Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Black & White Wednesday: We are FaMiLy!

It's been so very long since I've participated in Black & White Wednesday over at The Long Road to China. And oh how I've missed it! If life ever slows down, maybe I'll get back into the swing of things. Wishful thinking with four kids I think, but a girl can dream.

I recently posted about our family photo shoot. As I mentioned in that post, the task was to get some family photos for my husband's political campaign material. I thought I'd share some more of our family images. As I said before, I never look forward to trying to get photos of our whole family as it's always a tricky job when I'm the one behind the camera. But that's what the tripod is for!

Here's some in black & white...

The Sanders Family...

The kids...


And a few in color, just for fun!

Gabe, 7...

Gavin, 11 months...

Cooper, 5...

Chloe, 3...

Jason, known around here as dad...

And me,{aka mom}...

Thanks for visiting! I'm looking forward to checking out everyone's black & whites this week!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


My husband is a politician. And a youth pastor. Strange combination? Maybe. But for the last eight years not only has Jason served as youth pastor at our church, but he's also been one of three elected county supervisors. He first ran when he was only 23 years old. He is the youngest elected supervisor in history! Crazy, right?!

Anyway, every four years it's time to run for re-election. Some local candidates end up running unopposed. Not Jason. He's had an opponent every time we've ran. He's always won in the past, always a humbling experience to again be chosen to represent our fellow county residents. But because we would never take a win for granted, we always go all out. This means attending every parade in the county throughout the summer, handing out candy and campaign fliers. And we door knock at every town in the county in the fall, closer to election time. It's time consuming, but it's also fun to get out and meet people we may have never met otherwise.

Since I needed to design some new campaign handouts, I also needed to get some new family shots for those handouts. And since I'm usually the one behind the camera, I was not looking forward to trying to get some family shots of ALL of us. Not an easy task.

Here's what we were able to get...

And can you believe, we got this on the first try. With four young children. God was with us that evening, because that's truly a miracle! ;)

And here's where we used it...



We handed out the first set of these campaign fliers at our first local parade of the year today. And let me tell you, it was HOT. And it was HUMID. Grandma watched the parade with Gavin in tow while the other Sanders crew walked in the parade. Well, I should say Jason and I walked. I pulled Chloe in a red wagon and Gabe & Cooper rode on a golf cart. The kids had SO MUCH FUN throwing candy and seeing many of their friends from school and church. We had lots of friends helping us hand out fliers, and although we were all hot, I think we deem the first Sanders for Supervisor parade outing a success!

After we got home, I took a quick photo of the kids in their campaign tees. Just look at these kiddos...who wouldn't vote for their daddy after-all, right?!? ;)

Thanks to all of you that helped, and to all of you who have offered us your support in various ways. We are truly blessed beyond measure.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Is it my turn?

For the longest time, the boys would be playing Wii and poor little Chloe would be asking, "Is it my turn? When is it gonna be my turn?"

But Gabe & Cooper, being the skilled Wii players that they are, had little interest in letting their little sister play with them. It's just recently that they've finally started letting her play with them every now and then.

But with this many kids, there's always someone waiting for a turn...

I love this one, where it looks like Gavin is raising his hand. Pick me, pick me...

It's a good thing many games are four players, because I'm thinking Gavin is going to want to be right in on the action.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cooper's Preschool Graduation

Cooper had his preschool celebration/graduation a few weeks back. I'm just finally getting around to posting about it. Maybe it's because I've been so busy. Or maybe I'm just in denial that my little boy has officially completed preschool and will be in kindergarten in the fall. I'm cherishing this summer with all my kiddos. They just grow too fast!

Here's Cooper on 'stage' during the time that the preschoolers sang some songs. Oh my goodness, they were so very cute! I forgot the camcorder that day and am just kicking myself. Notice Cooper smiling right at the camera. That's my boy! And I think he was just a little happy to be standing by one of his beautiful classmates :)

Here's Cooper with his graduation certificate, standing by what will be his lockers next year in kindergarten. I just love his kool-aid mustache...

And finally, Cooper with his teachers taken on the last day of school. He's going to miss them...

I now have two kids that will be in school in the fall
{Insert tears here}, and two still at home. Congratulations Cooper!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Ten years ago tonight, I was at my wedding reception dancing and celebrating with the man I would spend the rest of my life with.

