Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The House Game

So we're having another baby. And we're super pumped about this and as mentioned in my previous post, we totally planned and prayed for this baby. But that doesn't change the fact that with said baby's arrival, we will have out grown out house. By like 2 people and a dog.

True story.

We have a great home-- it's older and we've fixed and changed and moved things until it's just as we like-- we have an amazing back yard for little boys-- it's fenced and big and flat, and they can play and play while I stand at the sink washing dishes, putting dishes away, and/ or folding laundry all while keeping them in my eye sight. For a mom, that's like seriously heaven-- to be fully aware of your children and their safety while not being able to hear them at all-- can I get an "ahhhhh" sigh of bliss?? We also have a long flat driveway, with a perfect parking pad for Chad and his truck and work stuff, with a garage for me and all the babes I load and unload in the rain, sleet, and snow. Ok, mostly rain, because we live in Georgia, but it's a perk nonetheless.

And did I mention that our mortgage is really small?? We bought it when the economy tanked right before Max was born and so let's just say that it's one of those monthly bills that isn't exactly fun because can "bill" and "fun" be in the same sentence? But it doesn't hurt like it could, and when Chad's business gets slow after the holidays as it always does, we can still make all our ends meet, thanks to our Heavenly Father... lovely!!

So after speaking with my favorite handy man/ contractor/ builder... aka my father in law... we decided to get an estimate to build onto the back of our house-- we wanted a little sitting room that would temporarily be a baby room and once baby was sleeping and got move up with the other kids it would turn into a playroom/ sunroom of sorts, and a master bedroom/ bathroom, because apparently back in the 70's when our house was built, it was a great idea to make the master bed/ closet/ bath the SMALLEST in the whole house and face it, my wardrobe consisting of before children that I'll never wear again but refuse to throw away, maternity that I like to wear for 9 months every year, skinny post children which takes me at least 6 months post-baby to fit into, and fat post children which I spend way too much time in, just doesn't fit on my 2 feet of hanging shelf. Basically Chad's Dad helped us think through it all, then we conveyed it to a contractor who was great and took measurements and pictures and came up with this beautiful drawing that made my heart flutter... all to the tune of $65,000..... um, hello, if we had $65,000 cash in our pockets to throw on a house, we'd just go buy a new one.

So.... we proceeded to option #2-- renting for a year or so until we were ready to buy again, all while keeping our house and renting it out as well. (Chad wants to keep our house long term, even once we really do buy another because he loves it and because it's a great rental property.) So we've been looking and looking for months and months and seriously, nothing fits what we want. It's been so frustrating. A lot of the houses we really liked wouldn't fit my car in the garage. I drive a minivan people- nothing fancy- and not a tank. Just a regular ole swagger wagon. OR lots of houses have drive under garages... um I won't get into details but picture a post-pregnant woman lugging a 3 year old, 2 year old and baby up and down a full set of stairs, not to mention bags, groceries, and all the other luxurious items that come with motherhood... it wouldn't be pretty. Our garage to house now has like 7 stairs and some days it's a mountain-- I can't imagine a whole staircase. Seriously, we would have to order in each night unless Publix began delivering in Woodstock. We also saw houses that were dirty or didn't have storage or worse yet-- no back yard. And when you look at renting, you have to be willing to live there AS IS for a full year otherwise you're throwing money away, because it's not your house so any updates/ additions wouldn't be to your advantage and you'd get nothing out of it.

Finally on Friday, we found a house that was doable-- there were some things that weren't awesome and but we had resigned ourselves to just settle... and after we left the house and headed to dinner, Chad ran into a concrete post in the parking lot with his truck tire and his truck tire alone-- no other part of his truck-- and it still managed to total the thing. Not even kidding. He was going like 5 miles an hour, if that, swinging wide to park, and bam. It left him with burns and bruises on his arm, and the tire hit just right so that is broke the frame of his truck in half. My instant reaction was relieve that he was fine and no one else was involved. He instant reaction was total annoyance, calling himself names and questioning what God was teaching him or trying to show him. By the time the weekend was over, I realized the lesson was for me-- simplify Lauren-- wait for Me Lauren-- don't settle to fit your timeline, listen to what I'm saying.

