Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Calling I Have Downplayed

Two weeks ago when the ice/snow storm hit, our family was cooped up together for six days before we could get out of the house. We were incredibly thankful that we mainly received snow and our electricity remained on. Having been through two ice storms in the past, I know how awful it can be to go a few weeks without power or running water.

Anyhow, during the week we were snowed in I was excited to do all my little Pinterest projects with the kids. We baked, we crafted, we decorated, we played in the snow, we watched Christmas movies, we did it all. Then we ran out of things to do...and the temperature remained below freezing. It was impossible to get out of our driveway, and even if we could have the highway was iced over. We were beginning to go stir crazy. Our children began to grate on our nerves. Each passing night as I watched the weather, I was begging the weatherman to say, "Tomorrow will be above 32 degrees and all this will melt away." I also watched the school closing list scrolling by hoping to not see "Keys School" when the K's came up.

After a week, the kids were finally able to go back to school. This mama was happy. However, the kids would come home and continue their new obnoxious routine of being loud, fighting, being loud, getting in their baby sister's grill, making huge messes...oh, and let's not forget being loud.

I have become very short with them the last few days. Tonight after they went to bed I started to reflect on the day
and I felt terrible. As much as these two little monsters drive me crazy, I love them one hundred times more. I crept into Hayden's bedroom where they were both sound asleep, sat down on the bed, and began to pray for them both. I also begged God to forgive me.

More than anything, I want my kids to see God in me, but a lot of time all they see is grumpy mama who just wants them to be quiet or go play.

So often I fail to recognize the fact that I am a missionary in my own home. God has blessed me with the responsibility of raising these babies and pointing them to know Him. Yes, I am to focus on the lost world around me, but being a godly mama and wife is the main thing he has called me to do. Yet, I often take that responsibility lightly. I often think because I'm not reaching the masses that my role isn't significant enough.

Shame on me.

God forgive me.

God has called me to do an amazing thing. I have a huge responsibility. I want my kids to know Him, and follow Him. That needs to begin with them seeing Him working in me. I pray that I stop forgetting how important that is. That I stop forgetting how blessed I truly am to have the gift of Hayden, Deacon, and Ainslee. This gift of raising my children to love God is the biggest calling of my lifetime. May I never downplay it again.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Two Months of Ainslee Blake

This is month two of Miss Ainslee Blake.

I think she is warming up to Carl.

Ainslee's likes:

  • Ainslee loves to smile and stick out her tongue. 

little ham

  • Ainslee loves her siblings. Hayden loves to sit and talk to her, and Ainslee stays content the entire time. This is incredibly helpful to mama, especially when I need to get things done around the house. 

Serious conversation with big sister.

  • Ainslee likes to be talked to. Deacon likes to entertain Ainslee. Sometimes he "reads" to her. Most of the time he just acts goofy. He loves to make her smile, and is working super hard to get her to laugh.

Story time with big brother

  • Ainslee is still a mama's girl. If someone else is holding her she usually follows me around the room with her eyes.

  • Ainslee likes sleeping. When Ainslee turned five weeks old she slept through the night. Kerry and I thought it was just a one night ordeal. Turns out she thought it was fabulous idea, and she never looked back. She has seriously been sleeping through the night ever since. I thank this precious baby each and every morning for sleeping so well!! All you moms out there, please refrain from throwing items at your computer or feeling the urge to hate me. I promise I paid my dues with the other two children! And yes, I realize how crazy lucky I am!

  • Ainslee is fascinated with my leopard throw blanket. I keep the blanket draped over our recliner. Every time I hold Ainslee up to face me she immediately averts her eyes to the blanket, gets a huge smile on her face, and begins a lengthy conversation with it. She coos and squeals all with a big grin. I'm not sure what this blanket tells her, but she enjoys every bit of it. If you follow me on Instagram I actually have a video of her chatting it up with the blanket. My handle is cassieraye1.

Ainslee Dislikes:

  • Ainslee does not enjoy modeling clothing...especially hats.

  • Ainslee is still not a big fan of the car seat, but she is getting better.

  • Ainslee does not like when Mama hands her over to Daddy when she is hungry. She is highly offended by this.

  • Ainslee does not like to be held like a baby. I have to warn anyone that holds her not to cradle her...she hates it. I don't think she realizes she's a baby, she wants to be held like a big girl.

One of my best friend's from high school was pregnant with her son, Kason the same time I was pregnant with Ainslee. (Eight years ago were actually pregnant with our oldest daughters at the same time too.) Kason was born the week before Ainslee was born. A few weeks ago, Ainslee and I made a trip to Tulsa to see Terah and meet Mr. Kason. Let me tell you, Kason is a big healthy boy!

Sweet babies
Lastly, a week ago Monday, we took the kids to see Santa. Now normally I am anti-anything Christmas before Thanksgiving, but we had a free day and it was honestly the best time to go. We only waited in line for five minutes.
Waiting to see Santa
Ainslee was super excited...well, really she didn't care. But she did look cute in her pictures. I think Santa was pretty comfortable, Ainslee was very relaxed and completely content in his arms.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Favorite Family Tradition

Summer is and will always be my favorite season. But my favorite family tradition we have is going to the pumpkin patch. 

