Friday, March 28, 2008

smooth transition

Life goes on & on & on. Always something to think about these days. Here are some highlights from our moving plans:

*called 16 elementary schools in 3 different districts (all 'exemplary' schools or 'recognized' & highly recommended) to see if they had apartments zoned for them. Out of those 16, only 7 of them had apartments in their zone! I then emailed the 2 girls I've been chatting back & forth with who live in the Houston area and got their opinions on the schools and apartments and have FINALLY narrowed it down to 3 specific schools & apartments that Chris can choose from when ho goes out there next week. 2 are in 1 district & basic area of the city while the other school is in a totally different suburb of the city. It's like someone said, "It's probably like 6 one way-1/2 dozen another" which is true. Everyone thinks their area is the "best" area-which is great-and I hope whichever area we choose will end up being as loved by us as well! The 'good' thing is whatever area we choose for the rest of this school year can be temporary since as soon as we sell our house here (please!!!!!) we can look to buy something and if we want to change schools and/or areas, we can! And yes, that means 2 moves but I don't see much other way since I can't imagine permanently deciding on an area so quickly-not to mention we need to sell our house here first to have a down payment.

*We have had a couple people call and/or look at the house but no offers yet. We will be looking at listing with a realtor soon; we've talked to one but haven't signed anything yet.

*Chris got a call/email from his 'relocation advisor' or whatever you want to call her, so things are starting to get rolling now. I'm sure the movers will be scheduled soon. 3 weeks from yesterday.........we'll probably be in Houston! Sooo hard to believe.

*The baby is doing well. Kicking at the laptop as I write this post! I will get to see my doctor one more time before I leave and will have my glucose test & rhogam(?) shot. Ugh! I am in the process of trying to find a new doctor.

*So much to do! Please pray for peace & a smooth transition. Stress is something that gets to me a lot. I tend to react by eating & spending money. Not necessarily good!

Below are some pictures of Gracie with "Miss Diana," her violin instructor at her last lesson. Chris picked her up that day and he said he thought Miss Diana was going to cry. Very sweet. She really encouraged us to keep Gracie in violin lessons. She talked about how it's been hard on her to move before but having her music meant she could always find friends. I do hope we can find a good violin instructor for Gracie so she can pursue this interest of hers. I had to include the 2nd picture because of Katie's head in the bottom! That girl just can't stand still!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

What a week & weekend! Lots going on.

Tuesday, after working a little bit at Gracie's school, Chris & I were able to enjoy a lunch/baby shower with people from his work. It was fun, and we got some cute things and gift cards to help buy things for our new little one. Gracie had violin that evening. She only has 1 lesson left here. I figured since we'll be moving mid-April and one week that we'd be here would be Spring Break that we should stop the lessons at the end of March. We're hoping to find a place for her to continue her lessons once we get to Texas.

Wednesday, I had prayer group and then some lunch plans. Gracie's ct scan was that afternoon. She was so brave and did so well. Church that evening.

Thursday, Katie & I went to playgroup. Chris was off work, so he was able to meet us & some friends for lunch. I ran some errands-sans Katie-and picked up Gracie from school after which I dropped her at home with Chris and continued running some errands. Later that afternoon, the 4 of us met some friends to see "Horton Hears a Who." It was a cute movie. We then had yet more errands to run to complete our evening. I had called for the results of her ct scan and waited about 3 hours only to receive a call from a nurse saying that they didn't have the results yet. I appreciated her calling, but I was still kinda going crazy wondering about the results. I must have opened my cell phone a million times during the movie to check on whether or not they'd left a message.

Friday, Gracie didn't have school and Chris was off work. We had a yard sale that morning which meant getting up waaaay earlier than I wanted to! (Here's a picture of my little Katie Boo in her beloved Spiderman hat!) I had Chris call the doctor's office this time to check on the results. Once again, we were told that a nurse would call us. About 20 minutes later, a nurse called with the happy news that the results were NORMAL! I was so happy! I was a little upset at the doctor though because the nurse said that she'd been gone the day before and when she got our message that morning, the doctor was standing there. She asked him about the results and he said, "Oh yeah, I'd gotten the verbal yesterday that it was normal." WHAT??!?!? After I'd worried & worried the day before waiting & waiting for them to call. He couldn't have taken 5 minutes to call me??! Anyway, the results are GOOD and that's what important.

