Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Just a few weeks ago, we were blessed with the opportunity to host 2 young men (high school) in our home from Canada.  The Canadian’s came to play a 5 day long baseball tournament against 8 other state teams: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.  It’s kind of crazy they come to our little remote town in the middle of no where Oklahoma.  But they do, and it’s a BIG DEAL. {College scouts come from all over}  Anyway, what’s even more insane is that 200 of these baseball players stay in homes of families in the community.  I believe that most families house 2 boys, but there are some families who had up to 5 in their home.  Over the 7 years we have lived here, I’ve heard heartwarming stories about this tournament…really the experience of hosting the players.  Now we know why.
At bat with team in background familybringsjoy

Above is one of our boys {yes, we host families used that term} we hosted at bat. {For privacy’s sake we will call him #17}  I love this photo because it also has the whole team and coaches in the background too.  Below, 17 is running from second to third.

running from second familybringsjoy

Made it home familybringsjoy

Above 17 makes it to home plate.  I love how my camera captured him looking as though he is on his toes.  17 played designated hitter about half of the time while the other half he played outfield.  Now let me introduce our next boy, #21.  He is one of the pitchers on the team and stands at 6’4″.  He is TALL!  And he can pitch a fast ball.

Canada Pitcher familybringsjoy

I swear it looks like he almost does the splits when he throws the ball.

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leg up familybringsjoy

There was a digital display of the speeds for all the pitches thrown and below shows the speed of one of 21’s pitches.  I know he threw some faster ones, but this is what it was when I decided to take a photo of his speed.

pitching speed familybringsjoy

good game familybringsjoy

In the above photo you can see how tall 21 is compared to the rest of the team.  Below is both the boys after a win!

our canada boys familybringsjoy.com

One night we had a team swim party and they still played baseball…{that’s 17 with the bat}

team swim party familybringsjoy

Below – Us host moms took a photo together.  We had fun talking about ‘our boys.’  All of us host families got to know each other.  It’s like we were a big extended family.  We sat together at all the games…cheered for our boys.  We all had great experiences with our baseball players.  It was fun learning more about the Canadian culture.  There is NO TELLING what they said about our southern accents.  Best of all is how quickly they were able to integrate into our families.  My son loved having ‘brothers’ for the week.  All of the kids enjoyed having older ‘brothers.’  The other moms talked about how they would play with their kids and help out around the house.  They were true gentlemen with gracious manners.

canada host moms familybringsjoy

Below 17 plays catch with my daughter.  Isn’t that sweet?

playing catch familybringsjoy

I caught a quick shot of the boys in the back yard before they started their outdoor adventures.

hanging out familybringsjoy

On the next to the last night of the tournament they announced all of the players and their host families.  We walked on the field. (below)

family announced familybringsjoy

After, we took a big photo of the team with all the families. (below)

Team Canada Host Families familybringsjoy.com

canada boys with daughter familybringsjoy

last photo with the boys familybringsjoy

Believe it or not, the last photo was before they boarded the bus to go to the airport.  I’m glad I wasn’t in the photo because it was sad for me to say goodbye to these 2 young men.  We ate meals together, I helped them with their laundry, drove them to their games…basically did all the things mom’s do for their own kids.  What can I say, I’m a softy.  I’m so glad we had this experience before we move back to Texas.  I hope to keep in touch with them and know they have a bright future playing baseball at a college here in America.  By the way, in case you are wondering how Team Canada did in the tournament…they won 2 out of 9 games.  However, they beat their record from last year where they lost every game.  You have to understand, baseball is not a popular sport in Canada.  As a matter of fact, they don’t have high school or college baseball in Canada.  These 2 boys come from a private club team.  So the Canadians have a little disadvantage competing against southern boys who have probably played baseball since they were tiny.  #17 has only been playing baseball for a couple of years.  Personally, {& yes, I’m proud to say I’m biased} I thought they did great!  I was very impressed with the team and their coaches.  I was worried they might be in bad moods after losing games, but they never were.  They were happy to be here and happy to be playing the game.  For us Team Canada families, they are number one.

Baseball brings joy,

It’s Time For A Change

Texas editedBig news coming at you today…we are moving back to Texas.

There’s a saying, “You can take the girl out of Texas, but not the Texas out of the girl.”

This is true.  We’ve been living in Oklahoma for 7 years now.  And even though it is only one state north from Texas, it’s just not the same.

Much has happened while we have lived here.  My oldest graduated from high school.  We built our dream home.  We paid off loans and got out of debt.  I’ve made relationships which will last even after we move.  Yet, it’s time for this city girl to move back to the city.  It’s time to be closer to my family in Texas.

