Friday, May 29, 2009

A Memorable Memorial Day Weekend

We had FUN with the Stickler's over the long Memorial Day weekend! We piled into our minivan and drove down to Dothan and stayed with them in their home on Friday night. Then, the next day, we headed down to their family lake house in Florida! We met up with another family, and we all had a good, fulfilling weekend together...SIX kiddos and SIX adults! I was overwhelmed the first day, but I eventually came around, praise the Lord! :)

Mostly, I've posted pictures to tell of our time together...

Saturday morning, we were OFF to Silver Lake! We followed Justin's cool truck to the lake in this nasty weather, which was pretty much what we dealt with all weekend. Rain, rain, go away!!We arrived at their lake house within about an hour!!
Justin, Darby, Morgan, Paige and John Martin piled out of the BIG TRUCK! :)
Wouldn't you love to have a lakehouse with this view!?!? The water is turquoise and SO clean because it's a spring fed lake. NO gas motors allowed! Nice.A few of us braved sitting down at the pier, 'riding out' this thunder storm. It was fascinating to watch something so serene, yet powerful. God's presence is so real and so evident when we make the effort to get away from the everyday busyness of life and intentionally seclude ourselves into His nature!Justin, sportin' his "straw man" hat, holding the hornet. :)Justin is the epitomy of PATIENCE!! I've believed this since I met him back in December. I mean this as a compliment, for sure! "Please take it that way, Justin!!" :) He's SO good with Darby, with each of their beautiful children {for being a guy, he's amazing with the girls! SO into their little worlds!!}, with their home...He enjoys working with his hands and doesn't mind getting dirty! In fact, I think he likes to get dirty! :)
Rhys did GREAT!!!! He slept well at night (good, long hours), napped well during the days, played well {or let all the other kiddos play well with him because they're all older}, and he enjoyed the new float that Daddy and I just bought him!John Martin & Rhys kept each other company, but I think they'll be much more interactive the older they get!! {I hope!}I was intrigued by everyone's unique qualities and preferences throughout the weekend. Going back through our pictures, I noticed that we captured everyone in their 'true form.' Here, Justin displays his laid back, relaxed demeanor. He'd just pick up his guitar and start strummin' and singin'. I appreciate that. He even does this at home, whether anyone's around to listen or not! He was singing worship music on Sunday morning, which reminded me that it was Sunday!Darby's 'true form'...very casual and laid back! She was quick to escape to a good book, something I'd imagine she doesn't have much opportunity to do during her busy days of 'real life.' Morgan, in her 'true form'! Brave, courageous and spunky, walking down the narrow, spiral staircase...all alone!! Her parents know what I mean by those descriptive adjectives, especially in the context of this staircase! Darby's heart races when the kids get close to those windy stairs {and rightly so, sister! ;)}.And the Raiger, what a cutie ALL that she does!!! I could just kiss on her all day long! She's doing something here that we all did very well during our weekend together...EAT! :) She's sportin' a yummy powdered donut here. Oh, look at those sweet and beautiful brown eyes {just like her Mama's if you ask me!! ;)}!
All the kiddos, plus Judson, the other couple's son, piled high on Darby, here. :) She's an AMAZING mom! I aspire to be more like Darby, as a woman, a wife and a mommy! She is so selfless, and I love how she and Justin see their children as true individuals, not just as "kids." They treat their children with respect and give them choices so that they're learning to be well-rounded. I appreciate their model as parents, and I absolutely see God's purpose in our getting to know them and learn through and with them. I am thankful.
Well, Darby did a great summary of our weekend together here, and we have so many more pics here, but I could only post so many on this post. Please go see the rest of our weekend!!
Thank you, friends, for letting us bunk with you guys through the long weekend, and, Darby, once you get that RV, y'all are welcome to land in our driveway ANYtime!! ;) I hope to get to see yall again very soon!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Recent Fun with Friends

Since we've been temporarily "misplaced," we've been trying to "make the most of it" by livin' it up in good fellowship with friends!! Sweet Sarah joined us for lunch at Zoe's!
Our community group went out to dinner last week at Sweet Bones Alabama up at the Summit. My favorite part was watching Rhys interact with all the ladies as they took turns HOLDING him and loving on him! I've learned to let others hold Rhys, as it gives him good social time and me a good break! ;)
Kat & Virginia, thank you! :)
Rhys was "HEAD" of the table!! :) How cute! I had to snap a shot of this...practicing his leadership skills (just like his daddy!!) already!! I love it!
Then, our sweet friend, Missy, {JUST MARRIED!! :)} came into town for a good visit! She couldn't get enough of this little man! She LOVES babies!! "Missy, you will make an amazing mommy!! :) Thank you for coming to our hotel ;) to visit! You look FABULOUS, as marriage evidently suits you well! I know you were excited to get back home to Dallas to be with your sweet man!" ;)
Natalie came with Missy, and I feel terrible for not even wishing her a happy birthday!
"Natalie, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, friend! I'm so sorry that I forgot! From your blog, I can tell you had fun and a beautiful, yummy-looking Edgar's cake to share with all your great girlfriends!!" :)
Sweet Karen came for a fun visit by the poolside! :) We have to take full advantage of all the hotel amenities, right? This surely includes the beautiful pool! :)
"Thank you for coming straight to visit us after work, Karen!! You're a sweetheart, and I enjoyed catching up!"
More fun visits with friends to come, as our gracious Lord permits!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Further Progress...

