Thursday, November 17, 2011

How is it almost Thanksgiving?!

I think I've said this before but I'll say it again...I "think" about blogging here a lot.  It just never seems to happen.  Oh well, I guess if I can get over here and add entries every couple of months it's better than nothing.  Here's hoping it's more often than that though!

So, anywho...

After Eli did his sprint-triathlon in June a few other family members got the bug and signed up for them too.  Here's my sweet Teagan at her very first Ironkids Triathlon.  She decided she wanted to do one and Brad found one that was only 10 days away.  She did awesome!  Especially for only training for a week!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sadie had a birthday

Oh  hey, lookie there.  I have a blog.  I've kinda ignored it.  Sorry to anyone who might actually be reading this.  Oops.

So lots of stuff has been going on since my last post.  May was super busy business wise and I thought once school was out things would slow down.  Not so much.  Sadie turned 11 on June 4th and Eli swam/biked/ran his first sprint triathlon that same day.  Madi has been super busy babysitting a couple different families and has been on a mission trip to Joplin that was pretty exceptional.  The other 3 have all been to Camp Cyokamo and loved it as always.  Now we're gearing up to head to Dallas for dance nationals and then Nana and Grandpa Camp and Youthquake.  So see, summer is flying right along!

I have spent the last week really trying to get caught up on some work and have decided that I do some personal editing as a treat for getting so much work done.  SO...Haiti pictures have finally been edited!  Well, all but 148 that I found in a file I didn't know was there.  So today I have edited Sadie's birthday party pictures.  She hadn't had a party in 3 years because I don't like to do them unless I can REALLY do them.  I think there might be something wrong with me.  For real.

So without further adieu...Sadie's Vintage Photo Booth Party!

 Sadie requested a rice krispie cake and I found a super yummy recipe that had cake batter in it.  We also had lots of candy, cupcakes and pink lemonade.

In keeping with the photo booth theme, I topped the cupcakes with lips on a stick.

Straws with mustaches on them?  Yes please!

The girls decoupaged wooden frames and will each get a picture to put in it!

The girls had a blast!

And last but not least, a slideshow of the craziness that was the photo booth!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21, 2011

So, apparently there is this guy named Harold Camping who says that Jesus is coming back today. I hadn't heard anything about this until a few weeks ago. Then as the 21st starting approaching I kept seeing more and more discussion about it. I wasn't really sure who Camping was so when I saw a retweet about him on I decided to read it. I was glad I did. Learned about Camping a bit and laughed a LOT.

One last post about the predicted May 21 rapture: "21 Things You Should Know about Harold Camping"

I sure hope that link works. Its totally worth the read. Check out the comments too for extra giggles! I'm posting this from my phone so if the link doesn't work I'll fix it tonight. I'm headed to Miami (that's in Oklahoma) for my nieces high school graduation. Which I'm dressed up for so if the rapture does happen today at least I'm not just hangin out in my sweats!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Weekend Watch {forgetting to be thankful}

I've started following Laura Parker on Twitter.  She's a missionary living with her family in Thailand and I just really enjoy how real she is.  I like to think we'd be friends if we ever met in real life.

So she's got her Weekend Watch going on where she posts a video and then encourages you to do the same.  I have a video.  I have an answer, or at least thoughts, to her question.  I'm in!

After sharing that her family has been in Thailand for a year now and no one has gotten sick from the less-than-sanitary food that they get from the local market, Laura asks this question:

Dropped the ball on being thankful for something lately?

Um, yes.

I am thankful that I have four beautiful, healthy children who have all been blessed with unique personalities and talents.  In the whirlwind of activities this month it's hard not to get caught up in it all and foget to enjoy it.  Forget to be thankful that they are able to participate in them. 

I am thankful that I had 19 wonderful years with my own Mom who 18 years ago today passed away from ovarian cancer.  Thankful that she loved me so incredibly much and I never doubted that.  Thankful that she was able to care for me.  Remembering all my little friends in Haiti, many of whom have living parents who had to give them away because they couldn't provide the most basic needs.  My mom didn't want to leave me and my siblings anymore than those mom's wanted to give their children away but they had no choice.  As odd as it sounds, I'm thankful to know what it's like to not have my mom with me.  If only in some small way to identify with the orphans that God has put on my heart.

I'm thankful for this busy season at work.  Because it means I have work to do.  Our house still hasn't sold and everything seems to be so expensive but I love what I do and apparently others do too because they keep hiring me.  I get bogged down trying to figure out how on earth I'll ever get caught up when what I really should be doing is being thankful that at least I'm bogged down!

So yep.  I'm thankful.

....for the constant whirlwind of activities

...for the aching in my heart at the loss of my mom

...for the slight panic that sets in when I see how long my to-do list is

I leave you with this.  One of the songs my sweet Teagan sang at her voice recital Friday night.  It was just a few years ago that she tried to sing a song for her Daddy in front of our family and another couple on his birthday.  She got through the first line before she burst into tears from nerves.  She's come a LONG way as you can tell.  Friday night was scary, and she messed up several lines of the song but she did it.  And for that...I'm thankful.

