Friday, December 31, 2004

Balloons on the side of the highway

Last September Michael Martin, an ACU grad, lost his wife, three precious sons, and mother-in -law in an instant when a 18 wheeler plowed through their Expedition on I-75 outside of Sherman, Texas. (I have blogged about this before on September 24. ) The resulting fire was so hot that only portions of the license plate were recognizable. I have been thinking about Mike Martin a lot this holiday season, praying that God will somehow comfort this young widowed man in a way I can not imagine from a grief I can not fathom.

Rob's parents live 20 minutes from the scene of the accident. A few days ago we made the pilgrimage to Denison for a late Christmas. As we came to the northern tip of Plano the Martins suddenly invaded my mind. We drove through McKinney past the High Point Church of Christ where I watched news crews cover the prayer and funeral services. A tear or two slipped out as I tried to think of other things.

The stretch between McKinney and Sherman is only about 50 miles but dragged on and on and on. In Howe I started looking for some sign of the wreck ... I can't explain why. Melissa, Anna, then finally Sherman. There it was. On the left side of the road just after the cement barrier that divides the highway ended, someone placed a flock of Mylar balloons. If there was a sign I couldn't read it, but I knew that that was it. That was where 5 lives in the Martin family ended in an instant. For some reason I felt so much better knowing the spot had been marked, at least temporarily. I said a prayer, shed a tear or two and let it go. I needed to acknowledge that grief and see someone else acknowledge it.

As I see the tragedy unfold on the other side of the world I wonder how all these people will recover. How do you move on past this type tragedy..... But then again how do you not? Life goes on. Sometimes we think life will stop for our joys and sorrows, but it just keeps going on and on then in an instant it is gone.

I doubt I ever completely grasp the mysteries of the gift we have called life. But, I have come to believe that whether I am grieving or celebrating, rich or poor, down-and-out or up-and-adam, one thing remains.... God is God and I am not. When I see the tragedy others face this year I realize how good God has been to me and I am overcome with gratitude. Gratitude mixed with grief for all those who mourn. Like it or not, life goes on for them and for me. Life has a way of reminding me that this world and this life is not all there is, Praise God!

Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have great sorrow. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16: 33

Dear Lord, Please help all who mourn this year, all who have lost everything, and all who are broken. Help them to turn to you, the only true source of hope and comfort in this world. Please heal these people. Heal their hearts and their land. Give them hope and let them feel and see your unfaltering love. Help us to show your love to all who need to see it. Help us reach all who can be reached so that we may all come home to you Lord!

For all those reading this, thank you for letting me vent and express myself. I think of this blog as my way of marking and remembering what needs to be acknowledged in my life ... sort of like my own bouquet of balloons on the side of life's highway.

God bless us all in 2005!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Asian Disaster Toll Could Top 100,000

Read that headline again. Asian Disaster Toll Could Top 100,000 -- Red Cross My goodness. 100,000 people gone. Dead. In an instant. That would be like our whole city vanishing. That would be like everyone I ever knew and then some all dieing at once. All those lives taken.

Millions...Literally millions of peoples lives disrupted, hearts broken, spirits crushed.

No words, just tears.

What can we say that does this tragedy justice?

Lord please help these people. Please provide what ever measure of peace and comfort is possible. Heal the wounded. Heal their many lands. Heal the hearts of those who have lost so much. Thank you for my life Lord, thank you for my life!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Happy Anniversary...Almost

Tomorrow will be my six month blogging anniversary! ( I was a blog lurker and commentor for six months before actually posting on my blog.) Just six months and it has become such a big part of my day. I love my blog family! All of you are such an encouragement to me. I wonder what the next six months will bring?

The house looks as if Christmas exploded inside. Well, it sort of did. The kids got tons of great toys and clothes. Santa came through with a bike for Rhett and an American Girl Doll for Kolby. Rob and I were also very blessed and guess what...It is only half over. Today we are heading to Rob's parents in Denison, Texas for Christmas with the Grosz side of the family! :) We plan to stop off in Dallas to see the trains at North Park. Rhett is such a train fan, so it should be fun. ( The Cheesecake Factory is also just across the street!) I really should get going... but I feel the need to ramble and reflect this morning. This will drive Rob to distraction as he is in "go" mode.

Exactly how long is too long to leave the Christmas decor up? When does it just become repulsive to see red and green? It took so long to get it all out and up this year, I don't feel the slightest bit motivated to pull it all down. Humbug!

Rob and I have three huge projects to do before he heads back to work....OK I have 3 big projects and Rob shares one of them. 1. We are going to paint our room... walls, ceilings, moldings everything!!!!
2. We have to clean and box up our room so we can paint. The Christmas stuff has to find it way to the attic and presents have to find new homes in our house. And finally...drum roll please.....................
3. I volunteered to completely redecorate the teachers lounge at school over the holidays. I have until January 10th. Yes we are painting, putting in new floor, hanging curtains, framing art, making art.... The whole nine yards! I know, I know what was I thinking!

So if you don't hear from me for a while, you know why. If you are gifted in a painting kind of way and want to help, just give me a call. I will be farming my kids out too if you want a turn:) Cheap plug huh? -On that note I think I will stop.

Happy After Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Midnight on aisle four

After Cheerleading Practice, after supper, after the PTA committee meeting, after two phone calls to dear friends, and after bed time medicines and kisses, I found myself driving to Wal-Mart to get the last things I needed to finish up Christmas projects and "beat" the crowd. (I'm not sure if you are "beating the crowd"if you get there after the crowd has left but, you understand, right?) Anyway I expected the crowd at Wal-mart to be quite thin at 10:00pm. I was wrong.

I ran in to lots of people I know. As I played shopping cart derby trying to navigate the aisles I thought "Why are all these crazy people here so late?'' Just then I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror (that incidentally, was marked down to $24.98). Now that is one crazy lady, buying M&Ms, spray paint, a phone card, a DVD gift set, baggies and a gallon of milk at 10:30pm!

The craziest thing about the holidays is that we wear our selves out trying to make the season just right! Personally, I think the flu season hits hardest in January because our resistance is down from all that crazy hustle and bustle. Please don't think I am a scrooge. I love buying and wrapping presents. To a point, I actually enjoy the hustle and bustle and late night trips. I love this season.

But last night as I made my way to the check out stand I had an "Ah-Ha" moment that sort of put the season in perspective for me. I accidentally picked up The Passion DVD gift set. I thought I had grabbed the Gone With The Wind Gift Set (same color box and right beside each other on the shelf). I was agitated when I realized I would have to go all the way back to electronics to make the exchange. I grabbed the DVD out of my basket and started to huff back to the back of the store. As I passed a little black woman, Passion in hand, she remarked "Oh now wasn't that the greatest gift we could get, Praise God!" I smiled and nodded somewhat startled by the sound of God being praised in Wal-Mart. Then I looked down at that man hanging on the cross on the back of the DVD and I realized how right that little lady was.

The greatest gift ever was not Christ's birth, which was miraculous and wonderous to be sure, but his death. His horrible, painful, agonizing and brutal death. Remember when "The Passion " came out how the nation was completely gripped by the movie? Didn't it turn your stomach to see him beat? Didn't it make you want to hurl when they whipped him? The greatest gift ever came without wrapping paper and bubble wrap. There was not a big satin bow nor a card enclosed. Just blood, sweat, tears, and a life sacrifice. He did all this for me. Nothing could ever top that gift. May I never ever gripe about what I go through to give these temporal, insignificant trinkets to the ones I love. My Savior gave it all for me.

Right there in Wal-mart I had a little change of heart. I decided not to exchange the DVD. I started thinking about all the fun and frivolous gifts I will give and get this year and suddenly wondered what all the fuss is about. Really?

I 'm not sure how this ah-ha moment will affect my Christmas spirit. I was already trying to think of ways to really give something of significance this year. I decided to write letters to add to the gifts I give a few people. I want to tell them how much they mean to me and how I feel Christ has used them in my life. Our little family had also already decided to add a Christmas Eve Service to our tradition... Something Rob's family has always done as they are catholic, but something I have never done away from them. There are several Baptist churches who selflessly offer such services. And most importantly, I am going to sit down tonight and read the story of the crucifixion to my kids and tell them again about the greatest gift ever given.

This year as I make my last minute mall-runs and trips to Target at 10:30pm, I hope my "ah-ha"moment (courtesy of an angel parading as a late night Wal-Mart shopper) will help me to remember the greatest gift ever given and live accordingly.

Merry Christmas my sweet blog family! I hope you and yours take every opportunity to come closer to the Father during this and every season! See you in blog land next week!

