Friday, May 30, 2008


Taylor’s Grandaddy passed away today. He was such a good man who had accomplished much in his life. I’m sad my kids didn’t know him better since he lived in Louisiana, but I’m thankful for the part he plays in their history. When you get married your husband’s family is just that – your husband’s family. It takes a while for them to become your family. But once I had kids I saw Taylor’s rather large family (he has 14 cousins!) as part of my kids’ history. Grandaddy is such a huge part of that history that they will always carry with them, even if they aren’t ever aware of it. He brought Taylor’s mother up in love – his love and the love of God. Without that, Taylor’s mom would not have been the mother she was to him and Taylor would not be the father he is to my kids. I am so thankful for that legacy. His legacy has made it easy for the grace of Christ to be part of our everyday lives. Grandaddy, you will be missed! Thank you for who you were!
Grandaddy and Sophie at his 80th birthday party
Grandaddy and John Curtis last Christmas
Fun with Grandaddy!

By now you all know Andrew Peterson is my favorite artist. When I was thinking about Grandaddy’s legacy today I had to pull out his first CD and listen to the song All the Way Home. Part of it says:

All the way home
They followed the tracks that the saints have trod
By the grace of God
They walked in the rain of His mercy
Let it soak them down to the bone
And they splashed in its puddles
And danced in its streams as they’d go
And, oh, they walked in the rain of His mercy

When they sat in their home
When they walked along the road
When they slept and when they rose
The words of the Lord were impressed upon their minds
And after all this time
I’m carried along like a leaf on a river of faith
And I’ll float

All the way home
Yes, I’ll follow the tracks that the saints have trod
By the grace of God
I’ll walk in the rain of His mercy
Let it soak me down to the bone
And I’ll splash in its puddles
And dance in its streams as I go
And, oh, I’ll walk in the rain of Your mercy
All the way home

We Are Crafty!

Sophie is SO excited about our upcoming beach trip. When we went to the library this week she only wanted to check out books about the beach or the ocean. One that she found was a book about how to make ocean crafts. Of course we had to make some. She colored sea horses and attached them to pipe cleaners for their tails, then wrapped their tails around more pipe cleaners that are supposed to be the coral they attach themselves to so they don’t float away. Then we painted Styrofoam balls and stuck toothpicks in them to be sea urchins. I’m sure she’ll be disappointed when she doesn’t see any of these things at the beach. Then today I had my beads out and was making bracelets for some gifts. I usually do this after the kids are in bed, but I was running short on time. To keep Sophie occupied, I let her make her own necklace and bracelet. She picked out an interesting assortment of beads, but she strung them all by herself. She sat there working on them for two hours! She was quite proud of herself and showed them all off at a dinner we went to tonight. We aren’t usually this crafty at the Sandlin house, but we have to fill these long hot summer days!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Backyard Makeover

My poor sweet husband thought he was going to have a relaxing and restful weekend. We had nothing planned and had 2 days of free time in front of us. And then I got a new magazine in the mail (thanks Carol). Family Fun magazine had a picture in it of a mom who had painted a section of her fence with chalkboard paint. What a great idea! I wanted a chalkboard in my backyard, too. So on Friday I told Taylor that is what I wanted to do. It wouldn't be much work, just painting a section of the fence. Well, maybe a little work since our fence is too old and rough to paint on. So we bought a large piece of ply wood and painted it instead. Taylor nailed it to the fence and I had my chalkboard. Only then I thought the kids needed a little area to stand on. Thanks to the crazy landscaping we had in our backyard when we moved in we have bricks and stepping stones and paving stones galore. It wouldn't be much work to make a little brick platform even if it is close to 100 degrees outside. So we made my platform. But how cute it would be if I put the kids' little umbrella table out there and made it look like a little cafe. Too bad the bricks were way too uneven and the chairs kept falling over. No worries! Taylor had a section by the fenced off storage area where there are some flat paving stones. He had worked really hard on getting it all level last year so it wouldn't be muddy there, but he didn't even complain when I suggested adding them to the platform as a more stable area to put the table and chairs. So we moved the stones and it worked out great. But I wasn't finished yet. I wanted lights! The fact that our kids go to bed at 8:00 and are not awake after dark in the summer was irrelevant. Originally I wanted party lights even though it would be hard to run an extension cord out there. Lucky for Taylor we found the cutest colorful lanterns at Bed, Bath, and Beyond that are battery operated. So he got the ladder out and hung them in the tree. They are so cute, I think I'm going to get some more to hang on the porch. Don't put that ladder up, Taylor! I added some stars I found in a closet to the ground covering and now we have a festive backyard. Taylor was such a good sport. It actually worked out well because during all our brick laying we moved the kids' playhouse and Taylor found a black widow hanging out in there (which is now in a jar in the freezer). So if I hadn't suggested the project we wouldn't have moved the house and found the spider which could then bite our children, the results of which I can't even think about. So one way to look at it is that my little "project" saved our kids' lives. That's what I told Taylor anyway!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Whrilwind Week in Waco and Weatherford

