Legs Full Of Happiness.

I am fairly tall. 6 foot, 2 inches to be exact. Pretty darn lanky and awkward if you ask me or anyone who has seen me try to play basketball. Embarrassing in fact. It’s difficult to find pants that fit. The waste measurement is easy, not-so-much with the leg length. 31/32 waist by 34 leg length pants or jeans are kind of rare. My long legs give me quite a bit of trouble in the common-people-section on air planes, back seats of compact cars and Chinese movie theaters (especially the ones on Chow Avenue). However; the many uncomfortable, bumped-knee troubles are easily over looked by the biggest positive of them all. I have room on these mamma-jammas for 2 sweet giggle inducing sweetie-pies! Bonus!

Art by Addi & Kam.

I have been on a quest lately to organize the completely and utterly out of control toy room. We have bought bin organizers, have plans to get a bookshelf to store the billions of books, and have donated (or trashed) some old baby toys. We’ve lived in our house for a year and a half and I have yet to really decorate the toy room. Well, this week with Ryan being off, we’ve gotten a ton of stuff done around here. It’s been awesome. I have finally hung some art in their room. We have been saving paintings that the girls have done over the past several months and gluing them on black matte board. Here’s what their “wall of art” looks like so far. Pretty neat to decorate their toy room with their very own art!  Quite the artists, if I do say so myself!

One of our Christmas Traditions

We started this tradition last year and the girls absolutely love it. Its simple, its free, and quite enjoyable!

We all put on our pajamas (even Mommy & Daddy), make hot cocoa in to-go cups, and load up into the minivan. Turn up the Christmas music and we’re off to drive around looking at Christmas lights around town! The girls are completely enthralled the entire time, “Look at that!” or “Wow, so beautiful!” or “Kamryn, move your head. I can’t see.” You get the picture. We end the night downtown on the square where there is a huge Christmas tree. Much fun!

Tonight as we drove around, the girls sang “Fa la la la la” over and over and over and over and over…we tried (desperately) to teach them the rest of the words to the song, but they wouldn’t have anything to do with decking the halls. “Fa la la la la” was enough for them!

The smiles and laughter from our punkins make this tradition very worth it and something Ryan & I have fun doing. Great night! Memory maker.

Kamryn turns three!

Our baby girl, who was just born yesterday, turned 3 this weekend! Seriously, where does the time go? We had an awesome weekend celebrating our Kamryn Jane. Saturday, we had brunch with some friends and then headed to see Tangled at the movies. Popcorn, cokes, and candy…what at treat! The girls LOVE going to the movies. Then, that night we cooked out and enjoyed some good ole quality family time with lots of cuddles and tickles. Great day. Today after church, we headed to Grandma’s house for lunch and then Kam’s official birthday party. Kam had requested a Mickey Mouse birthday, so I attempted and succeeded (I think) at baking her a Minnie chocolate cake! Here are some pics from the weekend. We love you Kam Kam!

The Kissing Hand.

Have you ever read or seen the children’s book called The Kissing Hand? It really is such a sweet, touching little book.

In a nutshell, the book is about a baby raccoon that is getting ready to start school and is somewhat nervous about it. Separation anxiety in a time of transition. So, the mommy raccoon gives him a pep talk. She tells him about this “kissing hand” which helps him to  feel better about going off to school alone, without her. She kisses the inside of his little paw and tells him that whenever he feels sad or misses her, he could open his hand and put it on his cheek and get a kiss from his mommy and know that she’s always there with him. The kiss would never wash off and would always be there. Wherever he goes, her love is right there with him.

At the end of the book there is a page of heart kissing hand stickers. When we read this book to our girls, we always kiss their hands and then let them put one of the stickers on their hands. Well, the other day I was cleaning up the girls room and I saw this pic that has been on their dresser for the past several months, but noticed something different about it and my heart just melted. I asked the girls who put the sticker there with tears in my eyes and Addi said, “I did! Because I love Poppy.” There are no words to describe how significant and genuinely sweet this is.

Wherever we go, whenever we feel sad – we think of his love and know that he is with us in our hearts.

A recent conversation…

Addi, “Mommy, I want Grandma to pick me up from school one day, so she can see my new school.”

Kamryn, “Yeah and I want Poppy to pick me up so he can see my new school too.”

Addi, “Poppy can’t pick you up because he’s going to be in heaven for 100 years. Right mom, 100 years?”

