Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"are you feelin' it?"

yes. i feel pregnant.

for the past 2.5 weeks i've had terrible morning sickness. i haven't actually gotten sick yet, but the neusea has been terrible. without being completely gone, it has relaxed a bit the past three days. i'm really hoping that i am learning to take care of this. i cannot imagine what it will be like if i'm still feeling this way when school starts again. i mean, i've hardly left the house, it's been so bad.

absolutely nothing sounds good. when it's time to eat, it's hard to shove anything down. my mouth is dry all the time and i can't stand the taste. i got tired of peppermints pretty quickly and read somewhere that a few people sucked on lemon drops. believe it or not, that has actually kind of worked. it doesn't leave a super strong flavor in my mouth and while it is really sour for a few minutes, i kind of enjoy it. i've tried a few times to eat eggs in the morning (protein, protein, protein) but i just can't. i tried once again this morning because that's what my doctor told me to do yesterday. i can't. about the only thing i can eat is a bowl of cereal. i guess i'll just do what works.

michael has been amazing. he has been grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning (except for that one day) and waiting on me hand and foot. i think i could get used to this. :) i do feel bad for him though because in these two weeks off, he's been stuck at home with a bump on a log. i've sent him out several times to play golf and for that he's grateful. he's given me great back rubs and run perfect temperature baths.

when we first found out we were pregnant, the baby was the size of a sesame seed. since then, instead of just saying "it" we've been calling him/her sessi. yeah-we're all about the nicknames. michael wants a girl and i want...either. i know everyone says that, but it's really true. i'm just happy to be given this chance. we pray for sessi's health all the time. i know it's still early in this pregnancy and things can happen, but we know God is in control of whatever happens.

when we found out, we drove to san angelo to tell mom and dad. we left a little package on their doorstep, rang the bell and hid behind a bush. mom came out, picked up the christmas wrapped gift, looked around and walked inside. the next time we saw her, she was bawling like a baby and could hardly speak. it was really sweet. they are both so excited.

i can't believe i'm giving ellie and grayson a cousin. every time i open my computer i see their picture on my desktop and think about how sweet they'll all be together. sweet babies.

as sick as i've been, this is a pretty amazing experience and i'm honored to be a part.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


according to my babycenter website, baby kotze is about the size of a blueberry!!! we found out a few weeks ago and i am now 7 weeks and some days pregnant! our first doctor's appt was today and we got to see the baby's heart beat and find out the offical due date. august 17th, 2009. ahh!!! i can't believe it!

well, here it is, the first picture of our 12 mm baby!

Monday, December 29, 2008

happy birthday old lady

happy birthday to you!
happy birthday to you!
happy birthday dear amy,
happy birthday to you!
i love you, cousin, and i hope you have a wonderful
27th birthday!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

happy birthday

today my baby brother turns 25. he's a quarter of a century old. :) i can't believe it. i still remember when he was small enough for me to put in my baby cradle and rock.

i am so proud of the man you have become. you are compassionate, genuine and Godly. i pray for you everyday and i know God has amazing things still in store for you. i love you and i hope you have a wonderful day today! i'm glad you were too "sick" to go to work. :)
love you bunches,

Friday, December 26, 2008

just to prove

that michael is a real man...

my kitchen looks just like it did 23 1/2 hours ago...

he's gone and i just can't stand it anymore.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

merry christmas

as previously thought, we did sleep in today. until 11:30. yeah, we don't have kids. yeah, we know when we do we won't be able to do that. yeah, yeah, yeah. we know, we know, we know.

but today, we loved every minute of it!!

we opened our presents, just the two of us. i got a really soft brown robe that i told michael about a long time ago. i also got a rachel ray cookbook, some new perfume, a beanie and some stocking stuffers! michael got a sweater, ratchet and socket set, screwdriver set (yes the man likes tools), a sony navigational thingy and one final present. michael has a picture of his mom and her brothers as babies. it's very vintage where the boys are wearing cream shirts with little bow ties and brown shorts. michael's mom has curly blond hair and is wearing a light blue dress with ivory ruffles. i had the picture framed and matted at hobby lobby. it turned out beautiful and michael really loved it. i love him.

