Friday, July 31, 2009

Awkward, adj.

DEFINITION: Lacking ease or grace

Ah, if there was ever a more perfect word to describe me. I am awkward folks. I trip over things, I tumble down stairs, but worse, I'm awkward in conversation when I'm not comfortable, and oh the agony that has brought to my life!

Case in point; last weekend I was running some errands, and as I walked through Petsmart I turned a corner and found myself looking right at an old acquaintance. Even back when we traveled in the same circles we didn't know each other all that well, but we still have mutual friends and occasionally find ourselves in the same places. So we stopped and said hello and were immediately out of things to say. And that is where I lose it people. It was great to see him, but OH, it was painfully awkward. We ended up talking about the pee and poo on the floor where the dogs up for adoption had been running around. Good times, really.

I've lived in the metroplex for the majority of my life, so I run into this situation fairly frequently. It's that moment where if you had seen each other across the store, neither one of you would have sought the other out to say hello because you both know you really don't have any more than that to say, but there you are staring each other in the face, so let the pleasantries and small talk begin. Which I suppose is better than acting like you didn't see each other at all and hiding behind end caps until one of you safely exits the store. Of course I'd never do that though, ahem.

After cringing every time I replayed the scene in my head that day, I decided I need to make myself some kind of list that I can memorize and access in those situations. Surely preparation would make it better, right? But what on earth do I put on the list? Let's see...Line 1: Do not talk about pee and poo. I think I'm off to a good start.
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flabby thighs-what do they really say about you?

What is it about a vacation that causes you to think about losing weight/flab?
In 5 weeks my hubby and I are taking a "babymoon" to Hawaii- and it has got me being a little more critical about the flab on my body...probably the idea of being in a swimsuit for 9 days has something to do with it...
I have tried through the years to rid myself of flabby thighs...with diet, exercise, running 3 different marathons, lunges, yoga, even being a certified personal trainer, etc... and still the thigh jiggle prevails.
Especially after being pregnant and having a baby- my thighs have become at an all time jiggle...I jokingkly say that they are that way so Allie has something to bounce on while standing on my lap...
Of course, some people are more genetically blessed in this area...I'm not in this category...
I guess I could devote myself to "self improvement" 24/7, but then neglect the things that are REALLY important to me like my hubby, baby, family, friends, etc...not to say I don't take the time to exercise each day, but I have had to change my perspective on what my flabby thighs really say about me...that there other things to balance my life with...so next time you see a little flab on someone-maybe you will think a little differently about it...


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rantings

After writing this, I felt like I should come back and say that I have worked with teenagers and have a very special place in my heart for them.  :)

My message to teenagers out there:

1. Don't use the gigantic handicap dressing room for your tiny self and your fifty items. Those rooms are for people who actually need it.

2. Don't laugh at a two-year-old falling down in the mall, especially when you're the one who caused it.

So I'll explain. Of course, I prefer to shop alone, but on occasion, I don't have a choice. I recently found a swimsuit for a great deal at Steinmart and had to go try it on. Since I was already going into a deep depression about trying on a swimsuit, I probably wasn't in the best frame of mind when I discovered that the only large dressing room out of AT LEAST 20 dressing rooms was occupied by a teenage girl. Really? Why do you need this lone, huge room?? I had to wait about five minutes on her (and I'm not exaggerating), because my three children and I could not even fit in the other tiny rooms, not to mention the giant double stroller I had in tow. Another issue... why do they leave a two foot opening on the bottom of some dressing rooms? Have you ever tried keeping a 15 month old from going into the next room?! So annoying! So there's that.

On to the next point. On a recent trip to the mall , we somehow got in between a group of teenagers. There were five or six girls in front of us, and then one girl and guy behind us. Apparnetly, they were trying to catch up with their friends, and the guy started stomping really loudly as he moved right up behind us. I'm sure he was just doing it to be funny with his friends, but I could tell it was making Emerson (my almost three-year-old) very nervous. She turned her head back to see what was coming at her as she started walking faster to get out of the way. Well, in doing this, she totally bit it and splatted on the ground. It was a bad fall. And it was loud. But the girl and guy just started laughing loudly and kept looking at her as they passed us. And it wasnt like a quick giggle that escaped before they realized it was probalby rude to laugh at the poor kid that they just made fall down. It was like loud, mocking laughter as they passed and then again as they caught up to their friends. And mama bear's claws almost came out. It took every bit of Jesus in me not to say something to these kids. But how rude! You don't mock my baby girl! I get that it can be amusing to watch people fall down. I've laughed at that hundreds of times watching America's Funniest Home Videos or whatever, but the way this all went down just really got under my skin. Emerson was completely fine. She got back up, shook it off, and handled things like a champ. I decided to take a lesson from her and not cry or yell at someone over it (not that I would ever really do that, but I sure wanted to)!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ginger & Lily


Today's blog entry is about my sweet dogs!

Ginger is 8 years old and about 9 lbs. We got her when John and I were first married. She was our little baby for a long time. Two years ago one of the discs in her back slipped and she became paralyzed. We took her to the vet and their advice to us was to put her down. We were so distraught. We spent a lot of time in prayer. The next day my mom called an said she came across a website that talked about alternatives to putting the dog down. So we crated her for eight weeks (only left the crate to potty) and gave her steroids. And lo and behold she started walking again. She still doesn't walk perfectly an doesn't have complete feeling back there, but she is happy!

