Archive for November, 2009

Christmas Tree 2009

So we made our annual trek to find the perfect Christmas tree.  We always go the day after Thanksgiving.  Last year we decided to go to a place where you cut your own.  That was nice, but we heard about a place called Big Tree Plantation from our friends the Gortners.  This place has live reindeer, Santa, a gift shop, free hot chocolate, and a horse drawn carriage ride to the Christmas tree field.  Click here to check it out yourself!

When we got there we were so pleased.  We were all bundled up because it is freezing here today!  We even had our first snow flurries while we were on the carriage ride.  How cool is that?  Here we are ready to start our adventure.

 

We went to see Santa first.  Santa was in this little wooden house and was so awesome.  The kids were awestruck and Riley wouldn’t even look at him.  He kept his eyes squeezed shut the entire time.  He cracked me up.  Lily had no problems talking to him.  He asked her to leave Donner some carrots because they were his favorite! So cute!

Could Riley look any more ornery?

I let Lily have some one on one time with Santa since Riley wasn’t cooperating.

They had a neat gift shop that had a snack room.  There was an awesome gingerbread house.

Not to mention free hot chocolate. 

They had two live reindeer.  Lily thought it was so neat to see them in person.  Riley was concerned about the poop.  Why is there reindeer poop all over?  Why does it look like beans?  His gag reflex started to kick in…always a good time with Riley!

We even saw Mary and Joseph headed to Bethlehem!

Finishing up the hot chocolate before heading out to find the perfect tree.

Riding in the tree sled…

My mind has been changed since our outing last year.  Yes, I still hate sweeping up pine needles for a month, but it is so worth it. 

However, we still had the annual cutting down the Christmas tree Riley meltdown.  I couldn’t get it as detailed as last year because we were in the middle of the field and Lily had to go potty.  I had one hiding in the trees and then laying down in the field because he was cold.  The other one was jumping up and down because she had to pee.  Maybe my mind hasn’t changed as much now that I think about it =)   

So here is Riley hiding from me with his grumpy face.  I wish you could see the crusted glaze from the apple fritter and hot chocolate splashed on his cheek. 

 

 

Here is Lily when she found the perfect tree!  So you see the look on her face!?!  She had to pee soooo bad, but she was a trooper and helped us find the tree first.

Ricky cutting down the tree.  No, I didn’t help.  Someone had to document with pictures and video.  One of the nice workers came to help out though.  I’m sure he thought I was crazy!!! I had one crying, one stomping to go pee, one trying to cut down a tree, and I was taking pictures and video!  Don’t judge me  people =)

 

Then we headed back to the barn to get it shaken and wrapped.  After this picture I had to scoop up Riley who completely lost it and run with him and Lily to the port o let.  Good times friends…good times.  We won’t even discuss the camera that was dropped in the process that I had to go back and search for in the field.  I won’t even go there!

However, these two smiling faces make it all worth it!  We love our new tree and it is perfect.  Almost as perfect as the nap Riley is taking right now =)

The lights are up and decorations will go up later tonight or tomorrow.  I’ll post more pics when it is fully decorated and we have all recovered from our outing!!

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Blessed Beyond Words

  Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

 Worship the LORD with gladness;
       come before him with joyful songs.

 Know that the LORD is God.
       It is he who made us, and we are his;
       we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

  Enter his gates with thanksgiving
       and his courts with praise;
       give thanks to him and praise his name.

  For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
       his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100:1-5

 

 Thanksgiving 2009

Papaw carving the turkey

Ganny and Lily

Cousins…Ethan, Lily and Tye Tye

Papaw and Ricky

The kids table

My Sweet Girl

 

Riley and the oreo pie…he begged for it since he got up this morning!

Yummy oreo pie

 

Happy Anniversary

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We would have thought that 17 years ago, at the age of 17, that I would meet the man who I was going to marry.  A simple blind date at McDonald’s turned into something amazing.  I realize some of you may not know the story, so I’ll start at the beginning.

