Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas- Part 1

Since we were going to be at my parent's house for Christmas, we had Christmas morning at our house a few days early.  The boys were so excited the night before, but somehow they slept in until after 8:00 a.m. which is late for them.

Caleb was so happy to receive an Ipod touch.  He doesn't have a cell phone and has never had an Ipod, so this was a big deal for him and a big purchase for us.  Totally worth it when we saw his happy face.

Last year for Christmas I searched through cookbooks and made a bunch of difficult recipes.  It seemed like all Christmas Eve and Christmas morning I was in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning up.  This year I decided I would not be in the kitchen all day.  I made a simple breakfast of frozen biscuits, eggs, sausage, and frozen hash browns.  For our meal we had gumbo, potato salad, bread, and a salad.  I purchased the gumbo from a local Cajun restaurant.  It was so delicious and simple.  Both meals were easy to prepare, easy to clean up, and I was able to enjoy the day with my family.  *I know, I know I should whip up a homemade big meal, I just wanted easy this year.  And it worked for us.

The boys went shopping separately and both of them gave me beautiful coffee cups.  I love them!

Our little family Christmas was so sweet.  Next up, Christmas- Part II in McKinney.  With snow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What I learned this semester at college

My college semester has ended and I cannot be more overjoyed about this.  This was the first semester that I've had to be at the campus so much.  Before I've almost exclusively taken online courses.  This semester I had three classes to take in person, which had me there 3 days a week, some evenings and some during the day.  My helpful husband works at home some of the time, so the days I needed to go to class he would stay home with the boys.

Here's the thing about online courses, you don't meet anyone.  On-campus the opposite was true.  All three of my classes were connected to my major.   All most all of the same people were in every class with me.  I developed friendships with some of these amazing people.  Other people I just observed.  And I was reminded how everyone has a story.

Alice is a pretty young lady in her 20's.  She's also a paraplegic.  I noticed her right away for two reasons: first is that she always had a huge smile on her face and secondly because she was in a wheelchair.  Without fail every Monday night she would be in class.  Then I saw her one night in the parking lot.  Near our class building was the handicapped parking.  I witnessed Alice's Mom getting out the wheelchair from the back of their very old van, bringing it to the front passenger side door, then her Mom lifting Alice into her arms (and struggling some), then placing Alice in the wheelchair.   Mom would then fix Alice's hair, give her her backpack, and off Alice went in her motorized wheelchair to class.  Here's the thing, I saw Alice's mom every time we had class.  I didn't always see them arriving.  Some nights I'd see her Mom sitting in the van on my way in to class, other times I'd see her on my way out.  Without fail, Alice's mother was there bringing her to class.  And never did I see Alice unhappy or unsmiling.  She seemed to be one of the happiest people in class.

Sharon is a single mother of four children.  She works full time at the college, while also taking a full load of classes.  She is on the road to finishing her social work degree and will graduate soon.  Sharon is another person who was always cheerful, kind, happy, and smiling.  She also liked to talk and over the semester told me a lot about her life.  Her husband divorced her and she receives no help at all from him.  She lives in Beaumont and has no family around to help her.  She loves the Lord and her church is a big support to her.  Sharon's job pays her minimum wage.  She often was behind in her school work and was always playing catch up.  Sharon had a lot going on.  I couldn't imagine being a single mom of four kids, with no help, and working and attending school full time.  Sharon would send me a few texts a week of encouraging words or scriptures.  One day I was struggling with something, that she had no idea of and she texted me this: Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord.  Psalm 27:14.  Sharon and I helped each other out with study guides and things that we could work together on.  I have several texts of thanks from her saying how much I helped her this semester, but she helped me so much more.

Connie scared me when I first laid eyes on her.  Honestly.  It was the first night of my Tuesday evening class, I arrived and the only open seat was next to Connie.  Connie is a very big woman and was wearing her work uniform.  She is a guard at the local prison.  The look on her face went right along with the uniform. She looked tough and like someone you would not want to mess with.  Well right off the bat, we were assigned a group project and so Connie and I and one other lady were grouped together.  We met several times and I began to really get to know Connie.  At one of our meetings, she shared with us how she has a passion for social work and she can't wait to earn her degree.  She mentioned how her whole life she has wanted a job where she can help people.  She went on to say that she wants to one day work with elderly, the poor, children, handicapped, families, women.  Then she said, "I just want to work with all groups of people to help them."  As she was talking, tears came to her eyes.  Over the semester, I learned that Connie was one of the most caring and soft-hearted people I have ever met.  Towards the end of the semester around Thanksgiving she missed almost two weeks of class.  I finally saw her and she said she had been in the hospital, really sick with pneumonia.  I filled her in on all the assignments and upcoming tests and gave her copies of notes and study guides.  (Why do professors give us so much to do at the end of the semester?!?)  Connie was able to catch up and get everything completed.  The last day of class she gave me a big hug and said she wanted to take me out to eat for helping her so much.  Just like Sharon, Connie helped me and taught me some things.  I'm ashamed to admit, but I judged Connie by her looks, right away.  I know not to do that, yet I still do.  Connie's heart and personality were so opposite of her "tough lady" look she portrayed.

