Friday, October 30, 2009

Second Star to the Right

Can you guess the theme for our Halloween costumes this year?

I couldn't resist to do a theme! I know that it won't be long before they will not let me "influence" their decision-making process for Halloween costumes. And before you start talking about me and saying, "I can't believe she didn't just let them choose what they wanted to be, what a control freak, etc.," let me reassure you that I DID let them FEEL like they had a choice. Mommy tactics at their very best! :-) (You know you've done it before, too. Don't deny it!) I presented 3 VERY good choices to my boys. (Mary Claire didn't have a clue, bless her little heart. Your day is coming, sweetie!) I just made sure the choices were things that would allow 3 themed costumes for my 3 little darlings...Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz (which was secretly my #1 choice) or Peter Pan. Of course, my hopes of a "yellow brick road" Halloween were quickly shot down by the boys! Oh well! And I thought they would for sure choose the Star Wars (I could certainly picture Mary Claire as the perfect Princess Lea), but as you can see they decided to live this year out as the characters we all know and love who refuse to grow up and who have taken us on a spectacular journey to the land of the "Lost Boys" with adventures just made for story-telling...Peter Pan!

"Peter Pan"
John Owen

"Captain Hook"

Mary Claire


Goin' to the Fall Festival!

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Family That Plays Together

(My intentions of posting this last week were substituted by a HUGE "To Do" list--that seems to have no end right now! No one else has that problem, right? insert: sarcasm ) :-)
Caudle Family

October 2009

My family gathered together last Sunday in Williston to celebrate my grandmother's 89th birthday. I love to see my family! I love spending time with them and seeing all the cousins playing together. We have an abundance of BOYS in this family (I think there's 13 between the ages of 1-11), so it seems a flag football game has become the tradition, for the older ones of course, as they have all gotten bigger and bigger each year. And I am not exaggerating when I say the football is thrown as soon as they get to the backyard at Uncle Davie's & Aunt Mindy's house. As more arrive, they just jump right in! And last Sunday, we even had to keep one of the 1 yr. olds from trying to join in! O.K., I said it was "flag" football (and they even wear the flag belts), but you and I both know tackling is what BOYS do best! Boys will be boys. I watched with a little worry as Jonah took his first tackle from one of the bigger cousins. But he got right up, shook it off, gave me a nod that he was o.k., and jumped right back in the game. I think they had a great time! Good thing we took most of the family pictures before the game really got under way.

I wish I had gotten some shots of the game action, but I was too busy eating and visiting, I guess!

This is sweet Hardy, the youngest of the cousins. He just celebrated his first birthday this past weekend!

But...he won't hold the "youngest" title for very long...

It seems our family just keeps growing because another cousin (Yes, another BOY!) is on the way...due around the middle of March. And we just can't wait to meet Henry Shields Armour. I can't wait to see him out there playing football with his cousins, too. Now, I guess we'll have to get the 3 pretty girls (ages 14yrs., 16 months, & 17 months) to cheer on their BOY cousins! :-)

"Yes, Mary Claire, those are Hardy's eyes." She looks like is going to put a finger in his eye! Yikes!

This would be the picture taken just after Mary Claire pulled the bow from Cousin Olivia's hair! Hmm...what will she do next? All cousins, and any one else for that matter...Watch out! :-)

I am thankful for each and every one of my family members! And especially grateful for the Christian woman who is the reason we are all here today...

Our "Jenny" October 2009

My mother (far right) and her brothers and sister

My three kiddos!

Mary Claire and Mommy

Jan and Me

I am looking forward to the next time we all see each other again. I know that the next time we get together, we'll all just pick up right where we left off no matter how long it's been between visits. That's what family does, right? I'm sure that's exactly what the cousins will do with their football game...pick up the game right where they all left off.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

No Words...

Just a couple of cute pics of my sweet little girl that I took this morning as we enjoyed playing several rounds of "Go Fish!" while sippin' on yummy grape soda!

