Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What A Difference The Right Accessories Make

We are LOVING the new washer and dryer! Even Jim now sees the light and appreciates their efficiency. The number of loads needed to complete each week's laundry has been cut in half, at least.

We had a complication arise when we ordered them. They were not supposed to be delivered until April 27th. Of course, there was no way I could wait that long to do laundry! Sears graciously changed the order to get my washer and dryer here the next day...but the accessories (pedestals and work surface) could not be delivered until Monday.

Here they are in all their glory, properly accessorized and ready to go to work!
Aren't they beautiful?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's On My Nightstand

What's On Your Nightstand

I seem to always be a day late for the 'What's On Your Nightstand' blogging carnival over at 5 Minutes for Books. But, due to the weather, not today!

So, without further ado, here is what's on my nightstand this week:

Pretty dry stuff for the most part, huh? I apologize that it is not more exciting for you. I have been reading a lot of fiction lately and the non-fiction has been piling up. I have made a deal with myself that I will not buy any more 'fun' reading until I get some of this 'important' reading completed.

If you read my only other 'Nightstand' post last August, then you know that this has been in my 'to read' pile for a LOOONG time. I finally opened it last night because I am beginning to feel overwhelmed by life...just in case you missed that fact in Sunday's post.
These two books are my attempt to get on top of my HR responsibilities at work. Not my favorite aspect, but a necessary evil of doing business.

What can I say about the following book except 'grew up with a younger sister, now have two teen aged boys at home'.

If you asked the girls, they would tell you that I had no boundary issues with them...but these boys are another can of worms entirely. I am at a loss most of the time and need the extra help that this book offers.

What I love about this book is that it breaks down not only healthy and unhealthy conflict...but how to deal with both reasonable and unreasonable people. Let's just say, I encounter 'unreasonable' people at times and leave it at that! :-)

And finally, the light at the end of the tunnel. My fun reading!
I picked up this book in January after reading the review at 5 Minutes for Books. I am looking forward to reading it...but I have to be 'in the mood' for a historical novel. So, it patiently awaits my arrival.

Lastly, this little jewel was recommended to me by a friend who loved the Chronicles of Narnia as much as I did. I mentioned to her that I was taking a slight reading break to allow the stories from Narnia to sink in. She praised this book as another of her favorites in the same vein and I am going to take her up on it as soon as I can make room for a little reading fun.

So, there you have what's on my nightstand this month. Hope you are enjoying a fun read or two yourself!

Flood Day

Rarely do we get to miss school and work due to snow or ice...but about once or twice a year we experience Flood Day. Today is one of those days.

We are doing fine here at home. It looks like we received between 4 and 6 inches of rain overnight. It is soggy out, but that is about it. Will didn't get to 'enjoy' flood day. He is at school taking TAKS test today. I know he is sad about that!

We can't get in to work today. The Bear Creek area, where our office is located, is undergoing some evacuations in the neighborhoods. The electricity seems to be out at the office, so we have closed the office, forwarded the phones and sent the guys home for the day.

We spoke with the married girls...both families are okay. Kelli said that Matt had to stay late this morning until more officers could make it to the station. The Alief area was hit with lots of water, but not in their area. Meagan and Davin are tucked in at home and she says their area is fine as well. Derrick went out to look at a, I hope he isn't stuck somewhere this morning.

The rain has stopped for now...but there is a possibility that more rain bands will form later this morning or early afternoon.

I hope that you are all safe and dry today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Time Waits For No Woman...Especially Not Me

Back from the beach...and back to reality! My darling husband did an excellent job while I was away of keeping everyone on their chore schedule while he took care of the laundry and the yard. (He is loving my new washer & dryer now.) But, I still need to get us 'ready' for the upcoming week. Plus, I am trying to get us organized. (Who am I kidding? It's really me that needs organizing.)

First, I am trying to find a calendar system. I have tried a planner in the past...and honestly, if I stay on top of it, it works well. But it is a lot of work to stay on top of it.

I am currently using (1) a calendar on the side of the refrigerator for sports and family schedules, (2) a Windows calendar on my office computer with company schedules/doctor's & dentist's appointments/large events, and (3) my iTouch calendar for some of my stuff.

Needless to say, this 'system' isn't working. My problem is that I am not in the same place for calendaring everything in one place. I am at home when I get the kids school schedules. I am at work when I call to make appointments for myself and the family. I am in the car when someone calls and tells me of an upcoming event. And so on....

I don't really want the extra responsibility of lugging around a planner. I already walk out of the house with a purse, my keys, my cell phone, a cup of coffee and often, a beach bag full of mail that needs to be opened or work that I brought home or that I need to take home or that I need to get the picture.