Day Two: Sheetrock ceilings are in!!Above, view from the front door. Below, view from kitchen to dining room.Below, view from dining back to kitchen and hallway.
Meanwhile at the hotel...
My best friend Ashley and her 9-month-old (I can't believe that!!!) joined us for a swim today!! Daddy joined us, too!! He decided to introduce Rhys to the OUTdoor {COLD!!!} pool!
Yeah, he wasn't so much a fan of the cold temperatures, but I think we have a future swimmer on our hands! He loves to splish-splash!
Ah....the life! :)
We wore him out...
P.S. Sarah & Miss Linda, thank you for Rhys' little outfit!! ;) Recognize it? :)
Have a great weekend!!

Progress on the Home Front...

Work began in our home yesterday!!! We now have walls of visqueen plastic all over the downstairs, leading to the upstairs. As you can see in the pictures below, all the sheetrock ceilings were torn out downstairs, so we have a nice display of rafters and exposed light fixtures as our new {temporary!!} decor! :)
Above, a view from our front door, looking into the hallway, toward the dining room.
Below, the kitchen ceiling.
Above, obviously, our kitchen, and, below, Russell is standing on the counter tops looking into the dining room ceiling. The lovely dining room ceiling...

Russell works from home these days, every once in a while checking in on the progress. He just told me that the sheetrock crew is already putting up our new ceilings today! More progress!! Yay!!

Meanwhile, living in the hotel has been great {although, it will be so refreshing to get back home when that time comes!!}...hanging out by the pool with my hubby, our cute son, my sweet sister and girlfriends has been NICE! :)

Happy Friday!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rhys, Your Mama is A Huge Fan of You!

Is it possible to take too many pictures of your own children? Nah...Don't you just love the above outfit? :)
Below, the dreaded 'tummy time.' Do all babies hate that time? :) My dad is holding Rhys here...what an irresistable face!!!
Bath time...
Does every baby LOVE bathing as much as ours??? :)
Look at this beautiful face!!! Where did he get those perfect lips???? Not from me! I guess from Daddy!
A happy boy...just fed, changed and on his activity mat! :)
Such a self-sufficient man!!! He has found his thumb!! :)

A Happy Mother's Day!!

What a sweet day Mother's Day was for me this year!! :) My first! We all got to spend the day with my family over lunch and a good visit. I am THANKFUL for my family, and I APPRECIATE my mom, for all the little and big things she's ever done and still does for me! Simple things like packing my lunches for my days at elementary :), taking us to school, tucking me in at night (loved that!), hearing me out when I needed to talk/vent all my growing-up years {not that I'm not still growing up :)}, and for loving me UNconditionally all my life!

Now, she gets to love on this little man!! :)Not to mention how my dad absolutely eats up each moment with the little guy!And I appreciate my sweet Granny, who has been much like a mom to me all my life. When my mom was shocked with the news of TWINS on her DELIVERY BED, Granny took on the role of helping raise us. How selfless these women are! When I go to visit Granny these days, she immediately sits down on her sofa, sets a pillow in her lap, and says, "Bring me Rhys! I'm waiting!!" :)
As a new mom this year, I have an all-new appreciation for my moms :) this year!!!

"I love you, Mama & Granny! Happy Mother's Day!!"

Home Sweet Home

We're livin' it up at the local Hampton Inn! Seriously, I told Russell over the weekend that we might as well make the most of our temporary home!! :) You canNOT beat FREE yummy hot breakfasts EVERY morning, FREE horse douvres each weekday afternoon, daily housekeeping, not having to make up our bed...basically, seeing this as a vacation at home! It's "icing on the cake" that I still get to visit with my sweet friends during the days, too! :)

So, thank you for your prayers and sweet comments of concern!! Please do continue to pray that our home reconstruction goes smoothly and as quickly as the Lord would allow. We've, so far, been given 3 weeks at our new, temporary home sweet home, with permission to stay longer if needed. Well see! Looks like work will begin on the homefront this Wednesday morning...forecasting tearing out sheetrock walls and ceilings, carpet and whatever else! Fun times ahead!! :)

