Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Little Getaway

Hubby and I are so blessed that although we have only seen my parents about 24 hours this summer, they have whole-heartedly supported us in the decision to take a little getaway for just the two of us while we are here in Michigan.

My parents are keeping both Lexie and Lloyd while Hubby and I escape to northern Michigan for two nights.

While I am less than excited to go on another car ride, I think the trade off is going to be worth it.  Chris has never seen the northern part of Michigan, and we will soak up this rare summer time together.

I am not sure if I will blog while we are away.  If I do, it simply means that I had the time and wanted to document things that happened immediately.  If I don't, it simply means that I didn't have the time and other things took priority over my time.

Hubby and I do have some specific things we are going to be praying about and discussing  during this time away, and so please support us in prayer as we go before God with some specific things on our minds.

Northern Michigan, here we come!

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Best Parts of Home

So far, I've been in Michigan about 12 hours and the best parts of being home are as follows:
  • Knowing Hubby and I will be OFF THE ROAD for at least a day (2,000 miles in 3 days)
  • My KITTY CAT greeting me at home!!!  I haven't seen or held my Lexie-Girl in 11 weeks and she's been spoiled rotten at my parents' house, but it was SO nice to have her greet me at the door and purr in my arms as soon as I arrived.  I have missed her SO much.
  • Knowing Hubby and I can SLEEP IN today!
  • Knowing that Hubby, Lexie, Lloyd and I are ALL in the same house for the first time since early May!!!!  Our family has been incomplete with missing pieces all over the country, and I am going to savor these fleeting days when we are all together again.
  • Enjoying the COOL temperatures in West Michigan right now.  After my month of baking alive in Tucson, I don't know that I'll ever complain about cool summer temperatures again!
  • Seeing my parents, and knowing they are going to take care of us while we're here.  We're at Camp Sanden, and the counselors make sure we're fed, cared for, and entertained.  :-D
There really is no place like home.

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Through St. Louis

Last night we arrived in St. Louis for a few -- a very few hours with family.

We were greeted by our very excited, sweet puppy, and now today, we're on the road to Michigan -- to see my parents, and our wonderful kitty cat.

We are SOOO ready to be at our final destination!

Here are a few pictures of us with 4-week old Zivah, our niece. 

I hope she won't always cry when I hold her...

Next stop:  Home Sweet Home, Pure Michigan!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gettin' Our Kicks On Route 66

Here is our route:

And we're as far as Amarillo, TX!

We are having a great time traveling together and tonight includes a Texas-shaped swimming pool, a "Texas king-sized bed", a hotel room with saloon swinging doors to the bathroom, and a great steak dinner.  I will post more pictures when I'm off the road.

Next stop:  St. Louis

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Saturday, July 27, 2013


Reunited and it feels so good!

Now we embark on our three day road trip to get from Phoenix to Michigan.
Tonight we'll be in Amarillo, TX.
This will be our longest road trip thus far without critters.
What will we do without the kids?

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Friday, July 26, 2013

Gratitude: DAY 20

DAY 20!!!

Today is my last day in Tucson.


My bags are packed, my car is loaded -- I just have one more 8 hour day to work and I head North to Phoenix to see my love.

Today, I am grateful for a sense of accomplishment, and the relief that comes from a little time off.  Sure, my time off will be spent driving from one end of the country to another, and preparing for my next practicum placement that starts in 9 days... but I am going to try to not let those factors detract from my accomplishment and relief.

I will try to continue blogging as Hubby and I travel, because it's a nice habit, but no promises as we sojourn cross country.

I get to see my Hubby today.  I cried and cried 20 days ago when he put me on a plane to come to the desert alone for three weeks.  Today, I may just cry and cry when he gets off his plane in the desert to greet me.

Three weeks is WAY too long to be away from the man I love.  Such a fact makes me think about military families who are away from each other for MONTHS and longer.

I know Chris and my greeting to one another will look nothing like this, but I want to share this beautiful video of a solider coming home.  I am so grateful that there are men and women who work away from their families protecting our freedom.  I am so grateful for the families who carry on and keep the home fires burning while their soldiers are away.  Lord, please bless these families in a very special way, today, and every day.

