Family Traditions

Plastic Colorful Easter Eggs in Grass Stock Photo - 2301076
“Family traditions counter alienation and confusion.  They help us define who we are; they provide something steady, reliable and safe in a confusing world.
-Susan Lieberman

I remember being a small girl and absolutely loving Easter.  Waking up and being so excited to see what was in my Easter Basket that year!  The chocolate bunnies were always my favorite!  The four of us kids would then survey our goods in the basket and do the usual swap for the candy we wanted.  Later that day we would head to our Nana and Papa’s and have the “Big Easter Egg Hunt.”  There was always a “little kids” hunt in the front yard where there was candy and some dollar bills in those beautiful colored plastic eggs.  I loved finding them and not being able to wait to see what was inside!  It wasn’t abnormal for me to open the egg first before I even found another one.  (I still to this day lack focus)  πŸ˜‰  The big event of the day was the adult easter egg hunt.  This was the highlight!  Imagine 15  (more/less) adults finding MONEY eggs in the front and back yard.  And yes, it would often get physical!  Some hunts have gone down in family history because of how hilarious people have been.  My Aunt Dawn even jumped in the pool one year after an egg!  
My cousin Danny and I are only 23 days apart and we will always remember that year that we “graduated” and were able to join the fun.  It was like winning the lottery!!  We were finally big kids at Nana’s!  I think we were around 11 and even though we didn’t get many eggs that year, but it was a big milestone in our life.  
The hunts continued and years later my little sister, brother and younger cousin were old enough for the money hunt and the little kid hunt in the front yard was no longer.  Every year it has been the same since I can remember….. a tasty Easter lunch made by our amazing Nana followed by all of the adults going up stairs to hangout while our Papa hid the eggs all over the outside of their house.  They have a beautiful large house with even bigger yards.  We were like a bunch of small children, but we loved it!  There would always be a fight on who was too far down on the stairs and may be cheating.  If you could see the windows you were toast!  The brown bags with our names on them were passed out and after about 30 minutes, let the games begin!  It was like a cattle stampede down those stairs!
This year was different.  When Chris and I arrived to my Nana and Papa’s this year we were told there wouldn’t be a hunt.  No hunt?  Was this a joke?  Is the tradition actually over?  Of course I didn’t really say anything and no one put up a fight, but it was sad.  With the passing of our sweet Uncle Eddie last year, my grandparents getting older and we were all having kids of our own… it was inevitable.  I guess that is what makes it so sad.  We did have a little kids hunt in the front yard for my niece and my cousin’s son.  Part of me ached because we didn’t have a child there to join with them.  I know we will someday soon.  
Life is sometimes crazy because you do something with your family for so long you just assume it will keep going forever.  It can’t and won’t.  We keep getting older and nothing can ever really stay the same forever.  New traditions will now begin.
Happy Easter to you all!!  

