2.26.2012

it is funny the things that made me sad as a mom as my kiddos got older. for some reason, the sharp i-teeth were a hard step for me. there is something about those teeth that make a baby look so much more grown up to me.

it made me so sad each time lily and eve got those teeth. it is a natural progression from the adorable two teeth on bottom first and so on for almost all kiddos. not for annie! it is as if she knew how to make something so small into a new and fun part of motherhood instead of something else to dread about them growing up.

enter my snaggle tooth. girlfriend got all her teeth in the most bizarre and abnormal pattern and you never know which one will break through the gums next. i admit i love her snaggly smile so much. i have tried without success to capture it in the past but i just love this snapshot of her in the bath showing her wonky teeth off with pride!

2.23.2012

2012 has been a banner year so far for the b family. we ended 2011 on a good note, leaving behind one of the hardest years so far for our little family. we had more stress than we have experienced before- a new baby, two self-owned businesses, new convictions and callings to process. it was a lot and really, even though we made efforts to live & serve outside of our nuclear family we were mostly serving in an insular fashion.

this year we have committed to change that. heading to haiti together was the first step in a direction i am really excited about. the amazing people we met and served in haiti were inspiring and we are going to continue serving one of the local leaders from austin. we have committed (along with some fabulous folks in our church community group) to raise the funds to build another home similar to the one we worked on during our trip.

the home we are funding is part of a focused initiative to prevent human trafficking on the Haiti/Dominican Republic border. we will build a cluster of homes that will be dedicated to the most vulnerable orphans. each home will cost $6,000 and we will sacrifice in several ways this year to fund the project. we are still figuring out the details, but ideas so far include cutting back on our grocery bill and donating the savings, having a garage sale, donating our birthdays, being sponsored for athletic events, etc. other ideas are appreciated!! :)

so as lent gets underway we are asking ourselves, what will we sacrifice? what is God asking us to do with our lives? who is he calling us to be?

no answers yet, but i am enjoying living within the questions for now.

2.20.2012

photo highlights from our trip are on the bloom blog at - http://www.bloomaustin.com/blog/?p=2681

2.19.2012

we are home. being with my loved ones here that i missed all week has been all too wonderful.

our trip was restorative. it was burdening.

i'm not sure i'm ready to talk/write about it yet. i'm trying. i will. i appreciate your patience :) in the meantime, you can see pictures (some that need explanation- to come i promise) at flikr - HERE... but consider yourself warned- there are almost 500 images.

and because words are seeming to fail me today, i will refer to a blog post from kisses from katie that says more than i can about how i feel about the trip right now.

someone asked me the other day, "really? is it really as great as you make it sound?i could never do that! are you really happy?" for all of you who wonder, this is my response.

you know what i want sometimes? to go to the mall and spend a ridiculous amount of money on a cute new pair of shoes. i want to sit on my kitchen counter chatting with my girlfriends and eat a whole carton of cookie dough ice cream. i want to watch grey's anatomy, or any tv for that matter. i want to cuddle with my sweet boyfriend. i want to hop in my cute car, go to the grocery store, and pick up any kind of produce i want. i want to wake up in a house with my loving family, not all by myself. i want to go to blockbuster and pick out a movie to watch with my little brother and his friends and i want to cook for them at midnight. i want to spend mindless hours with my best friends talking about boys and fashion and school and life. i want to go to the gym. i want my hair to look nice. i want to wear cut off jean shorts. i want to be a normal teenager living in america. i do.

but. you know what i want more? ALL the time? i want to be spiritually and emotionally filled every day of my life. i want to be loved and cuddled by100 children and never go a day without laughing. i want to wake up to a rooster, my two africa dogs, and a splendid view of the nile river. i want to be challenged endlessly; i want to be learning and growing every minute. i want to be taught by those i teach. i want to share God's love with people who otherwise might not know it. i want to work so hard that i end every day filthy and too tired to move. i want to feel needed, important, used by the Lord. i want to make a differnce and i want to follow the calling that God has planted deep in my heart. i want to give my life away, to serve the Lord with each breath, each second. i want to be here. right here.


