Monday, July 30, 2012

Rolling On The River

We took a little tubing trip down the Spring River with our friends last weekend. We were so appreciative to have Nana and Papa (Randall's parents) keep Henry for the weekend. The other couples also had their children with grandparents. It is nice to have a break now and again and I know the grandparents love having the little people.

Emily and James sporting their redneck attire for the day. Emily is the definition of girlie girl. She cracked me up wearing a Nascar t-shirt she had fringed and James was sporting a cutoff pearl snap button up with purple swim trunks. Within 5 minutes of being in Hardy, Emily had gotten 2 compliments on her shirt. I am still laughing about it. She was so proud.

Sarah and David all cute and preppy, even on the Spring River. They even matched each other.

These boys deserve a medal for putting up with us crazy girls. They are all 3 so accepting of the stunts we pull and they agree to do  most anything we cook up. They are seriously all really great guys who work hard, love their families and Jesus. They are pretty cute too...especially the one on the left in the yellow swim trunks.

Emily and Sarah were great friends in college and they now live on the same street. Emily goes to my church and Sarah uses the same daycare as me. I live a stones throw from their street and our children love to play together. It is a great mix.

Emily sporting her fringe and life vest. She was ready to go!

If you have ever taken a tubing, canoe or rafting trip you know the joy of riding in the van or bus the rental companies use to take you to the water. This van may have been the worst one ever. I was snorting I was laughing so hard getting into it. Emily rode shotgun with our driver. His name was John and he was truly a native to area. We will have stories to tell about him forever. He and Emily became fast friends when she dropped her sunglasses out of the window and she made him stop the van so she could go back and get them. All while wearing this life vest, of course. I think he really liked us, but he wouldn't admit it. Randall and James rode on another van and left David with us. David was real thrilled, as you can imagine.

Finally! We waited 2 hours to get to the river. It was a bit insane, but we were in the thick of redneck Arkansas so we were at the mercy of the natives to organize us and transport us.We connected all of our tubes together with bungee cords. It was like a floating island.

We had water cameras with us. This is one of the only good shots on the river. Water cameras are not that great, just so you know, in case you were wondering. Look above and see the blur of Abby. It was great fun, water camera or not.  Emily got her tube hung on a rock while on a rapid and she was the middle tube in our connection so we made her let go of her tube. She said all she remembers is me looking at her in the face and saying sternly, "LET GO!" and then we all floated off and left her. Every river trip has to have a story like this one though. It was so funny even with the blood, and now the bruises she has from it.

On the way home we stopped in downtown Hardy to show them Randall's photo in the window of Video Real Estate because they didn't believe us. We have no clue why his photo is in that window, but it is. If you are ever in Hardy, you  must stop and look. We know no one in Hardy and nothing about that real estate company. It is a hunting photo from a few years ago. 

Randall and I are soaking up this summer. We have done so much and had so much fun. I hope it is not over too soon, even though I would love some fall temps and some closed toe shoes soon!  Life is so much sweeter when you embrace the season you are in and make the best of it.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Glimpse Into Our Week

 I decided to sneak up on Henry at school during water play last Friday morning, while on my way to the doctor, just a few blocks from his school. He loves Friday mornings at school during the summer because of water play and his Monkeynastix class we enrolled him in.

 So much for sneaking...he saw me and this is what I caused. Poor thing. I had also locked my keys, purse and phone in my truck and had to walk to the doctor with my camera and daycare security key in my hand. I was really winning as a mother, I tell ya! Our little daddy brought me keys and all was right with the world...except Henry saw his daddy drop the keys off at daycare and cried like a fat child. Poor Henry.

Baths are a favorite at our house. Henry likes them because it means fun times, and we like them because it means Henry won't be stinky or sticky anymore. This little buddy gets SO dirty! It is unreal. He is all boy.
 We are learning to potty this summer. I am not stressing myself about it and just letting it happen when it happens. He sits on the potty at school throughout the day and we have him sit on it at home once each night. He still wears pull ups and he is not aware of when he needs to go. His pull ups are still wet most times. He is learning though.
Our friend James watched him for me last night while his wife and I ran in the park. They have a 5 yr old son. I got back from the park and James had taken Henry to the potty. I had not even asked him to do it. James rocks. Randall is also really good about taking him to the potty. Daddy's really do deserve a sticker for rocking out the potty business. Henry earns a sticker every time he goes. He loves a sticker!
While at Nana's over the weekend he used the potty and earned return address labels because Nana was unaware of the sticker reward system. I failed to tell her. Henry thought the labels said "Henry used the potty!". Nana thought quick on that one! He even left James' house with a sticker. He was so excited

 When our sweet, hard-working daddy is gone out of town this precious little munchkin finds his way to "Mama's big bed" in the night and because this little mama is usually spent from flying solo, I let him stay. I took this last night of him asleep on my pillow. I still melt for this precious face. I swore my child would never sleep in my bed. I now eat my words and don't mind the taste of it one bit.

