My word, it's been a while since I've done a Tuesday Ten! It's been sheer craziness 'round here, and I honestly don't know why. Just busy livin' life, I suppose. Here's a brief breakdown of what we've been up to the past month or so.
The boys gained a new baby cousin, Kai David, seven weeks ago. They were smitten. Kai is Brig's first encounter with a baby -- he's always been the baby -- and he affectionately calls him the "bay bay." So sweet.
Nana B with all THREE grandsons
Naturally, the fall season calls for carving a pumpkin or two -- something Harrison looks forward to every year. This year, I was able to let him do the majority of the work, all but the cutting. It turned out great!
That is some serious concentration
This little pistol of a boy loves to climb in -- and on -- anything he can. I'm honestly not surprised he hadn't found the dryer sooner...
Our church hosts a county-wide fall festival every year and it is so fun. The kids love the bounce houses and games, and the adults love the food!
Brothers -- in coordinating pumpkin shirts!
I was able to tag along with Harrison's kindergarten class for a field trip to the pumpkin patch, followed by a fall party back at school. It was the prettiest day and all the kids had such fun. He and his classmates even took turns carving a pumpkin for their classroom.
Scooping out the junk....eww!
Halloween! These critters loved dressing up and trick-or-treating with their pals. I already had the monkey costume for Brig, and after much persuasion for Harrison to agree to be the Man in the Yellow Hat, it was a no-go. He was set on being a "monster truck race driver," so that's precisely what we did. And Brig was Curious George all on his lonesome. A few weeks before we trick-or-treated with the boys, Justin and I attended a costume party thrown by some friends as Shrek and Princess Fiona. Even when you grow up, getting dressed up is still a blast!
Mama and the 'monster truck race driver'
Mama and a wiggly Curious George
Princess Fiona and Shrek
(Disclaimer: Harrison snapped this photo. Shrek is squinting at the flash and Fiona is too busy explaining how to work the camera to strike a pose. Hey, it works.)
Every year since Justin and I have been married, we've participated in Operation Christmas Child. OCC is a ministry that collects shoeboxes and distributes them to children in all parts of the world. We pack a shoebox with small toys, school supplies, candy, and toiletries. Then the folks at OCC include a 6-week discipleship book in the shoebox and hand deliver them across the planet to poverty-stricken children who wouldn't have otherwise gotten anything for Christmas. And more than the toothbrushes and toys, these children are taught about Jesus through the discipleship course. They, in turn, tell their families about the love of Christ. Entire communities are changed through the work of OCC. It's something very dear to my heart and now that Harrison is old enough to understand that Christmas is so much more than presents, he is a big helper in our shoebox packing. It's something we look forward to every year. After we packed and wrapped the boxes, we prayed over them and for the children who would receive them and that they would accept Jesus and go tell their families. I have no doubt that heaven will be much fuller thanks to the work of OCC.
We've got a potty-trainin' nearly 2-year-old in the house! Brig's been doing super on the potty for the most part, but there are not-so-great days. I would have never guessed this pistol wild child of mine would be so good with the potty. I'm so proud of him!
He's covering his face because he didn't want his picture taken....he he.
My best friend Susannah and her husband welcomed two perfect baby girls to their family last week -- Payton and Ashlyn. They joined big sister Meghan and big brothers Logan and Weston. The twins are sweet as can be and just perfect. It's such a miracle when one baby is born, but to see TWO perfect healthy newborns is just unreal. What an amazing God!
I rescued two Cracker Barrel rocking chairs from the dump last week. These were my mother-in-law's chairs, which were previously white. Both chairs were worn and one had some rotten wood. My handsome handyman of a husband repaired the rotten wood. After sanding them and adding two counts of satin black enamel paint, I am in love! Total cost: $15.00 (for paint). These are so comfy and look great on my little porch. The Little Mister rocking away in these pics isn't too bad either.
***After a long break from blogging, I'm back -- and very glad about it!***
We're recovering from a busy Thanksgiving weekend full of food, shopping, and fun. More about our holiday shananigans in tomorrow's Tuesday Ten. But for today, it's Memory Monday!
