Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Today Is Your Birthday!

Happy Twenty-Third Birthday Savannah!

Twenty-three years ago you were born very early, very little, and to parents that didn't have a clue as to what to do with a baby. Like most new mommies I was in awe of this bundle that I was now totally responsible for. But you made being a mom easy.

For the past twenty-three years you have filled our lives with joy. Your sweet spirit and gentle personality are such a blessing to us. You have surpassed all expectations that we ever had for you and we could not be more proud of the gracious,beautiful young woman you have become.

At twenty-three you have your whole life before you. I can't wait to see the wonderful things you do with it. I know you will make a huge impact on this world because you have already made such a difference in ours.

We love you Savannah! Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Ties That Bind

It's been a sad week for our family. We said goodbye to my mother-in-law as she entered into eternal rest on Thanksgiving morning. Her passing was unexpected and there are many things that she brought to this earth that will be missed but there are many things that she left behind that will forever make a difference in peoples lives. Probably the most important being her love of family and the strong familial bond that she instilled in her children.

No one can grow up in a family and leave home after eighteen years and not take some "stuff" when they go. Both tangible stuff and the proverbial "baggage" that we acquire while growing up. Stuff like unmet expectations, sibling rivalry, etc. etc. We can all fill in the etc. part with our own junk. I know this first hand because I am a regular old bag lady when it comes to carrying around stuff from my past! But I learned this week that baggage can be "checked" and hopefully stay forever in the unclaimed baggage area.

When my husband and his family knew that my mother-in-laws time was growing small, he called me and asked if I would like to come and visit her one last time in the hospital. I knew she was hooked up to machines and that seeing her that way would be difficult so I declined at first, but God really put it on my heart that I needed to visit her. Little did I know that in doing so he would bless me with the beauty of one of his finest creations - the love of family. The hours I spent in that hospital room were difficult but hidden in the ashes of impending loss was the beauty of family. There was no space in the small hospital room for baggage of any sort only room for the love of a family as they said goodbye to their mother and helped her transition from this world into the next. She left this earth knowing that she was loved, that her children loved one another, and that the family bond that she had sewn through the years was stronger than any past transgressions and too big to fit into any sort of baggage.

Sandie was very talented in many art forms but by far her greatest masterpiece was her family. I see it in the way my husband loves his family and works hard to provide for us. I see it in my sister-in-laws as they love their families and delight in their grandchildren, and I see it in her grandchildren as they love and care for their own young families. That love doesn't just happen. It has to start somewhere.

Thank you Mimi for loving your family!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Effective Embarrassment

Everybody knows that teachers of young children have certain inalienable rights. Such as the right to sing off key without judgement, the right to use a whole bottle of hand sanitizer in one day during flu season, and my all time favorite teacher perk: the right to wear goofy shirts that you would otherwise never dream of wearing. You know what I'm talking about.... everybody has picked up a shirt while shopping and thought to themselves " Who wears a shirt like this?". Chances are a preschool teacher does.

I have a shirt like that. Okay I probably have a couple of shirts like that, but my all time favorite hideous shirt is my turkey shirt that I only get to wear once a year on our school Thanksgiving Feast day. It has a giant multi-colored turkey embroidered across the entire front of the shirt and every year when I wear it my five-year-old students think I'm the coolest thing since Scooby-Doo fruit snacks.

Yesterday was our Feast day so it was time to break out the good-ole turkey shirt. It's getting a little thread bare since I have had it over 10 years and I swear each year it shrinks a little more(!) but I will keep it around until it falls apart.

After school I went to pick up Trey from school since he is still on strict parental control and will be until his History teacher emails dad and tells him he is the model student. Here is how our conversation went when he got into the car:

Me: Hey Trey, how was school?
Trey: Good ( yep he is a natural born conversationalist)
Me: Hey guess what? You get to go to Hobby Lobby with me!
Trey: (Heavy Sigh) Great. (Then he looks over at me) Ugh! and you have that turkey shirt on too!

Double Whammy of embarrassment! Not only did he have to go to Hobby Lobby with his mom who was wearing a crazy turkey shirt, he had to stand in line behind me and buy a cake pan so I could use both of my 40% off coupons!

I'm thinking we will be hearing from his History teacher soon on how much his behavior has improved in her class.

Never underestimate the power of public humiliation!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cheers to Experienced Teachers

Sometimes you can just tell when a teacher has been "around the block" a time or two. I love enthusiastic new teachers with grand plans and fabulous ideas, but there is nothing better than a seasoned teacher that knows some good tricks.

Case in point: Trey's history teacher.

It seems my son was acting up and being disruptive with his buddy at the end of class yesterday. Somehow that doesn't come as a surprise to me. Anyway in her infinite wisdom ( and much experience teaching Jr. High) she explained to Trey and his partner in crime that she would be making a call to their parents and asked them which parent she should call. Of course Trey said his mother... and so the teacher knew to call dad.

Kudos to you Mrs. American History teacher!

There is nothing like a call to dad, at work to ensure that the discipline problem will be addressed.

Addressed it was!

In addition to having to apologize to his teacher ( e-mail will verify that it has been done),and being grounded for an undetermined amount of time, Trey is now on strict parental control. He gets a ride in moms loser cruiser each morning right up to the front of the school so I can watch him go straight into the building ( I stopped short of making him give me a kiss goodbye... but I considered it) and he gets to see me waiting to drive him home each day after school. Plus he is sentenced to a weekend of hard labor with his dad. He doesn't have to tell us how happy he is with this arraignment... we can see it in his body language.

So here's to wise secondary teachers everywhere who know how to use reverse psychology on teenagers! May you continue the good work!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Still Alive and Well

Wow it's hard to believe that it has been almost a whole month since I have posted! I guess there has not been anything blog worthy to post about.... but come to think of it, that has never stopped me from posting before, so I guess there is really no explainable reason for my absence except for the usual work,family, school reasons.

This semester I am only taking one class but... Horrors!!!.... It's a fitness class! OMG! I have to work out at least five times a week! Yes five times a week and strolling through the mall does not count as a work out! It's probably one of the hardest classes I have ever taken.
Okay I'm being dramatic I admit but really those people that say they love their workouts have got to be lying. I signed up for the class shortly after my break-up with Twinkie and the gang so I thought there would be some noticeable differences in my physique. HA! The workouts have made me hungrier than a horse, and well a woman on the rebound after a painful breakup doesn't always think clearly.

I have a new BFF:

I think it is ironic that it is dressed in what appears to be workout clothes. I don't know if that is to subliminally trick people into thinking Oreos are healthy, or if it is to remind you that you will have to work your butt off once you eat one. Nonetheless, they are yummy and I love them.

Since I'm starting to come down from my Halloween sugar high, I will end this post by sharing some Halloween memories. When we first moved to our block ten years ago, the dad's on the block were in charge of taking the kids trick-or-treating while the moms gathered together outside to hand out candy - and possibly indulged in a few adult type beverages. Oh those were the days when I had three little beggars out there bringing home sacks of candy! But seasons change and while we still gather outside to hand out candy, the dads no longer have to pull their beverages in a rolling cooler and instead they get to sit with the moms, and our grown children to hand out candy. Trey and his buddies are still hanging onto that one little bit of childhood and they decided to go out and see how fast, how far, and how much candy they could get. Here is a before picture of them:

I sometimes miss the days when these boys would come and play transformers or climb the tree outside for fun. Now they are into girls and trying to act cool.