We closed up the yard sale and headed inside to get cleaned up because we had a birthday party to attend that was about an hour away. We headed off to that and had a good time celebrating one of our friend's 7 year old birthdays at a skating party. (Here's Gracie "gracefully" falling! I just happened to catch it!) We then all ate together at a local bbq place. By this time, I was literally about to pass about I was sooooooo tired & sore. (not from skating!) My almost 35 year old body isn't really made for being pregnant and so busy! We then headed to yet another birthday party-this time for the 13 year old daughter of my good friend Mary Beth. (Look at my lovely, 'patchy' sunburn I got at the yard sale-ugh!) Katie had a blast because 13 year old girls apparently love little toddlers so she got plenty of attention! She liked playing "Dance, Dance Revolution!" After we stayed there awhile, Gracie & I dropped Chris & Katie off at home and headed to Wal Mart to get some things we needed for the rest of the weekend. Once again, I was about to wilt but you gotta do what you gotta do! Once home, the girls got to bed and Chris & I did some cooking for upcoming events.

Saturday, we had another morning of the yard sale. Thankfully, Chris handled the early, early morning stuff and a friend came over to try to sell some of their stuff so I didn't have to get out there first thing. I still got out there about 7:30 which is plenty early! Our friend's wife & children came over a little later to hang out. The kids had a good time getting dirty in the backyard and we sold quite a bit of stuff!

We closed up the yard sale and got cleaned up again-this time for our church's Easter Egg Hunt. We were late but still enjoyed the festivities. After the hunt, I went out with some girlfriends and enjoyed dinner & dessert & fellowship with them. I got home and didn't stay up much longer before I hit the bed!

This morning, of course, was Easter so we had the Easter Bunny festivities at home then headed to church. Katie recently moved up to the 4&5 year old class where she gets 'official' memory verses. We were proud of her that she was able to say her verse this morning! I only have 1 week left to teach my Sunday morning class. After teaching it since September '06, it's going to be kind of sad to give it up. I'm a creature of habit! We enjoyed church then ate with some friends then went home to crash!!!!!! I was so tired that Chris & the girls actually went to Life Group without me and left me home to rest!

We had some people come over to talk about the house tonight so I'm praying that they're really interested!!!!!!! What a blessing if we could sell it before we move!

Another school/work week starts tomorrow-hope everyone has a good one!

Friday, March 21, 2008

G is for GRATEFUL!

G is for grateful. G is for Gracie. G is for God.
Thank you God that Gracie's ct scan was NORMAL!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

by owner

*update: I forgot to say that Chris sent me flowers Thursday b/c he knew I'd been upset earlier in the day! So sweet!*

*update: Gracie's ct scan will be Wednesday @ 4:00. God worked out the timing on that one really well!*

Call us crazy, but we put a similar sign in our front yard this weekend. I've always kind of shaken my head at people who try to sell their house by owner, but when we thought of the realtor fees that would be taken-and based on some interest in our house shown by people we know-we decided to try this for about a week. We're certainly not risk takers, so if nothing happens in a week or so, we'll sign with a realtor. We live on a corner which sees a lot of traffic-not like double yellow line type traffic-but a lot of through traffic to the neighborhood behind us so we're hopeful. Chris attached one of those boxes where we can put flyers and they've been disappearing quickly. He keeps having to replace them. Of course, I'm one of those people who stops and picks those things up just because I'm nosy-having no real intention of purchasing the house-but hopefully some of the people taking the flyers are truly interested and not just nosy like yours truly! Our azaleas are beautiful in the Spring, so I'm hoping they bloom soon.

My mom came this weekend to help us clean out the house. Goodness-we are PACKRATS! Honestly, it's ridiculous! Whatever. It's just the way we are. We have good intentions of being better, but it doesn't happen. Maybe in our new house. Remind me I said that, okay?!?! I didn't like doing all the cleaning, but it really needed to be done and we threw away TONS of junk and made a large garage sale pile and I feel better about not taking all the junk with us to Texas!

