Like I was saying....

Category: Family (Page 2 of 13)

Beach Bullets

Well I’m back from the beach. We had some friends who were going to Destin, FL for a week. They were persistant with the invitations to join them. We finally gave in. And we’re glad we did. They have three kids same nearly same ages as ours, and they loved playing together.

I’d blogged pretty much every day of May until the trip. And then I only did it once from the beach. Sorry.But I did have some random thoughts while at the beach. So here come the bullets:

  • There is no “quick” or “direct” way to get to Destin, FL from Oxford, MS.
  • Generally the hotel pools in Alabama don’t open until after Memorial Day. We left at night to head down and stopped in Montgomery, AL for a pit stop. Pool was locked up.
  • Staying in a condo with six kids ages 8 and under is sometimes wild.
  • You don’t need sugar to stir up that many kids, but it does add excitement.
  • I was a little curious as to how the weather would be. It was cold/rainy in Oxford the day before we left. But it was mid 80’s pretty much the whole time.
  • It didn’t rain a drop on us until the final day.
  • If you go to a restaurant with lots and lots of alligators outside in a pond and has handwritten Sharpie graffiti all over it, you can expect to pay about $20 for a bowl of pasta and 8 pieces of shrimp.
  • I brought more shoes on this vacation than I ever had, but wore only one pair the entire time.
  • That means I never went for a run on this trip.
  • Shuffleboard isn’t just for old folks. It was actually kind of fun.
  • I never saw or smelled any oil in the water.
  • The waves were really strong. Which means really fun. Good for making memories.
  • Outlet Mall” really means “yes, we have a few killer deals, but most things are just about 10-15% off, which you would have paid in taxes anyway. But we know vacationers are just looking for reasons to spend money, so we put a lot of your favorite stores together so you can give us your money.”
  • People that decorate beach condos really like floral print for furniture, wallpaper, and bedding. I mean REALLY like floral print.
  • The adults in my family need road-trip potty breaks more than the kids do.
  • Anything on the lower pantry shelves or in the fridge in the condo is fair game for kids to grab.
  • Seaside has gotten a little more crowded and busy since my honeymoon. But I’d still lik estay there again someday. Maybe Rosemary Beach could be a possibility too.
  • Every condo should provide wifi these days. Just saying…
  • Having an iPhone on vacation is really, really helpful.
  • I actually found an iPhone, but called the people and gave it back. My oldest daughter was disappointed.
  • I always bring books and magazines to read at the beach. But never read them.
  • My kids can’t get enough of the pool. They’d go to the pool at 6 a.m. if they could.

Tomorrow’s Tupelo Gumtree 10K Run

Tomorrow will mark eleven years that Bev and I ran the Gumtree Run together. A few of my buddies and one of her girl friends did as well. Then later that day Bev and I got married.

That’s right, we actually ran a 10k race the morning of our wedding. And four of my groomsmen and one of her bridesmaids. And so did the guy who ran sound at our wedding. It was pretty crazy. Bev finished first out of all of us. And I finished last. But I can say that my mind was on other things, maybe.

But we will go and celebrate our 11th Anniversary tomorrow with another Gumtree run. And just as before, she’ll finish before me. WAY before me. But that’s ok.

And maybe I’ll video this one as well.

Yesterday I Went To A Funeral…

The brother of a friend of mine died this past weekend in a car accident.

Yesterday my friend Lee and I drove down to attend the funeral and pay our respects.

The church was way out in “the country”. But there were a ton of folks there. Lee and I were some of the last to arrive so we actually sat on the front pew in one of the side sections. And from where we sat we had a direct view of the family pew.

I saw a mother who lost a dear son. Two sisters who lost their big brother. A brother in law who lost a best friend. And I saw a beautiful, young widow who lost her soul mate and father to her two young children. It was pretty gut wrenching to try and put myself in their place.

The funeral was a heavy one. But one where the stories were light and humorous, and many examples were given of the love for his kids and family and others. Of how he made everyone laugh and brought joy wherever he was. And how he’d be dearly missed.

I’ve never had anyone in my immediate family die. And I don’t know how I’d deal with it or process it.  I kept thinking of what it would be like to be the one sitting in the pew having lost my wife or a child or a parent. But then my mind shifted.

What if it was my family sitting there and I was the one gone? My first thought was I wouldn’t want a funeral. I don’t know if that is a knee jerk reaction or not. But it also made me think of my family. If I was suddenly gone, would my children know beyond all else that their dad loved them? Would they know that I loved their mom dearly? Would they remember times I’ve spent with them and played with them and read to them? Would they say that Jesus shaped who I was or that I just tried to fit Him in when I could?

