ALYSSA, KEENAN and DARIEN

ALYSSA, KEENAN and DARIEN
FAMILY MEMORIES

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Free Trip To Disney!

Mickey and Family!

Brothers...they are sweet together now...

Darien with his buddy Noah on the tram ride in!

We have a super awesome friend and neighbor who was able to get us into Disney on Thursday for FREE! AJ and Don didn't come because they went to Magic Mountain together this summer for her birthday but the boys and I had a ton of fun! Darien's favorite things were the Carousel, The Buzz Lightyear ride, The Nemo Ride, seeing Mickey Mouse and watching the parade! Keenan loved Buzz Lightyear and the Teacups, Small World and seeing Mickey too! He was really happy to see Darien enjoy the experience too. There were a lot of tears on the car ride to Disney because Darien broke Keenan's favorite Silly Band and then tears again when Keenan didn't get chosen for the Jedi training camp this time...but he was chosen twice already. Anyway, not a ton of pic's from the day because we were just trying to get it all in. A fun day and many thanks to ALICIA and NOAH for keeping us company! We love you guys!

Something Funny!

Harvest Time Cupcakes!


The kids and I had a lot of fun making these cupcakes together but AJ and I really did the bulk of the decorating late into the night! We were making them for a bake sale for MOPS and the Pre-school but there were so many baked goods donated that we were able to bring most of them back home...thus the extra five pounds around my waist! Anyway... so much fun to take the time to do this with my girl! She and I felt like we were on Cupcake Wars--the bake off show on The Food Network! We make a good team!

Friday, October 22, 2010

First Day of School




Even Sugarfoot the Bunny, Livvy (our dear friend, neighbor and fellow schoolmate) and a sand box couldn't keep Darien happy enough to stay in pre-school. We'll try again in January, but my sweet boy just isn't quite ready to leave his momma's side yet!


AJ had a good first day of school in spite of not having her closest friends in class or the most coveted teacher! She loves having our neighbor braid her hair...I know, I need to get with and learn to French Braid!


Keenan has a wonderful teacher and although he looks too cool for school, he did have a few
hard moments letting me leave, not the first weeks but like the third week when he realized this whole going 5 days a week thing was not temporary!

So... alas another school year has begun and I still do not have an empty house in the morning to clean or be lonely in...but Darien and I have many goals to read every library book there is and see every Dora and Diego episode ever made! AJ will continue to pursue her studies as Keenan still has another year or so to have nearly endless playtime---Lord help me fill it wisely!

Fall Family Fun!





I know it's been a while. Here are some fun pics of the kids at the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival.

This was our first year...we've always wanted to go but it's been so hot in years past! Anyway, the kids had loads of fun riding rides and ooohing and ahhing over the huge pumpkins!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Backtracking...

Well, I know it's been way too long since I have blogged, but it is that need to be thorough and comprehensive that compels me to be be complete in backtracking this year's milestones, memories and "ah Ha" moments!

So, bear with me as I travel a few months back to December 31st, Darien's 2nd Birthday! It was over two years ago now that we had been so caught up in the debate of the timing of his induction but arrived on New Year's Eve Day at the hospital hoping to have the last baby of 2007 at our hospital...and we did! I just couldn't help sharing the one good photo of me right before I had them turn down the epidural so I could feel to push (not the brightest of my ideas). Anyhow, what a whirlwind two years we have had with this surprise blessing from God. Darien's name means "upholder of the good" and let me tell you that in the midst of Don's degree, his joy and wonderful affection, has upheld the good in our family. He is a such a fun boy and is so attached, that the photo below of the two of us, exemplifies our last two years together...securely attached and bonded for life! He loves to be loved-no doubt his love language is physical touch! This year to celebrate Darien's bday, Don and I were offered two free tickets two Disneyland back in November and so we took Darien one day while the Christmas decorations were up but before the mass chaos of the holidays ensued. Both Alyssa and Keenan went on their bdays so it was an amazing blessing to have been afforded the opportunity to take Darien alone and spend the day just celebrating him...albeit a little early but it was a neat time for us after the crazy weekend we had spent moving within our complex. So, needlesstosay, this year was the last year that we won't have a big party for him. At one, we merely celebrated with Don's parents who were here. This year, we had our other family over to celebrate turning 2. The Bailey's have a girl close to AJ's age, a boy just a year older than Keenan and a little one, just three months younger than Darien. So a party with them and our family in our small place is just about the largest one we can have! We loved being with them! The girls watched a movie, the boys played, we all ate cake and Darien was super happy to be the center of the day! So, we ended the year with our baby turning 2 and a prayer for a year of blessings to heal the year of challenges we faced with lots of issues with cars, accidents and mishaps! And trust me, so far, we have lots to share about the blessings that have come our way each month of 2010. So, stay tuned for more posts about how our family is learning and growing in faith each day!

Taken in the last moments of 2009, Happy 2nd Birthday, Darien! 2 years ago, the look of an expectant mother expecting another contraction!
Spider boy and his momma! (Taken by Keenan)


Darien, last year, turning 1!


My last baby...how the time flies!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Our Christmas Letter!

Three Trick or Treaters! Anakin, Dr. Lawrence, and Boy Wonder!
Merry Christmas, Darien!
Well, it's hard to believe that this year has again flown by the way our folks always said they would with little ones. The days are long and the years too short. I am amazed at God's goodness and feel so blessed with our three healthy and beautiful children! The year has been filled with homework and playdates and a baby that nursed almost a year longer than my plan. God has certainly been at work allowing me the many challenges of parenting and yet the many joys of being a friend and finding that as one of the greatest ministries I could ever chose for myself. We are endlessly training our children to fight against feeling entitled to things that others in this community have and we work diligently to create a life that reflects inner peace.

