Thursday, August 23, 2012


Monday evening we went to Big Ed's Pizza in Oak Ridge (Sean's pick) to celebrate getting into the bomedical engineering program and getting the Ch 31 benefits. It was pretty funny....while we were there the owner, who was so kind, brought over T shirts for me and the boys and had noticed I was pregnant so decided to get me a larger size. He gave me a XXXL shirt!!!! lol Ry's nickname for me of hippopotamus is pretty true! Him and Hunter even make an eating sound for my nickname and they think it is hilarious. Me and Sean do, too!!!! Any way, I wore it to bed last night and the short sleeves were long sleeves, but it was a good fit over the belly. :) lol Came down to my knees I think! After pizza we went for a walk on a trail at Melton Lake in Oak Ridge and I snapped a few pictures. I learned a teeny bit about layering and opacity in Photoshop from Pioneer Woman's blog so I decided to give it a try.
Ry is checking out a fisherman down below.  Notice the red socks......his fave pair.....never matches his outfit!

I realize the quality of this picture is poor, but it was too neat to see deer; it's just they were on the other side of the lake!  Far away!!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

RN in TN

I finally received my nursing license from the State of Tennessee today!!!!!!! I have learned through this process above all to trust God and to have patience, but also that changing licenses from one state to another is not easy!  I started with the paperwork back in April I think!!!!!!!  There was a lot of paperwork and a lot of fees to pay.  Also, there was extra paperwork for me because of a dumb decision I made when I was 21 that still haunts me every now and then.  There were two denied fingerprint cards from the FBI due to poor quality.  There were lots of phone calls.  There were lots of errands to get all the requirements done.  BUT NOW, officially, I am a registered nurse in TN!!!!!!!!! 

Friday, August 17, 2012


We went to Cracker Barrel today to get our rocking chairs!!!!! And eat of course! My Dad offered so kindly and generously to gift us our Christmas presents early this year. We got a USMC rocking chair and a UT rocking chair. I realized that my Dad just gave me a UT chair for Christmas.......huh????........I'm a GA fan. So really Sean got 2 Christmas gifts from my Dad. Nooooo, only kidding (sorta). Sean is grinning.

Now, the house is completed, mostly. 

Can u see the rockers?

How bout now?

Certainly not here, but you can see the USMC flag and US flag we got. :)

There they are!!!!!!!  And a hanging plant.

And another hanging plant on the other side of the porch, BUT this side needs something.  I'm thinking 2 more rockers.  And sweet tea.  And Mayfield ice cream.  And Starbucks. 

This is a horse.  You can see farm animals (i.e. horses, cows, and donkeys- well hear the donkeys, not see the donkeys) on the farm behind our neighborhood. 

Quickie Awesome News Update!

So earlier in the week I posted about Sean being accepted into the biomedical engineering program.   That was one big step.  BUT there was still one other BIG hurdle.  His GI Bill benefits, which he has almost exhausted, would not cover all of his out-of-state tuition, which would have been $10,000.....for one semester!!!!!!  Soooo, our hope was to change from Ch 33 benefits to Ch 31 benefits.  More on that later.  However, if that didn't work, he was going to drop down to part-time school and a full-time job so that he would be considered a resident and therefore be able to afford the classes.  Well, yesterday we found out that he was approved for Ch 31 benefits!!!!!!!!!  Now, I don't understand it all, but the main things are...........they will pay for him to receive his Bachelors, which wouldn't have been possible under the other because he had almost used up all the money.  They will also pay for his tuition in full...........the 10,000 this semester and the other upcoming semesters where he is still considered out-of-state and then they will pay for the in-state tuition, as well.  They will pay for all of his books while he is in school and they will pay the $200+ parking fee that is due every semester.  They will also give him between $1200-$1500 for a new lap top.  Finally, he will get BAH monthly (housing allowance) so he won't have to work and go to school. That, along with financial aid (grants) for him and the financial aid (also grants) for my schooling and the scholarships I received and the money we had saved, I should be able to stay with the children till the beginning of next year and then hopefully, prayfully only work prn (as needed). 

We are so incredibly grateful and thankful for God's goodness and grace and for the too numerous to count doors that he has opened for us, which has allowed for this huge life changing journey he has placed us on.  I feel as if I am dreaming.  He has given us our hearts' desires.  This is all spoken in humility and certainty that we are undeserving of it all.....or any of it for that matter.  We must also remember to praise God in the good and the bad and to serve Him, love Him, keep Him first in our lives, and diligently read His word, worship Him, fellowship with other believers, and raise our children to know Him and love Him.  Have faith!!!!!!

