Sunday, April 24, 2011

He has risen, He has risen indeed!


Thank you for the cross and the resurrection!

Because He lives, our future is secure, the battle is one!

A few Easter pics for the grandparents who want to see a ton of shots of our children :)
(unfortunately we don't have a family picture, I guess that is what happens when your husband is the pastor and Easter at church is crazy)

Sister refused pictures until I started taking them of Buster, then she changed  her mind and jumped in

Buster liked the alone pictures, what is this girl doing?

Daddy is in the background making them laugh

Sister helping Buster sit back up

A little lovin

Sister's photography skills at work, yes that fine looking man is my husband!

The Southards girls

"Anybody want to give a little help over here?"

"Me, big blue eyes, is falling over here"

"There is help coming my way"

This little guy's smile melts my heart
Hope you all are having a wonderful day of celebrating!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

There might be a little Wiens in him

Sister bear has my eye color, that is about it.
my 6 month chunk of lovin!
From the beginning people have said Buster is all Southards. Recently though, I am starting to see more Wiens and some people have even mentioned it. 

4 months

There might be hope for me after all!

me at 5 months
You can tell they are siblings, but it is fun to see them have their own look too


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Another Nursery feature

Colton's nursery was featured on another website in early March and I forgot to share it with you all. 

The website is an amazing resource for nursery ideas. If you are working on a nursery anytime soon, I would highly encourage you check out this website


And while you are at it, feel free to look at Colton's nursery feature!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Weekend round-up

Here are a few highlights from the weekend

We had Spring Fest at Church on Sunday, Payton did not let her 1 arm slow her down for the egg hunt

She sure is getting a lot of attention for her arm. Maybe she decided Colton was getting too much attention so found a way to change the focus back to her :)

Steve and I have been playing in an adult kickball league the last couple months. It is Sunday afternoons and we have had fun playing together. Unfortunately with all the sickness in our home, I haven't been able to make many games, but it takes us back to our early years (we know we aren't that old) of marriage where we used to play kickball in Bradenton.

 Remember how I feel like our health has been attacked and the Lord is showing me that I need to depend on him for strength, that no, I can not do it on my own, well....

Early in the game, Steve hurt his knee. He heard a pop and I could tell immediately he was in pain. Steve has a very high pain tolerance and his face was showing immediate concern. He has been resting and icing it, we think it is only a strained ligament. I found myself laughing at the situation, not at his pain, but thinking, "are you kidding me?" So we are adding another health concern to our family list for the 2011 year. We have been to the Dr more in the last 4 months then I think our whole lives. But keeping perspective, we are truly healthy people and have little reason to complain.

Payton has taken it upon herself to fix everyone in the houses boo boos.  She kisses daddy's knee all the time and this morning we went through all our "friends" and even baby brother got bandages. 

She has been wearing some of my shirts to bed because her little PJ shirts are too small for her arm. Notice I am trying to brainwash her with the Gator apparel. 

All her friends with their pink bandages.

Baby brother was not sure about his sister's work

Have a great Tuesday, it is cold and rainy here so we are laying low for the day!

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Daniel Fast

So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting.
-Daniel 9:3 

The real reason for my break from blogging was for an intentional purpose. If you read my Thursday post it was probably good that I wasn't trying to blog while I was dealing with everything else, but the reason I started the break was because Steve and I were going to do the Daniel Fast.

What is fasting?
Fasting can look different, depending on the type and duration that someone does. Basically, you restrict your food intake as a form of self-denial and worship, setting aside your basic physical desires for spiritual ones. You pull away from life's distractions and focus on your Savior so that you can be strengthened, refreshed, and renewed. God is ready to bless anyone who has an insatiable appetite for him and his Word. 

