Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Pondering races for the new year.

It may be just a little early to start talking about new year goals, but a little planning never hurt anyone, so, yes, I am already thinking about what races I want to accomplish in the coming year. I know that I would like to do a 10K this year, since I've never raced that distance before. Additionally I would like to do a spring half-marathon and a couple 5K's. The big question for me is this: Is this the year to complete my lifetime goal of running a full marathon? Hmmm. Now that is something to ponder. Such a big decision and lifestyle of running. I know it takes a lot of dedication to complete a half and to double that distance is pretty gutsy. Is that really something I could do? For now, I think I'm going to go about my training for the 10K and the half, just to see how that goes and if the training becomes too much to handle with my job.

Any suggestions for some fun races?

I am thinking about the Cowtown in Fort Worth for the 10K. Ross has run the Cowtown 5K for the past 2 years with his corporate team. This year his supervisor has the idea that we should round up a team to run the 10K and actually try to win it. I, of course, won't be contributing to the winning result, however I can still be a part of the team.

As for the Half, I am conflicted. The Rock n Roll marathon is in Dallas on March 14, which is SO exciting and I've always wanted to do a Rock n Roll race, however it's the same time as my spring break from school and I really wanted Ross to take me to San Diego for a few days. (We won a 2 night stay at a Hilton in San Diego at his Southwest Holiday party and it expires in April). So, we'll see how that works out. There's always the Go! St. Louis half-marathon in April. That was the race that I first completed 13.1 and will always hold a special place in my heart, however do I really want to do it again? Maybe if my little sis would join me...hint hint.

I've also debated trying a triathlon at some point in my life. I don't know though...swimming is hard and bikes scare me. It would take a lot of convincing for me to attempt this feat. It may be just the thing to prevent the monotony of training. I tend to get so sick of running after training for a big race. Any tips?

In closing, I want to share my favorite Christmas song of the day: The First Noel sung by David Archuleta. Wow. If the birth of Christ alone, hasn't gotten you into the Christmas spirit, this should help. (disclaimer: Jesus really is the only reason for the season, however David may just help you remember that.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And breathe...

Wow, has it been an eternity since I've posted!? Time really flies!

Well, I've made it half-way through my first year of being a teacher. A few things changed over the past semester. I took a hiatus from two things that I love: blogging and running. When things started getting busy at work, I had to cut some things from my life and those seemed like the only negotiable pasttimes to cut out. However, I am hoping that during the second semester of this school year, the newness of everything won't be so overwhelming and I'll be able to reincorporate both running and blogging into my life. :)

In other news: Christmas is in 3 days! Holy cow! I am so excited. This has been the longest duration of time that I have been away from the homeland (Illinois). Ross and I are flying up north tomorrow night. We'll be spending part of the time with my family in Carrollton and good ol' Nebo and part of the time with his family in Hardin and up on "the hill" at his farm. I am sure this will be a very special Christmas full of fun new memories. I am looking forward to hanging out the morning and afternoon of Christmas Eve with my Pohlman family. Everyone will gather in my parents home and eat a delicious potluck brunch. My favorite is the egg casserole that my aunt Jan brings each year. Buttery deliciousness. :) Christmas Day we will travel over to Pike County to have Christmas dinner (lunch) with my Grandma Sue. I am so happy that Ross's parents are going to join us as well. Then I am guessing that the evening of Christmas day will be spent with Ross's grandparents in Hardin and with Stacy, Jonathan, and Ani when they arrive by car sometime that evening.

I am positive that the highlight of my trip to Illinois will be the time spent with my beautiful sister, Dana. She just arrived back to the states from Italy only yesterday! We have so much to catch up on since we had limited communication over the past several months. I am really looking forward to some late night talks that we are known for having.

I hope that you all have a very blessed Christmas vacation!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

A sigh of relief

This Friday I had my first round of Parent/Teacher conferences. I about made myself sick the couple of nights prior just thinking about them and stressing over them. Not only am I responsible for updating the parents on their child's speech and language status and progress, but also their math, reading, behavior, organization, and social skills! I was very nervous to say the least. I basically would just lay in bed praying at night for the Lord to cast out all these negative thoughts and help me to just dwell in Him to get my head to stop reeling. I know that He was definitely looking out for me because everything went pretty smoothly on Friday. I was happy with how things went and know that I will be even better in our January conferences now that I know what to expect and I hopefully won't be as nervous.

Next week we have our first field trip and I'm SO excited! We are going to Owen's Spring Creek Farm in Richardson for a little pumpkin picking, hayrides, and petting zoo action. I LOVE fall and everything that comes with it...except for all the dreary rain days we've had lately. Pumpkins, colored leaves, fresh cool air...mmmmm. Anyway, I think my little nuggets will have a fun time there. I can't wait to take them. :)

Today Ross and I slept in and laid in bed all morning, then went and got Krispy Kreme and coffee and sat out by the pool to soak up some much needed Vitamin D and C. It was amazing. I just LOVE living with my best friend. Today we have a few little errands and tasks to do, but right now he is practicing WICKED (the musical) songs on the piano for me. If you don't know, it's my all-time favorite musical and I enjoy singing the songs all the time. If Ross can learn these songs how much more fun will it be to sing them!! My mom sent me this piano book in the mail today...I think with the intention that I would be able to play the songs. (It said "easy piano" on the front of the book). I guess "easy" is still too hard for me, but I can still practice and in the meantime let Ross learn them. Singing is more fun for me anyway.

Hope you all have a fun filled Fall day!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Ah Ah Ah Ah Stayin' Alive, Stayin' Alive.

