November 30, 2009

30 days...

I'm done!! Today is my last day of NaBloPoMo!! (National Blog Posting Month) It has been so much fun to blog every day, but I have to admit, there were a few days in there where I wasn't so sure what in the world to blog about.

I don't know how people do it--consistently blogging every day. I just don't think there are enough exciting/interesting/fun things in my daily life to keep you all wanting to come back and read every day!

So I'm looking forward to blogging just kind of often again for awhile. December is always a very full month, and Justin and I have many fun parties and things on the calendar.

Hope you are having a great start to the week--and to the crazy busy Christmas countdown!!

November 29, 2009

End of vacation...

The last day of an extended vacation is always so sad to me...

You spend weeks looking forward to it--counting down the days until it is here...

And then like a flash, here I am, in the last hours of the vacation, and it is a little bit bittersweet. I wish I had more days, but it was such a great time off with family. Even being sick with a cold was worth it when because I got to lay around in bed reading when I wasn't feeling good! So much better than feeling icky at work!

So even though I wish I had more time off, I realize how lucky I am to even have a job that gives me time off at all! Not many people get a whole week at Thanksgiving and another 2 weeks at Christmas, less than a month later! Not to mention spring break and summer!! The perks of being a teacher!

So back to the grind tomorrow... but who am I kidding--it isn't a grind at all. I love my job, the kids, and my coworkers! So I guess, back to a great place tomorrow!! Hope you can have a good Monday and get back into the swing of things quickly!

15 days until Christmas break!!!
(Not that I'm counting or anything though!!)

November 28, 2009

Turkey Daze...

What a great, yummy day yesterday was!! My tummy is still full of the great turkey--so good!! I know-- still no pictures of the family-- but Aaron and Kristen are still here, so I will do a good update tomorrow afternoon. I also am working in my new Christmas background and header, and I am hoping to get them up by December 1st!!

I am now officially excited about Christmas... Love all the lights!! I can't believe how many houses are already decorated with their lights on! Ours are up, but they haven't been turned on yet since we have been staying at my parents' house with the fam.

Here is a picture of Betsy all dressed up in her winter coat, hanging out on the couch!

Hope you are having a great weekend!!

(My brother just told me about this new blogger app-- now I can post from my phone so much easier!!)

Posted by Alyson on my iPhone!!

November 27, 2009

Not black Friday for us!!!

So today is not a shopping day in this house, well my parents' house actually. We are actually eating our Thanksgiving meal today!! My brother and Kristen were supposed to come into town last night, but after problems with their flight, they should be arriving around 11 am.

We are so excited to have everyone together for at least a few days, and it really didn't make a difference when we ate the turkey!

So stay tuned for pictures from our family celebration! And I hope you and your family had a wonderful time yesterday and that your bellies are still full! Anyone get any good deals early this morning?? You black Friday shoppers sure are brave! :-)

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello... it's me... the other third of the Steiner household.. Justin! Just in case you didn't know who that other guy was in all of these pictures, I just wanted to confirm that yep.... that is me!

