Thursday, December 31, 2009

When the circle is broken

This week has been an interesting one. Some good news arrived and some bad. Some lucky things happened and some unlucky. (If there is such a thing as luck!)

We hear alot about the circle of life. And it's true that people are born and die every day and that is life, but what happens, when that circle seems broken. When things seem to happen at the "wrong time"?

This week.... Lacey had her first baby. A sweet little boy who decided to arrive 7 weeks early!

A sweet friend from my Bunco group in College Station lost her husband in a car accident. 34 years old and gone in an instant. No time for goodbyes. Her toddler daughter lost a father she probably won't remember.

In things that now seem much less important, Lance's car was hit twice by a hit and run driver. The guy hit it and then backed up and hit it again! Fortunately for us, there was a witness and so we have the license plate number. Hopefully, this person has auto insurance and this will be nothing more than an inconvenience to fix!

Lance's parents were here with the kiddos while we worked this week. They took the kids to a movie yesterday afternoon and the fire alarm went off! So, the movie theater comp'd 4 tickets to use on a future visit. So, our family will be able to go to the movies sometime soon! This is exciting for us because movies are one of the items cut from our budget this year!

2009 has been a great year! We've had some super great times and moments this year and we've had some sad and hard times too --- just like all of you. We've said goodbye to great friends in College Station and hello to new ones here in San Antonio. God has blessed us greatly thru all of the transition.

In 2010, I don't have real "resolutions" although I do have a few things that are on my heart.

I'd like to:

do better on my eating and exercise
keep developing friendships here in SA
plan a "date" night with each member of my family separately --- one for Lance, N, and L --- a time to have one-on-one conversation with each

I pray that you and your family have a safe and happy new year!

See you in 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Do you think he ought to purge?

If you click here you will see a house here in San Antonio that is decorated for Christmas all year long. If the link doesn't work, just google "Ed Clark's Christmas lights". It is quite a sight.


The legend is that his wife's favorite holiday was Christmas and when she died, he decided to keep the decor up all year long. He adds things to it each year.

Wow!

I think this is one house we will miss on our driving tour of lights. Riverwalk and Alamo Heights, here we come!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The happiest Christmas ever

Lance and I were at a Christmas party last night and the hosts were generating some fun holiday discussions around the dinner tables.

One topic....what are some of your favorite "toasts"? After our group mentioned melba and cinnamon, we realized what they meant. Our table of 8 decided we were "too Baptist" to have any favorite cheers! :)

Another topic, that got me to thinking, was "What was your favorite Christmas gift as a child?" As each person shared theirs, it made me think of lots of Christmas memories from my childhood. (I couldn't really think of a gift that was a standout)

Some of my top childhood Christmas memories:

Spending Christmas at my grandma's house with a fireplace (we didn't have one when I was growing up) - my brother and I LOVED to throw paper in it and see it spark. I can still smell those fires and unique smells to my grandma.

Going to church on Christmas Eve --- to me, it's still the most magical night of the year!

The year Paul (my brother) got a dog for Christmas. The doorbell rang and there she was in a box on the front porch.

Having "snacky" food after church on Christmas Eve and getting to open presents that night!

Some of my favorite adult Christmases:

N's first Christmas, when the little girl behind us in church saw the baby Jesus printed on the bulletin and showed her mom that I was holding baby Jesus --- sweet, sweet.

N's first Christmas, when it was just the 3 of us at our house. We put N to bed and the silence and quiet of those moments. This was also N's first night to sleep the entire night --- Merry Christmas to us!

L's first Christmas, when we knew that our family was complete and we were all together.

This year when we are all together and we are healthy and happy.



I'm hoping these are things I'll realize for my kiddos each year. It's a season for making memories and while I love to hear their squeals of delight at their gifts, I know what they'll really remember is going on a hayride thru the Christmas lights at Santa's Wonderland; making cookies with Nana; playing with the train with grandpa; going to see the trains at NorthPark mall with grandad and grandmommy; acting crazy with their cousins (both the teenagers and the little cousins)reading fun Christmas stories with Lance and I and watching Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and Frosty.

As they grow older, I'm sure some other traditions will begin and we'll embrace those as well.

Gifts don't matter much, but The Gift does.

If anyone still reads my blog, I pray you have a blessed time with your family and friends and that you remember the Baby who came long ago for all of us.

Merry Christmas,


Jen

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Happy!

In our new neighborhood, we have a very diverse group of people. But one of the largest groups are our Jewish friends. Our area of San Antonio has a very heavy Jewish population. I had a few classmates in school who were Jewish, but definitely not a majority and really Plano is the last community I lived in where there many at all.

So, N's school party was highly varied complete with Jewish and Christian traditions. I was glad he was learning about their faith and he has definitely educated us. We've learned to play dreidel and it's a great game with an 8 and 4 y.o. No skill required! He's told us about the 8 days of celebration, of the gifts, and the candles.

So, Sunday morning, during the Children's Sermon at church, our children's minister asked all the kids what that day was the last of. (Correct answer: last Sunday of advent) But, L's answer was: Hanakkuh. It was funny! Everyone in the congregation laughed. But see, L doesn't like it when she says something cute and everyone laughs. So, I play a little game with her....I tell her that it's me they are laughing at. And so, she is always saying, "momma, you are so funny". Well, Sunday, I was a riot!

My sweet L, I'm so thankful you are still little and say cute things. I know someday you won't anymore and I'm thankful for these days. Love, Momma

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taking bribery to a whole new level

Before becoming a parent, I was an expert on parenting. I believe LOTS of people are experts prior to actually parenting.

Now, not so much. In fact, I know I frequently break the "good parent" rules. Most of the time in the interest of my hearing or sanity. I've been known to offer up all kind of sweet treats, favorite cartoons, extra playtime outside, later bedtime, etc. all in the interest of getting thru the day.

But, today at Hobby Lobby, I heard a new one. One I've never tried before and can honestly say I never will.....

are you ready for this?








Are you sure you're ready?



This is what I witnessed a mom bribing her 3-4 year old son with:














That's right.....she said, "If you can't be good, I won't buy you a lottery ticket today."

Now, I'm sure the lottery ticket is really for her (after all don't you have to be 18 to win) but still....this would have never occured to me. ('Course I don't play the lottery, so that might be why)


I should have asked her if it was a successful means of bribery. I'm always up for parenting advice. :)

Is this one you've tried? Or have you heard other unusual parenting techniques?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Funny

Click here if you like those crazy beer commercials - "Real Men of Genius". This is a take off on those from a "Christian" perspective.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Keep on dreaming

To my darling daughter,

I know you love convertibles. I too have had my romance with convertibles. In the 80s, it was the Volkswagon Cabriolet and Bug. Now, it would be a Mercedes in candy apple red.

But, my sweet darling, no matter how much you dream about convertibles, I have to tell you that my next car will not be a convertible. I will have at least one more "mom" car before I can even consider something as fun and impractical as a convertible.

Love,

Momma

Monday, December 7, 2009

Home

For the first time in four months, I feel like I'm at home.

Now, I'm still not digging my rental house with pink/blue flowered wallpaper in the kitchen or my guest bathroom with shiny pink floral wallpaper, but where it really counts in my heart and spirit, I do feel "at home".

We had a wonderful weekend spending time with old and new friends. Friday night, we had dinner with Melissa and her family. Melissa and I were friends and roommates at Baylor and it's been fun to reconnect. The 4 kids wasted no time getting down to the business of playing and aggravating one another.

Saturday morning, the kiddos made gifts for family members while Lance and I started and finished our Christams shopping. Yep, that's right, going to only 2 stores we were able to complete our shopping. Of course, it helps that we are on a tight budget this year, but I think the kids will be excited with their gifts!

Saturday night, we had two parties to attend - a Christmas party and a Sweet 16 Birthday party. It was a late night, but made fun by our new friends here in San Antonio!

Sunday morning, we had the most glorious Christmas music at our church. We had 30 members of the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra playing with our choir --- there were so many choir members participating that 3 of them had to sit in the baptistry - crazy!! I really thought I would miss the contemporary music from our church in College Station, but it's amazing because I don't. Our choir is so talented that it's truly a time of worship - I wish everyone could have been a part! Our family got to light the advent candle and that was special for us --- this is the first time L has been in "big church" for the Christmas season. She did really well.

Last night, we had the luxury of having Lance home with us on a Sunday night and so we took the kiddos down to the riverwalk to see the luminarias and Christmas lights -it was fun!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

70 percent

There is a 70% chance of snow tomorrow! Yippee! Who woulda thunk it when we moved here in August and it was 110 degrees. And I'm not exaggerating - it was 110!!!

And no matter whether we get snow or not, there is 100 percent chance of cold which puts me right in the mood for addressing Christmas Cards. I've got all 100 of my cards made, but haven't started addressing any of them. I'm thinking tonight, with a blanket on my lap. Now, if we only had a fireplace in our rent house, it would be perfect.

We've been invited to friends' house tomorrow for dinner and the kids are looking forward to their indoor climbing wall - it's awesome!

