Thursday, April 29, 2010

Happy 5th Birthday Avery!!!

Well, I fully expected to post some adorable pictures of Avery with earrings in her newly-pierced ears today. She has been telling me for weeks that she wanted to get her ears pierced for her birthday. I talked her through how it would work and the pain that would last for a minute or so. She has assured me over and over that she understands it will hurt and she still wants to do it really bad. So I made an appointment at our pediatrician and we went in on Tuesday to get her ears pierced. In the waiting room, she played with trucks and blocks and acted completely unaffected... me, well I had butterflies in my stomach for her. Turns out the butterflies had good reason to be there. When we walked in the room, our nurse Winnie told me there is a new vaccine that she needs... if we get it before she's 5 the insurance will cover it, but if she's 5 or older, we will have to pay out of pocket, $108. So, I made the fateful decision to go ahead and have Avery get the one shot while we were there anyway, since we only had 2 days until she turned five. Well, you can guess the rest of the story. Poor Avery was not expecting to have to get a shot and she had a complete meltdown after Winnie gave her the shot. When our doctor came in to clean her ears for piercing, she was still wimpering and when he approached her with the cotton balls soaked in brown "soap" to clean her ears, she went limp, shreiked at the top of her lungs and said she did NOT want to get her ears pierced. Yeah, it was embarassing. I felt like that mom who makes her kid get their ears pierced. So I asked the doctor to give us a minute. We prayed about it. I talked her through it again. She told me again, in tears, "mama, I already told you, I do NOT want to get my ears pierced.... not until I'm an adult." I knew in my heart it was useless to even try to convince her now, so we walked out of the room and paid for the earrings that were not pierced in her ears and we left. I was fighting back tears, i was so disappointed. Not that she didn't get her ears pierced, but that I had let the nurse give her a shot first, which I think freaked her out, and that she had given up on her dream because she was afraid of the pain. She's only five, so I know I can't be too hard on her, but I did tell her I want her to remember the bad feeling she felt when we left, because it feels bad when we have a dream, and we're too afraid to go through the hard things to achieve that dream. Maybe I shouldn't have told her that, but I want Avery to have big dreams and I want her to be willing to endure the discomfort and difficulty that goes along with acheiving them.

Okay, so anyway, Avery is FIVE today. I am so proud of her. She is a wonderful big sister to Tatum & Laney. She is a great picker-upper. She is learning to read and has already read two complete books by herself (early readers). She is memorizing her Awana Bible verses and earning patches and stickers each week, which she loves. She has several good friends and I can tell they really like her because she is funny and kind. She is very picky about her clothes now and prefers to wear skirts or dresses as often as I'll let her. She is also picky about how I do her hair and what bow goes in her hair. She is getting better at choosing bows that match her outfit. She is a good eater. She is a very deep sleeper. She loves to play outside. Her favorite princess is Belle from Beauty & the Beast. What she really wanted for her birthday, besides getting her ears pierced, was a skateboard. That's right. I don't know why or if she knows what to do with it, but Walmart had a pink & blue OP skateboard for $9.00, so I will be very curious to see her face when she opens it up tonight. I got the matching pink & blue "street shred" elbow & knee pad set too.

She has the most beautiful brown eyes (just like her daddy) and I love to look at her because she is just so beautiful to me. She LOVES to sing and I think she has a gift in music. She can hold a tune and memorize words to songs like you wouldn't believe. She enjoys her ballet/tap class and I think her favorite part of it is getting to dress up in a leotard & skirt and look at herself as she twirls around in the big mirrored room. She loves to play with trains. She loves to play in sand. I can't wait to see where she will find her niche in life. She loves our dogs, Belle and Bandit. She is very gentle and patient. She would rather be home playing in our backyard with her sisters than anywhere else in the world, and I love that she is a homebody. She is learning to pray in her own way to the Lord. She isn't silly during prayer time anymore. She often asks God for something or thanks God for something very real to her. Last night, she thanked God for her new princess reader book and she went to bed cuddling it next to her. Avery has been such a blessing in our family. Her personality is alot like Brian's, worlds different from mine. I am learning alot from her as she grows older. Thank you Lord for our precious Avery... she is Yours and ours and we are so happy to have her in our lives!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Little Shout Out...

