Monday, October 25, 2010

Busy Weekend

Busy, busy, busy but a great weekend! Mark Thomas was supposed to have his first camp out with his new Troop but some crazy northeast Texas weather swept through so it got canceled. But there's no disappointment in this house, not with Mark for a Dad. So he and MT camped out on the back porch. Lit a fire in the gas fireplace and plugged in the radio to listen to the Rangers win the AL Championship! Then the next day it was Raingutter Regatta time! Mark and the boys had mastered the design of Pinewood Derby cars so the boats were new to us but MT got 4th place. He was already mapping out his design for next year on his way home.
Then we went to Carson's soccer game. She plays for FC Dallas, a premier club here in the metroplex and she's so fun to watch! Her skills are fabulous and every year she just gets better and better. I had wanted to get some good pics of her but again the weather blew through and the game was called off before of a tornado in the area.
Then we did a little laundry....Whiskers likes to lounge in the craziest of places but the blankets were warm so I she decided to just get comfy.
And then on Sunday Max had an opportunity of a lifetime to perform with the choir at Grace at the Youth Choir Festival. It was held at St. Andrews United Methodist church and there were 600 teenagers who sang their praises to the Lord. One of the many blessings we have experienced in this move has been the youth choir. Every Sunday during the early service we have a 90 member youth choir who sings. They practice once a week and then in the summer travel on choir tour. This summer they're heading out west and will stop along the way to see the Grand Canyon as well as other attractions. Max has really enjoyed it. I had to buy him some new black slacks and a white dress shirt since he just keeps growing and growing but he looked so handsome! Of course I'm biased but he's something else. Quite the charmer.
The director, Dr. Anton Armstrong, from St. Olaf College did an amazing job presenting a concert of 6 songs. The kids were there from 1:30-5:15 and you would have thought they'd been practicing for months. Of course our choir director had done a great job preparing our kids too! But listening to them all sing was so heavenly, like listening to a chorus of angels.
And last but not least, the moon. It was simply stunning. I could get very close with my telephoto lens but it still did not do it justice.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Family and Picture Update

This post is almost a month late. What can I say it's baseball season and there are photos depicting our evenings related to that subject down at the bottom. BUT, Ella turned 8 this month. She always starts off the birthday celebration train and it makes my life a tad difficult until March when they're all 4 back to evens. I prefer all evens or all odds when telling people their ages because it's just easier on my brain. But for now the kids are 8, 9, 11 and 13. Ella is so lucky to have some good little gal pals already for just having moved here. And of course she's got her fabulous cousins. So two of Ella's friends from school came over and then our neighbors next door have two precious daughters and they came over too a little later. Ella had a great birthday celebration!

Payton, Ella, Reese, Molly and Paige

What we commonly refer to as TRIPLE TROUBLE!

Mark Thomas had free time in art the
day of the party so he created this
one-of-a-kind hat and proudly let
Ella wear it at the party!

Ella's crazy face!

Bear was spade last week. She did fine
but the anesthesia was hilarious!
She just stood still staring at the floor
and would not move at all. Took almost
an entire day for it to all wear off.
Ben was an excellent care giver!

This is how you'll find Mark Thomas most
days after he's come home from school.
Bless his heart he just passes out
when he gets home!

I went to Molly's football game last weekend.
What an experience that was! Those
football parents were crazy! And I don't
say that lightly. We are a major sports
family and I have been to games all
over the place but these parents were out
of control. I really had to restrain myself
to not stand up and say something. I asked
Molly after the game, "do you hear those
parents yelling while you're cheering?" and
she said, "yes, but they're yelling at the
football players not the cheerleaders."
Too cute, but really parents, what kind
of an example are we setting when we
go to our kids' sports events. Everyone
is watching. All the time!

And this would be our weekly run down. Baseball
games usually 4 out of 5 nights a week and
sometimes all three will play on the same
night! So this evening, we grabbed dinner
at our favorite, Sonic, headed to the ball
park AND did homework in the bleachers!
Thank goodness our kids are A-B students
because our lives could be much more
difficult if it took us so much longer
to complete assignments.

