Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fun in the Sun 2013- Baton Rouge

Friday, July 26, 2013
A trip down MEMORY LANE 

Today started with an early 6:45am alarm  and ended with a very tired and weary Kellie. Chris had to drop off our 2 beagles at the doggie daycare by 7am but unfortunately our Abbey had a seizure before he loaded them in the car. After this Chris and I both had to go to a walk-in clinic to treat what turned out to be Pink Eye for me. We ended up getting a prescription for anti-biotic drops for Pink Eye ($231 prescription if you missed yesterday's post)! And as of right now I would say I am at about 95% and Chris has yet to show any signs or symptoms of Pink Eye!!! Thank You, Lord and thanks to all who prayed for our health too!!! 

We met my dad, Poppy, in Corigan Camden, TX where he had just come from Pineywoods Baptist Encampment for AEBC youth camp. We met him around 12:30 and loaded up his car of Natalie and Luke's bags and toys... After a long and tear heavy good-bye, Chris and I were on the road to Baton Rouge via Beaumont.

Luke helping us move bags around ;)

 On our drive along I-10 we made some questionable stops but the best (well really the worst) of these was Tiger Truck Stop outside of Grosse Tete just about 15 miles west of Baton Rouge. This truckstop  was loaded with LSU tiger memorabilia to say the least but they had a real live tiger caged outside. This was neat and disturbing at the same time. 

Chris and I outside of Tiger Truck Stop 

We took a few pictures and donated $1 and continued east... WELL THAT IS WHAT WE THOUGHT WE WOULD DO UPON LEAVING but then as we enter I-10 again we encounter heavy traffic congestion from a wreck on the "new bridge" over the Mississippi river. About 2 hours later we arrived in Baton Rouge. Serious, TWO HOURS!! 

The "New Bridge"

We were able to go by LSU, 2 of Chris's family's old houses, his family church and even his High School on Saturday morning. I really enjoyed getting to see and hear all the stories and memories Chris had from Baton Rouge. Many of these memories truly form who he is today and many of them are part of the many reasons I love Chris Davis!!! 

The first house Chris and his family lived in while in Baton Rouge

Chris's High School- Scottlandville Magnet HS

We wanted to eat at a great Southern Cajun restaurant so we asked my brother and sister-in-law who lived in Baton Rouge for 4-5 years to suggest some. We opted for Ralph & Kacoo's. This turned out to kinda be a bust... The food was "OK" and service was terrible! AND, they were out of soft shell crab! REALLY, REALLY!! But nonetheless, Chris and I were together and loving every minute of it!! 

Ralph & Kacoo's

Our hotel stay was questionable at best but we survived and it truly was in a good part of Baton Rouge, just not my style of hotel! We left Saturday morning around 9:30 and headed towards New Orleans. 

One last Baton Rouge "tradition"... It ain't no Starbucks but it was pretty good! 

I love my husband very much but I am not a huge fan of Baton Rouge! Lots of traffic (and my even that big of town) and people seem kinda weird! But overall I really enjoyed our stay in Baton Rouge. 

Day #1= SUCCESS!! 

God is good...ALL the time!! 

"Are You Kidding Me"?

Friday, June 26, 2013
Conroe, TX 

After a night of practically 2 hours (or less) of sleep, Chris and I woke up and headed to a Walk-in Family Clinic to check out my eyes and hopefully try to prevent him from getting whatever it was that I had. 

We arrived at the clinic at 7:50 only to find 1 doctor and a pair of nurses waiting outside the clinic for an additional nurse to arrive with the key to get in. There was a woman and her husband who were also waiting and they had an actual appointment time of 8am. After anxiously (and probably rudely) speaking to the front desk clerk about wait times, we were brought back into the room after a 45 minute wait. 

The nurse practitioner examined my eyes and explained that this was more than likely an allergic Pink Eye condition brought on by allergies (which I didn't really know I had) and that while it is contagious, it is NOT AS contagious as Chris and I originally figured. She gave us 2 small sample bottles of the antibiotic eye drops for Chris to use but it would not be enough to treat my actual Pink Eye condition. She explained "cautiously speaking, you have a MILD case of Pink Eye and it should clear up in a few days". She told us that there are only 3 brands of antibiotic eye drops so the cost of filling this prescription would be higher than usual but she gave us a coupon. 