God had been whispering in my ear that we just needed to sit tight in our house for a bit and it would literally make my eyes water... with tears.  Tears of a baby not getting her way... tears of a mommy wanting the new baby to have a place to sleep that wouldn't disrupt the rest of her brood... tears of wanting more and bigger and better. But it took this little truck incident for me to get it-- and when I got it, it was instant. Who the heck cares if Gabe and Max share a room with bunk beds?? Certainly not them! They think it's going to be a party. And so what if the we need to re-arrage our room to fit a bassinet long term, and so what if Jack and baby both have cribs in the same room?  Seriously, we were about to pay a lot more money to settle elsewhere, when we can just "settle" on the number of bedrooms for a bit, and save money, continue making improvements, AND wait for the Lord to show us what's next--- maybe it will be adding onto our house after we win a mini-lottery, or maybe this time next year, the perfect house will open up and we'll be ready to put another down payment on a house-- but in the meantime, let's just stay and settle in to our home a little more... not to mention, settle into God's plan for us, instead of mine.

I'm so grateful for a patient God who continues to work on my heart-- and a patient husband who continued to walk out this housing road with me, although he was content with what he have the whole time. I'm a lucky lady-- the only thing I need is more Jesus!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Let's Mote!

Hopefully you all exercised your right to vote today!! We sure did and we're grateful for the privilege!!

Max loves to "mote"... as in vote. Our polling place is at a big church just down the road from our house and so every time we drive by, Max says "that's where we mote." And it's not like he has a bunch of experience with this, let's be honest!! Chad and I met there to "mote" in July and the boys got a sticker and then got to play on the playground at the church afterwards, so really I think that's the draw :)


Anyway, for this presidential election, Anna and I decided to vote early at the library just up the road. Of course changing locations really threw Max, but we thought that if we went together, we could tag team as needed. BUT when we got there this past Thursday, we were able to walk up and vote right away.  It was awesome! 4 years ago, none of our babies were here yet... so this was their first time voting for President of the United States... so we had to capture it!

But regardless of how the numbers add up tonight, it's a big change for our country! But just a reminder, you can't put your hope in a man, even President-- he's just as human and sinful as the rest of us-- instead, our eyes need to be on our sovereign Lord and our prayers for all the leaders of our country. God, please bless America!

Halloween and our other October Festivities

This year, I did manage to break out a little bit of fall decor-- both inside and outside. But I didn't really manage to capture it on camera... oops! But Max loved the pumpkins, Jack loved the candy corn, and Gabe always appreciated decor :)

We also had a pumpkin painting party with some of our favorite little men, and again... no pictures... but my friend Danielle did capture and blogged about it-- check it out on her blog here: Pumpkin Party Playdate

And of course, we did our annual pumpkin patch visit with the Spivas. We went to a new one- Cagle's Dairy farm not too farm from our house, and got to enjoy a pumpkin patch, a jumping pillow with a special one just for younger kids (yay!), a corn maze, and then a good hay ride that took you to a big open field filled with bon fires-- they even provided sticks and marshmallows. Honestly, the big fires did make me a little nervous with the 4 boys under 4 between us, but with 4 parents on duty we all survived unscathed :) But again... no pictures!

