When we bought our van less 25 days ago, it had less then 11,500 miles on it. We have managed to put way over 1000 miles on it since then. There is no end in sight to this mileage adding trend.
Last weekend Rhett and I cruised down to Houston to see Sari who is working the Houston auto show. I would add cute pictures of Sari and Rhett among all things auto, but I forgot my camera and Sari hasn't e-mailed her pictures yet.
So until she does I will post this oh-so cheesy picture of my sister greeting the press at the Detroit auto show. Anyway, we had a nice short visit with Sari, took in a few sites at the show, stocked Sari's mini fridge with all we could find at Super Target, ate at Joes Crab Shack (Rhett loves that place!) and headed home. It was a short fun mother/son/aunt over night outing.
This weekend we have another mileage adding excursion planned. This one is BIG. For her birthday, I am taking Kolby and three friends to the DFW area to see the Hannah Montana Concert Movie, spend the night in a hotel(which has the indoor heated pool she requested), eat at one of Kolby's favorite restaurants and hang out at one of the fun metro-plex malls. We even hope to catch up with Kolby's best girl-friend from her toddler days in Fort Worth. It's going to be so much fun! Kolby and I are both really excited.
I had not planned on this being an over-night out-of-town party. But some big-shot at Disney thought it would be fun to torture kids/parents every where and only release this movie for 7 days and only in selected cities. Our town is not one of those cities. It's not the best weekend either. Besides it being Superbowl Sunday, it is also our churches big dodgeball tournament. Rob's team has won it two years in a row and is hoping for a three-peat. I hate to miss it! But the show was sold out for Friday and we have basketball games Saturday morning... So Kolby and I will miss the dodgeball tourney and drive home just in time for the Super bowl kick-off.
I told Kolby months ago she could have a birthday party at the Hananh Montana Movie, not knowing of the limited release. Of course she would have understood, just as she understood that we could not go to the concert after the tickets sold out in 10 minutes and were a gazillion dollars on-line. But she is turning 10! Double digits! So this is a special trip, for a special girl, on a special birthday! Four Hannah Happy girls in a mini-van! I really am looking forward to it, but feel free to pray for me Saturday!
After this weekend we have one weekend at home. YEAH!
On Valentines Day Rob and I head down to Houston again for his long put off and highly anticipated shoulder surgery on the 15th. Why Houston? Well, let's just say we wanted a surgeon that has done this operation a few thousand times instead of one who has done it a few dozen times. Rob is going to need that shoulder a long time, so we did not want to take any chances!
The following weekend we head back up past DFW to Denison for Rob's parent's anniversary. I will have stayed in four different hotels by the time this month is over, which has to be a record for me in my post-baby life! I'm looking forward to all the running around, but I know come March, I will be glad to have a weekend or two at home. I've become quite the little home body over the years.
Must run. EK has a fever virus and has already missed a day of her first full week of MDO. Sigh.
My house really needed a few EK free days! Oh well. There is always next week. More later.. Happy Weekend!
Thursday, January 31, 2008
When we bought our van less 25 days ago, it had less then 11,500 miles on it. We have managed to put way over 1000 miles on it since then. There is no end in sight to this mileage adding trend.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Numbers. This week has been all about numbers.
Have you watched ESPN lately? If so, you could not help but have heard that the BAYLOR MEN'S BASKETBALL team beat Texas A&M in 5 overtimes! Of course you could not have watched the game itself because no one picked it up for TV. Two teams ranked in the top 25 playing each other and no one picked it up!??? Rob and I listened to the last four overtimes on the radio. An amazing game. I don't care much about sports but our next door neighbor is one of the assistant coaches. We have watched this team completely rebuild against great odds over the last five years. Five heart-wrenching, back-breaking years. And though I didn't go to Baylor, living in Waco it's hard not to cheer for the home team.
One part of this story that may not have been talked about on ESPN is how supportive the men's and women's basketball teams at Baylor are of each other. The Baylor girls played in Missouri (and won) the night the guys played A&M . The girls did not want the pilot to take off until they heard the final score from the men's game. But a snow storm blew in during the third over time and they had to go. The girls coach said the minute they could turn on their phones and they heard the men's final score, the plane exploded in cheers and the girls dancing in the aisles for the guys. You don't hear of that kind of support often. Here's hoping the Bears will continue this winning streak! Go Bears!
