Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

Merry Christmas from the Allen Family!  Since my last post, we are still a family of three, hoping desperately that the Lord will add to our quiver soon!  However, we have since been to a wonderful fertility specialist who has been incredibly aggressive in her treatment of us!  We feel confident that we will have another baby in 2012 and can't wait to see what blessings the Lord bestows upon us out of these trying circumstances!  We have more faith than ever before that He gives beauty for ashes and that He is in control of it all!!

Malachi is doing FANTASTIC!  Writing his name like a champ, starting to add small numbers together and is actually starting to sound out words!  The other day we were at a stop sign and we heard him say, "S-T-O-P...SSSSTTTTOOOPPP"  We were VERY excited and impressed by the amount of information his little brain is picking up!!  He is just a joy to us in every way! 

My mom did a vision check on him the other day at the daycare and his vision was poor.  He knew all of his letters until he got to the 4th line, then, out of nowhere, it was obvious he had NO idea what he was looking at!  Turns out, after an appointment with the pediatric eye doctor, he has astigmatism in both eyes.  So, my beautiful boy now has glasses and is SO adorable in them!!  He wears them perfectly and actually told me the other morning (when I forgot to put them on him first thing) that he couldn't see.  So, I guess that's a good sign that his glasses are doing their job!! 

We are so looking forward to Christmas this year since it's the first that Malachi has really understood it a little more!  Daddy and Mommy's present to each other will hopefully arrive sometime in September, but we won't find out about whether or not that will/has happen(ed) for a little while longer!  Malachi saw a train table at Sam's in September that had all the pieces and was really quite attractive, as far as train tables go!  It was espresso colored wood (the same as his bedroom set) and really nice looking!  I told him (after Daddy reinforced how cool this monstrosity was) that I wasn't sure if we could get it because I didn't think we had room.  His response?  "That's okay Mommy, I'll ask Santa."  Sure enough, that's exactly what he has done everytime he's seen Santa...guess we'll just have to wait and see if that's what he got!  ;o)  (But, to be on the safe side, we've already measured and found a perfect spot in his room just in case Santa delivers on his persistent request!)  We are so thankful to be able to provide for him and pay for the very expensive fertility treatments we are now undergoing!  It's taken some dedication, but it's definitely getting us back on rice and beans, beans and rice which is always a good thing!  We hope you all have a wonderful Merry Christmas and remember Who this wonderful holiday is all about!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Which I Share My Heart

So, if you've been reading my little ol' blog for any length of time, you know that we have been entrusted with the most beautiful, sweet, smart and hysterical boy of all time.  Or, at least, that's what I think, because I'm allowed!  Anyway, Malachi is absolutely the best thing, besides our Jesus, that has happened to our marriage!!  He brings us so much joy and warmth and filled a void we didn't know existed in our life.  I have the most wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally and encourages me not only in my daily life, but also in my spiritual life!  We have a beautiful home, an amazing extended family, good jobs, an awesome church family and continue to grow in our walk with Christ.  So, what could be missing?  Well...that's easy for us to see and sometimes hard for others to see. 

It's no secret, we want another baby.  Last October, we announced we were pregnant by painting pumpkins and painting an extra one for another sweet baby that we were never to hold.  This year, we painted pumpkins, and it was one more painful reminder about what is missing in our life!  We're coming up on the year anniversary of one of the worst days of our life and, the fact that we're still not pregnant makes that anniversary particularly bitter.  July was hard - knowing that's when we would've been due for our entire life to change again.  But, with reflection, silent time spent grieving again and the Lord's daily sufficient grace, August came and we sighed thinking maybe, just maybe, that would be our month.  August came and went, so did September, and still, no smiley face, no double lines, no "pregnant."  9 months...9 months of Clomid have been completed and still, we wait.  The Lord knows why we're waiting and, as much as I'd like to know too...I'm too scared to know everything HE knows so I'll continue to be patient. 

For 16 months now, we've been on this all too familiar journey to bring another precious baby into our make Malachi a big brother and to give my parents another grandchild.  This is by far the longest wait we've had once the Lord has planted the desire for another child in our life.  However, it's also the most beneficial time we've had in our marriage and the most growth-filled time we've had in our walk with Christ.  That's a definite plus to the struggles we've had.  If we'd gotten pregnant immediately and never had another complication, would we ever have fully realized the complete miracle that occurs when a baby is conceived?  Would I ever have appreciated my sweet Malachi the way I do now because I learn each  month just how amazing having him was?  Would I ever have appreciated the encouragement, support and love I get from my husband?  Maybe...but those are things I most definitely would've missed out at this time in our life together! 

