Monday, June 28, 2010

Fruitful Parenting

                    We have been childless (ok- sort of- we still have Bubba at home) for 5 days now.  And I've done a little reflecting on how different our lives have been without Sissy & Brody here.  The house is clean....and has stayed clean.  There is so much quietness in our home, it is eerie.  Matt & I have had time together for hugs and laughter and great conversations.  And our pace of life is slower and relaxed.
But I miss them so.
                   Bubba has be reveling in all the attention he has been getting.  Today we spent the whole day just playing with him.  He & Dad went to the pet store and looked at all the animals.  We tickled and laughed with him.  And went out for a long, relaxing dinner where the crazy kid demolished a whole breadstick, 3 olives, half a plate of spaghetti and 2/3 of a banana.  Today was awesome.
Still there is something missing.
                 I feel so very blessed to have the opportunity to be the mom of 3 amazing kids.  And in the quietness of our home, I am missing the very thing I so often complain about- the craziness of life.  The running of Sis to soccer skills 3 times a week, the constant reminding for Brody to thrown down his wet swimsuit, the "I just want a minute of Q.U.I.E.T.!!" moments, the what on earth am I going to cook for dinner? stress.  All of it.  I totally recognize that this is the life that God has made for me and I love it.
And I miss it.
                Don't get me wrong- Sis & Brody are having a blast in Illinois.  I have barely talked to them, they are having so much fun with their Grandma & PaPa and sweet cousins.  This is excellent recharge time.  And I have reflected a lot on my parenting.  Am I the mom I wanted to be?  Am I the mom God wants me to be?  I think I do a great job of filling my kids lives with fun experiences and great memories, but when it comes down to it, am I providing them with the love & patience they deserve?
                A sermon I heard a few months ago came back to me this past week.   It was a sermon series on parenting and he discussed how we can use the Fruit of the Spirit in raising our kids.
             We have all heard the Fruit of the Spirit - but I never utilized them in such a practical way.  When we fully except Jesus Christ, he comes to live in us- and when we fully submit to him- he produces fruit in us....character traits that we are incapable of producing ourselves. They are called the Fruit of the Spirit (as seen in Galatians 5:22):

We can use all of these to parent our children:
Love- sacrificially giving yourself to your kids.  Choosing their needs before your own. I know as parents, that is second nature...but all the time?  I don't know if I can say that.

Joy- inner happiness that stays with us...even when our son had a bloody nose under his bed and decided not to tell us about it for 2 weeks.  You know...those kind of moments?  Ya, joy isn't there in these kinds of moments. Still, we have to look to that inner happiness when we really just want to throttle them.  

Peace when our teenage daughter drives the car alone for the first time.  

Patience that goes beyond what we alone can produce when they bicker about who gets to sit in the middle seat.  

We need kindness when the whiny & complaining & arguing takes us to the edge. 

We need goodness when all we really want to do is yell at them when they clog the toilet with too much toilet paper. 

Faithfulness when we are ready to throw our hands in the air and give up on that kid's crazy eating habits.  Faithfulness requires that we continue on. 

Gentleness when they talk back, roll their eyes, and show disrespect.  

Self-control - only the Holy Spirit can provide us with the self-control we need to raise our kids.

            Do you see how imperative the Spirit is when raising kids?  In all of these moments, we are incapable of producing these values ALONE.  We need the Holy Spirit to produce this in us. 

Holy Spirit raise these children through me.

         Kids can wear us down and it is incredibly tempting to throw our hands in the air.  We all have those days...when I am exhausted and agreeable to whatever they want.  But we can't go there.  Our kids deserve more than this and frankly, it's our responsibility to raise them up in the Lord's name.  No one can be that incredible, amazing, always-patient parent, but I can sure try.  And I can provide them with consistency that they deserve. 

         I told Matt this morning how much I missed the kids.  He snickered and said, "you might not be saying that in a week!"  Yah, maybe.  But with God's provision, and a reminder of these fruits (values),  it will be better for all of us.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


          This summer, my kids have the awesome opportunity to go to Illinois with their grandparents for a visit.  So after dozens of goodbye hugs and numerous lectures about manners, behaving, fighting, eating what you have been given (Brody- that one's for you!), etc., these kids were ready to go.

         Grandma & PaPa Illinois and Aunt Barb traveled down to Texas this past weekend to get them and they are on their way back as we speak.  The car is loaded down with snacks, movies, books, DSi's and toys to entertain them on their 2 day trip.  My prayer is for safety for the trip and sanity for the adults!!!

            The kids are thrilled to get there where Grandma & PaPa have their own pool! I know where my kids will be all day!!  In all seriousness, this is an awesome opportunity for the kids to spend time with their grandparents and visit with Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  Thank you for taking my kiddos to Illinois!!

