Monday, November 28, 2011


Edit: In order to see the link to the song click on the word youtube.

It's been kind of a rough day back. Nothing major just a lot of minor stuff. That's all. I don't really like asking for this because I prefer to seem like I've got it all together, but if you've got a moment and feel so inclined would you please say a quick prayer for me? Sometimes all that minor "stuff" can really start to wear on a person.

I'm pretty tired and don't have much to say so I thought I'd share this youtube link to one of my favorite Christmas songs. For the most part I'm a Christmas music purist. I prefer the traditional songs, but occasionally (very occasionally) something new catches my ear. This isn't normally a Christmas Song, and it's certainly not traditional. It's also not new. It's just done in a new way. It's (based on) Pachelbel's Canon in D and is performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (I think it's called the Canon Christmas Rock). Anyway, I love it. (Also this isn't a "wedding" song . . . my husband seems to think it is since it's very popular at weddings. Sorry had to throw that in there.)

Hope everyone had a fantastic start to their week.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


As a mother I often feel so underqualified. I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I sometimes wonder if I'm crazy. Am I really qualified to be the mother of two children one of whom may come with some pretty hefty baggage even at a very young age? Am I really qualified to mother a little girl? I mean that's a job. And honestly, I think that mothering a daughter is much more difficult than mothering a son. They both have there challenges, but as a woman you have to be so careful not to push your own issues and insecurities on your daughter.

There are no college courses for motherhood. There are advice books, there are parenting books, but in the end they are really only some man or woman's opinion about how to parent. And the truth is I think that the devil wants nothing more than to make women feel underqualified. He wants nothing more than to make us feel like we just aren't good enough.

And that ladies, is where the real manual comes in. God's Word. I've been really focused on Proverbs 31 lately:

The Virtuous Wife (Proverbs 31:10-31 NKJV)
    10 Who can find a virtuous wife?
      For her worth is far above rubies.
       11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
      So he will have no lack of gain.
       12 She does him good and not evil
      All the days of her life.
       13 She seeks wool and flax,
      And willingly works with her hands.
       14 She is like the merchant ships,
      She brings her food from afar.
       15 She also rises while it is yet night,
      And provides food for her household,
      And a portion for her maidservants.
       16 She considers a field and buys it;
      From her profits she plants a vineyard.
       17 She girds herself with strength,
      And strengthens her arms.
       18 She perceives that her merchandise is good,
      And her lamp does not go out by night.
       19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
      And her hand holds the spindle.
       20 She extends her hand to the poor,
      Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
       21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
      For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
       22 She makes tapestry for herself;
      Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
       23 Her husband is known in the gates,
      When he sits among the elders of the land.
       24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
      And supplies sashes for the merchants.
       25 Strength and honor are her clothing;
      She shall rejoice in time to come.
       26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
      And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
       27 She watches over the ways of her household,
      And does not eat the bread of idleness.
       28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
      Her husband also, and he praises her:
       29 “ Many daughters have done well,
      But you excel them all.”
       30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
      But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
       31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
      And let her own works praise her in the gates.

When I first began studying this I'll be real honest, my initial thought was, "Seriously! This woman apparently doesn't sleep. She never whines. She's always working. She's the picture of perfection. No woman can live up to this." And y'all in our, "Me, me, me . . . I need time for myself society" this just doesn't fit in.

But before you have a full on fit (much like myself), I want you to read vs. 30. "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised." There's the key. Fear of the Lord. If you go back to vs. 10, according to Strong's Concordance the word "virtuous" comes from the Hebrew word "chayil" and it means:
1) strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army
    a) strength
    b) ability, efficiency
    c) wealth
    d) force, army
It is the same word that was used to refer to the thirty thousand "mighty men of valour" in Joshua 8:3.

Y'all this isn't some wimpy timid woman. She's an amazing woman. She has strength, ability, efficiency . . . Which brings us full circle to vs. 30. In order to be any of these things we have to "fear the Lord". Fear of the Lord brings with it an ability to function in this world to our fullest potential. The word fear comes from the Hebrew word "yare'" which means:
1) fearing, reverent, afraid
That's what this whole "Virtuous Woman" thing is about. It's not about being perfect or qualified. It's not about running around like a mad woman trying to perform to please others. It's about holding God in the highest regard. It's literally about putting Him before everyone and everything else . . . our husbands, our kids, ourselves.
I'm still a huge work in progress. I think I fail at this on a daily basis. But it brings me so much relief to know that I don't have to be "qualified". That the more I seek God, the more He changes me. And the more He changes me the more "qualified" I become. Not because of anything I do or can do, but because of who He is in me.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas "Descorations"

Disclaimer: I acknowledge that this is a totally shallow post. I acknowledge the ridiculousness of all these pictures. I acknowledge that most of you couldn't care less. I also acknowledge, that I'm nosey, and since I like looking at other people's decorations, I figured there may actually one or two of you out there who give a rip what my decorations look like. Otherwise, you can totally skip this post. My feelings will not be hurt. ;)

That's what Andrew calls them . . . descorations.

Anyway, I took a few (or 545 pictures . . . just kidding) of our Christmas descorations, and I thought I would show you.