We ate out a lot, so Mom cooked last night which was nice, especially since if we'd gone out we would have gotten stuck in the horrible, tornadic, hail storm we experienced around dinner time. I don't think I've seen hail since we lived in Lubbock in '95-'97 (we got money to go towards a new car after that storm!) There were some tornadoes in the area and I was pretty prepared for all 5 of us (including my mom) to get in the girls' bathtub, but we were spared. Gracie said she didn't think we'd all fit in the bathtub, but I told her we'd sure try if we needed to! Our church building didn't have electricity this morning during church, but we have plenty of windows, so we had plenty of light except in the bathrooms. We had Life Group right after church and were then going out to eat together. I went to the bathroom-in the dark-right before we left. I came out and made a comment about having to go in the dark and someone noticed that a light was on in one of the other bathrooms. Sure enough, I stepped back inside the one I'd just come out of and flipped on the light and it came on! So, I went in the dark for nothing! Oh well. Some of the area schools are closed tomorrow because they still don't have electricity. No fair that Gracie's school isn't one of them!

I had to pick up Gracie from school Monday-another headache + a tummy ache and a very slightly elevated temp and feeling "icky." She stayed home Tuesday as well. Since she's been having so many headaches lately, I made an appointment to take her to the ped. Friday to be checked out. Her exam was normal, but he's going to send her for a ct scan just to make sure there's nothing serious going on. Do I sound calm about this? Don't let me fool you. I'm pretty freaked out, but as all mommies know, we need to appear calm so as not to alarm the little ones. Seriously, my mind has gone places it doesn't need to go about this, but I've been praying & praying. What else can I do, really?!?! *sigh* She was fine Wed., Thurs., Fri., & Sat. morning. Then Saturday at some point she said she didn't feel good (no headache though so I was glad). She was real lethargic and was warm-not burning up, but warm. *sigh again* Motrin does wonders for the girl and usually perks her up. She was "up" when she went to bed last night, but was puny & warm again this morning. Mom acted as "nanny" and stayed home with her which was nice so Chris & I could both go to church with Katie and attend Life Group. She was still a little warm & puny when we got home but she felt really good when she went to bed tonight and it had been about 7 hours since Motrin, so I'm hopeful that she'll be good in the morning. I asked her what she thought about school tomorrow. Since she's one of those children who enjoys going to school, I feel she'll be honest and not just try to get out of going, and she acted positively about going if she felt in the morning the way she felt right then.

One interesting thing is Chris was brushing her teeth tonight and he thinks he saw & felt 2 new teeth coming in where she'd lost those 2 middle front ones. Yes, she's 7 1/2 years old and quite capable of usually brushing her own teeth, but she had that "sick breath," so he was brushing them to make sure they were brushed really well. So.......I'm wondering if the fever could have been from that?!?! Can that happen at 7 years old??? Interesting to think about.....

Moving plans are coming along I guess. I mean, will we ever really be ready? Physically maybe. Emotionally probably not. This morning, we sang "A Common Love" and "Bind us Together." Yeah. Pregnant woman lost it. Seriously. I don't know if anyone besides Chris noticed. Well, the lady behind us mentioned it, but I don't know about anyone else. I mean, that common love that Christians share is so strong, so it got me sad thinking about leaving my friends here. Also though, it was kind of a thankful cry because of the connections I'm already making with some of the Christians in Houston.

I've emailed & spoken on the phone with a girl I went to ACU with who also happens to be my "cousin-in-law's sister-in-law." She has been quite helpful with suggestions & support, and I appreciate it more than she realizes! Also, a lady here called her niece who lives there. Her niece has called & emailed me and offered lots of help & support as well. Her husband even called later to talk to Chris about the commute from their part of town and what would be the best way to get to his office from their area, etc. The really weird thing about talking to her-which is TOTALLY a God thing-happened when we talked about college. I knew she'd gone to LCU, and I mentioned that we'd gone to ACU and had lived in Lubbock for awhile-which is where LCU is located. She asked when we'd lived in Lubbock. I told her '95-'97. She asked where we went to church. If you knowANYTHING about Lubbock, you know there is practically a Church of Christ on EVERY corner. I told her where we'd attended and she said, "us too!" Crazy! They'd moved away in July '96 but had been there the same time as us. Their names had sounded familiar to me, and now I knew why. I really only vaguely remember them, but it's still cool that out of all the churches in Lubbock, we'd been at the same one and now when we're moving to Houston-the 4th largest city in the U.S.-she's one of the 2 people I've made a connection with-and because she's the niece of a lady here who is very special to us and our girls here in Aiken. God really does take care of us! I don't know how people survive without being Christians.

