#958 - Bikes

Family Bike Rides

Tonight we had our first (of many, hopefully!) family bike ride. We are blessed with a big parking lot in our backyard. :) Our dog, Mac, even joined in the fun!

Ella absolutely loved riding in her seat! Any time Daniel would stop for some reason she would whine for him to keep going. I'm convinced this child is afraid of nothing (well, besides dogs licking her and mama getting too far out of her site).

Riley almost gave me a heart attack a couple of times. He would start going really fast and then have no clue how to put on the brakes. So, he'd just stick his legs out (as you can see below) and hang on for the ride...even if he was headed straight for the church bus, sidewalk, a pole, etc. We had several lessons in "putting on the brakes."

This is one of those times when she was ready to get moving again (see her little hand pointing to the seat?). Poor girl's got crazy hair like her mama.

I got a chance to escort Ella around, too!

Thank you, Lord, for a beautiful night to enjoy with my family!


#959 - Music

Musical Children

Riley has always loved music, and Ella seems to be following in his footsteps (yay!). Daniel and I both love to listen to and sing music, so I'm thankful to have children who enjoy doing the same!
Here's Ella on the way to Little Rock a few weeks ago.

And once we arrived in Little Rock, Riley pulled out his guitar and gave a small concert. If it seems like he's yelling, it's only because he tries to be 'loud like the praise band' at our church. This was on a Thursday, and he had just heard them play the night before. Be sure to listen for Ella's harmony at the end (oh, and her dancing legs!).

Another Riley original with sister in the background.

Ella doesn't have a guitar, but she loves 'playing' our piano!

"Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us."
Martin Luther


#960 - 17 month old

17 months with her

On Friday this sweet girl turned 17 months! Friday afternoon I volunteered at one of the booths at Wildflower Trails (an annual festival we have in our small town), and I was telling the guy I was working with about our children. I told him that Ella was our sweet surprise baby and that I was so thankful the Lord knew she needed to be in our family. And then this morning (Sunday) her daddy preached about the sovereignty of God. Our plan was to adopt after Riley, but our sovereign God's plan was so much better! I can't imagine the Bramlett family without this spunky one!

And guess what?? On her 17-month birthday, Ella Grace took her first steps unassisted! At first it was just 2 steps, but before the night was over, she took 4 steps in a row! It looks like walking is not too far away for this girl!

Like I said, Ella is our girl full of spunk! Some might term it "drama," or "strong-will" but I'm choosing to look for the positive and appreciate the lively personality she's been given. However, I'm not naive enough to say that this one's not going to give us a run for our money! I think maybe that's why the Lord has held her off on walking for so long. :) He knows when she does begin, she'll be gone!

Even with all the drama spunk, she is such a sweet, loving girl. She kisses me at least 100 times a day. She loves to cuddle in the mornings after her first cup of milk. She hugs her brother all the time (well, almost all the time - that is, when she's not hitting him). She loves to blow kisses to people when she tells them goodbye. She hugs and cuddles with her stuffed animals and baby dolls. She even kissed my shoe the other day (sounds gross, I know, but she's just a kisser!). It's obvious she has a big heart, and I pray constantly that the Lord will get ahold of that heart, redeem her, and then use her big heart for His glory! I believe with everything in me that He will!

Ella Grace, I love you to the moon and back! You are a priceless gift, and it is such an honor to be your mommy!


#961 - Weatherman

My Weatherman

Riley LOVES watching the weather on t.v. Sometimes he'll say, "Mama, do you want to lay with me on the couch and watch the weather?" There are much worse things out there that he could be seeing on television, so I turn on the t.v. and we watch some weather together. Sweet times.
Today was a first. He became the weatherman. He has a map of the world on the wall in his room, and as I was changing the kids' sheets and putting away laundry he began sharing his own weather predictions. If by the end of this video you still don't know what part of the country we live in, you were not listening very closely because I'm pretty sure he says it about 20 times. :) Love my little weatherman so much!


#962 - Flowers

Gerber Daisies

It's not often that my husband buys me flowers. He's pretty practical with money (some would call it cheap), and it's hard for him to spend money on something he knows will not last. But, last year he surprised me with a pot of my favorite flowers - Gerber Daisies (or Gerbera, which I think is the technical name). I managed to keep them alive throughout the year (I'm horrible at remembering to water plants and flowers!), they survived the winter, and this morning I noticed they had bloomed again! Yay! I'm so thankful for my favorite type of flower sitting in my favorite color pot (blue)! I can't help but smile when I look at our front porch.


#963 - 3 simple words

I love you

Tonight Daniel and Riley were in the backyard mowing (well, one was mowing and the other was pretending to mow) while Ella and I sat in the nice air conditioned room and watched through a glass door. At one point, Riley walked up to the door, looked at me and said, "I love you!" Melt. my. heart!

Ella is definitely the more affectionate of the two, but just within the past week Riley has begun saying "I love you" on his own accord. It used to be that I'd say, "I love you, buddy!" and he would respond with, "I do too!" But now, he often initiates it. I've always heard that hearing your child tell you they love you is priceless, and now that I've experienced it, I can definitely say I agree!

I love you, too, Riley Whitlow Bramlett! Always and forever!


#964 - Overalls


 I really don't think it can get much cuter than this.

I found these overalls at Goodwill for $3. Love it! When I brought them home to Riley he said, "I want to put them on right now!" He did and he wore them the rest of the day - and boy was he proud to look like his daddy! He can't wait for daddy to get home so they can work together in their overalls. I love that he wants to be just like his daddy.

#965 - M.I.L.

My Mother-in-Law

I am SO thankful for this woman! Honestly, I planned on posting this Saturday on her birthday, but Saturday came and went. The Tuesday after is not too bad, right?! Anyway, this is my mother-in-law, Beckie, and she is such a blessing! Today I'm not just thankful for her birthday, but I'm also thankful for her willingness to open her home to the kiddos and me this week. Daniel's on his 5th trip to Peru and the plumbing at our house is being totally re-done, so Beckie is allowing us to take over her place for 9 days. So thankful!

Happy (late) Birthday, Beckie! I love you so much, and I thank God all the time for blessing me with not just a great mother-in-law, but a great friend!


#966 - Redeemed

I am Redeemed

We sang this in the youth worship service tonight. Normally Riley goes to his TeamKids class, but tonight he looked at me and asked if he could stay with me. When I thought about what we'd be doing (worshiping through song and a message), I thought, how can I say no? I want my son to see his parents and others worshiping our Lord. I want him to know what it means to worship. 

So he stayed, and he was absolutely precious. He stood on his chair so he could see the band (we sit in the back), and he clapped when he was supposed to clap and stood still during the slower songs. Man, I wish I knew what was going through his mind most of the time!

When we got home from church, he immediately put on his acoustic guitar and began singing what I like to call "Riley originals." Basically, he strums and makes up the songs as he goes. Sometimes they make sense, and other times not so much. After a couple of Riley originals (which, by the way, he was almost screaming because he wanted to be loud like the band was loud...), he all of a sudden busted out with "I am redeemed. You set me free..." I was shocked! I mean, he's heard the song on the radio before, but I didn't realize he knew it well enough to sing most of the chorus correctly.

And then my heart began to cry out to God - Oh please, Lord! Redeem Riley one day! Please let him experience what it means to say he's been set free and no longer bound by chains of fear and regret! Save my son, Lord! Draw him to yourself, Holy Spirit. Thank you that he already knows who You are. I can't wait for the day when his head knowledge will become a heart knowledge! And thank You, Lord, that I am redeemed so I can share Your love and life with my children.