Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Her Heart...

As usual I was hurrying as the guy approached us in the Target parking lot. Meron was in the car and I was busy trying to get Mebrate strapped in. He approached quietly with his wife and two young kids.

"This is really hard for me to ask... but we got evicted and I have nowhere to stay tonight. Could you help us out with $20 towards a hotel?"
He seemed legit and humble and... well... cold. And there I stood, in our plastic credit card society, with ABSOLUTELY NO CASH on me.

I thought about how the girls and I were supposed to be heading home to hang lights outside and I said "Man - I honestly have no cash on me." I pulled my wallet out to look (mostly as a gesture of "see, I really don't") and said "I am so sorry man."

"Thanks anyways..." he said and he and his cold little family headed off. I pocketed my wallet and spun around to tighen up Mebrate and saw Meron staring at me. She hadn't buckled in. Instead she had sat staring and listening. And she was clearly upset.
"Daddy... do they not have a house for tonight?"
"I don't think so baby. Get buckled in honey - we gotta get going..."
"But daddy... what will they do? We need to give them money. Can't they go to a friend's house?
"I guess not girl. I wish I had some money to give them..."
"But daddy... we have to..."
She was getting to me. I felt that tug in my heart. I paused... I think I actually sighed... I knew what we were about to do. I pulled the girls back out the car and headed towards the ATM in the Target lobby. When I told her what we were going to get her response was:
"But I meant I wanted to give him money from my piggy bank..."
Trying not to cry in the Target lobby over the ginormous size of my girl's heart, I pulled $40 out and gave each girl a $20. We caught back up with the family and I said "Hey man... my girls were so upset over you guys not having a warm place tonight. We pulled a few bucks out of the ATM for ya..."

Meron and Mebrate handed over the 2 $20's and the look on his face said it all. Confused joy I think sums it up.

We didn't hang around long - just long enough for them to tell us their son's names and what they meant. One name meant "Messenger of God" and the other one meant "Light." Then they asked the girls their names and what they meant.

The girls got all shy so I said "Meron's name means "Gift From God" and Mebrate's means "Light."

Heading back to the car it hit me... 2 girls. 2 boys. 4 names. Same meanings. Nothing but small circumstances separating us all.

We piled back in the Xterra and I called Laura on the way home. Through tears I bragged on the size of our big girl's heart while sharing the story with her mommy.

We still got the lights hung. Thanks God for that huge blessing tonight.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spoiled By The Aunts

My sisters and the cousins don't get to see the girls as much as we'd all like to. So what did they do? They went all out and threw a sweet joint birthday party for our M&M's out in Conway, Arkansas!

There was cake that the girls were ITCHING to dive into...

There were boas and crowns for our princesses!

There was anticipation...

There was some serious singing!

There was pin the tail on the donkey (a big hit!)

There was an incredibly cool group of cousins who love each other...

And there was an incredibly goofy group of cousins who love each other!

Then it was time to open some cards and gifts!

And we had two super happy and grateful girls on our hands.

Mebrate's hug and sweet "Thank you, Meron..." when she opened her gift from her sister was priceless...

And then it was time to play!

Stacy and Wendy and everybody else - thank you so much for making memories these girls are sure to not forget any time soon!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ba Rum Bum Bum Bum

Yep. It was time to get jolly. And they did not disappoint...

Next stop - SANTA CLAUSE!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Team Loyalty

The girls and their cousins got to show off some of their team loyalty...

Too bad none of them really had much to brag about this year!

That's okay though - Mebrate still tipped her hat like we won the world series!

Good thing blood is thicker than sports alliance - well - at least in the off-season!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Staying Young

We finally made it home tonight after a 10.5 hour road trip through torrential rain. But it was worth every second of it - cuz we got to hang with this crew right here... and we loved every minute of it.

I am thoroughly convinced hanging with kids keeps us young. Matthew 18:3 says:

"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
That's a no-brainer for me. I wanna be just like these guys. Joyful. Happy. Funny. Loving. Caring.

I'm in.

Oh and then there was this guy. Cooper - the new addition to the family.

Here he is sleeping nose to nose with Will.

I'm telling ya Cooper - once they potty-train ya you are coming to GA for an extended visit - okay???

Thanks guys for an awesome visit and helping us stay young!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Jumping Cousins

All the cousins headed out to a local jumpy place for some non-stop fun this afternoon. Well almost all the cousins...