Lily is 3 years old and 17 lbs. In April 2008 a friend saw her at the animal shelter and then took me the next day to see her. She was so beautiful so I told John about her and we went and picked her up the next day. She was already fully house broken and crate trained. And the day after we got Lily we found out we were pregnant with Reagan!

It took a while for Ginger to warm up to Lily, but now they are inseparable. They absolutely love each other and even cuddle up next to each other to sleep at night.

Time flies


My baby turned one month old on Sunday...ONE MONTH ALREADY?!?!?! How is that possible? Wasn't it just yesterday we were coming home from the birthing center with this tiny little person in the carseat?



This milestone got me thinking about other unfathomable things - like the fact that it's been almost 10 YEARS since I graduated from college (which means we're getting close to 15 years since high school graduation - yikes). Even just the fact that it's possible for me to have been friends with certain people (some of whom I share this blog with) for 20 years or more. How can I be old enough to have been friends with a person for 20 years? Now, I decided a while back not to be one of those people all caught up with age/getting older - it's just a number, after all. I enjoyed being 20 (and 15 and 18 and 21 and 28, etc.), but I wouldn't want to do it again! And even though I'm not particularly proud of some of the choices I made in the past, I don't think I would do things differently if I had the chance; each of those choices and situations made me who I am today and I learned something important through all of them.

I remember when I was preparing for my wedding, people kept telling me how fast the day would go and that I should really try to take in every moment. Well, they were right - most of that day is a blur (a very happy blur, but a blur nonetheless!). I think the advice was good, though (and difficult at times) - to try to be mindful of enjoying moments/occasions/experiences for what they are at the time. For example, I'm sure I will enjoy it when Asher sleeps through the night, but he'll never be a newborn again, so I try to enjoy our middle-of-the-night times together as well, and part of me will probably miss them when they're gone.

Time flies - let's make the most of what we've got!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Joe T. Garcia's

So my all time favorite Mexican food restaurant is Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth. Last night I went with my husband Scott and my friend Jennifer, so I decided I just had to blog about Joe T's. IT IS AWESOME! If you have never been, shame on you. Just kidding (sort of). I have been to Joe T's on numerous occasions...birthdays, going-away dinner, fun outing with friends, and mine and Scott's rehearsal dinner. Joe T's is located pretty close to the Stockyards in Fort Worth, so it is a bit of a drive for us but very much worth it. If you have never been, you must go! MUST! And when you go, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1. You can either dine inside or outside...depending on the weather and how long you want to wait can pretty much determine that for you. When the weather is absolutely gorgeous outside, you can plan on waiting a good hour or so just to eat outside...and you'll know that by the line that stretches down the street and occasionally around the corner. Your best bet is to go early if you want to eat outside. I highly recommend eating outside though because the set-up is so beautiful and the atmosphere is just fun. When it's cold out, most people tend to eat inside, however they do have chimeneas for outside if you dare to brave the cold.

2. During lunch they serve a full menu. Dinner is a different story. You have two choices: the fajita dinner or the family style dinner. You have your choice of chicken, beef, or combo fajitas served with rice and beans and guacamole...cheese and sour cream are extra. The family style dinner comes with two cheese enchiladas, two tacos, two nachos (we'll discuss the nachos in a minute), and rice and beans. I'm a fajita girl, so we have always gotten the beef fajitas, mainly because we think the chicken is dry. I honestly have never ordered the enchilada dinner...why get something different when the usual works so well, right? Some of my friends seem to like it though.

3. If you do not order the enchilada dinner, then you seriously need to order some nachos before your food comes out. It's a big tostada shell with yummy cheese and diced jalapenos...they are so good. And if you're not a jalapeno fan, just ask for no jalapenos...though they give the nachos a little something extra. If you don't want nachos, then you can definitely fill up on the chips and salsa.

4. Beverages: Let me just say that I highly recommend the margarita on the rocks.

5. Payment: Joe T's only takes cash or check...so don't show up with a credit card or you'll be sent to the ATM, which will charge you a lovely fee I'm sure.

6. ENJOY! Oh, and just because they bring your food out at lightning speed does not mean that you have to eat and leave within 30 minutes. Take your time, enjoy your surroundings and the people you are with...and by all means, leave a good tip when you hog the table 3 hours. : )

If you've been to Joe T's, feel free to share your experience(s).

Adios,
Cassandra O

Friday, July 24, 2009

Keepin' it Real

I have a confession to make. I just might be obsessed with reality TV.

I was looking at my DVR play list last night and realized that I have a ridiculous backlog comprised mainly of reality shows. I like to think that of the reality TV programming that's out there, I at least pick the classier reality shows. Um, that makes it better, right? I mean, I'm not watching Daisy of Love or Dating in The Dark, so there's got to be some credit given there. Maybe not much though.

Let me just give you the list of reality shows currently on my DVR...Deadliest Catch, Top Chef Masters, Expedition Africa, The Little Couple, 18 Kids and Counting, Amazing Cakes, and I'm anxiously awaiting the return of Project Runway. See? Not so bad right? I can rationalize that each of those shows a slice of life that I will most likely never experience on my own. I'm intrigued by other people's lives and experiences that are foreign to me. These shows, while certainly edited, seem to give a pretty realistic snapshot of that.

