Top 10 Reasons the First Week Has Been AWESOME

Nick is wrapping up his first week of being a full time worship pastor at Destiny Church. There have been several times this week we’ve looked at each other and smiled huge smiles when we’ve realized how GOOD it feels to have MARGIN back in our lives. As we’ve pushed on the brakes, we’ve started to understand just how hard we were pressing on the gas pedal.

So…here’s the Top 10 Reasons (from this week) I’m LOVING Nick’s new job:

  1. After pouring his heart out while leading worship in our 3 services this weekend, we had Monday OFF to REST as a family!!
  2. We didn’t have to pick out and iron his dressy work clothes for the entire week. He is able to dress in his “normal” clothes!
  3. On Tuesday afternoon, Nick was home by 4:15 allowing me to cook dinner while he watched the kids!
  4. We had almost 3 full hours with Daddy at home on Tuesday afternoon/evening before he had to go to vocal and band practice.  It used to be he’d run in the door, eat dinner, and run back out the door.
  5. Nick didn’t have to fight his way through 5 o’clock traffic after a crazy day at work to make it to church on time.  He was already at church…finished his work day at 4:00…and was able to hang out at church and work on writing a new song until preservice band practice began.
  6. Nick is off on Thursday mornings so he stayed with Gabriella while I took Reuben to school and then had a chance to run errands by myself!
  7. We got to enjoy a staff Christmas party at our pastors’ beautiful home over lunch on Thursday and then spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing as a family.
  8. We had TIME to go out with some of our friends on Thursday night because our schedule was open enough to allow it!
  9. Nick got to come home and have lunch with us today!
  10. My husband has a pep in his step, a smile on his face, and is excited about this new journey…AND SO AM I!!

Love and Respect Pictures 2012

As I’ve mentioned several times before, we have the most AMAZING group of friends.  We all met through our church, and we’ve been part of a small group for almost four years now.  Our group has changed a bit over the years…one family moved to Texas (waaahhhh!), two families joined in, and several kids have been added along the way.  This group is such a blessing to our family.  We are able to support each other and be supported, pray for each other and be prayed for, and celebrate with each other all along life’s journey.  Great friends are so hard to come by so I KNOW that we are abundantly blessed to be a part of this group.  We had pictures taken in 2010 and loved them, so we jumped at the chance to take them again.  Our amazing photographers were Danny and Mandi Ammann of Ammann Photography.  They did a great job corralling our wild bunch and making us all look great!

Fear the Beard

We’ve been planning for Reuben to be James Harden for several months BUT the night before our Family Fun Festival at our church, Harden was traded to the Houston Rockets.  SO…we had to improvise.  Reuben is obviously not very happy about the trade.

Gabriella tagged along as a Thunder cheerleader and Reuben stayed in character.

Reuben had a great time playing all the different games and collecting candy in his bucket.  He hasn’t quite figured out the strategy of picking the best candy.  He just grabbed the first thing he saw.  We’ll have to work on that…

We ran into several of our little friends.

A meeting of the minds 🙂

We had some special visitors join us!

Mommy and Daddy had to wear our Thunder gear, too!

The cutest little Thunder fans there ever were!

On Tuesday, Reuben got to wear his costume to school.  They trick-or-treated in the church lobby where the staff handed out candy and they got to end their day with a fall party!  I like how Reuben tucks his beard into his sweat band to eat 😉

This is Will, Reuben’s BFF at school.  Almost everyday when I pick Reuben up and ask him how his day was, he says, “Good!  I wrestled Will!”

Then, on Halloween night, Reuben got to dress up one last time and go to the Fall Festival at my parents’ church.  He really enjoyed playing more games, getting more candy, and jumping on the big inflatables!

He even got his face painted.  When the lady asked what he wanted on his face, his first request was Rumble (the Thunder mascot), but we settled on a basketball on one cheek and OKC on the other.

And, as usual, Gabriella was just sitting back and enjoying life!

Pumpkin Patch 2012

Gabriella and I weren’t able to go to the pumpkin patch last year, so we were really looking forward to going this year.  My sister and I made the girls matching dresses and had big hopes and dreams of getting pictures among the pumpkins in the patch.  Well, unfortunately, it rained on the day we planned to go.  Now, usually, the rain would deter people from driving 40 minutes to the pumpkin patch, but NO, not us.  We were determined…to no avail.  Our visit was a total fail.

At least the girls looked cute in their matching dresses.

Reuben was a thrilling addition to the bunch.

Despite the full on DOWNPOUR, I was committed to getting some pictures.  The kids, however, were committed to looking at the rain.

I started pulling produce off the shelves to make a scene for a nice picture.  THAT was a raging success.

Brynlee had a BLAST.  I think she was convinced that we brought her there to play in the rain.

Gabriella was just happy to hang out with her Cammie.

So…since we didn’t end up using our Living Social deal on that day, we decided to try again this weekend.  It was a beautiful day despite the freezing temperatures.

Daddy and Reuben set off to find the perfect pumpkins.

Gabriella loves kisses from Daddy.

My little pumpkin.

The best picture we could manage.

When did he get so big???

We found a ladybug!!!  Reuben was enthralled.

We even ran into some friends while we were there!!

Gabriella is ready to party whether she’s riding shotgun…

…OR taking charge of the wheel.

My AMAZING parents.

My kids are so blessed!

