Sunday, September 11, 2011

It's All in a Name!

Each time I blog, I promise that I'm going to be better about keeping up with it....why does this never happen? LOL! So a lot has transpired since my last post...I am now 23 + weeks pregnant, can't believe I'm almost at the 6 month marker. We vacationed in Florida and literally found out the baby's sex the day after we returned! In case you missed the grand announcement, we are having another sweet, little boy! I have to admit that there were mixed emotions when we found out...I was sort of hoping for a girl and I know that Josh was too! However, there was also a flood of relief...we already have a boy and I know what to expect...we have clothes, toys etc! So...why was I relieved? Maybe the only reason for me wanting a girl was so I could decorate like mad and have a little doll to dress up? I don't know? I am happy and excited that we will welcome another son! So...what's his name? If you know me, you know that I'm a planner...I like things set well in advance, so of course, I got to work right away on coming up with names.

I was pretty set on the name "Hayden", as a matter of fact, where I was concerned that was his name. However, God had another plan! While, hanging out with my mom one afternoon, we got on the computer and searched for names...we had a big list. As we were researching, Gabriel came over and told us that he had a name for the baby...I disdainfully cocked one ear towards him as I had previously heard his names for the baby...."chocolate", "chicken bok-bok"...you get the picture. You can imagine my shock when he said, "Lucas". Hmmm, we thought...that's not a bad name at all....we searched the name and found that it meant, "bringer of light". How sweet! I wrote it on the list to show Josh, we pondered the names for a few days until I finally became anxious and pinned him down for a name. He said he really liked Lucas...I was still unsure about it...I thought the whole name had too much of a sing-songy rhyme to it. I tucked it away, still thinking about Hayden.

That night I went to bed as usual, what was unusual was how I was woken up at 3 am finding myself in turmoil over the name of our son. All th sudden I found myself in a wrestling match with God over his name..."I'm not sure I like it...it's not what I had in mind," I argued..."What does Gabriel's name mean?" He asked? "Messenger of God," I responded...suddenly everything became crystal clear..."Are you telling me that you spoke through my child and named my son?" ... the verse "A little child shall lead them... Is 11:6"...whoa! I began to cry and thank God for naming my son and confirming to me that He had given us this name and this gift of life, our bringer of light!!

See, I couldn't understand why each time we asked Gabriel what his name for the baby was, he looked at us strangely and didn't know...the reason was because he hadn't come up with the name, God had!

We are so excited to welcome this child, to see the son that God, the Father named! I know some people will think we're a little crazy...we know and we believe!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

New Clothes!!

So, according to the doc, I am 9 weeks along. According to my calculations, I'm more like 11-12. Based on the half-volleyball that has popped up over the last couple days, I sure am hoping that my calculations are more accurate!! My shorts and jeans are becoming tight so I went upstairs to look through my maternity clothes for some shorts. WOW! The sheer size of those clothes was overwhelming. I had forgotten what L and XL maternity clothes actually look like. All of the emotions that I felt of being huge and feeling gross and ugly came flooding back into my mind. It's hard for me to look at pictures of myself and even harder to see the clothes that I used to wear (that's why I would get rid of them after each size dropped). It will be a stretch if any of those items will fit me in my third trimester, knock on wood. On the other hand, it was a nice wake up call for me, I've been feeling pudgy and like I'm gaining weight (I know, I know...it's gonna happen!!). But, for being 9 weeks along, I feel like I'm on a downward spiral. Seeing those clothes brought me back to reality....I am not big, I am not fat and I am going to be a beautiful pregnant woman. So...I still needed to find something to wear in the meantime. Should I buy larger, regular clothes or buy a few maternity items? I opted for a few maternity items. I love Kid to Kid, since I've had Gabriel, they now carry a huge selection of maternity clothes. I was able to get a couple dresses, some shirts and a pair of shorts. And guess what? They were all smalls and I will have room to grow...see, reality check!

On another note, Gabriel is having a great time watching my belly change. He talks to the baby sometimes, saying, "good-night" or "hi baby!" and loves the weekly baby updates from Babycenter.com. Yesterday he told Josh, "the baby is getting bigger, HE'S the size of a grape now!!!". So precious! I know that he's going to be an awesome big brother and helper! He loved getting to see the baby in our last ultrasound and proudly showed Nonna where the baby was in the pictures.

I think I've gotten over the initial shock and fear of this pregnancy and I'm reveling in this new season of our lives. A new body, one that is creating life - a new nursery, can't wait till we find out the sex - and of course...a new baby!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Turning 30!

