Friday, February 26, 2010

The Boy Strikes Again

But not literally - he actually hit very well tonight.  Baseball season has officially begun.  We are back at the fields for another round of Live and Breathe Baseball and Softball for the Spring.  Ah, don't you just love it?  I am particularly fond of freezing my rear off on the metal bleachers.  Also one of my favorite things is red baseball mud tracked into the house on the bottom of cleats.  Ah, I digress.  The reality is that I love baseball season especially because of the families that we play with.  We have played with most of these folks for almost 3 years and many of them have become our extended family. 

Thank goodness this group is understanding and family like, because sometimes my funny boy can say some doozies.  Tonight he comes over in front of the bleachers and all the parents wearing his catcher's gear (his favorite position).  He proceeds to show us all the chest guard part of the gear and demonstrate what the flap hanging down is for.  Swinging it back and forth he announces, "It's the PEEPER FLAP MOM!"  Ah, yes, son, that is designed to protect your peeper.  If I wasn't certain my fellow baseball parents thought this was absolutely hysterical, I would have been more embarrassed.  I wish I had a picture of him in his gear - maybe next time.  We can educate you all on the various pieces of gear and what they are meant to protect.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

"Pitch White"

If you haven't already heard, let me inform you: Central Texas got SNOW yesterday!!  Yes, right here in the Austin area we were graced by the white stuff.  It snowed several inches and stuck, which I have never seen here - ever (which means the 2.5 years we have lived here, it hasn't snowed).  Anyway, it was quite a sight.  We did not have a snow day (what the heck?), but we did get a two hour delay of school today.  Most of the parents at my school came and picked up their kids early yesterday to go home and enjoy the crazy day.  My poor children had to wait until after school to commence frolicking about in the snow.  Jacob announced when he came home, "It's pitch white out there!"  I love when kids mess up old sayings.  It cracks me up.  But seriously, snow in Central Texas?  It was awesome!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fishes and Loaves

Remember that story about the fishes and loaves and feeding like 5000 (not including the women and children  - if I were a Gospel writer I totally would have included them, because, hello, we count)?  Remember how they had just a teeny bit of food to feed all those folks, but they collected what they had and Jesus worked a miracle to multiply what they had?  I am just gonna say that He still works those kind of miracles.

I hesitate to tell this story because, 1. It's pretty personal, 2. I don't want y'all to freak out, 3. I don't want y'all to think I am looking for handouts, 4. You need to know we are all okay and were never at risk for starving - if we were, we would have asked for help.  But, I am going to tell it anyway, because sometimes, I just have to report on how good God is.

At the beginning of February we had $41 in our checking account.  That was it.  $41 and no anticipated income until, at the earliest, today's date.  We were smart and we put what we needed aside for one big bill in savings.  But we still only had $41.  That was supposed to cover groceries, gas, and whatever else might come up.  And things come up.  Believe me.

We had $41 for three birthdays.  Mine, Brian's, and Reba's.  Brian and I can do without, a six-year-old needs a birthday party and presents.

We had $41 for 3 weeks of gas (we usually fill up each car once a week).  I commute 35 minutes every day one way.  We needed gas almost immediately.  Of course.

$41 for groceries for 6 people for almost a month.  We did have fish sticks.  No bread.

As of this morning we had 42 cents.  We. Made. It.  I deposited a paycheck tonight.

How did we make it?  He did it.  It could only have been Him. 

We sold a table that we didn't need anymore to our friends who just happened to notice we had an extra table because they were at the house for a totally different reason.  Check gas for the month.

Brian and I each had birthday money from parents and grandparents (thanks, guys). Check Reba's birthday (fairy party, school party, and birthday dinner out).

Fish sticks or not, we somehow made it with the food we had in our pantry and freezer.  Sometimes I am a genius with random food that we have on hand.  Our. Fridge. Is. Empty.  But we are full.

We have managed extras like a classmate's birthday party (handmade gift), the darn tooth fairy (would the kid just keep her teeth until we have some money?), a well check co-pay for the birthday girl (and ears pierced because we promised), diapers - wait, that's a regular occurrence, it just surprised us, and softball equipment (generously bankrolled by Aunt Jenny, our team's new sponsor).  42 cents.  Seriously.  