Wow! Our family has had a very full week visiting family and catching up with friends we haven't seen in a while. On Friday morning we drove to Waco. Taylor had to be there for a lunch for the Truett graduates and I couldn't miss the chance to see friends in the area. While Taylor was at his lunch, the kids and I met my friend Erinn and her daughter Rachel at Chic-Fil-A. I met Erinn when Taylor was pastoring in Marlin. She was my lifeline for social interaction at that time and we spent many hours talking during those months while our girls played together. It was so fun to see her again!When Taylor finished his lunch he met us at the Waco Zoo. It was such a fun family time. The kids loved seeing all the animals and John Curtis wanted to jump right in the cages with them. I love times when it is just the four of us together doing fun things. Great memories!

We left the zoo and went to Jeni and Patrick Adair's house for the night. We met Jeni and Patrick during our first year in Waco. Patrick and Taylor were in seminary together and they ran into each other at a Switchfoot concert at Baylor. They introduced Jeni and me to each other there and we have been good friends ever since. Jeni and Patrick are the type of friends that you can talk to for hours, even when you haven't see each other in a while, and we did after the kids were in bed. The kids loved playing with their two dogs and John Curtis terrorized the cat. Sophie helped Jeni cook on Saturday morning. They have a beautiful home and we really enjoyed our visit with our sweet friends.
Taylor had to drive back to San Angelo Saturday morning for a funeral, but the kids and I drove to Marlin to visit some dear friends from our church there. We intended to see more of our church friends while we were there, but once Taylor realized he wouldn't be able to come with me, I decided to cut the trip short. I couldn't handle two tired kids on my own! We did get to see our sweet JoJo and Jack. Jo and Jack were very special to our whole family while we were in Marlin, but especially to Sophie. She and Jo have a special bond. Jo started keeping Sophie in the nursery when she was two weeks old and continued to do so for the next 2 years. She was often our babysitter during the week as well. We love Jo and Jack and had a sweet time with them

We left Marlin after lunch on Saturday and drove to Weatherford to spend a few days with my parents. Taylor was going to be gone on a camping trip for a few days, so I decided to go to Weatherford rather than be alone with the kids for three days. Time at Grammy and Bumpaw's house is filled with swimming, bike riding, and lots of playing. John Curtis wasn't thrilled with the bike riding part, but I think he mainly didn't like his helmet. Mom was still working so the kids and I went to Fort Worth on Monday to visit my Mimi. I always love my time with Mimi and enjoy watching the special relationship she and Sophie have. We also saw my great aunts Oma and Max and my great uncle G.T.

On Tuesday I met up with Shaunna and Melody and their girls. The three of us were best friends in high school and have remained close over the years. The kids had fun playing together at Mel's mom's house. John Curtis ended up in the pool (thus the pictures of him in just a diaper) and Sophie caught a frog. A very satisfying day!

