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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas, Everyone!


I can't believe Christmas is already here again! I LOVE this time of year, but am always a little sad when it's over.

Last night we took the kids to see the lights in Belton. If you've not been, you must go. It's terrific. While we were viewing the lights and talking about all the hard work that went into putting them up, a conversation started about how special the Baby Jesus must be to have everyone go to such lengths to celebrate his birth. We laughed and talked about how crazy it would be if we all had such enormous birthday parties celebrated by so many people on OUR birthdays. It just reminded me that through the commercialism and stress of Christmas, it's about Jesus and Only Jesus. As long as we can stay focused on that, Christmas will always be a special time of year.

Happy Birthday, Jesus and Merry Christmas to all of our friends and family. We literally couldn't be us without you!

Monday, December 22, 2008

In My Opinion....

Christmas this year has brought up a lot of interesting thoughts to me, and I'd just like to share them... well, because I can!

1- Target really needs to fix their exchange policy. I was reading it today. While I love their product and think their store is great, how can they not exchange ANYTHING without the receipt. Now, I understand return for cash, but EXCHANGE should be doable. With Walmart returning and exchanging just about anything you can dig out of the closet, how can Target not improve their plan?

2- People should not be buying their 6 year old an Ipod or cell phone as a Christmas gift. It makes it that much harder on those of us who are unwilling to buy them for our 11 yr old... and furthermore, Kids should be kids and get kid stuff while they're young. Quit making them grow up so fast!

3- The movie theaters really need to have some late morning shows. I mean, why can't they open at 10:00? Especially at times when they know kids will be home from school. Don't they know Preschoolers nap starting at 12:00 when they open? I'm telling you, a morning movie for the kids would be a huge success.

4- We all need to curve our spending at Christmas time. My sweet friend, Angela, had such a great idea and really got me thinking about giving money to others less fortunate. Why do we spend so much money trying to buy each other presents and hope to get presents while people in other places.. and in our own country for that matter, are barely eating. Something just feels wrong about that. We all need to step back and take a look at our consumerism. If we'd all do it, it'd make it easier on the whole bunch. It's hard to explain to kids why they get one gift when their best friend is getting a phone, ipod, laptop and Vera Bradley purse all in one morning.

5- The Y needs to have extra late hours around Christmas for those of us who want to go run off those extra pieces of fudge we ate. Wii fit just doesn't always do it for me!

6- Last, but not least, the stock market should NOT be open on Christmas Eve. Let's just think about it.. do we really want to trade stocks while we're broke from overspending? Most of all, the stock market being open keeps Daddys away from families for the day :(

Thanks for letting me share what was on my mind today!
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Let's just be honest here....


I was recently tagged by my friend, Angela, with this fun little assignment. Here are the rules:

When you receive the prize, you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in their content or design. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing that they were prized with 'Honest Weblog'. List [if you can and/or dare] at least ten honest things about yourself. Then, pass it on!"

To just be honest in no particular order...

1- I am extremely frugal and also suffer from buyer's remorse. I go to the store and buy something and sit around for hours thinking about how much it costs and how I should have spent my money differently. $20 is a lot to me regardless of the item.

2- I hate losing things. I even hate when my kids lose things. If I start to look for something and can't find it, I can't move on until I figure out where it is. If it's bad enough that I really can't find it, it bothers me a great deal. This is the same for my children losing school papers, receipts, ds games...etc.

3- My mom was a strict parent. It wasn't her fault. Because of my dad's job, she did a lot of single parenting, and trust me , I know how hard it is to control four children. BUT, because of this, I think I am extra lenient on my kids. I am not the disciplinarian and don't like to try to be.

4- Some Sundays I don't want to go to church.. I know... Big Gasp! We are every Sunday church goers and to tell you the truth, sometimes a Sunday off as a family would be inviting... which leads me to number 5.

5- I don't like our current Sunday schedule. I miss worshiping WITH my husband and family. Between hubby attending two Sunday schools and me being in choir, I'm not sure how to fix it. I'm working on the solution though.

6- I am very bad about comparing myself to others. That's really all I will say about that. I

7- I don't like to cook. AT ALL. I do cook, but I cook out of obligation and obligation only. I think it goes back to number 1. I just don't like spending money at the grocery store and then my picky kids don't eat what I cook anyway, so I HATE cooking.

8- I am reliving my childhood through my children.. mostly my daughters. It's true. They have opportunities I didn't have for various reasons, and I will tell you that I love making sure they get there and do what they love. I couldn't be prouder.

9- I am competitive. I'll tell you that I LOVE to watch my kids win at whatever they are playing. BUT, I am a quiet competitor. I can hide it very well, but inside I'm just dying.

