Tuesday, December 30, 2008


There is now a dedicated site for Greyson Morris. Nicole's brother in California has set it up. He did a wonderful job. There is even a resources page that is great. There is also a slideshow that is amazing. Please take a minute and check it out. Please, please, please pass on the website. Awareness is the only way we are going to have a chance at improving newborn screening standards.


Monday, December 29, 2008

A Much Needed Retreat.....

I have a confession to make......  The past two days, I have been out of town.  Yes, I was not home when Brayden had his first sleep over and that killed me.  I think that is why I was so nervous...... But......  I have spent the entire day scrapping.  It always is great to get a little girl time......  But, as I scrap pictures of my precious children and wonderful husband....  I miss them terribly.  

I have a dear sweet friend who started a tradition last year.....  the Sunday after Christmas we meet in Fredericksburg and stay two nights in a wonderful hotel and scrap.  We laugh, talk, and catch up.  We spend the entire time scrapping.  I absolutely love it!  I love preserving memories and celebrating our family.  I love the thought of being able to give them their book of memories when the time is right......  I treasure the time when Brayden and I go through his books and talk about the past.  I look forward to doing the same with Bailee.

Daddy is home with the kids and holding down the fort.  He is doing it all.  There are not many men out there that would be so supportive.  He supports me, and knows how important it is for me to have my girl time.  I know he is equally supportive of me coming home ASAP tomorrow. 

With that said.....  I always look forward to returning home after being gone.  My heart skips a beat as I think of walking into the house and seeing the three most important people in my life. I look forward to their hugs and kisses and welcoming me home.

While I scrap, I reminisce on the precious memories the photos represent.  I see my family.  I see my heart in Justin and our two precious children.  My heart smiles.  Yes, I am truly blessed. I am truly thankful.  I could not want for more.  God IS so good!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

My little man is growing up!

Tonight, Brayden is at his first sleep over.  It is after midnight.  It looks like he is going to make it for the night.  I just knew that he would call home, wanting us to pick him up.  I was positive the call would come. Well..... guess he is a little braver than I imagined.  

He is staying the night with his classmate Riley. Thank goodness I know Riley's parents very well. Otherwise, I would be a nervous wreck.  

Being that he made it all night at a friend's house tells me.....  he is a very secure and brave little man.  It also reminds me of how very fast he is growing up.  Where does the time go?  Oh how I would love to keep him little......... 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Dinner update.....

Well to update you on my Christmas Dinner post....

Well the turkey that I was so nervous to cook..... turns out I wasted a lot of energy worrying..... it was a fully cooked turkey.  I totally had no idea.  So, obviously cooking wasn't an issue.  I was sure I couldn't mess this up....  I mean come on, all I had to do was heat up the turkey in the oven. The instructions said.....  6-8 minutes per pound.  I figured 60 minutes would be plenty. After the 60 minutes were up, I took out the turkey.  Oh boy, did it smell wonderful. It looked wonderful. Started carving the darn thing.... (that in itself is a job!) things were going good.  As I got deeper into the turkey......  it was friggin cold!  Yep, the simple job of heating it up..... didn't go so well.  After carving the meat with Uncle Tom's help.... we nuked it in the microwave.  I have to say....  it turned out pretty darn good!  I had also fixed a green bean casserole.  It turned out yummy!  It feels so good seeing others go for seconds!  Yes, I am proud of myself.  It is rare for #1. me to be cooking and #2. to see others go for seconds on my creations.  The only other thing....  I totally forgot about the dinner roles.  I wouldn't have even remembered if my mother had asked about them.  They were still in the fridge!  

After we ate, we all ended up outside, the boys threw the football, we rode the go-cart and golf cart and just enjoyed being together as a family.  I was able to try out my new tri-pod for my camcorder as I filmed everyone outside.  Oh, the nerdy side of me was shining very brightly. Maybe once I figure out how to upload videos correctly, I will post some on my blog.

These few days after Christmas are tough.  The whole thought of taking down the Christmas tree depresses me.  There is something about walking through the living room into the kitchen in the middle of the night, with only the light of the tree to guide you.  Absolutely magical. Love it.  

So what have I learned from my first Christmas dinner?  Well, first off check and see if my turkey is fully cooked or not, second is to make darn certain I look at how much the turkey weighs and go with the longer amount of time.....  more like 8 minutes per pound.  

I have also decided on some resolutions for 2009.....that it would do me some good to take a cooking class.  That should be interesting! 

Monday, December 22, 2008

My first Christmas Dinner

I have been married for 9 1/2 years.  Although I have hosted Christmas dinner at our home, it was always everyone bringing the food and I just provided the gathering place.  Well this Christmas will be a first for me.  I will be cooking or baking or whatever you call it, a turkey. Let me back track....  I had actually said to my husband TODAY.... gosh I haven't heard from anyone about what they are bringing.... I wonder why.....  he then proceeds to remind me that I had announced at Thanksgiving that I was ready to do Christmas dinner on my own and for no one to bring anything, that I would do it all.  What was I thinking?  That couldn't have been me saying that,  no stinkin way!  But..... I did.....

Luckily, my family knows me better than that and everyone was already planning to provide! No one knows you better than your family!   

I am a nervous wreck.  For those of you that know me well, I do not cook.  The times I try, it usually turns out yuck!  It is ironic because my mother is a wonderful cook and can cook just about anything, and it is so darn good!  There are a few things I do well.....  I can make a bowl of instant oatmeal to just the right consistency, just ask my kids.  I also make a to die for grilled cheese.....  again, just ask my kiddos.  

BUT take today for example, I put a roast in the crock pot.  I added all the yummy extras such as carrots, onions, and potatoes.  I turned it to high and walked away feeling oh so proud.  Well Justin and I went out to finish our Christmas shopping and then had a nice dinner.  Over dinner Justin says...... oh no, did you leave the crock pot on?  The look on my face told him what he already knew.  

Thank goodness Opi came to the rescue and ran to our house and turned it off.  Hopefully Christmas dinner will go much smoother.  I keep picturing the turkey from the movie Christmas Vacation (my all time favorite Christmas movie, by the way).  I have provided the clip below, just for your entertainment.  Enjoy!  

