Tour Two

You guys sure know how to make a girl feel loved and appreciated!  It was so fun to connect with so many of you yesterday…Facebook is good for something, yes?!

So today, let’s look around downstairs.  The entry way of the house was painted a pumpkinish orange.  It really just reminded me of the Texas Longhorns and I just. couldn’t. do. it.

Entry before

Entry before

As you can see, we painted it a dark, dark grey and I like how it toned down all of the other wood in the kitchen and dining area.

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after

Entry after

So the right is the kitchen, and right in front of you is the bar we installed.

Entry after

Entry after

It’s the perfect little space for breakfast and such…and for the kids to sit at because the rest of the official dining room has carpet.  When I swept after the first meal, I knew we had made the right choice with the bar!

Our previous home did not have a dining room and I’ve never grown up in a house with one, yet my heart looooonged for one.  I love family dinners…I love the breaking of bread and feasting and raucous laughter that comes with sharing something yummy with people you love.  This place has a great dining room…

Dining room before

Dining room before

and my sweet husband filled it with the perfect table…

Dining room after

Dining room after

Isn’t he amazing?!   We kept our old chairs and used the same table base, but he built the table top and the benches!  We can get a solid 12 people around this thing.  My heart is racing just thinking about it!

It’s my favorite room in the house, truly, because I love all that it represents.  My other favorite thing is the fireplace guard.  Another gift from the brother-in-law.  It was an old stock rack that you’d sit in the back of a pickup to haul livestock and it fit PERFECTLY in this space – it was made for us!

Off of the dining room is the school room – a close second for favorites!  We didn’t do much in here except paint the pumpkin the same dark grey as the entry way and replace the light fixture…

School room before

School room before

Are you ready?  Seriously?  It’s divine!  We spend so much time in this room and school hasn’t even started yet!

School room after

School room after

School room after

School room after

School room after

School room after

We ordered our curriculum last week and got our approval letter in the mail and we are ready to REALLY use this room!  Off of this room, is sweet little patio area with a good view of the neighboring cows…peaceful and sweet.

Ok, so back to the kitchen.  We didn’t do anything to it besides paint.  The walls were a light yellow and, again, we went with a grey just to tone everything down a bit.

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

I love the brick, I love all the storage.  It doesn’t look huge but it has far more room that our previous kitchen.  The only thing I’m missing is my gas stove; electric just isn’t the same!

Off of the kitchen is our room and bathroom; two of the less “wow” rooms of the house. We didn’t do anything in our room except upgrade the ceiling fan that threatened to fall on us in the night.

Master bedroom

Master bedroom

It’s sweet and simple and easy to keep clean.  And?  It has a nice sized closet – something else we’ve never had before!

The master bath is one of the more dated rooms, but we did our best at making it look at least nice enough.

Master bath before

Master bath before

Master bath before

Master bath before

We changed a lot in the room, starting with the color.  We put in new lighting, new mirrors, new fixtures…a good head start without ripping the thing to shreds and starting over…

Master bath after

Master bath after

Master bath after

Master bath after

Master bath after

Master bath after

It’s better….

Off of the kitchen, is the stairway leading to the basement, the laundry room, a mudroom bathroom and the living room…but I’ll do those another day.

Today, we’re headed to Mullen to see the original WD Phipps and the kids are fired up!  Wryder has his “cowboy clothes” on and Sawyer is dressed to the nines…their great-grands are pretty lucky!

Updates and Upstairs

Oh, sweet friends!  Were you wondering if I’d ever return?!  Life has been crazy and GOOD – crazy good!

To catch you up in one, simple run-on sentence, we had the opportunity to sell our house, rent an upgraded (read: bigger, newer, central air having, more-than-one-bathroom-and-an-actual-dining-room) home that answered all of our prayers…so we packed our things and cleaned out barns and buildings and took way longer than we ever imagined to move in because apparently we have a lot of stuff and like things just so…BUT we are in and feeling settled and LOVING. IT. HERE.  The Lord blessed our socks off and we feel this is exactly where we are supposed to be for the here and now – not much better than that!

And?  Apparently, I have some of the sweetest, most encouraging friends on the planet who want to see pictures of the place so what better day than today to get me back in the saddle of blogging.  I’ve missed it so!

Moving had been on our minds for a while for lots of reasons, one being that we had bought our home on what we had called a five-year plan.  It suited us well and we loved that sweet, little 100 year old farm house but with the addition of two other children, things started to feel a little tight.  (And, I know, that is definitely a first world problem.  We have never felt anything but blessed to live there - remember that awesome story!? – but we felt the Lord prompting us towards something different and we were ready to go!)

