A calling…

Your back? Honestly, I am surprised. It is like so many other things, I have the intention to blog about so many things. I actually do enjoy writing. And if I did, I would tell you…

Megan finally lost her 2nd top tooth, so she has that cute, toothless smile right now. (Quickly to be replaced with teeth that are meant for her 35 year old face.)

Or that we spent one night building lego creations for a local toy store competition. It was good family time, lots of fun and I won 1st place much to Ethan’s surprise.

I could write about Ethan’s 4th season as Alyssa’s soccer coach and how well he does coaching and caring for those girls. How sweet it is to see some of them give him big hugs and how they are starting to work together to get the mental game of soccer.

I could show you several of the new paintings I have done and say how blessed I am to be able to use my talent for money through Etsy and in my local church. I have been commissioned to do paintings for the wall, decorations for VBS, stage decorating for Sunday mornings and today was asked to be a part of a live performance art on Easter Sunday. (I gently declined that one)

And there is Megan and her obsession with Star Wars. (chalk art of Princess Amidala, R2D2, and Jar Jar Binks)

Probably deserving a blog post would be that all three girls are going to be in glasses. Alyssa and Megan were diagnosed with amblyopia which needs 24/7 glasses and 1-2 hours of patching each day. Audrey is also extremely farsighted and will be in glasses full time. She has to have further testing done with a pediatric optometrist because she was soooo helpful during her evaluation.

But alas, that is not what this post is for. I need your help. I have been asked to give my testimony at my mom’s church’s womens conference in April. Whoah…. right? I mean, I did a public speaking class in college, but I am pretty sure that tensing up my muscles and relaxing them will not make this talk go easy. I have a lot of story to tell, right? And some of you have been here through it all. I have all the comments ever recorded on this blog, so I could go back and spend the rest of my year reading them. But even better, I want to hear from you. How did Noah change you? What did you see about our family as you read the blog? Did any of my events truly change your life? Just  a brief thought is all I want and you can email it to me if you prefer at (j the letter D my last name@mac.com – no spaces). Thanks friends.



Halloween is such an odd event, really… You plan on costumes and work up to the day. You dress the kids, fix hair, make-up, rush them out for a picture b/c you know the ones you will take later in the night will look horrible. You head off in costume, everyone excited. 28 minutes later, 1 kid is scooting along with one shoe off because of a blister, 1 has lost her hair – which is what made the entire costume, and 1 kid riding piggie-back with a bloody chin and plastic-gouged palm. The costumes are shed, everyone is tired and we have 3 buckets full of candy that can make 1 child go into anaphylactic shock. Ah… Halloween.

But we do it every year for some reason. Last year, there was a silent bet going on how many times Audrey would fall down as we walked the neighborhood. All I remember is that I lost and she fell about 7 times.  For good conversation, we shared this previous bet with new friends as we T&T’d tonight. Every time she stumbled or caught herself, we chuckled. She tripped on the deck before we even left and started the night with a 3″ cut in her chin. Before we called it quits, she fell off some stairs (she admitted to jumping), and somehow cracked her cheap plastic bucket jamming slices of plastic into her palm. These pictures certainly don’t do the night justice. We did enjoy hanging out with new friends though. And that was worth any misery that Audrey suffered…. at least in my opinion.

Good-bye Summer 2012

Well, here they are at the end of the summer. What you see here is a very typical photo of my girls, except for Megan is not wearing a dress. And that is only because we were going on a walk around the block and I actually convinced her to wear shorts and tennis shoes. The week before school started I began waking them at the same time we will get up for school. We practiced getting dressed, making beds and then took a walk each day. The morning would start with a happy Audrey, a cooperative Alyssa and consistently a grumpy Megan — she takes after her dad. But this is how they looked at the end of each walk. I hope my hard work pays off tomorrow when I have to wake that grumpy bear up at 6:15 am.

Which brings us to tonight. The night before Kindergarten and 4th grade. I tried to make this last week “fun”. But Alyssa insisted that it was the last day of summer and was hinting at some sort of “treat”. So we took them out to eat for a last day of summer dinner, complete with endless chips and their own dessert.

Cheering to their dinner

Demolishing their dessert in 1 minute…serious.

Now they are all tucked in bed, hopefully asleep, and ready for a new year. Megan shared her “magic” confetti from her teacher, and they all have a bit under their pillows to sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is a big day… 2 down and 1 to go. Lord, watch over my girls tomorrow. Let them be lights in this dark world and put their trust in you as they grow. Amen.

Texas Awesomeness

I have seen bluebonnets for years. In the spring, they would cover the sides of main highways to and from cities we would travel. But this year, they are everywhere. And not out in the country, but right here in the neighborhood. For weeks, we have enjoyed the sight of fields of blue and orange.  We attempted to get some photos tonight. I really felt confident. I didn’t bring rewards, I just knew they were old enough to do this. HA! They tried… But you know what, we got what life is right now and this is enough. Enjoy some Texas awesomeness. More

Asheville, NC

I was never one to have lots of friends. I have had a handful of close friends my entire life and that is totally fine with me. The problem with not making groups of friends though, like in college, was that I never had girls to go on trips with. I have heard many who take regular “girl’s trips”, get together with old friends, meet up somewhere fun and catch up. Well, one of the blessings of moving away from Tennessee was that I did leave a group of friends behind. And that allows me the chance at a “girl’s trip”. So at 36, I had my first one.

God blessed my time in TN with different groups. I had individual people who meant a lot to me, I had my small group from church, and I had amazing neighbors. This trip was arranged by the girls that lived all around me. Five of us took 2 days out of life to have a road trip to Asheville, NC. We ate at only local diners, visited a waterfall near the Smoky Mountains, shopped and just relaxed together. Being real, catching up on life.

