Monday, March 12, 2012

Yard of the Month? Only in Texas, Y'all!

I don't know why I think this is so funny and ridiculous, but I do! We had the Frazier girls over to play this morning (they're in Houston for spring break), and all of a sudden Brent asked if someone else was joining us. I said no, and he informed me that there was another SUV in our driveway and a woman was coming to the door with a camera. I guess he figured if she drove a big car and carried a camera, I had to know her?!

Anyway, I was immediately irritated with this first thought was she had some political sign she wanted to stick in my yard...the nerve! Then, I was even more irritated because she started hammering said sign into my grass without asking! I guess I still have my California "bitchy neighbor" attitude, because I was ready for a throwdown. But no sooner had I opened the door and started to say hello, when she literally yelled at me, "WE CHOSE YOU!!!!!! You're the yard of the month!!!!" What is this crazy chick talking about?! She didn't skip a beat. She just kept right on talking in a super severe Southern accent all about how my azaleas were breathtaking and she couldn't believe she was so late in telling me we were the 'chosen' ones.

Well, the only thing that happened faster than her putting the sign into my yard was her taking the sign OUT of my yard when I casually mentioned we were only renting the house. "Oh my heavens, you're just a renter?! You mean you don't own the house?" Apparently, there was some confusion over the attractiveness of my azaleas if I hadn't personally bought, paid for and planted them myself! Of course about this time my much kinder and better half (Brent) appeared at the door. In about 2 seconds flat they were discussing high school, her husband, college at UT (where Brent didn't even go!), their mutual friends, and then what do you know....all of a sudden the sign was back in our yard! We were winners again! Ha!

So without further ado, may I present to you the Briarbend Yard of the Month, March 2012!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

It's been awhile...

Wow...Halloween, was it? Believe it or not, I've really missed my blog. I've thought often, albeit briefly, of all the things I've missed capturing since my little blog break. Of course it's just one of the many things I've let fall by the wayside over the last few months. And as I returned to the blog tonight, I was immediately struck by the fact that as far as my blog header is concerned, Reece doesn't exist! Isn't this the type of thing that will send her into therapy in a few short years? Well, that and me not finishing her baby book or her 1st year scrapbook, among other things.

We’ve been busy -good busy, bad busy and sad busy. Since we last ‘talked’, Thanksgiving and Christmas followed Halloween. (my girls looked super cute, matching outfits and everything…see below for pics! ) Then, I guess the big news...which if you are reading my blog, I assume you know me, so this really isn't news...Brent started his own consulting company, and we moved to Houston!

We (and by we, I mean Brent, Stephen and my dad) packed up a 20 foot U-Haul the day after Christmas to move 'a few things' I'd accumulated in the 9 months spent at my parents. Neither of us could believe we filled the truck up! How did one 4Runner load of stuff back in April amount to a 20 foot U-Haul in December??? I still really don't know how it happened...even my mom and a few hours at the Toggery can't fill a 20 foot U-Haul! So, off to Texas we went. We rented a cute little house in Briarbend - outside the loop! GASP! Brent feels like we might as well still live in San Diego because we're so far west...I say if that's the case, let's just move back to San Diego. He says no. Boo.

And so, for the last 2.5 months we are officially Texans again. God has blessed us beyond measure to bring the four of us together again permanently under one roof. It wasn’t until we were living on our own again as a family that it really became clear how the 9 months of Brent traveling had affected Conlee. She is so much happier now. She’s obsessed with telling anyone who will listen all about her new house and her new room and her new playroom. She’s so proud, and it’s really cute. She is going to preschool at Chapelwood MWF from 9 – 2 and loving it. Reece equally loves Conlee being gone, and she’s taking full advantage of having my undivided attention. As she should! The girls do get along really well, but at the end of the day, Conlee is 2 ½ and acts like it. Ugh!

Brent’s consulting business is really picking up. He’s working so hard and such long hours. I appreciate him so much, and I know God will honor his hard work and commitment to our family. I’m so thankful to have him on my team!

I struggled with whether to add this next part, but in the end decided that writing is cathartic and my blog is as good a place as any. Plus, if you’re reading this, then you know me and this news won’t be a surprise. In January we got a huge surprise when we learned I was expecting our 3rd baby. While the pregnancy was not planned, our shock quickly gave way to joy and joy quickly gave way to devastation when we learned the pregnancy was ectopic. I had immediate surgery at the end of January to remove the baby and my right fallopian tube. It’s hard to explain the feeling of going into surgery pregnant and waking up not pregnant. The only word that seems to even come close is empty. I felt empty and angry and I wanted my baby back. I still do. I’ve been so fortunate to have easy and healthy pregnancies and babies. I’m not sure why God saw fit to give us this experience, but I do know some things for sure: I know God loves me. I know He’s in control. I know He’s faithful. I know He loves all my babies infinitely more than I ever could and more than I ever could imagine. I know I now have empathy where I only had sympathy, and I only hope one day I can help someone else. God doesn’t waste pain, and He has a plan. Here are a few of the verses that have helped me this last month. The first is my favorite…a reminder that this loss wasn’t a fluke or bad luck. God knew every single second of life for that child and had ordained it. What was is what should have been. My child’s story was written by God and it’s perfect. And what’s better, I’ll see him or her again! And, until then, who wouldn’t want God taking care of their child…holding down the fort, if you will.

Psalm 139:16 - You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.

Romans 8:28 - All things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

James 1:2 - Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 5:10 - And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.

So, that’s our story. We’re slowly getting acclimated to our pseudo-new city, reacquainted with old friends, meeting new friends, enjoying our new school, mourning a loss and looking to the future!

If you’re even still reading this, you deserve a medal. But, I promise you the payoff will be huge…here come some pictures, and if I do say so, my girls are CUTE!!!

My sweet baby girl!

My sweet little baby isn't such a baby anymore! She's almost 17 months and loving life! She gets sweeter and sweeter every day, and we love her so much!

Introducing Campbell Blair Butler!

If there was ever any doubt Campbell is really Courtney's daugher, she cleared it up by arriving over a week late for her own birthday party! At least she comes by her tardiness honestly! She's a beautiful, precious, sweet little bundle and I'm so happy she's here safe and sound. I was thrilled to be able to go and meet her at the hospital...a definite bonus to living in Houston! Mommy, daddy and baby are all doing great. So, so, so happy for team CocoButters!

Celebrating Baby Sam!

One of the main reasons for my trip back to San Diego was to help host Holly's baby shower! What a great joy and blessing sweet Baby Sam already is! He has been prayed for continually by so many over the years. John and Holly have waited patiently for him and he will be here so soon! We had a wonderful afternoon at the Cottage celebrating Holly and Sam. I can't wait to get back out there and meet him this summer!

Reunited and It Feels So Good

There really aren't words for these pictures...they speak for themselves. To see these pics is to see Conlee truly happy. Even my mom said we need to move back after she saw how happy Conlee and Mia are together! Thank you, Ali and Matt, for having us for 5 fun-filled days. We loved EVERY SECOND!

Rodeo Queens

It was our first rodeo! Conlee's preschool pulls out all the stops for Rodeo Day each spring. Reece got to join in on the fun, and the girls of course dressed the part!

Arts and Crafts

So no one mentioned that it would rain almost daily in Houston! Coming from the land of constant sunshine, I was at a loss for good rainy day activities. Then it hit me...let's paint! Well, I won't be making this mistake again. Conlee was great, but Reece was another story. Maybe we'll try again in a year! Until then, painting will be a backyard, sunny day activity! Made for good pictures though...