But then there's the "guilty pleasure" column of my reality obsession that there's just no justifying. In it you will find the following...The Real Housewives of New York, New Jersey, and Orange County; Big Brother (I know - I'm cringing just typing it); and the one I just can't give up, no matter how often I swear I'm done with it, The Bachelorette.

So what about you? Spill your embarrassing DVR play list. We won't hold it against you - pinkie swear.
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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Reflecting...

So, currently I am training for a 1/2 marathon in August and I was on one of my 7 mile long runs this week and had several things running through my mind. One thing in particular was some of the things that have made the greatest impact on my life...in fact, I was trying to come up with a top 5 list in no particular order...so here is what I came up with...

1. Going to FBCE in 7th grade
2. Attending HSU
3. Being in an accident 10 yrs ago that almost took my life
4. Marrying Randy
5. Becoming a teacher
6. Becoming a mother (okay I thought of 6 things!)

One thing I noticed these all had in common was that each event required me to step out and trust God in some way. These pivitol steps in my life have shaped me in different ways and have also allowed me to see God's amazing provision in those steps of faith- really, too many blessings to even begin to mention-it's been humbling to think about all God has done...what a faithful God we serve...so, what would your top 5 be? Why?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Walmart VS Target

Just the title of this one probably made some of you get defensive!  Which is your favorite?  And why?!  I love them both.  For grocery shopping, Walmart would be my pick.  I find that prices are usually lower on the items I frequently purchase.  I also think I am less tempted to shop for unnecessary purchases when I am at Walmart.  Target's home department beats Walmart by a landslide.  However, Walmart has a MUCH easier-to-deal-with return policy.  To put it plainly, I think Target's return policy stinks.  I do have to give Target props for a great baby department, though.  Walmart's baby department has definitely improved over the past few years, but Target would still be the winner in this category.  I did find it annoying when we purchased our first baby crib from Target and couldn't have it shipped to the store (for free).  I just hate to pay shipping charges if it can be avoided, and this is a nice perk Walmart offers through their "site to store" option.  I recently purchased some baby safety items through their website and had them shipped to the store, and I would definitely recommend it.  As far as clothing goes... unless you want an Ocean Pacific tank with a multi-colored palm tree on the front, I think Target is the best bet.  Now, now.  I'm just kidding.  I do believe Walmart has come a ways in this area as well, but they still have a very long way to go.  I did, however, find a pair of sweat shorts (or sweats shorts? - just the fact that I don't know how to write that should give me a clue that I shouldn't have bought them.  Stacy and Clinton would be so disappointed!)  Anyway... back to sweat shorts - they were $5, extremely comfortable (as sloppy "mom clothes" should be), and to top it all off, they have a nice tramp stamp (tattoo looking design) on the top back.  NICE.  Don't worry - these are strictly for around the house and an occasional trip to Home Depot (or Lowe's - and that's another good rivalry, but I won't get into that here). Oh, and one more thing.  I really would rather not go to either of these stores on a weekend, but I think I would choose Target if I had to go on a weekend.  Walmart seems to bring out the weekend crazies (as does Grapevine Mills Mall, which Beth referred to in another post.  I forgot to reply to that, but it is also a much nicer place on a weekday morning when it first opens)!  This is one of the perks of being a SAHM - being able to go grocery shopping at 8:00 am (I know some of you actually have kids that sleep in past that - lucky you!) on a weekday.  It is so nice to shop when there aren't many other people in the store.  So I said one more thing, but now I have just ONE MORE.... I can't stand the check-out lines at either store.  I guess they both just have all of those fifty registers for Christmas Eve only, because I have never seen more than a few of them open at either store.  It is nice that Walmart has the self check-out option, but it's also annoying trying to do a self check-out with a bunch of items and three tired-of-shopping, fidgety, whiney kids.  If they would both just have enough registers open, wouldn't  we all just be a bunch of happy shoppers?!  Suffice it to say, I think Target and Walmart are both great for different reasons, and I can't imagine my little suburban world without either of them.

And one last thought.  I would like to go ahead and nominate myself for the "most rambling blogger" of the group.  That's how my brain works.  Hope you could at least somewhat follow!  :)

Happy Humpday!
amelia

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

VBS

Do you remember going to Vacation Bible School as a child? You made a macaroni necklace, got to play dodge ball outside, have Graham Crackers and watered down juice, sing, memorize scripture and learn about Jesus! What an amazing time in a child's life! I have lots of fun memories of VBS! This week I am having the privilege of volunteering at VBS at our church. I have been doing registration outside in the parking lot. I get to see all the kids jump out of the cars so excited to be there!! It is so neat to see the joy on their faces and their excitement to bring their friends! For those of you out there who have kids I strongly encourage you to sign your kids up at your church or if your church does not have VBS find a local one that does! For those of you who don't I strongly encourage you to volunteer to help out in VBS. It truly makes a difference in a child's life!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Movies! Stardust!

