Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Birthday Ben

For some reason this year the kids have been so excited about Ben's birthday.  That day they not only helped me clean the house, they initiated the cleaning up.  Then they decorated the entire dinning room with streamer and completed the look by giving everyone a Perry the Platypus blower, a cartoon character that Ben loves.  They set out the designated birthday plate that everyone uses for their birthday dessert, but the kids decided Ben needed it for his dinner as well.

The kids made up their mind a long time ago that Ben needed a waffle maker for his birthday.  Why, you ask?  Has he been wanting one?  Nope.  I have no idea why.  The morning of his birthday he opened his waffle maker which in the kids minds that meant for dinner we were having waffles.  Maybe now I know why the kids insisted on getting him one......they want more waffles.  To make it a little more of a southern dish I added some fried chicken to the meal.

Instead of the same ole birthday cake I opened up a can of cinnamon rolls and placed them on the waffle maker.

Within just seconds we had beautiful little cinnamon waffles! 

Happy Birthday to a wonderful husband and father!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Life In East Lake

I was asked to contribute a blog post to The Church at Brook Hills women's blog.  Just in case you don't happen to read that particular blog and wanted to know more about our life in East Lake here ya go.....
Our family has been living in East Lake for two years. We get questions all the time about where we have chosen to raise our family and how we live out the gospel daily. So I thought it may be beneficial to give you a few of the questions we are frequently asked with some answers.
First, a little about East Lake.
East Lake is located a few miles east of Downtown Birmingham.
It is an area where many people live in poverty. The school system doesn’t have very good scores, and our zip code is the most burglarized in the state with one of the highest crime rates. It is also the largest neighborhood in Birmingham. But the neighborhood is changing, and there are some great people here. Some have lived in the neighborhood for 50 years, and they have seen all the bad and all the good. Some of them have been praying.
 1.  Are you ever scared living where you live?  
I can honestly say I have never been scared. Currently, we live on a dead-end street, and most of our neighbors are home owners (where safety is concerned, this matters).  There are certain areas that I do not go by myself, and most of the time you will not find me out after dark. I have seen and heard of some scary things, but by God’s grace, I have not been afraid.
2.  Your kids don’t go to school over there….do they!?!  
No, we home school. We made the decision to homeschool before we moved into East Lake. There was an uncertainty about when our house in Chelsea would sell, where exactly we would be moving, and the timing of it all. I will confess that making the decision to move here did make it easier to choose to homeschool our kids. Now in our third year homeschooling, even if we lived in a “good” school district, we would still homeschool.  I treasure this time with my little ones, and it has opened an amazing door to minister to the family across the street.
3.  What exactly is your ministry in East Lake?
We started a church plant from Brook Hills called The Church At South East Lake. We do not have a building; we meet in our homes. Yes, a house church. Currently, we have two churches that meet on Sunday morning, and we have around 50 members. Our church is made up of people who moved from other areas of Birmingham as well as some of our neighbors.
4.  How does your church minister to the community?
Since everyone in our church lives in the same community, we all try to build relationships with our neighbors.  We live life with them and share the gospel directly though teaching and conversation and indirectly through modeling what it looks like to follow Christ every day.
5.  Do you miss living on the 280 side of town?
Yes, there are days that I do. However, I think what I actually miss are my friends. Living here makes it difficult to stay connected with them, and my life is not as intertwined with them anymore. But I am also so grateful for the new friendships that I have made in East Lake.
6.  What does a normal week look like for you?
My normal week is totally different than anyone else in the church. I homeschool 3 of my 4 children (the 4th is 16 mo. old), so most of my week is focused on teaching and discipling them. But to be intentional about sharing the gospel with neighbors, I know to make sure to water my flowers early in the morning so I can visit with my elderly widow neighbor that only comes outside in the mornings. One day a week after school hours, I teach the Jesus Storybook Bible, through Discovery Clubs, to 3rd grade girls at Robinson Elementary. I also tutor the 7th grader across the street and help her with different school projects (as well as teaching her mom how to help her daughter instead of relying on me to always help).
7.  How can my family / small group help serve alongside The Church At South East Lake?
I wish I could give you a list, but our church is not about programs. We don’t have much going on that individuals or groups can come and help with. We live life with our neighbors, so at 7:00pm on a Tuesday night when I have a knock on my door from the girl across the street asking for help making a solar system (which, yes, should have been at 3:15pm not 7:00pm - had to  make that a teachable moment), that’s what our life and church looks like for now.
The Elders at our church wrestle with this constantly. It would be easy to create a lot of social programs and ministries, but we’ve lived that in other churches. Eventually, the program itself ends up distracting from true ministry and true friendships. So for now we busy ourselves with skipping the programs and going right for the relationship.
What you can do is pray. Pray for the relationships our church has with our neighbors. Pray for our wisdom in ministering here. Pray about your family and how you can share the gospel with your own neighbors.
8.  Why did you guys move to East Lake  instead of just staying in Chelsea and driving over there to minister? It’s only a 30 minute drive, right?
It’s so much easier to live where you minister and minister where you live. When I get a phone call from a neighbor living in poverty who needs something, say a flashlight because her power got turned off (true example), it’s much better for me to drive 5 minutes than 30. We also get much more trust and respect from people because we live in the same neighborhood. Cultures of poverty are very suspicious of outsiders. I don’t just consider this a ministry that we are doing, its not something that I put on a to do list – go share Christ with the poor. This is my life. It’s a life where my goal is to live in a way that communicates the gospel in word and action.
My first response when my husband and I talked about moving here was “I’m comfortable where we are.” Then the Lord showed me Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” Talk about being uncomfortable! My comfort is in Christ and that makes East Lake a great place to be.
For more information about The Church at South East Lake, visit this site.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

