Tuesday, August 30, 2011

what was I thinking?

So remember that baby shower we had a week or so ago?  And you know how we got all kinds of great stuff?!  Well, with all that cool stuff comes the necessary evil of thank you notes.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I love the idea of thank you notes--it's as close as you can get to showing your true appreciation without making house calls to each of your givers.  But...let's be honest.  Who enjoys writing them?!

It's just such a daunting task when there are so many to write.  And to make my life a little more interesting and my task a little more daunting, I decided to make my own.  That's right.  From scratch.  Making every little thank you note.  And then having to write them.  What was I thinking?!

I started the process yesterday--and this is actually the worst part, the cutting and punching and measuring.  I'm hoping it will get to be a little more enjoyable once I start assembling them.  They are nothing exquisite or else I really might lose my mind.

My little workspace, perched in front of the TV--because that's not distracting at all :)   This is as far as I've gotten...The cards are cut, but I still have a lot of brown circles to cut out, and so many of those little lacy strips!  Must.finish.them.

As you might remember from some of my earlier posts, I'm in a stamping club that meets once a month to create something fabulous (and just have a little much needed girl time!).  Well last year we got the brilliant idea to get together and make all of our Christmas cards--which was a great idea because crafting is so much more fun when you're doing it with friends!  So I thought this process of making my thank you cards would be just as fun...But as I sit on my living room floor alone--achy body not helping--it's just so easy to get distracted and take way too many breaks!

But---I shall finish constructing these cards this week!  I have a lovely trip to Ruston and back this weekend that will allow me plenty of car time to get them all written.  And my main motivation:

Once I get these made, the fall decor is coming out to play!  And that truly is fabulous :)

love, angie

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dancin' With Angels

As I mentioned in a post earlier this week, last week held a lot of sorrow in death for some of our close friends and family.  

My grandmother's husband was in his upper 80's.  He lived a full life--was a strong leader in his congregation, continued working for the same company until he simply physically could no long, celebrated with children and grandchildren.  His body shut down slowly, giving the family time to loosen the earthly bonds and say goodbye.  He died peacefully last Wednesday.

Mr. Billy Cryer also lived a full life into his 80s.  He too was a strong leader in his congregation and celebrated a wonderful family.  I did not know him that well personally, but he and his family were close friends of Hunter's family.  His death came suddenly and without warning last Thursday.

Baby Declan Carroll was only four months old when Jesus called him home last Saturday.  His dad's family grew up in Sulphur and attended the same congregation that Hunter and I did.  They are a very precious family, and witnessing them bear this burden has proven that to me even moreso.  Last Monday, they found Declan in bed blue and not breathing.  He was immediately rushed to Children's Mercy hospital in Kansas City, but the chain of events that would cease his life here had already begun.  The true miracle is that Declan fought.  His abrupt, four-month life became a testimony for his family to use to bring others to the love and grace of Jesus--and that is exactly what they are doing.  Their strength and peace that the Lord has provided them is astounding.  They walk in true faith--knowing and believing that God could have saved their son, but also fully understanding that their wish was not what God had planned and that His plans are so much greater than their own could ever be. 

When my grandparents passed away, my sister and I each chose a song to play at each of their funerals.  For my grandmother's, my oldest sister Michelle chose the song "Dancin' With Angels" by Shauna Chanda.  I had never heard it before, but it provided such comfort.  As I've witnessed and prayed over the struggles of these three families this past week, that song came back to my mind.  It's extremely hard when we are the ones chosen to stay on Earth after losing someone so dear to us--but we can rest in knowing that they are dancing and laughing in Heaven...and soon we will be too.

"Twinkle, twinkle little star, used to say you seemed so far.
He carried with him all my heart, at least now we're not so far apart.

Cause he's dancin' with angels, high on cloud nine
Laughin' with Jesus, havin' a good time.
Runnin' through Heaven, what a joy simply divine.
Cause he's dancin' with angels, everything's gonna be fine.

With your gentle spirit, heart, and soul, you treasured me, never let me go.
But this one thing I gotta let you know, I can't wait to dance with you on streets of gold.

Together dancin' with angels, high on cloud nine
Laughin' with Jesus, havin' a good time.
Runnin' through Heaven, what a joy simply divine.
Cause he's dancin' with angels, now everything's gonna be fine.

Oh, how I wish I was holdin' you close to me,
So I could feel you cuddle me tight.
Till my someday becomes my reality.
I'll be dreaming of you, I'll be dreaming of you
Every day, every night.

