Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Family Christmas Picture

Merry Christmas to you!

Due to several mediocre reasons, you will not be getting a Christmas card from me. Well, 20 of you will. I didn't really like the options for backgrounds at one photo card website and that happened to be the place I had some credit for free prints. So I ordered 20 and planned to go to another site to get more. I never did.

The new plan is to send you a family picture with a baby announcement included.

So merry Christmas and I look forward to hearing from you even though I can't return the favor for a few more months. We will be receiving mail at my parents address for the next few months. Let me know if you want the address :-)

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's time.

Four and a half years in Abilene. It's over now. At the drop party during Mike's training in San Antonio it was revealed what airframe Mike would be working on and at which base he would start out.

I can remember it clear as day: "C-130's to Dyess!" That was the announcement.

My heart sank at exactly the same moment my jaw dropped. Seriously? C-130s? A plane we were avoiding because of the strenuous deployment cycles. Abilene? What do you even do at that place besides watch the tumbleweeds roll and watch your step for rattlesnake?

We had a tiny bit of faith that God was in this decision and our fate did not depend on some commander who was giving Mike less than he deserved.

We went.

It was either that or get court marshaled.

Now we have been here four and a half years and it is time to PCS.

PCS --Permanent Change of Station.

I hate that word permanent.

At least I hate it now that my heart belongs and loves this dusty hot town.

For the last few months I have known it was coming, but I refuse to live in the future. I knew we were leaving, but I didn't embrace it in my mind. Today however, I must. I must put all my attention and energy toward leaving.

Yesterday at church the boys had to say goodbye to Ashten. ...wow. Typing that made my eyesight blurry. Ashten has been their second mom. Now I can't see at all. Great. Where do we keep the tissue? Ashten (I don't think she even knows this) is listed as the emergency contact at all kinds of places in case there is an emergency and they can't get ahold of me. Probably you should inform your emergency contact that they are the emergency contact, that way they will be ready to step in if you need them. There is really no point in telling Ashten. I know she would (because she has) drop everything to help me out. She took the day off of work when I went into labor. I called her and my mother at 6:00 to tell them we were at the hospital. She and her husband have spent holidays with my extended family.

Every military wife needs someone who can and will drop everything when you need her. What will I do in Arkansas without her?

And it's not just her.

I've got about...5 REALLY GOOD friends. Then about another hundred good friends. These people have taken care of my family, prayed over me, encouraged me, fed me, fed my messy children, mowed my yard, drank coffee with me, shoveled my entire huge driveway when it came a blizzard and many other things.

I've got an arsenal full of older women who have taught me and counseled me.

Now I will be far away from them.

It's hard to think about this. It's overwhelming to think what I'll do on my own. I rely on these people!

It's been hard to breath. I thought it was because I was anxious and not trusting God. Then I was reading last night on my pregnancy app on my phone it said: "...your growing uterus has compressed your lungs, limiting their ability to fully expand when you take a breath and causing you to feel like you've just run a marathon when you've only climbed a flight of stairs."

I think maybe it's both.

The thought of bouncing around for the next few months, Mike being away from us, a baby being born, a house being built and the overseeing mama having about 30% of the energy I normally have... it makes breathing hard.

I can't do this. I can do a lot of stuff. I'm a military wife. We are amazing ;-)
But... this is too much.

Last night I read to the boys a chapter of the book we are going through: "Behold the Lamb of God." I will wait till another post to tell you how awesome I think this book is. If you are familiar with the Jesus storybook Bible, this is a bigger kid/adult version of that book. Yes, I am reading it to my 3 and 5 year-olds. It is a bit of a struggle for them to understand, but things they are gleaning are worth it.

So I am reading this chapter. It is about when the Israelites were about to enter the promised land. Spies were sent in to check out the place. They came back and reported of it's bounty and it's HUGE strong people living in the land. The odds were against them being able to conquer the land. It was impossible. They couldn't do it.

The people responded to this report by being afraid and whining "We should have just stayed in Egypt to die." They did not want to enter. They didn't believe that God would fight for them. So... He didn't.

Despite the miracles of Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, the miraculous provision of manna and water, the visual reminder of a pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire... these people didn't believe that God could be trusted to prepare the way.

So he didn't.

He turned them around and had them wander in the desert for the next 40 years where every one of the "faithless generation" died.

I paused my reading in mid paragraph.

This is me. Or at least it could be. Things are heading that way.

I stand on the edge of the promised land (or... maybe just Arkansas) and I freeze up, struggle to breathe.

God who has taken a place like Abilene and taught me, provided for me, matured me, loved me, listened to me, helped me... and I think this God won't take care of the difficulties of this move.

I'm so dumb.

He's so faithful.

I'm so glad.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bottoms: Why do we have 'em? Really?

