Thursday, December 29, 2011

sweet sixteen

sixteen years ago tonight, i was laying in a hospital bed in virginia, in awe of the sweet baby girl I'd been blessed with earlier in the day. all five pounds seven ounces of her.

tonight, i'm sitting in a chair in virginia, in awe of the sweet young lady i've been blessed with. all five feet three inches of her.

everything that i wasn't, she is.

everything that i am, she's not.

everything about her is JUST.RIGHT.

and i am so thankful for the gift that she is.

we've had a great day celebrating HER...starting with a trip to the starbucks at the her cheetah footie pajamas. in the parking lot we passed a car that said FEARLESS. you HAVE to be fearless to go ANYWHERE in your cheetah footie pajamas, am i right?

it's been a fun day...starting with some love from the lee boys and moving on to a fun night (that continues on) with friends from school.

jordan was certain her world was going to end when she had to leave texas. turns out she's just entered a whole new world (cue disney music now).

happy happy birthday sweet georgia lou. you are loved more than you can possibly imagine. keep smiling, keep loving life and keep being YOU. because YOU are something REALLY special. and i'm proud to be your momma.

here are a few pics of your journey so far...

at first, your big brother wasn't quite sure what to do with you...even then you seem to be looking at him and telling him how it's going to be. lol.

he warmed up to you super fast and y'all became best buddies. much as you torment each other now, you HAVE to know how much he loves you because he hasn't killed you yet. lmbo.

even in your first few months you displayed your ability to go from beach babe to cowgirl and wear both looks stunningly. hee hee.

while you've always loved getting into your momma's jewelry, you've also got a tough side...

sure it LOOKS like you're playing with pink roses but really i'm pretty sure you're using them as weapons LOL.

you were soooooo painfully shy up until you started hated strangers and you were less than thrilled getting your pic taken. stacey, if only we'd known you then...

you've always had your OWN UNIQUE sense of style. who else could pair a classic ralph lauren dress with a cheetah purse and flip flops and rock it?

i never thought you'd make it through your first day of school...thankfully gymnastics brought you out of your shell...and there's been no turning back since then...

you are part tomboy (strangely frogs are mesmerized by you????...freak...)

and part princess. this should serve you well in can survive in a castle or in a jungle. :)

you are an amazing big sister...and a hilarious little sister.

from wacky to elegant, you've got it all.

and our family would not be complete without you.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

countdown to christmas -- december 13

fact: moving 3,925 times in 20 years will make even the most sentimental person start throwing away pretty much anything and everything they ever cherished.
i used to have quite a collection of memories stashed away in boxes. now most of them are stashed away in my mind instead (perhaps this is why i am so forgetful in the here and now...too much old stuff up there LOL). anyhow, along the way, there have been a handful of things that i have just HAD to preserve.

i'm glad i saved THIS:

jordan's wish list to santa, december 2005.

this was the winter that we had announced to the kids that we were planning on moving to texas. just like her momma, this girl is ALLLLLL OVER THE PLACE.

some of the items on her list make me laugh out loud. some of them bring tears to my eyes.


number 10 has been erased. but i can still see what it says: to have will smith's autograph.

and i love how she ends the letter with number 13. have a great day always santa...little suck up.


p.s. santa, don't be offended that she spelled your last name wrong. she also spelled Jesus wrong. lmbo lmbo lmbo.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

stuck in nebraska

**disclaimer: i know some really nice people from nebraska (cough*cough*the valencia family*cough*cough) and i'm sure that they think nebraska is just a lovely place to be...please no offense to those of you that this is sure to offend ;) i mean no harm.**


back in my high school days, summer meant camping. summer meant colorado. summer meant each of us girls got ONE cardboard storage box to fit all of our items in. summer meant saying goodbye to our boyfriends...and giving up the phone...and tv...and music...for we headed west and lived like pioneers.

there were no cell phones, no internet, no ipods for music...this made for some loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong car rides from ohio to colorado. just ask my parents. there was also no satellite radio...which meant that when you were in the middle of nowhere there wasn't much to listen to. so we did what any teenaged girls would do: we filled the dead air space with the sounds of nonsense...

we made up songs...long, ridiculous, unending songs (that we still have memorized)...we wrote movie scripts that starred us (duh!). we talked, we sang, we talked some more.

and my parents continued to do this year after year. wth were they THINKING?

i have so many fun memories of our times in colorado, wyoming & about BEAUTY! there is just NOTHING as majestic as the mountains. breathtaking...even to a completely self-centered teenager :)

what i DON'T have fun memories of are our times in nebraska. if you aren't much on geography, i've included this handy map for you to refer to. see ohio? see colorado? see all those states you have to drive through to get there? see how nebraska is last on the list? see how TERRIBLY, TERRIBLY HORIZONTAL NEBRASKA IS?????

now, imagine having been in the car (yes, car...we didn't get a van until later i have memories of my sisters and i being in the backseat of a little navy blue fiat making that journey)...imagine...being in that get through're excited...a few more states...still having fun...but then you hit nebraska. and it just goes on and on...FOR.EVER. there is NOTHING to look at. the SMELLS of the nearby animal farms (chicken? pig?) waft through the air and cause you to gag...which causes those around you to gag...which means lots and lots of gagging...

and you just want to be done with it. BRING ON COLORADO. give me my mountains. give me my view. give me beauty. give me fresh air.


