day 7- a photo of someone you love

This is obviously a toughie, as I am blessed to be surrounded by people I love deeply. However, I had to pick this picture:
These are all the girls that "grew up" in my parents' home. Paige, Kali, Torri, Me, and Avree. My mom stayed at home when Kali and I were younger, and when we went back to school she began keeping teacher's kids. And oh how we didn't know our lives would change because of this decision. These girls are a part of our family. Paige and Torri were bridesmaids in our wedding, and when Brent and I were making the decision to return home, these smiling faces were a HUGE part of that decision. They truly are an extension of our family-- except, as Brent likes to say, they are better than family because we CHOOSE them :). [Not that we don't love our families...]. I was lucky enough to be able to return to help coach them in their softball season, and I even have Torri in class, that lucky dog! :) Kali and I love them like they are our sisters, and Caroline will refer to them as her aunts. This picture makes me so happy because it is so full of people I love.

Speaking of which, I found this picture too. This is Caroline on day two of her life. How precious in every way. We were able to spend a great Thanksgiving with her, and even though she is no longer the tiny infant that just sleeps and sleeps, she is still has wonderful...and adorable! Consider this a bonus photo for the day!

Also if you frequently stop by this blog, click on the "follow" button to the right to become a "follower." I like to be able to see who stops by! :)



We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is "good," because it is good, if "bad" because it works in us patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country. -C.S. Lewis

I am thankful for:

a home I wanted to move back to
a husband who loves me every moment, even when I'm bent over the toilet throwing up
that I don't throw up very often
that brent and i are both healthy
a family that welcomes me with open arms
back rubs
8 healthy, fun, wonderful nieces and nephews
a mother in law who has the patience of a saint!
a father in law who makes me feel like one of his own
being able to coach softball with my softball coach
a new home that is warm and safe and cozy
so many helpful hands in helping create the above
being close to paige and torri again-- and that relationship
a sister who will always look out for me
a brother-in-law who loves my husband like a true brother
cars that run
that i don't have allergies
winter coffee creamers
a mom who is selfless and giving
a God that is always faithful
a Jesus that is always enough
a Holy Spirit that is ever present
being able to teach To Kill a Mockingbird
having a dad who is my own Atticus Finch
a HUGE back yard
having extended family that brent and i WANT to spend the holidays with
a great job that i love

... so very much more.


day 6- a photo that makes you laugh

Apparently while we were sick I couldn't count. The second day three was supposed to be day 4.

Here is my photo that, without fail, can make me burst out in laughter:
We had just gotten a new tv so I was taking some "before" and "after" shots for memory's sake...so Brent thought it would be a good idea to have some before and after shots of him watching the different tvs. The first photo is just of him slouched on the couched, no smile, watching tv. This was his idea for the second-- watching the new tv. I remember I could barely take the photo because I was laughing so hard. He's such a goober. I love him to pieces. Thanks for making me laugh, Brent!
and are coffee tables only good for collecting junk?!


day 4- a photo of you

I feel like this day has very vague instructions. A photo of yourself? I looked through a view albums I have, but I landed on this one. Just this weekend while spending time with family, I realized I had never posted the pictures of my haircut I got in June. There were several reasons for this- we didn't have internet, we were super busy etc. But mainly it was not posted because I HATED it. I cried for weeks. I know it may sound like an exaggeration but there was literally not a day that I did my hair after the hair cut and actually liked it. I felt so superficial because of the struggle I was having with it.

I don't really know what made me want to get it cut, or why I decided to cut it on the last day of school the week before we were going to move [a very emotional time anyway]. Afterward if I was watching tv and a commercial came on with a woman with long hair I literally had to change the channel because I would be so mad at myself for cutting it. It was easier throughout the summer, and once I could pull it back into a ponytail [which took a little time], it was easier for me to handle it. It still isn't growing at the rate I wish it were...but at least it's not as short as it was in this picture.

