Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas, Madagascar, and Pink Eye...

I never got around to sending out Christmas cards (for the second year in a row) but here were a few pictures that I took of them with good intentions several weeks ago!

I haven't had a chance to get the pictures from the last couple of days off of my camera. I have a few from Christmas morning at our house, but I'll have to post the rest later.

Christmas Eve night, we went to our church for a special service. One of the traditions at our church is for the children to wear their pajamas and go on the stage to sit and listen to a special story. Jaiden looked so forward to it and sat so still and listened so intently. Jeryn on the other hand, pretty much ran laps around the church in his pajamas. By the time we got back to the house, his toes had busted through the enclosed feet of the pjs. I think he outgrew that pair.
Here is Jaiden on Christmas morning, as my mom would say, "proud as punch!"

The one thing Jaiden really wanted was a "princess cook set." We also got Jeryn his own rocking horse because he loves Jaiden's.

On a side note, this was the Christmas that Jaiden learned there was no Santa Clause...It sounds so cruel I know, but Mario told her on Christmas Eve. To be frank, we have barely talked about Santa Clause to her anyway. My parents never made a huge deal of SC to me. In fact I don't remember even believing in him nor do I remember learning that he wasn't real. At any rate, we have always talked to her about the real meaning of Christmas and have never really said much about him. So something was said that night as we got into bed and Mario just said, "Well...he's not real..." I couldn't believe what he had just said, but I went with it. Jaiden showed no surprise or concern, she just said, "Oh, Okay." She was certainly not any less excited about opening gifts on Christmas morning. I don't think she cared where they came from, she was just excited about opening them! :)

I'm sure you think we're awful, but we just want her to be thankful and celebrate our Savior rather than a fake Santa. Every tells their kids at different times, but we just decided to do it now (well, Mario did anyway :) So I explained to her that it was a myth that if you were good, Santa would bring you gifts. I told her that there were lots of children in the world that were good, but would not get gifts for Christmas for one reason or another and that's why we needed to be thankful. She completely understood and we related it to the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes--how the recipients were good kids, but were much less fortunate and so by sending the boxes they would hear the good news about the only gift we ever really need--JESUS!
These were made about a week before Christmas. We were at Granny & Papa's and she found Papa's Santa suit in the storage room. She looked so cute in it!

Speaking of the shoeboxes, I got an e-mail on Christmas Eve that our boxes went to children in Madagascar!!!!! We were so excited and Jaiden couldn't believe it! She loves the Madagascar movies, and we recenlty had a customer appreciation night at the theatre and she got to come see Madagascar 2. So when we shared with her that the boxes we put together had gone there, she thought that was pretty neat!

We got back from Mom & Dad's this afternoon and I ended up taking Jaiden to the after hours clinic to have her eye seen about. She woke up this morning with her little eye all puffy and swollen and it has looked irritated all day. The doctor said she had pink eye and call in a prescription for her. We are doing eye drops four times a day, which was not something she just wanted to do! But with a little coaxing, she let me. Now I'm just praying that Jamie's family, mom&dad, and all of us don't get it!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and spent lots of time with your families!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Future World Champion?

The following might be proof that we have let our son watch too many calf roping videos. For anyone who may not be familiar with the sport, I have included a video at the end of the post so that you can better understand :)

Jeryn on calf tying dummy #2 from In the Army of the Living God on Vimeo.

Jeryn thomas--calf tying from In the Army of the Living God on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

My Sweet Boy

During all of the Thanksgiving and after Thanksgiving madness, my little Bubby turned 18 months old. I can't believe how fast he is growing up. Every minute is exciting with him, but I am also a little saddened by how fast my "baby" is turning into a little boy/toddler.

As the old saying goes, "He's all boy." In to EVERYTHING. Loves to make messes. Loves to throw things. Loves to be outside. Cries when we come inside.

