Sunday, November 20, 2011


we spent the last day (and a half) driving to destin, florida to spend a week's vacation for thanksgiving! we are here safely, so i'm thankful for that!

our "home" for the week in destin
{taken last night when we finally arrived around 10:30 pm}

the girls did relatively well in the car. we had our moments with rylie - a very long trip for such a tiny girl - but all in all it was a really good drive.

jason and i were talking about how much we enjoyed the trip with our little family. even though it was long and tiring, we had some really sweet moments with the girls. we stopped friday night for dinner in canton, texas at dairy palace. this is a place very near and dear to our hearts. i grew up stopping at dairy palace every time we were on our way to pine cove (an amazingly fun christian camp) in tyler. as jason joined my world and my group of friends, he learned about the love for dairy palace on trips to do work crew at pine cove with our 20s group at church. we couldn't drive through canton and not stop at dairy palace. even though we really didn't have time for it, we were so glad we did.

we had the most fun, sweet time with our girls. everyone was happy, and obeying (!!), and giggling, and being silly. it was one of those moments i just wanted to suspend and hold onto for a bit longer.

i am so thankful for my family. i love that we can be so silly together and that we really enjoy each other. i hope the girls continue to think we're lots of fun as they grow up. :)

{and i am VERY thankful for our first day of vacation today... can't wait for the fun i know this next week will bring!}


one of my best friends has a sweet baby girl, evie claire, who is 4 months younger than rylie. sami and i have known each other since we were 15, and were fast-friends from the moment we met. the Lord has been so gracious to walk us through similar journeys at almost every stage of our life for the last 15 years. the walk of mommy-hood is particularly sweet to walk with a dear friend.

my in-laws left for florida early friday morning, so rylie went to have a playdate with evie while jason and i were working. sami sent me this super cute picture while i was at work.

evie claire & rylie elizabeth - november 2011
"two little who's from who-ville"

when i walked in the door with rylie, sami said that evie was wearing the very same pajamas! how precious is that?? :)

it is very fun to watch our baby girls play and giggle with each other. i pray that they grow to be sweet friends and love each other as much as their mommies do. i pray that their love for Christ creates a bond in them that lasts a lifetime. 

i am so thankful for these two little girls and their baby-friendship. and i am always thankful for evie's mommy, and the amazing friend and sister-in-Christ that she has been to me. :)


{i started this post actually ON the 17th, and then got distracted... so it's a few days late.}

today {november 17th} is my (not so) little brother's 25th birthday. i can't believe we're "this old" already. it seems both like just yesterday, and like worlds away, when we were running around the neighborhood playing "war" with our neighbor-friends. :)

i am so proud of the man my brother has become.

he is a terrific husband to my sister-in-law, katie. he showers her with love, affection, gifts, and praise. i love watching him love her. :)

he serves others well as a firefighter. he takes care of me by mowing our yard randomly, just because, or helping jason fix my car or random things around the house.

he is a great friend and confidant to my husband. jason loves him so much, and i love how much fun they have together and how much they trust each other. i have so enjoyed the last few years as our relationship has evolved into a true friendship instead of simply "siblings."

and, he is an amazing uncle to my girls. emma and rylie LOVE their uncle cory. he is gentle with them, but firm, and oh-so-much-fun. emma knows when uncle cory comes around that he will chase her, throw her, spin her and give her as many piggy-back rides as she wants! and he loves them so much. i love seeing him in a new light as the only uncle to my girls. watching him with them, i can't wait to see him become a daddy someday. i know he will be wonderful.

emma with uncle cory & aunt katie
at her "alice in wonderland" 5th birthday party

happy birthday, cory jeff! i love you so much, and i am so very thankful for you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


i am thankful for a great team to teach with. pre-k at LHE is sometimes crazy, with our whirlwind days being so busy, taking care of kiddos, and all the deadlines and "other stuff" that piles up daily. i know that without this group of ladies, it would be a lot less fun! :)

love you, telsa, vanessa & pam! i am very thankful for each of you, and how God is teaching me and growing me through our relationships. :)

vanessa, {veronica }, me, telsa & pam (L to R)
christmas 2010


i'm thankful for housework.

