Wednesday, December 25, 2013

All Is Calm, All is Bright...

Merry Christmas y'all! It feels like forever since I have sat here with my laptop and perhaps it is related to the holiday busyness that seems to crop up this time of year in spite of the best of intentions.

However, I did want to take a minute to wish everyone a "Merry Christmas" from our family!

Things at our home are calm today and outside the sun is brightly shining. I have finally accepted we have passed the years of late night Christmas Eves as Santa's workers and the early, pre-dawn Christmas morning excitement. The kids assured us last night that they wanted to sleep in this morning yet they were all up and going at 8:30.

Their stockings were filled with some of their favorite things...

And Kamdyn did a great job acting surprised as she opened gifts that were picked out weeks ago shopping with me...

Koby always loves to open gifts and he takes his time looking each one over...

This gift caught Brendan a little off guard! We will see how long it takes him to actually wear it and he said IF he does he will have an Texas ATM shirt on underneath.

And even Johnny was feeling festive this morning, sniffing through all the wrapping paper in search of a treat!

We enjoyed our presents, ate a big breakfast, rested and cleaned up and have now filled ourselves on a late lunch. Brian and I are enjoying a movie, the boys are playing a new game and Kamdyn is dressed in new clothes watching Netflix. Talk about all being calm!

Of all the things I have enjoyed about today though I am most thankful for that little bit of quiet this morning, with the trees lit and my coffee hot as I read through the Christmas story. To reflect on the birth of my Savior and worship Him this morning was indeed the greatest gift.

I hope each of you have experienced the calm that only Christ can bring! I trust you have taken just a moment to reflect on the love of our Savior and the hope that He provides.

I wish you all a truly Merry Christmas and over the next few days I plan to sit down and update on all that has been going on with the Bailey bunch!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Slowing Down...

Last week kept us on the go! The kids played three nights of basketball and they had their youth group Christmas Party on Wednesday night. And I want to say I love a game of "Dirty Santa", especially with 45 youth!!

The kids started the week off with a rough basketball game where all teams got beat but the boys bounced back winning the rest of their games for the week and Kamdyn's team won a big game on Friday night. The boys are undefeated in district which was one of their goals going into the season. We still have a tough team on the schedule in January to play twice so we aren't counting on the district champion trophy yet! Kamdyn's team continues to improve and they were so excited about winning this week!

She is learning a lesson about turning the other cheek, literally. This week in a heated game a girl from the other team gave Kamdyn a big slap on the cheek after she had already been very physical. The slap got her a tech and thankfully Kamdyn showed patience and didn't retaliate! Her coach has also told them if you get a tech you run two miles so that might have contributed to Kamdyn not saying/doing anything back to the girl. I worry about this happening to our boys but not to Kamdyn!

So all of that to say tonight I am sitting at home in front of the fire with our Christmas trees all glowing because after last week I need some PEACE!!! Our choir performed their annual Christmas program Sunday and the theme was peace. I think I needed to be reminded peace comes from God our Father and we need to live in it. I don't think He calls us to a life of chaos and activities that so easily distract families, tearing down communication and relationships. I think we need to slow down and walk in peace!

Tonight we all five at supper together, which is very rare for us. We are used to more than five at our supper table!  The kids have all gone on to study for their semester exams and here I sit typing and Brian is reading TexAgs and checking out Ebay and I will just say in this moment, life is good!

We also had some company this weekend....

....and our house seemed to be more like a fraternity than anything else. These boys played unlimited playstation and ate all kinds of food and laughed and joked and talked about love and life. Our boys have been so blessed to have some great Christian friends, and this weekend I realized these guys were an answer to my prayers. I have always asked God to provide them with friends who are faithful, who love God, who want to live life for Him. I think so many kids today think you can't live a life of faith and have fun. Our boys and these boys are far from perfect but they all are trying to live out faith and life. I took this picture after lunch Sunday before Thomas headed back to Auburn and I just wonder if they realize they are standing on the edge of the rest of their life with a journey ahead of them that only the Lord knows.