He has really taken off with his talking. His best word is "Horsh (for horse.)" And he will use this word at any opportunity.
ME: "Jeryn, are you hungry?" HIM: "Ooo, ba,da,ca, do, shoo....HORSH!"
ME: "Good morning, sweetie!" HIM: "Ooo, wa ba da whoo...HORSH!"
It is so cute how he rattles off a bunch of jibber-jabber and then ends his sentence with horse!

He also is using phrases like, "Uh Oh!", "Let Go!"(When he and Jaiden are fussing over a toy) and "I'm Okay!" When he falls or bumps his head, if it doesn't hurt bad enough to cry, he'll yell out, "I okay!"

He swings a rope constantly and gallops in little small circles like he is a horse. After his bathtime, he holds up his towel and says, "" because he wants me to wrap him up like a baby and sing the song to him. Ever since I brought him home from the hospital, after his bath, I wrap him up tight in the towel and sing rock a bye baby to him in front of the mirror so he can see. One night not long ago, I got busy and forgot and he drug his towel to me while we were still standing in the bathroom and said, "Baby?" Now he usually starts saying it before I even get him out of the tub!

He is a snuggler. He cuddles and loves and kisses ALL the time! If we are lying down with him, he can be sound asleep, but as soon as we get up he will pop straight up! Mario said it's like a dog snuggling her puppies. They are all warm and cozy, but if the momma gets up, they start to squirm because they can feel it when she leaves!

His favorite movies right now are Return to Snowy River, Spirit, and Super Looper Roy Cooper. He doesn't stop long enough to watch anything, unless it has a horse in it.

He loves his sissy, and can call her by both "Sisshy" and "Jaiden." When we pull up to her school to pick her up on the days that he is with me, he squeals, "Sisshy, sisshy!"

He loves to brush his teeth and would carry a toothbrush with him 100% of the time if I would let him. He goes to the bathroom drawer a dozen times a day to "brush teeth."

He loves his pacifer more than his toothbrush and asks for "paci" when he can't find it. There are so many little sweet things that I love about this boy! People told me how sweet little boys were, I just had no idea!!!!

We are so blessed to have healthy and happy children. Thank you Lord for each and every moment!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Preschool Party

On Monday, Jaiden's class had a little Thanksgiving party. She and I worked together the night before to make these little pilgrim hats. We got the idea off of Family Fun's website.

We also made these turkies out of Oreos. Their tails and beaks were supposed to be made out of candycorn, but who would've thought that candycorn would be impossible to find four days before Thanksgiving? We tried three different places, and apparently candycorn is "Halloween Candy." Now what do ya'll think?! At any rate, it called for a little improvising, and we had to pull it off with some pipecleaners, so they were not 100% edible!

Look at this sweet girl! She was so excited for me to come. I offered to get a babysitter for Jeryn so that I could pay more attention to her at her party, but she insisted that I bring her little brother. It made me happy that she wanted him there. Sometimes, she gets a little protective though. Back in soccer season, the kids on her team were chasing him and playing with him and she crossed her arms and said, "He is MY baby brother!"

This is Jaiden and her good friend Adi...

The picture above was taken moments before Jeryn went on a rampage. The party fell in the middle of his usual naptime, and it was not pretty for us. I was sweating like it was 100 degrees by the time it was over. He picked up chairs and moved them, tried to climb on the tables, tried to eat the little girls' beads that they were using for their Thanksgiving craft, and numerous other things. I needed about five extra arms to maintain control.

The teacher had all the kids go to the carpet and stand on their name tags so that they could perform the song that they had learned. About the time she finally got the attention of all twenty of the four year olds, Jeryn cut loose through the crowd and was running circles through the kids. All of the children squealed and laughed, and I think Jaiden's teacher wanted to slap me...I held him tight and wouldn't let him back down and he decided to throw a fit, so I ended up watching their cute little song from the other side of the glass door.

Ishould also tell you that just before we pulled into the parking lot, Jeryn was drinking his juice too fast and got strangled. He coughed until he threw up all over himself and the carseat. Needless to say, we were a complete distraction AND we smelled bad!

But HOW on earth could you ever be mad at this sweet little boy?! Oh how I love this child!!!!!

And could she be any sweeter?

