Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

I thought I'd end 2008 on a good note with a big smile! This picture makes me laugh every time I see it! It was not posed. EK ran off when we were changing her last night and this is how we found her. So much like her Mommy!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ready for a New Year

I don't know why but for some reason I'm almost happy to see Christmas 2008 go, almost in that "don't let the door hit you on the way out!" kind of way. Not that it was a bad Christmas. It was actually a great Christmas! I loved our Christmas with our families... but it's over and I'm ready to move on. I have to admit though that this year I couldn't get all into Christmas like I usually do. In fact I didn't even put up 1/2 of our Christmas decorations and, I didn't miss them.

Maybe it was because I was sick and had no energy. Maybe it was because the season seemed so much shorter with Thanksgiving being late. Maybe it was because over the years Christmas has become less about the decorations, parties and shopping for me. Maybe it's a bit of all the above

I do however want to savor the next week. I love having Rob and the kids home for a few days. I don't want to do anything much. Just stay home in our sweats, clean out stuff, watch movies and play Wii. So that's the plan. I'm so excited about it! Is it weird that I am so excited about doing nothing much?
Does this mean I am getting old?
It does?
Oh well!
If my excitement over nothing means I'm getting old, I might as well enjoy it!

Hope you had a great holiday and are looking forward to a New Year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

I wrote a Christmas letter this year. Sadly, I never had it printed and actually put in the Christmas cards. So I'm posting it here to make myself feel better! Merry Christmas!

Dearest Friends and Family,

Can you believe Christmas is upon us and it is almost 2009? The last time we sent a Christmas letter we were telling the world that we were expecting our third baby. Ella Kate is now two and half years old and we have almost adjusted! So it’s time for another Christmas letter. No big announcements this time though!

Actually that could be the theme of this letter, no big changes. We still live in the same house, across the street from my parents and my sister Sari (when she isn’t working an auto show or visiting Jim in Atlanta, which is less than one week per month!) My Mom still can’t decide if she wants to retire again. She really loves her kids at school. Dad loves being retired, but fell in November cracking his hip joint and has been in the hospital or a rehab facility ever since. He is getting stronger and doing better everyday. We are hopeful that he will be able come home during the holidays! Rob’s parents are still in Denison and celebrated their 45th anniversary last February.

Rob is still crunching numbers for L-3 Communications while going to grad school for his MBA on the side. He still coaches Rhett’s soccer, baseball and basketball teams. Rob retired from refereeing High School basketball last winter to allow for a long overdo shoulder surgery. Even though he did not enjoy the three month recovery period, he is happy to have a shoulder that does not hurt when he lobs a softball. Rob is a busy guy.

Our oldest daughter Kolby will be eleven in February. Kolby left elementary school behind to start intermediate school last Fall. As is usually the case, she took to the change faster than her Mom did! After a few weeks she was fine with being in school with 950 other 5th & 6th graders, changing classes, and having 8 different teachers every day. She loves it! Kolby is in her 6th year of dance and is on a Junior Jazz Dance Competition team. She is playing basketball for her third year. Kolby loves our church youth group and thinks of church summer camp as the highlight of her year. This summer she plans to head to ACU for leadership camp and can’t wait for that adventure! Being the oldest of three suits Kolby well. She has the helpful older sister role down pat and is a big help.

Rhett turned seven in September. Rhett is all boy. He loves any type game. He seems to share his Dad’s love of baseball but has his own passion for soccer. Basketball fits in there too somewhere. Rhett wants to play football but Mom’s “one sport at a time” rule has not allowed him to play yet. (We’ll see how long Mom’s rule last against Rhett’s and Dad’s love of football!) Rhett is an easy kid. He likes school, loves to read, likes most any kid he meets, likes to keep his room clean, and has yet to find a game or sport he doesn’t enjoy. He is also a very good brother to his sisters, taking care of the little one and keeping up with the big one. He likes to say he is the meat in a sister sandwich! The boy cracks us up!

Ella Kate plays her roll as the baby perfectly! She is a mess. She loves to “read” books, do “homework” like her siblings, and adores babies both real and pretend. She seldom lets her 2.5 years keep her from attempting the things her brother and sister do. She truly thinks she is big enough to do anything. Amazingly, she is right 85% of the time. EK keeps me on my toes! She loves going to Mother’s Day Out at church twice a week and loves church and bible class. Ella Kate is extremely loving, social, and talks non-stop. (Don’t know where she gets that!☺) Ella Kate makes sure we all get at least one good belly laugh in a day with her antics. I can’t believe how fast she is growing! Where do the days go?

As for me, I am knee deep in PTA at Rhett’s school. I hadn’t planned on so much of my time and energy going to SVE PTA, but it has! However, I have made great friends and am truly enjoying every minute I spend there. Being at SVE so much has made me wonder if teaching there could be in my future? Maybe when Ella Kate starts kindergarten? I am in a home re-decorating phase and love all things HGTV. Hopefully this phase will be over by summer. My main focus right now is keeping my family on task and getting everyone where they need to be, when they need to be there, with what they need to have with them. In my spare time (HA!) I blog, read, and have become addicted to Facebook! Rob also has a Facebook page so, it you haven’t already, come find us!

