Ice Storm Daddy

Consider this your pre-warning:  This whole post will be bragging on my husband.  After this past weekend, he deserves a post like this and so much more.

You see, being part of the Leadership Development team with Cru means having to attend Preview Weekend (essentially a conference for college juniors and seniors where we talk about how to discern God’s call for their life but also recruit them to join with us to reach college students).  We were supposed to leave Friday morning, travel to Charlotte, and be come home Sunday.  But then, nothing ever works out like it is supposed to, right?  Especially when there is weather involved.

Because of the bad ice/snow storm that was coming, our team decided to travel down Thursday night and we tried to encourage the students who were coming to do the same (about half of them did).  Thursday nights are Cru’s weekly meeting – which meant Ed needed to help setting up the sound system and couldn’t get home in time for me to leave.  After lots of calls and texts, my sweet friend Keri Hughes (and her amazing daughter Julia) agreed to come watch the kids until Ed could get home.  I could breathe – we crossed hurdle #1.

When I got to Charlotte, we went ahead and went grocery shopping for food for the hospitality suite (in case the roads were too bad the next day) and so the students wouldn’t starve to death as they were closed in the hotel for the weekend.  Yall, Wal-Mart at midnight was a crazy house.  Seriously…no sugar, low on meat, low on chips, no gallon sized waters, low on bottled waters, low on juice, no milk, no bread…and the lines were all the way out in the clothing.  They only had 4 lines open which I call crazy too…but thats another post for another day.

On Friday, Kinsley’s school was canceled and Ed did a great job of having fun with the kids despite being stuck in the house.  He built a fort for them in the living room, turned on the fire, and let them watch TV and eat a snack in their fort.  They sled outside and played in the ice. Then, later that day, they started making homemade cookies and getting everything ready for dinner.  I did plan meals for them to eat for dinner.  I did not plan for them to have meals for dinner that the could fix if the power went out.

Yes, the power went out – for about 8 hours.  Oh, the girls liked it at first – going to the next store neighbor’s and playing by candlelight – including a game of “Pie in the Face.”  But then, Kinsley started freaking out – missing me, wanting her cookies and dinner she had looked forward to, and wanting to go back home (she is the true definition of a homebody).  Poor Ed handled it all really well.  Ed went to town in hopes of finding food for dinner but everywhere was closed either because of the weather or because they were out of power.  Thankfully, our neighbors had some chicken pulled out to grill and mac-n-cheese that you can make without power (who knew they even made this?).  To sleep, he put Blake in his pack-n-play and the girls in their sleeping bags and they all started the night sleeping by the gas logs in the living room until the power came back on in the middle of the night.

The rest of the weekend was pretty uneventful, compared to that.  But my sweet and courageous husband handled it all in stride.  I think that if the tables were turned and it was me at home with the three of them and no power while he was out of town, I may have lost it – more than once. He never once complained or guilted me about not being there and even told me to stop worrying – that he had it under control. He is truly my hero (and lots and lots of thanks go to our neighbors and friends who helped or offered to help). 

Meanwhile, in Charlotte, we had about 85 students show up (out of the 175 who were supposed to be there and didn’t travel because of weather).  It was a great weekend processing their lives, gifting, and futures with them.  One of the girls in my discussion group said “This weekend was really great – I was so stressed about my future and what God wanted me to do going into this weekend, but what I learned is that their is freedom – so much freedom – and all I have to do is walk with God, seek to glorify Him, and He will lead me where he wants me.”  It was a challenging weekend for me as I fought through mommy guilt for not being with my family through the power loss and ice storm.  In the end, I am so glad I got to go and be involved in the students’ lives in that way, but here’s to hoping it never happens again this way!

And just because all of the above pics are of the girls, here are a few of Blake. Another new development in our lives – Blake is walking!  He was taking 2 and 3 steps before I left for the weekend, but he officially started taking off across the room and walking lots and lots of steps while I was gone.  And his other favorite pasttime?  Climbing.  He LOVES climbing to the top of the girl’s bunk bed ladder.  This kid is going to give me a heart attack before it is all said and done.

Celebrating One!!

I officially have a ONE YEAR OLD!!  How in the world did that happen?

