Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Live and In Concert

My mom called me Sunday afternoon to tell me some very, VERY exciting news! Mandisa is coming to their church this Thursday night, live in concert AND it's free. MANDISA!! Y'all, I squealed like Ella with excitement and haven't stopped since.

Blogging friends, I am extending my mom's invitation to you. You should come! I will meet you there and we can sit together! You are not going to want to miss out on this. For more info, click on the picture below.

I've included a video clip of her from American Idol in case you've been living in a hole, or don't read BooMama's blog, or haven't dedicated your life to reality t.v and don't know who Mandisa is. Enjoy! She is AMAZING!

Saturday, July 28, 2007


So do You Think You Can Dance? Because apparently I do. I've decided I'm going to enroll myself in a beginners dance class. Yes I am going to down myself in a fluffy tutu alongside every other aspiring 5 year who wants to be a ballerina. Heath shouldn't mind too much, he can drop Ella and I off at the same class.

About a month ago, I declared that Jaime would be the ultimate winner of this season. I was so sure of it. Really. Because when I declare a winner of a highly intelligent reality show, it's as good as gold people. Except for last Thursday night. I was proved me wrong.

At the end of the show, Cat Deeley informed us which two girls were in the bottom two and up for elimination. The two girls this week were Lauren and Jaimie. The show allows the bottom two to do one last solo just to show of their moves one last time. Jaimie did a phenomenal job as always, but I was not so sure anymore if she would be the ultimate winner. Since my declaration, I had really started to love a couple of the other girls a little more, but I'm loyal, so I was still rooting for her to the end.

After Jaimie's solo, it was Lauren's turn. Both of the girls' solos were pretty similar. They are both experts in lyrical dance. Like that technical talk! Yea, I'm gonna be a dancer. Well, Lauren danced her lyrical dance to "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me! I was so impressed. It was amazing! She is one of the girls that I had started to like so much the last few weeks and this was confirmation of my likeness.

As you have probably guessed, Jaimie was eliminated Thursday night. My loyalty will now fall to Lauren, at least until she is eliminated, upon which I must then transfer my oh so loyal opinion to somebody else.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's Been Going On?

Occasionally in my job duties at our church I am called upon to coordinate weddings if needed. Well, it turns out this last weekend I was needed. One of my friends, Ashley, got married this last Friday, preceded by the rehearsal on Thursday evening.

Coordinating weddings is not something I do often. In fact, this was only the third time in my two-year tenure that I have been called upon to do this. I’m not going to lie; I was a nervous wreck! Just like I was the time before that and the time before that! I mean this is a couple's big day. They've been looking forward to this special day for so long and if I were to screw something up, I would die. Add to that, this couple is friends of ours and if something were to go wrong…I would feel horrible.

I expressed my nervousness to my sweet friend Amanda and she willingly offered to come help me. I must say her being there helped set me at ease. Plus Heath was there so if anything crazy happened I knew he would jump in for me and save the day.

The rehearsal went incredibly smooth, with the rehearsal dinner following shortly after. Dinner was held at The Trail Dust Steak House, which was the perfect match for their country & western theme. I've been a city girl my whole life, born in L.A. and now living in Dallas. Heath’s dad lives in Arkansas, and that’s about as close of a connection to “the country” as I have. So needless to say I had to borrow a pair of boots, and thank you again Amanda. I loved wearing the boots! It felt good to wear them. I must say they made me feel quite sassy.

Okay moving on to:
Amanda and I arrived two hours early and were ready to be ready for anything. We were there for the bride should a problem arise. We accomplished a few things that needed to be done, and then began to wait. I was waiting for the shoe to drop…I was waiting for the bride to tell me something was wrong, the candles were wrong, the program was wrong, my hair was wrong…I was waiting for the sound guy to tell me the sound system had suddenly vanished into thin air and there would be no microphones or music for the ceremony…I was waiting for one of the musicians to get last minute spontaneous laryngitis or arthritis or pancreatitus and not be able to play or sing…but ultimately I just found myself waiting as the wedding went off, and the only hitch was the one that was planned.