Deuteronomy 6:5         
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Speechless By Amazement

Awhile back I had posted about Dax Locke.  He was a 13-month-old boy who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer who unfortunately passed away (2007-2009).  There was a movie made about him because his hometown rallied together and did a Christmas for him when it wasn't Christmas.  The whole neighborhood decorated and it just looked like the season.  The reason being....because he was not going to live to see Christmas.  It was a touching, harmwarming, heartbreaking story.  Matthew West also wrote a song about it.  Just as touching and sad.  Little did I know, but Sean periodically checks the place where Dax's parents still post entries and this is what he read today.  He shared it with me and I HAD to share with whomever reads this.  I was absolutely amazed by it and words couldn't say what I felt.  The intricacies of our BIG God.  P.S. Madeline is the baby they had after Dax had passed and Julie is the mom. 

Daddy Austin here,
I’d like to tell everyone about something that really touched my heart recently. I was listening to a radiolab podcast that was talking about some research that they’re starting to uncover about mothers and how special they are. They used to think that the baby developed in the mother completely separated from her, that the placenta served as the gatekeeper, and that nutrients came in to the fetus but nothing came out. But research has shown that in fact the mother and the baby are exchanging cells. They know this because they can take a sample of the mother’s blood and see a bunch of cells that are the babies’. They can even accurately predict how many of them there’s going to be.
And it gets better, it turns out that those cells don’t get cycled out, they actually stick around for years, even DECADES, most likely for the mother’s whole life! How awesome is that? What it means is that Julie is literally still carrying around pieces of Dax, spiritually and physically. That choked me up a little. And each child that the mother has will contribute it’s cells, so Madeline and Dax are together in a real way…
But here’s the best part, since they’re fetal cells, they’re very dynamic (think stem cells), so they’re able to fulfill many roles. If the mother gets sick, or injured, these cells are the first ones to go to problem area and fight back. Imagine that, it means that if Julie gets cancer one day, that Dax’s (and Madeline’s) cells will be the first in line trying to defend her body and save her life…
I’ve never heard anything in my life that is so right with the universe as that. Julie helped Dax fight for his life battling cancer and one day Dax will be doing the same for her…
So, mothers, you’re always carrying every one of your children with you, every day of your life, even the ones that you may not get to love and kiss anymore, and they’re fighting for you, just like you did for them…
Whew…, So, I’m running Memphis to Peoria, we start next Tuesday, and I’m 1/3 of the way to my fundraising goal,
Please visit my fundraising page if you’d like to make a donation, Thank you!

Cherish Every Moment

THE LINKS:  - the journal entry  - music video by Matthew West.  Already with chill bumps and tears.  And now just bawling. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fruit and Berry Farm

Our pickns'

Well that's just funny

And this is where Ryan had disappeared to while we were talking to the store owner.
This farm is about 15 mins from our house and they have straight off the bush or vine or tree or whatever blackberries, strawberries, apples, peaches, blueberries, grapes, corn and pumpkins depending on the season.  Right now, it's apple season.  It's a u-pick farm and very affordable.  They also have fruit slushies, fried pies, honey, and apple butter.  We went home with a dozen apples, apple butter, a gallon of apple cider, one strawberry slushie, and fried apple pie.  :)

Norris Park

We had an errand to the bank yesterday and decided to take the boys to the park afterwards so they could run off some energy.  We had walked the trails in this park one other time and I was disappointed that I hadn't brought my camera so I made sure to bring it this time.  I would like to learn in Photoshop how to change the flag to real deep colors of red, white, and blue while the rest remains black and white.  This one just came from the camera and some of the colors popped out, but not exactly what I was looking for.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


This morning when Hunter woke up and I went into his room to get him, he was saying the word "Tuesday".  I was surprised because we hadn't taught him that.  So I ask him, "Did you say Tuesday?"  and he responds "Yah."  So, then I ask him what's today and he says "Tuesday," which is pretty funny since it is Tuesday.  All day we have asked him and he gives the same response.  We will be abslutely floored if tomorrow morning when he wakes up he is answering that the day is Wednesday!  lol 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Even in the Little Things

