Thursday, December 18, 2008

37 weeks...

Oh my goodness, so this is what contractions feel like! I never really had them with my first two, but I have been having some real good, painful ones today. To the point where I must sit down and let it pass. Wow, this is kinda fun.

So I went to the doctor today and I have made very little progress. The only change is that he said I was closer to 2 cm. He also measured my belly and asked me how big my last baby was. I told him Tatum was 8 lbs 8 oz. He said this baby will be much smaller, not even 8 pounds. Don't know how he knows that, but I am hopeful he is right. Tatum gave us all a scare because she was so big I almost had to have a c-section with her.

Tomorrow is the last day of school! Yay! I don't know when I've looked forward to a break so much. I am getting my hair highlighted and cut on Saturday morning, then we are planning to go to a Shane & Shane concert at church that night. Then my sweet family is coming to Houston next Tuesday to spend Christmas with us! I am so excited and blessed that they are all willing to accomodate me & baby girl this year. We have never had a Christmas here at our house in seven years of marriage, so I am so looking forward to it. Mostly it will just be fun to have Martin & Dominique, my brother & sister-in-law around for a few days. Thanks so much for coming, y'all! It's supposed to be 70 degrees, so bring your golf clubs!

I don't have any updates on my prayer requests from yesterday, but thanks so much for taking a minute to pray for them. I will post an update when I find out more.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Please pray...

Please pray for Melinda, a co-worker. Her husband died unexpectedly last night. She has two kids, ages 5 and 2. I'm pretty sure she is a believer. Pray God will comfort and encourage her through this time, and provide for all her needs. Pray God will show me how I can help.

Please pray for Ray, one of my students. He has missed school the past week and I found out why today. He is homeless and has been looking for a job so he can afford to eat and find a place to sleep. Pray God will let him find a job so he can provide for himself. He is 18 and I don't know the details of why he is homeless now, but I know he has had a tough life, and been dealt some hard knocks during his life. Pray God will show me how I can help.

While you're praying, please lift up my family as Dec. 26 is the one-year anniversary of my cousin Josh's death. He was 31 when he died tragically last Christmas. Pray especially for my Aunt Janice (his mom), my cousins Charissa & Emily (his sisters) and his daughter, Aria. This time of year must be so bittersweet for them. Josh was the funniest, most gentle and loving person you could know. We all miss him terribly.

THANKS for your prayers!

Monday, December 15, 2008

crazy houston weather

So this morning i got up to go to work and it was about 65 degrees, I was feeling kinda hot with my capris and t-shirt. When i got off work at 10:30 and walked out to my car it was 45 degrees. What is up with this weather? Last wednesday there was SNOW at our house! I couldn't believe my eyes. We were so thrilled to see the beautiful white flakes falling from the sky. I didn't get any good pictures (yes, in houston, we take pictures when it snows), but my church got some good ones. click here to see our church getting snowed on last wednesday. Funny thing is on thursday it was back up to 75 degrees again. How on earth are you supposed to stay healthy with all these crazy changes? We all have sniffles and coughs from all the craziness. One day we're wearing shorts and flip-flops and the next day we've got on our winter hats and gloves! Seriously!

We get out of school this friday, possibly my last day for awhile. Or if sweet baby girl decides to wait around, I will return to school on Jan. 5 to work until my due date. (Please pray that she will come during the holidays!!!) Anyway, tomorrow is the last day I have to actually teach. I am showing my students "Cinderella Man" for the last 3 days of school. It is such a good film about life during the Great Depression, which is our current unit anyway. And it gives all of us a break from "real" education for a few days before the break. Although quite frankly, I believe good movies teach people alot more effectively than any teacher can about some things. If it were up to me, I would show a movie over each history unit we cover. I think the kids might actually learn something if we did. Oh well, I guess that's why they didn't put me in charge of curriculum!

On the home front, Tatum is learning new words everyday. Recently she has started saying "hold me up" which means "pick me up," but I haven't corrected her b/c it's too cute the way it is. It's so fun watching her little mind work and figure out how to "use her words" to get us to understand her.

Avery has a black eye, poor thing. She was chasing Brian yesterday and fell and knocked her eyebrow on the bottom drawer of our dresser. It bled like crazy... of course, Brian said it's no big deal, it's just a little cut. But then 4 bandaids later, he said, well she probably could've used a stitch or two, but oh well, it's too late now. Thankfully, she doesn't seem to be in too much pain. She's a pretty tough kid.

New baby girl is still nameless. I love her so much, and I think it might actually take us seeing her before we know her name. I don't want to put that pressure on us, but the name is just not coming to us that easily this time. I am going to the doctor every week now. Last Thursday I was 1 cm, 50% and -3 station. Sorry if that's TMI for anyone, but some people like to know. I'm really hoping for some progress when I go in this week.

I have been the hostess with the mostess lately. I don't know why this happens, but I always sign myself up to host things all at once. So I'll go for month or two and not have anyone over to our house, then for a week, I'll have several functions at my house right in a row.
We trade babysitting with two other families so that we can each get two date nights each month. Last week was our turn to babysit, which means we keep 7 kids (including ours) from 5-8 pm, feed them all dinner, bathe them all and put them in their PJ's then let them play until their parents get back. It's great when it's our turn to go out on a date b/c when we pick up our kids at 8:00, they are ready for bed. But when it's our turn to babysit, well it's chaos, but fun.

