Tuesday, December 30, 2008


After several weeks of diligent watchfulness and small test runs, I am ready to claim victory.

Baby is potty trained!!!

He really digs his Diego undies, and I am thrilled to not be changing diapers for the first time in 7 years!

Big boy...happy mama.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008 was very special for us because it was the first Christmas we have spent in our own home. We did a few things that Hubby and I pulled from our own childhoods, and a few things that might be set to become our own family traditions. Although we missed our families, we LOVED being home!
Daddy reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" on Christmas Eve

Ready for bed, excited for Santa!

Christmas morning, before the madness begins

Santa ate the cookies, fed the carrot to Rudolph, drank the chocolate milk, and left a note!

Goliath reading Santa's note

They got everything they wanted!

Christmas puppy love

Big gift for the brothers from their Mommy and Daddy!

Christmas Dinner (my first one to cook)--yum!

'Twas the Days Before Christmas....

Goliath after a successful performance in the Christmas musical at church

Goofing off at the winter party at school

On our way to Houston for Aunt Jenny's graduation

Jenny Day

Congratulations, Jen! We're so very proud of you!
(I'll be writing down the song for you so it can live forever...)
Celebrating Christmas at Poppy and Nana's house

Grown-up gift for a fast-growing boy

Little Middle the Storm Trooper

Baby loved his castanets and "boo-macas"

Ms. Felicia came over and helped the boys make gingerbread houses.

The siblings before a night out on the town

The guys paying the bills on our triple date

Back home, we baked some Christmas cookies to get ready for Santa.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


And Mary said,
"I'm bursting with God-news,
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened--
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet,
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel,
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now."
Luke 1:46-55, The Message
May Mary's song be my song...all year long.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Questionnaire

1. Fresh or fake tree?

Fake, but pre-lit!

2. Favorite ornament?

This outrageous humongous diamond ring. Hubby bought it for me at the Houston Galleria on Black Friday in 1997. It was the day after he had The Talk with my dad about us being married, and 3 weeks before he proposed.

3. Favorite Christmas song?

"O Come All Ye Faithful". I love the invitation God gives us to come to Him in adoration and to live joyfully and triumphantly. A close second is "O Holy Night", and then a tie between "Santa Baby" and "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

4. Favorite Christmas tradition?

Up until I was married, my favorite tradition was the order in which we had Christmas. We spent Christmas Eve day with my dad's side of the family, had Christmas morning all to ourselves, and spent Christmas day with my mom's side. (That's the great thing about living in the same city as your relatives.) After we were married, we tried to alternate Christmas and Thanksgiving every year between our two families. But this year...drum roll please....we are spending Christmas in our own home. I hope to give my kids some of the same experiences I had growing up and establish a few traditions of our own.

5. Favorite gift ever received?

In 2004 my mom gave me a scrapbook that she made. She did pages of me as a baby, growing up, with my family, my activities and hobbies, my friends, my wedding, and my children. The last page is a letter she wrote to me. I pull it out every now and then when I need a boost--it's a tangible reminder that she is proud of me and loves me.

6. Favorite Christmas meal?

Steaks grilled by my dad and Grandmama rolls.

7. Favorite Christmas cookie?

Sugar with powdered sugar icing and sprinkles, like these that I made with my boys yesterday:

8. Favorite place to be?

Wherever the people I love are.

9. Favorite memory?

Gosh, there are lots. I remember Christmas Eve, circa 1982, when Cabbage Patch Kids were all the rage. I remember how badly I wanted a CPK, but it didn't seem like even Santa could pull it off. Somehow my Gran managed to find and purchase a CPK for each of her grandchildren--what a great surprise! I even remember my kid's name: Freda Elna. Loved her.

10. Favorite Christmas movie?

Elf. Hands down.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cancer Scare Timeline

THURSDAY MORNING: Went for a regular check-up with my oncologist. He determined that a combination of factors warranted testing to check for returning cancer. Did a blood test in the office and gave them the "best number to reach me at". Put on a brave face and tried to ignore the panic welling up inside.

