Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finding Joy

These weeks leading up to Christmas have been tough for me. I just haven't welcomed the season with the usual joy and excitement. I have seen so much heartache, loss, and worry in 2009--several of my friends are facing the holidays without loved ones...people I care about are jobless or faced with uncertain financial futures...people I look up to have lives turned upside down by illness. I've been annoyed by the commercialism attached to the holiday, and the pressure to make each Christmas bigger and better than the ones before. I want the season to be magical for my boys, and I have been at a loss as to how to make it happen. So I prayed, and I asked God to restore my joy and give me perspective. Here's what happened:
I told my class of 4-year-olds the Christmas story. I looked around the circle at their big eyes, and I knew there was no one else I would have wanted to be telling about the miracle of the manger.
I called my mom to tell her our plans had changed and we would be home for the holidays. As I sang "I'll Be Home for Christmas," she started to cry. I knew there was nothing else I would rather be hearing.
I was putting clean sheets on the beds while Baby was in the bathtub. I heard him singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain" to himself while he was splashing around. I laughed, and knew that I would treasure that memory for a long time.
I stayed up late wrapping presents a few nights ago. I thought about the joy that is to come on Christmas morning--not from the gifts themselves, but from the being together--and I knew there was nothing else I would rather be doing.
I sat in a worship service surrounded by my church family singing "O Holy Night." I knew there was nowhere else I'd rather be.
Yesterday I looked out the window to see Goliath hard at work in the yard, bagging leaves to earn money so he could go Christmas shopping for his family. I knew there was nothing else I would rather be seeing.
This afternoon I put on an apron and baked Christmas cookies with Little Middle and Baby. I watched them happily spread icing and shake sprinkles, and I knew I wouldn't trade that moment for anything in the world.
Joy to the world! The Lord is come!
I am ready to receive my King.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

First Snow of the Season

We don't dare dream of a white Christmas in Texas, but that's what we got (albeit a few weeks early) yesterday morning! The big boys still had to go to school, but I managed to get a few shots of our littlest snow bunny.
Here he is enjoying the change in the weather...

...and licking snow off of the trampoline:

What can I say? Boys will be boys.

What I Did During Thanksgiving Break

Around our house, nothing says "Thanksgiving" like a good hunting trip. After 11 1/2 years of marriage, I finally gave in and went hunting. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...right?
Hubby, Little Middle, Baby, and I made a day trip to the lease. We hadn't planned on taking any kids, so we ended up doing more looking than actual hunting. We had a good time, though! I'll let the pictures tell the story:

Little Middle, all dressed up and ready to go!

This is my absolute favorite picture!

The boys were examining all the dead wasps up in Daddy's stand.

Indoor plumbing. That's all I have to say about that.

Really, really BIG spider.

Rumor has it that on a previous trip to the lease, Goliath shot out all the windows on this old abandoned car with his BB gun.

Hunting brothers

Here's Baby, taking a break in the truck while we waited for Daddy and Little Middle to get back from exploring. He had a hard time being quiet, but he sure did enjoy getting dirty and finishing off several of his dad's sodas!

*Confidential to Hubby: If I'd known it would make you so happy to take me out to the lease, I would never have waited so long to go. In spite of all the red dirt, I had a really fun time being part of what you love to do (and driving off road!). I love you.*

We shared Thanksgiving with Hubby's family and drove home on Thursday night. On Friday, I re-packed my suitcase and drove to Houston. That night, I met up with my lifelong BFF and we went to see The Nutcracker performed by the Houston Ballet at the Wortham Center. I went to the see this ballet every Christmas as a little girl...this trip brought back sweet memories, made better by sharing it with my best friend!

My sweet sister is getting married next summer, and her wedding dress was ready! I met my family at the bridal salon on Saturday morning. Mine weren't the only tears shed when she walked out in her dress. She will be a beautiful bride.

A week spent traveling across Texas to be with a lot of people I love reminds me...there is MUCH to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Dear Baby,

Today we celebrated your fourth birthday. What a fun year we've had with you! This has been a year of many "firsts" for you: your first dentist visit, your first trip to the lease with Daddy, and your first time to sing in big church. You are a big baby is not a baby anymore!

You hear the words "I love you" a LOT from Daddy and me, but today seems like a good time to tell you WHY I love you so much. I love you because you sometimes still let me hold you, and when I pick you up, you lay your head on my shoulder and pat my back, as if I'm the one who needs to be comforted (sometimes I am). I love you because every night when we put you to bed, you refuse to be covered up, but when I come back later to check on you, you are lying flat on your back with the covers pulled up to your chin. I love you because you have an uncanny resemblance to Charlie Brown from Peanuts. I love you because you can spell your name and the words "family" and "boots." I love you because you love to play "Crack the Egg" on the trampoline with me, and it doesn't bother you at all that you, as the egg, are easily cracked. I love you because you have a little speech issue--R, L, S, and a few others letter sounds are problematic--but the way you talk is so adorable, I don't much care if it ever gets fixed. I love you because you are a computer whiz and can navigate your way through the internet to get to your games. I love you because you always hold my hand in the parking lot, because you like to help me clean the bathroom and sort the laundry, and because you ask me every single night where we are going the next day. I love you because of your crazy love affair with macaroni and cheese. Although slightly frustrating, your devotion to this food item is admirable and funny. I love you because you are easy-going and fun to be with, and because you make me feel like I'm doing a good job being your mommy.
I love you because you make me laugh. Oh, how you make me laugh! Just this morning, I was looking through some old pictures. You walked by, casually looked over my shoulder, and said, "I recognize that girl. She's my mom." Then you walked away.

