Saturday, April 30, 2011

Easter 2011

We spent Easter at Myrtle Beach. It was a very nice, relaxing weekend with our family of 5.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Secondhand Spirituality

Come near to God, and God will come near to you. James 4:8

"Some of us have tired to have a daily quiet time and have not been successful. Others of us have a hard time concentrating. And all of us are so busy. So rather than spend time with God, listening for his voice, we'll let others spend time with him and then benefit from their experience. "Let them tell us what God is saying. After all, isn't that why we pay preachers?"...

If that is your approach, if your spiritual experiences are secondhand and not firsthand, I'd like to challenge you with this thought: Do you do that with other parts of your life?...

You don't do that with vacations... You don't do that with romance... You don't let someone eat on your behalf, do you? [There are] certain things, no one can do for you. And one of those is spending time with God."


Thursday, April 28, 2011

6 Days And Counting With My "Sensational 6"!

Next Friday, May 6th, the girls from our small group are leaving our husbands and children behind for a fantastic and much anticipated Mother's Day weekend in Richmond, VA. We are staying at the Sierra Hotel, located on the grounds of Short Pump Town Center. We have had this trip planned for over 2 months now and it's finally coming to fruition. We cannot wait!!!!!
Friday, we plan to leave early (11 am). We will spend Friday relaxing at our hotel and really enjoying each other's company away from the distraction of our cute little children. The hotel has a very quaint pool area which includes an adjoining hot tub, a gigantic fire pit, HUGE lounge chairs, and I think they even have a tiki bar. We also plan to eat dinner at the world's famous Cheesecake Factory!!! This is the ONE day I am allowing myself to splurge on sweets before my trip to the Bahamas in June.
Saturday morning, we plan to rise early, workout, eat a gourmet breakfast, included in the cost of our room charge, and finally SHOP, SHOP, SHOP!!!! I am really looking forward to this trip.
This plan originated after my insanely creative hubby left me a note for Valentine's Day with some cash that read,

"We want a day alone with our daddy! So please take this free pass. (1) day at Short Pump Mall or wherever with this money! When:? Whenever Where:? Wherever Who? Mommy & Friends."

I knew going alone would be NO FUN! So I chose the greatest women I know to join me. I am so thrilled to be shopping without diaper bags and strollers, but I am even more thrilled to create lasting memories with my "Sensational 6".

We will arrive home LATE Saturday night, just in time to be pampered on Mother's Day, we hope! LOL!

Easter Egg Hunt FUN With Our Small Group Family!

The last time our small group met up, we decided to take a break from the usual events and fellowship in a more casual sense. Most of us brought a dessert and 12 stuffed eggs for each child in preparation for an Easter Egg hunt. Jody hid the eggs. Aaron was the ring leader. The kids were the hunters. Due to bad weather, the egg hunt had to be indoors. Lisa and Aaron are the best at hosting events and were very generous to let us use their home for this event. The kids had a blast. There was even a golden egg hunt after all the colorful eggs were found. Aaron placed a $20 bill into the golden egg. It was hidden in Mason's diaper. One of the clues were, "It's hidden somewhere stinky!" Tyson missed out on this event due to baseball practice. Daniel was also NOT present. Other than that, we had our entire crew there to participate.

Freaky Friday!

Are you worried about your child turning 16? Do you wonder if you will have the money for your child to receive a car when they are eligible to drive? Are you fearful at the cost of insurance rates in the next 5-10 years for a teenager? If so, feast on this and be thankful.... in 14 years, we have those stresses X 2. Lilah and Jaxon LOVE to hop in daddy's car when he arrives home. They drive into the garage together on his lap. It is one of these episodes that caused me to think.... "woah, we will have 2 children needing vehicles, needing insurance, etc. etc. etc." in less than 14 years. FREAKY!

A New Friend Becomes An Enemy!