I was working at McDonald’s and one of my friends that worked there went to school with Ricky.  She took my senior picture to show him and said she wanted to set us up.  A couple weeks went by and nothing happened.  He finally agreed and so we met at McDonald’s over chicken sandwiches and fries.  I had on my finest two sizes too big colorblock sweatshirt, pegged jeans that were so high they probably touched my bra strap, and the biggest curly hair you have E V E R seen.  I’ll have to dig the pics out so you can see them.  My words do NOT do it justice.  Ricky had on a striped button down shirt tucked into his navy blue guess jeans.  OH YEAH BABY!  He had on a braided belt to hold those bad boys up too!  We were quite the striking couple that night.

Our first official date was on November 20, 1992.  That means that next Saturday will be our 17th anniversary of dating.  That also means that we have been officially together for half of our lives.  Crazy!

After our blind date, we continued to date nonexclusively for a while.  After a few months we made it official and were only dating each other.  I was a senior and he was a junior, so he still had another year of high school.  I went to school at Miami University but lived at home.  We still got to see each other quite a bit.  Then, he signed with the LA Dodgers in June of 1994.  My heart was crushed.  He was going to Montana to play rookie ball for the summer.  I truly had NO IDEA what I was in for when I decided to date a ball player.  He did give me my first promise ring that summer.  It was a gold ring with an opal heart.  It had two teeny tiny diamonds on both sides of the opal.  Awww…..

After we dated for 3 years, I gave him the ultimatum.  With all of the traveling he was doing, I wanted a committment.  I was busting my tail in school and at work and he was out having fun playing ball!  I wanted a real ring…a diamond ring =)  He proposed when we were 20 years old, but we didn’t set a date.  I wanted to finish school first and get a house.  We certainly get a house on his income.  He was making around $750 a month for 5 months out of the year.  Yikes!  He continued on with ball and I was pleased to have a ring and call him my fiancée!

Then I graduated in December of 1997 and got my first teaching job in the fall of 1998.  I pinned him down and made him set a date! LOL  We decided to get married in November of 1999.  We closed on our first house in January of 1999 right before he headed off for another ball season.  I was teaching first grade so I couldn’t go with him.  I planned the wedding and he played ball!  On November 13, 1999, we finally tied the knot!  After 7 years of being together, we were finally official.  However, we weren’t going to get to be together like we hoped.  We needed my job to be able to pay the bills.  So, we spent the offseason and parts of the summers together.  We would go months without seeing each other.  That just stunk, but it was the way it had to be.

Then he got the call he had waited his whole life to get!  In September of 2001, he came home at the end of the season.  He had been home a couple of weeks and was watching the Astros game on TV.  His buddy Roy got hurt.  That night he got a call and they asked him to fly to meet the team.  He got his first shot at the big leagues!  I was still teaching and in school for my Master’s, so I was only able to go visit him on the weekends.  Once again, we realized how tough it was to be apart.

He had an amazing month and I loved my weekend trips to meet him wherever he was.  In December, we sat down and made a decision. I was going to take a leave of absence and put my Master’s on hold.  We were going to take a leap of faith and I was going to join him for spring training in February of 2002.  It worked out great as he made the team out of spring training.  We had a wonderful summer and truly enjoyed getting be a family.  We sold our tiny house and bought one a little bigger in October of 2002.  We also had a surprise…I was pregnant!

Lily joined our family in May of 2003.  She was born 5 weeks early in Houston, Texas.  She was such a blessing and I can’t even begin to tell you the joy that she brought into our lives.   She was my little travel buddy as we moved quite a bit when she was little.  Before she was two, we had lived in Florida, Texas,  Louisiana, Ohio, and California.  She even lived in Portland, Oregon for a few hours, but that is a story for another time =)

Riley joined our family in September of 2005.  Another blessing from the Lord that just fit into our family seamlessly.  He was a great baby who didn’t live the baseball life for a full year.  Ricky retired in  2006 so Riley got to enjoy being at home.  It was such a great experience for us all to be home…for a whole summer!  That didn’t last long when Ricky decided he wanted to play ball again.