Last night I went to see 27 Dresses with some friends. It was a cute movie. A chick flick. But I liked it and had fun. It was nice to just get out with "the girls." Towards the end of the movie there is a bride on a boat. I could not figure out who the actress was but i knew i had seen her. It was bugged me until finally as I was drifting off to sleep it hit me... She was "Babe" from All My Children! I was so happy to figure it out. I'm weird that way. I will see someone in a movie or even in real life and know that I know them and it will really bug me for hours, or sometimes days, until I figure it out. Does everyone else do that?
Ella Kate has gone to Mother's Day Out 2 days this week! I thought I would get a bit more done, but it's been really nice to have a few hours to myself to do whatever! It's life changing. Really! I don't know if anyone else can appreciate what those 4.75 hours twice a week mean to me. Worth every penny. Oh and EK 's started saying "two" this week! She holds up her pointer fingers on both hand and says "dwo!" It's really cute! Makes me laugh. EK laughs too. I think she knows she is 2 cute!
This is not an exaggeration. By the time this day is over I will have done 15 loads of laundry this week. That's a whole lot of sorting, folding, and hanging up! Maybe we don't need so many clothes!
My little Kolby will be turning 10 in a few weeks. Double digits. 10 years. A decade. I have been a Mom for a decade? Sometimes it feels like I have been a mom forever and it's hard to remember life before kids. Then sometimes I feel like we just got married and there is no way we could have a ten year old. We are planning a big to do next weekend as a early celebration. More about that later.
How can it already be the 25th of January? Usually things slow down after Christmas, but this month has just flown by! So happy 25th day of 2008! Hope it has been good to you so far!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The last few days have been a blur! I can not believe it is Wednesday already!
Love the comments and suggestions from last Friday. I meet with the floor guy this week and hope to make some sort of decision. I'm leaning towards painted cabinets but probably a cream with some sort of glaze. I love color (as anyone who has been in my house can attest) but I have come to truly love and appreciate neutrals. I read an interior designer quoted in Better Home and Gardens as saying something like "Brilliant rich colors evoke strong emotion." She went on to say that she wanted her house to be a cozy, restful retreat from the world of strong emotions. To do that, she went with a more neutral pallet with only small accents of strong color. I loved her house! It was not all white and beige. She used lots of white(base boards, shutters etc.) with warm hues of yellows and browns, and complimentary peaceful hues of blues and greens. The colors were a bit muted and tame with some bright, brilliant accents. It looked so simple, peaceful and cozy. I think that may be what I go for in our house. What do you think?
Actually I have had little time to think about the house since I last posted. Last Saturday Kolby and Rhett had their 2nd Upward basketball games. Both are doing well. Kolby made four baskets, scoring 8 of her teams 10 points. I think she is starting to like this game... Which is a pleasant surprise coming from the girl who once asked if she could just show up in her uniform, cheer, and get the snack without having to actually play in the game! Rhett is also progressing. He isn't as experienced as some. Though we have had a basketball goal for years, I can't say Rhett has taken much interest in it. He seems more naturally drawn to soccer and baseball/t-ball. But he loves playing now! Rhett just likes to be in the game, no matter what "the game" is.
We had great surprise on Saturday after the game. My friend Susan and her boys called from Love Field in Dallas. They had just been bumped off their flight (they are non-rev passengers) and as a result were in Texas without plans. So they rented a car and came down to see us! We had a great time! I am always amazed at how well our kids get along. The Jenkins are "our family we're not related to" according to Rhett. I think that about sums up my sentiments as well. As always, we were so happy to see them and little sad to say goodbye... But we have learned that the goodbyes are never for very long and we are always able to pick up where we left off! We are truly blessed to count them as our friends!