(This was at dinner afterwards... and Max had to have his clothes changed due to a "can't hold it anymore accident" and we're missing baby Grant, so for that reason, this picture doesn't really count...)
Then the weekend before Halloween, we attended the 5th annual Canup fest put on by our dear friends the Canups-- they to a fire pit, smores, food and fixins, lots of fun games for the kids, and even had the GA/ FL game on a big screen outside. And did I mention that is was a costume party? Well it was! I honestly haven't participated in dressing up in years-- but this year Chad and I were the Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar-- it was awesome!!
Reason #1: Because I found an amazing dress at goodwill
Reason #2: Because I seriously LOVE Michelle Duggar-- have you ever heard her talk-- what a heart, what wisdom, what a lady!
Reason #3: Because if didn't fear my insides falling out and my husband running away with no forwarding address, I would SO have 19 kids :)

But just FYI... I DID capture this event and I'd like to make a mention that although I am truly expecting, that is a bath towel up under my dress and NOT my baby belly!!!

Of course, we also concluded the month with some pumpkin carving but unfortunately we had to do it without Gabe :( The month flew by and before we knew it, we had one night to carve the pumpkin before trick-or-treaters were coming and it wasn't a Gabe night/ weekend for us-- bummer! So I did get some cut pictures of the boys and Chad in action but it isn't the same without our big brother.

And lastly, we wrapped up the month with some trick-or-treating with the Prusa's and this year, Max and Lizzy's costumes coordinated!! You should know the Lizzy wanted to be a princess and wanted Max to be Prince Charming but he could NOT be talked out of being Mickey-- he had his mind set on it, and once we laid eyes on what he deemed as the perfect costume, he would so proud every time he slipped with on, which is so unlike him. Lizzy was flexible, PTL, because they were adorable!

And of course, we had a baby cow with us and lil Evie was Raggedy Ann-- it was a cute, fun time! Not near as cold as we expected, either-- win/ win!!  We made it to about 10 houses before Max was ready to go back and hand out candy- he thought that was the true highlight of the night :) Jack thought the lollipops were the highlight.

And just like that, October flew in and flew right back out! We're so grateful for wonderful friends, wonderful weather, wonderful traditions, and our wonderful family. Now onto November and a thankful, grateful focus that will hopefully carry on throughout the year!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Mother of the Year...

When Max was between 12-18 months and disciplining became a normal and necessary part of everyday day (second!) I pretty quickly felt the Lord's prodding to pick my battles because I certainly wasn't going to be able to teach him everything a godly man needed to know before his 2nd birthday.

I landed on 3 main offenses that warranted strong discipline every single time:
1) Disrespect
2) Disobedience
3) Dishonesty

At that point, those became the 3 battles that we fight around the clock, and then we just "correct" other offenses as they happen, without the strong training. So you can catch me saying "That wasn't respectful-- you must show kindness to show others they are important" or "You need to learn to obey Mommy every time so that you can learn to obey God" or "It's important to always tell the truth so others can trust you all the time" at least 100 times a day. And that's just for Max. Jack has now entered this stage as well, so double it-- at least!

(Side note: If you've listened to Andy and Sandra Stanley's recent series, from Northpoint Church, on family, they mention that someone shared those 3 golden rules with them prior to their having children and I've just got to say, that when I listened to that message almost 2 years after the Lord laid those same things on my heart, and I literally wept-- I just love when the Lord impresses His message on His people and then you get confirmation that you're fighting the right fight. A few weeks after that, I was at a ladies night, and talking with my friend Lisa who also fights these same 3 battles plus they added "aggression"and again, I was just moved at how God speaks to moms and parents-- just right in your own heart, but come to find out, He is giving us all the same message in order to succeed in His eyes.)

As a mom, let me just say, that while this is only 3 rules-- A LOT fits into these categories and it is constantly the words on my tongue, like all the live long day, Lord help me! Granted, it also works in my favor because "Max, you are not showing respect to the house when you knock that bat into the wall" also completely makes sense in line with our rules but also helps me protect my house and manage chaos.

