Sunday, March 27, 2011

Happy 10th Alexander!

A decade old...really?  

I surely don't know how this is possible!

I guess somehow amidst all the diapers, sippy cups, potty training, schooling, and running, I blinked and my little Chubs Lightyear was growing up!
I truly cannot imagine how the moms who have to go to work feel.  I have been here for every first everything.  I have watched this little boy nearly every single day from birth, yet I still feel like it has went by in a flash, and I just can't treasure it all enough.

 I can definitely say I enjoyed Alex's infancy the most.  Garrison was big enough to do a lot on his own and that afforded me quality time with Alex.  
He was such a happy baby with few illnesses or issues.

He loved to be held and rocked, cuddled, read to, and played with.
When Trey came along, Alex was 18 months old and was not excited about sharing his momma!  Thankfully, Trey preferred daddy anyway.  God knew what we needed.

Alex was such a funny toddler.  He gave us many laughs at trying to sing songs and his giggle (which we can still hear today if we tickle him just right) was contagious.
Somehow this sweet boy often found himself in the middle of a mess.  His curiosity truly was to blame, but how he exhausted us!

From tissues all over the house to ink circles drawn on the new leather sofa and walls of the hallway at his eye bites out of every Nestle powder chocolate mountains all over the kitchen...the boy kept himself busy! 
Busy thinking, creating, imagining, and doing...but not trying to cause problems...simply finding himself in the middle of them.

And just when I would think there is no way I can make it through this child, he would always do something or say something that would make me laugh.  God knew what we needed.
I can't say Al has changed much.  

He still manages to be in the middle of mayhem, seldom trying to create problems.  He still makes it hard for me not to laugh, but these days I am recognizing that he also likes to try to mess with people too.  
It's okay.  I get it.  I understand all too well because I know where he gets it. (smile)
People like Alex and me...well, we like fun and funny and we like to get people a little worked up for our own entertainment. 
We like to see laughter and not take things so seriously.  The best thing to do with people like us is not show reaction because, well, if we know it works, we are gonna do it again you guys!

Alex~I don't really know how to share with you all the joy you bring me.  I also won't bring me nearly as much frustration on some days, but I am thankful that I have had such intimate time with you, for I have learned your heart.  I know that your intention is not to hurt.  God has given you a of humor and joy.  I see the enemy of your soul trying to work against you...trying to pull you, but I know that God's hand is upon you.  I know that He has anointed you to break off heaviness on others.  He has put inside you something that draws others to you and somehow helps them to just feel better by being around you.  Your wit and jovial ways help break through hearts of stone, and I know that in the future, God will show you how to use that to help humanity.  I thought when you were little that maybe I would like you to be different...maybe more like your big brother.  But it didn't take long to realize that we needed you just the way you are.  We need you to balance our up-tight anxiousness.  We need you to lighten us up and you need us to keep you grounded.  Yes, my son, you are just what we need to be "  us."    I knew from the day you dunked your head in the toilet THREE times in a row that you wouldn't always be easy to guide, but I knew from the day I looked into your dark chocolate eyes that you would be easy to love.  Happy, happy 10th birthday Alexander Stephen Reynolds.  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Pics!

I love sitting here in my office with my curtains blowing in the breeze of the open window!  It's so nice to see sunshine!

We had a great time with friends this weekend.  We just started our new church at a closer location...meeting on Saturday nights.  It's nice to come together and then be able to have a relaxing dinner.

Laura was in town this weekend and took some spring photos for us:

Here's Skinny G showing off his big gun!  He's about a 1/2 inch short of looking me in the eye now. CRAZY!  Wasn't he just my lil boy following me all over the place and talking my head off???  Well, at least he still talks my head off!  Now he just sounds like he has a cold with his intermittent sounds of puberty hoarseness!  He seriously confused his dad when he called home the other day! 
Oh my...there is so much I wanna say about this boy, but I will hold that til his birthday post!  I'm sure you can catch a little glimpse of what I'm thinking though!  Alex has really shot up lately too.  Trey was almost caught up with him, but then Alex took off again.  So symbolic of their relationship!
It's wild to me how this photo captures his in-between baby and young man face!  Maybe you just have to be momma to see it!
Even though they are all growing like weeds, I am happy to report that they still love their mom!  I have no trouble getting cuddles out of any of them!
Xane likes to pretend to put up a fuss when I tackle him with kisses, but just the other day he took a nap with me on the couch so whatever...he's not foolin me!
Trey-Trey doesn't care one bit who sees him lovin' on his momma!  He rarely walks by me without kissing my hand and telling me he loves matter what I am busy doing!  Sometimes I feel a lil smothered, but I'm thinking I better treasure that up while I can right?
I just can't believe how tall my "twins" are!  For so long they just looked so much alike people seriously thought they were twins.  Don't you love the spiked hair too? 
Here's a family shot with the pup who could use a little hair gel or something of her own...what a mop!  Not long before all these boys pass me up.  I wonder if they will pass up Dad too.
And another one minus dog
And last but never least, me and my girl!  I treasure you Laurla!  Thanks for the good time this weekend.  Sorry you were a lil sick!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Basghetti on a Beautiful Day