Tuesday was a red letter day in the Grosz household! Ella Kate was supposed to visit the Mother's Day Out class that she officially starts Thursday. I took her in about an hour after school started with her little bag and lunch. I had planned to stay and just let her visit. But once we got there, she went in and played acting like she had been going to MDO all her life. So at the teachers urging, I left her there to eat lunch and said I would come get her before nap time. (I just knew EK wouldn't take a nap for them the first day.) But when I called to say I was on my way back, my friend Emily who teaches next door said EK was asleep! WHAT???? So I waited until the normal pick up time. When I went in to pick her up, EK gave me a big smile and kept playing! What?? No running across the room and acting like she missed me? It made me happy to see her having fun and enjoying her new friends, and at the same time, it made me a little bit sad . My baby is growing up. Funny how each developmental milestone passed by my children both thrills and saddens me. But the "thrills" side always wins out!
After having Rhett, (who kicked and screamed the first 6 months that I dropped him off at MDO) it is such a blessing to have one who seems to love going to class and school! And although it's a little hard on my heart to admit that my baby is past the "being with Mommy 24/7" stage, it's also nice. Really nice. For both of us. So I have 4.75 hours all to myself tomorrow! WOW!?! Lunch anyone?
Oh, and by the way, it is officially COLD here. I know our "Texas cold" is not considered really "cold" up North. It evens out though as "hot" up North is nowhere close to our Texas hot come summer. Anyway, for me IT IS COLD! I want to wear sweats with thick socks, sip hot tea, and read by a fire all day long! Too bad life won't let me do that. But the sweats, socks, and tea are a must!
Hope you are snug as a bug in a rug wherever you are today!
Friday, January 18, 2008
Revised with pictures.
Nothing deep here today folks! Just decided to type out the debate I am having with myself on what to do in our kitchen.
OK. I know kitchen decor is not anywhere near as important as world peace, child rearing, or anything spiritual, but I find myself thinking about it a lot lately. I wish I was one of those people who didn't really care about decor. Ever since I was old enough to remember, I have loved decorating. When I was 5 I tried to paint the walls in my Sunshine Family's doll house because they "didn't really go with" the flooring... And everyone knows it is easier to change wall color than flooring. Yes, I have always had the decorating bug pretty bad.
But, I come by it honestly! My Mom has always been a bit of a decorator. Growing up I spent many Sunday afternoons going to open houses with my family just for fun. We loved to see how people decorated and to talk about what we would do different. My whole family is into decorating to make things look nice and homey. It's not even that I am a good decorator. I can't say I enjoy the design/decorating/remodeling process. BUT nothing is as exciting as the moment a room comes together! I get great joy out seeing a room transform.
For me decorating is not just about aesthetics, it is an investment issue. We will not always live in this house and I want to get the most $$$ possible for it when we do move. Like 96% of all Americans, our house is our biggest asset. So I try to look at everything we do decor wise with the future in mind. Since I'm not bringing in any money right now, I see the "sweat equity" I put into this house as my financial contribution to our future. But even so, I may be getting a little decor/remodeling crazed! Yesterday I spent all of EK's two hour nap looking at the HGTV website. AND I definitely have an HGTV addiction. I don't think I have watched any other channel on purpose in weeks. But I digress...
I hope to start giving our kitchen a bit of a face lift in the coming months. I do not have a big budget to work with and I will do as much as I can myself. I'm trying to decide what to do about my cabinets, counter tops and floors. The cabinets are in good shape but the are stained a light/medium oakish color that I have never really liked. We are going to have to get new counter tops because they are in bad shape. I'm trying to decide whether to paint the cabinets a light creamy/white color and go with darker counter tops, or to stain the cabinets darker and go with lighter counter tops. All of our appliances are just a few years old and are white. That tilts me towards going with lighter cabinets. But the wood is really pretty and I love the look of dark stained cabinets.
I also plan to put wood (or laminate that looks like wood) flooring through out our living, dining and kitchen areas. In talking to some flooring people and a few builders, I'm now wondering if I should take advantage of the natural break between our kitchen and eating area to put tile in the kitchen and laundry room. No matter which way we go, it will cost about the same and it will be a huge undertaking.
So...what do you guys think? Dark cabinets/light counters or light cabinets/dark counters? Wood, laminate or tile? What is in your house? What do you like or not like? Do you have any great kitchen tips or things you just love/hate in your kitchen? I want to know!