Friday, May 13, 2011

May Madness

Yeah.  I know generally it's March Madness with the whole NCAA basketball thing.  However, in my's May.  Band concerts, voice recitals, choir performances, dance recitals.  It's really just never ending. 

And that's just my own personal family.

Add in the fact that it's time for all the seniors in town to be graduating and if they haven't already had their senior pictures done then they are scrambling to do it NOW...

Well, let's just say I've been busy.

I so desperately want to keep this blog current.  It's just so hard!

Last night we had Sadie's penny arcade with her school, Eli's band concert, and then Sadie's short program for her dance recital.  Tonight it was sending Eli off to the Believe Conference in Tulsa, Teagan's voice recital, and Sadie's first full dance recital for the year.  Tomorrow it continues.

One of these days I'll blog more often.  Promise.  Until then....hope you survive the end of school year activities!

Monday, April 25, 2011

My sweet Teagan

So honestly, I wanna talk about Haiti.  But really.  Can I do that every time I get on here?  I don't think so.  I don't know why.  I guess because I just feel like this isn't the "I love Haiti" blog but honestly I do.  More Haiti happenings in the (VERY) near future.

Here's the thing, I have this sweet little girl named Teagan.  She might be addicted to candy.  Actually, she totally is. For realz.

So her small group at church decided that they would all give something up for Lent. 

When she came up to me at church on Ash Wednesday and said she had given up pop for Lent I wasn't that surprised.  I figured her small group had all chosen something to give up and that's what she chose.  Not a HUGE deal.  But then, she says she gave up candy too.

Not that is a big deal.  Seriously.

She was supposed to have Sunday as a "free" day.  But she goofed up the first Friday and instead of giving up she moved her "free" day to Friday.  That was impressive.  It kinda kept getting more and more impressive.

"Mom, can we stop at the gas station to get a water?"
"No, but you can have a sip of my Diet Pepsi"
"I can't.  It's not Friday."

Conversations like that were pretty much constant.  I am SO proud of my Tea Pot for her sacrifice.  At just 9 years old, she completely realizes what that means. 

I'm sure I'll pay for a lot more dental work in her life, but for now I'm relishing in the fact that she's been sugar free for Lent.  Way to go Teagan, we love you!

Friday, April 15, 2011


Seems weird to be home.  I missed my family so terribly while I was gone. But if it wasn't for them I really think I could have stayed in Haiti for much longer.  Seriously.

I still have so many memories to share with you.  (I say that like there are tons of you reading.  Please start commenting so I know I'm not just talking to myself!)  Things to tell you all about like our first day there and traveling around the city and visiting Hope Village.  People to introduce you to like Enoch and Madame Blueberry and all the great GCOM people I got to know.  The small little boy who still holds my heart while he is in Haiti and I'm home in Oklahoma. 

Unfortunately, a lot of these stories have images that I feel need to go with them.  It's just not the same without seeing the images.  But duty calls and I'm back to the land of working non-stop so my time blogging and editing Haiti pictures is limited.  Someday I'll find the time and the words to share all I experienced.  At least a good part of it.

I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to go to Haiti.  As I said on Madi's birthday post, had this trip been planned the first week of April all along I don't know that I would have signed up.  God knew I needed to be there.  That I needed to be with the special group of people He put together to travel to Haiti.  That I would somehow be able to make some small difference while I was there.  And while I feel like I did, I can't help but mention the huge difference that was made in my life. 

Haiti wrecked me.  It really did.  I don't look at things the same anymore.  It's been an emotional week being back here and leaving all the sweet little faces that I came to know so well in Thomazeau.  I pray that I never forget them.  That I will always remember how incredibly blessed I am and that I will make "making a difference" a priority.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

So much to say

When I found out that I would have some internet access while in Haiti this week I was so excited.  I had these visions of updating my blog each night with a recap of that days activities.  I'd have all my memories all contained in a nice little neat daily post.

Then I arrived in Haiti.

I now know how ridiculous that idea seems.  I could blog until the cows come home and still not be able to express everything I have experienced while here.  This has been such an amazing adventure of emotions. 

It's hard to believe that the week is almost over.  In ways it feels like we've been gone forever.  In other ways it feels like we've only just begun.  We've accomplished so much that will hopefully help the wonderful men, women and children at the Thomazeau orphanage.  Yet there is so much still left to do. 

I'm not looking forward to tomorrow.  A part of my heart will definitely stay behind with all those sweet faces.  I feel like I've gotten to know some of the kiddos so well that it will be like I'm leaving my own babies.  I can't even imagine how that will feel.  And some of their parents have already done just that.  We learned today that many of them have parents who are still living.  But they just can't care for them and so in an effort to give them a better life they give them away. 

Can you even imagine?

A little bit of good news is that we've talked to Enoch who works with the orphanage and it looks as though private adoption in the near future may be a real possibility.  My prayer tonight is that we can find home for all those sweet babies and make room for more children to come in off the street.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 3, or maybe 2, or is it 4?

