Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brotherly Love










We have really missed brother in our house. We are so glad that Gavin is home. We are gearing up to start preschool next week. Yes, all three little boys are officially going to preschool. Gavin will go three days and Gage & Grayson will go two days. I would be lying if I said I was not a little excited. It is the perfect time away from the nest. It will allow them to learn new things and take direction from other people. It will also allow me time to work and get things done without three little ones in tow. I will post pictures of their first day, but for now, enjoy some cute pictures of the boys over the past few days. And no...the little boys are not playing play station, but they are practicing for when they can. I am glad we have three controllers. :)


Blessings,
Tanni

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Ride

It has been a little over a week since I posted about Pastor Kerry's challenge of being silence with God. I thought I would follow up to let you know that I have completed the challenge and that I will try to incorporate into my daily life going forward. To be completely honest, I did miss one day, but I just started again the next day.

What have I learned from this experience? I have learned that our brains are like computers...and just like computers they need to be rebooted (spiritually). When I first started the quite time, it took a long time for my brain to shut down and fully take in the silence. By day 5 or 6, I could feel myself shut down much easier. Back to the example of the computer...the more applications you have open, the longer it takes to shut down. Imagine God as the operating system of our brain. The more applications we have running, the more bogged down the operating system gets. It is harder for God to work in our lives if we stay bogged down all the time. Over a week span, I was able to notice that my brain needed to reboot every day and allow God to be apart of it.

Did I see a change in myself over this past week? Absolutely! I noticed that I was more patient with my children and my husband. And that every day I wanted to spend more time with God. Also, that I was praying passionately for myself and other people in my life.

I do wonder, however; if I will ever get it all together at the same time. This week, I really focused on God and my quiet time, but somehow I did not work out or eat that great. I know that I am a work in process and that if I continue through this process, God will help me work to be more balanced. I am so grateful that our God is a gracious and loving God. I imagine Him looking down on me like a child trying to learn to ride a bike. I keep falling, but I get up and try again. I may not ride my bike very well, but the fact that I keep trying is a success in itself. As a parent, doesn't that make you so happy to see your child try again? I think God is the same way and I am so grateful for that.

I am a work in progress. I don't have it all together, but I have a loving God that will always be there to help me back up and encourage me to get back on the bike (of life).

If you have not spent anytime with God lately, I encourage you to just meet Him in you thoughts. Allow Him to help you ride your bike.

Blessings,
Tanni

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Busy Busy Boy















Just in case any of you were wondering what Gavin has been up to, he has been pretty busy. I am going to have alot to live up to when he gets home. He has been to the park, swimming, the movie, the museum, the zoo and fishing. Yes, all if this was in one week. I guess that is what grandparents are for. He is really enjoying himself, but I will have to say that I am ready for him to come home. I think he got a little homesick when Grannie showed him the blog and he saw the pictures of Gage & Grayson with the baking soda. All he could talk about after seeing the blog was wanting to come home and see the bees. I guess he realized that life was going on without him and he did not like that too much. :) Billy just left for Dallas for work and will be done on Tuesday. He will drive over to Tyler and pick up Gavin and then come home. can't wait until Tuesday! :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Round and Round We Go





Today we took Gage & Grayson to the mall shopping...yes shopping! I am not sure what we were thinking. Our plan was to also go to the science museum. What did we discover on this trip? They officially do not want to ride in the stroller anymore. They lasted a whole 10 minutes without melting down. I decided to let them out of their stroller when Billy was paying for some shirts he had picked out. Well...let's just say that did not go well. I was trying to push the empty stroller while holding the hands of 2 two year olds. The stroller would not move and the toddlers were running in separate directions. I thought I could manage it, but the situation continued to melt down by the second. Thankfully, Billy came to my rescue quickly. We decide to take the stroller back to the car and drop it off. I really considered stopping our adventure at the car, but I am glad we hung in there for the boys sake! :) We walked all the way through the mall, toddlers in hand. We decided to eat at the food court, by the carousal. It is very entertaining for the boys. After lunch, Billy took them for a ride on the carousal and I watched. For any one who does not know me, I do not do well on spinning things. I am much better at watching and that still bothers me a little bit. Once they were finished, we decided that it was getting kind-of late so we would ride the escalators instead of the science museum. Note for people without kids....an escalator becomes an amusement park ride once you have children. The boys loved riding the escalators as we made our way back to the car. In the end, we all survived our trip to the mall without using a stroller and the boys are sleeping soundly. Mission accomplished! :)