Oh. Yes. Pictures would help, wouldn't they? Thanks Tracy!
I had to scan these pictures taken several years ago so they are a little fuzzy. (There is no way I am taking and posting pictures on the www of the way my kitchen looks at this moment ! You guys would call CPS on me!) Not much has changed except where the microwave was there is now another oven and where the vent-a-hood was there is now a microwave. I have replaced the brass and white knobs and pulls with brushed nickle ones. The cabinets look lighter than this in person. I also already have bids to have the walls textured and the light box removed and replaced with 4 recessed cans. That box has to go!
This is what you see looking out of the kitchen. It has not changed much either but I have plans! When we moved in the wall paper in the kitchen went all the way around to the patio door! Yuck! I took as much wall paper down as possible then and have been plotting to remove the rest as time and $$ allow. Some day soon I hope to live in a wall paper free house!
Monday, January 14, 2008
This morning I took Ella Kate to the doctor for her 18 month check. All is well. EK was really good and such a flirt! She covered her eyes during her shot and whimpered just a bit. Then when it was over and the nurse said she did a great job, EK clapped for herself. The nurse and I had a good laugh and joined her in clapping.
My mom brought us some home made granola yesterday and suggested I give it to Ella Kate for her snacks. I did. Do you think she liked it?
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I sat down to blog about 30 times this week but the end result was never ready for the publish button, so here I am.
We started the kid's Upwards Basketball season this morning! We are very fortunate that Rhett's games are always at 10:30 and Kolby's are at 11:30. Both the late time and the back to back schedule will make this season so much easier. However, spending 2 hours in a gym is never Ella Kate's idea of fun! For the rest of us though, it was really fun. Both Rhett and Kolby are fairly new to basketball. I think both will improve over the course of this season. I can't explain what a thrill Rob and I get out of watching them evolve. I guess it's a parent thing. :)
Please check out Suzanne Catchings Motes website today and join me in praying that their family is able to have a great time of worship, dedication, and prayer in the morning. If you know Suzanne and live in the metro-plex, you may want to plan to make Ryan's baby dedication service.
I know of so many truly tragic life situations right now. On top of that I am still not over the sinus infection I have had since mid-December and I feel pretty cruddy. It would be very easy to get down. But when I hear stories like that of Suzanne's, it makes me realize how every day really and truly is a gift. That sounds so cliche, I know. But it is so true! Every hour on this planet is a gift. For me gratitude is the best defense against those pesky winter blues. So far I have avoided that New Years funk this year. But it's purely a God thing and has nothing to do with me. When I think of all I have been given through Christ, and I think of my life with Rob and our kids... It makes me truly grateful and very happy. I have been blessed.
Have a great Saturday!
Monday, January 07, 2008
My baby girl is 18 months old!
Oh my! Ella Kate has crammed so much life into 18 months! She is a force to be reckoned with. She is fast, active and into everything. Nothing breakable is safe in her wake. But she is also so sweet! She loves to "love" everyone. She loves to give hugs and kisses. She is always so excited to see us, even if we have just been gone 20 minutes. Ella Kate makes me laugh many times everyday. She is so funny.
Right now Ella Kate loves Elmo and puppy dogs. She still loves her soft pink blankies and is so much happier if we have one with us, so the blankies go everywhere. (Luckily we have three!) Ella Kate loves shoes more than any little girl I have ever known. She got three pairs of shoes for Christmas ans was so excited to try on each new pair. She can change her own shoes. She loves my shoes, Kolby's shoes.. any one's shoes. I have to run past the little girl shoe section of Target or we will get stuck there for at least 20 minutes... and unless we are taking new shoes home, it does not end well. I can not let Ella Kate even catch a glimpse the kids shoe section at Dillards. The last time we were there EK escaped her stroller and I had to chase her all the way to housewares holding three different try-on shoes tightly in her little grasp! I had to peel her fingers off of them to put them back. And she screamed "SHEWZ!" for 10 minutes at the top of her lungs when we left. I could tell a dozen Ella Kate shoe stories!