While I am ready to move on…I wish I could take my house with us.  Leaving the home we custom built will be the most difficult part of moving for me.  I realize to some it might not make sense.  Some people might see our home and say, “if I had that house, I would never move.”  However, a house is just a house.  It is the people you share it with that matter.  There is a scripture I have been pondering about much lately from Matthew in the New Testament:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21

treasure scripture familybringsjoy.com

This reminds me to keep my heart on what really matters.

All last week I purged and cleaned preparing for the realtor to come and take photos of the house.  After picking up my youngest from school I realized one of the outdoor throw pillows, which had blown over to our house, belonged to our neighbor across the street.  Their front porch had a chair with a pillow that matched.  I decided to walk it over to them.  After I placed the pillow on the pillow-less chair, I turned around to see our house.  There it was.house taken on may 16 2014 familybringsjoy.com  Of course…I was just across the street.  It looked beautiful and a feeling of sadness washed over me.  I know I was exhausted from all the work I had been doing that day.  It could have been the amount of stress had built up and the emotions just over took me.  I took a picture with my phone and posted it on Instagram.  It’s not that I was wanting to gloat about my house.  It was more about wanting to share the feelings I was experiencing with the sweet friends I have made on the community of Instagram.

I find myself wanting to explain how I feel, but then this ongoing argument plays in the back of my mind.  “You don’t have to explain how you feel.  But, people might not understand.  That’s OK if they don’t understand, they aren’t you.  You don’t have to justify your feelings.”  I guess part of me wanting to explain is a challenge I want to take on.  The other part thinks it might be therapeutic for me.

Being a full time stay at home mom has been challenging for me.  I have creative tendencies which went on the back burner for many years while my kids were young.  As a matter of fact, it’s been the past few years, while my kids have been at school full time, I have realized how much of myself I kind of “put away.”  I thought to be a good mom, I needed to let go of things I loved doing for the sake of the family.  I’m not sure where I got this idea, but it doesn’t matter now.  Anyway, when we built our house, it was like a full time job.  I quickly became an amateur architect and designer.  It took over a year to build our house.  We moved in and then it was a full time job putting things away and decorating.  Over the past 5 years I have truly enjoyed sharing my home here on Family Brings Joy.  I like sharing my DIY projects and seeing them pinned on Pinterest.  I like it when friends tell me they have seen my laundry room or craft room on Pinterest. {Thank you to all those who have pinned!}  So, I guess I feel as though the process of building our house and making it a home, I kind of found myself again.  Plus, it is a HUGE accomplishment.  I don’t want to feel like I’m throwing away this accomplishment or myself.  I know I’m not.  But maybe that is where part of the sadness is coming from?  However, truly most of the sadness is knowing our dream home has not appreciated in value.  Due to the failing economy, we will not regain the amount of money it cost for us to build our home.  This is what really brings me grief.  Your house is supposed to be an investment.  Right?  You shouldn’t have to LOSE money when you sell your home.

Listen up…I know it depends on where you live and what the market is like, but if you are considering building a custom home, you need to be aware of some key points before building.  (And let me throw in here, we built our house with the intention of not moving.  However, you never know what life has in store for you.)

1. The cost your builder quotes to build your floor plan is only an ESTIMATE. (plan to pay more)

2. The builder will not include the concrete for your driveway in your estimate.  This is an extra expense and is not cheap.

3. A custom builder does not include landscaping.  Landscaping, including grass sod and flower beds are an additional cost.

4. Other additional costs for us we had not considered before building were the cost of a septic system and propane tank because we live outside the city limits.

The above points are not including the cost of the land.  And I guarantee adding a pool will not increase the value of your home even though it should!  I think having a pool is a huge selling point.  So however much money it costs to build a pool, plan on throwing that money away.  Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is much value in having a pool, but that will be a post for another day.

I’ll stop my ranting now.  I just think people should be informed of the cost of building a custom home.  I guarantee the supplies to build a home have increased in cost since we built over 5 years ago.  This means to build our house, just like it is today, will cost substantially more than what we paid to build it, not to mention the stress and time it takes to build.

So, if by chance you have come to my site because you are considering purchasing our home…you are getting an amazing deal!  Go to the tab at the top of this site titled House Tour and take a look around.  The majority of the house has already been photographed.  However, I am going to go into more detail with future posts about unique features of our home.  If you are not looking to purchase our home, that’s okay.  You are welcome to tour the house and receive some great ideas for your own home or a future home.  Be sure and pin what you like on Pinterest for your future reference. 😉

Change can bring joy,

Moms Bring Joy

Happy Mother's Day familybringsjoy.com
Let’s Celebrate with Photos!

