Monday, December 27, 2010


My kiddo, in his meanest Grinch voice, mutters..."I hate Christmas!" He loved his Grinch mask and Santa costume...big things on his list this year. For the rest of us, we all happy as well! Hope everyone had a great Christmas!!



Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

I love this day! We'll be making teacakes (love the dough,) by cutting out shapes with cookie cutters (accumulated over decades,) cooking them and then later frosting them. I have Christmas music playing in the background, scented candles in the other room making everything smell great, and wassail on the stove! The kiddos are excited with anticipation of what the night will bring! We just finished cooking lunch (baby back ribs and potato salad) and invited a couple of friends to stop by to eat or hang out. I'll be wrapping presents during the naptime for the kids and then the countdown begins! Putting reindeer food out in the yard, setting out carrots (for the reindeer) as well as milk and cookies (for Santa) along with hanging stockings before bedtime. I wish this day would go on for days!

Kids making gingerbread house

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Dear Santa, Define Good!

Last week, there was a cute sign that I saw in someone's house that said the phrase, "Dear Santa, Define Good!" I thought of that toddler will definitely test that definition this year!

This is what happened when he decided he was thirsty!

And later, this is what he looked like when I mentioned it was nearing naptime. He went and got his pillow and blanket and laid down on the kitchen floor...and smiled!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A dream about a dream

I know where it came from...and I don't often have very very vivid dreams...and wanted to write it down quickly before I forgot. I had only ever had a couple more similar to this...and the last one involved my mother (and I had forgotten it so quickly afterwards.)

This week, my brother mentioned that my dad would have turned 99 this week, had he still been living. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking...I'm not really that old, he continued having children even in his sixties.) So my dad has been on my mind. And this morning, I was really sleepy. I had gone to a party last night (engagement) and then a friend came home with me so I could change a ticket online for her son to return from where he's living (Marines) for Christmas. Needless to say, I was up kinda late, and tired.

This morning, my toddler gets up as usual between 6 and 6:30am. ...sigh. I get him comfortable watching tv when I sneak into bed (I can see him through the door and hall and can hear him as well.) I don't really go back to sleep, I just kinda 'rest.' After about 30 minutes, my kindergartener gets up and comes in to talk to me. I get up and down a few times too. I'm in that state of inbetween being awake and asleep.

But, I have this dream that comes and goes. My dad is in it and he's alive. He's walking around in my house, talking to my kids, and wearing what he usually wore (khaki pants, long sleeved shirt.) He looks and smells real. I am talking to him (he's telling me to get up (stay up) because the kids are throwing candy on the floor...they actually were as I can hear pieces of hard candy being tossed from the bowl, lol!) I am oblivious to the fact that this dream isn't real and it feels like it's real. Just normal conversation is taking place, nothing really stood out. At some point, my brother's comment comes to mind and I realize that he can't actually be in my kitchen AND be 99 years old and then it hits me that it's not really is a dream, and he is gone again. How dreadfully sad when I really wake up...because it felt like I lost him again. It's then that I realize that there was a difference between the way I *felt* with Dad in my life than now with him gone. And it was so obvious in that dream. I wish he were here...

Monday, December 13, 2010

My daughter's First Car

Well, it's not actually her first car, but her first new car. My nineteen year old daugter was given our old car about a year and half ago (it was very used) as a reward for graduating high school. It was a necessary carrot to assist her with attending and finishing school (for which she had years and years of trouble attending and difficulty learning.) But, in the last year or so, it started nickel-and-diming us.

After a few incidents in the last few weeks with large repair bills, we had considered options. One of her positive attributes is that she has a good work ethic. She's matured a lot in the last year and works hard to pay off her debts. We figured out how much she could afford each month and then added more for maitenance/extras in order to discuss payments. Of course, is's also low enough so that if worse came to worse, we could afford the payments as well (since we assisted with cosigning it thus helping her credit for the future.) I assured her that she would never have this opportunity again for a cosigner and needed to make sure she paid us the money for the note/maitenance each month before it's due. She said she'd pay half each paycheck so it wasn't so much at once which I thought was a good idea as well. So, we spent a day last week choosing the perfect inexpesive new safe vehicle. She's a happy camper now!

She has also been more considerate and nice lately too (which is also good to see.) Not that she hadn't been before, but it's nice to be appreciated. She's been staying with her friend a lot too...and I miss her.

I grabbed this pic from her facebook page that she took of herself with my two younger kiddos. It's one of my recent favorites of her!


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Sharing time.

