My Beautiful Family

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Catching up...

It's been so crazy the past few weeks! Once school started and I started back to work, things..well..let's just say we've had some up's and down's!

Let's start with the kiddos...

Ryan Down's: Ryan has had a rough 3 or 4 weeks. After his bout with the unusual rashes that we still have no clue about, he started daycare. Within a week he had the typical stuffy nose, crusty eyes and overall yuckiness brought on by babies who slobber all over each other. The next week, he was "written-up" at school for gnawing on another babies leg and leaving redmarks, (I still think the other baby asked for it!), and the following week he started with a terrible stomach virus that lasted 6 days! Yuck. Of course, just when that started clearing up, he cut another tooth and the runny nose returned! This week we had two babies go home from his class with the chicken pox. So far we're still in the clear!
Ryan's Up's: He cut another tooth!! That makes three on bottom. I feel like the top teeth are well on their way as well. He also started saying "da-da". Soooo cute! He's still commando crawling everywhere, but is constantly pushing up on his knees and rocking, so I just know it'll be any day now that he'll start crawling. He's also clapping (he really is!)-although he never claps for the public apparantly! Lastly, he will shake his head 'no-no-no', which I'm sure will eventually get him into trouble!

Grace's Down's: She, too, had the aweful stomach virus and decided to share it with Nana, Pop, and Uncle Chris and Aunt Jodie. I just love scrubbing carpet at 3am. I honestly have no idea how Rick and I made it out of those two weeks without getting sick. I guess the good Lord knows we just couldn't have handled one more sick body!
Grace's BIG BIG UP!!!: No more "blanket"!!!! It officially mysteriously disappeared, and after only a couple of nights of sadness (without tears though!), she's totally forgotten about it! She is doing so well at pre-school. All the teachers adore her and she's always getting little stamps and stickers for "being good". She also got her first little cheerleading outfit to wear to her Daddy's football games.

We feel so blessed and honored to have been given two amazingly beautiful children!

Rick's football team isn't doing as well as they had hoped, but he is still optimistic about basketball season, which is just right around the corner. He really enjoys the staff he's working with and hasn't complained too much about his classes, so I'm assuming those are going good as well! School for me is finally settling down a bit. This was the first full week we've had due to hurricane Ike and a couple of holidays. The best news I've had since school started was that my sister is pregnant! We are so excited for her! Please pray with us that God will wrap his angels around this baby and cause him/her to grow healthy and strong.

Back to School

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ahhhh... the smell of a fresh box of new crayons. That, and the smell of tape at Christmas time and a freshly opened can of playdough, has to be the most welcoming smell in the world. Everything's new...the kids are new, the clothes are new, the supplies are new. A fresh start. Nothing like a fresh start!
I've always loved "Back to School". I get all gitty inside when I walk into WalMart and see the 3 or 4 isles of notebook paper, binders, folders, crayons, pens, pencils. It's like the world wakes up again after a long sleepy summer. Everyone's excited..except for highschool students I'm guessing! The smell of freshly cut grass on the school lawn covered in it! And who can resist the Tax Free Weekend?? You just have to go out and buy something, even if it's just a pair of socks! (In my case, I bought diapers!)
I have, from what I can tell, GREAT students this year!! I'm not sure what I was expecting teaching in such a small district, but let's just say I am pleasantly surprised! And talk about "bright"... my kiddos are over the top!! I'm amazed at what they seem to already know. It should be a good year!
Grace and Ryan have started daycare, AKA Nana's Playhouse and Learning Center. They LOVE it !!! Such a great place. Grace thinks she's died and gone to heaven!! When I wake her up each morning, she literally jumps out of bed in anticipation! Of course, Ryan doesn't really know what's going on. But he's always smiling when I leave and smiling when I pick him up!
I'm tired...pooped...drained... my house is a mess... but I'm excited about the new school year. Although I am counting down the days until Thanksgiving break!!

