Thursday, March 26, 2009

Meeting Nastia Liukin

                                        Catherine and Nastia Liukin

                                Riding the LYNX, Charlotte's light rail

                                              Here comes the "train"

Last night, we headed up to Charlotte for an opportunity we've all been looking forward to, especially Catherine.  We got to meet Nastia Liukin, the 2008 Olympic all-around gymnastics gold medalist.  The function was uptown Charlotte so Brian and I thought it would be the perfect chance to take the kids for a ride on the LYNX (the fairly new light rail).  I'm not sure which they were more excited about... riding the LYNX or meeting Nastia.  So off we went in the cold and rain, the whole family, to have some fun.  The "train" ride was exciting and seemed so much easier than dealing with traffic and hunting for a parking space.  We arrived at the Charlotte Convention Center just in time for a reception sponsored by Brian's company, and Catherine got to do the very thing she's been longing for... she met Nastia face to face, got her autograph and a picture with her.  I'm sure such an opportunity would be exciting for most any old Joe but for a little girl who mentioned being in the Olympics as soon as she started gymnastics, it seemed the opportunity of a lifetime.  In fact, shortly after we arrived and Catherine met her, she looked up at me and said, "I feel like I'm living in a dream!"  There were little girls flipping all over the place, including Catherine.  She just loved it.  And the rest of us enjoyed it, too.  Nastia shared all about her journey to this point.  I'll sum it up by saying she has put countless hours into achieving her goal of being Olympic all-around gold medalist... but she put her eyes on the prize and set her heart on achieving what I would consider one of the greatest accomplishments in the world, as far as athletics goes.  As we were riding the "train" back to our car after the event, Catherine looked at me with this longing in her eyes and asked me, "Mama, do you think I could win the Olympics one day?"  My first reply began with telling her it would take lots of hard work.  And then she said, "But Mama, just tell me you think I can do it."  It really was a precious reminder that often what my children need from me is to know that I believe in them.  So of coarse I relied, "Absolutely I do... I know you can do it."  She is doing incredible in gymnastics as are a number of her teammates.  In fact, their coach just invited several of them to promote to a new team, the Mighty Giants, where they will continue to polish basic skills but begin to learn more advanced skills, too.  In stead of practicing an hour and a half weekly, they will have two practices a week for two hours each (4 hours a week total).  I'm a really proud of Catherine and am tickled that she has found one of her passions.  My desire is to be her biggest cheerleader and for her to know, without a doubt, that I believe in her as she goes after her dreams.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Friendly Game of HORSE

       Benjamin pouting after he didn't win our game of HORSE

                                  Check out that stylish outfit!

                                           Mary Scott "photographing" Anna

Saturday morning, Benjamin was so anxious for us all to go outside and play a game of HORSE (a basketball shooting game).  So outside we went to enjoy some family fun and soak up the beautiful sunshine.  Mary Scott and Anna played in the grass while the rest of us had a little friendly competition.  In the end, Benjamin was out first which he wasn't at all happy about.  He has quite a competitive spirit and is still learning how to loose gracefully (oh the chances for training we as parents are faced with!).  And Catherine just tried her best to get the ball to the goal.  Brian ended up winning.  Most important of all, though, is that we spent some great time together.

Jana and Little Shamus came to visit

                    Little Shamus and his cute little grin

All the kids playing outside.  Little Shamus loved playing in the car.

                                                        Jana and I

I'm so glad my cousin, Jana, and her son, Little Shamus, came to visit last week.  We've been trying to get together for a while so I was delighted when she called to see if they could come up.  I think she probably returned home thinking our home and life is quite chaotic (an often true observation, to say the least!).  Jana's head was spinning the first night she arrived as she watched me doing my usual multi-tasking.  I had to scoot out the door to go and lead Bible study so in a matter of 20 minutes, she just gazed as I stuffed my dinner in my mouth while nursing Anna, then I started a pot of coffee, gathered needed items for Bible study in a basket, fixed a pitcher of water, covered sweets treats to take with me all while receiving and making at least 5 phone calls.  That night when I returned home, Jana's response was something like this... "Wow, that was chaotic, but do you realize how much you accomplished in 20 minutes?"  If only I worked at that pace all the time maybe I'd have a much more productive life!  That first night she was here, we stayed up talking about life stuff until 2:30 am.  Mercy, I've been worn out ever since.  I think I'm getting too old for such craziness as that.  I really enjoyed our time together and loved watching my children love on Little Shamus.  What a precious boy he is, and what an awesome job Jana is doing mothering him.  I'm so proud of her and her desire to be the Mom and wife God desires her to be.  Thankfully colored all over God's desires for us is a whole lot of grace and love as he trains us in his ways.  And how awesome that he allows us to partner along side one another to cheer one another on. 

2009 Basketball finished

                                              Benjamin with his coaches 

The trophy I was awarded for winning the Mom's shooting competition

                                            Benjamin's Basketball Team 2009

Well, Benjamin had a great season of basketball.  He played with his friend, Austin, at West End Baptist Church.  It's always exciting each year to see how Benjamin improves.  He definitely improved on his dribbling and shooting and continues to work on being a passer.  Brian and I had to start enforcing a "one pass rule" before he was aloud to shoot.  Having such a rule served to remind him to be a better team player and not simply dribble down and shoot every time he got the ball.  Their team ended the season with 6 wins and only 2 losses.  They really played well together.  I am so proud of Benjamin's progress.

