Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Just the way you are... because you're mine!

Kate needed some Pointe shoes from a store in Austin and all of our guys went to the Baylor Bowl game, so today became a girl day! So exciting! Today after Caroline got done at the gym the girls and I headed to Austin for an afternoon/evening of shopping and being together.

I love girl times. My girls and I just laugh and enjoy each other so much. My girls are really close. They have separate rooms, but sleep together every night. They sit up laughing and talking together. They rarely fight, and I think they truly are each other's best friend. How that blesses me!

When we're together, we have great conversations in the car about relationships, friends, Jesus. We share stories that we've heard and the girls have a great opportunity to ask me things that they would just never ask me sitting at home or surrounded by their brothers. It's just precious priceless time.

They've even gotten a little better about asking for things in the stores. I now make sure they both have their own money, and for the most part.. we seem to get along just fine with the "Not todays... and the well, if you want to spend your own money". Tonight was one of those times. I just needed a great relaxing time with kids that love me just because I'm me. That's what I can always count on with my kids. There's something about the feeling of being loved and accepted just as I am. They don't care if my roots are showing, if my thighs look fat, if my outfit looks silly... they love me just because I'm theirs and they are mine. There's so much comfort in that. Just being loved unconditionally and unjudged. Now, I'm not going to say that my teenager is not occasionally embarrassed by her mother. That would just be unusual if she wasn't, but for the most part.. there's nothing like being together with my kids who love me just because I'm me. In the same way, God loves us just because we are His. How precious to know that our Father enjoys the same time and relationship with us that we enjoy with our kids. WOW!

I know these times won't always be. My girls... and my boys... will grow up, fall in love and have their own families to be with and to grow. But, I will cherish these times while I have them and do what I can to keep them up as long as I live. There's nothing like that unconditional love!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Tribute to Shannon

Well, today is a sad day for me! The moving truck is here. My precious friend, Shannon, is moving all the way to California. I still can't believe it and I feel numb to it. I guess I knew it was coming, and I even sold her house... but, it still doesnt seem real.

About 11 years ago I was in the nursing room at Highland with my baby, Caroline. In walks this pretty blonde lady that was so bouncy and full of energy. She immediately started talking to me, complimented my baby, and that was the first day of a beautiful friendship. She and Steve watched our girls grow up and walked with us through the boys' pregnancies and births. Shannon was even planning to be present when Clayton was born, except that she got sick and couldnt come :(

We cried with each other through the loss of babies, the arrival of babies, the loss of jobs, the hard times financially, the great times financially, and I think she probably knows every fight Chad and I have ever had. And sometimes she even took his side... rightfully :)

Thank you, Shannon for the Best friend you have been to me. The gift of you is something I would have never imagined. It proves to me that God plants people in your life for a reason and for good. Your family has been a tremendous gift to our family. We will miss you in Waco, but will be happily supporting your life in Cali. Go be a California Girl... but don't forget us.. Love you.

Monday, December 20, 2010

He promised me Good

Well, this is a difficult topic for me, but I think I'm ready to talk about it in hopes that someone else may benefit from it. I realize I write this mostly for me and my family, so it may not even get out, but it's on my heart.

For the past 3-4 months I've been dealing with terrible depression and anxiety. I know... we say.. how can a Christian mom who seems to have it all on the ball be depressed? Well, I dont know either... but I know that it's real and that it has hurt like nothing I have ever experienced before. I know that I can look into the eyes of my gorgeous husband and my precious kids and cry just because. I can walk around the house and see a mess and cry just because. I can drop my daughter off at school and cry just because. It makes no sense, but it's real.

So several months ago I noticed my normally outgoing friendly personality start to be still... just quiet inside. I started missing my workouts, not eating, dreading shopping... now this is NOT me. I lost 12 pounds and started wearing my 13 year old's jeans. The whole time I'm looking around at other people feeling like I'm on the outside looking in. Just wishing some days that I could be that happy smiling big lady, or that friendly looking old person. I just started feeling like I didn't measure up as a mom, a wife, a friend, and especially as a Christian. I started wishing for the day I could just meet my Lord and be free in Him.