I was finally given permission to hijack the blog! I can't believe it! It is like I have found the Holy Grail!
Thanksgiving has always been a great holiday for me with many traditions. Traditions ranging from broccoli rice casserole and the absolutely wonderful bread rolls that my grandma always made to Nebraska football on Friday afternoon.
This year it is easy for me to say so many things that I am thankful for but I have been asked to keep my list down to ten things. I could simply post the typical things like, I am thankful for my job in this job market, or I am thankful for living in the U.S., or heck even thankful that I get to see my cute father-in-law on such a normal basis. But let's face it, those things are things that I should be expected to be thankful for. Don't get me wrong. I am EXTREMELY thankful for my job and also the sight of my father-in-law. So here goes (in no special order):
1. I am thankful for my Alyson. These last few years have been full of ups and downs. If you read this blog, I know that I don't have to tell you them. I can't see myself ever facing life without Alyson! We have faced the stresses of the housing market in my career and the trips to the fertility doctor together. I am thankful for the effects that this has had on our marriage. It has actually strengthened our marriage and made us more in love. There are many days, like this one, that I just want to stay indoors and just relax with Alyson.
2. I am thankful for Nebraska football. One thing that you might want to know is that I am not a sports junky. What I mean is, I don't regularly watch sports on tv. Alyson can be my witness that whenever I need to find ESPN that I have to ask her what channel it is on. I have my select few teams that I watch but that is it. I am a Nebraska fan because of my family and their brainwashing. =). My mom grew up in Nebraska and we would make regular trips to my grandparents' farm during my childhood. If I would've chosen a different team to cheer for, like Colorado or Oklahoma, let's just say that I most likely would not be alive today. Nebraska football gives me just another thing to look forward to so that I can get through the week.
3. I am thankful for Betsy, my sweet furry baby. There is nothing like coming home to this dog after a long stressful day of work. I can't wait to see her either sitting by the door waiting for me or up on the staircase with her paw extended waiving in the air begging me to give her a scratch.
4. I am thankful for Hollywood... Yep, I said that. Seriously, if it wasn't for Hollywood, I wouldn't have had all of these fantastic or ridiculous movies to watch. I am a complete movie junky. Whenever Alyson is gone or if I am off work, I will always find a movie to watch. Movies definitely can help distract you from the stresses of the world.
5. I am thankful for my parents and the great example they have set for me and my marriage. They have gone through life together going through their ups and downs and have shown me how to get through them together. My mom and I are the sports fans of the family while my dad and I like to discuss politics and religion together.
6. I am extremely thankful for the invention of coffee! I could never get through my day if it wasn't for a nice cup or two...or ten cups of coffee a day. I like it so much that Alyson and I have volunteered to serve coffee at our church for the last 3-4 years.
7. I am thankful for Vince Flynn, Ted Bell, and Brad Thor. Who are they you ask? These are my favorite authors. From my list of things you can see a pattern of my life. I always make sure I have something to look forward to. It might be a football game, a movie coming out, but it is also the next book by one of my favorite authors. I can't wait until their books come out next year. I recently got my father-in-law into reading Vince Flynn and I must say... he is hooked.
8. I am thankful for basketball and not for the typical reasons. I honestly believe that basketball has helped shape who I am today. The discipline, the passion, the competitiveness, the teamwork, and the dedication I have learned from playing this sport have been things I have applied more to my life in my career than what a pronoun is (sorry Alyson and Joyce).
9. I am thankful for a pencil and paper. I absolutely love to sketch. I go through phases of sketching, but there is nothing like taking a blank piece of paper and turning it into something I can hang in my office. It always seems that the picture is already in the paper somewhere, I just have to erase the blankness and let the picture show itself.
10. I am thankful for our church, Hope Fellowship. I would attend church growing up, but it was my parent's church. It was a great church and still is, but Hope is my church. Alyson and I prayed about it and selected to become members of this church together. I have grown more spiritually in these last 4 years at Hope than I have in my previous 25 years of my life. I love what God is doing in our church and love our pastors there.
Well... kinda of long.. but that is my list of what I am thankful for. I hope you take a moment today and this weekend and tell those in your life that you are thankful that they are in your life. This week has been a reminder to me how short life can really be. We have to take in and grasp every moment of everyday and get through life together. God didn't intend for us to face this rollercoaster ride alone. Remember... when you get on a rollercoaster there is always a seat next to you that needs to be filled by another person before they start the ride. Have you ever ridden on a rollercoaster without someone there? I have and it isn't as much fun. When you are with someone, a friend, spouse, or even a stranger, their excitement, their energy, their worry, and their scaredness rubs off on you enabling you to enjoy the ride and get through it...together.
Happy Thanksgiving!!

November 25, 2009

I wish we were celebrating...

Today is kind of a hard day. I don't want it to be, but I can't help but remember that this was supposed to be the first birthday for our sweet boy. Jonathan Paul was supposed to be born on November 25, 2008--our Thanksgiving baby. While that didn't happen, and he went to heaven almost 4 months before that date, I still think about what would have been, what should have been.

It is weird how in my head, Jonathan almost has two ages. I think about how old he would be if he had lived from the day he was actually born, but I also think about how old he should have been if everything had happened like we were planning. We celebrate his birthday on July 31, but I wish that today was a day that we were having all of our family and friends over to celebrate a big 1st birthday party. Oh, if only...

But despite all this, I'm thankful that God is holding our boy close in His arms, and our sweet boy's entire life is a celebration in Heaven! I can't wait until someday we get to join that party!

November 24, 2009

Bucket List...

Sunday's sermon at church was the final one of our church's series, "So You're Dead...Now What", and was all about having a Bucket List. If you haven't seen the movie The Bucket List, see it--it is really good! But this Bucket List sermon wasn't all about making a list of all the major things you want to do before you die, but instead the importance of having a daily bucket list, of recognizing that the little things in life are sometimes more important than only accomplishing those 'big things'.

I've been pondering what was talked about for the last couple of days. The point was that we should take each day and all of the little details that it includes and be thankful for it all. So much of my life, honestly for the last 5 1/2 years, has been focused on everything related to being a mom. At the end of the schoolyear in May, I was talking with students about their plans for the summer, and they asked me what my plans were. It actually kind of shocked me when I realized that I didn't have ANY plans that didn't some how come back to the one focus I have--becoming a mom. That ties into this Bucket List sermon from Sunday. It hit me that all I really have in my bucket was that one focus...pretty much meaning that my bucket was EMPTY!!

