Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Another Year Ends. . .

Well, I spent the last day of 2008 where a lot of people do. . . The optometrist. It's a use it or lose it benefit, and I didn't want to lose it. When I asked Jerry to get me the benefit information so I could go and get new glasses, the company HR department had already changed all the information on their intranet to the 2009 provider. They are a little too on the ball - I need to know who I'm insured with today! I, on the other hand, am not so on the ball.

I don't know if you recall, but every year I make ten New Year's Resolutions. This evening I sat down to evaluate my progress on my resolutions. Let's just say that in this aspect only, it was a slow year. Of course, I have plenty of excuses - moving, surgery, etc. . . but all in all, it was not a resolution accomplishment-rich year. I did finish the Christmas stocking, and I don't have another in the queue, so I can move on to another unfinished project. I also did finish my Grandmother's scrapbook - although this is the least I've scrapbooked in five years. I didn't do a good job of tracking this year, but I only recorded getting a bit over 150 pages done - nowhere near the 365 I had resolved to do. Still, we did make significant progress - finding a house and a church home - so I can't complain. I just sat down and made 10 new resolutions for the new year. I won't give away all the details, but I did not resolve to do a certain number of pages, only to get caught up and to do Maggie's first 17 months in the scrapbooks (although that may end up being more than 365!) And, if I keep up my resolutions, some of you will be getting notes in the actual mail! Woo-hoo!

To cap off my year, I went back and read the blog for the last twelve months - and I must admit again to how much I like blogging. It fits with my "realist scrapbooker" personality - telling it like it is instead of trying to make everything pretty. Anyway - I will continue to tell it like it is around here, and hopefully, someone out there on the information highway is reading along!

Much Love!

The Christmas Report

Well, it's official. We have made it through another Christmas, whirling through the carousel of family gatherings once again.
We started off the trip with Jerry driving while I stuffed our Christmas photos/letters into envelopes so that we could mail them before Christmas. I must say I was very pleased with our photo card this year - I made it with StoryBook Creator Plus and printed it as a photo, so it was very economical for these penny-pinching days.

Our letter just summarized this blog in a scant page, so I won't repost it here - you already have so much more information at your hands!

We arrived at the Foster Sr.'s household on Sunday, and on Monday they and Jerry headed to East Texas, picking up Aaron on the way, to survey some property they are making business plans for. The girls and I went to spend a day with G'G'ma, running errands and making Christmas cookies.

Tuesday morning Maggie woke up with a sore throat and fever. She had just finished antibiotics for strep on Friday, so I was concerned that this could be a recurrence, but after phone tag with the doctor's office, they said it probably wasn't, since she had some strong antibiotics, and they wouldn't assume it was strep. If she needed more antibiotics, we would need to get another strep test. After her initial tylenol wore off, she said her throat was feeling fine, so we decided to try the 'wait and see' approach. Tuesday evening when the rest of the family returned we loaded up and went to my mom's house to begin our two-night stay with them. That night Gracie did something funny that only reinforced the notion that she is my child.

We had pizza, pasta and salad for dinner. There was a tupperware container of black olives on the table that had almost a whole can of olives in it. Gracie asked if she could put some on her salad, so we passed them to her. When she passed it back to Grandma, there were only about four olives left for the rest of us. . .

That's my girl!

Wednesday we pretty much relaxed and got ready for the evening. The girls could hardly wait to see cousin Korbin and play all night. Amy and the kids also arrived from her in-laws, and Will was so much more grown-up and able to play with the rest of the kids, so they all had a blast. By this time, the Christmas germ had moved on to me, so I tried my best to stay away from the baby, but still enjoyed the festivities. We made it back to mom's and got everyone tucked in to await Santa's arrival by 11:00. The kids were all up by 7:40, but we put them in the bedroom watching cartoons to give Brad a chance to arrive and enjoy the morning as well. (He was still at his folks, helping them during his dad's recovery from heart surgery.) The girls were so excited to see what Santa had brought - although they might have been a bit surprised at his practicality this year. The big gift for each was a sleeping bag - a really nice one with a flannel lining and storage bag with their name embroidered on it.

And we found out that our new stockings can hold quite a bit of stuff too!

