23 posts categorized "Family"


Seven Years and Counting

Standing in the hospital room with Cody's grandma, Mavis, in the hours leading up to losing Robert, I had a conversation with Mavis that I will never forget. I've always looked at their marriage in awe. They survived so much together, both good and bad, and came out at the end with a selfless love that you could just feel when you were around them.

The birth of their three sons and the adoption of their daughter. Countless moves. Jealousy. Poverty. The arrival of the grandchildren. The death of Cody's Uncle Len. Summer's spent as a family in Colorado. Jokes and laughing. Good food. Doctor's appointments. Impending death.

I had always given Mavis a hard time because their lives were so full that when she met Robert as a young teenager, there was no way that she could have predicted the amazing life they would live together. I'd always tell her that she should write a book just to capture their crazy lives. I brought it up again as we were there in the hospital room and she turned to me and said, "Doll, I love Robert now, but it started out as lust. It was lust-at-first-sight." Then she giggled.

I can understand just how she feels.

I still giggle about Cody and me. I had just turned 19 when we started dating and I thought he was the cutest guy in the whole world--and I still do think that. It's just that our lust has turned to love, which has turned into a deeper love than I could ever image.

Seven years ago today I married Cody. On a Tuesday. At 5pm.

I wasn't really nervous. In fact, I just wanted the whole thing to be over. We had dated for almost three years and I was so ready to be his wife that after the ceremony I would have been totally fine with skipping the reception. (We had to pull over right before we got to the reception location so the photographer could set up and get pictures of us arriving. Cody and I joked about skipping out. I think we were half serious!)

I knew we were meant to be and so the pop and circumstance of the wedding seemed to be for everyone else. For me, my commitment to Cody had happened a long time before walking down the isle.

I thought I loved him then (and I did) but nothing compares to the way I love him now.


We have in no means gone through the full life of Cody's grandparents, but there is something about living life TOGETHER and helping each other through the good and the bad. It brings you closer than you can ever imagine.

Especially the Great Stomach Flu of Christmas 2007. Ugh. A bit embarassing when your husband has to clean up after an event like that . . . Or listening to my singing voice. I don't wish that upon anyone. The death of those we love. New jobs. Listening to the completely random thoughts that come out of my head. Or, the anxiety leading up to Anna's birth, and the amazing support he game me. And best of all, the birth of our daughter. The little person we made together.

Happy Anniversary Babe! Seven years and counting!


Happy Happy Birthday, Family Style

I love my family.


We have our issues, like any family.


And during get-togethers we have the typical frustrations of so-and-so not doing so-and-so.


Saying something they shouldn't have.


Or, not saying something they should have.


But, I'm learning that the world can be pretty crappy.


People you thought you could trust, you cannot.


Bad things happen that don't seem fair.


And in the end, it's really your family you can count on.


My parents are awesome. My sisters are awesome.


It's a forced love that I don't mind.


Happy Birthday Steph and Dad.

I love you both.


The Sushi Love Continues

I knew it . . . I knew my discovery of sushi that occurred when I was pregnant wasn't a pregnancy-only craving. So when Steph offered to try a sushi restuarant in Fort Worth that she had a Groupon for, I jumped at the chance.

(I think when my family members act like they want to see me, they are really wanting to see Anna. Steph knows that bribing me with a free lunch is the best way to get some Anna time.)

The only problem was this was going to be my first time without Cody at a restaurant with Anna. And anyone that has had a newborn knows how unpredictable they are. She could be really good; or, it could end up bad.


But, she did great! Aunt Stephanie did most of the baby-holding and the bottle I pumped ahead of time kept her full and content. (I just ask the waitress for a glass half-full of hot water and I can easily heat her bottle up.)

The love of (cooked) sushi continues . . .


Lessons With Diaper Changing

If you're offended by baby poop, stop reading this post now. You have been warned!

Anna is very lucky that she has five Aunts. (You can feel sorry for Cody . . . two sisters, three sister-in-laws, a wife and now a daughter.) Her Aunt Stephanie is particularly enamored with Anna and has no trouble making time for her, even if it means that she has to change a couple of diapers.

Last Saturday Steph came over as we made plans to head to the mall. (Gap was having a spend $50, get $25 off sale and I can't miss a deal like that!) It's always a process to go anywhere with Anna, since I have to make sure that she's clean and fed . . . and then I only have a two hour period to go do anything since the process has to start over again! Before we left we realize that the long sleeve/pants outfit she was wearing may be too hot for her (it's already in the 80's here in North Texas). Steph volunteers to change Anna, and I wasn't going to stop her.

She heads upstairs to Anna's room, puts her in her crib, strips off her clothes and diaper and turns around to get a clean outfit out of her dresser. Spangler had snuck upstairs and was eating the cat food, so Steph leaves the room to yell at him. She comes back to this:


Anna, left without a diaper on, decided to let it all out. It was over everything . . .

Stephanie then takes her--bare bottom and all--and puts her on the couch in our loft and finishes with the diaper and clothes change.

