8:35 AM

A Decade of Love

Posted by Courtney |

A Decade....

10 Years....

When I was younger I dreamed of making it to this point of marriage. I don't know why. Maybe the fact that the statistics say that most marriages end with in the first 5 years. Not that I thought mine was ever going to end but I just wanted to prove to people that we WOULD make it. I can't believe we are here. I love Nathan more today than the day I married him.

So in honor of my Anniversary, I thought I would tell some special memories from our wedding day (sorry if it's a little long...)

The Rehearsal Dinner~
It was Friday, August 4th, 2000, (3 months out of high school) the day I was to become Mrs. Nathan Watkins. WOW! I still like the sound of that. I was 18 years old (crazy young I know) but I was definitely ready to be a wife. I was not as interested in the wedding ceremony but more interested and excited about my everyday life with Nathan. That Friday morning....wait let me back up to Thursday night. The rehearsal dinner was fantastic and so memorable. We had a Mexican theme night with catered Mexican food for the meal. Nathan's family did such a wonderful job making it special & exciting. After the evening, Nathan and I said good bye for the last time as 2 single people. He went home to pack for the honeymoon and so did I. I remember packing up the last few boxes in my room realizing that I was never going to have a room in that house with my parents again. It was about 2am when I was finished packing and with tears streaming down my face, I walked downstairs to my parents room in hopes that they would still be awake. I listened at the door for a moment and heard talking. "YES",I thought. I went and and climbed in bed with them. I was laying in between my parents just crying and saying how grateful I was to them for being such amazing parents. By the end of the night, there was a HUGE pile of tissues on the end of the bed because we had been balling our eyes out. Not sure what time we ended up going to sleep. Such an incredible memory I will always have.

The Wedding Day~
From the Wedding day, I remember my dad walking in the Children's church room at the old SGC building where we got ready for the wedding and when he looked at me, there were tears in his eyes. His little girl was getting married. I'm sure his details of that moment are a little more vivid though. :) When everyone was in place for the ceremony, I heard the music start, and I remember reaching for my dad's arm and told him, "Ok this is it. Are you ready daddy?". The next thing I remember, we were walking down the aisle with my parents beside me and I was staring at this incredible man that God had picked out JUST for me. I was overcome with emotion and cried the WHOLE ceremony. We didn't wanted to do the traditional communion that's usually done at weddings because what was more special to us than that was washing each others feet. So that's exactly what we did....in front of everyone...on stage! HAHA!!! Most people think that it's strange that we did that (yea, I guess it was) but the meaning behind it was what was important for us. It signified that we were going to make serving one another and putting each other first, a foundation for our marriage. It's the very building blocks for our lives. I will never forget what we said to each other as we did that. "I commit to serve you and put you first no matter what." And I can say 10 years later, there's no doubt that we took that commitment seriously.

There was kissing, hugging, pronouncing of husband and wife, pictures, pictures, pictures and then more pictures and then some more pictures. I swear pictures took the longest part of the night. It was ridiculous. Then came the going away part of the evening where the guests throw everything but the kitchen sick at you. Well they did in our case. For some reason, and I honestly don't remember deciding this detail of the wedding, but we had every known version of throwing material known to man. There were Bubbles, flower petals and rice. HUH???
*Note to future brides: Note a good idea*

Reason's why it's not a good idea:

Reason #1. That's just stupid
Reason #2. It makes people think you can't make a freaking decision.
Reason #3. Because kids will think it's funny to chunk bottles of bubbles in your eyes. That stuff burns.
Reason #4. Bird seed sticks to bubbles.

I looked like a matted wet birds nest by the time we made it to our limo. I think Nathan yelled out, "What the?? Who did that?"You can clearly hear that on our wedding video. Oops :) LOL!!

