Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 In Review

I have done a terrible job at blogging this year, but it has been a year full of change. I want to take some time to recap the year because I enjoy looking back at things.

January-Gran was told her cancer had spread to her liver. She went home to be with our Lord on January 22nd.

April-Celebrated my 28th birthday. This was a hard birthday as I really missed my Gran.

May-threw my first baby shower for my good friend, Priscilla. I think we did a great job! I Interviewed for a 1st grade position with a district I really wanted to be a part of. Told those that I worked with that I probably would not be returning. That was hard.

June-Was officially offered and accepted the first grade position. Began packing up our apartment. Was on call for the birth of baby Owen. I was all ready to put on my big girl panties and support a good friend since her husband was away. My services were not needed.

July-Had my 4th sinus surgery. Helped one of my best friends welcome her husband home from overseas.

August-Loaded up our things and moved home. We had to say goodbye to some very good friends. I started my new job and loved it! We signed a contract on a house. It will be finished in March 2013!

September-Anthony moved home with me. We moved into our rental house. Anthony started his new job.

October-Helped throw a wedding shower for my cousin. October 6th was Anthony's last official day in the Air Force.

November-Celebrated Thanksgiving with Anthony's family. Went to my cousin's wedding in Arkansas.

December-the foundation was poured on our house and the building began. We had a white Christmas.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown, CT

My heat aches for those in Newtown, Connecticut.  I ache for the parents, the students, the teachers and staff, and the community.  I cannot imagine what they are going through.

This hits very close too home for me, as it does most teachers.  Not only do I teach in an elementary school, I teach first grade. Those babies that were taken were first graders. I think of my students and the love for them. I just can't imagine being in that situation.  I can't imagine being in the shoes of Vicki Soto, the first grade teacher who died trying to protect her class.

As I got ready for school this morning, I prayed for those in Newtown.  I also prayed for all teachers returning to work today to students with new questions and fears. I prayed for strength, wisdom, and safety. Walking into the school was hard. As teachers, we hugged each other and discussed our feelings. And then those sweet babies came down the hall. I put on a brave face.  I hugged each of them tightly and told them how happy I was to see them. And the day went on. A grandmother came to eat lunch with her grandson. She is a retired teacher. She wanted to make sure and tell me she was thinking about me and that she knew it was hard. A few students asked questions, but I was very thankful that students felt that they were safe at school.

To those in Newtown, CT. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May God wrap His arm around the community, the parents, students, and teachers.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Life has been CRAZY!!!!

I moved back home the middle of August and started work right away.  I was lucky enough that I got to stay with family and didn't have to worry about that.  Anthony stayed for the rest of the month until his terminal leave started.  He joined me on the 30th.

School has been great, but just really busy.  It seems like I can never really get ahead.   I love the school I am at.  Everyone there is really nice.  It is very different in that parents are very involved. Mi get an email from a parent at least once a day.  It is really nice to just send an email instead of playing phone tag.

Once Anthony moved, it was time for us to find a place to live until our house is built.  We really didn't want to go back into an apartment with the 2 dogs.  At the same time though, we didnt want a whole house.  We looked around and didn't find anything.  Finally, we found a place online and went to check it out and it met our needs...More than one bedroom, a garage and a yard.  We filled out all the paperwork and moved our stuff in on the 15th.  Unfortunately, I completely skipped over turning on water, so we were not able to stay until the 17th.  We are all moved in and settled now.  We love the location.  There is so much nearby!

Anthony started his new job Monday.  It's lots of hours and very different than the life of a military firefighter, but I think he's going to like it.

Next weekend one of my best friends is coming to the area and I'm so excited to get to see her.  The weekend after that, I'm helping to host a wedding shower for my cousin.  After that, maybe I can rest a bit!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Journey

This week, we have officially began a new journey in our life.  Saturday, we moved all of our stuff back home.  Monday, Anthony accepted a new job.  Wednesday, I signed a contract on our future house, and today, I officially started my new job.  Wow!  Just typing all of that overwhelms me!

