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mom car

When Trey and I sold our second car back in January, we knew the next time we purchased a vehicle it would be to accommodate our future children.  And that can only mean one thing: Mom Car.  I shudder at the thought.

In light of this looming purchase, we’ve started playing a little game.  Any time I see a car I’d like to drive, I point it out to Trey and ask:

 

That’s a Mom Car, right?

 

Look at all that storage space for a stroller and diaper bag!

 

 

That cozy back seat will keep a car seat from ever sliding around.

 

 

 

 

 

 All that horse power will really come in handy if we ever have to rush the baby to the hospital!

 

 

 

 

See, when the time comes, we’re going to be extremely responsible parents :)

overflow

It’s been a rough month…months…how the heck is it June already???  After (finally) moving into our awesome new house, I thought the big stresser of the year was behind us.  Silly me.

Sometime in mid-May, we found out that my father-in-law has a brain tumor.  It’s been a rough ride dealing with doctors and nurses, surgery and rehab, and soon-to-be radiation and chemo.  It’s been one of the most exhausting and frustrating months of our married life.  But more than that, more than all the long nights and tears and arguments and fears, there has been an overwhelming outpouring of love.

Family and friends from all over the state of Texas and beyond have been in and out of Pop’s room since day one.  We’ve taken over waiting rooms and family rooms.  We’ve played Gin Rummy, Texas Hold ’em and Hide & Seek.  We’ve shared hugs and kisses and smiles and tears and lots and lots of food. We’ve played with new babies and loved on old friends.  As a family, our hearts are overflowing with love and gratitude for every prayer, thought, kind word, card, visit, hug, smile, laugh, sigh, and every other act of love you’ve shown us.  Thank you.

For updates on Pop’s condition and to leave a message for him and the family, please visit his CaringBridge site.

day-o-house-prayer

After 10 months of being on the market, Trey and I decided it was time to do something about our little House For Sale.  We’ve asked all our friends and family to stop what they’re doing on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at Noon EST/11am CST and pray for the sale of our house. 

Buy our house please :)

Below is the request we sent out to everyone we knew (and had email addresses for) who would earnestly pray for the sale of our house.  Please join us. 

 ***

Dear Family & Friends,   We can’t believe we’ve been in San Antonio for almost 10 months!  Sometimes it feels like we’ve been here forever, sometimes it feels like we just left Spartanburg yesterday.  Either way, we’ve been amazed by the many ways God has reassured us that we’re definitely where He wants us to be.    As many of you know, being here for 10 months also means that our house in Spartanburg, SC has been on the market for 10 months.  Anyone who’s ever tried to sell a home surely knows how this feels.  That’s where you come in.   We humbly ask that you join us in prayer for the sale of our house.  On Friday, February 3rd at noon EST (or 11am for you TX folks), we ask that you please take a minute out of your busy day to ask God to send a buyer to our little house at 907 WO Ezell Blvd in Spartanburg.  It doesn’t have to be long, but it does have to be in earnest.  Go ahead and type it in your phone or write it on your calendar as a reminder :) You can use the prayer at the end of this message or say a prayer of your own.   We truly believe that God has great plans for us.  As we start a new chapter here (the construction on our new house is moving so quickly!), we would feel greatly at peace knowing that the burden of another mortgage is lifted.  Thank you so much for all your thoughts and prayers, they really do mean the world to us.    Love & God Bless, Leslie and Trey

  Dear Lord, please expedite the sale of Trey & Leslie’s home in SC and send them a buyer very soon. But above all, Your will be done.  Amen.  

under construction

As of this coming Sunday, Trey and I will have been residents of The Haven at the Rim apartment complex in San Antonio, Texas for exactly six months.  And quite frankly, that’s been long enough.  Sure, the apartment itself is nice, and the amenities are fine, but after having lived in a house that was actually pretty secluded, having upstairs AND downstairs neighbors is starting to take it’s toll.

So we’ve been house hunting.  I realize this is not news to those of you who talk to us semi-regularly, however, I feel this little bit of back-story is necessary for what this blog is really all about.