If you happen to be traveling through Central Texas, we live just a mile or so off I-35 about half way between Austin and Dallas, aka the perfect spot for a bathroom break! You are welcome to use our house for a pit stop, just give us a call and pull in for a visit! We would love to see you! Until then, we hope you and yours are enjoying a happy and healthy Holiday season. May God bless and keep you close in 2009!
Rob, Stephanie, Kolby, Rhett and Ella Kate

I truly hope you and yours have an excellent Christmas!
PS If you have moved in the last 18 months and think I have your old adresss, could you send me your new address?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Hero in the Grocery Store

Here's an article that Twilight author Stephenie Meyer wrote for Ensign magazine. It may surprise some of you that a "vampire writer" would write this type article. But for those of you who love the fictional world Mrs. Meyer created for us in Forks, you will have no problem recognizing the heart behind the pen. Enjoy!

Christmas stories happen in the most everyday places. I was part of one not long ago at the grocery store. I hope I never forget it, though the memory is bittersweet.

I had been shopping for almost an hour by the time I got to the checkout lines. My two youngest sons were with me, the four-year-old refusing to hold onto the cart, the two-year-old trying to climb out of the basket and jump down to play with his brother. Both got progressively whinier and louder as I tried to keep them under control, so I was looking for the fastest lane possible. I had two choices. In the first line were three customers, and they all had just a few purchases. In the second line was only one man, a harried young father with his own crying baby, but his cart was overflowing with groceries.

I quickly looked over the three-person line again. The woman in the front was very elderly, white haired and rail thin, and her hands were shaking as she tried unsuccessfully to unlatch her big purse. In the other line, the young father was throwing his food onto the conveyor belt with superhuman speed. I got in line behind him.

It was the right choice. I was able to start unloading my groceries before the elderly woman was even finished paying. My four-year-old was pulling candy from the shelf, and my little one was trying to help by lobbing cans of soup at me. I felt I couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.

And then, over the sound of the store’s cheery holiday music, I heard the checker in the other line talking loudly, too loudly. I glanced over as my hands kept working.

“No, I’m sorry,” the checker was almost shouting at the old woman, who didn’t seem to understand. “That card won’t work. You are past your limit. Do you have another way to pay?” The tiny old woman blinked at the checker with a confused expression. Not only were her hands shaking now, but her shoulders too. The teenage bagger rolled her eyes and sighed.

As I caught a soup can just before it hit my face, I thought to myself: “Boy, did I choose the right line! Those three are going to be there forever.” My mood was positively smug as my checker began scanning my food.

But the smiling woman directly in line behind the elderly lady had a different reaction. Quietly, with no fanfare, she moved to the older woman’s side and ran her own credit card through the reader.

“Merry Christmas,” she said softly, still smiling.

And then everyone was quiet. Even my rowdy children paused, feeling the change in the atmosphere.

It took a minute for the older woman to understand what had happened. The checker, her face thoughtful, hesitated with the receipt in her hand, not sure whom to give it to. The smiling woman took it and tucked it into the elderly woman’s bag.

“I can’t accept …” the older woman began to protest, with tears forming in her eyes.

The smiling woman interrupted her. “I can afford to do it. What I can’t afford is not to do it.”

“Let me help you out,” the suddenly respectful bagger insisted, taking the basket and also taking the old woman’s arm, the way she might have helped her own grandmother.

I watched the checker in my line pause before she pressed the total key to dab at the corner of her eyes with a tissue.

Paying for my groceries and gathering my children, I made it out of the store before the smiling woman. I had made the right choice of lanes, it seemed.

But as I walked out into the bright December sunshine, I was not thinking about my luck but about what I could not afford.

I could not afford my current, self-absorbed frame of mind.

I could not afford to have my children learn lessons of compassion only from strangers.

I could not afford to be so distant from the spirit of Christ at any time of the year—especially during this great season of giving.

I could not afford to let another stranger, another brother or sister, cross my path in need of help without doing something about it.

And that is why I hope never to forget the Christmas hero in the grocery store. The next time I have a chance to be that kind of a hero, I can’t afford to miss it.

Stephenie Meyer

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It sounds so much older than 38! And so much older than I feel! But here I am. 39.
This may be the last year I admit to my age openly!
I have been sick and still am, so I haven't thought much about today. But as I sit here now reflecting on this birthday, my favorite new-to-me Christmas song keeps playing in my head. (If you have your volume up, you're hearing it now too.) It's called "Thankful" by Josh Groban.

Some days we forget
To look around us
Some days we can't see
The joy that surrounds us
So caught up inside ourselves
We take when we should give.

