Sunday, February 18, 2018

Samuel & Adam's Birthdays!!

On December 21, Adam Kees turned 1 year old, Grammie and Pops had just celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary, and Samuel was just days away from turning 3!!  Which means it was time to partyyyy!! Heather came into town and we all met up on our back deck to celebrate!!

But first: Vannie made breakfast!!  I baked bread and Savannah cooked eggs for everyone, start to finish!!  I love my big helper girl!!

Gathering on the back deck for partyyyyy time!!!

Precious Hez brought cupcakes for everyone!! So many delicious flavors and of course, we all had to taste each one, ha!

One of the birthday boys, so excited about his cupcake he got all to himself!!

Happy anniversary to these lovebirds!!

Heather told them they had to feed their cake to each other, just like they did 37 years ago..

Hahaha, perfect!!

And then it was the little fellas' turn!!

Singing Happy Birthday to two of our favorite little guys!!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Sam-you-el!!

Happy 1st Birthday, Baby Adam!!

Getting after it, haha!!
We love you, sweet boys, and are praying over your lives!!  We ask God to create in you hearts that love and obey Him, a passion for telling the world the good news of Jesus Christ, and lives marked by godly character, leaving a legacy for generations to come.  We love you and are so thankful for you both!!  Happy Birthday!!!!!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Snow Day!!

We woke up one morning to a WINTER WONDERLAND!!!!!!

We rarely get snow, much less inches and inches of it!!

But one glorious December morning, it was a marshmallow world in the winter and WE WERE OVERJOYED!!!!!

Sadly, Wade had to work, boooo.  But the kids got bundled up, we started a fire, and Momma stayed inside, nice and cozy, while watching the kids play this entire day away!!

Hahaha, Samuel didn't know if he reeeeally wanted to do this at first..

But the others didn't waste a minute!!

Our friend, Bailey, walked over to play!!  Here they are, shaking the tree limbs so they can be in a blizzard, haha!!

Snow ball fights in the front yard!!!!!!!!  I don't get to say that very often, ha!!  This was my favorite!!!!

Just living next door to Narnia. 

Can my house look like this everyday?!!

What else do you do for breakfast on a snow day but make warm butter toast with syrup?!  Reminds me of mornings in Thibodaux, Mom!!

Plus steaming mugs of hot cocoa!!

When it was time to warm up, the kids came inside for some read-alouds: Christmas stash on the left, Africa stash on the right.

That evening, we received a big box in the mail FULL of prizes from Nana and Paw.  This was seriously the best day ever!!

And Baby Rhett agreed, haha!!
Snow days are, surprisingly, A LOT of work. All those gloves and socks and double pairs of jackets, shirts, and pants times 4 kids was no picnic, haha!!  BUT there is something so amazing, so magical, so exciting about a snow day that it makes all the extra effort worth it!!  Missed naps, extra laundry, and frozen fingers in exchange for snowball games, footprints in the fresh snow, catching snowflakes on your tongue.. there's just no contest.

Oh, God, what a good, good day from the greatest Father!!  Your banner over us is love and this snow day was crystal clear evidence!!  We love You!! Thank You so, so much!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Advent + St. Nicholas Day

At Thanksgiving, Heather showed us her new Advent Wreath, a wooden spiral with 25 hollowed out spaces for candles, one to be added each day of December until Christmas.  Jen nor I had ever seen this before and immediately loved the idea!!  Precious Mr. Billy spent a week or two crafting copies and I was absolutely delighted to have one to celebrate with this year!!

There are so many ways and ideas on how to use an Advent Wreath.  What worked best for us was to use our family Bible Story time right before bed to shut off all the lights (only firelight and Christmas lights allowed!), add a candle, read a small part of the Christmas story from the Bible, attach an ornament to our Jesse tree, and then softly sing the hymn, Child In The Manger.

It was one of the best parts of our Christmas this year!!  Sitting next to the glow of the Christmas tree and lighting a candle, reading the details of Jesus's birth, closing out our time by singing one of the sweetest Christmas hymns, and then blowing out the candles together (after whispering in unison, "Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel!) before quietly heading off to bed was JUST SO GOOD.  It was sweet and short, but allowed us time to be intentional and end our days focused on the One who was coming! (And is coming again!)

One night, we had our family advent time outside and it was amazing.  I loved the stars overhead, the candles in front, and the people around as we talked about Jesus.

I had to grab my camera one night, though, and take a picture of this. To think that our advent was perfectly calm and quiet every night would be a complete misunderstanding, ha! A lot of times, I had to intervene in the argument of who gets to light the candles tonight, who blew out more than their fair share of the candles last night, who hung which ornament, and whose turn is it next?!
During one of our first nights of Advent, Samuel sat, YES. SAT. on top of two lighted candles.  They immediately went out, waxed spilled, and thankfully, Samuel wasn't hurt.  I wanted to laugh and kind of wanted to cry. Sometimes the smallest things require so much effort and correction and training, it's hard to not just throw in the towel and wait until 'one day' when they're older.

  But it's a lie, y'all. It's a lie that our children are too young to understand, a lie that they we can put off teaching them God's truths to another day, a lie that we are wasting our time. 

We actually are inadequate, but that's okay. Jesus is enough.  We don't have to hold everything together just so, because Jesus already does. Things will not be perfect, but they don't have to be.  Because Jesus is.

