Monday, December 6, 2010

My Monkeys!

Just a few of my favs from the last few weeks:

 Aiden loved watching our first snow out the window.

 Our first snow was just a "dusting," so a quick pic out there didn't require much extra clothing.

 He did not want to take this tie off all morning.

 Thankfully we have 2 of them, so Christopher was able to be in dress code and not take away the fun!

Aiden has been full of giggles and smiles for weeks.

My kitchen helper!

So... What brought you to New Hampshire?

That is a question that we get asked constantly.  Actually, that question always comes after, "Is it hot there?" The short answer to both:  Yes, it's hot, and UNH.

Most of us know that there is more to Texas than its hot.  And there is way more to why we are here than just UNH.  It's true that UNH brought us here, but this is why we knew we were supposed to come:

These 5 "kids" (and Christopher) are the reason we have uprooted everything and moved to frigid New Hampshire. 

It has been very hard, and on days, I have questioned our decision so many times.  Then we met these guys and God reminded me why He brought us here.  Living here means admitting that there are so many people in this area have never even been to a church, let alone heard about Jesus; two things we think everyone does in Texas, even if they don't believe.  But these students are changing that.  They are all leading the fight for Jesus at UNH; changing so many lives as well as our own.

So yes, UNH is how we got here, but not why we came.  By being at UNH, these kids know that Chris' door is always open to talk about school, life, and their spiritual walk; things they may not be able to talk about with their other professors.  They have become a part of our lives. I miss them when we don't see them for awhile, but when they do come, it's a party for the family we haven't seen in awhile. 

There is the long, true answer to why we are here.  Such a small group of people, but still a huge part of our lives. 

A Week's Worth of Thankful...

I know, I am a week behind, but trust me, I have been counting them all.  The one thing that has stuck with me the most. This past week I have been so thankful for the truth of our Lord.  The truth spoken to me, and a group of amazing women, last Wednesday completely changed my week.  I am so grateful for the women in my life that inspire me, that will always hold up the Word of God to me when I am most in need of it, and who make my life so full!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Three more days of being thankful

The last 3 days have been pretty uneventful, which for our family is an event to celebrate in itself.  But still, I have new things to be thankful for.

On Sunday, I was most thankful for a husband who knows when I need help and exactly what type of help I need.  Aiden has been wearing me out lately and in anticipation of a rather rough day, Chris was right there helping me in so many ways.  I am so thankful that he does that, because I know that not all wives are that lucky.

Then comes Monday.  Last night I was thankful for the prayers of our 6 year old.  He has a way of speaking his heart to God so openly and honestly that he is able to put things into perspective for his mommy.

Today, as I am recovering from a yucky tummy bug, I am thankful that Aiden is having a day of being able to entertain himself. While being sick stinks, being able to find joy in my life in spite of it is a huge step forward for this mom.

Thanks for coming along on this journey. I am seeing that it does not have to be some huge mind blowing thing for me to find joy and blessing in it.  I hope you are seeing your blessings as well.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Being Thankful: Days 1 & 2

Being thankful for day 1 was difficult, to put it mildly.  I have said many times that our family motto is "we don't do easy," but for just a little bit I sure would like to!

There are so many of God's truths that I hold onto daily, but for some reason, the truths that I mentioned Thursday have been the hardest for me to grasp hold of and not let slip out of hands. Yesterday was no different. But still, I am able to say I am thankful. Thankful for warnings and for a husband that can make me laugh so hard I cry.  Yep, both of those were huge blessings yesterday!

Today has been much easier up to this point.  I am thankful today for the fact that Christopher is such a wonderful helper around the house and especially with his little brother.  My day is made so much easier by my oldest son. We have told him time and again that God made sure he came first because Aiden would need him, and he has proven that to us many times over.

