Saturday, December 29, 2007

HAPPY NEW YEAR

This will be my last post of 2007. I hope it has been a good year for you. I also hope that 2008 will bring you much joy and love and bring you closer to our Father.

When she was 16, Amy Grant wrote the words to the second song on my playlist. I believe she was inspired to write those words at such a tender age. I first heard this song before I was a teenager and it continues to speak to me all these many years later. In fact it means much more today than it did back then. As I pen my 2008 New Years Resolutions, it helps me to remember all I ever have to be is what HE makes in me.

God bless you as you and yours ring in the New Year!

WOO HOO! 2008!

Oh, and just listen to the chorus of ABBA's "Happy New Year..."
I love ABBA and this song, but the lyrics are a bit bleak in places! (1989. I was a freshman at ACU! WOW! )

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Holiday Slide Show/The After Tour

Though it is really too late in the game for Boo Mama's Holiday tour, I thought I would post my own little holiday after tour.

SO... For your viewing pleasure, here is a little glimpse inside our house decorated for the holidays. I did not get to put out my Christmas Village this year because it is too breakable for little EK. We also had to move some of the more breakable/precious decorations up and out of EK's reach. I made everything as unbreakable as possible! All the ornaments hanging from the chandeliers are plastic.

Hope you had a great Christmas!




P.S. I refuse to get out of my pajamas today... Anyone else up for declaring the day after Christmas "National PJ Day"?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

I am still trying to post the slide show of my Christmas decorations but having some issues with Slide and don't want to upload them all to blogger because it takes too long. So... sometime in the next few days I will get those pictures up. BUT in the mean time, I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas one last time. I will be out a lot this week. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas with your families!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coming (Not So) Soon...

Revised. We interrupt the regularly scheduled "solo tour de holiday home" to bring you a sick baby, two school Christmas parties and various other small crises. Stay tuned as we should be back to our regular scheduled program by Saturday... Lord willing and the creek don't rise!

Ok. I could not get it together to participate in Boo Mama's tour of homes (like the almost 400 people who did get it together participate... Did you know there were so many Mommy bloggers?) But in the spirit of keeping up with the latest blog trends (ha!) and all things Christmas, I decided to have my own little tour. Tomorrow. If you want to join along on your blog, just post pictures of your decked halls on Thursday...or Friday...or even Saturday. We'll be here all week! (Tracy and Jenni~ You can just leave yours up a bit longer.)
No need to link or post a code. Just leave a comment here and I will be sure to drop by. Oh, and if you want to include a favorite recipe, that would be fun, but not necessary. And... there is still time to join Boo Mamas merry band. I assure you her tour will get you far more blog traffic than my little knock-off low tech tour! So check back later and hopefully I will have posted my own little holiday tour of home.
Now go deck those halls and take lots of pictures!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another birthday... all ready?

38

uuuggghhh!
Birthdays stopped being something I looked forward to about 7 years ago. I feel like a birthday scrooge . I'm sort of wishing I could forget this day... But don't tell my kids. I would hate to ruin their fun. Rhett was so excited last night about the surprise he helped pick out for me. Kolby has been dieing to tell me what my present is, but she hasn't. Even Rob has had a hard time not letting the cat out of the bag... I hope it is not a cat! :)
It's not easy having a child/sibling/spouse/parent born a week before Christmas, but my family always manages to make me feel very loved and special. I am grateful for all the days God has blessed me with. I pray I put them to good use and make the most of this coming year!
38?
uuuggghhh.
addendum:
AND To answer Angela... I got this. There is a story behind it, but that's another blog.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Card Picture Attempts

So... 

I tried to use this Halloween picture for our Christmas Cards. I had a whole "Holiday Howdy" thing worked out (remember we are from Texas)  and they were so cute.  
  But Wal-Mart had issues and would not let me have my cute Holiday Howdy cards. I got to see one just before they threw all 100 of them into the shredder. Dadgum copyright laws! I should have known better.
So we had to start all over. 
Since it was too cold to do outside pictures today, and we have already seen Santa once this year, Rob and I were forced to dress the kids up and get a classic "in front of the tree picture"  for our Christmas cards (which may not make it by Christmas!)  I am happy with the picture we decided to use, but getting it was quite an ordeal!
Here are pics that did not make the card this year....


There is a common denominator in all of these failed attempts and her name is Ella Kate! At one point Rhett, who really does not like picture taking sessions, asked if we could just send a picture without EK.  After all these years he and Kolby have this picture thing down. Of course I said absolutely not! We have to have all three kids! 
But getting a great picture of three? Unheard of!  People ask why Rob and I are never in our Christmas card pictures. We can not get a good picture of three people, five would be impossible! So for now I hope people will be happy just to see the smiling faces of my babies. 
Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Music

I love it. 

Can you tell? 
What are your favorite Christmas albums? songs? 
Happy Friday! 

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I Christmas 13?

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.  

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook. 
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my neighbors, it profits me nothing. 
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point. 
Love stops the cooking to hug the child. Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband and pet the dog (and cat). Love is kind, though harried and tired. Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. 
Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way. Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t. 
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.
I Corinthians 13 – a Christmas Version (Source unknown)

My Mom often forwards me inspirational e-mail.  This is what she sent today. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The List (& Photo Update)

Updated with photos at noon.
This is the list going to the North Pole this year...