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Played with my kids. Wondered how I would tell them their mommy has cancer--again. Remembered the power of my miracle and realized that nothing is impossible with God.

FRIDAY MORNING: Stood in a circle of my friends and co-workers as they approached the throne boldly on my behalf. Cried. Looked around and was amazed to see so many of them in tears as well.

FRIDAY AFTERNOON: Received a call that the CA-125 was normal. Didn't really believe it because I had the same results in July '07, and they were wrong. Returned a call from the hospital and was surprised to be able to schedule the CT scan for the next morning.

SATURDAY MORNING: Dropped off a dozen donuts, a quart of chocolate milk, and my 3 boys at Shannon's house. Said a prayer thanking God for such a great friend and asking him to preserve her sanity while I was gone. Drove to the hospital. Spent 3 hours drinking barium, praying I wouldn't get sick, and doing the scan and x-rays. Left there relieved it was over and asking God for clear scans. Picked up my kids.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Went to see Madagascar 2. Fell asleep in Madagascar 2. Promised myself I'd go to bed early.

SUNDAY: Went to church. Hosted a playdate for Goliath. Tried hard to conquer Mount Laundry. Took a gift to a friend who just lost her mom. Got perspective. Took the boys to Awana.

MONDAY: Got a phone call: ALL CLEAR. Wept with relief and gratitude. Called my Hubby. Rejoiced together. Called everyone else. Got busy preparing to really celebrate Thanksgiving.

"When I said, "My foot is slipping," your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:18-19

What Would You Do With a Duck?

So much awesomeness happens when we're in the car. Yesterday, we were out and about, running errands. We drove by a park we've visited before, where there is a duck pond. Here's the conversation snippet:
Little Middle: Look, Mommy! There's the park! Can we go there and feed the ducks pleeaassee?
Baby: I can feed the ducks by myself!
Me: Maybe we could go tomorrow. It would be fun to visit the ducks.
Little Middle: Yeah, and we could take a duck home with us.
Me: You want to have a duck for a pet?
Baby: I want a duck for my pet. It says QUACK.
Little Middle: I don't want a duck for a pet. I want to get a duck for my dinner!

Friday, November 21, 2008

All I Need

I will lift my eyes to the hills--from whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Psalms 121:1-3
For I am the LORD your God,
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you,
"Do not fear, I will help you."
Isaiah 41:13

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Dear Baby,

Today you turned 3 years old. This morning I re-read the letter I wrote on your birthday last year...what a difference a year makes! Over the last 12 months, you have transformed from a baby into a little boy. You are much more of a playmate to your brothers instead of being on the outside looking in. You have developed your own friendships, your own likes and dislikes (especially when it comes to food!), and your own way of doing things. Your little personality has emerged, and I have to say: You are delightful!

We celebrated your birthday at the zoo. Just the family (plus Aunt Jenny and Howie) went, but we determined you are old enough to invite a friend. You picked Bransyn, your best little buddy. The two of you together are so funny! I love to watch you interact with other kids. Sharing is still sometimes a challenge, and you may be a tad bit bossy, but you are generous with hugs and fun. You have lots of friends at school and church...I am so proud of you!

Oh, how you make us laugh! You are quite the conversationalist. Just the other day, I admired a piece of your artwork and said I thought it was beautiful. You replied, "It certainly is, Mommy!" Everything you say has its own rhyme and reason to it--many of your sentences begin with the word "because." You have unique facial expressions and a keen sense of timing...you can go from Baby to Muppet Baby in no time at all!

