Tuesday, September 27, 2011


You know that scripture about running faster than you have strength?  

Mosiah 4:27 "And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."
Well, I thought I'd test it this week.  
See that first column that's covered in BLUE?  That's usually for MOM and DAD, but this week, I don't have room for any of the Scout Master's stuff on there and I've been too busy to even ask him what he's doing this week.  It's all just MY STUFF!  And see all those other BLUE things sprinkled in the KID's columns?  I have to DRIVE to all of those, so it's not like those aren't part of my week, too.  It's insanely busy.  I'm already completely exhausted and grumpy and it's only TUESDAY!

And guess what???  Look at October...
 It hasn't even gotten here, and it's already full.  I think I have a free day on the 18th...ugh!

I'm so tired, I can hardly keep my eyes open and I still have two more places to go tonight.

But I read this recently and it reminded me of the whole reason I write this blog... 

"Never let a day pass without looking for the good.  Make it your life commitment and you will stand in utter awe of what happens in your life."

I don't really know if anyone else reads this or cares about the stuff I say, but it's the way I make myself find something great about the day.  Because there's always something great to find...some days when the calendar is covered in BLUE, you have to look harder, but it's there.

Today it's this...

Text from TCD as I was sitting in the carpool line waiting to pick up Spell Girl from middle school... 
Hey, Mommy, did you know that cigarettes are a lot like hamsters?  They're perfectly safe until you put one in your mouth and light it on fire!
That dumb joke made me laugh all the way to the high school and again just now when I wrote it.  Sometimes when you're about to fall asleep waiting in line at the grocery store, or when you're so sick of cleaning the kitchen and restocking the pantry, or when no amount of begging, pleading and terrorizing is getting your children's rooms cleaned, a good hamster joke is exactly what you need. Enjoy!

Monday, September 26, 2011


How is it that this cute little thing...
...is now 15 years old?

Here's some stuff you might not know about TCD...

She didn't have any hair until she was about 9 months old, and when it came in, it was RED!

 She's been a Daddy's girl since the day we brought her home.

I refused to dress her in pink, ruffly, fluffy things...which is funny if you think about what she's drawn to now. 

She has ALWAYS had a thing for shoes!

It's such an amazing thing to watch your little baby turn into a remarkable teenager.  I am totally in awe of this girl.  Everyday she says or does something that happily surprises me. 

I love that she is driven and focused in school, but hilariously funny and goofy at home.  
I love that she spends her free time working on Personal Progress and challenging her friends to read the Book of Mormon.    
I love that out of the past 15 years of her life, her favorite one was this past one.
I love that she has a magnetic personality.  People just want to be around her.
I love that her lightning fast wit keeps me constantly laughing.
I love that she jumps into everything head first...100%...without looking back.
I love that she genuinely cares about other people.
I love that she strives to always do better.
I love that she is confident and a leader.  There's a reason we call her "The Cruise Director."
I love that she still listens to her parents even though she knows a lot of stuff.
I love that she's adventurous and outgoing.
I love that she forgets herself and does quietly nice things for other people.
I love that she is bold and convicted about her standards.
I love that she has common sense like no one I have ever met.

I love that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. 

This morning she wanted cupcakes for Seminary...for BOTH Freshman classes because her cute friend, Cameron, is in the other class.   

It's Cam's birthday today, too.  In fact, not only were they both born on September 26, 1996...they were born at the same time (almost).  Cameron was born at 5:25pm in Dallas (CST).  TCD was born at 6:29pm in Atlanta (EST).  Cool, huh?  

Sunday, September 25, 2011

General Relief Society Broadcast

I loved the General Relief Society Broadcast last night.  I always love to hear from Sister Beck and her counselors, but by far the greatest talk of the night was President Uchtdorf's.  I think that must have been the general consensus everywhere because I heard many sisters say the same thing last night after the broadcast and again this morning in church.
 Forget Me Nots
"I hope it will be a symbol of the little things that make your life joyful and sweet."