Well..... wish me luck!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Past Month In Pictures

Bailee loves wearing her cap around the house with a snotty, snotty nose~

We visited Schlitterbahn's Hill Country Christmas~

Brayden celebrated his 6th birthday on December 3rd~

Bailee playing, I love the look on her face here~

Oh, how I love our stockings~

Brayden putting the finishing touches on our Christmas tree~

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grey's Challenge

Today, I attended the most inspiring memorial service.  It was a beautiful celebration of Greyson's life.  At the end of the service, we handed out balloons, and released them all at once. As the balloons floated towards the heavens, I felt an overwhelming peace.  I pray and hope that Grey's family can find peace.  Those in attendance, also left with a card, and on one side was a picture of Grey, and on the other, was Grey's Challenge.  It is too wonderful not to share.  

Grey's Challenge
"Live today, like there's no tomorrow"

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
Psalm 90:12

Step #1
Develop attitudes and priorities that understand and respect the brevity of you life.

Step #2
Commit yourself to seek and to seize opportunities to live more for the benefit of others than for yourself.

Step #3
Inventory your personality and make alterations to the things that hinder the expression of your new attitude.

Step #4 
Remind yourself everyday that, life that is abundant and full can only be lived one day at a time.

I accept the challenge and I hope you will do the same.  

Friday, December 19, 2008

Saying Goodbye.... For Now.....

Tomorrow is Greyson Morris' memorial service.  My heart hurts, thinking about his family.  We celebrate his life.  We grieve with his family.  We shed tears for what might have been.  We shed tears of anger.  Anger at such a horrible disease.  Anger that it is not screened for in our state. But we have hope.  Hope for the future of newborn screening.   

This precious boy has touched so very many.  He will continue to touch so very many from heaven.   

We will fight for Grey.  We will join the forces.  We will become soldiers raging a war against Krabbes disease.  We will fight to get newborn screening required for fatal diseases.  We will not quit, we will fight until the end, until victory, just as Grey did.    

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The True Story of St. Nick

The other morning Brayden and I were on our way to school.  We always listen to KLOVE.  For those of you that aren't familiar with it..... it is an awesome christian radio station.  

Well there was a little segment on there that told about St. Nick.  It goes on and on about the "real" St. Nick and how he disguised himself and then handed out things to those in need.  Brayden and I both were listening intently.  Suddenly.......  I hear St. Nick died in 344 A.D.  But his tradition is still carried on today (something to that effect.... I may have the date wrong.....)

Oh NO!  THEY DID NOT JUST SAY THAT, was my first thought.  I cringed.  I dreaded the words I knew he would say and at the same time, I am praying that he didn't hear that part.  Well he did hear it loud and clear....  our conversation went like this....

Brayden: "Mommy did you just hear that?  St. Nick really died?"

Me: "What honey?"

Brayden: "They just said St. Nick died!"

Me: "Yes, I did hear it.  But honey, that was a long, long time ago."

Brayden: "St. Nick still gives toys though.  How could he do that if he isn't alive?"

Me: "Like they said.... we still carry the tradition.  He lives in our hearts."

Brayden: "But Santa and St. Nick are friends.  Does that mean that Santa is dead?"

Me: "No way is Santa dead.  Absolutely not!"

Brayden: "Thank goodness."

I would really like to call KLOVE and ask them to please take away the part that tells of him dying.  We heard it again yesterday and Brayden says "oh, here is that story again about St. Nick and how he isn't alive anymore."  (as he is rolling his eyes)  

Have any of you listened to KLOVE and heard the same story?  I can so relate to the whole.... we have lost the true meaning of Christmas and have commercialized it too much.  But I treasure the magic in my children's eyes as I read Christmas stories to them, or as we write letters to Santa, or even when they see the empty plate where Santa's cookies were, the night before, and all that is left, are crumbs.  I love and cherish those memories!  I am going to hang onto them as long as I can.  Thank goodness he seemed to accept my explanation and has not brought it up since.  Woo.... escaped that one without a scratch!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You just never know.....

Everyday, we meet people as we muddle through our daily lives.  We come in contact with people constantly. There are some that you click with.....  there are some you may not click with right away.... and others that you don't click with at all.  You can never predict the impact that a person will have on your life.  

I have learned that time builds bridges.  These bridges become unshakable, unpenetrable, and solid to the core.  They are bridges we know are there if we need to cross them....  we can rely on them, even if they have cracks.  They are permanent fixtures, even when other bridges are built.  

Some people will come along and you will never be the same.  You will be a better person because of them.  It will often be someone you never suspect.  

Have you experienced this?  Think back to the first time you met them......  did you ever imagine or dream, that because of them you would be a better person?  Because of them, your life will never be the same. 

My hope is this.....  that you come across a handful (hopefully more) of people in your lives that leave you a better person.  That help mold you into the person you are.  Hold on to those individuals tightly......  it is not everyday that it happens....

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Greyson Morris has earned his wings......

It is with a heavy heart that I say, Greyson Morris earned his angel wings this past Friday. He peacefully went to sleep on his daddy's chest, his favorite place to be.  Please keep Bill, Nicole, Luke, Seth, and Riley in your prayers.  They have a special angel watching over them.

It is unbelievable the amount of lives that Greyson has touched.  I just know he will continue to touch lives from his heavenly home.  I would like to post a prayer that another teacher sent out upon the news of Greyson's passing.



Would it be ok to talk to Greyson for a moment?




Although you were not here very long, you managed to touch a lot of people.  Your smile, character and courage are something we as adults often strive for but never achieve.  Though you are gone, you will not be forgotten, and In fact you look over all those you left behind.  You are whole again as The Heavenly Father who made you does to all of his angels.  You will be waiting for your family, and when they arrive, they will be greeted by that same smile, character and courage they remember so well this painful day. 


Greyson, you now know your purpose here with us for The Lord has told you and explained to you all that is still a mystery to us, so that when we arrive, you will share in that and the explanation will be clear!