I take no responsibility for the fact that these aren't the greatest pictures ever. Blame it on the camera. Oh and my house is not crooked. Apparently, I take crooked pictures. There was a crooked man, who had a crooked house . . . nevermind.

Our entryway and the view as you enter our house. (That monstrosity of an entertainment center is about say goodbye. All we need is about 10 strong men to help us move it. Any takers?)

 See Daisy? Patrick was trying to straighten the tree, and she made herself "comfortable".

Again, the tree is not leaning nor is the room. I consistently take crooked pictures.

Our tree is nine and a half feet tall. Every year I risk my life to decorate it. I stand on the top of a ladder and pray I don't fall off and hit the fireplace. Then I scream at Patrick to help me before I fall and die. It's a special time of tradition and togetherness in our family.

Sorry about the glare. Also, I know that the left picture of Andrew as a baby is crooked. I fixed it.

Our dining area. You see that nativity? It took me years to find a nativity I liked. I wanted something that looked somewhat realistic. Seriously, why do people think that baby Jesus should have blonde hair and blue eyes? Not only is that ridiculous, but it annoys the fire out of me. Anyway, I found that nativity at Dollar General a couple years ago. It was only $10, and I haven't seen one that I like nearly as much (and yes I'm aware that the wise men didn't actually come to the manger . . . I'm a preacher's kid . . . believe me I know). Two of my other favorite things are my night before Christmas plates and my snow villages.

These are my dining room Snow Villages. Not all of them are Department 56 Snow Villages (those things are 'spensive). The Candy Store (from "A Christmas Story"), the Dickens Clock Tower and the two houses to the right of it are true Snow Villages. The others are from various discount stores. The other thing you'll notice is that I have a mix matched set of houses. I like it that way. Which goes against my extremely OCD tendencies. 

The little brown cottage was one of my mom's first Snow Villages, and she gave it to me after we got married (awww . . . sniff . . . tear . . . how sweet . . . I wonder if she'd be willing to donate anymore of her Snow Villages to the cause?). She also bought me the white house for our first Christmas as a married couple. The second year we had it the dumb cat knocked it off the table and broke the chimney. Which is why there are wreaths glued to all sides of the chimney. Trying to hide the damage. I'm classy that way.

This is Pulaski's Candy Store from "A Christmas Story". I know a lot of people who can't stand the movie, but I grew up watching it. Some of my best Christmas memories are sitting beside my dad on my grandmother's couch laughing at the dogs eating the turkey and the infamous leg lamp. Anyway, a few years ago Department 56 had a whole line of Snow Village houses from the movie, and I got this one for a bargain price (probably because they discontinued them).

This is from The North Pole Series of Villages. I have these sitting on the table outside of my kitchen. My grandmother got us this for our first Christmas after we got married. Patrick was really excited (you'll need to say that with a lot of sarcasm). The train really goes. The track is magnetized. Andrew loves to "play" with it. I probably shouldn't let him, but well, anyway . . .

These are my Night Before Christmas dishes up close. Ain't they perty?

Kitchen table . . . since we eat here on a daily basis, I keep it simple. I threw those apples in the fruit basket for your benefit. There was nothing there. Either that means we eat a lot of fruit, or I need to go to the store.

My kitchen tree full of yummy treats.

So that's it. I don't really decorate the other rooms. Try not to be too relieved.

Maybe someday, when and if Patrick puts up the lights outside I'll show y'all what those look like. Otherwise you'll just have to survive on all of my beautiful indoor decor.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Waiting Game

We have officially been in the "waiting" phase of the adoption process since early September. Almost three months down. Anywhere from 20-30 months left to go.

During the last three months, I've been asked no less than 867 times if we've heard anything. If you've asked you can continue to ask away, I don't mind. I love that our family and friends are so supportive and so involved. I can honestly say that it is such a blessing to have such a great support system. I do find it hard to explain that the waiting process is L. O. N. G. . . . long (in case you're wondering you're supposed to spell it the first time). Most people just can't fathom that we would wait that long. That's okay too. It's a choice we made. It's definitely not for everyone, but for us it was the right decision.

Having said all that, I have to admit that I'm a doer and not a waiter. I was born with almost zero patience for waiting, and when I want something done I just go and do it. I can't say that's always a good idea. It's gotten me in trouble more than once. It's gotten me hurt a couple of times. But with this adoption there is nothing I can do. There is no option but waiting. Our caseworker warned me about this. She told me there'd be days when I am fine, and there'd be days when I am incredibly frustrated and discouraged. While I can honestly say, that for now I've had only fine days, we're only at the very beginning of our process. I have had moments of extreme longing (I know dramatic), and moments when I just wish that I had both of my children in tow. . . moments when I wish that it was all said and done. And I'm sure that as the one and then two and even possibly three year marks (let's hope we don't get there) roll around, I'll have a whole lot more moments (hours, days, weeks . . .) of impatience. And I'm sure that you'll here all about it.

