Monday, December 31, 2007

So Much to Say

It's definitely been awhile since I've posted. Life has been good but busy. Before Christmas, Nana and Granddaddy took Brock, RyAnn, Josiah, Levi and I to see Frosty the Snowman. All the little ones loved it. Levi stayed awake for the entire show. And they all sat so still. We also spent some time in Gladewater with Granny. We even took time to get pictures taken with her. We had a wonderful Christmas with Granny and the boys loved spending time with their cousins.

We drove back to Arlington on Christmas morning to spend with Nana, Granddaddy, Nate, RyAnn, Brock and Braxton. It was definitely a different, active dynamic this year with 5 boys than in the past. For five years, all the focus was on Caleb's reaction to his gifts. This year it was a divide and conquer mentality. RyAnn and Nate each had one of their children. Kerry took Josiah, and I helped Levi. Caleb tore into one present after the other on his own. Nana and Granddaddy also purchased a Wii for their house. Everyone enjoyed playing off and on all day, grown ups included. We also enjoyed seeing extended family over the holidays as well.

Kerry flew back to California on Friday. There were no tears but the reality of the unknown is starting to set in for me. What is God's plan for our family this year? Where is he going to guide us to settle down somewhere or is that even in His plan for us right now? One month didn't seem too long to have Kerry in California and the rest of us in Texas when we were talking about it. Now it seems forever to be away from each other. I'm sure the time will go by quickly as a normal routine should start shortly after the new year.

I have pictures I need to get from the past few weeks and then I can start adding pictures from my new digital camera. That was one of my Christmas gifts this year since my old one is officially broken. I'm glad to finally be back into the world of blogging.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

We Made It!

We arrived in Arlington, Texas yesterday around dinner time. We had a great trip driving from California to Texas filled with some great memories. Our Dodge Caravan was packed full along with four suitcases and a stroller on top of the van. The boys did wonderful for almost the entire time in the car. I sat in the very back with Josiah and Levi so I could meet their needs quickly. I think that made a big difference. Caleb enjoyed his own space in the middle and Bailey traveled well on the floor. And Kerry drove the entire time. We were able to find hotels/motels that allow dogs. The highlight of the trip for the boys was celebrating Christmas on the road. They got to open their presents spread out along the way in the car, and they opened their stockings at our first hotel. They thought it was so much fun. What great memories!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Texas Bound

In less than 48 hours, we will be on our way to Texas. The last of our belongings that aren't coming with us to Texas will go into storage tomorrow. This house will feel pretty empty tomorrow night. But we are excited about the journey ahead. To see some of the details about what the next few months will look like, check out Street to the Seat and the December 13th post. I'm typing one handed or I'd share the specifics here. It should be fun!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Levi is 9 Months Old


Levi turned 9 months old on Friday. On his 9 month birthday, he stood up by himself. He actually let go and stood for about five seconds. We cheered and cheered for him. He is still a delight and these past nine months have flown by.

Levi is still exclusively breastfed. He still has a pretty strong gag reflex. We decided to try solid foods once again a few days ago. Needless to say, it was very apparent he just isn't ready yet. He still continues to grow, so we aren't concerned. He will occassionally drink diluted apple juice through a straw but only just for fun. He is cutting several new teeth at this time. That has made him a little fussy but nothing bad, just some extra cuddling is needed. He still loves to be carried around in the sling. It makes it very easy in stores since he is so content being toted around leaving the basket seat for Josiah or the ability to just grab the single stroller versus the double.