We arrived at the Walmart pharmacy when they opened and turned our prescription to find out there would be an hour wait time. We opted to go back home and load the car and then return to Walmart on our way out of town. At 11am, 2 hours AFTER we dropped off the prescription, we arrived to pick up these eye drops. It was here that we found out it was not ready... I almost immediately went into frustrated mode. I explained that the pharmacist didn't even need to fill this prescription but rather go and get the drops from the shelves. Fortunately the pharmacist filled the prescription right then but I apologized for speaking in frustration to him afterwards though. 

As I go to pay for this the clerk says "that will be $231.80"... I have to admit, I think I had a little heart attack at that moment. Sure enough, it was $231.80 WITH the coupon. And this was for a 5 ML bottle! Unfortunately, we were caught between a rock and a hard place since we were boarding a ship to the middle of no where in 2 days. I went ahead and paid for the drops and swallowed the money. 

By the Grace of God, I can already see an improvement. My left eye seems to be white as snow and my right eye is just slightly pink at this point. I am, however, having minor symptoms of a called (as expected from new medicine) and cannot seem to smell or taste anything at this point though. Of course that is NOT A GOOD THING when about to embark on a cruise so i would appreciate ANY and ALL prayers for that to clear up ASAP!!! 

I am going to use these drops until the eyes clear up, as prescribed by the doctor but then I am going to keep them in case ANYONE ever gets pink eye again! Wow... I just can't believe how expensive they were. I better have the most beautiful looking and feeling eyes EVER after its all said and done!!! 

It is amazing how God chooses to work through and in us! I stayed up practically the whole night last night in worry and anxiousness only to found out that God had his hand over me THE ENTIRE TIME!! 

Thank You, God for watching over me and keeping me healthy! You are the GREAT PHYSICIAN and I have felt Your mighty healing today! Please continue to keep both Chris and I healthy as we embark and set sail on this vacation! Thank You! 

God is good (and watches over us)... ALL the time!!! 

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pink is no longer my favorite color

3:30AM July 26, 2013

We are supposed to leave for our long awaited cruise in just 6 hours and my heart can not stop racing. In fact, my mind can't either. We are headed to Baton Rouge this evening and then on to New Orleans on Saturday night before we board the ship on Sunday. 

This week as been hectic with errands, cleaning and the typical last minute preparations for a vacation. But on Wednesday evening at dinner Chris noticed I had something in the inner corner of my eye! Naturally it was gross and I got it out and moved on. Approximately 3-4 more times on Wednesday evening during choir rehearsal I noticed the same discharge coming from my left eye. I didn't really think about since I had gotten new contacts just over a week ago and I figured it had something to do with them.  When I woke up on Thursday morning I noticed more "sleep" (or "eye crusties" as I used to call them) than normal but again, I had OTHER STUFF ON MY MIND!

 Thursday went on as planned and scheduled and the day of CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN commenced. Chris, my two little helpers and I were able to clean our entire 3200 SQFT home including shampooing the carpets by shortly after noon and then we were off to eat, get Chris some new shoes and then I was going to get a pedicure. 

All of this went off without a hitch and I felt fine and normal. I did notice while sitting in the pedicure chair some more discharge but no pain or itching of my eye. 

Last minute packing and double checking ended and the kids were in bed and Chris and I were preparing to go to sleep and we began to talk.  I told him I was having a headache. He questions me and after a few moments he says "yeah, I think you have pink eye"! 

Naturally, at this point I am freaking out and crying. We call my mom then his mom to help us figure out what to do. We even FaceTime with Jackie to help us get a better prognosis. 

The verdict is I more than likely have pink eye and since that is HIGHLY contagious I am sure not only does Chris have it too but my poor babies of whom I am about to drop off with grandparents have it as well. 

Chris helped me change the sheets and clean up some stuff before I went to sleep in the couch to help lessen  chances of him getting pink eye a little, but I'm sure the damage is done. 

I am going to go to a family clinic that my father in law uses that allows walk-ins tomorrow morning at 8 and not only hope for good news in the fact that this is just allergies and not contagious but in worst case scenario I get heavy duty prescription for this and even a double dose in case Chris gets sick. 

I have never had Pink Eye so I didn't know what to expect... But let me tell you I NO LONGER LIKE PINK! 

