Sunday, December 23, 2012

Be the Good

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."  Proverbs 4:23

My sister and I were out shopping this afternoon, and we went into this fab little shop in downtown Roanoke, called Addicted.  Inside I found this fantastic shirt with Proverbs 4:23 on it.  This is one of my favorite verses anyway, but lately I keep seeing it in different, unexpected places.  And that makes me smile....more proof that God is in the details. He shows up in fun places where He knows I'll see Him. :)

Reminders like these have been good for my soul, especially here lately.  Things seem bad.  Things ARE bad.  I normally don't watch many news programs because it's nothing but doom and gloom and only causes worry; these past couple weeks have been so much worse.  On Monday I started watching Good Morning America and found myself sobbing as I watched a sweet couple talking about their 6-yr-old daughter, Jessica, one of the victims from Sandy Hook Elementary.  I don't remember ever sobbing like that over a news story....this is one of the things about the ridiculous amount of media we're exposed to every day.  It's shoved down our throats so often that we're numb.  You hear about killings and tragedy and death and destruction so much that it starts to lose it's meaning.  THAT is tragic.  But this story about Jessica Rekos turned me into a sobbing mess....which is exactly what I needed to be.  And I found that I couldn't turn the tv off, as much as I wanted to. What I needed to do was mourn with that couple who lost a daughter the same age as my youngest son.  They deserved that much. So I did.  And then I tried to go about my day, and found that I really couldn't.  I was worried about my babies who were all at school.  I was worried about my husband who was at work at church.  I was worried that something might happen to me while I was out.  I was consumed with worry.  We're told in Matthew 6:34 not to worry about tomorrow, that tomorrow will worry about itself.  That's a personal struggle for me, something I battle with every single day.  I wish I was laid back and relaxed, secure and trusting, but I'm not.  I want to be...and I'm going to keep working on it until I am. But in the meantime?

We're in TX this week for's good to be in home. :) I've been lovin' on my baby niece and nephew since we got here, soaking up their yumminess and making sure they are well stocked up on Aunt Jac love.  I'm crazy about those babies.  Sat with Finn in my lap teaching him how to play Angry Birds on my phone....holding that little finger as it pulled the slingshot back and let it go, listening to his little laugh as the birds crashed into the pigs, and then we'd do it all over again. And again. :)

And then I rocked this little girl and put her down for a nap.

Typically her routine is read a book, rock a little bit, then night night.  But I couldn't put her down.  It wasn't long, after lots of talking about all kinds of different things, solving the worlds' problems ;) that she fell asleep.  And I rocked and rocked that sweet girl, marveled at how beautiful she is with those long eyelashes and tiny little punkin nose, her pretty little mouth.  I thought about how far she and her brother have come in the year (and a couple months) since Reagan and Jon first became their mommy and daddy.  Their chatter about things (after not speaking a single word when they first came), the way they both give and receive love, their senses of humor (they're both hilarious), how smart they are....they're amazing. And I started thinking about what their life was like before, and what it is like now.  That they were rescued in every sense of the word. That because Reagan and Jon were faithful to obey what God was calling them to do, to take the hard road to find these two...well it's nothing short of a miracle. And it's good.  It's very good. In a world full of hurt and pain and yuck....there's good.  And although our prayer is that they will have no memory of their life before, I'm sure if they did they would tell their parents how happy they were that they fought for the good and brought them home.
I bought this necklace the other day...something I rarely do.  Buy myself jewelry, I mean. But there's a little something I've been praying for and I know it's going to take a miracle to make it happen.  Thankfully I know a God who is really into miracles, so I'm trusting in His timing, believing that if His will is to answer a yes, He will.  And if not it will be because He has something better.  Hopefully one day soon I'll get to share that prayer with you.  We will see. But I had another reason for buying this necklace....I need the reminder.  I need to wear it close to my heart, because I'm having a lot of trouble remembering right now that miracles do happen.  That there is good.  Even though I know better....that if you're paying attention you will see it everywhere. 
There's these 3 boys that Brian and I had the awesome privilege of bringing into this world. That God saw fit to trust to us. It's scary raising children today.  There are so many things I want to protect them from. You can refer back to all my previous posts about scooping them up and going to live on a farm or in the mountains somewhere, far away from But I can't keep them in my bubble.  It's not what we were put on this earth for.  And the thing I've been kicking around in my head these past couple of weeks is quite easy, really.  It's simply this:

It's up to us to be the good.