I don't know if it's because he's the baby of the family or what, but he seems more fragile than the other two. Or maybe he's just smaller boned than the others. Or maybe he's got his Mama wrapped around his little finger. I've been trying on clothes that Caleb and Josiah have worn and they are so baggy on him. He's still as cute as can be though. Three months until he turns one will go by way too fast!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Packing and More Packing

This week has been full of packing and more packing. Tomorrow is the day we put almost all of our things in storage. The packing part has gone smoothly. The boys have been great as I've been spending a lot of time packing. This week we will have fun hanging out in an almost empty house. I think the boys are kind of excited about it since we told them we'd put the tent up for them. Caleb, who normally does not like change, has handled this situation quite well. Josiah is just ready to go see Nana, Granddaddy, and Granny. He talks about it everyday. I'm not sure he'll want to have his own house after being spoiled for over a month from Granny, Granddaddy, and Nana. He seems to accept the fact that we will be putting our things in storage, go see family, and then move into a new house. His response was, "Oh!" That is what he typically says once he understands something. I've got a few more things to do before tomorrow morning comes, so I'd better get busy. Just wanted to keep you all updated.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Changes

This is the first weekend after Thanksgiving since Kerry and I have been married that I haven't been putting our Christmas tree up. That is because we will be moving out of this house mid December and putting everything in storage. Our plan is to drive to Texas to spend Christmas with our families. Kerry will then fly back to California and the boys, Bailey, and I will remain in Texas with my parents through January. Kerry will be staying with some wonderful friends who are generously taking him in during the month of January. I am very excited about being back in Texas at least for awhile and spending some time with family. We know God is in control, but sometimes the not knowing what the future holds is a little mind boggling. God knows what He's doing, so I need to remember to trust Him all the time.

Friday, November 23, 2007

A Happy Thanksgiving


Levi enjoying some attention from Mrs. Sharon


You can tell Josiah has played hard and eaten well.


Caleb practicing on his skateboard


A rare family picture

We had a very nice Thanksgiving this year. Two families that are also living away from their extended families joined us this year at our home for a traditional Thanksgiving meal. The boys had a blast playing with friends. Caleb felt so cool when Josh, who is a teenager, took time to skateboard with him. I think it made his week! Josiah loved playing with Zoe and watching what everyone else was doing. Levi did great being held by others. He had taken a good nap and was well fed. So, he was ready to be entertained. I think he enjoyed the extra attention since he was all smiles.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Join Kerry & Stephanie's Ministry Team as they launch Street to the Seat (STS).

Dear Family & Friends,

I am so excited to write to you about a new season of life for Stephanie and me. The past few years at Saddleback Church have brought a huge sense of fulfillment as I led the ministry that helped bring the unchurched from our community into the church to find Christ and belong to the church family. Then I had the awesome privilege of starting Street to the Seat, (STS) www.streettotheseat.com so I could pass on these lessons to churches across North America and the world.


Our Decision to Leave Saddleback

In September 2007 I made the agonizing decision to begin a conversation with the senior leadership of Saddleback Church about my future. During the month of October with the blessing of Saddleback Church and it's leadership we decided the best place for God to use my strengths and calling was going to be assisting other churches full time across N. America and the world. As hard as it was to step down from the Membership Pastor of Saddleback Church, Stephanie and I had complete confidence that God was leading us. What we didn’t know is that He would lead us so quickly!

Trusting God & His vision for STS

What is thrilling (and terrifying!) for us, is our complete dependence and trust in how Jesus will provide for us as we build this new ministry. We trust Him to provide our daily bread through friends like you.

We have a strong desire to assist pastors, churches, denominations and associations by, “making the most of every opportunity to help people choose Christ and belong to the church family “. We know this, the church in America is plateaued and we must create conversations with our communities. We can no longer simply open our doors and hope people will come to us. We need creative strategies for reaching our communities and that is what STS provides.

Partners in Ministry

As Stephanie and I launch Street to the Seat” (STS), we are spending the next 40 days developing the financial foundation for our ministry. It’s too early to rely on income from consulting with churches; therefore, by partnering with us you are providing us time to be dedicated and focused on the build out of STS.

We are asking you to partner with us in this ministry. Together we can impact the lives of pastors, churches and denominations that will in turn, impact local communities and our world for the sake of Christ.

