Hebrews 12:1-2
"...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith..."

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tate's Third Birthday

My baby boy turned 3 yrs. old last week.  I know, 3 really isn't a  baby but I can say it if I want to.  Never mind the fact that baby boy now weighs more than bigger brother...and I can't carry baby boy around very long before my back starts to ache...and that baby boy is always saying, "me do it"...and that baby boy doesn't drink bottles but instead can put down as much food as an adult and still ask for more...regardless of all that, he's still my baby boy and he'll be that for the rest of his life.

This was baby boy Tate on his 3rd birthday.   

He has waited for this day in great anticipation.  You should have seen the smile he flashed when he first saw his Toy Story birthday cake.  I was enjoying the moment too much and didn't have my camera ready but his smiled looked something like this...

For his special day, we spent the morning going to Bible Study Fellowship (BSF).  It was the first day that the boys attended..each going to their own class.  When I picked Tate up from his classroom, he and another little boy were "jostling" each other and his teacher quickly intervened.  This is how the conversation went in the car:

Jayden:  Did you have fun at bible study, Tate?
Tate:  Yes, I did.  (inaudible) boy pounded me.
Jayden:  What boy pounded you?
Tate:  Uh, (pause) that boy. 
Jayden:  Oh, what did you do?
Tate:  Me pounded him back.
Jayden:  Tate, next time, I will help you pound him.
(Both boys now joyfully laughing.)**
**Insert motherly preaching about how we must treat every one with kindness and love just as Jesus loves....and so on and so on.  I was thankful that my friend, Angie, just happened to be volunteering in Tate's class for the day and she reported that he was "so good" through class and that was the one and only incident she saw.  (And just so you know, there was no "pounding" of anyone in the second week of bible study.  NOW insert angelic voices singing "Hallelujah".)

After I preached at the choir (sheesh), we grabbed some Subway sandwiches and headed to the park because it was a GORGEOUS day.  I do not know where those pictures are right now because my digital photos are a mess...and I have no clue...so here is a picture that will give you an idea of the love relationship between Tate and his food.  He loves Subway and will eat a 6" but could seriously put down a foot long all by himself.  I just don't let him.

We played for almost two hours at the park.  This particular park has a ton of trees, which houses A TON of squirrels.  Perfect spot for us to be.  Our boys love nature and they find many "treasures" (nuts, sticks, seeds...).  Tate was finding his treasures and carrying them around in his pocket--which he then felt like needed emptied when he got to the playground.  As he was emptying them out, he was showing them to an older guy who was in the area.  What happened next was WEIRD.  The guy got really gruff and said, "you need to put those nuts down on the ground and leave them for the squirrels".  And I'm thinking, "Oh, he's just messing with Tate."   Hahahaha.  Then the voice got louder and gruffer, "PUT THE NUTS DOWN ON THE GROUND FOR THE SQUIRRELS, SON."  Ah, no joking there.  And I'm thinking, "Seriously, are you for real? Because I'm not seeing any kind of nut shortage in this here park."  My motherly instincts took over while the thoughts in my head continued and all of a sudden I try to be telepathic, "Put the nuts down, Tate, and back away 'cuz you are dealing with the biggest nut in the park at this moment."  I took Tate's hand, flashed a smile at the nutty man and steered Tate in the direction of Jayden.  (Hhmm, maybe the two of them could have pounded THAT guy.  Oops, forgive me Lord.)

Tate's big day involved a trip through the car wash because every 3 yr. old thinks that car washes are the most fun thing EVER (and my car was really dirty and the new place is still only $1...so why not combine all those three facts, right?)  It might have even gotten me "Most Fun Mom of the Day Award".

Last stop, Cold Stone.  I was by myself so there are no other pictures inside when ice cream was in hand.  This one was hard enough to get.

Tate enjoyed his day.  Happy 3rd Birthday, lil' Tate!  We love you!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Leland Entertainment

On Sunday, this is what happened when we were looking for entertainment....

We have laughed and laughed over these pictures.  I tried to convince Jayden that it was his twin sister "Jaydeen" but his reply was always in a perplexed, serious voice, "No, mommy.  That's me."

Hope you got a good chuckle!  Well, I'm off to make a cake....we have a birthday boy tomorrow and he's been waiting a long time for "he turn for a birthday"!

(And for those who are still wondering about the photos, Jenna was sitting back to back with the boys so she could "share" her hair--you just can't see her.  She's such a great big sister--who has probably laughed the most over these pictures.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jayden - 6 month update

This was the photo we received asking if we wanted this little boy to be our son so many months ago.  He is adorable...but, oh how scared he looks.  I was bothered by the fear that I saw in his eyes each time I looked at this picture. 