That's right, I'm alive. I just survived what may or may not have been the swine flu, but definitely the worst flu I've ever had. I woke up Saturday feeling a little off. I couldn't quite pin it at first...a mild headache and my body just felt a little different. But within a couple hours of being awake, I knew what was happening. The flu was in me and slowly multiplying. Of course, I thought I could fight it off with Vitamin C, Airborne, and green tea, but by that evening I realized it was only getting worse. We canceled all evening and dinner plans, I continued popping vitamins and herbal supplements but to no avail I ended up in bed very early. Sunday got worse and I spent the whole day in bed. Then Monday I succombed to the fact I probably had the flu or something else bad and realized I needed "the drug". So I looked up PrimaCare locations/protocol on the internet. I have heard of these clinics and have always seen them around but never thought I would use one. I actually hate going to the doctor, and therefore don't have a primary care physician. Anyway, I needed some urgent care, since "the drug" is supposed to be taken within 48-72 hours and I was pushing it. So, I checked-in online and showed up to this facility. I watched "Hook" for an hour before getting called back to find out I have Type A flu OR h1n1 since they are indistinguishible with the test I was given. However they are treated the same way, so no big deal I guess. It wasn't until midday Tuesday that my fever finally ceased and I started improving at all. I had a fever over 102 for over 2 days and totally felt like I was continuously being run over by a truck. Well, praise the Lord that all things come to pass, and I can say I survived the flu! After taking 3 days off from work, I was able to return to my little bundles of joy today! I was actually terrified to go back. I didn't think I would be able to handle my class, but the Lord never gives us more than we can handle, and I only had 4 kiddos today. (Thanks again, Lord). So we made it through the day and tomorrow is Friday!!!! And I can tolerate most anything on Fridays just knowing that the end is near. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Lowkey weekend...just what I like.

Work is getting progressively better for me. I still feel overwhelmed most every day, but I think that's just part of being a first year teacher. I am being stretched so much, but it's a good thing. I feel like I'm developing some nice qualities that would perhaps never have emerged without being put to the test. Here are a few for example: patience, endurance, functioning on less energy, and more. So, I'm happy to be challenged if it means changing me for the better. I hope I'm not giving the wrong impression that my job is just a huge hardship. I am loving it! I love being a teacher and an SLP all rolled up in one and I wouldn't have it any other way. Oak Hill is so great. I love the work environment, the supportive staff, the parents, and my kids. I am so blessed!

Ross and I started off the weekend by eating Mexican at Matt's Rancho Martinez in Lakewood with Molly and Andy. The queso was soooo delish!! We'll definitely have to dine there more once Molly and Andy get settled in their new home in Lakewood. It was so nice to just sit back and have a margarita and enjoy life.

Then on Saturday, Ross and I dog and house-sat for the Parker's while they went to Austin for a wedding. We watched a TON of The Office DVR's and almost got caught up to Season 6...just a few more episodes. Ross and I used to be big Office fans and got Molly and Andy hooked, but then we kinda dropped off and didn't watch any of Season 5. Luckily for us, M and A DVR'd the whole season, so yesterday was the perfect opportunity to get caught up. :) I loved just chillaxing with Ross, Bailey, and Boots all day.

The only downer to the weekend is that my hubby is under the weather. Poor guy has been fighting off the flu bug all week, but it's been a bugger to get rid of. I am just praying against any flu bugs taking residence in me and for total healing in Ross. Please keep him in your prayers that he will be fully well for work tomorrow.

To end on a positive note...Ross and I think we're going to be able to take the Italy trip to visit my sister afterall! More details later, but we're hoping and praying it will all work out. For those of you who don't know, my sister is studying abroad in Florence, Italy this semester and Ross and I would LOVE to be able to go visit her. What an awesome opportunity to travel abroad when you know someone who is living there and who can show you around! I miss her so much, but honestly we're staying connected pretty well due to the technology of email, facebook, and skyping! Skyping is amazing because we can actually SEE and TALK to each other. We totally should have thought about this before! I actually feel like we're talking to each other more while she's in Italy than when she was just in Illinois!

Anyway, enough for today. I hope everyone is doing well! Have a great Sunday.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It rained and then it poured.

Last week was a rough one for me. My kids were crazy at school and I was experiencing a lot of self-doubt (once again). I fell asleep early on Friday night out of pure exhaustion, but had high hopes of getting a lot accomplished on Saturday. I started Saturday off with a 4 mile run in the rain with Molly then went to our favorite place "Legal Grounds" in Lakewood. I did this to get my mind off of my job for awhile. That afternoon I decided to go work at school. I hadn't had time to make my lesson plans for the following week yet and I had a ton of materials to prepare. Just as I was about to be done, I decided to laminate some of the things I had made. I heated the machine up and then placed my things in to be laminated, but instead of everything coming out the back, it managed to curl back up inside the machine. I panicked. I had already messed the machine up once before and I was so embarrassed. I also was so upset that I was causing the "laminator fixer lady" extra work to be done on a Monday morning. Could I feel any less out of control right now? I freaked out, cried, and felt like I could never show my face at school again. (OK, looking back on this now, it seems quite extreme, but I'm just relaying how I actually felt at the time) Then I decided I would call the "laminator fixer lady" on Sunday but I was SOOO nervous. I didn't want to disappoint her and sever a relationship with her. (back story: she had advised me previously not to use the machine after my first mishap). At this point I am so deep in stress and feeling blue that I couldn't even go to church on Sunday. Then I ended up working at my school cleaning all day Sunday with Ross's help and organization skills. (he is truly amazing). Finally, I get in touch with "Laminator fixer lady" and she had grace on me! I mean, she was firm...but gracious. And I could tell that things were going to be ok. All my stress about that situation was suddenly lifted off of my shoulders. She was merciful and kind and everything else wonderful that I needed right then. Things were starting to look up. Today is Monday and I am thanking God for a really wonderful day. My kids had a great day despite being cooped inside all day with the rain. It was the first day for one student not to shrill "I need a break" "I'm mad" or "It's too loud" or escape the classroom and another student pooped in the potty for the first time EVER. I was on cloud 9! Then to ice the cake, I got home around 8 pm to find a package from my mother. She got me a "first day of school" present that she had forgotton to give to me. It couldn't have arrived on a more perfect day. A new purse! Seriously, how do mom's know these things? I just had a breakdown this weekend because my nasty purse was falling apart and had holes all over causing me to lose things. (Ok, let's be honest, the breakdown was more because I was just stressed and irritable...but the purse just happened to be what I blamed my anger on).
So, it's still rainy and wet outside and I know full well that tomorrow my kids might scream and poop their pants, but God is good and shows us his mercy and kindness continually. Something He's teaching me in this new season, is that I've got to keep praising Him in the storm instead of questioning Him all the time. I know He's teaching me in this whole process and I need to draw closer to Him instead of trying to isolate myself. Thank you Lord for you patience and keep working on me. I know I have a lot to learn!