              One day you can go too Bubba, but for now, it's just the 3 of us!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Flip Flop Love

               The first "official" days of summer are finally here- who am I kidding?  Here in Texas, we have already been in the 100's....and that's why I am so glad to have received some flip flops in the mail this week!!  That's right- the Second Annual Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange is in full-swing.  And blogging buddies across the country are receiving fun packages in the mail!

              All 3 kiddos and I have new flip flops to wear.  Take a look:

          Sis was thrilled to get a package in the mail from her new pen pal, Mimi's (@ He & Me + 3) Daughter Actress.  She loves her new purple flip flops (one of her favorite colors) and the flip flop socks are WAY cool!!  Most of all, Sis was into getting a letter from someone she had never met.  She quickly wrote a reply to the questions Actress had asked her in the letter and is anxious to get it mailed off.  So cute!!  Thanks Mimi & Actress!!

              Brody has been checking the mail box daily in anticipation of his package.  He was so excited to get skateboard flip flops from Jen's (@ Harried Mom of Four) son William.  He poured through all the great VA brochures that William had sent him- his favorite was on "Dinosaur Land" and asked immediately is we can go to Virginia this summer- he even pulled out the atlas to find their town on the map (and this momma didn't even have to bribe him to do it- mission accomplished!!).  He also sent Brody some candy, which he shared with his Grandma Illinois, a magnet, and a keychain.  This boy has had these flip flops on since getting them - I had to pull them off his feet to get a picture!  Thanks Jen & William!
            And the baby even got in on the action- Sweet Andrea (@ My Chihuahua Bites) has an adorable baby boy and we thought it would be fun to play too!! Look at the awesome package little Cooper sent Bubba!!!  Not one but TWO adorable pairs of flip flops, a great book from South Carolina, a Gamecock sippy, awesome snacks....and an adorble lambie that Cooper is sharing with Bubba for the summer- he has requested that Bubba take pictures of lambie with him.  I thought it was an awesome idea!!!  Thanks Andrea & Cooper!  Here's the first attempt at getting a picture together....the stairs were just too tempting for him to sit still!!

           And lastly, Momma got some adorable flips from Jen (@Twin Mommas).  How did she know that J Crew are my absolute favorite flip flop??  And they are so cute!!  I also recieved some fun stuff from Indiana - Popcorn on the cob from Chester Farms, chocolate treats (one being a race car - hmmm probably for a famous race that's held there??), and a Colts pin.  Such a fun gift to get!!  Thanks Jen!!

          We were so spoiled by all of you this week!!!  Thank you for loving on us!!!  I love how fun activities like this connect us all.  The kids are certainly excited to continue writing their pen pals.  

          We hope you enjoyed the flip flop exchange as much as we did!  Please let us know what you received by linking up.  And take time to visit some of the other ladies who joined in the exchange.  What better way to get to know a new friend?

Monday, June 21, 2010

He Did It!

So the Bubba Bear is 13 months old now and I began to question if he was ever going to walk.  He has one of the fastest crawls I'd ever seen down already, so why did he need to view the world on 2 feet?  Who cares if all of his friends were walking already (momma)?  And he has a pretty comfy hip to ride on all day long any way.....

but it happened

and on father's day too.  Happy Father's Day Daddy!

and we're up

and we're down

let's try this again

but before I do, this is a pretty cool way to see the world...

let's try this again bubba, cause you seem to do it when ever momma is NOT looking. And everyone else has seen it but me....

look at me go momma!

could I be any prouder of myself?

gotta take another break though...

and back to papa.

And here he is....the big walking boy!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


         Well, I made it.  Barely.  But more about that later.  Brody has wanted to go to the Snake Farm for years and even put it on his Summer To-Do list.  So what's a mom (who is terrified of snakes...have I mentioned that?) to do?  I took the boy and his equally terrified sister to the Snake Farm.
          This place has been around since my mom was growing up in the area.  She never took me as a kid 'cause she said it was dirty & gross (she was right!) and I was terrified of snakes and had NO desire to go.  Again, the things you do for your kids.
           It's just as you'd expect it.  You walk in and this is the first thing you see:
            Yeah, that about put me over the top and I'd only been there for 2 minutes. The worst part of this picture is that they were slithering around while I was taking the picture and even Brody was a little creeped out by the size of them.  Can you see it in his face?
            And then they are walls and walls of snakes in closed containers.  I let Brody wander around the room for a minute before I took a deep breath and stepped in.  

shake it off...shake it off.....

