Here We Are

So it’s been too long, and I’m sorry.

I’ve been longing to write to you; I’m teeming with ideas to share, but honestly, the things I’m learning about life and business and family right now, I’m not sure you want to hear, so I’ve kept quiet. In short, I’m learning about how to be a better, more courageous leader and Christ-follower. A consistent, patient entrepreneur. An understanding and supportive friend. An irrationally generous giver. I’m making exchanges (not sacrifices) in my life right now that do not afford me time for Project Runway reruns, crafting or margin to blog.

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But it’s been TOO LONG, and we had some stellar family photos taken, so here I am. It’s post-church naptime for the kids and my To Do list can wait.

We are The Armstrongs.

We work hard. We are kind. We do difficult things on purpose. We have fun. We choose to be brave. We forgive freely. We love each other. We follow Jesus.

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Finn is loving PreK. We love Mrs. Brown–she makes learning fun. He is great with spelling and language. He’s a terrible writer/artist and I think it’s hilarious. His aide told Joey one day, “The first thing I noticed about Finn is that he has a lot of friends.” P E O P L E!!!! You’ve been praying for friends for Finn! THANK YOU! He has friends, praise Jesus. Another aide told us “Finn is the best part of my day,” –and her job is to wipe his butt. 😉

His wheel got stuck in the grass and he fell over in his chair a couple weeks ago. No teachers were around, but his buddy Thomas ran to get the teacher. Finn was freaked out and had a bump on his head, but he’s fine. This wasn’t the first time and won’t be the last. I get asked a million questions about Finn each day when I pick him up. “Why can’t he walk?” “Is he a baby? Why is he wearing diapers?” “What’s that thing on his back?” “When will he get better?” “What’s wrong with him?” They are asking honest, innocent questions I don’t always have the answers to. I don’t mind answering these questions, but I hate that it’s in front of Finn. And if I get all these questions in 5 minutes, I wonder how many he gets throughout the day? My heart hurts for him, but God gave Finn such a resilient spirit. It doesn’t seem to bother him at all. He is a good, kind Father.

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Paisley is so spunky. Okay, and naughty. Her sense of humor is subtle and smart. She observes people before she’ll befriend them. She loves ‘nastics and jumping and climbing and being upside down. She is full of life and extremely independent. “Gummy” (gum) is her favorite and she loves to pack her Paw Patrol lunchbox with all kinds of random items for “school” so she can be like Finn. She likes to sing and dance. I can’t get over how beautiful she is. I’m so grateful she has a daddy who will protect her fiercely.

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This morning on the way to church, Finn said that he “want[s] to marry Paisley, and I’ll blow her a kiss.” Paisley told me yesterday that Bubba (Finn) was her best friend. She helps him pop over bumps in the sidewalk, rides his back like a “horsie” and races him with her baby stroller. Their friendship is a gift from above.

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Joey and I have had a tough few months. I blame Dave Ramsey. We’re doing Financial Peace University with another couple from Life.Church, and though these are conversations we obviously needed to have and there is always room for improvement when it comes to spending and saving, I am TIRED of talking about money. The conversations are unsexy, exhausting and difficult to trudge through. We’ve learned a lot about our personalities and fighting fair during this process though, and in a few hours, we’ll meet the Gates for pizza and to discuss our last FPU session to celebrate. Praise. Jesus.

Joey is so good to me. He’s fun. He’s my best friend and lover. He unloads the dishwasher like a ninja. And I love to watch him “dad.” I’m truly a better human being because of his influence in my every day life.

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Thanks to Maylee Hill for taking such fantastic photos of our family! She is super talented and captured our personalities so well. I love the color in these shots. We took these photos on the Eastside of Tulsa near the Blue Dome District. Check out her website!

As the holiday season approaches, I pray you’ll run (or wheel) like a little child toward Jesus’ transforming love, your families, your dreams, and better overall health. Go now; don’t wait.

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Thank you for praying big prayers for our family and specifically for Finn, for following our journey, and for being true friends. We are not perfect, but we are following hard after our perfect Savior, THANKFUL for His goodness and grace in our lives.

We are The Armstrongs. Roar.

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Family Photos (and Halloween) 2015

(Scroll down if you’re here only looking for family photos!) 🙂

The weekend of Halloween, we drove back to Norman during naptime so our kids would sleep in the van. We just couldn’t miss the annual Murder Mystery…Luau-style. Morgan and Jeff hosted a fun party!

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Somehow Joey’s character always ends up looking creepy…

Turns out I married a murderer…Joey (Robbie Peters, the Hollywood actor) killed Dustin (the fisherman) over something…I can’t remember at the moment.