Lord, I pray to your Holy, Powerful, Healing name that You will allow me to heal and be 100% by Sunday boarding as well as watch over Chris and the kids to prevent them from catching it. You are the MIRACLE WORKER and I am praying for something along those lines. 

As I sit here and continue to not be able to sleep with excitement and disappointment, I just can't help but think of one of my favorites: God is in Control! 

God is in control 
He believes that His children will not be forsaken 
God is in control 
We will choose to remember and NEVER BE SHAKEN 
There is NO power ABOVE or BESIDE Him, we know
God is in control

Strong and mighty words... I covet your prayers!! 

God is good... (I must remember this next part especially right now) ALL THE TIME!! 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Getting "Prepared"

Tuesday, July 23, 2013
"We're Davis's... We are going to gain 2 pounds per day"
These were the words of my Father-in-law in 2006 as Chris, his family and I boarded the Carnival Conquest in Galveston for our very first cruise together. The driver of the parking lot shuttle was speaking to us about the weight one gains while on a WEEK LONG cruise. Honestly, this sounded pretty gross to me but I had NEVER been on a cruise before and was unaware of not only the AMOUNT of food one eats but better yet, the QUALITY of food one eats.
In 2006 while Chris and I were on our Caribbean Cruise we had some of the absolute BEST food of our lives. I was able to eat Quail, Filet Mignon (I had never had it before then), Cucumber and Strawberry Chilled Soup, Beef Wellington and tons of other side dishes and desserts that were "to die for"! I will never forget the crème brulee I had one night in the main dining room... Wow, it was as we like to say in the SOUTH, "Good enough slap YO' MAMA"! By the end of the 7 night cruise Chris was ordering 2 main entrées each night and sometimes even 2 desserts. At first this seemed kind of appalling to me but eventually I came around and I was ordering 2 desserts too!
Now in all reality, I didn't plan accordingly during this cruise. I mean, I just ate when I was hungry and sometimes I didn't even eat very much since I was "trying to watch my weight" (HAHAHA... Yeah right, on a cruise?) and this was the 1st major trip I took with my in-laws and I was still a little worried what they might think of me (Laughing even harder at this one... if y'all only knew my in-laws!). My brother-in-law, John, really had the right plan when it came to getting the most out of the cruise. Why he even told us that he wanted to "Try it all". And by George, I think he did! He was constantly ordering room service, not because he was hungry but because he wanted to try just about everything the ship had to offer. He would also enjoy himself "A COLD ONE", AN ICE-CREAM CONE, just about every afternoon. John really knew how to get the most out of this cruise... A lesson learned by Chris and Kellie.
In just 5 SHORT days Chris and I will be setting sail for our 2nd Caribbean Cruise to Mahogany Bay-Roatan/ Honduras, Belize and Cozumel. We are going to be sailing on the Carnival Conquest out of New Orleans and we are UNBELIEVABLY EXCITED about it. This will be the first "REAL VACATION" we have taken since Natalie was born so this is a PRETTY BIG DEAL! Now, we have taken small 1-2 night excursions to the casino and other short trips but nothing of this magnitude since November 2008 to Las Vegas when I was actually pregnant with Natalie Grace!
Even though we have already sailed on the Carnival Conquest, we opted to go on this boat again since this itinerary is to different ports that our 2006 Caribbean cruise. The Carnival Conquest had a $1.2 BILLION make-over in October 2012 so we are also excited to see these new changes as well. I think it is going to be a FANTASTIC vacation and despite having to leave my little guy (and Natalie too) I think some much need rest and relaxation are just what I need.
With all of that being said, I am going to learn something from my BIL John about "getting the most" out of our cruise. In fact, Chris and I have been "PREPARING" for our cruise by dieting and exercising. I mean, we BOTH HAVE THE SAME LAST NAME- DAVIS, so we will be gaining more than the "average Joe" so we needed to make room for those extra pounds by dropping a few ahead of time! In fact on June 20 we started "Operation Cruise" and began a diet and exercise regimen. We each had a MUCH REDUCED calorie diet and we were going to the Rec Center to workout about 5-6 days per week. Chris lost a total of 27.5 pounds and I lost 17! We were both very satisfied with this amount and feel as if this will give us plenty of "CRUISE ROOM"!
This Body Preparation lasted until July 20 when we then stopped the dieting process and began the Stomach Preparation part of this challenge. As I mentioned before, there is so much amazing food on these boats that you really do "want to try it all" but if your body is not used to this type of eating, it could send you into shock! This usually makes me sick so we decided to start eating "Davis Size" portions again to try to prepare our stomachs for these amazing meals that we will be eating soon. Neither of us have stepped on the scale to see how much we have gained back but we know when we get home in August, the scale will really re-bound but IT IS ALL WORTH IT!
If you have never been on a cruise... it is an amazing experience and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it to anyone! It really is the most BANG for your BUCK in the field of vacations. In fact, I am hoping my mom, sister and I can go on a GIRLS CRUISE soon (A&S- hint, hint... Wink, Wink)
*Be watching for the next several blog posts about this special vacation! I hope to document what we eat each day in addition to shore excursions and ship life! (I'm getting old and my memory isn't where it used to be so... this is the best way to remember it all)
Chris and I are so lucky to be able to have the financial means to take a vacation like this as well as the wonderful, kind and loving family and parents to take care of our kids while we are away! Thank You, Lord for this opportunity!
God is good... ALL THE TIME!