We had heard about the house from friends from church.  They told us where it was so we drove by just to see if it was even something was an option for us.  Whoa. Nelly.  It was like dream-home material!

Yes.  Just YES.

Yes. Just YES.

A month or so later, we took a tour, prayed our faces off, sold our home and moved in here!  We LOVE IT.  I’m afraid, no other home will ever compare – truly!  Obviously, there are things we might change if we owned the place but for now?  It’s perfect for us!  The Lord answered all of our requests and desires and then some!

From the moment I walked in, I could SEE us making memories here.  I could see myself in the kitchen, cooking with Sayble while looking out the window at the other 2 playing outside.  I could see Bible studies and card parties in the big ole family room and loud family dinners in the dining room.  I could see kids playing for hours in their big kid rooms and looking out over the pastures from their windows – I could just see us here!

Some people probably think we’re crazy for renting but for us, this was the best option for now, for several reasons. (And just so you know, I don’t feel the NEED to explain myself, but if you don’t know that I’m an open book by now…)

1) We had reached a point with our old home that we felt we had maxed out or profit potential without doing something drastic…and we weren’t up for drastic.  2) Moving is always on the table when you work for a company 3 states away.  While we love this area and home we never have to, it’s always an option.  3) Building costs mega $$ these days!  I don’t know if we built what we’d like and then had to move, if we’d ever get our money out of the place. 4) There aren’t very many farmsteads in the area that AREN’T either a modular or a 100 year old farmhouse and we’ve been there done that.  5)  It was the Lord.  All Him.  I won’t argue.

So, to recap…moving with 3 small children is hard.  Moving with livestock is harder.  Moving 112 chickens is hardest.  We love our new home and can’t imagine life anywhere else!

Here are some pics of the new digs!

We’ll start upstairs.  The stairs come up out of the dining room, up to the kids’ floor.  All three of their bedrooms and their bathroom is up here, which is so nice!  They’re all together and it’s REALLY quiet for them…which means good sleep for them, so good sleep for mom and dad!

Don’t knock the paneling – ha!  We weren’t gonna mess with that!

Upstairs - empty

Upstairs – empty

Upstairs - empty

Upstairs – empty

Top of the stairs

Upstairs after; top of the stairs

Now, why did I start with that picture?!  The bookshelf.  Sigh.  I have visions of it being artfully arranged…but then I remember that I have 3 small children who I want to LOVE to read so I’ve given up the fight on the perfect bookshelf and have gone with the “we use it all the dang time so it’s always disheveled look.”  You should try it, too!

Upstairs after

Upstairs after; truly a happy place!

My brother-in-law got me that dreamy pew last year and I was so happy to have a place for it in our new home!  I started out like this:

Pew before

Pew before

and after a good sanding and a fun color, it’s one of my favorite things in the house!

Pew after

Pew after

The kids’ bathroom isn’t huge but I think it’s perfect for them!  I’ve been so impressed with how clean they have kept it!

Kids' bathroom before

Kids’ bathroom before

Kids bathroom after!

Kids bathroom after!

Kids' bathroom after!

Kids’ bathroom after!

Kids' bathroom after!

Kids’ bathroom after!

Since then, they’ve gotten a new faucet, as this one bit the dust about 2 weeks in, but it’s just a fun, sweet little bathroom – I love it!  (It was the first room that was completely finished in the whole house!  Gotta love small rooms that didn’t need paint – ha!)

Wryder’s room DEFINITELY needed paint.  It’s hard to see in the pictures but the walls were in pretty bad shape as far as scratches and dings.

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

Wryder's room before

Wryder’s room before

We painted it a pretty, neutral grey and I love how it turned out!

Wryder's room after paint

Wryder’s room after paint

Wryder's room after paint

Wryder’s room after paint

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's room after

Wryder’s room after

Wryder's big closet!

Wryder’s big closet!

Sayble’s room is the smallest, but it suits her needs just fine for now!  I love how it turned out…so sweet and cute – like her!

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sayble's room

Sayble’s room

Sawyer got the biggest room.  It was an easy choice for us as far as layout goes…and?  The girl’s got a lot of stuff.  There’s a hoarder gene on the Phipps side and by golly, the girl’s got it!

Part of why she needed the big room was for this:

LOVE LOVE LOVE

LOVE LOVE LOVE

There’s just something about a cute farm house with two twin beds in a room!  I bought those headboards at an auction one day for $5 each.  They are vintage 20’s and just cute as a button and I’ve been storing them for this room!

Headboard before

Headboard before

Headboard after paint - Sweet Caroline, to be exact!

Headboard after paint – Sweet Caroline, to be exact!

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Her room is so sweet and so totally her.  She loves her double beds; she loves the little table for tea parties and such and she loves using the toybox as her desk/office.  And?  She has a huge closet – a must for a girl with a penchant for cute things!

