Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bow Heaven

A few weeks ago we were in the Stonebriar Mall in Frisco and found the mother-of-all-bow stores. Well today, I was throwing out my receipt and saw that they have a web site. And they do!!!!! I've already placed an order.

Here is my favorite bow so far for Ella Kate.... (This is the baby model not Ella Kate ... But as soon as I can I will put a picture of her on here in her cute hot pink bow!)

The bows are about the same price as they are at Dillards, but seem better made and ready to go the distance. This head band bow comes in 13 (YES! 13!!!!!) colors and sales for $9.The cloth headbands are great as they are very stretchy and appropriate for ages 6 months to 5 years... So no mashed in elastic "headache inducing" indentations on the sweet lil' babies head! Yeah!

This place also has tons of differnt sizes, sorts and colors of bows. If there is a little cutie putie in need of a bow in your life you can find them here. Or if that does not work go to warmingtheheart.com. They also have super sweet diaper bags!

Anyone have any favorite baby/kid web sites they want to share?

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Feeling old?

OK Not to take away from my deeper more meaningful post below, but I just looked at my blogger profile. When I switched to the new blogger some things were added to my profile that were not there before. Things like an astronomical sign and something about a rat? ( I absolutely detest rats!) But what really got me was the age the new blogger assigned me....250??? No wonder I have been feeling tired! I'm doing D*** well to be 250! OK. Now that I got that off my chest, go read the more serious post below. :)

The fog is lifting

Before I write anything, I want to state that I am OK. Nothing awful is happening in my life. Nothing awful has happened. Nothing horrible looms on the horizon. There is no drama here.

Having said that, I feel like I have been living in a fog for a long time. Three or four years maybe. A fog that silently rolled in unnoticed circling my ankles and building until it covered my world. It was a fog that at times allowed a few feet of visibility, and at times distorted and engulfed everything beyond my reach. A fog that put a hazy distance between me and the rest of the world. A fog that distorted the obstacles I stumbled into, but didn't lessen the pain of the collision. A fog that penetrated. When that fog started to lift, my senses became overwhelmed with the brilliant colors and sharp details of my world. Until I saw clearly, I didn't realize how distorted my view had been. That's where I am. Waking up to the brilliance of life as the fog dissipates and slowly rolls away.

I'm not trying to speak so metaphorically, but my words just can't seem to capture the essence of "the fog" I am talking about. Was it depression, baby blues, social anxiety, despair, morning, insecurity, regret, doubt, loosing faith??? It was not really any of these, but maybe just a tad of all of these.

Mostly I think it was fear. Subconscious fear. Fear that I was not being what I needed to be for God, my family, and my friends. Fear that I couldn't be strong enough, good enough or smart enough to do what I needed to do in life. Fear that Rob was working way too hard, for way too long, with no relief in sight. Fear that Kolby's reading disorder was going to haunt her for the rest of her life. Fear that Rhett's temper and grumpiness were going to someday get the better of him. Fear that I am too old and too tired to be the mother baby Ella Kate needs now and will need. Financial fears. Physical fears. Emotional fears. Spiritual fears. They were all there. Living large beneath the surface. In my head. Influencing my every thought. And I didn't even realize it. I didn't want to realize it. I wanted to be happy and positive and not let anyone, including myself, know how much fear I held in my heart.

But God wouldn't let it go. He wouldn't let me stay in denial. He didn't want me to live in a fog of fear. He made it painfully clear that I was making a choice to stay in the fog while he was giving me every opportunity to rise above it. A comment from Rob, a question from a friend, a concern voiced by a family member, a blog post, a sermon, a song on the radio, an episode of Oprah, a book, a scripture, an opportunity here, an invitation there... God used all these things to show me the fog that surrounded me and to show me the way out of it. He is still showing me that way, and I am slowly learning. The fog is lifting.

There are some lessons that have really helped me in this process. These lessons/ truths either hit like lightening or came as a whisper and grew to a roar. Lessons that can't be summed up in a sentence or paragraph on paper, but are true and real when lived out. I am going to try my best to describe these lessons/truths, knowing my words just don't do them justice.