Okay I made it through the ceremony unscathed, now onto the reception. Honestly, this was the part of the night I was most nervous about. I've never worked a reception before and I had to direct the bride and groom through all of the traditional reception rituals, meet and greet, cut the cake, throw the bouquet, throw the garter! But just like the ceremony it was perfect! The whole wedding was beautiful and not a thing went wrong. This wedding was the smoothest ever. Praise the Lord!!!…can I get an Amen…

I'm not sure if I've talked much about our church's Saturday service. For the past 10 months my Saturdays have consisted of relaxing all day until about 4:30, then going to church for Saturday service. But this Saturday was sadly much different.

Last September, our church conceived a Saturday night service lead by the one and only Curtis Jones. Heath and I jumped right on board when the opportunity came about to serve in the up start of this new ministry. It was an amazing time for us to work together and build some incredible relationships with people we may never have known so intimately. While also offering support to the Jones family in their ministry, a family we have grown to love and a friendship we have come to cherish. This time has been one of the best seasons of growth and fellowship for our family.

Well, a little over a month ago, Curtis announced that the chapter on the Saturday night service would be coming to an end. I was definitely sad at first to hear this news but as time passed it became more bittersweet as these Saturday nights have meant so much to us. On the final night of service Curtis asked Heath to give a brief testimony. Heath did such a good job at articulating exactly how we have felt about the service and what it meant to us. It was like a family. We got to know so many couples that we may have never known. And what a privilege it was for us to hear Curtis teach every week!! We were so blessed in so many ways.

The last service was amazing. Heath and Vernon gave brief testimonies followed by pastor John as he spoke words of encouragement about how this service was a leap of faith for our church that is so non-contemporary. He brought some stones that night that he pulled out of the river while at our church's youth camp in New Mexico. He placed them under our church's historical marker as Ebeneezer stones, to remind us that God is faithful and we will continue to step out in faith and try new ways to reach people for Christ. It was the perfect ending.

This was our first morning back to our traditional Sunday morning church. We had been back only a few times since the Saturday service started. It was a great time of worship as we reconnected with so many people we had not seen in a while.

Here are a few pics from last Saturday night:

Jared and Amber led us in worship each week! They are both so gifted!

Heath giving his testimony. We didn't normally do our service outside, but it was perfect for our last night.

John setting out the Ebeneezer stones.

No Saturday night is complete without some Ella/Jackson playtime!

Sassy! Please take note of the gold Mary Jane shoes. Be still my heart...I love these shoes!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Addict in the making?

This is the doing of Ella's Grammy. Heath's mom is so addicted to Starbucks that when she orders her "venti, iced, white chocolate no whip"; she gets it with four shots of espresso. This particular Starbucks visit, I ran in quickly and left Grammy and Ella in the car. I ordered my venti mocha frappuccino with extra whip, however, when I ordered Grammy's "venti, iced, white chocolate no whip coffee with 4 shots" the man looked at me like I was crazy. Out of desperate determination to avoid the judgemental stare he was giving me, I blurted out, "It's not for me, it's for the crazy addict in the backseat of my car". Now give me my venti mocha frappuccino with extra whip...and throw in a strawberry something or other for the kid.

Ahh, there's nothing like the caffeine shakes you get after a visit to Starbucks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

You are at the right place!

Yes, you have clicked on the correct link. I decided I needed a little blogging make over!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

17 Months

Today, Ella, is 17 months. It's been a while since I've done an update on who she is and what she has become, so I hope you enjoy.

The past few months has brought many milestones.