I am learning to use the Windows calendar at work more efficiently by utilizing the alerts to remind me of appointments or important tasks that must be completed monthly (or quarterly). I also love that I can color co-ordinate the various calendars to more easily identify who is affected by each entry.

The one on the refrigerator isn't working at all. As a matter of fact, Bri went to add some info to it last week and found that it was still on March! Without the boys being involved in a sport right now, there is no information to record.

So, I would be interested to know what has worked for you. I am considering a PDA...but that would be like carrying around another iTouch. Is there an application for my iTouch that might work? I haven't checked yet. (Brian is just now teaching me about applications. I have Sudoku and the Bible on there so far.) Is a planner still the best thing going? If so, how do I get reminders for those things that are not a regular part of my schedules (like paying quarterly taxes or getting the monthly billing out on time each month)?

I would really appreciate your words of wisdom...and even your 'don't try this at home' stories. Sometimes knowing what didn't work helps to figure out what does!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sitting On The Deck By The Gulf

That's where I am today. Robin and I are sitting on the deck of her beach house watching the waves roll in and enjoying the wind on our faces.

I drove down last night after work for a relaxing last minute Girl's Weekend. Stacy was unable to join us because of family commitments, but we decided to make the time when we could anyway.

When I left Waller, I told Jim that the most adventurous thing we planned to do this weekend was to maybe get dressed to go to dinner! Well it didn't work out that way...but I will let Robin post about that!

May is just a few days away and it will be packed with events and holidays. Next weekend my girls and I will be attending the Broadway Across America show 'Rent'. We have Brian's prom, a baby shower for a dear family friend, Mother's Day, Memorial Day, Casy's follow up doctor's visits, my niece's graduation...and that is just what I know of right now!

So, for least today, I am just going to enjoy the sounds of the crashing waves, the breeze on my face and the company of a dear friend while we listen the the neighbors sing karaoke at the wedding a few doors down.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Learning To Let It Go

When I woke this morning, I had a little extra time for some quiet time reading. As I completed the exercises, I found this quote by Lewis B. Smedes.

"Let God handle those you would like to manhandle in your hate. If they need teaching, let God teach them. If they need rescuing from their own stupidity, let God rescue them. If they need saving from their own crazy wickedness, let God save them. What you need is healing from the infection of malice left over from the open wounds they left in your life."

I thought on this as I drove in to work...going over and over the list in my mind and asking the Lord to show me where I need to practice this truth in my life.

Soon after arriving at the office, I was caught up in the telephone calls and the tasks at hand...and the quote fell to the wayside of my busy day. I was driving home this evening listening to a CD on time management and organization called 'Dejunking Your Life"...I heard a story of two monks and a lady at the river.

It seems that there was an order of monks who had taken a vow of silence that lasted each day from sun up to sun down. They were only allowed to speak at night. One morning, two of these monks begin walking into town. As they pass along the river bank, they meet a lady with a large basket of fruit who is trying to cross but there is no bridge. Upon seeing the monks, the lady comments that since they have such simple robes, it would not matter at all if they were to get wet...unlike her very delicate dress.

Though they cannot verbally reply, they nod their heads and agree to help her cross. The first monk picks up her large basket of fruit, while the second monk carefully drapes her skirt over his arm and lifts her so that neither her nor her dress get wet. They both cross the river, set her and the basket of fruit on the opposite side. The lady turns and leaves without so much as a 'thank you'. The monks look at each other and cross back to their side of the river.

Later that evening, once the sun goes down, they are relieved of their vow of silence. The first monk says to the second monk, 'Can you believe that woman this morning? She didn't even acknowledge our carrying her across the river. I mean, my load was light compared to yours. I carried her basket of fruit while you carried her. I cannot believe she was so ungrateful!"

The second monk replied, "No, I had the lighter load. Yes, I carried her across the water, but you have been carrying her all day."

Can you guess what the Lord is speaking to me about today?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Double Elimination Night

I am not going to keep you for long...just wanted to say that I am 'pleased' with tonight's eliminations. From here on out it is going to get hairy!

Two of my original Top 5 (Lil & Micheal) have gone home and one was saved by the skin of his teeth last week. That leaves Danny, Matt and Kris from my original list. Allison grows on me a little more each week. Don't get me wrong...she has killer vocals and she knows her genre, but there is something that just doesn't click for me.

Adam is just too much for me. I get the feeling that he has outside help in his song choices...and is it just me, or does his performances tend to get a little more dramatic lighting and background than everyone else? He is definitely talented, but I feel like he is too polished for this type of show.

