Straight from Heaven...Nephew #3!

Welcome baby Nathan Samuel!

I am now an aunt 3 times over! My brother Brandon and sister in law Amber had a baby boy on January 20 (my dad's birthday). They named him Nathan Samuel, he was 7 pounds 11 ounces. He is coming into this world the youngest of 3 boys (which means he will have to be tough).

Wish I could be there to see him...I am feeling a road trip to Oklahoma coming on...

The first time Alex and Isaac get to meet Nathan


Trouble...Trouble Trouble Trouble Trouble

The title of this post will relate to its content, but also the song Trouble by Ray LaMontagne is in my head because of American Idol 2 nights ago.

Anyway, on to the post. I teach at an alternative high school in Round Rock. I teach Child Development, Nutrition, and Family Relationships to kids who have dropped out of traditional high schools all around Round Rock. Usually my students are older - 18, 19...I have 2 that are 20.

After having taught here for 2 months now, I am completely immersed in the lives of these students. They tend to be a little more open about their lives than students at a traditional high school. These kids have been through some seriously tough stuff and have gotten in major trouble (I told you the title related).

Last night, as I was sitting on my comfy couch with Dave, eating spaghetti and watching TV...I couldn't get the hardships of my students out of my mind. I have 1 that is completely homeless. She is 17, has a 4 month old son, and they travel from shelter to shelter each night. The father is abusive and the baby has been sick since the day he was born. That's just 1 of my students.

Having said these things (and thank you for listening) I decided this week that I am devoted to this job. These kids might not have anyone that cares for them (or shows it). If I can be a smiling face for them, then I need to be there. Doing that. And that is what's important right now.



It is finally time to blog about our Christmas break. Do you even still want to read about Christmas? I hope so, because ours was eventful.

First it was off to the Layton home in Oklahoma!

We started out with a trip to the Amish bakery where they serve the MOST amazing homemade meal. I can't even explain how delicious this food is. Sliced roast beef and turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls, stuffing, pudding, and probably 4 other things. Dessert you ask? Banana cream pie, apple pie, and chocolate cream pie. Ya. Ridiculous.

The next night, we went to a fun outdoor village with a Christmas train:

Isaac 5 years old

Me - acting 5 years old

Alex 3 years old

Christmas eve was spent honoring Layton family traditions and starting new ones:

The meat, cheese, and pickle tray...a must on Christmas eve!

We started a new tradition, eating soup by candlelight. It was really fun.

Watching home movies and laughing at our awkward 7 year old selves. ( I am the one looking at my hands like a true ballerina).

And then crying at our cute 8 month old little sister with the adorable brown eyes.

Admiring my mother's beautiful Christmas tree.

Opening the Christmas eve PJs

reenacting the nativity (complete with shepherds in Japanese robes)

And then we looked outside to find...

snow angels

Only the 2nd time Owasso has had snow on Christmas eve and Christmas day in 20 years.

We ended the night with TimTams. This is an Australian favorite, you bite off the corners of this rich chocolate cookie called a TimTam, and then you slurp hot chocolate through it like a straw. The hot chocolate melts the inside chocolate of the cookie and then you eat the cookie. It was probably the best chocolate experience of my life!

Christmas morning was wonderful. Not to mention Christmas lunch...(why is everying about food?)

The boys even let me take pictures of them in their Christmas suits:

And the day before we left, we meet up with two of my best friends from high school (Bryce and Cory) and their wives for some lunch at Mazzios.

Then it was off to Utah for a few days! We spent New Years in Provo with Dave's family. It was so much fun to be with them!
And we got to meet up with a good friend of mine from my BYU days, Emma and her family. It was so good to see her!

Shumway family minus Jonathan and Bryan (Dave's twin brothers) who are on missions. They get home in April!

And to leave you with something to make you jealous...the Shumway family at the best burger joint in town...Burger Supreme!

No seriously, the owner knows Dave and I by name...and we don't even live there.


Welcome Home

We got back into town last night from our Christmas vacation. We got to spend a week with my family in Oklahoma and a few days with Dave's family in Provo.

Now we are home. Christmas is put away, the third load of laundry is in the dryer...it's 4:13pm and I haven't showered yet. Getting caught up from being gone is exhausting. But it's really good to be here.

Coming Soon:
Look forward to a nice long post with tons of photos from the Christmas break!

On a completely unrelated note, this is my favorite snack right now: