Monday, December 28, 2015

A Christmas Recap, in Pictures

  Christmas in Mississippi was hot, sticky, humid, and didn't feel too much like Christmas to be quite honest! But--I had a million people in my house and there was lots of laughter and yummy food, so that helped. Here are some pics to recap the season:
















Merry Christmas from the Sledges! 


Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;

dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.

Hallelujah, what a Savior
Hallelujah, what a Friend
Saving, helping, keeping, loving
He is with us til the end. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

London

A couple of weeks ago I got to check off a BIG item on my bucket list--I got to go to London! Taylor had a conference to attend there, so we decided that this would be our vacation for the year, and that I would go along with him and play while he worked! I do not take for granted being able to travel like this on occasion. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to go! 

I had to get the obligatory phone booth pic. This was just before setting out to do some exploring on my own. The conference photographer happened to be setting out the same time I was, and he asked if he could snap a pic of me by the photo booth: 


There are two things that I love to do when traveling: go off the beaten path where possible, and use all different types of transportation. I feel like I accomplished both on this trip. This first day I took the Tube over to the Notting Hill area. I had heard it was quaint and charming, and plus, I love the movie Notting Hill and wanted to see the area it was set in. 

I did a lot of walking, and happened upon this little bookstore which was the inspiration for the one in the movie: 

There are few things I love more than a cozy, cramped, treasure trove of a bookstore! 

The Notting Hill area was a big hodgepodge of street markets, with vendors selling all kinds of items. I thought these mushrooms were beautiful: 


And the figs were giant! 


Later that afternoon, when they were finished with meetings, Taylor and our friend Ben met up with me to rent some bikes and explore. Buckingham Palace was not far from our hotel, so that was our first stop.



We made it all the way down to the River Thames on the bikes so that we could see Westminster Abbey-but it was closed! I did, on my third try, finally make it inside later in the week. But I took this pic on this first day. So beautiful. 


This pic is so cheesy. Believe it or not, I actually did not realize I was holding the map like that. 


Pic behind the pic! 


One of the items on my to-do list was the Imperial War Musuem, which covered the history of war from World War I forward. I would highly recommend this place:


The next day I took a bus tour to the Tower of London while the guys were in meetings. A bonus was getting a great view of Big Ben, the River Thames, and the London Eye. 


I loved the Tower of London. If you are not familiar with it, this is where many prisoners of the state were tortured and beheaded, including the infamous Anne Boleyn. I have to confess that I am now slightly obsessed with British history, specifically the Tudor period. If you have any recommendations of good books for this time period, let me know! 



As I mentioned, I finally got inside Westminster Abbey on the last day. No photography is allowed inside, but I snapped this of the courtyard on my way out. Such beautiful architecture and grounds. 


I tried to pack in as much as possible that last day. I managed to get to the Tower of London, the Abbey, a really cool medical museum (my favorite!) called the Hunterian Museum, and Covent Garden, an outdoor shopping and festival area. 

Excuse the selfie, but I felt the need to post something in a hat. A British trip would not be compete otherwise. I wanted to buy this hat but restrained myself since people in Jackson Mississippi would probably laugh if I pranced around in this: 


I finished up the day by meeting Taylor at Harrod's Tea Room for a traditional tea. I thought the rose hips one I chose was so pretty: 


It's a good thing for my pocketbook that I did not have too much time in Harrod's--that place is quite tantalizing to the senses! I did manage to grab a couple of Christmas gifts, and I got myself a cute set of warm flannel pjs to remember the trip by.

I have to say--I didn't think I could love a place more than New York City but--Big Apple, you have officially met your match. I cannot wait to go back! 
 

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Thoughts on My Boys

   Today I was singing to T.Mark and Amos several different little songs that are straight scripture. Sometimes I feel in the moment that these little things don't make a difference (although I do know in my heart they will add up over days and months and years). I get varied responses from them--T.Mark often would rather do without my singing, while Amos smiles and laughs and waves his arms at it. But today, after I had been singing for a little while and then stopped, T.Mark looked at me and said, "Sing me another song about the Lord, Mama." 

My goodness, a mother's heart can hardly handle that without bursting! I smiled and began singing again. I love that God's Word is already being written on their little hearts in this way. 

Sometimes the weight of mothering is heavy. I mean this in the sense that I want so desperately to please the Lord in the way I raise my children. I want them to know Him. I want them to show Jesus to their little friends. I want them to want to talk to Him and share their hearts with Him. I want my boys to grow up to be men after His heart. 