And my wife…. What all would she be going through?

And it really made me start thinking through a few things. I’ve not any real conclusions I’m ready to release. But how can I make certain my kids know my depth of love for them and their mom? How can I make sure they know how much Jesus loves them? And make sure my wife experiences true oneness in our marriage when it comes to all aspects: emotional, physical, spiritual, relational?

I must say, it’s made me think…

Potty Training With A Boy

We’ve always heard that boys are harder to potty train than girls. So we were thinking we might be in for a bad run of things once Rowan started getting ready for the transition. But to be honest, the girls were usually pretty easy. While I can’t remember exactly when we started attempting to encourage them to use the “big girl potty” so they can wear “big girl panties“.

Just before Rowan turned two he started noticing during bath times when he was about to pee. So since the toilet was right next to the tub we’d just pull him out and plop him down. But when he started getting a “prize” to use the potty “like a big boy” he wanted to get more and more prizes. It’s amazing the power M&M’s can have, right?

Rowan on the throne

We see a lot of this at our house now

So now Rowan pretty much wears “big boy underwear” whenever he’s awake. The ones with Cookie Monster or Elmo might be the favorites. We’ll slap a diaper on him for naps and night time. But it’s pretty common for him to wake up with a dry diaper ready to go straight to the potty. Sure, we’ve had a few accidents. Some stinkier than others. And I’ve missed a lot of minutes of the girls’ soccer games because he had to go to the rest room about three times in an hour. But I think in the long run it will be all the better.

So with three children having been or going through potty training, the two main keys have been encouragement/excitement when the deed is done on the potty, and a few small pieces of candy now and then for reward. We’ve pretty much transitioned out of a prize each time. Soon we’ll be done with them totally. Or maybe give grapes or raisins for a prize. Then I get to eat all the M&M’s myself!

What have been some of the potty training methods you’ve found worked best for your family?

Addie running the Kids’ One Mile Race

Last weekend was the Double Decker festival here in Oxford. After dodging some crazy weather on Saturday most of the festival happened on Sunday. And the races got moved to Sunday as well. My wife and I each ran the 10K. You may remember the video I made last year of my race. Well I shot some more footage last weekend, but ran out of memory on the camera. So we’ll see what I can do with the editing.

But Addie and Ella both ran the kids run. It was a one mile race. I was pretty beat from the 10k just before, so I didn’t run it with them. Bev ran with Ella, but Addie took off on her own. I was waiting on her when she was headed back to the finish line. I whipped out my phone and shot a video as she finished.

Since I wasn’t paying too much attention at first, Addie says she was the first girl and second person overall to finish. She’s probably right, but whether she’s right or not she surely believes it! Watch her zoom by that girl in the green shorts!

Top 7 Things That Are Different When Your Kids Are Gone

Our kids are gone right now. Spending time elsewhere. God bless the grandparents. Of couse we love our kids and all. But sometimes having them share their energy and questions and loudness with other people can be good too. Because we try to teach them that sharing is a good thing, right? But as I woke up this morning to a kidless house it made me think a little about how things are different.