Ella is not only a walking baby, but a running baby. Her favorite thing to do is to just walk. She walks around the house all day long, seeing how much speed she can get this time. She is so much happier now that she can walk, which seemed impossible that she could be happier than before. My heart melts every single time she runs to me with the biggest smile you've ever seen, I bend down open my arms, and she jumps right into them. I could do it a million times a day and it would never lose it's joy.

Ella has red hair. Red hair! Where does her red hair come from? Apparently, I had her exact hair when I was her age. That does me good to know, because every other feature of hers is her daddy.

Ella can say a lot of words. One day she was saying one word and the next she was saying 20. Her favorite words are: mama (this is a new one!), dad, bubbles, purple, kitty, dog, duck. She also has started understanding most things we say, which scares me a little bit. I remember last month, I asked her to go get her brush. I didn't use any hand motions, just words. She went in her room and walked out with brush in hand. It was a huge moment for us. Since then, she can almost recognize everything I say to her. When did that happen? Babies are amazing how they learn things so quickly, but at the right timing for them.

Ella has almost out grown her stranger danger. We had a rough few months when she screamed, I mean SCREAMED anytime we dropped her off at our church nursery or even if a "stranger" looked in her general direction. We've been working on it and she is significantly better. She only cries one out of every 3 or 4 times we drop her off. Even bigger than that, she actually reaches for our friends at church or when they come over. This is huge for her.

There is nothing like bathtime for Ella. That's where she has the most fun. Splashing, running her toys under the facet, even testing putting her face under the water just a smidge. I think she would live in the bathtub if we let her. There are always tears shed when it's time to get out. But the cutest part of my day, is after she is dried off, she grabs her brush and runs to dada so he can brush her hair.

For me, I am even more in love than ever. This stage is definitely the most fun so far. The fun is endless. She fills are life with such excitement and joy, more than we've ever experienced. I can't imagine having another baby and sharing the love I have for her. How will I have any left? Every parent says that I will. It's a phenomenon to me I will not be able to understand until it happens.

I love you, Ella Grace! I can't wait to see what fun awaits us in your 17th month of life!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Tag, You're It!

Pinkmommy at The Wonder of It All tagged me! This is my first tag and I am so excited to be further indoctrinated into the blogging world! And what a great one to be tagged for.

Here are the rules:

1. those tagged will share 5 things they dig about Jesus…

2. those tagged will tag 5 other bloggers…

3. those tagged will post a comment here with their name and a link to their “dig” Jesus list…

So here it is:

*His grace! This is something that we can not possibly totally comprehend while here on earth. I will not understand the full extent of this until I see His full glory in heaven. Until that time, I will continue to be completely in awe and thankful that our God does not make us "work" to earn our heavenly residence, but that His death on the cross and forgiveness for my ridiculously amount of sins is enough.

*His provision! How many times have I thought, "This is the month we are not going to make it." Too many. But we are always given enough. More than enough. Everytime I look in our storage shed and see the amount of boxes of stuff, I remember that He has provided WAY more than I could ever need.

*His abundance! His desire is for us to let go of ourselves and grab onto to Him fully, because He desires for us to live our lives daily with an abundance of Him, which means a life full of His joy, love and peace. This is something I have not acheived in full due to my stubborness to do things my way. I'm working on it.

*His Creation! This fall I am teaching a Precept class on Genesis 1 & 2, all about Creation. Through my studies, I have a new understanding and respect for what He did for us. He created us in His image. He created all things. He is omnipotent. There is no denying that. We just have to look around us for just a second to witness this and His glory through His creation.

*His gift for me! One word, Ella. A gift. Like all moms, I could write a LONG book on the lessons I have learned from God since having a baby. Unconditional love, absolute joy, total sacrifice of self, beauty. The way I love Ella is just a glimpse of the way God loves us. She is my child, and I am His child. And if God loves me as much as I love Ella, which I know He does, then there are no words for what He would do for me, thus sacrifice His own Son for me!

That's my list! This was a fun tag. This was so good for me to sit quietly and reflect on the reasons why Jesus is my Savior and why He called me to Him!

