Friday, March 28, 2008
*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
Friday, March 21, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
*update: Gracie's ct scan will be Wednesday @ 4:00. God worked out the timing on that one really well!*
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
Monday, March 10, 2008
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.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
"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
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 clean.........so I must get going!