What is the Daniel Fast?
The Daniel Fast is a partial fast, in the sense that you remove certain foods from your diet for a specific length of time.  The Prophet Daniel chose to undergo a partial fast when he sought the Lord. His fasting experiences form the basis of the Daniel Fast. The fast requires eliminating commonly enjoyed foods for 21 days as an act of worship and consecrating oneself to God. Foods that are allowed are fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils. Restricted foods include dairy, meat, sugar, all forms of sweeteners, yeast, refined and processed foods, deep-fried foods and solid fats.You can only drink water during the fast.

Why fast?
People fast for all sorts of reasons. Maybe they are looking for divine wisdom to guide them, maybe their marriage is falling apart and they have lost hope in each other, maybe an illness has taken over their body and the are desperate for deliverance and healing. No matter what life has thrown at you, fasting is a powerful discipline that allows you to connect with God on a deeper level. By denying yourself certain foods, you are showing an act of surrender. You are, in essence, saying, "God, I have to have your help in this situation. I don't know what to do,  and I'm willing to sacrifice my time, my physical comfort, and my desires so I can hear from you."

Why we fasted?
1) Connect my heart with God (intentionality)
2) Spiritually connect my heart with Steve (doing fast together)
3) Divine wisdom for our decision on future of Bradenton Home
4) Prayers for Ava
5) Seek to listen, not speak
6) Purge "junk" from my body (food part of fast)

We initially decided to do the fast to seek guidance on our Bradenton home. Like so many people we are big time upside down in our home, we currently have a renter, but it is a tough situation and we are trying to manage it halfway across the country. Over a year ago we submitted a request for a mortgage modification, but where denied because we weren't delinquent. As Steve puts it, no we haven't crashed yet, we see the train coming down the track and we are waving our flag asking for help before the crash happens. Unfortunately the mortgage companies don't seem to care until you have a major catastrophe on your hands and you stop paying all together, then they will talk to you.  We financially can't survive long-term with our current situation.  We don't want to make any rash decisions, we want to do what is right. 

The rest of the reasons are pretty self-explanatory.  I felt like I had been in survival mode and was seeking refreshing time with the Lord, Steve and I haven't had many date nights the last few months with all of our transition, and wanted to connect on a deeper level with each other. Ava is one of our neighbors twin girls. She was having major surgery during the time of our fast and I wanted to be in prayer for her. Hear more than speak, not always easy for me :) and finally I feel like I had lost control on the junk (sweet tooth) that I was putting in my body. I loved the idea of eating "pure" foods.

My experience
We ordered a book that was a great resource for our journey. It helped with preparation of your mind and body, had a 21-day devotional to walk you through the spiritual side, and recipes to help direct your food intake for the duration of the fast.

The food part was initially very enjoyable for me. I love eating fresh and light. We had to budget a little more money for this fast because eating fresh (and eating a lot of nuts) is not cheap. I had to cook every meal from scratch. It was very difficult the weekend we traveled for Steve's cousins wedding, but it was a good challenge to see how dedicated we were to the fast. Many of our meals were still very flavorful, but it was very time consuming cooking everything from scratch. Steve had a more difficult time right away. He consumes so many calories, that the types of food we were allowed, didn't support the diet he usually eats, especially the protein aspect.  By halfway through the fast, I was challenged in the food area as well. Not only was it tiring spending so much time cooking, but apples and peanut butter and trail mix were getting old.  We did have a good finish and some of my favorite meals were the last few days (Grilled Portabello Steaks with Tofu, and Black bean burgers on a bed of greens with tomatoes and avocados).

The denial of food was difficult, but a good test for me. Here is the honest part, I didn't experience the huge wave of intense, personal time with the Lord that I had imagined.  I had thought that I would have times of one-on-one with the Lord where I was weeping (not normal for me) and pouring my soul out to him and receiving his Spirit so strongly in my presence.  In the journal part of the book, there were so many stories of how people's lives were forever changed because of their fast. I felt like my time was being attacked. I was unable to wake early to spend time with the Lord because I was getting very little sleep at night (due to sick kiddos) and my children, who usually take really long naps, decided to have very short naps much of the time, leaving me with little "quiet time." I will say though that my thoughts were definitely focused more on the Lord. My mind wandered towards conversation with him throughout my day, no matter what I was doing.  So maybe my connection with the Lord wasn't going to come through some emotional experience, but rather through the mundane of everyday, seeing him as part of everything I do, even the "boring" things that take up time in my day.

