Pam's Summer Project

Those of you who watch The Office know that Pam was a busy girl this summer. She worked really hard on her portrait of Dwight.

Lamb, who loves the show, knows that Coastie Brother also loves the show. When she found out that you could print out your very own copy, she knew that Coastie Bro needed one. Rather than emailing it to him, we came up with the bright idea of snail mailing it for a weekday surprise.

Lamb has been anxiously awaiting its arrival to Uncle Coastie. We got the phone call tonight from a very excited Coastie. Isn't it neat when a tv show can bring a family together? ;)


The World is Waiting for You, Good Luck, Travel Safe, GO!

Click on the picture on the left to read all about Bubba's Sis and my amazing "adventures" on Amazing Race 13. We just completed Leg One. Man, we are tired already!


Camera Critters #25 and View

I am killing two memes with one post this morning. :)The big cats are my favorite. At the zoos, they are rather elusive. I live in the south where it's always hot. Our cheetahs have a huge back 40 lot in which they live. They usually hang out in the way back behind some brush. Imagine my delight when we went to the zoo last week & saw the cheetahs up close & personal! I was giddy with pleasure!
Last Thursday, Big D & I found ourselves in downtown Houston. We were walking around when I noticed the view. I thought the building reflected in the building beside it was something fantastic. These buildings were lucky and only lost a few windows each. I wanted Big D to take a picture of MY reflection in the windows so I could look all skinny, but alas...

Someone Thinks I'm Brilliant!

Forgetfulone, who is brilliant, tagged me with this Brilliant award. Thank you!! Thankyouverymuch!

But... with great power comes great responsibility. I have to answer the following questions with ONE WORD ANSWERS! This is going to be difficult for me!

1. Where is your cell phone? ringing

2. Where is your significant other? work

3. Your mother? home

4. Your father? home?

5. Your hair color? brown

6. Your favorite thing? photos

7. Your dream last night? none

8. Your goal? security

9. The room you're in? living room

10. Your hobby? photography

11. Your fear? somethinghappeningtokids

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? here

13. Where were you last night? home

14. What you're not? brave

15. One of your wish-list items? puppy

16. Where you grew up? Arkansas

17. The last thing you did? edit

18. What are you wearing? jammies

19. Your TV? on

20. Your pet? lap

21. Your computer? communication

22. Your mood? tired

23. Missing someone? brother

24. Your car? blue

25. Something you're not wearing? shoes

26. Favorite store? Target

27. Your summer? NYC

28.Love someone? many

29. Your favorite color? red

30. When is the last time you laughed? today

31. Last time you cried? week

I am horrible about tagging people! If I am one of YOUR readers, please know that I think you ARE Brilliant! Grab the award and do the meme. Let me know so I can read your answers.


Son of a GRITS

Bear may be the spitting image of his daddy. Bear may have his daddy's sense of humor. But his innards? Oh, his innards are all ME. That boy is definitely my child.

When Big D & I were falling in love, I used to annoy him with random, thought provoking questions. Such as, if you had a boat, what would you name it? If the sky were purple instead of blue, would blue still be your favorite color? If I were to die, how long would you mourn me?

You can only take so many exasperated "I don't knows!" before you give up asking the questions.

Enter Bear. I was walking past him the other day when he asked: "Mama, have you ever eaten a chicken wing and named it Bill?" EEEEE! Someone to play my reindeer games with me!

I'm also a tad hypochondriac. Headaches are brain tumors. You CAN get pregnant from a toilet seat. Huge moles pop up over-night. You know, realistic stuff. We were watching The Office (One of the best shows on tv right now! It's only my opinion, but it's true.) or was it Survivor? Anyway, one of the 2, when a commercial came on. "Mama, are you seeing things in black & white too?" It was filmed in black & white.

Ah! It's so nice to know there is a little of me in him. Poor baby.

Life's Routine is Returning

Today marked the return of a semblance of normalcy for me. I returned to work. After having 11 days off. It's a small step. A step I needed. The students return Monday. While I dread the rat race beginning again, I am so anxious to see their faces, hear their stories. I have a new worry. Compacted curriculum. I won't get into that here tho.

If interested, here is a site filled with pictures people have taken around the area. It's mind boggling.
Things won't be normal around here for a long, long time. But it's important for us to start picking up the pieces of our lives, our routine.

