Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's in a Name?

Stephen and I are the slowest people when it comes to naming our children. I was in the hospital with all of the boys before we decided on heir names, and decided on Anna's the night before I went to have her. We take names pretty seriously and want them to be just right. 



Daniel Stephen and David Robert were not names I came up with, they're all Stephen. I had other names picked out but we compromised a bit and the boys are very happy with their names.

Being that David and Daniel look so much alike they are often called by the wrong name. Being a twin is fun, they have fun with it. I love having twins, it's the funnest thing I've ever done and am so honored God saw fit to give us twins. Being called the wrong name is the downside of being a twin. People tend to think of them as one person. People often don't take the time to look/study their differences and know them. David and Daniel don't act like it bothers them and will laugh it off, but think about it. If no one knew your name, even those closest to you, it would bother you.

Last night we were at Samuel's football game, and since it was an away game he was wearing #20 again. Everytime he went out to kick the announcer called him Joseph Valient. He did really good last night but didn't get any credit for it from the announcer. It reminded me of how important it is to know people. Know their names and their personalities. Knowing makes people feel special, worthy, cared for. 

It takes effort, but the reward is great! Get to know someone, call them by name, it will make you both feel good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pictures, Football, and Fall

School has started, football is being played. Bible verses are being memorized and I feel a rejuvenation in my soul.

Our mornings are full of school. I work three mornings a week and when I get home we start school, ( usually around 9) so besides laundry, nothing else gets done in the morning. It leaves my afternoons busy and productive. Which is a good thing seeing that my summer was anything but productive! 

Football is keeping us busy! Samuel plays every Friday night, but also some Monday nights and he practices until 6 or after every night. He's loving it, and we're loving it!
Samuel and Lauren, could they be any cuter?
His number is really 10, but they don't have a 10 in the away jerseys. When we travel he wears 20, but the program has Joseph Valient listed as 20. So when Samuel goes out to kick, the announcer says " And Joseph Valient is out to kick." It makes me laugh! 

David, Daniel, and Anna aren't loving football as much as the rest of us are.
That is Stephens leg, I wore jeans (and shaved!)

This is one of my favorite pictures. We're watching the game and Anna is taking selfies! 

Awana is in full swing at church. D and D are in Trek, which is the high school version of Awana and they are memorizing long passages of scripture. Anna is in her next to last year of Awana and loves it. She always has her book with her, even at football games. They all love studying the Bible and memorizing Gods word.

Today is the first day of Fall and I couldn't be more excited! It's my favorite time of the year and today feels cool and crisp. I just might make some chili tonight to celebrate! 






Sunday, September 21, 2014

September Smiles



This month has proven to be one full of some of our favorite faces! We had our best newlywed friends come visit us for the weekend. We had not seen them in 8 years. They have moved back to north Mississippi and we are so glad!! It was fun to meet up again with children. It was like we never missed a beat. True friends. We live life alike and I really like that about us :)


This meet up was good for my heart. Our sweet Aynn at my Mama's house for supper and laughs. She lost her precious husband a few weeks ago and I missed the funeral. I needed to see her, hug her and hear her laugh. It was wonderful and Mama cooked a yummy supper for us. We all celebrate September birthdays so a cake was on the menu too. 


No words for how much I adore this visit to Sandy Ridge Farm. Our friends Dustin and Anna farm sweet potatoes in Senatobia, Mississippi. They invited us to see the harvest. We were thrilled to check it out. Dustin gave Henry the grand tour and even purchased a toy tractor for him just like the one you see Henry standing on. Rotten boy! It was really quite cool to see how they harvest the sweet taters. 


Since we visited the farm on my birthday, Dustin treated us to Como Steakhouse in Como, MS for dinner. I loved visiting with Anna. She is truly a southern belle and we are soul sisters. She gave me the cutest cookbook and made me feel extra special. 


Hugging this old handsome fella was the icing on my birthday cake! I got to see him on my birthday while driving through to go to the farm. My Daddy is a sweetie to have helped get me here 36 years ago! 


Nothing like a Marmie/Mama hug the day after my birthday! I'm thankful this woman had me 36 years ago. She is a saint to put up with me all these years. She always reminds me that I was late arriving and they had to force my stubborn self out. I can see all these qualities in me still yet after all these years! 


Being at "home" with my homegirls is therapeutic to my whole being. There is nothing better than an old friend. I thank God for the treasure of friendship, both the silver and gold friends of life. Sliver has always been my go-to though! We met up for dinner and talked about life, laughed and smiled a lot. A real smile and honest laugh with friends who really get you are precious to the soul. 


