Sunday, April 29, 2012


How many of you receive my blog posts via email?

If you get this post in your inbox, could you please hit reply, change the email address to mine ( and just send me a quick note letting me know that you get the posts that way.

Thanks a million!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let's play catch up!

It occured to me last week that I haven't done nearly enough regular posts here about us.  Not lately anyway.  Time to play catch up!

I'll start with Larry.  I can't state what he does for a living in a public place like this blog.  I guess I can say this much: he's still in law enforcement and works for a government entity.  Hmm....kinda sounds like I'm hiding that he's a secret spy or something doesn't it? ha ha!  We'll just go with that.  :)

My spy husband just built us a little outdoor patio sort of area.  My parents did a big project with a bunch of flagstone & had a bunch of it leftover that they gave to us.  We decided to build a porch/patio/outdoor sit & rest sort of space with it.  We spent a couple of nights laying down the rocks & deciding on the shape of the area.  After working to get it level, we finally gave up on ever getting it totally 100% flat & just poured the mortar!  It's not perfect, but it's ours.  And we love it.  We've spent at least an hour for the past 2 nights just sitting out there, listening to the leaves rustle on the trees, enjoying the breeze in the evening air.  Way to go, SpyDaddy!

Here's what it looked like after we just layed the stones out (no mortar):

And after the mortar was poured.  It looks a little different now that it's all dried, but I haven't gotten a picture of that.

Shockingly, the school year is almost over, which means I am about to have a JUNIOR.  Good grief.  It continually amazes me how fast she's growing up.  It seems like just last week I was battling to get her potty trained and now she's looking at her grown up future, just around the corner.  She has her Driver's Permit now, but until she finishes a little more of her (online) classroom part of driver's ed, we're not ready to let her start driving.  I suspect she will finish it all over the summer.

At the moment, she is taking part in an advanced reader program for her favorite author--Jenny L. Cote.  One particular series of Ms. Cote's drew her attention a year or so ago.  She's plowed through all the books in the series & friended her on Facebook a while back.  She's written her so many fan messages that Ms. Cote asked her to read the upcoming book (from this same series) and give her a review of it.  Her comments will be published in the real book when it's released!  Savannah is sooo excited about it & delights in carrying around this huge 700 page manuscript!

We recently ordered Savannah's letter jacket.  She is actually triple-lettering!  She could get her jacket through Band, Newspaper or UIL.  She was offered the chance to go ahead & get it this year with UIL, so we went for it.  Knowing how expensive things get during a high schooler's junior & senior years, we decided to go ahead & bite the bullet and get her jacket now.

We get new college letters for her every day.  She smiles & laughs when she looks at them and tells us that she has NO IDEA how to pick a college or how to know if a school *really* wants her to be there or if she's just getting the same letter & brochure that every other kid in America got.  Honestly, she will probably start off at one of the 2 colleges here in our town while living at home and then see if she wants to transfer elsewhere later on.  At the moment, she is completely clueless about what she wants to get a degree in or what she wants to do "when she grows up", so I figure it's a good idea for her to stick around here, close to home, until she gets that all figured out.  (And that's a plus for this mama who would love to get to keep her baby at home a little bit longer!)

Sam is just about done with 6th grade.  He'll be starting Junior High next year.  He plans to be in Athletics & join the football team & do as many sports as he can.  I'm not sure where he gets all this athletic ambition since neither Larry or I have it, but he has high hopes of being on the football field next Fall.  I can't wait to see how that goes.  I'm a little bit (ok, a LOT) scared for him.  He's only played instructional sports at the YMCA and whatever he's done in PE class at school over the years.  I'm not sure he realizes just how BIG some of those 7th & 8th grade boys are....or that he'll have to run (from) into them on the field & be tackled over and over.  Ouch.  Doesn't sound like fun to me at all.  God, please protect my baby!

He got his upper braces in March & will get his lower ones in May.  He looks so cute with brackets & wires in his mouth.  If he can just keep them clean, life will be great.  He's definitely all boy in that regard.

He continues to be our family's comic relief much of the time.  The best part is, he does it without trying.  He says some of the craziest & funniest things every day.  He is quite a comedian.  However, if he doesn't kill the 12 year old attitude very soon, he's gonna be laughing himself right into a very long summer of extra chores and groundings.  (Lord help us!)

