Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Christmas



So this Christmas was one to remember. It is always challenging for me to find a gift for my husband, a natural memory-maker. While I lean towards the practical and inexpensive, he embraces the special and the moments to remember forever.

Little did I know (as usual) how an accident from this summer would make this Christmas so memorable.

This past summer, Wes lost his wedding ring while wake boarding. Usually he takes it off, but in anticipation of the fun and putting little thought into our matrimony (i'm kidding) he jumped out into the water and in an all out wipe out, his ring flung off his hand only to find a new home in the bottom of Lake Robeson.

Soooo. He's brought it up a few times. Asking (and reminding) me that we need to replace it. Each time, I've not made a huge deal of it. I'll be honest. I've even struggled with the thoughts "He can wait a little while. He DID lose it." I had not made any serious plans to replace it. It's not that it wasn't a priority, there were just other things occupying my priority checklist.

Backing up to when we first got married, his grandfather (Papa), whom I admire and respect, pulled me aside and told me that if Wes ever lost his ring to replace it at one of those counters in the middle of the mall. You know, the ones that are operated by 3-4 middle eastern men?" The reason being," he told me, "that I've lost mine several times and this is where I get mine. They are as good as the original."

So, I decided in early December to give Wes a wedding ring for Christmas. I had actually decided to take his grandfather's advice. "We've been married for 6.5 years. He's not going to care," I told myself. "He's just going to be grateful to have his wedding ring again."

So I went to the counter in the middle of the mall. Found a nice (what I thought was white gold) ring and asked him the price, then proceeded to purchase it. Just as I handed the gentleman my money, I asked him what the ring was made of. He replied, rather quietly, "it's sterling silver, but it's just as a good as white gold."

Okay. So it's a step down from his previous ring. Maybe a few steps. "That's okay," I told myself. "He won't care. He'll be so grateful for his gift."

A few days before Christmas I began to wrap Wes' gifts for his stocking. As I pulled the wedding ring out and looked at it, I put it on my finger, then took it off. I turned it around, and looking inside the ring I saw a very horrific "2007" engraved in the middle of the ring! There wasn't really anyway around this one. The sterling silver I can take. The cheap jewelry place, I can take, but 2007?!? It's 2008! Maybe that, he could handle. But not this. As if that wasn't enough, the two zeros were fake diamonds!

Soooo I had an idea a few days before Christmas and I decided to go through with it. It took some planning, some splurging and some asking favors from friends, but I'm really glad I went ahead with it and fought my instinct to be cheap.

As Wes picked up each gift in his stocking, a little attached note was waiting on top for him to read. You know, a riddle. He opened a treat for his toes - socks, then a treat for his nose, etc - then a treat for his "very important finger" - he opens a sparkly silver ring box, (sort of Claire Boutiqueish) which held his new ring - the 2007 ring. I saw before my eyes, the most grateful man (and at the same, disappointed). Filling the silence with joyous comments (and fighting the urge to laugh) I totally pretended to be pumped about THIS ring. "It looks so good on your hand, honey," I said many times.

So two long hours later, he's very graciously wearing his new ring. After playing with Wyatt and roasting some coffee outside, he comes inside and there on the chair is another gift, wrapped nicely with a huge bow on top - this was "the real gift" as the note said. He opens up this beautiful present only to find a bowl full of his favorite candy - york peppermint patties -and in the middle - a note - instructing him to his closet - to a certain shirt. He goes to the closet - to that shirt - and there another note - "Put this shirt on along with what's in the gift below (new jeans) and instruct your family to get dressed". Very confused, but going with the flow- he instructs all of us to get dressed and then in the car - he finds a note on the steering wheel - instructing him to the Jeffcoat's home.

At our friends' house, there Uschi takes Wyatt and Walker. And Charles is waiting on us - along with a beautiful communion table set, orange and salmon colored roses and his true gift. So Wes opens up a long rectangular box and finds a very handsome wooden ring box. He opens up and finds a ring, even nicer than the one he had when we got married. As he takes the 2007 ring off, there a green circle has already begun to form, he places his new ring in its place. Charles says, "it's time to get married!" And leads us into the most beautiful service of renewing our vows... on Christmas day.

And what a joy it was to pause and sit before my mate of 6.5 years and the father of my two children and profess my love for him again...before my Lord and my husband. What a gift it was to embrace the stillness of him. Of my love for him. How sweet that communion table was...and...how quiet.

