Hudson is our food kid, so of course he had lots of birthday plans in mind that involved food.  You may recall my crazy town anxiousness about a blue Crager cake for his birthday, well I’m happy to report I totally delivered when I happened upon a clearanced Crager key chain.  I might have done a little happy dance upon finding this little guy in the store.  Hudson thought it was the greatest cake ever.  We all enjoyed his cake together on Sunday since he would be at school all day on his actual birthday.

We have an ongoing birthday tradition where we decorate the birthday kid’s door after they go to sleep the night before their birthday.  Every year it’s something different.  Hudson plays with Legos 99.9% of the time…he talks about Legos…he is this crazy good builder of just whatever he imagines…he should be Emmett for Halloween, so we knocked his door out with just some pieces of construction paper.  Our easiest door to date.

He asked for rainbow waffles for breakfast.  And at his school, you can bring a special treat at lunchtime.  He wanted Oakland A’s cupcakes.  I think they totally screamed Oakland A’s…or maybe just “Green”.  Either way, he didn’t care and was really just excited to have me and Amon at lunch with him.

Shortly after school we had to head to the ballpark for their double header.  It also was our night to provide snacks for the team.  In true Hudson fashion he requested snickerdoodles and Sprite.  I would like to toss a shout out to the shop on Etsy who oddly enough had Crager baggie cover things for just $4 and now have mysteriously disappeared.  Not sure what happened to their shop, but maybe search on Etsy for “obscure mythological crocodile baggie topper things”.  #nailedit

I would also like to issue an apology to the parents on Hudson and Solomon’s baseball team for giving your children Sprites and snickerdoodles at 9pm last night.  I hope that worked out okay for you :)

After their game everyone was super hungry so we enjoyed Hudson’s choice of Chickfila and were practically the only people there.  It was 9 o’clock on a Monday…I can’t imagine why.

Needless to say, everyone this morning had a birthday hangover.  Too much sugar and not enough sleep, but when I asked Hudson if he enjoyed his birthday he said, “It was the best birthday ever.”  That’s what a lot of sugar and a lot of love with do.

 Hudson Kelley, goodness it’s such an honor to be your mom!  You make life sweet and fun and you teach me so much about the character of God.  You’re heart is so kind and big.  You are truly a master builder when it comes to Lego creating and you can get dirty and play hard on the baseball field.  We love watching your life unfold and watching as God pursues your heart.  You are a world changer and I cannot wait to see what all God has in store for your life.  Happy 6th birthday!  We love you so very very much.

Happy Tuesday.

You Give Them Something To Eat

Every morning I drive our kids to school.  The last two years Josh typically took Harper to school because her old school started at 7:15.  That was early enough for him to just drop her off on his way to work.  This year our three big kids along with the rest of our family have ventured into a new school.  It doesn’t start until later, so now I take them all each morning.  It’s literally 2 minutes from our house, but every morning I pray for their day out loud as we drive.  I thank God for their lives, their teachers and their friends.  I ask God to show them ways to love on their friends and teachers and allow them to show them Jesus.  I tell my kids school is not just about learning and having fun, but their school is their mission field…one of their opportunities to tell people about the God of the Universe and to show love and kindness and generosity and compassion and respect.

I say these things with deep conviction and mean every word.  I see school as much more than just school.  Their school is our community.  Our entire family is meant to serve and love on this place and all the staff and families who are there.

Last week I listened with giant tears in my eyes as Harper told how she sat with a classmate during recess who was having a rough day in class and told her about Jesus.  She encouraged her to pray and ask God to help her through the rest of the day.  I cried because A) thankfulness to God for the heart He is cultivating in Harper and B) shame…shame because even though I tell my kids every morning they are mission for God…to be His light…to tell the people they encounter about His love…I straight up fail at this constantly.

It’s easy for me to talk about Jesus and what He has done and is doing as I hide behind my keyboard in the comfort of our home, but it’s another thing for me to come in contact with a bagillion different people every day and stay silent.  I’ve never felt the urgency more than ever that we need Christ…others need Christ…and I’m not doing a dang thing about it.  God used Harper to slap me in the face…wake up Laura…what are you doing for My kingdom.  If Christ is in me everyone I come in contact should know it.  If Christ is in me how can I NOT want everyone around me to hear about how much He loves them too?!?!

