Friday, December 12, 2014

a fulfillment of the dream...

DC bound!
It was a trip I'll never forget.

Just before Thanksgiving and the horrible stomach bug, we packed up the kids for a quick getaway to DC.  (about 3 1/2 hours)

View of the Washington Memorial & WWII Memorial
 In school, Caroline had been learning about the presidents, and we thought it'd be fun to take her to see some of the memorials and such.
 Our first stop was the Lincoln Memorial!

Now, Lincoln is great and all,
but for our family,
the Lincoln memorial has an even greater significance.
Because it was here, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial,
where in 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr, gave his "I Have a Dream" speech to over 250,000 listeners.  
It was a defining moment in the Civil Rights Movement.
It was a defining moment in the history of our country.

And who knew, it'd be a defining moment in my own little family:

 "I have a dream that one day little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers." 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I can't tell you how magical it felt
to see my children on those steps.
To see a real fulfillment of MLK's dream
in my own children.

It blows me away.  To tears.

Our nation still has a long way to go
in combating systemic racism 
and improving race relations,
but 50 years ago,
who'd have believed this could happen?
God is so good.

Jameson had dreams of his own that day...

And if that wasn't exciting enough, from there we walked over to the White House, where security suddenly began heightening.  We saw snipers appearing on the rooftops of all the buildings surrounding the White House!  (you can see them getting into place in this photo)

We had no idea as to what all the hype was about.  Tourists were being asked to stand back, cops on horses were parading the field in front of the White House, and firetrucks were lining the streets.

And then it made sense.

As we were walking back toward our car, just 100 yards from the Washington Monument, we suddenly heard the loudest sound.  We looked up and saw three huge presidential helicopters heading directly toward us!  They soared RIGHT above our heads (I was too much in awe to think to get my camera out), and as they approached the White House, the middle helicopter began descending to the ground while the other two flew off.

The President had just come home!  The PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA had just flown in over our heads!  HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!  (please spare me the snarky political remarks here.  Regardless of what anyone thinks of his policies, it's kind of a BIG DEAL that the first black president of the United States flew over us!  And the same evening we visited the place of the "I Have a Dream" speech, nonetheless, too.  It was AWESOME.  All four of us were going crazy with the excitement!)

 The next day is what the kids will remember as their favorite.

The Metro.
They got the full experience by sitting at the front.

Forget all the museums we visited.  
"Mom, when can we ride the train?" was all I heard.
 We took a quick visit to the National Zoo.  This (pictured left) was nothing short of cool!
 Riding the carousel!
 His first time.  He was in HEAVEN.
Love this boy.

What an amazing trip.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

checking in & checking up...

Well, hello again!

It's been a crazy busy few weeks with the Christmas season upon us.  I know it's crazy regardless, but when you're a worship director and local musician, it's the busiest time of your year!  (whew)

I hope to be back to blogging soon, but in the meantime, look who had his two year old check up...

25% in weight
50% in height
100% in cuteness

Proud of his bandaid
...and didn't cry one BIT with his shot or his finger pricking!?!!  (who IS this kid?!)

Way to go, my Jameson!!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

the cookies are in the oven...

She wanted to dress up like pilgrims
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Hope you all enjoyed lots of food, fun, and family.  I can honestly say it was the most miserable Thanksgiving I have yet experienced.  I certainly spent no part of the day giving thanks.

It was depressing enough that we weren't going to be with family this year.  When my family wasn't going to have its annual get-together, Marc and I (along with another couple from church) decided to host students left in town.

However, the night before Thanksgiving, I woke up at 3am puking violently... along with other stuff.  It was MIS-ER-A-BLE.  And it didn't seem it would ever stop.

Yuck.  But what would that mean for our guests who were scheduled to come eat turkey later that day?  It meant poor Marc would somehow miraculously pull off all the cooking left AS I LAY IN BED UPSTAIRS TEXTING HIM INSTRUCTIONS.  (Ha ha! And he did it!  Way to go, Marc!)

Oh, but the smells of turkey and stuffing might just forever be ruined for me now...

It was quite painful for this extrovert to hear the laughter downstairs as I lay flat on my back in bed.  Thankfully, I'm finally feeling better today (Saturday), but now Marc is camped out on the couch with the puke bucket ready-to-go at a moment's notice.  Jameson seems to be battling yet another ear infection, and sometimes it feels as though this cycle of toil will never end.

Yes, I can honestly say this Thanksgiving STUNK.  I had no food, no family, and no fun.  As I lay there mindlessly scrolling my facebook newsfeed, seeing all the sweet pictures of families reunited only served to further remind me of my own isolation.

Tomorrow we're entering into the season of Advent.  (It's the time leading up to Christmas where many Christians focus on the anticipation of a Savior, similar to how the people of the Old Testament looked forward in faith to the birth of Christ.)