Playing with and caring for them is such a joy. No it isn't always easy, but I do love it so much. I read recently, I can't remember where, that changing diapers is holy work. I loved that. I have used that to encourage many friends lately. Sometimes the day-in, day-out physical demands of mothering little ones can be overwhelming. Especially when you add the wholly different (though no less or more challenging) demands of being a mother who works outside the home. I loved the idea of viewing what are sometimes menial tasks as a way to joyfully serve both the Lord and my family. 

Amos loves to be read to. "Book! Book!" He has a favorite that he wants me to read over and over. And over. Ha! But when he toddles up to me holding it and bumbles his little rear end around backwards and plops into my lap so we can read together, my heart swells with an emotion that I can't quite put my finger on. It is some mixture of gratitude, pride, joy, and a deep sense of responsibility to shape this little life God has entrusted to me. 

I am humbled, thankful, and filled with a measure of healthy trepidation for doing this job well. 


Just as an aside--I love my BFF:


 I am so excited that Christmas is coming soon. Especially considering I've been singing Christmas music since August in choir! Regarding Christmas and shaping little hearts, I found this resource to be quite helpful last year, and look forward to going through it again with my boys leading up to Christmas: 


This book traces the lineage of Jesus through scripture, beautiful illustrations, and kid-friendly paraphrases of each part of the story. Last year T.Mark colored pictures relating to each story while we talked about the events and people. He was only 2 1/2 at the time but it is amazing the information he could take in and retain. I'm looking forward to going through it again this year. 

I hope your weekend has been good. We've been enjoying puddles during breaks in the much needed rain, and some time inside playing with puzzles, blocks, and watching cartoons! 


Monday, October 19, 2015

Girls' Weekend

I got to go up to Nashville recently to visit some friends and two sets of cousins. Emily, my dearest friend in the world, recently moved back there with her husband. I am so glad to have her back down south!  I missed my babies while on the trip, but it was a needed "brain break" and refresher for me. I told a friend that by the end of the weekend I had remembered what it felt like to be carefree! I would not trade the responsibilities of my life for the world, but carefree is a nice thing to feel every now and then!

I love Franklin. 
I had not been able to spend as much time there as I'd like in the past, but the little Nashville suburb is cute and quite hopping, actually. I loved the little shops and restaurants. I'm so glad for Emily that she lives in such a fun place that is so close to all the amenities of Nashville! 

Rolling hills near her house: 


Me and two Emilys. So thankful for each of them in my life. 

Me, Babington, and Tricia. I loved seeing these sweet friends and catching up. Babs is a youth director at a local church, and Tricia is a nurse practitioner. I also finally got to meet Tricia's sweet baby boy, Grayson! 

The last night I was there Em and I went on a girl date and went to see Grace Potter at the new Ascend Amphitheater in downtown Nashville. 

This girl has got some serious pipes:

I would highly recommend this venue! Small enough to be intimate and comfy but in the middle of downtown, with the skyline rising above the stage in the background. So cool. 

While I was gone, Taylor was in Wyoming on a hunt with his dad and brother. Looks like I will be cooking lots of elk meat this winter! 

I missed these little guys terribly, but they were quite well taken care of (read: spoiled) by their Mimi and Doc. 

They were not any worse for the wear, believe me! 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Zoo Day and a Birthday Party

This past Saturday was a big day for the Sledge boys! We got up early and after seeing Taylor off to Oxford for a speaking engagement, T.Mark, Amos and I headed out to meet a group from our Sunday School class at the zoo. T.Mark was extremely excited. Amos was cold, a little sleepy, and not so sure about the situation. Ha! 


The first big animal (relatively speaking!) that we saw was this little pygmy hippo. 




The flamingos were a big hit. There was some other bird (the brown one in the foreground) that was either sleeping or trying to stay warm, and had tucked its head around backwards between its shoulders so you couldn't see it. This blew T.Mark's mind. Ha! 


By this time Amos had warmed up, literally and figuratively. Here was his reaction when I pointed out the "big pink birds": 


Amos and some sweet friends: 


The tiger was also a favorite. However, I did not like at all how he paced back and forth, looking hungry, right in front of my baby! 


I think T.Mark's very favorite animal was the giraffe. I'm curious--surely this guy is contained by an electric fence? The little wall around his paddock was only about 3 feet high--significantly below his knees! I kept thinking he was about to step over it and walk up to say hi. 


The carousel was also a big hit:


Here is the whole crew:


We joined some more Sunday School friends for lunch at Sal and Mookies, headed home for naps and then hopped right back up to head to our friend Nora Lynn's third birthday party. 

Amos, me, Carolyn Grace, and May May:


Kim and Wren. She looks more like her mama every time I see her! 


The amount of sand I dumped out of his pants after this was impressive: 


Happy birthday Nora Lynn!