But in the meantime I'm learning to wait. Gosh, I hate that word. But I'm learning to enjoy the journey as much as the destination. I always look back and wish I'd cherished the journey a little more. My pregnancy, all eight months of it, had some rough moments, but it also had some awesome moments. I didn't know it would be my only pregnancy, and I'm more than okay with that, but I do wish I had taken time to just enjoy it more. The first six weeks of Andrew's life were extremely difficult. All newborns are hard, but bringing home a premature newborn has to rank up there with some of life's more difficult challenges. Just the same, I wish I'd stressed less about doing everything "right", and just cherished those moments more. I wish that instead of running around like a madwoman, I'd just laid on the couch and let him sleep on my chest more. He's four now, and doesn't like to sleep on my chest anymore. Don't know what that's all about.

I think you get the point. I'm learning to wait. To wait on my husband instead of trying to move the piano by myself (stupid). To wait to open my big mouth (that's a huge work in progress). But mostly I'm learning to wait on God. He has some awesome promises for those that choose to wait on Him.

But those who wait on the LORD
      Shall renew their strength;
      They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
      They shall run and not be weary,
      They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

I didn't think I'd have time to post this morning since I planned on sleeping until around 7:30, and then rushing around the house like a crazy person to get everything ready. Clearly, I forgot who this child is that I gave birth to (yes I know I ended the sentence in a preposition . . . ). He came bebopping into our room at 6:00 a.m., and I tried to my best to convince him it was still night. He wasn't buying it. Then I tried turning on the t.v. for a little while, but he kept asking when we were getting up. So we're up, and I have time to blog.

It is important to note that even though I'm up earlier than I planned, and even though, I should have plenty of time to get everything ready (including myself), I will wait until the last minute and still run around like a crazy person. Isn't that what the holidays are all about?

In order to help you better celebrate your Thanksgiving holiday, I've come up with ten rules for surviving Thanksgiving. I think I may have a future career as a late night talk show host . . . just kidding. Anyway, for your reading pleasure I now present . . .
Rules for Your Thanksgiving (otherwise known as Courtney's Survival Guide):
1. It's okay to eat some of every dessert . . . calories don't count on Thanksgiving. (And as a side note, please don't try to eat healthy on Thanksgiving. How boring!)
2. They do (I'm talking about calories here), however, count the day after.
3. You must love your family . . . it's the only one God gave you.
4. Don't talk about politics. If you do it will be much harder to love your family.
5. You must watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade even though it's not all that interesting.
6. When picking sides in the great Horns vs. Aggies football game, remember it's just a game. It's not worth ending relationships over. (This one's for Texans)
7. If and when you feel sick tonight remember you did it to yourself (just so you know TUMS work wonders).  
8. If you decide to go shopping at midnight, have an exit strategy. You don't want to get trampled.
9. Don't go shopping on Black Friday. It's too dangerous. (That's a joke . . . sort of.)
10. Sometimes it really is hard to see the forest for the trees, but look around you today, and even if your life seems far from perfect, find something for which to be thankful. You'll be surprised at how many blessings you do have.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

Good morning y'all. Happy Thanksgiving Eve. It's chilly outside this morning. Just like it should be this time of year. And there's nothing over 75 in the seven day forecast. Perfect Texas weather.

Andrew and I have a busy day today. I have every intention of finishing my Christmas shopping this morning. I know the traffic will be insane, but I'm hoping that the stores won't be too crowded. I'm not a Black Friday shopper. I just can't take the craziness to save $50. I am, however, a cyber Monday (and Tuesday and Wednesday and everyday) shopper. Internet shopping was made for me.

After the shopping is done (hopefully), we'll come home, and I'll bake pies for tomorrow. I always bake a buttermilk pie for my parents', and I'll also bake a pumpkin pie and another buttermilk for here. Some of the second buttermilk pie will go to my father-in-law since he loves buttermilk pie. The pumpkin pie is Andrew's request. For some reason he thinks we need one here at home.

So I'll bake, and then I'll clean. Usually I clean then bake, but it finally clicked with me that I end up mopping the kitchen floor twice since I'm such a messy baker. I'm not organized or neat when it comes to baking or cooking. I can make the biggest messes you've ever seen. So it makes more sense to clean afterwards.

Tomorrow morning, I'll make a corn casserole, and then we'll head to my parents' for lunch.

Now that you know our itenerary for the next couple days, I'm sure you'll be better able to enjoy your Thanksgiving. I have no idea why I felt the need to share all that, but anyway, if I don't get a chance to tell everyone, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Let the Holiday Season begin!

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” Psalm 100:4-5 NKJV

Monday, November 21, 2011

Colds, Carpet, and Thanksgiving (oh . . . and Oreos)

Y'all I've had a cold since last Wednesday (a.k.a. an eternity). I know it's getting better. I've progressed through all the stupid phases of having a cold. I'm just sick of it. I'm sick of my throat hurting, and my nose running, and you get the picture. I know I'm whining about a dumb cold, but have you ever tried to teach school with a cold? It's a sight let me tell you. And my ears are so plugged up that I couldn't hear anything the kids said. I bet I said, "What?" at least 16,000 times today. I'm just glad no one came in to observe me.

The good thing is this cold has not had any effect on my appetite. That's really important because I'm trying to keep my weight up for Thanksgiving. Wouldn't want my stomach to shrink. Then I couldn't eat as much. Which is why I'm eating Oreos as I write this. Plus when I eat my throat feels better. Priorities people.

