Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dinosaur World

One good thing about Bret being gone for the past several weeks -- the grandparents are all spoiling us rotten!!

We went to Gammie and Poppy's last week, and visited Chuck E. Cheese, The Bounce, and Chick-fil-a. (I'll try to get some pics of that up in a few days...)

Yesterday and today we were at BooBoo and Yogi's, where I got to go out with some old friends, the kids played on the Water Park, and we all got to go to Dinosaur World today.

Dinosaur World is a new little theme park thing just outside of Dinosaur Valley State Park. The brothers got to go with BooBoo and Yogi last summer, and have been asking to go again ever since.

We had the best time, and the weather simply could not have been better! The first thing that we did was the Dinosaur Walk. There is a path that goes into the woods, with all kinds of life-size dinosaurs "hidden" in the trees.Conner did a fantastic job of reading the signs for us. He used the pronunciation guide very well, and we were so thankful that he was able to tell us which ones were the meat-eaters. We really tried to stay away from them!

At one point, we saw something that we knew just couldn't be quite right. There was a meat-eater with lots of sharp teeth -- but he had some grass and twigs hanging out of his mouth. We wondered if it might be a bird's nest, and what kind of bird would be so silly to build her nest in a mouth full of sharp teeth!

So, as everyone else moved on to the next dinosaur, I stepped over the rope to take a closer look. Sure enough, it was definitely a bird's nest. As I paused to take a picture, Conner looked back and saw that I had gone across the rope. Now, he had been our super-duper sign-reader, and he knew what all of the rules were. I got in trouble for disobeying the signs... Oops.Then we came upon a neat scene. There was a Mommy Brachiosaurus who was letting her babies drink at a pond...and a T-Rex was about to attack!

So, being the concerned bystanders that we were, we decided to try and cause a distraction by feeding the goldfish in the pond...

...and that was so fun that we kind of forgot about the T-Rex. Sorry baby brachiosaurs!

We went through the museum when the dinosaur walk was done, and saw all kinds of fossils and dinosaur skeletons.

And then it was time for the fossil dig. Everyone got a sand sifter and a cup. You could dig and sift for ten minutes and find as many fossils as you could. Then you got to pick out your favorite three and take them home!By then we were tired, we were thirsty, and we were hungry. So we took a break to eat lunch, and wrapped up our time playing on the dinosaur playground.We thought we had made it out without any mishaps...and then a T-Rex caught Micah and Conner!
But not to fear -- Josiah to the rescue!We had a super-fun time. Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Family

For this post to make sense, I'm feeling the need to play the name game. So for your reference, there is a list at the bottom of this post...

As we were growing up, we were pretty close with our cousins (on Mom's side). My mom has one brother -- Uncle Bubba. He and Aunt Stephy have two boys, who age-wise fit right in the middle of the five-year-span that my siblings and I cover.

The six of us got to spend days upons weeks over the holidays and during the summer at MeeMaw and PeePaw's house. We always had so much fun together. So much in fact, that we were always sad when it was time for one family to go to the other grandparents' house for various holiday celebrations. In fact, Caleb and Josh (my cousins) often went with us to GweGwe's house (Dad's mom).

But we didn't usually get to go with Caleb and Josh to TuTu and Grandpa's house (Aunt Stephy's parents). That's because they lived in Hawaii. It was a really big deal for Caleb and Josh to get to go, and needless to say, for the four cousins to tag along was simply out of the question.

BUT, TuTu and Grandpa have a summer house in Illinois, too. We did get to go with them there one summer. Lots of good memories there, too. They had the best treehouse...

Well, as many of you may remember, PeePaw passed away just about a year ago. Our family rallied together -- laughing, crying, hugging, and caring for one another as families do. MeeMaw (who had just lost her husband of 59 years, and is not well herself) moved in with Mom and Dad, and everyone has pitched in anywhere and everywhere that they can. There was no fighting or arguing. Mom and Uncle Bubba split the load of responsibilities and have been a beautiful example of the way that families should work.

