Sunday, July 27, 2008


I want to start off this entry by congratulating one of my favorite friends on the news of adding a little girl to her family. Drea, I am thrilled beyond words for the gift God has given you and Orlando (and Sammy too!). I pray that you savor EVERY moment in the days to come and that God blesses your faithfulness to Him with children that have a desire to please our Jesus! It seems as if you do everything just a little bit ahead of me. And so, I hope this too is a sign of things to come and that one day I will be asking for advice on how to raise a Godly daughter in this day and age! I am so thankful for you AND our friendship!

If I could describe my life in one word lately it would be bittersweet. This weekend we celebrated Austin with a family birthday party. It was so fun and the perfect way to celebrate his first year of life. We did the usual stuff...watched the little man eat his cupcake, open presents, and play with his new toys. All in all I feel like it was an enormous success even though I think it officially wore all 3 of us out! :) One of my favorite parts of the day was sharing a little slideshow of Austin's first year with the whole family. I cannot tell you what a blessing it was to work on the story of his first year with pictures from our first days with him to pictures of his silly antics just a few days ago. It opened my eyes to 2 things.

First, time is FLYING! Was it just a year ago that he fit perfectly on my chest snuggled up in his blanket? While I will admit that sometimes I wish I could just jump in my car and run errands without the hassel of strollers and shopping cart covers, I can't even remember what it was like to shop for groceries and other necessities without my little buddy. Sure, there are days that my head is aching and I just want some peace and quiet, but then again life was kind of boring before his little voice echoed throughout the halls of our home. His sweet smile and fun personality brighten my day. I cannot and DO NOT want to imagine life without our little gift from God, which is why the pace of life scares me just a little. All to soon, I will realize that my little boy is a grown man and the sounds that echo in our home will be those of his family when they come for a visit. It's a bittersweet feeling. I can't wait to see what God will do in his life as he continues to grow and change, but I'm not ready to let him go even in just the small things these days. So I rock him a little longer and play with him a little more in an effort to savor each moment and memory.

Second, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of love for our families. They fill my heart with joy to overflowing. If a picture is worth a thousand words then there must have been a million represented in Austin's slideshow when it came to family. Their love for us is deep and ours for them deeper still. They have made some of the "bitter" days of life a little sweeter and the transitions a little easier. There is not a special memory I have in my life that does not include our family in some way and this weekend was no different. Thank you to all of you, present or far away, that bless us in countless ways on a daily basis! To say that we thank our God each time we think of you is an understatement! Here is just a glimpse of the day and those that could make the celebration. We certainly missed those of you who couldn't come but hope your day was as special as ours!

Like I said, my life is bittersweet these days and that fact is no different when it comes to my two sisters. Yesterday, I spent the afternoon helping my sister pack for her honeymoon and life in College Station with the man of her dreams. No one could rejoice more for her than those of us in her family, but oh how we will miss her when she "leaves and cleaves." How many conversations did we all have about the man God would bring to complete her amid broken dreams and a confused heart? Too many to count. But praise Jesus that those days are over and now we sit and shed a few tears over the sometimes painful transition of sending her off to a new chapter in her life! My heart aches just a little when I think about living here without the knowledge that she's just a two minute drive away, but I'd trade a two and a half hour drive over a NINE hour drive ANY day. (And don't think I won't pack up my little family and head that way the moment she calls ready for company!) We've come a long way in our sisterly relationship and I hope she knows how much I love being her older sister.
About the time we adjust to life with Britt in CS, we'll be gearing up to send Claire to college. I almost can't comprehend the thought of my littlest sister leaving to become a college student, but it just goes to show you that life doesn't stop...EVER! :) There's been talk of Baylor and secretly in my heart I hope that's where she ends up. I have such special memories and a favorite friend (mentioned above) from that delightful school! I pray the same experience for her no matter where God sends her, but I would be lying if I said there won't be a hole in our family times until she comes home for weekends and holidays.
But no matter what life and God may bring our way, I am thankful for these two precious girls who aren't just my sisters but two of my best friends. I am so proud of the women they've become and the blessing they are to me and those around them! You will both be missed when you head to the next place and season God has for you. But know that no matter where you go, your family anxiously awaits your visits to San Antonio and the time that we can soak up the feeling of being one big family in the same place again! I love, love, love you both!! :)
Ok, so on to some lighter subjects that WON'T bring tears to my eyes. I am THRILLED to announce that Austin is not only officially on whole milk but is also drinking that milk from his sippy cup without a problem! Do you have any idea how excited I am to pack up the leaking bottles for our garage sale this fall?! Unless you have children, you can probably only imagine. He is so cute when he grabs his cup by the handles and jams the top of it into his face as he tries to get the most juice he possibly can out of his new, semi-big boy cup. Way to go, sweet boy! We are so proud of you!