On the way home from the orphanage in the tap tap this afternoon I had to ask if today was Tuesday or Wednesday.  Cause seriously.  I had no idea.  None.  I did find out that today is in fact Tuesday, however I'd have to really think hard to figure out if it's Haiti day 3 or Haiti day 4 and so we'll just go with Tuesday. 

We got up early this morning.  Early.  As in 5:00.  A. M. people.  AM.  Some of you may be thinking that 5:00 isn't really that early but for this girl it is.  I'd been up for an hour and 23 minutes when my normal weekday alarm went off.  Generally, when that goes off I hit snooze.  Then I hit snooze again.  And finally at somewhere between 7 and 7:30 I get up.  So see, 5:00 is early.

We planned to leave at 6:00 but since "this is Haiti" (aka TIH) we kind of did the hurry up and wait thing until about 7:30 when we finally left.  About an hour later we pulled into the Thomazeau orphanage for the second day in a row.  Little faces started peeking out of the door of their classrooms and before long we had a whole crew of kiddos jumping into our arms. 

It's amazing how quickly the bonding has happened.  While all the children crave and need the attention and love from all of us, it's already obvious that some of the kids have bonded with certain adults that are here.  I love that! However, in the back of my mind I can't help but think about what Friday will be like when we have to leave for good.  I pray that I will be able to come back and love on these kids again someday.  I know it has to be so hard for them to bond with people and never see or hear from them again.  I've had several children ask where Kelly was.  Where is Tiffany?  Where is so-and-so.  Do I know them?  In the end they come up with "different friend?".  That seems to put them at ease.  That perhaps I DO know them, but they were just unable to come at this time.

There are two different groups of children at the orphanage.  One is a group that goes to school there and lives there and are true orphans.  We call them the green kids.  Because they wear green shirts.  Aren't we creative?!  Then there are the red kids (betcha can't guess what color they wear) who are local children who may have parents, may live with relatives or neighbors or older siblings but they have someone who can look after them to some extent.  They are Compassion kids and so they have the funds to come to school at the orphanage.  When all the children are there they number about 50 and things can get a little chaotic.  They leave around noon or 1:00 and then it's a smaller group of about 20 children that we hang out with.

Today we made salvation bracelets with the large group and then had the opportunity to help serve them a hot meal.  They don't normally get a hot meal every day.  Or every week for that matter.  This week we are hoping to do it every day.  After lunch we played some and then handed out a sucker and small toy to each child.  We learned yesterday that when we hand things out the kids will often come back and act like they didn't get one yet and then we see that their pockets are full of stuff.  Hoarders could get some serious footage here. 

So we came up with this amazing plan to put a little small x with a marker on their hands after we gave them something. 

Um...not the best plan.  They totally figured us out.  It wasn't long before I started seeing familiar faces and small smudges of red.  Little stinkers were wiping off their x's!  They are some SMART little kiddos!  Soon the red kids left and we had more playing, throwing balls around, posing for pictures, a little bit of "beauty salon" and then we took the green kids into a room (I use that term VERY loosely) to color.

I would have loved to stick around much longer but we had some sick sick adult men who needed to get home.  The guys in our group have been just amazing.  Yesterday they managed to mix and pour one concrete slab.  Today they did another slab and a roof.  Those are the MAIN projects they are working on but they are doing so much more as well.  The Haiti sun is hot and running low on drinking water today got the best of a few of them.  Everyone is fine now and resting at home.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow and praying that we are able to continue to bless these wonderful people and children that we are growing so fond of.  Before then however, I think I'm gonna need a shower.

Monday, April 4, 2011

New President for Haiti

I had planned on updating tonight with a rundown on what we did yesterday and then today.  I'm changing my mind.  Cause it's my blog and that's ok.  Right?  Just know that there are going to be an awful lot of Haiti posts coming up!

Today we spent the day at the orphanage in Thomazaeu that we planned to come here to help.  After being there most of the day we were informed, rather quickly, that we needed to pack up and head home to where we were staying.  The results of the presidential election were set to be announced and possible rioting could happen and we definitely did NOT want to be out and about if that happened.

We came home, got cleaned up (as much as one can clean up when they are constantly sweating) and had some dinner.  Soon afterwards, a huge eruption of screaming and clapping came from the living room where a large group of our Haitian friends were intently watching tv.  It had been announced that the candidate of choice had been elected.  Martelly (pronounced a whole lot like Madilee!) was the winner and man is everyone excited.

Our hosts decided to take us out into the streets to "celebrate".  I kind of imagined walking outside of our gate and watching.  Instead we participated in some serious celebrating.  In the midst of the rubble and poverty here are people coming together singing, dancing and chanting in excitement for their new president. 

It was so wild.

SO much more to say but I've got to call it a night.  On the road at 6am to head back to the orphanage!

I'm in Haiti!

Wow.  Where do I even start?

I somehow managed to get everything done Saturday morning before leaving for the church to load up and go to the airport.  That's including a deep clean of the house since we had a showing request for Saturday morning.  (Yeah, no stress there.)  We headed off to the church and I tweeted that I hoped I didn't forget anything just as Brad asked if I had my passport.

So we headed back home to grab that.  Oops.