Every time I noticed Alice's mom in their van, I thought, this is love.  Every time I saw Alice's smiling face, I thought, this is pure joy.  Every time I talked with Sharon, I thought, this is persevering and believing for better days.  Every time I spoke with Connie, I thought this is true love for your fellow man.

I learned just as much from my fellow students as from my professors.  Here's to the hope that I will truly love people and have compassion for them, that I will smile and have joy even in adversity, and that I will never again judge people by their outward appearance.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Polka Dots, Baptism, Thanksgiving, and a Dog

Earlier this month we traveled to one of our favorite places- my parent's house five hours away.  We always have such a good time there.  There's something so wonderful about parents that love you and support, no matter how old one gets.  We ate so much delicious food and had such a fabulous time.  I loved that my lovely Mom and I both wore our polka dot shirts on the same day. 

On Sunday morning at my Dad's church, he baptized both Caleb and Luke.  It was so special for my Dad to be able to baptize them.  My Dad baptized me when I was little, baptized Aaron when he was 21, and now has baptized both boys.  We had been talking to Caleb about the importance of water baptism, how it was the next step,  and how it publicly signalized that a person is a follower of Christ.  Luke chimed in right away, "Well, Mom I want to do that!"  Both boys opted to be baptized by my Dad.

We spent Thanksgiving this year with Aaron's parents.  We had such a delicious feast of food.  Thanksgiving pics:

Our tree is up and we are gearing up for Christmas.  I love, love Christmas time.  And I can't wait for my college classes to be over and for a break from homeschooling.  Looking forward to no school work needing to be done in our house for almost a month!

Luke has been begging and pleading and requesting something for the last month or so.  It is number one on his Christmas list and he says he wants it more than anything else.  He says to get him this and nothing else.

I'm slightly anxious about this one.  We are not dog people, at least I am not.  Can we handle a dog?  Do we have time and room for a dog?  Will Luke get tired of the dog after a while?  We are leaning towards making his Christmas dream come true, but then I don't know what kind of dog.  Where do we get a dog from?  So many questions.....stay tuned.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

We'd rather be in McKinney

We'd been planning for a few months to go to my parent's house in McKinney this weekend.  Hubby had taken two days off of work and everything was ready.  Sadly, we are at home and not in McKinney.

First:  Our air conditioning went out on Wednesday- it won't blow air at all.  And it was 90 degrees.  Okay, we can deal with this.  The a/c guy cannot come until Thursday, the day we are supposed to leave.  We are still thinking we can have him come, he can do a quick fix, and we can be on our way.  On Thursday he calls and says something came up and that he cannot come until Friday at noon.  

Second:  The boys are taking tennis lessons and are both enjoying it.  Thursday morning Luke couldn't finish his lesson because he felt like he was going to throw up and his throat hurt so bad.  We came home and he ended up on the couch with fever to add to his other symptoms.  I just knew it was probably strep throat, as several students at our co-op had been sick with it last week.  I called the doctor's office and they let me bring him right in.  And yes, he has strep throat.  He was given antibiotics and we were told that he would be good to go in 24 hours and would not be contagious.

We thought okay, we'll give him 24 hours and leave a day late and still have a great weekend.  Ummm...the best laid plans.  The a/c guy comes on Friday and says our entire indoor unit needs to be changed out. !!?? ;(  And Friday at noon, Luke was feeling no better and in fact worse.

So we didn't get to visit with my parents and my sister and her family this weekend.  We didn't get to go to the Texas State Fair and have a corndog.  We didn't get to go to the Dallas Arboretum and see their pumpkin display.  We didn't get to go to church with my parents and hear my Dad's sermon.  Yes, people we had a full weekend planned.

We did get to enjoy the windows being open.  I did get a lot of sitting around time and a much slower pace these last few days than I've had since school started.

It's Saturday and Luke is still not feeling well.  In fact today he added throwing up to his arsenal of symptoms.  He is a trooper though and we are hoping he will be much better tomorrow.  He is so sweet, even when he is not feeling good.  He said to me, "mom thank you for taking care of me," and "mom, you are the kindest person I know."

Thankfully, a cool front has come in tonight.  We celebrated the cooler temps with hubby grilling.  So we had a dinner of steaks/hot dogs, boudain, and salads.

Here's to being thankful for the little things.  And hoping and praying for good health for all of us from here on out.  And to rescheduling our trip to McKinney.

