Monday, June 16, 2014

Keeping Pace with a Cheetah

I know I say this with every post, but where does the time go?? My babies are growing up so quickly and I can't seem to keep up!

Austin turned twelve on May 7th. TWELVE!!! What? That's not allowed!! I still have visions of him sitting at our dinner table at the ripe age of two. He had a Sponge Bob oven mitt on his hand and in his sweet little boy voice he says, "I'm gonna get you" as he attacks Mark's hand with the oven mitt! It seems unreal that he is twelve. It creates a overwhelming feeling of bittersweet joy that I've been blessed to be his mom for this long. But it also produces a sick feeling of panic knowing that I only have six more years before he will be grown and moving away! He always has a smile on his face. IF he gets upset, he's quick to recover and bounce back to his happy self. When he was a baby, he had a smile on his face before he even opened his eyes in the morning!
My heart is tickled by this face!

Chubby baby!!

When the Astros made it to the World Series...he's had a long love for baseball!!
To celebrate his birthday, Austin wanted the family to go crabbing again. So we loaded up and headed to Galveston! We stopped in Kemah to have dinner at the Aquarium. And then made the rest of the trip when the sun started going down. This year's trip was a bust because we didn't catch but maybe 2.5 crabs! But the boys had a great time making memories, and that's the difference!
Zay, Andrewe, Cooper, Austin, Abi, and Bastian
 Cooper, Austin, and Andrew

A favorite memory from this trip was at dinner time. Aunt Georgiet talked Austin and Zay into trying an oyster. Copper had them before, so he volunteered to show the boys how to eat them! After a little squabble, Zay stepped up to try it first. As he tried to swallow it, he started gagging. Austin graciously handed his to Cooper and said 'Thanks, but no thanks!' I can honestly say that if I never have another accomplishment in my life, Austin and Abi would be enough for me.
Between Austin's birthday and the beginning of June, not too much happened. But I have pictures!!!
My beautiful girl

Austin catching in one of his games
The weekend of June 7-8 tested our flexibility as parents and our ability to be in multiple places at once!! Abi had her first ever Rehearsal and Recital for dance at the same time Austin was playing a tournament about an hour and half away!! Saturday we made the trip to Texas City for Austin's two games, Mark and Abi left before the second game to make Abi's rehearsal on the other side of town. Austin and I made it to the auditorium just as Abi's second dance began!  We ran through the parking lot and everything!! Then on Sunday, we all made the trip to Texas City again. On Sundays, if you win you keep playing until you lose. Well...they won their first they kept playing! We left Austin with his team mates, and Mark, Abi, and I made the long trip across town again! It turned out that Austin wouldn't make it to Abi's recital, as his team played until the championship game and won 2nd place. Abi was a natural on stage. She was beautiful, so much that it brought tears to my eyes! I am so proud that she conquered her fear of performing in front of people. Our family and friends were there to support her, which made her very happy!

 She lves getting to dress up and put on make-up! I'm not ready for her to grow up! (In her ballet dress, performed to 'You're My Best Friend')
Abi in her jazz costume, performed to Seven Nation Army
Luke and Abi

 Luke, Bastian, Zay, Abi, Kelly, and Pacey
A ring as a trophy

Abi kicked the summer off by whacking her hair off! I followed suit, it's hot in Texas!!!
Ah, so cool!
And Austin attended the Urban Youth Academy with the Astros. They split the kids up into 5 groups: Softball, 7-9 year olds, 10-11 year olds, 12-13 year old and 14-17 year olds. Austin was bumped up to the 14-17 year old age group. They also compete amongst their groups each day in a category, and then the winners from each group competes with all the age group winners. Austin was so excited when I picked him up on Tuesday. He not only beat the kids in the 14-17 age group in fielding, but he also beat the other kids from the other age groups! He received Certificates of Achievement for both!


These two kid-o's keep me running! I love every minute of it. One day it will be over; So, I want to soak in the blessings of this day!

Monday, April 21, 2014

I've Been Playing Candy Crush

Yes, I fell into the black hole that is Candy Crush. That is my excuse for being gone for so long! I've finally reached a point in the game that I have to wait too long before another level opens up; so, my addiction has been wavering!

