All Good Things Must Come to an End

Tomorrow is my last full day at home, and I feel a little bad because I should be more excited to get back and see my husband after 2 1/2 weeks. It's not that I am not super duper excited to see him... just means it's time to go, and I must be honest, home has never felt more like home in my life and I'm not looking forward to it one little bit. My baby girl is now mocking many things that her one-year-older-cousin does, and I like the idea of Eden Grace being Reese's closest playmate. In my book, that's the way it should be. I got to be here when my sister got engaged... when my dad got the good news about his cancer... got my hair cut by my old stylist... got to watch Reese and my grandparents (still only in their upper 60's) spend time playing together... got to watch her cousin teach her how to dig around in the sandbox... to watch her like sitting and playing with her Uncle Ryan. (Give it another year and let him pick at her and aggravate her a little more and I'm sure that'll change, but... nonetheless.) :)

I read a quote once that said "Don't be sorry it's over... be glad it happened."

I'll be working on that...


What the heck was I thinking?

As I posted a day or two ago, my mom, my sister Danielle, my niece Eden Grace, Reese, and I went to The Beach Waterpark on Thursday. One of the little watersport activities is swinging your way out on these...
There are only four of them, and once you get to the end you ring a bell and drop into the water. There was a time in my life when I could swing my way all the way out on these things and ring the little bell... had to have been like, ten years ago now that I think about it. Seeing as how I didn't think about it Thursday, I thought I'd try it again...

Please take a moment now to refer to the title of my blog.

Looks like my sister had the "action" setting on the camera as she snapped my picture.

You can see for yourself how the whole thing went down. No bell was rung, however there was a large flash as both my headlights popped out of the top of my suit for all the world to see as I exited the pool up the ladder. My mother couldn't get the words out of her mouth quickly enough, but the look on her face and gaping mouth told me I'd better jump back in and fast. Thank God the camera still wasn't snaping then... bet folks didn't know they were gonna get a peep show included in the price of their ticket.

And yes... I did smack the water when I hit. And yes, it did bruise my leg and still hurts today.

Here are a few other pictures of our fun day at the park...

Reasons to Celebrate

Tomorrow is my niece's 2nd birthday, and today was her party. I broke down and let Reese have her very first brownie and cookie today to celebrate with her cousin. My girl thought she was in chocolate heaven... (my niece has a boatload of allergies, but LOVES these cookies my sister is able to make for her... hence the absence of a cake.)

Eden Grace wasn't the only girl with a reason to celebrate, however. Her Aunt Shi-Shi (my sister Ashley) got a big ol' gift today, too...

My baby sister got engaged today!!! She and her fiance have been together since their junior year of high school. She's 24 now, so needless to say, he's already been part of the family for quite a while. Here's a picture of the happy couple arriving at the birthday party, telling everyone their big news... I think she just walked to the back yard and shouted "I'M ENGAGED!"

Too sweet! Michael, her fiance, had already filled us in, so we knew what was coming. He told her that his car had broken down and she needed to come get him for the party. When she got there a table was covered in candles that spelled "I LOVE YOU" with a Bible opened to I Corinthians 13. A note said "read verse 7" which says "Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." After she read it she looked up as he walked into the room, bent down on one knee, and I'm sure you know how the rest went. Their dating anniversary is July 11. It's always been my sister's dream to be married on that day. It falls on a Saturday next summer, so... looks like she's gonna get her wish!


"Working My Way Back to You Babe..."

See the little airplane over WashingtonState? Well, it is 10:17am EST, and I am stalking the flighttracker again. My husband is coming home today, and although I still will not see him for another week, I am as giddy as I was to see him as the day I married him. I am so overjoyed to know that he is lurking somewhere back in the United States that I can hardly stand it!!!


These are a few of my favorite things... :)

I am having so much fun being home these past few days, and am loving the fact that I still have a week and a half to go. Today me, my mom, one of my sisters, my niece, and Reese spent the day at a waterpark. We had a blast... even with two babies. Yesterday I dropped Reese off at my Dad's parents' and took off for an afternoon with my best friend since we were 15, Ruth Ann, who is now a massage therapist. One of our new favorite things to do when I come home is meet up at her office... she gives me a massage and we catch up on the past month or however long it's been since I've seen her last. It's one of the most wonderful hours of my life. :)

So here I was today, a big grown-up Mama now, driving around my old stomping grounds, and what should I find, but a radio station that seriously must've picked up a playlist from 1999 'cause all it did was play some of my favorite tunes from high school. What a perfect day.