Here is a picture of them ready to go hunting for candy. You can see they don't have that cool thing down yet!

Those little boogers crack me up sometimes!

Well my body tells me that this time change stuff is for the birds and even though the clock says it is only 8:30, I'm going to bed anyway! Till next time!

Monday, October 5, 2009


This weekend was Ciara's last Homecoming as a student. Next year if she wants to attend she will have to do so as an alumnus. I can hardly believe that! I was gone this weekend on an absolutely awesome retreat, and the only down side to that was the fact that I missed her all prettied up for the dance. Thankfully her big sis came over and took lots of pictures for me. Here are a few:

Here she is with her gigantic mum. This is only worn to school on the Friday of Homecoming, but she posed with it in the picture.

Awww aren't these sisters pretty! Just for the record, I want to thank Savannah for picking out a bridesmaid dress that her sister could actually wear twice!

Finally, here is one of her on the Homecoming float for the last time!

Just for good measure and because once you have teenagers it is your duty to embarrass them, here is one of her dressed up for nerd day:

Without a doubt I'm going to miss these days!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mall Madness

Trey and I went to the mall together last week. That sounds so inconsequential, but trust me it was a big deal that he asked to go shopping for clothes! The boy usually follows his dad's fashion advice which is "let the woman in your life buy your clothes, and wear whatever she brings home". So things must have been desperate for him to initiate a shopping trip.

With the girls a "shopping trip" is an event that usually involves lunch at the tea room, stops at numerous stores, much trying on, and searching for matching accessories. I guess it was silly of me to hope that Trey might want to spend the day at the mall with his mom. My first idea that this was a desperation trip and not a pleasure outing was when we exited our neighborhood and stopped at the gas station. There were some girls about his age hanging around and he immediately slouched down into the seat. Since he is a guy and I'm not, it is understood that he is the gas station attendant when he is with me but apparently it is not cool to be seen in a Volvo station wagon with your mom on a Saturday afternoon. ( or at any other time which is why my kids refer to my car as the loser cruiser) Who knew??? So I spared him the social suicide that he would be committing by pumping my gas and did it myself while he cowered low in his seat.

Apparently my son inherited his fathers shopping prowess because it took us approximately 30 minutes and two stores and we were back in the car with enough clothes to last him the whole school year.

There was no tea room, he never came out of the dressing room to ask my opinion, and he was not a bit interested in any matching accessories. But on the upside I made it home in time to catch the Michigan game so it turned out to be a pretty good afternoon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

I do one healthy thing for my body each morning. I make a kefir shake with blueberries and flax oil,acai powder, omega 3 fish oil, and any other healthy sounding thing that I can throw in there for good measure.

After that I party like a rock star with my BFF's Little Debbie, Frito Bandito, and Twinkie the Kid.

Sadly Twinkie and I have partied together so much over the past few years, that I'm starting to resemble him.

He pulls off the whole western wear thing so much better than I do.

So I've decided that it's time to part ways with my pals and try to find new healthier friends before my family puts me on an episode of Intervention.

So goodbye Deb,Frito and Twinkie! We had some good times together, but our relationship is not a healthy one. Please don't take it personally when I pass right by you at the grocery store and pretend I don't even know you. You see I can't even stop to admire you because I might be tempted to bring you home... and well... we know what that will lead to. So it's best to just wish you a fond farewell.

I won't forget you..... mostly because the evidence of our trysts lingers on my rear end and jelly belly but non-the-less, it was a good run while it lasted.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Some Things Get Better With Age

Tomorrow my husband and I will be married for 24 years. I would love to go back and ask the people at our wedding if they thought we would make it to 24 years. I'd be willing to bet a number of them would have said no. But here we are all these years later still hanging in there. Last night in celebration he took me to a fondue restaurant with some friends. It was fun and yummy and I recognize the sacrifice on his part because I know he would have preferred a side of beef cooked over a fire and served man-style instead of having to skewer little tidbits of vegetables and meat and cook them in a pot on the table. So in honor of 24 years, I give you 24 reasons I love my husband not in any particular order. Just a side note, I left out the many "personal" reasons I love him so as not to gross out my children.

1. He played a major role in the production of our three terrific children.

2. He has seen me at my best and my worst and has never made me feel less attractive or desirable to him.

3. He can fix just about anything.

4. He is a talented guitar player.

5. I love the way he is passionate about his faith and beliefs.

6. He is a great artist and can see potential in just about anything.

7. I love how he will help anyone who needs a hand with something.

8. He is a great cook.

9. I love how he loves our country and never fails to thank our military personnel for their service.

10. I love the logical side of him. It offsets my irrational side.

11. He sometimes rubs my feet after a long day.

12. He always gives people the benefit of the doubt when I tend to question motives and reasons.

13. He can keep his cool in stressful situations.

14. He has patience when teaching someone something new.

15. I love how he doesn't gross out when having to do yucky stuff like burying dead animals or playing doctor to a hurt dog.

16. He never complains that the house is messy but will tell me it looks good when I have spent the day cleaning it.

17. He is a loyal friend,brother,son etc.

18. I love how he is quick to forgive and never holds a grudge.

19. He has wicked-mad computer skills.

20. I love how he makes me laugh.

21. He is an awesome dad and loves our children more than life itself.

22. I love how he loves to be home with his family. He rarely if ever goes out after work or on weekends.

23. I love how I can volunteer him to do things and make things for church and school and he never complains about it.

24. I love how he has stuck with me and put up with my stuff for the last 24 years!

I could have written many more reasons, but I will save them for the next anniversary post. Here is a wedding picture of us. Remember it was the 80's so you must excuse the fashion choices, and for the record, P had a much more pronounced mullet, but he photo-shopped a majority of it off! That is totally not fair because he should have photo-shopped that flying saucer off of my head while he was at it!!! I love you honey! Happy Anniversary!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What If?

The weeks leading up to the start of school are pretty busy around here. There are supplies to buy, school open houses to attend, haircuts to get, and new clothes to buy. For me it also means time for my yearly well woman check up.

You know the one that we girls always look forward to.

After my appointment as I was leaving the doctor's office the receptionist told me that if everything came back alright I would get an automated call with the test results but if there was a problem they would call me from the office. Yesterday I glanced at my seldom used cell phone and I had a voice mail from the doctors office asking me to please call them about my tests. Immediately I knew that something was not right but of course by the time I got the message the office was already closed.

The rational person in me kept saying that these things are common and often nothing to worry about but the irrational worrisome person in me kept making my thoughts turn to the "what-ifs".

The next fifteen hours were spent dwelling on the "what-ifs" When I called the doctor first thing the next morning I was told that while the results were abnormal they didn't feel that it was due to anything major and for me to come back in for a recheck in six months. Suddenly the "what-ifs" evaporated and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. Then I thought about all of the women that get that same call but with different results and instead of being able to be thankful and relax, the "what-ifs" become their reality. I found myself saying a prayer for those unknown women who are suddenly dealing with that unwanted news.

For the next six months I will be able to go about my everyday life and not have to give those test results a second thought. Some women are not that fortunate. For them those test results have changed their lives forever. I will never meet them face to face, but I will keep them in my prayers with the understanding that one day I may be confronting those "what-ifs".