I've found a wonderful group of women from all across the world who share the pain of secondary infertility and have been given the opportunity to encourage them from the strength I've been given of the Lord.  I've also found out just exactly where my priorities are and that I may only get one chance to be a parent.  If that's it...I've got to strive to be the best parent God can make me!  I screw it up ALL the time and sometimes I get down on myself when I'm not everything I know God wants me to be as a Mom.  Sometimes I'm too hard on Malachi...other times I'm not hard enough.  It's a CONSTANT balancing act.  (Which isn't easy when you're the daughter of a parenting expert!)  In all though, I have to remind myself that my ONE task in life isn't to make sure that my discipline skills are perfect or that my child never misbehaves.  My one goal, my one duty, my one responsibility, is to raise Malachi to know the love of the Lord and to instill in him the faith I have in MY God so that one day he has his OWN relationship and, ultimately, we'll be together in Heaven.  I pray that I have the opportunity to instill that in at least one more child of my own but, if not, I'm determined to be thankful and to have the testimony that whatever my lot, I've been taught to say, IT IS WELL with my soul!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If you remember, (if you were reading), last month, we took off to take my sweet baby brother to college in California!  After getting our car loaded to the hilt with everything from luggage to pillows to TONS of toys and snacks, we finally set off around 3:00p.m. from Amarillo with intentions of making it to Flagstaff by that night!  We decided to put Malachi in the middle of the back seat to make it easier for us to get to him while we were driving.  Then, I stuffed pillows under his feet so he could stretch out!  Here he is while we were getting gas before we left!  
 And, within a matter of 10 miles, he was OUT! 
We finally made it into Flagstaff, 620 miles or so, around 1:00a.m. their time. 
The next morning, we saddled up (with a couple extra backpacks) headed out to San Diego.  On the drive, we did lots of fun stuff!  First, Malachi slept while I finished my book (Redeeming Love...Oh my, SUCH a good story).  Then, after one of our stops, (I think this one was taken near Kingman, AZ) we pulled out our sock puppets!  Here, Malachi is coloring clothes on his!  (And yes, those are pipe cleaners for hair...we had to be creative!!) 

We also wrote on our wipe-off board and sent messages to everyone!  This one was taken outside of Blythe, AZ.  His cheeks are so red because we were (literally) out in the middle of nowhere and it was about (literally) 130 degrees outside.  There were sand dunes everywhere and we there were signs telling you to turn off your air conditioner for fear that your car would overheat (literally) out in the middle of nowhere!  There were stops about every mile so you could get non-potable radiator water!  At one point we had to stop because Malachi yelled from the back seat only for me to turn around and see that his carseat had shifted and fallen over on its side!  I suspect between all of the shuffling around it got off balance.  So, we stopped (literally) in the middle of nowhere to fix it and kept having to put our feet up on the car because the pavement was burning our feet through our shoes! 
 We finally made it to our destination, San Diego, around 5:00p.m. their time.  That's another 492 miles.  Oh, and see that pretty blue line mapping our route?  It took us about 1 mile away from the Mexican border.  There were checkpoints everywhere, Border Patrol helicopters flying overhead and we could even see the observation towers on the border.  It was WAY creepy to see mountains about a mile away and know they were in a (very dangerous) foreign country.  I'm not sure we've ever sped so quickly to get out of an area in my life!   If you're keeping track, that's approximately 1112 miles we traveled in approximately 24 hours.  We were VERY ready to get there! 
Malachi found the sweet spot as we were loading and unloading our cars at each hotel.  (A different hotel each night for 4 nights)
 Sunday morning we got up and went to the San Diego Zoo!  Here's one of our favorite animals!  10 points to whomever can name the animal and its significance to our life!  The zoo was eh...okay.  We were disappointed actually! 
 Malachi, however, had the time of his life!  Here's Daddy telling Malachi how big elephants get! 
 Malachi had been begging to go on the double decker bus tour, and it was included in our ticket price, so we decided to go for it!  We sat on the top at the very front and he seemed to really enjoy it!  It allowed us to see several portions of the zoo we hadn't seen yet without us having to walk all the way! 
After our trip to the zoo, we loaded back up in the car to head to Lancaster, CA.  That's another 179 miles...up to about 1291 miles so far.  (And that doesn't include the driving around we did in San Diego going to the beach to watch the sun set, looking for dinner, etc.)  As you can see, Lancaster is North of LA by about 60 miles or so.  But, it's in a valley surrounded by mountains.  The climate there is VERY dry, like Amarillo, only worse! 
We spent the night in Lancaster and got up early Monday morning to go to the college to get Logan settled in.  I must tell you, Monday was literally one of the hardest days of my life.  We'd gotten some other sad news early that morning and coupled with the dread of knowing we'd be leaving my sweet brother some 1200 miles away from our home, the only hometown he's ever known, was debilitating!  I spent most of the day crying.  However, my emotions aside, we loved the campus!  As soon as we walked into the building where orientation was to be held we all felt an incredible peace about it!  All of the professors and staff from the college were there greeting everyone, making them feel comfortable and all of the young men and women were dolls.  As I mentioned in my last post, I am praying the Lord will send Logan a wife.  All of the young women there were so modestly dressed and meek in their spirits that I just know he'll find a perfect help-meet there!  There's something about being surrounded by young men and women who are gathered together to grow in their love for the Lord and follow His will! 