The funnies have started coming in. Bubba's Sis posted one that a local friend sent us. Here is another one I thought was cute as well as true. I said the day before the hurricane hit that it felt like Christmas. And not the kind of Christmas I like to celebrate! Please don't think I'm making light of anyone's situation. My heart hurts deeply for those who have lost a little, a lot, or everything. Sometimes you just have to laugh to keep from crying.

Top Ten Reasons Hurricane Season Is Like Christmas

Number Ten
Decorating the house (with plywood).

Number Nine
Dragging out boxes that haven't been used since last season.

Number Eight
Last minute shopping in crowded stores.

Number Seven
Regular TV shows pre-empted for 'Specials'.

Number Six
Family coming to stay with you.

Number Five
Family and friends from out of state calling you.

Number Four
Buying food you don't normally buy . . . and in large quantities.

Number Three
Days off from work.

Number Two

And the Number One reason Hurricane Season is like Christmas:

At some point you're probably going to have a tree in your house!


Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - Mascot Edition

I grew up in Arkansas. No matter where you live in Arkansas, it's Razorback Country. Everyone in my family is a huge Razorback fan. Let me rephrase that. All my Arkansas family are huge fans.

Bear was born in Tennessee. That doesn't stop him from being a huge Texas Longhorn fan. He's the only one in the family who can claim to being a fan. I keep my allegiance with the Razorbacks. Big D is an Auburn Tiger fan. SEC!

This Saturday is a big game. Longhorns vs. Razorbacks. Should be a good one! There is even a $5 bet being discussed between Bear & my dad, his Poppy. Too bad that it seems like neither the Texas nor Arkansas peeps will be able to see it on TV. It's a rescheduled game. Thanks Ike.

For Christmas one year, we bought my dad a Longhorn mascot hat as a present. Bear was so excited waiting to see his face. Poppy loved it but only agreed to wear it if Bear wore his Razorback hat. Neither was thrilled to be wearing their hats so this is not a pic to be proud of. For them anyway. ;)


Bear says: Babycakes, I think you mean Hook 'em horns!


Handwriting Meme

I saw this on Forgetfulone's blog. She didn't tag me, but I thought I'd do it anyway. ;)


1.) Go ahead, get a piece of paper and a pen. Prepared? Okay!

2.) Write a pangram* in your language. Sign your paper with your first name or your nickname (not your signature!!!). You can also include your blog URL if you want to.

3.) Take a picture.

4.) Post it on your blog! Leave a comment here (or a trackback) once you have posted.

5.) Link back and tag - don’t be shy!

Sorry about the poor quality of the pic. I just couldn't get it to focus right.

Since I wasn't tagged, I'm not going to tag either. If you play, let me know! I'd love to see what your handwriting looks like. I don't really care for mine but it gets the job done!

* A pangram, also known as holalphabetic sentence, is a sentence that contains all letters of the alphabet at least once. “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.” is a common example in English. There are pangrams in all languages - for a little inspiration spy *here*. Feel free to use one of these common examples or come up with something on your own.
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The Ants Come Marching In

But it's not Hurrah, Hurrah.

The storm is over, but the aftermath is still continuing. With the rain washing out the ground, the bugs are looking for new homes. We've had to battle ants, spiders, & mosquitoes. Mosquitoes LOVE Bear. And, last night, I had to do battle with a roach. A roach. In my bathroom. As I was hunting it down, I was reminding myself that at least I have a house for a roach to get into. At least I have light to shine on that nasty thing. That doesn't meant that I want to house a family of them.

Another aspect of the aftermath is education. The kids are out of school the rest of this week. That's going to make a total of 12 days missed. We won't know until October if those days will be waived or not. With Hurricane Rita, we had 10 days waived and we only used 5 of those 10. So, we are hopeful, we will only have to make up 2 days. That still makes our students behind tho. And, for some students, they will not be going back to an ideal situation. Some of the schools were hard hit. Crews are working round the clock to get them ready for Monday. Just enough to make it safe for them to attend.

Part of the reason we are still off is safety issues. Mainly transportation. There are missing stop signs, traffic lights that are flashing red or not flashing at all. Debris blocking streets and corners so you can't see around them. I really do not see how all of that will be taken care of by Monday.

I went back to my school today for a meeting. I didn't realize how anxious I was about it or my work family until I was there. It felt so good to be inside and see that all was relatively well. The people are relatively well. At least physically. We will take on new students, those displaced by Ike. We will take them on and we will do our very best for them. Not just for their education, but for their spirit too. We will give them a safe place to spend the majority of their day. Please continue prayers for those in this community. We have no idea how some of these kids have been living these past days; what they've seen or heard.