Sawyer's room and a few of her fun things!

Sawyer’s room and a few of her fun things!

Sawyer's room

Sawyer’s room

Sawyer's closet

Sawyer’s closet

And, yes…that is exactly what you think it is!  She has a “secret room” behind the bookshelf in her closet!  We turned it into a toy room for her and all of us love spending time in there.

I wish I had taken before and after pictures of it because we did the works in there!  New carpet, new lighting, boarded the walls…

Sawyer's toy room after

Sawyer’s toy room after

It is so fun and the perfect place to store all of her Barbies and babies and doll house things.  And?  Wryder has one, too.  How did we luck out like that?!

Wryder's playroom before

Wryder’s playroom before

Wryder's playroom after

Wryder’s toy room after

We put in new carpet, painted everything and put in new lighting.  I LOVE this space and he does, too!  I love having the toys out of sight, too, I won’t lie!

Wryder's toy room after

Wryder’s toy room after

Wryder's toy room after

Wryder’s toy room after

And?  Sayble has a little crawl space in her room that we can turn into a playroom for her one day.  But we’re tired.  And she’s still a baby.  So we’ll wait.

Thank you for humoring my little house tour with my awful iPhone pictures.  ;)  We’ll hit downstairs tomorrow.  Maybe, all of my pictures will have uploaded by then.  Oh, how we miss our good internet service!

Random Rambles

The weather was SO nice last week so we tried to be outside as much as possible – always a good thing for small children with lots of energy.

This girl LOVED riding the little car...

This girl LOVED riding the little car…

Forgive the two-toned fence in the picture above.  We replaced the boards earlier this spring after Wrex left his pickup in reverse when I waved him back to the house.  Apparently, he thought there was a sincere emergency (I just had a a letter that I needed him to drop in the mail) and came running in without shifting into park.  Thankfully, there’s a small hill in the pasture behind it and it stopped it – on this flat farm ground, who knows how far it would’ve traveled!

We had a cheeseburger picnic one day last week after an impromptu trip to town.

Aren't they cute?!

Aren’t they cute?!

They played at the park, ran their hearts out and tried to sneak up on a little robin.

Quiet...

Quiet…

It flew off, but it was worth a shot.

****************

The impromptu trip to town was to get a little chicken house we found.  It. Is. ADORABLE.  We wanted it to put close to the house for some of our momma’s and babies.  So far, it’s just housed cats and dogs…

Peanut being patient

Peanut being patient

A new breed of chicken....

A new breed of chicken…

****************

We went to town on Friday to buy groceries and someone wasn’t too thrilled with his attire.

Doesn't he look handsome?

Doesn’t he look handsome?

He swore this was a girl’s shirt.  It’s not.  I made him wear it.

****************

Saturday we strayed from our red meat diet and had some roasted chicken.  This was Wryder’s first experience with a chicken leg and he was a HUGE fan!

Yum!

Yum!

****************

We also had some fun visitors last week!  Our sweet friend, Diane and our NEW sweet friend, Katherine stopped by!

Awwww!

Awwww!

The kids adored them and Wryder wanted them to stay to tuck him in bed.  They doted on the kids and took a tour of the Phipps farm and ate cookies and punch with us! They even brought the kids supplies to do a fun craft which Sawyer did this weekend.

Ms. Diana brought her a bunch of torn up tissue paper and some mod podge and Sawyer made a box for a baby shower gift for our neighbor.

Cute - both of them!

Cute – both of them!

It turned out so cute!

You ladies come back ANY time!

****************

Saturday was equally beautiful and we took the kids to walk around the little fishing pond in town.

Beautiful evening, beautiful kids

Beautiful evening, beautiful kids

We saw 1 goose, 4 ducks but no fish or turtles.  They had a ball exploring and running and checking out the water…and we had a ball being with them.

****************

This little dandy showed up on Facebook this morning:

5 years ago...Sawyer and Uncle Blake

5 years ago…Sawyer and Uncle Blake

Be still my heart.  Sweet girl has grown a little since then, yes?!  (Blake is just as dashingly handsome, just FYI.)  I love seeing all these clothes in Sayble’s closet now.  We put her in some of Sawyer’s old jammies yesterday and it just made her even cuddlier!

Sawyer/Sayble

Sawyer/Sayble

That Sayble…she is just pure joy, I tell ya!

Look at that face!

Look at that face!

She hams it up for the camera, that girl!

****************

Today, we got to shower our sweet neighbor who is expecting a sweet baby girl in about a month!  Sawyer got to see two of her favorite girls (and fellow flower girls from Gillian’s wedding) and they had a ball together!

