Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chi Fun!

It's been pretty cool to have three chihuahuas running around the past few days. Last night, Corey and Misty had a lot of fun tearing into their Christmas present from Bailey. Unlike Little Boo, they had someone to teach them how to play when they were babies, so they know how to rip into something that smells good. They were obviously well rewarded for their efforts.

Today we took another walk to the pond, this time with all three dogs. Bailey had a blast chasing the geese again, as they were on land today, instead of in the pond. While I can't say for sure, he even seemed to be laughing at them as they slipped and slid on the ice on the pond. hehehe.


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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ohio Update

Isaac suprised me with plane tickets to Ohio for this week. Let's be honest...this isn't my idea of a vacation for lots of reasons, but I'm making the best of it. We got here Monday at lunchtime, and here are the fun things that have happened so far:

Bailey did AMAZING on the air plane! I was so nervous I was up all night Sunday, but he did great! He either slept or chewed on a bone on both planes (it's hard to fly non-stop to Ohio), and he was adored in the airports! YAY! And, he's getting along with Misty and Corey, the two resident chis.

Snow plows/salt trucks at Chicago Midway. Not a normal sight for me!

Within 10 minutes of walking in the door at Isaac's parents', I had huge smiles from a 4 month old and Olivia's dirty diaper to change. To me, it's heaven! Penny runs a day care in her home, so there are always lots of munchkins to cuddle, coo, and love. Olivia has been my love for nearly the entire 21 months of her life, and someday she might just have to be wisked away to Houston. Wesley is the new baby, and he's adorable. No pacifer for this baby, and he always smiles!!! He and I have had lots of cuddle time today. Ethan is Wesley's big brother, and for 2, he is so expressive! He's pretty fun too. Jared is Olivia's big brother and as wild as ever, but still a good kid.

Olivia!

This morning, we played in the snow! There was between 2-3 inches when we got here yesterday. It's beautiful-just enough t0 cover everything in a sparkling white blanket, but not enough to cause any problems. Bailey took his first real steps in the snow yesterday. At first, he wasn't too sure what to think, but the more he walked, the more he liked it. Bailey went out several times last night. This morning, he was ready for us to bundle up and take a romp in the snow! There's a huge field and pond behind the house, so we had lots of fun playing. Bailey decided the geese in the pond needed a good chasing, so he took care of that! He also got some rides in Daddy's coat, but for the most part, he wanted his feet (and his nose!) in the white stuff! The sun came out this afternoon, and while it's still below freezing, it's melting the snow. Daddy and Bailey took a run up to the club house about 2:30, and Bailey had fun then too! Bailey has finally worn himself out, so he's curled up on my chest sleepting right now.








Chase those geese, Bailey!



My check list for this week is nearly complete. I wanted to cuddle, feed, and change babies, play in the snow, and groom/ride horses. The horses we're working on....3 more days to make it!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Our Christmas began on the 23rd. We celebrated with a yummy dinner (thanks, Nanny!) and super fun presents.

The Christmas fun with Aunt Laura wore out the baby. This is how he wanted to sleep all night, on my super cute Christmas pillow cases a student made for me.



Even Igor (left) and Nika (right) have gotten into the decor of Christmas. :)



On the 23rd, Isaac and I headed to Pearland (talk about a long trip! hehehe) to stay with Nanny and Dede. Nanny has fed us well, and Dede, Isaac, and I have decided to a trip to the shooting range needs to be a new tradition for every Christmas Eve. It was a great way to spend a sunny afternoon before church! UBC had one of the most worshipful Christmas Eve services I've ever attended. Maybe it helped that I was apart of it (bells), but I think it was just that the hearts of the congregation seemed to be in the right place, and Robert was very challenging in his sermon.


This morning was a blast! We slept in, ate a yummy breakfast, and then spent an hour and half opening gifts. That's a record for length, and made it more fun! Bailey got a Snuggie from my mom, and I got footie pjs from Bailey. Woohoo...we'll be a cuddly bunch this winter!