Most of the afternoon we were reminiscing about old times, and my mind didn't stop reeling as I drove home. This led me to a list I compiled of my favorite things about coming home... and especially in the summertime. Therefore, in no particular order, we have...

Corn FieldsEverywhere you go in Germantown, Farmersville, Miamisbrug, Carlisle, or the million other little towns I could name that make up home to me, there are corn fields. I do not exaggerate when I say everywhere. Once my brother in law visited home with Reagan and me, and all he could talk about was how much corn there was and how we all must be cornchildren.

The Family Farm

Oooh how I love this place. It's absolutely gorgeous inside and out. This house was my favorite place to be as a child. It was built by my Grandpa's Great-Grandpa I believe, or maybe just his Grandpa, I can't remember... in the very late 1880's or so... (I'm sure if my mom reads this and I'm wrong, she'll let me know... although it is etched into the concrete floor in the cellar. Maybe I'll go check that out before I leave.) I pull into this place and feel as though my roots spring up out of the ground and just hug me tight. I walked in the doors just tonight and for a short moment took a very deep breath. The smells took me back to being 7 years old again eating Grandma's breakfast and watching the Bugs and Tweety Show on Saturday morning with my Grandfather. So much history in this house... so many memories made by myself alone, not to mention the scores of other people who have inhabited its walls. My Grandfather passed away 7 years ago, and just last year my Aunt and Uncle moved into it and still farm it today. Each time I go back to it my heart aches with the memories of childhood and I miss my Grandfather all over again. That, however, is another post in itself...

The Carlisle Spaceships

"What the *?!@ is that?" How many times have I heard that? I love driving by these things, located less than a minute down the road from my parents home, especially with unexpecting newcomers. It took me by suprise the first time someone asked. I mean- duh! They're the spaceships! Doesn't every town have random spaceships hanging out in a cornfield somewhere? I mean, these things have been here my entire life... since before I was born I guess, and yes- to my knowledge, people still live in them today. There's a big ol' white farmhouse in front of them, and a swimming pool to the right, and whatever posessed these people to do such a thing I'll never know, but they are a landmark. We give directions by them... "go past the spaceships and look for our house about a mile down the road on the right."

The Giant Jesus

Now this thing has not been up my entire life. I actually got to watch this thing go up. It sits in front of a church located just off of I-75, and directly across the interstate from where my dad goes to work everyday. Not exactly sure why they would ever wanna build such a thing. Word has it that it was built to take attention away from the Gentleman's Club on down the highway... who knows though. Being a Buckeye fan, of course my favorite picture of it shows why Jesus himself is also a Buckeye fan. :)

Last but not least...

Yes, this picture is a little old... (Reese was an unknown bean in my belly at the time it was taken.) But call me a little biased, I can't imagine any one family loving to be together as much as this one does. I'm so blessed to know that every trip home that I make is going to be a meaningful one, and not one member is going to dread getting together with any of the others. They are what make coming home the best times of my life...


Finally... Some Good News!

For those of you who have been praying for my daddy... we received the first good report regarding his cancer since we first received the news of it two years ago.

Let me give a little background... each time my dad has had any urine/blood lab work done, his protein counts have increased... actually they've more than doubled every 3-4 months. First counts came in around 150, then jumped to 400's, then 800's, 1600's, then at the end of this past March, his counts measured just over 3900. Once your protein counts reach the 4,000's, your kidneys begin to be in more danger, and his were on track to hit the 8,000's.

So back in mid-May, my dad went under the care of a doctor in Florence, Alabama who placed him on a 60 day fresh vegetable/fruit juicing fast along with some other cleansing routines. Long story short... when protein counts are anticipated to be in the 8,000's, and they come in only just over 4200, I think we've got something to sing about. :) (or cry about... whichever hits you at the moment.)

Thanks to everyone who've lifted him up in prayer... continue to pray that the Lord will allow him to continue to receive this kind of news and that ultimately healing would take place!

On the road again...

