Thursday, January 31, 2013

Children of the World

Our church brought in the singing group, Children of the World, a few weeks ago. Children of the World International Children’s Choir is composed of participants from World Help’s Child Sponsorship Program and has included children from Nepal, Uganda, Brazil, India, and the Philippines. Established in 2000, the Choir tours the U.S. sharing the story of millions of orphaned and disadvantaged children around the world.

Our church asked families in the congregation to host some children in their homes while they were here for the weekend and I couldn't sign up fast enough.  God has blessed us with a home that has plenty of room and I always pray for opportunities to use it for Him.

We ended up having a beautiful little girl from the Philippines named Nicole and a spunky and delightful girl from Uganda named Sure. We were not allowed to ask them personal questions as most of the children in the choir were orphans and had already seen more violence and hardship that we could ever imagine. So we just played and loved on them and enjoyed every second that they were in our care.

 Singing worship songs with Rob.

Dressing up as princesses.

They could have stayed in our playroom forever. I wish they could have.

The girls really wanted to watch movies at night. So we had movie nights complete with blankets, hot chocolate, and popcorn. They fit right into our family.

Sure loved playing with Lainey. She told us that in her village in Uganda there were babies everywhere and everyone was their Mom. If a baby cried, you just picked it up. You didn't ask permission or look for their biological Mother. Everyone cared for everyone else's children. It was so adorable watching her with Lainey.

Riding bikes on a beautiful January afternoon down South.

These girls were so creative. We set them up on our back porch with paints and markers and I am not kidding when I say that they were out there for hours. I think they went through 100 sheets of paper. They absolutely loved to draw and paint.

We met up with some other host families at a local playground so the kids could see their friends.

 Getting a lot of their energy out.

The girls asked if we had a Chuck-E-Cheese in town. Some other families they had stayed with took them and they loved it. So, of course we went. 

 Here is the whole choir performing for our church Sunday morning. I wish I had the words to describe the emotion I felt while watching them. The joy and love for the Lord that these children exude was beyond description. I always feel like I am seeing glimpses of heaven in these moments.

Our sweet Nicole.
 Sure singing her heart out.

Sadly saying good-bye after our lunch at the church. 

Beautiful blessings.

One of the many notes the girls left for us.

Rob and I are honored to support World Help and also Compassion International. We have sponsored our boy, Jean Dubelay,  for many years now. We love getting our letters from him updating us on his progress in school and just his life in general. We love that he is learning about Jesus and growing in his faith despite his outward circumstances. Jean Dubelay and our sweet girls from this weekend are so aware that they are the rich ones because they are children of a King. They have been adopted by our heavenly Father and their knowledge of this could be a lesson to all of us when we complain.

For more information on Children of the World, please visit their website at-

These children need you desperately. And by helping them, you will be blessed more than you can imagine. Please watch the video on their website. It is of the children singing a song from their tour. I hope you can feel the joy exuding from the children as much as I can. Please pray about ways you can help.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three Months Old

At three months old our little Lainey bug can:

-sit up while supported

-grab her paci and try to put it in her mouth

-grab objects and clench them in her fist

-see faces from across the room

-reach out for you when she wants to be held

-roll over from her tummy to her back

-smile and coo constantly.

She is sleeping through the night now. She goes to bed at 7:00 every night and wakes up around 11:30 for one final feeding. And then she sleeps until 6:30 am. She has to sleep clutching something. Already at three months old she needs to hold a lambie next to her face to sleep. She is so easy going. She is by far the easiest of my three. She loves to be held, but she does not like to cuddle (sniff sniff.)
She would much rather sit up in your lap and watch everything around her. I can tell she is  a curious little one.

She doesn't mind her car seat and has already spent the night in three different states and also at her Grandparents house and her aunt and uncle's house in Birmingham.

What a priceless gift we have received. We could not be more grateful and blessed.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

New Years Resolutions 2013- Prayer and Time

Happy New Year, y'all! I hope that 13 days into the new year you have all quit smoking, lost 25 lbs, cut all meat out of your diet, and decluttered every room in your house. I know I have.