 We had our buddy Barrett come over the other night with his mama, Meagan. Our boys are 1 week apart in age and are in the same class at church. They are going to be good friends and it makes me so glad.

Barrett is also an only child, and like Henry, he is has his picture taken 51,210 times a day. Both of them were sitting on top of the slide saying "cheese" out of habit with little expression as soon as they saw me pick up the camera. It was funny and sad at the same time. Those poor boys are both so rotten.                 


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Sillies


Henry and I are riding solo this week. Randall is in Indiana. When Henry asked me where his daddy was I  said "Indiana". Henry then looked at me with wonder and said "Daddy in den with Nana?!" I laughed outloud when I realized what "Indiana" sounded like to him. Oh, to be 2!

We decided to make some summer cupcakes for our supper playdate with Barrett tonight and to have some to take to our friends Quinn, Eli and Lily this week. Henry had fun sitting up on the counter and eating Lifesavers gummies while I did all the work.


 Henry only stuck his finger in one of the cupcakes. I covered it up with icing and it was as good as new. The graham crackers are the beach and the blue icing is the water. I wanted the Teddy Grahams to go in the Lifesavers so it looked like they were in the tube, but the hole was too small and I was not in any mood to cut them apart and put them back together or stretch them to make them work. I had a 2 year old on the counter eating all the decorations. I had to move fast! So, we now have a beach scene with our Teddy Grahams swimming toward the tube. It works! Henry loves them and that is all that matters.

Since this is a summer topic, look at my watermelon toes and remember that jealousy is a sin! HA. My friend Emily painted them for me 10 days ago and they still look good. She is a peach for grabbing my dirty, flip flop feet after a long day and painting away. Henry thinks I hurt myself and I have strawberry band-aids on all my toes. I go along with it.

Slow, silly summertime. I love it!
Abby

Monday, July 23, 2012

Two years later


Two years ago Daniel fell off of the top of a chair, hit the dining room table and did this to his arm.

It was the culmination to a week of doctor visits, Daniel had mono, Anna had double ear infections in both ears, and dentist visits. Stephen had been out of town to spend time with his family and officiate the funeral for a dear family friend of theirs. It had been that kind of week.

Daniel had to have surgery to fix his arm but no pins or rods had to be put in. We went to Baptist Hospital in Little Rock and I was so impressed with the care Daniel received. We were in and out of the hospital in four hours

This was Daniel as we left the hospital. He was such a trooper with his cast on. It was a hot summer, we went to camp and swam and he never complained. I know it was itchy and hot and sweaty but never did he say an unkind word or whine about how awful his situation was.

I was so proud of him then, and I'm so proud of his now. 

Julie

Saturday, July 21, 2012

All Boy

CK showing Henry how to jump on his bed. BAD CK! He now gets spanked for it. Poor Henry.
 
"Snips, snails and puppy dog tails. That is what little boys are made of." My Henry is ALL boy. He is a real live definition of little boy. It makes me so proud. I love how his knees are always scrapped, and he often has dirt under his toenails. I love that sweaty headed boy and all his dirty, loud discoveries. He is active, healthy and developing just as God intended.

Henry looks more excited than Piper about being a princess. She knows it is hard work!
I also adore that he enjoys putting on the princess dresses and playing dress up at school. He loves playing with his little girl friends and experiencing all the things that make them squeal. He is exploring and learning about the world and how it works. It doesn't alarm me or make me worry. It makes me smile. Let them be little and learn. I bet he will be a stylish, helpful little husband to one of these little girls one day. He will also know how to serve up some good food. He loves to serve imaginary food...especially guacamole. I just love to hear him say "you want guacamole?" as he puts an imaginary chip to my mouth. What a treasure it is watching him grow and learn all about life.

Abby

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Police and me

We've been blessed this week to have a mission team from Hattiesburg, Ms with us. They led block parties and backyard Bible clubs for us twice a day Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. They were a great group of people and did a great job of getting the word out about Delta Church, but more importantly they shared the love of the Lord with complete strangers.