Good times!
Jonah was especially funny playing "Go Fish!" He makes me laugh so much!
Hope everyone who's on Fall break is enjoying it as much as we are!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Seasons of Life

My little #4 anxiously awaiting his time to play!

I can't believe it's Fall break! The weeks have flown by since school started in August. I've got a list of things I want to get done here at home since we are not planning anything special for our break. No extravagant travel plans for this family! Just time together resting, cleaning, playing and doing whatever may come our way! (Plus, Jan and I are planning a special 10 year anniversary trip back to Hawaii in December, so we are watching our dollars!) More about that later... :-)

Anyhow, we've had alot going on as we have begun this new Fall season, and we probably could use the rest from school for a few days!

With the onset of the new Fall season comes...Soccer! Jonah's 1st season of soccer! The boys have played two games already. I am so glad they are able to play together on the same team this year! I like to see them out there in this "season of life" together! And Mary Claire seems to be content watching and "cheering" her brothers on as they play. Well, until she spots something else more interesting and then...she's off! My grandmother was able to come to what was her first soccer game this past Sat., and she kept saying how happy she was to get to see her great-grandsons play! I believe it was what she needed.
Mary Claire "cheers" from the sideline!

"Granny" and Mary Claire clap for the soccer team!

My grandmother is 85 years old and has always lived in Jackson. For the past 2 weeks our family has been dealing with the fact that her husband, my (almost) 89 year old grandfather, has been placed in the hospital, and it doesn't look like he'll be coming home anytime soon. He is under psychiatric care and sadly, has now been diagnosed with lung cancer. Ironically, he has a mass about twice the size of the mass found in my father's lung earlier this year. And the doctors have said my grandfather's mass looks to be malignant whereas my father's turned out to be benign. My grandfather has had his share of struggles in his life...mostly mental struggles which his doctors believe may be a result of his time spent in France during WWII and what they have diagnosed as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has probably seen things I will never see or understand. He has struggled with depression for longer than I can remember or know. I only know what has been revealed to me through my parents. And they have probably shielded me from most things. Most who know him would never know he has these struggles. He is a wonderfully sweet Christian man who loves his family and is especially happy every time he sees my 3 children, his great-grandchildren.

My father is the only child of his parents who lives in close proximity to them. (The only one in the state of TN!) So, when my aunt returned to NC on Thursday, my father asked my grandmother to come to Covington to stay for a few days. She really doesn't need to be alone for long periods of time. She spent Friday and Saturday night with my parents which is why she was able to join us for the boys' soccer game Sat. morning.

I have been thinking alot about life's seasons these days with what has happened with my father's parents, and I can imagine that my parents are realizing that life seems to be coming full circle. That the ones who took care of them as they were little now need their care. It is sad to think about sometimes. As a child, you don't always think about it, but I began to think about the reality of this 5 1/2 years ago when my mom's father passed away. He was the first grandparent I lost. And it made me realize that I probably wasn't going to have my grandparents for many more years. I have always had them in my life and been very lucky in that respect. Plus, I have had a close relationship with them even though they lived in other cities. I guess it's just hard to imagine life without them. The harsh reality is that the day will come (and only God knows when that day will be) that I will be telling my children stories of my grandparents and their lives because they won't be here to tell it themselves. And that the season of my life with my grandparents will succumb to the memories I hold of our times together.

I am glad that I have these memories and that I am still able to make more memories with them. I am glad that these memories will include times they have spent and will spend with my children. I will hope that God will give us more time together and allow my children the ability to remember them in some way. I will treasure the time I still have with them. But above all else, I will treasure the comfort I have in knowing that when God does call them to leave this world, that I will see them again one day. And that we will start another season of life together...our eternal season of life.

I guess I would say, mostly for my own reassurance, that with every season of life comes change, and I find myself praying for the willingness to accept the change and trust God's purpose and will in it.