Tuesday, July 21, 2015

11 is a Fabulous Number

When Rick and I were dating and we spoke of the future, we talked about having at least one child together. And when I got pregnant with Kari, I was content with adding her to our family. Rick hinted that he would like a boy as well, but we never really talked about it because two teens, a preteen and a newborn seemed like enough.

When Kari was around 18 months old, I felt like my weight loss had stalled. My sister came to visit and I asked her if it looked like I might be gaining weight instead of losing it. She suggested that I take a pregnancy test since she did feel that it looked like I was gaining weight. I nonchalantly took the test because I was on a low dose of birth control and was not anticipating adding to our family.

Clearly, God had other plans because the test was positive. Rick was thrilled, my mom was cautious and I was anxious. I had never had to handle a newborn and a toddler and Kari would be just over 2 years old when the new baby arrived. Some possible complications in the beginning of my pregnancy made us a bit apprehensive, but once an sonogram confirmed it was a boy, Rick and I were excited about the new addition.

And when Noah Howard arrived on July 6, 2004, it was confirmed that he was the perfect surprise blessing for our family. He was a smiley baby who didn't care for his carseat, but fit perfectly into our chaos.

Noah just celebrated his 11th birthday. We had a low key day, since I had to work and then went out to dinner followed by gifts and cake. He finally received his coveted laptop and Minecraft for the PC. He had trouble falling asleep, he was so excited!

He is a passionate young man that views the world in black and white. Not much of a grey area for him. Noah is artistic and loves anime. He enjoys drawing, singing and dancing and is aware of his quirks, but not bothered by them. He marches to the beat of a different drum. He does well in school and is not much of an athlete, but enjoys walking with me and the dog. He takes his role as uncle very seriously and enjoys holding Hayden and making her laugh. When Kaysen and Kiyah visit, he loves to play outside with them and watch movies with them. He is definitely a Momma's boy and loves to watch Hallmark Channel and take naps with me. He enjoys serving at church and being part of the middle schoolers group, Club 56.  

Noah is a definite blessing to our family and to those that have the privilege to meet him.

Happy Birthday, Noodle! You always know how to bring a smile to my face. I am so proud of the young man you are becoming. You make me laugh with your punny jokes and amaze me with your knowledge of all things Anime. I love you up to the moon and I love you as big as the sky. Keep building and creating!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

FMF - Fear

Ever since I can remember having memories, I have been afraid.

Afraid of my father's anger.

Afraid of my parents' fighting.

Afraid  of the dark.

Afraid of closed in spaces.

Afraid of being alone.

Afraid of death.

Afraid of rollercoasters.

Afraid of change.

A lot of times, being afraid resulted in hives, stomach aches or full blown sickness. Missed opportunities and missed events.

Most of the time, my mother gently persuaded me that I was bigger than my fear, that I could out run it somehow and overcome it somehow. And sometimes I believed her and I danced anyway, or rode the ride anyway or dealt without a night light anyway.

Sometimes just having my father with me helped alleviate my fears. Knowing he was beside me or behind me made it okay to try even if it meant being afraid or failing.

But, as I grew older instead of embracing change or unknown situations with the knowledge that I was bigger than my fear because God was bigger than anything and anyone and any circumstance or situation instead of plowing ahead, I still hesitate and sometimes am physically ill because of my fears.

I now know that I have a true anxiety disorder that requires medication or I am unable to function in a reality that is not controlled by my fear resulting in missed opportunities and missed events. I know that God is more than able to completely heal me from my disorder, but I also know that when I take my pill and say my prayers I can overcome my fears because my Father is beside me and behind me and He loves me. 

Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)

Post your FMF entry over at Kate's blog!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

13 is the Luckiest Number

When Rick and I knew we were getting married, we talked about having more kiddos. We decided that if we had a girl, we would name after our friend, Karin who introduced us. As soon as we celebrated our 1 year anniversary, we made plans to add a new member to our family.

