Thankful for my candles

On Christmas Eve, my family and I attended a candlelight ceremony at our church.  Taking 3 young boys to church is usually a triathalon event.  By the time we get all 3 ready and out the door, we are in a mad rush to get where we need to be.  This is not exclusive to church, though, as this is usually the scene anytime we go anywhere.  Clothes are flying, baby is crying, boys are fighting, mama is stressed, daddy trying to get us out the door. That’s just our new normal.  Going to church that evening was not any different.  Not only were we running late, we also got stuck behind a wreck, which made us 20 minutes late.  We walked our boys in right in the middle of service when all was quiet, and made our grand noisy entrance with our boisterous brood.  Then in the middle of service, Joshua, my middle and most ornery little man, decided he wanted to play with his older brother.  While we were trying to stop him he somehow smacked his nose on the pew in front of us causing a nosebleed. Good times!  While trying to keep him from bursting out in a screaming cry, my husband rushes him off to the bathroom.  Meanwhile, our baby William was no longer happy in his carrier so I had to let him out, against my will.  My youngest is a busy body extraordinaire and gets into anything and everything he shouldn’t. When my husband returned with Josh, this sneaky little one took off towards the back of the church so my husband then had to go run and corner that little munchkin.  What.a.night.  Just writing this makes me want to pull my hair out, so you can only imagine how we felt in the moment.  All we could do was look at each other and laugh…and keep laughing…and then compose ourselves so as not to cause anymore disruption!

Despite all the chaos, we make it a point to take the boys as often as we can. It’s important for us to set that example for them.  I was happy we made it there, especially on a night as important as Christmas Eve.  I’m happy we made it there for my boys, but on this night in particular, I’m happy we made it there for me.  We’ve had an especially tough year.  For many reasons, it has been the hardest year of my life.  One that would have been even harder to get through without all the candles in our life and this night helped me to truly see that. The candles brought many things to light. Let me explain.

During the candlelight ceremony, we each hold our own unlit candle.   When it is time to light them all, we are instructed to light our own candle off of the person next to us by tilting our unlit candle towards their lit one.  Their lit candle remains still and steady.  Then the next person lights their candle off of you in the same way until the entire congregation is filled with bright candlelight illuminating the darkness.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  It occurred to me that this is how life is, or at least this is how God intended it to be.  People are like candles.  They consume themselves to give others light.  We’ve had so many candles in our lives who have burned brightly for us in the darkness.  It is through them that we have been able to rekindle our flame.  It only takes the light of one candle to extinguish the darkness, and we have been blessed with many of these tiny flames around us.  And it doesn’t stop there.  I realize now that being a candle isn’t easy.  First we have to burn in order to give light.  The burning can be painful, but through the pain, light is born.  It is up to us to keep it burning bright not only to light our own way, but also for the person next to us who will someday need it; the next person who will find themselves in darkness.  I want to be able to fuel their fire through my own the way others have done for me.  I feel so blessed for our candles – our friends, our family, our church, even strangers have lit up our life in more ways than they will ever know. It is my prayer that we always be each other’s light. It just starts with one.  And there’s no amount of darkness in this world that can extinguish the light of even a single candle.

If you also find yourself in darkness, look no further than the person next to you.  I am sure whoever surrounds you are the candles that will light your way.  Then once they rekindle your light, be the light for someone else.  Let us also never forget the greatest light of all, our Lord Jesus. He will always light our way, if we allow Him.

I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

John 8:12



Pregnant Mom Feels Burning ‘Down There’ During Ultrasound. OB-GYN’s Mistake Has Them In Hysterics

Rachel and Chris McQueen were excited to welcome their sixth child into the world. The Kentucky couple recently went on their regular prenatal ultrasound at her OBGYN’s office. What they didn’t know was their visit would leave them in hysterics as they recount the big mistake her doctor made that left her screaming in discomfort.

They realized the doctor had switched the lubrucating gel with something else. Something that shouldn’t be used down there.

When they got back in their car, they turned on the camera and recounted the events leaving them laughing hysterically while making us goggle right along with them. Watch their video and hear it from their perspective.

“The worse thing in OB history just happened to me,” she begins.





The Tale of a Fishermom

As a boymom of 3 outdoors loving little boys and a wife of a self-proclaimed pirate, I was destined to live a life on the water.

