Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Familia en Round Rock

Robert told me last week that his mom and dad were going out to Texas this weekend to visit some of his mom's family. It had been at least three years since we went out there, so we decided that we wanted to go, too. Robert took off on Friday and we packed up the car for the eight to nine hour trip with our two small kiddos. The kids both fell asleep before we even got on the interstate and slept for over an hour, so so far, all is well. When they woke up, Carson was starting to get antsy, so I got the DVD player out that we bought for his birthday, because he is such a bad rider that we couldn't even make it to Nashville without him screaming half the way. So, I get the player all ready, but something is missing. I can't find the connector that plugs it into the cigarette lighter. Yes, we are two hours into a nine hour trip and we have NO DVD PLAYER!!! I felt panic creeping in, but tried to stay calm, and act like it was no big deal, because it was me that had packed the DVD player. I remember Robert specifically double checking and I assured him that I had packed it. Well, long story short we read a lot of books and doodled and only had to pull over a few times. They were both really good sports. We finally got to Round Rock, Texas, and enjoyed visiting with Robert's extended family. His mom, dad, aunt, and uncle that all live in Nashville drove out as well and met us there. Robert has three uncles and one aunt that all live in Round Rock with their families, within a mile or two from each other. So, when the family gets together for a fiesta, it is a big party! Plus there was one more aunt and Robert's grandmother, who both still live in Central Mexico, visiting, so that made it even more special. I love to be around his grandmother. She is a tiny little lady who raised ten kids and in her 70's, she is still a spunky lady. I'm so amazed by her. Anyway, we had a fun weekend hanging out with everyone. Here are some pics.

Arkansas Travelors Game

Last Wednesday night we went to an Arkansas Travelors game at Dickey-Stephens Park. Tori loves baseball, so I was excited to be taking her to a game. I was even more excited that a friend from church was able to get us free tickets! We sat on the back grassy slope with a bunch of people from church for the first part of the game, but there was a lot of commotion and we were so far away from the action that Tori wasn't really enjoying the game. So, we moved behind the batter's box and sat in the stadium sits for awhile. Robert and Tori were able to really get into the game and we were cheering and screaming. A good time was had by all, but Carson got tired before the rest of us, so we decided to come home before the game was over. In a year or two, I know he will be able to hold out and probably be more excited than Tori to watch the game!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Playdate Fun!

Today the kids and I went to a playdate at Nitzia's house. Almost once a week all the stay-at-home moms from our Sunday School class at GSFBC are invited over to somebody's house to play and eat lunch. I am so excited to be a part of this group. And the best thing about it is that I really do feel part of the group. After only visiting the church for less than two months, everyone has been so nice and personable. We have met so many nice couples our age who have taken the time to get to know us. I feel like I've known them forever! And going to the playdates are fun, because it gives the kids and me something fun to do out of the house. When I came home, I was tired, but at the same time very entergized from just being able to visit with other moms who have kids at the same stages as mine are. Plus I have a really sweet friend, AKA Amber, who picks me up and takes me with her. Thanks a bunch, Amber! The more I hang out with Amber, the more I am learning to be more laid back and not let the little details of having two kids freak me out. She is teaching me that the existance of chaos in my life (concerning trying to do anything with two children under the age of four) is not the end of the world. If I chill out and enjoy the ride, it's actually kind of fun! Here are some pictures from our playdate.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Weekend Guests

This past weekend we had a good time visiting with some of our old friends that now live in a different state. We had never seen their little girl and they had never seen Carson. They were so easy to have for the weekend, because they are very laid back and easygoing. I know that Robert really enjoyed visiting with his buddy and I enjoyed visiting with her. It was cool to be able to talk about "momma stuff," because this was the first time we had hung out that we were both mothers. It was fun to now have that in common, too.
Thought the hometown readers might enjoy a few pics of their kiddo. She is so cute and such a good baby!! I don't think that she fussed more than once or twice. I think that Tori drove my friend crazy, because she followed her around all weekend asking her ten million questions and trying to help with the baby!

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Kids' Bathroom

Yesterday Robert decided to paint the kids' bathroom. He worked so hard when we first moved in painting almost every room in the house. The bathrooms and the hallways are all that we had left. The shower curtain that I picked for their bathroom is really colorful and everything is bright primary colors. Robert thought it would be cool to let Tori help him splatter paint the walls all the different bright colors. So, that is what they did. We have friends from out of town coming tonight to spend the weekend, so I was a little nervous when the bathroom was torn apart yesterday, but it is all put back together now. There are still a few finishing touches that I want to do, but the bathroom is usable. When I have time I'm going to stencil BATHTIME IS FUN!! on the wall above the shower and window. I also want to get a blue towel and get Carson monogrammed on it and either a red or bright pink for Tori and hang them on the towel rack. It also needs a curtain over the window, but I haven't gotten a vision for what it should look like. Check out the picture of Tori helping and then the end result! Let me tell you, it will definitely wake you up in the morning!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I heard a sermon recently in which a man was giving his testimony. He said that he was feeling incredible fear about something and then the Holy Spirit spoke to him through a verse that he had memorized. He explained that very often the Holy Spirit will use verses that he has memorized to speak to him. Then he said something that really stuck with me--"The Holy Spirit has never brought a verse to my mind that I didn't memorize." It made me realize that by memorizing scripture, I was actually equipping the Holy Spirit with tools to communicate with me. I haven't memorized scripture since I was a kid, so I really want to try and start doing that again. These are the ones I am working on right now.

1. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalms 147:3

2. Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you're on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive.... Instead of worrying, pray. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. Philipians 4:5-7 (This is the peace one, Mom!)

