Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Vacation Part 1

We had a wonderful vacation to Pensacola again this year. We love Pensacola the water is amazing and we love the low key beach life. My parents met us in Fl but we left a day early and stopped outside of New Orleans in Slidell to go on a swamp tour I highly recommend it especially if you have kids. The tour last a couple hours and you get to explore a swamp and see all the swamp life creatures. The kids loved it!!

The alligators come right up to the boat. The tour guide was the authentic swamp kind of guy who used marshmallows to feed the gators.  It was quite entertaining(: The gators new the tour boats and were scared of normal boats that past through.
Pictures blurry but cute of Drew and a turtle.
Part of the tour included Wild Hogs that are not native to the US but now are taking over, they were kind of cute actually. They like hotdogs and marshmallows too. The guide even picked up a baby hog.

I was surprised how calm they were. They just wanted their hot dogs and marshmallows. This guy was huge!!
Lauren with her new glasses. Thankful to her teacher for noticing she needed them. They came in right before we left for vacation. I think she looks great in them.
I love this picture, no editing at all just a warm light that captures these two sweethearts!!
I'm a proud new owner of two gator heads, thankfully they will be in my boys rooms.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Watch Your Witness

What a week in America. It has been an eye opening experience on Facebook. I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. I love to see everyone's families, children,vacations and accomplishments but I do not like to see hateful posts or opinions that are one sided. Peoples true feelings do eventually come out and it's been rather disappointing.  One thing that really strikes a nerve is when people think they understand what it's like to be black, gay or any other type of person when they are not that person. It's easy to point the finger or make judgments on your perception when you're not walking that path. Social media has been more like walking a tight rope as morals tend to go by the waste side of either speaking your mind not caring who you offend or accepting everything as good. As Christians we have a standard and it's not our standard but God's standard to love one another.
In reference to the southern flag debate those that don't get the hurt are not black. If you are white and don't understand you will not understand unless you marry a person of another race, adopt, or have black friends and you still will not totally understand. I am embarrassed to say that before we adopted Lauren my mindset was a bit different. I never though of myself as a racist person but we all unfortunately do have some racist views and it's wrong!! Many things can contribute to this misinformation and it's up to each person to work through this ugly mindset. Living with white privilege makes it hard to understand but I urge you to understand and educate yourself. Since our journey I am a changed person in many ways. My boys are benefiting from this change as well and it's eye opening. In light of the recent shooting many places want to do away with a flag that brings pain when looked upon. Some say it's a  piece of southern culture or whatever they want to call it, but culture of what?? When I think of the South I know slavery is part of their history and it's ugly is that the culture they want to remember?  I also know that there are lots of sweet kind southern people that would give you the shirt off their backs no matter what your color. If I was born and raised in the south I would hope that people would think of me in the later instead of a Rebel flag flying off my truck.You are a product of your environment and upbringing good or bad or both but when you get to the point of knowing better you do better. You can continue to fly your flag if it is dear to you but also understand the hurt that comes with this. People want to argue about where do we draw the line of offending people but I can't think of a bigger offense then this one. When I see it hanging by a house or off a car I am scared for my family. You might find this silly and maybe the person flying it is not a mean person but I don't think love when I see it nor do I think "What a kind southern town." To some it's very important to pull out the history books on the meaning of flags but to me I care about the heart. Never in my life have I ever saw people so interested in history to prove a point. The last several years I have had the privilege of walking the life of having a transracial family. It has not been easy at all, but like anything that is hard you come out better. Just recently as we traveled on vacation I was given the death stare by a woman at a IHOP in a southern state. As I held my seven year old's hand I did my best to ignore the hate so I focused all my love on my daughter smiling ear to ear excited about pancakes. I pity you lady but I also know you are ignorant and need love ):  I see it, I have lived it and finally can say I understand. I also know that in order for Lauren to have the best life possible is for her to know that I understand but also for her to focus on the good because the good is always there.
I want to share a few things that helped me on my journey of understanding black history and injustices. This film is life changing, I love this movie because of the deep message it brings on so many levels. I let my boys watch some of the movie but not all because it is rated R for a reason and it's to graphic in some parts but I want them to understand how real this is and that it happened. 
I had the privilege this year to meet a man named Frank. His mother is Sue Eakin who was the main historian on Solomon Northup's life. I meet Frank through football here in TX after Rob coached his son. After our season he brought us a signed book and later came for dinner sharing about his mom and her story. Steve Mcqueen thanked Sue during his Oscar speech. Sue is no longer with us but what a remarkable woman to keep Solomon's story alive and to preserve a piece of history and to tell his story. This is one of the best books I have ever read wrote by Soloman himself.
This is another eye opening book. A man in the 1960's transforms his appearance from white to black and lives his life in the south as a black man.
This weekend we watched Selma with the boys, another eye opening movie and so relevant with current events. Martin Luther King was one of the bravest people to ever walk the planet!! I urge you to watch these movies and read these books they are all significant and matter. Please be kind and show understanding to those that may be different we have no idea what it's like to be someone else. I urge everyone to check their hearts before any more negative posts come out on social media. You think you understand people and their feeling or their issues and you just don't. 