Enough about that. What has the Brew Crew been up to? Well, we had the privilege of sharing our blessings from the end of January until about a week and a half ago. Family friends of ours while waiting for their new home to be built, had temporarily taken up quarters in a small travel trailer. Mark and I suggested that they use our spare bedroom, and we would make room for their kid-o's. They finally took us up on our offer! So, we went from a family of 4 to an family of 9 really quick! When the children (our two, Austin and Abi, and their 3, Cameron, Remington, and Lyla) went to bed, it just seemed like a nice evening hanging out with friends! When all the children were awake, things at times became more complicated. But for the most part it was a blessing. It was a blessing for me, and a blessing for Austin and Abi. I often reminded them of a verse that God put on my heart shortly before they moved in: Hebrews 13:16 Don't forget to do good things for others and to share what you have with them. These are the kinds of sacrifices that please God. Before they moved in, other friends questioned our sanity. They asked if we were scared to lose our friendship with our friends. In the end, our friendship was not only intact, but even stronger than it was before! Some of the highlights from our 3 month slumber party:

 Lyla LOVES Austin. Every morning or any time we would return home, she would make a running leap to hug him!
These two, Abi and Remi, had their days when they were BFFs or mortal enemies! Sometimes within 5 minutes!
Mark and Javier. These two kept us entertained nonstop!

Lyla helping Mark build a shelf for my laundry room. That didn't work out, but Lyla was so excited to help!!

Lyla, Abi, and Remi having a tea party with a tea set that was my Grandmothers.

Our family made sure to clear our calendar for Winter Jam this year! We also helped transport some of the youth from our church, as it was also a youth group event. Some of our favorite bands were there: Lecrae, Tenth Avenue North, and Thousand Foot Krutch to name a few!
Austin waiting to enter the concert, rocking his blue Mohawk!
One of the youth worshipping!

Abi turned 10 on March 11th this year! Her request for a birthday party this year was to have a few friends over for a spaghetti dinner, Paris style, and then to have her friends spend the night. Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away on Abi's birthday, and his funeral was the morning after her party. Abi was a good sport, understanding that sometimes things don't work out the way you always plan for them to. She did get her fancy spaghetti dinner, and was happy enough with that!

Even the Eiffel Tower is edible!

Abi and (her very best friend!) Luke!
We have really slacked on the field trips this year. We tried to make up for it this spring. We took a field trip to the George Ranch where the kids got to see what life was like in the the 1800's.

Here, Austin and Abi did an impression of old people that started with "Back in my day sonny..."

Abi was most curious to see the inside of ever building on the ranch!
Field trip number 2 has become kind of an annual trip. We packed a picnic for Memorial Hermann Park, which Mark was able to join us for this year, and then went to the zoo for one of their free admission days! I made sure to pack the camera because I wanted to take spring photos of Austin and Abi. I pulled up some spring pics of the kids from the last 4 years to see how much they've grown!!
Spring 2010

Spring 2011

Spring 2012

Spring 2013
Spring 2014

I love these two with my whole heart!
She is so beautiful!

And he is one handsome fella!
Then we went to the zoo!
His personality makes me laugh!

Silly, silly kids!
I love this picture. Abi's face is priceless!!!
Of course, I can't forget Easter. This year we didn't give the kids Easter Baskets. I've always dreaded giving them baskets anyways because then the holiday, like Christmas, slips away from the true meaning of what we are celebrating. I don't want them to look forward to Easter because they get more STUFF, but because they can have new life! They have a way to heaven because Jesus died and then rose again three days later! We did give them one item each, and they seemed okay with that!

Easter 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One Year and Counting: What a Journey It's Been

On this day one year ago, I received some life changing information. For a few months I had serious pain in my feet. I thought it was maybe the new shoes I had just purchased, because breaking new shoes in can be painful! I also had been struggling with the vision in my right eye, which had been diagnosed as a lazy eye since I was a child. I assumed that the constant fatigue was because of my weight, which in turn lead to brain fog. I had also been diagnosed with chronic sinusitis which brought on constant headaches, and carpel tunnel syndrome when I was in the military.

 I went in for an MRI of my head early in the morning, and that afternoon received a phone call from my doctor. The radiologists had confirmed what my doctor suspected, I had multiple lesions on my brain. My doctor directed me to the hospital as soon as possible to start a high dose of steroids. Before they could confirm a diagnosis of MS, they had to run more tests because there is no one test that can test for MS. While I was in the hospital, they tested for Lyme's Disease, Lupus (two diseases I had previously been tested for in the military), and few other diseases. They did two more MRIs, this time of my neck and spine. I had multiple lesions in both. They did a spinal tap to test for Oligoclonal Bands. If four or more O-Bands are found in the cerebral spinal fluid, then it is consistent with a diagnosis of MS. I had 12 O-bands.

