9:26 AM

Tribute to my husband!

Posted by Courtney |

Wow!! My husband is 30 years old! Where did the time go? If feels like just yesterday when we were in high school together. Now we have been married for 8 years and have 4 beautiful children!

Nathan's birthday was on the 15th of December but we had his party on the 13th. It was such an AMAZING party, thanks to Anthony and Tracee Smith who hosted the party at their house. Everything was decorated so beautifully and the food....Oh the FOOD...was delicious! We had fajitas with all the fixins. I personally believe it was better than any restaurant we could have gone to! The goal of the party was to show Nathan how special he is. I had a little surprise up my sleeve for that...(evil grin). If anyone knows Nathan, you know that surprises are SOOO hard to keep from him. He figures anything and everything out. Well I had all his friends and family chip in to get him a Taylor guitar for his birthday. This was a big deal because you see, a few years ago Nathan had to sell his super nice Taylor guitar that he bought and paid for himself before we got married. It was a collectors edition. That guitar was his baby. And he had to sell it because we ran into MAJOR financial troubles. He felt that the only way to help provide for his family, was to sell it! Since then, I have always thought, why didn't I just refuse to let him sell it? It meant so much to him and it was a HUGE passion of his heart. I have regretted that decision ever since.

Well...when I was thinking of what I could get him for his birthday, that was the first thing that popped into my head. I just knew that I would never be able to pay for it myself (because they usually cost $1000 and up), so I sent out a secret email asking his friends and family to help out. And they did!!!!!! We were able to surprise Nathan with a Taylor 210ce and an awesome case. He was surprised out of his mind! He could not believe that we all did that for HIM!!! Our goal was accomplished :)
Here's some picture from the party

Nathan never thought in a million years that he would have another Taylor again, and while his new guitar is not quite as nice as his old one, the sound on it is AMAZING!!!! One sign that I knew he was thrilled, is when he got up the next morning, he immediately grabbed it and started playing it. It brought a tear to my eye, to say the least.

So THANK YOU AGAIN all you who made this dream come true! You have no idea what this meant to Nathan and I. Love you guys!

Nathan is the most AMAZING individual that I have EVER come in contact with. He loves the Lord with his whole heart and pushes me to grow in Him more. I love this man!!!!!! When I tell people of how great of a husband, father and friend he is, I often wonder if people really understand that I'm not lying! He is the same man at home in private that he is around hundreds of people. His character and integrity amaze me! Nathan is the BEST husband in the world, and I mean that! He is constantly serving me and the kids. I honestly think there is not one selfish bone in his body! On our wedding day, instead of taking communion, we washed each other's feet, which was symbolic of servant hood. This foundational principle we built our marriage around. To Serve one another daily and put each other's needs before our own. Nathan exemplifies this to the millionth degree! How did I get such an AMAZING husband???? I know what you're thinking, you're making him sound perfect. Well...he pretty much is. There is not a whole lot of bad things that anyone, not even his wife, can say bad about the guy! I think that speaks volumes!

So here's to you Honey!!!! I love you more than words can say! You inspire me everyday to be a better wife, mother, and lover of Yeshua!

HAPPY 30th BIRTHDAY!!!! I pray that this next chapter of your life, you will see the favor of God poured out even more. That you will walk in an even greater anointing than you ever thought possible! I love you!

Ashlyn had her first school field trip to the zoo last Friday! And although it was tiring, we had lots of fun! Oh and we HAD to go on the one of the coldest days of the year. It was freaking freezing! 

Ashlyn's good friends from her class
Her whole class
This girl totally fell asleep on me in the bus on the way home. Awkward!!!!!

Then we came home and immediately got ready for Ashlyn's sleep over. She had about 3 friends (which was all I could handle for my first sleep over). All the girls had a blast! I will definitely do this again. And while it was exhausting, I had a lot of fun! The girls made their own pizzas. We set up a huge tent in the basement where they watched movies, ate lots of junk food and slept (very little). We even did make-over's on the girls! Fun had by all.
After the make-over's (Don't they look beautiful..LOL)
Rachel and Melody were so sweet to come over and help give the girls make-over's. Thanks girls! You're the BEST!!!!

7:06 PM

Better late than never.

Posted by Courtney |

I wrote this a long time ago and haven't had the time to post until today. It's late but hey...at least I did it :)

Today is Ashlyn Rose's birthday (November 7th)! She is 6 years old now. I can't believe it.

The time really does fly by so fast! Wasn't it just yesterday that I held her in my arms for the first time. I was completely in awe of her. And after 1 hour and 45 min pushing, I finally got to meet the little girl that had been growing all those months inside me. What a dream.

I went into labor on a Wednesday night November 6th. Nathan was at youth and I stayed home to do some cleaning in preparation for little Ashlyn's arrival. I remember I was bent over cleaning the tub when all of the sudden I had this really hard contraction. I waited till it was over then resumed cleaning and scrubing the tub. Then I had another one... and another. I thought to myself, " I better lay down and take it easy. Maybe I just pulled a muscle or something." Ha! The contractions didn't go away.

