Friday, November 30, 2007

Back to work!

I've just spent the last thirty minutes eating my lunch and catching up with y'all. I sure enjoy reading your blogs and finding out what's going on in your lives. I'd love to spend the next few hours reading more...but alas, I need to get back to work.

I've been painting since yesterday and thought I'd be done by now, but there have been a few glitches. In fact, all that motivation I mentioned in my last post? Well, it's waning right about now. Actually, it's nearly gone. Obviously--because I'd rather read about your lives than do what I need to do in my own! : )

All week there have been glitches with this and that (remember I need to be vague because some things are supposed to be a surprise for Ashleigh and John when they get here tomorrow), but if there is one thing I've learned through this whole remodel ordeal it's this: it will get done ( or delivered, installed, ect...) when it gets done. And it usually won't be in my time frame, so I need to keep my expectations low and be grateful when things work out in a timely way.

And for the record, I just learned that three weeks ago. Our remodel has been going on for almost three years. : )

So I'm just plugging along. I guess that means I need to get back to painting!

Have a blessed weekend!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Home...

Good morning friends!

After traveling through eight states and driving just over 4,000 miles--we are home! We had a great trip and as I look through the many pictures we took, I can honestly say this was one of the best trips we've taken. The Lord blessed us with safe travels, precious time with family and dear friends and an opportunity to see some of this beautiful country we live in. We all agree we'd do it again--in a heartbeat!

I'm glad to be home, but I am missing Alabama and my sweet mama. It's always hard to leave, but this time seemed especially so. There's no getting around it--it's just not easy living far away from family.

So it's on to the next thing, which is actually very exciting! You may remember that we had our new flooring installed just before we left for our trip. You can't imagine how wonderful it was to come home to new floors! To walk in the house and not feel that familiar, "Ugh!" when we saw the old yucky floors was the best!

Now we are in high gear to get our home back in order before Christmas. In fact we are so motivated, that yesterday not two hours after we got home from the last leg of our trip, I ran to Home Depot to get some paint. Then while Zach was at his orchestra practice, Rande and I went "down the hill" (which means a 45 minute drive) and purchased some other things (I'm being vague here because we want to surprise Ashleigh and John when they come out this weekend) pertaining to getting our home back in order. And today we are taking advantage of Rande still being on vacation to continue working--because there is still a lot of work to be done. But it's good. It's all good!

I can't wait to show you pictures, because well, I am just so excited to be finally, finally getting our house back to being a home. These are exciting times, for sure! : )

Happy Tuesday!

**Image is one of our most favorite places on my mom's property--the bridge over "Gramz Creek".

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been thinking about y'all--my dear bloggy friends--and hope you are having a blessed Thanksgiving Day! It's been a great day here--being with family, reflecting on the Lord's blessings in our lives, good food, sweet tea ::smile::, cold weather and of course, football!

I've tried to post a few different times since we've been in Alabama, but because my mom only has dial-up Internet and it can be *very* persnickety (and frustrating for me!)--I finally gave up. But tonight I'm trying again and I hope it works.

We are having a wonderful time and it will be a sad day on Saturday when we leave. It's been very relaxing--especially compared to the last time we were here and my mom was so ill. She's not 100%, but doing much better and I am so very thankful to the Lord for answering our prayers regarding her recovery.

We celebrated Zach's 17th birthday yesterday by going out to dinner and then having my Aunt Pat and our dear friends, the Evans family, over to my mom's for cake and ice cream. They brought their instruments and my mom's formal living room was turned into a jammin' room! : ) It was a fun day, but we really missed Ashleigh and her little family. This was the first birthday Zach has spent without his sister and he missed her terribly. I'm thankful that even though my children have their own lives, they are still so close.

I'm going to end this post now. I'm afraid to write more and then lose it because the connection timed out. I'm feeling really happy right now and I don't want to get frustrated. : ) I'll catch up with y'all when we get back to California.

Hugs and blessings to you all!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Greetings from Arkansas!

