Friday, March 31, 2006

To the body parts formerly known as ankles...

Dear blobs of swelling between my heels and calves,

You used to be known as ankles. I am sure that no one would be able to identify you as such now. I'm so sorry that our body has shunned and disfigured you in this way. For some reason, body seems to think that the baby growing in our uterus would be better served if you too looked bloated and impregnated.

However, do not be alarmed. Body has made this same mistake with every pregnancy. With Kolby who was born in cold February, you disappeared around the first of January and came back by the time we were home from the hospital. With Rhett, who was born in miserably hot September, you went MIA in late June and reappeared before October. This baby, due in July, is already showing signs of being an over-achiever because I haven't seen you in a week, and it's only March. Hopefully we will see you again in August.

I miss you already. It is hard to walk around all day with you being buried under all that watery tissue. Seems you just can't bend and rotate the way God designed. Don't worry though, it won't last forever. A few weeks after the baby is out, you both will return to your former selves with little or no signs of your great transformation. I wish the same could be said for your friends tummy and butt. Those two have never been able to fully recover. BUT SHHHH! We won't mention stretch marks and all as tummy and butt are pretty sensitive and may not yet remember what is in store for them in months to come!!!

In the mean time, to help you guys out down there I will prop you up, put you in ice water, and lay on my left side whenever possible. As soon as I get a pedicure, your new best friends flip-flop and sling will accompany you anytime shoes are necessary. Other wise, we will go barefoot and try our best to get by with out you while you're gone. If at all possible, try to drop by occasionally in the morning before our feet touch the ground, just so I can remember what you are supposed to look like.

I know it will be rough. On those days when you no longer recognize yourself and fear you might get stuck this way forever, remember this is the last time we will ever be pregnant. Remind yourselves that this temporary discomfort and sacrifice is helping to bring a little miracle into the world. Tell yourselves that it will all be worth it when our arms hold a brand new baby. And if those things don't help.... Well, we only have 15 weeks to go! (Maybe less if heart and blood pressure get pumped up again.) But we are strong and we can do anything for 15 weeks! Right?

Enjoy your 4 month sabbatical to swollendome. You guys will be sorely missed!

Love ,
36 and 25 weeks pregnant

Thursday, March 30, 2006

For the love...

Rhett has been having wardrobe issues lately. He has some very strong opinions about what he will and will not wear. Lately he has decided to voice those opinions after he is dressed and as we are walking out the door. This morning he had a full scale melt down over ... I can't even say for sure what it was over. A cap? His hair? Or maybe he wanted a long sleeve shirt??? I'm not sure.

Anyway, I had no time to mess with him or his wardrode issues, so I tried to just get him in the car. He wouldn't budge. The mean mommy voice came out. Then tears. Melt down. Drama. We are now late! More tears. Threats. GET IN THE CAR!!!!!!!!! And just when I thought I was going to have to hog tie him and strap him to the roof of the van to get him to Mother's Day Out (figurtively speaking of course!) Rhett, with tears streaming down his face puts his arms up towards me and cries "Mommy, please just hug me!"

And it wasn't a snow job. He knew he had lost the battle and was not going to get to change clothes. It was like he was surrendering and wanted to make sure his mama still loved him . All anger gone, frustrations evaporated,and the ticking clock in my head silenced, I gave him the biggest hug ever! That child melts my heart! How can such a little human being be so exasperating and so loveable all at the same time? I really love that little boy more than life itself!

I can't help but wonder if maybe I should have just let him change whatever and gone on. We were late anyway. Sometimes I wonder if I choose the wrong battles. What really gets me about Rhett is that he takes it so personally and in the "heat of battle" is not afraid to hold up his arms and ask for a show of love, even when he knows he isn't going to win. I think I could learn a lot from that 4 year old!

Actually, Rhett and Kolby have taught me quite a bit about life. Nothing I have ever done has taught me more about or brought me closer to God than being a parent. I wonder if I someimes look to God like a fit throwing four year old looks to me? I wonder if it melts God's heart when I ask him to wrap his arms around me and love me? I wonder if God picks his battles or if he just knows he will win them all? I wonder if God sometimes wishes we would all just grow up, but in the next minute wants to freeze time because the "here and now"can be so precious?

I am just a weak flawed person, but my love for my children has to be one of the strongest forces in the universe. God is God and his love for us IS the strongest force in the universe!!! If I, who am weak, am willing to throw my body in front of a speeding car for my child, can you imagine what God is willing, ready, able and wanting to do for us? Awe inspiring, isn't it? I wonder sometimes why I can't just except his will and take the love he so freely offers with out the struggle. Why is it we have to struggle so? I guess that is a question for another blog.

Hope you have a great day today and live for the love!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

This and that

Much going on these days in our little house!

The biggest news I guess is that the mighty, mighty BLACK PANTHER t-ball team officially started practice last night! This has been a much anticipated event in our household. Rhett had his t-ball clothes laid out for two days in anticipation! I have never seen a little boy more excited about anything! He has talked about t-ball since soccer ended last November. Yesterday when Rob got home he found the little dude fully decked out in t-ball pants, socks, shoes, and a cap sitting on the front porch clutching his new bat bag...Which of course was packed with a bat, balls, batting glove, regular glove and sunflower seeds (?) He was ready to go. I made him wait until 4:30 to get dressed for his 5:30 practice.