Here's our pajama pals: Jackson, Carson, Rylin, Avery, Tatum, Jacob & Julia

Then Saturday I hosted a playgroup for a few moms from church. We all ate lunch then let the kids play while us moms (tried to) talk about our Christmas plans, etc. It's fun b/c the moms are from different areas of Houston and different careers, etc. so there's lots of different viewpoints represented.

Then today we had our kids' Bible study over here. Me and 3 other moms have been doing "Children Desiring God" Bible study with our older kids, where one of us teaches the older kids a Bible lesson, including a memory verse, while a couple moms watch the little kids play and the host usually gets lunch together so we can all eat when Bible study is over. These friends are such a blessing and I am so thankful to be a part of each of these groups. It's just funny that it all happens at once. Now I should have a break from hosting anything for a couple months. I will just mooch off everyone else now.

Here's our Bible study group eating lunch.

Our Christmas cards should be out soon, but here is one of the pictures I took of the girls that didn't make it onto the card, but I think it's cute. Tatum looks unhappy, but really she's just saying "Cheese" as best she can for the pictures. She was trying so hard to be a good girl! Look at her pigtails! I hadn't tried pigtails before b/c I thought her hair was too short, but it worked, and it made her look like such a big girl! I used my "Hotsticks" from my high school years on Avery's hair and she loved her curls! They both looked so pretty.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Our holidays

Our thanksgiving was really fun. Brian's family in Midland all came to Houston this year. Brian's cousin has three kids that my girls adore. We adults played Trivial Pursuit one night and PictionaryMan the other night. I have always loved that about their family, that they play lots of games. I get really competitive with games, so I am glad to announce that my team (the girls) won PictionaryMan! Trivial Pursuit, not so much, I don't know much trivia about science, literature, geography, etc. Although, I can hold my own with sports & history.

Anyway, early Friday morning, several of us went midnight shopping at our new outlet mall, which was a crazy experience... literally thousands of people shopping at 1 am. Never again will I participate in that, but I am kinda glad I did it once just to have the experience. I did get a cute Kate Spade purse for 75% off, so it was worth it for me! We ate at Shogun that night (we were tired of left-overs) and Avery was mesmerized by the chef and all the chopping of food and huge fire on the grill right in front of us. We also got our house decorated for Christmas this past weekend! It makes me so happy to walk through our house and see all our pretty Christmas stuff out. I LOVE this time of year, and this year Christmas is even more exciting b/c we are expecting to meet our new baby girl in about ONE MONTH!!!

Okay, so here's some pictures of our Thanksgiving:

Everyone joked that this is what Brian & I will look like in about 10 years!! A bench full of kids!
Us with all the kids: McKenzie, Avery, Me, Kenadi, Brian, Tatum & Kade
Brian's fam: Brent, Steve, Brandon, Brian, Jenn, Sharla, Me, Avery & Tatum
(Next year we'll have two more kids in the picture... our baby girl and Brent & Jenn's first baby)
Avery & Kenadi
Tatum & Avery in their cute turkey shirts (thanks again, Jennifer!)!!

More random fun we've had lately:
My girls are big "Cars" fans, and my mom found these PJ's for them a few weeks ago. They ask to wear their "Lightning PJ's" almost every night now that it's gotten cold. Or for Tatum, her "yite-ying" PJ's.

My friend, Jennifer and her 3 precious boys and new baby girl came to visit before Thanksgiving and we had a great time letting all the kids play. I hadn't gotten to meet Kate yet, so I loved getting to hold her and look at her precious little face! I'm praying my girls can marry her boys someday... if arranged marriages were legal, I think we would already have it done. Since Kate is about 6 months older than our new baby girl, Jennifer brought me some of Kate's bows, shoes & clothes for our baby to wear. I am so excited b/c her stuff is so stinkin' cute!

Avery, Crew, Tatum, Brett, Parker & Kate
Crew & Tatum (future Mr. & Mrs. Kindle)

So we're back to work for 3 more weeks until Christmas break. I am feeling alright, although I am starting to have trouble getting comfortable at night. Baby girl is definitely making her presence known... she really likes to keep her foot lodged in my left rib. Her sisters did too. Don't know why that's such a comfortable spot for a foot. Sometimes it's hard to truly adore a baby in your womb when you can't picture what she will look like or anything specific about her, and quite frankly she makes your life pretty miserable at times; but when I look at Avery & Tatum, I am overwhelmed with how much I love them, and I know that I will feel the same about this baby when I meet her. Not that I don't love her now, I definitely do, but I am really getting excited for her to be done with my body and enter the world so we can both enjoy each other more, ya know?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Due Date

I don't know why, but today my doctor moved my due date up one day! It was January 9, now it's January 8, 2009. I asked him if he was sure and he was. Fine by me. I have gained 20 pounds so far, which is probably a little more than I did with A & T by this point, but not too bad. To be honest, I really don't care, but it's the only way to keep track of the baby's growth at this point, so I'll take whatever excitement I can get!