The other day as I was making dinner, I thought about our Sunday school lesson about enjoying the friendship and butterflies with your spouse that was so easily felt at the beginning of your relationship. So I thought I'd put a little romance into our daily dinner routine and light a candle and set the table. Do you just love our fancy, plastic Tulsa cups? One thing's for sure, you won't find those in any nice restaurants around town! :) I know I don't tell him often enough how thankful I am for his friendship and love. Even though we are still tweaking and improving our marriage daily, I feel like we have weathered the storms and changes well and I KNOW that is because of his steady personality. He keeps me grounded (and on budget!) and my life would be empty without him. I am making it a goal to work on savoring our time together and really being present in the moments we share whether they are brief or satisfyingly long. (Hmmm, I don't think "satisfyingly" is a word but oh well.) Thank you, Jesus for my husband! You not only gave me a man that completes me but you fullfilled the desires of my heart above and beyond what I could imagine!

Finally, I am so thankful for the rain we enjoyed last week. I am one of those people that absolutely love a rainy day. It is so refreshing, especially if you live somewhere that can be a little on the dry side. Ok, ALOT on the dry side! I was once told that rain signified blessing. I should probably do a little more research on that but either way I feel like it is a major contributer to growth and that includes the storms we encounter in life as well. So I guess that means that I am thankful for these bittersweet times that sometimes bring a little rain into my life. God is using even such a time as this to show me how precious and blessed my life is and for that I praise Him!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

So this time last week I was setting out to accomplish some major goals. I have to say...I feel like it was a successful week! I was able to finish up folding program covers and send them home with my sister. Now all that's left to do is stuff the folders with the actual programs. Next up was unpacking some boxes. I decided to start downstairs with the box full of cabinet decor. I was a little nervous about how to make these work since our cabinets at the last house were that even a word?! But with a little creativity I think I'm satisfied with the results. Here are some pictures. Please feel free to offer suggestions!

The other big activity was celebrating Austin's first birthday on July 17th! We're actually planning a party with mostly family for this weekend but we couldn't let the day go by without making him feel special. I think the highlight for him was the miniature cupcake he got to devour. :) Here he is in all his messy glory.

I think the birthday cupcake was a success!
Luke and I were super motivated this weekend too. We had a little unpacking left to do so we both worked together to get it done. Our main motivation for unpacking was for Austin to have a big room to crawl around and play in. This is especially nice because Luke installed a baby gate at the top of the stairs so I can just close that along with the other doors upstairs and cut him loose. I'm really looking forward to spending a little more time upstairs because we had an extra room that we've turned into a scrapbook room for me. In fact, Luke also hung up some shelves for all my stuff and is planning on building me a little table. It has been so nice! So here's a look at our progress.

until we fill this room with furniture Austin gets to use it as one big playroom!

Scrapbook room (thank you, Luke for hanging my shelves!)

Other side of the room

As for the progress on the sippy cup, we are definitlely working on it and I think he's getting the hang of it. We've also started whole milk. We still have to mix in a scoop of formula while he continues to get used to the taste but I think he'll come around pretty soon. All in all, it's been a great week and I feel so good about our progress. Now if only we could get our yard looking nice...

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Austin!!

Well, it's official. Our little man turned a year old yesterday! We are so thankful for him and the joy he brings to our lives. Even though we won't be celebrating with a party until next weekend, we had a fun day as well as a family dinner which consisted of grilled cheese sandwiches and cheeto puffs! We had a great time discussing our favorite memories with Austin, and of course, he enjoyed being the center of attention as always.

Austin, you are so special to us and I hope you always know what a gift you truly are! Happy 1st birthday little man. We can't wait to celebrate many more with you!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Everyone needs goals, right?! Well, I guess I'm no different. Lately I've been feeling like I'm not making a dent in all of the things that need to be accomplished. For example, even though I've been doing laundry since we returned from vacation, it still looks like my laundry room has thrown up all over itself! Note to self: do not prematurely pat yourself on the back about getting vacation laundry done on the day you get back! I did not finish and am still trying to play catch up. But anyways, back to my goals for the week.

