Saturday, January 28, 2012

Serious Practice

click on the collages below to see full screen

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Daddy's Love

This morning Brody woke up before Mike left for work.  He walked into the kitchen rubbing his eyes and reached up for Mike to hold him.  Even though Brody's getting pretty big to pick up and hold, Mike picked him up and held him as Brody wrapped his arms tightly around Mike's neck.  Brody and I walked with Mike out to the Jeep and then Brody stood there waving bye until we couldn't see the Jeep any more.

When we walked back inside the house, Barrett was walking out of his room rubbing his sleepy eyes.  I picked him up and held him as Brody told Barrett, "You just missed Daddy...but he said to give you a hug from him!" Then Brody gave Barrett a big hug.  I went to the kitchen and texted Mike, "Guess who was up when we went back inside?  You just missed Barrett :( "

He texted back, "I'm coming back!"

Barrett was so excited!  We stood by the door watching for the Jeep and then ran outside to meet Mike.  He got out of the Jeep and bent down with his arms open wide.  Barrett reached for him and then wrapped his arms around his neck.  It made my heart happy to see how much Mike loves our boys.  He turned around and came back home just so he could get a hug from his son.  So precious!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

WOW! What a day!!!

Today has been an amazing birthday...possibly the best ever! 

I started off my morning with a great workout at the gym.  Elly, the instructor, told everyone I was turning 22 rather than 32! lol.  Nice thought...but I like 32.  Life is good at 32!

Mike made me a delicious cup of caramel macchito before he left for work and then when the boys got up we went to get donuts.  We got some for Daddy Steve and Namaw too and took them back to their house to eat before school.  The donut lady thought the boys were so sweet, so she threw some extra donuts in their bags.  Just look at Barrett's plate!  CRAZY!  Needless to say, he didn't finish them all.

After I dropped the boys off at school I used my "happy birthday from Starbucks" card to get a free venti Caramel Macchito (yes...that's a lot of yummy goodness in one day...but it was my birthday so it was ok!)  Namaw hung a "Happy Birthday" banner in my office and they picked up a special lunch for us to enjoy.

After school Brody spent some time at GG's while Barrett napped and I worked on my blog.  I got a lot of blog entries made!  When Brody got home from GG's he said he had something he wanted to give me.  He said he was thinking about me while he was only the playground today and he filled his pockets with pretty rocks from the playground that he wanted to give me since it's my birthday.  So sweet!  I put them in the plant by the kitchen sink so that I'll see them every day and think of his love for me :)

Mike came home from work with lots of goodies!  He brought some beautiful flowers....
and he also brought dinner!  He picked up pizza, salads, and dessert from a place called Fireside Pies.  WOW!  They were soooooo good!  I bet I could've eaten an entire pizza by myself it was so good!  After dinner the boys and Mike came out of our room with a big gift bag for me to open.  They got me some neat books from Christian Research Institute...but there was something else in the bottom of the bag.
I wish you could've seen my face when I pulled out the box at the bottom of the bag! I was in SHOCK when I saw that Mike got me a Canon 580EX II speedlight (flash)!!!  I think my exact words were, "WHAT?!?  Did you really get me this flash?!?  Are you serious?!?  Is that's what's in this box or is it just a trick?!?"  lol!  Mike had the biggest dimples on his face as smiled ear to ear watching my giddy childlike excitement over a flash!  I had a smile on my face the rest of the night!  I tried some test shots and it's amazing the difference a good flash makes!  I can't wait to learn all about it so I can get some good indoor pictures too!  I can also use it to enhance outdoor photography.  The possibilities are endless...

A rainy afternoon with GG

This afternoon Brody got to have a special play date with GG.  We're so blessed to have her close by!  She lives next door to the boys' school, so after school I dropped Brody off and took Barrett home for a nap.  Brody and GG had a fun couple of hours playing cards and dominoes.  She said that when it started thundering (yes...we have had a few days of thunderstorms in the middle of January!), he crawled up in her lap and they sat there rocking and talking.  What sweet memories she is creating with our boys.  I love how excited they get about going visit GG.  In fact, Barrett cried all the way back to our house because he wanted to stay and play with GG too!  He'll get to go next time.  Hopefully we can make their visits into a regular thing...creating memories that will last a lifetime!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Are you ready for some baseball?!?

