Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Girls' Trip!

I actually took a break for Spring Break this year! I flew to San Antonio and met my mom and my sister for a girls' getaway. We stayed at the Westin La Cantera--very, VERY nice!

This is the view from our hotel balcony.

We spent 4 days laughing, eating, lounging, sleeping, and shopping! One entire day was devoted to the best mall any of us has ever been to. Amazing.

Shopping loot

Here are a few things I learned while I was away:

1. Not all Targets are created equal.

2. If your mom makes up her own rules for the game of Uno, it's OK because it's funny and well, she's your mom.

3. There's almost nothing sadder than a 22 year old woman who has never had breakfast in bed.

4. Pina coladas taste better if someone delivers them to you poolside.

5. Trying on clothes is much more fun without small children crawling under the door of your dressing room.

6. Mimi's Cafe stops serving all breakfasty foods at 4:00 p.m.

7. The worst traffic in Texas is in San Antonio, probably due to the excessive number of roundabouts.

8. My husband is an amazing father.

9. If you put tanning lotion on your legs and then lay a People magazine down in your lap, bad things happen.

10. Not only am I directionally challenged, I am also not a very good sign reader.

11. Sometimes you have to look really, really long and hard to find well-dressed people.

12. I know my Disney music like nobody's business!

13. It is poor planning to build a major amusement park on a 2-lane road.

14. When staying in a hotel, it is good manners to make your bed before the housekeeping crew arrives to make your bed.

By the pool!

Sleepy sisters with Starbucks

Lunch on the Riverwalk. We had the BEST guacamole and pink margaritas!


My mom and me, cheerfully refusing to stand in line to get into the Alamo.
Mom and Jen...this was so fun. I loved every minute we were together! Thanks for loving me and making these memories with me. I can't wait until next year, when I will bring my fan and my awesome sense of direction to wherever you are! I love you.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


It has been one year since Grandad went to live with Jesus. So many of us miss him so much, but there is great comfort and peace knowing where he is and who he's with. Our family will never be the same without him...Thanksgiving and Christmas were especially hard as Grandad's big blue chair was conspicuously empty. Gran's strength and grace amaze and inspire me. She presses on and keeps busy, all while learning to live without her partner of 60 years. I am sad, but so thankful for the gift of family and my Grandad's legacy. He will never be forgotten, and will always be so very loved.
P.S. This picture is of Goliath (at 17 months) with Grandad. My husky, laughing grandfather crawling in this box-fort with my son is one of my sweetest memories.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Little Middle!

Dear Little Middle,

You are five years old today. WOW! I can hardly believe that time has gone by so quickly! It truly seems not that long ago that I held you in my arms for the first time, and now...I want to do a double take every time I look at you. You were beautiful then, and you are just as beautiful to me now.

Every day is great fun with you, but this past year has been a true adventure as you have grown in so many ways. You have recently gone through another growth spurt, leaving me with a real problem when it comes to dressing you. Pants that were plenty long six months ago look silly on you now; new pants are long enough, but have to be cinched in the waist so they don't fall off your handsome, lanky body. Not that it matters to you...if I let you have your way, you would never get dressed. You adore pajamas. The last time Nana came to visit, you proudly showed her all your pajamas--two drawers full of them! I guess you just like to be comfortable.

You have learned so much this year! You know all of your letters and numbers now. You can write your name, and spell your brothers' names for good measure. You know important information about where we live and who is in your family. You know what to do if you get lost, if your clothes catch on fire, or if a stranger talks to you. You like to draw pictures of our family (which I love, because you always draw me looking skinny), and you like to use scissors to cut things up. We've had a few incidents where I had to remind you that crayons and scissors are ONLY for paper, but nothing too catastrophic! You love animals--especially lizards and other creepy-crawlies-- and you are very interested in learning about them. All of these things came to mind today when we went on a very special birthday outing:

Not too many kids get to register for kindergarten on their birthday! You weren't at all interested in the paperwork, but you absorbed the tour of the building like you were memorizing every detail. I'm certain you are already planning ahead for next year.