God, i'd forgotten how much i hate nebraska.

(again, valencia family, i am so so sorry. i love you in spite of this torturous state you hail from).

soooo, why am i all anti-nebraska in the middle of the holiday season?

i'm just going to go ahead and type un-edited if you don't mind.

the 2010-2011 time frame has been one HELL of an era.

i could not be more glad to just say goodbye to it. in fact, i may actually stay awake this new year's eve to see the ball drop...which is something i just don't do...because i'm ready to kick this past year from here to kingdom come.

and it's not just me. so many who i love (and even some that i don't) have just been having a wretched time with this thing called life.

the heartache of losing loved ones...

the pain of dreams unfulfilled...

the hurt of damaged relationships...

the anguish of cancer & sickness...

the brutality of life...

sometimes it just seems like it's unbearable.

i was trying to share some encouragement with a friend the other day...sharing with her that she just needed to hold on another not give up...that good MUST BE right around the corner.

and that's when it hit me.

i feel like i'm stuck in nebraska. i feel like so many of my dear friends & family (and you know who you are as you are reading this) are stuck in nebraska.

and it's TORTURE.

we know where we WANT to be.

we know the beauty of what we HOPE TO SEE.

but instead we're stuck on this miserable road that seems to lead to nowhere...not only does it seem that there is NOTHING worth looking at, but add to that the literal STINK of it all and it's just so incredibly disheartening.

we long for more.

we long to move on.

we long to just GET THERE.

but it's not happening.

we're stuck. in nebraska.

and the bad news is WE'RE IN THE BACKSEAT. we have NO CONTROL over how long it's going to take before we can cross that fabulous line and see the sign welcoming us to the other side.

for some of us, that day is going to come before others. some of us will get to experience the hopes deferred...the dreams we've been waiting for...the joy of things we've been anticipating and praying for...

but knowing how this life goes, SOME of us won't. some of us are going to have to wrestle with the fact that maybe nebraska is where we're going to be for awhile (or...gasp...forever).

and if that's the case then we'd better start to find some beauty in this place.

for starters, we need to realize we're not alone. even though it may seem like it out on the highway. if we will resign ourselves to the fact that we have to stay for a bit, then we can (maybe) find some things about this place that aren't so bad.

there are others who may have gotten off the road here as well. they understand how we feel. maybe they've been here so long that they can show us some of the beauty that is here. or maybe they've been here so long that they've forgotten there's anything else OUT there.

either way, if we're going to BE HERE then we may as well embrace it.

this is where i find myself. when i finally get used to the scents and sights (much as i wish i could ignore them), i realize that i'm not the only one out here.

i'm not gonna lie. i'd WAY rather be in colorado. i'd way rather have THAT view than the one that i currently face.

but i'm trying to come to terms with it...

i'm stuck in nebraska.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

we interrupt this countdown to christmas - december 4

your previously scheduled christmas countdown has been interrupted by a random conversation between carson and i...that has absolutely NOTHING to do with christmas.

we got carson a skateboard for his birthday. it IS true that you get what you pay for. we didn't pay much, and today, about a week later, we had to exchange it because the wheels were just NOT right.

on the way home carson was starving. i stopped at a sonic and got him a hot dog. plain.

this is the conversation that followed:

carson: 'this is the BEST hot dog i have EVER had.'

me: 'oh yeah? glad you like it!'

carson: 'mom, when i'm a dad, if i'm out and my kid tells me i'm hungry i'm taking him to sonic for a hot dog.'

me: 'okay. that sounds good.'

carson: 'hey mom!'

me: 'what carson?'

carson: 'this wrapper says that this hot dog is beef...100% beef. is that the kind you buy or do you buy pig hot dogs?'

me: 'most of the time i buy the pig hot dogs...every once in a while i get the beef kind.'

carson: 'why?'

me: 'because the beef ones cost way more.'

carson: 'oh yeah...well when i'm rich, i'm gonna have my servant only buy me beef hot dogs whenever i want them. but i'm gonna make him use his own money.'

me: 'why would you make him use his own cash? if you're rich you should buy them and treat him to some.'

carson: 'mom, i'm going to want to STAY rich. that won't happen if i buy beef hot dogs all the time.'

makes perfect sense in the mind of a ten year old, right?

and once again, i'll say: it is true that you get what you pay for.

i hope someday his aspirations are set higher than just buying 'real beef' hot dogs. LOL.