Saturday, August 22, 2009

School Days

I remember that August of 1992. She was starting Kindergarten and although it is an inevitable right of passage that she had to take that didn't make it any easier for her mommy who now had to share her with the world. I couldn't even go outside to watch her get on that bus. A friend had to take pictures for me while I watched through a window sobbing as she drove away. Everyone told me that she would be fine, and of course she was but sending her out into the big bad world that day was the hardest thing I had ever done.

In August of 1999 she was starting seventh grade. That age is hard for anyone but add to that the fact that we had moved that summer and she was starting a brand new school and suffice to say we were all stressed about school starting. This time I was able to watch her drive off but tears of worry came when I was safely hidden in my home. Deep down I knew it would all be alright but it was a long anxious day as I waited for her to come home so I could hear all about it.

This past Friday I went to visit her after her busy week of teacher orientation, room set up and lesson planning. This time it was her turn to cry from frustration, information overload, and anticipation. Again I know deep down inside it will be alright. But I have a feeling tomorrow will be an anxious day as I wait to hear all about it.

There might even be a few tears shed.

Savannah you will do a great job!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Just Call Me Cleopatra Queen of Denial

A couple of weeks ago Savannah was visiting and she logged on to show us the cute little e-card that Greg had sent her. Oh Newlyweds! It was cute and had a silly song that all of us are still walking around the house singing. Anyway a couple of days later I opened my e-mail and found that my husband had sent me something as well! How sweet! It was entitled Info for you.. hmmm could it be a " Just wanted to tell you I love you" or "You are the best wife in the world". Nope. It was a link to an article that was entitled "Peri menopause - The Beginning Of Hormone Change"

Sorry ladies, this Mr. Romance is all mine!

So what if I recently brought another fan into our room because I can't seem to get cool at night. Big deal if I only have a couple of pairs of pants left in my closet that I don't have to unbutton to sit down comfortably. I don't have mood swings, it is just that everyone else acts in irritating ways. None of these could possibly point to me being Peri-menopausal.

But I read the article anyway. Not because I think it applies to me, but because I have some friends that are older than I am and I want to be supportive when they go through these changes.

It was actually quite informative and I decided to get a few books on the subject for when that time comes. So I spent a good portion of last week reading up on bio identical hormones and supplements and such. The irony was that I consumed half a bag of Hershey's Kisses while doing so. Strange how not one of those book talked about the healing powers of Hershey's Kisses for Pre- Pre -Pre -Peri-menopausal women!

Oh I know my husband loves me and is just looking out for my health ( and his well being) so I didn't get upset about the very unromantic e-mail. But just remember honey Peri-menopause is just a preview of the real thing! You might want to look into a hobby that takes you out of the house a lot, and while your at it buy a few shares of stock in Hershey. I have a feeling their profits are going to go up.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Birthdays Past and Future

I had a birthday this weekend. It made me think of my past birthdays. Of course I don't remember all of them, but some I do remember. A few I can't figure out why I remember them because they weren't really that monumental but I guess they just made an impression on me. Come take a walk down memory lane with me.....

In 1975 I turned ten years old. I got three albums that year! I no longer had to use my siblings albums when they weren't looking because now I had my own. I remember I got Toys In The Attic by Aerosmith, Welcome To My Nightmare by Alice Cooper, and Venus and Mars by Wings. I was ten years old people! What were my parents thinking????? Alice Cooper, Aerosmith, ten years old!!!! Maybe that is why that birthday sticks out in my mind because even then I knew I wasn't supposed to be listening to that stuff....

In 1981 I turned sixteen. I was still basking in the glow of watching Diana Spencer marry her real live Prince and become a princess a few days earlier. All was right in the world - fairy tales do come true and I was getting my drivers license!

When I turned twenty I was planning my wedding that was going to take place one month later. I don't remember how I spent that birthday except that I'm sure I did something wedding related.

My thirtieth birthday was spent lying in a hospital bed crying my eyes out all day long. I suppose it had a little to do with turning thirty and a lot to do with the fact I had had my third child the day before and I was very hormonally imbalanced.

My fortieth birthday celebration lasted a couple of days and involved beautiful beaches, dolphins and spending a couple of nights in George Bush's bed. Just writing that makes me laugh because it sounds so decadent. For the record, nobody even remotely related to the Bush family was in the bed while I was in it. So National Enquirer reporters stay away.

Sometime after my fortieth birthday I realized that I had probably celebrated more birthdays than I will celebrate in the future. Not exactly a happy thought, but it put things in perspective. Now instead of expecting elaborate gifts or parties, just time spent with friends and family is the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of a new year in my life. That's why my forty-fourth birthday was great. Family, good food, good friends... what more could a girl want?

So here's a little nugget of wisdom for future generations to take away from this:

Whether your birthday is spent in a hospital bed or a presidents bed, if your family and friends are with you it's all good.

I hope Hallmark gives me credit when they use that quote in a birthday card!

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Letter To My Son On His Birthday

My son does not read my blog, nor has he ever expressed an interest in reading it, so I know he will not see this on his birthday. I hope that one day in the distant future he will read it and appreciate it.

Dear Trey,

Has it really been fourteen years since you came into our lives?

I'll save you the details of the long and painful labor and delivery that brought you into this world ( but you will hear them one day.. count on that) and just tell you how very blessed we have been since the day God gave you to us.

At the age of fourteen you are on the cusp between boyhood and becoming a man. I can hear it in the way your voice is changing and I can see it in the way that suddenly you are taller than me. Right now it is so important to you to fit in and be accepted by your peers. The part of you that is becoming a young man tries so hard to play it cool. No longer is it acceptable to hug your mom and tell her that you love her - that's okay, she knows. Girls have become interesting to you, and I no longer have to remind you to take care of your personal hygiene. I wondered if that day would ever come! But sometimes that part of you that is still clinging to boyhood comes out and I welcome it because I know it is just a matter of time before that little boy is all but gone.

I don't know what the future holds for you, but I know who holds your future and I pray daily that you will know that too. In your lifetime you will be faced with both joy and challenges. There will be times when you feel that life can't possibly get better and all is right in the world, and there are going to be times when you will be faced with things that will have you doubting yourself, humanity, and your faith. All I can tell you to prepare you for those times is to persevere. When you doubt yourself, know that there are people in this world that see your infinite potential and that wholeheartedly believe in you. When you doubt humanity remember that we can't control other people but we can control how we react to them and that in the end good will always triumph over evil. And when you doubt your faith just know that even when we don't feel him, God is always with us. He loves you too much to leave you and even though there are things in this life that we will never understand this side of heaven, all things work together for our good.

So as you start your fourteenth year on this earth I hope it will be filled with great memories and few trials. But most importantly, remember that your family loves you no matter what and we will always be here for you.

Happy Birthday Trey!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Grading on a Curve is Good

God bless my African professor who speaks minimal English and grades on a generous curve!

I passed my test.

One down two to go.

Then I will never have to think about Geology again. Unless I happen to be gem shopping. Which would be a good thing.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Adventures of a College Coed

Just in case you are interested, the Geology test that I was so worried about was infinitely harder than I even imagined!!!! No grade yet but I'm not very optimistic about it.