What a sweet Christmas this was for me. One that I will never forget.
And I can't help but think of my Heavenly Father who entrusts me with little things in order to exchange them for bigger things. What a testimony Wes's reaction was to me - of his love for me - that he was thankful for the cheap ring - so long as he had a ring to claim me!

Thank you Father, for your commitment to me. And Your grace which gives me what I don't deserve and simultaneously erases what I do deserve.

Truly, what a sweet Christmas this was.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Living Nativity

A long tradition at our church (40+ years), the "Living Nativity" is 100% performed by children. The angel choir is made up of 3k, 4k, 5k-elementary students. The roles of Mary, Joseph, the Wise Men (and so on) are performed by the older, wiser children - the fifth and sixth graders. My friend, Margaret Lynn's little baby, Wilson was baby Jesus - he did awesome - even laid in the manger for a while. And Wyatt was toddler Jesus - when the Magi came to visit. It takes place on two nights, usually out on our front lawn, but due to the rain, it was moved into the gym on one night.

Oh and there were real sheep, real lambs (teeny-tiny), a camel and a donkey!

Here are a few videos.

The angels "quickly" troding to their place...
video

a visit from the Magi...
video
video

Mary and Joseph had decided ahead of time that they would share time with their Son. :)
video

it was truly precious. I was very proud of everyone and especially Wyatt. He had said all sorts of things in the weeks leading up to the event, but when it came down to the actual event - he did exactly what was asked of him.

On another note - how truly amazing it is to ponder the Simplicity and Complexity of
Immanuel: God with us.

"For the King has left His throne;
And He's sleeping in a manger tonight." - Casting Crowns

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hallo-Wanka (a wee late)


On Halloween our family went to Ed Venture. Different. But so much fun. The children dressed up and the costumes were precious. Nothing was scary. There was candy everywhere, games even a cupcake walk. It was a fun night for us.


Can you tell what Wyatt dressed up as?


He chose to be "Ed."

Posing as Ed. Dragonfly, watch and all.


A racoon even greeted us at the door.
But big brother was a bit shy.

So little brother embraced the photo op.

Wyatt thoroughly enjoyed himself.

He played with sand.


He rode a camel!



He pumped some gas!


He purchased a pumpkin at the EdVenture Grocery!


While Walker patiently watched.

..And even brought home a souvenir (the dark eye, not the muffin)...

All the key ingredients for a great time and a great memory!
Nonetheless, we enjoyed it.
And it was worth posting.
Even one month later!

Bathtime Goodness


Is it me or are kids just stinkin' cute at bathtime? I just love to watch them play, smile and laugh together. I sooo look forward to these boys living their lives together. I will miss these baths one day, so I had to dedicate a blog to the joy that fills my heart in seeing them at this stage. Precious!


Walker - all shampooed up!



giggles and smiles! Aghhhh! i love it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

At Last!


Walker:
Smiler, Laugher, Blabber, Eater, Singer, Johnny-Jumpup extraordinaire, Snuggler, Giggler, Tickler, Grabber, Snorter, Blinker, Outdoor-enjoyer, little Lover, Exercauser-pro,

and now...

drum roll please...



A SLEEPER!
Took him a wee bit.
BUT.
He is now snoozing regularly from 8:30 until 5am!
Once again, he has communicated to us that he will not be by the book.
He will not be put into a box
and by-golly, he will not be part of a formula.
He has brought the wise out of the baby...
Nonetheless.
We are all thankful from the tallest of us
to the smallest of us.
Sigh.
And Yawn.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Grace


I've had conversations with my girlfriends about teaching our children Grace. My friend Liz even shared a time where she extended grace to Carson instead of punishment (of which I've adopted a time or two). Another friend, Courtney and I've discussed this - and pondered together over what this might look like in our homes.

Well.

As God's providence would have it.
I had no idea what kind of living, breathing example I would have to experience grace in my home...

Walker was going to be baptized in our church (will discuss my love for this practice in another blog.)

A loving friend, Margaret Lynn, allowed me to borrow a beautiful christening gown. I did not have one of my own for my kids so I thankfully accepted the temporary gift. The gown is beautiful, made so delicately and has had the tradition of being worn in a baptism by each of her four children, as well as cousins in the family. The slip even has each of their initials stitched in the side.

The gown hung on the canopy of my bed two days before Walker was to be baptized. Long story short. In a burst of energy, left unmonitored in our room, Wyatt ripped it from one beautiful sleeve to the other.

