Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Payton's 1st Deer Kill

Yes, my 4-year-old blonde-hair-big-blue-eyed doe, has witnessed the first of probably many deer kills. Steve has taken Payton out to the woods to watch for deer, never with the intent to kill. That all changed a few weeks ago. Here is the story according to Steve.

Sometime things just come together.  Thankfully Payton and I were able to be a part of one of those hunts.  It was Friday, January 11th 2013.  Just a day before her much anticipated “bubble gum birthday party” we had planned in honor of her fourth birthday.  There was an “antlerless only season” open and I had a doe tag burning a hole in my pocket that I had promised to fill for a friend at church.   Since it was unusually warm that day I decided that it was a good opportunity for Payton to hit the woods with me as well. 

The last time she went, I was more interested in watching deer then shooting deer and that frustrated her.  This time, I knew I wanted to pull the trigger and I wasn’t sure she was ready for the action.  I asked her a few questions to gauge her awareness of situation and after a quick conversation, I had enough confidence to give it a try.

Her afternoon nap was done and it was time to head out to the woods.  Payton knew that along with our “noculars” and gun, we also needed some “junk” food.  She decided that when we hunt, she gets one junk food and I get one junk food.  It only took a few minutes and I had my camo hat wearing beauty and her cherry sucker loaded in the truck and we were headed out for the 10 minute ride to the property. 

I often park about 75 yards into the field and since it was muddy and I had Payton with me, I decided that is what I was going to do for that hunt also.  We pulled on the property and were just seconds way from parking when I noticed a flash of white in a patch of cedars.  I stopped and it stopped.   She was 80 yards away standing behind a couple of trees.  I quickly and quietly loaded the 30.06 and made the choice to leave the truck running so there wouldn’t be a change in the environment.  Thankfully I was able to sneak to the back of the Explorer and prepare for a shot, only to find out the tree was blocking the deer.  Wondering if it was still there, I walked to the front of the vehicle and discovered she was still presenting a shot.  With both elbows on the hood of the explorer and with Payton watching from her car seat, a bullet was sent, successfully finding its target.  Payton asked “Did you get it?”  I responded with an “I think so” as I pulled her out of the car seat.  I turned off the vehicle and we walked to where I last saw the deer.   The walk, although it was not long, consisted of a fun conversation where, in between licks of her sucker, she would ask me to carry her.  As we got close we could see our deer, lying right behind the cedar tree.  Payton was excited.  I was excited.

Sometimes it comes together and I am glad that it did that afternoon with Payton.  At this point, her limited perspective on hunting has to be that it is a lot easier than I make it out to be.  I wonder what she will think when we sit in the woods for hours without seeing one.  I hope to have the chance to find out!  After all, a day in the woods with my daughter is all the reminder I need that I am one blessed man. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Home to me

Olathe, KS is home to me. 

There, I said it, this once-so-prideful-to-hail-from-Florida-girl has become a Midwesterner at heart. 

Last night Steve and I attended a gathering of pastors from churches all over Olathe. Many of these men have served in their same churches 25+ years, pouring their very heart and soul into Olathe. Gary Kendall, our lead pastor is one of them. Our Mayor was there to encourage us, and my heart stirred knowing those men's stories (long-term ministry here) could very well be our story. Steve and I knew when we moved here 5 years ago that this could be home for a long time. We looked at the city wondering if this would be the only city our kids knew as home. Some pastors move around a lot, some stay for the long-run. We are completely open to God moving us, but last night I felt in my heart again, that this is home, for now, for awhile, and possibly for a very long time. I want to set my roots here, dig my teeth into this city. I want my heart to break for the things around this city that break the heart of God. I want to commit to serve my city, finding ways to use my God-given gifts to bless the lives of others. I want to be a part of a team of leaders in our church that are passionate to reach the people all around them for Christ. 

So Olathe, you have taken up big-time real estate in my heart. I thank God for that, and I thank God for the people all over this city. For the ones I already call friend and those I don't know yet. 

I am thankful for airplanes that can still get me to my family in Florida in 3 hours. The pieces of my heart that are still in Florida are in my family there. And I still have a little pride when it comes to bleeding orange and blue (Gators my friends) not red and blue (Jayhawks) like so many here, but hey we all have areas we are working on. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby Quilt

A girlfriend (who has great style) had a son almost a year ago. When I saw her quilt for the first time, I thought she had to get that from Etsy or some boutique, it was the cutest baby quilt I had ever seen.