Confessions of a Non-Smoker

I give up smoking tee shirt
I love when you have that feeling deep inside of you that the best is yet to come!  That incredible feeling of energy and desire that wells up inside of your gut and spills out of you at every moment of the day πŸ™‚  Things have been amazing these past few weeks!  For those of you that have following what has gone on in our lives these past few months, I never thought I would be “here.”  At least this quickly.  It’s amazing how wonderful our God is.  I know in my heart I was able step past our stumbling blocks, over come and become an even better woman because of it, because of Him and the many prayers being sent our way!  And for that…. I thank so many of you πŸ™‚  My marriage is phenomenal, I am actively building our business (and doing a bang up job…if I do say so myself) and am Blessed in so many other ways.  
Sitting at a traffic light today watching a lady who clearly thought she was too cool for school, smoke in her Hummer;  I realized that tomorrow marks my 6 month anniversary of quitting smoking!  Yes, sadly I have to admit  that I WAS a smoker.  Crazy coming from a girl who broke her mom(s) cigarettes as a child, (my mom and step mom still smoke), and would constantly fight and complain about them smoking!  The love affair with those nasty little “smokey treats” first started my Senior year of high school as my girlfriend smoked.  It then got worse my Freshman year of college at Texas Tech.  Outside of our dorms, Chitwood/Weymouth, it was the “cool thing” to sit outside and smoke.  You met people and created friendships.  Many of my facebook friends will very vividly remember this!   Then add in sorority/fraternity parties and adult beverages and I was screwed.  Even in the years after graduating college I swore I would quit every year and each year I didn’t follow through.  I hated being a “smoker.”  Society makes you feel like a leper..and in hindsight, I was!  With all that we know about how bad it is for you, being a smoker is idiotic!  I will always have to say I smoked for 10 years.  10 years!!  GROSS!  
Not sure where the turning point was.  I knew through our two years of trying to have our first child that I would of course quit when I got pregnant, but that day never came.  I realized that my step-mom who was a smoker before she gave birth to my younger siblings, went back to smoking after she had her children.  She quit because she HAD to, not because she WANTED to.  Plain and simple.  October 21st I decided I was done.  Just like that… done.  I still become amazed at myself when we are out somewhere or drinking that I don’t crave one.  I have not touched even one.  Firstly because I know how gross that first one will be (you smokers know what I mean) and secondly because I am sick of letting it run my life.  Now don’t get me wrong…. I miss the talks sitting outside that smokers have.  Smokers have a special bond when they are outside all night at a party or bar, but it isn’t worth it.  My health is the most important thing that I have in this world.  I plan on living a very long life and cancer does not fit into that plan.  
Now don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all me.  I do give MASSIVE credit to my love of Bikram yoga last year and the 60 day challenge that I did.  When you are in a hot room at 105 degrees for 90 minutes almost every day for 60 days… all sorts of changes happen.  Including the ability to DESPISE anything bad going into your body.  I have given up Bikram (I promise I will post later about this) and have now started running at the park for exercise.  Its funny because I could never run long distances before because my lungs just couldn’t handle it!!
A friend of mine has been asking me to go bike riding with her and last week I finally committed to going with her tomorrow.  Today I fought going all day in my head to find reasons why I should not being going tomorrow.  I’m TERRIFIED!!  I was praying all day she wouldn’t call me back tonight with details.  But she did, and I will be at her house at 8:30am tomorrow morning.  Lord help me.  23 miles.  
I’m learning it is the fear that actually makes you grow.  Turning into a new person by fighting that “little devil” on my shoulder and pushing through and overcoming and trying new things no matter how much it may scare me.  The funny part is that I know that this fear will probably turn into something I love.  I was this terrified before trying Bikram as well.
All I have to say is I am SO THANKFUL I quit smoking because the best really IS yet to come πŸ™‚

“We also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”
-Romans 5:3-4 (NKJV)

Super Woman!

I love the days when you feel like you have taken on the world!  You put on your big girl star panties and suit up like Superwoman!!  Today was one of those days for me and it felt oh so good.  I needed it πŸ™‚
The day started off amazing.  My best friend and I have been making a regular appearance at the park by my house to jog…. AKA walk/jog, 4 miles almost every morning.  Strangely I am enjoying the jogging.  Since I have decided to give up Bikram yoga (post on this later on), I have been wanting to try something new.  I am still going to try cycling with a friend in the near future, but I have a feeling running may be “it”.  At least for now πŸ™‚  Which means I will have to try my hand at a half marathon soon.  Did I really just type that?  Uh oh….
All in all it was a great day and I even did a few things for our business.  Have I said lately that being self employed is AMAZING?!  I love the ability to plan my day around doing what I want to do and then fit my business into the evenings or little areas of my day πŸ™‚  Ahhh… this is how God really wanted us to live life.
Medical Update:
Last Wednesday I made my weekly trip to good ‘old LabCorps for yet another blood draw to check my HCG levels.  When I called the doctor Friday they told me it was at an 8 and we are DONE!!  Whew!  I never thought I would be so happy to not be pregnant.  Now we are ready to try again for another little miracle πŸ™‚
We are both doing really well despite our recent loss.  Crazy how life still goes on even when you loose something you wanted so bad.  It helps that we have a lot to look forward to in these next few weeks!  Chris has been going to a Men’s Church retreat, Mancation for the past 3 years and is looking forward to his 4th the last weekend in April.  It just so happens every year it has been on my Birthday weekend, so the girls always plan a trip while our men are away.  We had an unforgettable (and CRAZY) time in South Padre last year, but this year we will be spending a relaxing weekend in a suite at the JW Hill Country Marriott here in San Antonio.  πŸ™‚  
Riverbluff's Adult Pool
I plan on spending many hours at the adult only salt water pool and on a tube in the lazy river with an adult beverage in hand πŸ™‚  With my girls by my side, it should be an incredible weekend!
Then the next week Chris and I fly off to Florida.  We will spend a few days with my older brother, his wife and my adorable nephew Keelan.  June will be a year since I have seen them and I miss them all TERRIBLY!  I hate that they left Texas last year, but boy are they in a great place to visit πŸ™‚ 
The best part of the trip is when we will drive south to Destin to stay in a VERY luxurious Bed&Breakfast on the beach!  I have a “thing” with B&B’s.  Their charm is intoxicating and I try to find one where ever I can!  Featured in Southern Living: Henderson Park looks like it will be my best find yet!  Adults only, free happy hour, full breakfast/lunch, towel/chair service on the beach… Can we be there NOW?!!  
You MUST check out these pictures.. it is INCREDIBLE!!
Nothing makes me happier than knowing the love of my life and I will be sitting on this beach in 3 short weeks  πŸ™‚  Turning 30 has NEVER sounded so good!

