Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sharing God's love at Publix

I am not one who likes to approach strangers and witness to them. It is just not my personality and I sometimes find it personally intrusive when strangers try to influence me with whatever they believe. Now I am the first person to compliment a stranger, but I just don't bring God into it. Tonight I ended up at Publix after 9:30pm to re-stock our refrigerator. I was walking down an aisle when I saw the thinnest girl I have ever seen in my life. I have been close to others who have battled eating disorders, but this was unlike anything I had ever seen. (It is also possible she had a terminal illness, but she exhibited the behaviors of someone who struggles with food). I love to embellish, but I am not exaggerating. Her tiny pants were falling off of her. They were literally hitting the middle of her bottom and barely on her. It looked like she might have dried vomit on her pant leg. She wore long pants, a tank, and an open 3/4 length shirt. Her bones protruded from her chest and collarbone. Her face was hollow and caved in. She had long dirty blonde hair and big eyes and she was beautiful. But I could tell that she had no idea she was beautiful. I felt so moved. I just can't explain to you how thin she was. I felt like the Lord was telling me to tell her that God loves her. I was semi-relieved when I lost sight of her in the store. I searched for her, knowing I had to tell her God loves her. I didn't want to do it. I went over what to say in my head, and the words just didn't form easily. I couldn't find her, so I gave up. I went to check out. You guessed it... God had a plan and she was right in front of me. I loaded my items on the cart, searching for the right words. All of a sudden, she was finished and walking out of the store. I told the check out clerk to please wait, and I ran after her. "M'am, I don't know why, but I feel like I am supposed to tell you God loves you." She turned to me, obviously moved, and said, "Thank you." So, I continued, "He loves you very, very much. And He is bigger than anything that might be going on in your life. You just need to know that you are very, very loved". At this point, we are both crying. She thanked me, and I touched her arm and let her go. I had been afraid to do it, but I obeyed the Lord's prompting. I turned and walked back to the check out line. As God would have it, one of our pastors was now in line behind me and had walked up while I was talking to the beautiful girl . I burst into tears trying to explain why I had run off after a stranger. He said he thought she was my friend. I can only imagine the remorse I would have felt had I ignored my heart and let her go without sharing those words. It won't change her circumstances, but I know that it was what I was supposed to do. Part of me felt crazy speaking these words to a stranger, but God often calls us out of our comfort zone, and we must obey.

My blog friend, Melissa, shared a story this morning on her blog that I believe helped me follow the Lord's lead today. Sometimes this blog seems so silly, but knowing how her blog encouraged me, I am going to keep writing. Feel free to comment about a time the Lord prompted you to do something you weren't comfortable doing.

A friend's blog

We went to college with Nita & Drew. They married right out of college and have lived a life dedicated to the Lord. They are such a godly couple, and amazing parents to their 4 boys. They are leaders in their church and both are blessed with beautiful voices. Sadly, 9 births and many miles between us have kept us from seeing one another like we would enjoy. We still consider them dear friends. A year ago, Nita and Drew lost their precious youngest son, Brock. Brock was almost 3, and he was so full of LIFE! Her blog is titled, Live Hard, Love Hard, and Run to Jesus because of Brock's wonderful zest for life. He is so very missed. Through their inconceivable sadness and grief, Nita and Drew have blessed others by allowing them to see them grieve. In every post, Nita points the reader back to the Lord. She has not turned her back on Him, even on her most difficult days. Her words will help you as you struggle in your own life and face difficulty or loss. I thought you all might enjoy reading her blog because you, too, will be greatly blessed. You can also rejoice with her as she and Drew have some exciting news!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Toddlers in flight

It is no easy task to fly with a toddler. It is no easy task to do anything with a toddler! I have found that having a child age 17 months until 3 years is one of my toughest times of being a mama. At first they can understand you but can't talk. Then, they can talk back and scream, "NO! I TWO!!", as our 2 year old does. They throw tantrums, but they are also adorably precious. Our niece and my sister-in-law just traveled to see us. Poor A, my sis-in-law, had to use the powder room. Let me just tell you, it is NASTY to take a little peapod into those dirty bathrooms. Gross. Disgusting. A is so smart. She didn't want Miss M to touch ANYTHING (and this was prior to the outbreak of THE HOG FLU WHOOP DE DOO). So, A creatively started a game with Miss M. "M, touch your.... nose..." or "Touch your head and pat it 3 times". M thought this was hilarious! She was fully entertained and happily left the nasty bathroom without touching one single nasty thing. You might want to try this game in other public places too!

