Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Vacation, Day 1

GeoTagged, [N30.37420, E89.37127]

10 hour drive. We will arrive to find white, sandy beaches.
My mom made me promise to use my 'Nice Mom' voice for the entire trip. Apparently, she thinks I actually have one.

Friday, July 30, 2010


We fed her donuts for breakfast and her lunch was served with root beer (in a sippy cup, of course). And then we let her cover herself in stickers. Anyone else need a babysitter? Because we do a way, super job. It only took Keagan 14 minutes to remove those stickers one by one.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Place

I'm the kind of person who has a various number of happy places. They rotate depending upon the severity of my need for them. Whenever I need one, I close my eyes and take a deep, cleansing breath, and picture myself someplace that smells of frosting and baked goods.

As of today, my happy place has changed. It now involves the school bus. The one that will arrive at 7:26 am on August 23rd. It's all I can think about. My children have driven me to a constant need for a happy place. So, instead of curling up into the fetal position, I dream about that school bus pulling up in front of my house. 25 days and counting, people. 25 days.

You know that high pitched whistle only dogs can hear? And when they do, it drives them mad and causes them to run? The voices of my children have reached that pitch. They start talking (and by that, I mean whining and arguing) and I have this sudden urge to run. Far, far away.

In case you need a happy place, I'll let you borrow mine. Just be sure to give it back. These days, I seem to have need for it every 32 minutes. Again, I repeat. 25 days.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Only One

I looked into the pool and realized that she is the only one. She is my only child left who requires swim lessons. The others have maxed out their lesson time. They're too old now. So, it's just her. The only one.

How have I arrived at the place where I only have one child left who will hold my hand as we cross the parking lot? Even at 7, she won't always willingly slip her hand into mine. There are times when I beg, and even plead, for her to grasp my out-stretched hand. Most of the time she gives in. She lets me soak in the last remaining chances to cling to her childhood.

They were once all small. Each needing hand holding simultaneously. It seemed that everywhere I walked, I shuttled them with me like ducklings. I longed for the day where everyone could buckle their own seat belt. The grass felt like it would be greener in that place.

But now, I look into the pool and find myself watching my last child learn how to float on her back. I've arrived in that greener place. Everyone can buckle their seat belt. They can feed and bathe themselves too. I like this place, this season. But, when I look around me, it's still just, green. Not greenER. Just green.

Maybe each stage we reach is only that. Nice, lush and green. With its own new places to sit back and enjoy the sun. Surrounded by patches that are downright irritating and make you long for future greener places.

So, for this moment, I look into the pool and I soak up all the joy that this sunny spot holds. This nice place where everyone can read their own book in silence. Because I also know that within this nice, green space, are thorny sections that make me want to run away. Those spots where teenagers argue and sisters fight and parenting skills are stretched to the limit.

I am continually reminded to find joy in this journey. In this moment. In this stage. Not someone else's journey. Just mine. The one where my last child is the only one learning to swim.

There is no other place greener than where I now stand. Forever here.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

They Want An Answer

This week, I have been asked two questions that I simply have no answer for. I have no knowledge to glean from and no experts to call. Therefore, I am phoning a friend and asking the audience to vote. If you have an answer, I have two children who are in need of it.

Question #1: "Mom, why are teenagers so mean?"
(Honestly, if you can answer this, you should write a book and make millions.)

Question #2: "Mom, how do you know when you've grown out of your bra?"
My response: "You're going to have to ask someone who has actually experienced that."

Pick a question and give us your wise knowledge. If you can answer both, you win a week with the child who asked Question #1. Choose carefully.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


We arrived in our adopted state three years ago, today. As we drove into this city, all I could think was, "what have we done?"

We were a little different then. Hesitant about new beginnings. My girls were smaller, younger, their cheeks a little chubbier. But yet, we were together. That became the one thing I held to. Together. No matter the state we lived in, or the changes we faced. Together.

Fast forward three years. I have yet to use the word 'ya'll' without concentrated effort. I have yet to adapt to the humidity, the ridiculous traffic or the ants that bite.

But, I have grown to love so many things. This place has wiggled its way within me. I love when the woman at the grocery checkout tells me to, "have a blessed day". I love to watch the low hanging clouds move across the sky. I love the moral compass and Christian love that fills the people of the south. I could go on and on.