They had been learing about the first Thanksgiving with the Indians and the Pilgrims. The teachers surprised them with a tee-pee for them to walk around and go inside! Jaiden loved it!

And they also had a haystack with little turkies hidden in the hay for the kids to find. Jeryn got in on this action and was loving it!

And here's J showing me one of the turkies that she found!

I have been cooking all night and I think I am about to call it a night...

We are blessed in so many ways and I am so thankful. We are looking forward to spending time with family over the next several days. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Slumber Party and Saturday...

Last Friday, Jaiden's friend, Adi had a sleepover fo rher 5th birthday. This was Jaiden's first sleepover, and guess who stayed over with her?!

You guessed it! When we received the invitation, she was so excited, "Yes! A sleepover!!!! I can't wait!...Mom, will you stay too?" What she didn't know, was that Adi's mom had already asked me to stay over and help with the girls. I think she knew Jaiden well enough to know I would have been driving over in the middle of the night to pick her up when they all settled down to go to bed anyway! There were ten little girls that came to the party and Krissy's niece and another one of her friends also helped.

Here they are before things got really wild! :)

Jaiden and Catie showed up in matching pajamas so I took their picture.

J, Bryce, and the birthday girl...

The next morning Jaiden and I went to meet Mario & Jeryn at our church to process and pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. He had a blast having his daddy all to himself, but he was really happy to see me and Jaiden when we walked in!

Our church is always a relay/collection center for Operation Christmas Child. This is the second year we have participated in this project, and it is so exciting and rewarding to me. I didn't have a full-time sitter for the kids last week so I got to spend two weekdays at the church and take the kids with me to help out. They had so much fun running around, and Jaiden loved being involved. She has been all about helping shop and pack the shoeboxes and when she walked in and got a glimpse of so many boxes stacked in rows, she was overwhelmed! I don't know what the final count was after church on Sunday when they loaded all the cartons onto the truck to take to Little Rock, but by the end of the day Wednesday, we had processed over 2,000 shoeboxes!

If you've never heard of the project, you can look up Operation Christmas Child or Samaritan's Purse online. There are SO many amazing stories that are so incredible and demonstrate God's hand in this entire project. One that I love is here. Our pastor's wife knows someone who went on one of the trips to hand out shoeboxes a couple of years ago. When it got down to the last shoebox, there were two little girls left and only one box. They weren't sure how they were going to handle it, but when they opened the shoebox, there were TWO OF EVERYTHING in the box!

Isn't our God amazing?!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Better Late Than Never I Suppose

Okay, so almost a week ago, several sweet bloggers hosted an online baby shower for precious Kelly at this site. I'll spare you the details and not go on and on about how crazy this week has been. Now without further ado, some thoughts for and about Kelly, Scott and Harper! When I was growing up, I thought Kelly was "it!" And quite frankly, I still do! I admired her like any little girl would. She was beautiful, friendly, and sweet. I remember writing her letters which I'm sure was wierd to her because we saw each other often and lived just minutes away...but at any rate, she would write me back. At one point, my favorite pastime was playing with the awesome dollhouse that used to be Kelly's. Her mom passed it along to me
after she had outgrown it. It had the coolest furniture and I played so many hours with that thing!

Dinner on the grounds, church camps, Christian concerts, and outings to the Mountain Home Pizza Hut are some but certainly not all of the fond memories that inlcude Kelly...There was no one that I thought would be more suitable for motherhood, than the woman you see standing in this photograph:

Which is just another one of the reasons that my heart broke over and over again as I learned of her struggle with infertility. I think I wanted pregnancy for her more than I have wanted anything for anyone in a long time. Like so many others, we were praying earnestly for God to hear our prayers and grant this precious couple what they so desperately wanted...a child to love and call their own!

