Sunday, June 28, 2009

Entertainment With Flavor

Did you know that bubble gum can entertain babies? Good thing we have some serious gum skills over here. When the bubbles pop, they giggle. It's mesmerizing.

If I would have known that these twins would bring us so much joy, I would have made my sister have them years ago. One of these days I'm going to have to break it to her that I'm keeping them. I'll just explain to her that "whats mine is mine, and what yours is mine". I think it will go over well.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Add In 80% Humidity

Picture from inside my car:At what temperature does clothing become optional? Tell me. Please. Because this is crazy hot. Not just regular hot. Crazy hot. The radio reported that when you add in the humidity, it "feels like" 108 degrees. For reals? Are you kidding!? I "feels like" walking around in my underwear.

I've started sweating in places that I didn't know existed. I now know that I do indeed have a boob crevice. Not cleavage by any means. Just a mere crevice. That's kind of an exciting discovery for a girl like me. That "feels like" fantastic.

The heat has driven me to act irrationally. I haven't been wearing earrings for weeks. Oh, the insanity, I know. It's just too hot for fashion accessories. It saddens me. And just over the last day or two I haven't been able to bring myself to wear makeup. I know, I know, again, the insanity of it all. Maybe the heat is sucking out my brain cells. It's either that or my kids fighting.

I think I'm going to start wearing a Survivor buff. On TV it looks like it covers a good amount of skin. You won't even be able to see my crevice. I swear. Just for sake of modesty, I'll double up on the buffs. I'll layer them. After that, I will only need a good breeze to keep me cool. I think that "feels like" summer just got a whole lot lighter. Bring it on.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The 3rd Violinist

She has been begging me for over a year. It's taken me exactly that long to bring myself to grips with 3 children practicing before school and 3 girls I shuttle hither yonder to lessons each week. When we were finally at the violin store, her excitement was bubbling out of her pores. As she was measured for the tiniest violin ever, she couldn't even stand still.

She told everyone, and I mean everyone, that she was starting violin lessons today. Sam and Makell just looked at her and shook their heads. I could almost read their thoughts...."oh, you have no idea what you're getting into...." I watched her and marveled at this bright, eager, beyond determined 6 year old. She was so cute I wanted to just squeeze her.

One lesson down and numerous more to go. I wonder if she'll be this cute after a month or two of practicing with me. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Father's Day has become an altogether different day for me. It's a day where I long to call and hear the voice that brings me home. Yet, I can not call. I can not send a card. And so I think. I think of all the lessons I have absorbed over the years.

Because of my father, I have learned various things: football is sacred, peanut butter and jelly taste better mixed together, Rolaids and duct tape are always the answer, you should never miss a day of work and loving your family and serving the Lord is always, always the path to travel.

When I was a freshman in high school, I went shopping for my first prom dress. My mom and I went to store after store and tried on dress after dress. I fell in love with a white, strapless dress. I felt mature and beautiful, older than my years. After a modesty discussion with my mom, we went home without a dress. I persisted, and a few days later I returned to the store with my dad. I modeled the dress. He remained silent and told me that we needed to think about it.

The following morning I woke up to find a note in my bathroom. It was from my dad. He spoke to me of being a righteous daughter of God. He expressed his concern that my choice of dress might not reflect my own ability to remember who I am. And I knew he was right. I bought the pink dress with lots of ruffles instead.

'Remember Who You Are' still rings in my ears. He said it to us continually. I think he tried to put a little more strength into those words as we headed out the door with teenage friends or dates. And he even said them when I was choosing a prom dress.

The lessons my dad has taught me are endless. Some more colorful than others. But the one that seems to stick the most is 'remember who you are'. So today, on Father's Day, that it what I shall do. I shall remember you. And in that memory, I can so vividly see who I really am. I will always remember. It is written on the bracelet I wear, it gives life to the voice in my mind and it is forever etched in my soul.

Happy Father's Day dad. I live my life to be with you again.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Make A Wish

The Girls: "What is that?"

Todd: "A wishbone."

Girls: "Ah, like from a chicken? Seriously? That bone is from a chicken?"

Todd: "Yes. You make a wish and then you pull on it. Whoever gets the top section will receive their wish."
Me: "Yay Addie! You get your wish. What did you wish for?"

Addie: "That a real live Sponge Bob will come over to our house."

My kids are definitely high achievers and deep thinkers. Oh ya.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Celebrate The Sparkle

She's 10. My girl who sparkles in all that she does, whether I want her to or not. I never thought she or I would make it to 6, let alone 10. But, here we are together. Celebrating the joy she brings into my life. A perfect day.