This. Just this. It's like a Life commercial in reverse. Melissa and me. These boys are destined to be buds for life. Luke and Henry got a quick visit in while Melissa treated me to my favorite homemade birthday cake and an ice cold Diet Coke. I love that girl more than cake, words and Diet Coke.. And that's big! This month is probably one of my favorite Septembers in my history of 36 Septembers... And it isn't over yet! ;) 

Abby Jo 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Daybook

In the great outdoors...Saturday David, Daniel and I went walking on a couple of trails in town. It was hot, I sweated way more than I wanted to, but it was a really nice time to be together. Today is warm. Ok, it's hot! Not!

Within our walls...The second week of school is finished. Yay!! I'm in a toss everything kind of mood, so there are quite a few trashbags heading for the trash.

A heart of thanksgiving...

A heart of prayer...The closest family friends we had growing up were the Walkers. We spent so much time at their house, I considered it part mine. Aynn and Ron treated me like one of their own, and I loved it. Ron is in his final days and I'm praying for his family and friends. I know if I'm as saddened by this as I am, those so much closer to him are too. 

Random observations...It's that time of year again. Acorns are falling! I get so excited when I get to step on them and hear them crack. It's weird, right?

From the kitchen...Tonight we're having chili dogs for supper, for a couple of reasons. For one, the kids and I like them, secondly, Stephen works Friday nights. Except last night he switched with someone so he is working today. Which means the chili dog supper will have to be put on hold. He just doesn't love them like we do.

Sounds of the moment...It's quiet. All the kids are home, but no one is talking, the tv is off, just the sound of the ceiling fan whirling above my head. Wow!

What I'm wearing...Shorts and a t shirt, socks of course. I did work today and wore better clothes though, these are just my comfy clothes.

A favorite thing from the week...I guess it would have to be the football scrimmage Tuesday night. Having Daddy here, watching Samuel play, it was really fun.

Sometimes school gets interrupted by magic tricks! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Football Tuesday Night

It was a Football Tuesday night last night. Well, not a real football night, more like a scrimmage against two other teams. 

Daddy came over to watch Samuel play. It was so fun to sit beside him in the stands watching him play. There's no way I could count the hours I've spent listening, talking, and watching football with my dad. But there was something special about getting to watch my son play with my dad beside me. 

Samuel didn't disappoint. He was 3 for 3 on extra points and punted too many times for me to remember. (Our team may not be as good as we wish they were.) The field is turf, which means no dirt, but Samuel walked out on the field to play dirty. 


The boy always has the dirtiest uniform of anyone on his team. This picture was taken before the kickoff. Before he kicked a ball. And when the game ended, he was still the dirtiest one, and he hadn't even been tackled. I have no explanation.

We lost both of our games/scrimmages, I'm hoping we gets the kinks worked out before our first game! Go Wildcats!!! Go #10!!



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Daybook Entry

In the great outdoors...Man, it was HOT today!! I had errands to run and was outside quite a bit and I was sweating. Poor Samuel had baseball and football practice and was dripping wet when he came home....at 6:40!

Within our walls...School has started! Woo-Hoo!

A heart of thanksgiving...I'm thankful to the Lord for all He has done for us. We aren't living in the grandest way, but we are living a pretty grand life.

A heart of prayer...Everyday we're making decisions, some life altering, some not. We're just praying the decisions we make are the ones that are God honoring.

Random observations...The kids are sleeping later than normal lately. Samuel has to leave for school by 7:30 so he doesn't get to sleep in, but the other three do. It used to be that they were up by the time the sun came up and I had to make a rule to keep them in their rooms until 7:00. My kids are growing up!

Thoughts from the kitchen...It was beef and broccoli tonight. I failed to make enough, so Stephen had to stop on the way home from a meeting and pick up fast food for himself. 

My silly children...
His could be my favorite picture of Samuel. He had to get caught up on his immunizations, it had been quite a while since he had bee to a doctor, much less had shots. He didn't realize what was going to happen and when he realized he freaked out just a bit. The nurse, Samuel, and I were all laughing at him. 

Sounds of the moment...All the kids are in bed, it's just Stephen and me. All I hear is the air conditioner.

What I'm wearing...khaki shorts, a new great tshirt from Old Navy, and blue socks.

A favorite thing from last week...Our 21st anniversary was Thursday and we had a great date night. We laughed and enjoyed being together more that night than we have in a long time.

On the calendar...I'm working on two women's events. One is Friday and the other is in October. This time of year gets a little hectic.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pre K, here he comes!



I'm so excited about school days...can you tell?! We made the decision to place Henry in the pre k program at our public school. It was a prayerful, fact seeking decision this past winter. We visited the private school in town and interviewed the administrator,  weighed our options of staying where we were, or going to the public pre k. We really never dreamed we would pick what we picked, but God knew! I have never been so at peace with the decision as I am today. We are public school kids ourselves. It is not the same as it was, yet I still trust it enough for Henry, for now. We are blessed to live in an area with wonderful schools...and Randall always kindly reminds me what we pay in taxes to the school! We of course still pay out of pocket for the pre-k program at our school. 


