Friday, December 23, 2011


Hope and faith will get you through it, steadfastness in belief will carry you; tears, screams, dropping to my knees in surrender were my resources when life got difficult this year. We move, we change, we grow, we fail, we make mistakes and yet there is always hope when you believe in Christ. I could list all the things that went wrong this year, but in the end everything went right, not that I would choose to walk through those trials and tribulations again, but walking through them brought us to where we are.
There was a moment, standing in the middle of an empty least to my eyes it was empty, I was depleted, I was feeling alone even though mom and all the kids were in the car in the parking lot, and I didn't feel hopeful. Then as I was feeling self-pity standing in the middle of the church, I looked toward the altar. It wasn't the crucifix that caught my attention, but it was the tabernacle. Even as I stood in the "empty" church I was not alone and His presence was more than enough to fill me. I can't say I walked out healed and hopeful or that I didn't get in the car and be short tempered and a cry baby. But it was a moment that settled inside of me, that I took hold of and started to build upon. It created a spot of peace where the hope could take hold and overcome the fear, the uncertainty that swirled in our life.
Everyone can have hope, but for some it is easier to sustain it. For me hope was visible in a mom and dad who opened a door and took away so much of the strain. I didn't have to maintain a house and raise and discipline four kids alone for months because they were there with me. When I woke up ten times a night with a baby that didn't (doesn't) sleep, I could pass him off and get an hour of sleep. When I needed to run an errand I didn't have to take four kids with me, and when I needed to fulfill some hard tasks without a driver's license (so I couldn't drive) they drove me. It was more than driving me, it was being there for me crying with me, laughing with me and sometimes at me, and enjoying every minute we were able to spend together in a life that I live so far from the family I grew up with.
The greatest thing about that family though is that although we are so far apart in physicality, in spirit we are right there. We are eachothers prayers, thoughts, dreams, and hopes. We all went through our own personal trials and triumphs and we are all still going through them and we will be for the rest of our lives (something I've learned as an adult, it doesn't get easier, but there are those moments big and small that make it all worth it.) But we were with eachother in spirit and for one glorious week this summer, it is never perfect but it is family and I am ever so thankful to have all of my family. Hold onto hope, in the coming trials and triumphs and we will all be happier for it.
Psalm 25:21
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you. Psalm 25:21
Lamentations 3:25
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him

P.S. Merry Christmas Mom, I love you!!!

I like Skype

Last night we finished up gifts from my parents. I needed something to occupy kids so that I could do some packing (or read a book). The kids were more than thrilled with their gifts and are very thankful. They stayed up late playing and Anna used Beau's and Owen's and Owen used Beau's gifts, and the boys built legos and played together til 10. Owen was more occupied with one toy than I have ever seen him, and Rebecca got her clothes changed multiple times. It was a very fun evening. And via Skype mom and dad got to be there with us. It wasn't perfect but its better than just the phone. Thanks mom and dad can't wait to see you in person.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Early Christmas Presents

Huge thanks to Memere and Pappa Lloyd, their present to the kids this year was a basketball hoop, and they absolutely love it. We gave them the basketball hoop after school this week and they have been outside shooting basketballs for hours every day since. Even Ben has spent hours out there with them. It has been raining a few days and the minute the drops stop falling at least one if not two kids are outside shooting, Anna's shirts often have a big wet spot in the middle from catching the ball when it is wet from the rain splattered driveway. They all are already improving on their shots and even Owen loves to be lifted up to put it through the hoop. We might have to get him a small hoop of his own though because my arms get tired lifting him and Ben isn't always home to do it.
Beau resting a moment.

Anna shooting, with Luke waiting his turn.

Beau makes it.

Anna dribbling in.

Ben waiting for the rebound.
Luke's shot.

Anna's shot.

Beau dribbling.
Then their second early present came from Bama and PopPop, thank you. We got annual passes to the Georgia Aquarium, so today was our first visit. They loved every minute of it and they each have their own favorite thing. They'll have to report those some other time because I can't remember tonight. My favorites were the garden eels and the gobi's I could sit and watch them for hours. They are brightly colored and very active. I think Anna would say the sea otters were her favorite, and Luke the penguins. Beau touched a shark, and they all touched sting rays except Owen. Owen loved to watch but was scared if anything swam too close to the glass. The penguins were fun to watch, but for me watching my kids react to it all was the most fun.

Owen looking up at the fish swimming above him.

Beau might know the name of this, I don't.

Watching the fish.

Uncooperative group photo, at least the fish are looking.

O Little Christmas Tree

We finally got a Christmas tree. It is small and sitting on the table it still is not the center of the room, but its what fits, so we are making do. The kids still enjoyed decorating it, and the bonus is that we can plant it when we get to the new house and in a few years, we will be able to cut it down and use it as our Christmas tree again. Owen was no help, he did break some of our Nativity pieces, but thankfully they weren't from our main set. Beau, Anna and Luke did a fantastic job of putting ornaments on that weren't too heavy for our meager little branches, and they are very happy to have a tree.

Monday, December 12, 2011

What Happens When Mom Organizes Anna's Room

Owen finds a marker in Anna's closet.

He only decorates one leg.

Then he finds the Barbie car.
But he'd rather ride on it.

Then mom makes him play in his crib so she can finish the job.

Anna's Basketball

Anna is playing basketball. She is having fun, I wouldn't say she is aggressive she more or less just floats from one end to the other, but that's okay for now. She is learning a lot and she's happy so that's what counts.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Introducing Luke to a Navy Jet

Many thanks to Dave and Becky Taylor for inviting our family to come see Dave's jet when he flew it into Atlanta this weekend. Dave is a Commander in the Navy and an instructor for young officers in the art of jet flying (or something like that). Dave gave the kids a great tour of his jet and answered all of their questions. It was a fantastic afternoon outing for our family.
Luke wants to be a fighter pilot someday, and after we told Papa Al Gasch this bit of info he told Becky and Dave and it worked out Dave was flying into northern Atlanta this weekend, and they invited us out. Luke loved every minute of it and he kept Avery (their 4 year old) giggling the whole time. Dave and Becky also have a 12 month Owen and it was fun to have Owen squared in the room. It was chilly outside in the wind but it was worth making those memories with the kids. They loved watching Dave take off and come around to tip his wings, as every said, that is her daddy's special way to say bye. A day I don't think Luke will every forget and if he does become a fighter pilot someday, he will look back on this day as a step in that direction, and if he doesn't he will look back on this day as one really awesome day in the life of a six year old. Both of my boys came today this evening at different times and said, "mom this was one fantastic day."

Luke laying under the jet, listening to Dave tell him what was what.

Avery cracking her head up over one of Luke's antics.

Anna got a look into the cockpit.

Luke listening intently as Dave teaches him how to fly the plane (or something like that.)

Beau thought this was really cool too.

A family picture (one my dad will love)

These will get printed.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

More Owen Antics

Look Mom this is how I do it.

And this is my reward.
(Only he didn't get to eat these because I didn't want him to choke. I didn't take pictures of the tantrum that ensued, and I moved the candy bowl.)

In my brother's shoes.
Owen loves to wear other people's shoes.

Sprinkles are delicious!

He can be helpful too.

And he is super cute!