Thursday, December 31, 2009

Baby noises...

I was sitting down on the floor playing with my nephew, Miles and my daughter, Allie tonight and just laughing at the funny noises that they were making. Ranging from sweet noises- like the coo's, giggles, and kissy noises to the "stinky noises"- we know what I'm talking about there...and how all these noises make up these little baby packages. It is such a small time in their lives that babies do things out of pure instinct without any self consciousness...gosh, the pure innocence of it all. It is good to stop and remember how precious all of these noises are, because they will be long gone before I know it and I will wishing for these days again. I have a 15 month old now, who is in the process of making new words each day- words I can understand- so our "baby noises season" is about to end and I am about to have a child I can actually speak with...crazy!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon

As we were leaving my parents' house tonight after visiting with my brother and sister-in-law, I noticed how beautiful the moon looked. My mom informed me that tomorrow (New Year's Eve) would be extra special because it would be a blue moon. This means that it is the second full moon in the month, which only happens once every 2.5 years. I actually would have thought it was more rare than that. Now when I say "once in a blue moon", I'll have to think about that meaning only once every 2.5 years... except that that's not the true meaning of blue moon, but we'll get to that later. Another special thing about tomorrow night is that blue moon on New Years Eve only occur every 19 years. Apparently, this definition of "blue moon" only came about as a mistake by a writer for Sky & Telescope magazine, so it is not technically a second full moon of a month but rather the third full moon in a season with four full moons, not the usual three. Confused yet? And I have no idea how often that happens. But blue moon or not, I hope you have a wonderful and safe time ringing in 2010!

Monday, December 28, 2009


We started out the Christmas celebrations by going to the Christmas Eve service at our church. It was so good! I love having a candlelight service on Christmas Eve! After the service we headed over to our Worship Pastor's house for some food and games. We played Wii and ate good food! We got home pretty late, but after Reagan went down we watched The Nativity Story. Such a great depiction of how the birth of Christ might have been (minus the part where the wisemen come when at the time of Jesus' birth).

That brings us to Christmas morning. So despite me having the stomach flu all day we had a great Christmas! Reagan woke up at 7:30am and the three of us headed downstairs. There were lots of presents under the tree. Santa had been good to us! :) Reagan got some clothes, books and lots of toys. She really enjoyed the wrapping paper! I got some new Aerosoles Winter boots, a new Oreck vacuum cleaner, a really soft fuzzy blanket and some movies. John got some clothes, movies, candy, and a table top air hockey game. John also got all of us Pajama Grams to wear Christmas morning. I am posting some pics below of our fun day.

I am super sick in this pic, but was able to stand up briefly to take it!

She is ready to open her presents!!

Reagan was so good at helping me open presents!

I couldn't end this blog post without talking about Wednesday! This Wednesday will be John and my 9th wedding anniversary! I can't believe it has been 9 years! I love him more and more each day! I am so blessed to have a Godly husband!!

Also here are my New Years resolutions!
1. Exercise on a regular basis
2. Eat healthier (including stop drinking cokes)
3. Get organized (And get rid of stuff I don't use)
4. Spend more time in scripture (and do a better job of memorization)
5. Look for more opportunities to share my faith

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Crack the Code...and other traditions

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.

Every year for as long as I can remember my mom has come up with a code for our gifts...this way we can't shake a box with our name on it to see what might be inside. This has developed into a tradition for our family and one that has been lots of fun. Early on I'm sure it was easy to come up with some sort of code for our gifts, but as the years have gone by I'm pretty sure it has gotten a little harder for her, especially now that we've added some members to the family. Yet somehow she still manages to come up with a code. My mom is seriously creative...the box usually has a number on it but that number has a certain meaning. Then when it comes time to open gifts she gives us clues to help us crack the code. She's done everything from the number of letters in our name to our interests, and this year it had to do with where we live and if we were a boy or I was Hurst Girl...count the letters and I got the gifts with the number 9 on them. It's such a fun tradition and one I will always remember.

