Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Gettin' Away

As I mentioned in my last post, our 16th wedding anniversary was this past Friday. I went home for lunch and returned to find these waiting for me...
I know a lot of women say that flowers are a waste of money.  And they are not really practical. But they do make my heart happy. And I am thankful for a man who knows that and indulges me once in a while.

On Saturday morning, we packed up our car, waved good-bye to the kids and my mom, and headed down the road to the big D.  As in Dallas.

A night getaway.

Just the two of us.

We may or may not have skipped to the car with giddiness.

We had about 5 hours to chat, catch up, just enjoy one another's company with NO interruptions as we cruised down the road to...


It was my first trip to an Ikea store.

We had a product in mind which is how we ended up in Dallas to begin with.


Shelves to be used for many reasons, none of which really involve books.

Darn Pinterest.

Driving to Dallas and staying in a hotel was actually cheaper than having them shipped to us.  As long as you don't count the shopping we did while there. :)

Very thankfully, what we wanted was in stock.  An hour or two later, we had them loaded in our car and we headed down the road to check out some other stores (not nearly as exciting).
Saturday night we had dinner at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant.

Oh yum.

It was definitely a splurge.  A treat.  A "not going to happen too many times in my lifetime" meal.

And the biggest splurge I have had since I started my diet.

But it was worth it.

At least until I step onto the scale again.

On Sunday, we made a couple other stops at stores then enjoyed one last meal...deep dish pizza. It wasn't quite the same as Chicago's but it was pretty good.

Then we returned back home to our reality, crazy as it is.

A little refreshed, a lot happy.

We love our kids but we sure do love our getaways together.



Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sweet 16

16 years.

16 years ago we stood in front of friends, family, students, and most importantly God.

I stood in my long white dress, my veil covering my face.

I looked at him, looked into his eyes.

I heard his voice tremble as he declared his love for me.

Was it fear or was he overwhelmed with this beauty before him? :)

We vowed.

We promised.

For better or for worse.

In sickness and in health.

Until death do us part.

When we uttered those words and sealed them with a kiss and a prayer, we had no idea.

No idea what was ahead.

Financial struggles (that first year was rough).

Tears. Lots of tears.  (Mainly me...again that first year was rough...probably more for him than me :)

Lost jobs.

Found jobs.

New business.

A lump in my breast.

Two births of biological children.

Two adoptions.

Five trips to Guatemala.

Four "homes".

Trips to the beach.

Weekend getaways to San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago.

A visit to our nation's capital.

Weight gained, weight lost.

The death of three grandparents, one uncle, and one stepmother.

The challenges of parenting.

Building a house.


Numerous vehicles.

Debt.  Debt paid off.

Family stresses.



Lots of prayers.


Visits to Silver Dollar City.

Two trips to Disney World.

One little fluffy puppy.

Busy activities with the kids.  

Lots of laughs, lots of tears, an occasional disagreement, and lots of love.

If we had known, would we still have chosen to say those words?

I would like to think so.

Life is hard.

We live in a fallen world.

And until He comes, it is not going to be easy.

And it hasn't been (though I know it could always be worse).

Especially this past year.

This past year has been extra tough.

But it is part of our lives.

And I cannot imagine another person I would rather face each day with than him.

He is my best friend.  My confidante.  My strength on the hard days.  My encouragement.  My gift from God. My helpmeet.  My partner.  My love.

And while the 16 years has been a roller coaster ride, having him holding my hand on both the ups and downs, had made it a ride I will always treasure.  I can only hope and pray that we have many more years together (though on occasion I wouldn't mind hopping off the roller coaster and jumping on a much slower paced ride :).

Happy anniversary, my love.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Sick and Tired...

I am going to by-pass my usual Thankful Thursday. Not that I am not thankful. I am. I just want to share a little about the week. Let's see, on Tuesday, our youngest child got up after coughing all night.  He didn't eat much breakfast (which is unusual), telling me he wasn't hungry with that "fever".  I said, "You don't have a fever."  Then I grabbed the thermometer to prove my point.  Except I didn't.  He proved his point.  He DID have a fever.

So, little guy 4 hung out at my mom's house for the day.  Thanks, Mom!