Along with the basketball games and Christmas party last week we also had a Christmas party for the women at our local mission. I am more than thankful to serve in church with such compassionate women who want to serve others! We had this party last year and I was so excited to offer it again. I will share more about it later but I did want to tell you about one of the things we did with the women - we made these super cute little chocolate covered marshmallows! It was so easy and I think I may do some more for teacher gifts. Just take the largest marshmallows and put the candy cane in the end of them. Dip the end of the marshmallow in the chocolate almond bark and the sprinkle crushed peppermint on the end or you could even use red sprinkles. The women loved doing this and I think you would, too. {Also, special thanks to Pintrest because of course that is where I found this cute idea!}

So there you go....as our life slows down a little yours may be speeding up. We are on half days at school through Thursday and my kids will be done taking semester finals Wednesday. Brendan will be going to see Ellie at the end of the week and I will be cleaning house, catching up on everything I didn't get done last week!! {If you haven't gotten a Christmas card from us that's in my catching up plan!}

I hope peace finds you or rather that you find it through the One who provides it. Just slow down..

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Baby it's COLD outside...

I can not even tell you how cold it is! I know many of you probably are going through the same thing wherever you are but oh.my.goodness! It's like we had winter then about three days of spring then hello - winter times 100!

The kids played ball out of town Thursday night and on our way to the game the temperature fell 31 degrees and I was so glad I had kept my sweater handy! I am thankful we are not frozen on ice like many of you back home in Texas because I want no part of that. Snow = yes, Ice = no way!

When I got up to a gray, cold morning Saturday I plugged in my Christmas trees and sat with a hot cup of coffee and the fire and just enjoyed the peace that comes from doing that....

...and I just praised God for quiet and warmth and a home and peace. I don't know what it is about Christmas and the lights and being all snuggled in but I do know it is good medicine for my soul to just sit and enjoy it. I realize some of you don't have teenagers who sleep until 10 or 11 so this not be something you identify with but I can tell you the quiet and peacefulness is coming one day and you need to enjoy it!!!

Not only did we welcome in the cold at the end of this week but we also got to welcome a special visitor...


Our sweet Ellie came home for a surprise visit and I think it is safe to say everyone was happy to see her! She worked with one Brendan's friends to surprise him at his basketball game Thursday evening. She showed up just before halftime of the girls game and it really was sweet to see the surprise on his face!! This girls is one in a million and you just about needs those odds to fit into this family of ours!

Friday night Brian and I took the kids plus Ellie plus Koby's friend Anna out to eat. I caught myself looking around the table, watching the kids talk about this and that and I couldn't help but thank God for pouring out his blessings on us. I also had a brief moment of vanity, thinking "am I really old enough to sit here with almost grown boys and their dates and a daughter planning her Friday night out with friends?". Well age is only a number in this birthday month of mine and I am truly learning to count my blessings in this season of parenting.

Saturday we cooked our normal big breakfast, did some grocery shopping and then snuggled in for football and soup as the north wind kept things frigid outside. Today we had to take Ellie back to Birmingham and Brian did such a great job getting us through the yucky rain and fog. We were sad to see her head home, but thankful for her time here with us and the added excitement she brought to our weekend!

It looks like we will be bundling up all week as we go to basketball games and Christmas parties! We have 5 more whole days of school left this week and 4 half days next week so we are on the countdown for sure. I hope you are staying warm where you are and that you too are finding peace and joy in this season...

Monday, December 2, 2013

Truly Thankful...

We spent Thanksgiving at home in Mississippi, which is not the home of my heart but the home God put into our lives almost 12 years ago. When I finally came to terms with the reality of missing Thanksgiving in Texas {or glory land as I tend to refer to it} I decided I would make the most of whatever it was that God had for us here at our home.

I was down in my back. Brendan was anxious about his ROTC interview. Kamdyn came down with strep throat and the flu. Koby bought three different necklaces and took back two of them all for the same person. Brian took care of all of us!

And we survived!

For that I am truly thankful!

I do have a few pictures to share from our Thanksgiving....

The boys wanted to get picture taking over with quickly and get on to the eating so they didn't want to stop to put on a coat or anything! We were truly thankful when we saw the sun come out on Thanksgiving Day because we had dealt with freezing cold temperatures and rain for about five straight days! And honestly I wouldn't complain much about that because I love a gray, wintry day where I can snuggle up with a good movie or good book and a fire and we did that pretty much all of Monday and Tuesday.

First of all, it's been almost a year since we brought this little fella home! By Thanksgiving Day not only was Kamdyn thankful to finally be kicking the flu but she was also talking about how  Johnny's first year in the family had passed by so quickly! I think this will forever be one of my most favorite pictures of her!

This could be a close second though!

I'll admit we did get a little photo happy while we were waiting to sit down to lunch! I think Koby gets the photo credits for this picture and that might explain why we are laughing more than just smiling.

And clearly it was a special day if both of the boys were willing to take a picture!

But then it was time to get serious! Brian is carving the first of two turkeys that he fried for Thanksgiving. He did an amazing job and we stuffed ourselves full!

