Merry Christmas!

From our family to yours,
Merry Christmas!

By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  I John 4:9-10

Catch up

I have a confession to make.  It's been so long since I've blogged that I actually forgot my blog address!

Seriously, I sat down to post and couldn't find my own blog on the worldwide web.  I typed in what I thought was my address, but I found someone else's blog.  But I truly thought it was my blog being hijacked!

I'll blame that brain fart on the Nyquil I took 14 hours ago.  I think it's safe to say I'm a little sensitive to that drug, and I should not operate machinery or make any major life decisions for at least 24 hours after popping those meds.

 Now that I know my blog is safe and sound, let me catch you up on our world.

The biggest news is that this brace face...
 is now metal FREE!
 Liam's braces were removed about 6 weeks ago.  We're very happy with the results, and I swear if that kid doesn't stop growing up....  I just need to squish him down to his old peanut size.

That sweet boy has had some tough life lessons to learn this Fall.  Not a lot of it I can share with the world, but suffice it to say, his heart and mind are being forced to mature as fast as his physical stature.

One such life-changing event I can share is that Liam had to give up his dog, Marshall.
As much as Liam and I loved Marshall, the chaos that he brought to our home was tremendous. The straw that broke the camel's back was when he scratched Winston's cornea while playing. He just didn't understand how rough and wild he was. After a great deal of prayer, Rick and I agreed to find Marshall a new family. Thankfully, the Lord led me to a family that's crazy about the pup. I grieved for Liam a great deal over this, but he has handled his loss like a champ.

We still have this ugly character anyway.
But the past few months have not been full of only heartache. When the Texas Rangers went to the World Series again, Lil Ron Washington was called up for more interviews.
 Liam was interviewed by 3 or 4 different local news crews.  He was also given two tickets to game 4, where he was featured on the MLB network's "Intentional Talk".  You can view a clip here.

He enjoyed being Lil Ron again, but we were all ready to go back to our normal life once the Series ended.  It took us a couple weeks to grieve our Rangers' horrific loss, but we have since recovered.

People often ask me how the little boys handled Liam's fame.  Jackson and Garrett were occasionally jealous, but no more jealous than I was of the fact that he and Rick were able to go to the game without us. 

J&G were busy enough with their own baseball season anyway.
They played for the 7U Dirtbags, and Daddy was their head coach.  They ended the season with a 9-3 record.

Garrett still loves the game and will be trying out for an elite team this Spring.  Jackson wants to exchange his baseball cleats for soccer cleats. 

And the thought of having all 3 boys on 3 different teams almost makes me hyperventilate.  I have to remind myself to breathe, or else I might give myself a stroke before the spring season even arrives.
Something else that makes me hyperventilate is the Aggies' loss to tu on Thanksgiving day.  Neither team played well enough to win, but thanks to poor officials, we lost our final game against our arch rivals. 

Good bye to the orange and the white!  Good luck to the dear old Aggies!  We're gonna need it as we move to the SEC.

In a nutshell, that's the past 3 months of our life.  We're gearing up for Christmas, our favorite time of year, and trying to remember the real reason for the season.

Now what kind of trouble can I get myself into while I wait for the Nyquil haze to lift?

Pine Cove

As a mom of all boys, I often feel left out of their world. Their baseball skills have surpassed my ability to play catch in the backyard. Their imaginary play doesn't often welcome a girl. And I don't really see the point in laughing at bodily functions. When I found out about mother/son conference at Pine Cove, I jumped on the idea. Nowhere else have I seen the opportunity to spend meaningful one-on-one time with one of my boys.

Liam and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Pine Cove a couple of weeks ago. He's my easy-going, life-is-fun, let's-try-everything-at-least-once boy. So he was the perfect child to take for our first attempt at mother/son camp.

Pine Cove keeps you busy from the moment you arrive. If we weren't eating a yummy meal, we were in a Bible lesson or playing some crazy game. And if we weren't involved in any of those activities, we were trying to catch a few hours of sleep.

We were so busy that I didn't remember to carry my camera half the time, but I did remember it for some of Saturday afternoon's free time. For about 5 hours, we could choose from archery,
BB guns,
swimming, horseback riding, wall climbing, go go ball, basketball, zip line, etc.

