July 31, 2011

12 Years of Marital Bliss

Marcus and I are celebrating 12 years today. We are in Fort Worth with Abby having a little post-conference (I've been working in Dallas all week) getaway. We are eating at new and fun restaurants, visiting the zoo, swimming at the pool, and enjoying family time.
I am grateful every day that God made Marcus just for me and that he valued me enough to ask me to be his wife. We truly are happily married, but I'll admit parenting a toddler makes a happy marriage hard work! We are both so focused on her in the few hours we have as a family at the end of long days at work that once she is in bed we are both spent and enjoy quiet time with TV, video games or crafts. We love when we get time away from Abby or from work to just spend time together and remember why we chose each other in the first place. I still like him :)
I won't believe anyone who tells me a marriage takes on more stress than in the baby and toddler years. I won't believe you. This is a short season in a beautiful life and we are both trying to be the best employees, friends, parents and spouses we can be! Some days we do really well and others we go to bed ready to do better the next day!
I love the look back and see how we have grown and changed. You see the physical changes in these photos, but we see so much more.

Marcus, Happy 12th Anniversary. I love you more today than ever before and have so much joy living my life with you. Thank you for your love, your guidance, your respect, and your devotion to me and Abby.

July 29, 2011

Lesson Learned

Marcus used the nozzle on the water hose to water my plants in front of Abby. Naturally curious, she asked him what he was doing and he showed her. You can see what happened from there- ha!
A very wet Abby and Marcus came into the house for dinner :)

July 28, 2011

Jake's Baby Shower

I love baby showers! I love seeing Moms excited and friends sharing advice and horror stories. It reminds me of how cyclical life is... at baby showers we always talk about the same things, worry about what our pregnant friends worried about before us and share gifts we've given and received before. It reminds you everything will be okay- someone has solved your parenting challenge or you will solve it for the next friend.
I loved sharing with our friend Cristina (in purple) at her baby shower last weekend. I remember Cristina and my first conversation about her wanting a little one, the subsequent conversations about how hard it is to wait, and then the joy that a baby was on the way. Now, we only have a few more months until Jake is here and Cristina joins the circle of motherhood.

Congratulations friend!

Cathy (next to Cristina) is also due this fall- with her first girl. I have lots of accessorizing advice to share with her. She needs it after 2 boys! And, Andrea isn't abnormally tall! Us three other girls look short :)

July 26, 2011

Abby Said What, Volume 4

This girl just keeps getting funnier!

At daycare she noticed there was mulch from the beds on the sidewalk, she shook her head and pointed her finger and said, "these trees made a mess".
We have worked really hard on "thank you" and it has paid off. She thanks us all the time for the most random things, "thank you Daddy for my new closet", "thank you Momma for washing my sheets". It is funny! I wish she was better about saying thank you for others and about saying please. I asked her the other morning "what is the magic word?" I expected her to say please. Instead she said, "meeska mooseka mickey mouse". That is the magic word for Mickey's clubhouse to appear! ha!

July 25, 2011

Meet Dorothy

For many months we've been talking about getting Abby a fish for her room. The deal was that she could have a fish in her room when her dresser didn't need a changing pad, which meant she was fully potty trained. After sleeping without a diaper for the past 2 weeks and not having more than a handful of accidents, Saturday was the big day!
We even had a special shirt for the special day! The pet store employee was perfect for us and knew what a big deal it was. He asked us a few basic questions and then let Abby really make the decisions. She picked purple gravel for the base, a coral display for the bowl, and selected a round bowl instead of the bowl that is flat on two sides.
We named our fish Dorothy after the goldfish in Elmo's World. She likes to check on her by sitting on the dresser. I had to verify first thing this morning that Dorothy was sleeping. She wasn't moving.... but I now have been told what a dead fish will look like :)
I'm so proud of Abby tackling potty training without much trouble at all! I am amazed this stage of our life has passed. Go Abby!