Living with 3 little boys and their Daddy...well, there's lot of talk of super heroes, the bad guys, the good guys.  In our house the good guys always win. Always. And in my (somewhat delusional;) world where everything is rainbows and puppies, sunshine and butterflies, everything is happy.  Happy is the norm. Usually. Even when it's not easily seen, you can find it somewhere.  You just have to look.  And I know that happy isn't really the norm all the time. You have to chose the happy. It doesn't always come easily. 
I was mulling all of this over during church today, listening to a great message very relevant to this very topic, and God brought this verse to mind: 

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even when it seems impossible not to.  We are to stay focused on the end....on what's ahead.  And even now when our troubles seem like anything BUT light and momentary, the hope is that someday when life in this world is over, when we get to meet our Savior face to face....well, none of that will matter anymore.  And it really will be rainbows and puppies. Forever and ever. ;)

But in the meantime? In the meantime I'm not letting the bad guys win.  I'm going to fight for what is good. For what is right. I'm going to work hard to be a light in what can be a really dark place. To show kindness. To smile.  To be on the lookout for the needs around me and to be brave enough to help where and when I can.  To keep going about what God has called me to be here for, and to teach our boys to do the same.  Even if we're scared.  And tired.  And it seems too hard.  Because it will seem too hard sometimes. But it will be so worth it. 

It will. I promise. :) 

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you WILL have trouble, but take heart; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Over 3 months later....

Hi.  If there was a reward for worst blogger ever, I'm quite sure I'd be a frontrunner.  I like to win and all, but I'm not going to let that keep me least for now. I was thinking about what I should write about, because it's been so long and surely there is something interesting to talk about, or some kind of revelation or something....but nope.  Nothing.  We've been our usual busy selves, which is good, I suppose...but what I've longed for these past several weeks is for things to slow down and become boring.  And I guess if I really look at things I realize that what I've tried to change about myself~ to be more present, an active participant in life.  Off of my phone, the computer, the tablet, etc. etc. I know they are fun and convenient, but sometimes I want to chuck mine into the lake.  I won't....but I kinda want to.

But anyway.

Fall brought with it a fall baseball season for these two....

....which included first-time pitching for this one.
He comes from a long line of baseball players on all sides of his family (my dad, B's dad, my grandpa, cousins, etc), and I've watched a lot of baseball.  Watching your son pitch, however, is hard.  Like, make-you-wanna-throw-up hard.  He liked it ok, and for his first time did awesome. He plans for now  to work at it, but is (thankfully) more comfortable at, and has more fun playing short stop. Whew. ;) We'll see.

This one finally got his two front teeth....

....and added two of these firebelly toads to his critter collection. :)
They're names are Burnie and Bob, and are most definitely the easiest pets we've ever had to care for.

He also earned his orange belt in karate.  All 4 of us were there to cheer him on, and he rocked it.
Hunter Bug was awarded "Student of the Month" for the month of September.  Quite a big feat for the first month of kindergarten, and we are super proud! We are THRILLED with his teachers this year~ they are the perfect team and we love them both. :)
In related news, he and I are both adjusting to school just fine.  Him better than me. It's still weird, but we're good.

Fall is my favorite season, and when I saw these boots they seem to scream fall. ;)
I love them so.

Mimi came for a visit in October, and we took her with us to a pumpkin farm and had so much fun!

I officially launched my decorating business, called The Turquoise Giraffe.
I LOVE doing what I do.  Check out the website here. :)

This is a pic from my latest decorating was really fun!