Friday, December 2, 2011

countdown to christmas - december 2

once upon a time
back in nineteen eighty nine,
a story was set in motion
that i shall now put into rhyme.

i lived in a rental house
with my sister and a friend.
we were right around the corner
from the infamous C.B.N.

we decided to watch a movie
on a cold december night.
we started a fire, ate some dinner,
no clue of the impending fright.

but please forgive me,
i've skipped ahead too far.
first i need to tell you
a bit about my car.

i had a sporty dodge charger,
it was black and it was quick.
but on this fateful day,
the key only made a click.

i was young and blonde
and did not know what to do.
my sister and my roommate
were also without a clue.

so i called my friend diane.
told her my car was dead.
she sent over her husband,
i was so grateful for mr. fred!

fred had me move my car.
sissy's car & mine, nose to nose.
he got out the jumper cables,
turned the key and said, 'here goes.'

ta-da, the car had started.
all was going great.
fred said to let it charge a bit,
to revive it's uncharged state.

fred went along his merry way,
sissy & friend went back inside.
it was really, REALLY cold
as i sat inside my ride.

that's when it came to me.
i had a perfect plan.
why sit outside alone
when i could be inside with the clan?

this was in the era of cassette tapes,
way before cds.
i had quite a collection
and kept them by my front seat.

fred had told me to rev my car,
about a half an hour.
this should bring it back to life,
renew it's former power.

i took the shoe box
and shoved it down,
upon the gas pedal,
down toward the ground.

i headed in the house
and we started to watch a movie.
i can't remember what it was,
but i'm sure that it was groovy.

a knock upon our door
interrupted our movie plan.
we looked out the peep-hole,
and saw an unfamiliar man.

there was no way we would answer.
the man, he was a stranger.
we tried to talk through the door.
we were afraid of danger.

he would not go away.
he came to our back door.
who was this crazy man?
he scared us to our core!

eventually the fear gave way
to what the man was saying.
he was not messing around,
the man, he wasn't playing.

my car! my car! it was on fire!
huge flames reached toward the sky.
meanwhile poor sissy's car,
nose to nose it stood right by.

this is a night i won't forget,
such a vivid memory.
sissy in her bunny slippers,
our friend praying loud as could be.

911 was called, the fire men came.
they quickly put out the mess.
then they had some questions
and i did not have to guess.

why yes, yes sir, i do know
about the box on the gas.
i put it there on purpose,
after all, i'm just a lass.

insurance actually covered it,
miracles do come true.
the damage to my sister's car
thankfully was covered too.

this was 23 years ago,
so imagine my surprise
when we drove past the rental house
with the little guys.

here i am in the driveway,
see the remains of my poor car?
stranger than fiction, i realize.
my life really IS this bizarre.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

countdown to christmas - december 1

o.m.gosh! it's DECEMBER.

when you're a kid, christmas seems to take forever to get here.

when you're the grown up it's quite the opposite.

there are soooo many things i love about christmas. and every year that goes by, we layer another memory into the mix. i looooove decking the halls and making everything festive. everything is kept really simple and i've really stripped away anything that doesn't have special meaning. so it doesn't TAKE LONG but it's just such a special time with the kids.

one of my most favorite things to do is get out the ornaments...we've got a VERY broad range of ornaments on our tree...but each one has special meaning and represents something.

(before you scroll down any further, the perfectionist in me DOES need to put a disclaimer that it's annual tradition that austin and i get the tree set up and now that the kids are all old enough, THEY do all the placement of the ornaments...including attaching any hooks to the ornaments that need them...there...i said it...). you can continue reading.

the other night, jordan's friend addie was here with us and hudson was proudly showing her all of our holiday decor.

as a mother, i'd like to say that his 'tour' of our holiday home warmed my heart. i'd be lying. instead it warmed my FACE. he sees the world through a different lens. but then again, most guys do, right?

so here is my countdown to christmas, day one. a look around the house through hudson's eyes:

1. BATMAN..."checking out BARBIE" (who appears to be hanging by a green noose????).

2. an unidentified NBA (is that the right thing to call a pro baseball dude??? whatever...he's one of the famous guys) aiming a baseball right at jordan's gymnast bear. let's see how well she can keep her balance on the beam with a fast pitch headed straight for her.

3. the stockings were hung by the chimney with care. at first glance you'll see that (obviously) they are cowboy boots. but they have hidden messages in the designs that none of us had ever noticed. that is til hudson...

4. jordan's stocking is the 'girly' one with the flowers. to us, it's just western stitching. to hudson it's puppy dog eyes, a nose and the vertical brown design separates the dog's eyes from his long floppy ears. can you see this? it took me a bit at first. but the NEXT stocking...well...i saw it right away and i'll NEVER see the stocking the same again.

5. what? it's just a cute snowman stocking boot, right? WRONG. look again. it's a 'brown' lady wearing a low cut dress.

ROFLMBO. poor carson. his stocking will never EVER be seen the same again. it is forever after the 'christmas cleavage' stocking.

burlesque anyone?

on that note, i'm signing off to go read the bible to my kid. pray for him. pray for me. i seriously don't know how i'm going to survive the adolescent years with these two crazy young'uns. the first two were NOT cut from the same cloth as the second two. LOL.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


last post, i reflected on my feelings regarding change & how we're working through it.

