Friday, December 25, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Random

I'm super excited that basketball season is starting up, and I'm even more excited that the Longhorns are ranked as the number 2 team! How exciting!

It's also super nice to be off from school. I am really enjoying not having to get up and go to work. I can't believe that Christmas is just 2 days away. Which means that we are 2 days away from finding out if we'll be having a little boy or a little girl.

I'm going to let you know that there may not be any blogs for a week or so... or if I do post it will probably be short and sweet. Life is so crazy and I just can't commit to providing information. If I get around to it, then I'll throw something up- but don't expect anything. After the holidays when life gets back to normal I promise to fill you in on everything.

On that note, I hope that you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!
Photobucket

Monday, December 21, 2009

National Finals Rodeo

I know I've been so bad about posting lately... sorry. A week ago some of Lantz's friends from LCU, Aaron and Deanna, were in Las Vegas and we met up with them for lunch on Saturday. While we were at lunch they invited us to the National Finals Rodeo that night because they had 2 extra tickets. This was HUGE!!! We have lived in Las Vegas for 5 years and we've never been because tickets are so stinking expensive. It's funny because the Friday night before we went to lunch with Aaron and Deanna Lantz and I were talking about how we really wanted to go and that in the future we'd have to try to get tickets. So, needless to say when they invited us we were like totally pumped up.

If you don't know anything about rodeos, the NFR is like the Superbowl of the rodeo world. It was so much fun to watch the best of the best compete. My favorite thing we saw was the bull riding and the barrel racing.

Here are some pictures of the night:

Photobucket

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Video/Card

Okay... Sorry this is up so late. I meant to post this up last week, but it just didn't happen. This is our 2009 Christmas Card/Video. Hope you enjoy!

Christmas Greeting 2009 from Lantz Howard on Vimeo.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Photobucket

Saturday, December 19, 2009

5 Year Celebration!

Lantz and I have truly celebrated our 5 year anniversary in a perfect way for the two of us. I guess that the celebration technically started this summer with our amazing 17 day European backpacking trip. What an awesome trip for us to have experienced together, especially before children. I am so thankful to God for allowing us the means and ability to take that trip- I know that it has done nothing but strengthened our marriage.

Last night on the "official" day we had a great night relaxing at home. We went on a nice walk with Cooper and then did one of our favorite things- grilled out! We enjoyed some yummy T-bone steaks with grilled asparagus, corn on the cob, cheesy bread, and sweet tea. It was a wonderful night toped off with laying on the couch and watching a movie!

We had talked about "no gifts" this year since we spent so much on our Europe trip, but I guess that great minds think alike. We both ended up getting each other sweet cards and some really nice gifts. Lantz surprised me with a few small gifts (stretchy fleece sweat pants and cozy grey house slippers) and a anniversary band that it is half a size bigger so when my fingers swell in pregnancy I can still have something on my hand to show the world that I am a taken woman. Right now it is safely being worn under my wedding ring (although that has really got to be cleaned because this new one makes it look dingy). I was not expecting all of this to be perfectly honest with you- but it's all so exciting!



So, I can't show you a picture of what I got Lantz, because he doesn't exactly have it yet. For the past two years he has really been wanting a guitar. I tried to look at some online, and I called around- but there are lots of different kinds of guitars out there. I know that Lantz has been patiently looking and looking and so I know he has a certain one or two in mind. So, instead of buying the "wrong" one, I wrote out a detailed note (with pictures) explaining that he is to start looking for a good deal on a new guitar. I only asked that he buy it before May because once our sweet little one arrives I'm sure our money distribution will be spent very differently.

It seems that we both had the same idea. We know that life is about to flip upside down for us and that we won't be spending money on ourselves. We know that "splurges" will soon be a thing of the past, so before our different "money mind-set" kicked in- we both wanted to do something special for the other one. Isn't it funny how we think so much alike? I guess that's 5 years for you.... I can only imagine what it'll be like when we hit 50 years!

What a great 5 year anniversary!
Photobucket

Friday, December 18, 2009

5 Amazing Years

Today, December 18th is our 5 year anniversary. In so many ways, I can't believe that we've been married for that long, and yet at the same time it seems that I can't picture us not together. I have truly been blessed with the most God-fearing and loving man that I know. Daily Lantz helps me to want to be a better person and encourages me in my faith. There are not enough good words to describe the man that I am married to, but I have so much joy in knowing that God put us together.

These past 5 years have been the best years of my life, and I get so excited thinking about the path that lays in front of us. As wonderful as a husband that Lantz is, I know he will be the most incredible dad ever..... that is one of the main reasons I fell in love with him- because of his love for children.

Today, as I reflect on my marriage, I can't help but feel truly grateful. I am in so many ways blessed by the Lord- but I feel the best gift he has ever given me on this side of the cross is my sweet Lantz.