Our website says: We miss our students! How true that is. I'm ready to see them. Not the ants and other insects tho. I'm ready for them to rebuild their lives outside now.


Camera Critters #24

A week ago, I had house guests. My mom & my brother came over to ride out the storm with us. They also brought some company with them. Meet Cocoa Gizmo Shadow Whip. She's a year old type of hound dog. Suddenly I can't remember her exact breed. She's a sweetie who definitely felt like my animals were guests in her home. She drank their water and ate poor Ty's food. When he'd come over to stake his claim to it, she'd growl.

They did get along well though. When she went home, Ty missed her. I know you can't tell it by the picture. He's being rude. But he really did like her. BTW, these were taken through the storm door as the humans were outside watching the wind. Yes, the door is dirty. Remember, the wind was blowing things around. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Whip was a very calm presence during the storm. Ty was a tad maniacal.
My brother also brought company with him. His snake, Princess. I wasn't fond of Princess. But, never one to miss a photo op, I allowed my brother to pose her with Bear. Lamb declined. As the snake was being put around Bear's shoulders, she flicked her tongue across his cheek a couple of times. I freaked a little when Princess "licked" Bear's cheek. I think it freaked Bear a little too.
Now please give me a moment to brag on Ty. He lost his backyard when the fence was blown down. He has been a champion though! Before, only Big D could handle him on the leash. There was no way the kids, or even I, could control him enough to take him outside for walks. However, as you can see, Ty has been a Rock Star on the leash. He has allowed Bear to walk him and control him. Bear had him outside when Ty heard another dog bark. He started to take off running, but immediately stopped when Bear commanded him. I'm just so proud of that big guy!
Especially since that meant that *I* didn't have to take him out while Big D was out of town. ;)


A couple of years ago, we went on a Rambling Road Trip vacation that took us from Texas to Arkansas/Tennessee to Missouri to Oklahoma (via Kansas) back to Texas. Here we are on the famous Route 66 in Oklahoma. Why, yes, we did get our kicks!
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A Happy Birthday

I am home bound no more. Big D came home from his business trip last night. We decided for sure to take Bear to the zoo. It's just about the only place open and, fortunately, it's a place he & his sister enjoy.

I just could not believe me eyes when I saw all the debris and destruction. Most of the traffic lights are still out. We saw one guy run right through one. Luckily, the cross traffic was going slow enough that the runner was able to stop before he hit anyone. Scary.

The zoo was crowded, but not uncomfortably so. It was cool enough that the animals were out and about. Usually in September they are just laying around. It's hot here! We were even able to see the elusive cheetahs. The snow leopard, my favorite, apparently isn't at the zoo anymore. Bummer.

Here Bear is with the Ankole Cattle. Looks at those horns! The blurb said it is thought that they help keep the cattle's temperature down. And, of course, there must be a picture of Bear with bears. If it can't be with the real thing, might as well be a statue!
On the way home, we hit the GROCERY STORE! It's open! With power! It was crazy crowded in there. They had what I needed to make Bear's jambalaya dinner and his cheesecake (his request). What a relief!

His uncle actually thought ahead and had a birthday present for Bear. Unlike his parents who thought they'd have the weekend to shop for him. He gave him a dinosaur excavation kit. Bear is still working on it, having a great time.
Oh yeah, when I went to the grocery store? I forgot candles. Luckily, we had a burnt orange candle in our hurricane preparedness kit. Why can't I remember to buy candles? At least it looks better than last year's cake.
Ordinarily, Bear would have spent his birthday in school. Instead, he got to spend the day with his family at the zoo.

No birthday baseball game: Bummer
Fall baseball being canceled for the season: Bummer (yeah, we just got that news)
One present: That's ok
No school: Kinda cool (and no school for another week!)
Big ole candle: Bigger wish
Spending the day listening to Daddy's puns with my family: Priceless

He is happy. I am happy.

He is Orange

Reading a book of fiction, I came across this symbolic meaning of the color orange: Orange can represent energy, warmth, and passion; it may also suggest a flamboyant demand for attention.

Since that boy has entered the world at 6:40am eleven years ago today, he has been all those things.

His energy is boundless. He is always on the move. Even playing video games, his mind is aware of conversations going on around him.

