For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, May 28, 2012

Levi Turns 8 !!

A Baseball cake complete with Texas Rangers party supplies...gotta love that smile!

Blowing out all eight candles!
Sometimes the celebrations of our "off" birthdays turn out to be just as much fun as those that we plan. Levi's birthday was just such a one. His official birthday is May 13th which was on a Sunday this year, and because of that fact, his birthday became a two day event. It began on Saturday at lunchtime. Levi chose one of his favorite places to eat...Logan's steakhouse. We enjoyed fun family time and then spent time shopping for the rest of the day. On Sunday, which also happened to be Mother's Day, Brad grilled steaks, steak fries, and grilled squash for dinner (It was Yummy!!). Then, we celebrated Levi's birthday with a cake,ice cream and a Texas Rangers baseball game on TV. They were actually showing a Ranger game on ESPN that night...almost as if it were made to order!
Our Levi is an avid baseball fan...he loves to watch games, but he loves to play a game even more! He is a fan of the Texas Rangers (our entire family is ...since we are native Texans and have been fans for many,many one would guess that since we have a son named Nolan,right?!). This precious treasure is a "natural" athlete and finds so much joy in playing games, win or lose. He has a glove and ball with him most of the time, and spends countless hours tossing the ball, playing catch and back yard games (when he can get his older brothers to join him). Levi is full of life and adventure. He loves to be outside and active. He is all-smiles most of the time, and greets each new tasks with gusto. He has a precious heart and loves to help his momma. He has a gentle spirit, and he loves to "care for" and protect everyone. It is a joy to this momma"s heart to watch him play the role of big brother. He loves his baby brother fiercely and gently guides him to doing the right things...He is going to be an amazing daddy some day!
Happy Birthday to our precious treasure,Levi!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Mandy's Turn

We put into practice several years ago the idea of alternating "Big" birthday parties. It saves mom's sanity (somewhat) and saves on the pocket book. This was an "off'" year for Mandy, so she asked if she might have some friends over for a sleepover. She kept it small, and the girls all seemed to have a good time together. We took them out for a pizza dinner,and we came home to decorate their own cupcakes. The girls all enjoy crafts and made these cute hats, Then, they all disappeared into Mandy's room for an evening full of giggling, and storytelling. She seemed to enjoy this semi-quiet birthday as much if not more than a big event party; however, she is already making plans for her "special" 13th birthday next year.We shall see about that next year (too many other things between now and then).
Mandy turned twelve this year. We are watching her grow ever so quickly before her eyes. Since Mandy joined our family at the age of 7, it has been even harder to watch her grow as we missed so much of her beginnings. She asks often why we didn't adopt her as a baby. Oh, how I wish we could I wish that was part of God's plan for her, but it wasn't. We have made it our goal to let her enjoy childhood for as long as possible. That means "girlie-girl" parties, sleepovers, playing in the mud, and giggling with girlfriends. All to her hearts content! It isn't easy ...this concept for her, because her physical and social development often overshadow her psychological development and maturity. Her friendships with these girls has really blossomed over this past year. It is so nice for her to be able to interact with girls her own age, and these girlfriends are sweet, loving and encouraging to Mandy. It is such a blessing to see God at work in her life. Over the past few months, Mandy has really begun to question the plan that God has and is laying out for her. She is develping a real interest in serving and thinks she may have an interest in missionary work... "maybe in China (as a teacher)" or "maybe somewhere else". She is opening her heart to us a little more with each passing year. I cannot even decribe the joy that fills my heart as she begins to share her thoughts, feelings, fears and trust. We have been working, working, working, and praying, praying, praying that she could and would trust us enough to open her heart and to know that we are forever. We are often still on a roller coaster ride in our relationship, but with each passing year we see more and more glimpses of the beautiful child God has made.  
Happy Birthday to our precious, beautiful treasure...our Mandy-girl!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Toby's 3rd Birthday...First Ever Party

Since I am playing catch up on past activities, I thought I would go in chronological order. The month of April and May are filled with Birthdays and "Gotcha" days at our house. Toby's birthday(April20th) was exactly 5 days after Garrett's. Two weeks following that Mandy celebrated her 12th birthday, and two weeks after that Levi celebrated his 8th birthday. Whew, we have been partying!
Toby's Birthday:
How do I even begin to describe the blessing of this precious child?! He is definitely a gift sent from God to our family. He is precocious, tender, loving and filled with joy. He doesn't love lightly or haphazardly. He is so excited to be a part of a family and loves, loves, loves! It brings happy tears to this momma's eyes everytime I see him interact with his brothers and sisters. There is never a time that he doesn't have hugs for all of them. He makes me laugh because he has developed a bedtime ritual of hugging each brother and sister, and he refuses to lay still until he has given each a separate hug (of course, I do realize that he is developing a "stall" tactic, but for now is precious). He reacts in very similar ways when he is apart from the kiddos for a period of time. He has to account for the whereabouts of each child and give hugs all around. Toby has an equal amount of love to share with his parents as well. He still finds daddy for the most comfort, but he and I are developing a strong bond. He hugs  tightly and desires help and comfort from me when daddy is unavailable. It isn't much different than what I experienced with all our boys at certain ages. It makes this momma's heart full to overflowing that they love their daddy so and that they have a daddy with which to share many boyhood experiences.
Since Toby has never had a birthday party (or really any recognition of his birth), we planned a big party. Toby has come to love Mickey Mouse and the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We decided to transform our home into MM Clubhouse for a morning. We had fun making games, designing mazes, and decorating.  His older brother designed a yard maze that the preschoolers could all run through, and he insisted on making "giant" MM ears to put on the roof of our house (it had to look like the clubhouse). Each sibling was excited to be "hands on" helping with his party. When we saw the huge grin that stayed transformed on our precious boy's face, it was worth every minute and every dime spent! He laughed, giggled, ran, played, and blew out his birthday candles with gusto!
We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this beautiful baby boy that God gave to our family! Happy Birthday to our Toby!
What's a party without food?... and it isn't MM clubhouse without ...?

Momma made the cake

Can you see the big ears on the roof?

The maze

"Oh! Toodles!" (a hunt to find Toby's present)

Look at that smile!

Ring Toss

Parachute Fun!

His favorite...hide under the 'Chute'

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oh My! Has it really been a month since I last posted

I cannot believe it has been that long. I have tried several times to sit down and catch up, but it is just plain crazy around here! I have missed posting about several important occassions...3 more birthdays, the end of school, and just some fun activities. The girls are finished with dance class for the year on Saturday when they have their big recitals. We will be "dancing" nearly all day because each of the girls will be in separate recitals. Oh, and... I cannot forget the numerous baseball games that are now underway until the end of June. I will try to find some time in the next fews days to do some catch up posts and a post and some pictures of our beautiful girls' dance recital.
Hopefully, since we are finished with school for the summer, I can keep posting regularly. Would you please leave a comment if you are sticking with me and still reading my blog? Please! I would love to hear from you!