Friday, February 27, 2009

The Big 3-0

That’s right, today was my birthday. I am 30. And I have to say, though it was certainly a crazy and busy day, all my boys did a great job making it fun and special.

To start things off, Bret let me sleep through my alarm and got up with the early-risers. I wouldn’t exactly call it sleeping in – I still got up and got a shower before he left at 7:45…but I certainly got to sleep later than planned!

Then Micah gave me a pink ball (pink because I am a girl…it was one that he had gotten out of a quarter machine a few days before…), Conner informed me of a surprise that I would get later that started with a “c” and ended with an “e”, and Joey made a huge mess of his breakfast. Cereal and blueberry pancakes smeared in his hair. Yuck. Bret made arrangements for babysitters next week and promised to take me shopping. Yippee!

Then Conner told me that we needed party games since today was a birthday party. We should start off with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. Luckily we had some poster board. I got the big brothers started drawing a donkey while I went to lay Joey down for a morning nap. But just a few minutes into it, I had to come referee.
Apparently Micah was not drawing up to Conner’s standards, Conner had flipped the poster over and begun his own, and Micah was understandably mad.

So we put the donkey poster up for awhile and got out some sewing cards and beads – a special treat that they only get to play with when Joey is asleep. (The beads are perfect choking size.) I went in the other room to check my email right quick, and heard whispers of, “Don’t tell Mom,” and “Mom is gonna like this so much.” It turns out that they had made me a necklace. It was beautiful, I wore it all morning. (They were not really beads intended for jewelry, and got pretty heavy...)Not long after that we went to lunch at a pizza place with the Chappotins. It was technically a business lunch, but anytime there’s a birthday, it always turns into a party, doesn’t it? Bret had done some sneaking last night and gotten 30 cookies (and even a cute platter to put them on!) to the Chappotins for them to bring so that it could be a surprise. They were Lofthouse cookies, some of my favorites -- even better than a cake! Good job, babe – and I’m still a little in shock over the platter! It turns out that Connner was in on the secret and did a good job keeping it. A CookiE was my surprise.

After we got home it was time to get back to business – naps, dinner, etc… (Yes, I made dinner instead of going out. When three preschoolers are involved, some days that's just so much easier! I made it easy on myself -- just stuck a roast in the crock pot this morning. And then had a little bit of time so splurged on some homemade mashed potatoes. Joey loved them, ate so many he wasn't even interested in a cookie for dessert!)My sweet hubby even washed all those nasty dishes!

It was such a good day – a very normal one, yet so special. This day that is so hard for so many people was really pretty fun for me.

Oh, and we did get back to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey at some point. Conner didn't want to make a tail out of paper, though. He wanted to just find something that we could use. His first idea was a cough drop. (Yes, a cough drop. I don't know...totally random!) Then when we got one out and he saw that it wasn't brown to match his donkey, he decided that we needed to come up with something else. about band-aids? Sounds good to me -- they even have built-in sticky!
Looks like Conner won!

Thanks to all my boys for making it so special. Thirty doesn’t look so bad if I get to spend it being the girl in your lives.

**Update - I had surprise visitors last night, too. They were bearing gifts of Bath and Body Works, cheesecake and a toffee nut latte with whip. Yum-my! Thanks, girls. I'm so blessed to have such good friends after being here for only five months. If being 30 means being treated like a queen everytime you turn around, bring it on!!

And Tiffany, my sister-in-law wrote a sweet little post kind of about me: Happy Birthday, Rachel! (And while you're there you should read her post "Glad I'm Emotionally Stable," especially if you are or have ever been pregnant...funny stuff!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Silly Sock Day

Today was Silly Sock Day at Conner's preschool. You could wear Silly Socks, but according to Conner, it couldn't be a pair. They had to be two different ones. Mrs. Tammy had told the kids that one year someone had worn one Christmas sock and one Halloween sock. He thought that was absolutely hilarious. So we dug in Mommy's sock drawer, and wah-lah! (Yes, he's wearing his Halloween shirt to match his Halloween sock.) And, of course, Micah had to join in, too...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bibles for the Kids

So the other day, we bought a little kids' devotional book. Conner has been totally into it, as he usually is with any new book that he gets. For the first few days, he wanted to read it all by himself. Then yesterday, he finally let me in, finally let me read a few of the little devos with him.