July 24, 2011

Jibber Jibber

video

This video will make you smile.... Abby puts money in the house (small wooden painted house) at the entrance to the kids area at church. She loves dropping coins in the house! Taped to the front is a scripture and we have been working with Abby to learn it.

She has to be prompted with "God Loves..." and she'll finish it. She is also really close to telling you exactly where it is in the Bible. Can you tell how proud she is? That is the part she just learned! If you don't know what she is saying, it will sound like jibberish, but look here to see the verse and listen again. Note, she is just saying the last part. She is really saying the scripture!

This Closet Needs Help!

We are in the slow transition from a nursery to a toddler room and with some old and some new in the room it feels so mismatched to me! I am ready to buy her rod iron antique bed and use her new bedding! But, I'm certain she isn't ready so we wait.

I did recently get her artwork in! I love it! It doesn't match her bedding as much as I would have liked, but I think it will be obvious that it coordinates!
We spent a few hours last Sunday in her closet. I didn't take a before picture, but this is her closet before she was born, but it gives you an idea. We had two small shelving racks on the back wall from IKEA. The floor of her closet had been overrun with clothes that she had outgrown, clothes for next season, clothes to give away, etc. It was a little crazy!
Marcus went to Lowe's and came back with a shelving system to help me get it organized! Everything is removable when she is older, but right now, we just don't need a lot of hanging space. We need storage for random stuff!

We let Abby sit in her chair and watch videos on the ipod while Marcus installed and I sorted! We have a bin of winter 3T, spring 3T, 4T, and then 5 and bigger clothes ready when she grows. Between sale purchases, donations from Kyleigh and Blythe, Abby has 6 coats and 8 pairs of jeans in a size 3T. Oops! I needed to sort and see what I had a little sooner!
Here is her new closet! I essentially have 5 shelves that are each 4 feet long! They are holding toys, shoes, new bedding, diaper bags and duffle bags, her size 3T winter clothes, and her tutus and ballet shoes for dance class this fall!
It feels good to have her organized!

July 22, 2011

Green

Last Friday was green day at Abby's school and everyone was asked to wear green. Abby and I discussed green is the color of her favorite- peas! She was excited to wear green.
After school, we went to dinner at O'Leander cafe, on 183 just north of Crystal Falls. It is so good- go if you haven't! It is what a small town cafe should be. Same people serve you every time because they own the place! They have a basket of toys for the kids, the best lasagna in the world, and this green pie that we love, pistachio cream! So good. We all shared a piece making it virtually fat free ;)

July 19, 2011

Sunday Morning

My little girl is becoming a big girl in so many ways. We no longer sit in a highchair, we prefer a booster. We like to drink out of a regular cup and rarely spill. We don't wear a bib much at all. We know how to operate the iPad and have our own You Tube channel of favorites. We have memorized our first scripture (with a little prompting) and can tell you where it is in the Bible.
We have opinions about our clothes- no dress today Momma or a bow no pony please. We can play solo and make up games and songs to entertain our self. We sleep without a diaper, on a big pillow with a real blanket and wake up in that same position. We throw away our own trash and can put on our own shoes. We prefer the big girl potty to the little one.
With all that said, you can't blame me for secretly loving the fact that Sunday morning at church, Abby threw a fit like a little baby to stay with her Momma. She wanted me to play with her and rock her and didn't want to let me "go learn about Jesus".
I gave in for a few minutes and experienced the joy of holding my baby.

July 17, 2011

Pool Play Date

Saturday afternoon we met our friends Katy and Ike at their awesome apartment pool for dinner and swimming. Abby loves Katy and Ike- she morphed them into one person "KTIKE" this weekend. She had fun in the pool fountains, with the puppies down at the pool, and lounging! We went to the pool about 4:30 so it was not real crowded, the water was warm from the heat of the day and nobody got sunburned!
Katy's best friend Nicole just moved to Texas and she joined us at the pool. Abby has talked about Nicole nonstop! Nicole showed Abby a picture of her dog Winston on her iPod and now when Abby has Marcus' old iPod, she shows it to us and says, "see my puppy". There is nothing there :)
After swimming, Abby got to meet Finley who is the Maltepoo dog of Katy and Ike. She giggled, clapped and danced with glee as Finley fetched the little animal Abby threw for him. So much fun!