Kolby (always our big ticket girl) said she didn't really want all this but wanted to give "Santa" lots of ideas, wink, wink!
A real lap top (ha!)
A real working cell phone (not!)
A video camera
High School Musical Barbies (still my little girl)
Paint-tastics
A Be-Dazzler (really!)
The Webkinz Reindeer
Gift card to Justice or Limited Too
Video rocker chair like the one Rhett wants
Cool brown boots
I-pod gift card for some more music
Dogz DS game book
Books that are not for little kids

Rhett said since he has to take toys to everyone, Santa can just pick one thing and "Mom can get the rest..."
Video Rocker Chair
Ratatouille PS game
Black or Chocolate Lab Wedkinz
Cars race set from Target
Blue Razor
Mario Party DS game
Transformer Optimus Prime that shoots
New markers
More brainteaser cards
Some boy books ( I guess he thinks we only have girl books?)
Basketball shoes and a new blue (?) basketball
Tony Romo Jersey
A gift card to Target or Sports Authority(my kids love gift cards)
A new room (Yes, I still have not finished that...)

Ella Kate (as supposedly dictated to her brother and sister)
Moe moe (Elmo)
shewz (shoes)
oh bay (baby)
baw (ball)
Foon (phone)
a car (EK loves the Barbie convertable bug ride-on at they have out at Wal-Mart, so her sibs added this one for her)
a kitchen (she loves to open and shut the doors, but can not say this one)

We'll see what Santa delivers!

Even though she gets the whole Santa thing, Kolby asked if I wanted her to ask for a bench for the front yard. ( I have been saying I want to add a park bench to the front landscape.) I thought it was sweet that both kids wanted to add a "new truck for Dad" to their list. I told them that we didn't need to add Mom and Dad stuff to Santa's list. Both Kolby and Rhett also wanted to add about a dozen things to Ella Kate's list. They have been very alarmed that so far EK doesn't have as many presents under the tree as they do.

When we put a Santa letter in our mail box (with or without postage) our mail carrier leaves a note for the kids telling them that their letter was sent on a special North Pole express and it should get there overnight! That is so fun!

So, what's on your list?

Oh and here are some pictures of our season so far.
The Striped Christmas Tree. Every few days another strand of lights goes out. Hopefully we will still have lights on the 25th!
Kolby and Rhett were in a little program at church last week. Rhett sang with the little deers. (For ACU people : The little dear laughing hysterically in the front is the daughter of MK & K Gunn. She looks just like her daddy, but as exhibited here, has a lot of MK in her too!)
Kolby sang with the chorus and shared a few speaking lines with her cousin Sam. (and the daughter of blog lurker cp)

All the Cousins. If my grandparents were alive today they would have such fun with their nine great grandchildren.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Gift

I love buying gifts. I love giving presents to my kids. It thrills me to see them thrilled, delights me to see them delighted, and tickles my soul to hear them laugh. And our kids will have a great Christmas. Not as great as some, but still a great Christmas. I think it is one of the sweetest privileges of parenthood to get to experience Christmas with kids. I love it.

But I was thinking the other day about the best "gifts" I can give my kids and honestly, none of them can be wrapped. I'm not writing this post to sound like a know it all, got it all figured out parent. Anyone who knows me knows I'm not that! But I have found when I write my intentions down, think them through and discuss them with others, I do better at carrying them out. So in no exact order, these are some of the gifts I want to give my children...

A mother who prays for them everyday.
A mother who prays with them everyday.
Hugs. Every morning. Every night. And as many as I can squeeze in between.
The memory of my face lighting up when they enter a room. (not easy some days!)
I want them to see that I love God.
I want them to see how much I love their Daddy.
Laughter.
Safety.
The knowledge that I will love them no matter what.
A happy childhood.
A healthy work ethic.
A compassionate heart.
Jesus.
The belief that God loves them more than any human ever could and will never abandon them.
An example of faith that chooses to believe even when it does not understand.
A view of the world that encompasses poverty, illness, and tragedy, yet still inspires hope.

Pretty tall order?
Yes!
I admit the wish list I hold in my heart for my kids overwhelms me at times. There are days when it is painfully obvious that I am not worthy of the trust God showed in me when he made me their mother. I am not all that wise, or strong, or disciplined, or patient, or even caring.
Sometimes I think I work harder to give my kids material things because I am not sure how I am doing with the deeper gifts. As hard as it is to afford the latest gadget, it's much easier to buy a Wii than to breed a compassionate heart. I mean really, how do you do that?

Where am I going with this? (Not where I thought when I started!) I guess I am going to the same place every Christ loving parent or child of God goes when the questions get too deep and the tasks at hand seem too big. To the Father. The giver of life. The author of Love and Grace. And I pray that when I fall short, because that is just inevitable, that HE will be there to give my children just what they need. And I believe that HE will. Faith that HE will love and parent my children. That is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received.
As I said, I love gifts!

So I have a gift challenge for you... In this busy "season of giving" I would be most honored if you would give me the gift of your advice or experience in giving or getting some of the unwrapable (is that a word?) gifts I mentioned above in comments. What is one of the best unwrapable gifts you were given growing up?

T
he greatest gifts are the ones we share... So share already!

Happy gift giving!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Tagged

It was 80 degrees here on Saturday, then suddenly it was 40, cold and windy on Sunday. I bought a fleece pullover from Old Navy last week. Yesterday I pulled it out of the bag, cut the tags and pulled it on before heading out the door to take the two older kids shopping and to a birthday party.

We went in Toys-R-Us and the alarm at the front door went off. The Toys-R-Us lady decided it was my cell phone(doesn't everyone have a cell phone?) and let us enter. The alarm went off again as we left. We stopped. The workers went through my bag and purse, decided it was the digital camera I had in my purse, and let us leave. The same thing happened at Target and then again at Barnes and Noble. After we set off the alarm for the sixth time in a day on the way out, the B&N sales guy asked me if I was wearing anything from Old Navy. When I said I was he told me that sometimes there is a tag in Old Navy clothes that sets off store alarms.