Last week's post was super-long. This week's will be super-short.
Adam and I love LOVE movies. Not all movies, just good ones :) We like to watch really good movies over and over and over. We like to own the movies that we think are really good so we can watch them over and over whenever we feel like it. We certainly don't have the biggest movie collection, but it's always growing!
So tonight we may have found a new movie we'll need to go out and buy - Stardust. Fun fun fun!!! Fantasy, adventure, comedy, suspense; it's got it all. Some people compare it to The Princess Bride. Now, The Princess Bride is, in my opinion, one of the best movies of all time, so I wouldn't go so far as to say that Stardust is as good (though Adam is considering it), but it definitely ranks up there. We can't figure out why this movie didn't get more attention!! The reviews were so lukewarm when it came out...weird.
Watch Stardust - you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What? Not Everyone Agrees With Me!

We pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Romans 14:9

So, as I mentioned last week, I am doing this bible study called Discerning the Voice of God, and one of my daily lessons was on how the Lord desires unity and mutual edification within the body of Christ. The lesson went further to say that God will give me freedom to do things He may not give others freedom to do and vice versa, and that we must be careful not to allow our freedom to harm other believers. I must say that this really spoke to my heart and got me thinking not only about my freedoms but that of those close to me. God specifically gave me my very own freedoms but that does not necessarily mean he gave my friends the very same freedoms. The example in the lesson concerned eating different types of foods. Believers with Gentile backgrounds freely ate all things. Others with a Jewish background observed the ceremonial laws concerning food. They felt convicted about eating food that had been offered to idols. Paul encouraged each to remain true to his own convictions, but he also said that they should not do something that would cause another to stumble. Why? Because it is more important to pursue peace and build one another up.

I contribute to this blog along with five of my very good friends. While we all have a personal relationship with Christ and have a very special friendship and bond, we don’t always agree on the same things. (Surprise, Surprise) I think we’d seriously get sick and tired of being 100% alike and agree on every single thing that comes along. I love that we are diverse in our opinions and what we believe about different topics. Yes, it can sometimes be tense and there have been a few interventions in the past (okay, maybe just one), but we really have learned to be accepting of one another and to love one another even when we don’t always agree. The beauty of this blog is that I can write about whatever I want to write about and so can everyone else. The opinions reflected in my posts may not necessarily be the opinions of Amelia, Beth, Erica, Mary or Staci, but the same is true for something they may write about…I might not necessarily agree. I am thankful that God made each of us different and gave each of us our own freedoms. Because I cherish my friends and love them dearly, I will respect their opinions and do my best to build them up and create unity. I encourage you to reflect on the freedoms God has given you and then be aware of how those freedoms will affect others when you choose to exercise them.

XOXO,

Cassandra O

Friday, July 17, 2009

“Silencio por favor!”

I can remember my 9th grade Spanish teacher, SeƱora Schaefer, calling this out in her calm, soothing voice over the hum of restless gossiping teenagers in her classroom. This morning I have the urge to announce it over the paging system at my office in a less pleasant manner than my dear teacher ever would have. I’m a little fried this week.

I’m generally a pretty talkative person. I’m not great at making conversation with people I don’t know well, but those in the inner circle of my life usually get an earful. My brain is typically running about 3 trains of thought at once (if not more) so the urge to spit it all out tends to overwhelm me, and the verbal vomit begins. But sometimes, I just need a little silence. Today is definitely one of those days.

I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to listen, I just want a little peace. Judging by the flashing red voicemail button on my phone, I fear I may not get my wish. I think some of this is a hazard of my profession. Five days a week I’m subject to any number of requests from a handful of bosses and about 130 other employees. Sometimes the sight of yet another random person standing at my door wanting me to do something for them makes me want to crawl under my desk. But you see, my office is a big glass box with open blinds, so someone might notice something was up and then I’d be committed, and then how would we pay our bills, and if we can’t pay the bills what will happen to my sweet little puppies? So I guess that settles it.

Bring it on Friday, I have puppies to feed.
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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Randy

Today, I dedicate this blog to my husband, Randy who is taking his CFP exam on Friday!

He has been studying for the past 6 months for his CFP exam (Certified Financial Planning)- which, at times, has been grueling for him (and me too). On Friday, he is taking the first 4 hour part of this exam and then on Saturday he will complete the 6 hour portion...geez, just writing that makes my brain hurt!
I have been so impressed with his diligence and tenacity to keep going with his studies and see this thing through...wether he passes this exam or not, in my eyes he has already accomplished so much by doing what he set out to do!
So, proud and thankful for my hubby!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Flatulence and Cloth Seats

SOMEONE I know informed me that they think leather seats are better in cars than cloth seats.  Now, I do prefer leather seats, but I think our reasoning is a bit different.  He said that he felt cloth seats absorbed and retained fart smells, and therefore, leather would be a better option.  So, here's my question.  Do you (or someone you know  [wink, wink]) feel this way or have experience in this area?  Does anyone dare to comment on the topic?  :)  I have thought about the smoke smell in a used car purchased from a smoker, but I'm pretty sure the fart smell issue had never crossed my mind before this conversation.  If you have cloth seats and a flatulence problem, well, then maybe you should get some Febreeze before you go to sell!  

