Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Six Flags for Cort

This is sweet little five year old boy. He is 100% boy always, all the time. He loves to play sports, watch sports, and I'm sure he sometimes just thinks sports. On the soccer field, he has no regard for the feelings of any player around him. It's just give me the ball and move, or I'll assist you with moving. Same with tball. He's decided that he's no longer playing tball because he wants to hit a "real ball" at a "real pitcher".

He's also very much a middle child. He is very go with the flow,which is a great quality to have in a big family. The only problem is, I'm afraid sometimes that causes him to get overlooked. He's one of those kids that I lay down in bed at night and think..did I give Cort enough attention today. Most days, he just doesn't require it. He doesn't ask for things over and over, he doesn't complain, and he's almost silent in the car. Just a pretty easy kid.

Cort doesn't seem to be the child that gets many invitations to do fun things. I'm sure it's alot because of his age. He's still so young. He watches his sisters get invited with friends to cool places almost daily while he just sticks with me. Well, Tuesday he got the BEST invitation of the summer. He was invited to go to Six Flags with the Heltons.

Now, there are very few people I'd send my five year old off to Six Flags with. Julie Helton has been one of my dearest friends here in Waco for about 12 years, so I had complete confidence in her watching out for my little middle child. We've not taken Cort to Six Flags as a family, so I had no idea how he'd do on rides. I assumed that given his total boyish nature and his " I am invincible" attitude, he'd be on any ride they would let him ride... WELL..... Let this picture be an indicator of how he did on Tuesday at his first visit to Six Flags.

Notice his clutching the handle while all of the other little girls are just sitting back relaxing. He was SCARED to death! Bless Darrell and Julie for sitting off of the "big" rides with Cort while the other kids rode! Amazingly enough, he had a fantastic time and is asking to go again. Blessings to the Heltons for giving my son such a sweet opportunity. I'm sad I missed it!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Best Friends

My Kate has found something in life that is very precious. Something that is hard to come by for kids these days.... A Sweet, Christian Best Friend. I'd like you to meet, Maddie. She and Kate met for the first time the very first day of Kindergarten., but actually became best friends about 2 years ago.

I can't imagine how relieved I would have been on that first day of kindergarten if I had known then that Kate would meet such a precious little girl that would be such an important part of her life right there in that class. You know, wondering if your child will have a friend in class is every mother's fear.

It's just precious to have a best friend... someone that you can be real with and who likes you for who you are. It blesses me to know that Kate has a friend that is trustworthy and who likes her.

These girls are the kind of friends that ask constantly to be together. They always want to be having sleepovers, shopping trips, swim dates.. you name it. The number one question I hear from Kate is ... "Can Maddie come?" I've watched these girls scheme together and discuss who's mom will say yes. I've seen them play silly tricks on neighborhood boys and then act innocent. Many times I've seen them defend each other. They've even cried and argued.. but always made up! These girls have something special.

I never had that as a kid. A best friend, I mean. I was very close to my sister, but she always had a best girlfriend, so I was kinda third wheel. I was kind of a difficult child that had an unpleasant personality at times. I do remember that about myself and was also reminded of it by my family members occasionally.

Well, I'm so thankful now that I have a best friend. Someone that loves me for who I am and encourages me to be the best I can be. Someone who builds me up and reminds me of the positive things I am. Well.... and the negative when I need to hear them. I'm so thankful that I have a best friend that will argue with me, but always make things right with me before the day ends. Someone who's best at listening and supporting me when I most need it. Someone that I laugh with, play jokes with, scheme with, cry with and sneak away with. What's even better, is I get to fall asleep and wake up right next to him every day!

Isn't he so cute too!

Monday, July 21, 2008

How Time Flies... or NOT!

Saturday all four of the kids and I, yes only I, loaded the car for a 9 hour journey to Baton Rouge. We were off to take the girls to meet their cousins for GA Camp. WOW! It doesn't take too long for me to be alone with my kids to discover that they do indeed know who's the disciplinarian in our family. It's NOT me!! All day it just seemed like time stood still.

I learned alot about my kids on Saturday. Several of the new truths are, Clayton can't ride 9 hours without a pull up no matter how many bathroom stops we make, Caroline and Cort are to NEVER be seated in the same row of seats in any car ever again, Kate can't read while driving- it makes her carsick :), and finally, kids 5 and older will do just about anything for money. Bribery works well as a last resort for peace and quiet!

We finally arrived here in Louisiana right back to the home I grew up in. The only home I remember as a child. Here are a few photos. My room was on the bottom left. I believe we moved in when I was 2.