We did a little Black Friday Thursday shopping, which included Brian's first real experience with the crowds and sales and checking out and also the boy's first chance to brave the cold just to get a deal. Koby's shopping experience is still making me laugh today!

On Saturday, the boys played in Memphis at the FedEx Forum - home of the Memphis Grizzlies! This was their third year to play up there and they really look forward to it. Here is a picture of the five starters before we went in to the Forum...

...and you can tell they are an entertaining group!

We were thankful to come out with a win and I was able to get a few pictures of the boys...

...but those were two of my favorites!

So this morning we found our way back into our school routine. We will have to make it 9 more full days and 4 more half days until our Christmas break arrives - not that I am counting down or anything!

*As a total side note thanks to all of you who have prayed for my quick recovery! By Wednesday I finally felt like I was going to be able to live somewhat normally again and I have since put the heating pad away. After 10 days of constant use I decided that the investment of that heating pad might just be better than any Black Friday deal!


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A little of this and that...

As I was laid out last week I did have time to catch up some reading, which is never a bad thing! I have several bloggers that I like to read and then of course a book or two and several magazines that I had piled up.

{At this point I realize I am a lot like my mother!!}

 {Let me clarify that is not a bad thing!}

Anyways, I found a few things that I wanted to share here on my blog. Hope you have time to read a few of these....

  • I came across this blog post and appreciated what she had to share about motherhood! I know I am not in her season of motherhood and maybe that is why it spoke to me so much. She closes with one of my favorite Bible verses and I think you will enjoy the post as well -


  • It is no secret that I love College Game Day and if there was a dream job for me it would have been Erin Andrews until now! I LOVE this new ESPN reporter and after reading this post I love her even more...

  • Since we are talking about sports I really could relate to this post by one of my favorite bloggers after a tragic ATM loss this past Saturday....

  • I have found countless things on Pinterest and looked at all kinds of recipes but I came across this one the old fashioned way... a COOKBOOK! Anyways, it was something different and very warm after these cold, rainy days we have been having....
Creamy Chicken Taco Soup:

1 package of Taco seasoning
1 can of corn (I used one can of cream corn and one can of regular corn)
2 cans of Ranch Style Beans
1 can of Rotel
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8 ounces of sour cream (or more if you want it creamier)
2 cans of chicken broth (or 16 oz. chicken stock)
2 chicken breasts boiled (if you boil your chicken you can use the broth plus one can of broth)

I poured everything in the crockpot then shredded my chicken and added it in. I just kept it on low for the afternoon so the flavors could get all mixed together. The recipe I read said to use a rotisserie chicken but I like to boil my own and use the broth. It's up to you!! Brian ate his over Fritos but I like mine over regular tortilla chips. Again, it's up to you! This will make a lot of soup so you will enjoy leftovers or it would be great to take to a party.

So, that's just a few things to pass on to you. The flu has entered our house so this Thanksgiving is shaping up to be all I had imagined!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Because getting old is not fun...

Some of you may think I have completely fallen off the earth, or caved under the pre-Black Friday chaos that I love this time of year. But the truth is I am in fact getting older and the proof came last Sunday!

As I reached down to get my cans of cinnamon rolls out of the lowest shelf in the refrigerator {because I cook a mean Sunday morning breakfast for my family!} I felt something in my back that I can only explain as PAIN!!!! I mean that kind of pain that makes you see white light, like maybe the end is actually here. I finally got up, thinking it would pass and as only a stubborn person like me would do I went on to get ready for church. I willed myself through Sunday School and the service and by the time I got home I officially realized this might not be a short battle.

Brian did his best to medicate me and make me comfortable all afternoon but we finally both agreed maybe the ER would provide the best medicine for me and even a possible answer as to why I was in such pain. Clearly I was not in my right mind!!!!

The ER did provide a good shot of some pain medicine from a sweet, sympathetic nurse. I do not have such nice things to say about a doctor who had the nerve to ask me if my back hurt because I was constipated! Or maybe because of kidney stones! If I could have choked that man I think I would have because a) constipation has never sent me to the hospital and b) the one experience I had with a kidney stone left a life long impression of pain. Thankfully the medicine knocked me out before I could say anything that would lead me to the altar to repent!

So I spent most of last week laying flat on my back, taking strong medicine which kept from enjoying my daytime TV shows that I would have loved to watch had I been able to stay awake for them! Brian has been the best nurse and I have not been the best patient! I started physical therapy as well and by this morning I think things just might turn around.