Monday, September 7, 2009


What a long and eventful weekend! I am so thankful for this Labor Day weekend this year. I don't think I've ever been as appreciative of this holiday as I am this year. When you are in the working world, it has a whole new meaning! This Labor Day weekend has been quite eventful for us!

We started it off with a bang with a party at our apartment with our small group from church. Almost everyone was able to come which made a total of 12 people. We had a blast drinking wine and eating snacks and catching up with each other after a few month hiatus from our small group meetings. It was so fun to see everyone all together again and to have people in our apartment with our new furniture!

Then we woke up early Saturday morning and went to Canton with our besties Molly and Andy. It was a long and hot day, but I'm glad I got to visit the notorious Canton flea market. It was pretty overwhelming....especially at the point we got separated from the Parkers and realized none of us had phone reception. It was somewhat of a nightmare, but we managed to find each other again eventually.

Saturday night Ross and I had dinner plans with some new friends, Marissa and Andrew. They both went to grad school with me and now Marissa and I work together at Oak Hill. They took us out for an AMAZING dinner at Al Biernat's...number ONE steakhouse in Dallas. We were definitely blessed and are so happy to have some new friends. Marissa has been such a great connection to have at Oak Hill. She's the one I've been able to turn to with any question I've had and has been so helpful!

Then Sunday, we had church, rested in the afternoon, and then went out to Rowlett to have pizza and watch a movie with Stace, Jonathan, and Ani. I of course fell asleep during the movie and then we spent the night there.

Today has been a great day of catching up on laundry, ironing, RUNNING, and getting some sun. Yes, that's right, I FINALLY was able to get out on a run this morning and it was WONDERFUL! It had been WAY too long. I am still not giving up on my goal of running the 1/2 in December. I'm just gonna have to get my butt in gear pretty fast and push myself extra hard to be ready in time.

I also got to skype with my sister in Italia today! We got an old webcam from Ross's parents and set it all up just in time to catch my sister at an internet cafe before it closed. It was so wonderful to see her face. Skype-ing is so much better than talking on the phone. It's like you are just chatting face to face. It really makes the world seem so much smaller. I mean, we're 7 hours time difference apart and across a whole ocean from each other and there we were just chatting like no big thing. Skype is going to make this separation from her not so bad afterall. She looked beautiful and not homesick at all. I'm so happy that she's doing well. She had her first Italian language class today and learned to say "My name is....". haha. She is going to come home speaking fluently, I just know it! I am really hoping Ross and I can go visit her sometime in November! Praying for God's provision and favor on that one. :)

Tomorrow is back to the daily grind. I hope I have some fun stories to share. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Teacher's are special.

My favorite conversation this week with one of my students:

Child: Mrs. Barry?
Me: Yes.
Child: Why don't my mommy and daddy use gloves when they wipe my bottom and you do?
Me: Well, mommies and daddies are just special, that's why. (How do you answer that?)
Child: Well...I think teachers are special too.

This is why I LOVE working with kids. :)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Kind of like having your first child...

After talking about my first week and a half to my friend Melissa, who just had her first baby this summer, she said the way I described my experiences at becoming a teacher sounds just like her experience at becoming a mother. I found this kind of funny. Let me explain. My degree is in Speech Pathology but I was hired to be a full day teacher for preschoolers. All of my prior experiences were being with clients 2 hours max but now I am responsible for my "clients" for an entire day. So, when someone asks me..."How did they do today?"'s hard to describe with a simple "good" or "bad". You see, in 6 and a 1/2 hours kids aren't only good or bad or somewhere in the middle. They really just flow along the spectrum from good to bad the entire day. It might start out rough and then get better and then get worse and then get better again. There is always laughter at some point, tears at some point, hugging at some point, and yelling at some point. So, when you ask me how my day's hard to answer that. I could say "good" because all in all, we made it through the day and good things happened. Or I could say "crazy" because there's always a couple points in the day when I am at my wit's end and have total sensory overload and just close my eyes and take deep breaths until my kids start asking "Mi sweeping?" I also described to Melissa how my expectations are really changing. I imagined all these kids being so motivated to learn from me and that they would magically sit down when I asked them to and walk in a line from place to place. But this week, I decided my one goal would be to teach them to stand in a line and if I'm really good, get them to walk in a line. If I can achieve that in a week, I will feel fully successful. Anyway, I am learning so much from my kids each day and I feel so blessed to be where I am. After last week, I didn't know if I could handle another, but already I am seeing the kids change and learn so much! The routines I've created for them are starting to work and the rules and structure I've put in place for them are really starting to make a difference. I barely had to raise my voice today or put anyone in time out! I consider this a major success. Now, I know I can't get too excited about this...there are still 2 days left in the week and I know I very may well have a crazy day tomorrow, but I am ok with that. I am just taking each day as a learning experience for myself and giving myself grace for the things I haven't accomplished yet. A girl's gotta have a learning curve right?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ready for Week 2

Well, last week pretty much knocked me on my bottom, but it's not gonna keep me down! I'm feeling rested tonight and ready for week 2 of being a professional. Lots of things in my lifestyle have changed in the past week. No time for blogging, no time for running, not even much time for eating. I was so blessed this summer to be able to relax and do all kinds of leisure activities, but it was such a drastic change from what this past week has been. I've really enjoyed meeting all my kiddos and their parents. I still trust that this is the position in which God placed me. I'm just really starting to understand what life has been like for Ross the past two years in which evenings and weekends are so precious.

I hope to blog more soon when all the beginning of the school year madness calms down a bit, but for now I need to go spend these last few hours of this weekend with my husband! ;)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

blog slacking.

Oh, I know it's been awhile and I even have good posting material...I've just been so overwhelmed and exhausted the past 2 weeks. Have no fear blogs will return. In the meantime, please say a prayer for me as I'm starting my first job.

I hope you are all doing well and for those of you in in-services this week...I feel your pain. Keep hanging in there...I know it will all be worth it when we start seeing our little kiddos!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We all float on okay.