Next week, barring a miracle that would send Adam packing (not gonna happen) I will be sad to see someone leave.

Okay, I need to start getting ready for bed. I have one more dose of eye drops to administer at midnight and then it lights out for me!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Idol is OFFICIALLY a Monster!!! by Number One Son

(This version of the post has been edited to delete some highly political and definitely politically incorrect statements made by my eldest son. who will probably become a politician one day. Evidently, he really hates that we watch Idol...and I need to log off of my blog when I am not at my computer!)
American Idol Pictures, Images and Photos

We've all heard of it, most of us know it, a lot of us watch it, few of us live it, and me.........I hate it!

I think its just a dumb boring show, with no plot or storyline, and just overall BAD. If i wanted to watch a lot of people TRY to sing, and do a very mediocre at best job, I'd go to a choir practice.....just kidding, that was a low and mean joke, but only if you actually do go, if not then i mean it 100%. Kidding. But I absolutely just don't like it, I'm pretty sure its a drug. Most people get addicted, but I'm stronger willed than that. It has went from some show where people sing, to a monster even bigger than (politically incorrect statement)......not kidding. The seldom, few times I am actually home, which just so happens to be Tuesdays and Wednesdays, my Mom, my Dad(who sadly has to endure, God bless his soul), and whatever family that decided to drop by, is hopelessly indulged in this beast we call "American" Idol. Not very American, BTW(by the way). I blame poverty, drug addictions, the economy, the death of Trevor the Monkey, letting Nancy Pelosi be third in line to the presidency, and global warming all on Idol, and its half witted judge Paula Abdul. Which btw, if she was a "big thing" in the 80's, I'm glad I wasn't born until September 7, 1990. There's no way you'll ever get me to trade any 90's sensation(Vanilla Ice, Marky Mark, Billy Ray Cyrus, Nirvana, Kriss Kross, etc. etc.) for the mentally ill Paula Abdul. And while I'm on my soapbox about the poor choice of judges, Randy.....who looks like he can be Ruben Studdard's half brother......that new dumb girl that only knows how to say about 85 words in the English language....i just need to know a few things, who is she? What hole did she climb out of? When will people remember her name? Where did she come from? And most importantly why? AND HOW??? But Simon.....that's the only reason anyone would have to watch that show. I love when he pisses everyone off cuz the girl sung like crap and he actually said something true, but America gets mad because "he shouldn't say that, what if her feelings are hurt?" Who cares? Forget political correctness, if the chick cant sing, then someones gotta tell her that she has no right being up there....Simon Cowell '12. But back to the show itself, its not even a singing show anymore, but who can get the most sympathy and who can wear the least clothes without crossing that line. I say we boycott Idol.....yes, i hear the crickets too.

This has been a special post from the real Number One Son(not one as in born first, but place in her heart), aka my (edited) name Brian. Forget Idol, keep bloggin, and goodnight:)

Susan Boyle for Prime Minister!!!

Free Jessica Gomez!

A Book Review Of Life

I finished my book this morning. I read until 4 AM, when I was finally able to pass out from exhaustion in between the beeping of the timers set all over the house to make sure we didn't miss a single dose of eye drops. I was wide awake again at 7 and finished the book before 9 AM...less than 12 hours after I began reading.

That is what I like about the Sisterchicks books. They are a casual read that do not take a lot of energy to enjoy. Great to throw in your beach bag or in your getaway suitcase. The characters are enjoyable but not so complicated that you are constantly having to read between the lines lest you miss something. Yet they cause you to catch your breath at the least likely moments with a tear or a revelation.

The Prologue from 'Sisterchicks Down Under' led me to believe that this was just what the doctor ordered for me at this moment in my life. The story is written from the point of view of a 45 year old woman named Kathleen living in southern California. In the Prologue she compares her life with her husband as "riding on the overly-committed-to-the-schedule freight train". Sounds very familiar around here!

Kathleen's husband is offered a three month job in New Zealand and they decide to go.

The following quote struck a chord in my heart:
"I'd thought through every detail and confidently arrived at the airport with everything I needed. Everything that is, except one item I hadn't tucked in my suitcases or sent ahead in the boxes. I didn't pack a single friend. After spending most of my life in the same city, same church and same circles, I suddenly was minus my built-in community of friends."

What followed was a sweet story of a friendship between two women who had grown up near each other with shared experiences, but who did not meet until they were both half way around the world. Their relationship blossoms in the way that only women can understand as they help each other to see their real potential through the eyes of a new friend and the extravagant love of God.

