Friday, May 8, 2015

Five on Friday: 5.8.15 {Mother's Day edition!}

Since Mother's Day is this Sunday, this Five on Friday will be centered around that theme!  
one // Winston's arrival is not quite as I would have planned it but God is good and the outcome was a precious little boy that I already loved with all of me.  I remember being in recovery, covered with heating blankets because I was freezing, when Benjamin walked in holding Winston.  I remember saying, "Hello Winston, I'm your Mommy!" and he turned his head to look at me.  I was so overwhelmed in that moment.  He knew me!  He knew my voice and that I was his.  Our family came in with congratulations and the moments after were a whirl.  And then they left and it was quiet again.  Quiet with just him and I staring at each other.  Me thinking: "Here we go kid.  This is it!  What a wild ride we started on and I can't wait to see where it goes!"  It's funny the things you distinctly remember when your whole world has shifted.  I remember being so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy that God blessed me to be Mom to this precious creation!
two \\ My first Mother's Day.  Look at that round little head!!  It was a low-key, lovely day where I was able to spend the day loving on and being loved by my two favorite men-folk!
three \\ The lady in the middle, that's my Momma.  I have always considered my Mom to be my closest friend.  We never lived close to extended family so our little unit is quite close.  She and my Dad rooted my brother and I in biblical truths and put feet and hands to unconditional love.  I aspire to do for Winston what she has done for me.  In becoming a mother, I have leaned on her experience and loved having her as a sounding board to check our ideas on raising Winston.  I am eternally grateful for her patience and love, for the legacy she has created and that I am able to be a part of!
four \\ As Winston grows and develops, I love each stage!  It's probably one of the pieces of advice I give most to new moms.  Enjoy every step along the way; the good and the bad.  Take some time each day to just stare and soak in their every little detail.  Now that Winston is full blown talking, the conversations we have are awesome!  He is so comical and cheeky but at the same time sweet and sensitive.  His imagination is enormous and I love being a part of that!  Together we have mastered all sorts of animal and truck sounds, we construct the tallest towers and create colorful paintings together.  I adore this stage and look forward to what is around the corner!  

It is an amazing amount of influence that we have in our children's lives.  If I stop to think about it for too long, I get overwhelmed at the responsibility.  Teaching Winston how to be a decent human is not something that happens by accident.  It's all very intentional and purposeful.  And each stage brings new adventures to celebrate and challenges to face.  I am thankful to have Benjamin as a partner in raising Winston and that we both rely on God and His word for guidance and direction!

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.
Deuteronomy 11:18-20
five \\ In the past few weeks, throughout the day as Winston and I are playing, reading or running errands, he will say "Hey Mommy.  I love you!" and either give me a hug or a kiss.  How this Mommy's heart just swoons each time he does it!!  These words from his sweet mouth, unprompted by me saying it to him first, are treasures.  I am thankful for his sweet, sensitive, loving spirit.  I realize that this a reflection of the environment that Benjamin and I have created as parents.  Parenting is not something we are able to do on our own.  I daily hit my knees praying for Winston's day, his future, guidance, wisdom, energy, patience and an outpouring of love.  My God is the one who sustains me through each high and each low.  He fills in where I lack and that is my comfort.  My prayer is that Winston sees God in the way that we love him!  

I am incredibly thankful and overwhelmed to be a Mom.  It is an honor.  It is a privilege.  It is a title I wear proudly.  

Other Posts this Week

Linking up today with 5 on Friday:April | Oh Hey, Friday: September Farm + The Farmer's Wife | Friday Favorites: Momfessionals


THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Monday, May 4, 2015

Houston Zoobilee

Happy Monday, fabulous folks!  Our weekend was quite full of great events, one of them being the Houston Zoobilee, a members appreciation event at the Houston Zoo.  We have been zoo members for a few years now but this was our first venture out to Zoobilee.  The two-day event happens after the zoo closes for the day.  Since Benjamin teaches on Fridays just around the corner from the zoo, Winston and I drove down to meet him for this fun, new adventure!

