Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wow. . I'm so past due on an update!

Here are some Halloween pics!  The fourth baby is my nephew, Firefighter Caden.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Moving and Ike-ing

Well, looks like we chose Hurricane Ike's big weekend for our big move! Thankfully, Stephen and the moving crew got all of our stuff from the storage building to the new house today. . .and quite a bit of our condo stuff, too.

Instead of being at the new house unpacking (like I'm anxious to do, of course), we'll be spending the weekend at the condo riding out the storm.

The name of the game is holding plans loosely. . . God knows and He will strengthen us for today.

If you would, pray especially for my parents and grandmama. Grandmama's nursing home issued a mandatory evacuation (it's near NASA), and so she is now at my mom's house. The crazy thing is that my parents' house is also in a mandatory evacuation zone.  . and my grandmama is bed ridden and requires around the clock care.. . so pray for them, please. :)

OK. . that's the update! :) Thought I'd share. . .

Friday, September 5, 2008

First Day of School Pics and Baby News. .

Our two school kids! They were excited. . and both had great starts to the school year.

Aren't they cute??

This is a rare family pic from Labor Day at my parents' house. We celebrated my sister's and my dad's birthdays.

And in other news .. . .for my blogging friends who may not know already, our family will be growing. . . and she's a GIRL!!  We had an ultrasound today and got a clear shot! :) Praise the Lord!  We are excited and amazed at God's plans for our family.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sea World

We went to Sea World for the weekend and had a great time. It was the perfect way to finish off the summer. . next week is our last week before school starts!

Here are some pictures of the kids:
on the Shamu roller coaster

right after the roller coaster ride--super excited

sweet Maddie helping Hope get her life jacket on for the lazy river

our baby girl

our silly boy

Stephen and the kids

another roller coaster shot

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Birthday News. ..

. . we are home this week! Yea! Jackson and I celebrated our birthday this week. Monday was the big day, and we went to an Astros game that night. We had awesome seats, and Jackson thought it was great.  I can't believe he's four!! Then, on Tuesday night, we had a Hot Wheels party at the club room and pool at the condo where we live. It was a tons of fun with friends and family.  Here are a few pics:

We had a big pancake breakfast Monday morning

Arriving at his first Astros game. . pretty exciting

Stephen and Madison having fun

We're here!!!

Hope is a party girl! She could not wait to get to the party, and she had a blast the whole time! She especially loved talking to Valerie-she kept saying "baby" and then babbling away at her. Hope talks in these long, emphatic strings of baby talk--she know every word that she's saying and she emphasizes the important parts with head gestures and hand motions. Too cute!

the happy chaos of opening presents. . 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

. . .and again!

This week we're in Anderson, South Carolina with Student Life for Kids! This is our first time to do kids camp--and it is so fun! They are precious! Our kids are back in Houston spending time with their grandparents--all of them! Marsha had them Tuesday and Wednesday (with a zoo trip with Gene on Tuesday) and with my parents until Friday when we get back.

Wow! The summer fun never stops!

See you later!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Camp. . .again!. . and other happenings. .

Yes, we've been to camp and back. . again. . .since my last blog. Last week we were in San Angelo at Angelo State University for a Student Life camp. It was an incredible week. We are so blown away that we get to be a part of such a wonderful week. I always pray that the things the students saw and heard will go down deep into good soil. I hate the thought of it just being another week in their lives, and I want so badly for them to be truly transformed because of God's work in their lives at camp. That sounds super-spiritual, but really--what is the point of the week if they aren't changed?

Do you know that Stephen and I have been going to camp every summer together for 14 years??? Our anniversary is coming up in July, and that first summer--14 YEARS AGO--we went to camp right after our Honeymoon! Seriously! It just wouldn't be summer without camp! :)

Here are some pics from last week. . 

in the green room

at a Q&A with the band and speaker (Matt Carter)
Maddie and me
Jackson finishing off a 2 liter of coke--at 10:30 PM!!! This was the Thursday night after party.
Does Hope look like a rock star, or what!?

And here are a few pictures from the week before last:

This was a "Mission Wednesday" moment. I try to have day each week where we purposefully do something for someone else. Last summer it was "Mission Monday". This summer has been so crazy, that I'm just catching it when I can. This was for their VBS offering. Yes, we did VBS LAST week--in between Oklahoma and San Angelo.

This is a sweet Father's Day pic, don't ya think? 

My newphew Caden is getting so big--he's soooo close to full-on crawling!

Hope is a reader (just kidding! :) but she does love books. Thank you, Aunt Melody, for all the new books!

Good night!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Camp Pics

Hanging out in the green room. We were so thankful for a nice, cozy room to spend our backstage time in.
Molly (our wonderful nanny-for-the-week) and the kids spent a lot of time on!
My little strawberry girl. . so sweet!
My cup cake girl. . so sweet, too!

Just look at those legs! Love them!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

We're at camp!

We're at Falls Creek in Oklahoma with about 5,000 teenagers! We are loving getting to lead worship here. It's a wonderful invitation and we have so much respect for the camp director and the speaker this week. . so it's all good!

