Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cupcakes Anyone?


Today was another "snow" day. We decided to make some yummy cupcakes to pass the time. Want one?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Opryland Hotel

Oooooh...pretty!


Have a seat


The Fountain Show



My Ann


5 rowdy boys...and poor, sweet Bailee.

Monkey Boys.

Last night in an act of desperation, Steve loaded us all up and we headed to Opryland Hotel with the Kimmel's. We had a little cabin fever from being trapped indoors hiding from the cold and it seemed like a good place to let the boys do what boys do best (run around and scream like maniacs). Here's some pic's...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

...That's What Aly is Made Of.

Alright, I know that on the blog front I have been severely lacking lately. So to silence the whining of my sweet friend Ann, who by the way rocks at blogging, I have sat down with my laptop and am digging for inspiration.

Lucky for me her blog has challenged me to explore what I am made of and what I need to be...well....me! I'm sure you all have experienced those times when you feel depleted and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. In an effort of self exploration Ann has discovered what makes her run on all cylinders. There is something to be said for finding a way to prevent those meltdowns that inevitably occur. I've decided to examine and put into practice the act of refueling.

Time with my first love. I need to sit and be still and be quiet and share my heart with God. I have recently found myself craving His word and so looking forward to my morning connection with Him. Cup of coffee on the table beside me and my Bible in my lap, legs curled up under me on my favorite chair. That is where we meet and where He speaks to me. Without it I feel like the rest of my day is outta whack. This really has been the first time in a long time of raising babies that I have been able to indulge like this. As a mother of very little ones, mornings are not exactly peaceful. This is a luxury I don't take for granted.


I need to feather my nest. Aside from normal household stuff, which I hate to disappoint you I do actually enjoy, I love taking care of my kids. It fulfills me to know that I connected with them individually. Having four little ones can make that a formidable task but that time with them alone is so precious to me. They are such incredible little people I'd hate to miss out on their uniqueness. Weslee will be ten years old this summer and I will only get a few more summers with him before he becomes an ever elusive teenager with a social life to match. I better take advantage of the time I have left while I can.

I need my "people". After years of begging God for a "bosom friend", (If you've seen Anne of Green Gables you'd understand the meaning of that term) God has place some incredible women in my life. They hold me up, encourage me and have given me the confidence to be myself without fear of rejection. When life gets tough they just love on me and bless me and direct me to the Lord. Most importantly they make me laugh. We laugh so hard we cry, the really funny part is we are usually laughing at ourselves. I love that we don't take ourselves too seriously. I pray you all have friends like that.

I need to be surrounded by God's creation. Not all the time, as many of you know I need to live within a short drive of a decent mall and some good restaurants or I am a little uncomfortable. But there is nothing like being quiet and listening to the sound of a rushing river, or hiking up a mountain and standing on the summit overlooking a beautiful valley or sitting on the shoreline of a beautiful beach feeling the wind blow through your hair. It brings me perspective, it draws me closer to my creator to stand in awe of His gift.

I need time to pursue my passions. There are a few hobby's that I enjoy, photography for one, cooking, entertaining, decorating and exercising. I need to create something, to make things...pretty. All these things help me remember who I am. As a Mother it is easy to believe that you are "just" Mom and that's all you'll ever be. That's so strange that we do that to ourselves. Mothering is truly a full time job, it can completely consume you to the point that you no longer think that you need anything else and it can actually make you feel guilty for wanting to be anything else but that. I know that feeling all too well myself. I've been a stay-at-home Mom for almost a third of my life. If it wasn't for my husband pushing me to pursue my passions and telling me how proud he is of me I probably wouldn't be the person you see before you today.

So, if you see me start to "crack" then maybe it's time for me to go have a quiet time with my kids and friends in the middle of the woods with a camera in my hand and home made brownie's for everyone in my backpack. That should fix me right up.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Can you hear that...

I'm sitting here on my couch watching the news. Suddenly the school closings start to stream across the bottom of the screen and yes, all my boys will be home tomorrow fighting over Wii remotes and eating me out of house and home. No, there will be no snow or precipitation of any kind for that matter, but...it's cold, you heard me right, it's cold. Okay, so it's very cold, the coldest it's been in about 6 years but c'mon! You can almost hear Minnesota and Canada laughing at us. It's something like 50 below up there for Pete's sake! I think they're probably envying our 2 degrees in fact. Isn't that flip-flop weather up there?
Oh well, I guess I better break the news to the kids. Bless their hearts, they'll be so disappointed, oh wait, that's me who'll be so disappointed. Pray for me!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Fiery Gizzard






We've been having such beautiful weather here lately that we decided to load all the kids up and hit some local trails. We'd heard good things about Fiery Gizzard but you never can be too sure until you check it out yourself. After a quick picnic lunch and a swing through the visitors center to grab some maps of the trails we hit the trail head with our hopes high. We were NOT disappointed. It was so incredible! The trail winds along a small river, down through a gorge and you are completely submerged in thick forest. Sheer cliffs and big boulders tower around you. The temp drops about 10 degrees as you descend into the shady gorge making this an excellent hike for a hot summer day. Not to mention the fact that the cool river is right alongside you much of the way. We decided that we'd have to return in the fall because the colors would be breathtaking!



This hiking trip was a long time coming for me. I have been desperately craving nature lately. We had such a busy summer trying to buy and sell real estate that we didn't get much time to hike and the past few weeks I'd find myself tearing up whenever I'd see a beautiful landscape on TV. Being part of Gods creation is a need of mine, it renews me, refreshes me it is at the very heart of who I am. I never feel more like worshiping Him than when I am surrounded by His handiwork. I popped in my ear buds for awhile and cranked some Selah from their Hymns album and came into His presence. I took it all in being careful not to miss any of it. It all felt like a love letter from my Abba...the cool breeze on my face, the feel of the earth under my feet, the sound of the rushing water, the scent of the pine. I inhaled the clean air, I ran my hand across the mossy trees and admired the how the sunlight streamed through the trees. I was determined not to miss anything.

I talked to my Lord and asked, why is this so meaningful to me? Why do I feel so at peace here? He answered me. .."You were created for a garden Aly." He made this earth for us to enjoy. It was His gift to us and today I had a chance to do just that.

video