This is that same little boy after being in our home for 6 months.  Yes, 6 months!  He is still adorable but he no longer looks scared...he looks really ornery.

So what do I know about Jayden after 6 months of being our son?  As I look back on my original introduction post of Jayden, I am astounded at the accuracy of it considering that he had only been in our home two weeks.  It is evident that God gave insight into knowing our boys' personalities very quickly into the process.   

Jayden continues to be a happy, happy boy.  There is rarely a time when he is not.  He still loves to talk A LOT and he asks many questions.  He usually repeats, word for word, the answers we give him to the point that I feel like there must be a parrot in the house.  I believe this has been one of the big reasons that has attributed to his ability to speak English so quickly and so well.  

Jayden loves to read books.  When I read him books, I love how he snuggles right up next to my side and places his arm over the the top of mine.  Sometimes he will wriggle his fingers up into mine and intertwine them.  He is a sponge and he soaks up everything.  Over the past 6 months, we have been introducing the gospel message to the boys in little bits.  Here's a bit of "how" we explain such a big topic...

-We first started as we talked about "bad choices" and "good choices".  
-The next introduction was how God calls our bad choices "sin" and the sadness that sin brings, as well as consequences.  
-We then explained how wonderful it is that we can make good choices rather than the bad....that good choices bring joy and a happy heart to daddy and mommy and most importantly, God.  And that he (Jayden) can be happy knowing he chose rightly.
-Next, the harder explanation of how God is sad with bad choices because they are sin and sin separates from God because God has no sin.  God is holy.  He cannot be with sin.  
-We then explained how God loved us so much that He sent Jesus, his only Son, to die for all our bad choices...all our sins.  "He loves us soooo much."
-A few weeks ago I explained to Jayden that the Bible calls a man who sins "foolish".  For whatever reason (or for the obvious fact that he's only 4 yrs old), I did not think it would be anything he would really recall or understand.   Wrong.  He gets it and I am AMAZED.
-So, today I introduced that when we choose to make good choices, the Bible says that we are "wise".  I am interested to see what comes up in the next few days.  I am grateful for the words that God gives me as I teach our little boys of His love. 

Jayden loves to play the Memory game. (He has legitimately beat me a few times now.)
He knows the alphabet through the letter "K". By this I mean that he is able to identify each letter (capitals only), he knows the sound(s) they make and he will correspond words with that letter.  For example, we have yet to learn the letter "P" but we were by the police station last week and he asked me what letter was on the sign.  I told him that we hadn't learned it yet..that it was a "P" and told him the sound is makes.  He said, "Oh, like pig and please and pray."  Uh, yeah...pretty incredible.  A few weeks ago I told him that once he learned all the letters, I would begin to teach him to read.  He got a huge smile on his face and started jumping up and down celebrating.  There are now many mornings that he wakes up and says, "Can I learn a new letter today, mom...please?"

Jayden gives the BEST hugs.  When I hug him, he will wrap his legs around my waist and his arms around my neck and snuggle in...and I LOVE it!  During these times, he feels so tiny.  He is growing quickly and I still call him my "big boy".  He often says, "I'm getting bigger but it makes mommy sad.  She wants me to stay little."  Yes, he's heard me say this many times.  

Doesn't that face just make you smile?  And for those who might not know, one front tooth was lost on a trampoline collision on some one's head and, on a different occasion, the other hit loose on "his cousin's pants" (Jayden's explanation).  It was so loose that daddy pulled it out--root and all!  Looks like he'll be toothless for a few years.

This is an old post that I didn't publish because it was never finished.  I don't have the heart to delete it so I'll just add it on to this post.

Jayden keeps us hopping...sprinting...running.  He is constantly coming up with new outfits and always ready to do "something" even though he's not quite sure what "something" is.  But believe me, he'll think of "something" and sometimes "something" is not a good choice.  

He's been putting in some time building.  You might also find him sporting the safety goggles and hardhat while he rides his bike.  He found out quickly that the tool belt didn't work on the bike...his pants came down to easily.  At least he doesn't have a plumber's crack....he just shows the cars on his underwear. 

This kid drove me to drink...Pepsi that is.  I had given Pepsi up for the New Year but I'm back to "drinking" again.  If you see me with a 32 oz. Pepsi, it will be a give away as to the type of day we're having.

