Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sleepover Fun!

Gracie & Katie were happy Friday night because they each got to have a friend sleepover! There is such JOY involved with sleepovers at their young ages, and I was happy to see how happy they were. Friends are blessings.
Wow...6 year olds sure do have a lot of enthusiasm & energy!

Gracie & K watching a movie complete with popcorn.

The next morning, Gracie & K were looking pretty with their hair done almost the same way and posed so similarly. The teen years will be sooooo fun! :)

These sweet 6 year olds had such fun!
I like this picture of our sweet Ellie. She was in a MOOD, so Chris put on her 'Praise Baby DVD,' and she was mesmerized!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This is a bit of a "plain 'ole blog post." Very random

Katie LOVES this Toy Story snuggie she got from Grammer & Pappy for her birthday, and she looks so cute in it. She was thrilled to receive some sweet birthday gifts from Josh, her favorite 16 year old this week, too. He is so sweet to her and treats her so special. Just a really great kid!

I like this picture of Ellie because it shows her pretty blue eyes! You can also see the "maccacheese" left on her face from dinner. She LOVES "maccacheese!" I also love this spaghetti picture. Every child needs a spaghetti picture. She sure enjoyed dinner that night, too!

I thought she looked so cute Sunday morning before church in this sailor dress. She is really turning into a toddler these days! Not so much of a baby anymore. A little sad, but it's fun to see the way she is developing into such a wonderful little girl. A bit temperamental at times (as most almost 2 year olds) but SO much fun!

She continues to be drawn to men, and has many 'favorites' at church. She can be quite the little charmer!

Gracie is doing well and enjoyed starting to workon the school newsletter this week. I look forward to seeing the first one and reading her article.
She enjoyed having her daddy come have a picnic lunch with her yesterday at school and go to the "art gallery" where the students' 3-D animal projects were on display.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Emotional Overload pt. 3

So we've gotten to where we can joke about all of this a bit. You know, making jokes about why couldn't the thieves have slashed our carpet or cracked our hated kitchen tile? That way, we would HAVE to replace it and would have insurance money to do so with. Also, Chris can't find one of his beloved Dallas Cowboys caps, so he's pretty sure they took it. I have to laugh at that one a little bit. I just wonder if they took it because they like the Cowboys and want to wear it or because they hate the Cowboys and wanted to get a Cowboys fan where it'd really hurt? LOL

I'm getting more comfortable about being at home without Chris. I sometimes get this 'warrior' attitude of, "Come on! I dare you to try this again. I'll take ya down!" Of course, then something spooks me and I dissolve into fear (& sometimes tears!) again. I do find myself taking comfort in our alarm, knowing that it is LOUD and will immediately contact someone if it goes off.

Elizabeth, a blogger friend from another part of Texas, had an incident a few months ago where someone was attempting to break into her home and was surprised by her 10 year old son being there. The man attacked her son, and her very brave 10 year old fought back HARD and the guy ran away. Thankfully, her son was physically okay, but I remember reading about all of that and just feeling sick for them. All of the "what ifs" ran through my mind, and I'm sure they ran through hers as well. This was a very unexpected event to happen where she lives. She commented on one of my blog posts awhile back, reassuring me that I WOULD feel comfortable in my own home again one day. I take comfort in that because if anyone would know, SHE would know since she has suffered a similar incident as us. None of her possessions were taken as ours were. None of her property was damaged as ours was, BUT her son was ATTACKED in their home (well, in the garage) which to me would be worse.

When looking for someone to hire to work on repairs to the back door and surrounding area, someone recommended a man from church. He has been here 3 full days this week working on the repairs, and they are still not done. It is taking forever. I don't fault him. He knows what he's doing and is doing a good job. He is very professional and cleans up better than it was when he arrived. He wants it to look GOOD when completed and not look different from the rest of the house. The problem with this type of repair is you do one thing which leads to another thing needing to be finished which leads to a problem found which leads to another repair needing to be made, etc., etc., etc. We are thankful for his knowledge and his willingness to come work on this job. I'm glad God made some men to know how to do this type of thing.

I know that this whole experience has been NOTHING compared to what others are going through, but that doesn't make it NOT hard. I find myself STILL thinking about the Ross & Bizaillion families and the immense hurt they are experiencing after the loss of Jenny, their wife, daughter, sister, & mother. I think of how GRATEFUL I am that I have Chris to be strong for our family. He is here to make decisions that need to be made and to let me rant when I need to do so. He is here to be sympathetic and encouraging when it's needed and to remind all of us what's important in life; that God is most important and that we are safe.