5 years ago:


Celebrating 5 years this summer in Europe :

Excited for the road ahead of us:


Thank you Lantz for the past 5 years. I look forward to many more with you at my side. I am so proud of the man that you are, and I feel honored that you chose me! You are amazing and I'm thankful that I get to call you my husband.
Photobucket

Thursday, December 17, 2009

18 Weeks


Today our sweet little baby is 18 weeks. Wow! I can't believe we are almost half way through this pregnancy. Crazy how time flies. Yesterday we had a doctors appointment and all was good. We got to hear the tiny little heart beat again- which is always incredible. Today we have our BIG ultrasound in which we should find out alot about our sweet little one. We are going to find out the sex of the baby, just not today. We are going to have our nurse write it down and put it in an envelope. We are going to wrap the envelope up in a package and open it Christmas morning. So- that will be our present to each other. Lantz thinks it is a girl, and I think it is a boy (but I hope that Lantz is right!).

Here is the "bump" at 18 weeks:


I also got my hair done a little differently yesterday. I really like it. It's a little shorter with more edgy layers and a small blond pick-a-boo. Thanks to all the ideas from my sister Heather and my great stylist Melanie it turned out perfect!

Tomorrow I'll post up our Christmas card/video for all of you! (Oh- and I still haven't forgotten about the rodeo pictures!)

Photobucket

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rescue Mission

Saturday morning was an eventful day. First off we went down to the Rescue Mission with some of the youth group and parents to wrap presents for those families that may not be able to afford Christmas presents. We were then able to have lunch with some of Lantz's friends from college who happened to be in town for the weekend. While we were at lunch, they invited us to join them for the championship round of the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) because they had extra tickets.

Here are a few pictures from the Mission, and hopefully tomorrow I'll get some up of the rodeo!

Photobucket

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Prayer Request

In the past you may remember reading a few blogs about our sweet friends from Africa named SP & Joy. We met them here in Vegas close to a year ago, and our hearts were instantly connected. They are the most wonderful people who have amazing hearts for the service of the Lord's Kingdom. They went back home to Uganda in August and we've since then kept in touch.

Joy has been expecting, and gave birth to their son Gabriel on Friday night. By the time he was born, he was distressed and had inhaled myconium into his lungs that affected his breathing. He was immediately put on oxygen support and closely monitored in the baby nursery.

He seemed to be improving and stabilizing until Sunday morning at about 3 am. His breathing had dropped and he had also gone into cardiac arrest. He relapsed about 7am and was then transferred to the Intensive care unit for close monitoring.

Unfortunately at around 9 am he had had another cardiac arrest and his heart stopped pumping. His blood pressure kept dropping until he passed on.

My heart is so heavy for my sweet friends right now. I have been in prayer all morning for them, and would ask that you go to your knees on behalf of them too. Please pray for strength, comfort, and peace for them during this unimaginable time. I wish so much that I knew what to say to comfort during this time, but I don't. My prayer is that the Holy Spirit will intervene on my behalf and offer to God the right words. I pray that they'll feel God's arms wrap around them during this time, and that their friends in Uganda will surround them with love and support.

Thank you in advance for your prayers on their behalf.

Photobucket

Thursday, December 10, 2009

17 Weeks


Today marks 17 weeks for our little one. I almost forgot to get this picture up today- I'm such a slacker. I feel like over the past week I've really grown- which I don't know if I like. If I'm already getting this big- when 9 months rolls around I don't want to be huge.
Photobucket

Monday, December 7, 2009

2 Books

Let me start off by saying that it is cloudy and rainy today. If you know anything about Las Vegas, then you know that this is totally not normal. It is always sunny, and we only get like 4 inches of rain per year.... so today is a rare one out here. It's a nice change- kinda. I'm not going to lie- if we ever do leave Las Vegas, the weather will be the number one thing I'd miss- I'm not a fan of rain.

On that note- a few weeks ago I finished a book called The Boy Who Dared and this past weekend I finished The Scarlet Thread. Both pretty good books- neither one will make the favorite list- but they were both enjoyable.

The Boy Who Dared, written by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, is a historical fiction book based around the Holocaust (of course- you know my passion for reads around this subject). It is about a young boy named Helmuth who is German and joins the Hitler Youth. It is interesting to read how a young boy in the Hitler Youth is "fashioned and trained." It takes a spin when Helmuth realizes that Hitler and the Nazis are bad and not good. He realizes that they lie to the German population and seek war not peace. Helmuth at the age of 14 sneaks an unauthorized radio and begins to listen to the BBC to find out the truth behind Hitler's war efforts. He soon starts to print pamphlets displaying the information that he learned and leaves them all around the city- on post boards, in public restrooms, display cases- anywhere. He is soon caught and tried for treason. He is sentenced to death by execution. There is a point where Helmuth screams things out in his trial to take all the blame so his 2 friends are spared their lives. Because of his outburst- his friends are not sentenced to death and their lives are spared.

