Monday, March 26, 2012

Not my idea

Bob and I have been leading a grief support group at church since January.  This is our second time leading such a group.

The 13-week sessions always bring much encouragement as we intentionally reflect on God's Truth and how He gently and graciously carried us through the past 5 years of intense sorrow.

It also brings many tears as we meet new friends who are just starting this difficult journey and learning to adjust to an "incomplete" life.

This year's group shares a commonality of tragedy -- cancer, drownings while on vacation, suicide, car accidents, murder.  So much sadness.

Yet, as a group, we are looking to the Author and Finisher of our faith and continuing to trust Him through it all.

One sweet couple approached Bob and I a few weeks ago and expressed their gratitude for this grief ministry. He is a photographer at a local studio and wanted to offer us a gift.  Their studio, he explained, would be showcasing live ducks for the Easter season, and he offered to give us a portrait session for the kids.

I was very grateful for their kind offer.  He gave me instructions on setting up the appointment, and, as I turned to leave, he said, "And how many kids do you have?"

Umm...  Yes, that may have been one of those questions he should have asked prior to the offer.

We have not had a photo session of the entire brood yet.  For obvious reasons.

But I was ready to try!

The night before, I picked out some coordinating outfits, curled Eveley's hair, and gave everyone a bath.   That day, I tried to prepare them for the little live ducks.  "Mama will be so proud of you," I said with a giant cheesy smile on my face, "if you can sit still and smile for the camera."

We walked into the studio and were met by the photographer and his wife.  They had prepared a room with a park scene, they said.  The older two would sit on the bridge and the twins could sit on the sides of the path.  Once everyone was settled, they would bring in the ducks and let them scatter down the path.

It would be lovely.  In theory.

They led us down the hall and into the room for the photo.  As soon as I entered, I audibly yelled, "UH OH!"  The entire creek path was covered with little rocks.

If you remember this post, my sweet (and sour) Caleb LOVES rocks.  I knew we were headed for a disaster.

And mama knows best.

They tried to position the children and then brought the ducks in.

I have succesfully blocked out most of the next 20 minutes.  My faint memory is filled with Ryan screaming uncontrollably and Caleb picking up rock after rock and trying to peg the ducks.  Even a scolding from the assistant photographer didn't do the trick.  But my little Jack never stopped smiling.

This life-time, successful, acclaimed photographer had met his match.

Our time was up and I tried to quickly herd my flock to the car.

"Surely we got something we can use," the photographer said.  "And, if not, I can always try Photo S*hop."

The pictures came, and they aren't too bad.  Really, they're perfect.  Perfectly real.

It was a very sweet gesture.  We have a fun memory.  And no child {or duck} was harmed in the process.


Friday, March 23, 2012

Cousin Lovin'

My sister, Kate, and her sweet 6-month-old baby, Beau, flew all the way from Texas to visit us this week.  We were excited to do nothing but let the cousins play (and sneak in some sister chats and chocolate).

This post will contain few words and many pics (since it's really for grandma and the other sibs).

Baby Beau loves his Auntie Lauren.  He is a very active 6-month-old and taught the twins how to climb everything.


Three little mobile monkeys was a little too much.  So we loaded the van and headed for the playground.


That made everyone happy.




what do you do when there aren't enough swings?
share, of course.

Time to go home.

and take a bath.

the boys, having a heart-to-heart 

 Ryan offered to wash their hair.


Monday, March 12, 2012


It was a glorious weekend!  Beautiful, sunny weather.  Dinner with sweet friends on Friday evening.  Kids playing nicely in the yard with new neighbor buddies.  The twins turned 10 months.  My entire house got cleaned (by me).  Date night with the hubby.  Sunday afternoon spent with Veggie Tales.  And Sunday evening spent in the ER.


Let's rewind.

The twinkies turned 10 months on Saturday, and they continue to be pure sweetness.  Miss Ryan is still my little squeally pink pig.  She sleeps like a champ.  Mr. Jack is loud and likes to get up very early with me to ensure I have my devotions.  (He is very spiritual.)

playing patty cake

These 2 are perfect.

Then there are these 2.


They are best buds (at times), and we make conscious efforts to give them some special time with (no babies) just mom and dad.  We got tickets to Veggie Tales Live for Sunday afternoon and anticipated a great time together.

I packed my purse with lollipops and granola bars.  It would be a fabulous afternoon.

The tomato and cucumber were a hit.

For the first half.

Then Eveley began whining for juice.  Darn.  I forgot the juice.

Caleb didn't make a peep.

Because he was sound asleep in my arms.

But I had fun.

Bob said I got an "A" for effort.

After the show, the kids just wanted to play outside.  We came home and I began playing hide-and-seek with the big kids.  Eveley was crouched down behind some bushes at the bottom of a hill, and Caleb was at the top of the hill holding a giant rock.

A few seconds later, I heard a loud bonk.  I instantly knew what had happened.  Caleb has an "issue" with throwing rocks.  He has a pretty good arm and pretty bad aim (or good, depending how you look at it).

When I got to Eveley, she had blood pouring down her back.  After an ice pack and a few Google searches, Eveley and I headed to the ER.

She was pretty mad at Caleb.  But very brave with the docs.  She kept asking where the treats were.

After some numbing medicine and 2 staples, we were on our way home.

Poor Caleb was pretty traumatized by the whole event.  I'm hoping he will never throw rocks again....but I'm not holding my breath.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sheer Joy

It is March -- when did that happen?  And my kids were sure sad that Ole Man Winter had not come to visit them this year.  Well, he did make an appearance several weeks ago, but we were in Tennessee visiting family and missed out on the whole thing.  So that doesn't count.

We had our fingers crossed when the weather report indicated we would have some flurries Monday morning.  That morning, Bob and I were sitting in the family room around 5 a.m. drinking coffee.  We could see the green grass from the porch light and assumed it would be a typical day. 

It began snowing at 6 and, in just a few hours, this was my view from the dining room table.

Our cousin Mathers, who is still living with us, is from Alabama and has never seen (a respectable amount of) snow.  So as soon as I gave the okay, they all headed outside to play.  

Supposedly, we now own the neighborhood's prime sledding spot.

Sheer Joy!

The twins missed out but helped me make hot chocolate and blueberry muffins for the troops.

Better late than never.