Poor Ansley was stuck at the house with her nose in her chemistry book... UGH!!!

A TON of FUN was had but we MISSED YOU a bunch ANSLEY!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

The Thankful Fours...

We were blessed this year to be able to spend Thanksgiving with some of our favorite people. Lots of kids, lots of food, lots of fun. Chaotic but blessed. My younger sister is a librarian and she brought a cool activity that she does at her library with the kids... cut-out 4's that we all got to write the things we were thankful for on. I loved it.

It got us all thinking about the things - big and small - that we were thankful for. The more I wrote the more I realized just HOW MUCH we have to be thankful for...

Mommy worked with Meron to get her thoughts down and I got to work with Mebrate.

Both the girls said "JESUS" as one of the first things they were thankful for. I LOVE LOVE LOVE their hearts. When I pressed Mebrate for more things she was thankful for she said:

"More Jesus..."
I love it. Me too Mebrate, me too!

The girls loved the exercise... I think we all did. It helped keep us focused on the right stuff.

Thanks Aunt Wendy for a super cool activity and one we'll keep doing every year (and hopefully giving thanks every DAY)...


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Mebrate!

Our little girl turned 3 years old today! What a joyous day we had (details to come) - and a FAR CRY from last years birthday for her.

Sure there were gifts and cake and games and fun. And we LOVED it all... but this right here - this love from her big sis - this just made the day beautiful.

Happy Birthday Mebrate - we love you girl and are looking forward to a TON of birthday celebrations with you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our Sassy Lil' Artist

Meron went to a really cool birthday party over the weekend where they got to go to an art studio and paint a picture - and she came home with this little masterpiece...

I LOVE IT! She is kinda hard on herself sometimes as she told me:

"Daddy... I was the only one who couldn't stay inside all the lines..."
I said "Girl - one day - you'll appreciate the abstractness of this bad boy!"

Keep being your own self Meron - inside OR outside the lines!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Lest She Forget

Mebrate decided to rock a strategically placed name tag sticker - lest she forget who she is...

It should read "100% Goofball." Cuz that's what she is...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

For This Child...

Today we had the awesome privilege of standing on stage in front our church body and making a commitment to pray for Mebrate and to raise her up to know God.

I was so proud of both girls as we stood on that stage looking at the pictures being projected on the big screen. But honestly - I was more in awe of God. Watching their stories in pictures just shows me again and again and again how much God cares about the redemption of his children.

Check out the letter we wrote to Mebrate below. Laura recorded it and it was played while pictures of her rotated out on the JumboTron.

Mebrate - we love you girl and cannot WAIT to see what God has in store for your beautiful life!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Million Dollar Smile

Meron can flash one of the prettiest smiles I have ever seen...

The pearly whites just grab ya!

And the beauty in it just keeps me staring....

But hey - it's hard not to smile when you're snuggling with such a cutie...

Ain't that right Averie??

Friday, November 18, 2011

Passing The Torch

So - the time has come. We knew it would happen some time - just weren't ready for it. But it happened this week.

Meron slid on her yellow Beastie Boys shirt that some great friends of ours bought us before she was even home and it Just. Didn't. Fit.


It was a tough moment. We all wept. But then we figured out how to make it live on... get that bad boy on Mebrate STAT!

The occasion called for some dancing. Some celebrating. Some getting funky. Some shaking of our rumps.

Do not miss Mebrate's bboy stance she threw in the mix at 21 seconds. All on her own. I am pretty sure I shed a silent tear of happiness. And Meron's nutty face at 57 seconds had Mebrate laughing til she cried today.

Our girl was SUPER PROUD of her new gear. Keep on rockin' it Mebrate! And no matter what Meron says - that is NOT daddy on the front!

Don't worry Meron... daddy is already surfing the web to find ya your next shirt!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Better Than Breakfast

This is what I got to see before heading out the door to work yesterday. Seriously... and the hugs that followed were pretty good too. Who needs breakfast?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thug Life

Meron was showing off her new tat and decided to go the thug route...
And of course O.G. Mebrate wasn't far behind her...

I checked both of their stomachs for any hint of a "THUG LIFE" tattoo but I didn't see any.

Truth be told... it's all an act. These guys are some studio gangstas. All bark, no bite.

Matter of fact - this is how their faces usually look...

Keep keepin' it real girls. Keep keeping it real...