Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just A Little Shout Out to Mom!

I've really enjoyed the times I have been out shopping with my nephew, Andrew, and my Mom this season.

We've had lots of laughs!  It reminds me of the times before I got married and moved away, when we would all go do things together.  Andrew was born when I was 11, and he has always been like a little brother to me.  What great memories I have of him!

How I have missed my family!  We have been so incredibly blessed by all the great friends God provided in each place we've lived, but there is nobody like your momma!

I cannot begin to thank you, Mom, for all that you have done and still do for me.  There is no gift that we could find for you on earth that would express the gratitude Tom and I have for you!

For every time you have watched our boys...for every cross-country trip you made...for every pair of shoes bought...for every time you have come when one of us was sick...for every birthday you've made special...for every holiday big or small...for every toy you've given...for every loving card you have sent...for every time you've dropped what you were doing to come to our rescue...for every minute you've spent loving us...


We don't say it nearly enough, and we fall miserably short in giving you the honor your deserve! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ice Adventures

I'm just gonna be honest...for hours we have done nothing much but watch Christmas movies in our pjs, eat, and play on ice with my nephew, Andrew!  It has been FABULOUS!  

Oh, we got in a little school reading tonight, but whateva...the neighbors didn't have school and they needed our front hill for speed and our expertise in sledding!

We had to help them!  I mean we have to love our neighbors, right?

Yep, it was quite a sacrifice for us, but we managed!

We had a variety of amazing sporting events to participate in:
Traditional sledding...
which brought lots of smiles and laughter!
Dog pulling! (Not sure the pup liked this so's not my pup!)
and multiple dog sledding! (I dunno...)
Belly boarding!  (This is really fun but you should take your camera OUT of your coat pocket FIRST!)
Ice surfing!  (Proceed with caution here as falling from a standing position is much worse than falling off a sled on the ground! Don't ask how I found that out!)
Multi-person sledding!  (This doesn't always end well!)
Ice licking!  (REALLY don't recommend this...especially the yellow ice!)
Ice golfing!  (This got stopped pretty quickly as we were reminded of our friend Coleton's head getting split open the last time golf clubs were involved with a large group!)
Ice hockey!  (This went okay.)
Ice boogey-boarding!  (Relatively safe as long as you lean hard left and steer clear of the bright red fire hydrant!)
Ice snow boarding!  (NO! NO! NO!)
Ice wiping-out!  (Enough said!)
Ice crawling (back up the hill)!  (This was the exhausting part...and scary part for the older participants!)
And we had people helping one another:
 Moms shoving their kids hands into gloves!  (Gotta make sure they are on there good and we have no frostbite!)
And friends pulling their friends across slippery ice patches by their hoods!  (Yikes Trey...what were ya thinkin' boy?)
We had warm homemade chicken pot pie...(so yummy!)
and cozy blankets!

A day to remember for sure!  


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Stockings and Seasons

It's hard to believe how fast time passes.  Like a blink of an eye, Garrison is 12, and Alex and Trey are fast on his heels!  

No more action figures.  No more cheap dollar store stocking-stuffers cut it.  Their interests have changed, and I find myself in the electronics and sports sections more than the toy department now.

Looking back over the year in photos reveals Garrison stepping into manhood.  His voice is changing.  He is growing out of pants within 3 weeks time!  He has passed me in shoe size, and he has only two inches to stand eye-to-eye with me.

Alex's face is getting little break-outs and his adorable chubby cheeks are melting away. His chest is massive, and he can pick me up!  Only Trey has the remnants of anything "baby" about him left...and it is quickly fading.  I cannot pick him up at all anymore.

I rejoice in the young men they are becoming.  I truly love this season of life.  I have no teenage drama or attitude yet really, but I also don't have to back diaper bags or tote sippy cups.

They can all fix their own easy food and cook a little.  They can clean bathrooms and wash their own clothes. No one is driving, but they are all getting riskier in that "male" kinda way.

I just repaired all the stockings we bought in 2003...7 years ago.  Garrison was 5, Alex was 2, and Trey was 1!  Garrison loved Spiderman, Alex loved Batman, and we found these ridiculous-looking stockings on this crazy clearance.  They were both so excited.  They stuck Trey with Superman and thought Daddy needed the Hulk.  (No, they did not have Wonder Woman for me, though that is who I aspired to be when I was a little girl! Yes, seriously...right before I wanted to be a truck driver with a monkey.  Nope, not kidding!)
No one would want these one except little boys who dream of doing something great and huge in the world!  And if you know me well, you know I wouldn't ever want to hang them up...and you have to know I have pretty ones to match the decor for that!  
But, I do fill these "Super Stockings" to the brim with goodies and love each year and set them out for Christmas morning.  I do love that they are a picture of "my boys" and a little piece of who they are and who they still secretly hope to who stand up for goodness and make a difference in a dark world, fighting for the oppressed and those who can't fight for themselves.

Garrison looked at them the other day and said, "Oh my gosh Mom, please don't hang those up because I am too old for that now!"  (Okay THAT almost got me to hang them up! giggle) But, I seriously got a little ole tear in my eye.

