Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Areyna Joy Turns 13

On February 28th our Areyna Joy entered the first stages of womanhood.

 I don't believe Rainy even realizes just how special this night was yet,
(primarily because she hates the spotlight and I'm sure she was a little bit uncomfortable:)
but we know that the Holy Spirit was present and the words spoken penetrated deep
and that she will slowly realize the significance of the evening.

What I loved most about this is that her daddy, Josh, was in charge of the entire evening!

He did some research (mostly through Focus On The Family) and came up with a plan.
He put together a list of biblical virtues and emailed several ladies from our MC, 
her grandmothers, small group leaders,
 as well as some other key women in her life.

Each lady chose a virtue from the list and after praying over it they wrote out what they
felt like the Lord wanted to say to Rainy through them.

Here is the list of virtues:
Modest In Dress And Conduct
Holy Living
Truthful In Speech And Life
Gentle And Quiet
Cares For The Home
Serves Others
Someone Who Can Be Trusted
Prudent In Financial Matters
Hard Worker
Seeks To Do The Right Thing And Have A Good Reputation
Seeks To Internalize Biblical Wisdom

We began the evening by praying and then quickly going around the room 
introducing ourselves and our relationship to Rainy.

Then I read a letter to Rainy that I wrote about the joy and roles of being her mom.
After that we went around the room and everyone spoke/read what they had prepared on their virtue.

I guarantee that I wasn't the only adult who was moved and convicted and encouraged by the words of the other ladies in the room that night!

At the end of each person's words they would go light one of the 12 white candles on the table.
By the time we got around the circle each white candle was lit.

Her daddy then went into the shifting of our role as parents as she gets older.
Her growing responsibility and maturity will be taking more of a lead role in her life.

We then circled around Rainy, and her friends that had come (who are around the same age)
and we prayed over them.

After the prayer Rainy went to the table and blew out all 12 of the white candles,
signifying the past 12 years 
and lit the single pink candle 
as she accepted the responsibility of these virtues in womanhood.

What a sweet, sweet evening!

Of course, all those who have spoken life and truth over our daughter were not present,
there simply isn't enough room in the Colony Casa for that, ha!
How blessed we are to be surrounded by women of truth and light ,
who take responsibility as we raise this next generation to love and cherish the Lord Jesus Christ.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Jude Turns SIX

Man this kid is goofy!  

He is loud. He is self-confident. He is extra...VERY extra.
He is so extreme. 
When he's low he's VERY low.
When he's high he's wide open.

He loves to laugh.
He loves to play tag, unless he gets tagged and then he has to be "it", 
and he does NOT like to be "it".
So maybe tag shouldn't be the game of choice when you want to keep a happy Jude heart, ha!

He doesn't accept stickers from the grocery store clerks.
I know, he's so weird.
He does, however, accept candy from whoever will give it to him.

He love to wrestle with Jemma, and his brothers, and his dad, 
and he would wrestle his sisters if they'd let him!

He learned how to ride a bike all by himself.  He pulled his own first tooth.
He walked himself into Kindergarten all alone with pride.
He basically doesn't need us anymore...

except for the fact that he still LOVES to cuddle
and reading books is his FAVORITE thing for us to do together.
Playing games is becoming a close second, though.

He's a super smart kid in school.
He catches on to concepts very quickly.
The way he stretches out words right now is my absolute favorite.
He wrote out Donald Trump as "Donold Chump" the other night.
(Hold it in people, I know the jokes could be endless here;)

He is the spitting image of his older brother Zeke, in temperament and interests.
Music flows through his veins and it isn't uncommon to have both of those boys
simultaneously singing their own songs, in the same room, causing quite the cacophony of noise.

Jude, oh Jude, you add to my gray hairs daily, but if I'm honest, I really kinda like my gray hairs.  You teach me to live big and loud and to give generously. You also teach me patience, endurance and humility in parenting (hehe).  Happy Birthday sweet boy!  You are FINALLY 6!!!
Love, Mom

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Big Snow Of 2018 ~ Story In Pictures

I'd been eyeing that little snowflake in the forecast for over a week!
We went to bed hoping to see the beginnings of some accumulation when we woke up, 
but the forecast kept bumping it back.

FINALLY it began to snow around 9am...
and it didn't stop until around 11pm!

It was fun to begin to watch it pile up on the ground.

Toward the beginning we had to get creative...

...and the snowman had just as much grass as it did snow,
but little by little it began to cover the whole ground!

Jude and Cai were dissecting our fall pumpkins for "hair".
(Their original idea was to make it snot, but I drew the line there, ha!)

Jemma LOVED the snow!  She darted, sprinted and ran outside ALL.DAY.LONG.

Josh had to go into work for a tiny bit and spent most of the day working
but took a little break to go sledding with us
and to take a walk through the park trails and woods.

The kids played outside until after 9pm!
When Rainy measured before she came it the snow was up to 7" and still coming down.

After stuffing shoes with paper and drying them out by the fire overnight,
they are all bundled up and back at it again today!

Oh, and it was my birthday yesterday so I couldn't have gotten a more perfect gift!