It was pretty amusing, and Anna was perfectly content through the whole thing.


There are a couple lessons here . . .

  1. Never take a dirty diaper off unless you are putting a clean one immediately on.
  2. Pick out clothes before stripping a baby down to nakedness.
  3. Don't change a diaper in a crib when a changing table is literally six feet away. (Yes, we're all shaking our heads on this one.)
  4. Spangler will always cause trouble.
  5. A bare bottom on anything, especially a cloth couch, is just asking for trouble!


Lessons learned.


A Simple, Snow-Free Christmas

Last Christmas we had a bit of anomaly here in North Texas. We got over eight inches of snow on Christmas Eve, which was just amazing! Of course, the downside is that it caused some problems with travel and my parents barely made it back to their house, which is about 55 miles away.

This year we tried the same schedule again, and without snow this time, it went much smoother.


My family came over to our house for a pre-church hang-out, then we made it to the 4:30pm Christmas Eve service, and then out for some Turkish food.


Back to our house to open up some gifts.

Spangler was very much into everyone being there. I'm sure he was convinced they were all there for him.


For the actual gift-opening, Spangler got to sit under Cody's feet to keep him under control. Wrapping paper and new things, mixed with Spangler, usually means that he'll insist on putting everything in his mouth. He did really well, all things considered.


(Just adding this picture in so you can see me at a side view . . . The stomach is really sticking out! I'm 34.5 weeks here.)


My brother-in-law, Bret, keeps everyone cracking up. He lost part of his camera underneath the couch and it was quite a show to get it out.


Some good eats were available for dessert. My Mom made some caramel cookies, Dianne made Christmas tree sugar cookies and I did my standard pumpkin pie (no homemade crust though, I was a bit burned out from Thanksgiving).


My other brother-in-law, Lane, is talented enough to not only make the cake itself, but to frost it too.

My parents stayed the night (I'd been bugging them for over a year to come stay the night with us so I'm glad they finally did!) and we got up the next morning and had a quick breakfast before they headed home. Cody and I then took the couple hour drive out to his parents house.

Cody's parents hosted Christmas lunch this year and we opted for Mexican food instead of the standard Christmas fare. We got there later than Cody would have liked (I feel like I always make him late--I'm trying to get better) so it was a bit of a rush to get my guacamole made in time to eat. Grandparents, cousins, boyfriends, girlfriends galore came and went and we finally settled down to exchange gifts.


I didn't want to open half the gifts because I'm such a sucker for pretty wrapping paper and bows, but we had a good time.

(Spotlight + Mirror + Cody's Dad = A Good Time)


We did get Cody's dad a gift certificate to one of the golf courses in the North Texas area but to make the gift more exciting, I put together some gag "coupons" for him to redeem at any time.

Little did Cody know that they were for things like a "45 Minute Hot Oil Massage from Your Son" and a "Pedicure from Your Son." Ohhhhh there were some funny jokes with those coupons . . .

Overall, a really enjoyable Christmas was spent with our families. My sister Steph couldn't join us and of course, this was the first Christmas without Cody's grandpa Robert or his grandma Bonita, but we were able to enjoy it nonetheless.

And, it was snow-free, which for North Texans that aren't used to the snow, made it much more uneventful and more enjoyable.


A 34 Week Reminder

Yesterday I had my 34 week check-up. Usually these are pretty straight-forward. You pee in a cup. They measure your stomach. The doctor listens to the baby's heartbeat. You tell the doctor any symptoms/complaints you're having. You ask any questions. And then, you're done.

I always ask when scheduling my next appointment if there is anything in addition to this usual routine. Medical procedures and I don't really mix well, so knowing what is coming is 90% of what I do to deal with my anxiety. 

This knowing-ahead-of-time approach has worked out really well so far. I knew when I had to do my blood glucose test and doing my every-other-week blood draws have become very predictable. I'm sure there is some scientific explanation to all this, but I know that the more I know in advance about what is scheduled to happen, the better I am in dealing with the situation.

This all sets up what happened yesterday . . . I walk into the exam room and was asked to strip down into my birthday suit for an exam and strep B test (a bacterial infection that is common and no big deal, but they have to know so they can give me antibiotics during delivery so I don't give it to our baby).

I freaked out.

I was NOT prepared for this. It totally caught me off guard. That poor nurse . . . She's standing there with an 8.5 month pregnant woman who is freaking out about a simple procedure and exam. Dr. U comes in and tells me I don't have to do it now if I'm not comfortable but through talking to her and her walking me through what it exactly entails. I get it done but I'm holding back this huge wave of anxiety the entire time.

All of a sudden, I felt very unsure and scared about delivering this baby. I felt like an idiot for freaking out about something so small and simple. If I can't even do that, how can I deliver a baby?

I leave the office and call Cody crying.

He reminds me that I can do this. My body is made to deliver a baby. It will know what to do when I don't.

He reassures me that he will be there during the whole thing. And that we are preparing for it as much as we can.