Another phrase you say often is "I can do it by myself!" You do not care for us to help you with anything. You want to put on your pajamas, buckle your seatbelt, put on your shoes (God forbid I tell you which feet they go on), brush your teeth, put the lid on your cup, climb into your chair--ALL by yourself. Nothing makes you madder than me helping you with something you have determined you can do alone. Sometimes your independence can be exasperating, but I'll be the first to give you a high five when you get it right! At night, though, when it's time to tuck you in and pull the covers up around you--only Mommy will do. I hope you never get too big for that.
My heart is full tonight, Baby boy. This past year has been a time of healing for me in many ways. My health has been restored, my strength rebuilt, and my spirit renewed. Every morning when you bring your blue blanket for some cuddle time, I am reminded of God's absolute sovereignty and faithfulness. You have completed our family and you still take my breath away.
From your head down to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me,
Sweet as can be,
Baby of mine.
I love you,

Friday, November 7, 2008


*This weekend we are having Baby's birthday "party"--which will actually be a trip to the zoo with family (+ one friend) and a cake. He turns 3 next Tuesday. I am happy and sad at the same time...my Baby boy is growing up.
*After what seems like a very long time, God is talking to me. I'm sure God has been talking, it's just been a while since I listened intently. He's telling me to get still. Re-evalute. Get organized. Check out my priority list. Live fully. Love abundantly.
*The trees are FINALLY changing color! I love seeing orange, red, and yellow leaves.
*Every time I open the door to the utility room, clean laundry spills out. I don't mind washing and drying; it's the folding and putting away that are killing me.
*Goliath has strep throat and has missed two days of school this week. What kind of germs are floating around that 1st grade, anyway?!?!?
*At the urging of my friend and co-worker Danielle, I am reading How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. The title is a mouthful, but the content is right on target.
*We are now in Week 4 of Operation New Floor. Remember this? The new floor will be nice, but I am growing weary of the half-tile/half-concrete look.
*I wonder why some grown women feel the need to draw attention to themselves by being mean and petty to other people, creating a new pile of problems. Drama beyond junior high school is so unbecoming.
*I saw gas today for $1.99. I can't remember the last time I paid less than $2.00 per gallon.
*I had a dream last night that I woke up on Christmas morning and there was a can of refrigerated biscuits in my stocking. They were non-Pillsbury, ordinary buttermilk kind. What a letdown.
*I am baking pumpkin bread this afternoon. I love pumpkin bread.
*Yesterday I said to my #2 son, "I love you, Little Middle." He replied, "I love you too, babe."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Something You Don't Hear Every Day

"Mommy, come see! There's a pickle in the bathtub!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election 2008 Snippets

A Conversation:

I picked Goliath up at school after I voted last week. He noticed my "I Voted" sticker.......

Goliath: Mom, you voted today?

Me: Yes, I did.

Goliath: You didn't vote for Barack Obama, DID YOU?!?!?!?

Me: Ummmm, noooooo.........

Goliath: That's good, because he wants to get rid of all the guns in America!

Me: Really? Who told you that?

Goliath: Daddy.

A Picture:

A Palindrome:

Wasilla's all I saw.

A Word:

"If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”
- Daniel Webster

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray, and seek My face, and turn from their evil ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Feet (and Nail) Fun

Happy Birthday to me! Again! Today my friend Shannon took me out for a girls' day to celebrate my birthday. We both had gift cards that we received for teacher gifts last spring to a local nail bar. We enjoyed pedicures and manicures, sans kids.
Here's Shannon getting her pedi. I pulled out the camera to take her pic, and I believe her exact words were: "You're such a dork." Gotta love her.
Of course, she had to take my picture:
(I look slightly uncomfortable because I was still trying to figure out the massage chair.)

Pretty feet!
Back at the House of Sass.....the finished product: Thanks, Shannon, for a fun day with a great friend. I think it's so neat how God crossed our paths and gifted me with you. Thanks for making me laugh and sharing the adventures of preschool, motherhood, and PTA with me. You keep it fun. I love you, sister!