All morning, I have been compliling my new entries to my address book and starting the task of doing Christmas cards. I love sending and receiving them. I will usually make photo cards or add pictures to regular Christmas cards, then wait for this time of year (as the mark of the beginning of the season.) I put on our local radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7 and began the task! Beside me most of the time at the same table was my toddler. After coloring with crayons, he moved on to markers making drawings totally unrecognizable! We had quality time doing our own thing together while singing on occasion to music! By the time we stopped for a break for lunch (and nap), he had lots of color on his hands and face! He's actually trying to grab my camera in this picture. He's still precious though!


BTW, this is the front of our Christmas card. On the inside left are even more pictures but it also included our names and personal information so I'll just post the front.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Thanksgiving, Part 3

And the last of these.

The day after Thanksgiving, we headed back to the campground to camp out for two nights. On the way back, we passed a property with bear heads at the ends of the property. It reminded me of going to see a relative at the 'farm.' When a neighbor there killed a coyote, they hung it up on the fence for all to see. Luckily, we didn't encounter any 'live' bears!!

I loved seeing our GPS on the mountain roads especially when it showed all the curves!

Icicles were everywhere!

We finally got to our campgrounds. It had an overlook on one end. My kindergartener was impressed with the scenery, as was I.


Picture of our tent.

We went on a two mile hike on the Rim Trail (an easy mostly level round the rim of the mountain top.) It was my first 'walk' since I injured my knee(s) two to three months ago. It went fine and without a hitch. Here's a pic of all of us along the way.

I tried not to drink much in the evening so I wouldn't have to 'get up' at night, lol! But, at midnight, I needed to get up anyway. I took a pic of the family sleeping as long as I was up.

We had a great time during this Thanksgiving trip.

...and the kids had a great time too.

Thanksgiving, Part 2

After our stay in the cabin, we took a walk around before packing up to leave. It was super cold! It rained during the night and then started snowing.

Hubby freezing, lol!

And my warm kiddos all bundled up.

I thought it was romantic to sit in front of the fireplace with a warm fire and read. I brought along a chapter book (Sign of the Beaver...about a boy's relationship with an indian friend in the 1800s) and read to my kindergartener.

After packing up, on Thanksgiving, we headed out to find a hotel for the night. A boulder near the road on the way out.

Seeing a icy tree. This seemed very pretty and we stopped in the middle of the road to get a picture. Luckily, we only saw one other vehicle in the next 40+ minutes.

It looked like clouds forming in the mountains as well. So cool! It was 32 degrees (at noon) and got down to 17 at night. For us, this was REALLY cold!

We stopped for gas and lunch. We celebrated our Thanksgiving meal here!

It just wasn't a gas station and cafe. This is my brother and nephew.
You could also shop...

and play pool!

There was a couple who came in. The woman (obviously in dire circumstances) asked the cashier how much the cheapest pack of cigarettes cost. I was in another area but listened. The woman only had $2 and the cigarettes were $4.15. After asking, she was walking around, probably wondering what to do. The store was to close in an hour and there weren't many people out. One man was sitting at a table drinking some coffee. He had his oxygen tank with him and was breathing through the plastic thing under his nose. He started talking with us as he had heard us talking to the cashier about where we had been and where we were going. He had been to White Rock many times, especially as a child. I was wondering what he was doing alone at a cafe at lunch but he mentioned later that his son was supposed to come at 4. I crossed my fingers that his son showed up. In a few minutes, I walked over to the woman and gave her $2.25 and said "Happy Thanksgiving." She was incredibly happy and wished me the same. I figured...even though I'd have preferred not to help her by giving money for cigarettes, it seemed the right thing to do on a day like Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving meal! It was good! It didn't really matter what we ate. We were thankful for all our blessings...and were with family! My brother and nephew (our camping partners) were with us and we were content. All was well.

After we arrived at our hotel, after having driven through snow and little traffic, we went swimming in the pool. Of course, the jacuzzi was MUCH warmer and where I hung out.

More to follow...

Thanksgiving, Part 1

This year, we decided to go camping for Thanksgiving. We planned on staying in a cabin one night and then camp out the next three nights before returning home at the end of the weekend. We left early in the morning and stopped several times during our long 12 hour journey to White Rock Mountain in Arkansas. The actual amount of time to drive nonstop was about 8 hours. Still, it's closer than the closest mountains in my own state (which is also 12 hours away...we live in a big state, lol!)