Gratitude is the opposite of fear. Real, true gratitude. Gratitude that does more than say thank you and go on. This gratitude seeks and finds the blessing. It focuses so intently on the blessings that the fears and negatives fade off to the side. Gratitude heals. Gratitude believes that with God all things really are possible. Gratitude, true, deep, deliberate gratitude, is the best way to counter fear and defeat it.

I can't let guilt or regret set up housekeeping in my heart. When guilt knocks on the door of my heart, I should greet it with my hand on the door. I should listen to what it is telling me once. I should acknowledge it, thank it for coming and giving me insight, and close the door. I should NEVER invite guilt in. Guilt never stops talking and never leaves unless I throw it out. Guilt and regret can be positive forces when I use them to catapult myself beyond a bad choice or situation. Other than that, I have to stay away from them for I give them too much influence if they linger in my life.

Every thought/choice counts. If I want to be all that God intends me to be, I do not have the luxury of letting my self dwell on my mistakes, the things I have lost, or the injustices I have suffered. The things I dwell on and the thoughts I choose to think determine more of what I become than things that happen to me that are out of my control. Bad things will happen to everyone. More bad things happen to some than others. Life is not fair. Dwelling on that injustice will not make life better for anyone. Keeping score will not make my score higher. Anytime I let my focus stray from what is good, noble and right or anytime I loose focus of God's blessings and love for me, I hurt myself. I also hurt those around me. CONVERSELY, anytime I dwell and focus on God, I am improving my life and being a positive force in the lives of those around me. I choose my focus. I select which thoughts I let go of and which thoughts I claim and act on. Every choice counts.

God's love has no expiration date. It's never too late. I'm never too far gone. God's love never goes stale or looses it strength. It can be called upon at anytime of the day or night, in any season of life. No matter what my hearts temperature, stone cold or battling the fires of loss and pain, God's love soothes and regulates. He is the balm. His grace nourishes the malnourished and replenishes the depleted. His strength enables the weak. His love covers the unlovable. It is never too late.

There are more. But these are the ones I can give words to now. I am writing this post for purely selfish reasons. I needed to write it down. I needed to have a record of what He is teaching me so that I can read it when I start to forget or doubt. I needed give physical form to the spiritual emotions and thoughts God has used to instruct and bless me. If something he has given me helps you in your journey, the blessings are multiplied.

Please don't worry about me or feel badly for my struggle. That is not the point of this post. If you feel compelled by anything I have written here, just thank God for the lessons. Thank God that for me the fog is lifting!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New blogger

I had to switch to the new blogger. So I did. I don't see much difference and that's OK. Several have been saying they can not comment on my blog for some reason. Maybe this will help. And what is up with the labels? I don't want labels. Stubborn, aren't I?

Lots going on around here but nothing too exciting. Again that's not a bad thing. I think I am in a rut. What is scary is I sorta like my rut. But I am getting that Spring cleaning fever so maybe I can at least make the rut a little more organized and clean to live in.

Ella Bella is rolling all over the house. It scares me to think her brother was walking at nine months because that is only a month and a half away. Kolby was closer to 12 or 13 months. I can handle that. Even with a sinus infection and three teeth threatening to break through on her top gum, EK is such a happy good little baby. I am SOOOOOO grateful for that.

T-Minus 8 days to the big slumber party...and the invitations just went out today. Is it crazy that I want to have my carpets cleaned before I have 6-8 girls (we cut back:) spend the night? Yeah. I thought so. I am counting on these girls to entertain themselves a bit. It should be fun. Really. Do I sound convinced?

Rhett starts Spring soccer today with his first practice. Last Fall's team was so fun. It was all friends and church people. This Spring Rhett and Justin are the only boys we know.Rob and Robby are coaching again. This is a bit more serious league that is all boys. We are really looking forward to seeing how the boys do in a more competitive atmosphere. Rhett is too excited. He has had his soccer practice clothes on since 7:50am. The boy is nothing if not enthusiastic about his sports.

