Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Box Time!

Well, I guess the word is out! We are moving again. Funny that we were in the same place for 9 years and now somehow we are managing to move two times in a little over a year. Whew. I hope to not move again for a long long long time!

We are moving into the neighborhood where our kids go to school. This is going to be so so so great for our family. The kids will be able to walk to school. Our backyard opens up to the beautiful Austin greenbelt. We will be able to participate in carpools for all of the various sporting events. And our house is surrounded by friends on every side and around every corner!!!

One of the things the kids enjoy the most about moving is gathering boxes. We make lots of trips to the liquor store to grab up the cardboard gold! We love to pile as many as possible in the car with the kids still in it. You might notice in the first picture that there are four hands - that is #2, #3, #4 (in car seat) and #3's bff. In this last picture, #1 was trying really hard not to be seen!

So pray for me, send good thoughts our way or do whatever you do for good juju, because JC and I have got to get the whole house packed up and ready to roll in 9 days - and I decided to wait until after Christmas to get started. :)


The afternoon of Saturday, December 15th, the girls and I got to get all dressed up and go see the Austin Ballet perform the Nutcracker at the beautiful Paramount theatre in downtown Austin. Our whole family was fortunate enough to see the ballet perform the Nutcracker at the Bass concert hall a few years ago, but this was a very special treat for it to just be me and the girls!

We joined our friends for a wonderful mother/daughter afternoon at the ballet! The girls both LOVED the show. All of the dancers were amazing and so beautiful! #2 even saw a couple of her classmates perform in the second half of the show.

I wondered as we were waiting for the show to start if they would remember what the story was about. Sure enough, they not only remembered, but were able to point out things that were different in this performance from the last time saw it and even talked during the intermission about what they were looking forward to in the second act.

I love supporting the fine arts. As a parent, I really want our kids to grow up with an open mind towards all types of artist and an appreciation of beauty and talent - even if it is something that they don't particularly enjoy. Fortunately for me, the girls REALLY loved this one! :)

P.S. Thank you Liz for the invite! We love doing these things with you guys!

New Sport

We spent most of the very windy day of Dec. 15 sitting on the sidelines at a tournament. This time it was different than all of the others though. #1 decided that he wanted to join the ultimate frisbee team that meets at the school on Thursday afternoons. So we said yes. He seems to have a ton of fun playing the game. And he REALLY likes the kids that he is hanging with while playing. The coach is a woman that is just GREAT with the boys.

So his team (all 4th and 5th graders) played at the tournament against middle school (grades 6-8) kids. Apparently they lost all but one game. I still haven't figured out the point of the game or any of the rules. The great news is that he had a blast and is ready to do it again when school starts back next year!

Two Weeks in One Day

So you might have noticed that I've been missing from blogland for the last few weeks. Things have just been crazy busy around here and I just haven't had a chance to sit down and blog.

I should carry a notepad around with me because I think of blogging alot and have lots of things that I think are interesting that I'd like to say.

So, for the last two weeks, I worked some at my regular job, had a second job that I worked tons, had tons of fun doing things with the kids at their schools and spent the rest of the time getting ready for Santa to come. I've also only managed to get about 1/2 of our Christmas cards mailed, but the rest will go in the mail this week!

Most of these things will be blogged about in the next 24 hours. I hope you enjoy!

Field Trips

One thing I love about our preschool is the fact that the 4-5 year old classes get to take a lot of field trips. A few weeks ago, #4 and his class took the city bus to the UT Student Union and went glow bowling. Now this is a field trip that he has been on a few times before, but it is always fun and exciting. The kids LOVE to ride the city bus. It can be completely empty or completely full - they LOVE to ride around town on it!

As always, the glow bowling was great. #4 cracks me up because he's got a little form and was very concerned about strikes and spares!!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Goes Around

I am constantly aware of how the world never stops. No matter what is happening in my day, life is still happening everywhere! I witnessed a few interesting things yesterday and I thought I'd share.

I had a little bit of free time yesterday morning, but not quite enough to head back to the house before I needed to pick up #4 from preschool. So I was driving around wondering where I could go to get a few things done (like address Christmas cards). So I headed to the Whataburger. I needed to grab something small to eat and thought it'd be a nice place to sit. It was about 11:45 and boy-o-boy was I surprised when I walked in. There was a line to the door for ordering and EVERY table in the joint was filled. On a TUESDAY!!! Who knew. I waited through the line to order my food and despite the packed house, I said it was for dine in. Well, my food was ready before a table - so I just kinda waited for one to come free. Unfortunately my plan of a leisurely lunch didn't quite work out cause I felt like I needed to shove my food down my throat to free the table for the next person!

