The Most Wonderful Time of the Year is Here!

Frosty, our elf, made his much anticipated debut of the season last night...
and what a mess he made of the chocolate cake the kids left for him


As if we needed any more excitement, snow fluffies are in the forecast for tomorrow, which means we had to do our "bring on the snow" traditions- pajamas backward (thank you, Uncle Mark), orange on every window sill, and spoon under every pillow...I have no idea where they got the orange and spoon idea...

Love the creativity of 7 year olds!


This Christmas...

Christmas has always been my favorite time of year.  Love everything about it.
Since having children, T and I have been striving to incoorporate the fun of the season- Santa, our elf, presents while keeping our focus on the reason for the season- our Savior's birth.  This year it seems to be really weighing on my heart.  The stories of the craziness on Black Friday make me sick to my stomach.  How have we gotten it so wrong? 
I'm guilty too, having spent way too much time trying to find the things on our children's wish list and wanting to make their dreams come true with stuff. 
Last year we started doing a Jesse Tree... a wonderful way to have family time and read Scripture in a tangible way that is great for little ones.

And today I was so happy to be introduced to Light 'Em Up 2011...this is what I have been after.  I feel like we (I) have gotten so wrapped up in material things, we have forgotten the true spirit of giving..things from the heart that don't cost a lot of money, but take time. 
Isn't it always harder to give your time?
 This site gives great ideas for ways to teach your children the joy of giving to trash collectors, needy families, drive-thru workers, etc. 
We love playing Santa and making our children's wishes come true and our elf, Frosty, is expected to make his debut tonight,

but I am praying for a Christmas season with our eyes and hearts filled with the waiting and watching for the most beautiful Story ever written.


Thanksgiving 2011

We are home from another wonderful Thanksgiving at the farm....
Grandma's rolls and dressing (made only with cornbread, thankyouverymuch), lots of laughter from the cousins...this generation and the older, but most of all, just being with family....
those who have known, loved, supported, and inspired you from day one.
Some of the younger generation of cousins enjoying a ride in the "crocodile" with
Great Grandpa Hudley.


The Girl's Dedication

This morning at church we dedicated the little girls. 
It was maybe the most lively dedication ever...squirmy 7 year olds, talkative 15 month olds who threw their bonnets, pulled the bow out of their big sister's hair, pulled their big brother's hair, and one who responded to our minister's attempt to hold her with a shaking of the head and "No, no, no, no!"

We selected a life verse for each girl....

Lyla James' is Isaiah 43 1-4: 
Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. 
I've called your name.  You're mine. 
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end-
Bcause I am GOD, you're personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.

Mary Connor's is Isaiah 41 8-10:
I pulled you in from all over the world,
called you in from every dark corner of the earth.
Telling you, "You're my servant, serving my side."
I've picked you up, I haven't dropped you.
Don't panic.  I'm with you.
There's no need to fear for I'm you're God.
I'll give you strength, I'll help you.
I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you.

After a fun lunch with our dear friends and a long afternoon nap, I think we have recovered!

Christmas Picture Outtakes

Is it just our family or does everyone struggle with getting a good picture for Christmas cards?

My sweet friend came to my rescue and snapped some shots for us yesterday...

 and the winner....
Thank you, J, I love them!!!!


15 Months

Today we had LJ and MC's 15 month well check visit, so I thought I would do an update for memory's sake.

Lyla James, you weigh 26 pounds and you are 33 inches tall (97th percentile)....I think you are going to be a tall girl! The pediatrician laughed at your refusal to stand up (you will if something is out of your reach and your big brother isn't at your beck and call)

 You are a great eater and pretty much eat whatever is offered.  You love books, play food, and music.  You do not like when a toy is taken from you and have taken to biting MC when this happens...lovely.
Words you are saying:  what's this (while pointing), Bubby (Brian), sissy, daddy, no, momma, girl

Mary Connor, you weigh 22 pounds and you are 29 1/4 inches tall (25 th percentile).  You are on the move and walk around so proud of yourself. 