The boys in our house are waiting on pins and needles for baseball season to get here!  It's still over a month away (their league starts March 3rd)....but we just found out that Barrett gets to play this year too!

It seems absolutely crazy to me that he's going to play an organized sport at the age of THREE....but he's been BEGGING to play.  Since he doesn't turn 4 until June, we had to sign a waiver to let him play up...and we had to wait for a coach to pick him up.  For about a month now he's been asking me multiple times a day, "Has a coach emailed yet to say I can play tball?"  Well, today I got to give him the good news.

He woke up from his nap and walked sleepily into my office.  As he climbed up in my lap I said, "Guess what?  I got an email from a coach today!"

His eyes shot WIDE open as he looked up at me practically holding his breath.

"They said you can play tball!"

He wrapped his arms around my neck and hugged me so tight I could hardly breathe.  Then he started jumping up and down saying, "Yay! Yay! Yay! I can't wait to tell Daddy when he gets home!"

Be forewarned...there's no doubt that there will be picture overload this baseball season!

Little Tarzans

I went outside to check on the boys (Brody, Barrett, and Nate) today while I was at work.  I found them playing in the vines back in the creek.  I love that we live in a neighborhood where there's so much room for them to run and explore!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

These lovebirds can sleep anywhere!

Pretty Sweet!

Check this out:  Gary Fong The Puffer, Pop-up Flash Diffuser

For my birthday Mark and Angela got me a diffuser for my pop up flash.  I had seen it on a "gifts for photogs" blog and thought it looked cool.  I was so excited to see they got it for me and even more excited to try it out!  I'll post 2 pictures showing you the before and after.  These are SOC (straight out of camera...meaning absolutely no touchups). 

A self portrait I took using the on camera pop-up flash WITHOUT the diffuser:

and here's WITH the pop-up flash diffuser:

Surprise Visit!

While we were eating at Daddy Steve and Namaw's, Angela texted and said they were gonna stop by on their way back to Abilene!  What a fun surprise!  When they arrived, Brody and Barrett were still napping.  This meant all the attention was on Jayden and Laney.  Jayden was eating it up!  He and Uncle Mike spent lots of time wrestling on the floor while the rest of us watched Laney (who's now crawling on her hands and knees!)

Brody and Barrett were surprised and excited when Jayden woke them up from their nap.  They had fun playing together with balls and guns.  Brody was also happy to get to love on Laney.
I got a really neat birthday present from Mark & Angela...but it deserves it's own post.  Stay tuned!

Birthday Lunch with the Fam

Today I was blessed to have my family gather together to celebrate my birthday. 

Brody and Barrett are loving that Luke and Axton are able to play a little more.  Barrett pushed Luke around the house in the walker...ok...maybe it was more like running around the house pushing Luke.  I think Luke is saying, "I'm having so much fun being 'dangerous' with Barrett...please don't tell my mommy!  Please?!?"

Here's what happens when I'm not the one behind the camera...I am captured making strange faces...or maybe I just look like this all the time?!?  lol  I think I was feigning surprise over the gift Caleb gave me (he didn't realize Audria had already let me open it!)

After the sleepover last night, our boys were ready to head home for naps.  It looks like they weren't the only one ready for naps.  Axton was asleep upstairs and GG rocked Luke to sleep.  It was so precious to see him reaching for GG.  I know she loved getting to rock him.

The Big Party

The day has finally arrived....Nate's 4th birthday party!  Brody and Barrett play with Trey and Nate on a daily basis, so this party has been the talk of the cul-de-sac for the past few weeks!  There were bike races (I'm assuming this is one of the things that inspired the "take my training wheels off" day for Barrett), a pinata full of candy, cake and ice cream, and (the most exciting part for the boys) a sleepover at Trey & Nate's house!
Since the boys were spending the night with Trey & Nate, Mike and I took advantage of our alone time and made it a date night!  We had fun just hanging out together, eating at Texas Roadhouse, and watching Moneyball.  A big thanks to Jimmie and Laura (Trey & Nate's parents) for letting the boys sleepover.  They had soooo much fun (and will take great naps this afternoon)!

