Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thankful Thursday

I haven't done one of these in so long!  Sadly, this year has been one of our craziest as far as traveling and what blog even got to the point where all I was writing were "Thankful Thursday" posts (which isn't a bad thing...if I'm going to only write about one thing, I think thankfulness is a pretty swell option).  However, eventually those even waned away.  So here's to hoping I can get back on track with my gratitude!

Today I'm thankful:

--for my sweet and dear friend, Dajuanna, and our opportunities to teach together.  We, along with my husband, are starting a class with our youth group next week covering the Not a Fan study (it is going to be pretty incredible).  We're also planning a ladies' day that focuses on, what do you know, gratitude :)  We'll be using Lysa Terkeurt's book Unglued as inspiration, and it too is going to be great.  Studying and preparing with this sweet lady are something I treasure and truly enjoy.  I am so thankful that my God led our hearts together.  I'm also specifically thankful for our ladies' day on gratitude...I need that reroute of my thoughts pretty badly these days.

--for sweet little Maddox (my best friend's baby who was born a week ago and has been in the NICU with complications since).  He is a little warrior and making progress every day!  And through his life and his struggle and his story, so many, including myself, are learning and remembering to lean completely into the loving arms of our Jesus.  And I am SO thankful for the progress he is making!  He's a miracle.

--that I get to go see sweet little Maddox's parents and big brother next week and hug their necks!  It has been difficult to have to love them from a distance, and I'm so ready to see them!  Their friendship is a treasured gift.

Kickin' it old school in this picture. But it was a great day...and we've loved them for a long time.
--that we've had a few cooler days sneak their way in recently.  It's coming...oh, it's coming.

--for everyone who came and helped celebrate sweet Bella's 2nd birthday!  Her party was a lot of fun and we are so thankful for all our friends and family who love our sweet girl (I'll have a post about her party sometime next week!).

--that even though my sweet girl won't get to trick or treat this year (and thankfully she's not old enough to know what she's missing!), we are getting some incredible amounts of rain that our earth could definitely use.  And also, that since we knew it was going to rain, she was able to wear her little costume to Bible class last night with her friends.  And finally, since Hunter was out of town for Halloween anyway, he won't have to feel guilty about missing her trick or treating.  So really it's all working out.

I mean, seriously?!  Cutest clown EVER.
--that Christmas is starting to be in the air!  Christmas albums are releasing, decorations are flooding the stores, shopping has begun, and the cheer is starting to spread.  This is my absolute favorite time of year (really September through New Year's...but with a heavy focus on December!).  I love the weather, I love the soft lights of my tree and garland, I love keeping up with friends through Christmas cards, I love driving through a sparkly and lit-up town and neighborhood, I love the music, I love the smiles that can't help but be on most people's faces...and although there's no way to prove its accuracy or whatever other issues you have with celebrating Christmas--there's no reason not to be excited with how many people are thinking about our Savior and celebrating his life.  I love that.

--that we settled on a theme for our youth rally this year and plans are definitely in the works!  I'm also extremely thankful to have more time to plan it this year!

--for life.

be grateful, give thanks.
love, angie

a few words.

Every now and then, I'll get the hankering to go through one of my Pinterest boards and remind myself of the ingenious ideas and such I've found there.  Well tonight, I was craving words...

Witty words, wise words...ones that inspire me, calm me, make me giggle, stir my inside...

So I pulled a few (or maybe several) that struck me tonight.  Enjoy!

As I mentioned yesterday, these past few weeks have posed a struggle in my spirit.  These beautiful expressions remind my heart to simple be still...

Can I just be the first to say (ok, I know I'm no where near the first to say this)...
Adulthood sometimes sucks.  Just flat out isn't fun.  Oh at times what I would give to go back to the simple days when other people took care of me and my biggest responsibility was learning my multiplication facts.

Speaking of growing up--it also added worry.  And as the ecard so perfectly states--most of the time that worry and the resulted stress is completely unwarranted and a waste of my imagination.

 So that's why I turn to you, blogland.  Because writing is my outlet, and because when I feel no one understands or will listen, you do.  Even if I have no readers, I have expression.  And it allows me to put identity on my thoughts.  Writing does this girl's heart good!

what words are speaking to you these days?  Share them with me.   This was only the tip of the iceberg.  Visit my  Pinterest board for a fuller glimpse at my love of words; especially ones of wisdom and wit...

love, angie

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

in the quiet...

One of my favorite parts of the day is the very end of it.  When I get the living room and kitchen picked up and cleaned up, I get Arabella tucked in and snoozing soundly (and sometimes Hunter is too), and I get to sit down on my the quiet...