I’m ashamed I’m not a quick learner.  I’m ashamed at how long I’ve supposedly loved Jesus and the small number of people I’ve told of His grace and mercy and redeeming love.  It’s not an easy pill to swallow as God uses my 7-year-old to teach me lessons.  The question I keep wrestling with is what will I do with this lesson I’ve learned…have I really learned it…or will it fade away…will I choose to get really uncomfortable for the sake of Christ…and why is it so uncomfortable and awkward to share God’s love with those living right around me anyways?  It should pour from me…I should be eaten up with His love and it should be uncontainable.

I’m still making my way through Matthew and today I read about Jesus feeding the 5000.  Today it read differently than it ever has before.  “Now when it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the day is now over; send the crowds away to go into the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “They need not go away; you give them something to eat.”  Matthew 14:15-16  The disciples then proceed to bring Jesus what they have…only the 5 loaves and 2 fish…practically nothing, but they brought that practically nothing to Him and He turned into Something!  Enough to feed 5000 men, besides the woman and children.  “You give them something to eat.”  Apart from Jesus I am nothing…absolutely stinkin’ nothing…just an ugly sinner…but when we obey God and give Him what we do have He does the craziest most amazing things and He gets all the glory He so deserves.

My heart is burdened and heavy…I want our family to give Him everything we have…even when it seems like absolutely not enough…and believe, anticipate and trust He will use our family and our words and our actions and our love to do something mighty for His kingdom.  May all the praise and glory be His.

Anxious Mess

Here’s the deal…I’m an anxious mess this week.  A total hot mess.  I can neither control my emotions nor understand them nor keep them in check.  Crazy-to the-town.  My mind is in a 1000 different places.  I have a list a mile long constantly in the back of mind.  Things pulling me this way and that.  Jesus and heaven on my mind non stop.  Hudson’s birthday is Monday and I sat last night and realized I don’t have anything ready to celebrate this crazy good kid.  And he’s been anticipating this day for like 6 months already.  I told him yesterday he only had 4 more days until his birthday.  He looked at me with this sad/so excited I’m going to go crazy nutso face and said, “Why didn’t you tell me?  I had no idea.  I’m…I’m just so excited now.”  Now let me throw something together asap.  We talked details which included a chocolate blue Chima cake with Crager on top…holy crap were in trouble…rainbow waffles, chocolate Oakland A’s cupcakes for his class…again, holy crap were in trouble…snickerdoodles and sprite for his baseball team…he has a double header on his birthday…and Wendys and/or pizza to eat.  He’s a big food guy…can you tell?!?!?!  He’s clearly thought about this way too much.  Josh Kelley and I are destined to disappoint :)

In light of the straight up insaneness going on in my head I thought today I’d just post recent orders.  It’s what I do in a pinch.  I’ll try and distract you with colorful fabric.  Look, look over here.  Ha.  I mean, I just can’t even form a legit real thought…other than “How on earth do I come up with a chocolate blue Chima cake with a mythological crocodile on top?”  It’s a real thing.  Anything you guys want to hear about next week?  Lay it on me.  Why don’t you sweet people just write all my posts for next week.

I’ll leave you with these pretties.  More name pillows and text key fobs and a lovely 6×6 custom canvas.

Amon and I have an intense list of to-dos which will surely end in us binging on emotional Chickfila and/or an entire bag of pretzel M&Ms because, well, that’s just what I do.  And who wants to make Hudson the worlds most obscure birthday cake ever?!?!  Don’t everyone volunteer at once.

Enjoy your weekend.

Happy Friday.

These Days

The days are truly flying by.  I often see the kids doing something and think, “I don’t want to forget this” so I grab my camera or phone and snap a picture.  I find joy in picture taking.  I find joy in capturing one specific moment.  I wish I was better about video.  I’m actually awful at remembering to take videos now that everyone is getting older.  I need to work on that, but hey, you do what you can do.  I want to remember these days.  Change is coming for our family…I can feel it…I can see it and I want to remember us as we are.  I was looking through some of my recent pictures and these jumped out at me as favorites.

Lazy Sunday football and a new Chima Lego game on the iPad which has rocked Solomon & Hudson’s world.

Two boys playing baseball and one girl playing soccer makes for a crazy schedule the majority of the time.  It’s a bit stressful sometimes and then I look at this picture and I see why we love it.  Sweet Gunner loving on Coach Grant as he gives his “good game boys” chat, Trevis representing with his Full Count hat, all those little boys listening and enjoying their after game snack, parents seeing kind coaches, Amon watching on and the comfort of friendship no matter how you played.  Makes me smile.

Gratefulness for my small business and the gift it is to love what I do.  So crazy thankful.

