Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

Monday, May 27, 2013

Self Improvement, Circus, Dance and Catching My Breath....

So this has been the craziest month EVER! I think I say that every May. I have literally been holding on for dear life as the activities, the school finals, school meetings,  the Married Life events etc. come all rolling together. Top all that with the fact that my husband has been working TONS. I hate that when the end of the school year rolls around I am so filled with anxiety. I try so hard to stay in the word, pray and keep focused but it gets insane when you are alone a lot. If nothing else mentally it's challenging. We survived though and with only a couple days of school left and one more crazy weekend I am looking to June to put my feet up. :) Morgan had her big dance recital this past weekend.
Dan was able to sneak over and see both girls shows which was so exciting because Morgan on the second night was awarded her Pointe shoes. If you know anything about ballet this is HUGE! These girls bust their buts to get accepted to dance on pointe. The crazy thing is, Morgan only started dancing last year and just turned 12. She only spent one year in pre pointe which is saying she pretty much busted her butt all year. When she saw her daddy standing there she burst into tears. It was so sweet.
Another exciting thing is that Morgan won a scholarship to dance next year in any class of her choice for free next semester. She applied and was awarded the scholarship by her tap teacher. She had never taken tap before Jan. of this year and was already in Tap II. You could not pick her out of the kids that had been tapping their whole lives. She just picked it up and allowed her teacher to correct every little thing all semester until she got it.
Both grandmas were bursting at the seams when she won her certificates.
Morgan and her good friend Kathy were crying and laughing and crying some more. They were determined to get in to pointe the same year and not let the other get left behind. I cannot wait to watch them grow together next year.

Ryanne also had her show this weekend. Yup' same days, same times basically. Sigh......Morgan birth mom, her fiance and Morgans half brother Dylan came to watch Ryanne in her show and then headed over to Morgans. It was special for both girls that they drove all that way and spent the day with us.
My little acrobat.
Sorry for the blur but no flash was allowed and it was crazy lighting in there.
She and her partner Sophia did GREAT!
Flying through the air with ease. :) Good job girls! Way to stick with it and support your class mates. Proud of you guys.
Over the years Dan has always asked me why I yell. My reply? I'm not yelling. Then my ever diplomatic husband would say,"Oh yes you are yelling. We're right here. Don't yell." I would then remind him that HELLLOOO I'm half Mexican and part Greek, did you think you married calm? So with that being said one morning while I was doing my quiet time God really convicted me that I am kinda loud; OK I yell there I said it. It was about the same time that I was reading this book "10 Days to a Less Defiant Child." I love how any good parenting book always (or at least should) point the finger back at the parent and give us the tools to make changes, not change our kids per say. My youngest loves to challenge me and strangely enough Dan also pointed out that I too am a bit OCD, like a challenge and am always on the go often dancing to my own music. Thus creating constant friction with the mini me version in the house. I want things done my way in my time and she dances to a different tune which I always thought of as defiance until I realized it's not far from the beat in my own heart and head. And it's not defiance so much as it's just the way I do things. So all this is to say is I am not cured of my yelling issue but I am more aware. I am trying to be more sensitive and patient and kind. I obviously cannot do this on my own so being in the word daily is key. Realizing I HATED being told as a kid things could only be done one way or it was the wrong way. Hated it! I am trying to show more grace cause frankly I need it and I see less and less of it in the world today. I love the colors Ryannes world is in and how she loves life. I think some of that reckless abandon for all things simple and carefree left me a little as I age and get caught up with adult responsibilities. I am working on slowing down, breathing in the good things and letting my kids have the freedom to succeed and sadly sometimes fail on their own in their own way. Work in progress. :)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Happy Wednesday........

This past weekend we had the honor of attending Ray Leenstras funeral. I say the honor because if you ever met Ray you know what a treat it was to get to talk to him. To see inside his heart for even a second was something that left you encouraged. Funerals are funny things ya know? I mean not literally of course. It's just that there is no doubt Ray knew where he was going and who he was going to spend eternity with. So as I was getting dressed for the service I kept thinking that I didn't really want to wear black. I wanted to wear bright orange or yellow cause it reminded me of Ray's personality. I didn't want to feel the sadness and tears that threatened to overtake me I wanted to dance and sing and shout,"HE'S ALL BETTER! HE'S WHOLE! HE'S SITTING AT THE FEET OF HIS LORD!" I'm not in any way down playing the sadness of his family and frankly I was afraid to even write about it because I didn't want to hurt anyone, particularly his daughter whom I have come to know and dearly love over the past few years. It's just so crazy being left here when someone we know and care about goes home right? In some ways I am jealous that he gets to be pain free, stress free, worry free, trouble free, sin free. And yet we are stuck here on this stinky planet suffering because we are selfish people stuck in our own muck most of the time. Sometimes when I get outside of my own head I can see clearly and the thing I saw most clearly at the memorial service is that I want to finish the race loving people and loving the Lord. This was the first memorial service I have ever been to where I wish I had brought my bible and journal. I just wanted to be in the word, on my knees. So beyond blessed by the reminder that God is a Holy God, a loving God, a good faithful to his word God. I will cling to that like a life preserver until he returns.
This just goes to show you CAN look good while taking a math test. :)

I swear those freckles get me every time......

Find of the week; we needed a new couch so badly but I just could not bring myself to spend thousands of dollars on a brand new sectional. I started searching Craigs list a few weeks ago and TA-DA! Practically brand new, sitting in someones extra living room $300! Sweeeeeetttt!!! Now I am on the hunt for a new chair for that room as the kids and dogs have destroyed our leather recliner.

Treat for the week; I have a friend who needed a LOVE BOOST so I made her home made coffee ice cream. It's base is dairy free cause I used coconut milk. It turned out soooo good. I buy these little ice cream containers on ETSY, glued a shrunk down version of the recipe to the front, little bow and there you have it.

Now if your reading this thinking that you sure could use a love boost this week too just comment and tell me your favorite flavor of ice cream and if your really good it might just show up at your house all home made and pretty like the above love boost.

Steal of the week; I have been looking for a BIG sign for an empty spot where I used to have a clock and I wanted it to be on wood. $24.00 Ross. Cha-Ching!

Mothers Day was an all weekend event. My sweet husband and  my girls took me to PF Changs (favorite spot) for dinner Friday night and then over to pick out a charm to add to my charm bracelet. I picked a little silver light house because it reminded me of climbing the light house with them on our vacation. Then Sunday we made lunches and headed to the park for some sun and relaxation....

We are so much alike that we either are about to kill each other or we are getting in trouble together.....

My mom spent the day with us as did my aunt.....Just FYI this daughter likes her picture taken...

This one? Not so much.....ha! But I don't care and snap away....ya' I'm a cool mom like that.

The thing they have in common is they LOVE their daddy. :) Happy late mothers day to all you mamas out there. Be blessed
Next post: How I'm flawed and what I'm doing about it. (This is not to be missed)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Last Vacation Post.....

After our ship docked in Galveston Island Texas (sadly this is where we said good bye to my mom and Rick as they caught a flight home to CA) the limo picked us back up and drove us to the airport to our rental car that was waiting. We then drove with our friends John & Tammy to New Orleans for three more days of vacation. What I ask you is a road trip without a stop at a Cracker-barrel for lunch? Dan and Morgan playing a cut throat game of checkers while we waited for our table.

We made really good time on the road and arrived to our little hotel in the French quarter. About oh say 3 minutes after we parked the guys ran in to check if our rooms were ready and our girls got a little treat. We turned just in time to see a man about my husbands size walking down the street in a bikini, fish nets and heels that would have made his mama blush. Ugh! I told Ryanne,"If you say one word I swear!" ha! We wondered in that moment what we had been thinking.....

The entire time we were planning our trip we kept saying,"We really want to stay in an authentic place. No Hilton etc. We want the experience." We joked the whole time we were in New Orleans that,"It's OK, it's "authentic." Sigh...Here we are in front of our "authentic" bungalow.

Our friends "authentic" room is down this walkway.

The place was called St.Pierre where we stayed....charming.

I literally walked around with my camera in my face the entire time. I LOVE old buildings and just history period.