Saturday, the kids are going to a gift-making workshop to make gifts for their g-parents while Lance and I shop. And Saturday night, we have our first Christmas party of the season! Add the Christmas musical on Sunday at church and I think we'll be feeling very festive!

This post is oh, so random ---- kinda like life since we moved.

The kids are doing great - N had straight A's the first 9 weeks and has really blossomed with his reading and science this year. He has impressed his teacher with all his knowledge and I must say I'm impressed too. He can name all the planets, moons, and asteroid belts in the solar system. Plus a whole bunch of other stuff that I never really cared if I knew or not, but is now a whole lot more interesting to me because of the cute boy telling me about it.

Here is a link to one interesting story that my dad found for him and that N has now shared with everyone he meets. This is a true story of a lake in Louisiana that disappeared in moments. It really is pretty fascinating stuff.

L is continuing to amaze us with her awesome art skills. Her birthmom and her maternal birth grandfather are both very talented artists and it's very obvious she has been gifted in this area. Her art skills are far beyond the average 4 y.o. Not that I'm biased or anything. She is also already taller than N was at her age and he's no shorty. So, I think Lance and I will be little midget people compared to our children even before osteoporosis sets in.

And now, I must be off to find the one closed toe pair of shoes I own and my only full-length pants so that I won't freeze tomorrow, 'cause I do live in the tropics ya' know.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alive and Kickin'

We are still alive and well in San Anton - just adjusting to a new way of life!

Since my last blog posting, we've had a BIG birthday in our house - N is now 8 years old. We had a fun time celebrating with new friends and N was lucky enough to have g-parents come for the weekend to celebrate with him!

Halloween was a fun time - N was a Clone Trooper - his first store bought costume :(

L was a tiger and super cute, but she got very mad trick or treating, because everyone kept calling her a cat. We kept telling her, she needed to say, "Trick or Treat. RRRRRR, I'm a tiger" But she didn't and so ultimately, she came back to us and said, "That is it. I'm done." No more trick or treating. And this would last 4 or 5 houses until she would decide to try again, but alas, the same scene would play out and then she'd quit again. Oh, and she got tired of walking. So.... the gal who really wants to go to Disney World when she turns 5 will not be going, 'cause if you can't walk 3 blocks to trick or treat, then there is no way you can last several days of all-day walking. And I, her momma, refuse to carry a 40 plus pound gal 'round Disney. So, maybe 6 will be her magic age and hopefully, the boy won't think it's lame by then!

Lance and I have been going to a parenting class the last couple of weeks. More than anything, it's been a great chance to meet other parents in the same phase of life we are and to see that we are all encountering the same joys and pains -- it helps to laugh with others and know we are not alone!

And tonight, I'm very excited to be hosting a girls' night out --- there are 12 ladies coming and it will be great fun to enjoy an evening out for girl talk! I'm hoping it will become a monthly event!

Our church here has been AWESOME ---- we already feel such a part of the community of faith and our children have been welcomed and loved on so well. We are so thankful to be serving here.

Now, if we could just sell our house in CS --- any takers?!?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Imagine 7 of these together



Once you have the image of the sweet little 7 y.o. boys dressed in their scouting uniforms in your mind, go ahead and hit the mute button.

You'll thank me later.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Student Teaching




I'm a wee-bit slow with the blogging. This move has dramatically changed my daily schedule and one of the big things to be chunked is the blog. The picture above is N on his first day of 2nd grade!

Today, N is doing a "guest teaching" spot in his class. They are learning about sound right now and since N reads all kinds of books about science related topics, he already knew all the answers to his teacher's questions. So, yesterday, she invited him to share with his class some of the many things he knows about sound. He even took a book with him today for visual effects. This was a great thing for Mrs. B to do --- this is giving N his need for attention in a positive manner and it makes him even more proud of his love of reading.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

When did it happen?

When did my child who still loves to play trains, hotwheels, and legos decide that he is now too big to wear a cute costume that Momma picked out?



Personally, I think this is a super cute costume that would be oh, so easy to make. And, it would be original - I love homemade costumes, they are special and part of the fun is the making of it together.

But evidently, when you are a month away from turning 8, this costume is "lame". Oh, my heart is aching. 'Cause what does he want to be? Some kind of charachter from Star Wars that wears a helmet and carries a blaster to kill droids.... and he wants to but it from the Halloween shop - gasp!

I guess it was bound to happen - I wouldn't want my teenager still acting like a little boy. But, did it have to happen so soon?

We'll see what happens in this delicate balance of independence.

All you mommas out there who still have little ones, enjoy it while it lasts, 'cause it don't last long!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Aggieland Fun

Click here for a fun website for a great cause! And of course, being from Aggieland is pretty cool too!

N sponsors a boy thru Compassion International and it has been awesome to read the letters the boy writes to N. It has taught N alot about compassion for others and it has helped him practice his handwriting as well

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Midnight shopping and other San Antonio stuff

Last week, my friend Emily was in town and one of her requests was to go to some scrapbooking stores. I did a bit of research and found one that is open until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Very cool - it was huge and had lots of unique items! And of course, I've now realized what I can do on Friday nights after kiddos are in bed - they have a large workroom with die cuts and what not. And I've also just shown my age, 'cause if you'd told my 20 something self that a Friday night would be comprised of crafting I would have laughed. It's funny how you change when you're in your mid-30s. I wonder what my mid-40's will bring? Doing crossword puzzles with my slippers on? Falling asleep on the couch at 7:30pm?

Anyway, Emily and I had a fun, though short visit. We ate Mexican food (of course- it's San Antonio!) and caught up on all the goings-on of the last 6 weeks. I'm missing my gals from Aggieland and this was a great "fix" to tide me over until our Canton trip! 10 days and counting!!!

Tomorrow, I have another friend coming to town. Morgan is joining her hubby at a Pharmacist's conference and she's going to come spend time with me while he is "learning"! Morgan has a sweet little boy and is pregnant with her 2nd! Can't wait to see her!

N got his first "progress" report - San Antonio is on a 9 week reporting schedule instead of 6 weeks and last week was already half-way thru the 9 weeks - can't believe it! N has straight As and we are super proud. 'Course if he would remember to WRITE.HIS.NAME on his papers, he'd have almost straight 100s! He's a total boy; who cares about little details like names. He now has some new BFFs here and that makes this momma very happy!

L was THRILLED that Dancing with The Stars started back up this week. She is INLOVE with Derek Hough and that long-haired snowboarder. We are so in trouble when she's a teenager. L is losing a little bit of her shyness here. She's still mostly shy, but occasionally now she will talk to others outside of our family. That is a big step for her. Right now, it's hard for me to imagine her being ready to start Kindergarten next fall, but I'm sure lots will change in that time. She is now officially 4 1/2. Closer to her 5th birthday than her 4th. It makes me sad since she is our baby, but Lance is very happy. I think he is ready to be done with the preschool phase of life.

We had a fun time at a swim party last Saturday night with some young families from our church. Our kids were among the oldest kids there which was a new feeling and somewhat liberating. The parents of the toddlers didn't get to chat much - there was much running and containing involved.

Sunday, N got to go bowling with the kids from church and so L was on her own with us. That rarely happens and we enjoyed the time with just her. It was much quieter and she got to "shine" a bit!

Lance has his first retreat with the youth here this weekend - he's looking forward to the opportunity to get to know the students on a "deeper" level and hopefully enjoy the beach (if it's not raining!). The kids and I will enjoy a quiet weekend and have a playdate scheduled with some new friends here.

If you are still reading this uber-long post, congratulations! You have made it to the end!

Since I'm not posting as often, I find I have more to write. Life here is good. It's been hard at times and there have been tears, but not too many. Things get a bit easier each week and we are beginning to find our routine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Secret to Happiness

We've recently moved. To a new city. With 2 kids who've never moved before. With 2 adults who knew it was the right decision, but still struggled with leaving friends and routines behind. We've been sick since we've moved, we've just not quite gotten into a routine. And due to the extreme heat, and the no-swimming situation, we've been inside ALOT more than usual. Oh,and we still have a house to sell in our old town that we really.need.to.sell. All these things together contribute to the "blahs". I knew I was feeling a bit blah, but when I noticed N feeling a bit "blah" I was a bit more concerned. He's not a blah kinda kid. He's a "this is the greatest day of my life" kind of kid.

He's been telling us that he doesn't like his new school, that he doesn't have any friends, and our new church is too small. So, we've listened and tried to offer the positive side of all his "complaints".

But, all of this changed for him yesterday. Yesterday afternoon, he announced that he had discovered The Secret to Happiness. He didn't want to tell anyone, but he wanted to write a book about it. But, he was afraid that if everyone knew that they would mob him and tear his clothes off because they would be so happy to know "The Secret"! So, finally, he let Lance know what the secret is......................

Be happy where you are. Now, I don't know about you, but for me, this was both profound and yet quite simple. Contentment. This is something I struggle with - I always am looking forward to something more, bigger, different, etc. When instead, I should just be happy where I am.