But, that isn't can't be right. Why? Because my life is full, even though, right now, my arms are still empty! Even though my one goal, that seems like my biggest goal in life, is still unfulfilled, I have to appreciate all the amazing things that are happening to me right now. Our bucket list shouldn't just be for all the 'big' things, but also for all the little things as well.
So here it "new" bucket list of things I can fulfill, enjoy, and be thankful for in my life right now...
1. My wonderful husband and the fun we have together each and every day!
2. My sweet puppy who brings so much joy and unconditional love into my life!
3. Family--I am so lucky to have such wonderful family: my parents, my in-laws, our siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmas, cousins--not everyone is lucky enough to have such wonderful families!
4. A great job, amazing co-workers, sweet students who need my love and attention
5. A phenomenal church that brings friendships and growth in our relationship with Christ.
6. Great friends
7. Windy days so my wind chimes play their beautiful song
8. Sweet comments and emails from friends
9. Sunshine
10. Flowers growing in my yard that I didn't have to plant!
I could go on and on...
It definitely has to be a mindset change, but I'm going to make a point of appreciating even more all the little things, things that could seem insignificant in the scheme of life, and recognize that it is all of those things that make my life full! Those are the things that fulfill me and make my life what it is--those are the things that should be on my "Bucket List" each and every day!

~What do you need to add to your bucket list??

November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving week cold...

I wish this blog was about some nice cold weather that we are having this week to really make it feel like fall, but it isn't. It is going to be almost 70 degrees today, and sadly, it is me with the cold! I went to be last night feeling pretty rocky, and woke up this morning not much better! Oh well...working with kids it was bound to happen sooner or later!! I'm sure thankful that it is during a week I'm already off work, so I don't have to miss work!

I'm still determined to enjoy this week, cook and eat lots of yummy food, even if I'm not feeling great!

Hope you are having a great week, and that you are finding many things to be thankful for!!

November 22, 2009

It's my turn...

Hi everyone!! It's Betsy!!

My mommy let me hijack her blog today and tell you what's on my mind! Since it is Thanksgiving time, I thought I'd tell you my top 10 list of things that I'm thankful for!

I am so very thankful for...

1. My mommy and daddy...they love me so much, and always scratch me and love on me. My mommy gives me a hug each and every morning as she is getting ready, and my daddy always feeds me and takes me outside to potty. He's my buddy, and I don't think I could live without either of them! They even let me sleep on their bed every night!! They are the best mommy and daddy ever!!

2. My squeaky soccer ball...this is my best friend!! I talk to it all the time, and I go crazy when my mommy and daddy try to hide it from me. But good thing I have a good sniffer--I can always find it!

3. Pillows...any pillow, anywhere. My mommy says I'm a princess because I have to always be sitting or sleeping on a pillow. Hey--can you blame me??

4. My Gigi & Pop and my Mammaw & Pappaw...I love it when any of my granparents come to my house. They always scratch my tummy and let me cuddle with them. I wish they could be here all the time! I love to go to their houses too! I'm a spoiled grandpuppy!!

5. The dogs that live behind the fence in my backyard...anyone who has been to my house knows that I LOVE to bark at them and scratch at their fence. My mommy and daddy think I'm crazy when I run out there and bark at them, but what they really don't know is that this is my exercise each day. A girl has to keep her figure, you know!!

6. That my mommy is a messy cook...because this means that I get to be the vacuum cleaner!!

7. The windows in my house...our windows are only a foot off the ground all the way around the house--perfect for a curious girl like me who can monitor everything that goes on in the neighborhood all day long!!

8. Cars...I love to ride in the car--especially with the window rolled down and my nose sticking out! But I also like to lay in the backseat on long trips, like when I go to my Mammaw and Pappaw's house in Tulsa. My daddy said that at Christmas we are driving a really long way to a place called Colorado---I can hardly wait!!!

9. My furry family...even though they all kind of scare me, I am really thankful for my furry family: Juliet, Molly, and Bella. Mommy says that I was the one that started it all (I'm not sure what that means), and it was because I'm so good that they all wanted to get cocker spaniels too! Look how pretty they all are! I got them each a Thanksgiving scarf like mine so they could dress up for Thanksgiving too!

This is Juliet--her humans are my Aunt Joy, Uncle Ryan, and Cousin Ryley's dog.

She's just a puppy, but she kind of looks like me, huh? I can't wait to meet her at Christmas, along with some of my other relatives too!

This is my Aunt Molly--her humans are my Gigi and Pop. I'm so glad that my Gigi and Pop live close to me now, but that means I see Molly a lot more too. Which is okay sometimes, but she is kind of scary and tries to steal my squeaky ball! Oh well, it is all worth it to have my Gigi and Pop close!!

And this is Bella--her humans are my Uncle Aaron and Aunt Kristen. I have only met her one time, when she was a small and crazy puppy. She was acting crazy in my house, and I tried to tell her how she should behave. My mommy and daddy thought I was just being mean, but I was just trying to teach her some manners! I bet she would be a lot more fun to be with now that she is grown up!

Doesn't she kind of look like a teddy bear??

and last but not least...

10. I'm thankful for being loved. I hear that a lot of dogs don't have it as well as I do, with a home and family, and I am really a lucky girl.

That's all for was so fun to get to blog on my mommy's blog...Have a great Thanksgiving!

