Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Project

This weekend Travis took the boys to Oakville to go hunting with a friend of his. It was just Claire and me for the entire weekend and it was QUIET! I decided I would tackle a project I've been wanting to do for a while now. I saw it here a long time ago and knew I wanted to make one for our family. I was able to complete it by the time the boys got home on Sunday. Here is the final product:

I'm going to hang it in the playroom that we have been working on the past month. Here are the rules if you can't read them from the picture:

  • Always tell the truth... No matter what
  • Clean up after yourself
  • Encourage your siblings; share in their joy
  • Use your manners: Yes please, No thank you
  • Pray about Everything
  • Say you're sorry... Forgiveness is Mandatory
  • Keep your promises
  • Choose to do right, even when others don't
  • Love the Lord Your God
  • Obey right away, all the way, in a cheerful way
  • Give Generously
  • Sing silly, Dance crazy, Snuggle often, Say I love you
  • Thank God for this day, for this family, for this home
  • Dream BIG
  • Do everything without complaining
I showed the boys when they got home and Tyler was very interested in hearing all of the rules. He asked if these were all the rules and I said these were the most important rules. He said, "But what about wearing my bicycle helmet?" I told him that was still a rule, just not the most important rules!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Monster Jam

The boys got tickets to Monster Jam for Christmas, so yesterday Daddy and Grandpa loaded up the boys and headed out to see the Monster trucks! Tyler wasn't so sure about everything when they started revving up the trucks, but Cooper loved all of it. The brought out motorcycles towards the end and Tyler really liked that the best. All in all, I think they had a great day! This morning before church they had a bunch of cars lined up and had their toy monster trucks crashing over them.

Grandpa and the boys!

Some of the Monster Trucks

The boys taking it all in.

Crazy- it looks like the truck on the right is about to flip backwards.

One of the motorcycle stunts.

One of the trucks crashed and the boys came home saying that was one of their favorite parts!

9 Months!

Claire is 9 months today! Unfortunately her pathetic mother hasn't updated anything since she was 6 months. Oops! I guess that's what happens with the third baby. The other day we were playing together in her room while the boys were at school and I caught some cute pics of her.

At 9 months she is:
  • scooting around the house- I've seen her crawl on all fours, but she chooses to scoot rather than crawl.
  • eating anything and everything! She is a really good eater. I'm about ready to start transitioning her to more table foods because I'm so sick of buying baby food!
  • she is pulling up on everything.
  • saying mama and dada, and some other babbling. She is the only one out of the three that said mama first!
  • waving bye-bye
  • charming everyone with her beautiful smile!

Hot & Cold

They boys are typical brothers- sometimes they want Claire around and other times they don't! She is starting to mess with their toys and games more and so I'm definitely hearing more about how she is messing up their stuff. The other day I caught them being so sweet to her. She was crawling around the floor and Cooper went and crawled with her. The next thing I know Tyler is on the other side of her and they are all three crawling around the sunroom together!

Not long after the sweetness on one day, I hear them caging themselves in under the dining room table and keeping the "bad baby" away from their toys. Silly boys!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Looking Back in 2010

It is that time of year to reflect on what God has done in our lives during this past year. 2010 was thankfully a much calmer year than 2009. The biggest change and the greatest blessing was with the birth of our beautiful baby girl, Claire. Children our most definitely a gift from God and we cherish the time that He has given us with them. Last year as I recapped 2009, we were still undecided on a church home and we were just recovering from Cooper being in the hospital for 10 days. In January we decided on a church home, Christian Fellowship Church. This is actually Travis' home church he grew up in. When we first moved down here we had some hesitations about going to church there, but we separately prayed about it and both felt like that was where God was leading us. This past year I have been able to get more involved with volunteering in the nursery and with other projects going on within the church. Honestly, I still miss our old church like crazy, but I'm thankful God showed us where we needed to be at this point in our lives.

In early 2010 we began to get all the crazy hospital bills from Cooper's stay in Tyler and in Dallas. We weren't concerned about the actual hospital stay, but if the insurance was going to cover the $17,000 bill from the 45 minute helicopter ride from Tyler to Dallas. In our insurance literature it states that helicopter transportation is covered as long as it was pre-approved. Well, he was taken on Thanksgiving day and we didn't pre-approve anything! We had contacted the insurance at some point to let them know what was going on, but I'm pretty sure it was once we were in Dallas. When we got home from that whole fiasco, we immediately started praying over that bill that we knew would be coming since we weren't sure if it would be covered. I knew I didn't have that kind of money and God was the only one who was going to be able to take care of it. I was keeping track of all the claims online and one day I noticed that the helicopter claim had a big DENIED next to it. I immediately got on the phone with the insurance company to see what was going on and they said that they were requesting more information from the hospital regarding the flight. So it was still a possibility that the bill would be paid. We continued to pray about it and lo and behold one day in February it was APPROVED!!! We were so relieved and thankful God had generously provided. I think in the end we paid a $25 co-pay for the helicopter flight!