After he gave us the written part he sent the class out of the room so he could set up the lab portion of the test. I felt better after commiserating with the rest of the class in the hall because apparently the test was difficult for everyone. Even my sweet little lab partner whose brain cells are half the age of mine.

My poor lab partner. I'm sure when she signed up for this class she envisioned having a cute, young, male, student to help her classify rocks and minerals. Instead she got me. She did however invite me to her really cool twenty first birthday party. There was going to be a keg and everything!!! I told her how fun it would be because I could exchange recipes with her mother. I swear to you when I said that to her she looked at me like I had just shot a booger at her or something. She said in a very repulsed tone "How old ARE you?????"

I thought about lying..... but it was too late.

I told her I was about to be forty-four and reminded her that forty is the new thirty. She said "Wow I would have guessed thirty-five"

OMG! I truly considered giving her a big kiss for saying that. But I figured that would get me uninvited from the really cool keg party.

Okay, Okay, big deal she guessed my age slightly younger than it actually is. If you are under the age of forty that probably means nothing to you, but at this season of my life I will take a compliment where ever I can get one. Besides I'm sure she really meant it and she wasn't just saying it to suck up to me because I'm the one who copies the notes off of the board while she plays with her I-Phone.

Unfortunately the really cool keg party starts right about the time that I'm already in bed watching the news so that means I won't be able to make it.

That's really too bad because I could use some new recipes.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My oldest daughter Savannah has become a domestic diva. She has taken to being a wife and keeper of the home like a duck to water. On her blog she always post her wonderful finds and money saving tricks. So today we went shopping together and she helped me save some moolah too! We didn't set out to go to the grocery store but on the way home we decided to stop and since she is a coupon queen, she had her big binder of coupons in her car so she shared some and this is what I came home with:

I brought home two packages of cookies, two bags of sugar, a gogurt, toothpaste, twenty packages of kool-aid, five vitamin waters, a bottle of hand soap, a deodorant, and a body spray for $11.01. Not bad for a novice. It really is fun to see how much you can get for just a little bit of money. Ciara was with us and she enjoyed watching the savings as well. She decided she is definitely going to coupon when she goes to college. I don't know if I will ever become an expert like Savannah, but it sure was fun shopping, saving, and hanging out with my girls.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Allow Me A Moment On My Soap Box

I feel a rant coming on. The past few days of the coverage of the whole Michael Jackson circus has finally gotten to me.It is all over the television, radio, Internet and the papers. Enough is Enough!

Just in case you are interested here is my take on the whole thing.

Yes it is sad that he died. It is especially sad because he left three young children without a father.

Yes he was immensely talented. I, like most other people who came of age in the eighties, grew up listening to his music. There are some songs that will forever remind me of my high school days.

Yes in many ways his life was tragic. He was used by family and so called friends all of his life and in reading about the show that was put on as a funeral, he was even used in death for people to promote their own self interests.

But he was not a God. In fact he was downright kooky and by all accounts a pervert that hurt children in ways that they will never recover from. It sickens me that those things were conveniently swept under the rug as the public elevated him to a "Divine Being" status.

There are two particularly saddening results of all of this. His children being one. What sad lives they have already had and it doesn't look like it will get better for them. First their mother gladly washes her hands of them for a price. Then they are raised in who knows what kind of environment, and now they are thrust into the spotlight and will undoubtedly be fought over if there is a chance that a nice inheritance is connected to them. Certainly their paternity and upbringing will be called into question. They will probably hear things about their father and themselves that no child should have to be exposed to. Most likely they will inherit their fathers legacy of being used by "well meaning" people.

But as a Christian, the most disheartening part of all of this to me is what now for Michael? Where is he spending eternity? Contrary to what Brooke Shields may think, he is not sitting on some crescent moon somewhere looking down on the world like a magical fairy.

I can hear some people now. " Oh please, if God is so good surely he would welcome someone as caring as MJ with open arms" or "How can you sit in judgement of someone else?" Let me just say I don't know where MJ is now. Only God knew his heart and who knows what happened in the final moments of his life. God's forgiveness is available to anyone who asks and believes. The account of the criminal on the cross next to Jesus shows that. But there is a good possibility that forgiveness was not sought. Perhaps he didn't believe in all that "God Stuff". How sad for him if he didn't because here is what I know:

We are all going to die and we will all be held accountable for how we chose to live our lives here on earth. God is not impressed by what type of cars, clothes, jobs, houses or any other material things we have. He is only concerned with the heart of humanity. Not perfection. That is impossible for us. But a faithful, believing heart that is inside a person who is trying to be the best that they can be to God's glory.

We are all given different lives to live. Some have money, fame, and notoriety. Some have very little and strive to make it through another day. Most of us fall in between the two. But in the end we will all face our creator and we will either hear; "Well done good and faithful one" or " You knew me not". I don't want to be on my death bed one day wondering what I will hear on the other side.

I'm stepping off my soap box now.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Summer Daze

I woke up this morning and said yay! It's Independence Day! Then I realized that my summer is almost half over. If you are a teacher you know that feeling.

I realized that I have not gotten any of what I had planned on doing done at all. On the last day of school I told myself I would "just take a week off" and then I would tackle my to-do list. My list consisted of closet cleaning, bedroom organizing, kitchen remodeling, serious dieting, lots of book reading, and some margarita sipping.

My "week off" turned into five weeks off. So far the only thing I have managed to do on my list is some margarita sipping. The closets are still busting at the seams, the bedroom organization and kitchen remodeling are bigger than I had anticipated, the diet.... Ha Ha... and the book reading has been minimal.

So I've decided with my remaining six weeks of summer vacation I will simplify and focus on just a couple of things on the list.

Hmmmm what ever will I choose???

You guessed it. Since I have already invested a little time in margarita sipping and a just a bit in book reading, I think I will stay focused on those two things until I have them perfected.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Its Hot And My Brain Is Melting

Well the boy made it home from camp... Other than the fact he came home with hot pink fingernails, I have every reason to believe he had a fun spiritually enriching week.

I did make it into his room to clean and I lived to tell about it. The best part of cleaning out a long neglected closet is rediscovering long lost treasure.

We rediscovered the marshmallow gun.

Since it is too hot to even breathe outside we spent the morning shooting marshmallows at our dogs. Because really, watching mini marshmallows bounce off of your dogs heads while they try to catch them in their mouths just never gets old.

We need to get out more.

Don't worry! We really do love our dogs and believe me they enjoyed being pelted with marshmallows every bit as much as we enjoyed doing it. A good time was had by all.

Since my brain is melting do to this ungodly heat, and I'm on the topic of dogs, I came across this picture and I actually laughed out loud.

His name is Pee Wee and surprise, surprise he won the ugliest dog contest a few years back. The owner actually paid $1000.00 for him at a pet store!

I think we should just do away with the Miss USA contest and have The Ugliest Dog contest. I guarantee the ratings would go back up and I can promise you Pee Wee has never had any controversial augmentations and he has absolutely no opinion on gay marriage.

I have already sent Donald Trump a letter outlining my proposal. I'll let you know when I hear back from him.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Every Boy Needs a Ditch to Play In

My baby boy left for church camp yesterday.

Can I get an Amen to that????

My plans are to venture into his room and give it a good cleaning.

I hope my haz-mat suit gets here soon. I'm more than a little apprehensive about what I might find.

