26 December 2005

live, love, laugh and be happy

Here's our family on Christmas day. Just to be together was present enough, and to see the kids have so much fun. Its been tough to plan for the celebration while concentrating on moving, but we had a great few days with family and worshipping our Lord. During the festivities we have been mourning the distance that will separate the family in just a few days. How many Christmas days like this will we have in the future? But we look forward with much hope and anticipation to what life will be like in Virginia. A New Year will bring so much that's new. More updates from the East Coast...

14 December 2005

you're my water, you're my wine, you're my whiskey from time to time

Happy Birthday to David, the love of my life! Here are some lyrics that say it better than I ever could:

i don't need a clever confidant
to try to soothe with hollow words
i've heard them all
what i need is just to know
i have a home
within your heart

I love you babe.

13 December 2005

we're only two-bit clowns in a one-ring circus

These are my two beautiful girls, Molly Cathryn and Carrie Ellen. Carrie wore the "Warren bonnet", as do all Warren girls, that goes atop Mom and Dad's tree every Christmas. Aren't these princesses the most gorgeous you've ever seen?? Hard to believe that Molly is 7 and Carrie is 17 mos. These sisters love each other, and Molly is so excited that they'll finally be sharing a room when we move to Virginia.

04 December 2005

I feel it like a sickness, how this love is killing me

Family is good. Its great. We love, we laugh, we share. And sometimes we share too much. Most recently, we have been generously sharing two yucky bugs, available to anyone who asks (and even some who most definitely did NOT). Almost every member of our 25 person family got one or, in several cases, both of the bugs (some at the same time). It has leveled us for 2 weeks now and its horrible. I think we need to take the roof off the house, pour bleach in and wait for it to dry. Maybe that will kill the bugs. Poor Caleb (that's Big Caleb) was sick the whole drive from TX to VA and then some. Its bad enough for the fam to feel this crappy, but then we shared it with our might-as-well-be-a-sister Trish when she came to visit for the first (last?) time in 6 years. She had to have prescription meds and an IV to make her well. We're sorry Trish and we promise never to do it again.

Dave is still looking for a house for us in VA. He has less than 3 weeks to do so if we're going to move at Christmas, so we pray that God will lead him to the right place quickly. 19 days until we're together again.

24 November 2005

We were young & none of us knew quite what to say

The "A" team on Thanksgiving Day. Did you ever see such cute sisters? We were sad that CJ couldn't be with us in the picture and we consider her "A" team in our hearts.

Little did I know how deep these roots had grown

Thanksgiving much thanks. As you can see, Dave is home. He returned Monday, and we have been so grateful to have our family together again. The kids were so excited, though the baby was a bit nervous and had to warm up. We all missed him so much and realized we're no good apart. It was a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, with a very full house (45 I think), lots of noise, tons of food. I am so thankful for a loving, supportive family and great friends. God is good.

Our big news that most of you reading this already know is that we're moving. Dave decided after working, praying, and waiting to see God lead, that we are being led to Virginia where Dave can support his family and we can have our own home again. It is so exciting, this big thing we're doing. It is scary and hard, too, for so many reasons. We have prayed that God will make it very clear and we believe He has, and trust that as the remaining details get worked out, He will continue to show Himself to us. We need to find a house, save money for the move, get packed (by myself!), etc. So, Dave leaves Saturday morning, to drive the loooooong drive back. Graciously, my super-great brother-in-law, Caleb, has offered to drive with Dave instead of flying back with Annie. That will make the trip better for Dave, and less worrisome for me, to know he has help and company. I am having a hard time right now thinking about letting him go again, but walking in faith that this is leading to a new start for us. Right now, we are planning a move between Christmas and New Year if all the plans work the way we hope they will.

