Thursday, March 26, 2009

Playground & House Tours

Ava is a girl who loves to go. She spends her days (other than Monday gymnastics and Sunday church) mostly at home. Some evenings demand a trip in the car. Whether it's getting lost on a dirt road looking for cows, or driving to Clifton to play at the playground, these little ventures seem to improve all of our spirits. (The playgrounds in Valley Mills are so icky-gross-scary, you cannot imagine the amount of Germ-X it would take to make them okay.) Anyway, here was Ava Loo on one of those outings. Her sunglasses from last year did not fit anymore (98th percentile for that noggin) so she borrowed mine for the car ride.

Josh snapped these while we played.

This is Ava's new "silly face".

Mamaw and Ava spent last Friday planting flowers and herbs to give our house some curb appeal. Ava loves to spray them with her green water bottle...sometimes she can even be coaxed into spraying an unsuspecting Daddy:)

A bazillion thanks to BaBa and Pops for coming to help us work on the yard, porch, and abyss that is Ava's closet. Do any of you have advice on storing baby clothes? I refuse to part with any of it, because I know we'll need them all in the (super distant 3 year-ish) future. But, oh my, the clothes are taking over our lives! I'm very open to storage suggestions. Anyway, the house looks SO much better, and maybe if potential buyers open the nursery closet they won't be attacked by a onesie.

Click on this link to take a virtual tour of our house. The tour pictures were taken the day BEFORE our workday, so excuse the jungle-like yard. It looks much better now. If you know of anyone who wants to move to the Waco/Clifton area let us know. (I left off Valley Mills, because who really wants to live in V.M? Plus, we are not in city limits so I do not claim it as our hometown.) Here are specifics on the house:

Quiet country location (feed the deer in your
front yard), huge kitchen, corner lot, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms,
jacuzzi tub in master bathroom, formal dining room, stained & scored
concrete throughout house, bedrooms carpeted, propane fireplace, energy
efficient washer/dryer, convection oven, trash compactor. We custom
designed this house from the blueprints to paint colors, only 2 years
old. If you love the shabby chic look, this is the place for you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Spring Break 2009

Ava and Josh have been working in the yard now that the weather is a little warmer. We decided Ava needed a shovel that was her size. You would have thought we bought her a pony. She was so excited!

This girl loves her shovel.

three bluebonnets in the backyard

Thanks to Baba for playing with Ava while Daddy worked in the yard and Mommy cleaned house.

We haven't had a bathtub shot in a while. I laughed so much at Ava's face in this picture. We have a photo of my brother making this same's spookily similar. I'm going to find that photo of Nate and post it soon.

We started Spring Break with a (backordered) birthday present from Baba and Pops...a trampoline. Ava can bounce just like Tigger.

A trampoline AND a gymanstics bar...awesome!

A million thanks to Uncle Nate for letting us borrow his portable DVD player for the Houston trip.

Can we just take this horsey home?

On our way back to Brenham we stopped to have dinner with Clover, Rachel, Dixie, and Coooper Carroll. It was our first time to meet Cooper...what a sweetie! Click here to read a little history of our friendship with the Carrolls. Ava and Cooper hit it off right away.

It's hard to get a good picture of three kiddos.

A goldfish and applejuice picnic...does life get any better? Oh to be 2 and 3 again:)

Dixie wanted to hold Ava's hand all the time, unfortunately sometimes Ava's independent nature would not allow it. Sorry Dixie, the girl's got a mind of her own.

fast friends

Rachel kindly snapped the following two pictures of Ava, as I have zero eye for photography. On our walk Ava could not stop squatting down to observe the rocks on the gravel road. I think we may have a little geologist on our hands. When we take her to the playground at my school, she spends most of her time collecting pea gravel.

This photo is destined for the wedding slide show.

They looked like little fairies in the forest.

What a sweet friend, Dixie shared her bluebonnets with Ava.

Josh helped Rachel shoulder some of the Cooper burden while Ava continued to study the rocks. Doesn't this look like a man who needs a few more kiddos? (Not until after law school.)

Dixie and Ava traded baby dolls and snuggled to rest and watch Pooh.

All tuckered out. Check out those legs! Poor girl is doomed to a fate of never having pants long enough...just like Mommy. Seriously, my middle school years were spent 100% prepared for a flood.

Soon after Josh and I were married we started working at a little cafe/boutique in Brenham, Texas. Josh was youth minister at a little church between College Station and Brenham, and we were both still at A&M. The owner of The Funky Art (cafe part)/The Pomegranate (boutique part) is a kind, super talented lady named Connie. She was so supportive of us throughout the early part of our marriage. We always pop in for fabulous conversation and food when we're in the area. If you happen to be traveling through Brenham Monday through Saturday between 11:00 and 2:00 I highly recommend that you stop in. The chicken salad will change your life.

I had to get a picture of the super chic purple wall in The Funky Art Cafe. When we were working there I helped decide on the's almost identical to the paint on my bedroom walls in high school (yes, my parents were very kind to me).