So for tonight we pray for
What we know can be.
And on this day we hope for
What we still can't see.
It's up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There's so much to be thankful for.

How do I feel today?
Thankful for all that my life has been.
Challenged by what all I want my life to be.
Cherished by a loving God who is especially fond of me.
Loved by my sweet family and friends.
Hopeful for what lies ahead.
And Ready.
Ready for this 39th year of life and all it has in store for me!

Just 7 more days bloggies.... Have a great one for me!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

We saw Santa!

Now to get the 199 other things checked off my Christmas to-do list! In the meantime enjoy the "Christmas Card Attempts" show below. Someday I'm going to get brave and send one of these as our real card! Still not sure I have picked this year's picture yet... Ooops! Make that 200 things to do again! Off I go!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

We love the Panthers!

Last Saturday our family joined 1000's of other Midway Panther Fans in Texas Stadium to cheer on our team. Our little family, or at least parts of it, have been to almost all the the Midway football games this year. Rob has a passion for High School football so having "a home team" again has been really fun for him, and for all of us. When we found out the panthers were playing in Texas Stadium, there was no doubt that we would go.
We decided to get a hotel room Saturday night since the game didn't start until 8pm and make a weekend out of it. The game was not so great for us the first half, but we were still in it! It was a total thrill just to be watching our Panthers play in the home of the Cowboys! Texas Stadium has been the "Mecca" of Texas football for as long as I can remember. While High School playoffs will most likely continue to be played there for years to come, this is the last year it will be the official home of the Dallas Cowboys so it's even more special that Midway got to play there!

Look at those cute Santa Panther-ettes! They were so fun to watch this year!

After the half Midway came ROARING back! It was such an intense last two quarters that I don't know that we sat down much. EK kept me running in and out but still it was such a great half! The game ended in a tie. 35-35!
In Texas High School football when your just two games from state, there are no ties. So Midway was given the first chance to score from the 25.

They DID!
And kicked the extra point!
But then the Lobos ran it in...
And decided to go for 2.
This is where it gets dicey.
The Lobos quarterback was taken down short of the goal line, but his hands stretched out and went to if not over the line. That is exactly what he should have done. Any good football player would have done the same whether he was down or not. It's just basic instinct, or it should be. However if his knees were down before the ball crossed the line it should not have counted. There are even those who say the ball didn't cross the line until it was out of his hands. The Midway guys thought the Lobos quarterback's knees were down so they were waving it off. The line judge was running from the side to see. By the time he got there the Lobos were jumping up and down and saying they won. The ref agreed. It was a very controversial call and an awful way to end such an incredible season! As the wife of a former High School basketball referee, I know it's easy to blame the ref. Refs are just human and that guy had to make the call the way he saw it. Still, I felt a little cheated for Midway!

Here is the KWTX story that shows video of that last play.

It would have been easier to loose by 14 than to have come so close. But that's just it, it was so close that it easily could have gone either way, and this time it went the other guy's way. OUCH! It was just heartbreaking for our boys in red and blue! I hate that it ended that way for them.
But they had gave us a great season! Thank you Panthers! You guys are a class act! The Seniors can be so proud of their work this season! We can't wait to follow the Panthers again next year! :)

After we drove to our hotel in Grapevine and collapsed from the exhaustion and the excitement of the game, we all slept really well!

On Sunday we saw Santa and attempted Christmas card pictures in church clothes at the Gaylord Texan. The Gaylord is always decorated so incredibly this time of year. I only wish we could have been there for pictures at night. The lights are just breathtaking! Santa was fun. The picture taking... not so much! I'll post pictures from that later.

When I was sure we would not be able to coax one more pose or smile out of Ella Kate and crew, we loaded up and headed to Rob's sisters in Bells, Texas for Rob's niece Katie's birthday party.

We rarely make it up there so it was fun to see Rob's family and let the kids play with their cousins. Needless to say we were absolutely pooped when we finally made it home late Sunday night around 10:00pm!

I don't know how I made it through Monday. I "hosted' a fundraiser reward day of inflatable parties and money machine grabs at Rhett's school all. day. long! 240 kids participated. After coordinating the schedule to get the prize winners from 5 grades in and out of their party without disrupting the whole school or loosing anyone in the process was just crazy! And it was so LOUD!!!! But it was a fun day and I think the kids really enjoyed it. That is what I think PTA is for.. to help our kids make the memories you can only make while in elementary school.

I had so much great help from my PTA sisters Monday that actually my job was pretty easy! There is a small group of regulars that always help, God love them! I'm afraid they are going to all be worn out and despise PTA by the end of the year though. But we are having fun and making great friends in the process while the kids are benefiting... Which is the point! So I guess I'm saying it is worth the long hours and craziness. At least I try to convince myself of that!