On the up side, I will probably get some good sleep this week because his neighborhood comrades will not be going with him and I'm pretty sure there is not a bayou to play in at camp.

There is just something about a big ditch that is muddy, smelly, and has who knows what living in it that makes it irresistible to young boys. This being Houston we have a lot of bayous in our area, and anytime Trey says he is going to "hang out" with his friends it's pretty much a guarantee they are going to make their way to the bayou. When he gets home the drill is - go straight into the shower and then bring me the stinky clothes. After he is clean the conversation will usually come around to him telling us what type of fun he had in the mud and muck. Here is a partial list of things he has done at the bayou through the years:

Peed on a snake. - That was a proud mama moment.
Fished a bike out of the mud because he was sure he it was a fixer-upper. - It wasn't.
Had mud fights. - I love my washing machine.
Found a cat's skeleton. - Lovely
Found matches and burned stuff. - OMG!
Skateboarded in his underwear in the bayou. OMG! Again!

Lest I ruin my June Cleaver image and have you think that there are no governing rules about the bayou, I have to clarify that there are certain times when it is off limits and the boys know it. Like when we had Hurricane Ike and the bayou was actually doing what it was designed to do, keeping flood waters out of Houston, the boys were not allowed to go near it. But most of the time there is little or no water in it and it is relatively safe to go around it. Well at least that is what I tell my self but "safe" might be too strong of a word.

So when he came home from "hanging out" on Friday, after he took a shower and brought me the usual stinky clothes to be washed, he told me that he and the guys came up with a great new game called "Nutball" Remember the ages of these boys..... the name Nutball should be taken literally.

The gist of the game was to take pears off of a nearby tree and try to hit the other opponents in their.... well.... Nutballs.

Lord help me I will never understand boys!

When I asked him how a game like that could possibly be fun, he told me it was a lot of fun as long as you were winning..... that made sense. In the end he was able to walk home and I didn't get any calls from the other moms stating they had to make a trip to the ER, so I guess the game ended alright.

When I dropped him off yesterday I told the youth pastor that I hoped there would be a lot of bible reading, hymn singing and time for quiet introspection at camp this week. I also told her not to let Trey be in charge of games. I don't think that church camp is ready for a rousing game of Nutball.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Since we like to cling to our guns and religion down here in the south, I gave him a gift certificate to get his concealed handgun license, and now we are getting ready to go to church!

I love you honey!

You are a great dad!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Forever Your Girl

Long before Paula Abdul was a semi-sober judge on American Idol, she used to have a song called "Opposites Attract". As much as I hate to admit it, I really kind of liked that song. It was the anthem on which my husband and I based our marriage..... Okay not really!!!! But I believe that on some levels it is the opposites in a marriage that are the key to a lasting relationship. Of course nobody has ever come to me for marital advice, so I could be wrong. But it seems to work for me and my husband.

He is a true country boy at heart. To him a good day is getting on the tractor in the middle of the Texas summer, and working until the sun goes down. I prefer to slather on my SPF 50, sit on my well padded tush in the shade, and read a good book. He sometimes gets involved in projects around the house and forgets to eat. I sometimes have so many projects around the house, I eat to forget. He doesn't like chocolate, I could live on it. He likes a big juicy steak from some manly restaurant, I like a spinach salad from the tea room. You get the picture... we are different.

So really it didn't surprise me when a few years back we were talking about old televisions shows and he confessed that he used to have a crush on Maryann from Gilligan's Island.

Well of course he did... she was a sweet, pretty country girl that probably enjoyed tractor rides. I on the other hand wanted to BE Ginger! She was always stylish, sophisticated, and oh man those clothes she brought on that three hour tour! Sure Maryanne looked cute in her short shorts and her occasional gingham dress, but come on, Ginger had the make up, designer gowns, and high heels! In my girlish mind there was absolutely no competition between the two.

Through the years we have learned to look past our superficial differences, and to appreciate the differences that complement each other.

My husband is the logical one when I tend to get emotional. He thinks things through when I tend to plow in head first and think later. He is a mechanical engineer type, and I don't even know how to use the television remote.

I suppose he has come to grips with the fact he started out a Maryann man that married a Ginger wannabe who somehow through the years has morphed into Mrs. Howell.... minus the millions.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

My Summer Outfit

I changed my blog clothes for the summer. Just like a girl needs a new outfit to make her feel refreshed, I figured my blog could use a little change. I'm not sure if I like it yet so I'm counting on some feedback. Be honest and tell me if you think this background makes my blog look big!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Reason I Have a Secret Stash of Tequila, Chocolate, and Haircolor

Summer has finally begun. The mess in my house and the lack of food in my kitchen prove it.

I only have a few more years of marking the start of summer by the last day of school. The sentimental mommy in me gets sad when I think about that, but the stressed out, tired of checking home work and making lunches mom in me is doing a little happy dance in anticipation.

The year went smoothly for Ciara and she did well in all of her classes. Trey on the other hand? To him school is just a necessary evil until he makes it big as the worlds best skateboarding guitar player. You gotta love those lofty goals of thirteen year old boys!

Oh how I love my sweet, laid-back, easy going son. From day one he has made us laugh with his silly antics. While this go-with-the- flow attitude worked to my advantage when he was a baby, it doesn't work well in a no-nonsense atmosphere like school and when it calls into question my parenting skills, all bets are off. I suppose this school year was destined to be the year that my parenting skills would be put to the test.

For some reason our school district decided that seventh grade was the perfect time for it's students to learn about the "birds and the bee's". Now I get the whole " kids are so much more mature now and getting into things at an earlier age" thing. I'm down with that. See just the fact that I can use such an edgy phrase proves that I'm in the know! But I have to say:

Sex talk + prepubescent boys = someones going to get in trouble.

That someone would be my son. Here is how the phone conversation went:

Me: Hello?
Trey: Ummm Mom?
Me: Yes Trey?????
Trey: Ummm I got in trouble in Science class today. Here's my teacher.
Ms. I can't believe I have to teach sex ed to these kids: Mrs. Treys mom, your son said something very inappropriate in our reproductive class today. I could have him removed for his remarks, but I'm giving him a second chance.

So when I hung up the phone I did what any other mom would do.

I blamed my husband.

I started wondering what he could have possibly said, and where could he possibly have heard it? It had to be from my husband. I remembered the time when he let him watch that Austin Powers movie even though I told him I didn't think it was a good idea, and he takes him to the shooting range, who knows what they talk about out there with all that testosterone in the air!

Now my son is quite smart, and he figured that there is no way his mom would freak out in front of his friends, so he brought his whole posse home with him after school that day. His friends aren't always the sharpest tools in the shed, but when they saw me sitting at the dining room table lying in wait for my victim, they knew it wasn't going to be pretty and they decided it was in their best interest to get out of here.

Here is how our confrontation went:

Me: I can't believe you did that!!! You are grounded forever!! You are going to take up quilting and bird watching and you will never watch another Austin Powers movie or go to that shooting range again!! Now tell me what you said!!!

Trey: I told a girl that her pee would turn green if she got pregnant.

Me: HUH?????

I think it's appropriate for us all to stop for a moment and thank the heaven's above that the boy has no aspirations to be an Obstetrician.