A few weeks ago, we went to church in Granbury (the church I grew up at, where my mom, dad, sister, and brother-in-law all still attend). Conner was very excited. "Yay!" he said. "I love to go to BooBoo and Yogi's church!" When I asked him why, he said, "Because they have Bibles in my class there. I like it when we use Bibles in class."

It was everything I could do to keep from crying. Initially, that was one of my biggest fears about church planting. What could a tiny little house church, consisting of just a few families offer my children? Except for close relationships and the opportunity to engage in worship with adults? Don't get me wrong...those things are good. Wonderful, even. But what about Sunday School, what about puppet shows, what about worship with peers their own ages? I did not want my kids to miss out on these things because we were trying to do something different. This was not a sacrifice I was willing to make.

Then we hooked up with Mission Alive. We found Christ Journey, we found Chris and Heidi, and they had something for our kids. It's small, but it's good. In addition to the attention and instruction they receive in house church, they have a Sunday School class, they worship with their peers, they're learning about Christ, they are loved. It wasn't until Conner pointed it out to me that I realized that there are no Bibles in our children's Sunday School classes. I know this has a lot to do with the fact that we have to be portable. We don't have our own building, our kids' classrooms consist of a large room in a restaurant that we rent out on Sundays. All of their crayons, scissors, snacks, lesson plans -- everything lives in a portable bucket that they take with them. Bibles are heavy and bulky to transport. Then there is the expense...

Well, I am not gonig to let these things stand in the way. I think that our children need to have Bibles in the classes, I think they need to see their teachers using them, I think they need to be given the opportunity to use them alongside their peers. I think I've got the portability thing figured out, now I'm looking for money. The Bibles I'd like to get for the preschoolers are about $20 each, and I'd like to get at least five -- enough for them to share in pairs. We'd like to get some for the school-aged kids, too. Heidi's still working on deciding which ones we want, but I'm guessing they'll be around the same price. So does anyone have a couple hundred bucks they'd like to donate so that the kids can have Bibles? Do you know anyone who does? All it would take is ten people giving $2o each... We would also like to have some extra kids' Bibles on hand to give away. Maybe not the $20 ones, but we would like to have something.

If I've tugged at your heartstrings (and I hope I have!), you can click on the yellow "donate" button in the bar on the right side of my blog. Paypal should walk you through the rest. (Make sure to say something about children's Bibles in the special instruction section.) You can also leave a comment or email me at

In the meantime, we're doing our best to foster this interest in the Bible that Conner has expressed. We got the devotional book, and have been very intentional about talking our way through looking up each scripture. Conner spent literally over an hour today looking up scriptures on his own. He knows that the Old Testament is on the left and the New Testament is on the right. He knows that Psalms is just about in the middle. With a little bit of help, he finds the book of the Bible he's looking for, and then on his own finds the chapter and verse and reads it to us. (He's five, by the way!)

There are certainly a lot of things that we don't do, but wish that we did. There are a lot of things that I know we don't do right. But somewhere, thanks to the Spirit, this child has learned to love the Bible and The One who has given it to him. We are so proud and excited.
**Update: As of March 2nd, we have $180 so far...almost there!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras

Three years ago, I never thought this would happen. Not in a hundred ka-trillion years. But today was Fat Tuesday, better known as Mardi Gras -- and I was sad. Like, really sad, even cried a little. I missed the Mardi Gras spirit of celebration I had come to know in Louisiana, I missed my friends, I missed the parades, I missed the food, I even missed the beads that litter the place up during this time.

I, who had spent our first year there so carefully guarding my heart, not letting anyone in for fear that this would happen had failed in my attempt. After our first year there, we committed to being there -- physically and emotionally -- and we let those crazy bead-throwing Cajuns in. And we loved them. And now we miss them.

And yes, I changed my person in writing from "I" to "we"...Bret was feeling the same way today.

