Monday, December 31, 2012

Adios 2012!

    A theme of 2012 for us was change. We morphed into a family of 5 in February when we were blessed with sweet Hayes. That is change in the best possible way. Other change came that we didn't forsee and it wasn't what we would have picked but brought us closer to each other and showed us another reality of who God is. The Great I Am. At the end of the day, isn't that what's most important?

    2012 was good to us. The past 12 months we came into our own, both individually and as a family. We made big decisions the right way. We turned to each other when we needed help. We deepened new friendships and rekindled old ones. We have more change planned in 2013 but I would love to continue the path we're on. The dominant theme of 2012 was blessed. We'll definitely remember this year as one of abundance in every way.

I am excited about 2013 for so many reasons. Welcoming another year together feels like a gift that we've been given. I'm excited to see it unfold over the coming months and where we end up this time next year. Bring it, 2013!!

I hope everyone has a happy new year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

Our first Christmas as a family of five was a good one. We spent great time with family and made memories. This year, more than any other year, I was overwhelmed with how rich my life is. God's blessings are so rich and so undeserved it's just mind-boggling to think about. This holiday season, I spent the two weeks leading up to Christmas really focusing on what a miracle it is that Jesus came and SO ready for his return. Wouldn't it be just like Jesus to come back on Christmas??? This Christmas was heavy with reality that our world is evil. I hope he comes quickly.

In the meantime, I'll be posting too many pictures of my kids. I'm going in chronological order.
My kids met Santa. I had major reservations about this last year but got over it. Harris is the much bigger believer but Walker was the one really into meeting Santa. You would have thought they were old friends. Walker showed him how his truck worked, hopped up on his lap and would have stayed there if there hadn't been a line. Harris only said hi because Santa had a bunch of candy canes behind him.


Walker's face in the pic of him alone is so sweet. The one of all 3 of them is the best we were going to do. Ms. Claus looks like she's getting a workout holding little Hayes.

Here's all 3 heading to Christmas service at church. What I  love about this is Walker's face. He was trying to be cooperative. He was saying "SMILLLLLLLE" through his clenched teeth. And Hayes' beret. That baby made my day by keeping it on for awhile. There may or may not have been training sessions to acclimate him to that hat.

Tom got an inflatable Santa and strung some random lights on the our teensy trees. The boys couldn't have been more impressed and there was clapping if we pulled in the driveway after dark. They "helped" Tom string the lights.

Here they are checking out a toy catalogue, wondering what Santa might bring.

I found a random felt thing on Etsy and it was worth the investment. It would be easy to make on your own but the odds of me dragging 3 kids to a craft store and then cutting and gluing all that felt are pretty slim. You told part of the story each night, re-telling the previous nights, and added an object. Harris played with it all the time and it was a great starting point for conversations. Walker wasn't so into it but he will be soon.

We spent a few days at a lakehouse with family and the boys loved it. It's such a nice getaway and being in a different environment just changes the whole vibe.

They ran outside.

They opened presents.

They did the park.

They slept.

They even hit Buc'ees. Aimee, this pic is for you!!

Yes, they were in their pajamas. We were going to drive through a Christmas light display but the line was out of control.

Hayes got a walker (THANK YOU BROOKE) and was all over the place. I don't know what we did before he had that thing. He follows the older two everywhere and gets into everything he can. He loves it. It even has a tray to throw some food on so he can eat while he's running through the house. It may be hard to tell but he likes his food.

We just had such good family time. Walker is really growing up. Every night when I put him to bed I tell him I love him and he always says. "Too" in a small little voice. The other night I told him that and he said, "I love you too mom!!" It was so precious to hear my sweet boy tell me that but a little sad at the same time. He's growing up. He got a good report at church today for the first time EVER. Yahoo! He slept in a bed with no problems and understood that he had to stay in it until we got him out. That had previously been disasterous. He's maturing.
Harris grasped Christmas this year. He could parrot back an answer before but I think this year he really did get that Christmas was about Jesus. He was so excited about his own gifts but equally excited on Walker's behalf for his gifts. It was just a joy to see it all through 5 year old eyes. Harris narrates when he's excited so we got a taste of all his emotions :)
Hayser just hung out and made everyone smile. Love these three and I'm still DYING over the pj's.

Christmas was what it should be. A time to celebrate the birth of Christ and spend time with family.