The Reception~
So much FUN!!!! By the time we arrived, the party was definitely started. Everyone was dancing, eating, laughing and having a blast. We had our reception at a hotel in Grand Prairie TX. I'm so glad we did because it topped off the night with a bang. Nathan and I had our first dance to song that he had written and pre-recorded for me. I hadn't heard it before until that moment. YES, I cried. It was amazing and sweet.
Lots of dancing after that. cake cutting, more dancing, smiling and greeting every single person imaginable. I think we totaled up the number of people that attended the wedding and reception. Wedding- almost 1000 Reception- 600. We had a BIG wedding to say the least. So since we had our rice/bubble/flower throwing fiasco when we left the church to the reception, it allowed us to be able to sneak out of the reception without anyone knowing. This is how we wanted it. That way the party could keep on going and no one felt obligated to leave just because we left. Such a great memory of Nathan and I looking at each other and smiling which translated to, "Let's get the heck out of here!" I went to my parents and whispered in their ear, "Hey, I think we're going to leave now." I believe this is a pretty special memory for my dad. He always talks about it. Nathan and I made our secret get away through the hotel kitchen. We literally RAN through the kitchen to our waiting limo outside.
So fun :) Then it's honeymoon time baby!!!!

The Honeymoon~
No don't worry.....I'm not going to give you an details here :) All I'll say is.... we had the BEST honeymoon EVER! We went on a Eastern Caribbean Cruise and then followed it up with Disney World. Words can not describe the amount of fun we had. Oh those are the days....

There you have it. The whole wedding day in a nut shell.

I have loved every single day being married to Nathan. I can not say enough about how amazing he is. I promise he puts most guys to shame by the way he takes care of me and loves me. And even though I got married young, I have never, not even for a second thought that, uh oh maybe I shouldn't have done this. Marrying him was the best decision I have ever made besides deciding to follow Jesus. These 10 years have been full of lifes up's and downs but through it all, we have had each other to lean on. Every day I grow in new love for him. I REALLY thought I loved him on our wedding day, but boy was I wrong. I love him more today than I did then. He is the truest example of how our heavenly Father loves us. I get to see Jesus just by looking at Nathan. WOW! I'm a blessed women.

So here's to you Honey. Happy 10 year Anniversary! You are incredible in every way. Thank you for showing what REAL love looks like. You totally rock my world!

I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

6:19 AM

A little disappointed

Posted by Courtney |

Moving oversea is definitely not easy. But I was thinking it would be a little less complicated than it has been. You know with having family living over here already and having a Belgian brother in law it just seems like it would be pretty smooth sailing. And it really has except for dealing with stupid visas.

We were told that all we had to do was get Nathan a visa and everything would be great. Me and the kids would go over on his visa and be able to get our ID cards, insurance, & kid credits from the government. Yes we can BUT it's a MUCH longer process. We went today to register at the commune of Waterloo in order to get our ID cards etc... The sweet woman behind the desk, informed us that while yes it's legal for us to do that, she now has to send off my paper work to the ministry of Interior to ask permission to give me and the kids ID cards. This process could take several months. Therefore we aren't going to be "officially" living here until we get our ID cards.


This means that I can't register the kids for school, which means it will be that much longer for them to learn the language. I am pretty bummed. This isn't the end of the world news but we've already been dealing with Nathan's visa stuff for over 4 months now and the thought of dealing with even more visa issues for another God knows how long, just completely discourages me.

I know God is in control so I will trust that He knows exactly what he's doing. I guess this means that we can come back to Texas anytime in Oct and come back as late as we want :) This could be a really good thing for us, but I just have to get over my plans I had made for the rest of the year. I have to focus on the positive. I have to focus on the positive. Nathan at least has HIS ID card. We can at least get a bank account now!! Woohoo!!

So here we are again....waiting...waiting....waiting. Hopefully we'll hear an answer before we have to leave in Oct. If we don't, not sure what we'll do then. Oh God, please cause this process to go fast!!!

I'm told, this is all part of the process of moving over seas, but I wish it wasn't so. I just want to have ALL THIS BEHIND US!!!!

9:38 AM

After 7 1/2 years, it's finally over!

Posted by Courtney |

I no longer have wet, smelly, poopy, disgusting diapers to change!!!!

