Friday, December 17, 2010

Playing Outside

So it was 80 degrees yesterday and now it's 50. Gotta love this Houston weather. Yesterday, I finished giving final exams and the girls had their last day of school, so today we are home and we are happy!

Tater-tot makes me so proud... there have been many times in her 3.5 years that I have had random people approach me and say "Are you Tatum's mom?". I proudly say, "Yes." And they usually say something like, "I love Tatum! She is the sweetest, funniest, happiest little girl!". And I agree. She is a joyful blessing to our family.
Avery is a very responsible and loving big sister. She is also becoming very independent and sometimes I can't believe she is only 5... it seems like she is 13.

Laney is the pride and joy of her two big sisters. They are both so enamored with her and want her near them all the time. They fight over who gets to sit next to her and who gets to help wipe her nose when she has snot. Precious.
8 days until Christmas! We can hardly wait!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What we've been up to...

well, back in august, our women's ministry coordinator at our church asked me if i would be interested in facilitating a women's bible study later on this fall. i have no idea why she asked me. i don't mean that to sound falsely humble. there are a ton of talented, Godly women in our church who have actual experience doing things like that, and i have never done it, so i really don't know what made her think i would be a good candidate for it, but for whatever reason, she asked me. so i talked to brian about it and we prayed about. he really encouraged me and said something like "you're always preaching & teaching us here at home, i think you were born to do something like this." so i told her i would do it, without knowing what on earth i was getting myself into.

so on wednesday nights at our church, the girls do AWANA, which i am so excited about. avery & tatum are both memorizing Scripture each week and laney gets loved on in the nursery. brian does the men's bible study and i do the women's bible study. we did a Motherwise study for the first part of the fall semester, which was led by a very talented and energetic speaker. So at the beginning of November, that study was over and it was time to start the study i was to facilitate.

so for the past 5 weeks, i have been studying and preparing like nothing i have ever done before. it has consumed pretty much all my "free" time, hence my long seperation from my blog. i don't know if it's supposed to be this much work to prepare a weekly bible study. i have told brian all along that i enjoy the studying and researching and i enjoy the leading of the Holy Spirit while i'm typing up notes on whatever the topic is each week. it has been a learning experience in many ways, which i am very thankful for, but i must admit, i am super glad to have a month off from our regular wednesday night routine so i can decompress from all of it.

if i have learned anything through this first month of leading a bible study, i have learned how very little i have to offer. i am pretty much the least creative, least motivating, driest, emptiest, weakest person i have ever met. i have always known i needed Him, but i have experienced that desperate need for Him more through this experience than i have in a long time. so that is where i've been. trying out something new. not sure if it's a good fit for me. but nevertheless, thankful to have this opportunity to try it out.

so besides all that, we are excited to meet our first nephew in less than a week. brian's youngest brother brandon, and his new wife adriana, are expecting their baby boy to arrive sometime this week. if he doesn't come on his own by thursday, i think they will be induced on thursday. not sure about his name yet, but they are liking Matthew right now, which I of course love, since it is my oldest brother's name! his middle name will be Ray because brandon is a little bit crazy about stevie ray vaughn.

speaking of baby boys, our baby boy is still doing great! he is not making me feel too uncomfortable yet. i did have to switch to the granny-panties a few weeks ago and i have already outgrown about half of my maternity shirts. i do have cankles pretty much every evening and i never know each day if i'll be able to wear my rings or not. his sweet little kicks make me so happy and thankful that he is alive and well inside me.

we got rid of laney's paci over the thanksgiving break. it wasn't nearly as bad as i imagined. she cried a little bit for about the first 3-4 days each time i put her down without it, but that was it. after a few days, she didn't act like she missed it. now our goal over the christmas break is to get her out of the crib and into the girls' bedroom. our lofty goal is for all three of them to share one room. we have a bunk bed in their room with a twin bed over a full bed. avery is on top in the twin bed and we are hoping tatum & laney can share the full bed. we do have a back up plan, but i'm really hoping it works. we are excited to start turning the nursery into a sportsy room for our son. i have never seen a man so excited to shop online for nursery bedding as i was to see brian get on looking for baby boy crib sets. he is being very particular about color pallettes and level of coolness of embroidered baseball gloves on quilts, etc. it's pretty funny.

here he is with our two little ones.
the one above is tatum (second row with the two white bows in her hair) singing "hush little doggie with your bow-wow-wow. baby Jesus is sleeping now." and below is avery singing "super duper christmas" at their school christmas pageant last week. it was very cute, and they both did a great job.

the highlight of this weekend, amongst a work christmas party, a sunday school christmas party, a golf tournament fundraiser and "road to Bethlehem" at church this morning, was that we got to keep Avery's kindergarten class bunny, Patches, all weekend! she has been counting down since September waiting her turn to bring Patches home. forget counting down to christmas, she has been counting down to Patches' visit. so this was finally the weekend. we have enjoyed our little furry friend's visit, but i will be inwardly happy to return her to the kindergarten classroom tomorrow. and finally sweep the kitchen floor of all the rabbit hay, wood shavings, etc.
(and yes, i do brush my children's hair daily. tatum & laney just woke up from their naps in this picture. :))

