Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Yes, it really did snow today. We had flurries for about a half hour. So, the boys got to see the white stuff for the first time. Josh thinks it's Christmas, cuz it only snows on Christmas according to him. And Ryan ran around trying to catch it on his tongue. Good times, good times. Pictures to follow soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Welcome to December

December came in with a bang! Chris started working part time at the Buckle in stock. The boys both have some wicked chapped lips. Hope the aloe works on that. My student teacher leaves next week. Oh, what to do to celebrate??? I'll think of something for sure. Mom is working everyday, so our schedules are crazy, and all the holiday parties start this Friday.

I need to finish Christmas shopping. Still have several people to buy for. But I do get a shopping afternoon tomorrow and a day off on Monday to get it done! Surely I can handle all my holiday shopping needs in a few hours, right?

Ok, so the rambling needs to stop. I guess it's too much caffeine.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

November, in pictures

Ryan's birthday kicked off the month. He got to take some friends to see Madagascar 2 at the theater. Best kid party ever! Meet at the theater, go sit in the dark for 90 minutes. Parents pick up. Everyone is thrilled. Who needs streamers and screaming??

Not sure where the fork came from, but I'm sure Josh has a story for it!

The Poetry Feast is a big deal in 2nd grade. Every child memorizes a poem and presents it to the class with parents and all there. Ryan did a great job! If you ask him, he'll even share the poem with strangers.

And a big hug for a job well done!

And Thanksgiving.. We have so much to be thankful for...


Music.. of sorts

Wonderful food lovingly prepared. Thank you MiMi and Papaw for sharing with us. Just look at those rolls!

Family traditions and characters. This is cousin Tommy, Uncle Layne, and Papa.. more personality than one couch can handle.

Yum-O desserts.. Papaw, make sure that you stay 3 feet away from the chocolate pie.

And new life.. "Ok Averi, I'll tell you how all this works, but you can't tell anyone, cuz it's a secret. OK? I'm really just glad I'm not the youngest around here anymore, but you're gonna have to like light sabers and legos."

So much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where has the time gone?

So, almost a month has passed. In that time, Ryan turned 8. Chris still doesn't have a job. We have Thanksgiving tomorrow. My dad turns 62 tomorrow as well. School has been a roller coaster of events and relational issues. But I did get the kitchen table cleaned off. We had several wonderfully relaxing weekends. I got to take Josh on his first "date". I even started buying Christmas gifts. We have our holiday plans mostly settled. And everyone is mostly healthy.

We have so much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season. People who know our circumstances shudder and offer sympathy. But we are learning to be content in our lives of lower financial status. The fact that we still have means to eat, sleep in warmth or cool at our discrestion, play video games, have cable, use cell phones, and still love others means we are rich beyond measure.

I don't know what the future brings, but as our study of Revelation in Sunday School shows, the future is set and the present is just temporary. Christ reigns supremely over the hearts of those who follow him. And God the Father is in charge. There is a lot of comfort in that.

I'm ready for celebrating. I choose to live in the joy of Christ and his security. I will continue to serve him and my family humbly and in love. I am thankful for all I know to be eternal truth. I am thankful for my family. I am thankful for my stuff. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful for coffee. I am thankful for kindnesses given to me and my family by friends. I am thankful that I live in a place where I am not persecuted for my faith or lifestyle.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Happy Halloween

It was a fun day. Crazy school day, kids were bouncing off the walls. Home was pretty serene. Chris took the boys trick or treating while I handed out candy and caught up with my Rachael Ray episodes on the DVR. Here are some pictures of the day.
This was the 2nd grade team dressed as Fancy Nancy for the storybook parade.

Here I am with Ryan at school

Here is the compulsory pre trick or treating pose.

And this is the post candy bash. Josh is covered in sugar goo. Who knew you could liquify a Kit Kat just by holding it in your fist??

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Coming home

After 5 days traveling Texas, we finally got to come home. There was little damage. The rug took a hit from the mold, the entertainment center got messed up, but otherwise, we were fine. How good it felt to be back home. I even got the thoroughly clean the refrigerator and deep freeze. Goodness knows they needed it.

I'll try to upload the rest of the pics later.