When we arrived here, I didn't have any formal plan. I only had this immense drive to plant us here with a permanent footprint. After that, I simply didn't know what to expect. This new life has offered more change than I expected. But, it has also given me more joy and growth than I ever thought possible. For that, I offer thee, dear Texas, my eternal thanks.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My True Self Is Lazy

There are times when I take a step back and look at myself. At these moments, I realize that I'm either a really lazy person, or a genius. I'm a glass half empty thinker, so I always tend to side with lazy.

Todd has an issue with the dishwasher. He finds it beyond unreasonable to turn it on when it's not optimally full (read: so stuffed, the dishes don't get clean). He has even lectured the babysitter for turning it on when it could have fit at least 2 more Tinkerbell sized cups.

The other day, the bottom rack held only 5 haphazardly placed items. The top was almost empty. And guess what? I turned it on. I knew that dinner was coming up and I would have to resort to washing those big bowls by hand. Lazy or genius? Maybe both.
There are many things about Texas that I've grown accustomed to. Cockroaches are not one of them. This one was sitting on my bedroom floor when I woke up. The glass is deceiving. It's huge. And it flies!
This glass became it's home until Todd arrived 10 hours later. Lazy or genius? How about lazy and gross. I don't do gross. For reals. But, I do lazy really well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Summer List #18

This is our third summer to attempt making taffy. The two previous years have ended in sticky taffy oozing ALL over. Hands and kitchen table covered.

This year we tried again. They cooked:

They buttered their hands and stretched:

And then, they simply got tired of stretching, so they ate:

The taffy didn't quite set up like it's supposed to. I'm not quite sure what we are doing wrong. I've come to the conclusion that there is so stinkin' much humidity in the air here, that it must affect the taffy. Lame excuse, but I'm goin' with it. But it tastes delicious in any form.

Maybe next summer will be the perfect year. Until then, we shall lick it off the counter.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

How I See

Ever since the day my dad arrived in heaven (give or take a month or two), people often ask me about about the hidden blessings I've discovered from this life changing event. They always insist that within the horror, there simply must be precious blessings to be found. My answer is always the same, "I have yet to find a single one."

I look at the surface with my mortal eyes. What I see is murky and clouded. There might be a blessing or two buried in the deep. But I can't see them. Maybe if I could look with His eyes, from His perspective, my vision would clear. I really can't seem to manage it. It's as if the effort of trying to see as He sees, is far too difficult to even attempt. Instead, I see with my eyes. The ones that seem to silently count the moments missed and the milestones left untouched.

I counted today. The moments missed.

My girls and the twins were dancing, running, twirling and singing all at once. All of them jumbled together with loud laughter in the air. My eyes seemed to capture time and hold it still. Without thinking, my brain said, "my dad would have loved this moment". He would have soaked it into his very soul.

I counted again as I watched my sister stand and teach a lesson. She taught as my dad would teach. So engaging and filled with His voice. My eyes could only see how proud he would have been to sit in that room and be in that moment. I tried so hard to use my non-earthly eyes. But, I just couldn't do it.

Out of the many lessons we are sent here to learn, looking at our lives through His eyes, is definitely a hard one to master. When life seems to be running on an even, steady course, it feels easier to see the blessings He offers us. But, when life demands you to actually live the faith you profess to own, using His eyes requires strength that feels beyond our own. I'm sure that's how it's supposed to be. Hard. Work.

For if we can find a way to leverage our faith along side our love for Him, maybe, just maybe, His eyes will offer us a glimpse of all that we long to see.

While I silently count the moments my eyes see, I shall never give up trying to use His.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wicked Good

A divine afternoon.
Don't be too green with envy.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Blind Makeover

I really had no idea what a blind makeover was. She described it to me before she left. I had no earthly notion why you would ever allow someone else to touch your face.

Once she arrived, the picture was clear. A blind makeover is as gross as I imagined.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For The Record

Today's events. In order:

1. Twin #2 had a seizure this morning. My sister went downtown to the Children's Hospital. Twin #1 took up residence here. Because of Riley's brain condition, she is prone to seizures. Because of her heart condition, she is at a higher risk for stroke. Testing all. day. long. (She is now home and well).

2. I shuttled kids back and forth between friends.

3. My mom called to tell me she was in the emergency room. She had fallen in the driveway. She can't move her arm. Just an item of note--when Nana takes Vicodin, she is way super nice. In a really lovely way.