Let me begin my post with a big THANKS to my Uncle Keith for coming by my house and packing my car. Reagan would've been super proud, and I can tell you right now I wouldn't have been able to put the pieces to this puzzle together the way that you did... This was the way my car looked last Saturday as Reese, Grandma, and I headed to Ohio to begin our big three week trip away to finish up our summer. I can't BELIEVE summer is almost over.
This is Grandma... my Grandma, Reese's Great-Grandma. Her name is Florence. I like to refer to her as "G-Flo".
She came home from Ohio with us after the 4th of July and stayed for a nice long visit. She also cleaned my house from top to bottom and spoiled my baby every chance she got. Big Nanny thought she was the stuff for giving Reese Dr. Pepper and Doritos at VBS... then Grandma came. Grandma thought it'd be nice to let Mama sleep in one day, and I think for breakfast they shared a bowl of oatmeal and a cup of coffee... Nice one, Grandma. Loved hearing that when I woke up.
Regardless of the coffee... you've gotta love my Grandma. If there were a sixth love language, my grandma has it, and I truly believe it is cleaning house. When Grandma calls and says she's coming to visit, you know it means your house will be sparkling by the time she leaves. Some people may take that as an insult, but not me... pull out the old toothbrushes- 'cause Grandma wants to shine your baseboards. I'm telling ya... this Grandma rocks.

As mighty and wonderful as her cleaning skills are, Grandma does have a little problem with getting her words mixed up. For example, she uses words like, homen-sectional, lesman, nonchalah (nonchalant), and tex-mexin' (text-messaging)... there are plenty more, trust me, but they are escaping me at the moment. We get so tickled when she mixes her words up, but don't you dare laugh at her for fear of hurting her feelings. Here's a bit of a conversation about landscaping that we had on our way home...

GFlo: I just can't believe they wanted $1600 to do that tiny little bit of mulching and planting in my front yard. I'll just pay you and your mom to do it if you're interested.

Me: Well, I don't have a clue about how to make it look, but if you get someone there that can put me to work and show me what to do, I'll be glad to help. Where do you get your ideas for what you want to plant anyway?

GFlo: Oh, Bern's comes out and they give me a diaphragm...

I am sure what she meant to say was diagram... let me just tell you though, it was all I could do to drive straight. My mind was racing with so many things I could've said... of course it was overlooked... until I got home to tell my mom and sisters anyway. Big laughs were had by all.

These folks here are my parents. I've shared with lots of people that over the past couple years my Dad has been fighting Multiple Myeloma... a type of cancer that's sort of the opposite of Leukemia. Rather than treat it by traditional means, they've been researching a more hollistic way of treatment... the last 8 weeks of which have been a complete fresh vegetable and fruit juice fast. If you could've seen my dad two years ago, you wouldn't believe how much weight he has lost and how much he has changed. The doctors say now he's the healthiest sick man they've ever met, and we're anticipating good reports from his latest bloodwork tomorrow. I'm so proud of how well he has done and how disciplined he has become. The 8 week fast was up on Saturday... if you've been drinking nothing but juices for 60 days, I'd say you'd be ready for a celebration, so celebrate we did. Burgers, chicken, salmon, and other yummy things all grilled around the pool. Mix all that in with a cake for my 8 month pregnant sister's birthday and you've got yourself a party!

Just when you thought the party couldn't be anymore fun, my niece Eden Grace suprised us all with a big announcement. "Mommy- POOPY!" Frantically we all began glancing around the pool, until we realized this not quite 2-year-old was telling us that SHE had to go. As quickly as an 8 month pregnant woman can hop, my sister quickly hopped up and got the potty chair, and little EG did her business. She was so excited, she kept squealing "Mommy- I made it, I made it Mommy!" Who would've thought 15 other people would all get to experience such a first... and all around the swimming pool. ha ha ha

As for Reese, she's having a blast with her cousin. My sister and I are big ol' nerds and love to dress our kids alike when we get 'em together... :)

Reese has now learned how to tell me to "stop it", (thanks again to Grandma for that one) and puts her hand out in front of her when she chooses to do so. So far I can't get her to do it on camera... every time I get it out she gets stage fright. Keep your eyes open for that one though.

As for Reagan, I continue to be amazed at the people they are meeting and the short stories he is able to share through his text messages. This is currently the view from his hotel room...

One story in particular that I can't wait to hear more about is the tiny, poor little village they could reach only by boat where he said foreigners had never visited before. Can you imagine the looks on the faces of those people when these incredibly tall white people pulled in on their boats?!? Please continue to pray for them as their trip finishes up over the next 3 days!


Hi Daddy!