Why is it that I just can't manage to keep up with this blog? It's not like I have that much going on, LOL! So...where to begin...well, today is my 30th birthday! I woke up to my son telling me he needs to go poo-poo! LOL, hey, it could have been worse, I suppose! I feel pretty good about turning the big 3-0, I am in great health, 121 lbs, happy and feeling like my life has purpose. When I turned 25, I was overweight, 164 lbs and pregnant with Gabriel. From that point on, I feel like I kind of lost my self and my identity. Thank God for restoration and cleansing, I feel like I'm in a much better place!

So...to catch up...we've adjusted to the new house, love living here and having the space to roam and play and garden! We started our second vegetable garden this spring and it's doing great. We have been diligently praying for something that I could do completely from home and God provided last month. All from home! What a miraculous answer to prayer!

After several years of bouncing in and out of our church music ministry and not really feeling at home, I took a leap of faith in February and tried out for the vocal team. There was a lot of emotional struggle in this because of the spiritual darts the devil had been tossing at me....feelings of inadequacy etc. There is some major talent and I was convinced that I wasn't needed. To my surprise and delight, my feedback was amazing and the team was extremely supportive and encouraging. I have been scheduled to sing quite a few times, and even traveled to Cowboy Church to sing with one of our worship leaders. Last Sunday was my first time on our big stage and I was so excited to help lead our congregation! God is good!

The biggest news I have to share is our recent expectation of a Christmas Baby! I found out I was pregnant on April 28th! 18 days late and 6 negative pregnancy tests had us stumped! My doctor was telling me that I probably didn't ovulate and should begin to think about fertility meds. I was vonvinced otherwise, but was still surprised to see 2 lines that Thursday morning! To tell Josh, I purchased a sweet baby layette and stuffed the test in the tiny hat...it was wrapped in a Christmas box...I told Josh that I'd found him an early Christmas present...when he opened the package, the card read: "This present will arrive December 19th!". His reaction was priceless!! We were very excited to tell Gabriel as he's been asking for a baby brother for the better part of a year! He was beyond excited running all over the house and giggling! To our chagrin, telling a 4 year old isn't the best way to keep a secret, I've had a couple moms from his class message me to ask if I'm pregnant...he's been telling everyone that he will be a big brother!!

I had my first prenatal visit yesterday...the city switched insurance carriers and we lost all our doctors, I was very disappointed that I would lose my Ob/Gyn. Yesterday's visit was extremely stressful. Based on our calculations, we figured I was about 7 weeks along, the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound and was distressed when she could not see the baby. She feared that I was having a tubal pregnancy and ordered an emergency 3D ultrasound. I had to drive 30 minutes to Spring, anxiously awaiting the status of my pregnancy. The whole drive I was on the verge of a breakdown, but I felt the Lord, holding my hand and telling me that "Not seeing, isn't necessarily believing!". I didn't panic and I didn't make a bunch of calls, I just calmly prepared for my test. Within a few seconds, my panic turned to relief when we saw the yolk sac protecting my precious, little treasure. Turns out...we are not really 7 weeks along, but perhaps 5 1/2. Everything began to add up...why it took so long to test positive and why we couldn't see Baby on the other machine. I ovulated very late and was extremely early! Huge sigh of relief...this means my due date could potentially be Dec 26 or later! Maybe a New Year's baby??!

I sit here this morning, extremely grateful, blessed and reflective. God is great! "Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father!" James 1:17. What truth in this verse...the Lord truly gives us the best gifts and there could not be a more perfect one for my 30th birthday!

Past Post from May 5th!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Baby Steps

I've painted the guest room/nursery!! It was a huge step for me, that room was a nightmare to behold, stripes and dots of every hot color known to man. Orange, pink purple and green. I literally felt anxious every time I opened the door to that room. I was told to try the Behr Ultra Premium Plus paint, but I didn't think they could help us. I had picked the color for that room a long time ago, a soothing, grey/blue/purple color...there was no way that was going on easy. So, while in Home Depot one day, I decided to pick up a tester. I came home and put some on every wall...holy cow!!! It actually covered and covered well...in ONE COAT! I could not believe it! This still did not inspire me to paint. I think in some way, shape or form, I have been putting it off because I know that eventually this room will be our next nursery. Psychologically, the stripes and dots and even the neon colors were symbolic of issues that I have been dealing with emotionally in avoiding the birth of our next child. Josh has been wanting a baby pretty much since Gabriel was born and has been steadily pressuring me to become pregnant since then. I have been steadily avoiding the issue. He's fantastic with children...me, not so much. I have little to no patience, zero tolerance and snap at the drop of a hat...well...maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but I feel like this a lot of the time. We have been blessed with a very intelligent child and while this is an enormous blessing, I think that I expect way too much of him at times and I often forget that he's just 3!!! Take this morning's mommy craziness for example: we told Gabriel he was not allowed to paint yesterday, so while I was doing my devotional and Gabriel was supposed to be eating breakfast and watching cartoons (as is the norm every other day) he was upstairs, opening a paint can (yes, you read right), he came back downstairs and got the paint edger, went back up and poured the paint into a tray and painted more onto the wall. There is now...soothing grey/blue/purple paint on our white carpet as well as the white baseboards and trim. I am on the porch completely oblivious to these antics thinking to myself that my son sure is being awfully patient with me this morning and I will have to reward him by taking him to the park! HA! We will not go into my reaction or the way I had to repent and apologize quickly thereafter. And this is all within 30 seconds of my devotions!!!