My last and final child is potty trained!! Let's all stop and do the happy dance for me!

This is a big moment in a mother's life (DUH!!!). A moment that I am thanking God for every second of the day!!

After having 4 children in diapers for approx. 2 years each, with an average of 6 diaper changes a day, that's 17, 520 DIAPERS that I've changed in my 7 1/2 years of being a parent. Not to mention all of Judah's issues he had about 9 months ago. That's A LOT OF DIAPERS!!!!

Early on as a mother, I thought that this moment was NEVER going to happen. I mean, you can't see beyond what's right in front of you face most days as a mother. Older mom's would say to me, "Appreciate every second cause it goes by so fast". I would think, "yeah yeah. The kids running all around you, snot on your clothes from noses that constantly run, poop on your jeans, laundry up to your ears, the "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mom, MOM" that you've tuned out because you've heard it 600,000 times that MORNING, you mean THAT I'm going to miss???!!! I could only wish.

But times like these it makes you appreciate it all. You take a step back and think..."Hmm....wow....it really does go by way to fast".

So Judah is officially potty trained. He is doing so well and was so easy to potty train, despite my fears. Everyone told me boys are way harder to potty train than girls. Well I had 3 girls and they were relatively easy. I was terrified to potty train Judah. Maybe Judah is unusual or something because I think he was easier than the girls. By the end of the first day, he had mastered the technique. End of 2nd day he was deciding when he needed to go. Then by the 3rd day, he was a full fledged potty trained machine. I am so proud of him. I mean he still has an accidents, but not very often. He honestly acted like it was no big deal. Like, "Duh mom, I was just tricking you my entire existence to see how long I could ride this whole changing service thing out."

So life is grand! I am diaper FREE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Only thing I'm going to miss.....the diaper bags. I have this obsession with them. Maybe I can switch my obsession to hand bags..... WAHAHAHAAAA (evil villain laugh)

1:53 PM

Jet lag, French bread and a Twin Mattress....

Posted by Courtney |

What do all these things have in common???

If you guessed moving to Belgium, you would be correct. I still have to keep pinching myself that I'm actually here. After many years and months planning and dreaming about what life would be like living in Europe, it's finally a reality.

The day we left is such a blur. I know I cried a LOT. Saying goodbye to the people I love the most was insane. No one can prepare you for that. The plane ride was interesting with four kids. They all did really well, although not all the kids slept at the same time which meant no sleep for the exhausted parents. (Side note: If you are planning a trip overseas with small children, it's important to book your flight with the long plane ride first and not second. Trust me...It's just better.) But no trip (or who am I kidding) day would be complete without at least 1 of my children throwing up. Yep, Kadyn threw up ON THE AIRPLANE!!!! It was a nightmare. I will never look at airplane blankets the same again. ICK!!!!! And I thought that Maddy was going to follow suit cause she apparently gets motion sickness. It was an intense half hour to say the least.
On the airplane before the throw up incident

Which brings me the next phase of our journey...JET LAG!!! Oh how I hate jet lag. Basically you just feel like crap for a whole week and lay around like a lump on a log. The girls did surprising well though. Judah on the other hand, not so well. The first night he woke up in the middle of the night calling for me, when I went in there he was wide awake and said, "Mommy, I took a nap! Now I want to get up." It was so funny to see a little boy so wide awake and ready for the day. But after a couple of nights every child was on schedule.

One of the greatest things that I have enjoyed living in Belgium so far, is the fresh French bread and pastries. Dear God I pray I don't gain 100 lbs. There is just nothing better than waking up early and driving to the bakery to get some fresh baked goodness. Mmmmm.....my favorite one is a chocolate filled croissant with a layer of chocolate on top. Holy cow its AMAZING! And everyday having sandwiches on a baguette. I always feel so European.