It was just Jason and I, two kids at the tender age of 21, vowing to love each other forever with God at the throne of our marriage. And ten years later, God still sits there, uniting us as one.

We also have four kids, family, friends, vehicles, hobbies, Supervisor campaigns, photo shoots, youth group meetings, kids' activities, house renovations...in short,
a lot filling our lives. But God remains number one. And without Him at the center, I shutter to think what would have become of us.

I thank Him for bringing us together. For perfectly orchestrating every single event that brought us to that marriage ceremony ten years ago. When I think of how easy it would have been for us to have missed one another....if I had never moved into Jason's hometown my freshman year of high school. If I had never dated his friend, or been in the same American Literature class. Or if I had never taken the time to look past the outward arrogance of a teenage boy that I saw upon first glance, and look into the inner workings of what makes Jason such an awesome man of God. How easily we could have missed each other, and would never be celebrating ten years and four kids together. But thank God for His grace, for having patience with us when we make mistakes. For being a God who is faithful, and loving. Who is just and perfect. Who loves us more than we can even fathom, and who gives us helpmates to love.

So ten years later, I thank God for Jason. I thank God for blessing me with a husband who is perhaps the most discerning man I've ever met. Who longs for the Lord's will to be done in every situation and who leads with God's authority. And who loves me unconditionally. I couldn't ask for anything more.

I love you Jason.

Cooper at Five

Cooper Tait turns five today!

It just so happens to also be our ten year wedding anniversary as well. Yes, our son was born June 10, 2005, five years to the day after I married my best friend. Another post will follow about our ten year anniversary, but I want to make this one about Cooper.

Cooper is the only one of my children who came
willingly. With the other three kiddos, I had to be given pitocin to induce labor, but not with Cooper. I awoke early morning on our fifth wedding anniversary to find that I was having regular contractions. And from then on out, the labor and delivery were textbook. And easy.

As with all my labors, I chose NOT to have any pain medication. But I can honestly say that with this labor, I wouldn't have needed any if it were a choice in my mind. It was a breeze, and in turn, the entire experience was filled with joy. And joy is exactly what Cooper has brought to our lives.

Cooper is one of the sweetest, kindest kiddos you'll ever meet. It's so neat to look at all of my four children and see God's handiwork in four very different and unique ways. He makes all of us so very special. And Cooper is indeed special. He has such a sweet sensitivity about him. He cares for others and thinks of others first. It will not surprise me in the least if Cooper's future involves taking care of others in some way, because that's just what comes naturally to him. He is kind.

Time and time again, Cooper can be seen putting others first. The way he cares for his baby brother and lets his big brother lead the way while humbly following. The way he willingly plays tea party with his little sister, when he'd rather be playing Batman. There are the attributes that are so very apparent in Cooper and make me so very thankful for him. Because you can't be around Cooper very long without striving to be a better person yourself. That's just the impact he has on people. Through his actions, you see love. And after all, they will know us by our love. I think God made Cooper for such a special purpose, and I'm excited to see who He is molded and shaped to be as he grows.

Happy Birthday Cooper!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Gabe: A Boy of Character

My oldest, Gabe, is no longer a first grader. He informed me that he is now to be referred to as a second grader.

Exhibit A: Gabe, a boy of strong will.

Gabe has always been a leader, never a follower. His strong will and determination work hand-in-hand to make him an independent young man, from day one. I remember taking care of Gabe as a baby. A colicky, high-maintenance, 'I'll sleep when I want to' kind of baby. He about did me in. But I knew from those early days he would not be one to go along with the crowd. He would lead.

At the same time, Gabe has a sensitive soul.

Exhibit B: Gabe, a boy with a tender heart.

Gabe can be so insensitive about some things. Like when his mom is crying during sad movies, and he decides to make fun of said mom. Insensitive.

But then there are the times when he starts to think about orphans in the world. About kids his own age, who have no families, no mom and dad, and no place to call home. It is in those moments that his sensitive side becomes evident. He has such an ability to empathize with others, to put himself in their shoes and truly
feel what they might be feeling. As he prays for those orphans through his tears, it is then that I see what a heart he has for others, and my cup overfloweth.

And then there are the times when people call him 'freckles' and he gets embarrassed.

Exhibit C: Gabe, the blusher.