Ty has a bad habit going. It's arguing. He argues about whether or not he is arguing. It's bad. We are trying to figure out different ways to help him have victory over this sin. Today however, the result of arguing was a couple swats on his hind quarters.

I tell him: "Turn around Ty, so I can spank your bottom. That's where you get a spanking. Bottoms are for spanking."

Ty: "No Mom..."

(See, I told you he had a problem.)

"...bottoms are not for spanking. Bottoms are for poo-pooing."


Dear Mom,

I can't wait till the boys get that roll of scotch tape in their stocking from you. I'm interested to see what other creative uses they can find for a role of tape.


Monday, November 14, 2011

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say

"No Ty! Jack does not want to see your poo-poo."

That was Mike responding to the question:

"Jaaaaaccckkkk! Do you want to come see my poooooo- pooooooo!"

Which was yelled while sitting on the toilet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Little boys

I couldn't trade 'em. They are sweet, rough, gross and adorable.


Our little exterminator. He is always calling out in alarm when he sees an insect in the house. He's not scared, mind you, he just wants me to know there is an emergency situation and he's going to take care of it. Here he is bringing me a spider he killed. He told me one of it's legs came off. And he brought it for proof. The dried blood in his nose is not from the insect battle. Just further proof that this child is rough and tumble.


AKA: the wicked witch of the west. Dorthy's been here, the red shoes are missing. We all know I would NEVER let my child out of the house in sock feet. Some of you may be asking why was I getting out my camera when the child has been run over by a car??? You don't know me well then do you? Now calm down, he was fine. I'm not sure how he got himself into this predicament. This isn't even our house, it's the neighbors flowerbed.

See. He was fine. I'll even say he enjoyed it. Sorry about your plants Julie!


Jack and Ty are both pictured sitting in the chairs, but I'm giving credit to Jack for the idea. I had informed him that we were having guests over in about an hour. He was ready and waiting (and comfortable) to greet them.

This is when I went out and told them there had been a change in plans and the friends weren't coming over.

"Not cool Mom, not cool."

Monday, November 7, 2011

I is smart.

Awesome. Just awesome.

No wonder no one else would let you interview them for the story.

Most moms have more since then me. "Oh, ok, sure. I'll do it."

Little did I know "We will edit this" meant: "We'll shorten the clip, but make sure we leave in anything you might say that makes you sound like an idiot."


Thanks. Thanks for that.

After getting in the car to leave, I tell Mike: "I think I made up a word during my interview. Surely they'll take it out."

Never assume... never assume.

Monday, October 24, 2011

How did he do it?


Twenty-four grandchildren.

Every one of them present at your funeral, minus two. One overseas serving as a missionary, the other hundreds of miles away serving in the navy. Both expressing how badly they wanted to be home --for you.

We came from miles around, took off work, drove through the night, bought expensive tickets, even flew in our families, made impossible things happen so we could be there.

It looked like a small army, the family section at the funeral. Most had their children beside them. And what a crowd was there! I thought the receiving line would never end. I've never seen such a turnout for a 90-year-old's funeral. It shows you didn't stop making sure people felt loved, even in your last years.

So many people. So many coming up and telling us how special you were. I heard things like: "He was such a gentleman." "He will be missed." He was so gentle and kind." "He was the same man wherever he went." I'd choke back the tears and try to leave the conversation before I needed a professional cosmetologist to get the mascara stains off of my face.

But... there a lots of gentle, kind, loving people who die every day who evoke this response out of people.

I really can't get over the fact that every grandchild possible --and their spouses were present. Is this normal? And it's not like we just felt like we needed to be there for our mothers. We could not miss it.

We couldn't.

And for the last little while I've been trying to figure out why.

Was it that we always felt so special around him?
Was it his dignity we admired?
Was it how he loved his family?
Was it how he served his church?
How he never complained --and yet, in his last few years, tried to be honest when we asked him how he was feeling?
Was it his wise counsel?

I want to know.

I want to know so that I can direct my boys in his steps.

This wasn't just a "sweet grandpa."

This was a man that was described by someone who had known him for years as:

"Nobody's perfect right? ["Right."] "But Weldon, he was perfect. Not a flaw. Not a flaw."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Austin's first words

Austie has been talking quite a bit lately, he's no "Ty," but he's doing well. You can tell he is interested in being able to tell us what he wants.

His first word was: "more!" and he used it often, when eating, when drinking, when not eating or drinking. Sometimes he would go to the fridge and point to it and say, "More!" I figured out what he wanted.

Since then he has added:

out (outside)
Kiki (Aunt Chrissy)
Dack (Jack)
Peese (please)

A couple days ago, Austin said his first sentence!

He was out near the end of the driveway, looking longingly at the forbidden road. I walked toward him giving him a look of warning, a "Don't you even think about going into the street" look. That is one of the biggest offenses at our house, because I want the boys to be able to be trusted in the front yard. So we really harp on street safety.

