Some catching up to do…

We’ve got some catching up to do, so here we go:

We survived 12/12/12 12:12 and the supposed end of the world. We are all still here. photo copy 19

We hung out with best friends. photo copy 20

We Skyped with daddy while he was away on the other side of the world…photo

And eagerly awaited his arrival home. photo copy 25

Snuggled up listening to bedtime stories…photo copy 7

ate our fair share of lollipops. photo copy 21

Hung out with a few more friends. I guess you can say Nash is tall for his age. photo copy 5

Told a few stories. (Here’s his take on the Christmas story…)photo copy 18

We gave ourselves a few pep-talks in the mirror…photo copy 4

dressed up in cute Christmas outfits…photo copy 6

Giggled. A lot. photo copy 24

We have hung out at restaurants….photo copy 10

Eaten Chinese food…photo copy 11

And learned to eat with chopsticksphoto copy 12

Had lunch dates around town…photo copy 13

Had a few two year old shots. (She’s 90% in height & weight)photo copy 22

Drank our first hot chocolate (ever!) at the Ritz Carltonphoto copy 14

Went ice skating…and ended up in the ER…photo copy 16

But the doctor popped the bone back in place and we were as good as new! photo copy 17

We picked out the most handsome tree on the lot…photo copy 26

And brought it home with this crazy crew…photo copy 28

Decorated it with our sweet & eclectic decorations…photo copy 27

and enjoyed the “snow” in Atlantic stationphoto copy 23

Now all that’s left to do is celebrate a quiet little Christmas at home with the people I love best. I can’t wait!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Chronicles of Narnia

“Aslan” said Lucy “you’re bigger”.
“That is because you are older, little one” answered he.
“Not because you are?”
“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger”. 
― C.S. Lewis, Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia

I somehow managed to get through the first 32 years of my life without reading the Chronicles of Narnia. Shocking, I know. I’ve read some of CS Lewis’s other famous books, but never the Narnia series. I always knew the basic premise of the story and even knew some of the famous quotes from the great Aslyn, but I had never sat down and read through the famous series….until now.  A friend had told me about this amazing audio version of the Chronicles of Narnia and how much her kids enjoyed it. I like having other things to listen to in the car, especially things that make the kids use their imaginations and think, so I found it online and purchased it.

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IT. IS. AWESOME! My kids love it and are so engaged in the story. We have had it for a week and we are already on book 4! My world is being rocked by these books. My kids keep asking me why I am crying as we listen to it. I’m literally sobbing! The story is so powerful, so deep, so spiritual, so beautiful. I know that’s old news to those of you who read this series as children, but for me as a newcomer, it is blowing up my spirit! I’ve been so impressed how even Nash has already grasped much of the spiritual undertones of the story. He even said, “Asyln is just like Jesus!”

I’m sad I waited this long to enter Narnia, but I am so grateful to be full in now! I am a massive fan! (The whole set can be purchased for $25 and would make an awesome gift for a kid or a family you know!)

Elon Magazine

Bryson and I met at Elon University during our first week of college. It feels like yesterday, but in reality it was 14 years ago. Whoa, where did those years go!? For real. Where did they go? He was (and is) so dreamy. Sigh. ANYWAY there I go on a tangent. The real reason for this post is to tell you about a little article Elon Magazine did about me and Bryson and the work we get to be a part of at Passion! Not gonna lie, I was kind of excited and honored they would tell a bit of our story. Humbling!

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It’s a shame I don’t have a more up to date picture of my family! I’ve got to work on that soon!!!

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The Fall edition cover

Meyer’s 2nd Birthday

I’m a little late on this post, but the sentiment remains the same! We love over little MyMy and were grateful to celebrate her 2nd Birthday on November 26th.

Meyer: “The one who shines, illuminates, and leads the way.” You live up to your name sweet one! Happy 2nd birthday baby girl!

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Older siblings can be oh so helpful!

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Dinner at Meyer’s favorite restaurant, Pappasitos. She loves the rice and beans. She has good taste.

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5 layer cake goodness…

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an attempt, though be it poor, at a family picture.

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Mere Christianity.