Tuesday's Tip

As the end of the school year nears, you are probably running out of ideas for school lunches. I will write another post with creative lunch box ideas, but for today, I will offer Tuesday's Tip! Freeze as much of your child's lunch as possible. This acts as a natural ice pack and allows your children to enjoy colder food. I freeze grapes, strawberries, blueberries, yogurt, pudding, Gogurt, et cetera. Gogurt is always served as a popsicle in our house, but it is perfect for school lunches too! Enjoy!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Excuse me? Did you really say that?

I just returned from taking the big 4 to school and running 2 quick errands before returning home. We made some returns to Lowe's, had some keys made, and ran in Marshalls in search of a picture frame. In Marshalls, I let H walk instead of putting her in a cart. Big mistake. BIG. But I can get over my own mistakes. Yes, she was screaming. Yes, she threw herself on the floor. Yes, she ran and hid from me while screaming. It was not pretty. I felt like a helpless mother & grabbed her and held tight as we raced to the checkout counter so I could buy my beachy frame. As I was paying, she was still crying. However, it was not nearly as high pitched and piercing and out of control as it had been earlier. The woman behind me had just walked in the store with a return. I said, "I made the mistake of not putting her in a cart" to the cashier. Woman behind me says, "Oh, all of the babies are unhappy today" as another younger baby whimpered nearby. Then, to baby H she says, "You don't want to go shopping, do you? You want to stay home. You don't like shopping. You need to stay with a babysitter. Have you ever heard of a babysitter?" At this point, I am ready to say something ugly. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I am just not that fast on my feet. No witty response surfaced and I walked out of the store. Excuse me, do you have a right to tell me to pay for a babysitter? Do you want to pay? Or would you rather pay for a Classical education for 3 plus private preschool for one? Babysitters just aren't going to happen so that I can galavant around town! Now we are at home after being gone an hour. H is "where she should be". I can't stand passive aggressive comments from strangers!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cute Cousins

My sister-in-law and niece are here and we are having so much fun! Just look at how H is totally taken with Cousin M! Precious. You just have no idea how cute it was to see them walk down the driveway holding hands when we first arrived home from the airport. Sweet!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Garage

The BEFORE picture of our garage. Wow. We have made some progress!

Everything was out of the garage and in our driveway. It looked like we were moving all over again. I don't know how some of our friends do this as often as they do! WHEW. Of course it has been fun to sell things on Craigslist.

One corner of the garage. Now you can actually get to our hot water heater!

That same corner

We lost a huge playroom from our old house. We have a play area in our new family room and this is where we are storing many of our toys and art supplies!

Progress can be slow and steady. But remember, slow and steady wins the race, right? We are banking on the tortoise's philosophy here at our house. With the constant needs of 5 children, we can't dedicate the time to our garage that we would like to. However, we carved out Saturday to remove every box and unpack what we could and then re-pack and organize the garage. To say that we are exhausted is an understatement! My whole body hurts. With a date night that night & a birthday party & church the next day, our timing may have been a little off!:) However, we are so thankful at all that we accomplished.

Those of you who have not been in our garage may not know that it was floor to ceiling boxes in no specific order. We were (and still are!) missing many things. Of course our books had babies and there are at least 30 boxes of books we didn't know we had, but other than that, we know what is still at large.

We wanted to unpack as many boxes as we could. DH's goal was 15 boxes and I believe we unpacked 25. We had to have the garage put back together by 5pm and we began around 9am. We worked and worked and worked and the children tried to help while Hurricane H took things apart! We unearthed a pine table that my father gave us for crafts in the garage. We found our missing remotes and telephone. We were able to make room for our refrigerator doors to open! We organized the boxes we couldn't unpack so that like items are together. We are so excited! ONe day we'll unpack the rest so that our cars will fit.

