Saturday, March 19, 2016

It's Going . . .

I didn't write a blog post about our upcoming move because my husband stole my thunder here.

Bottom line is - we are moving to Colorado!

Obviously, that statement isn't that simple.

It comes with a lot of questions and a lot of stress and a lot of decisions.

Tim actually started the job in January, and I will follow with the kids at the end of May once we finish out the school year.

Quite a few people have asked me how this time of "transition" is going.

And my answer has been pretty steady at, "It's going."

Short and sweet - which I am sure everyone who asks is hoping for.

Honestly, the long answer goes more like this . . . 

It's been better than expected and worse than expected all at the same time.

The kids and I have spent some really sweet time together.

At Teddy Bear picnics

And the Spelling Bee


At the Speech Meet

Making Dinner

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day

And playing a lot of card games.

That has definitely been a blessing.

We get a LOT of quality time together.

It has also shown me that the Lord truly equips us when we need it.

I never, ever thought I would be surviving with a shred of sanity through this time.

But here I am (you can assess my sanity yourself if you see me:).

On the other hand, it is so hard to be in this pocket of time.

I don't want to wish the time away, but being without Tim is not fun.

He is such an anchor for our family.

In case you don't know us well, here is the way we work - I am nuts, and he is solid.

I think you need a little of both to have a balanced life.

It is also hard because I feel myself pulling away from my life here before I'm even gone.

I have loved living here for basically the last 34 years of my life (besides my short stint in Tally and an even shorter one in Fort Myers).

But it is so hard to put energy into relationships that I know will drastically change in a few short weeks.

That has been really hard for me because I am someone who truly thrives on relationships.

I love people.

And last but not least - the actual moving process is not for the faint of heart.

I feel overwhelmed by the minute just thinking about the packing and scheduling and everything else that comes along with the process.

So - that's how I'm doing.

Thanks for asking:)

I know the Lord has called us - of that there is no doubt.

I am trying to rest in that as these trials come our way.

He is faithful, but that doesn't mean life is easy (unfortunately).

Monday, October 12, 2015

Lexi girl is 3!!

Our Lexi turned 3 today.

She is a beautiful combination of sassy and sweet.

It has been so fun to watch her grow into the personality the Lord has given her.

Being our first experience with a girl, she has given us an excellent dose of all things drama and girly girl.

We have enjoyed our induction to the world of princesses, and ponytails, and nightgowns, and nail polish on fingers and toesies!

We truly couldn't love her more.

Dearest Lexi Girl,
     You are a true joy to our whole family.  It has been so fun to have a truly girly girl after our two boys.  You were such a surprise when I got pregnant, and I couldn't imagine having another baby so soon after Ethan.  But what a sweet surprise you turned out to be.  Our family could never have been complete without you.  You are the perfect addition to our crazy life, and you just add to the fun.  
     This year has been an exceptionally fun one.  You have grown up in so many ways.  Even though you will always be my baby, you are most definitely not a baby anymore.  You love being able to keep up with your brothers anywhere and everywhere. You wear big girl underwear, which is a big one!!  Your food allergy issues have seemed to take a turn for the better, which has been very exciting.  Your speech has always been ahead of the game, but this past year your vocabulary has grown by leaps and bounds.  Sometimes when I have a conversation with you I cannot believe you are only 3.  You have the cutest voice in the world.  You still say, "Hold you" when you want me to pick you up, and I don't correct you.  You still want to be cuddled at night.  You still drink milk first thing in the morning when you wake up.  You are still a mommy's girl.  You still sleep the latest of any of my children, and that makes your mother very happy. 
      You have brought so much joy to your family, Lexi.  Your smile can light up a room.  The Lord has given you a gift in that smile, and I know he is going to use your bright light to bring joy to a lot of people.  I am so thankful for the gift of you.  God knew exactly what he was doing by making you a Bettelli.  You are the spunky, little pistol that we adore.  I pray that you always use your strength and smile to bring glory to the Lord.  He is the giver of all good things, and I pray your dad and I can lead you by example to live in light of that truth.  I pray over the next year that you will continue to thrive in whatever situations the Lord brings into your life.  You are so very special, and I can't believe I have the privilege of being your mommy.
                                                                                        I love you, my sweet smile,



Saturday, September 5, 2015

Big Ethan Turns 5

Ethan turned 5 on August 24th.

