To be the best Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Runner I can be...God willing!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Go Texan Day

The Friday before the Rodeo begins (I think) is always Go Texan Day.  I am still learning all this!

Emma's school and all the other KISD elementary schools have a hoedown during PE class on Go Texan Day.  Emma, who loves to play the part, gets very excited about dressing up.  This year she was even more excited because she finally owns pink...yes pink...cowgirl boots.

Drew went to school to watch the dances.  Emma had lots of fun and was so happy that her Daddy was able to go this year!

Check out Emma's cute little leg flip!
Emma and her BFF Ashlynn!
Emma all dressed and ready to go.  I love this picture of her!

This strange place that we live

This past weekend we all went to the Houston Rodeo Parade, which is one of the official events to kick off the Houston Rodeo.  Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages converge in downtown Houston for a parade.  There are horses, wagons, floats, bands, and lots of #2 everywhere, which Samuel thought was funny!

The parade is the culmination of the Trail Ride which lasts about a week.  The Trail Ride is a bunch of different groups of cowboys/girls who ride and camp their way to Houston.  The groups come from all over the area, but basically from a 60 mile radius of the city.  On Friday night (Go Texan Day) they camp in Memorial Park.  Then, Saturday is the parade.

All the kids loved the parade, even Elena.  It was quite a sight for all of us to see.  Some of the horses pranced, some walked, and some danced...yes danced.  There were wagons and one was even built in 1899 (yes, I typed that correctly!).  We saw many different types of boots, shirts and jeans and it all screamed cowboy/girl!

I think the entire event is quite fascinating.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.  No other city close to the size of Houston holds a Rodeo, a parade, and all the other things that go along with a rodeo.  It is very exciting that Drew and I can expose our children to this totally different way of life.  A way of life that is really no farther than an hours drive from our the most one hour!  We are quite blessed that we can have a small world feeling in our big world city!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The wheel of Samuel

I created a Christmas Card wheel at Christmas (thank you Martha Stewart).  I loved it so much and so did everyone else.  I decided to leave it up all year and change out the pictures.  Since, February is Samuel's birthday month, we have celebrated by viewing pictures of him from birth to now.

From top left and around is Samuel from Day One until last summer.  He is such a fun loving, little boy!

I don't need a nap!

Samuel resists his nap daily, but he still needs it...BIGTIME!  Last week I let him talk me into a day without a nap.  Instead he asked to watch a movie he got for his birthday.  I gave in and rest time was going to be spent watching "The Incredibles".  About 20 minutes into the movie, I found this...

He slept through most of the movie.  I guess he will probably ask me to watch it again during nap time.  He is so cute!!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011


One of the ladies in my Good Morning Girls group challenged us all to pick a word for the year.  It is something she is doing through her church and she had lots of positive things to say about it.  So, I thought for a good long time about what my ONE WORD would be.  How do you pick ONE WORD to define your year.  After much thought, I kept coming back to ONE WORD....PAUSE.

Pause as defined by in noun form is:  a temporary stop or rest, especially in speech or action. Pause defined as a verb means: to dwell or linger.  

I go, go, go all day long and into the late evening.  When I am sitting I am doing something.  I rarely just watch tv or read a magazine.  My mind is almost always "on" too.  I envy my friends who can "shut off" their brain/thoughts because I just can't do that.  Even when I run, I am thinking "this is your long run, slow down", but I always speed up.  It is a good and a bad thing for me.

With four awesome children, life is busy.  There is always a need to be filled, an argument to mediate, a place to go, etc.  I can only imagine that life will get busier and my need to think about PAUSING will be even greater.

So, PAUSE!  I want to PAUSE to play with my kiddos even when I should be making dinner or folding laundry.  I want to PAUSE to read the story slower because who knows how much longer they will want Mommy to read to them at bedtime.  I will schedule a PAUSE break in my schedule to have special dates because the potential exists that I may be uncool someday.  I will PAUSE to look at them when they speak so each one of them knows how much they mean to me.

I realistically know that I won't have PAUSE moments every day, but I can try.  The more I practice PAUSING the more of a habit it will be!  So, in 2011 I will be PAUSING with my children because I don't want to wake up one day when they are grown with too few memories of the every day moments!  I will dwell in my children and love it because I love them!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Birthday Extravaganza Weekend!

I love birthdays...especially mine.  But, when Samuel was born the day after my birthday, birthdays for me changed forever.  It is now all about Samuel!  My sweet boy was 3 on Saturday. 

Two days old
February 19, 2009--one year old!
Just before his second birthday
It feels like a lifetime has passed in the past three much has happened in our lives.  This past year was a big year for Samuel.  He now sleeps in a big boy bed, he goes to school two days a week, he wears big boy underpants, and the paci is gone!  He talks, plays, talks, plays, and talks some more all day long.  Samuel is happiest outside playing in the dirt and/or helping his Daddy.  He tries so hard to keep up with Emma and Jonah...he is getting closer! 

