Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My Thanksgiving ABCs 2015

Wow, so much to catch up on!  We are almost to Thanksgiving and I haven't posted anything since August.  But, I am remembering why I never blog.  Life gets in the way!  I get too lazy to load pictures, find and charge the camera and locate cords and ignore my children long enough to get it done!!  This blog should be a doozy, but I don't want to forget things!!  Here is my annual Thanksgiving ABCs, with some catch up thrown in throughout (not sure why some won't center but I can't give any more time to figure it out!)...

A - Auburn
This one usually falls first, starting with A and all and having such a big place in our hearts this time of year!  Even though Auburn is not playing very well this year, we have had so much fun going to games and taking the kids to one of our favorite places on Earth.

Some of our football section family - the Hendersons and the Nelsons

Homecoming Game - they made it happily until the 4th quarter!

The Iron Bowl might be ugly for us this year, but I would always rather be an Auburn tiger!!  War Eagle!

B - Briarwood
Turner is a big first grader at Briarwood this year.  He has had such a great first semester so far, and I am thrilled with that.  He has the sweetest teacher who appreciates his little crazy self.  It has been weird being back at Briarwood as a parent, but has been fun to reunite with old friends and make new ones.  The Lord has been teaching me about being the new person again - since it has been a while since I have stepped out of my comfort zone.  But, God provided a wonderful Bible Study on Thursdays with a great small group and an excuse to spy on my little first grader.  I didn't think I was a helicopter mom until my baby was at a different campus, but I think I have adjusted now.  I cried on the Meet the Teacher day because he didn't know anyone in his class, but that was crazy because he sure didn't care!!  

Turner's precious teacher, Mrs. Bandy

Turner with a buddy on the hayride for his Pumpkin Patch field trip
Not a great picture, but the only documentation I have from our first Homecoming Parade 
Fun first grade field trip

C - Collins

This little Colley Wolley is officially a "three-nager."  She is precious and kind and sweet half the time, and whiny and demanding and strong-willed the other half.  She has shown me more about emotions than the boys ever will! She has her daddy wrapped around her finger, and while it has been sad to see her leave being a baby, she cracks me up every single day.
She prefers boys to girls, and her favorite friend is Sims, her "fest friend."  
She is particular about wearing Minnie Mouse crocs that we got in Disney World almost 2 years ago, but I have stopped fighting her on it.  She loves "appy juice", which is really cran-pomegranate juice. Random, but she can't live without it.  She doesn't like for me to get out of her sight.  Yesterday at a church picnic, I was inside eating and realized 10 minutes had gone by without her near me.  Never fails, she was crying and being held by a friend outside the jumpies.  She knows how to work it, because she was FINE!
Her favorite phrase these past several months has been "I big girl, I COLLINS!"  She doesn't prefer nick names, and she does not want to be slighted in comparison to her brothers.  She has an irrational fear of toilets that flush by themselves, and will jump off a toilet in a full panic if she hears a nearby potty flush.  
She loves to eat hummus and guacamole and shares every bowl of soup I ever have - against my will.    Also, she begs to use a porta-potty every time she sees one.  That was a new one for me?!  She will wait until soccer practice or a game for the boys and intentionally need to use it.  So gross.
Her other best friend in this world is John Burke, but only until he gets to rough and she asks me daily "You beat him up??"  She finally decided to potty train this summer - at 3 1/2, and then at the end of the summer graduated to a toddler bed.  
Modeling her big girl bed - she is very proud of it
A few other phrases I hear from her a lot are "Don't recopy me", if the boys (mostly John Burke) are mocking her.  She likes to say he is "eeskusking" and the other day she screamed in horror and said "Shawn-Burke (how she says his name) just kissed me.  That is only for adults!!"  Right on!  She is a fighter, she is determined to be as big as her brothers and she also likes to snuggle.  A fun - but trying - combination right now, but I wouldn't trade it!