His warmth is comforting. Hidden beneath all that energy is a heart of true compassion and caring.

His passion is loud. The boy can not be quiet (at home anyway). When dealing with his passions, namely baseball, he is even louder and more excitable. You say baseball is boring? You've never watched with Bear.
And, oh yes,
he most certainly is
flamboyant in his demand for attention.
Demand attention he does!

He has always been drawn to the color orange. The color has shaped his love for the Texas Longhorns. It helped him share the Auburn Tigers love with his daddy.
He is Orange.



I have not left my house since Thursday, the 11th. There are a variety of reasons including no place to go as everything is closed and to conserve gas. Conserving gas is the biggie. But, I find the longer I stay here, the less I want to go anywhere. And for me that's huge.

I don't know if I'm suffering from some sort of post traumatic stress disorder or what. I'm not scared to leave, I just have no desire to leave. School is out until Monday for me and Tuesday for the kids, tentatively. Bear's and my school still is without power. Lamb's school has its power back. I am so ready for the routine to begin again. We need the routine. But, the thought of having to just makes me weary.

I have been bone crushing exhausted since Ike. I have a blogging friend who lost her home. A real life friend who has lost her job. Fortunately, their bodies & their families are safe and ok. They still need prayers during this trying time.

The media coverage is 24/7. I finally had to stop looking. The images are too much while I'm sitting here with my power watching my cable. I'm a guilty blessed person.

Tomorrow I'll be a Steel Magnolia. I'll force myself to get ready & leave the house. It's Bear's 11th birthday (bet ya'll didn't know that ;) It's not like I've been talking about it ad nauseam or anything.). The Houston Zoo is back open for business and we are going to try to take him there. He wants to go miniature golfing with his best family, but that also will have to be postponed for a bit. We will do dinner though.

If you are so inclined, please keep praying. We could still use them down here. There is a tough road ahead, but I know we'll come out on the other side. Especially through prayer.


Let's Talk Baseball

Now that I know that the people I care for are safe, I can focus on selfish things. As I mentioned earlier, we were supposed to have Bear's family birthday celebration yesterday. As I feared, the game was not held. Poor Bear. He's disappointed but he has learned that things don't always go the way you want them to. And, he knows that we'll make it up to him. Besides, he never knew about the message being sent to him.

However, the game was played. In what was supposed to be a neutral location, Milwaukee, WI. BTW, Milwaukee is about 90 miles from Chicago. The Chicago Cubs are who the Astros were playing against. I ask you, does that sound neutral?

To make matters worse, our guys have been through a hurricane. They are concerned about their families, friends, homes. Like the rest of us, I'm sure they've had little sleep. Yet, they were asked to get on a plane at 4:30 am and without rest, play a game.

They were told that they are the home team. Our guys said, "No, we are not playing at home. We will wear our away uniform." They are as upset about this as the fans are.

This is a critical series for the Astros. We are very close to the Wildcard which means they have a chance at the play-offs for National League Championship which could then lead to a World Series win. We need to win this series.

Yesterday's game was a shut-out. The Astros lost. I think there should be an asterisk by this game. The Cub's did not earn a true shut-out status, in my opinion.

And I'm not just saying that because Bear's game got screwed.


The Night the Lights Went Out in Houston

The rule was: Run from the water, hide from the wind. We are the last evacuation zone & we were not called for a mandatory evacuation so we hid from the wind. Friday afternoon, my mom, my brother, & their dog came over around noon to hunker down. At first, I was a little put out that they came over so dang early. No knowing how their dog would react to our animals, I wasn't ready for a zoo yet. But, my mom jumped right in the kitchen & started cooking up a storm. And the dogs loved each other and ignored the cat. So, I didn't have a zoo (well, in that sense) and I was getting to eat good food. I was happy.

It honestly felt like Christmas time. My mom was making sausage balls, part of our Christmas breakfast food. And games were being played. Uncle is great with entertaining the bored.

The winds had started earlier in the day but they were gentle. As the day wore on, they increased in speed. Our power would flicker off then immediately come back on. While Ty did not care for that, he was much better than I could have imagined. So was our guest dog, Cocoa Gizmo Dog Shadow. Cleo? She was the clingy one.

By 8pm, the wind was really strong and the rain was a sprinkle. And that's when we lost cable too.