This picture was taken a day or two after the cut. I had been at the pool [one of my first and glorious pool days of the summer], and had Brent snap a picture when I got back because I had promised some people I would send them a pic. It was SHORT! Yikes. Never again...but at least I did it so I never have to wonder if I would have liked it. That answer is VERY clear to me now :)

Side note: spell check didn't recognize the word internet in this post? Weird.
Also, I have been home sick the past two days. Guess it wasn't the sweet potatoes since 8 of us on Brent's side of the family caught the bug. Ugh. Not fun.


day 3- a photo from the last place you went on holiday/vacation

To start: I didn't think I would be blogging this weekend. The plan was to just enjoy all the time with our family that is here...as much as possible. And we have... Friday evening and all day yesterday were wonderful blurs of family time. We had spent most with Brent's fam, since they're leaving sooner, and then last night around 8 went over to my parents to visit with Kali and Dan. And Brent ate a sweet potato. Oh, you evil sweet potato, you!

He woke up at about 4 a.m. and hasn't really left the bathroom since. And it's his BIRTHDAY for crying out loud! Oh, sweet potato, I will curse you forever.

But on a happier note: Today's photo is a picture from the last place you went on vacation. B and I have been other places since this trip, but haven't considered any a "vacation" necessarily. This week long trip to beautiful weathered state of California a year and half ago though...definitely a vacation.

We visited Brent's brother and family. Fantastic.

And my dream of going to Disney Land finally came true :)

And now I'm going to check on the sick birthday boy :(.


day 3- a photo that makes you happy

I love both of these pictures so much, and since they are both of the same thing [basically], I figured it wasn't cheating to put them both up.

These are pictures of us playing our favorite card game with some of our absolute favorite people, Meagan and Shane. Shane was a worship intern while Brent was a sports and fitness intern... and after playing intramural softball together I invited them over one evening. We laughed and talked for hours that night... and from that moment forward spent so many of our free moments together. When we were leaving Louisville, one of the very toughest parts was knowing we would be leaving Meagan and Shane behind too. Friends like them don't come around very often, and we know that... I joked with Meagan saying they were "lifers"-- meaning she was stuck being my friend for life.

I miss these simple evening we spent together. We'd make supper, sit around and talk for an hour or so, and then Meagan and I would clear the table while the boys shuffled the cards. And then we would play until we were bleary-eyed and a little crazy. A lot of nights our games ended well after midnight, sometimes meaning we would pull out the blow up mattress and they would crash in our living room instead of driving clear back to their apartment. Those were happy times, filled with joy and fellowship.

The top picture we are actually playing cards in Gatlenburg, TN. We went there on a little vacation together at the beginning of the summer. We spent the 3 and 1/2 days lazily... in the hot tub, mini golfing, hiking, and playing cards. Glorious.

All of our time together is HAPPY. Thus my choice to use these photos for today.

Meagan and Shane-- we miss you! Don't forget, the house next to us is for sale :)


photo challenge-day 2- a photo of yourself a year ago

This picture was taken sometime last fall. I like it for several reasons:
1. It reminds me of all the silly times Brent and I share together.
2. It reminds me of a simpler life in our little apartment in Louisville.
3. It reminds me of my dad graduating from the Highway Patrol [the shirt]
4. It reminds me that things can be more fun when we are uninhibited.
5. It reminds me that around this time last year I had my wisdom teeth pulled [that photo was in the same folder].

photo challenge

If you follow my sister's blog you have seen her newest inspiration. I decided I would do the same as a way to hopefully get back in the swing of things myself.

So this is the deal. It is a 30 day photo challenge. I will not promise those will be thirty consecutive days, however. So I'll just go ahead and take care of day one before I bound off to basketball practice for the day:

Day 1: your facebook profile picture
Brent and I recently went to Joplin to visit Brent's sister and fam. If you don't know, my sister-in-law, Beth, is a FANtastic photographer. Check out her webpage if you don't believe me. Anyway, we were exploring an old house and she snapped this photo in the basement. I just like the lighting, and that my hair isn't really fixed, that I'm tan from summer, and that I'm not looking at the camera.


more house update- bedroom & bathroom

Here are some photo updates of our house! The first batch is of the master bedroom. It has a border [which was a NIGHTMARE to get off...right Beck? and Mom? they were fantastic help :)] And horrible green carpet. We re-carpeted all of the bedrooms which made a world of difference! And, just like in the rest of the house, we painted ALL OF THE TRIM in here. Quite the job. Lucky for me, Joan is a fantastic trim-painter. Well, without further adieu... our bedroom [the first three are before, obviously... and we took these on move in day and didn't really get a great shot but you get the idea]

After: A beautiful gray! [Grandpa helped us cut down our bed frame and we just got it painted black and set back up this weekend, so it's not in the photos]. I think this is my favorite room we've re-done so far :)

And now...the main bathroom. This little gem was pretty nasty when we first laid eyes on her. My mom scrubbed away for hours [literally] with her yellow gloves on. I thought this room would go quickly since it was so small, but I learned my lesson! Again it was covered in wall paper, but there was also a lot of patching that needed to be done once we took the wall paper down. Again...it couldn't have been done without a team of helpers [Paige and Torri even got their hands in on this one!]

