Monday, December 19, 2011

All Souls Christmas Gift

You all know how precious our All Souls community is to us. This Christmas we wanted to do something special for our pastors and elders (all five of them--we're a small crew, still!). This idea for this came from one of our amazing friends there. We collected a word or phrase from as many people at All Souls as we could and handed them off to three very talented poets in our church. They took those and crafted this incredible reflection of All Souls that we were able to share with our leaders last night. It was beautiful.

On this journey of life

Between suffering and glory

Between salvation and resurrection

Between ruin and redemption

Our souls need a resting place

A gathering space to witness the mystery of transformation

A place to be enveloped by the warm care of community when we are wearied by winter

So take off your shoes, for you are standing on sacred ground

God has built us a house of healing from the holy rubble of our lives

It is here that we will be encouraged and refreshed

It is here that our doubt and despair can be destroyed by love and desire

So come, we are eagerly awaiting your arrival

The welcome mat has been rolled out

And the door lies open for travelers worn from the road

In the name of Jesus, we say

“Welcome Home”

It is spacious here

There is enough room at the table for you

Love is freely offered in the breaking of bread and passing of the cup

If you hunger

Come sup with us

And you will feast on hope, freedom and authenticity

If you thirst

Have a drink with us

And be warmed, awakened and inspired


We will help you hear the voice of Jesus


Bloom into the real you


And find hospitality, restoration and shalom


And take the peace of Christ

For you do not have to walk alone


Be known

Be understood

Be listened to

Be artful

Be open

Be free

Be beautiful

Be warmed and filled

And take off your shoes

But, most of all

Be at home

For this place has been set aside for us

The fire has been prepared

And it is burning with great anticipation

Eagerly awaiting the arrival


Your Soul


All Souls

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Birthday Morning

I just love Henry's birthday. It has just started and I am already buzzing with joy!

We started things a little early. I have a notoriously bad habit of not being able to wait until the appropriate holiday to give away my gifts. Andrew knows I make up the most upsurd reasons to make him open presents early.

So, on Tuesday, we let Henry open one of his gifts. This was my facebook post the next morning:

"I had a watershed moment in parenting last night. We let H open an early birthday present and it was one of the greatest things I've ever experienced. Watching him get SOOOOOO excited and be filled with such joy was breathtaking. 2 Lessons: 1) I now understand the temptation to go overboard for holidays. What a rush! 2) I once again have a better glimpse into how much God wants to give me good gifts!"

Last night, Andrew and I worked on decking the halls with birthday decorations. This included me blowing up 45 balloons and tying them around the kitchen, but leaving most of them in a large pile on the floor for Henry to find when he walked down the stairs.

After waking him up and telling him that he couldn't wear his tractor shirt because it was dirty (if he could wear that shirt every day, he would!), Andrew got him dressed and the three of us made our way downstairs.

He was so thrilled to find all of those balloons, jumping in them and tossing them into the air, exclaiming, "Mama, Look! Mama, Look!"

I made some special pancakes this morning and then we were off to school.

Sometimes I wonder how much God is involved in the details of our lives, until things like this happen. On our way to drop off Daddy and go to school, we saw the following:
  • a trash truck
  • a mail truck (two, actually)
  • a tractor trailer
  • two dump trucks
  • a police car
  • a tractor hauling dirt
  • a school bus
  • a big bus (a U.Va. bus)
  • and a jeep

Henry couldn't call my attention to one before another AMAZING vehicle was passing us.

What a perfect way to start the day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Snowman Hat

Or, as Henry likes to call it, "Noman At!"

Monday, December 5, 2011

Brown Eyes

The greatest lullaby I know is also extremely special to me. Brown Eyes is a tradition at Furman and is a precious connection for me to those days, Furman Singers and my dear, dear friends, the Herrings (Mr. Herring's mom was the reason the song became Furman's song).

I have sung that song hundreds of times to Henry. It's my lullaby of choice when I put him to bed.

Tonight, after he was fresh and clean from his bath, Henry climbed up into my lap for his new favorite story (see post below about Aunt Jane's latest gift!).