There were several times last week that I thought I would sit up and post a blog but two little words kept me from it - MUSCLE RELAXERS. I just can't fight those strong medicines! And, blogging was on my list of things to do last weekend. Not that I had whole lot to share, but I was going to let you know how the kids were doing in basketball and my plans of decorating for Christmas before going home for Thanksgiving and a recipe for something that I can't even remember now. Little did I know what awaited me when I woke up Sunday morning!

So a week later I am posting just to let everyone know we are alive and somewhat well here in Mississippi and that I have discovered getting older is not fun...

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

Last week our family entered into the most wonderful time of the year. Not because Christmas trees deck sales displays around town but because the kids started basketball season! This time of year keeps us on the road and in the bleachers, but we are all excited to see it get started.

The boys won their first game by 30 points but lost their second game of the week by 3. Here are a few pictures from their first game of the season...

Before taking the court the boys paused in their own huddle to pray
Brendan gave us two surprises in the first game! First of all, he changed his jersey number and came out sporting #2. I have several theories as to why this happened and he hasn't really confirmed any of them but he says this will be his jersey number this year. So far, it has proven lucky and we all know how he tends to be superstitious! The second surprise was that he would be jumping at tip off. Let me assure you of one thing - Brendan got his vertical ability from me! At this point I am not sure what his coach is thinking in letting him jump but that's why I sit in the stands I guess.
Brendan has a left handed floater that he likes to shoot when driving the ball....
....but not to be outdone Koby takes his own left handed layup in to the goal!
Kamdyn plays two quarters on JV and four on Varsity. In this picture she was setting up on defense. She continues to take a beating down low physically and sometimes emotionally but she keeps on going!
And she is never scared to pull the three!
So pretty much this is what we have been doing and will keep doing for the next few months! These are the days that go fast with memories that will run deep in my heart. Watching the kids play, cheering on their team, eating popcorn for supper, loving them through their disappointments in loosing and elation in winning are all highlights on the reel of raising teenagers.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The End and The Beginning....

This week was one of those weeks where on Monday you are already anticipating Friday! You know what I mean? It's like when you eat a good meal but really you just want to skip on to the great chocolate cake at the end except I knew my week might not be good and there was no chocolate cake coming my way on Friday!

Let me backtrack....

Koby's team came up short by two points last Friday night in the district championship. When I tell you it was a heartbreaker I mean it! The boys were just devastated to be so close and not reach their goal, literally. The last one off the field was our child, teary eyed and disappointed. The team's biggest cheerleader had nothing to say and I think that pretty much lasted until sometime Saturday afternoon. So, we gave him some space and waited for the Aggies to give us the win of the weekend.

Koby's team did qualify for the playoffs and we found out over the weekend we would be playing in Natchez, MS against the #1 team. It was at that point I began to realize the craziness that would be our week.

Brendan spent last weekend in Florida with Ellie and her family enjoying the beach and the sunshine as we froze to death here...

His flight coming home filled up so he got to stay an extra day and came back into Birmingham on Monday, and that started our week of being on the go.

Kamdyn's team had two preseason basketball games last week and since she plays on both the JV and Varsity this year that meant I would have the opportunity to get reacquainted with the basketball bleachers and my basketball diet very quick! Her team got beat both nights and not just by a few points. They really got beat down and Kamdyn had a rare showing of emotions Monday night that we don't usually deal with. Frustration and pain and exhaustion just got the best of her and I found myself thinking what a long season this could possibly be and how the drama that comes with a 15 year old girl is so much more than I recall experiencing myself. I kind of feel like I should apologize to anyone who dealt with me at that age in any way!

 So, see why I might be anticipating Friday so early in the week?

We wrapped up the basketball games Tuesday night and then celebrated with 1600 of our closest friends in the church and community at our annual church "Trunk or Treat" Wednesday night.

Kamdyn handed out candy at our trunk and here she is with a few of the kids before the night got started. Our trunk was just decorated for fall and our game was a bean bag toss because I am that creative. {Aren't you impressed?} And, nothing says fall like a 75 degree night of trunk or treat!
I did have the chance to post this picture on my Instagram Thursday for #throwbackthursday in honor of Halloween 1999...
For the record, the boys were Batman and Robin three years in a row. My mother taught me to be thrifty and I am telling you we got our money's worth out of those costumes. I have kept them put up because our boys got so much wear out of them I just can't stand the thought of getting rid of them! 
So, now we get to the end of the week. Yesterday we traveled to Natchez for the playoff game, which by the way is located 4 hours south of where we live. We fed the boys a late breakfast, got on the charter bus and made our way south knowing full well we would be facing the giants of our conference.
I snapped this picture of the boys after they finished their pregame warm ups! Helmets up and heads held high...