For today, I'm going to jump back a little further than one year ago to TWO years ago. We were a family of three at that time and anxiously awaiting baby Brig to make his appearance. We celebrated the holiday, but opted for no shopping. Instead, we packed for the hospital, tied up loose ends for the nursery, and put up Christmas decorations. And it was perfect timing because the Monday after Thanksgiving, we welcomed our sweet pistol of a fella Brigdon David Chapman to our family, and we have never been the same.
"It's just another Manic Monday...." But, we're praising God for a new week and new mercies!
But in the style of Memory Monday, let's look back one year ago and see what the Chapman brood was up too.
We just wrapped up the county fair here in our small town this past weekend, so I found it quite fitting to highlight that for today's Memory Monday. My boys -- especially Harrison -- l.o.v.e. the fair! And though our county is small, so is our fair, but nevertheless, it's a blast for the kids. The weather has been rough this past week, and we actually never made a true fair night with the boys (the first time in years that we've skipped it!), but Harrison's school had a field trip one morning and they were able to see a few shows, check out the exhibits and the animals. No rides and no (yummy!) fair food, but it was enough for him.
Harrison and cousin Tyler (with custom applique shirts courtesy of Mama Couture!)
And this wittle guy, who hardly looks like the same child a year later!
I've missed a few weeks (because we've been biz-E), but Tuesday Ten is baaaack! Here's a glimpse at what we've been up to lately.
We had some Labor Day Weekend fun with one last hoorah of summer at the river. Of course, these two river rats just wanted to play in a mud puddle.
We've been seeing an awful lot of these 'round our property lately, which only means it's time for...
putting out some "yella a-kerns" and...
brushing up on bow skills.
It's not officially fall yet, but we have a few days of bee-you-tiful Florida-style fall weather this past week (highs in the mid-80s and lows in the 60s -- oh yeah), so that meant it had to be time to get out some fall decor. I added something new to my fireplace mantle after seeing this idea from Pinterest. A few yards of cheap burlap got me this "Give Thanks" banner, an embellished table runner for the dining room table and plenty of burlap leftover for a rainy day.
One of my favorite things about this season is the return of Starbucks' Pumpkin Spice Latte. The other day, I was browsing Pinterest -- yet again -- and came across this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes and knew I had to try them...and soon. I decided to bake these up for our Thursday night small group to enjoy, but since a few don't care for coffee, I omitted the coffee from the batter. They were still oh so good. Being the coffee lover that I am, next time I will definitely be including that. The recipe also called for true whipped cream as the frosting. Like the kind where you beat heavy cream and powdered sugar. I short-cutted (not sure if that's a word) here and used the kind from a can that you shake. They still tasted great, but the kind in the can melts rather quickly. All around, a total crowd pleaser. AND the recipe made nearly 3 dozen cupcakes, so I took half to my small group gals and stowed half in the freezer, which later made an appearance at Saturday morning's MOPS meeting.
It's no secret that we heart Sunday afternoons...well, actually, we heart Sunday's in general. The last Tuesday Ten showed you one way that a couple-a country boys spend a Sunday afternoon. But, oh there is so much more -- naps being a personal favorite. Or, of course, you could drive a remote-controlled boat in the pond...
or just goof off like this guy...
I've been reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst on my beloved little eReader for a few weeks now. To be honest, it's been so hard for me to get into. I keep trudging on, hoping something will grab me, but nothing yet. I originally bought it because I had heard great reviews and the subject matter (replacing your craving for food with a crave for Christ) hits home for me. I'm a big fan of Lysa TerKeurst's blog, Proverbs 31 Ministries too. I still plan to finish it regardless, but it's been a doozy.
My cousins and I (who I rarely see and wish could get together with more often) threw a little baby shower last weekend to welcome my new nephew, pending his arrival sometime in the next month or so. And, naturally, I had fun monogramming a few goodies and shopping for teeny tiny little boy things. Hard to believe my critters were that little once upon a time.
(My cousin Elizabeth, my sister Leslie, my cousin Whitney and me)
My dear friend Kristi grabbed a few pair of "Armor of God" pajamas for the boys. Brig's are a bit too big, but Harrison's fit just right. And he was so excited to bust them out that first time. They're adapted from Ephesians 6:13-17: "Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
Curious about what a Friday night looks like 'round here? It's pretty quiet, actually. A perfect Friday night looks like this: The house is clean (because I have this starting-the-weekend-off-with-a-clean-house "rule"), a bag of popcorn and the always-entertaining Tom & Jerry is in the DVD player.