November 21, 2009

2012--Part 2

Well, I have to say, that for an "end of the world" type of movie, it was actually pretty good!! There were moments where I was on the edge of my seat, even though I knew the main characters had to make it in the end! There were also definitely quite a few places where I snickered or said, "yeah, right!" But all in all, I guess I would give this movie about a 6. Mostly for the amazing graphics and special effects. It just amazes me what they are able to do now to make everything look so realistic. I would think it would be so weird being the actors, having to act in response to so much that is really not there. I guess that is why they are called actors though!! =) I really liked the message at the end--about having compassion for humanity. Most of these 'end of the world' movies tend to have a theme of "global warming" or "humans are ruining the world and it is all our fault", but this one didn't really have to do with that. The world was ending, as we know it, because of something totally out of human control.

So all in all, we enjoyed this movie and would recommend it. You come away thinking it was a good movie, even if it didn't have the best plot and acting. Just perfect for a fun afternoon!!

...But I'm still looking forward to The Blind Side!!! And now some other great looking movies coming out next month! Overall, Justin and I just love watching movies!

2012--Part 1

Justin and I are headed out this afternoon with some other couples to see the movie 2012. I'm not the biggest fan of "the world is ending" kinds of movies, but Justin is really looking forward to it. He is the best husband, because he will always go with me to see my 'chick flick' movies, so I guess I owe him one! Who knows...maybe I will like it!! =)

The one I can't wait to see is The Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. It looks like an amazing story, but we are going to go see that one next week with the whole family. Maybe I'll read the book between now and seeing the movie.
Check back later--I'll post 2012--Part 2 and let you know what I thought about the movie!!

November 20, 2009

Have a...

Oh, how I love Fridays!

Knowing that I have a few days off is always such a nice first thought when I wake up on a regular Friday morning. But, knowing that I have NINE WHOLE DAYS off after I leave work today puts a huge smile on my face!!! Yes, I don't get paid when I don't work, but I'm really looking forward to this next week off. My brother and Kristen are coming into town, I have some projects that I'm looking forward to getting done around my house, and I'm going to be cooking and eating some yummy food (with some new recipes suggested by some of you!)!! I can hardly wait!!!

Happy Friday everyone...hope it is as exciting for you as it is for me today!! =)

November 19, 2009

It will all be worth it!!!

Sometimes I wish I didn't care about other people so much.

My heart just hurts when I hear about others who are facing hard times in their lives.

I've been through hard times, yes, but seeing my friends hurt seems to be just as bad as if it is happening to me.

My heart breaks sometimes at the unfairness of it all...

I trust that God is in control, and that He knows the whole picture, but still...

Sometimes my heart just hurts.

"For our present troubles are quite small [even though they seem huge right now to us] and won't last very long [even though they seem to go on forever]. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever [thank the Lord!]! So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now [that seem to surround us on all sides]; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over [YEAH!], but the joys to come will last forever [and it will all be worth it!]."

~ 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 [plus a few thoughts of mine]

November 18, 2009

Happy (Not-so-belated) Birthday, Kristen!!

Happy Birthday, Kristen!!!

I hope you have had a wonderful birthday yesterday!! Sorry that we didn't actually get to talk on the phone (hope you got my messages), but I'm sure my brother made you feel very special!! You are an amazing person, and I'm so thankful to have you as a sister. Can't wait to see you next week!

(Kristen's birthday was actually yesterday, so it seems like I'm late in posting this, but let me explain. Here is how my mind works (or maybe doesn't work)...I usually write my blog the night before so I can have it post first thing the next morning. So even though my wonderful sister-in-law Kristen's birthday was actually yesterday (Tuesday), and I'm writing this on the night of her birthday and setting it to post on Wednesday. So see??? Not-so-belated after all! If only I was more on top of things and wrote this message on Monday night! Oh well!)

November 17, 2009


I mentioned a couple of days ago that our message at church on Sunday was going to be about Heaven. We went to church and really enjoyed our time there...amazing worship, an incredible scripture-based message, and a great Los Lonely Boys song "Heaven" performed by our worship pastor and pastor. We sure have some talented people at our church.

Our pastor's message included a description of what the "New Heaven" will be like, according to Revelation 21...1,400 miles high, wide, and long, 216 foot thick walls made of precious jewels, streets of gold, gates each made from a single pearl, with God illuminating the whole thing. I was enjoying doing my best to imagine how amazing that would possibly be, when my husband leaned over and asked me a profound question. One thing I love about Justin is that he is a deep thinker. He ponders and questions things that don't ever even occur to me to stop and think about! He asked me, that if we were in this new heaven, and everyone who isn't a Christian is already in hell, why would there be a need for walls, especially ones so thick? Hmmmmm...good question.

That started us off on many discussions about this and about the book of Revelation in the Bible. Right now, I'm listening to Justin and his dad discussing end times. Very interesting, but for me, the one who tends not to be the deepest thinker about this kind of stuff, I really have to stop and try to get my head around it all. I've studied Revelation some in the past, heard different stories and beliefs about what will actually happen when life as we know it is all over, but I still don't understand it at all. Rapture? Pre-tribulation, Mid-trib, Post-trib? Mark of the Beast? New Heaven, New Earth? Is the Book of Revelation symbolic? Do the different things that happen symbolize something else? Or is it a description of actual things that happen, but through the eyes of John, a man who lived a long time ago? He wouldn't have the modern words for the technology we have today, so he would have to describe it based on familiar things to him. I know Revelation is one of the hardest to understand books of the Bible, and for good reason!
In just google searching "Revelation", there are over 5 million hits! It can be so confusing, and I know that is partly the reason that I tend to shy away from the topic of end times and Revelation. Just look at this chart!! Yikes!