This week could be a busy one. If Gracie ends up being sick I guess it'll slow down, but hopefully she's going to be all better! Tomorrow is pretty normal. Chris has a meeting tomorrow night and I may go to our Ladies' Class, but I haven't decided yet. Tuesday should be MDO for Katie and time for me to go to Gracie's school. I feel like I've kind of neglected that lately. I was going to go last week, but Gracie had ended up staying home so obviously I didn't. Chris's work is giving us a lunch baby shower that day, and I really hope it works out that I can go! So fun! He can do it alone if I need to stay home with one of the girls, but I really hope to go. Wed. should be prayer group and another lunch thing with some friends. Thurs. should be playgroup. Fri. we plan to have a yard sale + a birthday party for one of Gracie's friends. Sat. will be another morning for the yard sale + an Easter egg hunt at church and a girls' night out with Alissa who will be in town & a couple of other friends. Sun. is Easter of course. Busy, but fun times. I am going to be praying for health for our family!

Chris & I were planning to go to Houston in a few weeks for a "house hunting" trip. We decided tonight that he's going to go by himself. My mom said she would come to watch the girls, but she's got a lot going on and I think it's just going to be easier for him to go by himself. I also want to keep things as "normal" as possible for the girls since things are so crazy right now. Both of them make comments about not wanting to move, so we're trying to make it sound like such a great new adventure that God is leading us on-which is true. We even started singing that song, "This is the great adventure!" and saying that it's the "Shanks' adventure!" I asked Mrs. Z how Gracie is doing at school because I was worried that she was moping around being sad, but she said she hasn't seen any signs of anything bothering her. Once again, the girl amazes me! I know it's on her heart because she'll mention it to us, but she's doing well at school still which I'm so thankful for! Speaking of school, if you know anything about me you know I'm a little obsessive about school stuff. I try to stay involved and informed and support the teacher, etc. I've gotten suggestions from the above 2 mentioned girls-as well as others-about schools. We do plan to stay in an apt. for awhile, but I plan to call some of the suggested schools and see what-if any-apartments are zoned for those schools and send Chris to those apartments to see what they have available and see which area he feels will fit us best. The 2 ladies I've talked to live in separate parts of Houston, so he'll have to make a decision on which one seems "more us." We can always move when we buy a house which is one reason we don't want to buy a house yet. That and we really need to sell our house here first.

If you've read my blog for awhile, you probably remember how much I liked Gracie's Kindergarten teacher, Miss Stack. Well, her class had a full time aide that year too and I just really liked her a lot and have continued to over the last couple of years. I don't know what it is about Mrs. Hooks (holding Gracie on her lap), but I just felt real comfortable with her being with Gracie. She made me feel that she was keeping Gracie safe. I know she has a faith in God too which of course is a large part of what I like about her. She always gives Gracie attention and will stop to talk to me and Katie when we're at school. I've been asking her for awhile now if she was going to still be there at the school when Katie got there. I really wanted her to be the aide for Katie's class. She was assigned to a different teacher now, but I just really wanted Mrs. Hooks to be with Katie. I wanted her to get to experience the differences between my 2 little girls. I think she really would have loved & appreciated Katie's "energy." I told her the other day she didn't have to wait around for this new little baby but at least for Katie. She said maybe I could go back to work in awhile and she'd watch my new baby! I'm sure she wasn't serious, and I don't want to go back to work until this new little one is in school full time, but it wouldn't have been a bad idea!

Anyway, I hadn't gotten a chance to talk to her to let her know we were moving. She supervises Gracie's class during car line in the afternoons, but it hadn't worked out for me to be in the right position to poke my head out to talk to her. Friday, I parked and walked up since I needed to get out a little earlier because of Gracie's doctor's appointment, so we walked over to car line to talk to her. She has a strong opinion of what I should name this new baby, so she made a comment about seeing the baby pooch out (which she is these days!) A teacher who is active on PTA Board with me walked up and started to hug me (I'd emailed her earlier to let her know we were moving) and I said, "I haven't told her yet!" So, Mrs. Hooks knew something was going on. Looking back, I think she even said, "Are you moving?!" I told her we were and that she could retire now because she didn't have to wait for Katie! She said she had tears in her eyes. So sweet! Even though I look forward to finding a great school in Houston for the girls, I will always kinda miss Katie not getting to experience having Mrs. Hooks. I know God will pick out someone else great for her and I'm thankful we got to know Mrs. Hooks at all!