So, kind of the last minute, we decided to try to throw together a little celebration. For those of you who don't know, at nearly every Louisiana Mardi Gras party, there is jumbalaya (or sometimes another local favorite) and King Cake. Bret made up a pot of chicken and sausage jumbalaya, using some of the "secrets" we learned from the locals.I decided against the easy cinnamon roll recipe for a King Cake and scoured the internet for a good recipe. I landed on one from Emeril (in case you don't know, he's a pretty hugely popular television chef from Louisiana), read it -- and realized that this was no small endeavor. This King Cake was going to consume my day. There was shopping to do, there was rising to do, kneading to do, rolling to do, more rising to do, filling to make, sugar to dye, etc...

But I did it, and all along the way pictures and memories of our little stay in Louisiana filled my head. It was a good -- albeit kind of sad -- way to spend the day.

Micah helped me dye the sugar:He's becoming quite the little kitchen helper. Here was our finished product. I was quite proud of it, even if I do say so myself. I thought it looked fairly authentic, and oh my goodness, it tasted awesome. Thank you, Emeril!We had invited the Chappotins over to indulge with us (we had already planned to meet together tonight anyway), and since the cake wasn't quite ready for us to eat it in time, we just took it to house church with us. I must mention just how special this cake was -- it not only contained a little plastic baby, it contained five plastic babies. The package came with several in it, and there were five kids...what can I say, I'm a sucker. Of course we need one baby for each kid! (The baby in the cake is part of the tradition. Whoever gets the baby in their piece of cake is supposed to bring the King Cake to the next gathering. Yes, the next gathering. These folks party it up for about six weeks. There might be a king cake in the office break room every day during that time!)

Here's Conner, Micah, and Torie finding their babies:

(Sorry, Daniel and Ryan. I really thought we got a picture of you guys...)

And what's a Mardi Gras celebration without beads?!
So, thank you Chappotins for celebrating with us, for putting up with the flying beads during dinner, the King Cake sugar everywhere, and the strange experience of digging for a baby in a cake. We love you guys.
And thank you, to all my Lousiana friends and family. Thank you for squirming your way into our hearts, thank you for embracing us and teaching us you ways. We love you and we miss you. We will never be the same, and I think I might always be just a little bit sad this time of year...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Whirlwind Sunday

Yesterday was one of those whirlwind days. You know, the kind where you leave the house, come home and throw your stuff down, gather up more stuff, leave and do your thing, and go home and do it again -- two or three more times. Usually those kind of days are completely exhausting. But yesterday was different. Yesterday was just a good day, the kind of busy that left me (and it sounds like several other people who did some of it with us) just feeling good.

We started off in kind of a rush. I don't remember exactly when kids started waking up, but I know it had to have been around seven or so. Worship doesn't start until 10:30, we should have had plenty of time to get ready and get to church on time. Yet somehow, Bret left a little before nine and I found myself still serving breakfast, me and all three of the brothers still in pjs. And then I remembered that I needed to run to our storage unit on our way to grab a couple of baby gates for the nursery. And then I remembered that I wanted to have things kind of picked up when we left because people would be coming over as soon as we got home. Better get on it, Rach!

Somehow I did it, though. In about an hour, I got my hair "done" (better than it started off, anyway!), make up on, myself and all three of the brothers dressed. I even remembered to fix the big brothers' hair and brush their teeth! (I'm so bad about remembering those things when I'm by myself and we're in a hurry. Awful, I know...) I at least got the breakfast dishes in the sink and had a trail picked up through the living room so that folks could walk through. Not ideal, but an effort, at least. I grabbed the three boys and two bags and headed out around ten.

By the time we had stopped at storage, we pulled up to the Party Room right at 10:30. I suddenly realized that my three boys and two bags to get in had suddenly become three boys, two bags, and three baby gates. Just as I was pondering how to do this, Becca showed up to save the day! (Thanks, Becca.) She helped us get in the door, just in time to find a seat before worship started.