Then a few months ago, the need arose for Aunt Stephy to undertake the enormous task of moving TuTu to Texas. TuTu is not well, and the travel was expensive and difficult, but it was simply what needed to be done. So Aunt Stephy and her brother worked it out, and TuTu is now living in the Alzheimer's unit in a nursing home here in Glen Rose -- the same one that PeePaw lived in for a little while.

To do this, she had to say goodbye to her husband of 60+ years. For health reasons, he had to stay behind in Hawaii. Everyone thought that this was their heartwrenching last goodbye.

But circumstances changed, and Grandpa was able to make the move to Texas about a month ago as well. He was able to move into the nursing home, too and got to see TuTu again. Though she didn't seem to know exactly who he was, she did claim that of all the people in the room, he was her favorite.

Aunt Stephy got to see Grandpa several times a week, and got to spend Father's Day with him for the first time in many years...

...and then Grandpa got sick. He passed away yesterday morning. Aunt Stephy and Uncle Bubba were both able to be there with him, holding his hand and watched him peacefully slip away to a place that we are promised is so much better.

Aunt Stephy needed to meet with the funeral home this morning to take care of the arrangements, but Uncle Bubba had an appointment that he really couldn't miss in Waco to take care of some of the details of PeePaw's estate. Mom was tied up and unable to help, so my Dad went with her. My dad went with his sister-in-law to take care of funeral arrangements for her father that he barely knew -- and he was happy to do it and she was so thankful that someone she loved and trusted could be there with her.

Now, I don't know if you were really able to follow all of that. It's really a pretty confusing little story. But I think it is simply beautiful. It's a story of family love, regardless of blood kinship. It's a story of selflessness, making sure that others are taken care of. It's a story of family the way that family should be.

And I praise God that even though the circumstances have been sad, I have been provided with this wonderful example. Thank you, God, for blessing me to be a part of this family. I pray that our tears of mourning will soon be dancing in your holy courts...

The Name Game:
Mom's brother -- Uncle Bubba
Mom's brother's wife -- Aunt Stephy
Mom's Dad -- PeePaw
Mom's Mom -- MeeMaw
My cousins -- Caleb and Josh
Aunt Stephy's Dad -- Grandpa
Aunt Stephy's Mom -- TuTu
Dad's Mom -- GweGwe

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sending

Today was a good day.

After much prayerful discernment, our house church that meets on Sunday evenings has grown and matured and this evening we took a huge step. We have sent a family out -- into the community, to meet their neighbors, to be Christ to the hurting -- with the intent of starting a new house church!

We had a good time of worship this evening -- the kind that can only be had with a house full of ten kids ages six and under. :) We prayed, we sent, we ate spaghetti.

(This, by the way, one of the girls who says she is gonna marry Conner someday. Conner goes along with it, and usually agrees with whatever she -- or whichever girl he is playing with at the time -- says he is going to do. (Yes, those are good husband skills ;), but not necessarily good life skills and something we are working on!) Conner would probably be upset if he saw that Micah was in this picture with Amaya instead of himself!)

Thank you, Lord for answering our prayers in this way. Please bless our efforts, let our neighbors see You in our lives. Put us in close contact with those who are so desperately in need of You.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Trapping a Monster

One day a few months ago, just before Josiah started walking, Conner and Micah were tired of him getting into all of their stuff. So they trapped him. It was quite easy really -- they just got him into a corner and then pushed a little stuffed toddler chair in front of him. The deed was done, Josiah could not get out without the help of his mama.Well, this morning Conner and Micah were again feeling the need to "trap the monster." They've been trying for awhile, but this monster has mastered both walking and climbing since the last time they successfully trapped him. But today they got it. It took a much bigger, much heavier chair -- and lots of pillows -- and a few toys (that you can't see in the picture) on the seat of the chair to keep him from climbing on it.But as you can see, the fearless trappers kind of ended up trapping themselves in the process. And the monster doesn't look too sad about being trapped.