Merry Christmas!!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Someone mentioned to me that they were surprised I was working, after my blog post about working moms. Ummm, what are we talking about??? A blog post I wrote was unclear. Reading it now, I see the interpretation but it just didn't occur to me at the time.
Here's what I wrote:

Here is the back story. A well meaning friend gave me unsolicited advice about how to deal with one of my kids. It took me out for a few days. I was down on myself about my parenting, feeling extremely unqualified to handle my kids, and just generally unsure of every move I made throughout the day. I knew why I didn't do things the way she suggested. I didn't do them for various reasons that relate to my child's personality and our family dynamics. I just came to the conclusion that there is no one more qualified to make parenting decisions about how to handle their child than the actual parent. Weren't we all much better parents before we had these kids?? :) My point was we all need to stop before making a judgement about how someone else should be raising their kids. And we can rest in the decisions we make as parents, knowing we are doing the very best we can with the knowledge and insight we have into our own child.

This seems like a foolish post, in light of what's happened lately. I wrote it so if I hurt anyone's feelings they would understand my intention had nothing to do with the work/stay home issue.  Please understand that was actually the opposite of where I was going, which was trying to affirm our individual decisions.

We all love our kids and are just so grateful for the chances we have to continue to love on them. I am still shaken at what's happened in small town CT and so sad for these families. SO sad. I have written and deleted a post about this because there are no words. All I can think is that this world is broken and I want Jesus to come quickly.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Harris is FIVE!!

Harris, you are a rockstar!! Every time I write you a note in your lunchbox you tell me to write that so I thought you'd want to hear it now.

You are happy. Just plain happy. Nearly all of the time. I asked you if you were happy at your new school and you told me, "I'm always happy."  Every new place you go or new friend you meet you find something to enjoy in the experience. I love that about you. 

You know Jesus. I never understood scriptures about childlike faith until I saw yours grow because it's how we should all be. If you are read something in the Bible then you totally believe it, without question. When you pray, you pray with full expectation that it will be answered. When you don't know what to do, you retreat to your room and "talk to God." People comment all the time on how smart you are and how fast you learn and that's true. But the thing that will take you farthest and make your life worthwhile is what you already know about who Jesus is.

You love to laugh and especially laugh with other people. You are constantly telling jokes and then cracking up. You see things when we're out and think of other people first. Every time you see a Thomas related item you always say, "Walker would love that, let's get it!" You opened up your piggy bank, all on your own, to give money to a fundraiser for another family at your school. You heard about what they needed and wanted to give what you had. What was even better was after I helped you get your money to give you looked at me and said, "Do you want to give some of your money?"

You say funny things without even meaning to. "You're a little bit poking the bear." and "You're making me NERVOUS." are two of my favorites. You love legos. I mean, you really love legos. You are very detail oriented and can knock out those sets faster than I can. When I "help" you, you usually have to correct me. And you're always right. You like to swing as high as you can. You love books. You think it's so funny when I sit down on you and pretend you're not there. When you go to sleep at night you stand up on your bed and fall straight onto your pillow. It always looks like you're going to knock your head off on the headboard but you manage to miss it every time. Hayes adores you. You love to make him laugh and are quick to see what he might need. If I set him down on the floor you are immediately looking around to see what toys you can give him or what you can do to make him happy. You love to hold my hand when we're out and about. You told me, "I like to hold your hand because it makes me feel close to you." We were out of town without your daddy for a few days and you told me, "Our family just doesn't look the same without dad." You've grown up quite a bit the past few months. You've started seeing how high you can jump off the swing. You NEVER would have done that this time last year. You're getting braver and more confident in your abilities.

You are the picture of grace to me because I've never done anything good enough to deserve to be your mom but God gave you to us anyway. You have a very tender heart. It's been precious to see you love Hayes with pure, compassionate, and totally unfiltered emotion. You haven't bought into the lie that that your emotions aren't "manly" and I pray that it stays that way. You wear everything you feel on your sleeve and give love so freely. You greet me every morning like we've been separated for 10 years. There is no better way to start the day :)

Harris, God has an awesome plan for your life. He's given you an innate compassion for others, awesome capacity to love, and the intellect to do whatever you want. I have no idea what you will end up doing with all your talents but I know you're going to use them in amazing ways. It's such a privilege and blessing to be your mom. You bring me joy every single day and my world is so much brighter with you in it. Love you so much, sweet boy!! Happy fifth birthday!

Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him.
Psalm 127:3

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tom rocks

Tom takes the cake for awesomest husband. This weekend he planned and packed for lunch at the park (side note, he had at least 3 large bags so he can never mock my packing again). While at the park he led 5 boys in several races and an obstacle course. Out of the blue he offered to watch my friend's little boy so we could go have some girl time. This meant he put four small kids to bed, voluntarily. The next day, VETERAN'S DAY, he watched the boys while I slogged through another 13.1 and loaded them all up to come get me. Then he took the oldest two to HEB for some much needed grocery shopping. And picked up my favorite dinner on the way home. The best part is he did it all with a sweet attitude and will probably be mortified when he reads this. He is so selfless. Thank you Tom! Love you! I owe you a boys night or three.