4. Todd sat down to dinner and told me that this afternoon he was crossing the street downtown, a gust of wind came by and blew up the skirt of the woman in front of him. She wasn't wearing any underwear. That he could tell.

Writing it all down makes it all look so, I don't know, minimal. But yet, reality is so much more exhausting. For everyone involved. All except for the woman who took a stroll downtown without being clothed like a normal person. Todd always has all the luck.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kellie's Nose Guard

Me: "Why do you have a napkin clipped to your nose?"
Kellie: "Because the food you are cooking smells bad."

Just another added layer to my self esteem.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Hidden deep within my rational mother brain lives a subconscious, where I sometimes make secret promises to myself. Most of the time, these secrets are really only hopes. Or wishes. Recently, I've secretly had the notion that I say 'no' way too often. OK, so that's not really a secret, but more of a reality. But, the mother that I wish to be in my subconscious, randomly wants to say 'yes' more than 'no'.

So, when daughter #2 asked if we could please, please, please go to IHOP for breakfast, I said "Yes". I shocked my type A self right to the core. But then I watched these children of mine. My 'yes' brought them a giddy kind of joy. Was achieving the joy convenient? Not really. It was pouring rain and I didn't want to get my hair wet. Was the joy planned, prepared for, or grand in nature? Nope. To them, and those around us, it was just breakfast. Really, really tasty breakfast.

But yet, the joy was anything but ordinary. One simple word. A 'no' to a 'yes'. That was all it took. Can I always say 'yes'? Heavens no. But, what if I try, just every now and then, to give them something unexpected. "Mom, will you play a game with me?" Yes. "Mom, will you take us to the pool?" Yes. "Mom, can we go get a snow cone?" Yes.

How is it that such a small, three letter word can be so difficult to speak, but can bring such happiness to those we love the most? I tend not to use 'yes' very often, because it usually requires more effort on my part. It entails me doing something I really don't want to do. It's just easier to say 'no'. It just is.

But, when I step back and look at my life with my mother eyes, I realize that these 3 beautiful souls are in my life because I chose to say 'yes'. That's how I got here to begin with. That three letter word rocked my world in all ways possible. But once things settled, and I am here and now, I see the joy that 'yes' can bring. I see it in them. For they are mine.

So for now, I'll try and keep my secret 'yes' wish tucked inside my subconscious. I'll try and remember it's there. No promises. I wouldn't want to start granting so many requests that my kids actually start to believe they have a normal mother. Wouldn't that be crazy?


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Summer List #15

Glow-in-the-dark golf. Serious summer fun. I'm sure the course is not the same since we made our mark. We kind of have that special touch no matter the location.
I'm pretty sure that, as we speak, this golf course is adding a new rule. 'No Climbing On The Fake Ocean Life'.

No injuries occurred while golfing. This is quite a feat considering that all 3 of my kids had golf clubs (hand held weapons) with them at all times. We did master a few new golf techniques: kicking the ball, throwing the ball, and my favorite-walking up to the hole and dropping it in. My kids have serious skills. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It Has Come To This

This is the month goal for July (and probably for the remaining forever). Every month I normally ask for a family consensus on our goal. Not this time. I declared this one all by my genius self.

Enough is enough. I literally can't stand one more mouth screaming, "Moooommmmm!" (followed by whining, tattle telling or arguing). They bellow my name at the store, while they play outside and in all corners of the house. So, from this moment on, anyone yelling my name will be fined.

I think I just found my new part-time job.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Feel The Banner UnFurl

My country 'tis of thee,
How sweet is this child I see.
Of thee I sing.
(I snapped this shot in between her sessions of using the flag as a whacking stick. If she were my direct offspring, I would snatch the flag away. But instead, I let her hit everyone in sight while I thought, "oh, she's sweet.")

This is the neighbor's yard and their flag that they paid for. We didn't even put one out. How American is that?
We had friends over last night for dinner and rambunctious fireworks. Tonight was a more low-key fire spectacle with the twins. At one point, a firework fell over mid-eruption and shot flaming sparks everywhere. The kids screamed and Addie's leg was singed. She immediately burst out, "I got shot!!" Tears gushed everywhere--Addie, because she was actually crying, and the other adults, because we were laughing so hard we started to sweat out our eyes. A good, American night.

Happy 4th of July. We declare our independence from all that is normal, calm and quiet. Let freedom ring.