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!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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!