Monday, June 30, 2008

heavenly sandpaper

God uses our children as Heavenly sandpaper to smooth off the rough edges around us. (From my Wisdom for Mothers bible study by Denise Glenn) I had never thought of my children this way, but I do know it is so true. God has used all 3 of my children to touch me in one way or another and make me a better person. Each child is a unique gift from God not only to me but FOR Him. Each child's life has been created for a Kingdom purpose. Wow! It is so cool to think that I was given to my parents for a reason that is a part of God's great big plan. And my kiddos were given to me for reasons that will bless God. We may not have front row seats in His plan but I am convinced we will make a difference for the Kingdom of God. Isn't it amazing how we affect those around us. Honestly, we can all be sandpaper to another in some way. Keep the faith!

I have spent some fun time with my kids this weekend! What a blessing each one is to me. Some weekend highlights...


Uncle Nate provided us with $3 fun. Ballons you blow up, release, and try to catch in order to do it all over again. Yep, we started off in the downtown square after dinner but decided quickly it was much too dangerous and tempting as the ballons were drawn to traffic!


Still in the square - Joey posed the kiddos for a quick group shot. Briley, Braxton, Coleman, Cy, and Casen. The littlest guys Barron and Colby were stroller bound and unable to pose. Thanks to the Calmus' and Nate's crew for a super fun time. From here we did take our show on the road. Well... just down to the park to continue ballon chasing fun!


Another highlight - the concert at Carnton on Sunday nite. Uncle Gavin and Barron posed for a quick pic. We had no idea what we were getting in to. I never imagined so many attendees for an outdoor concert and picnic. Super fun! I recommend it to everyone. Next time I'll do better and pack us a really yummy picnic. The big kids had a blast playing with friends in a field off to the side. I, on the otherhand, constanlty worried because they were out of my site. But still...very fun times were had by all.

A busy week lies ahead...


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

the sign

I watched our realtor put this in our yard Monday nite, but, it wasn't until I drove past it Tuesday that I felt the true impact of it. Our house is really for sale.

This has been harder for me than I imagined. Maybe becauses Joey built it for us. Maybe because so many memories have been made here. Maybe because I feel like I live in the treetops when I look out back or because the kids love exploring the woods. It is just a beautiful place that we are blessed enough to call home.

I know it is time to move on. To do more with what we've been given. To make more memories. But, I am such a sentimental gal.

For those of you who don't know - we have another piece of property just down the road we have our sights set on. It has a really nice creek flowing thru it and a small house on it that we would build around. It's very exciting to consider building again - there are definitely several things we'd do differently.


Now, we wait for the Lord's timing. I have completely turned it over to Him. God will show us our next step when it is time. Right now- I will enjoy living here. This is where my heart is. This is my home.

For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Heb 3:4

Yesterday we celebrated 3/4 a year with Barron Hudson. He is getting even closer to crawling. He really tries to get his legs going now when he army drags. It's comical looking. His Dr gave him an A+ at his checkup. Even his ears were clear which has become a battle once again in our family (Brax and Bri have each had 2 sets of tubes). Yea! Oh, and we are trying all kinds of big people food now too!

Monday, June 23, 2008

girly

Every good and perfect gift is from above... James 1:17
My daughter is such a treasure to me. Daily I am amazed by her...beauty, intelligence, humor, compassion, love, hope, joy for life, imagination...just to name a few!

I had written in my last entry that I wanted to start spending a little more time with just her. She and I rarely get this since her 2 brothers hang with us and especially since baby Bear is well, still a baby.

Anyway, my goal is girly adventures. What are some of the best memories you had growing up with your mom? Was it reading stories, going on walks, special "dates", making bead necklaces, shopping trips, coloring pictures? I'd love to come up with some super creative ideas for us. It is very hard with multiple children, to create specific time for each child. I feel Briley is beginning to grow and mature so fast and I want to create a bond that can last thru the tough teenage years that seem to start earlier than ever. I have a few ideas of my own but thought reaching out for some advice could bring some fresh ones. If you have/had a daughter what memories would you like to make?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

all good things must end...

one last hoorah at the beach... LANKFORD '08...Briley and I made our last trip to the beach this afternoon after a quick trip to Seaside for lunch. We went to Seaside to ride bikes too but decided it was way too hot. It was wonderful to spend time with just Bri. We hardly ever get to have girl time. I have really been convicted about not getting to spend time with just her. I believe it is so important and I need to make it a point to take time out to do special things with just her.