After some near tearful goodbyes we were off on the people mover to OKC.  Everyone's excitement grew as we got closer and closer.  Shelby busted out the Pepperidge Farm Piourettes just in time to ease any breakdowns that might be looming in my near future.  Whew! 

Once at the airport we started unloading the tubs from the people mover.  They each weighed right around 50 pounds and as we passed them out of the vehicle Shelby flexed her arms to show her strength and said, "Look at these guns!"

That's when the airport employee helping us leaned in to say, "You can't say guns at the airport".

Have I mentioned how much I love Shelby?!

We had a little snafu (and another near breakdown) when we were told that we had too much weight in our tubs.  We had packed the tubs up last Tuesday and weighed them knowing (ie going from the info posted on the American Airlines website) that each of us could have 2 packed bags weighing 50 pounds.  The first one was free and the second one was $30.  All of the sudden we were told that yes, we could have 2 bags but they couldn't weigh more than 70 pounds together.  Great.  Luckily the wonderful guy found an exception for us.  Woohoo!

After a couple flights and lots of laughing we ended up in Miami where we grabbed some dinner (eventually) and hit the hay for not nearly enough sleep.

Getting off the plane in Haiti was incredibly surreal.  You hear about the destruction that the earthquake caused and you see images everywhere but until you see it in person I don't think you can really understand the devastation.  More than a year later it still looks as thought they've just gone through a natural disaster.  It's incredible.

Our GCOM guys met us at the airport and I immediately felt safe.  What a great group of men who are clearly serving the Lord!  There was a lot of hurry up and wait going on but we eventually made it to our "home" for the week which I described to Brad in a text as the Taj Mahal.  I'll have to share pictures when I'm back  in Oklahoma and uploading won't take so long.

The rest of the day was pretty emotional and I'm sure it will only increase as the week moves on.  I have to go down for breakfast now (it's actually Tuesday morning, I couldn't get a connection last night), but I'll update as soon as I can.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweet 16

Today is my first born child's birthday. Not just any birthday. It's her sweet 16. And I'm not there with her. It's kinda sorta breaking my heart.

Ok, it's really breaking my heart.

When I agreed to go on the Haiti mission trip it was going to be during the week of March 14th. There were some things going on in Haiti during that time that made the area more volatile than normal so we discussed rescheduling. When talk of changing the dates came up I knew exactly when it would be. I just KNEW. I somehow knew it was going to be during this important time in Madi's life. I've said that if the trip had originally been planned during her birthday I don't think I would have signed up to go. You know what though? I think there is a reason it happened this way. Because I truly feel that God has called me to be a part of this mission. And He knew it would be hard for me to be away today and so in His great wisdom He made it happen.

Because here's the thing, being a follower of Christ isn't the easiest thing. You'd think that after you accept Him as your personal savior it would all be smooth sailing. But it's not. At all.

So here I am. On my baby girls 16th birthday, and I'm not there to give her a big hug and remind her in person how incredibly special she is to me. How blessed I am that God chose me to be her mother. How proud I am of the amazing woman she is becoming.

What's the next best thing? A blog post of course! I'll try to call her today and I'll undoubtedly think of her and pray for her throughout the day. But because I may not be able to call and I'm not there in person to say these things, this blog post will be the next best thing.

My dearest Madilee Elizabeth,

I will never forget the day that I found out you were on the way. I wondered why I wasn't feeling so well and just on a whim decided to take a pregnancy test on my lunch break. I was home alone with our dog, Inu. So I took the test and it sure did look positive and I came out of the bathroom and just stared in Inu's blue/brown eyes. I said, "Inu. I'm pregnant. What are we going to do?" And he kinda cocked his head to the side and stuck one ear up in the air. I think he wanted a treat and didn't really care about what I was telling him.


So, I sat down and called Shannon who told me, "Ok. Don't freak out. Those tests can be wrong." Bless her heart. She knew how frightened I was. Daddy and I had just been married for 8 months and were so young. The thought of raising a baby was a little overwhelming. Actually, it was a lot overwhelming.

However, in the next few days the thought of life growing inside of me grew more and more appealing. By the day of my first doctor's appointment Daddy and I were both nervous. He went with me and sat in the waiting room while I went back to take the "official" test. When I came out I found him anxiously waiting for me. He looked up at me and with sad eyes and a frown he said, "You aren't pregnant are you."

You see, at this point the idea of you had already consumed us so much that the thought of not having you was heartbreaking. We realized that no matter how new our marriage was God had a plan and we couldn't control it, but we sure did hope you were a part of it. And you were.

Madilee, you have been more than I could have ever imagined. God certainly blessed us with a bright, caring, beautiful daughter. You make me laugh every day, whether or not you mean to. *wink* Your generosity and caring nature take my breath away. Knowing that you desire to have a relationship with our Heavenly Father is amazing. It's something that I unfortunately never comprehended at your age. God put your Daddy in my life which lead me to Him in a more intimate setting and now I'm more than thrilled to have children who desire to know Him. You are an awesome example for your younger siblings.

Basically Madi, you ROCK!