You have grown in other ways this year, too. Lately you've been asking me all sorts of questions of a spiritual nature. It's obvious that you are really trying to work things out in your head and in your heart. Your long list of questions include: "Why did the 'servant' trick Adam and Eve?", "Why in the world did God make the world?", and my personal favorite: "What happens if you go to heaven and step on a bad cloud and fall back down to earth?" There have been a few times I have to admit to you that I simply don't have answers for what you want to know!

You are playing soccer for the first time this spring. You are a Star Wars fanatic. You design and build the greatest Lego creations. You love to ride your new bike and dream up new tricks to do on the trampoline. You are definitely all boy! But even with all the activity, your heart is quiet and soft and loving. This is why it's OK for you to still sit on my lap sometimes and to kiss me goodnight from the top bunk. Your heart makes you the one your baby brother seeks out when he is in trouble. You are amazing to us, Little Middle.

Tonight when Daddy and I tucked you in, you assured us that you had a happy birthday and that you can't wait until the sun comes up again! I told you that I'm so glad you are happy, and I'm even gladder that God picked me to be your mommy. You said, "I'm really happy that God picked me to be your Little Middle."

So am I, sweetheart. So am I.



Wednesday, March 18, 2009


After being reminded--again--that his room needed cleaning, Goliath stomped off yelling, "This life is so INVIGORATING!"

I think he means infuriating. Ha!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Lucky Charmer

Yesterday was the last day of school before Spring Break (yay!), and it was Little Middle's turn to bring something for show-and-tell. Carrying on the tradition set by Goliath 2 years ago, and in celebration of St. Patrick's Day next week, here is what he brought:
Meet Uncle John the Leprechaun!
Uncle John dressed up as a leprechaun and visited Little Middle's classroom. He passed out candy to the preschoolers, and even allowed a demonstration of "what to do if you see a leprechaun on St. Patrick's Day" (you should tackle it and demand a pot of gold).
He's a good sport, and he makes a great leprechaun. We love you, Uncle John!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Goliath the Goat

Goliath made his theatrical debut tonight as a gourmet goat in the 1st grade production of "Barnyard Moosical." He did a great job (even with only one arm)!

The Goat Song!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What a Weekend!

We spent the weekend at my in-laws' place in Abilene. There is so much to do there, and the boys love going! Here's the rundown of how we spent our West Texas Weekend:

Off to a good start by watching movies in the car

Fishing at the pond

Playing with the bait

Goliath was fishing for bass, but caught this HUGE catfish instead.

It was 28 inches long and weighed 10 pounds!

Goliath also caught this nice-sized fish!

While Goliath was busy cleaning his catch, Little Middle and Baby
had fun playing with the puppies...

and kept a wary eye out while visiting the pigeon house.

Just like their dad, all of my boys love horses. On Sunday afternoon we saddled up Blaze and they took turns riding. Aren't they good-looking horsemen?

Goliath was riding out in the pasture when our weekend suddenly took a downward turn--literally--when he fell off of the horse. To be accurate, he slid off when the horse walked under some trees. Goliath ducked to avoid the branches, but couldn't get low enough fast enough. The mesquite branches actually brushed him right off of Blaze's back, and as he says, "The horse just kept on walking!"

We rushed to the emergency room...
...where we learned that a pitiful-looking mini-cowboy who screams really loud during X-rays can earn the sympathy of a few nurses and get his chart moved to the ER "fast track."

The X-rays showed that Goliath's wrist was broken, as well as the bones in his forearm were out of place. The ER doc summoned the on-call orthopedic doc, who explained that he would have to manipulate the bones to get them back in place--a procedure that would need to take place in the operating room. For obvious reasons, he wanted Goliath to have full anesthesia so he could neither feel nor remember anything that would happen!