We went Christmas shopping for the girls last night at Wal-Mart and it was really fun. We knew we wanted to get Avery a bike, but we weren't sure what size she would need. We tried the littlest bike, but her long legs were just too cramped, so we got down what looked like a huge bike (with training wheels) and she rode that thing around the Wal-Mart toy department like a pro! I could not get over how big she is. I just kept looking at her thinking "I have a child who can ride a bike!" That is crazy! So I took the girls to another section of Wal-Mart while Brian secretly bought the bike and put it in the back of our car. I can't wait to give it to her for Christmas. I am giddy with excitement!

Tatum loves to try to dress/undress herself now. This is how I found her when I went in to get her up from her nap the other day. The shirt is (was) a long-sleeve turtle-neck shirt, so go figure how she ended up with it like this!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Growing Pains

Yea, I'm officially huge. It's funny how all the sudden you go from feeling "cute" pregnant, to feeling big scary gorilla pregnant. It just happens overnight. One day your maternity clothes fit you just right and everyone tells you what a cute pregnant girl you are, then the next day, your maternity clothes are too tight and barely cover your huge belly and you must make a choice: either resort to moo-moo shirts (not attractive), your husband's t-shirts (not stylish) or you just squeeze yourself into those tight maternity clothes and focus on just keeping your belly covered. I've been opting for choice 3 lately, but i'm really wondering how much longer I can truly keep my belly covered. Anyway, I can hardly wait to meet this little girl. I have been praying that she will come early, not only because I want to meet her so bad, but also because I want to have as much time as possible with her at home and if she comes during the holidays, I will get "free" time with her before I have to go back to work. But I am glad the Lord has it under control and she will come when she is ready.

Last week, my mom took the girls to SA for a few days, which gave me a chance to get our house ready for the baby. We painted the nursery yellow (it has been pink since Avery was born - we needed a change!), and replaced the bedding and decor. I really like it. It is totally different, and it just makes me happy when I walk in there. Also, I moved Tatum's clothes, shoes & stuff completely into Avery's room, so they are officially sharing a room now. That meant I had to overhaul their closet and drawers so I could fit it all in their room, but it feels so good to have it done. It amazed me how productive I could be... really, I am in love with my kids, but it is just impossible to get much done with little ones around. There is absolutely no way I would've been able to get those huge projects done without two full days of undivided time to just focus and think about what I needed to do. There's nothing on the walls yet in our yellow room, I'm still looking for some cute picture frames and decorations that match, but here's some before and after pictures of the nursery:


I am so excited that my friend Jennifer is coming to visit on Friday. We met at A&M and made some great college memories together. I love that we may not see each other but once or twice a year, but we always pick up where we left off... she is a blessing from the Lord. She made my girls the cutest Thanksgiving t-shirts. Check out her blog and see the cute "turkey" shirts she made for Avery & Tatum. Can't wait to see you, Jen!

Only one week left of school until the Thanksgiving holidays! Brian's family in Midland is coming to Houston this year. His cousin has three kids, McKenzie, Kade & Kenadi, that my girls adore, so we are looking forward to catching up with them. Thankfully, our trip to SA this past weekend to pick up the girls was probably my last bit of traveling before the baby comes. It got pretty uncomfortable sitting in the car for 3 hours, and I've been having contractions occasionally so I really am happy that our families are coming to us this year, so that we don't feel bad about not traveling. My family is all coming here for Christmas, even Martin & Dominique are coming all the way from Michigan!!! We are thrilled to see them! We haven't seen them since last Thanksgiving, and I miss them! We have a lot to look forward to over the next couple months. Maybe the Lord will let our baby come a little early so she can meet her Uncle Martin & Aunt Nikki before they head back north! Wouldn't that be exciting!?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

sick puppy

Last week was the sickest i have been in at least 5 years. I can't describe how horrible I felt all week. Something just hit me, I don't know if it was walking pnuemonia or just a really really bad cold, but I was a miserable mess... coughing, hacking (and thus peeing in my pants) unmercifully, nose just out of control, sore throat, achy and tired, pretty much everything hurt. I slept in the recliner all week b/c I felt bad coughing all night and keeping Brian up. I only slept 2-3 hours/night all week. Anyway, I did finally go to the doctor and I know I haven't been that sick in 5 years b/c I had to update my address at the doctor's office ... they still had the address of the apartment we lived in before we bought our house 5 years ago! Anyway, thankfully there is a (very weak) antibiotic I was able to get and it has been helping, very slowly.

So here's some pictures from Halloween. We went to the fall festival at our church and the girls had a lot of fun. Avery was a blue Care Bear, and Tatum was a bunny rabbit. Not bad for $7 costumes from the resale store!!!

This is the back of my blue Care Bear (holding her blue Care Bear):
the petting zoo
tatum in the bounce house (notice her cute furry tail)
playing in the toddler room
cute little bunny rabbit
A & T last sunday after church

Really not much has been going on, since I've been sick, we've cancelled alot of things that we had planned to do. There was a Waterdeep/Derek Webb concert last night that I was crazy to go to in Bryan, but we ended up not going. I was really disappointed to miss it becasue I know Waterdeep probably won't be back around these parts for a long time, but you can only do so much when you're pregnant, and I am learning my limits.