For now, we are grateful for the progress and are preparing the Henley Hotel for our GUESTS!!! WOO HOO

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

When your newborn arrives....

try to do these things EVERY day. It will make you a better Mama (or Daddy)

-Brush your teeth. Your baby can be put down long enough for you to do this and it will not stunt them intellectually or make you a bad mama. However, having morning breath all day long will make you a bad friend and a bad wife! There is no excuse not to brush your teeth:).

-Take a shower if you need one. It will make you feel so much better to feel presentable. I have always tried to do my normal morning routine because it makes me feel awake, alive, and normal. I do get ready quickly, so this is easier for me to do than it may be for others. I shower every morning and put on makeup 98% of the time. If you don't want to put on makeup, put on a clear gloss or lipstick. You'll feel better

-Exercise. I fail in this department, but it is important. It is especially important if you are used to exercising daily before baby arrives. Babies love to be strolled, so feed baby and put him or her in the stroller & get outside!

-Have a Quiet Time. Open your Bible and let the Lord speak to you. I fail miserably at this, but I do try and I pray throughout the day. Model praying for your baby. Pray out loud. Sing hymns and praise songs. Baby will love it.

-Read something every day... even if it's a parenting magazine, a crossword puzzle, the paper, a blog, the online news websites, a book, or emails.

-Buy a notebook and record cute smiles, sayings, etc. that your baby does. You'll be glad you did.

-Don't try to be superwoman. It's impossible. It's OKAY to have some dishes in the sink or some clothes to fold sitting in a chair. IT's OKAY to have spit up on the front and back of your shirt. It's okay to be in your pajamas or to not have on makeup. Enjoy your baby. That is most important. This is not the time to try to have House Beautiful, though I do believe order creates a sense of calm, so it will make your home more peaceful if you can stay on top of the laundry & dishes, etc.

-Say "YES". If someone offers to help, say, "YES". Let them take your older child, bring you a meal, watch baby while you run an errand or nap, etc.

-Write down who does what for you & you can thank them later. You do not have to write thank you notes immediately, unless that relieves pressure for you.

-Enjoy your sweet baby. Every minute. Every cry. "Count it all JOY", as the Apostle Paul says. You'll be so glad you did!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good Day

100 fingernails and toenails clipped
21 plates served
4 loads of laundry washed
2 beds completely washed & re-made with clean sheets
4 large trash cans carried away from the garbage man
1 tv sold on Craigslist
3 lunches made for tomorrow
3 school folders checked and signed
5 bottoms washed and heads shampooed
4 swimming lessons
1 LONG golf lesson with 4 in the car
many ice waters and diet cokes!

It has been a good day:)

Triple the Fun Birthday Party

The triplets' birthday party was so easy and so much fun!

We made ice cream sundaes using the mini ice cream cups from Publix and lots of fun toppings like Magic Shell, MMs, Hershey chocolate eggs, gummy bears, skittles, smarties, and strawberries (we had to have a little healthy food in there!). The children had a BALL decorating their ice cream.

We also hired a lifeguard. It made the party incredibly safe and easy. Blaine watched the children and I didn't worry if I had to run inside to grab the ice cream.

Everyone (even the mamas) enjoyed the ice cream, and the triplets had fun with all of their new friends. It was a great afternoon and a very enjoyable, lowkey birthday party. I didn't even buy cute fancy napkins because all you do is throw them away. The lifeguard was our biggest expense along with food and water as I made our invitations and the favors were from the Dollar Store!

We are so thankful and blessed that our three angels are 8!!! A, D, and C, you are SUCH a blessing to your Mama and Daddy!
(Their initials are not meant to be in almost ABC order... we thankfully did not lose a B, our family names just happened to have the initials A, C, & D!)

