Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wedding Attire...

Our kiddos were both in a wedding back in December (Kaitlyn & Rope's) and one great advantage to that was getting the kids clothes they could wear for the next few big events (Easter, weddings, anything that requires them to dress up). Last weekend a good family friend of ours got married in Sugarland (Jason & Nina) and my kids were able to wear their wedding attire from Kaitlyn's wedding. The kids did great and I was able to snap a few cute pictures of them before the wedding. I honestly did not even get one picture of the bride and groom because I was too busy trying to keep my kids quiet during the ceremony and we were not able to go to the reception because the kids were tired. While I am sad that I didn't get a bride/groom picture, I was happy to get some of the kids and our family. We honestly don't get dressed up very much so I was glad that we "seized the moment" and got some pics while we were dressed nicely.

The Howard Family...

Mimi with her little girl...

Mimi and Papa with Zoee, Ash did not want to take any pictures at that moment...

Ash and Zoee playing before the wedding...

Mommy and Zoee...

Papa and Zoee...

Daddy and Asher...

Visiting Great-Grandma Howard

We try to make sure that we visit both great-grandma's pretty often. I know that they love seeing the kids and we think it's so important that our kids get to know them. Great- Grandma Howard (aka "Great-Grandma-with-the-chickens) lives in Wharton and raises chickens. Ash and Zoee love to see the chickens and chase them. I am learning not to be scared of those yucky creatures but I am such a city girl that I still get a little nervous when we go into their pins and chase them around!! Here are some pictures of us visiting her. We always have a great time- especially being outdoors and getting to run a lot.

Dear Zoee...

Dear Zoee,

Where do I begin sweet baby girl??!! You are so full of energy and life! You represent your name so well. You simply love life. Everyday you fill this home with joy, surprise, spunk and tons of kisses. You love to give kisses and hugs to everyone. Here are some things going on with you at almost 17 months...

1. You love your brother. If you get up before him, you go straight to his door and start knocking away. You love him so much and it is a blessing to see this. I sure hope you guys continue to love each other as much as you do now.
2. You still love to eat. Rice, veggies, goldfish, all fruit, soy-yogurt, Manna Bears, crackers, chicken... pretty much anything that anyone else eats, you will eat. You are not a huge fan of sandwiches, but everything else is pretty much agreeable with you.
3. You like to play with your brother's cars (which can be fun for him and sometimes frustrating =).
4. You are a gift giver. I have never seen a child that gives to others as much as you do. You run up to your friends and give them toys/ their drinks/ anything that you can find. Yes, sometimes you struggle with sharing but about 90% of the time you are giving things away.
5. You are a girly girl in many areas. You love all things that glitter! You love to play with bracelets and you LOVE wearing bows and headbands. One day you kept asking me to put more bows in your hair and were not content till you had 4 in your hair. I love this side of you.
6. You like to read- especially about animals. You love all animals- dogs and cats especially.
7. You are incredibly afraid of this one riding toy at the Outlet Mall. It is a pink van that you put money into and it moves. The scary thing for you is that is sings in a deep scary voice "Humpty Dumpty." When you were in it the other day and it started singing- you screamed at the top of your lungs. I have never heard you yell that loud!!
8. You love to dance and are learning to sing. Your daily life consists of tons of dancing and making us smile.
9. You are talking more which is so fun. You copy Asher a lot which I think is helping your vocabulary.
10. You love to help me "bacuum" (vacuum).
11. You love to brush your teeth and hair!! I am thankful for this because sometimes I think I would forget to make you and Asher brush your teeth... but you never forget =).
12. You run almost all day. We went to the park yesterday and I think you ran almost the whole time!!!

Zoee, you are simply precious. I love being your Mommy and Daddy loves being your Daddy. You are such a loving little girl. You love to be held and your smile lights up every room. You love to run to us and smother us with hugs. I pray you will always find such joy in life and that your joy will ultimately be found in Jesus. I love you!!


Dear Asher...

Dear Asher,
It's been a while since I have had the time/energy to write this. Time is flying by! You are getting to be such a big boy. Right now you are sitting next to me on the sofa in my room and are going to help me write about your little life at almost 3 years old. Here goes...