Greyson, there are many heavy hearts right now and you know that you can and will touch them all.  Whenever they are sad, you will be there in a fleeting memory! Whenever they weep, you will be that distraction to draw them away from their pain!  Most importantly, when it becomes too unbearable for your family, you will simply turn to your right and ask God to lift that burden and he will carry them!


Thank you Greyson for touching so many…. and Lord…Thank you for sending him here!   


In your Heavenly name we Pray,



Thursday, December 11, 2008

I am learning new things.....

Lately I have learned many things about myself.  I thought I would share this new knowledge:

I have spent too much time taking life for granted.  Not seeing what has been there all along.

I am deep, deep thinker, to a fault.

I am an all or nothing person.  I am passionate about things that matter to me.  I am either all in 100% or all out 100%.  There isn't any middle road to me and there never has been.  

I love with my whole heart and soul, no strings attached.  

I don't hide my feelings well, even when it is best that I do.  I can't pretend.  I have never been a pretender.  In the past, the times I have tried pretending or hiding, I have been read like a book.   

I crumble at the thought of not being able to rescue those who hurt.  I can't stand the thought.  I hate seeing others hurt.  It kills me.  It eats at me.  It keeps me up long after I have gone to bed.

Do I know I can't rescue others?  Yes.  But knowing that, is what hurts.   

This is me.  It is who I am.  Is it right?  Some would think not.  But for me, it is all I know.   

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Epitome of Love

Tonight I was able to see little Greyson and his family.  He was sleeping so soundly, the entire time.  It was such a blessing to see them all.  I am grateful that they opened their home to others. They are truly an incredible family.  They think of others in their most difficult times.  I can just imagine how truly precious these last moments with their son are to them, and tonight they shared that time.  That in itself is amazing to me.  Not only is Greyson going to be impacting others, but the entire family is, in ways that may never be known to them. 

The entire trip out there, I prayed for strength.  I begged for strength.  Once again, God provided.
For the past almost two weeks, I have consumed myself with researching Krabbes Disease.  I have contacted others that have been affected by this horrible disease.  I did this because I felt so completely helpless.  I was frantic searching for answers, knowing that some may never be known.  I have found comfort in reading God's word.  I brought an extra bible to school.  It sits on my desk.  I find myself grabbing it between classes, during my conference period, and lunch time.  I can just see a student asking, "Hey Mrs. Dunlap, whatcha reading there?"  Then going home and telling his/her parents that Mrs. Dunlap was reading the Bible today in class.  Can't you imagine the phone calls I would receive!  Nope, don't want to open that can of worms!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Researching Krabbes

I have spent the past few days researching Krabbes Disease on the Internet.  There is little statistical data out there that I could find.  There is a higher prevalence in certain countries. But as far as U.S. data, it just isn't found.  

There are many questions that I have, such as:

I want to know prevalence in the U.S.  Reasons why it isn't screened for in most states.  How many children are currently fighting Krabbes?  What are the reasons that Krabbes isn't currently screened?  I hope and pray the answer isn't because it is such a rare disease or that it is related to cost.  To little Greyson and his family, it isn't rare.  It is a horrible reality.  

I did find that Illinois will soon join New York as a state where Krabbes is a newborn screening. How many other states are in this process?  What is the protocol for contacting lawmakers?  I did find information on a bill, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007.  It is suppose to be on the President's desk for a signature in the near future.  From what I found..... it has been put on hold.... why?  Why the heck isn't a 2007 bill a law by 2009?  My hope, is that it will be.

In her most recent post titled Seth, Nicole talks about Seth having PKU.  He had a question..... why is it that his condition was more important than his brothers.....  I would love to have him ask that question to lawmakers.  I want those in charge of passing these laws to answer him directly.  Not another parent should go through this.  Would it be a different story if a powerful lawmaker was going through having a child with Krabbes?

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Grey's Gift

Yeah, Nicole has started a blog!  It is Grey's Gift.  She has a post that tells Grey's story.  I am so very excited!  It is listed under the blogs I follow.  Check it out!  

Friday, December 5, 2008

I've been quiet lately.... I know....

It has been a few days since I have blogged.  That is very unlike me, I know.  Honestly, I haven't been up to it.  I will be back to blogging, soon enough.  It just seems so.... I don't know what the words are....  but when I look at what Nicole is going through.....  I just can't.....  I did want to post though and thank every one of you for your prayers and emails and for sending gift cards.  Please continue to pass on my post about Grey being diagnosed with Krabbe's Disease and the need for awareness.  The post is Life is short... please take a minute and pass it on.  I added some pictures of this sweet little guy on that post. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Life is short....

I want you to meet someone.  Her name is Nicole.  Not only is she a coworker of mine, who teaches across the hall from me, she is my friend.  When I got pregnant with Bailee, she shared with me her desire to give it one more shot, and try for a girl.  She already had three boys.  I told her she was nuts to already have three and consider even a fourth!  I could barely handle one. Well, about 3 1/2 months later..... she was pregnant.  It was great because we experienced pregnancy together for a few short months.  In December of 2007 little Greyson Morris was born. Oh, is he a cutie!  Yes, she was blessed with another boy.  A boy that would end up touching lives in ways only God knew at that point.....

Around the time that he was 6 months.....  Nicole started to become concerned because Greyson began losing some of the milestones he had achieved.  The doctors were also concerned and before they knew it..... all kinds of tests were being done.  From MRI's, CAT scans, spinal taps, blood work... you name it, he had it done.  MRI tests revealed a deterioration in white matter of the brain.  

Last week, they received the news.  Greyson has Krabbe's Disease.  It is not common.  1 in 100,000 children are born with it.  It is fatal.  The average expectancy is just short of two years old, for those that are diagnosed with infantile onset.  Greyson is deteriorating rapidly and they have given him 1-3 months to live.  The worst part.....  there is newborn screening for Krabbe's Disease.  And if caught early, the survival rate is good with cord blood transplant. Many infants have been saved with the transplant.  The disease affects the myelin sheath of the nervous system, which is the protective coating of nerves.  It causes severe deterioration of motor skills. At this point....  when Nicole brings him up to school for a visit.... he still gives you that oh so precious grin....  

