Saturday, September 27, 2008

for family and friends who have been asking...

ok. so here is our big magazine cover. 2 days of photo shoots and a few phone interviews and voila...the finished product. (i love that chase is yanking my hair in the picture they chose!)

to see it, go to

then click on "download current issue of plan ahead. get ahead.

chose the link...
"Finding Balance: Balancing spending today and planning for the future. Wondering if you're on track. Typically ages 35-49."

you will see the pictures and article.

thank you...we will be signing autographs all month. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


depression sunk in yesterday and i could not put my finger on exactly why. i have everything to be grateful for. my house survived. we have power restored. we have food in our pantry. and so on and so forth. but...i still felt so "wrong". i had those feelings that make you want to curl up on the couch, send your kids to play in the playroom or put a movie on, and hide under a heavy blanket until you drift off to sleep...hoping that things will seem different when you wake up. as i sifted through my emotions and tried to define what it was i was feeling, i was able to come up with two words. i felt sad. and i felt angry. ok...that was a start. so...why? why were these emotions surfacing today? as i talked through it with a friend, i realized that everywhere i looked...i saw loss. there is a whole spectrum of loss that is surrounding us, our church family, and our community. when these are combined and you experience them on a daily basis...they become somewhat hard to swallow.

just in the last week, i have found out that the schools were severely damaged...causing teacher's to lose their entire classrooms. some of the kids are going back to school to enter an empty classroom, with no supplies or desks. some kids are being routed to different schools entirely. our kid's school was severely damaged and we have not found out yet the exact conditions of what we are sending them into next week.

i have walked through a friend's home who lost everything. possessions from furniture to clothes to baby albums were destroyed.

chad is leading the relief effort and we see him for brief time periods right before the kids go to bed. the poor guy lost his voice the other day from sheer exhaustion. i think he goes to bed at 2 am and leaves the house by 7. i miss him. the kids miss him. but we know that he is doing what he is supposed to be doing and i'm so proud of him.

on friday morning, i attended the funeral of a 7 year old, little girl who had been battling cancer for a lot of her precious life. her little sister sat in front of me sobbing for her sister to come back.

friday evening, i loaded the kids in the truck to go pick up oakley...our new puppy that we had been talking about and waiting months for. they were so excited and it had been a source of joy and excitement that seemed to be alluding us all. we picked out a cage, a collar, a leash, food, shampoo, a bed, and had a cute little tag for his collar made, reading "oakley". the time had finally come and you could feel the happiness coming from the kids in the back of the truck as we pulled into the driveway of the breeder's house. as we drove home...oakley in hand and 3 very excited children, chase began whining. i turned around and he was covered in hives. 1 night and lots of children's benedril later...we made the tough decision to return oakley. the kids said a heartbreaking goodbye and left with my parents so that they did not have to go with me to return him. they were so sad and so angry. and so was i. i drove him back to the breeders and said goodbye to what i realized had been aiding in getting me through the evacuation...the sadness of the destruction...and the loss that had encompassed this community. i realized that new life...even a puppy's...brings hope with it.

today, i dropped aiden off at preschool, and the boys and i went to the store to get the stuff to make treats for some of the families who's homes we are working in. we came home, made the treats and delivered them. we went to what is left of a single mom's house. a group of volunteers from church were tearing out all of the walls, cabinets, and bathroom tiles. when i saw all of her furniture and her children's things out on the front lawn...ruined from flood surge, i all of a sudden felt really dumb standing there with peanut butter rice krispie treats. they have lost everything. there she is...with a broken wrist...trying to move furniture with one hand. like sugar is going to help that. it's just sad. everything about it.

i saw something written this afternoon that brought a peace that i have not felt in weeks...