michael then made delicious pancakes with peanut butter and syrup. he then said he would clean the kitchen. what a great christmas present! no matter that 10 hours later it looks exactly as it did then plus a water bottle or two...i know my husband will do what he says...:)

i called ellie this morning. after the hello's and such i asked if she got a wagon from santa. there was a short pause and then she clapped her hands and yelled, "yea!!!!!!" i think she was very excited about her wagon but i'll let sarah tell that story.

my house is a mess but michael and i are going upstairs to watch a movie and finish christmas off right. merry christmas, everyone. hope it was wonderful!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

christmas eve

as i snuck back into my bedroom with strict instructions for michael to, "stay out!", i was taken back to my childhood. i smiled remembering mom closed up in her bedroom for the last few hours of christmas eve. she worked hard wrapping the final presents to go under the tree. i was always so lucky because when my presents were wrapped, i got to enter the secret lair and help wrap the boy's presents. those were great memory making times for me. just me and mom, sharing secrets and giggles over soon-to-be-enjoyed christmas presents. it really was a blast.

i also had, for as long as i can remember, had the distinct privilege of wrapping mom's gifts from daddy. man! i was so in the loop! i knew what everyone was getting before they did! :) yesterday i was talking to dad when he suddenly realized that i wouldn't be there for the wrapping! :) i'm not worried, i know he'll do fine.

i'm excited that tomorrow, michael and i will share our first christmas between just the two of us! i know we'll sleep late, then rise and open presents. we'll have a breakfast of pancakes and bacon and laze around doing nothing. the only thing i'll remember to do is give amy a call. talking to each other on christmas day has been a tradition for us for as long as i can remember. it will be a little strange to not be with mom and dad tomorrow, but i know they'll be thinking of us just as we'll be thinking of them.

i wish i could be there to see ellie really enjoy her unwrapping! i know she's going to have a blast! maybe someone there will video some footage and post it for far away auntie's to see...

right now, michael is working on our potjie-kos (little pot of food) for our christmas eve tradition. my mouth is already watering! he forgot that it takes a while to cook though, so it could be a late dinner. :)

merry christmas eve 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

i am...

in my pj's and comfy socks
sitting in my favorite chair
wrapped in my soft green blanket
growing warm by the beautiful fire my husband made
reading a book my mom gave me
thinking about the things left to do before christmas
loving life...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


i guess it's been long enough since my last post. but...for the next two weeks, I'M FREE!!!

no school 'til january 5th. can anyone say hallelujah?!?!

michael and i got up this morning and shared some scrambled eggs. then, he was off to the golf course! i've spent the day watching tv, surfing the internet and reading blogs. my plan is for the next two weeks to be spent much the same way. all except for two short christmas trips to odessa and san angelo.

on wednesday, i had a christmas party here for my team at school. we had some finger foods, taco soup, lots of conversation and nice presents. it was really fun. plus-i gave everyone a tour of the house and they all loved it. i got some really good compliments, including: "i can't wait for you to have kids because you won't be able to have a pottery barn house and kids at the same time." okay, now my house isn't near pottery barn but come on...i know there will be kids toys everywhere someday, but aren't people allowed to have kids and a nice house too? i know they can because i have plenty of friends who do. :)

i still have some christmas shopping to do, of course. but i am loving this holiday season. jules is too. ken and kathy got her a pretty, red, bling covered collar. she prances quite a bit when she's wearing it! :)

well, happy holiday season everyone. hope you have a great christmas and get to spend plenty of time with family and friends.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

goin' crazy, crazy, crazy

because my kids are psycho. i mean, since dec 1st, the have been absolutely nuts.

i had to leave school early today to attend another meeting for our immigration paperwork. sadly, i was happy to leave. they are just crazy. i will be so happy when next friday gets here.

i hope we all live through the next 6 school days. :)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

happy birthday

my dear friend,

we've known each other for a while and what a great time it has been. you are getting older now and i'm afraid i will no longer be able to hang out with you in your severely old age....what am i saying?!?!?! i'm older than you by 3 months!


honestly, you are so important to me and i love you dearly. i hope you always know that. i hope your husband took you out and your boys loved on you all day. i wish i were there to give you a hug! happy birthday, friend.

p.s. guess what

btw-i'm glad i sent you that text this morning, my internet has been down all afternoon and i couldn't' send you a birthday post! :) hope you had a great day! i love you bunches!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

a warm fuzzy

each day when the bell rings, i walk my students out and dismiss each of them at their ending destinations. from the first day of school, when i've dropped johnathan off at his bus, he's walked to the steps, paused and turned around to give me a huge hug. he always says something cute in a little sing-song voice as he turns back to the bus.