While its hard to think about leaving all the family here, its especially hard to leave CJ. Its so hard to see her in so much pain all the time, and sad that her life has temporarily taken a turn that no one would ask for. And so far there's no end in sight. The doctors here at Wilford Hall have done all that they can do, and will hopefully be referring her to a specialist, but we're not sure of anything yet. In the meantime, she still can't work, go to school, drive. And I know that there's nothing I can do to make her feel better. I wish I could take the pain for her. I want to protect this sister that I helped raise and take care of for so many years, and I can't. I want to help her to forget her pain and have fun, and I usually can't do that either. She has been such a good friend and sister to me, helping me raise my children, having stupid fun with me, being a good reminder of patience and endurance. I want to give her something back. So I pray for her and love her as best I can. And trust that as always, God is good.

08 November 2005

Indicate precisely what you mean to say

Updating the blog hasn't been highest on my priority list, which I'm sure doesn't surprise any of you. After 11 days of Dave being gone, I'm bored of this. We have 13 days until he's back. A happy thing is that we got webcams, so now the kids and I can see him and talk to him. I'm hoping that will help the baby not forget him. The kiddos are really starting to get sad about him being away, and they ask about him a lot. Molly is having a tough time without him, and also with the idea of maybe moving. I think it will be the hardest on her, and so I'm trying to be sensitive to that as we talk and plan.

Dave is doing well in VA. He is enjoying the work so far, loving the cooler weather that is eluding us here in Texas. I think I'll have more of an update of where we believe God is leading in my next blog. For now we keep praying that His will is clearly laid out for us.

CJ is back at the Dr today, and we're hoping for something. We don't know what. Well, healing I guess. She is discouraged, and still in pain. Hopefully this long road won't be too much longer.

I have a friend who is suffering. Really suffering. And I hate it. Its so hard to watch someone you love hurting. Especially when you can do nothing to stop it. His ways are higher than our ways.

30 October 2005

we get to carry each other

This is an old photo, from 2 years ago at the Pumpkin Patch, but I like it. Dave is gone, left yesterday for Virginia. We are definitely not meant to be apart. This is going to be tough on all of us. The weekend has actually gone smoother than I anticipated. I even got all 4 ready for church and sat through most of service until the Carrie decided to stop being helpful. So, we just have to make it through 3 weeks. I will try my hardest to be SuperMom, though I know that if ever I'm a good Mom its because Dave is a great Dad. If I have to do this for a few months, I'm not sure how I'll deal with that. But I'm trying not to get ahead of myself and panic about that yet. I'll just keep my panicking to the immediate issues at hand. Warren asked today where Daddy was, and when I said "You know where he is", he replied "Oh yeah, on vacation". I assured him that Daddy was indeed working and that if left us for 3 weeks for vacation, he'd have a lot to answer for when he came back. I'm sure I'll have plenty to whine about while he's gone, so be sure to keep checking back.

25 October 2005

how long til my soul gets it right?

I feel like buying clothes today -- of course I don't have money, so that's a problem. New clothes are fun! I want to bring CJ home some clothes too since she's leaking and can't do much but sit in a chair. Maybe I'll "come into money" and then shop.

So my 3 best friends from college -- Jackie, Janelle, and Amy -- and I are planning a trip next summer! Wahoo! The 4 of us were known suspiciously as "the Posse" around campus, and we wore that label like a tiara. We had all kinds of fun, broke a few rules, broke a few hearts :-) and other college nonsense. For the most part we have kept in touch for the past 10 years and seen each other a few times. At Amy's wedding in summer 2003 we were all together, but that's the last time. So, we're trying for a Posse reunion in Chicago (the site of our dubious origin) summer 2006. Sooo excited!!

Dave is preparing for leaving Saturday to go to Virginia. I am so torn with being so sad about the separation and wanting him to just GO already so we can find out if this is where God is taking us. There are so many emotions swirling, and I'm sure that will continue for a bit. I told him we have to get webcams so Carrie won't forget him :-(

Cooler weather is finally here....aaaaahh. Its so nice to wear long sleeves and not sweat. This morning when I woke up it was 40 degrees! Of course it will be close to 80 before the days out, but hey, beggars can't be choosers. I'm just hoping we can wear sweaters on Thanksgiving Day, and that's not always a given around here.

