Monday, September 29, 2008

Friday night Football!

Apparently football is serious business around here. They aren't foolin' around.

This became clear to me on Friday night, when a friend and I showed up for the local high school game 45 minutes before kick-off, feeling pretty good that we were actually getting some place not just on time, but early.

Then we had to park two and a half blocks from the stadium. And then we had to squeeze all six of us into a spot about three feet wide because that was the ONLY spot left to sit in the ENTIRE stadium. (Well, to be completely honest, we could have gone over to the visitor's side and had p.l.e.n.t.y of space. But that just seemed like a bad idea.)

Having said all that though, it was a blast! The kids loved every bit of it, especially this (Jonah's favorite):

and this (Henry's favorite):

Just lovin' life! :)

Here's the whole crew, after the game:

We left shortly after half time as it was getting late and the kids were pretty much done watching. So much fun and we can't wait to go again! :)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

One more night--Sam comes home tomorrow!

Here's the last of the random-picture posts for while my husband is away. Hope you are all having a fabulous weekend! :)

Here's Henry's second and final goal of the game--he scored with only seconds left in the game!


Jonah, the rock-star.

Henry, ready to play.

The three weirdos!

Just a few more random pictures for you, Sam--it's been a long week, I know! :) Looking forward to having you home tomorrow. Love you!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bridget's turn...

So to continue to uplift my husband and help him not to miss his family so much, tonight it is Bridget's night. Here is a little of what she has been up to...


Not to be outdone by her brothers, Bridget tried her hand at basketball. Before taking the court, she draped herself in lunchboxes--the girl likes to accessorize!

Just hangin' on the stairs, hoping someone will pick her up. :)

Trying on an ESOAL helmet at the banquet earlier this week.

This one is sort of a "Where's Waldo" only you're looking for the baby who destroyed the room and is now hiding somewhere in it...

To Daddy from Bridget, as interpreted by Mommy: "I love you and miss you and can't wait to see you again soon! I'm going to be walking soon, but I am waiting until you come home to really practice--don't want you to miss it! Have fun and I'll see you on Sunday."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Continuing the theme from yesterday (Sam's out of town and missing his family), today's focus is on Jonah.

Classic Jo--lounging in the kitchen while I made breakfast.

Here's Jonah mastering the art of took a LOT of pictures to capture one where he actually made contact with the ball! ;)

Joey playing with his sister in the driveway.

Our three little cuties.

And a lovely face just for Daddy.

A personal note to Daddy from Jonah: "I love you. I wanna say I love you and I hope you miss me because I miss you. Okay? I love you Daddy."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

For Sam...

My wonderful, amazing, hardworking husband is out of town all this week for work. He stays awfully busy on these trips, but in his rare down time it can be really hard for him to be away from his family. So I thought it would be nice to give him a little snapshot of his family while he is I'll be highlighting Henry!
Here's Henry the basketball star. He wanted to shoot some hoops after dinner, so he made sure he had the right outfit on (yes, I'm serious) and then rounded up the basketballs. Getting ready to shoot...

A beautiful jump shot!

It's hard to get any information out of Henry about what he is working on at kindergarten, but I'd say it's safe to say that they are working on phonics! Any free time Henry has at home these days, he wants help spelling words. "Because I can read now, you know, Mom."

Here's a personal message to Sam from Henry: "I love you, Daddy. Do you miss me? You're my favorite Daddy in the whole entire world. I love you and I hope you have a great trip. I'll see you on the fourth day."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

George Bush and the blue gills

My favorite line this week came from Henry as we pulled into the garage yesterday afternoon......"Mommy, why is George Bush sitting on top of Daddy's car?"




Which makes sense if you realize that Henry has recently and inexplicably re-named his female cat (formerly known as 'Bally-Ball') and bestowed the name 'George Bush' upon her. But just hearing it cracked me up! :)

While I was away playing in the mud at ESOAL this weekend, my boys got to go fishing at their grandparents house and Henry caught two little bluegills!
He was VERY excited to tell me all about it, and I found these pictures on my camera documenting it. Here's Henry holding his catch in Grammy's kitchen.
The fish have been cleaned and are displayed in a bowl...
....and here they're being fried up for Henry to partake in! He said they were really good! :)

Monday, September 22, 2008


Warning: This is a very long and rambling post. I'll try to get a more normal post up here soon! For now there are pictures at the bottom, if you just want to skip down there!
ESOAL: Emotionally Stretching Opportunity of A Lifetime

Esoal started last Wednesday night. I headed up to TM campus for a session around 7:30 with my friend Alisa. We dropped off a set of clean clothes (for after) and a sleeping bag and headed in to a session where they talked a little bit and prayed for us and then sent us out to sleep on the football field. I wasn't allowed to wear a watch, so I don't have any idea what time it was, but I'd guess it was maybe 9:00-ish. Then a few hours later they woke us up and ESOAL officially began!