So basically things would be pretty stinking awesome if it weren't for one little thing.
Sharing a TWIN BED with Nathan for 2 weeks. WHY??? Well you see, Our container (which was supposed to be here over a week ago) has not been delivered. It has our wonderful, glorious, comfortable, stupendous, delightful, beautiful queen bed on it. And the only bed available was a twin size mattress on the floor. Sure it was nice for a couple of nights. Gave me an excuse to cuddle. But after 2 WEEKS???? Yeah you might as well put me in a straight jacket. I am SOOOOOO done cuddling. (Just kidding honey). How does 2 grown adults sleep on a twin size mattress night after night for 2 weeks you ask?? It's pretty systematic. We both can't lay on our backs at the same time so we have to lay on our sides not pulling up our legs too far as to not knee our spouse in the gut or butt. We have to, in our sleep, feel when the other is about to turn over and then do the same....all night LONG. I bet we look hilarious.

Thank God our sleeping on a twin mattress is coming to an end. Our container arrives tomorrow morning at 8am. I am so excited! Like seriously excited!! We went to Ikea today to get a couple of things for our room. It's going to look so cute. I can't wait to post before and after pics. We also went to Bricco (Belgium's version of Home Depot) to buy some paint. If you have ever seen a pic of our bedroom you would know why we needed to paint. It was awful. Now after a couple of hours spent painting tonight, it's a beautiful off white color. A huge improvement from the burnt orange and cream with palm trees on the wall.

This pretty much sums up my first 2 weeks in Belgium. That and my lovely family. We just LOVE being together again. It's been a dream. Now if we could just get my other brothers, Holly, my niece Haddy and soon to be sister-in-love Hannah here, things would be perfect. ....Sigh...Oh well. Thank you Jesus for skype.....

...and for me getting out of a TWIN MATTRESS!!!!!

(Pictures taken in the airport before boarding for Belgium, eating our last mexican food meal)

8:18 AM

Happy Birthday Judah boy!

Posted by Courtney |

Today my son turns 2 years old.

I'm still amazed that I even have a son. After 3 girls I thought that I was just destined to a life of girls. Now don't get me wrong, I love having girls! Girls are so incredible! They play barbies, baby dolls, love to help in the kitchen, you get to put cute bows on them and frilly dresses. But oh my WORD they are complicated and emotional beings. Boys, on the other hand, love to rough house, play batman and spider man, can find constant entertainment with a simple stick but most of all, they aren't complicated at all. What you see is what you get. Very little ups and downs, just even keel. Quite refreshing. I'm sure the most excited person to find out we were having a boy was Nathan. He needed some more testosterone in the house to counteract 4 women. Poor Nathan and Judah :) On the plus side to having 4 girls in the house is that he has 4 women to dote over him and mother him. He eats it up. Which could be the reason he didn't start walking till he was 17 months old. Who needs to walk when you have 4 personal chauffeurs?

So today Judah Reign is 2! He came into this world in a hurry. If you want to read about his birth story click HERE

Judah has such a tenacious spirit. I believe that this is God given because of his destiny and call over his life, he will need that spirit to lead a generation who sees the coming of Christ. Judah also has this rare quality of drawing people. Everywhere we go, people are just drawn to talk to him and more often than not, people will say "There is just something different about him." I know that because of this gift, he will be able to have great impact in the nations and that people will listen to what he has to say. Judah will declare, "Prepare ye the way of the LORD" to his generation. Ahhh...I get so stirred just talking about it.

In the mean time though, Judah is completely into Spider man and batman. He told me that he wants to have a "bidaman birday" party (a.k.a Spider man birthday). HAHA!!! Didn't know boys got into this kind of stuff so early. I'm loving every minute of it though! He loves to do extravagant falls and wrestles with anyone who will engage him. He is talking so well. I can carry on an entire conversation with him now. He is just so much fun!

His day started off with the traditional birthday donuts. Then for lunch we took him + the girls to McDonalds to eat and play.
We then took him to Toys R Us where he got to pick out a special birthday present. This is what he chose

And here he is next to his favorite super hero

We will have a big birthday party for him probably next Sat. Haven't nailed down all the details yet.