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

New Topiary Trees and Coffee Bar

Amongst many other things I have been doing small projects here and there. I finally bought some new topiary trees, and I love them!! They are really big and look so real. I hope they last a few years. I found them off of Amazon after doing some research.  I love these flowers with the purple. Last year they did not bloom but this year we have taken care of the yard and had plants fertilized and this year they came up. I love them!
This project took a while. Last year after the kitchen was finished I thought that we needed some cabinets to balance it out on the other side of the kitchen, plus I needed a tad more cabinet space. Rob thought it would be to crowded so I just didn't think about it. One day I moved the table and though about even getting a round table in my sitting area to accommodate more space. It worked!! So we built the cabinet ourselves from top cabinets from Lowe's. It's basically the same thing we did in our entry living room. Rob build a base, after removing the baseboards. We put the cabinets on top and I did the caulking,wood filling, and painting. It was a little nerve wrecking trying to get it all aligned perfectly. You will have to use some shims because the ground is never perfectly level.
It Will look like this once you add molding to bottom. Rob had to make some really exact cuts to get things lined up. Pinterest doesn't always show the annoying details of how to match up molding etc.. Cat's always around he loves the mess.
The painting took forever, cabinets are a pain to paint. I used oil based paint in Benjamin Moore's White Dove to match my kitchen. We had to come up with a top and since I just did granite in several other places I didn't really want to spend more money and I kind of wanted a warmer wood finish. I told Rob that I thought I could find some pieces of wood in the right thickness and glue them together. We had it cut at Lowe's and once we got home and I added bead board to the sides of the cabinet and then added the top after I glued it all together for a day. Once on it was a little to short...The annoying stuff. I wanted to salvage the wood so I just made cuts on both sides. to make it about 1 1/2" longer in width and it actually looked better then a raw edge. I just eyeballed it and made the cuts with a jigsaw. I will take some more pictures later. I glued on the sides and sanded and stained. We also used liquid nails paneling to hold everything together on sides and top. I stained the top in a weathered oak color by Miniwax. I loved the finish look!! I polyed the top so I could actually use it for my coffee bar. I figure the more aging the better though since it does look kind of Farmhouse. I love to mix styles since I am not big on trends. I like to add a little of this and that and make my own style.
Sides have bead board I will get a new picture soon. Also we drilled a perfect hole on top to pull up cord to use for the coffee pot. This small amount of space has helped immensely in the mornings especially because we are not on top of each other trying to get coffee and make lunches.
Just thought this was a cute picture (:

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Great Kids!!