Thankful in all circumstances? Not yet. But I am a work in progress. God is opening my heart and my eyes to see the joy and blessings around me, another thing I am thankful for!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanks-giv-ing (noun)  1) the act of giving thanks; 2) expressing gratitude

No surprises; today was Thanksgiving Day.  Today is the day that almost all Americans come together somewhere and give thanks. That is what the day is named for, so that is what we are supposed to do. 

But what about the other 364 days of the year? 

Always rejoice, constantly pray, in everything give thanks. For this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

There it is... my calling is to give thanks in everything.   God does not say "give thanks because it is November and we have this holiday", but give thanks because that is His will for our lives.

I'll be honest, I have not been doing a whole lot of giving thanks for everything.  What I have been doing is a whole lot of grumbling and worrying about, well, about pretty much everything.  I wake up with worry in my heart, go through my day worrying and back in bed still with that same worry. Yet I know that my Savior has already taken care of it all.

So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’  For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom  and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.  Mathew 6:31-34

There it is - proof that it is being handled. My heart knows this, but my brain is lagging a bit.   Its time to change that! I know, I know, it is not that simple to just give up worry and start giving thanks always.  But can't it be?  For those of us who live in Christ, can't it be that simple if we just let it?  
So here at the close of Thanksgiving day, I am challenging myself, and my family, to start seeing all that we have to be thankful for.  Not just today, or during the Christmas season, but everyday to name at least one thing, which I am sure will remind us of so many more reasons to be thankful for as well.  
 Anyone else up for the challenge?

I'll start:  

Today I am so thankful that my family loves spending time together.  Today we cooked together, ate together and played together.  The 3 guys in my home are a huge blessing in every way and I don't want to lose sight of that when Thanksgiving is over. 

I hope everyone had a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving day with their own families, and I challenge you to 365 days of thankfulness!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

14 Months - a few days late

That kiddo right there is now 14 months old!

Yep, 14 months and all over the place.  Most days he is a super smiley guy, full of laughs, kisses and hugs.  He loves to play and run around the house after his brother, whom he is always just 2 steps behind.  Many days you will find he and I sitting down, reading books if we aren't running errands.  It is the same books over and over, but they make him so happy. He will bring them to me and sign "please" so that I will sit and read them.  That is when he is happiest.

Aside from loving books, he loves to play peek-a-boo and hide and seek, especially with his daddy. Chris will take him upstairs while I am making dinner and the two of them play so hard that I can hear the laughs even with the door closed! 

He is quickly learning about his world. In the last month he has learned to say "Daddy" (which is used for both Daddy and his bubba), "doggie", "mamama," and "sock". Even when he can't say a word, he can communicate it very well.  There are many delighted squeals when I ask him if he wants breakfast, lunch, or a snack. Pretty much anything to do with food, and this kid is right there.

Like his brother, Aiden is a super friendly guy.  He is always tilting his head sideways and smiling, as if you are sharing a secret with him.  And as we go through the grocery store he says "hi" to everyone we walk by, sometimes 3 or 4 times until they say "hi" back.  Persistent does not even begin to describe it.

He has also become a great alarm clock. Every morning he knows when it is time to go upstairs to wake up his brother and daddy. He goes to each of them in bed, pats their faces and says their names until they wake up.  He gets so excited to do this every day and if we don't do it on time, he lets me know about it.

He has been so much fun and joyful as we watch his personality develop these past few months.

One last picture.  The P & F transformation on Halloween.  He did not like spraying his hair green! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Christopher's New Smile

Finally, Christopher has lost his first tooth!  We have watched that tooth, messed with it, wiggled it, all to learn that it would only take a wrestling match with dad to change our son's smile to this!

One down; 31 to go!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Year 2, Day 1

The first day of Aiden's 2nd year was not as exciting as year 1, day 1, but special none the less.

Took a walk with Daddy, while Bubba played soccer. 

Hung out with Nana

He is officially hooked on honeycrisp apples!

Bring on the cake.  This is the nice, clean, before shot.

After the destruction. 