Speaking of another 13.1, I'll start with the good. The fun part of it, and the major reason I think I signed up, is that lots of my friends were doing it. These ladies ROCK and it was so fun to see them and cheer them on. What's fun about it was there was a mix of veteran runners and newbies and so much encouragement all the way around. It didn't matter any one's time, everyone was celebrated like they'd just won the thing.  It is the most random story how I came to be a part of this crew but it was clearly divinely orchestrated and I'm so thankful!!

We are all pretty different. We have different backgrounds, different parenting styles, beliefs, etc, and it doesn't matter. There is a underlying respect and support that I haven't experienced before. We could probably figure out world peace if we weren't so pre-occupied sending kids to time out. And we have fun. So. Much. Fun!

Amanda, I know there is a pic out there of you and I and I totally would have posted it. Big hug, so great to come full circle and be at this race with you again!

As for the other part of the story, I am never ever doing the rock and roll marathon again. Never. Ever. (Is anyone else singing the Taylor Swift song?)  It's super organized and very well run. Really, it's not the race's problem. The race is good. The volunteer support is awesome, too. I don't know how many people it takes to put it on but they are troopers!! The problem is definitely on my end. (It's not you, it's me).  I ran 12 minutes slower than I did two weeks ago. I also felt like I'd run 45 miles instead of just 13.1. I guess that's part of the addiction to running....some days feel so fabulous that you just keep doing it despite the rough days. Everyone that reads this is accountable to me next race season not to sign up for this again. Remind me about packet pick up. And parking for the race. And most importantly remind me that running two half marathons in two weeks is for people in better shape that care about pushing past their limits. I am not one of those people. I think I'm more of a once or twice a year half marathoner.

The boys are doing really well. Harris is back to winking quite a bit and Walker is into singing Jingle Bells. Hayes just looks from one to the other because they put on quite a show. Hayes is sort of crawling. An army crawl, I guess. But all he really wants to do is stand up while you hold his toys up at eye level. He doesn't want to sit and play, thank you, that's for babies. Big boys stand and so he does too. Oddly, that same line of thinking hasn't carried over to holding his own bottle. He's totally content to let you do it for him. For such a huge baby, you'd think food would be enough of a priority that he'd figure it out. I mean, these thighs didn't just happen.

Is it possible to look at this picture and not giggle?? I love the milk at the corner of his mouth. If he hadn't been so tired he probably never would have let that little dribble escape.

I'm only able to type this right now because I put the older two down for a nap an hour earlier than normal and neither one of them complained about it. Hopefully they sleep a loooong time. I'm off to tackle the disaster zone that is our entire house. If I have enough energy I might even take down our Halloween decorations.

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
2 Kings 6:15-17

Monday, November 5, 2012


I really like Halloween. Not the scary part but the fun, dressing up and watching your kids get excited part. I love taking them to the pumpkin patch but that didn't happen this year. I think I'm the only one that missed it, though. Here's a Goolsby Halloween retrospective.
Fancy :)

Harris' first Halloween, 2008. He was 10 months old and walking all over the place.

Halloween 2009. Yes, same costume.

Walker at 8 weeks. That doesn't even look like him to me. That is the chubbiest he ever got, I think.

Halloween 2010. Walker had just turned 1, Harris was 2 1/2.

Halloween 2011! They were 3 1/2 and 2. The only pic of Walker is blurry and he's not looking, but did I mention he had just turned two??

There's that dragon costume again. You better believe Hayes will be in it next year. If he fits.....

2012. Love my pumpkins. They are 4, 3, and 8 months.


I need to start getting them dressed about two hours before we actually need to leave the house. I was sweating by the time we got this pic, and we were running way late. Not to worry, there was candy left. Walker hasn't even asked about his candy while Harris has asked about his probably 50 times a day and it usually starts before breakfast. Walker is now on a kick of wearing hats and he's had his eye on Harris' police hat for a few days. Harris guards it with his life. While Harris was in school the other day, this happened.

Walker knew he better enjoy it while he could. Ignore the stain on his shirt, he was eating yogurt in this pic. He wore that shirt the rest of the day. Also, I took Hayes out the other day in a stained sleeper and I didn't even notice till we were headed home. My definition of "getting them ready" has relaxed now that there are three.

In other news, Walker is (mostly) potty trained! Yahoo! I really had no plans to potty train him because the few attempts we made were epic failures but I hit the wall Monday morning. I was just over cloth diapering two kids and he's done awesome!

