Thursday, October 30, 2014

7 Acre Wood

We were so excited to have the Thieles here for Owen's party.  It was their first visit to Trinity!  Chassati and I grew up together and it's so fun to watch our kiddos grow up together too {ages 7,5,4 & 3}.  They spent the night and we ventured to Conroe on Sunday afternoon to spend some time at 7 Acre Wood.  There's so much to see and do!  First on the agenda: pumpkin pics!!  :)

My cute farmers :)

Tractor smiles...

Posing at the putt putt golf course

Then we did some swinging on the giant playground

And my kids' favorite activity - the zip line!  :)

 The animals are very gentle and well fed in the petting zoo!

Sweet girly cousins


We can't wait for their next trip here and we look forward to hanging out again at Thanksgiving XOXO

Owen's 5th birthday party - football style

As most of you know, I love to party plan!  Usually I have a theme in mind months before the big event and go crazy.  This summer I had asked Owen to tell me what kind of party he wanted.  He wavered back and forth and changed his mind, almost on an minute to minute basis.  The only consistent idea he had was football -- so, right in the midst of all things football in our house, we started planning a football par-tay!

Owen's celebration was full of food, friends/family, decor, and games.  Jarrod did a terrific job of setting the church gym with football drills and activities.  The kiddos seemed to have a grand time :)  The cupcakes were made by Shoa at our local Red Barn Bakery.

Jarrod and I brainstormed fun football terms for the food labels.  The printables were designed by JulieLynn on Etsy {my favorites were penalty flags for the yellow napkins and mid field mustard, kicker ketchup and referee relish for the condiments.}

Cute cousins pre party :)

E&O in their football shirts from Gifts by Linz!  {I didn't realize he was doing a Heisman pose until later!}

The big birthday boy ready to party!!

The whole group

Our family of four

Pin the football on the goal post :)

The aftermath :)

It was a pinata, then it was a hat!  {We have never done pinatas at parties.  Owen was adamant about having one this year, so I obliged!}

Making a wish....

Near the end of the party the kids decorated pennants to take home!

The finished product!

Owen is a lucky guy to have so many grandparents and cousins travel afar to celebrate with him.  Thanks for coming!  We couldn't have done it without all of your help and love XOXO

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A dog named Roxie

Dear Roxie,

Our journey began just over eleven years ago.  One evening after work Jarrod and I picked you out of a large litter at a Stillwater animal shelter.  We actually went to look at puppies without the intention of taking one home in the car :)  You were the calmest in the bunch and you were the only one with a white ring around your neck.  You were thought to have been five weeks old and we could hold you in the palm of our hand.  We paid $5 for you and the rest was history!  We named you Roxie.  Somehow along the way you picked up the middle name Louise.  We eventually called you "Lou Lou" for short.  During the first few weeks you chewed up the carpet on a bottom step and climbed over a baby gate.  By the time Jarrod got home on his lunch break you were stuck pitifully whimpering at the top of the stair case.

You were the cutest little thing.  You were our first and furriest child.  We figured out pretty quickly that you were smart.  Jarrod worked diligently with you and taught you more commands and party tricks than I can even count!  You knew how to shake, sit, lay down, stay, play dead, wait, roll over, jump, speak and hold a small treat steady on your nose, just to name a few.  You would even allow us to place goldfish on both paws and then patiently wait to eat them until we said "get it".  You would join in when we howled and could 'sing' on command.  You understood plenty of other words including ready to go, outside, inside, walk, swim, let's go, car, Emma, kitty, puppy and treat.

You were gentle, quiet, loving, loyal and obedient.  You were always scared of the vacuum cleaner and when people raised their voice in anger.  You had an incredibly ferocious bark but would literally never hurt a fly.  You would often watch squirrels scurry up trees and sneak over to get a closer look.  I'm sure it was your natural dog instinct but it was funny because you had no clue what you were "supposed" to do as a dog :)  The one and only time we saw you show your teeth was at Pistol Pete as he approached us at an OSU walkathon.  We weren't sure exactly what you had against him!  You moved six times including two states, five towns and six addresses.  In most places you were well known and loved by our neighbors.  You could wander away as you pleased but never got far and always returned quickly.

