Laresa Watkins

Earl and #EasterPictureFiasco2017-A Spring Update

Apr 17, 2017
mommyinbonlee

Ugh! I have been so lazy at this blogging thing! We’ve been so busy with homeschooling and sports and church, this has just been put on the back-burner.  Thought I would just take a minute to tell you all about some fun things that have been happening lately.

As you all know, yesterday was Easter.  We take a family picture every year, and every year it is a bit of a fiasco.  It’s hard to keep everyone clean in their Easter outfits, and then to get everyone to look at the camera and smile at the same time is  absolutely impossible! Some years we have someone to take our picture and others we don’t (those are the years that we prop the camera on the hood of the car and end up with a lopsided, blurry picture).

This year, the problem was all me.  I just couldn’t get it together!

Nope….

Pretty sure Jason was telling me to do something about my hair in this one…

 

I’m trying!

 

….and got it! This is as good as it’s getting.  😉

I love looking back at out pictures every year and seeing how the kids have grown and how our family is changing.  I remember the years that I had just had a baby and couldn’t find any clothes to fit.  In some pictures the kids have already taken off their shoes or we’re struggling to hold one of them still, or there’s a random animal passing by.  One thing, though, remains the same: Jason Watkins.  How does that man manage to look perfect in every picture? I just don’t understand!

In all seriousness, I love seeing the evidence of Jesus’ love in our life.  This year, Easter took on a new meaning as I witnessed Charlie begin to grasp what Easter really means: that Jesus is real and he died and rose from the grave for him personally.  I am praying fervently for his salvation, and would appreciate if you would join me in this.

 

Another fun thing is our squirrel, Earl.  We weren’t able to save his two siblings, but we did raise him successfully after a fall from a tree in our yard.  We released him about a week ago and we enjoy visits from him almost every day. 

I hope you’re enjoying this spring as much as we are!

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas

Dec 31, 2016
mommyinbonlee

Isn’t Christmas such a dichotomy?  It’s a time of joy and giving and getting and celebration, but also a time that I am reminded of the brokenness of this world.  As a child I was split between parents, and even as a married adult this brokenness continued as Jason (who is also split between parents) and I traveled from Christmas to Christmas to Christmas to Christmas.  Even though we were having a great time and spending time with people that we love and who love us back very much, it was also stressful and just…hard. We spent a lot of time away from our home and on the road for our first Christmases as a married couple.

Since having children, I have discovered an entirely new side of Christmas.  We have toned things down a lot.  We still see everyone, but our parents have their get-togethers on different days so we can be at home on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We’re still busy, but not so busy that we can’t enjoy ourselves.  We have time for a nap, to sit down and put together Legos, to play with new dolls.  Jason and I even get to spend time with our new “toys.”

 

There has been so much joy found in Christmas since C and M were born.  We have new traditions like cutting down our tree at the Doby Christmas Tree Farm every year, and watching “The Polar Express” with hot chocolate and cookies.  We start listening to Christmas music in November and wear tacky Christmas shirts every day.  The kids wake up every morning to find our elf, Martin (On a side note, I’ll be honest and say that I’m not too sorry that he’s gone back to the North Pole for the year!).  Their innocence and excitement is contagious.

This Christmas also brought with it a new aspect for me: grief.  It was our first Christmas since losing Kitten (my stepdad) and I missed him and his huge presence.  I also really mourned my grandma, who passed away 3 years ago on the day after Christmas.

Recognizing this dichotomy makes me really want to soak in every good moment that Christmas offers. One thing that was so special about this Christmas was that, since it fell on a Sunday, we got to go to church.  It was a privilege and a pleasure to join my church family on Christmas morning and worship with them!

Focusing on the real reason for Christmas makes the good and bad aspects of the season easier to bear, because both can be a little overwhelming.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:2, 6-7 (ESV)

As I go through this life, the good and bad become more evident, but Christmas reminds me that Jesus left his Heavenly home and came here to fulfill all of the prophecies that spoke of him so we could dwell in the light, not the darkness.  We’ll have brokenness and grief and the stress of getting our families dressed for church on Christmas morning, but there is also peace and joy and love and celebration. These things go hand-in-hand (for now).

“Comfort my people! Comfort them!” says your God. “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and announce to it that its time of hard labor is over and its wrongs have been paid for. It has received from the Lord double for all its sins.” Go up a high mountain, Zion. Tell the good news! Call out with a loud voice, Jerusalem. Tell the good news! Raise your voice without fear. Tell the cities of Judah: “Here is your God!” Isaiah 40: 1-2, 9 (GW)

What a blessing to have that comfort and to celebrate Christmas with Jesus at the center, to feel the grief that is simply part of life, but to accept the peace that the Holy Spirit brings only because Jesus walked this Earth. Christmas is all of the feelings concentrated into a couple of days, with wonderful promises of what is to come.

 

 

 

 

A Little Something to Lighten the Mood Around Here…

Nov 9, 2016
mommyinbonlee

Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it has gotten pretty intense around here today. I thought I would try to bring a little cheer to the interwebs this evening. 🙂

 

SO MUCH hilarity has been happening around here lately.  This conversation:

Charlie: “Do you know who makes the best mac and cheese in the world?”

Me: “Who?”

Charlie: “Gaga.”

Me: “Oh, what about me?”

Charlie: “You’re third.”

Me: “Well, who’s second?”

Charlie: “I don’t know. Somebody.”

I mean, kids just know how to boost your confidence, right?