I am so glad to be home, but dreading the unpacking part, especially doing Taylor's stinky camping laundry. He had a great time camping in the mountains though. I think it was a good break for him.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Funny Little Boy

Guess who got into Sister's markers this morning?
Then he fell asleep in the van on the way home from the library. He woke up when I took him inside and acted like he wanted down. When I put him down he laid down on the floor and fell right asleep.
He looks quite comfy!
Sophie decided to join him, but the girl likes to be comfortable.

Monday, May 12, 2008

My Baby Loves to Dance

Most of you know that Monday nights at the Sandlin house are sacred nights. By 7:00 everyone is fed and bathed, the dishes are cleaned up and all of the toys are put away. The next hour and a half is devoted to one thing and one thing only. You would think that in a preacher's house that one thing might be prayer or Bible study, maybe a little family game night (remember the Ungame????) But no. In the Sandlin household the only thing that could motivate my 3 year old to get her body and her room cleaned that quickly is....DANCING!!!!! More specifically Dancing with the Stars. Yes, every Monday night from 7:00 until 8:30 the Sandlins dance. Even John Curtis has joined in the fun this season. Sophie LOVES to dance. Her favorite person to dance with is her daddy, whom she calls her prince (no kidding!). She even calls all the guys on the show"princes". I really don't know how I ended up with this child, but I really think Sophie thinks she's a princess. When we were driving to the library the other day, Stephen Curtis Chapman's song, I Danced with Cinderella came on. Sophie was singing along in the back and I was trying to join in, but I couldn't because I was so choked up. Why???? I used to make fun of songs like Butterfly Kisses, and this song is just as cheesy. I was crying because I could see Sophie spinning around in her Cinderella dress and I know these days will not last forever. So in honor of the Dancing with the Stars semifinals tonight, Taylor has put together a little video of our princess (and prince) dancing. I hope you enjoy it. I wrote out the lyrics to the song that is playing on the video because I think they are so sweet and remind me of Sophie and Taylor dancing together.

My Baby Loves to Dance by Andrew Peterson

My baby loves to dance
She loves to spin around
She's only two feet tall, but I don't mind at all
She hears a song in every little sound

And my baby loves to move
She settles on my chest
She doesn't stay for long
A moment, then she's gone
She's off to find another heart to bless

The leaves were turning gold and brown
And the people came for miles around
to see her when she came to town

Then I turned and walked outside
Stood beneath an autumn sky
And felt a season falling
And a new on taking flight

My baby loves me so
She loves me as I am
She lifts her little hands
Her wish is my command
I'll pick her up forever if I can.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. On this Mother's Day I'm so thankful for so much in my life. I am incredibly thankful to be the mother of Sophie and John Curtis. I couldn't ask God for more than what He has given me in these two precious ones. Everyday they teach me so much through their unconditional love and trust in me. I pray that I can be the mother He wanted me to be when He entrusted me with them.

Speaking of unconditional love, I am so thankful for my own mom. I felt so safe growing up in her love. She allowed me to be who God created me to be, as frustrating as it must have been at times. I am only just now beginning to understand the frustrations of children's little quirks. My family laughs about it now - the drama of raising Alyson. It has always been kind of a joke to me, something my parents must have laughed at behind closed doors. Now that I am raising a "mini Alyson" I realize those stories must not have been all funny at the time. Sometimes it is hard to know what to do with an ultra sensitive and emotional child. Just last night I said to another parent at a birthday party that I wished Sophie would just jump in there and not miss out on the fun. She was holding back from the mad rush to get the candy out of the pinata. This was after she had burst into tears when she was handed the bat to hit the pinata because all of the adults were watching her. I found myself thinking, "Why can't she just have fun with it like the other kids?" And yet she is ME (you can laugh now Mom and Dad) but I wonder how many times my mom must have thought the exact same thing about me. I never felt those thoughts, though. I always felt completely loved and accepted as I was and I want to say thank you Mom for that. I'm just beginning to realize how difficult this mother thing really is, but I pray I can show Sophie the same unconditional acceptance you showed me. I want her to be who she was created to be, not who I think she should be. (The pictures of me with my Momma are slim these days, though there were a ton of Mom with Sophie)

I am also very thankful today for my mother-in-law, Kay. I'm thankful for the mother she was to Taylor that allowed him to grow into this amazing man that I fell in love with. The love she gave him allowed him to love me, but also overflows now into our children. Taylor is an amazing father and I am so thankful that he has a mother who taught him how to love. I'm also thankful for the way she loves me like a daughter and has accepted me into her family. (This picture is from before Sophie was born. Again, there were a ton of her with the kids. I guess we need to take more pictures of the adults together!)