For me, trusting is learning to breathe during the fall. Sometimes when I am learning to trust God more, it feels like a free fall. I am giving up control. Letting go and trusting feels like falling, because I've been trying so desperately to hang on, navigate my circumstances, anticipate the unknown, and find order in the chaos. Trusting is believing with my while life that God will catch me. He promises to keep His promises. He is able. He is strong. His heart toward me is good. He wants even more for me than I can dream. He is bigger than all of us. So, for me, trusting is learning to breath during the fall. Angela Thomas

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Carson is Teething

My only son, who is my pride and joy, is driving me crazy!!! He is getting his two front teeth and the poor little guy is miserable. I've heard the phrase, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Well, Carson has adopted that slogan for himself--"If Carson ain't happy, I'm gonna to make darn sure ain't nobody else happy!" :) He can't sleep, doesn't want to eat, etc. He loves to bite, though, because obviously it makes his teeth feel better. His sweet older sister has been his favorite chew toy lately. He will grab her by the shirt and bite down as hard as he can! She is screaming for help, trying to free herself from his deathly grip. Anyway, I try so hard to be patient and understanding when he is being fussy. I've found it helps to think about sometime when he was being really funny or just incredibly cute, which I think he is a lot! For example, one funny story. This morning I was loading the dishwasher and Carson was watching Dora. I hollered to Tori who was busiedly packing her baby in the stroller to go to church (her favorite pretend activity) if she could see him. She said no, so I went to search. I found him sitting in the computer chair, looking at the monitor with his little right hand resting on the mouse. When I walked in the computer room, he just turned his head around and looked at me. I thought I was going to fall out laughing. If your 14 month old is mimicking you at the computer, it may mean that you are spending way to much time emailing and blogging!!

Friday, July 6, 2007

You're Moving Again?

I heard this question from friends and family many times when we told them we were moving to the Little Rock area. At first I was surprised by the comment, I don't feel like a gypsy, but after some reflection, I realized that it does appear that way. When Robert and I got married 6 six years ago we rented a house in Arkadelphia, AR for a year while I finished college. Then after I graduated, we moved to McCaskill, AR, into a house that was owned by my family. We lived there a little over a year and then bought a house in Nashville, AR. We really liked our home, but with me being a stay-at-home mom we had to be penny-pinchers big-time!!! We were always worried about money. Me staying at home was very important, but it just wasn't looking like we could afford to feed the three mouths in our home. Robert had a good job, but it is expensive to live today. We were very discouraged. We looked around us and saw our friends driving new cars, living in nice, new houses, wearing the best clothes, 300 channels on their dish. We were driving used cars, no satellite, buying an older house, etc. These were all sacrifices that I was gladly willing to make to be able to stay home with my kids, but it wasn't enough. We had cut back to the bare minimum and still were struggling from month to month. It came to a point that we realized I was either going to have to go to work or Robert was going to have to apply for a promotion. We quietly decided that Robert would apply for a position that came open in the Malvern USDA office. He knew the people in that office and knew that it would be a good working environment where he could learn a lot. His work environment in Nashville was less than desirable. Long story short-he got the promotion and we moved to Malvern. The increase in pay was almost wiped out by the increase in the housing market. We could barely afford a house equavilent to our house in Nashville. We knew the position would be a stepping stone, so it was OK. We decided to rent until Robert decided for sure if he wanted to stay in that office or take another promotion. He has always thought it would be cool to work in the state office in Little Rock. After a little over a year in Malvern, he applied and got an administrative position in the state office. We would now be able to afford a suitable house and put down some roots. So, in May we moved our family one more time to Bryant, AR. We found a house that is perfect for us and I hope that we are able to stay here for a long time. Even though my married life thus far has appeared to be full of gypsy jumping, that is not my desire at all. They were all necessary moves to get us where we needed to be. So, we've moved five times in six years!! I hope that six years from now, I am still blogging from my cozy little computer room on Dogwood Place Dr. Even though this is actually Tori's 4th house to live in, I hope that this will be where she considers home. Since she is only 3 years old, I think that she will feel like she has always lived here. With Carson only being 1 years old, I'm sure this will be all he remembers as home. I hope that Robert and I are still sitting out on the back deck when we are older, waiting on the grandkids to come over and see us. I have very fond memories of the two homes that I grew up in and I want my children to be able to have the same experience. So, this is the story of the Cortez family's movings. Having a home that I could be proud of was very important to me. I know my husband got tired of hearing me say, "When we have a house......." Now I am so excited to have a place that is ours. Finding the right house was a very stressful situation, and I am so glad that God lead us to the right one.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fun with Friends

Saturday night we visited with Bryan, Brandi, and Kaylee Wilson at their home in Hot Springs. The boys watched a movie and the girls swam. Brian grilled steaks and we had a great time! I am so glad that God brought them into our life and that we have been able to stay friends even after we moved. Brandi is definitely my kindred spirit!

Neal called early yesterday morning, wanting us to go to Mills Park with them and check out the 4th of July celebration. We loaded up the kids in the strollers and wagon and hiked through the back of the neighborhood over to the park. Then last night we had a quiet dinner here at home before meeting back up with the Nelson's to watch the fireworks at dark. Tori and I decorated a firework cake and sang, "Happy Birthday to America." It was kind of lonely to not be with a bunch of family and friends, but we felt very lucky to be celebrating in our new house.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

My Mom

I love my mom!!

4th of July

Yeah, I've stayed up late enough that I can now post another blog!! Happy 4th of July!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

What will I say?

This is my first post on my blog. I wonder if I will be able to muster up anything to say each day. I feel like a stranger in my own skin when it comes to my own interests, opinions, indentity. The identity of MOM and WIFE seem the only labels that I have right now. I want to be more. I want to desire to learn new things, grow closer to God, grow closer to friends.