Each kiddo was presented with a map and a passport that had five different spots to get stamps after visiting specific animals.  Winston did a great job taking his passport to the volunteers and was always proud to show us what the stamp was!
One of the stops on the Passport was the Ring-tailed Lemurs.  I have loved lemurs since I was in middle school.  Their tails are fabulous and their movements just fascinate me.  Since the weather was a little bit cooler {for Houston} and the sun wasn't beating down, all of the animals were quite active making for some great watching.
We ate dinner right next to the duck pond.  Winston loved watching the ducks swim up and would exclaim, "I see a turtle!" every time one of them popped their heads out of the water.  He is taking after his Daddy with a fascination of turtles.
For us, no visit to the zoo is complete without a stop to see the giraffes.  For this event they had the giraffe feeding open for two hours ensuring that anyone who wanted to feed the gentle creatures would have the opportunity to do so.  Benjamin had not yet fed the giraffes with Winston so together they fed Miles the Giraffe!  
All throughout the zoo there were different activities for the kiddos: coloring, music, bounce houses, mazes!  Everyone who attended was treated to a free ice cream with a cherry on top!
Our last visit was to see Jonathan the Lion and as soon as he had this massive yawn we too decided to call it a day.  It was such fun to be able to enjoy the animals after hours and soak up the beautiful evening!
As we were leaving, each kiddo was given a color book at some grrrroooovy glasses!  This is how Winston felt about his time at Zoobilee!
Thanks Houston Zoo!

Friday, May 1, 2015

Five on Friday: 5.1.15

one \\ Winston and I were out of town last week visiting family in Pennsylvania.  Winston loves adventures that involves an airplane ride and is a great passenger.  We always have a good time catching up with great grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins!  One of my favorite parts of taking him "back home", as I call it, is doing things that I did each time I visited growing up.  Collecting eggs from the chicken coop, visiting Gardner's Candy store, eating at Long John's!  
two \\ It's been over a year since I retired from the corporate world!  I shared a tidbit of how our first year full time together has worked out!
three \\ Freddy's is my new food obsession!  Their burgers are delicious and their shoe-string fries are  everything a fry should be!  Just thinking about it makes me want to drive there now to get some....  They also have amazing frozen custard!  Winston likes his with tons o'gummy worms!  Do you have a Freddy's near you?
four \\ This weekend Benjamin and I will be attending the Hunting Art Prize Gala!  It's a fun time to get dressed a little funky-fancy, eat some fun foods and spend time together perusing art.  It's held in a great venue with flowers are always over the top and amazing works of art in themselves.  This event is a family affair for us since my parents,  brother and his wife are attending as well.  
five \\ Do you use face masks?  If the answer is yes or even no, you should probably go to your nearest Sephora and buy a few of these fun Sephora Collection Face Masks!  At $6 a piece and only 15 minutes to enjoy, they the perfect pampering item for yourself, a sweet friend who needs encouragement or for Mom!  They all smell absolutely delightful and hey, who can use 15 minutes to yourself every once in a while? 

We have a few other events this weekend, one being Tacky Prom!  I am super pumped about it!!  Our theme is Under the Sea and the ladies made some killer corsages a few night ago.  What do you have on the docket for this weekend?  Can you believe May is here already?!

Other Posts This Week:


Linking up today with 5 on Friday: DarciAprilChristina + Natasha | Oh Hey, Friday: September Farm + The Farmer's Wife


THE GOOD LIFE BLOG

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Houston Art Car Parade 2015

The Houston Art Car Parade is one of those quirky things that happens every year in Houston.  It's been going on for 28 years!  This year we made it downtown, claimed a great piece of parade watching real estate and cheered on over 250 cars and their drivers.  Winston loved seeing the parade and repeatedly exclaimed, "Look at that one!" each time a new car came into view.  Even though at the start of the week the forecast was a ninety percent chance of rain, the weather turned out to be perfect for sitting outside enjoying art on wheels and the company of sweet friends!
This guy's tail feathers moved up and down as it drove along the parade route!
 This car was called the Peep Jeep!  It had thousands of Peeps all over it!  
This is just a smattering of the creativity that we saw that day.  We look forward to next year Houston Art Car Parade!!  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

