Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Happy Birthday Ian!!

Today my baby turned four. That's two plus two. He knows, and he'll tell you.

Ian's been a sick little guy this week. Just when I thought he had outgrown his need for snuggles and kisses, he got hit with a nasty stomach virus and wanted to be carried, held, and babied. I happily obliged. At 4:30 this morning, he woke up crying. By the time I got to his bedroom, Aidan was meeting me at the door, saying, "Mommy. Ian needs you!" He was burning up with fever. I got him some medicine, and Aidan got him some water. Within 3 minutes, all was calm again and as I tucked them back under their covers, I whispered to Aidan, "You're such a good big brother."

"Is it Ian's birthday yet?" he asked. I said yes. He answered, "So I'm not a big brother. I'm just a brother." He's right. For nine days, both Ian and Aidan will be 4 years old, and they think that's the coolest thing in the whole wide world. For now, they're even. For nine days, no one is older than the other.

Ian's feeling much better tonight. He's gone more than 24 hours without vomiting, and he hasn't had fever since that early morning bout. Once again, he's too big for kisses and snuggles. At bedtime tonight, just after taking a bajillion photos of him, I grabbed him up and squeezed him tight. He stiffened, furrowed his brow, set his chin, and then finally relaxed and gave in to the hug. But only for a second. Then he said, with all the authority of a 4-year-old, "Ok, Mom. That's enough."

That's what he thinks. He's a sound sleeper. He doesn't know that sometimes late at night, long after he's giggled himself to sleep, I tiptoe into his room and lay my cheek against his, feeling his baby breath tickling my nose. I smooth his hair, kiss his lips, and take him in until he stirs or rolls over, whichever comes first.

I love this little man with every fiber of my being. He's scary smart, tenatious and temperamental. I hope I'm smart enough, disciplined enough and long-suffering enough to raise him right. He deserves the best. He's my (not-so-little-anymore)boy.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Seester

There's a strange phenomenon that occurs in my relationship with Bobbie. I can't figure it out. When she lives nearby, I rarely see or talk to her. But when she moves away, I miss her terribly and count the days until I'll see her again.

This is the third time we've been separated by miles. The first time was when I was in college and she was still in high school. I missed her so much, even though when we shared a room for all those years, we fought like dogs. I remember wanting her to come visit me in the dorm, and then I remember talking her into moving to Denton so we could hang out. But weird thing happened... she had her life and I had mine and we rarely saw each other.

When Dani and Brittani were 5 and 3, Bobbie moved to Colorado. Again, I missed her like crazy. We talked on the phone a lot, and I planned a vacation with the sole purpose of visiting her. Then they moved back, into a house across the street from us. I loved those years, having her right there. We attended the same church, our girls spent every afternoon together, but outside of that, Bobbie and I didn't see much of each other. We both worked and had our own lives.

Eventually, she moved to another suburb, and we'd meet for lunch every once in a blue moon. Then they moved to Tennessee.

And I miss her like crazy. She was here this weekend, and once again, I found myself wondering why I let this happen. WHY did I waste the opportunity to know her when she was HERE? Why do we keep in better touch now that she lives 500 miles away than we did when she lived down the road?? I suppose we thought there was plenty of time.

My sister is a beautiful person, inside and out. She makes me feel loved and cherished. She brings out the best in me. She means the world to me, and I hope she realizes that. If her living in Tennessee means I get to talk to her more often than I did when she lived here, then so be it. Doesn't make a lick of sense, though.

I love you, Bot! :)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Let the Holidays Begin!

Thanksgiving is over, which means I allow my family to listen to Christmas music! Seriously... it's a punishable crime in my house to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving. When our family-favorite radio station switched to 24/7 Christmas music programming on November 8, I about had a conniption. I called the station TWICE to complain. My kids have been tortured by MY favorite radio station since that day - classic rock. And by the way... when did Def Leppard and the Police and U2 and Journey become CLASSIC rock?? I'll save that for another blog....

Today, we slept late and ate a leisurely fix-it-yourself breakfast. (I had a bowl of pumpkin pie. :)). Then Aidan got to choose the first Christmas CD of the year (he chose "Children's Favorites"), and we hauled all the Christmas boxes down from the attic. In less than an hour and a half, we had the prelit Family tree all decorated. This was the first year that the boys really got into helping hang the ornaments. It was great fun! My tree is bottom-heavy, but that's okay. I love that they participated so joyfully. There was much laughter and singing this afternoon.

After that, we moseyed downtown for late lunch/early dinner at Chili's, then to the annual Fort Worth Parade of Lights. The parade began at 6:00, and we arrived at about 5:55. Downtown is a MADHOUSE, with tens of thousands of people lining the streets. We positioned ourselves as best we could. We figured at least the boys would be able to see if we sat them up on our shoulders. Nearby was a special seating area where the city (or someone) had set up rows of folding chairs. Everyone thought they were set up for some VIPs, but at 6:10, with the parade already in progress and still no one sitting in those seats, we all decided that prime real estate like that shouldn't go to waste! In a matter of seconds, all the seats were filled, and lucky us... we were on the front row, right across from Bass Performance Hall. :)

At 7:50, the parade was still going strong, and Santa's float still wasn't in site. But our Christmas concert was set to begin at 8, so we hoofed it across the street between floats and marching bands and made our way to our seats inside the hall. We enjoyed the Fort Worth Symphony (the boys' first performance at Bass Hall) and lots of Christmas music. I was a little worried about how the boys would do for a two-hour performance in the near-dark, but they behaved exceptionally well. (Afterward, the older couples in front of us turned around and said, "Your children are marvelous! We never heard a peep out of them!" I accepted the compliment gracefully and thanked them. I'm sure I was beaming.) :)