Monday, December 20, 2004

Red Velvet Cake

Thank you for all the birthday greetings blog family! When your birthday is one week before Christmas it is hard on your friends and family. I know this as I have friends with Christmas time birthdays. It is hard to get past the holly-daze to celebrate. btw HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUSAN !!!

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle of the season it is hard to carve out a little time to just celebrate a birthday. My family and husband have always been very good at this though. They always pull something together even though life is crazy. For the past three years my family has bought a red velvet cake as my birthday cake.
I like Red Velvet cake, sort of. My cousins Ashley and Maria LOVE red velvet cake. Ashley makes the best and prettiest I have ever eaten. I like HER red velvet cake.

Saturday morning Kolby asked me "Mommy do you really like Red Velvet cake?"
I thought to myself...What do I say? Did they already buy a Red Velvet cake? Do I tell her the truth?
So semi-selfishly I said "I like red velvet cake. "
"But is it your FAVORITE CAKE?" she asked wide eyed
"Uhhhh, welllll it's not exactly my favorite cake."
Gasping in disbelief "It's not your favorite???? Daddy said you loved Red Velvet cake!"
Before I could respond, at the top of her lungs Kolby yelled "DDDDAAAADDDDDDYYYYY! Mom doesn't even like Red Velvet cake." and runs out of the room.
"Kolby I didn't say that....."I said as I attepmted tocatch her before she crushed my husbands sweet attempt to honor me.
Too late.
On the kitchen counter, beside a vase of a dozen long stem pink sweetheart roses, sat a Red Velvet sheet cake with "Happy Birthday Stephanie" piped in red on the cream cheese icing.

There are moments in life that define us. That moment, I hate to say, defined me in a very unflattering way. Once I saw that the cat was out of the bag and the cake was again Red Velvet, I hastily made the wrong decision to stand my ground.
Rob "You don't like Red Velvet Cake?"
Me " Well no, not really."
Rob "I thought you loved Red Velvet cake!!! You make them all the time."
Me "Honey, I have never in my life made a Red Velvet Cake"
Rob "Are you sure? I thought you made one every year!"
Me "That's Ashley who loves them and makes one every year."
Rob, deflated and confused, "How in the world did I get you and Ashley confused?"
Me "I don't know, but I love the fact that you get me a birthday cake every year and the roses are beautiful!!!"
Rob "I couldn't find yellow roses"
Me "Why would you want yellow roses? Pink are my favorite."
Rob " PINK are your favorite? "
Me " Yeah"
Rob " So what is your favorite cake? "

Eight years later and Rob and I are still discovering new things about each other every day! Ain't life grand!:)

And to answer that last question... I love carrot cake (especially from McKays in Abilene). I love Swiss chocolate cake with divinity icing. I love butter cream cake or chocolate cake with butter cream icing. AND I love cookie cakes from the mall! How about you?


Saturday, December 18, 2004

Today I believe...

Today is my birthday.
I am 35.
Both my parents called me today (from across the street) to say it seems like just yesterday that they got a two week early Christmas present in the form of a 7 pound, pink, bundle of non-sleeping, wide-eyed girl! (That was one of my few early arrivals in life!) Sweet to think about my parents having me as a baby all those years ago.

I got the following from a friend recently in a forward. Despite my loathing of forwards, I liked this one. It is pretty "Chicken Soupish" but, I now know how I'm going to answer my kids when they ask about Santa. I hope you all enjoy! This season is so much brighter when we believe. Merry Christmas!

I remember my first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I remember tearing across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big sister dropped the bomb: "There is no Santa Claus," she jeered. "Even dummies know that!" My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot easier when swallowed with one of her "world-famous" cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be true. Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I told her everything. She was ready for me.
"No Santa Claus?" she snorted...."Ridiculous! Don't believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes me mad, plain mad!! Now, put on your coat, and let's go." "Go where Grandma?" I hadn't even finished with my second cinnamon bun yet.
"Where" turned out to be Kerby's General Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten dollars. That was a bundle in those days. "Take this money," she said, "and buy something for someone who needs it. I'll wait for you in the car." Then she turned and walked out of Kerby's. I was only eight years old. I'd often gone shopping with my mother, but never had I shopped for anything all by myself.
The store seemed big and crowded, full of people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For a few moments I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten-dollar bill, wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for. I thought of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the kids at school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought out, when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker.
He was a kid with bad breath and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in Mrs. Pollock's grade-two class. Bobby Decker didn't have a coat. I knew that because he never went out to recess during the winter. His mother always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he had a cough, but all we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn't have a cough; he didn't have a good coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with growing excitement. I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!
I settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm, and he would like that. "Is this a Christmas present for someone?" the lady behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. "Yes, ma'am," I replied shyly. "It's for Bobby." The nice lady smiled at me, as I told her about how Bobby really needed a good winter coat. I didn't get any change, but she put the coat in a bag, smiled again, and wished me a Merry Christmas.
That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the coat (a little tag fell out of the coat, and Grandma tucked it in her Bible) in Christmas paper and ribbons and wrote, "To Bobby, From Santa Claus" on it. Grandma drove to Bobby Decker's house, explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially, one of Santa's helpers.
Grandma parked down the street from Bobby's house, and she and I crept noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk. Then Grandma gave me a nudge. "All right, Santa Claus," she whispered, "get going." I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the present down on his step, pounded his door and flew back to the safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood Bobby.
Fifty years haven't dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering, beside my Grandma, in Bobby Decker's bushes. That night, I realized that those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they were: ridiculous. Santa was alive and well, and we were on his team.
I still have the Bible, with the coat tag tucked inside: $19.95. May you always have LOVE to share, HEALTH to spare and FRIENDS that care... And may you always believe in the magic of Santa Claus!

Friday, December 17, 2004

The Christmas CARD

Ok. So, I said I wasn't going to do Christmas Cards this year. But last night we got this priceless shot of our two angels and I couldn't resist. Here is our 2004 Christmas Card Picture... NOT! (I feel so 80's saying that) Though it was tempting to use this shot, I didn't want to hear the Grands rantings!
Actually, I scanned my real Christmas Card picture into the Digital Photo Center at Walmart and my cards were done in under an hour! WOW!!! And just $32 for 80 ...REALLY WOW!!! I think I will procrastinate every year! :)

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Degrees ...

"I'm usually a 69 girl myself, but lately that's not good enough. I asked Rob to crank it up, but he just says 'put a blanket on it'. I need more than a blanket."

Yes, I said those exact words in mixed company. I was participating in a conversation about how cold it has been at night lately. My friend said that her heater is always on 72 degrees at night. I made the above comment. Apparently it was during a conversation lull at the other end of the table and only my comment was heard. No amount of shock or commands to "Get your mind out of the gutter" could erase the image my words painted nor silence the laughter that followed. 69 degrees I meant, 69 degrees!!! I had to laugh at it myself .

If you ever visit us and hear "Hey, 69 girl!", the blushing one who turns to answer will be me.

Tuesday night Rhett had a few degrees of fever. Alain decided not to bring McKenna Wednesday. I called and got an appointment with our beloved Dr. Kemper at 4:30 PM and we had an easy going day. I almost called to cancel the appointment because Rhett's fever was gone and, besides a nasty cough, he was his old rough and tumble self. But at the last minute, I decided to go. Imagine my shock when Dr. K ordered a blood /oxygen reading, and a chest X-ray... Yep, Rhett has Pneumonia... the "walking" kind (what ever that means). Guess I'm glad we went ahead and went in.

Nothing brings me crashing back down to reality faster than my child being sick. Instantly the calendar clears as my role in life becomes crystal clear... I am a professional Mom. So today I am not worried about Christmas cards, or wrapped presents. My only agenda is to make homemade chicken noodle soup, get all the breathing treatments in, keep the sippy cups of orange juice flowing, and make sure my little boy is rapidly on the road to recovery.

In a way, I cherish these days even though I HATE that Rhett is sick. Days like this make me feel very, very blessed. First and foremost, I am blessed to have a heavenly Father who hears my plea to heal my child. We are blessed in that our children have always just had temporary illnesses, nothing terminal or long term. We have a great doctor who we adore and who adores us. (Dr Kemper is the BEST!) We have good medicine, a warm comfy house, plenty of good food, and I have the privledge of staying home with our kids. For all that, I am thankful to the nth degree! Rob and I are truly blessed.

Nothing makes my days brighter nor my heart fuller than to know and see how blessed we are. It motivates me to do better and be more... Not from guilt, but from gratitude. God is very good. I hope to do some degree of good in my life to thank Him for His unfailing goodness.