20 October 2005

changes come, turn my world around

We'll see anyway. Big stuff happening in the Slaughterhouse. Dave has been offered to opportunity to work for my sister Annie's father-in-law, who has a home construction business in the D.C. area. They have generously allowed Dave to come out on a trial basis, to see how the work goes and so Dave can check out whether or not it would be a good place for us to live. He'll fly out alone for 3 weeks, coming home in time for Thanksgiving. By then we should have a good idea if this is the road God has for us to walk. We are a mix of thoughts and emotions as this approaches. There is excitement and apprehension....hopefulness and sadness. And there is a lot of unknown. For now, we appreciate the chance to see what will happen. Annie and Caleb have graciously invited Dave to stay with them, so he'll have a good time visiting with them (we don't see them too often). It would be nice to live near them, as well as just a few hours from Dave's sister near Philly. At the same time, it puts us farther from other family and friends we love, so there's the bittersweet nature of all this...

Right now I am gearing up for being a temporary single Mom while Dave is away. I certainly have the best circumstances for that, with the help from my parents and siblings. I expect Nate, Beth and Shell to help me, and in return they'll receive their share of big cokes :-) It will be hard with Dave away, hard on me and the kids, but I know that God will provide for that too. I'm praying for an extra measure of patience and grace for all of us.

To shift a bit, looks like CJ will have the nuclear medicine study done on Monday, so the Drs can try to find the leak and hopefully fix it. She is nervous, hoping they'll knock her out so she doesn't have to remember the yuckiness this time. But she's not getting better, at least not enough, so this is really necessary. She is such an active person, with such a full, busy life that its so hard to see her hurting and immobile. We all believe (even her, though it may be tough to grasp at times) that God has brought this into her life for a reason, and will not fail to work it for His good and her growth. It would be so wonderful to see her resume normal life again soon...until then we wait, pray and trust.

Too tired to post more...there's always more to say but it will wait.

10 October 2005

take my tears and that's not nearly all

I think things are better in the whole of our lives. At least some things. CJ is still a half-invalid, but getting better it seems. That is making us all happy. I assume the Doc will tell her to still take it easy for a few weeks, maybe stick around here for a while so we can boss to her to lie still a lot, but she's on the mend. It was scary, seeing her in so much pain and no one being able to fix it. I told her that with all that pain, she'll have no trouble with childbirth some day.

Mom is better too, though she's still dealing with some troubles from her surgery. She has had so many troubles from so many things, and I hope she gets a trouble break here soon.

Pawpop will meet with the Dr. on Wednesday to discuss starting his radiation. I guess it will start pretty quickly. This is scary, and we're just praying that one round will get rid of the cancer. The holidays are a terrible time to have to go through this (is there a good time?) but I know that God's peace will be with them through it all. Pawpop is so much more trusting than I am, and watching him face this is humbling.

Dave's job at Target is going fairly well. He's trying to learn how to get enough sleep on his off days which is a challenge. But he's managing better than I had hoped, and that makes me thankful. I like him a lot.

Ok, was just listening to this and I love this song (anyone else like David Wilcox?):

what is it really that's keeping me
from living a life that's true?
when the worries speak louder than wisdom
drowns out all the answers I knew
so I'm tossed on the waves of that surface
still the mystery's dark and deep
with a much more frightening stillness

08 October 2005

You're still written in my days, all the pages coming back to me

We just spent the day at Sea World with my friend Jennifer, her husband Jonathan, and their beautiful children Isabel and Nicholas. Jen and I met in Germany in 92 during high school, and have managed to stay in touch and be friends ever since! Both of our fathers were in the Air Force, and we lived in the same building on Rhein Main Air Base. We had such fun and have lots of silly memories to recount. New friends are wonderful, but its such a blessing to be able to stay close to the old ones and have that connection running through your lives. I've been blessed to stay close to both Jen and Jackie (my Germany and college best friend) and am so grateful for that. Jen has now moved south of Austin, so I hope to be seeing more of her in the future! Love to you, Jen!