After we finished the book, he turned around to snuggle up to me. I wrapped the blanket around him. He wiggled a bit, dropped his head onto my chest and declared in as deadpan a voice as I've heard:

"Brown Eyes!"

I was shocked and totally tickled. I tried to start singing but I just burst out laughing. And then he started laughing.

There we were--it was supposed to be bedtime and we were a complete bundle of giggles.

Finally--and I mean fiiiiinnnalllly, we calmed down enough for me to sing. Brown Eyes, of course.

Who knew that all of those times I sang to him he was actually enjoying it?!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bathtub conversation from last night

First, I have to tell Dad that Henry loves his "'puter." We customized it so that is calls him by name and read him "emails" from Mama, Dada, and Grandpa. Great gift.

And Aunt Jane, you should know that Henry can't get enough of his pop-up counting book. He wants to read it several times a day. It's a winner. Thank you!

So last night in the tub somehow we got on the topic of motorcycles. Not sure how it came up, but we ran with it.

Henry: mama's motorcycle!
Daddy: Mama has a motorcycle? Does Henry have a motorcycle?
H: yeah!
D: you do? What color is your motorcycle?
H: red!
D: wow. What shape is it?
H: green!
D: cool! Tell me more about it.
H: [quizzical look]
D: is there anything on your motorcycle? Pictures of anything?
H: animals!
D: oh! what kind of animals?
H: horsies. Piggies. Cows.
D: Neat! Henry, why have I never seen your motorcycle? Where is it?
H: at work!

The kid is hilarious.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Good Ole Song

One more quick video.

In honor of an amazing 2011 football season.

By the way, anytime Henry now sees the V & sabre logo, he's shouts, "Go shoo, Go!" (Instead of Go Hoos, Go. But its close and we are very proud of his enthusiasm!)

Makin' Pot Pie

We had an amazing time in Texas for Thanksgiving. We came home to a wild weekend (UVa vs VT for the division championship) and then went straight back to work. So hopefully, this weekend we'll report back more about our time.

In the meantime, here is one of my all-time favorite videos. Nana and Henry are making Henry's favorite: pot pie!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Funny Things Henry Says: Part I

My dear friend Cat has always been so diligent about documenting funny things her son, Anders, says. She was the first to share with me the amazing joy of language and how much fun it is to watch our little guys start using words. And, she also was the one who said to write things down because they are gone in a blink of an eye, as these precious little creatures learn to correct the funny things they say or just move on to saying new things.

So, here's a brief collection of the things Henry says (or has already grown out of) that I just adore:

Whether he's sitting on a bar stool or on the curb while we're outside playing, Henry will pat the place right beside him and with great enthusiasm say, "Momma! Sit! Down!" Then, with some reminding, he'll add, "Peeeeeeeeese."

For a brief while, Henry would come grab my legs while I was cooking, look up at me with longing eyes and say, "Ohmommyohmommyohmommyohmommy!" as fast as he could. Hysterical.

Every time we pass a bus, he declares "Big Bus!" or, if it is a yellow school bus, "Shoool Bus!"

He loves when he sees a "Shooo Shooo train."

And, I'm pretty sure everyone on the planet knows he loves, "Big Tuck!"

There has been some construction in the woods behind our house and we've had the chance, almost daily, to see big, yellow earth movers at work. Henry is now asking on the way home from work if we can go see the "taktors."

He can now name almost all of the letters in the alphabet and the person who is connected to the letter (either a family member or school mate):
A, Addieeeeee
B, Baba
C, Calvin
D, Dada
E, "Leni" (Eleni)
F, Fish
G, "Wen" (Gwen)
H, "ENRY" (Henry)
J, jelly beans
K, "Kiah" Kesiah
L, Liam
M, Mama
N, Nana
O. Just O. He know that letter but doesn't say anything else.
P, when prompted, he can say "pumpkin". But he doesn't really know this one yet, either.
R, Ruby
S, sssssssnake
T, Taylor
V, "iolin" Henry, who plays the violin? "MAMA!"
Z, Zoey

He doesn't really know I, Q, U, W or X.

We have alphabet stickers lining the wall in our basement just at his eye level. He loves the game, "Henry, where is the B?" He runs over, points out the letter and declares, "B! Baba!" What's amazing, now though, is that he spots them everywhere--on signs, on cereal boxes, on pieces of paper at church, everywhere.