10- I think I married up. I never imagined I'd deserve a husband that loves me so much and takes such good care of me. That's just the honest truth. Another little honest truth about us is that we chat on the phone numerous times a day. Love that, but some friends think it's a little over the top!

Now, I'd like to tag, Chastity, Heidi and Adrielle.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!


Today is my mom's birthday. She's probably over in Baton Rouge doing something to serve either my dad or one of my three siblings, or one of her 16 grandkids. That's just the kind of gal she is... a servant.

I don't think I ever fully appreciated my mother and all she did/does until I became a mom of four little kids close together and know all that goes into it. But, my mom isn't just any other mom, she's the kind of mom that had homecooked meals around the table EVERY night. The kind of mom who gave up every one of her Saturday mornings to make the children's choir at church OUTSTANDING, which, by the way, I know is responsible for training me to sing. And the kind of mom who took us shopping on the weekends just for the fun of a girl's day out. I still look forward to those days as an adult too!

First and foremost my mom is a terrific example of a dedicated wife. She has always loved my dad with the uptmost sincerity and been his top supporter. Her love and devotion to him is an example to all wives out there. She's his best friend and would do anything to bless him. What a beautiful example.

I love you, Mom. I miss being able to drop by your house and just visit. I miss you seeing my kids grow up on a daily basis and them getting to benefit daily from your servant spirit. Thank you for all of the hours you put in praying for me and helping me be a better me. It has not gone unnoticed! Happy Birthday! I love you!

Friday, December 5, 2008

He just wanted Batman

Okay, get ready for this one.

This afternoon Clayton was having a good day, so I decided to run into the Hewitt Walmart for a few items. I really just wanted to look at a couple of things. No big shopping list. Well, as I was shopping Clayton spotted a Batman toy that he wanted. He put it into the buggy and was acting as if it was going home with him. I was NOT buying Batman, so I simply put it back on the shelf kindly telling Clayton "Not today". We'll ask Santa."

Clayton did not like that I wasn't buying Batman and started to let the whole store know it. I WANT BATMAN... BATTTTMMMMMAAANNNNNNNN!! I did NOT concede to the Batman screams, but I did rush along trying to do the best I could, and finished up getting the 2 or 3 items I needed. The whole time I'm whispering in his ear.. "When we get home, Mommy is going to spank your heine".. That then led him to scream out " I DON'T WANT A SPANKING".

Clayton screams through checkout, even while the lady has to do a price check.. just my luck.. We leave the store. He's still screaming "I want Batman". I get to the car just dying to spank his bottom, but don't because all I can think of is the survelliance cameras all over the place and God knows I did NOT want my picture all over the national news as a child abuser!!

The ride home sends endless. He's screaming, I'm speeding.. just so irriated at him. I get home,shed my sweater and boots because by now I'm burning up hot. I take Clayton into his room, spank his bottom and lay him down for his nap. Of course telling him that his behavior is unacceptable.

About 3 minutes passes and someone knocks on my door. Clayton is STILL screaming. It's the Woodway Police. He says..."Mam did you just get home a short time ago" "Yes" " Do you drive a dark colored Excursion" "Yes" ( I'm just waiting for my speeding ticket here) "Well, Mam we have a call of a possible child abduction in the Walmart parking lot. We had some calls that a child was screaming and being kidnapped"

All I can do is just die of embarrassment. OH MY GOSH!!! Does it get worse? I told the officer about Clayton wanting Batman and that I was NOT buying Batman today. Is that against the law.. I really want to know? The officer was friendly, but got my name and all of my information, was forwarding it on to God only knows who else can listen on the radio that I have a screaming kid.. Like all of Woodway couldn't already hear it!!!!

He insists on seeing Clayton before he goes. The very large uniformed 6ft 3 officer walks in his bedroom. Clayton immediately silences and reaches for me. Thankfully the house was squeaky clean, so hopefully I did not fit the bill of a child abductor.. I took the opportunity to tell Clayton that the police had to come see him just because of his bad behavior in Walmart. The officer looks at Clayton and says " Are you okay, son?" Clayton says " NO" The officer says "What's wrong?" And, my Clayton responded back with " I just want BATMAN"... UGGHHH!

I offer to show the officer Clayton's birth certificate or the family photo album, but he passes and is fine with the inspection.

The officer left, but I'm still sitting here as embarrassed as I've ever been. I'm sure Yost Zachary and the other Woodway Police Officers are going to have a field day with this one!!!

If commenting, please tell me what you would have done in this situation? I know I was right not to spank in public, but what else could I have done? Oh dear!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ohhh.... the Magic!