I did go to church yesterday. I had missed the past two Sundays, and I really miss church when I don't get to go. It was so good to see all our friends in Sunday school, and one of our Sunday school teachers gave a really good message about not being a stumbling block to those around us. He said it's better to view yourself as the "weaker" one if you choose to refrain from some questionable activity, rather than allow yourself to be prideful in thinking you are better than those who do partake. I never thought about it that way, but I think subconciously I have been trying to do that, so I was glad to hear it put into words. I hate my own pride in the worst way, and I do want to rid myself of that horrible attitude and mindset that anything about me is better than anyone else.

"May it never be that I should boast, except in the cross of Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." Gal. 6:14

Anyway, my mom is here this week to keep the girls while I'm at work, so it's been fun having her visit. She is planning to take the girls back to SA with her on Wednesday, so Brian & I are hoping to get some things done around the house... my main goal is to paint & decorate the nursery. The nesting instinct has kicked in and I am so excited to try to get our house under control before this baby gets here... only 8.5 weeks to go!

Monday, October 27, 2008


Yep, I turned 30 on Saturday. Our Sunday school class had planned that day to be our "day at the ranch" where we all go and hang out, go fishing, roast hot dogs & s'mores, etc. It just happened to be on my birthday. Most people didn't know it was my birthday, but by the end everyone found out. Brian had ordered a big cookie cake, which was the most thrilling part for me, because I have been craving cookie cake like crazy lately... my husband knows me well! It was such a fun day. Avery caught her first catfish on a Dora the Explorer fishing pole. Brian had to help her reel it in, it was so big - 18 inches! She caught a little perch later on, too. I didn't get a picture, but one of the other moms did and I'm hoping she'll email it to me, so I can post it. Tatum mostly enjoyed playing with buckets in the dirt, and playing with the other kids.
It was such a beautiful day, and being out in the country, the sunset was so beautiful. It was a great 30th birthday, spent with good friends and my sweet little family.

So a little more about my birthday...Brian told me one night last week he was going to take the girls shopping for my present. Me, not wanting to be left out, asked if I could just ride in the car with them and keep my eyes closed, so I won't know where they're going. He said okay. So we got in the car and he started driving, but he never told me to close my eyes. He pulled right up to Best Buy. I was thinking, "Okay, just be grateful that he thought of something, even if it's not exactly what i wanted, just go with it." (I was hoping for books or baby stuff - I know I'm a dork). Anyway, I planned to just sit in the car so he could take the girls in and buy whatever electronic device he thought I needed. But he said I could come in and pick out a new CAMERA!!!! I would've never dreamed! Anyway, he had already done all the research and suggested 2 or 3 that he thought would be good, so we got me a brand new Canon digital camera, it's blue so small and pretty, and I just love it! It's way better than my old camera, no grainy pictures anymore!!! Sweet man. I am still figuring out how to use it, so hopefully I can post some pictures very soon.
Then he got the girls up early Saturday and they brought me home a big bouquet of flowers and balloons (of course, Nemo was on one of the balloons, my girls would stand for nothing less!) and donuts for breakfast. If that's not the best 30th birthday ever, I don't know what is!

So last week at school, our FCA t-shirts came in. The kids designed them, I just ordered them and passed them out. I think they did a great job. You can view the design here. Anyway, we sold over 100 of these shirts on our campus to teachers and students and I am so excited to see so many people at our school proclaiming the new life that can be found in Christ. Galatians 2:20 was the theme of His Hill Bible School, where I went after high school. It was there I really understood for the first time the exchange of life Christ offers us in this verse. "An unfair deal on the part of Christ... He got my sin, I got eternal life!". (that's from a Shane & Shane song) Anyway, I was really happy when our students chose Gal. 2:20-21 to be our theme this year for FCA, and I pray that God will use our huddle & our shirts to spread His hope this year in our school.

This morning when I got to 1st period, one of my students asked me if she could put a poster on my door. I said "sure, what is it?" and she turned it around and it was a poster for me... I was chosen the "Teacher of the Week" this week! I've never really been the teacher that all the students just adore, I mean they don't hate me, but I've just never been the most popular teacher. Not that that matters, but it was just really special that the students voted (the dance team actually) and they chose me! So there was an announcement on the PA this morning about me, and how much Panther Pride I have! Ha, I think that's pretty funny, but it really made my day.

And to top it all off, the past couple days I've been feeling the Lord telling me to slow down. I have consciously made myself slow down and enjoy the little things the girls do each day and not hurry through them. Amazingly, I've felt alot more peace than I have in a long time. Tatum & I have taken several naps together, which may not seem like a big deal, but for me it is. I am so busy, I feel like I always need to put her down in her crib for naptime, so I can get things done. So twice this past week, I decided I was going to just sit myself in the recliner and let her nap on me as long as her little heart desires. She is such a blessing, and I know these days are passing so quickly, that if I don't take advantage of these moments, they will be gone before I know it.