Sure enough. After leaving the store, I felt the inside of my fleece pullover and found a white tag with navy blue (how appropriate) capital letters that read "REMOVE BEFORE WASHING OR WEARING." And now, four hand bag checks later, I know why!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Two for Tuesday

Revised a 100 times in ten minutes just because...
One of the main reasons I blog is to record the happenings of our little family, as I know someday I will want to remember this special time in our lives. So to that end here are two of my most recent funny mommy memories...

Last Tuesday was one of those busy errand running days when Ella Kate was in her car seat or the front of a shopping basket almost all day. So after hours of being confined, I decided to let Ella Kate walk when we went in Mardel to buy the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. There is a little kid section in the front of the store where there are some toys, a reading stage and benches, and a Thomas the Train train table with cars. EK was so excited to see the toys, that I decided to take a few minutes to let her play.
There were two other Moms there with two kids who were about EKs age or younger. These Moms were engrossed in a deep and sorta personal conversation. There was no place for me to sit without hearing everything and unwillingly inserting myself into their conversation. I walked the edge of the play area for a few minutes before trying to sit the furthest away from them that I could. I got a polite but firm "we're talking here" look, so I got up and re-circled the play area.
In the mean time, EK was trying desperately to make friends with one of these women's daughters who looked to be about four to six months younger. EK acted as if she knew this little blond haired girl who was wearing red Squeakers (shoes that squeak with each step) and was trying desperately to "talk" to her. At first this amused both me and the other mothers.
Now if you do not know EK personally, you may not know of her incredible infatuation/preoccupation with shoes. The girl has loved shoes since birth. She watches peoples feet and studies their shoes. She will even walk up to total strangers and touch their shoes. Really, I have never seen anything like it.
So there we were in the kiddie section of Mardel with strangers who are amused but not exactly welcoming, and EK has moved from attempting conversation to trying to "love" the little Squeaker wearing girl by giving her hugs and kisses. However, the Squeaker girl has no idea who EK is and is trying to run away from her, shoes squeaking the whole way. This tickled EK to no end. Laughing with glee EK set out to catch the girl. Being that Squeaker girl was younger and not as fleet of foot as our EK, she was no match. In a flash EK tackled Squeaker girl in a huge bear hug landing on top of her saying "ooohhh lub" (oh love) the whole time.
Of course this terrified the girl and her mother. But before I could jump the pint-sized reading benches to save Squeaker girl from EK's affection, EK pulled the girl's Squeakers off! It appeared that EK did not want to love Squeaker girl, just her shoes! The second she got them off the girl, EK started running. For a 16 month old, EK is pretty fast. For a mom in her late 30's, I'm not. So I found myself running through Mardel chasing my laughing, Squeaker stealing, daughter as her victim lay tackled, shoeless, and screaming bloody murder in kiddie section. It was one of those sit-com like, horrifyingly hilarious and yet, highly embarrassing moments of mommy-hood that I never saw coming.
I caught EK, pried the shoes out of her hands, and carried her kicking and screaming back to the kiddie section to return the Squeakers to her traumatized victim. After an awkward apology and quick "shoe fascination" explanation, I carried my still kicking and screaming EK to the front of the store and put her in a shopping basket. Heart broken and defeated, crying "Peez mama. Mama peeeeeeez!" (please, please!) EK thrust out her hands and wrenched her body towards Squeaker girl almost toppling the whole shopping cart! EK's pathetic pleas fell on deaf, or at least too dumbfounded and embarrassed to hear, ears. I quickly picked up a nativity set and with both hands on the buggy to keep it from toppling, checked out. We may never show our faces in Mardel again.
Walking to the car I was very worked up when I called Rob. Humiliated and almost teary I blurted out "Our baby girl just tackled a toddler in Mardel and tried to steal her shoes!"
Loud laughter ensued.
And we are still laughing about it.
Maybe Santa should bring EK some Squeakers?

The second story, not quite so long, is about Rhett. But a little background first. In our house the hand held Nintendo DS gaming system is king of all toys. Rhett and Kolby each have a DS. If you are not familiar with DSs, you can play the same game on two or three separate DS's simultaneously. You can also "text" messages or pictures drawn with DS pens from one DS to another. It's called pict-o-chatting.
Sari has a friend named Jim who Rhett loves to play DS with. Jim uses Kolby's DS. Last week Jim was at a conference for work and won a Nintendo DS of his very own. I told Rhett about it knowing he would be fired up. He was.
"We can play three players on Mario Carts! AND (excitement building in his voice) I can pict-o-chat with Jim!" Rhett said, pausing excitedly, "Well, I have to learn to write first!"
Minor detail.
That boy cracks me up.
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Just the 3rd?

It feels like it has been December for a while now. Not just three days. Anyone with me on that?

Not much news here. I ended up staying in town this weekend instead of going on my families Fredricksburg girl weekend for many reasons. EK was sick, Rob had papers due, and I was so tired from being up with a croupy(sp?) baby that I just didn't have it in me to go. So I stayed home and took the kids to the movies so Rob could study and get stuff done. We saw Bee Movie and Enchanted and enjoyed both. It was a good low key weekend.

Lots going on this week... We (Kolby and Rhett) start basketball. Rob has a business trip and two finals for school. Kolby and Rhett are in the church Christmas program this Friday. My sister comes back from a three week show and has a visitor this weekend... The calendar is pretty full from here until Rob has his big shoulder surgery on the 20th.

Ho, ho, how in the heck and I going to do Christmas without Rob and his shoulder? He needs to have this done but the selfish side of me is asking "During CHRISTMAS? Really?"

So I am trying to get it all done before the 20th. And by "all done" I mean everything bought, put together,wrapped, out of the attic, decorated, planned, cooked. EVERYTHING DONE by the 20th. Seriously.

