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.