How You Can Help

We ask that you would prayerfully consider helping us through a year-end, one-time gift or by investing monthly. All contributions are tax deductible. Contributions can be made by:

  • Check – make payable to VENTURE BEYOND
    • In the memo line write: Street to the Seat
    • Mail to:
Street to the Seat
20371 Lake Forest, Dr. Suite A – 10
Lake Forest, CA 92630

  • Securities – transferable electronically
    • Call 949-235-0308 for details

However God leads you, please contact us. The reason we have written to you is because we know your walk with God and are certain that you will both pray about this new exciting ministry and do whatever God directs you to do. How grateful we are for your love for Him!

Could you please pray for us? We need your prayers for our family as we start this ministry and build the financial foundation.

We can’t thank you enough for going above and beyond in your support of us as we take this step of faith!

Thank You and God Bless,

Kerry & Stephanie Mackey

Street to the Seat
20371 Lake Forest Drive Suite A - 10
Lake Forest, CA 92630
949-235-0308

www.streettotheseat.com (website)
info@streettotheseat.com (email)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

A Long Overdue Update

Life is a whirlwind around here right now. I've been meaning to give an update on the boys for the past few weeks, but something is always coming up. I finally decided I could put it off no longer. I will wait and post another time about the changes going on in our family. Enjoy the update.

*Caleb has one more week of baseball. As much as he enjoys baseball, he is looking forward to a break before spring season.
*Caleb is taking skateboard lessons. A while ago, he saved up his own money and bought the skateboard and gear. When I asked him if there was another sport he would like to try, he said skateboarding. We found a nice, clean place for him to take 4 lessons and he's loving it. He is exhausted after each one hour lesson.
*School continues to go so much better than last year. If only I would have tuned in to his learning styles earlier, school might have been smoother on a more consistent basis last year.
*He has taken a growth spurt. It always seems to happen this time of year. Just when I think about buying him new pants in the current size, he grows overnight.
*He and Josiah have started playing so well together. They have had a lot of free time this week and can be found in Caleb's room playing or outside together looking for worms and such.
*With changes coming up in our family, Caleb has amazed me with his flexibility and understanding about God's plan for our family. What an amazing boy God gave us. We are so thankful.


*The above picture is only part of what happens if Josiah is left unattended on my bed with the diaper bag which was picked up off the floor so Levi wouldn't get into it. Josiah who supposedly was watching a DVD in my room, found the diaper cream and put it all over his body and part of my comforter. I should of known he hadn't just fallen asleep.
*With all of Josiah's free time this week, he has been playing in the backyard quite a bit. With that has come bumps, cuts and bruises. But he's loving it and having fun.
*Josiah's imagination continues to amaze me. He will pretend he's on a skateboard or throwing a ball. He will play for long periods of time with the toy car garage we have.
*His vocabulary continues to explode. He does amazingly well with pronouns. For example, "Mom, I want you to get me some juice." This normally occurs when someone else plans to help him and he wants another person to help. We need to work on using the word please a little more.
*He loves playing with Caleb.
*He remembers names very well. We were at church one day and I reminded him that Pastor Rick leads our music at church. A couple of weeks later, during the music time, he was asking me where Pastor Rick was. He loves music and is amazed at anyone who can sing, play the guitar, etc.
*We had a few weeks of him not using God's name correctly. We've been working on using God's name the right way. He can be heard saying or singing, "I love God." He also prefers to say "Dear God" instead of "Dear Jesus" during prayers.
*He is still full of life and keeps on our toes. I love his little twinkle in his eye.


