Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Newest Little One

(Today is the "social media public announcement day. The post was written the day I found out).

Dear Little One,

I found out about you tonight. You are coming in September and I can hardly contain myself. YOU ARE FINALLY COMING!

Here's the deal, I adore your momma and daddy. They are two of my favorite people in the world! You are super blessed, kid, to have them as your parents. And I'm just warning you as the oldest, you are the kiddo who they will learn all about parenting from as they figure this thing out. Don't worry about it. They will do great. And you shouldn't be too messed up in the process. :)

So it's not uncommon to hang out with your momma and daddy. We often eat dinner together and play games. Tonight was no different. Except for one thing.

When we went to play games, I opened the lid. Inside was a note. I almost told your momma, "Um...I think you left something in here." As I looked closer, I saw this...

(Also, I love that made it a rhyme!! Those creative kids who are actually adults and now GOING TO BE PARENTS! ) 

I'M GOING TO BE A TIA AGAIN!!!!!!!!!! Because of you little tiny one.

I squealed and screamed and shouted and jumped up (as best I can on a bum knee)! And I hugged and hugged your parents. Gracious - I've been waiting for you to come! Even now thinking of you coming makes me all weepy face.

Baby LA (this is my nickname for you after your momma and daddy's initial), you are so loved already. I can't wait to snuggle with you and breathe in your baby scent (not the stinky smells, just the sweet ones!). I can't wait to see your little hands and feet-sies and cuddle you close. I can't wait to wear you close and babysit for your parents to go have a date night. I can't wait for you to meet your cousins - you have a lot of them between both sides of your family!

Little LA - your momma and daddy are looking for Jesus' direction on where their ministry feet with take them next. Now that I know you are coming, my prayers have intensified for you to be here. Tia Abby would love for you to be nearby and to hang out lots and lots. I might also have bribed your parents to stay here in Dallas by offering to cook food for them after you come. For a long period of time. Hey, whatever it takes!

But more than anything, Baby La, I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do in and through your life. I can't wait to watch you grow up. I can't wait to watch your parents love you so well.

And you are about to be a part of the most amazing family! You have lots of aunts and uncles who will love you lots. You have four grandparents who are going to spoil you rotten!

Tonight we also Facetimed your Aunt Hannah and CB and EM. They can't wait for you to come too! They were surprised and excited too!

(Look at your daddy's face in this photo? Aunt Hannah was still figuring out what was happening here. EM was saying "This is my mommy" and then your daddy said, "Guess who's going to be a mommy? This one!" And he pointed to your momma)


Aunt Hannah is super excited! She  can't wait to share all of her baby loot with you! And if you happen to be a girl, watch out! There will be lots of clothes from Aunt Hannah heading your way!

And your big cousins are excited too! 

Also, I might already have some little presents for you. I'm not sure if you are a tiny boy or a tiny girl, but that's ok. I have one of each! :)


So, LA, Tia Abby loves you mucho! You keep growing and I can't wait to meet you in September!

We are going to have lots of adventures together!

Love,
Tia Abby

Monday, February 20, 2017

Thanksgiving 2016 - Portland

Yep, I'm only a few months behind.

I arrived back from Israel/Jordan on a Sunday and left on Thursday for Thanksgiving.

You know where you are at when you see this on the floor of the airport.

Portland! Oh your carpet. Thank you, Kara, for educating me on the carpet importance of PDX. 


Yay for dear friends! And for celebrating Thanksgiving together! 


Kara's cutie parents and the Thanksgiving bird! 


Yes, please. Kara loves traditions, so I knew Thanksgiving would be filled with traditional delicious food and it did not disappoint. 


Kara always finds fun veggie tray ideas for holidays. This was my project. Thank you to Bruce for craving out the turkey's feet and mouth! 


Zoey wanted to join in on the Ticket to Ride game. No photo evidence of playing the reverse charades game that caused much laughter and gasping for breath! Hy-ster-ical! 