Friday, January 20, 2012

"I gotta boo-boo!"

Someone learned that you can't take corners too sharp when you're riding your bike.  Ouch!

Afternoon at the Park

Today was a beautiful day outside!  Daddy Steve and I decided to take the boys to the park to ride their bikes after lunch.  Since Daddy Steve and Namaw were babysitting Axton, he got to go with us too.  Barret was excited to get to ride his bike at the park.  It wasn't until he started riding that I realized how many hills are at the park!  It's a good thing he knows how to use his brakes!

Brody added some excitement to the ride by finding trails off the beaten path.

When Barrett asked to find a tree (potty break), Brody ventured off through the woods and found a creek with some cool sandstone rocks surrounding it.  We all followed to check out his find.

As Barrett was walking down the path, he fell and grabbed onto this to catch his fall....
Can you say OUCH?!?
This is one of the boys favorite trees at the park.  The limbs branch up and out creating a fun hideout underneath.  I think every time we walk/ride by this tree Brody asks me to take their picture!

Axton enjoyed the walk from the backpack.  We thought he'd fall asleep on the walk, but he was too interested in everything the boys were doing.

After the bike ride it was time for a baseball game.

Daddy Steve with three of his favorite little boys!

Before long Axton will be playing ball with his cousins.  Today he was happy to sit on the sidelines and chew on an unwrapped fruit leather. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Stop Over Analyzing!!!

Tonight I was standing in our kitchen talking to Daddy Steve when I looked over and saw Brody.  He had one of the lower cabinet doors open and was leaning on the open door. 

"BRODY!  I have told you more times than I can count NOT to hang on those doors!  Get off the door and shut the cabinet!!!"

It's his response that makes this scene blog worthy.  He looked at me with awe on his face and said, "WOW!  More times than YOU can count?!?  That's a LOT!  I wonder how many that is?..." he went on to mutter under his breath in amazement about it being more than I can count.

Daddy Steve quickly turned around to hide the amusement on his face...and I couldn't help but laugh out loud!  I said, "Stop over analyzing everything I say!  I was exaggerating...but I really meant it!  Stay off the cabinet doors!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Barrett's riding without training wheels!!!!

This morning Barrett said, "When I go to Daddy Steve & Namaw's house today I'm gonna ask Daddy Steve to take the training wheels off my bike and then tell him to go back inside and I'm gonna ride it!"  I just smiled and nodded. 

The boys went over to the cul de sac to play this afternoon and around 5:30 I got a call from Namaw.  She said, "You need to come watch Barrett!"  I knew it had to be something to do with him riding his bike, but I didn't expect to see this...

Did I mention that he's only THREE years old?!?!?  Mike and I are sooooo proud of him!!!

After I took this video, Brody taught Barrett how to put his foot down after he stops.  He also taught him how to push off and get going without any help!  Barrett doesn't know how blessed he is to have such a loving big brother!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Date with little b

This afternoon Mike and Caleb took Brody to a gun show with them.  They were going to be gone during Barrett's nap time, so I needed to come up with some way to distract Barrett while they left.  I decided to ask Barrett to go on a date with me!  He was sooooo excited about it (which made my heart very happy)!

He didn't care that we were just going to Schlotzsky's for was a date with his momma and that was all that mattered!
We had a fun time together eating and talking.  I found out that he wants to be a fireman when he grows up ("I'll put out any fires you have at your house!" he told me) and that he plans to drive a firetruck as his only source of transportation.  He said that he'll blare the sirens all the time (even when he's just going to the grocery store).  He also told me that he wants to have 100 kids.  "A girl with blue eyes, a boy with blue eyes, and a boy in the middle with brown eyes."  (Might need to work on math...if I'm adding correctly that's only 3 kids not 100! lol)  I asked what he was going to name them and he said, "George.  You the monkey?"  I said, "If you name them all George how will you tell them apart?"  He said, "There will be Tall George, Medium George, and Short George!"  Ah!  Of course!  I don't know why I didn't think of that myself! 
I love spending time with my boys.  I look forward to many more dates together...and many more talks of future plans!