The weather got so bad Christmas Even that our plans for that night were cancelled. So Scott and I stayed in and had a fun evening together. I made us dinner and we ate off my Mema's china. This was so special for me because whenever we would go over to Mema's for Christmas we would always eat dinner on her china. She got sick several years ago and before she passed away she asked me if there was anything of hers that I wanted. I immediately said "your china." Fortunately no one else wanted it and so her 20 piece china set went to me. (oh the pregnancy hormones are in full force these days and now I'm crying...this has been happening all weekend.) It meant so much to me to be able to use some of my Mema's china for a Christmas Even dinner with my husband.

As I close, I'd like to leave you with a few pictures from my Christmas:

These two pictures are of a house that we pass by going to my parent's house...I love this house at Christmastime because the decorations are you can see they decorate every part of their yard and even the big tree. It makes me laugh every time but I still love it!

These last three are of 1) me and my sweet nephew, Tex, 2) my two dogs, Beckham and Maverick, checking out the snow, and 3) our family.

Hope you all have a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Jesus & Asti Spumante

My children are so excited!! Every morning, we've been counting how many days left until Christmas. I love seeing their excitement. Erica's post made me think. I can't even list many of the Christmas gifts I received growing up. I do remember quite vividly the red bike I received one Christmas morning. I was wearing a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt and a corduroy skirt (must have been a warm Texas Christmas). That's how vividly I remember. And I remember sneaking with my cousins into the back room at Mamaw and Papaw's house to discover our pink vanities behind the bed! Back to my point... I think my best memories of Christmas were spending time with grandparents, cousins, etc. It was always fun to be together. I love watching my children with their cousins and wondering which memories will stick. For our immediate family, my mom used to prepare a really nice dinner on Christmas Eve. We would eat as a family, and then we each got to open one gift. Oh, and at dinner, my parents would sometimes let us try a few sips of sparkling wine. One day, my brother Jason's classmates were discussing their favorite things. Jason announced to his class at our private Christian school that his favorite wine was Asti Spumante!

I pray that you enjoy a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of our Savior and making precious memories with loved ones. If you don't have a personal relationship with Him, you can. It's never too late. And if you have questions, just ask.

"I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." Romans 12:16a

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's Christmas Eve Eve Eve!

Christmas will be here in a few days! I love Christmas. It's different than it used to be, of course; I definitely miss the weeks (or month) vacation that I used to get when I was in school. Sometimes the season seems to just pass right by because work goes on whether 'tis the season or not. The "presents" part of Christmas is a lot different now, too. Personally, I'm at a point in my life where I could pretty much do without that part. Maybe that makes me sound like a grinch, but it seems like every year I am less and less interested in feeding into the consumerism of the season. (While this isn't the point of my post, I urge you all to check out Read about it, watch the videos, and tell me if it doesn't make you think really really hard about priorities.)

However, I do think that, done with a rational approach, gifts for kids at Christmas is a must. Asher is still too young to really get into Christmas this year, so Adam and I aren't doing much for him this time around, but we certainly plan to have many memorable gift-related Christmas moments in the future. Which leads me to what IS the point of my post: my most memorable Christmas gifts. Not surprisingly, they are the ones that were the most personal. I mean, sure, I remember the year I got my boombox, my first leather jacket, etc., but here are the ones that meant the most to me:

1. One year when I was about 7 or 8, I had a lot of small wrapped gifts under the tree. Each of them ended up being a different piece of furniture for a dollhouse. I was a little confused and maybe even somewhat disappointed - I had asked for a dollhouse and there wasn't one in sight - I thought these smaller items must be for another time and I wouldn't be getting the dollhouse for Christmas. But after all the gifts were opened and I was resigned to the fact that I would have to wait a bit longer, my grandpa made a grand entrance with an absolutely beautiful three-story dollhouse that he had made for me with his own two hands. I get a little emotional just thinking about it! Later, my dad helped me wire it up with lights and my mom would often take me to the hobby shop to pick out some new piece of furniture as a reward for good behavior or good grades, etc. Definitely one of my favorite gifts of all time.