I made time to finish up this one area of our bedroom, and am loving that it's done!

This sums everything up for me.  Truly. ;)
Ok, not really...but it is comforting to know when I feel like I've lost my mind there are others right there with me. ;)

Dr. Stanley celebrated his 80th birthday, and the boys dressed in their Sunday best (with a Hatcher-funky spin) in honor of his big day.  One of his favorite things to say is "Look your best, do your best, be your best," and we wanted him to know we feel the same way, and we celebrate him.

The littles' school had Grandparents Day last month and my Dad pulled off a big surprise for all 3 of the boys.  He showed up at school and Hudson and Hunter were completely was priceless.  And surprising Harrison that afternoon was hilarious.  I love that our family is able to visit like this. :)

Harrison fell at church and cut his eyebrow open, requiring 3 stitches.  This was his 3rd (yes, 3rd) ER visit in the 2.5 years that we've lived here.  Wowzers. He's fact, you'd never know he even cut it. 

Last Sunday he dressed like a toy soldier and sang with his praise team at church.  Darling. :)

And speaking of dressing up, B and I were elves last weekend for a Sunday School department party.  The things I  We had a great time with a great group of people.

After Thanksgiving we had our first official real-Christmas-tree-finding-and-dinner-out-night.

It was FREEZING that night and I was so cold I forgot to take pictures while we were choosing the tree.  Oops. :/

Eli the Elf made his Christmas 2012 debut last weekend, and brought breakfast! The boys loved it.

Things are good. I'm still thinking hard about writing a book.  I have a title and the first few pages written, and am hoping to work on it more over the Christmas break. Enjoy this month with your family, and take the time to create some Christmas magic for your family.  Soak up the time with family and friends.  Make memories.  Have some hot chocolate.  Look at Christmas lights.  Watch your favorite Christmas movies. Cozy up by the fire. And most important, take time to thank the One that we are celebrating this month.  Lots of love from our family to yours. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Popping the Bubble

It's been a strange couple of weeks around here.  I blinked and summer was over (which I say every year....I know) and before I knew it, the boys were starting school.  This year, however, was different.  This year, for the first time in 11+ years, all 3 boys are in school all day.  Five days a week.  There was a time when I dreamed about this day.  That dream usually came after a day of cleaning up more messes than I could count, consoling a crying baby, potty-training a toddler (which we all know is my least favorite mom job ever), cleaning the house, feeding everybody, yada yada.  All at the same time.  All on very little sleep. one time I dreamed about a quiet house, a clean house, with all kinds of time to do what I needed to do and still have time for what I wanted to do.

Then that dream became a reality.
I'm fully rested, my house is clean, and eerily quiet.
I still don't know exactly how I feel about it, but mostly?
I'm not a fan.  I miss my kids.  I'm struggling to find my purpose.
Or rather, to make adjustments to my purpose.

I not only love my kids like crazy, but I really like them too.
I love hanging out with them.  They're fun, and funny, creative....what can I say?
They're pretty cool. ;)

While I have to admit that it's been nice having a little time to myself, there's a big part of me that wishes it wasn't 5 days a week.  More like 2-3 would be perfect.  But I know it won't do them any good to keep them with me constantly, and I know that my job as mom is to teach them in the way they should GO, not the way they should STAY.  To encourage them to make good friends, to find what they love and go after it, to test the waters of life while they're still under our roof. And school is a great way to help teach them what that is all least, in my opinion.
I've blogged a little about Harrison starting middle school last month, and how it was a big decision for us to have him transition to the public school in our neighborhood.  It really wasn't as difficult of a decision for me as I thought it would be.  For one, we live near excellent schools.  The school the little ones go to now (where Harrison did go) is incredible as well.  We've gotten attached to the people there.  I'm friends with a few of the teachers. They are receiving an incredible education there, with smaller classroom sizes, and start each day in praise and worship.  It makes it much easier to drop them off each day.  That place is home for us, so in that respect it was hard to take Harrison out and move him.  BUT.