I immediately started seeking the Lord. Just asking Him to heal my heart and also insisting out loud that Satan flee from me. I just felt like Satan was sitting on my shoulder speaking lies to me all day... like he was a fog hanging over my head. Clearly I know this feeling is not from the Lord, so it must be spiritual warfare going on all around me. So, I started diving into the Word and pouring Christian music over my heart all day. I dealt with this internally for about 2 months not wanting my sweet Chad to know that I was not his perfect wife. That my heart was vulnerable and I am weak. Finally, I could no longer hide it. He, as well as my friends, noticed and immediately started praying and supporting me.

I will just say, there is nothing like the prayers of your spouse over you. One morning my husband prayed thanking God that he was chosen to walk with me through this and help me out of it. What a true blessing! It has brought us closer than ever and is a precious feeling of support and love here. He has taken over some things that I have been unable to do... cooking, kids homework, just some smaller things. He even handled the family Christmas card this year. Baby... you rock:)

So, I guess as I'm sharing this I am just wanting to say that I know that the Lord has promised good to me. He has promised me peace and love. He has reminded me that I am created in HIS image. He has reminded me that He is entralled with my beauty... the beauty that I do not see. He is my beholder.... my strong tower. It has amazed me to hear Him speak to me through other people who don't even know my hurt. The times he reminds me He's there holding me are incomprehendable.

I'm continuing to work through my sadness and every day feel better. I am confident that the Lord is healing my heart and will use me to His glory to speak to other Christian and non Christian women out there who need a touch. As I'm healing, I'm already praying for divine opportunities to serve His precious daughters. Thank you Lord for promising me Good! May I remember to count it all joy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy 15 Years!

Well .... today marks 15 years married to my best friend. I just thought it would be fun to share some wedding pictures and rather than buy a card, write a card :)

I understand that not everyone has a marriage that absolutely makes their life. I recently heard someone say that no man can ever complete a woman.. that's just a line from a movie. I have to say I completely disagree. I guess not everyone finds someone who makes them feel complete, but I did and I'm so thankful.

I've been spending some time looking back at old pictures and remembering all we've been through. You know, pictures seem to always show the smiles and the laughs and the posed moments, but we both can look through the picture and remember the not so happy moments and the times when things weren't just great. The things that only you and I know. The moments that pulled us together and brought us to this place. I'm so thankful that when we had those moments and when we have more of those moments, we'll be together to fight through them as a team.

I had no idea 18 years ago when we met how much that precious moment would impact the rest of my life. I'm so glad I didn't because the surprises along the way have been so much fun.

Thank you for being an awesome best friend, for always supporting and defending me, for forgiving me when needed, for providing for me, for standing next to me and holding me when things hurt, for loving me unconditionally and for having mercy on me:). I love you with all my heart. Happy 15th.. Here's to many more.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mother/Daughter Weekend

So as the boys were gone camping, the girls and I enjoyed a weekend home together. It was quiet and clean and a much needed break from the hustle and bustle of soccer and football games.

We did lots of shopping, spent too much, and saw a Chick Flick with the sweet Durands. Kate danced at the fair with her dance company, so I thought I'd share some pictures. Caroline tumbles tomorrow night at the fair, so I'll just upload a picture of her then :)

Father/Son Camping Trip

So this weekend was the annual Father/Son Camping Trip that Chad takes the boys on. I thought I'd share some pictures. I don't know that I can write much since I wasn't there, but I understand that they had a great time and truly enjoyed being out together.

They went to Mineral Wells, Tx about 2.5 hrs away. Another Dad brought a huge grill, so they ate in style all weekend. Homeade everything right out in the wilderness. With tents and sleeping bags and all. Chad says the campfire was the favorite.