I should enjoy the being "new". I should soak in the excitement of new adventures and the joy of not knowing all the negative about people here. I should thank God for the opportunity to know and serve alongside others!

And N? He seems to have really taken his "advice" to heart. There is contentment and peace about him now. And we're only in the 3rd week of school. Yippee!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Check this out...

Share


This is funny, but unfortunately too true.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

the week in review

So, lot of big things happened in the Mayes family this week as they did in houses all across the country with the beginning of the new school year.

N had a great beginning to 2nd grade. He has a great teacher(s). He now has a sign language name (given to him by Mrs. E the deaf teacher in his class). It's an airplane in motion - how appropriate for N. He had a couple of rough moments this week with learning the new rules and structure for his new school, but ultimately, he ended the week with a sticker on everyday! For this, we are thankful. I think he will settle in nicely this next week. He has already made a couple of friends and is enjoying leading them in building at recess. Their school has had to cancel regular recess due to too many children becoming overheated and they are now doing indoor recess until the temperature cools off to less than 100. At the rate things are going in San Antonio, this may be Thanksgiving!

L LOVES her new school. She too has made some new friends and is enjoying the activites at her school - cooking, swimming, and computer time. She also really loves our new church, which is a HUGE relief for me, because there were many days in College Station where getting her to church was a struggle. She is growing up and it's hard to believe she'll be starting Kinder in just one year. Time moves too fast!

One of the biggest concerns I had about moving was having to make new friends. Both for me personally and for the family as a whole. We've had many opportunities this week to get to know people better and we are looking forward to others. Here are just a few:

Last Saturday, we went to have dinner with my Baylor roommate and her family. Melissa, Wayne, and the boys were wonderful hosts and the kids played together as if they've known each other forever. It was great to reconnect since we hadn't seen each other in 12 years!

Sunday and Wednesday, we had church, and enjoyed our time getting to know people better - it's a very welcoming place!

Thursday - I went and joined a group of "stampers". It certainly was not the same as my group of friends in College Station, but I did enjoy the crafting and visiting with other ladies - they were very nice.

Thursday was also a big day for Lance and I - our 15th weddding anniversary! Can't believe it's been that long already! We will celebrate with date night next week - this past week was just too hectic!

Friday night, Lance and I went to a b-day party for our music minister and another guy. The home where it was being held was truly the biggest and most magnificent I've ever been in before - complete with valet parking. But, it was not like a museum at all; it was very personal and warm. But still, when the home is just doors down from David Robinson of The Spurs and George Strait, you know you are in swanky territory! The kids enjoyed their first babysitter since we've been in San Antonio.

Saturday, we had plans to truly relax and enjoy the day, but sickness invaded our home. It started with Lance and the day ended with me being sick as well - yuckers! We are both puny today and trying to rest and get over this without passing it along to the kiddos. I'm guessing all the new people that the 4 of us have been exposed to, have left us vulnerable to new germs.

Also, if you are still reading and haven't given up on this post, I started my job this week. The employees are very friendly and welcoming. I think I will enjoy the job, but am still feeling some of the overwhelming feelings that come with a new job - lots of little things to learn. I know it will come with time and I just have to be patient!

I hope you all had a great week as well. I won't have as much time to post (at least in the beginning as we get used to our new schedules), but promise to post as often as I can. I've noticed some of you with blogs haven't posted as much recently as well!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Goodbye lazy, hello routine

Today is it. The last day of lazy. The last day of sleeping bags on the floor and toys everywhere. Today is the last day of no homework, no alarm clocks, and doing what we want. This has been both the laziest and hardworking summer we've ever had. The moving has been tough, but the 6 weeks of having our kids at home has been great! They've gotten to enjoy the "lazy days" of summer that all kids should have. But, routine needs to return and Lance and I are both looking forward to tomorrow!

N is going to be in a very unique situation at school. His class is a co-taught class with a regular classroom teacher and a hearing-impaired teacher for the 5 students in his class who have hearing issues. There will also be an aide in his class and in 3 weeks, there will be a student teacher as well. So, his teacher to student ratio will be 1 to 4 which is awesome! I'm thinking the opportunity to have behavior issues will be low!!!

L will begin PreK tomorrow. How did my baby get to PreK so soon?!? She is looking forward to her new school and the fun activities they will have.

And I don't start my job until Tuesday, so I have one more day to do laundry, clean house, and run any last minute errands. I'm excited about starting my job and getting in a routine, but I have to say, I'm beginning to have some of those 1st day jitters as well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Some new revelations

I've learned some things during this process of relocating our lives.


Being a stay-at-home mom is hard work. By the time the day is over, I'm exhausted from mediating all the arguments that go on between my two during the day.

Not having a pool to swim in during the month of August is torture, pure torture!

When you tell someone you are new to the community, they are very nice, kind, and welcoming!

When you have days upon days to get something done it takes longer than if you were simply given one day to complete the task. Why is this?

I miss my friends and my community from College Station. Relationships take time to build and somehow 2 weeks does not a community make!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Tale of Two Cities

We've been together in one city for about 36 hours now. It's great now that we are all under one roof together again.

The kiddos and I have been enjoying our summer vacation and exploring our new city.

There are definitely some HUGE differences between living in a community of 120,000 and a city of 1.6 million. Oh yes, there are!

Swimming Pools - In College Station, we had some wonderful city pools that we were able to buy swim passes for and go anytime we wanted. Here, the only city pools are in low-income areas of the city. This has been an eye-opening experience for me. We were encouraged not to go, but I took the kids and went anyway. The great part? The pools are free of charge. We had a very nice experience and N made friends with a little boy while L and I swam together. We were the only white people at the pool, which was fine, except everyone kept staring at us. I'm sure they were wondering why we were there. I'm guessing white middle-class folks don't often come to their pool, which is a shame really. Segregation definitely still exists and it's become very obvious to me in the last week here. :(
We tried to join the neighborhood pool, but the people who own our rent house haven't paid their HOA dues and so we weren't allowed to join. Bummer!

Stores - oh, man oh, man - I've fallen in love with my new grocery store! They have everything, it's huge and the prices are really good too - and it's less than 5 minutes from our house - yippee! They have all manner of shopping experiences here and they are close!! Now, I'm sure this could get me into trouble, but hey, I have 2 small children that I don't want to take shopping with me, so for now, my money is safely in the bank!

I'm beginning to figure out how to get around San Antonio or at least our small corner of it - everyday we discover something else new and exciting!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Limbo, we're over you

This has been the summer of limbo. We've known pretty much all summer that we'd be moving. Combine that with the regularly scheduled craziness of summer as a youth minister and well, our schedule has been chaotic and at times, minute by minute.

Tonight, the kids and I are spending our last night in College Station and thankfully since we've already said our goodbyes, I'm not emotional. No, instead, I'm watching Hannah Montana with my kids.

Oh yes, the Hannah who we've managed to avoid up until this point, has now found our kids. And L, she just asked if we could go to Hannah's house. Um, no. No,No, and No. I can already tell L is going to care alot more about pop culture than her brother.

Goodbye College Station. You've been good to us. We have life-long friends here and I'm sure we'll be back. But for now, we look forward. We look forward to the joys and the challenges that will meet us in San Antonio. For they will meet us. The good and the bad. The joy and the sorrow. For they are part of life and we wouldn't have it any other way!

I'll be offline for a few days as we transition. But I'll be back with new stories and new faces and some of the old as well.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

It's a numbers game

Today's post is brought to you by the number 100,000.... this is the number my odometer will hit the next time I get in my car! My 6 y.o. SUV has taken some major abuse - it's definitely a "mom" car complete with stickers on the window - ya' know - like "I've been Krogering" or "I survived my shot at the doctor", stuff like that!


And in other number news, my sweet little 4 y.o. fish (I mean daughter) decided to jump off the diving board for the first time yesterday. She's been eyeing it for several weeks, but yesterday, she just announced, I'd like to jump off the diving board into 10 FEET of water, thankyouverymuch. This is something you would never catch MommaJen doing, but like a good Momma, I went to the deep end and clutched with all my might to the side of the pool, while my 4 YEAR OLD jumped in and immediately bounced up and swam to the side. I told her she had done a great job and that I was super proud and she just said, "That was double fun, I'm going to do it again, bubba, do you wanna do it?" all in one breath.

And then she proceeded to do it 1.5 million more times. Or maybe it was 20. I don't know. All I know is that if she keeps this up, the Olympics of 2024 better watch out!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Goodbye Friends

Last night a group of my friends treated me to a fun evening! We went to Wings N More, a College Station favorite and enjoyed good food and GREAT company! After I left, I began to feel like this move is really going to happen and it made me sad. I know San Antonio is where we are supposed to be and I know we will make new friends, but it's hard to say goodbye to good friends here! Fortunately we aren't that far away and I already have a trip to Canton planned with a couple of them in October!