I have also been letting Avery help me cook. Again, may not seem like a big deal, but for me, it is huge. Why? I don't like messes. Messes mean I have to clean. But in an effort to enjoy these moments, I let Avery cook mac & cheese a couple nights ago, and rice krispy treats for our day at the ranch on Saturday. Yes, there were (are) rice krispies all over my floor, and yes, there was mac & cheese all over the stovetop and counter, but like I said, these days will not be here forever, so I am determined to embrace the mess because I love Avery so much, and she loves cooking. By the way, it is now Monday and I still haven't swept my floor... the rice krispies are still there, and I hear them crunch every time I stand in a certain spot. The point is, I am trying to just have fun enjoying my kids and not trying to rush through life to get everything done. It's just not worth it.

Last weekend, we went to the pumpkin patch with Brian's family and here's some pictures of our fun day:
farmer avery
gigi, brian, tatum, avery, uncle brent & aunt jenn

avery & tatum
you can do it, tate!
tatum driving the john deere!
the four of us (almost five)!
avery & daddy in the big wheel

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Make me Maid Marian

Since yesterday's post was very word-y, here's some pictures:

This is Tatum's thoughtful look. This was at "Fields of Faith", where our FCA kids all met at the big football field near us and we worshipped the Lord and had open mic time for the students to share what the Lord is doing in their life. The girls loved running around on the big lit-up football field. Notice how far back we're sitting from the students! We were the only ones there with little kids, and our kids had FUN!

Today while Avery was at school, Tatum & I had a good time playing with the dolls/Barbies/princess stuff, etc. This look was entirely created by her, I just helped her get her furry crown on:

Brian bought the girls the Robin Hood cartoon movie awhile back and ever since, Avery has been asking me "make me Maid Marian," which means I need to drape a blanket over her head and shape it around her face so she can hold on to it. She's been doing this for awhile, but lately Tatum has caught on and tonight she brought me her blanket and said "May" which means "maid marian" in tatum's concise way of dictating what she wants. Here's my two Maid Marian's:

Side note: Since Avery thinks she is Maid Marian, I asked her who Robin Hood is, and she quickly said "Daddy." So I asked her "Well, then who is Mama?" She said "Little John." Thanks, I'm the big fat bear!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Peace Out

I need a new perspective... I am slowly learning and realizing that, although I think I need alot of things, all I really need right now is Peace. I don't know that you ever fully grasp and hold on to peace, but I would like to at least try. I went on our church women's retreat this past weekend, and our speaker said she knows a woman who "wears peace like a garment." That took me by surprise because I cannot imagine that type of life. I am so busy struggling and striving and working and trying, which are not bad things, but I definitely don't know peace like that.

The retreat was so good. This was my first time on a retreat of any sort since college. I'm so glad I went. Not only did God give me a new perspective (that I'm still figuring out), but I really needed & enjoyed the girl time. There were 7 girls from my Sunday school class that went. We spent the night at the Omni Houston Hotel, which was so fancy. We got dessert late Friday night and sat around and laughed. Then me & my 3 roomies, Jeannine, Bethany & Amanda stayed up and talked even later in our room. I haven't done that in so long, and it was so much fun! It's funny to me how excited I get to hang out with other girls.

So I learned that peace is my new mission... I know Jesus is the Prince of Peace and I know He lives in me, but I don't completely understand why I don't experience His peace regularly.
Just tonight while I've been typing, Brian has discovered that there is a leak in our master shower, which has caused the carpet in our bedroom to get wet as well as the wall, baseboards, etc. His dad just came over to look at it, and sure enough, it's a big deal. We also need a new roof. Although Hurricane Ike took off lots of our shingles, our insurance decided it wasn't bad enough to replace it. They just sent us a very small check to repair the damage. All this on a house we really were hoping to not live in too much longer. Where is the peace in all this? I don't know yet, because I am really discouraged, but I'm sure God has a plan in all this. I feel like contentment is my biggest obstacle to peace right now.

Today was a holiday, and a much needed one. My plan was to clean the house and try to organize the monster that is our children's belongings (toys, shoes, clothes, books, stuffed animals). I started with the organizing, because I hate cleaning so I naturally put off until last. There is so much stuff and nowhere for it to go. I'm not a neat-freak, but I do like to have a place for things. I really can't handle excessive clutter for too long. I finally just sat down in their bedroom amongst the clutter and fought back tears, trying to figure out what to do. I think to myself, if we just had a bigger house, all my problems would be solved. Lack of contentment.

The girls are definitely a bright spot in life. They are sleeping in the same room now at night, and loving it! Tatum is talking up a storm, and is so expressive, it's hilarious. Avery is a sweet big sister and they are both such a blessing to me. I am so blessed to have a sweet husband who works his tail off for us and doesn't complain about it. A family that loves and supports us. Friends that keep me sane. A church that helps me grow and "feeds" my family. A job, that may not thrill me, but does give me an opportunity to die to myself daily and trust God completely. A God who loves me and gave Himself for me. I just want peace.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Are Your shoulders big enough?

