Monday, March 18, 2013

FIVE! and an un-sleepover

Sweet Caroline turned five just two days after little Emmalyn turned one.  January was a celebration filled birthday month around our house (our nephew Bennett and Caroline share a birthday, four years apart) and was soooo much fun!  Caroline desperately wanted to have a sleepover but I thought she and her friends weren't quite ready for a slumber party just yet.  And, frankly, I like my sleep.  I didn't want to be calling parents to come pick up kiddos at 3am if someone got homesick.  We squeeze as many sleepover activities we could into three hours and then sent everyone home to go to bed.  It worked out perfectly.  Jack and his buddy Drew, who's younger sister was at the party, even got to camp out away from the girls in a tent in the backyard and watch a movie.  So fun!

Birthday Girl before her friends arrived!  She was SO excited!
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Snacks for movie time!
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Favors!  Yummy popcorn from our fave popcorn shop!
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First thing's first... pizza dinner in the playroom!  They were so funny just chatting and eating.  And were SO well behaved.  The other moms and I were remarking that this would be a TOTALLY different party with 12 boys.  It was amazingly quiet.  So far...
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After dinner we painted nails.  I was too busy manicuring little fingers to get a shot of that.  Then we had post-beauty movie time.  Sophia the First is one of Care's favorite shows now so everyone grabbed snacks and snuggled down to watch together.
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 Next up, cupcakes!
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The girls sang and Caroline blew out her candles and then...
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it was time to decorate!  LOTS of M&Ms were consumed and the girls took great care to get asmanysprinklesaspossible crammed on their cupcakes.  But, I got very few pictures of those too because they were quickly inhaled.
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Presents and dancing and squealing and playing and parents picking up followed and then Caroline CRASHED.  She partied till she dropped.  Literally.  Such a fun time.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Testing, testing...

After several months of waiting (see the first part of the story here), Jason and I were getting restless in our home.  In our circumstances.  We were just ITCHING to get into a bigger space.  Jason and I decided to list our house.  Basically, we wanted to test what God's plan was for us. 

Our best idea?  Probably not.  Did it give us some clarity and answers?  Yep.

See, we were still struggling between where we needed to be looking for a home.  Should we find something in Arlington, where we wouldn't have to completely uproot from our network of friends, our church, Jack's school, etc, or should we look for a home in Aledo/Willow Park?

Well, we came up with the idea to list our home and if it sold, that must mean we're meant to stay put in Arlington.  We were ready to move.  We felt good about listing our house.  We were excited.  We knew how hot the real estate market in Pantego has been historically so we were confident that our house would go quickly.  So I got to work boxing stuff up, decluttering, and staging the house and then we listed it in mid-November.  We were SURE we'd be moving before the end of the year and we couldn't wait!


We had lots of traffic right off the bat.  Steady showings (which with three young kids is exhausting) and good feedback.  But it wasn't just the right house for the folks that came through.

And no offers.  Bummer.

And as I look back at my prayer journal during that time I read this, one of my prayers...

Lord, I pray that we always follow you and exalt you; that your plans and our plans are the same, that we will walk with you always.

I pray for a quick and easy sale of our house and that you will show us where to live.  I ask for VERY CLEAR answers and a home that is JUST RIGHT FOR US.

By the way, does anyone else actually write out their prayers as if they're writing a note to God?  It helps me so much.

Anyway... God is answering that prayer, but not in the way I wanted it at the time.  It's better that I expected.  I asked for very clear answers.  Well, our house didn't sell.  Pretty clear that we weren't supposed to move before the end of the year, right?  So we decided to pull it off the market in early January.  There is NO WAY I could keep a house show ready during tax season with three kids.  We barely have clean clothes from January to April.

January was a month of waiting (again) and praying (always) and we were just at peace that we weren't moving immediately.  It was nice not to have to keep the place perfect and relax.  We were readying ourselves for what might lie ahead and were planning on re-listing the house in April.  Jason would look at homes online occasionally and kept seeing things he liked in Parker County, and the ONE house we loved in Arlington was gone.  Sold.  Hmmmm...

Near the end of January I was cleaning out my email inbox (ugh) and I came across an email from a McBee (builder) sales agent that we had contacted back in the summer when were considering a move to Weatherford.  I clicked a link on the email and was taken to McBee's homepage.  I noticed a sidebar that said something to the affect that they were starting a new development in Aledo and I mentioned it to Jason.  He asked me to contact the sales agent for more info.  Well long story short (shorter), the location, square footage, and price point were PERFECT.  Did you see in my prayer where I asked for a home that was JUST RIGHT FOR US?  Yeah, God is awesome like that.

So, after a whirlwind month of visiting Aledo every weekend, looking at lots, picking floor plans, deciding on decor, etc, we're in contract and are on the way to building our home!  God has given us lots of little confirmations along the way that we're doing the right thing; that we're following His will. 

