Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A moment to focus on Jude Bug

I was trying to think of some key words I would use to describe my little Jude bug these days but honestly, pick a word! One minute he’s dramatic and emotional, the very next he’s happy and go with the flow. One minute he’s hiding behind my leg being shy, the very next he’s saying hi to strangers walking by. He’s such a funny little boy & definitely very full of life! I genuinely can’t get enough of him!

Social – He’s a good mix of Jon and me. He loves a great time but doesn’t always have to be around people. He’s just as content watching an episode of Jake & The Neverland Pirates or Mickey as he is to be playing outside with his friends. He’s pretty easy going in that aspect. Jon is definitely his pick for a playmate these days if he were to have the choice…which melts my heart!
♥ Daddy & Jude ♥ Best Buds ♥

 Musician in the making – He LOVES to sing and play instruments! I constantly catch him looking at Jon’s guitar and giving it the occasional strum as if he genuinely just couldn’t help himself!

Here’s a video of him playing & singing to us last night…
Playing a guitar at Grandma Box's House
Tantrums - OH THE TANTRUMS! If I pour apple juice and he forgot he really wanted chocolate milk, the world just might end! If I buckle his seat belt when he wanted to do it's on! Typically, If I get down to his level, look him in the eyes and can get him to converse early on in the tantrum, I usually have a shot at calming him and regaining normalcy. If I ignore him, it pretty much frames the mood for the rest of the day. I pray it’s a phase. I pray for patience.

We almost turned around and went back to the hotel the day of our Disneyland adventure due to early morning tantrums. Luckily, threats worked and the day was back on track quickly! LOL.

I would say 90% of the time, Jude is just a happy sweet fun loving 3 1/2 year old boy! He loves to laugh as much as he loves to make others laugh and he's pretty good at it! He hates dissapointing us and is pretty sweet to share with everyone, even his younger brother! He truly enjoys learning (melts my heart that he's actively asking about Jesus!)... He asks a million + one questions a day and doesn't settle for simple answers that don't make sense. He loves animals. He loves dirt. He loves water. He loves helping his daddy with projects. He loves helping anyone in the kitchen...with cooking, not cleaning to be clear. He loves his family!
♥Playing around with mommy
♥ Can't get enough of this smile

Eating – Still somewhat picky but he eats pretty healthy! Things he won’t eat – buns, mac n cheese, scrambled eggs or mashed potatoes. His favorites – Cereal (often for dinner), Waffles, hot dogs (w/o a bun), craisins, cheetos, yogurt, fruit (grapes, apple slices, watermelon, strawberries), chicken nuggets, spaghetti & pizza. And, I don’t think he’ll ever stop asking for “treasure treats” (candy) every chance he has!

Bedtime - getting easier! He definitely doesn’t fight going to bed at night like he used to. Sure, he’ll resist a little but once he knows we mean business, he cooperates for the most part…as long as routine happens (bath if need be, teeth brushed, 2 stories read – one of his or Joel’s choice and one from the boy’s bible book, prayers and then hop in bed)! Jude seems to require more sleep than Joel. He typically falls asleep about 30 mins before Joel and he sleeps in up to an hour later!

  School – He moved up to the older 3 year old class the beginning of June and has been loving it!! Several of his buddies stayed behind in the younger 3’s class so he misses them but I was thankful his BFF, Bryce, moved up with him! His new teachers are great (so were his past teachers) and they do some really fun stuff in class! I love all the summer theme days, too!! This Friday is “wear Camo to support your troops!”

♥ Self Portrait
Me: Why'd you color your face black?
Jude: Umm, b/c I wanted to be black
Me: ah,! Why'd you color your eyes green?
Jude: Umm... b/c they're going to turn green tomorrow
Haha, that kid! Cracks me up!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up...

I'll hit the highlights...

Jude and Joel welomed the beginning of their weekend with a fun 'Crazy Hat Day' at school last Friday. I absolutely LOVE a good theme day and clearly J&J do, too! They got to wear their Woody shirts and hats (Thanks to Mimi Howerton!) and we sealed the outfit with their boots!! They were a hit!