Wednesday, he pops up out of bed. Still not much of an appetite but he was perky enough.  And no fever. So we headed to school.

Around lunch I received a text from child 3's teacher.

"She has a headache."

Um, that is unusual.

A few minutes later, that sweet teacher stopped me to let me know she (my daughter) also had a fever.


Thankfully it was lunchtime. And thankfully my mom was around to help yet again.  (Thanks, Mom!) 

I dropped child 3 off then headed back to school.

After school, I went to pick her up.  She was just waking up.  We started to walk to the car when she got sick.  Really sick.

She spent most of the evening, stretched out on the floor, sound asleep.

 Sigh again.

I don't like missing school, but I had no choice. I needed to be a mommy.

So we hung out at home today, child 3 and me.

And it was a good day. 

She woke up feeling rough but improved as the day passed. She even had an appetite. 

I was torn as to what to do with myself.

Child 3 is pretty independent. She likes to play on her own. She can read books.  She likes to talk but doesn't require full attention.

So, do I clean and organize or take it easy?

I went with both.

I cleaned out the pantry.

Worked a little on the fridge.

Started prepping dinner.

Worked on laundry.

Cleaned out a file cabinet. 

Packed and labeled some clothes boxes.

Vacuumed up some cobwebs. (I guess I could have kept them around for Halloween)

Answered some e-mails.

Stuff like that.

I really wanted to take a nap but I didn't. :)

I did take little breaks throughout the day, just enjoying the quiet (fairly quiet).

Finally it was time to pick up the other kids.

We got home, worked on homework, then I cheerfully went to work on dinner.

I was so excited about dinner (plus feeling good about the day's accomplishments).

I had defrosted and salted some ribeyes (from our half a cow :).

I decided to cook them in the skillet (on the stove, then finish in the oven). I also made baked Parmesan potatoes, Rhodes bread, and black-eye peas.

The house was smelling good.

My mouth was watering.

Finally, hubby was home. We sat down to eat.

And I enjoyed every bite.

The meat was very tender.

The potatoes were delicious.

And Rhodes bread...need I say more?

Then it happened.

One of my children made a really rude comment about dinner.

And I felt like a balloon.


Honestly, I still do.

I had worked hard all day and felt slapped in the face. :(

Tonight as I was running errands, I started thinking about it.

And I wondered if God feels like that with me.  With us (people in general).

He takes care of us. He gives freely to us.  He provides for us.

And we don't appreciate it.  We complain about what we have or even more what we don't have.

Does it feel like a slap in the face to Him too?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Fog is Lifting

This has been a stressful time. 

As in the whole year.


And it is easy for me to get caught right up in the stress.

In some ways, it is like being under a fog.

When times are like this, it is difficult to look out beyond my own circumstances.  My own worries. My own concerns.

I want to, but I can't.

However, about a week ago, I realized that I was letting myself worry too much.  (I know, any worry is probably too much)  I also realized (though I knew this before but had forgotten :) that I was worrying about many things I had no control over.  Obviously if I had any control over them, I would have gotten them UNDER control so I wouldn't worry about them. :)

And slowly the fog lifted.

I can't say that life got easier.

It hasn't.

School has a lot of pressures right now as we implement new curriculum and have new standards to meet (as teachers).

We are still struggling with how to best help our kids be the best people they can be.

We are running all over in the afternoons and evenings so kids can do their activities.

We struggle to find time together as a couple (though we often manage to squeeze in a few minutes here and there; if anything, we have a spontaneous sushi night together or run to the grocery store when time allows.

I am having to learn that I just can't please all people as much as I would like to.  I also have to accept that some people won't please me either as much as I would like them to.

I am not getting to hike like I would like. :(

I feel like I am failing at the blogging world.  Every. Single. Day.

Some friends and family are dealing with tough stuff too...much tougher than anything I am dealing with.

But even with these difficulties, the fog is lifting.  I can focus my eyes on the Sun again, remembering that God is in control.  (I say that to my children often...why is it so hard for me to believe?)  I can see the beautiful colors that are emerging around us as autumn unfolds in our area.  I can treasure the sweet moments with our children even if they are sometimes overshadowed by the struggles.  And I can know that even in the struggles of school, I am there for a reason and a purpose...that has never changed.