Currently New York is the only state that requires Krabbe's Disease screening to be part of the newborn screening. Texas only screens for 29 out of 55 diseases!  The only reason New York now requires it, is because of Jim Kelly, a Pro Football Hall of Fame Member and former Buffalo Bills Quarterback.  His son Hunter fought a brave battle against this horrible disease. Please visit www.huntershope.org for the story on Hunter Kelly.  Also, www.krabbes.com is a great site.  

When the call from the doctor came with the diagnosis, it was Bill, Nicole's husband who received it.  He was told the news.  Because they had planned family portraits to be done the following day, he decided he would not tell his wife until after the portraits.  He knew that if he told her, she would not have gone through with the family portraits.  I commend Bill for that. They did take the family portraits and they turned out absolutely beautiful.  Nicole and I discussed today what an absolute treasure those photographs will be....  

Nicole's strength is amazing.  After seeing the portraits I could not stop bawling....  she cried right along with me.  I just can't fathom the pain that she is dealing with.  Knowing that you literally only have days left with your child.  Her strength comes from knowing that something good will come out of this and that Greyson will touch so many lives during his short time with us and continue to once in heaven.  She says it is so hard to watch him get frustrated because he can't move....  he wants to play around with his brothers and can't.    

I am joining them in their fight to make Krabbe's Disease a part of the required newborn screening.  No parent should have to endure the death of a child when it could have been caught and successfully treated as a newborn.  

Hospice is being called in.  They will help Greyson to be as comfortable as possible.  At this point, most nights he stays up all night screaming.  Hopefully they can provide him the comfort he needs.

I have a request......  I know we all are struggling financially....  trust me I know.  BUT, if at all possible I would like to collect Wal-Mart gift cards for the family or any other gift cards for that matter.  This way, they will be able to get gifts for the kids and get food for themselves and have a GREAT Christmas.....  any tiny bit counts....  if you are able to help, please email me at dunlap9499@gvtc.com or visit our school website at www.comalisd.org/District_Web_Site/ChMS/ChMS_Main.asp for our school mailing address. Please don't mention my name or this blog.  Also, please forward this post on to others....  the more the merrier.  I know I am being bold in asking this but this is an opportunity for us to pay it forward.  Also, please pray for the family and tonight as you put your kids to bed..... hold them a little longer..  give them that extra kiss.  Life is precious and so very short.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


My brother is engaged!  It all happened yesterday......  I am so very happy for them both.  I have truly never seen him this happy.  He is doing wonderful.  He is living in South Texas working in the oil fields.  We love Crissy and her two kiddos and look forward to her officially joining our family.  I found a picture of the ring he bought her.  I had to post it.... it is beautiful in the picture.....  but it looks even better in person!  He did oh so good, even if he is my brother! 

Also, I took this picture a couple months ago of my brother looking at Crissy as she was telling a story.  The look tells it all.  They are truly meant to be together.  

Congratulations to you both!  

Friday, November 28, 2008

Family Pictures

Today we headed to Landa Park.  My parents, the four of us, Aunt Paula and Hayli, and my brother and his fiance Crissy all dressed up and met there at 11:30.  It was an absolute adventure. First.....  my mom and I were scoping out areas to take the pictures....  I handed her my camera and she began taking shots..... she started walking near the water..... and she FELL!  She hit pretty hard and I saw her head bob against the rocks....  thank God she was okay...  it was such a NASTY fall.  She did pretty good..... her white shirt was still white!  My camera lens didn't fare as well. Mind you.... we had just gotten there, and this was the camera we were going to use....  luckily I had another lens I brought with me, just in case.  Of course a lens can be replaced.... she can't.... Then, Brayden heads up this canyon, and he falls.... The men were good sports but towards the end, they were done and had enough.  

I was able to catch a shot of my parents laughing like crazy.  My brother was making fun of dad and they got to laughing.  It is so them and I am so glad I captured that moment.  The best shots are those candid moments that are not posed and your subjects aren't expecting it.

Here are some of my favorites:

Daddy with his princess.

I love this one... but I could never get daddy to keep his eyes open!

The whole gang!

Yep! He fell..... I told him he was going to...  a mom just knows these things.....

He loves the camera!

My parents.... laughing like crazy.  

Guess who forgot to put the Elf on the Shelf!

Yep, you guessed it... ME....  So here I was blogging about how excited I was to start this and I even introduced our elf Nicholas last night.....  Well.....  Justin got up this morning and noticed that Nicholas was in the same spot he was last night.....  Luckily, he quickly found a new spot before Brayden noticed.....  Thank you Jesus!  Gosh, I knew I would probably forget to move him... BUT not the first darn night.  I have all the way till Christmas Eve to remember....  Lord help me!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Daddy dresses his princess

So.... I had this cute cute little outfit for Bailee picked out for Thanksgiving.  Daddy was so gracious and dressed Bailee before we left for Grammy and Papaw's house.  You can't tell in the pictures but I had her hair fixed with a bow.  She was so precious.  As the day wore on.... she ended up having her pants off and ran around the house in her shirt, diaper, and socks.  
Little did I know.... daddy didn't see the socks I sat out so he chose his own...  he put John Deere socks on her!  I had to take a picture of them.  It was too funny!  That's a daddy for you!

Meet Nicholas the elf!

Meet Nicholas the elf, our new Dunlap Christmas Tradition.  It was priceless!  I am so glad we did this!  You should have seen Brayden's face as I was reading him the story. He couldn't believe that I let him in on the big secret.  We chose the name Nicholas as in St. Nicholas......  Brayden first came up with AntaClaus.... but thankfully chose Nicholas.  We placed him on a shelf and Brayden whispered to him what he wanted him to tell Santa.  As I was walking away to get the camera......  I heard Brayden whisper to Nicholas "you are pretty cool."  Brayden said he even saw him nod his head yes.  It is memories like these that will stay with us forever.  He will always remember Nicholas the elf....  Oh, the magic of Christmas in the eyes of a child.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Big Boo Boo(s)

Wow, what a weekend!  Let's see..... where to start, where to start.....

I did end up finding The Elf on the Shelf at Rolling Oaks Mall and it was 50% off!  I can't wait until Thanksgiving evening.  It comes in this box and it also includes a GREAT hardback book that explains it to kids from the elf's point of view.  Too cute!