Now, here I am, 36, I drive in the driveway with all four of my kids and suddenly I feel like a child again. The big 3 acre yard and the LONG driveway just sitting there waiting for my kids to run free, just as I did when I was a kid. There's a bike for everyone, yes, even adult bikes. I get on one and ride with my kids, and there I am 10 years old riding down to my friends house, or at least telling my kids about how I WOULD have ridden down to my friends' house 26 years ago.. OUCH!

The feeling I get everytime I'm here amazes me. I walk in, hug my Momma and Daddy.. aka... Grannie and Pops.. just like I would have everyday of my life when I lived here. My dad unloads my stuff and mom immediately starts feeding everyone. From that moment on, the eating never ends. There's always something good to just "have a bite of". Oh, it's all delicious!

My siblings and Me.. Karen, Kyle, and Kim

Having 3 older siblings and 12 nieces and nephews, there's always activity around here. Somehow Grannie and Pop's house is the "hub" for all activity... especially when cousins from Waco are in town. I try REALLY hard to be the cool aunt. Sometimes that means I drive my older nieces and nephews to the 24 hour fitness center at 11pm, or taking them for smoothies, or to the mall, or anywhere else they want to go. There's always something fun they want to do.

Anyway, it's all fun and games until I unload my things, visit my "virtual office" here at my parents' house and realize that I am in fact an adult and do have obligations and commitments. Thank goodness for the virtual office that allows me to meet all of your real estate needs from any location. (Just plugging my business here) Please call me with any questions, concerns or other matters. :)

The only negative thing about this "vacation" is that my one and only is not with me. Somehow being 9 hours away without him makes me wish I never left Waco. I can't stand to be without him. Seven days is TOO long!

Lastly, I'd like to share some pictures of the camp where my girls are spending the week . It's just a little camp back in the country that offers horses and just lots of fun. Last year they both rededicated their lives to Christ and came home fully understanding the love of Jesus and the sacrifice he made for them. NOTHING is more precious than that...Makes the 9 hour drive a piece of cake!

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Spa Weekend

I'm finally getting my pictures from my fantastic spa weekend posted. I am typically not the type to go anywhere without my hubby, but this invitation was far too inviting and a perfect birthday gift for myself. It was a nice get away and the perfect amount of time away from my 5 sweeties.

Myself and 3 friends, Julie, Andrea and Shannon left Saturday morning at 9:30 and headed to Lake Austin Spa. It was fantastic! In order to use the spa for the day you must have an appt on the books AND pay a $25 fee. The spa offers many delightful treatments. Massages, pedicure, manicure, hair, waxing, etc... but all at a ridiculously expensive price. Knowing that we were going to be doing some shopping later and not wanting to spend all my money up front, I agreed to have the cheapest thing offered at the spa.. a $20 brow wax. :0 Boy, my brows looked great and I must say, it was the most relaxing brow wax I've ever experienced.

Of course, while we were waiting for our treatments, we were able to lay around the pool, walk around the gorgeous lake, sit outside in the covered courtyards, eat fruit, drink water or tea and all in a fluffy comfy white robe. It's so funny because EVERYONE was wearing white robes. It was like if you didn't have on the cushy white robe, you just didn't fit in.

After the spa experience, we left for our hotel. It was the Renaissance and it was gorgeous. It would definitely be a place I'd like to go back with my hubby. It was very upscale and just calm. There was a gorgeous outside pool and my favorite was the inside pool that joined the fitness center. If you know me well, then you know I enjoy a hotel that has a decent fitness center. It's an amenity I like in a hotel... a nice place to work out. This place was top notch! I definitely recommend the Renaissance.

The Renaissance is surrounded by upscale shopping as well. It was an outdoor mall with all the best shops. Also there was a Cheesecake Factory where we ate dinner. It was way too much food and delicious ( thus the need for the hotel fitness center).

After our fun spa day, then shopping and eating and LOTS of girl talk, we spent our last day at the outlet mall in Georgetown. I highly recommend that too! It was easy to navigate and easy to spend lots of money too. I went to spend my birthday money. Would you believe I spent most at the Disney Store. You KNOW that was not spent on ME!

The best part of all was when I got home from my weekend out.. by the way, I've not been out of town without Chad or the kids EVER.. yes, I said EVER.. anyway, when I got home the grass was mowed to perfection, the house was spotless, candles were burning and upon entering the house, there was a big sign that said WELCOME HOME MOMMY, compliments of my kids. It was precious! SO FUN

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Blast from the Past

This is a pic of my 4 just as they are. After gymnastics, soccer, swimming, sleeping, playing.. you name it.. Just as they are.

I've taken on the humongous task of having a garage sale. It's a tremendous task...especially with 4 little "helpers" wanting to work along beside me. Well, in getting ready for the garage sale and going through stuff I ran upon some old CDs and cassette tapes. Of course, I just had to pull some out and listen to them.