i know. that sounds crazy - especially coming from me!

but, to get ready for our destin trip, we've been doing tons of laundry and just trying to get the house completely cleaned so that we don't come home to a mess. i've been really stressed out, and overwhelmed with the amount of work to do and kind of grumbling about how i'm so tired and i don't want to have to do it all, and how it's going to get done, etc...

but then i realized - housework means a house to clean. it means i have a home. a home that i love and that i want our girls to love and take care of. no housework would mean one of two things: 1) we're so rich that we have a housekeeper to do it all for me, or 2) we have no home at all.

honestly, even though a housekeeper would be amazing... i don't know that i'd want one ALL the time. i feel like that would make it way too easy to be removed and uninvolved from anything going on in our home. just a thought...

and obviously, we are very blessed and fortunate to have a home. sure, it is smaller and not as "fancy-shmancy" as the home we love to dream of having one day, but it is our home, and it is wonderful. it is filled with love, laughter, memories and blessings.

and i am very thankful for that. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011


i am so thankful that vacation is only 4 days away!

that's right... four days.

then, i will be on my way to destin, florida with my family.

we will be staying in this incredible house:

our rental house in destin. no joke. 

and spending lots of time here:

i literally cannot wait. friday, come quickly!! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011


today, i am thankful for the perfect health of my beautiful baby girls. i am thankful for God's provision and blessings in our lives.

a girl i know had a baby boy on september 3rd of this year. baby william is now just a little over 2-months-old. a few weeks ago, he was diagnosed with a genetic disease known as SMA1, also known as Werdnig-Hoffman disease. most children with SMA1 have a lifespan of only 12-18 months. this means that beth, her husband mark, and their 2-year-old daughter charlotte only have about 10-16 more months with this baby boy.

baby william: tiny fighter

i canNOT imagine. i just can't.

i have been checking beth's Facebook page several times a day since william was admitted into the hospital in october. the doctors thought, early on, that he had botulism... which is scary, but is totally treatable with medication, so that option was full of hope. the news of SMA1 is devastating. there is no cure. there is no treatment. there are only methods of making the child as comfortable as possible for as long as they have. and they don't have very long. 12-18 months is not very long. our time with rylie would be just about up, if not already. i couldn't reconcile that. i'm not done being rylie's mommy. i'm sure beth and mark feel the same way. and for 35 days beth has been sleeping at the end of her baby boy's bed at children's hospital. for 35 days they have been functioning in a "new normal," surrounded by machines and cords and doctors and nurses... and waiting. just waiting for time to be up. and still striving to be mommy and daddy to a 2-year-old baby girl, and to trust the Lord with the life of the boy they so badly want to see grow up.

how do you survive that? how does your chest not just cave in from the weight of that situation? how do you keep breathing and functioning as a mommy, a wife... a person?

my heart has been so heavy for this family. so heavy. i weep when i read their Facebook statuses, updating friends and family on the grim details of this new world that must seem like it just can't be real.

and i realize... i am SO blessed!!

i truly have nothing to {really} complain about. it's such a crazy realization... that i get so wrapped up in my dreams and how they're not coming true; in my expectations that don't get met; in life's disappointments. and really - it could be so much worse. i could be soaking up every minute of my daughters' lives because of the reality that each one could very much be her last. and while that is technically true for all of us, i have never been told by a doctor that there "really is nothing we can do," and that i should try to make my child as comfortable as possible, for as long as we have left. i have never been told that i will never get to see my child take her first steps, or ride a bike for the first time, or start kindergarten, or grow to be an adult. and suddenly, all of my "burdens" seem so bearable.