You loved being around the rest of the family.  Jarrod was definitely your favorite -- and I totally understood!  You loved going for walks and swimming in the lake.  We could not take you near a body of water without you sneaking into it :)  In your younger years you loved chasing a ball and bringing it back.  In your later years you stopped bringing it back!  Each time you saw us taking luggage out to the car before a trip you managed to hop into the car.  Whether or not you were invited we would find you perched between the car seats ready for the next big adventure.  You were a bit of a camera hog.  Somehow you usually snuck your way into photos, whether or not you were invited :)  I'm sure we will laugh and cry for many years to come.

I'm fairly certain you didn't know you were a dog.  We spoiled you the best we could.  Even when the grocery bill was high enough we occasionally bought Frosty Paws, ice cream for dogs.  You also loved 'chewies', raw hide chews.  You would often follow us into the house as we hauled grocery bags in to see whether or not we got your 'chewies'!  You didn't beg for food much -- that is, until I brought in a rotisserie chicken.  You eagerly sat at my feet waiting for me to offer you piece after piece.

It was hard watching you get older.  Your signs of aging included losing your sense of smell, gaining more white hair and your inability to get into car without a boost.

You fell ill the first week of June while Emma was away at camp.  Your abdomen suddenly filled with fluid which made you very lethargic.  We were shocked and thought we would say our goodbyes at that time.  We took you to Dr Reece who diagnosed you with a collapsed lung and thought you might have some sort of abdominal mass.  He prescribed medicine which worked wonders!  You were back to yourself in no time.  We were blessed with 4+ more months of you and tried to make the most of it.  A few weeks ago the meds stopped working so well and you fell ill again with the same symptoms.  This time Dr R said that you were in congestive heart failure and that there wasn't much that could be done.  We took you home for another week and tried to make you comfortable.  Even on your last few days you would wag your tail when Jarrod returned home.  Your breathing was labored and we couldn't stand to let you suffer any longer.

Thank you for everything.  Thank you for watching over our babies.  They have never known life without you.  It was especially difficult for Emma at the end.  She knew it was coming but wanted you around as long as possible.  We all did.  She said "I wish dogs could live as long as people."

We hope you know how much you were loved.

You were the BEST dog and we miss you already.

"Dogs are not our whole love but they make our lives whole." 
~Roger Caras

It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” 
― John GroganMarley and Me

Choosing Hope

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day.  Ironically, it is also the same week that I became a Hope Mommy.  This past year has been full of tears, heartache and some of the hardest days I have faced.  Today and every day we remember the two precious babies we lost.  We know that they have gone on to Glory before us and that we will see them again one day.  Our great God works ALL things together for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.

On 10/15 we joined many around the world in remembering our little ones.  We released two balloons in honor of Baby Smith {10/11/13} and Baby Boy Smith {2/19/14}.  This was the best way for our family to do something together and to talk openly about God's plan for our lives.

In the words of Jennifer, a fellow Hope Mommy,
 Our babies avoided all that is bad and evil in the world and have received everything that is forever good.  Being in God's presence and experiencing His goodness is so much higher and better than any earthly experience this world has to offer.  We may be missing experiences for them {like growing up, getting married, etc.} but they are not.  Our babies have been given total and complete goodness from God.  {AMEN!!}

Infant loss {miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death} was once a topic that many felt uncomfortable discussing.  It does my heart good to know that my generation is more open about it and that those of us who experience it can rest assured knowing that others have journeyed this path before us.  Over the past year so many women have opened up to share their story of grief and infant loss with me.  It means the world to me that other would share and that I didn't have to feel alone.  This is something that can occur to anyone at anytime.  I am now much more equipped and able to share my story and my path with someone who may experience this in the future.  I am able to extend God's grace and promise to them, even amidst such a trying time.