It was intense. That is the best word I can come up with to describe it. For those that don't know, esoal is run like a military boot camp. The participants are split up into companies and in platoons within those companies. We reported directly to a major, who was in charge of us the entire time. The general, who runs the whole thing, is my brother-in-law (but don't think that I got any special favors by being related to him!).

My body was pushed beyond what I thought I could do. Actually, today I can hardly walk! We ran, we marched (and marched, and marched!), did push-ups, jumping stars (AWFUL!), crunches, ran two different obstacle courses, corporate exercise, ran relays involving crab walking, low-crawling, bear crawling, and/or leapfrogging the entire length of a football field. One example of an exercise they had us do was lunges all the way down a very long, winding hill. Then we were to sprint back up to the top. Our entire company did not make it back up in the alloted time, so we had to do PT (Physical Training) as punishment. When we had trouble doing what they asked with excellence (if I remember correctly, we were doing jumping stars--ouch!), we had to lunge the hill and sprint up it again. And that is just the physical side of esoal.

The emotional side of esoal is so much harder than all of that. I am still processing all that I went through and learned, and I'm not sure that I am ready to write about it yet. I will say that God was there with me every step of the way and I came to fully and truly believe Philippians 4:13 "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength" and relied heavily on that truth this past weekend.

There was precious little down time during esoal. We went from one evolution to the next with no breaks. If we happened to win a contest or arrive someplace first, our major would reward us with a 60 second-two minute break. That was rare, as my company was the only all-female company and we did have trouble competing against the males in the physical challenges. We did win the dance contest, however! We did a routine to the song "Joyful, Joyful" from one of the sister act movies. It was awfully cute, and our major really wanted us to win so she gifted us with some great costumes to help out! Anyway, back to the point. With no down time, it is difficult to really reflect on everything that you are learning and taking in.

I lost three pounds during esoal. Sam said, "That's all?" and I thought to myself, how much would you expect to lose in four days? :) The food of esoal is very interesting. Nothing is warmed up. For breakfast we had cold grits. Those were a little difficult to choke down. We had lentils once or twice. We had a few different types of beans with a roll at lunch or dinner. They would just hand each of us a styrofoam cup of cold beans with a roll stuck in the top. No spoon, no anything else. And one day we had an icky-food relay. (It probably had a better name than that, but I'm not really sure.) They lined up 10 different things on a table and we had to each go up one at a time and choose one thing to eat. There were only five in my platoon at the time, so we each had to go twice. Some of the things weren't SO bad (I ate pickled okra) and some were even good (jelly beans, a hershey bar). The girl next to me was having trouble finishing her entire can of spam when I went up there, so our lieutenant decided I should finish it for her--let me just say that was not my favorite moment!

Another challenging part to esoal is that you wear the same clothes that you arrive in all weekend. Esoal began Wednesday night and ended Sunday morning. One of the first things we did after sun-up on Thursday was run the obstacle course (the first part is running through waist-deep water, and we were told to dunk to our shoulders), so we were wet the entire time. There were plenty of other opportunities to get wet also. "The motivator" is a trough filled with ice water that they had us stand in a number of times. Another part of the oc is low crawling through a pit of squishy, stinky mud. Also they demand excellence, so when you mess up (say something you aren't supposed to say, count out the wrong number during exercises, miss a step during the moves, etc...) there is a punishment. Sometimes that might just be a set of push-ups, but sometimes it was "get wet and sandy" which meant running down to the pond, dunking to your shoulders and then rolling around in the sandy volleyball court. Sometimes the punishent was to roll in the squishy mud. And there was always a facilitator there to make sure you didn't cheat yourself and only get a little bit muddy.