2. Another year, probably earlier than the Christmas above, I had asked for a bicycle. I got up Christmas morning thinking that it would be by the tree, left by Santa, but instead there was a big box. My dad had purchased the bike unassembled so that he and I could put it together ourselves. I really treasured that time with him and appreciated the bike all the more knowing that I had helped assemble it!

There are several more, and the thing they all have in common is that they weren't necessarily the most expensive or "popular" items - they made memories.

What are your favorite and/or most memorable gifts?
Merry Christmas, everybody - remember to make it special!!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Reason for the Season

3 days 7 hours and 20 minutes til Christmas!!

It isn't bad to believe in Santa Claus or to buy gifts for each other at Christmas! You can tell your kids that Santa visits your house and brings gifts. As long as you tell them the real reason we celebrate Christmas! We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ!

Here is the Christmas story from Matthew 1:18 - 2:23

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. 2.1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6“‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” 7Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. 13Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” 16Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:18“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” 19But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Being a mom I think about Mary. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt? Being 14 years old, not married and being told by an angel that you would bear God's son. And then having to travel while in her last month of pregnancy on the back of a donkey in undesirable conditions. Once getting to Bethlehem having to give birth in a stable next to sheep, donkeys and cows. I can't imagine all the emotions Mary experienced (especially pregnancy hormones). All I have to say is we are so fortunate to have modern medicine and hospitals for sure!!! :)

This week turn your focus to the real meaning of Christmas! Jesus Christ! Thank God for sending his son to this earth to die on a cross and rise from the dead paying the penalty of our sin! Thank God that because of that little baby in the manger we can now spend eternity with Him in Heaven!

But also have fun on Christmas! Celebrate each other and being together as a family!!

Merry CHRISTmas Yall!!!!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

It's a Christmakkah Miracle

So yesterday I decided to go get a mani and pedi after having a very long and busy week at work and a semi-stressful Friday evening. This was a much needed time of relaxing and pampering! So I'm sitting in the chair and had placed my cell phone between my know where this is going, don't you? Well we hadn't even started and plop, there goes my phone into the water. (sigh) The pedicurist (is that even a name) moved so fast and had my phone out of the water in no time at all. He wiped it off, opened it up, and did his very best to wipe away any water. Fortunately the battery wasn't very wet, so we decided to not put the phone back together and leave everything to air out. I was just hoping and praying that my phone wasn't ruined because I've only had it a few weeks. And, did you know that if you do happen to drop your phone in water that one of the best things to do is place the battery/phone in a bag of rice? The rice will basically soak up any water. And, you should never use a blow dryer to dry out your phone because that could end up damaging it even more. Just wanted to pass along that bit of information in case you ever find yourself in such a predicament (like me, my mom, or Amelia). I have to admit I didn't put my phone in a bag of rice though...I just left everything on the counter to air dry overnight. This morning I put it together and BAM, back to normal! It was a Christmakkah Miracle. So, the moral of the story is...don't put your phone between your legs while getting a pedicure (though I wasn't going to leave it there), or don't put it in your back pocket to where it can fall into the toilet, or don't 'accidentally' wash it in the sink (yep, that was me...and I won't even go into details).

BTW, if you're wondering where I came up with Christmakkah's from one of my all time favorite shows, The O.C. I seriously loved that show when it was on...and one of the episodes is around Christmastime and dear sweet Seth felt he could celebrate Hanukkah (b/c his dad was Jewish) and Christmas, so he came up with Christmakkah. Love it! So you see, I'm not completely out of it.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Tis the Season

I'm probably a little late for any of this information to help you with your Christmas shopping, but I wanted to share some of my go-to sites when I'm shopping for a gift. The only drawback is that if you want to shop online, you have to think far enough ahead to include shipping time. So let me rephrase and say that these are my go-to gift shopping sites when I'm not procrastinating or letting birthdays and such sneak up on me.