On a completely unrelated matter, we've had some sickness in our house this week. Goliath had a stomach bug that cost us one peaceful night, two days of school, and a lot of extra laundry. At the end of the first day, I put him to bed (special bed on the floor--sheets were still in the wash) and walked away for a few minutes while he listened to his out-of-town daddy read him a book over the phone. I came back to find this:

Dead asleep with his slingshot in his hand. Hubby was still reading.....to himself. :)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pumpkins, Playdates, and Parties

*Shannon and I took our four younger kids to the pumpkin patch this week. We packed a picnic lunch, hoping to kill a few hours. After everyone had eaten, the kids ran off toward the hay maze. We cleaned up and followed them, but while we were walking we heard a noise. I thought it was an acorn--awww...how cute! A squirrel is dropping acorns on us!....but I was wrong. Look close:

This is a picture of Shannon's head. With bird poop on it. I laughed so hard I cried, and I've been laughing all week. I should also mention that I cleaned most of it out of her hair with a baby wipe (those things are so useful!)...because I'm a true friend.

*Goliath's school held a mock election this week. It was Shannon's day to drive carpool (BTW, if you're a mom and you don't have a carpool...GET ONE!), and she noticed the kids wearing "I Voted!" stickers, so she asked them who they voted for. Kendal voted for "the brown guy", Kaitlyn voted for Sarah. Why? "Because she's a girl." And Goliath? "I voted for John McCain." Good little Republican boy. "Because I have an uncle named John!" How's that for political depth?

*Two days after the bird poop episode, I took Little Middle and Baby on another playdate--indoors this time. We met all their girlfriends at a new bounce house place. It was very fun! We only saw the kids when they ran by us or stopped to eat some popcorn. When we were driving home I asked them what their favorite part was. Baby liked the kangaroo bounce house, but here's what I got from Little Middle: "I can only tell you what my worstest part was, Mommy. It was the part where we had to LEAVE!"

*Today we are celebrating my grandmother-in-law's 80th birthday. The WHOLE family is coming to DFW for the party. I am looking forward to it--I love her!--except for one thing: having to make nice and hold superficial conversations with people who have made it pretty obvious they don't care about me or my family. That's the part I dread.

*Our church is holding the annual Family Fall Festival this Sunday evening. What I'm grateful for: my friend Heather who has gone far above and beyond the call of duty to help me with this event. What I'm not fond of: spending an entire day at church and disposing of all those hay bales when it's over.

*Our Halloween costume plan:

Goliath=Darth Vader

Little Middle=Batman


*I am now working childcare at MOPS every other Tuesday morning. I subbed one time and said I didn't want anything else on my plate...but then Little Middle started asking when we could go back to that fun class. I'm such a sucker.

Monday, October 20, 2008

My New Favorite

"Flavorful cinnamon ice cream with chunks of snickerdoodle

cookies and a praline cinnamon swirl."


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There Goes My Heart(s)...

"To be a mother is to forever have your heart go walking around outside your body."

I don't know who said it, but isn't it true? I sometimes look at my boys and literally feel like I can't breathe because I am so overwhelmed with love. Those three little people can evoke incredible emotion within me--joy, fear, pride, anger, anticipation! I love who they are becoming: Goliath: independent, funny, smart. Little Middle: sensitive, compassionate, athletic. Baby: loving, adorable, helpful. I look forward to the days ahead, as they grow from boys to men. I feel an awesome sense of responsibility. Three lives, totally dependent on me and Hubby to help them become what God made them to be. We don't want them to miss out on a single thing! In a lot of ways, I feel like they need me more as they get older, not less. Sure, they can toast their own Eggos, pick out their own clothes (within reason), brush their own teeth. But for the things that really matter--faith, values, morals--they're watching me for direction. They're asking for guidance. And I don't have all the answers.
In our family we have one "umbrella" rule that covers a lot of things: "Be your best." That's it. I so desperately want to be the best mother. A lot of days I wonder if I'm good enough for this Very Important Job, or am I just making a mess of things? Tonight I am thankful that His mercies are new every morning, and that He carries my babies in His hand.
Thank you, Lord, for choosing me for them, and thank you for helping me with them. I love them SO much.

Monday, October 13, 2008