Tuesday, July 28, 2015


And, just like that, July is nearly over.  August is almost here.  Fall is just around the corner.

When I looked at my July calendar at the beginning of the month, it was overwhelming.  There was lots to do.  A LOT.  It has been a busy, jam-packed month.  I enjoyed every last second of it.  But I'm also glad to be on the other side of it now.  Here was our July.

It began with the final two days of LSU baseball camp.  Mason enjoyed it just as much as he did last year, maybe even more so because his best buddy was there with him.  He got his ball signed by Jared Poche, one of LSU's pitchers.

July 4th weekend was spent mostly at the pool with the cousins.  Ellie finally got off the steps.
I made my annual 4th of July pie from scratch.  This year I decided on apples.  It was good.  But I really missed the peach and blueberry pie.

Mason, Hannah Kate and Ellie really enjoyed having Avery and Beau here for the weekend.
The next week Pop and Mimi came for a visit.  We toured Nottoway Plantation while they were here.
They came baring peaches.  Big, beautiful, juicy, sweet Georgia peaches.  So Mimi taught Hannah Kate how to make a peach cobbler, my favorite!

And then, during the next five days . . .

. . . we celebrated Mason's 10th birthday,
. . . my cousin, Denise, and her family came and spent a few days with us (we took them to one of our favorite landmarks, the Louisiana state capital building),

. . . and we celebrated Ellie's 3rd birthday.  Yes, all within FIVE days.
Three days later, it was time for Vacation Bible School.
This year's VBS was the biggest and the best yet!  I can't even describe it.  It was an Ephesians 3:20-21 kind of week!

"Now to HIM who is able to do EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen."

We had 110 kids ON THE FIRST DAY!  We've never topped 100 the first day before.  By the end of the week, we had enrolled 140 kids in VBS and collected almost $1,500.00 for missions, nearly $1,000.00 of which was raised during a friendly little penny wars competition between the boys and the girls.  And, in case you haven't already heard, the boys won this year.  So I got slimed.  But I really don't know that I can truly say the boys won.  By the end of the week, the girls were putting their pennies in the boys' bucket!
And while we were in the midst of VBS, Jennifer and her kids came for a visit!  I took only one picture the entire time they were here.  I doubt it was as exciting as their last visit, but I loved this visit because they got to "do life" with us.  Jennifer was a huge help in the kitchen after VBS, and the girls helped me clean out and organize one of our storage closets at church.  And, at the end of the day, when I was flat out worn out and exhausted, I didn't have to do anything but sit and enjoy conversation with Jenn because there were four precious cousins entertaining my children!  Love them so!
My garden also thrived this month!
And that was our July.  But it's not over yet.  There are still three days left, still lots more excitement to come . . . !

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ellie's Day

My darling baby girl is three years old today.  This birthday was so much fun.  She has been not-so-patiently waiting on her birthday for about a month now.  It's all she's talked about, particularly when Pop and Mimi came last week bearing gifts for her birthday.  She woke up every morning hoping, nearly convinced that it was her birthday because she wanted to badly to open her presents.  When we celebrated Mason's birthday on Monday, she really wanted it to be her turn, too.  Well, today she finally had her special day.  At one point this afternoon, she was prancing around the house singing, "It's my birthday.  It's my birthday."

Ellie's day was special for many reasons, but it was super special because some of her cousins from Georgia were here celebrating with her.

We began the day with a little sight-seeing and Louisiana history lesson at the state capital building and capital park museum.

After lunch we went swimming.  Ellie hardly swam at all today.  She was more interested in eating ice cream and wearing her brand new Snow White high heels.
One of the (many) things I said I'd never do was have a "character" birthday party for my children.  Except for the superhero-themed birthday one year, I've been largely successful with that.  Until the third baby.  Because lots of things change with the third baby.  Ellie absolutely ADORES Minnie Mouse.  And the color pink.  All she asked for was a pink birthday cake.  In a moment of weakness, I chose a Minnie Mouse pink birthday cake for her.  And it was perfect.  She was so excited!
I mean, is this a party or what?!  We had fried fish and shrimp etoufee for supper.  We had cake and candies and gum balls.

This girl has brought so much laughter and joy to our family.

Dearest Ellie,

Today is your birthday.  And I will tell you the same story on your birthday every year.  I still remember very vividly all of the little details surrounding the day you were born.  The day was surreal, perfect.  It was a day that I did not want to come to an end.  That first night, I held you the entire night long.  At 4:00am the next morning, the nurse came in to check on us again.  I was dozing, and you were sleeping soundly in my arms.  She put her hands on her hips and said, "You're still holding that baby!?"  I told her that yes, I most certainly was because I knew from experience how quickly the day would come that I would not hold you as a baby anymore.  And how quickly indeed!

You will always be my baby, no matter how old you are, how smart you are, how big you are.  You are so loved, not only by me but your daddy and brother and sister, too.  You made our little family perfect!  We waited on you a very long time, much longer than the nine months I carried you in my tummy.  And you were worth every second of the wait!

You make us laugh everyday.  You keep us on our toes, me for sure!  You live loud and passionately.  You giggle hard.  You love big.  I can not wait to see God's plan unfold for your life!  I am eternally grateful that He chose me to be your Mommy.

I love you!    

Monday, July 13, 2015

Mason's Day

Ten years ago today I became a mom.  This boy made me a momma.

Today was Mason's day, his 10 years old.  So he got to choose how he wanted to spend his day.  We picked up his best buddy and went to the movies.

And then we went to Area 51, an indoor extreme sports and trampoline facility.
These boys did not stop for a solid hour.  They jumped and bounced and flipped and dove and flew and hung all over the place.

And then he chose his favorite fast food chicken fingers joint for lunch, Cane's.
I thought for sure they'd be worn out.  But they weren't.  We came home, and they played inside.  They played outside.

And then, due to a major supper FAIL, we ended up at another one of Mason's favorite restaurants for supper. 
No birthday of Mason's is ever complete without a cookie cake. 

And that was Mason's day.
Dear Mason,

Ten years ago, I never imagined you as ten years old.  It seemed as if all of time stood still.  Here I was holding you, my firstborn, my son, the one who made me a Momma.  I thought I had it all figured out.  But I really had no idea.  And when I looked at you, stared at you to be sure I memorized every part of you, I had no idea what in the world I was going to do.  I just knew we would do it together, you and me.  And that's what we've done ever since.

You've had me at my best.  You've also had me at my worst.  But you have never stopped loving me.  You have never given up on me.  You taught me, and continue to teach me, how to be a mom, how to love, how to persevere, how to dream, how to laugh.

You play hard.  You laugh loud.  You are determined.  You are competitive.  You NEVER give up.  You are a loyal friend.  You are brave.  You are courageous.  You are strong.  You are kind.  You are compassionate.  

You are the best. big. brother. EVER!  I love the way you take care of your sisters.  I love the way you play with them.  I love the way you love them.  

Ten years ago time might've stood still.  But it was only for an instant.  And now here you are, growing up on me and almost just as tall as I am!  These ten years have been the best of my life!  And it's all because of you.

I love you, son, and I am so proud of you, of who you are and who you are becoming.  I love our memories, and I look forward to many, many more.