I closed the book this morning thinking...what a sweet story, but not what I had expected. There were no lightening bolt revelations. No 'aha' moments for this soon to be 45 year mother perched on the edge of a soon to be empty nest who definitely has spent too much time on the overly-committed-to-the-schedule freight train called life.

But then, I got to thinking...

I began remembering when I had left everything familiar to me to follow my husband to Texas for a six month long assignment that has lasted for 21 years now. Me, a small town girl with no desires to ever get out...just to settle down and raise my family in the shadows of the rest of my relatives. Me, a twenty-something year old girl from a one-traffic-light town of less than 3,000 transplanted to the fourth largest city in the good ole' US of A. And like Kathleen, I thought I had packed everything I needed for a six month stay in this 'foreign land' only to soon discover that there are some things that can't be packed in a bag or a box. Friends.

The first year that we were here, I spent a lot of time traveling back home with the two girls. Since Jim's six months had been stretched a little longer and we were unsure of when it would end...we decided that I would return home to give birth to Bri just to be on the safe side. At three days old, we packed her and her sisters in the car to return to Texas once again. Other than another short stay to help care for my grandmother, I have been here ever since.

Once I adjusted to the reality that Texas was not just a stop-over for us and that we would be here awhile...the Lord brought new friends into my life. Friends who didn't know my story unless I chose to tell them. Friends who took me at face value and helped me to see the potential in myself that I had never realized existed in the 'familiar' lenses of my family and friends back home.

As I was reminded this morning:
Some people come into our lives for a reason,
Some come for a season,
And some come to stay.

I have been blessed with some of each since arriving in Texas. I have met many wonderful women who, though we were connected for a very short time, taught me deep and powerful lessons on what it truly means to be a woman after God's own heart. Some of those lessons were by example and some were learned with bandaged knees, but each is still precious to me. Other women have come into my life for a longer period of time...yet the season came to end, oftentimes too early for my taste (like summer vacation for a child). I shared life journeys with them and they with me. Some I met in churches and some though secular activities with our children/spouses. I still think of each of them, some more often than others...but all of them with a smile on my face and a slight tear in my eye. And finally, thankfully, the Lord has sent some friends to come and stay. (Not always physically, but these are the friends that you can call from halfway across the county and pick up where you last left off.) These are the friends who talk me down off the cliff when my life is going crazy or who listen as I cry out in pain or disappointment. These are the friends who celebrate my successes and keep me grounded because they know me...for real...the good, the bad and the ugly...yet they love me anyway. (You know who you are!)

Even though at first I didn't think that Kathleen (from 'Sisterchicks') and I had much in common other than an age and a too busy schedule...I have come to realize this afternoon that we do.

"Looking back, I now see how unnatural it was to change a well-established migratory route in the middle of life and expect my wings to start flapping in rhythm as soon as I took the free fall. It shouldn't have been such a surprise that I fell so hard. After all, everything in my world had flip-flopped." (from the Prologue)

This time, I am not hundreds of miles away from everyone I know...only about 45 from those who shared the last 20 years with me. Yet, I am having a hard time getting these middle aged wings to flap in my new "migratory route". I have no sense of community here, no church home (our own fault), no familiar faces when I enter a local business. But I know it all comes with time. I will catch on to the new rhythm one day and it will catch me by surprise just like it did in Houston. I will walk into a place of business or a sanctuary and run into an acquaintance, share a smile and some small talk and next thing you know more than just our house will feel like I'm home again.

Celebrating A Belated Easter With The Family

Our annual Easter trip to Arkansas found us without the company of our 'no longer living at home' children and our grandchildren. So we had to wait until this past Saturday evening for a chance to get together.

I had purchased the Easter baskets for each of the grandchildren about a month back. As always, I made plans to purchase a few things each week to fill them up by Easter. As is so often my modus operandi, the best laid plans...turn out to be just that, plans.

I had purchased the cute little bunnies, a couple of movies and the appropriately colored Peeps to fit each basket, but that was as far as I got before our trip. What a delight to visit Target and Hobby Lobby on Tuesday afternoon and find all kinds of wonderful goodies for their baskets at 50 to 66% off!

Didn't they turn out well? All except the bows. Ya'll I must have a bow tying deficiency. I even bought a book to help me out, but to little avail. My sister ties beautiful bows and makes gift baskets look so easy. I missed that gene!

We were supposed to hunt Easter eggs as well. I even had Jim refrain from mowing the side yard so that we could at least set them in a few wild clover clumps around the place instead of in the wide open. Alas, it stormed all morning and most of the we gave up on hunting eggs and just let the children enjoy their Easter goodies from the baskets.