But, I think for Christians, it is important for us to try our best to make sense of the end, and I want to try to study this more to see if I can gain some understanding. For me, not only is this topic confusing, but also kind of scary! I don't know why it is to me. Since I am a Christian, I know the end of the story and where I'm going, but there is still something about it that makes my heart race just a little bit! Am I the only one that this happens to? Justin loves to talk about end times, and I usually say, "Go talk to your Dad." But the message at church on Sunday has really spurred me on to try to learn more.

What do you know about Revelation? What do you wonder about the book? Have you read any good books that helps to make sense of this most confusing book of Revelation?

I'm thinking deep today! =)

November 16, 2009

Misplaced Holidays...

For those of you who have been reading my blogs for awhile, especially through the Christmas season, you know that I LOVE Christmas! I love the music, the lights, the meaning behind it...I love it all!


Isn't there a too early to have decorations up? Just yesterday I saw some neighborhoods that already have their garlands and red bows out on their signs! I mean, it isn't just the seeing Christmas decorations on the first of November. Think about when we start seeing things out in the stores...Valentine's Day stuff in January, Back to School stuff out in June, Halloween stuff in September, and so many more! It seems to me that everything is so commericalized--the "Hallmark Holidays" as my husband calls them--that we get it pushed on us earlier and earlier each year. Holidays are such big business, and we are rushed into the mindset that we have to hurry, buy our gifts, our cards, or decorations ASAP! Sometimes is just drives me nuts!

I just want to take time to enjoy this time of year, this season, this day, this moment. Our busy lives and fast-paced society just seem to keep us feeling in a constant state of hurry. My goal for the rest of this month is to slow down, and truly take the time to be thankful for each and every blessing in my truly give thanks during this Thanks-giving season!

...But that won't keep me from decorating my house (and my blog!) and turning on the Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving, though!! =)

November 15, 2009

"So You're Dead...Now What?"

Funny title, I know...

That is the title of the series our pastor is preaching right now at our church, Hope Fellowship. It is all about what the Bible says about what happens after you die. I know there are so many ideas people have about Heaven and hell, but I love how Pastor John gives us the straight truth, straight from the Bible.

The first week was an overview of what the Bible says about death, and the second week was what the Bible says about hell. One of the stats John gave was that 74% of people believe in Heaven, but only 40% in hell. That is a sad statistic to me, but it just shows me how focused on only the good things people are today. (How everyone should win, how there should be no losers in games, how there shouldn't be any negative comments given about anything, but only ones like "You're the best...You're awesome..." Ahh!! Okay, let me get off my frustrated teacher soapbox now!) This week's sermon is on what the Bible says about Heaven. I'm really looking forward to it and digging deeper into those scriptures that tell us all about it--not just our "stereotypical" ideas of Heaven.

It is really strange, and by reading blogs of other moms who have had babies die, I know others agree with me. I used to be hesitant about the whole rapture thing, about leaving the world here and moving on. As a Christian all my life, I knew I was supposed to be praying for Jesus to return...praying for the next step to come. But honestly...I would pray, "Lord, let me at least get to be a mom here on Earth first." I didn't want to go to Heaven, which I know in my heart will be better than anything I can EVER even imagine, until I had gotten what I wanted first here on Earth. Even if something was to happen to me tomorrow, I'm okay and excited to know that I will be in Heaven!

Boy things have changed. Since having babies that I never really got to meet, that I know are in Heaven waiting for me and being loved on by Jesus, I can hardly wait! And if Jesus wants to come and rapture His Church this afternoon, then I'm all for it. Bring it on, Jesus! I can't wait to meet you and hold all my babies!!

Strange how death really changes a person, their outlook on life. I have had loved ones die, my grandpa, other grandparents I didn't ever get to meet, that I do look forward to seeing again in Heaven. But I never desired it as much as I do now that my babies are there.

I'm looking forward to the sermon today on Heaven...

November 14, 2009

Events of the day...

Our Saturday...

What a fun day so far!!! Justin's mom and one of her friends came in last night. We went to one of our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants for breakfast, and today they are out enjoying the Dallas shopping experience!! They are just on their way back from Sam Moon...if you are a woman and don't know what this is, you will have to come to Dallas to find out what a wonderful place it is!! =)

Justin just got back from at 29 mile bike ride to our church and back (a 25-30 minute drive by car!!!). He is just amazing. I still am in awe of the awesome shape he is in, and how he is so consistent with his workouts!!! Maybe someday I'll join him... =) I just had to include this adorable picture of him with Betsy from this morning...she was totally relaxed on his lap!!! She loves her Daddy!