Blessing to you blog family! May this season bring you many degrees of hope and gratitude!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Slackers Rule...


Really! Somehow it just kept slipping my mind. Today is December 15th. Is it too late? Should I even try? Maybe I'll just post some pictures on my blog and e-mail everyone a link? Somehow I'm not sure that would fly with the grandparents. Besides I have this huge photo album of all the Christmas card pictures we have received over the last eight years. I would hate not to be able to add my own kids to this years pages. So maybe we will do "Happy New Year" cards instead.

I used to have all this holiday stuff done by Thanksgiving. It seems I enjoyed the Holidays a lot more then. What happened to that super organized girl? I want to be her again! It all started when I slept in the morning after Thanksgiving and skipped all the sales, it's been down hill ever since. I am learning the hard way that Christmas comes whether you're ready or not. I think next year I will try to do all this a little earlier!

Hope all of you are leaps and bounds ahead of Christmas. If not...take heart new mantra is "SLACKERS RULE THIS YULE!" Care to join me in that?

Monday, December 13, 2004

The old songs

Yesterday morning I did not go to church. This sinus infection is just not lifting. On the days I miss church, I find myself trying to have my own church of sorts. Sometimes it is an unconscious thing. Yesterday, I was doing some laundry and unpacking the Christmas village when I realized I was singing "When I survey the wondrous cross." I think I was four when I first remember singing this song. I don't think we have sung it recently at Crestview. But there I was in my PJs in the dining room singing it.

The old songs eventually surface no matter how long they have been dormant in my mind. "When Peace like a River" and "Earnestly Tenderly Jesus is Calling" surfaced yesterday morning to. Now, no one loves the "new" songs like I do! Zoe and WOW and many others blare from my speakers in the van, the living room, eveywhere... But sometimes the old songs are just as good at centering my soul. Reminds me of an old girl scout song. "Make new friends but keep the old, some are silver and the other's gold." The older I grow, the truer these word ring.

Listen to a golden friend today, and go give it your all!

When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ, my God;
All the Vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
Did ever such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Sunday, December 12, 2004


I have butterflies in my stomach tonight.... Sadistic cramp causing butterflies at that! (maybe it's Z-pack side effects)

Rob's first day at L3 is tomorrow. He is sleeping like a baby, but I am a ball of nerves! You would think that I am the one with the new job. I am nervous for him. Things will be very different, at least for a while. Rob is used to being the boss with the big corner office. Now he will be a worker with a desk. He is used to coming and going at will and working 60 hour weeks. Now his hours are from 7:30 to 5:30 with every other Friday off. The weight of keeping the branch afloat is off his shoulders, which makes this career move completely worthwhile. It was time for Rob to leave the bank and I know he will do great. I'm just nervous for him.

So say a prayer for Rob in his brand new career. Pray that the transition to L3 is all good and that he can quickly tie up some loose ends with his broker licenses. Starting over again . . . Here we go!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Thank you for...

Thank you for Z packs, Robitussin DM, Allegra, and Saturday hours at Dr Ralston's Clinic.

Thank you for my parents living across the street and watching my kids so I could go to the doctor.

Thank you for the nice young man at Hobby Lobby assigned to me by the manager to "assist me" in the store after Rhett knocked our shopping cart on it's side in the midst of his worst melt down ever.

Thank you for the guy at the Cingular Store who switched my brand new cell phone that dropped all my calls, even though the rude lady at customer service (who had me on the phone for over an hour today) said it could not be done.

Thank you for Rob finally getting home tonight at 6 after being gone for basketball since yesterday.

Thank you for Kolby not being hurt beyond a little bruise when she accidentally did the Nesttea plunge off her bed today. It scared me.

Thank you for letting this day/week finally be over!

So, how was your day??????????

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Bright lights, Big Pity

This is an open letter to whomever it is that manufactures C7 and C9 Christmas Lights....

Dear Sirs, (women would never make purple string holiday lights)

I want to congratulate you on another successful season. You must be very proud of yourselves for it is only December 8th and 98% of your products have disappeared from the store shelves. Being that your product is seasonal, this must be great news for you.

I am writing to make a small suggestion. I have noticed that by December 1st many stores have completely sold out of Clear or White size C7 or C9 lights, at least all the stores in a 50 mile radius of my house. However, the multi-colored lights and the purple lights are still stocked by the truck load. You may not know this but, purple really isn't a Christmas nor Hanukkah color. It may be a Kwanza color, but I am too old to have studied such things in school. When I was little we just studied Christmas... You know, that holiday we aren't allowed to study in school anymore. Even so, I have never seen a house decorated with purple lights for Kwanza or any other event. It just might save having your product clearanced for fifty cents if you cut down on the purple light production.

Speaking of production... You know those clear or white lights I mentioned? You might double your profits and sales if you doubled you production of those! For three years I have tried to by clear C7s for our house. This year I broke down and bought the last 5 boxes of clear C9s at Walmart on November 28th. And you might want to make a few more replacement bulbs too! One of my 5 boxes had a broken bulb. Six stores and two weeks later I am to the point of thinking I should borrow a bulb from someone else's yard! AND if you would make more replacement bulbs, we could by the purple strands on clearance and replace all the bulbs with clear. (I actually have a neighbor who did this last year. )

And speaking of neighbors... Many neighborhood associations only allow white or clear lights to be hung from the house. Yes, I know it is creatively stifling to some, but such is life. Because of this you would think white or clear lights would out number the other lights 2 to 1 in the stores...but no. Have you ever heard of a neighborhood association demanding houses be lit with purple lights, or even red or blue or green or even multi-colored lights? If there is such a place, could you send us all their white and clear lights? We will gladly fork over all the purple ones littering our stores. Just a thought.

Thanks for your consideration of this matter.

The grumpy Wife of an un-lit house!

PS If you would get together with the people who make those little clips that neatly attach the lights to the house and the people who make the little light stakes for the could make a killing by making sure they up there production too!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

An addict?

"Honey, I think you are becoming addicted to the computer."

That is what Rob said Monday night before last when I left the dinner table to use the rest room and he found me in our room on eBay thirty minutes later. I laughed it off at the time and he did too. However, there was enough truth in what he said that it bugged me. I kept asking myself ..."Am I addicted to the computer?"

Between blogging, eBay, ordering on-line, doing invitations and announcements as a little business, and all my church and PTA volunteer computer generated projects, I do log a hefty amount of computer hours. I am to the point that the computer is my newspaper, my mailbox, my scrapbook, my journal, my recipe book, and my phone book. I never hand write anything anymore. I have become very dependent on my trusty old Gateway! So, I decided to test my computer dependency remembering Pam Money's wise words (though it was in reference to kids and TV) "The easiest way to see if there is a problem is to try to give it up."

So I didn't blog for a week. I did read a blog here and there and make a few comments, but I limited myself to 15 or 20 minutes at a time on the computer with the kitchen timer. I have to admit the first day or two I caught myself sliding in the chair in front of the computer just out of habit. But after that, it was actually easy to stay away because this is truly such a busy time of year. I got a lot more done around the house. I don't think my computer habit is a true addiction, but it is something I will be limiting more in the future.

Have any of you had that happen? Suddenly realize you were spending far to much time and thought on something? It happens so easily. I think it is really easy for a stay home Mom like myself to get a little computer happy. It is an "always on" outlet, an escape, a way to shop in your PJs, a way to connect with others without leaving the house..or the children. All these things are good, but could be bad. Too much of a good thing (aside from God and his redemptive love) is usually bad.

We like to think that some things we do don't matter and that our time is our own. Truth is, really everything we do matters. In "The Five People You Meet in Heaven"Mitch Albom wrote that "there are no small decisions in life." I loved reading this book because it so brilliantly showed how one ordinary mans life was deeply and extraordinarily woven into the lives of so many. (The movie shown on ABC last Sunday was great, but I still liked the book better.) As of late, I have not been good at budgeting and spending my time wisely . Thankfully, my husband's playful comment reminded me of this. There could have been less kind reminders.

So after today I will aim for quality over quantity on this blog. I would love to hear all of your thoughts on this subject. I'll be in and out of blog world this week as I still don't have all the Christmas decorating and wrapping finished. Christmas is lots of work, but it's fun work. :) I hope all are enjoying this season and being able to reflect on the God given blessings of this wonderful thing we call life. Blessings!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

7000 words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words...

Because we have an old fashioned non-digital camera, it takes me a while to get the film developed. Here are some pictures to go with previous post. This week I am going to do nothing but get ready for Christmas. I'll try to post again next Monday... AND maybe I'll post Christmas pictures next summer sometime! Hope you all have a great week.