Last year we didn't make it to the pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin so the kids made sure that it was on the calendar for this year.  We went with some friends in the neighborhood who also home school and are apart of our church.    

I think all the kids had a blast, minus the bee sting incident. There were so many sweat bees!

Seriously think they have this "get into position for the camera" thing figured out.  All I said was, "hey guys, let me take your picture" and this is what I got.

It was this guys first experience at the pumpkin patch and oh. my. goodness. did he have fun!

Wasn't sure we were going to be able to get him out of the pumpkin patch.

 But then he realized he got to ride on the wagon again....what little boy doesn't like to do that?

 I have a friend who made their pumpkins into the Despicable Me characters, which totally rocked and we couldn't compete, but it did give the kids the idea to paint their pumpkins like the Lorax characters.  Ben traced the picture which we printed off the internet and then the kids got to painting.  They had the idea in mind before they picked the pumpkins which is why the fish fits so appropriately on that particular pumpkin.

 Great job kiddos!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Updating in pictures post 2

First half of October 2012

We had a small get together to say good-bye to some good friends who were moving.  Cude family you will be missed!

 We had the wonderful opportunity to go to Disney World with Ben's dad and step-mom.  To help avoid the question "how many more days" we made a count down calendar.  Each day when we would flip the close pin we had a fun Disney related activity....jump like Tigger....or act like your favorite Disney character.

 We took Cannon to his first visit at Chucky Cheese so he could get used to the "large character" in preparation for Disney.  Just to let you know, it didn't work.

We had an absolute blast!

Just so happened that Ben's cousin and his family were going the same week so his wife and I got together before hand to come up with an idea for matching shirts.  Kinda weird that we don't see much of them during the year living in the same city, but got to spend time together here.

I had been putting off getting little man's haircut because I had heard there was a barber shop in Magic Kingdom.  There is!  Anyone can get their haircut, doesn't just have to be your first, but note that we made reservations several weeks in advance.

Yes, I know, he doesn't look thrilled, but he did a great job just sitting there while she cut his hair.  I was totally expecting tears.  I think he was too tired to do anything but sit.

 After all the fun, when we got back we had to go to do this.....

Under Cannon's tongue it was completely attached.  He had never had any trouble nursing or eating solid foods, but we noticed he couldn't stick his tongue out.  He isn't much of a talker, more of a grunter....if that is even a word.  I was afraid it would delay his speech more than anything so we went to talk to an ENT.  He recommended getting it "clipped" for the lack of a better word. Very simple procedure, but they did have to put him to sleep. 

Watching the doctor come down the hall.

Wasn't the happiest camper when he came back to us, but after a long afternoon nap he was back to his normal self....with more tongue movement that is :)

 The kids and I made a quick weekend trip to my hometown to celebrate one of my best friends growing up.  Her first baby due in December.  So much fun catching up with people you grew up with and only see ever now and then!

Updating in pictures

It's actually been awhile since I updated the blog.  Shame. On. Me.

September 2012 

The big boys birthdays are a week apart.  Instead of a birthday party with friends they choose a trip with mom and dad to LegoLand in Atlanta, GA.

They had also been watching some of the Man Vs. Food shows and discovered a restaurant in Atlanta where he was challenged with a 11 lb. pizza.  We didn't try the challenge pizza, The Carnivore, but we did try the large pizza.


Even though it was the boys birthday weekend celebration, it's my birthday that same week too.  After  I begged and pleaded they suggested we make a pit stop so I could go to the Dekalb Farmers Market.  Love. That. Place.  Can you tell Carter was supper excited he found some authentic Chinese noodles.

The boys gave up the party with their friends, however, they were not willing to give up cake.  They each got to pick their favorite cake to have on the day of their birthday.

Caden - lemon cake. 

 Carter - strawberry cobbler.

Also in Sept. Carter got a black eye from the metal dome on the  playground

and Isabel lost her 2nd tooth

Monday, October 29, 2012

Not Me Monday

Mckmama- Not Me Monday

I did NOT fold laundry on our kitchen table and then leave it for a couple several days without putting it where it belongs.  Therefore we did NOT have to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the kitchen island.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Straw Drinker

It took him awhile, but I am so tickled that he has a new accomplishment!

 Makes things so much easier when we go out.  If I am going to forget something, it's going to be the sippy cup that sits in the fridge full of milk.