Seasons do indeed change...and we must embrace them when they do.

Goodnight friends

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Family Pics

We had our first family Christmas get-together last Mom's side of the family.  Many people sadly couldn't make it due to illness, work, or other engagements, but it was still fun!

We took lots of pics with my Mom and Dad, my nephew, Andrew, my Aunt Sue and cousin, Sarah, and my oldest brother, Keith with his girlfriend, Vicki.

I'm so thankful for a warm home to welcome others into!  We are incredibly blessed!

It was great to see my cousins Katie and Meghan and their beaus, my cousin John and his wife, Stephanie and their son, Lucas...and John's parents, Barb and Morris as well.  I know it's hard for my Mom and her sisters, not having my Granny here.

Christmas has really changed since the death of all my grandparents.  We try not to let it bring us down by creating new traditions, but there is a sadness that everyone feels.  Families grow apart as they expand.  It takes work to keep relationships strong!

I read once that what makes kids want to stay connected to their families is meaningful traditions, and I really do see this.  It's neat to hear my boys say things like, "When I have kids, we are gonna do this too!"  

I was struck recently in a conversation when my friend was sharing how her mom was upset over her sister's new plans for the holidays because the sister is now engaged.  I can't imagine how hard that is as a parent!  But, we have to learn to let go and grow, communicate openly about our expectations and wishes, and be willing to create new traditions that include those God brings into our circles.  We were meant to share love, not hoard it.  

I pray one thing my sons are learning is how to slow down when things get to keep God first, family second, etc...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

This Thing Called Family

I have caught myself being mesmerized by my boys this week.  At different, unexpected moments I have felt myself staring at them and smiling a most ridiculous smile!
I really do try to live in the present...not beat myself up for the past or dream constantly about the future...or worry about it.  

I try to heed the advice of many women who have crossed my path:  treasure every minute because they grow up so fast!
I do appreciate the meaningful time homeschooling these lil gentlemen allots me.  I see that I get to experience precious moments many mommas don't get to enjoy.

But, even though I try to stay aware of my treasures' limited time in my arms and home, I get caught up in the mix of life.  So this week, for whatever reason, I have been acutely aware of my guys and their uniqueness...of their fast growth and their changing looks.
As I was reading my friend's blog post this morning, taking in her thoughts of her bonding process with her adopted Chinese son, I found myself thinking back on my "baby"...Trey.
Trey was born when Alex was only 18 months old.  To say the least, Trey was a blessed surprise!  God knew when we needed him.  God had a special plan.
BUT, Alex was momma's boy and he wasn't really ready to give up my attention.  Trey instantly took to his Daddy-to the point that I could hardly get him to even nurse because he would look around and cry until Tom held him!

To be honest, I was over nursing at that point, and he probably somehow sensed it!  I was over being wallowed by a baby most of the day and since Alex didn't want to let me go, I was trying to do it with two kids hanging on me.  I felt drained beyond description...and if you have had multiple little ones at one time, I know you know what those days feel like!
Trey took to the bottle and was happy as could be to have his daddy feeding him.  He never hated me, but he LOVED his dad.  I truly had never seen any kid prefer his father so much at that age, but I really didn't mind because my hands were full!
I will never forget the day Tom left for Pensacola, FL.  We lived in SC and he had been selected to be an Officer, which meant more training.   Trey was so young...around 2 if that, but he somehow knew when Tom walked out that door, he wouldn't be right back!

The boy laid on the carpet by the door and cried for hours.  I tried my hardest to comfort him, to hold him, to talk to him.  He would have none of it.  He literally kept pushing me away.
"Sad" cannot even describe how I felt.  I had come to understand that I had dealt with post-postpartum depression after all three boys' births.  It was so rarely talked about or addressed at that time.  I just literally thought I was crazy!

I was beginning to understand what I had walked through each time, but it didn't make me feel any better about the lack of relationship between me and my baby boy!  I was painfully aware that I could never get that time back.
Trey was hurting, and it seemed like I could not help him.  I had horrible thoughts running through my head..."You've screwed him up forever."  "You were so selfish that you couldn't even love your baby right."  "He will never like you."

LIES, but very convincing ones at the time!

Thankfully, we serve a God of Restoration!
In the weeks that followed, Trey did open up and let me in.  By the time we were reunited with Tom, Trey was as much attached to me as he had been his daddy.

Believe me, Trey is still his dad's right-hand man at most times, but we now share this amazing relationship that I treasure!
The other night, I was tucking him into bed and he was so tired he could hardly hold his eyes open.  He said, "Mom, give me your hand."  I did and he kissed it and smiled the most adorably sleepy smile, and he said, "You're the best."

I love that all my boys are still affectionate with me...even fight over who gets to sit by me on the couch when we read or watch movies!
I have no idea what the future holds for us, but I do know that I am so thankful for the present!  

Some days are down-right exhausting.  

Some days I still feel like I am screwing them up!  

Some days they drive me whacko with their endless horse-play and practical jokes on each other.

BUT, I do see that they are the best of friends at heart and that they are building this thing we call "family."