Why do I think God gave me infertility?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Today is mine and Rick's 15 year Anniversary!! We have been through so much together, and the greatest obstacle we have overcome is infertility. Here is a post shared by many infertile women on the BBC board I'm a member of.(Thanks Christan for sharing!) It truly says it all.

"What do I think God meant when he gave me infertility?"
Couples experiencing infertility often receive well-meaning but extremely insensitive "advice." We can all list the most popular ones: "Just relax and you'll get pregnant," or "adopt and you'll get pregnant," or "things happen for a reason", of the most painful from those who think they've got the goods on God's plan, "Maybe God never meant for you to have children." The sheer audacity of making a statement like that never fails to amaze me."These same people would never walk up to someone seeking treatment for cancer and say, "Maybe God never meant for you to live." However, because I am infertile, I'm supposed to get on with my life.

It's hard to understand that people can not see infertility for what it is, a disease for which I have to seek treatment. What if Jonas Salk had said to the parents of polio victims, "Maybe God meant for thousands of our children to be cripples, live in an iron lung or die." What if he'd never tried to find a cure? Who could think for one minute that that was God's plan?

"What do I think God meant when he gave me infertility?"I think he meant for my husband and I to grow closer, become stronger, love deeper. I think God meant for us to find the fortitude within ourselves to get up every time infertility knocks us down. I think God meant for our medical community to discover medicines, invent medical equipment, create procedures and protocols. I think God meant for us to find a cure for infertility.

"No, God never meant for me not to have children. That's not my destiny; that's just a fork in the road I'm on. I've been placed on the road less traveled, and, like it or not, I'm a better person for it. Clearly, God meant for me to develop more compassion, deeper courage, and greater inner strength on this journey to resolution, and I haven't let him down."Frankly, if the truth be known, I think God has singled me out for a special treatment. I think God meant for me to build a thirst for a child so strong and so deep that when that baby is finally placed in my arms, it will be the longest, coolest, most refreshing drink I've ever known.

"While I would never choose infertility, I can not deny that a fertile woman could never know the joy that awaits me. Yes, one way or another, I will have a baby of my own. And the next time someone wants to offer me unsolicited advice I'll say, "Don't tell me what God meant when he handed me infertility. I already know."..

I have a confession to make...

I'm not proud of it, but I eat chips and hotsauce everynight before I go to bed. Why, you might ask? I'm not really sure. Maybe it's just a's too easy. Perhaps it comes from my ancestry. Nope-my family is from England-I think! Oh, I know!! It takes me back to that once in a lifetime trip to Cancun with my dearest husband!!! Who am I's a habit.
So, Ryan is allergic to.......nothing. Yep, basically he could eat a stick and it'd do nothing to him! His test came back normal, so we still are not sure what the hives came from. I'm still voting for the tomato. The one thing they don't test for apparantly! (that and strawberries-weird!) But I'm glad he's okay and at least now I know he can eat as much chocolate as he wants!!
This week Grace and I gave up on our flowers we planted after we first moved in that keep wilting (because we're too lazy to water them) and decided to plant artificial ones just for the heck of it! They are beautiful everyday!! Imagine that! Of course, today it rained and our wilted, dieing ones are making a comeback.
Rick just walked in from football 2 a days. So tell me, what can they possibly talk about from 8:30 in the morning to 9:30 at night?? Who knows!!

What a Week!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Okay, the dr. office is now my second home! Poor Ryan. We have been 3 times in the last 2 weeks due to rashes. The first one was chalked up to being a viral infection. The second was the dreaded eczema diagnoses, and the third... well... it's hives related to something he's allergic to. Nana and I are blaming the tomato paste hidden in the oh so delicious baby food, but we will know for sure sometime next week when his bloodwork comes back.
Grace had her 3 year old check-up ( a little late) yesterday and she is, as I already knew, a perfect little girl! Yeah, right! But seriously, she is doing well and can't wait to start preschool here in a couple of weeks.
Football season has officially begun for Rick, and he has promised me that I will have his full attention sometime next spring (after basketball season is over!) Which is fine. I know how he loves the game, and he is in his "happy place" for the next several months!

