"So promise me you'll never forget...that you aren't an accident or an incident...you are a gift to the world, a divine work of art, signed by God. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on this earth...Flooded by emotion, overcome by pride, the Starmaker turns to us, one by one, and says, 'You are my child. I love you dearly.'" Max Lucado, God Thinks You're Wonderful

Monday, October 31, 2011

Numero Uno

Owen, pumpkin...this has been a busy school year for you already. You are learning so much and I am sooo thankful. You are now reading!!!! I am so proud of you. This past weekend you learned to tie your shoes. You absolutely love going to school and you get wonderful reports. I am continually amazed at your ability to make friends everywhere you go. You are still my little ball of energy and yet somehow you contain yourself for school. You are a wonerful helper to your teacher! You had your first field trip last week and rode on the bus for the first time for the field trip. That's a LOT of first in just a few days buddy.

Muffins for Moms at school!

Last Wednesday you and I were able to go to Muffins for Moms at your school. It was such a blessing to be with you ALONE. That's a rare thing for you and I. So many times it breaks my heart that I cannot volunteer and be more present at school. And that we don't get a lot of one on one time. But the other night at bed you started asking about another baby. You really never tell me you are going to pray about something...and yet you told me you were going to pray about it. You were going to ask for God for just one more baby. It made me smile. I am so thankful you don't feel lost in all the munchkins or that you don't get enough time for yourself.

Daddy didn't get to come to Donuts for Dad's so he came and had lunch with you at school! You guys had so much fun together!!! (thanks babe for snapping a pic for me!)

Owen, mommy and daddy are so proud of you for how you've handled our move this year...we know it has not been easy. Through YOU we have met so many wonderful families! You love going to our new church here and that's a huge change from Oklahoma. Thanks for being such a trooper! You have taught me so much about how to be a better mother Owen. I am sorry you've had to be my guinea pig. But I am learning, and asking for God to change me into the mommy He needs me to be. Love you buddy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stone Mountain Park- Part 2

The kids LOVED riding the SkyRide to the top of the mountain! Sadie said, "Issa moutin! HIYEEE moutin!" Emery's favorite thing on top was splashing in all the puddles! Our kids were quite the mess when we left, but isn't that what's supposed to happen when you play hard?

Stopping to take a peek, from here you can see downtown Atlanta.

Just off the gondola, sorry you can't see the incredible view behind me but I had to brighten the exposure of the picture so you can see my sweeties! This is a constant struggle we have with all of the different shades of brown in our family. I have to edit almost every picture of Emery to get her beautiful features to appear. Perhaps I need to save up for one of those fancy shmancy cameras? I have become quite good at editing and adjusting the exposure/contrast and all. This is the SkyHike. Its a family ropes course...here Sadie is dangling off the zipline! She loved it!!!

Cooper on the zipline. Shocker that Owen sped past me so I missed his photo op!

They had SOOO much fun and wanted to race through the course again and again. Insert a sweaty mom needing a ponytail holder!

Stopping for a little picnic.

Some more putt putt. It's quite a funny game. Somehow we have raised 4 extremely independent children. I have no clue how. Couldn't be that we are a wee bit stubborn ourselves. No. Not me. Sadie loves to play putt putt, but doesn't want to recieve instruction...she wants to do it Sadie style. Oh how redonkulous we look, I am sure. But we just giggle.

The kids at the lake. Emery wanted IN the water. She got so mad that I wouldn't let her in. A poor older woman was watching us from her car. Bless her heart she was terrified. From where she was, what I was allowing my kids to do looked terribly dangerous. And here I was encouraging it and photographing it. She got to hooping and hollering at me, but I couldn't understand a darn thing she was saying. Her daughter kindly explained she was worried about the kids. What do you say to this? I don't feel like I should apologize for letting my kids play on the bank of a lake. Aye yi yi. The awkward moments in parenting...

This was the second time this happened while we were at Stone Mountain Park. The first time a lady was grossed out because Emery had a messy face. Mkay people. For real? We are at a park, PLAYING. So what if she is covered head to toe in mulch and sand. She is exploring, learning and developing her senses. If this is not how you let your children grow, no problem. But don't judge me for letting her get into it. I watched parent after parent scowl at their kids, even yell at them to not go near the sandbox. I realize I am from Oklahoma, and I am a lil bit country. But while I am not forcing your kid to play like mine do, don't force me to clean my child up while she is playing so that you don't have to see it. This lady wouldn't let it go asking me if I didn't have tissues or wipes. "I have some. They are in the car." She offered to give me some. "We are good, but thank you." She wouldn't give up and proceeded to dig hers out and hand me one telling me to wipe her face. If it's not obvious I struggle with mommy guilt and self-esteem. The fact that Blake was gone and I had these two situations happen within hours of one another, I found myself stewing over them. Maybe they are right? Maybe I should be more cautious. Maybe I shouldn't let the boys climb and jump so much? Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Lord help me to follow you and only seek your approval. Please break me of my pride. The gap between what kind of mother I want to be and that which I am seems to be GAPING wide and overwhelming. Thank you for standing in that gap and using me just how I am...country and all. Thank you for trusting me with each of these angels. May I remember daily that I cannot be enough for them and that I must constantly teach them of their need for YOU. Help me to tell them of my mistakes as a mom and daily talk about needing You to live in me. As other moms give me advice help me to have patience and not be so dang prideful. Thank you for being my Savior and filling my heart with JOY.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Stone Mountain Park...part 1