He must be related to me.

Today we stopped at Hobby Lobby to look for a frame.  We didn't find a frame...but Brody found a bench that he thought was super cool!  In fact, he said, "Will you take a picture of me on this bench?"  Then he moved the sign (with the price on it) behind his back and said, "Is this hidden so you can't see it in the picture?"  Already staging pictures!  (I'm not sure he realized there was a huge "30% off" sign hanging on the back of the bench! lol)  Every time I hear him say, "Will you take my picture...?" I think, "He must be related to me!" lol!

(picture taken on my iPhone)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I remember when the boys were babies.  We wondered if they'd ever learn to sleep past 6:30 in the morning!  On Saturdays we longed for them to give us just a few more minutes of sleep.  We often asked each other, "How old will they be before they learn to sleep in?"  Well....the time has come.  One of the joys of having a flexible work schedule (where I'm with the boys all day and work from Namaw's house or our house) is that I don't have to wake the boys up on non-school days.  I can let them sleep for however long their bodies need the sleep!  I finally went into their rooms this morning around 9:00 to see if they were even stirring.  Nope!  I'm not looking forward to the day when they're both in school and have to get up early every morning. I really enjoy our leisurely mornings...where sleepy boys walk into the living room and crawl up into my lap to cuddle.  Sigh.

Monday, January 09, 2012

FIrst Cabela's Trip of 2012

Mike took today off work since he didn't get home until Saturday night.  The boys were super excited when he told them we were going to Cabela's!  They expect to get lunch there, but besides that they don't expect to buy anything else.  They love to go just to look around.  There are lots of things to see (besides camo clothing and guns) at Cabela's.

You can go on an African Safari...

You can watch the fish in the aquarium...

You can hunt many different things in the shooting gallery (Brody took his time aiming...took him 30-45 minutes to use $1 worth of tokens!)...

or you can pretend to race an ATV...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Barrett's Prayers

Yesterday Daddy Steve came over on his lunch break to help me get the Christmas lights off our roof.  I figured that by getting them down before Mike gets home tonight, he'd have more time to play with the boys tomorrow!  It was a beautiful day for January (almost 70 degrees!) which made it perfect for climbing on the roof! 

We successfully got all the lights down just in time for Daddy Steve to hurry home and go to a funeral (for a former neighbor) with Namaw.  Brody and Barrett were busy having a dart gun war while I packed everything up in tubs and started hauling it up into the attic.  There were still a few big boxes in the garage (that, thankfully, Grammy didn't try to carry up the attic stairs).  I decided that I was strong enough to get the boxes (including the one that holds our tall Christmas tree) up the stairs.  I knew it was going to be tough...and that there was a risk of me falling.  So, before I started, I rehearsed our emergency plan with the boys. 

The plan.....If Momma falls and needs help:
1.  Brody call 911 (I made sure he knew where to access the keypad on my phone...not the easiest thing to find on an iPhone if you don't know where it is)
2.  Since Daddy Steve and Namaw weren't at home, Barrett would run to the neighbor's house (who was home) and tell them we needed help.

As I proceeded to heave the Christmas tree box over to the attic stairs and then try to shove it up using the stairs for balance, I heard Barrett's sweet little voice behind me, "God....please don't let Momma fall.  Help her be safe!"

God answered the sweet prayer of my 3 year old son.  I got all the Christmas tubs/boxes/trees successfully put away in the attic until next year!  Now we're just waiting for Mike to get home!!!