First up, Delight. I can always count on finding something unique on this website. Though it's not always the cheapest, if you watch their prices you can usually get some pretty good deals. Here are some of my current favorites there:

Next we have Red Envelope.  Some of their gifts fall into the pricier spectrum, but they have so much great stuff that sometimes I'm willing to spend more.  For example, I am absolutely in love with this (currently sold out) jewelry tree:

It was going to be my birthday present to myself, until I discovered yesterday that it was sold out.  Cue weeping.  Okay, maybe not weeping, but I had been gazing longingly at this for weeks while I waited for my birthday to come around.  (Le sigh)  Red Envelope has tons of things I love, and I think you can find a gift there for just about anyone.  Here are some other site favorites:

One thing I always do, no matter where I find a gift, is run a quick little search before purchasing.  I always, always, always google to find a coupon code before purchasing.  Red Envelope in particular always has a great savings code out there.  I also check to make sure I can't find a lower price or similar item at another reputable site.  Sticking with one you know when it's only a matter of a few dollars is always a good bet though.

Wait, what's that you say?  Your cousin in Toledo is not the Lotus Fountain type?  Don't dismay!  Check back next Friday for my site picks for the trendier/younger/less domestic crowd.  In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy Shopping. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bad blogger

I was a naughty blogger and skipped my day last week to enter a blog.

I have been preoccupied with a few things lately and just can't seem to focus in on one here is my official blog for this week...

I had a mommy success moment the other daughter, Allie is now coming into a wonderful phase of being more independent, and with that comes testing her boundaries-which she has been doing quite a bit of lately...needless to say my days have been a little more mentally exhausting as I have had to redirect her behavior (which usually follows with a cry spell from her) sometimes from one moment to the, last week I was watching my friend Beth's little boy Isaac for the morning, and when I watch him he always has his own sippy cup. We'll anytime Isaac has come over to our house, it all of the sudden becomes a battle of the sippy cups between Isaac and Allie- they want to drink from each others's exhausting, because usually the second I take away Isaac's cup from Allie she begins to cry and it makes a whole scene. On Friday, I looked to see that Allie had Isaac's cup (again) in her hand and I looked at her and asked her, "Are you supposed to have Isaac's cup in your hand?" and she immediately stopped what she was doing and tried to hand me the cup. I told her, "No, that's not my cup-it belongs to Isaac, please give back to him", and the most amazing thing happened- Allie stood up and walked over to Isaac and handed him his cup and that was that...I was SOOOO proud of her obedience, in fact, right after she did that I held out my arms and said come here sweet girl and she ran across the living room into my arms- it was a priceless moment I will never forget! It also encouraged me to 'keep on keeping on" with being intentional with Allie-that what we are doing is just takes consistency. I was a proud mommy and it showed me she can obey...praise the Lord!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How Embarrassing!

What's your most embarrassing moment?? I have several I can think of, but I think an incident in college takes the cake. I went to Texas Tech, and when I had classes back to back across campus from one another, I had to take a bus. We'll, I cheerily hopped on the bus one day and was excited to see one of my friends... or who I thought was that friend. I'm sure I was all smiles as I walked back to where she was sitting and promptly sat on her lap! Michelle - the girl I thought it was - was someone who would have thought this was humorous. Apparently, this non-Michelle girl did not. She just stared into my eyes (and being on her lap, this was quite close, and then I realized.... I said, "You're not Michelle." very matter-of-factly and quickly stood up and moved. If only I could have gotten off the bus at that very moment. And then, of course I end up having a class with that girl the following semester. I wonder if she always thought of that when she saw me. And if so, what did she think? Was I crazy? Who knows, maybe she's still telling this story. So what's your most embarrassing moment? Spill it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Good news, Bad news

The good news: I turned 31 on Sunday and I had a GREAT birthday weekend! I got so many calls and texts and Facebook messages, some cards, some Mad Libs (thanks, M!!), and even some money! Woo hoo! And Adam grilled me a fantabulous filet from Whole Foods, and Asher sat in his high chair and entertained himself all through dinner so Adam and I could eat! Score! Birthdays are fun. I don't even mind getting older, especially when I have so many lovely and wonderful people to grow older with! :)