         I took a deep breath and launched into a teaching mode.  
"See the yellow & black one there?"
uh huh
"Remember this rhyme: "Red & Yellow kill a fellow, Yellow & Black, friend of Jack"
what's that got to do with snakes mom?
        They had a king snake (friendly) next to a coral snake (not friendly...AKA poisonous).   The king snake he is holding in the pic is a friend of Jack's.  And as we are going through this little lesson we hear the indistinguishable sound of a rattle.  I must have jumped back 10 feet....right into the opposite wall of snakes.  Apparently the rattlesnakes did not like my little lesson.  Time to go outside kids.
          The outdoors had lots of funny creatures that the baby loved staring at.  Like this warthog enjoying his lunch with the birdie on his back.
          Or the turkey that paced up and down while having a conversation with the peacock.
          Or this pig that was enjoying a roll in the mud. 
 I have never seen a pig do this before, so even I was amused.

And watch out for this incredibly scary creature:

Ok, just kidding. I was messing around on Manual with my camera and was totally impressed with this shot.  Although I have heard these things are poisonous, right mom?

But our biggest scare came with the King Scorpion.

Yes, the herpetologist (study of reptiles) was holding that enormous creature by his stinger.

        Now, I had prepared myself to see snakes, but definitely NOT scorpions and certainly not this close up.  But what we learned is that this big guy has a quarter of the potency of the tiny wood scorpions that we find all over our house.  Uh huh.  That means the sting of this guy would barely hurt.  Not compared to the hundreds we have roaming around my neighborhood.  Now that's comforting.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What do YOU want to do this summer?

            Yeah, I know, I already posted about our summer busy-ness, however we had a rainy day this week and one of the projects I decided to do with the kiddos was to ask them what they wanted to do over the summer.  We ended up having a great discussion of all the fun things we could do and made some fun lists. Take a look:

           Obviously, this is Sissy's list (so big, I had to break it up into 2 scans).  Looks like this summer we will be ice skating, getting a pedicure (yay!), and going to the lake 100 times! We are also going to Schlitterbahn, an amazing water park that is here. And look out Aunt Ginger, Sis is having a sleepover with you!!

           Brody's list included the Snake Farm (of course), seeing lizards (hmmmm), going to Sliterbon (like his sister), going to Illinois, watching lots of movies, and having a snow problem!

          It was a fun activity for the kids - hopefully, we can get all of these done!  Actually, we are heading out the door this morning to go to the Snake farm!!  Yikes!!  Hopefully I will make it through as snakes happen to be one of my biggest fears.  If you don't hear from me in a few days.......

Also!!!  3 days left to sign up for the Flip Flop Exchange!!!  
We have only 22 ladies so far!! 
 Tell your friends and lets get that number up!
Click here for more info.

Monday, June 7, 2010


 My Bubba Boy is everywhere these days.  And I do mean everywhere.  Let me show you:
oh, you mean a dog's supposed to be in here?
how am I gonna get outta this?
mom, when's the last time you cleaned under the bed?
just pickin out dinner.
yup, the spinny thing works just fine mom.
how fast can I clean this out and climb in?

And his new favorite place to dash off to:
and away!

             So this looks like I let my child roam free around the house, right?  Shame on me?  No!  I let him explore all he wants with the right supervision.  And he enjoys checking it all out, just like I enjoy capturing it all on film computer um digital?  
            But the stairs are a different story.  We let the other 2 learn how to go up & down the stairs as soon as they wanted so that they learned the RIGHT way to go.  However, this set of stairs is much steeper and I have horrible visions of him falling down them.  Unfortunately, this is the ONLY place he wants to go now-a-days.  And will cry when you take him away from it.  We searched for a gate for the bottom with no luck (only one that was wide enough screwed into the wall).  So, any suggestions?  How did all you 2-storiers manage this?

Don't forget about the Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange.
Check it out here.
You have until Saturday to sign up.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Texas-Sized Flip Flop Exchange Take 2


       Ahhhhhh Summer is finally here and it's time for flip-flop season!!  Here in Texas, it's all we wear from June 1 to Aug 22 (First day of school for us).  So you know that we have several pairs in our closet here.  But you can never have enough!

         Who's ready for the Second Annual Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange (BFFE)??  We tried this last summer and it was a great success.  We had a little over 20 participants, so let's try to double that this year!!
         What's a BFFE?? Would you like a new pair of flip flops to arrive on your doorstep within weeks?  Would you like to get to know a new bloggy friend?  Maybe you'd like to send someone something cool from your state?  It all can be done here at the Texas Darling blogspot  (ok....too much commercial there, I know).  This year I thought it might be fun to include the kids too.  Maybe extend theirs out to more of a penpal for the summer program.  And with summer already starting, we are going to do this QUICK.  Like next week.  Here's how it will work:

Adults Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange
One. If you would like to participate, send me an email that includes your full mailing address, blog address, and flip flop size by Saturday, June 12, 2010.