That's because, as the amused but knowing-better mama figured -- the monster really wasn't trapped. He let them think that he was...but as soon as they moved on to something else...he just knocked the toys off of the chair, climbed up, slid down, and was out.

The trappers were shocked and disappointed...

...but I'm betting they'll try again. And I'm kind of hoping they'll be successful someday! :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thumbs

My Conner is growing up. There's no arguing this fact. It's good, it's what we want to happen...but there are still little milestones that he hits that are just hard for me to swallow.

All three of my boys are thumb-suckers. They all started out with pacifiers -- or "plugs" as we call them. But then each of them, in what has apparently become an important milestone in becoming a true Wellsbrother, have ditched the plug for the thumb on almost exactly the day they each turned three months old.

We've thought about it, we've talked about it, we've read a little about it, we've listened to the advice of many others -- everyone has a different opinion on when and how thumbsucking should stop.

Bret and I were both thumbsuckers as children -- me until I was in kindergarten, and Bret on into elementary school. This is more than comfort and habit we are dealing with, this is genetics. We have known that breaking this would be hard and probably painful.

The decision that we have come to is that the thumbsucking isn't really hurting anything except the baby teeth at this point. But when the "grown-up teeth" start coming in -- that's when it's just gonna have to stop.

When Bret and Conner went camping a few of weeks ago, they had a little conversation about the thumb. Bret told him that he was going to be around some bigger kids -just like he'll be when he starts kindergarden - and sometimes big kids can be kinda mean. One thing that happens sometimes is that they will pick on people who still suck their thumb.

Conner looked at Bret and said, "Really? Why?" Bret told him that sucking your thumb is something that little guys do and when we get bigger we stop. Daddy sucked his thumb when he was little but he had to stop and so did Mommy.

"Oh. I guess I should stop sucking my thumb before I go to kindergarden, huh?"

They decided that this was probably a good idea. They talked about him not sucking his thumb on the camping trip so the big boys wouldn't tease him, but Conner ended up sleeping in Bret's tent and it wasn't an issue.

But then in the excitement of the camping trip, the conversation was forgotten...until Conner and I were talking six days ago. We realized that a lot of his friends both his age and a little younger are starting to lose their first teeth. We decided to check his, a discovered that one of them is actually a little loose. (That's not really saying much for this kid, though. I can't tell you how many times he's knocked his face on something and knocked a tooth loose for a couple of weeks...) But it was loose, and for this conversation anyway, this could only mean one thing:

It was time. No more thumb sucking for Conner.

So we put band-aids on his thumb that night. We've done this before, but he's always ripped them off in frustration as soon as he got serious about going to sleep. But not this night. This night he squeezed his hands between his legs to keep his thumb away from his mouth.

And he did it. He woke up in the morning with the bandaids still on his thumb -- not even wet or chewed on! Tonight is the sixth night of no thumb sucking and Conner is doing great.

This child who first started sucking his thumb at three months old,

who, as a baby, sucked his thumb to tell me that he was hungry,and has, for all intents and purposes sucked his thumb to put himself to sleep for his entire life,is now sleeping like this,and like this. Bless his heart, he wants to make this happen, and he's working so hard! It's been nearly a week now, and there have been no struggles or tears. I keep waiting for them...but I'm starting to think that we might get to skip that part.

We'll just have to see...

Conner Bug, my sweet boy. I am so very proud of you. Thumb suckers have a reputation for being easy and cuddly babies, and you were certainly no exception. I love you for that. And you may be growing up on me now, but I will always, always treasure my memories of your sweet little thumb in your mouth as you sat in my lap and cuddled. I'm a little sad that I didn't know to especially cherish it the last time we cuddled that way...but I'm afraid that if I had known, I might have become a big ol' blubbery mess, like I am right now.

So here's to hoping and praying for straight grown-up teeth, tooth fairies, and easy tranistions...