1.  Forget Not to be patient with yourself.
2.  Forget Not the difference between a good sacrifice and a foolish sacrifice.
3.  Forget Not to be happy now.
4.  Forget Not the WHY of the gospel.
5.  Forget Not that the Lord loves you.
"Never forget that you must be patient and compassionate with yourselves, that some sacrifices are better than others, that you need not wait for a golden ticket to be happy. Please never forget that the 'why' of the gospel of Jesus Christ will inspire and uplift you. And never forget that your Heavenly Father knows, loves and cherishes you."  - Pres Uchtdorf
I sat in the chapel last night thinking how different things are now than they were a year ago.  Last year I was fairly new in this ward and I didn't know very many people.  My friends from Mendon had all made their annual trip down to Salt Lake to attend the RS broadcast in the Conference Center.  And as the camera scanned the massive audience, I remember looking for familiar faces.  I couldn't see any, but it was immensely comforting to know that they were there listening to the same talks I was listening to.  

This time, I only had to look down the row in the chapel to see plenty of familiar faces that I have come to love.   It's still so comforting, though, to know that even though we are far away, the friends and family I have left in Mendon, Salt Lake, Atlanta, and Seattle were doing exactly the same thing I did last night.  I am so very grateful to be united in this worldwide sisterhood.    

Friday, September 23, 2011

Maroon 5

Do you know what I love about concerts?  The driving beat.  It's so loud that you can feel it INSIDE your skin.  You can't tell if it's the drums or your heart beating.  I LOVE that feeling when the music compels you to MOVE.  What an amazing rush! 

It's been FOREVER since I've been to a real concert. 

I average about one every decade...
 Journey (80s)

Jimmy Buffett (90s)
 Donny Osmond (2002)
Maroon 5 (2011)

They toured with...
 Matt Nathanson
Guess what I'll be learning on the ukulele next?? :)

All three bands were amazing!  The Scout Master prefers Train.  But I'm a HUGE Maroon 5 fan, so I thought they were the best.  From the time they started until the left the stage, they didn't even take a breath.  It was like one continuous song.  
  Never Gonna Leave This Bed (favorite song of the night!)

Makes Me Wonder 
(no, maybe this one was the best???)
Harder to Breathe
oh forget it, I can't decide...I loved all of them!
I should just make a Maroon 5/Train/Matt Nathanson playlist.

AHS Football Update:  We were seriously conflicted about whether to go to the concert that we've had tickets to since May, or to skip it and go to the AHS @ Plano game.  Maroon 5 obviously won out.  But we sent TCD to represent us at the game.  And they won 44-7.  Two (almost three) of those TDs were made by #19.  Oh, and Allen is currently ranked #1 in the nation, just in case you were wondering. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Sing Off

This is my favorite show...EVER!  This week, I watched it live on Monday, then again on the DVR.  And then again tonight, when the kids wanted to watch it, I happily sat through a third showing of the season 3 opener.   It's riveting, really.  When these groups perform, I don't even blink or breathe just in case I miss something.  Even after watching the show three times, I still can't get over how amazing they are.

I'm moved by music anyway...as long as it's good.  It breathes life into me.  It doesn't have to be a big group on a stage with lights and choreography.   I've been moved by Primary songs at church as easily as I have by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I've been moved by a single voice as much as a huge stage performance.  I've been moved by just a song on the radio or just a guy with a guitar. 

This show is different, though.  Every single group is amazing. The music is all acapella, but it sounds like they're being accompanied by full bands sometimes.  Their harmony is incredibly complex.  And ALL of them can sing.  This isn't like American Idol where you have to endure the very worst before you get to hear the top 10.   It's like the very best use of TV time possible!

These were my favorites tonight...but really, all of them were phenomenal!
 Opening - Perfect

they were so squeaky, you really couldn't help but love them  :)

Can't wait for next week's Season Opener Part 2!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Last year, when I found myself with so much time on my hands, I carefully picked what I wanted to put into that space.  I made some good choices, I think, and for the most part, they've stuck, even into this new school year. 

By far, though, the very best decision I made last year, was to drive my kids to and from school.  The elementary kids are close enough to walk and they usually do that with their friends.  Last year, it was just TCD who had the option to take the bus, but I chose to drive her the 1 mile to the middle school across the street.  It was the best 15 minutes of the day, especially in the afternoons, to be able to have quality time with her.  I realized very quickly that she is at her most open and chatty right after school, and I learned so many things about her on those drives to and from school. 