AJ has taken a preference to being called Alyssa in school these last two years and yet to our friends,' the Bailey family where each member has a "J" names (Jesse, Jennifer...etc), she is "JAEL" only! So, as in keeping with the Lawrence traditions, our daughter has a dozen little names...as do the boys! Anyway, AJ has read over 80 chapter books in this past year, 50 of them in just the past 2.5 months! She continues to dance with Daughters of Destiny at our church and performed a lovely number as a angel to the song "Who Could Imagine a King", sung by Whitney Houston on The Preacher's Wife soundtrack. She enjoys playdates with friends and neighbors. She had a tremendously fun summer at the pool again! She delights us with her desire to learn more about God (loves to be read to from her Study Bible) and she is working hard to remember daily chores and what it means to contribute to helping around the house. She always looks for opportunities to bless me by cleaning up when not asked. She loves her new room and is excellent at keeping it very tidy!

Keenan-- oh Keenan...the little bundle of joy that has grown into such a big boy! He still melts my heart every time I gaze into those big blue eyes. He drives me crazy most days, but thank GOD that he is just so charming! He struggles to get along with Darien most days but the love between them is evident even so. He loves school...and the same little girl since first day of school last year Amanda! He loves Super Hero shows...all of them...The Batman, Batman Brave and the Bold, Superhero Squad, The X-men, GI Joe, and Transformers! If ever there was a #1 superhero fan, it is our boy Keenan! He has this precious little blue baby blanket that is super soft that he loves to pretend is his Batman cape! Accompanying his cape obsession, is his love of making pretend weapons--you can find him sporting some kind of plastic utensil he has fashioned as a sword or, of course, his famed light sabres. Darien and Alyssa play along with him too. Could we have afforded all the costumes, we would have made a stunning Stars Wars clan at Halloween. As it was, Keenan was the handsomest little Anakin Skywalker out there! Just can't say enough about how blessed we are with him...just hope we can make it through the year of FOUR....aka- the year of establishing BOUNDARIES...cause man he likes to push us!

Darien, our sweet, almost 2-year old won't let momma out of his sights without a pretty big fuss. God just knew I needed one more doting boy to fill my little love tank. Church and getting out as a couple are difficult tasks for us right now because of Darien's needs but we know he will be able to work through what I title as Intense Separation Anxiety soon...(please Lord, soon!) Needless to say, Darien keeps us busy. So what if our home is not as clean as it once was. One of these days, everyone will be in school and I can take up my obsessive cleaning habits again. For now, we obsess over Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Special Agent Oso, playdates with his many friends and the book Llama lama red pajama...which at one point I think I read to him 20 times in one day! Age appropriate toys are a thing of the past. Light sabres and golf clubs are the toys of choice. We are all lucky if we don't get out foreheads bashed in at least once a day before I confiscate the toys I thought I had hidden well enough! Had to go with this blog background because he is obsessed with Santa right now and is so funny when he imitates "HO, HO, HO!" I will have to get a video of that to post soon!

So, what have Don and I been up to? Well, a client here and there for me-more would be nice, but just not always enough hours in the day. My work is always rewarding and fulfilling when I get an opportunity and I am thankful the God sends me such wonderful folks to work with. I am still involved in a playgroup for Darien and participate in some MOPS events as well. I have lots of great friends out here but just never the time to really get the amount of girls night out time I would really like. And Don...well, he's the Super Employee, Teacher, Student (still plugging away at the Doctoral Program), Husband and Father of the year. Don't really know how he does it all but we are making efforts to strike a balance of some sort. I imagine right when we finally feel that we have a handle on it, something else will be added or changed! Blessed are the Adapatable is the new Beattitude in our home--because we have surely done our fair share of major changes, moves, and tranisitions in our almost ten years of marriage! That's right, this May 27, 2010...we will reach our 10 year Anniversary mark! Thanks to those who have prayed us thru the "for better, or for worse!"

OK, so I know I have taken enough of your time, but I came across this Christmas Devotional by oneof my favorite spiritual leaders. I'd like to end close our letter with some insight from his book, Follow the Star.

I found it interesting to think about the Bethlehem star in this way as Jakes puts so eloquently. He recounts a story of when he was a small boy in his mother's Kindergarten class and he asked why God made stars and she wisely replied that "He knew it would get dark sometimes and when it did, you would need a night-light."

There have been too many times in life when I have needed a night-light and though real stars may not have five points (like the ones we help our children draw and put atop our tree) these five names in the scripture below have helped me see the light on a dark night.

The Bethlehem star can point us to these five names describing Jesus in Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

"I hope you'll take a moment this Christmas to gaze upon Jesus and let yourself be filled with wonder. I hope you'll seek the advice of the Counselor and experience the power of the Mighty God. I hope you'll know Him intimately as your Everlasting Father and that His reign of Peace will rest upon you and your household this holiday season. If it gets dark at any time throughout the coming year, remember that God always turns the night-light for His children!"
Yes, Darien looks like Keenan but he looks like his Daddy so much too!
AJ's first day of 3rd grade with an attempt at straight hair on a way too hot August day!
Keenan's first day of preschool...year #2
Chillaxing...as AJ calls it!