Jesus and Mary and Batman

I have shared several times that I always pray for God to protect my children from my own foolish mistakes and from their own. He has always been so faithful. It is nothing short of a miracle they are alive and don’t have brain damage at a bare minimum.

Last week Julia did a “swimming pool dive” off of her dresser onto a thin mattress pad when the kids were supposed to be quietly reading books in their beds before going to sleep. She was in terrible pain in her chest from her chin hitting her rib cage so hard. Then the next day in a horrible collision between Julia and a loved one giving Harrison a piggy back ride, Harrison was propelled 6 feet to the ground onto his head. It left a goose egg and a raspberry for the record books on the side of his forehead, but he didn’t even so much as have a concussion.

That night I was still quite stressed out about it as I went to bed, wondering if there was more I should do to have Harrison evaluated. Granted, Harrison was running around and playing all day like nothing happened. I was letting my own turmoil get the best of me when I opened a book I have read a chapter out of each night since my first pregnancy 6 ½ years ago called “The Power of a Praying Parent”. I just use it as a guide book in my prayer life for my children. It gives me all sorts of ideas for things to pray about that I would have never thought of without it. It never ceases to amaze me how often the prayer I come across for that night is a perfect match for something that happened that day. This night was no exception. I could not read past the title without bursting into tears. The chapter title was “Receiving a Sound Mind”. Just for Harrison and Julia’s future reference, here is what the prayer said.

Lord,
Thank you for promising us a sound mind. I lay claim to that promise for (Harrison, Julia, Evan and Eli). I pray that their minds are clear, alert, bright, intelligent, stable, peaceful, and uncluttered. I pray there would be no confusion, no dullness and no unbalanced, scattered, unorganized or negative thinking. I pray that their minds would not be filled with complex or confusing thoughts. Rather, give them clarity of mind so that they are able to think straight at all times. Give them the ability to make clear decisions, to understand all they need to know, and to be able to focus on what they need to do. Where there is any mental instability, impairment, or dysfunction, I speak healing in Jesus’ name. May they be renewed in the spirit of their mind (Ephesians 4:23) and have the mind of Christ (I Corinthians 2:16). . .

There was more to go with it, but this was the most relevant part to me that night. I was able to totally rest in His faithfulness and sovereignty for our family and was comforted that He knew my needs that night. He revealed Himself to me through a simple little book rooted in scripture just as He has time and again throughout my entire life.

I did take the kids to the Chiropractor to have them evaluated on Monday. He said Julia was very out of alignment due to the way she landed on the back of her head and neck, but after a few adjustments she should be right back to normal. Harrison, however, was almost none-the-worse for the wear. He needed less of an adjustment than the other two boys and had no skull fracture or evidence of any kind of brain damage. . .just a miracle on both accounts. . .It was another great reminder of His sovereignty in our lives until He is done with us here on Earth.

My kids love to act out the crucifixion story, for some reason. . .which sounds strange to me when I type it out, but is really quite innocent when you see it playing out. They gave up playing the Christmas Story because Eli is a very uncooperative baby Jesus. Their favorite version of the crucifixion story is what they call “Jesus and Mary and Batman”.