So, thank you, Debi, Emily, Jeannie, Jennifer, Kristin, Lacey, and Tracy for one fun last evening on the town! I will miss you gals so much!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We have a place!

We took a mini-vacay plus house-hunting trip the last few days and we had success!

We are going to lease a home for the next year. Our home here hasn't sold yet, but hopefully will soon and we'll have time to scope out neighborhoods, etc. and determine where we want to "land" in San Antonio.

But, for the next 12 months, we have a place that will work nicely for us. And since it has 4 bedrooms, we will have room for guests! :) It even has 3 full bathrooms - yahoo!

After the success on the house-hunt, we were able to vacay a bit. Some friends had given us a gift card to the Pappas restaurants and we were able to enjoy some delicious seafood.

We floated the Comal River, which was an interesting experience. Note to self: don't ever float the Comal River when the Guadalupe river is low - all the partyers that are usually on that river come to the Comal and it was a little like a frat party from college - complete with exhibitionists, drunks, etc. Fortunately, our kiddos didn't pay much attention, but Lance and I were ready to get them off the river!

Schlitterbahn was the big fav of L's - that girl is fearless. She did all the big slides with Lance and even when she got dumped out of her tube, she swam right back up and kept going. N, not so much, so he and I enjoyed the lazy river and other more tame adventures.

We also enjoyed Wonder World - a little overpriced for me, but the kids enjoyed it and so that made it fun for us!

We are now on the countdown for the move!!! Lance has just over a week before he starts his new position!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Does it Count if they were Pulled?

 



My sweet N had two teeth pulled yesterday. They were baby teeth that were preventing his two grown-up teeth from coming in correctly. My boy's mouth was crammed full of teeth. So now he's got a little relief and perhaps (we're hoping!) we'll have a few less days in braces down the road.

N did great with the two shots and the pulling and tugging to get these teeth out. His main question: Does the tooth fairy still come if the dentist pulls them out?

Well, folks, the answer is yes! The tooth fairy does indeed come for those teeth! This morning, N found two gold $ coins under his pillow!

And the best part for me? He's cuter than ever!!!
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Cock a doodle doo

We have a rooster living in our neighborhood. Really, we do.

A week ago Sunday, the kids and I spotted him on our way to church. In fact, I backed up the car to get a second look because I couldn't believe there was a rooster in our yard. It was.

That evening, we had some youth over at our house and they along with my kiddos chased the rooster around the neighborhood. It was funny!

A couple of days ago the rooster was in a tree behind our house - not sure how he got in the tree.

Today, he was back in our yard. We learned that one of our neighbors who works in Hearne accidently brought him home from work. The rooster had climbed into the bed of his truck and found his way to College Station.

As long as he doesn't wake me up at the crack of dawn, I guess it's okay, but it's kind of strange!!!

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Love of Friends




This beautiful note of friendship was on our doorstep today. We aren't home alot right now since we are trying to sell our house and HELLO we have young children who like to make messes and what not. So, this note from a friend of N, was friendship from the 6-7 year old set.

In case you aren't familiar with reading things written by kindergarten and 1st graders (which I wasn't until 2 years ago myself and I now consider myself somewhat of an expert) :) I will translate:

To N:
From: Kai

I knocked on your door today and nobody answered and I just wanted to play with you.
Bye N

I am sooo glad N is still in the innocent stage of friends where being real and true is still what is happening. They aren't trying to be cool yet or playing games with one another that are cruel. They just love.

May we, the grown-ups, be as tender and real with our friends.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A credit card? Really?

So, when did they start putting credit cards on vending machines? If it was in 1983, please don't tell me because I like to think I stay up on current events. And really, if it's not in People magazine or on the internet, it must not be happening, right?

No, seriously though, a credit card to get a coke or bottle of water?!? I admit, I don't carry alot of cash, but I generally have the $1.25 if I'm in desperate need of a cold beverage. But, I'm sure they probably will get more sales this way. What cracked me up the most was it just wasn't debit cards, but American Express. Try explaining that one to your company when the credit card bill arrives - yeah, I was really thirsty and the 28 cents I found at the bottom of my purse just wouldn't cut it.

So, what other things have I missed?!?

Monday, June 29, 2009

I don't really know where to start

So, I've been absent from my blog lately. Not because I didn't have anything to say, quite the opposite in fact. There has been ALOT to say, I just wasn't free to say it.

Today, I am.

We are moving to San Antonio. Lance has accepted a job as student minister at a church there.

This is a BIG change for us. We've lived in BCS for almost 9 years. Our lives are here, friends, jobs, house, schools, everything. We are very excited and it's very clear that this is where God wants us next. But....we still have lots of emotions to process. This is where our children came to us - that alone makes this community a special place!

Yesterday, we were able to tell our church and that was a huge weight lifted from us. It's hard to keep things from people you worship and do life with.

They were so affirming to Lance yesterday and that was nice. Now, we begin the next phase of our transition - trying to sell our house and saying our goodbyes.

So, if you know anyone who'd like a 2-story, 4-bedroom home in Castlegate, send them our way!!! (sorry, shameless plug there!)

I'll write more in the days to come as we process life in transition.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Here's my sign



Okay, some of the "punch" is lost looking at it sideways, but the fact is, this is an award I never thought we'd receive! :)

We have a lovely sign in our yard declaring us Yard of the Month for Castlegate and now I'm highly motivated to keep the yard weed free and well cared for while Lance is gone! And maybe this is why we really won. They've seen what happens to our yard during the summer while Lance is gone and it's HOT outside. Yeah, MommaJen tends to not really care.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Still here

I'm still alive. Things have been a wee bit chaotic these first two weeks of summer!

Most normal people relax and slow down during summer vacay! At our house, it's the opposite. Lance's busy season is summer and so is mine, so our kids don't have the hazy,lazy days of summer that I did growing up.

Plus, the kids have spent the last two weeks in swimming lessons; N had Space Camp this week and we had VBS every night! The exhaustion has arrived!

But, Lance leaves town tomorrow morning and the kids and I have exactly two things planned for the weekend: playdate with friends and church on Sunday and THAT IS IT. I'm beside myself with excitement at the lack of things to do. Although, I'm sure a few loads of laundry and some vacuuming may have to be squeezed into our weekend of laziness!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

We're cutting edge over here

So, this article talks about the "up and coming" jobs that pay well and are in demand.

How awesome that N wants to be a volcanologist since it's on the list.

'Course things could change in the next 15 years while he finishes his education! But, I'm glad he's looking at this job than say, a typewriter repairman or a seller of rotary dial phones.

Friday, May 29, 2009

It's an odd number, really

So, I turned 37 yesterday. 37. It's not a multiple of 5, it's not almost a multiple of 5 - it's just sort of there. Nothing to get too excited about, just one of those numbers you have to pass thru to get to another more exciting (though bigger) numbers!

I had a good day, but you can definitely tell, I've reached that really grown-up age where it's not that big a deal to me to have a birthday. Unlike my younger days when I thought a birthday was a good excuse to not make my bed, go to school or work, or ya' know do anything I didn't want to.

So, my day yesterday consisted of the entire family oversleeping! L woke us all up at 7:15 and panic began! The little neighbor girl rang the doorbell at 7:20,so we were scrambling!

I did enjoy a nice lunch with friends yesterday and when I arrived home L and the kids had some beautiful flowers for me. Dinner was a salad and then we went swimming. A very simple day, but just what I wanted!

My Big Shot arrived last night too! So, hopefully, I'll have some time this weekend to start playing with it!

I got several nice gifts and cards including a blog post from Emily! That was sweet! The card from the kiddos? A singing card that plays Johnny Cash' Ring of Fire --picked out by N -- it was funny!

And today is the last day of school for N! So long 1st grade! Yeah,summer!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Gone Country

We had our wonderful family reunion this weekend in Louisiana. My aunt and uncle have a fabulous place in the country. It is so unbelievably quiet, relaxing, and beautiful and the weather was wonderful. It didn't really get hot until Sunday afternoon.

My kids enjoyed riding a horse, swimming, playing in a playhouse, and searching for arrowheads (that may or may not have been prearranged for them to find). I'm pretty sure they were prearranged, 'cause what are the odds that the 3 children looking for arrowheads would stumble upon exactly 3 arrowheads?!?

I enjoyed visiting with my cousins and their families - it was a great time to catch up and discover that although we live very different lives, we have lots in common! The same basic values that have been passed down to us from our parents. Good times!

And now, I'll share a fun little video with you that has nothing to do with our trip, but is funny nonetheless:



Thursday, May 21, 2009

Big Shot

This post is mainly for all my "crafty" friends.

I need some input on the Big Shot. Tell me what you love about it; tell me any negatives (if there are any). I'm debating asking for one for my birthday, but want to hear exactly what it can do before I decide for sure!

Also, related to crafting, we had Card Club Tuesday night at Ellen's house. She came up with the cutest original design of a beach scene complete with sandpaper for the beach. You can check it out on Jennifer's blog. I really enjoy the evenings of visiting with friends and having someone else come up with the ideas and do the clean up!