At the end of the symphony's performance, there was an audience sing-along, and then for the encore, snow fell inside Bass Hall! It was beautiful. At first, you could only see it in the beam of the spotlights. But then the house lights started to come up, and it was like a winter wonderland. The boys were mesmerized. IT really was magical. When the concert was over, Santa was waiting in the lobby, ready to hand out candy canes. Ian was eager to go see him and have his photo taken. Aidan, on the other hand, freaked out and refused to go. By the time he changed his mind, it was too late. But we're going back downtown tomorrow with my sister and her family, and maybe he'll get to visit Santa then. :)

Speaking of... they'll be here at 11:00. I've already put together a yummy brunch casserole and it's overnighting in the fridge. But I still have a lot to do tomorrow before they arrive, which means I have to wake up at a reasonable hour. Which means... why am I still awake at 1:47 a.m.?

Happy Happy HOlidays! Let the craziness begin! :)

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks

Tommorow, Darren's family will arrive just in time to sit down and feast on Greenberg's smoked turkey, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, sweet potato souffle, stuffing, my famous salad with its homemade dressing, fruit salad, Pumpkin Crunch, Darren's pecan pie, cherry pie and apple pie. We'll wash it all down with the Kocur Traditional Thanksgiving drink: cranberry juice and ginger ale. We'll go around the table and say what we're thankful for.

Tomorrow, I'll keep it brief and say, "Darren, my kids, my church, and my friends."

But tonight, when I should be finishing up preparations for tomorrow, I'll elaborate.

I'm thankful for...

Darren's laugh. He laughs at most everything I say. He thinks I'm funny, even when I know I'm not. He also thinks I'm beautiful, even when I know I'm not. He also makes me believe both things, even when I find it hard to.

Darren's morning kiss. He faithfully kisses my lazy butt goodbye while I snooze away in the bed every morning. Oh, wait. He doesn't kiss my BUTT... he kisses my lips. But you knew what I meant. Didn't you?

Dani's maturity. Sure, she's 14. She has her 14-ish moments. But by and large, she's mature, responsible and caring. She makes being a Mom to a teenager truly enjoyable. She's engaging, fun, funNY, passionate, determined, true and trustworthy. She has a faith that astounds me.

Aidan's sensitivity. He loves with gusto. He's extremely protective of those he loves. He's a loyal friend and a keeper of fairness. He wears his emotions on his sleeve and cries easily. And as much as that part of him annoys me, I also love it and am thankful that I have a son who is so capable of real affection and emotion.

Ian's sense of humor. That boy is HILARIOUS! And so smart it scares me. WHen I catch him doing math or spelling words, he gets all embarrassed and then he gets mad. He's definitely full of fire. Sometimes it's crazy to deal with, but I'm thankful he's that way. He'll do just fine in this world.

Fortress Church. It's an amazing thing to be where God wants you to be, even when you don't fully understand why you're there. I think I finally understand now, but it's still a thrill ride to see it unfold every day.

My friends. Fortress provided me with the friendships I was lacking - friends who share my faith, my love of God, my need to serve. They all know that they're an answered prayer. It just so happens (funny how God works, ain't it?) that they're also just as zany as I am, and they love to have fun. And now, they love to scrapbook. Life's pretty darn good.

My Bobs are also dear to my heart. When I have a worry, or a question, or a joke, or a random thought that must be shared at that moment, I know the Bobs are just a click away. And if I'm not at the computer, they're simply a text message or cell call away. I'm always "this close" to the Bobs, even though we're all scattered from here to Timbuktu.

My scrappin' friends are generous beyond reason. It's because of them (and ONLY because of them) that I'm able to continue the scrapbook ministry at Fortress. I'm thankful that they're as passionate about leaving a legacy as I am, and that they trust me to pass their gifts along to the ladies at Fortress. Most of these friends would be strangers to me if I passed them on the street. Most of them have never met face to face. But we're friends, without a doubt. And we all understand that, even if the non-scrapbooking-on-the-web world doesn't.

I am richly blessed. VERY richly blessed. I think I'll go upstairs, fall on my knees, and really express to my Father how much I appreciate and cherish these gifts he's bestowed upon me. I oughta do that all year long. But I rarely do. It seems I need this yearly reminder to really take inventory and slow down enough to be thankful for my riches.

And so I'm thankful for Thanksgiving.

May yours be full of happy memories, yummy food and cherished loved ones!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Words that have spurted forth from my mouth this week

"Aidan, keep your HANDS on YOUR side of the car! Ian, keep YOUR FEET on your side of the car. And if you DON'T, my hand is gonna come flyin' to the BACK of the car and wop both of you. DO YOU UNDERSTAND???"


"Well Ian, if you'd stop CLIMBING all over everything like a dadgum MONKEY, then maybe you'd stop falling off the chairs all the time!! Come here. Are you hurt?"

"The next toy I step on on these stairs is gonna get thrown in the TRASH! I don't care if it's your favorite toy!"

"If you boys can't stop squealing, I'm gonna duct tape your mouths. Do you hear me? STOP SQUEALING! STOP! You are not pigs, you are BOYS!"

"Not duck tape. DucT tape. STOP QUACKING!"