While the boys were at school & Jon was home doing yardwork and other outdoor chores, I used my off-Friday to attend volunteer orientation at the North Texas Humane Society. I am officially an active volunteer! It was heartbreakingly rewarding experience! Jon jokingly threatened that if I came home with another animal, he would NOT be happy with me AT ALL! So...I just walked, played with and loved on all of the animals. Such sweeties!! The hours flew by! My heart has always gone out to animals, mainly b/c they have similar feelings to us but are unable to communicate them! *tear* I'll definitely be back for more fur baby loving!
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances of God; whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.    - 1 Peter 4:10-11

"In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive." - Acts 20:35
But the greatest among you shall be your servant. - Matthew 23:11
If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.  - Philippians 2:1-4

Here's a very tired, very sweaty selfie I took just before going was H-O-T outside & I had not taken a seat in over 6 hours!! 
  The Lange's and Dilley's were coming over in a couple hours for dinner (Steaks prepared by my handsome hubster!) and I was so looking forward to it...and a shower! :)

Saturday afternoon the SRC youth (3rd-6th grade) held a car wash at Chicken Express to raise money for their upcoming camp. The 4R needed a bath and we can always grub on some lunch at Chicken E! The boys were super excited they got to "help" wash for a little bit. Haha.

Mmmm, Chicken! With a full bellie and tired eyes, it was definitely nap time!

J&J woke up to a full house! G-dad, Gigi, Mike, Staci, Allen & Austin were all over! It was time to beat the heat and have some fun at the POOL!!

By request, homemade pizza was the Saturday dinner menu! Jude is always there to "help" cook! I love his little proud face! Such a sweetie! ♥

Happy boys are my favorite!! ♥
Love them so much!! ♥
The pizza was A-MAZING!! And, BONUS...We even had enough dough left over to make homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I didn't even have time to snap a pic of them...they were gone stat!

Family left pretty early Sunday morning (just after breakfast) and we enjoyed a wonderful typical, lunch, naps, chores (laundry, grocery store), played a bit...dinner, popsicles, bed time!

It was nice to be at home for a full off-friday 3 day weekend after being out of town so much lately. ♥♥ I love my home & family...there was really nowhere else I wanted to be! ♥♥

Much Love,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

In need of a savior!

Disclaimer: This is a total ramble! It’s not grammatically perfect and may not even make complete sense. It’s an unfiltered rant from my heart.

I feel somewhat desperate for Jesus lately. In need of a savior!

I feel like I have such a hesitant heart sometimes. There have been a couple things that have been wearing on my spirit that I know are absolutely devil works! I just question how I will persevere to a positive Godly attitude some days…and then I feel guilty for those feelings…*sigh* Don’t get me wrong, I still count my blessings and know that God is constant and that I have a wonderful life to be lifted up and thankful for! Bottom line is that I just get lazy in my faith and spend my time concentrating on immediate disappointments in my personal life instead! I feel like I continually pray to God for help in a stronger walk and wonder why it’s so hard to get to a place where I’m focused on serving and loving without hesitation or feeling like I’m owed some sort of affirmation in return.  I wonder are we all really THAT sinful & selfish in nature or is it something that I struggle more with than others?? It’s even hard for me to write this in fear that I will be judged by those reading. Can I just shake myself?! Haha.

I help with youth at my church, Solid Rock, and last night’s message truly spoke to me. I pulled up Galatians, chapter 5 again this morning to read over it after some digestion. It’s good stuff! It is a solid reminder that we need to continue to “fill ourselves up” with God’s word to be able to “pour out” efficiently in our daily walk! We can't ONLY fill up or ONLY pour out...doesn't work! It has to be an equally balanced process. Now,If only I can maintain the discipline & motivation to follow thru with staying focused on reacting to the gift of salvation by ACTING - serving and loving where I am needed!  AND fighting the urge to beat myself up on past mistakes & petty things (like why someone doesn’t like me), which ultimately leads to misery and does not make me smile = not a reflection of God’s light in my life!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. - Gal 5:1

