January 29, 2013

Butterfly Exhibit at The Bob Bullock

Saturday morning we ventured downtown to see the butterfly exhibit at the Bob Bullock state history museum. It was cold and rainy, but lots of fun!

They had stations set up inside the museum for kids to learn more about butterflies- face painting, mask making, coloring, etc. Once you visited each station, you could turn in your "scorecard" and receive a lollipop, information about butterflies and a package of milkweed seeds to grow and attract butterflies in your backyard.

Then, we made our way to the IMAX to see the Flight of the Butterflies 3D movie.

The movie was about 45 minutes long and followed a Canadian scientist who began tagging butterflies in the mid-century to try and determine where they went. It was fascinating and the 3D effects of hundreds of butterflies was awesome! They even had one of the scientist at the museum to introduce the film. Abby grabbed at butterflies throughout the film- I was certain she was going to grab the man's head in front of us!

We all learned a lot more about butterflies on Saturday!

Click here are current showtimes and the video's promo.

January 27, 2013

New Church Home

Marcus and I left our church of 9 years in November. We didn’t make the decision lightly or on our own. We prayed about it, talked about it, and I even cried about it. Marcus and I truly became followers of Christ at Great Hills. We joined in 2003- faced 4 years of infertility and welcomed Abby as members of that church. Abby was dedicated and formed the sweetest little friendships there. We worked in the child care area, in VBS, and in our bible life class. Walking away from all of that will stand as one of the hardest decisions we have ever faced. I don’t feel it appropriate to hash out online why we wanted to leave- I don’t want to discourage anyone from leaving a church when it is where they feel God wants them to be. I knew that to grow spiritually and to fulfill our goals for our family, we needed something new. But, the girl in me who had made so many memories and so many friends was terrified of starting over.

Today, I cried while singing in church, just like I did the first Sunday we visited Great Hills in 2003. This time it was to 10,000 Reasons. Then, it was The Air I Breathe. Those songs and those moments will stick with me. The crying in church, as silly as it sounds, was the last little confirmation I needed that we had found our family’s next church.

Let me tell you- God knew what we needed and has given us such wonderful love in this process. We have only known one church. Leaving that isn’t easy, but He has reassured us in so many ways. It almost feels like buying a car or a house. You make a list of what you need in a church, what you want to have, and what you don’t want. This is likely the place where our daughter will grow up- it needs to be good!

After making our list through many conversations, we looked around at prospective churches in our area online. We had to have a strong children’s program that offered children’s church for a few years beyond kindergarten, active Bible life classes that met on Sunday morning, an outward focus, and we wanted it to be within 15 minutes of our home. Only a few fit our needs and we first visited The Church at Canyon Creek in early November. We had heard about it from a friend that attended and decided to start our search there.

We haven’t visited another church and I’m pretty sure we won’t for a long time. That first Sunday, I felt like I was cheating. I had told a few friends we were visiting. They were loving and kind, but I still felt funny being the visitor and not the greeter. I felt like I would get a “where were you on Sunday, I missed you” email and I wouldn’t know what to say! (I did get a phone call and it wasn’t as bad as I imagined!)

We have now been attending for 3 months and little signs have become affirmations for us…

  •            The part of leaving Great Hills that was so hard for me was leaving all of my friends. Flash forward to the end of November (we have been visiting about 3 weeks) and in Cowboys Stadium with more than 50,000 people, we had tickets NEXT TO a family we know at Great Hills. God affirmed for me that in a sea of people, He can still cross my path with friends.
  •           We were so frightened Abby would be sad or not like her new church, but we didn’t know the power of a cash register. Her new class has a cash register in it and that is all she talks about. Every Sunday morning she specifically asks me if we are going to the cash register church and is so excited when we say that we are. She is given take home lessons with stickers each week and can check out sweet Christian books. She loves books and stickers!
  •           While we had been attending Great Hills “Sunday school” faithfully, we had not attended service for many months. We are engrossed with service now. The lessons have been so applicable that we are taking notes more than ever before. Time flies in there and church lets out a little earlier which is so helpful with a hungry toddler!
  •           Using my spiritual gift of administration has always led me to be a social/fellowship coordinator in my bible life class. The first week we visited Canyon Creek, they announced the need for a social coordinator. Marcus and I laughed. Yea, so I volunteered this week to be the coordinator. Funny how God works!
  •           Our new bible life group is filled with some amazing people! Our teacher is about 10 years older than us which is one of the things we first loved about Great Hills and lost in recent years. I like learning from someone who has been though the stage of life we are in. Learning from peers is just different- it wasn’t best for us. The couples in the class have embraced us as friends and we are so grateful. I am doing MOPS, ladies events, and play dates. Marcus is attending men’s weekly breakfast.
  •           Our final affirmation… when Marcus and I were in Hawaii I read a book about sex trafficking and it touched me deeply. I told Marcus while sitting in the pool that I wanted to help, to do something. I knew we weren’t in a place to sponsor another child or donate large sums of money, but that if I could use my talents as a meeting planner, I would love the opportunity. In our bible life group is Christian-author and speaker Vicki Courtney. I have read her books and have so much respect for her message. She recently brought up a partnership with Compassion International for vulnerable children, many of whom will likely face sex trafficking in their childhood. There was my opportunity to try and serve in an area my heart was passionate about. I have talked to Vicki and we are both praying about ways I can help her in this cause.