Today I'm in Haiti and I'm praying that I can be the hands and feet of Jesus. However, a part of my heart will be with you my sweet girl. This is the first time in the last 16 years that I haven't been with you on your birthday. I definitely wouldn't have chosen for your 16th birthday to be this way but I know you have lots of people around you today who love and care for you.

Thank you Madilee Elizabeth for being you. I love you more than you'll ever know. Happy birthday baby girl! Here is a recap of every single birthday!

     April 3, 1995     Madilee Elizabeth Stewart     5:41 p.m.    7 lbs 11 oz      21 inches

Madi's 1st birthday.  A nice simple celebration at home with family. 

Happy 2nd birthday!  We celebrated with a Sesame Street themed birthday party.

3rd birthday celebration at Chuck E Cheese in Tulsa.  Fun!

Madi says this is her favorite birthday memory.  Madeleine themed birthday #4!

Happy 5th birthday sweet girl!

In her Sunnybrook school uniform.  Happy 6th birthday Madi!

Baby sister Teagan arrived just 2 weeks ago.  I was so busy I couldn't plan a big party so we went to the local ceremic store with Olivia and Paris from Madi's class.  Fun!

Birthday #8 at the Best Western in Stillwater.  Hello Luau!

Birthday #9!  We had a jewelry party and everyone got to make their own necklaces and bracelets.  Then we took some pictures on the stairs.  I love this group of girls!

Birthday #10.  We sent out invites for a party on April 1st...but it was a big joke!  April fools!  We "kidnapped" all the guests after they thought that the party would be a different day.  They had to wear whatever they were wearing when we woke them up and weren't allowed to take anything with them.  This was the best!
Their shirts say, "Pssst...I was fooled!"  And Madi's says, "I fooled them!"

Birthday #11 was celebrated by making fun Hawaiin tops and lots of doing the limbo!

Happy birthday #12 sweet girl!  No big huge special party tonight but we went to Kyoto's for dinner as a family and then had a nice evening at home celebrating.

Birthday #13.  We had so much fun for this special birthday.  Teenager!!  A fun BBQ & games with friends.  Over the years we've learned that friends come and go but memories are special and we cherish them!

Another bash for birthday #14.  BBQ and volleyball in the yard.  Plus, some delish cupcake style cake pops via Bakerella.  Can you beat that?  I think not!

Happy birthday #15!  Wow.  Fifteen?  Seriously?!

Madilee Elizabeth, I love you more than you'll ever know.  Happy 16th birthday sweet girl.  You're one of the absolute best things that has ever happened to me!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

It's been a super busy week around here. I, of course, had plans for some blog posts that haven't happened. What's new, right?

We celebrated my baby Teagan turning 9 on Monday. She had a great birthday and didn't want it to end. I'll have to share pictures once I edit them. So, maybe expect them sometime next year.

Seems like every day since then has been full of appointments and stuff trying to get ready for my upcoming trip. Which is sooner then I realized. And I might be starting to get a wee bit nervous.

Or maybe a lot bit.

I'm choosing not to think about it too much today. Because today all I can think about is my house for sale. We have a showing this afternoon at 1:30. Which means I'm supposed to be cleaning like a mad woman and not updating my blog. But this is just sort of how I roll. Wheee!

Praying that we get an offer this time. We NEED to get this house sold so we can move onto the next chapter of our life. The chapter where we don't spend money on stuff like big houses and fancy cars and maybe just maybe includes a new sibling.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And just like that...

...everything changes.

Right after Madi got home this afternoon with her new car, a few friends started showing up. Her friend Zach came over as well as a car load of friends who live in the area. Zach was still here when the other car left. Blade was driving with Kellie, Kiley and Tessa. I'd just met Blade officially when he was here but I know all the girls really well.

If Zach hadn't been here visiting I'm sure Madi would have gone with them. If she had, this evening would have turned out so differently.

Shortly after leaving here they were in an awful car accident. Apparently Blade swerved to miss hitting a deer and in swerving he hit a boulder, which propelled them into the air. They came down evetually rolling the vehicle several times.

Another Stillwater student who was longboarding in the area found them and called 911. He snapped this picture of the accident before the rest of the emergency vehicles arrived.

Blade and Kellie were both wearing their seat belts and although they are pretty banged up and obviously shaken up beyond belief, they are ok.

Kiley and Tessa weren't wearing their seat belts and were both ejected from the vehicle. Kiley has a broken collar bone and lots of cuts and scrapes. Tessa was thrown through the front windshield and suffered major injuries. I'm not 100% sure what injuries were sustained. I've heard broken collar bone, broken shoulder blade, fluid in a lung, punctured spleen, a "something wrong" with her spine.

These are 15 and 16 year old children. My heart just aches for them and their families as they have to endure this. Please help me pray that they will fully heal and thank God that no lives were lost today.

How'd this happen?

I'm only 25 so I'm not sure how this happened but somehow I have a child getting ready to turn 16. So weird.

(2 of my 4 kids just read this over my shoulder and said, "Why did you say you're only 25?" Psshh. I totally am.)