Goal #1: Finish programs for the wedding.

Ok, thankfully, I am not in charge of doing the actual program. I have actually been given the job of folding and securing the covers, which looks like a little "program folder." I would post a picture but we want everyone to be surprised at the wedding. Luckily, I don't have many left to do but sometimes the motivation just isn't there when you've spent the day chasing a little one!

Goal #2: Finish unpacking remaining boxes
Granted, there are not many, but I'm ready to have everything out and in its place. Along these lines, I want to spend a little extra time organizing some things better. This is sometimes an unhealthy obsession for me so I'm going to do my best to "let go and let God." :)
Goal #3: Spend a good amount of time with Austin and a sippy cup
While our little man is advanced in MANY areas, he's not so thrilled about sippy cups. But with his first birthday coming up I think it's time for him to take the plunge. Otherwise, he'll be the only kindergardner with a bottle in his lunch box! :)
I think that just about does it for the goals. 3 big ones should require plenty of time and attention on top of all my mommy responsibilities. I hope you all have had a great weekend and are looking forward to the beginning of another week!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

This Week in Review

This week has been relatively calm, but full of fun and revelations!

The other night I was walking into the study to tell Luke something. Lately he's been having some trouble with his monitor so we are preparing to replace that, but imagine my surprise when I walk in and am immediately greeted by this sight:

Wow! was pretty much all I could say. But then I recovered and said,

"Uhhh, Luke?"

To which he replied, "Yeeees?" and poked his head around the computer screen/tv.

Ohhh how I love my creative husband. The tv now has a more permanent home up in my newly shelved scrapbook room and I feel that it looks much better. (I'll post pictures of that once I'm finished setting it up!)

So the big revelation this week has been the fact that my son definitely has no problem sharing. Our little man has officially moved on from baby food to table food. I think the family member that is the happiest about this is Savannah who loves to sit at the bottom of the highchair and patiently (or not so patiently) wait for scraps. Several times I've turned around only to find him feeding her the leftover food he doesn't want. They both love it! Then, probably the cutest thing I witnessed this week was Austin trying to share his bottle with Savannah. The fact that it was completely empty is unimportant. :) I am so thankful that Austin already has a heart for sharing. I'm really hoping that there will only be a few occasions where we'll have to remind him that "Jesus likes it when we share." I've posted a picture of Savannah waiting for a snack and Austin about to be the provider of that snack.

On another fun note, Friday my mom and I went out to run a few errands, sans Austin. We were off to Lifeway to get his birthday presents from Luke and I and decided to look for some of his birthday party supplies at Hobby Lobby as well. I really wanted to have a duck theme but had a hard time finding the things I needed for the party, which will probably mostly consist of family. So instead I found these adorable train invitations that I think will be super cute. We also got thank you notes, plates and napkins for the occasion. Here's a picture:

I'm really looking forward to celebrating our first born and a year full of blessings and surprises! The other major event this week happend just this morning as I was mopping the kitchen. Our somewhat clumsy dog got her paw stuck in between the branches of our crape murtle tree. It was the most pitiful thing and of course I ran outside to rescue her! She actually ended up freeing herself despite my efforts to help which included but was not limited to yelling for Luke like something had happend to Austin! I think she'll be ok. She's limping a little and immediately after regaining her freedom high tailed it inside straight to her house. I think she looks at it as a place of refuge, and we were more than happy to lock her inside for some rest. Obviously there are no pictures to document the excitement of the morning!

As for the rest of our weekend, I'll be cleaning, doing laundry, and just getting some stuff done for the wedding and lingerie shower/bachlorette party that Claire and I are throwing for Britt in LESS THAN A MONTH! Wedding madness is about to reach an all time high so all of your prayers would be much appreciated. :) I am so looking forward to her big day and am actually not feeling as sad about her moving as I was. I really want to focus on rejoicing with her during these last few weeks and save the crying for the actual goodbyes.