Now, I don’t give this much thought because I see it quite often, and I have become accustomed to how imaginative the three of them can be when they are together. However, my poor unsuspecting cousin told her story of spending a day babysitting them last month. She said the kids had asked her (like this is a normal, everyday question) if she wanted to play “Jesus and Mary and Batman” with her. Harrison wanted to be Batman, although Evan wanted him to be “the bad guy” who nailed Jesus to the cross. Jess said that, ” Evan was pretty disturbed when I told Harrison it was OK for him to play Batman instead of the bad guy. He said, ‘Batman is not in the Bible’”. Jess countered, “How do you know there wasn’t a guy there who didn’t like bats?” (Insert blank look, then, shrug of the shoulders by Evan here, and then finally, acceptance). Then, of course Evan reserved the right to be Jesus with Julia being the obvious choice for Mary and any angel that enters the story. Jess also doubled as “angel” and “bad guy” depending on what the circumstance called for. She had the pleasure of nailing “Jesus” to the cross again and again and then removing the “nails” so Jesus could fall flat on his face on top of the mattress pad they laid out in front of him. They then could drag him unceremoniously to the tomb (closet). Then they would wait for “3” days and Julia, in her princess dress, opens the closet door and proclaims, “Jesus is risen”. Evan jumps to his feet and runs back the place where Jess nails him to the cross. It was never established what roll Batman had in the story other than using his big muscles to drag “Jesus” to the “tomb”, but Harrison is easy to please. I can imagine he tried to fight the bad guys a time or two. We will have to clarify this with Jess when she gets back from Thailand next week.

Evan:
-has learned to swim this summer, but only under water. When we go to the pool the only part of him I see is his lips sticking out into the air to catch his breath and then back under for more swimming, flipping around, and handstands. It is fun to watch.
-loves to wave and say “Hi” to everyone we see. He waves at passing cars, people in the grocery store, people out the window of our truck. He went from painfully shy until about a year ago when he became extremely outgoing. Here’s to hoping Julia picks up on this a bit this year.
– On the way to Vacation Bible School one morning we had a conversation that went like this:
Harrison: “Mommy, how can soccer players play soccer without a ball”? (This question is totally random and out of the blue.)
Me: “They can’t. They need the ball to play soccer”.
Evan: “Yeah, if soccer players don’t have a ball then it would just be a wrestling game”.
Me: “I cannot argue with that”.
-went to his 17th state when we went to Bogalusa, Louisiana over the 4th of July weekend while visiting Grandma Tynes in Mississippi.
-is most DEFINITELY 5 ½. Do NOT insult him with just saying he is 5.
-is DEFINITELY NOT going to let anyone call him “buddy” anymore because he is no longer a baby. I am unclear of the connection there, but he is certain and that is that.
-is DEFINITELY ALWAYS the boss.
-can do absolutely everything. He sees no limits on himself. He even thinks our chiropractor can just show him the ropes really quickly and then he can just adjust our backs on his own. This attitude is awesome, and I want to nurture it, but it also gets him into trouble a lot. . . a lot.
-very willingly and humbly apologized to a woman he accidentally hit with some dirt at the park the other day.
-has become a BIG eater. He has been known to more than once tell me after finishing his dinner, “Mommy, I didn’t like it, but I ate it anyway”.

Julia:
-is still so painfully, painfully shy. I am hoping and hoping she outgrows it this year like Evan did last year.
-is the most observant person I have ever known. She knows where everything in the house is and can find it in a snap. She keeps track of where all of our stuff is at the pool and collects it up or makes sure to let me know where it is before we leave. I will be looking for Stephen in a crowd and will ask the kids to help me. Usually I can’t remember what he is wearing, but Julia will say, “Just look for the blue and white striped shirt”. It never ceases to amaze me because I am so hopelessly unobservant.
-is still a little cleaner. Loves to tell me to go out of a room because she has a special surprise for me. Of course, I know what this surprise will be, but after a while she will call me back into a tidy room and hop around with excitement while I praise her for her hard work.
-loves to scribble little pretend notes. She has perfect form when holding a pencil and is really getting the concept of writing even before I have taken the time to teach her to read.
-is a VERY creative little artist.
-oddly enough, is very rough with Eli. She loves him so much she tackles him constantly for a hug. She just wants to smother him with love, but it gets very old with me very quickly.
-learned how to go under water and jump off the edge of the pool. I have a video of it below.
-loves to dance.
-is obsessed with learning Spanish and any foreign language. I need to get her enrolled in a class.
-went to her 14th state when we went to Bogalusa, Louisiana over the 4th of July weekend while visiting Grandma Tynes in Mississippi.

