Friday, December 31, 2010

"Hold Us Together"

(by Matt Maher) Hold Us Together - Alive Again

"It don't have a job, don't pay your bills
Won't buy you a home in Beverly Hills
Won't fix your life in five easy steps
Ain't the law of the land or the government
But it's all you need

And love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm
And I'll be my brother's keeper
So the whole world will know that we're not alone

It's waiting for you, knockin' at your door
In the moment of truth when your heart hits the floor
And you're on your knees


This is the first day of the rest of your life
This is the first day of the rest of your life
'Cause even in the dark you can still see the light
It's gonna be alright, it's gonna be alright...


2010 was a good year! It began with our boy turning 9 years old. He had a Star Wars party where he & Elly dressed up as Luke & Leia! He was dismissed from speech at the beginning of 4th grade, and he also was admitted into the gifted & talented program. He participated in the Science Club again and did well at the Olympiad, winning the Paper Rocket competition with his partner. He continues to be such a sweet boy who makes me incredibly proud.

The Spring & Summer held a lot of fun events, including the kids' first Rodeo! We also “fostered” a dog that approached our girl while she was outside playing. Kerry’s family met the kids & me at Johnson Space Center one day, where we had a blast! Though we were sad to see our good friend & hero Pete pass away at the beginning of the year, we were incredibly honored when his daughter Kristin (one of our girls from our former youth group) asked both of the kids to be in her wedding in June.

The rest of the summer went by way too quick! For about half of it, I worked for an adjusting company a couple of days a week, and we were able to make a big dent in our debt (which continues to be a burden that I will be incredibly glad to be finished with)! The kids & I thoroughly enjoyed our neighborhood pool as often as we got the chance to go. My dad stayed with us for a week while he recovered from surgery. My mister & I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary in July! It’s crazy how time works ~ on one hand, it seems like we got married yesterday; but on the other, it seems like forever ago!

Our baby girl turned 12 years old in October and is truly becoming a beautiful young woman (inside and out). She had a wonderful 5th grade year in the new school, and we are still sometimes shocked when we remember that she’s now in middle school {which she is loving, by the way!} Her grades have been so good, especially considering that she is in a higher level of school now & in Pre-AP Math. She is continuing to prove herself as an amazing artist! This year, she has developed her skills in origami and is constantly watching videos to learn more!

One of the highlights of our year was when my mister & I went to the Hill Country for Michelle's wedding & to visit my friend Karikins.

Another highlight was when I won tickets to see NEEDTOBREATHE!

Regarding my mister's health, so far so good! In January, he went ahead with the vitrectomy surgery (to cauterize the blood vessel that had been hemorrhaging since August). At that time, we became aware that radiation had caused a lack of circulation in his eye. After several hopeful but unsuccessful treatments, we have accepted the fact that nothing else can be done to save his vision. At this point, his vision is basically CF 3' (meaning he can count fingers at about 3 feet). He continues to see at least one doctor every couple of months as they monitor his eye pressure & watch for signs of glaucoma. He has developed a cataract that they don't plan on removing, since it won't improve his vision. Now he wears the eye patch all of the time because he continues to get headaches from the strain of trying to see through the affected eye. The scans in June showed nothing that gave the oncologist reason to worry. {If only I could feel the same!}

Overall, this year has been great as we did our best to live life to the fullest, laugh together as much as possible, & love each other deeply!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"All I Want for Christmas"

(by Big Time Rush feat. Miranda Cosgrove) All I Want for Christmas - Holiday Bundle: All I Want for Christmas / Beautiful Christmas - Single

I'm sorry to be so late with my Christmas post! We left town earlier than normal on Christmas day, so I didn't even have time to upload photos ~ much less blog about it! We are back from our whirlwind "North Texas Tour", and we had such a great time! First, though, I'll post some pictures from Christmas morning...

The kids are so cute about what they get for us & for each other. They usually know exactly what they want to get for everyone, & they're always so excited to see the looks on our faces when we open our gifts from them.

