Thursday, December 28, 2006

My little reader

I thought this was funny.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Boy's name

Okay. I am taking a poll. We can't decide on a name for a boy baby. I like Carson. I think it sounds good with the rest of our family's names. Stephen likes Andrew (just about all male Shirley's are named Andrew, including Stephen and Jordan) and Caleb. He may like others, but these are the ones he has mentioned. Thoughts? Suggestions? New ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Do they even hear me?

This is going to be one of those days where I feel like everything I do as a parent is pointless. Some days I feel like I discipline, teach, explain all day and none of it sinks in. I am not sure why this is. I try to live out what I teach them so they see it as being real and not just something they have to do because I said so. But sometimes it seems like they don't hear or see anything and it is all about them. Anyway, just needed to vent a little. I know that I am so blessed and that my kids are really good when I can stay calm and discipline with the Holy Spirit guiding me; come to think of it, yesterday was pretty good since I started the day off in prayer and Bible study. Maybe God is trying to show me that I can't do it without Him. Duh.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas if I don't talk to you before then!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Claire's Christmas program

Must be Santa Clause!

This was at the beginning of the show. She could see us very well and was so excited we were there to see her. She loves to pose for the camera!

Claire and Luke after the show.

I had forgotten to post these from last week. I am so proud of my babies.

Last few days

Can't you almost hear this one?

This is a new face he likes to make.

I just can't get enough of this face!

He loves this plane.

My little artist. She loves to write and draw more than anything else.

Jordan loves to climb and run more than anything.

Is this not the sweetest picture you have ever seen? They love each other so much!

My big 7 year old! I can't believe how fast it has gone.

Luke loves to get dirty! So fun.

As you can see, I am a truly blessed woman. I can't get my mind around the fact that God loves me this much. It truly blows me away that I actually have the family of my dreams. It is really better than I ever imagined it would be. Take time today to enjoy the family God has blessed you with. There is nothing quite like it!

Thursday, December 07, 2006


I didn't realize how long it had been since I had posted. I know this is a crazy time of year for everyone, and it is for us as well. But really fun. Putting up the tree was so fun this year. We had Christmas music playing, the kids were helping, even Luke put a couple of ornaments on the tree. It made me remember how much fun it was growing up when it was time to decorate for Christmas. We never had anything fancy, but there was always Christmas music playing and the whole family helped. I love Christmas. It is such a special time of year, and having kids makes it that much more fun.

The parties are starting. I have a party tonight with our Girls' Night Out group from church. Then our class party is Saturday night. We had our small group party on Tuesday. The kids parties at school are next week. Crazy times. If we can ever keep batteries in our camera, I will try and post some pictures. Luke is growing like crazy, as is my tummy! I am almost 13 weeks along and can't wait for all the fun stuff to start. The main part of the sickness is over, but the constant hunger has started. In a few weeks I should start feeling some movement from the baby. Since we aren't finding out if we are having a boy or a girl, I am trying to focus on all the regular stuff that you tend to overlook when you know everything. It is getting really fun. Anyway, I am rambling, a common problem these days. I hope everyone is enjoying this season. Pictures soon!

Monday, November 20, 2006

The last few days

We have had a lot going on. Last Thursday at school, Claire had her Thanksgiving program. It was so cute. She was one of the Indian girls. Of course, the camera battery was dead and Luke keeps taking the other batteries out of the charger. Quite frustrating! So we didn't get any pictures. Then we stayed and ate lunch with her and Jordan for the Thanksgiving dinner. It was surprisingly good for school food. Of course, pretty much any food is good to me at this point. I get hungry about every hour and a half these days. And I mean really hungry where my stomach growls. So crazy the things your body does when you are pregnant.

I am 10 weeks now. The baby is about an inch long from head to bottom. All the organs have formed and begun working. Hopefully when I go to the doctor on the 28th I will hear the heartbeat. I am always a little anxious till then, although I have been so sick that I know everything is okay. They say the sicker you are the healthier your baby is.

I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. The older I get, the more I enjoy being around my family. It is so comforting to me. My family is crazy, but they are mine and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Christmas, on the other hand, is turning my kids into greedy little monsters. I am all for not exchanging presents with anyone this year and just being together like T'giving. I just want them to understand that the world is not all about them and I want to teach them how to be givers. Right now they love to be getters. I know that will come with time, but it still bothers me.

I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I know, I know...

It has been forever since I posted anything. I have actually been feeling A LOT better, that is until today. Today has not been good. It all started with breakfast, but I will spare you the details. I just wanted to let everyone know that I am still here, even if it is just on the couch.

Also, please pray for my family right now. I think this is taking its toll on them. I haven't been able to do any of the things I usually do, and it is really been hard. I know the kids are getting frustrated. Hopefully, I will only have about three more weeks of this, but you never know.

I hope everyone has a good week. Hopefully I will be able to post more later.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sleepy boy...

This is what happens when you get up at 4:48 a.m.

I tried to put him down for a nap, but he just cried and cried. So, I decided to let him watch a show for a few minutes while I finished up some things, and he got really quiet. I guess he really was tired.

Halloween pictures

Here are some pictures from Halloween. Claire was Jasmine from Aladdin, Luke was Winnie the Pooh, and Jordan was Spider Man. Luke only lasted about ten minutes in his costume, but as least I got a picture! Anyway, our Sunday school class had a big party in our brand new gym. It was so much fun. We are so blessed at our church to have this new facility. I pray we will use all of our building to reach out to our community. Enjoy the pictures!

Jasmine, Pooh, and Spider Man

Luke and Cooper

Our class families (and everyone wasn't there!)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Time flies...

Eleven years ago today I walked into the student center at Lipscomb University and met the man of my dreams. I didn't know it at the time, but God led me into that building saying, "Hold on, I am about to change your life." It has been a crazy eleven years, but I wouldn't change anything. There have been good times and bad times, but all those times are what made Stephen and me into the people we are today. We couldn't be more blessed and I can't wait to see what the next few decades bring us. I love you honey. Thank you for the most amazing time of my life.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Just one baby!

Well, I had my ultrasound today. I had convinced myself that I was having twins, but the ultrasound showed just one baby. I am pretty relieved. The picture is cute; the baby looks like a little peanut. Everything was healthy so far. I am officially 7 weeks and 2 days pregnant. Still pretty nauseous, but not throwing up thanks to a wonderful medicine called Zofran. I will go back to the doctor the end of November. Hope everyone has a fun Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2006

Feeling better

While I still feel pretty crummy, I am not throwing up all the time, so I guess that is good. The smell of laundry detergent and dryer sheets is enough to put me over the edge. That is not good considering we have quite a lot of laundry to do. I guess I will have to get over it. Anyway, today I don't have to babysit, so I am going to try and not stay on the couch all day. Stephen has a soccer tournament this weekend so he will be away from home except to sleep. So since he won't be here to help, I have got to make myself get up.

Anyway, the reason for this post is to brag on my wonderful husband. He has been INCREDIBLE since I have been sick. He hasn't complained one time. He has come home from work early when I haven't felt like going to pick up the kids. He always comes in and starts on the housework that I haven't been able to do. He does things with the kids without me having to ask (baths, tucking them in, etc.). He cooks dinner. I just can't say enough about the selflessness he has displayed over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully, I will get to feeling better soon so things can get back to normal around here, but until then I know I don't have to worry about anything because of my amazing husband. Thank you, honey, for all you do for our family. We couldn't make it without you!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

In a while...

To my faithful readers, all two of you, I probably won't be posting anything for a while. I am feeling that bad. Hopefully in a few weeks, I will start feeling better, but right now I rarely want to read anything, much less type anything. Just wanted to let everyone know I haven't fallen off the planet. Talk to you soon!

Friday, October 20, 2006


For those of you who have never experienced morning sickness, or as I like to call it 24/7 sickness, let me just tell you that it is no picnic. It has completely debilitated me. My house is falling apart. The kids are bored because I can't get up and play with them. The only thing that makes this easier is that I know this is God's will for us. I am just not sure why He created this feeling. I guess it is Eve's fault.

Enough about me. My dad went for his bone/c t scan results today. His cancer is only in his prostate, so that is good news. The best course of treatment at this point is surgery. The draw back is that the first available time is right before Christmas, so he wouldn't be recovered yet. He is thinking about waiting until January. The draw back for that is that he will have to pay his deductible again since he has already met it for 2006. Anyway, he has a lot of decisions to make over the next few weeks, so please keep him in your prayers.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. And if any of you out there have any tips on dealing with 24/7 sickness, please let me know.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's official.

Well, we had our first doctor's appointment today. I am officially pregnant, as though you couldn't tell by the way I look. You would think I am three or four months along, but I am only 5 weeks. I go for an ultrasound on the 31st to confirm the due date and check the heart beat and stuff. I have never had an ultrasound that early before, so I am anxious to see what the baby looks like at that point. Should be fun!

If the baby is a girl, we think her name will be Katherine Campbell and we will call her Campbell. We like it because it's different and sounds good with Claire. Katherine was Stephen's great grandmother's name. There are a lot of Katherine and Kate at church right now, so we came up with the other name to call her, although that may change. We are not sure what the boy's name will be but we are thinking Carson. Since we are not finding out what we are having before the birth, there is a lot of time to think about it. Stephen's favorite part : )

My dad went for his ct scan yesterday. It showed pretty much what the doctor thought it would, which was good news. He will find out the results of the bone scan on Friday. Please keep him in your prayers. I know he appreciates it.

Funny story to end this blog. It is about 7:30 right now and we have just put the kids to bed. They go through this thing every night which I am sure all kids do. They need water, then they need to go to the bathroom, then they are scared. Well tonight I told them before they even got in their beds that once they were in them, they couldn't get up for anything. They had their water, went to the bathroom, I said their "good dreams prayer". Lo and behold, Jordan comes walking out of his room and I said, "What part of 'Stay in your bed' do you not understand?" And Jordan replied, "But I am not used to staying in my bed!" We thought it was pretty funny.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My little dare devil

Just thought you would want to see what I found in the kitchen this morning. He thinks he is so big! I guess he really is.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nothing new...

Not much here to report. I am in the lazy, no energy stage of my pregnancy. You can imagine what my house looks like, or maybe you can't. It is pretty bad. I try to keep a straight house so it is really bothering me. I am going to try and regain control of it tonight. I haven't been too sick yet. Just a little. I am getting more and more excited now that the realization has settled in. Now if we can figure out what to name this baby, we will be in good shape. Any suggestions would be great. We aren't going to find out whether it is a boy or girl, so that means we have to pick two names. Good thing we have plenty of time!

That is about all the news I have. I know. Can you stand the excitement (ha ha)? Hope everyone is having a great day.

Here are a few more pictures I didn't share the last time. Enjoy!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Here we go again!

For those of you who haven't heard yet, we are expecting our 4th (and last) child this June. We are so excited! I still feel pretty good, but it is still early in my pregnancy, so I am sure the sickness will hit me any time now. But we can always hope. We were going to wait until I went to the doctor to share the news, but after you have already been pregnant three times, your stomach muscles say, "Hey! We know this routine. Let's stretch out now and get a head start!" So, we had to go ahead and tell everyone. But we are thrilled.

