Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Four Years Ago Today....

I became a mom. Thank you Lord for the amazing privilege & blessing it is to be called "momma."

Here I am with my firstborn, my mom and her mom. Four generations of us. Makes me miss Nonie so much. Makes me so thankful for my precious Avery Elizabeth.

Avery Then
Avery Now

In other news, we got a contract on our house!!! Thank you Lord! Closing date is May 29, exactly one month from today. Now we just need to find a house to move into ASAP. We appreciate your prayers that the Lord will guide us to just the right house for us and hopefully soon! Brian's parents offered to take us in if we don't close on our new house the same day, but we would prefer to have a new house to move into on May 29!!!

Baseball season has been postponed for two weeks due to the swine flue epidemic. I guess they are worried about it spreading in any large group of people. Pretty scary stuff. Unfortunately it looks like we will not get the pleasure of seeing Brian with a mo-hawk. Maybe next season.

School was cancelled yesterday b/c of the foot of rain we got over night. What a wonderful blessing! We all slept in and spent the day together driving around looking at houses and being amazed at all the crazy lakes of water everywhere. The street my school is on was completely under water even this morning. Half the teachers were late to work b/c they came one way, then when they came to where the road was impassable, they had to turn around and go back another way.

We also started TAKS testing today. Poor students. I feel so bad for them to have to endure this nightmare of a week. I also feel bad for myself that I have to administer the darned thing. Truly the most painfully boring week of my life each year. Watching 30 students write for 4 hours, handing them calculators or dictionaries when needed, writing the occasional bathroom pass, wishing I was allowed to sit at the computer or read a book or do anything besides stare at those poor students. AGHHH!

Avery's buddy, Rylin, just called her on the phone to wish her a happy birthday. I let Avery hold the phone, but I put my ear right next to it so I could hear the conversation. It was truly the cutest phone conversation I have ever heard! Here's a glimpse of a 4-year-old phone conversation:

Rylin: Hi Avery. It's Rylin.
Avery: Hi Rylin.
R: Whatcha doing?
A: Playing with my momma & my baby sister. (Me prompting her). What are you doing?
R: Playing with play dough with brother. What did you do today?
A: I got a Ariel & Sebastian bath toy and Nemo.
R: Avery, what are you doing now?
A: Um, holding momma's camera and i took a picture of my baby sister.
R: Happy birthday Avery.
A: Happy birthday Rylin. (Me prompting her). I mean, thank you.
R: Can my momma talk to your momma?
A: Yep. Bye.

I know it won't be so cute when she's 13 and glued to a cell phone, but at 4 years old, I was so proud of my big girl and her buddy having their own little conversation over the phone, I almost cried.

Happy Birthday, my sweet, serious, giggly, thoughtful, gentle, wild, brave, precious Ave! You have made my life fuller and happier than I could have ever dreamed!

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Baby Daddy

This is what Brian had to wear to school today. He & the other coaches made a deal with the baseball team if they won 4 games in a row, the boys could pick out what the coaches had to wear to school one day. Well, they just won 4 games in a row, so the boys bought the coaches Hello Kitty t-shirts and "skinny" jeans for them to wear today. The "skinny" jeans weren't so bad, but the Hello Kitty t-shirt on Brian was pretty bad, it was a women's size large, so needless to say, it was pretty dang tight. This morning when we had our prayer time together, I specifically prayed for my husband that he wouldn't get beat up at school today. I am still praying this whenever he comes to mind. Thankfully our girls aren't old enough yet for this to damage Brian's dignity in their sight. Avery loved his shirt, I think she really thought it was cool that he was wearing Hello Kitty. Anyway, if they make it to playoffs, the coaches all have to get a mo-hawk, so here's hoping they will win these last three games. I would love to see my baby daddy with a mo-hawk.

It says "day dreamer" at the top amongst the flowers
Here's Tatum with two of her favorite possessions - No matter how many times we tell Tatum her name is Minnie, she insists in calling her "Mindy", which is pretty darn cute. And Dinoco Lightning (Lightning McQueen painted blue) is "Dico Yite-ning."

Okay the braids. Last Saturday, it stormed all day so we were stuck in the house. So me, trying to be creative and kill some time, asked Avery if she wanted some braids in her hair. I love braiding & doing my girls' hair, and Avery is usually a good sport about it. Anyway, she said she wanted lots of braids, so I went to work. We ended up with six long braids shooting out from the top of her head. That night when it was time for bath, Brian started to take the braids out, but Avery wanted to leave them in, so we said okay. Sunday morning we wake up, and yes, you guessed it, she wanted to wear them to church. So she did. I decided life is too short to have perfect hair every Sunday, and I figured her Sunday school teachers would get a good laugh out of it, so my little Jamaican went to church like this (except with a dress on).

After we took the braids out, she looked like a brunette version of Debbie Gibson in all her "Electric Youth".