Yes, there's always a but, isn't there?

Yes, there were reasons behind this move.  For him, it was about not wanting to be the new kid in high school. We completely understood and respected that.  For us, it was about watching him handle real world stuff while he is still under our roof.   And beyond that, it's about giving him opportunities to make a difference where he is, because let's face it, when you're a pastor's kid and go to a Christian school, there's not a whole lot of opportunity for that.  Those are both good things...very good. :) It's just something I have been feeling so conflicted about lately.  The "not having opportunity or people to share Jesus with" thing, to clarify. There's a reason we're here, and I can guarantee it's not to make life all comfy and cozy with our blinders securely in place.  Nope...there's way more to it.

So yes....if it was up to me I would keep the 5 of us in my happy little safe bubble. But it's not up to me, and my bubble isn't doing these boys any good.  Or their mama and daddy.  So I had to pop it.  And that stunk.  It hurt.  It's hard, and I'm constantly having to fight the urge to blow it back up and tuck us all safely back inside.

What I'm having to trust is that they are safer in God's hands than they ever will be with me. That shouldn't be hard to accept, but sometimes it is.

And I'm reminding myself that the magic I tried to create for them as they spent their days home with me, the safe, secure happiness they have come to know as home...well, it's still here.  But now they take a piece of that with them, and hopefully, if I've done my job right, they're creating their own happiness wherever they go. 

Kindergarten drop off was tough this time around around.  With Harrison it was rough because he was my first and I was pregnant with Hunter and swimming in ridiculous amounts of extra hormones. With Hud we were facing the real possibility of moving to GA and I was distracted (or more appropriately, consumed) with those thoughts. It was still sad, but made easier with the knowledge that I still had one more at home with me.  So flash forward to now and my baby is in the middle of his 5th week of school already.

As you can see here, he is loving it.  Thriving, already learning to read, talking about his new friends, loving on all the people he knows from being up there so much with's been a fairly easy transition for him.  A little crankiness (it's HARD being a kindergartner~ those days are long) and he's more emotional than normal, but it will pass, just as it did with his brothers.  His teachers are perfect for him, and that makes leaving him there each day much easier.  We're going to be okay.

The first day of school this year was honestly.....a blur.  I hardly remember any of it.  I got very few pictures.  I was so completely preoccupied by the fact that B was in Honduras for the week that I didn't stop and embrace this moment the way I always thought I would.  If I'm being honest, which, let's face it...this blog is useless without honesty, B's mission trip to Honduras brought with it a paralyzing fear for me that completely blindsided me.  I mean yes....I knew I'd be uneasy about him being out of the country, in a somewhat dangerous city, without the ability to call him or to trust that he'd be able to get in touch with me when necessary.  I knew it'd be hard.  I spent the first couple days worried, but ok.  I had heard from him, knew he'd arrived safely, and had assurance from him that he would call me again before heading out to the mountains the next day.  But that call that night didn't come.  While B had warned me that that could happen...that the cell signal was very weak, but not to worry if he didn't hear from me, I didn't really believe that would happen.  In our 17 years of being together, not one day had gone by that I hadn't at least talked to him on the phone.  Not one. So when the first day went by without any word, and then the second....well, you can assume that I was a mess, and you'd be right.  One hot mess. ;) I had quickly slipped into worst-case scenario mode, and was sure something terrible had happened to him.  Never had I been so thankful for the help that my parents were those first several days, driving out to help me with the boys, and during those couple of days a much-needed encouragement and distraction...keeping me busy, and laughing, and trusting that everything was okay. That Brian was okay. That he would be home soon, and life as I knew it would be back in order. Yes, I am incredibly blessed. :)

And then my person called.  I've talked about her here lots.  Her name is Tomi, and we've been friends since we were 11.  A LOT has happened in those 24 years...the good, the bad, the ugly...and all of it has worked to together to make us one amazing, dysfunctional, fantastic duo.  Or as we like to call ourselves, two sometimes dark and twisty rockstar superheroes, no sidekick. ;) Being apart these past 2 years STINKS.  I don't like it at all.  But amazingly, the distance has made us even better.  I don't know how....I don't understand it, and I want so much to be able to do life with her everyday again.  And I hoping that maybe someday we will....and believing that.  But in the meantime, we're rock solid and I'm so very grateful.