Anyway, life doesn't stop for a cold so on Saturday I decided it was time to shampoo the carpet. I've already tweeted it, but I have to say just once more that I will never put carpet in a house again. You would not believe how dirty our carpets were. And I'm a clean freak. I mean I was really grossed out, and it is amazing how much better our carpet looks. It's definitely brighter and fluffier.

This is ridiculous . . . I sound like an advertisement for some Miracle Carpet Cleaner.

Oreo anyone?

I'm waiting for this weekend before I put up our big Christmas tree. I'll show you pictures of my decorations when they are all done because I know you're dying to see them. I may or may not be slightly obsessed. I'm actually a little behind this year. I usually have all my gifts bought at this point, but I still have a few men left on my list. What the heck do you buy men for Christmas? Patrick's ideas for gifts fall into the "let's spend half of our savings" category. Hope he likes his shirt. ;)

Either way, Thanksgiving is before Christmas. I can't wait to bake pies, and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and eat, and eat, and . . . well eat some more.

I have so much for which to be thankful. I'm an incredibly blessed woman.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm Dreaming Of . . .

Not a white Christmas. First, it ain't happening. And second that would be a disaster in Texas. Can you imagine all the car accidents if it was snowing on Christmas Day? (I'm such an optimistic person.) (And yes, I'm aware I used the word "ain't". It just felt right. Sometimes you have to go with how you feel.)

I just deleted an entire post. Why? Because I wrote about my carpet shampooer, and the head cold I have. Seriously, after the allergist post and hives post and crazy Hantavirus post, I'm starting to sound like some sort of mix between a medical freak of nature and a full blown hypochondriac.

I promise, I'm mostly normal.

I'm thinking about entering an essay I wrote to the Ladies Home Journal essay contest. I already have it written, but part of me is afraid it's not good enough. The other part of me says, "What've you got to lose?" I'm super competitive, but I have a bad habit of only trying things at which I have a fair chance of success. I'm not much of a risk taker, but I think I'll give the contest a shot.

One of my dreams has always been to be a writer. That's one of the reasons I like blogging. It gives me a chance to write. I'm not a great fiction writer (lack of imagination and all), but I feel like I'm a pretty decent writer in general. I could be completely off base on that one. Still, it's always been a dream of mine to be able to write, and I would love to be a freelance writer. Maybe an advice columnist? Ha! That's a joke. Could you see me doling out advice? Actually, yes, but it would be totally inappropriate and insane advice. I definitely don't have a future career as advice columnist.

My other dream is to be a book critic. Actually, that's more like a fantasy. If some publishing company or magazine would pay me to read books all day long and write reviews of them . . . what could be better than that? Except, I only want to read the good books. No crummy books please.

Now that I've shared my deepest dreams with you, I'm going to go break out my new carpet shampooer and do some serious cleaning. Because I also dream of having a spotless house. That's a battle I'm rapidly losing.

Friday, November 18, 2011


November is Prematurity Awareness Month, and yesterday was World Prematurity Awareness Day. Yes, I missed it by a day, but I still feel that it's important to let people know about it.

Andrew was five weeks early. Thankfully, he had only a few complications. He did have some trouble breathing in the beginning, he was jaundice, and we had feeding problems for around four weeks, but we were able to deal with and solve each problem. He only spent two and a half days in the NICU, but many babies born at 35 weeks have more serious complications. And babies born earlier than that almost always spend a significant amount of time in the NICU.

I've known too many babies born prematurely. I've seen the effect that prematurity has on both the parents and the child. I've seen babies lost to prematurity. Prematurity is devastating, and no one ever thinks it will happen to them.

I can remember at around 30 weeks pregnant, I was taking a tour of the maternity floor of St. David's Hospital (which has a wonderful NICU). When we walked past the doors to the NICU, the tour guide mentioned that "the NICU is behind those doors". I vividly remember thinking, "Thank goodness, I'll never know what's back there." I had know idea that in just five weeks I would be watching my child sleep in a NICU nursery.

This is just a glimpse of what you might see in the NICU. Andrew had very few tubes compared to some of the babies that were in the NICU with him. He weighed four and a half pounds, and he was the heavyweight in his particular nursery. (Unlike many babies, he didn't have to sleep in an isolette. He was kept warm with blankets, and his body temperature was closely monitored. He got to sleep on his tummy because he had oxygen going into his nostrils, and he was hooked up to monitors. His eyes were covered because he was sensitive to the light.)

When you walk down the (long) hallway to the NICU at St. David's Hospital in Austin, there are pictures of children and adults lining the walls. These are the children that have overcome prematurity. They are the ones that fought, many for years, to get past all the challenges that come from being born weeks or even months before you are ready to enter this world.

I'm not sharing this so that you can feel sorry for us. We went through very little compared to most families who have to deal with premature birth. I'm sharing this, because so many people just aren't aware of how big of a problem prematurity is. So many don't understand how often it occurs. We often think that it happens to the people who don't take care of themselves, the ones who use drugs, who drink, who don't take their vitamins. But I can attest to the fact that it happens to those people who do everything they are supposed to. It not only happened to me, but it has happened to mothers I know personally. Great strides have been made to help premature babies, but we still need to find better ways to help these precious babies and prevent preterm births. Take a moment or two to think about these babies and their parents, and say a prayer for them and for the doctors and nurses that care for them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

And the Verdict Is . . .