Our little Laney-loo is growing so fast and getting some serious chub. Check out her chins & cheeks! I could just eat them up! We've decided she is looking alot like my dad, and my mom found some baby pictures of him to prove it. She's the best little sport in the world, just going with the flow of our crazy life right now. She & I have had several conversations lately where I get right in her face and tell her something and she talks right back to me with a bunch of coos and gurgles. I cannot wait until I can understand what she's saying and what her unique personality is.

We got an offer on our house yesterday!!! We countered today, so hopefully we will hear back from them either this afternoon or tomorrow, whether they can work with our counter or not. We are praying the Lord's will be done, so if this is it, we are so excited!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

We Had A Moment

A moment I cherish and hopefully will remember for a long time. Avery is not overly fond of me whenever her grandmas are around. I totally understand that it's normal for her to prefer them to me, especially at her age where she is already trying to be more independent of me. And while I know this and can't blame her since both grandmas are so sweet & fun, I can't help that it hurts my feelings a little bit. My mom was here with us this past week, which was a wonderful blessing, but Avery tends to act differently when she is here or when she spends extended time with either grandma. She tests the limits big time, doesn't obey very quickly and doesn't act very nice. Although I am starting to better understand the personality God gave Avery, it is still a mystery to me why she sometimes behaves so differently from her normal everyday self.

Anyway, back to the moment. My mom left Thursday, then Friday our house was showing so we spent some time at Brian's parents house, so all that to say, we were around grandmas all week until yesterday afternoon. A huge storm hit us, which is still hitting us right now and all the girls took a great nap yesterday afternoon... Laney in her room, Tatum in A&T's room and Avery on the couch. I was sitting at the computer which is right by our couch just doing some work, when Avery picked her little head up from her nap and said, "all that thunder & lightning is just waking me up!" My first instinct was to tell her to lay back down and rest because I have work to do. But thankfully, it hit me that this was a rare opportunity to have some time with just Avery & I.

So I picked her up, wrapped up her big old almost-4-year-old body in her blankie and carried her like a baby outside. We sat in the rocker under our patio and watched the thunder & lightning together. I thought she would fidget and want to get down, but she didn't. Instead she wanted me to wrap her up in her blankie and just hold her. First she wanted to sit on my lap facing the storm, then she decided she wanted to turn sideways in my lap and curl up and rest her head against my chest. So I just squeezed her and we rocked for probably 20 minutes. I didn't realize this was my moment until it was almost over, but it hit me after about 15 minutes that this moment is one I want to always remember. Just she & I outside under the patio watching a storm, her clinging to me, me clinging to her, me starting to cry as I realize how painfully much I love her. How desperately I needed that moment of her needing me. As quickly as I realized how special it was, she looked up at me and told me we needed to check on the lillies in our front yard to see if all this rain had made them finally bloom. So the moment was over. We got up and walked inside to go check on the lillies in the front. But I cherish those moment with her, especially as we contemplate moving out of this house where we brought all 3 of our kids home from the hospital, where they learned how to walk, where we've sat under that patio so many countless hours watching them play in our backyard, where we've grown as a family. God has been so good to us here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Cookie Recipe

My friend Beth had this Easter cookie recipe on her caringbridge page for Cooper, and I wanted to post it here too. We did it last night with the girls (Brian even helped!) and it was really fun, especially reading the Bible verses after each step of the recipe. This morning we ate them for breakfast. I usually don't give my kids cookies for breakfast, but this made it even more meaningful since it's something we never do. (Don't worry, we gave them cereal too).

Here's Beth's recipe:

Easter Cookie Recipe:

It says to make them Saturday night before Easter, but you could do it any time to review the Easter Story…and experience the Easter message.

***First, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.***

1 c. whole pecans
1 tsp vinegar
3 egg whites
1 pinch of salt
1 c. of sugar

You will need:
Mixing bowl
Wooden spoon
Ziplock baggie
Wax paper
Cookie sheet

Place pecans in the baggie and let the children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested, He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. (Read John 19: 1-3)

Let the children smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. into a mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19: 28-30)

Add the egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life for us. (Read John 10: 10-11)

Sprinkle a little salt into the children’s hand and let them taste it, then brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that it represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers and the bitterness of our own sin. (Read Luke 23:27)

So far the ingredients aren’t very appetizing. Add 1 cup of sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of this story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to Him. (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16)

Beat with mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God’s eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3)

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto wax paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. (Read Matthew 27: 65-66)

Put cookie sheet in oven. Close the door and turn the oven OFF. Give the child a piece of tape and seal the door. Explain that Jesus’ tomb was sealed. (Read Matthew 27:65-66)

Explain they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. (Read John 16:20 and 22)

Go to bed!

On Resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie!

Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Resurrection Day, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. (Read Matthew 28: 1-9)

He has risen! Hallelujah!