Moving was exhausting.  I had been packing our things gradually over the summer (a perk of being a teacher).  So, that part of the move was pretty easy. And moving all of our stuff out was easy for me since 6 or 7 guys from the fire station came to help.  Unloading the 26 foot uhaul and getting everything to fit into the storage room...not so easy.  I was so thankful that one of my friends that I've known since I was three, and her husband, came to help.  We will never move ourselves again, even if we get paid to as we've learned there's a reason movers get paid so much!

Sunday, we drove around looking for houses for many hours. We didn't find anything we hadn't seen online and were about ready to give up when we found a new housing development in the area we wanted to be in.  We loved the features they offered and went in to talk to them.  We found a floor plan we loved and started pricing things and this house just felt like the right thing.  So, it looks like we will be homeowners in about 6 months!!!

Today was my first day.  It was what they call new teacher orientation.  It's always so intimidating going into a room with 200 people and not knowing anyone!  But, I met some new people and am reall excited about the year.  I've worked in my room a few days now and it's starting to come together. I can't wait until it is finished!

It may sound crazy, but as hectic as my life has been, I'm ready for school to start. I need that routine and normalcy again!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Design Star

I have a confession to make.  I'm addicted to HGTV.  I love just about every show on that channel and have spent most of my summer days with my TV turned to HGTV.

One that I've really enjoyed watching is Design Star.  There are 12 designers that compete against each other to have their own show.  Each week they have a challenge to decorate and then 1 or 2 of them are sent home. 

Well, it just so happened this year that there are three Texas designers.  And, one of those designers, Bex Hale, just so happens to live in the same town I do.  But that's not the exciting part.  Last week, when my mom was visiting and we were hitting up all Mom's favorite stores, we were in this great store downtown that has eclectric home furnishings.  Mom was admiring a piece when a familiar, red headed lady started talking to her about it.  It took a minute and then it was Bex Hale, it just had to be.  But, I wasn't going to say anything and embarass myself.  So, I waited until we got out of earshot and mentioned it to Mom.  So, Mom was brave and asked to take a picture and we visited for a bit.  She has such a great personality and was so friendly. 

Bex in her store, Relics.

But, the coolest part of all...she's a military wife!! 

Now, she was voted off the show on the 3rd or 4th show, but they also do a fan vote.  I am sure if they had played up the fact that she is a military spouse a bit more, she would be getting more votes.  As of Thursday, she was in 2nd place.  Wouldn't it be great to see a fellow military spouse win the fan vote?  You can help.  Go to HGTV's voting site and vote.  You can vote 10 times per day!

Monday, June 25, 2012

School's Out for the Summer

It's summer!  Actually, I have been done with school for almost 2 4 weeks!  (I started this post a while ago, but never finished it.)  So far, I have read one book, slept alot, and watched a lot of TV.  Real productive, huh?  So, I decided I needed a summer bucket list (actually, I saw the idea on Pinterest).  And where better to post that list that my blog? 
So, here's what I'm hoping to do/accomplish this summer:

~Read 4 books entirely for fun and 1 educational book.
~Get back to work out and stick with it. 
~Go to a Texas Rangers game.
~Enjoy a snowcone.
~Clean out and pack all closets.
~Spend a week at my parents.
~Have friends over and enjoy our last couple months here.
~Move into my new classroom.
~Sinus surger #4 (fun, huh?)
~Try out new recipes.
~Keep the flowers alive that I planted this spring. 

Not a real exciting list...I know.  But, I'm looking forward to most of it!  What are you looking forward to this summer?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Safe Cleaning

As we get ready to move, I have started cleaning our apartment.  We still have a couple months to go, but I figure I should start now to avoid late nights of cleaning later on.  Two things that I've spent hours on and just couldn't get clean were the shower and the stove top.  I hate the smell of the cleaners you usually buy for these things, especially being trapped in the bathroom with those fumes.  So, I began searching Pinterest and other online sites.