At this point the contractions were just 15 min apart. Well I was by myself and didn't really want to drive anywhere alone, so I picked up the phone to see if my sister could come pick me up and take me to my parents house while I waited for Nathan to be done with youth meeting. The call went something like this:

(phone ringing)

Des: Are you in Labor?

Court: Hello to you too? And I don't know. I think so.

Des: (In a screaming voice) Oh MY GOSH, Oh my GOSH!!! I can't believe it!

Court: Des calm down I just need you to come pick me up and take me to mom's house.

Des: Ok, Ok awesome! I'll be there in 5 mins.

And she just hangs up on me.

Des gets there and all but pushes me out the door. I swear the energy on that girl was irritating. We got in the car and all she kept asking me was, "Are you having a contraction? Are you having another one?" as she drives like a mainiac. She was so excited that I was going to have a baby.

I get to my mom's house and go sit in the living room. My parents were trying to play it cool and just time the contractions but I knew the suspense was killing them too. Finally they reached 3-5 min. apart. I said, "We need to go to the hospital." and when i said that, the chaos began. People jumped up and started running into one another, all talking really fast and not knowing what they were to do. They soon began to file out of the house, but who did they forget, Yes!!! The pregnant lady in LABOR. I seriously was scene out of Father of the Bride 2.

When I arrived at the hospital, I was dilated to a 4 and 100% effaced. I got checked in around 12:45am, they broke my water, I got my epideral (Woo Hoo) and settled in for the long haul of labor. Which really wasn't a long haul at all because around 3:30am just as I was about to dose off, I felt this wierd sensation down in the lower regions. I woke Nathan up and told him but about that time the nurse walked in too. When she checked me, I was fully dilated and ready to push. What a shocker! Only 7 hours of a labor for my first child I thought was pretty good. But the pushing was the not so fun part. I guess because my epideral was working so good (Thank you Jesus for that), I couldn't really feel when or where I needed to push. Which in turn made me have a 1 hour and 45 min. pushing session to get this baby girl out of me.

There she was....gorgeous in every way. She looked like a porclain doll. Perfect round head, rosie cheeks, and beautiful full lips. She was my daughter...MY daughter! The feelings are indescribable. When i held her for the first time, all the cares of the world just melted away.

So my baby girl is 6 today. And although some things have changed like, no more colic, no more reflux, she is still the same beautiful, perfect girl. Ashlyn is so smart and intelligent. She loves people, life and Jesus. Her favorite things to do are (1.) Read, read, read (2.) Go to church so she can dance and Sing (3.) play with her siblings and friends (4.) watch movies (5.) Try to act like she is 12. Right berfore her 6th birthday, I was able to pray with Ashlyn to receive Jesus in her heart. That is a memory that will stay with me forever. I cry just thinking about it. She really understood what it meant and there was such a sweet presence of the Lord that was there as we prayed.

Ashlyn is AMAZING!!!! I am so grateful to God for blessing me with her. She has an Awesome Destiny on her life, of which she is already walking into at this very young age. 

Happy Birthday Sweetie! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

8:05 AM

Have I been home a week already?

Posted by Courtney |

Yep, I guess so!!!! After 9 short days in Belgium, I am back to the harsh reality of life here in Texas. And although I really wanted to be with my kids, I honestly was not ready to come home. I LOVED Belgium!!! It was freezing and even snowed while we were there, but I loved it still. It felt like home. It could have something to do with the fact that I knew so many people over there and that Jon's family is the most hospitable family in the world. Words can not even come close to describing my experience in Belgium. God did some powerful things. I am still processing everything that took place there, so I think I will wait to write a detailed blog on the spiritual aspect of our trip till later.

We didn't have Internet access very much on our trip so I didn't get to write blogs while we were there. However, the first night we arrived in Belgium, I wrote a blog about my "so far" experience and was hoping I could post it but didn't get to. So here it is:

Belgium Day #1

Wow!!! I can’t believe that we are actually here! It’s completely what I thought it would be. Beautiful. Cold. Rainy. Quaint. Historical. Totally Amazing!

We arrived at 10:30am on Friday October 24th (my birthday!!!) Our flight was long and tiring but ultimately, uneventful. Which is good! We had a non-stop flight from DFW to Amsterdam. From there we had about an hour and a half lay over, then it was a 25 min flight to Brussels, Belgium. When we arrived I thought Jon was about to come out of his skin he was so excited! He just kept saying, “I get to see my brothers and mom and dad” with a big smile on his face. He practically ran off the airplane. It was so cute! However, when we came out of the gate, no one was there to meet us. We looked and looked, but no one. Finally after about 20 min of waiting, we find out that Jon’s mom told Tim (Jon’s little brother) to pick us up at 8:00am instead of 11:00. He had been waiting in the car, sleeping, the whole time. Poor Tim L Once our luggage was loaded in the van it was off to Christophe’s house for some lunch and R&R. Even though I have never been to Belgium before, it was comforting to know familiar faces. I know almost all of Jon’s family so it felt like a reunion of sorts for us.