I had a really hard time getting photos. The house was filled with our crew along with my cousin and her girls and the kiddos could sense all the excitement. Here are the best ones.
Meagan was able to catch Davin as he ran past long enough for me to snap this picture.

As you can see, Brooke sat very still, but wouldn't smile or look at me while her picture was taken. When I finally got her to look at me, Davin ran into the shot and blocked half the photograph! What will I do when all the kids have kids?

The moment just after this picture snapped was so cute. He was kissing his rabbit. Unfortunately, he turned around to face his Daddy and Pa when he kissed the rabbit.

Brooke was very excited over the sidewalk chalk and the candy jewelry set.

Maddux slept through basket time. Once he woke up, he had all eyes on him...but he wasn't nearly as excited over his basket as the bottle that came next. It was Sprout's first Easter at Nonna and Pa's house.
For a very nontraditional twist, we enjoyed an Easter meal of Popeye's fried chicken that Rita and I had picked up earlier on our way home from a baby shower. All in all, it was a good day shared with family and you really can't ask for much better than that.
And yes, you are reading this post time correctly. It is now 3:02 AM and I am wide awake. I will be doling out the eye drops for Will every hour throughout the night. I am reading "Sisterchicks Down Under" and napping occasionally...but if you can remember back to a time with a colicy newborn in the house, you know that it is sometimes hard to fall back asleep when the alarm goes off every hour. At least we are not still on the every 15 minutes schedule! Hope you are all snug as a bug in your nice warm beds enjoying sweet, sweet dreams right now. Gotta go! It's time for another dose!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Giveaway For Book Lovers

If you love books even half as much as I do, you will want to check out this giveaway over at 5 Minutes For Books.

I have discovered some wonderful books, both classics and new releases, reading their reviews. 5 Minutes For Books is one of the few blogs (outside of those of family and friends) that I read nearly every day.

Check out their Mothers Day Giveaway and if you have time, browse around until you find something you can hardly do without...then plan a stop at your local bookstore with your wish list in hand. Mine is entered on my iTouch so that I don't forget the authors and titles that piqued my interest.

Happy reading!

An Urgent Warning From The Surgeon General (AKA: Mother) Of The Goode Family

If you have anyone in your household under the age of 18 who wears contact lenses, take the time to make sure that they are changing lenses in a timely manner.

I know that sounds like a no brainer, but when five out of the seven in your family wears corrective lenses, you tend to think that they know better!

Jim has been in corrective lenses since before we met. I started wearing them in a moment of desperation when Will, at two years of age, got hold of my glasses and broke them while I was exercising. I can't see to drive without glasses, so I decided that I better go ahead and try to conquer my fear of touching my eye ball in an effort not to be visionless at a moment's notice in the future.

I will never forget trying for an hour that first night to take them out. Once I reached the point of crying from my frustration, I called Jim into the bathroom and asked him to help me. He just laughed at me and told me I would have to go to the emergency room to get them out if I couldn't do it on my own. He succeeded in making me mad enough to get them out by myself!

Meagan went straight to contact lenses when she was in high school. She never had the first problem with hers. She was so anti-eyeglasses that she would do anything not to have to wear them!

Kelli and Bri are the only two in our family that do not wear corrective lenses. Brian needed a slight correction in middle school...and though he wanted glasses instead of contact lenses, we overruled his decision due to his participation in basketball and the fact that he was constantly throwing his backpack around and we just knew that he would crush any glasses within a week. His correction is so minor that unless he is participating in a sports activity, he doesn't really need to wear them.

Will was having problems seeing the overhead projector at school last year, so we took him in for a vision test. Sure enough, he needed correction too. Because of his playing football, he decided to go for the contacts instead of glasses. We gave him a long lecture about how to wear them and how to clean them. For the first three of four months we practically had to make him put them in! He didn't want to take the time to put them in every he just wasn't wearing them. He has the thirty day type, you can wear them for a week before taking them out and cleaning them, but we insisted that he take them out every night like we do. For the next several months, when I changed my lenses, I would ask him if he had changed his.

Well, last Friday I received a phone call from his school nurse that he had been in her office twice that day with eye problems. On his first trip she had him remove his contact from that eye and put drops in for him. Later that afternoon he came back in and the eye was worse. What she thought was a spot on his contact lens turned out to be on his cornea. Of course, it was too late to get him an appointment for Friday evening and our eye doctor would not be back in until Monday.

Rita's daughter, Paige, works for an eye doctor back home and she confirmed what the nurse had suspected...Will had an ulcer on his cornea. I put drops in his eye all weekend that I had gotten for a scratched cornea late last year.