Within a month's time, I was pregnant and due June 8, 2002. I was so sick in the beginning and so thankful that the other kiddos were older. Rick was amazing and spoiled me so much.

At our 20th week appointment, we had a sonogram to confirm the baby's gender. I was anxious about having a girl, since Josh was a boy, I was watching several boys in my daycare and Devin was 9 when Rick and I got married. I wasn't sure I would know what to do with a girl!

As soon as the sonographer said, "It's a girl!" I started to cry! I was certain I would not know how to raise a girl. I suddenly hated the name we picked out - Karin Madison (we were planning to call her Madison, but I did not like the nickname Maddie) and was desperate to change it. My Aunt Dink, who passed away a year after Kari was born, had a dream that we named her Karin Rosemarie (Rosemarie after her) and my sister suggested we call her Kari. Since Rick's Aunt Sue's middle name was Marie (she passed away a year before we met) and we could honor his aunt and mine at the same time, we decided on Karin Rosemarie and to call her Kari. It seemed to fit perfectly and put me at ease.

When Kari arrived a few days early, I was in awe of the perfect little lady she was. She looked just like her Daddy and had my blue eyes. She immediately captured all of our hearts and has had them ever since.

We just celebrated her 13th birthday on June 4. Kari is intelligent, artistic, beautiful and talented.  She is a caring big sister and loving aunt. She strives to always do her best at her schoolwork or whatever she is working on and is so helpful around the house. She is compassionate and has a heart for others. She is opinionated and holds strong to her beliefs. She loves the Lord and I love to see her worship. She is a bit timid in her faith, but is slowly coming out of her shell. She is an avid One Direction fan, but a lover of many types of music. She is a loyal friend, but will not stand to be used or treated poorly. She is not perfect, though. She is the queen of procrastination when it comes to her chores or her math homework and her bedroom resembles a typical teenager's messy room.

We were so blessed when she came into our family and have been blessed daily ever since.


I love you with all my heart! I can not wait to see where your dreams take you and what the Lord has planned for you! You brighten my day and I am so thankful you are a part of our crazy family! You help us stay grounded and sane!

Love, Momma

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

15 Birthdays

When we got engaged in February 2000, it was very unexpected. We both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, but Rick hadn't planned to propose to me atop Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas. But, he did and there was promise of a trip and an engagement ring in May.

With wedding expenses, a trip to TX in May was going to be a bit of a splurge, but we hadn't seen each other since February and there was a wedding and a baptism to attend and a ring to pick up at the jeweler's on Rick's birthday weekend. Even though, I was not thrilled about flying, especially by myself, I was looking forward to the trip.

Then, Rick's ex told him she expected him to pay for half of the trip she had planned for her and the children to Disney World. Not only was he expected to pay for at least one of the children's expenses, they would be leaving earlier than expected and would miss his birthday. This also would cancel our plans as the money for my plane ticket would now be going to one of the children. I was beyond heartbroken and Rick was very disappointed.

When my mom told me she had received a bonus at work and since most of the wedding expenses were covered, she was giving it to me for a plane ticket, I was elated and could not wait to tell Rick. But, I decided to keep it a secret from him and contacted his mother and sister instead to arrange for a ride to his house from the airport.

I was so excited that I pulled off the surprise of all surprises! He had no idea! We had a wonderful, world wind weekend and the ring he and Devin had picked out for me was stunning.

I wasn't sure I would ever be able to top that birthday surprise, but I realized something last year when I was able to get Rick two very special presents. It is not about topping one celebration or gift over another. And it is not about how much you spend. For one birthday, Rick got a $5 CD and a granola bar with a candle in it.

What it is about is spending time with Rick 354 days a year, listening to his dreams and wishes, the secret things he hides in his heart that I get the privilege of seeing and hearing when we spend time together. When you listen to the one you love, you will learn their likes and dislikes and even the smallest one can be a blessing.