  Summer is finally here, so thankful to recover this week from my crazy last week. Operation flowers were last week for all my kids wonderful teachers, and a few other special people. I love doing flowers I have a passion for floral design. Long ago I used to be a florist and I have always loved floral design. 
One of my late nights getting everything ready for delivery, they turned out cute.
Next up was awards, each of my kids had special awards throughout the week. Jaden's was a pretty big deal with the whole 6th grade class and parents in the cafeteria. They recognize kids with all A's, Honor Roll and a few other things like Spelling Bee and, top readers award... it was a long process. The last award was the big award and I pleased to say Jaden won the award for his school. His name will be on a plaque for years to come as you enter the school. It was a award for best representative of his school as far as academics, community service etc.. The neat part was he was nominated by his classmates and then a committee reviewed his essay after he was nominated along with other students  only known by a number at that point to be fair. His school is enormous so this is a huge honor for him. I am so proud of him!! We had a few bumps this year but he came out so strong and won some amazing awards and maintained all A's all year. He also won a Kindle in a reading drawing he was on top of the world. It happened to be my birthday the day Jaden won this award and it made me happy to see him happy and proud of his hard work. I had tears rolling down my face when they called his name after the big announcement. 
Such a sweet boy, he is changing so much
Drew had a great year! I could not ask for better teachers. They pushed him but had so much love with their passion for him to do his best. His home base teacher cried as her students hugged her to leave for the summer, such a sweet teacher. Drew had awards ceremony as well he was recognized for having all AB Honor Roll all year long. He also won a award in his class for best Sportsmanship, that is very fitting for Drew he is a great encourager but is also competitive.
Love this teacher too she hugged Drew so long and said he holds a special place in her heart, they loved to talk sports and joke with each other. Drew made this wicker bowl, oh and love that shirt GO CAVS!!
One more sweet loving teacher. 
Miss Lauren, so proud all A Honor Roll all year!! That is pretty amazing. She also was voted Forever Friend by her classmates which I think is very fitting she is a loyal sweet kind girl.
I love Lauren's teacher this year she was the perfect teacher for Lauren. She encouraged her and loved her. I just loved our teachers this year we were so blessed. Each teacher treated my children like gold.
The PTO girls got together and we decided to make the last day super special for the kids as they arrived on Thursday morning. My speciality Frogs (: It was a fun and I am so happy everything looked super special.
Thursday morning the 4th grade had their clap out, that was pretty depressing. My baby is going to middle school already. I know he is ready but letting all my little birds fly is something that I think I will always struggle with. Even though I am so excited to see where they will go and adventures they take a little piece of my heart misses those little's running around the house with their cute little fingers and toothless smiles reaching up to be held.
Please slow down, your becoming a man Drew! He looks so much older here like his brother. Drew went over to his friends house to swim on Friday and then onto going with his other friend to a awesome magic show in downtown Houston. He is a busy man these days.
Already loving the days of summer! My neighbor had a big pool party to kick off all the fun. The kids are having a blast and we just started. Happy Summer Everyone!!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Baseball and Softball



Baseball is over for the season. Drew had a great year. He was one of our pitchers, lead off batters and played short stop. I am so proud of him. He plays so intense and tries so hard. He just feels the game and knows what to do, a gift that I do not have. He is a lot like his dad, he just really loves the game and understand the game within the game. To watch Drew play is a joy he has gotten a lot bigger and stronger this year and is becoming a even better player. I am so proud of Rob as always. He truly loves the kids and helps them with no agendas or ego issues. Nothing ruins kids sports more then bad coaches and parents that pressure their kids.
 I loved watching him pitch this year. Pitching is very hard it's all mental. Rob was really able to help him out and Drew seemed to enjoy it.
 Last night we had our end of year party notice all the little girl photo bombs. They are good sports watching their brothers play.
Lauren finished softball about a month ago but I am behind. She loved it! She is still learning but I think with time she will understand more. She was one of the youngest kids on the team but since she is so tall you would think she was the oldest. She wants to play some more so I am happy for her.
 When she got a hold of a ball, watch out!
Two days left of school. You would think I would be happy and I am for summer fun but to me it means another year has gone and my babies are getting older and older. This time is so precious.
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