Monday, April 27, 2009

LITTLE SNAGGLE-TOOTHED GIRL



The first of Catherine's top teeth to be loose, her front left one, has been hanging on by a string.  But when she greeted me after Sunday school yesterday, I saw a little snaggle-toothed girl.  She really looks cute.  If she's said it once, she's said it a hundred times, "I can't believe my tooth came out.  My mouth really looks different."  She pulled it all by herself and has been so excited.

Little Discoveries






Sunday afternoon, I was out in the yard with my girls doing a little gardening.  It was fun watching Anna explore the grass, the pine straw... the naturals of the outdoors... touching, tasting.  And Mary Scott had fun with bubbles, trying to get Anna to look at them each time she sent one into the air.  Most of the time, Catherine was turning cart wheels and such - she's my forever flipper.  It was wonderful being outside.

Benjamin's 1st Baseball Game of the 2009 Season

Benjamin's 3 little sisters at the game to cheer him on

We were at the baseball field Saturday morning for the kick-off of this '09 season.  It was a beautiful morning and quite warm, at least 80 - 85 degrees... makes me wonder where Spring has gone.  Benjamin played a great game.  He had some good stops, throws and hits.  One thing he and his team need to work on is running to 1st base and not slowing down before they get there.  That's what these early years are about... learning how to play the game.  Brian is the assistant coach which he enjoys.  I really enjoy watching the kids play their different sports.  I always want to be their biggest fan.  Way to go, Benjamin, on a great game to start the season.

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36 YEARS OLD




Saturday was an extra special day because we got to celebrate Brian's birthday... #36.  It just doesn't seem possible for him to already be turning the corner towards forty, and let's leave it at saying I'm not too far behind him.  Everyday, but especially on his birthday, I find my heart filled with immeasurable thankfulness for him... for his birth, his life, his wonderful up-bringing, his love for the Lord, his faithfulness to me and to our family, his friendship, his hard work, his dedication to our children... and the list goes on.  How richly blessed I am to have him as my husband, companion, friend.  

We started the morning with a special breakfast - a couple different kinds of muffins, scrambled eggs, strawberries, coffee and juice.  I kept asking Brian what "yummy" he wanted me to make for him, and he just couldn't decide on anything.  In the end, he decided a grilled chicken salad sounded good for dinner so I "whipped that up."  And the thought of a delicious ice cream from Cold Stone Creamery was right up his alley.  We saved going for ice cream until Sunday after church.  As usual, the ice cream was fabulous and enjoying it under a shade tree by a fountain made our time together even more fun.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SWEET HEART! 

Friday, April 24, 2009

ALL TUCKERED OUT


The other afternoon, Benjamin came running to me exclaiming, "Mama, Mary Scott has fallen asleep on the stairs."  So I went to check it out, and there I found her, sound asleep on the bottom step.  So cute!  All this playing just tuckers a little girl out.  She doesn't routinely take naps anymore... that seemed to go out the door around the age of 3 when her passy went bye-bye.  But sometimes when she gets still or is simply too grumpy for me to take another minute,  she'll take advantage of napping.  So this particular afternoon, the kids were enjoying a little Hermy singing video, she got still on the bottom step, and it was off to dream land.

The World of Play



I just love watching my children play.  It totally fascinates me... their sense of imagination, the way they can enter another world for a while, the way they learn so much through play.  I love the way that childhood offers a  lack of responsibility that gives a certain freedom to play with abandon, uninhibited.

Such it was on this particular afternoon... and I'm so glad I had the chance to capture it in a photo.  Mary Scott and this little pig were having a swell of a time together.  She would climb up on the little pig's back talking to him in the gentlest of ways, and scoot him along on the hardwoods as though they were riding off somewhere extra special.  And indeed, I enjoyed sitting back watching the story play out... it was wonderful. 