I don't usually keep my house quiet because I don't enjoy it.  The TV or some sort of music is always playing.  But for those few seconds when my day is closing, the quiet is beautiful.

Tonight I'm using it to meditate on a few things.  Our absolute best and dearest friends had their second sweet boy last week.  However, he has faced many complications since coming into this world and is having to fight for his life.  In turn, our sweet friends' world has been completely changed--it always is when you welcome a new life, but this is completely different.  Their days and nights both now consist of constant trips back and forth between the hospital with son #2 and home with son #1; reading and researching information about what the doctors are telling them; praying with every ounce of their being for their tiny son to come out on the other side completely healthy...their routine, their priorities, their lives are completely different.

Their names haven't left my heart or my lips these past few days.  I'm reminded of the scripture that discusses the Holy Spirit's intervention for us through prayer when we can no longer find words for our emotions.  I've been in that place this week.

However, they are handling this situation with so much dignity, so much grace, and so much faith.  They are all fighters, trudging through this crazy world relying solely on the hope that our Jesus provides.

As my heart turns over them tonight, my personal struggles seem minute.  These past few weeks have been hard for me--not because of anything I can specifically point out, but for the state my spirit has found itself.  And now my perspective is coming back into focus.  You are always aware of the fact that someone (many someones actually) out there has it worse than you do.  But when the struggle comes this close, but is still so distant (both physically and metaphorically...I will never know the battles and struggles they are facing even if the Lord chooses to write a similar story for me)...when the struggle hits you hard but not are forced to remember how good you've got it.

So although my spirit still struggles to find its peace, I'm able to search for hope.  Because my heart is focusing so much on my sweet friends and their precious baby, my defeat and my failures are losing the priority that Satan has allowed them to have in me these past weeks.

Tonight in the quiet, I rest in my blessings--in my beautiful and healthy angel sleeping gently in the next room; in my hard-working and nurturing husband who helps keep me going; in my Jesus, whose name alone holds power beyond our reasoning and whose grace catches us softly when we think we've hit the bottom.

I sit and I offer thanksgiving...for friends, for Miracle Maddox, and for hope...

love, angie

Friday, October 25, 2013

Dear Arabella,

It seems like last week that I sat down to write your one year letter.  Even moreso, it feels like last month that I was sitting down to tell your birth story.  But realistically, here I sit writing you a letter for your second birthday.

My beautiful Arabella--you are TWO years old today!  They say time flies when you're having fun;  and in your case, I completely agree.  Time is flying can only be because we are having a blast!

You are so full of personality.  You keep me and your daddy giggling all the time.  Those good kind of giggles that make you just happy all the way through--you do that for us.  You're also so intelligent.  Your memory is amazing and your ability to understand what we're asking--and then communicate back to us--is just, wow.

You're pretty much the coolest kid alive.  Ever.  Hands down.  And the most beautiful.

This past year has really been SO much fun!  Getting to watch you grow and learn and figure things out has been so neat.  You change daily (sometimes hourly...) and are constantly surprising us with something new you've picked up on.

Things you are loving right now:

--Mickey Mouse!  Holy moly you love that theatrical rodent and all of his clubhouse friends.  You will sit and watch the show for hours...  But he makes you smile and he doesn't get on my nerves, so all is well :)

--helping your daddy with anything.  Whether it's sitting on his work bench and helping him load ammo, crawling around on the ground and grease to help him work on the cars, or catching slimy fish on the boat.  If he's outside, you better be out there with him!

--Conner the big, brown, Belgian horse.  You met him at the Dixie Stampede when we went up with Aunt Chelle and fell in love!  Now, every horse you see or hear or imagine is Conner :)

--to limbo!  I have got to catch you on video doing this.  Ever since a birthday party last month where they did the limbo, you walk around the house with your back arched as far you can and still walk, saying "I imbo, I imbo" the whole time.  It is absolutely hilarious!

--Your big girl bed!  We made the switch to a toddler bed a few weeks ago, and you absolutely love it!  You still love your sleep (that's my girl) and average 12-13 hours a night.  Usually, if you wake up before noon, you'll still take a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon too.  Bed time has become so enjoyable (not that it was really that bad before).  And you're so good that you won't get out of your bed at all until someone comes in there to tell you you're allowed to.

--The moon and stars and airplanes.  One thing you and daddy love to do each night is walk outside together and find all of these up in the sky.  You have such a good eye for those airplanes!  And you get so excited when you find them...and the moon...and the stars...  (daddy even writes to make sure I bring you out to find the moon when he's out of town and can't take you.  it's a pretty special moment with you for him.)