Friday night, I went to a girls' night out/baby shower for a friend who recently had a new baby. That was fun. They mentioned all of us going out again before I move which I'd like to do. We all stay so busy! I am so thankful for the relationship I have with each of these girls. All of the relationships are different and to a different degree of closeness, but I've gained something positive from each of them. I've been real emotional these last few days-stressed about moving, the normal pregnancy hormones, worried about Gracie, etc. I'm not good at crying in front of people, and I feel like I've been holding it in. I did have " a moment" Thurs. at playgroup just because I feel overwhelmed at having to make a decision about which part of Houston to move to. It seems like every person I talk to or hear from has a different opinion. I've asked God to place us where He wants us. That's one reason I'd like Chris to go by himself for this trip. The pressure will be off me somewhat and on him-the laid back one! I will give him my school suggestions, but then he can make the ultimate decision. I wouldn't let him pick out a permanent place like that, but for an apartment it'll be okay. Tonight, Chris went to get us something to eat. I asked for Arby's. I opened up my sandwich and it was just roast beef. I always choose the "Beef 'n Cheddar." always Chris had ordered me this dry, blah roast beef. He had gotten me the cheddar cup for my fries so I was able to put that on there, but it surely wasn't the same. To prove how "on the edge" I am, I burst into tears and said, "We've been married almost 14 years and I've never ordered a roast beef sandwich!" *sigh* I then went into the bathroom later and had myself a good cry over just everything. Chris apologized and said he'd go get me some dessert but I really wasn't hungry (I'd eaten the dry roast beef!). Poor thing having to put up with me!

Thanks be to God for all of our blessings and that He is going before us to Houston. He's already proving that He's paving the way by helping us make the connections we're making. We may be moving, but He'll always be with us and for that we're blessed. I look forward to a few months down the road where I'll look back on this time and be glad it's over and be thankful for all the blessings I'm sure we will have received. I'll forever be grateful for the time we've been here in Aiken. Words cannot adequately express the blessings we have because of our time here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Scripture encouragement

a little stressed.........

"For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” Psalm 91:11
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Monday, March 10, 2008

Happy 4th birthday!

Today is my baby's birthday! I can hardly believe that she's 4 years old! Of course, we had a hard time convincing her that she was still 3 all weekend. Since we'd had her party, she thought that was her birthday so she should be 4! I didn't even try to tell her that she wasn't born until after 8:00 in the morning. Today is now her birthday and she is 4 today-all that matters to a 4 year old!

Grammer & Pappy joined us and a few friends for a Burger King birthday party on Saturday. It was fun and nice in the sense that someone else did most of the setting up & cleaning up! The kids had fun playing on the indoor playground and eating a kids' meal and also a yummy cake made my none other than good 'ole Wal Mart! I can blog about the daily lives of my children-recording precious memories to never be forgotten-but I CANNOT make cute birthday cakes. It's just not my talent.
After some naps, we had dinner with some friends who invited us over. They are fond of my parents, so they wanted to visit with them while they were in town. Sweet. After church on Sunday morning, we had lunch at this great little country restaurant-kind of like a local Cracker Barrel. Country Fried Steak with white gravy-yum! I enjoyed my nap that I'd been planning since the night before-the time change affected me! Last night we all met at church rather than having Life Groups and also had a potluck to "send off" a Mexico mission team that will be leaving this week.
Last night before I went to bed (actually early this morning) I set out Katie's presents from us. This morning we got her up to tell her Happy Birthday and let her open up her goodies. We had to do it before Gracie went to school or wait until she got home-she'd already requested to be around.
She is excited to now be 4 and is trying to ride her bike in the living room! Typically, this wouldn't be allowed but since she can't really ride it yet and it's her birthday and I won't take her outside yet because I told her it's too cold-I'll let her "ride" it inside for a little while. I asked her what she wanted to do for dinner-did she want to go somewhere or did she want me to cook-she said she would pick somewhere that we would like that had a playground-Chick fil A! Not a bad choice. So.....that may be where we end up going tonight. She also wants to go to a local children's boutique today. I'm not sure if we will because I don't see myself buying anything there-she just wants to play in their playroom, so that request is up for debate!
Dear Katie Boo,
I love you so much and am so thankful that God made you the way He did! You make me laugh on a daily basis-I love your sense of humor, the random things you say, the facial expressions you make when you talk, your imagination-everything about you! I love that you are able to tell us what you learned in Bible Class with such detail-you have been blessed with great Bible Class teachers and a mind to soak it all in! I love hearing you sing, "'s not so far, it's not so far away!" It's so cute that you like to sing that song. Even though we try not to laugh and try to encourage you not to do it too often and not around certain people, I LOVE when you "shake your hiney" for us while dancing. It's just too cute. We just have to teach you when it's appropriate. I love that you love to play with your Sissy and I love how you "hide" from Daddy when he comes home from work-right in the middle of the floor or like a big lump under the blanket. I love that when someone asked you what your middle name was you said "Boo." We've called you "Katie Boo" for so long that you probably think that really is your name. I love when you say, "Hode me!" and hold up your arms to me. I love how proud you are of being 4 and the confidence you have that you can now do so many things because of the fact that you're now 4. You're just so special to me and I am so blessed that God chose me to be your Mommy! You are going to keep me on my toes as you grow and I'm glad! I love you, Katie "Boo" Brooklyn!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