THIS post, i'm reflecitng on my feelings regarding things that stay the same...and how much peace can come with that.

we had one of the sweetest thanksgiving days that i can ever recall.

maybe i'm just getting older and sappy and nostalgic. maybe not.

but as i sit here typing this out, i have tears in my eyes (again) as i remember thanksgiving 2011.

we spent the day at nanny's house.

bobby's mom has lived in the same home since he was a baby. her property backs up to an inlet that hosts creatures ranging from cute otters, beautiful birds, giant turtles and (shudder) creepy, slithery snakes.

he spent a couple decades in that house. a lot HAS changed since he was a boy. but a LOT has stayed the same. just like back then, the teenaged girls still outnumber the teenaged boys.

we feasted on a tremendous thanksgiving dinner, and then while the food settled, some laid around inside, and some went out back.

it was in the backyard, with the sun streaming down, that the nostalgia started to hit.

watching nanny collect sticks while hudson ran around the yard looking for rocks to throw in the water...

watching austin and jordan relentlessly tease each other about who could hit the rocks the furthest (i'm pretty sure she gets the prize for that one...all that volleyball practice works in her favor LOL)...

watching bobby interact with the kids out on the deck...hanging out with my baby girl...who spent her VERY FIRST thanksgivings here in this house...on this this yard...

later, sitting in the kitchen after everything had been cleaned up and having bobby's sister give jordan and i impromptu haircuts...

my nieces torturing my nephew by dragging him into the 'hair salon' for some primping...

the giggles, the laughter, the love...there is so much history in this house...

it was just so precious to see MY FAMILY celebrating life in the place where their father spent so much of HIS life.

we celebrated carson's tenth birthday and he got the skateboard that he had been wishing for.

nanny went out in the garage and came back in with BOBBY'S skateboard from when he was about the same age. that's ONE OLD SKATEBOARD. lololol.

she gave it to hudson and i think, honestly, that he would sleep with it if he could. it's not fancy, it's not RAD, it's not current, but it's DADDY'S. and THAT makes it absolutely priceless.

in the midst of alllllllll of the changes, i am grateful for things that DON'T change. i am grateful for the sense of peace and love and stability that my family experienced this thanksgiving. and i am grateful for the joy of being able to share that with all of them. and you.

as we continue to try and get our feet back on the ground after the last few rough years, i need to keep THESE moments at the forefront. i need to let the worry go...the fear of whether we'll get through the next month or not... i need to trust, and KNOW, that God knows exactly what he's doing. so thankful for the moments of clarity that i had on thanksgiving day. a faith refresher :)

'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.' -- Phil. 4:6

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

ugh...this is a hard one...

i've held off typing all day...because part of me just doesn't want to have to really THINK that deeply on what i'm about to share...

but in the spirit of thanksgiving, i'm going to CHOOSE to be thankful for CHANGE.

UGH. i mean, i DO like change. i DO. but i like to PICK my change. lol. is that SO WRONG? :)

one year ago today, life changed. BAM. that fast.

it had been a ROUGH journey after bobby was laid off from the church he was working for. we walked through SO VERY MUCH. for awhile, i wasn't sure i was ever going to get him 'back.' i had lost him to this huge weight of anxiety, stress, fear, feelings of extreme failure. not gonna lie: it wasn't pretty.

so when he asked me if there was ANY way that he could go home to visit his family for thanksgiving, i knew we'd have to find a way. he just NEEDED the escape. we booked his ticket and that was that. little could we have guessed what would happen next.

CBN (the company he had worked for TWENTY YEARS in virginia beach) called. they heard he was looking for work and wondered if he'd be interested in a certain position & was there a good time that he could come to town to interview? this was the friday before he left. he told them he was going to be there the following week and they set up the meeting.

after sooooo much waiting...and praying...and hoping...the tears, the fears...i didn't expect that we would have an answer quickly...i mean, everything for us had been dragged out. i swear, i have aged SOOOO much in the last year it's not even funny (i'm certainly not laughing). so when he called me that afternoon and said they WANTED HIM and it was HIS IF HE WANTED IT, it sort of surprised me.

and from that moment on, we've experienced CHANGE on a daily basis.

overall, it's been good. to see my husband back in his element, working with guys he's known since grade school...with his sense of humor back in place, with hope and joy back in his makes it all worth it.

it hasn't killed my children. lol. each of them has had things they've had to walk through as a result of this change. but they are doing well.

i KNOW that this move was intended for us...that we are where we are supposed to be. i do miss my family. my friends. my job. my home. my kitchen. BUT i am thankful that i have such sweet memories to treasure.

and so, overall i AM thankful for change. i know that it stretches us. it tests us. and it has the capacity to pull us apart or bring us together. we have chosen to allow it to do the latter. and i hope it stays that way.