I have been meaning to post some pictures on here for a few days, so here they are in random order. I will be posting more over the next couple of days. Enjoy!

Claire at the pumpkin patch. She really liked the little ones.

Jordan petting the goats

Luke has to do everything Jordan does. Luke loves animals!

Could I be more blessed? I don't think so.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Long time, no blog

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. We have had a lot going on and some days, I just can't get my thoughts together. Anyway, we found out this week that my dad has prostate cancer. He is in the very early stages but it has still been scary. Please pray for him over the next week or so as he has some other tests done to determine what the future holds.

The kids have been on Fall Break this week. It has been fun having them home. I haven't been able to do all the things with them I had planned because I babysit a little girl and forgot that I had her, too, this week. But we have gotten to do a few things. It has been fun, but I think they will be glad to go back to school. They are going to my mom's tonight, so that should be fun. Stephen is going to a hockey game, so Luke and I are going to have some quality time.

I hope everyone has a great day. We are going to the pumpkin patch this afternoon, so that should be fun. See ya!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Fun day

Jordan running in the Fox Trot. He had the most laps of the first grade-29. Way to go, Jordan!!

Claire walking in the Fox Trot

Today was the fund raiser for Black Fox Elementary School. The kids get pledges and run for the school. It was really fun. Jordan came in first for the first grade with 29 laps. Claire did well with 14 considering I found out this afternoon that she has strep throat. Nice. Anyway, the last picture I wasn't going to post, but this was the second time since yesterday that I found Luke putting on my lipstick. I thought I had put it out of his reach, but obviously I didn't. At least he knows where the lipstick goes! Lovely. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

Oh, Lukey.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


We had the first normal night of sleep since Luke has been born!!!!! Well, not really since he has been born, but some days that is what it feels like. He went to sleep at 7:20 and didn't get up till 6:15 or so. Praise the Lord! Sometimes we have to do something hard (letting him cry "Mommy") to produce something really good (sleeping all night on his own). Thanks to any of you who have been praying about this for us. It sure makes things easier.

On a sad note, my dad's friend Anne Tonelson, who he has been in lots of plays with, died yesterday from pancreatic cancer. Please pray for her family (husband Joel, daughter and son Julia and Daniel) as they deal with losing her. I know my dad would really appreciate it.

Hope everyone has a good day.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Well, it's Friday. I would say that I am excited about sleeping in tomorrow, but I haven't done that in about 6 1/2 years. Luke is now going to bed on his own, but he is still waking up in the middle of the night. Actually, last night it wasn't even midnight when he woke up. I could have cried. I was so tired. So, tonight starts the process of letting him learn to get himself back to sleep on his own. How? Well, I am going to have to let him cry.

I am not excited about it, but I know it is for the best. I know that he is not sick, hungry, hurt or anything else. He just wants me. And while any other time I would love that, it is affecting my ability to have patience during the day, and I hate that. I am not being the mom I want to be because of the lack of sleep. So now it is affecting the whole family. I know that once he is on a routine and sleeping better that everything will feel normal and peaceful and good again. Not that it has been bad. In the whole scheme of things, this really isn't that bad of a problem. I am pretty lucky in that regard.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Wish me luck...and sleep!

Monday, September 18, 2006

60 years later...

Yesterday we celebrated my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary. We had a big reception for them at the Madison Arts Center. It was so much fun. T here were a lot of people there. I felt so blessed after watching my grandparents all day. Their friends were arriving with canes, walkers and other "helps", and my grandparents don't have to use any of that. They are in excellent health for being almost 80 and they still travel and do things that a lot of people their age can't do. Actually, my mom's mom is the same way. I am so blessed to have my grandparents in such good health.

They have had such a blessed marriage. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but they have always been faithful to God and each other. They have been such a great example to me in how to have a good marriage. I lived next door to them until I was a senior in high school, so I am very close to them. I love the fact that my kids now love to go to their house and love to be with them. I have a picture of their front porch that sits in my living room. Their front porch is my favorite place on earth. When we go there, we spend most of our time just sitting there on the swings watching the kids play. It is home to me.

Marriage is such a special gift from God. I feel so incredibly blessed to have the marriage I have. I have an amazing husband. I hope you are as blessed as I, not just in marriage, but in life. I lose count everyday when I think of all the blessings in my life. Love you all.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Better night, sort of

Wow, not so many suggestions at once!!! Just kidding. I guess everyone has the same sleep struggles at one time or another. I found out yesterday that Luke doesn't have another ear infection. He is just used to being rocked to sleep. And actually, I wouldn't mind doing that if he would then let me lay him down. But even when he is asleep when I lay him down, he wakes up as soon as his head hits the pillow.

Anyway, last night, I let him cry and I didn't have to do it very long. The first time, I went back to his room after five minutes and the second time, I was on the phone for about 10 minutes and when I got off and was going to check on him, he was already asleep. He woke up once during the night, but I went and stood by his bed for about five minutes and he was back asleep. Then today for his nap, I read to him and then told him it was time for nap, put him in his bed and turned his music on, patted him on the back for a couple of minutes, and he was out. I think we are on the way to better sleep for all of us. By the way, the cd I play is one that my dad made called "Luke's Lullabies". It has a lot of special songs on it that mean a lot to me. He loves his grandkids so much. Thanks Dad!

