Friday, June 25, 2010

San Antonio

This week, I have been in San Antonio with a wonderful organization called Student Leadership University.

I am busy loving on 248 high school students... training and learning about leadership.

I miss my boys like crazy, and I cannot wait to get home tomorrow night.

Just wanted to let you know the reason behind my blogging break!

Until I am home...


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Busy with Baseball


We have had a busy baseball weekend.

The Gators have been playing in the Super Regionals, so we have watched a lot of baseball!

On Friday night, we decided to take Austin to his first Gator baseball game. He had been to a couple of Texas Rangers baseball games last year, but he doesn't seem to remember them, so he kept saying, "This is my first baseball game!" He was very excited... until the opening pitch.

"Okay," he said as he turned towards me. "That's enough. I am ready to go home."

By this point in the game, James was still on his way in from work, so I convinced Austin that we would at least stay until daddy arrived with some of his work friends.


"Okay, mom. I am ready to leave now," Austin claimed as everyone took their seats.

I gave special permission for Austin to play on uncle dave's ipod to hold him over for a couple of innings. (If you don't remember, Austin is banned from playing on anything created by MAC until he is 5 since he broke my computer).


Speaking of which, my little smarty pants and I went to ice cream with some friends this past week.

"Ms. Heather," Austin asked in all seriousness... "Is your phone made by Apple? Is it a mac?"

"No, Austin. My phone is a verizon phone," Ms. Heather replied.

And then, Austin looked up at me with huge eyes. "I can play on Ms. Heather's phone!!!" He practically screamed with excitement.


At the baseball game, Austin was allowed a limited time to play games on the ipods, but this was the look I got when I told him it was time to put the phones down for a family picture.


I have a feeling that I am going to be seeing a lot more of that pouting face as Austin gets older.

Fortunately for me, however, most of his looks include cheesy smiles (like this one with Aunt Kendra)


rather than pouts. I love baseball and my boys!

Saturday, June 12, 2010


I love close up pictures of children.

There is something so innocent


Something so special


and something so pure about capturing the face of a child :)


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

He is Swimming (and I might be Sinking)

I am tired. A good tired, but a fall-into-bed-exhausted kind of tired.

On Sunday morning, AJ and I drove down to Beachtown to visit my parents for a few days. Austin had been begging for some play time with his cousin, and I love being at my parents.... so.... after all the birthday parties and fun from Saturday, we woke up early on Sunday morning and drove home!

As soon as we arrived (and my sister got home from church) the boys decided to go SWIMMING! Swimming was the theme of the weekend, and I am so proud to announce that Austin can swim without his wings! Whooo Hoooo. We are so excited for him, and he is very excited for himself. We swam for about two hours (???) and then the boys played inside for awhile. I did a quick grocery store run for my parents and by the time I got home, the boys were back in the pool with grandma!

On Monday afternoon, we all met at the local splash park and the pictures are GREAT! Most of them, however, happen to me on my brother's camera, so more pictures will be coming soon.

Megan at the splash park

Austin at the splash park

On Tuesday morning, Austin and I woke up and then went SWIMMING again with Andrew. The boys have such a great time together, and we were sad to leave on Tuesday afternoon. We drove back to University Town in order for me to make my staff meeting at 5:45 pm. By the time I left staff meeting at 8:45 pm last night, I was exhausted.

Today has been filled with meetings, lesson planning, and working in my summer classroom. Austin stayed with me and helped with bulletin boards today :) Summer school starts first thing Monday morning.

I don't know which is better in this picture. Austin's smile or Andrew's hair? What do you think???

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Busy; but Blessed

Some of you don't know much about my history with my new hometown - University Town. Immediately after graduating from college (a rival college in another city), I moved to University Town in 2000. I interned with a ministry on the college campus, lived with Amber, and had one of the most amazing years of my life. Somehow, that one year (from 2000-2001) was a time of friendships that have sustained the past ten years of moves, jobs, and cross country trips.