We're going west!

My emotions are so all over the place right now it's not even funny! Seriously, one minute I'm excited about this adventure then I start thinking, "what in the world are we doing?!?" I find myself praying a lot! A little piece of my heart will always be here-that's for sure! Chris's heart was touched tonight when the precious 5 year old little girl of some of our bestest friends looked at him and said, "I don't want y'all to move." That got to him!
There are many things that will make this a hard move, but it also feels right in a lot of ways. Texas, although not specifically Houston, is where Chris & I met and first lived as a married couple. I never really expected to move out of the Southwest, but we did. Living in SC has been fantastic for so many reasons, but moving back to TX really feels right for more than one reason. That doesn't make it not hurt to make this move though because my heart is tied to many people & many experiences here. My children have roots here so this will be hard on them-Gracie more so than Katie of course. If not for wanting to savor these times with friends and wanting to savor this last pregnancy, I'd like to push a "fast forward" button for a few months to where we'll be settled in our new home.
This new home will be almost exactly half way between our parents. I mean, when someone from New Mexico marries someone from Georgia, it makes for interesting issues. We'd either have to live near one set but really far from the other (which we've done before on both sides) or far from both. This will put us about in the middle-a day's drive from either. A long day's drive, but a day's drive nonetheless.
We have soooooooo much ahead of us to do, including putting a house on the market and praying for it to sell, finding a place to rent in Houston, finding a new school for Gracie for about a month and a half (yikes!), finding a new doctor to finish the pregnancy, etc., etc., etc. Thankfully, the company will pack and move us so I won't find myself packing boxes, but there will still be plenty to do.
There are so many friends here we will miss. More on that later I'm sure-I don't need to get started on that tonight; I'm too tired! I am so thankful for email, unlimited long distance, lots of cell phone minutes, and text messaging! We are going to miss our church family and I've already begun praying about finding our new one. I am also so thankful for the bond Christians have, no matter the geographical location. I think having faith in that bond will get me through lots of uncertain moments during this move.
*sigh* Part of me just wants to cry while I'm also anxious to see where God will take on this adventure. He has a plan for us and I've been praying that He will lead us & direct us. Hopefully we're following Him as He wants us to. I feel like I have to explain ourselves to some who don't seem to understand why in the world we'd move. I'm not sure what to say. The opportunity arose and career wise for Chris-it's a great move. For a lot of reasons, it seems to be a great move. We've made a decision that we feel is good for our family-and not solely based on the career issue although that is part of it. Too bad our hearts get so connected to people because that's the part that hurts. Of course, it's not actually "too bad" that our hearts get so connected to people. How much sadder would we all be if we didn't make these types of connections?!? The relationships we form with our friends are a large part of the happiness we have in our lives, and I'm so thankful that God gives us friends.
Anyway, now the practical part-if any of my blog friends have recommendations for the "best" church in Houston to go to, the "best" Houston suburb to live in, the "best" school district to attend, yada-yada-yada-please leave a comment! We know this move is going to be a huge change. We're going from a "smallish" town to the 4th largest city in the U.S., so we'll appreciate any suggestions that could help us narrow down our search.
And-please keep us in your prayers for all the things we have to do between now and whenever we leave (probably sometime in April) and also for all we will have to do once we get there. It's a huge move but one we feel God wants us to make. He has a plan, and we look forward to serving him in a new state! God is full of surprises and the timing of this move is certainly a little surprising (have I mentioned I'm pregnant?!!? LOL) but we're trusting Him to be with us.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Change is in the air. I'm not always so good with change, but we feel that God is opening a door for us and we are walking through it. We're going back to where "we" began. More later...........