This year, she is at the freshman center which is considerably farther away, and Spell Girl is at the middle school.  We had some decisions to make about whether I was going to continue to drive them both.  If it was worth it for Spell Girl to have to be ready 35 minutes early so that we could drive all the way to TCD's school first?  How I would pick them up after school when they both have the same release time?  If we were depriving them of some great neighborhood friendship or missionary experience by not allowing them to ride the bus?  If it was still the best use of my time?  Well, today, I got a very definite answer to those questions.  (I already had the answer, but today solidified it for me.) 

Every morning, there is energy in the car.  Two teenage girls could stand still and there would be an abundance of energy.  But throw them into a moving vehicle with no other distractions except their mother, and it becomes the tangible, powerful kind...especially when it's positive.  On days like today, we all sort of feel like superheroes when we get out of the car. 

Some mornings we talk about insignificant things...the agenda for the day, their classes and homework.  Other days, we talk about their disappointments or their frustrations.  Today, we talked about the way Heavenly Father speaks to us...yep, we really did!  I'm not sure how it started...how does it ever start?  TCD talked about seminary, then Spell Girl related something from a talk she heard in church, then that led to marriage and the Temple and making good choices, and then finally TCD said, "I've heard that so much lately...seminary, YW, the Fireside!"  And Spell Girl agreed, "yeah...that's so weird when you hear the same thing over and over again.  Why does that happen?"  And I realized that the door had just been flung open for one of those "and thus we see..." moments.  So I jumped in and told them about the law of witnesses. 
The scriptural law of witnesses requires that in the mouth of two or three individuals shall every word be established (Deut. 19:15; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19).  
And then I told them that that's how Heavenly Father teaches us.  When something "pricks our hearts" repeatedly, it's the Spirit's way of getting our attention.  He says it through multiple people, on different occasions, and in different settings.  And our job isn't necessarily to figure out why he's saying it, but to hear it and remember it.  The WHY will come later.  I told them to write down the things that keep coming up and remember them.  There will be a time when they'll read those words again, and they'll think, "Oh, that's why I needed to hear that so many times." 

My contribution to that conversation lasted all of 2 minutes.  They started it, they guided it, and then they opened the door for me to finish it.  I could not have gotten into the car and said, "I'd like to discuss the law of witnesses today" and gotten anywhere with it.  I've learned to let them decide where the conversation is going to go.  And I mostly listen.  It is inspiring and overwhelming to have little glimpses into the desires of their hearts and their hopes for the future.  They are amazing girls. 

And everyday, even when the energy doesn't make me want to move mountains like it did today, I'm still grateful for the time I have carved out to spend with them.  There is nothing better that I could do with that 30 minutes.  There is no bus experience that could be more meaningful for them than the time the three of us have to teach each other and to strengthen our love for one another.  Last night, Spell Girl said, "You know what my favorite time of the day is?  The rides to and from school." 

The little things are totally worth it. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The First Tee

We've entered completely uncharted territory this week...GOLF LESSONS!  I've taken kids to dance lessons, piano lessons, orchestra warm ups, rehearsals for plays, and basketball practice over the years.  But watching my 8 year old throw a set of kid-sized golf clubs into the trunk of my car, and driving him to the golf course (without his dad who is still somewhere in FL on a never ending business trip) was a new experience for me. 

Mack is an awesome little golfer and he LOVES it, so when we found The First Tee of Dallas we thought we'd capitalize on his enthusiasm.  The best kids at the advanced levels in this program have been invited to play Pebble Beach!  
His dad and I would be perfectly happy to follow Mack all over the world to watch him play golf.  But we'd be even happier if he found something he was really good at, and that he really loved to do.  
This golf program is run by the PGA and is specifically designed to teach kids the basics of golf as well as core values and life skills.  
Our Mission
To impact the lives of young people by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

I LOVE that.  They're not trying to cultivate the next Tiger Woods.  They're trying to cultivate great kids who will become responsible adults, and if one of them happens to go pro then that's just a bonus.  There are 9 core values that they cover within a session...Confidence, Responsibility, Perseverance, Judgment, Courtesy, Honesty, Inegrity, Sportsmanship, and Respect.  

