Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our Birthday Boy!

Last Monday Brayden celebrated his 7th birthday.
We have had a major case of "POKEMON" fever in our house over the past few months. Brayden has been asking for anything and everything "POKEMON." He wanted a POKEMON birthday party, a POKEMON birthday cake, and POKEMON presents.
Such simple desires spilling from the heart of 7 year old boy.
On his actual birthday, we celebrated as a family.
(His "big" birthday party with friends wasn't until Saturday...
Hang tight! You'll see at the end of this post)
Mommy brought Brayden a special McDonald's Happy Meal lunch
to school that day.
(These are the photos I was telling you about previously...
look at this sweet embarrassed little face that emerged when I wanted to take his picture)
(He was looking around to see if anyone was watching him)
(I'm sensing an urgency here to quickly snap the shot)
And then I asked to take one more photo and he agreed, but sheepishly smiled behind his Happy Meal box...
(and look closely in the background, It's a Nugent, "Hi Nicole!")
I must admit, my heart stung a little bit as I walked out those school doors. This to me was a mark of what is to son is growing up, and those days of public affection and "needing mommy" are limited!

Since Jackson and Aidan were going out of town and were going to miss Brayden's birthday party, we invited them to have dinner and cake with us on Brayden's actual birthday.
His birthday dinner wish: "American Pie Company" (pizza buffet)
When we got to the restaurant we discovered they were closed on Mondays! What a bummer! But, our birthday boy had a great backup plan...we ordered pizzas and had everyone come back to our house for dinner. It actually worked out better because the kids were able to play longer, and everyone was able to relax and socialize.

Brayden specifically wanted a "PIKACHU" birthday cake.
Mommy did her best with the design.
It pleased the birthday boy and tasted good!
While singing "Happy Birthday" we changed our "cha-cha-cha's" to "Pi-ka-chu's!"
Everyone got a kick out of this!
(especially the birthday boy)
I love being your mom. I tell you often that, "Out of all the little boys in the world, if I could only pick one, just one, I would always always choose YOU...because you are my favorite!"
I love you past heaven and matter what! And God does too. I love seeing that heart of yours grow in your knowledge and love for Jesus and life. You are a joy, dear son. My heart spills over with love for you.
You remind me daily to enjoy life, to have fun and to live in the moment.
God knew I needed you just as much as you needed me!

The video below caps Brayden's "Backyard Campout" party we just had for him on Saturday. Darcy did a fabulous job coming up with games and all things that delight the hearts of boys.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Go Gators! Go Goblins!

It's been all I can do to keep my head on straight this soccer season.
Both Brayden and Brooke play for teams that start with "G"
(Gators and Goblins)
and have green jerseys.
Brookie plays on Tuesdays and Bray plays on Thursdays,
so even the days of the week they have games begin with the same letter.
They also both play on Saturdays. I have been known to chant "Go Gators" at a Goblins game and "Go Goblins" at a Gators game.
Thankfully, my mistake has been caught sometime during 1st quarter (usually by one of my children) and I am able to correctly cheer for the right team for the remainder of the game.
This is Brookie's first year of playing soccer,
so I have a lot of photos of her.
Are these not the sweetest freckles ever?
1/2 time snack and end of the game treat
are her favorite parts about soccer.

In the middle of her second game, she began crying in the middle of the field.
I asked her what was wrong and through streams of tears she cried out,
"I don't know how to play soccer Mommy!"
It was so sweet. She was mistaking the parents on the sidelines (including myself) who were yelling, "Go, Go! Kick the ball that way! Turn it around! Other way, other way! Get in there! Kick the ball!" (etc.) to mean that she was doing everything wrong.
Our intended encouragement raised a lot of anxiety in this first-timer.
I wish I would have had my camera at that game. (It was very cute)
Sine then, she has quickly recovered and has become somewhat interested and
committed to the game.

Daddy has been able to catch a couple, and it means all the world to her to
"make him proud."

She has been known to chew on her braids throughout an entire game.

And has had more than enough fun on and off the field.

I think we are going to try to keep her in soccer,
hoping as she grows she will develop a love for the sport.
(cuz it's great exercise and she does look pretty darn cute in that uniform!)
Go Brookie!
Go Gators!