Our local highschool's football season kicked off this past Friday, and Channel 4 News out of Jacksonville were in town for Football Friday, where they highlight a particular high school football game in the area. Our own Superintendent of Schools showed off her serious school spirit during The Morning Show with a baton routine and finishing out with a split. It was hilarious!
School is well underway and I'm happy to report that H is loving it! He's completely exhausted at the end of the day, but this Mama is so very glad. A quick kiss and he hops right out of the truck in the mornings, and has a huge smile on his face when he hops off the bus in the afternoons. We're in a routine and it's truly been great.
BUT - Looking back one year ago, my boy wasn't yet a seasoned big-school kid, but just a preschooler trying to learn the ins and outs. I can remember him bringing home that first week's work on Friday and seeing this tucked in his folder....
You can read more about our first weeks of preschool here!
It's been a good while since I've posted a Thursday Truth, and I really don't know why. These posts are usually more reflective to what's going on in my spiritual life, but over the past months,
God has been dealing greatly. I guess I just didn't know where even to begin.
So how 'bout the basics, huh??
This excerpt from Proverbs 31 is by far one of my favorite passages in Scripture. It was spoken by King Solomon, know to this day to be the wisest and wealthiest man who ever lived. He was writing this to his sons (there were many) about qualities to look for in a potential wife, also knowns as the "Wife of Noble Character." King Solomon had numerous wives and part of me wonders if these words of wisdom came from true life experience. :)
My favorite? By far, verses 17 and 30 (highlighted below). I pretty much fail daily on the rest of the qualities...workin' on it though!
"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.
Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life.
She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
She finds wool and flax and busily spins it.
She is like a merchant’s ship, bringing her food from afar.
She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household
and plan the day’s work for her servant girls.
She goes to inspect a field and buys it; with her earnings she plants a vineyard.
(17) She is energetic and strong, a hard worker.
She makes sure her dealings are profitable; her lamp burns late into the night.
Her hands are busy spinning thread, her fingers twisting fiber.
She extends a helping hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy.
She has no fear of winter for her household, for everyone has warm clothes.
She makes her own bedspreads. She dresses in fine linen and purple gowns.
Her husband is well known at the city gates, where he sits with the other civic leaders.
She makes belted linen garments and sashes to sell to the merchants.
She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.
When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness.
She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.
Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her:
"There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
(30) Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."
It's Tuesday Ten -- and reader beware -- this is photo heavy! It's been a few weeks (maybe 3?) since I've posted a Tuesday Ten and we've got some catchin' up to do.
A few weeks ago, I stitched up a little camo Bible cover for Harrison and since then I've been itching to do one for myself. At one point, my Bible was pretty on it's own until a blue-ink-pen-wielding 21-month-old that I know got a little crazy. But, no more. Now it has a pretty fabric cover with a yummy ruffle and a ribbon tie versus the handles. Plus, it totally feeds my love of gray and yellow.
Thanks to Pinterest, I found this great tutorial for making your own laundry detergent, but in the powder form. I've made laundry detergent in the past, but the recipe was for liquid form, and eventually it was just a headache to make and then store such a large amount of detergent. The powder recipe was ridiculously easy AND regular loads only take 1 tablespoon. (Besides the more obvious benefit is that it's much less expensive than store-bought detergent. Don't get me started on that...)
Three of my very best girlfriends and I had the blessing of attending MOPS International Convention 2011 at the insanely beautiful Gaylord Opryland in Nashville, TN. It was 4 full days of learning how to be a better wife, mother, leader and daughter of Christ...besides just really good girl-time! By Sunday, I believe we were all itching to see our babies -- and their Daddy's too -- but everyone except me had a baby (or two!) in tow.
Saturday night -- Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman!
Beatin' the heat with popsicles...a true Summertime staple.
Wrong end, Briggy.
