Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Time

I took the kids to get our pumpkins last week.

As always, they had a great time walking through the rows and rows of pumpkins trying to pick out just the right one.

We were glad to see that our favorite pumpkin patch is still full of crazy Halloween decorations. I asked the older couple that owns the business how many batteries they go through each Halloween and was shocked to hear they spend over $600 on battieries alone. Wow! They also said they buy 5,000 lollipops and 10,000 Smarties. And wow and wow.

We are always happy to visit the giant talking jack-o-lantern. All of our big kids visited this pumpkin patch for a field trip when they were in kindergarten. It is kind of a family tradition now.

Not only did we get a great pumpkin, but I think Santa got a Christmas idea.

I had a great time watching the kids enjoy the hay maze. When they were little the would run through the maze, now they run on top of the maze! :)

I love this time of year!

I Have

I have a husband that loves me and accepts me even though I am not perfect. I am so thankful.

I have children that fill my heart with love and teach me how to be a better person every single day. I am so thankful.

I have parents who love me. I am so thankful.

I have grandparents that loved me as if I was their own child. I am so thankful.

I have a birth mother that is accepting of me even though I am imperfect. I am so thankful.

I have a brother who is always willing and able to fill in the blank spots of our childhood. I am so thankful.

I have a family of in laws that accepts my nuttiness and love me because I love their son with all of my heart. I am so thankful.

I have a best friend that is family and loves me unconditionally. I am so thankful.

I have a friend that loves her God, her husband and her sons and is a role model for me everyday. I am so thankful.

I have a friend that believes differently than me and gives me great comfort because I know she prays for me. I am so thankful.

I have a neighbor that always wears lipstick no matter what the occasion. (And it makes me smile.) I am so thankful.

I have girl cousins that send me sweet notes and remind me that despite the rocky road that I started on, I turned out okay. I am so thankful.

I have a group of mom friends that laugh with me and cry with me and never ever judge me. I am so thankful.

I have a group of childhood friends that know the real meaning of friendship and would drop what they are doing right now to come to me if I needed them. I am so thankful.

I have had a tough weekend full of doubt and hurt. Instead of focusing on the person that causes the pain and trying to understand why, I am going to look forward and remind myself on a minute by minute basis of the people that I have in my life. I am going to protect my family and my children with everything that I have. I am going to love my people with all of my heart. I am going to admit when I make mistakes. I am going to love.

That's all I can do.

Friday, October 16, 2009


The birds are back. And I am sure they are watching me.

I never really saw many movies when I was a kid. We barely ever went to the theatre and there was no such thing as a VCR at the time. Popeye, Star Wars, Smokey and the Bandit and Airplane - those are the movies that have remained in my childhood vault. I certainly never saw a horror movie as a child and have barely seen a scarey movie as a grown-up.

So I don't know why these birds freak me out so much. They are everywhere. In every shopping center tree. On all of the power lines down the freeway. I start to get the feeling like I need to get out of the car and run as fast as possible into the store. Oh yeah, except for the fact that I've got to get 5 kids out of the car and one of them needs to be released from his carseat.

The kids and I sat in the car watching the birds for quite a long time the other day. It is like they are playing games, hopping from one tree to another and then over to hang out on the line. I know they are communicating. I think they are actually laughing and playing tricks on me cause they can tell that I am a little freaked out.

P.S. About Airplane, I was 10ish and my brother was 12ish. He BEGGED to go and see it. BEGGED!!!! My parents finally gave in. We went to the theatre as a family. My mom and dad had no idea that there would be nudity. I can remember seeing the naked chest bouncing across the screen and the look on my mom's face. I can remember it like it was yesterday. But I don't remember if we got to stay for the whole movie. Isn't that weird.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I am ashamed

I've decided tonight that I have a new thing that I need to work on. A new thing at the top of the very very very long list of things I need to try and improve. You know things like attitude, eating habits, housekeeping and sarcasm. The sarcastic thing is SO not becoming and yet I am filled with sarcasm almost as soon as I open my eyes each morning.

Anyhoo, my new thing is I've gotta work on being nice. Oh, I should clarify...being nice to people that I don't like. I don't have a long list of people that I don't like. Actually, I can really only think of one or two people.

But good God, I can't drop it. There is a person that I am in social interaction with on a regular basis - three times a week at a minimum. Ya know, it is that kids the same age in the same school doing the same activities kind of thing. This mom drives me up a wall. It has gotten so bad that even her voice bugs me. I will walk and pace on the sidelines of the wrong field away from my child's sporting event to not be near this mom. She sends know-it-all emails. Her kids are bossy. She is the person that flies a banner when she does something great, it's her birthday, she's gone out of her way to help her friend or her dog took a crap. It drives me flat out nuts.

I avoid emails from the person. I have over 400 unread messages right now. (I should be embarrassed to admit it, but alas - it is my life.) Most of the unread messages are truly because I don't know where to start and can't seem to get past the feeling of being overwhelmed by the whole scene. Hers, I flat out don't open.

I am ashamed of myself for feeling this way. Our kids know how I feel. I tell them that not everyone can get along all of the time.

I need to work on this. Why am I such an asshole. I need to be kind and show this person love. Maybe that is what she needs. Or maybe that is what I need. I recognize that this is my problem. I think she is mostly unaware of the extend of my dislike.

I need to get down on my knees and find it in my heart to love even the people that I don't love.

I don't want enemies.

I don't want to feel full of negativity every single time I see this person.

But how do I get to that place?

