Thursday, October 29, 2015

family photos

Sunday before last, we had family photos taken. To get a Christmas card photo yes, but mainly because Joseph was 18 months old when we took the last ones. I wanted good shots of the four of us. But I was also eager to get photos of the kids at these ages, since these ages are the best ever!

We did two different outfits/settings for the photos - one kinda formal and the other more casual attire. I just got the disc from the photographer last night and am so happy with how they turned out. Our friend, Adrienne, does a great job capturing the children's personalities and just how the four of us are - happy and so full of love.

I'm including some of the casual ones here. {I'll choose from the others for our Christmas card and post some of those later. Don't want to ruin the surprise!}

That last one kills me! Big sister kissing little brother as she loves to do...and his face!

As a side note, Hannah's two front teeth are loose. Having scheduled the photo shoot over a month out, I was nervous about her losing them. I really wanted one more professional picture of her with her sweet baby-tooth smile, before she seriously started looking too old.

While I'm talking about too old, Hannah also had her six-year well check. She has GROWN. I mean, obviously she has grown, but she has grown a lot.  While the yearly average growth in height is 2-2.5" she grew 4"! This explains why almost none of her clothes from last fall fit, even those I thought I ordered a size up.

So our firstborn, our sweet Monkey, is 46.5" and when I pick her up, her feet fall against my shins. Sob.

I am loving these post-toddler-but-still-young-cute-and-fun years. My non-baby babies are full of imagination and wonder. They are truly their own little beings with huge personalities, and I am thoroughly enjoying time with them at these ages.

Now, let me be real, not all days are great. Obviously. Some are bad. Some are hard. And some are just plain miserable and full of the wrong kind of whine. But generally speaking, days are really good.

Family time at home is the best.

Happiness is found in the little things.

Life really is great.

I have learned that joy is a decision. Not all times are fun or happy, but you can decide to choose to be joyful regardless of your circumstances. Joy is something you have deep down inside. It's part of your character. Contentment is something you have to practice, and it is something I pray about every day. Strength. Courage. Determination. Not looking to the left or right, but looking UP. Good thing His mercies are new every morning!

Keeping our focus on our Savior has a way of reinforcing priorities, helping us recognize His grace and our blessings, and filling us with peace and love. Love in our home and family, and love for others. I have found that when I take the time to honor God in my day, things are just better.

My biggest desire is to please God, to fulfill the purposes He has for me. I want to keep Him at the center of our marriage, the center of our home. And I want to be a good example for Hannah and Joseph. I want them to love Jesus.

I know this is way more profound than just a post of our recent family photos. I guess just seeing pictures of us reminds me how blessed we are and how truly good my life is. These ages are so much fun...but they are also formative years. Children are little sponges, soaking it all in.

As the days pass quickly by, I find that I'm the one trying to soak it all in.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

fall fun

Now that October is more than half-way over (how can this be?), I'll follow up that last post with more fall fun.

The kids have spent countless hours in the backyard. Joe is training for the NYC marathon coming up real soon. We have attended high school football games both at Washington County and Brentwood (homecoming). I decorated for Halloween/fall, and the kids painted pumpkins.

A few miscellaneous photos...

I'm sure you can figure out who painted which.

In other news...

Joseph went on his first pre-K field trip and learned all about emergency vehicles. He did NOT like the loud sirens, but everything else was super cool.

Week before last, Joe and I attended Catalyst Atlanta, a Christian leadership conference, and it was AWESOME as always. This year's theme was "Awaken the Wonder" and was all about awakening God's people to live in awe of who HE is and what He is doing all around us. We heard amazing speakers such as Christine Caine, Brene Brown, Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, Jeremy Cowart (very inspiring photographer), and Margaret Feinberg. The music was so, so good as always. David Crowder led worship Thursday night and let me just The whole Catalyst experience. Wow.


Sandersville's main event, the Kaolin Festival, was the day after we returned home. The weather had been terrible, and it looked like the parade might be cancelled. But just before the start time, the rain stopped and the sun even came out for a while. Joe had a long training run scheduled that morning that he was working in around the rain, so I loaded the wagon and the kids into the car and set out for downtown.

It's a short parade, but we knew lots of people in it and Hannah and Joseph had fun.


Following the long, Columbus Day weekend, we had more fun planned. Joe and I took the kids out of school a little early that Tuesday and drove to Perry for the Georgia National Fair. We had a blast! After we bought arm bands and toured through the fair, we watched the 4:00 show at the circus. I did not know until the day before that there was a circus even there. It was a bonus, and well worth the 1-hr spent there. The kids especially loved the acrobats.

The lines weren't bad at all as we had hoped when planning to go on a school-day afternoon. We got to ride a bunch of the rides, both kids tall enough to do anything they wanted to do. Like last year, Hannah was the fearless one wanting to ride everything. That's her and Joe at about 7:00 in the picture above.

Joseph was thrilled to be the driver in the bumper car.