We bought a house.  Well, we’re going to buy a house.  Once we get approved for a loan and we pick out everything we want it to look like and KB Homes builds it, THEN we’re buying the house.  Basically, it should all work out so that once they’re finished with construction, our apartment lease will have run out so we can just move right on in to a brand new house custom built just for us. 

Do you know what it’s like to have a custom built home? Not the living there, mind you, the customization.  It’s mind numbing.  And that is a gargantuan understatement.  You have to choose doors and doorknobs, counter tops and cabinets, bathtubs and sinks, flooring, ceilings, light fixtures…and once you choose those things, there are about 8,947,525,497,213 other choices you have to make.  And all of those choices come with a price tag. 

Trey and I wanted to be really smart about this whole process, and not get bogged down by too many upgrades.  So we went to the KB Homes Showroom (which is basically a store that shows you what all the upgrades look like and how much they cost) to see what we could see.  And it’s a good thing we did because if we’d have gone there for the first time to make our official selections, I’m sure it would have ended in marriage counseling.  For two people who generally have a pretty easy time deciding things (where to eat, what to watch on tv), the sheer multitude of choices rendered us completely incompetent.  But after two visits (3 hours each), and lots and lots of math (heck yes, I can still do math!), and coming to the very sound decision that we’d only do those upgrades that were structurally necessary to do during construction and save the rest for some good ole fashioned DIY, we finally settled on an upgrade package that we could afford on the floor plan we liked best.  And once we figured out that we could build the house we wanted (4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, 2 car garage, etc.) for less than our current monthly rent, we signed.

And it’s a strange feeling.  On the one hand, we’re super excited about our new home.  On the other hand, they’re not even gonna break ground for 60 days and we can’t move in till April.  So it’s an odd mix of being overwhelmed with excitement and feeling like absolutely nothing has happened at all.

 

***

 

On Monday of this week, I decided to go further explore Boerne (pronounced Bernie), which is the town just outside of San Antonio where our new house will be built.  Think of it like Fort Mill to Charlotte or Goose Creek to Charleston.  I walked around our future new neighborhood, and drove down town to meander the shops on S. Main Street, and it didn’t take long at all for me to officially fall in love with Boerne.  We knew all this big city living wasn’t a good fit for me!  The shops are quaint, there’s a local brewery (but we still miss RJ Rockers), and there are several parks within just a couple miles of our new place. 

So, we’ve got the house, the neighborhood, and the town…now we just have to wait for six more months!

  

  

In other news:  my new favorite thing about Texas is that I’ve worn my cowboy boots for 3 weeks straight and I fit right in…well, except for the fact that mine are green.  :)

 

dmv blues

Texas is a strange place.  And they’re right (not exactly sure who “they” are): everything is bigger here. And they pronounce things funny.

This week, Trey and I finally made it official.  After 3 months of living in San Antonio, we finally got our Texas drivers licenses. *Insert sarcastic “yay” here.*  It was the most stressful grueling process ever.  Granted, I don’t know that I’ve ever had a great experience with the DMV and related government agencies. 

Wednesday, I took my car to get inspected (yes, Texas has required annual car inspections, like South Carolina did 25 years ago).  Preston, the awesome guy at the counter at Car-X Auto Services, told me that I could go to an auto title place in town to get our cars registered instead of going downtown to the County Office and waiting in line all day.  He also printed me out a map. So Thursday morning, I took Trey’s car to get inspected and then drove across town to register both our vehicles.  Tibs and Zelenka officially became Texans Thursday evening.  The worst part?  Texas requires both front and rear license plates, meaning that my awesome pewter SC palmetto tree vanity plate needs to find a new home.  Grr. And no Mom, you can’t have it. :)

Side note:  We live in Bexar county.  And it’s not pronounced Becksar…it’s pronounced Bayer.  What?