30 September 2005

sing the poems, free the butterflies

Kids are great. And they are so honest. That isn't always a pleasant thing, but its sweet. I love my kids (even though one sweet, small one is missing from this picture) and they remind me how blessed I am every day. Thanks to our friend Stephanie Bruener who took this picture while we were in Washington, in Dave's parent's backyard.

28 September 2005

words are very unnecessary, they can only do harm

I haven't written in a week, because I haven't trusted myself with thinking out loud. And those of you who know me know I'm very loud. I figured I would either complain, or avoid that by being fake. I don't like those options, so silence is better for a bit. Its been an interesting week, and its only Wednesday! Dave is finishing his first week at Target as I type this. It has been hard, but he has been amazing. He works from 10pm until 6am, sleeps a couple hours, and then heads out for landscaping work. If he's lucky, he gets a short nap when he's done, before he heads back to Target again. He is certainly tired, but he is grateful for God's provision and is willing to do whatever is needed for our family. I can't even begin to express my gratitude for not only his desire to work hard for us, but also his hopeful and positive attitude about a situation that doesn't seem ideal to anyone. He is so good, and I am so blessed.

I can see so clearly how God is using this time in my life to put so much of what I say I believe to the test. I like to call this "theology lab". What happens when I have to really act like I know God is sovereign? What about this hard day...did he really plan this hard day before the foundation of the world? I'm thankful to serve a patient God who loves me despite my reluctance to be a fast learner. I've been humming Rich's "I may falter in my steps, but never beyond Your reach..." Good thing that unlike us weird humans, God doesn't drop us just because we're stupid. And I can be very stupid.
So I am giving thanks tonight for every little thing I can think of. I guess I usually wait for the big, huge things to happen before I spend a lot of time being thankful. And that's not really thankful, is it? I'm learning.

22 September 2005

we are not as strong as we think we are

Wow -- its been a hard week. I think its been tough for a few weeks actually, but this one has been very not fun. Dave's been idle for a month now, which has been hard in so many ways, not the least of which is financially. He's been very frustrated, trying so hard to stay opimistic and seek God's face about our future. Things are picking up, at least for the next couple weeks, and lots of good possibilities on the horizon. He picked up a part time job at Target, working only nights, so he'll still be free for landscaping during the day. We are hopeful that this will help to ease the burden when things are slow, but I also worry about him being exhausted all the time. I'm so thankful he is willing to do whatever is needed for his family.

Henry and Carrie have been sick for a week now. They had colds and then developed pink eye, and have been miserable. I think Henry is starting to recover thankfully, and hopefully Carrie won't be far behind. Its so hard to see the little ones sick -- they have no clue what's going on and just sit and cry a lot.
We found out this week that Pawpop (Dad's dad) has cancer. I am scared and devastated. I don't know many families who have a man who is not just Dad and Grandpa, but a true patriarch so needed and revered by his family. My life has been so severely shaped and influenced by him that it is so hard to imagine not having that direct influence some day. My kids think he's their Pawpop, have no clue that he's really their great-grandfather. Its been such a blessing to have him so involved in their lives. I was very blessed to know one of my great-great-grandmothers (and have memories!), at least 5 great-grandparents, and all my grandparents. Ever since Grandad King died 3 years ago, I've had this slow, sinking feeling that its all downhill from here, and I'd be watching my grandparents leave us. Of course, you always KNOW it will happen, but the reality has been so unavoidable with Grandma June's Parkinson's disease, Grandma Lola's stroke, and now Pawpop. My heart breaks to think of them gone, and yet I am conscious now of making sure that my children watch me accept these changes with graciousness in my grief. They will too grieve, and someday grieve for their grandparents, and parents...
I hate when life is hard. I know that God seems to teach us the most when we can do nothing but lean on Him, and yet I hate it. I'm not sure how sinful that makes me, but there I am. I pray every day for the grace to not be so bad. I hope its working. In all life's madness, I remember that my summer in Romania we used to say "God is good...ALL the time". I need to believe that.