As for my poor house... well our Christmas tree is up, but not decorated. It's been so crazy the last 9 or so days that I literally have not been able to find the time or energy to get Christmas going over here. So I really have to quit this blogging business and get with it. But I wanted to record a little of this crazy fun because these are the days....
These are the days!

Monday, December 01, 2008

2007 Decorations

I will not blog or Facebook again until my house is Christmas ready. I just won't! So to inspire me, (and maybe you too!) here is last year's Slide tour that I put together for Boo Mama's Holiday tour. Actually, I was a bit late and called mine "the after tour!" but still. Hope to get it all up so we can savor the season.

Happy decking the halls bloggies!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Rhett's family turkey project. Yes. I'm proud of that sweet boy. Always!

May you and yours enjoy full tummies and full hearts as you reflect on the blessings of a full life!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Dazzled. Two weeks ago that word took on a bit different meaning for me than it does today. Funny how a word can instantly change meanings just depending on the subject or the context around which it is used.

Do you have minute to follow me down this twisting path? It might take a while and I'm not sure where we will end up. Well, OK then. Don't say I didn't warn you... Let's go!

Webster's version:
Dazzle: intransitive verb 1: to lose clear vision especially from looking at bright light 2 a: to shine brilliantly b: to arouse admiration by an impressive display
transitive verb
1: to overpower with light 2: to impress deeply, overpower, or confound with brilliance

Me this week:
Dazzled: Past tense of dazzle. To be left dizzy, a tad breathless and slightly unbalanced in the presence of the brilliance, wonder an beauty that is Edward Cullen.

Yes friends, I have been bitten by Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series. And like it's heroine Bella, I'm hooked in that forever kind of way. I never intended for it to happen. Last summer I started reading Twilight twice. I was sick, the kids were home, and I never had more than 30 minutes at a time to read. So I stumbled through the first chapters and never really got into it. Though I thought it would be good and kept planning to get back to it, I didn't. AND I kept hearing/reading spoilers. People can be so careless! They are called SPOILERS for a reason people!!!! They SPOIL the experience. (swallow. sigh. move on.)

By the time I came back to the Twilight book last week, I had decided I knew so much of what would happen in the next three books that I would not bother to read them. I was going to see the movie with some friends Saturday though, so as I went to bed that fated Friday night, I picked Twilight up again. I was just planning to casually scan the 498 page book to get caught up. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into. I started reading and could. not. stop!

One movie, countless conversations with friends, 2,728 pages (4 books, 1 manuscript and a half dozen on-line deleted chapters) and very, very little sleep later, I am slowly recovering from a Twilight jet lag that fogged my brain as it dominated the the last five days of my life. My short mental vacation to Forks, Washington has left me not only tired and foggy, it has left me... dazzled!

And while admittedly my current state has much to do with the fictitious Edward Cullen (who we wish was real), I'm just as taken with the author Stephenie Meyers. WOW! The fact that someone can give birth to characters and stories like these just boggles my mind! She truly has an amazing gift!

I won't give away much here (eh-hem) but I will say this story is not what I expected. I was joyously surprised. I believe they call that serendipity. I love this story, the characters, the undertones, and the lessons. I loved seeing things through the eyes of a 17 year old girl again. It's made me go back and see things back in my own 17 year old life. I loved finding such a sweet story in such a conflicted cast of characters. Again, I won't give it away, but I will say I read page 754 of the last book, Breaking Dawn, with satisfied, misty, smiling eyes!

I don't read much anymore because once I start it's hard to stop. And despite the fact that I'm basically nocturnal, even I need sleep. When I'm reading I just have to know what happens. If I am really into a story I have to read very fast so that my mind will get closure and let it go. Otherwise I pick the story apart and question the author in my mind all day long instead of intently focusing on Mom stuff. AND let's face it, Mom stuff is extremely serious business. When there are mouths to feed, nightmare monsters to fight, bo-bos to bandage, children to transport, and bunkies to wipe, (Not to mention a certain two year old in dire need of some intensive potty training!) there is no time to read. No time for distractions.

So my sudden trip to the Twilight zone cost me. My house looks like it might truly never recover. It's bad. No Christmas decorations have been put up. In fact it still looks like Halloween around here! And that mountain of laundry waiting for me will need it's own zip code soon. But I'm glad I had these days with my new friends in Forks. I needed them. We all need an escape now and then. Time away can show things that get lost in the day to day. And, I came back better.

I came away from the Twilight series reminded never to underestimate love, no matter what. Edward Cullen made me blush like a teenager and Bella made me laugh like she was my BFF. Those two even scared me silly a time or two (After 3 kids, my bladder doesn't always react to laughter or suspense as it should. TMI?) They took me in, made me one of them, and flat out dazzled me! That is what a good story does when told by a master story teller! I'm not a crazed fan. I won't camp out on Stephanie Meyers lawn begging her to write more. I don't plan a pilgrimage to the real Forks, Washington anytime soon. (Unless my little coven wants to plan a road trip, then I'm all in girls!) Seriously. I can live with nothing but my memories of the books and go on. But the story will stay with me, and like all really good stories, it has me thinking.

