Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How We Honor Aubrey

Today I want to share with you how we honor Aubrey on her special days.  There is no right or wrong way to celebrate an angel baby, this is simply how we choose to.  First, I want to say that in our house you will find many reminders of Aubrey, but her pictures are limited to our bedroom.  I don't know why, but I'm not ready to share her with everyone yet.  I think it's because I don't want to force her on people, I only want to share her with those who really want to see her (that being said, if you ever see me in person and would like to see a picture of my sweet angel, just ask, I love sharing her with people who care and I always have pictures in my purse (those who have seen her agree that she was beautiful and perfect)).  

When you enter our house, you will see this lovely saying.  
(It's not near as big as it looks in this picture.)

 Aubrey's hand and foot prints are on display in our living room. 

 In our bedroom we have a medium sized cedar chest with Aubrey's special things.  The board above it says, "When I count my blessings, I count you twice."  Additionally, we each selected a picture to put on our nightstands. 

We thought long and hard about the best way to celebrate her and finally decided on a couple of guidelines.  For holidays that I would have bought or made her a cute outfit for (such as 4th of July, Father's Day, or Valentine's Day), we change the flowers on her grave (they aren't always new, I keep previous flowers in Rubbermaid containers in the garage to re-use since they don't stay out there that long).  To date, I have never changed the flowers alone, we always go as a couple.  

 Aubrey's birthday flowers this year.

Christmas flowers.

Easter flowers (we'll see if they come back next spring :)

For special holidays such as her birthday and Christmas, she gets flowers AND we make a donation in her name (normally to a kid oriented charity such as St. Jude).  Pretty much, if we would have bought her a gift, we make a donation.  (Last year at Christmas, we received a letter saying one of our friends had made a donation to the Ronald McDonald house in Aubrey's name since it was our first Christmas without her.  Let's just say it really touched this mama's heart.)

 All of her "in memory" cards go in her box. 

For her birthday this year, we decided to make a donation to the OSU Center for Early Childhood Teaching and Learning.  The best part of this donation is that your choice of wording is put on a bronze name plate that is then placed in a mural on campus. 

This is the wall...

that contains the tree...

that contains the leaf with Aubrey's name.

As I said before, there is no right or wrong way to celebrate an angel baby, this is simply how we choose to do it.  My words of advice, follow what's in your heart. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So I'm a Crazy, Paranoid Psycho

Preface:  My husband is out of town for a couple of days, so it's just me and the dogs at our house.  Last night during my final conversation with Sam, he told me to be safe.  I said, "Don't worry, I have a huge dog and my buddy Glock 40 cal (my pistol who is normally locked in the gun safe with the other guns), who would want to mess with me." 

Story:  I was sleeping last night (about 11:30) when our dogs started barking and growling like nobody's business (if you've ever been around our dogs, you know they don't bark unless it's something important).  I woke up with a pounding heart and laid in bed trying to figure out what was happening.  I slowly reached over and turned on my bedside lamp.  Suddenly, our power started flashing like in a  horror movie (seriously, it would get dim, then dark, then bright, then dark, then dim...).  The whole time this was happening, our dogs continued barking and growling.  I grabbed my phone and pulled up the radar thinking it must be about to storm.  When the radar appeared, I noticed a small green spot over Stillwater, but nothing big enough to signal a storm (also, I couldn't hear anything outside).  That's when it dawned on me... someone was trying to cut our power line and break into our house  (I mean, what else could it be?!?!).  

I pulled Sam's number up on my phone so if someone walked into our bedroom I could hit the call button and he would know I needed help.  During this time, I was too afraid to get out of bed and grab my pistol (it isn't loaded, but their is a full magazine in the case with it so all I have to do is put the mag in, cock it, and shoot)  which was tucked safely under the bed (way to step up, Courtney).  That's when the electricity went out completely and I started hearing thunder and I knew that I was safe.  A few minutes later, our electricity came back on.  This whole episode probably lasted less than ten minutes (including when our electricity came back on), but it felt like a lot longer. 

Thank goodness my husband will be home around 10:30 tonight!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday {Ten} Things I'm Loving Right Now

For today's Tuesday Ten, I decided to share some things I'm loving right now.