Before esoal began, we were given a set of Bible verses, a 6 x 6 grid of countries, and a hymn that we were told to memorize. Also it was suggested that we would want to know many random facts about our state (our company state was Wisconsin). I only commited to esoal a week and a half before it began, so the memorization was a little difficult for me. Those things all come up at different times during esoal and we are asked to quote a verse or find a country off of the grid. Of course, if you get it wrong, there is punishment!

Every where that we "traveled" (moving from one place to another) we had to carry a flag (the Wisconsin state flag) and each platoon had to carry a very large cross. Part of the way through esoal I was promoted to 2nd lieutenant, so I was in charge of carrying the flag. I wasn't really excited to do it, but I really ended up loving it. It put me in a leadership position within my company and I really felt like I was responsible for the well being of the other girls.
Also, there is a great big bell that gets carried around everywhere that we go. Whenever someone decides that they have had enough and want to quit (or if they are injured and forced to quit), they "ring out" and are sent home. Those that do not ring the bell are referred to as finish finishers, meaning they made it completely through esoal. I am one of those. :)

It might sound awful, but it was really an incredible time. There were 10 from my company that finish finished. I am so proud of each and every one of these girls! And the others that rang out earlier--they are some TOUGH girls. I watched each one of them push themselves further than they thought physically possible and SMILE through the entire thing. Our company was filled with JOY because the joy of the Lord was our strength.

On to the pictures, already!
Here is me (320, because at esoal you don't have a name, just a number) with my good friend 319 (Alisa Stoner).

Just showing how FILTHY I was at the end! I had a bandage across my hand for not even 24 hours and this is how the rest of my skin looked! East Texas is full of red dirt, so all the mud and everything is really red. And yes, so was my skin. :)

Marching in place. I think we were singing a cadence with the entire division.

Talking with the General after the end of esoal.

Wisconsin company finish finishers! An absolutely AMAZING group of women.

Thank you, Lord, for this amazing opportunity. I will never forget the things I learned this past weekend, and I never would have been able to make it without you to rely on and carry me through. Thank you for each of the women that went through this with me. I pray that you would richly bless each and every one of them and I thank you that we were all able to connect so well with one another. I am a changed woman and I know that you will continue to mold me using the lessons that I have taken away from esoal. I love you, Jesus!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Just pictures...sort of wordless wednesday!

I haven't found time to blog lately....but I know I need to! I'm going to be BUSY (think a retreat set to the tune of navy seal boot camp, and that is where I'll be until Sunday) so for now I'll just leave you with some recent pictures of my kiddos. Next week I'll let you all know how the weekend goes!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And since everyone loves a short video...

Here's my wonderful husband Sam...singing the alphabet song.

Bridget isn't walking yet, but she's getting close!

She does great like this when we make her try, but for the most part Bridget is perfectly happy to crawl. And to be honest with you? I don't mind that one bit! :)

Friday, September 05, 2008

Week two of kindergarten is officially over!

We survived the second week. Jonah is doing better and starting to realize that he has the freedom to choose how he would like to spend large chunks of his time. I think it has finally sunk in that Henry will not be around to tell him what the fun thing to do would be. :)

I'd like to say this picture was posed, but this is really how Jonah was walking around the yard.
I think the next kindergarten challenge for our family will be figuring out nap scheduling for all three of my kids. Henry still needs a nap--by the end of the school day he is EXHAUSTED. It's hard to let him sleep much, though because it is so close to dinner time by the time we get home! And the other two need naps too, but they would prefer to take them right during the time I need to pick Henry up. So next week I'd like to work on finding a nice balance.

Bridget has been enjoying the tree swing that Sam hung up for the kids last week!

I may have already mentioned the kittens that we got last week? Anyway, here are some pictures of the boys with their cats. These cats are receiving LOTS of love and they are little purr machines.

Henry's cat (Bally Ball) is a female and not quite sure about our 100+ pound dog, Elmer. She spits and hisses every time he comes near, which makes him want to come even closer! He's been scratched and knows what that feels like, but he REALLY loves cats. :)

Jonah's kitty (Spark) is a male and much braver. He actually enjoys playing with big old Elmer.

They are tons of fun and we are hoping they'll be naturally good mousers too, especially after finding a cute little mouse IN MY GARAGE last week.
That is what is going on in our world! Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Isn't she getting so big???