Though Kolby and I missed half of practice, what we did see was hilarious! Rob has his hands full coaching this one! But he has my cousin Robby helping him and lots of dads willing to pitch in. Still it was a sight! Eleven little 4 & 5 year olds out there learning the game for the first time with a heard of older and younger siblings trying to "help" and a crowd of parents cheering them on! This is going to be a fun season!!! Truly, we have all been looking forward to it because the team is made up of all Rhett's favorite little friends who just happen to be the kids of some of my best friends! I think we all look forward to these games and practices!

Monday night, or actually Tuesday morning we were blessed with a great rain storm. Unfortunately the power went out around 4:00am. Rob was gone to the paper route. For some reason when our power goes out our smoke alarms beep for five minutes. By 4:05 Rhett and Kolby were wide awake and in bed with me. They insisted I light a candle because it was pitch black dark. Then they couldn't go back to sleep. Neither could I. It was hot. Then, baby girl decided to wake up and put on a dancing belly show for her future siblings. So at 4:45 Rhett and Kolby are wide awake in my bed watching for any sign of movement from my stomach by candle light. Did I mention I had stayed up until almost 1am trying to finish a mountain of laundry and clean up un-interrupted? Yeah I was tired.

We were almost all settled down and asleep by 5am when Rob made a horrible scary noise trying to get in the front locked door. Seems the garage won't open when the electricity is out! Finally at 5:30 I sent Kolby back to her room. Rob went to Rhett's room to try to catch some zz's and I was left to sleep with the twisting tornado boy. Needless to say 7am came early. Poor Kolby said she never went back to sleep. Rob found her at 6:45 am when the power came back on fully dressed and ready to go to school sitting on the couch in the living room. Tuesday was her Zoo field trip day at school and mixed with excitement of the lights going out and the baby was just too much for her 8 year old brain to let go of to sleep! There is nothing I hate more than starting the day out tired!

By the time I picked Kolby up from school yesterday she was so tired she could barely walk. She immediately fell asleep when we got home and it took me 30 minutes to wake her up when I finally tried around 5PM. Talk about a power outage! She was zonked! We caught the tail end of T-ball practice and went out to eat for her cousin Samantha's birthday. She then fell asleep the minute her head hit the pillow at 8:45. This morning she was so tired I totally dressed her for the first time since she was 2 years old! It was really sad. If she hadn't missed 8 days of school with the flu last month (an all time absentee record for her ) I might have kept her home. She may have to miss part of church tonight and be in bed by 8! I can't imagine what the day light saving time change will do to her next week if she doesn't get caught up.

Fall and Spring are my favorite weather seasons. I love the milder temperatures. But they always seem to be the busiest seasons too! I think that is why I so look forward to Summer. From now to June we will be running 90 to nothing with events, programs, games, or practices every night of the week. Did I mention I am pregnant during all of this? Add to the normal Spring buzz the "getting the house and family ready for the baby" buzz and I think we are in for some exciting times!!! WOW! I am a little scared of all there is to do, but every day I get more excited! Besides, I sorta enjoy the Spring buzz ! :)

Well that is all for now! It is raining outside I don't have anywhere to be until 2pm. Rhett and I are chillin' this morning! Hope you are chillin' in your little neck of the woods too! :) Happy Spring!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Happy Birthday Mom!

(Revised and pictures added on 3-28-06)
Today is my Mom's birthday! I would tell you how old she is but you wouldn't believe me! She has never ever looked her age. The best way to tell you about my Mom is to tell you about the many loves in her life in no particular order.

(This is a collage of pictures I made for a very important birthday she celebrated no too long ago!)

My Mom loves chocolate! It is almost sickening! Mom has been rail thin her whole life and only started working out about a month ago. She will make a pan of chocolate icing (yeah, a whole pan) and eat the whole thing. Every night before she goes to bed she drinks a glass of chocolate milk. I can't count the nights I lay in bed listening for the tell-tell sound of a spoon hitting the sides of a glass as mom stirred her good night potion! Mom does not care much about other foods. She once said she wished she could get all other food in a pill form and just eat dessert. Every Saturday of my childhood Mom made a big dessert to munch on the rest of the week. When dining out, it is not unusual for my mother to order a salad and a dessert and only eat half the salad and all the dessert. She cracks us all up!

My Mom loves me. We are exact opposites in many,many ways. Growing up that caused a few sparks to fly, nothing ever too terribly horrible mind you, but still there was friction. I was just not what she expected. She is quiet, clean, orderly and very happy to stay home and read a book. I was loud, messy, creatively cluttered and wanted to go, go, go! Over the years I think we have come to appreciate our natural differences, and we may have even rubbed off on each other from time to time!

Mom has her own friends and I have mine. We aren't together as much as some people think being that we live across the street from eachother. My mother raised me to be independent and to think and do things for myself. I really appreciate that now! My Mom is very independent in her own right, though for years she didn't recognize that trait in herself. No matter what, I have always been able to count on my Mom when I needed her. She is, and has always been, the first person I call to tell anything. She is my family's biggest cheerleader.

Papa, Sari, me, Kolby & Mama K

Mom also loves my sister. Sari and I are different in many ways and again, after me, I'm not sure Sari is what Mom was expecting. Because Sari and I are 8.5 years apart with no one in the middle, I often say my parents raised two only children. Mom quickly adapted to the differences in us and somehow manages to mother us differently but with the same intense love. As a mother I really appreciatie that about her!

Not only does Mom show Sari and me that she loves us all the time, I can't imagine anyone loving my husband more than my Mom! Rob lucked out when he got my Mom for a mother-in-law ( He calls her MIL or Milly for short). Mom loved Rob from the moment she met him. (That was a first from all of the guys I ever brought home by the way!) Rob can do no wrong in my mother's eyes. Actually, it is a bit annoying at times. There have been moments that I have wanted her on my side, but that was mostly just me being pouty! Truthfully, I love that my parents love and are so supportive of my husband. I wouldn't have it any other way.