And after... :) Much better. This paint, a very faint blue, had my favorite name-- "Stillness." I thought that was fitting for a nice relaxing bathroom.
Brent took this picture. I would have shut the drawers and moved that washcloth off the counter:)
And this was in the same folder as these photos, so I just had to add it :)

i want...

to blog about the following:

- projects I've been doing
- my job
- more pictures of our house
- some writing I've done recently
- pictures of our life

Instead I am writing a blog about what I want to write a blog about. Thus is my life currently. Hopefully there will be more to come later, but I'm learning not to promise too much.


why my students write [round 3]

If you have been reading this blog very long you may have noticed that this has become an annual event. I started this with my first class, and this is the third year I have given it a try. Every year I have been impressed; every year my students have inspired me.

Year one: click here
Year two: click here

Each year I simply give my students this prompt: I write because...
And then I turn them loose. And they give me the true, raw response to that question.

Thess kids long to be heard.
Please listen.

Why Mrs. Irwin’s LA II students write:

I write for the fun, the joy, and the need. I need to write my ideas and dreams like a baby needs milk, or anything needs air. Ever since I learned to write, I have been writing. If I do not write I become sullen and, eventually, withdrawn. The safe haven that is a pen and piece of paper can be found anywhere. Growing up around noise, I slowly lost my vision—I have begun to find silence in writing. It seems unlikely I would be sane without the ability to write.

I write because…

- each day I take another step in life and feel it should be on paper for everyone to read

- the sun comes up and then goes down every day

- the sound of a pencil on paper is like a song playing joyous music that sets your heart at peace

- the words that go down on paper bring me into another world; a world of freedom

- words are a miracle

- I want to show the world I can

- my mom and dad don’t know how I feel

- I like it

- I don’t want to think about what it would be like if I couldn’t write

- I know it’s right

- my thoughts are important

- my thoughts need to be said

- people need to know how I feel

- I want something to show for myself

- I mean something

- I want to be loved

- it seems like I’m the only one who understands

- every day is the same

- my life isn’t all that easy

- the hurt is too much sometimes

- I’m crazy

- life is numb

- I need it

- it’s fun

- I’m trying to come alive

- I’m a beast

- I hurt, and writing makes me happy

- no one listens to me

- I want people to know that I’m not just a quiet and shy person; there is someone else behind that shell

- I want someone to be impressed with me

- my real dad wants nothing to do with me

- I’m not perfect

- I want to have dreams

- I want other people to see a change in me

- it is my happy place

- it makes others smile

- I could change my life

- it’s relaxing for my mind

- I can tell a story when there is no one else to tell

- it’s my only escape

- I have a fire burning deep inside me that won’t burn out

- once the pencil hits the paper I can’t control it

- my life depends on it

- my singing is bad

- my heart tells me to

- I am different than everyone else

- I have a say in the matter

- we only live this life once

- the more I write the more I open up

- the world depends on it

- I have to say something

- I take one step at a time

-, just like hunting and fishing, it is so fun to catch something new with my words

- I care what I have to say even if no one else does

- if I don’t my thoughts will drive me crazy; if I do I can escape them

- if I didn’t no one would know who I really am and what I’m actually thinking and feeling

- if I don’t I will begin to cry because there is no other way for my feelings to be released

