Thursday, February 28, 2013

2nd annual family valentines & guest blogger

last year we started a new tradition with valentine's day.  you can see here for what we did last year.  it's safe to say, after this year's events, this holiday has become our favorite holiday.  matt and i looked forward to this time and when our evening was done, it did not disappoint!  our fancy dinner and games could not compare to our time sharing our love notes with each other.  deep, rich, overwhelming.

this blog, up until this point, has exclusively been my thoughts; as it relates to our family and my kids.  but with this post it no longer is.  i have asked matt if i could share the notes he wrote to the kids on the blog...and he reluctantly agreed.  here they are.



You are so precious to me.  I think you are so beautiful. I love being your Dad.  I love your smile, voice, kisses; I love to hold your hand and  play games with you; I love to hear you sing and watch you dance; I love snuggling with you when you wake up; I love watching you grow up.  You bring me so much joy.  While there are so many things that I love about you, I want to focus on just one.  I love that you teach me how to read.  I know this may sound a bit strange since you are learning your letters and cannot read words on a page; nevertheless, it is true: you teach me how to read.  Let me explain.  Every book that we read, you see yourself in that story.  If it is Bernstein Bears you see yourself as baby Honey; if it is Fancy Nancy you see yourself as “Jojo"; if it is Little Critter you see yourself as Little Sister.  In fact, many times we read a book and you identify who each character is: Isaiah is Franklin, Alaythia is Bear, and Sophia is Beaver.  I love this about you.  I love that you see yourself as part of each story that we read.  This is a good thing and you teach me how to be a better reader.

But Sophia, you know what is so cool?  You are part of a story. You are part of God’s story.  You are part of the story God has been writing ever since Creation.  And this is such a fabulous story to be part of.  It is the story of a King who fights and dies to protect his people; it is about a prince who loves his bride so much that he dies to rescue her; it is a story about a Father who defends and cares for his family; it is about Jesus, the Rescuer.  So my prayer for you Sophia Hope is that you will grow to see yourself as part of this great story: see yourself as belonging to the King, as loved by the Prince, and as cared for by our Heavenly Father.  May you know this story and tell it to the world.  Thank you for teaching me how to read better.  I love you so much.


You are so precious to me.  I love being your Dad.  I think you are so beautiful.  I love to snuggle with you, I love to watch you dance, I love to hear you sing, I love watching you swing a bat, I love the stories you tell, I love to watch you care for your brother and sister. I love to watch your life; you are truly unique and lovely.  While there are so many things that I love about you, I just want to focus on one.  I love that you teach me how to learn.  I know this may sound a bit strange since I have been a student for a lot longer than you have, but, it is true; you teach me how to learn.  Let me explain, whether in school or piano lessons you have to work so hard in order to learn.  Phonograms and notes, penmanship and spelling rules are not easy and every day you need to work so hard in order to learn these important things.  And you know what?  You are doing it. I know some days that you struggle to work hard, but I want you to know that I see how hard you are working, am proud of your hard work, and am inspired to work harder. I love to hear you sound out words to read or spell and I love the excitement in your eyes when you get a phonogram correct.  I love to see your brain work, think, process, ask questions, give answers, and discover new things.  I pray that you will always desire to learn by working hard.

Alaythia, while I want to help you learn new things like spelling and math; my prayer most of all is that you will grow to know who you are—this may be the hardest work you will ever do.  You see, you will have to work hard to believe that who you are is not based on how you look, on how smart you are, on how funny you are, or how many toys you have.  You will have to work hard to believe that you are beautiful, that you are precious because you are loved by the Creator, you are loved by God.  Alaythia, your mother and I will work hard with you so that you will grow to know who you are—you are a daughter of the King, you are loved by the Greatest Prince, and you are worthy of the best love. Don’t take the easy way and let your friends, T.V., books, or wrong feelings define who you are; know, my dear, work hard to know who you are as a daughter of the Creator God.  Thanks for teaching me to learn, I love you.


You are so precious to me.  I love being your Dad.  You are such an incredible son, brother, friend, and follower of Jesus.  I love your many talents (playing the piano, sports, school); I love how you devote yourself to everything you do; I love that you love learning history, math, and sometimes grammar and Latin; I love playing with you; I love that you want to play with me; I love how kind you are to your sisters; and how devoted you are to your friends.  I love the deep and sometimes hard talks that we have; I love talking with you about Jesus and love watching you grow to trust Him.  While there are so many things to love about you, I want to focus on just one: I love that you teach me how to be a better man.  

