Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turkey for Breakfast AND Dinner

Our neighborhood friends got together for breakfast Thanksgiving morning. We had monkey bread, fruit, coffe, and hot chocolate. It was a blast and I hope we have started a tradition. We all ate, played, watched the parade, and some even planned their Black Friday shopping (some meaning all the women except me).

Thursday afternoon we headed over to the Atwood's for a yummy meal with wonderful friends. I was too busy chasing around children who were emptying bowls full of cheerios onto the kitchen floor or wiping up spills of cups full of tea to take any pictures.

Some of the kiddos enjoying their breakfast

Sweet Vale

Ben L.O.V.E.D. monkey bread

Nolan is such a cutie!

In the background is all four daddies

Can't help but sing the Hot Chocolate song from The Polar Express

Mike, Nolan, Gio, and Ben

This is the only way to get Vale and Ben to interact ;)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pre-Thanksgiving Dinner

Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, we had dinner with some friends. The Rudolphs, McClellans, Atwoods, and ourselves with our our combined 9 children all piled in the Rudolph home. We had great food and, thanks to babysitters taking the kids upstairs, great fellowship. I forgot to take pictures til the end of the night so this all we got:

Michal, Eliza and Abby

Keva (in the distance), Ben, Brayden, Chris, and part of Addie (super close)

Not real sure what's going on here

Sweet, sweet Atwood boys- it took 4 tries to get this and this was the best one, hehe

Icecream for dessert

Big E

Shelton and Atwood boys

This was how my night would have been spent if there hadn't been sitters

Thursday, November 25, 2010

What I am thankful for

I have many things that I am thankful for and I could write about today, but for right now here are three.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Full Disclosure

This blog is generally a fun, upbeat one. And generally that is our life. I am brutally honest, possibly to a fault, on here. This post is not easy for me to write. I actually thought about not putting this on here, but because it is part of our family and something we are going through right now, here it is:

A couple months ago, Spence noticed a lump on Benjamin's back. He told me about it a month ago. He showed me the lump and I felt it. It was on his left lower back about the size of my palm. It felt hard, wasn't tender to touch, and no discolorations. Because I am "not a worrier" to the nth degree, I put him off. We had a shots visit 4 weeks away and thought I would talk to the nurse then. The nurse said that a doctor had to check him out, so we made an appointment for the following day. After two PA's and a doctor checked him out, they decided we needed an ultrasound. We went for an ultrasound the following day, and everything came back clear. We thought everything was great and were glad we didn't really tell anyone what was going on so that we didn't create worry. The doctors office decided we should get an xray "just to cover all our bases". We had that done Friday morning. Friday night we got a call from our pediatrician's office.

Benjamin has two vertabrae that are fused together in his lower back. His spine is also curving. We have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon on December 7 at 1:00. We have an appointment with a pediatric surgeon on December 3 at 10:30. (no, this does not necessarily mean surgery) We will also be getting an appointment with a geneticist. The lump isn't a result of an injury, so we have to rule out anything else genetic. He will need an ECHO to be sure there isn't anything going on with his heart, an xray of his upper respiratory to check on his lungs, and blood work. Depending on what those results show, Zeke, Spence and I may have to be tested as well.
Please be praying for us. We are not worried or scared because we know we have a big God. We are praying for Benjamin to be healed, but if he is not, then we pray that God recieves glory no matter what. We are praying Philippians 4:6-7 "do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus", Lamentations 3:21-22 "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;" and Exodus 14:14 "The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still."

I heard this song today while driving my boys to a park to play with dear friends. We live in a fallen, sinful world, but it is still His. It reminded me of that.

This is my father’s world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their maker’s praise
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought

This is my father’s world
Oh, let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet

This is my father’s world
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is king, let the heavens ring
God reigns, let the earth be glad

This is my father’s world
He shines all that’s fair
In the rustling grass, I hear him pass
He speaks to me everywhere

This is my father’s world
I rest me in the thought

Monday, November 22, 2010

For real?

Really? You were so hungry that while eating your predinner "NAK!!!" you were staring into the oven at the pizza baking and left a little behind?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Natural Science Center

While Spence was in Texas for a few days, the boys and I stayed at YaYa and PawPaw's. We had fun hanging with our cousins and playing on the farm. One day we visited the Natural Science Center in Greensboro. If you are zoo members you can get in half off. I didn't get many pictures because I was a little busy chasing two wild boys. We only did the outdoor stuff, but we had fun!