One morning as I was getting breakfast, Jayden was keeping me company with his gibber jabber.  As I said, he's always looking for something to do and he spotted the dishcloth, grabbed it and started rolling it up.  He was really quiet as he worked and the next thing I knew, he had wrapped it around his waist.  He looked at me, threw his arms out big at his side and took on a wide stance.  I knew instantly what he was trying to be and I couldn't stop laughing.  I hollered at Kurt, "We have a sumo wrestler in the house!"  He and Tate then started going at each other with their bellies.  It was comical! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The World Could Use More Kirby's

I have been overwhelmed with many feelings in the past two weeks.  Life is short.  And, when someone unexpectedly passes away at the age of 59 yrs. old, it seems especially short.  We received the news of my brother in law's death on Tuesday, August 21, and my perspective on life changed again.

His name was Kirby and he was the eldest of four siblings.  He was my husband, Kurt's, only brother separated by 11 yrs.   He was a kind man with a generous heart.  Kirby had a great sense of humor with a smile and laugh to round it out.  He was probably one of our biggest supporters in our adoption process and we cherish a letter he wrote on our behalf for our home study showing his approval and support of our decision.

Words could never describe all of who Kirby was.  He helped and impacted many people and there will be a huge void with him gone.  The world could use more Kirby's.

When someone dies you begin to look at your life and what needs to change.  You reevaluate and you vow to live the rest of your life without regrets.  Your perspective changes.

I'm at that point.

We are given one life.  I want to live my life well.  I want to step aside so that people see Jesus in me.  And, quite honestly, I've not done the past 46 yrs. very well.  I get in the way of Jesus a lot.  Thankfully, He uses me despite my pitiful self and He loves me just where I am.  I'm grateful that He doesn't leave me there either.  Rather, He comes alongside me, refines me, purifies me, encourages me, disciplines me...all because He loves me.  And He loves you.

Unfortunately, there is a natural born barrier between us and God called sin.  Each one of us is guilty of sin.  The Bible says, "For ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  (Romans 3:23)  We are all sinners.

God is holy, perfect, righteous and just--and because He is all of those things, He cannot tolerate sin.  He has to punish sin...he must punish those who are guilty of breaking His laws.  Romans 6:23 says, "For the wages of sin is DEATH, but the gift of God is ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord."  Sin separates us from God both now and for all eternity.  Sin is death.  It paints a pretty grim outlook...thankfully it doesn't end there.  

The Bible tells us that God sent His one and only son, Jesus, to bear our sin and give us eternal life.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world (that means YOU and I)
that He gave his one and only begotten son, 
that whosoever believes in Him,
should not perish but have eternal life.

God made a way for you and I...for all mankind BUT we must believe that Jesus died for us personally.  Jesus died for ME.  I put him on that cross.  My sin nailed him there and he took the punishment for my sin.  Thank you, Jesus, for loving ME that much!

Good works won't get me to heaven.  Eph. 2:8-9 says, "For by grace are you saved through faith and not of yourselves, it is a GIFT of God, NOT BY WORKS so that no one can boast."  It is a gift...the gift of believing that Jesus died for my sins..that his blood covers me.  Wow!  

Believing in Jesus means more than just knowing certain facts.  It is not a head knowledge but rather a matter of the heart.  There is a heart change because:

I realize that I am a sinner deserving God's judgement.  I deserve hell.
I know that there is nothing that I can do to remove my guilt and penalty of sin.  
I realize that Jesus is the only answer for sin.  He paid the price for my sin.
Because I believe all those things, I put my faith and trust in Him alone.  I receive His gift of love.  

I made the decision to ask Jesus into my life many, many years ago as a young child. I am 110% sure that some day I will go to Heaven and see loved ones who have gone on before me and worship at the feet of my Savior...for all eternity.

How about you?  Will I see you there?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Happy Trails

A week ago, the boys put their cowboy boots to good use.  Jenna's good friend, Katlyn, invited us to their farm so that they boys could ride horses.  Tate was going to be the first to ride but, when Jenna lifted him up to the horse, he began screaming and changed his mind real quick.  So, Jayden was the brave cowboy to ride first.  I tell you, he was SO RELAXED riding and jabbered an ear full to Katlyn as she led him around. 

While Jayden was on the horse, Tate decided that he indeed wanted his turn.  He looked pretty little up on the horse and I know he was intimidated by the size difference.  He decided that he would only ride if Jenna held his hand--God bless the girls.
The boys decided that they had been on the horse long enough so Katlyn took them into the barn to "help" her brush the horse out.  It's not picture worthy because each one brushed for less than a minute and decided they were "all done".  It was after that that Jayden noticed the spurs on Katlyn's boots and BOY.WAS.HE.INTRIGUED.  (I chuckle each time I see this picture of him in his plaid shorts and cowboy boots.)