Mommy and Ava beside Connie's year round "tree"

Anytime we're at Mimi and Coach's house, this is where you'll find the playroom. Here's a sweet shot of her playing with Coach.

As I mentioned earlier, we spent our Spring Break on two whirlwind law school visits (why did Houston and Norman have to be a million miles apart?). On Tuesday we visited the University of Houston, which was a complete dump. They were cold and not family-friendly at all (the tour guide was huffy because she had to take the elevator to accommodate Ava’s stroller). Needless to say, we quickly crossed them off our list.

All along Josh and I (and our parents) have prayed that this law school decision would be an easy one, that God would give us a clear sign to show us the way to go. Early Thursday morning we left Ava with Josh’s parents and headed to Norman, Oklahoma to visit the University of Oklahoma law school. Honestly, my attitude was not good. I was sick of being in the car, and didn’t see the point in driving four hours to visit a school that would be an obvious no. I didn't want to be away from Ava for two days. But Josh had made hotel and dinner reservations, so I went.

As we pulled into the town of Norman I was very surprised. It was quaint, clean, small…it actually reminded me a lot of College Station (one of my favorite places in the world). We drove up to the law school and were astounded. The facilities were amazing, more grandiose than Baylor’s if you can imagine that. When we walked in, the assistant dean of admissions warmly welcomed us and sent Josh to visit a class. She sat and talked with me for the entire hour that he was there. She told me a lot about the town, and the family-friendly atmosphere of the law school. It is very common for law student’s kiddos to come and visit between classes. She even had contact information for a retired Norman teacher who was ready to meet with me and answer any questions I had. When Josh came out of class we met with the dean, who offered him a significant scholarship, with a strong probability of more once he’s enrolled (many scholarships are set up so that they can’t be awarded until a student begins classes). Even if he doesn’t get another dime, he could go for all three years at OU for a little more than half of one year at Baylor. That sign I mentioned earlier was starting to glow neon yellow.

We had about thirty minutes before our law school tour started, so we drove two blocks over to visit the OU Children’s Center. A lady met us at the door and I asked her if she thought they might have an opening in July for a teacher and two-year-old student. Her jaw hit the floor. Turns out she was the director, who just started the job last Monday. She’s working to beef up teaching standards at the center, and is desperate for certified teachers. While there were many positions open, one really appealed to me. The plan: I will teach the two-year-old room…my newest student…Ava James. With me working there and Josh enrolled at the law school, she’ll go for almost nothing. And we’ll all three have full benefits. That neon yellow sign was blinking.

After our campus tour, we could not stop asking ouseleves if this could all be real. Everyone was SO nice, and our tour guide recommended a realtor. We met with him on Friday morning and he showed us how far house $$$ could go in Oklahoma…a nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, fenced in back yard in town: $200 less a month than our mortgage right now. The neon yellow flashing sign was now singing the theme song to the movie Oklahoma. (I still don't know how people who live in Oklahoma get those songs out of their heads...I was singing showtunes the entire trip.)

So with all that said, we’re moving to Norman. Believe me, I am absolutely shocked at this development. Our parents are being so supportive, they all say that they can’t argue with the obvious indicators. While I’m thrilled with #1 not being $200,000 in debt when Josh graduates, #2 a family-friendly law school, #3 a job that allows me to spend time with Ava, #4 some socialization for Ava, #5 an inexpensive home, I can't believe we're about to pack up and move to another state! It’s still surreal to me. Poor Ava, her Big 12 allegiances are going to be so torn...Tech, A&M, Baylor, and now OU. Please continue to pray for us as we put our house on the market and trust God to take care of us. Scroll down to see some pictures of the campus.

The OU Law library...I kind of wish we could go back and get married here:)

the law school's front side (the days we were there were super cold and rainy/icy, so I snagged these pictures from the OU website)

the real reason Josh decided to move to Norman

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I can't post pictures right now, because I refuse to take any of a sick baby. However, Ava's sickness has not curbed her spirit. Here are some of our favorite moments over the past few weeks:


Josh: *bathing Ava while I scurry around cleaning house* Okay, we've washed your hair, and your neck, and your tummy. Where else do we need to clean?

Ava: The kitchen!


Ava: Where's Papa? (her great grandfather had come to visit)

Mamaw: I think he went around to the back yard. *pointing to back yard*

Ava: Don't poinK a me, don't poinK a me where's Papa!


Ava: Don't say me no!


Ava: Don't say me don't do that!


Mommy: *groaning with the flu on couch*

Ava: *singing sweetly and patting my chest* Row, row, row the boat, gently down the stream, merr, merr, merr, merr, life's a spider dream.


Ava: *in a sing-song voice from the next room, as Josh and I brushed our teeth* Daddy, I'm up where I don't belong (pronounced in 3 syllables: bee lah ong)!

We ran into the bedroom to find her up on the side of her bed, hanging on to the blinds for dear life.

What did we do before we had this little monkey?