This year we sent Little Middle off to kindergarten. I worried that you would be lonely and bored without your brothers around. It is, after all, the first time in your entire life that you've gotten one-on-one with me for any period of time. Turns out I worried needlessly. I have been reminded these past few months why I chose to be a stay-at-home mom in the first place--so I could have time like we've had and moments like those that we've shared. I wouldn't trade these sweet days with you for anything in the world!
Precious boy, your mommy loves you. You are a living, breathing testimony to the faithfulness and mercy of our God. Every day with you is a grand adventure and a great gift. Surely I am the most blessed mommy in the world, because you are mine.

Happy Birthday, Heart Boy.



Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

A Harley biker, a pirate, and a penguin walked into a bar....

Just kidding.

We had a spooktacular Halloween! My little biker, pirate, and penguin joined forces with some friends for trick-or-treating.

We hit up our neighborhood first, then moved to theirs--twice the fun, and twice the candy!

The funniest part of the evening came from a neighbor who set up a coffin in his driveway. He dressed in a scary mask and black robes and lay in the coffin, waiting to terrorize small children. Not knowing that there was anything to be afraid of, Goliath reached in to take some candy, and the "dead" guy reached out and grabbed his leg! Goliath jumped ten feet while his brothers and their pals screamed. The adults were laughing too hard to be much comfort...
P.S. The pictures are weird, I know. Our camera is acting up, and we had to take most of our Halloween pics with Hubby's iPhone.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Funny Kids

They've said some crazy stuff today...

Me: Baby, how did you get that hurt on your chin?
Baby: I had a great fall like Humpty Dumpty.

Me (playing our usual car game): Slug bug blue!
Little Middle: Mommy, I am SHOCKED!

Goliath: Mom, it's sad that there are not very many bats left here in the tri-state area.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Things That Make Me Happy (a Birthday Celebration, of sorts):

1. Making lists
2. A clean house
3. Watching Thursday night TV with my husband on the DVR after the kids are in bed
4. My hot pink iPod
5. Gift cards
6. My sweet, old, loyal dog
7. School/office supplies
8. Playdates
9. Baking
10. Candles
11. Looking at old pictures and home videos
12. Family movie night
13. Clear CT scans
14. Girls Night Out
15. Christmas decorations
16. Sunday morning worship
17. Feeding the ducks at the park
18. Being with my friends
19. Music
20. Good hair days
21. Target dollar section
22. Not having to set my alarm
23. Aha! moments in Bible Study
24. My sassy red high heels
25. The first cup of morning coffee
26. Jumping on the trampoline with my kids
27. Mashed potatoes
28. Blogging
29. My new car
30. Shopping (except for groceries)
31. Falling asleep with the TV on
32. Organization
33. The smell of clean laundry
34. Mystery novels

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails...

Life with 3 little cowboys is always an adventure! Look what they found in the backyard today:

Yes, those are snakes. And yes, they think it's funny to see their mom scream and run.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Me: Little Middle, you are so cute! You are the cutest 5-year-old I have ever known.

Baby (with hands on hips): Mommy! I AM THE CUTE ONE!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

*I am reading 3 different books right now, and sometimes I mix them up in my head.
*One of the books I'm reading is challenging me to memorize this verse:
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if there is anything excellent and praiseworthy--think on such things." Philippians 4:8
*Today I said "hail of bay" instead of "bale of hay."
*My friend Shannon is likely to have her baby on my birthday next week.
*My sons' elementary school has a new policy that parent volunteers can not bring their young children with them in the classrooms. I think this is a silly policy that should be left to the teacher's discretion--not the administration--and that they are going to lose a lot of their volunteers because of it.
*I really, really like my church.
*I am going to a costume party tomorrow night and I am borrowing from my kids' dress-up box. I will either wear a Superman cape, a crocodile head, or a Batman mask.
*I went to a women's event at church last week. One of the speakers talked about managing household chores, and she divided them up into 3 categories: food (grocery shopping and menu planning), shelter (house cleaning), and clothing (laundry). I never thought of it that way before.
*I am looking forward to having lunch next week with a friend I haven't seen in a long time.
*Hubby and I sometimes communicate with an dry-erase marker on the bathroom mirror.
*I think I will stop going to the gym on preschool days, and make up for it on other days during the week.
*My grandmother found herself in a pickle recently when Sunday football was threatening to interfere with her weekly domino game. She figured out how to Tivo the games, and now she "really can have it all" (her words).
*I am part of a dinner co-op with 3 of my friends. I absolutely love having dinner delivered to my house! We've got a good thing going.
*I love my dog a LOT.
*I wish I could see Mary Poppins again.
*I am on a search for new worship tunes for my iPod, and I would appreciate any suggestions.
*Christmas is just around the corner. I dread being caught up in the money-spending-gift-giving-crazy-rushing-obligation-meeting-ness of the holidays, and would really like to do something meaningful with my family to soak up the season.
*The weather is finally cooling off, and the pumpkin patch is open.
*I need to plan Baby's birthday party.
*As preparations are being made for the weddings of my BFF and my sister next year, I have lots of thoughts about family, friendship, love, and the things that really matter.
*The Office is a really funny show.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


For an early birthday present, my mom bought tickets to the Mary Poppins musical! She and my sister came to town this weekend for the big show.