One of the most fun moments was when the girls opened the gifts they had gotten each other - the webkinz they had told Santa they wanted - they were amazed! The bit hit, literally, of the morning was Will's new drum set. All the kids were fascinated with it - even Carissa!
After breakfast and squeezing everything into the van we made it back to the Foster's where we had a fun time with Mimi, Pepaw, Uncle Aaron and Uncle Larry.

The girls used their new sleeping bags to have a sleepover in the living room with them on the floor and Uncle Aaron in the sofabed.

Friday morning we headed down up the road to Granddaddy and Nana's house where we opened yet more presents (our van was already groaning under the weight!) and wore everyone out playing with cousins and goats.

We got to see Amy Sr. and the Culps. I went with Dad to pick up Amy Sr. - the assisted living center she lives at seems nice, and she seems content there. This time after dinner we played more dominoes, but this time Mexican Train - she didn't seem to care for that as much as regular dominoes.

Saturday I slept in - I was just plumb tuckered out by this time. That afternoon we made cookies. Will was very proud of his green face, and actually consented to give me a kiss so he could get me green too!

By Saturday evening the Christmas germ had moved on to Jerry, so Sunday we skipped church and loaded up the van for the return trip home after getting our energy out with a run around the yard
and a quick tractor ride with Granddaddy. It was around 3:30 by the time we left, so we got a good view of all the Christmas lights they put up in Ardmore when we went through. The girls were disappointed that we didn't get to drive through the actual display - next year we will have to figure out where to go to see the whole thing.

Anyway - so here we are - home again, home again, jiggedy-jig! And now it's a whole 'nother year till we do it again!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

Yes, it's true! After 12 years or so of stitching, the stockings are FINALLY hung by the fireplace with care!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oklahoma Road Trip

Well, we have finally made our first road trip to see some of this new state of ours. We met some friends in Jenks and saw the Oklahoma Aquarium. For being as far inland as it is, they have some pretty good exhibits. They had a special section for fish that are native to Oklahoma, and boy, they have some whopper catfish in there!
The girls with their new friends!

Gracie is in constant motion - just like the sharks!

There was a touch tank where we petted stingrays and sharks. The rays were smooth, but the sharks were rough! Maggie didn't really want to touch them - but she made an effort to overcome her fear!

Here, at a different touch tank, she's working up the nerve to touch a starfish. They don't splash, so she's seriously considering it. . .

And touch it she does!

The only thing the girls were dissapointed with on our road trip is that we didn't get to stay and play with their new friends longer. Next time they'll come visit us!

The Perils of the Holidays

Ah, here it is. That time of the year again. The holidays. If we can get through the logistics of planning the holidays, it's a great time of year. The logistics are the thing that always gets us though.

Really, this is pretty late for us. Usually the hints start dropping around June or so about what are we going to do for the holidays, and by August we generally know what's going to happen. This year though, we've been pushing it off, partly because I had hoped that if I just ignored it the issue would go away, but mostly because we have a new-ish niece who gets to drive the family gatherings this year. We told Amy that we'd do whatever she wanted, and for a while we even entertained going to Houston to see them, but that possibility has now been officially removed from the list, so here we are, a week before Thansgiving, with no plans. I think it's a first.

The problem is, that with all our moving around, our "rotation" schedule seems to be in flux. So last Friday night, I dragged out the photo albums, and documented what we have done since the girls have been born. Here's the rundown:
  • 2000: We were at our house. I remember this vividly, because I was pregnant with Gracie (although no one but Jerry and my sister knew) and was sicker than a dog. The barfing Christmas - oh yeah, that was memorable.

  • 2001: Santa visited our house - just us.

  • 2002: Santa came to Mimi and Pepaw's condo in Ruidoso - complete with snow!

  • 2003: Santa visited our house - just us.

  • 2004: Santa visited our house - just us.

  • 2005: We braved the ice storm back to Texas. Santa visited grandma's house.

  • 2006: Santa visited us and Mimi and Pepaw at our house in Farmington

  • 2007: Santa visited us at Granddaddy and Nana's house

The years where it was our house, just us, we lived close enough to make day trips to everyone. Now that we are a bit farther away, overnights are required. Anyway, in case you are following the time line, it's Grandma's turn for Santa this year. I knew those scrapbooks would come in handy. . .