*Levi thinks baby food is yucky. He still has a very very strong gag reflex. We've had physical evidence of it. So, we are not forcing the issue. Two weeks ago, he learned how to drink through a straw. No sippy cups for him.
*He pulled up for the first time last week. He's not very sturdy but he's trying so hard.
*He is starting to say "Mama" more often. It such a wonderful word to hear.
*He loves to follow his big brothers into Caleb's room. It's fun to see them all seeking each other out to play and spend time together.
*He still seems little to me. With Caleb and Josiah, I was always so excited about their new accomplishments and how they were growing up. With Levi, I keep thinking he's too little to be doing certain tasks. I guess he's got my number.
*He has different cries. One is so pitiful that we all drop everything to see what's wrong. It involves his chin quivering and huge tears. I think most of the time it's when he gets a little scared or unsure of what's going on and wants some reassurance.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Pastor Kerry Mackey is leaving Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, CA to pursue Street to the Seat Ministries full-time.

Hey Gang, I am writing to you on my wife's blog as we are moving in a new direction and Stephanie felt like it would come better from me.


Over the past several months I have been processing with my mentors and advisory team the next chapters of ministry. In so doing we have come to a decision to pursue Street to the Seat Ministries full-time as a consulting/coaching ministry with and through the local church.

It is to that end that we will be leaving Saddleback Valley Community Church in Lake Forest, California in the coming days to pursue this ministry full-time.

We look forward to serving you full-time as Street to the Seat Ministries. Please click on the Services & Bio tab to see how we can better serve you, your denomination, association, and/or congregation.

Please let persons know that they can CONTACT US to begin a conversation. If you know of churches/organizations that may be interested they can also call me at 949-235-0308.

God Bless and Thank You for passing the word.

Kerry

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hooray! Josiah's Potty-Trained!

It's definitely official. Josiah is potty-trained. Just two and a half weeks ago, I was talking to my mom on the phone saying that I didn't think Josiah quite understood the entire potty-training thing. He could always go to the bathroom when I told him to go try. He always went poop in the potty but at times he would think he was still dry when he was actually wet. Most of the time, he was in underwear around the house, but I started putting a pull-up on top of the underwear to make cleaning up easier on me. He would say he was dry when he was wet. Then about a week and a half ago, things started to click. On the first day, he initiated going to the bathroom about 3 times. Then the next day it was more and by the time Sunday came around, it was every time. We went to Legoland last Monday and he only had one accident. Since then, he hasn't had a single accident during waking hours. This means, he goes on his own every single time without needing reminding. I am so proud of him. Way to go Josiah!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

4:30A.M.

is the time we left our house this morning to take Kerry and Tony to the airport. We loaded three boys complete with blankets and pillows for the drive to the Long Beach Airport. To treat myself, I decided we needed to stop at Chick-fil-a on our way home for a chicken biscuit. I was very disappointed to see that Chick-fil-a did not open until 6:30a.m. I sat in the parking lot for about fifteen minutes snuggling with Josiah while Caleb and Levi slept until they turned the lights on. Fortunately, the boys let me rest some this morning when we got home. Levi even snuggled up and went back to sleep for about an hour. I guess I should get busy with our day.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fall Festival 2007

We had a fun evening tonight as a family. Caleb dressed up as Anakin Skywalker, Josiah as a zebra, and Levi as a bear. We took a few pictures in our front yard and then headed to a nearby church for their fall festival. Caleb loved every minute of it. Josiah enjoyed parts of it. He cried on the merry-go-round (it was a very rough start to the ride) and they had to stop the ride for him to get off. We decided to steer clear of the real ponies this year just in case Josiah got scared on one of them too. Levi enjoyed watching everything going on and being snuggled up in the sling. I thought we would be staying at least a couple of hours. However, Caleb won a fish in one of the games and was ready to go home. No one else protested. So, we went for dinner and then we came back home.