We have found a magical place. As Blake said, it's the perfect place for our family. Here are just a FEW pics of the hundreds I took over the last two days. Hope you enjoy! This is Stone Mountain Park... Emery is uber affectionate. And we all just eat it up. She was just kissing on Blake and I actually caught one on camera!

Cooper helping Emery play the games too! He is amazing with her, so patient and wants her to get to do everything. Not that Owen and Sadie aren't that way too, but there is something about Cooper and his Emery.

And somehow...if this day could get any better, we actually ran into Usher. THE Usher. The boys ran out in front of us and started playing with these kids and Blake looked up and thought, "That guy looks really familiar." Then it hit him and he walked over and told me. We were SO close and it took all I had to not make a fool of myself, but Blake reminded me that he was with his family. So I opted to take this picture of the back of his head. HA!

This place was so cool, it had air guns for the kids to shoot these soft balls in the air.

It's a bit fuzzy, and my hair is odd...but look! EMERY IS SMILING!!! This is her silly face. She is such a hoot!

This is her "whoa is me" face. She keeps us laughing!

Putt putt was a huge hit!!! Blake attempting to play putt-putt before Emery steals his ball. It was like soccer/golf. He was hoping I would put the camera down and get the baby...but this girl wants to BE IN IT. She loves being one of the big kids!

She found the train...

This is currently my fav style for her hair. It's just too cute and so fun! Remind me of this when I am needing hairstyles for school pics one day. Mkay?

Blake was in Miami this day. We stayed at the park for 5+ hours. It was a blast, but we were all pooped at the end of it! Owen took this for me! Thanks buddy!

Stone Mountain is HUGE. Calling it a park is a little misleading. We have spent about 13 hours there in total and still haven't seen it all. I found the lake with the kids and we had a blast just throwing rocks and sticks and talking to the ducks. Right as I went to snap the pic, she put it in her mouth. Nice.

At the playground. Notice below how Emery is too busying gabbing to take the picture!?

Thank you Gigi for helping us find this place and for our season passes!!! You have no idea how much fun this has brought us already! This was on the train ride.

She found the perfect pumpkin and was trying to pick it up!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Beyond Thankful

Yet another self-portrait from Sadie. Is she not a hoot? Oh girl...you crack me up! She has quickly taken to what it means to be a 3 year old. At the park today after getting a talkin to she told me in full sassy tone, "I will not say yes ma'am!" Oh Lordy! She is 98% pumpkin and only 2% pistol ;o) This princess is having a hard time putting on any weight, she is in the 92% for height and the 40% for weight which puts her BMI at a 1. We are going to go back in to weigh in a month to make sure she is gaining. Lil Miss is catching on to what she hears! She is talking SO much...more like she just repeats everything she hears. And it's hilarious and so hard not to completely crack up! Today when I was buckling her into her carseat she said, "Mama stop it!" What? Did my 15 month old just put 3 words together. Watch out guys...she's a talker! She is in the 94% for height and the 28% for weight! Mercy my girls are gonna be tall and skinny! So.jealous. Ok...I LOVE this picture. This is Owen's REAL smile. Like the one in which his heart is HAPPY and that happiness oozes out. I love this guy. We have all had a hard time moving so much lately, but I think it's affected my big guy most and it kills me. He's been such a trooper. This particular day we were given 4 tickets to the Georgia Tech game, so I got to take all 3 big kids! What a blast we had!

Can you tell how excited they are?

Lands! Look at Cooper's face! We even got to ride the train to the stadium.

Sadie's first football game! She loved seeing the cheerleaders and clapping for the team. It was a gorgeous day to be outside walking around and watching football.

God is soo good! Everyone that sat around us was so friendly and no one used foul language or made out in front of the kids. And Coooper was quick to point out all the brown people sitting around us ;o) Man I love how comfortable he is with talking about skin color and his emotions about it.

Of course we had to get some treats. Owen didn't want in the picture so he took one for us!

And can you imagine that I got lots of compliments on my adorable kiddos!?!? It was sooo much fun getting to do such a big treat with the kids.

Emery stayed at home with a sitter and did wonderful! We came home and she got new puffs! We actually used a teacher from Cooper's school who offered to watch the kids and she does hair and braids too! Can you believe how wonderful our God is to give us someone we can trust who the kids adore? Sadie reading stories to us.