And yes, we scoured the papers for the best Black Friday deals. 


It was an early morning and my jet-lagged self felt the early morning and shopping madness! Whew! I'm old. 


Another first for me - cutting down a real Christmas tree! This is so fun! (Thank you, Kara, for letting me borrow the cozy hat). 


This was such a fun process. You just pick up a saw and trek into the tree farm woods. So. Much. Fun. 


Zoey was fascinated by the process. Also - every single tree is beautiful and amazing! 


Let's be honest, I just pretended to be a real lumberjack tree-chopping person. 


Tree decorating time with friends (and fun Santa hats). 


And Gilmore Girls. Yes. This was so fun to watch with a friend and process the whole thing. 


We also stalked a Santa parade through a neighborhood and it was super fun! 


And we did an Escape Room! I love these things! 
Thanks, Kara, for planning this!!!!


Also, we were geniuses and escaped. It was super fun! I might have screamed once. We were a good team! 


And this little girl, I love her! She might be shy around me for photos, but we are buddies. At least that's what I tell myself. 


And we got to experiment with a ponytail! Yes! I love it! She is just darling! 




Also, I LOVED hearing more about Kara's parents stories from being missionaries in Peru and their crazy adventures! Seriously like a book. I had no idea the craziness of their experiences! They are amazing people. Heroes of the faith. And they are SUPER fun people to hang out with. If you every need some people to play games with in the Portland area, they are your people (with Kara too!). 




And one of my favorite things that makes me laugh driving to the airport in Portland - this hot tub advertisement. Hilarious! And I love that Mr. Man is waving. Haha! 
"Look at me sitting in this giant blow up pool along the highway. And it's freezing outside. Buy a hot tub." 

Loved celebrating with Kara and her family on Thanksgiving. Such fun memories! Let's do it again sometime! 


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

DFW Taco Tour - El Tizoncito

This taco tour was spontaneous! Sucy was house sitting in north Dallas and we met up to go walking at a nature preserve. After walking for a while, we were hungry! The taco hunt was on!

Sucy found this option and it had great reviews, so we went.

El Tizoncito


El Tizoncito has a bit of a diner feel when you walk in. The host met us and we were seated instantly. Already this tips you off that this is not a walk up taco diner with traditional tacos. It is a bit more formal. The menu here was more extensive and offered several options for delicious food.

Clearly, I was meant to eat here! 😊  The menu headings were in Spanish, but the explanations were in English. Also, our waitress spoke to us in Spanish the whole time - WIN! Authenticity - check. 

Here was an unexpected bonus - they serve everyone a cup of black beans. They. Were. Incredible! I'm pretty sure there was pieces of pork in the beans. The flavor was amazing, the sauce was thick, and it was a great treat to get started for the meal. 


 I ordered two tacos - one bistec and one pastor. The bistec was amazing! The flavor of the steak was fantastic and the food was simple, delicious, and appetizing! The pastor was good. The one downside to the pork taco was it was greasy.


The best part of the pastor was the incredible chopped pineapple that came with it! It was delicious and added a great contrast with the savory meat flavors.


Again, one of my favorite things about tacos is the homemade sauces taquerias make. El Tizoncito was no exception. They had a verde sauce and a red salsa. (Also, I LOVE tacos with the traditional limes, cilantro and onions - DELISH!). The verde salsa was incredible! Typically I'm a red salsa girl, but the vedrde salsa was amazing! I loaded it up! The red salsa was good, but it was a more roasted salsa, which is not my thing so much. Both sauces were great though!


Summary:

Food: 5 Stars 
This food was incredible! Sucy loved what she ordered. The black beans were an unexpected treat and amazing! The tacos were great along with the homemade sauces.

Price: 4 Stars
Because I ordered the tacos a la carte, it was more affordable than one of the entrees. The entrees are more expensive than going to a less fancy taqueria. The price would not prevent going back!

Service: 5 Stars
The waitstaff was incredible! We had great attention. The food came so fast after ordering. We had read on the review the service was amazing and it did not disappoint.