Yesterday, while mowing the lawn, Darren spotted a turtle. Tyson is dying for a new pet, so we agreed to let him keep the turtle over night. Okay, I agreed to it, not Darren. Tyson put him in a pot (not a pot I cook with, he tried, but I went ballistic. It's the pot we use to clean our tires on our vehicles.) and placed him on the floor next to our fish tank. Unbeknownst to me, Darren put the pot in the garage later that night. It sure was a good thing! This morning, upon entering the garage, Darren noticed the turtle vanished out of the pot. I thought turtles are supposed to be SLOW? Hours later (noonish) we found the turtle. He was hidden in between a propane tank and a cooler in our garage. Tyson was relieved and thrilled. He had his pet turtle back again. Well this "friend" was not a friend much longer after he was found. We were just about to let him loose and I said, "Ty, hold on, let me take a picture of him!" Ty, of course, being the ornery kid that he is, rolled his eyes with annoyance, but did as he was told. As he held the turtle and waited for me to snap the camera, the darn thing HISSED at him and BIT him. He screamed bloody murder, I screamed and began crying, and Jax fell to the floor in a panic. Darren came running, frantically to the garage where we all were, and was expecting to see the twins run over by a car in the road. YES, that's how LOUD our screams and cries were. I expected to seriously see Ty's finger snapped off. Oddly enough, even after the chill bump hiss and snap, he had a non-existent wound. I'd say God's angels were with us today for sure! NO MORE PETS: trained or wild. I have enough wildness in our home as it is. Needless to say, this friend quickly became an enemy.
Ewe! He's creepy looking.

Who are Lilah and Jaxon TODAY?

A few weeks back, Lilah and Jax went for their 2 year doctor visit. I'm still in shock my twins are 2. It just flew by! Truly!!!

I have NEVER really done this type of post before, but I figured I would give it a shot since all of my other blogging friends do it. Am I conforming here? So what!!! If you're like my hubby, you will start reading this and get bored quickly. I'm not offended. TRUST me. Darren even said as he saw me writing things down about Lilah and Jaxon, "Kristin, no one will read this. No one cares about this kind of stuff!" He's probably right. But my reply was, "I am not doing this post for anyone other than myself, Lilah and Jaxon as a memory." I'm not like my dear friend Jody. She can recall ANYTHING about her daughter in the drop of a hat. I, on the other hand, forget what I did with my children yesterday. That's why blogging is SOOOO great. It's a great memory of LIFE in general.

So here it goes...
Who is Lilah? Lilah is fun, spunky, yet bashful, and quite the "sas pot!" Easier than Tyson to discipline, but not by much. She is 23 pounds. She is in the 5th percentile for her height and weight, but Dr. Delaney said, "This is perfectly fine. She's just going to be a peanut like her mommy!" Ya right. He hasn't seen me in the nude. Shoe size: 5. Clothing size: mostly 18-24 months.

A few of her LOVES:

Her baby of course. Yogurt. The dvd "Toddler Tunes". Gum. Playing with pretend babies or real babies, especially Caleb. Dancing and singing. Her scuttlebug. She LOVES to clean and wipe things down.

She sleeps 12-13 hours at night. Naps approximately 1.5-2 hours.

Milestone praises/challenges: Potty training: no where near ready. Colors: none. Counts to 10, yay! Sings her entire alphabet. Is great about praying (ie. folding her hands and bowing her head) and points to the sky when asked where Jesus is.

A few things that frustrate us about her: 1. She does this annoying yell when she dislikes something that you do. 2. She dislikes kisses and will scratch her own face to "pull off the kiss" if you kiss her. 3. When I sing in the car, she tells me "no". So basically, she hates when I sing.

A few of her absolute favorite people: Daddy, Mommy, Jax, Cohen, Mattie, Elise, Ansley, Mrs. Jody and Caleb.

She dislikes it when: we dry her hair with a towel and bugs.

Resembles: Bryant side of the family (Darren's mom) and Daddy in appearance.
Tyson in personality. OH BROTHER!
Who is Jax? Jaxon is by far the most loving child we have. He is goofy, sensitive, loving, bashful, helpful and oh so thankful. He is easily disciplined. He is 28 pounds. He is in the 50-75th percentile for his height and weight. Again, normal. Shoes size: 6 or 7. Wears mostly 3T clothing, but most definitely can fit into size 2T.