Well, I don't really have a verdict at this point.

I went to the allergist today. They made me put on a lovely little paper shirt that opened in the back. It was at the height of fashion. Then I had to lay flat on my stomach while they poked and pricked me with little needles that had various substances on them. After that, they left me alone, and I had to lay there on the table for 15 minutes to wait and see if I had a reaction. It was the most glorious 15 minutes of my life. No one talked to me. No one asked me any questions. It was quiet and peaceful and quiet. I enjoyed every minute. . . . well except for the fact that I was lying flat on my stomach with a paper shirt on . . . if not for the paper shirt it would've been perfect.

I think the pricking device looks something like this. See the little needles poking out the end? I never actually saw what the nurse used on my back, and it's next to impossible to find a photo of anything on the internet. Maybe the government uses them as torture devices . . . I'm not entirely sure.

The whole pricking wasn't too bad. I don't feel like it was all that painful. But I tend to have a high pain tolerance, so I'm not a good judge of what is and isn't painful. I've worked with a blinding migraine more than once, and I was up and walking less than 12 hours after my c-section. I'm not bragging. It's more like I'm pointing out that I'm weird, and apparently don't react to pain like a normal person. So if you don't have to have one done . . .

When it was all said and done, I had a mild reaction to sesame seeds. I didn't have any reaction to shellfish . . . thank the Good Lord . . . but we won't have a definitive answer until I do bloodwork in four weeks. Apparently, when you've had a food reaction you have to wait four weeks to do the blood test. So for the next four weeks, I'm not allowed to have any sesame seeds or seafood. The sesame seeds I'm okay with, but four weeks is a long time to go without seafood.

The doctor prescribed an EpiPen for me because she feels like I definitely had some sort of food reaction, but at this point we're just not sure what to. Since the chef used a massive amount of sesame seeds in our food on Saturday, she thinks that the amount may have triggered the reaction. She did say, however, that food reactions tend to worsen so now I get to carry around this handy-dandy little guy.

I'm seriously going to have to be dying to jam that thing into my leg (the needle pops out the end for those of you lucky enough not to know). I may have a high pain tolerance, but I'm not really into self inflicted pain . . . not in the least bit. Thankfully, the doctor said that Benadryl usually does the trick if the reaction is caught early enough. Hopefully, I won't ever have to find out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Nonsense and More

Contrary to what most of you (and my family) may think, I'm not a complete crazy person. I'm not (too big of) a germaphobe, and I don't normally freak out about strange and unusual illnesses. If you have no idea what I'm talking about you're probably better off not knowing, but if you absolutely must know, you can read all about it in my last post.

Really, I blame the internets for all of my strange (and morbid) phobias. I mean if I didn't have access to such a plethora of knowledge, I wouldn't worry nearly as much. I also wouldn't know as many useless useful facts as I know. I mean anything you want to know is right at your fingertips. All you have to do is "google" it. And we know that everything we find on the internet is the bona fide truth. So anyway, it's all the fault of the internet. I bear no responsibility for my lack of sanity.

Not to completely change the subject, but do you buy gifts for your spouse for Christmas? I'm saying spouse because most boyfriends/girlfriends, engaged couples still buy gifts, but after you get married, especially after you have kids, you tend to buy less gifts for one another. I've bought a couple things that I know Patrick needs as Christmas gifts, but I'm not telling y'all what they are on the off chance that he might accidentally read this. But as far as what I want, I don't really care. Sometimes there is something I really want, like my Kindle or my grill, but if I don't have a particular request, then I don't really care. I'd almost rather just save the money and pay bills with it. Now isn't that romantic? I did buy myself a carpet shampooer the other day. I really wanted the carpet shampooer so I just went and bought it. No sense in waiting all the way until Christmas. Maybe that can be my Christmas gift . . . I know, pathetic!

I can't think of anymore nonsense to write about, and the kitchen (which was clean when I got home) is a mess, and I have Operation Christmas Boxes to pack so I guess I'll say goodbye for now.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why I Should Be Banned From All Medical Websites

Let's see . . .

Not much going on here . . .

I made an appointment with an allergist on Thursday to try and figure out if I've developed a sudden allergy to shellfish or if it was something else. Let's all hope and pray it was something else. You can read all about it here, if you feel so inclined.

Sunday, I started pulling out my Christmas stuff (colossal effort). Last Spring, when we did our homestudy, I rearranged the garage and stored all my Christmas stuff in there. When I started pulling out the (dusty) boxes I noticed that there were a few mouse (?) or lizard (?) droppings underneath the stuff. Freak out!