Grammy and I officially took Bailee on her first shopping adventure to the mall.  Bailee was on her best behavior.  We only had one disaster.  She had a diaper blow out and I didn't have any extra clothes with me....  Thank goodness we were at Macy's.  I had a great excuse to buy her a new outfit.  She also had her first official hair cut Saturday.  I spent too much energy on worrying how difficult it was going to be..... guess what, it turned out great!  She loved sitting in the car and "driving".  She has an adorable little bob now and not a stringy mess.  I love to swoop her bangs to the side with a cute bow or clip of some kind.  She finally looks like a little girl~

Saturday evening, my dear friend Julie came into town.  Both of her adorable kiddos where with her.  It was great spending time with them!  I think I had blogged before about her adding on to her house.  She is wanting ideas on what is out there.... so we have been going driving around neighborhoods and looking at open houses.  It is wonderful.  I get to spend time with such a special person and browse through some beautiful homes.  Well......  we found this one home, it had a sign on it that said Model Home.  We pulled right up, parked the car, and went inside.  Julie suggested we knock, I just knew that there was no need to because of all the cars out front.  Obviously they were busy with all the folks checking out the model home.... Yeah right! 

Humor me and picture this for a moment..... I walk right in..... Julie stands behind at the door and ignores my pleas for her to follow.  I walk around the corner and GUESS WHAT!  There is a cute little old lady on the couch, and a fine looking gentleman sitting next to her, and others I hear but can't see.  Of course he immediately gets up and asks if he can help us....  I of course reassure him that we were just looking and browsing model homes and open houses....  Well..... he was the builder of the house and it was his freakin personal home!  It is open to the public Fridays only!  I literally run out of the house past Julie all the while apologizing profusely. I can't tell you how utterly embarrassing it was!  I bet he locks his doors now, and I bet I read signs much more carefully.

While we were out, Aunt Shelly came over to relieve daddy so he could go sit in the deer blind. Well, Regan and Brayden were taking turns hitting golf balls.  Regan ended up swinging and hitting Brayden in the forehead with the club.... OUCH!  He has another NASTY goose egg with a large cut.  It was not a pretty sight.

Tomorrow is Tuesday but is actually our Friday!  I can't wait for that bell to ring, announcing the end of the school day and the beginning of Thanksgiving break!  Woo hoo!  Remember that feeling as a kid..... getting out of school for the holidays.... I feel that exact same thrill as a teacher!  I am giddy!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Elf on the Shelf

I bumped into this blog that had this great Christmas idea (www.nikkiandkeithfry.blogspot.com).  I can't wait to begin this tradition with my kiddos! The little elf sits on a shelf.  Each night he magically travels to the North Pole to fill Santa in on the kids behavior and to let Santa know what the kids want for Christmas.  Each morning he is back but in a different spot than when the kids went to sleep.  It is their job to find him each morning.  There are a few rules to the game.....  you can't touch him and he can't speak to you. You have to be on your best behavior so Santa will only receive good reports.  

I am a little worried how Brayden is going to react and if he will buy into it.... we shall see....  I just think it is a fun tradition that we will begin this Christmas after Thanksgiving.  

You can visit the website for more information.  You name your elf and then register him on the website.  The website is so cute.  Here is the link...  just copy and paste it into your browser.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Annual Christmas Pictures

Today was the day.  Every year, Aunt Sue takes the kids to get their Christmas pictures taken. It is a tradition that started many years ago with Justin (daddy) and Aunt Shelley when they were little.  It is now Brayden and Bailee she takes for annual pictures (thank you Aunt Sue).  I tell you what, everyone should experience formal picture taking with kids, at some point in their lives.  

It was seeming to go pretty smoothly at first.  We had two or three clicks of the camera and were on a roll, then some people show up to pick up their portraits.  The photographer had to stop and help them.... Next thing I know the phone is ringing and she is on the phone scheduling appointments....  By the time she returned, Bailee had decided she was done with picture taking.  Her temper was beginning to emerge and she was working herself up into a lovely display of fit throwing.  We would stop at times and let her play around and compose herself and then put her back in front of the camera.  The photographer even pulled out the feather duster.  You know that nasty thing that they put in every child's face.  I cringe when I think about it....  I wonder how many snotty noses it has tickled every time I see it.  

Guess what, the feather duster worked....  Even at one point it was me that grabbed it trying to get Bailee to crack a smile.  Ugh!  She is on an antibiotic still so hopefully it will help her fight whatever I may have scattered all over her face.  

Here are some of the pictures.  Check out the one in sepia.  This is after Bailee had thrown one of her fits.  Brayden looks thrilled doesn't he....  memories, memories, memories.  Thanks again Aunt Sue for providing great pictures and memories that will last a lifetime!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I have the HAPPIEST husband EVER!

About three months ago, I decided that we were going to buckle down and get out of debt. When I looked at what we were spending on our satellite tv, (89.00/mo.)  I decided that would be one of the first things to go. I of course made sure I would still get FoxNews and CNN on the low plan.  It had it, so I changed plans.  We went from paying 89.00 a month to paying 40.00 a month.  We had the family plan....  that is it, nothing else.  Justin about died because all the sports channels were GONE.  He was ticked!

Tonight, I started browsing the DishNetwork website and saw that the Top 1oo was only 32.99 a month. With taxes and all, it would be 13.00 more than we are paying now.  

So.... I switched.  Clicked a few icons, typed some information, and took care of it all online..... It took effect INSTANTLY!  I called Justin in the room and said, "hey, what were the sports stations you loved?"  So he started naming them off and I turned to them.  Because I had upgraded, they were all there.  The look on his face was priceless.  He couldn't believe what he was seeing. When he realized what I did, he started laughing....  Then he says, "okay now I am pissed.  Are you telling me that I could have had all my channels all along for only 10.00 a month more?"  He was mostly kidding.  A man and his tv.....  

I was cracking up and said "I've got to blog this story."  Justin's response was "you don't have to blog everything that happens."  

He's right, I don't, but I do......

The Christmas Shoes

We were on our way to school this morning.... heater turned up on full blast because we were FREEZING our butts off....  both Brayden and I were pretty quiet.  The only noise in the car came from the radio station that was playing Christmas songs (ALREADY)....  the song The Christmas Shoes came on. If you haven't heard the song, it is about a little boy whose mom is dying and he is trying to buy her some shoes because she wants her to look pretty, just in case she meets Jesus.  Well my sensitive little man starts asking all sorts of questions about the song....  next thing I know I hear this all out wail....  I look back and the flood gates had opened.  Brayden was sobbing and sobbing and sobbing some more.  He could not get himself together.  Instead of dropping him off at parent drop off, we ended up parking and I had to give him some mama love.  He soon settled down and I walked him up to the front of the school....  Who would have thought he would have reacted so.  I hated to leave him like that even if he was fine by the time I left him.  It took everything I had not to keep driving and just spending the day with him. I forget what a deep thinker he is and how he may react in a way I'm not expecting.

Moving on....
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas needs to update their list of providers on their website.  I call this morning to make an appointment with a specialist for Bailee and her foot.  Well I get the number to one of the two doctors listed..... a sweet lady answers the phone and I tell her I needed to make an appointment with Dr. Smith.....  and she says.......  he died in January....  I felt like the biggest idiot, the first words out of my mouth were "Oh great!"  I realized instantly that that wasn't the warmest words I could have said...  I immediately told her I appreciated her help and I was sorry to hear of his passing.....  and promptly hung up the phone.  

Obviously I don't have an appointment yet for her.  I am dreading calling anyone now.... seriously I am concerned about getting in, in a timely manner.  This foot issue seems to hinder her walking.  With her being 15 months now, I am hoping they don't make us wait too long to fit her in.  I will keep you posted on what happens....  Hopefully I can find a great doctor who is alive and well.  

Monday, November 17, 2008

Momma and Daddy Movie Night

So dear hubby and I are making an effort to be spending more quality time together.   We have decided that we are going to make time for each other, doing the things we enjoy TOGETHER! Tonight we watched a great movie.  What Happens In Vegas....  we haven't laughed like we did tonight, in quite a while.  It was a great non-serious movie that had a great ending.  If you have watched it or will watch it soon.....  the popcorn scene had us rolling....  

It was great relaxing with the hubby and laughing like that.....  Of course there were a million other things that needed to be done around the house... BUT we are learning that there are more important things needing to be done, things that really matter, things that have been neglected.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why do I blog?

Have you ever read my posts and thought, why is she sharing that?  Or, maybe you have thought...  wow, that is so personal why would she blog about that?  Well I will attempt to explain that here in this post.  

Why I started blogging:  I first started almost a year ago.  I became overwhelmed with my husband being gone all the time and was looking for support for the wives of ag teachers. There isn't ANYTHING out there in the way of support....  So, I thought I would start blogging about being an Ag Teachers wife.... It soon turned into a way for me to keep others up to date on our family.  I started out doing just that.... keeping others updated.  Though, I have managed to turn it into a way for me to share my heart, my thoughts, my wonderings in life.....  

What blogging is for me:  It is a way for me to share with others our journey in life.  It is a celebration of life.  It is a way for me to connect with family, friends, and fellow bloggers.

What I blog:  I blog the good and the not so good.  I blog openly and honestly my feelings on life and the events that we encounter.  I blog from my heart.  EVERYTHING I blog, if it is personal, I get clearance from my husband first and foremost.  He is such a great sport, especially since he is so private.  If he has any qualms about a blog, I delete it, no questions asked, unless a good ol' edit is needed.  

Why I blog:  I blog to share.  I blog to let others know that although they may not have the courage to say something out loud..... I probably will and that is okay.  I blog to let others know that they are not alone.  I blog so others can count their blessings.  I blog to let others know my heart and soul.  I blog to catalog life.  I blog to encourage.  I have a passion for life, the good and bad.  I want to share my passion with you. 

When I blog: I blog whenever.  There are not set times or days.  I blog if I have time.  I blog when I don't have time.  I blog multiple times a day and sometimes skip a day or two.  I blog mainly at night, after the kids are fed, bathed, and in bed.  

The Marvelous Momma Weed

This conversation happened yesterday.  I wanted to share...

Brayden: (coming through the front door) "Momma, I have something for you.  You are not going to believe what it is."

Me: "Honey, be quiet, your sister is sleeping.  I am in here at the dining room table."

Brayden: (he comes around the corner holding ummmmm... a weed) "This is for you."  He lays it on the dinner table.

Me: "Brayden that is a weed.  Get that off our table and take it outside."

Brayden: "Momma, I got it for you because I knew you would love it."  (the look on hisface made be back track FAST)

Me: "Oh my goodness, I didn't realize that it was pink!  It is the most beautiful weed that I have ever seen.  Because it is so beautiful and it is my favorite color, let's name it mama weed."  

Brayden: "That is the best idea ever, Mama."  

Later, Justin came in and had no idea of the previous conversation.  He tells me how I wouldn't believe just how excited Brayden was to give me the weed he picked to me.  Justin also says.... he hasn't seen Brayden so excited about something like that in a while....  Of course, by this time I am feeling like the biggest, meanest, mommy ever.  

Here is the absolutely marvelous Momma Weed!

I Am On a Roll!

I have already ORDERED our Christmas cards!  I can't believe it!  I am so very proud of myself!  I don't know what is going on, but I love the improvements I am making in my life!  I have NEVER been so prepared.  I  just pray it lasts.  First I plan AND book Brayden's birthday AND I order our Christmas cards a month early. 

Usually I wait so late on Christmas cards, that I debate on just sending a Happy New Year greeting instead.  

Today we got together with my in-laws, aka Mimi and Opi.  Today they celebrated 34 years of marriage. I am so very proud of them.  I tell you what.... Justin and I both were raised with a great example of what a marriage should be.  I am so thankful for that.  We knocked out our Christmas card photos.  Having my nifty Nikon D40 has really paid off.  Here is a funny picture...... 