Oh, and check out this blog for a great idea on looking at all the SU! colors. Some of you may already have a system for this, but I always have to pull out all my papers to find new color combos! This is a genius idea! Already printed out my templates.

The fam is headed to a family reunion this weekend and not a lame-o one, but one where we actually know all the people! I'm excited to see my brother and my cousins and their families! My aunt and uncle are graciously hosting us at their place and it's paradise in the country. Much relaxing, great fun, and delicious food are on the agenda for the weekend!

I hope you all have something fun and special to kick-off SUMMER!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm winning and I'm losing today!

First, the winning..... I won the new Amy Grant CD from BooMama's Blog!! Yippee, I'm so excited! I've loved Amy since middle school!

Second, the losing.....

Two things happened yesterday that have seriously motivated me to get back on Weight Watchers YET AGAIN.
I'm hopeful that this time it will stick for the long term and I won't give up!

1st - my dad who is a heart-attack and triple bypass survivor and really just my hero in so many ways, got some test results back that were not very good. Not horrible, just not excellent like they've been the last 5 plus years since his surgery. He and my mom are still adjusting to his work-at-home schedule and some of his discipline has gotten off track. He and mom are "back on the wagon" of healthy living. It has inspired me to get back on as well.

2nd - and really, my most motivating, happened last night...L asked me if I was growing a baby. :( Then she asked me when I was skinny...I had to tell her it was along time ago. :( Then she said the words that spoke the clearest to me, "Now, you are just fat." Wow, they were painful words but true and really, she was the best person in the world to say them to me. So far, L has been blessed with fabulous metabolism - truly many days she eats more than Lance or I, but she's only 4 and very active also. Someday, her weight will catch up to her too. I don't ever want to pressure her to be a certain size or any other unhealthy body image, but I also want to be healthy for her and a mom she can be proud of.

So, today, I'm a winner and hopefully a loser too!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Worm lives here

A Bookworm, that is.

N has progressed so far on his reading this year and is now CONSTANTLY reading. You have to pry it out of his hands to get him to eat, bathe, even watch cartoons! Yesterday was the book fair at his school and he got 5 new books - The Magic Treehouse series is a favorite of his and he read an entire book last night! I LOVE it! I have always loved to read and I'm so glad he is now at the point that reading is more enjoyment than struggle to get thru.

Another bonus? He is learning all kinds of interesting facts and his vocabulary has increased tremendously. Books have also brought up all kinds of topics that we are discussing. Life is so interesting with a 1st grader!

I've never wanted any of my children's phases to end: baby, toddler, etc, but you know what the great thing is?!? Every.single.phase has such wonderful things --so many new and first things.

N, I'm so proud of your reading success. Reading will take you far and provide you with many hours of entertainment! Love, Momma

Monday, May 11, 2009

Ahhhh!

We went swimming for the first time yesterday. Yes, it was warm enough - we live in the tropics here in South Central Texas - I think they officially opened the pool the day after Easter!

We LOVE the pool and yesterday I realized there are several reasons why:

1) It's just plain fun!
2) You can exercise without sweating!
3) We are outside!
4) We get to be a part of our community and visit with friends and make new ones!
5) Since we buy a swim pass, our family of 4 can swim as many times as we want all summer for only $125. Pretty cheap entertainment
6) It wears my kids out!

In fact yesterday after swimming for 2 1/2 hours, we came home, bathed the kiddos, and were getting ready for dinner, when I looked over at L and she was asleep. It was 6pm and we faced the dilemna all parents face at that hour. Do you let them take a short nap, then deal with the crankiness until bedtime or do you let them sleep knowing they may wake up at 3:30am ready to go for the day. Since we had a very busy weekend with some late night activities, we decided to just put her in bed. We heard not another word until 6:09 this morning! Glorious!

Lance and I enjoyed some time last night with just N which is a pretty rare occurence and it was an evening with no drama. In fact at one point, I mentioned how quiet it was and Lance said he'd be happy to throw a couple of tantrums or talk incessently if it would help! :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mom's Day

To all of you moms out there, I hope you are able to have some time to relax and do something enjoyable this weekend whether you are with your kids or not.

To you who are not yet moms, but desperately want to be: my heart is with you. I remember those days. Hang in there and believe that one day it will be you!

And to my mom: thank you for always loving me and still helping me in so many ways. You have taught me well and now I enjoy being your friend!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chatterbox

Four year olds talk. ALOT. I had forgotten this since the last time we had a four year old living in our house 3 years ago.

The difference?

N asked ALOT of questions. You know the ones ----why?

L - not too many questions, just talks about every.little.thing. that pops into her mind. Oh, the excitement of life!

So, I'm wondering, is this the difference between boys and girls? Or just my two? N ever curious and trying to figure out how everything works and L gearing up for the "gabfest" of her high school and college years.

Either way the talk is equal parts hysterical entertainment (last night, she was copying Ryan Seacrest's intro to American Idol...."This. Is. AmericanIdol.") and equal parts maddening (sometimes you just want 5 seconds of silence).

But, I know this day too will pass quickly and I don't want to wish these days away. So for now, you'll be seeing us rolling on the ground laughing or plugging our ears with cotton balls!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Dancing Queen

This weekend was L's first dance recital. We had the rehearsal Friday afternoon and the recital Saturday afternoon. Combine that with our last soccer game of the season and grandparents visiting and it was a busy weekend. But, it was also one of those glorious weekends!

I saw a side of L I've never seen before. That girl was born to dance and she can ignore all other needs/wants when she is focused on that goal of dancing.

Some things that happened:

Went 6 hours without a bathroom break
Went 6 hours without eating/drinking
Went 6 hours straight without whining
Let us mess with her hair FOREVER and yank and comb, etc without complaining

These are not normal events, she was in the ZONE and it was a wonderfully enjoyable time with a happy little girl.

She did a great job dancing and more importantly she had FUN!

Here are some pics of the day:


L is the dancer on the far left looking off stage at her teacher for help with the moves:




At the end of the recital, L loved taking her bow. So much that the asst. teacher had to pull her back!




Daddy brought her flowers after the recital:




Getting her makeup done:




Her whole class did a great job!


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

While I'm Waiting

There is a song by John Waller called While I'm Waiting and it's a great song. It has been speaking to me ALOT the last few weeks. I catch myself singing it at all hours of the day and night. It happens to be from the movie Fireproof, which was produced by a church. It's a film about protecting your marriage and really was well done. Kirk Cameron is the main character in the movie.


John Waller - While I'm Waiting (Official Music Video) from Provident Label Group on Vimeo.




Lance and I are in a waiting place in our lives right now. And as we wait, I've been caught up so much in the waiting, that I've forgotten to live. Right now! What a tragic mistake and unfortunately one I've made other times in my life.

One of my biggest regrets of my life was not using my time wisely while Lance and I were waiting to adopt. I should have been hanging out with friends, crafting, exercising, and serving others while I waited. Then the focus would have been taken off that for which I longed and the selfish me. I don't want to waste that much time again.

So...thanks to some conviction thru this song, thru my wonderful husband who sometimes has to beat me over the head (no, not really) to get me to hear things that are right in front of me, and thru the voice of God, I'm finally starting to listen and LIVE!

I'm quite sure I'll slip back into my old patterns again eventually, but for now, I don't want to sit and play the waiting game. I want to get out and soak up LIFE!

So, if you are waiting for a baby, a husband, summer vacation, a new job, a promotion, a move, a college degree, to lose 10 pounds or any other thing, don't be like me...enjoy life while you wait!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Vacation advice needed

After the last 2 years of heading south to the Beach in the middle of hurricane season, we've decided to do something different this year. We're fast learners, we are. :) But we have not in fact decided what to do.

Ya see, next year is the big vacay we've been talking about for years. Disney! Our deal was our youngest child had to be 5 before we would go. It's alot of $$$$, it will take a lot of time, and plus, I want them to actually remember the trip! I know LOTS of people take younger children and that's great for them, but for us, not so much.

So, all that to say, since the BIG trip is next year, the vacation this year needs to be less expensive and smaller.

Our criteria are these:

***Not too far a drive (we discovered last year that the 7-8 hour trip to South Padre Island was a wee bit ambitious for us; we are "old school" and don't have a DVD in the car; our entertainment is each other, books, and toys! :)

***We go the 3rd week in August, so it will be hot - we need to be somewhere with either a body of water or a pool or preferably both!

***Our kids will be 7 and 4 - so activities have to be child-friendly

*** We like to go somewhere and stay in the same location for 3-5 days so we can truly relax, unpack, and unwind - we aren't yet to the days of being able for the "roadtrip" of multiple stops on multiple days!

Anyone have any great suggestions within a 4-5 hour (maximum) radius of Bryan/College Station?!? I know, I'm asking the impossible!?!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Transformation

I've mentioned it so many times this school year, but WOW 1st grade has been a pivotal year in our house. In the beginning, it was rough, really rough, but now here we are in the final 6 weeks of the year and oh, the progress that has been made in every area.