I am so thankful for this absolutely beautiful, warm day!

Everyday, my friend Amanda comes by after she gets out of class to work out with me.  It has been lovely to get outside for walks.  Our friend, Holly, even joined us today!

I worked on school with my guys and Adalee...yes, she does "school" now, and she thinks she is big stuff!  She is actually extremely smart and thirsts for knowledge so she is a joy to teach anything to!  This week, she started reading three-letter-words!

Adalee also loves to help me cook, so I try to make things she can help with on the days she is here.  Today we made some spaghetti for lunch while the boys and Amanda finished their schoolwork.

 Alex cuddled up reading a book
 Trey "supervising" Adalee...guess he feels he needs someone to boss around since he is usually the youngest!

Look how easy it is to bring a smile to this little face!
 Alex was in charge of noodles!
 "Painting" garlic butter on our bread...

 How blessed am I to get to spend my days with these amazing kids!
 Chopsticks for "basghetti" anyone?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Human Doodle Pads

Look at this little face.

Doesn't he look so sweet?

To the common by-passer, he would look like a precious young man, full of honey!

But, THIS BOY did THIS to his brother:

Yes, friends, that writing you see is from our address stamper.  

Mmmmhmmm...yep...that IS the SAME address stamper they have been told NOT to stamp anything with other than an is.

Why it is funny to stamp our address all over their human parts is beyond me.  But, it is just one of the many things that happens in one of my "normal" days.  I think they are downstairs working on school stuff and they are instead using each other as human doodle pads.

Whadaya do?

And you probably have already guessed, Xane did stamp T back as well...and please don't even get me started on what happened to G's comforter that they were holding each other down on to perform their stamp act!
If anyone had told me beforehand what boys would do in my household, I totally would've run the other way.  

But, now...well, I really have to tell you, it's crazy, but I sure have come to love it!

Breaking Boards & Gettin' Belts

Well, it's been exciting around here!  The boys are learning how to break boards in their martial arts class!  I haven't even gotten to blog about them starting the class and here they are breaking stuff in half!  (hee hee)
 Alex was the first one to break through!  Uncle Rob was with the boys that night so Tom and I missed it, but we were happy to receive the cell phone photo!  My first thoughts:  Wow...he broke a board!  Cool!  Oh, but scary!

This event did, however, seem to pep all the boys up about what they were actually learning.  

THEN, their uniforms arrived.  Look at my cute lil ninjas!  That's cousin Ethan stuck in there between Al and Trey. 
Who in the world is gonna mess with these guys huh?!!!
 (Xander...always the showman!  Yes, they all have lots of nicknames, but that's what comes out when I'm typing so you guys have to learn them all. tee hee)

Last week Garrison broke a board! No picture, but here is a video of it.  Ethan tried, then Alex tried, and then G finished the job.  (My little neighborhood watch program is coming along quite nicely if I do say so myself!)

Here, the classmates are all signing the board with Master Hart looking on.  I will just insert here that Alex actually signed the board "Crappy Dude."  

Why Alex?...Why?  Why?  Why?  (Training, training, training!)  Alex just loves to try to get a reaction from take note:  if he ever pulls this on you, don't fall for it.  Just stay cool, calm, and collected. 

Okay, moving on to last night...I was engrossed in a book, and when I looked up, Garrison and Trey had their white belts!  How pathetic was I to miss that!  But, at least I was there to capture the moment (after).  
They were pretty excited!  Look at lil Ethan back there peeking around G.  Love that boy!  (And even though I have to tackle him and hold him down to get some sugar, I just know that he will look back on his childhood and remember how much Aunt Mindy loved him!)  (smile)

On a serious note, I can't say enough great things about this martial arts deal.  For real, it has been a good thang for our family.  I LOVE being able to go to ONE location and have all THREE kids involved in something.  I love that this is something that helps them focus, teaches them self-control and discipline, and will allow them to be able to defend themselves if they should ever need to!  The instructors are wonderful.  They are patient and really care about the kids.  