I also read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers which is one of my all time favorite books. I really read this book from the perspective of seeing how God pursues me and lavishes his love on me. If you want to read a book that you just get lost in and can't put down, go this one! This was actually one of my 30 before Thirty to do's, I can check that one off!

Steve and I had some rough times during the fast. This was "supposed" to bring us together, yet we found ourselves so worn out from life that we didn't have much energy for each other. I kept thinking"great, this is supposed to be connecting us and we are fighting or ignoring each other." The last weekend of the fast was at the Lake and Steve and I always seem to connect our hearts there. Maybe it is because there are less distractions (especially technology) and we slow down long enough to look into each others eyes and heart. So it was in the 11th hour of the fast that we were finally able to connect as husbands and wives should.

Finally the Bradenton home. I often read blogs via google reader on my phone while I feed Colton. Since I was staying away from that distraction while fasting, I would often read a Proverbs for the day. On April 6th, I was reading Proverbs 6 and really felt confirmation from the Lord that we need to get out from under that house. Steve is still wrestling in his spirit how that looks, he has actually continued the fast (an altered version) this week to seek final clarity with our home. We want to have such assurance and peace with whatever decision we move forward with, knowing that it is honoring to the Lord. We are considering a short sale, but we don't want to take "the easy way out," if such a thing exists.

So for those of you that have hung with me and read all of my thoughts, thanks. I really do believe in the power of fasting, I believe it is a great spiritual discipline that believers should practice at different seasons in their life. The fast might look different, but denying self to focus on the Lord has nothing but positive outcomes. 

The Purple People Eater

It is official, Payton fractured her elbow. Good news is the Dr said, "if you are going to fracture your arm, this is a good one to have." We spent the morning at Children's Mercy Hospital downtown KC. Thank you to our neighbor Sara who kept Colton so both mom and dad could focus on sister. The staff was great, and we were thankful it was just a fracture. We have spent more time in Dr's offices this year already then we have any other year to date. Steve and I are so grateful for the health of our children. Today we thought about our family (SIL Jaime with my nephew Anderson) and friends (The McNeils with the twins who are now in 2 different hospitals) who have had so much time in and out of hospitals for some major health issues with their kiddos. Again, we are so thankful for "just a fracture."

Waiting in the lobby to be called

The Dr was great, we got new x-rays and she could see the fracture right away. She decided to go with this type of cast because they can peel it off, no saw needed. The saw to get the casts off can scare little kids out of their skin

She got her cast on about 11am. She wasn't allowed to eat since midnight, just in case they needed to do surgery. She could care less about the cast going on, she was just ready to eat. It was a good distraction.
Good news is the cast is waterproof, so we are good to go swimming when we go to Florida in a week!

She wanted Pink (her new favorite color), unfortunately the type of cast she got didn't come in pink, so they wrapped pink tape on for the effect.

She really didn't want her picture taken

Didn't see me coming around the corner, sneaky mommy :)

This afternoon she kept saying she couldn't do certain things. It will take a bit to get used to using 1 hand for many tasks. When we went to Chick-fil-a for dinner she didn't seem to be slowed down, she was set to climb in the play area.

Playing at chick-fil-a

Her Papa and Granny Southards (Steve's grandparents) wanted to get her a treat, so we took her for "pink" (strawberry) ice-cream and are going to let her pick out a toy tomorrow

She did a great job today, now we just adjust to life with 1 good arm. I am sure as each day passes she will get more confident using her 1 arm. We have this bad boy on for 1 month. Now I just need to go get a few shirts that have arm holes big enough for the cast. 