His birthday is always funny to me because he is the one child that I always feel like grows up faster than the rest.  

Because of his late birthday, he is the youngest in his class.

He is going into kindergarten this year - and everyone else is already 5.

At his birthday I just feel like he already "acts" this new age - but the date is just finally catching up.

Anywho . . . 

We partied hard (as usual) to celebrate our boy.

We always supply our children with a balloon bath on the morning of their actual b-day. 

They are always so excited to wake up and be celebrated.

Ethan comes into our bed in the middle of the night usually 2-3 times a week.

The night before his birthday he told me that even if he woke up he would not be coming to sleep with me because then he would miss his balloon bath.


He had a great day that ended with McDonalds for dinner and a candle in some frozen yogurt for dessert.

His choice.

Our Ethan is such a ham.

He loves to make funny faces in every. single. picture. we take.

He is quite the ladies man.

He loves super heroes.

He loves to eat - even sometimes falls asleep with food in his mouth.

Still adores his brother.

Dearest Ethan,
     You are growing so fast.  I have really enjoyed the last year with you.  You have matured in so may ways, and it has been so fun to watch the Lord mold you.  You went to Pre-K at NorthBay Christian Academy this year, and it was such a great experience for you.  Mrs. Sica was the perfect teacher for you and your little class of 5 students.  You learned so much academically, but you also grew tremendously in your social and behavioral skills.  At the end of the year program you received the "Passion for God" award.  Such a proud moment for your dad and I.  You love the Bible and are always excited to go to church and learn more.  
     You have really grown in your relationship with Lexi, as well, this year.  I think she is finally old enough to play with you as an equal, and you are eating it up.  You guys love to play legos and cars and kitchen and a host of other toy games.  You both really enjoy drawing, which your brother never really loved.  You enjoy having someone to color with on the porch almost everyday.  I have loved watching your relationship with your sister blossom.  I love knowing that you will always be her protector and her friend.  George is still your idol.  You love to follow him around in anything and everything he is doing.  I am hoping this carries into homeschooling this year:).  I hope you follow in his footsteps of learning to read and being an obedient student to your teacher and mom.  You are also still a mama's boy, and I am eating this up as long as possible.  I know you want always want to sit with me on the couch in the morning and just cuddle.  
     There are so many things I could say about you, Ethan.  You are our comedian.  You are our cuddliest child.  You our the one who likes things the neatest and the biggest helper when cleaning up.  I love to watch you write with your left hand.  I love to watch you be creative.  I love that you still love your "blankie."  I love that you absolutely have a mind of your own.  I love your perfect, Beiber hair.  I love to watch you dance with absolutely no inhibitions.  I just love you.  I can't imagine our family without you.  You bring so much joy and so much fun to our lives.  Jesus was so good to us with the gift of you.  I hope and pray that we can guide you in loving Him and bringing Him glory in all you say and do throughout the life He has given you.  You are so special to us, sweet boy.
                                                                                                       I love you, my determined one,


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Love Story - Part Finale

So we have reached the end . . . 

Or is it the beginning of our 10 year story?

You decide.

Wanna catch up . . . Here are Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Starting in mid-February of 2005 we were officially official as a couple.

We spent all our waking minutes together and just really enjoyed getting to know each other.

We talked about marriage, and I knew I really wanted to marry him.

But I knew it took people at least a year to get engaged if they were normal:)

One night (without my knowing) Tim took my parents out to dinner to "talk" to them,

As soon as he said the words, "I wanted to ask you a question . . "

My dad broke out the video camera and began taping him,

Nothing like adding to the pressure of the situation.

The best part of that story is after we got engaged my dad was so excited to show me the video.