This has been such a crazy busy couple weeks for me. Last night, as I was thinking about this week ahead, I could barely make myself relax my shoulders I was so tense from trying to wrap my mind around all I have to do. Then I remembered the verse that says "take My yoke upon you and learn from Me... for my yoke is easy and my burden is light." I didn't have the energy to look up the reference, of course, but I know it's in the Bible. I prayed and asked God if His shoulders were big enough to carry all the things I had on my shoulders and I listed them all off to Him, and He of course, said yes. I slept really good last night, and so far today has been busy, as I suspected, but good.

Anyway, our weekend was great, busy, but great. We went to SA for a Third Day/Jars of Clay/Switchfoot concert, which was great. Although I've seen Third Day in concert probably at least 10 times in my life, I must say, every time I leave feeling so encouraged and uplifted in my faith. They are the real deal, and I thank God for that band. God bless them.
While in SA, I visited my grandma, who has been in the early stages of Alzheimer's. Her name is Mary, and my daughter, Tatum Mary, is named after her. Needless to say, she was a huge influence and encouragement in my life. Well, for the first time yesterday, I don't really think she knew who I was. I knew it was bound to happen eventually, but I just didn't know when.
We also got some great news while visiting Brian's brother, Brent & his wife, Jenn (they live close to SA)... I am finally going to be Aunt Melanie!!! I have really been thinking recently how fun it would be to have a neice/nephew, and Brent & Jenn announced they are expecting their first little one in May 2009! We are so thrilled for them and for our kids to finally have a cousin! Yea!

The SA trip also gave us a chance to try out our new car on a roadtrip, and it was great! We are so thankful to have this family vehicle. Did i mention it came with a built-in DVD player? Yes, just turn on "Cars" or "Nemo" and we are good to go. Here is the promised picture of it:

So a couple weeks ago, my mom decided (thankyou Lord!) that Tatum needed a new full-size crib to put in Avery's room, instead of the portable crib we were planning on using for her. She took me to order it at Babies R Us, and it came in last Friday. I put it together in Avery's room and it is so cute! I absolutely love it. And, Tatum has slept in Avery's room for two nights now and they both slept great, until almost 8:00 AM!!! Thank you Lord, and thankyou, Mom!

I am excited to start re-decorating the nursery for the new baby. The nursery has been the same since before Avery was born, so we decided to do something new for this baby. I will post some before/after pictures once we get to work on it.

As far as the pregnancy, I am still feeling pretty good. This little girl has not been quite such a kicker as Tatum was, so I appreciate that about her so much. With Tatum, I seriously felt like one of her limbs was going to burst through my belly at any moment. It hurt! Now that I know her, it completely fits her precious, precocious, precarious personality!!!
Anyway, I have been trying to make myself sit in the recliner and rest for at least an hour every afternoon, which has helped tremendously.

Okay, the girls are presently attempting to nap in the same room, which has not been as successful as nighttime sleeping. They have been attempting this the whole time I've been typing this entirely-too-long blog, and I still hear giggling and squealing coming from their room, so I think I better try Plan B... Avery naps on my bed. We'll see how that works.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

brian's birthday, new car and ballet

brian turned 31 last monday. our big splurge was a new car!!! we traded in our trusty little honda cr-v and got a 2005 ford expedition. i will take a picture of it soon and post it, but it is so pretty... it's blue with gold trim. we really love it. it's so much roomier than the cr-v and although it is a gas guzzler, we feel like it's just right for us right now. it also motivated us to clean out the garage so we can actually park it in there at night. it was kinda a spontaneous decision, but we knew the cr-v was too small for 3 carseats and we knew within the next few weeks a lot of hurricane damaged cars would probably be showing up on used car lots, so we prayed about it and decided to go see if we could find a deal that was in our price range. God blessed us and we found something even better than we ever expected we would be able to afford. we are so thankful and excited about it.

anyway enough about the car. we also started back to school on tuesday. thankfully the kids were ready to be back and got right back into the routine. our FCA meeting thursday was awesome... the officers knew of a college-age worship band that they invited to come play for our meeting. they were so awesome! we had about 70 kids come out and worship God together that morning. our FCA group also sponsored "see you at the pole" on wednesday and we all gathered around our school's flagpole, sang worship songs and prayed. i cannot express how humbling it is to see these high school kids who are so passionate about God, they don't care what their peers think about them. they just love the Lord. i am so humbled and excited to be "leading" this group this year.

one more thing about school... our varsity football players started a new tradition this year where they choose their favorite teacher to wear their football jersey all day on friday, then the teacher turns it in at the end of the day for the football player to wear to the game that night. well, yesterday, one of my football players picked me! i must admit it was really fun to wear his football jersey all day friday (half-day for me). and we won the game last night! yeah!

lastly, avery started her first ballet/tap class this morning at the Y. she was so nervous before we left, she even cried and said she didn't want to go, even though she's been dancing around in her tap shoes for the past month waiting for class to start. anyway, i just prayed that she would be at peace and have fun. when we walked up to the door, one of her friends from mother's day out is in her ballet/tap class!!! avery was completely at peace once she saw celeste, and she had a blast. she came home tip-toeing, curtsy-ing and doing the chicken dance for us. and she looked so stinkin' cute in her little leotard!