If anyone is motivated to run a half or full marathon next year, run Chosen. It was the most fun race I've done. It's well organized, big enough to be motivating but small enough to not be a madhouse and the course is beautiful. Best of all, your money goes straight to adoptive familes. What more could you want??

 So, so fun!! Rosey, let's do it again next year!

Tom ran this too but the pics of us are on my phone and not nearby right now. It's hard to take a good pic at o'dark thirty, anyway, so I'll just quit while I'm ahead. I had a lapse in judgement and signed up to run the Rock and Roll half this Sunday. I didn't realize it was a lapse in judgement until I had the worst run ever last Sunday. Here's hoping this Sunday goes better.

Tom and Harris did a 10 mile bike ride this weekend. Harris was SO EXCITED. He rode on a bike that attached to Tom's, so he wasn't solo but he didn't care. He told me his favorite part was the part where you eat. He also told me he wanted to teach the other riders to "raise the roof", but if he took his hands off the handlebars he was afraid he would fall off. That kid is so funny and doesn't even mean to be.

That's it for today.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Heb 4:12

Monday, October 29, 2012


Like the rest of the world, I was horrified to read the reports of the nanny in New York. I can't even type what she did because it's unthinkable. I was even more shaken to realize we have a mutual friend. When it hits closer to home, it's just more shocking. It's personal. I can't stop thinking about this family, yet every time I think too deeply about it, I stop. It's a luxury those outside the tragedy have, to be able to just stop.

The last three miles of the race I did this weekend, my friend and I turned on our music and I was alone with my thoughts for the first time since this happened, so I let my mind dwell there. It makes me sick, sad, and scared. I feel my heart beat faster when I think about it. So I started praying for this family and I didn't even know what to pray. Peace? Strength? They just want their kids. So I prayed for God to remember his promises. He promises to make beauty from ashes, give dancing for mourning, work all things for our good, give new mercies each day. He says his thoughts are higher than our thoughts and our ways aren't his ways. The Psalms say we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. I want to see it. I want THEM to see it.

My prayer is justice for this family; it's God fulfilling his promises in their life. I can't even fathom what that might look like, the heartbreak is so deep and seems so final. But this is the same God I joyfully served yesterday, the same one that has rescued me countless times. He is no less good or sovereign for the tragedies I see. It makes me realize even more that this world is so broken. We weren't made for death and destruction. We were made for Eden. I don't know and will never, this side of heaven, be able to understand why the unthinkable, the unimaginably horrific, happens. For now, I want to weep with those who weep (Rom 8:22) and bear a portion of their burden (Gal 6:2).

When Jesus comes back, he will wipe every tear from every eye and there will be no more sadness (Rev 21:4). I know he waits for others' salvation (2 Pet 3:9) and he will come without delay (Heb 10:37). 

I don't write this to preach; I write it to honor the memories of these children. I write it to affirm to myself who God is and that my faith is intact. I need to write down his promises and remember he told me I wouldn't understand his ways. And I don't. So instead I'm just hanging onto what I know is true.

"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living."
Psalm 27:13

For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.
Isaiah 61:8

Monday, October 22, 2012

As crafty as I'll get

THIS is our pumpkin carving. Thank you, Target, for plastic stick-ins. It's all my boys will ever know.

Alllllll my pumpkins.

They have had haircuts since then. Poor Walker was starting to get 1970's bangs.

In all seriousness, which item is rounder?

More of my peeps.

Don't be fooled by their long sleeves. It's still 80+ here but they had fall pics made this morning and I just didn't want them in shorts and t shirts. Sorry guys. At least you weren't in plaid pants and sweatervests because we all know I'm not above that.

This has just been a random picture dump because things have been the best kind of ordinary lately. I've just had time to hang out with my little ones and marvel at how they're growing.

Doesn't he look 14 here?? A few mintues after I took this picture he walked in the living room and told me, "It's a mess in here." Hahhahahahaha, you know things are bad when your 3 year old is concerned about toy clutter. Notice, there is no picture of that. There was probably one book on the just-vacuumed floor, nothing to see, really.

This one is growing faster than I can handle. I shouldn't be surprised though, look at what it takes to fill him up.

Yes, there are THREE baby food containers there. That's why he's beaming. This sweet thing also learned how to sign for a bottle. It appears that food is a priority for him.

Harris has stayed busy building elaborate creations with these spinning gears. I'm not clear on how they work, actually, but he has it figured out.

These are our days right now and it's been so nice. No rush, no agenda, just hanging out and enjoying each other's company. Of course, there comes a point when we we've had our fill of each other's company and then we sit on the driveway and wait for Tom to come home. Don't pretend like you all haven't been there too.