Monday, January 1, 2018

The Colony's Rockin' New Years Eve 2017

We always like to start our New Years Eve off right with adequate sleep and some good exercise to jump-start the new routines we are wanting to implement the following day. (1)

So after a restful night's sleep and a nice brisk jog in the park we came home to begin our relaxing New Year's Eve festivities. (2)

The first thing on the agenda was to coral the kids together and take a look back on the past year. (3) And then we had the kids grab their journals and write down personal goals for the next year that they wanted to work toward. (4)

After that really sweet introspective time (5) the kids were beginning to get excited about the ball drop (6) (7) and we couldn't wait to experience this extraordinary event with the kids. (8) (9) (10)

While we waited for the ball drop we spend some time in the kitchen whipping up a GF, Vegan, 100% grass fed meat meal for the family (11) that was very uneventfully prepared. (12)

After our tasty dinner we spent the rest of the evening singing hymns of reflection (13) and enjoying our time together as a family while we waited for the ball drop. (14)

When the clock struck midnight we danced and cheered, drank our sparkling juice and headed to bed in anticipation of what the new year holds for us. (15)

What a fun night to celebrate! (16)

Happy New Year!

1 - We actually woke up at our normal 4:30am Sunday wake-up time because...Sunday.

2 - If by exercise you mean leading worship on and off for 6 hours then yes, we had a good workout. But Monday...oh Monday...the 1st of the year...exercise WILL be happing in some REAL form or fashion.

3 - Well actually, Josh and I sat down on our bed to recap the morning at Journey and fell asleep without meaning to because...Sunday. I'm not sure what the kids did, but they are all still breathing and well, so there's that.

4 - That really would have been a fun thing to do.  Maybe we will write this down in our journals to do next year.

5 - I can guarantee that if we actually did get around to this journaling project it wouldn't be peaceful, quiet or very introspective because...boys, lol!

6 - I'm pretty sure the kids energy level was rising by the hour and we still had 5 hours before the actual ball drop!

7 - Especially Rainy, because she is FINALLY old enough to enjoy this event. She even took a nap after Journey so she would be mentally ready to handle the big event.

8 - Josh is still trying to figure out if the ball drop at midnight is really worth it and he'd rather cuddle up together watching a movie in the quiet, next to a warm fire.

9 - I, for some reason, love watching the Dick Clark's Rockin New Year's Eve Show every year.  I get one time a year to put my Urban Dictionary skills into good practice as I listen to the newest, hippest songs and watch these artists dance around on the stage in their costumes trendy outfits.

10 - Rainy, on the other hand, was not too thrilled to share this event with the rest of the Colony kids, ha.

11 - Hey, frozen pizzas can be healthy too!

12 - Josh:"BABE!!! I need your help! The bottom pizza fell off the rack on the bottom of the oven on top of the heating element!"

13 - Actually, Josh did record a hymn that he is currently trying to download right now.

14 - The kids set up a movie in their room (because no mom should let her young boys see Mariah Carey and ALL she has to offer, ahem, even though hearing her complain about not getting her tea was a personal highlight of mine, ha!), I took down Christmas and Josh tinkered around with his hymn on the piano.  Is that considered being "together"?

15 - Well, Jude fell asleep watching the movie on the floor in his room, Cai fell asleep on the couch next to me and the rest of the kids sat in a daze on the couch with me the last 30 minutes.

16 - Yes, a huge success as I got to bring in the new year with my favorite people on earth!


If you'd like to see our other Rockin' New Years Eve posts from the past you can see 
2013    2014   and    2016

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Missing Pieces Of 2017 - The Christmas Tree That Almost Wasn't

People always post all their picture perfect experiences finding the "perfect Christmas tree".

But, quite honestly, this year it turned into survival mode for us.

We finally found an evening between rehearsals and basketball games 
to head out to our favorite spot and get our tree...

only to find that it had relocated to an unmarked location.

Tree farms are at least an hours drive from us so that was out.

So we did what every smart American family does in this situation...
we drove around looking for another tree lot,
because, of course there are millions of tree lots.

Except when you are actually looking for one.

After about 10-15 minutes we found another one.
We all piled out of the car and headed into the lot.

Here is where I explain that our kids prefer actually playing tag 
between the rows and rows of fat christmas trees
over actually choosing the perfect tree.

So they begin running around, acting like maniacs,
zig-zagging in and out of trees
while Josh and I quickly discover that the trees are so overly priced
that we knew we wouldn't be getting out of there with a tree under $65 dollars, AT LEAST!

So we all pile back into the car.

After doing this another time or two we decided that our best bet would be for me to just hop out and scope the pricing of the trees before unloading the entire Colony.
Stopping their game of tag in mid-setup can become a bit emotional for all involved.

Bathroom breaks were becoming the regular.
The frustration was rising.
The kids were getting restless.
And the questions and demand for answers were becoming overwhelming.

FINALLY, we came to a lot that seemed reasonably priced so we let them all get out.

Of course the game of tag began instantaneously as Josh and I began frantically looking
for a tree we could afford with a size that would AT LEAST match our dining room table.

Not 5 minutes in and we were chasing after our kids picking up knocked over trees
and trying to console the Colony kid who decided that peeing in his pants was a better option than using the port-o-potty which was ON SITE.


After all of that Josh and I just grabbed the closest tree that seemed like it would fit in our home and called it a night, lol.

All-in-all it was an adventurous night and we rationalized the cost saying that we payed $24 extra for the experience.

Next year, though, I'm getting a $29 Food Lion tree and just throwing it in the field behind our house for the kids to "find" as our perfect tree.

Missing Pieces of 2017 - Christmas Shenanigans and String Party

Matching girls for Jingle Jam
(Alethia didn't have one of the matching sweatshirts so Rainy got one of Laithy's red shirts
and cut out letters to make her own for her!)

Piper's Christmas lights is a yearly tradition

Alethia was in her school Christmas production!

Jude and Nonie making hot chocolate

Lake Myra lights in Wendell is another Christmas tradition

The Via girls went to Hotel Roanoke for High Tea

String Party Set-up

Waiting for string party entry

Alex and the aftermath

And these kinds of things are what they get at their string party, lol