Happy Holidays!

Drake (Rob's nephew), Kolby and Rhett at a family wedding. (Thought I blogged about it...Maybe not. Oh well, it is a cute picture.)

Our Annual First day of School Dinner. Blog about this.

Rhett's Thomas Party. Blog

The Cake that I stayed up half the night making. Blog.

Weekend getaway to the Ranger game. Blog

Kolby and Anna Kate from the JDRF walk. Thanks to all my wonderful blog friends who who donated. You are truly wonderful!

All the cousins ( Whitney, Kolby, Rhett, Justin, Samantha & Scarlett) at our house for Halloween. Blog.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Muppets, Messes & Movin' on... Just another manic Monday

I wish it were a Sunday
"cause that's my fun day
My I don't have to run day
Just another manic Monday.....
Those are the only words I remember to that song. Seems to fit...sort of. Lots of this and that I could chat with you about this morning. The most important subject by far though is Rob's job.

My stomach is full of butterflies this morning. Rob faxed his resignation letter to his boss last night. This morning he went in early to call her. There is no way of knowing how this will go over. But regardless, it is time to move on.

This will be a hard day for Rob. He has poured blood, sweat and tears into this bank for three years. He has hit numbers never seen before in branch history and won national recognition for his creative drives and promos...But still his branch is struggling. The downtown location sees no traffic. Downtown Waco is woefully needing revitalization. Though the city has spent millions trying to do just that, it seems too little, too late.

Rob knows that he can not sacrifice his career and our families well being trying to keep a sinking ship afloat... But still it is hard. I could not be prouder of my husband. Everyone who knows Rob knows that he is a hard working, really good guy. Compass Bank has lost the best thing to hit Waco in a long time, and I think they'll soon know that. But it is time to move on. God has again provided Rob with a new, better opportunity to take his career in a different direction. God is always faithful!

Rob starts his new job/career/ life direction on December 13th with L3. Our hope is that the powers that be at Compass will not want a lame duck VP hanging around for the sake of a two weeks notice, and will let Rob have those two weeks off. Wishful thinking? Very! But it would be so nice. Rob really could use a break... And selfishly it would be nice to have him around to help deck the halls.

Back on the homefront... For the first time that I can remember, Thanksgiving weekend is over and our Christmas tree is not up. In fact it isn't even close to being "up"! Everywhere I look there is a big mess! My dining room table is covered in Thanksgiving things that the kids and I gathered from all over the house. Sari's friend thought we were opening a Thanksgiving store when he walked in yesterday. I just can't seem to find the get-up-and-go to get all this stuff put up and gone. There is still a pilgrim on my front door and turkeys in the yard.... Santa still comes on December 24th even if the tree doesn't go up until sometime in December ...Right?

My train of thought just derailed as Sesame Street just had on the funniest skit. A muppet named Dr. Feel (a balding big guy with high eyebrows, wearing a nice suit and cowboy boots) and the real Dr. Phil were arguing over who was the host of the Dr.Phil/Feel show. Of course they learned to work together and talk about their feeling. So funny. Those muppets crack me up. In a world gone mad, I'm glad we still have Sesame Street.

Actually, Sesame Street is a big part of my history. We were both born in December 1969. That means we both have a birthday coming up...but I don't want to talk about that. As a little girl I was convinced it was called Stephanie Street. I just called it "my show". I always wanted to have a brother like Ernie. Bert was too goofy and straight laced for me. And who didn't want to visit Mr Hoopers store? I could not understand why we could not go to Stephanie Street. I was sure it was somewhere in San Angelo and constantly asked grown-ups and strangers "Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Stephanie Street?" they laughed at that but I never knew why. :)

I loved Big Bird. Do you remember how he was the only one who ever saw Snuffleufagus and everyone on the show thought Snuffy was just Big Birds imaginary friend? I have vivid memories of laying awake at night concocting schemes in which Big Bird would trap Snuffy and finally prove to the Sesame Street community that Snuffy was not a "pretend" friend. I always felt so sorry for Big Bird! I outgrew the street during the time Snuffy was seen and became a part of the regulars, seen by all. I wonder if Big Bird trapped him like I dreamed?

Well, on that reminiscent note, I must move on to more grown-up quandaries and attack the mess that's eating my house because, in the words of Dr. Phil and Dr. Feel, "It just isn't working for me."

Hope your Monday isn't as manic and messy as this post!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Pay It FWD?

In a time when so many gripe about the amount of forwards found in our e-mail boxes, it is so refreshing to get this fwd from someone who truly appreciates the spirit of FWDs. I thought I would share this touching thank you with all of you in blog land who know my affinity for forwards. Enjoy!

I want to thank all of you who have taken the time and trouble to send me your massive amounts of chain letters over the past two years. Thank you for making me feel safe, secure, blessed, and wealthy. Because of your concern...
I no longer drink Coca Cola because it can remove toilet stains.
I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.
I no longer drink anything out of a can because I will get sick from the rat feces and urine.
I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could get pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
I no longer use cancer causing deodorants even though I smell like a wet dog on a hot day.
I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfumesample and rob me.
I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaida in disguise.
I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops.
I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a stupid number for which I will get the phone bill from hell with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.
I no longer eat prepackaged foods because the estrogens they contain will turn me gay.
I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
I no longer date the opposite sex because they will take my kidneys and leave me taking a nap in a bathtub full of ice.
I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.
I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe..
I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me.
I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl who is about to die in the hospital (for the 1,387,258th time).
I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.
Yes, I want to thank all of you soooooooo much for looking out for me! I will now return the favor.
If you DON'T send this e-mail to at least 1200 people in the next 60 seconds, a large bird with diarrhea will poop on your head at 5:00 pm tomorrow afternoon.
(I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of a friend of my cousin's, brother-in-law's great aunt.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving!

Coming soon... The Grosz Family List For Thanks Giving

Monday, November 22, 2004

Rated K ...

Whoever made the kleenex warning comment yesterday is just brilliant. I think the FCC should ask the same of TV world.
Let me explain...

Last night our group decided not to meet. Something about too many sick and not enough people to watch kids. I am one of the sickies. My allergy thing that has been robbing me of my voice and causing drainage to seep down my throat for the last week or so now has an awful seal-barking cough with it. So I was set to stay in and take it easy and watch a little TV. We watched Dateline on NBC and my favorite Extreme Makeover Home on ABC.

Both of these shows should have been rated K for Kleenex. Dateline featured an interview with Elizabeth Edwards and an update of the McCaughey Septuplets. Politics aside, I greatly admire Elizabeth Edwards. In her interview with Katie Couric about dealing with her recently diagnosed breath ( I meant breast~ thanks SJ) cancer, you could tell that she is a strong and soulful woman. Actually, I could not help but think that both these women have known great tragedy. Katie loosing her husband, and Mrs. Edwards loosing her son. That type of grief leaves a scar that is unseen but somehow unmistakable. Neither of these women have let tragedy cripple them ... for long anyway. You have to admire that.

Then the Septuplets had their yearly visit with Anne Currie. Mrs. McCaughey and I were pregnant in 1997 at the same time. Her due date was the same as mine with Kolby...February 19. She had her 7 tiny babies ten weeks early. I had Kolby 8 days early. Because Kolby was my first and I was so into any kind of pregnancy news, I have always been very interested in the "Seven from Heaven". Seven turning seven. WOW!

I cried because they are so much like Kolby. Some even look like her. Our kids are growing up so fast. I have noticed the parents have let go of some things (like home-schooling) and seem a bit more laid back. I love that those kids do most of their own laundry, load and unload the dish washer, make their beds and clean their bathrooms. I pointed that out to Kolby, who was really into this story.

Kolby said that they could do all that because there were seven of them and they all had a brother and a sister.
"AND your point?"
"I would do all that if I had a sister."
Man, she does not give up on the sister thing! But we are introducing a few more challenging chores to her list anyway. I guess I have done her a disservice by thinking she was unable, or that I should just do it for her. But I stray....

The tears flowed at the end of the segment when they showed how Nathan, the little one with CP, has undergone a huge operation that involves months of therapy on top of a six week recovery period. I can't imagine Kolby having to go through something like that, or how I would feel if she did.

What really got me was watching the big Dad carry his little son down a long hall to the operating room. The precious little boy teared up, but was so brave, as they put the mask on him to put him under. This was a very major surgery! They showed him in the recovery room afterwards. The surgery was a success, but his little body looked so frail and small laid out on that big stretcher! (OK tears are flowing now just thinking about it.) He was OK and this surgery promises to make his life much better. But still, these children God gives us are so precious! Do we really realize how fragile their lives are and how blessed we are to have them?! I can not stand to see children in real extreme pain. It rocks me to my core and brings out a monster of emotion. That is going to be one of my "Why God?" questions someday. Why do precious little children have to endure such pain somtimes? Again, I stray...