Sarah is my baby.  And she's in 5th grade.  Which means my last baby is finishing elementary school next month.  Oh heavens, bring on the Kleenex.  Her teacher emailed me this week about planning our end of the year class party.  She wants it to be graduation-themed.  If she plays Pomp & Circumstance, they may have to carry me to the car when I leave.  That music does me in every time!  Something about the hopefulness, the unlimited future it represents, the dreams & excitement it stirs...oh my goodness, it makes me cry every time.  (It used to kill me when they'd practice Pre-K graduation at the preschool & the kids would march past my classroom door to get to the practice area.  Watching them file in to that music turned me teary-eyed every single time!)

Sarah is looking forward with a little nervous anticipation to joining the ranks of Middle Schoolers next year.  She's already told me that she's worried about walking into school on the first day by herself (I told her this would be a good year to do it on her own, without me by her side.)  She is excited about joining the band, but a little nervous about whether she'll do well on whatever instrument she's assigned.  She is happy about the idea of switching classes throughout the day & getting a locker, but she is concerned she will forget her schedule & her locker combination.  So it's a mixed bag of bittersweet emotions.  I remember feeling all of those same fears when I started middle school all those years ago.  Pray for her, ok?

Sarah is looking forward to a trip with my parents this summer.  Since Sam goes to Scout camp, my parents are going to take the girls on a short trip to Colorado.  All three kids love to travel, so they're really looking forward to it.

As the school year draws to an end, I am looking forward to a break from the "big kids" I work with.  Don't get me wrong, I love them & they are so very sweet and fun to watch succeed.  But oh how I miss my preschool babies!  I am giddy about getting to teach them again this summer.  I will return to my old preschool 2 days a week this summer to spend my days with all the sweet kiddos!  I can't wait!  Playdough & painting & storytime & art center & playground time & silly conversations with all of the kids are just around the corner!

I just finished my first Jodi Piccoult book yesterday.  If you like her books & haven't read "Nineteen Minutes" I highly recommend it.  It is about a school shooting case.  It's not based on a true story, but it's loosely based on details from many of the shootings we've all heard about.  In this book, you get a picture of what life was like for the shooter as he grew up and all the people closest to him.  It's a very compelling story that pushes you forward, to finish the book.  The only thing I should let you know, however, is that it's definitely rated R.  There are a couple of pretty graphic sex scenes in the book.  They are all date rape sort of scenes, but the author is pretty detailed in what she describes, so this book is not for the faint of heart or a teenager.  (I am not letting Savannah read it for this reason---she would like the story otherwise.)

Tomorrow is going to be a very long day, so I'm going to head to bed now.  I have to get Sam to the school in the very early hours of the day to go on a trip with the choir.  They will be competing & visiting an amusement park.  He will have a blast & eat junk food all day, then return super late tomorrow night.  In between, we have a funeral to go to and I am already looking forward to a nap!

Until next time............

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Daisy's Night Out

Beagles & cocker spaniels, labs & poodles, schnauzers & terriers, weenie dogs and carriers with tiny dogs and cats lined the pasture next to the high school tonight. It was the town's annual $8 rabies shot clinic. High school students involved in the Ag department volunteered their time to check in all the animals, take the owners' money and present them to the veterinarian who vaccinates all the animals.

Larry and I took our gentle, sweet basset hound, Daisy, last year. We stood in line & watched her squirm. She is such a nervous little thing. She startles and jumps so easily. Loud noises, other animals, lots of people (crowds) really freak her out. She tucks her tail & hides behind me when we are going on a walk in the neighborhood & another person passes with their dog. While we waited in line last year, I think she left 10 puddles and um, piles, as a trail behind her. She's kind of like her (human) mama with the whole nervous stomach thing. We've taken her to the vet plenty of times and watched her pull a Jekyl & Hyde switcheroo when the vet or his tech held her still to do any sort of procedure. The first time we took her in, the vet was actually concerned about our safety with her because she became SO aggressive when he was drawing blood from her. Seeing her growl & bite at him and jerk her body from side to side in an attempt to get away left me worried that we might've adopted a mean dog, despite the fact that she had been perfectly well behaved & docile the other 99.999% of the time since we brought her home. But we soon learned that this is just her personality. She is shy & quiet, but very lovable & tender with everyone....until you try to hold her down to do something to her. To this day, we still have to get her sedated to have a bath or nail trim, so her nervousness at the rabies clinic last spring was no surprise. When we approached the vet, we calmly said "You're going to have to be fast because she is not a fan of shots and she will flip out on you!" He assured us it would be fine and asked his tech to hold her still. Sure enough, when the needle pierced her skin, she yelped & howled and started squirming & jerking away from them, bearing her teeth & snapping like she was going to take off an arm. They both stepped back & let her calm down a little before going in for the attack again. It ended up taking 2 injections to get all of the shot into her, but in the end, we did get it done. As we walked away, Daisy peered over her shoulder and eyeballed the vet as if to say "I'm gonna get you one just watch out!" and then she bounced away with Larry and I, calm and happy to be done.

