Friday, December 31, 2010

A Whirlwind Christmas

Our Christmases are always a busy, busy affair. This year, it seemed even more so, what with the push to finish final school papers condensing what would normally be a prolonged month-long preparation into a frantic last-minute flurry of activity. Our trip to Texas also seemed short this year, but with most of Jerry's vacation hours already spent, we were trying to conserve what he has left, as it must last through spring break.

Our first stop was Grandma and Papaw's house, where we got to see cousin Gabriel and meet our newest cousin, Cheyenne, for the first time. The girls had fun playing with their cousins, and Cheyenne took an immediate liking to Maggie, which she was over the moon about. She's going to make a great babysitter some day!

Christmas Eve we went to GGma's house. The girls were the only "kids" there, since Cousin Korbin was with his mom for the evening. All the grownups were there - the Powells and the Weimans. Cousin Scott kept trying to classify himself with the kids, but we said that since he could vote and paid taxes, he had to count himself among the grown ups. Here's Papaw, Gracie and Scott:

GGma got the biggest Whitman's sampler any of us had ever seen!

It was good to see everyone - here's Paige, Ronnie and Jerry:

Maggie got some very exciting presents - a telescope, to help her further her interest in astronomy, which she studied in school last semester, and a hair-dryer that is just her size - a sure sign that she is becoming a young lady!

Here, Gracie shows off a few of the fashion items she got - pin, mittens, bracelet and purse!

We left GGma's and headed to Nana and Granddad's house. Our cousins there were already snug in their beds, and the girls followed them to dreamland shortly after. When we came downstairs the next morning, the living room looked like a toy store, what with four kiddos with presents from Santa! Both girls were excited to receive Legos - a police station for Maggie, and a castle for Gracie. They were ready to dig right in, but there wasn't enough time right then.

Here Gracie shows Aunt Amy and Uncle Brad a new book she got - Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray!

Will was quite busy with his aircraft carrier. . .

And it wasn't long before everyone was playing with everyone's toys!

Of course, our biggest Christmas blessing was that Uncle Brad got out of the hospital in time to be with family for Christmas!

The Culps arrived, and we had a fine lunch of Mexican food, and then it was time to move on to our next stop, Mimi and Pepaw's house. All of the great-uncles were there, Bill, Larry and Jimmy, as well as Uncle Aaron, so it was a full house.

Uncle Larry and Uncle Aaron were staying at Mimi and Pepaw's house too, so we got to have fun till bedtime!

The next morning Larry headed back to Houston, and the rest of us had a relaxing day, going to Whataburger for lunch and playing Mexican train, which Maggie seems to have a real knack for. The next morning we packed up and headed back to Oklahoma.

Now it's only 364 days until we get to do it all again!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Mitten Accomplished!

The girls and I got busy making cookies a few days before Christmas. I made gingerbread dough first, which was supposed to be shaped into a disc, wrapped in plastic wrap, and chilled to be able to roll out and make cookies. Problem was, I was too impatient to wait for the boiled molasses mixture to cool, so my dough was more the consistency of melted fudge. Not really shapeable. . . I thought it looked more like a cowpattie in a bowl than rolled cookie dough. I just stuck the whole thing in the refrigerator and hoped for the best.

The next morning the girls and I made sugar cookie dough before we headed out to see Santa. The girls requested the visit, and took little clipped pieces of the American Girl catalog to be sure their wishes were conveyed accurately.

When we got home we started rolling out the cookies. Had it been just me we would have made three shapes of cookies, tops. With the girls helping me, we ended up with eight shapes. We did the sugar first, and after the first couple of sheets of cookies, I was on my own. I made a small army of gingerbread men, as the dough had firmed up quite nicely, practically becoming one with the bowl.

The next morning we started the icing process. Again, had it been up to me - three colors, tops. With the girls, we ended up with seven colors - the rainbow, plus white.

We used these little icing decorators that I got from Pampered Chef a few years back. The icing was a bit thick, and at first it was a little challenging. One of the decorators popped its top when Gracie squeezed it a bit hard, but we got the hang of it pretty quickly.