We pulled Henry out of the preschool he was attending at the end of July. I felt he needed time to unwind and decompress before we started new. It was a tough move to make. He has missed his friends there a lot and I have felt great mom guilt about that at times. It's life though. I haven't laid eyes on my best friend in 5 months....you deal with it. Relaying that to a 4 year old isn't that easy though. 


Randall and I are your typical parents of an only child, yet I know sometimes we are over the top. I know our own family giggles at us, so I'm sure you do if you are reading this and not a relative. We love every minute of sharing life with this big ole boy! Laugh if you must. 
We met his teacher today and in the first couple minutes of speaking with her she asked very sweetly, "you don't have any other children besides Henry, right?" As if she knew that quickly. We love this boy and he knows it. The world knows it. I'm proud for that. We know it is time to start opening his world up a little bit, so this is our first big step in doing that. It's been so fun preparing for it. Randall and I took this photo on the football field at his school last weekend. Henry thought it was really cool. His school is pre k thru 12 on one campus and I love that about this school. 


We got to meet his teachers today at a drop in. Tomorrow morning he starts with half his class and with the full class on Thursday. They are precious ladies and the room was so big and colorful. He loved the learning toys and has been talking about the microphone and drums he saw on the shelf. He plans to sing a song for his class, he says. The school building  is amazing. It is going to be so fun for him! 


I plan to take this photo each year....for the next 13 years. :)


This boy was so excited to go meet his teacher! Her name is Julie. I told him we were bound to love her! 


Henry is so fortunate to have a Daddy who can go to middle of the day school stuff. Randall was one of the only Daddy's there. Henry says his Daddy is his best friend. I would have to agree. They are a pretty tight pair. 


He was sooooo excited to go in. I pray he is that excited in the morning for the real deal. I am claiming my life verse for Henry again for this step. Joshua 1:9. " Be strong and courageous for The Lord your God is with you wherever you go."


Public school world I bequeath to you my Henry. Be good to him!

Abby Jo 





Saturday, August 16, 2014

Saturday Scrimmage

Football season is upon us. Finally!!

I totally enjoy football season. The crowds, the weather, the food, he cheerleaders, the sport. I love it all. And now that Samuel is playing, well my love for football has increased multiple times. 

Today was a team scrimmage. They just played against each other, but it was the first time they played in front of a crowd. The first time Samuel had ever kicked in a game situation, we were excited.


I wanted to put a video so you could see him kick, but I can't, and this picture doesn't show much either. But he did Sooo good! I was so proud of him. He kicked made 6 out of 7 extra points and a field goal. I had told him I wasn't going to brag on him until he proved himself, and he did. So I'm bragging! 

He won't kick that much in a regular game, if at all. (I'm a bit worried about the offense, he might just be doing a lot of punting!) 

He has another scrimmage, this time against another team, on the 26th, and his first game is Sept. 6th. We're ready to cheer on the black and gold Wildcats!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Cousins Camp



Cousins camp 2014 went down in the books of all time family fun! Hollye (our cousin) had the idea
To get us and our kids together this summer. Julie got to work planning a little 2 day trip for us. We ended up renting a house in what Henry calls, "Turkey Village".
 This photo will be planted in our memory banks forever....it was a miracle we got it! When I'm old in the home these children will come visit (I hope!) and say "Aunt Abby, remember that time at Cousins Camp when we were all saying 'cheese' and that car....." and we will share a laugh. (You had to be there to know the rest of that story!) 
 

Samuel was at football practice and could not attend. Julie brought a Flat Sam to take part in the festivities...and that it did! 


We met at Down Home Kitchen in Hardy and planned out our camp, laughed and chowed down. 


We played in the lake for a while. It was fun but we all realized we are really pool people. The boys are so cute. Dave and Dan are so inclusive and sweet to Henry. To be 13 and include a 4 year old is really kind. These boys have my heart. 


Game nights were great fun. We could have holed up and played games for a week, really. 

 
These are funny, competitive people who show their true colors during a game. All the horns, tears, warts and odd knowledge come out. Funny, funny stuff. 


Hollye will shoot me for this....but I love it too much! She had to act out dancing. She is her mother's child. I love that about her. 


Minute to win it games just ain't right! Daniel was kind enough to buddy up with Henry and smiled through it. Bless him! David cheated me with these Solo cups, but I'll let it go....eventually! Lol. 


Jules climbed the waterfall with the children. I stayed back and took Flat Sam for a climb. 

