Monday, October 27, 2014

"Clear the Stage"

(by Jimmy Needham, written by the super great Ross King)

I'm a bit late with my weekend post, but I'm earlier than I've been in the past! I keep thinking that things will slow down a bit, but so far they haven't. There's mostly good stuff going on, but sometimes I feel like I can't slow down enough to take a breath. But there's nothing that I feel like I can let go of, so we'll keep on doing this for a little while.

Part of my current struggle is that Elly still has to go to the chiropractor twice a week, and it takes up 1 1/2 hours of our already too short evenings. I'm not trying to complain, but it's wearing on me! We don't get home until after 6:30 on those nights, then I still have to throw something together for dinner. Crock pot meals don't work on those days, because they'd sit in the crock pot for too long. Ugh. I try to plan meals and stuff, but then I end up not wanting what I've planned. Or I don't have some of the ingredients because I can't find the time to go to the store. You'd think I'd have a plan and stick with it by this point in the school year, but I haven't settled into a good routine yet. Maybe with cross country over, I can go to the store on my off days rather than going across town for a meet! I'm seriously not trying to complain, I just felt the need to vent my struggle a little.

Onto the good things...

My baby girl got her license!!!

She passed her test the first time, and I was so happy for her! {Random fact: it just so happened that her BFF from first grade was there taking his driving test at the same time!}

How cute is the steering wheel cover that Elly's friend got her for her birthday?!

We celebrated with coffee after school that day {it was her brother's cute is that?!}

I'm not going to lie, I was a little emotional and nostalgic. It seems like she should still be a toddler only pretending to drive!

As if that wasn't enough excitement for the week, my baby boy won his district cross country meet the next day!!!

It was his only meet this year to run with his best buds Alex and Isaac:

Aaron came out to support his boys, which was such an honor to them!

I'm so proud of how hard these boys worked this year. They have all come a long way, and their hard work shows!

For Brooke (and for my records)...He had hoped to PR with a sub-11 run, but it was a late race and much hotter than what he typically runs in. He finished with a time of 11:19, which is only two seconds slower than his PR (which was set in the morning) and 43 seconds faster than the last race he ran in the late afternoon heat. He puked five times afterward, which made our neighbor proud. Mama doesn't like it, but apparently it means that he gave his all and left nothing on the field.

Saturday was our 2nd Annual Fall Fest at church! Chris and I spent most of our time at the frog jump booth:

I got to "dunk" Wade:

{I'm not coordinated enough to actually hit the target, so Scott pushed it for me!}

There were a few fun things that I didn't get pictures of...Kristin turned 21 on Saturday, and Elly & I celebrated with her and around 20 of her friends by shooting her! {Laser tag, not real guns!} I went to a baby shower for a woman from church {her husband is the one who was not expecting me to walk out of the men's restroom!} We also got to see Clara Belle get baptized yesterday, and we enjoyed a delicious lunch with her family in celebration of her response to the Lord's call on her life.

And because there should be this type of cuteness in every post, check out my little Astros fan!

As for today's song...we're going through Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline with my small group girls. We're currently learning about/practicing solitude, and today's song keeps coming to mind. I realized that I've never posted it, so I thought now would be a good time! There's so much good stuff in this song, but the part that really resonates in me right now (especially in light of solitude) is:

Take a break from all the plans that you have made 

And sit at home alone and wait for God to whisper

Beg Him please to open up His mouth and speak 

And pray for real upon your knees until they blister

Such good stuff! I hope y'all have a wonderful week!! ♥

P.S. Please forgive any typos. I'm not proofing this, because I need to get ready to leave for work in 25 minutes!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

"Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen"

(by Neil Sedaka) 

The lyrics of today's song aren't really fitting, but we're going with it because...


And because 16 is kind of a big deal, we had decided to take a few of her friends to The Chocolate Bar in addition to the usual sleepover. Cody ended up getting sick the night before the sleepover, which was horrible for him and for the sleepover situation. I didn't know what to do, because I didn't want it to ruin Elly's birthday. But I certainly didn't want any of her friends to end up with a stomach bug (& I'm sure her friends and their parents wouldn't want it, either)! Christopher had the great idea for us girls to stay the night in hotel, and Elly's birthday turned out to be a way better celebration than we had originally planned!

We started out the evening at a yummy pizza place in Houston...

Since nobody had room for chocolate quite yet, we went to the Galleria for a few minutes and took pictures at the Waterwall Park...

Then we indulged in chocolate as originally planned...

...and discovered LOVE on our way back to the van! ♥

When we got to the hotel, Elly opened her presents!

We toasted Elly with one of Kiya's gifts, which was a soda that said, "I ♥ being awesome!" ü

I ended up with my own little space where I wasn't all up in their business! In the picture above, you can see a partition separating my space from their's. I had a nice big couch and ottoman where I settled in and watched India videos on my computer! :)

In the morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and hung out in our room until it was time for us to check out...

After taking the girls home, Elly opened her presents from us! She got a Grumpy Cat from Cody...

...and 16 presents from us!

Most items were random little favorite things of hers like beef jerky, Sour Patch Kids, Duck tape, socks, and a coffee mug. We are going with her to pick out a new guitar, and we also gave her the keys to Silvie!

{though not technically as a gift, because she's known about it for years}

For her birthday lunch after church today, we went to The Melting Pot!!