He's also getting really good at naming animals and what they say. All 3 of us get a kick out of asking him what a lion, bear and tiger all say in a row. He loves to roar and likes doing it 3 times in a row.

One last funny thing--he LOVES the Dr. Suess book, Go, Dog! Go! If you aren't familiar with the book, at the end all of the dogs drive their cars toward a tree, they climb the tree and the last page of the book is an illustration of the top of the tree where all of the dogs are having a dog party. He can recite the first few pages, "Dog." "Big dog. Little dog." He loves the red light and green light (although he hasn't quite figured out which is which).

But the best part is that no matter where we are, even if we haven't looked at the book in days, if one of us asks, "Henry, why do all the dogs go up the tree?" He gets SO excited and hollers, "DOG PAH-TEEEE!"

More to come as I can remember.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A fun fambily day

Hard to believe to that Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away. We don't have a lot of "autumn" left to work with, so we decided to enjoy some outside time today. We went to Ragged Mountain Natural Preserve Whatjimajigger.

Here's Henry at his "cheese!"iest.

Our little tree hugger.
Henry and Mama.

...and back home celebrating about something.

Here's a funny little video. We might have a little Baryshnikov on our hands here, but there's a fine line, as you'll see, between "ballet" and "belly."

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Early Christmas

Henry got a package from his sweet Nana (the new term we're pushing to refer to Grandma Judy) and Grandpa. We learned after the fact that his cute "Someone in Texas Loves Me" t-shirt was from Aunt Jane. Thanks, all! Henry loves his new duds.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Football Five

This week was the first time we had all 5 cousins at the football game.

We did awesome, if you ask me!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering September 11th

This afternoon, we gathered in downtown Charlottesville to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th. All week, folks in C'ville have been preparing for the event. An American flag flew from very light post on Main Street, from the Corner to the downtown mall and continuing down the mall. It truly looked like small town USA. I cried the first time I saw it late on Thursday afternoon.

Today, the entire downtown mall was lined with service vehicles parked one behind the other. The pinnacle of these trucks, ambulances, etc., were a pair of ladder trucks raising a gigantic American flag.

Just beneath flag was a large piece of steel from one of the World Trade Center towers resting on a flatbed truck. The steel will permanently be displayed at a local fire station.
Henry was such a great sport. He very much enjoyed the music.

Just before we climbed into the car to head home, Henry grabbed the flags and wanted to do one more hur-rah!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

We had a fabulous three-day weekend featuring Wahoo football, Dodson 'Crabfest', and a whole lot of outside time. We hit the pool this morning for the last time this summer. Henry has come a long way where water is concerned:

Here's Henry practicing his ABCs, with a little feline "help."

Congratulations, reader! For getting this far, you have qualified for the special "Applesauce Bonus" video:

Friday, September 2, 2011

2 kinds of birds.

Henry had broadened his perspective of birds.

Before now, when the little man saw any kind of bird (and I mean, ANY kind--a penguin, a turkey, a robin), Henry would proudly say "tweet tweet!"

This went on for quite some time. We tried to teach him that ducks say "quack." But no. It was "tweet tweet!"

But lo and behold, Henry has now learned what another type of feathered friend says.

When he sees photo of a larger-ish bird--a crow, a turkey, a rooster, out comes "loodle loodle loooo!"

So precious.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Hybrid power

Henry really gets around on his tricycle now, but he hasn't quite gotten the hang of the pedals. He's got it about 1/2 figured out. See for yourself.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Earthquake and Hurricane

What a week!

Tuesday was the first day of classes at U.Va. Grounds was buzzing with students and the streets were full of traffic. Everyone was at their post in our office and Andrew was at his. The energy of the new school year was palpable. I always loved the first day of classes.

After lunch, it was business as usual. I was trying to finish up a few projects for the week and a colleague came by to say hello.

Then it happened. First, I thought someone was jack hammering in the courtyard (they'd been doing that earlier in the week). My brain, while realizing it was an earthquake was also trying to talk myself out of that conclusion...mainly because we live in VIRGINIA!