So yesterday in the Target parking lot the van temperature thingy read 90 degrees. 90 degrees!!! A week ago it was 18 degrees. Welcome to Spring in Texas!

Grey's Anatomy is killing me. So the title of tonight's episode has the word miracle in it, which suggest Meredith is not dead. (as if) Seems like the word miracle is way over used and way under appreciated these days. Have you noticed? But anyway, if Grey's keeps this up I will have Thursday nights from 8-9 free again. However as mad as it made me, I have to last week's show was great . I mean "made me get misty and then laugh out loud two seconds later" great. But you must consider that the only other thing I watch regularly is whatever is on Nick Junior , Cartoon Network or Disney in the mornings. After hours of Tom and Jerry or Wow Wow Woobsy, any show would look great. Thoughts?

Is anyone else really sad about the whole Anna Nicole Smith thing? Do you find yourself hoping that of all the possibilities that someone better will surface to raise that sweet baby girl? Do you find yourself wondering how someone who had so much at one time could leave such a mess behind? I know she was known as a crazy slutty druggy nut, but I still feel for her. And that sweet baby! So sad. I think this whole deal has encouraged Rob and I to update our will(s). We have had two kids since the last one(s) . If all the parties involved in this Anna Nicole mess had left clear updated wills there wouldn't be nearly so much drama. Except for the paternity issues. But maybe if it was clear where the $$$ was going,there would not be so many ready to get their hands on the baby. I find myself praying for that baby.

I also find myself praying for this baby. AND it looks like he is getting a little better every week. Talk about your miracles. WOW! And he is so cute! Thank God for these precious babies. He must really love us all to trust us with such precious little ones! All babies are miracles. All babies.

Guess that's about it. So even on the new blogger you still get the same random Thursday blog post from me! Not even new blogger can change my blogging! :) Happy Thursday!!!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

TAKS Tuesday

My little girl skipped off to school today to take her first TAKS test. Her teacher has been tutoring, practicing, prodding and inspiring the kids to do their best for months. The school had "Rock the TAKS" yesterday letting all the kids dress up in fifties attire and had a sock hop and motivational speaker. The vice principal even dressed up like Elvis! We did our part by reading with her every night for months and making sure she had a good nights rest last night, wore comfortable clothing, had a good breakfast and got to school on time. Now it is up to her.

I think she will do fine. She has done great on all the practice test. I do not like that there is so much riding on this one test. This test determines the school's rating, some funding, and is even tied to the teacher's professional rankings. That's a lot to put on the shoulders of a nine year old. I tried to play it down to Kolby last week when she started saying she was worried about it.
"Honey it is just a test and you will do fine. You have done great on all the practice test so don't worry about it. It's not that big of a deal"
"If it isn't a big deal why have we been talking about it all year and practicing for it every day since Christmas?"
Hard to argue with that.

I don't like the TAKS test. But, in my attempt to have a good attitude towards it and not let Kolby think negatively about it, I have made myself think of good things that come from the test. There actually are good reasons to have such tests. The test were designed to make sure that children through out the state were being taught and learning the basics required by their grade. Lawmakers, frustrated by stories of people graduating from high school unable to read and economic disparity between schools and school systems, set out to develop a tool by which all students and school systems could be measured. Thus the test.

In theory it seems like a good idea. There has to be some way to measure and insure that all children are getting the education the state pays to give them. In practice it has led to teaching to the test, making the test harder to counter the teaching to the test, having a ratings scale and funding tied to the results of the test, a huge increase in teacher turn over rates in all tested grade levels, and unclear (and at times unfair) requirements for student's with learning disabilities or language barriers. Sometimes things that look great on paper or sound good in theory, look and sound very different when they are put into practice in real life. I think that is what happened with these standardized test.

