There Are Many

In honor of our nineteenth wedding anniversary, here is reason #19 why I love Big D.

I casually mentioned to Big D that I fell in love with a pair of boots I saw in a picture. I had no idea where to find them nor who made them. All I had to do was show him the picture and viola! He found them and gave them to me for Christmas.

Now, I know what you are thinking. "Why does someone living in Texas need those kind of boots?" (At least that's what I hope you're thinking and not asking yourself where my eyes went.The sun is bright!) I understand your dismay. I used to be that person who wondered the same thing when I first moved here. Wimps. But, let me tell you. The blood thins. Also, it doesn't gradually get cold. It sneaks up & catches one off guard. One day it's 70, the next it's 40. So, while it may seem that there is no need for warm boots in Texas, I am here to declare that we feel the cold much worse than if we were living in an area that actually has seasons. That's my reasoning and I'm sticking to it!

Happy Anniversary, Big D! That's just one of the reasons I love being married to you! Oh, and the rest of you? Happy New Year! I hope 2009 treats you right!


Goals? Not for Me!

I saw this on Bubba's Sis' blog and thought I'd check out & compare my last year's goals as well. As a general rule, I don't make resolutions or set goals. However, I think I did a fairly reasonable job of setting ones that were attainable.

  1. Eat out more (which will not help #8 much)

  2. I did a fairly good job of this. Towards the end of the year, the economy & growing kids made it harder to eat out as a family. But, I went out a lot with friends.

  3. Keep track of the books I read in 2008

  4. I definitely did this. I have read over 60 books this year. Once I started taking Lamb to school, my reading greatly suffered. I do well to get in a page or two before the eyes start crossing. Waking up early is definitely for the birds!

  5. Finish the blanket I've been crocheting for Bear the last 2 years

  6. Um, no. But! But! I have been diligently working on it. Some day it WILL be finished.

  7. Start Lamb's Washington DC scrapbook (she went 3 years ago)

  8. Um, no again. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't even looked at it. I have thought about it often tho. In March, Bear will be going. Maybe I should just do them together? ;)

  9. See Coastie Brother get married in January

  10. I so did this!

  11. Spend less time worrying

  12. Yeah, that'll never happen. Why did I even bother setting it as a goal?

  13. Find a new church

  14. Accomplished! Actually, it's the church we went to when we first moved here.

  15. Manage my time/finances/sleeping better

  16. I've done ok with this. I am doing other things with my time such as crocheting. The finances are better out of necessity. There just isn't any money to spend wildly. Thanks economy! ;) And sleeping? Well, that goes in spurts. During the school year, I am much better at it than during the breaks.

  17. Learn how to do something new

  18. I also did this! I taught myself to knit, thanks to looms. A friend from Facebook told me about them. Fun and easy, so far! I stopped working on Bear's blanket to knit Lamb a scarf and one for Bear to take to DC. Did them in a couple of days! I have also learned a lot of stuff about photoshop.

  19. Have a wonderful Get-Away
Again, I did this too. I went to Dallas with Bubba's Sis to see Bon Jovi in concert. And went to New York City for a fabulous time with my family. I'm ready for the next get-away!
Not too shabby! However, I'm still not setting anything for 2009. I'm just going to go with the flow and be Me.

I hope 2009 is a smooth one for all of you and allows ya'll to be You as well!


Do You Heart Nick?

I imagine, at times, it's hard to be my daughter. As she's talking about a boy, I always ask if he's cute. She always pauses for half a second before she answers no. I tease that she never gives me an inch. But, I think the truth is more like she just isn't into looks, neither hers nor a boy's. Maybe that will change. Maybe not.

I embarrass her when I try to get her to be more friendly and speak up. She has two friends (that I know of) who are boys. One is just as shy & quiet as she. The other, well, I don't really know him. What I do know, I like. He knows how to spell her name (as does the other friend, that is very important to me). He asks about her auditions when she's never told him that she's had one. One morning, he was in the car in front of us at school. I told Lamb to hurry so she could walk in with him. She slowed down. I told her when she got out to just holler out "hey" to him. She stared at me through the window until he was too far away. I had the audacity to suggest to her to say hi to him at Bubba's Sis' son's band concert. Luckily, BFF supported me (so she could meet him).

We tease her that Nick Jonas is the perfect guy for her. They have a lot in common! And during baseball season, before Craig Biggio retired, Conor Biggio was the guy for her. She just laughs. She never really plays along. Although, one time, when being teased about Conor, she wondered how she could marry Nick if she were dating another guy.