I just thought I'd share some of our Disney pics and some highlights. We had such a great time and loved every second of it. I already want to plan another trip. I HIGHLY recommend a Disney vacation at least once in your child's life. Hopefully we've made some great memories for the kids

We had one major scare within 5 minutes of us being at the airport. We had arrived at DFW before 7am and were checking in along with 5,000 other holiday travelers. Chad advised me to go get in line. I did along with my four children. I stood there about a minute and a half and did my first head count and came up one short. I panicked, turned and walked toward Chad hollering "Do you have Clayton?" Of course, he didn't.

After about another 2 minutes of me running up and down the baggage check screaming "CLAYTON" with everyone looking at me.. I see Clayton holding his blue blankie, crying walking back toward me with a security guard. The whole family cried, took a deep breath, and went on. I immediately walked over to baggage check, got one of the paper bag tags and wrote " IF LOST CALL..." and quickly hooked it to Clayton's belt loop in his jeans. He wore his luggage tag most of the week. Thankfully, there were no more scares.


I would HIGHLY recommend the All Star Resorts. I was a little skeptical because it is what Disney refers to as a "Value" resort. It was fantastic and if we had to do it all over again, we'd choose the same place! We had a family suite with was a bedroom with a queen size bed and a living area with TWO full bathrooms and a kitchenette. It was great and a great location. The food court was fantastic and so convenient.

This is a picture of the resort from our room door.

Anyway, I could go on and on. I have more pictures on Facebook for any of you Facebookers if you want to view. It was just a fantastic experience and definitely worth the money. I told Chad that I want to work at Magic Kingdom and have a Disney ministry. All of the people are so friendly, I'm sure they'd be happy to listen to the message!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Another First

Today Caroline got her first pair of glasses. That makes her the first of our children to need them. Hopefully, maybe, the only.

The school nurse sent a note home last week saying that Caroline struggled on the school eye test, so off I went to the optometrist to find out that the trusty school nurse is completely correct. My baby needs glasses.

I just wanted to share a picture of her proudly wearing them. I think they're precious on her. When she first wore them she said out loud, "Wow! Is this what everything is suppose to look like?" How exciting to finally be able to see things with clarity. I completely understand her as I have terrible vision and wear contacts myself... so here's my new glasses cutie!( by the way, YES, that is my Christmas tree put up and decorated behind her)



I also wanted to share some other pics. This is the sweet little Thanksgiving Feast that the Kindergarteners had at the Elementary school. Cort was a darling little Indian Chief wearing feathers he had earned during the week. He was so proud.



I also wanted to share my favorite picture from Caroline's last meet of the season! It was this weekend in Fort Worth. She did a fantastic job and completed a great season. Now, we can take some deep breaths and enjoy some free weekends until next season!


So, now that the gymnastics season is complete, the glasses are purchased, the Kindergarten feast is all done... it's time for me to start packing because FOUR more days until we take the crew to the "World"... Hello, Mickey...


I hope all of my blogging buddies have a fantastic Christ filled Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Lead Me On, BABY!

Last night was FANTASTIC for me. I had the outstanding opportunity to enjoy a blast from the past and go with my sweet girlfriends to see Amy Grant and her Lead Me On tour with NO song played that was written after 1988! It was AWESOME. If you know anything about me you know that I LOVE Amy Grant.

If I died and could come back as anyone, it would be Amy Grant. In high school I used to try to make my hair look like hers. And I've always been proud to be an alto, just like Amy. I wanted to be her, people! Yes, I know.. She's a Christian artist who's been divorced. I DON'T care and you shouldn't either. Move past it. Be happy for her and Vince and get over it.

Anyway, last night was so wonderful for me. She sang songs that will always be favorites.. Stay for Awile, Saved by Love, El Shaddi, Father's Eyes, Love will Find A Way, Lead Me On... just the goodies.
video

Growing up in a small baptist church anyone was allowed to sing the Sunday Anthem. I can not tell you how many times I've heard the gorgeous song, El Shaddi butchered. It doesn't matter...I can think past those awful times and still LOVE to hear it sung by my Amy.

Unfortunantely, I've never had the opportunity to meet her, and that's okay with me. Sometimes it's better not to know more than necessary about the person that's been allowed a special place in your heart. But, last night myself and about 700 other Amy fans enjoyed 2 hours of our favorites in a show that I'll never forget. Thanks, Chad for the ticket and thanks to my girlfriends that were willing to go with me. Lead Me On, Baby!
video

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Please Pray


Friends and Fellow Bloggers-
I'm asking you to please pray for my precious little nephew, Reese Dean. He's 3 1/2 and has been complaining of a backache. His Daddy, my brother, Kyle, is a physician so of course he's been checking out his complaints, but was not real worried about it.

