14 months

While we were gone this past week, our big boy turned 14 months! Daniel makes fun of me because I celebrate every month of his life, but at his age, months are a big deal! I mean, I'm thankful for every second the Lord allows us to have with Riley...it takes A LOT of seconds to add up to a month! :) Anyway, it's amazing to look back over the past year and see how much he's grown and all he's learning. Here are some highlights of his life right now:

*he can say dada, mama, bye (always said like a question), nigh nigh, ma (when he wants more), bus, bite, Bubba (one of his adopted grandfathers in the church), Ya Ya (just said this for the first time yesterday, Ya Ya!)
*he loves to drink water, and I am so thankful!
*he's a talker! just this week he started talking with his mouth closed...maybe he'll be a ventriloquist one day?!
*he still takes 2 naps a day (thank you, Lord!)
*he loves to play (I use the term "play" loosely) the piano
*he will dance to any beat - the washing machine, his highchair rocking because it's on a crack in the floor, a song, etc.)
*he believes his daddy hung the moon, and I agree with him!
*if he starts to throw a fit, I can sing "Jesus Loves Me" and he'll calm down
*he's taking steps on his own, and I know it won't be long before he's running all over the house
*I can ask him what sound a sheep makes and he'll say "baa"
*He still has a great love for cell phones

Of course, being that I'm his mother, I could go on and on about my brilliant child, but I'll stop for now. :) Like I said earlier, I'm just so thankful he's a healthy, growing boy. Daniel and I give all honor and glory to our Lord, knowing that he deserves ALL of the credit for our son! Thank you, Father, for entrusting Riley to us. We know that You love him more than we ever could, and we need Your guidance as we continue attempting to raise him to know and love You! Thank You, in advance, for the plan and purpose you have for his life! We trust You!


Road trip!

I have never gone anywhere overnight without Riley. Starting tomorrow, that will change! Daniel and I are leaving tomorrow to take 6 of our senior adults from church to Glorieta, New Mexico. We are very excited about the trip, being that neither of us have ever been to Glorieta and we hear it's gorgeous! I'm also excited that I won't have to cook, clean, change a diaper, pick up food off of the floor, etc. for a week! However, I am feeling pretty sad that we're leaving the little man behind. I know he'll be in GREAT hands - Daniel's grandmother and aunt are on their way right now - but I'm still going to miss hearing him talk, watching him attempt to walk, hearing him say, "bye bye dada!", and so much more! Please pray for us as we travel the 15+ hours to and from Glorieta. Pray, also, for a restful week for both Daniel and I. It's been a CRAZY summer, and we both need some down time. We should have internet access while we're there, so I'll attempt to update the blog. Thanks for praying!

Dennis Jernigan

Have you ever sung or heard "You Are My All in All" or "Thank You, Lord"? These two songs and thousands (literally) of other worship songs were written by Dennis Jernigan. I was introduced to his music when I began working at Florida GA/Acteens Camp in 1998. Our director used many of his songs during our staff devotion times, and in future years we used some for dramas performed for our campers. If you aren't familiar with Dennis' story, click on his name above and you'll be directed to his website. You can find out more about him and the ways God has delivered him. He has a POWERFUL testimony!

So fast forward to February 2010 when Daniel and our music minister, Lee, were standing in our sanctuary one day listening to one of Dennis' songs. Daniel blurted out, "why don't we see if he'll come here?!" Lee replied, "Where? To our church? Ha! He wouldn't come to Hughes Springs!" Daniel (being the dreamer that he is) said, "Let's call and find out. What's the worst he could do? Say no?" So, that began the quest for bringing Dennis to little ol' Hughes Springs, TX. He was more than willing to come, and he came last weekend to lead us in two nights of worship! Needless to say, Daniel (who has also listened to his music for a while also) and I were just a little excited about getting to meet him!

The worship experiences were amazing! I'm still in shock that he came, we hung out with him, and he ushered us into the presence of the Lord. We were also able to meet his wife and parents--an extra treat! Below are a few pictures of our God-ordained weekend!

Dennis with the staff
(L to R: Cody (youth minister) & Krystle Moore (and baby Joshua who was born the NEXT day!), Dennis Jernigan, Lee (music minister) & Jeannie Mars, and Daniel & I)

Here I am with Dennis and his wife, Melinda

If you ever have the opportunity to hear him in person, I would HIGHLY recommend it! He is a man anointed by God, and every day the Lord uses him to speak truth into people's lives. I'm so thankful for his obedience and willingness to use his God-given talents for HIS glory!

Taking some steps

Here's the little guy taking some steps in our front yard!


The Big 3-0

As I mentioned yesterday, Daniel turned 30! He had to work all day, but last night the entire church threw him a birthday party. We couldn't believe how many people came and there was SO MUCH food! FBC Hughes Springs truly knows the meaning of 'potluck'!

A couple of months ago I asked a sweet lady in our church to make a cake for the party. I knew she was really good at cakes, but she outdid herself on this one! Take a look at his cake...

I am not exaggerating when I say that this is an exact replica of his old Ford truck ("wood" bed and everything)!