Yes. She never gives me an inch. It's become a sort of game between us. Imagine my delight when during Thanksgiving, I made the comment that Lamb was in love with a vampire and a salesman. And she laughed and said, "I know, right?!"

So, of course, she had to get some "gag" gifts. ;)
Who knows what lurks in that beautiful mind of hers? She'll never tell.
I wonder what she'd say if she knew I was secretly arranging her marriage? ;)


Camera Critters #38

Christmas is EXHAUSTING!
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Forgetfulone gave me this beautiful Christmas Spirit Award! And seeing as how it's Christmas, what better time than now to list the things that put ME in the Christmas Spirit.

The rules are easy. List five things you love about Christmas, then tag whomever you want. Oh, and have fun!

  1. Christmas music from God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen to We Three Kings to my all time favorite, O Holy Night. That song gives me chills.
  2. Christmas movies. We have SO many favorites such as a new one, Fred Claus to our ultimate: Christmas Vacation. We have spent the last two weeks watching all of them. Oh yes, we have a lot!
  3. My nativities. I have a collection of them. I didn't put out any decorations this year (thanks, Elvis) except for a couple of nativities. I just love looking at them. What that night must have been like.
  4. Christmas lights. Ah, such beauty.
  5. My children. The excitement, happiness, awe, & joy on their faces. They still hear the jingle bell ring, as do I. I hope they always do.
Merry Christmas!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Birthday cake made? Check
Cookies baked? Check
Food prepared for tomorrow's breakfast & dinner? Check and Check
Presents wrapped? Finally! Check
Christmas books & movies picked out? Check
Christmas spirit? Check

As we await Santa, I want to take the time to say how happy I am that You were born. I am thankful for all the blessings in my life. Most importantly, I am thankful for the gift of You.

Now it's time to get back to cooking/baking (I've been in the kitchen all morning), movie watching (the last of our Christmas movies are scheduled for today), cookie eating, going to see Bolt, singing Happy Birthday & eating birthday cake, opening up our jammies, enjoying this day with each other, & the glory of Jesus' birth and the magic of Santa Claus.

I wish each of you the Merriest of Christmases. Enjoy this time.


<----- Me. Speechless.


Checking the mail today, I see some Christmas cards. I feel badly because mine didn't get sent out this year. I open one & notice there is no return address. I open the card and it is not signed. There are no clues other than it was mailed in Houston. But! But. A hundred dollar bill falls out. I am stunned. I am grateful. I am filled with the generosity of....someone.

Merry Christmas

Elvis & Me

For the past two days, Big D has brought a cup of cream with coffee to me in bed . It's been heavenly being pampered like that.

Lest you think that's been my past two days, let me tell you the leisure stops there. Remember awhile back when I posted about being reminded of Ty while reading Marley & Me? Yeah. Well, now, Elvis is giving him a run for his money.

We are enjoying Elvis immensely, but he's a mess. It started with the Christmas tree and ends with the new additions. Elvis is fascinated by them. We've caught him in Charlie's container several times. I'm not too worried about her. She has an igloo she can hide in plus a great defense in her quills.

However, he's also fascinated with Alex. He's pretty safe in his aquarium. However, we've caught Elvis (again, several times) sitting on top of it. We are afraid it's only a matter of time before the screen breaks and in falls Elvis.

Nothing deters Elvis. Not for long anyway. He has an incredibly short attention span. Except when it comes to the new members.

This morning, Bear was feeding Alex. He left the top off while he went to put away the food. I'm sure you see where this is going. Before we could say "Blue Christmas", Elvis was in the aquarium! We started screaming in hopes of making Elvis freeze. Lamb got him out before any damage could be done.

She put him down and he went right back to the aquarium (top is on now). She moves him. He goes back. She moves him again. He goes back. Finally, she finds something to distract him. When I started this post, he was happily batting things around in her room.

This is what he is doing now.
Something tells me it's going to be a long two weeks.

And we need to find a safer place for Alex's habitat.


Camer Critters #37 Part B

Remember the Christmas present that I couldn't mention out loud? I can now tell you about it! Lamb is now the proud owner of her very own hedgehog! She's an 8 week old little girl named Charlotte. We'll call her Charlie.