So I leave the Whataburger and start driving. I have no idea where I can go and sit down in the quiet and get some things done. And then I pass the main library. That's it! I'll go to the library.

Here are the things I noticed about the main downtown branch of the Austin Public Library...
* Who knew you had to pay a meter to park in the library parking lot. Hmmm...
* Lot's of homeless people hanging out inside.
* Many many many people using the free computers. I walked around the computer area a few times and was surprised to see how many people were playing games or typing on myspace during their one hour of free computer time. Some were looking at the internet and some were typing emails - but most were just kind of messing around. And, there was a pretty long list of people that were waiting for their name to be called so that they could have their one free hour.
* If you can find an empty table and chair, it is a very nice and quiet place to go and get things done.

All in all, it was a very successful use of free time. And I experienced two places that I don't generally see and learned a little something in the process!

A Little Elfie

The big kids had their annual Christmas program at school last Thursday. The theme was a tribute of sorts to 'Elf-is'. It was a really really great fun show.

Our kids did not have any speaking or character roles, but they did an outstanding job as chorus elves. #2 really wanted to have a larger part in the production. We even spoke to the music teacher about it. The music teacher told us that there are many many important parts that are not on the stage - for instance, a set creator. As a result of that conversation, all four of our kids worked in the afternoons with the art teacher to create the most wonderful backdrops! They came up with the design, it was blown up and traced onto sheets, and then they all painted them. The grown-ups had very little to do with the actual painting. I was amazed to see this all come together and how they all worked so well together. The art teacher also told our kids that artist must sign their work - so she let them put their names on the stockings!

Also, I am so proud of the elf costumes. The girls made theirs basically by themselves. #2 went over to her girlfriend's house for a costume making party and then we just followed the same plan for #3's costume. The boys just wanted t-shirts that said Elf. I did write on the sleeves 'Samta' and 'Miles Claus' to make them a little more jazzy.

Am I a little proud of these kids or what???

P.S. Also, most of you know that #4 doesn't go to big kid school yet. But he did have a costume, painted the backdrops and even knew the words to most of the songs!

Walk Around

Most weekday mornings, one of us has the opportunity to spend about an hour alone with #4 before we take him to preschool. We walk alot. We walk at the Botanical Garden. We walk at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. We walk in the fancy Whole Foods and eat free samples. But most of all, we spend a lot of time walking at the state capitol.

We have been very blessed by the fact that our preschool is located right across the street from the Capitol. All four of our kids have grown up walking the halls, rolling down the hills and playing in the sprinklers of this beautiful state treasure. Lots of times the preschool teachers will take the kids over to run and play on the west lawn and they even bring a wagon to roll down the hill. We are so lucky.

So anyhow, back to the morning adventures...

Our #4 loves to walk at the capitol. He knows by name many of the rooms (Senate Gallery, House Chamber, etc., etc.) We go into the chapel most mornings just to check in. The guards are very friendly with him because most of them recognize him. He opens new doors and is always trying new hallways. He and JC even found a staircase that takes us down below the rotunda.

This morning we were trying a new (to us) staircase and we ended up on the Speaker's hallway. #4 peeked in a half open door that was the entry to a gigantic beautiful kitchen. While he was checking out the kitchen, I was reading a newspaper that was sitting on a table outside another door. A man in a suit came up to me (now keep in mind, we are the only people on the floor) and said that this is the speaker's newspaper. As if I was gonna take it or something. It was very comical!

We try to read all of the markers on each statue. This morning we were reading one about World War II. His is really listening to what I am saying and then he makes a comment that he noticed that there are lots of statues for that war. I say yes, and he says he thought that World War II was a game. I say no. Then he says, 'was the bad guy a robber?' I say 'kinda, yes.' We talk a little more about the bad guy and how our army protected us and our country and other countries that we are friends with. And he says 'Was the bad guy kinda like the bad guy that took Frosty's hat?' I just smiled and said 'your right-he was kind of like that mean man.'

Monday, December 3, 2007

Sending Love from Germany!

Gotta love days when your BFF is on the real live TV sending all kinds of love!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


A long time ago (04/08/07 to be exact), I randomly clicked on a blog to see what it was about. It had an intresting title and I was new to the blogging word, so I checked it out.

Every day since that very first day, I have checked in on my friend Marissa and her family. I don't personally know Marissa, but she has touched my heart. I cannot even begin to understand what it is that she and her adoring husband and her children must be going through right now.

I pray for Marissa. I really really pray for Marissa. What a beautiful beautiful person. I know that our God has a plan. Please join me in saying a prayer for her and her family.