Last weekend, we went back to SA because my mom got us tickets to see the Nutcracker ballet! it was so much fun for the girls and they even got their picture with the Sugarplum Fairy and the man in the white tights, that i really did not want a picture of, but i would've felt rude telling him we just wanted the Sugarplum fairy in the picture. i guess he does deserve some respect for dancing and walking around all night in tight white tights! i will never understand. but anyway, the girls love the storybook of the nutcracker so it was very exciting for them to see all the characters in real life dancing on the stage.

only 4.5 days of school left. "cinderella man" for two days and finals for the other 2.5 days. so thankful to have almost reached the end of this semester! good night!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Random Pictures

Well it's been awhile since I've uploaded pictures so I'm throwing a bunch of random ones in here. Avery made me this grocery list one day last week while I was taking a nap. It took me a minute to get it, but I was very impressed with her creativity. Here's what it says: "1 apple, 2 oranges, 3 bananas, 4 mangos, 5 pineapples, 6 strawberries, 7 raspberries, 8 grapes, 9 blackberries" - obviously with "Avery-spellling". I'm so proud of my little Kindergartener!

We went to a fall festival on Halloween with our friends, the Spenn's.
Here's Avery as Belle and Rylin as Snow White.
This is the Sugarplum fairy, as sweet as sugar!
Here's the whole slew of little characters...

My little pumpkin

Her poor little nose and lip met the driveway... this was just last night, so it's still pretty gooey.


This little almost 2 year old and her mama are pretty much attached at the hip these days.
I love that she loves me. I could go on and on about all the cute things she does these days, but I just have to say, she melts my heart and I love this stage with her.

Brian took Avery and Tatum camping in our backyard a couple weeks ago. Yes, he set up the tent, blew up the air mattress and went all out. They were SO excited. Laney and I slept inside. I completely expected them to only make it out there for an hour or so and them come back inside. But they slept out there until about 4 am... Brian said the dew was making them all wet and it was getting pretty cold, so they came in and snuggled in their warm beds.... major perk of camping in the backyard.

Prepping for the camp-out

Me and my new sister-in-law, Adriana. She & Brandon's baby boy is due in December and ours is due in March. This was at her baby shower. And yes, I know it looks like I am the one who is due in December. Fourth baby... maternity clothes came out when I was 7 weeks prego, so yes, this is what I look like at 4.5 months prego. So excited to meet our baby boy, I do not care what havoc he wreaks on my body.

Storybook Land at Avery's school

Avery and T.Bear, her class teddy bear. The kids get to take turns taking it home each day and she always wants to show him a good time. So we took him to Daddy's volleyball game that night.

I just love this little face, it's so beautiful to me, even with the remains of the black eye she got a month ago!
I am so thankful for these girls and the sweet uniqueness of each one. Being a mom is such a blissful and joyful experience, but I am finding that to be good at it is a lot of hard work, not only physically, but mentally. Figuring out which strategies work and don't work for each child and putting myself in their very unique shoes so I can better understand what makes each one tick. I can't believe these three children all came from us, they are so incredibly different. I feel so blessed that God decided I was the right mama for each of them.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Exhibit A
So one day back in July, I went to Wal-Mart to buy my mom a birthday card. Her birthday is July 17, so it was probably a week before that. I took the card to the counter to check-out and when the lady scanned it, she accidentally dropped it through the crack between the scanner and the counter. So she reached down and got it and put it in my bag and I went home. Well, when I got home, I got the card out to sign it and this is the card I found in my bag:

Apparently this card was already down in that crack, so when she reached down there to get my mom's birthday card, she accidentally pulled this one out and put it in my bag without either of us noticing. This was the exact time we were suspicious that I might be pregnant, but weren't sure yet. Sure enough, we found out shortly afterwards that I was pregnant. I put this card in my drawer, thinking how funny it would be if someday we did have a son and I could give it to him.
Well, last Friday, Brian, Avery, Tatum and I went in for our sonogram, and we heard the technician say, "You have a son... 100%" After all the screaming, laughing and crying, it is finally starting to sink in that we are going to get to have the wonderful experience of raising a little boy and our girls will have the awesome experience of having a brother!
Exhibit B
When Brian's Grandma Kratky passed away last summer, he went up to New York to spend some time with his grandpa and family up north and came home with a lot of Grandma's things that she had saved from his childhood. One of the things he brought home to the girls is this BOY Cabbage Patch Kid that he had played with at Grandma Kratky's house back a long time ago.

