Monday, November 30, 2009

thanksgiving round up

Anytime I go, say 48 hours without posting anything to our little blog, Chica's fans let us know. They're loyal fans you see. And if they have to go more than a few days without updates of our darling daughter's life, it makes for one disgruntled fan club. They call, text or twitter to let us know they ain't happy about the lack of blog progress. If blog readers aren't happy, ain't nobody happy. Eventually, I succumb to the pressure of people pleasing and before you know it, bam, an update appears. They get their Chica fix and we can carry on.

Funny thing is, this past week we haven't fielded any complaints regarding recent blog neglect. Turns out Chica's people were having too much fun seeing her face to face. We returned to the homeland for Thanksgiving, and our families were so excited to see Reesie that her presence in their homes superseded her absence on the blog. Suckers. :)

This is our family Thanksgiving picture. I must say I was very pleased with Chica's bow placement for the day. It was perfection.

First we went to Big Girl's Great-Grams' house.

While most of the family played football, we stayed at Grams' house to play and watch Aunt Sandra perform in the Chicago parade. Reesie loved stacking these blocks and toppling them over.

Her father played with these blocks when he was her age. Check out that bow placement.

Danny's grandparents put an addition on the back of their house and when they did, this former exterior window became an instant attraction. The kids would take turns walking up to the window, ordering something to drink and Grams would deliver it to them through the window.

Twenty years later, and it has yet to lose its novelty. Order up!

After dinner at Grams' house, we stopped by to see a couple of Dan's aunts before heading to my mom's house. She had her entire extended family over. Already stuffed, I grazed anyway the rest of the day.

Friday morning at 3:45 A.M. I was in line at Kohls. My name is Rachel and I'm addicted to Black Friday shopping. My mom, sister and I go every year and there's nothing like it. We nabbed some incredible deals, which were totally worth the lack of sleep. (As a girl whose love language is sleeping in, there's not much that can lure me out of bed in the middle of the night.)

I wish I would have taken a picture of us in line, but we were too busy devising our shopping strategy. Plus, who in their right mind wants a picture of themselves at 4:00 in the morning??

Saturday Daniel went to the MU vs. KU football game, and we rocked those chicken hawks! Saturday night, we drove through the night and arrived safely in our driveway at 5:00 A.M. thankful for safe travel, quality family time...and appeased blog readers.

Good night!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

here's hoping...

Here's hoping that whatever journey you're on is worth the bad hair you risk having along the way.

And that you're too busy enjoying the ride to notice it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

T.M.I. alert!

Warning bloggers. Continue reading this post if and only if you are truly invested in the daily/messy happenings of our life. What I'm about to share is something that perhaps only those who are parents can truly understand or share in my excitement. I'm documenting this for the sole purpose of remembering when it happened, because my memory is worse than my cooking.

(I hope you're not cooking.)

(And I really hope Chica doesn't kill me someday for over sharing.)

On Wednesday, November 18, 2009 Reesie went on the Big Girl Potty for the very first time. She told me she needed to go, I raced her into the bathroom, wrestled her clothes off and put her on the toilet, just in the nick of time. We barely made it, and I'm praising the good Lord we did. Girlfriend had two M&Ms to celebrate her accomplishment.

I know this is just the beginning of what's to come in the realm of all things potty related, but we're SO proud of her! Hope this post didn't leave you feeling queasy. I promise I'll get something new up by Monday so you don't have to look at this for long.

GO Reesie!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

behavior report card

Yesterday as I was picking Chica up from school, one of her teachers pulled me aside because she had a Reesie story to share with me.

Uh oh.

My daughter's "school" has a beautiful indoor playground complete with a huge, soft, tree slide. (Think play area at the mall.) Apparently, during indoor playtime, Chica gathered several of her classmates together and climbed to the very top of the tree slide where she proceeded to perform a little ditty for the rest of her class. Miss Stephanie said Chica's number consisted of singing, dancing and arm movements. She said the hostage classmates were captivated throughout the entire performance.