My sister in law, Debbie, took him to his pediatrician where she did routine Xrays and a CAT scan. They saw some spots on Reese's spine that are suspicious and could be quite serious. They arranged for an MRI for December, but the doctor felt it was important that Reese do the MRI right away.

He is scheduled for an MRI tomorrow morning at 6:30 in Baton Rouge. He will have to be put to sleep for the test. PLEASE join me in praying that Reese has no signs of anything serious and that he will get a fantastic, clean report tomorrow. Thank you ALL..


Praise the Lord! HE is the great physician.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kate and Caroline!



Today is such a special day for me. Both of my girls were born on November 5th. The first cool air of fall always reminds me of the sweet days I brought my fall babies home. I will never forget the moment Kate was born. Being my first baby I was absolutely awestruck at the process of giving birth and how amazing God is to have come up with a plan so sweet.

I remember 11 years ago holding my little 8 lbs 13 oz Kate and being on cloud nine because I had a baby girl. Her delivery was the least painful of the four. I had the best epidural of the four too, but I did have trouble right after she was born. I'm not sure what it's called, but my uterus wouldn't contract back by itself and I had too much blood loss which caused me to feel extremely weak for quite a while after her birth. But, all in all, her delivery was fantastic!

Then, two precious years later, my little 7 lb 5 oz Caroline was born. I remember the whole experience feeling like deja vu. We parked in the same parking space, had the same birthing room and Kate was born at 5:34 and Caroline at 4:34. It was just too wierd.


I was THRILLED to have two girls so close together. I remember Caroline's delivery as being the most painful of the four. I was not as impressed with the epidural guy that worked the day she was born. Something just didn't take quite right, but none the less, I had my sweet Caroline.

I wanted to post some pictures of Kate's 2nd birthday party that took place on my hospital bed at Hillcrest the day Caroline was born. It was a precious moment.


It's an interesting thing having my girls share their birthday. My sister and I also share a birthday 2 years apart. It's a very special bond that my sister and I have. I can't stand to be apart from her on our birthday. It just makes me feel like a part of me is missing. So far, my girls have sometimes complained about sharing a birthday, but all in all, I think they wouldn't have it any other way.

Happy Birthday, Girls!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend Chaos


I can't believe I survived this weekend. It was just crazy. It has caused me to really think about what we are doing to ourselves by living by this chaotic schedule.

Friday the kids got out of school all hyped up and ready to go for Halloween. Caroline had gymnastics, as she does every Friday, from 4:00- 6:00. Her Halloween party with her team started at 5:00. She was Dorothy and insisted that I be there with Todo aka T bone (our new Yorkie) as part of her costume for the party.

Of course, we left there at 6:00 and met our fantastic neighbors for a round of trick or treating in the neighborhood. After about an hour the kids decided they were tired and hungry and wanted to call it quits. So, we headed to Whataburger for a very nutritious dinner and then home.

Saturday was just crazy. Chad was giving a financial workshop from 10:00 -2:00 and Caroline had her district meet in Weatherford at 12:45. Kate had 2 birthday parties, so she decided she wanted to stay in Waco. So, Friday night she slept over with her BFF, went to the Baylor Homecoming Parade and got to her Birthday parties.

Caroline and I dropped the boys off at Nana's on the way to the meet.. which, by the way, Caroline ROCKED! She received first place on bars and fourth place all around with a 36.925. OUTSTANDING.. This places her in the gold division for state which is a tremendous accomplishment.. Anyway.. Nana kindly offered the keep the boys overnight so Chad and I could go out with our friends for our annual anniversary celebration which I was rushing home for after a LONG meet.



With Kate at a slumber party and the boys at Nana's, this left just Caroline with us. Chad and I decided that having a night out alone was a rarity and decided to pawn little Caroline off on the Stevens. Imagine their delight when Caroline showed up with her overnight bag.. :) I started to leave her and she leaned down and whispered... "Mrs. Stevens didn't know I was sleeping over". Oh.. dear.. Sorry! I guess I didn't specify that we wondered if Caroline could stay for the WHOLE night. Thank you, Kim! I owe you!

Saturday night was a fantastic time of fellowship and food with good friends.So, on Sunday when the alarm went off on what should have been a luxurious sleep one hour later day with NO kids to dress for church Chad says.. " Why are you so crabby already?" Then I began explaining what Sunday entailed that was making me so crabby.