We are loving cheering on the Rangers and
are excited for Game 6 tonight!

I gave all three of the boys hair cuts last week.
And I must say I was rather impressed with
myself. I paid $60 for someone to cut all
three last month and just thought
I can do that. Since they've out grown
the buzz cuts it's become more complicated
but I watched and learned. And
all three clients of mine were very pleased.

And Max only has one more game this season.
It's been a rough season for him. He's had two
major injuries. One documented in a previous
post and the most recent one too graphic
to publish photos. It required staples
near his ankle and thankfully it's healing,
not that well but it is healing. He has
really excelled this season under "Coach Charlie"
and is already ready for Spring ball. I am
hoping for an injury free season in the Spring.

He's quite the base stealer now.

Ok, so now we're pretty much caught up. And it's almost November. Where does the time go? We are still patiently waiting for our house to sell in Beaumont. We lowered the price this week and are hopeful that it will generate some activity. The new elementary school is almost complete and that should be a huge draw we hope. For now we're thankful that my parents are being so gracious to allow us to stay with them. People always say "oh my goodness that must be so rough" but really it's not. When you have parents as wonderful as both Mark and I do it's something that we do not take for granted.
We have narrowed down the development we want to live in and have decided to build. The plans have been defined and the kids have chosen their prospective bedrooms. So we're excited to move in that direction once the house sells. It's been fun for all of us to dream and start to plan for the future. God's timing is always perfect and we're very aware of his provision. So we wait patiently, trusting in his call to bring us to Plano and we look forward to the plans he has set before us.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Homecoming Festivities and Cowboy Stadium

Homecoming last week was a lot of fun. Prosper is "small" compared to most school districts in the metroplex and very out in the country so we experienced our first homecoming week in a true small Texas football obsessed town. Max played during the 7th grade football game and the band did a great job! I love that Max is in percussion because no matter where you are standing or how well you can see you CAN always hear the drums. My parents met us at the game and we all sat in the stands and cheered on the Eagles.

We just love our superintendent. Not since New York did we feel like the superintendent truly had an impact on the schools. Dr. Watkins is everywhere! He rotates around the different campuses each week and is always out front helping kids out of the cars in the morning. He knows our kids by name already and even shouted out to Max during the parade route. He's from Southeast Texas so once he found out we had moved from Beaumont, we had an instant connection. We couldn't be more thrilled with the school district.

Max walked around with several of his friends during the parade and Ben hung out with a new friend who lives just down the street from us. Ella was asked to RIDE on a float and throw candy with her two new best buds, twins in her class, Paige and Payton. Their parents own the Equestrian Center just next door to us so Ella is now asking for jeans and boots since the twins' dad said he'd put her up on a horse next time she comes over. Mark Thomas sat by me during the parade. We sat in the back of the pick up truck and it seemed like every other float that drove by had someone yelling, "Hey Mark" on it. Totally cracked me up. MT makes friends wherever he goes. He took an Under Armour satchel to the parade and came home with WAY too much candy.

You are not a true Prosperite until your car has a big "P" on the back. I saw this awesome zebra one at the parade. I put one on the back of the truck the second week of school and when the kids came home that day they shouted as they walked up the drive way, "we got a P!". So we are now completely legit!

On Sunday Mark took three of the kids to Cowboy Stadium for a special tour that the Scouts were holding. Ella said to me before she left as she was doing her hair, "bow or no bow?" and I said, "the bow looks cute" and she said, "but it might fall out on the baseball field". Sweet little darling girl of mine, does not have a sports bone in her body. But she loved going to the stadium and told me all about the cheerleaders' locker room! She turns 8 tomorrow! Can't believe it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Heavy Hearts

This will be a short post because I don't want to it turn into anything that sounds like I'm complaining. We are so happy to be in this new environment. The kids are adjusting to their schools and we're happy with the "smallness" of the community, if such a thing exists in the Dallas area. It's not St. Anne's and we still have moments where that saddens us but we are thankful that Prosper offers some familiarity in terms of class sizes and community.