In April, just two weeks before Claire was born, we received a bill from the hospital in Tyler with a balance of over $13,000. I thought it was a huge mistake since we had already paid our required co-pay for both of the hospitals. I got on the phone immediately to find out what the deal was. They were stating that our insurance plan was not in contract with their hospital and that they were legally allowed to bill us for the remaining balance on our account. Since I was a hormonal mess at 9 months pregnant I lost it! I'm sure I called Travis crying and asking him how in the world we were going to take care of this. We later talked to the insurance company and they confirmed that the hospital was allowed to do this. I began talking to them about our options, because again I don't have tens of thousands of dollars to plop down for medical bills. They said we could file an appeal, and so of course we began that process. Once again we knew the only person who could help us out was God. We began pleading for a miracle (and getting more money out of an insurance company is a miracle! HA!) and praying for God to move on our behalf. During the time we were waiting on the appeal with the insurance company to be reviewed, we began filling out paperwork with the hospital for assistance or a settlement amount that would be less than the actual bill. Once again God provided and our appeal was approved and a check for the entire amount of the bill was sent to the hospital in June. The insurance company said a mistake had been made when they originally filed the claim and because it was an emergency situation everything should be covered. We were so grateful once again!

This year we have kept busy as we have joined several different groups in the community. We joined the Algodon Board, I joined the Junior League, and Travis was involved with Harlingen Family Entertainment's first production. This has allowed us to meet many different people and be active in the community. Our community is very unique in many different ways. We live in one of the poorest counties in the entire United States. There are definitely huge needs in our area for basic items many people, including me, take for granted. Travis and I have had conversations regarding the needs of these people and we want to make a difference in these people's lives. I'm not sure what God has planned for us in regards to this, but I feel like there is a bigger reason why we were put here.

In regards to Travis' career path we are still in a waiting period. Travis is doing a fabulous job at work and we really love the people he works with. I can't say enough about his boss and the amazing person he is. He has been a huge blessing to our entire family. This past year has been a little bit confusing for us in regards to Travis' future. We are praying about different things regarding his future and waiting on God to show us His way. We want to do things His way, because we know His plans are far greater than anything we could plan out for ourselves. Hopefully God will begin to shed light on our situation in 2011!

Another thing I praying for in 2011 is for my health to improve. It is absolutely nothing serious, but affects my day to day living. I have hypothyroidism and I have had it since I was pregnant with Cooper. There are many symptoms, but my biggest symptom is fatigue. My thyroid starting acting up again after I had Claire probably due to all of the crazy hormones that come along with pregnancy and child-birth. My doctor has been adjusting my medication, but it takes some time to get it just right. With three kids, I don't have time to be tired. Especially since the boys have pretty much given up naps.

We have so much to be thankful for and I hope you will take the time to remember what God has done for you this year. "Receiving a gift from God is just the first step in a two step process. The second step is asking, 'How can I turn this personal blessing into a way to bless someone else'. " - Gary Thomas

Christmas 2010

We spent Christmas in Tyler this year and we had a great time with Gram and Papa and the Hoovers. On the way up we drove straight to Dallas to enjoy some yummy Mexican food and go to the Gaylord Texan to see all the lights and decorations. The boys really enjoyed it even if it did make for an extra long trip as we drove to Tyler that evening. The boys love playing with their cousins and Claire always gets some extra attention from Will. He loves her so much!

The kids ready to see the lights at the Gaylord Texan

At the Gingerbread House

We spent a few days at my parents house playing, making Christmas cookies, shopping for last minute items, and eating yummy food before the craziness set in on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve the kids laid out their stockings and much to our surprise slept past 7:30 (that is sleeping in at our house!). It always cracks me up because the kids would totally be content with just what they get in their stockings, but everyone always goes overboard.

Claire ready to see what Santa left her.

Some of the boys waiting at the top of the stairs to find out what they got from Santa. I'm pretty sure we have a picture of Christine and I and the rest of our cousins sitting on these steps on Christmas morning!

Cooper checking out his goods.

All the great-grandkids got special plush toys from my Grandad in their stocking. The boys were over the moon with their special toys!

Cooper waiting patiently to open his presents.

Tyler and his stash

Cooper finally got a sprayer rig- his favorite kind of tractor!

Quick Christmas Pic

Claire finally got to open up her presents after her morning nap.

Claire and her special "Claire-Bear". Each of the great-grandkids gets a special teddy bear on their first Christmas in memory of my grandmother.

Close up

Tyler opening his John Deere Boots!

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


It's time for our recap of 2012!  This year has brought some major answer to prayers and we have seen the hand of God move in incredible...