They worked on RESPECT this week.  Respect the course.  Respect the players.  Respect the rules.  They taught the kids how to properly hold their clubs when not in use so that they don't become weapons.  They taught them to be quiet and respectful when others are playing.  They taught them to put the grass back when necessary.  

Mack is already very meticulous about his golf routine, just like his dad and his grandpa.  He only wears collared shirts and khakis on the golf course.  He has to wear a hat.  He carries his own clubs (which is good because they were way too heavy for me!)  He always uses his golf glove.  And he reminded me several times that I could not walk on the green with "those pointy shoes."  (They were hardly pointy, but I respected the course and went around.)

I hovered a little since it was the first lesson (all the other parents were hovering, too) and I heard Coach Mike tell him several times that he had an awesome swing!  He looked so comfortable out there...like he'd been doing this for years.  And I did notice that he connected with the ball quite a lot.  

Unlike our basketball experience last winter, when Mack was mostly interested in the post game treats, tonight he was very chatty about golf all the way home.  
When we stopped to get a Sonic slushie, he said, "Thanks, Mommy."  
I said, "You're welcome!  Is it a good slushie?"  
And he said, "Not for the slushie!  For taking me to golf lessons.  They're AWESOME!"

Nothing beats a great day on the golf course!

Monday, September 19, 2011


Yep, that's actually a word...I looked it up.  

Interchangeability:  A condition in which exist two or more items with characteristics making them equivalent in performance and durability, making them fully exchangeable.
Over the past several months this strange transformation has been occurring at my house and I'm not sure yet if I like it.  It's like someone has painted me with invisible paint overnight because I don't seem to exist anymore...at least not when TCD is within a 5 mile radius.  I've been dethroned, upstaged, and overshadowed...ugh!

Example #1:
It's a pretty widely known fact by now that I'm a vegetarian.  I decided last November that I wanted to make some changes, and being healthier was one of them.  And then in January, TCD decided that she wanted to try it, too.  We eat very little meat, but we're not fanatics about it.  I tried a bite of the Scout Master's burger when In-N-Out came to Allen.  (And it was the best bite of a burger I've ever had, btw!)  And TCD makes exceptions for all forms of Chinese food and her dad's homemade burgers on the grill.  For the most part, though, we're pretty consistent about the no meat thing.  Lately, though, I hear people asking all the time what they can fix for TCD so that she has something to eat at a party or an activity.  Even my mom and Auntie Debbie did that when they were here last week.  We would plan dinner and they would say, "What about TCD?  What can we get for her?"  (Um...hello?

Example #2:
I have been in the ward choir since we moved here last August.  Practices used to be held before church at 10:15am, and since that's a whole 45 minutes earlier than the Sacrament start time, TCD would only occasionally come with me.  I mostly sing alto, but if there's a need, I'll fill in on the soprano part.  It's not where I'm most comfortable, but I can do it.  Yesterday, we started our new choir rehearsal schedule at 4:15pm and since that's a better hour for her, TCD came with me.  When we walked in, the choir director said to her, "Oh good, I'm so glad you're here.  We need more sopranos.  I know you can sing both parts, so if you wouldn't mind switching for today, that would be great."  And then she proceeded to tell the choir how versatile TCD is, and how she could probably sing both parts at the same time.  (Um...I can't recall TCD ever singing soprano before.)

The Last Straw Example #3:
Last week, for our combined YW Class Presidency meeting, I made that appetizer with the fritos scoops and the cream cheese and salsa dip.  I thought everyone had tried that before.  It's certainly not an original recipe.  I copied it from my sister-in-law, I think.  Apparently though, no one at our meeting had ever had it before and it disappeared pretty quickly.  So TCD decided that she wanted to bring the same thing to the Fireside last night at the Bishop's house.  It's not rocket science.  It's just an appetizer.  I went to the grocery store on Saturday night, got all the stuff, put it all together on Sunday, and then TCD carried the plate into the Bishop's house.  Did anyone say anything to me?  Nope.  But they ALL gushed over TCD and said. "Oh, this is going to be your signature appetizer!" "Oh, TCD, thanks for bringing this.  I love it when you make this!"  (Really???)

Needless to say, I've been slightly irritated and a little mopey about this sudden change.  It's like going from rockstar status to the rockstar's personal assistant.   After the fireside incident, I voiced my concerns to TCD. 