Yesterday Samuel had his first birthday party and his first cake.  That sounds awful, but Samuel did not like cake when he was little so until now he has had birthday cookies!  This was Samuel's his request!

Samuel LOVES volcanoes.  I bought him a shirt with a volcano on it last fall and the rest is history.  He wants to wear that shirt with jeans every day.  He gets so excited to see pictures of volcanoes and to talk about them. So, around Christmas Samuel said he wanted a volcano cake and party.  Lots of thought later and some looking around on the internet, this was his cake...

I had lots of fun making this cake and Samuel's face when his saw it was PRICELESS.  He literally was without words (something rare for him!).  He kept looking at it all day and was so excited to eat it.  It was quite yummy!

Samuel had a great day at his "Explosive Party".  He was so well behaved!  He played well with his friends and had lots of fun.  Samuel wanted three of his friends to come as well as Ms. Kim.  So, we had four families here for the party---8 kids and 8 adults plus us. We did baking soda volcanoes at his party and he thought that was fun.  So did the other kids.  We also did the Diet Coke-Mentos explosion thing and that was fun as well.  The goody bags were filled with exploding items like Fruit Gushers and Poppers (the little firework things).

Being just three, Samuel can be shy and get overwhelmed.  That happened during the singing of "Happy Birthday".  His fingers went in his mouth (he does this when he is nervous) and he hid behind a friend.  Poor sweet boy just did not quite know what to do with all the love directed at him.

Our lives have been richly blessed by Samuel.  He is a challenge each and every day.  God is building my character along with Samuel's.  Just as Hannah prayed to God for a baby, I asked God for Samuel and (at the time) he helped complete our family.  He is definitely an answered prayer and the source of many of my prayers! 

1 Samuel 1:27  "I prayed fort his child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of him."

Opening a present
Very excited about his CARS racing track!
Very, very excited about his exploding volcano toy!
A volcano fun!
My sweet Samuel!
We love you Samuel...Happy 3rd Birthday!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kids cook on Tuesday

Each Tuesday, Emma, Jonah, or Samuel make dinner. I use the term "make" loosely.  Emma does a lot of the cooking.  Samuel and Jonah do lots of helping on the days they cook.  They each get to pick their meal.  Sometimes I make suggestions and sometimes they pick from a children's cookbook. 

This week it was Emma's turn to cook.  She picked Spinach Salad and Pasta with Shrimp.  For this week's dinner Emma made a menu, which was awesome.  She set the table so beautifully.  Because of this, she did a little less cooking than usual, but she was still a huge helper.  Check out how yummy our dinner was!!

Just so cute!
Spinach with bacon, hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, and a homemade dressing!
Angel hair pasta with shrimp, roasted red peppers, peas, and mushrooms.  The sauce was Ranch dressing and Parmesan cheese.

Jonah called it Emma's yummy dinner and he had seconds...rarely happens!

Monday, February 14, 2011's Valentine's Day!

Drew and I don't make a big deal about Valentine's Day at our house.  We never have and I guess it is because my birthday is in four days and Samuel's birthday is in five days.  I am much more of a birthday person!!!

Emma and Jonah are, however, big into Valentine's Day.  So, I decided to make it a day of fun surprises for them.  Their first surprise was a heart shaped PB & J sandwich with a homemade heart shaped Rice Krispy treat for dessert.  Emma told me that her lunch was full of love, which I just loved hearing!  Samuel and Drew had this for lunch too.  It was a big hit so I will have to have think of some variation for next year.

Emma, Jonah, and Samuel has fun parties at school.  Emma was a little jealous of all the candy the boys received, but Jonah was sweet enough to share with her.  Drew and I were super proud of Emma for thinking so much about a special needs boy in her class.  She made him an extra big Valentine and had a plan to give it to him if for some reason he was unable to attend her class party.  Well, he was there and she said he had a good time and received lots of Valentine's.

After our lovely dinner, I gave the kiddos their present.  Each one received a new water bottle filled with Hershey kisses (Elena's bottle only had a few kisses in them).  The boys bottles have dinosaurs on them and the girls have butterfly designs.  They were so excited for a special treat.

Today when I was thinking about love, I decided to read 1 Corinthians 13 from three different versions.  When I prayed with Emma, Jonah, and Samuel before school today I reminded them of God's awesome love for awesome that God gave us Jesus.  I pray that each of my wonderful children enjoy the fun of Valentine's Day because it is fun.  But, I also pray that they know that true love is from God and that they give their all to love like it is stated in 1 Corinthians 13....

....So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

   Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end. 
...Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 

I loved the Message version of simple it is and easy for four little blessings and gifts from God to understand!

Happy Valentine's Day Emma, Jonah, Samuel, and Elena

Love Mommy and Daddy

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The return of normal Texas weather

Wow!  It has been cold.  We have lived here for 13 years and I don't ever remember it being this cold for this many days in a row.  Spring, TX winters are supposed to be nice and gentle.  The past few weeks have been more like rip roaring mad kind of winters.