On the way, we stopped at a Wal-Mart in Arkadelphia. We've stopped there before and loved playing on the 'hill' along side the parking lot. We live in a city/area/region of TX that is FLAT! So, we enjoy going to places with hills or mountains. The kiddos rolled up and down the hill. At the top of the hill was a McDonalds, but more incredibly, a very pretty colorful group of trees so I had to take some pictures. We also don't live in an area with a changing of the leaves, so to speak, and most trees stay green.

My toddler.

My kindergartener.

And the kiddos with my hubby.

We also stopped for lunch at a restaurant.

Finally, we arrived at our destination. The 17 mile drive up the mountain from the nearest town took about 45 minutes due to all the switchbacks and narrow mountain gravel roads. Definitely an adventure!!! Of course, due to a misreading of the map, we did at one point end up on some muddy road and had to back up our truck and rented uhaul trailer. That was a stressful 10 minutes. I had all confidence that we wouldn't get stuck but my kindergartener started crying at one point and said that he "wanted to be a rock star." I realized that he thought we'd never get out of it and he'd never grow up, thereby never becoming a rock star. If he weren't so serious, I would have laughed. But instead, I reassured him it'd all be fine. And it was.

There is also some trails at this National Forest Recreation Area. This was a very small campground with 8 places to camp, a lodge along with three cabins. It was an awesome place because it wasn't crowded but not completely in the woods by ourselves either. Beautiful and rustic.

This is the first place we have ever been that had the possibility of bears. Luckily, we didn't see any!

We stayed in this cabin.

Most of the furniture had been there since they were built in the 1930s by the CCC. I loved having a fireplace!

I could get used to just showing up somewhere and only having to provide your linens and food!

This is us behind the cabin (down the slope a little.) The place was full of high cliffs and bluffs. Right behind us is about a 60 foot drop. This is also the reason my kindergartener is not in the pic!

Walking back up to the cabin.

We loved staying in the cabin. We had a small visitor while there (think small, gray, long tail, thief of baby carrots.) Wish that we were able to stay in it longer but it was already reserved for the next several days. Since the weather got very cold, we planned to drive into town to stay in a motel the next night and then return to camp. More to follow...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I am trying to get a few pics for our Christmas card. Last night, we celebrated my kindergartener's sixth birthday at a restaurant (he wanted to eat seafood.) My hubby was at work out of town but I had my family with me. It was great that my daughters, one of my daughter's boyfriend and my brother (and nephew) all came! What do these two facts have in common? I figured that if I paid for my daughter's meals, the least they could do was placate me and put the silly hat on for me (for a picture, lol!) Well, I didn't get exactly what I wanted but I ended up with a few options. At one point, while my daughters were totally embarrassed at the thought of me even requesting such an idea, it was hilarious and we were all laughing. We hid in a corner while I took a quick picture (it's not often they're together at the same time and looking semi-good.) Afterwards, I also put on a silly hat thing and got a picture with my oldest daughter. I'm standing behind her and she grabs my hand and holds it. It makes me appreciate that we have a great relationship right now and that, at that moment, all was well. She's come a long way and has a ways to go but I love her very much. I love this picture. When I see it, we look ok...but it's the hands I love, our hands together.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Gotta love the internet...

I was eating lunch an hour ago at my favorite restaurant with my toddler (who loves baked potato soup there.) A woman came up to me and started talking and then I ealized she was a classmate of mine! Even though I hadn't seen her in many years, I knew her via her profile pic on Facebook. In talking, I realized that we had kids near the same age (the first two were only a year apart.) I told her that I didn't know she had kids around my kids' ages...and that back then, I had no other friends with kids and had been so lonely. For clarity, my oldest is 25 and I got pregnant right out of high school two months after I got married....sigh. All my friends then were in college or working and certainly not having kids, much less married. I felt alone and didn't have anybody to share experiences or stories with. She only keeps in touch with one person from high school (and I was similar that I only had one bff from school too.) We laughed as we now keep in touch with others via the internet. I wish I had known then...

When I had my kindergartener, I joined an online mom's group (which eventually became private) and have become close to many of them (even meeting some in real life.) Last summer, I drove two states away to meet a couple moms who were going to the zoo for the day. I made it a mini-vacation and stopped along the way to do some ancestry footwork for some of my hubby's ancestors.

Beforehand, I updated my 'tree' on so that I could figure out exactly which ones came from the area I was going to visit. I was able to locate the cemetary where a few were buried (similar to my own experience finding my own great grandfather in Feb 2009.) I called and the place sent me the map and whereabouts of the burial places. I found the gravestones of my hubby's great grandfather and great great grandmother who died in 1891. While looking at my printouts, I noticed a wrong date in my information online on my tree and totally forgot about it. That is, until this week.