We considered the inevitable Dallas traffic and my tremendous excitement, and left my house in PLENTY of time. We made it to Fair Park and managed to park the car in a field, cross 2 busy downtown Dallas streets, 3 grassy medians, and 2 train tracks without serious injury. Tickets to Mary Poppins afforded us free entry into the State Fair, so we spent about 30 minutes taking in the sights (although we were definitely overdressed for the fairgrounds!).

We had dinner reservations at a jazzy restaurant inside the Music Hall. It was a classy--and yummy!--buffet, but the food was made even better by the clever menu descriptions. We especially enjoyed the Spoonful of Sugar dessert bar.

After dinner, it was showtime! The show was FABULOUS. The playbill named several songs that were not in the Disney film, so I was wondering how different the musical would be. A lot of it was similar, but the producers put their own spin on parts of the story, and most of it was great! The acting was flawless, the dancing was wonderful, gravity was defied, and the music...OH, THE MUSIC! Magical.
It was the greatest birthday gift ever...a night that was practically perfect in every way.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Yesterday we sent home a sick child from my class at preschool. Today we got word that he is believed to have swine flu.

One of my favorite bracelets broke.

Goliath is a 7-year-old who is testing boundaries (and my patience).

I calculated that if I am to get everything done on school mornings that I want to get done, I need to get up at 4:15 a.m.

I am drowning in laundry again.

Patrick Swayze died.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Peapod Goes to Preschool

Baby is a Peapod! He had his first day back at preschool yesterday. We are thrilled that his teachers from last year moved up with him--he LOVES Ms. Renee and Ms. Gloria! A few of his best pals are in his class, as well as some new friends. We are looking forward to a great year!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two Years

"Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all His benefits--
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's."
Psalm 103:1-5
Two years ago today, my oncologist told me that there was no more cancer in my body, and that I should go home and tell my boys that their mama would live to be an old lady. On that day I made a promise to God: I promised that I would never let August 30th go by without remembering and celebrating the gift of His miracle.
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles.
I will meditate on all your works
and consider all your mighty deeds.
Your ways, O God, are holy.
What God is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
You display your power among the peoples."
Psalm 77:11-14

I have this amazing circle of friends, and today they helped me celebrate! Kelly threw a "No Cancer Party" at her house. In case you're wondering what one does at a No Cancer involves dessert, heartfelt sharing, and tears. The party accomplished two things: 1) I left feeling incredibly loved, and 2) our God was given the glory and the credit He is due for what He has done!

These friends of mine...they shared their hearts, and I love them for that. I love the challenge to pray big and expect miracles. I love that my experience is theirs, too, and that we are all better Christ-followers because of my cancer.

We only get one go-round, and we're not promised anything except that we have a Savior who walks every step with us. I want this miracle-life of mine to matter, and when it's over--five years from now or fifty--I want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant." I choose to remember, to celebrate, and to get on with living.
"How can I repay the Lord
for all His goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all His people."
Psalm 116:12-14

P.S. After the No Cancer Party, I came home to this:

Blessed, and so very, very thankful.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Back to School

I welcomed the first day of school with a mix of relief (it's FINALLY here!) and sadness. Today I sent two of my babies off to school...Goliath to second grade and Little Middle to kindergarten.

They were SO excited!

Ready for 2nd grade

Ready for kindergarten

Showing off their new backpacks

Sweet brothers
The first day of school is always a family affair...everyone was up early, dressed, and ready to go in plenty of time! We took Little Middle to his classroom first. He had no trouble opening up his locker, hanging up his cowboy backpack, and finding his seat. He got right to work, pausing only for a quick photo op with his new teacher.

We left Little Middle happily gluing Cheerios at his desk and walked Goliath to his classroom. He is an old pro at school by now, and settled quickly in his desk and got busy! I suspect that it may not be as cool to have your parents linger in your classroom when you're in 2nd I took one picture of my first-born and made my exit:
Both boys had a fantastic first day! I asked God to pave the way for my boys today and to make school a fun, exciting place where they want to be. He must have heard my prayer, because when I asked Little Middle this afternoon if he liked kindergarten well enough to go back tomorrow, he answered, "I think I do!"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

So Long, Summer!

Today we say farewell to Summer 2009.
We have wrapped it up in the last few weeks with a fun mini-vacation in Galveston with my parents,

a crazy afternoon adventure exploring downtown Dallas with some friends (even though that's not what we set out to do!),

and spending sweet time together.

So long, Summer '09. It's been fun!