A cute story before I we walk out of class last night and Trey says, "Yes! I got my white belt!  Hey Mom, can I sleep with you tonight?"  

This just sounded so funny to me.  I was laughing so hard!  All manly in his new belt, but then wanting to sleep with his momma while his daddy is away.  I dunno just made me laugh.  

So I said, "Trey, I don't think white belts get to sleep with their moms."  

Alex piped up, "I didn't get a belt so I can still sleep with her!"

Trey responded, "No Alex, I should sleep with her because I can protect her more!"

I love my life!

Setting Them up for Success!

I have a firstborn who is a chip off the ole block and nearly drives himself silly trying to perform in perfection.

I have had a rough time trying to get this child to relax and see all the different ways there are to learn in our amazing world.  His idea of "school" is traditional, and that is largely my fault.  I taught him how I was taught and thought that was the right way.  Thank God my eyes and mind were opened to a different idea because Alex (the second born) is NOT a traditional kinda boy!  He doesn't retain much of anything sitting still at a desk, but give the child something to squish in his hand or let him hang upside down off the couch, and he can reiterate the lesson right back!

My goals for my children's education have changed dramatically in seven years.  I no longer strive to meet state standards the same way I did.  I have really come to the conclusion that if my children know how to read well, think critically, love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength, love others as they love themselves, and know how to hear the voice of God and follow Him...THEN I have been successful in training them.

Every year, God shows me more of HIS idea of "school."  Recently, I gave Garrison a student planner. I showed him what goals I hoped he could accomplish this year for "standard education." I gave him until August to complete these goals. I gave him the freedom to arrange his assignments any way he wants to get them finished.

He literally cried at first because he didn't know how to function under that kind of freedom. It was almost comical because he proved the points God was putting on my heart.

When we set forth a bunch of rules without giving people a voice about their own life, we immediately create strife.  If we can humble ourselves, ask for their input, opinions, and ideas, we help them "own" their life.  We help them gain confidence that they CAN think, plan, hear from God, and walk out a successful journey.

God began to show me why so many kids have trouble when they are teens.  For years, they have parents or adults standing over them saying do this at this time and don't do this.  Many times these children are not given any good reasons as to why these rules are being forced upon them.  They learn to obey or reap punishment.  The sad truth is that they are never trained to see a potential problem and come up with a good solution to avoid it!  They find themselves in all kinds of predicaments and often become hiders, deceivers, and manipulators.  This was never their parents' goal for them!

We wonder why when the rule enforcers are not present these children fall into trouble.  They were not taught to think through what to do on their own.  They had people to tell them!  They often begin to look at peers and do what the peers suggest or do.

When these children get to college, we seem clueless as to why they nearly fall apart or resort to skipping classes and partying.  But hey, partying and living carefree feels much better than having to hurt your brain and think!

We haven't set them up for success.  We have set them up to fail by not training them in how to think and plan.

I realized that my 12 year old didn't have a clue how to set goals for himself because he was so used to momma doing it for him!  Upon this realization however, we also didn't just send him away and tell him to figure it out.  We said, "Son, if you feel you need help in learning how to prioritize and arrange your work, we are happy to share some ideas with you."  Then, we sat back and waited for him to come to us.

He did.  He came because he learned that we were willing, we would listen, we cared, and we wouldn't leave him or belittle him.  He learned to humble himself and ask for our direction as his parents.  He learned that he didn't know everything, he still needed us, but he learned in a safe way...without having to fall on his face in college!

For the last few years, my goal has been to teach my children to teach themselves.  Even with my younger two, who both school at 4th grade level, I will not answer any questions until they have read through and tried on their own.  I will introduce and teach a new concept, but I feel they need to try to problem-solve. 

I want my sons to learn to think things through so that they are not blindly led astray by lies.  If I don't train them while the stakes are small, what price might they have to pay as they grow?