 I know this may sound a bit strong; especially since it is my role to teach you how to be a man.  But as I watch you grow up; you are also teaching me to be a better husband, father, and follower of Jesus.  You teach me to be a better husband because you help me to see ways that I am unkind to mommy, or there are times that you are thinking about her needs more than I am and you help me.  You help me to be a better father because you are such an incredible son.  I know you are not perfect, I know you struggle, but I love parenting you.  I love that your heart is inclined to trust, obey, listen, and learning from me and your mom.  I love that you are free to tell me what you think whether it be how hard I am on you or how you get treated differently than your sisters.  You help me to be a better follower of Jesus because you have child-like faith that believes the promises of God and tries to live life based on those promises.  I love your desire to read and memorize the Bible.  I love when you think of ways to lead your family in worship.  Your life inspires me to be a better man, and I am grateful for the son you are.
My prayer for you is that you will continue in your growth to be a man who loves his family, who speaks the truth (even when it is hard), who knows that Bible, and who loves his God.  This will not be easy and at times you will struggle greatly; but I want you to know that we are in this together, we will struggle together, we will fight for our women and we will fight for our faith together.  You are my boy; I love you so much.  Thank you for teaching me to be a better

valentines day at school

 sophia and i went to school on valentines day to take pictures of the kids' classes.  alaythia was so excited to have sophia with her in class.  she had decorated her valentine bag with both her and sophia's name on it.  i'd say this girl was pretty excited to be in her big sister's class!

passing out cupakes for her valentines.

mrs. mattingly, and her daughter avery

we headed to isaiah's class next where the class was making cards for people in nursing homes.  i must say it was a pure joy to get to spend just a few minutes with these wonderful kids. watching all of their creativity and interactions with each other was such fun!  such care they took to make cards for those who maybe are forgotten and need love.  as they were ministering in this way, and using creativity, one student spontaneously broke out into the song, 'ancient of days'.  another joined in with their voice, as another walked to get a marker they added percussion.  it almost brought me tears!  being a bystander, watching them worship in action and in song...  i walked by another student and their card caught my eye.  i found this written on the inside:

i feel so priviledged to have my kids in this school.

isaiah class.
i love this picture...
so iconic with the crazy boys, proper girls,
chalkboard and flag.

basketball and ballet

it was a short but great basketball season for isaiah.

the girls started ballet at the seminary.
this was sophia's first sport class to take! 

i love this picture...the kids with southern in the forefront.
i could track their lives and growth with this building in the background. 


christmas on the west coast - part 2

we had a nice long visit with the family in california!  6 cousins one more on the way (matt & laura the happy parents) made for some great adventures!  we are so blessed with such amazing people to call family!

christmas eve

christmas morning

michael leo and his new latch board


sisters...just missing kendall!

daddies getting ready for an attack

during a wrestling/ball game, caleb kicked out alaythia's already VERY loose tooth!

these two were such big helpers in the kitchen
with their matching aprons

rollerskating - so much fun

i love this picture...

Christmas on the west coast - part 1

we didn't have much time in the northwest...just 4 days.  but we HAD to get there to see our new baby cousin.  the kids meeting bronson west for the first time was...hard to put words to.  the bond between the 4 of them was fun to watch!  we can't wait to add another hendrix cousin in september! (adam & emily are the proud parents.)

other fun things included:

cooking with gramma

            getting into gramma's make-up and perfume      

seeing grandpa for the first time
(and getting to be with moses)

gramma put on a 'girls only' christmas tea!  so so amazing!

and more bronson.  this auntie's heart was full at getting to be with him again.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

end of the football season - the colts game

in early november, isaiah had the opportunity of a lifetime.  his mighty mite football team went to a colts football game, and after they watched the game, they were allowed to go down on the field and play a scrimmage game in full pads.  sometimes i am amazed at my son and all the things he has gotten to do in his short 7 years of life.  this is his second NFL game to see live.  and will probably be his only chance to be down playing football on an NFL field.  he and daddy were the only ones who got to do this, but matt was sent with specific instructions to document it as fully as he could.  here is some of that documentation!

walking onto the field. #14 at the end.


i know it's dark..but if you can see #14 in the middle, you'll see he playing is QB...on the colts field!!


lyndon lightning mighty mites

thanksgiving in kentucky

even though we have lived 2500 miles from family for the past 4.5 years, we are very blessed, in that MOST major holidays we get to spend with extended family.  this thanksgiving however we were excited to be just the 5 of us.  while this was exciting on many levels, it was a bit scary for me, because it meant that i would have to cook my own thanksgiving dinner...all on my own.  turns out, matthew was all in so i wasn't on my own!  alaythia also helped a lot.  we had a great time planning the menu (from food network recipes), and then carrying it out. 

as we sat down to dinner my heart was full at those around me.  i was afraid that in that moment, i might feel lonely, or like something was missing.  but it was quite the opposite.  my heart was full and overwhelmed at the family that God has given to matthew and i.  at MY family. 

paula dean's apple pie

bobby flay's parker house rolls

matt's one request...jello with fruit! 

giada's gravy.

giada's turkey recipe

ina's mashed potatoes

rachel ray's green beans

table setting

sitting down to dinner! it was a fantastically beautiful day!
love, love my family!