With all her love for KTIKE, we'll have to keep the fact that we are going to Mexico for their wedding from Abby. She'll be so sad!

July 16, 2011

The Details

I can not fully express for you how much I feel God in my decision to stay home. I don't know if I am just more aware of his work in my life right now or if in being obedient He is working out little details that I may have forced in the past to get my way. Let me give you two examples.

One of Abby and Marcus' favorite times in weekday mornings when they have coffee and breakfast at Starbucks. They have done this for 2 plus years at our local Starbucks. They both love it, but it didn't make sense in our new plan. We don't need to spend $2 per day on coffee and Abby doesn't need to get up at 6:45 and leave the house. In the 2 years they've gotten to know the staff there and Abby talks about Mary, Josh and Kelly regularly.
Over the past few months: Mary, Josh and Kelly have left Starbucks, Abby has shown less interest in going and prefers to lay in our bed and watch Mickey Mouse clubhouse and Marcus' office has a new and really nice coffee station. Every concern has been answered and it has nothing to do with anything Marcus or I could have solved or changed.

Our other big issue has been the gym. I want to join a gym- I've not been in a gym since Abby was born because I wasn't willing to give up the 3 hours per day I have with her. Staying home, I have so much more time, I feel like it is time to get in shape and Abby will love the change of scenery a few times per week. I wasn't in love with the idea of Gold's Gym where Marcus is a member. It seems like a guy's gym to me :)
Problem solved: Our friend Carrie told us about the local YMCA and Marcus toured it yesterday. It has a gym, but so much more! Abby can take swim lessons and dance classes there, they have a crazy cool swimming pool, an epic (to quote Marcus) kids area, and they even offer babysitting hours once a month as part of your membership. Yea for date night! All that for $5 more per month! When he toured it yesterday, one of the new workers is a girl from Starbucks that left our store recently. How neat is that!

I love seeing how God is transforming our surroundings to fit our new life and I'm not having to make our life fit our surroundings. I have one more week in the office, one week at a conference, and then I am part time for 3 weeks to train and hand off my work. I can't wait!

July 13, 2011

... And We're Back!

Saturday night after the aquarium and swimming we went to a local restaurant in CC called Brewster Street. It was recommended by our friend Cliff and Diane. It had a variety of food, a big playground in the back, and was near our hotel. Abby was tired after another day without a nap, so we hid the playground from her! She didn't eat much and we let her watch Mickey Mouse videos on the phone while we ate.
This wasn't exactly a low carb weekend :)
We were back at the hotel by 8 PM and put Abby to bed early! We rose Sunday morning about 7:00 and were done in the restaurant for breakfast before 8. Abby was so excited to have Fruit Loops that she had discovered the previous day. She ate fruit, cereal and milk for breakfast.
We left the hotel before 9 and started home! We ended up stopping in San Marcos for lunch at Centerpoint Station- yummy! Their grilled cheese sandwiches are huge and on sweet homemade bread. Divine! While waiting on our food, I did a little shopping. I didn't end up buying this sign, but I do love it! I want to use that phrase in some other way- it is just beautiful!
After lunch we had a bad parenting moment...

Abby hasn't had an accident in weeks, but we put her in pull ups for the car ride. We still stopped and had her potty, but I didn't want a wet car seat or stinky car for the trip if she were to have an accident. When we got to lunch she went potty, but we didn't think about having her go after lunch before we left. We had been on the food for 5 minutes when she said she had to potty. Marcus and I were tired and ready to be home. We questioned her certain she didn't need to go already and just wanted out of the car. She insisted so we told her to just go in her pull up- it was okay. She kept saying no, telling us she had to go and started crying. We felt awful so we pulled into the next gas station and she went!