I write because…

- this could be my last breath

- I want people to know what it feels like to be alive

- I want something for people to hold onto

- I can share things with a piece of paper and it won’t judge me

- sometimes writing will give me the right answer

- it gives me the chance to get to know myself better

- I want people to feel what I felt

- I need to write about issues at home and what I think about everyday

- I feel used and stepped on by people around me

- what I have to say is different than what you have to say

- I have to out-do my sister

- I am lonely and the notebook is my company

- I am not afraid to express my true self when I write

- I feel an urge, a compulsion to reach for the pencil and paper

- it is my place to speak, rather than listen

- it is a hiding place; a sanctuary I can go to and feel okay

- it lets me live in a new way

- I want to be different

- my emotions get the best of me

- I am happy

- my dad is not there to talk to

- I’m a klutz

- I’m changing

- I sometimes feel ignored

- I miss the people who have left me

- I want to be the voice to someone

- I love to make up stories

- I have something to say

- I love my family

- I want to be the girl little girls look up to

- I want the world to be a better place

- it makes me feel like I can do anything I want

- I want to be the girl people will never be mad at

- there are no boundaries

- it’s the best kind of therapy there is

- I want to be recognized for something

- I can live in the world I create

- I keep things bottled up and I’m afraid to let them out

- I’m afraid I’ll say the wrong thing or hurt someone’s feelings

- it helps me face my fears

- I feel loved when I write

- I hurt

- I want people to understand that I have feelings too

- I’m shy

- I am important

- it’s a challenge

- it doesn’t hurt

- it’s an art

- I can make a song

- I want others to see stuff how I see stuff

- I have no one to talk to

- it helps my journey

- it makes me free

- I’ve been hurt and healed

- I love someone

- I’m alone

- I love and hate life

- I have nightmares

- I miss them

- I want to know the world

- life is short

- I don’t get along with everyone

- I feel ignored

- I feel incredible

- I’m unstoppable

- I feel others’ pain

- I am normal

- it helps me realize what I have

- I love to laugh or cry, or sometimes both at the same time

- it shows that I’m different than others

- it means something to me

- I feel wanted

- I want to scream

- I feel all eyes on me

- these boots can only take it for so long

- it hurts to cry sometimes

- I have questions but can’t ask them

- I’m an idiot and believe I’m the best writer out there

- I know who I am

- I have lost

- I have the right

- I have an imagination in my head that just won’t leave

I write…

- to put emotions on paper so I won’t show them in real life

- so I don’t cry

- to fly

- to feel something

- to get it all off my chest

- to make my feelings known

- to stand up for the things that bother me the most

- to heal the hole in my heart

- so I can start a revolution

- to relieve my stress

- so I can tell the world how I cope with all the changes I’ve gone through

- so my parents will actually be impressed with what I do

- to share my memories

- to get my anger out

- to get better at it

- to hear from the past and the future

- to expand my horizons

- to keep my imagination flowing

- to sort through my life

- to take away the sad facts

- to change my attitude

- to make a difference

- so I don’t feel so lost

- to have fun

- to create something I want

- to prove a point

- to confuse you

- to have something to look back on when I’m old and frail, because I will have forgotten

- to study my own improvement

- to tell a secret

- to find a friend—one that offers more room for me because she’s interested, friendly and can’t beat me

- to fill up a page

- to feel human

- to make my day better

- to be creative

- to remind myself that there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ to my story

- to be somebody

- to show others I exist

- to share the story others couldn’t

- so I won’t explode on the people around me

- so I can inspire others

- to ask questions

- to feel alive

- so I can be remembered as someone


quick trip to oklahoma...

Last weekend Brent and I packed up our bags and jumped in the car for the boring ride through Kansas and arrived Friday evening at Scot and Rian's new abode in Oklahoma. [Brent's brother and sis-in-law]. We spent a fun filled Saturday with the fam and went to church with them on Sunday before we hopped in the car to drive back through the [oh so dull] state of Kansas [but I still love the Jayhawks...don't worry].

As always it was wonderful to spend time with their beautiful family, and we are oh-so-thankful they realized how AWFUL California is :) and moved closer!! We look forward to many more "quick trips" to see them.

always so silly, Myka
launching his plate

action shot...

checking out the snacks

we took advantage of the beautiful fall weather! [had to have been almost 80!]

the kids found a worm they wanted to keep

we went to a neat frozen yogurt place in town. while we ate I set the camera on the table and snapped a few photos.
Trace was VERY into his yogurt

The girls wanted to make something like we did last time I visited [over the summer we made "stained glass" with melted crayons in wax paper]. We found some fun paper and made banners for their doors that matched their walls. The girls helped pick out the flowers they wanted and cut them out :)

it's cool to make crazy faces

it's fun to wake up to this energy...and then get a cup of coffee:)

Thanks for a great visit guys! We love you all!