*To learn more about self-teaching methods, check out this link:

~My Sons...every single day I get to watch you conquer new territory.  I absolutely treasure these days.  Being a mother is the most amazing gift.  As I have said before, I miss your yesterdays, I strive to cherish each of your present days, but how I look ahead with joy and excitement for your tomorrows.  It's breathtaking and gut-wrenching to watch you and catch glimpses of the babies you used to be and the godly men you are becoming.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Pondering in My Heart

Funny things said to me this week: 

Alex: "I know what you're thinking Mom:  it's a good thing I'm cute!"

~I actually was thinking this at that moment...and now I don't even remember what he was doing!
Alex:  "I can't wait til the morning."
Mom:  "Why is that?"
Alex:  "I'll see you!"

~Smooth, isn't he?
Trey:  "Mom, you are the best mom in the whole world.  If I didn't have you, I would go to Didi's everyday when Dad goes to work, and I wouldn't have a mom to teach me all the stuff you teach me."

~After Trey said this, I said, "Okay, did you just say that to try to butter me up, or do you really mean that?"  He replied, "I really mean it Mom."  (sniff, sniff...heart gushing with love)

~My sons...I can honestly say that I love being with you.  Okay, not every hour of every day is peachy.  Sometimes you bicker, and I don't like that.  Sometimes you don't pick up after yourselves or do your chores, and I think I may lose my mind.  Sometimes I feel so inept to raise you right that I cry.  But, I just want you to know that never, ever do I have the thoughts that I am missing out on something "  out there in the world.":  I am so thankful that I can be here with you up in the way YOU should go as an individual.  I know it is a tremendous gift in this day and age.  So many mothers and fathers spend their hours working and only get a few hours at night with their children.  I enjoy being with you and seeing all your "  firsts."   I pray that you truly are thankful that I can be with you.  I never want you to think that I would've rather been out pursuing a career.  I KNOW beyond any doubt that I am right where God meant for me to be.  I'm sorry for the days I'm grumpy to you.  Thank you for the grace you've given me to learn how to be your mom.

Friday, March 4, 2011


It's 6 A.M.  Husband's phone did something and woke me up around 3ish.  Sigh.

So...what's a girl to do when she is up in the middle of the night, trying to be quiet...after she has prayed and tried to fall back to sleep? 

Catch up on correspondence of course! 

I love to read my friend's blogs.  I love being able to see their children and identify with their life stories.

I don't know why we find so much comfort in seeing and hearing about other people's struggles and triumphs.  I guess God just created us that way.  That's fellowship right? 

We need each other.  We need to be picked up when we fall down, encouraged when we face our flaws, protected when we feel vulnerable...

I just find myself thankful this early morning that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew we would need help.  I'm thankful for the gift of friendship today.

I'm thankful for technology and for being able to connect to other women all over the world!

In these wee hours, I have enjoyed everything from baby's first bites of cereal to Cambodian apartment living to reminders that we must stand for our freedom and faith.

I love all the things that make us "US."

~My Sons...It seems that every time I begin to write to you in this blog, my first thoughts are "Never be to busy to..."  I guess that's because life is just busy.  People everywhere have some kind of work to do...a to-do list of tasks.  Life must go on, but we have to be aggressive in our time management.  Friendships, real ones, take work.  I was reminded this week of how fragile people can be in their hearts.  We have the need to feel loved and treasured.  We go through hard times, but we cannot expect others to know what we need from them.  We have to work diligently at communicating honestly and openly about what we desire, need, and expect.  We cannot be people who walk around offended when we don't get what we want. 

As I have told you for years, James says that the basis of all our quarrels is selfishness.  I had the opportunity this week to take offense at one of my friends because she got offended that her needs were not being met.  I could have chosen to distance myself from her, talk about her, avoid the entire situation...any number of things.  But, I chose instead to humble myself and go to her privately, in true love, and explain that her assumptions, even though they may not have been aimed at me personally, hurt my feelings.  I was able to share with her that in the past, I processed things the way she was processing them at this time and how God has shown me a better way.  I have so much more compassion and understanding toward others now.  It took work, conscious choices, and laying down my selfishness, but I can say that I have really great relationships with people.  I can say it's all been worth it.  I can also say I know I still hurt people and fail, but at least there is progression and it's not on purpose! 

And boys...don't buy into the lie that guys can't communicate openly like this!  That's just a bunch of macho bull from this culture.  Don't be like the world.  Be like Jesus.  Love others the way you wanna be loved.  Care enough to get to the truth and not assume and accuse others.  Show yourself friendly and you will have friends.  Be genuine.  Nobody really likes fake when it comes down to it!  Make time to show you care and truly...never be too busy to be there for a friend.