Happy Birthday Judah boy! You are so loved! We couldn't imagine life without you.

The word "Change" can be: exciting, different, thrilling, exhilarating. But most of all, down right NOT FUN!!!!!!

Who knew that 2 1/2 years ago, my family would undergo the most drastic "change" we've ever experienced. That with one conversation, our lives (as we knew them) would be turned up side down.

Almost 6 months ago, I packed up my parents and youngest brother and sent them off to Israel to live. I thought that I would never be able to survive without them but I knew that having the rest of my family here with me in Texas was going to be my saving grace. Some may not be able to comprehend but my family and I are really close. Not a weird sort of close, but we all truly (spouses included) love being around each other. Having to pack up my parents house and sell most of the belongings that I remember growing up with, was the hardest thing I've had to do. When you see a casserole dish that your mom made all your favorite dishes in as a child walking out the door with some stranger cause they bought it in a garage sale, it makes you want to run after them screaming and demand that they stop stealing your stuff. You just can't begin to imagine the grieving process that I had, and still am having to go through. As if THAT wasn't hard enough....

....Here we are 6 months down the road, and NOW I'm having to pack my sister, Brother-in-love and beautiful, adorable, smart niece and nephew, to move to Belgium. Can it get any harder???? My sister who is my best friend, my 2nd mom to my children, my confidant, my call 6 times a day for stupid reasons person and my neighbor. I love her!!! I get so emotional just writing about it. I knew that when she married Jon that she was destined for a life overseas but it still doesn't make it any easier right now.
Today was move day for them. We loaded their 20 ft container this morning and watched it drive down the street on a semi headed to Houston and then to be loaded on a boat bound for Belgium. I did not have any emotions as we were loading things in or when I saw it drive away but right here in this moment, I feel all sorts of emotions. I feel happy that my sister is going to start this brand new life in Belgium and that my niece and nephew will be little french speakers. Happy that they are doing what the Lord has called them to do and that how fulfilled they will be. However, deep sadness that I won't get to see her or my little munchkins walk in the door unexpected and sadness that when I don't want to cook dinner, I can't just go 4 doors down to her house and eat her food. And that I wont be able to call her if something funny just happened, or if she wants to catch a late night movie with me after the kids have gone to bed. I got so used to having her so close to me. Belgium is going to be a HUGE adjustment.

Although I know that they are not actually moving for a couple more months, I know that the day is approaching. I'm having to prepare myself. I guess you could say there is some grieving that I'm having to go through.

I have lost my neighbor.

I used to pride myself in being a person who handles change well. But this kind of "change" I'm not handling well at all. It's not everyday you have to pack your parents, sister, brothers and nieces and nephews to go live overseas in the same year. Good thing is we serve a good God who supplies us with all of our needs. That includes GRACE. He has given me grace to have my mom, dad and brother living in Israel and I know that he will give me the grace to send my sister off to Belgium. But between now and then, I can sulk. :)I pray that we will not be separated for long. These sister's were meant to be in close proximity forever and always. So here's to you, "CHANGE". You're not my best friend right now.

9:46 AM

I can't believe this day is actually here!!!

Posted by Courtney |

My little son, Judah has officially jumped on the walking train. I thought this day would never get here. After all he is 17 months old. That is the latest any of my kids have EVER started walking. Kadyn was 14 months old and I thought that was late but NOOOOOO....17 months takes the cake.

He took his first steps about 2 months ago but never really had an interest in walking. He knew that crawling got him where he wanted go and QUICKLY!!! He literally was the fastest crawler I had ever seen. Anyone that saw him crawl would say the same thing. It was seriously hilarious. That boy loves speed and walking was just not fast enough for him. Until now. It probably didn't help that he had 3 older sisters who think they are his mom and carry him around the house like he's a baby doll. He even yells out, "Maddy, Maddy" with his arms raised when we wants to go somewhere. Smart I tell you.

Here is a video of his new found love:

Way to go Judah!!! Welcome to the wonderful world of walking! We are so proud of you!!!! I love you Judah boy!