Sometimes we just need a "Refresher"

Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Why I became a teacher
I have known over 1/2 my life that I am supposed to be a teacher. I figured this out when I was 16 years old and I have never looked back since. In fact, in most of my interviews for teaching positions I share my "WHY" with the interviewing panel. As a freshman and sophomore in High School I was involved in pretty much everything. I was captain of the volleyball team, played on the basketball, golf and even track team. I was a JV cheerleader, on the math team, involved in DECA and even student council. And of course, I was 1st chair in Band and was overwhelmingly involved in music and band in my life. Through all of these sporting teams and events, I noticed that the teachers/ coaches were committed to winning and not so much the kid themselves. Now don't get me wrong, I had some AMAZING coaches and teachers while in Junior High and High School but the passion for STUDENTS was not always there.
I had my "AHA" moment when I was a freshman in High School on the volleyball team having practice after school. We had our usual 2 hour practice after school hours and all of us went to the locker room and changed and freshened up while we waited for our rides, our parents since we were only 14-15 years old, to show up. After the short time in the locker room, we all came out to see our coach driving away with her hair down in her convertible waving as she passed by. The light bulb turned on and I was like "Wow, really? My dad isn't even here yet... cant you wait just a few minutes?" Unfortunately, this became a common thing. A
s I realized this I began to look around at my other teachers and mentors. My band directors, Mr. Standridge and Mr. Cook, both stayed late all the time to help us learn our marching show music or our All-Region Band audition material or whatever the case may be. I had never really thought about it but they were constantly trying to help ME and not just the team or their own winning record. I remember one time I was practicing with Mr. Standridge for All-State band and lost track of the time. My dad had come into the band hall after waiting 15 minutes in his car and said "Kellie, your mom is already home from work and we have dinner waiting at home. Its 5:30!" The amazing thing was Mr. Standridge didn't get upset or anything, instead his response was "Cool, we got an awesome practice in today. We can do it again tomorrow." He then told my dad to make dinner a little later the rest of the week. Mr. Standridge had a family of his own at home and so did Mr. Cook, who was doing the same thing with a brass student at the time and also stayed well past 6 pm each night as well. It was then that I decided that if these teachers cared that much about me and my personal growth and development, that I need to give them 100%. It was after this moment that I decided to "Choose a Lane" as the saying goes and from that point on I was all BAND all the time! This scenario LITERALLY changed my life and I would not be where I am today if it weren't for this realization.
You see, teaching is all about the PASSION and sometimes we need a refresher and check of ourselves to be sure we have the PASSION for our students and not just OURSELVES or OUR CLASSROOM as a whole (IE... TEST SCORES). This summer has been a great "REFRESHER" for me and this area of my teaching career. I cannot wait to go to my new school and show my new students this passion.
Thank You, Lord for allowing me to be a teacher and show COMPASSION for my students and THEIR success! I pray you will help me be COMPASSIONATE about my students EACH AND EVERY DAY!
God is good... ALL the time!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Discipline, and LACK there of... We need PRAYER and PARENTS!