We were blown away when we saw this!

Look at the license plate!

Riley would have given anything to have gotten his hands on that fun truck! :)

Yesterday the staff went to lunch at a little bistro in town, and Daniel saw this wash basin in the store that houses the bistro. He immediately felt like he needed it (of course!). The church secretary and custodian worked their magic and made sure it was one of his presents. Look what they filled it with...

If you know anything about Daniel, you know he LOVES cereal!

One of the sunday school classes gave him this life jacket because he's been talking about wanting to learn how to water ski, but he doesn't know how to swim! He asked if he could expect a boat for his birthday next year! Ha! One of the ladies said, "no, next year is the rope...you have to be here a long time for a boat!"

What an amazingly, loving group of people! We are constantly blown away by the church members' thoughtfulness and kindness. I know Daniel had a wonderful birthday, and we're both so grateful we could be here in Hughes Springs to celebrate such a memorable year! We love you, FBC Hughes Springs!!!

Labor Day Visitor

Daniel's mom came to visit this past weekend, and as usual, we had a great time with her! She arrived Friday night and was able to stay until Tuesday morning. Saturday morning she, Riley and I went on a walk around town and saw up close and personal the newest fall decorations in our cute little town!

There are scarecrows all around this area of the town

Riley and Ya Ya with their new friend

Not too sure what to think about this one!

We took picture after picture at this spot in hopes that Riley would look at the camera in just one of them...no such luck! He was too distracted by all the traffic driving by.

Daniel and I were truly given the day off on Monday! We left the house around noon and headed to Longview for the afternoon and evening. We went to a movie (which we hadn't done since before we moved to East TX!), did some shopping, ate at Olive Garden (yum!), and made our usual trip to Wally World for some essentials. We missed our little man, of course, but it was so nice to have some alone time! Here we are in one of Daniel's favorite stores...Books A Million. I literally had to drag him out of there!

We love you, Ya Ya, and can't wait until the next time you visit! I'm sure by then, Riley will be walking and you'll have even MORE fun chasing him around! :)


Look who's 30 today!

I'm definitely not going to go on and on about he's 30 today, because I'm older than him by a year and a half! :) I am SO thankful the Lord created him and brought us together! What a wonderful man of God, loving husband, and incredible father!

Riley and I hope you have an amazing day, Daniel! We love you with all of our hearts!!!

Bye Bye Bottle!

One of my least favorite parts of mommyhood so far has been washing bottles. It's not a difficult task, but it's one that is ALWAYS there waiting to be done. I can remember so many nights finishing cleaning the kitchen after dinner and then looking over and seeing the bucket o' bottles just staring me in the face. There was a day when I had a bottle-washer helper, but he slowly weaned himself off of the responsibility...how do men get to do that?!?! :) Anyway, around Riley's 9-month mark I began counting down to the day when I would no longer have to wash bottles. "3 more months, Laura...you can do it!" For some reason I thought Riley would magically quit taking his bottles when he turned 1. Ha! About 2 weeks before his 1st birthday, we were still on 4 bottles a day...

I realized it was time to take action! He did really well because in those next two weeks we went from 4 bottles to just 1 in the morning. I tried really hard to get him off of that one, but he was not having it! So we decided to wait. The week I tried to wean him completely, he fought back with just taking one nap a day. I was definitely not ready for that, so I said, "take the bottle! have it as long as you want as long as you'll take 2 naps!!!" It worked, and for the next couple weeks he enjoyed his morning bottle. During that time, though, he became very proficient with drinking milk from his sippy cup at every other meal. So last week, I went out on a limb and gave him his sippy cup for breakfast one day. We haven't looked back since, and he's still taking 2 naps a day! Yay!!! The bottles and drying rack are safely tucked away in his closet, and I am SO happy! :)


Duck, Duck...Riley!

Today as I was feeding Riley lunch, I suddenly felt as though I was at a pond feeding a duck. I know that sounds very strange, but I'm going to explain why I felt this way...

When I first began feeding Riley table food, he would eat pretty much anything I put in front of him, and I was SO excited! I thought, "thank you, Lord, I do not have a picky eater!" Well, little did I know then that he would soon become a picky eater. It's been a gradual process, though. It's not like he woke up one day and just quit liking everything. He slowly stopped liking grilled cheese sandwiches, and then it was blueberries, and then it was bananas, etc. Every day it's like a game (don't be confused, though...it's NOT a fun game) to try and figure out what he will and won't eat. Yesterday he liked chicken nuggets, today he threw them on the floor. Yesterday he spit out broccoli, today he gobbled it up. You just never know what you're going to get. Anyway, back to the duck...

There are a few items that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt he will eat...pancakes, watermelon, cantaloupe, nutrigrain bars, goldfish (what kid won't?!), and PLAIN BREAD. So today, as I was tearing his PLAIN BREAD into bite-size pieces and placing them on his tray, I felt as though I was at the park feeding a duck. So without further ado, here is our favorite Bramlett duck...

Once I teach him how to quack I'll be sure to post a video. :)