"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps."

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween is upon us…

I just realized that Halloween is tomorrow!  Eeks. I don’t know how it snuck up on me because I LOVE Halloween and I have been looking forward to it for months! I even had decorations that did not get put out… maybe we will do that tonight.

I feel like the girls never get enough wear out of their Halloween themed clothing even though I dress them in it at least once a week. Here are the girl’s in their matching smocked Halloween dresses. I love smocking – it’s a southern thing!

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We also need to carve the pumpkin that we picked up at Fiddlesticks Farms!!! Yikes, yikes, yikes! I am so behind.

Last year I was lucky enough to take Isla out for Halloween as it happened a few days after we returned to the US for one of our trips! I think my mom has all of the pictures, but Isla was so adorable.  She wore a Nemo costume, and we were in Houston so it was warm and by the end of the night she had just taken off the costume and was running in her tights and shoes! Just adorable. I absolutely loved watching her and she is such a people person she loved it and people loved her!

I guess some people might think it is weird that I like Halloween since we do not do the Easter Bunny and gave long thought to not doing Santa. To me it is a fairly a-religious holiday, we dress up, we go door to door, hang out with the neighbors and just have a good time. If I thought it might confuse Isla about Jesus, I wouldn’t do it, but since there is no religious significance for me, we just enjoy the fun part of it.

Nick gets to take Isla out tomorrow since I did it last year. I am jealous and staying home to pass out candy.  That’s ok, I want him to get to experience how much fun it is, and I LOVE having the little kids come by and seeing their little adorable costumes! LOVE LOVE LOVE it. No Fall Festivals or Trunk or Treating for this family.

I really thought that Isla would want to be something non girly like a dinosaur and I was also hoping to do a theme with her and Gemma.  She is such a tomboy and is not into princesses so I was kind of shocked when she told me that she wanted to be a “vanilla princess”… I could not quite figure out what that was, but I had a Disney Gift card from her birthday, so I just showed her all of the Disney princess and let her pick out her dress she liked.

She picked out Rapunzel’s wedding dress which is white – so I guess that is what she meant by “vanilla”…

Gemma is just going to wear a pumpkin onesie, hat and orange tutu.

This post was a little random, but I can’t wait until tomorrow!!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thyroid Update

I made a trip to Houston a few weeks ago while Nick was in a conference in The Woodlands and also to get my thyroid checked out by my Doctor.

The great news is that my cysts/masses all look the same.  We will recheck them again in 6 months, and if no change then we will only check them once every couple of years. No cancer is good news!

And I have some more news.  Its actually good news, but also not great news. I mentioned in a previous post that I was HYPOthyroid – I made a mistake, I was HYPERthyroid at the time.  I was a hyperthyroid with Isla’s pregnancy and also for much of Gemma’s pregnancy and part of the postpartum period.  Anyway I have had a tendency to get those two confused, although not anymore.

Anyway, lately I have been feeling so scatter brained and extremely tired.  Like I can barely function I’ve been so tired and unable to focus. I have also been unable to lose the last 5 or 6 pregnancy pounds.  I am around 115 right now and I would like to get down to between 105 and 110. (I am 4’11” in case you are thinking that 115 a low weight.)

In an effort to gain energy and lose those last few pounds, I have been trying to go to bed earlier, and I have been adding a lot more greens in my diet. I had even read about proper digestion last year and how improper digestion can rob your body of energy.  So I started trying to implement some of what I had read, like eat light to heavy, take digestive enzymes and really focused on eating energy providing foods.  I’m not perfect, but I would have expected to see some changes. I also just chalked up the forgetfulness to leftover pregnancy hormones since I am still breastfeeding and I get really bad pregnancy brain or leftover stress from the move.

When I mentioned it to my Endocrinologist (thyroid Doctor) how exhausted I was even with my kids sleeping like champs through the night and eating well, he decided to run a few tests beyond the regular blood test to check how my thyroid was functioning.

This time I came back HYPOthyroid. This is also the first time that my thyroid stimulating hormone had ever come back above 1.  Here are some HYPOthyroid symptoms in case you might have some of them yourself (taken from WebMD:

  • *Feeling tired, weak, or depressed.
  • Dry skin and brittle nails.
  • *Not being able to stand the cold.
  • Constipation.
  • *Memory problems or having trouble thinking clearly.
  • Heavy or irregular menstrual periods.

I put a star next to my symptoms. Its important to note that a lot of times people have these symptoms and don’t associate it with their thyroid.