My Mom loves her grandkids. She was as shocked as we were when she found out Kolby was on the way. Though she was really excited, I wasn't sure if she was ready for the whole grandmother thing. But Mama K has a very special relationship with both my kids. She and Kolby are very much alike. Because my Mom and I are so different, she thinks to do things with my kids that I don't. She wass Kolby's first piano teacher and hopefully will someday be Rhett's. She takes them to plays and educational things that I don't even know exist. She is also very good to help Kolby when Rob and I have had our fill of the spelling /reading /dyslexia battle. Mama K always finds a way to make it fun. There is nothing Rhett loves better than to spend the night with Mama K & Papa. Since he is the first little boy she has ever been around everyday, he has her wrapped tight around his little finger. She is very excited about baby number three and was thrilled to find out it is a girl! (Mom also thinks all girls should have a sister.) My Mom is a great grandmother.

(As silly as it is this is one of my favorite pictures of my mom with the kids! She doesn't like it so much!)

My Mom loves her job and loves helping people. She has been very successful in her career and though she retired once, went back to being an elementary school counselor in an under privileged Waco school. She makes a huge difference in the lives of her students. We can't go anywhere with out a student running up to hug Mrs. Elliot. She goes way above and beyond the call of duty because she truly loves kids. She works long and hard every day. Mom also volunteers weekly with a little girl who is working to overcome or adapt to life with autism. She loves seeing this little girl's progress and is always so excited to find new books, puzzles or games to use with her. She really has a gift when it comes to children.

My mother loves her sister and all her extended family. She and my aunt have a great relationship and are really enjoying living in the same town and hanging out with each other. My Mom loves her nieces and nephews and is always there to sew something or come help with whatever needs doing. She loves her great nieces and nephews as much as her grandchildren. Nothing warms my mother's heart like looking around church Sunday morning and seeing her ever growing family suround her in the pews. My mother LOVES her cousins and keeps up with family better than anyone I know. Her cousin Bo sent her a card recently that said having her as a cousin was better than having a sister! It's true.

Mom with her sister Sue and their cousins Bill & Bo .

My mother loves God. She is not a preachy person and is not overly verbal when it comes to her relationship with God. As her daughter, I have never doubted my mother's love for God and her church family. She teaches Sunday school and most of her good friendships have always been with people from church. My mother believes when others can't. Her life has not always been easy. She has worked almost everyday since she was 16 years old. She has gone with out and made painful sacrifices when called to do so, but I have never once heard her qusetion God's love and faithfulness in her life. My mother and I differ on views of the church from time to time. She has come a long way in some of her traditional Church of christ thinking, as I guess we all have. But I have never ever wondered where my Mom stood in her realtionship with God. She is an excellent example of a strong Christian woman.

My Mom also loves my Dad. Dad has fought pain and several physical handicaps all his life. Though I know she had to resent that he couldn't always do all that other men could, she never once said anything negative about his disabilities. If we ever came close to saying anything aboout Dad not doing something, Mom was always quick to remind my sister and me how hard life would be if only one of our two feet and hands worked properly. My parents have been through so much. I think this has to be the best time in their lives and marriage. They eat out almost every night. They travel when they want. They enjoy life. Mom and Dad never professed to having an ideal realtinship, but it has worked all these years! I am very proud of my parents.

Last year on their 40th anniversary!
My mother also loved her parents as much as I think a daughter ever could. My grandfather died nine years ago today on Mom's birthday. It was one of the worst days of our lives. The last nine years have not always been easy. Up until this January, Mom cared for my grandmother in ways no one else could. When the rest of us couldn't take anymore, Mom faithfully took care of Nana's needs and visited her often. For years my prayer for my mother was that she would not have to watch her mother suffer and battle dementia much longer. This is Mom's first birthday with out Nana. Though we are all glad Nana is where she is, I know it must be hard for my Mom to turn a year older without her mother here. I can't imagine it! But I also know Mom has a great peace knowing her parents are together where God promissed they would be. Mom has mourned the loss of her parents with such grace and dignity. I just don't know if I will ever be that strong!

Mom and Sue with Nana and 5 of her 8 great grandkids. This was Nana's last birthday. Nana was 96.
So HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I love you and I hope this is just one of many, many more happy birthdays we enjoy with you! You give so much love to this world and I know the world loves you back every bit as much! Thanks for being my Mom!

(Sorry it took me so long to post this today! )

Friday, March 24, 2006

A one elephant zoo

( Updated and reposted 3/07. I originally posted this and then saved it as a draft three hours later. Now a full year later I have decided to re post it and let it stand because chances are no one will go back and look at this except me. If you know me and know who this is, you know a year later things are really crazy! But the good news is the kids are safe for now. They are all three with a very sweet relative who wants nothing more than to give them security and love while helping them work past the tragic life they have lived for the last four years. I praise God everyday that those kids are away from their parents...for now anyway! )

For many weeks there have been some things weighing heavy on my mind, heart, and prayers. Things I can't exactly blog about or even talk about much. Giant invisible elephants I call them. Secrets or at least semi-secrets that should not be aired. I hate secrets. Today I have decided to let one out of it's cage. Maybe it is my new URL and distancing my name from my blog that is allowing me to do this. Or maybe I'm just a zookeeper who can only take care of one elephant at a time, but here it goes. (Besides it's Friday. No one reads these blogs over the weekend...right?)

