Friday, April 30, 2010

Updates for Dad

While Rod is on a mission trip about 8,000 miles away for the next two weeks, I want to keep him connected to the boys and what is going on at home. I am (hopefully) going to try to blog everyday to keep him updated on our lives, so that although he is in a land far, far away, he can feel a little bit at home.

On Thursday, we took him to the airport early in the morning and then I dropped both boys off at school. I had planned a lot of errands and a stop by the office to keep my mind off of Rod's very long journey. Both boys had baseball Thursday night (at the same time). Since I couldn't be in two places at once, we went to Brigg's game and skipped Max's practice. Briggs' team has not won a game all season, so we were really hoping for a win to start off the second half of the season. The Marlins were down by two runs on Briggs' first at-bat and Briggs hit a good grounder to third (on his last pitch) for two RBI's that tied the game. His next at-bat took place in the third inning with the Marlins down by 4 with the bases loaded. A home run would have tied the game, but Briggs struck out. They will have another chance for that elusive first win on Saturday.
That night, during bedtime prayers, Max (spontaneously) prayed that God would give "Daddy a safe trip on that airplane." It was so sweet because his usual bedtime prayers are "help mommy, help daddy, help Briggs and Max. Amen"

Friday morning came early because Briggs had a field trip to the McWayne Center and I was going as a chaperone. Briggs has been looking forward to it for weeks and was so excited that I was going. I sat next to him on the bus and he put his arm in mine and told me how glad he was that I was there. This made me feel so good, because he is usually all about dad, all the time. Which is great, because I want my boys to have a close, strong relationship with their dad, but Briggs takes it to a whole new level. (He made a "leader board" at school one day ranking us all and needless to say, I came in last until I made him feel guilty and he moved me to second place:) Hey, around here, I'll take what I can get!

Honestly, I don't know if there is a boy in the world who loves his dad as much as Briggs loves Rod. In his eyes, his dad hung the moon, which is pretty much the way I feel too, so it's okay;) After nearly 16 years of marriage, we are more in love with each other than we have ever been. Our boys definitely have a dad who loves his wife and children and spends time with them. God has blessed us with an amazing spiritual leader that He continues to make into His likeness everyday. Okay, back to the update. I got a little sidetracked...............................

We had a great time on the field trip and Briggs even got on TV when a weatherman from Fox 6 did the forecast from the McWayne Center. Here is the video; Briggs is holding a green poster with a red heart on it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeaKzamSrIA

Tonight as he was getting ready for bed, he told me what a great day he had with me and hugged me.

Max and I played with his play dough making bowling balls and pins, taking turns knocking them down, while Briggs was at baseball practice with Uncle Scott. Max wanted to have family worship as his bedtime routine, so he and I got in the bed and read from his Jesus Storybook Bible. Then he sang "Jesus Loves Me" and prayed for daddy again.

God has blessed us with such sweet boys and I hope that this little update will help keep us close to each other over the next two weeks of separation. I love you sweetie and I am so proud of you...................................

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

10 Times Tougher Than Your Dad

As Briggs gets older we are having more and more of these little father/son talks that explain to him how the world really works. Most of the time I am at the same time proud and filled with laughter at seeing the light bulb go off and seeing how funny a little 7 year old brain can be sometimes.

The other morning as I was getting ready for work, Briggs came running into the kitchen with my deodorant in his hand . He excitedly asked me how to make more of it come up so that he could use it before school. Curious as to why of all days he chose this day to use deodorant before school, (personal hygiene typically being the last thing on our first grader's mind) he looked at me and said "because it will make me 10 times stronger than you!"

Sad to burst his bubble, it did give us a good opportunity for one of our little talks. We had a nice chat about marketing, commercials, and how advertisements are only trying to make you spend your money. When asked if he really thought a deodorant could make him 10 times stronger than anyone he laughed and said "no, that's pretty silly." I sure do love those boys, even if they aren't as strong as me, yet...

Our Sunshine





Max's three year old vocabulary grows everyday, sometimes amazing us with his command of the English language ("Mom, I have the pick-ups" instead of hiccups) and sometimes confounding us ("Look at the dragon stools on my hands!") huh? Rod finally figured out that one- dragon scales- when his fingers are shriveled from being in the bath too long.

Last week he informed me that he was tired of saying that we lived in Birmingham and from now on, he would just say we live on Sesame Street. His teacher at Mother's Day Out taught them to say, "Don't Mess With Texas" and so we get this warning rather frequently. We can't wait to visit Rod's family in Texas this summer, they will be so proud.

The other day he asked me to help him put on his Buzz Lightyear costume. As I was turning the legs inside out by sticking my arms in them, he protested, "Mom, it's my turn to wear it first!"
And other times, he just warms my heart when he tells me he loves me. I"ll ask him how much and he replies "24." Maybe that's on a scale from 1 to 24 or maybe it's just all 24 hours of the day. With that mischievous grin, it doesn't even matter.
He loves music and has a special penchant for Etta James, Jerry Lee Lewis and Bill Withers. His current favorites are "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Great Balls of Fire."
Max also loves to talk about Jesus. Here is a recent conversation:
Max: "Is God with us?"
Mom: "Yes, baby, He is with us."
Max: "Is He here now?"
Mom: "Yes, He lives inside of us if we trust in Him and follow Jesus."
Max, breaking out into song: "God has given this land to us,
no need to fuss, He knows what He's doing
We know that He will take care of us, if we will follow Him."
Mom: "What a sweet Veggietale's song."
Max, "Yes, mom. God wants us to be nice to people."
Amen to that.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If This Doesn't Change Your Attitude About Laundry- Something Must Be Wrong With Your Washer


