Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bearing Their Burdens

Is it just me.. or does anyone else get physically exhausted from bearing our kids burdens. It is amazing how worked up and concerned I get for my kids.

This week is the week that Kate found out her school schedule. It's always a kind of tense experience because each child has their idea of expectations for the year... who they want to sit with at lunch, have class with, which teachers they "heard" are good.. etc. Somehow even though I am not the 6th grader, the feelings, concerns and stresses all treat me like I am. I'm sure I'm not the only one with this problem.

Then, I have one little person who I've just come to realize doesn't ever want to invite friends over. She just doesn't ask. I offered her the opportunity recently, and she just said.. No thank you. I'd rather go out and do something special with you. What does that tell me?? Do I read too far into it when I assume that she's become antisocial, or do I just appreciate that she's feeling like she needs a little more mom time. Could it possibly be the 21 hours she spends at the gym surrounded by girls and maybe just needs a break from people? Or, is she not clicking with girls her age because she's always surrounded by older girls?? I don't know.. but I'm still laying awake worried about it. Throw in her gym routines, her diet (she barely eats) and her school schedule next year.. and I'm up all night.

Then there's the cute little third child who is incredibly overlooked due to his ability to entertain himself. Should I be worried that he asked if he could move in with his cousin for the whole summer just so he can play summer baseball on his team?? Forget me and Dad.. the coach asked him to play.

Well, Clayton is just one in himself. His main concern is making sure his dress up clothes still fit and what he wants to be next Halloween. Even still.. I find myself worrying about his prek next year, his inability to sleep without a diaper (all of my other kids were in underwear at night by now), and his still crying about things he "wants". I just think we should be past fit pitching at age 4.

It's just stressful to bear it all. Now, I ask myself.. is my concern going to change anything? No, but I never want my kids to feel alone in their hearts. I just want them to know that they don't have to bear anything alone. Just as Christ does for us. Sometimes I just have to ask myself... is any of this going to matter in 10 years? Probably not....

Saturday, July 4, 2009

It just all happened so fast!

So our June has been very FULL and exciting.. It just all happened so FAST!.. I want to write a quick update on everything we've done in June. CRAZY... Now.. for the rest of the summer....

Last Day of School.. Cort graduated from Kindergarten.

The first weekend in June was Kate's Dance Recital... See previous post.. It was wonderful and we were so proud of Kate. She looked absolutely beautiful and danced her heart out. She smiled and gave it her all. After looking at her in recital makeup, Chad has put double locks on her bedroom doors and is now monitoring her cell phone... Just Kidding.. but her growing up is making me very nervous. And, by the way, she will not be wearing makeup for awhile.

Kate with her BFF, Maddie

The first week of June Caroline had gymnastics camp from 8-2 and Cort did VBS at Highland. This is where he asked Jesus to live in his heart. AMEN. And somewhere during that week I had my birthday. This was also the week of the boy's swimming lessons where Clayton learned to swim.

The next week all of the kids did VBS at First Baptist Woodway. And CLAYTON TURNED FOUR. He had a fun little rainy party at the Waco Water Park.

This was Clayton's little family party on his actual birthday. The cute monster cake was only 5.99 from HEB Hewitt. It as the perfect size.. just fyi..

June 19th we left for FLORIDA to visit with Chad's mom and sister and their families and we also fit in a trip to visit my family in Baton Rouge. It was amazing and beautiful and so much fun! We stayed here at Eden Condominums. in unit E204. We're excited to go back.

June 29th- All three older kids left for Camp. More to come on that later.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I have Him in my head... but I want Him in my heart.

Today was my 37th birthday!! I can't believe I am that old. It just seems like yesterday I was a little girl having an outside summer birthday party with a handful of neighborhood friends. Now... I'm a mom with kiddos asking me questions, needing me and wanting everything.
Chad and the kids made it a very special day for me. He took half the day off and we went to Ninfas and to see the movie "UP". Chad surprised me with my Baylor ring. One of the diamonds had fallen out, so I hadn't worn it for years. He took it and had the diamond replaced and the ring fixed for me. I'm so excited!
But.. not nearly as excited as I am that Cort decided this week at VBS that he wants to live for Jesus.... Here's the story.

I had decided sometime ago that my kids would do VBS at FB Woodway this year. Honestly for no other reason than that Clayton could attend... they accept 4 year olds and HBC doesn't.. and just because of convenience of location. That's honestly it. So, I hadn't even considered signing the children up for HBC VBS.