I really am not a fan of historical fiction books based around the Holocaust simply because most of the times it's a watered down version of what people went through and it doesn't show the real extremity of it. However- this book was great, because it was based on a true story. (There are actual photos of Helmuth and his friends and family at the end of the book.) The only reason it is considered historical fiction is because the author had to guess at a few things here and there to try to fill in the blanks that others could not. The author interviewed Helmuth's brother, 2 friends, and teacher to determine his story- and she also did research into his trial. So I guess you'd say I liked this particular historical fiction book so much because it was more real and less fiction. (Oh- the first 2 or 3 chapters were a little confusing just because you are trying to keep up with all the characters, but after that it's a pretty easy read- it is a middle school level book FYI.)

The book I finished this past weekend was The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers. I picked this book up because I loved Francine River's book Redeeming Love so much- it is still my favorite book, and I continually recommend it to others. If you haven't read that one- it is a must! Anyways- back to The Scarlet Thread. This book was not what I expected after reading Redeeming Love... totally different. This book is about 2 characters who live a hundred years apart from one another. Sierra is a modern woman who is married with 2 children. She becomes bitter when her husband takes a job away from her home town and she is forced to move to LA. She takes her bitterness out on him, and he eventually wraps himself up in his work and later has an affair with another woman. While all of this takes place Sierra is reading a journal from one of her ancestors, Mary Kathryn, who traveled west in a covered wagon to California. This book shows the 2 journeys these women take through heartache and bitterness to find a love they never knew existed- the love of their Father in Heaven.

Parts of the book are depressing and sad, and yet when you finish the book you see how God uses our toughest times to work for good for Him. It is eventually a happy ending, and when you finish the book you'll let out a sigh of relief and satisfaction for the characters, but also for the joy of your own faith and the journey you've been on. Good book.

Happy reading!
Photobucket

Friday, December 4, 2009

Update

Thank you all for your prayers and sweet words on behalf of my grandmother. I just recently got off the phone with her and it seems that everything went good. She is now home recovering. Please continue prayers for her speedy recovery.

I'm not sure how I feel about last nights Survivor. Don't get me wrong- I think it's great that they kicked John off, but I don't think it was the smartest move. I think Jaison was exactly right when he said he didn't think they should do that because then it would make Shambo mad at them and they may loose her vote... so true. Not such a great move in my book. I think Mick and Jaison are onto Russell- even though I like him. The only people I don't like and would be sad and disappointed if they won would be: Shambo, Dave, and Monica.... other than that- I'd be happy for Russell, Jaison, Mick, Natalie or Brent. Just my 2 cents on that whole show.

Tonight we're going to go to a local place and get some really yummy chicken fried steak- which I'm super excited about! It's something I've been craving lately. Then, we're going to go see one of our youth group kids in his play. He is one of the leads in The Tempest.

Yesterday I started reading Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol with my students. It's always a fun unit because we read the play format and everybody has a chance to participate and then we do some fun hands on projects before we leave for winter break. So- that will take a few days to get through.

I plan on sleeping in tomorrow. I know I sure am tired and can totally use it- big surprise!
Photobucket

Thursday, December 3, 2009

16 Weeks

Here I am at 16 weeks growing nice and big:

Also, can I ask that you keep my grandmother in your prayers? She went into the emergency room last night at about 11:00 because she had pain in her stomach. It turns out that it is her gallbladder. She is going to have surgery tomorrow morning at 9:00. Please, please, please keep her in your prayers. Thank you so much for your prayers offered on her behalf! It's times like this that I hate living so far away.

Photobucket

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Not much...

It's always hard to get back into the swing of things after your spoiled with a 4 day weekend, but I'm slowly trying to get my mind wrapped back around work. Lantz did some smoking this past weekend- which is pure amazingness in my book. (Best wedding gift I ever got him was that smoker- it has brought us both so much joy and happy tummies! Great gift for a guy if your looking for something nice for the holidays.) He smoked a 12 pound brisket, 2 whole chickens, and some pork loin.... yummy! We had a few people over to share, but we've got a ton of leftovers which is great! We have really been eating like kings the past few days.

We also put our Christmas tree up..... so yeah. No much else has been happening. Looking forward to Survivor on Thursday. I hope Russel doesn't get himself kicked out. Oh, tomorrow is 16 weeks, so I should have a photo up sometime tomorrow. I know my belly isn't that big yet, but it's crazy how fast stuff starts to not fit- and my lower back has already been bothering me.
Photobucket