 You see, the lesions in my brain had been caused by my own immune system attacking the protective coating around my nerves. I was in the hospital for 5 days, during which I researched as much as I could about MS. I learned that it is a very individual disease. It effects each person differently, no two cases are the same. The National MS Society defines MS as: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. There are four different types of MS. I have Relapsing-Remitting MS.

I've been on Copaxone, a daily injection, for almost a year now as well. Some of my symptoms have subsided. My vision, the biggest concern of my doctor, has been doing well! My feet only hurt when I've stressed myself out, over worked, or am overheated. The two lingering symptoms are fatigue and brain fog. I get tired so easily, my memory stinks, and I sometimes have a hard time processing information.

I have fears of the disease progressing. Because MS in unpredictable, what's to stop it from ravaging my health in the night. I fear that I will lose the use of my legs and arms. With each ache and pain and tingle, I wonder, 'Is this it? Is this the last day I will walk?" I need a daily reminder that God loves me. That He said : So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) I have nothing to fear, weather I am walking or rolling, God is with me. I can lean into Him, and He will give me the strength I need to make it through the journey. He is my source of Hope, Joy, Strength, and Peace. I hope that there will one day soon be a cure for MS. I am joyful that I am able to share God's love for me, and His people, through my journey. I am strengthened by His unconditional love for me. And I can be at peace and say, 'It is well with my soul' because I know that I have an eternal spot in Heaven praising His name. There will be no more diseases, no more pain, and no more sorrow.

Monday, March 24, 2014


Baseball. Austin plays baseball, and I LOVE watching that boy play! In the fall he played for the Bulls through Baseball USA. We loved the unlimited access to the facility, and the exposure to so many experienced coaches; however, that wasn't enough to keep us there. Our coach that was assigned to our team didn't get to pick his team. In all, there were four kids on the team that were actually able to compete at an elite level. And just like that, we were stuck with a noncompetitive team. To make it even worse, without our coach saying so, we could tell that coaching Austin's team was just a way for him to collect a paycheck. If he showed up for practice, he was usually 30minutes to an hour late each practice. Mark and another dad luckily stepped up to do what they could to get the boys work in the batting cages. It was very frustrating that we were paying for something, but having to do it ourselves! Austin was re-evaluated in January and was again invited back to play. Before the evaluations, we found out that his team would "officially" be sponsored by Marucci. We were very excited, hoping it would be the change that fixed our BUSA problems! After evaluations though, we were met with great disappointment. His team had not changed hardly at all. And not only was Austin going to be stuck on the same noncompetitive team, but the price to play through BUSA was going to increase dramatically. It was like we were going to pay for a Lexus, but were being delivered a Toyota! Before making our decision, we reached out to the director for something, anything, to change our minds. He never responded. Gave us no answers. And probably could care less that we were leaving. We were just another number, another way they could collect a pay check. We never felt like they genuinely cared about Austin as a player, or weather or not he developed into a good ball player. It was a sad, sad realization for us. We wanted so badly for it to workout.

  After that, we were left back in square one! One of our teammates from the Bulls was planning to return to the remnants of his pre-Bulls team. One of the dads had pulled together some of the other players and managed to find a professional coach. So, we contacted the coach for a tryout, and the rest is history. The name of Austin's new team is FO1 (Fraternity of 1) Baseball. We very much like his new coach. And for an added bonus, he has two coaches that help with his team for the price of one. The only con to starting with a new team is that Austin has to start at the bottom and prove himself worthy of taking anyone's spot. For the most part, the teams' infield is already set. So, the boy has a lot of work to do.

 A team that prays together...
 His pitch-release chubby cheeks are my favorite!
 Checking out their competition

We are  happy with Austin's team. He even has two teammates that played on Airline with us!

Next on the agenda is Abi's sport for this year. It's harder to get excited about her choice of sport because she may not stick with it. She's gone from T-ball to gymnastics to dance, then to volleyball. She considered trying softball and swimming, and has ended up back in dance. She is at a different studio than before so that may be the difference. So far, she says she wants to do dance again next year! We do our best to encourage her at whatever she is trying at the moment, and always make her finish the allotted time frame of her commitment.

For Halloween, they were able to wear their costumes to class!

 This will be her costume for her ballet portion of her recital in June.
 We only get to watch through a window that has blinds!
 This is after her class, but she's beautiful!
A really good picture of the blinds in the window!
I love these kid-o's and am so thankful for the joy they bring to my life!