So, in February of 2007 we headed to Florida.  We had such a great time.  The kids loved Sarasota and so did I.  6 weeks at the beach and in the sun.  Riley loved getting to see Daddy play ball.  It was a first for him!  Ricky had a great spring and we spent that year between Louisville and Cincinnati.  It was an amazing summer filled with lots of wonderful family memories!

Ricky decided to give it a shot in 2008 again, so we had another fun trip to spring training.  This time was even more fun!  Riley was two and Lily was 4, so we had tons of fun at the beach.  Every day was a new adventure and we just loved every minute down there.  Unfortunately, baseball in the US ended two weeks into the season and the rest….well you all know what happened after that!

So, that is the journey of how we got started and where we are now!  We are a blessed family that does not take one single moment together for granted.  It amazes me that the Lord knew 17 years ago what a testimony he was building in our relationship.  That one day these two awkward teenagers would share an amazing testimony about God’s love and faithfulness.  It gives me chills to think of how he weaved it ever so perfectly.  I won’t go into detail, but the fact that Ricky played with the Astros for 3 years and the relationships we formed when we were there.  Relationships that years later have become a second family for us.  The fact that He knew we would need those people in our lives to help us get through these rough years of treatments and visits to MD Anderson.  That is just one of many ways that the Lord has shown Himself through our 17 year story!

I am so honored to be your wife!  I admire your strength and courage every day.  I admire your passion for the Lord and the strong spiritual leader that you have become in our household.  I love you with all my heart and I am so thankful that the Lord placed me in your life.

Check out this picture!

This is one of my favorite pictures that I took this fall.  I love fall and I thought the background was unique.

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One of the blogs I visit, Dancing Barefoot on Weathered Ground, had a chance to have your photo edited.  I entered and she did it for me!  Thanks so much Lynette!  You can click here to check out her blog.  She is an amazing women with an even more amazing story!

So here is one of the edits.  It is cropped and brightened.

fall wagon picture brightened

This my favorite one though.  It is antiqued!

fall wagon picture antiqued

This so makes me want to go out and figure out how to edit photos!   Another time though…I am really supposed to be reading two chapters and discussing them on blackboard for my class!  Oh, how I love college =)

 

1 Peter 5:10

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast

1 Peter 5:10

I was sitting here this afternoon with my Bible and just thinking about this past year.  Where we started, where we have gone, where we are now.  I prayed that the Lord would lead me to a verse that would speak to me.  This is the one He led me to.  Wow!  What a wonderful word He had for me today.

I was struck by “after you have suffered for a little while…”  I surely don’t feel some days like this journey has been just a little while.  Some days, quite honestly, have felt like a lifetime.  In Job 7:7, we are reminded that “Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath“.  Our lifetime here on earth is so brief compared to the life that is waiting for us in Heaven.    So honestly this suffering that we have endured this past year is truly just a little while.

The next part of the verse is the best.  This suffering for a little while, “will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast”.  Amen to that!  Out of the many  things that this year has taught me, one that stands out is  is that I am way stronger than I ever thought I could be.  It has made me strong, firm, and steadfast!  Would I rather He have taught me this a different way…absolutely!  However, if this is the way that He has chosen, then I am thankful. 

 I am thankful that He loves me enough to make this suffering last just a little while. I am thankful that He has called me to His eternal glory.   I am thankful that He loves me enough to restore me Himself.  I am ever so thankful for God’s grace, which I need every single day =)  I am so thankful for the strength that He has given me and shown me that I have.  I am thankful that I can be firm and steadfast in my faith.  Most of all…

I am thankful for Him!

What are you thankful for today?