Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Friends on Ice

I got to spend the weekend in Fort Smith so this beauty and I could go see Michael W. Smith together at our church ( well it's her church  but I still claim it even though I'm now a proud member of one on the opposite side of the state). It was so fun to go down memory lane with his songs and remembering the concert we saw him in 19 years ago on a school night in Tulsa (that was big time!). So here he was in concert in the church where we grew up, found Jesus and both married our husbands.  It was sentimental and just plain cool. 

When he sang Friends to close the concert there were tears and we hugged. It was the cheesiest, most special BFF moment in that church balcony, ever. I loved seeing old friends after it was over and learning we weren't crying and hugging alone...others were doing the same while he sang it. Ha! Melissa and I are those friends he sings about. He actually sings another song about friends that we akways liked more "Pray for Me" and it used to make us a blubbery mess while in college and moving away and such. I still cry if I listen to it. I love Smitty's voice. He and Amy Grant are my favorite and I want to sing in their choir in heaven! It was just so cool to hear him sing our songs together right there in "our" church!  

While I was in the Fort, God decided we needed a little ice storm to slow us down and keep us there. We packed for it, just in case, so Henry was glad to gear up with his sled on what was left of the Ice that afternoon. Playing with Melissa's precious  boys made it the most fun. Memories were made that day to last a lifetime. My best snow day memories include her....and there may be a few of my brother in law (before he held that title) breaking my sled! I have forgiven but not forgotten, 30 years later! Ha!! 

And this was good stuff. Seeing Mama and giving her extra time to love on Henry. Henry told Marmie he loved her to pieces and pieces. She played baseball with him, sang all her preschool songs to him, read her cool books to him, gave him fun baths and brought out the tub of all his cars and army men. He was in hog heaven! She was too. 

Then I had a fun drive home (not). It actually was not near as rough as we all anticipated. I was prepared for the worst.  My friend Linda (along with many others) was praying me home and when I sent her this picture, she said it looked like God cleared a path for me. I loved that observation and realized He truly had! I never drove anywhere that did not have a clear path to follow. Henry was an angel in the backseat and we made close to normal time, thankfully.  I had a friend and her husband ready on standby to come rescue me with a truck and chains if need be. That's a true friend, right there! My sweet husband was on pins in needles while out of the state in meetings and very proud of my successful journey home. I mean I got major emojis in a text from was serious excitement, people! 

This was my street when I drove into town. It's finally starting to thaw out but still no school again tomorrow, but it's going to be 7 degrees when we wake up, so it's fine by me! Henry and I have had a great week of bonding, but I'll be ready to relinquish him back to his Daddy tomorrow night and for us to thaw out!

Abby Jo

P.s. Here is a link to the song I referenced ;) 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Birthday Blessings

 There are several of our loves celebrating birthdays this week and in the coming weeks.  I thought we would give a shout out to them. We are blessed to have another year with you!

 Our Aunt Suzy is first up on the calendar. She is our grandmother's sister and a wonderful aunt, advocate, teacher and friend to all of us who are blessed to be in her clan. We had the pleasure of celebrating with her last year on her birthday. This picture is from that fun surprise party at the Clinton Library. We love you, Auntie!

It is the birthday season for aunts. Our mother's sister is celebrating a milestone year soon. Woo Hoo. We love TBEO, our Aunt Janet. She is always smiling and has such a positive spirit to share with everyone who comes in her path. What a blessing it is to call The Blue Eyed One our Aunt. Aunt J, I wish I could make you our special strawberry cake to celebrate :)

And who can forget an uncle as dear as this one. We love our Uncle Joe ("UJ"). He is married to our dad's sister, our Aunt Babs' better half.  I cannot imagine life without our animal cracker eating, Boots the dog loving, numbers crunching, wood working, unconditional loving uncle.  He is a rock for our crew and loves us girls like his very own.