Yesterday also happened to be Family Sunday -- no classes for the kids, a chance for families to get to worship together, for the kids to see what all goes on in "big church." It was only the second time we had tried this, and we had a little sermon just for the the kids.
And even though Conner announced to everyone, "What? I don't get it," I thought Ron did an excellent job!

Then worship was over (just in time...I had run out of snacks and the markers were apparently getting boring) and it was time to go to lunch with friends. Six adults and ten kids. (Sure, one of them's not "out" yet, but I'm still counting him/her!) After eating a taco salad over a sleeping baby in my lap and trying to talk to friends while kids were spilling drinks, wasting napkins, and putting ice in one another's hair it was time to head off for the next adventure.

We got home about three minutes before the Blackwells got there. They were on their way to the house church leaders' meeting (that Bret was going to), and I was watching their kids for them. Four of them. Me and seven kids for a little over three hours. I've gotta admit, I was a little nervous, but the Blackwell kiddos are older than mine. They pretty much took care of themselves. We watched a movie, ate some popcorn, and Daniel taught Conner and Micah some cool stuff to do with their cars and tracks.

Then the Blackwells were off, and we were throwing shoes on kids to head off to the next thing -- Orientation Dinner at the Chappotins. This was a time for folks who are new to Christ Journey to learn a little more about us. Not everyone who was planning to come was able to make it, but I was so glad that we got to go. Pizza for dinner, more playing for the kids, and a chance for me to meet these folks. I'm often guilty of chasing kids instead of meeting new people...

But alas, we had to cut it short. The effects of Micah's no-nap day were starting to kick in strong. I cut out with the two little brothers, left Conner with Bret and headed home to call it a day.

Like I said, it was busy, it was hectic, it was exhausting -- but it was energizing. I'm not real sure exactly what it was, but worship was especially good yesterday. I enjoyed visiting with our friends at lunch and getting to know them better. The one on seven Wells/Blackwells experience was good. And I was really excited about what was going on at the Orientation Dinner. God is definitely alive and well here in Burleson -- and He is so good.

Oh, and here's some of the artwork that was created on Sunday, I'm pretty sure I got the ages right:

Micah, age 3:

Daniel, age 6:

MaKenzie, age 8:

MaKayla, age 11:

Good job, kiddos!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

God's Been Working!

We went to Mom's and Dad's for a little while today. We had to check on the quail. We watched them hatch a few weeks ago, and Yogi had said that they had grown, but we had to check it out for ourselves. Boy, was he right!

Before: After: We also needed to check on the seeds that Conner and Micah helped bury. (It's toward the end of the pictures.) Sure enough, there were little green stems and leaves sprouting out of the soil.

And another added bonus -- Yogi has brand-new baby chicks!

Yes, God has definitely been hard at work at La Casa de Spies. It's always an adventure. I'm glad these boys are getting to see and experience this kind of stuff!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Play Mates

I love the days that Conner and Micah play together. Nicely. For a long time. And they let Joey join in some, too. (I'm not asking much, am I?!) No, really...I love it. It usually means that there's a big mess, or maybe even several of them. But it also means that I got to spend the day getting some things done and playing with my kids -- instead of being the referee and nurse. (Not playing together well inevitably equals owies.)

Well, today was one of those days. Conner was the king and Micah was the servant. I know, it doesn't sound like a game that would necessarily go over well, but apparently today was a holiday. Micah didn't have to go to work until tomorrow. :)
Conner's castle was in No More. (This is what we call the lion container that holds the stuffed animals. Named by my dad, "No More" is short for "No More Lyin.'") Micah's servant quarters were in the closet. But since today was a holiday, the king had invited the servant into the castle to play.

Joey was the monster.
Lots of times it's really hard to have kiddos this young and close in age. But sometimes it's nice, and when it is it's really fun. I'm so glad that my kids have built in play mates. That they like (most of the time).

Thursday, February 19, 2009

25 Things

Okay, I think pretty much everyone I know has done the "25 Random Things About Yourself" list on facebook. A bunch of you have tagged me...and it's been long enough now that you've all moved on to other lists. Well, I finally got around to my list of "25 Things" and thought I'd share it here, too.