Well, my final days of summer are wrapping up. I start my first job on Monday morning bright and early! The first week of work is spent doing staff development type work...going through school procedures and policies, trainings, meetings, etc. Since it's my first time working there, I'm actually looking forward to learning more about the ins and the outs of the school. I've mentioned before that I've been working on my room a bunch and I promise there will be pictures soon. It's really coming along nicely, I just want it to be completely finished before I share the pics.

This week I was really starting to feel overwhelmed. I started doubting myself and felt incompetent at teaching these kids. I started to feel pressure of making sure my kids progress and succeed and I began to really stress. Praise God though because soon after all these negative thoughts started flowing, He reminded me that not only did He place me in this position, but I can do all things through Him....with an emphasis on THROUGH HIM. He reminded me that's it not all about ME and I just need to lean on Him and trust Him. Where I am weak, He is STRONG! So, thank you Lord for convicting me of getting wrapped up in my world and forgive me for forgetting that You have brought me to this place and prepared me for this.

He has blessed me so much through this process of finding a job. And just recently, He reaffirmed that Oak Hill is where He has called me by bringing my good friend Taylor to work right across the hall from me in the half-day pre-primary program! I am so thankful to be working so closely with another SLP! Taylor and I worked together for the past year in a preschool for kiddos with autism, so we have a lot of the same clinical experience and techniques. It will be so great to have her there with me.

Ross and I leave tomorrow afternoon for a wedding in Champaign/Urbana, IL. The town of our alma-mater. We are so excited to be visiting our campus for the first time since we graduated 2 years ago. Ross will be playing the drums with the band during the ceremony, so I'm very excited to hear him do that. He used to play drums in college, but since we've moved to TX he's mainly been mastering the bass. Another bonus is that we get to stay with one of my dear friends who also just got married, so I'm excited to catch up with her.

I hope all of your summers are wrapping up nicely as well and that you have a beautiful end of week and weekend. :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Dragging my feet.

I mentioned awhile back that I have started running again and lately my runs have been few and far between. I really am trying, but I have a lazy summer mentality going on and if I don't make plans to meet someone, then I either don't go at all or I run a measly couple of miles at a seriously SLOW pace with several breaks. It's kind of pathetic. I'm not sure what the problem is. In the past I've been able to get really excited about whatever my goal happens to be and I'm able to use that as prime motivation. But this time, I feel like I'm just dragging my feet. Anyway, I really think this week is going to be different. I started off today with a really nice 3 mile run followed by a 3 mile walk and it felt good. I have plans to run 2 more times and swim 2 times this week with Molly and then a 6 AM Saturday morning run planned with Robyn (because that's what time mom's run on weekends...CRAZY :). Anyway, if all that works out I'll have about 12-15 miles under my belt for the week. Here is a link to my training log that I try to keep up with at Runner's World. It has several of my workouts for the past couple of years.

As you can see, it's pretty pathetic considering I've been trying to build up mileage this summer. But anyway, I thought it would be good for me to share that with you in hopes of motivating myself to improve my mileage (since there's a chance someone could be checking in on me). If you are a runner (or swimmer/walker/biker) and you like tracking your progress over time, this training log is a great tool. You can find it at the Runner's World website which is also one of my favorite magazines and websites. There's so many tips and motivational stories and articles. I really enjoy it and would recommend it to anyone who likes being active.

Hope you all started the week off to a good step and I hope to hear from you and your blogs soon!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sisters. Sisters.

...there were never such devoted sisters.

This past week I've had the pleasure of hosting my little sister, Dana, here in Dallas. It was so nice to have her down here for a solid week. Since we're both on summer vacation we were able to just spend each day relaxing and doing whatever we wanted.

Dana and I have become best friends over the past few years. We talked about how it's so crazy that most of our lives we spent either fighting or ignoring each other. We shared a room and a bed growing we were always close...physically...which led to a lot of bonding but also a lot of arguing over space and privacy. Then I went off to college and she started high school and we both had our own lives going on, and sadly, left each other out of them. We think that in the past few years we've both matured a lot and come to realize what an amazing bond we have through being sisters and sharing so many experiences growing up that no one really can understand but us. It's nice to finally be able to talk to each other and talk about our lives growing up and discover how each of us processed different experiences that we had.

We kept busy the entire week with fun activities. We saw 4 movies!!! (Two in the theater and two at home. ) Of course, we saw "My sister's keeper" and cried through the whole thing. We had both read the book as well so we were both thrown a loop by the movie's ending. It was a good movie, however extremely sad. The book was definitely better, but I think they did a great job with the movie. We also saw The Proposal (and Ross was able to join us for this one). It was a fun and lighthearted movie. Ryan Reynolds, Sandra Bullock, one of the Golden girls, and Oscar from The Office had me rolling with laughter at several points. Then at home we saw Gran Torino (amazing, but lots of bad language) and Crash (a great movie bringing up issues of racial stereotypes and racism). They are both 2 of my favorite movies and I would definitely recommend them.

The other big event that took place while Dana was here was THE YARDSALE! So, Ross and I decided that we wanted to have a yardsale with our friends Molly and Andy a while back to get rid of a little junk we had and a LOT of stuff they had. We were also able to sell a lot of Ross' parents and sister's things as well. A lot of work went into it, but overall I had a great time. It was so fun to make deals with people and finally at the end of the day let people fill up an entire bag for $1. I was surprised how busy we were! There were people at the sale non-stop from 6:45 am until just past 3pm!! Finally, we packed up the remaining items into a few boxes and bags and took it all to GoodWill. The sale was definitely a success. We got rid of a ton of stuff and made some extra cash.

This trip was extra special because Dana is going to be studying abroad in Italy in the Fall. She leaves September 1st and this was our 2nd to last visit with each other before she leaves. The next time she visits though is just a short visit for the Hillsong United concert in August. The same week I start work and just 5 days before she leaves for Italia. I don't even want to think about how much I'm going to miss her and how sad our goodbye will be. Ross always gets a little nervous and sensitive towards my feelings on the days that Dana and I have to say goodbye because Dana and I both get pretty teary-eyed. When I was getting ready to depart for Dallas after our wedding , people had to pull us apart. We were both bawling like crazy and wouldn't let go of each other. Then I cried the entire plane ride to Dallas and poor poor Ross had to sit there and console his new wife. I can only imagine what people were thinking. I was wearing this little tanktop that said "Just Married" and here I am crying my eyes out on a plane to Dallas. Pretty comical picture now that I think back on it, but at the time it was really not funny.