Gotta run!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Not away from the Manger anymore...

One of the many great things about having a 16 month old in the house at Christmas is being able to witness Christmas for the first time again through her eyes.  It tickles my heart to get to see her "aah" (or in her case "oooohhh") at each new thing that comes along in the season. The other day we were looking at something with a Santa Claus on it and I asked "Ella Kate can you say Santa?" and said it very slow several times.  

Rhett walked by and asked what I was doing. I explained that we are going to get to teach Ella Kate all about Christmas this year and continued my "SANTA" speak.  On his way out of the room Rhett said "Don't you think we should teach her Jesus first?" 
gulp!
Yeah. 
We should. 
I don't think Rhett meant to rock my world or make any great theological statement with his statement/question. It was a very uncharacteristic thing for him to say and he was gone before I realized what he had said. But I have not been able to get those words out of my mind... Don't you think we should teach her Jesus first? 
I grew up in a Christian tradition that did not think it was Christian to celebrate Christmas as Christ's birthday. The irony of that last sentence and that whole way of thinking now blows me away. It was so backwards because we still celebrated Christmas.. just with Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and gifts, but not with baby Jesus. And we thought people who did were wrong. 
Even though I lived it, it now makes no sense to me why anyone would think it is more Christ-like to celebrate with Santa and not Jesus.  Did I really believe that? 
I don't blame my parents, or really anyone else, because they were doing what they thought was right at the time. I am glad most in that same "tradition" have re-evaluated and decided Christians can and should center Christmas, as well as most every other event in life, around Christ.  I find it very hard to relate to the those who still think celebrating Christ during Christmas is un-Christian... but that is another blog. 
For me, coming out of the the "no Christ in Christmas thing" is sort of like people in the 60's and 70's coming out of racism from a purely theoretical view only! Just like those who grew up considering other human beings less human because of their skin color could not imagine why or how they ever felt or believed that way, I too cringe at the past.  But just because you don't believe or feel that way, it's still not so easy to "make friends" with the thing you avoided for years. It takes time and purposed thinking.
However, even though I want Christ to be the center of our Christmas, I do not think that Santa is all bad. I do not think you have to leave Santa out of Christmas to be a good Christian and have problems understanding Christians who are anti-Santa. I like Santa and the idea of Santa. My kids still get presents from Santa on Christmas morning and we have Santa pictures made every year. I have all sorts of Santa's all over my house.  Though I am not sure how to feel about the whole "is Santa real thing", I don't want to leave Santa out of our Christmas.
To add to my Christmas confusion, over the top materialism steeped in commercialism under the guise of capitalism has made Christmas the great national economic make-or-break season. Consumerism has nothing to do with  Christ or Santa Claus. Sometimes I feel like Christmas has become a big celebration of the dollar, a season when our actions teach that happiness comes from gifts and love and affection are measured by the amount of money you spend on gifts, entertaining and decorations for your family, friends and loved ones. I don't want to be a part of that, but we all are to some extent. Like it or not.
So what do we want to teach Ella Kate about Christmas?  Though I don't profess to have all the answers, to help with this I gave the kids an early present yesterday. They opened it and have had a great time playing with it, especially Ella Kate. She loves to stack, rearrange, chew-on, carry around and even play hide and seek with the pieces. It's one of those thing I want them to enjoy during this and many Christmas seasons to come.
And no, a toy nativity scene does not answer all the questions and issues out there about Christmas. 
But in my own house, 
in my own way, 
no matter what the season, 
I want to try to always show my children Jesus first.  
Merry Christmas! 

Monday, November 26, 2007

Merry Christmas

revised a bit at noon, just because...
I heard this song by Third Day last night and it made me cry.. and smile... and think of a couple of friends of mine. I added my friend Julie to my blog list a few weeks ago after reconnecting with her at Farm Fest. Julie and her family are in the process of adopting a little girl from the Ukraine. This song also made me think of Kolby's good friend who was adopted from China and my PTA friend who has adopted two precious girls from China. There are many other 'dopted (per Rhett) friends we know and love.

My Dad was adopted. Adoption was not as accepted back in that day. I think he felt like a black sheep at times when he was with his extended family. (Some even put clauses like "blood relatives" in their wills! Can you imagine? Not the type people I would want to spend Christmas with! ) However his parents could not have loved him any more.

Adoption has come a long way since the 1940's! And I think families who adopt kids are special in God's eyes because all but one of God's children were adopted! And to think he sacrificed that one to free the rest of us. He could not love us any more! We are a big global family. And even though we can still feel like black sheep when we get with other brothers and sisters in Christ, God sacrificing his only son washed our black fleece white as snow. God loves us as he loves his son. What a gift! Something to think about as many in our world celebrate (even if it is brief and superficial) the birth of Jesus! What a true boost to the real spirit of Christmas!

Oh, and go check out Julie's blog! She and her hubby plan to journey to the Ukraine this March to meet their daughter. I can scarcely imagine what they are feeling and the anticipation... Won't it be fun to get to tag along through the magic of blog land! I can't wait to see the first pictures of Miss Halle Grace!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cold and Rainey

And I LOVE it!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving finds me pretty far along in the self prescribed Christmas spirit therapy I blogged about last week. Though I have not watched "It's a Wonderful Life," I have listened to Christmas music. Yesterday morning I got up very early and went shopping. I had not planned on it. But I woke up at 5am and could not go back to sleep and thought I might as well. After all, I knew Rob and the kids would be fine without me since they were sleeping and I only wanted to go to Target. So I went.

I did save money but it wasn't the sale prices that really drew me in. I mostly bought things I was going to get anyway, and some were not on that great of a sale. It was just the idea of being able to shop in my sweats without make-up, without the kids, and with-out a deadline, while getting things scratched off my list early... that's what motivated me to face the crowds!