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grapevine Mills v. St. Louis Mills

So I have said in an earlier blog that we recently moved from the DFW Metroplex to Illinois. Where we live is actually 20 minutes outside St. Louis. For those of you who don't know what Grapevine Mills Mall is, it is a giant indoor outlet mall in Grapevine, TX. When it first opened it was so nice. Now it can be scary just walking in. Not only is it overcrowded but some of the clientel doesn't seem to bathe or use deodorant. Well my mom flew in yesterday and we decided to go to St. Louis Mills Mall today. It was so very nice and clean and I didn't smell any stinky people. And it wasn't overcrowded which is nice when you have a infant in a stroller. They even have a really nice indoor playground. We got some really good deals at Children's Place and Gap. Had a wonderful lunch at Johnny Rockets. So I highly encourage everyone to visit the St. Louis Mills Mall! Today was fabulous especially because my mom was with us!!

________________________
Beth Harris
bethharris78@gmail.com

A long story about a short labor

My post is a day late…again. Must work on that. I finally had a chance to sit down and write out Ash’s birth story. I know not everyone is interested in this, but I always love reading birth stories. I tried to edit out anything that might be considered TMI and I apologize if you read something that you wish you hadn’t!

Backstory: At my 34 week appointment, the midwife discovered that I was having contractions and my cervix was dilated 1-2 centimeters, so I was put on bed rest for almost 2 weeks to avoid delivering too early. Everyone thought that as soon as bed rest was over (at 36 weeks), I would pretty much just go right into labor, but Asher had other plans. Then at my 37 week appointment on June 19 I was already 4 cm dilated, 90% effaced, at 0 station, so I just felt like a ticking time bomb! Even the midwives were planning to see me again over the weekend to have the baby. Again, not so much. Finally, I woke up on Friday the 26th feeling "different". I had turned my alarm clock off, and I was aware of Adam's going off periodically, and in the back of my mind I knew that if I was going to get to work on time I needed to get up, but for some reason I just didn't. And I didn't care. Finally I realized I was having gas-like pains, and eventually noticed that when I felt them, my belly got really hard at the same time. The sensation was totally different from the Braxton-Hicks contractions I’d been having for 2 weeks. Adam finally woke up asked if I was going to work, and I told him I thought I might be in labor. I decided to get up and go to the bathroom and walk around to see if the contractions would stop; as soon as I started to get out of bed, my water broke! That was 8 a.m. I started crying a little because I realized we would be meeting our baby that day! We made phone calls to the birthing center and our parents, then I washed my face, brushed my teeth, etc.; I was immediately having contractions like 2-3 minutes apart. I figured once I sat down and got settled on the couch they would space out some more, but they didn't, they just kept getting closer and closer together. Since I thought we were still in the early part of labor, I was really focused on staying relaxed and in control, knowing it was bound to get harder. We called the birthing center again to tell them how close the contractions were, and I apparently sounded so calm the midwife didn't get the impression that anything really serious was happening. She told me that sometimes the uterus gets hyper after the water breaks, and recommended I get in the shower and see if that would slow things down. Getting to the bathroom was like torture; taking my clothes off was horrible. I finally got in the shower and realized there was no way I could sit down in the tub and relax, and I definitely couldn't stay standing up because the pressure with the contractions was unbelievable. I told Adam I had to sit on the toilet, and as soon as I did I could tell my body was pushing. I didn't say that to Adam, though, I just told him we needed to get in the car and go. Getting dressed again was horrible; waiting for Adam to pull the car out of the garage so I could get in was terrible. I was really struggling - looking back I’m pretty sure I was probably about 7-8 centimeters dilated by then, so I was going through transition.

We headed to the birthing center (fortunately by then it was after 9:00 and rush hour traffic had really thinned out). I didn't make a noise or move the whole way there - I just sat completely still with my eyes closed talking myself through these incredibly intense contractions - when one would start I would say "it's OK, you're OK, you can do this" over and over in my head. I guess we got to the birthing center around 9:40 and I seriously wasn't sure I could get out of the car and walk inside. I had several contractions on the way to the room. When the midwife checked me I was 9.5 centimeters dilated and she told me I could start pushing whenever I felt like it. I got in the tub and probably could have pushed him out right away, but mentally I wasn't ready to do that yet - things had moved so fast! So I just tried to breathe and relax for a while. I must have done that for almost an hour, though it didn't seem like that long. Finally I had a pep talk with myself about how I was going to have to push the baby out, so I assumed the pushing position and got to work. GOOD LORD DID THAT HURT! Nothing could have prepared me for the intensity of the pressure and the pushing. Apparently I progressed really fast. The midwife kept me updated with how much head was showing, etc. and I totally thought she was lying to me the entire time. I’m not sure why! Every time she would tell me something, I would think "yeah, right". I even asked Adam one time if she was telling the truth (she was) and once I reached down to feel it myself. Before I knew it she told me the head would be born during the next contraction (I still didn't believe her), so she had me do this push/breathe/push/breathe thing and all the sudden I could tell his head had been born, and his body came out just a few moments later. It was amazing and so exhilarating!!! I wish I could have looked down to see him emerge, but I just couldn't open my eyes - I was really concentrating! They pulled him up out of the water and put him on my chest. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry - I was so amazed and awe-struck at what had just happened that it didn't even occur to me. Asher didn’t really cry, either, just whimpered a little and then blinked a few times as he took in his new surroundings. Adam cried a little bit, though, and it was really sweet.

So, Asher was born at 11:50, less than 4 hours after my water broke and after only 30 minutes of real pushing. The midwife said it was definitely good that we came in when we did and that with my next baby we definitely shouldn’t dawdle about getting where we need to be once labor starts! We stayed at the birthing center until 6, then went home.