I'm sure they were.

I wonder if their complete attention stemmed from fear of being held against their will or if the performance was packed with shock value. Truly, I'd rather not know.

Since ignorant bliss is no longer an option, I must look for another source of comfort in handling this situation.

Diverting the blame.

To make certain I've played no part in contributing to my daughter's shenanigans, I will now ponder the age old debate: Nature vs. Nurture.

In one corner we have Nurture. The child does something because she's been trained to do so. Somewhere along the way she learned that forcing peers to sit through a mini-recital was a good idea. One thing in particular supports the nurture argument. Chica's grandparents came to visit last weekend.

She had three whole days of undivided attention. That will boost a girl's confidence. It's quite possible she's projecting their doting tendencies onto everyone else she encounters. Heaven help me.

On the other hand we have Nature. Genetics. Chromosomes, mitosis, and the whatnot. Inherited characteristics passed down from generation to generation. If nature caused my daughter to entertain others against their will, then she did so because its in her makeup. I'd like to end with nature right there, but I can't shake a conversation I had with my mom. When I called her to tell her the story, she cracked up saying, "I know exactly who that sounds like! She reminds me of someone else I know!" Heaven help me.

If you must know, she was referring to Daniel.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I've been meaning to tell you this story for a couple of weeks now. Time has been one hindrance, as I've really wanted to do this post justice. It's an incredible account, still fresh on our hearts, but also so staggering, we still can't believe it happened.

I guess I'll start at the beginning. A very good place to start.

Since Danny and I turned 16 (me a month and a half before he did...cradle robber that I am!) we've been blessed to drive used cars. Not much has changed in the past eight years. For us, used cars mean cheaper insurance and freedom from a monthly payment. The only downside about driving older vehicles is they aren't as dependable as those that are brand spanking, just rolled off the lot with the new car smell to prove it are. The dependability of older vehicles is a huge concern when we're traveling eight plus hours to visit family in the homeland. We've spent many a road trip praying we'd make it to our destination.

A few months ago, we did not.

Since then we've made do with what we have. Cars paid in full, with cheap insurance. Cars that might need a couple cranks of the ignition to get them going. Cars without air conditioning, working doors and fickle wipers. Cars with mechanical issues and it's a gamble whether or not to get it fixed. What do you do when the repairs equal its value? Dan's finishing seminary on our disposable income, so his graduation day would mark the day we'd begin to save towards something new. With that day on the horizon, we've hesitated gutting the emergency fund to purchase something now. Instead we chose to pray that what we have, (and are very thankful for!) would hold out until Danny graduates.

Those prayers were answered.

But not how we expected.

A few weeks ago, Danny asked me to come to his morning program. Twice a week he meets with a group of men in our church for a Bible and discipleship training program. The men had requested for me to drop by at the end of this particular morning. Neither Danny or I knew why they had requested my presence, but we figured it had something to do with pastor appreciation month. My mom was in town for the weekend, so she stayed with Reese while I hustled up to church early that Friday morning.

When I arrived, I noticed some of the other wives were also present, as was our Senior Pastor. Hmmm. Something was up.

They called us up on stage and Jeremy, one of our closest friends and founder of the discipleship program took over. As he began to speak, Danny and I huddled together, aware of the room full of watchful eyes peering at us in anticipation. Neither one of us really likes that kind of attention (really!) and it took a turn for intense-ville when I realized we were being videotaped. Silently, I prayed that whatever was about to happen, Dan would remember to smile.

"Keep smiling Daniel. Smile like you mean it."

Too bad telepathy isn't one of our marital strong points.

Any pretense of holding it together flew out the window when Jeremy, so overcome with emotion, couldn't finish his speech. So much for smiling.

"Don't ugly cry Rachel. It's a room full of men. Emotional women scare them. Do. Not. Ugly. Cry."