Okay, apparently the paper I signed that said there was zero tolerance in the class meant that there was ZERO TOLERANCE in the class! So when my husband came home and we talked about it and voiced our relief to one another that it was something so silly, we decided he would have to be grounded anyway for breaking the rules in class. But instead of being grounded for the rest of his life it was only for a weekend, and he ended up getting off early for good behavior.

Oh and I cancelled his quilting class.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rantings of a Walmart Shopper

Many years ago we used to have Kmart's here in Houston. In fact my first job ever was at Kmart. In the shoe department! And they paid in cash every Friday! All was right with the world back in those days. But then one day Kmart deemed Houston unworthy of their blue light specials and they closed all of the stores in the area.

I'm still a tad bit bitter about the whole thing.

Fortunately for me Walmart was waiting in the wings with open arms to help me and my money transition through the loss.

It took a while for me to get used to Walmart. After all any adept shopper knows that Walmart and Kmart are like apples and oranges so I had to work hard to adjust. But like an athlete in training I was diligent and before long it was as if Walmart and I had always known each other.

So imagine my horror when I went to my local Walmart this morning only to discover that they are doing a complete remodel! Nothing was where it was supposed to be. I asked one of the employees why they were defiling the store and I was told it was to "update" and "give the feeling of openness" to the store.

Oh Walmart I wish you would have come to me first!

If I want to shop at an updated, modern store I will shop at Target. I will choose familiarity to trendiness any day of the week. I take comfort in knowing where everything is in the store. I look forward to mindlessly wandering down the aisles tossing things into my basket and I don't want to have to think while I'm shopping.

I'm sure millions of dollars where spent on marketing experts to tell Walmart that if they put the toys closer to the food they would sell a few more Hannah Montana dolls. Or if they move the pharmacy to the middle of the store more people would get their prescriptions filled there. They could have saved a bundle and just consulted with the people that shop there on a regular basis. I would have told them to forget about the remodel and invest their money in customer service training for their employees.

I'm sure I will get over the initial shock and in time I will know the new layout of the store enough so I won't have to exert any brain power to find my way around. It just takes this old dog some time to learn new tricks.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Where DOES she get it?????

I was the fourth and last child born into my family. I will admit I was a tad bit spoiled. I don't know if it was because I was the baby or if my parents were just too tired after having three other children, but they had a tendency to give into my every whim. Well maybe not my every whim, but it's safe to say I got away with a lot of stuff. I was young enough for this to cause me to develop a bit of a "princess mentality". While this is cute in a four year old it's not so cute when it follows you into your teenage years.

On more than one occasion my mother would tell me " I hope when you have children, you have one just like you". I'm sure she meant it. In fact I'm sure there were a few rosaries said and candles lit with just that one prayer in mind. When she would say that to me I would agree with her. I mean, I was always right, and knew everything about everything, so who wouldn't want a mini-me?

Fortunately for me God is merciful. So far my children are infinitely less impetuous in their behavior than I ever was. Each one is much more sensible and level-headed than I was and they don't attempt nearly the type of antics that I did.

But my mothers prayers didn't fall on deaf ears and God felt we needed a little bit of nobility in our family so he gave us Ciara.

Ciara will be the first one to tell you she is a princess. She delights in that title and just like me when I was younger, she has a tendency to believe she is right more times than she is wrong and she will argue that fact until you believe it as well. Also like me she has a bit of a dramatic flair, and at times she has been known to don quite an "attitude".

But underneath that proverbial tiara is a sweet, fun loving, joyful girl that is beautiful from the outside in. She is passionate about her beliefs and disciplined in her studies. We love every bit of her from the top of her royal head to the tips of her royal toes.

It won't be long before she goes out into this big bad world and realizes that not everyone recognizes her for the princess she is. So when I send up my prayers for her, I pray that she remembers that God will always see her as his princess- no matter what the world might tell her - oh and that when she has children she has one just like her.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Little Bit Of This

One minute she looked like THIS:

And then we blinked and THIS great guy:

Was giving her THIS:

So then we got to experience THIS:

And last week we got to see her do THIS:

Congratulations Savannah! We are so proud of you! You are going to be an awesome teacher!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Eating Your Words Doesn't Taste Good, But At Least They Don't Have Any Calories

A lot of people in my family like to gamble. I did not get that gene. I have been to many casinos from Canada, Vegas, Mississippi, to Louisiana and gambled in each one, but after losing about ten bucks, I get whiny and eventually the people that I came with ditch me and I spend the rest of my time wandering around watching other people lose their money.

Yeah I know - I'm a real high-roller.

I think the reason behind my aversion to gambling is two-fold: One, I'm very cheap frugal, and two I just really stink at it. I have the track record to prove it.

I once bet my husband that he would never get our then six-year old daughter to go on a helicopter ride. - He did

I also once bet that the Oilers would go to the Super Bowl - They didn't

And Last year I bet that Michigan would surprise everyone and beat Ohio State - Nuff said.

Those are just a few examples of a long list of bets that I should have never made through the years. You would think I would have learned my lesson. But apparently my blondness trumps all common sense and I find that I have lost yet another bet.

If you are one of the three people that read this blog, you may remember when I wrote on April 14th that I didn't think I would ever get a Facebook page. (I would link to that post, but I'm not that blogger savvy, so you will just have to go to my older posts and read it) Lucky for me I did end that post with a disclaimer of sorts, because I find myself eating my words and I now have a Facebook page.

Ironically I don't really even remember the bet. It was made during a casual conversation on the playground of the school where I teach. But since there were witnesses I am a woman of my word, I have fulfilled my end of the bargain and joined the "in" crowd. Much to the horror of my children I'm sure.

So if you are on Facebook and would like to learn my betting strategies or would like some stock advice, feel free to look me up. I'm always willing to share my knowledge.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trivial Pursuit and Swatch Watches

So last night I had a weird dream that I was back in the 80's.

It could have been the glass of wine I had before retiring for the night.

Nonetheless, the fact that I would dream that I was back in the 80's is just plain strange to me. I mean here is a picture of me in the 80's:

Not exactly a fashion trend that my ample middle-aged body needs to revisit.

But in it's defense the decade of big hair and shoulder pads did hold some monumental milestones for me. During that time; I moved to the great state of Texas, graduated from high school, met and married my wonderful husband, forged lifelong friendships, had my first child, bought our first house, and experienced many other life shaping events.

My kids enjoy watching the show "I love the 80"s". Sometimes I sit down with them to watch it and revisit the days of my youth. They laugh when I reminisce about parachute pants, leg warmers, and of course all of the cool music of the eighties like Duran Duran, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, etc..

They seem to have a hard time understanding just how totally awesome I was in the eighties. Like Totally! I'm glad I have photographic proof such as the picture above.

I guess as I age I will enjoy strolling down memory lane more often. But, if I continue to dream about being back in the 80's I will seek professional help.... or lay off the wine before bedtime.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Powerful Video

This is probably one of the most powerful videos I have ever watched.

If you have a little bit of time, I highly encourage you to watch it. It's about 55 minutes long, but don't be daunted by the length. Make the time to watch it!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Different Season in Life

About a month ago my daughter had us over for the first time as a married woman. Greg ( my son-in-law) cooked up some yummy burgers on the grill and Savannah did a great job providing the rest of the goodies.

Here are a few pics:

Some wonderful lemonade. Isn't it picture perfect?

Really we didn't go to Martha Stewart's house. It was actually Savannah's house. I promise.