We've had a little trouble with mice. They try to come in looking for food and water. Can anyone say drought? Anyway, for some reason, which is beyond me, after I had swept up what little bit was there, I googled "rodent borne illnesses". Freak out numero dos. I was thinking I would find Bubonic Plague which as scary as it is, can be treated with antibiotics, but then I stumbled upon Hantavirus. Then I spent the next three hours panicking that I may have inhaled it. Nevermind, that it is a rarity (although not unheard of) in Texas. Nevermind, that the majority of the cases reported in Texas are from the Panhandle area (a good 12 hours from where we live). I felt the need to panic. Patrick kept laughing at me (which was not helpful), and then felt the need to tell me that last year when he was renovating one of our new (to us) rental properties, he ripped out the old cabinets and found a full on mouse's nest (with all the benefits that come with mice). Did he wear a mask? Did he take any precautions? Nope he cleaned it all up with a shop vac and a broom. And then I realized that sometimes ignorance is bliss, and I have now vowed to remain as ignorant as possible.

But yeah, I did start pulling out all my Christmas decorations. The big tree will have to wait a little longer, but the snow villages are up, and the little trees are out. And the temperature is 80 degrees. Sigh . . . only in Texas.

So that's basically it. I'm a recovering hypochondriac that sometimes lapses into insanity. Also, I'm thinking about banning myself from any and all medical websites.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hives Glorious Hives

Last night Patrick and I shipped the man-child (that would be Andrew) off to my sister's house, and we headed out to eat dinner and do a little Christmas shopping.

I had every intention of:
(1) enjoying a blissfully peaceful dinner.
(2) making a dent in the rest of my Christmas shopping.
(3) sleeping very well because Andrew was spending the night at Sarah's.

We went to dinner at Kobe Steakhouse. I love, love, love Japanese food. I also have a love for Italian, Chinese, Mexican, American . . . actually, I just love food. But in all seriousness, I am about as far from a picky eater as you'll find, and my love for seafood is rivaled by nothing else. Anyway, if you're not familiar with Japanese restaurants, you either sit at the sushi bar or you sit at the grill. We usually sit at the grill. Since there were only two of us, we were seated with a family of six. I spent half of the meal trying to figure out the dynamics of this family, but that's another (strange) story for another time.

So back to the food, I ordered the sea scallops because I love scallops and rarely get to eat them. They gave me a huge serving, and I devoured every bite. I mean, I tore it up. Toward the end of the meal, just as we were finishing up, my armpits started to itch. I know what you're thinking, "Wow, that's hot!" Y'all they weren't just itching a little. It was fierce. But I couldn't do a thing about it. And by the time we left the itching had spread across my chest. Nice huh?

So when we got into Patrick's truck, I commenced to scratching like crazy. And Patrick was not in the least bit disturbed by my incredibly sexy behavior. Then I decided to look in the mirror at my underarms, and what do I discover but big 'ole hives. So we hightailed it to the nearest pharmacy where I then bought $30 worth of antihistamines. This was turning into an extremely expensive meal.

By the time I got back in the truck, the hives were going down, so I decided not to take anything because everyone knows Benadryl makes you sleepy, and I still wanted to shop. I figured as long as my throat wasn't closing and my tongue wasn't swelling, I'd be okay.

So I shopped, came home, and went to bed. I didn't have any problems until 12:30 a.m. I woke up itching like nobody's business, and discovered that the hives were back with a vengeance. So much for a good night's sleep. I took two Benadryl and parked myself on the couch where I proceeded to chat with not one but two online pharmacists from a certain chain pharmacy (who shall remain nameless). Their advice? Take two Benadryl. Done. And if I stop breathing seek medical help immediately. Okay, first of all, that's reassuring. And secondly, duh! I'm not sure how much this online pharmacist gig pays, but I could totally do it in my pjs while eating cheeseballs. All I need is a pharmaceutical degree.

The hives, thank goodness, haven't returned (at least as of 1:30 p.m. CST). But seriously y'all, did I develop a sudden allergy to shellfish? Is it just the scallops or was it something else? Will it get worse, or can I like take two Benadryl and eat shellfish anyway? Because if I can't eat shrimp or crab or lobster anymore, I'm not sure I can exist in peace and harmony with the world. I need my seafood.

That's all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

To Christmas or Not to Christmas? (a completely nonsensical post)

It's not what you think. We are most definitely still celebrating Christmas. The question is in regards to the decorations, and when is the appropriate time to put them up. So now I'm going to have an argument with myself in the form of a blog post. I'm going to list the pros and cons (only in reverse) of putting up the decor pre-Thanksgiving. Then I'm going to most likely ignore the cons and put up the decorations anyway. Because that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I roll. So here goes.

Cons (a.ka. the lamest reasons ever not to put up the Christmas decorations):
1. Thanksgiving is its own holiday. It deserves its own time to shine. It deserves to be celebrated without being cluttered and overtaken by Christmas decorations.
2. I can't think of another one . . .

Pros (a.k.a. excuses to put up the Christmas decorations):
1. I have a ton of Christmas decorations. I love to put them up, but the process is daunting. It has to happen in phases. Therefore, if I start now, I should be finished by the time Thanksgiving is over.
2. You can be thankful with a Christmas tree just as easily as without.
3. Andrew is ready for them to go up.
4. If you wait, you don't get to enjoy them very long.
5. I love Christmas. It's my favorite holiday.