D - Day School
One of the constants in our life since they were babies has been Covenant Day School (and Mother's Day Out and Nursery). This year Collins is in 3K and John Burke is in 5K, and they are having a ball!  I am so grateful for this school and the kind teachers and their heart for the Lord.  I choke up when I hear them humming or singing a praise song, or hear them retell a Bible story so innocently.  They love going to school, and I so appreciate that!!
A picture from last May, the last day all 3 were enrolled there
Collins with one of her teachers, Mrs. Alison.  Thankfully they appreciate her and claim she obeys at school - this look suggests otherwise.
Her other teacher, Mrs. Caroline.  We ran into her in Auburn this weekend and Collins was way more excited than she let on!  That stinker!
John Burke's teacher, Mrs. Cami, who had Turner last year.  Talk about appreciating both of my boys and how different they are!
And Miss Ann Elizabeth.  She is new this year, but has been able to keep her thumb right on this guy. This was the first day he met her.  She was on the floor cutting something, and he said "How come Miss Ann Elizabeth is doing all the work and Mrs. Cami is just standing there talking?"  Great start;)

E- Extracurriculars

This Fall, both boys tried out Briarwood soccer.  They played a little bit last year, but this was our first time with Briarwood soccer and it was such a great experience!  They each had great coaches, and even though they played in different age groups, they always practiced at the same place within 15 minutes of each other and their games were always at the same place within 30 minutes of each other.  Yay!!  I may not have been as enthusiastic if I were driving all around different days and times.  Their coaches were great, and they both ended up scoring at their last couple of games.  John Burke even learned how to trash talk, which I am not proud of!

Turner's team with Coach Jeff and other Coach Jeff
John Burke's team was smaller, but grew a little over the season with Coach Heather
Soccer Brothers for the win!!
And not to be left out, Collins started Briarwood Ballet on Thursdays.  She has LOVED every second of it - I think she appreciates time away from "the brudders" as she says.  She loves how girly it is, and has met sweet new little friends and has 2 incredible (and very patient) teachers.  They make it so much fun!!  She considers it her own private thing - she won't show me (or anyone) anything she learns in there.  I occasionally overhear her say "up, together and down", but that is all I have picked up.  Weirdo.
First day of ballet 
Collins with sweet friends LC, K and AA

F - Friends (Functional Family)
Last week I heard a speaker talking about the upcoming holidays and how important family time is, but also how important it is to prioritize time with our friends - who serve as our functional family.  We are a pretty outgoing/extroverted family, and Heath and I definitely thrive on quality time with friends.  I found some fun pictures from throughout this year with friends.  But we are especially thankful for the people God has given us!!

My high school best friends 
Some college besties - we need more weekends together
Some of our good buddies at the lake

Heath and some of his favorite guys at a friend's going away party
A work picture - but these are my best buds at MDO

G - Grandparents 
God has blessed us abundantly with some wonderful grandparents.  This past year we have had some great quality time with them, in town and out of town.  Thank you, Lord, for these relationships our kids have.  And, as every year, we miss our MeMe.  She gets to be with Jesus, but we remember her often and know how much she loved them.  Turner told Heath the other day on the way to school that he "felt a cool breeze and it made him realize how much MeMe was loving Heaven."  That sweet little bird - I am glad he remembers her enough to miss her!
Hanging with Pap and Tappy in Tampa
Supporters at soccer
Turner with his favorite part of Briarwood - seeing GiGi
Turner's Grandparents' Day 
John Burke's Grandparents' Day (Pap was in China)