Over the past year, our girls have loved this doll to pieces, literally. My mom had to sew his arm back on a few weeks ago when she was in town. And he is such a cute little doll. He has been our "little brother" up until now. I often find Laney cuddling with this doll at night when I go in her room to check on her. I hope that's how she feels about her real little brother when he gets here!
Exhibit C
If you would've asked me what I thought the baby was before we had the sonogram, I would've told you I really thought it was another girl, since I have felt almost exactly the same as I did with my three girls. But deep inside I really thought it was a little boy. I have prayed for a little boy and even though God doesn't always say "yes" to all our prayers, He does delight to give His children the desires of our hearts. As I have "pondered these things in my heart", I have felt like that card that's been sitting in my drawer for the past few months was more just a little "accident"... it was all part of God's amazing and gentle love and leadership in our lives. He is the One the wind and waves obey, and yet He still cares so much about my little wants and needs. I can't wait to give that card to our son someday and tell him the funny story behind it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Lezette McReynolds


My sweet MeMe met Jesus early this morning. I know it was a grand celebration in Heaven as all her friends and family were there to greet her. While I am so happy she is Home, it is hard to wrap my mind around it, it happened so quickly.

She turned 87 on Sept. 6, so I called her to wish her a happy birthday. I was about a week late, but I knew she wouldn't mind. We talked about the girls. She asked about our new baby. She was very hopeful we would have a son, but assured me that another little girl would be a great blessing too. She raised three boys... my dad is her oldest son, so she knows about raising boys. She reminded me that she was born in 1923 and PawPaw was born in 1922. I wrote it down so I wouldn't forget. She's been telling me for 10 years that her cedar chest is mine when she dies. She reminded me of that again while we talked on the phone. She asked me if I wanted the photo albums she keeps inside of it. I said sure, I want anything and everything inside of it if it's from you. We joked about how I don't want it anytime soon and she said she hoped not either.

So the past couple weeks have come as a complete shock. She fell a couple times due to dizziness, and hit her head. I talked to her on the phone after her falls and she said she felt fine, she just couldn't stand up or walk because she felt so dizzy. She got a CT scan and it was normal. Then Sunday she started feeling really bad, so my parents took her to the hospital. There they discovered her heart was beating way too slow. So Monday they gave her a pacemaker. She was doing fine for about day. Then Tuesday morning her kidneys and lungs were showing signs of distress and failure. So I drove to SA on Tuesday after work. PawPaw was bringing MeMe home so she could pass on at home. She was fighting sleep, but she did wake up to ask me about the baby. Then I said, "I love you MeMe" and she clearly said "I love you too" and I said "I know you do." I sat beside her bed and held her hand and stroked her beautiful hair and hummed her some songs I knew she liked. She fell asleep very peacefully and slept on for the next day and half. By last night, all my uncles and cousins had come to visit her and spend time next to her. I know she heard everyone around her even though she couldn't respond to anyone anymore. So early this morning, a little after midnight, she went Home to her mama and daddy and Jesus.

Here's a short list of things I loved about MeMe:

  • She adored my PawPaw and thought he was the funniest, smartest, bravest and most clever man in the entire world. We all agree, by the way. And he was crazy about her too. I've never seen a cuter couple in my entire life. They each thought the other hung the moon. And the thing I loved best is how they cracked each other up. It was true love at it's finest.
  • She's been legally blind for years, but she never gave up on learning new things, even though she couldn't read. She always wanted to have things read to her aloud so she could learn them or remember them.
  • She could tell you the name and birthday of anyone in our family at any time. Whether it was an ancestor who's been dead for 50 years, or each of my own three daughters, she knew their entire names and birthdays - month, day and year of birth.
  • Memorizing Scripture and teaching her kids and grandkids to memorize Scripture was her passion.
  • She even offered us money if we would memorize a certain amount of Scripture. I guess she knew the end justified the means.
  • When I was a little girl, I remember sitting in between PawPaw and MeMe in their truck. I would sing them all my camp songs and MeMe would always tell me how amazed she was that I could memorize all those words to all those songs. She made me feel like a superstar.
  • When I was in elementary school, she would have me over to spend the night at her house once or twice a month. We would play UNO and just hang out together. She would let me sleep on the little fold-out couch in she and PawPaw's bedroom. She also had a schedule set up where she kept my brothers and each of my cousins once a month or as often as possible. She poured her life into her grandkids.
  • When I was in junior high, I remember going out to "the place" one weekend and MeMe taught me how to drive PawPaw's big truck. I couldn't believe she actually let me drive it all by myself. Although it rarely came out, she did have a bit of a wild streak in her.
  • When I was in highschool, I went to her house after school once a week and she gave me cooking lessons. Her recipes were not low-cal, but they always tasted great and made you feel warm and comfortable.
  • You couldn't go into MeMe and PawPaw's house without her making you something yummy to eat, even if you swore you weren't hungry. She would get up and start cooking you something, and it was usually lots of something.
  • Shortly after Brian and I got married, PawPaw and MeMe decided that they owed us a trip to Big Bend. So all four us loaded up in their van and spent a week in Big Bend together. They didn't even ask us if we wanted to camp... even though they both, in their late 70's, would've been fine camping out, they knew their 22 year old granddaughter was a little too much of a city girl so they just told us they were getting two rooms in the little campsite motel. We thouroughly enjoyed that week with them.
  • MeMe loved nature and she loved history. Besides the Scriptures, I'm pretty sure those were her two favorite subjects. I always learned something new about those two things when I was with her.