Till we're dancin' with angels, high on cloud nine
Laughin' with Jesus, havin' a good time.
Runnin' through Heaven, what a joy simply divine.
Cause he's dancin' with angels, everything's gonna be fine.
Everything's gonna be fine."

what a day that will be...

love, angie

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Joyeux Anniversaire! pt 2

Our first dance as husband and wife, "When I Said 'I Do'".  This song is still so special to us--the words speak so truly about the commitment.  

My cake--trimmed with Christmas ornaments and Mardi Gras beads

Memory table for our loved ones who couldn't be there with us.    Ricky Courmier--Hunter's uncle who was killed in a car accident a few days after Hunter was born; ET Browning, my grandfather "PawPaw"; Gordie Lee Thurston, my great-grandmother "Nanny Thurston"; George Emmit Thurston, my grandfather "Poppie"; Fred Romero, a dear friend of mine who was serving in the US Navy and couldn't come.

Father/Daughter Dance

Mother/Son dance

Our fantastic bridal party!  It truly is better when we're together...

And we're off!
It seems like that all happened last week!  Time really does fly when you're having fun.  And that's one of the best pieces of advice we were ever given, and now we give it to others--never stop dating.  Keep the fun alive and it makes the difficult times a little easier.

I have truly been so blessed through the gift of my husband.  He serves as my reality check as well as my escape from the mundane.  He's my support system and my constant encouragement.  He provides for me and protects me.  He tells me the truth even when I don't want to hear or accept it.  He's my teammate, my helper, and my best friend.

Life has already brought us on some major roller coaster rides.  But because of our unwavering devotion to Jesus as well as to each other, we have never even thought of separating ourselves in the midst of turmoil.  Things have tried to come between us, but we choose to remain closer than ever.  There would be no need for the promises made through vows if marriage was always easy.  We take those vows we said with the utmost sincerity and plan to live this dream to the fullest.

He's the only man I've ever kissed.  In over 8 years, we never broke up or even "took a break".  We've learned each others habits and personalities so well that it's sometimes kind of scary!  Now we have the pleasure of being blessed with starting a family together.  I can't wait to see how much this little angel changes our lives and brings us even closer together.

This is only the beginning!

love, angie

Joyeux Anniversaire! pt 1

In May of 2003, a whirlwind of events sparked the earthly relationship I now cherish most.

I had been eyeballing Hunter at some of our area-wide youth group events, but shy little me would never ever make a move!  But I had been chatting about him with my friends, Katy and Ana.  Our Math teacher at the time taught a class at Sulphur High School in the morning and then trekked back to Sam Houston to teach her classes in the afternoon. Well we were chatting one day about a friend of ours (Andrew) who we called Drewbie.  This sparked her memory and she said, "How funny!  I taught a student last year named Hunter Newby!"  Immediately I looked over at Katy and Ana and we all started then we had to explain how I also knew Hunter and there might be a little crush developing.

Well, as luck would have it, guess who called Defe (our teacher) that night.  Yep, Hunter.  She always encouraged us to call for any questions about homework we ever had--but the really funny thing was that he didn't even have her as a teacher anymore!  What are the odds that he would call his former teacher on the same night that we talked about him in our class?!  She of course went on to explain to him the conversations we had had earlier that day...oh man.

That was a Tuesday.  Wednesday night, my now brother-in-law, Aaron, thought it necessary to call Hunter and make sure he would be at church--because his girlfriend's little sister Angie would be there and he thought we needed to spend some time together.  These people were killing me with embarrassment!  But Hunter was never phased (he claims he didn't know who I was and doesn't remember seeing me at any of the area-wides.  Now that I know how bad his memory is, I may believe it.  But we talked at every single one!  He always came and stood by me, sat by me to eat--you know, all those little signals that makes a teenage girl's heart go all aflutter!).  That night after church, we went to Wendy's with Mel and Aaron and another friend of ours, Joel.  Before we left, Hunter asked me to his senior Prom--which was a week and a half away!  Now, mind you, my parents had never met this boy; he would be my first official boyfriend/date that wasn't just a friend; and I only had a week and a half to find a dress, make a hair appt, and get daddy's approval!  Well, by the grace of the good Lord, I was able to accomplish all of it.  He came to our SPARK campout that weekend and we got to visit some; he came to the house and met my parents; we talked on the phone every night...and I was able to borrow a dress from my friend, Devon, and miraculously my dad said I could wear it (remember, I had just turned 16, this boy was about to graduate, my parents didn't know him that well, and this dress showed a little more skin than I thought my dad would ever be ok with...).

Anywho, my 16th birthday party was that Friday night before Prom, and it's the night that I got my first kiss :)  The next day, he came to pick me up for Prom, and as we left, my dad told my mom, "Your future son-in-law just left with your daughter."  Daddy's intuition, right?!