But still, as much as I hate the stress it adds to the teachers lives and the kids, maybe it does better prepare students for stressful deadlines and exams that will be in their future. Maybe it is good to teach children at a young age the right way to handle such things. I'm really trying to find the good this morning. Please join me in saying a prayer for that the school children of Texas do their best today and that their best is good enough to pass the silly old TAKS test!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Birthday Cake and Girl Scout Cookies

Kolby turned nine last Sunday...Even though we post-poned the party, even though I was not in proper "Birthday" mode, and even though I didn't blog about it... She still turned nine! The thing about birthdays is they come whether you are ready for them or not. I think I've been putting this one off in my head. Nine just sounds so big kid like. It's her last single digit birthday! It brings me great joy and a bit of sadness to see my little girl turn another year older.

Joy because it marks another year that God has blessed us with this sweet little spirit we call Kolby Sue. Joy because I not only love her, I just plain like being around her. Joy because she is growing and healthy and doing just what she should be doing at age nine. (That is a tremendous blessing in and of it's self!!!) My little girl brings me great joy!

And the sadness... The sentimental "Mommy" part of me wonders how that little baby girl grew into the young lady before me. It happened so fast. It's a little sad to realize that with every birthday we are closer to the day when Kolby will leave our nest and fly out on her own. Not that I don't want her to fly, for that is the ultimate goal. It's just that I like having her here, in my little nest. I wouldn't want her to be a baby her whole life, but these "kid" years seem to be fleeting fast!
Ready or not, I have a nine year old!

Since we haven't had her party yet, Rob and I surprised Kolby with a day trip to the metroplex to go Ice Skating. We didn't tell her what we were doing until the morning of her birthday. She was so excited! We met Rob's mom and sister and her family at the Stonebriar mall in Frisco for brunch at The Cheesecake Factory and an afternoon of Ice Skating. Kolby, Rhett and Rob had a blast skating with cousin Drake and Uncle Buck while the girls and Ella Kate and I watched and did a little shopping. We had a great time and enjoyed seeing Rob's family.

We let Kolby pick where to eat on the way home. Out of all of the places in Dallas, she picked BOSTON MARKET! :) With tummy's full of sweet cornbread, mac and cheese, and mashed potatoes (can you say STARCH!)we headed home, arriving just in time to get bathes and jump in bed. It was a very fun day. Rhett of course wants to do the same thing on his next birthday. What have we started? :)I wish I had pictures to post but our digital camera battery died and the new one (that had to be ordered because no store in Waco carries it)hasn't come in yet.

Yesterday I baked and took birthday cupcakes to Kolby's school. Last night we had birthday dinner & cake with my parents. Kolby requested a three layer heart shaped butter cake with pink icing. I haven't baked a lot since EK was born and yesterday I realized why. But, the cake turned out well, too well in fact. I ate it for breakfast and lunch today!

And in other fattening news, my dining room is chalk full of cases of Girl Scout cookies! By the time we get them all delivered or turned over to booth sales, over two hundred boxes of cookies will have gone through our dining room. Many boxes will never make back out the front door! Have you ever looked at the fat/carbo grams count on Samoas??? Don't!!!

Off to gather Valentine's Day treats for the kid's school parties. WOW!!! We are going to be in SUGAR SHOCK by the end of this week! Hope you have a Sweet week!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Two Lives

My former life ...

My life now ...

Do I miss my former life? Not really, but maybe just a little bit this week. Sari is at the Chicago Auto Show this week/month. They now have live web cams so you can see the auto show live. Rhett and I have had fun finding Aunt Sari with the web cam.

Sari this morning from the show floor.

Seeing it live that way...well, I do sorta miss the excitement, the travel, the hotels, the press days, dressing in suits that cost more than my house payment, talking about adult things all day, going out to dinner... In many ways it was a fun life. But I can't imagine doing it again! I can't miss weeks at a time with my family for a silly old auto show! I would cry all the time. Still, as the baby spits up all over me and Iam surrounded by laundry, messes and a million things to do...sometimes the auto show looks nice.