After many failed attempts for a family beach pic...this is the best I could come up with. Not so good! This was taken Saturday during our last full day of Florida fun and sun. Joey and Briley spent the entire day at the beach catching jellyfish. Yep, my daughter - the soon to be scientist- caught stinging sea creatures (aka jellyfish) all day long. And managed to be the one in charge among the other kiddos trying to do the same. Can you imagine?


The kids had $20 to spend on a prize while we here in Florida. Well, on Saturday nite, they chose build-a-bear. Which was of course much more than $20. Briley chose an elephant that she named Hayley. Cy chose a bear his daddy named Jake. And Braxton chose an alligator he dressed in batman attire then cried after we paid b/c maybe he wanted to trade it for an animal that could fit in the spiderman suit. You gotta love kids. I mean come on - just be grateful! He has come back around and showed his gator some love since then.

It's been an awesome trip. We have a long road ahead of us in the morning but it will be good to get back home!

Friday, June 20, 2008

missing...


2nd post of the day to share super duper big news! Briley Elisabeth has lost a tooth. Now, we all know she has missing her top 3 fronts since her run in with a slide at the park at the ripe ole age of 3 yrs. But today, we announce the loss of her "first" loose tooth. That booger was hanging by a thread for weeks. Finally, today at the water park, at the top of a slide with her daddy she pulls it out. Then, in a panic says they can't ride because she'll lose her tooth on the way down. So, what does her daddy do? He pops it in his mouth and holds it in his lip like a dip. Tonight, it lies safely under her pillow awaiting the tooth fairy. What is the going rate for a tooth fairy these days? Guess we will find out. Yeah!!!

we're still having fun!

I loved this pic of Joey and sweet Barron. It couldn't get much better than enjoying the ocean!


More pool time fun. Braxton is doing great without his swimmies! I think Barron could swim with swimmies if I'd just let him try, but...I believe he's a wee bit too young.


We have had lots of fun with cousin Cy! I had them lined up for a stair step picture to show them at ages 6, 4, and 2 but...this is as close as I could get.



Just loved this pic of baby Bear! A little bit of drool!

We are still having a blast in Florida! Today is vacation day 6. We are not bored yet and can't say we will ever be. I am still trying to get some good beach pics of my crew. Maybe it will happen tomorrow? We skipped the ocean today for some adventures at Big Kahunas water park. What a blast. Briley is a professional water slider. I was proud of Brax, too, he hit a few himself while Barron throughly enjoyed the lazy river. More adventures to come...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

vacation day 4





I can not believe we are already on day 4 of our annual Lankford Family Vacation. Well, atleast our crew is on the 4th day. We started Saturday morning with a family reunion on Mimi's side of the family. It was a bit off the beaten path on our way to Florida but worth the time.

Sunday morning we woke up and hit the beach! We were super excited that Rich, Dana, Gavin , and Taylor also came down early. Soon we met up with our entire clan (Nate's family and Nonni and Papa) at our beach house and had big pool fun and ice cream treats. Braxton practiced his new swimming skills and Briley practiced cheerleading stunts with her uncles. Barron looks like he has fish potential, too - this kid loves the water. He looks like a little frog swimming around. The best part about this day was... Father's Day! Joey is an amazing dad - he spends such quailty time with the kids! He is always up for a good adventure. He loved his special treat - a leather belt with LANKFORD stamped on the back.

My favorite part of the trip so far... watching Braxton sing on stage Monday night at the kids karaoke. He saw the kids doing it and said he'd like to try. I never thought he actually would follow thru, but Aunt Tiff and I took him up there while the rest of the crew finished dinner at an incredible restaurant across the way. The rest of our bunch didn't know what was going on until they heard his name and him singing his famous tune "Hey buddy buddy". He belted it out like a professional! When he finished all the fam had gathered around cheering! I am not kidding, this kid sang in front of a lawn full of people and shoppers in Baytown Wharf. Oh what fun! He had so much fun he did sing one more tune before he and Sissy Bear moved on to the super trampoline jump thingy! My Brax is really coming out of his shell these days! What a cool guy! (p.s. will try and post a concert clip soon).

