For the past four years, at any given time, one of my girls has taken piano lessons. Currently, it is Miss Kenley. One of the side perks is getting to visit with their cousins on Mondays. Technically, since they’re my first cousins, I believe they are Britton and Kenley’s first cousins, once removed.

 Raynes and his buddy Jon Luke

I had to look it up on Wikipedia.

“First cousin: Two people for whom a first cousin relationship is one generation removed. The child of one’s first cousin; also the first cousin of one’s parent.”

 Their pet Hedgehog after a bubble bath

Anneke and R.


The Milkshake

In our traditional TGIF kind of way, I drove my girls through Chick-fil-A after school for a little afternoon milkshake delight. When your Mom makes you eat cheese, apples and cuties for snacking this is definitely a treat.

One the short car ride home, one of my children was acting “snarly” toward everyone.  This behavior continued until I finally said, “That’s it! You only get half your milk shake when we get home.”   We rode in silence the rest of the way. Once home, I went inside to divvy up the frozen dessert thinking to myself maybe next time she will think about her choices… 

Only the cookies and cream milkshake fell off the counter and went  splat onto everything.

It managed to hit two walls, 5 cabinets, a sink, dishwasher, rug, floor, baseboards and island. How can these things hit such a wide and far area?

Apparently that was the straw that broke my little camel’s back.
Immediately the undisclosed daughter became upset and I knew something else must have happened while she was at school today to get her to a) snap at her sister and me like that b) upset her so.

After a long talk and some hugs, turns out it wasn’t the milkshake at all. She opened up to me about what was on her mind and in her heart.

I wonder though, if that messy milkshake had not fallen and splattered all over my kitchen, would she have even mentioned it to me? That big ol’ mess of milkshake opened up her heart and my arms and for that I am thankful.

Omega of Atlanta

The rest of Atlanta, as promised.  Now it may look as though we took the kids to a park, but they are actually in Aunt Shea’s backyard.

Little Courtney and Little Garrett- with boys parts. 

Oh Lawdy, get ready for the teenage years with these two. 

Big boy can sit up at the bar and now walks to the car holding my hand, not in my arms. I can’t take it.

Oh, to be inside that head most days.  I’ve promised to take the girls to the public library this afternoon so they can pick out books. Wish me luck- last time we were there an hour… with Raynes.

Shepherding my Children’s Heart

As I continue to charter these new ‘preteen’ waters, I find myself pulling out the ol’ parenting books from the back of the book shelf, dusting them off, and rereading them for wisdom and guidance. Some of my favorites include Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Tripp, Creative Correction by Lisa Whelchel and Don’t Make Me Count to Three  by Ginger Plowman. The Bible, by far, is closet thing to a parenting handbook we have of course (book of Proverbs is a great place to start).

It’s so easy to get in a rut of making the rules, correcting the behavior, then enforcing discipline when they break the rules. Too often, I am quick to point out the error, losing patience along the way. While I do want to have well behaved children, my real goal as a parent is ensure that my reflection of God brings my children closer to Him.

With a strong-willed child it can be ever challenging to parent at times. One of my favorite trust analogies I used when she was little (taken from Creative Correction) was this umbrella illustration:
“One day I drew a picture of a large umbrella. Standing underneath were Tucker, Haven, and Clancy… Then I marked the umbrella “Mommy and Daddy.”  After that, I explained the drawing. “When you are being obedient to the things Daddy and I have taught you, you are safely under the umbrella of our protection, The world might ‘rain’ all sorts of problems and temptations on you, but you are protected. God has designed us to be an umbrella for your own safety. If you choose to disobey and walk out from under our covering, you’ll have to deal with the harsh elements of the world.”  – Lisa Whelchel, Creative Correction

The author goes on to say more than just giving illustrative examples, we should be modeling God to our children. This is done by demonstrating  love and respect towards one another (your spouse).

I recently heard someone say that your daughters will grow up and marry a man, that treats them the way your husband treats you. Your son will grow up, and marry a woman that treats him the same way you treat your husband. That hit home for me. While we love one another dearly, it ain’t always pretty. As our children get older and are more in tune with what’s going on around them, I have kept this in the forefront of my mind when Mike and I argue. When I want to come back with a sarcastic (often hurtful) response during a disagreement, I am trying harder, more now than ever, to hold my tongue. It isn’t easy. I would feel much better if I just spurted out what I want to say, but that sense of satisfaction, I know, would be fleeting. But my husband, and my children, might remember those words forever.

“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
- Proverbs 22:6

Hey, I might have found my verse for next week!

A Hi & Bye

I read a new blogging term recently- dump and go (well, it was probably more appropriate than that but you get the jist). This is when you dump your photos, don’t write, then hit “publish.” In other words, you are slack because you have a bunch of kids, haven’t showered, and are trying to find if there is anything besides stale bread in your pantry that you can cook for dinner tonight, after being gone all weekend.

This happens often, and today is no exception. The girls enjoyed their Taylor Swift concert in Atlanta, Mike and I celebrated our twelve year wedding anniversary (worth celebrating!) and here we are at Monday again.

 I love that the auto spell checks thinks the word “Muffy” is spelled incorrectly. 

All the fairy Godmothers gathered Friday afternoon making it an all around good day. Aunt Muffy was in from the west coast with Hanley in tote… I think my favorite line of the weekend was when Mike told Mary Heather (aka Aunt Muffy- self nicknamed) that he was an easy going baby. She responded with, “I know. I don’t deserve it.”

Almost 3 year old Maysie enjoyed playing babysitter to the little boys.

And we did our Bay North photo, compliments of our photographer Britton.

Washington native Hanley- 8 months

Now, not to be rude, but I have girls about to arrive at a bus stop, and cans of spaghetti O’s to open for dinner so… more later.