Me, “He’ll be in heaven forever baby, but one day we’ll see him again when we go there.”

Addi, “I don’t want to heaven, I want to stay with Daddy!”

Me, “Oh, heaven is awesome, there’s nothing to be scared of there. It’s perfect! And we can all be there together with Poppy.”

Kamryn, “Well, I do. I want to go there. Mommy, I can hold your hand and we can fly to the sky to Jesus.”

Addi, “Maybe Daddy, Mommy, Kamryn, and Addi can all get in our car and have wings on it and fly there together.”

I love that my girls still talk about Poppy and they miss him so. He was a big part of their little, innocent lives. Addi recently had a bag of jelly beans and picked out all the black ones for Poppy, like she used to. He was the only one that liked licorice. She gets very sad when she talks about him and even tears up sometimes. They obviously don’t understand the whole concept of heaven and death at this young age, but they have surprisingly understood more than what I thought they would. So sweet and tender-hearted. I love my precious babies!

Happy birthday dear Addi.

August 31, 2006 marks a huge milestone in our lives. At 4 that morning, my water broke and before we knew it…our first child entered into the world! Our sweet Addison Kate is 4 years old today. Um excuse me, but how did this happen? Just five minutes ago, I was holding her swaddled in my arms – bouncing her, singing to her, calling my mom while trying to get her to stop crying!

Now, she is 4, going on 13. Smart, curious, busy, particular, beautiful, caring, thoughtful, tender, musical, eager to please, and the list goes on and on. She is one amazing little girl! I told her this morning…”Addi, I LOVE to be your mommy.” And I do. I feel so incredibly blessed to have both of  our two beautiful daughters!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BABY!

A Case of the Mondays.

Today was kind of an interesting Monday.

First let me give you some background information. Yesterday afternoon, Kam woke up from her nap saying her leg was hurting her. She was crying huge tears and asking to put ice on her leg. They think ice packs heal everything, you know. So she sat on the couch, most of the night holding a bag of frozen corn on her thigh. We thought that maybe she had run into something, hit her leg on the car door, or knocked her knee on the wall or something. She is pretty clumsy. I gave her some Tylenol because I also think she’s cutting a back tooth. She went to bed, but woke up off and on all….night….long. Felt like we were back in the newborn phase again! Poor baby. Ryan and I were starting to be more and more concerned. Hard to tell at this point if her leg was bothering her still, or if it was her teething. When one of us would pick her up to comfort her, she would squirm as though it hurt.

So, this morning she seemed alright. She kept grabbing the back of her leg or pointing to her inner thigh and was still walking with a very small limp. When I asked her what hurt, she wouldn’t respond. No fever, eating normally, smiling. So, I took her to school, as usual but filled her teachers in on what was going on and asked them to let me know if they noticed her moving strangely or acting like she was in pain. I called about 9:30 and they said she seemed OK, wasn’t walking around much and was kind of clingy. But then, around 10, they called me back. Said that she started crying when she went potty and said she didn’t want to get off the potty because it hurt. ???

So, I immediately called the doctor & tried to get an appointment. Now I’m thinking its a urinary tract infection or she’s constipated or her leg is seriously hurting her…and I’m getting very concerned. I take her straight to the doctor’s office and she examines her, watches her walk, etc. The doc was certain that she had what is called toxic synovitis in her hip. What? Sounds scary, right? She sent us over to the hospital to get a blood test done to rule out anything more severe than this toxic something-or-another. She said that if one of her counts in her blood was high, it could be something more serious and we’d have to go visit the orthopedic surgeon. Um, excuse me?!! By this point, I’m nearly in tears. Being that I’m already a pretty emotional person, and in light of recent events – extremely emotional, I was trying hard to hold it together. I asked the doc if I should be stressed and if I should cry…to which she answered no. What else was she supposed to say to that question? She assured me that she didn’t really think it was serious, it was simply a precautionary measure. Breathe in, breathe out.

So, I call Ryan and he meets us to go to the hospital. We get the blood work done – Kam was a champ. Never cried, just said “ouch” when they pricked her, and was such a big girl! We were proud. We got the results back and her count was low, it was definitely this toxic hip thingy, which apparently is very common and treated with Motrin. Thank you Lord! Oh, and I forgot to mention – she has an ear infection too. My poor baby! So, most likely what happened is that she has an ear infection and the infection got in her hip, causing pain. Ryan took her to the bakery to get a cookie this afternoon as a treat…she picked out the gingerbread girl.