So I don’t know what this means long term, but for now I am on synthetic thyroid hormones.  It is supposed to take up to month for the medicine to take full effect.  I am sincerely hoping that the medicine will help me get my energy back and not be such a flake. I hate not being able to focus and not having the energy to keep up with my girls. So while I would rather have every part of my body operating all full capacity, I am very excited and hopeful that I will start to feel normal again.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fiddlesticks Farms

How I wish that I had my act together and was able to blog in real time! Unfortunately, I do not, so I do not.

Sooooo, let me hop into my mental time machine and write about a few weeks back…

The first weekend in October we were free and it was the only weekend left in October that we had free, so I decided to check and see if there was a local pumpkin patch! 

Side note: I think Pumpkin Patches are a great American tradition. Sometimes I think that we are a frivolous society – but then I think – wait, its that over celebrating every minor Hallmark invented holiday that brought us the great pumpkin patch tradition!  And I then I get all happy and I think how awesome it is to be an American and that capitalism is so cool…

Ok back to the pumpkin patch.  So we went to a place called Fiddlesticks Farms.  It such a neat place started by two Texas Tech grads, who are THREE years younger than Nick and I, I might add.  They already own this amazing business with a pumpkin patch, a corn field maze, milking cows, pigs, tons of things for little kids to do… its such a great little place.

We are so enjoying these little outings!

Anyway, here are some pictures from our day – with captions where appropriate…

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And then she wanted to go again, but with Mommy Smile.

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Panning for gold. You better believe this kept her busy for at least 30 minutes!


Ok, this one deserves a caption – Gemma looks adorable and Nick had just finished informing me that once upon a time in middle school he had been THE top tetherball champion…  IMG_0829

I don’t know what exactly is going on this picture but I think there may be a little Earl/Tiger action happening right here…


Sittin’ on a bale o’ hay.

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I think they used pipeline pipe to make a kids slide… very West Texas!









Baby pig obsession! We could not tear Isla away for the milking demonstration even though (I thought) it was very cool.


Waiting for the pig races!


Getting a little tuckered out after the hay ride…

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We had already been there for hours and we had yet to do the corn maze! Isla was so tired so I suggested we just skip it and go home.  Then Nick said “But that was what I most wanted to do!” He he, that was true for me too so we decided to stay.  Thankfully the corn maze had three different trails you could do, and one was designed specifically for toddlers with a preschooler trail and a story called Jack and the Corn Stalk. Nick wanted to do one of the longer trails, but I had to veto that. The maze was a little disappointing because the corn didn’t grow very high. The sign said it was because of the drought… common sense tells me its because they were growing crops in the desert…

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I do feel like I just need to show you the corn maze design! Also very West Texas… I loved it. I love that people out here are so patriotic and so supportive of the men and women who fight and die and are maimed so that we can enjoy the great life in the US that we do!


Anyway, it was a great day! Life is pretty good right now.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Daddy’s Ride

When Nick was in high school he drove a 1970 Ford pick up truck.  His parents bought him a newer truck when he graduated and went to college, and its just kind of been sitting and rotting away at his grandparents’ house in Temple since then.  I have encouraged him for years to get it back and fix it up, but he always resisted.  I know that Nick has always wanted to, but he is always so careful about money and I don’t think that he really thought that it was worth the expenditure when we had two other vehicles.  So meanwhile the truck just sat outside and eventually became a home for wasps...

When we moved to Russia, we sold Nick’s college truck, which left us with our 2004 Chevy Trailblazer and Nick’s Ford that we have never really counted since it pretty much stopped working the day Nick stopped driving it after graduation.  We know that we probably need to buy something new sometime soon, but in the meantime, Nick has finally been fixing up his old truck! I am so happy about this. I hated the thought of us owning an asset that was just sitting outside and rotting.  I sort of gave Nick an ultimatum – either start fixing up the truck and get it out of his grandparents’ hair or sell it.  Now that we have a 3 car garage and a little extra income, there was absolutely no reason not to do something about it! After a little hesitation, Nick finally agreed with me.

So Nick got his daddy on board and we have been to Temple several weekends so that Nick and his dad could work on it together.  Nick’s dad has also done a lot of work on it by himself.  We are so lucky to have our parents (on both sides). They are so willing to help us whenever we need it!  And on this project, we really value Nick’s father’s advice and help. Grandpa Jim is awesome! (Just looked and I don’t know how it is possible that I don’t have a picture of Jim working on the truck!)

This past weekend, Nick and his dad finally got the truck up and running and were able to drive it around! Its not registered or inspected yet and there is still some work to be done on it until we can get it up to Midland, but it was so cool to drive it around Nick’s grandparents’ ranch.  Nick was so proud of it, and I was proud of him. I know he can’t wait to get it up to Midland to have as his to-and-from-work car. Since the truck only gets about 8 miles to the gallon, thank goodness his office is only 3 miles away!

