Friday, July 31, 2009

Help! I Don't Know What It Is, But I Like It!

Last week as I was picking up Drive-Thru at Taco Cabana, I saw this and it was beautiful! It is on a bush that I believe is some sort of shrub. The flowers are so bright and inviting that I really think I NEED them for my yard...but I have no idea what it is.

Anyone out there have any idea what this plant is named? Will it grow in a semi (mostly) neglected yard?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

How's This For A Time Out?

I wonder if it helps build your Core?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Birthday Boys Of Summer

I told you about the birthday party a few weeks ago...but I am just now posting the pictures.
Matt's birthday was on the 10th...and I still owe him a carrot cake! Here he is with his #1 fan clapping her hands as she sings Happy Birthday.
And here is Derrick and family a few days before his birthday, which was on the 15th. (The picture of him with his cake wasn't very flattering, so I decided to be nice and use a good one instead.)

Happy Birthday to the two best sons-in-law we have! Ha!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July's Nightstand

I can hardly believe that it is already the last Tuesday in July. Time to share what I have read, what I am reading and what I plan to read.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Schaffer. I really enjoyed this book. It has inspired me to try my hand at the lost art of letter writing. You can read my post here.

The Starter Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer. It was very similar to The Trophy Wives Club, which I had read in June...but meatier and a little more realistic. All I can say is, if you have fallen in love with a 'Hollywood mover and shaker' and you are going to get married WITH a prenuptial agreement, you had better stash a little extra money away every time you go shopping until you make it to the 10th anniversary. If these two books are anything like the real deal, the husband will trade you in for a newer model at about the 9 1/2 years mark and you will walk away with NOTHING. I'm just saying!

Sisterchicks in Sombreros by Robin Jones Gunn. This has been my least favorite of the Sisterchicks series, but it did remind me of the cruise to Mexico that Rosa and I took with Mother several years back. My favorite quote from the book was one of Augustine's, "I came to love you late. O Beauty so ancient and new; I came to love you late."

Gardenias For Breakfast also by Robin Jones Gunn...and my favorite book of hers to date. I loved this story, but as I said in my post, it may take being and having a grown daughter to appreciate it as much as I did. (Like Everyone Is Beautiful seemed to appeal to those who still have little ones underfoot.)

Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I am reading this for the first time (for the book club over at 5MFB next week). I am only on page 58, so I am not sure how I feel about it yet. It has taken me a few evenings to get into the 'mood' of it after reading so many contemporary books lately. I am sure it is not called a 'classic' for nothing!

To Be Read:
The Centurion's Wife by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke. It's still there! I will get around to it some day.

Sisterchicks Go Brit by Robin Jones Gunn. It is just waiting on me to need another quick, light read with a message.

Where Are You Now? by Mary Higgins Clark. It is set in NY...and you all know how much I love NY. Just waiting on a good mystery read night, curled up in a cozy blanket with the wind howling outside. It has been too hot and dry around here for that lately!

The Beach House: A Novel by Jane Green. Must read while it is still summer! Probably next on my list.

Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling. This one calls my name. I have been waiting for the paperback to come out for a long time.

I picked up these two at Half Price Books the other day, so I guess I better add them as well. Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and 1st To Die by James Patterson. I am not sure when I will get to these.

Thanks for stopping by. And, if you are looking for a good book to read this summer, head over to 5 Minutes For Books and check out some great lists!

He Works Hard For The Money

Have I told you that Brian has a job?
A lot of people probably think that working for Daddy would be a piece of cake...but not when 'Daddy' is a fire sprinkler contractor!

Welcome to the real world, Brian!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Pool Party For Monkey

Yesterday afternoon we attended a pool party in celebration of Davin's SECOND birthday. Can you believe he is 2 already? In some ways, I can't...but in other ways, I can't remember life without him (or any of the grandchildren, for that matter)!

'Cars' was the theme of the day!
Here is the birthday boy in the pool with Uncle Will (or Duck-Duck, as Davin calls him).
And of course, Miss Brooke was hanging out with her new favorite, Uncle Brian and Jessica.

Maddux was just relaxing and enjoying the water in his turtle boat.

Here is picture of the Birthday Boy entertaining the crew at the 'kids table'. What a ham he was yesterday.

He didn't really care anything at all about the cake, except for getting those two cars off of the top of it!

Well, that is until he took the first bite! And this was just the beginning. By the time we finished cake and ice cream, he looked like a clown at his own party!

Happy Birthday, Davin! We love you...bunches!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


" There is a trail in your life that leads to a throne."
from today's sermon by Mark Shook

Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.
Psalm 119:36-37

ponder: to think or consider, especially quietly, soberly and deeply

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Birthdays and Broadway

I am back!

Did you miss me?