Hi Daddy- Mama said you might be on her blog soon, so I wanted to say hello and show you my new toy from Miss Sandy and Sydney. I love it. "As if I'm not bouncy enough..." Mama says. :)

Here's a picture that Uncle Rob just sent us. Mama and I love you and are glad you and Uncle Brother are safe! Mama thinks it's crazy to see you standing in that room with brother and our friends that she's only seen on video. Tell our family that we miss them and we love them bunches!!! Please hug and kiss Hannah and Hudson from me! If you can, try to leave me a comment so I know you got it!
I love you! -The Reese Cup-


And they're off...

See the slightly older than the rest, but incredibly
handsome looking guy, about third from the left in the back row? We affectionately refer to each other as "lover". That is my 26 year old husband and after I looked at this picture it hit me that 5 families entrusted their highschool and college students to him yesterday. Kinda crazy, huh? What a fun team. I was so incredibly jealous yesterday that they were taking off without me. Sorry Reese... come October, you're staying home with your Mia. (I know, I say that now but... can't wait for that post, huh?)

Well, after four flights and nearly 24 hours, they've finally hit their hotel room where they will sleep and then get up for one more flight before reaching their destination. Yesterday I was sad and a little scared... today I am pumped and cannot wait to hear all of the incredible things God is going to do with these guys. I've taken a very similar trip two years ago and I know how my worldview was changed.

My normally very frugal husband decided to cough up the $.25 that will show up on our verizon bill and send me this picture via our cell phones of their first very modern Asianese hotel room. It's his brother showing me the see thru shower- I'm sure that won't be awkward at all. ha ha Trust me... nothing they stay in after this night will be anything of the sort.

Get ready to say hello to the squatty.

They'll be kissing their little western potties hello once they hit that place on the way back! :)

Praise God they've made it safely so far. Seeing as how it is after midnight on Thursday where they are now, they'll sleep "tonight" and take one more flight to their destination tomorrow. Pray for this team for the next ten days!


Turkey Kisses

Picture me now... sitting up in my big ol' king size bed, laptop where it should be... in my lap, all by myself, with two internet windows pulled up on my screen. One to type my bloggerness, and one which is set to flightstats.com so i can watch reagan's plane cross that little strip of ocean between alaska and russia. there it goes... over the time line. when i started watching it less than a half an hour ago it was only halfway through alaska.... now it's almost to the tip of russia??? this thing is pretty crazy. the internet rocks.


As I mentioned yesterday we spent the weekend at Ridgecrest. While we were there Reese picked up a new trick... my mother is claiming to have taught her this over the 4th of July weekend, but I like to think she just couldn't contain her love for her parents any longer... take a look. :) And don't laugh too hard at our silly kissy faces or noises...

And just today I found out that my little kissing baby isn't a baby at all, but rather a little turkey. She was cracking me up... this went on pretty much all day.


Rambling through the Exhaustion

I don't even know why I am still up right now... we just got home last night from an awesome time at Ridgecrest, but I cannot describe how exhausted I became on the trip home. No amount of sleep last night has cured it yet, and now for the past hour I've been a weepy mess 'cause I'm sending my lover to the other side of the world tomorrow and will not see him again for a little over two weeks. Crying and thinking too much doesn't do much to rest your mind or body, let me tell you.

I'm not handling this as well as I thought I would, and have no idea how in the world how my sister in law ever did this for so many years with her hubby going time and time again... multiple times each year. I am overjoyed for HER that they are going... if it were me I'd probably bawl my eyes out the second I saw my brothers step off that plane. What relief it has to be to see them as I am sure culture shock has set in pretty well after the first three months. There is a suitcase full of fun familiar things on its way to their family with our team that I wish I could fill twice as full for them... I can't imagine ice cube trays, dr. pepper, grits, and a can of sage becoming a luxury in life... nevertheless, they are on their way. (probably returning from whence they came, you think?) :)

I put things into perspective just a bit for myself by remembering over and over again that it's only ten days and I'm not sending him into combat for a year. Gives me a whole new respect for military wives, let me tell you... If you are one of the handful of people reading this, please pray for this team over the next ten days.

As for me, my brain is finished for the day and severely tired... I think I will sleep now.