19.5 days down; 12 hours to go!!!!

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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Gratitude: Day 19

Oh my, Day 19!!!!

Today, I am so grateful for the woman who had been housing me during these three weeks in Tucson.  She is a PEO sister, and has opened her home, her kitchen, her life, her heart, her dog, and her family to me.

She is such a natural mother, and she had taken care of me in so many ways while I've been here.  She fixes dinner for us every night, she listens to stories about my day, she makes sure I get my work done, and she even shares her garage with me so my car doesn't have to sit outside.

She has the most beautiful home, but what makes it most beautiful is her hospitality and the open arms with which she greeted me and has continued to welcome me every day of my stay.

Lord, Please bless this woman for her incredible kindness and hospitality, and please bring it back to her in spades.

18 days down; 2 to go!!!

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Gratitude: Day 18

Day 18... I'm getting there.

Today, I am grateful for mechanics... and mechanics who can serve my car immediately.

Yesterday the air conditioning in my car died.  I heard a weird sound in the morning, but didn't notice a difference in the temperature.  In the afternoon, however, OH MY, I NOTICED A DIFFERENCE IN THE TEMPERATURE!

With the help of a few locals, I was able to find an air conditioner repair place that was able to get my care serviced IMMEDIATELY!

Within two hours my air conditioning was fixed.  It cost plenty, but I am SO Grateful for a working air conditioner.  Not only do I need it to survive in Tucson, but Hubby and I will definitely need it this weekend as we journey from Tucson to Michigan on a very long road trip.

17 days down -- 3 to go!

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Gratitude: Day 17

Today, I am grateful for the light at the end of the tunnel.

I can't look too far ahead or I get incredibly overwhelmed - I have been working nonstop with only one or two isolated weeks off since last August.  I will be working nonstop until the end of next school year.  I still have two O&M practicum placements ahead... I can't think about those things today.

What I can think about is how near I am to completing my time in Tucson.  How near I am to completing my first practicum placement.  How near I am to CONCLUDING these three weeks I have been away from my hubby, my puppy, my kitty (actually, it's been 11 weeks since I've seen my kitty cat!), my home and my family.

Today, I see the end... Day 17 of 20... that's really near the end!!!

I am starting to get excited about some things coming up when we're in Michigan.

Each day is closer and closer to seeing my love and I can FEEL it!

16 days down -- 4 to go!!!

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Gratitude: Day 16

Today, I am grateful for the doctors in my life.

When I was living in Greeley last month, a friend of mine was having some problems feeding her 9-week-old baby.  She had a question for her pediatrician and I was in the car and overheard her conversation with the pediatrician's secretary.  The bottom line is that she was never even allowed to leave a message for the pediatrician because the baby had not been to his first appointment with that practice yet.  His two-year-old big sister was a patient, and he had an upcoming appointment scheduled for the following week, but the secretary would not let the mother ask a question about her son, because he had not yet been seen by the pediatrician.

I was appalled, and promptly called my Daddy (a pediatrician for nearly 60 years) and had her talk to him about her baby.  My dad (as per usual) listened very carefully, made several recommendations, encouraged her to call back any time, and eased her fears.  He gave her wonderful advice.

Today, I am SO grateful that with three phone calls, I can talk to three doctors -- no secretaries involved.

Last night, I had a little medical scare, and within twenty minutes, I had spoken to three doctors -- after hours, on their cell phones -- my dad, my sister-in-law, and my friend.

I have never had to depend on a secretary to LET me leave a message for a doctor, and I have probably taken that for granted in my life.

Today, I am SO grateful for the doctors that I can reach at a moment's notice, and who offer excellent, calming, quality medical advice.

15 days down -- 5 to go!!!

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Gratitude: Day 15

Today, I am grateful for practice.

Last week I taught A LOT of Orientation and Mobility lessons, and it became very clear to me that I need practice.  My instructors are supervising me, and telling me what things on which I can improve, and they have told me they can tell I came from a strong O&M program... but all of that doesn't account for the practice that I need in simply teaching these skills.