My First Year as a Stay at Home Mom

It has officially been more than a year where I resigned from my corporate job to be a stay at home mom.  I remember being excited, nervous, apprehensive and slightly overwhelmed at this decision.  And now, here it is a year later.  And I've survived.  And so has Winston!   
The decision that Benjamin and I made together for me to stay at home has been life changing for both of us.  No longer is Benjamin responsible for waking up Winston and getting him ready for school.  No longer do I wake up at 4:30 to get ready for a day of meetings, negotiations, and spreadsheets.  Instead Winston and I have our own little routine that I love it with all my heart!  I still get a thrill hearing him call my name each morning when he wakes up.  The hours after dinner and before bedtime is when Benjamin and Winston have their special time together.  Most days I get to jump in on the action, but some days it's just the two of them out in the garage creating and imagining great things together.  
During the first few months after retiring there were moments of wondering if I had made the right decision.  There was no need to check my email umpteen times an hour; there was no one needing a report or a presentation.  I didn't need to dash to make a meeting I had dismissed on the calendar.  The only person that need me was the tiny human {and our sweet Lulu fur baby}.  Was I okay with only being with this one human all day every day?!  Each time doubt came along, God was there to affirm that what we were doing was the right thing for our family.  
Since retiring there have been times where I have struggled with if and where am I adding value because that was my mindset at work.  And then I look at my Winston and realized that his life is where I am adding value.  That by simply being available and ready to build a block tower for the thirty-third time was where I am adding value.  That raising a human to have manners, to be courteous and to have a heart for God is where I am adding value.  That my mornings with the Lord are where I am adding value.  This is a precious time for me to be filled with His Goodness and Truth.  A time where I can come to him confessing the many times I fail and thanking Him for the provisions He gives.   I look at Benjamin and see that my staying at home and managing things here is a comfort to him.  We have home cooked family dinners around the table together to talk about our day.  I have energy to fully engage in conversations with Benjamin about his day, our schedules for the week along with our hopes, fears and future.  By simply being available, intentional and present with my family I add value.  
I have the privilege of having my Buddy with me to go on grocery adventures, to take to the zoo, to run errands with me, to play on the back patio with.  He is the best little side-kick I could have every hoped for.  He is smart and funny!  He is quick witted and observant.  He is passionate and kind.  Winston truly loves his people {and the dogs!} with a fierce love.  He is polite and a charmer.  Winston is a great encourager to others and loves to dance when he hears a song he likes!  He has a big imagination and I love that I get to play a part in it!  I am thankful each day that I get to see his personality develop.  

Not all moments of every day are sunshine and rainbows.  We have our hard days, our tiring day.  And even though there are struggles and times of disciplining and moments where I lose my Mom-cool, and times when I am exhausted and feel a little mushy-brained, I wouldn't trade it for the world.  
Winston attends a preschool program two days a week.  He loves his friends and his teachers!  It makes my heart smile when he sings new songs that he has learned and tells me about the letter of the day!  This allows me to do things around the house and meet Benjamin for lunch every once in a while!  Even though the school year is nearing to an end my heart skips a beat each day I get to see his face light up when he sees me walk into the classroom!

In the evenings when the men are playing together I use that time to clean up the dishes and take a few minutes to breathe.  I either fold laundry, read for a few minutes or take a bath.  Or some nights I join in on the fun or we go for a bike ride!  We have a good balance and I am thankful to Benjamin for that.  
When I look over the past year there are so many things, big and little, that I am thankful that I have been able to experience with Winston.  Zoo days, park time, swimming lessons, first day of school, water table fun, shopping, cuddling while we read book after book, baking and just being goofy!  
So that's it - a tidbit the journey of my first year of being a stay at home mom.  Everyone's story is different; there are ladies who kill at being working moms.  No matter what your story, I love that we have a God who created us uniquely and individually.  Romans 8:28 is such a comfort and an encouragement to me and I hope it is to you:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

No matter what being a Mom looks like to you or how you execute it in your own awesome way, be encouraged to know that He is on your side!  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Show and Tell Tuesday: Names!

I am really enjoying these prompts from Andrea of Momfessionals!  Today's topic is Names: How did you or your kiddos get their names.  Without further ado, here we go: 

Sara: 
When my Mom and Dad were dating, Fleetwood Mac was in the middle of their mainstream success. They had cranked out hits like "Rhiannon", "Landslide", "Gypsy" and "Go Your Own Way."  They both remember listening to the radio when "Sara" came on.  It was one of my Dad's favorite songs.  He looked at my Mom and said, "If I ever have a little girl someday I will name her Sara."  And ta-da!  Here I am!

Sara, You're the poet in my heart.  
Never change.  Never Stop.  
But now it's gone.  
It doesn't matter what for.  
But when you build your home, call me home.

Benjamin:

Benjamin's parents had the name David picked out for their little boy.  However, a cousin born before Benjamin was given the name David and instead of having two Davids running around the family, Brian and Nancy looked for a new name.  With the help of a baby book, they discovered they both liked the name Benjamin!  


Winston: 
When we discovered that we were having a boy, we announced it to our family and close friends before sharing it to the rest of the world.  We already had a first name rolling around in our heads and needed a middle name.  It all came together the same day we found out that he was a he!  When we announced him to the world, I shared the story of how Winston Ace got his name!

Lulu:
Our sweet puppy girl!  We first saw Lulu on the screens of our laptops.  She was adorable with her dapple and mixed blue eyes.  I had a two names picked out: Peppy {just because I thought it was cute!} and Lulu {after my favorite purse designer}.  Benjamin said that we would know what to name her as soon as we saw her.  We drove to Nocana, TX and met our little girl.  She was so calm, cuddly, and precious that the name Lulu was the one that stuck!  She curled right up into our arms was content.  She was our very own Lulu Belle!

What about you?  How did you get your name?  Any funny or sweet stories?  I'd love to hear!!  
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