A few of his LOVES:

His passie and baby of course. Yogurt. The dvd "Toddler Tunes." Gum. He enjoys getting groomed (ie. cleaning out his ears, being rubbed down with lotion, or getting his nails cut). Anything to do with trains and/or balls. He loves his scuttlebug.

He sleeps 12-13 hours at night. Naps approximately 1.5-2 hours.

Milestone praises/challenges: Potty training: no where near ready. Colors: none. Counts, but not to 10 like sissy! Sings some of the alphabet. Is great about praying (ie. folding his hands and bowing his head) and points to the sky when asked where Jesus is.

A few things that frustrate us about him: 1. His sensitivity causes much/many tears. 2. Taking his socks and shoes off in the car, at the store, in the yard. 3. Although cute, the "I do it" stage.

A few of his absolute favorite people: Mommy, Daddy, Bro-bro, John-John, Mattie, Kaitlyn (still), Mrs. Jody, Destiny, and Kate Fernandez.

He dislikes it when: he is woken up abruptly.

Resembles: Crisafi side of the family (My dad) and myself in appearance.
Personality wise - - I'm not sure. He's his own person. So calm. So sweet. So loving. So special. So helpful. We all could learn a lot from him in this house. :) Maybe DADDY's personality? Not sure.

Activities for BOTH Lilah and Jaxon: currently twins are involved in story time at the Salem Library, Praise and Worship at our Church, and Church every Wednesday and Sunday.

The best thing about having twins: watching the bond between two closely knitted babies from my womb, you get 2 for the price of 1, and they entertain each other.

The hard part about having twins: 2 x everything, not enough love to go around, and it's hard to spend good quality time with either of them.
These photos were taken while we waited patiently for our doctor to enter the room.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Egg Hunt at the Salem Library!!!

Yesterday, I took Lilah and Jaxon to their normal Tuesday Library class, only this time, something a little extra special was planned. Each child was to come to class with 12 pre-stuffed plastic eggs and their Easter basket. While class took place, a few of the library employees hid all of the eggs. Then it was time for some fun!!! An Easter egg hunt. This was the FIRST time Lilah and Jaxon ever participated in an egg hunt, but it took NO time for them to catch on. Lilah and Jaxon didn't find the promised 12. Lilah had found a ton (9 maybe) but when she bent over to grab another, all of her eggs fell out and that apparently was open game for the other kids to grab them. LOL! It didn't matter to me. The kids knew no difference if they had 12 eggs or 5 eggs. They were just thrilled to be eating the chocolate that is never offered in our home since brother doesn't like it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Baseball Practice

Mommy, Lilah and Jaxon finally made it to a baseball practice. I have to say, baseball hasn't been a big deal for me at all. It's been more of a nuisance because it takes away from our nightly routine, our weekend routine, and our family bonding. BUT, after attending one practice, I can see what all the hype is about. I can tell I am going to be one of those annoying picture taking moms on the field who yells and screams like a maniac. Let the fun begin!

The boys seem to be catching on and doing their best. After all, they are only 5 and 6. And the coaches are accepting no slack. :)

Coach: Keith Anderson
Assistant Coaches: Darren Bolling, Jeremie Shelor, and Nick Shaffer

Truthful Tuesday Part 2

I wouldn't normally do (2) Truthful Tuesdays, but I could not let this one slip.... and I didn't want to wait until NEXT Tuesday, because this story would be OLD NEWS by then.