I had barely put the used Kleenex in the trash when I turned over to Extreme Makeover Home. Susan blogged about this show last week. They really should call this show "Let's change the world one deserving and needy family at a time" er, well something like that any way. I have been a huge Tye fan for years because of Trading Spaces, but this show is so much more than remodeling. I can not even go into what all happened on this weeks show because I have an appointment in a little while and do not have time to re-do make-up again. All I can say is that one young and recently widowed farm girl named Jennifer Elcano has much to be thankful for this year. Of course I think she would trade it all to have her husband back... here is the whole story ... Rated K. If you want to see pictures from this episode click here.

Suffice it to say that even Rob and Kolby cried over this one. I love this show! I hope is rockets to number one in the ratings so that these wonderful people can continue to help change the world one family at a time. Finally a TV show I can feel great about watching! Speaking of things to feel great about...

Big things are in the works for Rob this week! Please say a prayer for him. He has had to endure far too much latly! Rob is one of the greatest guys I have ever known. Thank you God for letting me be his wife!

Well I must run. Sorry for the random straying in this post. It's symtomatic of my Mommy ADD I guess. Have a great week blog family!

Sunday, November 21, 2004

10 years

If I were to vanish off the face of the Earth today, what affect would my life have on people ten years from now?

Once, I met a little girl who taught me to measure life more by the ten year yard stick, than by day to day inches. Ten years ago today, my little friend Megan took her last breath on earth as her soul was reborn in Heaven.

Few people have had the impact this 10 year old girl, whose brilliance and incredible sense of humor was trapped in a mentally and physically impaired body, had on my life. I truly believe Megan was the greatest missionary I have ever known. She picked people to bond with. I was one of those lucky ones.

How did she know how much I needed to know her? How did she teach me so much when it seemed she could do so little? Her slobbery kiss is forever burned into my cheek. Her slightly slurred "Hi, I'm Megan" still echoes in my ears. I can't remember many words coming from her, but I do remember "happy", "ouch" and "mmm-whaa", which of course is the universal word for love. All three sum up so well what I remember about Megan.

Her mother played the following song by Twila Paris at a gathering on what would have been Megan's 11th birthday. It rang so true then. Ten year later, it still does.

A visitor from Heaven, If only for a while.
A gift of love to be returned, We think of you and smile.
A visitor from Heaven, Accompanied by Grace.
Reminding of a better love and of a better place.
With aching hearts and empty arms, We send you with a name.
It hurts so much to let you go, But we're so glad you came, we're so glad you came.
A visitor from heaven If only for a while
We thank you for the love you gave And thank you for the smiles
We trust you to the Fathers Love, And to His tender care.
Held in the everlasting arms, And we're so glad you're there, we're so glad you're there.
With breaking hearts and open hands, We send you with a name.
It hurts so much to let you go, But we're so glad you came. Yes we're so glad you came.

Thanks Megan!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Gymboree Shoppers Anon.

My name is Stephanie and I have an addiction to Gymboree clothing for my daughter.

HI Stephanie!
It all started 7 years ago when I was pregnant. My friend Kristi, a fellow G addict, introduced me to Gymboree during a routine mall outing. I had never seen clothes and accessories so cute. As fate would have it, I had a girl. As everyone knows Gymboree has master girl clothes designers who stop at nothing to pry every penny out of you pocket book.

And dad gum it, the clothes wear so well and last so long. In a time when most clothes designers think 5 year olds should wear shirts that barely cover their bellies, jeans that ride so low they fall down, and glittery phrases like "Diva" and "Goddess" across their chest, Gymboree has stayed faithful to the throngs of Moms who want clothes that will go from the play ground to the class room. Kid clothes designed for, er well, kids..what a concept!

A few years ago the Gymboree execs took stupid pills and fired their designers. Baby Gap quickly hired them. For two years we were a Gap family. But the stupid pills wore off and Gymboree rehired to Michael Angelos of kiddy feminine design. Gymboree emerged from the "ugly days" in one season and returned to it's former glory. I too returned to the store where Gymbo is King and mini TVs and rocking chairs adorn the sale section towards the back. Who hasn't enjoyed a stirring round of "We're going to the Zoo today" while combing over the clearance rack?

We thought that eventually Kolby would out grow Gymboree clothes. Then just last year,when we were only two short years away from maxxing out on the Gymboree size chart, those cunning clothiers added sizes 9 -12 to the line up! Brilliant! My husband tried to help by moving us away from the metoplex and the plethora of Gym stores. Again, the Gymboree geniuses were a step ahead. A Gymboree store opened in the Waco mall 9 months prior to our move. Then there is the internet. Now Gymboree comes to me. I can shop in my PJs any time, day or night.

But still I love visiting the store. When Pamela, the Waco store manager, had a baby last summer, I was invited to the baby shower. Outside of the store, I have no connection to her but I feel like one of the gymboree family. I am a champion Gymbuck shopper and a Gymboree Circle of Friends life time member. I know I need help.

But alas it's a "Circle of Friends" weekend and there are adorable new lines to choose from. Ladies, rev up the charge cards and start your shopping!

For a 30% off now through Sunday coupon, click here.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Santa Shock

I took a peek at my daughters Christmas wish list tonight. She had said she only wants five things this year. I thought it would be pretty easy to fulfill, once the grandparents, aunts, and I divvied up the list. Then I read it....

1. American Girl Today Doll that looks like me
2. Princess and the Pauper Gift Set
3. Pink Leapster with Junie B Jones game
4. Pink skates
5. And from SANTA ... a Dell computer with a color printer, a camera and a TV in it

A WHAT????? ......#%*&++-`#%

In our house Santa only brings one thing, usually a semi-big thing. Kolby always leaves the big gift for Santa, because she knows we need to spend our money carefully.

"I don't think Santa gives big ole computers on Christmas Eve," I said.
Kolby,wide eyed, believing, and completely convinced,countered that Santa would bring her a Dell because... "Kristen down the street who is my same age got one from Santa last year and I have been just as good as her. I even got straight A's. We have the same chimney Mom. Besides it's littleer than a Barbie Jeep!"
Kristen's Mommy is a radiologist, not a stay-home Mom! (A Barbie Jeep came down the chimney 4 years ago before God gave us Rhett.) Deep Sigh...
"I don't know Kolby, that is a pretty tall order!"
She skips off saying she knows Santa will deliver.

Dadgum Dell Computers and Kristen down the street! What ever happened to Barbies and Princess dress up? It is the end of innocence? I have been dreading this day! What to do?

When it comes to Santa, Kolby (6) is a true believer. She has no clue that he might be a myth. I loved believing in Santa when I was young, but Kolby has bought into the whole Santa thing more than I ever did! She even leaves tomatoes out for the reindeer so they will have a "healthy snack." (She just came up with that Christmas Eve when she was 2.5. We don't know why, but have always gone along with it.)

We have never out and out lied about Santa. But, I have staged boot prints in the fireplace ashes. Rob and I have eaten Santa's cookies as we set the fully assembled, bow clad "Santa" gift at the foot of the tree. We want our kids to have the fun of believing. If Kolby ever asks point blank if Santa is real, we will not lie. . . But we might temper the truth with "Santa brings presents to those who think he is real." in an attempt to keep the game up for Rhett(3) a bit longer.

So when do we let the cold hard facts of life hit Kolby? And How? Will she think the world is full of liars? Will the magic of childhood be sucked out of her like the Grinch sucked Christmas out of Whooville? Just think of the other ramifications....

What if my old youth minister is right and she lumps Jesus in the same box as Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny? Surely we have taught her better than that, haven't we? Any suggestions? Any ideas? Anybody want to get rid of a Dell computer?

My precious girl just ran into my room as I typed this...
"Can I ask Santa for a Leapster and ask for the Lizzie Maguire Movie instead of a computer?"
"Yes" OH YES!
"G' night Mommy!" she sings as she skips off to bed.
I am doing the HAPPY DANCE!
Santa and Mommy have been saved by a tween named Lizzie Maguire... Who'd a guessed that?!

It really is a Wonderful Life!

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Rain drops keep falling on my head!

Today it is raining cats and dogs! It seems like it has rained a lot lately. I don't remember seeing the sun since last week. It is grey and chilly and I LOVE THIS WEATHER! But, I am the first to admit that I love this weather because I can stay in my comfy PJs or sweats and be snug as a bug in a rug all day. If I had to get out, it would be a different story.

