Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Texas Wildlife

Before I moved to Texas, the only critters I ever worried about, or saw for that matter, were spiders. Every now and then, I would have one in the house. I would suck 'em up with the vacuum. Now I live in a city where pest control companies thrive. Critters are everywhere, and they're big. Definitely won't fit up my vacuum tube. I think that the cockroach is the Texas state bird. Two nights ago, we all peeked through the blinds and watched a SKUNK forage in the building materials across the street.

Within the first month that we lived here, we had to call critter control. They set traps up in the attic. We waited. Then it smelled....bad. Critter control man showed up with a flashlight and gloves. I escorted him to the attic. Just before ascending, he turns to me and asks, "do you know what it is I am looking for?" Huh? I just stared at him for a moment while I thought, "Are you kidding me?! Like, what are my options...a mountain goat!?" He stopped waiting for a response and disappeared into the attic. Ten minutes later he came back down with a rat the size of Vermont in a plastic bag. The smell only took a day to fade away.

Last Sunday, my friend Shannon called to ask us how good of friends we were. Todd told her, "pretty good I guess, because we've stopped interviewing." Shannon then asks, "are we good enough friends that you would help us remove a possum from our bathtub?" Todd almost peed his pants from laughter.

Shannon's upstairs bathroom had a crack in the ceiling and the kids had been complaining that they could hear something running in the ceiling. The crack gave way and a possum fell through the ceiling into her bathtub! Let me just repeat for emphasis.....A-POSSUM-FELL-THROUGH-HER-CEILING!

We skittered over mighty quick because, come on, how often do you get to see this? Being the good friends that we are, we brought a bin and a cutting board to contain the critter. Todd commented that he didn't know possum had so many teeth. Texas has big rodents. I'm definitely going to have to get a bigger vacuum tube.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Belated Hoopla

Let's be honest, my talents overflow. I've got some serious skills. Now, don't be fooled into thinking that I actually have skills that have value...you know, like being a good mom. Oh, heavens no. Case in point, today in church: Sam and Addie leave the chapel to go to the bathroom (my first mistake). After an unusual amount of time, I glance toward the back door. The counter man (you know who he is, the one who tallies up the sacrament population) is standing directly to the side of the back door. He looks me square in the eye and points for me to step out into the hall. Once I enter the hallway, I find Sam dragging a screaming Addie down the hallway. I looked at them and thought, "gee, look at the fruit of my loins." Do you see my point? Motherhood is not one of my skills.

On the other hand, if you need an awesome 12 yr. old birthday party, I'm on it. Samantha's original party was set for the day the hurricane hit. She begged to still hold the party that day. I just didn't find sound judgement in holding a party during 90 mph winds and tree branches flying past the windows. Thus, we postponed until yesterday. Just a bit belated, but still an insane amount of work and fun.

Because Sam turned 12, we did 12 activities. Could the idea be any more fantabulous? I think not. Here is a snipit--

Could the food be any cuter!? I cut out sandwiches and watermelon in flower shapes. Hello! I think I just might be a-mazing. Oh, and napkins tied with licorice...ingenious.

One of our games: put a piece of bubble gum and a cracker in your mouth at the same time and chew. The first person to be able to blow a bubble wins. Makell was trying so hard she almost fell over in hysteria.

We painted flower shaped peg hooks. Oh my heavens, the flower shape matches the sandwiches and watermelon. See, I'm telling you, serious skills.

Sam does not like cake. Never has. Weirdest thing ever. It's downright not normal. Every year until now, I have bought her a birthday cake anyway. It's for me, not for her. We light the candles, sing happy birthday, and then I eat it. Woo hoo for me. I gave birth, therefore I get cake. But alas, this year Sam requested hello dollies (magic bars) for her cake. Being the selfish, uh-I mean selfless person I am, I gave her the cake of her desire.

The party lasted for 3 1/2 hours. I've now put in my time. No more parties until she moves out. I usually try to avoid the birthday parties, I think they are the equivalent of teaching kindergarten. But this year, as the oldest fruit of my loins turned 12, I decided to put forth some of my best skills. My mom told me I was a good mom. Well, at least I was for 3 1/2 hours I was.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

What Was She Thinking-Take #1,346

-phone rings-
Makell: "Heeyyy mom. This is Kellie. I missed the bus."
Me: "Oh really. Why did you miss the bus?"
Kel: " Well, we were playing eraser tag, and someone tripped, and then I was laughing my guts out, so I didn't hear them call for my bus." (giggling under her breath)

I pick up Addie FROM THE BUS STOP and then drive to school.