I started with the shower.  I came across a recipe of 1 part Dawn dish soap and 1part vinegar.  Perfect!  While vinegar doesn't smell great, it's not a toxic smell.  I mixed up 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of blue Dawn.  I sprayed it on the shower and let soak for about 2 hours.  I came back and scrubbed just a little with a sponge and it looked great!

 Next up, I decided to tackle the stove.  We have a gas stove and the top is white.  All around the burned was dirty (not really sure what it was).  Every time after I cook,  I spray it down with different clearners and scrub, but nothing seems to work.  I did some research and didn't find anything that I just loved.  I really didn't want to use amonia and deal with that smell.  So, I used what I knew.  I knew both Dawn and baking soda could be used in cleaning dishes, so I decided to try the combo.  I used about 1 part Dawn to 2 parts baking soda and then added water to get it the consistancy I wanted.  I used my finger to rub it on the stove, let it sit for about 10 minutes and then scrubbed with a sponge.  Almost all of the caked on "stuff" was gone!  I then wiped it down with a dry paper towel to avoid too much sudsing and then a wet paper towel.  I am really impressed with how it turned out.  It's not perfect, but it's 100% better.  I think I will try it again and let it set a little longer and then used a toothbrush to scrub.

I'm very pleased with the ways of cleaning without using harmful chemicals.  I don't want to be exposed to those chemicals, nor do I want my furbabies exposed!

What chemical free ways of cleaning have you found that work?

Monday, June 4, 2012


"For I know the plans for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

This verse has been one of the most important verses in my life over the past few years.

Just over four years ago, Anthony told me he wanted to enlist in the Air Force. I remember that day quite well. It was my 24th birthday. I was devastated. We weren't even engaged and I was so scared I would lose him. But God had other plans.

Fast forward about a year. Anthony graduated tech school and I resigned from my teaching job early. As we moved to our new base, I began searching for a new teaching job. I prayed and prayed that I would find me the right job. School started and still no job.  It was a hard to keep faith during such a trying time, but I continued to trust that God had a plan.  Two weeks later I was hired to teach in a school with an amazing faculty. I couldn't have asked for more.

And that brings me to now. Anthony's time in the Air Force is up this fall. We are ready to be closer to our families. But again, that means more change.  Changes that we don't always have complete control of.  We both need new jobs.  And then we need a house.  It's hard not really knowing what will happen, where we will be and where we will live.  Will we both get jobs?  But, just when it gets overwhelming, I am taken back to the above verse.  God WILL take care of us.  It might not be what we want and when we want it.  We might have to struggle.  But those hard times, that struggling, is what makes us who we are.  So, I continue to trust Him that everything will pan out and we will be okay.

That being said, I have been offered a first grade position!  While I have taught first grade the past 2 years, this year will be different.  I will be working at a different time of school, as it is not in an economically disadvantaged area, like I am used to and love.  It will be a new experience, but I trust that He wants to me be there for a reason. 

Now, we need one more job and a house.  I can't wait to see what God has in store!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baby Shower Brunch

My dear friend Priscilla is expecting a little boy next month.  Priscilla is one of those people that goes out of her way to do things for others.  My friend Donae and I wanted to return the favor by hosting a shower for her.  She didn't want anything big, so we decided on a brunch.  Neither of us had thrown a shower, so it was a new adventure for us both. 

We started scouring Pinterest months in advance to come up with some ideas.  I think it turned out great. 

Donae and I made this ribbon wreath to hang in Owen's room.

Our friend Aften wasn't able to come, but she sent this diaper cake.  It was so cute and such a relief to not have to attempt to make one.  Donae and I were quite concerned with how ours would turn out.

We kept the food pretty simple.  We had fruit and dip, donuts, muffins, sausage balls and sausage pinwheels. 

 Donae and I found this idea on pinterest.  It includes slippers, chocolate, face wipes, sanitizer, wisps, lotion, hair ties and other things that she will be able to use while in the hospital. 

 She got lots of goodies for Owen!  We had a great time hosting and everything turned out well.  So, I will mark this down as a success!  I can't think of a more deserving person to throw a shower for.  She is going to be such a great mommy to two! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's My Birthday,I'll Cry If I Want To

And cry I did.