avery the ballerina (in her tap shoes)

sweet tatum the climber (her face has healed up almost completely since her fall last week)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

pictures of our week

here's some pictures we took of our yard today while we cleaned up. it doesn't look too bad in the first one, but the second one is all the tree branches/pine cones that we already picked up.

this is the section of our backyard fence that fell over. the right is our yard, the left is our back neighbor's yard. it would be flat on the ground, but we propped it up with a stick so brian could try to fix it. we found out the fence posts snapped, so we need to buy a couple new ones as soon as lowe's or home depot gets re-stocked. brian was able to re-attach it temporarily so the dogs are safe in our yard.

while brian & i worked in the front yard, we let the girls drive up and down the street. they usually love this ... brian hooks up the wagon to avery's princess car and she pulls tatum around. this picture was from a couple weeks ago so you can get the idea.

well today tatum was not so content and she tried to get out all by herself. i know we should've taken more safety precautions, but they have done this alot and been just fine. today, though, tatum face-planted into the street. poor thing, she had pavement in her cheek! i cleaned it out as gently as possible and we covered it in neosporin all day. it didn't seem to bother her after the initial shock, but her cheek was really swollen and obviously scraped up. i am so thankful that was all that happened from her fall, it could've been much worse. we learned our lesson.

i never got around to posting pictures from avery's first day of "school", aka mother's day out. this is her that afternoon after i picked her up. she is sitting on our new sandbox cover brian built on labor day, which we love. of course, she is holding lightning & mater, the two little cars that she is never without these days. who would've thought a little girl could love two toy cars so much?!!

two sweet sisters!!!

that's all for now. i'm going to bed!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

God is good

we are home. our home is safe and dry. our home has power and water. God is so good.

we had a great time in SA...sometimes unplanned trips are the best! my dad's 62nd birthday was yesterday, so we got to help him celebrate it. my mom helped us pick out some cute stuff for the baby's room, which we are so excited about. brian's brother, brent & his wife, jenn, live in new braunfels, and they took us to a great park where we all rode a train and the girls got to play on the playground. overall a great weekend, despite our concerns about our home, city, friends, family, etc.

we called home from SA this morning and finally, around 11:00 am, our answering machine picked up! it was really an exciting moment, since we've been calling home every couple hours for the past three days hoping to hear it! we had already planned to eat lunch at the incredible pizza with my mom & brother matthew, so we went ahead and did... it was so much fun! chuck-e-cheese doesn't compare! brian took avery in a race car, we played putt-putt golf and lots of other games, and the food was really pretty good! then we packed up our stuff and headed east.

driving home today was really eerie. when we got into our area of town, we started noticing lots of trees down, tarps on people's roofs, streetlights not working or hanging to the ground, gas stations either vacant or having lines twenty cars long in front of them, not to mention it's cool and cloudy today, just an eerie feeling. when we turned into our neighborhood, the streetlight that hangs at the entrance had fallen and it's wire was hanging onto the street. brian had to steer around the wires so they wouldn't touch our car. our neighborhood just had all new fences put in along the main road, and half of them were down. lots of tarps on roofs. lots of trees and debris on the roads. it was indescribable. i kept gasping, brian just drove silently. finally i asked him, "have you ever seen anything like this?". he said something about an ice storm a long time ago in houston, but he said it wasn't this bad.

anyway, when we pulled up to our house, we just stared at it. we have one old pine tree and one old oak tree in our frontyard. both are still standing, but most of their branches were littered all over our yard. brian's sweet parents had come over yesterday and gathered up some of the branches and swept the driveway for us, but it's still just a huge mess. i carried avery into the backyard to find about a 15 foot section of our backyard fence down. lots of roof shingles were missing. when we went inside, the only thing we found was some water damage on avery's celing and our living room ceiling. no drips though, thankfully. i had to dump out pretty much everything in the fridge and freezer (power has been out since friday night), so i will need to do some serious grocery shopping tomorrow hopefully (most of the stores around here that do have power are only letting in 20 people at a time for only 10 minutes each - um, i need time to think when i shop, but oh well). anyway, we are so thankful for our home holding up so well.

on the drive home today, avery started coughing like a dog barking. when we finally got home and i got her out of her carseat, she was burning up! poor thing, i have no idea how she got sick that fast, but it appears she did. i put the humidifier in her room tonight. i just went into check on her while she's sleeping and her breathing sounds like an alligator! hopefully our doctors office is open tomorrow so i can get her in.

thankfully school doesn't start back up until thursday, so we have a couple days to clean things up and hopefully get back to normal. Thank you Jesus for being so good to us.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


yes, i know i'm a dork. (read the title). well we're in san antonio, we came in thursday night once we found out school was cancelled for friday. we have, of course, been glued to the news here.
most of our family/friends in houston aren't getting any cell phone service so it's been hard getting updates. the power is out everywhere there and we're hearing it may not be back on for a week or more. we finally got in touch with brian's dad a few minutes ago... he went over to our house this morning to check things out. he said sections of our backyard fence was down and several sections of our roof shingles came off. hopefully water isn't leaking into our house. thankfully no windows are broken and none of our trees came down, that was what i was most worried about.
we are so sad for our city going through such a devastating time.
we might try to go back home tomorrow, but if the power isn't going to be back on for a few more days, we may wait it out here. i'll update more later. take care, all my fellow houstonians!