She called me to see how I was doing, and I had a complete come apart.  It was ugly.  I told her that I was scared.  That I had a terrible feeling that something horrible had happened to Brian, and if that was true that I wasn't sure how in the world I would go on without him.  That I had always felt that no matter what else happened that as long as I had him walking beside me we could handle whatever came our way.  Together.  And she took a deep breath, and paused, and then shared this wisdom with me: "my friend...I know this is hard and scary, but if there's anything God has taught me during my journey with him, when I was alone raising Garrett, when I thought none of my dreams were going to be reality, it was that as long as I had Jesus walking beside me that I could handle whatever came my way."


How much truth there was in those words.  How much I needed to hear it...and how very much I still had to learn. We hung up the phone, and I went into my closet, closed the door, and got down on my face before the Lord.  And I prayed for a very long time, and asked Him to forgive me for not trusting Him with EVERY part of me.  For putting my trust in my relationship with B and not in my relationship with Him. I asked Him to protect Brian, to bring him home safely, and to let this experience leave me changed...changed to where I'm relying on Him to get me through and nothing else.  There is nothing better than time spent alone with my Savior....I left that closet renewed, hopeful, trusting. I soaked up the time left with my mom and dad, even more thankful for the sacrifices they made to be here with the boys and me.

The next day I was getting my nails done, and my cell phone rang, showing an unknown number.  I answered it and heard that deep, wonderful voice that I had missed so much the past few days.  I was so caught up with relief, and love, and thankfulness that I almost couldn't respond to him, but finally did.  And we laughed, and he assured me that all was well, that they were returning to the main city a day early because of rain that would have prevented them from getting out of the mountains if they had waited.  I silently thanked God for protecting him as we talked, and hung up the phone considerably more relaxed than when I had answered it.

A couple days later the boys and I drove to church to pick him up. :)

We were so very happy to have him back home with us, and wanted to make sure he knew how much he was missed.

Never had I been happier to see this see these four posing just like this. :)

So yes, God was faithful to return him to us.  But I had a new understanding that if things had gone differently He STILL would have been faithful to take care of us.  That if the worst happened, that it would be nightmare come true....but He would be with me all the way.  No, of course this is not something I ever want to dwell on, and it's something I'm going to have to fight against again I'm sure, because I'm human and it's inevitable....but I'm thankful knowing that I am never alone.  That His plan is indeed perfect.  That this world is not our home.

 Boys in school, husband traveling the world for Jesus.  Me trying to keep it together for all of them at home.  Bubble popped.  What should by the world's standards leave me feeling vulnerable and unsure is instead leaving me feeling at peace, resting in the fact that He always goes before us.  He is showing us how to be light in an otherwise dark world.  And through Him we are making a difference to others...loving on them, encouraging them, praying for them.  Bubble popped, eyes we go. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beating a Dead Chicken

I almost did it.  I almost got through today without a public comment on the great Chickfila scandal of 2012.  (Oh,how I wish there was a sarcasm font...can someone please get on that? Thank you.;)  Way more thoughts than I can rightfully process have crossed through this head today (along with so many more unrelated thoughts than I can count).  Most of them not in anyway related to CFA at all, because there's more to life than chicken, right?

Although this little girl would probably you tell I'm exhausted?  That could prove badly for this post...let's see how it goes...

But yes, August 1, 2012 will go down in history as the first ever (at least, I think so) "I Support Chickfila Day," and although I haven't seen any reports of today's profits yet, I have a feeling based on the number of packed-out-restaurant photos posted on FB alone today that CFA had one of the best sales days in the history of the company.  Quite possibly in the history of all fast-food chains....but that's just a guess.  NO facts here, so please don't quote me. 