Austin looks up at me, points behind him to the street and says: "No road."

Good job Austin! He gets it. He knows he'll "get it", if he does go into the road.

...apparently being consistent works.

Friday, September 23, 2011

oh, right, I forgot.

It was hard to get up this morning


Twenty-one days to a habit? Maybe, but not when spiritual warfare is involved.

Back in the saddle for four weeks after three months of being too sick and tired to attempt an early rise.

It's still hard.

Day after day of getting up, making coffee and attempting to meet with the Father.

I sit there. In the dark. Alone. Ready to commune. Wanting to feel, to worship, to be spoken to


It's just another quiet night.

I decide to speak, thanking him for his blessings, asking for help, telling him what my friends need from Him.

My thoughts are quickly interrupted by, well, anything...


Embarrassed I try to return my focus to worshiping my Lord.

I try.

All is quiet.

I get the feeling that I'm not in the throne room. I feel I'm still outside the door, standing there, hands in my pockets, hoping He comes out and scoops me up. But not feeling worthy to knock.

I mean, I know I'm not worthy. There's no debate there. I'm the one who stepped out, over three months ago I told him. "I'm pregnant now, see ya in three months God."

The sickness is over. I'm back.

But my mind can't get over the fact that I stepped out.

What right do I have to go back and say, "I've decided I'm ready to go back to being more than friends." Like the God of the universe is a dog I've kept pinned up all day and now I'm coming back to tell him "Come on boy, I need some affection from you now. Come show me that 'love you forever' kind of love. It's convenient for ME now."

You don't do that! What nerve of me to treat God like a loyal animal.

So I've been sitting here, for four weeks, reading his Word, doing my Bible study, praying, loitering...

outside His door.

Recently I've realized what my deal is. Why I can't just open the door and walk in. Who says I have to knock anyway?

Grace --God's unconditional love and favor toward us

I've forgotten about it.

How could I forget? (I'll blame it on the pregnancy brain.)

It's foundational to what I believe about God:

God is perfect. I am far far from it.
He knows it. He loves me anyway.

My disobedience has made it impossible for me to be near Him.
He knows it. He loves me anyway.

He made a way. His son took my problems, my issues, my selfishness and paid the penalty for it. Because of my acceptance of this gift and my pledge to follow Him, I'm now clean. I'm now perfect in the sight of God.

That's what Grace is.

God knowing how self-centered and ugly my heart is, and He loves me anyway.

I think it's my problem to fix. It's not. Cause I can't fix it.

Holy Trinity, continue to teach me that Christ's righteousness
satisfies justice and evidences thy love; help me to make use of it by faith as
the ground of my peace and of thy favour and acceptance, so that I may live
always near the cross.
--M. Vincent

Now if I can just get that through my thick head.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Who wouldn't want this?

If Mike ever lets me raise chickens and they somehow survive to adulthood, then I'd like one of these with which to gather my eggs.

Seems like a fit since we are moving to Arkansas....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Chapter 6

We are in the middle of our third adventure together. Overall it has gone quite well. Ty wasn't ready to read The House at Pooh Corner but we stuck it out. Every time we would read he'd remind me that he "don't like this book." I'd tell him to pick out a shorter book from his book shelf and I'd read it to him after we were done with Pooh.

Tonight's reading of Charlotte's Web was pretty typical. Here is a sample of how things went:

Chapter VI

"Ty, you cannot lay on me. It's too hot. Move over and lay next to me and don't wiggle." (blue font is me)

"The early summer days on a farm are the happiest and fairest days of the year. Lilacs bloom and make the air sweet, and then fade. Apple blossoms come with the lilacs, and the bees visit around among the apple trees."

"Mom, I thought you were going to read about Wilber." (Red font is Jack)
"I am Jack, just keep listening."

... The days grow warm and soft. School ends, and

"Ty, get off me."

...children have time to play and to fish for trouts in the brook. Avery often brought a trout home ...

"Who's Avery?" (Green font is Ty)
"Avery is the brother."

...in his pocket, warm and stiff and ready to be fried for supper.
Now that school was over, Fern visited the barn almost every day, to sit quietly on her stool. The animals treated her as an equal.

"What's an equal mean?"
"An equal is someone who is the same as you. Like me and you, we are not equals because I am your athority. You and Ty and Wyatt are equals because ya'll are all friends and no one is in charge of the other ones...".

... The sheep lay calmly at her feet.

"Ty come lie down beside me and get out from between my legs. Don't push on my (oumph!!) stomach."
"I need a drink."
"You can go get one, but I'm going to keep reading and you'll miss part of the story."
"Wait for me to get back 'till you read."
"I'm going to keep reading."

... Around the first of July, the work horses were hitched to the moving machine, and Mr. Zuckerman climbed into the seat and drove into the field.

"When are we going to hear Wilber's name?"
"Soon, just let me get though this part."