And then we have Brayden.
I don't have many photos of him primarily because at most of his games I have been alone with all the kids chasing Berlyn (who is notorious for running onto the field over and over and over again). It's been too much to snap photos and keep an eye on her. Plus, Bray is in U8 Soccer this year and the games are a lot faster-paced and action-packed. Stopping to take photos means you risk the chance of catching a good play. And let me tell you, it is exciting to watch him play!
Another reason I do not have many photos of Brayden is because he is getting to that age where he does not want Mommy to take his photo in front of other people.
This is what I got when I asked him to stand in front of his team banner and smile.
"Brayden, smile for me honey!"
"Brayden, smile! Look at the camera buddy!"
(OK...I think I tortured him enough)
Go Brayden!
Go Goblins!
...And I do have a post coming soon dedicated all to this little boy.
(it will include a couple of photos just as the ones above where we have a timid, embarrassed little guy waiting for mom to stop already!)
A couple more weeks of soccer.
A couple more weeks of keeping this ol' head on straight!
Go Gators! Go Goblins!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Toiletbowl Truths...

I will admit I hate cleaning toilets. It's a daunting chore that Darcy has adopted and has freed me from having to endure in our almost 10 years of marriage (bless his heart!) But, with his new job, he has been working a lot and it's a season in life where I need to step things up a bit. Let's just say that our toilet has been lacking luster as of late, and today it was in desperate need of a little sparkle.

So, as I am kneeling down in our bathroom before the ol' porcelain throne I can't help but think of the One who sits on the heavenly throne. How what I was doing is much like what He does with me...He takes my dirt and my grime, the filth and the yuck and He makes it clean. He reaches my innermost places, that nobody wants to touch or come near to and He makes them new---washing me clean, purifying me. Making me whole.

For the moment, I embraced this loathsome chore with a new perspective. And in return I've been given an appreciative heart and a toilet that sparkles...
(exactly as He wants my life to do for Him.)

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:13-16

To be this light I must continuously go to the Master Cleaner and allow Him to wash away the dirt that so naturally and gradually begins to layer upon me and ask Him to once again cleanse and purify this heart of make my life one that sparkles for Him.

Moral of the story: Let your toilets sparkle!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

to bear much fruit...

I have so been looking forward to writing this soul is breathing in fresh air just thinking about it! This past Sunday we took the family to Hy's Apple Orchard. Our good friend Denise recommended this place and it turned out to be perfect...exactly what we were craving!
We visit apple orchards every year and always look forward to this time, ushering in the fall season together as a family. This year we wanted an orchard that was just orchard! We didn't need all of the bells and whistles and petting farms and temptations that so often distract us from our main purpose in visiting an orchard: to pick apples!
(and often take a whole lot more out of the pocketbook than desired)
It was a warm, sunny fall day...
and only took moments on the (free) hayride
for me to realize I was in...
I was awestruck at the sea of scarlet that invited us into the woodlands
of gala, macintosh and cortlands.
As stated before, we make our annual trips to orchards and have visited several over the years, but I have never seen anything like this one before. Lines and rows of tender abundant trees dripping in red.

And immediately...instantaneously
the imagery playing through my mind began to dance a fine dance and sing a high tune,
refreshing my heart immensely.
Reminding me that this is exactly as God wants us...
to bear much fruit for Him.
How when we stay connected to our Source,
He breathes abundant life into us daily.

And how when we disconnect from our Source, even in a slow fade,
we begin to chase after the forbidden,
the things that don't matter, that shouldn't reach our priority list
and that gradually entangle us...leaving us empty and lost.
and once this happens, we may find ourselves running away
becoming more and more distant
from Him...
and from others,
and from the life that He intended for us.
But the chase continues...
I'm learning over and over again that in these times of running,
even in attempt to protect our fragile hearts,
that He is chasing after us...
A pursuit of love

And when we are found...
when we see that He has been there all along...
fighting after our hearts and beckoning us to return...
there's nothing greater than to run back to Him...
to seek Him

and find Him as He promised
And in those times we understand that all along we have been
carried and led.
that He is our shelter,
our portion...
and the source of our delight...

And His goodness
satiates our very souls
I'm experiencing this now more than ever...
at a point in life where I have had to say "no" to many things that come my way
(in regards to spending money, resources, and my time)
And He is teaching me that He is more than enough...
I think perhaps I always knew He could be,
and believed He would be,
but I am living it now...
and it makes the struggle and the "no's"
something I am not sure I want to trade in anymore.
For life is so much more,
and I will continue to find joy in
waiting on Him...
and by growing in Him.

my heart is to the brim...

Thank you Jesus,
for the reminders,
for the promises you never break,
for your relentless pursuit
of the wounded and the wandering.
Take this life of mine
and let it bear much fruit for You.
Be my Source
and my delight.
Be my "more than enough."