We often go fishing, just for the halibut. I often think to myself, “oh my cod, I can’t wait to get out on the water!” I’m willing to bait that most people think that fishing is a man’s sport. But I hope you know that this mama is reely hooked. There isn’t anyfin like it.  I’m sometimes a little koi about my love for fishing, but I’m going to be a little shellfish and take this oppor-tuna-ty to make you sea how much I enjoy it and then let you guys mullet over. I promise I’m not just fishing for compliments. I am writing this for a porpoise. You sea, my dad taught me how to fish when I was just a little gill. And now I fish all the time with my husband and kids, so I’m ofishally a profishonal. I can fish with the best of them as you can sea from the pictures. I used to be pretty crappie, but I’ve grown to be whaley good…bass-ically an expert. Sometimes we go out for a whole day and we don’t catch much, but even when the day is floundering, it’s still a day on the water, which happens to be our happy plaice. I’ve even caught a shark before. I fought so hard reeling it in that I almost pulled a mussel. Tank cod, I was ok. We live on the water, so even when we aren’t out dropping a line, I like to sit on my back perch sometimes and just enjoy our beautiful waterscape. The view is fintastic. It’s usually a shad bit hot outside and we get burnt. My cheeks and minnows usually get sunburned the worst. It’s worth it though, as I’ve waded a long time for these bragging rights. My husband a-piers to think that just because he holds several lake records that he’s the cream of the carp. But I gar-antee that I’ll beat that buoy’s record one day.

So water you waiting for, mamas? Get yourself a fishing pole like me and castaway. If you have any good fishing tails to share, you should dolphinately drop a line and let minnow!  Don’t worry if you feel like a fish out of water and not reely good at it. Just keep trying and you’ll eventually get batter. I’ll sea y’all later, I’m fin to get busy. Dying to trout my new pole.  😆😁🎣✌🏼

Our ghostly encounters in downtown Houston

Do you like a good scare? Although I’m not a fan of scary stuff, especially paranaormal activity like I used to be, its sometimes fun to get a little scared…deliciously scared! Do a little research, and you will find that there are many haunted spots in our very own downtown Houston that are not only some of the most haunted places in H-town, but also make the list for the most haunted places in Texas. I’ve had experiences with two of these places, the spooky Esperson Building and the creepy Spaghetti Warehouse. If you are ever brave enough to go on a chilling adventure with the kids to one of these places, just remember to enter at your own risk, keep the Ghostbusters on speed dial, be aware of your surroundings, and be afraid…be very afraaaaid…Buuuuaaaahaaaahaaaa!

I once worked in the Esperson Building, 808 Travis Street. For those of you who are familiar with downtown, its one of the oldest and most recognizable buildings in Houston. Mellie Esperson had the two buildings constructed for her husband, Niels, an oil tycoon, in 1927 and 1941. It is said that when they died, their ashes were entombed in the cupola at the top of the building and that Mellie still roams the hallways and elevators watching over her buildings. There have been several sightings of her in the hallways and the elevator, which has been known to open on its own and frequently malfunction. While working there, there were certainly places in the building that gave me goosebumps. There were several times when file cabinets mysteriously opened on their own and a frequent sensation that someone was standing behind you. The very old Renaissance inspired hallways are so eerily reminiscent of the hallways in “The Shining”. One time, we had a contractor in the building who was working late one night. As he was leaving, he saw a lady waving at the very end of the hallway…as he waved back, he suddenly noticed that she did not have any feet. She was floating. Needless to say, he never returned to work. The eyes of the people in the paintings on the walls are also said to move, following your every move. The building management offers tours, so if you ever want a good scare or possible ghost encounters, this is the place for you. Try contacting Cameron Management for a tour.


Another well known haunted building is the Spaghetti Warehouse at 901 Commerce. This location became a restaurant in 1974. Prior to its current establishment, the building had a varied life. It was built in the early 1900s as a fruit and vegetable warehouse. It later became a pharmaceutical company before becoming a restaruant. As the story goes, a young pharmacist died after falling down the elevator shaft. His wife was so grief-stricken that she died a year later. The pair of ghosts allegedly have haunted the building ever since. Some people have reported seeing floating objects in the building and employees have reported sightings on the second floor. There is said to be a male spirit in the restroom.