We went with our good friends, the Martins. Liam and Cab have been friends since they were three.When I asked Liam what his favorite activity was, he named Pitch Black Attack, which was a scavenger hunt at dark thirty. It was crazy but fun.

But what I really enjoyed was time focusing on one boy. There were many hours spent with the whole group of campers, but the schedule also gave us meaningful one-on-one time to chat and sit face to face.

I love that kid!
At the end of the weekend, Liam and Cab gave Pine Cove two thumbs up.
And neither one of them want to stay home when the moms take younger brothers in March. But every boy needs to get away with his mom for some individual attention.

Why Can't We Live There???

Buckle your seat belts and get ready for a photo dump! We've been home from our Colorado vacation for some six weeks, and I haven't done one single thing with our hundreds of photos. Consider yourself warned....

Yes, we went to Colorado for two weeks in early August. We began our trip at our family cabin near Pagosa Springs, where we stretch our legs on some acreage nearly every year.

The boys are always happy to hit the ground running, whether it be hiking, fishing, digging in the dirt, or whatever mood may strike them. Occasionally, we'll catch them in a loving mood.

Liam (8), Jackson and Garrett (6)

A new activity for us this year was shooting the boys' new BB gun. Everyone tried it out. Even moi.

Let's just say that it's a good thing we don't have to survive on what we shoot.

And let's also say that some of us look better in the safety glasses than others.
Although our "lake" was low enough to be called a pond, we did try to fish.
But this dead minnow that Garrett caught is the only fish we have to brag about.
He was so darn proud of that minnow! He carried it around until we told him we couldn't keep it. "But WHY?," he asked. "Because it's DEAD," we explained.

Marshall might have killed something for dinner.
Isn't that a great photo?! The hunting magazines will be calling me to post it in their latest and greatest; I know they will. I'm trying to decide if I should ask for big bucks or for a new home for the dog.

To clear things up: 1. No, that furry thing in Marshall's mouth was never living. It's his play raccoon. 2. The dog is not for sale at the moment. I do change my mind frequently, however. 3. He was an absolute angel on our trip, because he could run and romp all day long in the mountains. Now that we're back home where it's hotter than hades, he's anything but an angel. 4. Do you want him?

Another new activity for the boys this year was building this tepee.
They wanted a tree house or a fort of some kind, but Daddy nixed the idea and convinced them that a tepee was even better. It did turn out to be quite cool, and the boys spent hours out there.

One evening, we took a drive to look at other properties in our community. We ran across this mama deer and her THREE babies. I have never seen a deer with so many young! My heart went out to her as she frantically tried to keep them at her side while we snapped pictures from our car. It's tough work wrangling three little ones, and I speak from experience.
Of course, we hiked on a few different days. I can't remember the name of the hike that took us to the beautiful lake, but it was picturesque, to say the least.
The Archuletta County Fair took place while we were in town, so we took Jack to meet Jack.
For the record, it was Rick's idea to take a picture of his son next to a donkey. Son, I would never do such a thing.

Each of the boys took a try at the fake bull thing. (What's it called?) They all enjoyed it, but Garrett had the best belly laugh. When he lets loose and has a good laugh, it's the best medicine for me.
Liam played and won the hula hoop contest.
Yes, he did have competition, but I didn't take their pictures.

Mid-way through our vaca, we took a few days to stay in Ouray. Let me tell you something. I COULD LIVE THERE! It is so amazingly beautiful with mountains all around and every activity within walking distance.

On our way to Ouray, we stopped to get some pics. I believe this is near Georgetown, but Rick will correct me if I'm wrong. (I'm terrible with geography, people. And my memory failed me about the first day of motherhood, so trying to remember a specific geographical location 6 weeks after the fact...forget it!)

Anyway, we took various photos near Georgetown, and but this one cracks me up.
We wanted Marshall to sit nicely next to Liam, but as with all Labs, he thinks he's a lap dog and tried to climb into every one's lap.

But here's proof that he really was an angel.
He's so cuuute when he's being cute.

(No, that's not a muzzle around his snout. It's a gentle leader and works like a horse's halter. In other words, it's a life saver when I'm trying to walk him and don't want him to pull off my arms.)