We didn't feed the masses, nor did we end up with much left over, but I will chalk it up to a miracle that we are still standing in the black.  There are many good things on the horizon.  Don't send donations yet.  Brian's business is looking very promising, my paycheck is coming in, our refund is on its way.  We will be better than okay.  Sometimes it just takes months like this to remind us that when we end, He begins.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My Boy

I love this boy.  He is my funny kid.  As a second grader he is full of jokes, riddles, and a mouth of unruly teeth.  First of all, he is all boy, but he surprises us every other minute.  The other day he and his best friend "Jake" (yes, Jacob and Jake are best friends) were watching an Olympic medal ceremony.  Jacob exclaims that it is "so romantic!"  Brian, wondering what he is talking about, questions Jacob.  It was the women's skiing medal ceremony and Jacob pointed out that they were given flowers and the men kissed the women's hands.  Oh, how romantic... Where did he even get that word?

Fast forward to last night.  We were watching the Olympics - again, and Jacob is getting impatient waiting for his favorite event.  We happened to be watching my favorite event, Giant Slalum (um, hello, Aksel) and Jacob was antsy to get to ICE DANCING!  What the heck?  He loves those skaters.

The funniest moment yet came when Bob Costas appeared on the screen for the umpteenth time and Jacob says, "I'm getting sick of this guy.  Who is he anyway?  He speaks like every 10 minutes."  Uh, yep.  About every 10 minutes up pops Bob Costas.  Brian agreed.  It was way better when Katie Couric reported on the Olympics. Oh, boy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why you shouldn't groom your own dog and other ramblings...

First of all, yesterday was Brian's birthday which should explain why I didn't post - except, really it doesn't.  We officially did nothing for his birthday.  After experiencing a slight cash flow issue (as in, it doesn't seem to be flowing in at all) we decided to clamp down on all spending.  I did splurge and spend the $6.95 at Starbucks for his peppermint syrup that he loves for his coffee, but going out was absolutely out of the question.  Since he scheduled softball practice for last night (being the head coach and all) we also didn't exactly have time for dinner.  So, we quick fed the kids, headed off in 10 different directions, and met back up in the late evening for my sister to come over and make malts.  If you are not a member of my family, you need to know, malts are tradition, a classic dessert item, cherished by all, and made popular in our family by my grandpa (who knew just the right combo of ice cream, chocolate malt, and milk).

After malts, which apparently was going to actually be our dinner since we never got around to real food, we sat around the couches to just chill and muse about what it was like to be old.  Then it happened.  Brian got a bee in his bonnet to trim the dog.  (It was probably because of my post from a few days ago.)  He got out the clippers (human hair clippers) and guards and proceeded to attempt his hand at grooming.

There are reasons why we have paid a groomer upwards of $30 in the past to beautify our Little Dog.  #1: He's an ugly little dog, it takes a professional.  #2: His hair is strangely thick and wiry on top - you should use dog clippers.  #3: They bathe him.  #4: He is an ugly little dog.  Seriously.  Our final product may look only slightly better than what we started with.  Yikes!  As I said to the groomer the last time (when we had money to do things like that), "He's an ugly little dog, if I get him back an ugly little dog, I won't be disappointed."

Monday, February 15, 2010


When I was a child I lived in what I believed was a typical suburban home.  I have since learned that we were anything but typical and everything exceptional.  Some of my fondest memories (also some of my most embarrassing memories) include our menagerie of pets.  At one time we had 3 dogs, 3 cats, a rabbit, and a gerbil.  I would like to report that I am much more conservative in my pet adoptions as an adult - but I know I am beginning to border on ridiculous.  Check out our latest addition (bottom) - a gift for Reba's birthday.

King Tut, the best dog ever.

Bailey Jane, the most destructive dog ever (but soooo cute).

Little Dog, the ugliest dog ever (partly my fault - he needs groomed).
Cleopatra "Cleo", the cat.  She stares at closed doors - it's weird.