i have a family who loves one another. we have gorgeous girls who are as healthy as can be! and even though i don't what the future holds, i can at least dream of what they will look like as young women and who they will be!

praise the Lord for their protection and their help.

praise the Lord!!


today felt a lot like this:

yeah. not so good.

today, i am thankful for second chances. that "His mercies are new every morning."

so we can start fresh tomorrow and seek out moments like these:

Saturday, November 12, 2011


i am thankful for the ability to read, the love of reading, and any time i get to enjoy it! :)

granted, life is SO busy right now, that it takes me to finish any kind of book. i read quite a bit this summer to take advantage of my "time off." i finished the help in september, and that's the last book i've read. i really want to start the hunger games series next... i'm thinking of getting the audiobook for jason and i to listen to on our way to destin for our thanksgiving road trip! :)

if i could... i would love a cozy little "reading corner" in my house, like this:

...or this...

...or this...

...or this...

...or heavens! this would be just divine:

can't you just imagine lounging in this backyard bungalow with a glass of lemonade or a cup of hot tea, spending hours snuggled up with a book? 

mmm. heaven. 

(i'd totally be thankful for that, too. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011


i am thankful that emma kate gets to be in dance this year. every thursday, she gets to dress up like a ballerina and learn to pointe and twirl and chasse across the dance floor at ms. tanya's house of dance in allen. emma is in a class with one of her best friends, haley. it's so fun that they get to dance together! :) after 30-minutes of ballet, the girls put on their tap shoes and shuffle-ball-change their little hearts out. :)

with our budget, the fact that she gets to be in an activity like this is a huge blessing. she loves it, and it's really fun to watch her dancing with her little friends... i can't wait 'til her first recital... we'll see what kind of dancer my little one turns out to be. :)

this picture is from her very first dance class. i just love it.

tiny dancers with ms. tanya
{emma is in all pink}

i don't think there's anything sweeter! i am so thankful i get to share these moments with her.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


that sonic ice... mmmm. 

as trivial as this may seem, i am very thankful for sonic drinks. particularly vanilla dr. pepper, vanilla ocean water, or strawberry limeades. :)

there is a sonic about a block away from my school, and a sonic run (especially during 2-4 pm happy hour) is always the go-to when we are not having the best day. those sonic drinks have a way of making teachers happy.

i don't know if it's the amazing sonic ice, the styrofoam cups, the happy red straws, or just the deliciousness of the drinks themselves, but they can lift my mood in a heartbeat. :)

(fun fact: it is true that styrofoam cups and straws DO, indeed, make every drink taste better. the sonic ice helps, too.)

so, here's to sonic drinks being so close to my place of work. and to aides cool enough to make the run. and to the fact that they are cheap. and delicious. and make the last hour or two of teaching a rowdy little group of 4-year-olds way more bearable. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


i am thankful for tuesdays... at 9:00 pm, to be exact. when i'm curled up on the couch in my pj's. it's just about my favorite time of the week.

it's the best. show. ever.

i mean, really. it's the best ever.

maybe it's silly to be thankful for a tv show, but today, i am. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011


on november 7th, 7-years ago, i married my best friend.

mr. & mrs. rains - november 2011

today, i am thankful for 7 years of marriage to one of the best men i know. i am thankful for almost 10 years of "togetherness" with him. i am thankful that we still laugh and have fun together. i am thankful for the home we have built together... for our two beautiful daughters. 

i am thankful for him. my sweet husband, jason lynn rains. 

love him so much. :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011


today, i am thankful for productivity.

jason and i got to sleep in (until almost 10 am!!) and then spent the day doing laundry and organizing while the girls played outside in the backyard. we cleaned out and organized the pantry, which was LONG overdue... there was a box of thin wheats in there that expired in 2009!! ha! listening to them squeal and giggle and play together was glorious. since the weather was so nice, we left the back door open and they just came in and out of the house. we made a run to the grocery store before dinner, so we're all set for the week.