I am grateful God has provided for us in this transition. I am grateful for our new church home where we can learn, grow and serve. I am so grateful for the deep friendships I have from Great Hills and will be making at Canyon Creek. I am forever grateful to Great Hills for growing us to this point.

Marcus and I have never left a church to join another one and we have tried so hard to be patient in the process. To stop and listen. To speak and plug in. To be respectful and to be open. I feel like we have a new spiritual home after 3 months of visiting and it feels good.

January 26, 2013

Lazy Thursday

Abby and I skipped swimming and meeting up with a friend on Thursday to be lazy at home. Abby has a recurring night time cough and we started her on Zyrtec (to go with Flonase) and she had a rough little night coughing all night long! So, we stayed in our pajamas most of the day!

We worked on our bowling game and check it out, the 4 year old in the house now holds the Wii bowling record. She does it all with no help from me. She had 5 strikes!

After rest time, we decided to put on clothes and go play at Chick-Fil-A. The place was empty which rarely happens. Abby showed me her stink face. This kid cracks me up!

I love simple days like this- it reminds me why I stay home in the first place!

January 23, 2013

Colors and Floss

Our two favorite colors right now are red and purple. Imagine her delight when I pulled this outfit out!

We stopped by Marcus' office to say hi on the way to the dentist.

Our last cleaning was 10 months ago and she grew so much in bravery and tolerance in those 10 months. She hated the bite trays for x-rays, but did it. We had a meltdown, were promised a new toy and then said, "ok, I'll do it." It was done in 2 minutes. I'll spend $6 to get it done!

She let them clean her teeth with no problems. They flossed, looked around and she was great!

Then, the dentist came and dropped the very unexpected hammer. We should have been flossing. She has cavities, needs crowns for big cavities and even two baby root canals for deep cavities. There is so much space between her teeth, I didn't think flossing was necessary. My finger can practically fit in there... surely her toothbrush bristles do? WRONG! 

We are going to get a second opinion after speaking to her pediatrician and another couple of Mom friends. I don't want to sedate her, possibly scare her and spend that much money if these teeth will not progress anymore and likely fall out in another year. She is in no pain at all right now. 

Anyone else do this kind of dental work on baby teeth? Thoughts?

January 21, 2013

Birthdays Galore

Saturday was Marcus' Mom's birthday! Happy Birthday Mimi! Marcus and Abby spend the day with her- delivering flowers, playing games, and having ice cream sundaes!

On Sunday after church, my Dad came over to celebrate his birthday! Happy Birthday Dad! We had a King's Cake with lunch and Abby found the lucky baby! 

We played games, sat outside, and watched a little football. It was a nice couple of hours!

Granpa and Jacque were good sports and got some Jake tattoos with Abby. They were Sharky and Bones :)

I am one lucky girl with the Dad I have. I know the father-daughter relationship is so important and Daddy issues stay with girls for a long time. My Dad has always been top notch- he is supportive, spent time with me growing up, and still provides great advice. I love you, Dad!

Today is Uncle Shaun's birthday! Happy Birthday Shaun- I hope you have a great day!

January 19, 2013

iPhone Photo Dump

We had had lots of fun the last two weeks and I have captured most of it on my iPhone. I haven't blogged much lately because I haven't been carrying my big camera around. As I am learning manual mode, I haven't wanted to change the settings for everyday life. Then, transferring pics from the iPhone to my blog takes too many steps! Marcus is going to fix that for me this weekend- I needed to install iTunes and set up my own cloud :)

Thursday afternoon we met out friend Natalie at Chick-fil-A. Abby loves Michael, but they are on opposite school schedules so they haven't been able to play lately. Natalie had one hour between Michael getting picked up and her big kids getting home from school. It was an added bonus that she had our friend Anna with her!

Abby loved seeing Baby Caroline, who happened to be in the best mood. I think she likes us :)

I am having fun dressing Abby lately. She is wearing little girl clothes now, so there is a whole new (and sometimes scary!) world of clothing opening up! I love her little leopard leggings. And yes, there are hamsters with rabbit ears sharing glasses on her shirt!

We finally had a warm day last week, so Marcus and Abby played outside. Abby was so excited to draw me a rainbow.

We recently made the decision to take a break from swimming and take gymnastics. Abby has been swimming for 10 months and is getting tired of it. She is stuck on station 4 and in order to move up has to master moving from the wall, into a float on her back, kicking across the pool on her back and then turning properly to grab the wall. We decided to let her take gymnastics and I'll work with her in the pool this summer. She is super close to just swimming away!