Two.  On Sunday, June 13, you will receive an email with your BFFE partner's information.  Please take the time to visit their blog and learn more about them.

Three. By Friday, June 18, mail your flip flops to your BFFE partner along with mementos from your home state (so they can learn more about you as well). Some ideas include a postcard, local delicacy (someone got homemade fudge sauce last year- jealous!), key chain, etc.  Don't spend more than $20 total for your package.

Four.  Blog about the flips you have received - show us some pictures!! For example, I loved this pic from last year.  Bonus points for the most creative shot of you in your flip flops!!!

Kids Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange
Let's have fun with our kids too!  My goal in this is to make a new friend in another state that my kids can write to and send cool stuff to over the summer.  Nothing big, maybe a postcard or information about their state.  I will send out a suggested list of things to do with your bloggy friend for the summer.  We can make this both fun and educational for the kids!  I think my older 2 will get a kick out of receiving stuff in the mail box. Boys are included too!  And let's start it out with the flip flop exchange!

One. If you would like to participate, send me an email that includes your child's full mailing address,  and flip flop size by Saturday, June 12, 2010. Please send me a separate email for the kids (from yours).

Two.  On Sunday, June 13, you will receive an email with your child's BFFE partner's information.  

Three. By Friday, June 18, mail your flip flops to your kid's BFFE partner along with mementos from your home state (so they can learn more about you as well). Some ideas include a postcard, local delicacy, key chain, etc.  Don't spend more than $12 total for your package.

         There we go!  Totally easy and totally fun!  And the kids get to have fun too.  Lastly, please help me get the word out - mention the Bloggy Flip Flop Exchange in a posting of yours this week and I will send you a little something as a way of thanks (please make sure I know about it).  The more participants we have, the more variety of new bloggy friends!  Thanks for helping make this a success.  Now don't sit on it, send me an email!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Summer's Here...So What Can We Do?

           Here we are, 3 days into summer and we have been on the go!  A trip to the lake this past weekend with friends, Soccer Skills classes for Sis, a visit to the library, one year photos for the baby, a trip to the vet with Chief, and a few trips to the pool.  And I thought we would actually be relaxing this summer!  ha!
           You all know me by now, so you know we have some fun plans already for the break.  Many of you participated in our Postcard Challenge last summer- our goal was to collect at least one postcard from every state...and we did it!!! Read about it here.
           So, how are we going to top that this year?  I have a few ideas up my sleeve:
        I am challenging my kids to the "100 Books of Summer Challenge".  Collectively, the two older and I are going to read 100 chapter books before school starts.  Each day, as Bubba naps in the afternoon, we read together for atleast 30 mins.....but it typically lasts longer. This shouldn't be too difficult, as the kids already have 4 read and we just started.  I'll be the slow-poke.

 Coming soon, I am hosting a flip flop exchange for moms AND kiddos.  I'd love to see this turn into a pen-pal for the summer thing with the kids.  We'll see how that works out.

          There is still tons of great things to do here around Austin that I am making the time for this summer.  Such as the dreaded trip to the Snake Farm (Brody has been asking for years to got there- my insides are clenching up just thinking about stepping foot in this place.....the things we do for our kids.).  We are also going to visit Lyndon B. Johnson's birthplace and ranch that he vacationed at while president.  And we'll top that off with a nice dip in Hamilton Pool.  A natural water hole that is amazing:

We are also traveling this summer.  The older 2 will head to Springfield, IL, home of Lincoln, to stay with the grandparents for a week and the hubby and I will drive up there to bring them home.  The kids and I will be staying up there for a few weeks, so we plan on doing lots of exciting things while there too, including a train trip up to Chicago maybe??  On the way home from Illinois, I plan on taking our time and finding some cool places to visit in Missouri and Arkansas.   If you live in either of these states, I'd love your suggestions!

Let's see, what else?

      How could I forget??  Hubby is SO very excited about the World Cup.  He is counting down the days.  (USA vs. England - June 12 2pm) I'm sure Sis will get involved too.  Meanwhile, she is taking soccer skills classes all summer that she LOVES.  Brody wants to take a golf camp again.

We have VBS in 2 weeks and I am so excited as I get to be a crewleader for 9 & 10 year old girls.  It has been WAY too long since I have been working with the kids at church, so I am really looking forward to this one.

And both older 2 are going to sleep-away camp with our church at the end of July- Sis went last year and loved it, so she talked Brody into going this year.  With his eating preferences, I'm sure he'll be eating bread all week.....

We plan on lots of fun trips to the lake and playing out on the boat.  We went this past weekend and the baby loved it.

And lastly, we plan on seeing lots of these all summer long:
Happy Smiles!!!!

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