1.}  Lemi-Shine Dishwasher Additive ~ If you don't get anything else from this post, try this stuff, it is amazing!  A couple of months ago I was getting frustrated with the amount of residue left on my dishes.  I saw this stuff on a blog and decided to give it a try (at a little over $3 it seemed like a reasonable risk).  As instructed, I first ran the dishwasher with nothing but Lemi-Shine in it.  Now, I'm beyond ecstatic with how my dishes look.  I don't follow the directions completely, I only put a couple of teaspoons in with my normal dishwashing soap (less than they recommend), but the results are still amazing.

2.}  Chosen Necklace ~ As soon as I saw this necklace featured on I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar, I knew that I would be purchasing one for any little girls we might get through the adoption process.  They are available at a website called Cap Creations and $10 from every necklace is donated to help families with adoption expenses.  What a great symbol that they were chosen by God to be a part of our family!

 3.}  Joint Anniversary Gifts ~ This year, Sam and I decided to get a joint anniversary gift.  We've been wanting to get a nice camera for when we get the kids for a while now and I'm psyched we did!  Here are a couple of pictures Sam took with it this weekend (both of which are straight out of the camera).

4.}  Canvas People ~ I came across their website this spring and quickly ordered an 11x14 canvas with a picture from our Christmas card photo shoot.  When I ordered my canvas, they were running a $50 off special allowing me to only pay about $17 for my canvas and shipping.  What I learned is that this sale wasn't a one time thing, they are often having half price or $50 off sales.  I'm itching to order a couple more, but I'm making myself wait until we get the kids.

5.}  Vidalia Onion Vinegarette Salad Dressing ~ This stuff is mmm, mmm good!  Although it is great on salads, I especially love it as a dip for chicken strips.

6.}  Snicker's Ice Cream Bars ~  Mmmmm, we've eaten way too many of these this summer.

7.} Knit Dresses ~  I love how cool they are on hot summer days.

8.} Gotebo Get Down T-Shirts ~ Every year my grandma gets every one in the family a Gotebo Get Down shirt.  I love that they are normally slightly corny (hey, you know me).  In case you are wondering, Gotebo is a small town here in Oklahoma.  Here are the fronts and backs of some of my favorite shirts from years past (yes, I still wear the 2005 shirt often, I love it that much).  The one on the right is this year's shirt that she gave me this weekend.

9.} My Grandma's Miniature Beyonce ~ I can't describe how excited I was to pull up at my grandparent's house and see a little Beyonce in her front yard.  I mean, I was so excited that I jumped out of the car and begged asked my husband to take a picture of me with it so I could immediately text it to Kim! 

10.} Aubrey's Birthday Gift ~ Number ten is a little bit of a tease.  Aubrey's birthday gift came in last week even though we paid for it a month before her birthday (in May).  I'm planning a whole post about how we celebrate Aubrey's special days, so stay tuned. 


Monday, August 15, 2011

Lawton Rangers Rodeo

This weekend we relived one of my childhood memories by going to the Lawton Rangers Rodeo.  If you've never been to a rodeo, you should definitely put it on your list.  They're just good 'ol country fun.  I was playing with the new camera (I am still far from a photographer, in fact, this was my first time to shoot in manual mode), so here are a few pictures from our weekend.

Check out these cutie patooties who rode in the grand entry.

We went on Saturday which was military night.  Most of these young men and women are stationed at Fort Sill for basic training

The cannon was always my sisters least favorite part of the rodeo.

Look how fast those guys are moving.

I didn't have my camera in rapid shot mode yet, so I missed the remount.  One of the guys seriously runs and jumps on!

Instead of lining up with the other kids for the calf scramble, these two decided to run to the other end of the arena where the calves were.

Look at all those kids participating in the calf scramble!