The experience was exactly what I had hoped for – natural and complication-free. The birthing center was definitely the right choice for us, and the care we received from the midwives was outstanding. God heard and answered our prayers, and now we have this amazing gift!

Asher


   


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Discerning the Voice of God

Right now I am attending a bible study on Sunday afternoons with some amazing ladies, and we are going through a book called Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer. We're only on week four but the homework has already been so "in your face" and very thought-provoking. Today we talked about how God's voice reveals his character and that we get to know God through His written Word. Here are just a few highlights from today's video:
  • The better you know God, the more clearly you can hear God.
  • Focus on God - not merely on hearing God.
  • You can distinguish God's voice by pressing into Him (through His written word).
  • Don't go voice hunting instead of God hunting.
  • Correct communion with God in our ears can only emanate from intimate communion with Him in our hearts.
  • Search the Scripture to get to know God, not just to get from God.
  • It is God's responsibility to cause you to hear and to recognize His voice. (Proverbs 3:5-6; Philippians 3:15; Philippians 2:13; Psalm 37:4)
  • God leads perfectly because He is love and He is good.
God WILL speak to us...we just have to press into Him! And when we press into Him, He will speak so clearly that we will not doubt that we are hearing from Him.

At a point in the video Priscilla just brings it full force with who God is through the Bible. One of the ladies in our study took the DVD home and watched it again in order for us to have the list and I just had to share it with you. Here we go (it's long but so cool):

Old Testament

Genesis – Breath of Life

Exodus – Passover Lamb
Leviticus - High Priest

Numbers – Fire by Night
Deuteronomy – Israel’s Guide

Joshua – Salvation’s Choice

Judges – Israel’s Guard

Ruth – Kinsman Redeemer

1st & 2nd Samuel – Trusted Prophet

1st & 2nd Kings & 1st & 2nd Chronicles – Sovereign

Ezra – The True and Faithful Scribe

Nehemiah – The Rebuilder of Walls and Lives

Esther – Our Courage

Job – The Timeless Redeemer

Psalms – Our Morning Song

Proverbs – Our Wisdom

Ecclesiastes – The Time & The Season

Song of Solomon – The Lover’s Dream

Isaiah – The Prince of Peace

Jeremiah – The Weeping Prophet

Lamentations – The Cry for Israel

Ezekiel – The Call from Sin

Daniel – The Stranger in the Fire

Hosea – The Forever Faithful

Joel – The Spirit’s Power

Amos – The Strong Arms that Carry

Obadiah – The Lord our Savior

Jonah – The Great Missionary

Micah – The Promise of Peace

Nahum – Our Strength & Our Shield

Habakkuk & Zephaniah – He Brings Revival

Haggai – Restores that Which was Lost

Zechariah – Our Fountain

Malachi – Son of Righteousness Rising with Healing in His Hands


New Testament


Matthew, Mark, Luke, John – Your God and Messiah

Acts – Son of God Rising with the Fire of Heaven in His Hands

Romans – The Grace of God

1 Corinthians & 2 Corinthians – Power of Love

Galatians – Freedom from Curse of Sin

Ephesians – Our Glorious Treasure

Philippians – The Servant’s Heart

Colossians – God & the Trinity

1 Thessalonians & 2 Thessalonians – Our Calling King

1 Timothy & 2 Timothy & Titus & Philemon – Our Mediator and Faithful Pastor

Hebrews - Everlasting Courage

James – The One that Will Heal the Sick

1 Peter & 2 Peter – Our Faithful Shepherd

1 John & 2 John & 3 John & Jude – The Lover Coming for His Bride

(and here's where she really brought it)
Revelation – He Was, and Is and Will Always Be
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords
The Prince of Peace

The Son of Man

The Lamb of God

The Great I Am

The Alpha and Omega

God our Savior

Jesus Christ, The Lord


He is Everything you need
.
Search the Scripture to get to Know God not just to Get From Him.
XOXO,
Cassandra O

P.S. If you are searching for a bible study to do, I highly recommend this one. It will seriously rock your world.

Friday, July 10, 2009

You can love your pet...

…just don’t love your pet. Did anyone else see this? http://www.lemondrop.com/2009/07/08/woman-marries-her-dog-seriously/ Apparently a woman in Ghana named Emily Mabou believes she found the love of her life in her pug and decided to make it legal. Well, okay. I bring this up because A) it’s weird, and B) I’ve been accused by my husband more than once of loving my dog more than him. I think he’s joking. I may love Max, but I certainly don’t love Max. Which brings me to another topic. Does anyone out there play favorites with their pets? Let me introduce you to my dogs:



My husband and I have two Shih Tzu’s who we somewhat jokingly call Max the Great and Milo the Terrible. My friends tease me, saying that Milo KNOWS we love him less and that’s why he’s so bad. We’ve had Max for three and a half years, and Milo for about one and a half. We don’t have children, so we dote on our dogs. Max was the first to steal our hearts and he is truly the best dog I’ve ever known. He was easy to train, he’s well behaved, he never barks, he’s as sweet as he can be, he’s good with kids, and he’s just an extremely easy pet to have. Milo, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. He barks, he whines, he moans, he eats dryer sheets. He chases Max mercilessly whenever they’re in the room together. He nips at hands and licks toes. He is also the most stubborn animal I have ever met. We’ve tried training him, just as we trained Max, and it’s clear that he knows exactly what you’re asking him to do, he has just decided he’s not going to do it. This is made evident by the fact that holding a treat in your hand magically clears up his confusion. “Oh, I’m sorry, you asked me to sit? No problem.”