My Mom always worked. She really had no choice. For as long as I can remember I have wanted nothing more in life than to be a stay-home Mom. Often times I whine about the perils and pitfalls of a staying home, for there are more than I bargained for to be sure! This morning however, I am truly enjoying the perks!

I am also loving my clean house today! Rob took off yesterday to recover from the Cowboy trip. He so badly needed a day off for some down time. Rob is more productive in his "down time" than I ever am! Because he was here and the kids were at school, we got the house whipped into great shape.

I love a clean house, I just am not too good at getting it there by myself. I am pretty good at cleaning when someone else is around helping out. I think it is an ADD thing... or maybe just me. Any way, I am bound and determined to keep the house straight today!

Besides picking up Kolby at 3:15, I have no other plans than to stay in and make chili and sweet bear cornbread for supper! Rhett and I need to sort out his closet and re-do his the tracks on his train table. There are a few loads of laundry to do here and there. There are E-mails to answer and a few thank you notes to write... Just ordinary stay-home stuff. I can't wait! I truly live for days like this one!

Dear Lord, Thank you for the ultimate privlege of staying home with my kids. Thank you for this house and our life in it! Lord, this morning. I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude for allthe many ways you have blessed me! I hope to somehow be worthy of the husband and children you wrapped so beautifully and gave to me. I don't deserve them, and none of us deserve you.... Which only makes me feel more blessed and grateful! Thank you for this rainy day at home. Please shelter and comfort all who have to get out today. Please Lord especially bless all those Moms who get out everyday to go earn a better living for their kids. Thank you for loving us and blessing us all which ever way we mother! In Jesus Name, AMEN

I hope the rest of you have the type day you "live for" ... And try to stay dry!

Monday, November 15, 2004

Mundane Monday

Just as I published my post Saturday, Kolby came in and said her stomach really hurt. The rest of the day was spent escorting her back and forth to the restroom and holding her hair as she did her thing. YUCK! She had some high fever and her little stomach just cramped and cramped. I hate it when my kids hurt! Poor her! Rhett spent lots of time at Mama K's house that day.

Sunday I went to roll papers with Rob. As I was drifting back to sleep I suddenly felt my stomach cramp. I woke up four hours later running for the toilet. Just as I crawled back into bed, Kolby bounded into the room announcing that she felt much better. Yeah- it just a 24 hour thing!

29 hours later and I feel normal again. Life is back in full swing. Yesterday I only got out of bed to go to the restroom and refill my water glass. I have not slept that much in years. Just one day out and it seems the chores are double today, even though Rob ran around all day doing chores yesterday. I married a great guy!

I really feel for people who have long term illnesses. Life is hard when you feel bad all the time. My pregnancies were pretty miserable. I remember thinking about the terminally ill a lot then, and being glad my ailment would end as soon as the baby was born!

Tonight Rob and the guys go to Dallas for the Cowboy game. They have the tailgate grill all packed up again! They really know how to make the most of a Cowboy Mini pack of tickets! Go Cowboys!

It is family night at Kolby's school. If we go I have been asked to help watch kids. I'm not sure this family will make it this year... But that could change. Well McKenna is waking from her morning nap and Rhett wants to play Hungry Hungry Hippos.

Just a mundane Monday! Hope all is well with you blog family!

Saturday, November 13, 2004


The luncheon was an amazing success. There were a few last minute snags but all went well. The teachers are all so sweet. I can not walk down the hall without one if them stopping to thank me. I feel very good about all that. Agan God was faithful, even in something this trivial!
The best part of the whole day was seeing Deby Evans walk in! Amazing! She is not back to teaching but she is at home. Although she will not be back this year we still consider her a part of Spring Valley, a very special part! She came with a walker and the help of an aide, but she looks so good. This was the first time many of us had seen her since her near death, or should I say return from death experience. Recovery for her has been slow but steady. We prayed for her at the luncheon and thanked God for all the prayers he has already answered concerning Deby. She is a miracle.
My friend Shae and I had been up past midnight for five nights straight working on this luncheon. Needless to say, Thursday night I was in bed by 7:45! It is soo good to have the whole thing behind us! (And yes Holly, I am already thinking about next year!)
Must run! Rob is off reffing basketball and the natives are restless! yes RESTless!:)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Circle of Life

I've done it again! Dived full force into a "project". I do this. This time it is the Teacher Appreciation Luncheon at Kolby's school. It's tomorrow. It's a big deal in our little world.

Every year the PTA gets parents to watch the classes and man the office (45 volunteers for this) from 11 - 1. We bus the entire staff to the fellowship hall of a near by church and have a fun themed luncheon. Last year it was the "Survivor" theme. Everyone wore Camo. We constructed a tiki hut, had torches every where and had challenges to win door prizes. It's decorated as extravegently as a prom. The teachers take pictures and talk about it all year. It is a highlight to be sure. I was just a worker last year. This year I am in charge. Scary.

I picked the theme "It's good to be Queen" (there are no male staff members at this school) The last two week have been very full. One other mother and I have made two 10 foot white castles outlined in twinkle lights and painted with iridescent glitter. We made a 7 foot gold crown complete with glitter and twinkle lights to hang over the podium. We made ten 26inch 3-D castles for table centerpieces. We made a six foot queen with a hole for them to sick their faces in a have pictures made. We have had to make everything as we have a small budget. The favors are 4 inch glass (plastic) slippers tied with a thick gold organza bow and stuffed with little white butter mints. We also have crowns, rings and sceptors(actually gold hologram pencils with toppers and bows) for all.

And there are games. We are going to have each table write their own fairy tale from a list of words we give them. We are going and have a Queen Kareoke Contest with songs like "Someday my prince will come" and "Playing with Queen of hearts". We have collected 40 door prizes each valued at around $20. There is much much more. It's completely over the top.

But, I love to do this type of thing. I thrive on it! I get so totally immersed and obsessed that I neglect other things. My house is a mess. My dining room table is project central. The dining room is full of castles, poster board, tulle, and organza ribbon. If I could pick a career besides motherhood, it would be event coordination. That is why I loved teaching. It's just one big themed unit after another. I love a theme!

But the last three nights I have made dinner for my family and disappeared to school until midnight. I'm tired when I get up and my days are full of trying to get the basics done for my family while running to and fro trying to get all I need for the luncheon. No one has complained. Rob is a prince and has come to understand that this is my pattern. The kids seem to understand too. But part of me feels bad. I think I have a balance problem. With me it is all or nothing. My house is a total wreck or sparkling clean. Extremes. For me, living to extremes means a cycle that teeters between passion and burn out.

I have to confess that sometimes I feel like I have cyclical.relationship with God. I'm either completely focused, in the word and prayerful, or I feel distant, detached, and undisciplined in my walk. Times of a happy medium are few and far between.

When I was in fifth grade, my Sunday school teacher had a big circlular chart that showed the cycle that the children in Israel developed as they roamed the dessert after leaving Egypt. They were close to God, things were good, they got arrogant, strayed from God, hit hard times, repented, prayed for Salvation, God saved them and the cycle started over. In ways I see myself on the same cycle, going from one side of the circle to the other.

If this circular cycle has been a pattern of the children of God since roaming in the dessert, do we ever break the cycle? I'm sure this illustration will only go so far. It may not be the best way to explain where I feel I am with my walk. But for lack of a better illustration, imagine the circle. I guess we spiral up, becoming closer to God and the circumference of our circle decreases. The extremes are lessened because as the circles shrink, we are always closer to God, even in the hard, arrogant times. The way back to God is also much shorter. Does this make sense to anyone else in the universe? I guess my brain has been "royally" fried...

sorry for the randomness of this post. I will be praying for a tighter circle! Blessing to you blog family...and may all of your circles be small!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

This and that

Oh be careful little hands what you blog! "Queen of the Sky" found this out the hard way. OUCH! Maybe we should all think a bit more before me hit the "publish post" button. Somehow I doubt Rob would fire me from my stay home Mom job over something I blogged about! :)

Speaking of being fired... Those who share my M Moore angst ( I actually used to date a guy named that. Ironic isn't it?! ) you might get a kick out of this article. I'm not sure who wrote it but they got "the Donald" down pretty good. Now don't get all in a tizzy... it's just tounge in cheek humor. Nothing to get upset over!

Again "Be careful little hands what you blog, oh becareful little hands what you blog!"

Happy Saturday to you!