Well, Monday morning I woke up and realized that Caroline had gymnastics camp all week, Kate basically lives at friends houses, and Cort and Clayton would just be hanging with me all week... probaby in the Y nursery. I felt like maybe Cort should do VBS at Highland. I know the Jerusalem Marketplace curriculum would be something new for him and something he would really enjoy, so I woke him up and loaded him in the car to HBC.

It just couldn't have worked out better. We lined up to have him registered and he was able to get in a group with his two "besties".. CJ and Shep. I knew this was going to be a fun time for him. Sure enough, the first day he came home talking about how much he loved VBS.. which he was calling " Victory Bible Study".. His own Acronym I guess. He continued to tell me everyday about the stories he was learning at VBS.... the Bible Characters and the activities.

The next few days he got up so excited and anxious to go to "Victory Bible Study". I realized that on Thursday he had an appt. scheduled to have some pictures made, so I had planned on him missing VBS that day. Well, he wouldn't hear of it. He insisted that I call to move the pictures so he could be there. I did, and the photographer graciously offered us an afternoon appointment.

As it would turn out, Thursday Auntie Joy presented the children with the Plan of Salvation. Cort told me he immediately knew that he wanted to pray that, but it was suggested that maybe he was too young.

Well, today I picked him up from VBS and sure enough he told his leader that he understands and that he " knows he has Jesus in his head, but now he wants him in his heart". Can I just tell you what it felt like for me as a mom to see my precious little son make a decision to follow Christ?? I'm so proud of him and so excited for his decision.

More than ANYTHING ever for my children, I want Jesus to live and REIGN in their hearts. I'm so thankful for the workers at VBS (Ruby Kidd) and for the Lord for piercing Cort's heart, ordaining this moment for him and for prompting me on Monday morning to take Cort to Bible School at HBC. I know it was be something that will be a precious memory to him.. and me FOREVER!

I have told several friends and family members this before, but I believe the Lord is preparing Cort for something amazing. There is something inside his heart I see that is a geniune desire to be close to the Lord. I am so excited to see what the Lord has planned for Cort's future. Hopefully it doesn't involve a foreign country far away, or some kind of life of celibacy (we want lots of grandkids), but I'm certain it's going to be something that will put his outgoing personality and leadership qualities together to furthur the Kingdom! I can't WAIT to see what it is... well, yes I can.. for now, I just want to enjoy my little boy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Kate's Dance Recital

Besides a little Zumba here and there, I'm not much of a dancer and I guess I never have been. I didn't have the body type for dancing growing up and never took. But, this is NOT true for Kate. She loves dance and is really quite good at it. She has the long legs for it and the passion to do it.

This weekend was the much anticipated Dance Recital for Jenni Holley Dance Studio. Kate has been so excited about this as dance is now "her thing". She is part of the Junior Company at Jenni Holley and has thoroughly enjoyed it.

This past weekend we had three recitals. Yes, that's right... I sat through three recitals and actually enjoyed each one of them. I was so proud of Kate and what a great job she did.

I just thought I'd share some pictures.

This was her ballet costume. She was just gorgeous in it.

This was her jazz costume where she danced to " Dancing In the Streets".

Yes, Chad went too! I think he enjoyed watching Kate dance, but did not enjoy seeing her in so much makeup and with leotards on showcasing her long legs!

This was my favorite costume and favorite dance. It was tap to " It Don't Mean A Thing"... So cute!

What a pretty leap! Kate is in the yellow!

This was Le Jazz Hot with her whole company.. Senior, Teen and Junior. It was incredible. And yes, friends.. You counted correctly. I had to purchase 5 different costumes for the recital. If you've ever had a dancer, then you feel my pain. But, it was well worth it to see the smile on her face and the fun she had doing it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Violinist

I just wanted to share some pictures of Kate at her spring Orchestra concert. I'm so proud of her for sticking it out this year and working to learn the violin. She has done so well and really enjoys playing. She has chosen to keep it up and continue in Orchestra as her elective for 6th grade as well.

I think it suits her so well. She's very detailed and studious and enjoys practicing the music. Sometimes the practice gets a little... well....frustrating inside the house, but anyone who has a child that plays an instrument knows that practice is a must.

This also leads to me to point out another advantage of Midway Schools. Kate has been able to learn her violin and get excellent instruction at school during classroom hours. We have had to pay for no outside lessons, and her concert was actually impressive for first year Orchestra students. It was delightful. Yeah Midway!!

Keep up the good work, Kate.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Heart of a Child

This morning as I was getting Cort ready for school, I was talking to him about his Awanas for tonight. We were covering what jewels he's earned and what he still needs to do. One of the requirements is for the club members to bring a friend to Awanas. Well, this is impossible for me because my cup runneth over with children on Wednesday nights. So, the alternative is to pray for a friend.