"He is big enough to take every bit of the pain and anger you can throw at Him and love you through it all."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"The Boardwalk is Broken" said Chase today.

the parking lot as you drive into the boardwalk

the contents of a child's room (in the boardwalk parking lot)

boardwalk parking lot

a restaurant on the water

what is left of aiden's favorite ride...the carousel

what is left of our family's favorite, traditional ride...the century ferris wheel

one of the horses from the carousel

the Landry's sign

what is left of Starbucks on the boardwalk

the bbq pit...somehow floated or blew into the parking lot

all the boats washed onto nasa rd 1

random sailboat

boats from who knows where


the mcdonald's by NASA...the astronaut still stands!
i am abundantly grateful that our home, my parent's home, and my grandmother's home was spared with the exception of a tree and some fences down. a small child prayed the night of the hurricane that "God would send sparkly angels down to surround our house and protect it." that little boy's prayer was honored. despite the devastation and magnitude of the storm...the sparkly angels came. our house was spared. in the place of my birth and our home town, however, houses and businesses were destroyed in a way that i have never seen personally. when i left the safety and miracle of my home today to travel to one of our family's favorite places to go, i was overcome with emotions of sadness and despair. the kemah boardwalk is a tourist attraction for many...but for us it was a traditional family outing. our kids have grown up going there and take for granted that it was a mere 10 minutes from our house. for was as common as mcdonalds. sometimes we would do it up right...eating...riding all the rides...and topping it off with ice cream or coffee. or sometimes, i would take the kids there during the week to stroll a picnic and play at the playground. sometimes, we would sit and watch the live music on summer nights, and sometimes we would be entertained by "boo on the boardwalk" during the month of october. we would always feel the magic of the sounds and lights of the rides...and would take friends and family there when they would come for a visit...becoming the favorite place for all the kids and adults as well. no one is allowed into the boardwalk now. the carnival music can't be heard. the lights are out. as we were driving through the area that once elicited screams of excitement from the kids and a childlike joy from their chaperones, chase...who was sadly looking out the window said, "mommy...the boardwalk is broken."

Monday, September 08, 2008

thoughts on not alot

so, my dilemma is that i love the feeling of starting the week with all clean laundry that has been folded and put well as a clean house. when i wake up on monday and get the kids off to school, that is what i want. it just feels orderly. controlled. organized. however, that is not really a good plan because in order to do that, i have to spend saturday and sunday doing laundry and cleaning the house. and the weekend is family time. if i do it on friday, then by is already feeling chaotic again and the laundry is already getting full. but, if i wait until monday to do all the laundry and tuesday to clean the house...then it really never gets all the way finished because then we have homework...taking and dropping off of 3 kids with 2 different schedules...and everything else the week brings. so i find, that no matter how hard i try...the laundry is done, but not put away and the house is always only part of the way clean. i may get the bathrooms done one day, the furniture dusted another, and the floors swept and mopped and vacuumed another. i feel like i'm never "finished". does anyone out there with kids in school have a workable schedule that they love and are willing to share? if so...please share!!

in other news...this morning, chad was talking about hurricane ike before the kids went to school. we were taking about an evacuation plan and all of that when colton piped in. i figured, with him being in 2nd grade and already studying weather and knowing some about hurricane tracking and evacuation procedures and hearing chad and i along with the rest of the community discuss the destruction and seriousness of these storms that he would have some worries about this one. he has watched the weather channel with us. he has seen the news coverage. he has heard the debates by us and family members on whether we should evacuate or not and has even evacuated a couple of years ago because of hurricane rita. and...he worries. so, it was not a shock to me that he may have some concerns. when chad finished telling me what the latest forecast for ike was, colton asked worried, "so when would it hit?" and chad said, "saturday." then, i began to feel the mommy urge to comfort him and assure him that we would be ok and that we would take our special things and be out of the city before it hit. he, appearing even more worried than before then stated, "so...we are going to miss our saturday morning donuts????"

at least we know that his evacuation plan has to involve passing a donut shop.

Friday, September 05, 2008

on repeat this week...

i think...that without my music, my mood would always be a little blue. My favorites for this week include...but are not limited to...

Best for Last-Adele
The Beach Boys sounds of Summer
Audience of One-Big Daddy Weave (acoustic version)
Time-Chantal Kreviazuk
Baby Now I-Dan Reed Network
Imagine-David Archuleta (American Idol Performance)
Falling Slowly (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova)
I'm Yours-Jason Mraz
Kerosene-Miranda Lambert
Cover Girl-New Kids on the Block
Time after Time-Quietdrive
Don't Stop the Music-Rihanna
Shut up and Drive-Rihanna
Take a Bow-Rihanna
Heart and Soul-T'Pau
Best of Intentions-Travis Tritt
City of Blinding Lights-U2
The Walk-Sawyer Brown
The Continuum Album (John Mayer) really on repeat every week!!
Shining Through-Jill Scott