Chris lives in a beautiful home. Ramonda fixed us a WONDERFUL lunch, rice, chicken and broccoli mixture and fruit salad. It felt so nice to have a warm home cooked meal to start the trip off right. Then the sweetest thing, Jon went out and bought me a little birthday cake. It was precious and I adored it. I can’t believe he was so thoughtful! It made my birthday special because he actually thought ahead about something. Destiny you would have been proud (you probably told him to do that ) Lol!!!!

After Liz and I did the dishes for Ramonda, we loaded up in the van for our long journey to the middle of no where. This is where the youth conference (can’t pronounce the name so I wont even try) will be held. It’s in this huge prison like place. Seriously I feel like we should be in an episode of Prison Break. It’s sorta creepy but not, at the same time. Currently I am typing this as I sit in this rickety bed wearing about 2 layers of clothes to sleep in because it’s so cold that I can almost see my breath. Oh Lord help me! The drive was humorous! Jon drove us in this OLD van that didn’t have power steering and was a standard to top it all off. Jon drove like a maniac but he did better than I would have done for sure. All of us were jet lagging BAD too! We all kept head bobbing on and off the whole time. We all caught each other, more than once, with our mouths open, head back and totally asleep. It cracked me up. Liz and I got to laughing so hard about something but we wont say what that was (wink, wink Liz). Once we got there we had to wait for everyone else to get there before we knew where to take our luggage and such. By this time it was about 6pm and we were starving. For dinner, we walked to get some French Fries, of course, then came back to make preparations for the youth conference. There will be about 350 youth attending this conference. It should be awesome! I actually have no idea what to expect but I’m sure it will be great!

After taking a Hot shower (thank you Jesus), it’s off to bed for another day of Belgium! Woo Hoo! I miss my sister, kids, family and friends though. I hope they are doing ok. Well I better get some sleep. Love to all.

I'll post an extensive picture blog later!

1:52 PM

The State Fair of Texas!!!!!

Posted by Courtney |

I love the State fair! It brings joy to my life, for real! I know some people hate it and think it's boring. NOPE, NOT ME!!! I enjoy every minute of it! My husband loves it too, thank God or we would be in trouble :)

Yesterday, we decided, would be a perfect day to go to the fair. On Thursdays if you bring a Cinemark movie stub you get in for free. We like "free" considering we have so many kids. Things get mighty expensive for a family of 6. The day started off at 5:45am for me. I have been working with Brad Shull doing a Daycare photo shoot all week. He has been needing to pick me up by 7am every morning to get there by 8am to start. Now those of you who know me, know that I am NOT an early morning person. I just don't do mornings but I managed to get up and and be some what awake by the time I got to the photo shoot :) Go me!!!! I'll write about my work week in another blog later.

I got home around 1:00pm and started getting everyone ready for the fair. We had to meet my parents, Austin and Hannah and Preston at my parents house at 2pm. But before that we had to get Ashlyn out of school early cause we were not going to have a wonderful day without her, school or no school! 

By the time we parked and got inside, it was about 3:30pm. They smell of all that fried food made me hungry immediately! On a side note: why is it that fairs believe that everything is better fried? They had fried, green beans, fried cheese cake, fried peanut butter and jelly, fried lattes, fried pickles, fried cookie dough, and list goes on.  While I do believe that a lot of things are better fried, NOT EVERYTHING IS GOOD FRIED! Fried peanut butter and jelly?? Are you serious???

The kids had a blast! There is nothing like seeing their little faces light up when they see something they have never seen before. I'm sure every parents mission is to show their kids new and exciting things. Mine is for sure. I now fully understand when people refer to parents as "living vicariously through their children". I can get a little obsessed with making them do things that I loved to do as a child. I hope I'm not scaring them :)

The day was filled with lots of eating, playing, eating, walking, eating, watching shows, and did I mention EATING???? We have a few traditions at the fair. We always have to let the kids participate in the Backyard Circus, walk through the farm, visit the ginormous petting zoo and eat at the food pavilion. Here are some pictures of the day! The whole group!
Judah Boy
Kadyn PromiseMaddy PaigeAshlyn RoseMom and DadPrestonAustin and HannahThe Petting ZooI can't believe they weren't scared!!!The girls participated in a "Pee Wee Stampede" They were so cute :)Judah had fun watching his sisters perform.. Backyard CircusThey were butterfly ballerina'sMy little FarmersTaking a restThe Texas state Fair has really upgraded on their parade quality! It was actually good this year. The girls LOVED it...Kadyn couldn't see so I had to put her on my shoulders.The last thing of the day was the Illumination Sensation show! Gigi and Ashlyn enjoying the showNathan and PrestonJudah loved the show tooKadyn wasn't sure about the fireworks, so Poppy had to hold her.Everytime the fireworks would shoot off, Kadyn would put her head on Popp's shoulder and suck her thumb. She was nervous.Ashlyn wanted me to take this picture. This is how she wanted to pose. My little want to be model..

By the end of the day, I was exhausted and so were the kids but it was a fabulous day. Another State Fair in the books!