My day is filled with loud squeals in order to communicate dislike for my commands, thrashing about to avoid spankings, shouts and guttural growls to display their unhappiness with me, comments of "I'm neber going to obey" and "I'll neber show respect" and "I don't wanna get control-- lots of room sitting and nose to nose conversations with my small people. I use a wooden spoon on their behinds way too often for my mom heart, but God never said that this job was easy. But it only takes one small "victory"to give me the fuel needed to keep on keeping on. One small hug or kiss or "I love you Mommy" also goes a long way :)

But let me just say one more time, I am fighting the fight people, and I am smack worn out! I mean, it's just a constant lesson, a constant battle, and unfortunately for me, constant discipling. (I'm not asking for a pity party-- I totally get that between 2-3 years old, it's HARD and that why parents for generations have been saying what they say about two's and terribles and toddlers, etc... this is just the stage of parenting that I'm in right now and I can't see the other side quite yet.) So on Sunday, all my hard work was given the spot light to shine...

My 6th grade girls that I lead at church followed me downstairs to the kids department because they wanted to see my boys after I picked them up from their class. They we all standing behind me as I stuck my head in my sweet Max's class and said "Maaaxxx!" I picked up his coat and he ran towards me:

And proceeded to screeched the loudest screech with the meanest scrunched up face and then HIT me.

Yep, mother of the year folks-- that's me! Look at me shine!

Friday, October 26, 2012

29 Years Young

When you get old, you know, like a mom, birthdays tend to take a turn for the worst. The focus is less on you and more on things like "life" and the fact that your birthday is in fact NOT a national holiday. You are still responsible for your children and your mortgage and such, despite the month long mental celebration.

And I would like to say that I was mentally prepared for this to be the case. But none of that happened...

You see, Thursday night, my mom came and got my kids and I went to dinner with my college roommate from out of state and Anna, our other roommate. The boys spent the night with my parents, so me and Chad got to sleep in ON my birthday! We slept in.... until 7:26. Seriously. Darn it! Luckily we did lay there longer and pretend to sleep more like the good ole days.

My breakfast consisted of a homemade birthday cake that my mom had dropped off the night before, and then I got my nails done...

Then Danielle and Molly treated me to a yummy lunch...

And then I went to Renew Day Spa for a treat from my husband... A 90 minute massage, ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

And then I went to the mall and got myself some new shoes... You know, a present to me, from me, and then I got some fro yo with Oreos and Butterfinger, but it didn't count as bad calories or anything because it was on top of yogurt.

And I did all this without loading anybody in and out of the car!

And then my 29th birthday was wrapped up with dinner at Pappasitos with my parents and brother and we got our boys back. YUM! (this is my first birthday since my parents moved back to GA, I'm still soooooo thankful for that!)

Oh and did I mention that I also got tons of phone calls, texts, tweets, Facebook messages, and even birthday song videos. And birthday money to save up for my future awesome camera that I'm wanting :)

What a day, folks :) Bottomline? I'm so very blessed-- my thankful list is miles long! And just because you're a mom doesn't mean a thing- I was loved to pieces all day long!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

SAHM: The 1 Year Update

Can you believe I've been home with my kiddies as my full time job for a whole year? Wait, you haven't been keeping up with it? Oh. Well, let me just say, I can NOT believe it and yet totally believe it all at the same time, ha! And to use my new favorite mommying quote, the days have been long, but the year has been so short!

Basically, my life has totally changed-- I am now fully responsible for  my kids around the clock, as well as my home, and parts of my husbands business. I don't ever have to leave the house or clock in elsewhere, which is so awesome, but that's not to say I'm not "working" nonetheless. And I've got to say, the pay is so strange-- it does amazing things for my heart, but my bank account, well, not so much!

I rarely get a moment to myself, and I don't get to think my own thoughts, and I have small people touching me ALL the time. I also feel like the laundry and the kitchen cleaning is never ending-- and sometimes, that just makes me want to go get a job! But there are so many amazing aspects of being "here", doing "this", and putting all my energy and heart into "them"-- I honestly feel like they are my calling-- their hearts and who they are-- their education and how the treat others-- it is what I'm all about right now. And again-- the days are long, but the years arevso short. I pray that when I get to heaven, God looks at me and glances over at my children and smiles and says "well done Lauren, you took this job, your calling, very seriously, and I am very pleased."