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. – Gal 5:13-15

My yoke of slavery is past mistakes. I can’t change them and they’ll always be there. I feel like they have and continue to affect my future and thus, my family. That causes guilt. I am a perfectionist thru and thru! I dwell on how I could have ever made such poor choices, especially as a Christian. I hate that I get so defensive, too! Mainly with Jon… Hindsight, I initiate conversations trying to vent my feelings looking for a sympathetic and loving response confirming that I’m doing the best I can and that I’m a good person/mother/wife. When I don’t get that response, the guilt grows and I sulk…which turns to anger at some points & then bitterness. Ugh, I hate even writing it down! When I come to a place in a friendship where I feel like it’s time to divulge to be “real” with that friend, it’s hard! I never know what reaction I will get… but in some way, their perception of me is changed. I am now a real “damaged” person. Can’t I just be happy go lucky and shrug things off and leave them for the Lord to handle? Why do I care so much about what others around me think of my struggles? Do those struggles define me? Can I overcome the shame and be confident in my spirit and eventually be “whole” and happy with who I am? After all, God did create me!

Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. – Psalm 37:3-6

Summer is always hard b/c we’re out of town 3-4 weekends keeping us from attending our home church. I struggle when I don’t have that weekly lesson from our pastor! I’ve listened to all the Podcasts Solid Rock has online and they’re kind of “old” to me now. I’ve tried to stay in the word on my own more and I am…but it’s not easy! I find myself flipping around looking for something to jump out of the bible at me like a little kid does. Jon is more of a private person when it comes to studying the bible and praying (and everything)…which I get but struggle with. I wonder what is he thinking? What is he praying about? Is he praying? Is he praying for me? Do I pray for him enough? I ask him and he says he always prays, and I do believe him…I’m just not physically a part of it. I yearn to be self-motivated & disciplined but some days are flat out harder than others.
I can't explain hard things.  I know that God wants us to pray & wants us to ask for things. I also know he doesn’t always answer. I know that I will never fully understand God’s plan while on this earth. Thankfully, it’s not my job to explain God, I just have to decide that I'm going to trust Him. I'm going to “pour out” love & serve people who are hurting and in need and keep praying (for myself and others).
We have plans to start up a small group with three other couples from church once school starts back up and I’m super excited about it! I do have small concerns that everyone is so different about how they study (or don’t study) but I’m relying on the fact that we all fellowship together routinely to keep things grounded and going strong! I think (hope) it will be great for all of us and that we continue to grow in friendship! I have prayed for good friends that are involved in our church and at similar life places for so long and I genuinely get giddy when we’re all able to hang out! I know these families are a Godsend to our lives! I try to contain my (somewhat nervous) excitement (again, b/c I worry what others think) to offer a normal stance about it all, haha. The other three couples have known each other for a long time, atleast the ladies. They all work together. Being the “newbie” always offers a little more vulnerability, but the girls have been amazingly accepting and sweet to include me! I truly adore them! We all live so close & have kiddos the same ages, too! So fun!

I sit back and watch the community argue and debate every little issue under the sun.  Ofcourse I have opinions… but I don't want to spend my life arguing. I just want to trust God (even when it's NOT easy) and believe the Bible (every word) and live my life by it. I'm not a theologian. I'm not a seminary graduate. I'm not even a very eloquent writer (trust me - this I know) but I want to spend my life JOYFULLY serving & sharing what I do know about Christ.

I'm making a full-hearted effort to move forward in my days not sitting around worrying about the ‘what if's’ and ‘has beens’ of life.  GOD IS IN CONTROL!  I think I am - but ever so clearly, I am not.  He is not surprised by anything.  He's bigger.  I just have to trust that HE is in control and keep my faith. I want to know God and make Him known. I want others to see God’s amazing love thru the actions in my life. I want to focus on him. I don’t want to spend my life worrying about what others think of me or if someone disagrees with my actions/views.

But I am not ashamed! I know the one I have faith in, and I am sure that he can guard until the last day what he has trusted me with. 2 Timothy 1:12

As humbling (embarrassing) as it is to write little emotional tangents like this, it’s such a release! Maybe no one relates…but maybe someone does… either way, my faith grows and I am thankful for my freedom {{Salvation}} in Christ Jesus! ♥ ♥

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 8:20


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

L-♥-V-E was in the Air!