Before finishing up the necessary school shopping, I attempted to clean out closets and go through hand-me-downs from Harrison when I found these cowboy boots! Judging by the size, I thought they'd be a little too big for Brig yet, so I let him try them on. Whadya know, they fit perfectly. And that boy did not want to take them off! Eventually, he did take them off, only to then carry them around saying "ma boos, ma boos" (my boots). I'm pretty sure his fat little legs squished into mini-sized cowboy boots is pretty muchly the cutest thing I've ever seen.
Ever wondered what country boys do on a lazy Sunday afternoon? They get muddy...and the more mud the better! This Power Wheel Rhino has been sitting around waiting on J to "fix it" for forever. If you look closely at the second photo below, you'll see a tow rope coming from the front of the Rhino. That tow rope is hooked to the back of the 4-wheeler (where I'm shooting from). Harrison has appropriately named this contraption the "pull behind." So simple and so country-fried -- emphasis on country -- but these critters have been loving that thing! (Just in case anyone was wondering, the "pull behind" is J's brain-child...shock of the century, I know.)
I'd been wanting to put together a vintage photo shoot for my boys all summer, and with school starting back this week, it was time to cross that one off my list. So, we headed out on our property one morning this week with a few props and the camera. The boys were great and did super for me!
Our Big Kindergartener
This is my favorite -- it's getting printed big for sure
Love this crooked tree, but love the boy in the tree so much more
Sweet brothers...yet again
While I was gone to MOPS Convention, the boys stayed with their B, who had all sorts of things planned. They had fun in her pool, at the park, going to the movies and even a day at the Alligator Farm.
It's not a Tuesday Ten if there's not something food related. Yet again, thanks to Pinterest, I found this recipe for old school no-bake peanut butter chocolate oatmeal cookies.
My best kitchen helper (and his favorite monster truck p.j.'s)
Who am I? I am a wife, a Mama, God's child and still trying to figure out the rest. I am blessed with a wonderful husband -- truly my "better half" -- who is the lover-of-simplicity, non-detail-oriented person whom I am trying to be more like. We live small-town life in the woods of North Florida and enjoy it much. When I have time for myself (not often enough), I like to work in my yard, do crafty things, and shop.
I can't think of another phrase used to describe my husband Justin than "My Better Half." He is truly just that. Aside from the values we are exactly alike in, there are an enormous amount of things that we are counter opposites. All in all, we complement each other well. If there's one thing I've learned over my years in marriage (and am still learning...work in progress), it's that it is hard and takes effort on both parts. However, the good times definitely outweigh the bad. I'm blessed beyond measure for this man who works so hard to provide for our family and be the hero that our boys deserve. He is the down-to-earth, simple life loving person that I'm striving to be more like. I'm grateful that he loves me for me, at my best and at my worst. He makes me laugh and fills our home with joy. I, quite possibly, could go on and on like a lovesick 14-year-old. Thank you Justin for being you and loving me and adoring our children. I know they see Jesus in you and am proud to call you mine.
Tears come to my eyes when I think of my growing family. It took about 3.4 seconds after delivering my first child to realize that this is what God put me on the planet for. With that joy, also came the overwhelming realization of the responsibility that entails...which is still at times overwhelming! To my boys, I am beyond blessed to be called your mother. Hearing the pitter-patter of your little feet first thing in the morning makes my day. My life has been enhanced beyond measure just because of you. You are my Heart.
Harrison Reid is my first-born and there is no truer boyish boy! He is rowdy, rambunctious, and all things dirt and trucks and tractors. He keeps us rolling in laughter with his anecdotes and jokes and silly sayings. My sweet-souled boy. He is now a big preschooler and no doubt this little blog will fill up quickly with stories and photos about his days. I love you, Harrison, and thank you for making me a Mama.
Brigdon David is (at this point) my baby and the sweetest, happiest baby - though I am a tad partial! Even at 9-months-old, he has a good little heart and that gummy smile can bring tears to my eyes. I think back to my pregnancy and how we longed for this baby to be a girl, and were surprised when we were told he was a boy. God created this child, this boy, for our family. I could not imagine our life without him. I love to watch Brigdon interact with Harrison and had no idea how blessed I would be by their love for each other - even at their young ages. Brigdon, thank you for being my baby. I can't wait to fill the pages of this blog with your little life story. God has big things in store for you.