We went to spend the night with the in-laws on Thursday night since it was spring break. Brad's brother and his family was visiting and we take all the chances we can to get together when they are around since they live in the Houston area. Unfortunately, I had a photo shoot and a meeting on Friday.

So we took two cars and I came back Friday with Sadie to be my assistant and Brad stayed there with the other kiddos.

So today before heading home they went to Tulsa to do some car shopping since Madi's birthday is quickly approaching and our little town doesn't have a whole lot to offer.

They started out this morning and found something at the very first lot. Kind of like a wedding gown, where girls so often fall in love with the very first one but keep trying them on just to make sure there isn't something better out there, Madi found a great one right off the bat.

We told Madi (and all the kids) years ago that we would match whatever they saved for a car. Save $4000? You'll get an $8000 car. About a year ago Madi realized we were serious. Thank goodness she didn't realize it sooner. We woulda been in trouble!

So after an afternoon of looking, lots of talking and thinking and a little bit of uncertainty...Madi bought her very first car.


Her birthday is April 3rd so right now she only has her permit. But since I was here and they were there with 2 cars she got to totally be illegal and drive home from Tulsa. Eli rode with her and manned the cell phone for any calls from Daddy who was right in front of her.

And then of course I made him call me when they were close so I could run out with my camera to be sure to capture her coming home with her new baby.

Did I say wow? Cause really. My baby just bought a car.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haiti or bust

So remember that meeting I went to a few weeks ago? Well, we decided to postpone the Haiti trip because we originally had it scheduled right after elections in the country. Which could have made for some extra hostile conditions during our time there.

So we are going. Just not next week when we originally planned.

We are now going the first week of April. Which is fine except that it's my baby girls 16th birthday. Her sweet 16. Kind of a big deal, right?

When I realized that's when the trip would be I told her about it.

Me: They rescheduled the Haiti trip. It's during your birthday now.

Her: That's ok.

Me: But it's your birthday.

Her: So. I'll have another one next year.

Me: But it's your SIXTEENTH birthday. It's a big deal.

Her: Mom. Seriously. It's fine.

It's hard to think that I won't be here for her 16th birthday. I won't even be in the same COUNTRY for it. It's kind of a big deal. Right?

Although maybe if I'm not here she won't turn 16. Does it work like that? Is that a way to keep her frozen at 15 forever? Yeah. I think I'll go with that.

Friday, March 4, 2011

There's something wrong with me!

Most people probably aren't happy when they find out that there is something wrong with them. Me though...THRILLED. Because finally after all the testing and trying to figure out why I just can't seem to get better I have a diagnosis.


Turns out I have a bacterial infection:

Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus): A type of bacterium that comes in pairs and is shaped like a lancet (a surgical knife with a short wide two-edged blade).

Pneumococcus is the leading cause of bacterial pneumonia and otitis media (middle ear infections) and an important contributor to bacterial meningitis. Pneumococcal infections are the most common invasive bacterial infections in children in the United States, causing about 1,400 cases of meningitis, 17,000 cases of bloodstream infections, and 71,000 cases of pneumonia every year in children under 5.

Vaccines now exist for those individuals at high risk of infection with this bacterium.

The formal name of the bacterium is currently Streptococcus pneumoniae. (The "strepto-" means twisted and "-coccus" comes from the Greek kokkos meaning berry.) Because of its coming in pairs, it has also been called Diplococcus pneumoniae. "Pneumoniae" refers to its propensity to settle in the lungs and cause pneumonia.

There. Everything you ever needed to know about it. My doctor said that it's generally treated with one of the two antibiotics that I already took. You know, the ones that didn't make me better.

So I went in yesterday and today and got Rocephin injections. Ouch! And then I'm on a Z-Pack as well. I can't WAIT to start feeling good again!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Well lookie there!

I was going to do a quick post to let all my fans know that I was getting a facelift.

And by fans I obviously mean anyone who just happened to accidentally land here.


So I found this awesome girl who is my new friend (cause she thinks I'm funny!) and commissioned her to do a makeover and was super duper excited when I pulled up my blog this morning and found that she's almost done with it.

Oh my goodness. How cute is this?! SO much nicer than it was. Now I'm going to have a hard time not hanging around here all the time!


Monday, February 28, 2011

The image of health

Definitely not me. Nope.

I went back to the doctor last Friday because I hadn't really seen any change. After more nose swabs (those are the worst!), a chest x-ray and blood work we don't know a whole lot more. Other than I don't have pneumonia or mono and my blood work looks good with the exception of a slightly elevated white count.

Obviously the rest I'd been trying to get wasn't helping a whole lot so I'm just trying to go about my normal schedule and pray that I don't lose a lung or get another migraine while doing it.

I've always been a huge yo-yo with my weight and health and in January of this year I decided enough was enough. I started really watching what I was eating and working out again. Unfortunately, I just wasn't seeing results.

I probably was getting results, just not the Biggest Loser super fast results I wanted.

Then the beginning of February came and we got snowed in. Twice. And then I started getting sick. So I turned back into a slug.

I know I need to be healthy. Not just for me but for those around me who love me and want me to be around for a nice long time so I can always nag them.