We are missing Gavin like crazy and I have gotten some pictures from his adventures at his Grannie & Grandpa's house. I will post them later tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In the Blink of an Eye






Billy worked late last night so I decided to take the boys to the park after dinner. They were so excited. They walked with me hand in hand all the way to the park and we all played for over an hour. At one point, I sat and watched them playing together and I was enjoying the fact that I could just watch them and enjoy them. If you don't remember, Gavin is visiting his Grannie and having a wonderful time. Anyway, I have never had just the twins for any significant time by themselves. I was really taking time to enjoy their personalities and also the fact that I was only focused on two! I have two hands and two eyes....one for each of them. When you add another child in the mix, you don't always have time to enjoy what each of them are doing in the moment because you are needing a third eye, hand or foot. I can say; however, that as the little boys are getting older...Gavin too...my days are much more manageable than they seemed in the beginning. Thanks Grannie & Grandpa for the gift of enjoying my children individually and thank you for loving them so much that you want to spend a week with them.


As we were nearing the end of our park adventure, we had an unexpected mishap! Gage was walking underneath the small playground toward Grayson and myself and he started screaming. At first, I thought he might have walked into the pole or something like that because...honestly he and his brother are pretty clumsy these days. Just as that thought was entering my head, bees started to fly out from underneath the play set. Gage had walked into a nest of bees/hornets. He was screaming bloody murder and I was hoping that I could get Grayson out of harms way while comforting Gage. There is nothing like a little mommy adrenaline. I scooped both of them up and out of the park in seconds and carried Gage all the way home as he screamed the entire way. Just so you know....Gage is no light weight...he weighs close to 35 pounds. Thank God Grayson did not get stung, because we probably would have been in the ER. He is very allergic to bites....just like his mommy! Once we got home, I was able to evaluate the situation. He was stung 4-5 times. Two on his body and the other 2-3 were on his scalp. I am guessing that he backed into the nest and they stung his head first. I immediately gave him some benedryl and start looking for baking soda (which I did not have, bad mommy!) The benedryl held him off until Billy could get home with the baking soda. Baking soda takes the sting out. It is pretty remarkable how it works. He sat and ate a popsicle while I put the paste of baking soda on his bites. Grayson, of course, had a popsicle and some paste too...even though he did not need it. :) After they got washed up, they both got in our bed and watched Blue's Clues. If you are wondering why there are no pictures of the park, it is because I only have two hands, one for each child. I had a bottle of water in one pocket and cell phone in the other...no room for the camera. Sorry! :)


Sharing this story really brings light to the phrase "In the blink of an eye!" So much can change in such a short time. I was enjoying my children and taking in the moment...and then BAM...everything changed. Life is like that, so don't take it for granted. Take time to enjoy the little things before your life changes in the blink of an eye. Blessing! :)


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I'm A Mama's Boy!




We have recently noticed that Gage has a preference on what he wants to wear. I went in to get them up this morning and before I got them out of their cribs, I picked out their clothes for the day. As I went to put on the shirt I picked out for Gage, he refused to put it on so I asked him if he wanted to pick out his own shirt. He communicated with me non verbally, but I knew he meant yes. He was so happy when I opened the shirt drawer so he could see the shirts. I went though several with disapproval, until I got to the "I'm a Mama's Boy" shirt. He approved and was very happy with his choice. After changing Gage's shirt, I also changed Grayson's shirt because he always likes to be like his brother.


It is really funny to me how different they can all be. Gavin never cared about clothes. He would prefer to wear the same thing everyday if I would let him. :)

Gavin's Last T-ball Game










Gavin had his last t-ball game this past Saturday. Here are some pictures of the game. He had lots of fun playing and learned alot through the season. What a difference a year makes. We tried soccer when he was three and it was not fun... for him or us! :) We are going to try it again this fall and I have a feeling we will have a different experience.

GO LAURA!

