Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Trip to T-town

I like to make a Christmas trip home to Texarkana each year if I can.  I missed last year because of the White Christmas event so I really wanted to go this year.


There is just something incredible about going home to tall trees, land, and familiar spaces.



And the kids always have a blast doing things that you can't do in the city.


Unfortunately Trent had something come up at work and couldn't go at the last minute.  Jack decided to stay home with him for special bonding time.  So the little ones and I packed up for a quick trip home.


Texarkana doesn't have all the museums, zoos, and theme parks that you find here in Houston.




But that is okay because there we still have fun the old fashioned way and we eat at restaurants that have been around for 50 years where the owner knows your name.



And where else can you put one foot in Texas and one foot in Arkansas at the same time?


Good old fashioned fun.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Snow Again in Houston

We had a great Christmas morning.  The kids were super cute opening their presents and playing with their new things.


Ruthie who is now into hats was super excited about her new red one. 


I have to say though that there were multiple times over the weekend when we looked at each other and pondered what we were doing at this time one year ago when we won the Guaranteed White Christmas contest with The Weather Channel.


I couldn't cover our yard with snow this year, but I did find a can of instant snow that we could make in a bowl at the kitchen table.




Dad helped Ruthie make a miniature snowman.


Sam managed to get a lot of his snow onto the floor.


I turned down their request for a snow ball fight but did let them throw snow balls into a bowl.


It wasn't near the same but it was the best we could do this year.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Who Needs Electronics...?

...when you have a good old fashioned jump rope.


Some very dear friends watched the boys while Trent and I took Ruthie to have elbow surgery this week.


They broke out the jump rope while we were there and apparently continued it long after we left.




These are their sweet girls who are incredible with my kids.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ruthie's Birthday Party

Ruthie's birthday is in 2 weeks but I decided to have her party early so we could have a Christmas theme.  Also, she is in surgery today (wednesday) so I wasn't real sure what she was going to feel up to around her birthday.


So I decorated the house



And somehow managed to make the ugliest cakes in a jar you have ever seen.  They were really cute on Pinterest but not when I tried to copy it.


Even Ruthie wasn't quite sure what to think when she saw it.


Santa came!



And the girls blessed our neighbors with carols.


Best of all, we had lots of great friends attend and some even stayed after for some extra special time.






Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Christmas Card Explained

It has been brought to my attention that I need to explain my Christmas card.  Let me just start by saying that we are not adopting again right now and I am not pregnant.  Most of you know that I would love to adopt again as soon as I feel like I am capable but this is not about that.



Trent and I discussed not even doing a Christmas card because it is not like you guys don't see pictures of my children, but then we thought that might be unacceptable for the pastor and the photographer.  So I decided if we were going to do one, it needed to reflect what God has been showing us this year.

We have traveled all over the world since last Christmas, we have had some things that we thought would go one way then go another, and we have continued to struggle with the daily challenges of raising 2 kids with special needs.  Through all that we have seen and walked through this year, the message that  repeatedly comes back to us is that we are abundantly blessed.


So no we are not trying to make an announcement of a growing family but instead sharing the news of growing faith in the one who saved us and orders our days.  It is a message of perspective and blessing. It is the lens through which we choose to view the world and our own lives.  We are counting our blessings. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Week in Review

It is that time of year again where weeks are so busy that I can't possibly blog about it all without combining moments. 

The first of the week was pretty darn wet and cold so Ruthie and I stayed indoors and turned my dining room into a studio to play with an idea I had.




Papa Henderson and Grandi came over for their Christmas celebration with the kids.


Jack was excited to get his one request this Christmas- dry erase markers.  You would think having a kid who doesn't ask for anything would be great but he is actually very hard to shop for.


 Both boys had Polar Express Day at school and Kindergarten had their Christmas Feast.



Oh and Ruthie had her Happy Birthday Jesus performance at school.  She was precious of course.



Ah deep breath before it all starts back up tomorrow- church wide Christmas party, jury duty, 3 school Christmas parties, photo sessions, and one Christmas Tea for a precious little girl getting ready to turn 5! I can't believe it. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sometime You Just Have to Laugh

Sunday was an interesting day for us and especially for my Trent.  The first Sunday of every month, we have lunch at the church.  So this week was First Sunday Lunch and as things were beginning to wrap up, the hilarity began.  Trent stepped on stage to take care of something and then it happened.  His pants split.  He managed to step off and escape without anyone noticing.  Almost safe to his office he was stopped by a church member who wanted to visit so my quick on his feet husband said, "let's go to my office so we can sit down."  He then texted me that he needed help.  I interrupted the meeting and Trent informed me of his woes.  We laughed for a minute and then made a plan for him to escape to the car while I went back to the auditorium to gather his things.    