You are so busy, it's hard to get a picture of you that isn't blurry!
You too are a great eater, but you especially love fruit.
You like the push behind toys and will push LJ around the whole house.  You also love music.
Words you are saying:  Daddy, momma, yes, and mo (more)

You both are obsessed with the washer and dryer...the minute y'all hear them turn on, you both race into the laundry room and laugh and clap for them...
We love and cherish you both!



"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11


LJ is loving that MC is walking so well...the funny thing about this is AC used to to rely on B to push her around on a similiar toy at this age

Hey, Mommy!
These girls are so precious...love them to no end!


With as fast as these kiddos are growing and changing, it's nice to see that some things remain the same.....
AC's favorite past time at 5

remains a favorite at 7.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


11 years ago today T and I were busy with wedding rehearsal events and getting ready for our wedding the following day. 

I knew T was "my one" within 15 minutes of our first date and I can remember telling my roommate "I've met my husband,"  when I got home that night.

I love that God gave us 4 years to figure out how to be a couple before we were parents...He certainly knew we needed it.  They were sweet, sweet years and we learned so much and grew up alot.
I can remember our first disagreement as a married couple...it was over the proper storage of ketchup once it was opened....in the pantry or the fridge...a quick call to my parents confirmed what I already knew...the fridge, of course.
We really learned to look toward each other in those years.  I learned the solution to a disagreement wasn't, "I'm going home," but that my home was now with T.

When God gave us the gift of a baby, we were both excited and terrified.  When that pregnancy resulted in an ectopic pregnancy, which resulted in me coming very close to death because my tube ruptured and I had internal bleeding for days, we faced the first of many obstacles.

After having AC and B

Our first days as parents weren't easy... both babies in the NICU + 2 unexperienced parents= lots of tears and a hormonal momma screaming at a nurse who dared to give her baby a bottle when she was trying to breastfeed.  Luckily, T loves me despite my quirks and had learned how to deal with them.

AC and B's 4th bithday party
The past 11 years have been filled with so many blessings, including struggles that I now consider blessings because we had to trust and depend on each other to get through them.

playing dress up

AC's Fancy Nancy 5th birthday party...T and B were the butlers

Us with the baby girls
I remember a friend asking me how the married life was about a year after our wedding and saying, "It's the best thing ever.  I didn't know it would be so fun."
After 11 years, I love that I still feel that way.


A Heart for Giving

So, last week I posted about Katie and I am still blown away.  I read through parts with AC and B because I wanted them to see how someone so young can make a huge impact when they are willing to follow God's plan.  I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that at times, so I'm sure their 7 year old brains do too.

T and I have been brainstorming about additional ways to teach our children the importance of giving.  This came up again over the weekend while we were at the mall.  AC and B asked for every little thing they saw.  They were fine when we said no, but I was shocked by how much they wanted.  After a stern talk, that included reminders of the children they had seen in Uganda who just want a meal that day, we continued shopping.

While walking through a department store, we made a little detour to the handbag department so I could visit with a bag I have obsessed over for months. As I was picturing myself with this love of a bag, I saw AC and B watching me.  Talk about a moment of clarity.  It appears I too need a stern talk.  The cost of that bag could likely sustain one of those children for a year.  And while I would probably never run out and buy it for myself, no wonder my crew is asking for everything....their mother is visiting a handbag.

Which brings me to this, what do you do to teach your children to have giving hearts?  We are thinking of having plain rice for dinner once a week and using that money to sponsor a child...or something along those lines, so they (we) can really feel the sacrafice to give.  Other ways we give don't usually mean that our children have to give something up.  So let me hear from you, I want (and obviously need) some ideas!



today consisted of:
1. Waking up to a non-working dipose-all that backed up while the dishwaher ran during the night,
2.  A very fussy MC who is getting 6 teeth at one time, resulting in a diaper rash like I've never seen.
3.  2 very tired 7 year olds who are feeling the time change.