Three years of teaching blind students does not translate to automatically teaching O&M well.  There is a reason this is an entirely separate certification, and why it requires 9 weeks of students teaching -- these people knew what they were doing when they designed this criteria.  I need the practice.

Last week, I had to consciously tell myself several times to focus on MY STUDENT and not look around at the cool downtown of Tucson.  This really takes practice.

As I look ahead to my LAST week in Tucson, I am grateful that I will have more chances to practice teaching and improve my skills before my next 3 week practicum placement.

14 days down; 6 to go!!!

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Gratitude: Day 14

Today, I am grateful for a 9.5 ball of fur named Zoey.

Every day, I am greeted at a door by a small, bubbly, joyful puppy, Zoey.

I will be the first to say, that I am used to nice BIG dogs.  :-D  These dogs are 60-80 pounds, strong swimmers, and certainly CANNOT jump into my arms when I walk through the door.

But, I will take this tiny, joyful little puppy that I can carry around in a purse ANY DAY over no puppy!

I am so glad that a sweet little puppy greets me every day.  Life without pets is so much less fulfilling than life with pets.

13 days down -- 7 days to go!

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Gratitude: Day 13

Today, I am so grateful for the loving arms of my husband.  And, what is more... his loving arms that reach across thousands of miles to brighten my day, support me, and make me feel loved.

Tuesday, and especially Wednesday, I had TOUGH, TOUGH days.  I was missing Chris like crazy, and picking fights with him over the phone because it was easier to be angry with him than miss him.  All of Wednesday I felt like I could burst into tears at any moment.

Finally Wednesday night, I just feel apart in my husband's arms -- his digital arms, I guess.  I just poured my heart out to my hubby and told him all the things on my mind, and everything that was bothering me, and told him how exhausted I am, and I just cried, and cried, and cried.  And my husband is so wonderful -- his strong, loving arms reached from St. Louis to Tucson, and he let me know that it was okay to cry about everything, but that it was all going to be fine.

Well, its amazing what a good 'ole sob-fest can do, because Thursday I felt back to myself -- and because I had felt SO lousy Tuesday, and Wednesday, by comparison, Thursday I felt GREAT!!!!

And then my day got even better!!!

Even though my hubby had already fixed my problems, and let me cry it out... he sealed the cheering up by sending me flowers during the day on Thursday.  I feel so loved, and I get to look at these beautiful flowers until he comes to see me himself ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!

By the time these flowers wilt, I will be seeing my hubby in person, and I will be wrapped within his real arms.

12 days down -- 8 days to go!

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Gratitude: Day 12

I am glad I chose to focus on gratitude during these weeks summer weeks working away from my loved ones.  This is when it would be very easy to simply complain and cry to the blog world... but that is not the focus of these weeks.  There is always something to be greatful for.

Today, I am grateful for old, comforting movies that offer an escape from reality, a relaxing few hours, and words for a real-life situation.

Last night, I enjoyed a few hours away from reality with You've Got Mail.  Last night, I was especially grateful for the "Goodnight, Dear Void" scene:

"Sometimes I wonder about my life.
I lead a small life.
Well, valuable, but small.
And sometimes I wonder... I do it because I like it...
...or because I haven't been brave?
So much of what I see reminds me of something in a book...
...when shouldn't it be the other way around?
I don't want an answer. I just want... send this cosmic question into the void.
...good night, dear void."

11 days down; 9 to go!

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gratitude: Day 11

As I am writing this post today, I am not feeling very grateful.  I am telling myself how fortunate I am for so many things in my life -- including this summer of working like a dog following immediately by the school year of back-to-the-grind.  I am listing my blessings for myself to try to buck myself up and increase my level of gratitude, but today, it is not working.

Today, I am grateful that I can come to my Lord when I am not grateful.  I am grateful that I am cast all my cares onto the Lord, and He does not judge me for my momentarily (or sometimes longer) lack of gratitude.  I am grateful that I have nothing to hide from my Comforter and Keeper, because He knows every word that is on my tongue before it gets there.

Today, I am so grateful for my Savior, my Brother, my Friend, my Deliverer, my Rock, my Comforter, my Defender, my Almighty God, my Everlasting Father.