He tells me that I am not in control, no matter how much I want to be. I have to submit to God and let Him be in control of my life. And that includes my physical body and delivering this baby.

He comes home with these:


He hugs me and reassures me and tells me it's okay.

He shows me how much he loves me.

And I'm reminded that I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world.


A Little Tex-Mex Teaser

For those of you not familar with the difference, there is a big difference between "Tex-Mex" and "Mexican" food. Tex-Mex is a blend of Mexican and American foods and is not to be confused with "Mexican," "Mexican-American" or "New Mexican" food.

Really, it's not meant to be confusing, but if you're not from the Southwest part of the United States it's probably not something you hear diferentiated very often.

I was out with my Mom and two of my three sisters shopping in an area East of Dallas. My sister, Steph, went from fine to famished in 2.34 seconds, so we pulled into a local Tex-Mex place, Pancho and Lefty's.


This is not the fanciest restaurant I've ever been too, I'll tell you that much. The building has seen better days and you can totally tell it used to be a Dairy Queen. But, for Tex-Mex, it's pretty darn good.


Flauta's, my go-to dish, with refried beans and melted cheese and Mexican rice.

Tex-Mex through and through.


The Week After Thanksgiving

I look at the pictures from last week's Thanksgiving feast and it makes me so hungry.






I hope everyone had an enjoyable time with family to reflect on the things that really matter.

I'm thankful for a God that gives me grace when I don't deserve it. For being raised by two loving parents among my three sisters. For the love of my life who is an amazing husband. And for our little girl, who I'm so excited to meet.


A Texas Homecoming Tradition: Bonfire

As I mentioned before, we head to our alma mater's homecoming every year and one of the huge traditions we never try to miss is bonfire.

(For those of you that don't know what this is all about, "homecoming" is an annual fall tradition that occurs at high schools, colleges and universities where the school hosts their alumni and former students. It usually is a week-long series of events that culminates with a American football game at the end of the week.)

Although homecoming happens across the US, I think bonfires are more of a Texas/South/Southwest thing because out of all the places I've lived, I don't remember anyone having a bonfire for homecoming week.

Bonfire is kind of what it sounds like, which is a huge pile of wood that is lit on fire. Probably the most famous bonfire was the Texas A&M Univeristy Bonfire in 1999 that collapsed and killed 11 students and one former student. So now, instead of the bonfires being just a huge stack of wood piled by students, there are usually engineered, complete with blueprints. A lot goes into making sure that it's structurely sound, which is good considering the accident at A&M.

My first bonfire I went to was in the fall of my freshman year of college. It was held right next to our university campus and unfortunately, I was a bit inebriated so I don't remember much of it. (Sorry Mom--Steph and her influences on me my freshman year! Which is probably why I almost failed out of college my first semester . . . another story for another day). The following year it was moved outside of town on some property owned by our school. You can see why it needed to be moved--the thing is huge.


It's one of those things you have to see to believe. The heat it puts out is amamzing.


Shortly after it's lit (usually by the university president and other dignitaries) it doesn't take long to really catch on.


And if you're wondering, standing around watching this thing burn really is fun.


And, if you're pregnant like me, you get to hang out, watch it burn, while comparing your stomach size to that of your father-in-laws.


Standing in a field, watching wood burn--Texas Style: BIG!


No, We're Not Twins. Although, I'm Beginning To Think Otherwise.

We had our university's Homecoming last week. We go every year as it's a good, fun excuse to get together with our families (all my sisters went to the same college as me, and Cody's family lives in the area).

Cody and I attended my sororities yearly reunion luncheon, like we do every year. Let me tell you . . . Cody was thrilled to be there. Almost as thrilled as he was attending all the sorority functions when we were back in college.

(My senior year cody was a 25 year old graduate student, and although a good sport, was never a fan of events like "Crush Party" or "Formal" since they mostly involved people 4-7 years his junior. College freshman . . . always annoying be around. Even though he met me when he was a senior and I was a freshman. I'm sure I wasn't annoying--at all. Right?)

Anyway, our chapter was celebrating a big anniversary milestone so laid out were the composites for every year. Composites are gigantic picture frames with the individual picture of all the women in the group. It was pretty cool to see all those years in one room, especially since the change in hairstyles (especially the 80's, 90's) gave everyone a laugh.


All was well until I marched over to my senior year composite. We take these pictures in the spring, and the large composite isn't ready until late the following fall, so I'd never seen my senior year composite before. You will never guess what I saw, six years after the fact . . .


Ummmm. . . excuse me? This is not me! This is my older sister, Steph, who had graduated the year before. She wasn't even an active undergraduate at this point. How in the world did her picture get on my senior year composite?

The funniest part of the whole story is that my little sister, who was a freshman my senior year and also in our sorority, actually got a copy of that years composite and never noticed that the wrong sister's picture was there. Do we really look THAT much alike?

Oh well. I've always heard that we looked alike, and we always get mistaken for twins, but I think fooling our own flesh and blood takes it to a whole 'nother level.