Most of us probably wouldn't say that laundry is our favorite part of the day. The sorting, the trying to remember to put them in the dryer before they begin to smell, the folding, and it never ends. But that perpetual task that sometimes seems to go unnoticed unless someone doesn't have clean underwear for school; well, that task is about to be meaningful to the life of children without families across the world.
You see, some dear friends of mine are making this amazing all natural laundry detergent with all of their profits going to assist families adopting orphans worldwide, beginning with their own sweet baby from Uganda. This amazing family of 7 are opening up their hearts to a baby girl they have never met, but whom God has ordained to become a part of their family since the beginning of time. You can read about them at http://www.vitafamiliae.com/.
The detergent, Hopesuds, smells fantastic and really gets your clothes clean. I put it to the test on a white t shirt with two day old pizza sauce on it- without pre-treating it. It worked great! I was actually surprised because I don't think my old detergent would have gotten that out on the first wash. My whole laundry room smells good, and I'm pretty funny about smells. But this is a yummy citrusy smell that is chemical free. I'm looking for things to wash! (which is not all that hard). You only use a tiny bit (a tbs) so the little bag lasts for like 48 loads! You can order it at http://www.hopesuds.com/ or if you are local you can get some at Favorite Laundry in Mt. Laurel.
Adoption is something that is very close to my heart. It is the most rewarding part of my work outside of my home. I feel very humbled that God chooses to use me in some small way to help give children happy homes that they can grow up in. This is just another way that we can be involved in a ministry that is making an eternal difference in the lives of children.
Everyone has to have some kind of laundry detergent, why not use Hopesuds and join God in His plan to give orphaned children new mommies and daddies? It will change your attitude about doing laundry.
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." James 1:27
Hopesuds. Do Laundry, Save Orphans.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Indy Grand Prix


Last week at work, Mr. Kevin, a very kind gentleman who sits in a cubicle next to Rod, offered him tickets to the first ever Indy Grand Prix of Alabama at the Barber Motor Sports Speedway, about 30 minutes from our house. The tickets were for the Friday practices and qualifying. They also included free breakfast, lunch, snacks, awesome parking and real toilets (as opposed to port-a-potties). Although we have never considered ourselves race fans, this was very exciting to the boys and appealed to the nearly forgotten Daddy's girl side of me that long ago loved to spread Bond-O, order quarts of Oil Dry (another story), attend hot rod car shows, and ride shotgun with Dad going close to 100 mph down Denton Road (much to my mother's chagrin). While there is little chance of us becoming Ricky Bobby's family in Talledega Nights, we did have a blast and would love to go again next year. Here are some highlights:






It was free! That made it so easy to relax and enjoy the day, even with the truck fire that backed up the interstate for miles on the way there. We just turned around and went the back way and avoided the whole mess. The weather was cool, breezy and gorgeous; plus there were not very many people there. There were inflatables for the kids when they tired of watching the racecars. It was easy to get back and forth to the car and to the free food and snacks, so that part could not have been any better.

The Paddock




Aside from the race track, the paddock is where the action is. This is where they work on the cars before and after the races. There was so much going on, it is hard to describe it. Suffice to say, we had to sign a waiver saying that if anything happened to us while we were down there, it was our own fault and we could not sue them. We also had to include the boys on the waiver. We asked the officials exactly what we were getting into, and they told us that it was an extremely dangerous area because of the chaotic movement of cars and other vehicles, which have the right of way over pedestrians. One man said, "You can't be too careful down there."



Part of me was thinking, "Great, this is a mother/social worker's dream. Knowingly taking her children into an extremely dangerous situation...."



SO, Rod took Max's hand and I took Briggs' hand and the boys were instructed that they would under no uncertain terms be let go of for any reason. They complied until a racing team invited them over to sit in a real racecar! They were so excited and we were too! Here is the car:


The Rehagan Racing team was so kind to us, even putting our pictures on their website:
http://www.wesduenkel.com/download/rehagenracing/RehagenRacing_Barber_2010/
(we're on about the fourth page of photos)

Which is great because somehow in the excitement, we did not get a good picture of this.
Both boys got to sit in the winning mustang because little did we know that they would win the Barber 200 on Saturday!



Another exciting thing about the paddock is how close we could get to the race track and pit row. We stood against a fence where the Indy cars were coming in for their pit stops. In some sections, there was nothing separating us from the racecars pulling out of the pits. It was amazing to be that close, but also very scary!


It was so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the roar of the engines at over 200 mph! Sometimes I would pull out my earplugs just to get the full effect! We had such a great day!



By the end of it all, Max was exhausted and asleep on Daddy's shoulder.


I think all in all, the Cude's had the checkered flag on Friday!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Easter

*Disclaimer: the family members in these photos will be mad that they are on here and the family members not on here will be mad that they aren't. So, I am sorry for both.


We went to Dothan for a very quick trip (less than 24 hours) for Easter. After a great worship service, we drove out to the Crossroads for a delicious Easter lunch and afternoon of playing outside. The boys hunted eggs with all of their cousins and played until it was time to go home.



I though it would be nice to tell the story of the day using mostly pictures (thus the disclaimer). The weather could not have been more beautiful and we all had a great time.



Granny


Dad made a new friend that quickly became more like an old friend



Aunt Sue


Uncle Scott

Hudson shaking his eggs


Eli playing hard





Counting their eggs

Samantha


Cheese!


So handsome in his first tie that he had to have

family portrait


Sweet brothers


"Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said." Mat. 28:5-6