A before picture from memorial day weekend.


An after picture. I am so proud of Nick for the work that he has put into this truck!


Our first family ride! I love my beautiful family Smile.


I can’t wait to take this thing out and about in Midland – and possibly even take it to the local drive in… wouldn’t that be fun?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Country Fairs

While we are living in the US, we are trying to enjoy every little thing the US has to offer.  Right now, no local event is too small, and we are trying to do everything we can.  One area that we keenly felt was lacking in Russia was everyday things to do. We were able to do so much fabulous traveling, but we would get pretty bored in our day to day and weekend lives.  Just one of the many reasons we were so thankful for our church – if we hadn’t had them, we would not have done very much beyond watch TV and walk along the Black Sea!

The end of August/early September are usually fair season in Texas, and we went to 3, 3 weekends in a row!  All three were complete with petting zoos and pony rides, and Isla loved every single minute of them.

The first was our local county fair.  The first thing that we hit up at each fair was the petting zoo.  At the first one, Isla was very nervous about the animals, but she eventually warmed up.  This one was the only one with baby chicks.  She absolutely loved holding them! I made sure that she was very gentle… but still, poor baby chicks with all of the kids manhandling them all day.


She loved the pony ride!


And the carnival rides.


Our Cajun Queen was also able to experience her first Texas rodeo with daddy.  For his sake, she acted very interested in the bull riding.


Cute Gemma.


The next week we were visiting Nick’s parents in Temple and we all went to the Bell County Expo for another fair and rodeo.

There was another petting zoo.


And more rides.


I thought that she rode another pony at the expo but I don’t have a picture of it.  I don’t know now if we did that at the Bell County Expo also or if I just imagined she did three pony rides.  This is the reason why I blog – if I don’t blog about it and take pictures, its like it never happened. Things go in my brain, and right out again.

We also watched a little of the rodeo, and sat through the longest, hokiest prayer that I have ever heard in my life.  But still, it was nice that people were praying and blessing God at such a large venue with so many people in attendance.

Stoney LaRue was playing at the Expo too. The stage was right by the rides – it wasn’t roped off or on its own at all so we all stood around and listened to the music for a while.  Nick and I love Texas Country and in college we went to so many Texas Country concerts.  We laughed that now we show up with a baby, a preschooler and a stroller in tow. That’s just how we roll now.

Our final fair was probably my favorite. It was done through our local museum district in Midland and it was called “A Return to Storyland.”  It was not affiliated with a rodeo and was designed for children so there were no drunks to watch out for.  We had a great time all together.

By now, Isla was a pro at petting zoos, and this one was the best one yet.




Isla did not want to put the baby goat down!


There were not any mechanical rides but they did have several bouncy castles.  I hope my kid is somewhere in this picture (I don’t see her) and there was some purpose for me taking this picture and posting to my blog other than to prove my point that there were bouncy castles there…


Ok, I saw her… can you? It’s a little easier to see her in this next one.


Another pony ride Smile.


We all enjoyed a foot long homemade hand dipped corn dog while we listened to music.  Y’all it was soooo good.


Gemma was there tooSmile. Poor thing. I need to get better about taking pictures of her, but for now all she really does is ride in her stroller.


There was a big crafting room near the Planetarium. It was really disorganized and the only thing “Storyland” related that I could tell!  Here is Isla making a storybook.

IMG_0499Since the fair was at our local museum district, we were able to go into the children’s museum and let Isla play for a while. I am so happy to live in a town with a children’s museum! We have not made it back, but we definitely will.


I thought that the TV room was very cool. The kids sit behind a desk like newscasters and then they can see themselves on the monitor on the opposite wall. Our good friend is the meteorologist on Channel 9 here in Midland so it was cool to tell her about Isla’s picture behind the Channel 9 desk. She was pretending to be just like Miss Emily.


On our way out, someone gave us their tickets, which gave us just enough to buy some lime flavored Italian ice.  It was delicious!


Isla loves to feed Gemma and is always looking out for her Smile. She wanted to make sure Gemma wasn’t left out. I love my sweethearts!


We had so much fun at all three!  We really are blessed to be back in the US/Texas/Midland.  We are trying to really enjoy whatever we can and bloom here in Midland.  We love it, although we miss Russia and Louisiana a lot. If we are destined to be permanent Wannderers, then we want to make sure to get the most our of wherever we are RIGHT NOW and not look to the future for our fun!

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