Friday, April 17, 2009

UNC Children's Hospital

Our children were born at UNC Children's Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC. We are thankful they are TRUE Tarheels!!! We are most thankful for God's providence and for the EXCELLENT doctors and nurses who cared for our precious angels during their delivery and time in the NICU. Without such esteemed staff, our little ones might not be triumphant 8 year olds today! UNC Children's Hospital serves ALL of the children of North Carolina and even children from other states. It is a wonderful hospital. However, as with any hospital, there are always needs that are not being met. We try to give to UNC Children's Hospital through NC Children's Promise whenever we can. You can do so too by clicking HERE. If you have ever had a sick child, you know what it means to have the best place to take them. Please consider giving to this wonderful institution or a hospital like it in your area! With a faltering economy, hospitals and ministries need us MORE THAN EVER!

Rock of Ages Hymn

This is one of my favorite hymns. Read the words carefully. It is just so beautiful! We sang it in church on Easter Sunday.

Rock Of Ages Hymn

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.

Not the labor of my hands
Can fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.

While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death,
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My Favorite Restaurant

My favorite restaurant in the whole world is Mi Cocina. It is fantastic! Visit There are 15 locations in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. Our 2 favorites are at Highland Park & Preston/Forest. DH & I lived in Dallas for 3 years when we were first married. We made some of our very best friends there. We also ate at Mi Cocina WEEKLY. As in EVERY. Single. Week. We would split the chicken fajitas, which were only $9.95 at the time. Now they're only $13.95 & you could still split them. We'd sometimes splurge on Sunset sauce for $1.50. Even with 2 beers or 2 Diet Cokes, our bill was under $20 way back in 1995-1998. YUM.

Mi Cocina is also famous for a drink, the Mambo Taxi Limousine. It is a frozen margarita/sangria mix with a shot of chambourd (raspberry liqueur).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Black Bean and Rice Cuban Casserole

My friend, A, is the best cook. She fed my sweet husband when we lived apart for 3 months when he was working here in Florida & we were still in NC. Soon after we moved in, she brought us a delicious Tampa meal. It was perfect! Dh does not love leftovers, but we ate this delicious casserole for days. She served it with Tony's Tampa salad & Cuban bread. I believe the recipe was in the February 2009 issue of Southern Living. You will love it!

Here is the recipe:
Makes 6 to 8 servings

1 (10-oz.) package yellow rice mix
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 (15-oz.) can black beans, drained
1 (10-oz.) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
2 cups (8 oz.) grated Monterey Jack cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare rice according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, sauté onion, bell pepper, and carrot in hot oil in a medium skillet over medium heat 10 minutes or until tender.

3. Combine hot cooked rice, onion mixture, chicken, beans, diced tomatoes and chiles, and 1 1/2 cups cheese in a large bowl. Spoon into a lightly greased 3-qt. or 13- x 9-inch baking dish; sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.

4. Bake, covered, at 350° for 30 minutes; uncover and bake 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Recession Proof Supper Club!

Rice & Black Beans
We had rice and beans for dinner one night last week. It inspired me to think of fun toppings for a rice and black beans supper club. Cheddar cheese, salsa, onions, and sour cream were our toppings. Some other ideas include olives, tomatoes, jalopenos, cilantro, lettuce, and fritos, I thought it might be fun to put out all of these fun toppings for Supper Club. It's delicious, healthy, and much less expensive than steak! You could serve sangria with it.

Spuds & Duds
I have always wanted to have a Spuds & Duds Supper Club.... any ole Duds will do!
Basically, brush baking potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle kosher salt on them. Wrap in tin foil & cook for at least an hour at 450* until they are soft.

Then, put out toppings just like the ones above for rice and black beans. You could also try chili, brocolli, cheese sauce, chives, grilled chicken, and other things.


Neutrogena Sunblock Stick

This is my favorite new thing for spring & summer! Living in the land of fun and sun, you NEED sunscreen. It is a MUST for everyday. It is especially important for children. My smart friend, W, shared this sunblock with us over the weekend at the beach. I am now a huge fan of the Neutrogena sunblock stick. You can buy it at You'll be glad you did! I love these sticks because they are wider like a deodorant stick, so it is much, much easier to cover the face. It is also easy to get near your children's eyes without getting in their eyes. You just roll it on each side of their nose, over their forehead, over the cheeks, under the nose, and on the chin. Voila!