Ella Kate can climb anything. She loves her brother's top bunk and the trampoline in the back yard. She also loves to dance on the kitchen table, which gives me heart palpitations several times a day! Ella Kate loves to go outside (ow si) and ride in her cars or play with her brother's soccer ball. She loves to jump on the trampoline. (or our bed) Ella Kate also loves to be a helper! If you ask her to go get a diaper she will run as fast as she can to her room for one. She always has the biggest smile on her face when she hands the diaper over and will clap for herself! Ella Kate has always been verbal. Even when she runs she makes this uh uh uh uh noise the whole time. In fact i can not think of a time that she runs that she does not make this noise. When she is excited she runs in place sort of like a baby flash dance move. When we pick her up her feet are still running most of the time and we have to be careful not to get kicked!
18 months is one of my most favorite ages! 18 month olds are little sponges, learning and absorbing all the world around them has to offer. Their little personalities really come out at this age. With Ella Kate I find myself awestruck at the little person developing before me. We are all so in love with this baby girl! She has blessed our family in so many ways! I thank God for her, just as I thank him for her sweet brother and sister, everyday, many times a day. Rob and I may are not perfect parents, but we are in awe of the miraculous little people God created with our genes!
Thank you God for our sweet Ella Kate!
PS If you are contemplating having a third, I say DO IT! Yes, it is much harder, takes tons more work, more patience, more cleaning up, and there is much more laundry. You will have less money, less time, less energy and less sleep... But our third baby completed our family and we have more love and are more blessed than we ever imagined! I don't see how anyone could ever regret having a third!
Saturday, January 05, 2008
My Dad was put in the hospital late yesterday with pneumonia in one lung. He was dehydrated and extremely weak. A few bags of IV fluid later, he is doing better. We expect him to make a full recovery and be home in a few days. He is in good hands and we are all feeling really good about his prognosis.
For those of you who went to ACU, I have been following the struggle of Suzanne Catchings Motes (ACU class of '93) through this web site. Suzanne is 36 years old and the mother of a sweet 10 month old boy. Suzanne and her family got some heart wrenching news yesterday. Sometimes there are just no words. Please pray for the Catchings/Motes families.
1-2 Help, God—the bottom has fallen out of my life! Master, hear my cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears!
Listen to my cries for mercy.
3-4 If you, God, kept records on wrongdoings,
who would stand a chance?
As it turns out, forgiveness is your habit,
and that's why you're worshiped.
5-6 I pray to God—my life a prayer—
and wait for what he'll say and do.
My life's on the line before God, my Lord,
waiting and watching till morning,
waiting and watching till morning.
7 O Israel, wait and watch for God—
with God's arrival comes love,
with God's arrival comes generous redemption.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
I have been out of town 4 of the last 5 days. Last Friday we had barely recovered from Christmas when Rob and I left the kids with my Mom and headed to Houston to see a new shoulder doctor. We left mid-morning and returned around 10pm that night. The next day we got up, packed and headed to Dennison for a quick overnight Christmas trip. We were on the road by 10 am. We had a slight fender bender mid-trip in Dallas. No one was hurt and both cars were drivable, but our van has a crushed driver side headlight and front turn indicator, therefore no night driving. We had an eventful Christmas with the Grosz clan before heading back to Waco late Sunday afternoon. With no stops we made it home just after sunset. Monday I woke up bright and early to get to the doctor. I have an ear and sinus infection. After the doctor's office, Kolby and I spent about 2 hours in the grocery store getting stuff to take to my Moms for New Years Eve. The moment we got home and put the groceries away, Rob, Kolby, Rhett and I jumped in the Van and headed to Killeen (about 45 minutes away) to look at a van I had seen on cars.com. We test drove one or two vans, kicked some tires and talked numbers until a little after 4 when we realized we had to get home and get ready for the crowd coming over at 7! We flew home and made Potato Soup and Chicken Noodle Soup to help feed our crew. It was a fun night but I was exhausted. Tuesday I did nothing. NOTHING!!!! Except e-mail a dealer in Dallas about another van. Wednesday morning Rob returned to work for the first time since December 19th and the big kids and I left Ek with my Mom and headed to Dallas to check out that van. Again, we kicked tires and test drove until around 4pm when I wrote a check ! Yes!