My son and his grandparents went to eat there for the first time yesterday. What they experienced, has them now believing in the paranormal. As they were eating, grandpa kept noticing people go up to the 2nd floor. However, he noticed that nobody ever came back down. So, they assumed there was a party going on up there. When they asked the waiter, the waiter told them that they could go tour the upstairs and take a look for themselves if they wanted. As they climbed to the 2nd floor expecting to see all the people that had gone up there, they were startled to see that it was completely dark and completely empty. There was only 1 person up there, an employee who was eating. Where were all those people they had seen go up there? They spoke briefly to the employee and she said that she hates being alone up there and was glad that they showed up. She said she only eats there because thats where employees have to eat, but that many strange things happen up there. They noticed a closet at the end of the room. My son and his grandma both walked up to it and put their ear against it. What they heard, had them back up in a hurry and want to immediately leave. They both heard a very loud, heavy breathing coming from the other side. It was an annoyed sound, like someone who was disgruntled about having anyone up there. The employee said she was the only one up there, so who was making that sound? As all of that was going on, my son’s grandpa tried to snap a picture. Yet, when he tried to take a picture his phone suddenly and mysterioulsy went dead. He still had plenty of charge left on his battery, so it is quite startling that as soon as he tried to snap a picture, the battery drained and went dead. Thats when they decided to immediately leave the place. They came home telling me the story of their encounter as they were still trying to make sense of what happened. My son said that he really believes in ghosts now and that now he knows that Ghostbusters had to have been based on a true story.

While they weren’t able to get a picture of their visit, here is an image that came from other visitors of the warehouse. Can you spot the ghost in the picture?
Look closely on the right side of the picture.

So, there you have it. While there are many things to do in Houston this summer, if your family ever wants to experience a little paranormal activity then take a chilling adventure to one of these haunted places and have scary stories of your own to tell.

4th of July Summer Art Tutorial

We’re back with summer art tutorial #2! This 4th of July activity is a special one. We want you to create a card with your artwork as the cover. On the inside, write a letter to a soldier to thank them for their service. We celebrate 4th of July because it stands for freedom. It is freedom we would not have without the brave men and women who fought for that right. They have sacrificed so much for us. So, this is just a small gesture of appreciation that we think will go a long way in the hearts of our heroes. Help us honor them and thank them! If you want to draw something different for the cover, feel free to! There are many symbols that represent our great country besides the Statue of Liberty, like the bald eagle, our flag, the liberty bell, Uncle Sam, etc. So take your pick, create your card, and have a family member mail your card to the A Million Thanks Organization (address below). They will ensure your card gets to one of our heroes.

A Million Thanks
17853 Santiago Blvd. #107-355
Villa Park, CA 92861

Visit their website at

Thank you for participating! God bless you! God bless our troops, and God bless the United States of America!

My confession to the one I love, but used to hate

I confess that I used to hate you. I never gave you a chance back then. I didn’t even want to give you a second look. I’d cringe whenever I saw you down the street. To be completely honest, I thought you were ugly. I know that’s so mean and incredibly judgemental…but I’m keeping it real. And you were always so big. So.damn.big. Why did you like being so heavy? You were so unpopular with your awkward looks and you had NO personality. I hate to say this, but you were completely unattractive. I don’t know what anyone ever saw in you….

Then one day, everything changed. Something happened as I got older that made me see you in a different light. I saw a side of you that I had never seen before. You made me see the importance of finding the inner beauty. You taught me not to judge a book by its cover, as I would be missing so much if I did. You made me feel comfort in a way I’ve never felt before. I regret that it took me so long to realize how much I needed you and now that I have you, I’m never letting go. You have brought our family so much joy and you have been there to comfort us and protect us when we needed it the most. You have changed our lives for the better. You are our unsung hero.

So here’s to you, my sweet, darling minivan. Here’s to all the things I didn’t see before. Here’s to the greatness of your sliding doors and countless cupholders. Here’s to your spacious interior and built-in vacuum. Here’s to the newly designed sleek body styles that have made you more attractive than before. It doesn’t matter what people say about us. We have each other and that’s all that matters. It’s me and you til the end….or at least for the next 8 years.