It is no small wonder that Jesus used stories to teach people. While his parables were easy for his listeners to understand, they were always layered with implications that went deeper than just the telling of events. There was a purpose, a core, and a rainbow of deeper meanings for his listeners to grasp. Jesus was the master story teller. Maybe growing up in Sunday school listening to the parables of Jesus and my teacher's interpretations of them is what taught me the life long habit of picking a story apart and trying to find Jesus.

Someone just read that paragraph and thought "Did she just talk about Jesus and Twilight in the same post?"

Yes. I. Did.

Stephanie Meyers is Mormon I think. Her writing is touted as moral and safe for young girls. I would go along with that except I think the passion is a bit much for girls before age 14. (Although I borrowed the last book from my 6th grade neighbor!) I'm not suggesting that the Twilight series is a Christian allegory, though I bet someone could go there if they really tried. I mention Jesus and Twilight because my life's goal is to be an allegory and the author of my story seeps Jesus into all the plots of my life. He dazzles me with his relevance and beauty. He protects me with a grace and a sacrifice I can't fathom. He bowls me over with a love I can' t ever properly describe and sees me as something far more beautiful than I am. It's a forever kind of thing. No matter what battles I need to fight HE assures me that those being loved and loving sacrificially will rule the day. Not that there is anything like that in the Twilight series. Nope. NOT AT ALL! Just me trying to find Jesus again. It's all in the conditioning you know...

Even if you don't want to read the Twilight books, you might want to join me in a little challenge I issued to myself after I read them this week. I'm going to try to look back at my 17 yer old self remembering how I saw the world, who I loved, how I loved, what I did about it. Then from the perspective of where I am now, I want to marvel over the things God has specifically done in the life of that 17 year old. Even though I'm not really very good at it, I'm going to write that story. I'm going to tell that 17 year old about the faithfulness God will show her in her life.

Name it, claim it, and get it down in physical form.

I want to write that story as my own personal witness to spur me on in the next challenge life throws my way. If you are anything like me, every story you read has a way of sticking with you, even if it is your own. Or maybe I should say especially if it is your own? I have found that to be true for me. Like a written scrapbook, the story of me reminds me of who I am, who I belong to, where I came from, and points to where I need to go.

Your story from age 17 to now may be a page long, or a chapter long or even a book length. But no matter it's length, writing your story is an exercise in recognizing the hand of God... The hand by which we are fearfully and wonderfully made. To those who don't see that hand... It's OK. Take that story and give it to the Father. Ask him the hard questions. Ask him to take the pen and work out the rest. He will.

Regardless of what we do or don't see in our story, I guess we need to mentally hand over our unfinished manuscripts to God and allow him to pen the details as only he can. Of course He already wrote the ending. Love wins and we live with him happily ever after. Hard not to be dazzled by that thought!

Dazzled: To be left feeling warm, sure and awed while completely balanced in the presence of the love, brilliance, knowledge and beauty that is our Lord and Savior. Dazzled.

Happy Thanksgiving bloggies!
May we live a life of thanks giving to Him!

Monday, November 17, 2008

This, That & The Shack

I can hardly believe that Thanksgiving is next week! This month has flown by. I did not think November was going to be too busy, but I was wrong. Rob is snowed under with graduate school and work at the moment. He seriously works on something 16 hours a day. I can't wait for this semester to be over for him. It seems the kids are growing like weeds right now. Things i bought three months ago don't fit. All three have been sick in the last week, but not real sick. The kids are always busy even though we currently have no sports in the schedule. (That only happens 6-8 weeks a year!) I'm still staying busy with life and PTA. Mostly PTA. We had delivery for our big fundraiser that I was responsible for last week. It didn't go as well as I would have liked. (That is a huge understatement!) But I learned a lot about people in general. (stepping on my soapbox)

There are far too many people in the world who don't take care of their business and it's just rude. If you think about it, rules and policies are basically in place as a courtesy to the rest of the world. Ninety percent of the time when rules aren't followed or policies aren't abided by, someone is being very rude to someone else whether they realize it or not. People really don't seem to get that. They don't seem to realize that their action, or lack there of, can greatly impact someone else. As busy as we all are these days, it seems we all need a little reminder lesson on manners and the importance of taking care of our business so someone else won't have to. That lesson was drilled into to me during product delivery when I was the one who had to pay for others not taking care of their business. It was a hard lesson. But I have been the guilty party many times, so I do understand. If anything, it has made me want to be much better about keeping my commitments and taking care of my business! (stepping down now)

Part of what was so hard about delivery was that I had no notice before I had to rearrange our world and spend a 2nd day at school for 8 or so hours so people could come get their stuff. Ella Kate had to be with me for most of that time because I had no time to make other arrangements. Ella Kate is as cute as can be, but she isn't a quiet child. She does not like to sit in one place for more than 45 seconds... And she likes to run!!! So taking EK to school for 20 minutes is not fun. Three or four hours is sheer torture. There are good reason why 2 year olds don't go to elementary school!