Funny how life can change so drstically in ten years. Wonder what I will be doing ten years from now??? I have a feeling I will be looking back at the kids pictures and wondering how my baby, five year old, and 8 year old turned into a 10 year old, 15 year old, and 18 year old!!!! I'm pretty sure I will have no regrets about staying home these years, despite the lack of glamor and the surplus of laundry and spit-up. Though I can't say this "stay-home Mom life" is easy, I know in my heart that when I'm 80 I will look back and these will be the sweetest days of all! That makes me want to savor each day more.

Have a great week in whatever stage of life you are living!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Dodging the weekend away

This weekend our church sponsored a dodgeball tournament that raised over $6000 for Mission Waco. Rob refereed during the Jr High and High School tournament during the day, then Saturday night he played in Adult section.
Rob with his game face.
I left the baby with my Mom (babies and balls flying through the air just don't mix) while Kolby, Rhett and I went to watch Rob's team, The Tuscan Raiders play. It was so fun! AND the guys actually won the adult division.
Hoisting up the newest Tuscan Raider, Lee, because he caught the game winning ball.
And yes, after winning a dodge ball tournament at Baylor last year, The Tuscan Raiders are now two time Champions. Don't think it hasn't gone to their heads a bit... Much to the amusement (and slight embarrassment) of their families, the guys actually wore their medals to church yesterday!!!! The Champions!
I love that they had so much fun with it! These guys always have so much fun together. We all had a great time actually, and helped a good cause at the same time! So the pressure is on for next year! Can they three-peat???

In other news, it was Baby Sunday at church yesterday. Ella Kate did pretty well during the part where we stood in front of the church during the prayer. She smiled, flirted, ate my hair and pulled at her sisters, but no screaming or crying, so it all went well. I always love baby Sunday. It was neat to get to be a part of this one. The preacher kept refering to "these young familes." It is nice to still be called young, but it doesn't fit as well as it did when Kolby was a baby. Sadly, I left the camera in my purse Saturday night and the batteries were completely dead for Sunday morning, so I didn't get any Baby Sunday pictures! I plan on faking some as soon as I get the old batteries charged, or get new batteries.

And then there was some football game on TV last night... We went over to some friends to watch for a hour or so but left before it was over. We had a great time but I can't tell you much about the game. I'm happy for the Colts and sad for the Bears. Both teams are winners just for making it that far.

Yesterday it was over 60 degrees outside. It felt so nice! I have missed the sun these last gray, cold weeks. My sister, Sari is in Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show and said this morning it is negative 7 with a wind chill of negative 21 there! BBBBRRRRR! How do you guys up North live in that????

Speaking of Sari... We miss her! She has only been home for about three days since Christmas and won't be home much more than that until April. She loves her job and I am very happy she has the opportunity to travel to so many fun cities, but we do miss her. :)

Girls Scout cookies come in on Wednesday... If you didn't get to order any, Kolby is still selling! Just give us a call!

Happy Monday!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Stomach Bug and Birthday Reprieve

Kolby has a stomach bug. Honestly, it doesn't seem all that severe, but she puked a few times last night and to me that is worth an instant "Do not go to school for 24 hours" card. So she's home. It's hard to keep her separated from her brother,(Who is thrilled to have his sister home) so we may all have the bug before it's over. I'm making my favorite chicken noodle soup to help ward off the bug!

In other news, I have granted myself a birthday party reprieve of sorts. I was a bit overwhelmed trying to pull it all together by next Friday, so I'm not. We are going to re-schedule. I'm aiming for some Friday after TAKS(Feb 20th) but before Spring Break.

Sometimes I forget that I am the Mom and I can, to some extent, choose the pace of life around here. While I have no control over how many hours are in our day, I do have some control/choice when it comes to what we/I do during those hours. Do you ever forget that? Do you ever over schedule yourself with too many things to do or places to go while acting as if these things/places are not optional, when really, they are? Do you ever forget that life is not college and we don't have to cram in a certain amount of core and elective hours by some preset date? Do you ever stop and wonder why you make life harder than it has to be trying to keep up with an image/ideal that no one, not even God, notices, let alone requires?

I hope someone out there answers yes to at least one of these questions because, I would hate to be all alone in this! :)

Hope you all have a great weekend!