I was scheduled to be on Praise Team, which means a 8:30 arrival. After church I would have to leave early to go meet Nana with the boys in Hillsboro, drive straight to Caroline's soccer party, which Chad was IN CHARGE of.. Burgers, Hot Dogs, Grill, Tomatoes, Ice,... all of it. And immediately after the soccer party was lifegroup at OUR house at 4:30 - 6:00. Then, to top the lovely day off, Caroline has a school project due tomorrow. Somehow in all of this chaos I have to figure out how to make a freestanding Ben Franklin out of a dried out apple head.


So, it's Sunday night 10:24. It all got done... I even worked in an hour workout tonight just to help me stay sane, but it was stressful.

Now, I get to look forward to doing it all over again next weekend. Two girls in a soccer tournament, both girls birthday parties at MY house, and the children's musical at church!

I LOVE this crazy life and I wouldn't know what to do without it, but sometimes a boring weekend would be GREAT!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy 13 Years, Honey!


Chad and I are celebrating our anniversary this month. I'm so thankful for a Godly man to share my life with.

I'm currently doing the Beth Moore Bible Study, Believing God. It's just fantastic and is requiring us to look back over our lives and answer some really tough questions. Sometimes things that we don't always want to remember. Well, one thing the Lord revealed to me this week through the study was how His hand was all over guiding me to Chad, my greatest treasure.

I'm so thankful that the Lord kept both of our hearts forgiving toward each other as we dated and led us to move on together and eventually get married. It's just amazing to me when I think back on how we met in HEB one day, became friends, and now we've been married 13 years, have four kids, and are serving the Lord as a family. I'm so blessed!

A few days ago, Chad and I were discussing our businesses, and he said to me... "Don't you see it, Baby? Together we're unstoppable". I loved hearing those words, and believe them. Thank you, Chad, for being my life's BEST decision! Well, besides following the Lord, but that goes without saying!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I can only imagine!



I wanted to share this family photo with you all. I've always found it quite intriguing and just amazing!

Years ago my paternal grandfather, "Padre", who passed away 23 years ago, acquired this photograph. Padre was a very sincere true Christian who was also a Baptist minister. His love for the Lord shone through him. I am so blessed to remember him coming into my room at night, laying hands on me and praying for me. It is not unusual at all for me to remember the prayers he prayed over me and account them to the blessings the Lord has laid out in my life.

Anyway, the story behind it is that it was taken at a funeral my grandfather did. A man by the name of GA Newman thought the clouds looked amazingly beautiful and snapped a photo. Upon developing the black and white film, this was the image in the clouds. Mr. Newman gave this photo to my padre hoping he could use it in his ministry. It is an ACTUAL old fashioned black and white photo. It has been in my family for years. I recently asked my mom to scan it and send it to me for a school project Kate is working on. It amazes me every time I see it.

This picture was taken back in the day when computers weren't even existent, so no photoshop can account for this image. I LOVE it! Thank you, Lord for sending your angels to guard us.

Psalm 91:11
For God commands the angels
to guard you in all your ways.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Happy Birthday, Cort!



This month we're celebrating Cort's Birthday! I still can't believe that my son is SIX and in kindergarten. Where does the time go?

I'm so thankful for Cort and the energy he brings to our family. He's our little evangelist. He is always quoting God's word and telling his sister what God doesn't like about what they are doing. It's really amazing the heart he already has for God at such a young age.

He's active and very much all boy. He always wants to be playing ball and wrestling. He insisted that his birthday party be all boys and they had to play football. Well, it turned into a group wrestling match on the trampoline.

My favorite recent Cort quote is something he said to me when Chad and I left to go to North Carolina. I told him goodbye and I'd see him when I get back. He said, " I'll always remember you Mommy! You're that pretty girl with dark hair that always wears lip gloss". It was precious and was so cute to hear what my 6 year old son thinks about his momma.

Happy Birthday, Cort!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh the Joy of a Peaceful Retreat!





Chad and I were able to get away for a few days to the most gorgeous, peaceful resort in Asheville, NC.. The Grove Park Inn and Spa. Chad had a conference with his company and I decided to tag along.

The mountains with the leaves changing colors were just beautiful and the weather was very mild. It was just an outstanding scene.. a perfect picture of my favorite season.. FALL!


I was able to have two days of fantastic workouts. Their facilities are outstanding and the surrounding Country Club neighborhood made for a fabulous morning run. I found a little cottage that I hoped to talk Chad into buying, but the $999,000 price tag is a little too steep for our weekend home. As I was jogging through the neighborhood I saw wild turkeys literally in people's front yards. Groups of them.

I was able to be an adult with no responsiblities for 3 days. No homework, dance, gymnastics, karate... you name it. Many thanks to my dear friends, Kim Evans and Julie Helton, who made it possible by keeping my little people. I love you ladies and am so appreciative for the time you allowed me to have.