 Here is her quilt (That has been used a lot and is still in great shape)

When I asked where she got it, I was floored that she said Kathy. Larry and Kathy have watched our kids for our date nights ever since Payton was little. I knew Kathy sewed a lot, but didn't know she was into quilting. I had to find Kathy and give her a hard time, asking how we missed the baby quilt train. She said she actually made one for Colton (it was her first one she tried) and she thought it turned out so terrible that she threw it away. I sweetly smiled and said we would love to have one for our baby growing in my belly. (Which Colton did get a beautiful homemade quilt from Steve's grandma Granny Southards, so he wasn't too hard off).

Fast forward to my shower this past weekend. I was super excited, especially since I knew Kathy would have the quilt. She had come over a few weeks earlier and let me have input on style and color. She was the one that suggested the chevron design. Needless to say, I was extremely thrilled with how it turned out. I love the classic look. The amazing thing is too, that Kathy made the quilt in 3 days! Yes 3 days, she got the fabric late (from ordering it online) and Larry had surgery late last week, so she cranked this beauty out in 3 days! 

The back had a few fun colorful lines too (it is mostly pink)

The colors match the nursery. It is hard to tell but the pink and turquoise have very subtle pattern on them. 

Kathy is starting to sell her quilts in her daughter's Etsy store. They are reasonably priced and if you are looking for something personalized and beautiful for yourself or a baby shower gift, check with Kathy. She is a perfectionist and very humble, and does an amazing job!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Baby Shower

Yesterday a few friends threw a baby shower for baby girl. It was such a treat to get some adorable girlie things and some great handmade items. Even though we have a girl, most of Payton's clothes are hand-me-downs so it is nice to get a few fresh items for baby girl. Payton also never wore bows, I am hoping this one will be a little more prissy, so we got tons of bows! We got a handmade quilt, handmade blanket, handmade hooded towel with her name on it, a beautiful scripture for her wall, a knitted owl hat and so much more (including diapers)! She is set up well for cuteness :) It was so wonderful to spend some time with my girlfriends as well with no kids around.

There were 5 of us prego at the shower, here we are in order of due date

Another cute belly shot

My girlfriends who threw the shower for me.

If you are reading the banner, we have most likely decided on Presley as her name. If it changes she will have a shower with Presley all over it and a bath towel with Presley as well :) We are 95% set on it, so pretty good chance. Payton loves it because she will have a "P" like her :)

Thanks to all my friends who made it such a wonderful day!

Friday, January 18, 2013


Maybe I am trying too hard to prove that my son resembles my family because my daughter is completely a Southards. This post and This post show my determination. I have always said that he looks like my little brother. Well when mom was here over Christmas she brought a few pictures. Check this out

Ladies and Gentlemen, that is me at 22 months old and Colton at 24 months.

He does have some of Steve's head shape, but when I saw that picture of me, I really saw the resemblance.

I am curious to see what baby sister is going to look like.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Payton's 4th Birthday

Yesterday was Payton's 4th Birthday. Her celebration started last week with Roadhouse dinner, hunting with daddy, a birthday party on Saturday (her Papa, Gigi and Uncle Benny made it for), whip cream and waffles for birthday breakfast (our birthday tradition), then dinner and ice cream last night (Grandpa was in town for that). 

Payton at 4 years old you are such a delight. You are very helpful, you mother your brother all the time, you love to make projects, you love to make a mess with your projects, you have very few meltdowns anymore but are getting much better at expressing your feelings (you often get frustrated when you don't get your way), you are so sweet to Colton and really care for him (not just mother him), you are so excited to have a baby sister you get to hold, you have a very tender heart towards others, you dress yourself (it used to match now you are quite creative in your outfits) and many days you express your disgust for quiet time but spend almost 2 hours playing by yourself in your room. You are a delight to be around and add so much life to our family. 