I love weddings! I love LOVE! ♥♥♥ This past weekend we headed south to Cuero, TX to celebrate my cousin, Vicki, as she married her forever cowboy, Levi. It was such a wonderful weekend...the only negative was that it had to end...
We left work early on Thursday to get an early start on the weekend traveling. Coming off of the California trip, the boys really hadn't had much time to recoup and get back on schedule so the idea of breaking up the drive time was more than welcomed! AND we got to see Kirk, Rachel and baby Luke! Win, win! Luke is such a sweet and happy little boy (he's walking now)! I swear he just smiles and smiles... which I shouldn't be surprised knowing he is the offspring of one of the happiest sweetest women I know! Seriously! Rachel is a solid breath of fresh air every time I am around her! Kirk, too! They're always extremely welcoming and it's so easy to just pick up where we left off with them regardless of how long it's been since we've seen each other.  We got to their house about 9pm. Luke was already asleep and Kirk had to be at work early the next morning but we still ended up keeping them up visiting til' close to 11. "Sorry, Kirk! We love ya!" The next morning was an early one with J&J waking up at a typical 7am-ish and BOY HOWDY they were grumpy!! I did get to visit some with Rachel but by 9:30 Jon and I had had enough of the grouches and decided we'd try to put them down for an early nap time with Luke before we headed to eat lunch in a public place! :-P Jude did sleep for about an hour or so but no luck with Joel.

Luke isn't sure what to think about the looney grumps he's been forced to play with! :-P to lunch we went hoping for the best! Austin has such great family friendly dining out choices!! Rachel took us to a place called "Shady Grove" that had a couple different restaurants (Jason's deli, Greek, sushi, ice cream, burger place) all wrapped around a shaded outdoor playscape. We chose a local joint, The Waterloo (all american type food). Yumm-o food, sweet friends and a playground would normally be a perfect afternoon...and it was, minus the ten-ish tantrums, haha. Oh usual, Rachel was a sweetheart and we did manage to leave with smiles! I hated to leave so soon but was also excited to see my fam!
Back in the car we went on our way to Cuero! My Nana and Poppy and Sister's fam had already checked into the adorable B&B's my Aunt & Uncle had reserved for everyone and I was super excited to get there to see them!! We put on a dvd for the boys and the trip went pretty quick! "Thanks babe for driving!"

Side Note: Does Jude not look so big here?! Kinda takes my breath away how fast he's growing up!

I LOVED the cute B&B houses! We walked up and were immediately greeted by Allen & Austin at the front door. Let the family fun begin! Marc and my mom weren't in town yet and my sister was at The Venue helping with set up stuff so we went next door to say hi to my Nana and Poppy and Uncle Richard. Their house was so cute, too!! The boys played shy at first but were so excited to see Richard...heart melting! Moods were finally all good and spirits were high! Thank God! :)

House #1: My parents, sister's fam & us
House #2: Uncle Richard, Aunt Sharon & Nana & Poppy

Yummy local welcome treats from Levi and Vicki were on our beds when we arrived! So thoughtful! They seriously thought of everything!!

The cousins catching up over some PB pretzels 
Allen, Joel, Jude & Austin

Here's some pics of House #1: I didn't capture every room but it will give you an idea of the style. I loved all the unique pieces of furniture used in the houses! It was such a great layout, too! There were 10 of us staying in house #1, 6 adults and 4 kiddos, and we never felt cramped. Everyone had their own bed, there were 2 kitchens and they even had a laundry room allowing us to leave with a suitcase of clean clothes! What a perk! If we ever venture back to Cuero, I'll definitely be staying here again! (

Silly Boys!

Once Marc, mom and the rest of the fam got to the houses, we all got ready to go watch Levi and Vicki practice getting married and enjoy dinner together!

♥J&J with their Gigi and Gdad, my parents♥

Joel, Austin, Allen & Jude

My cousins/bros & sister of the Bride: Deano, Cortney & Roy (& Mila)

♥ Love is in the air! ♥
(Before the rehearsal was about to start)

Jude playing with the table toppers, haha! "Look mommy! I'm a reindeer!!"