Hanging with Pap in Auburn
MeMe with tiny baby Turner almost 7 years ago

H - Heath
I roll my eyes when people refer to the husbands as "the hubs."  There was an awkward situation a few months ago when we were out at a bar and my friend Emily and I were approached by 2 older, sketchy guys.  They started talking to us and we our husbands thought it would be funny to let it play out and act like they weren't with us.  Good thing I yelled out something like "We are out with the hubs!"  What?!  We died laughing in the car -why did I say that?   I was very appreciative of Heath right then - though I won't make it a pattern of the nickname.
I am not one to gush about "Hubs", but Heath has been such a wonderful husband for 11 1/2 years - wow we are getting old.  He and I really are best friends, but we can make each other REALLY crazy, don't worry.  He helps us point our marriage back to Christ constantly.  
I love watching him lead our little family...even if eye rolling and laughing and yelling are commonplace...from all of us!
This was a heated pool and this was a sacrifice for him because I finally have reached a point when I can sit on the side and he was in the 50 degree March weather in the pool:)
This picture owns me because he was so uncomfortable and I was dying to get a picture before he got the snake off.  He HATES snakes and it made me laugh a lot.

Thankful that he is a great daddy and I have him to do life with, though I don't brag on the hubs much:) (eye roll)

I - Investing in church family 
We are the most thankful for our relationship with Christ and that He died to save us from our sins.  We are also grateful and thankful for our church, Covenant.  Sometimes being involved/working there means you see the warts and all, but we wouldn't trade it.  So thankful that the Lord uses us and other sinners to glorify Him.
 One of our favorite things all year for fun and fellowship is Camp Covenant at Alpine in Mentone.  This year it was FREEZING but we had so much fun - especially the kids, because they can run and play and climb and canoe all day long!

I tease Heath and call him Captain Covenant, but we are so grateful to worship and enjoy such fellowship at our wonderful church!

J - John Burke

This boy.  He is SO my child.  He can make me insane and then crack me up in the same minute.  He is persistent, strong-willed, extremely perceptive, many things.  I always say about him that he drives me crazy when he is awake and then I miss him when he is asleep.  
He is a wonderful helper.  He is the only one of my children who I can trust to clean the car out or find my car keys or ask the neighbor for sugar, etc.  In this picture he got cold in the car one morning taking Turner to school, so insisted that he wear my long sleeve shirt.  So he still had it on when he got the trash can for me.  
He is a neighborhood wanderer.  There are not any kids on our street, but a couple of grandkids who visit often.  As I type this, he is across the street playing with our new neighbor's grandson who he probably stalked in the driveway.  Every single morning that I let him (or get too lazy to fight him), he heads to our neighbor Helen's house to chat and every afternoon I walk outside and yell his name and he meanders out of 1 of the 4 houses around us (all grandparent age).  He will be social, even if there are no kids around!  He refuses to watch a movie or play the iPad (Collins and Turner will), and is always on the go.
He loves praise songs and picks up on the words more than the other 2 do.  Last week I kept overhearing him sing "Bless the Lord, oh my soul...and all that is within us, bless His holy name."  
He is always thinking, the wheels always turning on how to get his way, but he will win you over with his charm.  He loves to get in people's business (no clue where he got that;)), and has to know the name of everyone in the room.  I am grateful for him and how tired he makes me:)

K - Kindergarten

To piggy back on the post about John Burke, I am so grateful for Covenant Kindergarten.  John Burke is in there now, and Turner was there last year and our family is so thankful for it!  It is every day from 9-1, and I have loved being able to have them one more year before they really go to big school all day.  He is in the routine of going daily, but I still get time with him in the morning and afternoon that I have lost now with Turner....even though it was time for Turner to go all day and will be next year for John Burke!
John Burke and his adorable friend at the 50's party to celebrate the 50th day of school.  I love how Covenant does fun things like Grandparent Day and a trip to children's theodore (as John Burke calls it) and the Sock Hop.  But I also love how they are able to work with them as 2 teachers on about 16 kids to really hit home with phonics and math and beginning reading.  I also like being in the same building with them one more year!

L - Lake
A new fun thing this Summer was that Heath's dad bought a lake house in March.  We spent several weekends there this summer, and are heading there for Thanksgiving.  We have had a ball on the water - at Lake Martin and with friends at other lake places.  
The view from the boat

chatting with Pap
kayaking at a friend's place nearby
How we spent HOURS this summer - watching the boys ski and holding the rope
The boys are rocking the skis - Collins won't even try!