Today is the day! Our dear friend, Laura Wilkinson starts competing in her diving event at the Olympics. I hope everyone that reads this will say a little prayer for Laura. She is a remarkable woman and has accomplished so much in her career as a diver. Here is the schedule for her diving. We are cheering for you Laura! :)
8/20: Women’s 10M Prelims - NBC - 11:30a.-1pm
8/21: Women’s 10M Semi-Finals-Telemundo(Spanish)1-5pm
8/21: Women’s 10m FINALS - NBC - 7-11pm

Monday, August 18, 2008

Quietness Strengthens Your Faith

This weekend at FOTW pastor Kerry challenged us to a week of silence...well, not exactly the whole week, but 15 minutes a day with God and no talking. Do you know how hard that is? As a woman and a mother of three, I have so many thoughts and conversations going on inside my head. Many times there is so much going on in there that I can not even complete a sentence! :) Anyway, I can proudly say that I have taken the challenge and I have just completed my second day of silence with God. Just so you know, I hide in my closet to escape. I know it is kind-of weird, but I have found comfort in the dark, on my knees, in my closet. That's my place...what can I say. I am sure it has nothing to do with my love of shoes. :)

Both days as I went into my closet, I checked my watch thinking that 15 minutes was a really long time and I wanted to make sure to complete it. Both days, I have come out well beyond 30 minutes and spiritually fresh. What an awesome feeling! I have learned over many years of being a Christian that silence is typically when I hear God the most, but I can not say that I always practice being silent. I can say, however, that it is an overwhelming feeling when you hear God. He has spoke to me both days in different ways.

Yesterday, in my silence, I was trying not to think or talk to God, but be present in the silence. Some where in the silence, a question popped into my head "Why do I look forward to things I shouldn't? I went though a list of things in my head: Why to I look forward to coffee in the morning, cookies, chips, soft drinks, a glass of wine? It was as if God cut me off in mid thought and said "Look forward to me! Look forward to spending time with me. If you do that, nothing else matters." WOW!

As I started my quite time today, I was looking forward to what He was going to impress upon my heart. As I sat in silence, my senses were heightened and my ears listened to raindrops pound on my rooftop. Ironically enough, I had just gotten off a blog called Bring the Rain (http://audreycaroline.blogspot.com/) If you have a chance read it, this mother is amazing and has remarkable faith. In the blog, she explains why it is called Bring the Rain...you will have to read to find out. Anyway, as I sat in the closet in silence, the rain became symbolic for me nurturing my faith through silence. If plants don't have water, they will not grow and will eventually die. If I don't have quite time, then my faith will not grow, eventually growing stale. I don't want to be stale in my faith. I want to look forward to spending time with God and watering my spirit with daily quite time. WOW...all this happened in 2 days of silence. I wonder what He will say to me tomorrow. Praise God!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

To Grandmother's House He Goes

Gavin is gone for the week visiting his Grannie and Grandpa. We met them 1/2 way today and had lunch. They drove the rest of the way to Lindale. Gavin has been looking forward to this so much. I think he was so excited that he did not sleep very well last night. I am sure he is going to have a blast. I have to tell you how much he loves his Grannie....he made it to 10 points last night and that success means that he gets to go to Toys R Us. He loves going to Toys R Us and picking out his toys. Anyway, we were a little limited on time so we were not going to be able to fit in Toys R Us before going to Grannie's house. He was a little upset, but when I asked him if he would rather go to Toys R Us or Grannie's house, he said "Grannie's house and we can go to Toys R Us when I get home!" Very sweet! We will miss you Gavin! :)

Billy and I are looking forward to spending some quality time with Gage & Grayson. We are hoping to do some things that they don't typically get to do. Also, we are looking forward to a visit from Kimberly. She is coming into town for work and staying with us for a few days. YEAH! :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Congratulations to The Lewis Family!