But, all good things must come to an end. I DO have responsibilities and 4 little people that count on me, so I decided that we better come home and back to the real world. BUT... getting away was GREAT!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

CHICKonomics

My dad is a physician in a small area. As I was growing up, strange as it may be, I remember my mother constantly stopped by friends asking her what she thought about their ailing back, or sick stomach or any other ailment. Remember I said my DAD was the one with the MD behind his name, not mom. Well, lately a similar senario has been happening to me based on Chad's profession. I get questioned about my opinion of the stock market and what it's looking like. I don't mind it, of course, client relations are extremely important to us both, but I feel about as secure discussing the stock market as my husband feels discussing the sensations experienced when nursing an infant.


Well, that has changed for me. I was given the opportunity to spend 3 days with Chad at a conference surrounded by his peers...men.. and a few women.. who are experts with investing and the stock market. This group of investor coaches are impressive and extremely successful, experienced folks. I feel like I learned so much about the current market and was actually able to put a CHICK spin on it, so I'm going to attempt to explain the stock market and why I'm not worried in Chick terms.

I would like to make a disclaimer that in NO WAY has what I'm saying been given the stamp of approval from my husband, or any other financial coach. This is absolutely my spin on it. So, take what you will!

Let's say you went to Dillards and found a fantastic pair of shoes. They cost you $115. You think they will possibly be worth more in six months or a year, so you've decided NOT to wear them right away because you really don't NEED them. You're interested in seeing what they could be worth a little later and possibly selling them on ebay to someone else at a higher price later.

Six months passes and you go to Dillards to look for more shoes... WHAT?? The gorgeous pair you purchased for $115 is now on sale for $30. You're upset... You're so worried that now your pair of shoes have LOST most of their value. The busy sales clerk sees your dismay and begins to counsel you by telling you "OH.. don't worry. This is a SPECIAL sale and these shoes are going back to their original price in a few weeks". You start to stomp out depressed, then you remember that you've just put $250 in your "secret stash". You get smart and use your $250 to buy as many $30 pair of shoes as you can hoping that you can sell them later for their original price of $150 and make a tremendous profit.

A little bit of time goes by and you're still worried because the shoes are still only worth $30. You panic and start to want your $250 back. You want to return them and just take what you can. But, the smart investor side of you says to stick it out. SMART DECISION... Six months later, you walk in and see the same shoes for $200 a pair. You run straight home, list your shoes on ebay and reward yourself with your good returns! You were patient and it paid off.

Just like the "take an extra 40% off" sale at Dillards comes and goes, so does the stock market. Patience will prevail. Continue praying for our country and the economy and stay calm. AND.. if you have ANY extra money.. call your investor coach, Coach Chad and BUY BUY BUY!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yellers.. Give Us A Break!




Today as I was walking up to Kate's 8am soccer game I heard a woman in the stands screaming like a crazy woman at her daughter on the field. M A RI A ... RUN... NO... GO FASTER... YOU'RE JUST STANDING THERE.. I'm talking about yelling like I have never heard before. She even exchanged words with the umpire. She continued this the whole game, and I'm just sure she left with no voice. She became a spectacle and a source of a lot of jokes from the other side of the stands.

Maria's mom, whoever that is, left me thinking about why parents are so hard on their kids during sports. My three oldest all play sports, and so I'm in the parent fan arena on a weekly basis. I just don't get it. What ever happened to encouraging our kids and complimenting them. It is just amazing to me how parents belittle their children in public. And, I'm not just talking about Maria's mom.. Again, whoever poor Maria is, it's at least half of the parents out there.

For example, I have watched a child, who happens to be the best player on the field, giving her absolute all out there with very little support from her teamates, and I will hear her parent on the sidelines just hollering "MAKE THE SHOT".. NO DIDNT YOU SEE HER. GO PAST HER. or DONT WAIT.. so loud the whole complex hears. Then, the child makes the shot, scores the goal, and never hears the same hollering in a positive "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT... GOOD JOB. Why is it that some parents are so quick to just yell the negative? Frankly, it's embarrassing to the child and belittling.

How many people would yell out loud in front of all of our kids classmates.. YOU MISSED ONE ON THE TEST. YOU DID IT WRONG! PAY ATTENTION! Hopefully no one, yet parents will stand and run up and down the sidelines like idiots yelling something equally as hurtful with the whole squad and everyone else around listening.

I am an encourager. I am grateful that my children want to play sports and I'm excited that they are out there. If I were the kid with the yelling mother, I'd be looking for the first opportunity to quit sports just to avoid the embarrassment of being the kid whose mom won't shut her trap!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Knowing Kate


Today is a Kate day.. That simply means that I'm spending a moment reflecting on what all is great about my Kate.