So Milo gets a bad rap. But the thing about him is that he’s just so infuriatingly lovable. If he’s out and Max is put up, Milo will follow you everywhere you go and quietly sit and look at you until you move again. And he’s just about the snuggliest dog there ever was. He’s floppy and cute and he likes to be picked up and carried around. And surprisingly enough, he’s a pretty good little watchdog. If he hears voices outside, or something out of the ordinary, he’ll immediately bark with a bark he only uses for that situation, which is pretty handy. I hold out hope that all the drama is just part of his puppy phase and he’ll eventually grow out of it completely. But in the meantime, we’ve grown to love him for the insane little guy that he is.

So to Mrs. Mabou, (assuming she kept her maiden name) I understand loving your dog, I really do. I mean, hey, I just wrote a really long blog post about how much I love my dogs and why. I’m a crazy dog person – I get it. But even I have to draw the line somewhere waaay before marriage.

A Disclaimer to "Feeling Bookish"

After getting further into “The Girl Who Stopped Swimming” by Joshilyn Jackson, I’m going to have to rescind my recommendation. In the future, I should probably get through the entire book before mentioning that it might be worth reading/listening to. I still haven’t finished it, but at this point I’m not sure I’m going to. The subject matter just gets sketchier as you read and it’s just not a book I felt good reading/listening to. It may be your kind of thing, but it really wasn’t mine, and I wouldn’t want someone to dive in based on my previous post without knowing that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Small Talk

Through the years, I have come to realize that "small talk" is an acquired skill.
One that does not come naturally for me-it is something I have learned to do by watching others...you could say I like to cut through the "small talk" section of getting to know people and get down to what they are really about ... however, I have come to realize that for some going from meeting someone to asking them about the deep recesses of their heart all in a day can come across really awkward and out-of-place. Plus, without the lighter conversations, you could miss out on some of the simple things to appreciate about your friends. So I have started to learn the value of "small talk" as a building block in friendships. It has become a discipline for me be more timely in my words and questioning- that it's not so random that it throws off the conversation all together.
I have actually come to enjoy light conversation especially ones that involve laughter or some good ole bathroom humor! Ha!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Corn & Coke

So I really dislike corn mixed with other food.  Thinking about corn in my salsa now just gives me the heebie jeebies (SP?!).  Or corn floating around in soup???  WHY?!  Creamed corn grosses me out as well... I guess because it has chunky corn in it.  And let's not even get into the whole "what corn does after you eat it" discussion!  However, I love cornbread, corn on the cob, and corn off the cob (as long as it's all by itself).  Oh, and apparently I also love high fructose CORN syrup, because I just can't get enough Dr. Pepper.  Which brings me to another thing...

Do you like your soda over ice (fountain drink), in a can, or in a bottle?  We have a neato little gadget quiz on the side, so please weigh in.  I very strongly prefer a good fountain drink, preferably in a styrofoam cup (sorry, Earth).  I thought most people also had this preference, but I was shocked to find out on a recent trip that two of my best friends prefer the plastic bottles.  How did I never know this about them.  And why does this seem like a significant discovery?!  I don't know, but it is.  They like the fact that coke (no, not necessarily Coca-Cola, but some of us refer to any soda as "coke") from a bottle tastes exactly the same every single time.  It's dependable.  Me - I'm a fairly slow drinker, and coke from the bottle does not stay cold long enough for me.  I like mine as cold as can be, and there's also just something about having that ice in there to keep my coke company.  But they're right.  Sometimes you get a fountain drink that's just "off."  That can totally ruin one's snack, meal, or if you really have nothing else better to get cranky about, DAY.  Oh, and lets not forget the ol' can.  I think I would actually prefer a can over a bottle, but I'm not sure why.  But then you get into the issue of whether rats or other pests have pooped on your can while in transit or storage.  And that's just gross, so I'll leave it at that.  Oh, but wait.  When I do have a can, I tap on the top before opening it.  Someone once told me that would keep it from spewing.  Is this true?  My dear husband humorously mocks me almost every time I do this out of habit.  Maybe we should do a test science-fair-project style.  But I would rather someone just tell me if they already know.  So if you know, please share!

Hope all of your "cokes" are just right today (and free from corn floaties, for that matter)!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

M.J.

Since today is Michael Jackson's funeral I thought my blog should be about him. He was the King of Pop. He was absolutely one of the most talented musicians!I have dozens of fun memories of his music. He was apart of my growing up. But sadly fame had destroyed him. He was always in search of something to fill his life. Unfortunately I don't believe he ever found fullfillment. The only way to find fullfillment is in Jesus Christ. Now i can't say for sure if Michael knew Christ. But his life definitely didn't reflect Christ. So today at the funeral with millions watching what a trajedy it would be to not take the opportunity to share Christ. I am sure it won't be done. So I will share here with one verse. Romans 6:23 says "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord". We have all sinned and deserve death. But God loved us so much that He sent His only son Jesus to die on a cross to pay the penalty of our sin. He was buried and was raised on the 3rd day (demonstrating God's victory over death). And because of this sacrifice we can have a right relationship with God and now have a hope and future. A future in that when we die we will spend eternity with Him! But also that we can enjoy freedom in this life. A freedom from the guilt of sin. Not a free pass to sin, but the assurance that our sins are forgiven!