On a positive note:
1.  The plumber was super perplexed by the fact that a very teensy-tiny stuffed bunny manged to find it's way into our dispose-all...m ?Never blinked an eye.  We aim to please at on the job surprises.
2.  MC has found her power with walking..she is a lady on the move and loves to raid big sister's closet for handbags and sparkly shoes... she props that purse on her shoulder and attempts to put the shoes on and watch out!
3.  Early bed times...Amen and good night!


That moment every parent fears...

Today we took a field trip with AC and B's class to Stone Mountain for the Pow-Wow Festival.  It was a lot of fun, and the kids really enjoyed it. 

A few minutes after buying that bow and arrow, I was so thankful I did.
It was really, really crowded which made keeping up with everyone difficult.  While walking through a huge crowd of people, B got seperated from us and turned around.  I couldn't find him.  I looked one way, another mom went another way, and another mom looked another way. 
He was no where. 
I was really starting to panic, which AC picked up on and got really upset.
I found someone who worked there and told them the situation.  He got on the radio and asked me what B was wearing.  As I told him a navy fleece and blue pants, I was looking around at other kids and saw a sea of navy blue.  Then I told the man he was also carrying a bow and arrow.
He led me over to the main office and another woman came out and said they were searching the park.
After what seemed like a hour,but was actually more like 5 to 10 minutes, she said they had a boy who had approached another worker saying he was lost and needed help finding his mom.
We walked in the office and there he was!
I have never been so happy to see someone and burst into tears.  He was perfectly calm and said he knew I would find him. 
Honestly, those 5 to 10 minutes had me shaken for the rest of the day, but I am so proud of him for knowing to approach "an adult in charge", but I'm still recovering from that awful feeling.


Just in time

While having lunch with a friend yesterday, she told me about the book, Kisses From Katie.  While looking around her blog I was absolutely brought to tears by the works she is doing and by the self-less way she lives life.
I also read something on her blog that had me looking up and thanking God for leading me to the words...I sure did need them and he knew that.

"My dear children, I am with you. I watch closely as you struggle for holiness. Often, you are uncertain of your spiritual condition. You strive to serve but feel conflicted by the times in which you are serving. There are some things that all humanity deals with regardless of where in history they are placed. First, there will always be a difference between the world’s path and heaven’s path. These two paths, while they can run along side each other for increments, will always separate. Ultimately, each man will have to choose. Every man, to a greater or lesser degree, will have to contend with choosing first good over evil and then he will have to make another choice and that is the choice of choosing My plan for his life over his own plan for his life. After that, the choices become even more studied in that the man must choose My plan in each day, in each task and even in each moment. You may say, dear apostle, that this is a difficult call for a man, to study his actions in each day. You may say, this is asking a lot. You are right. I, Jesus, am asking a lot of you. I ask for your full commitment and I do so without apology. Dearest apostles, if you give me your full commitment, there is no limit to what I can do. Look at your life. You have said yes to me on many days. Examine what I have done with your yes answers. Consider what I am building with the commitments of so many children of God who are willing to be directed by the Saviour, their King. I am building a structure of love. I am building a structure through which many are returning. Truly, your hearts, open and filled with My love, call out to others. You provide for Me a welcome to those who feel separated. If they can be taken into your heart for even a brief moment and experience Me, with My love, then they will have the courage to both approach Me directly and to accept Me directly. Please, do not count the sacrifices when you consider your service. Do not count the loss of worldly respect. Count only the souls who are comforted and consoled. Count the repentance and healing of so many who have been restored to unity with heaven. Count the humility that I have bestowed on you, dear apostle, since you began to learn about true holiness. I am your King. I can give you anything. I choose to give you peace and holiness. I choose to make of you a resolute servant. Accept My will in your life and you will then be able to accept all of the graces heaven has stored up for you. "

Message from Anne, lay apostle