Sunday, April 24, 2011

EASTER!! "It's Friday....but Sunday is coming!"

Wow, we had such an amazing Easter this year!! So much to be grateful for and so much for the kids to experience! It has been so awesome over the past month or so as we've been preparing for Easter and what that really means, having the chance to share that more and more with Reilly this year since she is reaching an age where she wants to know and is able to learn more. We have talked about the real meaning of Easter and she continues to amaze me at how much she retains and how much she remembers from the things she learns at home as we read her Bible, talk, pray and from what she learns and hears at school. I have to say that one of the proudest moments as a parent that I have had may have come last night. We were outside on the driveway and the kids were playing with one of our neighbors. Carter is in 1st grade this year and he kept saying, "Reilly, do you know what tomorrow is??!!" After he said it a few times she very confidently turned to him and said, "Yes Carter, Jesus is risen tomorrow!" Wow! How cool is that? I'm not really sure Carter knew how to take that answer, b/c he surely didn't expect that to come out of her mouth! Shawn and I were pretty proud :)

Our Easter celebrations started on Friday as we died eggs with the kids.....

On Saturday morning, we were invited to Grandma Gibbs and Coach's house for their 12th annual Easter celebration. The kids had so much fun and this was Braxton's first official "Egg Hunt".

Reilly and Braxton with Ellie, Ava, and Branson and Pat's "Giant Duck!"

every year Pat has a group from her church come and do a puppet show for the kids. In years past it's lasted about 30 minutes or more and consisted of 8-10 puppets with tons of youth doing the show. Luckily :) she had the show condensed this year and it was just these two and one lady doing all the talking. The kids actually paid attention for the entire time!

And this morning, we start off by giving their kids their Easter baskets from mommy and daddy. They loved getting new fun surprises when they woke up this morning!! And then we headed off for a packed morning at "Easter at Verizon" for our church's 3rd year celebrating this day with a giant party! The weather could not have been more perfect.....sun and a light breeze. It was awesome. Deedee and Poppi, Brandon and Angel, Aunt Kelly and Shaun all came along with us this year. The kids had fun on the bounce houses and took the Easter Egg hunt very seriously before the service started! The service itself was awesome, with some amazing worship, and then a special treat mini-concert by NeedToBreathe.

Verizon Wireless Ampitheater: this place was packed to the max today!!

Braxton on the bounce house for little ones....

Reilly being all big and brave on the giant slide....

the EGG "Hunt"!

And they're off!! Reilly is just in the middle with a very determined and serious face!!

Braxton just wanted to pick up the "blue" ones and open each one as he picked it up! We'll have to work on his egg hunt strategy for next year!!

Uncle Brandon helping B put his eggs in the basket...

DeeDee and Reilly, proud after a successful collection of eggs and inflatables was acheived!

and then the service began.....

Shaun and Reilly, singing and dancing (until I put a camera in their faces!)

After the service, we came home and met Grandpa and Nanny at the house as well. We did yet another egg hunt in the back yard with just R and B so they could find some quarters to put in the "ice cream truck fund"!! :) We have a purpose with everything :)

And the kids finished up the afternoon with some water fun with the neighbors! They were so funny as they had the first experience with some SUPER cold water on a 90 degree day!

Praise the Lord for an awesome Easter!!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Reilly's NEW big-sister room

Shawn and I like to make things hard on ourselves....that's something we've proven time and time again :) So why not go ahead and switch around all the kids' bedrooms instead of just moving Braxton in the empty room and keeping the nursery where it is? Well that's what we're doing! We moved my office out of the extra bedroom upstairs so that it could be transformed into Reilly's "bigger" big-sister room. The room she is (was) in is the smallest bedroom in the house and she just did not have any space to play. We figured that since she was going to be the big sister of TWO younger brothers, she would probably be spending a bit more time in her room doing her "girl" things so we wanted her to feel special with the bigger room. So, that meant painting PINK all over again and gathering a few "fancy" accessories to make her room feel fancy and girlie. We can't wait to reveal it to her tomorrow when she comes back from DeeDee and Poppi's house!

Next step....painting OVER the pink in her old room and transforming it into Braxton's NEW room!! Then we can work on getting the nursery ready for a new baby in a few months!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"invisible mom"

A friend just emailed me this awesome story that really spoke to me, so I wanted to include it on our family blog and eventually in the book that will be made of this blog so I could look back on it again and again....

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,
the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone
and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see
I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or
sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because
no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mom. Some days
I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie
this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a
clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer,
'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around
5:30, please.' Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my
phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the
eyes that studied history, music and literature -but now, they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's
going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of
a friend from England . She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip,
and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was
sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well.
It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling
pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped
package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great
cathedrals of Europe . I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me
until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of
what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after
which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great
cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave
their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They
made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their
building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a
tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man,
'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that
will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman
replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
Almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the
sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does.

No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake
you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small
for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral,
but you can't see right now what it will become.

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As
one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see
finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The
writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever
be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to
sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend
he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mom gets up at 4
in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a
turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That
would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to
come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend,
he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if
we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world
will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that
has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Kids in Motion

Yesterday after church, we headed down to SouthPark to the Symphony park area for a fun kids' festival put on by the Junior League of Charlotte. It's the Junior League's "healthy kids" initiative and there were tons of things for the kids to do/see there. Everything from huge tractors, to trucks of all kinds, to police cards/bikes, ambulances, s.w.a.t. trucks, bounce houses, LOWES building center, games, snacks, and lots of other fun things. The kids had fun climbing on everything and checking out some new stuff.