This excerpt from Mere Christianity by CS Lewis is so powerful. I love starting my day with this in mind…

“Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom, Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” -C. S. Lewis

A star is born…

Okay maybe not a star, but today was certainly epic! Nash participated in his first school assembly. He. Was. Adorable. And this mama might have combusted from the pride swelling up inside me while I watched my baby preform! His class stood in front of 250+ parents and grandparents for his school’s Grandparents Day Assembly and recited a poem about trains and sang My Country Tis of Thee. Precious, I tell you, precious! I was so impressed with the whole assembly and the way each grade recited poems, scriptures, and songs. This school means business! I was also so impressed with how well the children sat quietly watching each of the other grades do their recitation…for an hour and half!

Nas was so nervous & excited about Grandparents Day that he literally could not sleep last night! (I think this child has a little bit of me in him!)  He woke up around 1am and tossed, turned, cried, asked if we were late for the assembly, told me he was scared, etc. until about 4am. He was so nervous!! Sweet boy was exhausted this morning (as was I!!), so there were a few yawns as he sang along with his class.

My favorite quote of the day came after the assembly when he confessed, “Mom, when I was on the stage I started to shake — but not because I was scared, but because I was so excited, so it was okay that I was shaking a little.” Hilarious! He was so so proud of himself.  And I could not have been more proud of my super shy boy for being so brave and composed on stage! Way to go Nash!

He did it! Here he is walking out after the program. Whew!

Proud mama!!

And a proud dad checking out the classroom!

I built a table…

I’m the kind of girl who will wait years for the perfect piece of furniture instead of just buying something that’s easy to find. When decorating, I usually have a very precise picture of what I am looking for, I’m sure it exists somewhere and I’m willing to wait it out until I can find just the right thing. Call me patient or call me stubborn…nah, just call me stubborn.

For the past year and half I have been looking for a small “mini desk”. Despite my best efforts, Google continued to fail me over and over again in my search for this perfect table. It needed to be cool, cheap, original, and small. Finally, this summer when I was home visiting my family in WV I found an old piece of barn wood in a field near my house. I had a plan. With my dad’s help (because building things is always more fun –okay, easy– with dad help) I trimmed the ends of the board down to the exact size I needed. Then on the underside of the board I attached two 1 inch boards to give the raw steel hairpin legs (found online) a solid and even surface to attach. Voila! The perfect mini desk! Not only is it perfect in size, shape, function, and price, the table also has sentimental value which is priceless. It was worth the wait.

My very own “office” nook.

October 31st…

The kids! And to think that this wasn’t all of them! we are missing a few in this pic…

Halloween! It was quite the extravaganza at our house this year! 22 adults + 25 kids in costume and under the age of 6. Oh. My. Goodness! Fun!! Crazy! Just they way it should be! We started with a potluck dinner, then hit the streets for sweets. It felt like a scene out of a movie with all the families walking down the street, baby’s in arm, strollers being pushed, toddlers running from house to house with screams of delight, the sun setting, cool October air, the smell of campfires being lit, and a colorful canopy of leaves overhead. It was beautiful chaos.

I always have grand plans of making my kids costumes weeks in advance, but it never fails that I’m gluing and sewing the morning of Halloween to pull something together. This year we managed to have 1 shark and 2 mermaids. Nash and Evyn were thrilled with their costumes. However, Meyer was not a fan. She had been fussy most of the day (I’m thinking an ear ache…headed to the doc to find out in a bit!) so she was not in the mood to dress up. I didn’t get any great family group photos this year, but here’s what I managed to snap….

A VERY unhappy Mermaid. I don’t blame her with that ribbon-hair wig and giant flower on her head! (don’t worry, she had a sweater…we just snapped one picture without it!)

On the other hand, this mermaid LOVE being a creature of the sea…

Shark!!!!!

Taking over the streets…

The goods!

Meyer prefers just being herself.

Well, until next year…

Evyn

Lost in deep thought….

Since Evyn could talk she has referred to herself as “chocolate”,  Nash (& Meyer) as “vanilla”, me “chocolate chips” (because of my freckles), and Bryson as “milk chocolate”. This has always made me smile and I love how she delights in the fact that she is “chocolate”. Besides, chocolate is ALWAYS a good thing!  Recently Evyn was sitting quietly thinking and out of the blue we had the following conversation…

Me: “What are you thinking about Ev?”

