Friday, November 26, 2010

Never to late to be thankful

Because, when it's all said and done...The cooking, the cleaning, the disciplining, the paying bills, the laundry...these little people make it all worth it.

exploring the preserve

My cup overflows...Thank You, Lord, for loaning me these 3 precious people, and letting me enjoy them growing up.

And for this man, who makes it possible, and helps me find the joy in it often:

handsome.

So.very.thankful.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Marriage

I have a confession to make.

I spent a few days of last week doing as little as possible for one reason: to read novels. I just want to warn you, if you have a lot of responsibilities, DON'T EVER pick up a Karen Kingsbury novel. My family survived on quick meals, diving through the laundry basket for clothes, and the fact that Mom was seen and not heard for once.

The addiction started when a friend gave me this book:



Then I used that nifty system at the library to hold the next one...and the next one. And then the next two. Then last Wednesday I picked up the next four in this series of FIFTEEN NOVELS! I finished that fourth novel last night. Hopefully tonight I'll get a little more sleep... ;)

But that's not the reason for this rambling confession. Nope, there's a real purpose here, y'all. In this novel, "Forever" which is really #10 in the series, one of the characters lists 10 secrets to a happy marriage. And as I thought about it, it's taken me years to realize some of these, but I can testify that every single one of these has helped us! While our marriage isn't perfect (which is okay with me, because we aren't perfect either), I can confidently say I am so thankful for my marriage. We celebrate 11 years next month, woohoo! Only by God's grace have we made it, and only by this wisdom has it been so good! So, here ya go:

Ten Secrets to a Happy Marriage
1. God has you here to serve one another. Love acted out is serving.
2. Women need respect and nurturing. Love your wife so she knows you'd lay your life down for her. Continue to date her and admire her. Share a hobby - find something you can do to have fun together.
3. Laugh often.
4. Be patient. Love crumbles quickly under the weight of unmet expectations.
5. Spend more time trying to fix yourself than your spouse.
6. Keep short accounts. the Bible says, "Do not let the sun go down while you are angry." Make it a habit to forgive.
7. Determine up front that divorce is not an option.
8. Learn about love languages. Not all people show love or receive it the same way. You want a back rub and your spouse wants a clean kitchen. The love languages are fairly simple: acts of service, time, physical touch, gifts, words of affirmation. Learn them. Love is better received when it's the language that person speaks.
9. Words of affirmation are a love language for all men.
10. Men are born to be leaders. He cannot lead unless she gives him the confidence to do so. If you love your husband, build him up. Confident men do not seek love outside the home.

Good stuff, right? True but not easy to live out consistently. But it pays off!!



Alright, so the pillow is calling my name, reminding me of how much I've neglected it this week. If I reserve another novel before Christmas, someone please shoot me. ;) And if you decide to pick up the series, don't say I didn't warn you. It's so good though...

I'd love to hear your thoughts...on this wisdom, on your marriage, on reading novels and neglecting everything else... ;)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Zoo Time

Over the summer, we step aside and let the tourists enjoy the zoo (in the hot sun - no, thank you!). But once the hints of fall fill the air, I find myself craving a playdate there. Enter the Hughes family...

Veronica and her boys, friends from Austin, drove down one Monday and we met up for a beautiful, perfect morning at the zoo.

In the Africa Live 2 exhibit, there are birds all around that the kids can touch. Chandler especially loved getting to know this guinea fowl.

Zoo with the Hughes

Ben and Chandler on the elephant statue.
Zoo with the Hughes

Ben and Chance, with Chandler bringing up the rear.
Zoo with the Hughes

Ben and his big brother Caleb.
Zoo with the Hughes

Chandler, still in the rear...
Zoo with the Hughes

Then we checked out the lory birds, who were active and hungry.
Zoo with the Hughes

Veronica found a friend.
Zoo with the Hughes

Measuring each other in the kid area.
Zoo with the Hughes

Cutie Pie.
Zoo with the Hughes

There's an area near a monkey exhibit where the kids can climb. It's Chance's favorite part of the zoo.
Zoo with the Hughes

The monkeys watch my monkeys climb (and probably laugh at how inept those silly little humans are).
Zoo with the Hughes

Ben demonstrates how monkeys rest.
Zoo with the Hughes

Since we had four boys, we couldn't get out of going thru the reptile house. Snakes are really not my favorite. So I distracted myself as much as possible with the lizards. This one was especially funny. This has to be some type of yoga pose...Maybe the branch stretch?
Zoo with the Hughes

Chance was pretty excited that the alligators were so interested in him. I didn't tell him, but I'm pretty sure it's because he'd be so tasty...
Zoo with the Hughes

And for my favorite part: long suckers and a train ride. FTW! Ben and Chance...
Zoo with the Hughes

Caleb...
Zoo with the Hughes

Aaaannnd the mess-maker.
Zoo with the Hughes

He amused many with his messiness.
Zoo with the Hughes

Thanks, Veronica, for making the trek for a picture-perfect day! We miss you guys!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

William's Birthday Party

One Saturday in September we traveled up to Austin to celebrate William's third birthday.