2.09.2012

moon. where do i even begin? my siblings and i have been emailing this afternoon with classic lines my dad used to ALWAYS say to us as kids. these include but are not limited to:

'now say that back to me, what did i just tell you'
'i don't know isn't an answer. you DO know'
'look at me when i'm talking to you'
'just so we're clear let me say that back to you so that i understand what you're saying'
and so so many more.

despite his somewhat *achem* unorthodox parenting skills, we really are three very lucky kids. one of the things that stands out most about my dad is the way he loves my mom. you'd be hard pressed to find two people that are more different but so compatible at the same time. i remember his notes on her bathroom counter in the morning (always on index cards) and the way he made sure respecting her was our #1 priority as a family.

i can't wait until the day my kids torture me over email with all the ridiculous lines they tired of hearing as kids. because that will mean i did a pretty good job or they were at least listening at some point.

2.06.2012

i'm having a thankful day. i started the day with an update from a friend whose little one year-old was in the hospital last night due to dehydration. i was already starting off thinking of how lucky we are to live in a country where we have access to such amazing resources. discussions of the messed up nature of our healthcare system aside, if my kids are in major trouble, there are doctors with clean buildings full of modern medicine just a few minutes away. that is pretty amazing.

then our housekeeper showed up. oh maria how i love you, let me count the ways. she has been cleaning our house for nearly 4 years and we appreciate her so much. as soon as we said hello she told me in the most excited voice about how she filled out her citizenship paperwork this weekend. there were volunteers at a local high school helping her through the process and she had a huge smile on her face telling me about it.

what an exciting prospect for her. i have thought about it all day. we are just really really lucky.

kevin and i are leaving on friday for our week voluteering in haiti. i am most looking forward to spending time with the orphans that our church sponsors and giving our 11 year old michel, who we have been sponsoring since she was 8, a big big hug.

i have a feeling we will return feeling even luckier than ever.

2.05.2012

good gravy this house selling business is no fun. you also don't realize how smelly your old dog is until every stranger that comes into your house mentions it. sheesh.

we have had about 25 scheduled showings and so far, no dice! we are being as patient as two parents of 3 babes keeping our house spotless at all times can possibly be. (which is to say not nearly as patient as we could be)

in more hilarious news my dad now owns and iphone and is texting. so far he has sent a photo of his dogs via text message and is cracking me up asking if his texts were 'tweeting'. (which i find particularly hilarious since this was intended as a joke and i was simultaneously amused and proud of him for making an accurate technology joke). i'm just happy to know i can now stay close to my phone for all the breaking news in possum kingdom deer blinds and whataburger drive thrus.

2.03.2012

things in life are so rarely black and white. no matter how much easier it would be if they were- they aren't. so anytime i come across anyone who is 100% for or against something i will admit i give them a bit of a raised eyebrow. surely there is some gray area in there somewhere.

i realize we often have to sweep the gray under the rug to move forward with conviction and consensus, but you can at least admit the gray exists.

i am proud to say that i have facebook 'friends' on both sides of pretty much every political spectrum and issue. i have the (un)lucky position of seeing my conservative friends high five each other while my liberal friends lament a policy change and vice versa. i'm sure this does not make me unique but being someone who often sits in the middle, i am sometimes surprised by whose responses rub me the wrong way.

in a somewhat similar light, i picked up a copy of 'when helping hurts' last night. we leave for haiti in just 7 days and i feel incredibly unprepared. reading this is a sobering realization that 'doing good' doesn't always fare so well for those left behind. again, it isn't black and white. there is a lot of gray.

at least on facebook i can 'hide' a feed that puts opinions in my face that i would rather not see. i have a feeling what we see in haiti will stay in the forefronts of our minds for a long time to come.

2.02.2012

standard disclaimer to ignore my obnoxious voice, but annie is just too cute to not share. here is her 'evil' laugh!