ME:  Do you think I've become invisible?
TCD:  No, I can see you just fine, Mommy.
ME:  Well, then why do people forget I'm in the room when you walk in?
TCD:  Oh, Mommy.  (She might as well have said, "Oh, you silly little insecure thing.")
Here's what I think:  People don't know the difference between you and me.  You give a good talk and they thank me.  I say something funny and they think it was you.  We wear the same clothes.  We look alike.  We both sing.  We both play the piano.  We're like interchangeable, you know?  That's just the way it's going to be forever.  So we should just both take it as a compliment and enjoy it.  
(And she said that with nothing but total admiration and gratitude in her voice.  Like she's been waiting her whole life for this.)

So after that brief, but meaningful conversation, I had a slightly different perspective about the whole thing.  Instead of being immature and selfish, I've decided to be thrilled about it.  I haven't disappeared into the background.  I've multiplied.  (which can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on the day)  And how many almost 15-year-olds actually find joy in being like their mothers??  I can't think of anyone else I'd rather give my stage to, or be mistaken for.

I love this girl.  I love our interchangeability.  In the coming years, it's possible I may have two more little interchangeable components who force me to slip into the background. 
And I will be just as thrilled about that, too.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


We're on week 2 of the Scout Master's business trip.  Today was one of those days that could have been potentially disastrous, especially with him out of town, but it wasn't!  Our ward recently changed from the 11:00am schedule (which I LOVE) to the 9:00am schedule (which I don't LOVE that much).  This morning, I was on the program to sing, so I had to be at church by 8:20am.!  I'm totally capable of getting up and getting myself ready and out the door by 8:20am, but it's all those other people who live in my house that occasionally hold me up.  I prepared every possible thing I could last night so there wouldn't be any reason for delays this morning, but with 4 little variables, you really can never be totally prepared.

But today was one of those days that went perfectly smoothly.  (I feel comfortable saying that now that it's 5:47pm and I'm finished with all of my responsibilities for the day.) 

I made it to church for the early rehearsal. 

The special musical number was In Humility Our Savior.  I sang with 5 other women and it was amazing...really!  You know that kind of group where you just blend together perfectly and you can't distinguish between the voices?  Well, that's what this group was like.  I honestly don't know what it sounded like to the rest of the congregation, but I could hear the women around me and I couldn't tell their voices from mine, and it was a complete and total joy to sing with them, so that made it a success for me.  It's been forever since I've sung in a small group like that.  What an amazing privilege!

This is a different arrangement than the one we sang today, but I can't find a recording of that one, and this one is beautiful, too.  (I LOVE Hillary Weeks!!)

Then, after Sacrament, as I was walking down the hall to Gospel Doctrine, one of the Primary Presidency caught me and asked me to play the piano for Sharing Time.  That is my all time favorite calling in the whole world.  If I could do that for the rest of my life, I would.  So I happily filled in for the absent pianist and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Then I taught the lesson that I've been preparing for the last three days to my cute little group of Beehives.  Dating...ugh!   (There's a lot more work required for a YW lesson than for a Primary or RS lesson, I think.) How do you teach that topic to a group of girls who really could care less about boys right now?  One of them, in fact, has vowed that she's never getting married because boys are stupid.  The lesson was amazing, though.  The girls participated.  I said the things that were important.  And I think they all got something out of it.  They still liked me at the end of it and that's always a good sign.

After church, the kids and I came home and watched a movie and then made chocolate chip cookies for the parents who drove half of my seminary carpool for me last week.  I'm so grateful for people who jump in and help when I have to be a single parent...at 7am!

This afternoon at choir, guess what we practiced!!  Abide With Me  Oh, how I love that hymn!  It's way up there on the list of my favorites and I would happily sing it everyday, so it was the perfect ending to a perfect Sunday.   

I'm not sure what we're having for dinner tonight or what we're doing with the remaining 3 hours before bedtime, but so far the day has been 100% perfect, so it really doesn't matter.

And tomorrow is Institute!  Yay!!

