Miss Lydia’s First Birthday

I don’t know if I’ll go back and blog the last few months, but this absolutely cannot go without blogging. :-)

Yesterday was a busy day so we saved Lydia’s party for tonight. After dinner it was time for cake…and she was SOOOO excited!

She almost grabbed the lighted candle.

The candle did keep her contented until I got her piece of cake cut.

Yep…that’s good cake!

She wasn’t a terrible mess, but once I got her cleaned up it was time to open presents…kind of.

Zeke wanted to know if the rest of them were as slow as she was. Ha! She had no clue what to do.

The kids got impatient and showed her what to do. :-)
It’s a book! She loves to read. And had to have the book read to her immediately.

She got super happy at the end of the book where she could see herself in the little mirror.

The next present was also a book…Luke volunteered to read this one to her.

Her last gift tonight was a Snow White doll. She loves babies too!

Lovin’ on her baby.

Trying to figure out that hair.

So far she isn’t walking on her own, but she has started standing up for a few seconds at a time and she’ll be in the middle of the room on the floor then all at once she’s standing up. It won’t be long once she gets up her nerve to take off.

None of us can believe how quickly this year has gone by.
Happy 1st Birthday, Lydia!!!

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Annual Girls’ Day Out

Kristin’s been in town for weeks and we hadn’t had a chance to have our annual outing…until this weekend. Yay!

We got up and going pretty early for a Saturday. Abbie and I picked Haley, Anna and Kristin up at 8:30 so that we could be at Hammond’s Candy Factory at 9 when the Candy Cane Festival started. Good thing too…the parking lot was full when we got there just a little after 9 and the line for the tour was starting to get long. You should have heard the squeals of joy as we drove into the parking lot and saw all the fun things to do. We were all soooo excited! We decided to take the factory tour first. It was plenty chilly standing in line so we were happy to get inside where it was warm. We each got a peppermint ball, a broken, reject candy cane and a paper hat. Then they crammed us into a small room where we had to wait a few minutes. Then it was time for the tour. We got to watch them make several different candies…lollipops, candy canes, marshmallow caramels, turtles and piggy backs. It all looked yummy!

After the tour we headed back into the cold. We wandered around the tent filled with candies and oohed and aahed over all the funny-looking, yummy candy. Outside the candy tent were some games…a bean bag toss, ring toss and one of those things you hit with a hammer to find out how strong you are (what is that called?). Abbie, Anna and I are wimps, but Haley and Kristin both made the bell ring!

There was another tent with Santa in it, but we decided that we didn’t really want to stand in another line to see him. I thought for sure Haley would make us do it, but she passed too. :-)

The girls were dying to go to the bouncy castles so that’s what we did next. Their first stop was the bouncy slide.

For whatever reason Haley decided she wanted to try it out too.

She recorded her trip down the slide. :-)

After a while the stairs to the bouncy slide started collapsing so we grabbed the girls and let them jump in the other bouncy castles for a while.

There were a couple more things we wanted to do, but the lines were getting long everywhere so we grabbed the girls and headed for the “trolley ride”. This trolley looked an awful lot like a train to us. I have no idea how long we stood in line, but we did a lot of bouncing around in an attempt to get warm. Then finally it was our turn. The three girls got into one car and Haley and I got into the one behind them. Those seats were not designed for two women who’ve had multiple children. :-)

We all wished we’d have thought to take a video while we were riding. It was the most fun we had all day! The driver of the train could turn such a tight circle that the engine would end up next to me and Haley at the very end…we ended up looking like one of the lollipops we watched them make in the factory. It was soooo cool! We laughed and squealed the entire time…well, except for those few moments when Kristin and I thought we were going to be sick. Really? We weren’t moving that fast. Pitiful!

After the train, we got in line to go on the “carriage ride”. It was really more like a hay ride without the hay or the farm. Not as great as we’d hoped for.

While we waited in line for the horse ride, Abbie and Anna wanted to take a look at the fire engine, but the line was too long so they came back with firemen hats instead. Of course we all had to try them on and have our picture taken. I’ll have to get Haley to send me the pictures she took. Guess I didn’t get any with the hats.