N started the year reading very simple things - See Jane run. Stuff like that. Last night? The boy was reading a book about Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis all.by.himself. It was a multi-chapter book and had very large words in it and he was reading it silently in bed as he relaxed for the day. WOW! It's amazing to me still. When he got his report card last Friday, his teacher wrote about how wonderful his writing skills are and how his math skills are developing well and most importantly (at least to me) how well he is getting along with and connecting with his peers! :) This has been something our whole family has been working on this year and N especially! He spent several months going to counseling and the counselor was able to help him (and us!) so much!

And N has decided that he is 1000% sure that he will be a volcanologist when he grows up! So, I'm guessing, that means he will leave Texas, huh? Of course, this career path is a relatively new one after his obsession with trains for the first 6 years of his life. So, I'm sure he might change his mind 1 or 1,000 times again before he grows up!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Vegetable or candy?

My 4 year old likes candy. Nothing too profound there although her brother really is not a big candy eater. Or an eater at all for that matter.

Well, after the avalanche of candy that arrived with Easter, we've had a few issues. Namely that L wants candy the moment she wakes up in the morning. Now, I'm okay with her having a piece after lunch and another after dinner, but I do draw the line at morning candy. So, this morning, L tries a new tactic. After begging for the candy and me telling her no yet again. She says, "Can I have a jelly bean?" I tell her no that jelly beans are candy and I've already told her no candy.

Her response was awesome in 4 year old logic. "Nuh uh momma, jelly beans are NOT candy, they are beans." Well then....perhaps we should all be eating more jelly beans. Or not.

And here are a couple of pics from our neighborhood egg hunt. They had a very talented lady there doing face painting.

N - chose to be a vampire


L - with a headband of flowers - this is as close to hair accessories as we are ever going to get!



Hope you have an awesome weekend! Lance will be gone this weekend, so the kiddos and I are going to be looking for fun inside projects since I think it will be raining here!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Just a Swangin'

Okay, I couldn't resist using the title from an old country song from the 80's. Two of my country cousins had this cassette tape and played it on at least one trip to their house - that memory of the song and just how country they seemed are etched forever in my mind. I will see those cousins for the first time as parents in May - as we journey to Louisiana for a reunion with my mom's extended family!



We spent all day Friday at Tanglewood Park in Bryan complete with picnic lunch. This is a fabulous park with multiple playgrounds and a sand volleyball court which we used like this....


N built this with sand and then by collecting as many sticks as possible to be the "destroyed" trees on his volcano. Then, as the natural born leader that he is, he recruited 4 other boys plus his sister to bring water over to the volcano and pretend it was lava - you can see the trench to the right where the "lava" flowed. There was a girl's volleyball team practicing on this same sand court, but that didn't stop N and his "workers" from constructing their creation.

And finally, the picture I never thought I'd get....




Last year, the bluebonnet picture-taking was not working - between the scratching of the plants and the bugs, the kids just WOULD NOT cooperate, so we gave up. On a whim, Saturday we pulled the car over and just snapped pictures and my little sweethearts cooperated. So, their outfits are not the cutest, I'm okay with that. At least we don't have boogers on our face or food on our clothes.

We enjoyed our Easter celebration this weekend with our church and friends. And as our pastor shared over the weekend, we need to become an "Easter People" like the early church was. Our culture and church has become a "Christmas People", but we have it wrong. I needed to hear that and be challenged personally.

Hope your Easter was a wonderful celebration with your family of faith, friends, and family!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fort Night

Last week, the kids built a fort in our living room. It was constructed out of the card table and chairs; and every blanket, quilt, pillow, and stuffed animal we own with the exception of those on Lance and I's bed. (pillows and blankets, not stuffed animals, I made Lance give those up when we got married. :)) We had to draw the line somewhere. This fort stayed up all week and this my friends is a miracle, 'cause MommaJen of 2-3 years ago could have never stood the clutter. But, I'm a new woman, I can now relax and live in a land of clutter with the best of them. And I'm not sure whether this is a good or bad thing. To my kids last week though, it was definitely good.

So, the culmination of the week was the agreement that they could sleep in said fort on Friday night with the understanding that on Saturday, everything would have to be returned to it's rightful location and I could again see the living room.

After we got home from date night (yippee!), the kids got in their pajamas and settled in for the big sleepover in the living room. It was exciting, it was adventerous, it was CRAZY! They were so excited that even though it was 11pm, they just could not get still. Lance told me to just let them be crazy and they would eventually calm down. Ahem, for N, yes that would work. For L, no - the gal just couldn't do it. And so, her night in the fort was cut short and she was forced into her own bed. But when she woke up the next morning, she and N proceeded to watch cartoons from their fort and request breakfast in "bed" which of course was really just their sleeping bags on the floor.

It was a fun experience, but also definitely showed me, I will no longer be in a hurry for my kids to have sleepovers with others! :)

Friday, April 3, 2009

Date Night!

Tonight is Date Night!

Yippee!

If ever there had been good timing for a date night, tonight is it!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sic 'Em

Tonight, the Baylor Men's Basketball Team plays for the NIT championship. Now, I know this is not the NCAA championship, but still, it's a major step for this program. This is the team that just a few years ago was shocked when one of it's players killed another of the players. The coach got in huge trouble, sanctions were made, and the team basically disintegrated.

This is one of those great feel-good stories where the new coach came in with basically nothing and turned the team around!

Go Bears!!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More pink!

Today, my friend Tracy and her husband Tommy welcomed a sweet little girl into the world! I'm so excited for their family - Big Sister E will have lots of changes in her life, but oh, to have a sister, is awesome! I can't wait to meet her tomorrow and get to love on her!

I've had fun shopping for all the new little ones - there seems to have been a serious baby boom this year and that is so much fun, especially when you know you will never have another little one in your home. Loving on others' babies is the next best thing!


In other news, I can now add Coach to my list of things I've done in my life. I know, it's a shock to me too! Lance is out of town right now and soccer practice was last night. The assistant coach was late (he has 4 kids 6 and under so it's kind of understandable!), but you cannot let a 1st grade boys soccer team go without something to do. Other than you know, poking ants and catching grasshoppers! So, this crazy momma, who's only soccer experience is being a soccer mom, got out the cones and began to "run drills". I'm quite sure nothing I did was "correct" or even "legal in soccer world" but hey, it kept the boys out of trouble and it was kind of fun!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Needles don't bother me...

I said dumbly to the doctor this morning. You can give me a million shots and it won't bother me at all.

And then I screamed. No, really, I did. I think the longest needle ever was inserted into the top of my foot today. Inside was steroids. Hopefully, this will help my foot issues. She also prescribed oral steroids. And said to tell everyone that I will be a barrel o' fun while taking these. So, fair warning to all who will see me IRL the next 2 weeks! :) Lance has never been so glad to be out-of-town!
I go back to the dr. in 2 weeks to see if the 'roids are helping and plan the next course of action.

In other news, we have on our hands a FABULOUS FALCON! N was the Falcon of the Week at school last week! We are so proud of him - he has worked very hard in 1st grade this year!

L had her 4 y.o. check-up last Friday. Her dr. advised us to try giving her some orange juice (we have eliminated all fruits/juices from her diet due to stomach issues). So, over the weekend, L indulged and oh, did she love that OJ. But, alas, the stomach issue came back and the OJ has been removed. L told me this morning that Dr. Meyer was WRONG, WRONG, WRONG. And L, she was right, right, right. I do hope L outgrows this fruit intolerance, allergy, or whatever it may be. But for now, Gatorade is as close as this girl will get to juice.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

She's here!

My friend, Jennifer welcomed a sweet baby girl this morning. I won't post her name, but it's a really sweet one and I can't wait to meet her. She has a cute big sister, S, whom I'm sure is really excited as well!

There is alot going on at MommaJen's house, hence the lack of posting lately. I will be back, but am trying to wrap my brain around some things right now.

Update on the foot: I have several issues in addition to the Plantar Fascitis and meet with the foot doctor on Monday - I'll let you know more then, but for now, I'm doing pretty well. The 7 days of rest seems to have helped tremendously!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The foot curse

My maternal relatives have feet issues. And for me, a great portion of my junior and senior years at Baylor were spent wearing a Blue shoe due to bunions and ingrown toenail issues. Oh yes, you know the shoe, lovely with velcro and all. In fact Melissa, the maid of honor in my wedding, joked about how we were going to have to add rhinestones and pearls to that shoe. I was determined to wear real shoes that day and I did.

Funny, once I was married, the foot issues went away. But now, they have returned and I am not excited, not one little bit. I went to the doctor yesterday and then had to go have an xray. I either have a stress fracture or the beginning of Plantar Fascitiis (sp?). Me personally, I'm hoping for the stress fracture - it will heal and we can move on. From what I hear about PF, it lingers and rears it's ugly head from time to time that you won't forget who is in charge. My aunt has struggled with this the last couple of years and has gone thru surgery and all number of things. My mom had bunion surgery back in the fall and is still trying to completely recover.