So push through the hard things.  Clean up that spill one more time.  Sit down together and finish the Bible story. Teach your children about Jesus, despite the difficult moments and the roaring lies. It will be enough because He is enough.

I know one day my children will sit in chairs and not on top of the table.  I know there will come a Christmas season when Samuel will not topple over our advent candles.  The day is coming when I'll be able to get through a whole lesson without any interruptions or distractions or spills. But I don't know.. something tells me that I'm going to miss this.

We spent so many of our December afternoons enjoying this view!!  The backyard lit up in this gorgeous golden color and we would settle onto the couch on the deck with a blanket, a stack of library Christmas books, a cup of hot chocolate or coffee or apple cider, and read together until Wade got home.  We called it our "4 O'Clock Stop" and the kids still talk about it.  It was our favorite time of the day!!

Candy canes naturally go with any good story. (And just look at that filthy little face, ha!)

On December 6, we celebrated St. Nicholas Day!!  This was a wonderful time to talk to the kids about the legend of Santa Claus, wake up to very simple gifts, and enjoy reading books and music all day about Santa Claus, without it taking away from Jesus on Christmas Day!!  I just loved that.
Savannah, Andrew, and Jen's kids had spent the previous night at Grammie's, so she made sure to fill up all of their shoes with apples, bananas, oranges, candy canes, and lots of Pops's chocolate, haha!! 

Grant and Samuel were excited about their surprises under our tree.  (You'll have to look up the story - I think the shoes are supposed to be sitting at the back door, but it was so much prettier under the tree, ha!)

Sleepy little faces, but so excited to wake up to prizes!!

Even Baby Rhett got a banana!!  Doesn't he just look thrilled?!

Grant loved his morning full of St. Nick's treats and stories!!
Thank you, Hezzy, for reminding us of all these simple celebrations that pack such a memorable punch. It makes our holiday season that much more delightful, full of tradition, and daily points us to the greatest Gift of all!!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Grant Christmas Tree Farm

On the first weekend in December, we drove to Grant, Louisiana, to our very first Christmas Tree Farm!!  There was a working mule, a syrup mill, and hay rides, plus tons of games and play things for the kids. It was Heather's idea and I am SO GLAD we made it happen!!  Thank you, Hezzy!!

First stop: the little mule!!  

Everyone got a turn to go inside the gate and pet the baby donkey.

Grant did not love it, haha!!

But he sure does love his daddy!!

Look who else was there!!!!!!!!!

Grant just stared and stared at the rhinoceros in the pen, ha!!

Lots of friends around here!!

Precious Wadie, double fisting it with 2 wagons and 2 babies, haha!!  You are the BEST, Wadieeeee!!

The kids went up the "Tower of Baa-bal" to see the goats on their ramp..

Meanwhile, Hezzy and Samuel took a break..

..and Grant played on the "Ant Hill!"

Everyone had so much fun on these unique little playgrounds!!

I adore Saturdays with my boo bear.

Going on their first zipline ride!!

Savannah and Andrew would have ridden this until closing time. They LOVED it!! I think Kate rode it twice, but didn't love it as much since she's so little and got flung around a lot, haha!

Wheeeee!! So much fun!!

Baby Rhett was content to just sit and snuggle with his Da.

And offfff to the corn maze!!  There were lots of little trails for the kids to go exploring and they set out like little adventurers.

Somehow, Samuel did get separated from everyone else though, and I had to go rescue him.  I didn't mind!! He was so glad to see me and so happy to ride on my hip (which rarely happens anymore!) back to the front where we waited for the others.

Beautiful Hezzy and baby Adam!!

We walked through all the vendor shops (adorable) and food trucks/lemonade stands (yum) and ended up watching the syrup being made!! #homeschoollife, ha!! To me, everything and everywhere is an educational field trip, haha!!

Of course, we had to jump and play in the hay bales.

I see so much of myself in this little face!!

This sign is hanging on their gift shop and I just loved it so much.

And I'm so thankful AND happy that these two are mine!!

We petted more animals..

..and then needed a drink at the Friendship Fountain.

Before we left, we had to take one of their amazing hay rides through all the Christmas trees!!

Andrew, being so grown and handling all the money.

Waiting for our ride to start!!

It was the neatest hay ride - super long and with views of the perfect rows of Christmas trees.  I could have done this all day.

Baby Adam was loving it, too!!

Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree, anyone?!

Samuel loved that there was SO MUCH hay to play in!!

We went through the woods and there were funny things all throughout them, like an alligator in a pond and Big Foot walking between the trees.  The kids loved keeping a look out!!

Meanwhile, Baby Rhett slept like a baby. :)

After our hay ride, we took our last little walks around the tree farm.  Of course, we had to take some pictures amongst the trees!!

It was such a wonderful day with these three!!

Andddd this is the family of seven who's had too much fun for the day and know it's time to head on home, haha!!

Exhausted, but filled to the brim.  What sweet memories with you, my Wadie!!

Our Christmastime Poole Party!!

 REAL LIFE, hahaha!!

We hugged goodbye and promised to do this again next year!!

So long, Grant Christmas Tree Farm!!  It was so WONDERFUL to see you!!

About Me

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From childhood friends to high school sweethearts, and now newlyweds and brand-new parents, Wade and I can only thank Jesus for His incredible blessings. Our three children are the ULTIMATE gifts from God and we pray that our lives glorify Him. He is our everything.