And after the first quarter I snapped this one of our "warrior"...
He and the rest of the team came ready but in the end we were not the better team and our football season came to an end. They had a great run and making the playoffs is always a positive to any season. Brian and I were so proud of the leadership Koby showed for the team and of all the effort he poured into the season!
Kamdyn and I enjoyed cheering the team on together in the final game of the season and as you can tell her smile was finally back!
So now we get ready to begin our next season as all the Bailey's will suit up for basketball. This week we will play Tuesday and Thursday and Brian and I plan to enjoy seeing Brendan and Koby play their final year on the court together. I'm sure I'll be posting pictures, but first I am going to spend this beautiful fall Saturday recovering from the week that is behind us!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

If You Give Me Cold Weather...

There are a set of books for children I absolutely love: "If you give a mouse a cookie, If you give a pig a pancake, If you give a moose a muffin" and maybe a few more. Anyways, this week the Lord has given us cold weather and I don't mean cool! I mean COLD from Canada air and it isn't the end of October yet.

Please don't get me wrong! I love cool, crisp weather and especially this time of year when the leaves are just starting to turn colors and football season is really getting good. But this week as the cool turned cold I began to do the things I do if you give me cold weather.

If you give me cold weather, I'm definitely going to be digging out thick sweaters! If you give me cold weather I'm going to be pulling on a sweatshirt and some sweatpants and be thrilled! If you give me cold weather, I'm cooking warm foods. And if you give me cold weather, in the morning I am looking for a heater and blanket to go with my cup of coffee and devotion.

This morning, Brian really went all out and I'll forever be grateful because he knew what I needed if you give me cold weather...

...yep a FIRE!!!

{I know at this very moment my dad is dying laughing and that my parents won't turn on the heat until I come home for Thanksgiving}.

Brian turned on our fireplace when he got up early to let the dogs out so it was all toasty and warm when I made it into my sitting place with my coffee and Bible at 5:45 this morning! And I have thanked the Lord a hundred times this week for cooler, colder weather and fall because I do just love it- all snuggled up and warm!

I have also cooked crock pot meals this week. Please be impressed because it was as fabulous as it sounds! I have been looking on Pintrest for a good potato soup recipe and finally combined two to kind of make my own. The whole family loved it, which if you know my family that is nothing short of a miracle. So, here is my recipe:

In your crock pot -
1 bag (32 oz) frozen Southern Style Hash Browns
1 can of less sodium chicken broth (you can use 2 if you want it soupy)
1 pint of half and half
lots of salt and pepper
onion powder (because we don't like onion chunks)
a spoon full of bacon grease

Cook on low for 6 hours then add 1 brick of cream cheese but not the reduced fat kind because it won't melt good. Let that melt (about an hour) then your soup is ready to eat! Top the soup with bacon, shredded cheese and a bit of sour cream. Taste even better the next day.

I also cooked a roast that we enjoy making into a sandwich:

In the crockpot-
1 roast
1 can of beef broth
1/2 cup Coke or Dr. Pepper
a few dashes of soy sauce
2 packages of dry Italian/Zesty Italian dressing on top of roast
Pepperoncini Peppers (however many you would like to add)
Sometimes I put some fresh garlic too

Cook on low all day. Shred the meat after it is cooked. Serve on toasted wheat hoagie buns with melted pepper jack cheese. Use the juice for a gravy! This is a great hot sandwich for a cold night.

So anyways, that is what I have been with the cold weather here. It is supposed to be 42 at kick off of our game tomorrow night so I am wearing lots of layers!! Koby's team is playing for the district championship and home field advantage in the playoffs so it will be a big night {and I will be a nervous mother}.

I'll hopefully be blogging with good news later this weekend!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Because I Need a Minute....

I think sometimes a mother just has to take a minute. When the kids were younger, my minute was needed after the boys had sharpied the brand new couch then each other in the span of the 45 seconds it took me to change a load of laundry. I needed it again when we were in Guam and Kamdyn had pinched three different kids at play group, leaving a good mark on one of them and an impression on every mom. {I told you she was a tough little girl!}

Those days wore this mama down, and a wise person told me that those days might keep me on my feet but the teenage years would keep me on my knees. This week, that saying came back to me as I realized yet again and over and over that I needed a minute.

It wasn't so much about something the kids did in their behavior. It was more because reality knocked me off my balance as I saw each of them achieving milestones and living life. And while my heart was full of joy, I think a piece of me also longed for those preK  stay at home days that are now a distant memory.