They also went rock climbing and saw some gorgeous views from very high. The boys thoroughly enjoyed themselves and are looking forward to going again next year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It's the One on One time

So I'm sitting here writing.. the house is quiet... all except for one little girl sitting behind me in her zebra snuggie reading her library book and eating a spoonful of cookie dough.. I know. It's 10:15pm, but who cares. She's skinny, I've only spent 2 hours in her presence today, and I just don't care if she's up late eating cookie dough. I'm just enjoying being with her.

It's just a reminder to me that the small moments of one on one time are so precious. As a mother of four and the youngest of four,I feel like I am qualified to discuss the signifigance of one on one time in large families.

I can remember times that my mother spent with me away from the others. Time that was JUST the two of us. No fighting for her attention while my sister was yaking or my brother cutting up.. just us. Once I remember my mom rocking me while she watched MASH. I was much too old to be rocked, but I remember loving it and hoping it wouldn't end. I also remember a time or two that she checked me out of school for a dentist appointment. My favorite thing was our lunchtime afterward. Just us!

With four semi little kids, I try so hard to savor those moments. Last week I stole Cort after school and took him to Starbucks. At first he kinda looked at me like I was crazy, but once he got his Chocolate Chippity Frappucino and got involved in talking to me, he was pretty happy with the choice.

Clayton gets his mommy time every Monday and Friday. He's enjoying his last year as a Preschooler. And Kate, well, she kinda gets it often because she comes and finds me and is old enough to enjoy whatever I'm doing. Usually it's an hour of "Say Yes to the Dress". And Caroline, well, we have to work on it. She lives a crazy life with her gym, but somehow we manage to find the time.

Now, I'm not going to lie. There are plenty of moments when I hear "Mommy.. will you read my book... Or Mommy, will you lay with me... Or Mommy will you go for a bike ride" that I just shutter and say "not now"... and I usually regret it later because I know it was important to that child. But, I'm doing my best and pray that they see that.

And last but not least, Daddy gets his one on one time too! It usually is a little harder for him with four needy kids, but we make it all work. All I can do is thank God for the time he multiplies for me and the precious moments as they come.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

Daddy just turned 39 on Sunday. One more year, Honey! For his birthday his mom came down. We went to Ninfas and to Ritchies to let him pick out some Cowboy boots. He got some gorgeous boots that he's so proud of. After a little monster cake and a few other gifts, we called it a day and celebrated Daddy. Happy Birthday, Baby!

Cort's First Football Game

As if Cort needs another sport... he's decided to play football. I was just a little too apprehensive to let him play tackle so young, so we went with flag football at the Woodway Family Center. He LOVES it! Tonight was his first game.

His team, The Cobras, played The Longhorns and won 12 to 8. Cort scored a touchdown which was so fun to watch. He ran around... cut back.. and in the end zone he went. After that he did a little celebrating in the end zone, of course. He also came very close to intercepting a pass and made some really great blocks for his teammate to score another touchdown. Needless to say, he was pretty excited and has found yet another sport that he just can't live without. Looks like we're adding another to the schedule.

Just moments after his football game he asked to go out to where his baseball team was playing and cheer them on for the remainder of the game. They won 7 to 5.. at which time Cort said.. well... it looks like the Tigers can win without me :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Boys First Major League Game

This year for father's day I decided to surprise both my dad and Chad with 4 tickets to see the Chicago Cubs play the Houston Astros. This was a little selfish on my part because it ensured a visit with my parents.

Mom and Dad met us in Kemah, Tx where we spent the night at the Boardwalk Inn, then traveled over to Houston for the Astros Game the next day. The guys went to the game while the girls shopped. It was a perfect match for all of us.

Clayton even got a game ball. He was so cute and SOoO excited.

Playa Del Carmen 2010

So while I'm playing catch up, I'm just going to write about the fabulous trip Chad and I took to Playa Del Carmen this summer.

We figured out early this year that all four kids were going to be at camp over the same week. Chata was sweet enough to keep the boys all week while they attended day camp, and the girls were going to Preteen camp with church. This was so exciting that Chad decided to plan us a surprise trip. He didn't tell me where we were going, just that we were in fact going somewhere. Well, I was PUMPED! We were going somewhere alone for 4 nights. It was fantastic, and a great time together.