After he was punished, we had a L-O-N-G conversation with him about the value of the gown, the devastating consequences that his poor choice had had on this gown. "It wasn't ours!" I tried to convey to him. He seemed to get it. And he understood that he would have to explain to Mrs. Margaret Lynn what had happened to her beloved gown.

I, too, knew that I would have to have a conversation with her. It would be painful. I had no idea what I would say. Needless to say, I weeped as I told her of what we did to her gown.

"It's a piece of cloth," she lovingly said to me. followed by the gracious words of our Savior, which were:
"Store up your treasures in heaven where moths and rust do not destroy."

"Well," I proceeded to tell her. "This is how we're going to make it right," I listed several things I was going to do which included having it repaired (by a professional) and purchase a new one for her.

"Absolutely not," she said.
I begged her to let me buy her a new one.
"You can't replace it," she said. "It costs hundreds of dollars."
"I won't take a new one from you," she said.

"Well...will you please forgive us," I sheepishly asked her.
"There's nothing to forgive, Sage," Margaret Lynn said.
But that was not enough for me. I had such a hard time believing this was worthy of forgiveness.
"Will you just say the words to me," I begged her with tears in my eyes.

She smiled and then said very lovingly,
"I Forgive You, Sage."

Later that week I explained to Wyatt that we needed to return the christening gown to the store.
"The one that I tore?" Wyatt carefully asked me.
"Actually, no, honey. It's the new one I tried to replace. But Margaret Lynn will not accept it. She has forgiven us. And given us...grace."
"Just like God?" Wyatt asked.

BINGO

"Yes, Wyatt. Just like God."

My Three Year Old Sunshine



Wyatt is now three years old. I am soo blessed to have him in my life. The Lord has truly shown me glimpses of HIM in having my Wyatt. He is a joy.

We had a very small party for him - focused on small, togetherness and the things that make him happy.
It was special.
It was small.
We had a very special time celebrating...him.

Wyatt's cake - "a cowa-pittar"
price: powdered sugar,
crisco
yellow cake mix
oh and some baking.


Wyatt's gift - knight costume from Target
price: $11


Effect on Wyatt: A brave, noble, confident little knight
price: Priceless


And since...The knowledge of the full armor of God...
price: eternal...
Happy Birthday my darling.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Exciting News

we just found out today that Wyatt will play the part of toddler Jesus in our church's Living Nativity. So fun.

Last year his pal, Ethan played the part and did a fantastic job receiving the gifts from the Wise Men. Wyatt was so proud of his buddy and excitedly watched him as an awe-inspired two year old.
Ethan and Wyatt last year
This year, he gets to take on the honor of playing our young Savior. There will be live animals behind and around he, Mary and Joseph. Distraction for sure. He LOVES animals and might just blurt out "A CAMEL!" - the thought, I'm afraid is a likely reality.

Oh and we did a little mock rehearsal today - I instructed him very thoroughly in telling him to "stand there" as I knelt down presenting gifts to him. He even took it a step further held his arms out wide. Very sweet.

Only thing is.
Shortly after he kept saying "I am going to be a camel!"

This could be (will be) very interesting...but nonetheless, what a sweet and rich taste of Jesus this Christmas!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let Them Fail.

I desperately desire for my children to make the wisest, best and right choices. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I can't make their choices for them. And that is difficult. Perhaps the most difficult part of motherhood for me, next to the decision I can't make for them to ultimately choose Jesus over everything else in this world. Again, I'm coming to accept that I can't make this decision for them.

I recently discovered that one of the best things for my child is for him to fail. I know. It hurts me even to write it. But truly, I tasted this in its bittermost form.

I was talking with a sweet lady from my church, Miss Wanda. Wyatt knows her well. She and I were talking and my Wyatt develops this intense frown and then just throws his arm back and hits her. I was beyond mortified. How do I explain this? Where did this come from? Where is the nearest rock for me to crawl under? So, I very unpreparedly handled this by demanding that he apologize to Miss Wanda, which he did. We talked about it later and he was punished for it. As if that weren't enough, later that week, again at church, it happened two other times to two other ladies I was speaking with. Both of which he was punished for.

About three months went by and then one morning at breakfast Wyatt asked me, "Mommy, do you remember when I hit Miss Wanda?" - "Yes," I replied and then we had a conversation about it - reminded him that if it happened again there would be a consequence and reminded him that it was unkind of him, etc. I also asked him some questions about why he did it for which the answers were somewhat vague.