  1. I can eat whenever I want. This morning I ate a handful of cashews around 8:30, and then I finished off my leftover lasagna about 11 a.m. And I didn’t have to wonder if someone else would ask to eat my food, have some of mine, or think since I’m eating they should have their meal fixed right then too.  As soon as my kids see me eating ANYTHING they want some. If I was eating one peanut M&M, they’d want me to split it four ways so they could have just as much as I was getting.
  2. I can lay in bed as long as I want on Saturday morning. On a usual Saturday morning I will read something in bed or on the computer after I finally wake up. But “finally” might not be the best word because my five year old likes to come ask about breakfast. She knows not to wake me up specifically to ask for that, but she’ll “accidentally” be loud or come and crawl in bed beside me or want to play a game on my phone or any number of things to try and get me up out of the bed. I trust her to pour her own cereal now, but there’s still the “mess factor” I know I’ll have to manage later. But without them at home, I can wait until my bladder or stomach demand relief.
  3. I can eat whatever I want. I like to try to direct my kids in a healthy lifestyle. And a lot of that has to do with what/how we eat. So I try not to eat too much junk in front of them. For one because they don’t need to eat it. And secondly, because if they do eat it then half of my ice cream or cookie dough would be gone in one fell swoop. But now I can break out the candy bar for a snack or even ice cream with chocolate syrup for lunch and no one cares!
  4. Adult conversations are easier. Now when I say “adult” conversations I’m not meaning anything lewd or nefarious. But just a normal, calm, uninterrupted conversation about life in general. Last night the wife and I went to Ole Venice for supper (that’s where I got the lasagna). The two of us sat down, talked, munched on bread, read the local free newspapers, and shared a meal. And we never once had to clean up a spill, tell someone to sit down, break up a fight, go “Shhhhhhhh!” because someone was too loud, or  have three people asking for bites of my lasagna. Heck, I bet if we’d gone out as a family I couldn’t have had left over lasagna for breakfast today!
  5. We can each go places quickly. If my wife and I each need to run a quick errand in different directions, we can do it. At the drop of a hat. Just grab the keys and hop in the truck. There’s no “let’s use the potty before we go”, there’s no search for the missing shoe, there’s no tangled hair that needs a backhoe to get a brush through, there’s no finding the dog, blanket, baby, book, or whatever else they want to take with them. None of that. It’s just “where are the keys” and in a split second I’m out the door.
  6. I can be as loud as I want to be. We watched a movie last night [quite interesting I must say]. But we turned the tv up and it got loud at a few points, but we didn’t have to worry about waking anyone up. This afternoon when my two year old son would normally be taking an nap, we were rearranging some things in the garage and coming in and out of the house right by his bedroom. But didn’t have to worry about keeping or waking him up.
  7. Things just seem “off”. While all of those things above can be great things, things still seem a little “off” when they’re all gone. I find myself listening for them, wondering why they’re so quiet. Or I’ll think of something funny that would make them laugh, but then they’re not here to share it with. Or maybe I’m making a big bowl of ice cream with chocolate syrup, and I put a little extra in the bowl because I was smart and planned ahead to share it with them….but then they’re not really here. So while a break is good, it’s always good to get them back, as well! Normal is good.

The Kids at Holli's Sweet Tooth

Haircut for Rowan!

It seems that when our kids are really young my wife and I think that it can’t be too hard to cut a kids hair. And we end up messing it up. And then we give it a few attempts to “fix” it. And it only makes it worse. I’ll try to find some old pictures of Ella. Her hair looked horrible. She had a really bad “boy’s haircut” for a few months when she was two.

But I had to run get a tire fixed this morning and decided to take Rowan to get his haircut afterwards. We were thinking of trying to wait until he turned two later this month for a haircut. But he was shaggy. You couldn’t see his ears. I’m not sure he could see anything through his bangs. And he was sporting a serious mullet too!

So after Walmart (and an emergency diaper change which included me having to buy diapers, wipes, and a new pair of pants!) we headed to get him all cut up. Here are a few pics below.

This was at Walmart before we left. His hair was CRAZY!

Still @ Walmart

He sat really, really still.

Bev showed up to watch from behind.

He was still, but paid strict attention in the mirror.

Almost done. He's getting a quick clean up

The finished product. But he couldn't be still.

He's cutting up. But his bangs aren't so severe now.

Chick-Fil-A opens in Oxford!


When I was exploring the move to Oxford, I asked Pat, “Is there a Chick-Fil-A in Oxford?” It was that important of a factor. But I guess not ultimately important because I came anyway. But early in the spring it was announced that Oxford would be getting a Chick-Fil-A. I was ecstatic. Well, last Thursday it opened. I wasn’t one of the ones to camp out all day/night Wednesday in order to get free chicken for a year.

BUT I did take the kids to eat supper there Thursday evening. Me and half of Lafayette County. But it turned out to be  the best customer service I’ve ever experienced!

We pull up and we’re in line. A nice lady came to my window to ask if we were dining in or driving through. She assured me that our wait would not be long inside. So we parked and walked in (after further assurances that she would help us exit our parking space which could be blocked by the drive thru line.)

It’s just me and my three kids. Somehow my wife missed this trip. But we walk up to the restaurant and a lady opens the door for us greets us by giving the children each a little Chick-Fil-A cow toy. I start dropping some “Thank You’s” so they all say “My Pleasure.” We walk in and things seem crazy but organized. We find a spot in line and we’re only two deep. Then a lady comes up and asks me if I’d like for her to reserve a table close to the play area. Huh? Are you serious? Sure, why not. So she goes and gets a high chair and all for Rowan and gets a placemat that sticks to the table for him too.