Did I go? Yes, I did....twice. ;) We really love that place. But before you jump to your own conclusions as to why I went, please give me a chance to tell you. I can tell you it wasn't to send a message to the people who disagree with Dan Cathy's convictions (even though I do agree with him), and it wasn't so much about helping them defend their freedom of speech rights as Americans.  Trust me...they didn't need my help.  Or anyone else's. They have held their own just fine.  Do you want to know why I went?  Here you go:

The CEO of CFA, Dan Cathy, answered a question he was asked about his personal beliefs about homosexuality.  He wasn't disrespectful in his answer. He didn't personally condemn anyone who believes differently than he does.  He answered a question honestly. The fallout from this answer has been huge and in my opinion, ridiculous.  And not helpful.  And quite possibly accomplishing the exact opposite of what we, as Christians, are supposed to be so busy doing. But because I frequent my local CFA on a ridiculously regular basis, I've become very accustomed to their customer service~ their friendliness, quality of work, cleanliness of the restaurants are like no other. Not one time have I ever witnessed an employee treating anyone in their restaurant with anything but genuine concern, care, and persistence in making sure each customer's needs have been met.  Each and every single one.  

CFA did not ask for this extra attention today. I believe it was Mike Huccaby (correct me if I'm wrong) who established this day in our history...but it doesn't really matter who, as long as it wasn't the restaurant itself.

So I needed to see what was going to happen today.  And when I pulled into our local CFA it was, of course, a madhouse.  But they were prepared for us, organized, eager and happy to serve.  Telling me more than once that it was "their pleasure" to serve us. They had grace under enormous pressure, and smiles on their faces.

It didn't take long for me to see that for them things were, quite frankly,
business as usual.

Which got me thinking about another guy, named Jesus, wondering what He would be doing today if he was still walking this earth with us.

Yes, I'm going to bust out the old, tired
(meaning What Would Jesus Do? for those out of the loop;)
Of course, I can't speak for Him, but based on his usual actions during his time here, I'm having a rough time believing he would just be hanging out at a CFA today. I'm pretty sure it'd be business as usual for Him too~ sharing the gospel, feeding the hungry,  healing, helping, LOVING. All of us.  Correcting and rebuking in love.

I'm quite certain that the (delicious) chicken sandwich I enjoyed for lunch today didn't win one person to Jesus. In fact, I'm positive about that. I hope it reinforced to a company I respect for standing up for their beliefs  that I will continue to do my part to help them. I also hope that it's the way I act in day-to-day life that might win hearts to Jesus.  That when I am loving them, regardless of choices, they will see a passion in me...a passion that makes them hungry to know more.To know this Jesus that I talk about....this Jesus who is so interwoven in me that they're not sure where I end and He begins.  That they won't understand or care how or why....but that they will crave it anyway.

This, friends, is my heart's cry.  That people will KNOW.  Because they see Him in me.
That they will trust I love them just the way they are. That I really don't care (and by "don't care," I mean I'm not judging lifestyle choices, sin weaknesses, and all the other stuff of earth). My prayer is that they see in  me, in this broken, healing, still-figuring-it-out, no-filter, worrier shell of a girl something so COOL in me, something they too HAVE to have...a relationship with the One who can heal, can change desires, can set us back on the path we strayed from. 

"When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12

So I ask you to do this.  To take the time you spent today supporting a cause and showing the world that there are Christians out there who are passionate and loving and kind, and then use those super powers for good. ;) For good that can really change lives.  
Be so contagious that others will want what you have.  
Love them.  
Listen to them. 
 Gently show them what Jesus intended. 
Point them to Him. 
He can take it from there.  
He's really fantastic at that. :)

No more mud-slinging, or hateful Facebook posts, or propaganda signs in your yard.
Because, let's face it....if we don't stop this passive-aggressive nonsense,
 that chicken sandwich I ate today could've very well done a better job at actually making a difference in a person's life, quite simply for the fact that it did what it was made to do: be a delicious, filling chicken sandwich that filled my tummy, making me hungry no more. ;)         Do what you were made to do. Be the difference that is life changing. 
Share the love of Jesus with others, point them to Him.  Live it out and show them the difference He is making in your life.  

