Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How sweet it is to be loved by you.

I'm not sure if you can see it in this picture,
but he wrote me a love note in the condensation this morning.

It's an I, heart, U.

Those precious little fingers reached out and wrote those shapes,
and then called to me to come look.
He has my heart wrapped around his finger.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Happy 8th birthday, Tucker!

What a wonderful birthday!

On Saturday, the Scotts invited him over for a birthday celebration:

He can't begin to understand how fortunate he is to be loved by them!!  

We woke up Sunday morning to an EIGHT YEAR OLD!

He wanted lemon poppyseed muffins, bacon, and eggs for breakfast on the porch.

He asked to match his Daddy for church.  :) 
He took in pop-tarts and capri suns for breakfast with his church friends,
and then for lunch, his choice was Tu-Do!

 I'm lying if I say I wasn't pretty proud that my 8 year old 
wanted Vietnamese food for his birthday lunch!

After church, he partied with his Daddy and best buddies at Fast Eddies:

And then they went to Waffle House for dinner:

Today, he took Milano cookies and capri suns to celebrate his birthday with his friends at school.  He was SO excited that he got to stand on the table in the "class tradition" while they sang happy birthday.  This was arguably his favorite part of his birthday.

Friday, September 8, 2017

The Happy Momma's Manifesto by Ann Voksamp

1.  Today, even if everything goes wrong, love is always right.  There is ridiculous hope in this.

2.  Today, the only thing that has to be written in stone is when to pray.  We will just pray at set times and make our home a house of prayer.  What else really matters?

3.  Today, there are no emergencies.  Only amateurs hurry.  So: say yes to one game every day and laugh out loud.  No empty nest mama looks around and wishes she did one more load of laundry.

4.  Today, when stress mounts, I pray to dismount it with gratitude.  I can only feel one feeling at a time, and I choose to give thanks at all times.

5.  Today, I will pray to speak only words that make souls stronger.  Grace is the only non-toxic air.

6.  Today, I will pray to just be consistently consistent.  Make rhythms, live routines, wear good habits.  It will kind of change your life.

7.  Today, the moment when I am most repelled by a child's behavior, that is my sign to draw the very closest to that child.

8.  Today, I will hug my children as many times as I serve them meal, because children's hearts feed on touch.  The taller they are, the more so.  And we hold things together by holding on to each other.

9.  Love is a roof.
Be a shelter, a safe place, a roof for your people today.

10.  Today, I will laugh and create a culture of JOY.  The only life worth living is a scandalously joyful one!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

To my first born:

Dear Lana,

You are 11 years and 1 week old today, and next week your little brother turns 8.  I adore your ages and the things we can do together now, but the time is going so fast.  It’s heartbreaking to accept that I don’t have much time left with you. 7 years before you turn 18 and head off to college. I know what seven more years looks like now, and I’m terrified to let you go.
I look at the mother I once was when you were little and I was so scared. I hardly recognize her. I’ve gained a lot of confidence since hovering over you at the playground as you toddled around, and rushing out of restaurants when you made the tiniest fussy baby noise.
Lana, you were an angel baby, and I was the mom who knew hardly anything. Thank you for letting me make all of my mistakes with you and loving me anyway. I’m sure I’ll make plenty more as we try to navigate the middle school and high school years together.


You were always watching me inquisitively as a baby, and I could tell that you were a thinker. You still are, and I’m sorry I constantly ask you what you are thinking. I just want to know because I am dying to know you even better, and also because I worry I’m failing you in some way.
I want to know because of my own insecurities I have about mothering you. Although I’m so much more confident now than I was in those early years, I feel insecure about other things like if I’m too hard on you, or  if I am expecting too much. 
For the record, maybe I am expecting too much, maybe I always have, but I hope you know that it comes from a place of love. I never want you to feel like you have to be perfect, but I always want you to know that I believe you can do anything in the world you want to.
I could list the extremely long list of mistakes I made, like the times I made you stay in your room at night when I should have let you climb in my bed, or the bows and ribbons I made you wear even when you didn't want to. I yelled more than I do now, and I probably didn’t let you get nearly messy enough. I worried too much about germs, and was terrified that something would happen to you if I let you swing too high or walk too far away.
I laid the mama guilt on thick, and overthought every single thing. I was too strict with your diet, and your schedule, and too protective to let you explore like I should have. And, I got frustrated at stupid things like whether or not you’d speak to someone when they spoke to you.  You're so confident and self-possessed now; I shouldn't have stressed either of us out about that.
My eyes were always fixed on you, though, Lana.  I was so anxious to be the perfect mom, to do everything right; I just didn't know that letting go of that idea would actually make me a stronger, better mom in the end.
I’m sorry that I said no more than I should have.  I should have let you jump in the puddles more, climb higher in the tree.  I wish I had never said "Hurry up."
I should have given in to one more hug, skipped naptime for an adventure. I should have snuggled more, and carried you more, and listened more intently to your little stories. But, if you happen to ask for a hug or a snuggle now, know that the answer will always be yes.

