Monday, December 22, 2008

Gratitious Starbucks & Dog Post

Izzie: "Oh yum! Daddy's frappucino is DELICIOUS!"
Addison: "I sez it ez good steff."
Izzie: "No Addison - you have had enough. It is now all mine!"
Addison: "But arent u supozed to be on a DIET! I herd the vet sez u r lytle overweight - Daddy sez u jest big boned."

Addison: "I jest kyding sis - puhlease can I haves a lytle lick? Me luv u loung time."

Izzie: "Victory is mine! I get the cup and you only get the lid! HAHAHA"
Addison: "YUM! delishious whyped creem. Daddy luvs mi."

Addison: "My what a loung tonge u hav sis."
Izzie: "DANG right it is! The better to show you who is boss. Now give me that cup back before I kick your butt!"

And Then...

So the whole being a preschool teacher thing is pretty spectacular around the Holidays. The bad spectacular and the good. The bad - crazy, out of whack kids that have their whole world turned upside down with the whole SANTA! PRESENTS! CANDY! GRANDPARENTS TO SPOIL ME! thing going on. The good - the same SANTA! PRESENTS! CANDY! thing - so sweet to see kids when they are realizing the true magic that is Christmas. The excitement when they give you a gift - it is so touching. BONUS - I get presents too! WOO HOO! Plus - the secret Santa thing which I find so fun. Presents! Everyday! YEA!

And then... this weekend. Wonderfully relaxing until I had the BRIGHT idea of using a gift card from one of the parents to go see a movie with Chip. Movie = awesome (Seven Pounds with Will Smith). Traffic and people at the mall = sucktacular. Too much chaos - even I was ready to go home.

And then... Sunday. My car. The heat. Not working. In 30 degree weather with -14 wind chill expected. YUCK!

And then... I have a wonderful husband who handled taking my car in and talking with the dudes to get it fixed and dropped me off at work and picked me up to pick up car that is fixed. Now that is awesome! The whole car being not working thing freaks me out and makes me stressed so having Chip take care of it was so wonderful!

And then... the cost. HOLY COW! I truly am thankful that God has blessed us that we are able to take care of it (over a 6 month interest free period) without being unduly stressed. He knows what He is doing - and for that I am grateful.

And then... feeling a tad homesick... get home and find a box from Texas. Hmmm... what is is? I open it up and inside is a bottle of La Madeleine tomato soup (my fav) and a Tyler Autoglam air freshener in Cowboy (my total fav) with the sweetest note from Peggy in my LifeGroup in Texas. They had their Christmas get together at La Madeleine and I couldn't be there since I live here - so she sent me a care package. Completely 100% unexpected and completely thoughtful. Thank you, Peggy! It means so much to me to have such amazing sweet friends - here and in Texas, Iowa, Illinois, California, Wisconsin... all over really.

And then ... I am reminded of the true meaning of Christmas. Of giving to just give. To help just because you can. To love - unconditionally as Christ loves us.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Home Again

We are back safe and sound from a flurry of activity in Texas. We went for a long weekend and the girls went to Camp Bow Wow for a dog-cation (which they loved). Does it make us obsessive dog owners that we stayed glued to the Camp's web cams watching our girls? Don't answer that.

We left Thursday and immediately loaded up on guacamole and Mexican food. I miss Tex Mex! Then it was off to meet Mary, the girls and baby Cade at dance class followed by a gluttonous evening at Babe's with the Baker family, my Mom, us and Alicia & Aaron. We went to check out Aaron and Alicia's gorgeous new home and I tried to steal their puppies, but they caught me.

Friday guess what we did? That's right - shopping! Breakfast at Rise n Dine, got my hair did, Funky Monkey, Cavender's and the mall. Friday night we spoiled our nephew, Nathan, and filled up on Red Lobster.

Saturday = more shopping. Note to self - mall on Saturday before Christmas = BAD idea. GOOD idea - lunch at Red Robin with Kathy, Phillip and Jessica. I got to rub Kathy's belly and see sonogram pictures of her twins - a boy and a girl! We also went to the girl's dance recital - so precious!! We had the Dawson side Christmas feast at my Aunt Cindy's and got serenaded by Zach on his trumpet.

Sunday was filled with... you guessed it - more shopping. What can I say - we don't have the same stores in Pittsburgh. They do not sell Tyler candles here which are my favorite ever candles. Oh yeah - and the Dees side Christmas. My mom's side of the family is an evil bunch when it comes to our gift exchange - we all steal each other's gifts. I love it! I also got to rub Danielle's belly (she is due in January) and nom on baby Gus' thighs. Major and Judge beat up on Chip. All I am good for according to those two is bringing Chip around. hehe

The only "bad" part of our trip was the plane ride back home. Our flight was SUPPOSED to leave DFW at 7:30 p.m. - actual departure time was 10:00 p.m., which put us getting home after 2:00 a.m. Needless to say, that is why this post does not make the most sense and has no photos (I left my camera in PA - argh!).

It was so wonderful to see friends and family - I just hate that there is never enough time to see everyone and do all that we want to do. I guess that means that everyone needs to come see us for some one-on-one time! Actually, we are planning a girl's trip to NYC in June with my family (including my wonderful MIL and SIL). I am excited about that!