Well folks, looks like the pros have won. I know I'm pathetic. I know all the arguments against decorating before Thanksgiving. Frankly, I don't care. Sorry.

Also, last night Patrick told me I couldn't get anymore Christmas trees. I'm all about honoring your husband and everything, but I'm pretty sure that crossed a line. I really don't think that falls into his jurisdiction.

See y'all later. I'm off to Hobby Lobby. ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Where I Am Today

I'm always amazed at how God can completely change a situation without warning. More than once, I've found myself in a place that is extremely difficult, and I can't see anyway out. I feel trapped to put it mildly, and so I do what we all so often do as a last resort and should do as a first, I pray. And time and time again I'm amazed when God comes through in a way I never imagined. He sees things from an angle that I never dreamed existed, and without fail always provides a way.

The stress I've been under for the past few months has really served as a catalyst for God to bring some things to my attention, and He's dealing with me about some things in my life that I've let simmer for a long time. I feel like He's calling me to live above my fears, my anxieties, and my insecurities. I'm a notorious "worry-wart". If there's nothing to worry about, I'll create something. I've been that way my whole life, and I'm beginning to realize what a huge sin that has been. You would think I would've figured that out by now. Anyhow, it's time to stop. It's time to stop being comfortable living in fear of something always going wrong and something always being wrong. It's time for constant worry to stop being my normal everyday existence. It's time for me to start realizing Who this God is that I serve. He is my "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" (taken from Isaiah 9:6).

I am clothed with strength and dignity; I can laugh at the days to come. (Paraphrased from Proverbs 31:25 NIV and thank you Beth Moore for helping me to see this familiar scripture in a whole new light)
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV)
Fear not, for I am with you; 
Be not dismayed, for I am your God. 
I will strengthen you,
Yes, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand
. (Isaiah 41:10 NKJV)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Finally Finished

Okay, so I think I finally have my blog set up the way I want it. I'm finally happy with the way it looks. I've spent hours on the stupid header, and I really have no clue what I'm doing. The header itself came from Shabby Blogs. Then I had to play with it, adjust the color, add my own title, and make it look the way I wanted which was all fairly simple. Then I added it to my blog, and that was where the simple stopped. The header was off center, and if you know anything about me then you know that I was completely and totally freaked out by that. I like balance, and I'm an insane perfectionist, and the whole off-centeredness thing was not working for me. (You will notice that made up words such as "centeredness" don't bother me in the least . . . my insane perfectionism can be somewhat selective.)

So then I entered the world of html. Then I had a panic attack remembering the college class where I designed my own webpage using only codes, and if one thing was slightly off the whole webpage was messed up. That was a long stinkin' time ago. Then I closed out the html and tweeted a desperate cry for help. Then Ruthie at Bogue and Weejer came to my rescue with instructions on how to fix the header. I was so far off. I mean I was seriously far off. Now Ruthie is my hero. And you should really go check out her blog sometime. I'm not just saying that because she saved my blog (or at least my sanity). I rarely read her blog that I don't crack up laughing.

So that's it. I think I'm finally done changing my blog. At least for a while . . .

Totally switching gears, our Bulgarian caseworker left me a message today letting me know that they are expecting more referrals to come in before Bulgaria takes their Winter Holiday. With every referral that comes we move up the list. Yay for Bulgaria kicking it into gear! Keep it up!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pardon the Chaos

Please pardon the continual changes and the off center header. One of these days I'm going to figure this out. It may be six or seven years from now, but I'll figure it out. Until then . . .

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One (or two) of Those Moments

So this afternoon Andrew and I headed to San Marcos to do a little bit of shopping. One of the items on our "to do" list was to pick up toys for our Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. Because Andrew is four he's a little on the egocentric side. Okay, maybe I should say a lot on the egocentric side. I think this is pretty normal for four year olds. They don't realize there is a world outside their world.

So I was trying to explain to Andrew that we were buying gifts for children in other countries. First lesson of the day, don't try to explain anything to a four year old. It's a waste of breath. I went through all the ins and outs of why we wanted to give gifts to these children, and Andrew kept insisting that they didn't need anything. In the middle of the store, in front of anyone and everyone, he kept saying, "Those kids in those other countries are fine . . . they don't need anything. I need some cool toys." Gosh darnit, that was one of my proudest moments in parenting.

Finally, I just said something to the effect of, "Look Buddy, we're buying these toys for kids in other countries because I said so. You're going to be good, you're going to be giving, you're not going to get anything, and you're going to like it. Got me?" That ladies and gentlemen might be my second proudest moment as a parent. I'm sure that everyone around us was thinking this lady is a complete looney tune.

Which brings me to lesson number two, when purchasing toys for underprivileged children in other countries, do it alone. If you want to have your child help you pack the boxes then more power to you, but at least do it in the privacy of your own home so you can send your precious child to his room when he starts acting up.

All joking and sarcasm aside, I'm determined to teach Andrew the importance of giving to others. To me it's one of the greatest lessons we can learn in life. We are so blessed to live in the country we live in, and although it's been my soapbox lately, I just have to once again encourage you to find a way to give to others. Even if you can't give much, you would be amazed out how far a dollar can stretch, and you'll also be amazed at how blessed you are in return. And now I'll get off my soapbox. :)

Have a great Monday everyone!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pinterest, Bowling, and Some Adoption Stuff

I've given up trying to come up with catchy titles. I don't have enough brain cells left or time to come up with them.