More soon,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Not sure today was just the greatest day...in fact, at one point today I felt like hitting my head against the wall (since it felt like I was doing that already :).

But I will still choose to be thankful anyway.

Especially thankful it was better than last Thursday when I didn't feel thankful at all. :)

What am I thankful for today?

  • the cooler temperatures. I LOVE summer but I also love fall. 
  • pumpkin muffins.  Nothing deep to that...they are just tasty. :)
  • my kids' teachers (who are patient and kind and loving and hardworking)
  • reaching my weight loss goal...finally!  (Ten months later)  I am still not sure whether to just go into "maintenance" mode or try to lose a few more
  • my heated seats
  • my laptop
  • the "family" game of Sorry tonight.  What I am even more thankful for is that one of our children has just become a fun kid full of humor...I am SO thankful for the way God is moving in her life!
  • a fun field trip to the pumpkin patch (with my class and even better, our youngest on his first field trip :)
  • a sweet note one of my children wrote to a sibling
  • a spontaneous sushi night with my main man
  • friends who encourage, listen, and pray
  • watching my kids play games (volleyball, t-ball, etc)
  • that volleyball is an indoor sport (especially on the cool nights :)
  • an evening we were ALL home together...no practices!
  • my parents.  I love that my mom texts my kids and keeps up with their lives.  I think sometimes she knows more about them than I do. :)
  • my sister.  She is always there for me even though she is miles away.
  • the gift of prayer and a God who listens to me, no matter how big or small the request
I know I could come up with others but I better head to bed.  I am sure tomorrow will be just as busy as the rest of the week has been.

Now, what are you thankful for this week? If you do read this, leave me a comment and tell me something.  Those comments always make my heart smile!


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Freezing Friday Fun

Sorry there was no Thankful Thursday this week.  I was NOT feeling thankful on Thursday. In fact, Thursday was pretty much a nightmare to me.  The kids were in a sour mood, I was in a sour mood. Bad combination.  (Ironically the day was pleasant, then the evening was...dramatic :)

On Friday, it was cold and wet outside.  But overall it was a good day for all.

Friday night= football.

I have missed two of our high school's football games.  One involved a sick child (and another child who was facing a very messy room).  And another involved bad weather and a desire to just be at home.

I was determined to NOT miss another one.

Okay, part of it was due to the fact I had NOTHING planned for dinner. Nothing.  Why? Because I planned on being at the football game. :)

Plus, I just like going. I feel such a sense of community when I go. I love seeing former students and their parents.  And I like being outside.

Three of the kids were on board.

Hubby not so much.

The ironic thing is I am usually the one who is complaining about going out in the weather.

This time it was him. :)

But with my charm (or maybe because of the night we had before), hubby saw things my way.

And we loaded up the car and headed down the road.  Blankets in tow.

We got there a tad bit early and decided to hang out in the car for a bit.  Because at that point, the sun had set. And it was chilly.  Chilly chilly.

Finally, we headed out, jackets zipped, blankets in our arms.

We stopped by the concession stand.  Gathered up our foods.  (Cheapest meal ever :)  Then headed to our seats.


Forgot the towel.

It had rained all day.

Hubby sacrificed his blanket to dry it off for us.

We settled in.

Ate our food.

Wrapped up in our blankets.

Cheered our team on.

It was cold.

But fun.

Because for older kids, a football game is a social gathering, we just had our two Guatemalans with us in the bleachers.

And they were funny.

Child 4 hammed it up for the audience around us.  He loves to watch the score and cheer on the team.

Child 3loves to ask questions.  They make me giggle.  "What time does the game end, Mom?"

I am pretty sure hubby was ready to head home after five minutes.

And me? The one who is always cold? Well, I was chilled. But I was happy. 

We made it to halftime.  (Had to watch the band)

Then we headed back to the car, our team winning in the background.

We hopped in the car.  And didn't go anywhere.

Dead battery.

Thankfully, a sweet lady sitting right across from us had jumper cables.  It took a few attempts.  I was starting to think it might be that pricey starter.  But then it jumped.

And today it worked every time I hopped in it.


We rode home, heated seats on high, listening to the game.

Really, I cannot think of another way I would like to spend my Friday night.

More soon,