1. I would love to be a good photographer, to have a nice camera and take some cute and fancy-schmancy pictures.

2. We have slip covers covering our hand-me-down couches that are less than pleasing to the eye. We decided to wait to buy any nicer furniture until we at least had everyone potty-trained. I think that might be one of the best decisions we ever made. I love my slipcovers, that I don't have to worry too much about the furniture, that I can just throw them in the washing machine. (I still can't wait to have nicer couches someday, though...)

3. I love paper and markers and scissors and glue. I'm not super-talented with them or anything, but I'll take any excuse to get them out and play.

4. I think it's probably safe to say that I like a little bit of coffee in my creamer (instead of creamer in my coffee). But if I were to truly treat myself (which I rarely do), I'd run to Starbuck's for a toffee nut latte with whip.

5. You'd be surprised how many things a Diet Coke and a batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies can fix. (No, really...I've been known to eat the whole batch by myself...)

6. I like to get pedicures. (Something else I rarely treat myself to...actually, now that I think about it, I don't know that I've ever treated myself to one. I only get them on a special occasion when someone else is buying...) Manicures on the other hand, I could totally do without. Not because I don't need them -- they are just so incredibly uncomfortable for me. The thought of someone else filing my nails makes my stomach turn. (Too many bad pre-prom nail jobs, I guess!)

7. I can't wait to be an aunt! Kaleb (Tiffany and Kevin's baby boy) is due April 9th!

8. My name was going to be Rebecca. But a few days before I was born, my mother realized that she did not want people to calling me "Becky" all the time. So "Rachel" it was. My middle name is Loraine, the same as my MeeMaw's.

9. When I say that I keep up with a few TV shows, I mean I very loosely keep up with a few TV shows. I watch them when I get the chance, but I think I miss them more often than not. The ones I like to try to catch are Lost, Grey's Anatomy, Jon and Kate Plus Eight...and you gotta love those Backyardigans! :)

10. I love my minivan. It's dirty, it needs to be vaccuumed, there are stale french fries and lonely jelly beans under the seats...but there's room for three carseats with plenty of room leftover for groceries and/or a place to change a diaper. Thank you, Bret for my mommy-mobile.

11. If it's possible to be addicted to chapstick, I think I am. Medicated Chapstick. I love the tingle.

12. I had the perfect job when we lived in Dallas. I was the assistant director of a preschool, got to take my kids to work with me, loved my boss (with whom I shared an office), loved the other teachers and students and families I interacted with, and the money was decent. I think I'm still mourning the loss of that job and relationship.

13. When I was in the 2nd grade, I cut my leg open on a toilet paper holder. I had to get six stitches.

14. I am the oldest of four children. Me, thirteen months later my brother Ira, 2 1/2 years later my sister Lydia, and 17 months later my other sister, Jodi -- four of us in five years.

15. Is it bad that one of the Wiggles (from the kids' TV show) reminds me of an ex-boyfriend?

16. Apparently, Bret and I had been dating for six months before I even knew it.

17. When we were growing up, we were not allowed to watch anything on TV afer 5pm except for the animal shows on PBS. I remember thinking I was missing out on the world...but I've learned now that it really wasn't that big of a deal.

18. I have a hard time ever doing nothing. Even if I'm watching TV, I'm almost alway working on some kind of something else at the same time.

19. Bret likes to use big words that are not used in common conversation very often. I've learned that I can nearly always fake that I know what he's talking about.

20. I am a weinie when it comes to spicy foods. I've tried and tried to like them, I just can't do it.

21. I like my hamburgers with mayonnaise and cheese, cut the onions and pickles.

22. I beat myself up the next morning if I don't wash all of the dishes and wash/fold/put away at least one load of laundry before I go to bed every night.

23. I am a homebody. My best friends are my family.

24. I'm addicted to my blog. It's become therapy of sorts for me.

25. I ran track when I was in junior high -- the 200 meter dash, the 400 meter dash, the 200 meter relay, and the mile relay. I also did the long jump.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dandelion Wishes

After they blew all the fuzzies off, Conner said, "Dad, you wanna know what I wished for?"