I didn't mean to leave the blog quiet for two whole days. We were just busy celebrating Miss Bri's birthday and I have been sharing my computer with Will and I haven't had much opportunity in the evenings to post.

Wednesday we gathered around the table for elk steak, baked potatoes, asparagus, rolls and chocolate pie...all at the birthday girls' request.

But the real celebration occured on Thursday night when her sisters and I took her out to Soma for sushi (even though she doesn't eat sushi, she likes their grilled shrimp) followed by an evening at the theatre. Broadway Across America's is at the Hobby Center for the next few weeks.

We do not usually see two plays in one year, but Phantom of the Opera is her favorite...and it just so happened to be here on her birthday, so what else could we do but sacrifice another evening to 'endure' one more play. Ha!

We saw Phantom last March in San Antonio. Kelli and I enjoyed this performance better, but that was because neither of us knew what to expect the first time and were a little lost during the performance. (We had to have Bri explain a few things to us this time we caught a few more of the subtle story lines) Meagan and Bri enjoyed the one in San Antonio more, and I agree that the performances were better in SA. However, we still had a wonderful time!

Tomorrow we will be gathered at the pool to celebrate Davin's second birthday...and then we are finished with July birthdays! It has been a long month of non-stop celebrations...and I love it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photos From The Beach: A Day Out

I left the beach house twice during our weeklong beach trip...once to go shopping for the 4th and once to visit Galveston.

On Tuesday, Meagan, Brianne, Will, Davin and I went to lunch at Rainforest Cafe. (Kelli, Brooke and Maddux had already left for home.) Meagan thought that Davin would enjoy the animals...but it didn't turn out exactly like she had planned.

We were sat at a table right in front of the elephants. Davin couldn't take his eyes off of them as we were walking to the table so Meagan decided to take him over and show him that they were not real.

Unfortunately, the elephant moved just as she took his hand to touch the baby and prove that they were not real. Terror! Screams! Oh, my!
She walked him around the restaurant to calm him down. He was okay with the butterfly...but not much else.

Fortunately. he eventually came to enjoy the surroundings. He even started imitating the gorillas. And then...

he passed out. Even before his meal came! I think Rainforest makes a lot of money off of meals that are never eaten. Either the kids are too excited to eat...or they are too scared!

After lunch and a trip through the gift shop (Meagan wanted to make sure that he had good remembrances of Rainforest), we headed to the Moody Gardens Aquarium.
We were going to see the Dinosaurs Alive! exhibit...but after the Rainforest Cafe incident, we didn't think lifesize dinosaurs would be a good idea. So, off to the Aquarium we went!

We saw sting rays and penguins.

Davin is the same size as the King penguins...but by next year, he will probably be promoted to Emperor!

We saw jellyfish...

...and Davin got to touch a starfish.

Oh, no...what is that? It's a....


Bri, Meagan and Will stopped for me to snap a picture of them in front of the large aquarium. (Davin was too busy running up and down the steps. He had spent too much time in the stroller.)

Time to head back to the beach...where, on our last afternoon there, we saw a wild shark chasing the mullets just along the shoreline. At which point, we didn't go back in the water!
And this concludes our photo collage of our 4th of July beach vacation for 2009!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Photos From The Beach: An Evening In The Gulf

Saturday evening we headed down to the beach to play in the surf.
Doesn't she look sweet with that angelic smile on her face? Brooke was not real thrilled with the feel of sand between her toes. It took her a little while to enjoy going barefoot.

Davin on the other hand had no problem with sand between his toes. He just wanted to get out there to the water. I guess that is the difference between boys and girls when it comes to 'dirt'.
Brooke was a little leery of the waves.
Whereas Davin ran right on in.

Brooke got knocked down by a wave when she tried to follow Davin in deeper. Thankfully, her hero, Uncle Brian, was close by. She stuck to him like glue for a long time afterwards.

Davin found the 'skin' off of a wake board that had washed up on the beach. Here is our little surfer dude.
But I think Miss Brooke may have him beat on form!

Kowabunga, Dudes and Bettys!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gardenias For Breakfast: A Reflection On Mothers And Daughters

It is Sunday evening as I begin this post. The boys are beginning to show a little interest in golf, so Jim has gone with them to hit a few balls at the driving range. Bri and Jessica decided to go along and hang out at the pool. It is a 'cool' 90 degrees with overcast skies here. I am sitting on the deck at the patio table listening to the thunder in the distance and the cicadas singing in the trees...and it has me thinking about the book I read last week.

I first heard about Gardenias For Breakfast (by Robin Jones Gunn) back in February over at the 5 Minutes for Books blog. (You can read Carrie's review here.) I don't really know why it appealed to me so much other than maybe the books setting (Louisiana). Having spent my whole life in the South, I do tend to enjoy a good southern story. I had been looking for the book for a little while and I stumbled across it a few weeks ago at Half Price Books.

