Sunday, January 8, 2017

Life Update

If I have internet I don't have time. If I have time I don't have internet...or access to my laptop. So, at the moment I have internet but am short on time. But I thought I'd give ya a heads up on what we've been up to the past 3 weeks or so.
After my last blog, P finished out his football season strong. The team did well and learned a lot. P seems to eat, breathe and sleep football these days and can't wait until next season.
The Sunday before we left, our church choir did the Christmas performance. Our church is still pretty "raw" from the flood so it added that much more to the service since the theme was "Home for Christmas". Rob's family came to hear P and I sing in the choir and then afterwards we celebrated Christmas. Boy, we all got spoiled! It was rushed due to the bad weather and Jay's work schedule but it was nice to be able to enjoy lunch together and see each other open presents.
The day after P finished his football season we boarded a plane and flew to Cali. It's the first time since we moved here that we were all able to fly together. With the delays and mishaps with airports, it was so nice to have Rob along to help. After how well both boys did (E can be a little difficult on flights), Rob doesn't believe me that it's hard to fly solo with the boys. I think I'll let him test that out one of these days. HA! We enjoyed a nice 10 days with my family and got in lots of family time. Rob and I went to Reno one day, on a couples' date one night and for nightly walks. Other than that, we hung out with my family at the house (Josh and Ashley were there, too, which was a bonus!). Christmas was nice as always. My parents outdid themselves to make sure it was a special day. Once again, we were all spoiled. Between both of our families, we walked away from Christmas getting everything we wanted and then some!
E got to celebrate his 4th birthday in Cali before we flew home the next day. In our house, the birthday person gets to choose how he/she celebrates their special day so he wanted to go to Chick Fil A and ice skating. He also wanted a "Chubby Cheeks" cake (my parents' "pet" squirrel that they feed on their back fence every day). We had so much fun and laughed quite a bit!
While we were out West, we found out that we did indeed get the house we had been in escrow with! We are so excited to move into our new home this upcoming weekend. That being said, we're all back in school and are packing/getting ready to move. So don't expect an update any time soon. Until then, enjoy some pictures from the past few weeks...

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Giver's Heart

When you become a parent you worry. Or maybe I'm the only parent who worries. But I worry about my boys' salvation, their safety, that they become productive members of society, that they grow up to be better givers than receivers...yada, yada, yada. So it always warms my heart when I see the fruits of our labor prosper. A few weeks ago E and I went to buy clothes for a foster boy who didn't have much this Christmas. I was explaining to E why we were buying clothes and books for someone other than him. He didn't say much but was quick to pick out clothes and books he thought the boy would like. Afterwards I had to run to Walmart to get a few things before picking P up from school. As we were crossing the parking lot, E saw the "Christmas Crusade" trailer that the local sheriff dept sets up every year. He asked what it was but instead of me explaining it to him, I told him to ask one of the police officers to explain it to him. The officer told E that they were accepting new toys for kids who flooded this year. E asked if we could donate a toy so how could I say no? He took his time, looking for just the right toy, something that he would like to receive. He proudly chose a toy truck and took it to the trailer as we left the store. The officer gladly accepted it, making a big deal out of E bringing them a toy for a child. He took a picture of him, which was then posted on the sheriff's FB page the following day. The beauty of this experience is that not once did he ask for something for himself (a rarity when we shop). He realized that there were kids that didn't have anything this year and he was more than happy to give than receive. My heart is less thing for this mama to worry about!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Date Night

My life consists of maxi skirts, yoga pants, baseball caps, flip flops, little make-up...basically the life of a mom/photographer/teacher. So when Rob said he wanted to take me on a date and to dress up nice I was thrilled. OK, thrilled isn't the word only because it had been a long week and all I wanted to do was watch Hallmark movies in my sweats. But I'm so glad I didn't! I got all gussied up as did he. We headed to a very high class steak house, one I've wanted to try but we've never spent that kind of money on dinner before. To add to the excitement the LSU football team was having dinner close by our table. They're local heroes so I enjoyed it just for that fact alone (although the only one we talked to was Coach O). The meal was fantastic and I loved everything about our evening...even Christmas shopping for E in heels afterwards. It was nice to feel like a princess if only for a few hours. Love our date nights when we can sneak away!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Oh Christmas Tree!