Iowa friends - we will be in Iowa Christmas Eve/Day through the 30th - woo hoo! I can't wait to see everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Jake & Kristi on the Duquesne Incline
Jake and Kristi came to visit and asked us to be in their wedding - of course we said yes (and I cried). We ate too much, stayed up too late, indulged in some shopping, rocked at Guitar Hero (kind of), and went site seeing. I can't wait to see them again in a few short weeks! Next year we are thinking meeting somewhere WARMER for Thanksgiving - or going to Wisconsin.

View of the Duquesne Incline with snow on it - we ordered snow for Jake and Kristi to help welcome them to Pittsburgh.

Heinz Field from the Incline

Heinz Field sign as we drove to the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum

Goofing around at home with my hot husband

Thanksgiving was absolutely amazing! I am still recovering from too much wine, Wii, shopping and fun. Oh yea - and going back to work after a four day weekend to some kids that are a little off schedule.
And then it hit me this week - my first bout of homesickness. My Grandmother fell and broke her other hip (her first hip being broke two years ago) and then my best friend, Mary, had her precious baby boy, Cade Dawson Baker, on Thursday, December 4th and I wasn't there. It was the first time that I have missed a birth of one of her children. It really hit me as I heard my Mom tell me how sweet he was and she got to hold him. Pictures just aren't the same as holding a precious baby in your arms and breathing in the sweet smell and nomming on a baby's cheeks. Okay - enough of that.
I am blessed that we will be back in Texas next week and I can hold Cade and the girls. I will get to celebrate Christmas with my family and enjoy time with my friends. It is just an adjustment. I do love being in Pennsylvania and God has brought us here and I adore my new friends, my work, and the closeness it has brought to our marriage - having this adventure together.
I miss my Iowa friends and family too - friends having babies, birthdays, etc. and not being able to be there just well - sucks.
Enough boo hooing - I know this is part of growing up and being an adult, but it is hard sometimes. Luckily, I have an incredible husband, cell phones, internet, and two gorgeous dogs to help me. For that, and so much more, I am incredibly thankful!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

All is Calm, All is Bright (and right with the world)

I don't want to forget tonight.

I don't want to forget the feeling of sitting in a NFL stadium bundled up with my husband due to the generosity of our neighbors giving us their season tickets for tonight's game.

I don't want to forget looking at the pitch black sky above with perfect white flakes falling onto the fans decked out in black and gold.

I felt like I was inside a snow globe of Heinz Field and someone had shook the globe to make snow fall gently on the stadium. It was a surreal feeling.

I don't want to forget the thrill of watching a city in love with their team cheer that team to victory with Terrible Towel's waving in the air.

I don't want to forget walking in the snow across the Ohio River on a double decker bridge.

I don't want to forget feeling like we were on a movie set as we walked through a park where the snow was glowing from the streetlights.

I don't want to forget tonight, so that is why I am blogging about it at midnight when I have to get up and go to work tomorrow.

Tonight was a perfect night and I am so grateful for every moment.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do You See What I See?

The girls getting their first "taste" of PA snow - they loved it!

My first PA snowman - I'm so proud of him (even if he is only 12 inches tall)!

Goodbye beautiful leaves - hello snow covered branches.

Today was our first snow that we had with actual accumulation that lasted over an hour. It really put me in the Christmas spirit - what - Christmas is 6 weeks away! I like to enjoy every moment of it - even if the decor does get put up before Halloween. I (finally) finished the cake balls I started last week and even made a couple delish chicken pot pies. It's a day to cozy up on the couch, drink some hot cocoa and enjoy time with family! Our girls LOVED the snow - Addison is still trying to figure it out, but thinks it tastes good. Izzie is all about it and is made for this weather!
Okay - a little gripe. Isn't Nordstrom supposed to be KNOWN for their customer service? I must say I was VERY disappointed yesterday when I ventured into the brand new Nordie's at Ross Park Mall to return some boots. No one wanted to help me - it made me sad. BUT - I am supposed to be trying to live my life in a loving fashion so I am letting it go. I will still call the store to let them know how my feelings were hurt - but I do forgive.
On a positive note, a L.L. Bean store just opened and I took a quick peek around yesterday. It didn't REALLY open until today, but the nice lady at the door let Lindsay and I in anyway - LOVE IT! Clean, pretty, great customer service - warm clothes. I can't wait to go back with Chip and show him the Wicked Good stuff they have.
Work = going awesome! The kiddos are fantastic, my coworkers are great. I even started working out EVERYDAY on my break since the gym is about 2 seconds away from work. It feels good to be healthy and I can feel a difference in how I sleep (less insomnia) and feel (more energy). Hmm... I guess all of those things they say about working out are actually true. Go figure! hehe
Twilight - cannot wait until that comes out on Friday. Seriously - I can't remember the last time I was THIS excited about a movie! Team Edward all the way!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Thousand Ninety Six Days and Counting...