 

Halloween also happened (if you know us, you know we do it right):

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C and M had several different costumes.  C stuck mostly with Harry Potter, and loved it that a lot of kids really thought that he was actually Harry Potter.  He was also the Grim Reaper during our time trick-or-treating at an assisted living facility, where it was pointed out to me that his costume may not have been the best choice (#parentingfail).  Maddie was a vampire, gymnast, and different variations of Wednesday Addams.

Also, this was one of the highlights of my life so far:

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Between trunk-or-treat, harvest festivals, trick-or-treating in downtown, trick-or-treating at the assisted living, and for-real trick-or-treating, we have so much candy in this house it is ridiculous.  We finally sat down today and dumped it all in the floor, took out our favorites and removed the rest from the house. Maddie said, “It’s kind of still Halloween, isn’t it?” And I said, “No, it’s not. It’s kind of already Christmas.”

And I will end this short writing on my thoughts about yesterday and today:

The heart of man plans his way,
    but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 (ESV)

Calm down, everyone.  God knows what He’s doing.

Happy New Year!

Jan 1, 2016
mommyinbonlee

happynewyear2016pic

Happy New Year, ya’ll!

How do you like my snowy picture?  Here in NC we have seen ZERO winter weather, not even any cold temps, so I had to add in some snow.  Even though the kids were happy to wear shorts all December, a huge snowstorm is at the top of my wish-list for this winter.

If you know me at all, you know I love a new year.  After the fiasco that was last January I am hesitant to make any big resolutions or plans, but I still have the usual after-Christmas urge to be healthier and get up earlier to get some things done.  I’m just hesitant to put what I want to do into words and commit fully.

Because, you know what???

“We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

So my plan for this year is to just try to do a little better.  To listen for God a little more closely, to be a little kinder, to appreciate things a little more fully. I want to do better with the things that God has already entrusted to me.

And I really want to play in the snow.

What are your resolutions for 2016?

A Christmas Recap

Dec 29, 2015
mommyinbonlee

WatkinsChristmas2015

 

One of my favorite things about Christmas is that for several days after, the kids are busy, busy, busy with their new toys.  They don’t say my name unless they are hungry or thirsty or need help changing costumes (or if they get bitten by their new hamster), and I am left to my own devices around the house.

I spent yesterday afternoon taking down most of our Christmas decorations and thinking about what a wonderful Christmas we had this year.  We made some really great memories.

A week after Thanksgiving we went to Bryson City with some friends to ride on The Polar Express.  It was a surprise to the kids, and it was nothing short of magical.

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Charlie thought I was crazy when I told him that he could wear his pajamas all day!

 

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This is after Santa handed out the bells, and Charlie turned around and asked, “Can you hear it, Mama?” I’m pretty sure I could only nod for fear of bursting into tears.

 

This was the perfect way to start out December.  We didn’t feel pressured to take the kids to see Santa or anything like that, because how can you top riding the Polar Express to the North Pole? This will be a really special memory for all of us.

Another memory I will always keep close to my heart is that of Maddie helping me decorate the Christmas tree.  She is developing such a sweet servant’s spirit, and she put most of the ornaments on our tree this year.  She unwrapped every ornament so carefully, then asked me why it was special to me before she hung it on the tree (mostly on the same branch:)).  We did end up with a small pile that had to be super-glued, but that is totally worth the image of her working so hard to get our home ready for Christmas.

We got to spend special time with all of our different families (which we have an abnormal amount of, but that’s a different post).  I don’t have too many pictures since our camera is still broken (Jason and I are playing a little game where we each carry the camera around in our car for awhile and act like we’re going to take it to get it fixed), but took some pictures with my phone.

Charlie, Maddie, and Emma with Macy on her 1st Christmas.

Charlie, Maddie, and Emma with Macy on her 1st Christmas.  They were “patiently” waiting to open presents and teaching her about what was about to happen!

 

Star Wars was definitely the theme of this Christmas!

Star Wars was definitely the theme this year!

 

Actually, I think that not having a camera helped make this Christmas even better.  Without the need to lug that heavy thing everywhere we went then spend all of my time looking through the camera lens, I had time to enjoy everything first-hand.

Some other things I didn’t feel the need to do this year:

-Finish sending Christmas cards.  For some reason, I NEVER order enough Christmas cards.  Then I end up paying too much money to get more cards and rushing around to get them in the mail.  This year, when I ran out of cards I just said, “That’s it.” So if you happen to have a last name that would be at the end of my address book, I’m sorry.  I’ll start at the end next year.

-Buy tons of presents.  Actually, Jason did most of our shopping this year.  He had a great time going to different stores and buying things for the kids, and I think it made Christmas a little more special for him.  I know it did for me!

-Have perfect decorations.  Our Christmas decorations were very pretty, but “child-friendly”.  Our advent tree ornaments were our kitchen table centerpiece, and instead of my Department 56 “Christmas in the City” village we had a huge Lego-house built for Martin, our Elf on the Shelf.  And like I said, our Christmas tree may have been a little one-sided.

I did, however, feel the need to finish our Advent Jesse Tree this year.  Last year we only made it about halfway through, but we spent time each day on it and learned so much.  It was a great experience to learn with the kids and teach them about the prophecies leading up to Jesus’ birth, about sin entering our world and God’s perfect solution for that.  We truly celebrated Jesus’ birthday this year, and that is what really made the difference in our Christmas.

 

So our decorations are (almost all) put away and my vacuum-cleaner bag is full of glitter and pine shavings.  We’re enjoying the lull between Christmas and New Years, a few days where things seem to move slowly and we take naps and clean house and spend hours (no joke) playing with Play-Doh.

Gonna try to keep this feeling going into 2016…

 

 

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