Check out this picture!  No one is looking 
at the camera but Mimi.....  too funny!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

She's a Talker not a Walker

Well, this morning I took Bailee to the doctor for her constantly running nose.....  it is a sinus infection.  I was not prepared though for how Bailee would react.  She cried and cried about everything from the scale to the stethoscope on her.  Brayden had spoiled me....  He never ever cried unless he was getting shots.  The doctors would always comment about how well he behaved at the doctors office.... he was like that ever since he was teeny tiny.  So when Bailee is bawling her eyes out.....  I was not expecting it and the doc commented how most kids at her age react the same way.  We are starting her on an antibiotic and hopefully she will start improving on Tuesday.  Amazingly her ear tubes are still in.  She had them put in this past July. I was under the impression that they fell out soon after being put in.  Our doc said that they are designed now to be in at least a year.  So I was relieved at that....

I did point out that she was still not walking and that I was a little concerned about how much her right foot turned out and that this seemed to really mess with her balance.  He took a look and watched her walk across the room as she was holding my hand, and immediately saw the reason for my concern.  So..... with that being said.....  he is referring us on to a pediatric orthopedist in San Antonio.  He is also referring us to have a therapist come out and work with her.  Hopefully we can get this resolved and our little lady can be on her feet in no time....  In January she has her appointment with her Dr. Patel, her pediatric cardiologist.  It is just a check up to make sure her pulmonary branch stenosis is growing with her.  She is doing so well that I don't anticipate anything but great news at that appointment.....   In her short 15 months.... she has had her share of specialists and procedures.... pediatric cardiologist, pediatric neurologist, pediatric ENT doc, and now a pediatric orthopedics doc.....  can you say,...... lots and lots of medical bills......  oh the fun of those.....  after seeing so many doctors, you would think she wouldn't be bawling her eyes out at having a stethoscope placed on her chest....   And I swear, our insurance company puts EVERYTHING towards our stupid deductible.  It drives me absolutely insane....  Oh well, I guess it could be worse.....  

It is time for me to start getting stuff done around here.  Hope all of you out there are having a wonderful Saturday!  

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Friday!

My poor kids....  I have never been good at the whole birthday party thing.  I am just not a planner and have always waited until the last minute to make plans and get the ball rolling.  

I am happy to say that I am changing my ways.  Brayden decided that he would love to have his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.  I'll have you know, the party is booked and we are ready to roll.  Now, if I can just get out the invitations soon and well before the party, I will be THRILLED!

Brayden loves video games.  I guess since we don't allow video games quite yet, although we are softening up a bit...  he figures he will have his party somewhere he can play video games.  That boy loves video games.  He loves going to the store and looking at all the Wii games.  He is so funny because he will point out all the games that are rated E.  He knows anything else is not an option.  

When we made it home the kids and I played outside.  Brayden said that he loved spending good family time together and that he needed time with nature so he was glad we were outside. Bailee loved swinging and anytime the swing would slow down, she would shake her head no. For quite some time we believed Bailee would end up this mild and meek child.  She was always so quiet and easy going.  Well, it is becoming evident that, that is not the case.  She has sure fooled us.  She "talks and talks" and loves to sing and dance.  

She is officially 15 months and is not walking.....  I have an appointment with the doctor.  She has one foot that turns out a whole lot, it is her right foot actually.  She may need some braces or special shoes to correct this.  She will try and stand by herself constantly but you can see how when she puts weight on her one foot that turns out, she immediately falls down.  We shall see what the doctor says.  

Well, daddy and Brayden are almost home, they went to rent some movies.  I have to go pop some popcorn for our family movie night.  Adios! 

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Great Read....

I had to share my recent reading enjoyment.....  I am currently reading a wonderful book titled, The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel.  I have skimmed his previous books but nothing compares to this one.  It is such a powerful book that is really putting to rest all the questions I have always had regarding faith, God, and how life came to be.  I find myself reading it and going..... "oh my gosh, that is exactly what I have been guilty of thinking".  It crazy to read my thoughts in print, written by someone else.  

I have always been a deep thinker.  I have always questioned faith and that drives me absolutely insane.  I wonder......For those extremely firm in their faith and belief, at what point in their life did they make that commitment of faith.  Was it because that is what they were taught growing up?  Was it a result of a major event in their lives?  How did they get their faith?  

My faith is a work in progress.  The information in this book is helping complete the process.  If you have ever wondered......  (fill in the blank).  I encourage you to read this book.  (Gosh I sound like a commercial).....  

We are all doing well.  Bailee is fighting a cold.  I never dreamed that such a small person could have so much snot.  Her little nose is absolutely raw.  I am looking forward to family time this weekend. Depending on how cold it will be, we may venture to the zoo.  Brayden loves the zoo and I would love for Bailee to see the assortment of zoo animals.  

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bet You Didn't Know....

I had an amazing childhood and was raised a military brat.

Growing up, I moved from Oklahoma to Texas, then Michigan, next Florida, and then back to Texas.

I am extremely sentimental.

I have a fierce phobia of snakes.

I oddly wonder what it feels like to be stung by a scorpion.  Maybe I wouldn't be so scared of them if I knew what it felt like.....  (weird I know)

I fear losing those I love, to death.

I have always had a passion for writing.... can't rhyme though, so poetry is out.....

I have a secret love of photography.

I have several weird addictions…. nothing illegal, but sex isn't one of them (according to my husband…. he was reading as I was blogging).

I loathe running and the whole working out thing….  but love it afterwards...  

I decided the heck with the self-help aisle in the bookstore, years ago.  Spent tons of money before realizing this.....  I have come to be content with who I am.

I knew at the age of 3, I wanted to be a teacher.

The song “You Are My Sunshine”, made me cry when I was very young.  I hated the thought of someone taking someone else’s sunshine.

I am an open book, you know EXACTLY how I feel and will never have to wonder how I feel.

I don’t pretend very well.

I should be a spokesperson for antidepressants, don’t give up until you find the right one for you!

Most of the time my house is decent (varying degrees of decent) just don’t open a drawer or cabinet. 

I will never ever read a book more than once.

I am a very passionate person.

I spent half of my life, worried about what people thought of me.  Now I know all that matters is that I stay true to myself.

My secret dream job is to be a news reporter on a big network.

I dream of meeting Oprah.