 Reuben is throwing up the “Go Pokes”…that’s for you Auntie Shan and Uncle Neal.

This is real life…no one looking at the right camera, Gabriella ready for her next bite of food, and Reuben not sitting still.

After the patch, we headed over to the pumpkin playland.  It was so fun!!

Gabriella’s all…”who are these fools in my family??”

We finished off a fun day with some hot chocolate.  I’d call it a WIN!

The Suite Life

Nick’s company owns a suite for the football games at TU.  Nick was awarded tickets for the game last night against UTEP so we jumped at the chance to go!  The kids were dressed in head to toe TU gear and Reuben was so excited for the game he completely missed his afternoon nap 😦

Gabriella is a real crowd pleaser in her cheerleading outfit and gigantic bow.


She had a blast and screamed like crazy!  It’s the most vocal she’s ever been!

Not a bad view 😉

Reuben was in HEAVEN.  We each got a free hat which really set his excitement level over the edge.

Cheering on Mommy and Daddy’s alma mater!  Well, Reuben occasionally chanted, “O! K! C!”  This kid is counting down the days to Thunder season.  Who can blame him?

Reuben enjoyed the free food…especially the carrots.  I think he ate approximately 30 of them.  Hopefully they balanced out his chips and popcorn intake.

If sleeping kids are a measure of success, I’d say our family night at the game was a big WIN!

Family Pictures 2012

We hired a new (to us) photographer for our family pictures this year.  After viewing the portfolio of Sarah of Buona Sarah Photography through her blog and Facebook page, I knew we were in for a wonderful treat.  Sarah and I have LOTS of friends in common and our paths have continually crossed over the past several years.  There’s always an added level of comfort when working with someone you know.  The goal of our photo shoot was two fold…our annual family pictures AKA Christmas card picture and Gabriella’s one year pictures.  Sarah did a FABULOUS job capturing our family in this season.  I am so pleased with the pictures and feel like we can look back on them for years to come and remember EXACTLY what it is like to live in these days with our kids at this age.  So…without further adieu, here are some of our favorites (minus our Christmas card picture and Gabriella’s 1st year pictures…those will be shared at a later date)!

Our handsome little boy…

Our precious little girl…

This CRACKED me up.  Sarah turned around and took a picture of all of us doing EVERYTHING we good to get Gabriella to smile and Gabriella was completely unimpressed.  (P.S. It is part of Sarah’s contract to have someone who can stand behind the camera to help your kids smile…best idea EVER.  My friend, Vivi, was THE.PERFECT.PERSON. for the job.)

Okay, one little sneak peek at her 1st year pictures 🙂

Brother and sister…bonded for life…

And our family of four…

Just because I’m always curious when I look at other people’s family pictures…

Nick’s outift:  Shirt, Jacket, and Jeans from Old Navy, Shoes are Toms

My outfit:  Shirt/Dress from Gap, Skinny jeans from Wal-Mart, Leopard flats from Target, Necklace from Very Jane

Reuben’s outfit:  Jacket from Colombia (borrowed), T-Shirt from J Crew (borrowed), Pants from Gap, Converse from Target

Gabriella’s outfit:  Dress from Matilda Jane, Bow from Etsy, Sandals from Target

Gabriella’s birthday outfit:  Dress and Tutu are homemade, Flower bow from a craft show

Our Annual Trip to the Fair

Last night, we continued our annual tradition of going to the fair on opening night with a big group of friends from church.  I was thrilled to go sans wheelchair this year 😉  I look forward to this night all year as it seems to officially kick off the fun of fall for our family.

Uncle Chris joined us…he’s always so helpful with the kids.  Reuben was ready to check out the horses right off the bat.

Reuben loved petting a little horse just his size.

Some of the cuties in our group.

The petting zoo was MUCH smaller this year AND the animals were just roaming around everywhere.  It was pretty intense.  While I was taking this picture, a goat jumped on my leg and tried to eat my phone.

This momma kangaroo was carrying her little joey in her pouch.  So sweet.

I preferred carrying my little baby this way rather than in my “pouch” like last year…ha!

LOVE seeing these two hand-in-hand.

Such a fun group shot!  We just keep adding more and more kids…

I was shocked when Reuben asked to do the pony ride because he’s always been really timid around animals.  He had a great time riding his good pal, Twinkie!

Look at that smile!  Made the $6 ride (ugh!) worth it!

And Gabriella had a ball watching her “buh buh” ride the pony.

These two had their game faces on when it came to food consumption.


I caved and gave Gabriella her first taste of sugar 3 short weeks before her 1st birthday.  I couldn’t resist her sweet little face while she intently watched the rest of us share the ice cream.  She loved every bite!

Reuben spun the wheel at the Cox Communications booth and scored some super cool shades.  I think he felt on top of the world wearing the shades while standing on the fire truck.

What’s the fair without an Indian Taco?

Apparently the shades helped Reuben play better on the playground.

Having a blast with his buddy.

I was SUPER disappointed when we couldn’t find the fried butter since I’ve been thinking about it constantly since I tried it at the fair last year.  BUT, I was happy to find my cheese on a stick in the same place sold by the same lady that’s there every year.

These boys had fun playing and being silly in the portable buildings.

Aren’t they sweet?  Yeah, this is before my son double-fist punched his buddy in the chin.  Oy vey.

Judging by the joy on these two faces, I’d say this year’s trip to the fair was a success (minus the absence of fried butter…boo)!