Tree Ha Ha

Can you believe that a few folks have made comments to us (the kids) about us cutting down the Christmas tree. We live in an area where everyone has an opinion (that they openly share) about how we should all be more enviromentally friendly. Our family does our part. We recycle. We use the long lasting light bulbs. So to all you people that think we are hurting the earth by cutting our tree down - read the article at the link below.

BTW all of you enviro-nazi's...practically everyone in Alvin and in small town Texas recycle straight to the dump.


Monday, November 26, 2007


A while back, JC put a sitemeter on my blog so that I could tell if anyone was actually looking at it. Well, low and behold, someone is!!! The numbers below are for the last day and a half. How in the world are all of these people finding my blog? And why do they care to read it? I guess I need to start thinking of something a little more profound to say. I think I'm gonna get with my friend CG and see if she can teach me a little more about the world-o-blog.

1 United States Austin, Texas
2 United States Austin, Texas
3 United States Brooklyn, New York
4 United States Austin, Texas
5 United States Houston, Texas
6 United States Mesa, Arizona
7 Colombia Bogot, Cundinamarca
8 United States Austin, Texas
9 United States Austin, Texas
10 Italy Milan, Lombardia
11 United States Austin, Texas
12 Greece Kavla, Kavala
13 Germany Leimen, Baden-Wurttemberg
14 United States Austin, Texas
15 Germany Berlin
16 Turkey Karabk, Kastamonu
17 United States Austin, Texas
18 United States Eden Prairie, Minnesota
19 United States Austin, Texas
20 United States Austin, Texas
21 United States Leander, Texas
22 United States Austin, Texas
23 United States Austin, Texas
24 Australia Kingswood, New South Wales
25 Spain Madrid
26 United States Austin, Texas
27 United States Austin, Texas
28 United States Austin, Texas
29 United States Ithaca, New York
30 United States Austin, Texas
31 United States Georgetown, Texas
32 United States Reno, Nevada
33 United States Austin, Texas
34 United States Georgetown, Texas
35 United States
36 United States Austin, Texas
37 United States Houston, Texas
38 United States Austin, Texas
39 United States Houston, Texas
40 United States Reno, Nevada

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Friday morning we got up and made our annual trip to the Elgin Christmas Tree farm to cut down our tree. I was trying to remember just how many years we have had this tradition...I am pretty certain that we have been doing this since 1998. So basically this is the only way that our kids will remember getting a tree. Over the years, we have invited many friends and family to join us on our hunt for the big tree. This year we decided to do it with just the six of us. What an incredible time. We got to the farm and bundled up. The high for the day was about 43 degrees! We took the hayride out to the field and spent just a little bit of time trying to find the right tree for us. And before I knew it, we had found the one that ALL of us agreed upon. We all took a turn cutting her down with JC finishing the job. Naturally, there were a couple of kids in the way and the tree literally fell right on top of them. After getting back on the hayride and making our way back to the front of the tree farm, the kids all played around while JC got our tree out to the car and I browsed in the Christmas cottage. I love all of the items that are for sale in the cottage. They always have lots of beautiful Christ centered ornaments and trinkets for Christmas. After we were all paid up, we went to the front of the farm where all of the animals are kept. The kids love seeing the llamas, goats, chickens, ducks, bunnies, pig and horse. But what they love the most is the two giant hay bales that sit in the front of the animal pens. We were seriously there for about an hour with the kids playing and being happy in and on this hay. They were laughing and jumping and throwing hay and just having the very best time. This is one of those moments that I will never ever forget in my whole life. My six...all together...all sharing the most perfect love that comes when you are a family. I know that they will always remember this day - maybe not the details, but they will remember the love. Once we left the Christmas tree farm, we made our traditional stop at our second favorite bar-b-que restaurant - Southside Market in Elgin. As always, the food was the tops and we had a great family meal. The kids were all so happy and full of life and love. We brought the tree home and had it fully decorated in no time at all. Everyone participated in hanging the lights and ornaments. It was #4's turn for the angel on top - he was REALLY excited to do it. I am so glad to have the tree here. It is so beautiful.

Santa Won't Miss Our House!

After our delicious Thanksgiving feast, we continued putting the lights on the house. I did around the front windows, the door and the garage doors. I went out one of the upstairs windows onto the roof and got yelled at by the kids and they told on JC came out and made me get down. ARGH!!!!

Needless to say, he got out the ladder and put the lights on the downstairs trim. Somehow I'm gonna get lights on the top portion of the house too. Just gotta figure out a plan!!!