But for now, it's time to celebrate Chris's birthday!

Photos from the hurricane part 3

After a good few days, we moved south to my mom and dad's house.

The boys made a haul with happy meal toys from our hours on the road.

Opa was giving out chess lessons.

The cousins came to visit.

There was some down time.

And then there were dogs. Not sure if you can see them all, but I think we had 7 dogs running the property at one point in time.

Photos from the hurricane part 2

When we got to Dallas, our hotel was across the freeway from Texas Stadium. Lucky us, but the Cowboys were playing their Monday night football game that week. Yippee!

Brett spent about 2 hours grilling out freezer meat. Guess who stocked the freezer the week before the hurricane came??

So, we took a little trip to the park one night. Ponds, friends, ducks, future Jedi's, and a gorgeous sunset, who could ask for more?

Photos from the hurricane

After a little too long, here are some photos from the hurricane.

We started by distracting the boys with a cupcake contest.

Here's some damage from our street.

We decided to head north after news of the power outage came in. Here is part of the convoy of electical help we passe on I-45. What a glorious sight!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What God has done

It would be wrong not to start sharing what God has done for us through this crazy hurrication..

Our house took no damage, except for a little roof stuff

Our cars took no damage

We had ways and means to get out when it got too tricky to stay home

We have friends who helped find us a hotel, took a day off of work to help us settle in, and provided some "pantry restocking" funds after grilling our freezer full of meat for almost 2 hours.

Free internet access at the hotel

2 boys who have exhibited unmistakable flexibility on this adventure, using good manners all the while

Dog and mother in law have not eaten each other alive in the process

So many offers of help from friends all around

Great credit to shoulder the burden until we get things worked out

Extended family time that is fun

And that's just what I can think of off the top of my head

It's Wednesday

So, today is the day we decide which direction to take... stay in Dallas one or two more nights or drive 5 hours to my parents house. Power is slowly coming back on. It could happen any minute, or it could be days more.

It's just tough not knowing which way it'll go. And after a lot of prayer and waiting, still don't know the right thing to do. Maybe this is one of those "either option is fine" situations.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It's Tuesday...

... and still no power at our house. Looks like another night in Dallas. We'll decide tomorrow if we should head south to my parents house in New Braunfels.

We had a nice visit to the seminary campus in Ft. Worth today. The boys got a couple of Bible lessons about the various sculptures around the place. Both of them have been real angels through all this.

Tonight, it's another few hours of Rock Band with Brett and Kim. Yes, I will post pictures. I am so happy for good friends and great kids and God's blessings to my family. I'll probably take some time and list them in a future post. Right now, it's time for a little nap

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Aftermath

Well, Ike certainly has made his mark. My family and I are currently having a "hurrication" up in Dallas while they try to get power up and running back home. The good thing is I'm keeping a photo journal that I will share after power gets back on.

Until then, keep praying for the power company to get their jobs done.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Pre Ike fun

Since the hurricane is coming and I'm needing something to do, here's some fun "make your name activities". Feel free to share yours in the comment section. :)

1. YOUR FULL NAME: Marie Willingham

2. YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 3 letters of your first name plus “izzle”) Marizzle

3. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color and favorite animal) Red Elephant

4. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (your middle name and the name of one of your pets) Marie Blazer

5. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name and the first 2 Letters of your first name) Wilma

6. YOUR SUPERHERO/CRIMINAL NAME: (2nd favorite color and favorite drink) Blue Coffee

7. YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (parents’ middle names) Jane Thomas

8. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandfather/grandmother on your father’s side and your favorite candy) Marie Twix

9. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current car) Pal Grand Marquis

10. YOUR TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: (fifth grade teacher’s last name and a major city that starts with the same letter) Osterman Oakland

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Josh's first day

So the boys needed a little comfort before Josh's first day. This is how we found them in the morning!

At the door to say goodbye!

On the way, Come on Dad, hurry up!

Bye bye now, don't worry about me! See ya later!

He had a great day! Yea!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back to School

Here are some pictures of the first day of school for Ryan.