Except for that smoking thing. Hard habit to break.

Kidding, Mom.

Although I do plan on losing the rest of my baby weight this year, I thought I would share my New Years resolutions.

1. Time.

I am fully committed to spending more quality time with my kids this year.  And for the record I spend a lot of time with my kids. A lot! And when I write that I mean I am around my kids all the time. But sometimes I am just around. I am on my computer, on my iphone, watching Sports Center, laughing at that wacky Dowager Countess, doing dishes, folding laundry, talking on the phone, etc... I am around a whole lot. But my New Years resolution is to spend more one on one time with them where I am fully engaged in what they are saying and doing.

I do not think you should entertain your kids 24/7. I like the way my kids can entertain themselves. They will play in their playroom for long periods of time without any structured activities and I love that about them, but I am so sick of the way electronics and just life itself make me realize at the end of the day that I didn't really look them in the eye and connect with them.

Five years from now I won't remember that website I browsed. I will have no recollection of that game of words with friends. And there will always and forever be laundry to do and dishes to be washed. But my kids won't be 4, 3, and 3 months forever. I want to connect deeper and remember.

Rob and I have started having electronic free evenings. We try our best to do this as much as we can on Saturdays anyway, but during the time after dinner to bedtime, we are shutting down all electronics, forgetting housework, and playing with the kids. And they are soaking it up. Bennett especially is overjoyed when Mommy, Daddy, Will, Lainey, AND Meg are all in our playroom just being together. I don't even have to do anything. I sometimes just sit with Lainey on my lap and observe, but my mere presence and undivided attention means more to them than words can say.

I know I am not alone in this. Many people already do this far better than I and others I know are working on it as well. But that is my 2013 resolution. More quality time with my family.

2 Praying specifically for my children.

If you are a parent and you don't have this book, go get it right now.

A friend of mine recently challenged me to dig deeper and pray a whole lot more specifically for my children. She noted that as Bennett would be starting Kindergarten this Fall I should identify her strengths and weaknesses in areas of learning. She told me to pray that Bennett's strengths would be strengthened even more and that I should pray for wisdom in how to help her grow in her weaknesses regarding to Kindergarten. That was the wallop upside the head that I needed. I cried as I prayed so specifically for my daughter and committed to doing it for all three of my children in 2013.

I love this book because it gives you areas to pray for your children. It highlights key verses you can use to pray for their character, relationships with their siblings, their salvation, and much more. It also inserts their names into your prayers which makes it hit home so much more to me.

I will say that I always pray for my children. But in 2013, I want to dig deeper and commit to praying for them much more intentionally.

Heavenly Father..... I pray that Bennett's identity will be firmly rooted and established in Christ's love, and that Bennett may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and how high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that she may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.     Ephesians 3:17-19

Heavenly Father....... Let your spirit rest on Will. Give him the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord- that he might delight in the fear of the Lord. Don't let Will judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide what he hears with his ears, but let him act with righteousness, justice, and faith.    Isaiah 11:2-5

Heavenly Father..... Show Lainey that she is fearfully and wonderfully made, and that your works are wonderful. Teach her that she is precious in your sight, and that you love her.   
Psalm 139:14; Isaiah 43:4

So, New Years 2013- More quality family time and more specific prayers for my kids.

And the usual 25 lbs, organic eating, cutting the nicotine, and running 20 miles a day. Of course.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

When the Texas Webs came to the Red Webs

A few days after Christmas, Rob's brother and his family came to visit us. We hadn't seen them in a year and were so glad to let the kids reconnect and introduce Lainey to her Aunt and Uncle. As I have been want to do lately, I am just going to post a whole lot of pictures and let the captions do the talking.

I'll soon be back to my regularly scheduled blog filled with charming stories and witty anecdotes about life. Or maybe not.