EK actually managed to get away from me and my friends twice. We couldn't find her for almost 5 minutes the first time. It seemed like an hour. I was mere seconds away from becoming a panicked puddle of blubber and insisting the whole school issue some sort of lock-down version of CODE ADAM by the time we found her. I have a whole new patch of grey hair from that day! (Keep in mind I read The Shack just three days before this. If you have read that book, you'll understand why that is significant when not being able to find your child!)

Speaking of THE SHACK, have you read it? Did it make you cry like a baby? Has it changed the way you see God? Do you look at people in a whole new light? Do you pray very different prayers and have completely different views of church and religion? Do you find yourself wanting to go back and read what Papa said to Mack over and over? Really? ME TOO! I don't read a lot anymore. I have yet to finish the Twilight series and my Southern Livings are more decorations than reading materials these days... But if I only read one book a year, or even two years, THE SHACK would be that book. Yes. It is that good. And hard. And deep. And life altering.

I went into it knowing nothing. I hadn't even read the description on the back cover of the book. I only had a vague memory of BST saying it was "brutal" reading in the beginning and others talking about how great it was. So I don't want to spoil for anyone else, but take my word for it, it is wonderful but very hard to read at first. Don't sit down to read it unless you have time to plow through the first 200 or so pages. In fact, I read it straight through. I simply couldn't stop. Luckily, I didn't need sleep that night! :) And I keep going back to parts of it reading them over and over. Then I read my Bible and read the book again to see if the two really jive. So far they do! I think it's a transformational book. I would love to hear what others think of it!

Speaking of hard and transformational.... I spent two hours getting Halloween pictures made in the Sears studio yesterday. Yes, I realize Halloween was over weeks ago. Because my older two finally outgrew having matching or themed costumes, I thought we weren't going to do Halloween pictures again this year. (And really in 10 years, I'm not sure the Sear's portrait experience has ever been pleasant.) But, I have 10 years of pictures of my kids in costume decorating my buffet right now. I had to have an eleventh! Especially since EK was such a cute little kitty cat. Yes, I just had to do it.
But, it was painful.
Despite having an appointment, we had to wait forever. Ella Kate was anything but cooperative. The first Sears photographer made it clear she would rather be anywhere but taking pictures of kids. Then the pictures she did take didn't work because she did not have some light turned on. We had to shoot all the pictures again! Of course by this time Kolby had a run in her tights, Rhett had chocolate on his jersey and EK had torn her skirt, smeared her "whiskers," and ground goldfish into her fur, but we were there and dressed. I was not going home empty handed! We had a great photographer the second time. She saved my sanity and our pictures! Here are some blurry pictures copied from the Sears site. And yes, I am glad we did it! But it's Rob's turn next year! :)

Well, that is all my blog time for today. I won't be blogging as often now that I have become a full fledged Facebook addict! Facebook really is fun. It's so cool to be able to keep in touch with so many so easily. Just click my Facebook icon to the right if you want to join the party! I'll definitely be your friend! :)

Happy Monday bloggies!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Life goes on...

Last night Kolby was excited to watch the election returns. Even though I tried to hide it, I was not. I thought about not turning on the TV at all, but it was actually Kolby's homework to watch returns and fill out a red/blue states map. So we tuned in around 8PM.

You may or may not know that I have worked hard not to be too political during this election. That is very unlike me, but I just felt that I personally needed to listen more than talk this time around. So we have not talked about the election a whole lot in our house. I did however take Kolby with me to vote last week. I wanted her to see how it all works and to know that you can still be a good, responsible American with out being a "loud, sign in your yard, recruiting people for your guy" American. Everyone just gets one vote no matter how much noise they make or don't make.

Anyway, even though we haven't shouted it from the rooftops, Kolby knows that Rob and I voted for McCain. In her 5th grade mind that meant McCain was our guy and he just had to win or we would loose. She was not so quiet in her support of McCain. She is so my daughter!

Last night after Ohio and Pennsylvania went blue, I tried to calmly explain to Kolby that there was very little hope for McCain to win and she should go to bed. (The electoral college makes a close race seem like a land slide doesn't it?) She was distraught, and almost fearful at the thought of Obama winning. I was a bit annoyed at first thinking she was just trying to stay up later. But when I saw that she was really sad and almost sacred, I asked her why she was sure Obama was so bad. Kolby started telling me all the things that "kids at school" said about Obama and why McCain just could not loose.
"It will ruin America forever" she said.
"Ruin America forever? " I asked.
Somehow that sounded worse coming out of the mouth of a scared 10 year old.
Again you can be sure that DID NOT COME FROM US, not this year anyway! :)

Turns out some kids at Kolby's school have some strong opinions about this race. The 5th graders she talked to had built quite a rap sheet for Mr. Obama. "He is going to change the pledge of allegiance and make us go to school 7 days a week. He will take all the money people who work hard make and split it with the people who don't work at all. He prays to a different God and is related to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Husein.
"He's going to ruin our whole country and we will all have to move," she said matter-of-factly while mentioning something about Obama secretly hating America and being a spy for the "muz-lims."
I had no idea she was harboring those thoughts. Surly, no adult would say things like that around a child. Surly all this was just the invention of creative 10 and 11 year olds wanting their guy to win... But no matter. None of it seemed very innocent or funny when I saw that there was true fear and maybe a shred of hate in my daughter's eyes.