Making Adjustments

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Well, I must say, Beckville is quite a change from some of the other places we've lived since we've been married..and there's been quite a few to compare it to! Running to the store to grab milk, bread, or other last minute essentials has become pretty much nonexistant! Every item has to make "the list" and picked up on our weekend trip to Longview or risk another week of shelf warming. Unless, of course, we make the middle of the week trip to Tatum, just about 8 miles up the road where we endure sky-high prices at the only mom and pop grocery store in town. But the friendliness and small town feeling make the trip, and money, worth while.
Another big adjustment comes in the form of mail, or should I say, doesn't come! Living "in-town" (if you will) makes us the lucky few that get to have a PO Box and a daily bike trip to the 20 X 20 post office where blue lollipops are given out just as generously as the smiles. Some days, if the weather isn't too brutally hot, Grace gets a free wagon ride and I put in a few minutes of exercise. The walk is quiet with an occassional car or dog passing by. We pass the highschool and talk about "daddy's school" and bump our way across the railroad tracks that still have the original wooden white 'Beckville' sign standing along side them. We arrive and are greeted with oohs and ahhs of how beautiful Grace heart swells with pride.
The post office isn't the only place bustling in the mid morning. Poppy's gas station and grill sits proudly on the corner of the fourway stop. I've heard they have great burgers, if you can find a place to park! It seems to be the only place in town that looks new on the outside and somewhat new on the inside. It stays pretty busy with boater's filling up their tanks on the weekends and school kids stopping in to get a soft drink.
That's about all there is in the big city of Beckville. It's not a wealthy town, but you can see the wealth of love and pride across all the hardworking faces. I like it that way. It's how I grew up and it's how my children will. It's peaceful and safe, but most of all, it feels like home.

Gone Fishin'

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Yesterday we met my parents at Lake Martin State Park. It's a beautiful lake about 3 miles outside of Tatum. The campsite backed right up to the lake and the whole area was full of towering pines. We got there in the early morning and stayed till around 4 that evening just enjoying the outdoors and visiting. Grace and Rick took fishing lessons from Pop while Ryan hung out with mommy and Nana! This was Grace's second time to go fishing, and I must say, she handled things a lot better this time!! She caught about 8 little perch and only cried once! She just absolutely loves fishing (I guess that's a bit of Pop running through her!). Rick also caught a couple of larger fish and considers himself, and I quote, "a fisherman"!
Another highlight of our Saturday didn't happen until we returned home that evening. Ryan started scooting forwards for the first time! It's funny because I was just complaining to mom that morning about how lazy he was being only rolling to get around, and then he surprised us all by commando crawling across the living room! Guess he showed us

I'm an Aunt...again!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I'm so excited to announce the birth of my 3rd nephew, Samual Lee Gates!!! He was born July 9th weighing in at 7lbs 15oz and 19 3/4 in long!! He is so darn cute!!! Baby and Mommy are both doing well and big sister Clara is thrilled!! about "showers of blessings"!

Another Move

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Well, we have moved again! We are now officially Beckville Bearcats! Rick accepted a head Basketball Coaching position here and I'll be teaching 4/5 writing and spelling. We have a house in town just 5 minutes from the schools and Grace and Ryan will be attending "Nana's Playhouse and Learning Center" (appropriately named!)
Ryan is already 5 months old!! I can hardly believe how fast the months are going by. He is rolling over both ways and scooting around in circles! I think he secretely wishes he could chase his sister around the house, but that'll have to wait a few more months!
Grace is, as always, my little social bug these days! She feeds off of attention from anyone and will strike up a conversation with flagpole! She is full of energy and can hardly wait to start "school" in a couple of months.
I want to say a big "Thank you!" for all the help everyone gave us the past few weeks with the move and all. We are overly gracious and truly thankful for each and every one of you. It's so great to be back in East Texas!!