We all sat down to watch it, and as he pressed play he realized he hadn't been recording.

Such a let down to my dad, although I think Tim was relieved.

Tim did get their blessing that night at dinner and began to plan our engagement.

My mom told him not to tell my dad what he planned because my dad has a small (ahem) problem with letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak.

Basically, he can't keep a secret to save his life.

Sorry, dad.

His original plan was to fly me to the keys to pop the question, but he had made the mistake of talking with my dad about it first.

One night at dinner my dad blurted out, "Well, when are you going on that plane to the keys?"

My mom all but punched him.

So that plan was out the window.

I guess Tim reevaluated and decided that wasn't the most cost effective or easiest way to go about it.

I appreciate his flair for the extravagant, but he also knew I would want our families there to celebrate.

His plan B ended up being absolutely perfect.  

Until this point our families hadn't met.

His family was all in south Florida, and we had only been dating 2.5 months.

He told me that we needed to rectify the situation by meeting up in Orlando to celebrate his birthday, which was May 20th.

We picked the weekend of May 5th, and all met up at the Wilderness Lodge.

It was very fun to have the whole gang together.

On Saturday morning I thought the plan was to wake up and head to Typhoon Lagoon to let Tim surf as his birthday present.

We got up and got our suits on, but as soon as I went downstairs in the hotel he told me plans had changed.

We were going parasailing together while everyone else watched.

Oh, I was totally clueless.

Totally oblivious.

No idea what was going on.

Except not.

I can't tell a lie.

Remember the "brutally honest" part of myself that I can't contain.

Well, here it is . . . I knew.

As soon as he said we were going parasailing, I knew.

But then I started getting nervous and silently asking myself questions on how this would all work.

 How do you bring a ring parasailing??

Would it be scary?? (I had never been before)

All my questions hanging in the balance  . . .

They strapped us in and up we went.

It was amazing.

Felt like floating.

After we had been in the air for a little while, Tim told me to look down.

On a boat underneath us my family and his were holding a sign that said, "Are you ready to marry me yet?"

(The way in which it was written is another story for another day.)

Again, I figured it was coming, but it was still so surreal.

I told him yes, and we tried to kiss in our awkwardly placed harnesses in the air.

I wish I could show you the pictures.


Then, being the patient woman that I am, I asked for my ring.

And he politely replied that it was waiting for me on the dock when we got back.

Smart man.

It felt like an eternity before we got down, so I could check it out.

There was a table on the dock with roses and chocolate covered strawberries and a box with the ring.

Tim got down on one knee to make sure we covered all our traditions and put the ring on my finger.

I haven't taken it off since.

We were married November 26, 2005.

Our story is not one that I ever would have written.

It is completely abnormal from the way we began dating to the short time before we got engaged and then got married.

God knows me.

He knows that circumstances like that are what make Him so evident in my life.

Our love story is just another way that God's grace has completely saturated me and made me aware of His love for me.


Friday, July 17, 2015

Love Story - Part Tres

Before I jump in today I want to make a little disclaimer.

I am (what my loving mother would call) brutally honest.

Some people love that about me, while I'm sure others are not so thrilled with this trait.

I do want to be honest about all the details in this story because they are important.

And they are important because it is so obvious that God and only God could have brought Tim and I together in this unconventional way.

That is what I want my children and my children's children to see in this story.

God is always working and His plan always prevails.

Also, I don't ever want to paint a negative picture of my ex-boyfriend.

He was (and I assume still is) a wonderful guy.

He was respectful and faithful and loved Jesus.

God just didn't plan for us to be together - plain and simple.

That is my point in including him in this story.

Now, back to the story.

I walked around the corner to see who my mom was talking so sweetly to, and lo and behold it was Tim.

Um, he left me off like 8 hours earlier, and he was already back at my house.

Can we say eager beaver?

I walked him out to our back deck to talk while my mom was giving me signals behind his back to ask if I wanted to brush my teeth or hair first.

God Bless my mother, always worried about (or embarrassed by) her kin.