Recently Miss Wanda came up to me and shared a neat story with me. Wyatt sought her out at church one morning (I was nowhere around) and this is what he said to her.
Wyatt -"Miss Wanda do you remember when I hit you."
Wanda - "Yes, Wyatt. I remember."
Wyatt - "I'm sorry. That was not kind."

I'm so thankful for the Lord and His commitment to my children. His ability to speak to their hearts is far beyond my own. He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that I ask. (Eph 3:18).

I know that this is one of the many times that
I will patiently(prayerfully) watch,
let go
and allow my child to fail...
...and...
stumble his way to the cross...
...the same way that I did.
"I have called you by name. You are mine." - Isaiah 43

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm A Big Boy Now!


Walker has been sitting in a high chair for "mealtime" now for the about a month. These are the first moments of he in his highchair. Brings back so many memories - as I took many a picture of my Wyatt in this highchair. I look forward to all the special times ahead in this chair. Its nice when they are contained and you can see all their expressions and interact with them in a way that you can't when they're mobile on the floor.


AND Walker is now eating some food. This is oatmeal - which he enjoys. He also eats green beans, squash, carrots, peas and sweet potatoes. Yay - veggies. Let's keep it going, Walker. I'm so proud of my little man. He's doing so good!
Still working on the sleep!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wyatt the Photographer


uh oh. fingers!


better.


even better...


nice job, Wy-man!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Similarities

Lately, some people have mentioned that Walker is looking like Wyatt. I've not yet been able to see that they look alike until I went back through some pictures. While I don't think they look JUST alike, there are certainly similarities. And I think the similarities show up in their expressions more than their actual features. Familiar indeed.

(I don't think captions are needed as I'm sure you can detect who is who)



Sleeping Face.

Smile.

Expressive eyes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Mrs. Jackie Has Won My Heart


It's probably a phase.
But its a sweet phase.
And I embrace it.
Wyatt chooses something to be and we pretend he is that. This morning he was a kitty and we were a family of kittys. He told me he was going to see Mrs. Jackie kitty (his teacher) and Miss Oscenia kitty and to a class full of kittys.
So upon entering his class, Mrs. Jackie greets him at the door.
"Hello Wyatt."
And Wyatt responds, "I'm a kitty and this is our kitty class."
And what does Mrs. Jackie say to him?
She knelt down on his level,
looks him in the eyes
and lovingly says,
"Oh in that case. Meow. Meow."
Mrs. Jackie knows how to speak my child's love language.
And I'm so thankful she chooses to.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall is my Love Language.






Maybe it stems from my mothers abundance of fall decor or maybe it stems from my love of the mountains, but either way, I absolutely adore Fall. I love wearing Fall colors. I love filling my home with Apple Cinnamon aroma. I love putting a family of pumpkins on my front porch. I love the way the sun reflects itself just before it goes down. I love pumpkin patches. I love the story of the Pilgrims fighting their way over the ocean on the Mayflower. I love to see a tree transforming and showing off its 3 to 4 colors. I love picking the leaves off the trees and giving them to Wyatt. I love that you can't tell where yellow begins and orange ends. I love anticipating Thanksgiving. I love absolutely everything about Fall. Oh, except scary Halloween stuff.
So this was one of those amazing Fall days. Where the air feels sooo good on your skin. And it feels sooo good to be in the sun. I had Wyatt dressed in Fall colors. He was running around, playing in that amazing time of day where the sun's reflection is glorious. He was eating an apple that my sweet friend Emily gave him (which they had picked in the mountains). I was wishing I had a fiddle and a bluegrass band. :)
What a gift we have in Fall. How crafty our Creator is to give us the beauty in this season. When one single leaf has 3 colors.
Amazing.
I adore Fall.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sweet Baby Walker







is 6 months old tomorrow.
such a big boy.
He loves... to grab things, chew on things, hold things, roll over from his back to his belly, sleep on his back, find a way to take off whatEVER I've put on his feet (be it shoes or socks), watch his big brother, SMILE, be tickled, eat oatmeal, eat veggies, take a bath and laugh.
He also loves to wake up around 3am every night and try a new tactic to be fed. He is very persistant and so that translates to crying...for a...while....
But while he's not a by the book kind of baby and the 3 day experiment has not worked for weaning him off of that night feeding- he is an individual already and that persistance (that we see at 3am) will be much to his advantage later on in life.
Walker Reeves Andrews you are a gift!