We were all working on our cookies, and Gracie was very diligently working at putting stars on a mitten-shaped cookie as I was making a gingerbread man arm. All was quiet as we concentrated on our work when Gracie sighed, put down her decorator, and announced, "Mitten Accomplished!" I got a good laugh out of that - I'm not sure she understood what was so funny. Here is said mitten:

And here is some of my gingerbread army. Not a bad final product for starting out as a cowpattie in a bowl.

Friday, December 17, 2010


Gracie woke up yesterday with a high-ish fever, so she missed school (and her class Christmas party) that day. I called the pediatrician's office, but the earliest she could work us in was 4:30 that afternoon.

So, after Maggie got home, I loaded up the kids and we headed to the pediatrician's office. They did a flu test on Gracie, and it was not the flu. This was the first time Maggie had met our new pediatrician, and she was putting on her best pre-teen "This is so totally boring, I can't believe my mom dragged me out here" routine. That is, right up until I decided to take the opportunity to get her a flu shot. Then she immediately switched over into panicky child mode, running out the door of the examining room and down the hall, hollering, "NO! NO! NO!!! I don't want a SHOT!

We did get her back in the examining room, and she did get the shot, but as we left, with tears streaming down her face she kept wailing, "Why?! You are so mean!" Yup, that's me - Meanest Mommy in the World. Gotta keep up my reputation.

I tried to make it up to her by getting her a Sonic Blast (her sister got a sundae - I have to take her back after she's well to get her shot) but she was still pretty put out with me. I can't really blame her though.

Gracie had only a small fever last night, but this morning it was back in full force - 103.8, but dropped to 100.3 after ibuprofen. Hopefully she'll feel better by Monday. Still - wouldn't want to get a babysitter sick, so it is looking like no Harry Potter for us this weekend either. I'm beginning to think I won't get a chance to see it before it leaves the theater. I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm Back!

Well, as you may have guessed, graduate school didn't get any easier as the semester wore on. I had hoped that as my first semester of graduate school progressed I would get more into the swing of things, and that I would have time to do all the things I used to do, like update this blog for instance. BWHAHAHAHAAA!!!!

Okay, so let's just face the facts. I was (and am) busy. I haven't blogged, even though I've had several thoughts and activities that were definitely blog-worthy. I should be guilt-ridden with all the things I've let slide, of which the blog is probably the least important, but as far as the blog is concerned, I'm guessing not many people have missed the posts, except maybe my parents, and I do regularly update my parents via methods other than the blog. So, I'm going to let go of that guilt, and if you are really curious about what's been going on, read on!

After talking with an experienced MLIS student, I decided to keep all three of my classes. That turned out to be a mistake, as I barely had time to breathe all semester. I feel like I rushed through all my schoolwork, and was so overwhelmed with information, I'm not sure how much of it will 'stick', but it is done. I am one-quarter finished with my Master's. Things I learned: Never take three classes per semester again. I'm signed up for two next semester (one of which is on campus), so hopefully it will be a little less stressful.

I'll have to go look at what pictures I took to see what actually happened in the last few months, and hopefully post a few items, because, honestly, I don't remember anything but school.

Everything else is a blur.


The most important update I have is that Amy (my sister), her hubby Brad, and their two kids were involved in a major car accident on the way home from Thanksgiving. Brad is still at Parkland with broken legs, Amy has limited mobility due to a broken ankle and foot, and the kids were uninjured. She is keeping everyone updated via her blog, Amy's Antics, which you can click over to on the blogging friends section. We appreciate your prayers for both physical healing and spiritual strength during this time. Thanks!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I am not sure that words can adequately express what my first week of graduate school has been like. I'll try though:

Being buried by an avalanche.

Drinking from a fire hose.


Are you getting a picture in your mind?

I have spent every waking moment this week (that I didn't already have something pre-scheduled) glued to my laptop. Oh! MY! GOSH!!

There have been moments of shock - like opening up my third and final syllabus and finding a 49 page document. Ouch! Or stepping away from my computer long enough to go to a doctor's appointment and cook dinner and coming back to over 150 posts on the discussion boards. Don't these other students have anything else to do?!! So, I did what any good planner would do. I made a project plan. A combined list of deliverables in an Excel spreadsheet with dates to start and complete each task. It's only 18 pages long.