MOWING THE GRASS 101


Funny how children dream of the day they get to do certain "grown up" things... the very things that make our to-do lists endless.  One of those things for Benjamin has been cutting the grass.  I sort of see it as a right of passage, a sign that my little boy, my first born and only son is indeed growing up.  So with Benjamin at the ripe age of almost 9 1/2, Brian began the teaching process... mowing the grass 101.  I'm sure this training will go on for sometime being how particular Brian is about how the grass is cut.  And I don't think Benjamin was quite as excited about it after doing it.  Actually, he was worn out - hard work pushing that mower around the yard.  So we'll see how it progresses but at least he's learning.  Way to go Benjamin!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

1ST FAMILY CAMPING ADVENTURE


   TEAMWORK - the best way to get most any job done!

And our tent is up - we followed the directions and all went smoothly.

          Our camping home... beautiful!

   Mary Scott checking out the inside of out tent

A view from bed that allowed us to enjoy God's creation - lovely!


Benjamin with hatchet in hand, chopping away at our firewood.


Catherine and Mary Scott being silly over a cup of hot chocolate

Anna having fun playing in her pack-n-play under a canopy of trees

                          Digging for earthworms

              Mary Scott was proud of  "her tree"


       Benjamin waiting patiently for a fish to bite

         Anna and Mommy doing a little fishing

            Daddy and Mary Scott crossing the creek

                  Oh that water is cold!

          Benjamin's pet lizard, Camo

             and Catherine's pet lizard, Junior

         and Benjamin's other pet, Dart the frog

                   Morning by the campfire


Needed: Quality Time as a family... Solution: CAMPING!!!  

Indeed, our camping trip was just what our family needed - freedom from the distractions of home (chores, electronics, phone, television...) and an opportunity for team work and adventure.

We headed over to Kings Mountain State Park on Thursday to set up camp. Although we purchased our tent a couple years ago, this was the first time we've used it.  We worked as a family to put it up and thankfully the process went very smoothly.  Once up, we realized it is the perfect size for our family.  A 12 x 12 square... plenty of room for 2 queen size air mattresses, the pack-n-play for Anna and another corner for our bags.  Our campsite offered water and electricity and the bath house was across the road - all of which were nice amenities. 

The weather was beautiful.  By the afternoon, we were all changing into shorts but the nights and mornings were definitely on the chili side (around 40 degrees during the night/early morning).  Our bed clothes included socks and fleeces, and we all looked forward to a warm campfire to start our days.  Finding wood for our fires was one of the ways we worked together as a family, and Benjamin had a lot of fun using the hatchet to help chop our wood.  One of our conversations around the campfire was about how heavily people long ago depended upon fire.  We used the grill over our fire to cook hot dogs and hamburgers.  We made breakfast on our electric skillet... pancakes and sausage patties one morning, bacon and eggs the other.  Brian and I enjoyed coffee by the fire and the kids had hot chocolate.  What a great time we had!

It was so wonderful hanging out together as a family without feeling the pull of so many distractions that day to day life offers.  After breakfast our first morning, I dug in the dirt with the girls for at least an hour.  We were in search of earth worms for our afternoon fishing extravaganza.  We found lots of worms but were less fortunate on our fishing trip - seemed all Benjamin and I could catch were tree limbs.  Brian spent nearly our whole time fishing trying to get us out of messes.  Mary Scott enjoyed feeding the goose while we fished.  Although we had a great time wetting our hooks... the fish weren't biting.  At the end of the lake was a dam which fed into a pretty little creek where the kids enjoyed rock hopping.  It was wonderful watching them enjoy the sheer freedom that God's creation offers.   Other moments we enjoyed included swinging, playing horse shoes, making smores and singing along as Brian played the guitar.  One of the other things Benjamin and Catherine found fun was playing with their "camping pets."  By the time we were packing up to head home, they had to let free 2 lizards and a frog.  We made so many fun memories from Thursday to Saturday... the beauty of uninterrupted family time.