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


updated with a couple more things Thursday morning

If God said it, I want to believe it. If God gives it, I want to receive it. If God shows it, I want to perceive it. If Satan stole it, I want to retrieve it.
~Beth Moore, Believing God p. 41

"Godstops"-the glimpses we catch of God at work

stop-"savoring the observable presence."

I saw a "Godstop" today when there were five of us at our prayer group! I hadn't seen the lady drive up who was here for the 1st time, so when she walked in the den I was surprised-but pleasantly so! Her prayer was so great, too. I mean, all of the prayers are, but she had such a conversational tone to her prayer and said so many things that needed to be said. I found myself tearing up a little and saw that she had, too. I am so blessed to know all of these ladies-and in this context. Thanks be to God for blessing all of us to have this prayer time together for our children, their classmates, their school, their teachers & administrators, the new principal coming in next year, and even those "troubled" children. I loved when one of the ladies prayed that we will see those "bad" (could be perceived as that) children through GOD'S eyes. Such a reminder that God loves all of the children in the world! Another lady prayed for all the parents to do their job and prayed thankfulness that even when we're not with our children, we know that GOD is! Yet another lady prayed for wisdom and another one reminded us in her prayer that not only should we be there to ask God for things but to lift him up! This group is becoming a true encouragement to me and I thank God for blessing us with it.
Heard tonight in Katie's prayer at dinnertime: ".......don't let everyone be sick, only a couple." hA!
Katie Boo's birthday is coming up! *sniff sniff* I can hardly believe she's going to be 4!!!!!!! Her party will be Saturday and will have a 'Little Einstein' theme. A friend took these pictures today that I'm going to try to use on her cake. We'll see how it turns out. Poor thing......I feel like her birthday isn't getting as much attention as Gracie's did at that age. I guess it's the whole "2nd child" thing + me being pregnant. Excuses, excuses I know!
Baby Girl Shanks #3 is doing well! Moving all over the place and all that fun stuff. She is making her presence known more & more through my appearance if you know what I mean! In other words, I feel like I'm getting bigger by the day! I told Chris I have to go this weekend and get some church things for Spring/Summer. I'm hoping to find some things that won't cost me an arm & a leg. I've been blessed to be loaned some clothes which has been great.

I've been buying some things for the little one, too. (I think we're almost sure about a name......) I apparently really thought we were done and had gotten rid of a lot of things up to about 2 years old, so I'm "having" to buy some new things which isn't such a bad thing-it's fun to buy baby clothes! Once she gets to be about 2, she has tons! I guess I went through a phase where I was ready to get rid of stuff since I really didn't think we were going to have more children but I did it all when Katie was 2 or before she was 2 b/c starting at 2 I still have lots of stuff. Anyway.......
Playgroup tomorrow for Katie & myself. I love having this time to spend with friends. Katie is going through quite a "tattle tale" phase though. I mean, I understand that some things she tattles on are things that shouldn't happen, BUT we're trying to explain to her that some things aren't "tattle worthy" and to just deal with it and go on to something else. Hard lesson to teach.