Praise the Lord!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Birthday Baby!

 So did y'all know that I now have a toddler?!  Emmalyn turned one during my long blogging hiatus!  Can I just say that she is such a joy.  Happiest, sweetest, easiest baby ever.  Gah!  I just love her so much!  Happy birthday Emmalyn!

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 We had a milk and cookies themed party.  It was so fun!
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I was baking for days and we sent TONS of cookies home with folks.  Yummy!
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Hmmmm... not sure about this.  Are you SURE I'm allowed to eat it?
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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

All because of the wedding photographer

It all started with a visit to my wedding photographer.  She was the catalyst in this whole "let's get a bigger house/should we live here or there/can we sell this place/what in the world are we doing" life change we've got going on right now.  Crazy how the little things can start BIG things, right?!

So, I had Emmalyn at Marty's studio when she was a few months old and we were chatting.  Marty had decided to list her family home in Arlington to move closer to her daughter and grandkids.  I had been to her house back in 2002 when we were doing wedding photo business and remember loving it.  It was a lovely house, on a lovely, very BIG lot in Arlington.  Lots of house, lots of bedrooms (very important), lots of character.  Several weeks later she posted the listing on Facebook and I forwarded it to Jason.  We were not. at. all. considering a move in the near future.  Hadn't even crossed our minds.

Until then.

Then it crossed Jason's mind.

He called me while I was at summer library storytime with the kids and suggested we set up a showing to see the house.  Long story short, we actually never saw the house, it sold and I'm sure someone is very happy there.  But it did get our wheels turning.  Turning fast.

We looked at real estate in Arlington.  We looked at homes in Haslet.  We met with a realtor friend of mine from high school.  We looked at land in Parker County.  We almost, ALMOST bought a lot to build on in Milsap ISD.  Then, we took a breath and prayed. 

Novel, right? 

We asked God what was right.  Jason prayed specifically for God to close doors if we were heading in the wrong direction and guess what... He did.  It was made very clear to us that we were to wait.  That we were to wait on His timing.  That was hard.  REALLY HARD.

I was mad.  I was discouraged.  I didn't want to wait.  I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it.  But, dejectedly, we obeyed.  We were not thrilled.  But, we were at peace about waiting, as hard as it was.  And we continued praying about it.  But I will say, the attitude toward the provision of a home, one that I already had, was not good.

And then the new year of Bible Study Fellowship started.  What a blessing this is to me.  We've been studying Genesis and the truths and promises from the very beginning of the Bible still ring true today.  In week six I got a smack upside the head while reading my notes...

Perhaps God in His love for you is holding back from you something you desire.  The result is that you have a deep-seated discontent and self-pity.  Sometimes this bitterness shows itself in rebellion and asserting one's independence against God's revealed way of life in the Bible.

Okay then.

And in the same notes I read...

... trust god and therefore find direction and fulfillment in God Himself, in His love toward him (speaking of Abel), and in His gifts, even in hard circumstances.

Y'all.  It's as if God was talking directly. to. me.  And I know he was, through this study.  I know it.  So I changed my prayer.  I didn't pray for a change in circumstances (though my circumstances aren't difficult at all) I prayed for a change of heart.  I prayed that I would focus on the blessings and provisions I did have and stopped praying for the things I wanted.  I also prayed for the desires of His heart to be made the desires of mine.

And I waited...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


noun \ˈhōm\ - Any place of residence or refuge

In my life I've called many places home.  My first home was with loving foster parents before I was adopted.  Then the Lord blessed me with my parents and their definition of home was more about WHO you were with than WHERE you were.  We lived in quite a few places, though as I look back, it really wasn't as many as it seemed growing up.  And I think my mom's view on "home" is still evolving.  She jokingly refers to herself as a gypsy, which rings pretty true.

Through most of my teen years I called Aledo my home.  It's where I met and fell (madly) for Jason.  It's where we both grew up - him moreso than me.  It's where my mom's family is from.  It's where Jason's parents still live (well, one town over but still).  It holds lots of memories, both good and bad.  We have history there.  We have family there.  And now, we're making our home there.

Sure, we still LOVE Pantego and the Arlington area.  We've spent nearly the last ten years here.  We have deep roots.  We have amazing friends.  We have a church that has helped shape us both spiritually into the people we are today.  We became parents here.  Our children only remember this place.  Emmalyn was born here.  It is special.  But, we've been led to move on.

There's a lot of backstory that led us to where we are and I'm sure I'll share it at some point.  But now, I just want to reflect on what home is.  Residence?  Yes.  Refuge?  Absolutely.

And this home, and the next... are not truly our homes.  We're merely passing through.

These are my people.  My home.  Behind them is where our new home will stand in just months!
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