Friday, March 30, 2012

Things I'm Loving Right Now

Just to be completely honest, I've had a rather lazy week when it comes to blogging and/or pulling out my good camera. I'm really looking forward to the long Easter weekend next week because, well, I used my days off for Spring Break having fun and not getting much rest. Wouldn't change it for the world but am still a bit sleepy :-)

That being said, there are some things I'm absolutely loving this week and, thanks to my trusty phone camera, I'll be sharing them with you today. Excitement abounds, right?

Yesterday afternoon I ran over to the Ferrell Center (have I mentioned how much I love working at Baylor?) to join in the send off party festivities for the Lady Bears as they headed to Denver for the Final Four. So much fun, friends. 

We heard from Odyssey...

...and Brittney...

...and not only are they focused on these games but they are also just amazing young women who represent the University well. Which is a blessing.

Also, the Easter decor has gone up in our lobby. Seriously - love working at a place that proudly displays the true meaning of Easter.

Tonto is flying his Baylor flag proudly this week. Here's hoping this one lasts a bit longer than the last one, which was stolen at the first game of the football season by a thieving TCU fan. :-)

Began reading this book recently and really like it. It's convicting, for sure, but it's such a sweet story. Can't wait to spend some more time in these pages over the weekend.

Speaking of weekend, I hope yours is fabulous. My to-do list includes getting a haircut, adding more blonde to said hair, taking bluebonnet pics, chillin' with Tonto and going to church. Oh, and cheering the Lady Bears to victory. But you already knew that one, right?

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Scrubby Little Baylor

So last summer when the whole "Big 12 is crumbling and Baylor will have no place to go" hubbub was going on, there we numerous folks talking about how Baylor could not compete. In fact, one talk show host may have even called us "scrubby little Baylor" and ensured every listener that we would disappear after realignment. Never to be heard from again.

So when I saw this graphic yesterday, y'all, my heart was filled with joy. This compares each of the schools wins and losses in the "big three sports." That would be football, men's basketball and women's basketball. Would you please note who's in the lead?

And my hope is that we'll be adding at least two more wins to that column in the next week. So incredibly proud of my alma mater. And blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy an amazing career at Baylor as well.

Sic 'em!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Stones of Remembrance

A year ago tonight, I walked onto our side porch - with visibly shaking hands - and asked Tonto, who was sitting in a chair watching the dogs play in the yard he has just mowed, if he saw two lines or if I was dreaming...

Turns out, I wasn't dreaming and subsequent pregnancy tests the next two days reinforced the message that our lives were changing forever. And they did, friends. Just not in exactly the manner we anticipated.

So many things have changed since that day and the other dates etched into my brain from a year ago - and probably will be for many years to come - but there is one thing that remains the same: He knew the outcome before we ever knew about that second line. And he has remained faithful.

There's another significant date that has already passed and, either ironically or fittingly, Tonto called and asked me to do he and his co-workers a favor (this never happens, y'all) and the end result was that I found myself standing in the middle of the NICU. As people rushed around taking care of brand new little ones, the world began closing in on me.

And when I turned to leave, I found myself locking eyes with a cherub-faced babe. Before I could make it to the elevator, the tears were flowing. By the time I made it back to my car, I was full on sobbing.

And the next day I was fine...

This is how I suspect the next weeks and months will progress because we can't help but remember. In fact, there are numerous places in the Bible where God instructs His people to erect stones of remembrance so future generations will ask about them and know He did not fail the people. He came through for them and, even in the darkest hours, they would know their God was good. All the time.

For instance...

In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”
Joshua 4:6-7

It's no secret that I have beaten myself up about telling Taylor about her sibling. Though I certainly couldn't have hidden it forever and she obviously would have known something was very wrong, it's something that has haunted me.

The truth is, though, that she's walked this road with us and I pray this time will be filled with remembrance stones for her - and the rest of us - so we will never forget He saw us through every step of the way.

So today I'm not sad. Is it bittersweet? Yes. Do I wish with everything in me that things had turned out differently? Absolutely. 

But I can't change any of it and I trust His plan is sovereign. The past year is full of so many stones of remembrance, y'all, and some of the days were so dark I didn't think they would ever end. But they did. And I made it through them only because of Him.