Normally we try and go to Carmichael Pumpkin Patch in Bixby. It's awesome and I highly recommend it. But this year we were running out of days, and Ainslee isn't a huge fan of riding in her car seat. So we opted for something local, and by doing so we were able to support one of our favorite local churches in the process.

We took the kids to Park Hill Baptist's pumpkin patch. They had plenty of pumpkins, it was a short drive, and they have been so good to our family. 
Deacon is always so serious

Me and my babies

Mama, can I please hold her for a picture?

Which one shall we choose?

Hayden with her final selection

Deacon loving his choice
I realized while snapping pictures of the kids that I did not have hardly any pictures period of Kerry with Ainslee! So we took this one below. I have to get better at getting daddy in the pictures!
Ainslee and Daddy

this boy

Hayden's freckles are one of my favorite features on her. I love getting close-ups of her.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Hodge Podge Halloween

A few months ago I thought it would be cute if our family dressed up as Duck Dynasty for Halloween. I had it all planned out, Hayden and Deacon could be Willie and Korie. Kerry and I could be Mrs. Kay and Phil, and Ainslee could be a duck. Adorable, right? However, Deacon wasn't willing. He was dead set on being a ninja turtle. Then Hayden went through a new phase where she was fascinated with mermaids and she wanted to be a mermaid.

Since Halloween is about the kids I gave up on my Duck Dynasty dream and let the kids be what they wanted. As long as I could eat some of their candy, we both still win.

My children plan what they want to wear for Halloween months in advance. I'm certain it's their attempt to drive me crazy. We'll be in the car in December on our way to see Santa and I will hear, "Mama, I want to be such-and-such for Halloween." Then again each month after that until we actually get the costumes.

Anyhow, we bought Hayden's costume in August. So when my very talented sister asked me if I had anything specific she could crochet for her new niece about to be born I told her I would love a mermaid costume. Oh and did she deliver! 
My littlest mermaid
Deacon the "minja" turtle...I have to admit, I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles growing up. My brother was obsessed with them so we always watched the show, the movie, and played with his million ninja turtle toys. So I think it's awesome that my son loves them. Although, right now he thinks Splinter is a fox. Not sure if I want to tell him he's really a rat. (We really hate rats, one day I might be brave enough to blog about our rat incident...maybe.)
Deacon as Michalangelo 
We wanted to find a modest mermaid costume for Hayden. There are several out there for little girls that are not so modest. That's a tangent I will not go on for now, but seriously, have you seen some of the costumes they make for little girls these days?!

Okay, back to my Hayden. We found her costume on Amazon and ordered it immediately in fear that we wouldn't find one that we approved of if we waited til October. She loved it and she did look very cute.
My eldest mermaid

mermaid sisters
An hour before we were to leave for Trunk or Treat at our church, Kerry decided to dress up. He had enough items around the house to pull of the lumber jack look. I dressed as a tired mom who had to get three children ready for Halloween, and I nailed it.
our hodge podge
Before the Trunk or Treat started we rushed over to Shelly's house to trick or treat. Shelly's grandson got to pick out her costume this year. I think he did well.
mrs. shelly

Halloween 2013 was a success. Our church hosted a trunk or treat and we saw so many families that night. It was a lot of fun and such a great way to meet families living in your community.

My sister makes all kinds of crocheted baby items and sells them. Let me know if you are interested and I'll give you her contact info.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Deacon and the Great Pumpkin

A few days before Halloween, Deacon's Pre-K class took a field trip to the pumpkin patch at Livesay Orchards in Porter. I actually debated on whether or not I should go. I didn't really want to get the baby out and carry her around the entire time. However, I didn't want to miss out on Deacon's first field trip. I always enjoyed going with Hayden on hers. So, after deciding that I would indeed regret it if I didn't go, I chose to go. 

The weather was actually pleasant. It had rained that morning, and there was still an overcast. It didn't rain while we were there, and the temperature was perfect. I put on the baby carrier and strapped Ainslee in. She loved it and conked out pretty quickly. She ended up sleeping the entire time which made things sooooo much easier for mom! I was able to give all my attention to Deacon. :)

They had plenty of activities and stations for the kids to play at before the big hayride to the pumpkin patch.

After playing at all the stations they rang a bell to let the kids know it was time for the hayride. We all loaded up on the trailers to head to the pumpkin patch where each child got to pick out their own pumpkin.

Deacon excited about the hayride.

After picking up and inspecting around 20 pumpkins, Deacon finally found his perfect one. Once the kids picked out their pumpkins we loaded back up onto the hayride and headed back. On the hayride back, some of Deacon's classmates were singing Halloween songs they had been learning at school.  So Deacon's teachers decided to get them to all sing their Halloween songs. It was adorable. With big smiles and giggles they sang their Halloween songs for us to hear. I try so much to soak up moments like that. I know they won't always be little and happily singing songs together.

Once the hayride was over it was time to go home. Deacon had a great time, and I was so glad I got to be there with him.