It's been a journey for sure-- I've always wanted to be a mom, it's been my dream and I knew I wanted to stay home with them, but people who knew me well wasn't sure I was really cut out for that. But then, when I was pregnant with Jack, oh how the Lord laid in on my heart. Being home with my boys became a burden-- thinking through it and about it and praying over it made me emotional-- it wrecked my heart. So I started praying that God would make it obvious to Chad too, and tell him when it was time.

And then, a year ago, God did just that-- It was my husband who said "it's time for you to come home"-- I know where I was on the ramp of 575 when he said those words, and I will never forget the joy the overcame me at that moment. I liked my job and a really enjoyed my co-workers so so so much-- they are still dear friends-- but I knew my kids needed all of me. During this year, the Lord has provided at every step-  He has reaffirmed this decision over and over- and He's even given me a few things to keep me busy "on the side" (but let's be honest, keeping busy isn't really an issue!)  I do some contract writing and help with booking at The Echo Group. I also take care of invoicing for Chad's company and double the boys in our house by taking care of the Spiva boys on Wednesday. With my SAHM gig, I also get gym time to take care of myself, and I go to BSF weekly where is LOVE the set up and how they lead you to dig into God's word. It's also great for my boys who just love the children's program there.

We don't have a bunch of spare time laying around and usually once I crawl into bed, I'm out before the lights are, but let me just say-- oh, how I'm exactly where the Lord has me right now. And I am so at peace.

My friend Anna, who was given the joy of becoming a SAHM just a few months before me sent me this quote not long ago-- it couldn't sum up my work as a mom any better: it puts into words why I've been called home!

The art of doing one thing well

"There is magic in doing one thing, and doing it well, with the full force of our focus. What if we allowed ourselves the freedom to become engrossed in one task, one project or one conversation, really giving it our best? Rather than saying yes to everything, imagine the gratification in saying no to things that distract us from our purpose, in favor of saying yes only to the most important things. Then, instead of wondering if we’ve really done our best, we’ll be gratified to know that we have."

- From "The Art of Doing One Thing Well" in today's Manner & Lane 

(And again, THANK YOU Chad for working hard and providing for our family so that I can be here. I coudn't be more appreciative of you and your hard work if I tried.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This Time Around

Once Chad and I decided we were ready for another baby, I was all in. Like wanting to skip the getting pregnant and whole pregnancy- I was just ready to hold and care for the little one. I started struggling immediately with fear-- fear of infertility or that God's plan for our family didn't match mine-- and I was having a hard time just letting go and letting God be in control- which is totally normal for me. I've felt the exact same way each time we've hoped and prayed for a baby.

The first month of trying was kind of half hearted, because I wasn't totally sure I wanted to be pregnant at the beach although I loved the idea of an April baby. (That is if baby took after Max and actually came the month he/she was due.) But the next month, we were all in. And when I took the pregnancy test I was so sad to read the negative results. I was so disappointed-- to a degree I haven't felt in a long time. Of course Satan capitalized on that-- every bad, fearful, worrisome thought rushed in-- it took over my thoughts. I started praying over and over that I wanted God's kingdom not mine and worked to align my will with His. God sure does answer prayers like that because by the end of the day, I was feeling a lot better and within a couple days, I was ok and ready for the days and months ahead-- maybe it would take a long while, maybe we would adopt, maybe foster some children- who knows- but I was just trying to walk it out, let go of fear, and not have to know "why".

Days and days passed and still no actual proof that I wasn't pregnant, if you know what I mean. I was late- really late- but I was so sure I wasn't pregnant, especially after working through that, that I was very reluctant to take another test. But as soon as I did, it was positive immediately.

Chad isn't a zero to 60 freaker-outer like me, so really, the whole journey and the culmination of the positive test was all between me, my head, and my God.

