Tuesday, February 24, 2009

March is Coming

So I have been debating on this post for a while now, but I believe that God has made it very clear to me that now is the time and I will not apologize for any of it.

So it has been nearly three years since our sweet Samuel (I don't know why I must always say sweet before his name, but I must) was born. For those of you that were on that journey with us-Can you believe that it has been THREE YEARS? I surely cannot. There has not been a single day (honestly) that I have not thought of him in some form.
I think the thing I struggle with most is the question from others: "How many kids do you have?" My answer changes every single time probably depending on my mood and how the Spirit is working in me, but I digress.

Since I have been a believer I have had three AHA moments related to my relationship with Christ. Most of my time spent learning about God and his love for me has been a slow disciplining of me to be a woman of God (I realize I fail daily at this, but it is still an ongoing process and always will be), however, those three Aha moments are noteworthy.

1. The first was the day I was sitting in that youth rally in Birmingham(the place of my physical birth and then the place of my spiritual birth) and finally got the fact that Grace was FREE, yet it cost everything! Can I get an AMEN for that? It was truly life changing as I walked up to the front with a dear friend to commit my life to following Christ.

2. My next true realization and understanding (those words are not strong enough) of God's love for me and I do mean unconditional, I would die for you love, was after the birth of our first son, Jackson. I have loved many people in my life and I dearly love my husband, but it was not until someone was made from both Darrell and I that I truly understood that love (oh and friends I am SURE my love is only a tiny fraction of God's great love.)

So I thought my truths were done until a recent dream and my 3rd realization nearly 3 years after Samuel's death. (this is the point where if you have known me for very long you are wondering why I am talking about a dream, because I hate hearing about dreams) In my dream I was giving a Young life talk about Jesus on the Cross-you know the talk everyone dreads b/c it is so sad and full of despair-that is until you get to the resurrection. Anyway in my dream talk I finally had another Aha moment.

As Darrell and I held Samuel March 29th and sent everyone out of the room we unplugged him from everything that was giving him life. We sang to him and kissed him and let our tears fall on him. After a few minutes (really I have no idea how much time had passed) we signaled the nurses in and told them we thought he had passed. The sweetest nurse, Amy, listened for a long time and looked at us and said-no he is still alive. Really? This is where in my dream I felt just a teeee tiny bit of God's pain. Really, God must have thought? My son, Jesus has not suffered enough-the crown of thorns, being whipped, being spat upon, clothes being ripped. That isn't painful enough, not enough to save them, save us-now He must hang from a cross and die.

Folks that is where my similarities end, b/c Samuel was not abused in those ways, but Friends it was tough to go on and to watch him and hold him as he did pass on especially since we learned later that the only part of his brain that was working was the part that received pain.

My three moments: 1. Grace, 2. Love 3. Sacrifice of suffering
I am sure there will be more to come and I love that they came in such different ways.

If you journeyed with us to meet Samuel and journeyed with us as he was added to the Kingdom of Heaven-Thank You.

Friday, February 20, 2009

So I lied

I obviously have nothing to do at work today except write blogs:)

I realize that I have no pictures of sweet adorable Linley up from the Disney World trip. We are such awful parents that we left her with 4, yes 4 grandparents while we were gone.

Doesn't it just look like she had to most horrible, neglected time? I just know that EVERY single one of her needs was not met by these 4 grandparents and I am sure she was just counting the minutes until we all returned, only to leave her struggling desperately to put that poor doll back on her horse. I mean I am SURE that the 4 grandparents would have chosen to grab a camera and shoot her frustration instead of helping her get that princess back on her horse;)

On another note: This picture makes me so proud. Even though I was not there, I am so glad that the girly girl that I was afraid to have is at least sporting converse sneakers with a dress (even if they are pink).

One more before the weekend

Jackson picked out a toy for Linley to bring back from Disney. He picked out a Cinderella doll and her horse. Linley loved them, but became VERY frustrated when she couldn't keep Cinderella on the horse (aka-neigh neigh). She asked Jackson about 6 times last night to keep putting the doll back on the horse. I finally captured it on video before Jackson and Linley both gave up on it. You can really see her persistent personality coming through here. You can also see Jackson's willingness to serve his sister (even if it is just to prevent a tantrum).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Last One

Just going over Disney World Things exhausts me so here is the last one. By the way that is a Webkinz Jackson is sleeping with and if you ever see him please don't tell them that they have a whole world of stuff to do with those. We just like to think it is a sweet stuffed animal:)

Most of our time was obviously spent in the Magic Kingdom. I don't know if Darrell and I aren't cheesy enough or what, but I didn't feel the "magic" that everyone talks about. Don't get me wrong, it was great and Jackson's excitement was super, but it still felt like a theme park. We all loved the 3-d Mickey's Philharmonic Orchestra. Jackson kept trying to grab the things in the "air". It was priceless.We stayed in the Port Orleans hotel so our first morning we had yummy beignets. Gee had left us this great gift basket in the room full of goodies, Mickey ears and Mickey hands. Of course Jackson wanted to wear them so they stayed on (until the first ride that is)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hollywood and Epcot

So I loved Hollywood Studios even though we were in and out in about 4 hours. Our family wastes no time and we were serious about our Fast Passes.

So there were three rides of note in Hollywood: The Tower of Terror, Toy Story Mania and Star Tours.

Let's just say that I got into Star Wars/Star Tours and closed my eyes the whole time. I do not like simulators and they usually make me very sick, however, Jackson loved it so much he and Darrell did it again.