My kids with their cousins, Sophie and Jameson. Bennett and Jameson are only 3 months apart in age and I hope they can grow up together making tons of memories. Obviously Will is only a year behind them and the three of them are a whirlwind of energy when they get together. Sophie is such a wonderful big cousin. She is kind of a rock star in our house. My kids adore her.

Aunt Stacy with her newest niece, Lainey.

Rob and his brother, Frank, with their brood of kids.

We had a lot of fun the first few days of their visit just riding bikes in our neighborhood and walking down to the park. Well, it was fun when the kids actually listened to us and stayed with the grown ups. When they rode off way ahead of us- not so much fun.
Still rocking the party hat!

Love this picture! I think Bennett looks especially adorable in it.

Loved having all the kids around the table every morning for breakfast.

Uncle Frank with Lainey

One night during their visit we went back to the Holiday Lights Spectacular park. It was a little different after Christmas seeing as how Santa was no longer in his house and Frosty and Rudolph weren't walking around, but it is still such a cool place.

Will had his face painted like a puppy and then found a real puppy to hold. What a coincidence.

Face painting cousins.

Making smores over the open fire pits.

The Texas Webs

The Red Webs

On New Years Eve we loaded up and headed down to Panama City Beach. Not that there wasn't a myriad of events to choose from in Dothan, but we thought it would be fun to ring in the New Year hanging out on the Gulf of Mexico.

We checked into our hotel and headed straight down to the beach. Here is Aunt Stacy with Sophie and J-man. Love those kids!

Since 4 of the 5 kids got into the water and were extremely cold, we didn't get a good cousins shot that day. Well, Sophie still looks beautiful. It's hard to get a bad shot of that sweet girl.

Maybe in my top 10 favorite pictures of all time. Love this shot!

Party on the beach!

My baby girl! On our last trip to the beach this past August, I was so pregnant and uncomfortable. It was nice to go back and have her on the outside. A whole lot easier that way.

We then went to Pier Park which is a shopping center across from the beach. On one end they have a little amusement park that is perfect for the little ones. We got there just before the crowd got out of control so it worked out perfectly timing wise. I rode the ferris wheel with my kiddos.

Plane rides....

....and trains of course!

Lainey wasn't able to go on rides with her siblings and cousins, but nobody can say that this baby doesn't know how to party.

Ice Cream Break!

At 8pm they had a family friendly beach ball drop to ring in the New Year. Perfect for little kids.

And then fireworks afterwards. Happy (4 hours early) New Year!!!!

The best part of the night? Each kid got a beach ball. Whew! I cannot begin to convey the the amount of tears that would have been shed if we had only managed to snag 2 or 3 balls. Thankfully, that crisis was averted. There were still plenty of fights and tears over whose ball was whose even though they were all identical, but that's another story.

We went back to the condo and put the kids to bed and the adults rang in the New Year with some bananagrams and guitar picking. And then as we celebrated on the balcony looking out at the beach, we realized we were locked out of our condo. All of our cell phones were inside and we were yelling through the tiny crack in the door for Jameson to come and hand us a cell phone. We didn't bother yelling for my kids since their bedroom door was closed and we had white noise on in their room to help them sleep. As Stacy was trying to coax Jameson out of a deep slumber, a drunk girl came stumbling out by the pool. Rob and I were shouting our room number down to her hoping she would remember it long enough to make it to the front desk, but thankfully sweet little Jameson heard his Mama calling and came sleepily out of his room, handed us a cell phone, and went back to bed.  

Happy 2013!!!

The next morning we headed back down to the beach to let the kids play. What a perfect way to spend New Years Day.

Rob wanted me to add this picture. It made him laugh for the longest time. He wanted to know why the grim reaper was coming for the children. It does rather look like one of Harry Potter's dementors is after them. Weird.

After the beach we played mini golf at our hotel for awhile. Bennett's major bout of disobedience cut her game rather short, but the rest of the kids played for awhile.

And then we had lunch at a beach side deli while the kids ran around and played and the older boys strummed on their guitars.

Here's to
I pray it is the best one yet for you and your family.