I will one day go on to receive my Masters and Doctorate.

I love crawling into a freshly made bed with clean sheets, and a good book.

I would give anything to buy my grandparents old house, and make it look just like it once did when I was a child. 

I have ADD, self diagnosed….

It drives me insane that I am not organized.

I am always running late.

I love the cheese in the can you squirt out.... YUM!  

I hate being lied to.

I married my best friend.

I was the biggest tomboy and could build an awesome fort, I still secretly believe I can build an awesome fort.

I am a computer nerd.  My husband always says, I am a nerd period....

At night, I go into my children's bedroom, just to watch them sleep.  

This and That....

The boys returned from their hunting trip Sunday morning.  They had a GREAT time together. Justin is planning on going ALONE to the deer lease.  He couldn't get over the patience it takes to take a 5 year old hunting.... ha ha ha... that's a taste of the old medicine for him....

Also, Sunday morning my dear friend Julie, and her son Dawson came to visit.  They live in Miles, Texas which is just outside of San Angelo.  They stayed with us for the day and evening.  Dawson had a doctors appointment in San Antonio today.  He is doing wonderful and gaining weight.  It is unreal to see how mobile he is.  He rolls to exactly where he wants to go.  

Bailee was so funny with Awesome Dawson.  She constantly wanted to touch him and love on him.  It was funny to see how she was trying to mother him, even though she is a young'n herself.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

At a loss for words....

There aren't words to describe what I witnessed yesterday.  But, I wanted to share.

Yesterday morning I was driving into town.  I was running late as usual.  A friend was waiting at the gym, and this friend hates when I am late.  Well the car in front of me was going extremely slow.  It was so frustrating!  As I am following closely behind this car, I notice that it is a little elderly man driving.  The next thing I notice is the lone bumper sticker on the car.  It read:

Married for Life
One husband one wife
est. 1951

My first thought was, hmmmmm, is the purpose of the bumper sticker a statement or a proud display of the rare marriages out there?  Then it hit me, wow, that really is a long, long time to be married.  As I was contemplating this..... the blinker of the car was on and it thankfully was going to be out of my way........  the next thing....  stopped me in my tracks.....

I realized he was turning into a nursing home.  I knew he was probably going to visit his wife of 57 years.  Wow, for some reason that was very moving for me.  

In life, we never know what others are dealing with or going through.  People we pass while completing our daily tasks are all dealing with things we will never know about whether it is, a loved one in a nursing home, a marriage falling apart, financial problems, a lost job, news that someone they love is dying, etc.  the list goes on and on.  

I realized that we need to be more aware of what other's are going through.  So many times we focus on our own personal struggles and get lost in the self pity.  Join me today in working on changing this.  It will not be an overnight success but a work in progress.  

Friday, November 7, 2008

That Darn Alarm Clock....

Well, just like the Sugarland song that is on the radio right now.....

Woke up late about an hour,
No cup of coffee no shower.
Ugh.....  It was blaringly (made up word)  obvious this morning just how much I rely on Justin to get my big ol' butt out of bed.

The alarm clock decided it was going to take the morning off, it was set last night just as every night.  Bailee decided to sleep in too, and as a result..... I slept in.

I opened my eyes and instantly saw that it was a little too light outside to be 6:00.  Sure enough...  it was 7:30. 

The worst part is, I had my mom meet me at my school so she could take Bailee to the sitter. Well she was there and I wasn't.  She woke up early just to help me out........  I stood her up.  She handled it so well.  Much better than I would have.

So yes, today was one of those days.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Playing Hooky

Well the boys have left for the deer lease for the next three days.  Yes, Brayden is only in Kindergarten and already is playing hooky.  Girl time has officially began for Bailee and I!  I have all these great plans and intentions for the next few days.  Hopefully I can get some things done around here.  That new great camcorder that I just bought is in their hands.  That is a scary thought, especially when I opted not to take the accidental insurance on the thing.  

Back to playing hooky....  Brayden and I were on our way to school this morning and Brayden informs me that he made sure to let his teachers know that he would be playing hooky:

Me: "Oh Brayden, I forgot to write your teacher a note and let her know you wouldn't be there on Friday.  We needed to get your work you will be missing."

Brayden: "She already knows.  I told her I was playing hooky on Friday."

Me: "Oh really?  What did she say?" (dreading the answer).

Brayden: "She just made a funny face.  So I told her that we weren't really playing hooky, we were just going to the deer lease." 

Brayden is an open book, just like his mommy.  He doesn't keep anything to himself.  I have already been informed by his teacher that yes, Brayden has shared family secrets with her, and that no one will ever know what they are..... I cringe when I think of what those secrets may be....  I figure that her still talking to me is a good sign......

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Dancing Ag Teacher

It began about 2 1/2 weeks ago.... DH and I had decided that he would leave early Halloween afternoon to head to the deer lease, since it was opening weekend.  We had agreed that since Brayden went trick or treating the weekend prior and daddy was there.... he could get a "pass" (not really) and leave early for the deer lease.  Well that was all fine and dandy.....

Then I get THE EMAIL..... Apparently a student of DH is going through a hard time... she is on the dance team, and during half time at the football game Halloween evening, there was a daddy & daughter dance performance.  She asked DH to stand in place of her father who was injured.  

Of course Justin jumped at the chance.  They had two practices before the performance.  Justin didn't remember the moves from one practice to the other....  Anyways, he went, I took trick or treating duty along with Aunt Shelley and Aunt Sue.  I can't wait to get a copy of the video.  You can bet that when I do, I will post on my blog.  Stay tuned!

Justin is not the type to do stuff like this.  Can't you just see a man's man shaking his money maker during a football game.....  in front of hundreds of people... then leaving immediately after dancing and heading to the deer lease to go hunting????  I laugh just picturing it!  

BUT the thought of a student going to her Ag teacher and asking him to do this for her..... that shows you the dedication Justin has to his students and the impact he has on them.  It also says a lot of Justin saying yes, immediately.  He is such a genuine person and truly cares about his students.  

What a man, what a man, what a man, what a mighty good man..... (you know you are singing the song now!)


Who Knew? Update Version..... Please pass it on.