I read this book in two sittings...broken up only because we had a party at our house for which I had to prepare. Yet, it has been on my mind for the past week, rendering me unable to pick up a new book to read. I thought maybe if I sat at the keyboard I might be able to string together a few of the treasures that I uncovered in the book and not forget them too soon.

"Everybody has a story. You listen to their story, Honeygirl, and your story will come find you." Thus begins the story of mothers and daughters and grandmothers and granddaughters, probably all over the world...but very much, all over the South. I will not even pretend to write a 'book review', (there are many others much more talented at that than I) but I will share how the story touched me.

I am not sure that you can fully appreciate the book if you haven't watched a daughter grow up and seen yourself reflected in her eyes. It isn't until you 'see' the pain that you have inflicted on her that you can begin to understand some of the wounds you carry around from your family of origin. I am also convinced that every single one of us has those wounds, no matter how wonderful our family life may have been...because we all speak words in haste or frustration, we all hurry about at times and fail to see the pain we have caused in someone else by our words or deeds. And for some reason, mothers and daughters seem to 'feel' these things deeper than sons and fathers...or at least we are more apt to show it.

One of the biggest things that I took from this book is that a lot of those wounds (the ones we create and the ones we carry) were not given intentionally. {I know this is not always the case.} Most of our wounds come from the everyday circumstances of living life together. Let's face it, only one Man lived the perfect life, the rest of us mess up...OFTEN. We speak when we should listen, we procrastinate when we should act, or we are so caught up in our own hurts or worries that we just don't see how those closest to us are in need of our attention.

But, do you know what else comes from living life together? Strength. Courage. And if we let it, forgiveness and grace. Sometimes, when I look in the eyes of my daughters or hear the reflection in their voices, I catch a glimpse of my strengths too. My daughters are all very different from one another, and they are all three different from me. Just as Rosa and I are different from one another and from our Mother; and she is different from her sisters and they are all different from their mother; etc. etc. throughout the family tree. Yet there are strong family traits, physical and emotional, that are reflected in each of our lives. We are all a part of one another...and it is mostly for the good.

The Gardenia; it gives off the most wonderful aroma, yet is so easily bruised at the slightest mishandling. So it is with Family...a word that conjures up images of what is the worst and the best in all of us.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying Your decrees!
Psalm 119:5

"We pick up the Book not to wrap a bit of God around us, not to draw God into acting in our lives, but we pick up the Book to twine our lives into the lacework of God, to draw us into God, to be a string fastened to the Center."
Quote from Ann Voskamp at her blog
Holy Experience on 7/15/09

"Truth says, 'Examine me,' while tolerance says, 'Leave me alone.'"
Quote from J. D. Watson
A Word For The Day on 7/18

ponder: to think or consider, especially quietly, soberly and deeply

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Loose Threads

Wow, what a week!

July is an extremely busy month for us. Not only do we vacation for the 4th and my birthday...but we celebrate a lot more milestones!

July 7th was Matt and Kelli's third anniversary! Happy anniversary, you two! I know that ya'll are anxiously awaiting moving into your first home in a few months...but take the time to celebrate your anniversary as well.

Both of our sons-in-law have birthdays in July too. Matt's was the 10th and Derrick's was the 15th. The family gathered at our house on the 16th to celebrate both birthdays and the anniversary. The food was good...but the company was better.

The 15th was also my dad's birthday. Happy Birthday, Daddy! Hope you enjoyed your day!

Today is Donna's birthday. Happy Birthday, Donna! Make Daddy and Cecily treat you good today!

And speaking of birthdays, I just celebrated my 45th last Sunday...and yet, in Thursday's post I said that I was 46! And NONE of you caught it!!! Evidently it was a rough week for me. I aged a whole year in four days! Ha!

I wanted to thank all of you who participated in Tuesday's post. There are times when I feel like I am having a one way conversation on this blog and I need a little feedback to know what you think.

Rita and Robin are usually the first ones to send me an email if I am missing from the blog for too long. They are also the most likely to comment. So, thanks Ladies, for your continued encouragement!

Tammy and Aunt Fran - Have you had enough pictures this week? Don't worry, more are scheduled for next week!

Miranda - I had no idea you were hanging out around here, girl! It was so good to 'see' you! And lunch? Just say when and I will be there! I have missed you.

Stacy - A book? Yeah, right! I can't keep up blog posts about can I write a book? (Hope you are having fun. We miss you.)

Kelli - You are not ALLOWED out of 'the loop' it or not!

Brenda - So glad to see your comment. And FYI, Sam is doing fine. I am not sure that Will is going to let him go home anytime soon though!