Because of that incident I felt pretty sure she is set that we don't pee pee unless we are on a potty. So, on Wednesday night, we slept without a diaper for the first time. She had a small accident early Thursday morning and didn't even wake us up! Last night, she slept without a diaper again and this morning she woke up dry! I think someone is about to get her fish for her room! Exciting!

Visit to the State Aquarium

After touring the hotel and convention center on Saturday, Marcus, Abby & I set out to see the Texas State Aquarium. What a cool place! It is like a zoo focused solely on water animals! Lots of indoor viewing space to keep cool and shows and exhibits all throughout the day!
They recently added a splash pad at the aquarium! You enter on the 2nd floor and walk on a bridge over/above the splash pad! There is water flowing above the entrance and splashing down the sides.
We saw sea turtles, sharks, jelly fish, sea otters, blowfish, and so much more!
The splash pad was also lots of fun! Tubes to run through, small springs of water and even a giant bucket that overflowed onto the kids every few minutes!
Abby had an awesome time! We spent a little more than 2 hours there and were so excited for the dolphin show; however, we didn't realize how popular it would be, got a bad place to stand in the back and right when it should have started Abby had to potty! So, we went potty and headed back to the hotel pool!

July 12, 2011

Corpus Christi Hooks

Friday night after the beach, we had a reception with yummy food and then headed to the minor league Corpus Christi Hooks baseball game. The game started at 7:05 which made me a little nervous- so we took our own car knowing we could leave pre-meltdown! Can you tell she was thrilled to have her picture taken? Turkey!
The game was great- extra innings and a few home runs! But, we had the most fun with the entertainment between innings. These blow up mascots were hilarious! They were all stars- Mackarel (Michael) Jordan, Manatee (Manny) Rodriguez, etc. The fish on the left kept trying to eat the workers sweeping the dirt and eventually got him. He then spit out his clothes and then spit him out in his boxers!
The two in the middle danced to some fun 80's music and the brown one is actually upside down dancing on his head in the picture. The mascot and Tulsa Drillers player (who I assume is a stadium staff person in the competitions jersey) competed for claps based upon their dancing. The best part.... five notes into the song, Abby yells across a few people, "It's Rock Your Body!" She knows the song they were dancing to thanks to a funny story :)
Around the 8th inning she was getting tired and sat in Marcus' lap to watch videos on his phone. We left about 9 PM and the 9th inning. We wanted to stay for the fireworks after the game; however, the couple they blasted after the home runs scared her so we left.

Luckily, Abby slept easily in the pack and play in the hotel and didn't make a peep until 7:15 the next morning!

July 10, 2011

... And We're Off!

I was invited to see all the new and exciting things happening in Corpus Christi this past weekend. It is a perk of my job- when a city or a hotel wants my company's business, they often invite me to see their product first hand. This area of meeting planning can get out of hand very quickly, so I often decline. But, we had discussed taking Abby to the beach this summer and this weekend corresponded nicely.

We left our house on Friday morning before 9 AM and drove and drove and drove! We arrived in CC about 1 PM and went straight to lunch.
Abby did really well in the car- she played with her new dress up dolls and watched her favorite shows on the DVD player. She was so excited to be out of the car that going straight into a high chair threw her for a loop. She was the worst she has ever been over lunch!
We had lunch at Water Street Seafood Company. It is a long standing eatery in CC that we had visited before. There are cute little shops around it for picture taking and for crazy toddlers to run around! Note, I am throwing this shirt away. It looks awful on me- ugh!
We checked into the hotel and with great excitement headed to the beach. We had researched options and decided to visit McGee Beach- it is on the bay, 1 miles from our hotel and known for minimal sea weed and low waves. It was perfect for our needs. We rented 2 chairs, an umbrella and left Abby experience sand. The "fun" ended immediately. She HATED it. She wanted in her chair wrapped in her towel and then wanted all the sand off her!
Luckily, she warmed up to it after seeing three little boys playing in the sand. Marcus convinced her to try again and we ended up staying for well over an hour. She made sand castles with them, sat in the waves with Daddy, and ate a snack under the umbrella with me. I don't like the beach at all- this was all about her. I enjoyed watching and taking photos in my shaded chair and then rinsing off my shoes.
After the beach, we all took baths and got clean for our first scheduled activity with the city- a baseball game! More to come!
Side note... my favorite candy in all the world is Swedish Fish. I love them! I can't buy them very often, but did for the trip. We always try to pack snacks to save money and make wiser choices. I had bought Swedish Fish and Abby likes them, too! She called them "gooey fish". I couldn't sneak a single one without her calling out for them, too!