I hope everyone has had a glorious day celebrating the birth of our Savior!


Bailey was totally uninterested in his stocking presents this year. Oh well. His grandma tried, and I had fun opening them for him.





Isaac got a shopvac from my parents. Woohoo!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Megan Kate Tanner

Miss Megan Kate Tanner was born last night, December 18th, at 8:40, weighed in at 7lbs 8oz, and was 20 in long. Michelle had the easiest delivery ever, and after one roller coaster of a pregnancy, she deserved it! Will is completely wrapped around Megan's finger. Madisyn already adores her little sissy, and I'm super stoked about this early Christmas gift! Isaac and I spent 2 hours visiting with Madisyn, Will, and Michelle this afternoon and totally couldn't get enough of sweet Megan. I see many more visits in our future to love on all four of our dear, precious friends!
Megan, you are probably one of the most prayed for little girls out there! So, so many people have been praying over your family and you for months now. You've given your mommy and daddy some scares along the way to get here, and we're so grateful God brought you into this world happy and healthy! Your mommy is one of the bestest friends anyone could ever have, and I can't wait for you to learn from her. Your daddy is a perfect gentleman, and I hope you take very good notes about how men need to treat you. Your sister is just precious and has so much fun energy to share with you. Most of all, your entire family loves your Daddy God so very, very much. I know they are going to be teaching you about Jesus starting now so that you will learn to grow up following and loving Him as much as they do. You are so blessed to have such a fabulous family and so many friends who love you already and will do absolutely anything for you. We all feel blessed to love you and watch you grow. How great is our God!


Maddy, Megan, and Daddy


Mr. Isaac and Megan

Sweet, awake little girl!



I've been waiting for months to hold this little one!

Michelle didn't want any pictures of her yet, but I'll get some soon! :)




Journey to Bethlehem

On Monday night, we invited our three favorite kiddos over to journey to find the Baby King. We began by decorating Christmas cookies. I've never seen such piles of icing on one small cookie before, but the elaborate creations were adorable and very tasty! We had a yummy spaghetti dinner and had fun with Igor and Nika before heading out to Bethlehem. The kids thought our two parakeets were the coolest things! The birds were pretty fond of them too!

We determined we traveled on a 'two hump camel' to Bethlehem since Ol Sarge is such a giant. I think the camel and the donkey were the biggest hits in Bethlehem, although it sure is fun to taste foods that have been around for over 2,000 years, make pottery and rope the 'old fashioned' way, and grind wheat by hand. And, we were successful in clarifying the rumors of a Baby King. We found Baby Jesus in a manger, like the rumors said, although I'm not so sure about the bottle on which he was feasting....hmm. A new tradition for the Ozinga family has possibly begun!




Friday, December 18, 2009

Celebration

So, this post is a week over due, but it's been insane at school this week.

Last Friday night, Mom, Dad, David, Laura, Isaac, and I went to FBC Houston for their Christmas pageant (for lack of a better word). How do I describe something that left me breathless and speechless? I haven't been in such awe of a production since my last trip to Disney in June of 2007!
Celebration is a story of Christmas in three parts. It begins in the North Pole with the elves and Santa preparing for the big day. Santa flew to the stage in his sleigh and bemoans how greedy the world has become. He explains why he began giving gifts as St. Nicholas long ago: the Magi brought Baby Jesus gifts and God gave us the greatest gift of His Son. Santa used familiar toys to act out these two stories, so it was quite humorous, but very much to the point. The elves and toys danced as the choir and orchestra sang, and it was just magical. Santa flew away on his sleigh to deliver toys. While I don't like that they made Santa look real (though I was proud of them telling the REAL St. Nicholas story!!), FBC did do a nice cover job for all of those parents who choose to lie to their poor children.

Only at the North Pole can every direction be south!!! The geography teacher in me loved this detail!





The second scene is simply music. The choir (over 175 voices!) and the full orchestra played beautiful pieces, many from Michael W. Smith's latest Christmas album. It was a peaceful time of worship.