Gabe has been called 'freckles' a number of times in my presence the last few weeks. As a freckle kid myself, I remember the childhood days of summer when the sun would shine and call to my freckles, "Come on out!" And my freckles would cover my face, my arms, my shoulders, begging out for people to give me the same nickname my son now has. I remember a time of self-consciousness, the feeling of, 'Boy, I wish I didn't have these freckles.' But then I realized, God made me beautiful in His own image. He gave me these freckles, so they can't be that bad. And I shared the same enlightenment I was once given with my son, and he now loves his freckles too.

Which leads me to
Exhibit D: Gabe, a boy of confidence. Gabe is perhaps one of the most confident kids I've ever met. He has a contentment about himself, like he's comfortable in his own skin. Not an arrogance that he's better than anyone else, just an assurance that he can in fact put his mind to something and accomplish it. He's happy to play air guitar or wear crazy socks and not care who sees him...

And then there's
Exhibit E: Gabe, the sweet boy.

Gabe, on his own prompting, wanted to write his teacher a letter, thanking her for being such a great teacher. With the exception of a few spelling questions, Gabe wrote the letter by himself. It read:

"Dear Mrs. Gardemann,

Thank you for being my teacher.
You are the best teacher ever.
I will miss you.
Have a good summer.

{heart} Gabe."

And at the bottom he added, "
I {heart} Mrs. Gardemann."

Exhibit F: Gabe, the ladies man.

Gabe has long been a boy surrounded by girls. Maybe it's his confidence, or his leadership qualities. Maybe it's his tender heart or his sweetness. Or maybe it's just his cute face & blue eyes...

Regardless, I am so proud of the depth of character my young man has at the age of seven. What great things I pray Gabe can do in the world as he grows, by the grace of God. I pray we continue to let him become whoever the Lord wants him to be, and be there to guide him toward straight paths.

I love you Gabe, my second grader!

Monday, June 7, 2010

10-month-old Stair Climber

The day before my birthday, Gavin decided to climb the stairs for the first time. At ten months old, he made it up four stairs and stopped for a rest on the landing.

Happy birthday to me. Time to put the gate up!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chloe's First Trip to the Dentist

A few weeks back, Chloe had her first-ever dentist visit...as a patient, that is.

She's been to the dentist several times with the boys. She's watched them get their teeth cleaned. She's watched them get new toothbrushes, and stickers, and toys from the treasure chest. I should add that the kids go to a great pediatric dentist. I, on the other hand, get NO treats when I go to my dentist. Maybe I should switch.

After being witness to all of these dentist visits and wishing it were her turn, Chloe was so very excited about finally having
her own dentist appointment. {I know...excited about going to the dentist? Crazy, right?!?} She was so excited, that she sang the whole way to the dentist's office. She made up songs involving key words like 'teeth' and 'dentist,' with her usual 'princess' thrown in here and there. And as I listened to her sing and sing and sing excitedly for the entire 30-minute trip to the dentist, I wondered {and worried} about how on earth the dentist was going to check the teeth of a girl who doesn't stop talking for more than five seconds.

Well, I had no need to worry.

When we got there, Chloe reverted to her rare shy mode and did whatever they asked of her...quietly. She did so well, that the dentist turned to me and said that she is a rarity for a girl her age, so he went ahead and did the full exam that he usually only does on the older kids. I was shocked. I don't think I've ever heard Chloe be quiet for that long. It made me think maybe I should get a dentist chair and some tools and do exams on her at home everyday. But alas, it certainly wouldn't work that well for me. I'm just glad that she not only isn't scared to go to the dentist like I always was {and am} but that she actually
enjoys going.

Here are a few photos to commemorate Chloe's first dentist visit.

Chloe, so excited for her appointment...

Being such a big girl in the dentist's chair...

Showing mom her very clean teeth...

Looking at the vast selection of stickers. Of course, she picked the princess sticker on the far left...

Picking a prize from the treasure chest...

The dentist goody bag...

First dentist visit: a success!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Game of the Day: Pillow Boats

My kids, like most kids, like to make up their own games.

Today's game: 'Pillow Boats.'

All you have to do is line up some pillows, along with some passengers {aka stuffed animals} on the floor...

...and you've got yourself a boat!

Add some cute kids, and you've got yourself some cute 'pillow boat' pictures.

And yes, we're all about cheap entertainment at the Sanders household.

I'm excited for Friday, Gabe's last day of school. Then summer break is here and I'll have four pillow boat participants to enjoy the fun!