Monday, July 6, 2009

Babies are like Hobbits

Hobbits: a fictional diminutive race in J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium who inhabit the lands of Middle-earth.

It has occurred to me this week that babies have a lot in common with Hobbits: they are "diminutive", they don’t wear shoes (though, thankfully, most babies don’t have super-hairy Hobbit feet – how weird would that be?), and they eat a lot. That last one is what got me thinking about this in the first place: Hobbits eat approximately 7 meals per day - breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and (later in the evening) supper. Asher has added a couple of meals to this repertoire; it seems like every time I turn around he’s trying to suck on his blanket or his fist and I realize it’s time to nurse him again. I’m considering calling him "Frodo" from now on!

On a more serious note, it is amazing that God created a mother’s body to be capable of meeting all that demand. I am finding it quite satisfying to be able to give this precious boy exactly what he needs to survive and thrive as a new human being/pseudo-Hobbit. :)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

It's really only fitting that the 4th of July falls on my day to post because I LOVE to celebrate the 4th and my freedom as an American. This special day is probably my favorite holiday, next to Thanksgiving. I get truly emotional at the playing of our national anthem, and I am so unbelievably proud of the men and women who have served and are serving our great nation. I have always been very patriotic, but I did not truly know what that meant until my brother joined the Army and served two tours in Iraq. I think it was then that I realized the sacrifices these men and women make every single day, just for me. So as you celebrate this great holiday, I ask you to do the following:
  • Remember those who have fought and died for your freedom;
  • Remember those who are serving in our military right now and ask God to guide them and protect them in their endeavors;
  • Pray for the families of those serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and all across the world; and
  • Proudly show that you are an American by wearing your red, white and blue and flying our nation's flag high.
So, next time you see a soldier, thank him/her for the sacrifices they make so that you can live in a free country. For we live in a land of the free because of the brave!

If you live in the DFW area and would like to show your support of our military, please see the following:

Welcome Home a Hero
Every day of the year, a plane full of roughly 150 troops arrives at DFW Airport. These troops have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan and are hitting American soil for the first time for two weeks of R&R. You can call 972.574.0392 the night before the flight to get information about the arrival time and location. Groups larger than 100 people should be scheduled by calling 972.948.7059. Come help us shake their hands and welcome them home!

Check out this website for more information:
http://affiliates.uso.org/dfw/default.cfm?contentid=698

God Bless America!
Cassandra O

Friday, July 3, 2009

Vacay

I hear that's what the kids are calling it these days.

There are 2.3 days remaining in the only full week of vacation I’ve had this year. The funny thing is – I’ve been calculating my remaining time off since I left work at 7:00 pm last Friday, trying to savor every second. And as usual, it has passed too quickly. I miss days that drag out forever. That seems to be a phenomenon that mysteriously disappears when you reach adulthood. Why is that? Why is it that as adults we spend our free time so aware of when it will end? Is that just me? I don’t know, maybe it’s just been too long since I’ve sat on a beach with my toes in the sand. Maybe that’s the miracle cure.

Not to say I didn’t enjoy my week off. I did things that needed to be done, I visited with friends I don’t see enough, I slept in, I snuggled my dogs, I worked on a project I’ve been putting off forever. But the part that I enjoyed the most was that feeling anything was possible. I could go to a movie with my husband at 7:30 on a Sunday night without stressing out about whether I would be tired Monday morning. I could use a little more of that in my everyday life. I get so stuck in the routine of up at 5:30, stress my way through the day, get home, take the dogs out, make dinner, watch some tv, go to bed at a decent hour. Wash, rinse, repeat.

So in spite of the feeling of impending doom (ha), I think I remembered something valuable this week – sometimes just relaxing and not thinking about tomorrow is the best medicine out there. And there’s really no reason I can’t do that all the time. (Well, no reason other than the fact that my brain does not naturally function that way – at all.) But you know, work will always be busy and stressful, and really - so what if I’m tired on a Monday morning? How much more would I enjoy life if I could just stop worrying about tomorrow and live in the moment a little more often? I think quite a lot. It’s something I really want to work on.

Oh, and those closets we talked about last week…didn’t touch ‘em and couldn’t be happier about it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Erica is a MOM!


Well, since Erica just gave birth to Asher, I will dedicate this week's post to her.  She made for a beautiful pregnant gal, and I was excited to take a few pictures of her before Asher made his appearance.  Erica has done some modeling in the past (in case you can't tell), so she was a breeze to photograph.  Beautiful!  I still have a TON to learn about my camera and photography, but I thought these turned out pretty well for a random shoot at her house.  I can't wait to get down there to see Asher, and I look forward to taking some sweet pictures of that baby boy.  As far as parents go, he has two really cool ones (minus Erica when you tell her to meet you at one Chick-fil-a, and she goes to another! ), so I can't wait to see what he is like!  





 
And Erica, you definitely get a pass on this week's posting!