1. Your favorite food is: muffins (you just said "yellow muffins" when I asked you but I am pretty sure that doughnuts with sprinkles, chicken nuggets or anything chocolate)
2. Your favorite treat is is chocolate (the "brown" treat)
3. Your favorite movie right now is Toy Story 3- you would watch it all day if I let you!
4. Your favorite book is Cars Look and Find.
5. Your favorite car is Francisco from Cars 2. You call him "Chan-chis-co"- so stinkin cute!!
6. Your best friend is Brooks from Mother's Day Out. You two seriously look like twins and make me want to adopt twins one day (yall are 3 months apart and both have blonde hair and are about the same height)
7. You love helping me with Sissy. You like to entertain her in her room while I get ready. I listen to you from my room through the monitor and it is so cute to hear the things you tell her when you are playing with her. I love seeing yall's friendship grow =). For the most part, you two love being around each other and play pretty well together. Yesterday we were at the park with your friends and about halfway through the time, you stopped to say, "I want to play with my sister." You are the best big brother and such a big helper to me. Even though you and Zoee do irritate each other from time to time you are still such great siblings.
8. You love to climb on things and jump off. Daddy might instigate this a little =), but I love that you are brave and daring. I try not to get too scared and let you be a "boy."

You love the park, being outside, green smoothies, anything sweet, chicken nuggets, monster trucks, playing with chalk, getting doughnuts with Daddy, playing the matching game with Mommy, playing with your cars on Mommy and Daddy's bed (you take off all the covers first), and singing and talking!! You are such a fun toddler. You love to laugh and make others laugh. You love to give us kisses. Before bed or before we have to leave, you kiss us on random places (like my hands or arm or top of my head) and it's just so sweet and funny. Sometimes you are still very emotional but we are learning how to help you through that and teach you to be a little tougher and not let your emotions get too out of control. You are such a joy. You bless us everyday and we are so honored to be your parents. We pray that you will grow to love Jesus with your whole heart and be a man that pleases Him. We love you Buddy!!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Recent Conviction... leading to Freedom!!

This is a picture of our little Zoee. She lives life with such freedom- I know the Lord wants us to live with this freedom/faith of a child... let me back up a little...

For me, writing this blog is more than just me wanting to document things going on in our lives. Yes, that is one of the main purposes but I also have a few others. First, I want to eventually print this blog and give it to my kids when they are older so they can see the fun and crazy time that Sonny and I have raising them. Second, I really want to share struggles and joys that I go through as a mom, wife, and woman trying to follow Jesus. I guess I get somewhat frustrated with all the blogs/facebook statuses that present life in an picturesque way. I used to see some people's blogs/statuses and think "Wow! They have it all together. Life is perfect for them. I must be a horrible person because life is not always that neat and pretty for me!!??" I don't want people to feel that way when they read this. I want people to see our family and say "They are normal people with normal struggles but they keep on going and trying to love Jesus as a family." That's my hope. We have great days around here and we have not-so-great days. Just the other day Asher managed to break 2 glass items on the kitchen floor in under 2 hours!! It took every ounce of the Spirit in me to remain calm and joyful while cleaning the floor for the 8th time that day (I obviously had to clean it more than once for each broken item)!

With all that being said, I want to be honest about things the Lord convicts me of when I feel that He wants me to share them. I was convicted about this a few weeks ago but have not had the time to really sit down and write about it. The kids are currently visiting their Grandma and Grandad so now I have some time to process my thoughts and jot them down.

Every since I started trying to pursue Christ, I started to struggle with comparing myself with other ladies. I know in the Word we are called to see the faith of others and imitate that, but we are called to imitate their FAITH (Hebrews 13:7 Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.), not become clones of them. I would see a woman that I thought was great/godly and start to try to be just like her. I would be silent if she was silent... I would try to dress like her and act like her.... if she had 4 kids, I must need 4 kids... and on and on and on. I feel like it has taken me 10 years to figure out who the Lord wants ME to be (and I still have to go back to Him often with this to make sure that I am not trying to be someone else instead of who He wants me to be). I am not at all saying that it is wrong to look up to others. Older women are called to teach the younger women (Titus 2) BUT the goal is for us to be like and LOVE Jesus, not make little mini versions of ourselves. I want girls who come through our student ministry to say, "Through these years of being in this ministry, I now see exactly who Jesus is and who He wants me to be. I love the Lord and I love being His child. I will continue to follow Him because I know He is intimate with me and wants to use me for His glory as I am fearfully and wonderfully made in Him."

One area that I still struggle with comparing myself to other in is with my body image. I will see other woman and think "Wow! She is really fit and she has had kids... I need to look like that!" Then it can become an idol for me. This is NOT life. This is not the freedom that Christ offers His beloved. I was reading through the Proverbs and this verse jumped out at me...