 
Walking in downtown Hardy watching our children laugh at a pay phone. We are old, people! 


The community pool in "Turkey Village" was really fun. We swam and the children all played putt putt too. We had the best time swimming, observing those around us, and laughing about those two things. 


Camp T-shirts were a must. I came up with the idea and Julie made it happen. We were so excited! Her friend in Pine Bluff made them for us. We are so blessed to have the bond we share. What a smile Wilma and Charles must have from heaven seeing us love and share the love with our babies. Sometimes my heart could explode when I think about it, really. 


These are the most well-behaved children (Henry is debatable) with the kindest hearts. Having them bond for a few days through laughter was just perfect. Poor Flat Sam....


Cousins Camp will probably be a summer tradition from now on. We all loved the time together and the laid back fun we had. I think our husbands secretly enjoyed the break from all of us! What a treat to be so close to a cousin. Some of my best childhood memories were made with my cousins. Here's to many more....

Abby Jo 









Monday, August 11, 2014

Daybook Entry

In the great outdoors...This has been the best summer. I love sitting outside and I've been able to do a lot of it this summer. This morning we woke up to rain, thinder, and lightening, but then it cleared off to be a beautiful day.

Within our walls...Today I worked on our school schedule and my work schedule for the next few weeks. I think we're ready to get back into a routine.




A heart of thanksgiving.... There was an incident at cousins camp that was much more serious than we knew at the time, and we are all very thankful that no one was hurt. While playing in the lake the kids all felt a tingling feeling in their hands, and later in their feet and legs. We thought it was weird at first and then got worried, so we got them out. Turns out, there was an electrical current in the lake where we were. It could have been a tragic situation, thankful that no one was injured.

A heart of prayer...School is starting soon, teachers are already in their rooms preparing for another year. I'm praying for them and their students.

Random observations...44 is old! And I should know.



My silly children...On the way to cousins camp we listened to an 80's and 90's Christian cd. It took me back in time, but the kids abruptly returned me to the present time by assaulting the lyrics. It was like Weird Al had taken over Christian music. I hope they still get to go to heaven.

Thoughts from the kitchen...Chicken and dumplings tonight! Anna rolled out the dumplings, she loves to do anything that has to do with dough.

What I'm reading...I've read a couple of books lately. I don't know their titles, but they've held my attention.

Sounds of the moment...I'm sitting outside with a cold coke, my Kindle, IPad, and listening to the kids play in the pool. Perfect summer day.

What I'm wearing...Khaki shorts, black striped henly, flip flops (because I'm outside). My go to shoe this summer has been my zebra striped Sanuks. I wear them to work and they are so comfortable. They're my new favorite shoe.

A favorite thing from last week...



This was pure sweetness. At the pool I was laying in a chair, and Henry came up to me wet, with floaties on and laid on my dry body. It was the sweetest few moments. He didn't say anything, he just needed a little Juju time.

On the calendar..The calendar is getting full. I like a full calendar!

My favorite picture...
This girl has some mad jumping skills!! (That's Abby by the way)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Birthday, Beautiful Sister



Today is this pretty girl's 44th birthday. We were able to celebrate her this week while at Cousins Camp in Cherokee Village at a rented house on the lake. It was great fun throwing this little surprise for my sweet sister. 


Henry made a princess sticker card for his Juju. She was so excited to get it. We love celebrating our favorite sister and aunt!


This collage of pics make me laugh. We love laughing. Jules and I always give each other wallets and put pics of ourselves in them. It's special. Julie was reading the longest card in American Greetings history to Claire and she was over it after the first line. I love her face. Claire is hysterical. Boo on me for buying the competition. Julie is the Hallmark lady in her area, you know. We threw this Dollar Tree party together while she showered and Henry went in the bathroom and gave her the hat. But of course he did. I think she had an idea after that! I wish we had the party set up on video. Daniel lit the candles and the fire alarm went off. The Ash Flat Walmart had no bakery. Oh, Ash Flat ;) so, we bought a pound cake and frozen cake pops and made a cake. Score!  I just love celebrating my sister!!! 

Abby Jo 


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Our Week

What a week we had last week! So many things were going on. 

These two boys were in Ft. Smith visiting their grandparents.

The tall girl with the pony tail went to church camp.

This boy was home alone with his mom and dad.

It was a weird week!

Our washing machine that we've had for two years, stopped spinning. That's a problem! I asked my Facebook friends who I should use as a repairman, and the next day a friend said she got a new one, and we could have her old one. Praise The Lord! Honestly! It's a great washer, no frills. I'm in love!


And then we found a yard sale around the corner and got a new microwave! 


We had our old one since 1999, it was time for a new one. The old one was beyond cleaning!

It was a good week!