... looks like the Houston Chronicle thinks we are at the TOP of the ghetto schools in Houston! Not exactly sure what "top" means here, but hey, who cares? For the first time ever, we are number one at something! I have to brag a little because Brian's school is always the best at everything, so for once my school gets some recognition. Go Panthers!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Answered Prayer

Praise Jesus!!! ... He opened a door for me... to stay put. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but I know it is the best for me and for our family. I am so glad He knows what is best because I would have chosen something completely different if it was up to me.

Last Friday, a foreign language teacher approached me about job-sharing and long story short, she decided she wants to do it next year! She wants to teach mornings, so I will need to work afternoons, which is from about 11:30 - 2:30. At first I wasn't sure about that schedule, but now that I have thought about it and the pros/cons, I am really excited about it, and I am overwhelmed at how much God cares about the little details of my life. I will get to wake the girls up and have sweet time with them in the mornings. I will get to take Avery to Kindergarten, which I am super excited about. Sharla will get to sleep in, which I know she will appreciate. And I know God has provided once again and He knows that this schedule will fit our family's needs best.

Also, Brian started his own blog... I think he had to do it for one of his master's degree classes, but hopefully he will keep up with it. I've told him how blogging is my therapy and how even if no one ever reads anything I write, it is a good thing for me... one, I get my thoughts out of my head and many times reading them makes things make more sense or reveals things that are wrong about my thinking. Second, I'm not so good at scrapbooking or photo albums, so this is our family scrapbook, as messed up as that is. I am planning to print out each year of entries into books, after I edit them and delete the entries that I don't want to save for posterity, and keep the books for my girls to look at when they grow up. If you don't know about, you should check it out. You can upload your entire blog and print it out, including all the pictures, into a really good quality, fairly inexpensive book! And third, well, my mom likes it and if it makes her happy to read my entries, then that's worth it!!

So, go check out Brian's blog... and praise the Lord with me that He hears our prayers and knows our needs.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


We went in for Laney's 15 month checkup today. I can't believe how fast her baby years flew by. She is officially a toddler and I can't believe I don't have a baby anymore. It seems like just yesterday I was taking her in for our Doc to look into whether she had galactosemia. She has done alot of growing the past few months. She is 33 inches long (97th percentile) and 25 pounds (75th percentile), so she is a big ole girl, just like her sissies.

Avery found this snail today and named her "Emily."
It really was a cute snail, and I'm not that into bugs.