This bag is my returns bag. It sits in the back of my car and when I have something to return, the item goes in it, so that it's not just laying around the house or all over the car. The bag goes everywhere I go.
Today, inside the bag are two really nice shirts from BUCKLE. You know the store that sells jeans for $150.00 per pair?
Well, the shirts are in the bag because they have to be returned. WHY? The alarm tags are on them AND NOT because we bought them and the store clerks forgot to remove the alarm tags, but because my sweet, innocent, 2-year-old daughter stole them without our knowledge. I noticed them as I was unloading the car on Saturday while shopping at Valley View Mall with Darren, for his Spring attire. We had NO time to run back into the mall and return them, so I called the store and told them what happened. Needless to say, I will be returning the two shirts on Wednesday. Each shirt cost $42.50 a piece. Do you think they will get her for grand larceny?

Truthful Tuesday!

This is Tyson on his way to the bus stop. Yes... he is in his pajamas, but rest assured, NOT because I didn't have time to iron his clothes or because he didn't have time to get dressed. The school is having pajama day today for all of the Kindergarteners. I LOVED IT! It was stress free, hassle free, iron free and added so much time to our morning!!!!

He has a puss on his face, somewhat normal for this kid, but he was annoyed that I was requesting a photo. I think he thinks he's "too cool!" or something.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dancing with the Stars......

A Birthday Visit from Cee Cee, Salene, and Saleece

The day after Lilah and Jaxon's birthday, we received a scheduled visit from Cee Cee, Salene, and Saleece. The kids always anticipate seeing each other greatly. The first night we reunited, we planned to celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese. We ended up going to El Toreo on Electric Road first because Chuck E. Cheese was a total mad house. After dinner, we stuck with our original plans and went to Chuck E. Cheese, but it was a total nightmare. I don't know if it was just that night or if it's every Saturday night, but there was a LINE all the way out the door. It's a sure sign that there truly is nothing in Roanoke for children to do aside from Chuck E. Cheese. We stayed all of 15 minutes. It was UNENJOYABLE, nerve wracking and HOT. We cooled off by eating a delicious scoop of gelato and Pino Gelato on Franklin Road. Our guests attended Church with us Sunday and each other's company the rest of the time. We decided to hang low being we have so many kids combined.

Thank you Cee Cee for always making an effort to be a part of their lives and their special day! It means a lot. We had a blast! Until the next time!!!!

Presents from Mom, Dad, and Ty

This year we really scaled down dramatically in what we purchased the twins for their birthday for so many reasons. One in particular was the fact that they had a VERY nice birthday party! That alone could have very well been their birthday gift. I did capture the few things that we purchased for them. Enjoy taking a peak!
Tyson enjoyed being "in charge" during this time.
This was the FIRST gift Jax got to open on his own. Tyson winds up doing it for him.
A Chugginton train set.
Lilah with her BIG bro.
"What is it Lilah?", said Ty.
The minivan to go with her Loving Family doll house. It's made for twins. It has a pink and blue car seat in the back just like our minivan.
Little Tykes BBQ

Why didn't they have toys like this when we were born?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm detoxing! Starting TOMORROW!!!

Yesterday marked the 2 month countdown until our 10 year wedding anniversary trip to Paradise Island, Bahamas. We are psyched!!!! We need this break more than we can even explain. Today I gorged myself with all kinds of FATTENING foods, from Wendy's, to Tokyo Express, to Ben and Jerry's "Everything But the Kitchen Sink" ice cream a la mode peanut butter. Tomorrow marks the beginning of my detox from sugar, processed junk, fried foods, pastas etc. I've had it. My thighs feel heavy. My buttocks feels wide. My muscle has turned to fat. My energy level is LOW. I have not been taking care of my body and it shows both physically and physiologically. I am anxious to get back in the "gym". So... my alarm goes off at 4:00 am tomorrow. I will study God's word from 4:00 am - 4:45 am, workout from 5:00 am - 5:45 am, and shower at 5:50 am. Darren is excited to have his workout partner back. On the way home from church, he said, "What do you want to do tomorrow, P90X or Insanity." Geez, it feels good to be desired, especially at 5:00 am. LOL!