Also while we were standing in the very long line, Haley discovered that the taffy she won from showing how strong she is resembled bacon. She had to have her picture taken with her giant strip of bacon. :-)

When we got done with the horses, and sufficiently cold, we headed back to the van and tried to decide where to eat lunch. We were all just glad to be in a semi-warm environment again.
After some discussion, and much confusion, we ended up at Qdoba in Northfield. The highlight of that stop was the soda machine…you could get a cherry vanilla Coke! Yum! There were a myriade of flavors…so much fun!

By the time we got done eating it was almost 1 PM so we headed home. Most of us still had things we needed to accomplish…unfortunately the day seemed to have taken it’s toll and I wasn’t very motivate to do anything for several hours. ;-)

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Decorating for Christmas

The kids absolutely insisted that we get out the Christmas decorations on Monday. I wasn’t sure I wanted to put much up since we won’t be here for Christmas, but Jon convinced me to let them put some of it up. It makes them all so happy to have the house decorated for Christmas.

Abbie, Zeke, Lydia and I worked in the house. All the kids have loved the Fisher-Price nativity set and Lydi is no exception.

I’d asked Caleb and Luke to hang the wreaths on the lights out front and change out the light bulbs to red and green. Before I knew it they were grabbing ladders and the box of lights and volunteering to climb up on the roof.

They came in to ask me to take a look at what they’d done so far to make sure it was up to snuff. They were getting ready to move the ladder to the next spot and it was at that point that I told them to be careful because I sure didn’t need them falling and breaking any bones. I did not want to be making a trip to the hospital with them. How ironic is that?! Only God knew what was going to happen the very next day.

The house looks respectably festive and we didn’t have all the mess that we normally do. I just need to get a stocking for Lyida and then come up with some way to hang all 6 of the stockings. But that’ll have to wait a few more days. We got snow a couple days ago and it’s been way too cold to haul everybody out. We’ll get it done though. Abbie won’t let me forget about getting Lydia a stocking. :-)

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The Rest of November According to my iPhone

Luke has decided that he really wants to cook. He’s been gravitating toward desserts. GREAT! Just what we need. Anyway, he and Caleb ended up making sugar cookies a couple weeks ago. They turned out pretty good. The cookies looked a little funky, but when they were covered with frosting no one was the wiser. I had to take a picture of them in their flour covered shirts. :-)

The next day we drove across town to Littleton to have our family pictures taken. We had to be there at 9 AM. We were the first ones there but two other families walked in after us. Crazy that it was already packed at that hour. Poor Lydia was feeling pretty rough and no matter how hard the photographer tried she would NOT smile. I felt bad for him. At least she isn’t screaming in any of the ones we picked. While we waited for them to print the pictures the kids and I drove around the little shopping center and found a really neat calendar and game shop. One entire wall of the building was dedicated to calendars. The rest of the building was games and toys. The boys were excited to find these Minecraft weapons. Nathan decided to sit in the car for that part of the trip so I had to take pictures to show him.

We got a pretty decent snow the next day and I saw the kids playing with the little girl across the street’s sled. So we went out the next day and bought them a couple sleds of their own. I don’t know why we haven’t done that before. ~shaking head~ The kids had to let Lydia try out the sleds before they took them outside. She loved being pushed around.

The fourth Sunday of each month is our VLB service. Haley has the kids do as much of it as they can. It was really neat this month to have Kristin here to play the piano. Jon was in Andrews so I took this picture for him. I knew he’d love to see the three of them up there playing their instruments.

The next big thing that happened was Nathan going to Tennessee. He boarded a plane on November 26th to spend a month with his grandparents. He was really quiet all morning. When he hugged me before he left I told him to leave quickly because I didn’t want to cry all over him. I did good, but poor Abbie cried all through her shower after he left. :-)

Things got busy after that so I didn’t have much time to think about him being gone. There was cooking to be done for Thanksgiving and packing for the weekend. There were no down moments that day to think about him being gone.