So, this morning I told Cort that we need to pray for a friend.. anyone. He stood there for a short minute and said, "I'd like to pray for Thomas." I know he doesnt have a friend named Thomas at school, church, baseball... anywhere... Don't know Thomas. I say "Are you sure Cort?"... he's sure... we pray for Thomas.. who we don't know.

About 3 minutes passes.. he's eating his breakfast, I pick up my iphone and check my email. I get an email from Gary Rhodes, and read it aloud to Chad as he's standing right next to Cort. It reads like this:

Dear Choir,
I am very saddened to give you the tragic news that Jolie Gant was killed in a car accident yesterday. Please pray for her son, Thomas as he has lost his mother."


Cort is listening and says... "Did you just say, Thomas?" I was so distracted by the terrible news, that I didn't even hear the child's name. But, my 6 year old son did. He looked at me with the... see Mom... look.. Just so sure of his decision to pray for Thomas.

Cort has never met Jolie Gant, a fellow alto in choir and friend, nor does he know Thomas, as Thomas is much older than he. Some would say this was just a coincidence. I would like to believe that my Lord, who is amazing, can speak through the heart of a child and place another on his heart to pray for.

Amazing Morning!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cort's First Baseball Game

If you've known Cort very long, you know that his LOVE is sports. He has has a glove and ball in his hand since he could walk... and I'm not exaggerating. He has spent countless hours having his Daddy "throw" to him from the couch. SO.... Cort FINALLY being able to play REAL baseball has been a huge deal! Sure, he's played tball, but according to Cort.. that was no challenge. So, I thought I'd have to mark the moment where Cort had his FIRST REAL game!

This would be my son excited after he just got someone out at first base. He loved playing first base for his first game!

This is Cort getting a good solid base hit on his very first pitch on his first at bat... Can you tell I'm just a little proud?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter with the Castles

This was Easter Sunday after church. We don't have any pictures as a whole family because Daddy was serving at the church before and after service. There was a lot to be done!

This was the Lifegroup Easter Egg Hunt at our house!

More Easter morning pictures! It was a beautiful service and a fun day!

We took the kids to The Embassy Suites next to the Dallas Galleria on Good Friday night. The kids LOVE that hotel. The hotel ran a special for the night. We enjoyed it very much because all of the suites offer a seperate room for mom and dad, a nice indoor pool/ hot tub, a made to order breakfast, and two huge flatscreen tvs.. The main event is the gorgeous swans that swim around the hotel. We LOVE watching them.
We also took the girls to American Girl Doll store at the Galleria. I'm so thrilled that my 11 year old still wants to go to the doll store.

This was Cort's first time to ice skate... watch the video.. he says... I'm gonna fall, Daddy! So cute....

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bluebonnet Babes

Tonight was our annual bluebonnet picture night. The day was just gorgeous and perfect weather for an outing to the park. We went over to Whitehall park about 7:00 and got it done.
It's always an adventure getting four kids dressed in something clean and happy to take pictures. This year went better than most. I guess the older the kids get, the happier they are. I wish the same went for Daddy. He's not always a good sport about going out... even just to help. I think he hates it as much as they do, but since Kate was born, I have a picture every year in the Texas Bluebonnets, and this year will be no different.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lucky Jeans...lucky me!

Nothing like St. Patty's Day to bring luck and fortune :) ! Here's my lucky story for today..

This morning I was loading my car with armloads of clothes to take the the Care Center at Highland. As I was filling the back end of my car with both mine and my kids clothes, I was contemplating taking all of them to the resale shop instead of giving them to the needy. I was going over in my head what I could probably get for them, and what I would do with the money. They were for the most part, name brand clothes. But, then I was thinking about how they would be a blessing to someone who couldnt afford to shop even at the resale stores. I was remembering stories Chad has told me about the folks that frequent the Care Center, and I didn't give the resale shop another thought. The clothes were given and I was going on with my day happily.

An hour or so later I had just about 45 minutes to spend doing something I wanted until I had to pick up Clayton from Mother's Day Out, so as usual, the mall seemed the perfect place to spend my extra time. I wandered through JC Penney with my coupon in hand not needing a thing, but looking just because I could.

I wandered to a sale rack of jeans. 19.99. I remembered that my friend had told me about a favorite brand of jeans she liked from Penney's, so I ran across some and picked them up to try on. Right next to them was a pair of LUCKY BRAND jeans. They just happened to be my size, so I took them in the dressing room with the others... honestly, just because they looked comfy. I'm completely unfamiliar with LUCKY brand.