Hawaiian Tropic also makes a stick with 50 sunblock. It looks like this:

You can buy it at

You are going to love it!! Happy Shopping. I also found these items at CVS & our local grocery store, Publix. I did not find them at Target!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sweet babies

This is a picture of me very pregnant with the triplets. It was a week before they were born. I had a haircut... at home... thanks to John who was willing to make a house call since I was on full bedrest! I stood for this picture & got back in the bed.

Our precious son, Ash, was only 2 pounds 5 ounces & had a hard time in the NICU. You would never know it now! He was so tiny!!!

This is our sweet Ash with a big yawn.

Della Joyner had a difficult birth, but was soon strong in the NICU!

Ash was smaller than Daddy's hand.

Daddy loved meeting the babies. This is Clara Parker!

Clara Parker has been a fighter since birth! She was born with her hand raised!!!!

Sweet Ash

Clara Parker, our Tiny

Beautiful Clara Parker
These are pictures of the first time we saw our three firstborn babies. DH & I were so young, yet we felt so old!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

More about the triplets' birth

Our sweet triplets were born at 4:56 pm, 4:58pm, and 4:59pm. What miracles they are even today!!!!! They were born by emergency c-section since I spiked a high fever which can indicate infection in the womb. Those babies were out within 30 minutes!! Dr. Sarah did a fabulous job. I saw brief glimpses from afar of each of them, but they were whisked away to be taken care of in the NICU. I was wheeled back to my room for recovery. D's sweet parents drove in from Georgia that night to meet their newest grandchildren, so D was in the next room visiting with them. I was left alone so that I could sleep and recover since I had just delivered three babies. Yet I had just delivered three babies and I was too excited and anxious to sleep. I remember being in my room and calling for D, but he couldn't hear me. I became more and more upset because I was all alone on the greatest day of our life together with no babies to hold or see and no husband. Being a calm and head-on-straight female with not one little ounce of hormones shooting through my body, I began to scream louder. And LOUDER. And I am sure LOUDER. Finally, D heard me and came in the room. He was quite calm, of course. He was having a great ole time while I was alone:). I am sure I was very sweet when I explained how I felt!!

Finally, the nurse came to get us so that we could meet our precious triplets. I was wheeled in a wheelchair as you usually can't walk for several hours after a c-section. It was after 10pm when we finally met our babies. Sadly, another mother had birthed twins that day and they lost one of them. The NICU staff had kept us away so that they could have time with their babies. We were so sad for them and very glad for them to have that time. It broke our hearts to learn why it had taken them so long to get us back to see our babies. It made us even more grateful.

I was wheeled in the room and we went over to meet each one of our precious angels. They were so beautiful, despite their tiny size, and all of the tubes and monitors. They were perfect. We cried. I stood up and tried to walk. Of course then my insides fell on the floor, which was horribly embarrassing!! They helped us and I was able to walk or wheel over (I don't remember which one) and see each baby's beautiful face. We were filled with joy at what a miracle they were, but it was tough seeing such tiny babies. They were TINY. Our son, A, had so many tubes and wires and monitors. He was the smallest and had the most oxygen. I believe he was on a CPAP at first. Their little chests heaved with each breath. They smelled like strong soap. They were in little layettes that kept them warm even though they only had on a diaper and a little hat. Their pacifiers were larger than their hands. Yet they were perfect. We cried, rejoiced, marveled at them, and thanked the Lord.