Isn't God wonderful?! My heart rejoiced when Kelly emailed my sister and I the great news! We (Jamie and I) live thirty-five minutes away from one another, but I'm surprised we couldn't hear each other screaming! And this is another favorite photo that captures the joy of one of the sets of grandparents to be:

Kelly, I know you recently finished the Stepping Up study on the Psalms of Ascent with Beth Moore. There was one particular day in our homework where she referred to a "Mothers and Others" banquet that their church used to have. I remember one particular sentence that asked, "Are you aching to be a mother? Somebody out there needs an other." She had just finished talking about how maternal she was and how a lot of young women needed some extra mothering. Earlier in the lesson she had noted that you do not have to have physical children to do some effective parenting.

I thought immediately about how many young women that you had been that "other" to over the years. You are very special indeed, and God has used your testimony to minister to so many other young women out there and I am thankful for that.

Now, you get the be the "mother" and what a wonderful one you will be! I have no advice for you other than not to panic...I was scared too death to come home the first night with Jaiden because she just looked so little and fragile and I was so afraid I wouldn't know how to take care of her right. But don't's just comes natural! God gives you the maternal instinct and it just starts to feel like you've done it all your life! I seriously stayed an extra night because I was too scared to leave the hospital...but when Jeryn was born, I was begging to come home about an hour later because I felt like I knew what I was doing.

You and Scott are going to be great parents! May God bless the two of you and that sweet baby girl, Harper! We love you guys!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Birthday Wishes!

I just wanted to take a minute to say how thankful I am for my sister, Jamie today! She is someone very special to everyone that knows her. She is beautiful, smart, talented, and fun! She can do anything...and do it to perfection. She is a wonderful mother, a good listener (I probably don't give her much choice!), and an awesome cook!

When we were growing up, she always took care of me. Her first job where she earned an allowance was babysitting me while mom did chores. I'm sure it was annoying to have me as a little sister, but she always let me hang around. She took me to school each morning in her Grand Prix and took me to ballgames with her. When she was in college, she would let me come and stay the weekend with her. When we were younger, we dressed our kittens up in doll clothes, played school, and took the three-wheeler out in the field for picnics. We went sledding together, swimming together, and fishing together on family float trips.

Now, I count it a privelage to be raising our children together. As wonderful of a friend as she was to me growing up, I love and appreciate her more and more with each passing day. She has such a sweet spirit and she is always refreshing to be around. She inspires me with her kindness and patience. She loves the Lord and honors him in all that she does. I found a little poem that I liked, so I'm posting it below as a tribute to you, sis! I didn't write it, apparently someone named Vernon in 1985 did...

For many years we've shared our lives
One roof we once lived under
Sometimes we laughed, sometimes we cried
Through winter storms and thunder
The younger years have faded fast
We've gone our separate ways
But through all time our friendship lasts
Our bond in life remains
As summer brings the happy times
The autumn winds will whisper
A closer friend I'd never find
Than the one I call my Sister.
Vernon, 1985

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Blessings Basket

J's school has been doing a project called the "Blessings Basket" this month. Each day they send the basket home with a different child to fill with various items for Make A Child Smile, a local organization that helps buy school supplies, Christmas presents, etc. for needy children in our area.
One night a week or so ago, Jaiden asked me before she fell asleep, "Mom, did you kow that some little kids don't even have warm boots to keep their feet warm when it snows?"
"Yes, sweetheart, I know. That's why I always tell you not to whine about what I want you to wear or eat, because a lot of kids don't have warm clothes or food."
"I'm going to get to bring home the blessing basket from school soon."
"I know, your teacher sent home a note about it. What are some of the things you would like to get for the blessing basket?"
"Some snow boots for the little kids that don't have any."
I pray she never loses that sincerity and that she always has a big heart. I am so thankful that her teachers and school are taking time to do this project and explain it to the students.
Yesterday when I picked her up, she had the basket in hand and was so excited that it was her turn. When Mario got home, we loaded back up...he dropped us off at the door so that she and I could do our shopping and he could sit with Bubby in the car.
She had a ball picking out stuff..."Mamma! Do you think they might like these headbands to keep the veins (she means bangs when she says this, but it is just too precious to correct!) out of their eyes?!"
I was trying to sneak in a package of much need razors for myself to save a trip to the store later, and she said, "Mamma! We are not here for you--we're here to get stuff for the little kids that need it!" She said it loud enough to make people turn around, and I couldn't help but feel a little embarrassed like people thought I was being terribly selfish.
When we got home, she packed everything into the basket and guarded it with her life until we made it to the school this morning. We didn't find any snow boots where we did our shopping but she did pick out an outfit to send. It was so sweet because she held it up to herself and asked,
"Do you think this would fit a little girl about my size?"
Oh how I love that sweet child! She may be filling a basket with blessings, but my heart overflows with gladness from the blessings of being her mother.
P.S. And for some reason unbeknownst to me, blogger will NOT publish my post with separate paragraphs...I am really annoyed because I like consistency, and now this post is not consistent with other posts that have double spacing between paragraphs. Ugh! If you have any ideas on how to fix this, let me know so I don't lose sleep over this! :)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Valley Bound!