Steve, another dear friend and founder of the program, prayed for us. While all eyes were closed, I seized the opportunity and wiped my nose in an attempt to destroy any evidence of the impending ugly cry. Then I remembered the video camera. Dang.

After we prayed, Joe and Wayne, two more leaders in our church came onto the stage carrying a beautiful gift bag. They explained we'd have to open it in front of the group. By this time, the video camera was still rolling and now digital cameras had popped up throughout the room. The expectancy was almost palpable. Their excitement was so contagious, if a paperclip had been in that bag, I would have embraced it as the greatest gift of my life.

It was not a paperclip.

After what seemed like an hour, Dan unwrapped a small box containing a key. Later he explained that at that point, he thought the church had purchased a new bus, and as the youth pastor, he was going to take it on its maiden voyage around the parking lot. When he opened the envelope (we're Hintons, we never open the envelope first!) he realized it wasn't a church bus. I asked him what was written on the paper because my body had gone into a state of shock and my eyeballs had lost the ability to see straight, much less read.

My eyeball condition had spread to Danny's mouth. He sputtered in fragments. New tires...a year's worth of insurance...working doors...functioning air conditioning...reliable wipers.

Paid. In. Full.

It's the closest I've ever come to passing out.

Before anyone could whip out the smelling salts, the entire group filed out of the building and to the curb to see our new (paid in full!) car for the first time. Danny and I were the last ones out and I'm not sure how we made it. When you're numb from the top of your ribs to the tips of your toes, it impedes your ability to walk.

I took one look at what was parked on the curb, buried my head in Danny's chest and bawled like a baby.

It wasn't just provision waiting for us outside. It was abundance.

I can't believe God would provide something like that for us. There are so many in far more need than we are.

I can't believe people would be so generous towards us. My mind flew to all the sacrifices families must have made to do this for us.

Who the heck are we??

Several weeks later, I still can't believe it. It's humbling to receive a gift like that. A handout. But God's in the business of handouts. It just so happens that in this case, he used a group of selfless, generous, compassionate people to dole out His blessing.

We are undeserving yet grateful.

After all, neither one of us is cool enough to drive a car like that.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

enough with the camera

A clear sign your daughter is done having her picture taken:

Friday, November 13, 2009

a "big girl" riddle

What do this...


and her have in common?

We've entered a new phase bloggers. Our baby is more than interested in The Big Girl Potty. She can tell me when she needs her diaper changed. She can say the word "potty" and walk into the bathroom. And she loves to sit on the Big Girl Potty.

I hesitate to label our new phase "Potty Training" (The Big PT!) because she's not consistent in any of the above areas. She's yet to actually go while sitting on the Big Girl Potty. Plus we have no goal of being out of diapers in a week, or anything of that nature. While we want to capitalize on her interest and not miss this window of opportunity, our hope is to do so without rushing into anything or pushing her to the point of frustration. (That will come later in life when she's a teenager and has a curfew. Ha!)

So maybe a better name for our new season would be "Potty Awareness." Welcome aboard bloggers. Here's hoping the ride isn't too messy.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

still here!

Hi bloggers! Sorry we've been M.I.A. We have much to tell you, but little time in which to expound. We'll be back as soon as we can. Just wanted to pop in and let you know we love you. Have a great night!

Friday, November 6, 2009

snip, snip

This past weekend Reesie had another first. And last. At least I hope it's a last. Please, oh please be the last. Bloggers, please join me in saying a hearty "Hasta la vista!" to the toddler mullet.

After careful deliberation and a moderate amount of peer pressure, I decided to go through with it and cut the child's hair. Auntie Michelle was in town for the weekend, so she came along for Chica's big appointment.

Seeing as desperate times call for desperate measures, her appointment coincided with nap time. She fell asleep on the ride over, so I wasn't sure how well she'd cooperate.

She sat very still the entire time, too tired to move or even crack a smile.