There were CROWDS! The line was the longest I have ever seen in my life. I had no idea that many people could fit in Target! I almost left, but could not figure out where I would go and since I was there... I had a great time. The big crowds were happy and I thought it was sorta fun. I was in the store by 6:10am and out by 7:30am! I did get some bargains. We did not buy a printer when we got the new computer even though the old one was dead. So I picked up a printer for less than the cost of my old ink cartridge refills. I also got some great towels for our "new" bathroom. AND {THIS IS BIG} I finished Christmas shopping for all the kids on my list! REALLY!

What I did not get in the stores yesterday morning, I finished on-line when I got home with free shipping! No more venturing out to toy stores or electronic stores waiting for that certain something to come in. I only have five adults left to buy for! YEAH! So I may be crazy for getting up and out so early, but I am really happy about it today...and I slept for 12 hours last night!

We also put our tree up last night. It is one of those pre-lit 9 ft things that takes up half the living room and requires both Rob and I to lift and assemble. (Even though I know it is better for the environment, we do not have real trees because there are three asthmatics who live in this house who all seem to be allergic to real trees.. and we like to breathe during the month of December!) There is a lot of fluffing to do, but after it's up I love plugging it in and finding all the lights glowing perfectly in place. I have loved this tree since Rob gave it to me as an early birthday present five years ago. But last night as we assembled each section, there were black out areas. The lights just would not come on. We jiggled each bulb and tested the little circuits in the plugs, but nothing. Luckily we could turn the sections around to where the black spots were in the back...until we reached the top. The whole top section was out. We tried to revive it for an hour. Then I went to Walmart and bought a box of lights. Rob wrapped them on and we stuck it up. It will do for this year, but I am going to be searching those after Christmas sales for a new tree for next year.

So it isn't even December and most of my presents are bought and the tree is lit and standing... ornaments should be on by Sunday night. I'm in a good place! What a difference a week can make! Don't get too envious of my new "ahead of the Christmas game" status... I still have to decorate the rest of the house, decorate outside (but not today!) and then get the traditional Christmas picture/card process rolling.... But I will be a bit more chipper doing it now that I have a handle on the Christmas season. And the sudden change in our weather sure helped! I could not get into Christmas when I was wearing short sleeves and sweating! But snuggled up at home in my thick socks and comfy sweaters... This is great Christmas mood weather!

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Yeah! It's Monday!

So we survived. We had the appraisal. It went well. The man said our house would have no problem appraising for what we wanted.  I was way over anxious about the whole "inspect and take pictures part." 


We almost finished the bathroom (pictures will follow when it is COMPLETELY done.) Of course I had about 20 more things I wanted get done on my list of to do's, but that is not too unusual these days. I was whining about not getting everything on my list done more often than not in front of my Dad a few nights ago. He wisely said "Make shorter lists." Hmmm? Could it really be that simple? Food for thought...

Anyway my house is clean, which is always a good going into the holiday season. I think we will try to get the Christmas tree up this weekend.  I can not for the life of me get into the Christmas spirit! Maybe it is because it is still in the high 70s or 80s most days? And I have not bought a single present? In fact I don't even have a list!  To cure myself of the "bah hum-bugs",this week I plan to start playing Christmas music, watch It's a Wonderful Life and buy at least four Christmas presents. I am really excited (maybe a  bit scared?) about how Ella Kate will react to all the Christmas decorations! One of her new favorite things is to say "ooohhh!" or even "oh Owe!"  (oh wow) She is at such a fun age! 

OK a fun age, but she is seriously making her guardian angel work over time!  I have looked up to find her near the street in our front yard several times lately. She loves to climb up and dance on top of the kitchen table when we look away. She puts everything in her mouth... still! It's a challenge to keep up with her. 

The other day I searched the house and after 20 minutes of not finding EK almost called 911 thinking she had been abducted.  The doors to Rhett's and Kolby's rooms were closed so I did not think she was in there, but finally I looked anyway. The first run through in Rhett's room I did not see or hear anything. But the next time (with tears streaming) I paused from screaming out her name in panic mode long enough to hear a rustle of the sheets in the tent that covers the top bunk.  When I ripped the flap back, there she was and she died laughing! I was so glad to find her I just started crying and laughing and scolding all at the same time. She thought I was a wacko!  

Ella Kate is a hider and I am her favorite though unwilling seeker. We have repeated this 'game' imany times. A few times I have been in sheer terror/ panic mode before finding her. I hope to learn all her favorite hiding places before I have a coronary. Motherhood is not for the faint of heart! 

The kids get out tomorrow for THANKSGIVING!  YEAH!  We have much to be thankful for this year. I am a blessed woman. I love that there is a holiday made just for being thankful! Hope you all have a large serving of gratitude along with your turkey, football and (if you are crazy enough to brave the "black Friday crowds") shopping! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Home is where the...

MESS IS!!!!!
Rant/Vent warning!

My house is a disaster. It is much harder to remodel by myself and keep up with a 16 month old and a busy family at the same time than I thought. I have been trying to do things at night but I am not getting much sleep and am pretty worthless the next day. It's going slow. I've made some big mistakes. I need tools we do not have. Nothing is finished. This project is getting to me.