Even though I only lived in University town for a short time from 2000-2001, I fell in love with my church, the city, and my friends. Fell in love! Little did I know that God was weaving together our story, a story that would have unexpected twists and turns, but would always turn back to his merciful hand.

Since James grew up in University town, we have visited frequently over the past ten years - always hugging necks at church during the Christmas Eve service or occassionally posting a quick note on facebook to our old friends. One of the greatest blessings of the past year is how the Lord allowed us to resettle - to rebuild - in this precious hometown.

Many of our friends still live here, settling down in marriage, building families, and pursuing careers and ministry. In the few short months that we have been back in town, these friends have invited us over for dinner, set up playdates for our children, and in the most amazing way - have included us in the life of University Town as if we never left.

In many ways, the ugliness of the past year has turned into the most beautiful part of our story - a story of God's grace, his redemption, and friendships based completely around Christ.

This past weekend has been a celebration of many of these University town friendships. On Saturday morning, we went to a Thomas the Tank Engine Birthday party for our friends and their three-year-old son.

The cake, The homemade cake! I am in awe.


Austin loved playing with all of Grant's trains and cried when we had to leave.


Three old friends at the birthday - they have known each other FOREVER!
John, Gabe, and James


And those old friends' "young sons" eating pizza
John's Son, Gabe's Son, and our A.J.

After the birthday party, we went to the Q house (my in-laws) for swimming and bbq with some other dear friends. (We are taking care of the Q house while my in-laws are on vacation, and we are thrilled about access to their grill and pool! Thanks mom and dad Q!)

Austin, James, and Hank eating on the outside patio. James and Hank shared a wonderful adventure in an African hospital about 12 years ago, but that is another story for another day.


Heather is one of my closest friends in my new hometown, and she and I share a passion for education and child development! This picture was taken after a long day of playing with four boys in the pool!


Three of our boys playing together with James' old toys!


We are so blessed with these friendships that have already withstood time and distance and just picked up right where we left off. We are so richly blessed!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Caught in the Birthday Pie!


James' birthday was last week, and we all decided to celebrate with a big birthday dinner.

Since Grandaddy just bought a new grill, we decided to hold the birthday festivities at the Q house.


While everyone else was busy with the birthday dinner preparations, I turned around to this scene.


Yes, hands in the birthday pie.

Completely guilty.


But even when he is guilty, he is just sooo cute!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Random Musings from a Long Day!

Tomorrow is Friday! I love Fridays!

If you have been following my dad's journey through cancer and amyloidosis, please stop by his blog. He updates his site with new information every Friday morning. Just click on the words below and it will take you to his blog. He lists several specific prayer requests this week.

A Cheerful Heart- My Dad's Blog

As dad had his doctor's appt. at Moffit Cancer Institute, Austin had his first appt. with a new pediatrician in our new town. You know that you are living in a small town (or at least a hometown) when you take your son to the same pediatrician your husband saw when he was growing up! Is anyone else reminded of the Friends episode where Ross still goes to visit his pediatrician?? Yes? Well, welcome to my reality!

Austin had to get two shots this morning (for his four-year-old wellness visit), and he made me laugh out loud when he tried to negotiate with the nurse.

"How about just one shot today?" Austin asked as she came in the room with the needles.

The nurse avoided his question. "This will be very quick."

"Okay, how about this... I will lay back and do one shot, and then I will come in another day to do the other shot? Does that sound good?"

His negotiation failed and he received two shots. We did, however, visit Toys R' Us this afternoon and bought a "special treat" for his bravery at the doctor's office.

James often teases me about my use of the term "special treat" when dealing with our son. I have learned however, that an a skittle, a juice box, or even popcorn can all become desperately wanted when I simply use the term "special treat!"

I do not feel good about my mothering strategies however, when I ask Austin to take his dirty clothes to the laundry room and he asks, "And then what do I get as a special treat, mom?" My reply... Clean Clothes!