So I did what we mothers do when we see that there is an imaginary monster in the dark scaring our kids. I swallowed my (Republican) pride and set about shining the spotlight of reality on the Obama Monster threatening to ruin her world.

First I talked. I talked about how both candidates were good men who want what they each truly feel is best for America. I said that though their ideas greatly differ, and while I am very sad that McCain will never get to be President, both he and Obama are good men and good Americans who also claim Christianity. Even though Obama was "the opponent" in this race, he is is not our "enemy." (Why is it so hard to think that our opponent is our friend?)

Honestly, I was itching to point out that McCain had the class and guts to graciously concede when the writing was on the wall, unlike Kerry in the last election, and that McCain was running against a whole lot more than just Obama, (insert Oprah, Hollywood's not necessarily accurate portrait of the state of our union, a culture that takes the easy way out and blames Bush for everything from the strength of the levys in New Orleans, to a housing crisis that in part is a result of faulty lending practices that began under Carter, foreign influences, and an economy that crumbled under a Democratic majority in charge of the purse strings, etc.) but I held my tongue.
Hate begets hate.
Love begets love.
When you look into the eyes of a ten year old, that seems so much clearer.

At the last minute I decided to let Kolby get back up (she was not yet asleep) and watch some of the speeches. Sadly, I decided that mid-way through McCain's speech. But I think it helped her to see McCain say good things about Obama. She was surprised to learn that the Obama's have two daughters the same age as Rhett and her. And she was dismayed at hearing Obama say nice things about McCain. "I thought they just hated each other."
Well of course she thinks that.
What else could she think after all that has been said in the last year?
I'm not sure my words or seeing the speeches for herself taught Kolby all that I hoped, but for me it boils down to this...

Like it or not, last night was historical for these United States. Barack Obama's win was a moment in our history that will be talked about and recorded in text books from this point on. I didn't want my daughter to remember it as the night we were defeated and scared. I didn't want her to remember unkind words and fretting.
I want Kolby to remember the graciousness of John McCain's and Barack Obama's speech. (Now that he is going to be President, do you think spell checker will recognize his name? :)
I want her to recall from her own memory the night that our America finally bucked the racial stigma associated with her since the days of slavery.
I want her to remember that even though her Mom and Dad voted for the someone else, they still love America and support and hope the best for all of her leaders.
I want Kolby to remember that she got to stay up way past her bedtime because her parents wanted her to have her own memories of a historic night. (It was rough this morning, but 10 years from now I think we will be glad we made that call!)

But more than the historical and political lessons, I wanted Kolby to witness her parents not giving up hope because our hope does not rest on the shoulders of elected leaders. Our hope comes from a risen Savior who remains on the throne no matter who lives in the White House.

As late as it was, I wanted Kolby to go to bed feeling secure in the faith that God will never leave her no matter who rules the land. She has a choice when it comes to how she lets the outcome of this election color her world. We all do.

I had little time to reflect on any of this though as Rhett (who went to bed much earlier) woke up puking around mid-night. Until I collapsed in bed some early hour this morning, I helped Rhett "hit the cup" and cleaned up what didn't. What a long and crazy night!

But it just goes to show, life goes on. Whether a Democrat or a Republican wins, there is puke to catch, kids to take care of and a God who promises to give us the strength and endurance to see the beauty in it all.

Happy Wednesday bloggies!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Wrap-up/ Room Preview

Just a quick post to say we had a great Halloween!

Here is EK with her MDO class on Thursday. We got a lot of mileage out of that kitty costiume! Aren't they cute!

AND My Dad seems to be doing better. His pain is finally being managed. Hopefully he will be able to start rehabbing soon. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers. Please continue to remember my Dad as this is going to be a long process. They are hoping he can come home by DECEMBER 25TH. Yes, I said DECEMBER! OY!

But back to our fun Halloween. As has sorta become our tradition, my big family and the cousins came over for trick-or -treating and Halloween play. We also celebrated my uncle Rick's birthday. I think it is so fun to have a birthday on Halloween!