The kids are having fun playing in the green room, driving the golf cart, playing ping pong, making new friends, and going to the "Devil's Bathtub" (a natural spring in the mountain).

I love summer! It's my favorite time of the year. . the more relaxed schedule, kids home, and time to play and hang out. I love it! Hope you are, too.

Have a great day!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Summer Clothes

I had some "retail therapy" the afternoon, and I am just praising the Lord that I could do it! Every year at about this time I feel the need for a few new things to wear. . don't you know what I mean? I hit the B.P. at Nordstrom and got lucky on some DEALS. I love the IT brand of denim, and they did me right with some shorts and cropped jeans. I also got one of those little knit dresses that are popular right now. . I just hope I don't look pregnant in it! Yikes!

After some supper of spaghetti and meatballs (which I make Rachel Ray-style in the oven except that I added ground flax seed instead of breadcrumbs and my family never knew), we went to see Stephen's "new" office. The church was so gracious to initiate a re-do on his space right before we came, and it's just about complete. . and OH MY GOODNESS . . it is gorgeous. The furniture is gorgeous, the accessories are gorgeous, the set-up is gorgeous. . I might just work up there, too! :) (Just kidding!) I am giving the decorator a huge round of applause right now!

I'm so happy that it's a long weekend and that summer is almost here. I love the more relaxed pace with the kids. . and not having to get up quite so early. Of course, when I come to think of it, Jackson manages to get up pretty early anyway many mornings! Last night he couldn't go to sleep and ended up sleeping by me from 10-midnight. Then, at 5:30, he came in because he'd had a bad dream. The Grinch (who is his "boogy man") had rung the doorbell and taken Mamama (my mom) away! Truly frightening!  Well, I put him back in the bed, but when he heard me get out of the shower at about 6:00, he joined me in the living room. Oh, well. What do you do? In our current condo situation--with all 3 kids in one room--I can't exactly make him stay in his bed because he would wake up his sisters.. . such is life.

Well, those are the current ramblings of my brain. Have a happy Memorial Day weekend!

Here are 2 pictures from Madison's school production of RATS (the story of the Pied Piper).  She was a towns person from Hamelin.  They did a wonderful job, and Maddie did great on her lines!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Visit the Fun House

I just finished reading my friend Emily's blog. . and I just think you might want to visit it, too. Emily and Joel have a brand new baby boy named Seth. Seth has Downs Syndrome. I think you will be so encouraged to read how their faith is REAL. We love this family and are so incredibly privileged to lead worship with them at church.  I know you'll be blessed like I am by Emily's latest post.

***PLEASE know that I am so EXTREMELY humbled and honored that she mentions me in her post. I promise that that is not the reason I want you to read it! :) 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why haven't I been blogging lately????

That is the question I've been asking myself. I don't really know the answer. It's not because life isn't still happening with plenty of "news". Let's see. . . . since my last post. . . Madison busted out her 2 front (permanent) teeth and had them bonded back on. . . we celebrated Stephen's birthday. . we celebrated Mother's Day. .. . we've been to swimming lessons 7 times.  . we've miraculously sold our Irving house to some precious friends :). . . .Madison was in a school play. . .I've been to lunch with sweet friends. . . dinner with sweet friends. . .we participated in our first annual Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk (my sweet nephew has CF). .. . I've been on a yeast-free fast for the last month (Wednesday marks a month). . . visited my friend Emily in the hospital upon the birth of her son, Seth. . . visited my Grandmama in the hospital upon her 3rd trip to the ER in about a month (she's back in her new "home"--a residential care facility in Pearland). . . we went up to Austin for Stuart's (my brother-in-law) graduation from UT. . . and all sorts of other comings and goings. These are some of the things I've DONE.

I've worn lots of "hats", and I've also thought a lot about what my true priorities are. There's just not enough time in a day or a week to waste (much) of it!  I've been wife, mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, aunt, friend.

I'd like to not get so behind again on this little blog. . we'll see how I do keeping up. . 

So. . . HI to all my friends in blog-world. Yes, we're alive and doing well (to those of you who have asked--and thanks for asking).

But for now--it's time for American Idol! Good night!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Loving Home. . the journey of mommy-hood

So... I've had quite a few conversations in the past week about being the mom of a school-aged daughter. My post last week about my struggle to know how to navigate Madison through this chapter of growing up has spurred me on the quest for Godly wisdom.. . and it seems I'm not alone on this journey. . if fact, it seems like it's pretty normal for Madison and I to go through this "stage" and pretty normal for me to not know what to do! She's wanting more freedoms.. .I'm still wanting a happy daughter who is joyful, respectful, kind, considerate of others, generous, and obedient "all the way, right away and with a happy heart"--as we say around our house.

Because so many of my friends are experiencing similar challenges in their homes and because so many of my friends have daughters and because we are all desiring to have LOVING HOMES, I thought I'd pass on the collective wisdom I've been gathering. . almost all of it from my mom!

First, PRAYER is key.  Here are the 2 scriptures that I'm praying for Madison.

". . . continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word life"  Phil. 2:12-16

". ..being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Phil 1:6

Secondly, involve DAD.  We're going to have a "family meeting" tonight.  Stephen is going to talk about being respectful to me and being obedient from the heart. He's also going to lay down some consequences.

The third strategy is CONSEQUENCES.  My mom said to plan on a few hard days of consistently enforcing the consequences, but then it'll get better. I've experienced that before when it comes to enforcing bed time, table manners, rude language, etc.  We're looking for the "currency" that will get through to our girl which is TV time and stuffed animals at the moment.  

We're also looking for some POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT.  We're not settled on what this will be quite yet. Along those same lines, I want to make sure I'm making enough "deposits" with Madison so that she doesn't have to make a scene to get my attention!

I'm also going to re-evaluate which TV SHOWS are appropriate. We might need to cut back on some of our shows that are feeding the drama and childhood angst!!

Lastly, I'm going to be aware of GENUINE ISSUES VERSUS MANIPULATION.  In the heat of the moment, I'm going to try to patiently express understanding and empathy ("I know you're disappointed. I see that you're wanting greater freedoms, and I'm going to think about and talk to dad about how we can work this out. . "), and I'm also going to end it there. Conversation to be continued at another time in another setting. The end.

I want to be strategic in parenting, like Pastor Gregg says! With God's help, we will.

God is good and he promises us wisdom when we seek it. Thanks be to God for his WORD to give us LIGHT on this journey-step by step.

I'll let you know how it goes! If you have more strategies, send them my way! :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My Baby Hope is ONE!!!

We had her party on Saturday at the park because she loves to SWING!

She really likes her new Dora car. . and her clothes and toys. Thank you to our sweet family!

This is the absolutely ADORABLE and DELICIOUS cake. We had a Strawberry Shortcake party, and this cake was strawberry with to-die-for cream cheese icing. Yummy!

Hopey was NOT shy about sticking her hands in and eating her cake!

She had fun sitting with Maw Maw and opening her presents.

It was a wonderful family party celebrating our girl! I truly can't believe that a year has flown by so quickly. Hope is such a happy, delightful little girl.  People are always asking me, "Is she always this happy?". And, yes, she is! She is so much fun to have around. She is a cuddler, she is curious, she is quick to learn and figure things out, she can communicate, she goes with the flow. . and she is altogether PRECIOUS!

I love you, Hopey!!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Save the DRAMA for your MAMA

Oh, my goodness! My sweet Madison had a melt-down tonight. . of the "girly" sort. . I AM extremely sympathetic (as I am not immune to inexplicable melt-downs from time to time), but I AM still perplexed on how to handle it! Distract her? Talk it through? Firmly shut her down? Let her cry it out--alone? Try to cuddle and coddle her through it--despite her resistance to this? 

Tonight the initial issue was wanting to stay at church longer and not head home a little early (as my mommy instinct clearly knew we needed to do--and as was proved by the melt-down itself!).  But it quickly turned into "I never let her go her own way. I need to let her make more decisions. I don't listen to her. I don't understand her, etc.".  When we got home, and we continued our "conversation", it progressed to "She's 8 now. She needs adventure. She needs to explore the world. By herself." When I asked her how she would like to travel, she said that "she would travel on foot".

On and on it went. I wish I could have made notes as we talked so that I could remember all she said! Bless her heart. I finally decided our "conversation" was not very productive, and it was time to put her in bed. . . and she happily prayed with me and for me and said goodnight.

What??? After all that??? I am needing some major wisdom!! This is not the first time this has happened and I have a funny feeling it's not the last! :)

Anyone with words of advice or suggestions of books or strategies or scripture. . feel free to send it my way!

What a girl! Oh, the adventures of mommy-hood!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Easter!!!

Happy Easter! We had a wonderful GOOD FRIDAY in Friendswood. We did it all. . 
. . . dyed eggs
. . . had a hunt
. . . opened baskets
... . and took some beautiful bluebonnet pictures. Here are some individual shots. . . 

Here are our three. . 

This is our adorable nephew, Caden. . .

The baby cousins. . 

And all 4 cousins. . 

We also had a delicious meal with ham and all the yummy sides and desserts. My mom is amazing! :)

Saturday morning, the bunny made a visit to our house. Funny how he knows that Sundays are too early around here, but he's always managed to visit us on Saturday. We went to the park and had a relaxing day.

Sunday was a blessed day. God was good to give us grace and strength to lead. I'm so amazed at the way God is making Stephen ABLE to do the work He has given. We are so thankful and blessed! Our church family was so receptive and responsive to the Spirit, and they were ready to worship. Our service Sunday night at Ascend marked the end of services in the sanctuary as we currently know it. It's about to under-go a HUGE renovation. . .these are exciting times.

God is good. It's going to be a great week. Hope turns 1 on Thursday. . . can't help thinking about how life was a year ago. So much has changed. . . this life-thing sure is crazy sometimes.. . kind of hard to understand.  The only ROCK is Jesus. He's been so faithful and good to me. Happy Easter!