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hello November!

Well, as usual, I have had every intention of sitting down and updating my blog, but haven't found the time to do it! I've had plenty of photos, plenty of activities to report on, although no truly inspiring thoughts, but no time to get anything down on the proverbial paper. Well, this will be brief and to the point, but it's something!

First of all, we went to the Shriner Circus with Mary Jo in Fort Worth. She and Jerry Sr. got tickets and invited us, but then Jerry Sr.'s skin lesion removal got rescheduled for the day before the circus, so he didn't get to go with us. He was with us in spirit though!

The Shriner's, of course, do this to raise money for their charitable causes, and they have ways of parting you from your money down to an art form! We did our part - Gracie chose an elephant ride, and Maggie a pony ride, and of course, we got the required cotton candy. Watching the circus through an adults eyes is very different than through a child's eyes. I never even considered the dangers of the acts as a child, but as an adult that was all I could think of! We did see a tightrope artist fall off the rope, but he caught it on the way down, thank goodness, as there was no net! Very thrilling, to say the least!

Towards the end of October the girls wanted to go and get some pumpkins. We found a local pumpkin patch that had some activities and headed out for a fun weekend day of family fun. They had a corn maze that was truly a maze - not too big, but very winding - and a nice hayride, animals to pet, and a pony to ride. I think the girls favorite part was petting the bunnies. They were very, very soft.

We also went to a campfire and hay ride with our young adult Sunday School group. The kids had a great time playing in the woods with all their friends. We cooked hot dogs and s'mores over the campfire, and enjoyed a nice hayride complete with a field of grazing cattle and a horse who liked to nibble the riders as they went by.

As the end of October approached, we got some large pumpkins from the store and carved them up. Maggie wanted hers to be a cat, and Gracie opted for a friendly pumpkin this year. Jerry and I never quite got around to carving ours - they are still taking up valuable counter space in my kitchen. We'll open them up, roast the seeds, but the rest of the pumpkin will probably go straight to the compost pile.

Now we were almost ready for Halloween. The only thing left was costumes. The girl's school has a 'storybook parade' for Halloween. Each child dresses up as their favorite character from a book, and then as they parade through the school, they carry the book along with them. Last year the girls picked their costumes first, and then we found an appropriate book. This year, however, they picked their books first. Gracie picked a book about Tinkerbell, so her costume was easy - there are a lot of Tinkerbell costumes out there right now - in fact, our neighbor already had one that we borrowed, I just needed to get her wings! Maggie, however, picked the book "Goldie the Sunshine Fairy" and informed me that (as per the book's description) she needed a fairy outfit that was "fiery reds, golds and oranges." Well, they didn't have any of those at the store, so with a large amount of trepidation, I bought satin fabric and a pattern at the store and pulled out the sewing machine.

This was the first time I had used the machine for sewing since I had it tuned up, and what a pleasant surprise I had in store for me. I managed to sew the costume with only three calls to my grandmother for further instructions than were given in the pattern, and I didn't cuss at the machine at all! There were a few minutes that I was in great frustration with my sewing abilities, but as far as thread breaking, jamming, or machine malfunction, there was none. A few minor modifications to the pattern, and we had a successful costume. I think we were all pleased with the results. We were ready for Trick-or-Treating. We met up with our neighbors, the Pinkstons, and headed out for candy nirvana.

We wrapped up our candy exploits and headed to bed pretty early, because the next morning the girls and I headed to Camp Cookieland for a Brownie Fun In Nature Day. Maggie's whole troop was there, but the other girl from Gracie's troop didn't show up, so she stayed with the older girls the rest of the day. We earned a try-it, and did a lot of walking. We took a hike through the beautiful woods - the leaf colors this year are outstanding - made s'mores, learned about and wrote haikus, played games, learned new songs, silk screened a bandana, and during an activity about the sense of touch the girls were led to walk through buckets of cornmeal, cotton balls, uncooked rice, cooked oatmeal, gravy, jello, spaghetti and dry dog food. They declared that part, "GROSS!" and "DISGUSTING!" and in the same breath, asked to do it again.

Anyway, that is our October and first day of November, in a nutshell!

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Feel Pretty

Pretty Stupid, that is.