Friday, November 05, 2004

Pink Eye, Politics, Puke & other Plesantries

But first a side note... Many comments on yesterday's "Silence" post, thank you! My last word on that? I agree to disagree about Kingdom people staying out of politics. While I respect and even understand anon's view, I do not completely share it. Many of you may not share my view of this last election, and that is fine. All are privy to their opinions. I express mine here. I try to be open minded, but think the real challenge is being open hearted. Truth in blogging, I have an intense (and perhaps ugly) political side that thrives on elections. I truly love the whole elected balance of power and responsibility concept. It fascinates me. My good friend Keith Gunn has called me "Governor" as if it was my given name for the past 12 years. It's a political thing and part of who I am... but I am much more than my political passions. Thank you Father God, I am much, much more! So we can agree to disagree on this, right?!

As promised, here is the second installment on the "P" themed mommy roller coaster ride. Perhaps I should not persist in posting about political passions and persevere with parenting, pee/poop, and other plesantries? :) Read on.
(I moved Part One up yesterday so it would be easier to read together!)

Monday morning I felt like I had Halloween hangover. Too much sugar I guess. McKenna, Rhett, and I made our way to meet a group from church at the Mayborn Museum. It was fun but Rhett was extremely sensitive. We returned from the Museum at 2pm and I put both kids down for a much needed nap. Rhett slept hard. Finally at ten till 6pm, I decided he had to get up. When I went to wake him, his eyes were completely matted shut. I had to get a warm rag to remove the goo so he could open his eyes. YUCK! I knew it was Pink Eye. This complicated things as we had planned to go to Crawford to welcome home President Bush. I settled for watching his Dallas "last"rally live on C-Span. I saw a few college and Fort worth friends on TV at the rally! So cool.
After getting Kolby to school Tuesday, Rob went in late and I called for a Dr appointment for Rhett. It took an hour to get in with Dr Kemper. I love having a pediatrician that I totally know and trust. She gave us drops, sympathy and a little advice. She was very proud of Rhett for his mastery of wearing Big Boys! She is so cool!

Of course like so many, from 5 pm on I was glued to the TV for election returns. I had my electoral maps and scenarios ready. I bookmarked the Secretary of State web sites for Florida and Ohio so I could keep up with the real returns. I calculated, estimated, and projected all night. Around 4 am when the outcome was pretty certain, I went to bed. I was a little ticked off that they could not just call the race, but satisfied that even Democrats were saying it was just a matter of time.

Wednesday I was worthless. The TV was on all day again. TV has become a rare thing in our house. Who has the time for it? Having it on so long was weird. I watched Kerry concede and thought he was very gracious. In ways it seemed to me his best speech yet, and I mean that as a compliment. John Edwards said "You don't work 18 hour days doing this unless you love your country." He is right. I know the Kerrys and Edwards love this country and I admire them for that.

I watched Bush and Cheney give their victory speeches. W looked tired and so relieved. I thought his speech was confident but not arrogant. He truly does want to make America safer and stronger. As much as I love Bush, I'll confide that Cheney is not my favorite. He is too stiff and too business like. But I trust George knows what he needs in a VP and he says Cheney is it. So be it.

Wednesday night the election results finally started to sink in. I have prayed and thought about this election for two years, so afraid of what would happen. I can scarcely believe that it is really over. Such relief. I was really tempted to wear my Bush shirt, but that seems a bit insensitive to the democrats, so I'll refrain for a while.

Thursday Rhett woke up clear eyed again. "Yippee!" I thought, " It's Mothers Day Out!" I am in charge of the decor for the teacher appreciation luncheon next Thursday and I really needed to get to school and work. I had every minute of my five hours planned out. All was going to plan. Alain dropped McKenna off. Then in the midst of breakfast, Rhett puked. Really puked. Turned white as a sheet, and kept puking. Alain came and got McKenna. I called off the decorating work day. I am embarrassed that my first thought was not "Poor Rhett!" My first thought was "Not again! I needed to do stuff today."

But that all melted away as my little boy bravely ran to make it to the rest room and asked me to hold his hand. He is three and practically potty trained, but really, he is still just a babe! I found my self almost grateful for the reminder of what my purpose in life is right now... These kids. God gave me these precious little kids of his to raise. What a privilege.... pink eye, puke, and all!

and a little PLOG
Father God thank you for my life! Thank you for blessing me with my husband and children. Thank you for the privilege of staying home. Thank you for letting me live in a country where leaders are elected peacefully. Please let the disappointment, despair and division in our country turn us toward a more positive tomorrow. Thank you for this outlet of blogging and the many friends that I have met along the way. Father God you always provide. You are always right. You are always in control. You always love us. Thank you, Thank you!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Pictures, Pee, & Parties

Motherhood is sometimes a roller coaster of experiences and emotion. This weeks ride seemed to have a "P" theme. It started last Friday night.

After posting the traditional Kolby and Rhett Halloween pictures last week I realized it was time for the yearly pilgrimage to Sears Photo studio. I called and managed to land the last appointment of the weekend, Friday night at 7:30pm. Not ideal grant it, but I thought it would be a "fun family Friday" type thing to do. So I got the kids all ready, Rob came home at 7 and we were off. Arriving 15 minutes early is usually a good thing. Not so this night. Stomachs growling, the dreaded "whine" monster reared his ugly head as we sat waiting for our turn in the studio. Sippy cups of apple juice and smarties seemed to keep all at bay. Finally at 8:15, Kolby and Rhett got to strike a pose in front of the camera...

At about 8:17 the photographer finally had them positioned. Rhett was in the "All American football squat" with one knee on the ground and one knee in front and Kolby in the classic hands on waist with pompoms stance. They looked adorable. All was well. But before the lady could punch her "magic flash button" Rhett's sweet smile contorted into a nervous grimace.
"Smile Rhett, say cheese" Rhett started to cry... Rob and I were puzzled, he was doing so well. Then I saw it. I almost laughed and cried at the same time. A small yellow puddle was pooling on the black (thankfully plastic) backdrop beneath Rhetts knee. I had forgotten that he was in big boys! The apple juice that soothed the whine monster was too much.
It took 20 minutes to clean up and go buy some spiderman underoos in the boys department. It took another 20 to convince Rhett to smile and get his picture taken, despite his soggy costume. We didn't get out of there until 9:15. But look back to last Friday to see the pictures. They actually turned out pretty cute. Instead of the promised Chucky Cheese, me drove through Mickey D's and went home for bubble bath and games. (I was amazed that we got away with that!)

Sunday morning Rob, my Uncle, cousin, and two cousin-in-laws left before sun up for Big D. They had their own tail gate party out in the parking lot with a portable grill, sausage,tortillas and Dr Pepper before heading into that aging shrine to all things Cowboy, known as Texas Stadium. The tickets were a present from my aunt to all the guys for their birthdays, and October 31 is my uncles actual birthday. A great time was had by all as the Cowboys won. I must say I missed having "Daddy" around for church, but I love that these guys have developed such a close bond and friendship. Thanks T-sue for giving the guys such a great time together. What a perfect present!

The guys returned just in time for trick-or-treating. For my uncles birthday my whole family ( 14 adults and 6 kids) met at our house fora post trickor treat Spaghetti birthday dinner. It was so fun. The kids had a great time collecting candy from the neighbors and we all enjoyed passing out candy. Earlier the kids and I put orange streamers in the trees and set carved pumpkins out all along our circle drive. It was a beautiful night. Six or seven of us ended up sitting out on the drive with the kids in lawn chairs as a steady parade of trick or treaters streamed by from 6 to 7:30. We have a fun neighborhood for the most part. Down the street two retired couples filled their yards with giant blow up ghost and blared kid friendly Halloween music. It was like a street carnival. SO FUN!
The meal was fun too. The spaghetti sauce is a recipe from my cousin Ashley's in-laws, who are authentic Italians. "Martha's Meat Sauce" has become such a favorite of ours. It turned out great. I can not tell you how precious it was to see my uncle blowing out his birthday candles surrounded by six costumed kids. The kids call my Uncle Rick "Big Daddy" or sometimes "Biggy". He is amazing with them all. Such special times.
Although these family events are at times loud, messy, and exhausting, I love the fact that our kids have these great memories with their cousins. Though tired and dismayed by the messy house I had cleaned all day, my heart was full and happy at the end of the night. Rhett said it was his "funnest favorite Halloween" I think it was my favorite Halloween too! What a perfect weekend to get an extra hour of sleep!

This is getting too long. Stay tuned for the second installment of this post ..."Pink Eye, Presidents & Puke" AND have a perfectly pleasant day!

Savoring the sound of silence

WARNING this is the result of one of my political hissy fits! Check back later for the kinder gentler Stephanie.