Another picture from the Ngungwane carepoint.  Could I be any more in love with those sweet faces and bright red chairs?!?!?  I was suppose to be back in Swaziland on my birthday again this year, but I couldn’t get the trip minimum I needed for people to make it happen.  Honestly I’ve kind of grieved the trip falling through.  Things just don’t always work out like we think they should.  God is still teaching me to plan in pencil, not Sharpie…a little Shauna Niequist for you today.

This girl.  She gets me.  I get her.  Enough said.

I’m still living in last weekend.  I really like Josh Kelley.

Josh Kelley Fun Fact:  He can walk on his hands.  It’s one of the quirky things which one me over at age 15.

He still random sleeps every once and a while and you better believe I’m going to take a picture of it when he does.  I don’t want to forget this.  It has been one of the funniest/cutest things about Amon.  He’s such a funny and different kind of kid.

These two are climbing fools.  Can’t stop, won’t stop.  We’re going to take them to the climbing gym soon.  It needs to happen.  Every door frame in our house is covered with grimy little boy germs now.  Hello American Ninja Warrior.  Sign them up.

And my people.  The love is pretty dang intense.  We get each other.  We laugh at each other’s jokes and fight hard and act crazy and call each other out on our junk and tell each other Jesus loves us more than anything else in the world and we forgive…a lot.  It’s what family does.  And I could not be more grateful for these 5.

Let me tuck these days away as reminders when the waters aren’t smooth and storms come in hard and knock us flat out.  So thankful for God’s constant and steadfast goodness and mercy and love and grace.

Happy Wednesday!

2 Years – A Repost

Sunday was 2 years since Amon had his big heart surgery and got his little heart all fixed up.  I mark my calendar each year because it is such an important day for Amon and our family.

I went back and read the post I wrote on that day.  I remember the sheer exhaustion I felt.  Being physically and emotionally spent.  Wiped out.  Thought I would re-post because I love this small part of Amon’s story…God’s goodness and mercy on his little life.  And we’re still working towards our 5K donation goal for the American Heart Association for research because IT IS KEY.  Every advancement and discovery is critical.  They are making a difference.  If you would like to donate you can go to Amon’s page and use the ‘give now’ button.  I’m also mailing out thank you key fobs for donations of $15 or more.  After you make your donation just GO HERE and send me a message with your name and mailing address.  Please feel free to share Amon’s page and story.  We have until October 4th.  Eeeek.

Post from September 21 2012:

I’m Tired

What a day, what a day.  We got to the hospital around 6am…anesthesia took Amon back around 8…surgery started around 9…they thought they were finished around 1:30…then Amon had some bleeding issues and they had to re-open him back up…and finally close to 6 we got to see our incredibly amazing, sweet, sweet, triple sweet boy.

Can I just say that technology is amazing.  I am blown away with how everything is working for Amon…where all these tubes and wires and IVs and ports are going and what all they are doing.  It is absolutely crazy.

This is definitely Amon’s most fun tube.  Who new medical tubes could be so stellar.

Amon will have 5 super rad scars as apart of his story…1 nice sized one from the incision and then 4 smaller ones from tubes coming from his belly.  The ladies are going to love this guy.

Thank you for smothering him in prayer…we felt it.  It was a long, long, hard, emotional, but yet incredible day.  So thankful for this crazy sweet boy and his new heart.  So thankful for a God who ordains and holds and comforts and restores.  Amazing.

Now for some sleep.  And for the quickest recovery ever.  Thank you for praying…truly, truly, truly…thank you for praying.

May God receive all the praise.

**Thank you to everyone who has already donated in honor of Amon.  We are always floored by the kindness and generosity of others.  Happy Tuesday!**

Happy Birthday JK!

Today is Josh Kelley’s big 3-2!  I must say I was super disappointed when I thought we were both turning 31 this year and he corrected me.  “What?  32?  Are you sure?”  “Yes, Laura. We’re turning 32.”  Whatevs.

We spent the weekend celebrating.  I managed to send the Kelley kids off to their grandparents house for two nights and wrangled them solo on Saturday while Josh was with his Full Count fall league guys.  How fun was a Friday night/Saturday afternoon/Saturday night with no kids?  Well, super fun.

We got in runs and ate fun dinners without sharing.  We celebrated with Merf and Jake Saturday.  Merf and Josh are practically twins.  True story, but not really.  Birthdays one year and two days apart.  Like I said, practically twins :)  Anyways, crazy fun late night.  The best conversations and laughter.  Despite the waiter bringing out banana pudding for their birthday dessert even though neither Josh or Merf or myself are banana people.  Jacob scored.