For the second time in less than a week I have paid the home warranty people forty-five dollars for a service call for something that turns out to be something I could have fixed myself.

First, last Thursday, the guy came out because our oven was burning everything we put in it. The man asked me for the oven manual, read it, and adjusted the temperature. (Duh. Here's your forty-five dollars.)

Saturday night the lights in the bathroom suddenly stopped working. Our first guess was that some breaker had tripped, but the GFCI outlets worked around the sink and the lights in the closet and toilet worked, but the ones above the bathtub and sinks just wouldn't work. Jerry took off the switch plate and we checked - the wires were dead. We called my step dad, who used to work with various aspects of electricity and asked his advice. We spent several hours trying to figure out this problem. Finally, we gave up. I called the home warranty folks this morning, thinking that at least THIS time I'd get my forty-five dollars worth. Well, the same guy who fixed my oven came in and in less than two minutes flat, found a GFCI outlet in our closet that we didn't know existed, and, GUESS WHAT!!!! It was tripped. I think it took me longer to write the check that it did for the problem to be fixed. Oh well - it's just money, right? And the problem is fixed.

Life is full of challenging moments isn't it? At the end of last week, for example, we got the girl's baptism certificates in the mail. Shortly afterwards I was trying to convince the girls to clean out their toys and give up some of the things they didn't play with much for the garage sale. Maggie got all upset because she didn't want to give away any of her toys. She did one of her high-drama, "You just want me to get rid of all my toys! Fine! You don't LOVE me!!!!" moments. I got exasperated and left the room. When I came back, there was her baptism certificate, torn in two, in the middle of the floor.

In my cool, calm, collected (NOT!) voice, I shrieked, "What have you done to your certificate!!!!????"

"God doesn't love me anymore because I made you mad!" was her response. Wow. Somehow I managed to moderate my voice, shift gears and turn this into a a teachable moment about how God always loves us, no matter what, but boy, that wasn't what I wanted to say. Of course, as my sister pointed out, how many times do we ourselves, as grown-ups, think the same thing, but never manage to articulate it? Perhaps I should let myself have a drama queen moment every once in a while. I'm sure Jerry would be thrilled! ;-)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Stepping in Honey. . .

Lots has been going on since the last time I posted. First of all, the girls got baptized:

Next, the girls school had their second annual Sock Hop this past Friday, which was a lot of fun. The PTO at the girls school goes all out for this fun family time. This year they had an old-timey car in front to take your pictures with.

Also this year one of the Dad's got coerced into being Elvis instead of hiring a professional impersonator. He was really good though, and was much more into posing with the kids and talking with them that the professional was last year. Gracie in particular was extremely infatuated with him, and ran up and hugged him every time she saw him.

The girls had a great time dancing with their friends and their Daddy. Maggie in particular was anxious to get back to dancing with her friends after she finished her dinner, and was particularly disappointed when we told her she had to wait for her family. She's already ready to ditch us for her friends. Somehow, I wasn't expecting this development for a few more years.

After the sock hop Jerry and I stayed up until almost two in the morning putting the finishing touches on all the preparations for our Garage Sale the next morning. We did pretty well, and the garage is now looking pretty barren, or it will as soon as I get the boxes of garage sale leftovers up to the thrift store. The girls were persuaded to put some of their lesser-played with toys in to the garage sale by promising them that if someone bought them, they would receive the proceeds. They surprised me by putting in some things I thought they wouldn't want to part with, but I restrained myself from saying, "Are you sure?" Once the girls had sold a few items and had the cold, hard cash in hand we asked if there was anything else they wanted to put in the sale, but they said no. Maggie however, picked up a pencil and paper and began to draw a picture. When she was done and had gone back in the house, Jerry picked up the paper and we looked at it and cracked up. It was one of her pictures of a princess, but at the bottom she had written, "$1.00 Color it at home!" She's our little entrepreneur.

Each girl made about $35 dollars. As usual, Maggie is wanting to know when the next trip to Wal-Mart is so she can spend her money. Gracie, however, has been saving up for a long time for a doll stroller from American Girl, and when we counted her money before the garage sale, had just reached her goal of getting it. I was ready to order it for her, when she decided to change her mind and set a new goal of the American Girl baby bed - a $75 item. That's a lot for a little girl! Well, now it looks like she'll be able to get that with just a few more weeks of chores. She's definitely our saver.