People throw out the term "OCD" like it's not a clinical illness that needs to be treated by a doctor. So I won't say I'm OCD about Christmas decorations but I am particular and kind of a control freak about it. I thought, this year, I'd be smart and have the boys decorate their own tree like my brother and I did as children so I could have free reign over our big tree. It was the tallest tree we've ever had (and the most expensive!) so I wanted Rob to help put it in the stand and then I'd do the rest. Well, needless to say, that didn't happen. Rob took over the lights halfway up the tree and the boys put way more ornaments on the same branch than should be legal. But, you know what? It may lean and 75% of the ornaments may be on the bottom four branches of the tree but it's our perfectly imperfect tree. And when the boys look back on their childhood they won't remember it looking funky. They'll remember the Christmas carols we sang and the family effort we put into making it OUR tree.

A Hunter is Born

To tell this story, I have to start with another story. By the grace of God, I was born into an amazing family. I thank God daily for being blessed in that I was born where I was and to who I was. you see, my grandfather was one of Mississippi's earliest bowhunters.  He invented the pod to ensure the future of bowhunting. He was good friends with Fred Bear, the father of bowhunting. My grandmother was also an avid hunter who won the big buck award for the state of Mississippi. My mother is an excellent hunter as well as she has taken numerous deer with her bow and gun. My dad is probably the best hunter I know. Everything that made this story possible was because of my family. When I was 8, I joined my dad on a hunt and killed my first deer. My brother was also 8 when he killed his first deer. my wife also killed a few deer. So, there was never any doubt that Preston would follow the trend. I spent numerous hours talking to him about how important hunting is and the responsibility that goes along with it. He prepared well, shot the gun enough to be proficient and accurate. I taught him the importance of a clean, quick, ethical kill and he understood. Of course, safety is always first and he understood that as well. I also told him it was a heck of a thing to stop a beating heart so there was a responsibility that goes along with that, in that you make sure you utilize what you kill. So, after a couple of unsuccessful weekends, his mom, myself and Preston found ourselves again back in the blind to try to get him a deer. well, not long after daylight, a doe walked into shooting range, and like a pro, Preston settled his breathing and steadied his aim. He squeezed the trigger and made a perfect shot, the doe went down instantly. He was so proud and excited, as were his mom and I. We went to recover his deer and kneeled down to give thanks for the bounty. We cut it up and served it on the plate and enjoyed it as a family. I taught him that is the way God intended it and that's the reason the animals were put here. He understands and he cant wait to get another one. So, that day, November 27th, a hunter was born. Also special as that was the 25th anniversary of my grandma's death who I have no doubt was gleaming with pride as her passion has been handed down. The gun he killed his deer with is the same gun I bought my mom for Christmas a few years ago and the same gun his mom killed her first deer with. I am so proud of him and I look forward to many more years of hunting with my boys. That's what its all about. To this day, my favorite part of hunting is time at the camp with family. My best memories growing up were time spent in a tree stand with my dad and grandpa, and I hope my boys will feel the same way. I am so happy my parents were at camp to celebrate this with all of us as it is definetly a defining moment in a boys life when he takes his first kill. Next up is Easton!

To Elf or Not to Elf.....