"Well, I wished for 1000 video games, 100 jack-in-the-boxes, and 3000 dogs and cats."

Micah was quick to chime in: "Well I wished for one dog and one cat."

I think my wish is that none of them will quite come true...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Good Stuff

We're happy to announce that yesterday was Christ Journey's first worship gathering in a new location! In the four months that we've been here, Christ Journey had outgrown the coffee shop. We are now meeting in a party room leased out by Nashville, TX, a local antique shop.

I can't tell you how good it felt to walk in yesterday morning to a bigger room, chairs more spread out, with space to actually visit after church. Another plus of this new space is that, for a few months anyway, we do not have to load/unload the trailer every week! This is quite a job, and a bit of a will be wonderful to get a break from it, even if it is for just a few months. Yesterday also happened to be my Sunday in the nursery. This was a wonderful new experience, too. In the coffee shop, the nursery consisted of a conference room that was closed off from the rest of the place by doors with huge glass windows in them -- right behind the worship stage. Every one of the folks that is regularly up there has a baby in the nursery, and the babies could not only hear, but see them at any given time. Yeah, it was to say the least, not ideal -- but we made it work and were so thankful to have it.

Our new nursery is a little room off the side of the party room. It is bigger -- and there are no glass doors! It will, of course, take a few weeks of being in there to work out a couple of little kinks, but mostly it was great. The kids couldn't see out, and the distraction of seeing in was gone for the big folks. The sound still traveled though. Apparently we were a little loud. Several criers yesterday, including my own. :) There's even more Christ Journey news that I don't think we've shared yet -- I'm now working with the children's ministry. I'm organizing stuff for the preschoolers. I'm totally excited about it -- that's right up my alley. I schedule teachers, set and prepare curriculum, and gather supplies for each week (all of our classroom supplies must be porable since we rent that space, too). We've also implemented a "Family Sunday" on the last Sunday of each month. The idea is to give the teachers a little break, and give families a chance to worship together, and give the kids a chance to see what all goes on in "big church." I've been working on doing some fun things for that, too. (Next week is Family Sunday, hopefully I'll have more details then!) This takes some time, time that has been a challenge to carve out, but it's been worth it. I have several more ideas, several more things I'd like to I find the time and resources to make it happen.

And one more thing -- I've created a blog dedicated solely to church planting and our work here with Christ Journey. This should make it easier for anyone who's interested in just seeing what's going on in that aspect of our lives, without having to wade through posts about diapers and dirt! I'm still doing a little bit of work on it, but mostly it's ready to go -- check it out: I will usually try to put something here to let you know when that blog has been updated...and/or if this blog has a church planting related post, such as this one, it will be added to that blog as well.

We're so glad to be here and be a part of this gathering of house churches. God is so good. Thanks for sharing in this journey with us!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Heart Day, Mr. Oppossum

For the past couple of months, we have had an animal under our house. For awhile it was every night, then it became just every now and then, but we would hear these scratching noises through the vents. We figured it was a raccoon or a oppossum or something, no huge deal -- except that it was really creepy sounding, and it's just probably best if there's not an animal down there messing with all the pipes and everything.

My dad has a have-a-heart trap (one of those traps that catches the animal without hurting it). We figured that was probably the best way to catch it, but my brother was using it to trap a nuisance raccoon at his house. So we had to wait a few weeks to get it. In the meantime Ron helped us try to block its entrance under the house, but the animal just dug another way in.

Then a week or so ago, we saw it. There was a little pink nose, attached to a white snout, sticking out of the little hole that the air conditioning wiring goes through. Ah, we thought. It's a oppossum. At least we know what it is now. We stuck a little piece of cornbread there beside the hole to see what Mr. Oppossum would do...he shameless squeezed his entire head out and gobbled the whole thing up! This little guy will be easy to catch, we thought. A few days later we got the trap from Ira, and then the next day Bret found himself practically knocking on death's door, he was so sick. So it wasn't until yesterday that we got the trap baited and set.

Bret checked it before we went to bed, and sure enough, Mr. Oppossum had been outsmarted!

