Well, the Martine clan (minus one cute Chinese two year old), made its way to "Choke Canyon" for a family camping trip this weekend. I have to be honest, I wasn't terribly excited about the thought of sleeping in a tent for two nights, however, because I love my kids and husband I decided I would paint on a smile and share in the adventure. We departed on Thursday and with Doug's truck loaded down with our new 8 man tent and all the supplies we headed to the infamous "Choke Canyon". I say infamous as to most that I mentioned it to, they had never heard of it. I was pleasantly pleased when my sweet friend, Kristy, called to fill me on on what she had learned about the place from her sister who was "a camper". The one thing she said that rung in my head was "it's o.k. (with hesitancy) and the bathrooms are clean ... old, but clean".
As we made our way to Choke Canyon, it became less and less "hill country" and more and more the look of the Deer Lease. As we entered the park Canyon even said "hey, it looks a lot like our deer lease". Great .... my favorite place (not!) and now I get to sleep TWO nights in a tent in a place that looks like the deer lease. For those of you who know anything about South Texas hunting, it's not quite the terrain of the Rocky Mountains where my memory of camping has left me. NO, it's a lot of mesquite, and tumble weeds and dirt.
We pulled up to our "camping grounds" which to me really looked like a picnic area next to a small lake with a lot of cat tails coming out of it. I noticed a lot of the boats and cars were full of fisherman and although it was really hot outside there wasn't a person in sight swimming in that lake.
We made our way towards camp site number 208 where we would soon find ourselves making our home for the next two days. It was fun setting up our tent in all its glory. I must say, we had the biggest one out there. HA!
That evening we fished and made a run to the local "Calaham's" store to purchase some sausage to cook on the Coleman stove. I hadn't planned a dinner for that evening as Doug said we'd eat something on the way and do smore's later. Little did I know, Calaham's WAS on the way. UGH!
The next two days were full of fun surprises. Canyon caught two fish and Dakota caught two fish. Daddy only caught one and the kids loved to remind him so. That may have been because Daddy spent the better part of two days baiting our poles as neither I or the kids would touch the worms or the chicken livers. UGH!
The highlight of the weekend was the last night were there. It had gotten dark and Canyon had been begging Doug to go night fishing on the peer. The peer had a big flood light off the front and so Doug thought they'd give it a try. Dakota and I were sitting comfy curled up in a chair together and decided that we didn't want to join the fun. As they walked away Doug said we were missing out. To him I replied, Mr. Henry's going to get your toes. Ya see, right near the edge of the bank adorned a sign that read "Beware, ALLIGATORS exist in this park".
Dakota and I went about getting ready for bed when within a few short minutes after the boys left they came quickly back laughing. Canyon's eyes were as big around as saucers and he quickly replied .... "We were careful, we really were!".
Looking at Doug, I was confused and dared to ask. Doug began to laugh and said "as we approached the edge of the peer, we looked over the side to see a huge 12 foot Alligator sitting there. At first we thought it was a log until it submerged itself".
Dakota's eyes about popped out of her head and quickly I said "Oh, Henry, we told you he'd be there to get your toes".
Needless to say, Canyon opted out of night fishing and we all called it a night.
The next day, Henry was still close by and we spent the entire morning watching him roam around the lake as if he was waiting for a good breakfast. As the morning went by, Dakota became a little less scared of "Henry" and has now decided that she should write a story about him. Well, if she doesn't get around to it ... I just did.
This ones in the books .... One family camping trip down. Good thing we left the two year old at home. She could have been the lunch Henry was looking for.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Posted by Cristie at 8:21 PM
Friday, March 14, 2008
Well, today, 10 years ago, Doug and I began our life together. I was just shy of 24 (as was he) and we had no clue what wonderful blessings were in store. As I look back over the past 10 years I am filled with so many memories that are full of joy. Truly, we have been so blessed! In ten years, Doug and I have birthed two children and walked through the amazing adoption journey of our third. We've rented a home and owned three beautiful homes. We've lived in Arlington and San Antonio. I've owned 3 vehicles, as has Doug, he's worked for two companies and now is self employed, I've finished my teachers certification, taught, obtained my real estate license, taken on the role of a Texas Associate and of course worn the hat of Mommy. We've traveled to China, Mexico, and camping spots on the river and beaches. Doug has coached too many sports games to count and done more than his fair share of kissing boo boo's and putting kiddos in time out. (As have I). We've lost a great grandmother, friends parents, work partners, and a few peers through those years. We've watched cousins get married, friends get married, nieces and nephews born and more. We've added a few laugh lines, lost a little of our "chiseled physique" and added a few gray hairs.
As I look over those 10 years I am blessed to see friends we have made and the relationships that have blossomed. The one thing that does stand out in my mind when I think about my wonderful husband is his relentless pursuit to become more Godly and a better spiritual leader with each day. I have watched the man I love make the Lord truly the Savior of his life. I have watched as he struggled with the battle of friendships that didn't edify him to making the choice to edify others and not so worried about what those peers may think of him. He has become bold in his walk and bold in his faith. I am so blessed by his love, his amazing provision over our family and his spiritual leading. He isn't perfect and like any other couple we disagree at times. I will say, however, that his heart is humble and I have had him come up to me on many occasions and say "I'm sorry" in the most tender and heart felt way. That is truly what makes a great man and I am blessed that the Lord chose him for me!