Then, the Nativity began. Bethlehem was staged in the middle of the audience, with peddlers, travelers, and townspeople milling around the sanctuary and on the stage. Joseph led Mary to the inn on a real live donkey. Baby Jesus arrived, and the shepherds made their way to the inn as angels flew in the sky. Then, the Magi became to arrive with their entourages. One Magi came with a real live camel. Another came with a real live elephant. In. The. Sanctuary. WOW! More angels flew in the sky, and the aisles were filled with angels as well. It was one glorious sight!







Throughout each scene, the orchestra and choir played and sang. It was fantastic! I can't wait for next year.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Weekend Update

We had a wonderful whirlwind of a weekend!

On Friday, Houston was sprinkled with gorgeous, huge, fluffy snowflakes and the super cold temperatures that accompany such a phenomenon. It was a perfect night for homemade chili, so Ashley and Tim and Michelle and Will came over for for dinner and peppermint ice cream with fudge for dessert. Isaac even stirred up a cozy fire for us! We had a great time of fellowship and enjoyed some Charlie Brown Christmas specials as well. Isaac and I are so blessed by these two couples, and really appreciate their friendship so much! Will and Michelle have a baby on the way, and Ashley and Tim aren't sure where the work world will take them once their married this summer, so we're cherishing every moment we have with both couples right now.


Saturday morning saw me at church for handbell rehearsal for this morning, and Isaac went with other friends from Sunday School to shop with some kids from Bacliff. A ministry called Lighthouse gathers monetary donations so that these kiddos can buy Christmas gifts for their family members and spend the morning being loved on by some caring adults. I got to go two years ago, and I loved the experience. Isaac enjoyed it, too. Hopefully next year we'll get to go together.

I finished all of my Christmas shopping yesterday afternoon. As I was online making price comparison before heading out to the stores, I noticed every store I was researching had free shipping. I took advantage of that sweet deal...I saved money on gas and my sanity from traffic, and got all of my family members exactly what they wanted! Woohoo!

Last night we built another fire and watched Christmas movies; what a treat! I'm loving this cold weather in December to be able to enjoy a fire AND Christmas decorations at the same time. This doesn't happen often in Houston!

Today was the Christmas Bellapalooza at church. Four handbell choirs all playing at once; what a glorious sound! I love those Sundays!!!

Bailey and I also took our annual Mommy/Son Christmas portrait today. Isn't he adorable?!

Tonight was bittersweet. I.B. and Honey Ham (Rick Carpenter and Suzanne Reynolds) made an appearance at UBC tonight to say a fond (and humorous) farewell to the Creech family. We're all sad to see them go, but I know Robert is meant to be teaching at Truitt now. I'm grateful for such a wonderful pastor who has led our church so faithfully to the Lord for so many years. What a blessing!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Free Christmas Music!

Christmas...Music...December...Free

Put these words together, and you have a very happy Laura! Amazon.com is giving away a free Christmas song mp3 download each day in December through Christmas. The best part is that if you miss a day, you can still go back and downoad the song anyway. Check it out on Amazon's home page, and have fun adding to your Christmas music collection. I sure am!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Donations

When Isaac and I got married, we quickly realized we had duplicates of things, or more of certain items than we needed. Towels, decor, and clothing that we didn't need anymore were in our way. My mom has always donated household items she no longer needs to Purple Heart, so I started doing some research to find out about the program. It's so simple to donate to Puprle Heart. They let you schedule a pick up time online, and then they come and pick up your boxed or bagged items that you leave on your porch. How simple is that?! They leave a receipt for you in case you need it for your records. We've actually had them come twice in the 3 1/2 months that we've been married. Granted, it's not the Dave Ramsey method for getting rid of things, but it is so much easier than a garage sale, especially when we're short on storage space as it is.