Yesterday we had a catfish dinner for them. My job was to get coleslaw and ice. So into Brookshires I go. While shopping I called my dad and returned a call to Stephen. I finished my phone call with Stephen in the checkout line, while I got my money out I placed my phone under the credit card machine. I paid, picked up the ice and headed to the van. I noticed that I didn't have my phone, so I put the groceries in the van and headed back in the store. My phone was gone. Gone!

I left and delivered the coleslaw and ice and went back to the store to find my phone. The girl at the customer service counter was so helpful, she pulled up the video and we watched as the woman in line behind me took my phone, put it in her purse and left.

I couldn't believe it. I just wanted to watch the video to see what I had done with my phone, I didn't want someone to take it!

In the last three weeks we've seen and talked with the police three times.. Three times. Stephen's wreck, I got pulled over for running a red light (thankfully it was the same policeman that handled Stephen's wreck and let me go because we had had a "run of bad luck" and  then at Brookshires to file a police report.

Let me say that if I don't see another policeman up close for three years it will still be too soon!!!

So, what have you been up to?

Julie

Super Henry

 Marmie came to visit us over the past weekend. Henry was so excited to see her and show her all his tricks. I think Marmie was just as excited. We took him to Hobby Lobby to get the things to make a super Henry cape...and stickers! The boy loves a sticker. 

 Marmie got out my machine and went to work on our little buddy's cape. She made Samuel one when he was little. I remembered it and wanted one for Henry. He loves Super Grover so I thought he would love a super Henry cape. He loves pretending to be super Henry!

 I made the H on wearable vinyl with the Cricut. It was a Sesame Street font and so cute. 

 Here is Super Henry!
He may be the cutest super baby boy EVER! Thank you Marmie!

Abby

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

You Can Kid The World, But Not Your Sister


Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!
I love my sister. I guess you already knew that though. I love how she is always there for me when a good  melt down is in full swing. I have them a lot, believe it or not (so does Henry. He loves his Juju). I don't care if she is in a room full of people, teaching school or preparing dinner for her family...she stops and makes it all better. Man, I love her! Her kind tone, truthful words and love are a soothing balm to my breaking or heavy heart. When I hurt she hurts. I have made her shed many tears for me in my short adult life. I hate it, but I love it at the same time. I love that she loves me that much. She has sometimes cried for my pains more than me. I know this is so cliche, but her love is a fierce love. She fights for those she loves. I love that about her.

Proverbs 17:17
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

I always hope she feels the same about me. I think she does. I am on the receiving end of it this week as she is looking for a home, a vehicle and growing her new church with other church groups coming into town to aid them in that task. I feel honored to have her trust and her need for my compassion and words of wisdom. I still feel like the little girl in pigtails outside of Peepaw's church in Garland, TN but I know to Julie I am her sounding board for life's big, stressful, and sometimes crappy decisions. When she cries, I also cry. I cried today.

Pray for my precious big sister. She knows she is following God's leading without a doubt. She knows she is where she is suppose to be. She also knows that He never promises it will be easy. She also knows people will question her and sometimes unknowingly pass judgement. Those days are hard. Pray for her to be able to guard her heart and mind against all the junk and for her to focus on the tremendous task God has set before her sweet family.

Abby

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mill City Memories

We live in the delta and have  great respect for the Mighty Mississippi and all it stands for in our area of the world. Minneapolis has more bridges across the Mississippi River than any other community, including suspension, stone arch, steel truss, and concrete-arch bridges. It's also the site of the first bridge across the Mississippi. Henry is sitting at the site of that first bridge. 

Henry and Randall are standing in front of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. 

The large bridge behind us is the one that was built to replace the bridge that collapsed in August 2007 during rush hour. I remember that day and the sights on the evening news. So sad and so scary. 9 people died.

We had such a fun time exploring the mill city area of Minneapolis.

We decided to get even more involved in the culture of Minneapolis and head to a Twins game. This was Randall and Henry's first major league baseball game. As a teenager I went to see the Cubs, Rangers and Royals. The Twins were actually playing the Royals on this night.

We had a blast on our trip and made memories that will last us a lifetime. I realize Henry will not remember much of it, but we want him to get used to traveling and exploring new places. He loves to remember his visit to "mini apples" through the photos on his Daddy's phone. We had a fun-filled 8 days in Minnesota but we were so glad to get back below the Mason-Dixon. We knew we were home as we walked through the terminal in Memphis and someone said "excuse me" as they brushed by us instead of just running all 3 of us over. Randall said "ah, we're home!" There is truly no place like home.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Long Story...