The boys got to go see him this morning.
Some people seem to think that oppossums are cute and cuddly. Well, let me just tell you they are not. They are basically huge rats (seriously, look at that disgusting tail!), and they are mean. One time Bret's mother encountered one on their porch. It surprised both of them so much that the mean ol' oppossum tried to bite a chunk out of her foot...but got his teeth stuck in her shoe in the process. She was hopping on one leg with a oppossum dangling off the other, yelling for Eddie to come help her. I'm not real clear on the details after that, but I'm pretty sure Eddie won. By a long shot (if you know what I mean). They still laugh about that.

Thankfully, our Mr. Oppossum (I'm calling him that...I'm really not sure if he is a Mr. or a Mrs...) didn't take a chunk out of anyone's shoe. He just hissed and showed his sharp, pointy, mean-looking teeth.
Then Bret explained to Conner and Micah that this little guy needed to find a new place to live. He couldn't stay here anymore, it just wasn't good for him to be under our house. He would take him to live in the woods somewhere else.

Conner was very upset. Always the animal-lover, he didn't understand why we couldn't keep him and just feed him trash and bugs in the cage. Ummm...yeah.

Bret loaded up Conner, Micah, and Mr. Oppossum, and they drove off to find a "new woods."

Later this afternoon, we heard what sounded like an animal under the house! There must be another one...

Bret baited and set the trap again, and in the process, actually saw the little booger. Apparently he just trotted right past Bret like he owned the place, and snuck right under the house.

Well, we just checked the trap...there's another oppossum in it. Ha!

I know, I know..."It's Valentine's Day," you say. "Is this seriously what you are writing about today? We wanted to know about the wonderfully sweet and romantic things that all of your boys did for you today."

Well, I did get a homemade little card from Conner, "Heart + heart = love. Oh, and I messed up a little bit down there."
I have to show you the one he made for Bret, too. "The hearts get bigger and bigger, 'cause my love grows." How sweet is that?!
The rest of the day we just hung out and enjoyed one another, and after Lydia and Chris happened to stop by, we went to eat dinner at Chick-fil-a with them. We've got babysitters (thanks, Jodi and Robert!) lined up on Monday so that we can go to dinner or something.

But can I just say that I think today will go down as one of the most memorable, most romantic Valentine's Day's for me? Right up there with Heart Day 2000 when Bret and I "officially" started dating (I'll have to tell that story sometime...), and Heart Day 2003 when I was about 2 months pregnant with Conner, and Bret won a contest on the radio. We got free dinner and roses and all kinds of stuff -- because he called them and told them how wonderful I am.

"Seriously?!", you think? Well, yes.

My man caught the vicious animal that has been terrorizing us for months now. No really, there was one night when Bret wasn't here. The animal was making so much noise that it woke me up, it sounded like the thing was going to crawl right through the vent into my kitchen. I jumped out of bed, grabbed my little baseball bat, and still a little unsure as to exactly what I was going to do if that happened, stood vigil in the kitchen for awhile. The noises stopped, I put a chair on top of the vent, and went back to bed... Bret saved us.

Then he took the big brothers out with him, showed them the wild animal he had caught, and taught them a little bit about oppossums. And then even though it would have been much easier to go alone, he took them along and showed them about being kind to all of God's creation -- even the nasty, mean ol' oppossums -- when he let it go somewhere else where it (maybe) wouldn't get into trouble. He taught them just a little bit about what it is to be a man, I think.

In my book, that is romantic. Those of you who are not married yet, and/or don't have children yet, may be thinking, "Oh my this what I have to look forward to? Will I become that warped and crusty?"

Well, maybe not. But let me just say that for as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a wife and a mommy -- and that's exactly what I am now. I am living the dream, and that means that the romance we had when we were dating and newly married looks a little different than it did then. But it is oh, so good. I wouldn't trade it for anything -- oppossums for Valentine's Day and everything.

Thank you Bret, for being my man. I love you!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Whataburger Birthday

I’m tired tonight. Not many words…just a few pictures.