... All morning you could hear the rattle of the machine as it went round and round, while tall grass fell down behind the cutter bar in long green swathes. Next day, if there was no thunder shower all hands would help rake and pitch and load, and the hay would be hauled to the barn in the...

"Mom, mom? Mom could you quit talking because I need to make a phone call."
"Sure Ty, go ahead."
Ty lowers his voice and speaks quietly into his phone. "Hello? Yes, ok. Yes. Alright Goodbye." Ty puts down his toy phone and I continue reading.

...high hay wagon, with Fern and Avery

"Who's Fern?"
"She's the girl. (I turn to the cover and show Ty the picture of Fern.)

... riding on the top of the load. Then the hay would be hoisted, sweet and warm, into the big loft until the whole barn seemed to smell like a wonderful bed of timothy and clover.

"What's clover?"
"Timothy and clover are types of grass."

... It was fine to jump in and perfect to hide in. And sometimes Avery would find a little grass snake in the hay, and would add it to the other things in his pocket.

"Who's Avery?"

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You know you're lazy:

...when wake up time went from your alarm going off at 5:30 AM to "Oh please let the kids sleep till 8:30!"

...when going to the pool seems like too much work.

...when you pick out food for the family based on how much clean-up the meal will require.

...when you help your big kids play their favorite game at Chuck E. Cheese and then they wander off while there is still 30% life left, so you continue to play for them.

...when you put another token in and continue the game.

...when your one-year-old falls out of his stroller because you are playing the game and not watching him.

...when nap time finally comes and the baby (of course) wakes up just as you drift off. Instead of getting up you nudge the five-year-old and say, "You wanna get up and play with him?"

...when you then say, "Check his diaper will ya? ...Oh, and he hasn't had lunch yet. Get out a box of cereal."

...when you are on the computer, your baby walks by and you get a whiff of his diaper.... and you just keep on typing.

...when you finally do stop typing and then look at the clock to see when Dad will be home to see if maybe the kid can ride it out till then. (I put ointment on the rash, he should be fine!)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Definition of evening #2

eve-ning (Noun)

1. When the sun is orange in the water

2. The edge of the day

by Jack

Monday, July 11, 2011

Honey For a Child's Heart

My mom came to visit me a couple weeks ago. After she had hugged us all she went back out to the car and returned with an armload of books. Some she had just purchased on the way out to our house when stopping to stretch her legs, and one she brought from home. She handed it to me and said, "This is a book I really enjoyed when I had little children."

What did she hand me? Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt

I took it and studied the front cover. Pictures from the early 90s confirmed her date was correct. A description on the cover read: "The Imaginative Use of Books in Family Life." (the photo is from a newer edition)

Did mom bring me this book after I'd expressed an interest in reading aloud more to my children or did this book peek my interest in the activity. I can't remember (I know, it was just two weeks ago.)

But now I'm super excited about reading aloud with my boys. The book discussed all kinds of benefits to reading together as a family. More than you'd think. Gladys Hunt shares experiences from her childhood, traditions her parents started when she was young that have continued for three generations so far. Tested by time? I'd say so. She tells of road trips that always involved books, inside jokes possible through experiences they had shared by going on journeys together in books. I love that she focuses on God's Word as the ultimate reading material and shares of some of her family's traditions:

When our son Mark was four years old, we began to read aloud from the Gospel
of Mark. We chose this Gospel because of its name and because of its short
narrative passages. Father had a plan. Everyone at the table (and
this included our numerous guests) had to ask a question and answer one.
He made a game of it. Sometimes the question was directed to the person on
our left, other times to the person on our right. We'd have to listen
carefully, and sometimes the question we had thought to ask was usurped by
someone whose turn came first, and we would have to think of another.

At first our questions were simple. Where did Jesus go? What did
Jesus do? Who went with Jesus? Mark picked up the idea rapidly. Then we
began to interject another kind of question. Why did Jesus say that?
What does He mean? And then later, What can we learn from Jesus about the
way we ought to act?

In these questions are the three elements which open any text: Fact -what
does it say? Interpretation--what does it mean? Application --what does it
mean to me?

For a while Mark's questions centered on facts, but before long he began
asking deeply penetrating ones. If Jesus could raise Lazarus from the
dead, why did He let his dear friend John the Baptist stay dead? Why did
the Jews say Jesus had an evil spirit? Increasingly we delved into the
meat of what the text was saying.

What a cool idea that I hope we will apply to our daily routine. Teaching little bitty children the basics to studying the Bible --I love it.

Hunt also reveals how useful books can be as teachers. I am an over-explainer by nature and am always watching for ways I can train myself not to be a broken record and still teach my boys as many of the 70 trillion things they need to know before they are 18.