So that's how this saga began...  So many pieces just fell right in to place--we could have never orchestrated this on our own, which is how I know with absolute confirmation that the Lord desired for us to be a team.

And that's exactly what we are.  We work together; we make each other better; we trust each other completely; we spoil each other; we have so much fun together; and we love each other unconditionally.

On August 25, 2007, we finally got married--I'll have to share the proposal some other time.  That's a good one too ;)  Here are some of the highlights of that beautiful day:

Our rings in my bouquet
One of my favorite "getting ready" pictures
This one and the next are my two favorite of this little stinker that day.  She loved my slip!  When I put it on she got all giggly and started running into me and hiding under it.  I can't believe she's in Kindergarten now...
She's just telling herself how pretty she looks :)  By the way, this is my oldest niece, Aby.  She was one of my maids of honor.
A dear friend's mom made the handkerchief for me; my in-laws bought me the pearls; and the keepsake garter.
I had always wanted to get married barefoot--so I didn't expect my girls to have to wear shoes either :)
This was one of the sweetest moments in the ceremony.  Hunter's only request was to have "Best Day" played as a tribute to his dad, also his Best Man.  

Another sweet moment that I had planned from the time I was old enough to know I would get married one day.  "Butterfly Kisses" has always been a very special song to me and my dad.  I have always wanted him to walk me down the aisle to the wedding verse of it--so he did.

We finally did it!  We walked back out to the song "This Will Be (an Everlasting Love)"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

October babies bring August showers

What a busy weekend this has been!

First of all, let me explain the context of last week--it was one of happy moments, but also filled with some earthly sadness as well.  My grandmother's husband has been very ill for the past few months, battling Alzheimer's and bodily shutdowns.  He passed away this past Wednesday.  Monday night, the baby of some family friends was found blue and not breathing.  He has been the focus and the prayer of so many this week, and God used (and will continue to use) his little life in tremendous ways.  Sadly, he was pronounced brain dead and life support was discontinued on Saturday.  However, the unwavering love and faith of his parents and family have shone as an undeniable testimony.  Also, on Thursday, a longtime member of the congregation in Sulphur and a close friend of Hunter's family was found in his deer stand, already dead.

Last week held a lot of heartache and uncertainties.  Our hearts were breaking over the loss of these three lives here on Earth.  However, the great and undeniable comfort is that all three are now seated at the feet of Jesus.  I ask for your prayers for all three of these families as they learn to cope with the changes these passings will bring to their own lives.  Pray for them to have peace and healing.

Now, it seems a little odd even to me to combine such news that to some is quite depressing with the exciting news of our shower and upcoming little addition.  But since that is the timeline that our lives provided, that is the timeline I use here.

Speaking of timelines:

Friday--I drove to Houston and picked up my oldest sister Michelle who flew in for the shower.  We explored IKEA for a little bit (we forgot to bring a map and a camelbak so we couldn't do much--that place is ridiculous!), and then headed all the way back to Sulphur to surprise little Aby by picking her up from school.  We of course had to go get sno-cones before we dropped her back off :)  It was so precious to hear her stories and all that she was learning.  Michelle and I then headed back to mom's for a quick rest before making our way back to Sulphur to Hunter's cousin's house for a triple birthday dinner and some visiting.  While we were there, my best friend Rachel made it in to town.  We headed back to the house kind of late and managed to crawl into bed around one (by the time we got done visiting!).

Saturday--Shower day was finally here!  My mom's stepdad's funeral was actually this day also which meant she was unable to come, and we were unable to go up there.  It was a sad turn of events, but sometimes life does that to you.  We had a great turnout and got a lot of great things for our sweet wee one!  Hunter wanted to come (although he soon regretted that when he saw how many women were there!) and was able to manage to convince his brothers to come as well.  It was a lot of fun!

The mama and the daddy :)

Me and my lovely hostesses!  Brenda Defelice, our High School Math teacher who helped get us together; Becky Hammersly, long time Newby family friend; Melonie, my middle sister; Michelle, my oldest sister; Kristen, long time friend of mine; and Lindsey Newby, Blaine's wife--our new sister-in-law!
The spread :)  Fantastic cupcakes from Pronia's (Banana's Foster and White Chocolate Raspberry), punch, nuts, mints, and adorable/delicious baby themed sugar cookies!
Sign-in table.  Each guest wrote down advice and/or well wishes for us and Arabella to be used to create some pages in her baby book.  
Melissa, Katy, and Shelley--some of my dear friends from High School who were able to come, and I was so excited!  
My boys--the troopers who toughed it out with all the women :)  Blaine--Uncle B (middle brother), Hunter--Daddy (my boy and the oldest), BA--Uncle Bilo (baby brother).  Love them all so much!