I just don't even know...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Family Fun

A few weeks ago, I took the four older kids to an Adidas soccer clinic. I was really pleased with how many new skill building tools the kids took away from the clinic. I was also pleased with the fact that three of them knew no one at the clinic, but they still got in there and participated. I am proud of Sam too because he was in with the teenage group where all of the kids were twice his size, but he didn't back down. I can feel that growth spurt coming soon for him. I just know that I am going to blink my eyes soon and find that he has turned into a young man. Let's just hope I don't cry about it and embarrass him too much!

Did I tell you that we once again have a 7 year old. How in the world did my sweet little one grow up so fast? He is changing a lot too. He looks bigger. He is very helpful and loves loves loves to learn. We were talking today about how we wish tomorrow could be a stay at home day. "Not me" he says, "I like school."

There are many many things that I love about my Jeff. Every single day he makes me smile and I have more and more reason to be thankful for him.

I really love that he loves our daughters and is not afraid to show them what a good husband and a good dad looks like. I love that he is not afraid to two-step with them when we go out honky-tonkin'. I also love that he shows our sons that it is okay to get up and take your girl for a spin around the dance floor.

And I love that he is willing to carry the sleeping baby during the long walk back to the car after he has been dancing all night! :)

Oh, and here is our sweet Oreo. Man, I forgot how much a kitten uses the kitty box. Geez, we hafta clean it! But it's okay though, cause we love him to death!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


This morning I woke up and was glad to be cold. What a surprise. While my heart loves the summer and all it brings, I am strangely looking forward to the cold. I am looking forward to being inside with my family. I am excited to cook and serve meals that warm not just the belly, but also the heart.

I am excited to hunker down. I am excited to smell the cinnamon candles burning in our home. I am looking forward to the quiet and still of winter.

Now I've just got to find my fuzzy socks.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

ACL Mud Rash

Okay - I am only doing this because my Jeff wants me to. I actually think it is kind of gross. Here are some pictures of my ACL Mud Rash.

Yes, we were at ACL all three days.

Yes, I was covered in mud.

Yes, I have the 'ACL Mud Rash'.

Yes, we had the time of our lives and will go back next year!

No, I am not suing C3 Presents or the City of Austin. Although, a couple of three day passes for next year could make my eye hurt a little less.

P.S. How 'bout that I am getting a ton of hits on my blog cause of this stinkin' rash. Woo hoo.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Today I was at the doctor's office to have my ACL mud rash checked out. The nurse and I had friendly conversation while she was taking my vitals. When she started to walk out the door she inquired about the age of my grandson.

Come on. Really?

And P.S. Please excuse my muddy man hands. I just love the picture more than I hate the hands. I'm sure you understand.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Almost Famous

We went to the Austin City Limits Music Festival again this year. I've got tons to post and a gazillion picture to go through, but I thought I'd give you a little peek into our Sunday excitement.

Once again, the kids made the best of a very muddy situation. And then they became almost famous because of it. While we were watching Raul Malo play at the Austin Ventures stage, the kids got out the beach ball and started playing mud soccer.
Before we knew it, there was a crowd of festival goers gathering and lots of people asking if they could take pictures of the kids.

Once Raul Malo finished his incredible set, we made our way through the mud and over to the Dell Stage to see Sam and Lake's favorite, Michael Franti and Spearhead. Boy-o-boy, what a show. And what a crowd of professional photographers gathered around our kids.
It was crazy. I was starting to wonder if Brad Pitt was standing behind us or something.

I love that our girls are willing to get down and dirty and have a good time with the boys!

Once that show was over, we got some water and helped the kids wash the mud off of their faces. Sam had so much mud covering him that even his teeth were brown. Ick.

I've gotta say that I think Sam, Lake and Alex are pretty darn cute, even when they are covered in mud!

And the very very best part of the whole situation is that we were given another beautiful example of the kindness of strangers. I started going through our pictures yesterday and was really bummed out to see that I didn't have one single shot of the kids hanging over the front rail at the Michael Franti show. And then I realized that a lot of my mud pictures didn't turn out so great because there was a bit of mud on the lens. (go figure) So after much internal debate, I decided to go out on a limb and email a couple of the folks that gave me business cards when they were taking the mud photos. Well, lo and behold, I received a reply message today from my new buddy Karen, the Digital Executive Producer of KXAN here in Austin. Can you even believe that she took time out of her busy day to send me a few really incredible pictures?!?! I mean with a job title like that, she must be super duper busy - and she still sent us the pictures. I am so so so thankful. What a kind and special person she is. (Thank you SO much Karen.)

So here are a few of the pictures that I received from my new friend Karen with the swanky business title who works for KXAN the NBC Affiliate here in Austin.

Photo credit:
Super talented memory saver for taking pictures of my kids in the mud: Charlie L. Harper III, photographer

One of the nicest people ever for sending a mud tired momma some great pictures: Karen Brooks, Digital Executive Producer

Oh, and you can also find a picture of our muddy kids on the Michael Franti and Spearhead flicker page by clicking here. And did I remember to tell you that the muddy kids got to get up on stage with Michael Franti and dance and sing in front of thousands of people. Yep, they sure did. And nope, I don't have a single picture of it.

Oh, and you can also see a few photos of our Ella singing at ACL with the Barton Hills/Palm School choir here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Reason

I went to the grocery store this morning and can now provide proof of why it doesn't work for me to grocery shop with sleepy eyes, a cloudy head and no list.

Items purchased
3 containers of Spic and Span car cleaners (on sale for $0.75)
3 loaves of bread
2 boxes of instant oatmeal
2 boxes of taco shells
4 packages of McCormicks taco seasoning
3 packages of goldfish
1 jug of apple juice
1 newspaper

Now how in the world am I gonna feed 7 hungry mouths with that???

Although we need groceries, I am happy in my ACL haze. Ahhhh...