I do not want anyone to tell me the American Mass Media/Press is not biased and liberal. I looked all over for something on this and had to go all the way to JAPAN to find it! Pardon me as I savor Mr Moore's silence. I think we are all due a bit of that after the last year!

Michael Moore quiet after Kerry's loss

Friday, November
5, 2004 at 07:46 JSTWASHINGTON — Brash filmmaker Michael Moore was silent, two
days after President George W Bush won a second term, while other backers of
Democratic candidate John Kerry licked their wounds. On Wednesday, messages on at, still encouraged voters to cast their ballots. Early Thursday, the maker of "Fahrenheit 9/11" posted a message of mourning, showing only a portrait of Bush* on its home page, trimmed in black.

MoveOn, a grassroots campaign that was very effective at
mustering funds and support for Kerry via Internet, said, "We'll admit to being
heartbroken by the outcome of yesterday's election. "It's a dark day."
The website celebrated the hard work and posted a message of hope.
"We have suffered a defeat, but we are not defeated. "And our heartache does not
diminish our pride in what you've done. "Today, we'll take a breath.
Tomorrow, we'll keep moving toward the America we know is possible. (Wire reports)

I am of the opinion that Mr Moore and his block buster movie only helped to solidify the right against Kerry and made Bush seem like an underdog. Of course we all know now that President Bush was not the underdog. Hollywood hurt Gore four years ago and it really hurt Kerry this year. When will they (the DNC) learn that America looks to Hollywood for entertainment not enlightenment? It must be hard for those in Tinsel Town to grasp the reality that, though they are grossly over paid for their incredible entertaining talent, they really don't have the influence over America that they thought. Most people don't go the movies to decide their vote. A free concert draws people who like music, not politics. The Boss may have been startled to learn his concert in Ohio was attended by an entire chapter of Ohio Young Republicans. They all voted early for Bush the week before, but were fans of the music.

I truly feel for Kerry and Edwards as I think they fought hard. I'm very glad they will not be in office as their vision greatly differs from mine, but I think both men truly love this country. As for the Hollywood politicos...I have to say, I would have loved to see the look on some of those actors and entertainers faces when they heard Bush won. Please Mr and Ms Hollywood, spare us your commentary and don't quit your day jobs! Your talents don't elevate your opinions above those of the plain Jane and Jim American. Really, stick to what you do best..... scripts, lyrics, and eye candy photo ops.

I would like to think that now that this is over we can all move on. (And I do not mean in the MoveOn type way) The olive branch has been extended. Let's hope it is taken with grace, and perhaps a bit of crow.
I wish I was not so cynical as to think that peace and grace between these political parties is doubtful. Perhaps I have a bird or two of my own to eat.

THIS JUST IN...The Bush portrait on the Moore web site is a composite of pictures of all servicemen killed in Iraq. It is entitled "The War President" So much for silence. What do you want to bet that the families of those in the picture did not give their blessing to him to use their loved ones image as a political slam tool.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

He Won!

WOW! The last 24 hours has been quite amazing.... Historical, emotional, political and it is really over! HALLELUJAH!

Yes I am happy for George Bush and grateful for this win. The prayers, pepto and diet coke were flowing freely in our living room until the wee hours of the morning. I feel for Kerry and his supporters. They fought a hard battle. I truly hope Kerry and Bush can work together to bridge the partisan, social divide.

But for now I just feel a joyous relief. It's over. It's really over! Now we can get back to life!

Monday, November 01, 2004

The Vote

I am sick with anticipation over what will happen tomorrow at the polls. I know God is still God and as Christians we are called to a higher Kingdom, but as an American, this is election is a real nail biter.

I think what saddens me most is that no matter who wins,half the country will be upset. What does it say about our country that our last election was 49.6 to 49.4. Today the polls show the same of this election. Could we be more divided?

There are uncharted and dangerous waters ahead for our country. I pray who ever is made "captain" of our "ship" will lean on God to charter these crazy times. I can't imagaine having to make the decisions a President has to make without God.

As for me and my house...well... we will be in Crawford tonight to welcome our guy home from a long and weary campaign trail! We pray that Bush sees another four years in Washington.

God bless you all as you exercise your PRIVILEGE to vote! And God bless these "United" States of America, no matter who wins!

We didn't make it to Crawford last night! TOO late but we are with him in spirit!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Halloween 2004

There is a great story to go with these pictures. I'll tell it in the morning!

To trick or to treat?

Ariel and Captain Feather Sword 2003

Tink and Peter Pan 2002

Dorthy and Toto 2001

One of my favorite things to do each year is dress my kids up and get their picture together. This year Kolby is a cheer leader and Rhett is a Dallas Cowboy Football player. ( Picture to follow as soon as i take one!) I love this time of year!

This post started out as a comment on Brandon's blog. It became so long I decided to post it here.

Brandon said "It completely makes sense to me why people don't want to "celebrate" a holiday that was marked for evil purposes. However, sometimes I think our closed doors and humbug attitudes can send a message that can be misinterpreted. (Don't bother us, we're religious. We don't care for you. You're less than--because you're trick-or treating. God is exclusive and you're out)"

I said : I totally agree about the trick-or-treating. We have kids from other neighborhoods (across the bridge and in the ehh not so good part of town) come and trick or treat on our street. One of our neighbors (who also goes to our church)was being really negative about this. She said her light would be off and her door closed but if we wanted to bring our kids she would love to give candy to those who "belonged on our street." Made me think.. What would Jesus do?

At our house there are no tricks, just treats. We do not hide. We put orange and black streamers in our trees and turn on our porch lights as well as the flood lights and every light in the front of the house. We try to talk to each and every trick or treater and give good candy. I thought about printing up some little cards to hand out that say "Thank you for stopping by our home" or something ... but I haven't figured that all out. I just don't want to be a scrooge.

I don't know what Jesus would do, but I can't imagine that he would sit behind a dark door letting all the kids pass him by. One night a year I will give candy to anyone who comes to our door, no matter where they are from or what they look like. All will be met with a cheerful smile and a generous amount of sugar and chocolate!

What do you guys think?

Wednesday, October 27, 2004


Ok. This morning I tried really hard to blog. But alas, every time I tried to go to anything blogger, I got an error message. I thought blogger was down. At noon I tried again. Still no blog, but I had e-mails from comments on my blog, so I knew blogger was not down. I still don't know why, but my computer gives me an eror message everytime I try to go to any blog/blogger site. Weird. I am at my Mom and Dad's house right now. It is past my bedtime and I have to go home. I will try again . . . for tomorrow is another day! (Insert my best Scarlett wrist on forehead drama queen sigh.) Good night sweet blog land.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

He did it!

Just thought everyone in blog world needed to know that Rhett wore big boy undies all day with no accidents!
(insert Hallelujah Chorus)
He went to school. We ran errands. He played accidents! YEAH! I know it may not last, but it is a break through!!! We're doing the happy dance in Hewitt, Texas! Now we're going to the Potty, Potty! YE-HAW!


Sorry I have not been my blogging self lately. Much is going on in the Grosz household. Not the exciting or insightful type stuff, just the "family of four trying to get where we need to go, do what we need to do, and be who we need to be" type things.
I heard a line in a movie this weekend that reminded me of blog world. . .

Communication of this nature lends itself to being more about nothing than something. But I have to say that all these nothings have meant more to me than a lot of somethings, and for that I thank you. Kathleen Kelly~ You've Got Mail

Have you ever noticed that TBS can take a two hour movie and make it last four hours? AND for some reason, I still watch. Even if I have seen the movie a dozen times. Even if I have a 100 other things I should be doing. I find myself watching. This weekend TBS stretched You've Got Mail to Ghandi length. I watched it for the umteenth time last night.

Rob took me to see this movie on one of my birthdays, not sure which one, when it first came out. I liked it. My sister got the DVD free one year and left it at our house. When I was bed bound during my Rhett pregnancy I watched it many a time. It has grown on me to the point that now I love it. I quote it. I have actually day dreamed about what Kathleen and Joe Fox would do if they were real. Would they have a big splashy wedding? Would they have kids? Did she become a great childrens book author? Did he retire from the Mega store? Etc. Silly I know.

This movie reminds me of blog world because it is basically about electronically sharing your life with strangers until you become friends. I think people who share written words develop a bond and a level of familiarity that is unique to any other. maybe it is because you can fully express thought un interupted. Maybe it is because we are more thoughtful in what we write than in what we say. I sometimes wish that letter writing was more in. I read letters my grandparents wrote eachother when they were separated by the war, or a job and feel I know them in a way I never did before. Old letters are a great source of personal history. What will our grandchildren read? blogs?

If so, I guess I better blog more regularly! Have a great Tuesday!