The bad news: this has been a pretty terrible week at work so far. Today was especially bad, and I'm sitting here now, 4 hours after leaving work, still dealing with the lovely tension headache my job caused today. Have I mentioned before that I am very thankful for my job? Because I am. Even on days like today. And it's a good thing I'm thankful for it, because otherwise I might just be miserable (at times, anyway). I googled "tension headache" and, ironically, this is what Google Health had to say: "Hot or cold showers or baths may relieve a headache for some people. You may need to make lifestyle changes if you have chronic tension headaches. This may include getting plenty of sleep and exercise, stretching the neck and back muscles frequently, and possibly changing your job or recreational habits" (emphasis added). Doesn't this make it sound easy? Like I could just snap my fingers and have a new, less tension-inducing job? If only...

All right, that's definitely enough complaining. It's not like complaining is making my head feel any better :) More good news - tomorrow is a new day! So here's to a happy Wednesday!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009


10 days til Christmas!!

So my little girl turns one tomorrow! I can't believe it has been a year! I am so very proud of her! She is so fun and has such a cute personality! She has brought so much joy to our lives!

What an amazing year it has been! Watching her change everyday. From saying her first word (dada of course) to crawling, to feeding herself. It has been so fun to watch!

It brings tears to my eyes to think my baby is getting older. But I am so excited for the next year. Seeing her learn to walk, talking more and all the new discoveries she will make!

I am so thankful to God for her! And I am so thankful to Him that John has a good job and I have the privelege to stay home and take care of Reagan!!

Here is a picture from her party here in Illinois!

Happy 1st Birthday to my sweet Reagan! I love you so very much!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009


First, I would like to wish our dear Erica a very Happy Birthday! We love you E! mom is FABULOUS! So much so that I'm having trouble putting into words how wonderful I think she is. It is because of her that I am the woman I am today. The past 31 years she has put her blood, sweat and tears into me and I honestly could not be more grateful for all that she has taught me. I can remember growing up how hard my mom worked not only to provide for our family but to also further her education. My mom had a passion for children and God used that passion to call her into the ministry. She was already active at our church and serving as the Children's Minister, but I guess to get the big bucks and be legit you needed to go to seminary (ha!). So she attended seminary, worked really hard, and graduated in 1995. My mom has served at three churches and is currently the Preschool Minister at FBC Euless. What's interesting is that because she is a woman, many people don't think of her as being a full-time minister. They see her as a "serving juice and cookies only on Sundays" kind of volunteer. Well I can tell you that is far from what she does, and I am happy to set the record straight for anyone who thinks otherwise. My mom puts her blood, sweat and tears into what she does at church because she has such a passion for our preschoolers and such a strong desire to teach them about Jesus. My mom is so passionate about what she does that she does not like it when people call it "the nursery," because the nursery implies that the volunteers just watch your child and that's it. Our church is amazing in that it has so many people that serve in various areas of our church on Sunday mornings, including Preschool. Well in Preschool at our church the people don't just watch your child, they tell your child about Jesus, they sing songs, and they show them God's love. There is so much more involved than just watching and changing diapers, and if you ever want to see for yourself then sign up to take a class for a year or volunteer once a month (trust me, they can always use volunteers). My mom doesn't do it all on her own though...she has an amazing group of ladies that work alongside her (shout out to Anna, Kerri, Lori Anne, Judy, Kimlyn, and Terrell Ann). When you get them all together there is really no telling what might happen. They all work so hard and love what they do. What a blessing they are to our church and to Preschool! So if you happen to be a member of FBC Euless, please take the time to thank each of these ladies for all they do (and pray about serving in Preschool too).


Friday, December 11, 2009

Cloudy, With a Chance of Anything

I've been thinking this week about my first responses in life. When I'm faced with a crisis, a disappointment, a diagnosis...I'm pretty predictable. My immediate response is usually a little self talk in the form of calming myself down. I take a deep breath, say "Okay, Mary", and then one of two things happens: 1) I do the next logical thing and take action, or 2) I burst into tears.