we have lots more to finish before we leave for destin in 2 weeks (i want to leave & come home to a CLEAN HOUSE!), but i think we got a lot done today!

and i am thankful for that!


so... even though this one is technically being posted on november 6th, it still counts for the 5th for two reasons: 1) because i haven't gone to bed, yet, and 2) because it's my blog and i said so! :)

i just got home from an incredible date night with my husband of SEVEN YEARS, celebrating our anniversary. we had a most delicious dinner at Gregory's Bistro in the square in downtown mckinney. we drank great wine, ate even greater food, and had sweet conversation. then we went to see a movie - like, a grown-up movie... without talking animals or princesses of any kind! we watched some of hollywood's finest (i.e. george clooney, ryan gosling, philip seymour hoffman & paul giamati!) in "the ides of march." some pictures were posted on facebook, and i got many sweet compliments... maybe i need to spend more time on hair & makeup more often?? :)

and now, we're home. the girls are spending the night with "nonna & grampa" tonight. and it's daylight savings night!... which means one more hour of sleep, technically... but even more because there will be no little people to wake us up at 7:30 a.m. on-the-dot asking for the iPad or to watch Netflix on my iPhone. (hallelujah!)

so, tonight, i am thankful for date night. and anniversaries. and really yummy food. and once-in-a-while childless nights. and the end of daylight savings. and sleep.

and my husband. (and the last 7 years.) :)

goodnight!! i'm gonna get a start on that "extra hour." :)

Friday, November 4, 2011


sweet friends welcoming McKenzie & McKinley Smith to the world! :)

i am so thankful for the community that God has been gracious enough to surround us with. my family has some of the most amazing friends we could ever ask for. i mean... look at the picture above... how much joy, love & awesomeness is captured in this shot?? :) of course, there are more people that are very important to us not pictured here, but this group is especially precious because of the time that has been invested in so many of these relationships, and how God has intricately woven our lives together. 

i have known several of these friends roughly half of my life... i have grown to realize that these types of friendships - those which are not only friends from childhood, but are also still very meaningful and thriving - are very rare. when jason and i talk about the fact that we have not just a couple "best friends," but at least 12 people that we would consider close enough to hold this title... we are just blown away. 

and these are not just friends who we enjoy to hang out with every once in awhile. these are friends whom we have prayed with, prayed for, laughed-until-we-cried with, cried-until-we-laughed with, waited in hospital waiting rooms to meet new babies with, played endless hours of silly board games with, broken bread with, bore burdens for, stood beside while marriage vows were exchanged, worshipped with, parented with, walked through marriage with, sought counsel from... lived life with. i do not know many couples my age that know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that there were at least 5 or 6 couples who, at the drop of a hat, would do just about ANYTHING for them. we know these friends would offer their homes if we needed it, clothe and feed us, drop everything and bring us dinner and listening ears if we're in need... be Jesus to us. 

and even beyond all that, they LOVE our girls. and it is such a sweet thing to watch our girls "grow up" with all of their children. at one child's birthday party, recently, a grandmother commented to the birthday girl's mom, "you have a very "productive" group of friends!" haha! it's so true, as there are a total of 11 children (one 5-year-old, and ten under the age of 2!) between the 7 couples in this picture (and only 5 of us actually have children)! all of our children are roughly the same age, and they are beginning to interact more and more, just making things more and more fun. :)

...AND... they're all really cool. :) each one of these friends are amazing men and women of God. i love them immensely and admire their passion for the Lord and their commitment to living for Him. 

i know what we have may not last forever. people move away and live intervenes. i pray that we have many more milestones and years to share with one another. but i also praise Jesus for the influence they are on my life, my husband's life, and the lives of my children. i know that these relationships are extremely rare and precious... and i cherish them with all my heart. :) 


i am thankful for Fall; for cooler air and crisp, blustery days.

i am thankful for the need to wear a sweater, and for feeling cold in the morning.