Bringing you home 4 years ago

Riding the horse at Roadhouse

Hunting with daddy (you borrowed Colton's hat while he was sleeping)
Your first kill, daddy killed it so quickly you didn't even have time to finish your sucker

Bubblegum Themed birthday party

You didn't want the silly hat so your daddy wore it

Reminding me how old you are

 Happy 4th Birthday my daughter!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

What a difference a year makes

One year ago I was laying in the ICU, receiving a blood transfusion and fighting for my life (quite unaware how bad I really was). We had just miscarried at 16 weeks and my body was fighting itself after the surgery to remove our baby. You can read all about it HERE, HERE, HERE.

Fast forward a very rough year for me. If you somewhat follow me at all you know I have been on physical and emotional roller coasters this past year.  I was reflecting on the whole situation and I stand in such a place of gratitude. Grateful for my life, for God's hand so evident in my life and for perspective. I am more excited about the arrival of baby girl then I think I was for either of my other children. Not just because this pregnancy has been harder, but I have a new appreciation for every little healthy life. 

We are not promised an easy life. We will experience trials, but I believe there is a good God watching over us. I believe he walked so intimately with me during that loss and trial. I have a different appreciation for my relationship with him since that time. 

I was looking back over pictures of my trip with Steve to the beach right after our miscarriage and my health scare. Remember, the Lord had a trip on the calendar for just me and Steve (no kids) less than one week after I went through everything. I remember it being such a peaceful time, and even now looking back at the pictures I am overcome with peace. I was reading THIS post about our time and came across this quote again that a girlfriend had text me while at the beach

"When we give God the highest glory, He gives us His deepest peace"

God was so faithful, we did our best to glorify him throughout the process and he was so good to give us such deep rooted peace. 

So here we sit a year later, grateful, humbled, forever changed.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Christmas Update

We had a wonderfully simple and low-key holiday season. The weekend before Christmas we were able to head to the farms overnight to celebrate with my mother-in-laws side of the family. I love spending time with family over the holidays and the kids love roaming the farms. 

Buster and Big Papa
 It was so cold outside but Buster did not care, he wanted to ride the tractor and throw rocks at the farm. I love that he is all BOY!

Christmas Eve was a great service at church, Steve delivered a great sermon filled with Hope for so many that don't have any. We had 2 services then went to our friends house to enjoy some dinner with friends. The kids loved staying up late, running around with their friends, eating all sorts of holiday junk!

 Christmas Day we were home alone in our PJ's all day. Christmas used to be so hard for me living far from family, but as our kids have gotten older, I really do enjoy being home with them and laying low on Christmas. We love having family around when we can, but there is something sweet and simple about being home together, just enjoying each other.

Reading Christmas Story before presents
I love this pic of these 2. They are in such a sweet stage right now, really caring for each other.
The only thing Sister really wanted for Christmas was a doggie that walked, talked and had batteries. Yes someone might have encouraged the batteries because that means there is an off switch. She talks about a real puppy but she knows we won't even consider that until we are done having babies. No babies and doggies. While we were taking the picture above, the dog started barking every time the flash went off.

 She figured out which box the barking came from and got super excited.
Needless to say this was the first present opened. My in-laws had gotten her the dog and they said it would bark at random times to them over the past few weeks. We have a video of her opening the present and it is priceless. Papa and Gigi got to experience her excitement through the video even though they weren't able to be here in person.

Buster really didn't care much about what he got, but he did get a few hats that really excited him.

It was a cold Christmas here. Steve and the kids hung up the bird feeder they got and they have loved watching the birds everyday. 

The day after Christmas my parents flew in. I had to thank them for leaving sunny warm Florida for cold Kansas. We had a great time with them here. One evening the adults went out for a fun date to the original Oklahoma Joes (in the gas station) and then went downtown to Circus de soleil. We had a blast!

Besides that we mostly hung out with my parents for the few days they were here.

Colton's favorite gift came from Grandpa, a Nerf shotgun. It is so much bigger then him, but the boy is in love. Dad got him some paper targets we taped to a door and the kids wants to shoot his gun all the time.

His big gift from Grandpa and Mimi was a balance bike, but we didn't even open that to a few days after Christmas because he didn't even care about it, he just kept playing with the gun. I am sure the bike will get great use this summer. 

He is still in love with his train track that he got for his birthday, that and the shotgun take up most of his playing time these days.

We had a great Holiday season. Now we have Sister's birthday this weekend then next up on our calendar is delivering a sweet baby girl!