When our little Laney was born, for the longest time we couldn't figure out who she looked like. Finally, we discovered who she looked like... When God created Laney, I'm so glad He decided to make her from the same mold as MeMe, especially her eyes and her hair.

These two photos are from our family reunion this past July. PawPaw is 88 and MeMe is 86 and Laney is one and a half. Laney had been wandering around the patio at my Uncle Don's house, when she came upon MeMe's lap. She decided that was the lap she wanted so she crawled right up into her lap. She stayed content there for a long time. I'm so thankful my cousin Sara got these two photos of those moments.

So goodbye for now, MeMe. I can't believe you're really gone. You made a lasting impression on everyone who knew you. So as you go, I want to say this Scripture over you... Your children (and grandchildren and great-grandchildren) rise up and call you blessed; Your husband also, and he praises you: “ Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates. Prov. 31:28-31

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Brandon & Adriana's Wedding

Brandon (Brian's youngest brother) and Adriana's wedding was last weekend and it was so beautiful and perfect, I've been trying to get all my pictures together so I can post them all at once. Avery was a flower girl, along with Adriana's younger sister, Isabella. And Tatum helped me hand out programs in the foyer before the wedding and they both did a super job with their very important tasks. They both got "princess" dresses and I had fun braiding their hair and making it fancy with little flowers in it. Laney and Tara (my neice) got matching dresses and bows for their hair too. They all looked so pretty! I really think they thought the night was all about them. They owned the dance floor. Tatum twirled in circles for at least an hour straight, just watching as her dress flowed all around her. Avery loved dancing with Brian. Laney just ran all over the dance floor and she & Tatum ran around the dance floor like a choo-choo train, just laughing their heads off. At one point the choo-choo train fell over on top of each other and Tatum must have hit her eye pretty hard on the back of Laney's head because within 5 minutes, she had a huge purple shiner! I tried to get some pictures of it but they never show up as dark in the pictures as it really is in real life. Anyway, the wedding and reception were a lot of fun and we are all very happy to have Adriana as part of our family now!

The two princesses
Avery asked Brian if he would marry her real quick before we left for the wedding. So we had a short wedding ceremony in our gameroom.

The blushing bride and her daddy... er, groom

Flower girl pose

I wish I wasn't in the background... it would've been cute of the three of them. oh well.

GiGi and the girls

Avery lost her second front tooth at lunch the day of the wedding. i was so excited because I had secretly hoped it would fall out in time for the wedding so we could get cute pictures of her with her two front teeth missing. That morning I checked it and it wasn't loose enough to pull, so I gave up hope. Then at lunch she bit into her Bagel Bite real hard and that tooth came right out almost by itself. So here she is without her two front teeth.
My mom came in town to play the piano for the wedding, so here's NaNa with the girls before she had to head back to San Antonio. I loved the songs she played for the ceremony... Canon in D and Ode to Joy... two of my favorites!

Tatum's hair before the wedding. By the end of the reception, I think only one of those poor flowers was still hanging on. I did Avery's the same way. I must say I loved the way it turned out.

Tatum showcasing her dance skills. She is so fun to watch because she could care less who is watching her or what anyone else is doing. She dances to the beat of her own drummer and she gets out there and does her thing. I just sat in a chair and stared at her for half of the night because I wish I felt as free as she does... there's something beautiful about a person who is completely unaware and uninhibited by what anyone else thinks.... just feeling it on the inside and following her heart. That's Tatum and I love that about her.

My little neice Tara... she's not too sure what to think about her three crazy cousins but I am glad that she is getting used to Aunt mel and letting me hold her. She & Laney looked so cute together in their matching dresses and bows, but I did not get a single good picture of them together. I'm sure one of these days they'll be best buddies.

The beautiful bride and handsome groom

Here's the picture of the purplish color on her cheek toward the end of the night. It was also pretty swollen. By the next morning, it was a full fledged black eye and she was pretty proud of it too.

Grandad dancing with the girls

Tatum and Laney on the dance floor

Avery and Brian dancing

This week we also celebrated Brian's 33rd birthday! Which also marks the 10 year anniversary of our first date! I still can't believe he wanted to spend his 23rd birthday with me, when we hardly knew each other. But he did and I remember that day like it was yesterday. I always remember thinking in my head, "I don't know if I'll marry him, but I'm pretty sure I will never want to break up with him." Nine months later we were married! I hope and pray Brandon & Adriana will look back 10 years from now and be more in love with each other and more thankful for each other than they could possibly imagine right now.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Avery's Salvation

So here's the story from tonight. It's pretty long, but I wanted to record all the words and conversations so we can always remember it. If you want the short version... Avery asked Jesus to come into her heart tonight!!! Glory to God!