What a blessing it was to see this perfectly precious girl born to our cousin Sarah. Grace Elizabeth is TBEO's first grandbaby too! She will celebrate 11 years soon and I know her talented mother has some creative and genius birthday idea on tap. She and Anna are great buddies and bring so much sweet and spice to the snips, snails and puppy dog tails in our group. We hope you have a "funtastic" year, Gracie!

 And I cannot forget this sweet and chubby tenderhearted baby...who is not a chubby baby anymore! Melissa's middle one, Grant is going to be 8. What a blessing to get to love her babies and watch them grow up to be such sweet and strong boys. Grant is one of Henry's most favorite people. He has the sweetest spirit...just like his mama!

If you are one of our loves and I happened to miss you in this post and you have a birthday in the coming weeks, it was not intentional. Shoot me a message and I'll find a picture of us and I'll add you to this celebration!!

Happy Birthday!!!
Abby (and Julie too!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

"Have We Got A Party For You"....Henry turns 5.

I love that God blessed us with this special guy 5 years ago. We celebrated him in December, but I am still in catch up mode. We have had some fun parties  and birthday fun with Henry Patton.

  This is what 5 looks like...welcome to 5, Henry! 

When you turn 5 you need big boy he got his first Under Armour hoodie so he can look like the big kids at Valley View. Bless it.

 And when you turn 5 you get your first big boy Bible. This is the coolest Bible too. It is leather and the illustrations are the movies we is Bible perfection for Henry.

Blowing out his candle before school in his cool, 5 year old way. I love celebrating this guy.

 All ready and excited to take Smurf cupcakes to pre-k in his new hoodie as a 5 year old. It was a pretty rocking morning in Henry's world.

 He wanted a VeggieTales party at Pump it Up. So, I had the cutest cake made. He helped pick it out and design in. It tasted like wedding cake. It was an amazing cake, inside and out. It better have been....because it was not cheap.  I loved the bakery because it is all nut and allergy free so our friends with peanut allergies got to eat cake at our party this year. It was worth it just to see those excited little guys learn they could have cake!

 All ready to greet his friends at his party.

In true Abby fashion, I brought my own partyware for the place to use in lieu of theirs. Those girls there helped me make it just perfect. I had to order the balloons online and have them blown up in town. Henry loved them though and they stayed blown up until after Christmas!

The cutest crew in town, right here. We loved having church, school and neighborhood friends all join us to celebrate Henry. He sure is a blessed and loved little guy.

Blowing out his birthday candles and ready to eat cake and open presents!

 Silly and tired children about to head home. We had his party on a Tuesday night, a school night. It was the perfect time and we had a good turn out because it was a week night and supper time. was on his actually birthday too!

I am so grateful for this healthy, happy, smart, witty, loving boy of ours. We are excited about another year with him. We had such a fun time celebrating him, Veggie style.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Here Comes Santa Claus!

Christmas Eve/Christmas morning at our house means Jesus, Santa and Nana & Papa! Henry is always excited to see them drive up before dark on Christmas Eve.

 We love our little Christmas Eve pajama and ornament tradition. I actually made our pants this time and that was a fun experience. Randall and Henry gave me a camera ornament and I gave Randall an elephant in a box singing "I want you to want me" and Henry got the best ornament in the history of ornaments...a Santa semi truck singing "Christmas Convoy". I love this little tradition we have. I know they moan about it sometimes, but one day they will look back on this and appreciate me, surely!

Every year I take this photo and put it on the tree. This will be our 6th Christmas of this...and I cherish all 6 of these pictures so much.

One of the best parts of our Christmas season is our Jesse Tree. This was Henry putting the last ornament on it before bed on Christmas Eve. We put colored lights on our Jesse Tree this year to be different and I loved it. I like to use the lights like the colors in the salvation bracelet and make it have meaning. I love Henry's mouth, concentrating on his ornament.

Henry put his milk and cookies out for Santa and he was so proud. he brought his cookies from Marmie's house. She let him pick out what any cookies he wanted for Santa. Our Aunt Babs gave him this little Santa set when he was a baby. We love using it. Santa really enjoyed the Paul's Bakery cookies from Van Buren from Marmie.