On another note, Josh and I did have a very candid conversation about my fears regarding motherhood and becoming a new mom for the second time. He was very supportive and I am hopeful that things will be better with the next baby. That being said, still with a lot of butterflies I will go to see my neurologist on the 27th to discuss coming down from my Topamax(Huge step for me)...I cannot become pregnant while on this drug due to the harmful side effects for the baby and I am hoping that my headaches will not go crazy while I'm off it. Please be in prayer for me while I'm coming off and during. Pray for me to have peace as a mother, the fears that all of us face when raising our children and the lies that the devil feeds to us...that we're not doing a good job or that we're not giving enough of ourselves to our family. Pray that I will have control over my thoughts and I will be patient, kind and gentle when dealing with Gabriel. I am moving closer to Baby #2...in due time...LOL!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coming up for Air!!

Whew! We have finally got the last piece or pieces of our stuff to our new house...it sure feels good to be totally moved in! We are not settled in, but at least our stuff isn't in a hundred places. We are so blessed to have such great friends and family to have let us store stuff and live at their houses!! We closed on our house last Wednesday, the 11th...we were elated. We took Gabriel with us because we wanted him to be a part of it, he was very excited to sit at the "big table" we told him about. He was very well mannered and was given juice and cookies, he loved it. We gave him a copy of some paper work and he got to sign too! LOL! The moving process began the next day on Thursday and with the help of my bro-in-law...thank you Dan!! We got everything out of our storage units in one day! This is a big house for us and we have been taking our time...4 bedrooms, a study and 4 bathrooms...plus the living room and kitchen. I was exhausted just after cleaning our master and bathroom. We got Gabriel's room painted and set up, he chose a bright, sort of country blue color so I compromised and did half the wall white. It looks really nice, esp since his quilt is blue and white. The playroom is a crazy blue on 3 walls with yellow flames, at first I had planned to paint over it as Gabriel had chosen a Lightning McQueen theme, now I'm thinking I'll leave those 3 and do one accent wall the bright red. I'm already tired of painting after only doing the laundry room and his bedroom! The guest room is INSANE...hot pink, hot orange, deep purple, all those colors in stripes on one wall, orange dots on one wall. Wait, it gets worse...they repeated this theme in the bathroom! I literally wanted to cry when I thought about the amount of Kilz this would take to cover since I had chosen a very pale blue/purple color for that room. However, I went to Home Depot today and decided that I would try a sample of that new Behr paint and primer in one...I put some on every wall and I have to say, that stuff is incredible! After just one coat...it looks amazing! It's well worth the $32 gallon...I'm feeling much better about that room now.

Over the weekend we discovered there's a vegetable garden at the back of the yard. It was hard to see because it's covered in weeds. It has okra, cucumbers, green beans, peppers, marigolds and squash. I think this is too cool. I have always wanted a real garden, so in my spare time, ha ha, I have been trying to weed it. Gabriel and I actually made a cucumber salad with one of the cucumbers today, it was delicious. I am looking forward to getting it back under control and growing some more veggies. The front of the yard has tons of landscaping possibilities and I am just itching to do something with it, but I'm trying to stay focused...I really miss my Gardenias back at the old house. My flower beds were so pretty. These are full of weeds, but they definitely have possibility.

I am excited about our new home and making it our own...it has a long way to go, but we don't mind the work. We have already made some great memories and it's only been a week! I am so grateful that the Lord gave us this house and paved the way for us to get here. Now we just need to get it cleaned up so we can have everyone over!!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life Lately!

