Thursday, April 26, 2007

Happy Birthday, Zander Go!....

Alex turns 13 today. Wow. he's so old all of a sudden! Here he is at a recent band concert. He's passed me in height, and is closing in on Eric. He's probably 5'10" now.
His annual ARD (meeting for Special Needs/Ed kids) went very, very well. He is right on course with his goals from this year, and we set goals for next year. I am excited for his 8th grade year next year!

Isn't he handsome? (sorry the photo isn't a closeup like I intended...Blogger hates me today.) And such a funny, funny guy! He comes up with something witty every day. This morning his remark was "let's grab a hold of reality and take it for a spin." Such a sense of humor!

Alex, Zander, Zander-Go-Berts, Boo, Bones....all nicknames I have for him. Poor guy answers to darn near everything...He has more nicknames than anyone I know! He's taught me more about joy, living life in the moment, how important hugs are, and unconditional love than I ever could have learned without him. He is truly a gift from God.

I love you Bones, and I am so proud of you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Baby....

got you on my mind.....

Yeppers, today is the big TWO-OH for us. Married for TWENTY years. It sounds so long to the kids!

Truly, I can't believe how blessed I have been to have Joe not only in my life, but to be married to such a man! I love that we are growing closer every year, and that we have the same values and goals. Pretty incredible when you look at society as a whole.

We complete each others' sentences, can exchange a joke or remark in just a look, and have all of the same stories and inside jokes. I love the comfort we have.

Twenty years. Feels like forever. In a good way, right, honey??

Monday, April 23, 2007

wise words....

This was just emailed to me from a friend...thanks, Jackie.

Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columnist and Author:

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, have all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2.

When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. T hey have all been enshrined in the, "Remember-When- Mom-Did Hall of Fame." The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?". (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Lists, lists, lists....

I'm back from New Braufels! What a great retreat it was; we had so much fun! Lots of laughing, scrapping, eating, HobbyLobbying, chocolate-eating, jammie-wearing....all the good stuff. I got a TON of pages done, and feel quite accomplished. And I got to see some wonderfully creative women's work, and was very inspired.

But now it's time to sit down and make the To Do, To Call, To Remember and all the other lists I need for the week.

Back into the real world again tomorrow...yikes! Landry and ironing await! (Golden Joe did the boys' laundry for me before I got home today...what a great guy! Stacy, you can stalk him, but he comes home to me! lol!)

Have to remember to add "knit" to the To Do list.....yeah, that's the ticket...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Micromanager? Me? Maybe.....

Tammy nailed it last night at our Bible study, during prayer requests. I was asking for prayers for this weekend, since I will be away (yes, again), and Joe will have a lot to schedule through without me. I realized it is a trust issue. It's not that I don't trust him...I just like to be here to help when there's all this going on around us. Thankfully, Mom and Dad are keeping Grace for the weekend, and they will all have a grand time together. So Tammy aptly prayed that I have peace in my heart so that I enjoy the weekend and not worry about trying to 'micromanage' my family! Thanks, Tam.

So Jackie and I are off to a scrapbook weekend, leaving in the morning. I have NO clue what I am going to work on, so it's all going with me. I will have to wander around and get inspired this time. At our Louisiana retreat I already knew that I was going to make mini albums for Alex and Grace (Eric already had one started), so I easily got those done plus some other 12x12 layouts. This time it's open season on the photos!

Now I am off to pack it all up, get my (overly comfy) clothes packed, get Alex's band concert clothing ready, make a list for Joe (because I just can't release all the control, dang it!), and all that.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Just another manic Monday.....

whoa, whoa, whoa.....

Remember the Bangles? Yea, me too.

It seems lately that I am gone pretty much every weekend, but for really fun things. This past weekend was the Women's retreat for our church, out at the amazingly beautiful John Knox Ranch in the Hill Country outside Wimberly, Texas. We had gorgeous weather, including a thunderstorm Friday night (so cool to be out in the trees during a storm!). It was probably the very best women's retreat I've been to, also. The whole weekend was looking at women in the Bible to learn more about what God has in mind for us as women, and how to become more authentic. Awesome.

But coming back home is always a 're-entry' process back into the real world. So Sunday night I made another To Do list for the week, just to get myself back on track again. So far so good on the list...I'm pretty much in line with the goals there. Including working like crazy on something special for goodie bags for this coming weekend's scrapbooking retreat in New Braunfels. I'd show you a photo, but there is a slight chance that some who will be at the retreat might read here, and I want it to be a surprise. Sorry, Stacy!

This is kind of cool.....I found this on one of the many blogs that I frequent. (I wish I could find it again...I'd like to link it here. I had some links set up in a temporary Word document, but my computer hiccupped, and the document was lost into the cyberspace of lost data. If I find it again, I'll credit.) I thought it would be interesting, if only in that it would provide me at the end of the test a color strip that is supposed to represent my 'personality' according to the test results. I was thinking it might be a jumping-off point for a color series for my someday-to-be-completed Ripple Afghan. The test was interesting in its results, but I hadn't considered that the colors given by the computer would be from the tone range that font colors come from. If I do decide to use this as a color palette, I'll use shades of the colors, not the exact colors given. And if all else fails, there is always the Random Stripe Generator.

So here is my Personal DNA as a strip:

and here it is as a tile form (might make an interesting Log Cabin Afghan a la Mason Dixon Knitting):

I like the arrangement of the tiling, especially in the lower right corner. Let me know if you do the test...I'd love to see other results.

