Tuesday, May 31, 2011

:: Little League ::

Titus is in the middle of his first season of baseball (it is coach pitch unless you miss the first 3 pitches then they let you hit off the tee). He is loving it! For his first practice, we didn't know what his team name was yet so he wanted to wear his Cardinals gear.
(insert smile from all MO readers)

The next few pictures are from Titus' first game. Rest assured I am not posting pictures from all his games, I just was a little camera happy celebrating his first game :)

The Pirates::

Justus has a lot of fun playing in the dirt during the games

Vernon has been able to be an assistant coach and that has been so fun for Titus (and for Vern!)

Titus is last batter so he always gets to run all the bases. Of course this includes a slide into home EVERY time. Hilarious.

The Pirates after their first big game::

And lastly, I feel I must include this final photo to let all of you know he is indeed my child:: he does a this little cheer everytime he makes a good play. He's just so excited. HAHA!!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

::A Little Help::

As a native Missourian, my heart breaks for our friends and family affected by the recent tornado. Over the last three days so many emotions have come over our home. I have almost packed the boys up and headed north about 10 times. We want to help so badly. We are so proud of our friends as we hear the stories of their bravery as they have been able to be first responders. We are overwhelmed for our friends who have lost their homes, work places and over all sense of normalcy. We are thankful for our friends who have been able to use their gifts of logistics to coordinate donations and teams, for our friends who have used their gift of creativity to think of ideas to bring in money for aid, for our friends who have been able to use their gifts of wise council to minister to those who are emotionally traumatized by this event. The picture of the Body of Christ coming together, with the whole of the gifts, to shower help upon those who are in need, is beauty in the midst of chaos.

Our friends at VIVE clothing company have designed a shirt that ALL the proceeds go to Joplin Relief.

You donate & they send you a shirt. This shirt is unique in that it actually has the logo from the Missouri flag on it. I know, I know, all my Texan readers are thinking, "What's weird about that?" but little do you know that not ALL states commonly produce state flag paraphernalia. I know, weird right? hehe! I hope that every time you wear your VIVE Joplin Relief shirt you remember Missouri and those effected by this tornado. It will be a long time coming for normalcy to resume, if it ever can but you can play a little part in the efforts.

Just click here::
Stop in and get a shirt and spread the word!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Dino-Mite Time

haha! That might be the cheesiest title you'll ever get out of me, but hey 3 year olds tend to do that to ya. This week, Justus turns 3 **sigh, deep breath** yep t.h.r.e.e. As in not a baby, not a toddler, a **another deep breath** preschooler. yep. thats what I said, a preschooler. crazy.

Justus doesn't actually turn 3 until this coming weekend but Vernon was going to be out of the country the next few weekends and not home for another weekend until mid June, so we decided to party this weekend! It was planned on a whim because we had previously planned to be in Austin but ended up having to cancel those plans at the last minute. SO I threw together a fun little party and friends were able to make it! Justus loves dinosaurs so it seemed fitting to have a Dinosaur theme. It was so fun. Dino-rific to keep the theme rolling :)

I loaned my camera to a friend that needed it to shoot a wedding, so I borrowed Lauren's and Keri's (moms who were at the party) then dumped them onto my computer before they left! Thanks girls for letting me use yalls!

We had a Dino Dig ::
we hid eggs filled with mini dinosaurs and cardboard cut out bones. The kids dug to find the dinosaur eggs and bones. It was a hit!

We had a Dinosaur Egg relay::

Pin the Tale On The Dinosaur::

And a Texas party is not complete with out::
A pinata ::

And a whole bunch of fun::

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Easter Weekend

We had a fantastic Easter weekend this year. We are showered with good friends who are now as dear to us as family. Living so far from our families is hard at times and holidays tend to make us remember this reality. Last year in MO was the first Easter of Titus life (that he is able to remember:: so since he was 2) that we did not spend the weekend in Irving celebrating with friends and serving South Irving. We were so fortunate to jump right back in to our "tradition" of spending Saturday morning with friends at FBCI and Sunday afternoon at The Durham's. Thanks to all our friends who have warmly welcomed us right back into your lives after being gone 1.5 years. We love y'all to the moon!!! (and our families appreciate your kindness towards us as we are so far from them!)

One of our "traditions" on Saturday morning of Easter weekend, is to attempt to get a decent picture of all the kiddos together. As you will see below, we've come a long way in the past few years :)
2009:: priceless::


I mean, can you handle this picture! I love it!

And since we are far from home I thought I would include some pictures of the boys in their Easter garb so that all the friends and family could enjoy their cuteness too!

Justus:: 2 years old

Titus:: 6 years old

Every Easter Sunday we go to The Durham's house for a fantastic meal. The Durham's have families and singles over for Easter Dinner who do not have family around DFW to celebrate with. Every year it is such a blast! Pastor John hides a bag of goodies for each person around the house and we all have to hunt...yes, even the adults. Here is a picture of Pastor John playing with Spy Gear w/ Titus after we opened all our goodie bags. He is one of the coolest Pastor's we've ever known. Around The Durham's you, no matter how old you are, always feel important and loved.