This is my brave boy getting ready to be wheeled into surgery. Explaining to him why we couldn't go with him was really hard--look close and you can see the tear stains on his cheeks!

Post-op Goliath

He ended up having a tough time fully shaking off the effects of the anesthesia, so he spent the night on the pediatric floor of the hospital for observation. I slept on a chair in his room, and we both were awakened every 90 minutes by a nurse checking his vitals, doing breathing checks, etc. At about 4:00 in the morning, after one such check, I got up to turn off all the lights. I was sure he had gone right back to sleep, but I heard his little voice in the darkness say, "I didn't expect it to turn out like this, Mommy."

Neither did I, buddy.

The next morning, Hubby brought the brothers and some McDonald's breakfast for all of us to share before Goliath was discharged. He now has a fiberglass splint that reaches from his fingers almost to his shoulder. His arm is wrapped up in bandages and he is wearing a sling to keep it "still" (yeah, right!). He will get a regular cast in a few days after the swelling has had time to go down.

As soon as we left the hospital, we packed up the car and made a beeline for home. I'm all for adventure, but this weekend was a little more excitement than any of us bargained for. Thing is, with 3 little cowboys, I doubt this will be the last time that family fun becomes a medical mishap! As one ER nurse said, "This is par for the course for a boy mom."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Shack

I finished reading The Shack last night. It's taken me a while to work through it for 2 reasons: 1) I don't get a lot of quiet time for reading, and 2) It's deep. I could only read so much before I felt like I had to stop and take a few days to absorb the content before I could move on. But because it was deep, it was good. I realized by reading this book just how much I have settled down with God. I am comfortable--probably too comfortable. In spite of my personal encounters with the living God, I continue to perceive Him in a certain way and imagine all kinds of limits and parameters to how and when He might work or speak. I am challenged to think differently and to look for--no, to expect--God to show up. I want God to be Papa.
As a reader, I'm a notetaker. Many of my books have lines highlighted or notes in the margins. I like to go back and see what impacted me. Here are quotes from The Shack that affected me:
"Pain has a way of clipping our wings and keeping us from being able to fly. And if left unresolved for very long, you can almost forget that you were ever created to fly in the first place."
"You don't play a game or color a picture with a child to show your superiority. Rather, you choose to limit yourself so as to facilitate and honor that relationship. You will even lose a competition to accomplish love. It is not about winning and losing, but about love and respect."
"Mack realized that as much as he thought he knew Jesus, perhaps he didn't...not really. Maybe what he knew was an icon, an ideal, an image through which he tried to grasp a sense of spirituality, but not a real person."
"The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it, but you don't know it."
"Among the mysteries of a broken humanity, that too is rather remarkable; to learn, to allow change."
"So many believe that it is love that grows, but it is the knowing that grows and love simply expands to contain it. Love is just the skin of knowing."
"When I think of each of my children individually, I find that I am especially fond of each one."
"If you try to live this without me, without the ongoing dialogue of us sharing this journey together, it will be like trying to walk on the water by yourself. You can't! And when you try, however well-intentioned, you're going to sink."
"...just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn't mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don't ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead you to false notions about me. Grace doesn't depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors."
"Love that is forced is no love at all."
"I am a verb. I am that I am. I will be who I will be. I am a verb! I am alive, dynamic, ever active, and moving. I am a being verb."
"The trouble with living by priorities is that it sees everything as a hierarchy, a pyramid...if you put God at the top, what does that really mean and how much is enough?...I don't just want a piece of you and a piece of your life. Even if you were able, which you are not, to give me the biggest piece, that is not what I want. I want all of you and all of every part of you and your day."
"An infinite God can give all of Himself to each of His children. He does not distribute Himself that each may have a part, but to each one He gives all of Himself as fully as if there were no others."--A.W. Tozer
"Forgiveness is not about forgetting, Mack. It is about letting go of another person's throat."
"If anything matters than everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again."
"Faith never knows where it is being led, but it knows and loves the One who is leading."--Oswald Chambers