The best teaching we have done in our family has been through reading the Bible
and good books aloud together. It is really not such a profound
concept. How would you best be enlightened to some truth --by being told
that it was wrong to be nasty and thoughtless to others or to meet and come to
love some character in a story and then feel her hurts when someone is unkind
and says cruel things?

After a successful appeal by Mrs. Hunt, I am happy to announce that we have finished our first chapter book. We read Stuart Little, the story of a mouse and his adventures. I had hoped that this book would stir curiosity within Jack and Ty's little minds, that they would use what they'd learned from the book, vocabulary, ideas, or lessons and apply some of it to their lives.

Well, the other day, Ty was lying on the floor with his head in my lap. I traced his forehead and nose with my fingers than began asking him questions: "What's that?" I'd ask. "My nose." He'd reply. "What's that?" "My eye." "What's that?" I ask, pointing at his eyebrow. "That's, that's, that's mouse hairs." He grinned up at me.

Well, ...that's a start.

I'm looking forward to many more fun times as we learn and explore together through books.

Underlying all of this discussion is my thesis that parents who read widely
together with
their children are going to be those who most influence
their children, who have the largest world view, who have an uncommon delight in what is good and true and beautiful --and an uncommon commitment to it. Sharing and feeling and talking together will come naturally. Books shared with each other provide that kind of climate.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maybe next time

It was Sonic burger night.

Caroline's suggestion hit the mark so Mike stopped at the Commissary on the way home and bought tator tots.

I put the frozen potatoes in the oven and we loaded in to the van. (Yes, It takes all five of us to pick up burgers.)

Ty had mentioned twice before we left that he didn't like burgers and, as he does, assumed we would throw out all our plans and start over with a plan he approved of.

I briefed Mike on the imminent conflict. We discussed it and decided tonight would not be the night that we started special ordering food for our picky children. Ty was getting a burger.

In the drive-through line Ty overheard us order burgers and told his dad that he did not like burgers. Mike pretended to hear him wrong, "Oh you like burgers?" "No. I DON'T like burgers." "You like burgers?" "No..." After a minute Ty was laughing and seemed ok with the idea of ketchup and cheese on his.

Nice. Mike played him like a fiddle. Good job Captain.

We get home with our five burgers and five people. Tator tots were slightly overdone --but at least they weren't mealy.

We spread the table. I placed Ty's burger in front of him. He looks down and says: "Mom! They put meat on mine!"

Aww man... I thought we'd solved this problem. I begin a little speech about how we needed to eat what was served us and the starving children and all that.

Then I open my bag, pull out the "All the way with mayo," and exclaim to Mike: "Mine doesn't have any meat!"

"What?!" Mike asks.

Jack's head whips around in shock,

Austin's eyes get really big,

and Ty yells in relief, "YOU CAN HAVE MINE!!!"

So much for the life lesson Ty was going to be taught... I needed protein.

Friday, June 17, 2011


"Mike, how about you addressing this card to your father, instead of me. It might be special to him to see it addressed in your handwriting."

Mike, slightly distracted by some air force work, answers: "sure."

I hang out in the kitchen with him, we'd just gotten the kids down and it was the beginning of a short amount of grown-up time. I'm messing around with something, not paying attention to Mike's progress on the card.

After 2 or 3 minutes he looks up, proud as can be, and says: "Check this out!"

I told him it was nice but I wasn't sure how I was going to MAIL it.

He got a little embarrassed...

We'll see what the post office does with it....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jack's 5th Birthday Party

Happy Birthday Jack!

This year, because your parents are getting old, we decided to not throw a big party at the house. We talked to you about other options. You suggested we: go to Chuck E. Cheese, the mall playground, and (not or) ride go karts at Primetime. We also decided we'd fore go cake and instead have snow cones for dessert.

So we did.

Well, minus the mall playground, because you big guys aren't actually supposed to be there. (stinks to grow up sometimes)

We brought your 3 best friends: Ty, Wyatt and Britton

I can't believe ya'll actually smiled for this picture. And don't worry about the car seats and boosters. Y'all totally rocked 'em.

See what I mean?

So you may be a big "five", but you were still in a parking lot, and let's be honest Jack, you boys don't have a lot of sense. Like Mom always said: "One boy has a whole brain and two boys have half a brain." Wonder what four boys have? A quarter?

Who knows, but they did have lots of tokens. We may have sprung for Chuck E. Cheese, but we aren't made of money. Your dad and I pre-ate so we'd only have to pay for one sub-par pizza.

And... I brought in juice boxes. Is that illegal? I don't know, but I wasn't going to have four little boys hopped up on soda.

These are some fuzzy pictures... maybe Dad will buy me a new camera. (hint hint).

All of the boys wanted to play the pirate game SOOOOOOOOoooooooo bad. It was one of those games where you (and a partner) shoot all the critters/half-dead that come at you, as soon as your life runs out, you insert a token and play for another 4 minutes. So in theory, if you're there with a birthday party (or have rich parents) you could sit on that machine for hours. And... two little boys from the other party did so.