"Do not be wise in your own eyes, Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh and strength to your bones"
Proverbs 3:7-8

I don't know exactly why God chose to use this verse to convict me of my idolatry of body image but I just felt like He was telling me though this verse- "You think you are in control but you are not. I AM. I love you and want you to flee from this idol and come to Me. I alone can satisfy you." I felt from reading this verse and many other Psalms that the Lord was telling me that it is okay to want to be healthy and exercise but not to think continually about it. Our thoughts should be consumed with the Lord and with living for Him. I want my thoughts to be on how I can love my family and how I can encourage my friends and minister to others. These are the things I think He wants us to think about.

After being convicted about that, I shared my conviction with Sonny. He also reminded me of the verse right before the one I shared and he told me that the Lord had used that verse to minister and convict Him lately...

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
Provers 3:5-6

With all of this, I felt called to make some changes in my life/attitude. I want to just enjoy eating healthy and exercising, not think about it too often. I want my heart and mind to be for the Lord. I have been praying about this a lot and have just tried to think more about the Lord more. Though I have had some weak times, I have had a few weeks of victory and freedom. It has been great. I hope that this encourages you to flee from any idols you are holding on to and run to the Lord. Only He can truly satisfy us.

"Oh taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Oh, fear the Lord you His saints! There is no want to those who fear Him. The young lions lack and suffer hunger but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing."
~Psalm 34:8-10

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Beach!! ~ Part 1

We got to spend the day at the beach with some dear friends yesterday. The kids had such a great time. The weather was nice, the beach house we stayed in was perfect, the water temp was bearable, and everyone just had a great time. Yes, there were some stressful moments with 3 kids under 3 but we managed to all come back happy, healthy and sun-kissed! It was great. More pics to come soon but so far, these are the ones I have had time to edit...

Zoee was a great beach modle because she absolutely LOVED the beach. Everything about it (except getting stuff in her eyes) made her light up. It was so precious!!

Zoee and her best friend Kinley...

Asher helping with the puzzle after playing at the beach all day... with no nap, he did pretty well!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home with the Howard's

So I used to be against the i-phone telling Sonny that I only needed a simple phone that will call and text. While that may be true, I have found myself borrowing Sonny's phone quite often to catch sweet moments with the kids. It's so much easier to grab a phone then go unload my huge camera. By the time I do that, I have usually lost the moment I am trying to capture. So, here are some random fun moments I took of the kids and me while playing one afternoon. They are both so silly. They love to laugh!

Can you tell that they are related? This is the typical Howard "what??" expression...

I love Zoee's face in this one...

And Asher's face in this one...

Here are some more pics of our little girl loving her soy yogurt... such a joyful mess!

Oh, and we had another first for Zoee today... her first day with painted toes!! She actually did pretty well when I painted them and now we have matching toes. Looking forward to the day when we can get pedicures together but not at all wanting to rush it- she's already growing WAY too fast for me (she can now say "yes, ma'am and yes sir.." too cute but making me realize how old she is getting!!)

Can you see her pink toes??

Friday, March 2, 2012

Aunt Anneke came to visit!!

One of my best friends in the whole world came to visit us a few weekends ago. It was such a precious time. She was able to share her testimony with our Sunday night girl small group and then she and I were able to spend time together on Monday morning when Sonny took the kids to Mother's Day Out. I sure wish she and her husband Michael lived closer but since that isn't in the cards for us now, I will take what I can get =). I am so thankful for the wonderful friendship that the Lord has given me with Anneke. She is the closest thing I have to a sister. We have been through so much together. So thankful for her!

My sweet friend ...

Swinging with the kiddos...

Zoee loves to climb in the cabinet and close the door- silly girl!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Home with the Howard's

Sonny has been working a lot lately and thus we are even more aware of how much we love having him home when he is available. Today was our family day and though Sonny had to work a little, we still got to do a lot of fun stuff as a family. We built towers with blocks for the kids to run their cars through... we went on a family bike ride to the park... we danced to crazy music and just enjoyed spending time together. Before Sonny got home, the kids and I were playing out in the front yard and Ash and Zoee started running back and forth down the driveway. I knew it was going to end in an "owie" for someone so I warned them to slow down. Right after I said they should slow down, Ash went sliding on his knees on the cement. Poor little man. He handled it relatively well but still needed 2 Cars bandaids to mend his little knees. Zoee was so sweet to him. After I had doctored him up, she went and gave him kisses. She tried to kiss his "owies" but he would not let her near his hurting knees! I caught a few pics of the event and of Zoee trying to offer sympathy...

Sonny also took some pictures of our little eater the other day. Zoee has quite a big appetite these days. I guess it's because she is literally running for most of the time that she is up. Here is the evidence...

Gotta love this season of life! It's pretty crazy sometimes but so full of joy and laughter! Thank you Jesus for family days!