For more information on the Purple Heart Household Discard Program in Houston, visit http://houston.donatestuff.com

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hobby Lobby Baby Thief

Isaac and I needed to make a return to Hobby Lobby today. A box of icicle lights we bought were defective, and Isaac wasn't going to take out every bulb in have the strand to figure out which one was bad. Thankfully, the crowd this afternoon was manageable, and the line at the return counter was short. While we were waiting our turn, a sweet lady came dashing into the store with something in her hand. She rushed up to the manager, and said, in the most apologetic tone, "M'am, I got out to the car and realized this was in my baby's hand! I am so very, very sorry!" The manager was thankfully gracious and don't the mom not to worry and that it happens from time to time. The item was a sparkly, felt Christmas ornament that I'm sure the baby thought was very enticing as its mommy walked up and down the aisles. Can't you just see a mom who's in a rush to get home lifting her baby out of the cart in front of her car just to discover that the sweet little angel is actually a thief?! Isaac and I were almost in tears we were laughing so hard (after the sweet lady had left the store, of course!)! It was also a treat to see intregity in America. No one would've ever missed that little ornament, but she knew to swallow her embarrassement and march back into the store to return the 'stolen' item. Way to go, Mom!

Moral of the story: Isaac and I have learned that if we are blessed with children, always check their hands before walking out of the store!

Has a similar situation ever happened to you? Please do share!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bonfire

For most of us, 11-18-99 began as normally as any other day. I was a freshman at CBHS, happy as a lark to be in high school. I knew little of Texas A&M, and even less of their traditions because I saw myself as a Kentucky girl at heart, with dreams of attending UK that lasted until March of '03.

The collapse of the heavy logs at Bonfire on the Polo Fields in front of the Admin Building happened at 2:42 AM, too late into the night to make the newspaper. My family rarely watches the TV in the mornings, so I didn't hear of the devastation 112 miles to the north until I reached school. Many of my friends, especially several of the seniors, were huge Aggie fans and planned on attending the school after graduation. They were obviously upset, and the sheer fact that something so sad had happened mad me sad too.

That evening, I remember seeing the first images of the huge stack of logs in a heap on the evening news, and Tom Brokaw's description of what had happened. For the next several days, images and interviews from College Station filled the news and the papers as time confirmed that 12 had given. What a interesting fact, that a number so dear to A&M would forever now represent something tragic as well. For me, time marched on, and Bonfire moved to the back of my memory.

In March of '03, I finally accepted the fact that my Daddy God was bound and determined for me to attend Texas A&M instead of UK. The fact made me sick to my stomach, but I obeyed, wondering what I was in for in Aggieland. Fish Camp and Impact succeeded in brainwashing me into being a die hard Ag, and the people, students and faculty alike, made me know to my core, that this was family. How 40,000+ people can feel like family, especially when I hate crowds, I can't explain, but it is. We look out for each other. We greet each other when we see the Ring, and we support each other in the good and bad.

As my first anniversary of Bonfire approached, it was the 4th anniversary for those on campus. Very few current students were left that had actually seen Bonfire burn, though several had worked on the Cut and Stack of the Bonfire in '99. The memorial set up in the MSC helped me appreciate the tradition better, as did the growing friendship my mom had with Janice Kerlee who lost her son Tim to the collapse.

On 11-18-04, my mom came to A&M to join some friends and me as we attended the Bonfire Memorial dedication. Govenor Rick Perry spoke, as did Robert Gates (how I miss him as president!). It was a time of hope for A&M, not necessarily that Bonfire would burn again, but that healing was coming, that lives were not lost in vain, and that traditions, new and old would live on.

November 18th has continued to come and go. Yesterday marked 10 years since the collapse. All 12 families attended a beautiful memorial at Reed Arena on the night of the 17th. Isaac and I attended as well. To me, it's important to know the past to understand the future. Aggieland won't ever be the same, and those of us who are or were students there understand that, though it's hard to explain it.

At 2:42 AM yesterday morning, Isaac and I, with candles glowing, were surrounded by Aggies from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, new and old to remember. The 12 families met in the middle of the Bonfire Memorial, in the place where the stack had collapsed. I couldn't see her in the dark, but I believe it was Mrs. Kerlee who called all the Ags to gather round, in the circle of the memorial. She said that we're all family, and that this was for all of us. As hundreds of Aggies slowly made their way with glowing candles, it was beautifuly to see a campus come together to remember something most of have never seen. Thank you to the families for sharing this time with us.