18 September 2005

no wits or whats about it

Ok, since CJ posted a favorite Shelley story on her blog, I'll share another (check Dok's world to read the other account). We love Shelley, and here's one reason why:

A few weeks ago, we're sitting in the living room, and Shell is telling us about her day at the castle (house where CJ works)...
Shell: We got fast food three times today! One time we got soft tacos from Taco Cabana!
CJ: No, Shell. It was from a "hole-in-the-wall" Mexican place around corner.
Shell: No, it was Taco Cabana! I could tell!
CJ: I placed the order Shell, don't you think I'd know??
Shell: But the tacos were wrapped in foil!!??
There's a prime example from Baby Princess. None of us knew that TC had taken control of the aluminum foil industry. Now we have been enlightened. Thanks Shell for your constant stream of entertainment for us!

11 September 2005

I need you cause you help me forget...

Uncoiffed, unpolished, here is the happy couple at the beach on the Oregon coast.

06 September 2005

I know that compassion is all out of fashion...

Dave and I spent the evening at the disaster relief center until about midnight. We were amazed at so many things. The workers are tireless for the most part, which is such a blessing to see. There is so much to do, but so little direction. These evacuees are confused, alone, and most with no prospects for their future. The children are scared and needy. I wonder what kind of process gets these people out and on their way. What way? Where is it?

I took a little girl, Jasmine, to the pediatric medical center that had been set up in the building. She had an ear infection and a high fever, wanted her Mom, but her Mom had dropped her off to us. She is 2. I sat with her while we waited to see the volunteer doctor (an orthopedist) to get her meds. She cried a lot, clung to me, asked where was her Mom and could she go home. Every time a doctor or nurse would get near Jasmine, she would scream and beg us not to hurt her. I assured her that we loved her and that we wanted to make her better. She just kept crying for her Mom, while her Mom roamed the halls...
There was a mother of 5 who had contracted the flu since the evacuation. Other than her 5 children (the oldest being 11) she came with no family or friends. At the Superdome she befriended a lady who helped her out a lot and stayed with her up until now at Kelly USA. But this friend has found family in Dallas and is leaving today. The sick Mom has been advised that she must go to the hospital -- they don't have the capacity to take care of influenza at the relief site. She won't go, even though she can barely stand, since there is no one to take care of her children.
I could go on and on. Its hard to know even what to pray for, other than "Your will be done". These people need so much, more than we can give them here. And of course, they need Jesus. And while we can't give them Jesus, we certainly can show Him to them as we love them.

05 September 2005

We don't need a lot of money, we'll be sleeping on the beach...

This is Carrie, the sand digger and eater.
Woo-hoo! In front of Haystack Rock, at Cannon Beach, OR.
Molly, the sand fairy.
Daddy helping his boys discover the ocean.
So, we're back home! Our vacation was wonderful, I can't say enough about God's goodness. The weather was great, the kids had fun, we had great Slaughter family time. The Oregon coast is magnificent, and the ocean is good for the soul. It was great to see the kids meet and love their cousins. They played so well together, and had fun building sand castles (I'll post that pic later), eating sand, flying kites, splashing in the 50 degree water, eating more sand, sun bathing, and getting lots of presents from Grandma and Grandpa. I'll post more later, but right now we're all also busy mobilizing help for the evacuees in SA. I'm more than willing to put my "regular life" on hold to help these people find any sort of life again. God is so good, and His faithfulness is evident to all generations.

22 August 2005

And so she woke up, woke up from where she was, lying still...

