As we tucked them into bed the night before Christmas, we gave clear instructions that nobody could come downstairs until 6:30 am (mean you might think but our precious son has arisen as early as 2:30 am in past years).  In an effort to honor our request, Benjamin awoke us nearly every hour from about 1:30 on asking if it was 6:30 yet!  Although that made for a very tired mommy and daddy Christmas morning, I have to say there's something so refreshing about the excitement of a child.

So finally, at 6:30 am, not a minute past, we gathered the troops to head downstairs and check under the tree.  I don't have a single snap shot to show for it, but I did get some video.  It was so much fun watching each of them discover their treasures.  For Benjamin it was a basketball goal and multi-purpose helmet, Catherine received a new bike and helmet, Mary Scott got a play kitchen and Anna got a little kitchen, too.  And each of our stockings was filled with all kinds of fun stuff.  It was a great time together.  I have been blessed watching them enjoy their gifts.  The morning was topped off with some good old Pillsbury rolls, cinnamon and orange, and a delicious cup of Starbucks Christmas blend coffee ground fresh from the beans I found in my stocking.  Sweet memories of a quiet Christmas morning in the comfort of home will be always remembered.

FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN...

During a season bombarded with distractions, I've realized it is a necessity for our family to purpose to keep our hearts focused on the real and true meaning of Christmas.  I don't feel it is sinful for us to have fun and give gifts to one another... in fact, I'm very thankful we have been taught by the very God we serve to give generously.  He was so generous He gave His one and only Son that we might have life eternal if we would only put our trust in Him.  

So as part of our purposing to keep focused on Christ's birth, we celebrated on the night of Christmas Eve through fellowship with other believers.  We gathered at the home of the Hanrions (thanks!) and worshipped by sharing in communion then gathered round a campfire to share in the reading from scripture of the very first Christmas... the very birthday of the Christ Child.  Matthew read so beautifully giving opportunities for the children to fill in details from the story.  It was a very special time together and such a sweet encouragement to hear those little voices of our children speaking truth from God's word, evidence that as parents we are doing it right (at least some of the time), we are growing our children up in the admonition of the Lord!  It truly was the perfect way to spend Christmas eve.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Manhood and Facial Hair



Okay, let's just say I'm not a fan of facial hair on my man.  I've always preferred the look and feel of a clean shaven Brian.  But every so often, he gives the whole "go tee, fue man chew," or whatever in the world it's called, a try.  So he says, it's just part of being a man.  So he had a wallow in his manhood leading up to Christmas.  And I tried, I tried real hard, to keep my lips sealed and let him do his thing in peace.  Simply to honor me, he shaved on Christmas Eve.  But before he did, we had to capture his look.  One things for certain, facial hair or not, I love this man with all my heart!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

FIRST VISIT FROM UNCLE CASEY & AUNT SARAH




We were excited to have Uncle Casey, Aunt Sarah, Abrahm and Ezra come up to visit during Christmas.  My mom was able to come the weekend before Christmas and then my brother and his family (minus two of his children, Destiny and CJ who we missed) joined us on Sunday at lunch time of the same weekend.  We enjoyed a yummy lunch and then exchanged gifts.  We all had fun.  I think the highlight of the gift opening was when Benjamin opened the gift MeMe gave him - a Red Rider BB gun.  He has had a bb gun on his wish list for at least 4 years so it was delightful to see his wish finally come true.

Monday evening, we enjoyed a night out on the town... we went up to Charlotte for dinner and a visit to Santa.  We had a fun time together.  I enjoyed getting to spend some time with my brother.  I hope we can do it again soon.

JESUS PRECIOUS JESUS


Benjamin and Catherine sang beautifully in church the Sunday before Christmas.  My heart swelled with pride as I watched them sing their hearts out about our precious Lord.  It was a wonderful reminder of what Christmas is truly about... the celebration of our Savior's birth.

video video

OUR LITTLE GYMNASTICS STAR





On December 18th, Catherine had her first ever gymnastics show.  She was so excited and did a fantastic job.  She did especially well on the balance beam.  And one things for sure, she looked beautiful.  Way to go, Catherine!  We're so proud of you.

2008 FAMILY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING TRIP

In case you're wondering if it's possible for a full day of shopping with husband and 4 children in tow can be successful and enjoyable... I give a resounding YES.  Believe it our not!  

The morning started with a special treat - a stop by Duncan Doughnuts.  You would of thought we we're taking the children to Disney World if you could've seen their excitement.  So once everyone had their favorite doughnuts in hand and a yummy coffee for Brian and me, it was Charlotte here we come.


We started our shopping at LifeWay christian book store to take advantage of a morning sale, and great deals we did find... some good reads, a movie, a kid's book series by Frank Peretti that Benjamin discovered.  We made a few more stops before lunch, each time checking off our list of gifts to be purchased. 

We had lunch at Wendy's then enjoyed an unexpected treat.  We got to go on a horse and buggy ride!  It was a lot of fun and definitely added to the Christmas cheer.

After a few more hours of shopping, we headed home to light the street in front of our house with luminaries.  The entire neighborhood's streets were lined by candlelight.  It was really neat and so festive.

As I reflected on the day, my face and heart were warmed with a smile.  I couldn't remember a single dispute or complaint and not even a single cry from Anna.  But instead took note of a day full of sweet memories together... definitely a time to remember.