The old brick, the shutters, the iron oh my!

Now you know you can't go to New Orleans without beheading and eating craw fish......the girls left it to the boys. blah!

Something about pinching the heads off something staring at me that just didn't sit well.

We were lucky enough to have the time to take a little road trip down to Lafitte which was roughly 30 minutes south. It was in the swamps and beautiful down there.

This is what we rode in.....

There is no way to look cool in these....

We saw lots of these guys......friendly face no?

A bald eagle chillin' above us....

Our guide said they have three types of snapping turtles....I will take his word for it....

The girls loved our adventure........

Our guide was CRAZY! Hand feeding these huge beasts......YIKES!

The guide asked for volunteers and without even asking our girls ran to the front of the boat.....ummmmm hello! You don't even know what he wants. They were so pleased that it was to hold a three year old alligator. Yup' he's about three. They grow about an inch a year so you measure them from the tip of their snout to the front of their face.

You will notice I am the only one not photographed holding this thing....

In my defense I had the worst land sickness that day. No really! It's real. As long as I was moving on a boat or in a vehicle I was fine. But the minute the motion stopped I got super sick. Like sweat through my clothes, pale, trying not to vomit everywhere sick. It lasted about 3 days after we got home. I was fine as long as the boat was moving in the swamp or the car or the train home but not sitting still. I get it every time we cruise. I  like to do things backwards. Do you think I could strike it rich if I came up with non-motion-motion sickness pills?

OK and yes I was scared of being eaten as well. Not by the little guy but by his mama that might get jealous, leap through the air onto the boat and eat me for man handling her  young. No?

Pictures don't do the swamp justice. I could not get over the Spanish moss everywhere. No I don't have a green thumb, just a big mouth. I ask LOTS AND LOTS of questions when I travel. Basically to anybody who will talk to me. Ha! When we were in Jamaica I talked to the driver the whole way to the resort and then translated to Dan. Dan said,"How did you understand a word he said?"

Little tid bit? New Orleans is 8 feet BELOW sea level. They put graves above the ground because in the past when hurricanes have come through and it floods, underground coffins/bodies do what? You guessed it, float to the top. 

The state capital is Baton Rouge. Major river; The Mississippi (pictured above) Counties are called Parishes and they have 64 Parishes. LA became a state in April of 1812 and is  51,846 square miles.

We walked ALL OVER this city. We had to stop now and then for a Starbucks break. Ryanne LOVES our friend John. I think they are both kindred spirits....both naughty!

I loved how all the street names were in tile on the ground.....

Red is my favorite color so this won best house for me.....

Do you love this park right in the middle of downtown?

Civil war museum........

A couple of years ago we took the girls to the Pearl Harbor memorial while in Hawaii....this trip we decided to take them to the WWII museum. It was great! We spent the entire afternoon here and the girls really enjoyed it.

At the front of the museum there is an NFL hall of fame section....Dan wanted his picture in front of his guy....

I asked him to take a picture of me in front of my team and he so kindly stated,"I took it but I think I threw up in my mouth." He hates Dallas. Hmph!

This museum really pulled all the history of the war together for the girls....

So many models and interactive things so you could really get a feel for the masses that were involved.....

There is a 50's diner attached to the museum where we stopped half way ate, rested out weary feet and hearts too. It was a tough museum to go through.

This was a GINORMOUS flag at the end of the museum.....

When you visit a new city it is a MUST to ride public really, you learn so much when you get on a really hot, stuffy, jam packed, standing room only  cable car to ride across town.

For example; you learn that the kids and Tammy are the only ones who get to sit. John, Dan and I stunk really bad from the heat and humidity (we had to raise our arms to hold on to the hand grips) and you learn that people get testy when its so crowded they can't hardly get off at their stop. I LOVED every second of it!

After three days in a city that has enough "personality" to last me a lifetime we headed back to the train just as a storm hit. In California we call high winds, flooding, lightening and thunder a the south it was just another day. This is the end of the road. We are back to real life. Sigh......... we have already started our countdown to our trip to Honduras next year. More sun. More snorkeling. More family away time. More new experiences with each other. New cultures and people. I CANNOT wait! Blessings today!