"Aidan, stop saying "Holy Banana Peels".

"I don't care who you've heard say 'Holy crap'. You're not allowed to say 'holy anything.' It's not nice."

"Don't stomp off! I'm still talking to you! DANI, GET BACK IN HERE!! Wait. No. JUST GO TO YOUR ROOM!"

"Suck it up, Aidan. Say "MAN, that hurt!" But forevermore, DON't CRY ABOUT IT."

Oh yah. I've got Mother of the Year wrapped up this week.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

1st Lost Tooth

Aidan's favorite episode of Rolie Polie Olie (I hate that show, by the way. GADS, it makes me cranky.) has long been the "lost tooth show". He knows all about getting a loose tooth, having it fall out, or WORSE, having to YANK it out, and all about putting it under your pillow for the tooth fairy.

About a month ago, Aidan came running in to tell me excitedly, "MOMMY! I have a looth TOOTH!"

"Hmmm, okay Aidan. Whatever. You're only four. Hate to disappoint ya kid, but you don't have a loose tooth."

Thankfully, I didn't say that out loud. Instead, like every good mother does, I fed the excitement.

"AIDAN! Let me see! A loose tooth? What a big boy you are!"

Imagine my surprise to discover that yes, indeedy. He DID have a loose tooth. A VERY loose tooth.

"Did ya get knocked in the mouth at school? Did you fall off your bunky bed and hit your face? Did you crash your bike and hit the handlebars?"

All answers were no. It was a genuine loose tooth. Darren reminded me that Aidan was an early teether. At 3 months, he had already cut his first tooth - the same tooth that became his first loose one.

And now the same one that became his first LOST one.

It happened today about midafternoon. He was eating an apple in the kitchen. He came timidly into the family room, with a look of wonder on his face, and said very slowly, "Mom. My tooth just broke OUT. OUT of my MOUTH. When I was taking a bite of my apple, it just BROKE OUT!" I think he thought he was going to get in trouble, because for the last month, I've been telling him to leave it alone and stop wiggling it all the livelong day lest it fall out before its time.

He opened his little fist to reveal the tiniest tooth I ever saw. I picked it up and this time, it was MY face that was full of wonder.

Aidan's Eyes
Wide and Expectant
Twinkling, blinking, waiting
Lost tooth, new adventure - new era, lost babyhood
Remembering, Cherishing, Photographing
Tearful yet Enthusiastic
Mommy's Eyes

Saturday, November 19, 2005

to Jenny and Kim

Yesterday evening, as we sat eating dinner, I said to Darren, "I wonder if we'll get any packages for the Joneses this year (the previous owners of our house). Remember last year, we got that huge brisket? And a box of chocolate?" (Mr. Jones is a lawyer... I'm guessing they were gifts for his services.)

When we arrived home last night at midnight, I noticed a huge box on the porch as we pulled into the driveway. I thought from a distance that I recognized the 1-800-FLOWERS logo, but then thought, "no way". Closer inspection proved that it was indeed a flower box from 1-800, and the first thing I did was look at the label, completely expecting to see the the Joneses' name there.

I mean, I NEVER get flowers. And it was obvious they weren't from Darren. I couldn't get the box open fast enough.

Inside, I found a beautiful fall bouquet and a pair of candles. "How totally RANDOM!" I exclaimed. There was no card. Then I noticed that there was another box inside, which Darren was opening. Inside it were two turkey-shaped candlesticks. "Ha!" said Darren. Now we have a centerpiece for Thanksgiving."

I was still baffled. WHO would send me this wonderful surprise?? I couldn't think of a single person, or a single reason why I deserved it.

Then I looked again on the outside of the box, and there in its little pouch was the card. It reads, "Thank you for letting us fall into your house... and your life. Love, Jenny and Kim".

I kept saying over and over, "I can't believe they did this! I can't believe they did this!"

Thank you so much! Having you here was such a blessing. It was great fun to cement the friendships that were already established, and to repay Jenny for the hospitality she showed US last year. I expected no thanks for having you here. I was thrilled and HONORED that you came. The flowers were icing.

Love you both!

Stacy's Favorite Things

Since once again, I'm obviously not going to be surprised with tickets to Oprah's Favorite Things, I've decided to do my OWN show. Enjoy!

Every busy woman needs a pair of these. They're CROCS! You've heard me rave about them, and you've seen them on my feet every day since the day I bought them. Most of the styles come in an array of colors - from lime to fuschia, from khaki to buttermilk.
I chose Beach in black, but now I'm ogling Metro in either light blue or chocolate. These shoes are Heaven on Two Feet. They're ugly, but sometimes, ugly is beautiful!

The welcoming aroma of Warm Sugar Cookie, the opulent fragrance of Diva, and the clean leathery scent of Cowboy.... these are my favorite candles from
Tyler Candle Company. I buy the 3.4-oz jars in threes at Inscriptions on the Boulevard... 3 for $15.

I'm not a lotion-y kind of gal, but in the dry winter months, there are two products that I can't live without. I keep a travel-size of each one in my purse at all times. For my hands, nothing - and I mean NOTHING - works like Aveda Hand Relief . It doesn't leave my hands sticky or oily or perfume-y - just smooth, soft and clean.

For my face, I use Clinique's yellow Dramatically Different Moisturizer everytime I put on makeup. But during the winter months when my cheeks develop dry patches, only Clinique's Moisture On Call does the trick. I love the clean scent and the way my face drinks the moisture IN, rather than having a gloppy mess sitting on my skin.