Advent is the time where we, with hope, remember that we, too, are waiting for something better.  Though our lives are filled with lots of yuck now, there will be a more glorious day ahead.

Advent is watching the warm cookies bake in the oven.

Our hearts are hungry.  They yearn to be filled.

All signs show good things ahead.

We see it with our eyes.

We kneel at the oven door and feel its heat.

We can just imagine the taste upon our lips.

They're coming!  The cookies are coming!  

The anticipation builds with excitement.  

I, in my Thanksgiving woe and misery, especially need this season of Advent.

Though things are hard now, and really hard now, 
a yet more glorious day lies ahead.

Just as the cookies are in the oven, He is coming soon.

All of creation kneels down in anticipation.

So I'll wait for Him with patience.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

who lived here?...

Would you believe it?  She CAN sing something besides "Let it Go"!  (thank you, first grade!)

What trip to the White House wouldn't be complete without singing the order of its residents?  (You can't tell, but by the end of the song, she had quite a group of admirers!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

the day you became ours...

 Oh Jameson,
it can't be two years
from the day you were placed
into our arms
and into our family.

We had never seen you,
and then suddenly,
you were ours.

Now it's like you've been with us forever.
I can't imagine living a day without you.

 Two years ago,
we took the last picture
of our family of 3.

Life would never be the same again.
Who knew how good it would become?
 And then,
the moment we saw itty bitty YOU.

 All that was wrong in the world
became so, so right.
 Our hearts have never been happier,
sweet boy.

How were we so lucky
to receive the gift of you?

 Two years ago.

The day
we became 
a family of four.

 Eleven days old,
and we loved you already.
Two years later, 
we love you all the more.

Our lives are rich
because we have you.

Happy "Gotcha" Day, sweet Jameson.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Caroline's trip to Dr. Cabell's...

Hi! This is Caroline.
This is Dr. Cabell's house. I am at Point of Honor. Dr. Cabell is a DOCTOR. Dr. stands for doctor! He was a doctor of Patrick Henry. "Wow! Is this history?" OF COURSE! Right now is 2014-2015! This was 1815. "Yessssss! Now I understand!"

This is a tour lady. I don't know her name.
She was in the house. She was helpful to us. There was this girl in the room and the tour lady was talking about the curtains in the room. The girl said when there was a pause, "Those must be rare curtains!" "They are!" The tour lady said. HaHa! Wasn't that funny?
This is the dining room. (In the house) Do you see the tea cups and tea pourer?  And chairs and table and carpet? "Yes," Well, The tea set is purplish pink, right? "Right," Don't you like it, Althea? "YES! The tea set part is my favorite." Yes. Mine too.
I'm talking about the fireplace. Doesn't it look pretty? "Mmm-Hmm." I kinda wish that the fireplace had a fire in it. Don't you? "Yeah. What about the next picture?" Well....

The mirror is GORGEOUS. The background is the wall! They had the same things we have to paint the walls and designed as we do now. (Well, maybe not the exact same stuff)   "Did you realize the eagle on the mirror?" No! I did not see that, Althea! I wanted to talk about something else and you let me! Thank you! "Welcome." I spy an eagle. Do you see it?
The clock looks amazing. The clock is on top of the piano!  I love it!
Dr. Cabell has the best house in the Downtown Lynchburg. Don't you think so, Althea? "Zzzzzz!" WAKE UP! BLOG! DID YOU FORGET? "What?" Althea! You fell asleep! "Oops." Look right here. Don't you think so, Althea? "Yup."

I took a picture of this floor because its JUST LIKE ME AND JAMESON'S FLOOR in our room!  Dr. Cabell's house was built in 1815.  My house was built in 1851. Hmmmmmm. "Ah!" What? What! "Never mind." 
I love this flower picture on a plate.  If you can't see, The flowers are red. 
When I took the picture of this, the tour lady in there said, "I've never had someone take a picture of that. Thank you!" Then everyone turned to me, Althea. "Why?" Don't know. They liked it, I guess!

Now, they didn't have kitchens in their houses back then. They had to go to a open house OUTSIDE to make their food. "WHAT?" Yes!

I got pumpkins painted on my face. Can you see the pumpkins on my cheeks? If you can't see, the pumpkins are like real looking pumpkins.

Well, we went to the place where you get your face painted at the Festival on Cabell St. and I asked for pumpkins. She asked, "On both cheeks?" and I said, "Yes, please!" Great, Althea, huh? "Yup!"

Bye, guys! I'll be happy to post another blog!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

at 2...

I've reached the "terrible 2's" everybody!  (Hurray!)