Unfortunately, Papa had to leave today to hit the campaign trail. It's not quite the Lankford Family Vacation without him. This was the first year that every single one of us (15 members strong and counting) had made the vacation. Atleast, we had 2 nights with him. We miss you Papa!

Tonight - we checked out the flick KUNG FU PANDA. I felt as if I had wrestled my own panda, aka Barron Hudson, by the time the movie finished.

Hope you enjoy some pic highlights.









Thursday, June 12, 2008

First try at video clip... Brax swims!!!


video


I am not very computer savvy but I thought I'd try the video thing...For this is a momentous occasion! Look daddy, Brax can swim!!

P.S. You might want to mute the playlist music on the sidebar so you don't have music and our cheering at the same time!

lessons

The past two weeks have been full of lessons...
Last week Briley went down the road to a horse camp. She had a ball! I was amazed at what she learned...how to groom her horse, lead it with a rope, ride alone around the ring, safety issues like tips on not getting kicked, and more. She was so proud of herself and so was I. I got a big laugh out of her kicking her horse trying to get it to go faster. Her poor horse that is trained to handle "inexperienced" riders had to put up with my daughter kicking the stew out of him to go faster. I wonder what she'd have done if that horse had just taken off running? It won't be long before we get her a horse of her own to put out back. I'm not sure how we will replace her first horse "Dusty Teacup" but we will certainly do our best to find her a great one to ride and take care of.


This week Braxton started swim lessons - which by the way I never thought I'd pay for. We taught Briley to swim at 2.5 years and Joey and I are good swimmers - why shouldn't we be able to teach all our kids. Well, Braxton just wasn't going to have it. He truly needed to learn from someone else. He needed the perfect instructor - tough yet trustworthy. And honestly - I wasn't tough enough. Tip to all parents...I believe 4 years old is too old to start swimming lessons. I think age 3 would have been much better. It seems we had developed some pretty strong fears of going under the water. Braxton tried so hard to talk his instructor, Mrs Sally, out of making him go under and swim. He even went into full fledged hysterics! I am not kidding, he let out the blood curdling screams that make your skin crawl. But, as you can tell by the pics, Mrs Sally won. Braxton now swims under water. Tomorrow we will practice again diving for rings and jumping from the side. It's hard to believe that 3 days ago we wore swimmies. Yeah!

And, my last bit of news... Barron got mad enough at the toys placed in front of him tonite-just outside his reach- to DRAG himself to them. But, It wasn't without a good show of his temper. This dude has got some fire in him. To be so passive at times - he can sure get stewed up. Let's just say I am not pushing the "Let's get mobile" issue. I am not quite ready for that stage yet. I am perfectly content in the "He's sitting right where I left him"stage. But it is fun to watch him grow and change and learn. I can't keep him my little baby forever even though I'd love it! I remember wanting Briley to crawl or Braxton to walk - This time around I'm not pushy. Just enjoying it all! I have found they grow up entirely too fast!

Monday, June 9, 2008

on the campaign trail

What a fun time we had on the campaign trail this weekend. We went to a place called Tarkington Store in Hickman County, TN. It's a store Papa used to take Joey and Nathan to when they were boys. The awesome thing about it is the creek that runs right behind it. It's a perfect creek for kids... just the right depth, ducks galore, tadpoles, and the not so good - a snake! The kids had a blast running up and down the creek chasing ducks and a tiny boat. We have a little creek behind our house but, not quite like this one. This creek is the kind a kid dreams about.
We were so blessed to get to hang out with Joey's Grandpa Wayne while at the Tarkington Store. The kids love him so much. I wish we could visit with him more often. It's been more and more on my heart lately what a treasure our grandparents are to us (or in Briley's case great grandfather). They are so full of the wisdom we seek. Proverbs 16:31 says "Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life". We can learn much from those who have been down this road before us.
More wisdom could be found here with Joey's other set of grandparents -Grandmother and Grandfather are in the middle with Barron. We love to visit with them. They are two of the spunkiest people I know. They never forget a birthday or special occasion- you can count on a card in the mail to help celebrate. Briley is still waiting for us to take her out to their house and spend the nite. I'm not sure why we haven't done it yet- they live less than an hour away- it just never seems convenient. I've got to do better :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

4





Yesterday was a big day 'round here. My sweet Braxton turned 4. It was a hard one for me, 4 seems so not like a little guy anymore but, a big guy. My buddy who loves movies and tells his mommy "I love you" so often, and who gets more adventurous daily, and who adores his sissy bear and baby bear. And who has a heart full of compassion and tries his best to do what is right, and who can be just as content sitting back soaking it all in as being right in the middle of things is growing up. I love this guy more and more every day! Four is more independent, four is almost 5 and 5 is kindergarten. Sometimes I feel like the days are passing way too fast and I just want to stop them and stay right where we are. I just love being a mom and I love the stages the kids are in now and I want to enjoy every minute.