As I am typing that, I am reminded of a song, that I love, and haven't sung at church in such a long time.  It's call and response between men and women, which I LOVE, You Are Holy (Prince of Peace) by Michael W. Smith.

During the refrain, the woman sing the following... such beautiful words, and an even better sentiment:

You are Lord of Lords, You are King of Kings,
You are Mighty God, Lord of Everything,
You're Emmanuel, You're the Great I AM,
You're the Prince of Peace who is the Lamb,
You're the Living God, You're my Saving Grace,
You will reign forever, You are Ancient of Days,
You are Alpha, Omega, Beginning and End,
You're my Savior, Messiah,
Redeemer and Friend,
You're my Prince of Peace, and I will live my life for you.

That is what I am grateful for today.

 10 days down; 10 to go!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Gratitude: Day 10


Hubby and I have made it to the half-way point of this time a part!!!!  I am SO grateful that from here on out, we are on the second half, the down-hill, the home stretch, the countdown to seeing each other!!

Also, as silly as it sounds, I am grateful for The Bachelorette...  and The Bachelor (although The Bachelorette is what is currently airing).  I know its silly, I'm not sure how authentic everything is, although I think the guys on there seem to be pretty sincere... but I really enjoy these shows because I fall more in love with my husband when I watch them.


When I hear the participants talking about the object of their affection and remember their dates together and moments when they knew that person was the "One", I think of my hubby and I remember special dates that we had, and when our relationship became serious.

I hear how twitter-pated they are with each other, and I get all giddy and twitter-pated with love for my husband.

Also, these shows make me grateful that I HAVE the man of my dreams.  I am not still searching for him.

9 days down -- 11 to go!

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Gratitude: Day 9

Today, I am grateful that my HUGE comprehensive exam research paper for my university O&M program is completed, and submitted!!!

This paper has been hanging over my head all summer.  The way the University handles the comprehensive exam for Orientation and Mobility is to email out two case-studies of different students, and I had one week to write an extensive, comprehensive research paper about how the O&M services for one of these students would look.

The week of comp exams fell last week -- my first week in Tucson, away from my hubby, in a new place, at a new practicum placement.  I was none-too-thrilled at the timing, although I'm not sure when, this summer, I would have chosen to have a huge, comprehensive exam due.

I will find out in about a month if I have passed or failed (I WILL PASS!).  If I pass, all is right with the world.  If I fail, I have one more chance to take another comp exam in the fall, and if I fail that one as well, all of my course work with the University is canceled out.

I worked SO hard on this paper, and prayed like crazy through it.  I HAVE to have passed this exam.

All of that being said, today, I am treasuring this night that it is over -- turned in -- finished!

8 days down -- 12 to go!

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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Gratitude: Day 8

Today, I am grateful for Sunday -- the day of rest.

Rarely do I feel that Sunday is a day of rest -- more often than not in might be Saturday for me.  Sunday is nice... but not always a day of focused rest and worship.

Today, I still have some work to do... but today will truly be a day of rest.  I will be finding a church to attend in Tucson, I will be completing ONE FINAL proof-reading of my research paper and TURNING IT IN, and preparing for a few O&M lessons for next week.

All of that having been said, today will be SOOO RESTFUL compared to the week I had.  I am giddy just thinking about the rest my body and spirit will get today.

Not only will my body get more rest by being able to sleep in a little, but I will NOT be out in the Tucson heat for a prolonged period of time AT ALL today!

Thank you, Lord, that You knew humans so well that You knew we would need one day to recover from our work.  Thank you for Sundays.

7 days down -- 13 to go!!!

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gratitude: Day 7

Today, I am grateful for rain.

Tucson has a LOT of heat... but it also has these beautiful rainstorms.  Not every day, but just about every day and a half, Tucson gets a HUGE thunderstorm.  It may not last very long -- maybe 15 minutes, but it is BIG complete with thunder, lightning, wind, sheets of rain.  It's called Monsoon Season.