We met Mom and Dad and MeeMaw halfway at the Whataburger tonight. We just needed a good reason to get out of the house and do something fun, and seeing them was a great thing to do! We decided to make a party out of it since they weren’t able to come for Micah’s birthday. That’s right, it was a Whataburger birthday. No shame.

MeeMaw had a present for Micah – new games for his Leapster! (Mom and Dad had sent theirs (walkie talkies) earlier.) Then we had more Spiderman cake. I guess I didn’t get a picture of the whole thing, though. :( Joey liked the red icing, surprise, surprise. And no, its not some kind of funky pox. Conner and Micah were painting each other with icing. We asked them to stop painting each other, but I guess we didn’t say not to paint yourself! Yogi of course found quarters in their ears. It was a little sad though. This was the night that Conner discovered that Yogi was actually hiding quarters in his hands. “Aw man,” he said. “This isn’t cool anymore. Yogi’s not really finding them in our ears, he’s hiding them in his hands.” Desperately trying to save this special thing that’s been so fun I said, “Yes it is. Now you know the secret. But shhh! Micah doesn’t know.” (Wink, wink.) Problem solved. Thank goodness! They even got some Valentine balloons. The weights at the bottom seemed to be more fun than the balloons – you could actually let go of the balloons and they wouldn’t fly away. This was big news. Okay, so maybe I said more than I thought I would. Sometimes I just get to typing… But I’m still really tired. I’m going to bed early tonight!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I'm a Proud Momma

Today was Conner's valentine party at preschool.
He had worked very hard on his valentines for his friends, and couldn't wait to see what all he'd get.
I felt kind of bad...I was a little late and missed the first part of it. Then Micah had to go potty, he took awhile -- if you know what I mean! ;) -- and I missed the end of it. By the time we got back into the room, there were three kids left. The kid whose mother was helping clean up, the kid whose mother teaches in the classroom next door, and Conner, the kid whose mother at times feel like she lives in a shoe. ("So many kids she doesn't know what to do...")

Bless his heart, he was sitting at his table, completely oblivious to anything else going on around him, inspecting every little goody in his bag. As I told him it was time to clean up, Micah realized wat it was that Conner was looking at, and started asking for some. "Good thing it's time to go," I thought. "I always dread this part of bringing Micah to the party -- Conner gets a bunch of cool stuff and he doesn't."

But instead I heard, "Sure you can have some, Micah. I'm gonna share everything in here with you. Every little piece of candy we'll just cut in half, even the banana laffy taffy...well, and maybe not the strawberry sucker."

Then the whole way home, Conner kept talking about all the things he was going to share with Micah. And after every little thing he mentioned, Micah said, "Oh. Thanks, Conner." It was beautiful.

As I was praising them for their good behavior, Conner said, "Well we're always sweet on holidays, Mom. That's why I'm being so sweet today." Not exactly what we're going for, but I'll take it! ;)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


That's right, he's walking. (Please excuse the less-than-stylish couch in the background...we've been sick and the slip cover was in the washing machine...) He's been taking a step or two here and there for awhile now. But then yesterday there were several three and four step jaunts, and by the end of the day today, he starts off with three or four steps everywhere he goes. Sometimes he falls, sometimes he just gives up and drops down on all fours because it's faster.

I'm thinking this addtional mobility might make for a hard transition for the big brothers. Just before bedtime, I found Joey here in their room. Apparently Micah had trapped him back there between the bookcase and the toy box so that he wouldn't get in the way.

Now I'm not a shoes-y kind of mom. It may have been different if I'd have had girls, but I can honestly say that Joey has only worn shoes about three times in his entire life -- and those were a teeny tiney little pair of crocs he outgrew months ago. They're just a lot of trouble, something else to keep up with, an added expense -- and those big clonky things get in the way of cozy little cuddles! Guess I'll be digging through our bucket of outgrown shoes to see if I can find some to fit him tomorrow...time to start getting used to them!

Honestly, that's the thing I've been dreading most about this kid walking -- fighting squirmy and squashed up little toes, and two more little shoes to get on before we go anywhere...

Yay, Josiah! We're proud of you!