Next was Toy Story Mania

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this ride. You are basically taken around to different carnival type games and you use your little gun to shoot darts, throw rings, etc and different things. Sooo fun.

The last ride of note was the Tower of Terror. Darrell and I tried on multiple occasions to convince Jackson to not ride this ride. I explained to him in great detail how it was scary like the Haunted Mansion but it dropped you out of the sky like a broken elevator. He insisted on going anyway and I thought, 'hey, he has liked almost everything else so why not?' BIG MISTAKE! By the way, this was the second thing (the first being loud noises) that scares Jackson. After the first of many opening doors and sudden drops Jackson was done. He looked up at me, shaking, and said "I don't like this". Well that's funny, because I thought it was fun. I tried to hold him as best I could being buckled in and continuing to go UP and Down, never knowing when it would stop.

After we exited the ride J demanded to call my co-worker who had told him it was her favorite. He then told everyone he could think of to call that it was not fun. Oh well, at least it wasn't the first thrill ride he went on, only to ruin it for all the rest.

Moving on to more pleasant things EPCOT. This was Darrell's favorite parkWith light crowds and lots fun interactive things to do Darrell would have stayed here every day. Lucky for him I had reservations in different countries here nearly every night. Our best food on Disney properties was by far at Epcot.

This was a not so great picture at the Coral Reef restaurant. He had some sort of Ray that liked to stay right next to us all night.Darrell had never heard of or tasted a Churro before this shot. Let me just tell you he only took two bites of it (the second bite ws b/c I wanted a picture). I on the other hand ate the whole thing.

Jackson's dessert at this restaurant was: Make your own cupcake-what kid and Mandi wouldn't love this?Darrell's grace and agility :) displayed on his segway ride. If you want proof (or disproof) just come watch the video.Jackson had and still has a huge crush on Mary Poppins. Thanks to a tip from a friend we knew that she would show up in Great Britain. WE went everyday looking for her and finally on Wednesday night we found her-woohoo. Thanks LD for that tip.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Let's Start with the Animal Kingdom

Our family(well at least Darrell, Jackson and I) took a week long vacation to Disney World. I had been planning the trip for months and was super excited. The trip as a whole was a huge success and the look on Jackson's face every day was worth every minute of it all. That being said, we will probably only go back one more time for Linley and then never again.

I will start with our least favorite park: The Animal Kingdom. I love zoos and this wasn't a good one, but there were a few highlights.

This was the ride Expedition Everest-it was very fun and a very fast roller coaster that would take you backwards in the dark. Jackson loved the whole thing, except the Yeti that came and tore up the tracks. He was definitely not afraid of the roller coasters. Two thumbs up for this ride.
The next ride was a whole other story. I was thinking "Dinosaurs, cool, Jackson will love this." Oh no my friends-big mistake. I would not think it would be scary-it was not fast, but apparently that is not what makes something scary. I now have the one ingredient(well two, but I will get to the second on another post) that makes something scary. VOLUME!!!!!!
The ride was a time machine that took us to prehistoric times. My favorite part was looking at the picture they take of you right when the gigantic and loud T-rex pops out on my side of the car. Ohh how I wish I had broken down and bought that overpriced picture, but really it was too perfect. The picture shows my back with my head buried into Jackson's lap (yes I was petrified) and Jackson looking irritated that I was in his way peering around me to get a better look at the oh so terrifying dino. My fave part though was of Darrell-sitting up straight clearly annoyed with fingers in both of his ears.

I still laugh about that. We were finished with the Animal Kingdom by noon and spent the afternoon swimming in the pool.

Get ready for more.......

Too much to post

Soo I had to work in the Soda Shop yesterday and was unable to get all of our Disney World Pictures downloaded. I don't even know how to put all of them up. If you are not a Grandparent you might want to skip the next few posts and come back for something more exciting. If you are planning a trip to Disney World stay tuned-I have all the ins and outs for you.

Hopefully I will have more later today. Until then here is a picture from Valentine's Day and the Engagement Party we went to. On the Valentine's note-I am not a huge fan and never have been. I suppose it is because I never had a V Day date or b/c I am too cheap to spend money on flowers and $5.00 cards. That being said, it was really fun to go to a party with couples and singles on Vday and not fight the crowds of a restaurant. Notice that Darrell is nowhere to be seen in the picture (guess he feels the same way).

Thank you to Jessica Hunter for the great new name Pink P. P. U. for a rule that darrell and I already had!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Memphis Madness and Sick Sunday Episode 3

So I love going back to Memphis, mostly because my mom cooks whatever I want and takes care of the kids.

We went back because Dad had some great tickets to the basketball game. It was a guy's trip so Darrell, Dad, Jackson and Uncle Paul all got to experience the game together.

Apparently while they were sitting in their seats eating their giant snowcones...
and dancing for their dinner...

the promotional people came up and asked Darrell and Paul if they wanted to participate in the half time games. OF COURSE Darrell said "NO" (he doesn't have a very good record with basketball-broken leg with two surgeries and a busted toe). Paul on the other hand...........

Unfortunately Paul stunk at shooting free throws, but not before he won two steak dinners! Not too bad for poor work-Not what I expect from a straight A pharmacy student.
So the guys have fun and the ladies stay home and take care of another sick child. Oh how I love sick kids. I will spare the details but post a picture of us drying her teddy bear after he had been given a bath.
And some more of us girls in our pj's well after lunch time
Isn't she stinkin adorable?

And one more of the two beautiful women in my life.