A Whole New World

So last night was a new experience for me... having Reese has allowed me entrance into the elite world of schmoozing with the preschool mommies in our church. For nearly five years I've seen this little cluster of mommy-friends from afar and whatdayaknow- boom, I give birth, and I'm in. Thanks to BigNanny for hosting... sorry we missed out on the water olympics. It's great to see that you can hold down a job and keep your house clean for your husband, though. (he he he)

Water olympics or not, it was a good time. The conversation was very stimulating, the food tasty, the Mafia intriguing, and I got some info on some nice new blogs to snoop on. (You were all right about Shawn... I laughed REAL hard.) No pictures... maybe BigNanny will put a couple up. I had my camera, but didn't break it out... have to ease these ladies in slowly. Keep me around long and you'll see the thing should just be surgically attached to my eyeball. So did I mention the conversation was stimulating? I'll just say that if sisterpastor ever doubted her popularity among the ladies in our church, she can doubt no more.

On that note... time for breakfast. Reese is still asleep so I think I'll eat my oatmeal in peace.


Staff Retreat

Our 4th of July week started off with a trip to Pin Oak Lake for our annual Staff Retreat. We have yet in 5 years of staff retreating to make it there on time.... which should our first year with a baby be any different? Not that it had anything to do with Reese whatsoever- it's nice to have a kid to blame it on though isn't it?

Every year previously that I have been (and haven't been pregnant), PT has insisted (and Mikel has challenged) that we ski at least once. I give this man much credit for getting my long, wobbly, uncoordinated legs up on ski's period. (something I was never able to accomplish as I was growing up) This year however, I couldn't wait to get on the water. Get ready for this though... not only did I ski- Reagan AND I skied together... AT THE SAME TIME.

Of course when my dad saw this he pointed out my poor posture, but I didn't care one bit. I also didn't care one bit that it took us five times trying. This is sheer athleticism at it's greatest right here. (I will mention that I got up the first time every time... evidently it doesn't take as much force to get me out of the water as it does my studly husband.)

Now that you've oooed and aaahhhed over our skiing abilities, I feel it necessary to share a bit of the beating I took from my larger-than-me-studly-husband. Take a look...

This is only a taste of what he did to me in those five-times-trying. Unfortunately the camera wasn't rolling at the end of our two minute stint when some unruly tubers messed up our glass-like water as we were coming together to hold hands for a Christmas Card picture... :) All I remember is that all 200+ pounds of him came crashing into me at probably 27-28 miles an hour (maybe I'm exaggering... I really don't have a clue) and skis went flying into the air, landing soundly on the tiny bones in my right foot. My freshly pedicured suntanned foot went red, black, and blue immediately... almost sounds patriotic. Ouch. I wish I could've seen the crash... probably pretty stinking hillarious. :) In the end we were pretty proud of our little feat. Fun memories made behind PT's ski boat.

So as if I hadn't taken enough of a beating on the skis... Kaleigh decided she'd like to take a tube ride, and she wanted me to come along. SURE I said- sounds like fun. Note to self: always define what a teenager thinks a fun tube ride is before you hop on blindly. The picture doesn't show the amount of skin I left behind on that lake as the tube ground it slowly off my elbow. Ouch again... more fun times with sweet Kaleigh nonetheless.

Somehow BigNanny made it all the way to Pin Oak and once she got there both of the tires on the right side of her vehicle had gone flat. Amazing. I imagine she may have been especially distraught because her mr-car-fix-it husband wasn't there to rescue her.

Never fear Angela dear... all of the pastor's are here.

So one might ask- how many pastors does it take to fix a flat tire? Let's count...

Where is Reese in all of this? Well, I'm glad you asked... :)

VBS Water Wars 2008

Yes, this post is super tardy, but seeing as how my husband came home after the very last night with the most horrible stomach bug I've ever witnessed, in turn taking up my entire Saturday in which I was caring for him and Reese and getting ready for our busy next week out of town... the blog is just now arriving.

This years VBS was by far one of the best VBS's I've ever had the priviliege of being a part of. In the end 1150+ kids (3 yrs - 6th grade) came in and out the doors each day, not counting the 400+ volunteers, and the coolest part was that hundreds of decisions were made for Christ, including the 16 kids that were baptized on Family Night. The skits at the end were of course the highlight of each day (for kids and parents alike!) How in the world we ever got Darth Vader, Captain Jack Sparrow, Indiana Jones, Hannah Montana, and the Kung Fu Panda all in the same story and made it make sense, I'll never know... it was awesome though. :) I have all of those on video, each of which will be uploaded to YouTube eventually. I'll let you all know when that 's finished.

And yes, I am a glutton for punishment, and in some sick way enjoy the challenge of working both day and night vbs, and still making and having dinner there each night... only once did we order pizza. Yay for us.

I spent most of my time capturing the week on camera. Here's four minutes of what I recorded...