It wasn't a bad birthday. I was showered with lots of love from friends, family and colleagues. My team at work celebrated with cupcakes. Anthony bought a cake and flowers and made dinner. I received tons of Facebook messages, texts and calls. My students sang happy birthday to me and showered me with drawings and hugs.

But it wasn't the same. There was no card from Gran. No singing phone call from Gran. No Gran.

I couldn't get past that. All day, my heart longed to hear from Gran again. And that's all I could focus on. I spent most of the day in a major funk and I took it out on poor Anthony.

And honestly, for the first time ever, I am glad my birthday is over. Today was a new day and my heart was a little lighter.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Adapting, Part 2

While life as a military wife hasn't been what I expected, I am so very grateful for what life has been like.

While it was a bit disappointing that military life hasn't even taken us out of the state of Texas, I am glad we have remained a short drive from family throughout these past years. We have lost 2 grandparents, a niece, and a dog. We were very lucky to be able to make the short drive to be with family during these times.

And while making friends was a bit challenging at first, we have made some amazing friends over the years. They are friends that have been there as we have lost loved ones and any time I am in need.

But most importantly, I have grown since we moved here. I have learned to be independent, as Anthony isn't always here. I have learned to deal with the yucky stuff like bugs and car problems, and the more serious harder stuff like cancer and death. I have learned to lean on my husband and to rely on him.

But most importantly, I have learned that I can and will get through it with God by my side.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


It has been three years since I left my job, my friends, and pretty much everything I knew and truly began living the life of a military wife.

It hasn't been anything like I expected. I expected that we would move across the country, or even to the other side of the world. I envisioned a very tight knit community of military. I thought making friends would be easy.

Instead, we moved a few hours away and didn't leave the state. While we are close with some of the families that Anthony works with, I wouldn't go as far as saying everyone is tight knit. And making friends took a long time and wasn't easy. We all live different lives with different schedules. We don't get together very often as a group. And it's hard to make plans when your husband works every other day.

While it wasn't exactly what I expected, and it has been a hard 3 years, these three years have been three of the most important years of our lives full of memories and new friends!

For those of you that are military wives, was it what you expected?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Spring Break 2012

Spring break is officially underway! 

I have been counting down the days until this week finally arrived.  I really needed the break.  I'm not going anywhere or doing anything exciting. 

So far, Mom and Dad have come into town for the weekend.  Mom and I did lots of shopping.  I tried out several new recipes.  We did lots of visiting.  And the puppies did a lot of playing.

Speaking of recipes, you should try these cilantro lime tilapia tacos.  And on that note, I am completely in love with  She has so many amazing looking recipes!

I also made these AMAZING Rolo chocolate chip cookies.  We have eaten 3/4 of the cookies already.  They are a bit time consuming, so don't make them if you are in a hurry.  But, they are definately worth the effort!

The rest of spring break consists of crossing things off my amazingly fun to do list and St. Patty's Day party on Saturday.  What are you up to this week?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

32 days

Gran has been in heaven for 32 days. As is expected, I have good days and I have bad days. I have days that I think of things she used to say or do and just smile. Other days, that laughter turns to tears. Gran was such a special person to me. And I was equally as special to her. You see, she had 3 sons. She really wanted a girl. I was her first grandchild and I was a girl. A double whammy! Can you say spoiled?!

I grew up spending the night at her house on a regular basis. And if I wanted to go home in the middle of the night, she took me. When I was about 10, she had an above ground pool put in. She would always let me come and swim and have friends over. And she always hadmy favorite snacks. When I started cheering in junior high, she never missed a event. She was at every pep rally when I was a varsity cheerleader. She was my number 1 fan. In college, we talked regularly. She even came and stayed a few times. When I got married, she danced the night away and my wedding. She was so happy and proud. And the love she had for me, was also extended to Anthony. And even though I was married, our phone calls never stopped. We talked at least 4 times a week. She looked forward to every visit home I made and even made a few visits to visit me. She was such an important part of my life. We had such a special bond that most don't share with their grandparents. I feel so blessed, but so empty too.