i realize that there is NO WAY to know what tomorrow holds. a year from now i could be writing about november 24, 2011 and how THAT was the day that ushered in ANOTHER new season.

i sort of hope not though. i'd kind of be okay with an uneventful year. (God, are you listening?). :)

'do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.' proverbs 27:1

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

thankful for water...from the tap & from the sky...

while austin may have his LICENSE to drive, he hasn't secured a steady part-time job yet. and until he does, he's not driving on his own...because he will be responsible for the additional insurance premium :)

soooooo, every morning i drive austin & jordan down to the bus stop at the entrance to our neighborhood and drop them off.

this morning it was raining. jordan had JUST finished her hair and was less than thrilled with the prospect of standing outside waiting for the bus. she would NEVER take an umbrella to school (seriously mom???) and when i suggested that she stand under the overhang of the condos right by the bus stop she said she didn't want to look stupid. so instead, she got out of the car, grumbled and walked away in the rain with her binder on top of her head.

as i watched her walk off, i thought about how blessed she is to be able to stand in the rain waiting for her bus. she's in warm clothes, with a so-so lunch that her mother packed with love. she's headed to a school where she gets a good education that costs us nothing. she has friends and teachers who adore her. she has a warm bed to sleep in when she gets home (and that girl can

i thought how in contrast this is to so many of the young girls (well, old ones too) that i had the privilege to meet during my time in africa. many of these girls don't get to even go to school. and instead of binders on their heads they have buckets of water...that they walk FOR MILES to get. DAILY. whether it's raining or not. and they aren't wearing cute little boots while they're walking. instead of a fashionable little bag slung over their shoulder, they have a toddler on their back.

i'm thankful. so thankful. for everything. EVERYTHING. sometimes it is just soooo easy to focus on what we DON'T have...when what we DO have is everything we NEED, and THEN SOME.

psalm 107:8,9: "Let (us) give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things."

Lord, i pray that in this season of this season of feasting & celebrating with our families, that we not forget the privilege it is to be living in this country...even in our roughest times there are so many resources...allow us each opportunities to make a difference in someone's life...whether here or abroad...or both...and let us NEVER stop being thankful for all of your unfailing love & wonderful deeds.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

thankful for a tender heart...

as usual, i tucked the boys in their beds tonight. after hudson fell asleep, carson made a reappearance. he said we needed to talk. somewhere private.

i never know what is going to come out of this kid's mouth so i braced myself and thought, 'whyyyyyy does he always ask the questions when daddy's not home?'

we climbed up in my bed and got all snuggly in the pile of pillows. before i could even ASK, the tears were falling. weeping. the kind of deep cry that you just can't keep in.

after asking him several times to explain why he was crying, i finally gave up and just held him while he cried. when he settled down a little bit he then began to pour out his thoughts:

he hates the devil.

why did those STUPID PEOPLE have to eat the apple? they screwed up EVERYTHING.

he hates that all because of that, we have to live in a world that isn't perfect.

and then more tears.

he misses debbie.

he was only two when she passed away. but he remembers her. she adored him. he called his sippy cup a DOP-A-DEE and it was her favorite word ever. every time he said it, she would giggle. i can still close my eyes and hear her laughter.

i know why debbie's absence has affected me. i would never have guessed that it would affect him in such a profound way. i'm not even sure how it's possible that he has such recollection of her...but he does.

her influence in my life was profound...she took the time to help me understand GRACE and MERCY and LOVE and FREEDOM....

in fact, were it not for the time and energy that she spent walking along side me at one of the most difficult times in my life, i'm not sure i would have ever been emotionally ready to grow our family beyond the four of us.

but i did get past that season. and obviously, carson and hudson followed.

maybe that's part of the bond that he has with her? maybe there is a connection there that isn't explainable. that sounds so out there. i promise i'm not going all new age on you :)

all i know is that this little guy says he wants to spend his life beating up the devil. he says he's TICKED OFF that we have to live in a world with so much pain.

he prayed and asked Jesus to please tell debbie that he says hello...and also the thief that was on the cross next to Jesus.

i love this boy. i love his tender heart. i'm not always sure what to do with it. but i love it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

thankful for simplicity

hudson's second grade class is learning about matter: solids, liquids, gasses.

tonight's homework was to go through a magazine and clip out two examples of each that you would find at the grocery store.

he came over to me with an ad from hefty.

"mom, gingerbread men are NOT a holiday NEED. they are a holiday WANT."

um, yep. you're right dude.

this led to a conversation about what you NEED for the holidays: do you NEED to have a christmas tree to celebrate christmas? do we NEED to bake Jesus a birthday cake in order to celebrate his birthday? do we NEED to have presents on christmas morning for it to actually BE christmas?