I picked the kids back up really early Sunday morning for a day of celebrating…just the 6 of us.  I may have forgotten to get up at 3am and start his most loved pot roast, soooooo we went with second best….Krystals.  When you don’t start your crock pot just go with Krystals…and regret it later because that’s just what you do with Krystals.  I laughed because when I realized there would be no pot roast Josh narrowed it down to Krystals or Taco Bell.  And I was not surprised one bit.  It’s how we roll some days.

Today were going to be enjoying some baseball at the ball park, but there will be roast for dinner.  I made sure to stat that thing this morning.  There are no bake cookies too.  And asparagus and broccoli.  And potatoes.  All Josh Kelley inspired.  Ask and you shall receive on your birthday :)

This dude is kind of my legit favorite.  I still remember watching him play ball when we were 12.  I remember his glasses and torn up cleats.  His maroon dyed buzz cut and hunter green Jansport backpack with a Metallica patch.  Vans and plaid pants with a chain leading from his belt loop to his wallet.  He’s always been my favorite, but honestly, he’s never been more my favorite than he is today.

Time moves along and change is inevitable.  Our marriage has not been easy.  It takes work.  Good, hard work and lots of it.  But I can say with humble gratitude to God, for the first time in maybe for ever, we are both working like crazy to focus on God and Him alone.  Not each other.  Not the kids.  Not the world.  But God alone.  Everyday He is teaching us that He Is Enough.  Nothing more is required or needed.  And wow, what a drastic difference it is making in our marriage and in our family.

I am so blessed to be on mission with Josh Kelley.  I do not take this for granted because I have seen marriages crumble and fall apart…my own parents included.  Josh is not perfect and neither am I, but it is comforting to be like minded.  To hear his heart for Jesus makes me thank God for His handy work…for the way He created Josh…the way He is moving and working in him.  For the way He brought us together and is allowing us to go on this wild adventure with Him.  What an honor and privilege.

He doesn’t hear it enough, but Josh Kelley I like you!  I’m thankful to God for your life and your heart is still the hottest thing about you.  You challenge me and make me laugh so flippin’ hard.  You tick me off some days too, but you’ll always be my jam.  We’ve spent our last 17 birthdays together and here’s to 1000 more.  Happiest of birthdays and I love you tons.

Too Many Thoughts, Not Enough Time

It’s Friday and I am crazy excited the weekend is here.  We have a very rare weekend lined up to celebrate Josh Kelley’s birthday.  I cannot wait.  I also have about 5 bazillion thoughts going through my head and heart today…and not just today, but this entire week has been so crazy thought swirling.  I’m not typically an emotional gal.  I take that back…I wasn’t before Mom died, then I got all crazy emotional about just about everything…I suppose death will do that…then I headed back to my more unemotional state. Clearly I thought you needed a little back story on my emotions.  Ha.  Anywho…this week I have been back on the tear train.  Case in point:  While walking at the park with a friend she told me a sweet story and I started to cry.  <—– that is not me.  I don’t cry while getting a power walk on, but alas there I was getting all teary.  So it’s been a weird week, but weird in a good way.

Today I’ve spent almost the whole day cleaning out our house again.  Purging and purging and purging.  Every week I feel God peeling away my fingers and loosening my grip and I’m pretty sure we’re keeping the thrift/help center shop down the street in business.  We’re on first name basis now.  We are loving our house and new school and really all my past small house frustrations were really heart problems.  Satan was feeding us lies…the world was chanting in our ears and he had us hook, line and sinker.  And then we started hearing God more clearly every day…I am enough.  The end.  So we’re resting in that.  He is enough.  He is all we really need.  Every week I take a sweep through our house and more stuff goes out the door and it’s incredibly freeing.  We are a work in progress always…we will never have it all right, but I am so glad God is working on us…together as a family.

On a completely different note…does anyone else like Luna bars????  These are a recent discovery of mine and I may have intense text sessions about the different flavors with my friend Merf, but Holy cow!  I love these.  If you know horrible things about them like that they are made of rat feces, please do not tell me.  I don’t want to know, but what I do want to do is make out with each flavor.  So flippin’ good.  They are suppose to be good for you, but I’m always a skeptic…crossing my fingers I’m wrong…and for no rat feces.