One thousand ninety six days is how long Chip and I have been married. One thousand ninety six days ago I was walked down the aisle wearing a beautiful gown, my Grandma's necklace and cowboy boots by my Dad to start the beginning of the rest of my life with my best friend, the love of my life, Chip. On that day, Saturday, October 29, 2005, our closest friends and family surrounded us with their love and support as they witnessed us taking our vows.

I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams with a man who is incredible. He is patient, understanding, kind, I could go on for days. Our families are both amazing! My family absolutely adores Chip and my parents truly feel that he is their son. Chip's family - they have welcomed me with open arms (Texas accent and all). His parents, Judy & Skip, are the nicest people - they are my other parents and I love them as much as I love my own. When I hear other's stories of their in laws, I just have to laugh and thank God for mine. What stories could I share? That they buy pink towels just for me? That they have Dr. Pepper and my favorite S'mores ice cream waiting when we pull in the driveway? You see - I can't compete. Actually, I would win best in laws hands down. Along with best parents who SPOIL the heck out of me. :)

Chip - I love you! I love you more than words can possibly say and now the entire internet knows (or at least those who read our blog). Thank you for being you - my hero, my rock, my strength, my love.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Sorry - it has been about a week. I am alove and well - just trying to balance life again since I have gone back to work for the first time in four and a half months. AHH - sweet memories of summer and being a teacher...

Seriously, we are great - the job is great - the girls are great - bible study is great - life is great! Updates to come soon... Love you all!

Friday, October 17, 2008


This week in bible study we are studying the chapter on Humility. As I am learning as I go deeper in this book, each time I think I have one of the traits of love covered, I find out that I have a lot more work to do! Humility, according to Chapman, is stepping down so someone else can step up. Also, humility is also recognizing our own worth, so that we are not constantly looking to others for affirmation. This is definitely something that I struggle with. I don't have the best self confidence and rely too much on others to validate my worth. By working through this book, I am realizing that I need to love myself so that I can truly love others fully.

In showing our weaknesses, we are actually showing strength of character (p. 121). One of my major weaknesses is accepting the help of others. Of course, Chapman covers this by saying, "accepting the help of others is one of the best and most difficult ways of fostering loving relationships." God has wonderful ways of helping us face our weaknesses to grow stronger. For me, moving to Pennsylvania has helped me face my weaknesses head on. I do not know anyone here, so I have to ask for help. This has been an incredible learning experience for me and has lead me to meeting and making friends with some amazing people. I am so grateful by God's continued awesomeness!


God is also so good in another way. He lead me to a wonderful job interview at the place I wanted to work. Chip is actually the one who found the job listing and thought of me - so sweet! I start in the classroom, teaching three year olds, on Monday. This week, I got my TB test, flu shot, physical, and clearances (background checks). I can't wait to work with the precious kids!

Okay - I am going to get back to my book. I found some books that I just can't put down! Love you all!

This weekend we are taking our family Christmas pictures - the girls are so excited! hehe

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Acts of Courtesy and Kindness

I must say - the trees are even more gorgeous right now in Pennsylvania. I am glad to be back at home with my husband and girls. I had a wonderful time in Texas - ate too much fried food at the Fair, had plenty of salsa, quality time with my friends and family, and I was able to join in with my LifeGroup. All in all - a great week. Now, I am job hunting. There has been a change in circumstances at Chip's work that makes it necessary for me to find a job sooner than later. I am okay with that. Truth be told, the whole staying home being a housewife thing was making me a tad crazy. If not for my lovely neighbor, Lindsay, and our Starbucks accidents, then the days would have gone by so slowly. Also - the girls did keep me entertained quite a bit. God will provide, of this I am certain. I had my first interview today and I have another one on Friday. The one on Friday is really where I want to work, so please pray for God's guidance and direction. He will place me exactly where He knows I need to be.


My flight from DFW to Washington, DC to Pittsburgh was an adventure. It started off on a great note - I ran into the mom of one of my very best friends, Jennifer. Jenn's mom, Judy, was headed to California to see Jenn, Jackson and Joe. She was so sweet and hung out with me until I had to board my flight.

My flight from DFW to Washington, DC was running late because the plane had to go around a storm in Indiana. I had a really close connection from DC to Pittsburgh, so I was worried if I would make the last leg of my trip. I went up to the ticket counter and told the agent about my situation. I told her that if I needed to be placed on a later flight that was okay and that I understood that this was not at all her fault. At that moment, I was even more grateful for this past week's lesson on courtesy. The sweet agent moved my seat from row 15 to row 3 so that I could be closer to the front of the plane in hopes that I would make my connection.

The courtesy and kindness doesn't end there.

We pulled up to the gate about 11 minutes before the next plane was due to take off. We had six minutes until take off by the time we got off the plane. We (there were several of us hoping to make the DC to Pitt flight) were in another concourse. A very nice gate agent directed us to the bus that drove us to the other gate. We all raced up the stairs and to the gate only to see the door to the jet way closed. OH NO! The gate agent was talking to another gentleman and telling him that he would not be able to get on the plane. At that exact moment, a baggage handler came through the closed door and told the gate agent that the plane was waiting on seven "hot bags" (term for a plane just landed and the bags have to quickly get from one plane to another). The gate agent said that he wasn't told that and that he was not letting us on the plane. I prayed for God to grant me patience in the situation. The baggage handler talked to someone else and then the gate agent opened the jet way and let us all onto the plane. The baggage handler was so sweet when we all gave him our thanks. He told us that we looked nice and he wanted to help us. God works in such wonderful ways!