It was a new experience to be in her house and watching her act as hostess. Kind of like the "passing of the baton". I have had a lot of these types of new experiences since she became a wife. It's strange to be a mother and to not really be "mothering" anymore.

One day before she was married we were talking and I asked her what she would miss when she moved out. Curiously she said she would miss Monday Night Football. During football season, Monday nights have always been my night to actually watch television. Ever since she was little she and Paul would go into another room to watch something other than football while I would be yelling, jumping, and quite possibly swearing in the living room watching the game.

I told her what I would miss the most was our semi-impromptu weekend chats. For years, on Saturday mornings I would grab a cup of coffee and make my way upstairs to where the kids were still sleeping. I would open up the blinds in her room, make myself comfortable and just start talking. She would begrudgingly wake up and eventually Ciara, Trey and the dogs would find their way into the room, plop down on the bed, and we would do a lot of laughing, talking, making up songs etc. Those times were always the highlight of my week. Just enjoying my children.

Well, after dinner, the guys went to sit and watch a movie and we girls went in to check out Savannah's cute sewing room. Eventually, Trey made his way in there and then Greg followed. We ended up plopped all around the room laughing and talking. It was different but better because this time not only was I with my three biological children, I had the blessing of an extra by-marriage child to enjoy.

This being a mother of a married daughter and mother-in-law to a new son thing is going to be pretty fun. Now if only we could add some grand kids to the mix..................

Just Kidding Savannah. Take your time.......but not too long okay?

Monday, May 11, 2009

It's Berry Pickin Time!

The dewberries are starting to ripen!

If you don't know what a dewberry is, it is the country bumpkin cousin of the blackberry. While blackberries are fancy, and expensive, and come in cute little plastic containers at the grocery store, dewberries grow wild along railroad tracks and in fields. They aren't fancy or expensive, (free if you don't mind working for them) or come in cute plastic containers ( well ours was cute... it was a leftover Easter bucket), but they are just as yummy as their fancy-shmancy cousin.

So since it is dewberry season I had to gather the family and go get some! I was guaranteed lots of berries because I had convinced my children that berry picking was sooooooo much fun that they wouldn't want to miss it. Of course I failed to mention the heat, the stickers on the plants, or the occasional snake that likes to hang out in berry patches, so we set out with high hopes. I lost one half of my berry picking team when hubs and Trey decided that mowing and doing tractor stuff was much more manly imperative than filling our buckets with berries. Here are some pictures of them being manly productive.

Ciara and I struck out on our own. I have to say it was pretty slim pickins! There were a lot of red ones but not too many ripe ones. Here is what little we did find.

I may or may not have eaten half of these berries after the picture was taken. Suffice to say we came home with very few berries.

However, after celebrating Mothers Day at my moms house with all of my wonderful kids, my husband spotted some berry bushes in an undeveloped field on the way home. And since we had our rubber boots and coffee cans in the back of the car we decided to stop.

I know......"You might be a redneck keep rubber boots and coffee cans in the back of your car.... Anyhoo....

We hit the mother load! Look at all the yummy berries we brought home:

So today I made this:

Dewberry Jelly! Now before you go and get all impressed with my homemaking skills, this is supposed to be jelly, but it is more like dewberry syrup. It looks like I will have to re-do this batch to make it into jelly. I hate it when that happens! Oh well, there are still a few more weeks of dewberry season we will just have to go out and get some more.

Oh this last picture is specifically for my sister-in-law. Debbie I know you live in a parallel universe that doesn't get high speed Internet, but I hope you can get this picture. Remember those grape vines you guys planted all those years ago?

Look Grapes!!! The vines look pretty pitiful, and I don't think we will be having a grape stomp anytime soon, but I thought they were pretty cool!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Saddened Yet Inspired

Today we attended a funeral for an elderly gentleman in our church. Darrell was a gentle, unassuming man who befriended everyone he met. He was a greeter at our church and just this past Sunday he was there with his big smile and his friendly "Good Morning". He died later that evening in his sleep.

During the funeral they asked people to come up and speak about how this man had impacted their lives. The stories were as varied as the people that spoke, but the one thing that everyone remembered the most was Darrell's love. His love for his family, church, friends, and country. But most importantly was his obvious love for God. He lived his life each day with one purpose: to reflect God in all that he did, and he did an awesome job of it. How comforting for his family to hear how much he touched everyone he came in contact with. Even those who had only know him for a little while.

I suppose it is natural to reflect on your own life when you attend a funeral. After all death is an undeniable fact of life for all of us. But mixed in with the heavy sadness I felt today was a little bit of inspiration. Inspiration to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend and most importantly a better reflection of God's love. Not so someone will have something nice to say about me at my own funeral, but so that maybe something in the way I loved will have a positive impact on someone else's life. Just as Darrell's love did for so many.

I know he was not perfect, and I also know he would be the first person to point that out. In fact someone said that Darrell always felt like he could do more: Love more, give more, pray more, be God's hands and feet more. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we would all strive to do those things more?

Going into church this Sunday will be sad for everyone. Darrell won't be there with his big smile and his "Good Morning!" But because he spent his lifetime mirroring God's love, we can all rest in the knowledge that he will be up in Heaven ready to greet us when our time comes.

"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning"
Psalm 30:5

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Wow my blog has been neglected this week! The end of the school year is always busy for me and I have been working on our yearbooks so I haven't had time to post. Well that, and this week was particularly uneventful so there wasn't too much to post.

We did have fun last week at a crawfish boil! Here are a few pics:

There is just something about a pile of boiled crawfish in the middle of a picnic table covered with newspapers that turns the average person into a pseudo-savage!

Studies have shown that early introduction to crawfish peeling/eating helps with brain development, speech skills and problem solving skills. .......Okay...... I made that up, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.

Jennifer auditioning for the Louisiana Office of Tourism..

This picture was taken just before PETA raided the place and shut it down.

One thing you will not see in these pictures is me partaking in the feast. Prior to meeting my husband, I had never heard of crawfish, let alone participated in a crawfish boil. Since my husband is Cajun and has been eating crawfish since he got his first baby tooth, we have been to quite a few crawfish boils through the years. Back when we were dating he used to peel them for me so I wouldn't have to get my hands dirty.

Awwwwwww isn't that sweet?

Now that we have been married for almost 24 years, it's every man for himself when we go to these things, and since I'm much too lazy to work that hard for my food, I was content to walk around sipping sangria and snapping pictures.

All in all it was a lot of fun. I left with clean hands and my husband left with a full belly.

Monday, April 27, 2009

You Can Take The Girl Out Of The Garage Sale But You Can't Take The Garage Sale Out Of The Girl

There are certain firsts in life that you never forget. You know... your first date, first kiss, first dance, etc.... But for me right up there with those fond memories is the memory of my first garage sale.

I must have been around seven or eight years old. I rode my bike down the street to have a look around, and when I saw it I knew I had to have it. It was the most beautiful purple and black saloon girl dance costume I had ever seen. It was decked out with fringe and rhinestones, and it even came with fishnets and a headband! Even at my young age I knew that every second counts when it comes to garage sales, so I pedaled home as fast as I could to get my money lest someone snatch up that gem of a find before I got back! The funny thing is I remember taking the costume home, but I don't remember ever actually wearing it. Looking back I'm sure my mother was horrified to see her daughter come home with apparel that reeked of harlotry. Chances are it conveniently "got lost" before word of it's existence made it back to the nuns at my school.

