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!