Our eye doctor worked him in first thing this morning. Yes, it was an ulcer. How long had he kept his contacts in this time? 2 months! What?!?! My eyes get dry after 48 hours. I couldn't believe it. The ulcer is pretty deep and is right in the middle of his cornea. He is under a very strict antibiotic routine until tomorrow in hopes that we can keep it from scarring and impairing his vision.

I really thought that after a year of wearing lenses that I didn't have to follow up with him so often. Now I will be putting eye drops in his eye every 15 minutes for 2 hours, followed by every 30 minutes for 2 hours and finally, once every hour -- even through the night. He goes back tomorrow afternoon to see if we can go to once every two hours. At his next annual exam, he will be getting the new thirty day lens that are approved for sleeping.

I admire those people who find it so easy to follow up with routines like this. I struggle with it. I could say that it is because I had five children to follow through with...but I know that in reality, this is just one of my weak areas.

If you have trouble in this area like me, I urge you to learn from my mistake and ask your teenager today, "When is the last time you changed your lenses?" "When is the last time you cleaned them?"

It might save you the need to wake up every hour on the hour at night. I have a feeling my eyes are going to be red tomorrow!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Meet Ernie

Ernie is the newest member of our household.

He came home with us on Monday. It took a U-haul to get him to Texas!

Jim got Ernie on his trip to Montana last October. Ernie took a six month holiday in Arkansas before completing his journey.

He is massive! I told Jim that he is going to have to build me a house around him.

Ernie the Elk, welcome to the family!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Catching Up

Well, as Robin observed last week...when I post, I post and when I take a break, I take a break!

I didn't intend to take a break this week. It just sort of happened.

We went to visit family in Arkansas for Easter weekend. Almost the whole family was gathered for the first time in a very long time. We had a great time visiting and catching up. Lots of stories shared around the campfire...and even more food! We ate catfish, bar-b-que, spaghetti, and an Easter dinner that offered more choices than you could shake a stick at. And that doesn't even take into account the big country breakfasts that started each morning!

Upon arriving back in Texas Monday evening, there was lots of catching up to do at work and at home. Jim is much more appreciative of my new washer and dryer now that he has seen just how much laundry those babies can do at a time! Within four or five loads we had five days of laundry for five people plus what was left at home completed.

We watched American Idol Tuesday and Wednesday nights. I guessed the bottom three this week, but I never thought it would be Matt that was going home. Glad he didn't. Meagan and Davin came over on Thursday. We had a delicious burrito casserole for dinner and spent some time visiting before they headed home.

And now, it is Friday.

That is how the week got away from me without any posts!

My cousin, Rita, and her two girls are on their way from Louisiana to visit for the weekend even as I type and the grand babies are coming over for Easter egg hunting tomorrow. We have a baby shower to attend for a dear family friend, as well. So, as you can see, we have another full weekend coming up.

I hope it doesn't take me another week to find my way back to the blog.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Five More Favorites

Our lives are so full. With five children, that has always been true. Yet, now that two of them are married with families of their own...that busyness has only multiplied.

During our Livestock Show day trip, I took the rare opportunity of having all five siblings together to snap some pictures while we enjoyed our day.


... Kelli



...and Will
I am so proud to be their mom. They are the apples of their dad's eye.
I am reminded of Psalm 127:

Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is in vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved, even in his sleep.
Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Few Of My Favorites

I was uploading pictures from the past month onto my computer when I came across a few that I wanted to share with you.

So, here are my favorite pictures of the three grand babies from March!
Davin loves the hammock in our side yard. His Auntie (Bri) snapped this one on the Sunday we were playing horseshoes. That smile is precious to me!
This one was my favorite from the Livestock Show outing. I took this one while Brooke was enjoying her ice cream. What a sweet (and not just from the ice cream) face!
And finally, this picture was taken in early March on one of our Sunday Family Get Togethers. Maddux looks all muscled up, like he is wearing a football sweater from the '50's. I have decided to nickname him 'Sprout' until his real nickname grows in.

Favorites of my kiddos to follow soon!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Lazy Sunday Afternoon In The Country

A week ago this past Sunday, we decided to just relax and chill a little. With Jim's turkey hunt behind us and Casy's surgery ahead of us, we decided to take it easy, light up the grill and throw some 'shoes.
Jim and Casy played Derrick and I for the first match. They let me throw from the 'ladies tee box' had been over a year since I last played!
Bri got to throw from the 'ladies tee box' too. They only let one girl play at a time though. Bri, Samm and I took turns. (I must have been in the house preparing the steaks for the grill while Samm played because I didn't get any pictures of her.)
Here is Casy getting ready for his ringer! I think he had the most of the day.