"see ya later, alligator!"

"see ya, mrs. kotze. i love you!"

"you made this the best day ever, mrs. kotze!"

"tell mrs. mcgee i said hi, mrs. kotze!"

well, for the past week and a half since being back from thanksgiving johnathan has been so proud of himself for being in the holiday spirit everyday.

"bye, mrs. kotze! have a happy new year!"

it's just so cute to know that i have such an impact in a boy's life who doesn't know what the heck he's talking about. :)


yeah, i've got quite a ways to go to get to seph's amazing 1000 posts. wow! i loved that post too. i went through every link and was reminded of the awesome things to happen in her life since i've known her. wow!

well, the battery for my camera was just put in the charger about 12 minutes ago. there won't be any pictures today either. i guess it's a good thing because i have wrapping paper, ribbon and weird shaped children's toys all over my living room. how on earth are you supposed to wrap those dumb things anyway?!

it was a beautiful day today. now? it's even better! the wind is blowing, it's been raining and the cold weather is moving in!! michael and i are planning our first fire tomorrow night with some curry and rice to eat. it's gonna be a cold day with a nice warm fire and a nice warm meal. maybe we'll even eat our meal in front of the fireplace.

i have quite a few christmas presents already under the tree for my family. it's really fun because i am usually a terrible procrastinator and i never get to really enjoy the beautiful wrapping and bows. this year, i am! it's nice! i am finding, however, that i am turning into my mother. making bows like she does. decorating a bit like she does. i'm also finding that i don't mind it near as much as i thought i would when i was 15. thanks for all of the influence, marme.

right now i'm looking forward to taking off my socks and sliding between crisp, cold sheets, shivering until my feet finally warm beneath the weight of my nice, fluffy comforter.

hmmm...sounds like heaven to me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

i'm alive...i promise...

i'm just going through another blog drought (writing only. i've been reading like crazy). i've been too tired or too lazy, i don't know which, to post anything. i've started new posts at least twice, only to get a few sentences in and delete the post.

things are going well here. i just tried to take a few pictures of our house and christmas decor. my camera died. i need to charge the battery. after getting quite a few things done before family came, house feels even more like home. i've said it before but with each new thing we complete, we feel better and better. now, it looks like somebody at least lives in the house that our two upstairs guest bedrooms are located in. three weeks ago, those rooms just housed beds. now they actually have curtains and a few things hanging on the walls. when my battery charges, i promise, i'll post some pics.

after having a fabulous thanksgiving week full of family, food, games and fun, i went back to work stinkin' tired. it was probably the longest week of the year so far. it's really hard to stay motivated between thanksgiving and christmas breaks. however, only two more weeks of work before two weeks of another much needed break.

now after making this first belated post, i will hopefully be more inclined to keep writing. keep your fingers crossed...

Monday, November 24, 2008


i am so excited! michael and i are hosting thanksgiving this year and i can't wait! it's going to be such a great week filled with family, friends, food and fun!

mom, dad, landon, sarah, ellie and gray are coming today. matt and mandy and greg and sascha are coming on wednesday night and nanny and pawpaw are coming thursday morning. wahoo!

the house is ready and clean and more decorated than ever! it's still not done, of course, but much further along. i hope everyone has a comfortable and joyful stay.

happy thanksgiving week everyone!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

take two...

michael had a meeting with the immigration office today. good news! it seems our I130 has already been approved! yea! the lady who michael spoke with was very helpful. she gave him a list of every form that needed to be filled out.

our plan is to get all of that filled out this weekend and meet with them again to make sure everything is correct. we'll send in the paperwork and our one fee of $1010 and be done! without a lawyer!

thank you, God, for providing a way.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

a teacher's influence...