I am so blessed to have a sister that's also my best friend and I feel like God just keeps bringing us closer and closer to each other and for that I'm so thankful.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Deep in the Heart of Texas.

This weekend we traveled with our good friends Molly and Andy to Molly's hometown of Katy, TX to stay and visit with her parents. We had a sweet time of fun and fellowship and were so blessed by the Paulsen/Parker clan. One of the highlights of the trip for me was spending time loving on the dogs. Meet (from left to right) Bailey, Jonah, and Boots. Boots and Bailey belong to Molly and Andy and Jonah belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Paulsen. They were with us every minute of the trip and I enjoyed bonding with them as you can see in the pictures.

What's really on my mind to blog about is running...or lack thereof. It's officially been over a week since I put my feet to the beat and I'm so frustrated with myself. However, that frustration didn't get me out of the door once again this morning. What I need is determination...and that is hard to come by in the morning for me. I don't mind waking up, fixing Ross lunch, making good strong coffee, reading, computer time,'s just the part where my body has to move and I have to sweat and my heart rate has to increase...that my mind just can't get in the mood for. Summers in TX are hard for running (IMO). My sister in IL just went for a mid-afternoon run yesterday and it was a mere 75 degrees out. How unfair is that?'s time to stop basking in my pity party and get some determination. Tomorrow morning I will set out to run and I will keep going. There is talk of a 10K at the end of August I have to get ready for that. Maybe I just need to wake up earlier...we all know that JOY comes in the morning!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

Come on feel the Illi-NOISE.

I spent the beginning of this week in my home state of Illinois. All of my family from Florida was visiting and so I felt it was a good opportunity to see as much family as possible in one visit. My cousins are a bit older than me and all have children and it's fun to see them all growing up. When I was younger I LOVED spending time with my cousins. I absolutely adored them and clung onto them every time we were together. I looked up to them like they hung the moon. Of course I still love spending time with them...I'm just not as clingy I suppose. However, I feel like now the roles are reversed with their kids. Now I'm the big cool cousin to them. My cousin Rob lives in Naples, FL with his wife Terry and their 4 kids (Brett, Kacie, Brian, and Courtney) and my cousin Ellen also lives in Naples with her son Bobby. You can see them all (minus Courtney) in the picture below posing with Abe Lincoln's family.

We all spent Monday in the state capital, Springfield and toured the new-ish Lincoln museum. It is very cool if you ever get a chance to visit. We saw his tomb as well. That night I drove back with them to Pittsfield and and after winning a game of dominoes (family tradition) I spent the night with my grandma at her farm.

On Tuesday, my grandma's best friend's husband, Don took me and a few others on a backroad tour of Pike County in his big truck. It was so fun to see all the land our family and Don's family owns. It is so lush and filled with green trees and crops and creeks. Something I've always loved about Illinois is seeing the lush green grass juxtaposed to the striking blue sky and cotton ball white clouds. The land there is SO beautiful. We also drove through the villages of Pearl and Nebo where my family originated, however the population there is dwindling so much and hardly anyone lives there now. It's really crazy to see an empty town. That evening we drove up to Mt. Sterling to visit some more cousins that I don't see that often either. My cousin Joanna and her husband Toby live there with their 2 sons, Jesse and Tanner (wild boys, but they don't make kids any cuter than them!). Jo and Toby own a hunting outfitters there. If you don't know, this area is world renowned for the massive amounts of deer. Toby is an entrepreneur with many enterprises. He does all kind of hunting/fishing and his newest endeavor is Aerial Bowfishing. Look it up's the craziest thing I've ever seen. I also got to see Jo's brother, Cole and their parents, John and Cookie.

All in all, it was a wonderful trip. I love spending time with my family. They are awesome.

In the foyer of the Lincoln Museum. (Bobby, Brian, Kacie, and Brett)
Bobby rubbing Abe's nose for luck.
Bobby and Courtney-little angels born only 8 days apart.
My grandma's barn overlooking the farm. This is the most beautful land you'll ever see.
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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fried Brains.

In the midst of furniture shopping, I thought it would be a good idea to post our current couch and chair on craigslist. I put the price just a little higher than I figured we'd get just to see what would happen. I really thought it would take awhile to sell them and if all else failed I was going to put them in our upcoming yardsale on the 25th. However, people seemed to be very interested in them. I had several emails inquiring about them, but I ended up selling to the first responder and she came by and picked up the goods today. Well, the story doesn't just end there. What I didn't take into account when trying to sell the old furniture was that our new couch won't be here for 8-10 weeks!!!! So, our living room is now EMPTY! And it will remain that way for about 2 months!! I obviously wasn't thinking clearly. In 2 months, we'll definitely have a furniture unveiling party for you all to attend....but in the meantime...DANCE PARTY at the Barrys!! We should totally buy a black light or a strobe light and a disco ball and have raves every weekend for the next 8-10 weeks. Who's in?

In other news, I've been working like a mad-woman over at my school to clean out my classroom. It's a total disaster and I have very high aspirations for what I want my classroom to be. Right now I'm cleaning out cabinets of randomness and trying to make sense of the whole place! I seriously have a ton of work to do, but I am so blessed to have an amazing husband who has offered to go help me out this weekend! I can't wait until I can post pictures of the finished product! School starts August 24th and staff training begins the week prior. I definitely have my work cut out for me in the mean time. (If I would show you a picture, you would understand, but I think I'll save the 'before' pictures to enhance the wow-factor later.