I've learned to keep myself in task-oriented mode - especially when it comes to work crises - but I have my limits there too. For example, work has been horribly busy lately, and last week was one HR disaster after another. I think I got to Thursday before I completely lost it.  Oh if only I could talk in detail about work in the blog - let me tell you, I would have some stories for you. But instead we'll just say it was a week of Murphy's Law. I had done as much as I could to keep all the balls in the air, but one comment from my boss at the tail end of a very long day was all it took to downgrade "task-oriented mode" to "incoherent crying mode". I would prefer never to cry at work, EVER. I feel like it negates all professionalism and reiterates to the 120 men I work with (out of 126 employees total) that oh yes, I am a girl. But I am human, and having been at this company working with mostly the same people for the last 7 years, from time to time it just happens. Shoot, I consider it an accomplishment that it took me four days to get to that point the way last week went.

But sometimes, when I skip "task oriented mode" altogether, things decline at a rapid pace. I received a bad report that I wasn't expecting from my doctor this week, and in a matter of minutes I'm ashamed to say that I found myself asking God "why me again?" when I didn't even have a diagnosis yet. I was looking ahead to what the diagnosis could be, and blaming God for something that didn't even exist yet. It only took a minute or two for my brain to stop me, and remind me that I had a choice here. We have a choice how we wait. And I was choosing badly. I stopped and prayed for forgiveness for jumping right to that place, for peace, and for the patience to wait. And I made a choice right there not to go where I don't have to go yet. 

I read the book, "Keep A Quiet Heart" by Elisabeth Elliot several years ago. It is one of the best devotional books I've ever found, and there was one particular theme that has continued to stand out to me over the years. One of the chapters was titled, "Do Not Forecast Grief". As I let that sink in I couldn't believe how much time in my life I've spent forecasting heartache and pain and struggles that never occurred. And ten years after first reading that quote, I can look back and see that the traumas and tragedies that have affected me the most are the ones that I never saw coming. I never spent a day worrying about them because I couldn't have imagined they would ever happen to me.

As that quote popped into my mind Tuesday, it was the perfect reminder to only take on what today has for me. To remember who holds my future. It's sad to think that I've spent so many good days worrying about how bad the next one might be. The fact that I'm sitting here today is evidence that I have made it through every single thing life has thrown at me, relatively intact. My experiences have made me who I am, and each one has changed me in one way or another. To some degree, it's that change I'm afraid of. The mystery of who I will be on the other side if I have to cross this next bridge. It's so easy to get comfortable with who we are, so easy to stop growing and challenging ourselves when left to our own devices. Unfortunately, we probably all need a little shake up every now and then. We were never meant to stay where we started from.

Maybe one day I will finally learn to welcome change, but today, I'll settle for accepting that it's out of my hands and in much, much wiser ones.

"When we prayed 'Thy will be done', did we suppose he did not hear us? He heard indeed, and daily makes our business His, and partakes of our lives. If my life is once surrendered, all is well. Let me not grab it back, as though it were in peril in His hand but would be safer in mine

Today is mine. Tomorrow is none of my business. If I peer anxiously into the fog of the future I will strain my spiritual eyes so that I will not see clearly what is required of me now."
Elisabeth Elliot