The JC Penney jeans were great.. but the zipper was broken.. DARN. The LUCKY jeans were a perfect fit and so comfy, but I noticed they did not have a price on them anywhere. HUMMM... They were hanging on the 19.99 rack, but we know how that goes. The only thing on them was a Brand hangtag, but no price. I look around for more, but there are none in the store.

So, I walk up to the register and ask the young little sales lady how much cost. She said they don't look familiar and called for the manager. The manager walked over and said, "Maam, we don't sell this brand. They are in here by mistake. I'm not sure what the story is, but my best guess is someone traded these jeans for a new pair and just left us theirs. I'm so sorry."

Well, I still want the jeans.. You know, I am NOT against shopping at a retail shop, and I've even been known to shop at Goodwill, so a pair of jeans that were worn before don't scare me. That's what the washing machine is for.

The manager instructs the salesclerk to just throw them in the trash because
"We can't sell them". Well, I just stood there and said, "Now ladies, let's not trash a perfectly good pair of jeans. Couldn't I just have them if they're going in the trash anyway? She looked at me and said "Doesn't bother me.. Take them!"

Well, there I go walking out of Penneys with my money, my coupon, AND a new pair of jeans. So, I immediately call my sister and tell her what just went down. She informed me that last week she was shopping with her teenage daughter and saw LUCKY jeans for $115. So, looks like I got a bargain!.

They've gone through my washer and dryer, they're all clean, AND they still fit! This leads me to think two things...1- The Lord blesses those who give.. and 2- While I'm not Irish.. I will claim the Luck of the Irish today for my new jeans.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cotillion.. Cruel and Unusual Punishment?

The past six weeks Kate participated in Waco's Annual Cotillion Classes. If you are not familiar with Cotillion, it's a etiquette class for boys and girls that meets on Tuesdays for an hour and teaches 4th - 7th graders proper etiquette in social situations. It was a time for Kate to practice the polite way to address adults, and how to accept an invitation from a young man to dance.

Kate griped and argued about having to go. Most Tuesdays turned into some sort of argument about what dress she HAD to wear, why she had to fix her hair, how unfair it is that she had to go do something so ridiculous. But for Chad and me.. it's just something she needed to do. Most of her friends in Midway were also signed up, so how bad could it possibly be?

Several of the Tuesday classes were theme days. There was 50's Day sock hop, Western Day and this past Tuesday was Father/ Daughter... Mother/Son Day. Chad took her and was able to get some fantastic video for me. And well, it's just plain funny. I couldn't upload the videos because apparantly they are too long, but boy, have I gotten a good chuckle over what these cute little awkward preteens did at Cotillion.

My sweet little Kate is about a head taller than all the little boys there. I'm sure that had to be fun! Oh well, it's over for little Kate and I'm sure it's an experience she'll always have fond memories of.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cort and the Harlem Globetrotters

I'm posting an email my hubby sent out to his business email recipients. Since he was actually there and I WASN'T :(.. I figure his story will be more accurate. It's so much FUN!

Ok, I can't resist. These emails are normally reserved for more economic and/or financial information but please let this father have his moment.

Last night my son, Cort, and I were graciously invited to watch the Harlem Globetrotters at the Ferrell Center at Baylor. Our court side tickets were courtesy of our good friends David Ridley and Robert West with KWTX News Channel 10.

The whole production was a great deal of fun and the crowd was much larger than I had anticipated. Throughout the game the Globetrotters would play tricks on the referrees and with folks in the audience. The entire length of the game Cort kept saying, "Daddy, why can't I go on the court with the other kids?" Well, he got his chance.

With less than 5 minutes to play in the game "Big Easy" came to our side fo the floor, pointed to Cort, and asked him if he would come on down and take a shot for him. Cort looked at me and I said, "Go make a basket!" He pops from his seat and makes his way onto the floor.

"Big Easy" gave Cort the ball midway between the free throw line and the base line. The ref calls timeout and questions "Big Easy" as to whom this child belongs to. "Big Easy" responds by saying that Cort is his son, and can't he see the family resemblance. Then "Big Easy" hands Cort the ball and tells him to take a shot. What follows next makes this father really proud.

Cort shoots. Cort scores. The crowd erupts with cheering. Then, with no prompting, Cort begins to dance a little jig that includeds the following: his fingers pointing in the air, high stepping, heel kicking, and booty shaking. Needless to say, the Globetrotters, and the crowd, broke into laughter and began to dance right along with him. Hillarious!!

Fortunately I have pics of the whole affair. Take a look at the below link to the picture section of the Globetrotter website. Just above the first pic of Cort you will see where you can scroll thru pics 68 - 81.