After the garage sale was complete and we had boxed up the remaining items I declared that we should spend some of our hard-earned garage sale wealth on dinner out, as I certainly was not cooking anything for dinner, so we went to the Outback Steakhouse for dinner. We had a delicious meal, and while we were waiting for the check we were playing some of the games in the kids menu. They had a type of Mad-Libs activity, so I asked for the words, and Jerry, Maggie and Gracie (mostly Jerry) provided them. When I started to read the completed story, I got a very, very bad case of the giggles - By the time I was halfway through it, I was laughing so hard that tears were streaming down my face, and I was in serious danger of wetting myself. Of course, this made Jerry laugh too, and the girls got caught up in the laughfest. We turned quite a few heads there at the Outback. The story was about Scrumper, the Outback's Kangaroo Mascot, and one of his adventures. Khul is his lion friend. Here's our story:
Scrumper's Tall Tales

It was a stormy day when Scrumper decided to look for chicken lips in the Outback. She slept over to her friend's house and on the way stepped in honey, which made her smell like poo. Scrumper got to Khul's house and when the door opened her friend yelled, GOLLY GEE! "Let's go to the Great Barrier Reef," said Scrumper, "so I can wash off my finger." When they arrived at the Great Barrier Reef, they found two flowers that had washed up on the shore. This find looked to be 157,269 years old! After looking at it further, they came to realize that what they found was in fact fishes left over from someone farting!
I'm sure that you can guess which of our purple words were provided by the sole male in our family! Anyway, Jerry dared me to blog about this whole experience. Apparently, he doesn't realize that I'll blog about almost anything! Now our family saying of, "It's better than a rusty nail in your foot" has been replaced at our house by, "It's better than stepping in honey and smelling like poo!" What a riot!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Holey Smile

Gracie has officially passed Maggie on the number of teeth lost. We're thinking she might be eating oatmeal until a few more teeth come in. Hopefully we don't lose any more until a few grow in! In a momentous occasion, Mommy actually pulled the upper one this morning, and then this evening, her nerve failed, and Daddy had to take over the pulling of the lower one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Behind The Times. . .

Well, as I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to be scrapbooking this weekend, so in my flurry to get things ready for my fun time, I was going to print out some photos when I discovered that

  1. I hadn't uploaded any photos since May AND. . .

  2. I haven't updated the photo website since our trip to Disneyworld, which was last November!

Now, I realize that you guys have seen the absolute best photos, since those are what I put on this blog, BUT, if you have known me for any length of time at all, you realize that there are at least 20 photos for every one I put on this blog.

SO. . .

I added the photo site link to the other favorites list on the right side of the screen, OR, you can just click here. It is password protected, and no, I'm not going to make it public, so don't ask. The password has not changed, but if you can't remember it, just e-mail me, and if you are a known person, I'll gladly give it to you!


Monday, September 8, 2008

One thing at a time!

Goodness, somehow the last few weeks have gotten away from me. I keep intending to update my blog - and I've know the title of this post for quite some time, because it is my current mantra.

When I look at my to do list and feel overwhelmed, I think - one thing at a time.

When I look at the crap all over the counters and any other horizontal surface and think of what to pick up first - Just Pick SOMETHING!!! ANYTHING!!! One thing WILL make a difference - maybe not MUCH of one, but it will be SOMEthing. Just do one thing at a time.

Anyway, slowly, things are getting done. The big question is, can I get them done faster than the rest of the family can get them back un-done?

Well, as we start our third full week of school (I can hardly believe how fast it's zipping by!) things are beginning to settle into a routine. This week starts BSF, and next week starts scouts, so after that we should settle into our school rhythm nicely.

Let's see - since our last post we've been having lots of fun. Our Sunday School department had an ice-cream cookoff, and as a testament that miracles do still happen, I won the grand prize for my vanilla ice cream, despite running out of vanilla, rennet and ice, and also grabbing the low-fat milk instead of the whole milk that I had bought especially to make this ice cream. Just think of how great it would have been if I actually had done it correctly!!!!