We spent the Thanksgiving weekend with the Hays in Colorado Springs. It was a great, relaxing weekend. On Thursday we had smoked turkey and all the fixin’s.

Lydia enjoyed her first Thanksgiving a lot! She loved Brother Dustin’s smoked turkey and the sweet potatoes.

After dinner Jamey and I looked through the Black Friday ads. Before we knew what was happening Jamey and I were putting on our coats, finding our purses and getting in the van. We’d been talking about how bad it was that so many of the sales were starting on Thanksgiving night, but that didn’t stop us from going out. Pitiful!

First stop, Toys R Us. The last couple of years we’ve driven by Toys R Us, looked at the line wrapped all the way around the building and just kept on driving. For whatever reason this year, we pulled into the parking lot, parked the van and got in line with all the rest of the crazies. To be fair, the line was only about a quarter of the way around the building. We stood in line for about an hour and it was COLD! They were letting in 50 people at a time, keeping the building at maximum capacity all the time. As the line was approaching the door I said to Jamey, “Watch, they’re gonna stop letting people in when we get to the door.” Shoulda just kept that to myself. Sure enough we had to wait for the next wave. :-)

Here we are waiting at the door.

When we finally got inside it didn’t take us very long to find what we were after, but then we had to get in line. Had we known what we were doing, we would have just gotten in line and then grabbed what we needed. The line weaved through most of the aisles in the store and what we were after was located in the aisles right near the front of the line. Oh well…Jamey and I are people watchers so we didn’t mind the line at all. After an hour and half of watching people we were ready to get moving.

We headed to Target, grabbed some Starbucks and tried to shop. WOW! That place was CRAZY! The line to check-out was wrapped all the way around the store. Twice maybe. We were having a hard time finding what we were looking for anyway (the bins were mostly empty or seriously picked over) so we decided to get out of there and go to Wal-Mart. In all the years we’ve been going Black Friday shopping we have NEVER seen the Wal-Mart parking lot as empty as it was when we got there around 9:30. We were all wrapped up and home by 10:30. It was great to be able to get a good night’s sleep and go back out in the morning at a decent hour, rather than 5 AM. :-)

We did go back out for a few hours on Friday morning. When we got home the guys went out for a couple hours. They weren’t near as adventurous as us though. They just went to Lowe’s and Home Depot. :-) Jamey and I watched a movie while they were gone then we both fell asleep on the couch. The rest of the evening was spent eating at random intervals and playing games.

Saturday morning was spent gathering stuff and getting ready for the District Rally that Brother Dustin had planned for that afternoon. We had good attendance and even some surprise attendees. Brother Hector and Sister Erika were in town visiting Brother Hector’s family so they drove down and joined us.

It was a really good rally! We enjoyed the Lord’s presence from beginning to end. After the service we enjoyed good food and fellowship too.

And that concludes November.
I’ve got more to blog so stay tuned. Wish I could keep up like this more often. :-)

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Oh my…what a day!

Yesterday at 12:22 PM the phone rang and all at once everything became a complete daze.

Jon had gotten a call from Headquarters informing him that Nathan had broken his arm. He was at the Pimentel’s house playing air soft with Julian and the Cox boys. Nathan decided to vault over a half wall type thing they have in the yard and got his foot caught. He came down with his left hand in a hole. David Cox drove Nathan to Headquarters where they all gathered around the car and began to pray for him. Jon asked his folks to take Nathan to a clinic rather than the ER hoping they could handle it. When they got Nathan in there the doctor told them that both bones were broken and they’d have to take him to the ER.

After x-rays they were saying that Nathan would need surgery to pin the bones back together. One of them was completely broken and the other was just barely together. None of us were comfortable with the idea of surgery so when the doctor came in they called Jon and the doctor gave us the options. #1) They could do the surgery, putting pins in to “ensure” that the bones grow back together properly or #2) they could set the bones, put his arm in a cast and hope the bones grow back together properly. Obviously, we were in favor of option #2, but Jon wanted to give Nathan the options and let him choose. The doctor did tell us that if they didn’t pin the bones and they didn’t grow back quite right, there is a chance Nathan could have some slight mobility issues. After praying about it for a while, Nathan chose to go without the surgery. Whew! He was supposed to call us back and let us know what he decided. After 30 minutes of not hearing from him, Jon called back to find out what was going on. He’d forgotten about calling us. My guess is, since he decided to go with the option that he knew we were the most comfortable with, we’d just know. Ha! When Jon talked to Mom, they were prepping Nathan to go in.