My family completely spoiled me by getting just about everything on my list!

Pepper LOVES Christmas! After she "opened" her gifts & realized that awesome things could be inside the packages, she kept trying to help us open ours! It was too cute!!

This is how Cody opened every gift! He wanted to be surprised & not accidentally see what his present was before it was completely opened! ;)

Ladybug's favorite gift was a cell phone! And the texting begins...

{By Monday, she had already sent/received over 125 texts & decided she was willing to pay the extra $15/month for unlimited texting!}

We drove up to my mister's uncle's house on Christmas day. This was the first time we had seen Tiffany & the twins in several years. & even though we saw "Little Darren" last year, it was crazy to se how much he has grown! I got this pic of Uncle Darren's kids {we missed you, Dana!}:

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but Danielle & Desiree lived with my mister's family for almost 6 years (before his mom passed away). I met them as his sisters when they were 4, and now they're 20! It's crazy how quickly they've grown up become adults! {hee hee hee! They're smaller than my 12-year-old! Too cute!!}

The day after Christmas, we drove out to Venus [the town, not the planet] to see my mister's dad. His grandma surprised us by showing up there with her husband! Speaking of growing up, the kids' Uncle Alex grew up a lot this past year, too!

From there, we went to see Kendra's family. I have no idea why I didn't get the camera out while we were there. Elly took some pictures of their dogs on her phone, but you probably don't care to see those! {We totally should have gotten video footage of when we introduced Pepper to Simeon & Buster! Let's just say it didn't go well. She's such a scaredy cat. I wish we had socialized her as a puppy!} Anyways, we had a great but way too short visit with them. My cousin Kirby showed us the engagement ring he recently bought! {He proposed to beautiful Catherine last night!! Congrats!} Before we left town, we spent a couple of hours with Grandmommy {yes, I'm 35 & still call her that!} at the nursing home. She was doing SO good! She seems quite happy, and I'm glad to see her at peace about being there.

We made one last stop at the lake on our way home. Once again, I didn't bring the camera out. {What's wrong with me?!} We enjoyed our visit with Dan & Sheryl, as usual! Their kids & grandkids had been over on Sunday, so we didn't get to see any of them this time. It was good catching up with them, though, and we learned a new card game!!

Well, that about wraps it up! We are home & attempting to get back in the groove of things! I hope y'all had a super great Christmas!!


Friday, December 24, 2010

"The Night Before Christmas"

(by Brandon Heath) The Night Before Christmas - The Night Before Christmas - Single

I love this song. And I love Brandon Heath <3 I'm not sure why I haven't posted any of his songs before. That must change! Anyways, I thought today's song was quite appropriate, though I know it was written about the night before the first Christmas. Can you imagine what it was like then?

Into darkness, sadness, desperate madness, creation so torn
We were so lost on earth, no peace, no worth, no way to escape
In fear, no faith, no hope, no grace, and no light
But that was the night before Christmas

So many people are still living in that darkness, sadness, etc. without Jesus. I can't even imagine not having His peace, hope & grace (to list only a bit of what He is/does for me). I want my life to show His love to the world ~ not just at Christmas time, but always.

I'll close with one last beautiful line from this song

"And the world didnt know Redemption was sweet and so strong"

Love it!

I hope you experience the peace, hope & grace of Jesus this Christmas and every day of the year!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Total Eclipse of the Moon"

(by Enigma) Total Eclipse of the Moon - Voyageur

Well, we saw it....


My science-lovin' son was quite excited about the Total Lunar Eclipse, and he set his alarm for 12:30am in order to see it.

He also set out a camp chair & blanket to endure the entire length of the full eclipse.

The problem is the fact that my son is pretty much impossible to wake up in the middle of the night. And still be coherent &/or rational. {I don't know if I've ever mentioned that, but I have enough stories for an entire post, or maybe even a series!} So, he didn't even hear his alarm. My mister tried to wake him up, but he insisted that it wasn't time!