Sitting on the tractor was a must, of course...
One of the favorite things of the day was the pigs.  Katlyn's pigs were like pet pigs...they LOVED PEOPLE.  They loved to be scratched behind their ears and on their backs and when they oinked my boys thought it was hilarious--I mean downright belly laughing worthy.  What added more fun was that the boys had watched Charlotte's Web a few days before which made them have all the more interest in the pigs. 
And every barn must have a cat, of course.

Katyln and the boys took a walk on the hillside and Tate began picking flowers to take home.  We placed them in a vase on the kitchen table where he talked about them the rest of the day.  I love that they had this experience to visit a farm and I love that we are surrounded by so many WONDERFUL people that want to invest time into our little boys. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Day in the Life...

Last night Jenna noticed that her and Tate were dressed alike.  She exclaimed, "Tate, we are dressed the same! My oh my, did he LOVE being the same as her.
 When it was time for books before bedtime, the boys ran to get their glasses.  These are the glasses from the 3D movie which we didn't recycle at the theater because I knew we would get a lot of play out of them at home.  Even my biggest boy at 20 yrs old. ran off with the adult pair of glasses...haha.

And finally, this morning the boys were playing under the kitchen table.  The picture really doesn't do it justice as they pretty much emptied a whole basket of toys under there.  I have to chuckle as the cowboy boots are always around.  They weren't on their feet right at the moment I took the picture but they asked if they could wear them to the park this morning (Mindy, you will never know how much joy your two pairs of boots have brought.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

We Have a Birthday Boy

Today was an EXCITING DAY at our house--we celebrated Jayden's birthday!  During a conversation many weeks ago I commented to him that his birthday was coming up soon.  He shrugged his shoulders, scrunched his face and said, "Mom, what is birthday?" 

So, Jayden celebrated his 4th birthday as his first...and what a day we had!  The first thing Jenna wanted to do was to put streamers all over his bedroom door so that he would have to walk through them when he woke up.  I had the video camera ready and taping as we watched both the boys come out...not running through the streamers but rather crawling on their bellies to avoid the streamers...first Jayden and then Tate!  It was hilarious!  As Jayden stood up, he scrunched his face and shrugged his shoulders (as he always does when he doesn't understand something) and said, "What's this?"  We explained it and had them crawl back under for a "do over" which they utterly enjoyed.  

The one thing that Jayden said he wanted each time we asked him was a "gee-tar".   Kurt found this...

...a "gee-tar" with the beloved Lightning McQueen from the Cars movie!  He was one happy boy!  

With the weather being so hot, the boys tried out another one of Jayden's gifts this morning...

Our boys LOVE water.  They are CRAZY in water and they have no fear.  They can both work the Slip and Slide really well but I have to admit that Tate has the best belly flop form (he's on the left).  Tate did pretty well today considering that he really wants a birthday too.  His constant saying throughout the day was, "Another day it will be me turn for a birthday."  I would be a wealthy woman if I had a dollar for every time he said it today!

After water fun, we had a favorite lunch of Jayden's:  rice, beans and sardines.  (I bet you are all jealous right now.)  I told the boys that I wouldn't be giving seconds today so that they would have room for ice cream.  They responded to that with a "Woohoo...ice cream!"  So, off we went to Cold Stone...

The guy who served us was great!  The boys were taking it all in as he gave us all samples and then mixed our ice cream...finishing it all off with tossing the ice cream high and catching it in the cup.  Yes, we've all probably seen this done before but for little boys who never have...IT IS A BIG DEAL.   I just have to insert here that he also made the comment to Jenna and I, "Wow, you two look really busy!"  (Yes, he was stating the obvious.)

After Cold Stone, we were off to a movie at the mall theater...

Contrary to what the theater's website stated, the movie ended up in 3D.  I was purposely avoiding that as I didn't know if the boys would tolerate wearing glasses during the entire movie.  They did.  While they flinched a few times as things flew at them, they seemed to enjoy the movie overall.

When there is a birthday in our house, I usually let that person pick the menu for supper.  I gave Jayden a couple of choices and he picked pizza.  Then, it was time for cake...

I LOVE this last picture.  As we sang "Happy Birthday", he beamed, then suddenly became shy and covered his face...BUT you could still his eyes smiling.

As I tucked him in bed tonight, I asked him if he had a good birthday.  "Yes, mom.  Me had a good birthday."  And then he kissed me and hugged me tight and said, "Thank you for my birthday."

I am constantly learning from Jayden to love life.  He enjoys every moment.  He is grateful.  He finds joy in the little things...all the time.  

What a privilege to celebrate his "first" birthday with him.  We love you, Jayden.  Happy 4th Birthday!