They did have to put him under to set his arm, but all the staff was very understanding of Nathan’s stance on drugs. They’d told the doctors and nurses that Nathan had never had a drop of any sort of medication in his body and they were all very cooperative. The anesthesiologist told them he was a Christian too and didn’t like the narcotics either. He said Nathan was making a good decision to not have any of that stuff. I was really concerned about how the anesthesia would affect him, but all reports are that he came out of it really well. Thank the Lord!

It took about 20 minutes to set his arm and then an hour or so of recovery before he got to leave the hospital. Mom and Dad both told us that everyone at the hospital fell in love with Nathan. One of the nurses even went with him out to the car and hugged him before he left.

It was a very long, emotional afternoon for me, but I have been so blessed by all the people who prayed for us. As I looked at pictures and saw different ones in the room with Nathan I was overwhelmed by the concern for MY son. There’s just nothing like the family we have in The Church of God.

I was awake all night (felt like it anyway) praying for Nathan. It was killing me this morning to not know what was going on and how Nathan was doing so I called as soon as I got up. I talked to Dad because I wanted to get his take on how Nathan was doing. I knew Nathan would just try to play it cool and possibly not tell me how he was really doing, but Dad assured me that Nathan was doing pretty well, all things considered. That made me feel better. I texted Nathan later and he said he was still in pain, but it was more dull. He’s being a real trooper, but I’d expect nothing less from him.

Please keep Nathan in your prayers…he still needs a complete healing, but I feel confident that God is going to honor Nathan’s desire to trust Him. This is such a great opportunity for all of us to learn to trust the Lord more.

Here’s the only pictures I have that is actually mine. Nathan sent it to us this morning because Zeke was dying to see his cast and sling. It’s definitely the less painful looking of all the pictures I’ve seen so far.

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Nathan Teaches Abbie to Box

The title alone makes me laugh. Jon said, “Gotta post that one up. It’s pretty amazing.” Ha!

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Nathan and Lydi Play Drums

Nathan is determined to implant this image into Lydia’s brain…

He wants her to always remember sitting on his lap playing drums.

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And now for some random cuteness…

There are always a lot of Lydia pictures when I take them off my phone. It’s too hard to keep them in order so I’ll just share some of my favorites.

Janis and Hannah picked out this dress for Lydi…had to take a picture for them.

Love the way Nathan’s looking at her. :-)

This is the football that Zeke bought for his birthday and returned a few days later because it split wide open at the seam. But she loved it while it was around.

I couldn’t find the cute little hat that Abbie wore when she was this age so we had to go pick out something from Target. Lydi HATES it!

Helping the boys get ready to go hunting.

I was working in the kitchen and needed to keep Lydia occupied so I opened the “tupperware” cabinet. She was having a blast throwing everything on the floor.

I forgot one thing though…the dog food was under the drawer. Yep, you got it. I turned around and managed to stop her just before she started to grab the dog food. Yuck! She’s gonna have to learn not to mess with it…hopefully before she decides to stick a handful into her mouth. Eeewwww!!!!

Our dining room is kinda cramped with 8 people trying to get around the table so a highchair was going to be a real problem. I found this alternative on Craigslist. So far it’s been great and Lydi loves it.

Here she is trying some peas.

Sometimes she likes to play with Zeke and sometimes she doesn’t.
They both look like they’re enjoying it this time. :-)

And we’ll finish with this one…this is the first time she wasn’t confined to the stroller at the library.
Clearly she likes the library too!

Caleb’s 13th Birthday

We now have two…TWO…teenagers in our house. How did this happen?