Travis, the hamster.  Our newest addition. Reba's baby.

And yes, he/she (we aren't sure) is sitting on top of Mommy's desk right now.  Am I crazy?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Valentine

The second best Valentine I have ever received: 

She kills me, that girl.  This sentiment is so sweet, almost as good as the one my sister gave my mom more than 15 years ago.  "Mom, I love you more than my bed."  If you knew my little sister...

Oh, yeah - the best?  She came a day early (which was really 4 days late - since she was actually due on my birthday).

Saturday, February 13, 2010


My baby is 6!  We told her she was not allowed to turn 6.  We even tried to cancel her birthday - but February 13th came around anyway.  So, we did what any good parents would do, we threw her a Fairy Birthday Party.

All the girls were to come in their Fairy Best - minus the accessories because we would provide those.  We spent the afternoon crafting wings and wands.  The wings are two pieces of 12x18 stiff felt cut into wing shape, sewn together, with elastic also sewn in for arms.  They were decorated with foam stickers, pom poms, glitter fabric spray, tool, ribbons, and the occasional sharpie (all with the help of a few moms and hot glue guns).  The wands are wooden dowels with foam stars on the top.  One little girl had only done the basic foam star and wooden dowel wand.  She handed it to her mother and asked "for an upgrade" meaning she wanted ribbons on that too.  The finishing touch was "Fairy Dust" that we sprinkled on everyone.  All I can say is, the Head Fairy is tired.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Because store bought Valentines are just not as nice...  I totally stole this scarf idea from here.  The kids were super excited about this.  Who wouldn't want a little red scarf (that used to be a red fleece throw from Ikea)?  Spent only $10 on Valentines this year, too (for four kids worth of classes).  Sometimes my creative genius (even when ripping it off from somewhere else) astounds me.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

When it rains, it pours

It is true that we have been experiencing inclement weather across the country these last weeks, but I am talking about blessings here.  Besides all of my birthday wishes (which I treasured, y'all) today has been an incredible day.  First of all, you all know my love for sewing.  I make no bones about the fact that my Bernina and I have a very close relationship.  Quilting has been known to keep me sane at times.  I love to think them up (because Lord knows I can't follow a pattern), make them, and then lovingly give them away.  This week, while discussing with a friend how I wanted to make a quilt to auction for Relay For Life donations, she mentioned her sister was interested in passing along some quilting items.  We both were thinking it might be some fabric or some simple notions, but no.  Oh, no. 

Today I got an email from my friend's sister.  She wants to GIVE me her Gracie quilting frame and her PC Quilter.  I kid you not.  Okay for everyone that doesn't sew or quilt or have a clue what the Gracie and PCQ are, they are stinking super cool (and not so cheap) machines to help make those awesome patterns you see sewn into the "quilting" part of a quilt.  Get it now?  This is serious stuff here.  This is what will take my quilting to the NEXT level (really like 10 levels up - who are we kidding?).  I am blown away.  Her generosity astounds me.  This world is a good and loving place. 

Next (as if all that weren't enough), my precious babies (foster) will soon be moving to a more permanent home.  This is a good thing but also a seriously heart breaking process.  I want them.  I want them forever.  But that is not what we agreed to and that is not part of God's plan for us.  I have been tormented by the fear of them leaving.  If I talk about it, I get emotional, and my voice comes out all squeaky.  My mom was right; I don't know how to love but to love completely.  Today, out of the blue, I got a call from a potential adoptive parent.  She's the one I was hoping and praying for.  Their family is interested and I am praying hard that this is the right thing for them and for our kids.  I feel like God is showing me that He will still be taking care of these babies and as tough as this is I am excited at the possibility.

