Thursday, September 29, 2011


Zeke loves learning. The boy is a nerd. He adores reading and asks questions about everything. It thrills me to watch him soak everything up. He mastered letters and their sounds before he was two. I totally credit this to Letter Factory dvd. If you do not have it get it. He is even starting to sound words out. He can type familiar words on the computer when we sound them out. So far, he has typed Zeke, Ben, Mommy, Daddy, and YaYa. He is also interested in numbers. We recently found Math Circus also by LeapFrog, and of course it was love at first sight. Something new I want us to start working on is actually writing his letters and numbers. One way to do this is writing them in chalk and having him trace them in another color of chalk. He loves it and is doing really well.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

First Zoo Trip of Fall '11

I say first because I am thinking that we are going to be going about every other week until it gets too cold. We are already making plans for friends to meet up as a fun playdate (bonus no house getting wrecked by all the ankle-biters, I mean sweet children). We picked up YaYa on the way and had a great day. For the first time ever, we visited N. America to see Willie, the polar bear, before his big move to the Wisconsin Zoo. (we actually saw him on his last day on exhibit and had no clue!)

We always encourage safety first

So long Willie, have a great time in Wisconsin

Zeke kept saying "Wow, here it comes!" each time the sea lion swam by

We found a new favorite at the zoo... the playground!

Another new favorite that I didn't capture was the zoo bus :)

Ben is fearless and leads the way in all things new

"Elephant, come here!"

Simple things make us happy

Happy guy!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Church at the Ballpark

This past Sunday our church met at the Durham Bulls Ballpark. Our church typically meets Saturday nights or Sunday mornings at 5 different physical locations (but with Saturday services being a different crowd and also our Summit En Espanol campuses, we have more "campuses"). We have not all met together as one congregation in a few years so this was a very exciting day. Over 7,000 people came to worship in the heart of our city. Over 300 people were baptized with them lasting until after the service was over and people had even started to leave because it was after 1:00 by that time.

I really haven't been able to process my feelings, so I will try to work them out here in a concise form. A little background for those that don't know, Spence and I have been at Summit for almost 10 years. We have watched it go from a handful of college students and about a 300 person congregation in a traditional building to the crowd we worshipped with this past week. To say I was overwhlemed by Sunday is a HUGE understatement.

Here are my thoughts and then a bunch of pics stolen off people tweets and facebook posts:

  • The excitement outside before we even got into the stadium was contagious

  • The weather couldn't have been better

  • We LOUDLY proclaimed the gospel in the center of our city

  • I worshipped while holding Benjamin in my arms and holding Ezekiel's hand. I tear up now thinking of how my prayer is that one day our boys and our growing baby will be in heaven with Rae worshipping Jesus.

  • We were led in worship by all our worship leaders and it was beautiful.

  • I had no one sitting around me that I typically go to church with, Summit En Espanol and Cary campuses around me.

  • I heard praises being sung to our Savior in Spanish behind and beside me while Raudel the Spanish campus pastor led worship

  • We saw parents, children, husbands, wives, long time church attenders, college students, former Hindus and Muslims baptized (one of which came that morning as a Muslim in full garb and heard and accepted God's grace)

  • We sat and ate hotdogs and fries while watching the last few people getting baptized (not typical I know, but two kids and pregnant girl were DYING for food)

  • Over 1000 people helped to set up and tear down in order for us to have church in a ball park- this was one of the most amazing things for me, just knowing the sacrifices that people made for the sake of others getting to hear the gospel

OK, onto the pictures:

We could hear the music bing played from the parking deck. The crowd counted down for the gates to be open and then people flooded into the stadium

As people fond their seats, our campus pastors did a little sumo wrestling. Danny almost died
Two of the pastors showing their mad sumo skills

These are most of our worship leaders from all our different campuses

Our Summit En Espanol campus was definitely present

(I love listening to worship in different languages by the way)

This picture was taken from the outfield area, I love the beautiful sky

My hubby had to hang out in the Coors Light party deck preparing for baptism counseling (yes we did counseling in the party decks, pretty awesome huh?), this was his view for the morning

I love the picture of our stage set up and the bull and downtown sky line

The boys and I sat just behind the dugout along first base. We were close enough to see everything going on, and the boys had some fun running on the dugout during baptisms

Super cool pic from homeplate

Pastor J.D. bringing it

This is a panoramic from the scoreboard, insane!