If you knew me when Kate was a toddler, you'd know that she was the ultimate of life's challenges. She was an absolute Pill! I remember countless times of having to leave stores because she was laid out on the floor pitching fits that she couldn't have the toy she wanted. Or, I remember the days that we had to rig her bedroom door to stay closed because we couldn't get her to stay in her bedroom at bedtime. I also remember the day she was kicked out of First Baptist Woodway's Mother's Day Out for biting the teacher.. and the day that my sweet friend, Shannon took her in at Highland Mother's Day Out. Boy, I bet Shannon regreted that after having to hire an extra person to sit in a room with her during nap and hold her so tightly she couldn't move. Then came the phone call for me to pick her up early on Tuesday and Thursday because she was bothering the other kids.

There are countless stories about my Kate as a toddler. I think it was the year she started PreSchool that she changed. I remember Chad and I expecting the teacher to call and say, "Come get this kid NOW!".. Well, that didn't happen. We got one good report after the other and that was that. She blossomed into this sweet little girl that enjoys rules and guidelines.

Now, she is my best helper and such a natural little mommy to the little ones. She genuinely cares about others and is a true pleaser. She doesn't have much of a sassy mouth and seems to truly enjoy spending time with both Chad and me. It's just wierd the transition.

If you know Kate now, you probably don't hear much from her. She has really turned into a little intravert. She is very outgoing with her friends and, of course, family, but I just can't get her to come out of her shell with adults. Any ideas on that are appreciated!

But, for now, I just enjoy the talks we have and the little girl she still is. I'm guessing I only have a few more months until the almost 11 year old wants to trade in her American Girl Dolls and Build a Bears for make up and a razor. AHHH! It's bad enough that she's had to tell boys at school that she's not allowed to DATE. As IF!

So, if you have a little one that's giving you the biggest struggle of your life, just keep submitting it to prayer and Keep "Believing God". It is possible for a terrible toddler to turn into a terrific tween!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

All Around CHAMPION

Congratulations, Caroline!


Caroline and I traveled to Euless, Tx on Saturday for a Gymnastics Meet where she brought home the Gold for First Place on Bars, Beam and Floor. She also brought home the gold for First Place ALL AROUND... Hooray, Caroline
!







Thursday, September 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today, My hubby, my one and only, is 37! Happy Birthday, Baby!
37 of my favorite things about Chad Castle... my man! (in no particular order)

1- I love that you're excited about taking me with you to North Carolina.
2 - I love that you keep me grounded and remind me that the important things in life are the people and experiences and not the "stuff".
3- I love that you are willing to be "Coach Chad" to all four of our children.
4- I will always remember immediately after Kate was born and you standing by my side. I remember saying... I'm fine... Go meet our daughter. I loved how you wanted to be with me.
5- I love how you were standing right beside me during all four deliveries. You never fainted.. and always told me I was your hero.
6- You are an excellent father who our kids will always admire.
7- I love how you compliment our girls and help nourish their self esteem.
8- It was so much fun at our first apartment our first Christmas when you decorated the outside with Christmas Lights for the complex competition. We SHOULD have won!
9- I love that you appreciate traditions and encourage them in our family.
10- I love that you didn't yell at me when I got the truck stuck in the mud at HOT soccer.
11- I will always remember and appreciate you loving and supporting me through that fourth pregnancy. I needed the "you can do it" boosts.
12- I love to wake up and feel you beside me every morning.
13- Hearing you pray for me with your arms around me is priceless.
14- I appreciate that you know my stubborn side and are always the one to reconcile after an argument.
15- After 13 years of marriage, you are still a gentleman. You open my door, pull out my chair, order for me... etc.
16- You are so cute in your suit and tie.
17- I appreciate that you work hard to help our family be debt free.
18- You are a true servant and a blessing to everyone you serve.
19- I love that we can look at each other across a room and immediately know each other's thoughts.
20- You know all of my secrets and love me despite them.
21- I so appreciate that you are the household "homework checker". It keeps me from having to relearn 5th grade math.
22- I appreciate that you always encourage our children to be their best!
23- I love your sensitive side that comes out during life's precious moments.
24- I love how you can stop me mid sentence to tell me you think I'm beautiful.
25- Which leads me to... I appreciate that you ALWAYS listen to me as I tell you every detail of my day.
26- I love that you are so smart and so successful in your job.
27- I so appreciate that you ALWAYS write the bills and handle the checkbook. THANK YOU!
28- I am so thankful that you never question me when you see me pulling tags off of new clothes. You just say it looks nice and rarely ask the cost. :)
29- I love when you walk up behind me and put your arms around me.
30- I'm so thankful that you're willing to spend the money and take our kids fun places.. ie.. Disney...:)
31- I love that you always eat my cooking...even when it tastes bad.
32- I love that YOU cook for ME.
33- I love that you are willing to "get" anything that the girls and I deem "scary".
34- I am ALWAYS proud to be your wife.
35- You appreciate Date nights... thank you.. I live for them... I like our evening walks too!
36- I love that you are showing our sons what a godly man looks like.
37- I so appreciate that you chose to spend your life with me. You are my life's biggest blessing and my very favorite thing. Happy Birthday, Baby! I love you!
Kes