in one of our stations, my kids are working on building words. they have word building cubes that are put together to make real words. after making the word, they practice reading it and then write in their work journals.

today, a student looks up and seriously asks, "mrs. kotze, is zipit one word or two?"

i guess they do repeat what they hear huh? well, if they didn't talk so much i wouldn't constantly be telling them to zip it...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

my very own mastercard commercial

when michael originally came to this country, he entered on a student visa. after graduating college, he was able to stay here with a work visa. last november, we began filling out the paperwork to change michael's status to permenant resident, which is now an option because of our marriage.

normally, this process is supposed to take, on average, 3-6 months. if my math is correct, we're now at 11 months people.

11 months.

apparently, our paperwork has not been approved for one reason or another. to make matters worse, michael's work visa expires in january and we are supposed to leave the country for new zealand in march for michael's sister's wedding.

thankfully, we found out today (from our new attorney) that if we resubmit all of our information and repay one fee that we've already paid, we could possibly have all of the paperwork necessary for travel in hand by the very end of february. that is, of course, if everything goes perfectly. see, if we waited the 3-4 weeks it might take our attorney to find our original paperwork, figure out the mistake, correct it and resend it, we will mess up our very critical timeline.


1 immigration attorney: $2200
1 medical exam: $150-$450
1 I130 Fee: $355
1 I45 Fee: $1010
1 permanent resident husband who can live & work in the u.s. and travel internationally without difficulty: priceless...i hope

i can't imagine what we'll go through when we start on the citizenship stuff. eek!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

round one goes to the girl

this afternoon, a substitute took my class and another first grade class out to recess. all of the classes were out there, as well as two other first grade teachers, but today...i got to stay in! i heard the kids coming down the hall for the bathroom so i walked out to meet them. the sub pulls me over and begins to "explain the situation that took place during walk and talk." she tells me everything and includes the way she handled the situation by making a couple of students sit out.

i stand by the door as my class walks in and i point to two students, "meet me at my desk." without even blinking, they walk directly to my desk and stand with their backs to the class. i got about half way there when nicole, with her back still to me, says, "johnathan and i were walking and just playing with each other. i punched him in the stomach on purpose." i sat and stared at her waiting for more detail to the story. she did not disappoint.

apparently, they were touching each other (dont' worry, it was all appropriate...i checked) in a game of walking tag. when it was johnathan's turn to touch nicole...she punched him. right in the gut. on purpose.

i thought we girls weren't supposed to turn fickle until our teens. ouch.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

nice day

wednesday might be becoming my favorite day of the week. it's just so nice when you get to wednesday and think it's only tuesday. i mean seriously, my week is almost over...already! i love that!

i woke up this morning and lazed around getting ready. got to work about 7:05am and lazed around my classroom until it was time to get the kids. for being at work, it was a pretty good day. to make things even better, i got home and michael wanted to take a nap. if you know me, you know i'm not the kind to turn down a good nap. :) i, of course, ended up sleeping about two hours compared to his 14 minutes.

i'm just thinking i've got one more day, then it's friday. everyone knows friday is really the best day of the week!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

bullets, here we come...

  • i'm excited for the retreat this weekend!
  • this week, michael and i painted our family room. with each thing that is accomplished, our house feels more and more like home.
  • crystal's husband and coworker are staying with us while they are in town for a convention. it sure makes me miss my friend a lot!
  • i'm praying for our new president elect and for our nation.
  • our incredible hanging plants are starting to die and it's making me very sad.
  • an electrician will be here later this weekend to help fix and change a few things we've had on our "to-do" list for quite some time.
  • we've had a steady supply or egg nog in our frig since it hit the shelves.
  • i've had at least one glass of egg nog every day since it entered our frig.
  • my family will be coming here for thanksgiving and i wanna make it really special. i hope mom knows she's still making the turkey and dressin'! :)
  • i miss my parents.
  • i was talking to ellie on the phone the other day and she said, "hold you, jo." and hugged the phone to her chest really tight. i almost cried when my dad told me that.
  • i need to pack for the retreat.
  • michael and i have decided, once again, to start running. this time, i'm using the program that seph was using. i like it so far! we got up this morning pumped for our run at was pouring. maybe tomorrow.
  • my sister's bday is saturday and i can't wait to give her her present!
  • tomorrow is friday, a.k.a jeans day. thank goodness!
  • i was looking for material for drapes in my dining room. as soon as i found a great website, i found a fabulous material. it was so expensive i immediately forced it from my mind. how can someone even charge that much for a yard of material?!?!?!
  • jerry took us to pf changs for dinner. yum!
  • i drank a dr pepper at dinner. first one in a while. double yum!
  • our neighbors had their yard landscaped and now have an awesome fountain/pond in their backyard. it not only looks great, it sounds great and i'm totally jealous! :)
  • i think i'm ready for bed. night night.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