I'm head over heels for signs! I've acquired vintage signs at auctions, flea markets and -ahem- right off the pole at a retail establishment in college. But my favorite new signs are from Danielson Designs! This is my newest addition - I found it at my favorite neighborhood gift shop last week, and thought briefly about asking for it for Christmas. Then I decided I didn't want to take the chance of them selling out, so I bought it then and there! I also have two other signs from Danielson, and I love them all!

I can't claim to be much of a cook, but I'd be even LESS of a cook without my favorite red enamel colander! I got it at Target, where they only had white, yellow and red. But at Target.com, you can choose from a whole rainbow of colors!

I use my Calphalon Everyday Pan, well, everyday! Sherilyn turned me on to this most excellent piece of cookware two years ago, and it still looks and cooks like brand new. I've asked for another piece for Christmas, but unfortunately for me, people don't think it's much fun to buy cookware for Christmas gifts.

When a Costco opened up in Fort Worth 5 years ago, I was one of the first through the doors. I let my Sam's membership go and I've been a loyal Costco shopper ever since. Their photo lab is unmatched in both quality and price - in 5 years, I've only had ONE problem with an order. I love that I can upload my photos to costco.com, edit them online, order prints and enlargements, and pick them up an hour later. Costco also has the best deals on books and fresh flowers. My boys would argue that they have the best fruit snacks ('cause they have BIG boxes!), but they also love the $1.50 hot dog and Coke deal at the snack counter. Time it right, and you can have lunch in the aisles as the vendors sample yummy food!

Two Christmases ago, I told Darren that the one and only thing I wanted was a purse. But I was very specific. I knew exactly which style I wanted (Wendy Handbag), and in what color (aqua), and I told him exactly where he could buy it. I even had it on hold in my name, in case he showed up. It helped that I was an employee of the store that carried the line, and that they gave him my discount. Still, I wasn't sure he'd actually BUY it for me. That Christmas morning, I was ecstatic. I've carried that same purse every day since, whether it matches what I'm wearing or not. (It usually doesn't.) I'd love to have it in red... just so happens that Inscriptions still carries the line! ;) After receiving the purse, I splurged over the next several paychecks and got a few pieces of the luggage, as well. IT's gotten a lot of use, and it still looks perfect. LOVE this stuff made in Scotland by Glenroyal Chic.

I wish I could say that every audience member was going to take home one of each of my favorite things, but that ain't gonna happen 'less it's on your dime. And by the way... if'n I'm gonna cross that "see a taping of Oprah" thing off my List of Things To Do Before I Die, I better start plannin' a trip to Chicago. You wanna come?

Friday, November 18, 2005

(L)emulating the Biopoem

My friend Sue is a teacher. She uses this type of poetry assignment from time to time, and tonight I am copying her. :)
As she did, I'm including the instructions should you wish to be a lemming with me. :)

Lover of Darren, Friend of Many, Sister-in-Christ
Creative, expressive, loyal, hospitable
Wife and Mother and Keeper of Memories
Lover of music, road trips and throw-your-head-back laughter
Who feels radiant when Darren's near, grateful when I count my friends, contented when the day is done
Who has been born in Kansas, raised in Texas and blessed on every path along the way
Who needs constant affirmation, occasional validation and a daily dose of sunshine
Who fears being judged unfairly, failing those who need me and snakes
Who gives faithfully to Fortress, eagerly of talent and selfishly of time
Who longs for S to know God's grace, for B to find her passion, and for me to shed this fat suit
Who would like see my children go to college, find the loves of their lives, and make a beautiful mark on this world
Resident of Fort Worth, 'cause life's too short to live in Dallas

(Character's first name)
(List 3 or 4 relatives or friends)
(List 4 character traits that would describe this person or his personality)
(Position or job)
(3 things, people, activities, etc.)
(3 emotions and explanations)
(3 places or events this character has been)
(3 descriptions of things this character may have needed)
(3 descriptions of things this character may have feared)
(3 descriptions of what this character has given to family, friends, the world,
(3 descriptions)
(3 descriptions of things the character may have wanted to
have seen in his/her lifetime)
(Synonym - one profound word that describes the character)
(Character's last name)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

BlogLifted From My Seester

About Me
I AM: already regretting my previous post
I WANT: to not regret it, 'cause it's FUNNY!
I HAVE: a perfect life
I WISH: my sister and I were closer when we lived near each other
I HATE: having popcorn kernels stuck in my teeth
I MISS: Karen and Eric the Couple. And Karen. All by herself.
I HEAR: that it's actually supposed to turn cold tonight (it's 70 right now, at 2:28 a.m.)
I SEARCH: for the boys' shoes every stinkin' time we leave the house, 'cause I'm not disciplined enough to make them disciplined enough to put them away in their closet
I WONDER: who the nutjob is who keeps commenting anonymously on my seester's blog, even though she's continually asked the commenter to show himself
I REGRET: letting my weight get so out of control
I LOVE: when Aidan comes and cuddles in my bed early in the morning
I ACHE: for Ginger and James, and for Joe and Laura, two couples who've faced unmeasured worry and grief over their babies' health crises
I ALWAYS: laugh out loud when I chat with my Bobs
I AM NOT: looking forward to getting up in the morning
I DANCE: on tables when I want Annie to turn the country music off
I SING: with all my heart
I CRY: at the silliest little things like when the Taco Bell dog wants a burrito. But I don't cry when it makes sense to.
I AM NOT ALWAYS: as responsible as I should be
I WRITE: 'cause I'm called to
I WIN: when people tell me I can't or won't
I LOSE: when I don't get off my butt
I CONFUSE: even myself when I try to argue. I suck at arguing effectively.
I NEED: to work my hind-quarters off tomorrow to make a deadline
I HOPE: I remember to order my turkey tomorrow
I WEAR: my emotions on my sleeve

On Farts

WARNING: this entry contains immature and junior-highish bathroom humor. At the moment, I'm laughing my head off. I may very well be embarrassed of it come morning, but too bad. I've sworn to never retract an entry. And you KNOW I've wanted to!