So with items completed such as reading for the book study (for tomorrow morning!), laundry, and vacuuming, I am done for the night. Ironing will have to wait for tomorrow, with the bathrooms. I have to have everything packed for the scrapbooking Thursday night, since we are leaving right away Friday morning, and I know I am pretty much bringing everything...I can't decide what to work on. When Jackie and I went to Louisiana I knew exactly what I would work on, and got it all done. For some reason I can't decide this time.


So it's "Everybody in the boat!", meaning that I'll have to figure out how to cram it all into the half-of-a-Suburban that I'll have to work with. Who am I kidding? I'm excited about it, and can't wait!

Oh, just so you know, Ali's badge for Six Degrees DID make number one, and she got to talk to Kevin Bacon on the phone! Cool beans.

The Schnauzers are calling me to I go. I am truly at their back and call. At least when it comes to bedtime.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Retreat! Retreat! .....


Serpentine! Serpentine! (If you haven't ever seen Red Dawn, you should. Great 80s movie about the cold war. Have your kids watch it too (mine love it) and then explain what the cold war was!

Off again this weekend, this time to a Women's Retreat with church. Looking forward to some reconnect time with my girlfriends, and some plain old quiet time away from the nagging sounds of the homemaking chores. The voices of the chores sure can get loud! I have to keep turning up the TV to drown them out.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Later, dudes!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Twenty Seven Years Ago today.....

Yep, today is the anniversary of my first date with Joe. We were just babes! (well, 16 and 17). I love this man so much. Here are just 27 reasons, in no particular order:

He greets me on the phone with "Hello, baby" (like the Big Bopper) and a nerdy-sounding "Hello, dear." Just makes me smile.

When you ask how he's doing, the response is "Just dandy!" No one else I know says that, and you know what? He IS just dandy.

No matter how mad or sad someone is, he can always get a smile. And if you're mad, that's just frustrating, to be made to smile. I love that.

Joe is a FUN dad. Just plain F.U.N.

He is so stinking handsome.

He is a Godly man.

Joe is such a kid at heart...he's right in the mud with the best of them. Or chocolate syrup, or whatever the mess.

He encourages me in my interests, talents and hobbies. Even the ones he doesn't understand why anyone would enjoy!

He is a defender, protector and provider extraordinaire.

He appreciates all types of music, from classical to classic rock to country to jazz to the stuff Eric loves.

He has no problem being a full-time parent when I am away for the weekend, and loves being home with the kids.

He loves my extended family!

Joe has indescribable patience, with me, with the kids, with himself.

He has a real heart for the youth group he is working with right now.

Known as the Toddler Whisperer, he can calm the most fussy/irritable two-year-old.

He is able to have wonderful friendships with women, never crossing the line.

He is so faithful in his love for me and the kids.

Joe loves people and getting to know new people...everyone loves him!

He is a strong leader.

He lets me be in control of the remote control!

He is a great cook, and has no problem cooking dinner when he gets home from work if I'm not feeling well.

He has great self-control, especially when pursuing a goal.

He stays on the edge of advances in technology (and that means I don't have to.

Joe has the heart of a servant, and enjoys working with the Men's group at church in service to others.

He is sacrificial with his time, especially when it comes to being a leader with the Youth Group or in chaperoning for the schools.

He is enthusiastic about everything. It's an adventure.

He is a gentleman, with chivalrous manners, and hold high standards for young men, to grow them into real men.

I just love this man, and can't imagine the last 27 years without him. We've been through thick and thin, yum and ick together. And I love him more now than ever.

Babe, I just love ya. Sniff.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Home again, home again, jiggety jig.....

Sister and I are home from a whirlwind weekend up to Kansas City and back. My aunt and cousin recently lost their dog to cancer, and since Moni's Holly needed a new home, it worked out very well for Holly to go live in KC. So Moni and I left Thursday afternoon with Holly and Tallulah in tow, getting in to KC Friday lunchtime. (One night in Blackwell, OK.) We had a wonderful day and a half visit complete with pajamas, mindless TV, magazine reading and only the yummiest of foods (read: Ben & Jerry's, egg rolls, pizza, etc!). Great, great visit. We drove home today, going straight through, in only 10 1/2 hours. It was also nice to have that much time for just the two of us together in the car. Many Barry Manilow songs and Broadway showtunes were sung at loud volume along the way, and of course the hand gestures and 'jazz hands' were also used for dramamtic emphasis.

So now it's time to get back into the groove of things for the week. I'll have to get a 'To Do' list started for this week. Totally enjoying the book study with Susie Davis. Looking forward to getting that part of the book read for Tuesday. Need to get BSF done too. Oh and there's that whole "home making", meals, etc. God Bless Joe for doing the boys' laundry for me before I got back into town! What a nice guy.

Hopefully this week will be less stressful emotionally...not stressful. Just tense. A few things brewing around here, nothing serious to be worried about. One thing kind of up in the air concerning helping out a family we are friends with during a trying time for them, and another is a personal relationship for me: a friendship that is currently very damaged, and I don't see a repair any time soon.

And next weekend I am off again for a Women's retreat with church. Joe is so understanding of all of this. Three weekends in a row, in one month, that I'll be out of town!

Resolved: eat healthy this week to detox from the car food!

No photos right now...4:15 came pretty durn early this morning. Hoping you had a Blessed Easter! Nighty night....