I win the 'cutest mom' award for having her 4 yr. old picture turned into a puzzle.
Kellie's party was at IT'Z--lunch, games, roller coaster ride, more games, more rides. I'm dizzy. She's in her element.

Her friends all joined forces to buy her a Ripstick. She could hardly breathe from the excitement.

A momentous day all around. Keagan and Riley had their first french fry!! Tomorrow I'm going to try and slip them an Oreo.

Makell has a slight obsession with gum and Funyuns. Today she was rewarded.

Happy Birthday Kellie.
May your sparkle always show me the way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Battleship Texas

This is the site where Texas won its independence. Looks pretty cool, huh? We explored every nook and cranny of this massive ship. Lots of history and lots of fun.

Makell discovered this crazy bow tie at home and repurposed it. She wore it for a majority of the trip until her head was too sweaty to hold it on. The other kids started calling her Minnie.

She showed a little too much excitement as she engineered the guns.


Two explosive sisters next to the war heads. How appropriate.

Monday, June 15, 2009


My brother's family has this game they call High/Low. Every night at dinner each person tells their 'high' and 'low' for the day. Here are mine:

HIGH: Watching Sam bundle up with all the young women and head out for girl's camp.
LOW: Watching Sam bundle up with all the young women and head out for girl's camp.

Within the same moment I saw her excitement to go and my fleeting fear that she would go too quickly. I will quietly admit that I might have shed a tear once I was in my car driving away as I whispered for my Father in Heaven to watch over her while I could not.

HIGH: Bungy trampoline bounce at the mall.
LOW: They would only leave them attached to the harness for 5 minutes. Drat.

HIGH: The temperature is blazing in the high 90's. Add in humidity and we are WAY past 100.
LOW: It isn't changin' any time soon. Time to pull out my tube tops.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Circle Of Cousins

Cousins are in town and getting them all to sit still for a picture is mission impossible. But, when you squint your eyes, they look perfect. With eyes wide open they're adorable.

Pool time.
Kennedy and Sam.

All set to swim.

Sam found a friend IN. THE. POOL!

Flower Power. Kellie and Campbell.

Friday, June 12, 2009

All Things New

Texas is a fascinating place to live. It's like its own little country with its own vibe and happenings. I'm in awe of anything that is new or unusual to me. Frogs climbing on my back door or living in my wreath--amazing. Watching squirrels run through my back yard, across the fence and up the tree all. day. long.--oh ya, I'm stunned.

There is a large empty corner just down from my neighborhood. It's one of the hot spots in town. Apparently, any entrepreneur can pull up a truck and start selling their goods wholesale. The first item to show up were beds-in-a-bag. Crazy fascinating. Then the lamps made out of tree limbs arrived a few weeks later, followed by large, framed art. Just last week slot machines appeared. Oh yes--slot machines. They're not full-size. Just mini versions. They will fit so much better in the family room that way. Todd told me he can't decide between the Miller Light or the Budweiser jackpot. He's still tossing around his options.

The things which I find most fascinating are those which I never, EVER thought I would see. This is my absolute favorite:

It's an add that is printed in the local paper for the city we live in. A small, cute newspaper. There isn't a whole lot I find interesting in this paper, except for this add. I hunt for it every month and I'm never disappointed. I've always known that Jesus saves, I just didn't ever associate that fact with concrete.

Texans are a religious bunch. Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves the Lord. They pray before football games and they tell you how old they were when they found Jesus. Until I moved here, I never knew He was lost. I've always known where He is, I guess some people just take longer to figure it out.

One of the things I love, love, love is when the checker at the grocery store tells me to have a 'blessed day'. I think its the cutest thing ever! It even has a little extra meaning when the checker has a gold plated front tooth with a cross engraved in the center. Who knew your faith could be enlarged while buying groceries. Mmm hmm.

A couple of weeks ago it dawned on me that some of the things that I have always found so fascinating, are starting to appear quite common to me. I really don't find it unusual to see large ceramic pots and frogs for sale on the side of the road. Nor do I take a second glance at the huge store sign announcing which guns are for sale. Maybe that means I'm becoming more Texan. Who knows, we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I've got to rearrange some furniture to make room for the new slot machine. Right after I unpack my new bed-in-a-bag.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Dog Tired

Addie and two neighbors chased down two lost dogs. They were running crazy in front of our house. They were big. My gauge of animal size is anything larger than a Reeses cup--that's considered big. And these dogs were sweaty gross and muddy. Eeww, eeww, and eeww.