You thrive in the role of big sister; God chose you for it, and you walk in that calling so well.
It’s hard for me not to feel pangs of regret as I allow your little brother to do things I never would have let you do, like skip the hand sanitizer before eating lunch at the park, or splash in mud freely on a hike. All the times that I say to him "No big deal!  Go for it!" I remember the times I didn't say that to you.  I want you to know it’s not that I was trying to slow you down; I only  wanted it to be just right. I wanted you to be safe, and because I loved you so much, I wanted to make sure that everything was just perfect.
I know better now. I know the bond that can come out of an apology for a mistake I make, and I know that teaching you to own your imperfections is a valuable life lesson I should have embraced a long time ago.
I’m still learning how to navigate the waters of raising a tween, and deciding things like when you can get a cell phone, how to keep our communication open, and how much independence to give you. But honestly?  It will always be hard for me when you’re out of my sight doing your own thing.  You're the one I never took my eyes off of.
You’ll forever be the child that made me a mom.  I will forever find comfort in the fact that we still get to navigate this journey of parent and child together, even though both of us are kind of clueless about what to do in each new stage.
Most of all, I hope you’ll forgive me for trying too hard to make it just right.  I'm glad you're a good forgiver.  I've given you a lot of practice.
Thank you for being as close to perfect as a kid can get, and for letting me learn as we go.



Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Round here

Just before school started,
Dan's mom came over from Orange Beach
with his sister's kids and took them all to ice cream and a movie.
Fun times!

Dan took a day off just before school started,
and we spent the day at Big Kahuna's for one last hurrah!

I wrote a post on Facebook a few days before school started,
and it went viral-ish.
As of today, it has around 84,000 shares, and 6,000 comments.
Lots and LOTS of positive comments from teachers;
interestingly enough,
most of the negative comments came from parents 
grumbling about buying supplies.  Fascinating, really.

Pepper wasn't quite sure what to do with herself when the kids went back to school;
I think she's in recovery mode!
She's spent a lot of time doing this:

Since we started back to school,
Wednesdays have become our date days.
It's Dan's long day at church,
so he takes a break for about an hour for dinner,
and we split up with the kids for dinner.
One night he takes Lana and I take Tucker,
and then the next week, we switch.
We are absolutely loving this one on one time with the kiddos,
and we find we have to be intentional with it on our calendar like this 
or it doesn't happen!

I love when he is creative and uses his imagination.
This time backfired, though: 
he forgot to clean it up, and we wound up with fruit flies.  Ugh!

Tucker started playing flag football at Hillcrest.
His coaches are fantastic,
and the best player on the team is a girl!  
Loving it!

At practice one evening,
we looked over and found Dan & Dustin had moved all the way over to another set of bleachers to talk.  We teased them, but I don't have words for how thankful I am that they are friends and partners in ministry.

Tucker had his vision rechecked,
and it turns out he doesn't need his glasses anymore!
He was so excited to give them to his penguin.

Our kids like to listen to podcasts as much as we do!  :) 

The night before Lana moved up from Kids Ministry to Student Ministry,
Dan sat at the table for hours, and wrote her a letter that I still haven't read.
I wonder if she'll ever know how blessed she is to have a daddy like him.
We tucked the letter inside a new Study Bible,
and prayed for her time in Student Ministry to be profitable in every way.

This little pipsqueak has stolen our hearts - 
we love to watch him and hold him and give him treats.
Pepper is the only one who isn't completely enamored with him: Pepper and Pip

I've been training for a marathon with some friends,
and finally broke the 5 mile mark that has been a block for me for so long!
My time isn't great, but I did it!

Lana's first Sunday morning in student ministry.
She insisted on walking down by herself!

The night before school started,
Tucker started having trouble sleeping.
I think it was just nerves that night,
but now he's kind of psyching himself out,
convinced that he's going to wake up and not be able to sleep again.

We made him a pallet on the floor near my side of the bed,
and he comes in sometime during every night to sleep there.
A few years ago, I never would have allowed this.
I would have insisted that he stay in his bed;
I would have been very strict about the routine.
But as the kids grow, I'm learning that their problems won't always be as easily solved as resting near momma, so for now, this pallet will do just fine.

One of the administrators at the kids' school texted this to Dan.  Ha!  Look at those sweet girls hanging on his every word.  He's so much like his daddy!

One of Dan's co-workers is an incredible artist, 
and she gifted this beauty to me!
I hung it in my office in an inconspicuous place - 
I like that I'm usually the only one that sees it.
I love its simple, organized beauty.

Tucker started piano lessons with Ms. Block last week -
he was SO excited!
He begs every day to practice more than his allotted time.
I hope this excitement lasts!

Dan & I had a meeting downtown one day,
and as we walked past a restaurant, there was a squirrel in a tree,
chattering so loudly at us.
One of the employees told us he was yelling for a french fry,
and gave me one to feed him!!!  He ate it right out of my hand!