Tonight, Larry had to work late, so the kids and I took Daisy to the clinic. I was kind of dreading it, knowing how much it freaks her out to get held down for things like this. It was scheduled to begin at 7:00 and our neighborhood borders the High School's property so I thought we could go over early & be there when they opened, hoping to be one of the first in line, getting in & out quickly. We left the house at 6:40 but very quickly discovered that arriving early meant nothing! There were already at least 75-100 people in line ahead of us. What can I say? We are a community of money savers!

Before I left the house I posted to facebook that if anyone was up for some evening entertainment, they ought to come out to the rabies clinic tonight & watch our dog's dramatic portrayal of Dr. Jekyl & Mr. Hyde.

When we arrived, we were sandwiched in line between one of the biggest golden labs I've ever seen and a pair of happy cocker spaniels. Daisy began her tail-tucked, nervous routine of peeing 10 times & leaving other "evidence" of her presence. She squirmed & pulled against the leash and gagged herself quite a few times between the car & the line. Poor baby really didn't want to be there! But somehow, while waiting in line, our scaredy-cat of a dog calmed down. Maybe getting there early gave her time to acclimate to the environment & she was less freaked out. By the time we made it through the very long line, I was proud of her, but figured my luck was about to run out. I knew I'd have to wrestle her while she got her shot.

When we approached the vet, I told him that he'd have to be really fast. I think he was the same vet who was there last year. Maybe he remembered her. Or maybe all basset hounds behave that way (according to my friends who work in vet offices, they do!) Whatever the case, he was ready. I knelt down & put Daisy's head between my knees & held on to her collar & braced myself for a fight. He asked if I was "ready" before he knelt down. I gripped her collar a little tighter & said yes!

And then it happened. Somehow, Mrs. Hyde disappeared completely. She didn't squirm. She didn't flinch. She didn't whimper. She didn't bite at the doctor or bark. The doctor & I and all three kids looked at each other with shock and said "Well, that was easy!" I guess it's like taking a car to the garage after it's been acting up for weeks and the mechanic can't get it to perform the way you've been reporting. A friend was in line behind me & laughed, telling me that he was surprised too after the horror story I'd been telling him while we waited in the long line.

You better believe that sweet Daisygirl got 2 treats when we got back home and lots of love! Crazy dog made a liar out of me tonight.....and I'm so glad she did!

Friday, April 6, 2012

For Me

Tonight as my family sat in our church's Good Friday service, I listened to our pastor speak about the beatings and crucifixion of Jesus. Something he said struck me. It was something like "With every blow, He felt the weight of your sins." Immediately, I had a "daydream" sort of moment, where I had a very visual image that looked like this.

I could see Jesus's face, almost like you would in a movie. My focus was on His face, but I could hear the crowd screaming around us. I could hear blows to His body, hitting again and again. I could hear a whip snapping. With each crack, Jesus would contort His body and shudder in pain, then open His eyes for a moment & look directly into mine and whisper "for your lies" or "for your greed" or "for your lustful thoughts" or some other sin of mine.

Then they stood him up and marched him up the hill to His death. As they threw his body to the ground & lay his back on the cross and began to drive giant nails into his hand, He again made eye contact with me. As the hammer struck the end of the spike, He looked straight at me, and screamed "this is for you!" This scene played over in my mind with each step of the crucifixion, each blow, every slap, every kick, every time the thorns on His brow were driven into His head, He cried out to me, "for you!"

But here's the thing.

My heart wants to immediately jump to Sunday morning. I want celebrate the VICTORY of Christ's resurrection. I want to focus on the empty grave. I want to 'daydream' about the women going to visit the tomb and finding the stone moved. I want to picture their faces as they discover the cloth He was wrapped in lying there. I want to hear their shrieks of excitement & joy as they realize He is ALIVE as He promised. I want to see the people outside the tomb leaping and carrying on, just like you or I would if we went to the hospital to identify our dead child only to find out they are not dead, but very much alive! I want to listen to Dallas Holm's "Rise Again" and the Dolly Parton version of "He's Alive!". I'd really rather not think too much about the Cross.

I want to skip over the agony of Calvary. I want to close my eyes & turn my head and not face the ugliness of what MY SINS caused. But Sunday morning can't come, the resurrection can't happen, I can't celebrate Christ's victory over sin, death and the grave without Friday happening first. I can't shout for joy about my Savior without first facing the horrid, violent, awful death.