We are also thoroughly enjoying the new church. I don't want anyone to read into this the wrong way and I honestly would not have thought I'd feel this way but sometimes it's in the "numbers". Whether you worship in a small church; remembering the rural church in Rewey, Wisconsin, Mark would fill the pulpit in during seminary, to the massive non-denominational churches my parents have often worshipped at, the presence of the Lord is still there. I know that to be very true but sometimes you long for what "numbers" can do. I LOVE the ministry of music and sometimes when you're in worship and the congregation is singing a hymn, you can honestly hear your voice above all others. Maybe that's because people don't feel that confident in their own voice or maybe it's because the space between the pews is too large so that you aren't sitting shoulder to shoulder with anyone. Whatever the reason, God calls for us to sing our praises to Him and He's undoubtedly worthy of our praise.

So the pews are full, the congregation sings loudly, the praise echos throughout the sanctuary and MY heart is filled with a joy that reaches deep into my soul when I am praising God with our new community at Grace. And the kids are loving their new congregation too. It's never a compare and contrast. It's just a thankfulness of where God has called us to and it's a privilege to serve along fellow believers.

With that said, we completely, totally, without a doubt, sincerely believe that God has called us to this time and this place. We would not be here if we did not believe that. So we also believe that God will provide for all our needs. Right now those needs are great. For years, we have been completely aware of how financially tied to life we are and we don't want to live that way any longer. It's cliche to some but after taking the Dave Ramsey course, we truly do "want to live like no one else so that we CAN live like no one else." We still long to be in our own home again and are struggling to determine at this point when that may be and what that home may look like for us as a family of six.

But before we can even begin to lay out that plan we desperately need our home in Beaumont to sell. So our hearts are heavy this week as the bills are piling up and without my additional income, it's not possible to pay them all at one time and still have left overs for the necessities such as food and gas. So I ask, to whomever may come upon this blog, that you please join us in prayer. Prayer that our house will sell. We have been asking that it sell by the end of September at 90% of what we're asking for it. Pray that our hearts would not be troubled by the bills that seem to be flowing out of my bill box. I know that our Father cares for us like he does the birds of the air and the flowers in the field so I long to feel that peace. Peace that I know comes only from Him. God is our ultimate provider and we are trusting that day by day we will be able to keep up with our earthly demands while always looking towards Heaven, mindful that everything we have comes from above; and that nothing is truly ours.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our little Dancer

Ella started dance tonight. She is taking ballet, tap and jazz. I feel horrible that while in Beaumont we did not make that a priority. So now whatever it takes we will get her there. She spends so much time cheering on her brothers and spends way too much time at the ball park so thankfully I found a place where she can take all three classes on the same night. And her teacher is very accomplished. She also used to be a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader!

Our growing Menagerie

Bear is such a wonderful dog. She went to the ball park with us on Saturday and cheered on her boys. She has been having a wonderful time with her cousin, Haley, my sister Heather's dog. She even went to a local dog park on Sunday. She's very social!

Whiskers has made the adjustment to Prosper fairly well. A pre-requisite of her moving into Papa's house was that she had to be de-clawed. She was a trooper and traveled up from Beaumont with just a little car sickness. The house is so much larger than ours that we had to get a new collar with a bell so that we'd be able to find her. She used to go outside in Beaumont all the time but for now she's content to stay inside, just staring out the windows.

And last but not least we've added a fire belly frog. Ben was working on his amphibian merit badge for scouts so instead of capturing a local frog, off to Petsmart we went. Now nearly $100 later "Chris" has a pretty decked out pad. He recently upgraded to a 10 gallon tank with a special rock ledge and it's filled with 4 inches of water so it's fun to watch him swim around.