--"Jesus Loves Me".  This has become our "one and only, nothing else will do" bedtime song.  You beg and whimper for it even as you're drifting off to dreamland.  And several times, if you wake in the middle of the night, I hear you begging for "Jees luh me" over the monitor.  You've also started singing parts of it; hearing your tiny voice sing about Jesus and his love is simply beautiful.

--animals!  Last month you were able to go to two different zoos and aquariums (Houston and KC) and the petting zoo at Aunt Chelle's.  I loved getting to see your little face when you found each animal; hearing you talk to them and make their sounds at them; watch your wonderment at getting to touch starfish and stingray, goats and cows.

--you still love music.  Anytime I need you to sleep in the car and you're fighting it, I can simply play our Selah CD and within 1-2 songs, you've usually drifted off (this is the music you slept with as a baby).  You also love to dance and sing, and have started repeating song lyrics and tunes we sing (from Itsy Bitsy Spider, If You're Happy and You Know It, This Little Light of Mine, and Old MacDonald to some of the radio songs that mama listens to in the car and sings all around the house...)

--giving knuckles!  If anyone asks for knuckles, you make your way around the whole group until everyone has fist bumped with you...sometimes you even make them do both hands!  Also, if anyone around you gives someone else knuckles, you definitely find it necessary to get in on that action.

--Uncle Si and Duck Dynasty, haha!  I got you a little shirt to sleep in that has a picture of Si and one of his quotes on it.  You loooove that shirt and if you see it, you want to wear it.  You also get so excited when you see any of the Robertsons on TV--you call them all Uncle Si.  Probably one of the funniest things you've done involved Uncle Si...  We pulling out of a parking lot when you pointed to a couple a ways off getting out of their car, and said, "Ook!  Who's at?"  We were confused because they looked nothing like any of "your people".  It was a middle aged couple, but the man had a long gray ponytail.  When we asked what you were talking about, you pointed back to the same couple and said, "Ook!  It's Uncle Si!"  We still get a good giggle about that one :)

Things I want to remember:

--your giggle.  Aunt Chelle, Aunt Mel, and I all three make this weird little noise when we're trying to stifle a laugh...and you do it too :)  It doesn't matter what kind of day I'm having or what kind of mood I'm in, your laugh melts me.  I never want to forget what it sounds like from year to year.

--the crinkle in your nose.  When you smile or think or are just being silly, you scrunch your little nose up.  And I just think it is the most adorable thing ever.

--the sound of your sweet voice saying "I luh you", especially when you say it first (without us telling you we love you first).

--how squeaky and high pitched your little voice is, especially when you get excited :)

--how when we sit down to eat, you initiate the prayer.  If daddy and I start eating before we say it, you stretch both of your little hands out to grab ours and insist, "Pray!"  Then you bow your head and squinch your little eyes closed until we say Amen...then of course you join in on saying that loud and clear!

--your kisses.  That sweet little pucker of a normal kiss; the silly wiggle of an eskimo kiss; and the precious flutter of a butterfly kiss (always both eyes...)

--you don't just tell people bye anymore...  You've added "later!" to it, along with their name.  You usually won't say it until they're actually leaving you, but you definitely know when someone or something is going bye.   Also, you tell everything bye!  The moon when we have to go inside, the animals at the zoo when we leave their cage, your toys, the house...everything!

--Every. Little. Thing.

My mind is blown when I try to wrap my head around the fact that you're two.  My baby is gone and you have evolved into a full fledged big kid.  You are so much fun!  You are also one of the sweetest little things to ever exist--you show care and concern when you know something is wrong, you use your manners constantly, you share willingly, and you give the absolute best hugs and kisses.  Mama and Daddy have definitely reached the point where it's hard to remember what life was like before it centered around you--and we don't want to imagine what it would ever be like again without you. You, Arabella, are my most treasured gift, and I promise that I will always love you more than you will ever know.  Stay curious and full of life!  You are so precious...and you have changed us for the better.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!  You're my favorite.
love, mama

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We've got EARS, it's time for cheers!

Sorry, I am so much into Mickey Mouse mode (due to this birthday party looming over our coming up weekend) that I'm finding references to that little fella everywhere...

Our sweet Arabella had to get tubes put in her ears this morning.  And let me tell you, our kid is a trooper.

We've battled sinuses, congestion, and ear infections since she was 2 months old.  When she developed her last one a couple of weeks ago (that initiated the worst she's ever felt and a reallllly long week for us), it made for 5 in 9 months time--with only a month between this one and the previous one.  So and ENT referral we received...