Before I sign off here I had a couple of questions for my blogging friends. First, I've tried to add some music from a playlist on I know where to go and how to add the code but it won't take it. It keeps saying that it's not in a proper form. Uhhh, I have NO idea what that means. So for those of you that might have an idea I would love to get your input. Finally, is there any way to add pictures so that they don't immediately end up at the top of my entry after I've written part of my post? I've been having to add the pictures first which is kind of a pain. I've tried figuring this out by myself but apparently I'm not smarter than blogspot!

Hope you all are having a relaxing weekend! Happy Saturday!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Home is Where the Heart Is

It's funny. For a long time I considered San Antonio my home. Even after Luke and I were married and living in our very own apartment in Tulsa, I still had an overwhelming feeling of "home" when we would drive/fly into SA! I loved our friends and life in Tulsa, but I longed to be closer to my family here in Texas. I prayed that God would allow us to move, but each time in my heart I knew that He still had plans for us in Tulsa. Not long after we'd been married a year, I was still struggling somewhat with this desire. Luke had told me that if I really wanted to move back, he would make it happen. However, as much as I wanted to say yes, I did not have a peace about that decision. So instead we bought our first house. At the time, and still when I look back, I know without a doubt that God blessed our obedience. We each made a list of our wants and needs for our new house and set out one Saturday with our realtor to look at a long list of homes...both old and new. We ended up just north of Tulsa in a little suburb known as Owasso, Oklahoma. Toward the end of the day, we walked into an almost finished new house. I loved it even before we saw the inside because it had red brick with wide black shutters. The 3 bedroom 2 bath house was pretty much a blank canvas on the inside since they hadn't done any of the cosmetic stuff yet. We looked around and looked at our list and quickly realized this was the house God had for us. So on our first day of house hunting we found the first place we would officially call home.

It was so much fun picking out light fixtures, appliances, and even fencing. The end product, as a friend once said, had the "Keiffer" stamp on it. We started saving for non-college, grown up furniture and began making memories in a house that was everything we had prayed and hoped for.

Not long after Austin was born I came down to visit in San Antonio for a couple of weeks. It was on this trip that I realized somewhere along the way Tulsa had become my home. I no longer felt the feeling of "home" flying into San Antonio, instead that feeling overtook me flying back into Tulsa. I couldn't wait to get Austin and I home to Luke and Savannah. And just like God, that's when He chose to grant the desire of my heart. About a month later our first house was on the market and we were packing up and getting ready to move to San Antonio! Again, we could so clearly see God's hand in every detail. Our house sold in one week to the first couple that came to look at it. Miraculously, all of our stuff fit in the moving truck, trailer, blazer, and escape. (Yes, God did bless our saving efforts and we had filled our rooms with grown-up furniture!) And our moving package was better than we expected!

On that last day, as I looked around at our empty house, my mind played all the memories back as if I was watching them on a movie screen. Our first night in our first house, hanging out with friends, bringing Savannah home for the first time, finding out I was pregnant, getting "snowed in" for a week, and bringing Austin home from the hospital to name a few. I was suddenly filled with an overwhelming sense of sadness as we locked up and headed over to the hotel for our last night in Owasso. A simple act of obedience had led to a multitude of blessings. God had taken my homesickness for a chapter in my life that was closed and gave me a place to call home full of laughter, tears, and memories.

There are so many wonderful things we would have missed had God followed my plan. So many relationships and precious memories that we would not have. Words cannot express how thankful I am that He knew and I obeyed! Now that we're settled in San Antonio I find myself missing Tulsa the way I used to miss San Antonio, but loving the fact that we're here again. I've come to the conclusion that home IS where your heart is...and mine just happens to be in 2 places.

Thank you, Jesus, for the memories I cherish in my heart from Tulsa. What a special time it was and I am grateful for the lessons you taught me about Yourself. Go before Luke and I here in San Antonio so that this city can also be full of fun memories and close friends. When I miss the comfort and familiarity of our life in Tulsa, remind me that You've brought us this far and You still have wonderful things ahead!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Memories, Milestones, and a Tiny Dancer

There are alot of changes going on at the Keiffer house these days! First of all, we have officially turned Austin's carseat around. I know what you're thinking..."He's not 1 yet!" Here's the deal. He's thisclose to turning 1, and the thought of driving for extended periods of time with a baby unhappy in his seat while on vacation was NOT appealing. Luke and I were actually on the same page on this one, and since he's well over 20 pounds we felt ok about our decision. Let me just say that he is one happy little man now. I love turning around and seeing his little face looking back at me. He would still rather be crawling around but facing the same way as mom and dad is definitely a close second. Here are some pictures of the big day.