One More Picture


I forgot to post this picture yesterday with the others.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pumpkin Patch 2007


Josiah posing for a picture


Caleb is into looking grown up and "cool"


Levi's first trip to the Pumpkin Patch

I wasn't too sure if we would make it to the Pumpkin Patch this year due to the fires, more specifically the poor air quality. We had planned to go last week but ended up going today. One of the best parts was that Daddy was able to get away from the office to join us for a couple of hours. It was a wonderful treat for the boys to have Daddy with us. With Daddy along, our pictures always turn out better too. Caleb was in search for the perfect pumpkin as well as looking forward to the petting zoo since he loves animals. Josiah was so excited. Before we left the house, he kept demonstrating how he was going to pick up a big pumpkin and that it was going to be heavy, complete with sound effects for lifting a heavy pumpkin. Josiah found a pumpkin pretty fast and Caleb found his shortly after. However, when we were about to pay and I picked up a tiny pumpkin for Levi, Josiah decided he wanted the tiny pumpkin instead of his pumpkin. He was all set to leave the bigger one behind, but Kerry said to get both. I'm sure he would have been disappointed when he didn't have a pumpkin to carve tomorrow. All in all, we had a very fun family afternoon.





I was so proud of the way Caleb took care of Josiah in the petting zoo. Josiah was a little hesitant and Caleb held him for awhile and then stayed close to him until he was comfortable with the animals.


I think Levi knows he cute.


My four handsome boys.


The sun was pretty bright and they were all trying to keep their eyes open.


Caleb on top of the world!


Josiah working hard to pick a pumpkin.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pictures from Texas

Cupp's Drive In
Whenever I'm in Waco, I love to go and eat at this little "hole in the wall." My Dad introduced me to this place when I was a young girl, and I've enjoyed introducing it to each of my boys. This was Levi's first time at Cupp's so a picture was definitely in order.



Natural Bridge Caverns


Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch


Baylor Football Game
The picture of Josiah is the only picture we got of him without a terrified look on his face. He was so scared of the fireworks.


Visit with Granny


Fun Times


State Fair of Texas


My Mom sent me a cd with the pictures from our trip on it. Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California Burning

On every channel, there is something about the fires here in California. We're surrounded by the fires, but we're safe. But it has also hit close to home. A family in our small group spent some time at our house yesterday because the fire was so close to their house. It was hard to believe as we sat in front of the television how close the fire actually was to their house. Whenever I've heard of a natural disaster occurring, I've truly felt for the families, but when I start knowing exactly where specific roads are located, it makes the situation a whole lot more real. We can even look out our windows and see the smoke in the air.

The boys and I have been inside pretty much ever since Sunday night, especially Levi. One of the news stations mentioned if you had a heart defect to stay inside. Kerry has been great running to the store if we need something. I've let the other two out back for a few minutes at a time but I can tell that they would love to spend all day outside after being indoors for so long. We're thanking God for our safety and praying for those families that can't go to their homes right now or have lost their homes. We're also praying for the fire fighters and others who are working so hard to control the fires and who are organizing relief efforts.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Update on Levi


Caleb thought Levi needed his picture taken wearing the cowboy hat.

Levi is now almost seven and a half months. He is still as precious as ever! The Tuesday before we went to Texas, Levi was supposed to have his six month check up (a little late due to delays in shots). Our doctor ended up not being able to make it since he was testifying in court. The good news is he discounted our next visit since I didn't find out until I arrived. I had the nurse take his measurements before we left. At almost seven months, Levi weighed 19 pounds, 11 ounces and was 28 inches long. We finally had his six month check up this past Monday. Overall, he looks great! Dr. Bob was impressed that he woke up so happy from his nap when he entered the room. His heart defect (Ventricular Septal Defect) is still there and there has been no change but it hasn't slowed him down. The doctor did recommend the flu shot for him due to his heart defect. If he caught a bad case of the flu it could cause stress on the heart. We'll return in two weeks for 2 shots and four weeks later for another 2. On a side note, our doctor is releasing a new book, The Vaccine Book, next week. This is something I would never have been interested in in the past, but I'm really looking forward to reading this book.