The rattling...or shaking, really...was so powerful. Things were falling off my desk. I remember the sound of my keys hitting the floor. Before we knew it, folks were running out the door to go outside. Everyone ran into the hall, staring at each other in complete awe. Was that what we thought it was???

Andrew called the daycare immediately. From the way the director answered, he could tell that their phone had been ringing off the hook. She said the kiddos were all fine. They had to be awoken and rushed outside away from the building. But they were fine.

We stuck it out the rest of the day, but were anxious to get home to make sure the home was okay. It was.

This week, we've felt two strong aftershocks. Both of which were extremely nerve wracking for me. I'm okay with a lot of things. It turns out, I'm not okay with earthquakes (my family on the west coast can stop laughing at me now).

Tonight, we're snuggled in praying for my family at the beach as hurricane Irene takes aim at them. Mema and grandaddy are staying with my parents this weekend. They have a generator and are stocked with everything they need. Please join me as we pray that the damage done in the path of Irene is simply material and that no one is injured.

Starting on Sunday, we're looking forward to normal weather for the rest of the fall.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Over and over and over

Henry's vocabulary is exploding. And he LOVES to hear what he has to say.

His new thing, saying hello to Andrew and me.


And over.

And over again.

It goes like this: imagine us driving down the road with Henry in the back seat.

"Hiii mommy!"

"Hi Henry."

"Hiii Dadddddy!"

"Hi Henry."

"Hiiii mommy!"

"Hi Henry."

"Hiii Daddy."


"Hiiii Daaaddddy."


"Hiiii Daaaadddddyyyy."

"Hi Henry."

"Hi Daddy. Hi Mommy."

"Hi Henry."

and on it goes.

No imagine us sitting at the dining room table.

He looks toward Andrew, "Hi Daddy." "Hi Henry!"

Looks at me, "Hi Mommy!" "Hi Henry."

Back and Andrew with a look of great anticipation, "Hi Daddy." "Well, hi Henry."

A satisfied smile.

Then he turns back at me. "Hi Mommy!" "Hi Henry."

Friday, August 12, 2011

Fun with video

Here are a couple of semi-recent videos. Henry's first solo trip down the slide.

He's a strong kicker, too.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Carousel Ride

This weekend, Andrew took a guys camping trip to the weekend. So Henry and I hopped down to visit my parents.

It was a super quick trip and it was a million degrees outside. So we dropped by the mall for a ride on the carousel. Henry and Baba climbed up to the top deck and enjoyed the ride.

(This pick is a little of a fake. After the ride, Baba put Henry up on one of the big horses for a close-up pick.)

That's Henry's horse, way up there. The upper-deck horses were smaller. You can see from this pick why we needed to stage another one!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


For some reason, we didn't get electronic copies from my mom of our trip to the zoo. I'll hopefully get them soon. Or you'll just have to come visit us to see those!

Here are some photos from our trip to the Virginia Aquarium (formerly the Marine Science Museum). Henry LOVED it! Perhaps some of you remember our trip to the SC Aquarium when Henry was a year old. Then, he was more interested in the 4th graders there on a field trip than the fish. This time, he really loved looking at the animals. It was so much fun.

Vacation: The Beach

Here are some way overdue photos from our recent vacation to Virginia Beach. Henry has been there many times since his arrival in 2009; but this was the first time we actually took him to the oceanfront.

Like his mother, he didn't take to the beach at his first meeting. But he'll get there.

Daddy & Henry just before crossing the dunes.

Henry's toes in the sand!

Momma and Henry.
This was as close to the water as Henry would let us take him.

And if anyone is worried about crowded beaches in Va. Beach in the summers, take a look--go early, hit 77th street and you'll have PLENTY of room!

Friday, June 24, 2011

18 month well visit

Today was Henry's 18 month well visit.

Before we get into the details of the visit, let me say that I am very happy to report that it has been weeks and weeks since we'd been to the doctor's office. It was nice to be there and hear from the ladies who work there, "My goodness he's getting so big! Its been a while since we've seen you guys!"