Engrave the names of the sons of Israel on the two stones the way a gem cutter engraves a seal. Then mount the stones in gold filigree settings and fasten them on the shoulder pieces of the ephod as memorial stones for the sons of Israel. Aaron is to bear the names on his shoulders as a memorial before the LORD.
Exodus 28:12

The story won't be complete until we see that sweet baby one day and hold him/her in our arms. Until then, this is one of the only tangible pieces of evidence I have that it wasn't just a dream...

And, today, that's enough. Tomorrow may be a different story but, in the end, we have been given treasures to rely upon for a lifetime. And, for them,  I'm incredibly thankful.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Unfinished Business

So...they did it, y'all! The Lady Bears won the Elite Eight game last night versus Tennessee and they are headed to the Final Four in Denver. We could not be more proud of this team. Made me think back to an evening in February when we celebrated the Big 12 season championship with them on the floor of the Ferrell Center.

I have no doubt the confetti flowed last night en masse and, because of Twitter, I can confirm that Odyssey - who had the game of her life - is sporting her newest championship hat in class today. As I hope many other members of the team are because they deserve some love from their fellow students. They make many sacrifices many that go unnoticed unless you know their hectic schedule.

And while I can't begin to imagine what type of daily schedule they keep or how they have the energy to do so (youth is a glorious thing, no?), there is one thing I know for sure...this team is not finished. They continue to have...

...unfinished business. So we'll continue to cheer them on for the remainder of their record breaking season. However long that may be.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - Somewhat Coherent Edition

Because I didn't take a single picture over the weekend, we're starting the week off this way. Hopefully the excitement level will pick up tomorrow or Wednesday but - full disclosure - I make absolutely no promises.

1. Friday evening we dined on pizza while watching the Baylor men's game. These are such amazing young men and we were incredibly proud as they advanced to the Elite Eight again. They played their hearts out and I really need one of those "One Team. One God. One Goal." shirts...

2. We ran a bunch of errands on Saturday while the girl was working at a school carnival. She actually completed all of her service hours for Panther Pride more than a month ago but she continues to volunteer, which makes me incredibly happy. She's an amazing kiddo.

3. While running said errands, Tonto and I were discussing the women's upcoming Sweet Sixteen game and also that we were a bit nervous our boys would not get a fair shake when playing Kentucky. Then I saw this and realized, regardless of any outcome, things could be worse.

4. Our women did win that game and Brittney threw down a monstrous two-handed jam. It was amazing, y'all, and I so hope you got to see it! Here's hoping she throws another down tonight against Tennessee. And also that they don't have any shaky officiating.

5. Speaking of shaky officiating, let's talk about the Baylor v. Kentucky game for a minute, shall we? If you don't think officials can - and do - control the outcome of games, I encourage you to go look at the box score of that game. While nothing can take away the tremendous amount of pride we have in our guys, they deserved better, in my opinion.

6. Because I was afraid #5 would occur, I agreed to take the girl to see The Hunger Games yesterday afternoon. She has read the book (as have most of her friends) though I have not. Quite frankly, I was not very excited about the film as I'm more of a romantic comedy type of girl. But, I must say, it was phenomenal. And though the concept is somewhat disturbing, there's more violence in some television shows than this movie.

7. I've had a couple of people ask me why I let her read this book so let me explain. For one, it's a work of fiction. I had a very pointed conversation about that with her before even buying it for her. Also, many of the reading/literature teachers are requiring it for accelerated readers. And, to be quite frank, she knew most of the plot before cracking a page because her friends had all read it. Therefore, I decided it would be better to initiate and be a part of the conversation rather than let her get all information from third parties. 

I'm really not defending my decision - because it was right for us - but wanted to explain a bit. I have a very mature child who saw it for what it was...a story that was not real.

8. We didn't end up taking bluebonnet pictures because we were trying to get home in time for the game Saturday afternoon. I'm still hopeful, though...

9. Our home has been decorated for the happiest season of the year (in my opinion) - Easter! Something about those decorations, the messages at church this time of year, and the beautiful wildflowers make my heart very happy. :-)

10. This morning I burned the fingerprints off one digit on my left hand with the flat iron. It was painful but nothing a little pressure from a Spongebob bandaid couldn't help. Besides, someone had to rescue Rambo, who was stuck under the bed yet again...

Happy Monday, y'all!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - Winding Up the Trip Edition

So I'm winding down on the trip recap today (you're welcome) and also found a few fun photos on the camera Taylor has been carrying around so I thought it would be fun to share those as well. Here we go...