I returned home to Texas with many bonuses. I was refreshed. Both by being surrounded by friends and having some time away from the daily life with kids. I came back with a new look on parenting, mostly from watching my friend in her daily activities with her kids. And I came home, glad to be in Texas. I absolutely loved living in TN, and for many months I was sad I had to leave so much behind. But as life takes shape in Round Rock, Texas, I can see God can bring good things wherever I go. The trip back to TN opened my eyes that it is not my home anymore, even though it is where my house. I could appreciate my time there, but I knew it was time to head back to Texas. I was glad when that plane touched down on the dry, flat land.

I am looking forward to years of girl’s trips and will call myself blessed to have friends in so many places.

Christmas Time

I almost quit. I am behind, I am busy, I know the  main reason I do this is for my own documentation. But lucky you, I decided to continue to update the Whaley Life. One day when I get all the blog books done, it would have looked strange to have stopped at Thanksgiving in 2011.

So here is Christmas. We celebrated it. That is about it.

My parents were here for a few days and then they took the girls to Houston for the week. Ethan worked, I cleaned out a storage unit, shoved all the stuff we hadn’t unpacked into the closets and attic. Then we met my whole family for New Years. I am thankful for the time with family, I always enjoy Christmas, but I am ready for a new year. Ethan and I have joked that 2009 might have been the best there is, and we didn’t even know it. Here’s hoping 2012 has lots of wonderful things in store for the Whaleys.

A few days of Thanks

We were so blessed this year to spend Thanksgiving with the Whaley side. Terry reserved a cabin for us on Lake LBJ not far outside of Austin. The cabin slept 14 and we had plenty of room to play and eat and eat some more.

The kids enjoyed each other and we experienced the trails with a 5K Turkey Trot, swam in the heated pool, threw and painted some pottery (thanks to Aunt Ali), and took the canoes and paddle boats in the lake. There was plenty of downtime, plenty of Wii, plenty of eating and lots of fun. Thank you Oma for providing for us.

I found this idea on a blog and really wanted to do it with the family. We packed some food and snacks along with some essentials into Blessing Bags. The kids and adults wrote on the back of the note an encouraging word. Then we zipped them up and passed out to each family so they could find someone to bless. I am looking forward to finding that person and letting the kids experience the joy of helping others.


I am sure there will be a day when one of them doesn’t want to dress up, but they all love it. Each girl picked her own idea. Well, not Audrey, she had to be what fit at that age. Maybe next year… Alyssa choose a cowgirl and Megan is Toki Tori. As usual, Ethan came up with the ideas and I implemented. We were both thrilled with how her duck turned out, and she was a hit at many doors. It was not the Halloween that we had grown accustomed to in TN, but we had a good time. We walked around the neighborhood with our next door neighbors and their kids. They have been a great support to us and seem to match our personalities well. We had a bet going for the number of times Audrey would fall through the night. I think they know our kids better than us, because he won. 3 falls in one night – that’s Audrey. The night ended with a monsterous pile of candy that no one could possible eat, but I let them take a stab at it last night. More

Round Rock, TX

Texas seemed like such a great state, when I was living somewhere else. I had pride in Texas. I had a whole room dedicated to the state. But now that we are back, I miss Tennessee. The simple life. The hills, the trees, the green. I miss everything I really needed within 12 minutes. And I miss our life there. But buck up, Julie. Time to move on.

So, here we are. This is our rent house, 1849 sq ft. While getting our stuff to fit was a challenge at first, I am enjoying the small space. The house has turned out to be just what we needed. We do have a 7 x 10 storage unit that is mostly full and we have sold 1 couch, 1 ottoman, and 4 bookcases – not to mention the 2 bookcases and 2 chairs I got rid of before we moved. There is something fulfilling about parting with stuff. As you can see there is no space for flowers or planting of any kind. Which probably will keep us from putting money into something we don’t own, though I miss the beauty that we created in TN.

I think we have made it through most of the boxes. Even after my spreadsheet of labeled boxes and box numbers, I am still missing my kitchen candle (from Shayna) that I loved, my dust buster and Alyssa’s brand new glasses. The first two items I am sure will show eventually, but the glasses I am afraid are gone.

The girls are doing fine. Alyssa’s starts 3rd grade on the 23rd and I am hoping it is a chance for her and myself to get involved and meet some people. The little girls are registered for preschool 2x a week as well. They have been playing around the house, chase, hide-n-seek, plenty of Pink Panther on Netflix and Megan is addicted to Angry Birds. We have a community pool that stays open till 11pm which is awesome and there is a good trail to ride our bikes on. Overall, if I would give it a chance, I think it could be a nice place.

I took the girls the other day to a splash pad in Cedar Park and at least it gave us something to do for one morning. It is tough on all of us not having friends to call up and hang out with. Just for a break, a new setting, some interaction with others. As I read recently, I am giving up on understanding. Boy, do I not get some of the things that have happened to us. But I will never understand, instead I need to ask for peace. So, trying to look to Him to find this precious peace.

Destin, FL

I can’t believe it has taken me this long to put these pictures on the blog. This was a trip that Kedra and I planned for 2010, and well, other things got in the way last year. So to say we were looking forward to this week is an understatement.
Kedra found us a great condo that fit both families for the week in the Sandestin Golf Resort. We were walking distance from the pool and a golf cart ride or bike ride away from the beach. We had so much fun! The kids played and got along great all week. I think by the last evening we had figured out that swimming in the morning, lunch and rest time, followed by dinner and the evening at the beach was the best plan. Thank you so much to my friends for making this trip possible and loving us enough to actually want to spend the week with us. See more pictures in the album.