Yesterday I got a call from the appraiser who I thought was just going to do a drive-by appraisal on our house... But no. He called to make an appointment with me as a walk through has been requested by the mortgage company for our re-fi. (Did I mention we are re-financing and going to save a whole lot of $$$ every month? Yeah!!)
"A walk through? " I ask looking over piles of drop clothes, mounds of sanding dust, carpet that was once white and is now grayish brown, and acres of trim and walls that need to be painted.
" Yes. We will come in and measure, check out your major built in appliances, look at the general condition of the house and take some pictures. It shouldn't take more than an hour."
Did he say pictures!!!??? He is going to take PICTURES...of MY HOUSE...on the INSIDE! I resisted the urge to faint and talked him into waiting to come until Monday... even though the appraisal has to be in by next Tuesday for us to be able to close this month, which for a million reasons we need/have to do.
As soon as I hung up the phone my life was rudely shoved into the hurried, massive "finish it all and clean-up operation" I now find myself escaping by taking a few minutes to blog and answer e-mail. There is not enough Calgon in the world to take me away from this!
On top of that...
Ella Kate went to bed fine but woke up with an awful cold. (How does that happen?)
I just discovered I bought enamel instead of latex. Everything I painted last night is still sticky, and collecting dust... Which means drying, sanding and re-painting and more $$ for more paint.
I am supposed to be "helping' at school this week. Ha!
Rob has huge papers due this week and big projects at work = He can not save me.
Did I mention Ella Kate is FUSSY!?
Rhett is making all his numbers backwards.
Kolby is not getting long division.
My parents and sister have their own big fish to fry this week/weekend.
Most of my friends have sick kids.
And I can not find my sink under all the dishes piling up since the dishwasher refuses to load itself! (hate that!)

Truly home improvement projects are meant for professionals, with skills, tools, experience and know how. Ordinary people who have a toddler should NOT try these things at home! HGTV says start at home but do they know what that means? Leave this to the professionals, people who do not need to be math tutors, writing instructors, fun playmates, nurses, maids, chauffeurs. People who do nat have to figure out what's for dinner tonight and then actualy get all the stuff and make it! Remind me of this next time I talk about re-decorating!

In the mean time I am going to keep telling myself what I tell my kids when they freak out over life.... "This is not a bad problem. It is a good problem because no one is bleeding, hurting or dead. Nothing is under water or on fire. (though I feel a figurative fire burning beneath my rear as I sit here because I need to get up and get going!) Everything is OK or will be OK. This is not a real crisis. Breathe. God is in control. Breathe."
And somehow that helps.
Check back in with me after next Monday. I will survive this week/weekend!
Breathe
...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tips for a Tuesday

If you are painting a wall a dark color and have light colored flooring, use a drop cloth.

No matter how good an idea it seems at 2am, it is not wise to mix old and new paints to come up with your own "custom color." This especially true if you neglected to mix enough to finish the room... and then forgot exactly how much of each color you added. FTL! (for the love for any not familar with vintage BST blog speak)

If you decide to use the electric sander to sand all the cabinets and trim in your bathroom, wear a mask or, be prepared to have your lungs sting.

It is possible to spray paint a ceiling fan and have it not look like you spray painted a ceiling fan.

Measure twice, cut once.

Buy extra molding. It saves on trips to Home Depot if you neglect that last tip.

If the biggest problem you have in a day concerns remodeling your bathroom, shut up and be grateful.

If you are near a HEB grocery store, you HAVE to try the Homestyle two-bite Pumpkin Walnut Scones. The Orange Cranberry ones are equally drool inducing, but I have a thing for pumpkin this time of year.

If you have a scone recipe that you like, pass it it along to me and I just might send you a prize! Really! Kolby and Rhett are into scones because of the orange scones from Panera Bread, but I'm a scone making virgin... so to speak.

I love this song. Hope you do to...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Anyway

I was going to blog about this song a while back. But I decided it would be better to just let you hear it.

I keep thinking of our Princess in Honduras tight now. Hope the best for you Terri!

I added a new playlist to the right of this blog. You can skip to the next song or turn the music off. AND If you have not created a play list at project playlist, follow the link from my playlist and have fun!

OH and... I have lost some links to blogs in my moving to the new computer/new template process. Leave me your site address in comments if you don't see it in my links list. If you are reading my blog, I probably want to read yours!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

New title

I don't have anything to say that would not take me an hour or so to say. I don't want to blog for an hour, but I am tired of that atheist title. It bugs me. So I had to blog today just to change the title.

Notice the new slide show.

I am able to do some things with the new computer that the old one could not do. OK. So those "things' are really important things (she said with her tongue in her cheek) like blog slide shows and watching all of this seasons episodes of Grey's Anatomy on-line for free. But hey, I'm learning!

My goal is to learn how to get the files and pictures I want to keep from the old computer's operating system (windows 98) transferred and workable on the new computer's system (Mac OS Leopard). It's supposed to be easy(according to the Mac website) if the old operating system and the new operating system are both working just as they should. However, I am not convinced either are doing that. I've spent many frustrating hours sitting in front of this beautiful new monitor. I think I need a Genius and a Geek or preferably someone who is both? Does that person exist in the world of on-line help? I can't find them but I'm open to help looking or introductions!

Must do laundry. Don't you wish clothes would just wash, dry, and put themselves away!

Monday, November 05, 2007

If I were an atheist

What would I think about as I pulled down wall paper?

 
The other day while we were de-papering different rooms in our house, I kept thinking of Christian life analogies that could be drawn from the task at hand. For example I thought about how with all the millions of types and grades of wall paper in the world, all of them are usually just covering up the same old grey and white sheet rock and how God cares about the condition of  our sheet rock not so much about the outer paper we put on to dress our selves up.  I came up with several more... 

The same happens when I find myself painting,  building, taking a walk or even just cleaning something. My mind is always drawing comparisons and coming up with little analogies about life, church, loving each other and God . I guess it is mind/soul candy during otherwise boring tasks? Or maybe the product of growing up in Bible class? But I wonder... Does everyone do this? What if someone is not a Christian or does not believe in any God? Do those people find atheistic analogies in their tasks? Just wondering...