Lastly, as promised, I will update you on my running. This week I ran 3 days with Molly. We found a cooler route along White Rock Lake which is definitely helping and we're going at 7:30 instead of any later which seems to be helping as well. Right now we running between 3 and 4 miles with no intention of increasing our mileage too much for awhile. We're also deciding if we want to run a 1/2 marathon or not and if so should we do it in November (DRC 1/2) or December (White Rock Marathon). Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Divine Design

Ross and I are in the process of making a couple big purchases. We decided a few months ago that we would put any gift money that I received from graduation towards a new couch a chair. The past couple of weeks we've been furniture hunting on the weekends and this weekend we finally found some things in which we approved. The furniture we currently have was kindly donated to us by someone who was getting rid of it. It was a little dirty and worn, but after using a little elbow grease we were able to get it into an acceptable state to use. We were very blessed by it and therefore didn't have to buy a couch and chair right when we got married. But we both had decided that it was about time to get something a little nicer and newer. After searching Rooms to Go, Ashley Furniture, and several other furniture stores and consignment shops, we finally found a couch we were happy with at Crate and Barrel. But before we finalized on it we wanted to find a chair. On our way home from church on Sunday, I spotted a beautiful chair out of the corner of my eye at Pottery Barn on Knox St. I had Ross pull the car over and we ran inside to check it out. It just so happened that the floor model of the chair was for sale. I was so excited so I ran (on foot) over to C & B and got a swatch of the couch that we liked. I was SO disappointed when I realized that they didn't match! So we thought it wasn't meant to be and went home. Then last night Ross had the brilliant idea that we should change our perspective on the couch since we really liked the chair. It was so comfortable and adorable. So today I went back to C & B to see what other color swatches they had of the couch model we liked...and lo and behold...there were a few more options. I was so excited and ran (on foot) back over to PB to see if the chair was still there and if the colors went together. I was so happy to see the chair still sitting in the window and the colors looked beautiful together. So I grabbed a saleswoman and made the deal! I'm so excited that we're going to have some fun splashes of color in our living room now! You can see pictures of our purchases below.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

God is with us...FEAR NOT!

I'm on the downhill slide of Vacation Bible School at our church. This week I've been hanging out with 40 three and four year olds from 9-1:30 at Crocodile Dock. The title of my post comes from the daily Bible point that we teach the kiddos. Whenever the hear the Bible point of the day...they scream "FEAR NOT". So those words are ingrained in my head for sure. It's been an adrenaline rush for me each day! I strongly believe that I am working with the best age group! Yes, the preschoolers can be wild at times, but they are so darn cute and sweet! There's nothing better than loving on little kids, teaching them, and getting them excited about God. My main job is to lead the snack shack and crafts for the preschool kiddos. That may sound like a boring job, but it's really cool because I get to incorporate the daily Bible story into the craft or snack. It gives the kids the repetition they need in a variety of contexts so it really sticks with them. When I'm not leading I still get to hang out with the kids during arrival and dismissal times when they sing songs and worship. I am a big fan of kid songs and these VBS songs are actually really good, so it's fun for me to get the songs stuck in my head (and just ask Ross--they are definitely stuck). :)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

And they call the thing Rodeo!

Last night I had the chance to experience my first Texan Rodeo! Ross got some tickets through a Southwest promotion and we took our friends Molly and Andy with us to the World Famous Mesquite Rodeo. We had a great time watching bareback riding, steer wrestling and roping, barrel racing, and bull riding. I also learned of something called Mutton Bustin' which might be the cutest and funniest thing I've ever seen. You can see the picture below, but little kids are able to ride these huge sheep kind of like bull riding except with sheep that don't buck or spin. These cowboys open the gate and the sheep darts out carrying a little child on its back. The kid holds on for dear life and usually falls off face first into the mud after about 3 seconds. It is totally hilarious. Another neat part of the rodeo is the cowgirl trick riders. In this event these cowgirls ride really fast on their horses and do all sorts of acrobatic tricks and stunts. It's really exciting. I had a great time with Ross and the Parkers and definitely feel like all I need now is a cowboy hat and boots to feel like a true Texan. And because Ross and I wanted to keep the feeling going, we watched 8 seconds this evening. For those of you who don't know, it's the true story of Lane Frost, a world champion bullrider. It wouldn't win any awards for best movie, but it's a good story. Just make sure you have a box of kleenex handy!

Here you can see the kid face first in the mud. So funny!
Steer wrestling.
My favorite-bull riding. :)
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Soakin' up the sun.

We just returned on Monday evening from the Barry family vacation in Gulf Shores/Orange Beach, Alabama. This trip is a tradition for Ross's family, however this was my first time being a part of it. Gulf Shores holds many memories for the Barrys. This is the spot where his sister Stacy met her husband Jonathan about 8 years ago and this is the spot that they found out they were pregnant with their first child, Anika! It was fun for me to go to a place that Ross and his family hold so dear to their hearts. In the past, they've always stayed at a resort called Perdido Beach however with our growing family we needed to rent a condo to house all of us. So we stayed in a condo a few miles down the beach from Perdido. We basically spent our days soaking up the sun, reading, and playing in the sand and our evenings just hanging out together. As you can see below, I enjoyed reading "Dear John", a novel by Nicholas Sparks and hanging out with my 4 year old niece, Anika. She is the funniest and sweetest little girl and I love spending time with her! She and I watched "Annie" and "Sound of Music" on the 12 hour drive there and then sang the songs together the entire trip. If you know me, you know that I enjoyed every minute of that!

Ani running from the waves.

Ross made a little chair for us to sit in and let the waves hit us.
(It wasn't too long after this that he buried me from neck to ankles in sand.)

All the "kids". :)
(Ross, me, Stacy, Ani, Jonathan)

Now that Ross's and my "major" summer trips are completed, it's back to everyday life. For Ross that means back to work and for me....well that's yet to be determined. :) There's really not a "typical" day for me this summer as my life seems to be pretty random and unscheduled so far. However, I am LOVING summer vacation! Today I am going to visit a church in Flowermound to get some ideas for our church's vacation Bible School, Crocodile Rock. I'm helping out with the preschoolers and with decorating. We're going to take some pictures of how this church has everything set up and get some ideas from them and I believe they are going to let us have some of their props when they are finished with them, definitely a blessing!

I hope you are all enjoying the week! Much Love!

Monday, June 8, 2009

The city that doesn't sleep.

Last night, Ross and I returned from a weekend in the Big Apple! On Thursday afternoon, Ross and I flew to New York and met Mom, Dana, and Grandma Sue there. This was my second time and Ross's first time there. So what was so fun for me (besides experiencing it all myself) was to see Ross taking it all in for the first time.