Henry got everything he asked for from Santa. It was a job keeping up with his changing list, but Santa always pulls through. He was one excited little guy to see it all. 

This is what Henry walked into on Christmas morning. It was so fun to get it all together for him.

This is it...this is the shot that makes all that effort worth it. Christmas morning fun. 

 Making sure it is all in his stocking as he requested. He was very specific and Santa granted his wishes.
 Just too excited. He had to sit a spell and see how that chair felt. I don't think he has sat it since then, but that's a subject for a different post. This chair....oh, this chair.

 Testing out his new Hot Wheels bike from Nana & Papa was big time fun in the house. Notice those two in the background. Henry and those two are a trio, that is for sure.

Playing in his tent with the felt fire I had his Nana make for him. That was a funny gift and I love that she will do most anything I request of her, even though she knows it may be ridiculous! 

This is the best gift. We have had so much fun having snowball fights. They feel like real snowballs but they are made out of cotton and felt. Henry spotted them in a store and put them on his list. I am glad he did!

We had a great 2014 Christmas and hope you did too.

Abby Jo


                                   This is how we started 2015. It is SURE to be a good year!!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

All Aboard the Polar Express

We took Henry to Branson for a little Christmas fun the week before Thanksgiving. He loves Dolly Parton and the books he got from her in the mail each month for the first five years of his life. It was like a farewell event for us to go to the Dixie Stampede as the last book arrived for his 5th birthday the following week. We loved Imagination Library. It was a treat each month and I honestly think it has helped cultivate his love for books.

The main reason we took him to Branson was to ride the Polar Express. He knew nothing about it. We surprised him with these pajamas and told him to put them on. He was very confused because we had not even eaten supper yet and we were in the truck in the mall parking lot. We told him to look out the window at the train on the tracks. We told him then. In true Henry fashion, he got a bit anxious, but he was speechless and in awe for a few minutes. He could not express his excitement because it was just too much!
 We boarded the train with all the other pajama wearing children and were thrilled to get out of the cold. It was a perfect setting for the Polar Express ride...cold, dark and festive decor everywhere.
We got into our train car and located our table. It was perfection. The movie soundtrack was playing and the waitress was going around reading the book to everyone. Henry yelled, "I have that book! I know it". He could not take it all in fast enough. The decor on the train car was precious and the scenes out the window were cute too.

The train conductor came to check for our tickets. We had them ready to be punched!

Here he is punching an H on Henry's ticket. He told him to hang on to it and not let the hobo get it. The hobo came into our train car twice trying to find loose tickets. That was a bit much, but cute too.

Henry was watching the elves at the North Pole and spotted Santa. It was big time excitement in that train car, as you can imagine.

And then Santa appeared in our train car! It was the most magical Christmas moment in the history of Henry's life...and possibly ours too. He was perfect the perfect Santa, in every way.

This picture is my favorite. Henry's excitement and awe. Santa was telling him he has really grown since last year. He was a lot taller and he knew he was acting good and minding his parents and teachers. He reminded him to keep being good and he would get his Case truck for Christmas. He then gave him a bell from his sleigh. I loved this Santa. That blue inside his suit is a nativity scene. As he left our train car, he looked back and told everyone to remember the reason for the season and opened the side of his suit jacket to show the nativity. It was beautiful.

I videoed it all but Blogger is so slow on uploading videos, I did not have the patience to sit here and let it load. Come see me sometime and I'll show you the videos :)

There was nothing more magical than this night. We had the best time and we were now all ready for Christmas. Henry also sat in Santa's lap at the Bass Pro Shop and for the first time in his 6 Christmas', did not cry and actually gave Santa his list. It was a big trip for Henry and we are so glad we had the opportunity to take him. It is a fun, magical age and there were very few tickets left for the week we went. This train was sold out all but 3 nights from then until Christmas. We were thrilled to get to go and make some precious memories that will last a lifetime.