I think of how sad I feel about losing THINGS and about losing my sense of safety, security, and comfort in my home and shudder to think of how much more empty it must feel for that family to have lost a loved one the way they did. I cried to a friend the other day about how I was feeling and how I felt guilty for being sad about some of the things I lost when poor Jenny lost her LEGS and then her LIFE. Being the strong Christian she is, my friend told me that JENNY is okay now. SHE is in Heaven, perfectly at peace and I don't have to feel bad for her anymore; that it's okay to feel sad about someone taking our stuff. I don't think ANYONE would NOT be upset if someone broke into their house and stole something.

Chris & I are still OVERWHELMED with the LOVE & SELFLESSNESS that has been shown to us. It really makes ME think of how I respond when someone is hurting. To add to what I mentioned in my last post about this subject, I can now say that we have 2 casseroles sitting in our freezer waiting to be baked & eaten (as soon as our oven is fixed LOL). I LOVE that our friend did that for us. Being a mom with young children, she KNEW that this would be a comfort to me...another mom with young children who just might not feel like cooking sometimes but still has a family of 5 to feed. We also received a fun night out thanks to a family who is very near & dear to our hearts. They wanted to do something and heard us talking about something we'd like to do, so they TOLD us they were going to make it possible for us. We could have done it on our own but probably would have continued to put if off, so being TOLD that they were doing this for us was such an unexpected blessing and very appreciated.

I miss my mother's bracelet. I really do. I have this unrealistic fantasy of a policeman coming to my door with it in his hands. I didn't/don't have fancy, schmancy jewelry. Chris & I joke about our family a lot; how we're just "the Shanks." We do some things "the Shanks way" which usually means just a bit different and more low cost; we're a bit thrifty (me more so than's the way I was raised. He will throw away the peanut butter jar and I'll get mad b/c I think we could get at least 3 more sandwiches out of it! LOL) ANYWAY, fancy schmancy isn't us, but I did LOVE my mother's bracelet.

We heard from the insurance company. I know we have a deductible and don't usually think much of it, but I am now. What we get after they apply it won't be near as much as I'd like, BUT it's okay. We probably didn't need all the THINGS we had anyway. There are more important things in life than some of those THINGS.

I find myself closing blinds & curtains more often. I HATE to think that someone is watching us or looking inside with the intent to steal, but obviously this is reality these days. I DO NOT like some of the houses I drive past with every window ALWAYS completely covered by blinds. I told Chris I WILL NOT live in a house that looks like it has no life, but I guess I will cover up some of the windows more often. We are looking at adding more blinds/curtains. UGH

I am jumpy when it comes to seeing people in the neighborhood who are less familiar or seeing things that look out of place. Almost everyone is under my scrutiny right now.

I am upset that my feelings about our neighborhood & general area have been changed. I LOVE our home and really LIKE our neighborhood. I LOVE our general area. I LOVE the look of it and the feel of it. Is that bad? I hate that now I have a sense of uneasiness. Last week one day I sat on the couch almost the whole day except for when I had to take Ellie up for a nap. Other than that, I was almost always on the couch or in the kitchen. Why? Because I could SEE the back door. That's where they came in. I wanted to be able to see if someone came to the door.

I HATE that someone has messed with my feelings about where I live. I still don't necessarily question where I live. I still WANT to live here. I have heard of other similar things happening in other areas of Houston. Another couple from church who live closer to the church building which is a very nice area said a house down the street from them was broken into this week in the morning. This doesn't make me want to move out of Houston (and for that I'm quite grateful) because I really do like living here. I am mad that people are coming in and trying to make nice places less comfortable. NO place, "nice" or not, should have crime. I know crime will always exist, but it stinks.

I was reading something yesterday that Rick Ross wrote. I don't know him, but Jenny Bizaillion is his daughter. I mentioned her above. She, at age 30, got the flu then pneumonia then sepsis. After having her legs amputated in an effort to save her life, she passed away. Horribly sad situation, but the family has been an immense inspiration to many in the way their faith is sustaining them.