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Too Close for Comfort

On a recent trip to see Beth in Illinois, Mary and I discovered something. She (Mary) doesn't mind sharing a bed with others (I'm sure "others" doesn't include just anyone. Her morals aren't that loose. But I honestly can't stand the idea of sharing a bed with anyone... well, anyone but my dear husband. Every now and then, though, it's nice when he goes out of town and I get the big bed all to myself. But, shhhh, don't tell him I told you that. I guess it's weird, because Mary and Beth reminded me that we had five of us (Mary, Hillary, Erica, Beth, and myself) in my full-sized bed at one point (or more) in high school. So if I was okay with it then, why is it so weird now?? I guess Chris and I have our nice, normal routine that I've grown accustomed to over the past six years. We don't have an awkward pause and have to wonder if we can go ahead and doze off or if we still need to pay close attention. I can put my cold feet on him and snuggle up next to him if I want. I'm sure Mary would have let me do that. She's just that good of a friend, but I could never feel comfortable doing this. And this probably makes my husband happy. Perhaps I don't like sharing a bed with a friend, because I feel I have to be very conscious of "the line" - wouldn't want to cross onto their side and accidentally touch. Nooooooo! I'm not really sure why I have such an aversion to this, but I will just hope that it's not too often that I am put in this situation. And just so you know, Mary and I did share a bed that weekend, and I survived. Barely.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Adam and Asher and I were in the car headed to Fort Worth. We knew there would be traffic - there is always traffic in Austin, then you add a holiday and things get out of control - however, we had no idea it would take SEVEN (yes, SEVEN) hours to get to Fort Worth. Unbelievable! It wasn't very fun, but there was nothing we could do about it (except complain occasionally and brainstorm ways to avoid it in the future!). In an effort to make the monotony more enjoyable, Adam came up with a "list" for us. We often do things like this on long drives, and it's always great - you just think of a topic and take turns adding to the list. Examples: bands with women in them, movies about aliens, cereals, etc. This time, Adam switched it up; instead of doing a back-and-forth list like we usually do, he broke out the big guns and suggested that we both compile a list of our top ten favorite movies. *GASP*

Maybe this doesn't sound like a big deal, but we are serious about our movies. I knew right away this task would be daunting, if not downright impossible. There were so many questions - do the movies on the list have to be ones I would want to watch over and over? I mean, just because I would want to watch a movie several times doesn't mean it's a great movie. So does a "favorite" have to be "great"? I also had to be careful about including more recent films, in terms of not letting the "newness" color my decision. I'm telling you, this was serious, complicated business.

I decided to start with a sort of free-form list of movies I love and/or like - I think I had about 30 on there - then I began narrowing it down. Soooooo, the following is what I came up with - a list of my top ten favorite movies as of November 25, 2009 (in no particular order):

Almost Famous
The Money Pit
High Fidelity
The Royal Tenenbaums
Lost in Translation
When Harry Met Sally
Shaun of the Dead
Jurassic Park

Geez, even reading this now I am second-guessing my choices, but after 7+ hours of thinking about it, I guess this is as close as I can get at this point. Would a list like this be super-hard for anyone else to compile or am I just weird?

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Christmas

17 days til Christmas! Yeehaw!!

I just made a batch of fudge and it smells good in my house!

So this Christmas will be our first Christmas in Illinois. And it will be our first Christmas away from our families. I am excited and sad at the same time. I am sad to not spend Christmas with my family. I will truly miss them!

But I am super excited to celebrate Christmas in our own home with John and Reagan. Reagan was just 10 days old last Christmas and of course wasn't into all the Christmas celebrations. But this year (being 1 yr old) she is going to have a blast. I am looking forward to attending the Christmas Eve service at our new church and then heading over to our Worship Pastor's house afterward. I am looking forward to coming downstairs on Christmas morning and sitting on the floor with John and Reagan and opening our presents from "Santa"! I am looking forward to cooking a turkey (or a ham) and all the dishes that go along with that! I am hoping for snow, so we can have a white Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

All Things Baby

First, I want to say congratulations to my sister Kiersten and her husband Jay on the arrival of Tex Major Trentacosta. He was born December 1st, weighing 8 lbs. and 21 3/4 long. He's a big boy and such a cutie. Can't wait to see everyone over Christmas.

This is just going to be a random's past my bedtime and I'm drawing a blank right now. Today I decided to start the process of getting the baby room ready. This requires some serious reorganization in other rooms of the house before I can even begin to start moving things out of what's going to be the baby's room. I first started in the laundry room/pantry and opened up some space in there...then I worked on the hall closet...and finally moved on to our guest bedroom (a/k/a Scott's room...or at least the room the holds Scott's clothes). I got a lot accomplished but in the grand scheme of things, I'm not even close. Baby steps, right? What's great is that while going through things I've made a "giveaway" this whole process is like spring cleaning really. There's something so freeing about getting rid of stuff/throwing things away. I love it! And so the madness will continue...