I am so thankful that I have been blessed with spending the last 15 birthdays with my amazing husband. And I am thankful that sometimes I get to pull off a few surprises. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Final Countdown

We are nearing the end of the school year with only 21 full days and 4 half days left before summer vacation! Of course, for me, summer vacation lasts a few days, then I start working at summer school and then I have a few weeks before school starts up again.

"I have a dream! That one day I will not have to work during the summer!" LOL It could happen.

As the year winds down the activities seem to ramp up with spring concerts, vocal competitions, field trips and weekend events. We have off for Memorial Day, but I have a feeling that will be filled with around the house projects. The backyard really needs a clean out and a dump run. And the pool needs to be repaired. I am praying we can get the pool repaired. It will make this summer more socially enjoyable.

And of course, I would love to swap the kiddos' bedrooms soon. We participated in a yard sale at our church last weekend and we sold some of the kiddos' things - specifically Noah's bedding and d├ęcor, so it would be nice to get their rooms painted and swapped soon. 

The weekend was busy with the yard sale, a PVA event for Kari, a birthday party for Noah and an engagement party for some of our dearest friends. Mother's Day was a slower, calmer day that brought visits from my sister, Janie and her crew and Cody, Brianne and Hayden. Steve and Janie took Hayden's 3 month old pictures and Rick made an awesome dinner. The kiddos' bought me hanging plants for the porch and Cody gave me a really sweet card. Rick did the laundry, so it was an incredible day!

We got the news on Monday that Josh had been cleared of all the charges from last July that he was incarcerated for in November. Completely bogus charges that were proven to be unfounded. Unfortunately, he has not been released due to probation violations that have to be cleared up before he can come home. His attorneys are working hard to get his hearings scheduled, but it still could be a month or more before he is home. Praying for a quick release and that he is able to get a job once he is released.

These cuties had birthdays recently. Kiyah turned 3 on May 3 and Kaysen turned 5 on May 8. We will be celebrating with them in a few weeks. I am trying to decide if we should wait until Josh is home, but we will probably celebrate with them and then party again when Josh is home. How many parties are too many, really??

These two have stolen my heart!!
And this little miss is growing so fast! She came over for Mother's Day and was such a delight! She smiled and cooed and just entertained all of us. Janie and Steve were able to get some great shots of her. Here is one....
She is just an awesome mix of Cody and Brianne! Such a cutie!!
I absolutely love being MoMo to these three amazing miracles! I can not wait until Hayden can stay over at our house as well. It will be one big sleepover party at Granddad and MoMo's house! Rick is certainly smitten with all of the grandkiddos as well. They will certainly be spoiled!
I am at the brink of making a decision about my education. I have to decide this week and even though it will be a hard decision, I think I know what I have to do. I really do not want to redo my undergrad degree, but I can not get anyone to accept my degree. DBU said that they would, but I would have to take a history class, the GRE test and only 6 of the 13 classes I need are offered online. I would need to go to Dallas for summer courses and a few spring courses and I am not sure that would be the best use of my time and money. Although, having to redo my undergrad degree and then get my master's may end being just as expensive. Decisions, decisions. I hate decisions!
And of course, Rick is just a semester away from graduating! I can not wait to see him cross the stage in 2016! He is such an inspiration to me and our children for his determination and perseverance. I am so thankful for him.
And did I mention he did the laundry on Mother's Day? Husband of the Year!   


Thursday, April 16, 2015

He's a Marine! Oorah! June/September 2013

***Just realized that I never posted this entry!!!

Cody was sworn into the U.S. Military as a Marine on June 10. He endured 13 weeks of grueling training, including 54 hours of the Crucible. We are so proud of him and were so honored to be a part of his graduation. Here are pictures from his swearing in and his graduation!

 Ready to take the oath

In the van, waiting to start his 12 hour trek to Parris Island, SC


I am not sure how it started. I guess maybe it was a genuine illness at first. Then the teenager babysat a little late on a Saturday night. ...