We bought a van!
It is the first time in 9 years that we have bought a new car. (new to us anyway) We are all thrilled!!! The kids were debating giving the new van an name. Since we are keeping the old van can no longer say the car and the van because we will have two vans. Rhett does not want to give the van a girl name...of course! So we tried to come up with a genderless name... and the kids came up with Marion. Really? I was thinking Sam or Chris or Spot... I'm not naming the new van Marion.
The kids and I started home around 4:45 and hit bad traffic. Around 6:45 we stopped in Hillsboro for a bathroom break and food. We also managed to swing by the Children's Place Outlet. We finally got home last night about 9:00. This morning I took Kolby (and Ella Kate) to the doctor. Kolby has a sinus infection. And now we are home. For a few hours. Hopefully tomorrow we will go back to Dallas to get our new van. (The dealership is fixing a few minor things for us today.) If we don't go tomorrow, we will go Saturday. School starts Monday. Where did our vacation go?
I haven't even started taking down Christmas yet... But as soon as I push publish I am attacking the tree. The mere sight of anything Christmas is starting to make me nauseous. I am ready get my house in order and stay put for a while.
I guess I should end there and say Happy New Year. I should, but I can't. The rest of this might be a bit depressing so stop reading here if you want.
During all the running around and hectic trips here and there, my heart and mind have been on a completely different journey. Since New Years, my thoughts and prayers have been centered around Kenya. The video and news stories coming out of Nairobi this week are chilling.
I know people who were missionaries in Eldoret where 50 people were killed while seeking safety in an Assemblies of God church. Many of the Kenyans I worked lived in the slumberb (slum/suburb) of Nairobi called Mathare Valley. From what I have read, Mathare has been a hot spot for violence in the last week. It scares me. This is not the Kenya I remember.
In the midst of the third world turmoil of it's neighboring countries (Sudan and Uganda to name two) Kenya has been a haven of peace and relative stability. It has long been called the breadbasket of East Africa because it has enjoyed decades of peaceful self rule that allowed for a billion dollar a year coffee, tea and tourist industry. While Kenya was still impoverished (millions still living in poverty and starvation) and lacking in so many things (public education and affordable health care were unheard of) it was peaceful. In the 6 or so months I spent in Kenya I did not ever fear for my life, no matter where I went or who I was with. Honestly there are more places in Waco that scare me than there were in Nairobi. Guns are outlawed there. I hope the recent events and resulting tribal clashes are just a side effect of a close, passion filled election and not a catalyst into an uncertain, tumultuous future.
We who are born and raised in America have no idea how fragile democracy can be. We can not imagine how a national election can completely upset the balance of peace causing violent riots and angry mobs who seek out the opposition with murder in their eyes. But the questions that will not let my heart stray far from Kenya in the midst of all this involve the million+ homeless children (ages 1 to 13) who roam the streets of Kenya. Who is looking out for these forgotten children when mobs are burning down markets and military police are firing back with bullets and tear gas?Where are my precious gate kids? Sadly the most innocent will be targeted and suffer greatly. The thought of these kids hurting... it just haunts me.
And while there are children in Kenya fearing for their lives and their country, on the other side of the world I sit sipping designer coffee in the comfort of my 4 bedroom 3 bath house with a heater keeping my family warm, a refrigerator packed to the gills with holiday leftovers, my biggest concern: being a bit overwhelmed by more new toys and gadgets than will fit in our already too full closets and putting away Christmas decorations. While I do not want to trade, it doesn't seem fair
And I have this knot in my stomach
and a lump in my throat
that no amount of Starbucks can ease.
What can I do to change any of it?
I wish I were more like Pam Cope
or maybe Oprah
at times like this.
But I am not Pam
and I will never be Oprah.
I do not know what I can do...
So I blog
and I pray.
Protected by the many miles and worlds that separate me from those who live with true fear, pain and suffering everyday, I pray that someday I will find the courage and means to do more for them than just blog and pray.