He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress and for his children it will be a refuge.
Proverbs 14:26

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Chocolate Palooza

Is palooza actually a word?  I wrote that and then I looked back at it and wondered...  Is it just something I've heard somewhere or is a word that truly makes sense?  In my mind it means an overabundance of something which is what we had tonight- an overabundance of chocolate in honor of our birthday girl...

When we lived in Lebanon, going to Chili's was the occasional treat- it got more and more rare as the girls got older and their appetites grew and it became more and more expensive.  An even more rare treat was the yummy chocolate goodness that you see above- molten chocolate cake with ice cream, hot fudge and caramel- oh so yummy!  Well, they have a Chili's here too and this was Abbey's request for her birthday and since I baked 48 chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese filling and chocolate icing for her to take to school today, I was more than happy to let Chili's be in charge of her birthday cake... We had an early dinner and then headed over to Chili's for our treat.  Knowing the way my kids can attack one of these, I also ordered a chocolate shake- I figured we could splurge a little since we were only doing dessert.   

Ready to dig in..

and then came the chocolate shake

3-5 minutes into chocolate consumption (I started making them put their spoons down between bites...)
Such concentration!

Don't know if they could have gotten that plate much cleaner..

And the chocolate induced silliness is kicking in...

Good thing I ordered a cherry diet coke for myself- afraid I might have lost a digit if I'd attempted to many bites...

Abbey Joy

My sweet baby girl is 12 today- my how time flies!   So hard to understand how they go from this...

(yes,I am sporting the overalls and proud of it..)

and this...

to this..

and this..

right before our eyes...

Abbey as my firstborn you have such a huge chunk of my heart- not a bigger portion than your sisters, just a different portion.  I love you dearly and on days when you think no one can possibly understand (you're entering your teenage years and will have many of those days...), believe me I do.  You are a mini-me not only in looks but in personality.  Honey, I hope you don't ever have a day where you think no one gets you because believe me, I do!  You are oh so stubborn and quite competitive.  You think that you are the most capable of getting things done as shown when one of your first words was "self".  You proclaimed as a toddler that when you grew up you were going to be "in charge".  

You are and always have been a fabulous big sister...

Of course sharing is not always your favorite thing...
(for this full story click here)

You LOVE animals (and for a while there we were afraid that you remembered peoples pets more than you remembered the people) Here's you and your first puppy begging for attention...

Not only are you the oldest child, but also the oldest cousin on both sides.  What a great and important responsibility!  I pray they will look to you as the role model that I see you becoming..

I love how you always have your nose in a book (even though I have to constantly remind you that the dinner table is not the place for it...)

(hmmm- wonder where you learned to read at the table??)

As the first of the Cox drama queens, you take your responsibility very seriously to inject some serious drama into every situation.  You love to entertain and have never been afraid to be just a little bit goofy which I love.  You are comfortable in your own skin...

putting on shows is a favorite family past time- from the time you could say, "I see Addy" when I pulled out the video camera, you have loved entertaining..

And like I said, a little goofy..

We learned early on that ballet was not going to be your strength.  I love you my dear and though you overflow with the grace of God,  graceful you are not...

We learned this year that you're better off with something like basketball or softball...

You are a loyal friend and care deeply for those in your life...
(even from an early age)...

Considering our apt living, I am so thankful for your creativity and the way you inspire creativity in others (especially your sisters)...

camel riders

race car drivers..

We love you Abbey Joy and are so thankful for the beautiful young woman you are becoming!!

Monday, September 12, 2011

My 9/11: A tribute to my man

First let me say that in no way do I mean to trivialize the events of 9/11.  It was a tragedy of immense proportions and I mourn the lives lost that day.  However, long before 9/11/2001, September 11 had special meaning to me.  You see on September 11, 1992, I had my very first date with my man, so in spite of our nations tragedy on this day, my 9/11 makes me smile.

So, because I am never ever cheesy on this blog and because at this moment Jason is traveling and I miss him much, I dedicate this post to him.  So stop reading if you're bugged by cheese.  I'm not going to apologize for it- I don't ever write about us.

First, oh how I wish I had pictures!  Sadly we started dating BEFORE digital cameras (yes, we are THAT old), and since I live overseas and don't want to risk losing all my non digital pics I have NONE of them with me.  However...  I did come across this lovely bit of history (click here) on one of my friends facebook pages...Ha!!  I really hope that link works and you can see that I had the privilege as an incoming freshman of dating (drumroll...) Mr. June!  His stats are all wrong though- he's not 5'10", he's 6'1" and his hair is definitely light brown and not blonde...   Ok, so I'm exaggerating a little.  That goofy calendar didn't come out until my sophomore year (his junior year) and by that time we were old news.

So here we are 19 YEARS later- that is so crazy to me.  It means I have been in love with my best friend for over half of my life.  We started dating in a world where no one (at least that we knew) had cell phones.  We didn't text or message each other on facebook.  We had to walk across campus to find out if one or the other of us was studying in the library. We sat in a swing on top of the hill by Mary Nelson dorm on MC campus and we talked face to face.  Imagine that.  We didn't even have email accounts! (at least until our second year of dating and only then because Jason's parents moved back overseas and it was how we communicated with them...).   What I love is that we basically grew up together.  This is so much more real to me now that I have a 12 year old (in 3 more days!).  We were 18 and 19 when we started dating- babies!