Over Spring Break there was a drug raid on my street. I'm talking undercover cop cars lining the street and men in jeans and black flack jackets with their guns strapped to their thighs and waist prowling through the bushes and waiting to run in the house and search.... My sleepy little neighborhood does not see this type action. Ever. There are 24 kids on our street ages 6 months to 12 years. We are mostly young families with stay home moms and retired people. Until last Thursday, the biggest excitement on our block was when a teenager stopped for speeding down the street smelled of alcohol and the police called a patty wagon. That was two years ago.

Then there was last Thursday. It was scary, sad, and adrenaline pumping all at the same time. I watched former friends of mine be taken away in hand cuffs while neighbors kept their kids down the street. They found meth. I didn't know it was meth by name before last week, but I have watched something ruin a family over the last two or three years. Since I learned that something's name, I have been talking to people who deal with meth addicts trying to research and learn about the drug that has come to reside so close to my home. What I have found is terrifying!

Meth is not anything you just try once. It can be injected, ingested, smoked or snorted. It is highly addictive, fairly cheap compared to other drugs, and the high can last 6 to 8 hours (as compared to 30 to 60 minutes with heroine or cocaine). It ravages the brain with a dophamine overload. The body of a user "ages" one year for every two to three months of use. In one year the average meth user ages 5-6 years. Meth is an annorexiate meaning it kills the bodies desire to eat. Dramatic weight loss and a gaunt, malnourished, pale look are one of the first signs of meth abuse. Many users end up with a classic "meth mouth" as their teeth rot and fall out over the span of five years, sometimes faster.

Users experience the highest highs, and the lowest lows. Meth alters sleep patterns. In the beginning stages of abuse users can function for days on end requiring little or no sleep. After a few months users experience days and days of crashing where they can not stay awake and can sleep literally for days on end. In the beginning Meth increases one's sex drive in an unbelievable way. Eventually it depletes and completely kills ones sex drive all together. It alters and "burns out"nerve endings and receptors in the brain. Over time Meth use literally creates craters of dead brain cells that are visible in brain scans and are evident in autopsy's.

Read enough? It gets worse. Most rehab counselors paint a very dark picture when talking about recovery from meth addiction. In fact full recovery is almost unheard of. One counselor quoted in a Newsweek article said in 15 years of treating meth addicts he could not name more than five that were able to return to normal productive lives for more than a year without relapsing into a habbit or succumbing to the physical degeneration caused by years of meth abuse. Many meth users die young. AND what makes it worse is that Meth use is up to almost epidemic proportions in almost every age bracket from 12 years to 50! I won't even get into how easy and dangerous it is to make home made meth, except to say that it is highly explosive and the bi-products are lethal. Truly the information available with just a simple Google search is shocking.

Here is perhaps the saddest part of all this for me... Now that I know what has been going on with this family, I can't say I am too shocked. As weird as it was to see cops crawling all over my street and arresting people I know (that was a lifetime first for me), we have been expecting something like this to happen for a very long time. In fact I was afraid it would be something worse. There are kids involved in this situation. Kids who I have watched grow since they were babies. Kids whose lives have been turned up side down so many times in the last two or three years that they are almost unrecognizable. I have cried my self to sleep praying for them many times. I have butt in, confronted, drawn a line in the sand and tried to intervene every way I could think of. But, I gave up about a year ago. Nothing I said or did made any difference and in some ways it just made things worse.

I was a ball a nerves and so upset over this situation that for my own health and sanity (not to mention the health and safety of my family) Rob and I cut all ties with this family. We are pleasant, as we would be to any stranger, when we see them, but we have had to draw the line at that. It has been hard on my kids because these were their friends. It puts a damper on outdoor/ neighborhood play. But what it does to us is insignificant compared to what I fear has happened and is happening in that family.

Never before had I felt forced to say to someone that I could not be part of their lives or let my kids be part of their kids lives because they had made decisions and choices that put themselves, their children, and anyone who comes in contact with them in serious danger. It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. It is still hard when I look at the kids. Will those kids ever understand why I turned away from them? I constantly wonder if I did and am doing the right thing. My brain says yes, I have to protect my children and myself if I am to be of any use to anyone. But, my heart is never sure.

As a child of God, I know all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. We all need him and we all need forgiveness. I never want to put myself above another sinner. Loving people is hard, and messy, and sometimes dangerous. We are called to love the unlovable. As a Christian I struggle with the compassionate, loving but firm and not enabling response to this.

I don't know what all goes on with this family, but even from a distance, with only casual contact for the last year, I can see that whatever is going on is not good. I feel guilty for turning my back on these kids. I didn't want to. I tried not to. But I have to protect my kids. I am afraid of these people. Yet I still can't help but want to do something for those kids.

Luckily, I am not alone. I have several neighbors in the same boat. We have prayed about it, cried about it, and talked about it countless times. It helps to have community. My neighbor shared a devotional she was reading the other day about being God's person in the world. In it the author used a garden analogy saying when you work in the Garden, you don't get the mud glovey, you get your gloves muddy. After you work the soil and plant the seed you have to take the gloves out of the mud and cleanse them so that some day they can be used to plant again. You can't leave the gloves out in the mud. The gloves protect your hands and keep them clean. If you allow them to become saturated with mud and don't clean them, they can not do what they are intended to do.