Today is Good Friday and we marvel yet again. Our precious Lord died on the cross for our sins. He willingly died a painful death so that you and I may have eternal life. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is easy to forget this. But He is so real. His death is real. His love for all of us is real. May I never forget!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Maundy Thursday

Not only is Maundy Thursday the day of Christ's Last Supper, but it is the day our lives were changed forever. On Maundy Thursday 8 years ago, I had been in the hospital for 3 days at just 30 weeks gestation with triplets. I had entered the hospital after midnight on a spring Monday night because my water broke. DH & I were very worried and sang hymns for the entire long ride from Raleigh to Chapel Hill. If you are carrying triplets, you need a perinatologist, and we chose one at UNC. For three days, I felt very sick and they gave me magnesium sulfate to stop the contractions. The goal was to keep our babies in the womb as long as possible. DH was working full-time and in school for his MBA at the same time. Thursday morning he wrote a paper in my hospital room (and received an A!) and then I insisted he go home to change, take a shower, re-group, etc. I don't remember much about that day but he said he had just arrived home when I called and asked him to come back. I had a sudden fever and felt awful. Suddenly the doctor and about 7 interns were in my room. The next thing I knew, they were saying it was time to have the babies!!! I was scared because I knew it was too early. The doctors feared there might be infection in the womb. The babies had to come out.

DH made it back in time. A college friend of some of my best buddies was doing a GYN rotation that week & stopped by to check on me. She was in her residency, so DH asked, "Have you ever seen triplets born? Can you ask if you can watch?" Had you told me a few days earlier that one of my peers was going to see my nether region all up close and personal, I would have had a heart attack. But, at that point, I didn't care who saw me naked, I just wanted our babies to be okay. S came back and said, "Dr. M said I can do it! I'm going to deliver the babies!" Again, most people would have fainted at the thought of their fellow 29 year old friend cutting open their stomach, removing their inner organs, and delivering three tiny babies, but we were fully confident in Sarah's ability. The last thing I remember is telling Doug goodbye and being wheeled away and then losing all feeling by the time I saw D again.

Sarah did a great job. She is a fabulous doctor. Our son was born first. His tiny 2 pound 5 ounce body was quickly whisked away. Then our daughter, D, was born. She is always looking after A! She weighed a whopping 3 pounds 2 ounces. Lastly, CP was born with her right arm raised and lots of fight in her! She weighed 2 pounds 13 ounces. D & I were overjoyed. Then I saw D's face darken. "What's wrong?", I asked as I followed his eyes. Our little D had to be resuscitated. Their lives were very fragile. Thankfully, she was revived. I can't imagine if we had lost one of our precious babies. Throughout our pregnancy, their delivery, and their time in the NICU, each of our babies was almost lost. They are so precious. They are no longer preemies in the NICU, but they are our precious firstborns, and I cry, no, I weep, every time I think about that joyous day. What a GIFT!!! How appropriate that their eighth birthday is on EASTER SUNDAY this year!!!

I did not get to see or hold our babies right away. I will tell you more about that tomorrow!!! Happy Maundy Thursday!! I am going to go hug my three 7 year olds for one of the last times!!! I can't believe they are almost EIGHT!!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

When you have guests...

When you have guests, it is fun to do little things to make them feel welcome. I try to pretend I am a hotel and if I remember (I forgot to do some of these things this time), then I will do things like this:

-Buy postcards of our city and stamp them so that guests can mail them to friends and family with ease

-Buy special chocolates or goodies for evening turndown service

-If children are not asleep in the room, do turndown service

-Put a gift on their bed to welcome them

-Stock the refrigerator with their favorites (My friend, F, always has Diet Pepsi waiting for me. B did the same thing 2 weeks ago)

-Send a survey before they arrive to see what they prefer

-Put out fresh towels. My friend, B, often ties hers with a bow

-Empty the trash daily & offer to clean their bathroom during their stay

-Fresh flowers would be nice, but I did not do this. And, I forgot to light the cute candle I put in their bathroom!