So - I made it home. Chip had a late meeting so my neighbor, Lindsay, picked me up. She had a rough day. Her dog was attacked by our other neighbor's new dog. Her dog is okay and the vet was able to save her. Our poor neighbors feel terrible - they lost their dog in May and just got the new dog a few days before from a rescue. Lindsay has shown great courtesy in this situation. She is not upset at our neighbors or at the dog. She is just sad that her dog got hurt and grateful that she is okay. It makes me grateful to live here when I see how kind everyone is - how gracious - how giving. I am truly blessed! I think I need to have my girls make our neighbor's dog a get well soon card.

Have a blessed week and look for the moments to be kind and courteous - you never know whose life you will change.

Monday, October 6, 2008


This week's chapter in bible study focused on Courtesy. Not courtesy as just meaning good manners, but courtesy in treating others as personal friends; to be "friendly-minded." To me, courtesy is really a key cornerstone in developing relationships and furthering (deepening) relationships. It is not enough to make friends - we must be friends in our thoughts, words and actions.

When I think about being courteous myself, I realize that I am sometimes more courteous to strangers than to those I'm closest to. I guess we are all guilty of this at some point - my sweet husband will comfort me when I am sobbing about something that is really not that big of a deal at all - I think a server at a restaurant might not want to comfort me with a big hug as I'm sobbing. :) I must say that being a courteous person really makes a tremendous difference - to both the giver and the receiver. Let me explain.

Chip and I were celebrating a friend's birthday last Monday at a local grill. The place was very empty and we were there for a few hours watching the Steelers game. Our waitress only had three tables the entire night. When the bill came, we tipped her a little more than average. Then God told me what to do. This sweet waitress was sitting a few tables over from us counting her tips for the night and filling out paperwork. She had a book she was reading on the table beside her. She had this look that well - it touched my heart. She had served us all night and done an excellent job. She had (as Chapman puts it in one of his stories) a considerate spirit. I asked Chip if he had any extra cash on him. He gave me what he had - a five dollar bill. I walked over to our waitress and laid the money down on top of her book. I told her how much we appreciated her service and that she just seemed like a really nice person. My heart felt full when I walked away and sat back down. The waitress then came by our table as she was leaving. She told us thank you and said that was the nicest thing that had happened to her all month. I wanted to cry - I wished I had more money to give her. However, that is not what I think it was about. She had given more to us that night than we had given her. Her gratitude showed me that being courteous to someone for no more reason than to just be courteous gives so much to us. I felt honored to be in her section that night - to share what God has blessed us with. I think that is what courtesy is all about.

My hope and prayer now is to be that courteous all of the time. I want to be able to give others the same feeling I get when people are courteous to me. My prayer is to become the person who is able to show how much others mean to me in ways that make them feel appreciated. My friend, Kathy, is one of the most courteous people I know. When she gives you a present, you know that she has put thought into it. Last year she gave me a plaque that she had made with my favorite saying of my Grandma's - "True Love is kissing in the kitchen." Not only did Kathy remember the saying, she also had the plaque made in my two favorite colors - pink and brown. The best part of all about Kathy's courteous nature is that it is part of who she is. It is a part of her character and her love. I feel so honored to be her friend and I hope that she knows how much I love and cherish her friendship.

I must share about another person who is so courteous and thoughtful. It is actually more than one person - it is a group. My LifeGroup is incredible. This group of ladies - it is almost impossible to describe what we have. It is a group where we can share our concerns, our prayers, our joys, our lives and know that those in the group are there to support you in every way possible. Not only is our group supportive and caring - you know that they are praying for you every step of the way. The Lord has placed each of us in this group for a very specific reason. To understand LifeGroup, you have to experience it. It is a room full of women who laugh, cry, pray, and are just there for each other. I believe that LG embodies not only what it is to live a life of courtesy, they embody what it is to live a life of love.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Change of Season

Fall is here. The leaves are changing colors and reflect God's imagination - the reds, greens, oranges, browns - it is a kaleidoscope of beauty that takes my breath away. The air is getting cooler and has a crispness to it - breathe deep, can you feel it? Fall means football, blankets and cuddling, warm and yummy food, hiking, exploring, enjoying the last moments before it gets cold, and, most of all, being thankful for what God has blessed us with.


This week's chapter in our bible study is about forgiveness. At first, I didn't really think this was something I struggled with. I don't stay mad and tend to get my feelings hurt more than being truly hurt. However, after reading this chapter, I realized that I do need to work on forgiveness. According to Chapman, forgiveness is using honesty, compassion, and self-awareness to reconcile with someone who has hurt you. When someone hurts me, I usually keep the hurt bottled up and don't say anything to the other person. I usually assume that I overreacted in some way, so the being hurt is my own fault. Of course, then I blame myself. I like how Chapman puts it - that we need to practice forgiveness in small ways and offer apologies even for small offenses. In other words - not keeping the hurt bottled up (which only causes more stress) and be loving and honest. Chapman offers four steps to forgive.