After celebrating Kamdyn's 15th birthday, I took her to get her permit mostly because she hounded Brian and I in a way that the boys never did! And after an hour and 20 minutes of chaos with the people at the DMV {seriously, it.wore.me.out!} this is what we came out with...

...and if you think she wasn't proud then clearly you aren't seeing the smile that is covering her face! And, I needed just a minute. This is our baby, the last one going through this whole "mom, what is the shoulder of the road?" and "how far back do you honk your horn?" routine of questioning that comes when studying for the permit test. I mean, there are questions on that test that I can not answer and I am a grown person, a driver for 20+ years! Yet, here we were taking a picture I have taken two other times, celebrating an achievement in her life that puts her one step closer to adulthood and puts me on my knees, praying for her safety and discernment as she wants to get behind the wheel.

Earlier this week Brendan got a large envelope in the mail from Alabama and several smaller ones. I knew when I sorted the mail and saw the envelope that I would need a minute. I called him into the kitchen and handed over the envelopes. In three seconds he had the big one open and here is what he brought me...

...a certificate of Admission to Alabama. He also had a letter of acceptance to the College of Engineering and information about housing and blah blah blah. Honestly, it got kind of blurry as my eyes filled with tears. This is what he has been working for, checking off his goals as he has done so many other times in his life and I needed a minute. I'm praying doors open for his ROTC scholarship and that he finds a good roommate and that there will be a church that he plugs into and that he eats at least two meals a day and on and on. The Lord probably thinks I am the only one to ever face sending their first born off the college what with all the time I am spending in prayer but I know it's best to just give it to God because there really won't be anything I can do once the time comes.

This week Brendan also led the National Honor Society induction ceremony because he is the president this year. And so there he stood, all dressed up and official and grown....

...and yep, I needed a minute. As a kid he used to wear Brian's hat or boots and on this day he wore his tie and shirt. And here we are in the blink of an eye, the Lord answering my prayers for a son who would be a leader with strong opinions and an independent mind.

In Koby's life, he has been the provider of quite a few minutes for me! With is live-big-or-go-home personality I never know what is just around the corner for him. This week, he did not disappoint! I snapped this picture at the pep rally....

...as he led the junior class and football boys in the chant for the spirit stick. That's him, big #25 laid back, cheering loud, always with a group of friends. He sees no color barrier, meets no stranger, wants everyone to get along and have fun and laugh. And then as I looked through my picture download this morning I also saw this picture....

...and there he is again! Big #25, setting up the play and rallying the team and I needed a minute. This child has no fear, gives you all his heart and is loyal to the end. And so he lined up again and again as his team took one big hit after another...

...and then made one big catch, being the spark the team needed for the only score of the night. This child who keeps that twinkle in his eye, who faces giants like he is one himself.

So this post is not so much about informing you or entertaining you, although even at best I don't know that I do that really. This morning this was just therapy for my heart and maybe one day, if the internet is still even relevant, my kids will stumble across this and know their mama loved them. Their parents were proud of the work God completed in them. And in the times when they might need a minute themselves, maybe they'll know they are not alone. It happens to us all!

I don't know what might be causing you to need a minute today, but God alone is your strength, provider and sustainer in the good times and in the bad. And, if you are on the other end of the parenting spectrum, enjoy the time at home - even the sharpied couch, crushed up goldfish, spilled koolaid on a cleanly mopped floor, fit throwing, child pinching days and know one day there may be quiet but peace will only come from time spent on your knees.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Celebration Time....

For the last two days we have been on Fall Break! Two days out of school and off work is something worth celebrating for sure but when you add two late night football games to the mix it makes a day off even more enticing.

Friday night Koby's team played in West Memphis, Arkansas. This was a 200 mile trip one way and we got home about 1:00 after playing a game that was hard fought. Our team struggled to find their way and came home with a loss, but our family was already looking forward to another big game on Saturday.

After serving in our local mission outreach Brian and the boys and I headed out to Oxford for the game between Ole Miss and our beloved Aggies.