Hugs!

Hugs!

2.5 years ago...

2.5 years ago…

They’ve grown a little…

***************

Gillian has some of the sweetest family members a girl could ask for.  Two of her aunts (and ladies I’m proud to call friends) were there today and were just so encouraging to me regarding motherhood.

One of them told me that if the Lord would give her any day to do again, she’d choose one when her kids were around the age of mine because they are just so fun.  And it’s true.  This right here:

Heaven on earth

Heaven on earth

This is the closest to heaven I’ll get on this earth.  I love them with every ounce of my being…

I love the way Sayble NEEDS me right now and needs me with ferocity!  I love to hear her little jabbers and her sweet smiles.  I love the way she pats me when I pick her up and the way she only wants to be where I am.

I love the way Wryder is all boy.  I love how he wants to mow and shoot guns and eat dirt and poop outside.  I love how he helps pick up after meals and how much he loves his sisters.  I love how he always hollers, “love you!” one more time as I close his door after tucking him in.

I love the way Sawyer has entered a self-sufficiency of sorts.  I love that she and I can go anywhere and she’s fine and I’m fine and we can go and do without a lot of planning (or extra bags)!  I love that she loves so many of the same things I like.  I love that she loves to talk to me and is, truly, one of my best friends.

Tomorrow is Monday and before I know it, Friday will be here again.  Another week done and gone.  It happens so fast…  Lean in and love it, momma…

Pressing In

I have a temper.

And I hate it.

I’m an opinionated, passionate, perfection-loving, anxious person and the unsanctified parts of those things tend to rear their heads through frustration and anger.

I try to be even keel – that helps when you have small children – but sometimes, it gets the best of me.  After the 300th time that I have to repeat the rules that have yet to change since the beginning of rules – no banging on the table, no back talking, no pushing your sister, no jumping off of the coffee table, not getting ON the coffee table, no pulling Sayble around by her legs, no dumping out the dog food, no putting food from our plate on the floor, no sneaking snacks without asking, no screaming while Sayble naps…you get my drift – my flesh takes over and I go into angry-lecturing parent mode.

It doesn’t happen all of the time or even the majority of the time, but one time is one too many and I find myself fighting with that urge more than I’d like.  The Lord gave us emotions and He gave us the ability to feel anger but He does not give us the ok to sin in our anger; when I raise my voice or roll my eyes or let an exasperated naughty word slip or lecture on and on and on hoping they get the point?  That doesn’t please Him.

Anger is one of those really difficult emotions because in the moment, you feel completely justified.  Whatever you feel like doing in rebuttal MUST be ok because of what the offender did or said.  BUT?  That’s just not the case.

The Word says repeatedly that the Lord is slow to anger and abounding in love.  While He’s flipped some tables for the sanctity of His holy place, we don’t see Him on this constant rampage with a furrowed brow and venomous lips.

Parenting is HARD.  HARD, I tell you!  In this stage, with three littles under the age of 6, it can be exhausting.  There is so much physicality to the job right now.  One day, it will switch to more of a mental exhaustion and we’ll be craving those dirty diapers and untied shoes again, won’t we? 

As a mom – especially one that has the luxury to be with her babies all day, every day, weekends-mean-nothing – we are constantly pouring ourselves out to tend to their needs and mend their hearts and navigate their emotions and guide them back to the trail to kindness and righteousness.  Add in the daily chores of laundry, dishes, meal prep, feedings, cleanings, prayers, school work, yard work, etc. and the weight of all of those duties can pile up and sends us teetering on the edge of a meltdown.

While I do want our home – our sacred place – to be a place of peace of righteousness, how I respond to the sins of my children will determine the tone of my household more than their choices do. 

They’re not perfect.  They’re gonna sin.  That’s what they do!  But how I handle that will either lead them TO Jesus or AWAY from Him.  Another big job to add to our list, yes?

This weekend, I felt like we had all been really busy this past week and because of that, our prayers had become choppy and repetitive and insincere.  We regrouped together as a family on Sunday night and we began praying things that aligned with the heart of the Lord.  When we take our desires to Him – things that HE desires for us as well – He is faithful to move on our behalf.

He doesn’t want me to be angry.  He doesn’t want me to sin in my anger.  He doesn’t want me to speak harshly.  His desire for me is to be slow to anger and abounding in love.  And that has been my prayer.

Prayer is not an argument with God to persuade him to move things our way, but an exercise by which we are enabled by his Spirit to move ourselves His way.