Last week we had a play date with some of our friends in University Town. The H family has a garter snake in their yard that they see regularly, and they have named him "Nofeet." Mom H asked Austin if he wanted to help find Nofeet while we were playing in the backyard. For the first time in my entire life, I went searching for a snake rather than running in another direction. I must admit that I was DELIGHTED that nofeet was nowhere to be found on playdate day.

Austin, however, has decided that he too wants a garter snake in his yard. Today, our new pediatrician asked Austin if he had any pets.

"No." He said. "Not yet, but we are getting a garter snake soon."

The doctor looked at me.

"No." I said. "Austin just wants a garter snake."

So, as one of our projects, we put together a model snake for Austin. I let him paint the snake, but I somehow could "only find" the pink and orange paints that day. Listen, if I have to have a snake in my house (even a replica), I want it to be as non-realistic as possible.


Here is our new pink pet. I hope you enjoy your Friday as much as I plan to enjoy mine. I am sure that there will be stories to tell!

*** Updated: I just realized that I never took a picture of the finished product (a pink pet), here is the snake in the beginning orange stages - I will take another pic tomorrow!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Growing and Painting Things

In just a few short days, I will begin a new job teaching at a new school (for their summer program). I am absolutely thrilled about teaching again, and my mind is racing with ideas for lessons, crafts, games, and centers!

I love having a four-year-old, Austin is just at the right age now for us to experiment with lesson ideas. By doing a first run with Austin, I can foresee at least some of the unexpected hurdles to any lesson. And... Austin gets some one on one learning and undivided attention. This is a definite win-win situation for us!

So, today, I wanted to do some work with stencils, mixing paint, and talking about stars.


We had a wonderful time painting (Austin hums while he works, and I absolutely love hearing him)! After finishing our project, I asked Austin if he could work quietly by himself for a few minutes while I finished some lesson plans.

Can you tell where I was sitting while planning? Yes, right in the middle of the floor next to the printer!


Can you also tell that I spread out while I work? I have no problem with creating a mess - whether in the playroom or a classroom. You just sometimes have to get messy.

Apparently, Austin feels the same way.

"Mom, can I work with stamps while you do your stuff?" Austin asked.

"Of course, sweetheart. I will just get all the stamp stuff together for you."

"Mom, can I stamp my fingerprint?"

"Sure, baby. That's fine. Mommy's just going to keep working, okay?"

"Mom, can I make a handprint?"

"Of course, buddy."

And then I decided to look up from my work.


Um, Austin, you need to go to the bathroom immediately and wash your hands.

"okay, mom."

A few minutes later I heard a shout from the bathroom.


"Yes, Austin."

"I can't wash my hands in this sink. I have some things growing in here."

Yes, this is my life with my four-year-old.

"Growing???? Austin, did you say something is growing in there?"

Yes, mom.

And, I finally got myself off the floor and decided to help my son wash his hands.

Fortunately, the "growing things" were not fungus or mold. Simply another science experiment that I had forgotten about.


Oh, Austin, with you, the fun just never ends!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Breath.

These are some of my favorite pictures from May 2009. It is so hard to believe that a year has already passed since these pictures were taken. May 2009. The year passed so quickly, yet so slowly in other ways. May 2010. Already come and gone. Like a breath.


May 2009. Austin and his grandaddy were sitting in the middle of a field in Kentucky. We were celebrating the life of Austin's great-grandaddy. The day after his beautiful memorial service, we went exploring all over the Kentucky farmland. While the rest of the family explored. Grandaddy showed Austin how to pick a dandelion. And blow.


They didn't know that I was capturing the lesson on film.

I can't remember having to learn how to blow the dandelion. But I must have had a similar lesson at a young age. Learning to enjoy the simple things.


To simply allow things to float into the wind. To watch as the wind takes them to their next destination.

May 2009. I had no idea that within two months my life would be turned upside down. I would no longer live in Texas. I would have to relearn several things. I would need so many to teach me the simple things.

May 2010. I am starting to truly understand and enjoy some of the lessons.