Inhale. . . Exhale. . . Deep cleansing breaths. . .

I feel like Shifu in Kung Fu Panda, going, "Inner peace. In-in-inner peace." as his eye twitches.

The scariest thing is that I still have several weekly obligations for the school year that haven't even started yet! I have one week to either get this into a workable situation or drop a class. (I'm signed up for three.) I just pray it becomes apparent which I should do in the next several days.

Pray for me!!!

First Day of School, Part Deux

So, today was the first day of school - for me!

Here I am, ready to go! Since I did such a lousy job of first day of school photos by the door for the girls yesterday morning, we took a bunch of us today. Here's us, ready to go, with all our bags and lunchboxes!

One of my neighbors is a professor at OU, and she had offered to give me a ride on my first day. (I had a 9 to 5 orientation to attend.) Our girls ride the bus together, so after our pictures, the girls and I grabbed our stuff and headed up the road to the bus stop:

(By the way, that is not a bird's nest on top of my head in the last picture, it's just that some of our infamous wind came sweeping down the plain, and well. . . here's second shot, farther away, but with better hair! )

The girls got on the bus, and I got into a much, much better ride, and off we went. There were about 55 people in my orientation - they've decided to split the class into two sections since there were so many of us - and it's a pretty good mix of people. There were a few folks in my age group, and lots that had been out of school less than five years. Some were already working in libraries and just coming to get their degrees, and a few like me that are making career changes. It promises to be an interesting mix of people - I am sure I will learn a lot. The big things I took away from the orientation -

  1. It's all about connecting people with information.

  2. Graduate students are researchers - we gather information from multiple sources, then synthesize it and add our own voice.

  3. Librarians are not all like this:

We can be hip! Here's the proof:

Of course, I already knew that - Aunt Jane was (and is!) my role model for how a librarian should be!

Let the good times roll!

First Day of School

Ah - the first day of school!

Maggie was so excited to go to school for the first day that she got up and got ready and had a half-hour to kill before the school bus arrived. She was so excited about her new first day of school outfit - a leopard print and pink outfit that perfectly matched her new leopard print messenger bag and lunchbox (with pink trim)! We are stylin' this year!

It was good to see the gang at the bus stop. As the girls got on the bus, I realized that I had not taken a picture of Gracie by the door before she left!

So, here's an end-of-the-first-day shot of Gracie.

The first day seemed to go well - both girls like their teachers - but both of them had a meltdown shortly after the end of the school day. Going from summer to school can do that to a girl. We remedied that by having a small playdate with the neighborhood kids before dinner, then a favorite dinner of soft tacos, and happiness was restored! Gotta get back into our routine!

Shocking! Absolutely Shocking!

While the girls were in Texas for three weeks, we were enduring some of the hottest weather we've had in awhile, as was much of the country around us. Since watering the plants is one of the girl's chores, our landscaping was suffering greatly, as I kept forgetting that in the absence of child-labor, I needed to water the plants. That's why it came as quite a shock when I walked out our door one morning to find this in our yard:

"You've got to be kidding me!" Was my first thought. What were they looking at? My lush potted plants?

Or was it my beautiful hydrangea? (Note - this plant is in a bed that is usually too soggy for the plant to ever bloom. This is the first time I've ever seen it droop. Usually it's drowning. )

Now, granted, not everything in our yard looks so pathetic. I've got a bumper crop of bell peppers this year in red:


and yellow!

Too bad I haven't been able to eat any of them - when you turn them over they all have blossom end rot:


We do have some nice flowers - they made good subjects for Jerry's photo rampage when I told him he needed to find a new photo subject:

But they are almost all in the back yard where our neighbors can't see them. I guess our neighbors knew that we were trying our best. . .

Luckily, the kids are home now and things are looking up -

I feel a little redeemed!