Two weeks ago, I walked into the boys' classroom to pick them up from Mother's Day Out. They attend "school" at a Baptist church nearby, and their teachers are very nurturing and proper Baptist ladies. Near the door of the classroom, they have a "Prayer Corner". It's a cabinet with the door removed, which creates a little cubby just big enough for a preschooler to climb in to. Inside the cubby is a nap mat with a blue cover on it, and pictures of Jesus adorn the wall. I'm not sure if they use the Prayer Corner at school or not, or if it's there for the church's Sunday School class. I've never asked. But two weeks ago, I walked into that classroom to find both of my boys in that little cubby. With their heads on the blue mat and their butts high in the air. They looked at me from between their legs and said, in unison, "SMELL MY STINKY BOTTOM!!"

And I swear on the penguin, I laughed. Then I remembered that I'm supposed to be a good Momma, so I chided them. "Get OUT of that Prayer Corner! That is NOT nice to say!" But inside, I was rippin' one myself - and laughin'.

Farts are a funny thing. I was tellin' my good friend Martha tonight... I'm like a ten year-old boy when it comes to farts. They crack me up. Always have. I blame it on my Dad.

After all, he was the one who taught us kids how to lift a leg when we needed to rip one. He's the one who would stand up from his recliner, blow a huge one, and then run from it, as if it were trying to kill him. HYSTERICAL. He's the one who, upon finding both bathrooms occupied one evening, ran around the house from the living room, through the front entry hall, through the play room, down the hall past the bathroom, back through the living room... going in that circle over and over and over at top speed, holding a cheek in each hand, ripping little toots with every step. We learned at a young age that bodily functions were FUNNY. My Mom was always mortified. Which made it even more funny.

In high school, my brother got a bright idea. He stood in the garage with his friends, pulled down his drawers, and with one friend holding the nozzle on a spray paint can and another with a lighter, ripped a huge one. David always could fart on command. In fact, I do believe he could've farted the ABCs if you'd asked him to. That day, his talent caught fire and singed his butt hairs. I have never. laughed. so. hard in my entire. life as I did that day.

My friend Sue (not the one in Michigan) tells a great story. She was in yoga class one night, and found herself in some weird position where only her neck was on the floor. The rest of her body was on the wall... with her back to the wall, and her legs Indian-style. The instructor told the class to slowly bring their knees down, and Sue said it was like she became a human bellows. With each centimeter that her legs lowered, her abdomen released air. It got louder and louder and louder, this huge whooooosh, and there was nothing she could do to stop it. Finally, it ended with a prolonged squeak. She stood, walked proudly out of the class and never looked back. The first time I heard her tell the story, I just about gave birth to my Adam's Apple I was laughing so hard!

Martha and I think that men like to smell their farts. 'Twas true of my Dad. He was loud and proud. But the more it stank, the more he clucked. Darren's much more polite than my Dad was, but every now and then, we'll be laying in bed and he'll say, "Sorry." It's a catch-22, really. If he fans the covers to dissipate the stench, it'll instead just waft it right up my nose. But if he leaves the covers alone, then I start worrying that the acid is gonna eat through my skin. Usually, I roll off my side of the bed and protest, "DARREN! Disgusting! That's not even HUMAN!" And in the dark, I can see the green cloud rise from the sheets. And then, we laugh. 'Cause farts are funny.

Last weekend, Those Who Shall Remain Nameless discovered that one does not need to turn the jets on to get bubbles in a hot tub. And tonight, I learned that a fart executed while sitting in a wooden chair is amplified. In fact, I thought I heard the wood split at first. Darren turned around and said, "WHAT THE???" Then we both cracked up.

My friend Joe recalls that the first time he smiled the first month that his son Ira was in the NICU was when Ira farted. He wondered if that was okay. I cheered him on. "I hope Ira continues to fart," I wrote, "'cause I want you to LAUGH!" 'Cause EVERYone knows... farts are funny.

Well, not everyone. I have two friends who are probably ready to disown me. Karen couldn't even bring herself to fart in front of her husband. The day she finally farted in front of me was a joyous occasion. I knew then that our friendship was real. And then there's Jean. She'd be appalled. This entry would probably color (in a cloud of green) her whole image of me. Thank goodness she doesn't read this blog.

But s'okay. There's always Martha.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Couch Potato

I don't watch much TV. Truth is, I don't have time. I can hardly stand to be sitting there doing nothing when there's so much to be done. This is one reason I refuse to take up knitting, even though I've seen a bazillion cute knitted things I'd like to make, and even though it's a hip hobby again. If I took up knitting, I'd be spending way too much time sitting on my backside watching TV, knitting.