 During the two weeks she was off for Christmas, we took a one day winter camp class at the gymnastics studio where our friends go, and she was so excited about it! So, we are finishing swimming this month and start gymnastics in 2 weeks.

She tried out the 4-5 year old class and they recommended we put her in 3-4 instead. The 3-4 year old class is 45 minutes as opposed to 1 hour and they move faster through stations. Abby would do a "trick" 2 times and wanted to move on!

I am loving my photography class. Last week we studied freezing and capturing time. Marcus was so kind to join in and spit water for me!

We have a fun weekend planned celebrating Marcus' Mom and my Dad's birthdays!

January 16, 2013

I See A Ghost!

Do you see a ghost?

I have had two photography classes so far and am having fun with my homework! This week we are studying time and movement in photos. I had the shutter open for 8 seconds and Abby stood in it for only 5 which created a ghost of herself. Pretty cool!

January 06, 2013

4 Year Well Check

Abby had her 4 year well check on Friday afternoon. Every Momma will tell you, this is the dreaded appointment with lots of shots. I had heard 6... with the blending of meds now, it was just 3. But, they were a doozy. I held her arms and put my face right with hers while Marcus was at her legs. He saw the needles go in and I saw the red face and tears just seconds later! Luckily, they were quick and she recovered in under 10 minutes. 

We love the show Doc McStuffins, so Abby brough her little Doc and a couple of Doc's friends with her. Dr. Sperling was kind and allowed Abby to be the doctor and give her a couple of shots.

Marcus and Abby had fun making faces and taking pictures in the waiting room. 

We went over all of the basics and felt so fortunate Abby can do all the things required of her with the exception being she can not dress herself. We are still working on that one. But, in most areas, she can do more than the standard for a 4 year old. For example, can she recognize a circle? Uh, yea, she pointed out that our tray ceiling in the master bedroom is an octagon. Does she know her colors? Does she know her name, age and gender? She knows her name, can spell it and write it :)

We had discussed at her 3 year well check our concern over some OCD-like tendencies. We are aware of them, many of them still exist, but we manage them better. Abby likes patterns, she likes things to be finished fully, she doesn't like pieces to a set to be missing, she likes to know what is happening today, tomorrow and the next. These don't interrupt her life, so we aren't as concerned. I think that she is learning to let more things go and school is really helping with that.

We also did a hearing test- all good! Abby weighs 46 pounds which is the 95th percentile and is 42" tall which is the 90th percentile. We discussed her eating and drinking habits. She is a healthy girl!

We ended the appointment refilling her Flonase and her Epi-Pens. We still use Flonase each morning to prevent a runny nose. She has been using it for over 2 years and since it works and nothing else on the market is better for her issue, we'll keep using it. We have skipped it before and she gets a runny nose the next day. Insane! We'll have new Epi-Pens ready to go when these expire and pray we will throw them away unused. We do plan to have her blood tested again to see if her allergy has improved. Fingers crossed it has!

All in all, a great appointment. Confirmation of her health and those yucky shots over with!

January 02, 2013

Birthday-Eve Sea World Trip

We had planned to spend Abby's 4th birthday at Sea World, but the weather wasn't looking great, so we went the day before and had the best weather in December! It was sunny and cool!

Our first stop is always Sesame Street's Bay of Play. Abby was thrilled that Abby Cadabby wasn't sick (what they told her last time we were there and she was out) anymore. She told everyone she saw that she was 4 years old! It was cute to see the characters try to respond to her!

We love Telly!

After saying hello to lots of Sesame Street friends, we rode rides! Nana joined us and rode the carousel with Abby. For some reason, the carousel just makes me sick!

I rode the Shamu Express with Abby and she was a little scared, but she did great. She threw such a fit as we started to ride this once this summer, they made us get off! Progress! You can barely see my green vest in the second car.

Abby rode the dolphin ride all by herself!

Before we left the SS area, we made sure to get Abby her souvenir and since it was her birthday, she got two of them! She picked Big Bird and Super Grover!

It was standing room only at the Shamu show and Shamu didn't want to perform! The trainer came out and stalled with educational facts about whales until the animals were ready. They started about 15 minutes late and did a few less tricks, but we saw flips and waves and even saw Shamu touch the red ball hanging HIGH above the water.

 We then watched the Sesame Street Christmas show and Abby went up front and stood by the stage. I got the best pictures of the characters sitting up there with her.

The drummer boys got in on the 4 action and gave her a high four after taking pictures!

This was the first time Abby did the tunnels. She just got in, acted like she owned the place and crawled right through. These are about 30 feet off the ground. Marcus' helicopters were down for fear of crawling through and then falling through!

About 5 PM, it started to cool off and the lights starting coming on! We played around in the candy cane forest and listened to carolers.

 Then, we went inside Fantasea, a walk thought area filled with Christmas characters for photo opportunities. It was so much fun and Abby loved seeing all the animals. 

This little girl should had a wonderful birthday-eve at Sea World! We just our season passes 6 or 7 times in total- I think we got our money's worth!


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