While I desire obedience for my children, let the sanctification and obedience start with ME.  I still pray they choose obedience but oh, I pray for me to be more like YOU.  I want to move myself your way…

Lord, we want to be more like You, simple as that.  Isn’t that the goal?  That with each day and week and year, the maturing Christian would look less like the world and more like Jesus?  Pressing in to get there…

PAW Patrol Party

Little Wryder Roo turned 3 last week – a monumental occasion for him!  He has been SO excited about his birthday (because birthdays are AWESOME) and has been asking for a Paw Patrol party since last year sometime.  We had a busy weekend (that got attacked by every child having the nasty cold/upper respiratory infection we’ve all been passing back and forth) so we didn’t plan him a big party, but we still pulled out all of the Paw Patrol garb I got on sale at Party City.

We set it all up on Thursday evening so that when he came downstairs on Friday, he’d have a good start to his day.  Sweet boy was so excited!

I'm THREE!

I’m THREE!

We made a quick trip to the clinic on Friday and then went to birthday lunch.  Originally, I had told him he could choose anywhere he wanted for lunch and, lo and behold, he chose McDonalds.  Now, I’m not one of those haters that just absolutely can’t stand the place because it’s non-ogranic or they serve GMOs or whatever…I just don’t like it because I don’t think it’s very good.  Except their fries.  Enough salt and grease makes ANYTHING good.

Thankfully, our sweet friend Traci got to talking about Mexican food and he decided he’d rather go there instead – hallelujah!

He made a good choice!

Free dessert!

Free dessert!

It was good.

It was good.

On the way to town, he opened the birthday card he got from GooGoo and inside was a ten dollar bill!  He was so excited and so we went shopping after lunch and he bought the one pup he was missing – Rocky!

Look at that face...

Look at that face…

He was so excited to pay for it and get his bag, all by himself!

Big boy!

Big boy!

He had a few dollars left and he used it to buy a root beer float!  Can you have too much sugar on your birthday?!  Nah.  Not when you’re three.  :)

Fridays are usually long days so we waited until Saturday to open presents.  He is SO much fun to buy things for 1) because he has certain things he just REALLY, REALLY like and 2) he’s so expressive, it’s just flat fun to see how excited he gets!

A school bus!

A school bus!

The pickup and trailer he's been wanting!

The pickup and trailer he’s been wanting!

He was a happy camper!

He was a happy camper!

He loved the Air Patroller too but he was blurry with excitement so the pictures wouldn’t mean much to anyone but his parents.  :)

PaPa and RaRa sent him one of his other favorite presents…

a wheelbarrow!

a wheelbarrow!

He used it all day today.  Pretty sure we’re gonna have dirt EVERYWHERE around this place…

Sayble was quite fond of the wrapping paper.

Isn't she cute?!

Isn’t she cute?!

Pretty sure her first birthday is gonna be a ball, too!

We had his “party” Saturday at lunch.  I always let the kids make their menus and he went back and forth between steak and hot dogs (quite the spectrum, I know) but finally settled on hot dogs, which worked well for the dog theme.  ;)

PAW Patrol on a roll - get it?!

PAW Patrol on a roll – get it?!

He also wanted french fries, fruit (very specific about what berries), punch and pumpkin bread.  I turned the pumpkin bread into dog chow, so it worked out.

He got his pumpkin bread!

He got his pumpkin bread!

Pupcakes

Pupcakes

The spread

The spread

Official Pawty water

Official Pawty water

Birthday boy!

Birthday boy!

Sweet sister, representing Skye!

Sweet sister, representing Skye!

We even had Paw Patrol tattoos!

We even had Paw Patrol tattoos!

and masks

and masks

He's three!

He’s three!

and decided to eat his pupcake like a dog...of course.

and decided to eat his pupcake like a dog…of course.

I think he had a really good couple of days.  As he was eating one last cupcake on Saturday night, he said, “Mom?  Thank you so much for my party!”  Melt my heart.  Anytime, kiddo.  You are why I do what I do….

Later that afternoon, our sweet neighbor got married.  Despite the icky colds, we couldn’t say no to watching such a Godly couple vow their forevers to each other.  It’s so nice to attend a wedding where the couple really gets it, ya know?

The rain was relentless that afternoon and Sawyer didn’t want to mess up her cute hair so we did this:

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do...

A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do…

And yes, I need to do laundry.  ;)  I’m working on it, ok!?!

Wrexy had a pretty cute wedding date!

So sweet!

So sweet!

We came home and called it an early night.

I keep saying that I think three is his year!  Just today, he’s put on socks and pants by himself AND pooped somewhere other than his pants!  (It was outside on the sidewalk but it WASN’T in his pants!)  Seriously, I think it’s gonna be a good one…

Worth 1,000 Words: Easter Edition

I’m behind.  I know.  But we had a SPECTACULARLY MARVELOUS Easter!