Most people are lucky to have one good mom figure in their life. I'm very blessed to have an amazing mom, mother-in-law, grandmothers, and many other women in my life who have "mothered" me spiritually and emotionally over the years. Happy Mother's Day!!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

It's Beginning to Feel A Lot Like Summer!

The kids got to cool off today with their first swim of the year. We have sweet friends who allow us to use their pool whenever we want in the summer. The adults thought the water was FREEZING, but Sophie jumped right in and John Curtis loved splashing around on the step. John Curtis kicking his feet.
I was so proud of Sophie in the pool. She has always loved to swim, but has also always been a little panicky and fearful in the water. Today she went right in and swam around holding on to some of the big kids. She even got a mouthful of water a few times and didn't cry.
Stylin' in my hat.
John Curtis and his buddy Evan
The only thing better than playing ball is playing ball in the pool!

Bathing Beauty!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Children's Fair

Every year they have a big Children's Fair at one of the parks in town. There are a ton of booths and a ton of people. Yesterday was the first time we had ever been. Sophie had a great time. Decorating a balloon

Sophie's shy face
Posing with the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Bear
John Curtis was perfectly happy sitting in his stroller the whole time playing with his red balloon.

Getting her face painted
As unhappy as Sophie looks in this picture, she said her favorite part of the fair was getting her face painted!
Watching a show

I love my red balloon!!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


My friend and I are having a garage sale tomorrow and Saturday. To get ready, I spent the day in our garage pricing things I desperately want out of my house. I should feel very relieved to have all of that stuff out, but instead I feel a little depressed. I even shed a few tears today as I priced old toys and clothes. When I put 10 cents on Sophie's old Eeyore rattle I could see her chubby little hands reaching for it when I would shake it over her before she could even sit up. That was her favorite rattle. I really cried when I put a sticker on her nursery rhyme step stool that held her door open in her nursery. She used to sit on it and read books and we used it to help her get up into her first big girl bed in Marlin. Then there were the preemie outfits John Curtis wore in his first little weeks of life. I can't believe my big boy was ever that small. So many of their outfits I could remember instances and special places where they wore them. One I remember Sophie wearing when Uncle Erick took her to the Waco Zoo, another John Curtis wore his first Christmas morning. There are silly stories that I don't even know why I remember. One warm outfit Sophie wore up to the church to eat pizza and watch a movie with the youth. I was so mad at Taylor because he let her eat 4 pieces of pizza and she had a stomach ache. Why do I remember what she had on that night??? I was even a little sad to see the Arthur that Sophie peed on when we were potty training go (I won't tell whoever buys it that story). I'm even selling 2 dresses that I bought my first year of teaching (8 years ago). I remember Taylor helped me pick them out at Dillard's and we used credit from our wedding. These were happy memories, but why was I so sad? I've never liked change and garage sales are all about change. Things are different - styles, kids ages, what they play with - so we don't need the old stuff anymore. We have new stuff. But when the old stuff leaves it is usually because a chapter in our life is over. I don't need tiny clothes anymore because my baby is big. Sophie is no longer delighted by rattles, and I have no need of outdated teacher dresses. It almost puts me in a panic and makes me want to freeze time to keep things from changing. But how much I would miss! My baby girl that used to be delighted in a rattle is still delighted with life. She loves the moon, is obsessed with flowers, and can get into her bed without a step stool. My baby boy is healthy and growing and having so much fun. We just laugh watching him. This is all such a gift. So I'll try not to panic tomorrow when some stranger carries the tangible things in my memories away. I'll try to be thankful for the gift of now, even if a few tears fall.