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Expectations

Why do we put so much pressure on each other and ourselves to meet expectations? I've been thinking about this today.. just about the expectations that I put on my spouse and on my kids and about the expectations that are put on me and that I put on myself.

It reminded me of the Christmas just before Chad and I got engaged. I spent Christmas in Baton Rouge with my family without Chad. I remember several long phone calls where we discussed him going to look for engagement rings. Knowing that we were definitely in love and meant for each other, I was just sure he'd bought one, kept it a secret, and was going to give it to me all wrapped up as a huge surprise when we exchanged gifts back in Texas after Christmas.

So, the day came to exchange gifts... I carefully chose the outfit I would wear. I certainly wanted to look perfect for my engagement pictures. We sat down at his mom's house and there was a big pile of presents there waiting for me. I just KNEW there was a ring in one of those presents. So, I opened the first one. It was a trunk Organizer... Yep... you know the kind that fold up, but when opened hold all kinds of things that could help keep a clean car. Yippee!!! Then I opened a roll of Shop Towels to go in it. I was still thinking that he'd hidden the ring somewhere. A few Armoralls and Windexs later, I realized there was no ring. And not only that, the gift I was given was in NO way romantic, sweet or sentimental in the way I expected it to be. It just did not meet my expectations. It was years before I told Chad about my disappointment. I would never have wanted to hurt his feelings.

However, as I later learned, my now husband actually spent quite a long time in the store trying to get the perfect gift for me to help keep my car organized. It was a nice gesture, but because I had my "expectations" set, I couldn't see the thoughtful treat that it really was.

Sometimes expectations are an unnecessary evil. The expectations that we build up in our heads of our children and our spouses, or of the dream day we're going to have together. Or the fun vacation we've planned that ends up being the trip from hell... the fantastic meal we're going to have at our favorite restaurant that comes out cold and all wrong!

The pressure we put on each other to make lots of money, cook perfectly healthy, organic meals for our families, serve on the PTA, serve the church, keep up with laundry, be polite and welcoming to everyone,look healthy, keep a tidy house,... you get the idea. It's just too much! If we'd just be thankful for what we get, we'd never have to be disappointed! Trust me.. the expectations I put on MYself are much greater than the expectations anyone could EVER put on me. So, I just remind myself to be cautious with my expectations and pray that the same is done for me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Lemonade Stand




The call to earn money just screams at my children all the time. They are constantly looking for something... anything... to do to make money. One of their favorite things to do is set up a lemonade stand in the front yard. We don't live on a busy street at all, so clientelle is minimal! It's usually a Saturday or Sunday occurence that mostly consists of the neighbors who are doing yardwork walking over or the one of two passerbys that feel sorry for them stop.


I honestly think it's a pretty messy scene. I've looked out the window to see one of my children sticking his hand in the ice and then placing it in a cup while his sister pours lemonade from a pitcher on it. YUCK..

Well, the last time they had a stand, Kate decided to make some strict lemonade stand rules. I guess in order for them to be strict, she had to type them up on the computer and make an official document out of it. So, I thought I'd share the rules with you. As you read them, just notice the two quiet girls taking advantage of their outspoken little brother.




Jobs for lemonade stand

Cort: you hold up the sign and yell lemonade. You also watch for me to point my thumb up and yell we except tips!


jobs for lemonade stand!

Caroline: you help me pour the lemonade and help hold up the signs.

Jobs for lemonade stand!
Kate: pour lemonade and help count money!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Determination


I just wanted to share a video clip of Caroline doing her bar routine last weekend. To an untrained eye, like my own, it looks like a simple little routine that any kid could just hop right up and do. It so is not. It takes a lot more than it looks like.



video

These little girls spend 14 hours a week in the gym working to compete in gymnastics. They do lots of strength and conditioning, running, and all of the stuff that isn't always so fun. It is a huge commitment and takes a lot of determination to keep at it. We're so proud of Caroline for sticking it out and always giving it her best shot.


Caroline received a third place medal for this routine last weekend. Her team also won Third Place all around.




Way to go, Caroline!