Well, the warm weather has finally returned and not a day too soon.  I was ready for everyone to play outside and so was everyone else.  It is no fun to play outside in cold weather with no snow so we have just been holed up for days.  That all changed on Friday!  We all went outside to play and I have barely let Emma, Jonah, and Samuel in the house since then.

Everyone swinging.
She likes to sit, not bounce, on the trampoline.
Saturday Drew had choir so I took the kids to the park.  We played hard for over an hour.  Considering Elena, Jonah, and I have this yucky, horrible cough that was a long time.  Elena has the cough and congestion worse than the rest of us so she had to keep her coat on and hood up.  Either way, we had lots of fun!

Teeter totter
Elena loves to go down slides
Climbing around
Please smile at me Samuel and this is the best I get!
She just finished flipping on the bars
Hanging by one hand
What should be my next move?
Still watching and still super cute!
And these two are my favorites...

Plotting their next move...
Sliding down train style!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Treasures on Earth

It occurred to me today that I have wonderful things in my kitchen that I rarely use.  I don't use them because I don't want to break them or make them look old.  Isn't that ridiculous?!

Last year for Christmas Drew with some "help" from the kids made me a beautiful cutting board.  It is simply wonderful and I have used it maybe ten times.  He gave it to me almost fourteen months ago...just dumb on my part!

This year for Christmas I was given such pretty wooden spoons of different varieties from my mom and Joe.  I use them some, but I still find myself reaching for the ugly, cheap plastic ones.  Really???

Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-20  “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 

What good are my wonderful wooden cutting board and utensils going to be to me in heaven.  The answer is a big fat nothing!  God has filled my life with wonderful people who have given me great gifts.  I am actually doing them, as well as me, a disservice by not using the things given to me.  I am not totally ready to give up my plastic spoons. When I finish a run, I always think "what are you saving it for".  So, from now on there will be no more "saving" in my kitchen!


Monday, February 7, 2011

Bill Crews Remission Run

We did it.  It was freezing cold, but we did it.  All six of us braved the cold on Saturday morning to run The Bill Crews Remission Run.  I am so glad we did.  We had a wonderful time.

We left the house at 6:40 and arrived at the race site a little after 7a.  It was 26 degrees when we parked.  Drew dressed the boys and Elena while I picked up our chip timers.  It was a lot to get accomplished in less than an hour, but we did it...barely!  I took these pictures right after we arrived.
Ice on the pond and grass totally covered in a little ice and major frost!

Emma and Jonah's one mile race began at 8am.  Drew and I decided that I would run with them  for encouragement!  It would also help me warm up for my run.  We took off and Jonah really took much so that Drew did not get him in the picture.

Before the race with too many layers of clothing to mention!
Emma is on the far right in the pink fleece.  I am right behind her.
I hollered to Jonah to slow down and thankfully he did.  Unlike our training runs they did not ask to walk as much.  In fact, Emma was running ahead of me and Jonah for most of the run.  At one point she ran back to us which resulted in me telling her to run on and finish!  She did awesome.  Emma finished second in her age group (8 and under) with a time of 10:34.  She was flying!

Emma crossing the finish line!

Jonah did so well.  He was tired and really cold despite so many layers of clothing.  He only walked a little bit.  I think he was encouraged by reminders of the heated tent at the finish line.  He ran hard to the finish!  Jonah was sixth in his age group (8 and under) with a time of 10:55.

Jonah crossing the finish line!
After their race with their finishers medals!
Before the 5K race, all the names of survivors and those who have died were read.  It probably took between 10-15 minutes to read all the names.  I did not hear Gil's/Peepaw's name read, but Drew and the kids did.  I tuned out the reading because I was already emotionally overwhelmed.  Finally, it was my turn and off we went.  It was cold and it was not my best race.  The course was nice...flat, nice scenery, and not too crowded.  There was ice on the course at several spots, but it was clearly marked with cones.  I truly never thought I would run a race in Texas with such crazy weather conditions.  I finished third in my age group with my time just under 24 minutes.

After the race, we were able to take some cute pictures of the kids and family pictures as well.  It was still cold, but the sun was out so it felt warmer.

Elena and Samuel waiting for Emma and Jonah to finish running.
Jonah all bundled...there was still ice on the pond, but it is harder to see.
Samuel kept trying to find things to break the ice.
This picture was taken after my race was finished.
This picture was taken after I got my medal.
During the kid's race and my race, we passed Gil/Peepaw's name on the course.  It was such a nice tribute to him.  The kids wanted a picture by his name, which we took just before heading home.

I definitely think this race will become a family tradition!  Drew and I were so proud of Emma and Jonah.  It was a lot to ask of them considering how cold it was.  They were troopers and ran their hearts out!!!  I like to think that Peepaw was smiling on all of us!

By the way, when we left just after 10a it was 42 degrees.  Texas weather was returning...thank goodness!