Wow! Where to begin??? So...we closed on our old house last Thursday! What a great feeling! What an amazing feeling, I really can't even believe that it really happened. It's like a whirlwind. Everything happened so quickly...we decided we wanted to sell, we listed, God sold it and we're done! It's just amazing, how faithful our Father really is. We officially moved out and handed the keys over to our buyer on Saturday, she was so cute during the closing...she is probably 40ish and this is her first home purchase. She had her boyfriend take pictures during her signing and cried when she signed the deed and title. I was even a little choked up for her. It was nice. I hope that she loves her new home and much as we did! I am glad to have sold the house, but there were moments while I was cleaning and packing when I would burst into tears...it was an emotional roller coaster for me. It was the first house we purchased, we had our first baby in that house. We put our heart and soul into rennovations. And...it almost killed us during Ike.
It has been an exhausting couple of weeks as we've battled some terrible weather trying to move during Josh's sporadic free time. We are so grateful to The Keng's for the use of their trailer, what a blessing it was to have the use of it to move all our belongings to storage. We are currently bunking with my brother in law, Dan. He lives by himself in a 3 bedroom home...so it's nice to have somewhere to crash until we move to the new house. Gabriel was and is pretty confused by the whole process. He has been acting out a little...upset that the majority of his toys are packed away in storage, sad about leaving his room and the home that he's known his whole life. He didn't understand that his belongings and his dogs would be accompanying us to our new destination and we spent a lot of time trying to explain that the stuff inside the house would be coming with us, but the house belonged to someone new. He is now getting excited about his new room and playroom and his big new yard.
We are set to close on the new house (picture, up top) August 12th or maybe sooner if we can talk the seller into it!! The City came through with our backpay so we are set with all our closing money...we'll be broke, but the Lord has provided once again!! Another miracle, perfect timing as we've been waiting for that money since January! It's been awesome to watch his hand move throughout this entire situation. We are looking forward to moving, well not the actual moving part :( but we are looking forward to getting into our new house and making some new memories!! Thanks to everyone for the love and support you all have provided during this transition. You know who you are and I love you!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

With God All Things Are Possible!

Wow!! What a whirlwind of a week it's been in the Landis household!! As we have been preparing to list our house for sale, we also prepared to settle in for a long wait on someone to purchase. In our neighborhood, homes often sit on the market for months...the house 4 doors down has been listed for 6 mos or more. The day our house listed, I felt like God told me that our home would sell within 15 days. I thought, "wow, that would be amazing...doubtful, but wonderful!" A few days later, Josh and I were talking about how long it could possibly take to sell the house and I told him that I had this feeling it would sell within 15 days...he said he thought that would be fantastic. As the time passed, I told a few more people about it and each person would smile and nod...always looking at me like I was a little nuts! Ha ha! Little do they know that as children of God, we carry His favor and with that favor comes privilege...privilege that my neighbor that has had his house listed for 6 mos might not have. We got a call that we had an offer on the house and we were ecstatic...I decided for grins I would look back on the calendar to see how many days it had been. Yep, you guessed it...15 days!!! The following day as I read my devotions for the day, I came across the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth...how she became pregnant after being barren for so many years and after she was far along in years. And then when the angel came to Mary and told her of how she would become pregnant as well. The words that the angel Gabriel spoke jumped off the page to me..."For nothing is impossible with God" Luke 1:37. It was a total confirmation to me, we still have not finalized our loan and I was reluctant to sign the contract on our house. In a sense we will be homeless w/out any money and we don't have anywhere to go even. I felt extremely rebuked by the Lord...how could I not trust him to provide us a loan when he had sold our home in 15 days?? How could I not trust him to provide us a new home to move into? I knew then that I needed to let go of the wheel and give the driver's seat back to the one who deserves to control the GPS!! I am so excited to see what he has in store for us..."The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely, I have a beautiful inheritance!" Psalm 16:5-7

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Lake vs the Beach!

We have discovered that we live with quite the little outdoorsman!! Starting back in mid November, Gabriel began asking me if we could visit the beach...it was difficult to explain to him the seasons and that it was too cold (especially while he was in the warmth of the house, lol!). I told him that we would have to wait until it was hot outside! Literally, each day he would ask me if it was hot enough to go...I would make him open the door in his pj's and feel..."nope, it's still cold" he'd say! He also asked if we could go camping...so many requests! Josh and I love camping and we usually take a yearly trip up to Lake Travis and camp at Pace Bend State Park...it's amazing up there. This year, Josh took a couple days off after Gabriel's birthday and we decided to see what Huntsville State Park was like. I remember camping there tons as a child, it would be a change of pace for Josh, not to mention it's only about 25 minutes from the house....so we gave it a shot. Gabriel was ecstatic, we loaded up our gear and our dogs and headed out. The park is nice, it's not huge, but it was great for us because we went during the week and there was no one there. We really had the entire park to ourselves. We swam and played at our campsite, ate lunch and explored. However...the clouds began to look a little scary and Josh and I decided we better prepare for a storm...we quickly made our dinner and cleaned up the campsite, putting everything inside the truck or the tent. We put the rain cover on the tent and watched as the storm came in...there was lots of thunder and lightning...finally the rain came down. Gabriel must have been tuckered out because he crashed out and fell asleep within about 3 minutes. I was a nervous wreck scared that a tree was going to fall on our tent and so was Zeke. I think the storm lasted a couple hours and we all eventually got some sleep. We woke up to a beautiful morning...nice and cool. We enjoyed a nature hike with the dogs and even took them swimming. We all had a blast and will definitely go back again!