Yesterday was an exciting day! The precious Maggio family invited us to attend their oldest daughter's signing with LSU. Her coach wanted to read a few of her accomplishments, so she unrolled the paper in her hands and let it drop all the way to the floor...and then some. The girl is professional material and had the option to go to about any college in the country!

I can't tell you how proud I was of her when she stood up in front of the large group of people present and acknowledged her Savior. She thanked Jesus first and foremost for her gift to play golf and for where it had taken and will take her. I know her younger siblings better than I know her--her younger brother Joe, is like one of our own children. Three of her siblings were in our wedding. But I have always known her from a distance, and she carries herself so well. We are so proud of her and wish her the very best! Her parents sure did a wonderful job. You can watch the slide show below and see pictures from yesterday.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Little Artist

Recently, Jaiden was working diligently and Jeryn kept coming up and taking her materials and pulling down her things that she had laid out. He continued to pester her and she finally got up and found a piece of paper. She then proceeded to draw a picture of her little brother with a circle around him and a line through him. She positioned it in plain sight above where she was working. Then she said, "This says that little brothers cannot mess with my stuff!"

I got SO tickled! It was funny to me that she even knew what a symbol for "NO" was, and it was even funnier that she drew his picture in it, complete with the curly head of hair. She loves to draw and is quite good at expressing herself through her artwork!

Trick or Treat

We met Jamie at The Purple Cow for lunch the day before Halloween. I'm not sure what we were thinking because it was pretty much a disaster. When the kids weren't standing up in the booth or climbing in the windows, they were playing under the tables or swinging from the nearby coat rack. It's always embarrassing (and annoying) when the waitress tells them not to do something...

After lunch, we dropped in Mario's office. They had some candy there for the kids. I just had to post this picture of Alexee because her costume was so stinkin' cute!

Both of the smaller kids wanted in the car with Rhett. Later, Rhett hooked up to an office chair and towed it around a little.

Jeryn made a cute lion--a little more sweet and cuddly than a real one don't you think?!

It's funny that Jaiden wanted to be Dorothy because she has never really watched the whole movie because I wouldn't let her. She sure made a cute one though!
I was Dorothy one year in elementary school. My dad drew a great picture of Toto on a piece of cardboard and we cut it out and put it in a basket to carry. I want to say it was fourth grade.

Jaiden helped me make the ruby red slippers with some old dress shoes, spray adhesive, and glitter. I sprayed something over it that was supposed to make it really stick, but by the end of the night, they were looking pretty rough...

We had a festival at our church, so instead of trick-or-treating, we just took the kids there. They had a lot of fun. I have never seen Jeryn so torked up! He was running as hard as he could in every direction. Mario&I had our work cut out for us trying to keep up with him.

Here they are playing a little game. This was just before Jeryn tried to drink out of the pool...

They had an empty tomb set up and one of the youth was dressed as a guard outside the tomb. I took Jaiden inside and explained to her what it was.

This last picture is of Jaiden with one of the sweet girls from our Stepping Up bible study group. She was there with her two little boys and Jaiden was excited to see another Dorothy!

Hope you all had a great weekend!