So once the girls were all up from naps, we got out the play-doh. We don't do play-doh very often so they were very excited to get it out and start playing. After a few minutes, Laney got up from her chair and walked over to Avery's chair and starting grabbing at her things. So Avery pushed her to the floor and yelled at her. I, of course, yelled at Avery to come over to me and tell me why she pushed her. Avery was out of control angry that Laney was, at that very moment, sitting in her chair and playing with her play-doh, and completely oblivious to the fact that she was making Avery so upset. I waited until she calmed down and I prayed for the words. I told her that Laney just wanted to see what she was doing because she wanted to be a big girl too and do big girl things... she wasn't trying to be mean or to be annoying, she just wanted to be a part of what Avery was doing because she thinks Avery is so great. I asked her if Jesus was the big sister, would he have treated Laney that way or would he have done something different.... like teach her how to play with play-doh and show her all the neat things that big girls can do in a loving, sweet way. She agreed that Jesus would have done that, so I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her to have a loving, sweet heart toward her sisters. She did, so we prayed together.

After that she did a good job being patient and kind... until about an hour later when I was ready for them to pick up and eat supper. We have had major issues lately with her ignoring what we ask her to do and us having to ask her three or four times before she actually does it. Anyway, I asked her at least three times to get washed up for supper, and she ignored me so I told her if she chose to ignore me again and I had to ask her more than once to obey me, I would spank her.

So after supper, we sat down to watch their favorite movie, Sweetpea Beauty (the VeggieTales movie) and all was well until it was over and I told them to go upstairs and get in the shower. Avery ignored me so I told her I was gonna have to spank her because she chose to disobey. She hates spankings more than anything and threw a huge screaming fit, but I still put her over my knees and spanked her. Afterwards she ran and hid behind the recliner and screamed and cried for another 5 minutes. Praise the Lord Tatum and Laney were busily reading and playing together in the gameroom so they weren't in there with us.

Finally, Avery stopped crying and I told her if she was done crying I needed to talk to her. So she came over to me and sat in my lap. I asked her if she was angry because she didn't think she deserved a spanking. She said she was angry because it hurt. So God reminded me of the Bible verse that all punishment is painful at the moment, but in the long run it is good because it makes us learn to do the right thing. So we talked a little more about that, then I felt the Lord telling me to share the gospel with her.

Rewind a few weeks... she is doing Awana at our church and the first verse she had to memorize in order to get her vest is John 3:16. We spent alot of time talking about what that verse means over the past few weeks and it is truly a blessing to hear her say it now because she knows it by heart without even having to think about it. Anyway, back to today, I decided to share the gospel with her and just see what her response would be. So I told her Jesus loves her and wants to come live in her heart and help her to do what's right. And If she ever wants Jesus to come live inside her heart, all she has to do is pray and ask Him and He will come live inside her and help her do what is right. She looked up and told me, "I want to pray and ask Jesus to come live in my heart." I was super happy but hesitant because I didn't want it to be me putting the idea in her head if she didn't really believe. So I asked her a few questions...
Me:"Do you believe that you are a sinner?"
Me: "You know all of us humans, Mama, Daddy and everyone comes into this world as sinners, and we are seperated from God. But God loved us so much, what did He do?"
A: "He died on the cross to forgive us of our sins."
Me: "He sent Jesus to die for our sins so that we can be friends with God again and He can help us to do what's right."

I waited a minute and thought I might have lost her, so I just asked, "What do you think about that?" I was pretty sure she was probably deep in thought about play-doh or some other random thing, but she looked right up at me and said, "I want to pray and ask Jesus to come into my heart." So we did. We kneeled by the couch and and I prayed a few words and she repeated them after me. She told Jesus she knew she was a sinner and she needed Him to come into her heart to save her from her sins. She asked Him to come in and be her Savior. Then I told her if she had anything she wanted to pray to Jesus, to go ahead, and she prayed "Thank you for coming into my heart and helping me to do what's right. Amen." (Looking back, I am amazed that Tatum & Laney did not come into the living room once that whole time. God is in control!)

So we went upstairs for their shower and right when she walked in the bathroom she said, "Mama, I want to get baptized." Seriously? I was shocked but so thankful b/c I was hoping the Lord would confirm for my heart that she really understands what she just did. So I said "Yes, Jesus does want you to get baptized to show the church that you believe in Him, so I'll call the church and see when they can do it." She was very happy about that. (Incidentally, we had baptism last Sunday and it was a super emotional goose-bumpety type of service, where people were invited at the end of the service to come forward and change into the church-provided shorts and t-shirts and be baptized right on the spot. Our pastor emphasized that baptism should be 1) after salvation and 2) at your first opportunity. So probably about 20 people got up from their chairs in their nice church clothes and went up the front to get the shorts/t-shirts and go get changed, then they all came through and got baptized right there on the spot. Needless to say, church ran pretty late last week, but I'm pretty sure no one minded.) Anyway, I don't know where Avery heard that she should be baptized after she's saved, but somehow she knew it. She also started using a very sweet, gentle voice for the rest of the night and tried super hard to be sweet. When we were saying our prayers before they got in bed, she prayed, "Dear Jesus, thank you that you washed away my sins and thank you that you made me kind and loving just like Sweetpea Beauty. Amen." After she prayed, she told Tatum that Sweetpea Beauty has Jesus in her heart just like her.