I'm still working on my blog. It's looking a little pixelated or some such nonsense, but since I have no clue what I'm doing it may just have to stay that way.

So I tweeted the other day (yesterday maybe??? or Thursday??? I can't remember and I'm too lazy to look) that I just couldn't get into Pinterest. I've been on since this summer, but it just seems like a black hole that sucks my time into an abyss of nothingness (yes, I'm being a little dramatic). My sister loves it, my cousin loves it, but I just can't seem to love it. I have found a couple recipes and Christmas decorating ideas that I'd like to try, and I've also used it to search for house plan ideas since we're thinking about building sometime in the foreseeable future. But I don't have very many pins at this point. I think I find it too overwhelming. Too much to look at. Too many choices. I don't like trying to wade through the irrelevant stuff to get to what's actually relevant to my life. I know I'm getting a little ahead of myself, but I do like the following idea for my front door for Christmas. Not entirely sure I can replicate it, but maybe I can get close.

Christmas decorating ideas for the home

(This idea is originally from a blog on HGTV. If you click on the picture it will take you to the original blog with lots of awesome ideas.)

Oh well, enough rambling about Pinterest.

Last night Anthony spent the night and we took the boys bowling. It was entertaining even though bowling isn't my favorite thing in the world. It makes my arm hurt, and the nearest bowling alley still allows people to smoke inside. If you want to smoke that's completely your business, but I really don't want to smoke with you. Thanks. Anyway, I felt so gross when we left, and I made everyone bathe with bleach when we got home. That's a joke . . . I hope you know that. I did make everyone scrub from head to toe. Bowling alley germs  . . .

After a while Andrew got sick tired of bowling and started dancing. His moves . . . well they're something. Lot's of finger pointing and hip shaking going on. He doesn't get that from me. Then Anthony busted out some dance moves of his own, and I decided that I'm never taking the boys in public again.

Everyone wants to know how the adoption is going, and all I can say is "it's going". As in we're registered, and we're waiting. It does seem like quite a few referrals have come through and quite a few families are traveling. I'm curious to see where the numbers are when the stats for 2011 are released sometime next year. I know they've increased but I'm not sure by how much. Until it's our turn, we'll just keep praying and waiting. God has the right little girl for us, and when it's the right time we'll bring her home. :)

Now I'm off to do my 800th load of laundry for the week. Seriously, who wears all these clothes???

Friday, November 4, 2011

You've Come to the Right Place

So you may notice that some things have changed around here starting with the super creative extremely orginal title of my blog. After much contemplation . . . actually probably too much contemplation . . . I've decided to change the name of the blog. What began as an adoption blog has morphed into a crazy mish-mash of everything from adoption, to parenting, to life in general. And so, without further ado, I present "The Life & Times of Me" (don't worry it's not as self-centered and egocentric as it sounds). Nothing's really changing except the title and the url which is now But if you type in you'll still get to my blog. Other than that you'll see the same exciting stuff you see every other day, but now I won't feel guilty because I'm not presenting myself as exclusively an adoption blog when I'm not.

And if you're looking for adoption updates they'll be here too. I'm not leaving the adoption topic behind just adding more to the mix.

So there you have it. Hope everyone keeps checking back to see what's going on.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Changing Focus

If you look up the phrases "laid-back", "go with the flow", "calm", "patient", etc. you would not see a picture of me beside any of them. I am absolutely none of the above. I have a tendency to get extremely keyed up. I worry excessively (it's ridiculous). I don't like changes in plans. In short, I can be a whole heck of a lot of fun to be around.

For the past few weeks, work has been incredibly stressful. In addition to teaching (which is actually my job description), we are facing the prospect of a new "more rigourous" standardized test. Oh my, how Texas loves to test their kids to death. I've been swamped with paperwork, grading, reports, and planning. So of course, in true Courtney fashion, I let the overstressed switch flip and then the bad mood/complaining/whining fest began.

I've let that lovely bad mood fester for weeks. It's made me edgy, frustrated, and tense at home, at work, pretty much everywhere. I've been super pleasant to be around. But you know, I realized the other day, it's really not helping anything. In spite of what is going on around me, despite the fact that I feel like unreasonable expectations are being placed on me, God doesn't call me to be grouchy.

With the beginning of November, and Thanksgiving just around the corner, I've decided to focus on all I have to be thankful for. I have a wonderful family, a nice home, a job, food on my table, the list goes on and on. I've decided to spend less time whining and worrying (a colossal effort for me) and more time praying (not just for myself but also for others). I've decided to trust God that He will take care of all that concerns me. I'm not saying it's easy or that everything is roses and daisies. I'm not saying that I'll be perfect every second of everyday (baby steps people). I'm just saying that I'm working to change my focus and my stinky attitude. Just please don't try to talk to me before 7:00 a.m.; I cannot be held responsible for things I do or say before the sun comes up. ;)

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Psalm 138:8