We were a little nervous as a large tropical storm was over the whole coast where we were headed, but we boarded a plane to Cancun anyway, then took a shuttle to our resort in Playa Del Carmen. We stayed at a gorgeous all inclusive resort called The Royal. OH.. it was fantastic. The food was delicious and Chad even reserved us the Jacuzzi suite which had a spectacular view. The hotel even offered us the Anniversary specials which included champagne and strawberries in our room as well as other pastries and flowers throughout our stay. (We were celebrating our Anniversary early )

While we were there we took at snorkeling excursion where we snorkeled through a cave and also in small bodies of water. It was gorgeous and something out of a picture book. We met some really fun people. We felt old since most of them were honeymooners, but hey.. we out swam all of them :)

The restaurants at the resort were delicious. So good that we were often too full to eat the next meal. One of our favorites was the Italian place. The Salmon was out of this world! Honestly, they were all good. I think the best part was just sitting across the table tooking at each other each night.

One thing great about Playa was the little shopping town that was walking distance from the resort. It was a fun place to go looking and hanging out.. although Chad was approached and asked if he wanted Grass or Girls.. WITH ME STANDING RIGHT THERE!

Oh.. such a gorgeous place that I pray we will return back to soon! Thank you, Baby.. for the great trip. Love you:)

Catch up and Clayton's First Soccer Game

Well, this is just embarrassing. I have not written in so long, and I've just decided that I really liked blogging and plan to keep it up. It's so fun to look back over time and remember what was going on in life. Sometimes it gets so busy, it's hard to really look at what's really happening.

Tonight I got out several old picture albums and was reminiscing about old times. Old times meaning my honeymoon and Chad's 30th birthday... Caroline's first tooth.. you know.. the good ole times. It reminded me that in these days of not printing pictures and just having online albums this blog could truly come in handy one day. It was fun to read back over it.

Well, the kids are back to school. I have four kids at four campuses which is an adventure, but one that has worked out quite well I must say. Little Clayton is 5 and really should be in kindergarten this year, but we decided to have him wait an extra year. He's super smart and can read lots of words and knows his numbers, etc.. but there's just something about his maturity level that could stand one more year at home. And frankly.. I'm loving it.

Clayton's big news is that he has started Soccer at HOT. He's so cute playing. It's strange to see him as one of the youngest on his team. With a June birthday he barely makes the age requirement to play with this group. In the long run, I think it will be better for him to play with older kids. It challenges him. This past Saturday his team lost big time. I think maybe 20 to 2, but my Clayton scored one of the two. We were so proud of him. :)

Monday, May 24, 2010

All in a days work....

I was going over some old post that weren't published and found this one from May. As I wrote below... I forgot this day already. So glad I wrote about it. It even made me laugh:)

So today I woke up knowing it was gonna be an interesting one. We had a terribly busy weekend with 13 soccer games total, 2 birthday parties, a couple of sleepovers and church, so I was already on overdrive. I know these days are few compared to the span of a lifetime, but I remind myself that if I don't write about these days, I risk never remembering them... would that be bad?? I'm just not quite sure?

This morning started as normal. Hollering throughout the house for the kids to get up, making their breakfast, hearing a few complaints about who doesn't like the juice or the breakfast I cooked. You know, the normal kid complaints. I see that Cort has his clothes on, but notice that Cort he doesnt have his socks or shoes on. Well, that's just great.. His response.. I forgot. It's about 7:33. The bus arrives promptly at 7:34. Rush around.. the bus waits.. Cort gets his shoes on.. the elementary students are on the bus.. Yeah!

Next I drive Kate to school. It's a pretty uneventful drive. Stop at Walmart to purchase gas for the Excursion. Some kind men offer to pump my gas. No thank you.. I'm fine.. Very nice gesture though. Finish the gas pumping to arrive home and help Chad finish packing for his 3 day trip to Philadelphia. Thirty minutes later.. he's gone.. I'm officially on my own.