Glen throws a mighty mean 'shoe too. Even after he and Debbie drove 8 hours from Arkansas.

I think Derrick finished the day being on the winning team more times than not. He and Casy played every game.
Will held his own among the men.

Even Davin got in on the action.
Not really! He was reaching for this:

You can take the boy out of the country...but you can't take the country out of the boy! The only thing he likes more than his four wheeler is mine!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Guess What Was Waiting For Me At Home Yesterday?

My new washer and dryer!!!

Aren't they beautiful? I think I am in love!

I have been wanting a front loading washer for several years now...but the motto around our house is, "don't fix what's not broken". Well, last Monday it finally broke.

On Wednesday night, Jim tried to figure out if it was something that he could fix. By Thursday he had consulted with Mr. Fix-It (his dad, Poppy) and determined that the problems were so bad that we just needed to replace it. So, Friday I was blessed to go into Cypress and choose my first ever new washer/dryer combo!

Debbie went with me to Sears where I picked out the Kenmore Elite HE5t with steam in Chai. Well, I actually ordered it in Truffle, but because I would have to wait until April 27 to have the Truffle ones delivered...I changed back to my first choice of Chai.

I still have to wait until the 27th to get the two pedestals and the work surface...but I can handle that! My first load of laundry? Jeans...and would you believe I washed 9 pair and there was room for more?

Brian thinks I am crazy for taking pictures of my washer and dryer...but, have I told you that I think that I am in love?

Oh, happy day! I will be a clothes washing fool between now and Thursday when we leave for Arkansas!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Comes To Waller County

Look how green our place is getting! Things are really beginning to take shape, thanks to Jim's hard work. The underpinning is almost complete on the double wide.

We have decided to add a front porch, since it may be a little while before we can start building our 'dream home' at the 17 acres. I think she needs a good face lift on the interior too, so we will be choosing paint colors soon.

The back of the property is shaping up as well. When we moved out here in 2007, the back of the property was pretty much all thickets of tallowood saplings and briars. Jim and Will have been battling the elements and now there is just the back left hand corner to besiege and conquer.

Meanwhile, I have added some spring color to the front entry. The hay bales of fall where cute Mr. Crow once resided (may he rest in peace) has been replaced with the park bench that the kids gave me for Mothers Day a few years back. I love the Texas themed wreaths with their bluebonnets and sunflowers. I emptied the planters of the dead mums from last fall and replaced them with begonias, ivy and Carolina jasmine. I hope they last for a little while, because they make me smile as I pull into the driveway each day. I now need to tackle my new flower bed. I can't decide whether to plant azaleas or hydrangeas. I love the purple hydrangeas, but I have heard that they can be pretty temperamental...and we all know that I am no Master Gardener to begin with! Everyone seems to have azaleas around here, so I figure I might have a chance with them. Any other ideas?

Monday, April 6, 2009

Full Throttle...And A Little Hard Of Hearing

A week ago this past Friday, I had the opportunity to do something outside of my comfort zone.

On Thursday, Casy and Jim had returned early from their turkey hunting trip in Central Texas because Casy had a doctor's appointment here at MD Anderson in preparation for last week's surgery.

On Friday morning, I decided to pull Will out of school (Brian was at a tennis tournament) and take him and Casy to Baytown to see...

I had never been to a professional drag race and had attended only a few local races as a young adult. But, drag racing is Casy's passion...and I figured since we had the opportunity to see the pros live and in action, we should go for it.

If I could use only one word to describe it, that one word would be 'LOUD!!!!' My ear plugs were not enough protection. When the dragsters would take off, I would have to put my hands over my ears...with the ear plugs in. And there were people in attendance with infants!

There was rain in the forecast for the early afternoon, but there is often rain in the forecast at some part of the day here along the Gulf coast.

Casy, Will and I drove the hour and a half to Baytown, stood in line to buy our tickets, walked through to have our tickets torn, got our hand stamped, took three steps inside the race park and the rain started!

Thankfully, we had purchased pit side we took the opportunity to walk among the racers and their cars while the skies spitted and sputtered a little. As soon as the track was dry, we took our seats to watch the funny cars, the dragsters and the stock cars do their thing. It was fun...and LOUD. Have I mentioned that it was LOUD?

We watched one dragster whose parachute didn't open. Thank goodness, it was a long track and he had time to stop. We watched another dragster whose motor shot flames ten feet or so into the air. Then the rain started again.