Evyn: “Mom, I KNOW God made me. I KNOW Jesus loves me. But why am I the only chocolate girl?”

Me: “You aren’t the only chocolate girl. There are lots of beautiful chocolate girls just like you (I then go on to list some friends we know…). But how does it make you feel to be the only chocolate girl in our family?”

Evyn: “Well……I guess it makes me feel special.”

Me: “You are special, Evyn. (pause) Evyn, would you like to have a brother or sister who is chocolate like you?”

Evyn: after pondering the question for a second she says with a huge grin, “Yeah. Or… maybe just a friend that comes over sometimes?!”

Words from a child are so honest and real. It’s a great reminder for me to 1.) keep an open conversation going…she’s thinking about it and needs to talk about it. 2.) make sure we are surrounding our family with a diverse group friends and families that span cultural and color lines. 3.) Might be time to really start thinking/talking/pursuing adoption again. :)

I love this child more than words and not a day goes by that I don’t thank God that He has allowed us to be her parents. She’s a gem.

sisters…

This is our life…

Georgia beats Florida!

First of all…FUN FACT: This is my 500th blog post!! Wow! What a milestone (for me at least)! Now on to the news about Georgia vs. Florida…

Nash and Bryson along with our friends Brad and six year old Will set off on a grand father/son caper yesterday morning. They made the six hour drive to Jacksonville Florida for the Georgia/Florida football game. Not only did they have a fun time eating hotdogs & cotton candy…the Dawgs actually won. Nash and Bryson were on cloud nine. I’m so grateful for the way my husband is intentional about creating special adventures for he and Nash to share together. These are memories and moments that will forever bond their relationship.

 

The girls cheered from home and made Georgia look good…

Meyer

This child is hilarious. She deserves her on blog, let alone her own blog post. Next month, my sweet Meyer will turn 2! She’s already exercising her 2-year-old muscles and attitude. There are multiple times a day she makes me crack up laughing. She’s beginning to talk more and more, but it’s those eyes of hers that already say a thousand words. She is silly, stubborn, full of life & joy, and thinks she is as at least as old as Evyn and Nash combined. Her favorite person in the world is her Mimi, by a long shot. They are too peas in a pod — I love their sweet relationship!

See for yourself just how silly this little “butterball” is!

Her silly wink + fake smile….

Now she is just trying to be funny….

obviously in the middle of lunch….

I wish I could bottle up that laughter and smile forever!

Cape Town

This past month Bryson and I got to visit Cape Town for the first time. IT. WAS. AMAZING. Granted, it would have been better if we would have visited it together at the same time. As it was, Bryson had a trip scheduled for JoBurg and Cape Town for 10 days prior to when I was to leave. So as  he was on his flight home, I was just leaving Atlanta on my flight to Cape Town. We blew kisses to one another as our planes passed in the night over the Atlantic ocean. It was a long 20 days apart from one another — I wouldn’t recommend it! I do think I got the best end of the deal. After spending 10 days with the 3 kids by myself, nothing in the world seemed more lovely than a 16 hour flight somewhere on the other side of the world (uninterrupted quiet time? Yes, please! Though I did miss my little people terribly)! I was giddy about going to Cape Town!

My purpose in going to CT was to help with the Passion World Tour stop there. What a joy to serve!! The night was beautiful — 17,000 people gathered in the soccer arena for worship and teaching. The Church is alive in Cape Town! And for sure God’s glory is alive in Cape Town….talk about breath-taking scenery! God is showing off in the natural beauty He crafted on Africa’s southern tip. I’m quite sure there is nothing like the coast of Cape Town anywhere else on planet earth. The drive to the Cape of Good Hope stole my heart forever. Stunning cliffs, wild ocean, whales jumping from the depths of the sea, penguins, baboons, wild ostrich, Springbok, meerkat, beautiful beaches, the Indian & Atlantic oceans meeting, wine country….I could gush on and on about the beauty of Cape Town. It was my first trip to glorious Cape Town, but it will surely NOT be my last.