I'm not sure what time I headed to bed. We had done everything we could, prepared ourselves the best way we knew how. I was trying to keep some sort of routine for the kids. Probably for myself too. All I know is that at 1am, the power went out for good. And it got hot fast. The wind was howling. You could hear it whistle between our house and our neighbor's. At times it did sound like a train barreling on top of us and it had enough force to shake the house. The rain sounded just as bad. It would slap across one window like something was banging on it. At my other window, it sounded like someone dumped a whole box of firecrackers right outside or like a thousand plastic bags shaking. The lightning was an emerald green which made me fear tornadoes. I would check on the kids, sound asleep. I would check on Big D. SOUND ASLEEP! How on earth?

I thanked God for my cell phone that night. At 2:40am, my friend, Bear's 4th grade teacher, sent me a text message. We texted back & forth sporadically. It was a comfort to me & I hope to her too. At 4am, Big D was awake. He informed me that our back fence was knocked down. Our little oak, which was our main lawn concern, was bowed to the ground. We laid there and wondered if Ike would ever end. Big D was worried about roof damage. I was worried that something would come hurling through the windows. We are that family that doesn't have boards for our windows. The kids slept on. Ty was a nervous wreck. My mom's dog was doing ok. Cleo wasn't as clingy but she wasn't sleeping either. Every so often, she would let out a growl.

5:30am brought on some action for us. Our back storm door started banging. Not wanting it to fly off, we tried to tie it down to the back door handle. Big D walked off with my flashlight so I was using my cell phone. As I turned the corner from my bedroom, I ran right into a metal dog kennel. I think I broke my toe.Please forgive the nekkid & unkept toes. I was going through a hurricane! The wind was strong, but we prevailed and secured the storm door. And still we wondered when it would end.

By 8am, the kids were awake, the wind was dying down, and all that was left was torrential rain.

We were finally able to get outside to assess the damage later in the morning. It wasn't as bad as we feared. We don't have a fence enclosing our backyard anymore, our solar screens are gone, we have some water damage inside from where the rain came in through ventilations, and we lost some shingles. Our neighborhood was fortunate compared to others.

If that gutter had been vertical, rather than horizontal, it could have gone through the window. I think that fence was what I heard hitting the window?wall? But for the grace of God...

Our power came back on around 1pm. My family was happy because I don't do well when I'm tired. And I don't do well when I'm hot. Double jeopardy for them. Sadly, there are still over 2 million people without power. Some of them just a mile down the road from us. I've heard rumors that it might take a month to reconnect everyone. A month!

Last night when cable came back, I was able to finally see some pictures of the surrounding area. It's devastating. People have lost loved ones, homes, and sources of income. I am so grateful that we were spared but feel guilty that others were not as fortunate. Survival guilt. Why were those I care about and I spared? But I am blessed that we were.

Please continue the prayers for those who need it. And thank you again for all the prayers and concern. It was a frightening night. They helped more than you'll ever know. Bless ya'll.

*Update: Bubba's Sis and her mom's homes are ok! Praise God!



I finally have cable/internet back.

Thank you for all the prayers, encouragement, and love. I appreciate them & ya'll more than you'll know.

Last night was the scariest, most intense night of my life so far. I have pictures to share and once I catch up on my sleep, I'll post them. Needless to say, I didn't sleep any at all last night. However, the kids both had good night's sleep. I can not even fathom how they were able. The power of being a kid, I guess.

We have some damage but nothing life threatening. The insurance adjuster is calling us no earlier than Wednesday (wanna place bets on when we get that call?) to set up an appointment to look at the damages.

Our power came on at 1pm. So we were without power for only 12 hours. We are very fortunate as over 2 million people are still without electricity. Bubba's Sis' house being one of them. Please pray that their house is ok. We don't know yet the extent of their damage. The area around me was flooded today so I was unable to check for her.

I just wanted to let ya'll know that we were ok and to offer my sincere thank yous!

More from me tomorrow...


Not Getting Mother of the Year for This One!

Bear is bored. Which is not a good sign seeing as how we still have electricity. To break up his day, I asked if he wanted to pose in front of Oakie to show how the wind is blowing.

He's standing there waiting for me to hurry & finish. Because you know he has things to do even though he is bored.
I put the camera on burst shot in order to get the "best" shot.
Because of that, I'm not really paying attention to what is going on around me. I'm just clicking away trying to remain standing.

Then I hear Bear start carrying on. I take the camera away from my face and witness our very own Whopping Willow.
It knocks him clear backwards about a foot.
He's ok. Just a little wary of oak trees blowing in the wind...