So, my mister took the camera outside & discovered what the newscasters had been warning: it was too stinkin' cloudy to get a good look at it.

But a mama doesn't let her little science olympian down. When I found out that Cody hadn't woken up, I decided to take a look for myself. We couldn't see it from the back yard, so I went to the front. After gazing at the cloudy sky for a few minutes, I was finally able to tell where the moon actually was. I grabbed the camera & lay down on the driveway to wait for the clouds to part enough to actually see the partial eclipse.

Then I decided to try one more time to wake the boy up, because I knew he would be disappointed to have missed it. Amazingly, he actually got up! We lay down beside each other & stared at the clouds for about a minute before he grabbed the blanket he had set out! Then, he curled up against me and started falling back to sleep!

I bothered him by taking the pictures, and he asked several times if he had to stay outside. So, after taking video evidence that he was completely too oblivious to stay out there & actually remember anything...

...we aborted our mission to see the total eclipse. If I had waited about 10 minutes to wake him up, and the clouds would've cooperated, we could have seen it. But he still wouldn't have remembered it!

As I predicted, this morning he thought he had missed it entirely. He had absolutely no recollection of ever being outside at 1-something this morning! He was sad, but then he tried to convince himself & me that a total lunar eclipse smack-dab on the day of the winter solstice is no big deal!

My friend Diane from high school got some pictures that she said I could share on here. She had forgotten the attachment for her tripod, but I still think they're absolutely amazing!


Monday, December 20, 2010

"Merry Christmas, Here's to Many More"

(by Relient K) Merry Christmas, Here's to Many More - Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer

We had a super fun weekend! Friday night was our church's annual hayride & cookout. We enjoyed hanging out with our friends & looking at Christmas lights! It was super cold for us Texans, though. I was glad we brought blankets! There's one house that goes all out with loads of Disney stuff every year. After the hayride, I took the kids back over there. It's one of those houses where you actually get out of your car & walk around, because there's so much to see. There are about 6 or 8 different "scenes", and several of them have sound effects & such. The new thing this year was a "Despicable Me" scene.

Cute, huh?

On Saturday, we went to a Christmas party given by one of my mister's former co-worker's. We had yummy food & met a lot of people. I made a little boy cry, but I think that story calls for a MIS-series post.

Sunday night was our Community Group Christmas Party! It was so much fun! We did a Progressive Dinner that started with appetizers at Brian & Jana's, dinner at Dave & Deidre's, then ended with dessert & gifts at our house. The ladies exchanged real gifts. Jana opened this great gift of homemade Vanilla Sugar body scrub & a beautiful BeadForLife necklace...

...that I got to steal, since my gifts kept getting stolen :)

The guys exchanged White Elephant [gag] gifts ~ which is always funny! My mister had originally stolen some Marine fatigues & MREs, but they got stolen from him. So he was eying a quiver that Aaron had opened...

I've never seen a real one. It pretty much looks like a "murse", huh? Well, when he got the chance, my mister stole it & promptly put it on. Nice!

I have no idea what he plans to do with it {other than re-gift it next year!} We had a good time, though! It was a great weekend! How was yours?


Saturday, December 18, 2010

"12 Days of Christmas"

(by Relient K) 12 Days of Christmas - Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer

This week, I've only listened to the Relient K Christmas album (Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer) & Amy Stroup. Seriously, if you don't have their album, you're missing out! It sounds like they had a lot of fun recording this song, and it makes me happy! ü My favorite line is, "What's a partridge? & what's a pear tree? I don't know, so please don't ask me. But I can bet those are terrible gifts to get." Cute, huh? Well, I've got a Christmas party to get ready for. Have a super great weekend!!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"I'm Gettin' Nuttin' For Christmas"

(by Relient K) Relient k - Let It Snow Baby... Let It Reindeer - I'm Getting Nuttin' for Christmas

Yes, I know. I've posted this every Christmas season! But if your kids were this cute in a video, you'd post it every year, too! Plus, I've got a lot going on these days, & MY BEAUTIFUL COUSIN KENDRA IS COMING TO TOWN!!