i know i'm near the bottom of seph's list, but i can't help it. i just don't have anything to say. this past week was the longest week of the year so far and i was exhausted by tuesday. it was a tough one. i almost didn't even have enough energy to check blogs. almost.

now, michael is playing cards with some buddies upstairs and i, having just finished painting a wall in my living room for the 3rd time, am sitting in my chair watching the news and looking for pictures of all of my lovely babies at rtp or any other halloween event. please people. post. i'm begging you.

i just realized my immediate need for egg nog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

more precious than gold...

egg nog.

i know some people hate it. can't stand the stuff. they're crazy. friday night, i walked into mom's and she beckoned me to the refrigerator. it took about .24 seconds for my eyes to zero in on the beautiful container of egg nog cooling on the shelf.

matthew, michael and i shared our first glass of egg nog for 2008. it was a beautiful thing, but don't trust me...see for yourself.
matt pouring the yumminess. those are the glasses mama always has on hand for our egg nog. we've used those almost as long as i can remember.
a very happy man

michael's glass about that much more full than mine was 30 seconds after getting the glass...

more pictures

the other night, michael was looking at my blog.

"remember when you used to post pictures on your blog?"


the posting of pics for dad's bday made me realize how out of it i am. i posted fourteen hundred pics, all in a row. my mom (and others of you) was much smarter. slideshow.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

decades of david...:)

here is a picture story of dad's 50th bday party. there were so many pictures that i had a hard time choosing. because of that, there are elevendy-million pics here and then i didn't feel like i could organize them very well. we can at least, be witnesses to the family, friends and fun!

birthday boy
taking a big ol' bite of his yummy bbq dinner just playing before the roasting began. this was during the "roast". ellie really felt like she should be the center of attention. :)
dad trying to light the other half of his own "50" year sparkler
dad and mom (and ellie)
and the giant birthday cake! yummy! opening presents
and hugging with kelli. thanks for helping mom set up for the party, kell.
what the decorations looked like. balloons tied to the picture weights of the handsome henry.
matt and buddy jesse. they're weird!
uncle mike and ellie
nanny and me
henry girls
henry family
and the extended family who were able to come
marme and her brothers: terry, wesley and ricky.
ellie belle
jerry, crystal, jacob and casen
nanny and gray
ellie checking out pa's fun hat
and then, giving a smooch!dan and ree and a sneaky sneaker in the background there!
amy, mandy, sarah and me marme and aunt tammie dad showing off the pen we kids got him for making it 50 years!

Friday, October 24, 2008

happy birthday, baby

i woke michael this morning singing happy birthday. he sleepily said, "oh...i forgot. thank you." i talked to him once this afternoon and then not again until 5:00pm on our way to san angelo. poor guy, he seemed a little depressed. after a few minutes of my unabated excitedness at it just being his birthday, he admitted to a little depression. i think he was glad when his phone rang to distract me from making any further comments.

the phone call was from his little sister, danielle. in the midst of the conversation, i hear michael tell danielle how he isn't getting a bday party because we're headed to my dad's and it seems a 50th bday party trumps a 35th. uh...yeah...he's 34. he seemed a little confused at first, and then excitedly agreed that he was, in fact, only 34. his whole attitude changed! he was depressed no longer! poor thing's been telling people all week that he's turning 35. he was so elated that he even called back a few friends to tell them that he wasn't quite as old as he had originally thought. :/
the family met at outback for a great birthday dinner followed up by delicious cheesecake. yummy!