I go to wake up Clayton and .. yep... tee tee smell in his room, but I don't find tee tee... Strange. He eventually gets up, admits that he did wet his bed, but did so at the foot of the bed because he just couldnt make it to the potty in time. Sheets, comforter, mattress pad off the bed and in the washer. Just as a side note.. the sheets had only been on the bed for a total of 9 hours. AND.. yes, its the top bunk. Yeah Me!

Clayton and I make it through a pretty uneventful morning. I attend my step class at the Y, I take Clayton to a birthday party, and then I join Kate for lunch at Midway Intermediate. Definitely a highlight of the day... well, except for the part where I embarrassed her to death by taking her friends pictures for the yearbook.. but anyway.. Love those girls!

After a few work phone calls that are kind of high maintenance and dealing with my iphone that has unexplainably quit sending email, it's time to get the kids from school.

I have my carpool, arrive home to get Caroline to head to the gym and sure enough.. now the Excursion won't start again. Oh yeah! Chad's gone, no family in town and my car won't start. I call the shop that gladly took our $800 just 3 days before for a new alternator and 2 batteries and they're on their way over. Now this is where it gets fun... The man who came over drove a car that said KENDRICK Tire and BATTERY. This is important because he comments to me as he leaves that he's not real good with the battery belonging in a Diesel. Well... Yeah... He's clueless and I just paid him money!So much for my Tire and Battery Guy. He realizes he didn't tighten an important part 3 days ago. He does it, it starts and off I go.

Caroline gets to gym... late.. but there... I make it to Kate's dance while Cort is at soccer practice and poor Clayton is just riding along. After some Take Out dinner from Fazolis, showers for everyone and lots of spelling word call outs, vocab reviews for grades 6,4 and 1,and a large sibling brawl because a boy used the girls' bathroom, the house is quiet. I now go to lay in my bed only to find 3 of my four kids in there since Dad is out of town. Oh well.. this just means one of their beds is free for me. I need it after this day.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Son is an Addict

It's true.. It really is. My son, Cort Castle.. age 7, is a sports addict. I am not exaggerating or making anything seem more intense than it is. It's just the cold hard truth.

We live at 371 Broughton. If you are familiar with Waco and have a boy ages 6-12, then you realize what kind of problem this address is for an addict.... a sports addict that is. We live about 7 houses down from the little league ball fields. We can't drive past and have ANYONE out there playing without my son BEGGING to be sitting there in the stands watching every ball pitched. We have had him in bed before and heard him upset because he can hear the ding of the bat and the shouts of the game, and just can't stand it that he's in bed while other boys are out pitching, catching and just playing the ball.

Recently we drove past the fields where he saw his friend and his dad using the batting cages and having a little batting practice. This immediately resulted in phone calls to dad.. "Daddy.. where are you? When are you going to be home? Other kids are practicing ball.. hurry up and come get me and take me to play." It's constant. He walks straight in from school and puts on whatever uniform he's playing in that night. Forget that the game is 3 hours later, we gotta be ready.

Currently my son plays soccer and baseball and he participates in a karate class. In the winter he plays basketball. He doesn't just PLAY these sports, he lives and breathes them. Honestly, it scares me. He wakes up.. walks in the kitchen and says what do I get to play today. And GOD HELP ME if it rains!!! A rainout results in about half a days worth of breakdown and then eventually leads to dad taking him out to the Y to shoot baskets, or the indoor batting cages just to get some game in.

Just tonight he talked his dad into taking him down to watch a game. As they were sitting there watching he says to Chad, " You're the best dad ever. Thank you so much for taking me to watch the game." Makes it hard to say no.

He's recently started asking me to play football in the fall. Now, I've kind of had to put my foot down on that one. I'm just not into watching my son get tackled all over the field and worrying that he'll never use his legs the same way again. But, somehow I think he and his dad will win out on this one...just as they have with the four other sports he plays.
On that note.. I think I have some uniforms to wash.