What things do you do? Please share!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Vacancy at the Henley Hotel

The Henley Hotel feels very empty tonight. Our gracious guests, J & N, checked out today. They are now staying at the FABULOUS Vinoy. The Henley Hotel doesn't hold a candle to the Vinoy! We miss the bustle of seven happy children under one roof. We miss N's fun stories & learning all of the things she teaches us. We miss J's laugh and his ability to fix anything. ANYTHING. We miss the blow up bed that was in our bedroom. We miss the happy laughs of children enjoying their time together and 7 squeals from the pool. It is too quiet. We love our friends and are sad to see them go. When they leave Florida tomorrow, we will feel the void more than they know. They may miss us in NC, but we miss them even more! We are so thankful for this special time with them. While date nights are fun, there is something special about staying in someone's home or having them stay in yours. You have that much more time to visit, share magazines, tell great stories, and just spend time together. So pack your bags, the Henley Hotel is too vacant!!!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Smart Purchase for baby

Do you have a baby? If so, you need to check out Boon's products. They are sleek, modern, and smart. We loved our boon sippy cup until we lost it. Another great purchase is the boon squirt spoon. You pour the baby food into the handle of the spoon & it dispenses the perfect amount as your baby eats. You will love it! Our friends N & J have seen it & loved it. You can see it here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Gift

Have you been reminded lately what a gift your friends are? They are a special blessing, a gift from the Lord. I have always loved my friends, sometimes more than they want to be loved:). Moving has made me love and appreciate friends and family even more. I honestly didn't think it was possible, but my love has grown!! We love our new friends. Everyone is so friendly in South Tampa. It doesn't matter if you are a 7th generation Tampa resident or if you've been here for a few weeks. Everyone is open and so welcoming. We are so thankful.

However, we miss our old friends. We'd love to live here with all of our lifelong friends here too from Raleigh, Georgia, Texas, Pennsylvania, NYC, etc! That would be just wonderful. You have no idea how wonderful it is to have old friends come see us here in our new life. It helps them understand where we are and what we are doing, but better than that, it picks us up when we're feeling lonely and just creates such happy memories for us!!

Dear friends drove in last night from Raleigh!! It took them 12 hours, and they arrived just before midnight. I could hardly wait for their arrival and finally gave up and went out to wait in the street!! Despite their being exhausted and worn out, we unloaded their car and sat outside by the pool and talked for too long before falling into bed!

We have had a perfect day. Palm Sunday is always special, and after church we grilled hot dogs and sat by the pool. The children swam for HOURS. They had so much fun together!!! They were all in bed by 7:30pm! We're looking forward to another great day tomorrow!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Freezing Strawberries

I can't wait to post pictures from our strawberry picking field trip today. It was great fun! The children and I picked 11 quarts... and they only cost me $5.50!!! I am quickly rinsing strawberries and pulling out these that have already gone bad. I decided I want to freeze some and will use them for smoothies and milkshakes. Those that are already turning bad I am cutting up & will attempt to make my grandmother's strawberry jam. To freeze the berries, I rinsed them and cut off all of the green. I pulled out mini muffin pans and have put them in the freezer. Once they freeze, I will move them to freezer ziploc bags for future use! Pictures will post soon.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

We just love the "Jesus Storybook Bible... Every Story Whispers His Name" by Sally Lloyd-Jones. You can buy it on We love it because all of the stories lead you back to Jesus.

Another great book is "My ABC Bible Verses" by Susan Hunt. It looks like this:

Finally, we love ALL of Ella Lindvall's Bible story books for children. She has 4 volumes plus the parables. Wonderful!

Happy Easter shopping!

Life is precious

My sweet husband has a wonderful extended family. We were greeted with such sad news this morning. One of his cousins has been having trouble with her heart. She had a moderate to severe mitral valve prolapse. She was under the care of a physician, and had just sought 2nd and 3rd opinions to determine her need for surgery. She spent a week on the NC coast to relax before going back for more tests next week. Sadly, she died yesterday morning at work and leaves behind a husband and a two year old son, whom she adored. J was an accomplished pianist, and held her PhD in Russian. She was able to teach many languages. In the past two years, she most loved being a mama. We are all shocked and sad. It is a reminder of just how precious life is, even for those who are young. We do not know the number of our days, only our Lord does. Please love those around you more than you did yesterday. If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, seek to know Him. He loves you more than any person ever can or will. He loves you unconditionally. He will never leave you. He is always by your side. If you've never opened your Bible, you may want to read the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) or the Psalms (found right in the middle of your Bible towards the end of the Old Testament). If you do not have a Bible, please buy yourself one for Easter. It holds the greatest gift you could ever give yourself!!