The funny things is, while Luke slept much better, Claire was up for about two hours coughing with one of her allergy attacks. Nice. So we still didn't get a good nights sleep. My friend told me today that when stuff happens to her like that, she tells herself that she must be really strong for God to give her something like that to handle, since He never gives us more than we can bear. I must be really strong! Just kidding. Anyway, I hope everyone has a great day. Here's to better sleeping!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Does anyone have any tried and true methods to get your baby to sleep? He has been going to bed later and later, only by my rocking him, and then he wakes up in the middle of the night screaming. I will rock him back to sleep and as soon as I lay him down, he is screaming. We were up for about three hours last night and I am exhausted. I would love to hear what everyone's routines are. We definitely need one! Thanks.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Surprise date night

Stephen and I are taking a parenting class at church called Growing Kids God's Way. We took it two years ago and it really helped our family, so we decided to go through it again. Anyway, during the class, you have date nights where all the couples in the class have a potluck dinner. On the schedule it was supposed to be last night, but we missed the second week of class when they announced that it was actually next Friday.

So, we already had a babysitter at home so we decided to have a date anyway. It was probably the best date we had had in a long time. We didn't have anything already planned, so we just went to Jason's Deli and ate dinner. We sat outside and just talked, took our time eating, talked some more. It was so nice. Sometimes we forget that we still know how to talk to each other, even when we aren't talking about work, the kids, etc.

We found out this week that a couple who has become some of our good friends is separated. They are going to counseling and are very hopeful that things will work out, but it is still scary. It is so easy for Satan to slip in and make you think that everything is okay and that you don't really need to spend time together. You don't really need to make an effort in your marriage; everything will take care of itself. Well, it won't.

I am so thankful for my marriage. Stephen and I entered into our marriage knowing that it would not be easy and that it would take lots of work. Both of our parents are divorced and we knew that the odds were against us. So we look at everything differently, I think, than if our parents were still married. We know that things don't always work out like you plan. That having been said, I am blown away sometimes that God brought us together. We still love each other so much after ten years together. We love being together, talking, laughing, being with our family. We truly are best friends and I can't imaging my life with out him. I am just so thankful that after all this time we still love and like each other. It is truly a blessing.

Take some time today and tell your spouse how much they mean to you and how much you love them and are thankful for them. It won't be a waste of time and I know they will appreciate it. Never take for granted that you will always have each other. Take time to work on your marriage and make it everything God intented it to be and wants it to be. Also take a minute to pray for our friends and others you know who are going through trouble in their relationship. It will mean so much to them.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Kids really do like routine.

This week I was trying something new for our mornings. My grandmother showed me an article in this weekends paper that was about getting ready for school and making the mornings run more smoothly. It had some checklists of things to do the night before, in the morning, and right after school to make sure everything got done. I took a few of those suggestions and have been trying them out.

The main things that have helped us are (1)Laying the clothes out the night before so they are ready to be put on as soon as the kids get up. (2)The kids have to make their bed and put their pajamas away before they leave their room. (3) They aren't allowed to turn the TV on until they are completely ready. (4) They have to eat their breakfast at the table, not in the living room with the TV on. This one may seem like a no-brainer to most of you, but we eat a lot of our breakfasts in the living room, not very well I might add.

Anyway, the reason I know that kids really like routine is because Tuesday and Wednesday went great. There was no fighting, no yelling, we left on time and had a very pleasant morning. This morning, however, didn't go anything like the other two. Luke and Claire both woke up at 4:00 a.m. Luke got in the bed with me and Stephen laid down with Claire. Needless to say we didn't get a whole lot of sleep after that. I hadn't laid the clothes out the night before. I hadn't straightened up the house so it was clean when we woke up, it was just not a good morning. They got in bed late because of church, but that is a whole other issue that I won't go into today.

I guess the whole reason I am sharing all of this is to say that it is really worth the effort on the parents' end to keep everything organized, clean, on schedule, etc. Setting them up for success instead of failure for all you Growing Kids fans. Kids thrive on boundaries, routines, knowing what to expect. It just makes them feel at peace. There. That is my wisdom for today. Sorry it was so long, but I wasn't sure how to explain everything. Luke and I are going to have a better day from here on out. Lydia Class starts back today. I am excited about that. I hope everyone has a great day!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I gotta know...

Are there ever times when you just know that you are in the will of God? I had one of those moments today. It was so awesome. I had been going back and forth about teaching preschool again. I didn't really want to, because I really didn't want to put Luke in yet at only 15 months. But they desperately need teachers and I thought it could really help us out financially.

This keeps coming up and I keep telling God that I really don't want to work right now, but if He wants me to help get us in a better situation financially, then I will. Well, I have been keeping a little girl named Madelyn over the summer on Tuesday and Thursday. Now that preschool is starting, I will have her on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I thought that I may could teach preschool on some of those days and take both Luke and Madelyn or work on the days where I just have Luke, to make the extra money we need to pay off our bills. Anyway, while I was trying to figure out our budget to see if we really NEEDED me to work at Sonshine School, I called Madelyn's mom and talked to her. We hadn't decided on my pay for three days a week and I was trying to figure that part of our budget.

Well, long story longer, not only do I not have to do Sonshine School again, but she is paying me more than I was expecting. It is allowing us to pay extra on just about every debt we have, increase our giving, pay a bill that we were just letting slide (I can't believe I just admitted that to the whole world!) and still have, for us, quite a large amount left over at the end of the month. I am just blown away at God's faithfulness to me. There are things in my life that I wonder about whether or not I am in His will, but this is the one area that I never question. Everytime I consider working, He consistently provides more than we need so that I can stay home with the kids. I am not saying that I think every mom should stay home or anything like that. I have some very dear friends that have the opposite situation from us; he stays home and she works and it works great for them. I also have several friends who work part time.

My point is this: I know that they are all doing what God wants them to do, and He blesses them daily. I know that I am in God's will because He continually confirms this to me and I am so thankful. I know that if you are questioning what God's will is, if you ask Him, He will show you if you are seeking Him with all your heart. (And if what you are asking aligns with His word. He will never lead you to do something that is contrary to His word.) Anyway, I was just so humbled and amazed today that I wanted to share my experience. I hope that in some small way, I may have blessed your day.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Happy Labor Day!