Levi & Vicki are such a cute couple and so obviously in love making the rehearsal such a fun and sweet thing to watch! ♥♥♥  'The Venue' was such a neat place, too! All the wedding festivities took place there....The rehearsal, the dinner following, the wedding and the reception. It was like 7 blocks from the houses we stayed at which was so nice and convenient! The rehearsal dinner prepared by Levi's family was amazing! Steak, the best mashed potatoes I've ever had, salad and banana pudding or chocolate pie! Mmmm! We were definitely going to sleep with happy hearts and bellies! :)

♥ My beautiful momma and her handsome cowboy! Love them! ♥

Levi & his groomsmen (my twin cousins are on the far right)

Vicki's Pretty Ladies!

Here she comes!!
♥ Uncle Richard and his daughter, THE BRIDE!!

The next morning, all the big guys (Richard, Jon and Mike) took the little guys (Allen, Austin, Jude & Joel)out in Uncle Richard's "big truck" to go feed the ducks at the lake while the girls went to 'The Venue' to visit with the bride's crew for an hour while they were getting fancied up before we all met up for lunch at a local burger joint.

J&J were determined to wear their boots 90% of the weekend "like Uncle Richard"
so...we let them ♥♥

♥♥ Nana, Staci, Mom and me just before heading up to 'The Venue' to hang with the gals ♥♥

♥♥♥ seesters ♥♥♥

 After lunch we were headed home for naps...we weren't sure how long we would be out that night (wedding started at 5) but I was still trying to stay focused on keeping J&J on schedule as much as possible! Thankfully, nap time was a success! We were supposed to be at 'The Venue' at 4:15 and that ended up being a challenge b/c they were sleeping for so long! Joel woke up at 4, after being out for over 2 1/2 hours, and I quickly got him dressed. We had to wake Jude up at 4:15 and just ran a little late getting to 'The Venue' at 4:25.
Vicki was a GORGEOUS bride! Levi was a pretty handsome cowboy groom, too! I loved all the bridesmaids dresses...Vicki let them all pick out their own style in the same {champagne} color. Such a neat idea! The groomsmen all wore starched jeans and vests...yes please! The ceremony was beautiful and not one to be missed! The reception couldn't have been more fun...another delicious dinner, photo booth fun, dancing & visiting with family & friends...what a wonderful night celebrating a wonderful new Godly designed couple!! I'm so glad we were able to be a part of such a great weekend & I love my family so very much!! #Blessed

Walking down the aisle...

Sealing it with a kiss!

♥♥♥ Mr and Mrs Levi Garrett!! ♥♥♥
I L♥VE both of their faces in this picture! Vicki is radiant and Levi looks so proud and happy! Congrats, you two! ♥ 

My Uncle Richard and Aunt Sharon, proud parents of the BRIDE! ♥♥♥

The BEST Maid of Honor speech I've ever heard! Cortney SANG it to her big sister ♥ #Tearsofhappiness

♥ Newlyweds!! ♥

♥ Mother/Daughter ♥ Cheers to love and happiness! ♥

♥ Kisses for cake?! ♥ Anytime! ♥

Happy Boys!!
Jude formed a quick hard crush on Chelsea, Deano's girlfriend. She was so sweet to accept Jude and Joel's (energetic) loving attention! ♥♥♥ Jude kept asking "where is that pretty girl?" ♥♥♥

♥ Guess who caught the bouquet?! Go Chelsea! Deano is a lucky guy...hold on to this one! ;-)
♥ Chelsea & Deano ♥

Fam Bam ♥♥♥

♥Photo Booth Fun!♥

Gdad grew hair! haha

The wedding cake was a huge "cup" cake! It was beautiful...and J&J saw it as SOON as we stepped in the doors! I found myself playing bodyguard against kiddos until my aunt graciously allowed them to take one from the back! I was very appreciative!

Joel happy to be eating a cupcake FINALLY!

Here's a shot of the Groom's cake - hilarious!! He's apparently a pretty huge hog hunter...

I have some other great pics I wanted to post but I don't want to wait're getting the ones off of my phone, which are all pretty good anyways! I'll end with a huge thank you to the Thayer family! You're such a wonderful christian example of love! The weekend was fabulous and Vicki was a gorgeous bride, inside & out!! We can't wait to see you all again! XO's and High Fives!!