I'm not one of those Ags who is pushing for Bonfire to return. I think it would be fantastic if it did, but a lot of changes would need to be made first. I'm ok if it's a tradition that has ended, never to be forgotten, because 12 Ags gave their lives to be a part of something greater than themselves. Regardless, A&M lives on, for There's a Spirit can ne'er be told...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Road Trips

Meredith and I hadn't seen each other in a while, so after church I went up to her side of town to have lunch with her. While we both live in Houston, it takes an hour to get to her. Oh, the joys of big cities. We had a wonderful visit, despite her bad cold, and it was great to catch up in person instead of with just the phone.

Having two uninterrupted hours to myself today was also a rare treat. It made me miss my drives back and forth to school. I am an avid anti-cartrip campaigner, but I loved that time alone in my car because it was a beautiful drive, and it also was a perfect opportunity to have some impromptu praise and worship time. God can speak loudly on the road (and it has nothing to do with my driving!), and it's a wonderful time to pray. I thoroughly enjoyed my drive time today. I listened to a Smitty CD that was mostly instrumental and prayed. What a joy!

Tanner Baby Shower

Michelle and Will sweetly allowed me to host a baby shower for them yesterday. Miss Megan will be here soon, and since big sissy Maddy is 6, there aren't a lot of baby things left in the Tanner house. Lots of Michelle and Will's family and friends joined them yesterday to show them how excited they are for Megan's arrival. They received all sorts of fun (and cute!) baby essentials to help make life with Megan a little bit easier. We also played a few baby themed games and munched on Isaac's yummy chocolate cake! Thank you Isaac for all of your help!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bailey vs. Grasshopper

Last night Bailey stayed with my grandparents. They like to keep their great-grandson overnight quite often, so I left them have him last night so I could prepare for Michelle's baby shower today.

Bailey loves his Nanny and Dede, and he loves being at their house. He adores his tromps around the lake and patrolling the neighborhood for unknown critters. Today he spent the afternoon in the backyard gardening with Nanny and Dede. He loves to sniff around the plant beds and rolling in the grass. Bailey found a new creature today-a grasshopper. Like the frogs at night, grasshoppers hop! Bailey was apparently fascinated by this fact and silently stalked the grasshopper across the yard each time it hopped. Bailey loves to stalk/tree/chase any critter as he feels he is the only animal that deserves to grace this planet, and this grasshopper was no exception. Eventually, the grasshopper's pattern was deciphered by Bailey, and he was able to pounce at the right moment. Byebye, grasshopper! Nanny did take the prize away from the little boy before he was able to taste his catch, for which I am grateful! Let's just hope the day never comes when he catches his most despised squirrels!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oral Histories

CCISD was awarded a grant called "Teaching American History". Being the history nut I am, I quickly applied to be a part of this grant, even though I don't teach American History. It was open to all faculty in the district, and it has been full of amazing personal growth opportunities, along with some good teaching methods and ideas that were thrown in for good measure. :)

Last night's training centered around the oral history of a 93 year old WWII veteran named Fred Machoul. The cool part was that he brough a jeep from 1944 with him! Fred was a lieutenant major in the Army, beginning in 1940. He spent a lot of time in Iceland training with his counter-intelligence division before spending time in London and Paris. Essentially, he was in Europe for nearly 6 years. Fred and his son travel around Houston, and anywhere else they are invited, sharing with school children the experiences Fred had during WWII. Fred was one of the first Allied troops to enter Dachau after the camp was liberated. Most of you know I've been mesmerized by the Holocaust since I was 10 and should've gotten a degree in Holocaust Studies, but not even all of that research could have prepared me for Fred's stories and pictures. I suppose editors have deemed truth to be too graphic for America, but the pictures that Fred took with his own camera aren't in any of the books I've read. The stories he told about his interviews with the few SS guards that the Allied troops kept alive for testimony are more horrendous than anything I'd imagined. What they did to the people, Jews, Christians, and anyone else deemed unfit, 'just because' is inexcusable.