I bawled. Sobbed. And was even more excited than I had been with Max and Jack-- I think because after being a mom, I just knew what was ahead and how wonderful it is. Chad was gone so I texted him a picture. He was shocked because I had convinced him I wasn't pregnant and he doesn't really keep up with dates and such.... At all!

Within a few minutes, Max came and crawled into bed with me-- my room was still dark and he snuggled into my arms, and I just weeped with joy. I just love being a mom, I love their little minds, and arms, and hugs. I love their phrases and their eyes and oh how I love their laughs.

Being parents and raising children is hard! It's a huge responsibility, but the joy and blessing that comes with it is so immense. Being a mom is what I was created to do-- right now, it's exactly where I'm supposed to be-- it's exactly what God has for me. And I can't not wait to welcome our newest member into our family.

Dearest baby- for you I have prayed and God filled my womb with you-- I am so thankful for your life! Praise God from whom all blessing flow!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Not Even For A Second...

This morning Chad had an early wake up call which alerted a wood pecker to start pecking outside my window at 6:47 after my staying up until way after midnight. That should've been my sign to call it quits for the day- I'm an 8 hr sleep a night kind of gal, and well, I didn't even get close to 7-- it was going to get ugly.

So by 9am, I had already had multiple conversations with Max about why he couldn't have cookies for breakfast, and a handful of conversation which consisted of me begging him to be the mommy today so that I could be Max. Unfortunately he couldn't get past the fact the he couldn't reach the cereal or he would've realized that it was actually a good deal that could've resulted in said cookie for breakfast. Oh well, I had to put on a smile and be the mommy, again!

Luckily they're really cute and funny... During bed making and dressing they were cracking me up and delivering kisses. Before I even knew it, I was sucked back into the roll... Despite the double runny noses that are the reason that we've gone through 9 (seriously) boxes of tissues in less than 2 weeks. Our trash man may have noticed and influx, for real.

Well I was sitting on my floor reading an email when Max came and delivered another kiss only to disgust me because it involved slimy snot being passed to my face. I sent him to his bedside table to retrieve his 72625th tissue of the morning and he said "I can't see any tissues by my bed." Well just 10 minutes before I had gotten a tissue myself from the box so I was momentarily befuddled until I remembered that Chad had just flew in and back out a few minutes before and thought that maybe he had used the last of the tissues from that box and thrown it away. I went to find Jack who was playing in the trash per normal, and beside him was a tissue box.

It made everything make sense. A few minutes earlier, just seconds after Chad left and seconds before Max delivered the slimy kiss, I had asked Max where Jack was... We could hear him but we couldn't see him. Max rounded the corner and found him in the bathroom pulling tissues out of the trash and blowing his nose. I could pretend that I'm appalled by this and the grossness of the story but let's just say that it happens ALL. THE. TIME. All day long. We keep our kitchen trash can up on a chair for this very reason. And yes, we say no, and discipline him, but the draw of the trash is just too much for Jack and it's too often for this mother who needs to have more than 10 seconds to get something done without having to remove said child from dumpster diving. So I just put minimal stuff- like tissues- in the bathroom trash and transfer all other things straight to the kitchen trash that is kept out of Jack's reach. I should tell you that Chad is worried about his future and that we have lost several important items to his love for the trash... Like a set of keys, his buggle, many cups and Tupperware from the cabinet he can reach, etc... And we didn't realize any of these items were gone until they were in a landfill gone. But that's a story for another day.

So back to my original story... Max gets a tissue from my room, I wipe his nose, and he then announces he has to go potty. I send him that direction only to have him right back in my face making a sad face saying, "Jack put 5 5 5 5 tissues in the potty." What could he mean? Well, let's just say that for once Jack wasn't playing in the trash and Chad hadn't used the last of the tissues nor had he put the box in the trash can Jack was playing with... No no no! Jack had gone to Max's room, carried the tissues to the bathroom, opened the toilet, blew his nose on every tissue and wadded it up and dropped it in the potty. Lucky for me, Max had the sense NOT to use it or else when I reached in the potty to pull each and every tissue out, I would've also gotten to deal with bodily fluids and excrement. Joy.