I came across a cassette tape that Chad made for me when we got dropped. If you were in a fraternity or sorority then you understand dropped. It's when your boyfriend buys you his fraternity symbol on a penant and presents it to you. It's the step before getting engaged. This was a huge deal in my sorority which included passing a candle and listening to songs of importance to the person who has been dropped. OKay.. so , Chad actually recorded himself speaking to me about how much he loved me. This was outstanding because Chad does not do these kind of things often. So, it's very precious to me.

Well, on the tape was a song that was sung at our wedding and one I have not heard for some time. As I was listening to it, I realized that it means far more to me now than it ever did then. I tried to download it here, but I had some difficulties and no time to sit around trying to figure it out. But, here are the lyrics. It's Wayne Watson's song "Somewhere in the World".

Somewhere in the world today
A little girl will go out ot play
All dressed up in mama's clothes
At least the way that I suppose it goes
Somewhere in the world tonight
Before she reaches to turn out the light
She'll be prayin' from a tender heart
A simple prayer that's a work of art

And I don't even know her name
But I'm prayin' for her just the same
That the Lord will write His name upon her heart
Cause somewhere in the course of this life
A little boy will need a godly wife
So hold on to Jesus, baby, whereever you are

Somewhere in the world out there
That little girl's learnin' how to care
She's pickin' up her mamas charms
Or maybe, swigin' around in her daddy's arms
Somewhere in the world to be
Through the future's not real clear to me
Theirs could be a tender love
Grounded in eternal love above

So I'm in the garage going through garage sale stuff when I'm listening to this song and Cort walks out to join me. I have big huge tears in my eyes and of course he's asking "Mommy what's wrong". I just made him sit on my lap as I finished out the song.

Have you ever really thought about the people our children will marry? I mean, who would have ever thought that a little chubby girl in Baton Rouge, La. would be destined to marry a country boy from Caddo Mills, Tx. Just in the same way, God has a mate chosen for my kiddos. Somewhere out there are little kids just like mine that God has already chosen to spend a lifetime with my children. God has written MY child's name in his/ her heart. Scary to think about.

This led me to think about the job I am doing here preparing my kids for marriage. WOW... gosh when you really think about it, the jobs we have as moms are tremendous. I have to prepare these cute little faces to be godly wives and husbands. Obviously I need to be praying daily for this. I just have kinda taken it for granted that God is preparing them to be a blessing to their families one day. They are watching everything we say and more of what we do!

My children are so lucky because they have such an outstanding example as a father. Chad is one of the very best dads that I know. My boys' wives will be lucky because hopefully they will follow Chad's example, but my girls' husbands better have game on, or the girls will be disappointed.

It has just been an emotional reminder that I need to be praying DAILY for the cute little girl that has CORT or CLAYTON written in her heart. Or, the little boys that God has picked for my girls. Who knows where they are now... Just something to think ... or cry... about...

IF anyone knows how to download the song, just tell me... :) It helps to hear it with music.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Almighty Dollar and the Budget!!

This weekend I decided to do a little shopping and take my girls to see what kind of July 4th sales we could find. My girls don't wear uniforms to school, so I usually try to stock up on some back to school clothes mid summer so it doesnt hit me all at once. I hang them in the back of the closet so the first few weeks of school my girls have some nice looking new clothes to wear. You know, first impressions and all.

I am one of those moms who thinks that the way my girls dress for school is a direct reflection of me, so I try to frugally find the cute little clothes that I like to see them wear. Now, with that said, in our school district it is not just about cute clothes, it's a lot about brand names even by 4th grade. That is an unfortuante truth. I mean, if Sally has the Justice shorts then, by golly, fit or not, we all better have Justice shorts.

This weekend I realized that with 2 girls I am just never going to be able to keep up with this situation and I better think of a plan fast. I realized that for every " Yes, let's get that" that I say, there are 15 " No we don't need those". It's so frustrating. I will leave a store with a bag full of sale items that the girls love and that "fit the bill" , but somehow it seems like my girls are still leaving the store disappointed about what we left behind? The things that we just don't need. Is ANYONE getting me here? ANYONE with older kids????

SO, Chad being the financial planner he is, has decided that the girls are going on a budget. He sat the girls down and told them he's giving them each $40 a month to spend on whatever they like, but first they must give 10% and save $8. They are welcome to spend the remainder on extra school clothes, a swimsuit, a movie outing with a friend, junk food, flip flops, makeup, earrings, cds, dvds, pjs, you name it...All the Mommy NOs everytime we go out. His expectation is that they buy their own stuff... Of course, this doesn't mean I won't buy their necessities. Don't start calling CPS or anything. It's just hopefully going to teach the girls how fast money runs out and how to understand the value of the almighty dollar. The real question will be.. will I be able to do it without a guilty conscience? I'll let you know how it goes!