Probably our favorite activity of the entire trip took place in Ouray. We paid for a driver to take us up to Imogene Pass in a four wheel drive truck.
Along the way, we were able to enjoy amazing scenery. This dilapidated mining home made us grateful for our own home.
The pictures don't do the flowers any justice at all. When Rick took this picture, we could literally see nothing but flowers all around us. I'm pretty sure this was a little slice of heaven.
A hairy and bumpy ride took us to the top, where winter greeted us. We were warm in our shorts at the beginning of the tour but teeth-chattering cold at the top with sleet falling on us.
This is where my mom will ask why we didn't wear pants and heavy coats. Ask your son-in-law.

We made it!!!
On the way down, our driver stopped and pulled the kids out. We had no idea what he was doing, but we trusted him well enough to know he wouldn't push them off the mountain. Instead, they all broke out singing "The Hills are Alive!" It was hilarious!
If you're interested in a scenic 4WD tour in Ouray, look up Keith. He was a fantastic tour guide with a lot of historical information, spot-on sense of humor, and amazing patience with kids.
No, we did not adopt a little girl. I can't remember her name (the whole memoryfailingmeproblem again), but she and her little brother became fast friends with my boys.

I gotta wrap this up and make dinner. As the song goes, back to life, back to reality. Why can't we just go back to Colorado???

By the way, aren't you glad I didn't dump hundreds of pics here?

Peace out!

School Days

Well, hello there! Yes, it's been nearly two months since my last post. I wouldn't want to be accused of being an overzealous blogger.

Would I be considered overzealous if I blog once a week? No? Good, 'cuz that's what I'm hoping to do now that my boys are IN SCHOOL.

Can I get an 'amen' for school?

Let's begin with the obligatory first day of school photos.

Garrett and Jackson are now first graders, and Liam is a third grader.
(Please excuse the ugly flowerbed behind them. The relentless heat has gone and done something ugly to our plants and our moods.)

I asked them, "Hey, boys, show me what you think about my making you wear collared shirts today." This is what I got:
Actually, two of the boys chose collared shirts on their own. The third boy had to be talked out of a faded, shrunken Mario t-shirt and black basketball shorts. "Sorry, son, but I think a good first impression is important."

Garrett hit the jackpot this year with receiving the most smiley teacher on campus. PLUS, his BFF, Will, is in his class. It can't get much better than that!
Jackson just might have a crush on his teacher. He typically likes the tall gals.
Liam has a teacher who fills her room with TONS o' books, so the two of them should get along just fine.
He was completely embarrassed that I walked him to his class, but a mom has to have a picture of her kid and his teacher! He's lucky I didn't give him a big smooch right there in front of God and everyone.

Later that evening, he informed us he would no longer be holding our hands in public. "Cuz it's not cool, man," he said.

But it was cool two days prior to third grade. I really didn't expect this year to be such a pivotal moment of moving from little boy to grown man. Should I expect facial hair and voice crackling tomorrow?

Things That Make Me Go "Hmm"

If you've ever had young kids, you know how often they open the door to tell you all kinds of nonsense while they play in the backyard.

The door opens and I hear, "So and so hit me with the ball." The door closes, only to be reopened every 2.9 seconds for comments and questions such as these: "So and so threw the ball at the dog." "Are we allowed to dig in the garden?" "I hit a home run and the ball went over the fence! Can I go get it?" "Mom, do you like grub worms?" "Marshall's eating from the garden." "What are we doing today?" "What are we eating for lunch?" And two seconds later, "What are we eating for dinner tonight?"

Admittedly, I'll sometimes lock the door to stop the nonsense. Or I'll throw out the threat, "If you open that door again, you're coming in for a nap!" That one works like a charm.

Anyway, as I was cleaning my bedroom this morning, the boys and dogs were playing in the backyard. I believe they opened the door 52 times before I heard a new statement. Jackson yelled, "MARSHALL LOST A TOOTH AND I FOUND IT!"

"Okay, great. Yep, he's teething. SHUT THE DOOR," I yelled back. (I should always say 'Slam that door', since that's what they do.)

Jackson went back to play, and I didn't give Marshall's tooth another thought, until I walked through the kitchen 30 minutes later to find the lost-and-found tooth in a baggie on the kitchen counter.