Saturday, July 20, 2013
I don't know why I'm surprised... I teach PUBLIC SCHOOL!
This past week I taught and led the pre-school music at my church's Vacation Bible School. I have worked VBS at various other churches in the past but this particular year was very eye opening for me. I was asked to teach Pre-School music in early spring and after much prayer and consideration, I decided to go ahead and teach since that was the only way that Natalie was going to be able to come.
Although she is not yet 4 until next month, she was slated to be in the "Worker's Children Only 2s and 3s class". She was still able to come through the music and craft rotation, her class seemed lacking and at the end of the 1st and 2nd day, she could not even tell me what she learned nor anything about the lesson beside what she made in craft and what songs she learned in my class.
Tuesday was especially eye opening for me not only as a worker of VBS but also a TEACHER and most importantly, A MOTHER! Again, this was worker's only children but the kids were 2-3 years old and Natalie is basically 4. I noticed on Monday the lack of discipline and control in this particular class but on Tuesday, there seemed to be somewhat of an "Aura" about the kids in the class and they were literally bouncing off the walls during my 20 time in music. As a sat and watched and led this time with them, I noticed my own Natalie not running around like the other children (A few of whom, were even OLDER than Natalie) but just sitting there quietly and singing along. It was after VBS on Tuesday when she came home and told daddy "Daddy, I don't like BBS. I am with babies". This was my last straw... I moved her to the Pre-K class on Wednesday. The rest of the week was a HUGE success and not only did Natalie express that she had a better time but I can tell she actually learned things. She called some of my family members and even told them her Bible verse and we SKYPEd her singing the VBS songs too! This thanks to her teachers Mrs. Priscilla and Mrs. Sheila... They were AWESOME! Thank you both so much for taking my little girl under your wings and help her learn more about God!
Despite my desire to move her to a more challenging class, I was appalled at the discipline amongst kids in this class. There were several kids who I know in this class and they acted well and one little girl, who is younger than Natalie, even knew the topics of the lesson (You could tell her mom was a VBS teacher... She knew it all). Another little boy was very well behaved and so polite and nice throughout the week. However, there were other kids that were OUT OF CONTROL. They came in and would immediately go to the area where the instruments were despite their teacher telling them not to. Now this is nothing out of the ordinary for 2-3 year olds but the thing that got me was the reaction from the teachers. Most of them just kinda shrugged their shoulders in dis-belief. "They're 3... its OK" they would say. Haha... I went into FULL TEACHER MODE at this time. I was taking instruments away, having them sit in time out and all kinds of stuff. One little girl came up and hit me on the leg and said "No teacher... NO!" HAHA... I think I just about lost it. I don't think I have ever prayed for more patience (Those of you that know me, know this is TRUE!)
I realize that in this type of volunteer environment that is church that some people are scared to discipline kids but NOT ME... I mean there was a mother and daughter in the class and during the music time the 4 year old would just run around the whole time while mom watched! SERIOUSLY? Are you kidding me? Somebody had to step up and be the mom... I apologize for doing this but... SOMEONE HAD TO! I was just dumbfounded! A youth worker came up to me afterwards and said "Can you come back to class with us please. I don't think I would have such a big headache if you did!" Again, so very eye opening!
Natalie was 2 once and is still 3 but as a mother, Christian mother at that, I have raised her to be kind, respectful and listen to her teachers. She has also been in church enough times to know when to run around and when to sit still. Now, I am not perfect and I certainly have many faults (Please, no one say any Amens here!) but I feel as if I have been called by God to be a good Godly, Christian mother to Natalie and Luke. These kids need to know how to respect and respond to authority. Sure, Natalie has moments of back-talk and fits but when these moments occur, SPANKINGS occur too. Spankings occurred this week in my music VBS classroom... but they were given TO me instead of BY ME!
Now I have seen some pretty remarkable discipline problems teaching public school for 8 years but to see the same problems, if not worse, within church walls really makes me worried! There's a running joke in our SS class at church about a guy who upon his first request to work in the nursery back years ago gave a spanking a kid in the room. He said he had "No idea you couldn't do this at church". He always says "He was mis-behaving and needed to be disciplined so that's all I did". As a class of young parents we all laugh but I witnessed that this week and I am appalled! Parents, please discipline your children! Teach them to respect and respond to authority in the way God wants us to.
Lord, I pray that You will help me be a good, Godly mother to Natalie and Luke. Lord, help me to be patient with them and raise them up to love, worship and honor YOU and their authority/ elders! Thank You, Lord for these 2 blessings I call Natalie and Luke! I praise YOU for these gifts! Thank You, Lord!
God is good... All the TIME!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Blast from the Past