Thanks for all the prayers for us, we appreciate the support so much.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Back around

We are back, not sure how many people really missed me, but my "break" is over.  So what have we been up to the 3 weeks (here you go in a nutshell with pictures of the kiddos included for your viewing pleasure, because they are much cuter than me and the grandparents like seeing them)....

- we went to Indiana for Steve's cousin Todd's wedding. We had a great trip and wonderful time with family. Long drive with 2 little one's especially since Colton isn't the best car rider, but none-the-less, we had a great time. Payton danced for 3.5 hours, she was so fun to watch, we hadn't really seen her that outgoing in public, she was quite the center of attention

I have a difficult time getting Colton to smile for a picture, Steve took this during our trip to Indiana when we made a rest stop. The little guy has the cutest smile and smiles a lot!

- We got back from Indiana and had decided to tackle potty training. Payton cognitively understands everything about the process, she will even proceed to tell me how to go to the bathroom so I decided we would go for it. We took the boot camp approach, and after 2 days we had to put a sudden stop to it when she woke up with a 102 fever and an UTI! Poor thing, she was rough off, then she got a bad cough that didn't allow her to sleep for almost a week. We were a tired house!

Picture not taken during rough time but taken a few days ago

- Payton passed along whatever she had to me. I have had sinus issues for a week and a half, with a full head of nonsense and pressure and pain. I am still trying to get over this.

Mr. Cool, we are working on spiking the hair with our baby lotion :)

- Last weekend we went to the lake. (while I was sick, better to be sick at the lake than at home). We had a great time. I completely forgot my camera but Payton was too cute walking around with her life vest, rainboots and fishing pole, spending the whole time outdoors with daddy. They fished and went out on the boat (she even got to drive). I am excited for this summer, she is a fun age that can do so much more. 

Trying to snap a few pictures of the kids, Buster is getting a little big and awkward for Sister

- The beginning of this week I told the Lord that I was tired, that I couldn't take much more. Since Colton has been born we have had a rough time with sickness in this house. His first 2 months were terrible with his crying and no sleep. During those months The flu went through our house and Steve was laid up with his back.  Since we have gotten the crying under control during the last 2 months, the flu went through our house again, Payton got the UTI, some nasty Sinus thing has made it's way through here, I really haven't slept well in 4 months. I am trying my hardest to train a stubborn 2 year old, and manage a baby, all on little sleep. I have felt worn out. Well I guess the Lord knows I can handle more because ....

That way doesn't work either

- Payton broke her arm on Tuesday! It is actually a fractured elbow. She was playing with the neighbors on their swing set and she walked right in front of one of the little girls swinging and got knocked down.  A short fall on the grass but at the right angle, we ended up in Urgent Care with X-rays confirming a fractured elbow.  We are now in the waiting game as the Pediatric Orthopedic Dr can't see us until tomorrow (Friday) morning. So I have a 2 year-old in an ace bandage that I am trying to get to sit still for 2 days. Not fun for her or mommy. These pictures of the kids were actually taken the morning before she hurt herself.  Steve has been complaining of back pain again and I sent him to the chiropractor today as selfishly I really don't want to have him laid up right now. 

- The same day that Payton broke her arm, Steve got a speeding ticket, Buster had a screaming day where he couldn't be calmed down and as I lay my head to bed I had realized that I forgot to pump (as Steve fed Buster a bottle while I was with Payton at Urgent care. I so just wanted to go to sleep, but go myself out of bed, walked downstairs and grabbed my pump (that I borrowed from a friend) off the shelf and watched it fall out of my hands, land on the floor, and shatter the plastic front piece that you need to pump (the piece isn't expensive to replace but it was just one more thing on the day). Steve came downstairs as he heard the crash and we decided it was just best for us to climb into bed and call it a day :)

So that is a little catch up on us. We are still smiling and have so much to be thankful for, but I would be lying if I didn't admit how worn out I am.

Enjoy a few more pictures of these 2 little creatures that can drive me crazy but I am so wild about :)

The look Buster has at times wondering what Sister has in store for him

"Mom are we done yet?" Yes, now we are :)