So this morning I drug myself over to my dresser and dug out my spandex that scream at me when I wear them because they are stretched so tight. Poor spandex. And then I drove myself across town and worked out for the first time in 3 weeks.

I'm pretty sure part or all of one lung might still be in the room. I have another one though so I'm good. Maybe?

And I found this little pretty on Rhonna's site and wanted to share.

I'm not sure why it's posting so small but the little tag reads "Nothing tastes as good as HEALTHY feels." Rhonna mentioned that the quote is actually "skinny" but that her goal (and mine!) is to be healthy. So...
here's to being healthy! Even if my body doesn't really want to cooperate.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sick sick sick

I have a knack for this. Being sick I mean. It pretty much happens every year around this time and I could so do without it. Really.

Last year it was right after I got back from my mission trip to Mexico. I had worn ear plugs while I was there to drown out the noise so I could sleep a bit better. When I got home it was like my ears were still all plugged up. It lasted for what seemed like forever. I finally got an appointment with an ENT who forced the air out. It made me scream. Really loud. After that I got on allergy shots and meds and have had a fairly healthy year until now.

Nearly three weeks ago we had the blizzard of 2011. Also known around here as Snowpocalypse 2011. Crazy cold temps, wind and tons of snow had us out of school for 3 days which was great because Sadie and Teagan both had the flu that week. Near the end of the week I started feeling kind of cruddy but no fever so I figured it was nothing. The next Monday I had a migraine followed by Migraine Hangover Tuesday. On Wednesday, Snowpocalypse 2011 Part 2 hit along with another migraine. Not cool. I was out of migraine meds at this point so my neighbor across the street trekked through the snow and brought me a Treximet which saved my life. I seriously thought that headache was going to be the end of me. Seriously.

What followed then was several days of bad headaches with nausea and occasional vomiting. By Monday I had enough so I visited the doctor who put me on antibiotics for a sinus infection. Tuesday...I had another full blown migraine.

At this point, I kinda thought I should cut my head off

Head still attached, I had a CT scan on Friday to see if we could figure out what is going on in this noggin of mine. As of now I still have no answers. I'm hoping to hear something on Monday. And as much as that scan cost there had better be some results from it. If it's clear I totally want my money back.

So that's what's going on here. Crazy weather (-30 in one area of the state with a 100 degree swing within 7 days!) and crazy sicknesses.

Did I mention that in the last few days I've developed a cough too? I'm pretty sure it's a "cought due to cold" as Mr. Gump would say. Whatever it is, I'm done with it too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

To go or not to go... THAT is the question.

Last year in February I went on my first real mission trip. I got a passport and headed to Mexico for a week with some of my church family. It was such a wonderful time. Meeting new people, doing things I wouldn't normally do, growing in my faith. Awesome.

Our church goes to this same area about twice a year and I knew another trip would be coming up in 2011. While I felt a huge pull to go last year I hadn't really felt that for the 2011 trip.

In addition to Mexico, our church family took several other mission trips last year and one of them was to Haiti. This was our first trip to Haiti. I really wanted to go. But I'd gone to Mexico just a few months before and I honestly didn't feel a huge pull to go.

Then about a month ago I was in church and during worship my heart just started burning. Nothing was even mentioned about missions but I just all of the sudden felt a huge burning in my heart to do another mission trip. I wanted to go back to Mexico in February. I wanted to join the Haiti team for the March trip.

I mentioned the desire to my husband. Then I contacted a friend who went to Haiti in the fall of 2010. Then I met with her. And oddly enough, without even planning it, another person integrally involved in this mission just happened to be at our meeting place.

After much prayer I decided that I would go to Haiti.

Now I'm continuing to pray.

Today I got an email regarding the most recent travel warning for Haiti. I'm not gonna lie. It's scary. Real scary. I have prayed a lot since getting and reading this information. When I got it, I went right to the website and read it.

Travel Warning.

Lots of details about the risks of traveling to Haiti right now. All the horrible awful things that could happen to you. Burglary. Kidnapping. Murder.

Then I searched any information on the area I'm wanting to adopt from. Know what I found? The same exact information with the same exact travel warning. There are some adoption agencies that require escorts to pick up your children. In the last week however, I've found out that the country will no longer allow an escort and you have to travel yourself.

It's all a lot to take in. As much as I'm feeling that pull and desire to go it's still scary. I was 19 when my Mom died of cancer. It has been so hard getting married and having children and growing older without my Mom.

My fear of dying isn't that great. If I die doing something that my God has lead me to...I have no fear. This song was one of the first I heard right after hearing of the new travel restrictions to Haiti...

And I will fear no evil
For my God is with me
And if my God is with me
Whom then shall I fear?
Whom then shall I fear?

~Matt Redman

My biggest fear, having matured as an adult without my Mom, is that my own children won't have their Mom around. I can't stand that thought.

So I'm praying. Tomorrow I'll attend a meeting about our trip. I will be praying that my intentions for this trip are truly what I should be doing and will be blessed.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baked with love

I found this new site recently. It's a big fat huge gigantic pinboard. One location to keep all sorts of cool stuff pinned so I can always see them. Craft ideas, decorating ideas, photography inspiration, and recipes are just a few of my pinboards.