I spent most of the day at my parents' house planting flowers with my mom. We went and got a bunch of pansies, and really did some cute groupings in many of the pots she has in her backyard. My mom had planted some pansies in my year about a month ago when I was out of town, and so it was my turn to help her!! She is really doing well recovering from her surgery, but my dad and I were adamant that she didn't do any of the planting except directing me on what to do!!

Here are a few of the pots in the yard...We also planted those great decorative cabbage plants that will grow up really tall and pretty.

Molly couldn't resist being out there with us too, jumping in and out of the water. She is a crazy dog when it comes to water, and expecially the garden hose. I'll have top get a video of her attacking it next summer! Mom had to dry her off before we let her into the house! (I'm sure my mom won't like that I posted this picture of her in her grubby planting clothes, but I thought it was just too cute of her! Love you, Mama!!)

It was a hard day for Molly, and she was tired after all that planting! =)

Tonight we are headed out to eat somewhere in the downtown McKinney square with everyone...will be a fun night!
Now you know the details from our Saturday. It has been such a pretty day here today, it was so nice to be outside.
Hope you are having a great weekend!

November 13, 2009

Bunco Night...

I do!! I've joined a really fun group of ladies that play Bunco once a month. This is only my second month with them, but it is so much fun to get together, eat some yummy munchies, play the game, and laugh a WHOLE lot!! It is a $10 buy in, and there is a chance of winning at least $50 if you get the most Buncos. So far, from the last two times I've played, I'm $20 in the hole. Hmm. Maybe next time!!
Next month is couple's Bunco, so maybe my Justin will be my good luck charm!!
Hope you have a great Friday!!!

November 12, 2009

The Shack...

I know this book was very popular (and controversial too!) a couple years ago when it came out. I heard all the reviews, both good and bad, for awhile before I finally read it last fall. I'm a fast reader, and so I read through it in about a day. I remember my first thought after I finished it was, "Whoa. I need to read that again to really understand it." But here it is, over a year later, and I am just getting around to rereading it.

My chiropractor saw me reading it today, and we had a good discussion about it. He hadn't read it, and had heard all the controversy through the years, and wanted to know what I thought. I told him, from reading it the first time around, I remember thinking what an amazing way to think of how we as Christians can relate, interact, and should have a relationship with God. Now I know that this is a work of fiction (and I think that is part of the problem of why it is so controversial--people forget that). But, I think a lot of people would agree, that the Trinity is such a hard concept to grasp. I was impressed at the author's imagination and way of introducing us to the three parts of the Trinity.

I'm not done re-reading it yet, just getting to the Trinity part of the book again, but I'm curious... if you read it, what did you think about it?

November 11, 2009

Doctor visit...

So sorry that I didn't post about the results of my doctor visit yesterday, but I just HAD to tell you the story of our mouse adventure!! =) Hope you enjoyed it!

On Monday, Justin and I met with Dr. Barnett, our fertility doctor, for almost an hour and came away feeling very encouraged! We talked about our many different options for our future, as well as what he thinks went wrong this past cycle. Really, he doesn't know what went wrong. He went over the fact that my lining was thick, my estrogen and progesterone numbers were good, my beta (pregnancy level) was normal and what he would expect from a successful IVF cycle. He was shocked and sad that it didn't work, and we were so appreciative of his genuine care and concern for us. It is frustrating to not have an answer to the whys, but he did suggest a few more things that we could do differently if we decide to proceed with the frozen embryo transfer (FET). He says that an FET is actually a lot easier than IVF because it doesn't involve the high amounts of stimulating hormones. All you have to do is take estrogen to thicken the lining, and then progesterone to hold the lining in and help it to accept the embryos.

We are praying about our next step. At the moment, we are feeling like this FET is the right move for us. We have 3 "precious embryos" (Dr. B's words!) left, and he thinks that, if we can emotionally handle it, an FET would be a good final try. I really feel that if we can go into this knowing it will be the last try for us to have our own baby (with me being pregnant) and it doesn't work, at least we will have fully exhausted all our possibilities. If it works, then praise Jesus, and if we don't get pregnant, then we can move on to our Plan B options.

We would love your continued prayers, and I will update more as we get there. For now, we are looking forward to enjoying the holidays with our families, and trusting God for our future.


I just had to include a few new pictures of Jonathan's fall decorations. I went by the cemetery after our appointment, and had fun putting a fall leaf arrangement in his headstone vase.

I loved this...if you look closely, you'll see a piece of candy next to his pumpkin. Someone must thought that all of our babies in Babyland needed to trick-or-treat on Halloween too, because each and every grave had 2-3 pieces of candy on them! How thoughtful and special, don't you think?!

November 10, 2009

The Great Mouse Hunt...

The prey...
The tracker... The hunters...

The must have fashion of mouse hunters... (Thanks Mom!)

The story...