Summer Art Activity for Kids

Moms, summertime has arrived!  As such, I’m sure you need ways to keep the kiddos entertained.  As an elementary Art Teacher, I know of so many fun and easy art projects you can do at home with your kids or just have them watch the tutorial and let their creative imaginations go! Many of the activities require things that you probably already have at home, so no need to go out and buy much, if anything. My son and I will be doing a series of art project tutorials throughout the summer, so subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

The first one in the series is called Reflections. You don’t need much for it and you probably already have these in your home.  Play the video tutorial for the steps and below is what you’ll need:

1. White paper – Most kinds of paper will work. We are using regular copy paper in the video.
2. Crayola markers or any kind of washable markers. Just make sure none of them are permanent markers (like Sharpies)
3. Paper towels
4. Spray bottle with water; if you don’t have a spray bottle you can just use a wet rag or sponge.

You can create almost anything with these reflections, so be creative and like I always tell my students……TRY YOUR BEST! Enjoy and happy summer!

How I got my babies sleeping through the night

I want to tackle this subject, although I was a bit hesitant, as I know people have some very strong opinions about the subject. I want to preface this post by saying that we all parent our kids differently and we each do what is best for our kids and for our home environment. I know what might work for one family might not work for another. And that’s ok. I’m ok with it and hopefully you are, too. We need to stop judging each other and accept that we are all trying to do this parenthood thing the best way we can in our own way. With that being said, I do want to share my experience with sleep training my boys and hopefully it will help other mothers, although, in the end, we have to really rely more on trial and error.

I have three young boys and my husband and I were able to get all 3 sleeping through the night at 3 months and for each it took roughly 1-2 weeks. We used the Ferber method to help sleep train our boys, which is also known as the “crying it out” method. In more technical terms, it is a technique invented by Dr. Richard Ferber. It involves “baby-training” children to self-soothe by allowing them to cry for a predetermined amount of time before receiving external comfort. Many have the misconseption that this method involves putting a baby in its crib and just letting them cry all night with no intervention. That is not the case, but because of this notion, I have heard people write and say that this type of parenting can be cruel or hurtful to the baby. I completely disagree and that misconception, in my opinion and experience, is inaccurate. What we did was far more complicated than sticking our babies in a crib and just letting them cry for hours on end. It was actually very difficult and much more strategic than that and we spent many sleepless nights close by our babies while we helped them each learn how to self soothe and not expect instant gratification by picking them up or feeding them at every cry. On the contrary, we actually did have to go comfort the baby throughout the night, but not by taking them out of their crib, as you will read in the steps below. The consistency of sleep training not only is helpful for the baby, as they adjust to a routine and also can sleep more restfully for longer periods of time, but it also helps with the overall family schedule.

Below are the steps we followed for all three boys and while it may or may not work for other babies, we were pretty impressed with how well all three did with this same method. Before I move on with the steps, another disclaimer. By no means, did we ever let our babies cry it out when they were not feeling well. We have spent many sleepless nights with our boys when they were sick, holding them and comforting them throughout the night. So there are most certainly exceptions. Also, all babies are different. Some are more fussy than others, some have colic, some are breastfeeding every couple of hours, and some have other issues that would make this method difficult or impossible to apply.

These are the sleep training steps we took with our babies:

  1. Decide on timing – We decided beforehand that our boys would move from our room to their nursery at 3 months. It helps to have a specific transition point so you can have a plan that you can stick with, whether its 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, or longer. That is a personal decision you’ll have to make that is the most comfortable for you and your family. We decided on 3 months because it was old enough to be able to sleep for long periods of time, but young enough where they hadn’t yet gotten too attached to our room. In the first few months of a baby’s life, there is no schedule or routine. You are at your baby’s beckon call and are pretty much holding him most of the time. My babies were in my arms or right by my side day and night after they were born. However, 3 months was the transition point. So, although it was difficult to have our boys leave our side, we decided on 3 months and stuck with it.
  2. Transition from your bedroom to nursery – Once they hit the 3 month mark we transitioned them from our bedroom to their nursery. The sooner they get used to their sleeping environment the better and more comforted they will feel, as they will grow accustomed to it. The alternative is that they grow accustomed to your bedroom, which makes it harder to transition them to their room later. We also had a monitor in their room so we could hear eveything.
  3. Establish a nighttime routine – This one is a big one and it requires consistency. Routine is key for babies to grow accustomed to a certain schedule. For us, we kept the same routine with each of our boys. In the evening around 6pm, we would have tummy time for a while with the baby to help with their neck movement and stability, which in turn helped with tiring them out a little. We would then bathe them and let them splash around in the tub for a while. Water usually wears them out too, especially if they are kicking and splashing around. Once they were out of the bath, I would lather them up with lavender scented lotion, which is supposed to help soothe and make them feel sleepy. I would then dress them in a comfy sleeper. Then they would get their last bottle of the night around 8:30-9pm and put to bed after. If you are consistent every night with a routine, they will quickly get used to it. Do it in the same order every night and they will learn to expect each step of the process.
  4. Change daytime napping habits – Babies sleep a lot, especially in the first few months of life. All of my boys slept a lot during the day and I didn’t really mess with that sleep schedule. They would typically drink their bottle, stay awake for a short while, then sleep again. That would pretty much happen all day. However, when they turned 3 months, I changed their evening napping pattern. I didn’t allow them to sleep after 5pm. If they were already napping, then I would wake them up at 5pm and keep them up until it was time for bed. Now, I know “they” say never to wake a sleeping baby. But I don’t agree with that in this case. By keeping them up longer in the evening, they were more tired at night and more likely to sleep longer at bedtime. For most of the day, I let them sleep as much as they wanted, but when evening time came around, mama didn’t let them doze off. Given that they were sleepy around that time, we had to really play with them and keep them entertained so they wouldn’t fall asleep. Luckily it was close to the time that we started their nighttime routine anyway, as stated in Step 3 above: tummy time, bath time, lotion, comfy sleeper, last bottle, then bed time.
  5. Crying it out – Now this is the hardest part. A mother’s instinct is to immediately comfort their baby and of course, it was super difficult for me not do that…at least not to do it immediately. Just as they did during the day, our boys would go to sleep at night, then wake up, then fall asleep again. However, I knew that they were ready to sleep at night for longer periods of time without feeding because their daytime naps were sometimes several hours long. So what would happen at night is that we would put them to bed around 9pm – 10pm, then they would wake up crying after a few hours. When they woke up crying, we had to resist the urge to go in there and immediately pacify them. We would always time it. We would say ‘ok, lets wait 15 minutes and if the baby is still crying we will go in there’. Usually, the baby would fall back asleep on his own. Then another couple hours would pass by, and again the baby would wake up. And again we would time it and say ok, lets wait it out 15 minutes. Again the baby would fall back asleep within that time. This would go on throughout the night. If the crying went past the 15 minutes, we would go into the nursery, pat him and try to soothe him by talking or singing for a few minutes then leaving the room. We wouldn’t pick them up though. They would usually fall back asleep not long after that.
  6. Decide on a morning feeding time – In the beginning of sleep training we would try to make it until 4am before feeding them. That was our marker. Once they were crying around that time, that is when we would get them out of their crib to feed them. We would make it a point not to feed them any earlier than 4am. Once they adjusted to that, we would push it to 430am, then eventually to 5am. After about a week or two of following the routine, the boys realized that nighttime was for sleeping. That is how long it took to get used to the routine and for them to start sleeping through the night. Sleeping through the night started as 10pm – 4am, then eventually, as we pushed the time, 930 pm – 4:30am.  Then eventually it extended to 9pm – 5am. My youngest is 7 months old now and he sleeps very soundly from around 8pm – 6:30am, so as they get older the timespan will continue to grow and adjust.

Sleep training is not for every mother, and that is completely understandable. As I mentioned before, there are many circumstances that would make this method very difficult and almost impossible to apply. However, this is what we did for our boys and it worked each time. I was happy to have well rested babies and the rest of the family was also happy to be able to sleep restfully after surviving all the sleep training.

What you choose to do for your little ones is your perogative as a mother. Whether your method of choice is co-sleeping, keeping them in your room until they are toddlers, or this Ferber method, it is all ok, in my opinion. I only share my own experience because we’ve had success in this area, and it may be helpful to some mothers.

What worked for you? I’d love to hear your experience. Comment below!