We will be celebrating our ten years as we leave on April 9th for a trip together (WITHOUT KIDS!) to San Francisco and the Napa/Sonoma Valley for five wonderful nights. As for this actual day. Well, seeing as how our babysitters are busy this evening, Daddy has decided to treat the entire family to an evening at the "Melting Pot". It is actually fitting that we spend our evening with the by-product of those ten years ... our children. It should be great fun ... just pray that we can keep our lively two year old from sticking her entire hands into the big pot. haha. I'll try and get a few pictures to keep for my memory reminisce on year 20.
I've bought a "prize" for my man .. one I never dreamt I'd find myself purchasing. I'll let you know that funny story in a post to come but I don't want to spoil the surprise should my love read my thoughts today.
Doug, if your reading this ... I love you more than words could ever express. You are absolutely MY warrior for God! Your unconditional love, encouragement and support is far more than I deserve.
I can't wait to see what will come in the next 10 years!
Posted by Cristie at 9:06 AM
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
My sweet friend, Elissa and her wonderful husband, Kyle left bright and early this morning to bring home beautiful Lilly Jill Harrell! Lilly is residing in China and waiting very patiently for Mommy's warm and safe arms. Kyle and Elissa have waiting THREE long years for this moment. They will become Mommy and Daddy for the first time. Please check out their journey.
Gotcha day is March 17th (St. Patrick's day). When you awake on Monday morning, Lilly will have found her forever family and Mommy and Daddy will be united with the little girl they have dreamt of for so long!
Elissa ...I can't wait until your arrival back to big San Antonio. I cannot wait to watch our girls grow up together!
Praying for your trip!
Posted by Cristie at 6:04 AM
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So, it's Tuesday afternoon and that means ... It's Somali night. My kiddos have been sick and we were on a "winter break" and therefore, I haven't seen my Somalian girls (silver team) in a VERY LONG time. As I was sitting here and scrolling through some photos, I came upon a few of my special girls. As I looked into their eyes I began to feel my heart leap in joy. TONIGHT I get to see my girls and that is GOOD!
So, as we get the chance to re-connect, pray for divine conversations. If you are wondering what I'm talking about when I mention my Somali girls then refer to my post "small kids don't mean small hearts" and that will explain a little of what I am talking about.
Above is some photos of a few of our beauties! The one of all the kids is of our Christmas party. If you look closely, you will see Dakota and a precious little girl named "Solama" giggling with each other. I love this photo as it captures the innocence and pureness of a child. While they come from two totally separate parts of the world, these two little girls have become friends. This is also the little girl that Dakota has proclaimed that she will tell Jesus about this year! You go girl!
Posted by Cristie at 11:45 AM
Friday, March 7, 2008
O.K. so some posts are just because I think that as a stay at home Mom we get the full privilege of experiencing the fullness of rearing children. This week has been one of those weeks. Amidst our entire family having the flu and numerous (and I mean numerous) visits to the doctors office and pharmacy, my youngest daughter has given me many laughs. I thought that I'd share one with you - although Daddy says that I probably shouldn't blog that one. I think you'd enjoy and hey ... she's two!
So, as my children have begun to learn body parts, Doug and I have never given their anatomical parts nick names. As a science major I always felt that they should be called what their called. Their has been one exception and that merely came about because Dakota could never say the full name "vagina". AAAAH ... are you cringing? So, this body part has been re-named "gina".
Maliah, who is brilliant beyond words knows all her parts ... including her "gina".
SO ... fast forward. Recently, I have been really talking to Maliah more about China. As I have come to realize that the day is quickly approaching when she will realize she looks different than us, I have decided it best to include conversations about China, her being given to us and that she is our special gift. It's all a part of our decision to make the word "adoption" not a negative conversation and one that Maliah will never remember the day that Mom and Dad sat her down to tell her the big news. She will know from early on that the Lord had an incredible plan for her life and as he knit her in her birth Mom's womb ... he knew he was creating her for US!
So, this week as I was getting ready for the day Maliah was in my bathroom with me reading. As Maliah would say "read you me, Mommy". As she was looking through her book "Love you like Crazy Cakes", a story of a baby girl adopted from China, she kept pointing to the baby and saying just that "baby". I said to Maliah "yes Maliah, a baby just like you. That baby is from China and Jesus made her special too". I then asked Maliah "Are you from China?" to which Maliah quickly rolled back on to her back, sprawled her legs out and patted her bottom and said "my gina, Mommy, my gina". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
So, while we are working to incorporate this new topic, we also have to somehow get her to realize that China and "gina" are not the same place ... though she is correct ... she did come out of both. HAHAHAHAHA
Disclaimer ... this is for mature audiences only.
Posted by Cristie at 6:29 AM