Again, we praise the Lord for how HE has given us the positive outlook we have. We could definitely be dwelling on negatives, but, really, life is too short for that! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rain, Rain, Go Away!!! :)

Yesterday morning started out very normal...wake up, do my daily Bible study, feed Rhys...I was even SO good to do my morning chore of dusting (even the ceiling fans!!). :) Then, I decided to give myself and Rhys some outside time with a short, 20-minute walk! The morning was going great! I was thankful that, although it was cloudy, it was not raining!! Outside, that is! {Keep reading...}

When I approached our front door at the end of our walk, I heard a LOUD roar. I quickly {with great panic, I confess!!} unlocked and opened the door to a waterfall pouring into our downstairs/main level from all of the ceiling fixtures...through the canned lights into our hallway, through the flourescent light into the kitchen, through the air vent and soon through new cracks, tears and holes in the ceiling! I was definitely in PANIC mode!

Of course, who do I call first, but my wonderful, brilliant, VERY CALM hubby! I knew he was about to give a presentation to one of his clients {whoops!}, but he was so GOOD to calmly walk me through turning off the main electrical breaker so that we wouldn't get electricuted. Brilliant idea!! Then, I assessed what I could without lighting and tried to relay all that to Russell. Basically, from what I could see {which was WRONG}, it looked like rain water might have been collecting on our roof, which finally gave way and was now gushing into the attic, which was then gushing into our home!! First, into the utility room, then, flooding into the upstairs hallway, filling the upstairs floor and finally creating waterfalls through the lower-level ceiling and flooding the downstairs floor! I had to let Russell go, but I ultimately called 911 { :) } because I knew they could at least come shut off the main water, which is exactly what those kind gentlemen came and did! Whew! I could calm down a little at that point {even with ALL that water still draining!!}. I'm not looking forward to getting our water bill this month! It was GALLONS & GALLONS!!!

This is a view from our front door. Obviously, by this time, the water was only dripping. I wish I'd thought to grab my camera to let you see the INdoor RAIN, only 30 minutes earlier!!I got smart and put out large coolers, our kitchen trash can, and pots & pans to collect some of the remaining water.
Below, a close-up of the canned lighting. This sheetrock WILL be replaced. It's drooping/swagging/uneven.
The kitchen ceiling was hit, too! Water poured through the vent and flourescent lighting...
...onto the kitchen floor. Lovely standing water below!
Below, the dining room ceiling, just below the WASHER & DRYER!! Wouldn't you be concerned that those heavy machines would fall through the ceiling!?!? I was! {And the washer was FULL of standing water!!}The carpet is 100% ruined! New hardwoods in our future??? :)
Ah ha!! My brilliant husband comes home and excavates :) until he finds the guilty source!!! Here is the culprit...the cold water pipe on the washing machine has a tear {piping which we've since found out through our insurance company is faulty and has been 're-called'!!}So, the CORRECT assessment evidently is...the cold water pipe tore, allowing for GALLONS of water to spray at a SUPER FAST speed up to the utility room ceiling...look below at how the force of the water caused the sheetrock's "popcorn" texture to come off!
Then, the water came back down into the washer to fill it up and overflow into the rest of the house. I snapped this quick picture below of some things just above the washer...the Brawny paper towels didn't soak everything up! ;)The following pictures are what the house looks like since last night...
Dehumidifiers are draining water from the interior of our home into our sinks upstairs and downstairs.
Below, notice we have FIVE machines running just downstairs
Upstairs, we have seven machines running! It's LOUD!!!
Rhys' room...a mess!

God has blessed us with a positive attitude about all of this. Russell is stoked :) about finally getting hardwoods! Of course, he left for a long drill weekend yesterday afternoon, so he's not having to live in this mess. HOWEVER, in his defense, he handled ALL the paperwork before leaving, and I CHOSE to stay home in the mess. Once I knew we could have most of our electricity turned back on, as well as the water, I felt like it might be best for me and Rhys to stay in the comfort of our home, not to mention to be here during the days for all the insurance and contract workers to come and go.

Current status: the air in the house is getting SUPER DRY! I'm not sure when all the 'construction' {tearing out sheetrock walls and ceilings, etc.} will start, but I promise you that Rhys & I will not stay here for that! :) You can certainly pray that the Lord would continue to bless our attitudes with HIS perspective and that the rest of this process will go quickly and smoothly! Thank you, and, for the record, I do praise our Lord for all things, even for the discomforts in which He is currently growing me/our family!! :)

P.S. I do kinda stinks that I spent all that time and energy doing my chore of dusting yesterday when all this happened. :) Oh, well!