  1. Release - the hurt and anger

  2. Confess - your own failures in the situation

  3. Return good for bad - be kind even to those who don't reciprocate

  4. Use your pain well - inner reflection; using your pain to grow. Chapman states that a "forgiving person will not wallow in hurt or lash out in anger, but will spend energy seeking reconciliation."

To forgive, you must use the above steps each time you are hurt. However, to truly become a forgiving person, you must do the following.

  1. Forgive yourself - this is something I struggle with; to become a forgiving person, we must forgive ourselves and realize that we too are human and make mistakes.
  2. Apologize for your own failures in relationships - this means being quick to apologize and being honest with our offenses. Chapman offers some ways to apologize in a heartfelt way. You can say "I was wrong" to accept responsibility for wrongful behavior. To express regret, "I'm sorry that my actions hurt you so deeply. I feel bad for what I have done." When you seek restitution, "What can I do to make this up to you?" When expressing a genuine desire to change behavior, "I don't ever want to do that again." Or, to ask for forgiveness "Will you please forgive me?" I realized from this that I do say that I'm sorry (a lot), but I need to also ask for forgiveness.
  3. Have an attitude of authentic love toward others - become a conduit for forgiveness at all times - no matter how many times a person offends.

I am working on becoming a person who loves as a way of life. I can feel myself becoming a person who loves as way of life - it is only with God's help that this is possible. It is a journey and blogging about it has really helped me. I express my feeling and learn through writing - random as my thoughts may be.


With fall here and all of the changes it brings, it really helped me to feel a connection to my bible study. Leaves change - from green to vibrant fall colors and then fall to the ground and are raked into colorful mounds that I want to jump in the middle of. I think forgiveness is like the leaves. I get hurt and go through all of the emotions that come with that - like the changing colors of the leaves. Then, with God's help and grace, I learn let go of the emotions and forgive - the leaves falling to the ground. I can them jump into the lifestyle of forgiveness and the emotions get scattered into the wind. I learn to live a life full of love - full of kindness, patience, forgiveness, courtesy, humility, and generosity.


I included some pictures of the changing seasons. The pictures were taken three weeks apart. It is amazing what a difference a few weeks can make - both in nature and in our life! All of the photos can be viewed here - second page of the album.

The week we moved in (taken at the beginning of September)

Mist in the valley - it looks like the fog is rising from the trees. (taken at the end of September)

The valley - look at how green it is! (taken at the beginning of September)
The valley in the middle of the change of season - it is foggy because of the mist. (taken at the end of September)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mamma Mia!

The past week has been massively and wonderfully busy. My Mom came to visit Tuesday and left this afternoon. We had such a great time! I got completely spoiled and enjoyed every minute of quality time with my Mom. In cool, bulleted form, this is what we did (Mom, our friend Elizabeth and me):
  • Tuesday - lunch in Robinson (town over from us), shopping at Robinson Mall, yummy dinner at Buca di Beppo with my sweet husband, Mom and me.
  • Wednesday - OFF TO OHIO! We visited Amish Country and went shopping in Sugarcreek and Walnut Creek. We went through three states in one day (twice) - Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Gorgeous drive - totally loved it!
  • Thursday - We checked out the Fiesta Outlet in West Virginia and the TJ Maxx Home Goods store in Ohio. It was so much fun - of course, our day was not complete without a Krispy Kreme donut. AND THEN - the most fun part. We went home and got ready. Mom and I headed out to the Duquesne Incline, followed by dinner at Georgetown Inn and then we saw Wicked the Musical. It was so "ozsome!" I understand why everyone who sees it loves it so much. Absolutely incredible! Chip stayed home with the girls - he is so wonderful!
  • Friday - I think we were all exhausted - I know - hard to believe! We went to Trax Farms Market, Ross Park Mall and the Galleria. I love all of the interesting little stores that have such cute things! We finished off with dinner with Chip at Eat 'n Park and Bruster's Ice Cream. MMM good!
  • Saturday (today) - Mom, Chip and I slept in and then headed off to lunch so Mom could have a REAL cheesesteak. DELISH! We went to Wal-Mart after lunch and then took Mom to the airport so she could catch her flight. We love you, Mom!

We really did have a great and busy week! The girls loved my Mom being here - Izzie slept with Mom at night - so sweet! The girls do need some extra walks from all the spoiling they received from Grandma. I also will post pictures soon - the leaves are changing and WOW! Absolutely breathtaking. It is amazing to see God's handiwork in nature.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Into the Bush

Literally - that is what happened to me today. This morning. In my pajamas. I was dragged into a bush. Now, the story is quite funny. This morning. In my pajamas. Not so much.

It all started when I got the morning make out from Addison. She likes to wake us up in the morning by licking my face - even when my face is buried under a pillow. Actually, she especially likes to do it then. I think she likes the challenge. I stumble blurry-eyed downstairs in a mismatched shirt and pajama pants with flip flops to put the leashes on the girls. Normally, I use the harness on Addison so she won't pull, this morning - because of my sleepiness - I did not. BIG mistake.