A few weeks ago we received an invite to celebrate the birthdays of two very close friends of our family, Karen and Ashley Martinez...Karen is Denise's mom and Ashley is Denise's sister. Denise and I have been friends since the third grade and have been fortunate enough to be able to raise our children together. I was really excited that the invitation was to a beach side celebration for Memorial Day weekend!! I knew Gabriel would be thrilled to spend the day at the beach with his buddy, Skyler (Denise's daughter)!! We headed out Saturday morning to the sounds of "where's the beach, Daddy?" literally every 10 minutes!! He was excited when we hit the causeway and he could see the ocean...then the question was "where's Skyler, Daddy?" ha ha! He and Skyler had a blast jumping the waves and collecting seashells. They built "sandcastles" and drove cars all over the beach and had a great time together. It was a ton of fun for everyone and we were really glad we were able to celebrate with our extended family during this special time! Watching the kids play together and explore this new world was neat...they kept finding things they hadn't seen before and they would get so excited. It brought a fresh appreciation to mind! Sitting on the beach and staring out at the expanse of the ocean always makes me think of the mightiness of God. I feel close to Him there, like He's breathing on me and I felt especially like He was smiling on us that day as our children played on the sand and the sun was shining on us. We are so blessed, I am so grateful that I can sit on the beach and watch my child play and that he's healthy and happy...and even more-so that I am healthy and my husband is healthy.

Been a pretty good month... :)

Friday, May 28, 2010


Wow...a lot has happened this month! I have gotten behind in my blogging! So let me try and catch up without turning this entry into a novel, lol! We celebrated my baby's birthday on the 15th...I cannot believe he is already three years old. The time has literally flown by. His party was a ton of fun at 7 Acre Wood up in Conroe. Gabriel and his friends chased chickens and goats, played putt-putt, climbed on the play gym, perused the western town and thoroughly enjoyed the zip lines. Even Mommy and Aunt Traci raced on the zip line...it was a blast. Tati and Uncle C drove in from Louisiana to spend the weekend with us and helped me make the cutest cake I've made to date...a barn with a silo on a field with animal cupcakes...it was adorable. We really enjoyed our time together and appreciated the friends and family who celebrated his special day with us.

The other milestone that Gabriel has reached is that he has learned to swim!!! I am so proud of him since I am a huge water lover and was a lifeguard all through my highschool years. We spend a lot of time with our neighbors at their pool, Gabriel has been "swimming" with a life vest but we have been gradually trying to get him to test the waters without it. He has taken the plunge the last few weeks and has done exceptionally well. He can swim underwater and above water. He jumps off the side, surfaces and will swim to the stairs. He goes down the slide and surfaces and swims to the side...I am super proud! Now we can't hardly get him to keep his vest on! I am amazed at his confidence and his bravery, he is getting bigger and bigger everyday and I am so proud of my little boy!

Finally...we completed the bathroom renovations, Josh did a fantastic job. The travertine around the sinks looks amazing and the bathrooms now mirror the rest of our home. The front porch tile is also done and it is a welcoming entry! The best news is...it was listed on MLS yesterday...we are official!!! YAY...we are really praying for a full price offer asap! We have found a couple houses that we really like so as soon as we can sell this one, we can make an offer and move into a new house.

Tomorrow we head to Galveston to celebrate Karen and Ashley's birthdays...Gabriel is super excited, he's been begging to go to the beach...Happy Memorial Day!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Gabriel started coughing about 2 weeks ago...hacking and gagging all day and all night. It was driving me crazy so I knew it had to be driving him nuts, poor thing! Usually I give him a variety of homeopathic meds and honey based cough syrups but they did nothing to ease his symptoms. I am not one of those moms that runs to the doctor at the very first sign of a runny nose, but I'd had enough...so I took him on Monday. Turns out he had allergy induced bronchitis...so the doc prescribed him a Xopenex (Albuterol) inhaler, Omnaris -a nasal allergy spray and told me I could give him some Delsym. Stuff works fantastic...problem is, it makes my docile child super hyper-active.