Makell skips out. She turns and waves at the vice principal who has been babysitting her.
She plops down in her seat and hands me a large piece of rubber.
Me: "What is this?"
Kel: "It's the bottom of my shoe."
Me: "You ripped off the entire sole of your BRAND NEW school shoes?!!"
Kel: giggling, "What's a sole?"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

First Tooth

"Mom, I saw the tooth fairy and he's a girl.
He scared me and he didn't have a shirt on."

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let There Be Light

Do you see the temperature on my thermostat? 83 degrees!!! Do you know what that feels like when you add humidity!!!!! In-my-house. But, for the love of all things holy...the power came on this morning at 10:30 am. I fell to the ground and praised Jesus.

Last night I decided to take the electricity matters to a higher level. I prayed to Allah, Buddha, I prayed facing east, lit some incense and then a few candles with saints on the front. I figured that gave me good coverage. And presto chang-o, look what happened. Lights. Air conditioning. A refrigerator. A washing machine.

I have decided that I am having t-shirts made for everyone who lives in the greater Houston area. Each person will be required to print on their shirt how many days they went without power--or if you skipped town like a wuss. My shirt would read 10 days with a serious amount of !!!!!! And then I'm going to wear my shirt to Costco. If I see anyone that has a shirt on that reads, "2 days" or "8 hours", I think I just might have to stab them and shove them in my car. Then they are going to have to sit in there WITHOUT air conditioning for 8 more days. Its a good plan. I bet my neighbors will help me.

In a place like Houston, where it can get insanely hot, your electricity bill can also look insane ($250 is really good). But after these last 10 days, I'll never complain about our bill again...but, I am having shirts made.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oh, Ike!

I still don't have power. This is day 8. My mom's turned on last night. We skittered over here speedy quick. Ike has driven me into believing I'm a pioneer. Yesterday I thought about putting on a long skirt, pantaloons and a bonnet. By the grace of heaven, I can now blow dry my hair and turn on the TV while I eat all the food in Nana's pantry.

It's been a crazy 8 days. Hurricane hangover. Not fun. We feel so out of touch with the world. Its interesting what happens when there is no electricity. My kids reaction has been fascinating. Not once have they complained that they can't turn on the TV or play a gameboy. They haven't even complained about not having any lights at night. They just want to play with their friends, ride bikes and cover themselves in the mounting mud across the street. Delightful.

Ike hit during the night. It was quite scary to hear 90 mph winds and trees snapping, but not be able to see anything. We didn't get any sleep. Worry can keep you up at night. Here is a small snapshot of the aftermath:

A tree fell on the corner of our garage. Can you see the beam that is barely resting on our water barrel and not on Todd's car...just another testament that if you follow the prophet and store your water, it will save your car.

This picture is the back side of the garage. The tree also took out a portion of our fence.

This is our neighbor's house. Ginormous tree fell from across the street. Makell, Addie and a friend are waiting for chainsaws. This is the morning after the hurricane. We are all outside, drenched because it is still raining. We had huge trees down all throughout my portion of the neighborhood. A group of men started cutting the trees into sections and pulling them out with chains and a truck. The rest of us pulled branches and cleared debris for hours.

This is what a lot of the trees look like around my house. This one is around the corner from me.

This is the view as you drive down my street. At one point, there were trees laying across this road and we couldn't get out of our neighborhood.

This house is just slightly around the corner from us. They also had a gas leek.

This is a view from Makell's bedroom window. Our house backs up to open space with lots of trees. At least a third of them were torn down in the hurricane winds. Directly to the right of this picture is a huge section of big trees. If the winds had been blowing in any other direction, they would have taken out our house. Blessings.

The girls standing on one of the trees behind our house.