i am thankful for Fall for a few reasons:

1. it got as high as 114 degrees in dallas this summer.
2. pumpkin spice lattes
3. pumpkin flavored anything
4. a light jacket or sweater is needed, but its not cold enough for my bones to shiver yet.
5. my uggs are now appropriate footwear again
6. i think the clothes are super cute!... jeans, sweaters, scarves, layers, layers, layers...
7. comfort food... yum!
8. fall means thanksgiving, which means the beginning of the christmas season... and my absolute favorite time of the year is from thanksgiving day until christmas eve. :)
9. daylight savings time ends, graciously giving me ONE MORE HOUR of sleep on a very special saturday night

...and i'm sure there are many other reasons that i'm thankful for fall, but i fell asleep, somewhere between numbers 3 & 4, last night while i was writing this post, so i just need to get on with it. (for the record, i am troubled, immensely, that "thankful.3" is now not going to show up on november 3, 2011. i really was liking the look of the post number matching the date... and now that is messed up. but i'm getting over it and moving on! i don't have to be a slave to perfection!) ;)

...yay fall! :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


{betcha thought i wouldn't even make it to day 2, huh?? ;) well, here i am!}

i thought day 2 would be fitting to declare my undying thankfulness for TWO of the most precious gifts God could ever have blessed me with.

emma kate {5} & rylie elizabeth {16-months} as "alice"

oh. my. goodness. how i LOVE these two little girls!! they bring me so much joy with their sweet, silly spirits. i love their snuggles, their laughs, their kisses, their faces, the way they feel when i hold them tight, the contentment on their faces as they sleep, the way they look at their daddy... i love every itty-bitty thing about them!

i could not even begin to imagine the blessing of motherhood when emma kate entered our lives 5 years ago. and although being a mommy is not the easiest job in the world (i think every mommy would agree that it brings many not-so-great days), i 100% believe that it is, by far, the most rewarding. God has taught me so many things about Him through my journey as Mommy to my two beautiful girls.

and, what a JOY to watch them grow together and develop a relationship. i sat in the living room tonight just watching them play and listening as girlie squeals and giggles filled our house. i know we probably have many bickering moments ahead of us, but i can't think of much that is sweeter than seeing your children grow to love one another. i pray they continue to develop a friendship that will be grounded in Christ, and will endure anything! sisters are so fun. :) and i love watching them laugh together.

i am thankful for the blessing of being their mother.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


ok. so i miserably failed at keeping up with my blog since my ONE post at the beginning of the summer. because i'm amazing. and busy. and just had a million things going on to keep me from posting.

and because i'm a perfectionist and i wanted to have everything set-up and available to be able to catch up on EVERYTHING i'd missed posting on over the previous year. and since i didn't have that together, i just. didn't. do. anything.

story of my life. {sigh.}


i really want to start fresh, even if i can't catch up on everything i've missed. :) so since today is november 1st, bringing thanksgiving oh-so-near, i have a desire to post something i'm thankful for, for each day of the month. for 30 days. and maybe my blogging habit will pick up again.

until i miss a day and get overwhelmed with the idea of making up for each day i've missed so i can have 30 posts in numerical order... ha!

but onto the real reason for this post... :)


i am immensely thankful that this year is so much better than last year at this time. last year, rylie was almost 5 months old, and i was just over 2 months into my first year of teaching, and emma was having a hard time adjusting, and things were just. so. hard. i felt like i was barely surviving.

this year, i am SHOCKED at the fact that i have just over 30 working days left in this semester. which means it's almost half-way over!! and, sure, there are stressful moments, but it is nothing like last year. and i am SO thankful for that.

i truly believe that God knows there is no way i could possibly endure another year like last year, and in his graciousness, He granted me the strength to power through this year, and allowed it to be much more manageable than last. i have hope for the future with what this year has been already, and am actually excited about continuing with my students through june! :)

and for that, i am VERY thankful. :)

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