Can't wait to go back again!

I failed at getting a photo of Sucy and I together. I inadvertently took a photo of my feet walking in. It is the only evidence of us on the visit.

(This picture should be titled: Racing to get some tacos!)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Baby Gray Has Gone Away

So it's been almost four years since the Lord made it clear returning to the states was happening. And this meant practical planning went into motion, especially once I knew I had a job here.

Because the Lord put everything together after I said yes to Him, transportation was not excluded from His provision. Dad kept asking, "if you could have anything what would you want?" And my response, "Well, I can't afford it, but I would want a Volkswagon Jetta diesel. But it's not going to happen."

Fast forward a few weeks. My aunt sends me a message saying that her son, my cousin, is selling his car and would I be interested. Sure, send me the details. It was out of budget. I couldn't do it. I wrote him back and said, "It looks great, but I can't afford it. Thanks!"

He responded giving me what he could do and it was still over, but closer. So I crunched numbers and looked at what might work. Obtained counsel. And decided to go for it.

I had seen photos of the car. It looked great. I've driven diesel Jettas and knew I loved them. So I said yes.


Caveat - the car was in Nebraska. I was in Panama. Car needed to get to Dallas. Enter amazing brother! He flew to Nebraska and picked up the car and drove it back to Dallas. This was 8 weeks before I was moving to Dallas. Car check.


One minor detail I haven't yet mentioned. The car was gray. The exact color I would have chosen if I could. It was an extra gift from the Lord!

Over the past three and a half years, there have been several road trips in Baby Gray. Iowa, Illinois, Tennessee, Alabama, Alabama, Texas, and Oklahoma.




In transitioning back to the states, Baby Gray was a place where many tears were shed in learning to live here again. My cars often become a place I talk to Jesus a lot. So there were many conversations of struggle, joy, the asking of questions, and learning how to be.



Baby Gray has listened to hours of singing in the car. Hundreds of episodes of The Dave Ramsey Show. Countless conversations with friends in person and on the phone.


We traveled to meet Baby EM not long after she was born. And man, did Baby Gray love the 75 MPH Texas highways.


We carried on family traditions of road trips.


And other lesser known traditions of honking under the over-the-road McDonalds along the turnpike in Oklahoma. 

 

Baby Gray was my transportation and was able to experience handicap parking spaces during #projectkneegetbetter.

And she endured my learning to drive again after a month off the roads and a knee that was learning to bend and in excruciating pain. 


Baby Gray experienced some wounds over the past few years. People are crazy! On the way to Ben's daddy's funeral, she lost a tire. Flat. Aired it. Came out after the service. Flat.







Then a semi decided to tag her and her door suffered greatly. Morgan was here for that one. (This is why semis scare me).







Then a lady not paying attention in the parking garage tattooed some of her car paint onto Baby Gray.

And Baby Gray was helper on different occasions to those needing a boost of power. 



I've said goodbye to some people I love dearly. Baby Gray took us to say so long. On one of those occasions, it was my earthly last visit with Grandma. 


So here we are today. It was going away day for Baby Gray (do you like the rhyme????).
The Jetta diesels of certain years have been "recalled" and bought back by Volkswagon. I've gone through the process of submitting paperwork and getting ready to turn her in. Today (February 6) was that day.


(When starting the buyback process, you had to create a profile for the car. Perfect!)

I will miss filling up with diesel and people asking if I know what I am doing. And then the looks of bewilderment when I tell them diesel is required. 



When I handed the keys over, I asked the lady if I could see the car once more (isn't this hilarious? Who asks that?). She said of course when I was leaving, but if I come tomorrow she will be gone. I sure did have Luke take my picture with Baby Gray once more.



And how fitting that brother was there for the farewell since he picked her up. And he happened to be available to drive me home from the dealership!

I'm grateful for the Lord's provision of this car. What an incredible gift! Now on to new memories in Miss Preza.