We closed out the season with a basketball banquet and spaghetti dinner where the kids were awarded their trophies.  We also had a few contests during the banquet.  They even had a shooting competition for the moms and the dads.  And low and behold, I earned the most points of the moms and was awarded a trophy of my own.  It was a lot of fun... I was so proud of all the moms that got out there and gave it a try.  It was so neat watching Benjamin and Catherine and their response to me winning.  They were so proud of me.  Catherine said, "Mama, your 34 and you won your own trophy!"  Cracked me up.  The following Monday morning when I picked her back-pack up for her to go to school, it was so heavy so I unzipped it.  Guess what I found?  My trophy... she wanted to take it school and show it to her friends.  So sweet and cute.  I just love my children and love celebrating with them!

Sunday, March 15, 2009


What a treat greeted Brian and me this morning when we awoke.  Well first, let me mention that we slept till almost 9 o'clock.  Granted our night was not without a few wake-ups between Anna and Mary Scott... however, what a blessing to get to add a few hours to our normal wake time.  And then, we were served breakfast in bed by Benjamin and Catherine.  Our menu included cereal, toast with jam and orange juice arranged on a tray.  It blessed my heart to see my children taking measures to be kind and do something special for us.  They said since we weren't at church this morning (we attended last night) they wanted to do something to make the morning special... and that they did.  It was a perfect start to the day!

Photographer Wanna-be

A friend of mine recently took an amateur photography class and learned so much.  I have recently found myself asking different people whose pictures catch my eye what type of camera they have.  I've always been captured by photos and am completely obsessed with taking pictures at the beach.  Until I can one day hopefully get a more "upscale" digital camera, I'll continue to capture memories with my tiny little point and shoot (sony cyber-shot that's about 5 years old).  So after looking at some practice shots from my friend, I took a few "brick wall" pictures of Benjamin and Catherine just to see what I could do.  What I ended up with is certainly not professional but because they're pictures of my kids... I just like looking at them.  Catherine's eyes are amazing, and though Benjamin's expression is one of them is almost a little sad, I still like it.  What a blessing that we have the ability to capture life through photography.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Susannah and Luke's Wedding

                                             My family
                                             My brother's family

                                My mom and all 8 of her grandchildren

                                             My mom and Anna

                                 Benjamin looking dapper in a bow tie

                        Mary Scott and her cousin, Abrahm, dancing a jig

                          Catherine having fun dancing with cousins

                            Mary Scott having fun dancing with her daddy

                          Catherine and Susannah, the beautiful bride

                             My precious grandma Neysa and me

                               Catherine and Brian gettin' down

                                             Susannah and me

So one weekend it snows, and the very next weekend it was an absolutely perfect day for my cousin, Susannah's, wedding - sunny and a very pleasant 70 degrees.  We headed down to Georgia to attend the wedding which was in Swainsboro.  The ceremony was beautiful, and the reception was an evening filled with fun.  Catherine and Mary Scott had the time of their lives dancing with their Daddy.  It was great to be with my extended family, too.  Fun was definitely had by all!


If you were to ask Benjamin about writing right now, his first response would be... "I'm so tired of writing!"  On Tuesday and Wednesday of this past week, he and the rest of his classmates had to take a state writing test.  In preparation for this test, his teacher, Mrs. Pundt, had them writing up a storm.  So nearly everyday for almost two weeks, he had to write a paper as part of his homework, both a rough draft and a final one.  It was so neat to see how his writing improved over that two week period.  I know he's glad to be finished with the exam but there's still plenty of writing to be done before the end of the March.  He still has a science paper and a history paper to write.  So after a few days break, it's about time to awaken that pencil again.  He's doing such a awesome job in 3rd grade.  I'm really proud of him.  And we just got word that he is now in the Gifted and Talented  program... another great accomplishment.

Mary Scott - a good little Mommy

One of my favorite things to do when I was a little girl was to play with my baby dolls.  My dream for as long as I can remember was always to be a mommy.  So I really enjoy watching my girls play "mommy."  Because I've always nursed my babies, it's just what my children know, and it's very natural for them.  So most of the time, instead of Mary Scott pulling out a bottle to feed her babies, she just, in her words, let's them "eat on my boobie."  So the other day, I managed to capture a photo of her doing just that.  And of all places, on the stool in our powder room.  It's precious to me to see that even at the young age of 3, Mary Scott is learning how to be such a good little mommy.


Our best snow of this winter greeted us as we entered March.  Giant snowflakes began falling early in the evening of March 1st and when we awoke Monday morning, it was a winter wonderland.  According to Benjamin's measurement, we had 3 - 3 1/2 inches of snow on the ground.  We had a really fun day together.  Of course, Brian and his brave self headed off to work a little against my wishes so I resorted to the fact that he's a grown man capable of making wise decisions.  Thankfully, he arrived there safely without any problems.  The only place the children and I headed was out to play in the snow!  Our fun started by building a snowman for our elderly neighbor, Mr. Pete.  Then we headed down to our friends' house, the Brewers, for some sledding, snowboarding and just plain fun.  It certainly was a day of enjoyment.