Koby and I took a picture before we left for the game in some of our new Aggie apparel!
Then at the Aggie tailgate we found these guys and had our "yearly" picture made with them!
The thing you can't tell by the picture is that there are tons of Aggies behind us at the tailgate! We had so much fun seeing all the game clothes that Aggies were sporting - everything from black felt hats and Wranglers to bow ties and maroon khakis. It certainly kept us entertained!
We headed over to make an official visit to "The Grove", which is the tailgating spot to be for Ole Miss. It is a truly beautiful setting and the tailgate tents were decorated to the 9s. I honestly was so impressed! However, it was also muddy, crowded and flowing with short dresses and alcohol so I was thankful when Brian offered for us to go on into the stadium.
We got to see a really great game and we were thrilled when the Aggies came up with the win. I have tons more pictures and stories I could share about our experience but I hate to bore those of you who aren't Aggies. I have to say this real quick - we did stay after the game to see the players and Oh. My. Word. They were some proud boys! We said our hello to Johnny - through the security guards - and took our pictures with the players and began our walk to the car. Finally at 2:45 we made it home! And can I say that is why I was so glad to be on Fall Break!
So, Sunday we made it to church and the commissary (which is finally back open thanks to Washington) and then just laid around and rested! Monday morning we slept in and cooked a big, late breakfast. Brian and I went to see Captain Phillips and it was a great movie that I would tell any of you to go see! Then we just some time at home with the kids and dogs and laundry because that's what happens when you are gone all day on Saturday!
And today, we are celebrating a special day - Kamdyn's 15th birthday!
It is so hard to believe that she is already 15! It seems like just yesterday that we were holding this little bundle, wondering what we were going to do with a little girl. She was perfect and tiny and coming into a home with two little boys full of energy and tricks. Fifteen years later she is still our little girl but she is as tough as her brothers!
I had no idea what we were getting into when we brought her home. Her closet was full of pink and dresses and Barbies that I knew she would one day love as much as me. It was evident early on that God had indeed made her in His own special way, not exactly what I had ordered but so much better than I could've imagined! She loves sports and animals and reading her Bible. She will say hi to visitors, pick up a crying baby and serve others without noticing their skin color or language barrier. In her the Lord has given us such a special gift and in the blink of an eye time has flown by.
I remember watching her sleep in her cradle, dreaming about all the things we would do together! And today we spent the day shopping - at her stores, on her time because she likes to get what you need and go. Before going out for her birthday dinner I snapped this picture...
...and I realized the grains of sand are slipping through our hour glass. Our little girl is becoming a young lady! So today I have prayed she will always walk the way the Lord leads, love those He loves and impact His Kingdom with the gifts He created in her. I pray she knows the fullness of His love and that she stands strong in that. I have thanked Him for her over and over, the miracle that she is. And tonight, we celebrated her!
So, happy birthday sweet girl! Your father and I love you and thank God for the giving us the opportunity to be your parents!!
And that has been our Fall Break! It is hard to believe tomorrow is "hump day" already and these short weeks tend to be longer than a five day week most of the time once we go back to school. I hope to be more regular in blogging, which I know I have said a hundred times but I really do mean it!
Maybe you can also look for something to celebrate today....

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Homecoming 2013 and more...

Hey ya'll! I hope the cooler (and almost cold) weather has made it to wherever you are! Here in our little part of the country we have been beyond blessed since about 12:30 Sunday afternoon, when the temperature began a drastic nosedive that has kept us in sweaters ever since! Seriously, after church we went to eat Mexican food and when we got back into the car the temp had dropped almost 10 degrees and it dropped another 3 or 4 just in the short drive home. By the way, give me a rainy and cold Sunday afternoon and I will flat tear up a good book followed by a short nap! I think the good Lord knew I truly needed a day of rest.

Last week was Homecoming at our school, which is probably one of my favorite weeks of the school year. The kids love dress up days and I really like the excitement homecoming brings, minus the fact that with each one I realize I am fast approaching my 20th class reunion and honestly that just sounds so old!

Anyways, this Homecoming week was special for lots of reasons. Mother came to visit, which is something the kids have been waiting for since school started. We enjoyed her being here to make the kids their favorite foods and cheer them on at their events and get to know their friends. And for the most part, I think we kept her entertained...

Kamdyn is on the Student Council at our school and she had to introduce the guest speaker for our Homecoming chapel Friday morning. There is nothing like going through 5 dresses the night before you need one for school but that might be best left to another post!

Koby's sweet girlfriend was the Homecoming Maid for her class. He was anxious to have his picture made with her after chapel was over!

Mother got to come back to school for the pep rally since Kamdyn would be performing! This is Kamdyn with one of her best friends.

One highlight of Homecoming was Ellie coming home! We were all so happy to see her and I am so thankful her whole family got to make the trip. She was able to hang out with us at home and at school. She got to catch up with her friends and her and Brendan took some senior pictures in the pre-cold front weather Saturday evening. It was great to have her here for a few days and we already miss having her around!