So,I'm still awaiting my diagnosis and whether I will have to go get a big honking shot of steroids in the bottom of my foot and meanwhile my doctor told me to elevate my foot and take mass amounts of Ibuprofen for the next 7 days. Hello, elevate and stay off feet?!? With 2 young children and a hubby who will be out of town?!? So, what'll I do?!? The kiddos and I were already planning to head to Dallas and enjoy fun times with family, now momma may just be a little slower than normal. Whaaa :(

Hope you all have a wonderful Spring Break whether you are staying home or travelling!! I will be offline for the week, but look forward to catching up with you!

Lacey, you are the "winner" of my 200th post contest which a whole whopping 2 of you entered. I can see the lure of choosing my blog subject is just not near as inviting as the free gas giveaway from last summer! :)

Lacey, let me know what you'd like me to write about and my first post back from Spring Break will be on that topic.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

200 posts and a chance to dictate 201

Today is my 200th post. In honor of this occasion, I thought about writing 200 random facts about myself, but realized not only would I have trouble writing 200 random facts, but that you, my few readers, may be terribly bored by said list.

So, how about something else instead...

I'll say a little something about my favorite topics:

Boys - and I don't mean the cute kind from middle school that we all wanted to dedicate songs to on the Friday night dedication show. I'm talking about the cute, little ones that grab your heart as your first born and then suddenly can tell you all sorts of interesting facts and jokes and just make you laugh out loud. Today mine told me all kinds of interesting animal facts like giraffes don't have voices and they are as tall as a house. He also just sang me a song about a skunk in a barnyard. Gotta love the things they learn at school! But, I'm super proud of my boy. He has had some struggles this year in 1st grade. But, he has worked very hard to overcome these and he's come a looong way since the first of the year. Yesterday, he met a new friend in the neighborhood, which we are so thankful for since we've had the bully issue. This new friend is right on N's level and they enjoy playing the same things, plus as an added bonus, this friend moved here from Hawaii. Land of volcanoes - which is really cool considering N wants to be a volcanologist when he grows up!

Girls - my sweet gal L that can "push my buttons" and she's not even 14 yet! But she is also my favorite girl to color with; do fun tricks with, and even shop with! L taught me a new song this week called The Clown Song and even though her big brother thinks it's lame, I love it and have even found myself singing it when she's not around! L is a masterful bike rider and has told me that she wants to take her training wheels off next week. She has always seemed older than what she is. Her skill levels and vocabulary are excellent and she has recently learned to count to 59 and write her name!

Lance - my husband that puts up with my crazy ideas! I'm much more "all over the place" than Lance. Lance is the level-headed calm force in our family. When he gets stressed, watch out, you know it's bad! Lance has a very strong work ethic and morals and I really respect this especially when there are so many that don't. Lance will never be seen as a news headline for someone with a moral or legal failure :) And even though we've been together for almost 18 years (14 1/2 married), I'm still in love with him and wouldn't trade him for another. He's my best friend.

My friends - Early in our ministry years, I struggled with friendships. I wouldn't allow myself to relax and have friends. Part of this was because our first ministry experience was ROUGH. Part was because in our second ministry experience we were in a small farming community, where if you hadn't lived there 30 plus years, you were a newcomer. Part was my insecurity. Living in this community has finally taught me it's okay to have good friends; it's okay if they are in the church with us and it's okay if they aren't. Some of my closest friends live here in this community and I'm so thankful for them! They "get" me when no one else does! It's fun to trade mom stories, work nightmares, and have fun playing bunco or crafting!

My church - Being part of a church is like being part of a family. You are with each other during good times and bad. Our church is going thru some of the "bad" right now. It's hard, but these are the people of God and Lance and I were called to serve with them. I've been taught so much by so many of our members and feel blessed to have been alongside them in ministry these last 8 1/2 years.

This has been way too long and really may be less interesting than 200 facts, so to those of you who are still reading, I'll leave you with this....

I used to hear people say all the time how life gets better the older you get and I just COULD.NOT understand this, but now that I'm quickly approaching 37, I get it and I believe it. My life is much richer and more full now than it's ever been. I'm thankful for all the hard days and times that have brought me to this point. I know more hard days are ahead, but I truly do appreciate those good days even more!

Wow, I sound old...

In honor of my 200th post, I'll try something else besides blog candy.

If you leave me a comment and I choose your name, you can choose a topic for me to blog about. And for some of you out there, if you win, I'll even let you "require" me to post pics...and that my friends might be more rare than a $2 bill.

Deadline to comment is noon on Friday the 13th.

growing up

Last night, we watched part of Dancing with the Stars. L is a dancer thru and thru and we thought she'd like the show. She did. And so did her 7 y.o. brother. And they both sat on me while we watched. This amounts to almost 100 pounds of squirming, fidgeting, dancing kiddos. So, as I was reminding them to sit still, I also reminded myself to enjoy. Because it won't be long before not only will they not physically be able to both sit on me, they just won't want to. These days are fleeting. 'Course when I said this out loud, N popped back with "oh yeah, I will still want to sit on you when I'm 15" Yeah, right, all 6'5" of him, I'm sure!! I'm just hoping he will still want to talk to me when he's 15.

And that leads me into the apology that I owe him:

Dear N,

I'm so sorry I embarassed you by sending Dora yogurt in your lunchbox. I didn't realize your friends would notice and call you a baby for eating "baby" yogurt. I wrongly assumed that because you still enjoy watching Dora that eating her yogurt would be okay. I was wrong. I now know that just because you will still act like a little boy at home that it doesn't mean you are a little boy in front of your friends. Please forgive me.

Love,
Momma

Growing up - it's hard on us mommas.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Party with the Mouse!

We partyed with a mouse on Saturday night. He was cute, though a little loud. The occasion was L's first "friend" birthday party. Her first three birthday parties were just with family only - and that was okay with her. She is much more shy than N and had never asked for a friend party. But...this year was different, she has been looking forward to her Chuck E. Cheese party for months! Since her actual birthday is during Spring Break, we decided to celebrate early to include her friends.

I haven't included any pics of her friends since I don't have their parents permission, but I've included some of L.

Her cake is hard to identify, but it's a puppy dog and she was thrilled, although, she doesn't like to eat the "dirty" parts....it's called fur, my dear and it's chocolate! And when you have a puppy dog cake, it's almost all fur!!

The highlight of the evening for her was the medal. At the Cheese, they do a whole 5 minute birthday song which is oh, so, loud, but at the end, they give you a birthday medal - looks kind of like an Olympic Gold Medal, which really I think they should give to the parents for making it thru another year :) Just kidding! L is so proud of this medal that she has slept in it and worn it to church and school. And since her party was 10 days before her birthday and Daddy will be gone on her birthday, she is getting to have a birthday 1/2 month instead of just a day, and that my friends is a girl after my own heart.

So now, I'll leave you with some pics!

Oh, and please excuse the nose...we are having some allergy issues and it's rather gross!







Friday, March 6, 2009

Big D, you're not what you used to be.

So, I spent 3 1/2 days in Dallas this week. I was in training all day - brain overload to the max - but after hours, I had a lil' fun in Dallas.

I was able to make some cards - about 15, I think and that was oh, so productive. As the bellman carried in my card-making supplies, he asked me if I was an attorney! Ha! (I store my paper in file boxes, so I look really smart!) :)

I went out and did a lil' shopping, but bought nothing. I think I've gotten really cheap or something...I just couldn't find any bargains, even with all the selection Dallas has to offer. Disappointing. :(

And then there were the strange, different things that happened.... I think I have been a small town girl for too long now, because oh man, I saw some things that just aren't on my radar in Aggieland!

The mall - cops everywhere. And I do mean everywhere. They even had little "stands" built for them to stand in. There is nothing like being in an upscale Dallas mall at 5pm and seeing more cops than customers.

The hotel I stayed at was swanky. Like "call the butler to get the ice" swanky. I grew up as more of a motel kinda girl. Like you know, the ones that leave the light on for you, so this was an experience. It was nice, I was in the lap of luxury, but because of the whole "call the butler" issue, I got in a sticky situation... I had dinner with my parents on Weds night and then decided to stop on the way back to the hotel to get a cup of ice at a convenience store so I wouldn't have to call the butler and tip him for SOME ICE! So, as I approach the ice dispenser with my cup, I feel a very wet, sticky sensation on my left foot. I look down and immediately flick my shoe off where it proceeded to hit the wall. The substance appeared to be red jello in a pan, but I'm quite sure it was actually some kind of bug/rodent trap which Mr. Convenience Store man would neither confirm nor deny. He took my shoe and washed it in the convenience store sink and gave me a rag to wash such substance off. So I'm standing in a convenience store at 8pm in Dallas where all kind of interesting people are in and out purchasing their beverages and smokes and I'm on one foot trying not to let my naked foot touch the floor. As I finally get my ice and leave, I realize I'm in the middle of a "gay pride" event.