One night this past week my friend Emily and I decided to join our friend Sarah for a run in the park instead of running in the neighborhood. We don't usually run with Sarah. She is fast. We are not. It was an instant decision, no planning, just hopped in the car and headed there instead of stepping out out in the neighborhood, as we usually do.
The state park is right across from my house and has a nice trail around a large pond. There is one way in and one way out. It is a forest of trees and has a lot of access roads to the pond with picnic areas and a few playgrounds tucked away throughout the park. It is a great park but not really a place a woman wants to go run or walk alone, though I have been guilty of it. Sarah ran off from us right as we started while carrying her mace. Emily and I just always trust our loud mouths and the power of 2 will scare off any attackers. I must say this park is safe and I have never heard of anyone being attacked, abducted or killed. It is just a woman thing to worry and be on alert.
As Emily and I finished our run and headed back to her truck we heard a knock on her drivers side door. It was an older middle-aged woman who was red in the face and drenched in sweat. She had on jeans and a striped shirt, she had her phone and car keys in her hand and was out of breath. Emily rolled down her window and the woman said "I am so sorry to bother you, I am not crazy and I am not going to hurt you. I have been lost for 2 hours and I cannot find my car." Emily is a nurse and noticed that the woman was surely dehydrated and therefore she was becoming disoriented.
We asked her to get in the backseat and get some air and drink some water. She was so modest and embarrassed, but she did it. She was so helpless and I almost cried. I thought about it being my mother, mother in love, aunt, etc. She was from Portland and was in town visiting her mother in an area nursing home to celebrate her 90th birthday. The woman grew up in Jonesboro but she said she hasn't been back in years and it looks nothing like it used to. She was very disoriented.
Knowing the park has one way in and one way out, she told us she came in a back entrance. Emily and I looked at each other (we have the same personality. It is scary at times) and knew we had an issue on our hands. The lady kept apologizing and told us how bad she felt about bothering us. She told us she kept trying to ask people for help but she was scared because she didn't want anyone to think she was crazy and she didn't want to ask a man. She said she spotted us and knew we would help her.
We proceeded to take her to the old entrance to the park. My neighbor had once told us that the park used to have an entrance in the back in the 1960's and 1970's. I thought maybe she tried to come in back there and just parked on the road since it is not an entrance anymore. As we approached the old entrance we realized her car was not there. She was mortified and about to cry. She had no idea where she was or where her car was. The park is huge but only has about 7 access roads, so we knew we would find it, but it was getting dark. The lady was getting nervous.
She told us she was in a rental car and had driven it from Little Rock that afternoon after flying in from Portland. She was tired. She thought maybe a little walk in the old park would be a nice way to end her day. She said she didn't remember the park being this massive when she was growing up. It overwhelmed her and she was lost very quickly, she said.
We told her we were going to go back in the main entrance to the park and find her car and not to be scared. As we approached the main entrance...which is the one we had just exited with her...one way in and one way out of the park...she says "This is it! This is the way I came in." Again, Emily and I look at each other. As we approached the main parking lot, which is where we were parked in the beginning of this encounter, she says "THAT IS IT! That is my rental car!!". This sweet, tired, sweaty, distraught, confused woman was parked right next to Emily's car when all this started!!! The woman had no idea we were right back to where we started. It was unreal. She was so lost, even when she was found!
Emily and I did not say a word because we did not want to make her feel any worse than she already did. It was so sad. She had tears in her eyes and told us we were angels from heaven. She said that we will never know how we blessed her. She was so scared because it was getting dark and she had no clue where she was. She quickly got in her rental car and we drove away.
Emily and I are never known to be speechless, but we drove back across the street to my house in awe. No words could explain what we had encountered. I went in the house and bathed Henry, went about my laundry routine, visited with Randall and got in bed to read my Journey. Emily and I read Journey daily devotionals for women. We get them for free at our church. We hold each other accountable to it. As I read the verse for the day. I got chills and texted her. She texted me back with the same response.

"And the king will answer them, 'I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me'" Matthew 25:40

We have never run in the park together and had no intention of going there. Sarah roped us in to going and she even drove her own car. We had no reason to be there. God put us there for that woman. He knew she was searching and scared and we were 2 blocks away. He used Sarah to prompt us to go. He put us there to walk into her. Emily said it was a test. I agree. I had already worked out 2 times that day and a 3rd workout on a trail was not on my tired and achy agenda. God knew we needed to be a blessing and to be blessed. I hope he finds me worthy to use me like that again. It was such a joy! I do hope that sweet woman made it to her destination and that her mother had a wonderful birthday celebration.