Well, I need to get off of this computer. My refrigerator is in need of some serious attention. We have nothing to eat...but I can't fit one more thing in there. (How do inanimate objects such as condiments tend to take over a refrigerator?)

I am also going to try to put some meals in the freezer this weekend. I am tired of spending money on take out when I work late or have a tiring day.

Hope you all have a glorious weekend!


Friday, July 17, 2009

Photos From The Beach: We Partied 'Cause It Was My Birthday

Sunday morning we (Jim and I) slept in, to the sounds of grand children squealing while playing and the smells of bacon cooking on the stove. It was my birthday and the girls were up preparing breakfast for the family.

When I finally came out of the bedroom, I was greeted by this handsome face. Maddux was all bright eyed and bushy tailed!

These two were thoroughly enjoying each other's company. It is great when cousins are close in age!
They even ate breakfast together at the 'kids table'. They are growing up so fast!
I thought these next two pictures summed up Brooke's personality pretty well.
Her angry face...
...and her happy face! These pictures were taken about five minutes apart. (I think she takes after me!)
Davin LOVES baby Maddux. Here they are on the floor playing together.
What's that? Up in the air? Is it a bird? Is it a plane?
No, it's Papaw flying a kite! (A My Little Pony kite, no less.)
It was a bit windy out on the deck, just ask Brooke.
Davin was so excited by the kite that he was ready to flip, literally!
I will be back to post more pictures from later that afternoon when we went to the actual beach.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Seeing UFO's

...Unexpected and Fascinating Observations, that is.

I had two UFO sightings yesterday.

The first one occurred while I was driving in to work.

I had only traveled about a half mile after pulling onto the freeway when I noticed a cow walking up the off ramp toward the freeway. This cow had not missed any it was hard to overlook. I wanted to circle back to take a picture of this odd sight when I remembered that even though I had all three compact flashes with me, I didn't have a camera. BUMMER!

The second sighting was on my drive home.

I went a different route so that I could pick up Popeye's Chicken on the way. (I had been to the grocery store after work and it took longer than I wanted so I had no extra time to cook.) As I drove down a two lane paved road I spied a cat with the biggest head I had ever seen. I wondered if it was actually a bobcat, so I stopped and put the car in reverse to see if it was still in the ditch. Lo and behold, he was still there...and yes, it was a bobcat. (Still no camera!) I am 46 years old and this was my first live bobcat sighting! I was so excited I sent Jim (who was golfing) a text message to tell him about it. That is probably the closest I will ever come to 'Twitter'ing!

Have you seen anything Unexpected or Fascinating this week?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Photos From The Beach: July 4, 2009

Finally, pictures from the beach! I brought my compact flash to work with me today so that I can share a few (dozen) pictures from our beach vacation last week.

Today's pictures will focus on how we spent our time on Independence Day.

This is our 'Land Without Time'...the place where even the youngest members of the family found it easy to relax.

Doesn't that deck look inviting? Especially with those bright colored Adirondack chairs? I am here to tell you that is a wonderful place.
I woke earlier than the rest of the house on the 4th because I could smell the aroma of barbecue brisket coming from the kitchen...and it smelled like it was time to come out of the oven!
After removing the brisket, I started the coffee pot and slipped out on the deck to see the sunrise. It was a glorious red-orange color as it broke through the low lying clouds. This picture does not do it justice at all!
I then turned the camera on the early morning surf. The water was so blue on Friday and Saturday. The clearest I have ever seen the Gulf of Mexico this far north.
The beach was quiet while I sat on the deck with my coffee, my camera and a book. A little bit of calm before the storm!
I returned to the kitchen to make breakfast before starting the ribs and all the sides for our Fourth of July Barbecue with Robin and her family.
Throughout the remainder of the day different ones would pick up the camera and capture some of the moments. Here are some of those pictures:

Maddux and Papaw

Maddux laughing in his exerciser

Inquisitive Brooke-y Bear

Have I told you that she is a fireball?
And that she can be LOUD?

Davin's funny food face

Will, chilling on the deck mid afternoon.
See all those people who joined us at the beach to celebrate the 4th!
Brian coming in from playing in the surf.

Bri and Booke

Kelli and Maddux
Meagan kicking into 'vacation' mode.
This is where I spent most of my day...but I loved every moment of it. I love a party, especially if it means friends and family and good food.

It appears that Mr. Green killed Miss Scarlet in the hall with the revolver! (while her back was turned, no less!)
The kids played Clue while I cooked. It was like old times!
And for some strange reason, we took absolutely NO pictures of our barbecue party!
But I did snap this one of Davin and Brooke watching fireworks from the deck that night.
Brooke didn't care much for them at first, but then she and Davin would yell 'boom' and 'pow' as they sailed overhead...followed by cries for 'more'!
But for some reason, in the back of mind, all I could hear was the Black Eyed Peas singing!