Dr. Q gave us an enthusiastic thumbs up today. Henry is doing great. He's had a bit of a growth spurt and his height is inching back toward the 75%. His weight is still in the 50%. Those two statistics seem remarkable to me. I mean, have you seen this little guy's tummy?! His noggin is still on the large side. That's good, means his helmet will fit well.

There aren't any major milestones. But here's a rundown of some highlights:

1. Henry can now be introduced to peanuts (PB&J, here we come!). He is now free to eat anything we eat. Yummy.
2. It's time to take his first potty out of its box and put it in the bathroom. Nothing really more than that--no pressure, no potty time. Just have it around.
3. His language is the next to take off. Ms. Anna, his head teacher called him a parrot today. He repeats everything. Some new favorite words: outside, up, truck, bus, all done, bike, and he keeps counting with his "nines."

We are so thankful for a healthy and thriving boy. We try not to take a day of his health for granted. What a blessing he is!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day!!

There's some old saying about the exchange rate between pictures and words. I believe it's around 1:992, give or take. Anyway, I'll let the pictures do most of the talking here. I'm typically pretty lousy when it comes to giving gifts, but this Father's Day some things fell into place that I thought made up the perfect two-day tribute to my Dad.

Saturday morning, I got on the road early to beat all the other folks heading toward Sperryville, VA, where Dad used to take me when I was a kid..

Some shots from the hike

Sunday was another early start, as I joined nearly 500 other runners in racing the Charlottesville Men's 4-Miler, an event put on by UVa's Urology Department to raise awareness/$$ for Prostate Cancer research and other men's health issues. There were a lot of father-son tandems out there, including one that featured a kid no more than 7 years old who finished ahead of me. So that was humbling. :) My Dad wasn't there, but he was rooting and pushing me on all the same.

Here I am before the race. After the race I was in no shape to be photographed, although I did finish in under 32 minutes. [patting self on back]

So this is my Thank You and my I Love You to you, Dad. Thank you for teaching me to love a nice walk in the woods, how to take a deep breath and a good look around, how to share, but also how to appreciate the alone/quiet moments, how to take good care of my body (although it took me a little while to learn that lesson), how to be brave, and how to be a great father. That last one, I'm learning, is a bit of a conundrum. On one hand it seems to come naturally, instinctively. On the other hand it's the most challenging thing in the world and can't be taken for granted. So many don't have what I have. I'm one of the lucky ones, and I hope and pray that Henry can someday say the same.

Thank you, Dad, for putting me on the path.

I love you. Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Catching up

Back to the strawberry picking for just a moment.

And here's a sweet leftover picture from Mom and Becca's visit. Cousin Sara came over from Richmond and everybody came to watch my softball game. We totally won.
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Henry has been into some new, exciting stuff. It can be a challenge keeping him entertained, especially when the summer weather makes being outside not-so-much fun.

After one sort of nasty spill and a few other close calls, we thought that Henry should probably start wearing some protective gear. Of course, since he's had the helmet, he's more interested in taking in the scenery than in being Speed Racer.

Audrey got to take Henry to Richmond to see some of the her extended family, including Dodie and Amy and their little ones.

Oh, yeah. And this. The video completely fails to capture the magic of the UVa baseball game on 6/13, but at least we can someday show Henry that We. Were. There. :) Wahoowah!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Photos

Well, we can't afford to buy all of the photos taken by fabulous photographer Aaron Watson a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, he put a post on his blog with a few of them that I can share!

We're schedule for another session in the fall (thanks to the Hooks Daily Deals--much like Groupon)! Aaron was awesomely patient with Henry. We're very much looking forward to seeing how he does against the backdrop of the fall trees outside in October.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Aunt Becca's Shoes

I just love this.

Henry in his Aunt Becca's shoes.

Really. Does it get any better?

Pickin' Strawberries

This weekend, we were thrilled to have Gram and Aunt Becca visit. Henry loved having them here. We did all sorts of things while they were here, including, of course, taking lap after lap after lap around the cul de sac.

On Monday, we drove out to Crozet to do a little strawberry picking at a local farm and some pizza at a very famous pizza joint.

It would be an understatement to say that Henry enjoyed the strawberries. I give you photo evidence of his enthusiasm for them.