Today, I woke up sick with a pounding headache and a sore throat. It's the WEIRDEST sore throat I've ever had. It only hurts when air touches it - like when I talk. And the pain is in the very back of my throat - sort of on the back wall, if that makes any sense. I'm all achy and sore. Other than that, I have no symptoms. This is what Darren had last week. He missed three days of work, sitting here in his favorite chair, working from his laptop. He didn't LOOK sick, didn't SOUND sick, didn't ACT sick. But now I know. This is a weird sickness. I feel like crap. I nursed his sore throat last week with lots of orange juice, a limeade from Sonic, and a Ghirardelli hot chocolate from 7-11. Today, he brought home a Route 44 Sonic Diet Vanilla Coke for me. Too bad I was dead asleep on the couch and couldn't appreciate it until later. THAT is sure proof that I'm under the weather. I don't think I've EVER passed up a Sonic Diet Vanilla Coke.

I've hardly moved off the couch all day long. And what a WASTE of a day. I watched TV. I watched bad TV. VH1 has this show called "But Can They Sing?". I watched the whole hour, even though it was excruciatingly bad. I blame my fever, and the body ache, which must've kept me from pushing the buttons on the remote. Later, I watched two episodes of "Next" on MTV. The dating game show has a clever premise, actually, and I laughed out loud at some of the ridiculous guys and gals on the show. Shallow, shallow, shallow. One guy actually asked his date to check a cow's temperature. As she stood there with the thermometer in the cow's behind, it started to take a big dump. She was appropriately grossed out, but she still accepted an invitation from the guy for a second date. I'm sorry. I've NEVER been desperate enough for a second date to take THAT kind of crap.

Which reminds me of a first date I once had in college. We went to Dallas to eat at his favorite restaurant. When the waitress took our order, he went first, ordering oysters on the half shell and an entree. Then when it was my turn to order, he said, "Dudler!! I forgot to go to the ATM!" As the waitress stood there with pen in hand, he pulled out his wallet and extracted a wad of cash - a five dollar bill and a bunch of ones. Then he counted it out loud: "Five. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven...." - all the way to eighteen. I did some quick math in my head and figured out that I could still afford to eat. "I'll have a side salad and a water," I said. It was the last time I ever went on a date without money of my own, and it was the last time I ever went out with Mr. Oyster.

Anyway, back to TV. Today, I watched "That's So Raven" on the Disney Channel, and then an old rereun of Lizzy McGuire. Darren walked in and said, "You want the remote? 'Cause I KNOW you're not watching this 'cause you want to." But I kept watching anyway. I swear, the headache is getting to me.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


2 names you go by
1. Cowtown Stacy
2. Woman (mmmm)

2 things that scare you
1. undercooked meat
2. the bathroom mirrors at T Bar M Ranch

2 of your everyday essentials
1. sunlight
2. ice water

2 things you are wearing right now
1. blue tasseled cord on my wrist (from Beth Moore's "Believing God" study)
2. a clippy thing holding my growing-out bangs out of my face

2 of your favorite bands or musical artists (at the moment)
1. Pink Floyd (at the moment and for always)
2. I watched Biography on A&E last night, featuring the BeeGees. While they're not my favorite band and never have been, today I can't get that song "How do you mend a broken hearrrt" out of my head, so I guess I'll give them a mention. Last week, it was Weezer's "Beverly Hills" that tormented me. 8)

2 things that make you laugh
1. "Low Rider" by War or Barry White. Aidan loves to sing it, and he cracks me up... "take a little trip, take a little trip..."
2. road trips with friends. I've taken two this year, and laughed my hind-quarters off both times.

2 things you want in a friendship (other than honesty and respect)
1. honesty. Oh, I can't choose that one? Then, fun-spirited and spontaneity
2. Appreciation for and of the same things

2 truths
1. His grace is sufficient.
2. Darren loves me anyway.

2 things you enjoy besides scrapbooking
1. road tripping
2. "shake shake shake, shake your booty" with Aidan and Ian

2 things you want really badly
1. a digital Rebel
2. a kitchen remodel

2 places you want to go on vacation
1. Tennessee to visit my sister
2. Colorado in the winter

2 things you want to do before you die
1. raft through the Grand Canyon
2. wear a size 10 again

2 ways that you are stereotypically a chick
1. I get my feelings hurt, but act like I don't
2. I worry about what people think of me (and I hate to admit it)

2 things you are thinking about now
1. cutting my bangs
2. what to get Darren for Christmas

2 stores you shop at
1. Target (there's a brand new one 5.5 minutes from my house. WOO HOO!)
2. Michael's

2 things that have changed about you in the last year
1. I've become a "cat person".
2. I've reached into my past and reconnected with old friends, 'cause I don't let the 100+ pounds I've gained since college stop me anymore

2 things you have to do tomorrow
1. Make punch for Tanya and Aaron's wedding reception
2. put primer on the boys' playhouse

2 reasons you blog:
1. it gives me an excuse to write
2. people keep telling me they enjoy reading it

Friday, November 11, 2005

Merry November 11th

Fifteen years ago today, Darren and I instituted our first family tradition.

We were barely into our 10th month of marriage, and Dani was 3 months old. We were poor. Darren worked nights as a typesetter for $7 an hour. I stayed home. We lived in his parents old house out in the boonies and only had one car, so I often didn't get out of the house. Things were so tight that we often searched through couch cushions and car floorboards for enough coins to buy bread and milk. But somehow, we were happy.