(not gonna lie...that LAST question made him hesitate...LOL. i assured him that we WILL have gifts on christmas morning...but that even THAT is not a need, it's a in we WANT to bless them with presents the way God blessed us with the best gift of all).

in any case, it was a great conversation and tonight i am thankful that even my seven year old is able to recognize how media tries to convince you of things that aren't true.

and THAT is a totally different lesson on MATTER than his teacher had in mind, but it was a good lesson nonetheless :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

thankful for laughter

it's parent/teacher conference day. which means no school. which means kids. home. which means LOTS of play time...OUTSIDE. carson tried to convince me that they needed to play INSIDE today...that it's too HOT to be outside (it's currently 61 degrees...houston, how quickly he's forgotten you).

anyhow, they came running in because they needed another piece of paper. i began to read, out loud, what was written on the first piece.

instructions on how to be a ZOMBIE:

of course, i stopped at the SHOOT ASSED OUT OF MOUTH. ummmmm??????

me: "carson, shoot ass...????"

carson: "ED."

me: "what?????"

carson: "ass. ed."

me: "huh?"

austin: "mom, ACID. ass-ed."


of course, i didn't let him back outside until i took a picture.

thankful for the gift of laughter...

Monday, November 7, 2011

thankful for my own personal maitre d'

i shared a few days ago how i was looking forward to the end of volleyball season because it would mean family dinners and lazy evenings...

apparently i wasn't the only one who felt that way.
tonight while dinner was in the oven, carson decided to make a 'fancy' table for us. he had hudson help him and they set the table, came around and took our drink orders and then seated us for dinner.

he roped austin into taking over the rest of the 'cooking duties' and i wasn't allowed in the kitchen from that point on.

as if that wasn't blessing enough, carson also prayed for our meal before he sat down (apparently this is a christian restaurant LOL).

frozen chicken tenders and macaroni & cheese have never tasted so delicious.

i am thankful to share life with these sweet, sweet children of mine.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


this weekend i'm thankful for so many things. for one, i'm glad that hudson's fever is long gone & he's completely back to his rowdy self.

i'm also glad for a day to myself yesterday. bobby took the kids to have lunch with grand-daddy lee. i got some housework done & then ran some errands. while i was out i decided to hit the local thrift store.

my dear sweet stacey is coming for a visit this week (that will be an entirely different thankful post)...anyhow while she's here, she's going to take pics for us and i've been on the hunt for some funky accessories.

i was THRILLED when i found a navy & orange striped sweater scarf that was like new. even MORE thrilled to see that they had 1.98 on it...and then BEYOND thrilled when i saw that it was j.crew. that baby came home with me :) and i might have giggled just a little when i saw that the scarf hanging next to it was marked a whopping 3.98 and was joe boxer from kmart.


please continue on in your fashion unawareness as it blesses me and my family tremendously.


Friday, November 4, 2011

thankful for dendrochronology...

i am so thankful that no matter WHERE i have lived (and i have had a LOT of addresses LOL), i have had the gift of friendship...the gift of other women who have loved me and encouraged me...during times of my life that were filled with laughter...and also in the times that have been filled with tears (and there have been a lot of BOTH of those things too).

as i've moved from season to season, i carry these friends with me in my heart and in my mind. they have impacted my life.

my 'newest' friend is cheri. you can't walk into a patriot volleyball game and not notice her. she's the one who is VIBRANTLY cheering on the team. she's surrounded by friends and family in the stands (and she has about as many children as i have addresses...okay maybe not QUITE that many, but when you add in the friends they need their own bleacher section :)

i'm just getting to know cheri...but what i know, i love. i am so grateful that i have her with me in this new season. she mentioned to me that she co-teaches a parenting bible study and i decided to join her.

i wasn't quite sure what to expect, but it has been A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.

this is NOT your normal bible study. the first session i scribbled as fast as i could trying to take down all the info. today i decided to just LISTEN and hope that what i need to remember will be downloaded straight into my mind & heart. it's deep stuff, neurological stuff, medical stuff...and it's GOOD STUFF. i fought back tears today as i listened to some of the information i'd never heard before...and was just filled with a sense of gratitude for my little family of six.

after class, i headed out...places to go, things to do. and i got stuck behind the SLOWEST TRUCK EVER. a policeman was in the lane next to him. so it's not like i could race past him and get the HECK on my way. no. instead i was forced to just sit...light after light after light, staring at the big ol' truck and his load full of trees. my mind began to wander, thinking how lovely a grouping of tree trunks would look as a coffee table...

i started really checking out the beauty of the tree rings. and started to think about what it would look like if i were a tree (yes, this IS how my mind works...please tell me i'm not alone???? i even decided to take a picture because i knew right then that THIS was my blog for the day...the picture is not so great...cell phone...rain...policeman right in front of me probably wondering WHAT ON EARTH i was doing...). anyhow...

when you look at a cut tree, you can learn a lot:

you see the different seasons that the tree has gone through. when conditions encourage growth, this gives the tree wide rings. seasons of drought give the tree a very narrow ring.

forest fires leave scars on the tree.

you can also see if the tree has had enough space or if other trees were too close in proximity. it is good for a tree to have some boundaries ;)

varying species of trees require different types of rainfall/nutrition for their growth.