Now, if only I could get the weather to cooperate and give us a late start to school tomorrow.  That would really be a blessing!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

31 is good

Y'all, 31 is good.  Lunch with Brian at an actual restaurant without our 4 kids.  Missed a major poo-saster (that a very sweet teacher and lovely secretary cleaned up themselves) at school while I was gone to lunch and no one called me to come back for it.  Felt like I did my job as a "nurse" assisting a teacher with health concerns.  Came home to eat a wonderful dinner prepared by my sister.  Went to Bible study with a dear friend.  Was blessed by sleeping children and a loving husband when I got home.  Had over 50 messages wishing me "Happy Birthday" from friends old and new.  My cup runneth over, big time.

Monday, February 8, 2010

We Heart Kisses Photo Challenge - Week 6

Because this picture was too good to not enter.  This was taken at a wedding this past June.  The happy couple announced their engagement this fall. 

Check out the other "Kisses" at:

My 30th Year

What some may characterize as a critical of coming of age year (it gets older every generation), I felt as though my 30th year was less about coming of age and more about celebrating life. 

30 meant:
  1. Becoming parents on another level.
  2. Re-examining our work life.
  3. Re-organizing our priorities.
  4. Opening our home to friends and children.
  5. Following our dreams.
  6. Knowing who our friends are.
  7. Knowing what our limits are.
  8. Challenging our faith.
  9. Challenging our sanity.
  10. Acing, like 99% acing, my first graduate course.
  11. Realizing potential.
  12. Understanding heart break.
  13. Witnessing miracles.
  14. Celebrating love.
  15. Walking with each other in love.
  16. Watching heroes fall.
  17. Forgiveness. 
  18. 10+ pounds that came out of nowhere and landed on my waist.
  19. Realizing that I was only human.
  20. Leaving a job that I really loved.
  21. Commitment.
  22. Bernina.
  23. Nikon.
  24. Drinking lots of coffee.
  25. Learning to drink a little less coffee.
  26. Driving grown up cars.
  27. Accepting and loving baldness (Brian's, not mine).
  28. Challenging ourselves (Game On! among many other more important things).
  29. Giving Thanks.
  30. Receiving Grace.
30 was not what I expected.  I loved harder, hurt more, and received more Grace than I had ever before in my life.  30 really was an epic year for me.  I look forward to 31 - I think...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bible Coffee Holder Bag

Don't be jealous.  You know you want one too.  This was all my husband's genius.  The above pictured bag was based purely out of need.  Let me explain.  We started going to a church where you actually had to bring your Bible with you every week - and, uh, use it.  No kidding.  This new church also has this deal called the casual venue where you can be in church but without all the "liturgy" (that's church speak for "old churchy stuff"), you can dress in your jeans, and if you really wanted to, you could sit around a table and drink your morning coffee during worship.  Now, we worship, we sing, we listen to a good sermon every week, so don't be thinking I went all "weak church" on you here.  "Casual" just implies the ambiance of the setting.  I digress.

Anyway, so at this new church we began toting back and forth our Bibles and our two coffee mugs (spill free, of course).  This became quite an ordeal when you have four kids ages seven and under.  Brian and I would begin doling out our coffees for the kids to carry and then trying to make sure we got it all back as we delivered all four to Sunday School.  From the beginning Brian was prodding me to make him a "Bible Coffee Holder Bag".  I laughed.  He did not.  So this is the result: a tote like bag with a sleeve for the big Bible and two elastic loops to hold our coffee upright.  There is then space for a second Bible or all the things that the kids bring home from Sunday school.  We are two Sundays into carrying this and so far, so good.  Brian calls this Prototype #1.  Apparently he feels there are still some tweaks we could make.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Can you even be Texan without boots?  I don't think so.  So, after the destructo dog ate my beloved pair of butterfly boots, I was left with a sort of identity crisis.  Am I just another impostor implant to this beautiful place?  Would they find me out by my improper footwear?  After a long delay, the situation was finally remedied tonight. 

My dear sisters (because they are wonderful to their big sister and they know me well) got me gift cards to Cavender's for Christmas this year.  For some reason, tonight, it became urgent that I purchase a pair of boots.  Perhaps it was the posse narrowing in on my lack of sanctioned shoes, or it could have been my dearth of good church appropriate kicks.  Maybe it was that I just really wanted boots and since my birthday is on Tuesday I decided to get 'er done.  Whatever it was, I got my boots.  Check 'em out.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In a mood.