Here are just a few more pictures I took that night.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

Some days we're faced with decisions to make.  Sometimes they're easy, sometimes they don't really matter, and sometimes they're difficult.  Today I had an opportunity present itself that I know will never be available again.  My initial reaction was, "Wow, this is awesome!" (well, my real initial reaction was, "Am I qualified for this?"), followed by, "Can I do this?"  I texted Sam to ask his opinion and he quickly called me back with the same thoughts I was having.  Without going into too much detail, the opportunity would have required my attention for the next seven Friday mornings.  The big problem with this is that I don't know when my fertility treatments will be.  I even called our fertility clinic to ask about afternoon appointments (they said blood work has to be in by 9 a.m. to get results that day).  We could manipulate my cycle to where I never have appointments on Fridays, but in reality, these are our final two and a half months of treatment and Sam and I have made an agreement that we are both giving it 100%, whatever it takes.  Ultimately, I turned down the opportunity,  I was afraid that if we don't get pregnant during the next few months I would always wish I had given it my all.  We shall see...

Oh, and as far as the adoption goes, we didn't make the August meeting cut-off.  Our caseworker called yesterday and told me that she had just received the final copies of all of our paperwork and our case is now open so we will be represented at the September 13th meeting!  Please continue to pray that our family grows sooner rather than later. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday {Ten}

 Watch out!  This Tuesday Ten contains a whole lot of randomness.

1.}  We spent the morning at the shooting range Saturday.  I love feeling confident enough with a gun to protect myself if necessary.

2.} Sam was out of town for a bachelor party Saturday night, so this is what I ate for dinner... I ate all of it.  It's frozen yogurt so it's not that bad, right?

3.}  My new go-to wedding gift is personalized pyrex.  I'm thinking I need to make some for me too.

4.}  Lucille came over for a doggie sleep over last weekend.  The dogs all had a great time!

5.}  If you come to our house, I suggest you don't sit or lay on the floor.  Consider yourself warned that we have a huge dog that likes to sit on your lap.
 Amber should really know better, she owns a giant breed dog too.

6.}  My friends' girl, Ava, has come over to visit a few times recently.  I think it's safe to say the dogs will be fine with kids.  Especially Rufus, who loves Ava despite the strangle-hold hugs. 

7.}  Speaking of our dogs, they love riding in the car almost as much as they love going for a walk.  Just ignore Rufus' under bite, he really was happy.

8.}  I just finished reading Beyond Belief: Finding the Strength to Come Back by Josh Hamilton.  I'm not a big autobiography fan, but this book is so much more than that.  This story of God's grace and forgiveness is definitely worth reading, sports fan or not!

9.}  While driving to Sam's Grandpa's surprise birthday party last night, we encountered this.  It was a storm of epic proportions (OK, maybe I'm exaggerating, but it was still scary with 70+ mph straight winds).

 10.}  Before we left Nash to come home, we watched a little bit of the local weather.  It said that a storm had passed through Perry (where the husband works and his car was parked).  This is what we saw when we got to Perry.  The white care is ours, right where it was parked less than 100' from an awning that collapsed due to the winds.

Thanks for reading.  Check out other Tuesday Ten links over at Under the Table and Dreaming.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

All the Cool Kids Are Doing It

Since I have my blood drawn about 8 times a month for the fertility study, I've decided to make the medical wrap around the elbow look a new trend.

I even got Sam to join the trend (although he only lasted one morning :).

I have to share a funny side story that happened at school this summer.  I did something (I don't even remember what it was, but I'm sure it was awesome) that one of my kids thought was neat.  He asked, "How did you do that?"  I responded, "Super cool teacher trick."  He looked at me and said, in a serious, questioning voice, "You're a super cool teacher?"  Apparently not, kid, thanks for putting me in my place.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Much Needed Haircut

Tuesday, when my husband left for work, I looked like this:

When he got home from work I looked like this:

 (No dogs were harmed while taking this picture.  Bella was just trying to keep Rufus away from us.)

It really looks better than this when I fix it.  It looks rough here because I had been cleaning like a mad woman all day. 

This is a bad picture, but it kind of shows you what it looks like when I fix it.

No, Sam didn't know that I was going to cut my hair off, I wasn't even sure I would do it until the first cut.  I've always had shorter hair, but a couple of years ago I decided that I needed longer, ponytail capable hair for when I'm staying home with the kids (Really!  What was I thinking?).  Then, after I started growing it, it became a challenge to see how long I could get it.  Recently, I started thinking about growing it a little longer and donating it, but I got on the Locks of Love website and found out I couldn't donate it due the bleach used in highlighting, so I decided to go ahead and cut it off.  Although I miss my ponytail, it feels so good to have short hair again!