Starting Wednesday Gabriel began to act like a wild child...not listening, practicing "opposite day" I like to call it...running around...tearing stuff up, climbing all over everything, hooting and hollering! He's in overdrive...he can't sleep, so he's up at 5 am, it takes him about 2 hours to finally fall asleep, coming out of his room, playing with his toys, talking, kicking the wall. His behavior is nuts and no discipline we provide changes it, we see that he can't control it, but we are at our wits' end. I miss my calm, well-behaved and mature little boy. I do not have the patience to deal with this...and what a weekend for it (Mother's Day). I have felt terrible for being so agitated with him. Thankfully, his last day is tomorrow and I pray that this medication gets out of his system quickly. I am also praying that it has done it's job and I won't have to keep him on it any longer!!

I can say that I have a much greater appreciation for the behavior that Gabriel has previously exhibited...he is certainly not perfect, but he is a really good boy!! As I reflect on being a mom...I love this poem...My precious son Gabriel: Before you were born, I wanted you. Before you were born, I loved you. When you were born and I saw your face, I knew that I was in love. Before you were an hour old, I knew I would die for you. To this day, I will. This is the miracle of life. I can't imagine my life without YOU! I love you and I thank God for you!
Thank you God for the gift of my beautiful child...continue to impart patience, kindness and joy in me. Help me to be the mom that you intend me to be, with your guidance give me wisdom to teach, love to share and allow me to be an example of all things righteous and true.

Happy Mother's Day to my Mom and to all the other mommies that are sources of light and love in my life!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dust to Dust

Today was a very emotional day as firefighter, Randy Surratt was laid to rest after a 20 month battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Josh was transferred to Station 19 on the B-Shift where Randy has been the last 10 years. For those of you that aren't familiar...Brotherhood is something that runs deep in the fire department and something that I felt firsthand today at his funeral. Although, Randy has not really been on active duty for sometime...he was given a full active duty burial, this was my first one and it was truly beautiful! He touched a lot of lives and it was evidenced at the number of friends in attendance and in the more than 300-400 "brothers and sisters" in attendance from the Houston Fire Department, Channelview, Eastex, Spring, Splendora and others. The service began as bagpipes played and hundreds of firefighters in their dress blues filed in and paid their respects. The honor guard commanded a salute and seated the group and Chief Hudgens gave a wonderful speech of remembrance. A eulogy was given and hymns were sung, then came the hard part...the slide show. It looked like a picture of my own husband's life...smiles through childhood, football in high school, graduation from the fire academy...the birth of children, happy times, fourth of July, friends, family...the firehouse. I sat there with tears in my eyes thinking, this could be my husband...reminded that we are only given so many days on this earth, thanking God for my health, for Josh's health, Gabriel's health! We went outside to watch the casket as it was loaded on the funeral truck to the sound of the pipes and drums, a beautiful but somber ceremony.

Then we followed more than 15-20 different apparatus to the graveside. It was even more sobering there, as I stood beside dozens of men in uniform...listening to the sound of the bagpipes play "Amazing Grace". Tears rolled down my face...we are not guaranteed tomorrow...we need to live for today, and I was thankful for the service that these men and women provide. Even though Randy died of cancer, we could be standing there for any of these fellows' services and I began to pray for protection over them. The preacher gave a short sermon and the honor guard explained the bell ceremony. Started by Benjamin Franklin, the last call...7 strikes of the bell, it was very emotional. There was also a farewell call on the radio for all to hear.

As witnessed by one of the pastors that was with him before he died, Randy knew the Lord so I am joyful today because I know that I will see him again. As stated by his sister, Randy's hero was Jesus...because Jesus was Randy's hero, he was able to be a hero to others and his death was not in vain. I end this day with a new perspective...make it count! As Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, "A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth." Give Jesus a hug for us Randy, see you when we get there!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sweet Innocence