My thoughts... I am so thankful and humbled that God allowed me to bring my child to His throne and help her to enter into His family. What a huge privilege that I got to be a part of helping one of His chosen ones to learn about Him and make the decision to give her life to Him. I am so excited and a little nervous at the new responsiblity of having a sister in Christ in my home who is watching my every move to see what a Christian does. To Him be all the glory.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


tatum is in a stage right now where she does and says so many cute things. i often describe her as our rollercoaster because she can go from happy to sad faster than any child i've known. she wears her heart on her sleeve and you can tell what she's feeling by just one look at her face. there are good sides and bad sides to this, but one of the good sides i've noticed is her sensitivity to the Lord and her faith in Him even as a 3 year old.

When something is scary to the girls, Tatum is always the one who says, "we don't have to be afraid because God is with us."

She asked me this morning on the way to church what a palm is. So I showed her my palm and told her God has a huge hand and he is holding her safe in the palm of His hand. I closed my fingers tight over my palm to show her how God is holding her.

So today when i went in to wake her up from her nap, it was thundering outside. we sat there and listened to the thunder for a minute. She said she was afraid of the lightning. I told her we don't have to be afraid of the lightning because we're safe inside our big strong house. Then she sat up and said "I'm not afraid because God has me in his palm."

I know her 'faith like a child' is so precious in God's sight. She's pretty stinkin' precious in my sight too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

thoughts on the first week

here's my random thoughts on the first week of school...

my classes are small. 2nd period only has 10 kids in it. two of my classes are special ed. that is going to be tough, simply b/c i'm not good with low expectations and that is what we're expected to do for them. i do have a good co-teacher this year for my sp.ed. kids so that will be a great help. one my students is autistic, very sweet and polite, but hard to know when to let him talk and when to politely interrupt him and get on with the lesson. i genuinely like my students. i love getting hugs in the hallway from my former students who are now seniors and ruling the school. FCA starts this week and i am feeling excited yet overwhelmed about that since i am the only sponsor this year. feeling emotionally drained with all the smiling, hugging, asking questions, being kind and polite... ready to get on with the year so i can be less outgoing. that doesn't sound how i wanted it to, but i know what i mean. our pastor preached a sermon that was just for me on sunday... matthew 9: 9-12... to paraphrase, he called matthew to follow him then went to eat in matthew's house with all the tax collectors and sinners. the pharisees weren't having that and passed judgement on Him. Jesus told them it isn't the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. now go and learn what it means that I desire mercy more than sacrifice. God spoke to me through that. I have been so used to my Christian friends all summer with playdates and bible study, etc, that is has been a bit of an emotional shock to get back to the world of "sinners" and all the things that drag people down. I needed the reminder that Jesus ate with sinners. He didn't preach at them there, he just sat and ate a meal with them. That is good stuff. It is a blessing to have non-Christian friends... some people don't have a one.

being such a good sport with volleyball season. teaching two upper level "K" classes this year. also the world history team leader at his school. wondering if this might be his last year coaching/teaching (we're praying he can get an assistant principal job next year). he has good classes too. when he comes home, he & avery have been building some pretty inventive railroad tracks for her trains. changing the poopy diapers at night for me... God will bless him. puts all three girls in our shower each night and hoses them down before he puts them in their PJs and tells them a story. i sometimes forget what a great dad he is because we are both so busy completing all the chores that go along with having three little blessings... he is a blessing to me and i am so grateful for his laid-back, patient personality that makes my crazy, easily stressed personality more stable.

you wouldn't know she started kindergarten last week. she is so laid-back (just like her daddy). she had a great week, but could only tell me about it if i happened to ask the perfect specific question. today she told me about the class bunny "patches" and she went on for 10 minutes about it, so i guess you just have to pick the right topic. we did have homework this past weekend, it was to find out the special meaning/history of her entire name. so that was a fun project. avery means "wise counselor", elizabeth means "consecrated to God" and kratky is the czechoslavakian word for "short", which is kinda funny b/c brian's dad is 6'4" and he and his brothers are all over 6 feet tall. anyway, her top left tooth has been hanging by a thread for a week now, but she will not let us pull it. that is the one thing she is not laid-back about. right now the two little ones are napping and avery is playing with her trains. she is having a conversation with thomas the train and tinkerbell. she is also using a british accent right now and she occasionally breaks out into song. she is very creative... when thomas came to a place in the tracks where they weren't connected, i wondered what thomas would do? well, avery grabbed tinkerbell and sprinkled fairy dust on thomas so he could fly over the broken track and get back to firm footing. i could not help the chuckle that came out. she is a unique creation and a gift from God.

tatum & laney
they both start T/Th preschool this week so i don't really have an update on them since they haven't started, but i think they both will love it. they will go to the same school that avery is going to for kinder, so i think they will all enjoy being down the hall from each other. i met their teachers last week and they are great. God bless them for teaching these little ones... i'm pretty sure i couldn't do it.

oh, and the littlest one is due to arrive around march 20, 2011! we praise the Lord for the gift of another baby for our family. if i can just make it through the next week or two, i'm hopeful that the yuckies will be gone and i will be a happy preggo mama again!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First Day of Kindergarten

My big girl started Kindergarten today. I have so many things I would like to write about this, but my eyelids are not agreeing to stay up long enough to write them tonight.