Labor Day weekend we headed down to Weatherford / Granbury for a birthday reception honoring my grandmother, Amy Sr., who turned ninety on Labor Day. Here she is with her brother, my Great Uncle Bub. . .
And admiring her newest great-grandchild, Carissa: We had the opportunity to see lots of family members, and stayed with Dad and Terri along with Amy, Brad, Will and Carissa. The girls had a lot more fun playing with Will when they had a lot of room to run, and Will had so much fun that when it was time for us to go, he said, "No go. You got to stay here!" Here's him and Gracie having fun in the bath. I think Amy may have a future as a bubble-hair-do beautician!

Here's some fun family pics: These photos are of my cousins Randy and Chris. The first one was taken 7/4/1987, the second one 8/31/2008.

The next two photos are of the group of cousins that we spent a week with every summer and winter during "Cousins Week" hosted by my Aunt Jane. You can try to match them up if you like. There's an extra girl in the older photo - if anyone knows who she is, let me know (with the long hair, in between Collin and Carrie.) It was odd to see all of our kids running around with each other at the reception. Is anyone brave enough to hold a new generation of Cousin's weekend? It's a much broader spectrum of ages than when we were little, so I'm sure it would be a unique challenge.

Before we left the Metroplex for Oklahoma (later than I wanted thanks to a detour Gracie made through the edge of the stock pond, necessitating a wait on a load of laundry!) we visited a furniture store and decided on some furniture for Gracie. I had set a goal to have our house completely put together by the end of September, but that may be too optimistic, as the first day they could deliver the furniture is November 22nd. Oh well! I'm going to try to do my part by the end of September!

This week has been relatively uneventful. We did have a minor fiasco when some construction workers cut an electric line near us, resulting in a 3-hour power outage on the evening that we were supposed have a dinner guest. Chili's, here we come! Then we had a cool front thanks to hurricane Gustav - the high on September 4 was only 68 degrees. Much cooler than we are used to for the end of summer!

I guess that's about it for now. Next weekend will be my mommy time at the scrapbook convention, and Jerry will have the girls for the whole weekend. I can hardly wait to hear all about it!

Friday, August 22, 2008

And They're Off!

After much anticipation, the school year has officially started. (Yea!!!!) Maggie was so excited about the first day of school that when her alarm went off at 7:00 and we went in to get her up, she was getting ready, saying, "I woke up at 6:18!" The girls got ready in record time, and then were so insistent that we go to the bus stop that we did - almost 15 minutes early. Eventually other kids did show up - there's at least 10 that get on at this stop - the only one for our subdivision.

When the girls came home Maggie declared her first day "Great!" and Gracie said it was "Good, except for the girl that hit me in the face on the bus." Not sure what happened there - although it seemed to be an accident, so I'm not too worried. Maggie had homework from the first day, but Gracie doesn't yet. She seemed disappointed at first, but when I suggested she could do a page in her math packet from the summer, she decided she was happy to not do homework.

As for what I did on the first day of school - well, Jerry had taken off to be with me, so he helped me by making the girls lunches. Maggie asked for a turkey sandwich for the first time ever in her lunch, and when she got home she declared it the "best sandwich ever!" so now Jerry has been instructed to make a turkey sandwich every day for her before he leaves for work. It's tough being the best! We all went together to the bus stop, then Jerry and I went to the school to make sure that everyone found where they were supposed to go. After that, he and I went to Whataburger for breakfast, and then came home and took the traditional first-day-of-school nap and just piddled around the house doing this and that. Once the girls got home we did homework and headed off to Wednesday night church for the kids. Jerry and I dropped them off and went to Quizno's for a sandwich. Then it was time for baths and bedtime. And so my birthday day passed, uneventful and relaxing.

Our den is empty. I sold all the furniture on Craigslist on Monday, and the last item was picked up yesterday. We've been looking at furniture, but haven't really been happy with what we've found. Now though, as we sit on the floor watching TV, I think it's time to get serious about finding something. Now I feel motivated to action.

Well, things have dried out around town, so today is errand day. I also have to make homemade ice cream for a churn-off with our Sunday School Department tomorrow. I'm going to make Aunt Ellogene's famous ice cream - hopefully I won't scramble the eggs! I'm also going to make a backup quart of orange sherbet just in case. Wish me luck!