Last Tuesday, the girls had their end of season softball party at the South Austin fields. The sky was incredible. I took this picture of these beautiful clouds and had a few moments where I was so thankful for the great camera that we have. And then it struck me that I was missing the point. I needed to rethink my thankfulness and focus on the Creator of the clouds. Everyday I realize how often I forget to thank God for all of the things that he has given us.

These powerful clouds are just one example.

Turkey Day at Our House

It is becoming our family tradition to have Thanksgiving at our house, with just the six of us. So here is how it all went down this year...

#1 was in charge of mashed potatoes and salad

#2 was in charge of the green bean casserole.

#3 was in charge of the stuffing and the fancy new placecards for the table

#4 was in charge of the corn and the rolls, but decided to nap instead.

Finally the food is ready and everyone is thrilled - except for #4 who has the post nap funk. (or PNF as it is affectionately referred to in our home)

Everyone is happy when they start to pour their fancy grape soda.

We had the very best time. What a wonderful thanksgiving. Before we ate, we all took a moment to give thanks to God and talk about the things we are thankful for...

Dad - Our family, the kid's school and friends
Mom - the mighty six
#1 - the pets
#2 - our family
#3 - family, friends and pets
#4 - our family and preschool

Everyone was in the very best mood - we even had grape soda shot through the nose in the middle of dinner. Now that is the sign of a wonderful day!

P.S. You'll notice that #3 was the secretary while the family was choosing the menu (first photo). She made sure to leave us a note of her dislike of pie. :)

Touching and Beautiful

The mom of one of #1's classmates died a few weeks ago. Last Tuesday the 5th graders had a beautiful tribute to her and her two sons at our school playground. She has a son that is in 5th grade and one that is in 7th grade. Both of the boys attended our school through all of the grades (K-6).

The 5th grade kids worked on digging a hole on Monday and Tuesday during recess and then on Tuesday night during the memorial, they planted a tree on the school playground. We go to a relatively small school where there are only two 5th grade classes. It appeared that 90% of the 5th grade kids/parents made it to the memorial.

After the tree was planted, kids and parents took turns reading beautiful poems and sharing wonderful memories about the mom and the two kids. Our friend Sara was there with her guitar and we sang beautiful songs. All of the 5th grade kids made a book for their classmate and presented it to him since he will be going to live with is dad and not going to our school any longer.

The service ended with an incredible few rounds of 'You are My Sunshine' where everyone was wrapped in a circle of love and there were no dry eyes anywhere around.

How beautiful and touching. The sky was incredible and the friendship and love were unbelievable.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Bath Tub Quotes

I was helping #4 in the bath tonight. He was mad at me because he didn't want to take a bath and for many other things that I don't even know I did.

Based on what he was saying to me, I think he thought he was getting even with me. Here are some of the things he said to me in his most pouty, put out, grumpy, gripey voice.

1. Life isn't short.

2. I am NOT close to being a parent.

3. Life ISN'T good.

Guess I must say the opposite of those things pretty often. ha ha.

136 and Still Going Strong

Tonight I went with my Throw Down girls for a little beginning of the week card playing. We play our old standard card game - HECK - and we eat, drink and chew the fat.

We have all kind of found each other in a very organic way. We all have kids (or grandkids) that are the same age and play on a soccer team. Over the past few seasons, we have kind of migrated towards each other. We enjoy each other's company. There are no limits as to what we can talk about or bring to the table. We can drink too much, cry too much, gossip too much, laugh the whole time and at the end of the night all walk away with a warm calm feeling inside.

These ladies make me smile. They remind me of life's simple pleasure.

So tonight after my gold medal ball game, I dropped JC and the kids at home and went to Joanie's house to throw some cards. As always, I was greeted with warm hugs and a safe forum to share whatever was on my mind. Not long after being there, Ruth walks out with a beautiful surprise.

She had gotten a beautiful delicious birthday cake to celebrate our November birthdays. I am overwhelmed with the generosity of these women. I can't remember the last time I had birthday cake with my name on it. And to be sung to and celebrated and waited on like a queen - and by my good friends, it just doesn't get any better.

You'll notice the terms of endearment that were put on the bottom of the cake...sometimes when the drinks are flowing (or not) we get a little rowdy and use a few choice words! Ruth didn't have the nerve to ask the cake gals at the Costco to write it, so she bought some icing and did it herself.

I am so blessed and so thankful.

P.S. Liz and Sarah - we missed you!!! We've saved lots of cake for you both to eat next week! So get ready you bitches and whores - I'll be way less emotional next week and will be really ready to take you on!!!

Gold Medal Moments

JC has been playing softball on a co-ed team this fall. It is so much fun to go and watch and I am proud that the kids get to see him do something that he enjoys.