Now aren't you glad you took time out of your day to read my random thoughts? If I keep posting deep thoughts like this, I might get nominated for a Bloggie Award! (Do they really have those?)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Old dogs and New tricks

I am once again a Mac owner. 

I think (hope and pray!) I will  like it once I get used it... I'm just wondering how many years that will take! I am having to learn news ways of doing those little thing that were second nature on the old computer.  Blogging is a bit of challenge. However, I did change my template pretty easily today. But I just learned that there is no Picasa for Mac. I am heart broken. I loved editing, storing, uploading and ordering my pictures through Picasa. I do not know how I will do any of that, but I am sure I will soon learn. Macs have Iphoto but it does not do all the things Picasa did.  

I'm starting to wonder if we are ready to be a Mac family again. Nine years ago we gave our Mac to church and bought a Gateway because I wanted to get on the Internet and be able to do more with more software. Hopefully Mac has caught up with Micrsoft so I won't feel tempted to send it bak and buy a Dell.  I know Mac are supposed to be great. PC's crash and have tons of issues but most (free)software is made for a PC.  If I can just get my pictures to upload to be printed and figure out how to write the school newsletter on this new computer, I think I will feel much better. Any PC turned Mac users out there who have advice? 

In the mean time I am working on catching up after weeks of no or rare Internet service.  Last Monday there was an open house at Kolby and Rhett's school.  
My parents and sister went with us to see the kids classrooms, meet their teachers and oohh and aaahh over their work. 
Kolby and Rhett both entered pumpkins in the Library "Tour America" themed pumpkin decorating contest. All the entries had to be decorated like a famous landmark, person, motto or state theme. We really enjoyed seeing all pumpkins in the library Monday night. 
Rhett and I decorated his pumpkin to look like the Liberty Bell. 
Kolby and I used mini pumpkins, grey spray paint, and lots of "Great Stuff" spray insulation to make "Mt Rushmore."  It turned out cute. (If you ever use "Great Stuff' in any of your projects, be sure to heed the advice on the bottle and wear gloves. I didn't and I am still peeling layers of "stuff" off my fingers!) 
The kids and I learned a lot about the focus of each project. For instance, did you know that there is a scripture on the Liberty Bell? And that Mt. Rushmore was never finished?  I love how the librarian at Kolby's school always has such fun and creative educational idea!

Well that's all the updating I have time for now. We are sort of in a home improvement phase. The wall paper in my bathroom has been stripped to the sheet rock and I am about to go pull all the wall paper down from the entry way.  This place is a mess. 

My plate feels full and maybe a bit heavy right now. Wish I could learn the trick of being able to balance it all effortlessly! This week I will be trying to learn my new computer, get several home projects completed, keep up with our usual full schedule, attend at least part of a three day/night marriage seminar our church is sponsoring and... did I mention Kolby has fever and a soar throat? Yeah. It is one of those weeks! 

Hope you all have a great week! 

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

I love this day! for me halloween is all about dressing up, trunk-or-treating, then trick-or-treating, great pictures, my favorite uncle's birthday, the smell of pumkin spice candles, chili cooking on the stove for Frito Pie, black kettles full of halloween candy, my favorite fall colors everywhere, jack-o-lanterns lit on porches, streets full of families, flash lights and glow sticks, friends, family, chilly night air, hot chocolate and lots of FUN! HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I have been dieing to blog but I have a problem.. We have our new computer but it is not hooked up to the Internet yet. We have a new camera too but it is not hooked up to the old computer (which is dieing!) At the moment the old computer is still the only Internet access we have... So I have all these things I want to blog about and all these pictures to share and no way to really share them. Everything should be up and running in the next few days, so be on the look out for many a catch-up post!

(soap box warning) Had to send Kolby and Rhett to school costume-less and treat-less this morning. GGGRRRRR! It is elementary school for Pete's sake! I do not like how all the fun seems to be draining out of our public schools with FMNV rules and limited party days. Yes they need to learn and have a non-distracting atmosphere that does not encourage obesity...But you only get so many Halloweens as a kids! Of course we will celebrate all things sweet and Fall-ish tonight so my kids will not miss out on much. Guess I just wish we could get more use out of those costumes! (stepping down now)

Hope everyone has a fun, safe, memory-filled, non-scary Halloween!

Here is what my little trick-ortreators will be wearing!

Friday, October 26, 2007

That's my boy!

Seems Like I don't blog about Rhett as often as I do his sisters. It is not for lack of anything other than time... and perhaps a little squeaky wheel syndrome.

I miss having Rhett around as much now that he is a big kindergartner! But I would not have it any other way as he truly loves school and still is so happy to go off with his Dad and sister every morning. Rhett has adjusted really well to school. His teacher told me he should have a perfect report card next week. He hasn't even missed a day! Rhett still gets a bit worn out towards the end of every week, but he is learning and soaking it all in like the 6 year old sponge of a boy he is!

Rhett does his homework the minute he gets home with no prompts from me. He makes sure I do not forget to sign his folder everyday. He is very good at keeping up with his things. So far he has not forgotten a show-n-tell and loves to talk about the letter of the week and find things that start with it everywhere we go. He fusses at me if we have not laid his clothes out together before he goes to bed. He wakes up to his own alarm clock and is dressed down to his shoes (and now jacket) before any of us are even out of our PJs. He is all business when it comes to being ready for school. I love that about him!

Rhett is also very funny! He cracks me up without trying on a daily basis. For instance, at his school carnival there was a silent auction for a "date" with each teacher. (Movies, ice cream or whatever the teacher picked) We asked Rhett if he wanted to"bid on his teacher." He gave us a puzzled look and said, "I already have her everyday for free!" As if... I then told him it was to bid on a date with his teacher, to which he replied in disgust and dismay, "Mo-om! She is Married!" I think he even rolled his eyes. He was quite eager however to bid on an hour and a half of free time in the gym with five friends. He was elated when he won!