Friday, September 16, 2011


“The knowledge of your destiny is available to you, well before it actually happens, as a message streaming continuously from your heart to your brain, written in the language of longing. ”

Do you know what I longed for when I was a little girl?  A relaxed, confident mom who was adventurous and loved life, who wanted to go places and do stuff.  My mom was confident and smart.  She also worked hard and taught me to be responsible, quiet, cautious, tidy and obedient.  Those are all great and necessary things.  They keep you gainfully employed and in long term relationships.  They help you succeed in school and in life.  They ensure that you are a productive member of society.   

What they don't do, though, is give you wings...like the kind of wings you need to have hope, to move mountains, to make hard decisions, to try scary things, to live an abundant life.  

I always wanted to just relax with my mom, to flop on her bed and tell her whatever outlandish, impractical thing I was thinking that day and feel totally safe doing it.  It's difficult to be a relaxed parent of a teenager, though.   I know from experience that sometimes when kids flop on the bed and tell us their hopes and dreams, we instinctively feel compelled to point out that ponies don't come in pink, that the top 10 of American Idol is an almost impossible thing to actually achieve, and that not everything works out the way we expect it to.  

When Chris and my Auntie Debbie were here this week, they asked if it brought me peace to know the truth about my birth family.   Yes, it absolutely brought me peace to have answers to my questions. But I sort of already had them.  I think, in my heart I knew that Chris was my mom.  But I also knew that it was never ok to pursue any questions I had about her, so I just kept them in my head, longing for sometime in the FAR future when I could ask all of them, but not really knowing for sure if I would ever get the opportunity.   

But the greater gift I think that I've been given since finding Chris is those wings that I longed for as a little girl.  Total acceptance, permission to dream big, and inspiration to live an abundant life.

Chris is amazing.  She pushes me toward my instincts and toward the things that I already love.  She encourages the innate parts of my personality.  I never feel like I have to lose weight, keep a cleaner house, or be smarter or funnier.  I'm already good enough for her.   She is relaxed, positive, confident and accepting.  She loves to go places and do stuff and try new things.  She is the very definition of "JUST JUMP!"
I know this situation is ideal and unique.  I know that Chris missed the tantrums and mood swings and rebellious years that my mom weathered.  I know that it is much easier to become the parent of an already functional adult than a newborn baby.   And I know that everyone's ideal parents occasionally don't match the ones they actually grew up with.   

But what a blessing it is now to be able to flop on her (guest) bed and tell her all the crazy things I think, and have her just listen.  I look at the life that she lives and the things that she's endured and they remind me that absolutely anything is possible.   

And do you know what's funny (like interesting funny, not hilarious funny)?  When I listen to Chris talk, she SOUNDS like my mom.  Her voice and her accent are the same as my mom's.  The way she says my name sounds like my mom.  It's this sort of oddly comforting thing that I love about her.  It makes me realize that Chris and my mom are both part of that "destiny" that I longed for as a little girl, the mom of my childhood and the mom of my adulthood.  Chris reminds me of what my mom was like when she was at her very best.  When she would come into my room singing, "Good morning to you!  Good morning to you!"  When I would come home from college and she would want to know every detail of the months that had passed.  When I brought my babies to visit in HOU.  Chris is what my mom probably would have been like if she were still here today and unburdened by health issues and financial stress...confident, happy, interested in my life and my family.  Wouldn't we all be at our best without the cares of the world weighing on us?

Last night I drove home from the airport area after dropping them off, and promised her I'd call to let her know I had gotten home safely.  When she picked up the phone, she sounded so much like my mom.  And then at the end when she said, "I love you, my darling daughter," I heard my mom's voice.  The longings of my heart instantly became reality.  

So all that stuff about ponies and American Idol and preparing for disappointments, I no longer think are as important to tell my kids as the part where absolutely anything is possible, that if you listen to those longings you can make even the most unattainable goals attainable, and that they should HOPE for everything because it's all within reach.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Grammas

Many many months ago, when I was in Hawaii meeting my birth mom and a whole new family I didn't even realize were mine, I asked my mom and my aunt when they would be able to come to the "mainland" to visit us.  They were just as excited as I was about that possibility and they thought maybe by May.  But life happens and things get busy and people move out of their houses and go on vacations, so May turned into September.  Today is the day that they are finally coming to my house!  They are finally meeting my kids.  I'm finally going to have them all to myself for 3 whole days!