Mornings just aren’t our thing around here anymore so Caleb said we could do waffles with berries and whipped cream for lunch. That meant that after his customary bowl of cereal he was ready to open presents. First was a Nerf dart gun from Granddad and Grandma Vicki. All the kids have at least one Nerf gun now meaning that there are regular dart gun wars around my house. Fun!

Next was a big box from Grandma Loree and Papa.

He was super excited to get his new “teenage” quilt.

We took mini-donuts to church that night but everyone got out of there in a hurry so we had a little party at home after church.

I told him that someday he’d be embarrassed by this picture. :-)

This is his gift from Haley…a Darth Vader chalice. He loves it!

Happy 13th Birthday, Caleb!

Ladies’ Retreat

November brought ladies’ retreat.
My guest speaker had been lined up for a month or more and the staff was all lined up too, but I was having a hard time getting excited about going to retreat. I’ve been so overwhelmed with all the changes in our life and feeling so completely incapable of dealing with it all…guess I needed this retreat more that I’ve needed one in a long time. I testified the last night that it’s been a while since I’ve come to a retreat feeling burdened like I was this year. But God is always faithful. He met me at retreat and really encouraged me.

Let’s backup a little…Friday morning I filled my van with the ladies from my local church…Haley, Kristin, Julie and Becky Garcia. We had a nice, uneventful drive to Las Vegas, New Mexico. Well, mostly. No one screamed or plastered themselves to the floorboard in the front seat, but the road up to the campground was pretty scary…even when I was in the driver’s seat. Let’s just say we were all glad to get out of the van.

The theme of the retreat was “Paid in Full” and from the get-go it seemed like we were all moved to tears as we were reminded of the price Jesus paid for each of us. Stephanie Letcher did our worship services and the songs were perfect! She did a fantastic job!! Hard to believe this was only her second ladies’ retreat. She’s clearly a natural ladies’ retreater. :-)

As I was praying about the devotion times I felt impressed to ask three ladies to share their testimonies of salvation. Sister Galaviz, Sister Marcia and Sister Janis all had such different testimonies, but each one was an incredible blessing. I heard several people comment on how much they’d been blessed by hearing the different stories.

Sister Allene Cox was our guest speaker and, as always, she did a great job. I missed about half of her message on Friday night because I was trying to figure out prayer groups. That’s something I can’t really do before hand because we usually end up with a few surprise ladies. Saturday night she preached from the book of Ruth. Sunday morning she challenged us to make a list of three things that we needed to give to God.

We had one class on Saturday, taught by Sister Tammy Washburn. She took a different spin on the theme and encouraged us to trust God for our healing. I really appreciated all the testimonies she shared.

I think my favorite part of retreat was our prayer group the first night. It always feels like a pretty random thing when I organize the prayer groups, but I heard from a few different people that they felt like their prayer groups were exactly what they needed. I know that was true for me. The ladies in my group were such a help and encouragement to me. They let me share my heart and then they talked to me and prayed with me. I came away feeling like I could handle life again because I know that God enables me to.

Saturday after lunch we tried something new…we had worship time followed by fun time. The worship time was so good. There was such a sweet spirit as we sang. It felt odd to stand up and say, “Now it’s fun time.” I turned to Haley and she just took over. This was a first for us…fun time at ladies’ retreat. We always have fun, but it’s never been an organized activity before. The first time I’d ever heard of such a thing was at the Alabama retreat I went to a few years ago. God only gave me one teacher this year so I figured it was time to try something new. Haley did a great job with it. First we had a “snow ball” fight with giant marshmallows. The second game involved wrapping paper, scissors, tape and ribbon. We had to wrap each member of our team, leaving only our faces showing. It was a lot of fun! Seems like we did something similar to charades. From the looks of things, everyone enjoyed that addition to the schedule.

It was great to have Mom Smith at this retreat too. She was pretty disappointed that I hadn’t brought Lydia with me, but I assured here that we were all better off for that. We stayed up until after 2 on Saturday night talking. It was really nice to spend that time with her.

Think that covers all of it…I am so thankful for another wonderful ladies’ retreat!

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