So, I tell you this story for two reasons. One, pray that my baby girl heals quickly…it breaks my heart seeing her pain. Second, all you moms out there – if your child says their leg hurts & they’ve recently had a cold/infection – it very well could be their hip. I had never heard of this before! I’ve always thought that one of the hardest things about parenting (thus far) is when something is wrong with your baby and they don’t know how to tell you and you don’t know how to help them.

Now, getting ready for bed to see what Tuesday brings…

Some Friday updates for you.

*Kamryn is nearly potty trained! She does pretty well all day wearing big girl panties. Still working on the evening hours, but we are getting there. Totally helps that the school she goes to focuses on this in her current class! Also, she had her well-check at the doc recently and is a healthy, growing girl…in the 90% percentile on height and weight. Gonna be tall like Ryan, no doubt! The pic above is her at the doctor’s office…she used to be A LOT smaller on that table. Such a sweethearted, sensitive child…she melts our hearts.

*Addi’s coloring skills are getting to be SO good! She is really starting to stay within the lines more and becoming quite the artist. She starts preschool in a couple of weeks (tear). Which means she’ll start Kindergarten next year…what?! She is such a unique child – incredibly smart, a perfectionist, and always thinking. She definitely keeps us all in line! I can’t believe both my babies are growing up so fast!

*I’m going to the “Girls Night In” Conference at our church this evening and am pumped about it. Hoping to really absorb a lot and and maybe experience a sense of peace during this chaotic time. To be honest, over past several weeks…well since June 4th really, I haven’t prayed much and I haven’t read my Bible (so yes, my “read the Bible in one year plan” is slacking). I don’t feel angry at God nor do I feel distant from God…I just feel like during this period of grief, I am simply sitting in his lap while I hurt. Like a child does after they get a boo boo. And I’m fairly certain God is OK with that.

*Running has been H-A-R-D lately. This heat mixed with this humidity is killer. Definitely starting to yearn for Fall temps. But I will say, even though its not the most enjoyable thing right now, we are doing it. Ryan and I alternate days and get ‘er done. We are officially training now…speed work, long runs on the weekends, tempo runs, the works. We have a goal to run 3 half marathons this Fall – one in October, one in November, and one in December. That counts as a full, right?

*Our cruise is in 18 weeks and counting…

*Ryan and I are seriously pondering about some ministry ideas & opportunities. We feel like God is stirring in us in some specific areas. We have a huge desire to be “difference makers” (as my Dad would say) here in Tyler, a city that we are really growing to love more and more.

Beautiful One, I Love You.

Last night, we were at some friends’ house for the 4th and this conversation came up…”What do you guys do as parents to introduce your kids to the gospel?” Great question! It really made me think – what do we do?

Ryan & I shared that we try to read stories out of their Children’s Bible at night before bed. We pray with them often and bring Jesus into our conversations whenever possible…especially in those very trying & patience-building teaching moments. Also, we sometimes listen to worship music in the car when we are out and about. Either that or Micky Mouse Clubhouse or Owl City – their other faves. Lately, the girls’ have loved listening to Beautiful One by Jeremy Camp and Glory to God Forever by Fee – both awesome songs. It fills my heart with joy to hear their sweet little voices singing…especially when its a song to the Lord. Even when they don’t get the words right and are off key – its beautiful.

After some conversation, we determined that really…the hugest and most impactful way you can introduce them to the gospel is with your own life. Its not all about what you tell your kids, its about what you ARE in front of them. Challenging for sure. Something I need to work on daily & remind myself often…and honestly fail at frequently. Teaching my kids to live a life of worship and devotion to their creator can be done most successfully when I live a life of worship and devotion to my creator.

God has entrusted me & Ryan with these two little cuties and we certainly want to do whatever we can as their parents to assist them along their spiritual journey. We can’t wait to see how God uses each of their lives in great ways!

He’s got Poppy with Jesus in his hands.

Many of you have asked how Addi and Kam are doing through all of this. As you know, our kids LOVE Grandma & Poppy. We have been blessed to live near them the last few years and spend a lot of time with them on a regular basis…definitely a God thing.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure how to handle telling them or what exactly to do. Heck, I still don’t even know how I’m supposed to handle it myself. We figured Addi was old enough and smart enough to understand, so Ryan & I wanted to make sure we did the right thing and approached her tender heart carefully. So after seeking advice from my mother and my grandmother, we determined to tell the girls that Poppy is living with Jesus now and that he’s so happy and will always be in our hearts. We didn’t let them see him at the funeral home, because that would have been too confusing.