When Gran passed and we wrote her obituary, we asked that in leau of flowers donations be made to a local organization for breast cancer survivors. I knew gran would prefer that as she really didnt care for flowers. They are using some of that money to purchase books for survivors at their next retreat. They have asked mom and I to write in them. I am so honored. Gran would love it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


My kids have been nuts this week! A cold front came through yesterday and the moon is full. Each of those in itself can lead to a crazy day. But the two, together, equals insanity.

Even the kids have noticed. Today, the had an assignment to come up with a way to describe the children in our class.

This one was right on!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Gran took her last breath on January 22. The cancer had taken over her liver and it completely shut down. We had gotten home the day before and were able to spenda good bit of the day with her. She was unconcious though. I have to say, it made it a bit easier. She was no longer the smiling, feisty Gran that I grew up with and loved so much. It was time for her to go Home.

While I knew how great she was and loved her so much, I didnt realize just how many lives she touched. The out pouring of food was amazing. We had more food than we could possibly eat. Afamily night was held on Tuesday, January 24. A huge downpour started just as we arrived. I figured that many people would stay home. I was wrong. People stood in line for an hour. There were so many people. I know she never wouldhave stood in that line. She either would have cut in line or left. That was just her. The rain continued all night and into Wednesday. But just before the funeral, it stopped. I'm pretty convinced she kept complaining about the rain until God had had enough. Her service was amazing. She was so well known and loved that it had to be held at the largest Church in town. There were so many lovely plants and flower arrangements. While she will be missed dearly, it was a celebration of her life here on earth and her new life in Heaven.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about her. And miss her with all I have. I just want to be able to pick up the phone and talk to her about the bachelor or text her a picture of Sam. And in a sense, it seems like I should be able to. It all happened so fast (3weeks) that it still hasn't completely set in.

I know one day I will see her again. Until then, I will hang on to all the special memories and know she is always here with me.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Damn You, Cancer!

More bad news today. Gran's liver is shutting down. I'm not sure I have ever been so full of so many negative emotions at the same time. It's just not fair.

I'm in shock. I'm devastated. I'm heart broken. I'm nauseated. I'm disappointed. I'm scared. I'm lonely. And I'm so angry.

I'm angry at the doctors for not finding it sooner. Theyve should have been real cautious considering she had already been diagnosed. Im angry at this whole disease of cancer. I'm angry at myself because she had told me she was tired and achy, but since those are also side effects of chemo, I didn't think any thing of it. And I'm angry at God. How can he take my Gran away, already? She's supposed to be here forever. She's supposed to be here when we have kids and spoil them rotten she's supposed to see the other 8 grandchildren get married. She has so much life to live. How can he end it now?

I just can't imagine life without my Gran. We are not only grandmother and granddaughter, but we are also very special friends. We talk on a daily basis. We go shopping together when I go home. We always fuss about the bachelor. We have a very special bond and I am just not ready to let go.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Growing Up

We spend the first 21 years of our life wishing we were a grown up. We can't wait to be an adult and to be on our own. I was one of those people.

Then, we become an adults and life isn't what we expected. It's not as easy as we thought. There are bills, difficult decisions and responsibilities.

Today is one of those days that I really felt like a grown up. I also have found myself wishing that I was a naive 7 year old without a care in the world. I wish I could crawl up in my mamas lap and cry. I wish I didn't understand.

But, I am an adult. I know what is going on. I have found myself today being a caregiver to both my dad, and to Gran. I have also found out some very devastating news.

Dad is perfectly fine, just had a colonoscopy. But, for the first time, I was the only one in the waiting room. I was the one that the doctor spoke with. I was the one that took him home. It was new role for me, one that made me question what my life will be like as my parents continue to age.

Gran, on the other hand, is not doing well. They have added another chemo drug in hopes of making a difference. We must see progress soon, or we may not win the battle. My heart aches. As I care for my Gran, I see a whole different person. She still has her spunk, but she's just not the same. She's sick. I know that it's not just the chemo that we need to work. I know that God is the one in control. So, if you are the praying type, I ask that you pray for God to heal Gran.