So Sunday night we were over at my parents' house to eat dinner with them. My dad was telling us that he thought he had been hearing a mouse somewhere in the house during the week while my mom was at the hospital. We had even seen clues that there must be a mouse lurking, food bags chewed open, but didn't think to much more of about it. All of a sudden, we heard Betsy doing her low 'ruff' that she usually does when she has found where we have hidden her favorite ball. We realized she was in the bedroom behind the kitchen that is used as a storage room. Justin got up to look what she had found, and my dad teased him that was probably the big mouse that had been in there last week.

So surprise, surprise, as Justin looked behind a table leaf that was stored in there, there WAS a mouse! A quite large one at that! It was nesting back in there, and Betsy had indeed found its scent and tracked it in there! So we all came to take a look, and then we jumped into action, finding the appropriate mouse hunting tools--a coffee carafe for me, and a hammer and a tall glass cannister with a top for my dad. (PETA and extreme animal lovers: this hammer was not for killing purposes or even harming purposes, but for gentle shoving into container Justin moved the leaf, and the mouse scurried into the fairly small bathroom that is in that room.

Then the fun really began! My dad and I headed into the bathroom after it, and closed the door so it couldn't escape, and spent the next 10 minutes crashing into walls, jumping away from the scurrying mouse, hopping up on the bathtub, and laughing hysterically!!! I don't think I've ever seen my dad, bad knees and all, jump so high or spin around so quickly!!! My tough Daddy was on a mission, to get that mouse into the container. But, when that mouse ran towards his slippered feet, he was sure that that mouse was coming to chew on his toes! He would jump, the mouse would run, and I would die laughing!!! Finally, after much cajoling, teamwork, and angling our "weapons" just right, the mouse made it into the cannister, and we got the top on tight! Poor Justin was standing right outside the door with another mouse catching contraption ready, just in case the mouse ran out, but we finally succeded at our hunt and came out with our prize.

We came out laughing just as hard as we were inside, and, of course, I had to reenact my dad's "mouse jumping" for my mom and Justin! I don't think I've ever seen my dad move that quickly or jump that high! Oh if only I had the video camera!!!

As you can tell, we are definitely city-folk. All it takes is one little (well--it was actually pretty big) mouse to get us all excited! And of course, we had to take pictures for the blog! The mouse is going to go live outside, far far away, and hopefully, Betsy won't have to be a mouse tracker ever again! What a fun night!!!

November 9, 2009

Stinking sink...

So I broke the kitchen sink last night.... well not the sink exactly, but whatever mysterious part of it that won't let the water drain out. My poor husband spent about 2 hour taking apart pipes, cleaning out disgusting gunk (thanks Babe--I couldn't do that), putting pipes back together, plunging...and nothing. Not sure how my garbage disposal usage ended up with both basins backed up and not draining, but it did.

So now it looks like a call to a plumber is in the works for today...along with dirty dishes in the diswasher waiting to be run, as well as some more on the counter waiting...bummer.

But the silver lining, and oh how I love silver linings, is that we renewed our home warranty, and will only have to pay $50 to get it fixed!!

Good times...

~~Oh, and be sure to check tomorrow's blog. I have a hilarious story about my dad, me, and a mouse...stay tuned!

November 8, 2009


My mom is home!! Praise the Lord! She came home last night, and is so glad to finally be at home in her own bed. Thank you for all your prayers for her this past week...we appreciate them so much!


We have an appointment with our fertility doctor tomorrow. I am really looking forward to talking with him about what he feels like would be a good plan for us right now. We have 2-3 different options that we are looking at and have questions about. It will be interesting to hear his take on these different ideas, and then Justin and I will pray that God would lead us into his plan for our next step in becoming a family of more than two!

Even in our uncertainty, I know that God has it all under control...

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Jer. 29:11-12

November 7, 2009

Thinking about turkey...

I don't know why I woke up this morning thinking about Thanksgiving dinner. Strange...even though I LOVE to eat, I usually don't wake up with food on my mind, unless I am thinking about what kind of cereal I will eat for breakfast! But the whole turkey dinner was on my mind, and it got me to thinking about what new, special, non-traditional dishes I can add to the table this year. We are going to have Thanksgiving with my family this year--my brother and my sister-in-law are coming into town, and some family friends are going to join us too. Since my mom is still going to be recovering, the rest of us will be heading up much of the cooking duties this year.

Our Thanksgiving meal usually consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (bread--my favorite, and cornbread), green bean casserole, sometimes spiral sliced ham, cranberry sauce, rolls, and then of course, pumpkin pie. Sometimes we there are a few different things (depending on which side of the family we are eating with) like a jello salad, sweet potatoes, or broccoli rice casserole, but we usually stick to the same ol' same ol'.

So here is my you have any dishes that are a part of your traditions that I should add to ours? I'm always on the hunt for new, yummy recipes, and would love to hear any great ideas from you!

I can't believe it is already November 7th...this year really has just flown by, and I know we'll be celebrating new years in just moments. But I love fall (if you couldn't tell that already!) and especially Thanksgiving. So I'm taking it all in, striving to enjoy every minute, appreciating all the blessings I have in my life right now, and looking forward to some yummy food!!!