Apparently, as a city, Tucson isn't very equipped to deal with heavy rain, and has flood warnings posted all over the city... but as a Coloradian for the past 4.5 years, I LOVE rain storms.  We don't get rain storms -- REAL thunder storms.  I can think of maybe 3 big  thunder storms in my 4.5 years in Colorado.  We get big snow storms, little rain showers, and plenty of droughts... but we don't big, beautiful thunder storms.

I am LOVING the Tucson monsoon season.  It is a nice trade-off to the insane temperatures.

I took these pictures yesterday during a storm, and accidentally labeled them "typhoon" instead of "monsoon" -- clearly, I'm not from around these parts.

6 days down -- 14 to go!

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Gratitude: Day 6

Today, I am grateful for time.

While on the whole, I want this time in Tucson to fly by, I am grateful for today -- time to write my research paper.

Yesterday, I spent 13 hours working for practicum, and I will be working all of Saturday and Sunday... so today, I have a day off -- TO WRITE MY PAPER.

I am so prayerful that I be diligent with my gift of time, that the Lord will guide my research and my writing, and that by tonight, I will have a very solid first draft of my paper written.

Furthermore, I am So grateful that two weeks from today, I get to see my HUBBY!

5 days down -- 15 to go!

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gratitude: Day 5

Today, as I type Gratitude: Day 5, I am grateful that I am 25% of the way through my Tucson practicum experience.

That is not to say that I sit around wishing away every day, because I do not... but Tucson is really hot, and I am grateful for each day I get through without heat stroke.  Yesterday was the first day I was out and about for O&M lessons -- the lesson from 1:00-3:00 was a doozy.

I do not want to wish away my time here... I want to treasure my time here, and gain everything possible from this experience.  Nevertheless, my huge O&M paper is due Sunday, and so I am kind of am wishing away every day until Sunday.

Yesterday afternoon, I couldn't keep my eyes open while reading research, so I decided to take a 20-minute power-nap.  I set my cell phone alarm, and fell asleep immediately.  I awoke 2 hours later and my cell phone was on the floor.  I'm not exactly sure what transpired when the alarm went off, but I certainly did not wake up.

I think the afternoon in the heat might have affected my afternoon exhaustion.  Next week, a two hour nap would be okay -- this week, I HAVE TO WRITE THIS PAPER... and I really need to be awake to do it.

4 days down -- 16 to go.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Gratitude: Day 4

Today, I am so grateful for a word in season.

In the same breath, I am grateful to be spending this month is a larger city because I can tune in to K-LOVE radio and keep the station for my entire commute throughout Tucson.  When I commute to work in the mountains, I can only keep a radio station for about 10-20 miles before I lose the signal.

Last night, I was reading research article after research article for the comprehensive exam research paper I have to submit by Sunday at midnight, and I was listening to K-LOVE.  I am on edge about this research paper -- its a huge deal.  I am not nervous about the writing part as I am comfortable in my writing ability, but I am nervous about my research, my application of the O&M teaching strategies, and all the facets of the case study about which I am writing.  I am worried I will miss something, or not be able to condense all the pieces of writing I want to include into a cohesive, intelligent paper.

I am applying myself to this first week of practicum... but all of my spare hours are spent researching and working on this paper from now until the Sunday night deadline.

All of that being said, I had K-LOVE radio playing while I was reading research and I heard a DJ talking in between songs.  Despite my concentration on the research, what the DJ said worked its way through my reading, and he spoke such a word in season for me.

"Work like it depends on you.  Pray like it depends on God."

I have been praying like crazy through this paper, and I fully trust that the Lord will draw to mind all the knowledge I have acquired, and help me to produce a paper of quality and substance... but I also know that in order to receive God's favor in this assignment, I have to put in the work!

The DJ said that there is a new book out by Pastor Mark Batterson called The Circle Maker.  I haven't had time to fully look into the book, but I am so grateful for this word in season, and a phrase to which I will cling for the next five days and beyond.

Work like it depends on you.
Pray like it depends on God.

That is exactly what I'm going to do.

3 days down - 17 to go.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Gratitude: Day 3

Today I am grateful for a smooth and enjoyable first day yesterday at my practicum placement.

I am grateful for friendly co-workers.
I am grateful for friendly and welcoming students.
I am grateful that the day was a little low-key because the students had just returned from Orlando, and everyone needed a chance to re-group and catch their breath.
I am grateful that I was able to find the office without a problem.