We stuffed 100 eggs to take to the cousin egg hunt down in Oklahoma…

Yum yum!

Yum yum!

We took communion together and remembered all the Lord has done for us…

Sweet girl

Sweet girl

and boy

and boy

He spilled his juice LITERALLY as Wrex was saying, “This is my blood poured out…”  It was perfect timing…

We colored Easter eggs.  We tried the fake ones this year as the others never really get eaten.  Not a fan.  The real ones are better.

Serious business

Serious business

I made cookies for all the cousins (and the RaRa) for their Easter baskets I took down…

Yum yum for sure!

Yum yum for sure!

We gave the kids their little goodies before we left…

Lots of pink!

Lots of pink!

This cute girl…I just love her to pieces!

Hip to the max

Hip to the max

We headed south, loaded for bear!

Thank the Lord for the Suburban

Thank the Lord for the Suburban

Uncle Waco and Aunt Amber surprised us and came to Aunt Tootsie’s too!  We all had such a good weekend!  The kids went on a MASSIVE egg hunt!

All the grands in one place - love.

All the grands in one place – love.

There were eggs EVERYWHERE!

There were eggs EVERYWHERE!

The boys were quite competitive!

The boys were quite competitive!

The girls, too!

The girls, too!

She was so cute!

She was so cute!

The girls looking through their loot...

The girls looking through their loot…

Sunday morning was a typical Sunday morning.  I got one good picture!

Surely, WD will take this good of pics when he's 5, right?!

Surely, WD will take this good of pics when he’s 5, right?!

Most of his looked like this:

Sigh

Sigh

Sayble wasn’t much better…

This was the best one I got!

This was the best one I got!

She was good DURING church, though…

She loves GooGoo just like everyone else!

She loves GooGoo just like everyone else!

Sawyer snuck in a little snuggle time with Uncle Waco…

She adores him!

She adores him!

And we got to see GooGoo’s new house and try the picture thing one more time!

Np dice.

No dice.

This was the closest we got…

That'll work, yes?

That’ll work, yes?

We got to see Uncle Waco’s new house that they’re building!  Sayble took the tour with him…

Swoon

Swoon

and his little girl took the tour with Wrex…

Cuties

Cuties

It was so much fun, I’m not sure any of us were ready to come home…especially those of us who had to unpack and do the laundry.  ;)  I’d do it all again tomorrow if it meant we were all together though…

WD is Three!

Wryder Douglas is THREE today!

Swoon.

Swoon.

As I logged on, I was thinking that it took my sweet boy to get me back on the blog (we’ve had a litttttttttle bit going on lately)…but as I had that thought, it was exactly right.  THEY are why I do this.  They are my legacy and my reward and why I keep this written history of His goodness in our lives.  And Wry Wry?  He IS good.

You came bounding into the world a little past 5 in the morning – momma’s quickest labor by a landslide – and you’ve been running circles around the rest of us since!

Just minutes old!

Just minutes old!

You are still in love with dirt and rocks and sticks and tractors and cannot be outside without coming in absolutely filthy.  (Today, you got into spray paint and painted your face and hands!)  You are constantly showing mom and dad where our attempts at safety have fallen short.  ;)

You and Ernie!

WD and Ernie!

You love all things PAW Patrol and Marshall is your favorite!  Colors are no longer just green or blue…it’s Rocky green and Chase blue, etc.  You’ve been dreaming of an Air Patroller for weeks and I can’t wait to see your face tomorrow when you get your very own.

You have grown SO MUCH this winter!  You’re no longer a toddler, but a little boy – or so it seems.  I am constantly having to remind myself that you’re just 2…because sometimes you seem much older.

:)

Little man

You are still highly emotional – in good ways and bad.  ;)  Your face is so expressive and I love when you ask questions that you’ve really been thinking about or stretch your mouth into an O when you’re excited.  I never have to wonder what kind of mood you’re in because it’s written all over your face.

Mischief

Mischief

You have stretched me and tested me and pushed my buttons and made me cling to Jesus more than just about anything in my life.  I really thought I had this parenting thing figured out until you came and walloped me.  I feel like I’m still learning how to navigate our lives – please don’t give up on me!

One of his favorite places to play

One of his favorite places to play

More than anything this birthday, I want you to know that you are oh so loved.  Truly.  All of our lives are better because you are in them.  And?  Jesus loves you, kiddo.  Unconditionally.  No matter how many times you go to time out or how many times you have to be corrected or how many times you take your shoes and socks off outside, He still loves you.  Perfectly.  Better than we ever could.

You are a gift to us on your birthday (kind of backwards, isn’t it?!) and as much I don’t want you to grow up, I’m excited to see the man you become.  I’m proud of ya, kiddo.  I truly believe three just might be your best year yet…

Here’s to PAW Patrol cupcakes, wedding dancing and miles on your knees with your new birthday surprises!