We have had a pretty busy Labor Day. First, we went to my grandparents' house. They live in Joelton in the house they have lived in since my dad was in the second grade. It is next to the house I grew up in. I love going there. I have a picture that sits in my living room of their front porch. It is my favorite place on earth. I can just go there and relax and think about nothing. It is home for me.

Then we went to visit my mom. She is in a rehab hospital after having double knee replacement. She will be there until Thursday and then will have outpatient rehab for about five more weeks. She is doing very well, though.

After that, our Bible study group got together for some burgers at our friends' house. It was so fun. I had been wanting to take a picture of all our kids and we were all there tonight. I also took a picture of our babies. The were born within about five weeks of each other. Luke and Knox were first three days apart, and then Zach and Cooper were three days apart five weeks later. So fun! I love our group so much. We have been together going on three years now and we all love each other so much. We have gotten very close and know that we can count on each other for anything. I don't know what I would do without them! Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, August 28, 2006

I'm still here!

We have really been busy over the last few days. The kids are settled into school and loving it. Luke and I are still working on getting a routine down without Jordan and Claire at home. I have been babysitting during the summer on Tuesday and Thursday. Once preschool starts for her, I will be keeping her on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So I think once that starts, we should be able to establish more of a routine.

The kids and I have been struggling with sinus issues. I got an antibiotic last Thursday that did NOTHING to help. So they called me in something different today. Luke went to the doctor this morning and he has double ear infections. Jordan and Claire, while sounding terrible, are not contagious. I asked their doctor if they could PLEASE go to school. I really needed the rest. Luke took a really long nap. Pretty nice.

My mom had double knee replacement surgery today. There were some concerns with her heart last week, but she had several tests done and was cleared for surgery. They said everything went very well. She will be in the hospital for a couple of days and then will move to a rehab facility for about a week. Then she will be home. I see a lot of trips to Nashville in my future. Anyway, she is doing well. I am going to see her tomorrow after the kids get out of school. Thanks to my wonderful husband who is coming home when they get out!

Stephen and I will celebrate our tenth anniversary on Thursday. Funny that we both have other plans :-) Not sure how that happened, but I can't remember the last time we actually celebrated on the day of. It is uaually the weekend before or after. Anyway, I can't believe it's been ten amazing years. I couldn't ask for anything more. I have the husband of my dreams and he has given me the family of my dreams. Not to mention I get to stay home with them which was the job of my dreams. I am truly blessed beyond words. Thank you God for blessing me more than I ever imagined possible. I have an amazing husband, wonderful kids, a family who loves me more than I deserve, friends who love me more than I deserve, an amazing church family. Who could ask for anything more?

Like I have said before, "My cup runneth over."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Last few days

This was how our first day of Kindergarten started. She had been really excited and then as we started for the car, she got this look on her face that said,"I am not sure if I really want to go to school."

This was how Claire's first day ended. She ended up loving it!

This was taken at Mellow Mushroom. They have awesome food for those of you in M'boro. Anyway, Luke was quite upset when he had to get out of the bus. It was pretty funny.

This was taken at Stephen's mom's house. His grandfather and his wife were here for the weekend so we spent a lot of time with them.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Another day

Wow, what a morning. Luke woke up about 4:15 and was wide awake. Stephen was already up and Jordan was in the bed with me. Well, I tried to let Luke lay down with me, but since Jordan was there, he just wanted to play. He kept putting his feet on Jordan and "talking"to him. It was pretty funny now that I look back; it was NOT funny at the time. So, I got up and took him to Stephen about 4:45. Well, that didn't work either. And Stephen had to get ready for work, so we just all got up at 5:00. Nice. Luke actually fell back to sleep in the recliner with me, so we both took another nap, but I know I will be feeling it at about 1:00. Oh well. Comes with the job I guess. As I was sitting in the chair holding Luke, I decided to not be too mad about him waking me up to hold him. What more could a mother want but to be unconditionally loved by her baby? Anyway, it was pretty sweet.

Claire ended up having a great day at school. She was talking 90 miles a minute when I picked her up. She told me everything about her day and can't wait for her first full day tomorrow. Luke and I are pretty excited, too!

We had some major discipline issues with Jordan last night. He didn't even get to go to church. Stephen stayed home with him to get him to bed on time. I had to go ecause I teach the 4yr olds. Every other Tuesday, our Bible study group meets from 6:30-8:00, so they don't get to bed until at least 8:30. Their normal bed time is 7:30, so that makes for a pretty rough Wednesday. Next Bible study, we are going to see how it works if we meet at 6:00. I know it will probably help with the issues with Jordan. He just can't stay up late two nights in a row. And I hate making him stay home from church, because I want him to know that is a priority for us. But last night there just wasn't another option. Anyway, he seemed fine this morning.

Don't forget to count your blessings today. "My cup runneth over." Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

First day of school!

Well, Claire started school today, but it didn't go anything like I thought it would. Luke woke me up at 6:00, which was good, but then we both fell back asleep on the couch till 7:00, which was not good. So we were kind of rushed. We still made it on time, but it was close.

Claire has been so excited about school and being in Mrs. Bargatze's class that I thought it would be a breeze, but I actually left her screaming. Not sure why she didn't want to go, but she didn't. I finally told Mrs. Bargatze to just take her and I had to make a fast getaway. Anyway, they haven't called me, so I guess she is okay. She never does that, so I am not sure why she did it today, but I know that once we get into the swing of things, it will go much better. She loves school and the idea of being big is really fun. I told her if she does well today that I would take her to get ice cream after I pick her up.