Here's Avery and Emily

The past couple weeks have been unexpected and a little bit tough. This time of year is always interesting when you are both teachers because it's time to plan for next school year and sign contracts and take on more or less responsibility, etc. It's the time of year when summer is just over the horizon and oh so dreamy, yet you still have 6 of the most boring & difficult weeks of the school year ahead of you (i.e. TAKS testing).
Kathleen, my partner that I job-share with (I teach mornings, she teaches afternoons) - well, her husband got laid off a couple weeks ago. She was devastated and it was a really tough few days for her. Our plan had been to continue job-sharing next year with the same schedule we have now, well, that changed everything. She had to make the tough decision to go back to work full-time next year. I completely understand and support her, she has been a wonderful co-worker and friend over the past 4 years we've done this. But, now I am left without a partner and therefore without a job. I am not ready to go back to work full-time yet. So, with my principal's permission, I emailed the entire staff of 280 people to see if anyone might be interested in job-sharing with me next year. A few people emailed me back with curiousity questions, but no one was really interested. I understand, of course, teachers don't make a huge salary already, so if you cut that in half, it's not that appealing. But it has been such a great blessing to me and to our family, that I thought maybe God would use it to bless another mom & family in my school too.
So I guess I'm now realizing that I am probably going to resign at the end of this school year. I've been at CS for 6 years... 2 as a full-time teacher & coach, and the last 4 as a half-day teacher. I will miss my FCA kids so much I am fighting back tears. I will miss my students so much, even the little punks God puts in my classes each year that have taught me humility, patience, humor and grace. I will miss my teacher friends who have helped me, congratulated me on all 3 of my pregnancies and celebrated the births of my 3 girls with me, covered for me, mentored me, entertained me, understood me, respected me and made me enjoy coming to work each day, if only because I knew they were going through the exact same things I was.
Teaching, as a profession, is an intense job. It's not easy, you don't get any props for it, not alot of tangible perks, no one notices when you go above & beyond what you get paid for, when you take the time to listen to a kid who's mama tells her each morning she's stupid, or the senior who gives you major attitude only to find out her best friend just died last week from a drive-by shooting, or the skinny wanna-be athlete whose insecurities come out in the way he talks to you, or the know-it-all who finally gives you respect after you've taken the time to respect him, or the large-and-in-charge girl who just needed to be told it's okay to be optimistic and say positive things.
Or the teen mom who came into my room this morning so excited to tell me the news - that's she's 3 months along with her 2nd baby. What do I say to that? And that was right after I got done praying over my 4 FCA kids that come to my room Thursdays before school for Bible study. They were literally walking out the door when she came in bursting with her news. The contrast is overwhelming. Four students who love Jesus and are trying to stand strong in this twisted & dirty place, and another student who is completely lost in her thinking. I told her I'd be praying for her and she smiled and waved me off.
Anyway, lots of thoughts on this possibly being the end of my teaching career for a while. Not sure what I'll do next year. I do need to make some income, and I believe God knows and will provide a way to meet our needs, just like He always has. I'll miss teaching if that's not what He has for me next year. It's funny... and sad... how I spent the past several years of my life trying to get out of teaching and working in general, with the thought that surely God wanted me to stay home and so surely it was His will to get me out of teaching. However, over the past year, God has changed my thinking completely. By His grace, He provided me with a way to be my husband's helper, and in a way that impacted our children very little. They might miss me in the mornings, but they LOVE their grandma and she teaches them things during the mornings that I might not have the wisdom to teach them. The relationships God has built within our family because of our co-dependence on each other has been a huge blessing. I only see good coming from it now, whereas before, all I saw was the bad.
All that to say, now that I have been content "dwelling in the land" where God has put me, it seems like He has other plans for me now. I am glad I don't understand His ways. I like that He doesn't fit in any box. I like that once you think you know something, He brings the exact opposite into your life to see what will become of your faith. I love His grace. It is amazing.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bluebonnets 2010

It was such a nice Easter weekend... Brian had three whole days off so we did alot of family stuff. One of those days we went out for our annual Hempstead bluebonnet pictures. Here's the beauty:

Laney's behavior was not too promising at first...
...but then we pulled out our secret bribery weapon: Gummi bears
Gummi bears in mouth, off to play
he is the man!me & my girlies
Avery picked a "vokay" (bouquet) of flowers
Laney has just started hollering at me saying "mama, mama!" There are no words to describe the feeling when you know she knows what she's saying and she means you!!
Tatum = Sunshine
I love this pic... it's so "them" Mama, can we put these in water?
Love the different shades of hair color here...
and "lil mama" watching over her children
Might be on my header pretty soon...
Laney - 14 months oldAvery - 4 years, 11 months old
Tatum - 2 years, 10 months old
I have an idea in my head of somehow framing a bluebonnet picture of the girls each year as they grow up and displaying them somewhere in order, to show their growth. Not sure when or how I'll get around to that, but it is so fun to look back on these every year and see how much they've changed. Anyway, here's our pictures from last year and there's a link to see the ones from previous years too.