 In an interesting twist of God's infinite wisdom, there is a family there in Lancaster who has just sent their son to our local college in Canyon.  So, we've all agreed to take care of one another's loved one and be their surrogate families!  Kristy Kelly has been an absolute Godsend to us!  She guided us back into Los Angeles the evening after we dropped Logan off.  That's another 69 miles - 1360 miles so far

We were very worried about him having to drive into LA on his own and Kristy saved us!  She was also able to keep my mom's attention off of the fact that she'd just dropped her baby boy off at college 1200 miles away on the drive!  So, God sent our angel, Kristy, to guide us through the hellacious traffic that is Los Angeles at dark!  There are actually 5 Panhandle kids in college there and the Kellys have opened their home to all of them!  Makes us all feel so much better!  We're trying to return the favor by taking care of their sweet Trent here!  Kristy, you've done a fantastic job with Trent...he's a great kid! 

Tuesday morning, Malachi, Lolli and Pop and Uncle Tanner (Logan's best friend who'd gone with us), all loaded up in a shuttle from our hotel headed to the airport to fly home.  Thomas and I had to drive back, so we decided to take a detour back down to San Diego to spend the day/night there!  Another 120 miles, up to 1480 so far.

We stayed at the Dana on Mission Bay.  Our room?  Somewhere in that large white building to the left side of the picture in the foreground. 

We walked to Sea World after we checked in and had a fantastic, cool, relaxing day together!  We've always loved Sea World as we went there on our honeymoon.  But, this time was just perfect.  There were hardly any people there, we had no plans, it was cool (almost chilly, actually, by the end of the day) and it was SO relaxing!!  We had such a wonderful time!  Then, we came back to this view!
And, this view!

So, in the matter of 24 hours, I went from what was one of the worst days of my life to one of the best.  Mine and Thomas' quiet time together was just exactly what we needed to recharge after what's been a rough summer waiting on the Lord to answer our prayers.  We had the most romantic dinner we've ever had outside, listening to the birds and the water, staring into each other's eyes over a candlelit table!  One of my most cherish memories thus far for sure!

We saddled back up early (much to our dismay) the next morning to head back home!  We left San Diego around 8:15 a.m. their time and made it all the way to Albuquerque, NM by around 10:00p.m. their time!  Add 844 miles to the 1480 miles we'd driven already and that brought us up to a total of 2324 miles approximately! 

Around 7:00a.m. their time the next morning we left Albuquerque to make it back home by about 12:15!  We've (our old, tired bones) never been so happy to see Canyon, Texas or our little boy in all our life! 

The last leg of the trip was 297 miles totaling trip miles to approximately 2621 miles of straight driving.  Including all of our ancillary driving we guess we went about 2800 miles!  However, they were 2800 of the most enjoyable miles I've ever driven.  Malachi was a complete angel the entire time, never fussed, never cried and was SO patient despite missing naps or napping on the go for 4 days straight!  And, my time with my husband alone for 2.5 days was Heaven, even if it did include a ton of driving! 

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Dear Sweet Baby Brother


Words cannot begin to express the pride I have knowing that you are following the Lord's direction at this time in your life.  I was just looking at and found a number of videos that brought tears to my eyes and warmed my heart.  To see that you will be surrounded by like-minded young men and women who are also there answering the Lord's call warms my heart so much!  Knowing that your spiritual life and participation in a local church is one of the college's biggest goals excites me for your heart and your soul.  I know you have struggled to find direction in your life and to figure out just what it is the Lord wants you to do.  However, knowing that your heart is open and prepared to go and do and that you have answered the Lord's calling makes me so proud.  Yesterday at church when Bro. Bigham asked for prayer over you, Brittany and Casslyn, I wanted to jump up and say that's MY brother.  My heart is bursting with joy and pride.