I apologize in advance if I appear moody in the next few days. Hopefully NOT, but it's possible. I have been really enjoying good tasting food too much and my body will definitely be going through some form of withdrawal for the next few days. My goal is to eat NO fried foods, NO sweets, and NO chips/bread until May 6th. I will be traveling to Short Pump for a weekend of fun with my "sensational 6" and I will allow myself to splurge then, but after that I plan to refrain again until our trip. I want a hot bod for my hubby. It will go great with our second honeymoon trip!!!!

Wish me luck and PRAY hard. I know I have pretty good self-control when I put my mind to it.

Bye-bye BEN AND JERRY'S, Starbucks' Drinks, Chips, Burger King, and Pizza. Hello salads, water, grilled chicken, and protein shakes.

Gram Sends Birthday Wishes In A Box!

Gram tries so hard to make up for lost time spent together via snail mail packages. The kids LOVE going to the mailbox because it seems like at least once a week there is something there waiting for them. Sometimes it's something BIG, like the latest and greatest package that arrived, a gigantic hot pink Easter bunny AND sometimes it's something small. Like the old saying goes though, "BIG things come in small packages!"

Lilah and Jaxon received a package, in the mail, for their birthday, from Gram. See the pictures below.
The package arrives. Tyson found it, but realized it wasn't for him. He was handling it fairly well. He knew it was their birthday.
A match box car for Jax.
Lilah seemed to be enjoying the envelopes a ton. :) Jax found a duckie! This photo makes me a tad sad to see Tyson sitting behind them observing what they got. It's tough being an older sibling to twins. You constantly feel like the third wheel I am sure.
A gold bangle. I think I love it more than she does!
She was a little upset that she cannot easily take it on and off. I was thrilled because she has lost two baby bracelets since she's been born because she has such a tiny wrist.

Jax LOVED the wind up duck!!!! Lilah was terrified of it.
He followed it around everywhere, while Lilah ran away from it, trembling in fear.
Princess gloves!
Here she was saying, "So pretty!"
The wind up ducks.

This is something my mom does often... she re-gifts my sister Whitney's old toys. I love this because it has a ton of sentiment behind it. I appreciate it even more than they do. I believe these are figurines from different movies, such as "Pocahontas" and "The Lion King."

Thank you Gram for always considering your grandchildren. They speak of you often, even Lilah whom you've only been able to meet twice. It's amazing how much they just know who their grandparents are whether or not they are overly prevalent in their lives. In your case, it's just proximity and we know that. You're love is shown through your phone calls and packages.

Time In Between!

This is one of my new favorite songs!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

God Grew Tired of Us!

Tonight, Darren and I watched a VERY INCREDIBLE documentary called, "God Grew Tired of Us!" The documentary is about three young men who leave behind a land in chaos to find new lives in a thoroughly different culture. As the African nation of Sudan fell into political disarray near the dawn of the 21st century, with unspeakable violence following in its wake, thousands of refugees attempted to flee the country, making their way into Kenya in hopes of earning passage elsewhere.

Jon Bul Dau, Daniel Abu Pach, and Panther Bior were three such people who eventually came to the United States. A filmmaker spent four years following them on their journey from Africa to the United States - a new unfamiliar land.

In God Grew Tired of Us, the filmmaker documents the young men as they struggle to build new lives for themselves, acquaint themselves with the "American" way of doing things, the difficulties of being black in a primarily white culture, and try to track down the friends and family they were forced to leave behind.

It was really difficult watching this documentary. It sickened Darren and I to see, up close, the massive struggles that people in other countries go through: starvation, loss of family members, being barefoot, and illness, just to name a few. It was incredible to see how uncivilized these gentleman were, yet how humble they were as well. When they flew from Africa to New York, we got a chuckle as they got onto the escalators in the NY airport. Each of them almost fell because they had no idea what an escalator was. It was amazing to see how appreciative they were over things that we complain about, ie. having a trash can.

This documentary was very sad to witness, especially after they entered the U.S. It was a reminder that as Americans, we are SPOILED, unfriendly, and unaccepting of different cultures. The 3 gentleman found it difficult to manage paying their bills on top of spending time with each other. In Africa, family bonding and staying together in groups was the norm. In America, it seemed, from the documentary, that we have/make little to no time for family and bonding.