all trees are not the same.

if you sliced me open and there were tree rings (instead of lots of blood LOLOLOL) i think you'd find a LOT of variation in my rings. i have had seasons of tremendous blessing & growth...and i've had some years that have felt claustrophobic & dry as the sahara desert. some of my years have left scars on the inside. but when you look at ALL OF THOSE YEARS combined, they make a beautiful picture that is ALL MINE.

and i know that YOUR tree rings are a beautiful, lovely creation as well.

i am thankful today for every ring...for every single giggle or tear that has helped form them...yours AND mine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

thankful for patriots, old & new...

tonight was the FINAL game of the season for the lady patriots. they won their district games on monday night, advancing to tonight's game where they played the TOP RANKED team. after an IMPRESSIVE first game win, the other team came back strong and took the remaining games.

so VERY thankful that jordan was selected to be on the varsity volleyball team. so VERY thankful that she's had a great season. most of all, so VERY thankful that, while she still misses her texas friends tremendously, she has a set of beach friends who love & adore her too.

(and i might be just a tiny bit thankful that the six day a week practice schedule is now D.O.N.E. for the season and we can have lazy evenings and family dinners again :)

came home from the game to OTHER patriot news. you see, back in the day i was a lady patriot too. different school. different era. lol. but a lady patriot nonetheless.

one of my classmates posted a school newspaper that her mom has saved for the last (gasp) 27 years. check out the lead article. i may not have my youth anymore, but i still have my optimistic outlook. lmbo.

some of you didn't realize that my 'pollyanna' outlook goes waaaaaaaaaay back. lol. it's annoying sometimes, isn't it?

i'll try to reign it in. :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

thankful for beat up, run down shacks

the last couple of years, my friends and i have facebooked (is that a legitimate verb? if it's not, mr. webster needs to get on it and add it)...anyhow...we have facebooked daily during the month of november the things that we are thankful for.
this year i'm going to switch it up a little and blog my thankful thoughts instead. some of you would prefer my short summarized thoughts in a status box. some of you, for whatever reason, seem to enjoy getting a glimpse into what goes through my mind (what the heck is WRONG with you? LOL).

for you, here we thirty days of gratitude (in no particular order).

day one:

the other day austin and i were heading out to get a mailing tube. he has something special he is sending my friend heather. if you haven't read heather's story, you must.

anyhow, we were on our way to office depot when i spotted a mom & pop mailing store in an unexpected location. i did a u-turn and we found a place to park. as we walked toward the building, a sign caught my eye across the street. and it made me laugh. (i'm also thankful for laughter).
i didn't say anything to austin on the way in, but on the way out i told him we needed to cross the street because i had to take a picture. he knows that if he questions me on this stuff it will only take longer, so he humored me and we headed over.
i took THIS picture.

it amuses me. i mean, for REAL? REALLY? are you KIDDING me? would you trust this architect?

and while the initial thought was amusing, as i have thought about it over the last couple days i have come to realize that sometimes this is what it seems like with God.

i mean, he's GOD. he obviously knows what he's doing, right? sometimes it sure doesn't LOOK like it. and it sure as heck doesn't FEEL like it.

sometimes his plans are packaged in ways that don't make sense...they look like shambles...
think about had never even rained and here he was building an ark...(a whaaaaat???? what's an ark, right?). i have often felt like i can relate to noah's wife and i hope someday we can chat (though i hope by then all that animal aroma has worn off of her LOL). i mean, how much flack did she take for having a lunatic husband who probably LOOKED like he wasn't caring for his family...when actually he was doing EXACTLY what he was called to do? was she having to bear extra burden because he was too busy with the ark? i mean she was a busy mom right? did she ever resent him? did she ever wanna tell him to just GO GET A REAL JOB? were her parents alive? what did THEY think about their crazy son-in-law? i'm sure they may have thought that maybe if only she'd married that other dude down the road...maybe then her life would have been normal...BUT GOD USED NOAH...and he allowed noah's wife to go along (quite literally) for the journey.

then there's abraham...God telling him to just pick up and move to someplace he'd never been...don't worry about the details...just GO. take yer kids, take yer wife, take yer husbands cause they're...oh wait...i just got a little distracted. hee hee hee...

hebrews 11 says: "By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God."

abraham never got to receive the things he was promised...what the HECK?

more from hebrews 11: "They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them."

so today, i am thankful for God the architect. God. i mean, he's GOD, right? looking back at my life there have been lots of things that look like mistakes. it's a messy life. but thankfully, i have a creative God who doesn't NEED a fancy sign...he's not worried about his reputation...he just continues to work out his plan in my life and SOMEDAY...some DAY...i will leave this screwed up country that i live in at the moment and go to a better country...a heavenly one.

and for THAT i am forever grateful.