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.  I've cleaned things, and bought groceries, and filled my van with gas, and practiced driving to the airport (I have never been to DFW that I didn't miss the exit for the terminal and wind up endlessly circling the airport!  That place is so confusing!)  

I'm excited to be with them and to catch up on the last few months, but I'm most excited that my children are finally going to meet them.  This is going to be a grandparent experience unlike any they've ever had before.  In fact, TCD even said that with both of them coming, it will be like having TWO grammas!  I can't wait for them to get to know these two wonderful women who have become such a huge influence in my life. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I remember exactly where I was 10 years ago.  We were living in Atlanta.  I had gotten TCD off to first grade and dropped Spell GIrl off at pre-school.  By 8:45am, I was just finishing my class at the gym and was headed to the nursery to pick up 15-month-old June.  I walked past a row of treadmills that was totally silent and still even though they were filled with people.  It was the eeriest thing I've ever seen to look at those people standing completely still on those treadmills with their eyes glued to the television in the corner of the room.  It was obvious something was very wrong.  I think I asked someone what was happening, but at the time, all they knew was that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center towers.  June and I got home about 5 minutes later and turned on the TV just in time to see the second plane hit Tower 2.  For the next several hours, I didn't move from the Today show.  I watched Matt Lauer and Katie Couric reporting the awful details of the rest of the morning.  

My first call was to my husband who was being evacuated out of his Atlanta office.  I asked him to pick up the girls from school on his way home so that all of our chickens would be safely accounted for.  My second call was to my sister-in-law whose husband is a pilot for Southwest Airlines and was flying that day.  For a few minutes we didn't know where he was, but later we found out that his flight had been immediately grounded to the nearest airport.  He was detained several days longer than expected, but very definitely safe.  Our next call was to Pittsburgh where another brother's family was living at the time.  And finally I called my parents in Houston.  It was a great relief to know that all of our family was safe.

Ten years later, it is still just as horrific and unreal as it was that Tuesday morning in Atlanta.  I cannot imagine what the past ten years have been like for the families of the victims, the survivors, the people of New York.  The details of that day are as vivid and clear for me now as they were ten years ago, and I didn't know a single person involved. 

At the end of one of the many memorial commercials I saw today, it said, 

"Never Forgotten.  Forever Grateful."
I LOVE that.  Today, I am grateful for the many, many heroes of that day and the days since 9/11.  I'm grateful to live in a country that continues to have hope and motivation even after devastation.  And I'm grateful that there are days like these when we can stop and remember.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Longhorns

UT vs BYU 
Final score 17-16 
Here's the LINK if you want all the details. 

The Longhorns' win tonight comes with a whole different level of gratification than other football games.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday Night Football

We drove two and a half hours to the AHS game at Lobo Stadium in Longview tonight. 


First TD of the night...Andrew Rodriguez!
Yep...he caught that one, too! 14-0
Halftime!  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this band!
Longview Lobos band...significantly smaller, but also amazing
 Much needed first down!  Andrew RodriguezI'm pretty sure there are other players on the field, but I always forget to take pictures of them.  The defense was AWESOME tonight...they held back a really really good team.
 Final Score!  GO Eagles!
I LOVE that they always shake hands after the game.
The stadium was packed and we weren't in a hurry to sit in traffic, so we hung out after the game and watched someone interview Andrew.  That's his cute mom coming out to check on him.  
It was totally worth five hours in the car and a really, really LATE night.  The kids loved it.  The game was awesome.  And we were once again in awe of both the football players and the band!  

No game next week.  Away game on 9/23 and we have other (equally exciting) plans that night.  So no football until 9/30 which is HOMECOMING.   (darn)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Rank Advancement

As of tonight, I am officially the mother of a Bobcat!  

 This is apparently the first of many pins I'll get...HOORAY!

Apparently rank advancement in our Pack consists of painting faces.  The paint colors coordinated with some scout things, so it was all relevant AND fun!

All the girls wanted to come to Pack Meeting tonight to watch Mack get his first official rank advancement.  We are all so proud of him and look forward to lots more of these in the coming years. 

um...I gave the camera to TCD to take pictures of US while Mack was becoming a Bobcat, and when I got the camera back, I noticed that she must have gotten a little distracted.  hmmm....