William's 3rd Birthday party

First everyone did a little swimming.
William's 3rd Birthday party

And a little playground fun. Nana with Chandler
William's 3rd Birthday party

Then it was time for cake.
William's 3rd Birthday party

William's 3rd Birthday party

I wasn't the only mamarazzi there. My sister, Anna, Momma of William.

William's 3rd Birthday party

Then it was gift-opening time.
Charlie decorated William's birthday present.

"Happy Birthday, William. I love you. By Charlie, and Chance, and Chandler." Plus the drawing of Charlie saying Happy Birthday to William over the cake and candles.

William's 3rd Birthday party

Then Charlie shows him the gift. Legos, imagine that! ;)

William's 3rd Birthday party

Then it was back to the pool.
William's 3rd Birthday party

This is my sister Desi, the haus, playing with Charlie. I seriously envy her muscle.
William's 3rd Birthday party

Another angle.
William's 3rd Birthday party

Happy birthday, William! Thanks for a great party!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chuck's Birthday

It's hard to believe Chuck is now 35. He was only 24 when we married. I think we can no longer deny we're not kids anymore. And also, I can no longer deny that we are geeks - camera geeks. What did he want for his birthday? Camera gear, of course! It's a sickness, really... ;)

happy birthday!

You might recall that we bought this small hybrid dslr/point-n-shoot camera called the Pen. And that last November I surprised Chuck with this huge, heavy, high quality 50-200mm f/2.8 lens. So, for his birthday he got the lens adapter for the Pen which allows using our normal dslr lenses. Here's the little camera wielding the big gun...

Happy birthday, Chuck!

He also got the 20 mm f/1.7 prime lens for the Pen so now it can (almost) fit in your pocket. In addition to better low-light than the kit-lens, it's taking better quality pictures.

The day his presents were due to survive (thank you, B&H!), I was sick with a stomach bug. Chuck took the day off the help me - and to play with his new toys. Here's his test shot with the new 20mm.

Sick in bed

Ok, enough of the boring photography stuff...Here's what we did for his birthday (besides take pictures):

Friday night we had a game night with his friends. He also got a new game called Dominion, and we had a great time playing it. (I didn't take any pics).

Monday, Labor Day, his parents, cousin, and sister and their families came to visit. Chuck barbequed and we just enjoyed a day of being together. Thanks for traveling down, y'all!

Hendrix enjoyed the train.
Labor Day / Chuck's Birthday

Chuck watching Chance play x-box. Judging by Chance's pjs, this was before company arrived.
More video game bonding

Our niece Kaylie.
Labor Day / Chuck's Birthday

Elijah and Chandler worked hard in the backyard.
Labor Day / Chuck's Birthday

Meesh showed off Boston boy #3.
Labor Day / Chuck's Birthday

Ryan always blesses our house with great music.
Labor Day / Chuck's Birthday

{Mel, Mom and Dad - sorry I didn't get more pics!}

Happy Birthday to my handsome 35 year old!
Labor Day / Chuck's Birthday

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bike Rodeo Time

Charlie's school does a Bike Rodeo each year, where the students bring their bikes and they are rated on safety, skill, etc.

Hangin' with the Aue Gator
Aue Bike Rodeo

Getting ready to rodeo...
Aue Bike Rodeo

Aue Bike Rodeo

Driving the straight line.
Aue Bike Rodeo

It was so funny, when he first started riding the line, his whole class started cheering for him and he was so enjoying the support that he forgot to pay attention to how he was riding - he zigzagged the whole way!

Cornering the cones.
Aue Bike Rodeo

Quick look at the camera (such a model)...
Aue Bike Rodeo

Cycling the circle.
Aue Bike Rodeo

Getting his ribbon.
Aue Bike Rodeo

Celebrating with his wonderful teacher.
Aue Bike Rodeo

Chuck, taking the bike back to our car...tehehe.
Aue Bike Rodeo