October

I can't remember why she was so tired or naked, but isn't she darling?

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After a few big weekends (work events the prior two) we were ready for some family time away, so we spent a day hiking in Bob Sandlin State Park (about 20 minutes from
the lakehouse).  It was such a beautiful fall day…we were teaching
Clara colors using leaves, flowers and sky :)

Here we are at Mamaw and Papaw's house the following weekend enjoying some good East Texas four-wheelin'!  We went in to meet Brian's second cousin, 3 times removed (or something like that).  They were visiting from California and were very nice! 

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Throwing rocks into the pond!

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One Saturday, we had "KidVenture" – a time for families and small group leaders to hang out together outside of church on Sunday.  We painted pumpkins in a nearby park.  It was a great day!

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We took a trip to the Hall Pumpkin Farm in Grapevine:
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riding a tractor:

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in the hay house:

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little cowgirl

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We had a very wet October, but it was beautiful weather when it wasn't raining.  Lot of days with the windows left open!  

Brian got to hear Newt Gingrich speak at the FW Club…I think it reminded him why he voted for and is proud of Barack Obama 😉

We paid off Brian's car, making us almost completely debt free!! 
(almost because we still have a small loan on the a/c we had to replace last summer; big loan on the
house) What a GREAT feeling to get that deed in the mail!!  thanks, Dave Ramsey!

We decided to find out if we were having a boy or girl this time around…I just REALLY wanted to know and while Brian still wanted a "delivery surprise," he VERY generously and kindly agreed to let us find out.  I had the doctor write it down on a folded piece of paper and it took every ounce of self control I had not to open it.  I gave it to my mom, who had very kindly agreed to bake us a cake either pink or blue and cover it in icing so we couldn't tell the color…then we would cut into it together that night.  

And when we cut into it….we saw….the color pink!!!  AND FREAKED OUT!!!!  We were soooooo excited!!!!!  We both would have been so happy with a boy, but we really wanted a girl.  Kristi and Dad were there, too, and they were equally ecstatic!  It was just the greatest feeling and still a great surprise – even if didn't happen at her birth.  Here is a pic of the cake along with the paper from Dr. New that very clearly says, "Girl!" 

I had really been thinking it must be a boy because my pregnancy has been SO different.  I have definitely been sick/naseaus, just not NEAR as constantly or much as I was with Clara.  I have a miracle drug- zofran- that really helps a lot. 

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Brian joined a Tennis League for the fall and had a ton of fun (he enjoys anything that involves sports and competition).  Clara and I enjoyed coming to some of his matches and cheering him on.  He was battling it out for first place in the league below – and he won!  It was such an intense game…I was honestly kind of amazed.  this picture was taken right before he literally did a frontward somersault across the court.  I didn't use a flash (I didn't want to embarass him; he had already told me I couldn't bring "Go Brian!" signs) so it isn't a great pic! 

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He ended up getting third in his division, which meant he made the playoffs!  Especially considering it was his first time playing that was awesome.  He got knocked out in the first round of the playoffs, which just gives him a LOT of fuel for the spring league ;)  Now let's hope that Clara inherits his athletic abilities and not mine!

Clara rocking out:

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Like Daddy, like daughter…

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I was a witness in a custody trial for some good friends and IBC'ers who were fighting to keep custody of the little girl they had fostered for the first 18 months of her life, before being returned to her bio parents that had proven time and time again dangerous, incapable of making safe and wise decisions and positive on drug tests.  The whole experience was incredibly eye opening and a real test of faith.  In the end, Rylie was left with her biological parents (as Brian put it, "It's like it has to be 'too late' before they can do anything"); completely devastating.  That is all I'm going to say about that.  

At the end of October, we visited our dear friends the O'Reilly's, who had moved to Reno.

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(more on that in it's own post!)

Clara spent time with her grandparents while we were in Reno.  Here she is at Mimi and Papi's house – learning her alphabet!

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playing:

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Clara also had fun at Mamaw and Papaw's!

She was there for Halloween and got to go trick or treating with Sophie and Aidan (how cute are they?!):

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At Grandma Rhea's:

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Trick or Treat, Mema!

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Clara had some blue candy- can you tell??

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What a fun night!

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Denise took some sweet phot
os of Clara while she was there…

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