Let me tell ya a little about what life at age 2 is like these days:

  • I'm the good-natured kid who continues to keep my parents guessing.  My big sister was the good eater, the good sleeper, the predictable one... you know, the kid that would make someone believe they could write a book on parenting or something.  Me, however?  Ha ha.  My way is much more fun.  I keep 'em humble.  
  • I ditched the idea of being contained a few months ago when I started climbing out of my crib in the middle of the night.  But NO WAY am I going to stay in my toddler bed all night.  Are you kidding me?!  Sure, I'll take a short afternoon nap in there, and I'll even go to sleep at night in there (as long as you hold my hand until I'm out...), but you better believe that I'll make my nightly pilgrimage to Mom and Dad's room.  To their dismay, sleeping in between them right now is how I roll.   And for their own survival and mental sanity, now is not the time for them to fight it.
  • To add to my unpredictability, I can be a finicky eater and meal time is often a stage for me to show off my "best" behavior.  You think you want me to eat vegetables, Mom?!?  You think I should be buckled in?!?  You think food should stay on the table?!?  You better think again.  

  • But to my credit, now, there's WAY MORE about me to love.  I'm a really fun-loving, athletic guy.  I love my big sister, and when I'm not trying to tackle her, I absolutely adore her.  She's starting to get more and more frustrated by me, though, as I'm asserting my will around here more.  I'm great for teaching her patience.  
  • And you guys, my speech is really improving!  The other day, my mom was telling me something that she didn't want to do, and I surprised my whole family with these words:

Pretty awesome, right?  My vocabulary might be small, and my language is often in Swahili, but I am making huge strides!  ("nooooo" is my favorite word right now)
  • I LOVE my Mommy and Daddy.  I have separation anxiety when they leave me in the church nursery or with a babysitter.  I'm calling out their names LOUDLY wherever I am.  Secretly, Mommy kind of likes it in public because then there's NO question as whether she's the babysitter or not.   

first pair of Jordans
  • I like to think of myself as quite the cool kid.  At 2, I've now got my first pair of Jordans.

And the sunglasses don't hurt my style, either, wouldn't you say?  (thanks, Mamie!)

But even this cool kid needs his Mama to kiss his little boo boo's.  
  • There is no talking about me without talking about bats and balls.  It's what I love the most in this world, and I'd play ball with you all day if you let me.  I'm quite a natural with the bat, AND right now it looks like I just might be a south paw, too!  Mom and Dad, I know y'all aren't... ahem, the most athletic people out there, but you'd better be getting ready to watch me from the bleachers someday!
  • Speaking of how unpredictable, yet good-natured I am, here's a little snapshot of me when I popped up out of bed at 11:00pm one night and instead of giving in to their frustration with me, Mom and Dad decided to laugh along with me:

Two years old is pretty great.  I'm learning, and I'm growing.  I'm super active and I can be awfully stubborn, too.

One thing's for sure, though...

I've got a family who's CRAZY for me, and I'm pretty much the best thing that's ever happened to them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

happy 2, jameson...

Happy 2nd birthday, Jameson!

Such a fun bunch of cousins!
We had a great time celebrating your life with our family in South Carolina.

And of course, the theme was SPORTS!
You'd been practicing the "happy birthday" song for weeks, so when it was finally THE time,
you knew exactly what was going on...
...and exactly what you were supposed to do at the end...

Here was the moment:

You also knew what to do with your cake:

Shove it in that mouth!
Time for presents.
What little ball player doesn't need his first baseball glove?
You wouldn't drop that glove even to get on your new tricycle!
(Can I just say I I LOVE this picture?
Such a real snapshot of our family.
As Jameson's working on his batting practice, the girls are belting out "Let it Go" from Frozen, and the rest of us, with Uncle Johnny in the lead, are cheering them on.  
Always a fun time together!)

the concentration
I can't even begin to tell you how in LOVE you are with bats and balls.  You were in HEAVEN with your new bat and teeball stand.
Then Uncle Larry and Callie joined in to play.

Swing batter batter swing!

I'd say you loved it.

(And seriously, could you be any cuter, little guy?)
While the boys played ball, the girls headed outside to pick bouquets.
And the women of the family attempted to nail down some Christmas plans, which is getting increasingly more difficult the larger our family grows!
And while the boys played ball

and the girls picked flowers

and the women planned...

the men slept.

(ha ha!)

On a more serious note, I can't ever go through one of my children's birthdays without a keen awareness of their birthmothers, the ones who brought them into the world and who will also remember this day, though it might carry a sting of pain instead of balloons and streamers.

I'm eternally grateful to them.  I truly can't say that enough.

While I enjoy the benefits of celebrating my children's birthdays, it was not I that birthed them.  I don't deserve them.

And yet, God has blessed me beyond measure with these precious two.  To Him be the glory.

Happy 2nd birthday, Jameson!

We love you and look forward to many, many more.