Yes, his teacher is really that cute. He says Second Grade is the best ever. It's going well and Josh starts on Tuesday. I can't wait to see pictures from that one.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Why Back to School is so hard on Teachers

Back to school is the worst time of the year for teachers. Those poor souls who live with us have to hear the "I'm SO tired" and "There's not enough time" and "Can't you just get dinner tonight?" refrains until their ears start to bleed. So why don't we all just suck it up, accept that we chose this profession and do our jobs??

There is a reason, of course. There are many reasons actually.

Some of us didn't choose THIS profession in it's current form. We chose it in a kinder, gentler time before No Child Left Behind and the rise of mindless research based best teaching practices. We remember the "good old days" before guided reading and documentation and no administrative support and centers and ADD....

Most of us don't know what our job will entail this year. See, every year school districts add several new steps to certain processes in an effort to improve performance. They are poorly defined and not well thought out knee jerk reactions to the previous year's performance by district. This looks a lot like all those little pop up ads that most web browsers block out, but we can't block them. We must respond to and execute each one before we can get back to the job of teaching kids.

Back to school time is unltimately a fluid dance of teaching preparations, inservice, district hobnobbing, parental encounters, new teacher helping, team building with new teammates, administrative decisions, and decorating. These things all flow together in an unpredictable wave like motion that toss us to and fro and sometimes slams us into the rocks from 7 am to 10 pm for the week before school starts. Some of us like to start earlier with the hope that it'll make the transition easier. We hope in vain, every year.. I think teachers must be the most optimistic people on the planet (present company excluded).

It's a change in routine. We've just spent 9 weeks trying to regain some sense of normalcy with family vacation, changed home routines cuz we're actually THERE, summer projects around the house, and some well deserved sleeping in. Then, it's back to the grindstone just when we have the new routine down. It is kind of cruel now that I think about it. HMmmm.

And finally, we all know that the morning of the first day we will have to start training a new crop of kids who seem a lot less mature than last year's crew. We know we'll have to add students and undo much of the work we spent the last week doing. Some of us even have to face that our teaching assignment will change after the first few days due to an unexpected enrollment number. This means moving rooms, grade levels, team mates, and sometimes even our campus. All at the whim of the district. Because we signed a contract that includes the phrase "all other duties as assigned". Without know how much we'll be making.

That's why we whine. That's why we moan. And that's why you should tell your child's teacher that you really appreciate all they do for your child.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Resume Blitz

So we have taken a new approach to the job search. Ok, it's not new, but it's happening again. We are blitzing churches with Chris's resume. Using the "find a pastor" type websites, we find churches that seem to fit with what we believe and send in a resume, no matter their location. So, from PA to San Diego, Florida to Oregon, we've got those lists of Chris's abilities out there.

We also are concurrently looking at local school opportunities. Since everyone is fully stocked for teachers these days, Chris is putting in for tech jobs in the district.

He also recently shared a lot of our story with the youth adult leaders. Seems we've been a little "close to the vest" with our info. So, they were rightfully surprised by some of it, but so very kind and supportive.

I guess it's a way of just laying it all out there and seeing what happens. But having people know so much about where our family is, is a little embarrassing. I know it shouldn't feel like that, but I really feel like I'm heading into church tomorrow without enough clothes on. (Don't worry, Mom, I am fully and appropriately dressed.)

I just hope that God sees fit to get Chris a job sooner rather than later. But of course, that's been my mantra for over a year now. So i'm not holding my breath. Speaking of which, it's time to go pay bills.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The family visit

We had a wonderful trip to New Braunfels with my family. Where else on earth can you chase chickens, make gourmet food, feed goats,play at the lake,take shooting lessons from an expert and visit historical landmarks?? Here are some of the best pictures.

Josh shows no fear of chickens. He was very eager to help in any way he could!

Ryan got the real tour of the Alamo. Chris made sure to point out all the coolest features.

Here's the compulsary "I went to the Alamo" picture.

The cousins had a sleepover. They are such good friends and great kids when they are together.

Here are the kids at Canyon Lake. What a great few hours!

This is the family putting the chickens away. Again, farm life is second nature to Josh.

More lake pictures.

Ryan got to shoot a gun for the first time. He really liked it.

He was so proud of hitting the target.

Opa is great at giving lessons.

What a great time!