Harrison:

-went to his 15th state when we went to Bogalusa, Louisiana over the 4th of July weekend while visiting Grandma Tynes in Mississippi.
-his favorite color is definitely green.
-has, all on his own, started complimenting me at least once a day for something. He will say, “Mommy, I like your skirt” or “Your swimsuit/hair/flip flops are pretty”. It touches me so much that he is trying to make me feel good. I really don’t know where he learned it, but he can keep it up. He also is very good about remembering to tell me he loves me. Anyone who decided to stop having kids with just 2 might have missed out on their own Harrison.
-came leaping out of the swimming pool one afternoon and ran over to me taking a flying jump at the last minute to land at my feet.
He said, “Mommy, do you know what is better than swimming at a swimming pool”?!!
Me: “No. What is better than swimming at a swimming pool”?
Harrison: “Grass”.
-learned how to jump off the edge of the pool and go under water this summer.
-loves to sing to himself and does so quite often.
-thinks he is Batman.

Eli:

-went to his 10th state when we went to Bogalusa, Louisiana over the 4th of July weekend while visiting Grandma Tynes in Mississippi.
– first step was on 6/4/09
-is now full time walking as of this week.
-says a few words like mama, dada, Huh?, Car, kick-kick-kick, tickle,tickle,tickle, kitty (well, actually titty) quack and maybe a few more.
-is learning that he cannot scream anymore to get what he wants. If he wants something, he needs to say “mama” or “dada” politely. He picked up saying mama and dada very quickly to get what he wants, but he still typically tries screaming first. Old habits die hard. The child just has one volume and that is very loud when he is happy or sad.
-he has been my chief number one climber in a long line of climbers. It is the only thing on his agenda each day.
-The kids still think he is Buda. They adore him and he can do no wrong in their eyes.
-has had 8 teeth break through in the last month to raise his total to 16 sharp little teeth.
-loves to have his teeth brushed.
-likes to bite. We all have to wary of the bite zone.

-I had a rough day one day with a bazillion things to do. Eli was having a very grumpy afternoon largely due to the 8 teeth he was cutting at once. I was supposed to leave that night to go out with my friends, but I also needed to get the house cleaned up for another event, and I had to keep Eli on my hip through most of it. Finally at about 7:00 at night I kicked it into high gear trying to get my to do list done. I set Eli on the floor and apologized to him in advance for having to let him cry it out on his own for a bit. He did cry for about a minute and then there was silence. I was so relieved thinking he had gotten busy with a toy. About 5 minutes later I realized he was too quiet and I came walking out of the kitchen and around the corner to nearly trip over him and a Sam’s sized gallon of syrup that he had poured in a massive puddle on the floor of my dinette. He was rolling around in it like a little pig and was all hopped up on sugar just before I needed to stick him in bed. I had to pick a hyper, sticky and dripping Eli up off the floor and rush him over to my kitchen sink just so I could spray him off enough to get him to the bath. If you have never tried to clean up a gallon of syrup on a tile floor and walls, I wouldn’t recommend it. It took FOREVER to get the dripping puddle into the sink. The floor in that spot, despite repeated moppings, took a few days to not feel sticky and attract extra dirt. I adore this baby to bits, but he is definitely a handful or two.

Some summer swimming pool madness.

The kids (and I) love the Chordettes. We listen to Lollipop and Mr. Sandman quite often.

One night after tucking the kids in bed, I had an idea that I would get Julia out of bed to play a game with me. We had so much fun before I tucked her back in. Now she wants me to come do that every night.

He doesn’t look like he is having fun at VBS, but he loved it and didn’t want it to end.

He called upstairs to me “Mom! I am on the ceiling”! I thought he was being silly until I came downstairs and found him like this. I used to do this as a kid, but hadn’t thought to teach him how to do it yet. This was his own idea.

I found this picture of Evan on facebook enjoying VBS.