We started our trip by taking a cab to our hotel which was located in the heart of Times Square and being on the 43rd floor looked right out onto all the bright lights and action. It is NOT an over-exaggeration to say the city never sleeps! The lights are totally bright the whole night and there is a continuous flow of people (of all ages) trekking the streets. It was not unusual to see a baby or toddler in a stroller or a couple of 85 year old women strolling the streets past midnight.

Ross and I taking in the sights of Times Square.

On Friday, we planned to take a city bus tour, so we could see all the parts of the city and hear some commentary on it, however it was in the low 60s/high 50s and raining the entire day! We didn't have much of a tour, but we sure did try. By the afternoon we were totally soaked and frozen! Ross and I couldn't stop laughing about it though because we knew how crazy we were for sitting on the top of a moving bus in the wind and cold rain. We made a stop in Little Italy to eat some lunch and then rode to the WTC site which sadly looked the same to me as when I viewed it in 2004. After making it back to the hotel, we changed clothes and headed out to see a musical called "Guys and Dolls". It's a love story about some New York gamblers and their "dolls" set in the late 1940s. It was a fun musical and we had a lot of laughs. Lauren Graham (from the Gilmore Girls) played Miss Adelaide, one of the main characters in the show. The original cast included Frank Sinatra and Marlon Brando.

A memorial for the fallen heroes at St. Paul's chapel behind the WTC site. This place served as a refuge for the firefighters and rescue workers during the WTC tragedy.

On Saturday, we took a Subway to Central Park and had brunch in the famous Tavern on the Green. This place is written about in many Danielle Steele novels apparently (says my mother) and is frequented by many celebrities and big wigs. It is the highest grossing restaurant in the United States. That afternoon we saw "West Side Story". A Romeo and Juliet-esque performance set in New York in the 1950s. It's about the tragic love story between Tony (an anglo) and Maria (a recent immigrant from Puerto Rico). That night, Ross, Dana and I, took the subway back to Chinatown for some Dim Sim!! We found a restaurant called Shanghai Cuisine, that was well known for their amazing soup dumplings (seen in the picture below). So amazing and for a very good price! I loved Chinatown. :) After exploring there for awhile, we made our way back to Times Square to walk around and then just sat outside amidst all the action and took in the sights for awhile.

My lovely sister Dana and I outside of Tavern on the Green in Central Park.
Yummy dumplings from Shanghai Cuisine.

The billboard for one of the shows we saw.
On Sunday, we toured the NBC studios (very cool) and went to the Top of the Rock to view the city (amazing view). Then we hit up some NY shopping before hailing a cab to the airport for our departure. I also realized mid-morning I had lost my phone...wonderful! After retracing my steps, brainstrorming, searching the hotel room and having the hotel staff search the room as well I just knew it had fallen out of my purse and was gone! Miraculously, as I was boarding the plane, out of nowhere God, in his perfect timing, totally put a vision in my head of where it was and I immediately called my sister, who had not left for her flight yet, and she was able to find it! So praise the Lord for that!

Overall, New York is a fun and action packed place to visit. So many types of wonderful food to choose from (which is often my main concern) and tons of shows from which to choose! (I have to say on my next trip I have to see Billy Elliot!!!! I was overruled this time). So much to do that we probably didn't make it to half of the attractions and restaurants that were on my mental agenda. I think it's a great place to go for a short visit though because we were totally exhausted by Sunday! It's a city where you are on the go the entire time you're awake. The fast lifestyle is fun for me to experience for short periods of time, but I know I could never keep that going for long. That being said, I'm already planning my next trip there (in theory).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Let's get it started!

Since I've had some extra time on my hands this past couple of weeks I've been thinking about running again. Running is something that's on my mind quite a bit, however I'm not always acting on those thoughts. I have decided to get serious about it again though. About half-way through May I started jogging every few days just to get back into the swing of things. I'm still actually working out the kinks...the older and more out of shape you are, the harder it is to make a comeback! This really supports the notion that you need to ALWAYS stay active! Anyway, I am pushing past these setbacks. I definitely feel slower now, but I am not claiming that. I will push myself to get faster and stronger and I will be able to run an acceptable pace again!

One thing I've always loved about running is having a partner. I've had several partners in my day and I love bonding with people over our runs. It's a very social activity for me. Even though some runs it's difficult to talk...when it's super hot or cold or when you're pushing the pace, but there's always time for talking afterwards when we're walking or stretching.

This week my partner has been Molly. She has been great because she is very headstrong. When she sets her mind to something she will make it happen. For example, we had planned to run this morning however it was raining this morning so we cancelled. Molly, however, calls me at 2:00 and is ready to meet up for our run. Some might have said it was too hot, but Molly pushed me to do it anyway and it was well worth it. I think Molly is going to be a good summer running partner! :)

My current goal is to build a good base in the next couple of months. Really get consistent about running 4 or 5 times a week, work on getting my strength back, and improving my pace. Then around mid-August I'm going to get serious and start a solid training program for a 1/2 marathon in December. My last 1/2 wasn't that impressive and my training was extremely lacking, so I am ready for a comeback race.

I will try to occasionally keep you all updated with how things are going as a way to hold myself accountable and keep myself motivated. The race I'm thinking about is the White Rock 1/2 Marathon ( If any of you are planning on running that race let me know and we can do some long runs together later on!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm so excited...and I just can't hide it!

Today I'm feeling so excited I could pee my pants! I'm not even joking. It's one of those feelings where you have a lot of nervous energy boiling inside your body and your body is kind of shaky and you notice that you're just smiling out of nowhere. Maybe no one else is like that, but that's how I get when I'm excited about something. Today was a "staff planning day" at my new school and although I didn't really "plan" anything, I was just excited to be there. I was able to meet several of my future co-workers and get to talk with some of the ladies with whom I'll be working closely. It wasn't my first visit to the school, but it's starting to feel real to me that I'm going to be having my own classroom and students very soon! When I think about making themes and lesson plans and activities I just get the goosebumps!!! In my head all day I had ideas just flowing of materials I want to have in my room, lessons and concepts I'm excited to teach and other classroom planning things! I really should start writing it all down. I honestly think I could sit down and write out lesson plans for the whole year the way I'm feeling...maybe I should!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Summertime...and the livin' is easy!