The Bible study I do (Community Bible Study, thurs mornings, if anyone wants to come!!) has been studying Genesis and it's been so interesting. I saw this quite awhile ago but was really struck again by what all Noah had to go through. It was so interesting to me that God gave him very specific instructions on how to build the ark but then didn't give him explicit information about the rest of the ordeal.

This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high. (Gen 6:15)

Then Noah had to wait around and send out random birds to figure out when it was time to leave the ark. Seriously?? God told him what sort of wood to use and dimensions of everything, but not how long he would have to be there? Surely Noah's family was getting antsy and wanted to know when they could get out. I would be OVER the bird thing, sending it out, waiting around for it to come back, on and on. But it's a promise that God will be a lamp to our feet, not a spotlight, and to supply our needs, not our wants.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus
Phil 4:19

Noah NEEDED to know how to build the ark and only God was able to tell him. While he also needed to know when they could get out, he didn't need to get information directly from God about it. He could wait and it would become obvious. For me, the takeway was that I don't need all the information that I want. Furthermore, I'm not going to get all the information that I want anyways, so I better learn to settle down and wait. Hmph. Noah was probably praising God for sparing his life because the first thing he did when he got out of the ark was build an altar. That is how he used his wait. So am even better takeaway would be to focus on God in the wait, rather than circumstances, and remember what he's done. This is why I love this bible study, because answering pointed questions about scripture is so helpful in noticing these things. I love that the story of Noah has real world application today. This is also why I like blogging because I didn't catch what Noah must have been doing while he was waiting until I started writing about it.

If anyone wants to come with me, it is definitely worth your time!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith
Hebrews 12:1-2

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Thomas and Camping.

Walker's belated birthday present was a trip to see Thomas the train. Someone came up with the genius idea of building a Thomas look-a-like and taking him across the country.

Walker didn't know what to do with himself because there was some sort of Thomas paraphanelia everywhere he looked. He was so excited to see the conductor but then something else caught his eye while I tried to get a picture.

They had little activities to do so you could make a whole morning of it.

The bounce house was train shaped, of course. 
You could take your pic with Thomas but Walker just wanted to stare at him.

By far Walker's favorite thing was handing his ticket to the conductor. He probably handed it to someone 10 times and this VERY nice man would always play along with him. Here he is gearing up to hand his ticket.

Checking out the new whole punches.

I'm pretty sure this was the best day of his life. The actual train ride was pretty funny. You just went backwards for about 10 minutes, then forward to the starting point. They didn't care and I'm not sure they even noticed. They were both glued to the window the entire time.

I'm glad we went to the trouble to do it, because both boys loved it.

My fun friends had an idea to take the older kids camping. This was SO FUN!!! I don't know if the moms or kids had  more fun! We ate and ate and ate while the kids played with sticks
 and ran around. It's just so fun to be out in nature away from any responsibiliies and just relax.

That was our setup. The tent directly above looks like it would be easy to set up. It's not.

We did it up right and roasted marshmallows and even had story time and craft time. Big props to Retta for setting up the tents AND starting the fire AND providing 99% of the vital equipment. It was so fun, can't wait to do it again!

I heard something recently that I think is really applicable to me right now. The speaker was saying that you're going to talk to someone about your unresolved issues, you better talk to the RIGHT someone. You need to take it to God and get it off your chest and if you feel it's appropriate, take it to whoever you think needs to hear, but make a decision. Be intentional. Don't just let the emotions sit idle because they're going to surface. I'm a woman, OF COURSE we want to talk it out. As obvious as it sounds, it really never occurred to me to sit down and think "Who do I need to talk to about this to be done with it?" After I  heard the speaker say that, it still didn't click with me until I found myself in a situation talking to people I shouldn't have been, purely because I had the need to talk it out.  I think I had been content to ignore certain things because there's no action needed by anyone. I'm not angry, nor do I have reason to be. No one owes me an apology or needs to make something right. I just want to be heard, simple as that. Considering I overshare on the internet regularly, I'm sure it doesn't come as a surprise to anyone that I would want to be heard. What was such a shift in thinking for me was that wanting to be heard was valid. That it's ok to just need to have a discussion without any expectation or need of a particular outcome. The discussion IS the desired outcome. That was my relevation for this week and in the spirit of continued oversharing, I wanted to blog about it.

That's all I have. If anyone wants to go camping, please invite me. And be prepared to provide equipment and survival skills.

And I love this scripture beacuse I can't even count the ways I fall short, daily and repeatedly. What good news this is for people like me.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,  and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
Romans 3:23-24