We rejoiced yesterday because we got the good news that sean was accepted into the biomedical engineering program at UT.   Today we headed to campus to figure out GI Bill benefits and his class schedule. Well...this is when stuff started to go wrong. Finding parking was a nightmare and we drove around forever. Finally we found 45 min parking for our first stop. Then comes the real bad news. The next stop on campus is probably 2 miles from the parking garage. Now, usually I love walks and we try to get out as often as we can to walk in our neighborhood. However, this was ridiculous and aggravating. So we started the long trek and with each step I got increasingly annoyed, hot, and crampy with contractions and I was having a slight difficulty with breathing. Ryan is not enjoying this adventure either and is whiny, complaining, and on the verge of a tantrum. Now I was trying so hard to have a good attitude, to be thankful, and grateful to God, but my weak flesh and the enemy were just getting the best of me. We finally get there and had success in getting his school stuff accomplished, which was great, but I'm literally in tears because I know what lies ahead...the long walk back. I'm 37 wks pregnant and hungry and this is just not cool. Sean is feeling awful and I'm making Ry sad because I'm crying. We head outside to just get this over with. No sooner did we walk up the stairs from the building when this orange van pulls up to pick up some other students. A glimmer of hope! I ask sean if we can get on it and he goes and asks the driver. He says of course so we quickly hop on and are blessed by the other passengers and the driver who help us back to our car, help with the stroller, and give up seats for us. I start crying again, but this time it's because our God is so good and amazing and loving and cares about us, even in the things that would seem unimportant and insignificant to Him.  He loves us that much even when we are sinful and selfish and  not full of his joy and peace as we should be. He truly is our loving Father who is worthy of all of our praises.  Thank u jesus for your forgiveness and for your mercy and grace.  We got dropped off by our car, which also happened to be situated right next to a Quiznos.  Oh the feeling of his presence surrounds me.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Just Tickles Me!

I'm sure this just isn't as funny to others, but our son is a goofball!  He decided to pick up an attachment, which is a blue Easter bunny, but now he has a second attachment.....his pah pah (don't ask how or why he says that for 'blanket').  His pah pah is supposed to stay in the car, but tends to accompany him wherever he goes if he has anything to say about it. See, it all started when Ryan would complain of being cold in the car.  YES the summer in 90000 degree weather in the south.  Don't ask.  Well, Hunter couldn't not have one so they both had car blankets.  As of late, Hunter has looked like everything from Rocky to Mother Teresa (as Sean so eloquently put it) driving down the road.  This here would be more Mother Teresa.  He likes to wear it around his neck, wrapped around his head, and even totally over his head like a ghost.  It's pretty darn me any way. 

Blueberry Farm

Today we decided to go to a u-pick blueberry farm down the road from us in Norris.  We were able to pick about a pint's worth of blueberries and they are so good!  The day has been beautiful with a high of 84, which is cool compared to the middle to high 90s that we were getting.  Ryan enjoyed the day.  Hunter was pretty fussy so I hung back with him after picking some blueberries and shooting some photos.  It was just so gorgeous there and peaceful and the air even smelled crisp and fresh.  It's almost like a little preview to how fall will be.  I was trying out my macro setting, but most pictures were deleted.  I have a really hard time steadying my hands!  Practice makes progress I suppose. 

Farm Visit

Earlier in the week we were invited over to a couple's house that we go to church with for dinner.  They live on a 77 acre farm literally 10 minutes from our house, so really the post title is incorrect because we don't visit farms occasionally, our neighborhood is surrounded by them!!!!!  They are such a sweet couple and we enjoyed the food and fellowship.  The boys loved playing outside and seeing the horses.  However, Ryan needs to be trained on horse etiquette.  He threw a stick at one and also hit it in the nose.  No, the horse did not like that one bit!  Being a FL beach boy, he had no idea how to behave around horses, coupled with the fact that he is fearless!  Any way, we will hopefully teach him quickly (or  a horse will) that they don't like things thrown at them nor do they like to be hit and that spooking a horse is just not a good idea!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back deck

Got our back deck furniture from Wal-Mart.  There is a bench on the other side, too.


Yep, view

We are high up.
We are enjoying sitting out here during meal times when it's not too hot.  I am also especially loving waking up before the rest of the family and getting a small cup of coffee and doing my Bible study out here.  Usually hear cows, too.  Sometimes donkeys.  :)

We are ready!

Baby's clothes are hung in the closet, which I posted a picture of, but then just realized I can't post that!!!!!  It would reveal the gender.  Erase!!!!!!  Delete!!!!!!  So enter your imagination of me and Sean's closet with lots of little newborn clothes hanging on little hangers.  :) 
Our hospital bags are packed!  Thanks to my friend Becca for baby's take home outfit and my new travel Boppy!!!!

Baby's spot in our bedroom. :) Usually the bassinet is right next to my side of the bed so we will see if it will stay put or if I will be dragging it over so I can check on baby 8 million times a night. :) Really, we end up using the bassinet as storage because our other babies have co slept. :0) Either way, we are just excited and it was fun to pull out everything for our new little one.  I was a little wiser with this picture.  I had originally put it in color, but Sean thought some of the various blankets and burp cloths and what not gave it away because of the colors, so voila, I changed it to black and white!!!  hee hee  Although the majority of the things under the bassinet are gender neutral any way.  Playing it safe.  :)