While we're on the topic of baby...Scott and I have also been discussing possible names for Baby Boy O. YOWZAH! What a task! I went through this book of baby names about a month ago and wrote down all the ones I liked. I came up with 30. I told Scott that he needed to go through the book as well and do the same thing. If you know my husband then you know this didn't happen. So we finally went through my list of 30 and narrowed it down to seven names about two weeks ago and then we revisited the subject last week and have our list narrowed down to four. We're taking a break from discussions right now and honestly, I don't feel the need to rush into making a decision right now anyway. I mean, this little boy is going to have this name for the rest of his life. And I'm pretty sure he doesn't want to be called Jergen Claus Osterhoudt (um, yes, that is what Scott likes to throw out there just for fun). You also have to think about what his initials will spell out and the horrible (yet creative) nicknames kids come up with these days. It's overwhelming but at least we have it narrowed down to four. Until then, Jergen Claus it is. :)


Friday, December 4, 2009

Because I'm having a ridiculously busy week...

All you get today is this funny, yet slightly disturbing video:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hey little girl, want some candy?

Yesterday, I was at Kroger doing some grocery shopping and as I was pushing my cart down the canned goods aisle and was stopped by an interesting elderly man. He had a strange little unwrapped peppermint in his hands, like the size of a quarter, and said to Allie, "looks like this little girl needs some candy". I was a little creeped out about the whole interaction, and tried to quickly intercept the candy he was trying to hand my daughter and I told him that she was still a little too young for candy, but thank you. I guess there are still people out there that don't think it is weird to accept candy from strangers, and I guess there are still people out there that think a candy the size of a quarter won't choke a 14 month old. I gave the guy the benefit of the doubt, but was still in dismay about the whole interaction...which, bring me to my next rant...

What is the deal about strangers wanting to touch your baby? It seems like anytime I am out running errands, etc...with Allie, that at least one person/stranger touches or tries to touch Allie's face or hands...and I just want to stop them and ask- where have your hands been? and would you touch me like that? No, we'll then why do you think it is okay to touch a defenseless baby?, seriously, where have their hands been? Did they wash when they last went to the bathroom? Had they just scratched their butt or picked their nose? I am all for friends and family loving and kissing on my baby, but strangers, come on? Really????

On a serious note- please pray for my friend Matt Chandler who is having brain surgery at 10:45 today to remove a tumor- I know his family would appreciate it!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Fake Baby

As I was flipping through the channels last night (Yes, my hubby passed me the remote for a few minutes!), I noticed My Fake Baby on the guide. I turned to it for a few minutes, because I thought it must have been about the ladies who buy reborn dolls. We saw a 20/20 special on this a while back, and I was both fascinated and creeped out. If you haven't heard about it, people have started (Actually, it's been going on for almost 20 years now - weird that 1990 is almost TWENTY years ago...) making these babies that look incredibly realistic. If you're interested, and you have anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars to spend, you can special order your own reborn baby.
Not surprisingly, it is mostly women that purchase these babies. Some people collect them, just like you (well, not you, hopefully!) would collect regular dolls, but some people just have one baby. Some who have lost a child or a grandchild have a reborn doll made as a replica of their lost one. For some people who are grieving, they say it is therapeutic, but when does this cross the line? Some of the women on the 20/20 special would buy one and then take them everywhere they went. They said they did this because of all the attention they received when they had a baby with them. And that just seems weird. The reborn babies are also said to have helped Alzheimer's patients and others. So, on one hand, I am completely and absolutely creeped out by this whole thing. On the other hand, I get it. If this is what helps someone grieve the loss of a child, then so be it. And if it's helping elderly patients with terrible diseases such as Alzheimer's, then that's pretty cool. But I still find it strange that people will tote these around, treating them like real babies, just to gain attention from others. So what do you think - creepy or helpful?? I guess there are weirder things that people do... maybe!