Abby


Friday, July 13, 2012

A Few Days with Padre

 Well, it looks as if I've loaded the pictures I wanted to share with you backwards so I guess I'll tell about our last few days backwards! The kids and I went to my dad's house for a couple of days this week. We don't see each other very often, so we headed over for a quick visit. On our way back we stopped by Mack's in Stuttgart. It's world renown, but we bought nothing. Prior to stopping there we made our second stop at Craig's BBQ in DeValls Bluff. OMWord! That is one good bbq sandwich.
 We had big plans for Thursday that just might have included fishing and a certain coach's pond. But, God saw fit to answer the prayers of many southern farmers and it rained. And rained. So we headed to the mall. We shopped and shopped and bought nothing. Not. A. Thing. Until we came upon this little bouncy business. I think it's called the Jumping Spider. All the kids did it, but this picture of Samuel is my favorite. His hair makes me laugh. It used to do that when he would run when he was little, I love this child. Dad and Connie had fun watching. Connie took the day off to spend with us, we enjoyed it so much.
Wednesday night we had dinner at Aunt Barbara and Uncle Joe's. Hollye, Matthew and Claire came over and we had such a fun time. The kids all played out in the backyard, the same yard where Hollye, Abby, and I used to play. Oh, the memories! Uncle Joe grilled some of the biggest burgers I've ever seen and we stuffed ourselves. We talked about Abby, Grandmother, and expired foods. We might have even eaten some expired food, I'll never tell! HA!
I wish I had taken a pic of the adults. Hollye's hair looked so pretty, it was picture worthy. Next time maybe. If Abby is with us, definitely!!
So, what have you done this week?
Julie

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Minnesota Fun


We left the Grand View Lodge in Nisswa and headed to the Twin Cities. We stopped in Rogers to shop the outlet malls for a bit and found some of Henry's best buddies in a fire truck.


While heading toward Maple Grove for an overnight stay there, our GPS took us on a back road that brought us by Henry's Woods. We were so mad at the GPS until this discovery! It was so fun. We stayed in Maple Grove. We ate and shopped at some great places. Henry loved staying at the Holiday Inn there because they had an indoor waterpark. It was a winner.

.

We made our journey into Minneapolis the next morning. I love how Peanuts is all over this city. The airport, downtown, the mall, etc.

Randall and I love to take photos with random things while traveling. This was one of many we took on this trip. I could do a whole post of  random photos, but I will refrain from it!
We lived it up at the Mall of America and Ikea. We spent 2 days at the Mall of America and we visited Ikea twice. These two places were my reason for taking the trip this year. It was worth it! It was truly an experience for all three of us. Randall had been to the mall before while on a work trip, but just saw a small portion of it and neither of us had been to "Ikeda, as Henry calls it. We ate breakfast and lunch at Ikea one day...we stayed that long!

We ate at Bubba Gump's one night in the mall and bought Henry a t-shirt that says "My mama says I'm special" and he has worn it twice now. I will be sorry when I am old....I know, I know. Maybe he won't be too mean to me. ha!

Nickelodeon Universe was our spot for 2 days. It is the largest indoor amusement park and it is in the center of the mall. Henry adored this truck ride the most. We lost count of how many times he rode it. He looked like a natural!

The cars were a big hit also. Randall and I took turns riding with him on each ride because of his size. Henry loved every second of every ride.

Henry and I rode the big Dora Ferris Wheel. My feet were sweating in my Reef's! I was so nervous when the ride stopped on top of the wheel and my 2 year old was rocking that bucket and we had no restraints on us. My BP must have been stroke level. Whew...we only rode that once!


Diego's flying bus was a fav. Randall was a trooper riding that thing 562 times with a smile!

I loved those balloons. Henry didn't just love them so much, but we enjoyed them!

The log ride. Oh.My.Word. The log ride! We took turns taking Henry down this full blown, 4 minute log ride. It was so much fun.

This photo of my boys makes me laugh. They look scared, but honestly, I am the one that screamed bloody murder and neither of them made any noise. Henry loved it!

We wore this little buddy out! We slept until almost 9 every morning and stayed up until really late. It was so much fun.

We have one last day of fun in downtown "Mini Apples" to share. I will post it this week.

Abby