Jack and Wyatt were more patient than the other two. They waited at least 20 minutes before giving up.

While Jack and Wyatt were waiting, Ty was busy throwing tokens around like the prodigal son. Amazing how quick it flowed. He even had one of those "fair weather friends" another little boy started following him around because Ty'd throw a bone his way every now and then.

Off to the races! We'd assumed there would be four go karts. There weren't. There was only two. And only one of them worked. We were a little disappointed, but it turns out NONE of those kids should have been on the road with anyone else. Wyatt was moving a little slow, Ty couldn't reach the pedals very well, Jack flew by like a maniac and Britton wasn't real great at steering.

Wyatt's picture got deleted. Don't get me started on how much I hate blogger.

We got some cute pictures of your friends, Jack. I'm glad. You love these guys. Britton will be moving soon, you're going to miss him. I'm going to miss him too. But, it's the air force. We'll probably run into him again. Let's not get too down.

After go karts we opened presents... in the van. Like we were homeless. But hey, aren't you glad I drive a minivan? Plenty of room.

Transformers and hot wheels. That was the name of the game. You also asked for and received the veggie tales pirate ship that you'd been drooling over for a couple months.

Then, what we'd all been waiting for:

Snow Cones!!!!

Y'all are so cute.

I think you enjoyed yourself.

Your dad did too. Here he is getting up to order his second snow cone. As soon as it was made public that he would be getting seconds, orders started flying and every one of you kids tried to talk him into getting you another.

For the record, I was on your side. He's the one that told you "No." ;-)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say

"Boys! Motorcycles do not drive on kitchen counters."

75 seconds later:

"Ty why are you standing on the counter? Get down."

10 seconds later:

"Jack if you sit on the toy motorcycle you may break it."

45 seconds later:

"Noooo!! Austin, do not eat the spare key! That's probably what happened to the last one..."

20 seconds later:

"Austin, put the key down."

3 seconds later:

"Ty get off the counter."

Austin just hit toppled over and is crying. This post has to end.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Can you take care of that for me? Thanks.

I'm in the kitchen preparing supper.

"Hey Mom," Jack calls me as he walks from the playroom and headed to the bathroom, "Can you watch Austie and get any chokers out of his mouth if he tries to eat pieces from the castle set?"

"Uhh, sure. Are you going to the bathroom?" I ask? [I'm honored that he trusts me with this responsibility.]

"Yep, I'll be right back, don't let him choke."

uhh... that was odd. For some reason I feel like the child here...

And when he finished his business, Jack ran right up to Austie, squeezed his cheeks and checked inside.

Really? You don't trust me? I'm his mom for pete's sake. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Jack does 90% of the prying Austin's mouth open and removing canon balls.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

What can you say?

For the past week I've been thinking a lot about Mother's day.

It has come to mind when I'm standing over the kitchen sink, pulling clothes out of the washer and changing diapers. What do I do for mother's day? What do you say to the woman who spent years of her life serving your physical needs?

What do you say?

I dig chokers out of the baby's mouth, put a band aid on a scraped knee, kiss a hurt forehead and think "How many times did she tend to our scrapes and bruises?" I read books; books about cowboys, about dinosaurs, about the earth. I read to them about their creator, their savior, their only hope -- just like I was read to.

Arguments are settled, correction is given, discipline carried out, tears, hugs and lots of Kleenex. I am reminded of my stubborn heart and the many spankings I required. It would have been much easier to ignore the need. Look away, pretend you didn't hear the hurtful words coming from an ugly heart.

Trips to the park, a visit to the zoo, race tracks outlined by chalk on the driveway, sunscreen application, extra laundry, wet footprints on the would be clean floor

...remind me of...

Flying kites, trips to the farm, picnics, the fort, beach towel hideouts, water parks, vacations, ice skating, homemade bread and butter. I never considered the behind the scene work that went into each special thing we did --until now. She had to consider the babies nap schedule, the three-year-olds access to a potty, stroller accessibly, she had to remember diapers, EpiPens, hand wipes, sunscreen, paper plates, shoes (because we sure didn't) hair clips, first aid gear, seat belts, snacks and sippie cups. -and that was just for a trip around the block.

At night my tired legs remind me of a woman who had two loads of laundry washed and oatmeal on the table before I woke up. Clothes on the floor after bath time makes me think of the many times I heard, "Go get your clothes out of the bathroom." and "Hang up your towel." and "Wipe up the water that spilled outside the tub."

Many many reminders. Much much training.

Such love.


I have no words for her. No words can repay her.

And yet we have this day.

This day where we are supposed to sign our name to a canned message, lick a stamp and now we're all even.

A thank you can't do it. Yet often it sits there as our compensation to a woman who gave her sweat, sleep, tears, love and the last four bites of her dinner to us. Labor was the easy part.