Ben in the Lemur tunnel

Sophie & Maddie in the lemur tunnel

Z in the submarine

Z loved this, it was just water splashing all over to the beat of music playing.
While we watched it was actually a booty shaking song and he showed off his moves a bit
The best I could get of the four of them together

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Visiting Angels

A couple weeks ago, we visited Meredith College for the Cornhuskin' Parade. Cornhuskin' is one of the MANY traditions at Meredith, and I really do not have the space/time to go into it. All I can say is "You just have to experience it" which is what every freshman hears until Friday night goes down. Fridays events are kicked off with a parade each year. As you go through Meredith, you get to add cooler things to your part of the parade. By the time you are a Senior, you have fire trucks, every kind of car imaginable, NC State's mascots, and anything else you have access to. This of course made for a fun time for my boys. I didn't get any actual parade pictures (to be honest it would just be a little weird to have pictures of random girls we don't know).

We enjoyed hanging out before the parade started

The boys and I posing in the front drive

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mover and Shaker

So this video is a bit dark, but it's the best I have gotten so far of Ben's new skill. He literally went from cruising, to taking a few steps, to walking across our living room, to walking confidently and trying to run in such a short time it seems. I mean, he has been cruising really since he was 7 months, so it has taken a while,. But he took his first independent steps the day before his birthday and can now walk almost anywhere. He loves being able to walk all over and has definitely enjoyed tackling Zeke!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pablo's brothers, Zeke & Ben

Each year, I have my boys paint a canvas around their birthday... OR months later in this case. This was Ben's first time painting and he loved it. Zeke was an old pro and enjoyed himself. What I like best is how their personality can be seen on their paintings.

Smock? Who needs a smock?

Zeke's finished painting, every color used repeatedly

Ben dove right in with both hands

and his face a little bit

Ben's wild and crazy painting

Friday, November 12, 2010

Date Night

Spence and I have been a bit lax about our date nights for the last two months. I decided November we were going to start off with a bang. November is my turn to plan. I chose a RED theme to our date. We ate at RED Bowl in Cary (we had a livingsocial deal ,yay). We are currently reading through 10 Great Dates to Energize Your Marriage. (We got engaged while reading through 10 Great Dates Before You Say I Do)This was date one. It was really fun to talk about our dating days and our early days of marriage. We also discussed what we think is great in our marriage and what we think we could work on. Dinner went by quickly reminiscing. Afterwards, I gave Spencer an envelope with a scavenger hunt to find RED items. He had to do this in 30 minutes and document with pictures. He chose to go to Harris Teeter. On the inside, I was laughing at him because I just knew there was no way he could do it. 2 minutes and 20 seconds later, we stop the timer and have these memories:

RED car

Sign with RED letters

Something RED to eat

RED flowers

RED shirt (yeah, he had to ask that guy to pose with him, hehe)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


We L-O-V-E Chick-fil-A. and I mean we love it. We seriously could eat it daily around here. I'm a bit ashamed to admit this, but let's just get real honest here: when we roll through any drive-thru, anywhere, Zeke says " a number one with no pickle, and a kids meal". Embarrassing? Yes, but this is just to show you how much YOU need to be there TODAY. But there is one in particular. Visit the Chick-fil-A on Falls in North Raleigh to help out our friends the Allisons. Matt, Catherine, Carson, and Mary Grace are in the process of bring home Wyatt. He currently lives in Rwanda. The Allisons need your help to get him home! Go eat some Christian chicken and take this flyer with you to help out this awesome family.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Adoption Story

I think all of you know how I feel about adoption. I pray that one day Spence and I will be able to bring an orphan into our home. This isn't to bring ourselves any recognition. This isn't to pat ourselves on our backs. This is totally to bring God the glory. Spence and I recently discussed adopting our next child. We really do not have a peace about this. As much as we both want to adopt, we do not feel like God is showing us that it is the right time.
So, until that time comes, we will be praying and supporting people who are currently. One such family is one that I only know through her blog. I have posted about Amy before. I am obsessed with this family. I love the sacrifices that they make in order to show off our BIG God. I have stolen a post from Amy that touched my heart and really put into words my personal thoughts on adoption and the Gospel.