On the other hand, my heart is hurting knowing that you're going so far away from me.  I feel so blessed that you and I have always had such a wonderful relationship, much closer than a lot of brothers and sisters and I truly feel like a part of me will be left in California next week.  And, although a part of me will be left, I am excited to see how that part of me will change and grow and mature over the coming months!  I know that you will be successful in whatever endeavor the Lord places in your heart.  I know that you are going to have more fun than you could ever imagine and I know that you are going to know the Lord in such a personal way when you come back.  (You are coming back right?)  Truth is, I'm a little jealous of the opportunity you have to shut out the world for the next 12 months and grow your personal walk with God.  I've gotten those opportunities, but only for a week out of every summer and, inevitably, the fire fades and I've got to work twice as hard to kindle the flames next time.  However, you're going to have 12 full months will little to no worldly influence on your life.  You will be living the revival that is SO badly needed in this country and in many Christians' hearts today!  And, if the Lord chooses NOT to call you back home at the end of this journey, but instead sends you somewhere else, my prayer is that I can continue to rejoice in His grace and mercy knowing that He is using you for mighty things! 

And yes, just in case you were wondering, I AM praying that the Lord will give you a beautiful young woman while you're there.  Mom has always prayed that you would find a godly wife and I have no doubts that while immersed in the greatness of God's love, He will provide you a help-meet who will encourage you and love you for the wonderful man you are!  You deserve that Logan!

Our hearts will hurt and Canyon won't be the same without you.  I'm going to miss terribly seeing you out in that congregation from the choir and will think of you with every "on the last now" spoken!  You are an incredible brother, a wonderful uncle and a great all-around guy and I know that God, if you continue to allow Him, is going to move in your heart unlike anything you've ever felt before.  Get ready, the Devil is going to attack harder than he ever has knowing that you're doing the Lord's work...just like 1 Peter says...BE SOBER and VIGILANT!  The Devil wants to devour you and your spirit...hold tight to your God and seek first His kingdom.  Pray without ceasing, do everything to the glory of God and thank Him continually for the blessings He's given you.  Know that we will be anxiously awaiting each update and will celebrate with you every success! 

I am proud of you, my brother and I love you with all of my heart!

Miscellaneous Pictures!!!

Playing in the Mirrors while Daddy gets fitted for his new suit! 
 Such a talent!  ha
 Helping Pops on the Tractor!
 Sleeping with our new puppy, Raider!

 Being Silly!!
 Loving on Pops!
 Eating Dinner!
 Breaking into our Friends' House!!!  (To take care of their time I bet that door isn't locked!  haha)
 Wearing a tie like Daddy!
 And, bathing in Lolli's sink!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Kids say...and Daddy's 5K!

So, I am proud to announce that I am officially...married to a runner!  Thomas has always been an athlete, but usually in the form of a massive tight-end in football.  However, as most things go football wise, when you quit, that mass of muscle tends to get a little less toned and that massive steak/hamburger/hot dog diet that you were on starts to really add up.  (Especially when your wife hates to cook...ahem, I'm working on that!)  Christmas Day, my hot hubby started working out and exercising and has lost 30 pounds to date!  I'm not really interested in seeing him lose too much more weight, but very interested in the increased energy he has!  The first few months were spent doing a combination of P90X and Biggest Loser on the Wii, as well as drastically changing our grocery shopping habits!  He's even got ME eating more vegetables which is a big deal for anyone that knows how much of a steak and taters girl I am!!  Anyway, on August 6, Thomas ran in his first 5K in our hometown!  As he'd only really been training for a 5K for 4 weeks, he was hoping to come in around 26 minutes.  Like anything else he does, he easily surpassed that goal with an official time of 24:47!  Now, I can't stop him!  Nor would I want to! The joy he gets from running is something I wish I could understand, but am so happy for him!  So, on that note, here are a few pictures from his first 5K!  WAY TO GO honey - I could NOT be more proud of you!

Here he is before the race!
 His number one fan!
 Yes, his tag (?) says "Thomas Callen!"  Apparently Thomas C Allen is difficult to read ??
 Go Daddy Go!  (He yelled this the entire 5 minutes before they took off and started again when we saw Daddy coming back up the street!)  SO Cute!
 Getting ready to take off!
 Eating a blue snowcone at 8:30a.m. waiting for Daddy to come back!  (Mother of the year folks...come meet her anytime!)
 And here are my two favorite men AFTER the big finish!  Bananas and all!
 I wanna be just like you Dad!