This generator is my new best friend. I'm adding her to my christmas card list because she was so good to us. We stole this generator from my mom's house. She was in Hawaii, sunbathing in her bikini. So we put this to good use. We couldn't run it all day because of the availability of gas. A lot of the gas stations were not up an running again, and those that were had a 2-3 hour wait. We ran it at night so that we could sleep with a fan and not melt into our sheets. The first two days after the hurricane were unbearably hot--94 degrees with 85% humidity. But then our blessings showed back up again, and the weather cooled down. We could open the windows and it cooled the house down. I just love blessings.

I have never washed clothes by hand....until now. Love the little girl panties.

It's so nice to know that people (OK, 3 of you) have been checking my blog, looking for signs of life from the Fosters. We are well, we have just been living like pioneers....who had shelter and running water. Yesterday I had lost all patience to deal with this any longer. Its trying. School has been canceled since last Friday, and won't start until next Wednesday (if you're counting, that's 8 full school days). But alas, I am now at Nana's and I can wash all our muddy laundry.

Trying times are, well....trying. And, you gain perspective and gratitude. Compared to what I've been through over the last year, Ike hasn't been too bad, he's just made life crazy inconvenient. But, he has made us see that a shattered garage doesn't compare to a destryoed house and that eating peanut butter sandwiches every day doesn't compare to personal safety and amazing neighbors.

I'm off to make chocolate chip cookies. I haven't had fresh baked goods in 8 days! Cookies from the oven are blessings too.

Friday, September 12, 2008


This is the view from my back door. I'm a tad worried about those trees there. They sway in the wind--the normal wind. Hurricane wind? They just might fall on my house.

It's quite freaky just to wait, when you know what is coming. It's even more freaky when you head out to the store. Hysteria. Shelves are cleared of canned goods and bread. Gas stations start running out of gas. Duct tape and plastic to cover your windows in case they shatter. Plan on losing power, for an unspecified amount of time.

We are directly in the storm's path. They are predicting 70-100 mph winds. I really hope that doesn't mess up my hair....

Thursday, September 11, 2008


She is obsessed with making pancakes--while I am sleeping of course, and can not monitor her as she pours in the ENTIRE tube of purple food coloring.
Can you see the plates on the counter? She also served her purpliscious pancakes with a granola bar. Only 9 yrs. old and on her way to greatness.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Show Your Love

This morning I was picking up my Holy Water (a.k.a. large coke) at McDonald's, and I noticed that the little boy at the window had a tattoo on his hand. I leaned in for a closer look--right there on the back of his hand was the name of his love. Marion. Written in pretty cursive letters. Large print, which was so great because I could read it from afar. I bet this makes Marion so happy. A love tattoo. I like it.

Lots of the Houston folks have tattoos. Even grandmas. I've noticed that they really like the roses. In color. Nothing shouts 'grandma!' like an ankle tattoo. My friend down the street has her kids names tattooed on her back. Again, it's nice and big so that I can read it from my porch. Her love tattoo is for her kids. Syrupy sweet.

I've been thinking about the love tattoos all day. Todd shows his love by mercilessly teasing. When he tells you your teeth look like corn, it just means love. Syrupy sweet. But maybe I would know that he REALLY loved me if he tattooed my name on himself somewhere. Not necessarily somewhere visible. How about a butt cheek? Large print. I could see it every time he got in the shower. sigh....even more tender and syrupy sweet. I would let him pick a real manly font, nothing cursive or tacky.

What would my love tattoo be? Hmmm. Well, I think it would be one of the following: Todd's brazilian name-Nescau (if no one knows what it says, it gives my tattoo more mystery), a tub of frosting, or the golden arches (Big Macs are eternal). I'm not quite sure which one I'll choose. I'm going to pray about it. I think I'll follow McDonald's boy's example and put mine on the back of my hand. Big font, easy for everyone to read when I'm at church. Syrupy sweet.

Monday, September 8, 2008


The cutest decorations ever. And yes, I made them. I've got skills.
(Stay tuned for the party on Saturday--revolving around all things '12').

Tickets to see 'So You Think You Can Dance' when they come to Houston.
One of her '12' presents.

When did time float away and she grew so quickly? Twelve.
Birthdays are a time that I seem to stand back and look in awe at the girl in front of me. This is my child that made me a mother. We're growing up together. She was the one to first show me that motherhood is inexhaustibly hard, but its rewards know no bounds--love that is never ending.