Rhett gets fired up easily. A birthday party invitation makes his day. Getting to rent a PS2 game is the best thing ever! Spending some time with his cousins or friends and he is a happy guy. At the mere mention of a trip or a hotel stay he will jump up and down like he has won the lottery. Rhett loves going to church and hates it if he misses "first class" (Sunday School). He also loves to play outside with friends and LOVES his soccer games and practices. He is a social little guy, but in a completly different way from his sisters.

You never have to wonder what Rhett thinks about something or how he feels about something... Whether bored to tears, mad as a hornet, or happy as a clam, it is clear by the expression on his face. That has been both a good and bad thing.

Rhett loves his Mama and the feeling is beyond mutual. One of my favorite things to do is to read cards (brain teasers) or books with Rhett at bedtime. He always tells me funny stories about kids in his class or something he did that day.

Recently Rhett was griping about a girl in his class who got his table in trouble. She gets multiple clip/color changes almost everyday. I told Rhett he still had to be nice to her and that we should pray for her to find a way to act better. After several nights of praying for the little girl, Rhett stopped mid prayer to tell me we didn't need to pray for her anymore. I asked if the girl was acting better. Rhett said "No It's not working." When I suggested it might take time, Rhett said " I don't want to bother God with ___, She bothers Mrs H and our whole class enough for everyone." Now where did he learn to think like that?????

His lack of compassion for repeat class disruptors aside, Rhett is a pretty sweet little boy. He loves his sisters. Ella Kate loves her brother so much! She looks for him everyday and is so happy whenever he pays her the least bit of attention. But Rhett is pretty good at paying attention to both his sisters. He is a better baby watcher than Kolby. He completely freaks if Ella Kate puts anything in her mouth and is quick to come to her aid if she is in trouble. He also loves Kolby who is not always as nice as she should be to him. He always wants to make sure Kolby gets a prize or a treat of he does. He hates it when she is in trouble. He also loves to hang out in her room though both of them don't like to admit it.

Rhett loves his Dad and lives to go do guy things with him. He loves that his Dad and Robby coach his soccer team. He still runs excitedly to the door to greet Rob everyday when he gets home. They have a special bond as the out-numbered guys in this house.

Rhett was my scariest delivery, pregnancy and probably my most challenging baby, but he is a gem of a kid! It is fun to be his Mom (Though he does try to push the limits at times, no kid is perfect!) I feel very blessed to be able to watch him grow into the fine young man I know God wants him to be. I love you Rhett-r-roo!




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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

IMac

I just got an e-mail that our IMac has shipped. I will not be blogging much until it gets here. I am excited and a bit nervpous about getting it. Our Gateway has been withus since Kolby was a baby. I have a gazillion things on this computer. But, it's time to move on. And look (below) at how clean it looks compared to a PC! I need something simple and uncluttered. Not sure what to do with the old computer or how to convert the files/ photos I really need to save. Anyone have any Mac/ conversion/ storage tips? Let me know what you think!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Halloween Howdy

What is so scary about being a cowgirl for Halloween?
?
Ask Ella Kate!

Yeah, it was a fun Sears photo session!

I was sweating by the time it was over. Kolby and Rhett were troopers, but little EK just didn't like being told where to sit, or stand, or to smile, or anything. She made us all work for these pictures...and work hard! But it is sorta funny looking back on it. I had to chuckle as I heard myself say "OK you guys step on her skirt so she can't run off again!" and "Hold on to her with your hand that does not show and hold on tight!" We did get good pictures but it was not easy!

This was my favorite but, it was more centered when I ordered it and not so digital blurry.



I think this one is sweet too!




This is the only one we have of EK in her hat...imagine that!

I love these little cowpokes more than anything in the world and LOVE that we have these cute pictures... no matter how hard it was to get them! People laugh at me for my kids matching costumes and pictures but I don't mind. When am an old lady in the rest home, I know pictures of these fun dress-up Halloween years when my kids were still young enough to not mind matching will be some of my favorite! You know how I love a theme! (Click here if you want to see thewhole Parade of Halloween pictures!)
Last year's Halloween Pictures...they all have grown so much!

On a completely different note, EK got four big shots in her legs today at her 15 month check. I HATE SHOTS! But I hate being sick more so we do what we do. She has had fever off and on and at times today would limp or not even want to walk. Bless her heart! She has a pretty high fever tonight. I hope it is better in the AM! You hear horror stories about immunizations causing awful reactions and somehow those stories always haunt me when my kids get their shots. I have talked to our doctor about this and she assures me it is worth the risk. Still, I do not like shots.

For the record Ella Kate weighed exactly what she weighed at her 12 month check, but has grown an inch. She is in the 50% percentile for weight and the 75% for height. So far she and Kolby are about the same. Dr K said she looked great and we have no worries...other than having a very active mobile 15 month old whom we have to watch like a hawk! Ella Kate is a mess, but a sweet , loving, funny mess with a great personality and a infectios zeal for life ... and I would not change her for anything! EK has us all wrapped around her little finger! And happy to be "wrapped' at that! Even though a camera can not capture just how precious this baby girl is to us all, I sure hope she lets us get some better pictures of her soon!

These are really fun times with our little Ms. Tooty Pants! and Kolby and Rhett too! Rob and I are very blessed and are amazed God loved us so much that he entrusted these amazing littel people into our care. It is humbling yet heart-swelling to be the Mom of these three!

Hope you have the time to make some great memories with your favorite little people during these great fall days!
Happy Fall Y'all!