The Church rising up in worship at Passion Cape Town…

on the tip of Africa! Take my breath away…both the beauty and the freezing water!

After serving with the Passion team in Cape Town, I boarded a flight to Durban to meet up with my two best friends/roommates from college, Emmy and Kris. Both of these sweet girls married awesome South African men and have happily made their home in SA. The three of us had not been together in 10 years so it was a precious reunion! I am so grateful for the time we had to catch up! What a sweet blessing!

Me, Kris, and Emmy….back together! (Missing Stacey, though!)

pumpkin littles…

Our 2012 Pumpkin Adventure in North Georgia…

Mimi and the lil’ pumpkins…

another good one…

apparently they can only sit still and smile through 2 photos…but this is more “natural”, wouldn’t you say?

Love this one! So us!

 

 

 

Her beautiful smile…

Her fake “mean” look! Head down, eyes up, brow furrowed.  Serious. 

a little hay ride action…

 

The big tow…

“Remember that time our van broke down in No-Where, Alabama when we were driving to the beach? That was awesome!” I can already hear my kids years from now happily reminiscing about a little unplanned detour we had to take on a recent drive to the beach. I can’t blame them…to them it was the highlight of the trip: Van breaks down. Kids get to go in gas station and pick out any candy treat they want and then sit in front of the iPad watching more TV then they get to in a normal week, and they get to ride in a real tow truck. All the while mom and dad sweatin’ out (literally. it was hot.) how in the world they are going to get the car (and children) back to civilization, pay for repairs, rent another van, get to the beach and redeem what was left of the weekend. Fun times. Fun times, I tell ya! Thankfully it’s all about the journey, not the destination. Right?! It all ended okay and could have been so much worse — for that I’m grateful. Don’t worry, we did finally make it to the beach (and back home again) and had an awesome time.

  • Tow ride to Montgomery with driver Steve, his spit cup, and the 5 of us = $300
  • Fixed transmission = $1500
  • Convient store snacks and treats in Shorter, AL = $9
  • Memories = priceless

Making the best of the situation w/ ring pops, laffy taffy, sweet tarts, and chocolate…in the grassy field next to the only gas station on the exit. Good times. :)

Loading up the car seats…

Thumbs up! we are ready to go!

It’s all about the journey…and making the moments fun — even when they are not. :)

NYC and all dressed up…

Bryson let me tag along on a work trip to NYC this weekend. He worked. I played! NYC is so inspring to me. The people. The creativity. The pace. The beauty. The food. The shopping. The art. The buildings. The craziness. I love it all.

 

We attended the Love146 10 year anniversary gala. So fun!! We are big fans of the team at Love146 and the work they are doing to rescue and restore women and children affected by sex trafficking/slavery. The first 10 years have been amazing…and the next will be even greater!

Let’s be honest. I’ve never been to a gala before — let alone a gala in NYC. It was a blast. I felt like I was crashing a really swanky wedding reception since we didn’t know most of the 300 or so guests. Vince Gill provided the evening entertainment and former President, Bill Clinton even stopped by to say a few words.  But the most special guests of the night were 2 teenage girls from Cambodia who were rescued from the horrors of modern day slavery and bravely stood before the audience and shared their story. Slavery has a face. In fact it has 27 million faces…and names. We were very encouraged and inspired by the work our friends at Love 146 are doing and look forward to cheering them on for another 10 years.

Country comes to the city — I’m feeling right at home.

While Bryson spent the day on Friday in meetings, I spent it wandering around the city. The best part of the day was grabbing lunch with an old friend from elementary/high school who has lived in NYC for several years. I love reconnecting with people I knew as a young person and seeing how they’ve (we’ve!) grown up. I had a blast talking and laughing with Alissa. Old friends are good for your heart!

 

So long NYC. I’ll see you again soon, hopefully.

 

First day of school…Round 2d

Evyn attends a precious Mother’s Morning Out program 2 mornings a week. Here she is ready to rock her first day of school with her best friend, Hadley.

Our sweet friend Hadley hitched a ride with us to the first day of school. Her mom was a little busy that morning…having a baby! Hadley has a new baby sister. Welcome Baby #4!

enough with the pictures, let’s GO!!!