This was helpful, but I find myself with so many questions. How many seeds do we plant before we cleanse? How long can the gloves stay in the mud before they become worthless to the gardener? Is it the gloves fault if the seeds don't grow? As Christians how long can we stay in the mud before we get so mucked up that we are no good to the Father? How many times should we try to sow seed in soil that is not fertile and does not want to be sown? When does God say it is OK for a Christian to walk away from another, even if they do so in hope that somehow God will reach that person, even if it isn't through them? Is it enough that we give a situation to God, and walk off? What if to the innocents left behind it looks like we are just walking off? How do you show you care and still remain separated? How do I shelter and protect my children without abandoning theirs? These are the questions that again fill my heart this morning.

One thing I keep coming back to is how very much we need God in our lives. All of us. I tend to get sidetracked from my walk with Christ and at times feel like Christianity is a badge I wear more than it is a honor I have been given and a way of life I practice. When I see how easy it is for someone to be led astray and how the actions of one person and ruin the lives of so many, I thank God that he is there for us all. He truly is the one pure love and the one true hope for this world.

My prayer is that God will find a way to rescue these children from the path set before them by their parent's choices. I pray that God will send just one person to them that is strong enough and stable enough to give them security, hope, discipline and above all, the self-sacrificing love they need. I pray that the Lord of all children will wrap his arms around anything innocent and loving left in that house and help it to grow and conquer the darkness that looms all around it. I pray that I do what HE wills me to do and that he gives me the vision to see his plan. I would love you to join me in those prayers if you feel so directed.

Prayers sent up of the back of an invisible elephant....
Thanks for letting me share. Thanks for being my community. Must go tend to the zoo now!

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I wanted to blog today but when I sat down to type...nothing!

Or maybe it's just that everything on my mind isn't good blog fodder? OR maybe I can't quite reach the key board for the invisible elephant sitting in my lap. Ever had one of those weeeks?

Still, for blogging purposes, I got nothin'!

What's up with you?

Monday, March 20, 2006

Name Game

Thought this looked fun!

1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: (first pet and current street name) Tinker Chapman
2. YOUR MOVIE STAR NAME: (grandmother's maiden name on your mother's side, your favorite candy) Whitaker Sweet Tarts
3. YOUR "FLY GIRL" NAME: (first initial of last name, first two or three letters of your first name) G. Ste
4. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite animal, name of high school)Bunny Central
5. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (middle name, city where you were born) K Garland
6.YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (first 3 letters of your last name, last 3 letters of mother's maiden name, first 3 letters of your pet's name) Grotonley
7. JEDI NAME: (middle name spelled backwards, your father's middle name spelled backwards) K Nodyroc

Bye Bye Spring Break!

Well it's over! Kolby is back in school and the daily grind has begun again. I would be lying if I didn't admit to being a bit happy about that... I have had both kids home for days on end on and off for weeks now and it's good to get back into the swing. From Tuesday on last week the weather decided not to be very Spring like. The last three days have been gray, cold and drizzly... not exactly ideal Spring Break weather! And of course it is sunny warm and beautiful today! :)

We still had a good Spring Break despite the weather. We didn't do allot, but somehow I managed to get allot done. Both kids closets are officially cleaned out and all the old clothes are stored or donated. We made some progress on Kolby's new room and bought some great items for that. AND's sad that I am so excited about this.... We bought two big rubber closet like storage cabinets for the garage. They are air tight and can be locked. AND THEY WERE ON A HALF PRICE SALE! Plus I had a 20% off coupon! I only had to spend a third of the money I had planned for these cabinets! :) Why does a good deal make me so happy? Now I can get serious about emptying the guest bedroom closet!

I do not like to clean out. I dread it and put it off forever, but when I actually bite the bullet and do it, NOTHING makes me feel better! I love it when my house is clean and everything is in it's place! I guess am a true neat person who has an incredibly high clutter tolerance. That tolerance has been reached and surpassed, so the next few months are going to be full of cleaning and purging our lives of things we do not need and clutter! :) It's safe to say I am nesting!

Changing the subject, I know most of you have had many unbloggable moments in your life. Last Thursday we had a bit of excitement in our neighborhood. Not good excitement. This is one of those things that I can't go into but it is weighing so heavy on my heart that I feel I need to mention it. There are three kids (ages 8 to 8 months) involved . Please just pray for the best possible thing to happen for these little kids. Rest assured my family and I are all ok and at this point I have decided to just avoid the situation. But still I hope and pray somehow God will find a happy ending for these kids. It's heartbreaking and I feel helpless to do anything about it. I am glad we have an all knowing, all loving God to give these situations over to! He is truly our Hope!

Off to start the Monday chauffeur schedule!
Hope your week has started off well!

Friday, March 17, 2006

You found me!

I tried several different URLs before finding one that was not taken. This one is a bit weird, but accurate! When you read this blog you are getting the SKEG (my initials) report! Please excuse the mess while I move. I hope to change my skin and add a few other features. We here at the skeg report are tirelessly working to become a bigger better blog! :) Hope you enjoy your spring break! :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Mommy moments...

I am trying to document this pregnancy better since it is the last. At 22 weeks I am really starting to feel like I am pregnant. Rob felt the baby kick Saturday morning and we made the mistake of telling the kids. Kolby and Rhett put their hands on my belly now anytime they think about it trying to feel a kick. It's cute, but slightly annoying when you are trying to get through the grocery store. I have fallen back in love with bubble bathes. I loathe maternity clothes! I guess they are a necessary evil, but it hacks me off to pay so much for such poorly made un-cute clothes!