July 08, 2011

New Things

Abby has done a few new things recently that I want to record for posterity....

We drink out of a regular cup at meal time- no bottle, no sippy cup, no lid and straw. Just turn the cup up and drink!

We tried corn on the cob and love it!
We have discovered Mommy and Daddy's bed and love to watch Mickey Mouse in bed in the morning. I like this because it will give me 30 minutes of quiet time to get ready in the mornings when I am home with her. She likes to have our 4 pillows plus the 5 additional pretty pillows surrounding her.

We like our new Melissa and Doug puzzles. I wanted her to have more educational toys in the house for the fall and bought her letters, numbers and colors. She can do the numbers and colors perfectly, but needs help on the letters. We also bought her these, but are saving them for an upcoming road trip. I think she will love them on her lap desk in her car seat!

Have a good weekend!

July 04, 2011

Michael and Abby Lu

There weren't many people in church on Sunday- typical for a summer holiday. So, Abby's class had only 2 kids and it happens to be her favorite friend Michael.
They took buggy rides all morning and played in the soft play area, typically reserved for crawlers. Abby and Michael have taken many a picture together in their three years. I love knowing Abby has little friends and I pray they grow up together protecting and loving each other.
Here are a few of their special moments together ;)

Abby and Michael in their Mommy's bellies

Newborn Abby meets Michael

Abby and Michael's first kiss

Breakfast date

Partying together

Fourth with Friends

We had a full weekend with parties everyday and I loved it! I didn't do a good job with my camera on Sunday, so I made sure to capture our Monday fun!

Our friends The Richards and The Gumpls came over to swim! Kristi and I are cousins. Natalie and I go to church together. Kristi and Natalie used to teach together. Our kids all play really well together making it stress free fun for the parents!
Abby was excited to have her friends come play, but wasn't as excited to share her toys with them :) We had lots of life lessons on sharing! We put out numerous water toys in the backyard, grilled hot dogs, enjoyed fresh fruit and Doritos, and the kids had popsicles for dessert.

We had 6 kids in the pools, all age 6 and under and then sweet baby Read hanging out with the adults.
After lunch, we drove to the neighborhood pool to really swim and cool off! Man, it was hot on Monday. Moving 7 kids takes a lot of work! Marcus and I both laughed we like our 2 adults to 1 child odds!
I hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July. I have to admit that it felt a little odd without fireworks!

Happy Independence Day

Blessed is the nation whose God is Lord~ Psalm 33:12

July 03, 2011

Still Working on It...

... our new back patio that is!

I knew I wanted a bid red umbrella on the new patio, but I wanted them to go on sale! I didn't think I'd get one until August, but for the holiday weekend they slashed prices and I jumped on it! I love that we can move it around and that it covers both the love seat and the chaise lounge at the same time!
We also added some new flowers this weekend. We are trying out a few that were recommended to us for drought resitant and that called for full sun since the patio isn't shaded.
If these don't die (and get returned to Lowe's) in the next few weeks, we'll spend the time to plant them in the ground!

We are having some friends over on Monday and I'm thrilled that we have seating for all 6 adults outside! We've been working on our ability to entertain outdoors since we three families got together in camp chairs last year!

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