Fred told us that Eisenhower, who was his general, kept telling them to get to Dachau because in 50 years some SOB would say Dachau never happened. Sure enough, that 'SOB' (these are Fred and Ike's words!) is alive and brainwashing minds all throughout the Middle East today. I spent a lot of time talking to Fred one on one last night, and it ludicrous to tell a man who stumbled into hell on Earth that what he saw and smelled with his own eyes and nose never happened. To say that the piles and piles of bodies and the rail cars overflowing with bodies, all left to rot, didn't exist is mortifying.

The Holocaust isn't a pretty topic. It is proof of the power Satan has, thankfully for only a short time, over the souls on this Earth. It is a constant reminder that as humans, we have a long way to go before we reach the everlasting arms of Christ. The Holocaust needs to be taught, even in all of it's gruesomeness, so that children today don't grow up to hate, so that there is no excuse for genocide to continue, so that Christ's love can shine through the darkness, and so that those like Fred won't have to ever hear some 'SOB' say that their nightmares and screams were in vain. Fred, thank you for sharing your story.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Babysitting Adventures

Last night Isaac and I visited our favorite brood for about 3 hours. David and Suzanne had an awards ceremony to attend, so of course we were more than happy to entertain the kids!

When we arrived, we immediately headed to the back yard to join a game of statues. This is a very fun game of being sneaky...ask if you don't know what it is. It's such a good game because it interests the wide age range we had: 5-24! I finally convinced all '4' children that pizza/dinnertime was a good idea, so we went inside. It's always a delight to hear any of those children pray, and last night was no exception! They know how to talk to their Daddy God like He's right in the room and not some far off, distant being. Dinner was full of discussions of how 7 people would fit into one van for a trip to Florida. I think the consensus was that Zach would be tied to the roof. :)

Thanks to Day Light Savings Time ending, it was dark by the time dinner was ended. However, darkness doesn't stop three funny kids from wanting to go back out side. They popped out the left over Halloween glow sticks and some book lights for us to journey back out to the backyard for some glow in the dark tag. It was actually quite a challenge until the moon rose over the roof. One hour and lots of dirty feet and giggles later, it was time to head inside for some quieter activities for the night.

We played another round of statues inside and then broke out the cards for some exuberant rounds of No Peeking and Spoons. It was decided that a 5 way game of War was in the line-up, which proved to be much more fun than I thought it would be.

Next time we babysit on a non-Thursday night (we go over on Thursdays to put them to bed while their parents are at Bible study), the kids will have to come to our house. They severely chastised us for still not having them over to our new house. Oops!

Best line of the night award goes to Savannah! While we were playing Glow in the Dark Tag, she was tagged by Isaac. Her response: "I can't be it! I'm climbing a tree!" She really had made it halfway up a big tree in the dark. The joy of being 5!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


I've finally broken down and taken the time to type out my pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe. It's from a Libby Pumpkin can label from the 1980s. These cookies were a favorite of David and mine when we were in preschool, but Mom put the recipe away when we moved to Texas, and it wasn't until I was going through her recipes in college that I uncovered it. What a treat it was to rediscover these wonderful delights!

Ingredients:

2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
1 cup uncooked oats
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a small bowl. Cream butter; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; mix well. Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in morsels.

If you want to make pumpkin shaped cookies, drop 1/4 cup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Shape it with a spoon or spatula into a pumpkin shape. Add a bit more dough to the top for a stem.
 


If you just want a round cookie, drop 1/4 cup of dough onto a greased cookie sheet. My cookies usually need to back about 8 1/2 minute, though I usually make smaller cookies, and the bigger you make them, the longer they'll need to make.

The cookies are super cute to decorate with icing and make cute jack-o-lanterns. Sometimes I'll even use candies (M&Ms, etc) to help make faces.


Enjoy!

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