The end is here


On Monday morning on the way to my weekly bible study with my girlfriends, I felt it.  It felt like my lovely “Aunt Flo” was about to come for a visit.  I knew something was up and sure enough… the miscarriage had officially started.  Without giving too many details, it wasn’t pleasant.  Thank the Lord I wasn’t further along in the pregnancy than I was.  I have heard it can get much worse.   I really was very strong this week through the physical part of it.  I honestly don’t think I can cry anymore about losing this baby.  I am now numb.  In a good way though.  I have gone through the stages of grief.  And of course as luck would have it… I received two baby shower invitations in the mail this week.  Lovely.

I did have great news at my two week dr. follow up today.  My HCG levels as of Tuesday were at a 36.  He is confident I should not have to have a D and C and I should be down to zero in a few weeks.  So I get to visit my friends at Lab Corp for two more weeks and hopefully this will be over by the middle of April.  Which means I can now have a few adult bevy’s on my Dirty 30 πŸ™‚  I also got my RhoGam shot, which by the way SUCKS!  It was a big sucker!  Got to love having a negative blood type πŸ™‚

Speaking of Lab Corp I must tell you a story from Tuesday.  I have been to the same location 3 times in a little over a month.  Needless to say, they are starting to recognize me.  This week the very sweet lady who draws the blood started asking me questions about how I was doing.  Those who know me know I’m honest and will pretty much tell you what is going on with me if you ask.  I can’t lie to save my life, so I have just learned to tell the truth.  I told the sweet lady, “Well, you may keep seeing me until my HCG numbers get to 0.  I’m having a miscarriage.”  She lost it.  Absolutely lost it.  Ugly cry and all.  Turns out she had lost a daughter and last week was the anniversary of her death.  She died at 10 of cerebral palsy.  She would’ve been 29 this year.  My age.  I felt like total crap for saying anything.  I was being honest though.  I’m thinking of bringing her a few Gerber daises when I see her next week.  We were two complete strangers that were sharing very heart felt stories to each other.  She touched my heart.  <3

Sometimes it just seems like such a faux pas to talk about….miscarriage.  Even the word sucks.  Why?  People should realize that 1 in 4 pregnancy’s end in miscarriage.  It is fairly common, just not talked about.  I am not ashamed of our miscarriage.  In fact, I know that God has a plan for Chris and I’s family.  This has made our marriage stronger and I am once again assured that we can and will make it though anything life has to throw our way.  I am confident in saying that I have married the most amazing man in the universe.  I feel excitement once again deep down in my belly about our future.  When Chris and I do finally become parents, we are gonna rock!

This has just been another notch in a belt called my life. πŸ™‚

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 
Jeremiah 29:11