July 2, 2013
It the end of an ERA
This morning I got a text and phone call from my college roommate and dear friend Jessica Adams who was in San Antonio with her family on vacation. They wanted to go to the beach since her husband and 2 kids had never been. I convinced her to drive to Galveston and meet up with Chris, the kids and I.
We got to the beach around 4:30 and had just enough time in the beach for little kids and toddlers to play and still not get sunburnt! Alex and Natalie just ran around and chased each other in the waves while Luke and Evie sat in the sand and made funny faces at each other! Chris and Andy helped out the older ones while Jess and I were able to catch up on old times.

Jessica was my best friend during my college years and the times we spent together were some of the most fun and memorable times of my entire life. She holds a very special and dear place in my heart and I thank God for her all the time!
After the beach, we all cleaned up and traveled up to League City for dinner. Here we were able to really catch up and on some levels get to know each other again. A lot changes in 7+ years of marriage and 2 kids each. It had been close to 3 years since we had seen each other last and both had a baby since then so this get together was monumental! We finished dinner and they headed back up North to OKC where they live.
While our time together was short lived this time, the memories we got to relive and the new memories we made with our husbands and families was priceless. I certainly hope it wont be another 3 years until we see each other again!
Jessica, I love you girl and thank you for our wonderful friendship! God Bless!
Thank You, Lord for my friend!
God is good... ALL the time!

Pure Joy

June 2013
Swing-set Fun
This month I received a small portion of my great-uncle's inheritance and wondered what to do with the monetary gift. I thought about it and came to the conclusion that I would use this money for my kids. Uncle OD was always so family oriented and although he never was able to meet Luke, he was able to meet Natalie and loved getting to see her! With this inheritance money, Chris and I purchased a new wooden swing-set for our kiddos.
I started shopping around towards the end of the school year and then Chris and I went and looked at some swing-sets that were already put together to see how it would look and fit in our backyard. After doing some major shopping and debating, we decided to go with a small swing-set from Toys-R-Us. This set had 3 slots for swing and 1 slot includes a glider swing. It also has an 8' Slide, a rock climbing wall, picnic bench and even a chalkboard landing.
Luke LOVES his swing and I am wondering where the "Automated" button is

After only 3 weeks of having this in our backyard, Mr. Luke has watched Natalie climb up the slide enough times to figure out how to do it himself!
Monkey see... MONKEY DO! It is too funny!

Luke looking out from the Landing!
It is the perfect little addition to our backyard and I know our kids will LOVE it! More importantly, I know Uncle OD would have loved knowing how he contributed to my family's happiness.

I love and miss you Uncle OD!
God is good... ALL the time!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Happy Birthday, Luke

Sunday, June 18, 2013
Let's Party- 1 year old style!

Luke's ACTUAL birthday on June 12, 2013
Yesterday we had Luke's First Birthday Party at our house for my parents, sister, My in-laws and Brother in-law and his wife. We all had a great time eating and fellow-shipping with each other but most of all celebrating BABY LUKE and his 1st year of life.
The boys relaxed and played with the dogs in the morning hours while all the ladies went over to Dan and Jackie's house to get Mary Kay make-overs with Leeanna. This was lots of fun to get a "new-do" and be able to show it off for the party and while family was in town.
For lunch we ordered pizza and was able to fellowship together by playing "Mexican Train" dominoes. This was always a pleasure since Chris and his brother John were playing and incorporating their "dry" sense of humor into the game. All in all, everyone had a great time.
After playtime, and nap time for Luke, it was time for PRESENTS! Luke got LOTS AND LOTS of gifts from Gigi and Grandpa and Gigi Shirley and Poppy too. Even the Aunts and Uncles had gifts for him. This little boy "CLEANED" up in the gift department. These are just SOME of the ones he got:

Luke's SPREAD of gifts BEFORE he opened them!

His John Deer tractor from Gigi Jackie and Grandpa!

His Ride-On Fire Truck from Gigi Shirley and Poppy!