Lately my son has said some things that just make me well up with love, pride, just emotion! There are times he can be so sweet, like this morning for example, he's been sneaking into our bed in the early hours of the morning-which is kind of getting on our nerves...he tends to wake up pretty early. This morning, after his usual barrage of wake up mommy techniques, "mommy, I want you to wake up....the sun is out...I'm hungry etc." he laid his face next to mine, looked at me and said, "mommy-you look beautiful." So sweet, he can be an angel when he wants to be! He must be on a roll, because he did the same thing yesterday when I was getting him ready for church...I was putting on his shoes and he looked me over, noting..."mommy, you look really beautiful!" I've asked Josh before, where has he heard that? I don't use that adjective to describe him, I'll say he's handsome, cute, etc. Gabriel is so sweet to Josh and I...he tells both of us constantly and I do mean constantly that he loves us...this morning, he was outside in his sandbox and he starts shouting for me. I came outside in a hurry and he goes..."I love you!" Ha ha! He'll shout to us from other rooms that he loves us...it's so sweet, I pray this is one trait that sticks! One of his other favorite things to say to us is that we're his best friends. Josh and I used to play off one another and then Gabriel figured it out, so he told us that all of us were best friends...such a peace maker! He tells me daily, "mom, you're my best friend." I treasure the tenderness and innocence of his age...he is truly my joy!

"Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him." Psalm 127:3

Saturday, April 3, 2010

What Does Easter Mean to a 2 Year Old?

I was raised a charismatic Christian. I grew up with the knowledge that the Easter bunny was a secular distraction from the reality of the true meaning of what Easter actually stands for, Christ's sacrifice; his death and resurrection, plain and simple. So when I had my own child, I wanted to make sure that he understood...during this very confusing time of eggs and bunnies, that a very special thing happened. We still hunt eggs, take pictures go to festivals and give baskets, but this year I thought that he might be able to understand a little more of what Easter means. I got out his Beginner's Bible and I read the section about the betrayal, crucifixion and resurrection. We talked about it and then we thanked Jesus for his love for us. This was Thursday because Josh was going out of town and we did our little family celebration early...so tonight before going to bed I asked him what Easter means...he told me, "it's about God, and Jesus dying on the cross", I said and what else...he said, "and then, Jesus rose!". My heart about pounded out of my chest!! I couldn't believe that my 2 year old comprehended something so profound, and not only that but something that was read and explained 2 days prior! Tears welled up in my eyes as we wrapped up our time together and headed off to bed. There really are no words for how proud I am of my son tonight!! I believe there are mighty things in store for our Gabriel, which by the way, means "hero of God"!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Eggs and Demolition!

Gabriel and I had a great time dying eggs yesterday! My baby is getting so big, he did so much of it on his own. Last year, I didn't even attempt to have him help me as this is such a messy process! He did really well...we only had a couple eggs go awol and the first one was mine! We did "14k gold glazed eggs" and they look really cool, both of us were really proud of our product, ha ha.

On the otherhand...there is a lot of dust in the house and it's not gold-dust!! We have decided to go forward with listing the house. I assumed that would entail packing up a lot of the things we don't use on a daily basis to make the house look more "clutter-free" and maybe changing out some of the bathroom fixtures and neutralizing the paint in the front bathroom (I love my dark brown). However...I came home from church last weekend to find my front porch tile torn out (it was an ugly 70's faux brick) and Josh ready with a notepad to take measurements on the bathrooms. Yes...I said bathroomS plural. Ummm...I was not prepared to do remodels on both bathrooms before we listed the house...I wanted to get this done pronto!! He informed me that we need to re-tile the floors b/c after replacing both toilets (awhile back) he had to crack the tile around it b/c the toilets were installed underneath the tile rather than on top or something like that so now we have to replace the floors (it just looks bad)...so since we're doing that we might as well replace the shower tile...hmmm...."might as well". It is ugly, I have to admit, but we bought it like that and there are lots of other upgrades for potential buyers to see...ugh...I just do not see when Josh will have the time to do it...so....off to Floor & Decor and Lowe's and Home Depot we went. We came home with tile for the floors and the porch. Oh and he plans to retile the countertops in the bathrooms too...I'll keep you posted on how long this takes!!! Please be praying for a speedy and cost effective remodel....

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Anniversary Celebration for 3

Hard to believe how quickly the time has passed...yesterday marked our 7th wedding anniversary!! We decided to keep it low key and had lunch at Chi, a Japanese restaurant. Josh must really love me because he hates sushi, but I rarely request it! Gabriel joined us on our adventures for the day - looking at a couple houses, lunch, errands; it was a normal day! We told him about our wedding day and he asked questions, it was cute. That night we bought some shrimp and had a special dinner which included him. He even got to have a big boy plate (one of our salad plates) with a special glass and napkin! There was candlelight and roses and a special dessert! Gabriel and mommy both loved it! After dinner we showed Gabriel our wedding photos, he loves looking at pictures, so he had a great time picking people out he knew! It was a nice evening and we loved including our little man in it. We are planning a weekend get away for just the two of us when the weather heats up!