Now I must tag 5 people of my choosing. I'm not sure at this moment who that will be, but they shall soon find out.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Bottom Line

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The 4th!

I don't want to go into a lot of details on our exciting 4th celebration, instead I will let you read Amanda's humorous story on how our night went. You won't want to miss out.

I will say one thing about the night. When you get 5 babies together it's always a blast, but it's never without crazy/fun memories.

Ella had so many adorable outfits this year for the 4th thanks to the grandmas! Here's a little preview:

The ladies that watch Ella on Wednesdays at our church made this 4th of July shirt for her. It was very sweet of them.

This one I thought would be a little warm since capris on my girl are more like jeans. But the shirt is my new favorite shirt she owns right now. She did get to wear it the other night with Jackson and we thought they were so CUTE in their matching red, white and blue which was not planned. (This will be a separate post.)

It was almost impossible to choose which one she was going to actually wear to our 4th of July celebration.
But this was the winner:

On to the celebration!
Ella and Jackson could not wait even long enough to get their swimsuits on to get in the pool. I barely got Ella's dress off before she was jumping in. Apparently it didn't matter which festive dress won.

I had so much fun with Ella all night. We were incredibly active and out late and she never fussed once. She's such our little social bug.

Everyone in position ready to view the fabulous fireworks show, which we never actually saw. (See Amanda's Blog)

This was my favorite part of the night. Ella was loving the night time picnic (food: m&ms). She was giggling and rolling all around the entire time.

Hands down the sweetest picture of the night. Joshua didn't wake up the entire time. Good thing we weren't very close to the fireworks. That could have been a startling awakening for the little guy.

Curtis, Amanda and Jackson

Xavier, Sunni and Ava

Krystal and Karoline. Karoline is a year younger than our babies. So anytime this little girl is around we are anxious to get our hands on her and try to remember what it's like to hold a 6 month old again, or maybe that's just me.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Happy Birthday Keegan!!

It is amazing how many 1st birthday's I've had the opportunity to celebrate in one year. And yesterday marked yet another milestone of life for one of my dearest friends Michelle, as her little man Keegan turned one.

Michelle and I bonded quickly as freshmen at DBU. We shared many memories throughout our college experience and even had a chance to be suitemates, which meant our dorm rooms were connected by a bathroom, so we shared a toilet! I love Michelle so much and have cherished the moments we've shared.

After we graduated from DBU, Michelle got an amazing opportunity to become the Girls Minister at First Baptist Houston, which if you know Michelle, this was totally her calling. So I was so happy for her and her job but sad for me as she was moving away.

It is so fun to look at the stages of life we go through, and who would have thought that in college I would get to go through my pregancy and parenthood with so many of my friends. I am so blessed to get to go through this stage of life with Michelle we were so excited a year and a half ago when she called to tell me she was pregnant and she was due just a few months after our sweet Ella.

Last July 5th, I was at youth camp with our church when I got the news. My cell phone rang, it was Michelle. She said, "You won't believe this, but I'm in labor, a month early!" This is unbelievable because Melissa, and I, and now Michelle were all roommates/suitemates in college and Melissa and I had just had our first babies a few months before Michelle had Keegan. Melissa and I both also had our babies exactly one month early! And now Michelle was having Keegan one month early! It still is baffling to me how that happened. So Keegan was welcomed into this world on July 5th, 2006.

Okay so literaly 30 seconds after her phone call, I got another amazing phone call from Kristin telling me that she had just gotten her referral from their orphanage agency and found out they were to become the new proud parents of Laney Xiang Ting! It was one of the most memorable and blessed days of my life. Melissa, Amanda, and I were all at camp receiving this news at the same exact time and rejoicing together with them from miles away. It is a day I will never forget.

2 weeks later Kristin, Ella, and I loaded up the car and headed to Houston to see Michelle and Jonathan and meet their new cute baby boy. It was a great weekend with our friend!