Riding the Gator - a very favorite of theirs.  Thankful for the smiles and giggles the lake brings!

M - Motherhood

I love these little monkeys and the family God has me in.  Being a mother is such a joy, and I always want to appreciate it.  I know there will be several seasons along the way, and I am grateful that they are still all 3 loving me and the time we get to spend together.  I know soon enough I won't matter nearly as much to them, so I am trying to soak it up...even with every spill and fight and sickness along the way!

N - Neighbors

Our street has really blossomed over the last year or two.  It is almost complete with all houses being built on it.  We had a neighborhood bonfire at the end of October and it was so fun to hang out with existing neighbors and meet new ones.  I am proud of our little neighborhood that people are reaching out and meeting each other more!
Every single day I am so so thankful for Mr. Ken and Mrs. Helen.  We have 4 or 5 other wonderful neighbors right around us, too, but the Holcombs are like family.  
Collins with Mr. Ken.  She won't go to many people very easily or without making them work for it, but she has always taken to him.  He lets my kids run over him, jump on him, ask him God knows what questions, and he always shows them patience and loves on them!
Mr. Ken and Mrs. Helen and Jennifer at John Burke's birthday party.  
Every single morning John Burke really does head to Mrs. Helen's house around 7:15.  He prefers the breakfast she makes (usually bacon is involved) way more than mine.  He has just recently been determined that he would learn to tie his shoe before Turner and Mrs. Helen taught him how and they practiced for days!  He got it!  They read stories with him, and even better they listen to stories - true and outlandish - when I can't hear another word.  He got mad at me today and told me that he was glad Mrs. Helen was his best friend, because I wasn't anymore.  They are EXCEEDINGLY patient with us - and are always so kind to watch our fish or get our mail or even push my car out of the garage when it won't start.  Thank you, Lord, for these precious neighbors!

O - Outside
This spring we added a play set to our backyard.  We had talked about it for several months, and it has been such a great addition!!  They play outside every day, and it is so nice to have somewhere to send them in the back yard now.

We are also some riding toy loving fools, and I dread when it gets too cold to play outside.  Wow, we love outside play!
P - Pool
The pool is another thing our family loves year round (when I muster the energy for the inside pool....Collins has been begging me for weeks!)  All 3 of my monkeys can spend hours in the water, and they are little fish!  It gets us through the summer for sure, and hopefully they will learn more skills this year in the water. 
Swimming with GiGi at the beach 
And God bless Pop Pop for all the swimming he does with them - at the beach and at their house.  Collins just saw me writing this and asked to go back there right now.
Hanging with his buddy Watson at the rainbow slide by the pool
And jumping off the high dive at our fun new pool find in Cullman 

Q - Quiet afternoons
No pictures for this one, but this year I am still enjoying having somewhat of a break every afternoon.  I know this is fleeting as they are getting older.  Collins naps a couple of days a week (if I am lucky), so we still have time in the afternoon to come home and crash, eat snacks, watch shows (mostly Bravo for me - call me wrong, but I am thankful for my shows too!) and play outside before the night time routine.  Trying to take time to appreciate the little bit of down time still built into our day before they are all in school for the whole day.

R - Reuniting with our cousins
We are lucky to have siblings that we get to see quite a bit, and it is so fun to watch our kids grow up with our siblings' kids.  Built in friends are such a blessing!! We are thankful for all of our cousins and that we are able to see and play with them several times a year!
with Cameron and baby Missy and Tappy in Tampa
Henderson cousins last Christmas
GiGi with 6 of the 7 in their shirts from Alaska
Pop Pop and Chloe with us
Starr cousins with uncle Derek
Hanging with Ellie and Hazel in Atlanta for lunch
Collins with Kate and Morgan
and Chlo-Chlo