So, for now, I have my big girl panties on and I'm holding back tears. I'm cherishing ever second I can while I am with my Gran. And I'm praying and having faith that God WILL heal.
Gran and her Sam

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Christmas Update

Well, Christmas might have been 2 weeks ago.  But, I finally am sitting down to do a quick recap. 

We were very lucky this year to be able to spend a full week visiting family.  Thursday morning when Anthony got off work, we loaded up the car (think we might need a bigger car if we have a child, or another dog) and headed home.  We started off with my family.  And I was so excited.  We had a big surprise in store for Gran.  She had mentioned that she wanted a new chair for Christmas.  So, we took her to the furniture store when we were home at Thanksgiving to pick out her chair.  Well, while we were looking, she decided she might want a new couch, too.  Well, with some convincing, she decided to wait on the couch.  But, without her knowing, we went and ordered the couch and 2 chairs for her.  I couldn't wait to surprise her.  Anthony and I took her out to dinner and when we took her home, the new furniture and all of her family was there.  It was the best moment.  She was so surprised and so happy.  I didn't think to get a picture of the couch and chairs, but here are a couple from Christmas Eve.

Like I said before, I spent a lot of time with Gran while I was at home.  We made two trips to Walmart, I learned how to peel celery, and I helped her wrap a couple gifts.  Every year, on Christmas Eve night, we meet at Gran's house for dinner and gifts, and this year as no different.  It was, however, so much more special.  We realized just how lucky we are to have our Gran.  

Gran's Tree

My Gran and I

Anthony and I at Gran's

This year, all of the cousins drew names and bought a gift for each other.  This was the first year that we have done this.  My brother thought he would be funny and wrap my cousin's gift in multiple boxes, a whole roll of duck tape, and Saran wrap.  Well, someone leaked his "secret" and most everyone's gift included multiple boxes or duck tape. 
James opening his gift.

James's gift wrapping

My cousin Lane opening his gift from James

We spent the night at Mom and Dad's and woke up for gifts from Santa.  Santa was very good to us all this year!  Christmas Day, Mom's brother and his family come over to our house for lunch and gifts.  I have to say, this is my favorite holiday meal.  My mom was a Home Ec. teacher for 17 years, so she makes everything from scratch.  I hope someday to learn how to prepare this meal like she does.  We always have smoked turkey (she actually buys this from a man she works with, but it is amazing), broccoli rice casserole, sweet potato casserole, macaroni and cheese, homemade rolls and pecan pie.  She has a few other things, but these are my favorites!  I should have gotten a picture, but I couldn't wait to dig in!

Our family on Christmas Day

The day after Christmas, we met up with Anthony's family for lunch, gifts and visiting.  We are really excited because next year, there will be a new addition to this side of the family!  We are also hoping that next year we will live closer to home and can start a new tradition in our own place.

Rylie hopes so, too.  All of the Christmas excitement wore her out!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


I have a lot to blog about and several pictures and recipes to share, but right now, I'm just not in the mood.

2012 is not off to a good start for my family and me. If you have been following, you have read about Gran. Last winter, she found a lump in her breast. It was found to be cancerous. A mastectomy was quickly scheduled, followed by chemo and radiation. It was not easy for her, nor was it easy to watch. We knew there was a chance of it returning or spreading, but thought we had some time before that happened.

Christmas came and went. I cherished every moment with my gran, even if she did insist that celery had to be peeled. Around that time, she began complaining of heartburn and having no appetite. By the 29th, she was miserable. Thinking it was just her gallbladder, she called her primary care doctor. He ordered an ultrasound, followed by a CT scan. Masses were found on her liver and the wall of her colon was thickened.

Today, she saw her oncologist and was admitted to the hospital. There is also a mass on her lung. I am terrified. I love my Gran so much. She is not just a grandmother, but also a friend.

Please keep my family in your prayers.