They both seemed pretty unaffected for several days. They both loved going to Grandma’s house every day and playing with their cousin Kendrick…pretty distracted during the days of the viewing, funeral, etc. Every now and then, they would ask, “Where’s Poppy?” or “Where’s Hoppy?” – depending on the which child was asking – and we would remind them that he’s with Jesus. They would accept that answer. Sometimes they would ask why we were crying and we would tell them that we’re sad about Poppy and Addi even said, “well I’m not going to cry about that!”

But a few nights ago, I think it finally hit Addi. We were putting her to bed like we normally do – sing a song, say a prayer, etc. She started crying…big tears and a sad sob. When Ryan asked her what was wrong she said, “I just love Poppy and don’t want him to live with Jesus…that makes me sad.” She continued to cry for about ten minutes – saying “Poppy…Poppy” and finally Ryan calmed her down to pray. I obviously had to leave the room because my crying would have only made it worse. She said she wanted to pray for Poppy. In her little three year old way, she mourned my Dad that night. She got it and was sad. The next day, without being prompted, she went and found her little pink scrapbook that had pics from when Poppy was building her crib…she carried it around all morning and told me it was her special book. So sweet.

Then, in the car the next day, the girls were singing the song, as they do often, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” They like to make up their own verses like “He’s got Addi and Kamryn in his hands” or “He’s got Mommy & Daddy in his hands”, etc. So they were singing along and Addi busted out with, “He’s got Poppy with Jesus in his hands.” Wow. How much truth is in that sweet innocent statement?

It struck me that – all of this IS in God’s hands. My heart is breaking wide open, but knowing that truth helps and gives hope. And seeing how even in Dad’s death, God is using him in mighty ways – I continue to be so very proud of him.

Addi and Kamryn will no doubt miss their Poppy/Hoppy. I certainly do…terribly. I am thankful they had the last two years to spend so much time with him and get to know him and love him. His face lit up when we pulled into their driveway, and he was always the first out the door to greet us. This new reality will be hard. Please pray for their precious hearts. I am thankful that they still have their Grandma Clark and Grandaddy & Grandma Dixon to love on them and make memories with them for hopefully many years to come.

I love you all and am truly thankful for our friends and family who have wrapped their arms around us and loved us through this time. Your prayers, calls, texts, emails, Facebook messages, flowers, food, and most of all – your presence, will never be forgotten and mean more than you’ll ever know. We genuinely thank you.

Daughters.

I love my daughters. Nothing warms my heart more than when they wrap their little arms around me or plant a big, wet kiss on my lips.  Having children has been such a joy. Ryan & I both LOVE being parents to these two. They try our patience, they test our limits, make us want to pull our hair out at times…but gosh, its all so very worth it! To hear Addi sing as we ride in the car, to see Kamryn’s eyes light up when either Ryan or I walk into the room, to watch them dance all crazy together to music…its all priceless. I am thankful. I love my daughters.

6 months old!

Today my little baby girl is 6 months old!  Hard to believe.  Seems like Addison just turned 6 months old & now she is almost 2 & we have another one who is 6 months!  I love my sweet little Kam Kam.  She’s just started sitting up…is finally starting to sleep better at night – thank goodness!  She has the sweetest smile & is such a cuddle bug.  Pretty soon I’ll have to start planning a 1 year bday party…again!!!

Our trip to the zoo

This past Saturday, we went to the zoo w/my sweet cousins Christi & Staci & their families.  We had a great time, minus the heat!  Addi was a little timid at first & a little overwhelmed w/it all…but she did great.  She LOVED the petting zoo.  We walked up & there were goats…just goats.  She says, “moose!”  And I said, “No, baby those are goats.” So we go in and she pets them (gross by the way).  She has a blast and then we get ready to leave & she yells, “bye moose!”  She also enjoyed the bird room…she did try to grab a bird & it proceeded to fly into Christi’s face….which was hilarious.  Kam slept most of the time, but woke up towards the end.  She’s too young to care, but she seemed to have fun regardless.  After the zoo, we went out to eat at an old school mexican food place in the older part of Tyler…it was very tasty.  Fun day!  Here are some pics of our day….