I took a few pictures and will post those later. Have a good day everybody!

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Boy does time fly. Jordan, my oldest son, started first grade last week. I can't believe it. It seems like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital. He is such a sweet child. He loves reading, playing with Luke and Claire, swimming, being with his friends. He is so smart. I love being around him. I couldn't have asked for a better first child. I love him so much. Claire starts Kindergarten next week, so I will let you know how that goes.

Stephen really wants this picture on the blog, so I thought I would put it here, since I am talking about Jordan. He also loves to boogie board! Have a great day everyone!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Long time, no blogging

Hey everyone. Sorry I haven't blogged in a while. Luke has some sort of illness and has been extremely clingy the last few days. I actually have a lot on my mind and would love to get some opinions, but I don't have time to write about it right now.

But, being the hilarious family that we are, I wanted to share a joke that my 6 yr old, Jordan, made up. And just so you know, he is not allowed to share this joke at school.

Jordan: "What do you call the private part of a duck?"
Me: "What did you just say?"
Jordan:"What do you call the private part of a duck?"
Me: "I don't know, what?"
Jordan:"a booty quack!"

I have laughed till my sides hurt.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Pictures from last week

Our first view of the beach from our balcony.

Luke's first trip to the beach! This was before he realized he didn't like it.

Jordan thought boogie boarding was the most awesome thing ever!

Claire couldn't let her brother out-play her!

This is how we spent our mornings until it was time to go out to the pool/beach. Our kids get up pretty early, so we usually had a couple of hours in the morning to lounge around.

The last night of our vacation-What a way to end the week!

Obviously the kids had a great but tiring week!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Just kidding.

Well, we aren't moving after all. Stephen turned the job down. I know, I know. Can't you people just make up your minds? I am sure this is what everyone is thinking. But the closer it got to making the decision, the more it felt wrong to leave.

We are very at peace with the decision and now we can throw ourselves into the work at church that we had been anticipating and praying for for some time now. And Stephen can keep doing what he is doing at State Farm for now. But we feel God's peace that we made the right choice.

I will be posting pictures from the beach tonight, so stay tuned!

Friday, July 28, 2006

We're moving!!!

After waiting all week on our vacation for the phone call, the Atlanta job came through today on the way home. Go figure. We have decided to take the job and think it is the best move for us to make right now. We are very sad to leave here, though. We have some great friends here that I am not sure what I will do without. But they are already planning visits to Atlanta, so I know I won't be totally without them. And I know that God has some friends already in mind for me, so I am not going to worry about that right now.

Anyway, we don't know when we will move; he didn't talk details today. I guess that will come Monday. Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know. Keep praying!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It finally rained

They have been saying that there was a 40% chance of rain all week, but it has been sunny everyday. Well, today it happened. We were in a beach shop when the downpour hit. I can't complain. I have gotten too much sun; I think I have sun poisoning. Very itchy. Anyway, if the sun comes back out, you will still find me by the pool. I'm crazy, I know, but I only have one more day here so I plan on soaking it up.

Today we went to the Anna Maria Island Pier. It is 94 years old. Pretty cool. We walked to the end of it and there was a restaurant and a deck where you could look out on the water. The coolest thing was watching two dolphins come up out of the water. They never swam up to the deck while we were there, but this lady said that they had been coming right up to the deck. It was still cool to watch them in their natural habitat.

We couldn't have had a better vacation. The kids have been great, Luke has been great, we have gotten some quality time as a family. Thanks to the Daniels for sharing their beautiful condo with us. We couldn't have done it otherwise. We owe them! We head out bright and early in the morning. Actually, it won't be bright at 4:30 a.m. but it will be early. Pray that we have a safe trip. Look for pictures. We haven't taken as much as I would have liked, but I think we got a few good ones. Hope to see everyone soon!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Babies and sand don't mix

I discovered today that Luke really doesn't like the sand. The first couple of times, it was new and fun. Now, to him, it is just annoying. He gets this look on his face like, "Why do you keep bringing me down here? You know I don't like it and will just cry until you take me back in. It gets in my face, my eyes, my swim diaper, just stop bringing me down here!" It is quite funny. I imagine tomorrow will be spent mostly at the pool, except of course during Luke's nap.

Still here...

Still here in Florida. Having a great time. Monday was much like Sunday, playing at the beach, then to the pool, then rest, then do it all over again. Yesterday we decided to take a break from the sun and went to the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. It was fun but hot. A lot of the exhibits were outside, but the kids enjoyed it. It was a nice break from the routine.

We came back to the condo and Luke and Stephen took a nap. I got some time with Jordan and Claire which was nice. I don't get to do that much anymore. I took them to the pool for a while. We came back in and Stephen and Luke were still asleep, so we went to the beach for a while. The kids dug in the sand and found all kinds of treasures. They have been so good this week. I am so glad they have fun together and enjoy being around each other. Last night we went back to this ice cream place down the street. So good!

Today looks like more good weather. It really couldn't have been better this week. Sunny everyday. Nice breeze. I guess God heard me. Anyway, off to play. Stay tuned for more stories from Florida...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Great first day

Our first day here was great. We played in the ocean for a while; Jordan learned to boogie board. It was so fun watching him. He had the time of his life! Luke loved the sand, although he loved it a lot more the second time we went out after he learned to keep it off his face. Anyway, in between our trips to the beach, we played in the pool. Claire and Jordan practiced what they learned last week in their swim lessons. Stephen gave me some alone time while the kids were having their rest time and Luke was taking a nap. I got to lay by the pool all by myself. It was so quiet. Dare I say I was bored? But it was nice for a while. I learned that while I am chasing the kids around at the pool at the Y, the top of my legs don't get a whole lot of sun, so they are a little uncomfortable this morning. O well, that is what Florida is for, right?