All cleaned up and ready for dinner.

We had so many wonderful friends join us to celebrate his first birthday (and even family via Skype).  We love all of you and are so blessed to have you in our lives.

Thanks for making year one so memorable.  Get ready for year 2!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Monkey Boy!

The plans were made, the cake has been eaten and we are now officially at the end of year one. 


At the end of one year, I am so thankful that you are a part of our family; a blessing that I prayed for so long.  So much personality and love in such a small person; it truly amazes me.  Every day is filled with laughter; you are one of the happiest babies.  Your constant chatter makes us all smile as we try to figure out what it is you are saying to us.  Smiles, hugs, chatter and laughing. 

Not to say you don't have your temper as well. Unfortunately you have inherited my temper; quick and hot. But thankfully we only see that when it comes to food time.  That's right, over the last few months you have found your appetite, and there aren't many foods that you don't love.  Many times, I can't feed you fast enough.  It is at these times that your monster comes out, but is so quickly abated by food. 

I love that you have so much love for your brother. Now that he is back in school, you are constantly looking for him. It always makes you so happy to see him in the afternoons. You two are playing constantly and love each other so much. He is always looking out for you and there is nothing he wouldn't do for you. I pray that you remember that as you two grow older and don't always get along.

I have so many prayers for you, sweet boy. So much of who you are already, is who I pray you will remain. Happy, loving, caring... all things I pray you never lose. Thank you for adding so much joy to our family in your own way. 

We love you, punkin boy, and thank God for you each day.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

My camera is fixed!

So that means you get loads of pictures today. I have been snapping away since getting it back and have tried not to miss a moment!
Our first attempt at feeding himself. The spoon was optional, of course.

 The nightly wrestling match.   Aiden usually wins.

Not Reveille, but still cool enough for a 6 year old.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Random August Pics

We have had a jam packed, busy summer. Much of August was without pictures since my camera was busted (never thought I would have a store warranty that was worth the money. thanks Geek Squad!), but I do still have a few good pics of our adventures. 

Aiden and Daddy reading Aiden's favorite book

The Freedom Trail wore him out!

Brynn & Christopher having fun down by the USS Constitution

 Learning about lobstering in Maine was interesting; made mom a little sea sick, but he got to play with the lobsters. Too cool!

One of our favorite destinations this summer was the Castle in the Clouds.  The view was absolutely amazing!

It was a cold, cloudy day at the beach, but he and Grammie still tried their hand at making a sandcastle.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

First day of 1st Grade

There he is! My 1st grader! 


Today you started 1st grade. Real school.  I am so proud of you today, and everyday, as I watch God grow you into a wonderful young man. I pray that this year brings you so much learning, joy and happiness.  I pray that the Lord will continue to hold onto your heart and mind as you are bombarded by the world, away from the shelter of our home and my arms. 

Thank you for having so much love and joy.  My day time will be so vastly different without your smiling face constantly there to cheer me up, or to love me even when I feel too busy to stop and be loved. Thank you for being such a wonderful big brother and being a great example for Aiden.  I pray that you continue to use those skills in your classroom and that God reveals to you how your wonderful gifts of love and leadership can be used by Him. 

I love you, sweet boy, and can't wait to hear about your first day.  I am blessed to call you son and I am so proud of you and all you do!
Love, Mommy

Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, My Love!

There are so many reasons that you make me smile and love you each day.  We have grown up together these last 12 years, and when I think back to how much we have changed, I am so thankful for God's grace, love and faith, which has guided us and brought us through to where we are now.

Thank you for always being my voice of reason, for being calm when I go into Tasmanian Devil mode, for loving me despite my weird, crazy self. 

Thank you for being a wonderful father and role model to our two beautiful boys (thanks for those boys, too!).  I am thankful for the man and father you are, and the love, patience and kindness you show us each day.

Thank you for being silly and playful even when I am not.