It didn't take the ENT Dr. long at all to decide that tubes were probably our best option.

--fast forward two weeks to today (after another pre-op visit with Dr. Roebuck to answer all of daddy's "I'm an engineer and I have to understand everything about everything--especially when it involves my baby girl" questions--

But first--  Of course we had to go get a special treat last night before our big girl's big day ;)

We were the first surgery of the day meaning we had to be there at the hiney crack of dawn.  Nay--before the hiney crack of dawn.  We were able to pull up to the hospital and spend a little time in the very dark parking lot letting Bella and daddy gaze at the moon and stars (one of their special things they do together)...  I was not looking forward to us all having to get up and going that early (and to have her awake for 2 1/2 hours before surgery with nothing to eat or drink...).  But we were first and that was so nice.

She woke up with a smile on her face :)  All snuggled in her car seat, ready to go!
Our sweet girl woke up in a surprisingly good mood.  She is such a late sleeper that I was expecting to have a major grumpus on our hands--but she woke up ready for whatever adventure we were taking her on.  We got through the morning mostly whine free; she was pretty much ok as long as she had a hold of me somehow.  No whimpers through paperwork, hospital bracelet, blood pressure, temperature, gown change...nada.  Beautiful.


Not to mention we got some pretty good snuggles too...

So we hurried up and waited in the holding room.  But they had a TV and we found Mickey Mouse on it, so all was well :)

Is she not the most adorable little patient EVER?!

But then came the time that Hunter and I had both been dreading--when they actually had to take her back and we couldn't go with her.  It's unnerving to let anyone you love go back into surgery knowing there's nothing you can control--it's completely heart shattering when that's your baby back there.  And if she screamed, we didn't know how much control we'd have over ourselves to let them take her!  But let me tell you what that toddle tot did...  Our sweet nurse Grace came up and said, "Ok let's go!  Do you want to go find some fish?"  And my little angel who had been glued to my hip all morning and was currently snuggled in on my chest reached out for that sweet nurse and never looked back.  No fussing, no whimper, no scream, no reaching back, no tears.  Beautiful.

So Hunter and I snuggled up in the conference room (not really snuggled so much as sat on the loveseat together...), and as promised, the Dr. and his nurse came to get us within 8 minutes time.  The fluid in her ears was very thick (and there was a lot of it), and it never would have drained on its own.  We received our confirmation that this had been the right decision.  Now we just had to wait for them to let us go back into recovery and hold her while she was coming out of anesthesia (the other part I was dreading pretty fiercely...)

The hospital only allowed one of us to go back to recovery with her, so of course Mama got that duty.  It was a very weird thing to see my little girl all spaced out and groggy, crying and whining and attached to more wires than I could ever tell you what for.  Thankfully, she was doing really well and really just wanted all of that stuff off of her.  I had been warned that this would be the worst part, that she'd probably be mad at me, and she would most likely be fine as soon as we walked out (and the nurse's could tell because they commented several times on how calm I was, haha).  Since she was doing so well, we were able to get out of there after about 15 minutes of waiting (instead of the normal 30-45), woo hoo!  And sure enough, as soon as we took off all of those wires and put her jammies back on, she started drinking (something we couldn't get her to do before that but that we needed her to do) and saying "leggo!"  No more tears; ready to get outta there.

Since she was such a trooper and we were already there, we decided to head over the breezeway back to the Dr's office to have swim mold ear plugs made for her.  I really didn't want to have to do bath time without them--do you know how hard it is not to get any water in someone's ears when you're bathing them?!  She rocked this visit too.  They didn't expect us to come because most kids are too grumpy after anesthesia for the parents to worry about it.  But our AJ--she had it together.  Again, no crying or fighting as the nurse pushed the clay into her ears and molded them in.  Only at the very end did she start fussing, and then sweet girl would point at the door and say, "I'm all done...I'm all done".  Poor thing had been through the ringer, but she came out swingin!

She got a sucker at the checkout desk, got to push the buttons on the elevator, and got to go home. All was right in her world!

And now she'll be rockin' a bright blue and watermelon set of ear plugs anytime water is involved :)

For those of you who knew this was happening, thank you for your prayers over our angel.  We know this is a very simple and routine procedure, but any time your child is being put under and having any type of procedure, it's nerve wracking.  We appreciate you keeping us on your hearts.

We're anxious to see what all our little babbler says now--we just thought she talked a lot before!

And as for now... since we've been up since 5 and at the hospital at 6...we're taking a nap :)  Goodnight!

love, angie