The excitement of finding "that perfect thing" at a great price has stuck with me all these years. While my husband would probably be thrilled if I brought home a purple saloon girl costume with fishnets and a headband, my garage sale tastes have become much more practical. I now get excited over slightly used waffle irons or salad spinners that I can pick up for pennies on the dollar. But unfortunately a person can only buy so many "perfect things" before they run out of space in their home. Then they have to purge their home and have their own garage sale. You know it is kind of like the circle of life.....but not.

As fate would have it, a garage sale lovin girl like me ended up in a neighborhood that did not allow garage sales. What????? Apparently garage sales invite riffraff into the area. What the Powers that Be couldn't see was that the riffraff was slowly infiltrating the neighborhood and they were living amongst them. So since our community board of directors is run by benevolent dictators, they agreed to give us peasants one day a year in which to indulge in our common foolery. So this past Saturday was our annual Neighborhood garage sale! WHOO HOO! Here are some pictures:

Good-bye my beautiful books. I will never forget our hours spent together, but my husband does not understand our love affair and he says you must go...

The lovely Robin strategically displaying a couple of cute dresses. I decided if I were to plan my wedding all over again I would have my bridesmaids buy their dresses at garage sales or thrift stores. Of course they wouldn't match, but wouldn't it be fun to see what they would come up with?

We started setting up our sale at 6:00am because any seasoned garage sale expert knows that you have to get an early start. We snickered when the neighbors across the street started pulling junk stuff out of their house around 11:00am. Didn't they know they have already missed the rush of shoppers? Look at how they just threw their stuff out there without even making it look good! Do they really think they are going to sell anything? Apparently we could have learned a thing or two from our neighbors because less then an hour after they pulled junk out of their house set up their sale, someone pulled up, offered them $325.00 for everything they had, and they were done.

While I didn't make near what my neighbors across the street did, all was not lost. In fact it was nice spending the morning chatting with the other peasants on the block. I came home with a few new treasures and the lack of sales allowed me to bring home my beloved books until next year.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Preschool and California

As a preschool teacher, I'm privy to all sorts of personal family tidbits from my little darlings. Note to parents of preschoolers.... befriend your child's preschool teacher because she probably has some serious dirt on you thanks to your child. When they are not inadvertently spilling family secrets they often say funny things that sometimes ring true.

Overheard at the lunch table today:

Boy Number One to boy number two : " You know the devil is real!!"

Boy number two: " Yeah I know and he lives in California !! "

Hmmmm.... It seems my friend follows California politics....

While the prince of darkness has a pretty firm grip on some of California, a large portion of The Golden State still allow their values to shine. Case in point, Ms. California. Whether you agree with her stance on gay marriage or not, you have to give her credit for standing up for her beliefs. Instead of taking the easy way out and giving a politically correct, audience appeasing answer, she gave her honest heartfelt opinion. An opinion that may have cost her the crown. All because she adhered to her beliefs.

Last November when the majority of California voters voted in favor of Prop 8 protecting the sanctity of marriage, it was branded as discriminatory and narrow-minded. Again, because the majority of voters adhered to their beliefs.

There is a saying that states " As California goes, so goes the nation". If there is any truth to this, I pray that the Californians that are not afraid to stand up for what they believe in will continue to stay true to their values. They cannot afford to let their guard down because after all, the devil is real and he lives in California.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Caution: Raising Teenagers Might Lead to Drinking

Last weekend hubs and I went out with a group of friends. As is often the case in a big group, the guys carry on their own conversations about whatever it is that guys talk about, and the women have interesting, meaningful conversations. So over good Mexican food and even better Margaritas, our meaningful conversation turned interesting when we started talking about sex. Not the "Oh My Gosh I can't believe we are talking about that" kind of sex talk, but the "UGH! We have teens and we have to worry about them having sex" kind of talk. There were a couple of young mommies who's children were young enough that they could still get away with simple sex talks such as " the stork brings babies" and the "difference between mommy and daddy is that daddy can do number one while standing and mommy has to sit"...........sigh............ I miss those days.

The rest of us were deep in the trenches of teenage angst with kids ranging from thirteen to seventeen. Collectively we have spent enough money on acne medications, sanitary items, and deodorant to help bail out Detroit. While some worried that their children might have already experimented with the opposite sex, and others didn't think theirs had gone that far yet, we all came to the same conclusions:

Every mom there agreed that if it were up to us all of our teens would abstain from sex until they were married. Not one mom there said she wanted her teen to get as much experience as they could under their belt..(pun intended).. before they got married. Surprisingly even the younger - not to far removed from their teenage years- moms agreed with that idea.

We all agreed that while abstinence is the optimum choice, it is not totally feasible to expect it from every teen. With that in mind we would want our child to be educated and be aware of their options in preventing unwanted consequences of sexual activity.

We all agreed that it is so much better to lose sleep because of a restless toddler sleeping in your bed than losing sleep worrying about an active teen getting into someone else's bed.

Then we all agreed to order another round of Margaritas and change the subject.

Friday, April 17, 2009

I like my tea with sugar and a BIG CROWD

While I didn't actually have any tea on Wednesday, I did have a great time with a few thousand of my new BFF's. We were so excited to get there, we actually got on the road early and got to San Antonio around 10:00am. We would have gotten there a little earlier, but there is a Bucee's right out side of San Antonio. I have a great fondness for Bucee's, - not stopping was not an option. For those of you who do not know what Bucee's is, it is the Hyatt Regency of truck stops. Yep. I have a great fondness for a fancy truck stop that has a cute beaver as it's mascot. But that is a whole different post... right now I'm recapping the Tea Party. We got there early enough to get some prime seats right behind the stage.
Here's a picture of Ciara and Trey with their signs:

Aren't they cute? It was so awesome to sit and talk to the people that were there. People from all walks of life and all with different backgrounds. This gentleman was right behind us. He is a 79 year old veteran, who's children tried to talk him out of coming due to his poor health, but he said he felt it was his civic duty to take a stand for his grand children's future. Here he is being interviewed by the local television station.

While we were waiting Ted Nugent came out to do his sound check. We were pretty close and Paul and Trey were thrilled.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures.

Isn't Edward the cutest little activist you have ever seen?

Loved this picture of the dog. He didn't look like he was fired up, but believe me he was on the verge of some serious civil disobedience

Here is a picture of our group.

It is estimated that there were between 9000 - 10,000 people there and I believe it. It was amazing to see such a huge crowd. But to hear 9000 people say the Pledge of Allegiance together and then to have that same huge crowd all bow their heads in complete silence to say a prayer was absolutely awesome!

During the course of the day there were various speakers, and one point that they all drove home was to not let the momentum die when the party was over, and I hope the majority of people took that message to heart.
I know I did.
Today I will contact my State Representative about a sanctuary city law that will be coming up for vote. Later on this evening I will be looking online to see what other issues might affect my family, and I will let my elected officials know my opinion of them. That is what it is all about.

I'm not an activist. To be honest I would rather read about fashion trends than political news, but I also refuse to blindly trust my children's future to a bunch of Washington bureaucrats. I hope my 9000 new BFF's feel the same way.