Snapshots of Suzy

Well, while Jerry was on his mission trip to Brazil, he was told that his digital camera, which was one of the very early models in the digital revolution, was ancient. That didn't bother him so much, except for the fact that it is indeed ancient, and the focus took so long to lock that he missed a bunch of shots. When he got back, he got into research mode and began looking at small digital cameras to replace the dinosaur that he had.

Well, he finally decided on one, and I must say, I've not been so photographed in a long, long time.

Here's me watching TV:

And me sitting:

And me working at my computer:

And me driving:

Now I know what it must be like to be one of my kids.

While we were in Fort Worth for Gracie's birthday party, Gracie felt left out of the photographer duties, so I gave her my camera. Here's me and Maggie:

And me, Maggie and my mother-in-law, Mary Jo, having a little fun.

'Cause we wouldn't want to have boring pictures! No - it's a family tradition! We have to "do something!" (and I didn't have any paper plates to dance around with.)

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Sounds of Silence

Well, as you might have guessed from the title of the post, my kids are not around. In fact, they have been gone since July 18, and they aren't scheduled to be back home until August 8. If you are trying to do the math in your head, let me help you - that is a total of three weeks. Now, lest you think I abandoned my children, let me clarify that they spent the first week at Mimi and Pepaw's house, at which time we went down to the Metroplex for the weekend to celebrate Gracie's birthday with a shindig at a local party establishment.

After the party the girls commenced week number two at Nana and Granddaddy's house, with the company of their cousins, Will and Carissa.

At the end of that week (last Saturday) all four of the cousins headed to Grandma and Papaw's house, where they are currently ensconced. They are having fun, although I get the feeling that the awesomeness of having cousins to play with may be wearing thin. I am pretty sure the oppressive heat, smallness of A/C enclosed space, and exuberance of said cousins contributes to the stir-craziness. I bet they will be as glad to be home as I will be to see them when the end of the week comes.

Until then, I am trying to enjoy the silence. After the first four days, I found it a bit oppressive, but I'm getting used to it now. Of course, I had many, many, many plans for what I was going to do with all my child-free hours. I had plans for mammoth scrapbooking marathon sessions, visions of getting one year of my backlog done for each week they would be gone. As usual, that was a bit ambitious. I have managed to get four month's worth of photos scrapped, but there's a long way to go, and I'm in the final lap of this kid-free time. Oh well - I'm still making progress!

Of course, creating a blog post was on my list of things to do, and really, I thought I would get to it before now. I admit, I cheated a bit. I wrote the title of the post in July and saved it, just so it would look like I posted in July. That way I wouldn't look like so much of a blog deserter, although, if you'll look in my sidebar, you'll see that I would be in good company. Perhaps blogging has become passe and nobody told me. I do tend to be behind the times.

It's not that I've had nothing to blog about, mind you. If anything, I've had too much to blog about. For instance, there's this:

This is Bizzell Library, at OU. I finally got my official welcome packet (after I called to ask about it) and I am ready to head to school on August 20. I did find out that I get to attend orientation in Norman, and not in Tulsa (yea). On our way back from dropping the kids off with Mimi and Pepaw, I took Jerry by the campus and showed him the library, which is where my department is housed. It's a beautiful building, and he was duly impressed.

I got an e-mail from my instructor with information about one of my courses (I'm taking three), and it said I needed to have my books on the first day of class - I thought that was odd, as all my classes are online and apparently asynchronous, but I'm not about to start off my graduate school days by arguing with my instructor. I got the list of books from the bookstore, and then I did some comparison shopping. My book that was $65 at the bookstore, I got used on Amazon for $10.49. What a difference! Too bad Amazon wasn't around during my undergraduate days! There were a lot of things that weren't around then though. Gracie made me think about that a few weeks ago. A friend introduced her to a website for kids, and she asked me, "Mommy, did you every play on when you were my age?" And I had to say, "Honey, (personal) computers weren't invented when I was your age."

Anyway, I have other things to blog about as well - I got a new camera, and got a book on how to use it, and - get this - I am actually reading it! We'll see what kind of effect that has on my pictures.

Well, that's enough of a break from scrapbooking - I better get back to it, or I'll never close the 28 month backlog that remains! Wish me luck!