I order my food. She reappears and tells me where my table is. I start to let Addie hold Rowan and send her and Ella to the table. The lady asks if I want her to walk my kids to their table. Sure! Then she tells me I can go ahead to the table if I want, and she’ll bring my food to me. Wow. Ok. Why not?

So then as we start to eat a trey gets pushed on the table and Ella’s bottle of chocolate milk falls off the table, down my leg, and then onto the floor. So someone appears out of no where and cleans it up with a towel. And brings us a new bottle of chocolate milk. Then people bring us balloons, ranch dipping sauce, and ketchup. And napkins.

So we eat our chicken and enjoy things. But as we’re finishing up the girls want to go into the play area. So I send them on their way and then scarf down a bit more chicken while my son finishes his fruit cup. As we’re cleaning up and all, a man comes to help. So I’m thinking, this is awesome! These folks are really wanting me to come back. Everyone was so helpful.

Well I go to get the girls from the playroom Ella is distressed. I see that a small scab from a previous booboo got hit and was bleeding on her leg. So I’m holding Rowan trying to find some napkins. I worker sees me and tells me to sit tight while she goes to get something for her foot. She comes back w/ an antiseptic wipe and a band-aid. I thank her and was about to clean up Ella. But she says, “Sit her here and I’ll fix her up.” She then proceeds to clean all the blood off of Ella’s ankle and foot, and then puts the band-aid on gently and asks Ella if everything is okay.

So this was far and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Now I know that Chick-Fil-A brought in some “professional restaurant openers” for the first week or so. But I was in awe. I’ll be back. A lot.

Haircuts: Before and after

The girls have both had long hair. Addie got a good cut one time and it looked cute, but Ella never has short hair except for when she was really young. I think it was in response to me and Bev trying to give her haircuts early on in her life. We butchered it. Many times. So our goal was to let hers grow out. But even though it was “long”, it wasn’t all the same length. It needed some evening up badly, so we took it from about middle of her back to up around her chin. When we were making her appointment Addie wanted hers cut as well. So here’s the before and after pics.



Also, Addison took a page out of my book and decided to shoot some video of the process. So she helped me edit it down to what you can see below.

From one bucket to another…

We have an eight year old girl and a four year old girl at our house. That combination makes for some exciting times at our home. Some really fun times and funny times. But that combination can also produce whining, aggravation, frustration, crying, mean looks, and sometimes tears…and that’s just how I sometimes feel!

Just kidding.

An afternoon at Rowan Oak

But at times my two girls get along perfectly. You’d think they were custom made for each other. But more and more lately I’ve seen the two of them starting to act rude, mean, quite disrespectful toward each other. And amazingly often times it’s either perpetrated or perpetuated by the oldest. She seems to purposefully try to stir up and aggravate her younger sister. And my four year old usually is happy to comply and will answer with a snarl, shriek, whine, cry or other sound that I don’t like.

So I have had a talk with them. Actually multiple talks, but the last one was my most serious. I think I realized I need to not let my own emotions get stirred up when a fight breaks out. Usually I get frustrated by the sounds my younger one is making, frustrated by what the oldest is doing to make the youngest make those sounds, and frustrated why the oldest thinks it’s necessary for her to intentionally create this chaos. Why can’t she just act in a nice, loving, humble, kind, self controlled manner?

Of course the answer is that she’s a person. And all of us people have times we’re thinking wrong thoughts and sometimes we act out on them. But last night as I was lying in the still of the bedroom after the whole house was asleep I was asking God to shape their hearts to be more and more like His. And for him to pour into their lives the fruit of His spirit (love,  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control). But as I prayed I realized that He was asking me to help pour those things into their lives. That my wife and I are to be the primary shapers of who they become. And for me to pour anything into their lives (their buckets), it’s got to be in my life (bucket) to begin with. That’s humbling.

Joe Paslay told me that a long time ago as I was interviewing to work at Camp Lake Stephens. His talk was from the angle of being a counselor and pouring into campers as they are under your watch for the week. But the concept is the same. I can’t give, teach, show my kids anything that I am not already understanding and living out myself first. It’s a concept I have known for years! But as the kids grow up, parenting gets more challenging. I thought I was a smart and awesome dad when I had just one child. But it’s getting more challenging as they grow, mature (and sometimes seemingly decrease in maturity).  And I am going to want them to rely on Jesus more and more. And He is showing me that I have to rely on Him just as much or more in order to show Him to them effectively.

Now…add to the mix a boy who just turned 15 months old…and the next couple of decades of my life will be an exciting adventure!

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