I am so proud of you, Avery!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Kindle Visit

We had so much fun hanging out with our sweet friends, the Kindle's, the last couple days. Jennifer and I met in a tennis class my freshman year at Texas A&M. Who would have thought that 12 years later, our seven kids and two husbands would all enjoy each other so much!

Laney - 1, Brett - 6, Kate - 2, Crew - 4, Tatum - 3,
Parker - 8, and Avery - 5

My bets are on Crew and Tatum getting married someday... can't you just see the cuteness of that little couple? I just can't say enough about this family and how much we love them. God has taught me so much through Jennifer's stand for Christ and she & Brandon making their family be set apart for Christ regardless of what anyone thinks. Brian & I always learn something good when we're around them. They always (without knowing it) challenge us in some area, and it's always refreshing to be around them. A breathe of fresh air, that's what the Kindle family is.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Crazy Hair Day

Today was crazy hair day at church for the kids so we had some fun making lots of tiny ponytails this morning. They were so proud of themselves. Tatum's Sunday school teacher told me today she is a "gem." I agree.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

from killer whales to superheroes

We have had such a fun July. I didn't plan for it to be as busy as it turned out, but I'm so thankful we packed in as many fun things as we did.

Family Reunion
In late June, my brother Matthew, his girlfriend Tracie and her two sweet kids, Taylor and Jake, came to stay at our house for a night. They rented Avatar since I had never seen it, and I must say, it was one of the best movies I've seen in awhile. Then we all got up and went to our family reunion together at my Uncle Don & Aunt Sharon's house in Spring. They have a beautiful pool in their backyard and all the cousins had a blast swimming and hanging out.

This is me and my sweet cousin Sara!! She and I were the only McReynolds girls for a very long time and we taught all those boys a thing or two over the years. I love her so much and wish I could see her and her family more often.
Laney decided that MeMe's lap looked like the most comfortable one in the group, so she just climbed right up there and made herself at home. It was very sweet to see my precious grandmother and my sweet baby doing some bonding.

PawPaw was so cute talking to Laney while she just stared at him.
I love this picture Sara took of them having a little conversation.

Hurricane Alex
So on the night that Alex blew torrential rain down on Houston, we decided to use our Fajita Willies coupon for some good Mexican food. We got poured on getting into the resturant and we got poured on going back out to our car. But the food was so worth it. Then since we were drenched anyway, when we got home, we decided to get our bath toys and rubber duckies and have a duck race in the river that was our street. Not the best picture, but since it was Laney's first time to wear her raincoat and her first duck race, I had to remember this night. I'm pretty sure I saw one of our neighbors look at the window and laugh at us. Oh well, we had fun.

Discovery Green
A fun free little outing we took to Houston's new downtown park turned out to be a big hit. There happened to be a dog jumping contest there, which was so much fun to watch. We saw one golden retriever jump 24 feet into the water to get his toy! It was so amazing! The playground was really fun and of course, the girls loved the splash pad! We couldn't believe this big beautiful park was tucked in right next to Minute Maid Park and the George R. Brown. We will definitely go back, maybe right after a hot Astros game!

Sea World
This was a last minute decision, but we found a great coupon online for Sea World tickets and since we have free lodging and free babysitting for Laney (thanks Mom & Dad), we decided it would be fun to take Avery and Tatum to experience my all-time favorite amusement park! I was nervous standing in line to buy our tickets b/c I was afraid my awesome coupon wouldn't work and we'd have to pay way too much money. But they took it and we got in, and for a small second I felt kinda bad like we'd robbed them. But I felt okay again after our ONE drink cost us $8.95. That day might have been the funnest day of the whole summer. I can't say enough good things about that place. Shamu made me cry. I kept fighting back tears when I saw those gigantic wild sea animals letting the humans kiss them and waving or clapping their fins at us. It was breath-taking! We sat in the "splash zone" for every show, but we only really got wet at Shamu's show. We rode the only two roller coasters that Tatum was big enough to ride and it was hilarious. We all screamed and hollared and it was way too fun watching the girls experience that for the first time. We hung out in the waterpark awhile and did the wave pool and the lazy river. We didn't take a stroller, which turned out to be so nice. We occasionally gave the girls a piggy back ride, but they both walked most of the park all by themselves. We stayed from open to close and had an absolute blast. We will definitely try to make that a yearly tradition, if I can find that coupon again next year!!!