Blake turned one this past Saturday.  As I was reflecting on the last year (what a crazy one it has been!!) and our sweet family, I couldn’t help but be extremely grateful.  Blake is such a happy, content, and sweet kid.  His smile and laugh will light up a room and when he does either, our whole family stops to join in. He is independent and very active, but is the kid who will hug you for no reason or just sit a little longer in your lap.  This kid has deepened our walk with the Lord as all of his health issues from the womb until now have caused us to trust in the Lord in new and big ways. The girls love him so much and I am so grateful that the Lord chose to add him to our family – it wouldn’t be the same without him.

Ed helped lead our Spring Leader’s Training for NC State and Meredith students on Blake’s actual birthday, and because it was literally a 12 hour workday for him, we didn’t have any time to celebrate.  So, we threw him a small, laid-back party on Sunday with a few family and friends.  Because all of our parties these days are princess and princess and more princess, I made sure to have more of a “boy” theme.

We got him his own little smash cake.  When we lit the candle, he stared at it for a few seconds and then reached in to touch it.  Kinsley came to his rescue and blew it out before he could burn himself…I am not sure if it was to save him or because she wanted to blow it out, but either way, she saved him.  While he was really excited about the cake at first, once he got his fingers on it, he didn’t want it and got upset.  I was really surprised as I thought he would dig in – yet another way that this boy chooses to do the opposite of what I want him to do.

He got some really fun toys, including this car track that spins and spins and knocks the cars out.  Blake’s favorite part?  Sitting right smack dab in the middle of the toy.  I guess it looks more like a seat than a toy?

And we FINALLY remembered to get a picture of the whole family and we are ALL looking at the camera (somewhere the angels are singing 🙂 )!  Notice Kinsley had to wear her fancy dress to Blake’s party…that. girl. He is THISCLOSE to starting to walk – he is standing by himself and taking a few steps between things..but his favorite thing to do these days?  Climb.  He is all boy.

Here’s to many more, Blakey boy. 


Christmas Festivities – Part 2

Christmas and New Years have both come and gone.  I don’t know where you are at with it all, but I feel like it FLEW by this year – more so than other years. Seriously, where did time go?

We had a fun week leading up to Christmas – we had one of our sweet staff team members from NC State over for dinner, we took the kids to see Christmas lights (PS – if you live in the Raleigh area, look up the lights finder on the WRAL website – it was a hit and pretty accurate – loving the animated shows everywhere!), and we spent time just being together as a family.

Christmas Eve, we went to the Christmas Eve service at a local church and not only was it really good to center on the meaning of Christmas without getting caught in the hustle and bustle, but they also had an area where they were blowing snow (more like ice, but who’s counting?) and had the kids sledding down it.  It was 75 degrees out and the kids were sledding – oh crazy, crazy weather.  Then, we came home, read the Christmas story, and pigged out on appetizers.  I love that we do this every Christmas eve because it definitely isn’t something we do the rest of the year – and really, who doesn’t love wings, cheese dip, meatballs, and tons of other bad things?

As a kid, I remember waking up at something like 4 am on Christmas Day.  Thankfully, my kids haven’t started that yet, and we had a leisurely start to Christmas morning.  I made Crock Pot Grits (think grits with cream cheese and sausage – yummy!) and Homemade Cinnamon Rolls.  I just learned this recipe a few weeks ago and as my sweet in-laws helped make the cinnamon rolls the night before, they were gracious enough to run the store, get more supplies, and try again when my first attempt resulted in them failing to rise – note to self, yeast is one of those things you CAN NOT use when it expires.  Two attempts were worth it – they were SO GOOD!!

It was so fun to see the kids open presents and to see the sheer joy on their faces.  I love having kids at Christmas time and living life with them and seeing holidays through their eyes.  Blake was more interested in eating the paper he pulled off than getting a present, but it was fun nevertheless.

Emerson was thrilled to get a Cinderella dress just like her sister and we had a blast playing with their American Girl look-alike dolls and clothes.

It was a very sweet and restful day.  We try so hard to instill in our kids that Christmas isn’t about presents or lights or parties.  The real meaning of Christmas is the birth of a sweet baby boy born years and years ago in Bethlehem.  Jesus – who gave up his place in heaven by becoming a little baby, lived a perfect life, rescued us from our sins by dying for us, overcame death by his resurrection, made it possible for us to have a relationship with God despite our imperfections, and is preparing a place for us in Heaven.  What greater gift is there?  I pray that my kids know that THIS is the real reason we celebrate.