It almost didn't happen. The breeder we were originally going to get the hedgehog from went out of business. Luckily, they recommended someone. When we got there, all we saw were white babies. Lamb was not thrilled. Then we saw a salt & pepper one. Just as Lamb was getting acquainted with it, we find out it had been sold. We were telling Lamb that we'd keep looking when the employee lifted the igloo off some sleeping babies. And there Lamb's eyes found cinnamon Charlotte. That's the one!
And Bear finally got his lizard, alexSander.
Again, it wasn't an easy quest. My brother's friend said we could buy hers (plus all the paraphernalia) since she doesn't have time to care for it. Last night, my brother went to get it. This morning, he called to tell me that it was dead. That's how my luck rolls. We decided that with all the supplies, it was still a deal so we didn't demand our money back. My mom graciously offered to buy the replacement.
And Elvis just doesn't know what to think about all of this.

Camera Critters #37

A sight that never fails to make my heart smile.

I wish each & every one of you the happiest of days during this holiday season!


It's a Wonderful Life & an Update of Sorts

This morning, Big D & were given quite a blow. And, to be honest, I didn't see it coming. I'm not sure if Big D did or not.

As I'm sitting there reminding myself that it could be Much.Worse, God will see us through it, and truly God put us where we are right now so that it wouldn't be Much.Worse, I was still feeling awfully sorry for myself. Seems my life is spent going one step forward, two steps back. For awhile now, it seems like three steps back. (Big D will tell you that it's my fault. Once upon a time, I made a wish that we would struggle so as to better appreciate life & each other. He thinks I've cursed us forever.)

Then I went to a program to listen to an intermediate school's band, orchestra, & choir perform Christmas songs. Something about children making music always lifts me up. And then I was reminded of the immortal words spoken by Harry Bailey, George Bailey's brother. "A toast to my big brother George: The richest man in town."

Yeah, it sucks. Yeah, it's going to be hard. But! We have each other. We have our kids. We have a plan. For now (& please God, don't let that change), we have jobs. And, we definitely have God on our side, watching our backs.

Life can't get much more wonderful than that.

The roofer says we don't have near enough money. He is going to contact the insurance company to see what he can do. God be with him. We are praying our roof continues to hold up.

The boy has a dog named Cocoa that he will be given for Christmas. We found an adorable stuffed one and made a certificate to attach to him. He will NOT know who it's from. He also has a bunch of other presents to open. I have a little more information and I doubt he'll see his mom. I know that is his heart's desire. However, he does have a dad and I hope the dad is sensitive enough to understand his son's need. Nothing will help, but he deserves a little extra love.

Big D searched all of Houston and found another place where we can get Lamb's Christmas present. Saturday is the big day!


Bah Humbug!

I have been doing a pretty good job keeping up my cheer amidst these trying times. I have felt at peace. I have felt happy. I'm still working on perky but that may never be...

Today has been one of those days (well, it's been building for days). And I feel the need to vent. So here it goes:

  • We finally got our insurance check for our hurricane repairs. Not nearly enough. Not even close. Tomorrow, the roofer is coming over to discuss the repairs with Big D. We are praying that he can make what we have work. I understand the insurance company will always win. But, come on! We pay into it faithfully each & every month. I know it's a gamble, but when something happens, shouldn't one at least get enough? Bah Humbug!
  • I planned on having Breakfast for Supper this week. I open the fridge this morning and out tumbles my dozen eggs. My children put away the groceries. And one of them, I don't know which nor do I care, put the new cartoon on top of the old cartoon in the fridge door. So much for eating that unless I hit the store again. Bah Humbug!
  • Since Lamb will no doubt read this, this portion will be vague. There is something we planned to get her for Christmas. We figured there'd be no problems. We were wrong. All is not lost, but it's slim at the moment. Bah Humbug!
  • Today we had some free time in the 5th grade class I'm in. I'm casually coloring a Santa picture with a girl when she throws down her pencil and announces to me that she feels guilty. She did a bad thing. She ate a dinner AND a dessert from Olive Garden when she's supposed to be on a diet. Upon further conversation with her, fear struck my heart. I'm so afraid she'll develop an eating disorder in the future. And I just want to pinch her dad because I feel he'll be the root of it all. Bah Humbug!
  • Then, I was in the 4th grade class and bickering erupts at one of the tables. I take two of the kids in the hallway (substitute day) to get to the bottom of it. One of the boys breaks down in tears because he feels unwanted & unliked by his classmates. Like with the previous girl, I'm talking to him and I can just see that it's not gelling. Bah Humbug!
  • And here's the icing. Why do people feel the need to tell a pregnant women something she has no control over can be risky to the baby? One of my dearest friends is pregnant with her first baby. She's not due until January but her body has started preparing itself. She found out yesterday that she tested positive for StrepB. Her dr. didn't seem concerned so she wasn't concerned. She's on antibiotics. No biggie. Until this morning. Someone has to inform her that a friend of hers had a healthy pregnancy but she never knew that she had strep B so she was never treated. Her baby is special needs. Why, oh why did she tell my friend this? It didn't help. My friend can't do anything about it other than pray. Now, in between the prayers, will be worry. Bah Humbug!
Whew. Thanks for reading. I feel somewhat better now. I still want to pinch some folks but the urge isn't as strong.


Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus

I spent most of yesterday pretty happy.

Since the first day of school, no matter what time I arrive to work (& I get there pretty early, especially when I take Lamb to school), there's a boy waiting for the doors to open. The students aren't allowed into the building until 7:45. I did not know this boy so I would say "Good morning" and go about my business.

In November, I was given the opportunity to tutor for extra money. As it turns out, this boy is in my tutor group. He's your typical boy, extremely silly. I started to notice that to hide his insecurities, he turns his wrong answers into big jokes.

The weather has started to turn quite cold in the mornings. The thought of the boy sitting out for 30 minutes, at the least, bothered me. I asked his teacher if I can bring him in with me & we'll go over Math facts or whatever he's working on in class. So that's what I do on my mornings now. And just so you don't think I'm "cheating" the district, I don't clock in until my normal time.

We've been doing this for a little over a week now. He's getting comfortable with me so there is a lot of silliness going on. Bear finds him quite humorous. Sigh! But, given the choice, the boy always wants to work on his facts.

Yesterday, I took the day off. However, I don't have enough time to go back home after dropping off Lamb at her school. Bear & I went to our school as usual. There was the boy with a Christmas box in his hand. I casually asked if that was a present for his teacher & he just smiled at me.

When we walked into my room, he handed the gift to ME! I was so stunned and pleased. Inside the box was a snowman figurine (I love snowmen), 2 bars of scented homemade soap in the shape of shells, and a miniature perfume (Unforgivable Woman by Sean John, in case you are wondering).

I am always surprised when a student buys me a Christmas present. I don't know why, it just does. I never expect it. And it really doesn't matter what the gift is, the thought of them thinking of me touches me.

Generous children give me hope that the future won't be so bad. Kindness and thoughtfulness are still alive and well.


O Christmas Tree

You might notice there is something odd about our tree. Go ahead, take a closer look. That's right, we don't have any ornaments on our lovely, plastic tree.
This is the reason why there aren't any ornaments.

Our fun-loving Elvis loves to climb it!

He likes nothing better than to climb to the top and sit a spell.

Since we are having a difficult time keeping him out, we made the decision to just have a lighted tree. Our ornaments are too precious to risk unbalancing the tree. While they are just things, I would still be devastated to see them broken from a fallen tree and a kitten who lives for mischief.

For more truly beautiful trees, click here!


Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - Sassy Edition

This is me at about age 2 or 3 when we were living on Guam (Navy dad). Growing up, I seriously disliked this picture. It was embarrassing to me! My dad's side of the family LOVES it. I think just about every member has a copy that was displayed proudly with their family pictures. I was thinking about it the other day and actually MISSING it. Go figure. Both my aunt & my dad scanned a copy for me.

Do You See What I See?

Bear can finally say he saw snow!

AND caught some on his tongue!

And his hair! ;)

Could we actually have Hurricane Days and a Snow Day all in one school year? Not too likely, but...Stay tuned to find out!


If I'm in Footloose, Where's Ren?

Today in class, Bear's teacher gave them song lyrics from the 80s to teach them about the meanings of text in songs. They aren't always what they seem.

So, he was telling us about "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. People thought it was a love song and would play it in their weddings. Bear then says, "Ziggy wondered how people could be playing them at their weddings when it's a sicko song." Um, Ziggy? I had to ask who on earth is Ziggy?! "You know, the lead singer." I had to set Bear straight. It's STING! Sting is the lead singer of The Police. Ziggy? Good Grief.

We get that straight and Bear goes on telling us that it's a stalker song. Lamb then pipes in: "What? The cop is stalking a girl?"

Oh my heavens. Have I failed my children? I had to get it straight in her head that The Police is a music group. Not an actual cop.



Starring Lamb for One Night Only

At Lamb's high school, the seniors can direct an one act play for a grade. Last night we had the honor of watching Lamb perform in one of those plays. Her very first high school production. It was a small cast, small set, & we even sat in chairs ON the stage.