November 6, 2009

A little bit of nothing...

I really have nothing to blog about today. Does this count towards my 30 days, even though it is really just a blog about nothing? I'm not sure. But I guess it will have to...I'm just too tired after a night at the hospital, a busy day at work, and another evening at the hospital to come up with anything funny, deep, or anything else!!

So tune in tomorrow for a post that will be much better than this one! I hope! =)

November 5, 2009

If You Want Me To...

I'm writing this Wednesday night from the couch (bed??!) in my mom's hospital room. I convinced my dad to take a break, and get a good night sleep in his own bed. So here I am, planning to have a slumber party with my momma. She's out (pain medicine and Benadryl will do that to you!) so this might not be the most exciting girl's nights together, but it is just so nice to be here with her.

I laying here thinking just how much God has been there for us the last few days. You just never know what life is going to throw at you. Just watching the news tonight, I heard at least 3 stories of people dying or being in major accidents. Just yesterday I didn't know if we would be getting the dreaded news of a cancer diagnosis for my mom. Nothing is guaranteed. Nothing works out just the way we want it to be, the way we plan, every single time. It makes me think about a song that I was listening to a few days ago. One of my favorite songs that Ginny Owens sings is called "If You Want Me To." Wow is it powerful, and so applicable to the hard times so many of us have to face in life. I just can't help but think about what Justin and I are going through on our journey. I find myself listening to it over and over and over. (It is in my playlist at the bottom if you want to listen to it...just click on it.)

If You Want Me To
Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And The signs are unclear
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

Cause I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you
Then I will walk through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my home
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'd never go alone

So When the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to

Wow. Even through those valleys, God has given all of us the strength to face anything! It might not be easy, but I'm choosing to trust Him... to follow Him...because I know I'm not alone!

November 4, 2009

Thank you Jesus!!

Quick post today, but full of praises and answered prayers!!

My mom's surgery went so very well, without any complications, and with the wonderful news of NO CANCER!!!!! She is recovering now at the hospital, and will be recovering at home at least through Thanksgiving. We still would love your prayers for a quick and hassle-free recovery, but won't you join with me in saying...

Thank You Jesus!!!

November 3, 2009

A Special Day...

Today is a very special day for a few different reasons....

First of all, today is my wonderful sister-in-law's birthday!!
Happy birthday Joy!!!

Joy is truly an amazing person to me. She is an intelligent, talented, and very capable woman, and has the most sensitive and loving heart. She is a wonderful mommy to our sweet niece Ryley, and a best friend to her husband Ryan. We had so much fun living near them for a little bit right after we got married, and wish we lived much closer! Joy--have a wonderful birthday!! Even though you are sick, I hope your day turns out to be a great one! We are praying that this is going to be your best year yet!!!


Another reason why this is such a special day is that 8 years ago tonight, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Justin proposed to me!!! I still remember that day like it was yesterday, and I can't believe that 8 years have flown by so quickly!! We were just babies, in our junior year of college, but I knew since I met him that he was the one for me. I've never imagined that I would be so blessed to share my life with such an incredible man, and I'm so thankful that God had such a wonderful plan for us!!

This is a picture from the night we got engaged--do we look happy or what?! Well, maybe I was the ecstatic one, and he was the relieved one that it was over!! =)

Our engagement picture...please ignore the blurriness of these photos. These were pre-digital camera pics, and I had to take a picture of the actual picture on my iphone to get them on here!!

As I was looking for these pictures, I found a fortune cookie fortune that I had saved from that year. It said, "Stop searching forever, happiness is just next to you." There are no truer words! I love you Justin!!!


Just a reminder that my mom's surgery is today...thanks for praying for her!!

Hope you enjoy the new fall look!!

November 2, 2009

30 days...

My friend Natali had this on her blog, and it sounds like a lot of fun! I'm going to participate in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) by attempting to blog every day this month! Not sure yet what I will blog about each day, but you'll just have to come by and see! =)
Any fellow bloggers want to join us? Come on, it will be fun!!!

November 1, 2009

A priest and a prayer...

Last night we went over to my parent's house to eat dinner and watch a movie, and we couldn't resist just one more costume... My parents were surprised that such a nice nun and preist were at their door!

They even had to have a try in the "habit"! My mom revealed that it always has been her dream to sing the song from Sound of Music in full costume. She cracked us all up!

And don't tell anyone about this kiss!!!
One more thing....would you pray with me this week? My mom is having surgery on Tuesday. About a month ago, she found out that she had a tumor in her ovary. They did further testing and are just about sure it isn't cancer--thank the Lord! But with her history of cancer (she had breast cancer when I was in 6th grade), we are still nervous about anything that isn't supposed to be in her body!
Please pray for her this week--that she would have complete peace as she goes into the surgery, that there would be nothing else in there when they operate, and that her recovery would be fast and without any complications. I am so thankful that they are here in Texas...God knew I needed her to be here, close, so I could take care of her as she gets better. God knew I've needed her this past year, and that we need each other for a long time to come.
Thank you so much for your prayers!!!