Saturday, December 11, 2010

"White Christmas in Houston"

(by Branded) White Christmas In Houston - Merry Christmas from Branded

"If you dream of horse-drawn carriages
Dashing through the snow
Before you move to Texas
There's something you should know

That they don't have White Christmases in Houston
I've lived here most my life and I should know
I've prayed and I've pleaded for way too many years
But they just don't have White Christmases down here

I've heard of winter carnivals in Aspen
It looks just like a winter wonderland
But remember while you're freezin' throughout this Christmas season
We'll be down here with Christmas cheer and flip-flops in the sand

I've seen all those Christmas shows on TV
Blankets of white powder; my, how grand
But while you've got snow and holly, I'm feastin' on tamales
Sittin' on my back porch with an iced tea in my hand


In lieu of a Scrobbled Saturday post, I thought I'd share this song with you! Obviously, we didn't need it to prove that we don't have white Christmases in our area. In fact, 2004 is the only white Christmas on record in Houston. {Though we didn't have snow on the ground in our area that morning, we had snow on Christmas Eve ~ which is seriously unheard of.} Lately, we've had some beautiful days around here, & I'm loving it! But it's just not wintery! I think we got up to 83 degrees on Thanksgiving, last Saturday was 80 degrees, there's a high of 74 today, & I think we're supposed to hit 77 later this week. We've had some cold mornings, and I wore my boots for a couple of days. But still! That's just craziness! Anyways, today seemed like a good day to post this song!

My mister's work Christmas party was last night. There's always yummy food, good conversation & a comical thing or two that probably aren't worth mentioning! You know how we live in such a small world? Well come to find out, one of my mister's co-workers & her date graduated from high school with my little brother. Weird, huh? Anyways, here's a picture of my mister & me last night:

I have a little update on my mister. We went to his ocular oncologist & retina specialist yesterday. He had another ultrasound, but it wasn't the type that Dr B likes, so he didn't even go over the results! {He just wrote things angrily on the paper & mumbled to his assistant} We learned last time that he feels like another kind of ultrasound is more accurate, but we had a different technician perform it this time. We had seen the pictures beforehand, and they showed some good measurements, but I guess they weren't right! The ultrasound technician had trouble finding the tumor, though, so I guess it has shrunk some more. This doesn't really have anything to do with his future health or anything, other than proving that the tumor is sterilized/isn't growing. So, obviously, that's good.

Dr C said there is a small spot indicating new damage to the retina, which is just the continuing effects of radiation. Some new vessels are forming around the treated area (where he has been having the circulation issues). These vessels aren't a good thing though, because they form very haphazardly & can cause glaucoma. If things worsen, he will be treated with an injection that should keep him from losing the eye. So, Dr C is keeping a close eye on it all.

We have scheduled a contact lens appointment for the next time he sees Dr C. I've heard of a blackout lens that could be worn instead of the patch. Dr B called it a "cosmetic" lens, though. So, I'm not sure if insurance will cover it. If they don't, he'll just stick with the patch. We'll see...

I hope you have a super great weekend!!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

"This Christmas"

(by Chris Brown) This Christmas - This Christmas (Songs from the Motion Picture)

{If you want to hear the song, I've added it to the player at the bottom. Grooveshark has changed things again!}

We have taken our family picture & picked out a Christmas card!

We picked "Glamour Glitter Joy" as our card that we made on Shutterfly, because we are filled with the JOY of Christ & want Him to be the focus of our Christmas season.

Glitter Glamour Joy Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly for elegant custom Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Now YOU have a chance to help us out! Shutterfly is hosting a Holiday Photo Contest, and we've entered our family photo above. If we win, all of the prize money is going toward our medical bills. All you have to do is view our picture & VOTE! {You have to have a Shutterfly account, but you can get one for free if you don't have one ~ & they usually offer some free pictures to new members, so that's pretty cool!} Feel free to leave a comment, too, because that helps us get more exposure. Thanks a bunch!!