His Basketball Goal from Gigi Shirley and Poppy!
 Luke's ENTIRE Spread of gifts... HE is ONE HAPPY BOY!
We had a good ol' fashioned BBQ for dinner with Hamburgers, Brats and Hot Dogs. Luke liked everything but the hamburger, which is odd since meat is his favorite food! After the main course we broke into the Birthday Cookie Cake and ICE CREAM. Oddly enough, Luke didn't really care for either of these but I guess that is good!

Chris was the GRILL MASTER for this party and he did an AMAZING JOB! Thanks Honey!
It was a wonderful day and I still am getting used to having a TODDLER in my house and not a little baby! He has really grown up these past 2-3 months and I know this will only increase in the near future!
I love you Luke and I cannot wait for the next 30 birthdays!

God is good... ALL the time!

My Growing Boy: Month 12

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

It is hard to believe that this time last year I was waiting to be rolled into surgery to have Baby Luke, via C-Section! I was glowing with excitement to meet the boy I had waited for my entire adult life. I remember telling Chris right before they cut me open that no matter what, I was grateful to God for Chris and this baby! About 3 minutes later, Baby Luke graced this world with his presence and my life was forever changed!

At this point, Luke is a BOY and eating too much like his daddy! He is no longer eating ANY TYPE of baby food and rarely eats items of food that we are not eating. He LOVES hot dogs and sandwich meats as well as lots of veggies and fruits. We have found that he is NOT a fan of fresh apples or bananas but LOVES most citrus fruits like oranges and lemons. He likes to try to eat the peel and all! He usually only eats scrambled eggs for breakfast or just dry cereal. We have not been able to get him to eat much of anything else for breakfast. Lunch and dinners are hot dogs or meats preceded by veggies. We have learned that if we feed him the meat first, he will not eat the greens (He is ALL boy!)

My little "Sleep Angel" is sleeping really well and taking 1-2 naps per day that last anywhere from 1 to 3.5 hours. He sleeps from around 8pm to 7-8 am each evening and is easily put down. Unlike Natalie, he does not mind being put into his crib without being rocked completely to sleep. In fact, I have found in these 1st summer weeks that depending on how tired he is, he actually LIKES to be put in his crib to fall asleep on his own!

Again, Mr. Luke is ALL BOY... ALL THE TIME! He likes to play with the trucks and cars that Natalie has and also likes to play fetch with the play-balls we have! He also likes to running around and messing up pretty much everything around the house. He likes to "re-arrange" almost everything in my house! "Silly Luke"- As Natalie puts it! But WE LOVE HIM!

Today is Mr. Luke's first birthday and he is no longer a baby but a TODDLER! He has managed to roll-over, crawl, pull-up and even walk all before today and now even more than ever, I look into his eyes and see the little BOY I have wanted all my life. He is the most perfect little angel and I am FOREVER grateful for this gift God has blessed me with and I am so grateful he chose ME to be his mommy!
I love you Baby Luke!

Especially the past 365 days...


My Growing Boy: Month 11

May 12, 2013
Just one month away from the BIG Birthday
I cannot believe that in one short month my "Little Baby Luke" will be 1 year old. It is hard to imagine where the time has gone and how big and FAST my little guy has grown up! It seems like only yesterday I was holding my 8 pound baby for the first time! Now, that 8 pounds has nearly tripled and is walking, ha... practically running, all over my house! In less than 30 days I will have a toddler and it is only down hill from there!
Luke has reached the point where he is just not interested or satisfied with Baby Food. Instead he stares and whines for "big people food". He will just watch us eat and then show us his sign for "More" and then basically cry til we give him OUR food. Right now his favorite food is hotdogs and deli meat. I swear he ate nearly 3 hotdogs the other day. He is still drinking about 20-26 ounces of formula each day and still taking it out of a bottle but we are working on transitioning to a sippy cup! He is drinking apple juice and Crystal Light lemonade from a sippy cup but for whatever reason he will NOT take his bottle from a sippy! I am afraid that is going to be a slow transition process!
Luke is still sleeping really well and averages 10-12 hours of sleep each night. Lately he has gotten real good at falling asleep on his own and often without having to have a bottle right before. Usually he falls asleep while I am rocking Natalie and even with the TV on and Chris and I talking he will fall asleep and we can take him to his crib without him waking up completely. This is SO DIFFERENT from Natalie at this age who had to be completely rocked to sleep in order to NOT throw a fit! Luke is so easy in this perspective.
He is now a FULL TIME walker. In fact, he practically is running everywhere. The other day he tried to jump like Natalie and almost did. Lately he has been watching daddy, play the Wii and will try to run just like Daddy. He also will chase the dogs around the house. He has also just recently found out he can climb the stairs. Ha... This is a nightmare because even though he knows it is not good, he will grin at us and then run to the stairs and try to climb up them! Crazy little boy!
This 11th month of life has been monumental since he has transitioned from a Part-time walker/ crawler to a FULL TIME walker! He is so much more active than Natalie was. He is in to EVERYTHING! I think I will have to completely baby proof my house with this guy! I have tried to keep cabinets locked with basic rubber bands but I think I am going to have to take the time to install actual baby locks! He has slammed his fingers a few too may times!
In just 1 month he will be 1 year old and a toddler... WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE? I cannot wait to see him smash his little cake on his birthday!
I love you Luke... and here's to the last month of being a BABY!
God is Good... ALL THE TIME!