Miss Janet did a great job and after a few minutes of snipping here and snipping there, it was all over!

Now mullet-less she looks like a brand new woman, and I'm kicking myself for not doing it sooner.

Hope your weekend is all party in the back bloggers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

scavenger hunt!

1. First Name.
2. State and Country of Residence.
Mississippi, USA.
3. Husband’s Ministry Title.
Youth Pastor.
4. Length of time in Current Ministry Location.
Three years.
5. Children? If yes, give gender and ages.
An 18 month old wild woman.
6. Number of unique homes in which you’ve lived during your marriage.
7. Cook Sunday lunch or eat out?
Eat out.
8. Typically on time for Sunday School or not?
If I'm on time it's only because I found the car keys in less than five minutes, put my makeup on in the car and sprinted Marion Jones style from the nursery to the sanctuary.
9. Favorite TV Show.
Right now I love The Office and 18 Kids and Counting.
10. Something you watch/like/do that you would never tell the church people. (Except now you just did…lol)
I don't like beans. Something about the texture or consistency makes it impossible for me to even put them in my mouth. I feel so guilty when church meals have beans in them. If Danny's there I make him eat my portion. If I'm flying solo I fill up on salad and rolls.
11. Most annoying church-related pet peeve.
Florescent lights.
12. One thing you need to throw away but can’t bring yourself to do it.
Old tennis shoes.
13. The one food you can not live without.
Microwave popcorn.
14. Parsonage or have your own home?
Own home.
15. Freak when the doorbell rings or always ready for a visitor?
Freak out!

one in a million

Monday night was the last night of women's fall Bible study. We went through Priscilla Shirer's study called One in a Million. It follows the Old Testament Israelites as they left Egypt, heading for the Promised Land and what happened to them on that journey. Of the two million original Jews who left Egypt, only two of them actually stepped foot in Canaan. Thus the one in a million statistic.

(I was talking to Debs about this study the other night and she said the title made her think of a song in Miss Congeniality. Remember? It's the song that's playing during the pageant opening when they're all dressed up like the Statue of Liberty and carrying around torches and cutouts of their states. Too funny!)

Back to Bible study. It's hard to know what to say about it, or to explain what it means to me. It comes out so trite. So trivial. So not what it is. So I'll show you this picture instead. At women's Bible study we watch the DVD lesson as a big group (I think there were about 60 of us this time around) and then we divide into small groups by age. Except for my big old Sponge Bob head nearly blocking Kim, I think we're pretty cute! Our Fearless Leader Carol is in the front row wearing the navy top.

This is my sixth Bible study with these women. (Please don't be impressed. This sinful heart needs all the Bible study it can get. I only tell you that to give you an idea of what we've been through together.) The group changes somewhat each time around. (We love new girls!) But Carol has been our leader since I arrived on the scene. I christened her Fearless Leader myself and if you knew what a handful our small group is, you'd know the title is dead on.

Very little small group time (if any) is spent on small talk. We get down to business. Partly because time is short. Mostly because we've realized we're all better off getting right to the tough stuff. The sin stuff. The God stuff. We laugh and cry. And laugh until we cry. Any pretenses are left at the door because when we acknowledge that none of us has it all together, it's a direct route to the only One who does. I'm telling you, any one of these girls could blackmail me for what I've divulged in small group. :)

I'm so thankful God's given me this group for this season of life. I respect each one of these women. They've encouraged me and challenged me. They've made me laugh until my sides nearly split.

Only two of the original Israelites entered the Promised Land together. Praise God 13 of us are entering ours. I wouldn't have wanted to get my feet sandy with anyone else.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:24-25

Sunday, November 1, 2009

mouse in our house

This weekend we found a mouse in our house.

She was dressed to the nines and on the prowl for something good to eat.

At one point I cornered her, but the squirmy thing escaped my grasp...

and traveled to another home in search of something tasty.

They lavished her with goodies, so she set up permanent residence.

The End.