Last night, we got on what was supposed to be a trolley (they have three, but one was in the shop so we rode a bus) and went around the town. We got off and ate at a restaurant called the Beach House. Very good, but I forget how expensive Florida restaurants are. Or should I say vacation spot restaurants. I think we may have blown our eating out budget for the week. We only planned to eat out twice, but that may have done us in. It was fun, though. We sat outside right by the beach and then we walked to this little ice cream shop. So good! Then we caught one of the actual trolley cars and rode home.

Today we are in for more sun and I think some rain. There is a chance for it everyday, but it is sunny right now. We are really being hit with the fact of how amazingly blessed we are with our kids, our marriage, and just our family in general. Sorry I can't post any pictures, but I will post more later. Have a good day!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Hi from Florida!

Looks like I do have inernet access from here. I didn't know there would be a computer here. What a place! It is so nice. The weaterh for the week looks okay, scattered thunderstorms all week, but it's Florida so there should still be some light at some points. When we lived in Florida, it rained about every afternoon so I'm not too worried. The kids are having fun scoping out their boundaries. Our repair bill at the end of the week should be quite exciting! Anyway, I don't have a way to post pictures, but I will let you know how our vacation is going. Have a great week everybody!

Friday, July 21, 2006

On the road again...

We head to Anna Maria Island, FL tomorrow for our first family vacation. We are so excited. We have been on vacations with our extended family, but this is the first time Stephen and I are taking the kids somewhere-just the five of us. The kids are so ready to go. They have been counting the days. We are coming back next Saturday, so I won't be posting till then. I know you all will be on the edge of your seats waiting till I get back. Just kidding. But hopefully I will have some good pictures to share.

As for the job situation, Stephen had a really good interview for the job in Atlanta. Actually, he was interviewing for one of three positions, not just one position like we thought. We feel pretty good about the chances of him getting one of the jobs. They are supposed to call us while we are in Florida, so we will let you know asap. Hope everyone has a great week!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Moving might not be so bad

Wow. Do you ever have one of those days where you keep saying things that you wish you could take back? Ever have one of those days where you KNOW your attitude is not reflecting Christ at all and wish you could start over? Well, today has been one of those days for me. I know how stressed out Stephen is right now and I am not only being unsupportive of him, but I am making him feel 100 times worse.

He is always thinking about how to better our family and providing for us. He is always excited about family time. He loves that he is able to let me stay home with our kids. And if he thinks this job in Atlanta is what we need, why in the world would I question when I know that he is thinking of the kids and my best interests?

Yes, I would miss my family and my friends terribly, but God will provide everything I need. Even if it is gas money to come home. And at least I would be coming home from Atlanta and not Columbus, OH. And there are worse places in the world to live. I know God has a plan for us. And I am trusting Him to take care of us. He always has.

So, honey, if you want to take this job if it is offered, then I say go for it. And if you want to turn it down, then go for that, too. I trust you to make the decision that is best for our family and I will support you 100%. I love you and am so proud of you!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The job saga continues

One of the jobs that Stephen posted for a couple of weeks ago called him today for an interview. This one is in the Atlanta area. Closer to home, but still not home. The interview is Friday, so we will be able to dwell on it our entire vacation that we leave for on Saturday. I can hardly wait.

Seriously though, I do want what God wants, I just have no idea what that is at this point. I am finding myself second-guessing everything, and not because I doubt God, but I just want to make sure it is His voice I am listening to. Anyway, here we go again. Stephen has to take his cell phone on our trip because they will probably call him while we are there and will want an answer right away. We'll let you know.

Monday, July 17, 2006

We're Not Moving!!!

Stephen didn't get the job in Ohio. It came down to him and one other person. We had been praying that God would clearly show us what He wanted us to do. Not getting offered the job was pretty clear. We are so relieved. Neither one of us wanted to move. We love Murfreesboro, our church, friends, family, etc. so we are very excited. We are going to Florida on Saturday and we were so worried that we would be thinking about this all week.

That sounds so silly now because even if we hadn't known if he would get the job or not, worrying about it certainly wouldn't have helped and it would have made our vacation very stressful for no reason. God knew what He was talking about when He said not to worry about tomorrow, that it had enough trouble of its own. Matt. 6:25-34 has always been one of my favorite passages. Funny since I tend to worry a lot. But everytime I read that passage I am reminded that I am not in control anyway and no matter how much I worry, the worry isn't going to help anything. Focusing on God and His kingdom is all I am required to do. God wants us to leave the rest to Him. He WANTS to take care of us. I know for a fact that if you are seeking God first, everything will be taken care of.

Thank you all so much for your prayers during this time. We don't know exactly what the future holds, but we are confident that we are in God's will, for now anyway.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Interview update

Stephen called as soon as his interview was over. He didn't have a very good feeling about immediately after the interview, but after he talked to me, his manager here called him. She said that it sounds good from the questions they asked and his responses. He was worried that the interview was pretty scripted and only lasted 45 minutes. She said that all interviews are supposed to last about that long and that shouldn't be a bad sign. She also said that since those managers have been talking to so many other people about Stephen that they may have already knows the "off-script" answers and just wanted to talk to him specifically about the job itself and not much about him personally.

Anyway, he now has about four hours to kill before his plane brings him home. As of right now, even if they offered him the job, we still don't know what God wants us to do. Neither one of us has any clarity right now, which we thought we would have (at least some) after the interview. But God knows when the best time to reveal His plan is, so we wait. Please keep praying. This is a HUGE decision for our family.