Thank you for showing me that not everything is as big of a deal as I think it is and for reminding me that God is always in control, so I don't have to be. 

I pray that we continue to grow together in God's Word, and His Love. I pray that God continues to grow me and teach me and show me how I can continue to help you, love you and pray for you. I love you!  Happy birthday!

One Whole Year

One year ago today, my family and I saw the sign that had been looming before us for over 6 months. 

Seeing that sign back then brought so much joy, fear, and uncertainty.  How could we have just leave what we had known for so long?  We knew what to expect "back home".  If anything happened, we had the list of who to call, in what order, and which of our family could get to us the fastest. This sign meant all of that was no longer an option.  This sign meant that we now had only 3 3/4 humans to rely on, hug on, cry with, laugh with, and "live" with. 

Remembering all of those feelings that rolled around inside me as we crossed the state line that afternoon makes me almost laugh at where we were and where we are now.

When Chris first told me he had been hired at UNH, I was so excited and the thought of no more 106 degree summer days made me jump for joy.  But as the school year ended and the packing got into full swing, I started taking stock of all we "had" in College Station and I had made up my mind that it wasn't really happening after all.  In my head, at some point, someone would come up to us and tell us we had passed God's test, had shown that we were willing to follow His desires for us, and we could unpack and get ready to welcome our new baby in Texas.  Even up to the day of pulling out of College Station, I just knew that was what would happen.  I kept waiting for that "well done" message to show up via email, text, or even from one of our trusted friends. Did. Not. Happen.

Fast forward one year and now I see that moving was the best thing that could have happened to our family.  We knew nothing about New England and very little about ourselves or our faith when we pulled into Barrington last year. 

I could spend so much time and internet space recalling what has happened over the last year. The Good, the Bad and most definitely the Ugly.  But instead I want to say this.  God is Good. God is Faithful. His Sovereignty is amazing to say the least.  He has taught us, grown us, disciplined us and loved us even when our (my) faith was so small.  I am thankful for our new life and the challenges we have faced. I don't know how long we will be here, or what happens next, but I just keep repeating to myself that He is sovereign and always faithful.  Remembering that is the hardest part, but it is the truth that will never cease, no matter where He make take us.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Day Trippin' in the Mountains!

Yesterday I turned into my grandparents!

Now, don't freak out, but I was a little shocked myself.  When I was younger, they would want to go on these long drives, heading down the most random roads we'd come upon just to see what was down there. I never thought that would be me, but yesterday it happened. The biggest difference was that with fancy GPS and plenty of tourist maps, we knew where we would end up and what to expect when we got there. Did that diminish the experience, not at all.  In fact, I loved it, and so did the rest of the Harrist posse.

To start with, we went up to Crawford Notch in the White Mountains.  I LOVE mountains!  They are so beautiful, covered with green trees and kissing the clouds.  I just sat in awe of them as we drove. 

While Chris did his intern visit, Christopher, Aiden and I headed down the mountains in search of waterfalls and ponds.  Both of which we found.  I love that Christopher is so easy to make happy - put him outside, with water and animals and this kid is lovin' life.  Aiden loved all the fresh air too, and even without near enough nap time he was a trooper and Mr. Smiley the whole time.

Getting ready to feed the ducks at Willey Pond.

And there they all are, fighting each other like no one  feeds them all day long!

Mr. Smiley

Feeding takes a lot out of a boy. Must take a break.

After Chris was done with work, it was on to the neatest little town with the best tourist attraction (just ask any kid).  We went to the town of Littleton, home to Chutter's candy shop. While being a candy shop alone makes it any kids happy place, this particular shop is home to the World's Largest Candy Counter.  At 112', there was so much candy I could just hear the hyperactivity building in anticipation.

One happy boy.

Before heading home we took one more detour, heading down to Bath to see one of the many covered bridges that are still standing in NH.

Taking one last break at the Bath Country store, built in 1790, before heading home.

New adventures await tomorrow. Must rest now.