Friday, August 18, 2023

{A Birthday & New Beginnings}

 Well, time is officially a thief!  Somehow 14 whole years have flown by and now Bear is rolling on into the teen years.  To celebrate and kick off what was surely to be a big day, we fancied ourselves up and made reservations at the Chapin Chophouse.  It was so delicious!  We rarely {and I mean rarely} go out to eat but when we do, we go BIG! It was so fun to celebrate it was not only the eve of Luke's birthday, but also the night before Bubba moved back into college for his sophomore year.  

Obligatory family selfie! Of course!  Thankful for big boys and long arms to get all our faces in one shot.

The kids were amazing.  You'd think they do this every day.  The girls used their best manners and showed once again how awesome they are.  

Clearly...bless.  This girl was made for celebrity status! 

Bear got a burger...most of the kids did.  Scott and I ordered steak.  Divine. 

Filling up the whole table fills my heart.  

Afterwards, we raided Publix for ice cream sundae supplies and came home for dessert...that we deemed "End of Summer Sundaes"

School started for us weeks ago but since Bub is headed off, it's really time to settle into our school rhythm again.  

Gracious, I adore this man.  

We were reminiscing a bit the other day about how hard this past year has been for us but also how insanely kind and good God has been in revealing Himself to us in it.  

This is proof that when Jesus is the center, you only come out stronger in the end.

Friday morning began with my gluten free Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Bundt Cake for breakfast...for the birthday boy! 

I tried Wal-Mart pick up and it was amazing however I apparently ordered those hard to blow out sparkler candles instead of normal ones.  So, this was extra fun first thing in the morning and before my second cup of coffee.  ha! 


What a miracle...especially after the last month.  

God is so kind and gives the BEST gifts! 

After birthday breakfast and some presents, it was time to load up Bubba & head to college.  

As a parent, you just never are ready for this regardless of how many times you do it.   I am convinced now more than ever that every kid needs to do this and, even more so, every parent.  Whether it's college or just living on their own, they need this.  We need this.  It's hard but it's healthy.  Staying at home is good for a while but it never really gives them a chance to work out their own growth and salvation.  And there are things that they just need to do on their own...gracious, I'm so grateful for my weekly ladies group that has spoken so much life into me these last 6 months.  They are mostly a step or two ahead of me and incredible in giving me perspective and HOPE.  

See, that whole God being so kind thing?  We never grow under shade, do we? The scorching sun can be a good thing if we let it.  God uses it all. 

And on that note, God somehow orchestrated for this guy to play COLLEGE GOLF...having never actually competing on a team in his entire life.  Wyatt is an excellent networker and made a connection with the golf coach at CIU last spring.  He had a nerve injury from baseball in his arm and couldn't pitch...and spent a lot of time on the nearby golf course.  Since he throws right-handed but bats/golfs left handed, swinging the clubs hasn't bothered him at all.  

God, in His kindness, is giving Wyatt a new beginning this year.  

He received the same financial scholarship to play on their golf team as he was for baseball and in the early summer, he took it.  

Life continues to not look anything like we ever thought it would...if you go far enough back in this blog, you'll find that we were having two kids {and boy and a girl} and were done.  BUT GOD. 

He is sovereign.  Always. 

We are so excited for Wyatt in this new opportunity and are learning over and over to let God lead.
But, since I'm a yeller and big cheerleader, I'm having to learn how to navigate this whole quiet golf cheer thing.  We've settled on a super sized button and banner to wave.  
{He thinks I'm kidding and I may be but it sounds fun!} 

More selfies with the birthday boy while we are getting moved in...I'm sure I'll blink and he will be next.


Baby sisters...

Gotta get one with Mom and Dad!

The bookends...this girl makes you earn her love and she doesn't just say she loves anyone either.  {totally healthy in my book!} But, she seriously adores her Bubba.  

She said she'd just stay and do art at his desk.  

Such a difference from year one to year two.  We took way too much stuff last year. At least he is close to home and knows he can come get anything he needs. 

There was lots left to do but Wyatt wanted to wait for his roommate to get there before going any further, so we said our "see ya laters" and headed out.  

Bear especially was quiet once we got in the car and then I looked over and saw him with his head down crying. There's so much that I don't write in this space to protect my kids from but his loss this past year was significant...and he loved, in his own silly little brother way, deeply having Wyatt home and building a relationship with him again this summer.  Still, not the way to have to celebrate your birthday so we made a choice to head to the zoo and find something fun to do. 

Each kid picked something that was their favorite and we went with it.  

Sometimes the best thing to do is just say yes! Especially when they don't expect it.

Icees that you know better than to ever ask for?  YES!
Feeding the skittle looking birds that freak mom out? YES! 
Getting dizzy on the carousel?  YES! 
Up close and personal with the reptiles?  YES! 

Talk about turning a frown upside down! 

Well, look at that!  No drinks allowed on the carousel so Mom got to sit with all the drinks and watch them get dizzy! How sweet is that red teethed grin, anyways???

Definitely had to document the drinks! 

Bless.  This girl.  She loved his eye shadow.  

Found Belle's brick! 

Her happiest happy place...well, and with those domesticated chickens that live in her yard, too.

Guess what happens when you seek to avoid that immediate crowd by the aquarium and move over to the big part?  You get a surprise front row seat at the fish feeding.  

Thankfully, the diver didn't have any stingrays in the tank.  We've come to the conclusion that any zoo that keeps them, has to de-barb them after seeing the harm they cause first hand.  {Yep,  there's still a bandage on that wound.  Healing is slow and steady and we are so thankful!}

The most anticipated Airsoft Battle Birthday Party is yet to come...but the birthday boy and his big brother are off to new beginnings and we are so excited for them both!!!

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