Darren had never decorated a Christmas tree; his parents didn't decorate for Christmas, save for a cardboard cutout of Santa and the Reindeer that they hung on the kitchen door. He'd always dreamed of the day he'd have his own family and his own traditions, and the first one he'd institute would be a Christmas tree.

That autumn day in 1991, he couldn't put it off any longer. "Let's go buy a Christmas tree," he suggested. I was over the moon about the idea. But then, if he had suggested "Let's go buy a can of tuna fish," I'd have been just as excited. But there was one problem: we were broke. The stores were already stocking fake Christmas trees, but starting at $50 apiece, they were out of the question. So off we went to Thrift Town.

I couldn't believe it when, in the back corner of the hand-me-down store, we discovered a Christmas tree in stock. It was a sad, ugly little thing that had definitely seen better days. The limbs hung limply. The branches were fat but sparse. The green metal pole was bent in the center. I was sad. I knew that if we bought this pathetic tree, I'd be stuck with it for years. I wanted something better - something taller and more slender and with smaller branches that looked more real. But the tag read $7, and it was ours.

Seven dollars was a pretty penny. In fact, it was a huge expense, especially for something so frivoulous. But we couldn't be sure that another tree would come along, so we bought it. I thought we'd store it in the garage until Christmas, but Darren had other plans. He wanted to decorate it that night. I thought he was crazy, but Darren, a mostly nondemonstrative man back then, was practically jumping up and down with giddiness. I couldn't help myself, so I got excited with him. Pushing the dining table aside, we sat up the tree right next to Dani's bedroom door, using lights and 8 ornaments that I'd brought to the marriage. It was, by all accounts, a pathetic excuse for a Christmas tree.

We spent the next 2 months making homemade ornaments. I learned to cross-stitch that November, and created a dozen or so small cross-stitched pieces. I also hand-sewed little hearts cut from old, red flannel pajamas and stuffed them with polyfil from old pillows. For his part, Darren carved a tiny treehouse from a tree branch, and fashioned a wood-shingle roof for it. I hot-glued tiny fake flowers to it. By the time Christmas Day rolled around, it was a pretty cute little tree!

We kept that tree for 4 Christmases. But the summer before the 5th Christmas, we moved, and I had a garage sale. That tree was the first thing I pulled out. We got $7 for it.

These days, we wait until after Thanksgiving to put up our trees (a slimline fake in the family room, and a real tree in the front windows of the house), but the handmade ornaments from 1991 are always the first to go on. They bring back sweet memories of young kids in love, making the best of bad times... of a sweet baby who loved to lay beneath the tree and watch the dancing lights... of a first tradition started and kept alive... of a young man whose dream became a reality. Even back then, it was the little things. Still is.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Ugly Shoes

I spent the most wonderful weekend with the most wonderful friends in the San Antonio area. We road tripped down from Fort Worth, stayed at a great place on the RiverWalk, dressed up for old-timey saloon girl portraits at a place near the Alamo, and generally had a ton of fun. Then we spent the rest of the weekend with 20-some other wonderful friends at a scrapbook retreat. It was heavenly. In fact, SO heavenly that my new friend Kesa said to me, "Will there be a ScrapShare retreat in Heaven? 'Cause if there's not, I don't think I wanna go." :)

I completed 19 pages, successfully danced on a table without breaking it down, hot tubbed fully clothed, slept with Sherilyn and Veronica without accidentally draping an arm over them in the middle of the night, led the way down a dark, stony path without getting anyone killed, and remembered to take my pills everyday, even being out of my regular routine. But my biggest accomplishment of the weekend was this:


They are possibly the dog-ugliest shoes I've ever had on my feet, but oh. my. goodness they are comfortable! I bought them at a frou-frou health food store in San Antonio. At first, I slipped one on for the sole purpose of making fun of the hideous things. "Who would WEAR these...." I started to ask. But my sarcastic question was soon overcome with "ahhhh. OOOOOOOOH. Mmmmmmm. YESSSSSSSSSSSS."

"I'll have what SHE'S having," thought the customers who watched me breathe deeply and delight in my shoegasm. I walked straight to the cash register and did something I rarely do: impulse purchased. I felt a tinge of guilt that lasted for, oh, 1.5 seconds. Before the cashier had even given me the total, I'd asked for scissors to remove the tags, and had slipped the shoes on my feet. I enjoyed a walking massage all weekend long.

I LOVE my new Crocs.
And I don't even care that they're ugly.
Love, as they say, is blind.

"Do it to me one more time...."
"I'm walkin' on sunshine...."
"Man! I feel like a woman!"
"You make me feel! You make me feel! ..."

I think I'll have to create a new iMix just for my shoes. :)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

To my new readers

A sweet friend innocently posted the link to this blog on a message board. At first, I felt violated. Then I felt confused about what I felt. Now, I feel okay.

Just know this: I write for no particular audience. I write because I've forever been called to write. (Read my first-ever post on this blog.) I write because I need to be held accountable to write, and I don't hold my SELF accountable, so I count on friends to do that for me.

Now you're part of that circle. Read with caution, though. Sometimes I get really personal. Sometimes I get preachy. Sometimes my faith pours from my pen, and sometime my sin does. I just write whatever's on my heart and mind that day.