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The Ones I Hold Dear

You know those friends you have in your life that are always, ALWAYS there when you need them?  I feel blessed to have quite a few of those and the past several weeks, there are few that have just captured my heart all over again…

One, is this girl.

Beauty to the nth degree

Beauty to the nth degree

Most days, I feel like I was a better mom when it was just her.  Parents of more than one, please don’t tell me I’m the only one that feels this way.  I just feel like so much of my day is spent picking up after people or taking care of Sayble who eats/sleeps/poops and needs something almost constantly or disciplining Wryder and it feels like my patience and tolerance run out quicker than I’d like…and that’s not fair to her.

I know we live in community and it’s part of being a family and it’s part of having siblings, I just want so badly to do it well…because she deserves that.

The more time goes on, the more I feel like she’s one of those once in a lifetime kind of kids; she’s mature beyond her years, she strives for obedience, she doesn’t push boundaries, she’s quick to forgive, she’s quick to do the right thing, she’s got the heart of a servant, administrator and worshiper, she’s a doer and a fixer and a creator, and one of my best friends on the planet.

Today, she talked to me about how we can choose things for ourselves, but we can’t choose things for others.  See what I mean? 

She constantly chooses to strive for obedience when Wryder doesn’t and she constantly chooses to love me even when I don’t feel lovable.  Lord, help me honor her by giving her more of my best…more of You and less of me.

I love you, sweet girl.  I know I’m not the perfect momma…but I wish I was.  Thank you for thinking I am and for encouraging me to try even harder.

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And this pretty, pregnant thing with a banging bedroom.

Isn't she a doll?

Isn’t she a doll?

She’s probably gonna kill me for this, but I *might* be able to (or at least attempt to) outrun her in her baby-will-be-here-in-3-days state.  ;)

She is one of the busiest, most efficient, creative people I know…but I have yet to call upon her for ANYTHING and she not answer, and answer quickly.  Scared about some weird health thing?  She talks me off a ledge.  And prays for me.  Confess some horrible parenting ordeal or poor choice?  She’s points me back to Jesus.  And makes me feel better with some story of her own.  Call her with a million website/design/Adobe/computer/color/Apple/blog questions?  She answers.  Every time.  And encourages me and compliments and fills in the gaps when I can’t.  And never makes me feel bad about it. 

She is one of those sisters of the heart that the Lord just plopped in my life…and another one of those, “Why in the world would He make us live so far apart??” kind of friends.

I love you, KJ!  You rock at life.  So glad I get to be a part of yours…

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And these people.

Sibs

Sibs

Marrying Wrex was one of the best decisions of my life and besides making a life WITH him, the next best thing I got out of the deal, were these wonderful siblings.  We all got to be together (sans Warner) over Easter and it was so. much. fun.  I rarely laugh more than what I do when I’m with them!

They are fun, funny, ambitious, family-oriented, life-giving, encouraging people and honestly, my life wouldn’t be near as fulfilling if they weren’t in it.  I truly consider them some of my best friends…

My sisters are the best –  I can tell them anything and they are never anything but encouraging!  My brothers are the best – they make me laugh like no other and I get a good dose of sarcasm, general immaturity, sports talk, cow talk, blue-collar talk, good-natured teasing and all-around fun when I’m in their midst.

And?  They all love my kids so. stinking. well.  As a parent, what’s better than that?!

Seriously, you guys…  My heart beats for family and these people make family worth fighting for.  You five have my heart.

Random Rambles

The chicks are alive and well and getting lots of attention.  Sawyer named hers Dot and Penguin Cindi.  Wryder named his Corny and Wheater.  If that boy doesn’t farm or sell tractors one day, I’ll be shocked.

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Sayble has mastered pulling herself up – watch out world!

How we found her this morning in her crib

How we found her this morning in her crib

She has been pulling up on the dishwasher, the coffee table, any chair she kind find, the back of my legs – honestly, anything!  She got herself into quite a pickle the other day when she did this:

What do I do, mom?!

What do I do, mom?!

She was so proud of herself but then had no idea how to get down!  That’s been the biggest problem lately.  After she went to bed tonight, she started screeching 20 minutes later.  I went in to check on her and she was standing up in her bed but didn’t know how to let herself back down.  This could be fun for a while…

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We talked a lot about Palm Sunday yesterday and what exactly this week means for us as followers of Christ.  During supper, we were reviewing with dad all we learned and Wryder excitedly exclaimed, “Saywer!  Jesus is our King!”  I melt.