It's a don't cross me, I will bite your head off, kind of night for me.  I have very few of them.  Really, I am being serious.  Ordinarily I am very even tempered.  But tonight, no way.  I got on the elliptical to work out my frustration (get it, work out as in workout, never mind).  I burned more calories in 20 minutes than I ever had before by like 50 calories.  Um, yeah.

The cat just looked at me and I hissed at her.  I am not proud.  I'm going to bed and praying for a new day.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It was very important - the Girl Scouts were at the door.

Last week sometime Jacob (age 7) was on the phone with my mom (Queen Ree).  They were chatting away, Jacob pacing in his normal fashion when he talks on the phone, when suddenly the conversation stopped.  Jacob said an abrupt goodbye and returned the phone to the base.  I must have looked puzzled so he decided to explain, "It was important, Mom.  She had to go.  The Girl Scouts were at the door."  I questioned why that would be so important.  "Because they have cookies, Mom! And those things are good!"

Pardon my stupidity, child.  Clearly I have not grasped the importance of the Girl Scout Cookie.  Really, what the boy doesn't know, is that I have long understood the power of the Girl Scout Cookie.  I was a Girl Scout once - Troop 14 in the San Gabriel District.  We went defunct by the time we were all in the 7th grade, but never mind that.  I failed at cookie sales.  My mom would buy a couple of cases so that I could, at the very least, earn my stupid badge.

Those cases didn't last long in our house.  We could devour sleeve after sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting (or standing, because who sits when eating a sleeve of Thin Mints?).  We would finish our cases by, oh, a couple weeks out of cookie season.  If my mom was really smart she would hide a couple of boxes in the deep freeze - but once discovered, those were demolished too.  Invariably, just as the last cookie was polished off, my dad would be standing there, proclaiming that he "didn't get any of that!"  You snooze you lose, Old Man.  Girl Scout Cookies were fair game in our house.

This brings me to my adult home.  Stupid Game On! has me rationing my Thin Mints to 2 a day (allowed by the 100 calories of anything rule) and I have managed to stick with this plan.  My husband (who like my dad would wait until all cookies were gone to decide he was going to partake) has a different approach (see photo above).  Stupid man.  Like labeling your box keeps people from actually eating it.  These are Girl Scout Cookies, and "those things are good!"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I made a commitment

I made a commitment right here on this blog that I was going to write everyday for a while until I found my creative sweet spot again.  Little by little I feel the fog lifting and that thing inside of me reigniting.  I don't have much to say tonight - I will probably be able to put it together better tomorrow.  I promise a post on whatever it is I'm not posting on today.  But since I made that commitment to you, me, and well, to my Game On! team (and you know how I hate to lose), I needed to write just a little something.

Oh, shoot, I have to go to bed immediately - I am about to lose my sleep points for this darn game.  Gotta go, I'll catch up tomorrow.

P.S. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the beautiful comments yesterday.  I am truly touched.

Monday, February 1, 2010


The hardest part about being a foster parent is not what most people think of.  Sure, dealing with tantrums, bizarre behaviors left over from a abused or neglected former life, hearing horrible words shouted at you only because they are scared, frustrated, and scarred, sucks.  But I can take that part of it.  What kills me and eats me up inside is loving, healing, molding, and mending these children and then giving them back or giving them away to another family. 

These children have become my babies.  They have been part of my family for these last 5 months.  They are my other children's siblings.  They are our parents' other grandchildren.  They are my sisters' other niece and nephew. How do they un-become mine?  Is it pride that tells me that I am the best Mommy they will have - that I know them and can offer them the best life possible? 

We aren't there yet, thank goodness, but it's coming.  I know it's coming.  And I am not looking forward to it.

And as if the dagger wasn't already sticking out of my chest, it twists at the toughest times.  Last night the 3-year-old and I were doing her school project together.  She was answering questions like "What's your favorite thing to do?" and "What is your favorite place?"  We got to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" She answers, "A mommy, like you."  Oh, my heart can't take much more.