Speaking of clothes, our house resemsbles a resale store at the moment. I am cleaning out years and years of kids clothing from the closets and attic boxes. Except for a small tub of precious keep sake baby items, I'm giving all of Rhett's clothes away. Kolby's clothes are harder since we may need them again. However I realize what Kolby wears now won't fit the baby for seven or so years at least, so I'm trying decide what is worth keeping that long. I don't like doing this, but it feels good to get it all sorted through and cleaned out!

We are also getting serious about a nursery. The plan is to re-do the guest room for Kolby and then refresh and update her current room for the baby's flower garden themed nursery. Kolby has had the same room since she was two. When we moved I did the exact same thing (including exact paint colors and white picket fence stenciled border) here in this house. It will be easy to turn her room into a nursery. I'm on the look out for cute flower garden type bumper pads and bedding for the baby's room. Pottery Barn Kids has some cute stuff, but I'm not completely sold. Any ideas?

Kolby has wanted a pink room since Kindergarten. I guess she is due a change. I hope to have her in her new room by May so we can have June to get the nursery ready. Rhett wants us to jazz his room up a bit too. I am trying to get a plan for that. His room has always had a baby boy/sports motif, but he wants a 100% total BIG BOY Sports room. No baby blue gingham with rocking horses for him! We may have to work on this after the baby comes.

I love decorating kids rooms! I have so much fun picking out paint, bedding and accessories then pulling it all together. Kolby's bedding is a generic multi-colored fun pattern (with lots of hot and baby pink) from Target. (Swell Pop Picnic if you want to take a look though it's cuter and brighter in person!) It's no longer in our store so I ordered it online this morning. We have some fun plans for her new room. She is so into this process and has been making detailed sketches of how she wants her room to look. I think she has been around me too long! :)

Back to the prego journaling thing. I thought it would be fun to record the things I crave right now. This list has changed a lot since the beginning but here is a list of the constants...

~Mrs Renfro's raspberry chipotle salsa mixed with 1/4 parts applesauce with HEB white corn tortilla chips.
~Fresh blueberry's with fat free vanilla yogurt topped with Kashi granola.
~Frosted Mini-wheats.
~Corn or Rice Checks with a dash of sugar (cereal is King in my house these days ).
~Rosa's fajitas or soft tacos.
~Cheddar's chicken & shrimp oriental salad.
~TCBY raspberry sorbet
~Schlotsky's ( no other brand does it for me) salt & vinegar chips.

Well off for more Spring break fun! We are having a little cold snap today so I think we will go catch a movie. I will change my url sometime this week, just not sure when. Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Everybody's doing it!

Have you noticed the rash of address changes in blogdom as of late? Well, I too am about to change the address of my blog. Some time in the next week I will make the switch. I'm doing this mostly for security and privacy reasons. I'm not leaving blogger, I just want my name off of my blog address. As soon as I get it all worked out, I will e-mail you guys the new address (send me your address if you want me to e-mail you) and then briefly post the new address on this old address site. I don't have the wizzardry of Greg Kendall Ball (btw, love Mike Cope's new site) to help with this move, so bear (not bare, sorry) with me! Just wanted to give you heads up.

We are really enjoying our Spring Break. Hopefully I will have a chance to post later in the week. I hope all of you have able to enjoy sunshine and wonderful weather as we have this week! God created a really beautiful world. Spring is a great time to enjoy it. Blessing to you all!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring Saturday

Today was our first official day of Spring Break! The kids celebrated by spending the night at my Moms last night. Rhett was calling us by 8:00am though as he was ready to come home and work in the yard with Dad. Of course Dad was asleep, but that didn't seem to matter to Rhett. Kolby, our little social butterfly, had two back to back birthday parties today and a very messy room to clean up before hand.

We have a new deal with Kolby. During the week we are not going to be picky about how she keeps her room, but she has to clean it up Saturday before she goes anywhere or does anything. From the amount of tears and numerous "failed inspections" we had before the 1pm party deadline, I'm not so sure this new system is working. Anyone have any ideas on how to get an 8 year old girl to keep her room and closet tidy WITHOUT TEARS?

Today was a busy one. Rob rented an aerator for our yard and my parents yard. Seems our ground is so hard that when we water, it runs off clear instead of soaking in. SOOO for the first time in our lives we aerated the yard. Well, Rob did anyway. Who knew we had to actually pay to do stuff like this when we grew up and owned a house? :) Rob's Saturday was spent in the two yards.

My Saturday was spent carpooling and running little errands. As I was leaving the mall to pick Kolby up from party # 2, I saw a family beside me in the parking lot unloading their three little girls. They looked awfully familiar. I rolled down my window and stopped backing out and asked "Are you Tracy?" YES that is right! I met my blog world friend TRACY in person!!! Tracy, Scott and the girls were parked right beside me at Dillards. What are the odds? Even though I couldn't talk for long, it was really great to meet Tracy and her family. The girls are just as beautiful in person as they are on her blog! Now I have a voice to go with a face. I actually think I saw her at HEB a week or so ago but at the time I wasn't sure and had a sick child with me. But now that I have met one bloggy friend, I want to meet more of you! I truly love my little blog family! ...But back to the day...

For the perfect ending to our Saturday, Mom kept the kids while Rob and I had a dinner date to a Steakhouse we have been wanting to try. They had good food but, I really just enjoyed getting to talk to my husband uninterrupted. Date nights are so important in a marriage. We vowed to try for more of them!

We capped the night off with a "survey" trip to Lowes. Though not very romantic, it was really good to get some of the "before the baby comes projects" mapped out and planned. We have barely had a chance to talk about any of these things before now. It was great just to stroll the aisles and talk without chasing down or keeping an eye on the kids. Please don't get me wrong. We love our kids and love to be around them, but breaks are nice!