Before these next few pictures, I gotta talk about baptisms for a second. J.D. gave the people an invitation to not only choose to have Christ be the Lord of their life, but also to take the first step of obedience with baptism. He also said that he knew there were people who had given their lives to Christ a long time ago but had never been baptized and invited them as well. The church provided towels, clothes for baptisms, and anything else people possibly could have needed. I have never seen anything like it, people streamed over to the counseling centers. (everyone talks through their decision before being baptized to be sure they understand and aren't just getting swept up into emotions). There were huge lines at both decks and people were baptized for over an hour. It was so awesome to see God recieving the glory and watch our church welcome so many into our family. We were able to see close friends (two from our small group, one of which we have known since college). The pictures below are some of our sweet friends children who were baptized.

This is Cher and her son Jackson. We met the Lair family way back in 2004 and have watched their family grow from Jackson to now having 5 boys!

Jackson submitted his life to Christ during a Matt Papa cd release party the Summit had. I got to see him the next morning and he was so excited to tell me and I had to do everything I could to not cry all over the 9 year old who used to crawl into my lap and let me read to him.

This is Ava. Her dad used to be on staff with our band (the guy on the left). I got to talk to Ava the afternoon following her First Step class (all children are walked through their decision with a class that our children's ministry offers). Ava is a bit afraid of Spence and our friend Jason Gaston because they scared her a bit at VBS one year. She actually told her mom after baptisms "Mom, that was a close one, I almost got baptized by Jungle Jason!"

This is J.D.'s second daughter, Allie. I love watching dad's take such a part in their children's walk. I can not wait for the day when our kids commit their lives to Christ.

This is Veronica, Allie's mom/J.D.'s wife, and Cher cheering with all they've got.

I think my favorite part of baptisms at the Summit is how we rejoice with the person. We have been to church's before where everyone sits quietly. I just can't imagine doing that anymore. Do they not know what has just happened in that person's life? How can you not cheer and celebrate that someone will not be spending eternity in hell, but with our Savior? If you don't have any idea what I am talking about, Spence or I would love to talk to you more. Please ask us any questions.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Do you know your neighbors?

We actually know and like our neighbors. We hang out with a few socially and even have one couple in our small group with us. Spence is really great about talking with our neighbors and inviting them to church with us. Me, on the other, I have that whole fear of man thing going on. I mean I have to see these people again. It isn't like that waiter at the restaurant or the girl working the drive thru. I am working on this, but it is a process.
When I first heard that our church was doing church at the ballpark, I thought it would be a great opportunity to invite our neighbors. I wanted to get the boys involved and be cute with the invites. Summit gave us inviter cards so that part was taken care of and I decided the boys and I would make cookies. We invited our neighbors to join us at the ballpark and I'll just keep my fingers crossed they will talk to me the next time we see each other over the fence ;)

Nothing better than a beater

Why make regular cookies when you can make baseball cookies?!

My taste testers


Approval was given by all

But I did decided taste testing is best done in the kitchen or dining room

Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's September

Yes, I do realize it is half way through the month. But this is what has run through my head many times a day. September is when Rae was supposed to be born. If she had been born 22 days early (like Ben, I know not likely, but still) she actually would have been born on Spence's birthday. So, really since August 27, I have been thinking a lot abot her. But today, I know for sure that she would be here by now. Today was her due date.
My arms ache. My heart hurts. It truly feels like something is missing. I'm not sure you can understand it. I don't really understand it myself. While I am so thankful and blessed with our two boys and with our baby that is growing right now, I can't help but still be sad for our baby waiting on us in heaven. (yes, at times I even feel guilt for missing Rae while I am pregnant again) Please do not take this as I am not healing from our loss. I am. I really am in such a great place. I haven't been angry with God at all. I am anxious for Christ's return. I am ready to be in heaven worshipping our God who gives and takes away. Who works everything for His glory and for my good.
Truly, I would not wish this on anyone. But through this experience I have gained closer friendships. I have gotten to know God on a level that I had never known. My husband has become more than I ever imagined. I love him in a way I can't even begin to explain. I value our two boys so much. Even on the bad days, at the end of the night I peek in their rooms with tears in my eyes at how much I just love them. I have met people and been ministered to by people I have never even met. I have been blessed to be able to share our story, and even better, how we fit into God's bigger story.
So, it is September. And I may be a little sad at times this month. But I want to let everyone know we are still working through our loss. I still cry often. I still wonder what our life could have been like right now if things had gone differently. But the most important thing is that I still have hope.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Watch out Raleigh/Durham

Please read the fine print at the bottom of the screen. OK, if you can't read it I will write it out for you:
If traveling, remember turn around, don't drown.
YUP! That is what scrolled across the screen during all the crazy weather last week. Seriously, we are in like the smartest area of the US.