So how do I repay her?

If she devoted her life to loving, playing, enjoying and leading her children to Jesus, what better (and none harder) gift to give her, then for me to do the same with mine.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


We have a reputation around our neighborhood.

Everyone has one right? Yours doesn't have to be bad, it could be good, but it's definitely something. People have an opinion of their neighbors. For example we have the quiet neighbors, the reclusive neighbors, the fun neighbors, the loud neighbors and the neighbors whose kids never wear pants.

I'm not sure but if I were to have to guess what our reputation is, I'd guess: the junky neighbors, or the psycho-gardening neighbors, or the inattentive parent neighbors, or the garage door's open all night again neighbors

Any of those would be accurate.

Apparently Ty has a reputation of his very own.

Today I was informed by a neighbor (who will remain nameless) that her husband (John) looked down at his dirty-faced daughter and said: "Hey Ty."

Big news

I'm typing this on...

my new computer!!!!


[If there wasn't a burn ban I would upload a picture of fireworks right here.]

I loved my old one, it just got sick and Mike and I didn't have the medical degrees to make it well. Poor thing.

But now... now! Now I can blog without the thing crashing on me! So stay tuned. I finished my laundry today and put a fresh roll of tissue in the back bathroom. Looks like smooth sailing for me for the next few days!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm back

This is going to be a disappointment. Prepare yourself.

I've gotten a little prodding the last few days to hop back on the horse. The more I think about what I'm going to write, I find myself getting nervous. "It's gotta be good," I'll think. "The people want funny, you gotta give 'em funny." I'm imagining some of the hype that surrounded the "This Is It" tour Michael Jackson had planned for last year. "Michael Jackson, like you've never seen him before." That's what they said... ...hoping things don't turn out for me as they did for him. Probably won't though, I don't have the PR guys that he had.

any who.

Where have I been? Well, let's see... I went on a vacation to a tropical island with Mike (who was down on business). Then I came home. Then Mike came home. Then Mike went back to work, and that was when life began again.


What does it look like these days? It looks like not blogging for one thing. I thought about writing down every single thing that went on during a day, for an entire day. Problem was, I couldn't find time or a pen with which to write it all down. (Someone buy me a decent pen for my birthday.)

Here are some thing that happen often at my house that might keep me from blogging:

I change the toilet paper roll. This doesn't take much time to do once, but when you do it 4 times a week, it becomes noteworthy. I'm glad that my big boys are old enough to handle their toilet business, but the TP required for the task is ridiculous. I'd talk to them about it, but I feel it might backfire. There was a time when they'd wipe but leave the toilet paper on the roll, --Green Peace may salute their conservation efforts, but their mother did not. Then sometimes the white rug in front of the toilet is used in place of paper.

Boys: Use the toilet paper. I'll change the roll.

Sitting down, I've decided is the wrong posture for blogging.

For one thing, the $4 garage sale chair* that sits in front of our computer threw a shoe and was out of commission until the leg and caster were repaired. For a few days I knelt in front of the desktop before deciding I didn't have the knees for it anymore. Another problem with sitting is that any time I sit down a homing signal goes out and the boys immediately end up on my lap, sprawled across my shoulders or draped over my back. Not kidding. It happens. All three of them.

Meal prep has increased lately. Mike's mom got Austin hooked on solid food. I had delayed that as long as possible. I felt it was the healthiest option for him. I can remember several times with the other boys, after they were newly weaned, that I just forgot to feed them. After much whining and crying I'd stop and think, "Now what can be the matter with you... Oh! You haven't eaten today!" (I'd been used to an uncomfortable reminder that it'd been a while since the child had last eaten.) So now Austin's on baby/finger food. Ty's eating more. Jack's doing good as always and Mike's around to be fed as well. It's like a 40% increase on what I was doing during the deployment. And I'm having to be a bit creative to come up with meals that we can all eat. A couple times I've looked down at our food and told Austin, "Sorry Dude, looks like Cheerios's for you tonight."

Laundry. Why bring this up? Isn't this a constant need? Well, yes, except that we've done away with pull-ups for bedtime --the sheets get washed twice a week. And that's only because twice a week is my limit. If the bed gets wet more than that, sorry you're sleeping on 'em. Also Mike's home and bigger people means bigger clothes thus... more loads of laundry. Oh, and our dryer is broken... again. The playroom looks like I took an armload of laundry and just threw it up in the air, clothes are draped over the rocker, the play fence, the train table, the basketball goal...** anywhere that will help it dry.

Seriously, I will have a clothes line at my next house.

Write it down.

The last reason I'm going to give you for not being able to blog:

My studly husband. I'd just rather hang out with him at night then get on the computer. Sorry. But it's true. We've enjoyed sitting on the porch, watching a little TV, playing softball together and so on. It's been great having him back. In fact, the reason I'm writing on here tonight is because he went to bed at 8:00. Poor guy isn't feeling great.