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It was such a lovely day on Sunday that the kids just had to ride horses.  Sawyer has gotten really good at riding and understanding general horsemanship and, of course, Wryder thinks he has.  :)

He really likes to say, “Ho” or “Whoa.”  The only problem is that he likes to say it all the time.  That makes going anywhere a little difficult.  Regardless?  He looked darn cute.

Sawyer and Ozark, Wryder and Ernie

Sawyer and Ozark, Wryder and Ernie

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Today was one of those days where we didn’t do anything really over the top – we were just together – but it was one of those days I’d do 100 times over.  We played Barbie Pop-Up Camper and learned more about Easter and read stories and did school and explored the back pasture and searched for pine cones and played with chickens and did chores and sang songs…

We have some friends – several friends – who are in the trenches…fighting for answers and fighting for life.  We are so thankful and humbly grateful for our whole, healthy family.

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Sawyer wanted to color and create this morning so she got busy with her crayons and made this beauty.

Hosanna!

Hosanna!

In case you can’t tell…that’s Jesus riding on a donkey while someone waves their palm branches.  Be still my heart…

He Is

Today is one of my favorite days of the year when it pertains to church.  Being Palm Sunday, all the cute little kiddos parade down the aisles of the church waving their palm branches proclaiming, “Hosanna!  Hosanna!  Hosanna to the King!”

After we all ooed and awwed over their cuteness and returned to worship ourselves, the weight of Palm Sunday really dropped into my heart.  As I was thinking about Jesus, Palm Sunday marked the beginning of the end.  As He rode into Jerusalem to ultimately meet His death, He was greeted with such celebration and splendor with people laying down their branches and coats in submission and allegiance to Him.  Hosanna…

As I think back on my life, I feel like the one name or attribute of the Lord that is most marked  for me is that of Hosanna.  He IS the God who saves.

He has saved me from a life of mediocrity.  I know a lot of lukewarm Christians…or followers that believe the Lord exists but don’t truly have a vibrant and thriving relationship with Him.  Most of my life, those were the only kind of people I knew.  When I entered college, the Lord changed that for me.  Through some incredible mentors and an extremely handsome guy named Wrex, the Lord showed me what a real relationship and walk with Him looked like and I’ve never looked back.  I’m big on living a life of excellence and that has to start with Jesus.

He has saved me from mediocrity in other ways, too.  For me, there were certain areas of my life that I always assumed would look exactly like what I’d seen lived out in front of me, even though I desired something different.  I can admit that I had high hopes for marriage but there was a part of me that was skeptical.  Did the type of relationship I hungered for really exist?  Today, I can attest that it does, indeed.  Because I was obedient to follow His lead (even though that meant hurting someone else), the Lord gave me an amazing husband!  My relationship with Wrex and my kids is something I treasure (and try not to idolize!) and I’m so glad I didn’t settle in my search for Mr. Right.

He has saved me from warped views regarding myself.  I went through a period of my life where I felt like I just wasn’t good enough…for anyone, anywhere.  I wasn’t smart enough for these people, I wasn’t wealthy enough for these people, I wasn’t thin enough for these people, I wasn’t outgoing enough for these people, I wasn’t funny enough for these people…I wasn’t ever enough.  Sadly, I held these people in the highest of regards (at the time) and I can look back now and see how they really reinforced these ugly things I had started to believe about myself simply by the way they were treating me.  It’s taken a lot of years to untangle some of those webs and I wouldn’t even say that they’re all undone, but I do know that the Lord has used some people from the opposite end of the spectrum – people who really “see” me – to save me from those lies and help set me free with the truth.

He saved me from my own stupidity.  Poor decisions, poor choices, flat out disobedience…  Times I should’ve been dead.  Times I shouldn’t have made it out of horrible circumstances.  Times I should’ve had stiffer consequences.  Times I should’ve never been given a second chance, yet time and time again He has shed His grace on me with loving-kindness and patience.

He saved my life.  Literally, my life.  There are memories related to my health and well-being engrained in my mind that still cause me anxiety.  There are times I made poor choices and He was merciful to me.  There are times when I was trying to be tough and probably should’ve gone to the hospital but He was my healer.  There have been times where I’ve just had some of the weirdest, freak incidents and He has spared me every single time.  Even this winter with the tumor on my thyroid, His mighty hand has saved me (literally!) again and again and again.

He saved my life, my whole life.  I am not a slave to death.  He paid the ultimate price through His death and resurrection and I get to LIVE because of that.  Not just in the here and now…forever.

Palm Sunday is the beginning of the end…but it’s also the beginning of the beginning.  The beginning of the new covenant…the beginning of our salvation through faith…the beginning of the cleansing of our sin…the realization of Hosanna…the God who saves.

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