Monday, September 12, 2011

old phone meet new phone

Dear 5 years ago, your phone worked for a time but now it's time for a new phone!! Hurray! I am loving it so far. Let me know your fave apps, so I can get them too!!!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Spence's new workout

I...really.... no words, just watch. Oh, and maybe get some tissues...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Life with Ben (1 year 11 months)

Profile of a 23 month old:

  • Interests: Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, anything outside, asking as many questions as possible

  • Enjoys: tackling/playing football with daddy and Zeke, eating snacks, reading books

  • Turn-Offs: being disciplined in any way, being away from mama or mama not meeting his needs to his exact expectations

  • Vices: Stingy- told some big kids (as in 5 and 6 year olds) at the playground they couldn't get on the slide the other day

  • Strengths: loves fiercely, big helper

Favorites of an almost...nope can't say it yet... Favorites of a 1 year 11 month old Ben:

  • Foods: any fruit, snack, sweet

  • Songs: Jesus Loves Me, ABCs, Wheels on the Bus, Row, Row, Row Your Boat

  • Shows: he will actually sit for a Tinga Tinga Tales, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or Dinosaur Train now

  • Books: any library book or book that Zeke is holding

  • Toys: really into stuffed animals- sleeps with a stuffed Mouse, Monkey, and GloWorm, cars, and kitchen stuff

  • Activities: anything outside or with dad

Recent changes:

He has become such a talker lately. He sings full songs now. He talks in complete sentences. He asks a zillion questions all.day.long. He wants to know what song is on, who is talking, what color something is, etc. He constantly repeats Zeke (with Zeke's prompting often).

How Ben is like:

daddy: morning person, sad for mommy

mommy: temper, temper, temper

Zeke: brilliant- he knows his colors, he knows a lot of shapes, is working on his letter sounds and recognizing letters, and tons of other things

Treasuring details I don't want to forget:

  • Melts.my.heart by running over hugging me and saying "I love you, mommy"

  • Adores Zeke and wants to be with him at all times

  • hates when Spence leaves to go to work and tries to stop him

  • is crazy about Sarah Carver (Summit kids Staff extraordinaire + mommy's friend)- he told me yesterday he loves her and kept asking where she was when we were home

  • Screams like a banshee, and when he does this I have started to send him outside, he goes and stands on the porch or driveway and screams until he is ready to come back inside

  • really into pretend play already

  • is telling me to change his diaper (so I am gearing up to get ready for potty training)

  • he is mischevious, recently he figured out how to climb up our chairs and onto the island to get something he wanted

  • he doesn't really want to sit in his booster high chair, but in a "big boy" chair like Zeke

  • I love when I ask him something and the way he says "I don't know", I need to video this because it is so darn cute

  • I'm not sure how much longer I can hold Spencer off on cutting his hair, but I am in love with his curls that pop up all over

he is all about "I do it myself!"

He has the most infectious grin

TOTAL daredevil, I know we will be visiting the ER with him often

Rock climbing, anyone?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who do you live life with?

As many of you know Spence is the Small Groups Pastor at our church, Summit Church. Small groups has become a huge part of our lives. Both of us were in Bible studies in college that met in someone's dorm room/apartment. We both learned about living life and getting close to people through studying God's word. After he came on staff and started smal groups at our church, we of course became a part of one. We have been a part of many different groups since then, I have been in women's groups, Spence has been in men's groups, and we have been in co-ed groups. These people, who often are practically strangers on that first meeting, have become the people we live our lives with. They are the people we call when we have a crisis, to come over to dinner, when we need a babysitter, when we just wanna hang out and watch Friends, and so much more. They celebrate with us and grieve with us.
So, here is my question for you: Who do you do life with? Who are the people who know what's really going on with your marriage? Who do you want to hang out with when you have free time? Who do you call when you need someone to pray for you? If you don't have these people in your life and you go to Summit, check out GroupLink at your campus this weekend and next.

Group social in our living room (YIKES! it was packed) (2011)

Women from my "divas" group (2007)

One of our Wake Forest groups (2006)

Scavenger hunt for one of our groups (yes, we did have to find a Santa) (2006)

Some of the women from our first small group (2005)