We rented this movie on NETFLIX. I highly recommend it. It's great for ALL ages. I hope to let Tyson watch it so he can see how blessed he truly is.

For a sneak peak of the movie, view this link...

IT's a total MUST SEE for so many REASONS!!!!!

Birthday Presents!!!!

From their actual birthday, March 25th, to their birthday party, April 2, Lilah and Jaxon were certainly spoiled and treated like royalty from all angles this year. I really enjoy capturing the shots of what they received for various reasons. 1. I love sharing gift ideas with others. Several people went out of their way to get items personalized and those are great gifts to give. I'm trying to help you out here. 2. To capture facial and physical reactions. I decline opening gifts in front of others. All the kids want to help open the gifts, then they want to play with the gifts, and it's just too crazy. We let the kids open their gifts after a well needed nap. Their reactions were priceless. I want the gift givers to see that. 3. As a way to remember who gave what so that I can write thank you notes.

Friends and family who were so sweet to give gifts, I promise you thank you cards are going out this year. Give me a few more days!!!!! AND thank you, thank you, thank you BIG for all the wonderful presents. All of them were very creative, thoughtful, and fit each of their personalities to a "T". I am sorry you had to buy two gifts :) At least you only have to do that ONCE a year for us. Just think, every time we buy something or do something, it's ALWAYS x 2. I felt your pain immensely. LOL!

Enjoy viewing the kids opening their gifts!!!!

Birthday Surprise Left At the Door!

Over the next couple of days, I hope to post all of the special things that our dear friends and family members did for Lilah and Jaxon for their birthday!!!

First up: This Williams' family dropped some birthday surprises at the front door the morning of their actual birthday (March 25th). It was such a sweet surprise. Lilah and Jax were beyond excited to see something laying on the front step for them.
Jax received a balloon, a baseball bat, and a baseball. He was smiling from ear to ear.
Lilah received a balloon, a princess tiara, and a princess wand. She's a total girl. She wasted NO TIME putting it on.
The twins would NOT let go of their balloons. The red piece of paper in Lilah's hand was a homemade card made by Jody.

Brett, Jody, and Ansleyy, thank you so much for making their actual birthday special. You went out of your way and it meant the world to not just them, but especially to me. God has blessed us immensely with your friendships. We love you guys!!!!

More Extra Special Gifts...

All gifts are from the heart and special, but some friends just go above and beyond. My friend Ashely is definitely ONE of them. On Lilah and Jax's actually birthday, we had small group. Before small group, most of our small group members went to Frank's Pizza for dinner. After ward, Ashely had me follow her to her car where she handed over some very adorably wrapped "extras". This was just something "small" (her words, not mine) to celebrate their day. The big stuff was reserved for their party. Upon arriving to the Smith's house for small group, Ashely supplied Dunkin Donuts to help celebrate the occasion!!!

Lilah sports her birthday hat from Ashely!
The William's Family
Lisa and Vivian
Kate was there too, but it was hard to get her to look at the camera.
Big bro chows down on some pizza.
Ashely and Cohen
Daddy holds the birthday boy!
Cohen and the birthday boy getting into mischief.
"It's my party and I can do what I want to!"
Cohen is obsessed with is rain boots, rain or not.

Candles were inserted inside the donuts.
Minus the bags underneath my eyes, I LOVE THIS PHOTO!
After small group, the kids got to eat a donut together.

Lilah opens the gifts from Ashely and Cohen.
"WOAH! FLOWERS!" She really said that!!!!! Her first set of flowers from a boy! YIKES.
Jax also opens his gifts.
LOLLIPOPS!?!?!?!?! I'm sending you my kids dental bills Ashely.
This was such a special gift!!!! Lilah and Jax LOVE Cohen, so I placed this on their dresser for now. Everyday, L&J point to it and talk about their buddy, Cohen.