Thursday, July 31, 2008

James' Birthday Invitation

James is having a small, family birthday party with the theme bouncing balls. Elizabeth and I made his invitations today. I got the idea from a Martha Stewart Kids magazine several years ago. I think they turned out pretty cute.

It is 3 balls held together with a brad. The blue ball has the details of the party.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Getting Personal

Ok, first of all this is my 101st post. WHOOP! If you're not an Aggie, that probably won't mean anything to you, but I'm a proud member of the Fightin' Texas Aggie Class of 2001, which means I have the right (and usually do) to whoop at any number that ends in '01. I know, I know, I'm a nerd, you don't need to leave a comment telling me these things, I'm well aware.
Ok, so that was my fun for this post. The rest will be more serious.
I have debated back and forth over the past few months about what I want this blog to be - a daily journal, a scrapbook of our family life, "baby books" for my kids, a place to write what God is working on with me. I haven't made any final decisions. It seems like it's kind of gone the scrapbook route, but that's not necessarily what I intended. It just seemed to happen - it's easy stuff to blog about and I know several people read it to see my super cute kids. Plus, it's a lot easier to write about our fun Alaska trip than the tough stuff God is trying to get into this stubborn head of mine.
But, today at least for one day, I'm going to get personal about what God is teaching me right now. I don't know if this will continue. I've actually thought about starting a different blog - deep thoughts by God by way of Page's head. YIKES. That could be scary. Anyway, I do feel like I am supposed to post about this today, so here goes.
For the last several weeks I have been doing a Bible study entitled Breaking Free by Beth Moore. I love the subtitle - Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life. I love it. I've only just begun and I know there is going to be some tough stuff that God and I are going to have to deal with - we already have, but I am so excited about it.
The idea is that there are 5 things that God intends for us as Christians:
1. to know God and believe Him
2. to glorify God
3. to find satisfaction in God
4. to experience God's peace
5. to enjoy God's presence
Beth Moore says that if you are a Christian and not enjoying these 5 benefits, then there is probably a stronghold in your life that you have not dealt with. Strongholds can come in many different forms and she goes over some of them specifically. That is where I am right now, so I can't really go into too much detail about the rest of the study.
So, I start doing this study and going through the 5 benefits and there are some things that become painfully obvious. (And here's where I am getting very personal. This is not easy for me, but I feel I need to say these things - out loud, or in type to you my closest friends and the whole stinkin' internet.) If I am really honest with myself, I do not find satisfaction in God and I do not really enjoy his presence. Now this isn't to say that those things never happen, but on a day to day basis, this is the reality of this so-called abundant life I am supposed to be living. Doesn't seem so abundant to me. So, now the question is: how can I get to where I am experiencing these things? For those of y'all who don't know me personally - I'm a good girl, always have been. I "do" all the right things. That should be enough right? Wrong. The Bible says that man looks on the outside, but God looks at the heart. And a lot of times my heart is in the wrong place. So, God, Beth and I are working through some of these issues. The stronghold today that I studied was pride. And oh man do I struggle with pride. I always have. Believe me, I've always been a good girl and I've always been really proud of that. How ridiculous. I am nothing except what God has done in and through me. I have nothing except what He has given me. I wouldn't even exist if He hadn't created me. And yet, somehow I get to thinking that I've got it all together. That I can be a great wife, mom, friend, child of God's, etc. on my own strength. And for a while I do ok - again from the outside it looks pretty good. But, then my attitude starts creeping in - I get tired, frustrated, upset when things don't go my way, when people don't recognize what a GREAT job I'm doing at all these roles. (Ok, I'm sitting here typing this and thinking that I cannot believe I am going to post this. This is being super vulnerable for me, but the only thing that would keep me from posting this would be my pride and I'm not going to let it win this time.) Then I realize what's going on, humble myself and start over - doing it God's way in His power, not my way in my power.
So, here I am - humbled before God and you. I am NOTHING without him. He has given me so much, talents, opportunities, gifts, family, support system. The list goes on and on. And all those things are good and can be used to his glory, but not if I take pride in those things. Maybe sharing this with y'all will hold me accountable. And I'm learning how to break through this stronghold. I'm excited to see where God is taking me. What he is doing in my life. The fact that He loves me, died for me, is willing to go through this with me again, blows my mind. I am blessed.
So, there's my rambling. If you stayed with me to the end - thanks. And if you'd say a prayer for me to keep my heart open and my pride out of the way, I'd appreciate it.
Note: There were 3 other things on that list of benefits that I didn't talk about struggling with. Not because I never have issues with those, but because I don't feel they are my biggest struggle.
Thanks for reading, my brain is fried now, so I'm going to stop.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cruise Day 4 - Juneau

Ok, one of these days I will finish these cruise posts, but I don't think today will be the day.
Anyway, day 4 we went to Juneau. It's a beautiful city. It was Dave's favorite city of the trip. He loved the way it was at the bottom of the mountains and everywhere you looked you could see mountains. Very cool.
We rode a tram to the top of one of the mountains. It was so beautiful. If we had had more time (and the kids were a little older) we would have liked to have spent more time exploring the rain forest at the top of the mountain, but it was lunch and nap time, so our visit was pretty short. But, we did get to enjoy some of the beauty.
Uncle Evan & James on the tramElizabeth & Daddy on the tram - "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
There is a bald eagle rescue place at the top of this mountain and they had this one that you could look at. They typically rescue the bald eagles, help them get healthy, and then return them to the wild, but this one was shot and lost her eye. She won't ever be returned to the wild, but at least she's being taken care of. Beautiful creatures. I've never seen one this close. Elizabeth and Aunt Amy spent a lot of time looking at it. Elizabeth was fascinated - wanted to know what they eat and all kinds of stuff. James was interested in looking at it also.
Elizabeth has the wingspan of an owl - not sure which kind, but she liked the idea. Later that day (and still now) she did the "owl show" for us. This consists of her dancing around on the bed, flapping her "wings", and saying "hoo, hoo".