So what's next for my running man?  Well, there's the Komen Race for the Cure coming up in September and another 5K in Lubbock in October!  I better keep myself lookin' good to hold onto my hottie!  haha

In other news, I have to tell you how fun it is to have a 3 year old boy!  The things he comes up with keep us constantly laughing!  He loves Sonic "flushies", is proving how "boy" he truly is by thinking all bodily functions are hysterical and worth repeating and loves his "Raider Naider" (our puppy who shall be getting his own post soon probably!)  He can recognize most letters A-M and we're going through them about 3 times a week before bed so he can learn not only what they look like, but also what they say!  He signs all cards that we send with his "M" and can count objects, not just counting in sequential order!  Next on the list is long division...haha  He has a place in the big kids class (4 and 5 year olds) at daycare and I have no doubt he'll learn a LOT from his teacher, Mrs. Monique (sugar booger to Malachi!)  He loves to take Aunt J (another daycare teacher) on "dates" to McDonald's or Feldman's and adores our new home!  His favorites right now are riding his bike, helping Daddy mow our grass and playing a "Kerplunk" type game with bumble bees!  He's become quite adept at finding ingenious ways to argue without actually arguing, i.e. "Hey Mom, you know what?" then going on to say the exact same thing I told him he'd better not say again.  Everytime he gets in trouble his first defense is to tell me, "Hey Mom," "Yes handsome?" "You know what?  I love Daddy."  Or, vice versa!  And, if we're both getting onto him, all of a sudden he loves Lolli! haha  I do love how sensitive he is when it comes to disappointing one of us!  I"m glad his heart breaks when he thinks we're disappointed...I'd much rather him have a tender heart about that so that we can use discipline as sparingly as possible.  (And, it's working...for the record...not all the time, but real discipline is few and far between these days!) More importantly, he has memorized 5 memory verses since Christmas, John 3:16, Colossians 3:20, Psalms 119:105, John 1:3 and Jeremiah 10:10.  We try to do one about every 6 weeks and I'm so glad we're planting those seeds in his heart now! 

Well, I won't lie...there is a good chance I won't have any more posts for a while.  My brother is getting ready to ship out to West Cost Baptist College next Friday so we're all driving him to Lancaster, CA via San Diego next Friday.  My parents, Malachi and Logan's best friend, Tanner, will be flying back next Tuesday and Thomas and I are going to head back down to San Diego for a day to go to Sea World and then drive back arriving home hopefully early on September 1st!  I'm very much looking forward to the trip and very much NOT looking forward to dropping my baby brother (who happens to be 22 and 6'5") off that far away!  However, I know this is the Lord's plan for his life so I couldn't be more excited for him and to see what the next phase of his life is going to bring!!! 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

3rd Birthday! (Only 2 months late in posting!)


I cannot (I repeat) CANNOT believe our sweet boy is a whole 3 years old!  Everyday is so much fun with him and it's really hit us over the last couple months how grown up he has become!!!  On top of truly (not just saying this because I'm his Mom) being a really smart kid...he's hysterical and keeps us laughing constantly! 

As I said in my last post, the last few months have brought a LOT of changes!  On May 14th (Thomas' birthday) - we celebrated Malachi's birthday!  No invitations...mostly family and a few friends...ALL fun!  The reason we didn't go all out?  Our entire household was packed in boxes because on May 16th (Malachi's actual birthday) we closed on our new home!  So, as you'll see from the upcoming pictures, we had a "leftover" party!  My mother is known for going out and getting plates/cups/bowls for all our celebrations.  Inevitably there are 6 or 7 bowls and 3 or 4 plates left over from each party!  And, besides using those when we're out of our "fine" paper goods (ha!) we still have a stash of mis-matched stuff!  Thus - the "leftover" party!  I love it because it was one cared (least of all Malachi) and we didn't have to spend much money at all!  Which, as you all know, is optimum when planning a party and a large move at the same time!!!  (See all the different patterns?  Christmas, Graduation, Halloween and even Baby Shower!)

We LOVE our new home and soon I'll put pictures of Malachi's new room up! It's the first we've tackled and I love it - though it's DEFINITELY a work in progress! We've also gotten a new puppy, Raider! He's a morkie (maltese/yorkie) and is a DOLL! He's perfect for us and Malachi ADORES him! We're still waiting on some unanswered prayers but continue to trust (I'll be honest...sometimes it's a struggle) the Lord that His timing is always perfect!!

Our New Puppy, Raider!!! 

Raider and his brother, my Mom's new puppy, Magnum!

Alright folks - I've got a TON of posts planned over the next week or so so HOPEFULLY this will catch us up!  Oh, and have y'all heard of the "dropbox" app?  My bestie introduced me to it and, seriously, NOW I feel like blogging again since I can share all of my pictures easily that I take on my phone!