Shortly after my family left to head to Illinois, I decided I needed to go there as well. Since my hubby and I are so blessed by his employment with Southwest Airlines, I can jump on a SW plane at any off peak time and do that! My sister, Dana, found out she had a couple days off from summer school, so we made the most of that opportunity to spend time together. I flew into St. Louis on Thursday morning and stayed with my family until Saturday. During that time, Dana and I layed outside on the grass (no fire ants in Illinois, only biting gnats), attempted to do gymnastics in our backyard, and went to a baby shower for one of her best friends, Rebecca. It's a blessing everytime that I can spend time with Dana. She is the best sister anyone could ask for and a wonderful and beautiful woman of God. She spurs me on and keeps me accountible! How awesome is that?!

Then I came home to Dallas to spend Memorial weekend with my sweet hubby. We spent Monday on Lake Ray Hubbard on his Dad's newly purchased boat. We had a blast soaking up the sun!

Rebecca and Dana
Super Ross
Feeling like we're on a vacation in our own backyard!
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See how the flowers of the field grow...

Following my graduation ceremony, my mom and Grandma Sue stayed with me for a few more days. We had a lovely time during their visit. Ross had to work during the days, so the ladies were able to spend time doing lady things! One of our days was spent at the Dallas Arboretum. It was an absolutely gorgeous day...perfect weather and beautiful sights. My mother and grandmother both love flowers and gardens. And they both seem to know A LOT about the flowers! I was surprised that they seemed to know about each flower and how it is best grown (in the direct sun or in the shade, what time of year, etc). I couldn't stop taking pictures of the flowers. The colors were just amazing! We also ate lunch at the DeGolyer tea room there. We sat outside and overlooked the gardens and the lake. My grandma is a HUGE fan of tea rooms and has been to tons, so I was pleased that this one met her standards. :) Another one of our days was spent with Ross's mother, sister, and our niece. We drove out to have lunch and shop at some little stores in Rockwall. Following the shopping, we went to a little cute tea room where we chose several types of loose leaf teas and then had them served to us in little teapots. It was very enjoyable and I would definitely return...especially since one of my graduation gifts was a little teapot! It's so fun to try new teas! :)
Carole and Sue at the Arboretum.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

School's out for summer...School's out FOREVER!

I graduated! Here's proof:
Video of me getting my diploma!

This weekend was my official Commencement ceremony! I had a wonderful weekend and was honored in so many ways. First of all, I was blessed to have my family from Illinois be here with me. My parents, 2 grandmothers, and sister traveled all the way from Illinois to see me graduate and spend the weekend with me. This was not an easy task! My Grandma Joan has only flown one other time in her life and doesn't travel that often, so she was brave enough to get on a plane with my parents and spend a weekend in Dallas! My sister had to skip a required class and miss an assignment because her flight got canceled and she had to speed to the airport at a last minutes notice to catch a different flight! Everyone made sacrifices in order to honor me and I feel very blessed! My mom and Grandma Sue are world travelers and are ladies of leisure since they are both I'm not sure if they sacrificed anything to be at my graduation...but they have certainly sacrificed hard earned dollars to put me through 6 years of college and countless hours of supporting me at events and activities over the last 24 years of my life. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for my family's endless support of me.

I am also blessed to have such loving and supportive in-laws. Ross's mom hosted a graduation brunch for me at her home in Rowlett, TX. It was absolutely wonderful! So after graduation I was able to spend a relaxing afternoon with my family. Also in attendance were Ross' sister and her husband (Stacy and Jonathan), my niece (Anika), Stacy's in-laws (Jack and Elizabeth Reaves) and the Schiebers (Laura, Chad, Wyatt, Henry, and Frances). So, I felt very special and honored that so many people could spend the day with me!

Me and my sweet Grandma Sue: This is the coolest grandma on Earth!
Me and my sweet hubby: Could I even get through a day without him? I think not!

On the top of the world

I think my recent posts give the impression that I am always having a "girl's night". This really isn't the case though!! Up until the last few months most of our "hang outs" have been in the classroom! It's only recently that we've had the free time and felt the urgency to spend a lot of time together before parting ways. Last Thursday, we all decided to go out for drinks and desserts at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in Reunion Tower. We were spinning around the city of Dallas at 560 feet up in the air! It was a pretty neat experience, not to mention how delicious the desserts and appetizers were! Here are some pictures.

Kelsey and I: Kelsey is very outgoing, social, and always speaks her mind. She has a great smile and strong personality that can light up a room. She is very stylish and always wears fun outfits and bright colors. I am blessed to have her as a friend!
All the girls: We're all so unique and different from each other. I think that's why we make such a great group! Look out working world!
Molly and I: Molly is such a thoughtful and genuine woman. She is so relational and wears her heart on her sleeve! I love this girl!
Molly and I admiring all the wine! :)
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rock-a-bye Baby Shower

Argh, I forgot to blog about the baby shower I helped host last weekend! Last weekend several women and I had a couples baby shower for our dear friends Joseph and Melissa Moore from church. I had never thrown a shower before so it was a little shocking for me to help with a true-life Texas baby shower. I am learning every day how true the saying "Everything is bigger in Texas" is! Luckily, several of the other women involved knew how to throw a Texan style shower, so I was mostly just taking directions and doing what I was asked. Melissa is the worship leader and Joseph is the sound engineer at our church. They are both incredibly gifted and talented as musicians, so clearly this child will be a rockstar...hence the theme ROCK-a-bye baby! Everything was inspired by music and rock n roll!

Check out these pics!!

The cake was strawberry cake with buttercream filling on the bottom layer and Mexican chocolate and Vanilla Bean on the top layer. Looked totally amazing and tasted delicious! Believe it or not it was made by two of our hostesses! (I helped by making those tissue flowers at the base, haha)
These are the centerpieces we had on each table. Some of the others said "My mom to sleep" and "Party at my crib, 2 am, BYOB".

The sweet couple and the baby boy in utero.

We catered from Tin Star and served everyone fajitas, beans, rice, chips and all the fixins. We played one game called "He will/She will" and then while the girls watched Melissa open gifts, the men played Rock Band. At the end of the night I was exhausted, but it was well worth it because we were able to honor and bless Mel, Joe and their baby. They felt so loved and were so thankful. Now I can't wait til the little guy arrives!!!