Opening gifts!  This one in particular was from Aunt Chelle (my oldest sister).  Hunter has a phobia of nasty things--you know, all those things that babies create all the time:  dirty diapers, spit/throw up, food spilled and spread everywhere...  She created a "Daddy's Doodie Kit" including the apron he's wearing, a basting brush (for extra cleaning!), tongs, goggles, a poncho, a painter's drape cloth, and a surgical mask--along with some other funnies.  Too funny!  And the really funny thing is that he'll probably use some of it once she gets here ;)
Hunter's family--BA with his girlfriend Sydney, his mom Ellie, us, and Blaine with his wife Lindsey.

We of course went to Steamboat Bill's afterward for lunch (this is a staple meal anytime Michelle and/or I are in town--often, it's a staple multiple times!).  Rachel and I then went back to the house to finish up Bella's curtains and pillows.

She did a fabulous job!  

Michelle and I also kept all three of Mel's kiddos for the night so that Mel and Aaron could go out for his birthday.  After we got those three wild ones to bed, Hunter, Michelle, and I played Phase 10.  Now, I feel obligated to tell you that Michelle definitely won, but Hunter also definitely lost.  Just an important bit of info :)  Once again we went to bed way too late for our old selves, but oh well.

Sunday--woke up and got all of us ready to go to Parkway for church.  Aaron led singing and Hunter preached.  It was a great little service :)  We went back to that staple restaurant for lunch (I'm telling you, we eat there as often as we can!) and then went home to pack up all of our goodies to head back home.  As a little twist, Michelle has decided that she might want to take Kailyn (Melonie's youngest) back to Kansas City with her--she decided this on Saturday night.  So that little munchkin was making the trek back to TX with us!  After we made all of our stops and let Mel and Aaron say their multiple goodbyes, we finally began our journey back home.  Hunter put together the crib and changing table; Michelle and I sorted through all of the gifts.  You couldn't see the living room floor anymore!  To take a break we went to Saltgrass for dinner--mmm mmm.  By the time we got home, we were too tired to do anything else, so Michelle skipped off to bed.  Hunter had to finish a presentation for work the next day, so he sat down to that.  Feeling guilty if I went to bed, I tried to be a good wife and stay up with him until he was finished--which ended up being 1:00!  I was starting to get very very sleepy from this busy weekend with little rest!

Melonie's youngest, Kailyn.  She LOVED the crib!  

Monday--Michelle and I (and Kailyn!) ran some errands and worked on the nursery like crazy.  Everything really started turning out well!  I also had a doctor's appt. that day so Aunt Chelle got to hear our little munchkin's heartbeat of 146 :)  Sweet moments.  That night, she made us a lovely dinner (she's just so good!) before we headed off to our breastfeeding class at the hospital.  We got home late from that, visited a little, and headed to bed--again way too late for our aging selves (they're both a whole lot older than me by the way!)

Daddy putting the crib together

Her sweet letters painted by a friend.  They'll hang on the wall above the crib.  The little pillow in the corner was also made by Rachel when she did the curtains.  She made a longer one to go in the rocking chair when we get it.

crib and changing table

changing table, door, dresser, and corner where the rocking chair will go when we get it.

Tuesday--it was time for Aunt Chelle to go home.  So we packed up and hit the road to Houston again.  I got out at the airport to help her with Kailyn while she got her bag checked and so we could say goodbye.

She knows how to travel :)

Then they headed for security and I hit the road again...  Now, I usually do fine driving as far as staying awake.  But those days of very little rest were catching up with me--it was SO hard for me to stay awake on that drive home!  But I finally made it back home, and she made it back up north with the little toote.  Needless to say, the first thing I did when I got home was take a nap!

It was an insanely busy few days, but they were packed with so much goodness!  I'm still not fully rested, but I might as well get used to that, right?  I hope you all have blessed time and memories with your family and friends.  Cherish the time you have with them--we're not guaranteed any.  And losing those three lives last week helped me remember how suddenly it can happen.

love, angie

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

school's out for ... me

I graduated from Louisiana Tech University in November of 2008.  I interviewed and was offered a job teaching  8th grade English and GT (Gifted and Talented) in Silsbee, Texas in December 2008.  My first day was January 4, 2009--and it was just me--a very young, fresh-out-of-college teacher coming in at midterm--and 130 hormonal teenagers who wanted nothing more than to make me fail.