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Elly's Sweet Sixteen! ♥


Sunday, October 12, 2014

"Hallelujah for the Cross"

(by the Newsboys) 

I'm sorry I haven't posted in such a long time! I've just had a lot going on these days, and Elly seems to be using my computer for school or driver's ed every time I'm free to blog. I think that's a little more important, no? If I can be completely honest with y'all, I had an emotionally draining week last week. I'm not going to bore you with all of the details, but it was rough. And it's part of the reason why I didn't post last weekend. I haven't said much about my mom lately, but she is not doing so well. My step-dad (her sole caregiver) needed a break, so I took care of her over the weekend. It's hard to see her that way. In addition to that, Lance has responded to God's call to plant a church, and his last day at our church was last Wednesday. To say that it was difficult for me is an understatement. I don't like change...have I mentioned that? And there seems to be a lot of it right now! They're even changing Kroger, which may put me over the edge! ;)

On to happier subjects now! Here are the highlights of my last few weeks...

Awhile back, I had been telling a couple of my girls about a delicious caramel and chocolate-covered pretzel that my co-worker had shared with me. She had gotten some at a wedding, and they were made to look like a bride and a groom. They were super cute! Anyways, I got to work the following Monday, and Grace had left this on my desk for me:

I thought this was a sweet picture of Cody helping his sister with Geometry :)

My pup is adorable, so I thought you'd like to see her posing on the bed that she thinks I made for her:

Speaking of Pepper, she got out of the yard a couple of times last week. I didn't realize that the gate latch had issues and had allowed the gate to blow open. Fortunately, she showed up at the front door both times she got out! The first time it happened, I wondered if she had gone on an adventure. About an hour later, I saw this on facebook:

She had wandered a couple of doors down. I have no idea why she jumped in my neighbor's car, but she jumped out when Jenny tried to check her tags and came home fairly quickly. I have no idea what happened the second time she got out, but she showed up on our door step. I'm glad to know that she knows where we live and will come home, but I'd rather her not escape!

In random news, I happened to have the coolest grape ever and thought some of you may appreciate its artwork:

My sweet boy won another cross country meet! His trainer (who is Elly's health teacher) thinks he's a stud and talks about him in Elly's class! Apparently she hears the girls talking about him & will see them accidentally bump into him, but he's oblivious. Ha! I don't have a picture of Cody with her, but here he is with Coach K:

Cody came in second in his race on Friday. The guy who won was a senior in high school, so we're cool with 2nd place! :)

Laurien & I had a belated National Coffee Day get-together. We had some great conversation and decompression, and it was the best Caramel Macchiato Latte I've had in a long time!

Speaking of Laurien, she cooked us dinner last night! We had delicious meatball subs, and we made Ferrero Rocher cupcakes!

National Night Out was on Tuesday! We hosted with Ryan & Kristi again, as we've done every year since we moved in.

The kids had fun decorating the driveway while we got to know the parents! :)

We had a women's gathering at the Warehouse the other night. There was a chocolate fountain...

We learned how to paint...

And we got to shop!

But this was more than just was an opportunity to help provide income for women in the Guaymi tribe of Costa Rica (where my friend Heather is a missionary). My church has "adopted" the village where Hands Producing Hope is providing the economic, educational, and spiritual resources to help women and families rise above poverty. It's pretty super! And I was honored to host Rebecca (the founder of HPH) at my home on the night of the event! :)

Oh, and we got a picture of half of the people in my church who share my name {or slightly less than half? I can only think of six of us at the moment, but there could be more...}

Pepper has been in desperate need of a haircut for awhile now. We finally got around to cutting it yesterday, and I think we cut off enough hair to make a whole other dog!

And the best part of my last couple of weeks was a meetup with some people from our Texas OM group!

Gary (the guy on the left) was our host, and he just so happens to be our friend's mom's pastor! Since ocular melanoma is such a rare cancer, we don't generally know anybody who has heard of it, much less who knows anyone else with it. So it was surreal to hear of Gary's diagnosis. As it turns out, though, there are quite a few people with OM in his area of Texas, which is very odd (& worth studying, imho). Anyways, while we were in the area, we discovered the road that was named for our friend's family. The following picture makes me laugh, so I thought I'd share it with you! :)

Anyways, we met up with four other couples {and some of Gary's family ü} for dinner on Friday night. We took turns sharing our stories and went to Gary & Bev's for delicious pumpkin cheesecake! We enjoyed getting to know each other, and it was great to discover that there were other Christians in the group who share the same struggles but also the same hope that we have.

The next morning, we met back at Gary & Bev's. Two of the couples weren't able to join us, but another lady drove up for the morning. We were also joined by the surgeon who had removed a few of the eyes in the group. That sounds strange, but I don't know how else to word it! It was neat to hear his perspective, and he seemed to gain a lot from our perspective as well. I hear that from doctors and researchers quite a bit. They rarely have the opportunity to just sit and hang out with patients, so they tend to soak up all that we have to say (at least the ones I've been around are that way).

Today's song was written by the awesome, talented, and humble Ross King. You should totally buy it! Natalie, wasn't this song Z's favorite off of Ross' album?! I'd like to know his opinion of the Newsboys' version! :)

I hope y'all have a great week! I'll try to post a little sooner next time! ♥