Friday afternoon, Trey took off work a couple hours early and we went to sit in line at the DMV to officially trade in our SCDLs for TXDLs.  Everyone told us the best DMV to visit was the one in Boerne (not pronounced Burn or Born, but Bernie…weird). Now, the Boerne DMV is a tiny little office inside a strip mall with only 15 seats in the waiting area.  And by area, I mean, lining the back wall.  We brought our passports and our social security cards, our thumb prints, our old drivers licenses, our proof of insurance, our car registrations and proof of inspection, and signed our names in blood and signed over our unborn children to the State of Texas to prove that we are in fact residents of Bexar (Bayer) County and that we have permission to drive. 

Now, we just have to wait 3 to 4 weeks before they mail us our “real” licenses…in the mean time, we have an 8.5 by 11 sheet of paper that we’re not allowed to cut or tear, but we can fold, that works as our temporary license for the time being.  And the best part?  For the next 6 years, as long as I’m still a resident of the State of Texas, my photo ID looks like a mug shot:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d like to speak to my attorney.

 

 

beginnings and ends

Grandma HarmonIt’s been a tough week for the Hendon family.  My father-in-law’s mother, known to all her grandchildren as Mamaw, passed away Tuesday night.  I only got to meet her once, about 18 months ago, but even then, Trey says, she was just a shadow of the amazing woman that she once was.  Nursing homes and  strokes always change people.  I think he feels guilty about it, but I know Trey doesn’t want to remember her in that nursing home bed, he wants to remember her at home, where she loved her family and could tell them so.

Last night, as we were lying in bed, thinking about Mamaw and the funeral ahead, I couldn’t help but remember Grandma Harmon.  I remember she used to bake cakes.  I remember the blue house she lived in when she married Mr. Bill.  I remember her big blue eyes and her smile.  I remember her hands.  And her voice.  I can see her walking from room to room.  But now, 12 years after she passed, I can’t think of one specific memory of her, and it makes me sad. 

I absolutely know how Trey feels, because when I try to remember Grandma Harmon, I don’t want to remember her in that nursing home, not remembering who I was or even knowing what year it was.  I want to remember her young.  I want to remember her smile, not the confused, worried look of a woman losing her mind to alzheimer’s.  Death is sad.  And scary.  But with every end, there is a new beginning.  Death exists so that God can bring new life. 

When the wind blows, the world turns, the seasons all pass till beginnings are no more than ends. For death comes from life but then life springs from death.  See how each on the other depends? We are the leaves and the limbs, and we are the trees in God’s wind. ~Paul W. Harmon

gifts

I’ve been stressing a lot about money lately.  I know what you’re thinking: “who hasn’t?”  Still, it’s more than I’m comfortable with. 

I’ve never been one to save.  I’ve become quite adept at living paycheck to paycheck.  However, debt, of any kind, kind of freaks me out.  It just doesn’t seem fair that I now live in San Antonio and still have to pay for a house in Spartanburg.  Or that we have to pay student loans for a diploma already received.  Yes, I know, that’s just the way it is…but I don’t have to like it. 

Last Friday, I spent the day helping my new friend Kate.  She owns her own cleaning business.  She’s also just had surgury on her right hand, making cleaning a little difficult, to say the least.  So, Friday morning, I met Kate at her apartment and we drove to the house she’d been hired by a realtor to clean since the house is newly for sale. 

We entered the gated community, followed our directions to park in front of the 3,000 square foot, 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 3 car garage brick house, and sat there with our mouths hanging open like Augustus Gloop in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.  It was beautiful.  It was magnificent.  It was selling for $410, 000.00.  There’s nothing like a big. fancy house like that to make all your future house hunting expeditions seem disappointing by comparison.

Kate and I cleaned that house from top to bottom, and it took about 6 hours.  Since I met Kate in a women’s bible study, the faith conversation was already out there.  We talked a lot about our faith.  About the bible.  About our struggles and triumphs.  And about all those little signs God gives us every day that tell us we’re on the right (or wrong) path.  Getting to know Kate better that day really opened my eyes to the fact that I’m holding on to all this money stress, when I really need to just let go and let God.  But that’s always been difficult for me.  I mean, if I’m stressed about money, but decide to give all that stress and worry to God, am I taking it back by looking for a job?  Or balancing my checkbook?  Or wondering what random belongings I have might fetch a good price on eBay? 