Brian and the girls in the Shark House

Trying to pet the dolphins - we were too cheap to buy the special dolphin food, so they didn't like us very much. But it was fun watching them swim around anyway.
Wish I had taken more pictures, but since we were getting wet all day, I kept my camera locked up in our locker most of the day. Next year, I will definitely buy a water proof camera!

Brian has his M.Ed
Brian graduated from Lamar University with his Masters in Administration! He didn't actually walk the stage, but we did celebrate his hard work and accomplishment. Here he is celebrating with a Tatum-smile for the camera!

Galveston oh Galveston
We made it out to Galveston last weekend. We just spent a few hours on the beach, just playing in the sand, having a "mud bath," collecting pretty seashells, etc. Laney was fearless, running out into the waves. Last year when we went, she was still a baby so this was her first real experience in the ocean. We stopped at Freebirds on our way back home and had some Ben & Jerry's ice cream for dessert.

Power-Up VBS
So our new church is really really big on VBS. I've heard that the head pastor became a Christian at a VBS when he was a little boy, so he puts alot of effort and resources into making VBS great. Well, it was amazing! It was all about the Superheroes, Captain Zirk, Zing, Zap and Zoink and their battles against the "Posers" (the anti-superheroes) to teach them to do the right thing. Hence, we all have superhero shirts with "Z" on them. There was also a Jump team of high school girls that do really fun dances to all the VBS songs we sing. Again, I was blown away. I helped out in the Kindergarten room, so I got to be with Avery and all her little friends each day. It was fun to observe her in that setting and meet all the sweet little kids that are in her Sunday school class. Tatum and Laney got to come too, since I was working it, and they got into the Superhero spirit too. Brian even came with us on Friday because we just had to let him see it all for himself. It was an exhausting week, but definitely one of the best of the summer! Power Up!

Gramps Camp
My parents took Avery & Tatum to San Antonio for five days for their 1st Annual Gramps Camp. They have been planning for months all the fun things they wanted to do with the girls, like Kiddy park, riding the Breckenridge Eagle (train) the Children's Museum, etc. I don't have any pictures, but I know they had a blast. And Brian and I had only one child for five days. It was crazy. We kept saying to each other, "Do you remember when we just had one child and we thought it was so hard??? This is SO easy!" Laney was in hog heaven. Brian and I had so much fun just lavishing our attention on her. We also accomplished my 18-month-old goal for her... only giving her the paci at night and naptime. She took to it really well. Now when she wakes up, she takes the paci out of her mouth and throws it down in her crib and is ready to go. Yeah!
Thanks, Mom & Dad, for giving all of us such a thoughtful and wonderful gift. We all can't wait for Gramps Camp next summer!
New Family
Brian's brother, Brandon, and his fiancee, Adriana, are expecting a baby boy due around Christmas 2010. This is an exciting time for our family, with their wedding in September and the arrival of our first nephew in December! We are so happy for them that they are starting their lives together and we are looking forward to having Adriana and their sweet baby boy in our family. I must admit I am excited to have an excuse to shop in the boy section in all the cute kids stores now too!
Buffy Me
Not really, but for a month now, I've been working out three mornings per week at 5:15 AM. Brian's cousin, David, recently opened his own gym and I've been wanting to try it for awhile, but I only just got the nerve a month ago. There's about 5-6 women that meet, including his sweet wife Melissa, and he is our personal trainer for an hour. We don't do "women" work-outs. We do power lifting. We push his Tahoe across the parking lot. We use sledgehammers to hit huge tractor tires. We push a prowler across turf like a football player. We never do the same thing twice. You never know each morning when you walk in what form of pain you will experience that day. But it's always good pain. I am so thankful he gave me a good deal so I could be a part of it and I'm so thankful to get to experience muscle soreness like this. As an ex-athlete, I LOVE the feeling of soreness. It makes me feel like I accomplished something. It makes me feel like I'm making strides in my attempt to be a Proverbs 31 woman...
"She girds herself with strength, and makes her arms strong." Proverbs 31:17
Our women's Bible study has been so encouraging to me too. I am so thankful God put this opportunity before me to be a part of this summer study with the ladies He has brought together. I have learned so much from Ruth. She is amazing. God is amazing how He orchestrated Ruth's circumstances and helped her have faith even when she was unloved. She went from being a foreigner in Israel to being the mother of Obed, who was the grandfather of David! Who, of course, is in the same line as Jesus! I love that God took this Moabite woman and gave her a greater future and hope than she could have ever imagined because she took refuge under His wings.
That about wraps up our July. Brian started volleyball this week, so his summer is officially over. I've got about two and a half weeks left. Ouch, that hurt me to type that. But it's okay. Again, God has given me peace that I do not understand, and I know He has a good purpose for me again this year. But I can't deny I have LOVED every minute of this summer being off and spending such great times with my three little blessings. Summer 2011 is not that far away, right?