But somehow in the midst of all that craziness, I fell in love with my students and what I did.  Now, don't get me wrong--there were many bad days.  And even more bad moments.  So many times I asked what I had done to myself; why in the world did I want to be a teacher?  The kids drove me crazy most of the time; the laws and paperwork drove me crazy all the time; and time was a luxury I no longer had.  Teaching is a job that doesn't end just because the school day is.  Innumerable people have made fun of the educational profession because of the numerous breaks and short days.  I would love for those people to spend a week (or it would probably take less) in the life of a teacher.  True teachers are also counselors and mentors, disciplinarians and uplifters.  They teach not only their content but also lessons of life and of character.  During the school year, a child spends almost 1500 hours with their teachers--some type of influence will be found.  We worry about them all the time.  We work unending hours, spending our own time and money planning the best lessons we can.  We adopt them as our own children.

My students used to ask me when I planned of having kids of my own, and my response was always, "I don't need any more.  I have 140 kids already!"  Of course, there was a bit of humor thrown in there as I have always wanted children of my own.  But on the other hand, I truly thought of them as mine.  Once they walked in my door, they became my student, my responsibility.  And I loved every single one of them.

Well, in February, my students infamous question was answered when my husband and I found out that we would indeed be having a child of our own.  What a loop in the roller coaster!  Since we first got together as a couple, we were in agreement that if we were financially able at the time, I would be a stay-at-home mom with our children.  That's actually one of the reasons we chose the career fields we did (other than truly loving the content)--he hoped to make enough money for me to stay home, and being a teacher was a job that allowed me to be a mom easily--especially after the kids started school.  Well now the time had come, but the decision didn't seem so easy.  We both wanted me to stay home without question.  But that also meant some major lifestyle changes for us. First of all, we would be losing my salary--and with student loans looming over us, that was a daunting thought.  Secondly, I would be giving up my job--and my kids.  However, we trusted God and the feeling he stirred inside of us, bit the bullet, and I resigned.

I really was ok.  I am still ok.  But now, as school is starting back up and my teacher friends are bustling around getting their rooms and lessons ready, my heart hurts a little.  This is the first year since I was in Kindergarten that I haven't gone to school in the fall.  I'm not sure what to do with myself just yet.  My mind is still racing with ideas that I would change from last year; classroom layouts that worked and didn't; lessons I can't wait to try.  I go to the store and see all of the school supplies and get a little sad (I'm one of those weird people who LOVES school/office supplies!) because I have no reason to need any of them.

I was able to go up to the school last week and visit with some of my coworkers.  And my room had started to change...  I think that's when it really hit me.  Now, granted he hasn't changed it that much.  But he painted it--which makes it look completely different!

This was what my room looked like two school years ago.  It didn't look like this when I left, but close enough to get the gist.

I LOVE the color he chose :)  And he's obviously not finished making it his own.

But it's also definitely not my room anymore.  I am a somewhat territorial person, so this is difficult.  That room, 312, was my second home.  Those were my kids.  It's really hard for me to give that up.

I know some of you reading this are thinking, "You crazy person!  You don't have to work!  Enjoy your time off!"  Please don't think I'm ungrateful for being able to stay at home with our precious Arabella.  But it's just a difficult transition--especially since she's not here yet.  I have no doubt she will completely turn our world around and take up every ounce of my time--and I can't wait!  But right now, I'm just learning to let go of a really big chapter of my life.

To all of the teachers out there--your jobs are often overlooked as something petty and easy.  I know better.  Take care of those kids like they were your own.  Grow a passion for learning in them.  Love them and love what you do.

To the students--you have the power to become something great.  Take advantage of the opportunities for education that you are given.  Study, learn, and be successful!

I miss that part of my life...but I am anxiously awaiting this new phase that will blow the rest of them out of the water!  I can't wait to meet this little angel wiggling inside of me

love, angie

Thursday, August 4, 2011

girls just wanna have fun

I cannot wait for that sun to come up tomorrow and for my weekend to begin!  I will be on my way to Pineville, LA to find best friend #1, Mrs. Rachel Sasser.  We have some little crafty projects to occupy our time that day including making the curtains for Bella Jo's room and making some decorations for her classroom.  Then Saturday, we'll head on up to Monroe, LA to meet best friend #2, Mrs. Melissa Maxwell. Swimming, visiting, and relaxing--twill be joyous!

These are my girls.  My college buddies around whom I can be my truest self.  If one of us is in a bad mood, so be it.  There's no faking the attitude or the smiles.  On the flip side, we can giggle with the best of 'em :)  We're honest with each other and have been together through several ups and downs.  I cherish all of our memories and look forward to so many more!  I love these two and can't wait to see their faces!

make time for yourself...  love, angie