The play, The Veldt, is based on a short story written by Ray Bradbury. It is a little odd and very dark in tone. Lamb played the part of the psychiatrist. (Sadly, I did not get a snapshot of her in costume. Drat.) Interesting little trivia note: the original psychiatrist's name is David. Obviously, Lamb is not a David so they changed it to Dana.

She was a little sad and nervous when I dropped her off. I gave her the ole pep talk. She is a teenager so I'm not sure how much good I managed.

Lamb didn't enter until about the middle of the play. And once she did, I kid you not, the play really lit up. She brought such energy & dynamic to the set. Lamb was believable. And there were no signs that she was the least bit nervous.

I enjoy watching her so much.

Next up? Her class will be putting on a production which will be set in an insane asylum. I can't hardly wait. And then the big school competition. I pray she gets a part in that one!


Camera Critters #35

Cleo has been getting a bad rep with her attitude towards Elvis. I wanted to show ya'll her softer side. She really is a great pet.


The Thing about D...

is that I'm a reader.

I don't just read adult books, I also read youth lit. I do it because I like to know what the kids are talking about at school & home. Also, because some of it is really good.

I just read a book called The Thing about Georgie. The thing about 4th grader Georgie is that he's a dwarf. There are things that he physically can't do. There are things that he can do.

However, the book isn't all about him being a dwarf. It's about the real things kids (& adults) go through.

Your friends disappoint you, you also fight with your friends, you can be jealous & insecure, you can be scared, your life can take a drastic turn, and people who you thought were mean or rude might actually turn out to be a good friend. And your friends accept you, disabilities and all.

The thing about D... is, well, there are lots of things. As there are with you too.


Would You Like Some Coffee With Your Cream?

While I love the smell of coffee, I do not like the taste of coffee. I am not a coffee drinker. Or, rather, I was not a coffee drinker.

This past summer the teacher I worked with in summer school always brought me a cup of coffee in the mornings. I learned that with lots enough sugar & creamer, it's quite tasty!

Last weekend, while grocery shopping, there was a sample of coffee with flavored creamer. I poured in a lot of Dulce Caramel or something like that. It was Oh So Good!

I've been thinking about it quite a bit lately. When I find a new food/drink that I never knew tasted yummy, I tend to obsess over it. Yes, I'm weird. Aren't we all?

Big D bought me a small coffee pot, Folger's, and Irish Cream creamer. He makes me a cup and puts enough creamer in there that I don't have any bitterness in my mouth. And Wow! The energy I have afterward! Who knew?

So. Coffee is probably really bad for us, huh? At least the way I drink it...


Seven Things

My bloggy friend Texas Tanya gave me a kool award - the Kreativ Blogger Award. This one is a little bit different because it has a tag attached to it. Seven things about seven things. :)

Seven things I did before:
1. I was a data entry clerk for a home health & hospice agency.
2. I was a church nursery worker.
3. I was a COBRA specialist for AutoZone corporate office.
4. I have been enrolled in college, nursing school, & travel agent school. Didn't complete a one of them. Not proud.
5. I have lived in Texas and Arkansas twice each.
6. I lived on Guam during the Vietnam War.
7. I attended 3 different high schools in 3 years time.

Seven things I do now:
1. I read.
2. I enjoy my kids.
3. I take pictures & edit some of them in photoshop.
4. I blog and facebook.
5. I work at an elementary school with kids who have special needs.
6. I eat out as often as I can (usually with Bubba's Sis but it's been awhile!).
7. I am my hubby's muse.

Seven things I would like to do:
1. Declutter my small house.
2. Travel the US and the world.
3. Have more time to work on my photography skills.
4. Have more time to learn more about photoshop.
5. Be more creative.
6. Be more energetic.
7. Finish crocheting Bear's blanket and maybe get back into cross-stitching or learn how to sew &/or knit.

Seven things that attract me to my husband:
1. His intelligence.
2. His laugh.
3. His dimples.
4. His handy skillz.
5. His height and good looks.
6. His sense of humor
7. His ability to know me oh so well and to make me happy!

Seven favorite foods:
1. Just about anything Tex-Mex.
2. Hamburgers.
3. Baked Potato Soup.
4. Chocolate.
5. Spinach dip.
6. A steaming bowl of chili (no beans!).
7. Apple pie!

Seven things I say most often:
1. Love you.
2. Life is so daily.
3. You are So smart!
4. You got it!.
5. Indeed
6. What's for dinner? Oh. I have to make it?
7. Bear! Stop talking!

I am not tagging anyone but feel free to participate if you want! Just let me know so I can make sure to read your 7 things!