After packing up our massive amount of stuff (the car was packed!) to head back home, we stopped at the Kings Mountain Military Camp.  We got to learn a colonial dance called the "Hole in the Wall."  It was so neat to dance together as a family and learn a little history from our forefathers - a special ending to an absolutely wonderful weekend.

We couldn't have asked our 1st family camping trip to have gone any more smoothly.  We went camping one other time when I was pregnant with Mary Scott but this one will go down in the books as our first one with our whole family.  And one things certain... we hope it is the first of many!




Tuesday, April 14, 2009

He Is Risen... Indeed!









As I pondered Easter and all that happened on those days so long ago... my heart was heavy at the thought of how a sacrifice must of grieved the heart of a mother and a Father.  Jesus knew how it would all play out... His very life broken, given as the final sacrifice for me, for you.  Yet he walked in the very obedience that cost Him his life and purchased life everlasting for those of us who believe and commit our lives to Him.  My heart was heavy, yet joyful and oh so grateful that My Lord loved me enough to give His very life and that the grave couldn't hold Him down.  That He did indeed RISE - His death a covering for my sin... Him rising to give me life eternal (Luke 23 & 24).  Thank you Heavenly Father... may I never get over what you did and how much you love me.  And may I make it my every aim to share your gift with my children, my family, my friends... with everyone with whom I encounter.  May my life reflect and breathe the very essence of who you are and may I love others the way you first loved me.

We traveled down to my mom's for Easter this year.  It was nice being back at her house for the first time since the devastating tornado we experienced while visiting her on Mother's day of last year.  The children had fun making goodies and dying eggs.  They enjoyed a couple of egg hunts, and we all went to church together Easter morning.  My brother and sister-in-law, Sarah, along with my little nephews, Abrahm and Ezra came for the weekend, too.  One of Catherine's high lights of the weekend was putting on my mom's wedding dress.  She wanted pictures with everyone.  I just love the desire God puts in every little girl's heart to be a beautiful bride.  I'm surely thankful that God provided Brian to choose me as his bride.  How blessed I am to have such a wonderful husband.  It was a beautiful weekend.

HOLLYWOOD - Spring Show

My Hollywood Stars

What in the world is so funny?  Is Benjamin surrounded by girls???

Daddy, Mary Scott and Anna ready to enjoy the show

Mary Scott and Anna dancing to the music


We were off for a night in Hollywood last week as Benjamin and Catherine sang in the Spring Show for school.  They did a great job singing and dancing.  It was a fun night watching them perform.  And they seemed to enjoy it, too.  It's hard for me to believe they're already in 1st and 3rd grades and having school performances.  

Little Anna Girl - 9 months old


Well, actually, Anna is already 9 1/2 months old, and I'm just now posting about her 9 month mark.  She continues to be quite a chunky little one weighing in at her check-up at a healthy 20 pounds 13 ounces.  And she was 28 1/4 inches tall.  She is on the brink of crawling...  sometimes I'll find her crawling backwards or just rolling.  This past Friday, she mastered sitting herself back up from her tummy.  She's not yet pulling up and cruising.  Fact is, she doesn't really have to with 2 sisters and a brother meeting her every need.  She finally started saying "ma ma" and is also saying "na na."  The noise she makes that gains the most attention, though, is this very loud grunty scream - not what one would expect from a pretty baby girl.  And she also makes this softer grunting sound sometimes when she sits and plays.  She enjoys sitting with a big bucket of toys and pulling out different ones to explore.  And oh how she loves her mommy.  Boy can she make that grunty screaming noise when she wants me, and even louder when she wants to nurse.  In addition to nursing, she's eating stage 2 baby foods (haven't found one yet that she doesn't like).  And she loves to sit in her high chair seat and eat cheerios and puffs.  I am starting to see visions of what it's going to be like once she's totally mobile.  I just bet she's gonna be a busy little girl.  Busy and delightful... continuing to add joy to our family.