Tepanyaki Dinner.

New scriptures, scripture bag and young women's ring from Nana.

Samantha, thank you for who you are, for all that you show me, and for being mine. I simply adore you.
Happy Birthday. I love you.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Birthday Cheer

This is my brother. He's funny and has lots of energy. This is a picture of him at his first dance recital. His daughter Kennedy dressed up just to come and watch him dance. She brought him flowers. That crazy boy is just a dancin' machine. He even lets people know that he met his wife in a modern dance class (she was attracted to his leg warmers I think).

Yesterday was his birthday, but I saved all of my wishes for today. He needs them today. He didn't need them yesterday. Today he is running, biking, swimming in an Iron Man. Whatever!?! Totally insane. He hopes it takes him ONLY 16 hours! Good glory, can you see why I had to save my birthday wishes until today! I'm doing all I can to channel good vibes his way so that he doesn't die. If only he had his leg warmers on, then I'd know he would be ok.

I love my brother for many reasons. The first is obvious, he is an amazing dancer. So dedicated to his profession. He is also a liberal who loves all football teams who wear red. The second reason is his 'dad-like' nature. He takes care of people. He takes great care of his family. He has taken care of me. About 14 yrs. ago, my life was in a bit of a pickle. Quite messy. Kirk was staying with me at the time. He took care of me. It's just who he is. I like him that way.

For today, in his honor, I've tried to do all the things that would make him proud: argue with the stupid people at church, yell at the TV while watching the 48th football game of the day, discuss politics for 37 min. straight, sing the Cougar Fight Song with tears in my eyes, answer the front door in just my underwear, offer a chicken sneeze here and there, and most importantly......dance.....with leg warmers.

Happy Birthday. Love You.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Finding A Job-Part 2

So, I'm still thinking that maybe I should get a teensy tiny job. So many of you had comments when I previously posted about this. Scads of you (ok, maybe only 3) think that I should write a book. For real? I find this amusing. What exactly would be the title, "How NOT To Parent"?

Todd is fully on-board with this whole job thing. He decided to check out Craigslist for me. Did you know that you can find a lover on Craigslist? It's true. Yet, I do think it speaks volumes that you have to advertise to find someone to have relations with. I mean, come on, most normal people just go to church to hook up.

So, here is the best prospect that Todd found for me:

JEWISH EGG DONOR NEEDED BY JEWISH COUPLE $20,000+ ALL EXPENSES PAID "We would love you to be part of our miracle"

You are an ideal donor if you are:
- 100% Jewish - have a biological mother and father who are genetically Jewish-well, technically, aren't we all adopted into the House of Israel? I think that should count. That means I'm in.
- a woman between 18 and 33 yrs. old.-I look 32. I'm hot--you know, in a wholesome way.
- between 5' and 5'11"-I'm 5'5". Again, wholesome hot.
- warm, caring, responsible, reliable-uh, what do these characteristics have to do with my eggs? But, I do have way responsible eggs, truth be told.
- motivated and passionate about what you do-you really don't want me to answer this. Seriously.
- an individual with high self esteem-again, I repeat--wholesome hot.
- highly intelligent with high IQ, SAT scores & GPA-do highly intelligent people give away their eggs?
- attractive-I think anyone who can still wear their training bra (with the flower in the middle) is way, super pretty.
- at healthy body weight-the only reason I drink Slimfast is to keep my eggs healthy.
- a non smoker and drug free-um, I think you need to define the word, 'drug'.
-you will not be carrying a pregnancy. You will be providing an egg.-I'm confused. Haven't we been discussing eggs this whole time? Maybe I need to take a look at your SAT scores as well....

Thanks be to heaven to Todd for doing all this research for me. I really think this sounds promising. Although, I'm going to have to make sure they don't ever meet my kids. Deal breaker for sure. If you have any good kosher recipes, send them my way....gotta get my eggs ready.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


This charm arrived in the mail today. A special someone sent it to me. It's a wheelbarrow. (If you're confused by this, see my Aug. 22 post.) I opened the package and took an audible gasp. It made me stop talking, which is highly unusual. Until today, I didn't know that love can be shipped in a small padded envelope. This special someone just became a little more...well...special.