After putting their leashes on, I opened the door and took the girls outside so they could go potty. Izzie and Addison both went, so we headed back inside so I could feed them breakfast and (hopefully) catch some more zzzz's. And this is when the craziness happened.

There was a toad hopping merrily along his way in the flower beds in front of our house. There was Izzie noticing the toad. Then, there was Izzie and Addison trying to catch said toad. I don't know - maybe they hoped to kiss him and he would turn into their dream doggie boyfriend?

I had a leash in each hand with my feet firmly planted trying to keep the girls from capturing the toad. Then I was skiing across dew-soaked grass in flip flops. Before I knew it, I was being drug by two dogs who seemed like they were trying out for the Iditirod. I ended up on my butt being drug until the bush stopped me. The toad was safe and hopped merrily away. The girls were disappointed. I was a wet mess.

I called Chip once I got the girls inside. I didn't seem the humor of the situation at that moment - Chip did, but politely covered the phone while he doubled over in laughter (he waited until I thought it was funny to tell me).

The girls did get breakfast and we laid on the couch together. They apologized for pulling me like a sled by letting me sleep on the couch for an hour. After I woke up, I wondered if maybe I had dreamed the whole bush incident. Not so much. I have a sore butt and mud caked pajama pants to prove it. That and skid marks in the grass.

I did take the girls on a walk - I braved the possibility of toads and other critters that I knew we could come across. This time - I was prepared with a harness and gentle leader. I admit that I lost my patience this morning after my run in with the bush - I did hold it together better than I would have in the past. I am learning patience - God is teaching me. His ways are creative I must admit. He will use dogs, irritated drivers, slow lines at stores - He knows that I need to learn this love characteristic and, for that, I am thankful.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Update in a Listy Way

Where do I start? So much happened this weekend - so I am doing a cool listy, bulleted update (with PICTURES even!). Enjoy! NOTE: the pictures are not in the actual order of events because I am still learning how to use Blogger. :) See all of the pictures here.

Thursday and Friday I cleaned house, ran errands and went to lunch with a Tri Delta sorority sister at Al's Cafe in Bethel Park and went to Trax Farm. I could seriously do some serious damage in that store! Also, you will be proud of me! I made stuff - from SCRATCH! I made Caramel Apple Dip and homemade Cream Cheese Icing to go with a spice cake mix I found called Grandma's Wacky Spice Cake (wacky because it is made with apple cider vinegar).

Friday night, the Palmer family came to see us. Justin and Chip went to the University of Northern Iowa together. Ellie, his wife, and I became great friends. They actually got engaged at our house in Texas! They live in Illinois and have an ADORABLE 5 month old puggle named Gracie. Friday night our neighbors, Luke and John, had a get together. We all stayed up WAY late hanging out with a bunch of new people. Also - there was consumption of beverages.

Saturday started early - 5:45 a.m. - we all got ready and headed to Heinz Stadium for tailgating and to go to the game. After the game, we all took a nap and went to dinner and then to downtown Pittsburgh to see the sights.

Sadly, today our friends headed back to Illinois. We miss them already! I am looking forward to my Mom coming on Tuesday. YEA! I bought my tickets to go back to Texas for a visit, I will be there October 3rd - 7th (Thursday - Tuesday).

I have also really been working on patience this week. It has actually gone pretty well - I do have to take deep breaths and remind myself to be patient. I have noticed a change in how I act and I try to think of the other person more. Maybe the person who cut me off in traffic is on their way to pick up a sick child from school - thinking like this has helped me to be more relaxed. I am excited to see what the other ladies in my LG have to say - they know that I really have to work on being more patient and less of a planner.

Tailgating for the Iowa vs. Pitt game was awesome! There were so many Iowa fans at the game - totally unreal! Also, Ellie and I are rockstars at ladder golf (i.e., dingle balls). Last time I played I was AWFUL, evidently Apple Spice wine makes me good at ladder golf. We went 4 for 4 and then retired. The game - fun, but sad that the Hawkeyes lost by ONE FRICKIN' POINT! Our seats were amazing too - great job on getting us awesome seats babe!

Ellie and Justin in front of the lights of Pittsburgh.
My love, Chip, and I in front of the city.
Ellie and I - two girls who enjoyed a bottle of wine at dinner.

Ellie and I before our Ladder Golf reign.
First beer of the day. The friends we made are parked next to us in the Jeep. SUPER nice!

Grace and Addison playing tug of war with a squirrel this morning. They LOVED each other. Izzie was the referee.