You may not can see it too well in this picture, but Katie has a mark from a band-aid she just had to have on her forehead last night. She knew I'd been asking Gracie about her headache (see below) and then she also knew that Gracie's knee had started bleeding which meant she needed a band-aid. Well, Katie figured out pretty fast that she needed an ailment too. She told me her head "was hot" and she needed a wash cloth for it. (I'll do that for Gracie sometimes when she's sick.) So, Gracie fixed her up a wash cloth and she put that on her forehead. Then, she informed me that it was dripping and she now needed a band-aid! On her forehead! Because it was hot! Okay.......So, I figured why not? She's only 3 (for a few more days!) and what's it going to hurt so she got a band-aid and it stuck in the very middle of her forehead! She slept with it on, and she told me that if it fell off she would come tell me in the middle of the night. Yeah, thanks! So, it didn't fall off but this morning Chris took it off. OUCH! I heard her crying & crying. I went to check on her and there was this very obvious mark on her forehead!

Reminds me of the time when my brother was home from COLLEGE and stuck one of the suction cup basketball goals on his forehead. Yes, he really did that! Lipscomb was really doing a great job of educating him, huh?!?! hA! It was sooooo funny because when he took that thing off, it left the BIGGEST, REDDEST spot on his forehead-right in the middle! I think it was a Saturday too so church was the next day. I can't remember how we worked that out-if Mom & Dad let him stay home or not, but gosh-it was HILARIOUS! We all gave him the hardest time about that! Speaking of my brother, Josh Jackson (far left), check out his website-especially if you're in Nashville and need a band for an upcoming event.
I got a call from the nurse at Gracie's school today saying that she was there complaining of a headache. Poor thing suffers from these often it seems. She'll go a day or two complaining of one then she won't for a long time. She had a 99.1 temp which I don't guess they consider a real fever, so I took some Tylenol and actually ended up leaving it there for Gracie to have "on file." This way, if she complains about it again and doesn't have a fever, they have my permission to give it to her. They don't keep it on hand for just anyone, but if a parent leaves it and signs the form, etc. they can give their own meds to them. The nurse said they can't give it to her to fight a fever but can give it for something like a headache-if I've signed the form. I guess 99.3 is considered a fever. When I went to the school I didn't even see her because she'd gone to lunch but the nurse had told her to come back after lunch to get the meds if she didn't call for her first. I have GOT to get her eyes checked again but then I've said that a million times lately and say it everytime she complains about her head. I'm just wondering if her prescription needs to be changed again.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Sleepover with Daddy

Friday night was sleepover night in our home! Not a sleepover with friends coming over, but a sleepover with Mommy & Daddy! Gracie wanted one with me, so Katie had one with Chris. Of course, being pregnant, I quickly said that I would not be sleeping on the pull-out couch so Chris & Katie were "lucky" enough to get that bed! Katie doesn't fall asleep quickly, so she actually ended up spending some time with Gracie in our bed until Chris & I were ready to go to sleep. Chris was trying to watch t.v. and that just wasn't working with Katie in the bed with him. Too distracting. So, she fell asleep with Gracie and then he moved her. She thought it was so fun to sleep over with Daddy! I definitely got the better end of the deal because of the better bed and the better bed buddy as Gracie falls asleep as soon as her head hits the pillow and she didn't move too much. Chris said one time he woke up with Katie's feet at his head and her head down at the bottom of the bed! He moved her so he wouldn't kick her.

Gracie got a new jump rope last week for participating in "Jump Rope for Heart" at school. They've done a lot with jump ropes during P.E. this year, and she has been practicing her "cross jump." She worked & worked at it yesterday and was so proud when she finally did it. I think maybe the whole street heard her yell, "I did it, Mama!" Thankfully, I happened to see it when she did it. I tried to get a picture of one of her cross jumps during her practice time. I'm not sure if the picture accurately shows it, but she really did it many times. I love to see her enjoying exercise like that.
I decided to do pig tails on Gracie today. They look so cute-in a goofy, 2nd grade kind of way anyway! LOL She loved them and that's what matters! Of course, Katie didn't want to be left out, so I put pig tails on her too. Talk about goofy looking! I told her to make sure she tells her teachers that she begged me for them! I love having little girls to play with this way!

I'm playing hooky from going to Gracie's school today. I had a 2 hour PTA Board meeting last night and we have another PTA thing tonight and my house really needs to get cleaned up, so I decided to take this time while Katie is at MDO to get some things done. Of course, at the moment I'm blogging, but I will get some things done eventually! It will get clean....if for no other reason than to spite my husband who smirked when I said I was going to clean. He doubts, so I must prove him wrong! He has a doctor's appointment this morning, so he even took Katie Boo to "school" for me. All the more time to I must get going!