He wrote something that I thought was interesting. He said, "Something keeps haunting me. Not too terribly long ago, I blogged about how I live this charmed life. I serve a great church. I have a great marriage. Three incredible kids who married three wonderful people. Five beautiful grandkids. I don't want to take this too personally, but I wonder if Satan took that as a challenge. My mind now goes to the opening pages of Job. Satan knew where he could strike me that would be the most painful. He won a battle. But he will not win the war. Through this ordeal, I have gained some respect for Satan. I don't mean admiration. I mean respect in the same way that one should respect the Mafia if they were living next door. I think about ways we make fun of Satan. "If the devil doesn't like it, he should sit on a tack." That's like poking a lion with a stick. I'm struck by the words of Jude (v. 9) "But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!'" I don't know exactly what this means. But I do think it suggests that Satan is not to be trifled with. And I am so glad that Jesus stands beside me."

I thought about what he wrote. Obviously, what he is enduring is a lot worse than what we are going through but maybe the same principle applies. Did Satan see how much I "loved" where we were living and maybe I was getting a bit prideful in it? Did he think that he would strike me where I was getting 'oh so comfortable' with the hope that it would destroy my faith? It HAS upset me, but it has NOT destroyed my faith. I think it is getting stronger, partly because of the love shown to us by others who have faith and in thinking of all the ways God WAS in this event and possibly prevented anything worse from happening.

One of my favorite songs right now is "Your Hands" by JJ Heller. I don't like the first line that says she has unanswered prayers because EVERY prayer is answered, just not always in the way we want. Anyway, I like the message of the rest of the song. Part of it says, "When my world is shaking, Heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands....Your hands that shape the world are holding me, they hold me still...."

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break 2010-day 5 (Easter Egg Hunt!)

Days 3 & 4 of Spring Break weren't terribly excting, but late this afternoon, we were excited to attend an Easter Egg hunt hosted by some friends of ours. We enjoyed this last year, so we were looking forward to this year's event as well. The girls had a great time running around playing and seeing what surprises were inside their eggs. Chris & I enjoyed visiting with friends and eating yummy grilled hamburgers.

Ellie liked this cute pink car someone had brought, and she looked cute in the bunny ears someone stuck on her head!

Ellie with one of her boy friends. One of her favorites!

Her biggest sissy was sweet to push her on the swing.

Katie always enjoys when she gets to play with this sweet friend.
Most of the group
Ellie caught onto the idea of picking up the eggs pretty well.

Being in Texas, of course we had 'cascarones,' (confetti eggs broken on someone's head). Pretty fun!

The girls had fun seeing what surprises were inside their eggs.

Every good party has to have a craft, right?

Ellie enjoyed her pink, sugary, cookie!
It was a fun afternoon. Thanks, friends!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring Break 2010-Day 2

Tuesday, 3/16

Since Gramps & Gramme are in town, Gramme...of course...wanted to go shopping, so the girls & she & I headed out to do some of that yesterday. After a bit of that, we headed home for a short while to get ready to pick up Chris from work to go to RODEO HOUSTON! We were excited & BLESSED to be going! :)
I was so glad that the girls were both able to wear their cowgirl boots from last year...and yes, Katie chose to wear Chris' BIG, black cowboy hat! Someone even mentioned that she was "all hat!" LOL

We participated in a couple of carnival rides & games. The bumper cars was Gracie & Daddy vs. Katie & Mommy!

We rode the "Crazy Coaster" I think it was called. It was really pretty much a "kiddie coaster," but let me tell you, we were cracking up at Gracie. We were also a bit afraid she was going to be sick! This girl doesn't love rides! LOL I kept trying to get good pictures of her, but I'm not sure any picture I got does justice to how funny she was.

Katie was happy to be able to play a carnival game. She was not, however, happy to LOSE. I felt sad for her, but we also had to kinda tell her to "get over it!"

She had better luck with the balloons & darts. *Whew!*

The baby animals are so cute!
We enjoyed lots (too much!) yummy food! It was goooood! Ellie literally rolled her eyes (in happiness!) when she tried the funnel cake! Some of my favorite food was the 'cowboy food' we were able to sample...beans, stew, cornbread, & peach cobbler. It was soooo good!

The rodeo part of the evening was fun. I LOVE watching bull riding. I'm not sure why. It's not like growing up in Atlanta I saw a lot of that kind of thing, and I flinch and look away most of the time, but I LOVE watching it! One of the funniest things was when Katie was reading the program and said, "They have 'bear' back riding!" It was so funny to imagine what was going through her mind as she read that.

Ellie was in awe over the fireworks...not sure what to think!
Then......she fell asleep! (after Chris walked around with her!)

Keith Urban played after the rodeo. He was good...the 3 songs we listened to! LOL Ellie was more than ready to go, so we only stayed for a little bit of it.

I think Gramps & Grammed enjoyed the evening.