Wow. The emotions I am feeling today are so strong. Stephen just left for the airport for his interview in Westerville, OH. This started out as a pretty unsure thing; he was originally hoping to just get an interview. But a lot of things have happened over the last week or so that make him feel like he has a really good shot at this job. I feel like I have been praying constantly over the last couple of days. I know he does, too.

I got home from Girls' Night and I think the reality of actually moving hit me. Community with other believers is so important to Stephen and me. There aren't a lot of churches in the area where his interview is, so we are really scared what that would mean for our family. Jordan said that he is actually praying that Stephen doesn't get the job. We have such a tight-knit group of friends here that it would be really hard on all of us to leave that. But I know that if God does tell Stephen to take this job that He will provide everything there that we need. I know that he will provide the money, church, home, friends, etc. I know that He wouldn't move us to a strange city only to make it a struggle for us.

So I have been earnestly praying for Stephen that he would have clarity. I have been praying for something while he is there that would be that "sign" from God. He asked me this morning if I had any thoughts on what this sign would be. I just told him that he would know God was speaking to him when he saw it. I believe God when He says that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. I don't think I have ever sought Him this hard before, so I know that we will find Him. Please pray for Stephen today. Pray that He can clearly sense God's will. Pray that he has safety while traveling to Westerville and then home, and then for safety to Townsend where he will meet up with our Bible study guys (the group of friends I was referring to) for a weekend in the mountains. He will be driving by himself. Thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

God is faithful!

I am in a study right now called Believing God by Beth Moore. Let me just tell you that it is amazing! I am learning all about believing God, not just believing in God. He is revealing himself to me in powerful ways right now like He never has before; at least I didn't see it before. Anyway, I am learning things about God that I wasn't taught anywhere growing up. I wasn't necessarily taught that certain things were wrong, I just wasn't taught. I am in no way blaming anyone for this; I am just saying that God is teaching me things now that I need to know "for such a time as this." I know that I am probably sounding pretty vague right now about the things He is teaching me, but let me just say this: IF YOU SEEK GOD, AND BELIEVE HIM, HE WILL BE FOUND BY YOU!!!

When everything that was revealed to me tonight sinks in a little more and I can write about this journey in more clarity, believe me, I will love to share it with you. Right now, let me just say that "I'm believing God!"

More job stuff...

Stephen found out late yesterday afternoon that all of the southern zone jobs he posted for will be calling him to set up interviews this morning. Those are in Alabama (Birmingham and Dothan) and I think there was one in Mississippi. Yikes! Stephen was sitting in the recliner last night holding sleeping Luke. I asked him if he wanted me to put Luke down and he said no, that it was comforting him to hold Luke. He said that the reality of all this was finally hitting him. It wasn't real until he had the interviews. But now, we could actually be moving somewhere in the next couple of months. Please keep praying.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Job Update

For all of you who are wondering about Stephen's job and his posting for new positions within the company, he has an interview Friday for the position in Westerville, OH. We thought it would be a teleconference, but the Westerville office doesn't have that capability. So, they are flying Stephen out Friday morning and he will fly home Friday afternoon. Please pray that God will reveal His will for us through this time. We are very torn with what is the best thing to do. Stephen keeps telling me that he doesn't have a very good chance with this one having been at State Farm for just a year, but I think he just doesn't want me to worry about moving away. I know his potential and so do the managers that work around him on a daily basis. His direct manager is going out of her way to make things happen for Stephen, so I think his chances are pretty good. But the most important thing for us is staying in God's will. We know that if we do that, He will work out everything else. We covet your prayers.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My little climber

This is what I found when I walked into the living room this morning. Luke had climbed into the recliner by himself. You can see how proud he is! He is growing so fast.

The Waiting Game

Stephen has posted for several positions at his current job, and God is apparently wanting us to learn patience. We are waiting to see if he will get any interviews and it is so hard. Both of us wish we didn't have to move in order for him to promote, but right now that is our only option. There is a "freeze" on promotions for him right now. We could just stay here and wait for the freeze to be lifted, but there is no estimate on how long that will be. It could be a month or it could be two years. No one knows.

So, what do we do? For his career, it is absolutely the best thing for us to look for other positions in other cities. For our family, there are about a million positives to stay here and wait. So right now we are praying for God's will. We are praying for Him to open doors for Stephen and lead him through the right one. We know that God has a plan for us, for prosper and not harm, and that if we call on Him and pray to Him, He will listen and if we seek Him we will find Him if we are seeking with our whole hearts (Jer. 29:11-12). So we have confidence that He will lead us. But the waiting is pretty hard.

So, what do we do in the meantime? Go to the pool. That is my answer for everything in the summer. I can seek God there, right? After all, I tell Stephen all the time that Heaven is going to be on a beach so he better start liking it. Joking of course. I hope everyone has a wonderful day. Seek God; you will find Him!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Late 4th!

Hope everyone had a great Independence Day. We had a lot of fun. Stephen's mom and stepdad have a pontoon boat and we were on the lake all day. The kids had a blast! It was the first time they have ever done anything like that before. I forgot my camera, but Becky took hers so I will have to download her pictures. Anyway, when we got home we went to our class party at my friend's parents' house. We shot fireworks, ate, just had a really good time.

Now the kids have gone to Stephen's mom's house to spend the night. Luke is still home with me. He isn't quite big enough to go yet. So, the house is relatively quiet. I am just thinking of all the things I should be doing, but I really don't want to do any of them. So I am just sitting here. Hope everyone has a great day!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Let's try this one more time...

Family Game Night - Of all the games in our house, the kids chose Twister.

Claire with her nails painted

Ellie, Lily Beth, Claire

From the Princess Party, the birthday girl is the third from the right in the pink and blue dress, Ellie