Now as Rob and the kids sleep all snug in their beds, I am wide awake scheming through ideas and plans for things that need to be done in this house. It's funny how an hour in Lowes can get my creative, organizational, "do-it-yourself" juices flowing! Hopefully they will stop flowing soon so I can get some sleep!
Six more days of Spring Break ahead, Woo Hoo!
Hope you all had a fun, productive, beautiful spring Saturday!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

This Spud's for you!

Today at Kolby's school we celebrated the March birthdays of the faculty and staff and had a potato bar to supplement their lunch. We do something like this every month. These events are a favorite part of my Teacher Appreciation chair job for PTA. This month I picked a "This Spuds for You!" & Mr Potato head theme and coordinated with the Kindergarten parents to bring all the food. The Kindergarten coordinator and all the parents did a fantastic job! They brought all sorts of good toppings for the potatoes like steamed broccoli, chili, salsa and queso along with the normal chives, butter, sour cream, bacon bits and shredded cheese. This was one of my favorite events to date! See how it turned out below.

Last night I rolled and wrapped about 100 potatoes. Seriously! Since I don't really bake potatoes often ( I microwave them!) I called on the experts at Outback to tell me how to do bake potatoes. The manager told me to spray or roll them in butter flavored oil, roll them in sea salt, wrap then in foil and cook them directly on the racks at 350 for an hour to an hour & 1/2. Well I did just what he said. I woke up early this morning to turn on my two ovens and my Moms oven across the street. It worked perfectly! The potatoes were really good. They stayed warm in big coolers all day and the teachers loved them!

Problem is, it now looks like I made salt maps on the bottoms and sides of all three ovens. The Outback guy never mentioned that! Somehow the steam from the potatoes mixed with the sea salt, condensed on the sides and bottom, and baked into a great big mess! So if you use this method to cook potatoes, I suggest you put a pan underneath them! I guess I'll stop blogging now and start cleaning! :) Happy Thursday!

Twin messes in my double ovens!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Almost Normal

When is the last time I posted before 8am?

Last week I decided not to blog again until my little household was back to normal. After 4 weeks of illness and fever around here, well there wasn't much to say. Today Kolby went back to school after missing seven days with the flu/sinus infection. I despise being sick but I really can't stand it when my kids are sick and hurting. It's so great to see her feeling better!

I have to hurry because I am about to take Rhett in for some pretty extensive dental work. He will be totally knocked out, and most likely will be groggy for the better part of the day. No food or water this morning. So things aren't exactly back to normal, but close. Spring Break is just three little days away! WOOOHOOOO!

Praying for Donna's (DJG) daughter Diana and the triplets today!

Friday, March 03, 2006

701 W Pecan

(This is a history blog for future generations!)

Before I was two years old my grandparents, Caskey and Ruth Livingston, moved from Comanche, Texas, where they had only lived a few years, back to Coleman, Texas where they had lived most of their lives. Coleman is where my mom and aunt grew up. It is where my grandfather lived as a small boy. It's where my grandparents owned a grain and feed store and my grandfather served on the school board for many years. It's where my parents were married. Moving back was "moving back home."

They bought a 100 year old house that came to rest on 701 Pecan street after having recently been moved in town from the country. They totally gutted and re-did the entire house in a modern 70's way! (green linoleum and green countertops in the kitchen, paneling in the living room etc) It is the only house I ever remember them living in. Every square inch of that house is filled with some sort of memory. From my earliest memory ( I snuck out during nap time and walked to this house from my great-grandparents house two blocks away at age two and scared everyone to death!) to the first and last time I brought Kolby to Coleman as a baby/toddler...We had 30 years of memories in that house!

Some how, in the 30 years of visiting Coleman, we started an unofficial tradition of taking pictures on the steps of the front porch. My mom's scrapbooks are dotted with dozens of pictures of my cousins, my sister and me standing outside on the front steps of 701 W Pecan. We didn't even realize we did this for years and years! But if I were to go back and dig, I could probably find pictures on those steps from every year of my life up until the day our family sold the house in June 2000. Here are a few examples...

My cousins Ashley, Robby & Me and Puffy. I was probably 6 or 7 here. This is back when there were just the three of us.

Eight years, and 3 more cousins later, all the grandkids are joined by Mom, Sue, Nana & Grandaddy. I think this was taken on a Sunday afternoon just before we loaded up to head home. We met in Coleman several weekends a year just to do it. Most holidays were spent here too!

I think this picture is from April 1995. All the cousins Sunday after church with Nana and Grandaddy.

My Grandfather died in March 1997. The following December, my parents retired from their jobs in San Angelo (where I had lived my entire life until marriage, except college ) and moved to Coleman. Mom re-did the house again, updating and remodeling the kitchen and bathrooms, painting all the walls and sprucing up the outside of the house. 701 W Pecan was our destination for Kolby's first ever over night road trip in March of 1998. It was the first place she ever stayed over night without her mommy! 701 for Kolby was Mama K & Papa's house. For me it was always, and will always be Nana and Grandaddy's!
Papa, Sari, me, Kolby & Mama K on the steps of 701 in October 1999.