We rode a couple of roller coasters, to Hannah's delight. Not so much to Joseph's. He would want to ride, agree to get in and buckled up, and soon after taking off regret his decision. He would have this look of uncertainty, followed by a panicked what-is-going-on look, on his face. I think it was the herky-jerky motions more than anything.

Robinson's Racing Pigs were a must and we did that following a break for dinner: turkey leg and roasted corn for me and the kids, corndog for Joe, and fries for us all. It's entertaining watching those pigs run around the track and swim in the race.

Before we left, we took a ride on the huge ferris wheel. This was the most exciting part of the night for Joseph. He sat real close to me, but thoroughly enjoyed himself as we circled around and around, admiring all the pretty lights throughout the fairground. Joe had to hold onto Hannah as she apparently wasn't afraid of the terrifying heights and kept trying to lean over the side to see farther.

After hunting down some fried Oreos, we headed home. Exhausted but with exciting memories dancing in our heads.


My honey and I celebrated our ninth anniversary on the 14th. That day in Savannah was one of the prettiest I can remember, and we had almost identical weather here in Sandersville this year. Perfect temperature, blue sky, a true fall day in Georgia. It was just a typical Wednesday with work, school, and supper and small groups at the church. That night once we got home and kids were bathed, we lit our anniversary candle and waltzed to Moon River, our first-dance song (prompted by Hannah). Joseph took pictures while we danced.


My college dog and sweet Yorkie, Chloe, turned 14 yesterday (10/21). The kids had a great time over the weekend building a fort "for her" in their little clubhouse. I'm not sure how much she enjoyed it, especially when Hannah sent her sliding down the slide, but she cooperated and was loved on a whole lot!

And that's a wrap! Before I go, I will include these selfies (I am not a seasoned selfie-person, but will take one occasionally.) I was taken aback and felt a little weird when my smart little laptop synced with my phone and organized these in my computer under the category "selfie". I mean, really?

Left: Joseph and I waiting on Daddy and Hannah after church.
Right: One Sunday later, in the driveway with Hannah behind the wheel!

...As of about a month ago, I have bangs. Quite a change and I'm still figuring them out...but I like them!

ironman 70.3

Hello, it's me. Fall is here and I am dropping in for my bi-monthly post. No, I've got a few posts coming...  

It has been over a month since I wrote about Hannah's sixth birthday and we have just been trucking along, managing schedules, enjoying the change of seasons, and mostly having a whole lot of fun. There have been a few noteworthy events, too. One of which happened at the end of September. 

On the 27th, Joe completed a half-Ironman - or Ironman 70.3 as it is now called - in Augusta. This is his second triathlon of that distance. {It has been a long time since the first one, and much longer since he did the full Ironman.} That same weekend he also married a couple. Thankfully that was in Augusta as well, what with the rehearsal, dinner, wedding and reception to attend. We brought the kids and Meme and spent the weekend in a hotel. While Joe and I did wedding stuff, Meme and the kids had all sorts of hotel fun.

The race was Sunday. We were a little nervous about the weather. It was going to rain, then it wasn't, and back and forth until we got a favorable weather report the day of. And then it did end up raining some, though thankfully mostly just a mist.

Hannah and Joseph were excited to cheer on Daddy. At the race expo the day before, Meme bought them "Support Crew" sweatshirts. I loved the neon. Great visibility! Daddy spotted them every time he passed by.

Joe left the hotel early that morning with his friend, Mitch. Since there is such a time lag between the close of transition and the swim start, we came a little later, riding the hotel shuttle bus (which delighted Joseph).

The triathlon includes a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run (half marathon). Joe had a really great swim, coming out of the water first in his age group, and ended up with the 13th fastest swim time (out of 2600 people).

He just told me today that he was really nervous about losing his wedding ring. He usually gives it to me before the start, but I wasn't there this time. But we saw him coming out of the water and cheered loud! These are the professional pictures below.

While he was on the bike, we went to a great little breakfast place and then found a good spot to watch the run. We only saw Joe on the bike at the very start, coming out of the transition area, which is normal for a race with such a long bike distance.

The bike leg was rough. Joe was in a lot of pain for most of the 56 miles. It was definitely due to the accident; his back just can't take that position.

He said he learned two things after the race: 1, he is not doing that race distance anytime soon (if ever again), and 2, we need a third opinion. It's not just the bike riding. It's a quality of life thing. People often ask us how he can manage to run so much with his back being so bad. Well, he can run with no pain, yet he can't sit (or ride a bike) for 20 minutes without pain. He would rather run for an hour than sit for an hour. Seriously.

Joseph wore his Boston Strong shirt and Hannah wore the one she got for running her first race. We do love bright colors! We brought our cowbells from the Savannah Rock-n-Roll marathon and used them with abandon.

Joe had a really good run. He would probably want me to clarify the above photo. He is not saying he's #1. He's pointing to the Big Man upstairs who got him through the race and has enabled him to be even able to race. Praise God, indeed!

His final time was 4:56:27, accomplishing his goal of sub-5 hours. Yay!! Go, Daddy, go!

It was a super fun day!

...And, thanks to Meme, a very helpful part of Joe's fan club.