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
    Matthew 5:14-15

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Eight and other super important things

One month ago today my middle guy turned eight.  We were in TX on his birthday and I had no access to my pictures so I had to wait until we got home to blog about him. I'll spare you all the sad, gushy, he's-growing-up-too-fast stuff that I know all moms feel at each of our littles' birthdays.  It's a catch 22~ I'm so thankful for him and love watching him grow and become who he is, but I just wish it could slow down a little. Or a lot.
Those of you that know Hud know how incredibly special he is.  I don't even have the right words to explain....he's just a magnet.  He's loved. He's a lot of fun to be around.  He's a gentleman....opening doors for people, cleaning up things "so you can have a break, Mom," giving up what he has to his brothers or friends because he knows they will love it...and he's joyful about it.  He's intuitive....seems to know when someone needs a hug or a word of encouragement.
We celebrated with Daddy before heading to Texas, so technically he had two birthday celebrations. His big surprise was a new iPod, which he hadn't asked for because he told us his (old, out-of-date) one was just fine.  He was SO excited when he opened it, and so surprised.  It's so fun to give him gifts because he is a grateful humble, and appreciative kiddo. 

He asked for a big cake with lots of layers....I ended up making each layer a different color, and it was delicious....but not pretty.  Next time I may leave the cake-making to the

He's thoughtful.....often quiet.....artistic....dreams of being a cartoonist someday.  Love that he and I share a love for art....he has a natural talent for sure, and I'm doing everything I can do to encourage that.

Beach tic tac toe is lots of fun. :)

He is fearless....especially when it comes to the ocean.  Was determined to conquer those waves with his boogie board, and he did. :)

He's a summer baby in every way. :)

I'm so thankful for Hudson....blessed and blown away by the fact that I'm his mom...that God would entrust us to raise him...what a gift. :) He's sweet and loving  and thoughtful and tough and gentle and funny, all at the same time.  He has delicious dimples and his shoulders shake up and down when he laughs....just like my Dandy's did.  He furrows his eyebrows like his daddy when he's concentrating...he's his mini-me in so many ways.  He's his big brother's greatest audience, and laughs so hard at his craziness.  He's a lego master. Lover of SpongeBob and Phineas and Ferb.  Karate champ.  So excited to see what 3rd grade brings for him....sweet punkin.

As usual, we've been gypsies this summer, opting to just keep our suitcases stored in our room instead of dragging them down to the basement over and's been so fun, and such a whirlwind, mixed together with incredibly special moments like this one:
On Father's Day Brian had the privilege of getting to baptize Hunter, who gave his life to Christ this past Spring. We were a little unsure of his understanding of the decision he wanted to make, at first worrying that he might be too young, but we were quickly reminded that children often have a better understanding of these things than grownups too.  He's been our "tiny theologian" since he was 3, and I'm blown away by his faith and his curiosity, always asking questions about God, and understanding way more than we think he's capable of.  There's not much that brings my hubs to tears, but this?  Definitely.  No greater blessing than knowing that all 3 of our boys have chosen this path....blows us away.  Thankful.

While in TX we braved the 100+ degree heat to go see our beloved Rangers. :) It was Hunter's first time to go, and even though we sweated our noogs off, it was totally worth it. :)

And they won....of course. ;)  
So great be back seeing our favorite team do what they are so incredible at.

We had great seats right behind our man Josh fun!!

Fourth of July with Mimi and Papa....had so much fun with them...went way too fast.

My sis and her those girls SO much. :)

This picture totally cracks me up....they were so excited about that cake pop. ;)

And now there are less than two weeks before Harrison starts school and then another week before Hud and Hunter start...already mourning the end of summer, and trying to savor all of it.  Until next time.....