It is not easy but this is the life my great God has planned for me.  Nothing surprises Him.  Psalms 139 has been especially reassuring and helpful to me.  God is in complete control and that comforts me.

In light of my losses I want the love of Christ to shine through me, anywhere I go and despite my earthly situation.  Our babies were born out of hope, prayed for in hope and taken to Christ in hope.  We will forever miss them but rejoice in the fact that we will see them again some glorious day!  XOXO

Owen is five!

Our big boy is FIVE, a whole hand!!  He is adorable, brave, persistent, energetic, reserved, stubborn, comical, dramatic and curious.  He stands just over 3 feet tall and weighs right at 41 pounds, both in the 50th percentile.  He wears size 4/5 clothes and size 12 shoes.  Dr Knight said he looked great at his annual check up.  Dr K is always entertained by Owen and all of his antics!

He has enjoyed a full week of celebration including an overnight getaway to Houston and a class party.  Our shy boy announced his birthday to people at the Rainforest Cafe, the lego store and Chick fil A resulting in a sparkler cupcake, a free toy set and an extra cherry on top of his ice cream cone! 

He also enjoyed a ride on the mall train and an opportunity to climb the rock wall!  

Some of his favorite things include playing football, trying to repair things, being outdoors, regularly visiting the donut shop, doing crafts, playing Barbies with his sister, riding his bike to the park and catching frogs on the porch.  He is slowly but surely learning to ride his bike without training wheels!  Some things he is not very fond of include cleaning his room, not getting his way and napping.

His mind is constantly thinking and he asks lots of questions {Exactly how did God make us out of dust? Why did Jesus not have a girlfriend? How is that made? How does that work? Why is your tummy fat?  Why did God let that happen?  Doesn't Emma need a spanking for that?, etc...}

He is still our very picky eater!  Dr K suggested we start giving him Flintstone vitamins with iron and making him fruit smoothies with protein powder, just to ensure he is receiving the proper nutrients.  He enjoys green apples, white rice, ramen noodles, fruit snacks, goldfish, biscuits/gravy, yogurt and pumpkin seeds.  Over the summer he did branch out and voluntarily tried a mozzarella stick and ribeye steak.   He will eat boiled eggs as long as there is no trace of the yolk and weenies as long as there are no burn marks.  I'm still hoping one day his taste buds will come around :)  His new favorite Sonic happy hour treat is a grape slush.

There is not an independent bone this kid's body.  He would much rather be with others at all times.  He claims that he "doesn't know how to" sleep, play, find a snack or watch TV alone   I'm not sure if this is caused by personality or birth order!

His big sister usually assumes control of the TV remote but when he gets to choose his favorite shows include Peppa Pig, Paw Patrol, Curious George and Bubble Guppies.  He still sleeps in Emma's bed but often ends up with us.  It's nights like these that I'm extra thankful for our new king size bed :)

His speech continues to improve.  He is still lacking in the 'th' and 'r' sounds {ex: togela = together, gahl=girl, wela = weather, wain = rain, dats kew=that's cool, dar=there, booday=birthday}  His newest phrase is "Aha!  I know....."  The biggest words he says are "incredible" and "amazing".  He is still such a cuddler and occasionally says sweet things to me like "I love you sweetheart".