When we got to the deck he told me that he didn't have my phone number, so he had to come back to get it.

Oh isn't that sweet?

And a little overboard considering we worked together, and he could have gotten it there?

But being the smitten woman that I was, I gave it to him before bidding him goodbye to begin planning the evening birthday dinner with family and boyfriend on break.

The dinner was not pleasant, but it happened.  And we all lived through it.

After that I didn't see my boyfriend for two weeks.

I basically spent every day with Tim.

Valentine's Day fell within those two weeks, and both Tim and my on-break boyfriend sent me roses to my classroom.

To say the students in my classes were confused would be a major understatement.

"Uh, Miss Tragos (maiden name) why are two boys sending you flowers?"

"Miss Tragos, I thought you only had one boyfriend?"

"Why is Mr. Bettelli's name on one of the cards?"

Miss Tragos:  "None of your business guys.  Now who can diagram this extra long sentence?"

Honesty is always the best policy.

Unless you can redirect - then that works even better.  With toddlers and high schoolers alike.

I think I may have given my high school students a little too much credit in an earlier portion of the story because . . . 

We tried really, really hard to keep the budding relationship a secret.

It was obvious that we were friends because we would sit together at lunch, and when he walked by my classroom to peek in I would smile, instead of roll my eyes and sigh which was the norm a few short months before.

We had a sweet Biology teacher at the school at the time.

He was an older man (not sure his exact age, but he had little to no hair and what was there was white).

He was married.

Grown children.

He seemed to be pretty strict from what the students communicated to me.

I remember having a student around this time ask me if I could start hanging out with said Biology teacher because Mr. Bettelli had been so much nicer since I started hanging out with him.



Again, sometimes 14 year olds just aren't as quick on the uptake.


 After two weeks of some QT with Tim I knew.

I knew I had to officially break up with my boyfriend.

I knew Tim was it.

I don't necessarily think that is how it always works.

People can take time to know and that doesn't mean that it isn't right.

But for us two weeks was enough time.

The next and final portion of the story will be our engagement.

Which was only 2.5 months later.

And if you missed parts 1 & 2, you can catch up here and here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Love Story - Part Dos

I didn't plan to blog two days in a row, but I just had sooooo many (maybe 2ish but don't tell) people beg for the second installment.  

And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't keep my large (5ish) readership happy?

We left off at the extremely sexist card and gift that Tim bought for me that will forever live in infamy as the first gift he gave his wife.

And of course I never bring it up because that would not be very nice of this sweet wife.

Even though it was not the normal gift to get a girl you were trying to win over, I couldn't help but laugh and enjoy Tim's playful side at that moment.

Friday night, February 4th there was a Calvary HS basketball game.

I was the cheerleading coach at the time, so I sat on the court next to the cheerleaders during the whole game.

Tim walked into the game and pulled a chair right up next to me for all to see.

He then proceeded to ask me to go out with him that night.

And yes, he was very aware that I had a long-term boyfriend.

So being the mature, 23 year old that I was I ran to my parents (who were in the stands that night) and asked if it was ok if I went out with Tim.

My mom's exact words were, "there is no ring on your finger, go right ahead."
She has been a Tim Bettelli fan from Day 1.

"Going out" together as two teachers at the same high school isn't as easy as it sounds.

I would imagine if you taught elementary school it would be a different story.

Those kids be like, "oh, look at my booger, Mrs. B," or "Stop hitting me, Billy," or "I need to use the bathroom realllllly bad."

In high school all they want to do is get up in your biz-ness, so I knew we needed a good plan to get out together unnoticed.

I decided to leave with my parents and have them drive me to a super secret Denny's parking lot to then be passed along to Tim's truck.

Again, I want to reiterate that I was a successful, mature 23 year old adult who had a steady job.

You know, in case you forget for some odd reason.

I got in the car with my parents and wouldn't you know it - they had brought their friends from out of town who worked for the organization, Focus on the Family.

Our conversation on the way to the parking lot went something like this:

Focus Guy: "So, Louise why aren't you riding to your date with your boyfriend?"