Ella was only 4 1/2 months old and she was very small, but I could not believe how big she was comapared to her new two week old friend Keegan. I was astonished the entire weekend.

You can tell Keegan really liked Ella.

Kristin with the babies.

I remember thinking how good it felt to hold an itty bitty baby again.

Michelle and Keegan!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Bedford Splash

Our playgroup, sadly minus Joshua and Laney, had such a great time at this water park called Bedford Splash. It definitely rated high on the playdate fun chart as one of the best. With all the rain Texas has been having, it really was a miracle that we were able to go. We had off and on really black clouds hanging over, but we prayed that we would be able to get at least a couple of hours in and that's what we got. As soon as we all decided to leave and got in our cars, it started pouring.

Jackson loved the fountains!

Could they be any cuter?

"I love your hat!" Ella says. "I love YOUR hat!" Ava exclaims.

Ella loved this yellow turtle. She wasn't quite brave enough to go down the big slide like Jackson, so she turned this turtle into her own slide.

The moms decided we would take turns going down the big slides while we watched each other's babies. We started with this one:

I felt like such a kid. I giggled the entire way down it. I haven't been on a water slide in years.

The second slide I braved alone and good thing I did.

The first slide made me feel like a kid, this slide made me realize that I am not. I got so freaked out by the shear speed I was going that I tried to sit up to slow myself down. When trying that, I whipped into the funnel thing at such momentum that the G forces pushed me back so hard I hit the back of my head and think I got a bit of whiplash. I'm not kidding. My neck today is so sore that I can barely move it side to side and up and down. I know I'm not old, but I am on the verge of 30, but I should do better on a water slide that 8 year olds were riding over and over with such glee and excitement.

Monday, July 02, 2007

III Forks and More!

We have had plans for over a month now to go to Waco for Heath's unofficial family reunion, which means they didn't officially plan one this year, but it just so happened that lots of family was gathering at Heath's mom's for the weekend. I thought we would leave Friday afternoon when Heath got home from work.

But Thursday afternoon I got a call from my friend Frank whose wife planned him a 50th birthday party at III Forks, this amazingly awesome steak and seafood restaurant. Heath and I have always wanted to try it, but never had because of the obvious if you clicked on the link above, it's crazy expensive.

We were so pumped about this blessing of a meal at III Forks, that we did NOT have to pay for and a chance to celebrate this big milestone birthday with my friend! The one problem was, it's not exactly the place for babies and our built in babysitters, always willing to step up at the last minute, or anytime (Ella's Grandma and Grandad Angel) are in Colorado for the week. So what would we do with Ella last minute?

I was telling my playdate friends about this opportunity and our problem, when Sunni, who appreciates a good, quality meal more than anyone I know, without hesitation said, "We are watching Ella. There is no way you are missing out on a free steak and seafood meal from III Forks." We accepted the offer and are so INCREDIBLY thankful for the Lazo's. I was thinking about how thankful I was with every juicy bite of steak and lobster tail I took. It was such a fun evening!

Frank and his wife went all out and spoiled their 25 guests to the max. It was an amazing night for Heath and I to get out, dress up and eat a nice meal. Thank you Frank!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Sunni!!! We owe you big time.

Back to the Waco plans, we went ahead and left that night. We swung by the Lazo's, picked up Ella and hit the road. We pulled into Waco a little after midnight.

We had a great weekend! We got a little crazy Saturday night and stayed up until 4:30 AM people, 4:30, playing a game of canasta. Yes, that is Heath's family. There is never a moment, each visit to Waco, where somebody is not playing cards and eating, even through the night apparently, which is not the first time these all nighters have happened. It's always a lot of fun.

We took Ella's pool so she could spend some time getting cool with her cousins. What I failed to realize, was that the dogs would also want to get cool and Ella had many intruders. But she loved it. She thought it was hysterical that there were dogs in her pool with her.