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 3 - Marjorie Glacier

So, there is a glacier in Glacier Bay called the Marjorie Glacier. It does this thing called calving, which means that these chunks of ice fall off of it to form icebergs. It is the most incredible "nature" thing I have ever seen. These huge chunks of ice fall off the glacier into the ocean with this amazing roaring sound. It sounds like thunder. It's indescribable. We got a few videos of it, but none of them turned out very well. But, I found this video that you can check out if you are interested in seeing it.

Cruise Day 3 - Glacier Bay

Ok, back to Alaska. The 3rd day we did not get off the boat - just cruised through Glacier Bay National Park. It was absolutely amazing - incredibly beautiful. I will have another post just for the Marjorie Glacier which was unbelievable. More about that later. Dave & Page - Brrr, it was cold out on the front of the boat.
The whole gang - John, Judy, Amy, James, Evan, Dave, Elizabeth, & Page
James, Dave, Page, & Elizabeth
Elizabeth posing in the blanket - so cute.
James checking out the icebergs.
Aunt Amy, James, & Uncle Evan

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Boy

James turned 1 yesterday. How did this happen? I have no idea. Although I can barely remember our family without him, I still feel like he's my itty bitty baby boy. He has grown up so fast and I feel like this first year has flown! He has brought so much joy to our family in the last year. One of my favorite things in life is to watch Elizabeth and James together - they play, they laugh, they obviously love each other. What a blessing.
Yesterday we had a small celebration with just our family. We will have a little party in a few weeks, but we wanted to make the day special.

He loved his cupcake - his first dessert. YUMMY!We wanted to go easy on the toys since we have SO MANY toys already. We went to Wal Mart to get him a couple of things. I was holding him in the Bjorn and started looking at this little pig that moves around and makes noise. He was fascinated by it. He was laughing at it and put his face right up next to the pigs' face and started "talking" to it. It was so funny. So, we decided we had to get that for him. So, he got that big blue ball from Elizabeth. And then this little piggy, a little construction vehicle and some clothes. In this picture, he's laughing at the pig.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Ice cream scoop

I have a new favorite baking tool. For some reason I had the urge to bake tonight, so I decided on some chocolate chip cookies. I used an ice cream scoop to put the dough on the sheet. It worked great. It was very easy, not messy at all and the cookies look fantastic. I have read about this before but never had the right kind of ice cream scoop. My mother-in-law, Joyce, got me one for Christmas and this is the first time I've tried it and I love it! So, there you have it. Try it out if you've never done it before and let me know what you think.

Cruise Day 3 - Random Pictures

James eating his first dairy product - yogurt. Yummy! Uncle Evan & Aunt Amy playing with Elizabeth -they had way too much fun.
James hiding under the bed. He loves to find little places and get into them.

Cruise Day 2 - Breakfast and formal night #1

Our 2nd day on the cruise - we were at sea all day.
Us at breakfast - me, Dave, Evan, Amy, Granmama, James, & ElizabethJames & Aunt Amy
Amy & Evan
Dave & PageGranmama & James
Evan & Page
Elizabeth & Beto
James, Granmama, Elizabeth, & Beto
And yet another dessert...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cruise Day 1 - Dinner

The cruise that we went on was not just any cruise. It was a Chuck Swindoll cruise. Meaning that Chuck did some teaching, there were special concerts and such just for us. There were other people on the boat that weren't with Chuck Swindoll, but a good portion of the boat was our group. It was nice and a neat way to do it. You get the fun times of a cruise and also some solid biblical teaching. The bad thing about this was that everybody with Chuck Swindoll had the late dinner 8:00..PM...Pacific Time. Then when we went into Alaska we went into even another time zone, making most of our dinners at 11:00 PM Texas time.
Let me tell you that we are not used to eating dinner at 8:00, let alone 11:00. Our kids did pretty well with the whole time adjustment thing, but the first night was crazy. We were all pretty exhausted - remember that we had to be at the airport before 7:00 that morning. So, there we were 15 hours later sitting down to dinner. YIKES!
Here are some pictures from that first night and a hilarious video. One thing we learned on this cruise - when James get tired, I mean really tired, he gets delirious, just like his Daddy. Dave can get out of control funny when he's really tired. The video shows James laughing hysterically at Beto over a piece of ice. That's what he's looking at on the table. He would touch the ice and then my dad would say "brrrrrrrrrr" and James would laugh like crazy. I know parts of it sound like he's actually crying, but it's all laughing. Too funny. The whole table was laughing hysterically by the time it was over. I think we were all a little delirious.
James, Daddy, and sleepy Elizabeth Beto, James, and the ice

Cruise Day 1 - Here we go

Arriving at the dock
Our boat - the Ms. WesterdamBoarding the boat
Our first of many, many meals. Note Elizabeth eating ice cream. I think she had more sugar this past week than in her whole life combined.Elizabeth waving to another cruise ship as we pull away from the dock and set sail. Seattle - such a pretty city. I think that was our one regret on this trip, that we didn't really get to spend any time in Seattle. This is where Dave and I went on our honeymoon and someday we'd like to go back and spend some time there.