Monday, September 8, 2008

busy week!

well this week is going to be busy, but today it started off well. for the past couple months, me & three friends of mine have started doing a "Children Desiring God" Bible study with our preschoolers. Two of us teach the 5 preschoolers the lesson and two of us watch the 5 babies/toddlers in another area of the house. So far it has been great. avery has already memorized about 5 verses and learned so much from the bible stories. today it was our turn to host and the lesson was about Abram & Sarai being called to leave their country for a new land. anyway, after the lesson was over we fed the kids lunch & let them play outside for a while so us moms could visit. the kids found the baby powder and decided since tatum was the youngest one out there, she needed to be powdered. it occupied them for a good 30 minutes and tatum didn't mind all the attention so we just let them do it. tatum was covered... it was pretty hilarious!

tomorrow avery starts back to mother's day out. she seems excited so i am hopeful that it will be a great day for her. yesterday we had promotion sunday at church and she walked right into her new sunday school classroom and just started playing like such a big girl. she barely looked back at me to say goodbye. i am nothing but proud that she's gotten so big and so independent.

brian has officially finished his first master's degree class! praise God... one down and 14 more to go! i am so proud of him. he has been crazy busy lately with volleyball tournaments, writing papers for his master's, and just his regular teaching responsibilities (not to mention two girls who won't let him out of their sight when he's home), but he just trusts God to get him through it all, and i know HE will.

yesterday also was the re-opening of our sanctuary at our church. we've been meeting in the gym for the past 5 months while they renovated our sanctuary... and it was beautiful! it was a very emotional service for me. yes, i'm pregnant, so that may have had something to do with it, but i just balled my eyes out at every song we sang, every story that was told, every point our pastor made in his sermon. i am so thankful to God for how He's blessed us and taught us there for the past 4 years.

tonight i am supposed to take a meal to some friends who just had a brand new baby boy named Price, so i need to get to cookin'!

Friday, September 5, 2008

today was the day

i just need to take a minute for a huge sigh of relief... today was the day they fixed my 3rd period. two weeks into the school year already, but i'm not complaining. i showed up this morning to check my roster (it's been my morning ritual everyday since school started), and viola! yesterday's 39 kids was down to 24!!! and yesterday's 13 special ed kids was down to 7!!! where did all those children go? i have no idea, and i'm not asking around to find out. my class sizes are now manageable, and i actually had fun teaching today!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

labor day weekend

Our weekend:
we started out the labor day weekend with no plans, and were OK with that. we were trying to think of something extra fun to do with the girls but not spending any money to do it, but we really hadn't thought of anything.

so we got a call on friday night from brian's coaching buddy's wife who asked if we got the e-vite for their daughter, macy's chuck-e-cheese birthday party the next morning. we didn't get the e-vite, so we had no idea about the party, but thankfully we had no plans, so we decided to go. i had heard parties there were torturous, so we braced ourselves. but the place was empty except for the 10-12 kids for macy's party, and our girls had a blast. avery's favorite game was, of course, the race cars that you get to drive (she's in love with lightning mcqueen right now). tatum liked riding the barney & teletubbies rides in the baby section. it tired them out, so they took a nice long nap that afternoon.

so brian went to work on his master's paper saturday afternoon, and i got a phone call from a friend in our sunday school class who had astros tickets for that night and they weren't able to use them. he said they were good seats & it included the parking pass, so did we want to use them? um, yes!!! so we got all decked out in our astros gear, loaded up the girls and went to minute maid park. we got to park right in front of the entrance and our seats were 5 rows back from the dugout! it was great! our astros hit lots of home runs, which was great b/c there's a big choo-choo train filled with oranges up on the rafters and it goes back & forth whenever we hit a homer! avery loved the train!!! and we won the game so it was a great night!

tatum's first astros game!!!
us girls "on the bench" (i think i was telling brian to just take the picture!)
i know this is a weird pictures of avery, but you can see how close we were to the action...
and we love hunter pence (#9 up to bat).
so our weekend turned out to be lots of fun. yesterday, brian spent the whole day building a nice cover for our sand box in the back yard. we are both thrilled to have that done. now the girls can play outside without being caked in sand everyday!!!

okay, so my 3rd period is still huge, but at least it's down to 39 kids and only 15 are special ed. i got an email today saying it should be fixed by the end of this week, so i am still hoping every day will be the day. overall things have started off well with school. we have our first test friday over the frontier so that will be interesting.

The Girls:
a friend let us borrow her extra crib for the next year or so, so we put it in avery's room and have let tatum try to nap in there a few times. it's mostly for fun b/c they love "napping" in the same room... although they have yet to learn how to actually fall asleep in the same room. they have way too much fun laughing and talking to each other. so after an hour or so, i get tatum and go put her in her own room so they will both actually nap. any tips from you moms whose kids share rooms would be greatly appreciated. we're hoping by december to have tatum completely moved into avery's room and sleeping in there for nighttime & naptime. we'll see.

here's a picture of avery & brian at her first astros game back in the summer of 2006.
my, how she's changed!