So, even after years of proclaiming myself as not a country girl, but a city girl, I may have to amend that statement to: "I'm not a country girl, but I'm not a city girl either, I'm more of a suburban-type girl"

Kinda sad, huh?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Mr. Mom

So, I'm leaving town today. I will be gone for over 72 hours. This is the first time I've been gone for more than one night on a business trip since before kids!

I'm excited about the opportunity to learn and develop my skills and hopefully craft and watch TV in the evenings! I'm meeting my parents for dinner one night and may even try to do a little shopping in Big D.

But, I'm a little sad about missing a few days with my family. Lance will do a great job of getting everyone where they need to go on time and with a little help from a friend, even soccer practice is covered. They will have a good time doing things "daddy's way" and I'll enjoy some solitude. It's a win-win, but I can't wait to walk back in the door and be mobbed, 'cause there is nothing like feeling like a rockstar to your family!

So, I won't be around this week. Can't wait to read all your blogs when I return. And if you think of it, say a prayer for Lance!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Brush like the Dentist

L had a visitor to her school yesterday. It happened to be Mrs. Danielle, one of our neighbors, who is a dental hygenist. She talked to the kids about brushing, nutrition, etc. And she brought a bag of samples. L couldn't wait to show the entire family her SpongeBob toothpaste. I'm not a fan of SpongeBob, but I guess toothpaste is okay!

L told us all about the right way to brush and she even got a little timer so that she'll know how long to brush. And then she said the words I didn't want to hear...."Momma, you aren't supposed to drink Dr. Pepper". Yep, she's right, I shouldn't. Nothing like a 3 yo telling you!

So last night, she brushed and was showing me her "shiny, clean" teeth. And then she says, "I need to look in the mirror at my baby teeth." She starts pulling her gums back, and says, "Wow, I have a whole bunch of baby teeth. Why do I have so many baby teeth? I'm not a baby." Hmmmm...I tried to explain to her that when she is between about 5-7 years old, she'll start losing her baby teeth and get "big kid" teeth like her brother. This then leads into the question, "When I turn 4, will I be as big as bubba?" Uh, no.... my sweet girl, you will probably never be as big as bubba. He's 3 1/2 years older and quite the tall boy himself. Ahh!

The signs of growing up are all around us now. She outgrew her ballet slippers that we bought in August and we had to buy new ones on the fly before her class this week. She is now wearing a size 12 shoe! Size 12?!? Her brother is only wearing a 1 1/2!!! I can't believe it! And when we looked at her old slippers, she told me she would have to give them to a baby now. A baby? But, L, you were just wearing these a week ago. Were you a baby then? It's funny to me, but anyone smaller than her or anyone wearing diapers is a baby even if they are her age.

Her last question last night before falling asleep...."Why did God give us hair on our arms? Good question, my gal, good question.

I love this girl. And my oh my, she has grown up so much this year of being 3. I'll tell you, my girl is not the same as she was a year ago. I'm so proud of how far she has come. It has been a struggle and some days Lance and I didn't know if we'd make it, but the hard work has paid off. She is a joy.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

helpful hints

I'm hosting Bunco at my house this month. This Tuesday to be exact. And considering, both L and I've been sick the past week and now N is home sick from church today, I'm a little behind in the keeping of the house, if ya know what I mean. Plus...I am really feeling the need to scrub these germies outta the house.

So, while N sleeps and watches cartoons, I've been busy scrubbing this morning! I found this advice - FlyLady about making your sink shine. So, I've tried it this morning and it works! My stainless sink looks great! I'm not a fan of the stainless sink, but since the porcelain ones are in the neighborhood of $1,000...stainless is what this gal has.

Fly Lady has other helpful hints as well that I will be trying to sanitize this house!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Another birthday and the winner

Today is my mom's birthday. I'll not announce her age on this ole blog.

My mom is such an awesome person! Along with Lance and my dad, she is my biggest cheerleader. She is an encourager and great advice giver (even if I don't always follow it, I always listen and take it under advisement)

I'm thankful for all the help she has given me when I've had sick kiddos. She is extremely talented at all things homemaking -- cooking, sewing, decorating! I got my love of homes from her --- just wish I would have gotten the cooking and sewing!!!

My mom is loyal and has sacrificed so much for her family. She has nursed all of us thru surgeries, illness, and hard times.

One time in particular that will always stay with me is when N was only 4 months old. N had a TERRIBLE stomach virus which then Lance got as well. I was running back and forth trying to take care of them both, and trying to work and of course N is getting first shot. My mom came to stay with us and risk getting this terrible virus herself. She stayed up all hours with me caring for these guys. On the last day, she fell into bed at 4pm with her blue jeans on and slept until the next morning. That is tired!

I'm so thankful for my mom. She has made my life better.

Happy Birthday Mom - I love you!

And the winner of the drawing contest.... it's Lacey
Lacey, I'll bring your gift card to the luncheon tomorrow! Congrats!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Can you name this guy? and HB SIL


This is a picture that N drew at school this week. I thought it looked really good and I could immediately tell who it was even though it's not labeled and he didn't tell me who it was. He scoffed at me and said, "I did that in about 10 seconds, I wasn't even trying."

This kid has an artistic touch. I think he's good. 'Course he is my child, so I may be a little biased. Or ALOT.

So, can you name who this drawing is of? I'm sorry for the poor quality - it was drawn on construction paper and I scanned it in.

Everyone who comments and gives the correct answer will be entered to win a $10 gift card. You have until noon on Thursday (2/19) to comment.


Today is my sister-in-law's birthday. She is 30-something today. As we would say in my family, she is in her young 30's!

M --- mother of 4
I --- incredible seamstress
N --- nine plus years being married to my brother
D --- decorator of cakes
Y --- young

Happy Birthday Mindy! Hope it's a great day for you!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Two miracles occured in our family last night and they were both HUGE!

The first involved N. He had decided last fall that he in fact no longer liked soccer. Despite the fact that we had already paid for the entire year and HELLO, Lance is the coach! So, we told him, too bad, you will finish out the year. Next year, you can pick another sport or activity, but this year it's soccer. Well, last night was the 1st practice of the spring semester and I was a wee bit nervous. But! He ran in the front door after practice last night and he had a good time. No, not good, GREAT! He scored goals, ran fast, and most importantly listened to the coach (aka Dad) Yippee N!

The second miracle involved L. She succesfully took her bath and got into bed. Not only without screaming, but with a great big hug for me and a great attitude for Lance! I'm so proud of her! So, tonight, I promised her that I would read her story and tuck her in. We'll see if she is able to maintain her sweetness for me.

Today a woman who has already raised 3 children told me, "Being the parent of small children is an extremely tough job. It's exhausting, and stressful and you think it will break you. Hang in there, you are doing a good job. Someday, you will look around and realize that you are no longer disciplining your children every 5 seconds, you will get to enjoy the fruits of all the discipline you are doing now." I needed to hear that. I think all parents need to hear that from time to time. Being a good parent is hard work and sometimes it's tempting to give in. But a good parent won't give in, they'll keep working and trying their best. Our children deserve our best. So, to all you parents of young children (and not so young!) hang in there! We can do it! And if you ever need a break, call me and let's commiserate!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I heart houses!

One of my passions in life is Interior Design. Duh, that's why I went to school got my degree and became a designer. What you may not know is that I don't feel like my expertise is in the "decorating" portion of design. I feel way more gifted in the space-planning and functional layout portion of the process. This is why I work in commercial design instead of residential. But even with this love of design, I don't have a budget to match my love. Thankfully, design has evolved and changed and you don't have to be a multi-millionaire to have a nice home and sometimes the simple, small home is actually more welcoming than the huge one!

This post is an excellent one about just that. I love how she shows what her family chose to do and the result is beautiful and warm and cozy.

Our house doesn't have a 2-story living room, but it does have a 2-story entry and it is a bit overwhelming. I know when the time to paint comes, we will have to hire professionals. So, lesson learned...if we ever buy another home, we'll think carefully before having 2-story rooms. And, I truly believe you could build a new house every year and still not get it "right". There are always things you love about a home and always things you would change. And some of the things you love right now, you might not be able to stand in 10 years. It's a process and the most welcoming homes are those that slowly morph and transform over time. Not those that are instantly "decorated" the moment they are moved into.

My love of houses has been a life-long one. My parents took me with them to look at model homes and that is when I fell in love. I began drawing floorplans in 4th grade and looking back I can tell they were not good design at all. It was a straight hallway from the front door to the back door. But, as time went by, my skills improved. The childhood love turned into a career and a passion.

Makes me wonder....will N's passion for volcanos, trains, and earthquakes and his skill at building and design lead him into becoming an amusement park ride designer? You never know!!!

Will L's passion for cooking and animals lead her into developing gourmet canned food for animals? Or leadchef at a pet spa? Or maybe if you add in her daredevil skills she could be part-time stunt woman/part-time chef to the animals in movies.

I can't wait to see where God leads their passions. And it may be that they have a "desk job" during the week and follow their passion on the weekend and that's okay too!