The moral of the story? Don't take your eye off of this child. Not even for a second. He's only 16 months people... It's downhill from here!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Max turns 3!

Oh how my heart rejoices and aches simultaneously to write this post-- my baby boy, my first born, my little sidekick just turned 3. I can't believe I've been his mom for 3 full years, I can't believe that he's been my baby for that long either-- it has flown by and been absolutely wonderful!

Max's birthday was on a Sunday this year, so we just decided to make a day of it and do it all in one day. He was really funny about his birthday this year- he actually understood it and was looking forward to being 3 like Lizzy. He had also just celebrated Hudson's 4th birthday and understood all the in's and out's of a party.

For several months, Max had said that he wanted 2 parties-- one at Pop's beach (because his birthday was in the midst of our beach vacation when he turned 2, he thought that meant that he should be celebrated on every beach trip!) and one with his friends. He wanted the beach birthday to be golf themed and the friends party to be baseball themed and he was ADAMANT about all of this. And then about a week before he turned 3, we figured out why... me and the boys had gone to my moms and we were walking up to their place when Max started telling me and my mom that at his golf birthday (the first one) he was going to turn 3 and then at the baseball party, he was going to turn 4. We cracked up!! That's how this little man's mind works-- he analyzes a situation, figures out what he wants, and then makes a plan... even if that means skipping a year of his life :)  Apparently being 4 like Hudson seemed like the best way to go!

And so that's what we did-- my mom planned his beach golf birthday party and I planned his baseball party with his friends. And the boy was loved and celebrated all the live long day/ week/ month. (I've taught him well!)

My dearest Max, oh how I love you and your sweet peanut face. I love that you managed to turn 3 and 4 in one month and then finally decided the being 3 was just fine and dandy in itself. I love that being 3 makes you so much bigger in your mind-- including that you buckle your own carseat (praise the Lord) and can now suddenly dress yourself.  Your brain, your vocabulary, and your phrase kill me every time-- lately you've told your Dad and I when we've questioned your mumbling, "nothing, I'm just talking to my own self" and then after turning three, you wanted to make sure all of your clothes still fit and if they we still your size. After Pop got you your new hat, you walked around telling us that "it's just my age" and although you meant size, I will surely not correct you!

Sports are still at the center of your attention, although motorcycles and tractors have made a recent appearance on the radar. You still are very independent and will spend hours playing golf and baseball and soccer and tennis by yourself. Although you do talk us all into playing these sports with your regularly. Your brain is so funny-- you got a golf glove a couple months ago, and as soon as you wake up each day, you must put it on as well as your fitted Braves hat. You like to do things that Chipper Jones would do and your must have on your golf glove to bat as well as ride your bike. (You came up with this completely on your own.) You are a precious child, and your are a mommy's boy who does love time with Annie and Pop. Every time you go visit them, you call and say that you want to stay for 5 days. Luckily you don't know how long that is so usually 2 nights is good and you can be convinced to come back to me.

You have wonderful friends, and a wonderful brain-- you are active and strong and smart, and managed to master the alphabet in about a week. You  now recognize letters on signs as we drive and tell me who's name they start-- you see G's for Gabe and J's for Jack and V's for Vicki and P-O-P for Pop. You recognize when other people share the letters from your name, too. You love that your friend Mason has an M and and A like you--  but he doesn't have an X. Your brain analyzes things like this all on it's own, and I love that almost all of your time is spent with me so I get to watch and 99% of your thoughts. You are an amazing little boy and your Dad and I could not be more proud of you.

Each night as we pray and sing Jesus Loves Me, I tell you how thankful I am that God gave you to me-- but just in case you ever forget, I just want to remind you of that!  You are such a blessing to me and our family. And you are loved forever, 100% as is, and Jesus died for you. And don't forget, I love you tons and tons, but God loves you even more. Happy 3rd birthday little man. You are magnificent!