I don't know if I have ever shared my adoption story with you all so I thought today maybe I should.
I was adopted at the age of 30 years old into the most amazing family ever.
Statistics show that I was the least likely to be adopted.
I was the child who had waited- far too long- to hear the good news.
I was the child who waited because I had one too many labels, made one too many mistakes, and was viewed as unlikely to succeed.
I was the child who most believed was not worthy of the risk...not worthy of the effort...and not worthy of the price.
I was the the child who most people would have never considered.
The child with scars, the child who was dirty, the child who didn't appear to have much potential.
But then one day they told me about The One who was able to see past all of that.
The One who loved me regardless of the mistakes I had made.
The One who saw what I could be- instead of what I was.
The One who thought I was worth it all- so much so that He was willing to die for me.
The One who saw my worth.
The One who saw my potential.
The One who saw what I could be- if I was given a chance.
The One who never gave up on me.
I am so thankful for The One who paid the price for my adoption.
I know it was expensive.
I know it cost more than anyone could ever imagine.
I know it wasn't easy.
I know that it was painful, that it was hard and it was heart wrenching.
And I know I didn't deserve any of it.
But He came for me anyway...
Regardless of what others would say or think.
Regardless of all of the work that had to be done.
Regardless that there was no guarantee I would love Him back.
Regardless of the cost.
And today I am forever changed.
I am no longer alone, scared, scarred, overlooked and viewed as no one.
Today I am a child to the king~ precious, loved, forgiven, healed, whole.
All because of my adoption.
Adoption is the perfect picture of God's amazing grace and love.
It changes lives and saves souls.
Adoption is...the heart of God.

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will~ Ephesians 1:4-5 NIV

Monday, November 8, 2010


Spence and I recently decided we needed a little something to supplement his income. I chose Thirty-One because I love the company and the products are fabulous. It is a faith based company with an affordable product. We sell bags, stationary, key fobs, and all kinds of cute things that all women would love. I have my first party tomorrow at 7. If you are in the area and I didn't get you an invite, please feel free to stop by and shop. If you don't know my address, just comment me your email and I can send you my info. If you want more info about what we have to offer check out my website. If you can't come but would like to see a catalog in person, or are interested in hosting a party, you can also comment and get me your email. It's the perfect time to have a party, all the bags are great for Christmas gifts. AND right now, if you order $31 worth of stuff, you get a free zipper pouch. They are great for makeup, crayons and paper, diapers and wipes, and so much more! In order to get them in time for Christmas, we need to have a party by December 11.

And because I can't leave you with out a picture, check out one of my sweet babies in one of my bags:

Bag sold with out child
(but if you make a good offer we might can work something out, hehe)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

13 months

Benjamin is over a year now. It's so weird. I feel like this past month has been a bit surreal for me with me just realizing that we really did make it through that year. I hate to admit it, especially if there are any mamas who aren't at this stage yet that are reading, but we are definitely at a harders tage than we were when I had a 14 month old and a newborn. Between Zeke's tantrums and Ben's still not sleeping, life is still pretty chaotic. I figure that every stage is going to have its ups and downs, so I need to just get used to it :)
Ben is really at that cute stage, here are some of the fun things he is doing:
*wears size 3 diapers
*can still wear 6-9 month clothes, but also wears some 12 months stuff (definitely not pants though, they fall right off)
*eats more than a grown man
*getting much more confident with walking- consistently taking 6+ steps
*has pushed himself into standing from sitting once
*LOVES Zeke and wants to be with him all the time
*enjoys reading and will sit and pull all the books off the shelf looking at each one
*turning into a parrot, repeating lots of our words
*can say- mama, dada, horse, fish, light, night, bye, hey, wow, uh oh, EH!, nack (for snack)
*main mode of transportation is cruising
*still waking up at night most nights
*loves that paci
*climber, and very adventurous- scares this mama!

Does not like when another baby is around- and seriously freaks out if I hold it
see how he is keeping watch over his cousin Jace?

He has no fear and will try anything

This is how I found him while I was cleaning up the kitchen

He had his first painting experience- look for pictures later this week

playing at the life and science museum

Friday, November 5, 2010

thug love baby

I love Friday/Saturday mornings at our house. We generally choose one of those mornings and venture out to our favorite donut shop. Our choice? Daylight Donuts! The boys generally stay in their jammies and Spence and I throw on comfy clothes. This past week, it was COLD! Spence wore his toboggan and when we got home the boys gave it a try:

Sweet boy


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A blog tour?

My husband, hottie Spence Shelton, is the small groups pastor at our church. He is pretty much awesome, and that isn't a bias at all. He wouldn't tell all of you this, so I'm gonna. He has become such a great resource in the small group circle around the country that in the past year he has written curriculum for the State Convention, traveled to Saddleback to meet with their small groups guru because the guy wanted to glean some info off the younger guys, and next week he will be teaching a break out session at a conference in Texas. All while continuing his regular work and being dada to our C-R-A-Z-Y family. To top that off he has joined a blog tour today where he has reviewed some really cool material. So, go ahead and stop over at his blog. There is a chance to get something for FREE if you hurry.

Pumpkins, ewww

Spence was SUPER excited about carving a pumpkin with Zeke. You can see for yourself, Zeke's excitement

"Gaga, what's that big knife for?"

planning his escape

OK, I'll touch it (what you can't see is that NOTHING is being touched)

He pulled out ONE seed

And then quickly ran to join this other cutie