Monday, October 31, 2011

saving up for therapy...

do you remember second grade? did anything traumatic ever happen to you that still haunts you? a memory of children laughing at you, your cheeks BURNING with embarassment?

um, yeah...we BARELY ESCAPED one of THOSE memories this morning.

the big kids were long gone & i was racing around getting the boys ready to head out the door to the bus stop. carson BEGGED to please wear his fedora with his hoodie sweatshirt...whatever. i finally just said yes. he's SUCH a little hipster. and bobby put the finishing touches on hudson's PIRATE COSTUME...a red bandana tied 'round his cute little head.

you see, fourth graders are TOO COOL to dress up for a party at school. but hudson's class is having a party today. and the note said COSTUMES.

and sooooo, out the door they went. til hudson came RUNNING back to tell me that NO ONE ELSE at the bus stop (best friend -- same class -- included) were wearing costumes.

when i told him that i was SO SURE that he was supposed to wear it, and 'how 'bout you just ride the bus and if you get to school and no one else is wearing one, i'll bring you clothes?' i saw tears fill up the corners of his eyes and he said, 'but mom...i don't want to have to sit there and WAIT for you if i'm the only one dressed up.'

and so carson rode the bus with his friends while i made a phone call to the school. hudson's teacher laughed. apparently the note said NO COSTUMES.

oops. lmbo. he changed clothes & we headed out so i could drive him to school. he in his skinny jeans and gap hoodie, me in my monkey jammie pants and mismatched hoodie. and he turns to me and says, 'are you SERIOUSLY going to wear THAT?'

ha ha ha.

and in case you don't remember some of these, i've chronicled why it SUCKS to be the fourth kid...ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR MOM SELLS STUFF ON EBAY. check out hudson modeling some of the costumes i've sold over the years. and if you'd like to contribute to future therapy bills, feel free to send a donation. this POOR, POOR KID. hee hee hee.

i'm pretty sure he's flipping me off in this one. :)

God, i love love LOVE this kid. please PLEASE help him to not hate me when he gets old enough to realize how much i've screwed him up. lol.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


you know how they say birds of a feather flock together?

well, one of my 'birds' has always been a little 'different' from the rest of the flock.

carson...what can i say about carson? he is FULL of surprises. he's also full of himself. lol.

the kid wrestles with injustice...with human rights...with the unfairness of life (perhaps it's middle child syndrome and this is all just normal?). but really, he is MOST LIKELY to rebel in our family but he's ALSO MOST LIKELY to confess & apologize (even BEFORE he gets caught).

i love this kid.

TODAY, he came home from school on a mission. he needed TWENTY sheets of paper and he needed them NOW.

he proceeded to make 'posters' to put on every child's desk in his classroom...

"STOP OREO!!! even if you didn't, please don't."

and then wrote the teacher a note...

"Dear Miss H., Our class has made a game called OREO. Game Rules: You 'rock, paper, scissors' and whoever wins points out who you have to ask out (on a date). Me and Josh are trying to stop this game. We don't like it at all . It could also start a rumor! Sincerely, Carson Lee."

LMBO. He is grossed out by the thought of having to ask someone out. He thinks that this is just WRONG for fourth graders. hee hee hee.

I love that he has decided to rally against this OREO INSANITY. lololol.

On a more serious note, one night we had to drop off packages at the post office. It was raining and I had Austin run the packages up to the mail drop. He came back and asked if we had seen the homeless man, who had found some shelter under the post office awning.

Days later, Carson and I were driving past the post office. He started to ask a LOT of questions about the man: does he have family? does he have a place to stay? how does he get food to eat? why can't he move in with someone? if he's ever there again, can we PLEASE go across the street to the mcdonald's and get him an ice cream sundae?

The conversation had some really DEEP moments...with TOUGH questions. And THEN Carson said that he had an idea...that he was pretty sure it would work, but he wasn't sure I was going to like it.

He elaborated on his plan:

  • Track down aforementioned homeless man

  • Take him door to door and explain to people that he needs a place to live

  • Ask them nicely if they could please make soom room for him in their home

At this point my heart is about to burst. My sweet boy...who cares so profoundly. Until he got to his next point:

  • If homeowner says no, hold them at gunpoint until they agree

Scratch the warm fuzzies. LMBO. He had me up until the very end. While this thought process scares the HECK out of me, a friend reminded me that there were lots of dudes in the bible who would stop at nothing short of justice...some of them got a little lost along the way, but God still calls them men after his own heart. I hope Carson continues to feel passionately...and act on it...whether it's homelessness or the possibility of fourth grade cooties.


(and a little update: on a later trip to the post office, the man was there again. he asked if i had any money. i truly did not. just my debit card. i left & rather than a sundae, i got him a meal and brought it back to him. we had a GREAT conversation about the fact that he is NOT invisible. that if he is EVER feeling alone in this world, he needs to know that there is a nine year old named carson who sees him, who prays for him at night before bed...and that if a NINE year old cares that much, then how much does the God of the universe care about him? his name is william. he is currently out of work. we continue to pray for him. and i continue to pray that my children will be a blessing and be a change in this sometimes troubled world).