I hope your weekend was wonderfully relaxing and fun!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This week the new chapter of my bible study book (Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman) is Patience. As anyone who knows me can attest, this is definitely an area that I need to work on. I say that I am a planner, that I am OCD - really, I am just not very patient. Granted, there are times when this is a benefit, for example - getting packed/unpacked, organizing events, getting "stuff" done. However, as Chapman notes, when you are running around in a rush with a hurried attitude, your relationships suffer. You have a spirit of impatience around you and it is difficult to shift gears and be patient with the person you are on the phone with, the store clerk, your family.
I can personally testify to how being patient can ruin or enhance an encounter. When I get stressed, I tend to get (more) emotional. My feelings get hurt and I feel very "woe is me" and am apt to throw myself a pity party. However, being patient can make even a frustrating situation much more pleasant. I tend to have very unrealistic expectations of myself - I try to be the best at whatever I do and expect more than is humanly possible from myself. I need to realize that it is okay, good even, to not be perfect and I don't need to try to be. I need to just be Lucia.
It is so true that making the choice to be patient can make an enormous difference. Chip is one of the most patient people I know. Being married to him has helped me to realize that, truly, it is good to just lay back and relax. To just be. He reminds me so much of my Dad - they both have this ability to stay cool under any situation and never raise their voices. Seeing the two of them with their dogs or with kids proves this even more. They both has this ability to be kind and so patient - even when the dog wants to go out for the 10th time in an hour or a little cousin is endlessly giving wet willies.
My challenge to myself this week is to put patience into action. I will strive to be both kind and patience. This means to not worry if I get stuck in traffic - it happens. To not be in a rush. To just enjoy and truly enjoy being in the moment. To not hurry. Patience is allowing someone to be imperfect and I am far from perfect. All I can do is try.

The points that Chapman challenges us to look at this week are to realize:
  • People are not machines. They have ideas, emotions, desires, and perceptions that are different than mine.
  • People don't work according to my priorities. Their agendas may be different from my own. I choose to respect the choices of others.
  • People are always in process. I choose to give them time for growth. (including giving myself time for growth and not having to be valedictorian of everything)
  • My patience creates a more productive atmosphere for helping others.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Meandering Roads

The roads is Pennsylvania don't go straight. They meander and are extremely curvy. For my Texas friends, think of the Haslet hill that curves - the roads here are like that. At first, the curves made me a bit nervous - you can't see what's coming. Now that I am getting to know that area, I like the curves and the way the road goes up and down like a small roller coaster. The trees grow up and over the road making anywhere you drive seem even more picturesque.

Today, while driving to the library and grocery store, I thought about how life is like that. Our lives do not always go in a straight path - we meander and go through ups and downs. Eventually, we wind up right where God intended for us to be - even if it takes us ten times longer to get there because of our own stubbornness. The gentle, winding roads reminded me to take lifes curves with grace and to be excited about what new opportunities and adventures lay just around the bend, out of sight. It reminded me to take the time to enjoy the ride - to not rush - to just BE in the moment and appreciate the beauty that surrounds me.

I hope your week is filled with pleasane surprises and that you stop to appreciate just where you are. Know how much I appreciate and love you!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our Lovely Girls & More House Pictures

I was (am) so mad at myself for not taking my camera today when we went to the dog park. Of course, there were so many perfect photo ops! To make up for it, I took my camera on our evening walk and got some great (if I don't say so myself) pictures. You can see the entire album here. I posted a few of my favorites below. I also uploaded the pictures of our downstairs - click here for that album.

The girls getting ready to take a walk. Addison sitting pretty at the dog run. I LOVE this picture of her!

Izzie, the expert rock climbing dog, shows us a few basics. My favorite girls with their wonderful Daddy!

Our living room
The kitchen
The dining room / where I post blogs

Lazy Days

This weekend has been a laid back one. We have pretty much been chill-alxing most of the time.

Friday night, we decided to have Chip's Famous Grilled Cheese and I heated up some fries and tomato soup. We rented some movies and laid on the couch with our girls. Perfect for a rainy evening! Our complex also put in a fenced dog run area - Izzie and Addison LOVED being able to just run and play not on a leash.

Saturday we headed to Sports Rock Cafe in downtown Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh I Club game watch. Iowa beat State! Iowa defense played an awesome game. Still feeling the taste of victory, we headed over to Trax Farms. The gift shop is amazing - I could have looked around for hours! I decided to wait until my Mom comes to really look around. Chip and I bought some delish fresh produce that was picked THAT DAY. We stocked up on fresh peaches, tomatoes and I bought some corn. It probably won't be as good as Iowa corn - but we''ll give it a shot. We had Bruster's for dinner. YUMMY ice cream!!

Today we planned on checking out a church - but, upon further research of the church, it is not the kind we are looking for. So we will try out another one. I am OH SO grateful for my LG in Texas so I can stay connected. My LG friends are incredible! We did check out a dog park (Upper Frick Off Leash Dog Park) today in Squirrel Hill. (Note to self: do NOT wear jeans and boots when going to look at dog parks. It is hot and boots are heavy!) When we were driving through, I noticed some really cool little shops that I am excited to check out when my Mom gets here.

Kindness for this weekend
  • Being lazy with my husband
  • The very nice people who made us feel so welcome at the I Club game watch.
  • The extra ice cream we got at Bruster's.
  • Delish grilled cheese!
  • Getting to see Wicked with my Mom when she is here visiting
  • Phone calls from friends to see how we are doing
  • Movie night
  • Fresh produce
  • Hiking
  • Seeing my girls smile when we take them on adventures

Friday, September 12, 2008

Promised Pictures

This sign sums up how I feel right now about life.

The girls posing on the guest room bed. It's ready for visitors! Our room.