We once again headed to the pits, looking and shopping as we went. We grabbed a bite to eat at a concession stand...and then, I told the boys to take off on their own. I was I sat up in the stands waiting for them to prep the track for more races while Casy and Will took in the sights and experience that is NHRA. (I was well entertained 'people watching'.)

As darkness fell, so did the temperatures. After trying all evening to dry out the track, they finally called the races around 8:30. It took us two and half hours to get home, thanks to construction on I-10...but, all in all, we had a good day.

Would I go back to the Spring Nationals? Maybe. But now I definitely want to see Casy race in person. It is so much more exciting to watch in person than on television. Though, I think I will get some real ear plugs next time!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Kicking Back On A Saturday Night, Old School

If you have heard any entertainment news from this weekend, you probably already know that "The Fast & The Furious" movie raked in a whopping $72.5 million dollars this weekend. Our group contributed $50 of that money ourselves.

Casy was wanting to see it and since he was feeling up to being out and about Saturday, we decided to head out to the movies. But, unlike other movie trips, we decided to head just down the road a little piece and watch it at the drive-in!

The ten of us loaded up in three cars and headed out. The gates opened at 6:30, but when we arrived around 7, the line was long and the lot looked pretty full. I guess everyone in the country had the same idea. Or else, everyone wanted a double feature for $5 a head! You can't beat that price.

We all finally made it in and found a place to park the three cars together. We pulled out the lawn chairs and headed to the concession stand to grab a bite to eat before the movie started. The place was packed!
This was Casy and Samm's first drive-in experience. It was also the first trip for Jim and I in over two decades...about the same for Glen and Debbie!
My kids have been several times since we moved out to the country. Here is Brian and Jessica pulling in between the two trucks in her little bug. It made a perfect place for the lawn chairs. Debbie snapped this picture of the kids while they were waiting on our food to make it out of the kitchen. (For some reason, Will got squeezed out of the picture and all you can see is his Slushee and bag of cotton candy.) The movie finally started around 8:30. Although we weren't thrilled with the plot line, it was fun to watch the action in such a comfortable environment with people you enjoy. (No need to squeeze past strangers to make a popcorn run!) The younger crew piled up in the back of one of the pick-ups while us 'older crew' staked out the lawn chairs. They also stayed for the second feature, "Madea Goes To Jail"...we made it through the first part of the movie, but around midnight, decided to head on home.
We had a blast! Hope you enjoyed your weekend.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's Rodeo Time

The boys were on Spring break two weeks ago. We were swamped at work, so we didn't get to go anywhere exciting. On Friday of Spring Break, we decided to take a day trip to the Houston Zoo with Meagan, Kelli and the grand babies...but when we arrived the line of cars stretched nearly back to the freeway. Since the Houston Livestock Show was on it's last weekend of a three week run, we decided to head over to the carnival and livestock show. Here is a picture of the crew as we walked over the bridge that used to connect the Reliant parking lot to Astroworld. Astroworld is no more and, in fact, we parked just across the bridge where we once would have been near the tram stop at the front entrance. (Maddux is in the single stroller, but since he was sleeping we didn't turn him toward the sun.) That is the Reliant Center to the back left and the Astrodome to the right.
Davin's and Brooke's first carnival rides didn't go as well as planned. But they really enjoyed this second ride. Meagan and Davin are in the front of the car and Kelli and Brooke are in the back. The first ride spun around and they were having none of it. The up and down of the roller coaster was much better received!
While Meagan and Kelli went in search of an appropriate restroom for diaper duty, Brianne, Brian, Will and I spent some time at the arcade. Here they are playing Whac-a-mole. They are soooo competitive!
I have no idea where they get it. I only had to play them at the water races four times before I could win and move on! (A pink pig/dog was our prize of the day.) An ice cream break! Waffle cones, dipped waffle cones and chocolate dipped strawberries...yum!
This was mine and Maddux's waffle cone, big enough for sharing...and then passing it on to Uncle Will to finish! We passed on the fried Snickers and Twinkies. It just sounded gross!Face painting...a dragon for Davin...
and a shooting star for Brooke.
Here are our two cuties at the petting zoo. Davin liked the pig, but once the sawdust started getting in his flip-flops, he was ready to get out of there.

Brooke preferred the goats. They are softer.

And while they were in the petting zoo, Brian, Will and I watched a gentleman going from trash can to trash can in Reliant Arena fishing out empty coke bottles and collecting the tops. I thought it strange, but evidently you can win prizes by entering all those codes into a Coke website. I guess he was on to something!

And finally, by the end of the afternoon we were all tired...but these two were tuckered out!

A good day for the Goodes! We can hardly wait for next year. Yee-haw!!!