I carried the tooth to Jackson and asked if he thought the tooth fairy should visit the pup. He laughed and said "No! I thought we could make a collection of his teeth."

Oh. Hmm.

Raising boys often leaves me scratching my head.


The blogging portion of my brain feels cluttered. So many pictures to post. So many events have come and gone without even a sentence granted on the blog. When I get this far behind in my writing, I feel overwhelmed and simply want to give up. But then I remember that I don't scrapbook for my family, nor do I simply print our photos, so if I don't blog, what do we have to show for our lives?

In an effort to declutter my foggy blog brain, here's a post of random photos.

Garrett finished out his t-ball career by being chosen as one of four from his team to advance to the All Star tournament.
His kindergarten teacher came to his final All Star game.
Mrs. Whitsell is one of a kind, and Garrett was sure to show off some of his best baseball skills in front of her. This is where I should rattle off all of his amazing defensive stats, but I simply can't remember one. Suffice it to say, he played well, very well. And he's more than ready to move on to coach pitch in the fall.

Meanwhile, Liam's Dirtbags were winning a semi-finals game the same night, and they advanced to the Championship. Garrett and I were able to make it to the final game, where the Dirtbags defeated the Giants. This win was a huge victory, because the Giants had only lost something like 3 games in two years!
Trophies all around for the Dirtbags!
On a non-baseball note, (Imagine that...something in our lives that doesn't relate to baseball!) Jackson and Garrett graduated from Kindergarten. I would love to show you some fantastic photos of my babies' graduation, but a certain someone, who will remain nameless, deleted many, and I mean MANY, pictures from my camera. So we're left with mediocrity, such as a blurred picture of Jackson receiving his congratulatory hug from his teacher, Mrs. Woods.
He blew her off like he'd blow a spider off his arm.

But Garrett paused for a sweet moment with his girlfriend, I mean teacher.
Yes, I must admit I teared up when I saw my babies walk across the stage. Not because they're graduating from kindergarten, but because I couldn't help but flash forward to twelfth grade in my mind. Be still my heart, what will I do when my kids all finish high school?!

After the 50,000,000 kindergarteners walked across the stage, they sang songs such as "New York, New York". How does Frank Sinatra's famous song qualify as a graduation song, you ask? The words were changed to something like this:

Start spreading the news
I'm leaving today
I'm gonna be apart of it
first grade, first grade
It was cute, and, of course, hand signals had to be incorporated.

I'm not sure who was most excited about the last day of school, the boys or me. But let me tell you, when the dismissal bell rang, we hightailed it outta there without a glance back. Woohoo, summer!

One of our first summer days was spent riding horses. I have wanted to introduce my boys to horseback riding for quite some time, and a perfect situation came up. A good friend of ours recently inherited two horses from his dad, and he invited us to meet him at the corral.

This is where I'd love to post pictures of my boys riding their first horse, but that nameless person deleted about 100 pictures of our horseback riding experience. About all I have to show you is Liam brushing Alley.
Alley happens to be the horse that also bucked Liam off. The horse decided he didn't want to be ridden and threw my boy off within two minutes. Thankfully, Liam didn't have any serious injuries, but he was sore for a few days. But he was brave and got onto another horse with me within a few minutes of his fall.

Liam tried out and made it onto the summer All Star team again. They've gone to championship level all but one tournament thus far, placing second twice and even first place recently. Summer baseball is hotter than hades, but when the boys win, it's worth the sweat.
Another big event of our summer has been Garrett pulling his own tooth.
He was so proud of himself for pulling it on his own. And I cried, because I'm simply not ready for my baby to grow up.

In other news, Marshall had his manhood and dewclaws removed a few days ago. He came home looking pretty pitiful.
Yes, we've had a grand ol' time trying to keep him from chewing his bandages. A neighbor asked why Marshall has casts on his paws. Garrett said, "We had his claws removed so he won't run away and make babies." He kind of got my explanation confused.

Now that summer is in full swing, we're enjoying a relaxed schedule. Staying up late, sleeping in until 7, no homework, play dates, swimming, etc.

We're also hitting the batting cages frequently.
Just call them the Bad Bat Boys.
And on that note, these bad boys are ready to go burn off some energy, so I better run before something gets broken.

I can't promise when I'll be back, but I hope it's before summer's end.