1. The girls truly spent as much time as humanly possible at the hotel pool. It was an indoor pool and the entire hotel was enclosed and centered around a giant atrium so it was an easy trek. They loved it!

2. After breakfast on Sunday (which was early because, well, we were traveling with Tonto), we headed back to Waco but I wanted to take a few pictures of the hotel first because it was so amazing. The darkness of these photos clearly exhibits to me that we were up way too early.

3. The good thing about heading out early, though, was that we got to see this little guy and his sisters. We had missed them terribly. They, on the other hand, had a blast at Cousin Camp. :-)

4. Both the Bears and Lady Bears play Sweet Sixteen games this weekend. The men tonight and the women tomorrow afternoon. I'm so ready for the game to get here and be over with and I may be a tiny bit nervous. I feel pretty confident the women will take care of business but you just never know who will win a men's basketball game in the tournament. 

5. We were going to take Rambo to Bark in the Park at Baylor this evening but it got rescheduled to Sunday due to the men's game tonight. Unfortunately, Tonto has to work and I'm really not brave enough to take this little gunshy guy in public by myself so he'll have to wait until next year. Good thing we hadn't already told him!

6. Several weeks ago there was a talent show at Tay's school. While she turned down all offers to perform, she really wanted to see all of her friends' acts. She had a blast, which I think is obvious from this picture. Love. Her. So.

7. Judging by the 20+ photos she took in the carwash (how did I not know this was going on?), I'd say my girl loves the carwash just as much now as she did when she was little. Way too many things change as she grows up but I'm thankful for little reminders now and then that she's still just my baby at heart. :-)

8. I'm on the hunt for a good bluebonnet patch this weekend. Last year I was way too preoccupied when they came out in full force (late April) so we didn't get any pics. I'm hoping my plan to take Rambo along will get the girl to willingly smile.

9. I also owe her a frozen yogurt trip because she made all A's on her report card. Not that she's done poorly up to this point but math always ends up a high B and this time it didn't so we're celebrating. 

10. So very thankful the weekend is here. When you have raging storms early in the week that keep your spastic pup from sleeping a wink, you end up not sleeping a wink either. This leads to exhaustion and crankiness. Well, it does if you're me anyway. We love Perk but, gracious, her phobia made the week difficult. Here's to catching up on sleep and looking into buying a Thunder Jacket for the girl soon...

Happy weekend, y'all!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fort Worth Zoo - A Photo Essay

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day o' the Leprechaun

So in addition to being on a mini vacay last Saturday, it was also a little holiday called St. Patrick's Day. Though we always decorate for this day, we usually don't do much to celebrate it, to be really honest. Don't get me wrong - the girl always has a cute shirt but sometimes she refuses to wear it because "daring people to pinch me is more fun."

This year, though, a little peer pressure led to conformation and she did actually wear the shamrock shirt on the actual day...

...though we didn't proclaim any of these... :-)

Before we left town, the girl and I took on a little Pinterest project that was so easy it was almost comical. This could also be done for pretty much any holiday. Just dip the end of marshmallows in water and then into the sprinkles of your choice....

...and print out some bag toppers (found these for free via Pinterest as well) and you have a super easy and cute treat for the kiddos (or adults) in your life who like a little sugar from time to time.

Also got these labels from Pinterest. They're technically for water bottles but those already had labels so we made the sodas more festive instead.

Saturday morning I got up early and, while Tonto was at the gym, I put together these bags for the girls to find when they woke up. Everything pictured (except the confetti eggs) came from Dollar Tree. For $15 I filled two bags completely full. They were a hit!

And since we're talking about the day o' luck, I finally got the rest of my decor pics to upload.

Clearly I'm a little holiday obsessed. One year I decided to make a wreath for each holiday so now I have one for almost every time of year. It was time intensive during that first year but I'm so happy to have all of them hanging in my garage now. :-)

Decorating for other holidays came a bit easier because you can find tons of Valentine's and Easter decorations at Goodwill. And they're really good ones for almost nothing. I haven't been as lucky for St. Pat's Day, though, so I just try to pick up a few things each year.

Quite frankly, you never know what you'll find hanging around our little abode. But it's almost certain to be somewhat festive at most times of the year...which is one of the things I pray my girl will remember as she grows up. Life is guaranteed to be tough and will not always be fair. But there is always something to celebrate. No matter how dark the day appears.