lazy summer days

Hot, hot Texas summer days. They've been great days though.

We try to make it outside whenever possible! Although lately, if we're not in the pool, then we're probably not spending time outside. We did manage to sneak in a few evening hikes before the temps spiked too high. J-man is a nature kinda guy. His eyes become huge as he looks around and takes it all in, from the sights to the sounds to the smells. When we get to a creek, he is ready to pounce in. Not much intimidates this boy!

hiking after Bart gets back from work one day. J and Bart enjoy some wildlife together.

Swimming, swimming, swimming! We can't get enough! Whether it's in our pool or a friend's pool (thanks, Julie!!), we are splashing around. J is perfectly content to lounge back in his little floaty and be pulled along. He knows how to live it up! The only thing he's missing is a drink with a little umbrella.

Bart takes J for a dip in the pool!
 Since the weather has been scorching, we do have to spend a lot of time indoors, unfortunately. This doesn't stop J-man from having fun. No sir-ee. He has the dishwasher to keep him busy. Rolling the rack back and forth and flipping open the detergent dispenser and then closing it provides endless entertainment. Does this kid know how to have fun or what?!

little helping hands!
Recent milestones: first pearly white, attaining impressive speed with his crawling, shaking his head at whatever we say, mimicking us when we make sounds or motions, and dancing. Yes, the kid has great rhythm. Not surprised? Me either :)


nashville get-away

So my men had to fend for themselves for a few days while I took a little rendezvous to Nashville this past weekend. I am thankful that Bart and babysitters made it possible for me to do this!
The first couple of days were spent with family! Wholefoods, pizzas on the grill (I'm in love), haircut with my sister, Cassie, celebrating my dad's birthday. We had a great time.

Mason preps the cake by adding the candles so "Papaw" can do the all-important job of making a wish and blowing them out.

Gramma does the honors and cuts. We patiently wait...

Dig in! We didn't have to tell Mason twice!
The next two days were spent with some of my dear friends from college. 10 years of friendship! I can hardly believe that we have known each other for that long. It was fitting that we celebrate by going back to where it all began... Vanderbilt University, in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee.

A little sightseeing, reminiscing, and lots of eating happened this weekend...
Wyatt Center @ Peabody
Did I really go to school here? Wow. I am so blessed.

Baptist Collegiate Ministries: the wave, the smell, and furniture were all there just as we left it!

left to right: Becca, Bria, me, Lesley

Baseball Glove lounge- a great study spot as long as you wanted complete silence!

A favorite study-break destination: Las Paletas for some homemade popsicles!

Left to right: me, Carissa, Lesley, Bria, Becca

After running "The Loop" (which I never did while in college!), we treated ourselves to breakfast @ The Garden Cafe

Baby Shower Time @ the Pandaleons' home!

Thank you, hostesses- Carissa, Tracy, and cutie Rachel!

Family (minus Nikki) came to the shower too! Left to right: Grandma, Mom, Cassie, me

The girls! Love you all!
Adele and I are now stocked with great, new, much needed items for when she arrives! We are so grateful for the sweet gifts. Now the countdown begins until we can use them. Well, most of them. J-man is already trying out a few of the gifts...

To finish off our weekend, we were able to cheer the Dores baseball team onto the World Series!! Too cheap to buy to tickets to this game, we found a set of stairs to sit on outside the ballpark that gave us the perfect view of the pitcher, batter, and catcher and a little more of the action,- just enough to figure out what was going on!

What a great trip! I savored every moment. Can't wait until our next excuse to get together...



As we were going through our initial training to become foster parents, I remember categorizing "parent visits" in the "I'm Not Sure How I'm Going To Do This" section of my heart. Like so many difficult things in life, you just have to walk through it. That's the only way to know if you can really do something. And to be honest, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be simply because I knew that I was never alone. There have been only a handful of other times in life when I have experienced God's presence so tangibly.

I admit, my imagination is still prone to wander after I've passed him off for a visit. Questions sometimes saturate my thoughts, "What is J-Man thinking when I pass him to a woman that he doesn't know very well?", "How is she interacting with him?", "What kind of decisions are being made in this very moment?", "Is he safe?" I have learned that I can't let myself settle into a destructive thought pattern; I will drive myself crazy thinking of all the various scenarios! I have to trust that God works all things for the good of those who love Him. I have to believe that He is working with J-Man's best interest at heart. In the meanwhile, I have to allow Him to "transform my mind". Allowing my thoughts to be thoughts that trust God's work. Easier said than done, right?

When I dropped him off yesterday for another visit it touched me to watch J-man and Mom's interaction together. J looked at her for a moment, studying her to figure out who she was. Once he seemed to place her in his mind, he then let out one of his signature grunt/squeals, polishing it off with one of his debonair smiles. Mom ate it up.

Family is a beautiful thing.

What an honor to get to play a role in family reconciliation.