Tonite, we all loaded in the car to go and watch his last game of the season. We were all very excited. It is fun for the kids and me to cheer on the one we love.

Well, sure enough, we get to the ballfield, and his team is down a woman and cannot play if they don't have someone fill in. So they asked me. I said yes in an akward sort of way and then just kinda thought it must be a joke. The team is warming up and getting ready to start the game and his team manager pulls some tennis shoes out of her bag and kinda says, 'here, see if these fit'. Oh, I guess they are serious. Ok - I CAN DO THIS!!!

They put me at the end of the batting line-up. And somehow my turn actually came up. At this point I am still in disbelief that this is actually happening. I get up to the mound, not really sure how to hold the bat and definately haven't given any thought to how I might react if I actually hit it!

Low and behold, the first pitch was thrown and I hit that ball. HOLY COW!!! I actually hit the ball. UNBELIEVABLE!!! I can hear the people cheering for me. I am running as fast as I can and I make it to first. WHOA!!! Did that just happen??? Needless to say, I got out on third.

Well, my turn to bat came up two more times. Each time I was able to hit the ball. What a wonderful triumphant moment. I did it! I put my mind to it and I did it. I never actually scored, but I tried my hardest and didn't look like a weenie out there!

For me, hitting the ball, hearing the cheering and running as hard as I could was almost like being Marion Jones, Mary Lou Retton or Dorothy Hamill.

The very very best gold medal moment was getting in the car and hearing all four of my kids saying how proud they were of me and telling me that they thought I did a great job. :)

A Friend In Need... a friend indeed!

Today was a pretty crummy day for me. I was in a pretty bad place this morning and needed someone to talk to. I called JC and we talked and I calmed down. Then I called my Heather.

Man-o-man, do I miss my BFF Heather.

Even though she is a million miles away and 7 hours ahead of me, we were still able to connect on that spiritual level where we can be raw and real. She listened while I talked on and on and on. Then, she talked. She was in the trenches with me while I tried to work through my feeling. She was fighting with me and for me. She held my hand and my heart at the same time and helped me to remember that I am not alone. She reminded me of my good qualities, and helped me work through the burden that I was holding. There is nothing more important than a best friend. The love that I feel for this woman is overwhelming. Who could know that 20 years later we could still have this beautiful real friendship and love for each other. I am so blessed. And I am so thankful.

She is home for me.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Western Diamondback Rattlesnake

This morning we were hiking around Pedernales Falls State Park when Grace screams there's a snake!, THERE IS A SNAKE!!!!! Tam, Max, Miles, and Sam had all gone over it and Ella and Grace were next. Grace yells and sends everyone into panic mode - most especially Ella. After we all got together and could all see the snake (he blended in well with the rocks) we took a moment to inspect him from afar and took these photos. Thank God for Grace and her excellent spotting skills!

Equal Time for ALL Holidays!!!

The kids and I were laughing this afternoon. It was brought to my attention that we are celebrating three holidays on our front porch! (Christmas, Thanksgiving and Halloween)

I guess I just get so excited that I want to decorate way before the holiday comes and long after it is past. :)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

11 Is No Trick

Today our son turned 11. Yep, that's right...11!!! I just cannot believe it. We had a beautiful morning of family time before school, yummy sausage and egg breakfast made by dad and Elmo cupcakes at school to share with friends. We came home from school, did homework, played outside and enjoyed the beautiful and brisk evening air during soccer practice. Once we finally got home, we had our normal family birthday gathering with our six and our special two. There isn't a day that goes by that I do not think about Deerfield Drive and the love, friendship and family that we found through the bushes. (But that is a whole different post!)

We played a few tricks on #1 during this celebration. First, we didn't tell him that D&J were coming over - so he was happily surprised when he opened the door and found them hiding to the side!! Then we put 'never go out' candles on his cake. That is always a ton of fun, but boy-o-boy, do they make some smoke!

The biggest and best trick was saved for last though. We took one of his old skate decks and wrapped it up. When he opened it, he was confused until dad handed over the new deck! We all had a good laugh.

#2 gave him a new book by one of his favorite authors, Louis Sachar. #3 gave him the 'This is my Element' skate video. And #4 gave him really cool juggling sticks which he has almost mastered!

He was thrilled to get a really cool Skatepark of Austin t-shirt and the always expected and very coveted washcloth from D&J. Someday she is going to stop making these little treasures and our kids are going to go nuts!!! :)

So here's to getting one of our kids through to another year. We have made it this far and I am happy to report that he is a pretty darn good kid. What a beautiful blessing he has been to my life. I am SO thankful!