At a dinner at our church Monday nite the 2 speakers talked about the Trace Adkins song "You're Gonna Miss This". Have you listened to these words? "You're gonna miss this, you're gonna want this back, you're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast..." I am really wanting to soak in every moment these days and not wish them away. They were talking about when we say ...I can't wait until the baby sleeps thru the nite or is potty trained or goes to kindergarten or rides a bike, etc.etc. Just enjoy the moment. Live where you are! These days will be gone too soon. We only get one chance at this life -so my goal is to enjoy every single moment, make the best of them all, and try not to sweat the small stuff.

Now for Braxton, it was a super day he'd been counting down to for weeks. Oh how we celebrated...Briley sang him Happy Birthday first thing, I made him Mickey Mouse bday pancakes, we let him choose what we played, then we waited... until finally, it was party time!

I just love parties- I love how the kids' faces light up, I love to celebrate life! Braxton had a blast at his Superhero party! He loved every minute of it and I am grateful we were able to do it for him because -as you know parties these days can break the bank. Thanks Daddy for making all we do possible. We love you!

Braxton - I am proud of you and so glad God blessed me with you! I know God has incredible plans for your life and I promise to do all I can to mold you into the man God wants you to become. Mommy loves you!

Monday, June 2, 2008

i answers

Try filling in the answers to the following phrases….it’s not as easy as it looks.

i am: a busybody

i think: way too much

i know: God is in control of everything

i want: my kids to do what I tell them the first time I tell them

i have: the most incredible husband

i wish: money wasn't always an issue

i hate: neglect

i miss: my kids when I am away from them

i fear: death

i feel: like there's always something to be done

i hear: the peace and quiet at bedtime

i smell: shampooed hair

i crave: chocolate

i search: for Braxton's blue nitenite too often

i wonder: when we'll get our adopted baby girl

i regret: being so impatient with my children

i love: being with Joey and the kids

i ache: for orphans

i care: what people think of me and my family

i always: want to do my best

i am not: perfect

i believe: in Jesus

i dance: around the house

i sing: in the car

i cry: thinking about Braxton's and Barron's NICU experiences

i don’t always: turn it all over to God

i fight: the urge to check on my kids upteen times before bed

i write: notes in my Bible

i win: most sit ups in race between Joey and I

i lose: Memory game when I play with Briley

i never: skip dessert

i confuse: wants and needs

i listen: to nature around me

i can usually be found: in the kitchen

i am scared: to lose a loved one

i need: to pray even more

i am happy about: how God is working in my life

thanks Amy - it really made me think

a little splish





Over the weekend we busted out the ole baby pool. It was hot and we needed a place to cool off. I have decided my 2 big kiddos are a bit big for a "baby" pool. Their legs stretched from one end to the other. Watching them slide was a hoot since both are longer than the slide. Nevertheless, they had a blast shooting each other with water guns and splish splashing. And since we have had this baby pool for 4 years now - it is a little tattered. We had to improvise to keep the water from leaking out the cracks - that's when Braxton's undies came in handy and plugged a hole. Looks like we are on the hunt for a new one this week! Summer's not summer without water fun!



Barron climbed on his first tractor this weekend. I knew since he had such a love for our 4 wheeler that the tractor would be a hit. He kicked his legs and got super excited as I handed him up to Joey for a short ride. It's so fun watching him experience new things. Another new, he loves to stand holding onto things. We stand him up in his bed (or anywhere really) and he holds on for dear life and bounces. He can't get up there himself yet ,but, loves to do it with help.


It's an exciting week for Briley - she has horse camp. As you know, this girl is smitten with animals and some of her favorites are horses. I'll post more on her adventures at camp later.
And...The most exciting event this week is... Braxton turns 4!! He woke up this morning saying "Mommy, only 1 more sleep until my birthday!" He been counting down for weeks now. I can not believe my little man will be 4 in less than 24 hours. Time flies when you are having fun!