Career Crisis... Great is thy Faithfulness

June 17, 2103
God will ALWAYS provide

Today, after 2 long weeks of interviews and phone calls (within the same district) and nearly 3 months of job searching and interviewing in general, I was offered and accepted a teaching position within one of the most prestigious and sought- after districts in the North Houston Metro... Willis ISD.

The very last day of school at Spring, June 3, I received a call for an Middle School Band Job interview the next day and that went VERY well. So well, in fact, that I went on vacation that week thinking that Band Job was in my back pocket. The following week, June 11, I had a 2nd interview for that job and it was there that I realized that as much as I longed for a band job, the reality was my family may not be ready for this type of FULL-TIME job!

Elementary Music is a very limited "outside of the work day" type of gig and most people who know me and anything about band, know that teaching BAND is NOT so easy. Band jobs require nearly as many hours OUTSIDE of the school day as are in the ACTUAL school day. In the midst of this career crisis, I got a phone call from an elementary in Willis ISD. In fact, this particular school had not even posted the music position on the main HR website yet and they had already scheduled me an interview. I went to this interview on June 13 and it went VERY well too. Going into the summer months, my goal was to get a band job but since realizing that may not be in God's plan, my 2nd choice was to teach elementary music in this AMAZING district.

As I sat at home pondering and praying about my career options and choices I kept feeling torn between what I wanted and what I felt God was telling me HE wanted. I had not been offered ANY job yet but was told by the Head Band Director of the district that they would be making a decision soon regarding a candidate which led me to believe I was the #1 choice. I kept thinking "I really don't want to have to TURN DOWN my dream job but... I don't think it is the best for my family RIGHT NOW!" I would cry myself to sleep each night just thinking about it. This was seriously, exactly what I was looking for in a Band Job and as I mentioned before IN AN AMAZING DISTRICT! I prayed and prayed and CRIED AND CRIED about it but still felt God telling me that the band job was NOT "the one" for me. Finally, the Head Band Director called me to tell me they had hired someone who had been teaching 34+ years and I was not going to get that band job. As much relief as I felt to NOT HAVE TO TURN DOWN MY DREAM JOB, I still felt awful in knowing I didn't get the job and I was not the #1 choice. The Band Director told me that "Our paths will cross, again... TRUST ME". Little did I know at that time that he had talked to this Elementary Principal about me and knew I was getting the Elementary Music teaching position.

The following morning, the Elementary principal called and offered me the Elementary Music Teaching Position. I prayed about it overnight and called the following morning and accepted the job.

While this was not my 1st choice this particular year (or at least I didn't THINK SO)... It was GOD'S 1st Choice and while I still may feel a little defeated for not getting that or any BAND JOB, I know that there is a reason why I didn't get the job or any band job for that matter. I have always prayed and it is a life philosophy of mine that GOD IS IN CONTROL and ALL things work together for GOOD for those who are called according to his purpose!

I feel really good about this year and I cannot wait to start this new adventure. I have already begun creating lessons and curriculum's to help these kiddos and I know God has put me in this particular school and teaching position for a reason and I cannot wait to Glorify HIM through my daily job!

Thank You, Lord for your continued blessings and let me be a witness and example to these kids!

Even through a Career Crisis,  GOD IS GOOD... ALL THE TIME!