I'm writing from a little town located in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains. It's been a great trip so far, despite the fact that just a few miles after we entered Arkansas, Rande got pulled over by a state trooper. What is it about my husband and getting pulled over?! Apparently he drove over the white line that separates the road from the shoulder and it looked suspicious. I'm sure the California license plate was suspect too--because you all know the great reputation we Californians have for being good drivers! ::smile:: We explained to the officer that we were trying to find the exit for our motel and thankfully he was very nice and told Rande to just be more careful. We got back on the road and continued looking for the exit. Just as we came upon it, Rande passed it! He thought he would get off at the next exit and turn around. Too bad the next exit was almost 15 miles away! We decided to keep driving and eventually found another motel. So here we are! Thankfully this motel is nice and clean--something that's very important to me. And obviously it also has high speed Internet access. That's a good thing too! : )

Anyway. It looks like we'll pull into Alabama tomorrow afternoon. We spent last night in Albuquerque, New Mexico. These pictures were taken this morning--aren't the fall colors beautiful?!




After leaving New Mexico, we drove through Texas and Oklahoma. We saw miles and miles of this:


Rande and I took turns driving throughout the day. We all listened to music, talked, read and ate Chexmix and chocolate. : ) I even read some of your blogs using Rande's phone! It's been very cool having his phone with Internet access--whenever we see something of interest, we just Google it and read about it right then. And the two guys in the back seat (the human one and the furry one) kept busy playing computer games and watching the cars go by.


Fun times for sure! Alabama here we come!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gettin' ready...

Well, our flooring is now completely installed! And it's beautiful! I love, love, LOVE it!! I will be sure to post pictures when we get back from Alabama.

Alabama. Yep, we are heading south again. Early tomorrow morning we will be embarking on our first cross-country road trip to see my mom. It will be Rande and I, Zach and our dog Brodie. Sounds like fun, huh?! It's going to be a lot of driving, but we are all very excited!

Before church tonight, Rande went to pick up our rental car. Whoa, is it nice!! It's a very cool Chevy Tahoe with all sorts of bells and whistles. We needed the room and didn't want to put the mileage on our own vehicle. Plus, we got a very good deal. So-- we have our Auto Club books and our trip all mapped out. The snacks and water are packed and ready to go, we've got plenty of good books and our ipods--the only thing left to do is load up the luggage. Unfortunately we can't do that yet because, well, umm...I haven't finished packing. (Then why am I on the computer?? Good question! Because I am p-r-o-c-r-a-s-t-i-n-a-t-i-n-g! I hate packing--too many decisions!)

Anyway. When we get to Alabama we'll be celebrating Zach's 17th birthday and Thanksgiving. I believe we'll also be making a trip to Nashville to see Ricky Skaggs and his fine band Kentucky Thunder play some awesome bluegrass gospel at the Ryman. Woohoo!

So we're off! I'll be checking in with y'all (I'm practicing for when we get to Alabama) since I'll have the laptop. Oh, and if you are interested in reading the details (and I do mean details) of Ashleigh and baby Merritt's birth story, you can go here. Honestly, I cannot believe the things that happen in our family. There is always a story! : ) But can I just say--Ashleigh's daddy and I are so thankful and proud of her. She did a great job! (John too!) We were a little concerned about how she'd do with no medication, being that she has never had a real high tolerance for pain. But she did awesome! The Lord answered our prayers to give her strength and she did it! I am so thankful we were a part of the whole experience

Ok. I need to get back to packing. I'm dragging my feet--can't you tell?! : )

Blessings to you all....

Monday, November 12, 2007

A little piece of quiet...

Look what I found this morning when I walked into the room that use to be our dining room....

My sweet son made a little sitting area for me in the midst of our controlled chaos otherwise known as "the remodel".

Zach brought in the table and included some of my favorite things...my lone fall decoration (I usually go all out with the fall decorations, but have not been able to for the past three years), my reading book (Steve and Me-by Terri Irwin-about her life with the Croc Hunter before his untimely death), a Longaberger basket and a Yankee Candle, which of course he lit. What a guy, huh?! I love that kid! : )

Do you know why this simple act of love was so very special to me? Because this remodel has been very stressful for all of us, but especially so for Zach. He has endured a lot of upheavals in the midst of this project which was supposed to only take a few months and is now going on almost 3 years.

And what a trooper he has been! This is a young man, who when we was a little boy and we would have a houseful of people staying with us (which was often during those years), I would find him in my bedroom just sitting on the bed. The first time I found him I asked what he was doing and he answered, "I just needed a little piece of quiet." (Of course I knew he meant to say, a little peace and quiet.)