These students with whom I will be working are VERY advanced travelers, and while I feel a little over-my-head in teaching them, I see working with them as a priceless opportunity to learn.  Many of these students are headed to college this fall -- this is as advanced as O&M teaching gets!

I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from such advanced students.

2 days down - 18 to go

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Gratitude: Day 2

I am settled in Tucson.

Yesterday was a long day of traveling and a very tearful parting from my hubby, but by the end of the day I was settled into a lovely home with a lovely hostess and an adorable little puppy (well, a 3-year-old tiny dog).

As I think about leaving for work today and jumping into the challenges of these next three weeks, I am grateful that I only have to do the first day once.  For better or for worse, the first day only happens once.

1 day down, 19 to go

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Sunday, July 7, 2013

Gratitude: Day 1

For most of the remainder of July I will be in Tucson, Arizona... alone... completing practicum teaching hours... in the heat.

I absolutely HATE that I will be away from my husband for 20 days.
I hate that I have to complete my comprehensive O&M exams during my first week at this new and initial practicum placement.
I hate that Tucson is so incredibly hot in July.
I hate that I cannot blink like I Dream of Jeannie and these 20 days would be over.

I anticipate a strong possibility that my blog could become a very negative place in the next 20 days, and so I plan to make a very conscious effort to focus on gratitude during these 20 days.

Even if it is only a memory, I am SURE I can find one thing each day for which to be grateful, and hopefully there will be many more things than one per day.

Please keep me in prayer during this difficult season, and feel free to join me in making a conscious effort to focus on gratitude in your life during these 20 days.

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Saturday, July 6, 2013

Just Fishin

I've had this song in my head for a few days and as we have a new little niece, it seems appropriate food for thought:

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

It's America!

Happy Independence Day!

We truly live in the greatest country in the world, and we are so incredibly blessed by our forefathers and service men and women who paved the way for us to live in freedom.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Precious Moments with Hubby

Hubby and I are cherishing every moment together this week because we know the time is eminent when I board a plane and fly to Tucson where I will be, alone for three weeks, without my hubby.

I am trying with every fiber of my being to NOT think about what is ahead for us in the rest of July because I don't want it to ruin these beautiful and precious days I have with Hubby.

Since we've reconnect in St. Louis, we have had an amazing time -- mostly, amazing because we are finally together during our summer vacation.  Here are some events of the past 36 hours:
  • lunch with Mom Miller
  • evening nap (TOGETHER!!!  YAY!)
  • time at the hospital waiting for Zivah with the parents-to-be and other family members
  • Gathering outside the hospital room practically pressing our ears to the door to hear Zivah's first cries :-D
  • Celebrating Zivah's arrival
  • SLEEPING LATE Tuesday morning
  • Laying in bed watching reruns of The Bachelorette together
  • Swimming in the rain, and 61* weather -- the water was warmer than the air, and it felt wonderful
  • Errands
  • Seeing more St. Louis family
  • Exchanging Anniversary gifts (it was 2 years last week, but we weren't together on our anniversary)
  • Enjoying a romantic and joyful anniversary dinner
And the good times are still rolling.

Hubby surprised me with my anniversary gift -- we are headed to Nashville this week to see a Grand Ole Opry performance.  We will either head down Wednesday, or head down Friday, and we are so excited.  We both love Nashville, and it only about 4.5 hours from St. Louis.  We will have such a nice anniversary getaway within our summer St. Louis vacation.

I really married the best man in the world.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome, Niece, Zivah!

Our first niece, Zivah Rodriguez (middle name: Alyse or Elyse... they haven't chosen the spelling yet) was born last night, July 1, 2013 at 10:43pm.
She weighed 7 lb 3 oz and was 20.5 inches long.

Both Hubby and I arrived in St. Louis about 10 hours before she arrived, and were incredibly blessed to be at the hospital when she entered the world, and our family.
Sister Becky did great and both Mom and Zivah are doing very well.

We are so blessed by this new addition to the world.

We can't wait to get to know this beautiful, perfect, child of God's.

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