I have to hear the cries of Jesus as He screamed out in pain & agony. I have to see the drops falling to the ground under His bloody body. I have to remember the torture, the pain, the horror of seeing a human being beaten until his flesh hangs in sheets, wounds ooze with blood and bones poke through the open stripes on his arms and legs. I must envelope myself in the dark, ugly, dirty, heavy weight of death.

And the hardest part of it all? I must remember that He chose to do it.

For me.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

This one is all over the place.

It's 1am Saturday night, or technically Sunday morning. Tonight, Sarah wanted to do something cool with her mom, so we started a movie at 9:00 (past her bedtime!) and ate icecream and drank Dr. Pepper. In the living room. When Larry works late & won't be in the living room watching TV, the kids all get a kick out of sleeping in there. Savannah & Sam are at DNOW with our church, so it was just Sarah & I. And well, I know better. I can't drink caffeine that late in the evening without having it keep me up super late. But it was worth it. I love getting to do fun things like that with my kids one on one. With three of them around most of the time, one on one time is hard to come by. At the end of the night tonight, this was the view.

I am anxious to get the older 2 home tomorrow after church and see how DNOW was. I know they will be all giggly & excited to tell me about the weekend. (Either that or they'll argue & gripe & complain a lot more than usual because they're exhausted. Could go either way...)

Last night, Sarah & I went grocery shopping. She wanted to push the buggy. (Yep, we call them buggies in Texas. Not carts or trolleys or whatever other things they are called in other parts of the country/world.) I only let her do it for a little while. Why? Because I'm a control freak & need to push the buggy myself to feel like I know what we're doing & not feel completely frazzled & out of control. We all have those areas of our life that we need to control. Apparently pushing the buggy is one of those for me.

This morning, my mom picked Sarah & I up at 8:15 and we went to about a dozen (or more?) garage sales. Although the treasure hunting didn't turn up many treasures, it was fun. Here's what I got.

This is for Savannah. She's been babysitting for over a year now, but I figured she'd enjoy this. We had hoped for her to attend the Red Cross's babysitting class before she started doing it, but we never could find a time that we had the money for her to do it. She's got it down & does a great job now, but I figure she'll still like the book.

The title of this one cracked me up. I'm looking forward to reading it!

But I will probably try to read these first. Yes, I know I'm way late to the party, but I kept trying to figure out whether or not I wanted to read them. I'm not at all into vampires & other fantasy stuff and that's what these books contain, but I keep hearing that if you're a hopeless romantic & like a good love story, you'll like these. So today I bit the bullet & drank the Twilight koolaid. They were 50 cents each. If I hate them, I can always list them on!

We love to play games as a family, so I'm always looking for them at garage sales. This one sounded fun.

Savannah is our resident puzzle girl. She will enjoy this.

And one more game for us!

This coming week is going to be great! It's a 4 day week for the kids and I. Next weekend is Easter (which I love for lots of reasons---traditions, remembering the resurrection, yummy food, etc!). I'm looking forward to only working four days this week!

And because I enjoy the silly Friday Five questions, here are this week's questions & answers. Feel free to answer them yourself over on your blog. Let me know if you do!

1.What giveaway would you like to do on your blog?
Any kind of giveaway, really. I like getting products, testing and reviewing them & then having a spare to give away to a blog reader! But I have no idea how to get in with companies to get items for giveaways. Anyone know?

2. If you had to choose between natural artistic ability and natural athletic ability, which would it be?
Artistic. I don't think I'll ever be athletic & that's alright.

3. Do you ditch the coat the minute it becomes "spring" or are you a holdout for more cool temps?
I kind of ditch the coat mid-winter. Living in this part of Texas, we don't have a whole lot of coat weather anyway. This year we seem to have missed winter completely. I think there were only 5-6 days that we dropped below 32 degrees. And it's already reaching 90 on some days, so I think our "winter" is officially over. We will still have a handful of chilly days here & there before I am ready to go through the hassle of bringing in all the kids off-season clothing boxes, but that da is coming soon!

4. What would you do if you won the mega millions lotto of 1/2 billion dollars?
In no particular order:
1. Pay off this house & buy something a little bigger (not HUGE, but a tad larger than what we have now)
2. Pay off Samuel's orthodontist
3. Pay off our debts (student loan, vehicles, a few medical bills...we don't have much, but paying them off would make a difference in our monthly bills!)
4. Get a tummy tuck/liposuction
5. New vehicle for Larry (his truck is nearing its last leg)
6. We'd give a big chunk to family to help them and to a few mission/ministry groups we support.
.....and I'm not sure what we'd do with the rest---probably invest/save it.

5. You are at a hotel by yourself...what do you do?
Bubble bath, read, SLEEP