I write for me and my immediate family. Feel free to peek in if it interests you. But know this: if my Mom ever becomes aware of this blog, I will hunt. you. down! :)



When Dani was in First Grade, she had a great teacher who really emphasized daily journaling. Every morning, she would provide the students with journal prompts, and the kids would spend 20 minutes writing in fractured sentences and with misspelled words. It was precious. I loved reading Dani's journals. At Open House night, I proudly stood in front of the "Wall of Journaling" with the other parents, reading the "My Family" journals that hung there. It was sweet. It was moving. It was.... mortifying! There, in awkward kidscript, written with a fat pencil on a Big Chief tablet were the words "My Mom... sleeps nekkid." Ahem.

It's taken me 8 years to get over that embarrassment. Why DO I stress to my kids to always speak the truth anyway??

This afternoon, I walked into Aidan's Mother's Day Out classroom. His teachers were working on a bulletin board and didn't see me come in. Ms. Maria was saying, "Oh NO. You can't tell her about it." Mrs. Mary replied, "Oh, Maria. She'll LAUGH! I know she will. It's FUNNY!"

I had a tingly sensation and knew they were talking about me, so I piped up, "What's so funny?"

Ms. Maria jumped up and said, "Oh! Mary. Don't."

But Mrs. Mary, a sweet, perfectly coifed grandmother, was already ushering me out to the hallway where the days' artwork was hanging. She was so excited to show me this:

Pointing to the top right corner, she said, "Do the boys share a bunk bed?"

"Yes, they do," I answered.

"That's what Aidan said. He drew a bunk bed here. And is their sister's room right next door?"


"Mm hmmm," she replied. "And downstairs is the sofa, and there's a big spiky plant by the front door."

"Well, not exactly. But Aidan has been ASKING for a cactus to put on our front porch."

"Ah," said Mrs. Mary. "Well, Aidan draws such accurate pictures wouldn't you say?"

"Yes, he does. He loves to draw!"

"And he's so good at drawing DETAILS!" enthused Mrs. Mary.

My MomPride was short-lived however, for in the next moment, Mrs. Mary turned the page.... to THIS:

Mrs. Mary was laughing. Ms. Maria was standing in the door shaking her head. I was in shock. There I was, standing in the middle of my perfectly drawn family, stark naked. Mrs. Mary continued,

"I asked him, 'Aidan, what's THIS?', and he said, 'My Mommy's boobies.' And then I asked him, 'What's THIS?', and he said, 'My Mommy's tummy'."

But Mrs. Mary wasn't telling the whole truth. Because at that moment, Aidan shouted across the room from the sand table, "No! I said 'My Mommy's big, FAT, tummy.'"

I immediately glanced back at the paper to make sure there weren't any OTHER body parts I had failed to notice. I sighed audibly when I discovered no scribbly areas below the belly. But then I saw my face.

"Aidan, why am I SAD in this picture?"

"You're not sad. You're MAD 'cause you can't get your CLOTHES ON!"

Mrs. Mary fell out laughing, and so did Ms. Maria, although she tried to stifle it, bless her heart.

I sarcastically said, "Well. You're grounded from crayons and paper for the rest of your life. HMPH!" He didn't even hear me.

I had my thyroid follow-up at the doctor today. I'd only lost two pounds since last month. But hey - considering that I lived through Halloween and a 5-day scrapbooking holiday with friends, I'd say that's not bad. But still.... ain't nothin' like a portrait drawn by a very honest 4-year old to make you drop to your knees and give 'em 20.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Meeting Veronica

I've known Veronica for about five years. She knows my kids and all about our adventures with the house and trips and daily goings-on. I know about her work and her parents and her trips to Switzerland and Dubai. We've spoken on the phone - I called her once at work just to hear her accent. :) Veronica lives in Australia. Until Monday, we had never met in person.

Exactly one year ago, I said, "You should come to Texas next November for the 2nd Annual Texas Crop (a gathering of scrapbookers who are part of a close-knit online community). She took me seriously, and she's here! I've been excited about her arrival for months.

Monday, (Halloween), the boys and I showed up at the airport and waited for her flight. I was digging through my purse when all of a sudden, there was laughter and arms reaching around my neck in the most welcoming, happy-to-see-me hug. We rocked back and forth in that hug like long-lost sisters, squealing and laughing. Then I exclaimed, "How did you recognize me??" Veronica knows what I look like, but I didn't think she'd know me with pink hair. ;)

We're having a fabulous time. The first thing we did on the way home from the airport was get a Diet Coke with vanilla from Sonic. Then we walked into a crazy Halloween party at my house. I'm sure it was culture shock. Veronica barely had her feet on the ground before she was immersed in complete American Halloween mayhem. My friends made a GREAT impression on her. ;)

Yesterday, we drove to Dallas and shopped at Scrapbook Warehouse, and then had lunch with Sherilyn and Victoria. Lots of laughter. It just seems that we've known each other forever.

Today, we're going to take in some Fort Worth culture - the olden days of the wild, wild west. My boys have completely fallen in love with Veronia. They're entertaining her with story after story about kangaroos who toot when they fall asleep. Ahem. I don't know WHERE they get their warped senses of humor!

Veronica arrived with a suitcase full of gifts. Knitted wire-bead bracelets and chocolate frogs for Dani, a beautiful handmade ceramic pin for me, and puppets for the boys. Aidan chose the platypus and Ian chose the kangaroo. They think Veronica is the coolest friend I ever had. LOL!

Tonight, more friends arrive from out-of-state, and tomorrow, the Road Trip begins. I can hardly wait!

Thank God for internet friends. I don't care what the skeptics say. Internet friendships are REAL. And so far, none of mine have been axe murderers. :)