Oh and you’ll never guess what happened this morning which made me curse like a sailor!  You may remember we recently got a new couch and I put fierce rules into action about ZERO eating or drinking on it.  Like ZERO.  Like if I see you even lean against the new couch with a food or beverage item I will taser you.  It’s serious.  Well dang it all if Amon didn’t finish his yogurt, but secretly hold some in his mouth, then went and stood facing the couch and then sneezed blowing strawberry yogurt all over the couch.  WHO DOES THAT?????  He is the strangest child.  Why hold yogurt in your mouth…why not just swallow it.  He’s been doing this with some foods and water lately.  I don’t get it.  Our new couch officially has it’s first stain…and multiples because it was a legit sneeze.  Yogurt everywhere.  I’m still trying to work my stain remover magic, but it’s not looking good.

There were so many other things I was going to write today, but it’s already about time to get in the car rider line.  Last thing though, we are still working towards our 5K goal for the American Heart Association.  You guys have given so generously so far and we are almost to $1400.  If you would like to still donate please head over to Amon’s page and use the “give now” button to make your donation.  Also for donations of $15 or more I’m sending out “thank you” key fobs.  After you make your donation just GO HERE and send me a message with your name and mailing address.  I would love love love to send out more key fobs.  We have until October 4th so time is closing in.  And please feel free to share Amon’s page and his story.

Okay that’s it!  Short and sweet and random.  Here’s to a great weekend.  Hope everyone enjoys it.  And thank you guys for stopping by and reading.  You are crazy nice.

Happy Friday.

Everyone Say “Noooormal”

For the love.  For the sweet love my kids…especially Solomon…are in this super weird picture taking phase.  To get a semi normal looking human facial expression we have to have a Come To Jesus conversation…insert motherly stern voice…”Just make a normal face everyone”  “No, I said normal.”  “Solomon that is not a normal face.” “Nobody do anything weird with your hands.”  “Everyone just smile.”  “A normal smile.”  “Just try and smile a normal smile.”  “Someone help me.”  And to close my case I present to you Exhibit A, B, C, D, E and F.  I know that’s a lot of exhibiting, but really each piece of evidence could stand alone and I didn’t want to leave any of them out.

I would also like to say here that Solomon is the leader of the pack in weird faces and channeling his inner Ricky Bobby “I don’t know what to do with my hands?”  Leader of the pack.  He holds teaching seminars and gives tips on how to make a completely not normal face and how to look crazy handed.

Exhibit A:  I just don’t even know.  Amon looks straight up annoyed.  Sol is trying to pull his eye sockets down, which is totally normal.  Harper, well, I can deal with hers.  And Hudson looks like a creeper shooting me a sideways bird.

Exhibit B:  Now this one is slightly different than the above.  Amon’s going for the sly eyes.  Sol…again…pulling his eye sockets down.  #shocker  We can probably just skip Harper every time from here on out.  And whoa, Hudson looks again like an old creepy guy, but this time should be smoking and saying something like “Heeeeeeeeey.” (<—-say in your best creeepy guy voice) as a pretty lady walks by.

Exhibit C:  This one were going crazy and mixing it up.  Amon is now looking in the general direction of the camera which is a slam dunk in my book.  Sol is doing something new with his hands in this one.  Switching up the eye socket pull move.  He’s got a nice muppet mouth going on as well.  Remember were skipping Harper.  And OMG WHAT IS WRONG WITH HUDSON AND WHY DOES HE KEEP GETTING CREEPIER WITH EACH PICTURE?????

Exhibit D:  This is our winner of the bunch.  Amon is channeling his inner Sol and lucky for us Sol went this time with his signature shooting guns.  Harper, I love her.  And hold the phone people…Hudson looks normal.

Exhibit E:  This one isn’t too bad either.  Amon’s going with a snapping affect.  Sol is sticking with his shooting guns.  Anyone else notice how committed Harper has been to trying to pull off the ole’ rabbit ears joke on Hudson?  And what’s this, Hudson has pulled out his own shooting guns now too.  Did not see that one coming.

And Exhibit F:  Amon, God bless him.  He’s just along for this wild “try to mimic whatever Sol is doing” ride.  Sol brought his guns in a little closer and added a pirate eye.  Nice combo.  Harper is still trying for the rabbit ears, but alas, they just get lower and lower and lower.  And Hudson, well, he’s only giving a half hearted shot at weirdness in this one and it’s safe to say we’re all glad he retired his creepy old guy look.

All in all, I would say we nailed it.  And I think maybe this one is our framer.

Happy Thursday!