Thank you for letting me brag a little bit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's a Small Town Thing!

Wow! I just realized how long it's been since I've written a new post. Life just took off around here after Christmas, just like it does all of us.

We received a call Tuesday morning that Chad's Grandmother from Caddo Mills, Tx had passed away. She was 88 and had been dealing with Alzheimers for about 10 years, so we know she is in a much better place now... reunited with her husband and enjoying a new mind and fullyabled body. So, we made the trip up to Caddo Mills, Tx to plan and attend her funeral on Thursday.

Caddo Mills is the town Chad grew up in. He spent his whole life until he left for college in the town with 1100 in population, one stop light, one tiny grocery store that's overpriced and about 30 students in his graduating class at Caddo Mills High School which named him the Valdectorian.

I used to kinda secretly snicker and tease Chad about his small town, but I have never been more embraced, taken care of and loved as we were from this sweet little town yesterday for MeMaw's funeral. The visitation in the little Caddo Mills funeral home was packed with people of all ages coming out to show support to Chad and his family. There was food everywhere, flowers galore, people lined up just to give a pat on the back and I think, just to see Chad again.

No one was worried about what they were wearing or better yet, what anyone else was wearing. No one noticed who had on designer boots or whose hair looked perfect, who had on the most stylish outfit. None of that... these good folks had just come from work in their clothes and strickly cared about being there for the family.

At Chad's dad's house, the doorbell rang and rang with people dropping over homecooked casseroles, desserts, salads, or just there to talk, remember and hug. You name it and we had it. Then, for the actual funeral service, we showed up to the church and the sweet ladies from the tiny little First Baptist Caddo Mills, that probably has 80 -100 in attendance each Sunday, had a spread like I have never seen prepared for the family to have before the funeral. They were serving our plates, helping with the children, making drinks, they even had a playroom set up for the kids to go to.

After the sweet funeral done by the current pastor of the 1st Baptist Caddo Mills, we headed to the cemetary. The ride there was the final thought that made me realize what a sweet town my man grew up in. As we were all in a line behind the hurst with our lights on, cars were actually pulling over, men on the side of the street were removing their hats, tractors on the road stopped moving, a garbage truck actually pulled over and the driver inside removed his hat as well.

The cemetary was full of gravestones from names I have heard over and over while in Caddo Mills... generations of families all in one place.

The whole experience made me stop and think about two things: First, I'm so thankful that Chad had the experience to grow up with these folks who truly treat each other like family and stop everything to bless those who need it. I honesty think it is the first time I realized what made him, HIM.. This small town that raised him modeled service and just loving people.
Secondly, It made me think about how our generation is becoming so busy that I'm afraid we're getting away from serving others and blessing families. I'm sure I'm just speaking to myself here. I hope that even in the larger towns, we'll always form and keep our special bonds with our dear friends and will give them a "small town" feel when it's needed! It sure blessed me!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year Resolutions!

Let's have some fun and talk about our NY resolutions. I know, it's that time of year. The time we all try to say what we want to do and then fall off the bandwagon a month in. I'm sure guilty of that. BUT, because it's tradition, I feel like I'm going to make some anyway.

1- Chad and I decided to go on a cash only basis for our spending. I feel like there was a sign given to me from above when I lost my debit card last week. So, now, I have no choice but to use cash. I'm not the best cash spender. I'd way rather swipe a debit card than worry about having cash, but I think we decided that it'd be something we'd like to try for a while. It's really not about "charging" things as we typically don't have a problem with that... but more about keeping up with the family budget.

2- I want to be a better mom. I think I'm pretty decent at setting time out for my hubby.. In fact, I think we spend quite a bit of time together and enjoy it. But, I feel like I need to give my kids more one on one time and focus on them individually. More single kid date nights, etc. I also need to improve my patience with them. They're just kids and they really do need to ask mom 100 questions each. I also want to spend time showing them things and taking them to new places. Even just places around our community and surrounding areas that are interesting. A trip to a Mexican Beach might be nice too!! I'm sure I could squeak that under the "being a better mom" resolution.

3- I'd like to make some improvements on the house. I really want to focus on painting some things, replacing some things, cleaning out some things.. You get it. All of the things that take time and effort.. and money, of course.

4- I want to cook more decent meals. I "prepare" things and we all eat around the table each night. But, Preparing a meal and cooking a meal to me are two different things. Anyone can "prepare" a box of mac and cheese and baked potatoes, but cooking a meal takes a little more thought and effort. My kids really need to broaden their horizens with what they eat, and I feel obligated to help them do it by offering a bigger variety.

Thanks for letting me share. Anyone else have NY resolutions?