S - Sunday School

The Lord has blessed us with a great Sunday School class.  This is the tenth year of it, and that seems hard to believe.  Our class started with a bunch of newlyweds in the summer of 2005, and has seen so many marriages grow and change and children be added, sicknesses, struggles, celebrations.  We are so grateful that we can worship in such a community.  These are our people.  Heath and I each have small groups that we love as well - so much of what we do and where we go involve these people.  It is such a gift!
Heath's small group Christmas party last was a murder mystery dinner

T - Turner

Turner.  My big first grader.  He is so very kind.  He wakes up happy and he stays that way almost all the way through the day.  He is passionate about Legos, and will engage anyone who will listen in a mostly one-sided conversation about Jedis, light sabers and other things I am completely clueless about.  
He is so proud that he is in big school now, and is loving it!  Thankfully!  He just now, in November, knows the names of some of the girls in his class.  He kills me.  Every day when he gets in the car I make him tell me the names of people he ate lunch with or played with on the playground in hopes that he will pay attention to names.  He doesn't care, though.
He still likes to snuggle.  He likes to lay in bed with me and get me to warm his cold feet, and I am not ready for him to grow out of that yet.  He loves to give me hugs and bounds out to the car every day from school with a big smile, excited to see us.  
 He lost his first tooth a couple of weeks ago and was SO proud of himself, though we couldn't get a good picture.  
Bottom middle - the dentist promised us he would be almost 7 when he lost it, and he was right!

He fiercely loves his family - immediate and beyond.
This past year he has gotten on medicine for ADHD and it has been a journey through different medicine, but he has taken off academically!  So glad that we have found something that helps him turn his ears on...hallelujah!

His first day of school
I love that he is listening to so much more at school now, and he is soaking up things like a sponge...especially science and social studies and Bible stories.  He is my sweet little spastic boy, and I am so proud of him!
U - Unique Bond
These 2.  They are best friends and mortal enemies every single day.  They play and play and laugh and fight and hit, but can't live without the other one.  Both are sad when Turner gets to leave and be at Briarwood, but then gang up on me with their schemes and giggles and get over it with evil grins and messes.
Watching the house across the street from us being built.  John Burke made sure he met and followed every single worker on that house.

I love that they have each other - even though he can frustrate her to the point where she screams at a pitch so high that I am certain only dogs can hear it!  He tries to boss her around all the time, and she is NOT having it...a very strong-willed combination, but I love that they have this unique bond.

V - Vacations

We started the new year this year in Tampa and a visit to Lego Land...and to watch the Auburn tigers lose in the Outback Bowl
We went to the beach several times - always a favorite...and the lake as I mentioned earlier

Our annual mountain trip.  So fun!  These vacations are not huge, but are a great way to hang out and spend quality time together and we are grateful for little getaways!

W - Wild Trio

Darth Vader, Elsa and Boba Fett (never heard of him)

This past year it has really hit me that these are not babies anymore.  They are full blown, active, WILD children!  They keep me on my toes and we are always moving - eating, cleaning, driving, going!  It is hectic, but it is a joy and I want to remember every bit of it!  Thank you, Lord, for entrusting me with these 3 and for being there when I fail!!
X - Examining my Steps 
No picture here either, but I love love my FitBit watch.  I got it in February, and I love to check my steps throughout the day.  Funny little thing to be thankful for, but I am!

Y - Yakina and the nursery ladies
This girl on the right is truly a part of our family.  Yakina Bass - Kina to us.  John Burke still insists she is his girlfriend.  She knows and loves us so well, and is always there when I need her. I still remember calling her from the grocery store when Turner was 1 and asking what I should buy him to eat because I had no clue and she fed him at school!   She and the other nursery ladies are such an extension of our family, and I am so grateful for them and what all they teach me and how they serve our family and our church.

I found this on our iPad from a day where Kina and her daughter Mikayla were over playing at our house
Z - Stumped on this one, but Happy Thanksgiving and here are some pictures from their program last Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

"Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!"
1 Chronicles 16:34