Louise:  crickets

Louise's Dad:  "Oh, this isn't her boyfriend.  He is at home right now.  This is just another guy she is going out with.

Louise:  crickets

Focus Guy:  "And, again, why are we driving you to the secret parking lot?"

Louise:  crickets

Louise's Dad:  "Oh, they don't want anyone to know they are going out."

So thankful my dad was there for clarification purposes.

I finally got into Tim's truck, and we headed to the movies.

We saw The Wedding Date.

The irony is not lost on me.

We basically talked the entire movie, which I am sure was a welcome distraction for all the other paying customers in the theater.

After the movie we talked and talked and talked some more.

I really and truly didn't expect to enjoy the conversation as much as I did.

After many hours I finally (because I have never been known for my tact) just went ahead and asked some questions that are usually reserved for month 4, 5, or even 6 in a normal relationship.

I told him that I didn't want to be casual.

I had a boyfriend of 4 years that until that night had believed I would marry.

I knew at that point that it wasn't looking good for said boyfriend and I, but I also didn't want to let Tim mess with me and take advantage.

Again, I am nothing if not direct.

Tim was also extremely forthcoming and told me that he really liked me and wanted us to pursue a relationship.

Obviously, I had some big decisions to make, so he finally took me home.  To my parents house.  Again, mature adult award right here.

I was up most of that night and finally called my boyfriend the next morning.

I told him I had gone out with another guy the night before.

We hadn't kissed or anything, but it was obviously not a good sign that I had even wanted to go out with another guy.

I asked if we could take a two week break to give myself some time to figure things out.

He was sad and asked if he could still come to my family birthday dinner that night.

I said yes and as I hung up the phone there was a knock on my front door.

I heard my mom open the door and utter the words, "You've got balls,"

And we will pick up there at a later date.

Please don't let the suspense kill you because then you will miss Part III.  What a tragedy:)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Love Story - Part Uno

One thing I've never done on the blog was write out the story of how Tim and I met and then hated each other and then fell in love - in that order.

We have a very "special" story, and I want to have it down on figurative paper before I forget any details.

It has been ten years this year since we got married, so now is as good a time as any.

We met in the Fall of 2004 when I took a job at Calvary Christian High School as the 9th and 10th grade English teacher.

Tim was the Bible teacher at the time, and while I don't remember our very first meeting, I do remember his long, blond (courtesy of sun-in) hair in our faculty meetings before school started.

This is obviously a picture after we were together, but I wanted to give you the pleasure of seeing those locks of hair in all their glory.

Back to the story . . . so we worked together that Fall.

His roommate invited me to hang out with them at their BYOM (Bring your own meat parties for anyone who is as clueless as I was because #thatsweird).

I never went, but I did spend time with him at school in the cafeteria or at faculty meetings because we were 2 out of 3 faculty members under the age of 40 at the time.

All Tim would ever talk about was all his girlfriends (yes, plural and yes, yuck) back home that were waiting for him to visit.

I remember telling my mom was a total loser he was, and all she would say was how cute she thought he was.

He would walk by my room a lot since our rooms were right across the hall, and he would always peek in and give a sly smile.

I thought it was creepy.

Always creepy.

Another facet of the story that is somewhat important is the fact that I had a boyfriend of almost 4 years at the time.

I thought we were going to get married.

I had no time or desire for any other men in my life.

Early in the spring semester at the school I had a conversation with Tim about the book Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers.

I was pretty surprised to find out Tim had read it and loved it.

It is a very romantic story and my favorite book of all time.

Again, a picture after we were together, but blogs without pictures are boring.  You're welcome.

So . . . after the book talk I started to think that maybe he could be a decent guy.

He began coming in my classroom everyday after school just to talk and ask me to diagram Bible verses for his class (good excuse).

February 3rd was my birthday and when I got to school that day there was a card on my desk from Tim that held a Publix gift card.

His note inside said, "Hey, maybe you can cook me dinner sometime."

Say what???

Part II coming soon.