Today, I was reading my friend Dorothy’s blog, specifically her most recent entry, woe is me, and I thought: “wow, that’s it, that’s it exactly.”  No matter how tight money is, or how many bills are piling up, I have been so blessed.  We have food on our table every night.  Our livingroom furniture was given to us as a gift.  Most of our home furnishings were wedding presents.  My parents bought me my first car and paid for my college education.  And, since Trey is employed by a church, even our monthly income is the result of gifts from others. 

God gives us thousands of gifts every day, some more obvious than others.  I just need to remember to thank Him for each gift, instead of greedily looking to unwrap the next one.

pray

It’s been two months since we packed up all our belongings and moved across the country to San Antonio.  We quickly got settled into our apartment; the cats have also (finally) made the adjustment.  We’re slowly but surely getting involved: I joined a women’s bible study with 7 beautiful, faithful women, my only complaint is we just meet once a month; Trey and I are attending our first choir practice at Oak Hills Church this evening; and next Sunday, the 26th, we plan to audition for one of the many community theatres here – they hold auditions for their entire season all at one time (next season includes Xanadu, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Hello Dolly).  However, for some reason, the homesickness is just now starting to sink in.  We miss you.  A lot.    I’m sending you this tiny update in hopes that you will do us a great favor.  Please keep us in your prayers.  More specifically: please pray that we will follow God’s path and trust in His plans for us; and please pray that we can sell our house soon.  We’ve had one showing so far and our (fabulous) real estate agent has two other couples in mind but is playing phone tag with them.  She has also (finally) gotten either the city or the county to fix the alley in front of our house.   If you know anyone looking to buy a house, it’s being represented by B.K. Vernon at Prudential.  Please pass this link on to anyone looking: http://www.trulia.com/property/3050285667-907-Wo-Ezell-Blvd-Spartanburg-SC-29301   Also, please add us to any and every prayer list you have.  We know God has great plans for us. We know he didn’t lead us to San Antonio to abandon us or leave us lonely or bankrupt.  And we know that He loves us beyond measure.   Thank you Friends, Thank you Family.  From the bottom of our hearts, we love you and we pray for you, and we miss you a whole awful lot.

sea bass

Sisters are the best.  Don’t you a gree?  Somehow, God figured out that the person you fight with the most in your childhood days will grow up to be your best friend in the whole wide world.

Amy and I, over the years, have developed some of the most ridiculous and elaborate inside jokes of all time.  Usually, it just takes the first word of one of our many “Muffinisms”  (why yes, I did just invent that word) to leave both of us in stitches.

Funny how time goes by.  Sisters go from trapping each other under the laundry basket, to fighing over clothes and boys, to missing each other like crazy and taking insane road trips (Days-O-Fun).

Now that we’re both grown up and married, our husbands are learning just how ridiculous we are.

Last night, I received this text from Amy’s husband Adam:

California Raisins and Christmas Pie and Amy Grant and a Coffee Table Afghan.  What does this mean?  Amy will not tell me.

And that’s all it took.  I spent the next 20 minutes texing both Amy and Adam (Trey even joined in the fun) regarding the intricacies of our ridiculous childhood games and other inside jokes.  I haven’t laughed that hard in months.  I was wheezing and crying and doing that weird silent laugh…leaving Trey to look at me like I’d gone completely mad.  It was marvelous.

I love that even though we now live entirely too far apart, and that we’re both old married ladies, my sister and I can still be the silliest girls I know…and include our boys.  I love you Muffin!

Oh, and no, I can’t be Michael Bolton.

 

 

cake batter

One of the millions and millions of things I love about my husband is that he comes with dessert.  No matter the day, no matter the hour, when we’re craving sweets, Trey can always whip up something tasty.

Usually it’s peanut butter cookies, which will do in a pinch, but tonight, it’s butter cake…from scratch.  It’s in the oven as we speak. 

Folks, there’s nothing better than curling up on the couch on a random Thursday night and being surprised by a mixing bowl wallpapered with batter-y goodness all for you to lick clean. 

That’s love.