 So I didn't fall in love with Mr. June (at least not until the next year) but I did fall in love with the lead singer of a really awesome Christian alternative band, and yes, they produced (wait for it).... tapes.  Not CD's.  Tapes.  How fun is that?  I still have one and I protect it because I'm afraid one day it might die as tapes do.  So I was a groupy.  Had a t-shirt and everything.  Loved, loved, loved to here him sing.  Still do.  Don't get to hear it as much and don't get to be the "lead singers girlfriend" anymore but hearing him sing to our babies or lead the family in worship is oh so much better.  (but if anybody reading this knows how I could get a hold of some Higher Call tapes or even live video- what I would pay!!)

I also fell in love with an athlete.  Such an athlete that when we first started dating, he would walk to my dorm at the crack of dawn and we would go play tennis.  Now I"m thinking, WHY IN THE WORLD? That's actually how we introduced Kimberly and Jeremy (Jason's brother and wife).  They played tennis with us.  Not sure what the tennis draw was- something about it worked though because Jeremy and Kimberly are now married too.  They broke up a lot more than us though so that's fun to tease them about.  We actually never broke up.  Didn't really fight that much either while dating- don't worry, we've made up for it...  Also, all of us Freshman girls loved to go and "walk" (for exercise of course) around the track on the soccer field where all of our boyfriends were playing soccer.  Not sure how many calories we burned but we laughed ALOT and made lots of fun memories.  And we loved watching the guys play soccer and I'm pretty sure they didn't mind us watching...

Most importantly, I fell in love with one of the most Godly, generous, selfless, loving men I have ever known.  He is my rock.  He holds it together when I'm falling apart.  He loves our girls to pieces.  He loves me to pieces.  He is everything I ever dreamed about in my prince charming.  He is the kind of husband and father that I pray my girls will one day find.

So on this, my 9/11,  as I look back at our 19 year together, I remember...
midnight Krispy Kreme runs in the back of a pick-up (yes, we're from MS)
formals, semi-formals
bribing the security guard with donuts (again Krispy Kreme) when we missed curfew- yes, the girls at MC had a curfew way back when!!
Higher Call concerts
first trip overseas
Waffle House coffee (he's matured to Starbucks, I never recovered from Waffle House...)
fishing trips with Granddaddy
passing on the love of the great outdoors

water skiing in Hot Springs
honeymoon hurricane cruise
Bethesda Baptist Church ("brother Jason" and "sister Kelli")
first pregnancy surprise on Jason's birthday
nursing school
married student housing
graduate school
a semester in south France
a cancer scare
God's constant provision
1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th time parents (it never gets old!)
holding hands through first labor
almost delivering 2nd baby ourselves
in vitro miracle babies
3rd baby overseas
4th baby C-section

heart break of miscarriage
loving and losing grandparents together- when we married we were blessed to have 9 living, since we married 4 have gone to be with Jesus
laughing together about the kids

crying together about the kids
moving here, moving there, moving 14 times in our 16 years of marriage
knowing that Jason will always hold my heart, so home will be wherever he is

4 month antics

I can't believe my baby is 4 months old!!!  How in the world did that happen so quickly?  Happy 4 months Anabelle, you are such a joy!  Jason's traveling and I don't have much energy and even less brain power but I thought I could at least post some pictures of our little monkey and I think I even got a video to work- yah for technologically challenged me!  I don't know if you can really tell from the video but this crazy little girl thinks she's already supposed to be trying to crawl- at 4 months!  If she were my first I would probably be rejoicing at how "advanced" she is but at #4 I want to say SLOW DOWN!  And not only because time is moving to fast but also because I have always thoroughly enjoyed the 4ish-7ish month phase of babyhood when they are oh so cute and cuddly but they CAN'T MOVE.  What a blessing to be able to plop sweet little baby girl down on the quilt and leave the room and know she won't be under the couch or crawling across the room in a matter of seconds- I'm afraid this little one is in way too much of a hurry to move around and catch up with her big sisters!  Speaking of big sisters- she adores them and they her...

(somehow I don't have a recent pic of Abs and Anabelle- sorry AJ, we'll work on that!  She loves on her just as much as the other two...)

If you saw my other post about the bouncy seat, you know Anabelle is quite the little monkey and, like I said, loves to move.  She's learning to push the limits of her bumbo too....

(and in case you start feeling sorry for little missy, she was throwing herself into this position quite by herself...)

... and then sitting back up and laughing..

goofy girl..

Our little angel is way too full of movement to be a snuggler.  From the get go she has leaned that little head back off of your shoulder to take in the world around her.  But I told someone the other day that she snuggles with her eyes.  She just waits for eye contact and lights up with the most beautiful smile..

We love you Lady Anabelle!!