Friday, January 06, 2012

Kids Club

Monday through Thursday I go to the gym at 5:30 in the morning.  On Fridays, I wait and go later so I can go to RIPPED (8:30 am) and Nike Training Club (9:30 am).  The boys love going to the gym with me on Fridays and one of the big reasons is a Kids Club worker named Garrett.  He's in his 20's and is going to school to be an EMT/firefighter (although the other day he told Brody that he might go into the military before he gets a job as a firefighter).  He is so good with the kids.  The boys love having a guy in the Kids Club to play ball with, draw pictures of baseball diamonds with, and talk about guy stuff.  This morning the boys really wanted to take their Christmas presents to show Garrett.  Brody and Garrett talk sports a lot, so he knew that Garrett would love his signed Craig Gentry baseball that Grammy gave him.  I told the boys that we weren't taking toys (and especially a signed baseball) to the they decided a picture would suffice.  Brody was super excited to show Garrett the picture of his baseball on my phone when I picked them up from Kids Club.  Of course, this was after he complained that he didn't get to stay and play long enough!  I'm sorry....but I think 2 hours of intense group fitness classes is more than enough time at the gym for me!

(picture taken on my iPhone)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cuddle Bears

Last night the boys and I went to Chick-fil-a for dinner (Mike's still on his business trip).  They asked me to take a picture of them with my phone (below) to text Daddy.  As they were hugging, Brody asked Barrett, "Are you my cuddle bear?"  Barrett responded, "Yes...but I'm also Daddy's cuddle bear and Momma's cuddle bear!"  Brody turned to me and said (in his not so inside voice), "You're Daddy's cuddle bear...aren't you Momma?!?"  I could feel eyes of the people sitting at the tables next to us.  I smiled real big at Brody and said, "I sure am!"  Then I reminded him that we need to use inside voices.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Making a Room

"We're making a top bunk and a bottom's called a room!" - Barrett
(picture taken with my iPhone)

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane

Mike left this morning for a business trip and won't be back until Saturday night.  After snacks, baths, and our devotional, the boys requested John Denver for their bedtime music.  I went to my closet to turn it on (where the surrounds system cd player is located) and by the time I got back to their hall I could hear sobbing from both rooms!  What in the world?!?  I went into Brody's room first and he told me (thru his tears) that the song was making him miss Daddy.  It was Leaving on a Jet Plane.  I guess his "DADDY!!!!" cries had carried through the walls to Barrett's room...which caused Barrett to remember that Daddy was gone and opened the floodgates for his tears too!  On nights like this I give the boys extra hugs and kisses and thank God that I'm married to a man that is such an amazing father that his boys' hearts break when he's gone on a trip!  I'm good at putting on a happy face around the boys...but I really miss my hubby too!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Welcome 2012!

I feel like the first blog post of 2012 should be a post of significance.  It will be the first post you read in my 2012 blog book (even if I'm actually writing this on January 17th and just backdating it January 1st.  I've been too busy finishing blog posts from our end of year trip to Arkansas and am now finally able to start posting stuff about this year!)

However, I really don't have an insightful post for you right now!  Instead of putting off starting my blog for 2012 until I think of something deep and meaningful....I'll just let you know how this year began for our little family.

As hard as Mike and I tried to stay up until midnight last just wasn't gonna happen.  We were happy to watch the ball drop at 11 pm (New York's midnight) and then we fell asleep.  We were tired from driving home from Arkansas.  The unpacking and laundry had already begun.

I can't forget to mention the WONDERFUL surprise we found when we arrived home from Arkansas!  When we left, Grammy was still at our house.  She hadn't been feeling well, so we told her to stay as long as she wanted.  I guess she started feeling better before she left because not only was our entire house clean (the sheets on the boys' beds had even been washed)....but she had put all of our Christmas decorations away!!!!  That's not a small task!  We couldn't think her enough for the gift of coming home to a clean house!  Instead of putting away Christmas stuff and cleaning house today, we were able to relax and enjoy our time together as a family!  In case we haven't said it enough....THANK YOU GRAMMY!!!!

Mike woke up this morning and felt like his head cold had moved to his chest.  Since he'll be leaving on Tuesday for a business trip (through Saturday night), he spent today resting and trying to get well.  He was very disappointed that he wasn't able to go with me and the boys to Billy & Paula Rhodes house for our annual New Year's Day dinner.

The boys and I had so much fun at dinner with the entire Rhodes/Hastings clan.  Paula made some delicious shrimp and we had lots of fixin's to go with the shrimp.  There was a Cowboys game on that the guys watched while the girls spent our time talking and playing with the babies.  It was a wonderful way to ring in 2012. 

I wonder what God has in store for us this year?.........