Pre K is going very well.  He often busts out in a song or rhyme that they sing, depending on the situation - cleaning up, sharing, etc.  On Thursdays SHSU students lead music.  He especially loves the instruments they bring - his favorite is the drum!  His favorite buddies are Keaton, JK and Willa.  My hope is that the longer "school days" this year will better prepare him for full time school next year.  Although he doesn't like nap time, he does manage to fall asleep about half of the time.  He enjoys taking a beloved stuffed animal to snuggle with each day.  We had his Fall parent/teacher conference last week.  Mrs. Anitra says that he is doing great!  She said that he can identify all of his capital letters and most of his lower case letters and sounds {although he is not expected to yet}.  He plays well with others and loves to make them laugh.  He enjoys racing and collecting acorns on the playground.  She also notices that he enjoys numbers and simple math.  Even without being told to do so he adds and subtracts objects.  She thinks that he will be ready for Kindergarten if we choose to enroll him next fall.  Time will tell.  Here is a self portrait he drew the first week back to school:

She shared a funny story with us.  At lunch the kids lift up their lunchboxes so that she can place a napkin underneath.  One day Owen managed to strap his lunchbox to his forehead then let go.  One of the little girls shouted "Wow Owen, how did you do that?"  Without skipping a beat he replied "I'm a professional".

We love this little boy to pieces!!  We are so proud of him and look forward to watching him grow and develop into a Godly man.  He tests my patience and melts my heart....both on a daily basis!  I am still learning to be a "boy mom" and am loving every minute.

Bumpdate - 18w2d

How Far Along? 18 weeks 2 days {getting closer to the half way mark!!}

Baby size? About the size of a sweet potato

Maternity Clothes?  Yes - for awhile now!  Especially pants!

Weight Gain?  None - I've actually lost lbs!  

Stretch Marks?  None  :)

Gender?  Oh BOY!  {Hudson}

Sleep?  I have always been a deep sleeper so it's still amazing.  Some nights I do have trouble falling asleep, though...

Food Cravings? Zero!!  This is the first pregnancy that I haven't desperately craved something specific {yet!}

What I Miss?  Sleeping on my tummy and drinking more caffeine {but it's TOTALLY worth it!}

What I am loving?  hearing the heartbeat on the doppler whenever I desire and hearing the kiddos daydream about bringing baby home

Movement?  I felt unmistakable hiccups for awhile on Sat Oct 11 but nothing major since!

Symptoms?  Crazy sickness the first four months but feeling much better now :)

Best Moment of the Week? receiving the great news that my panorama test {for chromosomal abnormalities and issues} came back clear!!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oh BOY!! {gender reveal}

We have a HUGE announcement to make!!!  

We are adding a pumpkin to our patch....

Another football player to our team....

And another {tiny} pair of shoes to our house!

Owen has done such a wonderful job at being a little brother that he is being promoted to BIG brother!  :)

The big ultrasound was scheduled for my birthday!  I couldn't imagine a better way to celebrate my 33rd!  Coach took the day off work and I was happy to have him there.  We both agreed that the gender didn't matter and that we just wanted a sweet healthy baby.  We made our final gender predictions in the waiting room and then headed back to meet with Dr Deahl.  It didn't take him long to determine that we will be welcoming a little BROTHER this Spring!  I must admit that Coach was smiling ear to ear :)  Dr D did lots of measurements and said that everything looked great {praise the Lord!!}  It was fun to spend so much time taking a peek at all of his little parts.  We could very clearly see his spinal cord, ribs, bladder, all 5 fingers on each hand, feet, legs, brain, skull and boy parts.  Simply amazing!!! My due date is March 24th. 

We chose to share the gender with the news with the kiddos first.  I must admit that it was quite a challenge to keep it a secret from the rest of the world that day!  After brief stops at the furniture store {for a giant box} and the party store {for a bunch of blue balloons} and a little crafty magic we were set.  {Some of the photos were dark because Coach gets home from practice around 8pm!}  Of course Emma was on "team pink" and Owen was on "team blue" they were told that it is totally up to God and that they needed to be happy either way ;)

The big kids were excited about blue balloons!  I told Emma that God thought that she had been such a great big sister to a boy that He thought she should do it again!!  

We are all thrilled about our blessing and can't wait to kiss his sweet little face.  We covet your prayers over these next few months and promise to keep you all updated!  XOXO