Monday, June 22, 2009

May Memories

Better late than never...

Gotta love that sweet little face!What a handsome little man!Hide-and-seek Micah loves to swing.
Conner becomes a bigger helper everyday. Like father, like son. Classic. Yogi always has ice cream. And he always shares.Micah is a great garden-helper. The ring-bearers At our house church meeting one night, the kids were playing "jail." At one point, all three Wellsbrothers were incarcerated. It was beautiful. ;)
Some of my Favorite Quotes:

In the dressing room, trying on a dress. Micah says, "Mom you are boo-tiful!" In the dressing room, dress off, putting my jeans back on. "Mom, you're not boo-tiful anymore."

Just after Micah finished planting tomato seeds with his daddy, "I want to plant some hot dog seeds now!"
After going to the potty, Micah walked out without flushing. Bret told him he needed to go back and flush. "No," Micah said, " I don't need to flush. Tee-tee is just water." I guess he just randomly decided that, because he was flushing the day before!

Anytime Conner finds Joey in the bathroom or climbing up the bunk bed ladder, it's a "Red Alerkt! Red Alerkt!" (I don't know why the word "alert" has a "k" in it...he insists that that's the way to say it, though...
Conner, to Micah: "I'm bigger than you."
Micah: "I know."
Conner, after a moment of stunned and disappointed silence: "But we usually fight when I say that."

Some of Joey's favorite words: uh-oh, mama, ni-ni (night-night), day-doo (thank you, which for awhile served more for "please" than "thank you" :)), bubble, Bible, soft (as in, "No no no, Joey. We don't hit. You have to be soft."), Daddy, puppy

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Journey Through Fatherhood

In preparation for a Father's Day slide show at our worship gathering this morning, I've been going through old pictures this past week. I have so many pictures of my family, it's not even funny. So I decided that I would put together a little "Daddies" photo album (on facebook) while I was at it...and before I knew it I had over 80 pictures...and I hadn't even gone through all of them yet!

My original idea was to put all of my favorites here on my blog as a Father's Day post, but obviously, 80 pictures is too many! So I decided to just pick out a few -- maybe not the ones that are necessarily my favorites, but the ones that walk us through Bret's journey of fatherhood. I hate that this means that there's so many pictures of me, but I guess that documenting the growth of your unborn children is one of the many jobs of a father...

So here's to my sweet hubby, the best father I could ever hope for my children to have...

When I was pregnant with Conner, this was the first day that Bret could feel him moving......and this was the day that we realized that my tummy was finally bigger than his! :) Before we knew it, it was time for Conner to arrive,
and Bret was finally officially a Daddy.Being the father of one was nice...but before long we decided that we were ready to add to our family...and we experienced a miscarriage.But God is so incredibly good. He not only grew us in that experience, he did bless us again with the hope of another child.And through all of this, Bret was juggling not only the responsibilites of being a husband, father, and minister, but he was working on his Master's Degree -- and graduated with flying colors.And again, before we knew it, the time had come...for Micah to arrive...and Bret was now the father of two.Being the father of two was fun...but once again, we decided that we would like to add to our family. And Bret again put up with nine long months of a pregnant wife.And before we knew it, the time had come again. It was time for Josiah to arrive...and Bret became the father of three. (I think it hilarious that by the third one, the best picture that we have of just Bret and Joey in the hospital is them sleeping together. Soooo appropriate!!)Being the father of three is nice...


And we kind of think we might like to keep it that way! (I had you going for a minute there, didn't I?!)
Now, as if juggling a family of five and a full-time job wasn't enough, Bret has decided to begin work on his doctorate degree.
I am constantly amazed at how well this man juggles it all. His hard work, his sacrifices, his endeavors to follow the call that God has laid upon his heart, yet provide for his family...

Bret, I am so very thankful for you everyday. God has blessed me beyond measure to be the one alongside you as you journey through this thing called fatherhood. Thank you for sharing your life with me in this way. I love you so much!