Today is laundry day, so that tomorrow can be packing day. This is the "ick" factor, involved in all travel. But, I'll have everyone know (ok, just Aubrey) that I made a PACKING LIST, my first one ever!!! Can you believe it! That was very type "A" of me I think, and we'll see how well is serves me. I'll use this trip as a test case for planning. Anyway, we are so excited about vacation, can't wait to get there, but hate the "getting ready". We got the 3 older kiddos new backpacks from LLBean, super-fun colors, and so they'll have their own "I don't have to fuss a lot on the plane because I have books, toys and fun (non-messy!) snacks to keep me occupied" kits. That's my pipedream anyway, and I'll let you know later how it pans out. I can't wait for my kids to see the ocean. Warren is nervous that we'll be putting him in the ocean, which is not good, because then he might get wet or cold or both. Henry is excited because he might get in the ocean, which is good, and get wet or cold or both. They are funny boys. Ok, well typing here means I am not doing all the "trip things" I'm supposed to be doing, so guess I should go away and get busy.

20 August 2005

Pour me a glass of wine, we'll talk into the night...

Its my birthday. And Dave is home. We went to dinner, and stuffed our faces with all the good stuff at the Cheesecake Factory (thanks to Christine's nice gift) and had a great time. Bethany was a great babysitter, but refused to take my money. So, we stopped at the HEB and bought her a case of Mountain Dew. She took it. So, I started to feel a bit old for the first time ever, which I didn't expect to feel. But that led to me thinking about how blessed I am at 29. To have grown up in a family where each one is cherished and honored. To have these 4 sweet children who all love me so much. And to have this man God gave me who loves me more than his own life. Its all too much, and I know I don't deserve it, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

19 August 2005

Is madness just a hand-me-down?

I'm surviving without Dave, but barely :-) The boys are fussing for him, and I'm ready to give them over. Today, Henry (my almost 3) told me I am not cool. I'm sure that some of you would agree, but as I approach my last "20"s birthday tomorrow, that didn't help. Molly assured me that I am cool, but I think she was just trying to butter me up so she could go play with Joahnen (neighbor girl)...but I'll take it. Dave comes home tomorrow, so hopefully we'll still get to go out for a birthday dinner :-) I feel for single Moms much more after this week!

18 August 2005

You're making a mess...Is that what you do best?

This is Carrie, brushing her teeth for the first time! Isn't she super-cute? She loved brushing, so much that if she sees her toothbrush anywhere, she demands to practice good oral hygiene habits. Her 5 teeth are very grateful for her diligence.

17 August 2005

Shatter the plate now, crush the glass...

Ok, I'm super-sad and fussy. Dave just left for 4 days, and I'm already lonely. He hasn't been away from us in so long, and I haven't been left with all 4 kids before. We'll see how it goes. I'm definitely not an alone person (no comments from the peanut gallery) so the evenings will be sad for me. Maybe Dok will come over to keep me company. I know I won't get much sympathy from Annie, since her husband has been a virtual stranger (no pun intended) for weeks now. But I still have to whine a bit. All that said, I'm so happy Dave got to go to this landscaping expo in Dallas with Garfield (the friend with whom he's working). There should be a phethora of info and demonstrations -- hopefully a big help to their business. We're grateful he's going....I'll be grateful when he's home :-)

16 August 2005

I've got a river of kin, a footbridge of neighbors...

I realized we don't have a picture on file of all 6 of us!! So, this is my 4 kids and me, minus my wonderful husband. We'll take a family pic and get it posted, so you get the full effect. This was taken around Christmas time at the zoo, so a bit outdated, but it works.

15 August 2005

I've got splinters from these moonbeams...

Ok, first post on our blog! I'm sure it will be me (Kristen) doing most of the posting, but hopefully Dave will join in whenever convenient. Since my sister CJ got a family blog going, we thought we'd make a Slaughterhouse blog and post the goings-on of us and our 4 great children. Not too much to tell right now....Dave's working with a friend's landscaping business, really enjoying that. We're praying that God will show us whether this is to be long-term or not, but we'd be happy if it is! Next week, we leave for vacation! We will be staying on the Oregon coast, in a beach house with Dave's parents, and his sister and her family. Its been a long time since we've all been together (2 1/2 years), and Steph and I have each had a baby since, so its long overdue. I'll post vacation pics when we get back. So that's it for now. I'll make Dave write something later. Have a great week!