Well that's a wrap folks. Its a month late but better late than never.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chem 6A and The Musings of A Six Year Old Boy

We love to read. We read children's books, classics, new books, fiction, non-fiction, serious and not serious at all. We don't have TV (before you make any assertions, positive or negative, we get plenty of media via a dvd player & the Internet). This is something we love but at times creates hilarious situations. For example, the boys rarely see commercials, so when they do, the advertisement really works. Its like they think they HAVE to have whatever they saw advertised and can tell you EVERYTHING about it after seeing it once on a commercial. So, dear advertising/marketing people, you are still fooling my 6 year old. No matter how much we try to convince Titus that things are not, or may not be as they seem on said advertisement, he is vehement against such charges....I digress.

Sorry, back to reading a lot. When the Narnia films started to make their way into the theaters, we decided we wanted to read the series to Titus before we let him see the films. We did pretty good with Lion, Witch and The Wardrobe and then we read The Magicians Nephew, as we predicted wrong and they produced Prince Caspian next. So we got behind. And Titus had to wait to see Prince Caspian. This is where the hilarity comes in. We were out searching for a version of The Voyage of The Dawn Treader that had bigger pages and more pictures. (non film version pictures) and Titus said, "why are we reading them first anyway, there are so many things that the book got wrong anyway." I am sure I gasped loudly in the store and sternly put him in his rightful place. (joking.......kinda :) Since this moment he has not let up. Titus is convinced that the books are wrong and the movie is right. We have explained it every which way, even down to time lines but alas he will not give in. He even brought it up to a group of friends we went out to dinner with a couple nights ago, like he thought those adults would surely agree with him and speak some sense into us. Little did he know they all, of course, sided with us and that the book in fact DID come before the movie. He was astonished. He could not believe people would think so illogically. It is quite hilarious how worked up he gets about it and how good of arguments he has! This kid!

All of this reminds me, as always, of a song. My life is pretty much themed in songs...if you haven't already gathered that around my blog. That evening around the dinner table with our friends as Titus tried to convince them of their logical fallacies my good friend Stacie, who is my switchfoot-junky-partner-in-crime, leaned over and said, "this reminds me of a certain Switchfoot song," I smiled and nodded as I knew she was certainly talking about the first Switchfoot song I ever heard back in 1998:: Chem 6A. In it is the ever popular line, "I don't wanna read the book, I'll watch the movie." A line I will hear for years to come as we weed our way through the classics of literature. Lets just pray until then that he comes around on his logic skills. ha!

for now, enjoy this video of teenage switchfoot:: you're welcome :)

Monday, May 02, 2011

Strength and Honor; Thanks Mom!

Mother’s Day has always been special to me. Even before I had children myself, I valued highly this day and wanted so badly to honor my mom. Well, lets just say I failed miserably each year knowing that the measly gift card and flowers did NO justice to all that my mom had given to us.

In May of 1986, just a week after Mother’s day, my mom tragically became a single mother of three. My father died of a heart attack at the very young age of 39 leaving my mom with the three children in a new city, states away from all the she had ever called home.

My mom had strength that only God can grant. With a loving family (both her family and my dad’s) by her side, she made the choice to move us back to Missouri to be close to her family and around some things that were, at least, familiar. In the following months she put her self through beauty school, working and going to school full time. During this time she met all our needs. We never went without. We always had breakfast hot when we got up and dinner together in the evenings. How she did it, I’ll never know.

My mother taught us through her actions to engage grief. She never made light of our pain, even on the day I cried because we got a new vacuum. I had memories of my dad vacuuming and was afraid that if everything that reminded me of him went away that I would never remember him. She came in bed with my sister (who was 11) and I (age 7) and we all cried together.

She always encouraged us to feel the grief but not to let it cripple us. She taught us, again through her actions, that God can sustain you even when you think it is impossible to stand. She never missed any of our baseball or basketball games and she was even my brothers Cub Scout leader! She is every woman.

My mom had two choices: 1) to make the most of out of the deep pain, provide for her children, and to give them a future or 2) remain in the deep recesses of grief and turn inward while solely caring for her self. My mom was strong. She made the right choice and did the best she possibly could, not ignoring the pain, but engaging it while going on with life and caring for us.

My mom had a choice, but thousands of moms around the world do not. They are forced by masters to provide for their children by selling themselves countless times a day, knowing this will be the heritage of their daughters. They have no choice to walk away. Slavery is real. It is real life to them and their children.

Knowing this reality, we now have a choice: to make a difference or ignore it all together. And this Mother’s Day I am making the choice to make a difference and in that, honor my mother, Debbie Simerly, and you too could join me.

As Our Own is a ministry that has rescued and cares for over 60 girls, many of them were being raised in brothels in India. This ministry is giving us and opportunity to honor our Mothers this Mother’s Day by donating to their “Thanks Mom!” campaign. This money will go towards the care of the sweet girls who have been rescued and now need care as they are raised to make a difference in their country.

So mom, in honor of your strength and courage in the face of pain, we are donating to our friends at As Our Own in your name. I love you!

If you would like to join me, here are the steps::

STEP 1 :: Give to our Thanks, Mom! campaign to honor your mom on Mother’s Day, May 8. (click HERE)

STEP 2 :: In the donation comments box, tell us what you appreciate most about your mom.

STEP 3 :: Download a certificate for your mom that explains the gift you’ve made in her name.

Honor your mom this Mother's Day and make a huge difference for a sweet girl in India!