*Side dishes:  Chili Cheese Frito Salad (so yummy, you must try it and yes, I did have a very large serving of it on my plate) and Cucumber and Tomato Salad.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Today was a super Sunday.  

First at church we had a missionary family to Mozambique share about their ministry.  Their work is so inspiring, visit their website here.

After church we went to one of our favorite burger places.  Best onion rings ever!

We have needed a new grill for a long time.  I mentioned it to my Dad and he said Lowe's had placed many of their grills on clearance.  We headed there today and found this really nice charcoal grill (because that is the only way to grill according to hubby).  Original price was $199, clearance price was $149, plus because we purchased the floor sample we got an additional 15% off.  Final price $126.50 plus tax.  Tomorrow we are having steaks from the grill!

The afternoon included nap time/ quiet time/ video game time for the boys.  Then our after dinner entertainment- tennis.  The boys are going to take some tennis lessons this month.  They are very excited.  We headed out to the tennis courts tonight.   Luke kept saying, "This is so much fun Mom!"  

So enjoyed this special Sunday.

Friday, August 31, 2012

3rd, 7th, and College Junior

School is in session for our family!  Summer seemed to speed by, but all good things must come to an end.  This year at our house we have a 3rd grader, a 7th grader, and a homeschool teacher/ college junior (me!).
(Clockwise from upper left) This year's grade levels, Luke having breakfast on our 1st day of homeschool co-op, mandatory hot tea to start my day, break time with Paws, Literature work on the couch, the college campus, the gun, Garfield book and stuffed animal come to school with Luke, making 1st day of school tie-dye shirts, the boys looking spiffy for the 1st day of co-op, and breakfast outside.

I can't believe Luke is in 3rd grade!  He is so sweet and loving.  He loves animals, dressing up, music, video games, playing with guns, swords, and shields, and wearing hats.Oh and he wants a puppy!

Caleb is in 7th grade!  I'm not sure how or when that happened.  He is very proud that he is taller than me.  (Although that's not saying much.)  Caleb is smart, kind, very competitive, and full of energy.  He loves to argue and debate.  Caleb is a voracious reader and he reads every day. Caleb loves to play video games and wants his own computer.

I'm incredible grateful that we get to spend our days together.  I love, love these boys and being their mom!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Our 4th- a parade, Whataburger, pies, and sparklers

Last year for July 4th we attended a small neighborhood parade.  The parade consisted of fire trucks, golf carts, bikes, wagons, people walking, and such.  Luke emphatically declared that the next year he would ride his bike in the parade.

So for this July 4th, Luke made preparations to be in the parade.    

He decorated his bike for the occasion and we headed to the parade starting point.

Here he is lined up and ready to go.  Next to him is my new bike!  I love, love it.  Well, except for the fact that I sometimes have trouble getting off of it and the fact that the seat is, ahem, not very comfortable at all.  But back to Luke.  He was ready to go. And he looked cool.

Next to us the bagpipers were warming up.

Some of our fellow parade participants.

The parade started and Luke and I were off.  The only instructions we received was to stay behind the fire truck.  The order of the parade was Boy Scout color guard, bagpipers, fire truck, then us!

Dad and Caleb came to watch us.  We tried to get Caleb to participate with us, but sadly he replied, "Why are they going to pay me?"  Um, he is a stinker and that was not cool.

After the parade, we went to lunch at one of our favorite places to eat.  Yep, Whataburger.  The boys had gotten these coupons from the summer reading program.

All three of the guys in the family love Whataburger.  Luke loves the cheeseburgers and the cookie that comes with the kid's meal, Caleb loves the chicken and fries, Dad loves it because he is a Texas boy, and they all rave about the ketchup.

I appreciated Whataburger, but did not love it until I had this:

Chicken Fajita Taco.  I love it.  I could eat it every day and its only 420 calories. :)

Next we went home and the boys played video games and I made Luby's Coconut Cream Pies to take to the grandparents house.  I forgot to take a final picture.  But trust me the pies looked good and tasted good.

Dinner was catfish with coconut pie for dessert.  Then the chess competition started.

When darkness fell we headed out to the driveway for fireworks fun.

We had a fun and full and special July 4th.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} Garage Sale Edition

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~
garage sale finds 


 oil lamp- $1   seashell frame- .50 cents  glassware- $1.50 for all three


kitchen rug- $4, breakfast at McDonald's (our yard sale bribe to the boys), antique trunk- $5 


racko game- $1(hubby played this game growing up), badminton set in box- $5 (so happy to have badminton as I can beat hubby in a match..for real)


planning ahead the night before, and one Saturday's haul
  The $1 shoes hurt my feet and I changed my mind on the basket.  Buyer's regret.

round button chicken

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Such a perfect day..

And every moment was so precious

Wouldn't want to change a thing

*Lyrics- Strawberry Swing by Coldplay*
Perfect day at Galveston, TX on June 27, 2012