The girls wrangled the dogs into our yard and then called the phone number on their collar. Then we waited. And you'll never believe what happened. I touched one of them. I know, you can't believe it. The brown one. I held onto his collar and petted the top of his furry head. I even waited patiently with the dog while Addie fetched a bowl of water. I held onto him for a good 10 minutes. I amazed myself. I looked around to see if there was a beacon of light shining down on me because of my goodness.

When the owner arrived, she paid these girls for their efforts. She told them she was so grateful. I don't think she noticed me holding my hands WAY away from my body so that they wouldn't touch any part of me.

After scouring the surface of my hands with boiling water, we all hopped into the car to buy snow cones with the reward money.

Saving a dog never tasted so good.

Monday, June 8, 2009


My sister asked Makell what her favorite organ is. Odd question for sure. But her answer was immediate, "Your heart. Because that's where you remember people." Sweet whisperings ring true.

Remembering people has been a problem for me lately. It seems painful as of late. It makes the glimpses of my memories too difficult to see.

I've lived here now for almost 2 years. Just saying it makes it sound like a long time, but in my 'remembering' it is not. Life altering moments seem to bring life as you know it to a halt. Time then restarts. It's like you're starting over with a new life, one that you didn't expect to take shape. So, I feel like I am living a life that started 2 years ago. That's where my frame of reference for my present begins.

My current life feels like I took my old, shattered life and tried to put all the pieces back in place. Everything fits as it should, but the cracks remain. Life moves along and every so often I find myself unexpectedly settled into one of those cracks. That's where I'm stuck at the moment. I find myself too often looking back to my old life. The one without cracks. The one that was easier. Not easy, just easier.

There is a man in my ward who has cancer. He has undergone serious treatment and has lost a lot of weight. He now looks so much like my dad when he was sick. It's hard for me to look at him. That 'remembering' gets in my way. This wonderful man spoke a week ago and I watched him with tears in my eyes. At first I just wanted him to quickly finish and sit down. But as time went on, I found myself yearning for him to keep talking forever. I stared and I could see my dad. Standing there at the pulpit in his blue suit. Just like always.

Living a life that has been shattered and pieced back together is difficult to describe to someone. I actually don't think it can be done. It can only be felt. Words just can't express the meaning. And they can't give light to the aftermath of trying to live in a life that is held together by cracks.

In one way or another we are all living with cracks. Mine are just in different places than yours. Some cracks are deeper and wider than others. But at least all of the pieces are still there. It may not look like I want it to, but it is assembled into a whole nonetheless.

Makell is right. 'Remembering' and 'hearts' go hand-in-hand. You simply can't have one without the other. As it should be....cracks and all.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Begins-Day 1

A little bit of this...

An afternoon at the pool with friends and
my babies (or, I mean my sister's babies). Don't you wish you could
just eat up this cuteness! nibble, nibble

And a little bit of that....

Shouldn't everyone try to pick their sister's nose with
their violin bow? Recitals are never dull when we're involved.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Year's End

Yesterday was hoopla and games. Popcorn, face painting and a bouncey house. And that was just during PE class:

Today they bounded off the bus for the last time this school year. Makell was in tears as she told me, "my friends are gone!" I gave her warm cookies and reminded her she would see them in less than 3 months. She hopped on her moped and was tear-free.

They seem to look just a bit older today. I think they have grown slightly since this morning. No longer a kindergartner, 4th grader or a 6th grader. Movin' on up. Ever changing.

I can still remember preschool. Vividly. How does time pass so quickly? Maybe that's one of the hidden blessings of summer vacation. Time slows down. Long enough to catch a glimpse of them at this age, at this moment, before they board the bus again on August 24th at 7:26 am. Not that I'm counting.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Death Would Feel Better

The stomach flu has swept through here with a vengeance. We've been near tears for many days. Todd and I were the last to get sick. Simultaneously. It has not been pretty. The word, 'wicked' comes to mind. Even my sister and her babies have shared in the nastiness. I do not say this lightly, but death would be a welcome relief. I'm not kidding.

I think all of our suffering is a punishment somehow. This was the last week of school, my last few moments when it would be quiet around here. I started praying for school to continue through the summer. I even put on my red shoes and clicked my heels three times while repeating, "there's no place like school, there's no place like school". And look what happened. We all got sick and everyone had to stay home and throw up together. Feel the love.

As I reflect back, I think my problem was the shoes. They were red, but no glitter. No sparkle when I clicked my heels. Note to self--when wishing for magic, glitter has to be involved. I've learned my lesson. I promise.