We stepped out of his office and some new members walked by and commented on how he had already untucked his shirt.  My husband quick again said, "Oh yes I am just ready to get home."

On the way back from the the auditorium, I was stopped by another set of friends who needed to visit with my husband over matters that couldn't wait.  So I walked them to his car (in the rain) so they could visit.  I am sure they wondered why he didn't just get up and come back inside.

So here are my husbands split pants from Sunday.   God does have a sense of humor and we have laughed much with him all week over this.



 He told me later that he bought those pants for our engagement party in 1997!  I'd say he got his moneys worth. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Getting Real Honest- Is it the Kid or the Idea of them?

I was just having this conversation with my neighbor and figured it was time to go ahead and think out loud here.  Who knows, maybe you will have some thoughts to share on this topic too.  I would love to hear them.

THE BACK STORY


So every time I think back lately on my time in China with Bring Me Hope, I get this icky feeling inside of me that I haven't been able to shake.  When I get feelings like that, they usually come from God because He has something He wants me to learn.  So I have been asking myself all kinds of questions and wondering if I am supposed to go back or what.   Then it came to me the other day.  I think I made a big mistake in China and did those 2 precious children a disservice.   I think I was so wrapped up in the idea of blessing them, buying things for them, and entertaining them that I failed to make a significant enough heart connection with them.  Truthfully I think I guarded my heart from that because I knew our time together was so limited.


THE APPLICATION HERE

So as I was coming to the realization of that, the bigger question hit me.  Do I do the same thing with my kids here?  Am I more focused on the idea of them then I am on their hearts?

Let's get real truthful here.  I think when I get busy, I get more enjoyment out of shopping for clothes with ruffles than I do playing dolls with Ruthie and connecting with her closely.   And to keep keeping it honest,  I have been known to get more enjoyment out of telling someone how good of a reader Sam is than I have sitting down and listening to him read.  And Jack?  Well let's just say that watching him sleep is sometimes a lot more fun than parenting his heart and helping him with the things he is struggling with right now.

YES I am that crappy sorry of a mother sometimes.  THANK GOD it is not like that all the time.  Really it is when I get busy and don't make the effort to connect with their hearts because truthfully (just like in China) that doesn't happen automatically and it doesn't happen just because you are in the same room.

The other time that it happens is when I let the world define for me what is significant.  Just like my sweet girls at camp in China didn't see me and say "oh yes someone to buy me stuff", Ruthie didn't come to our home and rejoice that she could finally wear ruffles.  So why do I find significance in the insignificant?   It is as ridiculous as it sounds.

I don't think I am the only one guilty of this.  I look around me and see children being raised (as 8 year olds) to play a position on the high school football team but yet rarely sitting down with their family for dinner.  Isn't that the same thing?  I think it is a problem for a lot of us and unless we slow down and let God define our priorities, we may all look back one day and have the same icky feeling I have when remembering my time at Bring Me Hope.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Spelling Bee Boy

If you have ever had a kid with physical special needs, you know how it feels when they find something they can compete and succeed in.  Jack came home a month or so ago and told me that he wanted to try out for the spelling bee.  So we studied the words and he took the test.  I have to say that was a pretty nervous day because he really doesn't have anything he competes in so I wanted him to succeed and not get burned.  Well he made it and we traded in the list of 50 words for the new list of 400.


On Friday, he competed against other 3rd graders and 4th and 5th graders.  I think I was more nervous than he was.


He made it through the 3rd round which was frankly further than I would have made it. :)

I am proud of him for stepping out there, studying hard, and doing his best.  Way to go Jack!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Gaylord Texan Ice Show

After visiting Great Wolf Lodge, we decided to go over and spend a few hours at the Gaylord Texan.  Every year they bring in ice sculptors from China to create an ice exhibit. This year the theme was Shrek.


There are not a lot of places where you can swim on Friday and then cross the street and walk through a 15 degree ice exhibit on Saturday.



The exhibit ended with an ice sculpture of the nativity.   So cool. 


The Gaylord is beautiful so of course I had to snap a few pics with their Christmas decorations.






By the end, Ruthie was not interested in having her picture taken anymore.


So I told her to just show me how she really felt.