So there you have it. A disappointing post, but the ice is broken, we can continue on with our relationship.

I'll be seeing you again soon.

*I talked the guy down. He wanted $5.

**Yes, we have a basketball goal installed on our wall

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

...or maybe to smell with.

Do you know why God gave us noses?"

Jack asks his grandma.

“No, why?” She answers.

“So we can talk funny like this.

[plugs his nose and hums]

...and so we can pick our noses!"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I love trash

Dear Austin,

Congrats. Eight years of marriage, nine moves, two dogs, two big brothers and Aunt Hannah couldn't do what you did --force us to buy a heavy duty trash can.

We've made do with the sturdy Rubbermaid just fine until you came along. Daddy returned from deployment, observed your behavior for a few days and declared: We need to get another trash can, a heavy one, with a lid.

End of story... at least for the Rubbermaid.

Guess Dad didn't like the idea of you pushing it around the room like a shopping cart, or maybe he didn't like you digging around in there for a snack. Could have been the knocking it over, but I'm pretty sure he'd had enough when he saw you eating the trash bag.

I know, you miss the old one. But we wouldn't have bought this one if it hadn't been necessary for your health. By the way, you owe us $68. I'll put it on your tab.

Return date: April 1

Tell me, what could have been more perfect than this? Mike arriving home on April fools day which happens to be my second favorite holiday. I just couldn't let this opportunity pass by:

Can you tell what his reaction to the news was?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ten year old girls

have it right.

Boys are gross.




Don't believe it?

Then you've never sat down on the toilet in YOUR bathroom and realized the seat is wet.

You've never (while on the same toilet) looked over at your toilet paper roll and observed that it had been not-so-carefully rerolled and when you start pulling some off notice that it has already been used.

Finding TP with poop on it ... in your bathroom ...on your toilet paper roll = GROSS

Boys are born with the need to do gross things.

Even as newborns baby boys try to pee on you as soon as their diaper comes off.

Today my baby boy waited till dinner was ready and on the table before he made it known that he had dirty pants. So I change him, and eat a cold chicken fried steak.

Today I had to tell my second born to get a fork out of his nose.

The response I got after telling one of them to stop picking his nose: "But I love eating my boogers they taste yummy!"

Today I about hit the fan.

I pulled out the grocery bag (my cheap trash can liner) to find it dripping liquid back into the bottom. I look down and observe a couple ounces of "liquid."

Oh. My. Word.

Is that pee?

"Boys! Did someone pee in the trash can?"

"I did it!" was the enthusiastic response I received.

Really? Is there no shame?

No fear?

No "Oh crud, I'm in trouble..." ?

No denying it?

No painful silence?

No waiting to see if I can get away with it?


Just a little boy beaming with pride. His hand up in the air waving, "Me! I did it! Please acknowledge me! All you other dudes check me out! I'm the guy that peed in the trash can! Oh yeah!"

They are so... gross.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Things I never thought I'd hear myself say

"OK.... Now where is Jesus' thumb?"

[silence while they search around on the ground]

"It's here..."

[bends down to pick it up]

"...and here."

[bends down to pick up the rest of it.]

I attempt to reattach the extremities. So much for "Not one of his bones will be broken." If the super glue doesn't work our Easter scene will be Biblically inaccurate. The finger gets set and I yell out my second improbable phrase:


Next day:

I hear a crash.

"What fell?" I yell from the other room.

"Ty broke something." Jack answers.

"I broke the head."

"Whose head?"

"The guy who breaks heads."

Must have been the Roman soldier.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

State park hike

My aunt and uncle went out last weekend to a state park in Texas. They invited me, Huey, Duey and Louie out to their campsite for the day on Friday. We took a slightly treacherous trail and Uncle David, being characteristically ingenuitive, had a rope for the boys to grab onto if they tripped and started sliding down the hill.

Our arrival destination was this cool area with big flat rocks sticking up out of the ground. Not another area like it around, the perfect place for repelling or rock climbing.

Jack and I worked on his rock climbing skills. He wasn't too confident and didn't make it any higher than where he is in the following picture. It didn't help that he's wearing the upcoming summer's crocs. They were a little loose still. Not good for traction.

Uncle David anchored the rope and taught the boys how to climb up the rock on their feet. I enjoyed watching them practice this new skill.

Ty, seeing Jack's shoes off, took off a perfectly good pair of cross-trainers so he could do it like his brother.

We decided not to rock climb (I mean hike) the 7 miles (I mean 1) back, instead had Uncle David walk down the road to the spot we parked our car. We hung out at a picnic table and checked out where we'd been on the map.

It was amazing how filthy the kids were when we got back to the campsite. I hosed them off --not kidding, before we let them in the travel trailer for lunch.