Every year there is the question among elf or not to elf? Everyone has their own argument for or against it. For us, we're TeamElf. It's part of the Christmas tradition in our house, one full of magic and joy. In my house, growing up, we had many Christmas traditions. My brother and I had our own tree to decorate. The "Orange Man" came after the big tree was up and decorated. We'd go to the woods with other families and cut down our tree. And in more recent years we started hunting for the "german pickle" on our tree every Christmas, after the Christmas meal was finished and cleaned up. To me, Christmas is not only about the most important reason for Christmas but for family traditions, creating memories that will not be long forgotten. That's why we elf. Does it replace us telling our boys about Jesus's birth? Absolutely not! Does it replace us teaching them that giving is better than receiving. Nope (and more on that in another blog). But it adds a little something extra to the Christmas holidays. I look forward to them waking me up in the morning, huge smiles on their faces, telling me where they found Shooby and what trouble he got into. Ok, maybe I don't have the same appreciation for it at 5:30am which seems to be the going wake up time since one of the other wakes up early, trying to be the first to find him. But I enjoy it nonetheless. Everyone has their own traditions and who am I to judge them? Enjoy them and create memories with them. As for us, we'll continue to enjoy our elf fun until Christmas Eve~ at which point we will sit as a family and read the REAL Christmas story from the book of Luke.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Birth of a Dream, Death of a Dream

I should write my blogs when they first come to mind because when I procrastinate, I forget all my good thoughts (or points if I'm on my soapbox). I just got back from a night of great food and shopping with a good friend so my mind is mush due to a food coma. But I will trudge through this and will try to portray my thoughts adequately.

Ok, so the whole week hasn't been about the birthing and painful death of dreams but for lack of a better title it is what it is. Where to begin? The birth...or the death of our nation's leadership- however you want to view it. I guess I'll start with the hot national topic and digress from there. Trump or Clinton? Who should've won? In my opinion neither of them should. Neither one represents good morals or values and the leadership of either person could (and may) be detrimental to the nation. But we were given the right and privilege to vote and we did. So, for the next four years, we have the president who the people elected into office. Not all people mind you but enough to call it good....or good enough. For those who didn't vote for Trump, I understand what you're feeling. I felt that way 8 years ago when Obama was elected into office. I was not happy (and am still not happy that he was the POTUS for 8 years) but I didn't protest. I didn't "unfriend" friends and family on social media because they did vote for him. Because here is the reality- we should not put all our hope and happiness in one human being. Trump will not make or break my life. I CHOOSE to be happy no matter who the president is. Yes, the president has a lot of national power and will do things that I don't agree with but I'm a big girl. I can handle it. The way I look at it is like this- if you can put up with Common Core and Obamacare, the rest is a piece of cake.

Let's take a break from politics for a minute to talk about ME. Yep, little ole me. I am having a tough time being a workin' mama. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE teaching and I love having a steady job outside of the house but I do miss being on my own schedule. I miss having my own agenda and having time to get it all done. I still haven't figured out this whole work/home life. My house is never clean to my satisfaction. I spend way too much time on the weekends doing laundry and trying to get prepared for the next week (lesson plans, grocery shopping, etc). And the worst part? I miss out on things at the boys' schools. Thankfully, Rob has been able to attend the things I've missed. He is good about taking pictures and videos so I don't feel I've completely missed out. Yesterday P had a Veteran's Day performance at school and I wanted to be on the front row, watching with pride. But I couldn't and it made me sad. I know he did well on his speaking part and sang his little heart out but watching the video of it wasn't the same. I promise that I will not blog about me missing out too much more because, between that and the flood, you probably think I don't have anything else to blog about. But I do.

This week was our personal "death of a dream" so to speak. I won't get into all the long, drawn out details, but we found out that, after nearly a month in escrow, the seller of "our" house canceled the sale. To say we are sad is an understatement. We love that house and I had already stocked our garage with "new" furniture for it. But the thing that gives me hope is that God is in control. I have a feeling that "our" house will still be ours. But if that feeling is wrong I know the Lord will provide a house in His time that we'll love even more.

The birth of what could be a young boy's dream happened this week. P started his second year of football. Rob is the coach and both of them love it! The first game didn't go so well but all the boys tried their best. We are hoping for more wins than losses (who isn't?) but I know one thing...those boys will put their heart into every game if the first game is any indication!

Well, there you have it. That should catch me up for a month or so (Ha, Rob!). I will try to blog before that but, with Thanksgiving, football season, photography, choir practice and family life my schedule gets pretty full. But I will try. Until then...dream big!!