"Hey guys..."
"....I'm so excited to be looking out the window the right way!"
While we're on the topic of his carseat, I have to share with all of you one of Luke and my favorite things Austin does on car rides. Every once in a while, we'll turn around and find him thoughtfully staring out the window. The funny thing about this is that it looks like he could be filming a music video and all he would need to do is sing! It might be funnier when you actually witness it, though.
The next milestone we experienced was Austin's first haircut. A big thank you should go out to Pops who did the honors. Here's a tip: a cranky, tired baby and his first haircut are probably not a good mix. However, he looked so handsome with freshly cut hair and yes, I do have a few locks to remind me of this momentous occasion.

Next up on the list of milestones would be Austin's dedication at church. Now that we're all moved in and settled at our new house, I figured it was time to sign him up. It was such a special day. Luke's parents came down from Dallas and my whole family came to church, including the soon to be brother-in-law. The 3 of us even coordinated our outfits, which is a big deal when you're the only girl in the family! :) It was so special to have Robert pray over Austin since he's known me and my family for years, and Austin did great...didn't grab Robert's glasses once! Afterwards, we were given a "tiny testament" which is basically a really tiny new testament. SO CUTE! I'm planning on saving it and giving it to Austin's wife someday. I know I'll look back at this day with fondness because of how special it was to be surrounded by family on the day we gave our son back to the Lord for His service.
Before the big ceremony...again, love this picture except for the fact that Austin wasn't ready!

Quick picture with Grammy and Pops...we missed you Josh, Jared, and Lindsay!
Our little family
Celebration lunch at La Fonda

Austin's new favorite thing to do these days is dance. It is the cutest thing I have ever seen! I've always known he loves music. In fact, when I was pregnant and we would worship at church, I would feel him start kicking. Luke and I LOVED the worship at our church in Tulsa. The best part was that the music was loud and I think he could literally "feel the beat." And the trend continues today. Whether it's a commercial, show on tv, or a song on the radio he starts dancing and can't stop. I LOVE IT! Jesus put a song in his heart for sure. So now that we know how much he loves to dance, we all can't help but hold spontaneous dance parties. In addition, Britt and Claire love to use him as a mini dance partner.

Austin's dance party
Dancing with his aunts was one of his favorite vacation activities!

Finally, last week was Austin's first family vacation at the lake. Due to all of the activities and different schedules this year, we decided to low key it and head up to the hill country right outside of Austin. As I've said before, family vacations are always a blast. We come home with more inside jokes, pictures, and memories than we could have imagined was possible. This year we were blessed to add 2 new members of the family to the vacation fun. Austin and Jon. Something else these 2 had in common could quite possibly be that they both had the most uncomfortable beds in the place. However, they were good sports and we all LOVED having them with us. Besides relaxing, some of the activities du jour were reading, boating, shopping, eating, and of course taking some really ridiculous pictures. Below is just a taste of Vacationapalooza 2008...Good times were had by all!
How we spent alot of our summer vacation...
Claire's senior pose...
And not to be outdone, Britt's senior pose
This picture accurately portrays how the 3 of us felt after returning from vacation
The beautiful birthday girl at PF my dad calls it

These girls LOVE to take funny pictures...
My dad also likes to join the fun...
And they never fail to force the rest of us normal people to participate! Sorry PF Chang patrons...hope you enjoyed your dinner anyways!
Luke and Austin at lunch on the way to the lake

Britt and Claire on the tube...I believe Claire called this activity "racing turtles" :)
Luke on the tube...I also took a turn but will spare your eyes since it wasn't a shining moment in my life as far as appearances go!
The fam at Claire's birthday dinner
The other side of the table (sorry, guys, Austin's not in this one!)
This might just qualify as my longest post ever! If you've made it this far, thanks! You're a true friend. There are just so many things going on these days. But I do want to end on this note. I know that over these last few months God has been teaching me how to accept ALL changes in my life gracefully. Some are fun but most, I find, are bittersweet. I am not blind to the fact that I have been blessed beyond what I deserve, and maybe if God didn't force me out of my comfort zone I would just camp out at those blessings instead of experiencing the new ones ahead. With each change, God teaches me something new about Him as well as myself.