you make me so happy to be alive. :) you are my best friend, wonderful husband and provider. i hope that you have a very special 34th birthday. i love you so much!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

daddy's little girl

there is a certain story i've been told about my childhood that i think helps define my relationship with my dad.

his friend, dean williamson tells me that he was standing near when a man they all knew looked at me at a tender young age of 3 or 4 and said, "you must be david henry's little girl." i shook my head and said seriously, "no, i'm daddy's little girl."

and it was the absolute truth. there is no way in this world i could be the woman i am without the love of my father. the most amazing dad in the world.

daddy-you are as good today, at 29 as you were long ago at age...well...29. :) i love you dearly and wish i could have been with you on your birthday. we'll celebrate in a couple of days. i hope you had a wonderful day! i love you so much!

-your little girl

ps-just so you know, i told my kids that it was your bday today and they were so excited! they asked if you could come in and bring cupcakes. i explained that you lived in another town and you should have seen their faces drop. i asked how old they thought you were turning today and i got quite the answers: 29! 23! 49! 51! and many, many others. i especially liked the answer 23, since they all know i just turned 27. :)

carving pumpkins...

with someone else's kid. :)

we have some wonderful neighbors. we have really enjoyed getting to know our very next door neighbors ken, ami, khang and new baby kevin. they are such a sweet family. we also love our neighbors on the other side of them, ken and kathy.

this afternoon, after school i went to ken's (very next door neighbors) nail shop and got a wonderful pedicure and manicure. because i was there and khang was there after school, i asked if he wanted me to take him home. he's in kindergarten and hangs out at his dad's shop until it's time to go home for the evening. as we pulled into the garage, he saw michael's car and asked, "is mike inside?" i said that he was and after we got out i watched khang walk to his door. after i told him i'd see him later he said, "but... i need mike." "do you want to come in and say hi to him?" he responded, "no, i just need him to help me make a face in the pumpkin." (come on! how cute is that?!) i promised khang that after dinner, if michael could, he would come get him and they would carve pumkins.

sure enough, as soon as we got home, michael walked to khangs door and had him come over for pumpkin carving. they had a blast. michael made one and khang drew the face for the other one. michael cut that one out too. :) i went to heb to get some candles and khang couldn't have been more delighted. i think this face says it all:

khang's smiling face...
khang and michael getting down to business.

the first product, michael's jack-o-lantern.
good teamwork!

the smiling pumkin.

khang's pumkin in the dark...

and in a flash. khang was so proud of the spiky teeth! :)

he was so excited that he grabbed ken and kathy and showed them too!

michael and khang
(wearing the gold teeth he wanted so badly from heb that i bought for him while getting the candles)

smiling, gold toofed khang.

Monday, October 20, 2008

missing babies...

i've been really missing my family lately. with our final and much needed slow down with travel, there has been a downside. my family times have dwindled to few and far between. well, i guess i still get to see them about once a month, but that's a lot different then every weekend.

the other day at target, i was walking down the aisle and found the cutest little halloween outfits and had to get them for my sweet henry babies. of course, every time i see them sitting on my couch, i miss those babies even more. i mean, wouldn't you too if you could just picture a little bouncy blondie in this orange polk-a-dots and a cuddly, sweet smelling baby in this cute mummy onsie?!?!?

gosh, how stinkin sweet.

today as i was leaving work my mom returned my call from earlier in the day. after my quick, "hello?" there was silence. then..."hi." in the sweetest voice i've ever heard. oh, sweet ellie. i talked to her for a little bit with mom in the background asking her who was on the phone. after a few moments, i hear her sweet voice say, "jo!"
how great is it when your tiny niece knows your voice over the phone? it's amazing. what's better? about a half a second after she said my name, she kissed the phone. oh gosh, be still my heart. i love that little girl like i would have never believed i could. what a sweetheart.
now, if friday would just hurry and get here...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

it's beginning to feel a lot like...


the weather here has been wonderful. still a tad warm during the days, but crisp and cool in the mornings and evenings. last night, it was downright cold walking from my house to the neighbords.

this beautiful wreath is also making it feel a little more like fall. my mom made this wreath for me? isn't it perfect? everytime i look at it, i feel a little closer to her. i love it!