My parents lived in Coleman with my grandmother for a few years before deciding to move to Waco to be in a bigger town and to be closer to my aunt and cousins. Nana was getting a bit difficult to handle and Mom and Dad needed back-up. Nana moved with them but not with out much drama and protest. They sold the house at 701 W Pecan. We were sad to see it go in ways, but excited that my parents were moving closer to us (we were in the Keller area) and all my family in Waco. My mom and aunt always wanted to live in the same town and were finally getting their wish! It was a bittersweet time.
This was the picture I took just before leaving 701 for the last time in 2000.

Two months ago my grandmother died after a long ugly battle with dementia. We all went to Coleman one last time. I can't tell you the rush of memories that awaited my cousins and me on every street corner of that sleepy little town. Trip highlights were eating at the Dairy Queen where we always ate at least once a Coleman visit for all those years. Even a late night trip to The Shopping Basket (the only Grocery Store in town) brought back a flood of memories of shopping with Nana in better years. But my favorite part of the trip came when all of my cousins and our kids walked down the street from the funeral home to visit the house at 701W Pecan.

The lady who bought the house from my parents died a year or two ago but her kids have kept the house as a get away and gathering place. They were not home but didn't mind us looking around. We went in the back yard and showed the kids the peach tree where Sari and Amber got their first and only spanking from Grandaddy when they picked ALL the immature green peaches trying to help. I think they were 5. We showed them the spot where Robby got hit in the head and had to get stitches. While he, Ashley and I were "stoning"a wasp, little 4 year old Robby decided to retrive the rock he had just thrown and was hit in the head with one of ours. We all had a good laugh looking at the white wall on the back porch that a young Stephanie decided to spatter-paint with a bottle or two of barbecue sauce and enlisted the help of an even younger Ashley and Robby. So many stories! So many memories!

But perhaps my favorite moment came when we lined all our kids up on the front porch steps of 701 W Pecan for a late Sunday afternoon group picture. Now they share in our history. They are forever captured and immortalized on those steps!
This is one of my absolute favorite pictures! Eight little cousins sitting where some other little cousins stood not too long ago. (Seven of these eight children are the offspring of these three pictured here. Can you tell just by looking who goes with who? )

As we start to prepare for baby girl Grosz, aka cousin #9, I've thought a lot about our family and our traditions. Rob and I hope to set some new traditions and incorporate some from both our families. We've already started with our kids. Someday I would love to have a "picture place" like we had on the front porch steps of my grandparents house. One thing I know for sure, after this baby is born and old enough to travel, I hope to stop by Coleman and take a picture of my three kids on the steps of 701 W Pecan!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Let the sun shine...but not on the cob webs!

(Pouty warning! :) Kolby is still home today because she had fever all night again. I think she is feeling better though, and if we can "home school" her way through four days of missed school lessons today, she may return tomorrow! YEAH!!!!! I haven't had a sick free, kid free, day in four weeks! FOR THE LOVE!

We had to turn the air conditioner on again last night. My word it was 77 degrees in the house! I guess spring has sprung! I am ready for some sunshine. I am hoping the warm weather will chase away all the illnesses that have been plaguing my friends and family over the last month or so...Actually it has been a hard winter illness wise! I won't list all the illnesses here because it would depress me, but I will say we have purchased five prescriptions of Tami-flu alone.... Not to mention the countless amounts of tylenol, motrin, amoxicillian and of course SPRITE we have gone through. Thank you God for drive-through pharmacies! I'M SO READY FOR SPRING!!!

Problem is, with spring comes SPRING CLEANING! And did I mention I am starting that nesting phase? You know I'm sort of ADD and tend to get a bit overwhelmed in the face of huge projects and house altering clean-ups. Well, looking ahead to the next four months, I have a huge project scheduled for each month. Each requires a house altering clean-up of sorts. I would rather move.

I'm trying to make a list of three things and just get those done and not focus on anything else. (One of those learned ADD coping skills.) But, the overwhelmed-ness keeps creeping up on me. Why do I stress about such things? Why does it matter if the house is a total disaster and my kids can't walk in their walk in closets? Does anyone care that my kitchen resembles a war room? Don't grape juice stains add character to carpet? If I keep all the clothes in my closet for another ten years, they might be back in and I might be able to fit in them all....Right? Does it really matter if we can barely park one van in a two and half car garage? Why do I care? I DON'T KNOW! But I do, and it does!

I was hoping for some type intervention from CLEAN SWEEP but, I have six rooms in need of a clean sweep not just two... And I heard they only do the real CLEAN SWEEP in California. I would even take an Extreme Home Makeover about now, but seriously, my life is not sad enough for that! I'm just a whiney, messy, ADD inflicted, procrastinator with dreams of a clean, orderly, well decorated house. So unless some TV crew shows up to save the day, or someone decides to have a Spring Break Campaign visit my house, (which again I totally do not deserve) it's my mess and I have to clean it up!

Here we list, three items, one at a time. WISH ME LUCK!!!!!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Day of prayer

Some of my favorite bloggers are participating in the blogger day of prayer today. I'm not real comfortable posting my prayers for you guys here. But today I took some time to pray for each and every one of you who are in my links. From Mike Cope all the way down to Val & Kendra. Mostly, I am thankful for all of you who have become my blog family. Who knew a goofy old computer could help me connect with so many wonderful brothers and sisters?! You guys make me think. You inspire me. You support me, cheer for me and you pray for me! It's just incredible! As I thank God for each of you who have typed your way into my life, I also thank you! You are such a great support and inspiration system for me! If any of you have a specific request that you haven't mentioned on your blogs or posted somewhere, please leave a comment or zap me an e-mail. It is a pleasure to be able to pray for you! Cheesy as it sounds, I really do love you guys!

Thank you God for my blog family. Really, truly, thank you!!!