Julia semi-enjoyed VBS this year. She is still quite shy.

I tried to get this picture on an apron we got Stephen for his birthday, but it didn’t work out. The apron was going to say, “Who are these kids, and why do they expect me to feed them”? Instead we put their hand prints on in. Daddy loves to show it off.

He harassed and harassed us to let him ride this bull at the Cobb County Rodeo, but once he got on it he no longer thought it was such a good idea.

She writes little scribble notes to herself all day long. She loves to pretend to write on any bit of my paper.

Exercising

With enough ranch dressing, Julia has become a BIG fan of the cucumbers that Daddy grew on the deck.

Eli loves the dirty ol’ rocking horse on the deck.

Eli could let the kids push him around in this doll stroller ALL day.

I loved, loved this beautiful coloring and sticker work that Julia did.

I always teach my kids to eat with utinsels as early as possible.

This is chocolate pudding. . . He is still trying to get the hang of it, obviously.

We got this piano a couple of weeks ago from Grandma Tynes. The kids play it as much as they can get away with, in the most creative ways they can think of.

What could be more fun than playing in the muddy water at the bottom of the driveway while your mom pressure washes?

This kids are playing in Grandma Tynes’ yard in Mississippi over 4th of July weekend.

Julia, so bravely, leaps into the neighborhood pool where we live these days.

Eli and I went up to Johnson City, TN to be with my grandpa and grandma Hillman for some surgery he had on his back. This is our waiting room full of people. My Aunt Sharon later joined us as well. Eli got LOTS of lovin’ while we waited.

This crazy mohawk sprung up while we were in TN. I could not get it to lie down. My mom even tried this greasy hair gell stuff to flatten it out and 10 minutes later it was a greasy mohawk that we couldn’t get to lie down.

So precious!

I saw this bus in South Carolina on my way home from TN. I didn’t even know this place existed. I took it as a sign from the Lord that I am basically awesome.

So, so precious!

Julia’s first Braves game. She and Evan were overwhelmed with excitement at the size of these pieces of pizza.

Cuddle time at the Braves game. It is nice to have someone like me who, even after 4 or 5 innings, has yet to notice who the Braves are playing.

Running the bases at Turner Field.

The imitation pitchers mound for kids.

It was fun to get a night out with the two oldest kids. . .
. . . and our fascinating house guest that evening, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. We met him in our college debate years. . .National Debate Championship winner. . . Fox News, CNN, Al Jazeera, MSNBC and CBN contributer and terrorism expert. For some reason this is the only picture I got of him. I will have to get a better one next time he stays with us.

Don’t tell Stephen I took this picture. It will be our little secret. I happened to have the camera when I found him like this, grinning and stealing the blueberries I left on the table. He never stops climbing.

Climbing his little slide.

Getting over the top.

and sliding down. He can go down on his butt too. He slides all day long.

He is a full time walker as of this week. He looked so adorable to me, toddling around like a big kid dragging his baby blanket.

While Stephen backpacks through the Tetons in WY, the kids and I conquer Kennesaw Mountain in our backyard.

A nice family took our picture at the top of Kennesaw Mountain next to one of the kids’ beloved cannons. Usually called my “flabby badge of courage”, here I am trying to hold in my perfectly framed, post 4 babies, gut that this hiking backpack so mercilessly displays. I just wasn’t in the mood for it this day.

Kennesaw Mountain

After our hike we went to a picnic at the Marietta Square with Grandma and Grandpa. It was a beautiful evening in every way.

After our picnic dinner on the square we walked up to this walk bridge over the train tracks, but didn’t get to see any trains, unfortunately.

Waiting impatiently for the trains that never came.

We spent the afternoon at a great water park in my friend Caryn’s neighborhood.

Eli loves the water.

Harrison was fascinated by these fountains at the water park.

Julia was trying to show Eli how to play with water but Eli had his own notions about it.

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