It's SO fun. might be a little bit of a time thief. For real.

I'm not the best time manager so I can't hang out there much. Cause really, I think I could spend an entire afternoon clicking on link after link after link.

I recently found a pin with these sweet cinnamon rolls. I made them on Monday for the kiddos. Uncooked you could really tell what they were. Once they were cooked I didn't think it was quite as obvious. However, both the little girls commented on them. And they loved them. Which made me pretty pleased. Nothing like starting the morning off with happy little girls! (The big kids liked them too but they were with me when I was making them so it wasn't a surprise for them.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I just sent this message out to the amazing women in my life group. I spent most of our time Sunday with tears in my eyes. I couldn't help it. I'm a crybaby.

So, I had a bit of a rough day on Sunday.

Brad said that after our life group he got all sorts of texts asking if we were ok. We are. Most definitely. And while we did have a bit of a tiff Sunday morning (I wanted to go to Madi's Volleyball tournament, there wasn't enough room for everyone, I really had stuff I should stay home and do, so he got to go and I was jealous...basically I was being a big baby.) that had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I couldn't look at a single person Sunday without crying.

I'm a bit of a weeper. There are times when everything just seems to hit me like a ton of bricks and I can do nothing but cry. Every commercial, every kind look from a friend, every thought that comes to my mind...everything just makes me weepy. And let me tell you, there isn't a whole lot more frustrating for Brad then to have me be like that. We've been married 17 years. We've had the following conversation, um, a few times.

"What's wrong? Why are you crying?"

"I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know? You HAVE to know why you're crying."

"I don't know. I'm just crying."

"That makes no sense"

And then I cry even more

So Sunday morning at church we talked about the Holy Spirit and pretty much every word that was said and every song that was sung made me tear up. Then at life group Sunday night it wasn't much better. I'm not a very good communicator. At all. So even if I sort of know why I'm weepy it's not generally something that I can explain. It makes sense in my head (sort of) but if I try to verbalize that issue it makes no sense and I'm left feeling like whoever I'm talking to thinks I'm a complete and total idiot.

The fact of the matter is that between my friend next to me being sweet and giving me the occasional pat and our leader encouraging us to share I knew that if I even thought about opening my mouth it was going to be bad. Like one of those big fat ugly cries where you can't catch your breath and your start snorting when you try to. Super Duper Ugly Cry. And since I'd met Brad at group since he'd been in Tulsa all day I wanted to talk with him first. Of course once we got home I couldn't talk with him either, because I couldn't talk without crying. I didn't want to frustrate him by crying and I had no idea that he thought I was angry with him. (Which apparently he did. So he brought it up just before my entire sophomore YG came over on Monday morning which threw me into a hysterical sobbing fit just in time for the first car load of people to show up and wonder what the heck was going on. Awesomeness.)

So really the whole issue was/is just that I'm confused. It's not a whole lot different than most of the other comments from group on Sunday night. In the last several years I have felt like I have really grown in my faith. Then there are days that I feel like Teagan must know more than I do because I'm so confused by it all. I feel like the Holy Spirit is active in me but then I doubt if that's truly what it is or as my pastor Jim said Sunday if it's just a "bee in my bonnet". I'm tired of our house not selling. I'm tired of feeling led to do things that cost money (adopt, missions, etc) and not being strong enough to just say "let's do it, God will make it work" because there is always that doubt that it's that buzz of the bee and not really from Him. I'm basically just tired.

Brad told a friend the other day that he thought if he came home from work and told me he'd quit his job and thought that we should move to some remote village in Africa that I'd be ok with that. He's right. I really would. I'd have us all packed up and ready to go by the end of the week. Because I would feel like we were finally really DOING something. I think God has something really huge in store for my family. I feel like, actually I KNOW that there has to be more than this. But what is it? When will I know? WILL I ever know? Or am I just going to end up someday in Heaven saying, "Oh THAT'S what you wanted from me? Why didn't you tell me?!"

So there you have it. That, in a nutshell of jumbled thoughts and words, is what is going on with me. Thank you for listening to me. I truly do appreciate each and every one of you and am so thankful to have you in my life! And if I don't tell you in person enough, it's because I'll do the ugly-cry if I do and one needs to see that.

Friday, January 14, 2011


It's a real shame that blog posts composed in my head don't automatically appear here. Someone should really make an app for that. It could be useful for those of us who have great intentions of updating the blog regularly and then fail. Miserably.

So long story short...I'm still here. House is still for sale. Yada yada yada. I'm still just waiting and praying and loving the children that I have in my home now cause they are pretty much awesome.

I'm hoping that this year I can blog more often. I started this blog off seperately from another one I had because it felt too personal to share in the beginning. Since then, I've decided I don't mind sharing. However, I've felt a bit torn between the two blogs. The first one that was my personal day-to-day life and this one which feels much "deeper". My hope is to merge the two a bit better and share more every day things here as well as my faith. We'll see how well that goes.

So off I go back to work but know that I will be back. Soon.