Don't we all need that sometimes? Just a little piece of quiet? And my son knew that with all the busyness of the next few days--carpet installation, an extra orchestra practice and performance, music lessons, school work, church and preparing to leave for Alabama Thursday morning--that his mom just might need a little piece of quiet every now and then. And you know what? He was right.

So thank you my sweet boy...your Mama loves you with all her heart.

Veterans Day

I know yesterday was the official day we honor veterans, but since today is the federal holiday commemorating Veterans Day, I wanted to take time to say Thank You to those who have served in the United States armed forces.

My husband served in the United States Marine Corps, my son-in-law is currently serving in the USMC and one of Zach's best friends has 18 days left of Marine Corps boot camp. We have many people close to us who have served or are serving our country in the armed forces. Most of you know too, that our own dear pastor and his family lost their beloved son-- Army Spc. Timothy Watkins--two years ago while serving in Iraq.

Veterans Day is not just another day for our family. It's the day we honor all those who have served--and the sacrifices they have made.

So to those who have served and to their families...



Thank You and God Bless You!


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Life is good!

It's good being the Grammie to two little ones--it truly is! : )

I am missing both of my little guys since leaving on Monday, but we'll be seeing them tomorrow. I'll be going to pick up Troy who is coming to stay with us for the next few days, as his daddy recovers from surgery. Ashleigh's husband is having his gallbladder removed on Friday and we thought between helping her hubby recover and having just had a baby--it might be a bit much to care for a toddler too. (ETA: Ashleigh just told me that John's mom is coming out from Colorado. This is such good news! It will be wonderful for her to see her new grandson and help care for her big boy! ::smile::)

Anyway--while we are very much looking forward to having Troy here, it's going to be a little bit interesting as to how we are going to keep him out of all the "remodel" stuff (you know, things like nails, saws, drills, ect...) Oh and did I mention that our flooring is being installed starting tomorrow?! Finally! It's going to take 2-3 days to do the first part and then the rest will be installed next Tuesday. In between we need to finish up some painting and move what little furniture is left in the house--out of the house. I am *so* excited--you can't even imagine!! This is a huge turning point in our remodel and means we are that much closer to being done. Woohoo!

And here's an ironic little piece of news: now that our remodel is nearly completed--and we've made many trips to Home Depot over the past 2 1/2 years, which happens to be a 45 minute drive--guess what opened last week? Just 6 minutes from our house? Yep, a brand spankin' new Home Depot store! You cannot imagine the bliss I experienced yesterday as I drove the short jaunt to the new store, pulled into the parking lot and walked in! And to think--it's almost just down the street from our house! Any thoughts of "why couldn't they have built this two years ago?" were wiped out of my mind as I remembered we still have baseboards to put in and lighting fixtures to purchase and install--and we won't have to drive 45 minutes anymore! Now that's something to be happy about! : )

So it's busy around here this week, for sure! But it's life and it's good. We truly have so much to be thankful for--God is good and we are blessed!

I'll leave you with a few pictures of our trip to Seaworld this past Saturday. Rande, Zach and I thought it would be fun to take the new big brother out for the day. We had so much fun and Troy was such a good boy! He is really into Nemo right now, so every fish was Nemo, except the sharks, which he knew and kept saying, "Dark! Dark!". It was too cute!






































The end! : ) Happy Wednesday!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Introducing...



Merritt Will


November 1st, 2007



5:45pm

8lbs. 2oz.

20 1/2in.










Big brother Troy--meeting little brother
Merritt for the first time...

The proud Grammie--handing precious little Merritt to his mama...













We rejoice in the blessing of the newest member of our family. We praise the Lord for a beautiful delivery and healthy baby. Ashleigh did a *great* job. In fact--she was amazing (John too!).

I'm sorry I don't have better "close-up" pictures of Merritt. There are a ton of pictures, but these are just a few of what I had on my camera. Keep checking Ashleigh's blog for more pics and the full birth story. Of course, it wouldn't be normal for our family if there wasn't a story within the story--and to be sure, this event wasn't any different!

I'll post more pictures in a few days. I want to allow Ashleigh time to post on her blog, because after all, it is her/their story!

Thank you for your prayers--the Lord answered them! I can't tell you what it meant to have so many people praying.

May you have a blessed weekend! I know we will! : )