Look - I took (and posted) pictures of the upstairs and outside of our new home! Downstairs pictures to come once all of the boxes get put away. Click here for the full album.

I am actually posting before lunch. YIPPEE! Today I have so much kindness (and it's only 1 p.m.) to be thankful for.

  • Chip gave me lunch money so I could get some sweet tea at Chick-Fil-A.
  • My Mom is coming to visit on September 23rd and is staying until Saturday night! I can't wait to see her and go exploring with her.
  • The joy I felt in writing a thank you note for a wedding gift I misplaced and found when we were moving. I did feel some embarassment at misplacing the gift - it did make my heart happy to write an apology and thank you.
  • The cleansing rain that I woke up to this morning. There is something to be said for God's gifts to us through nature. The windows were open and I heard the most gentle rain - that coupled with a breeze and the curtains moving in the wind made it a perfect way to wake up.
  • Chip tucking me in and saying to get some extra sleep - he said I deserved it for working so hard on our home. I feel back asleep with the girls in bed with me listening to the rain.
  • The sweet emails I received from Paula, Doc, Josh, Linda, Jim and Sheila. My heart was (is) so full of love for the people in my life - I am so blessed! Two of the emails made me cry at the gratitude I felt from the amazing friends God has blessed me with.

I know that there is only more kindness and gratitude in the weekend ahead. I am so giddy just thinking about it! Tonight I am making dinner (THIRD time this week - WOW) for my sweet husband. Tomorrow we will go to a Hawkeye watch party in downtown Pitt with the Pitt Hawkeye Club and then off to a farm to pick apples and get fresh produce (maybe even some ice cream - although there is no way it could compete with Picket Fence - a wonderful creamery owned by our cousins in Iowa). On Sunday we are trying out a new church that the internet guy recommended and then off to take the girls to a dog park.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


My LG (LifeGroup) at our home church in Texas started a new bible study yesterday. I am doing the study with them via correspondence - a weekly commute to Texas would be rather far. :) The book our wonderful leader chose is Love as a Way of Life by Gary Chapman (author of The Five Love Languages).

This week's homework is Chapters 1 & 2. Chapter 1 is basically an intro to what love as a way of life looks like - authentic love - sharing Christ's love for us. This chapter discusses the seven characteristics of a loving person:
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Forgiveness
  • Courtesy
  • Humility
  • Generosity
  • Honesty
Chapter 2 is where the meat of this book begins. Here, we begin on delving into the first characteristic - kindness. Kindness, according to Chapman, is the joy of meeting someone else's needs before your own simply for the sake of the relationship. I agree with this assessment. You can't do anything about how someone will react to your kindness, you simply need to be kind in all situations, no matter what. My challenge to myself this week is to look for the kindness in the everyday situations. I challenge myself to truly appreciate and let those in my life know how much I appreciate their kindness and to pay it forward.

Here's my list of kindness today:
  • My sweet husband taking the girls for a walk this morning (as he does every morning without complaint) and letting me sleep in. He also looked up flights for me to go back to Texas and visit (and go to the State Fair), bought tickets for us to go to the Iowa vs. Pitt game with our friends Palmer and Ellie, set up all of our electronic equipment and moved a bajillion tons of stuff for me, said how great the curtains looked that I made (and how yum dinner was) and worked a ten hour day.
  • A sweet older couple at the mall that I held the door for. The husband insisted that I go in the store before him and the wife remarked on what a beautiful day it was.
  • The kind young man at the oil change place. They did a great job on my car, were courteous and didn't try to sell me something I didn't need.
  • The salesperson at GameStop who sold me to Wii Fit for my Mom.
  • The clerks at the adorable shop at the Mall. They were so sweet and one lady shared how much she loved her Wii Fit with me.
  • The person at the stop sign who waved for me to go first.
  • My Mom and Dad - my Mom is coming to visit me soon!
  • The joy I felt in mailing cards to some people I care so much about.
  • My Mother in Law (best one on Earth) - the care package she sent us.
  • The thank you note from our new bank.
  • The joy on the faces of our girls when I got home. Their tails were wagging so hard!
  • Talking to my dear friend, Kristy, on the phone and catching up.
  • My sweet LG leader keeping me up to date with what is going on in Texas so I feel a part.
  • The internet guy recommending a church for us to try.

I hope your day is filled with kindness today - take a look - it's everywhere.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What's in a Name?

The title of this blog came about because, well, I am a Texan now living in Pennsylvania. The purpose is to keep our friends and family updated on what we are doing.

Chip and I are on a great adventure that is bringing us closer together. We have a wonderful marriage and, now, we are exploring all that Pennsylvania has to offer. Our girls (read: dogs), Izzie and Addison, are loving it here. There are so many critters for them to run after!

Our new house (see link for pictures) is becoming a home. I even made curtains for the living room and dining room today! (note: Stitch Witchery is awesome -what a time saver over sewing!) I will upload pictures of the INSIDE of our house once I have everything put away and pretty. :)

Gosh - I am thinking (scary, I know). Where do I start? Do I tell you about the drive? The housing adventure that lead us to our current (awesome) home? Since I am a random person, there is no telling!