Mom & I Christmas 2013 familybringsjoy.com

Me & My Mom

My 2 youngest & I familybringsjoy

My 2 Youngest & I

It’s difficult finding a photo of all 3 of the kids with me. {take note self}  I’m usually the one behind the camera taking the photos.  My oldest daughter took the above photo before she left for college in the fall (first day of school for the youngest kids.)  My Step Dad took the one below when my youngest came home for her spring break.

3 generations familybringsjoy

Me, Mom & Oldest…3 Generations

And the following was taken only 2 years ago and now my son is taller than his big sister.

Blue Lily Photography for familybringsjoy.com

Where They Were Born (Photo taken in 2012 by Blue Lily Photography)

My youngest girl will be 11 tomorrow!

youngest turning 11 familybringsjoy-2

Youngest, Friday at her friend party

Moms Bring Joy,

Semi-Wordless Wednesday Wedding Style

Remember my friend who I helped host her bridal shower? Here are some photos I took at her gorgeous wedding…vintage style.
Sign to Thorncrown Chapel familybringsjoy.com

Welcome to the magnificent glass Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

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Inside of Thorncrown Chapel familybringsjoy.com

Thorncrown Chapel ceiling familybringsjoy.com

Inside Thorncrown Chapel familybringsjoy.com

Indoor pic of Thorncrown Chapel familybringsjoy.com

Below, the groom sees the bride walking down the aisle.

Vintage Wedding

bride and her father familybringsjoy.com

kiss from dad familybringsjoy.com

Vintage Wedding

Can I just say how much I HATE those huge ferns!  Really!?  They really are a distraction. Ok, I’m done ranting now.

You may kiss the bride familybringsjoy.com

Introducing Mr. & Mrs. familybringsjoy.com

I love the above photo with the groom looking at my friend.  Just in this photo you can tell how much he loves her.

running down the aisle familybringsjoy.com

I know the above photo is blurry, but I LOVE it!  He was so happy and was skipping down the aisle.  And the huge grin on both their faces is awesome.

leaving Thorncrown Chapel familybringsjoy.com

Above my friend’s daughters following the bride and groom down the aisle as Mr. & Mrs.  A new family is born.

After the wedding familybringsjoy.com

Last photo I shot after the ceremony was over.  Isn’t this a romantic setting for a wedding?

So HAPPY for them!

Here I am on the way to the wedding sporting my new Chloe & Isabel Crystal + Chain Strands Stretch Headband and my favorite earrings called the Art Deco Starburst Earrings.  You know I had to throw this in. 😉  Us short haired girls can wear headbands too.

Chloe + Isabel Headband for wedding familybringsjoy.com

Wedding Jewelry jewelrybringsjoy.com

 

Above photo shows me wearing the C + I Coral Statement Ring and Heirloom Coral Statement Necklace.  They were the perfect vintage feel to go with the wedding and the maxi dress I wore.  You can find these unique, quality jewelry pieces by going to Jewelry Brings Joy, my online boutique for Chloe + Isabel.

Weddings bring joy,

Inspiring Free Online Mom Conference

There is a wonderful FREE online conference for moms that begins today!  The following video introduces you to what the Mom’s Conference is:

 

Doesn’t that look cool!? Come join me!  Each day of the conference (beginning today,) a new set of 4 presentation videos will be made available on The Mom Conference site for a FREE 24-hour viewing/listening period.  The line up of speakers is phenomenal!

mom conference

What a great way to get re-energized at being the best mom you can be!  I’m especially excited about the meal preparation presentations.  Head on over now!  Click here.

Good moms bring joy,

Katy Perry Inspired Greeting Cards

One of my favorite albums right now is Katy Perry’s Prism (Deluxe Version).  I used the lyrics from some of her songs to make my Valentine cards this year.  I couldn’t show them to you before Valentine’s Day…it would have spoiled it for my family.

take me to the river valentine familybringsjoy.com

drum valentine familybringsjoy.com

The above is from the song Legendary Lovers

Below is from one of her more played songs on the radio Unconditionally

unconditionally homemade valentines card

inside of valentine familybringsjoy.com

The next two are from the song Double Rainbow

one of a kind valentine familybringsjoy.com

glitter together valentine familybringsjoy.com

All of these are pretty simple to make.  You could make these for any occasion not just Valentine’s Day.  If you have any questions about how I made them, leave me a comment or shoot me an email.

Katy Perry Inspired Greeting Cards familybringsjoy.com

Make something today,