We had Spaghetti for supper, went trick-or-treating and just played and visited. Around 8:30 Rob talked Rhett and Justin into going to the Midway game with him. He had tickets and was itching to go all night, but wanted to be here for Halloween. Rob has a passion for high school football! And MIDWAY won! It was a great night for all of us. I love Halloween. It's just a great, fun, family time! AND orange is one of my favorite colors!

Our family in front of the big Pumkin

The cousins Trick-or-Treating in the neighborhood.

Last night we had two cowgirls, a Storm Trooper, an FC Dallas Soccer Player, a kitty, a witch, two Cheerleaders and a Fireman!

And finally, I thought I would post some pictures of Rhett's completed room. Well sorta completed. As completed as it will be for a while! Still not sure I ever feel like any room is completely complete! :)

Rhett really loves his new room and is doing a great job keeping it clean.

Rhett's favorite part of his new room is his desk and lockers. He has been really good at coming home and doing his homework right away at his desk. I'm letting him sort and arrange his lockers for the most part. The other day I asked him where something was and he said "#17."
"I beg your pardon?"
"Locker #17!"
He has it all figured out.

He isn't the only one who likes his new room. If I can't find Ella Kate, she is usually "reading" books or "sweeping" (sleeping) with the puppies (Webkinz) on Rhett's bed. Someone said it is getting time for me to put EK in a big girl bed. Re-do another room? NO... She may be in her baby bed until Kindergarten!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Too much or not enough

Lately I have had too much to blog about or not enough. When there is too much I don't have the patience to condense it down into readable form. When there's not enough, I don't feel like putting forth the effort. Plus I refuse to be political. Anywhere. not. even. here. I just won't drag myself into that, even though it would be so easy to go there!

So having made all the excuses I can for my lack of blogging, I'll try to give you the Campbell's condensed soup version of things going on.

First, my Dad fell last Monday. It wasn't pretty and still isn't. He cracked his hip joint bone. He is in pain from that and with various conditions concerning his back and vascular system. He has had a hard week. The good news is it looks like he has escaped having surgery and he was transferred to a rehab hospital today. The bad news is that he is still in a great deal of pain even on medication and is never comfortable, which is terrible to have to watch and worse to have to live. I'm hoping the pain part will become more manageable in the next few days as he is in no shape for visiting, let alone being able to endure the rehab he is there for. But on the bright side, he is in a great facility and we are very thankful for that. He has many people praying for him and he has good doctors and good insurance (or so we hope!) AND yes, he had already voted. That came up the other day. It made me laugh.

Turns out things like Halloween don't get postponed just cause your Dad is in pain in the hospital. In ways that is a good thing. A great diversion. We had so much fun at Trunk-or-Treat last night! For the first time ever my kids did not dress in theme. :( They were going to all be in the sports theme because we bought the girls ACU cheerleader outfits this summer and Rhett just wanted to be a FC Dallas soccer player. But at the last minute Kolby didn't want to be twins with her 2 year old sister (imagine that!) and EK announced she was going to be a kitty kat. So we went with that. I spent $10 bucks at Hobby Lobby and just pulled stuff out of her closet and wah-lah! A pretty little black kitty! My Mom even made a black shiny tutu. (I was going to make it but Mom was convinced I didn't know how to do it right... :)

In other news, it looks like the PTA storm that took over my life for three months has subsided a bit... AND Mission Accomplished! Our awesome SVE kids sold over $58,000 dollars worth of products so we raised twice as much as we had budgeted! So exciting! Our PTA is doing really well this year. We also doubled our membership and we are having lots of fun. But all this has made for some long hours and crazy schedules. Even though it isn't over by any stretch of the imagination, hopefully my job isn't going to be so all-consuming. YAY! And while I'm loving PTA I realize you can have too much of a good thing.

Speaking of... I read Twilight back in August and much to the disgust of my coven friends, I have not even started New Moon. My affair with Bella and Edward was short lived, not by choice, but by circumstance. I'm hoping to rekindle that fire soon, but I tend to get so wrapped up in books like that that I want to do little else. So before I dive back into the town of Fork, I want to get the house in tip top shape... Something that it has not been in over a year! Plus I need to help Kolby more.

Kolby is doing great, but with the adjustment to 5th grade came changing classes 8 times a day, some meaner spirited girls, and more emphasis on things like fashion, fads and the cost of your shoes. I hate that. Socially Kolby is fine but she takes the meanness to heart. Academically I think she has finally found her stride, it just took a bit longer this year. All in all the move to a new school and grade has not been as smooth a transition as we would have liked. So I have had to adjust my mothering a bit to help Kolby learn how to cope with the new challenges. That's what you do as a Mom, you adjust as your kids need you differently. Turns out Kolby and I are both slow to adjust, but once we get there we rarely backslide!

That's about as concise as I can get, and since dinner isn't going to make itself (darn!), I'll leave you with some Fall pictures. Explanations to come later! Sorry for being such a blog slacker! I wish everyone would join Facebook because it is just so much easier! :)

Happy Halloween!!!