I thought I wuold just take a minute to reflect on what I am thankful for this year. I'm not going to do a huge post, but I did want to acknowledge this year with thanks. We have had quite a year and I just wanted to write down a couple of our blessings:
Our new baby girl coming in February
Friends who walk through real life together
Being able to stay at home
My van (I know so materialistic!)
Spence's increase in writing/speaking stuff (even though it's made our lives crazier it's cool seeing him do stuff he is passionate about)
This is obviously just a little list of what's in my heart, but I want to be sure that when I look back over 2011, I don't only think about things we lost. We have suffered tragedy this year, but we have also continued to see God's hand through out our lives. My hope for you is that you can find joy even if you are in the midst of sorrow. Our real joy doesn't come from anything listed up there. It comes from the one thing I don't just want to throw into a list. If you want to talk more about what that is I would love to share how was can look back on this year with a sense of thankfulness.
The other day, the boys and I had to take Spence to work. When we told them we were doing this, Benjamin insisted he also had to work. He then informed us he had a meeting. When I asked who he was meeting with, he promptly replied Sarah. For those of you that are not Summi-goers, and for those that are and do not know, Sarah is the rock-star of kids ministry in my kiddos eyes. I have to say I am pretty dang partial to her as well. It's been fun serving with Sarah since she was in college and in one of our toddler classes to where she is now the Preschool Director Extraordinaire (my personal title for her)
When we arrived at the office, we encountered a problem... Sarah evidently skipped out on the meeting...
So, Ben gave her a call. Things started pleasant (he was smiling)
But things quickly got serious when he realized she would not be making the meeting...
Sarah, thankfully got to the office from another early morning meeting in time to see Ben as we were loading up the van. But Benjamin is waiting on her to reschedule. We will see if he pays her back with a no show or not.
Zeke and Holt were born about 2 weeks apart. We always love hanging out even thought we definitely do not do it enough. Last week the Gaston clan came over for a playdate and then we met the daddies for lunch at the office. It has been so fun watching these boys learn how to play together. They have gone from laying beside each other doing nothing to now playing on a pretend pirate ship and running from sharks. I didn't get any pictures of them actually playing but here are a couple I took once we were at the church.
Holt climbed up with Zeke to watch the guys playing cornhole (a lunchtime favorite for Summit staff guys)
And this is what happens when you ask 2 three year olds to say cheese for the camera
Since Ben was forced to give up his beloved paci, going down has been rough. He never asks for his paci, but things have definitely changed. Before taking it, he would ask to go to bed or nap. Now he cries for about 10 minutes no matter what.
Ben is also one of those kids who is generally just mad at the world when he wakes up. It does not matter if he has had enough sleep or not. He is just not so pleasant when he wakes up. (after having Zeke someone told me that if the kid wakes up crying that means they need more sleep... this is TOTALLY not true with Ben) We have no idea where he could possibly get this waking up crankiness, cough cough but it definitely couldn't be from his sleep LOVING mama.
We have found that Ben quickly snaps out of his nasty 'tude if Zeke is around so I generally have Zeke go in to him after nap. One day, Zeke asked to get in the bed with Ben. Here's how they played for almost 30 minutes.
Zeke asked for books to read to Ben
I think Ben got bored
So they decided to make it a party
And finished up with 5 Little Monkeys and some bed jumping
Spence and I are so thankful that our boys are friends and they truly enjoy one another. We look forward to what their relationship will be as they grow.
I am a country girl. I was raised on a beef cattle farm. Spence is a city boy. He was raised in what can now be called straight up ghetto. He did move out to the country at 15, but has always held to his city boy roots.
You could understand why I would be confused and concerned by this:
This is Spence fishing on a ladder over our back fence into the rentention pond behind our house. Someone please take my husband fishing before we are asked to leave our neighborhood.
Oh and for those couple of men who care, no he didn't catch anything. Yes, he did have to jump the fence to save his line after it got caught up in all the grossnes of the pond. And for the women, no, I wouldn't have cooked anything that came out of the foulness that lives behind our house.
Rain on Halloween?! Could there be anything more cruel?! Spence called from work and asked what we should do. I immediately began naming friends who grew up in the north and trick or treated through the snow. I said we would press on unless the kids refused to go out. We had planned for our small group to set up a table with hot chocolate, apple cider, and candy like last year. We did decide to just have them hand out candy from inside the house instead. We got ready and headed out:
our wild animals
yucky yucky weather
Ben tried to go inside our neighbors house
this is 1 of 2 houses we actually got candy from, no one else had their lights on
my boys with some of our small group friends
This was at about the time that we realized our neighborhood was lame this year. Seriously, 2 houses? Come on! We acted fast and called back to the house and had our sweet sweet friends hide through out our house. This is how the rest of our trick or treating went:
Robert hid behind the play kitchen set
Alex hid underneath blankets in Zeke's room
Then the group came back downstairs The boys dumped their candy to show everyone their goods.
Zeke realized the superiority of Reese's Cups over Tootsie Rolls
Ben scoping out Zeke's goods
The tiger carefully watches the giraffe's observations
Then Benjamin decided he did not want more pictures taken:
no more mommy!
Zeke on the other hand hammed it up!
As soon as he put on his costume, he yelled "now let's sing a song!"
The boys pretty much think Alex is their personal punching bag
Zeke then became our candy-giver-outer. He seriously liked this part the most. The doorbell rang and the kid went all frantic, running to get the candy (that we had to keep out of reach of Ben who kept grabbing handfuls of snickers and asking to put them into his pumpkin), and demanding to be the one to open the door and give each kid 1 piece (yeah he was stingy)
I am so in love with this sweet boy
He was so worn out from the day this is how he fell asleep,
if we are gonna be honest, it's actually how we roll in Durham
Finished product (pic out of order but I really wanted to use it)
We decorated our pumpkins right before Halloween. Zeke and Ben have enjoyed walking our neighborhood for "pumpkin hunts" so I just knew they would be into it this year. Well, not so much.. They enjoyed about 32 seconds of painting and then ran around the yard while Spence carved.
Our church provides the Awana program. It's a pretty great program for ages 3 to 6th grade (Awana has materials for 2 year olds, but Summit begins at 3). It teaches scripture memory and Bible lessons in a fun way. This is Zeke's first year participating. It started off pretty rough. Lots of crying, refusing to tell his teachers his verses, and a class change to help him get adjusted. But Zeke is now soaring. The picture quality is pretty terrible, but I did catch Zeke on camera the night he got his vest and book. (I'll get a picture of him wearing the vest soon)
He was so proud of himself (I was so shocked he actually went on stage)
He saw me and immediately ran to show off his goods