Congratulations to our dear friends Frank & Kathy Lewis. They just sold their house and purchased a new house. Tis the season for moving. I have to tell a neat story about the blessing of their new home. Kathy called me one day and shared her up and down emotions of buying a new house. She wondered if they were making the right choice. I shared with her my story of buying a new home and how stressful it could be. Even though Billy and I had genuinely prayed over our decision and we knew we were making the right choice, we still had some anxiety. The day we went to sign the paperwork on the house was a very hot summer afternoon. There was no rain on the radar; however out of the blue, there was a small pocket of clouds which turned into a 5 minute thunderstorm. Of course, we went outside to see the storm because it was not expected. When the rain finished, we looked up in the sky and there was a beautiful rainbow. To us, it was a confirmation that we were making the right choice and God's way of showing us. I shared this story with Kathy not only share my experience, but also my faith. Several hours after Kathy and I talked, I received another phone call from her. This time she was the one sharing a story. She started telling me about a small thunderstorm that popped up in her area and that when she arrived home there was a beautiful rainbow in her back yard. She was shocked for many reasons. Rainbows are definitely not something that you see everyday especially after you heard a story from your friend about rainbows. She told me that after I shared my story with her, she thought to herself that something like that could never happen to her. Well it did! God is great and he reveals himself to us in many ways...sometimes in rainbows. Praise God!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Happy 9th Anniversary Honey!




I can not believe that it has been 9 years since we got married. Much has changed since that hot day in August. I am not sure if either of us could have imagined our life as it is now. We are so blessed in many ways. I will have to say we have always tried to put our marriage relationship first, even before the kids. We both feel that if we don't have a solid foundation for our kids, then what do we have? I am not saying that it is easy. It is far from it, but what I do know...is that we will always be doing it together. Thank you for sharing this journey with me. I look forward to many years to come.

Also, thank you Mom & Harley and Bill & Ann for helping us celebrate our anniversary with a nice monetary gift (you guys paid for our dinner and a babysitter!). Billy planned to surprise me last night with dinner reservations at Perry's. The surprise did not quite work out, but we still went to dinner and had a fabulous time together. When we were dating, we always went out to eat at nice places. We love to do that together, but when you are a family of 5 it is hard to justify spending the money on it. Thanks so much for thinking of us.

As I was typing this entry, I was thinking that the little boys were kind-of quite so I went out to find them. I found them on top of the table smelling and eating the flowers that Billy brought home to me. I think the flowers made a big impact on them so I think Billy needs to bring them home more often! Love you honey! :)

We will miss you Maria!


Today was Maria's last day. Maria has been our heaven sent (Nanny) for almost 2 years. She started working with us 2 days a week when the babies were 5 months old. She is part of our family and we are really sad to see her go, but Gage & Grayson are starting preschool in September and things are much more manageable than they were two years ago. We will miss her dearly, but know we will keep in touch. We love you Maria! :)

Surprise visit from Papa & Mia


My mom and Harley came into town for a business meeting yesterday and my mom got to spend the day with us. Harley came to the house after his meeting and brought presents (remote control cars). The boys were really excited to see them and the cars. I am not sure who liked the cars more....Gavin or Papa! :) The boys have been playing with the cars all day today. Thanks for thinking of the boys. We wish we could see you more often. Love you! :)

Love Thy Neighbor





The other night we made cookies and took them to our newly moved in neighbors. I tried to capture a good picture, but as many of you know, it becomes a challenge with 3 kids. No one wants to look at the same time. After taking pictures we were off on our adventure. We were stopping at 2 houses to meet our new neighbors. As the welcome wagon arrived at the first house, Gavin rang the door bell...not once, not twice, not even three times....I think he made it up to four before I realized and got on to him. :) Then when our neighbors opened the door, Gage started to throw a crazy fit because we were giving the cookies away. We tried to introduce ourselves with all the chaos going on around us. These poor people were probably finishing dinner when their door bell rang multiple times with a bunch of crazy monkeys outside. Who knows what they were thinking, but they seemed really nice and appreciative of our chaos. I hope we did not scare them off. We went onto our next house and it did not seem any better, but we did get to meet our neighbors and that was a blessing. We came home a little overwhelmed on the whole experience. It makes you wonder if it is all worth it? The answer is yes....even though our attempt at meeting our neighbors was a little crazy, we are teaching our children to love their neighbors. As a mother, I have asked myself many times if what I am doing really matters. Even when I feel like no one sees what I do...God does...and in the end that is the only thing that matters.