I got a message about the date from someone else working on their tree (which coincided with mine.) They are from Norway. We've exchanged a little information and I emailed some of the pics I took from the cemetary trip last summer. I think it's so cool that other countries don't seem so far away and that I'm not as lonely as I used to be....with the internet.

Here's a picture of the site where three of my hubby's ancestors are buried. It was a good trip.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

List of random observations

I read this from one of my online mommy friends and laughed out loud at many of them. Thought I'd post it because they seemed hilarious (and I love any good reason to smile or laugh.)

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on # 5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my 10-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions, people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey* but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

24. The first testicular guard, the "Cup," was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Saturday, November 06, 2010


My kindergartener wanted to know what we'd be doing that day when I picked him up from school. When we got home, he suggested we go to the 'prk.' He is learning to put sounds together to form words. Since he was so close, I said, YES! We went to the nearby park. I was near the end of having read my third book in the trilogy (from Stieg Larrson) and I thought it'd be cool if the kiddos could play while I read the last pages.

We arrived at the park and I went to sit under this pavilion in a spot where I could read and watch the kids. I noticed a couple older teenagers on a bench across from me when I was getting comfortable. A page or two later, one of the teens said, politely, "Excuse me." I looked around and noticed they were filling up their cigar with something and it clicked as he continued talking to me. "I just was letting you know I was doing this." I considered this for a second as I quickly responded. I'm sure they couldn't see the shirt I was wearing as an emblem on it was the state of Texas and a big star (it was from the Texas Probation Association) from which I was a member all those years working for the Probation Department. I said that I...didn't care (I really did)...but that if my kids came around...could they please move. It really wasn't a question or request. I then returned to reading, or rather trying to read.

I considered the situation while looking at the pages not being able to read for a few minutes afterwards. On one hand, the teen was very polite and considerate (not something I see every day especially in my neck of the woods.)I guess he was giving me the opportunity to move if I didn't want to be near them when they smoked (or the smoke.) On the other hand, hello?!?, they're illegally smoking marijuana (and possibly something else) in the park during the day. I wanted to give them a lecture right then and there about a whole bunch of things including their health concerns while smoking, being a role model, drug testing/job applications options, getting a ticket/being arrested for committing a name it, it all went through my head in just a few seconds. But I go to that park frequently and lived nearby, I didn't want to have any backlashes in my attempt at morality to strangers. I was ambivalent. As it turned out, I stayed there and realized a few minutes later that they moved. Apparently, they decided against it, or they chose to move elsewhere to 'do their thing.' And my kids luckily never came around during any of this...

Monday, November 01, 2010


I was at the grocery store yesterday morning. I was buying some chicken to grill and a few extra stuff I needed. I noticed a few older guys shopping together as well because one was wearing overalls and a kind of cowboy hat and I thought my kindergartener would have like to have seen him, lol! Near the checkout, they were behind me and as I was putting my things in the basket, one of them asked what I was doing later (as in making conversation about Halloween.) I mentioned that the plan was to grill some chicken and to catch up on tv...and for some reason unknown to me, I mentioned how much I loved dvr (being able to tape programs to watch later when I have more time) and how paying that extra $10 a month has made my life so much better. I could tell he had been drinking alcohol, although not drunk, but I guess to get up and moving that day. They were all kinda rough looking, not scruffy, per se, but as if they have a hard life...the kind where you put in manual labor each day, if they were lucky. He said, "Wouldn't it be nice if that's all it took." I responded, definitely. Then as I walked away, I thought to myself that I felt extremely blessed and fortunate. I have a really good life and I'm happy. I wish that little money was all it took to make everybody in the world happy.

We enjoyed trick-or-treating! My youngest has a slow speed...the kind where he stops and listens to the noises, looks at the stars or the pumpkins, or talks about the decorations in the yards. Definitely not on a mission to get lots of candy but to just take in the whole experience. We were able to split up so that I could just walk around with him slowly as he enjoyed the evening.


Monday, October 25, 2010

I eat the small chips... the basket at mexican restaurants. This drives my daughter crazy. She, of course, loves and eats the big unbroken pieces from the top after she dips them in the hot sauce or chili con queso. But I prefer the smaller ones in the bottom of the basket. I can use them to dip into the hot sauce (even though I really am not a fan of spicy sauces or dips) or guacamole (that I love so much.) These little chips taste the same as the big ones, they're just not always accessible, convenient, and are sometimes flawed. But they taste the same as those big perfect ones on top. I think they're better though because you don't have to break them to eat them and are the perfect size for me.