Levi tried solid foods for the first time this past Monday. Lets just say, he tolerated the pureed bananas and thought the cup was a great teething toy. He didn't fuss but he had a horrible face each time the bananas or water got into his mouth. I'll probably wait another week or two and then try something different. He'll probably go to finger foods rather quickly like Josiah did. His two bottom teeth are coming in well. He loves to crawl and sit up. Bath time is really fun for him now that he can sit up on his own. Josiah thinks it's really fun too that they can be in the bath tub alone now. He loves his big brothers and if he gets upset while playing, they are quick to cheer him up. He's changing everyday.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Back from Texas

We're back! The boys and I got back to California Saturday afternoon and have been busy ever since. We had about 45 minutes at home before Kerry took us to watch dirt bikes. I was kind of tired so I can't even remember the name of the event. All I know is that it was a Christian outreach and the boys loved seeing Kyle Loza and some of the other guys so lots of different jumps on their dirt bikes. Sunday, I spent time trying to unpack and then it was time for Caleb's baseball game followed by church. Today, we started school back up, took Levi for his 6 month check up (saving for another post) and have attempted to finish unpacking.

We had such a fun time on our trip! We were busy pretty much everyday, but enjoyed every minute. We arrived in Texas on October 3rd and were greeted at the airport by my mom (Josiah stayed awake the entire time). After dropping off our stuff at my parents' house, we picked Brock up and went for a late dinner.

Morning came quick when we were on the road by 9am (7am California time) and went to San Antonio with my Dad. We stayed at the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch which was fantastic. Levi's first tooth broke through on Thursday and Caleb lost his second top tooth that same day. We planned to go to Sea World that Friday, but it was closed. Instead, we took the boys to the Natural Bridge Caverns in the morning, swam in the afternoon, and played miniature golf that evening. Saturday, we headed back up to Waco to visit the zoo and see a Baylor football game. Josiah was terrified of the fireworks and barely moved the entire game. I felt so sorry for him.

Sunday, we went to RyAnn's church and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon with family. It was so nice to be back for Sunday lunch again. Monday, my mom, sister, and I attempted to take all five boys shopping. For taking five boys, it was a successful trip. Tuesday morning, the boys and I headed to Gladewater to spend a few days with Kerry's mom. We enjoyed relaxing at her house, doing a little shopping, and playing with the boys. We wished we could have brought her back with us.

Friday, my parents, RyAnn and her boys, my boys and I all went to the State Fair of Texas. I can't ever remember going so this was a first for almost all of us. We all had a great time eating food, riding a couple of rides, and seeing the animals. Nana even got a few Christmas presents bought too. And Saturday found us headed back to see Daddy. So, that is the condensed version of our trip. Unfortunately, my camera broke before we left for Texas. It is now fixed. I borrowed my mom's camera while we were there, but there were problems uploading the pictures to a cd. I tried to put them on here from Shutterfly, but they were too small to even see. If I figure out how to make them larger, I will post them.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Kerry out playing while Steph and the boys are in Texas

Sorry Steph, but I just had to post this pic. Love Ya Babe! Hope you and the boys are having a great time in Texas with Granddaddy, Nana, and Granny. Can't wait to have you guys back on the west coast.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Less Than 24 Hours

In less than 24 hours, the boys and I will be in Texas! We are all excited, especially Josiah. He's really starting to understand more about traveling. I will be traveling with all three boys alone, but I've done it before and I'm not too worried. We all still fit in three seats. We've got a busy week and a half. I'm not sure if I will even check my email until I get home.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy Birthday Daddy!


Here is the cake Caleb made. He was so proud of his first cake. He did everything in green. Not bad for a seven year old.


Josiah and Caleb with Daddy as he opens his gifts


We couldn't leave Levi out.

Today Kerry turned 37 years old! The boys were so excited that it was Daddy's birthday that they could hardly wait until after breakfast to let him open his gifts. They showed him his birthday cake too and were all prepared to eat it when I told them the cake would wait until later. Happy birthday Daddy! We love you!