Our kids were over-the-top adorable for Halloween this year.

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Finn was Captain America/Super Finn.

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Apparently the suit was itchy.

And Paisley wore Finn’s old elephant costume. I thought she’d kick and scream, but she loved it and didn’t want to take it off.

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Finn on the left and Paisley on the right!

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Also that weekend, Laura, our “family photographer,” snapped a few pics of us for our Christmas card. Considering that it was rainy and cloudy and cold, we came away with a few great shots. Thanks, Lala!  Enjoy!

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Thankful for our little family!

Let’s Go

I haven’t lived anywhere as long as I’ve lived in Norman. I moved 8 times growing up and the only constancy in my life has been change. I love change. It builds character. But over the past five years I’ve tasted the comfort of being familiar.

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We’ve developed friends that have become like family whilst our families have been far away. We’ve become regulars at local restaurants. We get honked at on every walk we take…and not because we’re hotties; because people know us here. It’s nice to be known.

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However, God is calling our family toward change once again. We have prayerfully followed His leading over the past year and it seems He’s drawing our hearts to our families and a new, fresh take on church. LifeChurch.tv, to be exact. We fell in love with the leadership and inner workings of LifeChurch during our three days of interviews. It is heart-wrenching to leave behind so many fantastic people in Norman–people who have held our hands through three of the most difficult years of our lives. Friends who have become family and are helping us raise our kids.

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Despite the comfort and community we have in Norman, we’re thrilled to join LifeChurch as they use their resources, creativity and unique gifts to introduce people to Christ.

We’ll be moving to Tulsa in early November, starting at the Midtown location.

In the last ten days we’ve put a couple offers on the same home with the same weirdo sellers, sold our house twice in four days (before it was even listed), called 47 day care centers and been turned away either because of a year-long waiting list or because my son is in a wheelchair (BELIEVE IT–church day care centers do not have to comply with ADA. Sad.), I received three job offerings and took one exciting opportunity with Sky Fitness & Wellbeing.

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New doctors and therapists and neighbors and grocery stores. Change is good but it’s also hard. It generates insecurity and uncertainty…sentiments we naturally avoid.

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Nevertheless, God calls us to follow Him and to be brave. So, let’s go.

Thank you, Hannah, for shooting our family photos. You rock.

Paisley’s Newborn Photos

Laura, lovingly nicknamed LaLa by my family, snapped a few photos of Paisley at our house the day after we brought her home from the hospital. She’s just so talented. And not for hire, sorry. 🙂 Paisley has already changed a lot since these pictures were taken, but I’ll share the sweetness with you nonetheless.

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My MIL, Becky, made Paisley this quilt. So special to have a pic of the two of them together.

My MIL, Becky, made Paisley this quilt. So special to have a pic of the two of them together.

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Snapshots

We woke early Saturday morning to prepare for this year’s family photos. The sky was dark and clouds loomed low. Laura, our dear friend and “family photographer,” picked up coffees from Starbucks while we waited for the sun to lighten our backdrop.

You’d never know Laura wasn’t a “professional.” She’s seriously talented. And so kind to sacrifice a Saturday morning and oodles of film for our family.

Though it was nearly impossible to choose, here’s a snapshot of some of our favorites:

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Life is sweeter and bubbling over with joy because of this kid. Thank you, God, for Finn.

To see last year’s family photos by Jennifer Copelin Photography, click here.

 

Little Bitty Family

It was a lot to ask from an eight month old, I know. An hour long photo shoot right after a busy day at daycare. Three outfit changes, a quick bottle feeding, no nap and big smiles. But he did it! Finn contributed to some dang cute family pictures. Here’s a sneak peek at some of our favs.

Huge applause and heartfelt thanks to Jennifer Copelin Photography! Check out her website for more info on how to book her for your family/holiday photos. She’s amazing. But hurry…her calendar is filling fast.

Sweet Pea

My little man was a pea pod for Halloween. Pretty sweet, huh?

We went to a Fall Festival at church on Sunday. Joey wore his nasty blonde wig, of course. He said he was a 1978 OBU Cheerleader. I was a Princess…and the pea…get it? Yeah, no one at the festival did either. And I realized I was the only mom who dressed up. Real cool.

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A pea, a duck and a lion strolled into a bar…

We were blessed to host about 20 university students in our home tonight. Best costume went to Wilma and Fred–Jay and Hannah. I love having people in my home…it’s tight, and we have to bring out some camping chairs, but I think I like it that way. These students are incredible. Funny, smart and beautiful hearts.

It’s scary how much I love this kid.