I thought about this whole chip thing as I waited for my friend at lunch last week. I've had a friend for over twenty years who lives about thirty minutes away. We don't really have a whole lot in common. She was the girlfriend of my hubby's coworker at one time. We remained friends with her even after the coworker parted ways. I think she and I have a bond due to time...even though we live semi-close, we eventually only saw each other about once a year for a decade or so. In the last two to three years, we started meeting more often at a mexican restaurant near where she works for lunch and exchanging information about our lives and finding out what's new with each other.

It's nice to know someone so long that you immediately know certain things like if they're happy or sad or whether they've lost or gained weight. It's also great having an impartial person to be able to vent to about your family, brag about great things happening, or to just sit and talk with (when there is nothing going on.) She's gone through a couple husbands, I've raised a couple girls, we care about our those people close to us...we've become a special support group for two who meet a few times a year.

My friend is like one of the little chips.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Backyard picnic

My kindergartener had planned on having a picnic. We were thinking about going to a park to do it but ended up just doing one in our yard. It was lovely! I sat with my camera and took picture after picture. The kiddos ate their sandwiches, grapes, chips and drank grape kool-aid. I sat this morning and uploaded the pictures and looked for a couple that might stand out. While there were some cute ones, two really stood out for me of my toddler. He was enjoying his peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Of all my kiddos, he is the happiest, usually never grumpy (other than when he wakes up, of course) and loves to smile!


I love his little dirty fingernails too! He's just precious!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

So proud...

Since about two or three weeks after school started, I was summoned to my kindergartener's class for a parent-teacher conference. There was a gap between my kiddo and the other kids in the class. I had that pit in the bottom of my stomach because I had not studied with him during the summer as I should have. So...we started studying each day to learn the uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet along with the sounds of each with the flash cards that I made. It was slow starting but after a trip to Academy (a local sports store,) where he saw the perfect boots, I found the perfect motivation.

My kiddo loves anything having to do with ranches and cowboys. He loves tractors, construction vehicles, and/or anything related to ranches. These particular boots he saw were the perfect ranch boots. They weren't pointy like cowboy boots but were rather rounded like the boots his dad wears outside to work.

So we practiced each day. Finally, today, he got all of them right! I don't know who was more happy or proud....him, or me! But he felt the feeling of doing something with a goal, practicing, and then the feeling of accomplishment! It was a great feeling! We bought those boots! He didn't have time to wear them though as it was near time to go to bed by the time we got home. But....this weekend, we go to our in-laws farm and they just bought a tractor. That is heaven for my kiddo! I've already made the next set of cards to learn next (numbers and sight words.)

Today was a good day!



Thursday, September 30, 2010


I had been doing so good exercising! I was in 'the zone!' I finally after a year of working out at the gym (of course, not every week) got up the nerve to take a class...zumba. It was so fun! I am overweight, have no dance skill and am slow, but I really loved it! Fastforward two weeks into the classes (along with my usual Sunday walk with my friend who walks SO fast) and knee. Apparently, I tore a ligament...sigh. I am hoping it heals by itself and I have no other problems forever afterwards. I had also decided on a six month goal beforehand too... I want to go to a lodge on top of a mountain (that you have to hike up in order to stay because there is no other way up it.) It looked awesome! I still want to go and will strive to do it. But for now, I hope to not gain back the weight I lost (a little, but it's still a loss as opposed to a gain.) So, I'm still resting and hobbling around....

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Every morning, my youngest son will wake up between 6 and 6:15am. He then proceeds to wake up his brother by making vocal noises and/or throwing his monkey/sleeping buddies on top of his sleeping sibling, lol! Thus, I rearranged some of the furniture and moved their beds farther away from each other with the hopes that my kindergartener can sleep a little longer (because I'll sneak in and grab the 'noisy' one. Just a few months ago, I moved them out of our bedroom and into their own room and the toddler started sleeping in his crib for the first time. The twin bed is actually half of a bunk bed set from a relative (given to us twenty years ago) and it'll be eventually be a bunk bed set again (when the boys are older, especially if our older daughter is still home.)

Right after I finished moving the beds and dresser, the toddler climbed up and laid down in his brother's bed for a long while. I went and grabbed my camera because he seemed to look so cute. He's so happy most of the time. Right now, he's outside in the backyard playing in the dirt with his vehicles and backhoes (in light rain.)

Then, I played with him a while by throwing the panda back and forth to each other. I was able to catch a smile from him in the process.