Gabriel also got a hair cut this weekend...I finally cut all his curls off! He got a real big boy cut and has "spikeys" as he calls them! He looks about 5 years old to me and it still shocks me when I turn around and see him! Hard to believe my baby is growing up so fast!!!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Splish Splash

Spring Break has been a lot of fun for Gabriel and I, we have spent a few days soaking up the rays with the Keng girls! Elisabeth heated up the pool and we took full advantage...it was fun! Gabriel took some private swim lessons towards the end of the summer last year, but he seems to have forgotten a lot of what he learned...hopefully we can quickly get back up to speed, my goal for him is to be swimming this summer (fingers crossed!!). He loved going down the slide last year, but is afraid of it this year...he also loved jumping off the side of the pool, but hasn't worked up the nerve to try this year. Strange how they forget from year to year! We are taking our time...he had a ton of fun hanging out with Devan and Codi and at the end of the night yesterday, we took his vest off and he swam across the hot tub all by himself!! He was really proud and so was I!! The kids and adults have benefited from their time in the sun...they have been tuckered out in the evening...on Thursday night, immediately after dinner Gabriel decided to put himself to bed. I finished cleaning up and went to look for him, finding him fast asleep under the covers with the lights blazing in his room...too cute! We are looking forward to summer...bring on the heat!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

House Hunting

It seems we have outgrown our home! What at one time seemed like such a huge space to us (coming from our 1000 s/f apartment), is now bursting at the seams with all of Gabriel's toys, Josh's hobby r/c planes and equipment, hunting gear, our office stuff...furniture etc. Add to the mix two big dogs and there's not even a place to turn around! The prospect of adding on to our family makes me wonder where in the world we would even put a new baby, lol! I am constantly sorting through our items and donating things to charity...the bottom line is...we've run out of room! So, we are looking for a new home! The next home we buy will be our long term home so, it's got to be pretty close to perfect...this has different meanings to Josh and I. He would like a 4,000 s/f house on 10 acres in the middle of nowhere. I would like a 2,600 - 2,800 s/f home on about 1-2 acres as far away as maybe 2978 (for those of you that aren't from the Woodlands, that's maybe about 15 minutes west of our current house, lol!). Hey, a girl still needs her shopping centers and certainly needs to be close to her circle of friends! So...we're trying to meet in the middle or at least...closer to my side, ha ha! But, seriously...we have been looking for several months at lots, homes...neighborhoods, plans...loans and APRs....ugh! Please be praying with us as we are continuing to look for our next home and as we put our current home on the market!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Back in the Saddle!

I started out strong when Gabriel was little, blogging that is, but today I couldn't even remember what my blog sign in and password was! I decided that I've got to do a better job of chronicling his milestones and the simple little things that make me smile...and even those things that don't always make me smile. So...I'm starting fresh, hoping to do a better job this time around!!

So, in a nutshell...Josh has recently been promoted, I am extremely proud of him. He is now an Engine Operator Paramedic (or driver) and is in a new station, a little slower paced, which is a huge answer to prayer...his old station was crazy busy! He's loving his new position and is adjusting well to his new surroundings and his new responsibilities (or lack thereof, lol!). Way to go babe!

I am doing well, struggling with the woes of a mommy with a 2 year old! Gabriel is very good most of the time, but we have definitely had our moments...temper tantrums in the middle of Target...refusing to leave the play area at the mall...we could go on! But, I am extremely blessed to continue to have the opportunity to stay at home and raise our son. I could not ask for a better job title and I continue to ask God for grace, patience and love during the difficult moments...it's tough to be a mommy, but it's also a wonderful gift and an awesome privilege!

As for the little guy...it's so hard to believe that he's almost 3...time has surely hit fast forward on us! At the moment he is into jumping on his trampoline, digging in his sandbox and cars!!! He loves cars...anytime, anyplace, anywhere...I even had to chuckle tonight as he played with his firetruck in the bathtub. He brings at least one Hot Wheels car with him everywhere we go, forget a security blanket...he has a car, lol! He is a sweet-heart...constantly telling his Daddy and I that we are "his best friends"! We recently went to the Rodeo; this was his 3rd time, he has attended the Livestock Show in years past, but this year we decided he was ready for a big ticket to the Rodeo and a concert. We saw Rascal Flatts and he had an absolute blast. He always loves the "aMinals", but this year was the first time he was tall enough to actually ride several carnival rides. His favorite was a bouncing 4-wheeler!! He loved the bull riding and barrell racing and was impressed by the concert and all the lights and music! He was tuckered out, but maintained a very good attitude throughout the entire night...we were impressed!! All of us had an enjoyable night...and I got to kiss the cutest cowboy in Texas good night!