Also, on the subject of fun & meaningful things to do with your kiddos, my friend Jennifer & her boys are doing an awesome SOCKS project to help provide socks for the many children in Mexico who are too poor to own any socks. Their goal is to collect 300 pairs to send with some church members who are going on a mission trip there soon. Read about it here and help them out if you can! She is one of my closest friends of all time, and an awesome role model for me in motherhood. She is also the future mother-in-law of my girls! :)

Avery had her first haircut yesterday. It wasn't super dramatic, only about 3 inches, but she needed it and it does make a difference. Her hair was really scraggly at the ends, and now it is so nice & smooth. She was so excited about it, mostly because she got to go by herself with me to Cool Cuts for Kids. I was appalled that they charged $16.95 to cut off 3 inches of hair, which I probably could have done myself, but since it was so exciting for Avery and she did such a good job, I didn't make a big deal about it. But for future reference, I will probably buy myself some good hair scissors and do it myself from now on.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Look Who's 3 Months Old...

LANEY! Actually on the 13th she will be 3 months old, but what's 4 days?

She laughed for the first time a couple days ago, April 7, to be exact. (I need to write that in her baby book!) She was laying on Avery's bed and we were all playing around her. Tatum got right in her face and said something to her and she just started cackling the cutest little laugh I have ever heard! When we all noticed and started laughing with her, she did it again two more times! She is cooing and talking alot now, trying to tell us what's on her mind. She has officially outgrown her swaddler that she has slept in every night since she came home from the hospital. I bought a large size a couple days ago, but it is too big and she can wiggle out of it, so I don't know what to do. She's woken up alot the last two nights that I've put her in the new one, so I may just cram those long legs back in her small one until she really fits the bigger one. I know it's probably time to wean her off swaddling, but she is so content and sleeps so soundly when she's swaddled that I want to keep it up as long as she likes it.

We've had several showings of our house this week and one more tomorrow. We've gotten positive feedback but no offers yet. I never realized how much work it is showing a house! Cleaning it thoroughly almost every day and not letting anything pile up anywhere because you never know when you're going to get a call that someone wants to see it in less than an hour! But I must admit it is nice having a clean house without clutter. We've been doing a lot of playing outside so that the house can stay clean. Thankfully the weather has been very pleasant and Laney is so easy-going lately. As long as she can see & hear the girls & I, she is a happy camper. Right now she is laying on my lap kicking her chubby legs and sticking her tongue out at me. When I kiss her little toes, she gives me a big gurgly smile. How could it be any better than this?

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Bluebonnet pics 2009

We took the girls for bluebonnet pictures today in Hempstead. This is one of the few traditions we've kept really well as far as picture taking, and it's really fun to see how they've grown each year. Click here to see my post from last year when we took their bluebonnet pictures.

Here's the ones from today. Avery will be 4 on the 29th. Tatum will be 2 on May 16th, and Laney will be 3 months old on the 13th!

My FAVORITE! Will be on my blog heading soon!
There was another family there taking pictures that we asked to take this one.
Of course, the girls wouldn't look at a stranger and smile, so this is the best we could do.

My other favorite!
I love this one of Tatum & sweet Avery is so good at holding Laney

I found out yesterday that I got my job back, so that is a relief and a blessing. I hope I learned something from this experience. First, listen to the advice of family. My husband, my parents & my in-laws all were hesitant for me to quit my job, although they understood why I would want to. And second, be grateful for what God has uniquely chosen for me & my family, and quit trying to fit into any pre-concieved mold of how my life should be. My goal is to embrace my school and my job and not complain about it anymore. God has once again opened the door for me to be there, hopefully that will sink into my hard head and I will be at peace with what He has for me. My students really do bless me (95% of them, at least), and it's a privilege to get to hopefully impact them for the Lord.

There's been so much going on lately. Our next door neighbor passed away a couple days ago. It was really frightening, a bunch of ambulances, fire trucks & police cars parked on our street and finally took her out on a stretcher. We found out later that evening that she had died of a heart attack. We are both broken-hearted for that family, losing their wife and mother. It's hard to believe that she is gone. I didn't know her that well, but she came over occasionally to talk and to hold Laney. She walked her dog every day and loved watching our girls play with her dog. She always seemed lonely and hungry for someone to talk to. I regret that, although I was polite, I didn't give her as much attention as I could have. I don't know if she knew the Lord. I regret that fact the most.

We put our house on the market on Thursday. It's been alot of work, but we are really proud of how it looks. Hopefully it will bring alot of great memories to another family like it has to us. We are eager to move on to a bigger home with more space for us to spread out a little bit. We're hoping & praying it will happen quickly, but it's really comforting that the Lord knows our needs and will work the timing out perfectly for us to sell this house and find the right house for us to move into. If you know our address, you can look us up on We got new wood floors in our living room that we are loving! We packed up a ton of stuff and cleared out all the non-essential furniture & decor. It looks really plain, but our real estate agent told us that is how you attract buyers, so we'll see.

Okay, I need to go to bed! More soon...