And in the heat of all the picture taking after the pep rally I was able to snap this quick picture of our kids. I didn't have to force anyone or make any threats - they just stood close and truly looked happy! These smiles are genuine so I am hopeful there will truly be a day where sibling rivalry will cease - or at least have a cease fire! In that moment that the camera lens snapped the picture I also realized for me there is no more homecoming where the three will be together so I have become even more dedicated to enjoying every moment this season of raising teenagers continues to bring. I truly believe in the blink of an eye, it will be over.

Our team played an amazing homecoming game, shutting out the other team 28-0! Following the game the team stayed on the field to watch the fireworks finale, which was a treat for everyone. There is nothing like the feeling of a win on homecoming and some little part of me wanted to stand and hold my number one while singing the BHS Alma Mater. It's kind of funny the things that stick with you over the years!
So, we survived homecoming and all the dress up days, events and special guests that it brought. We are doing our best to get through these next few days because Fall Break is coming our way next Monday and Tuesday.
Brendan is wrapping up his ROTC scholarship application, breathing a sigh of relief after the ACT scores came out this week. Basketball practice has started for him and Kamdyn and she is finishing up her last week of therapy on her knee. Koby's team plays away this Friday night and we are looking forward to the Aggies playing at Ole Miss this weekend!
I hope all is well where you are and that you are settling into this season of fall and all that it brings! Talk to you soon.... 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Because it's fall y'all..

Tonight I am catching up on pretty much anything that I didn't get done this weekend. Maybe you can relate! I mean, how does the work week creep by and Saturday and Sunday are just BAM and over? I think it's why I can't stand to sleep in on Saturday mornings, unless you count this past Saturday when I did in fact roll back over after seeing 7:00 a.m. on my clock because we rolled in from our game only five hours earlier!

But Brian and I didn't have big plans for Saturday other than the usual laundry, grocery shopping and cooking that usually comes with a "lazy day" at home. We were eager to watch some college football and I was anxious to eat something cooked in my own kitchen. This time of year it seems I don't cook as much as I would like so I always look forward to a weekend at home where I can do just that.

The weather here has turned cooler and I have been so thankful! We had steak Saturday night for our pregame meal (the Aggies played Arkansas) and then I made a big batch of Taco Soup Sunday afternoon for us to enjoy.

Our boys won a big game Friday night over in the delta and Koby was so excited! This game should make them eligible for the playoffs and that was one of their goals going into the season. Here are two pictures from the game....

Koby and one of his good friends usually lead the team on to the field...

...And here I don't really understand what it is that Koby is doing, but whatever it is he is doing it well I guess! He scored both two point conversions for the team and sometimes when I see him out on the field I remember a shirt he used to wear as a little boy - "Small but Mighty". It would seem that mantra stuck with him.

I love all that fall is bringing to the table this year - favorite comfort foods, football and fall festivities such as homecoming! Now, I know I grew up pre-social media and Pintrest, back in the dark ages of passing notes in class or making a phone call where your parents might answer and figure out who had an interest in you. But can I assure you times have changed!

Tonight Brendan came in with a Walmart sack asking Koby to come outside in the dark and help him do something. Now, this caught my interest for a number of different reasons, the top of which was our boys doing something together in the dark that involved kindness in their speech and a willingness to help one another out. It was a proud moment for this mother! And then I stepped outside to the drive way...

....where we found Brendan and no less than 250 candles! Be still my Pintrest heart!!! Apparently he decided to ask Ellie to the Homecoming dance this Friday and well, why use words on paper or over the phone? I mean we have come a really long way people!!

So fall has arrived y'all! Kamdyn and I have both pulled out our boots, I am on the lookout for that perfect pot of mums and I'll be digging out the fall wreath later this week. Each times the season change I am reminded there is a season for every part of life...and right now I am thankful for this season of raising teenagers, spending more time with Brian and slowing down our pace.

{If you have a chance, click over to www.boomama.net and read a post she wrote about another way things have changed over the years. It is sure to provide you with a laugh!}

Fall also brings new episodes on TV and I was thrilled Nashville was back! Since I can't see any episodes of Downton Abby until January, I was in need of some mindless entertainment and I really do love the country music in this show! Brian and I are also tuning in to the new show Blacklist (or something like that). You know I love a FBI thriller show and will be a fan in a minute if it even remotely makes me think of Alias or 24.

I'm hoping to post pictures this week from all of the homecoming festivities at school so I'll be checking back in soon unless I get sidetracked with my TV shows.

I hope the cooler weather has made its way to you ...