Saturday, September 19, 2009

Moving Day

Guess what I did today? I moved!
Now, I know you are thinking, "Didn't you just move into a new house a few months ago?"
Yes, dear Reader, I most certainly did!
Today's move was far easier!
It didn't require sorting, purging, or packing. It didn't require boxes, paper, or a moving van. It simply required a quick transfer.
I have moved my blog over to Wordpress. Yes, I have moved over to the other side. :)
So, you can pick up on all the family antics at our new location: (Notice I am now Lemonade GAL -- because girl was already taken.)
I hope you will make the move with me.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Kind-of Homesick

Today, I miss Texas. I cannot really place my finger on what I miss. I just miss telling people I'm from Texas.

I think the sadness started a few weeks ago when I had to renew my driver's license. I went to the local DMV with all my paperwork in hand, including my expired license. After all the computer work and the miserable photo, the nice guy handed me my new Arkansas license. He politely smiled and wished me a good day. I immediately got the deer in headlights look and asked, "So, you keep my Texas license." He then explained that it was the law -- something about people creating fake ID's. I got to the safety of my car and cried. I know it is silly, but I had the same Texas license number since I got my learner's permit when I was 15. It was a faithful friend -- a part of my growing up into adulthood. This week, I had to go to the doctor. For the first time in 20 years, I had to pull out my wallet and look up my license number for the paperwork. It was a sad reminder of my new reality.

Then, on HGTV, some of the shows they've shown this week have been on homes in Texas. Just flipping the channels, I can tell from some of the architectural details that they are showing a Texas home. There is a difference that I cannot explain -- I can just tell when I see it. Of course, I stop and watch the entire episode -- just to catch a look at Texas. I even recorded one so I could look back at it. (I KNOW!)

It's not that I don't like Arkansas. And, I for sure don't question my reason for being here. I just love my Texas roots, and I miss the familiarity that came with living in the same state for 25 years. I knew the Texas way-of-things very well and today -- I miss it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Time of my Life

I'm not much of a star gazer. In fact, I couldn't tell you much about Patrick Swayze and his life. But, the news this morning of his death has set me into a bit of a remembrance.
I didn't know Patrick, but I sure did know Johnny Castle! I cannot tell you how many times I've seen Dirty Dancing. I cannot say that it changed my life, but it did make my life happy. Dirty Dancing is one of those movies that I almost always stop and watch if I come across it while flipping channels. It is one of those movies that I can quote a scary number of lines from. In fact, I love it so much, I have a strange desire to sit and watch it right now -- just because of all the clips they've played on the news this morning.
After Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze moved on to other films -- one's that I never really liked. (See, I wasn't really a fan.) He went on to other successes. He had other names like Dalton and Sam. But to me, he will always be Johnny.
So, as family and friends mourn his passing. I will pray that God will comfort them in their grief. I will also be thankful that they shared Patrick with us.

Monday, September 14, 2009

3 Years in the Making

Today - at 9:00 a.m. - You might possibly here the scream of joy coming from central Arkansas.
Today - at 9:00 - I will drop off the little sister at Mother's Day Out.
Today - at 9:00 - I will return to my nice, quiet, empty house.
Today, I will sit in that quiet house and hear NOTHING!
I will be ALONE for, count 'em, 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5! Yes 5 WHOLE HOURS!
It will be the first time since sister was born. *sigh*
I don't have to go to work.
I don't have hubby home to interfere with my solitude.
I don't have company that wants to be entertained.
I have no one -- and I'm so excited.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Were You There?


It is a day that will forever be marked in my memory. Kind-of like some other historical days in other's minds -- the day the challenger exploded, the day of the Oklahoma City Bombing, the day JFK was shot, the day Elvis died. I think I will always remember with VIVID detail the sights, feelings, and happenings of 9-11.

Brother was just 8 months old. I had gotten up early that morning (which was the routine of those days). For some reason, hubby had already left for work, and I was feeding Brother in his bouncy seat at the kitchen table. I turned on Good Morning America for my daily news fix. I was met with the breaking news report of a fire at the World Trade Center. My immediate thought was to think back to the previous bombing of the WTC in 1993. Then, before my very eyes -- and thousands of others -- the plane hit the second building. I went numb. I couldn't believe what I just witnessed. This was clearly no accident. I immediately picked up the phone and called my hubby. My first question to him was if he could see the TV without any kids around. (At the time, hubby worked at a children's home and had the responsibility of caring for other's children during this crisis, and shielding the kids from the news.)

The rest of the day, while I remember it clearly, is also a blur because the time passed so quickly as I sat in front of the television. It was shocking to see it all. I remember walking through my bedroom when I heard the report of the attack at the pentagon. I immediately cried out to God and literally fell to my knees. Our country was being attacked, and He was the only one who was in control.

I remember the complete shock that washed over me as the towers crumbled into white ash all over the city. If I hadn't seen it, I would have never believed it.

As I look back, I'm grateful that Brother was just an infant. I'm grateful that he couldn't tell the fear and worry that ran through my veins that morning and afternoon. I'm grateful that he served as a distraction to me during the day.

It has been 8 years since that clear, blue fall morning in 2001. It is sad to me that the attacks weren't even mentioned at Brother school today. I know that life carries on, but I believe that I am a different person because of the 9-11 attacks. We live in a different country that we did before the 9-11 attacks. It was a day that forever changed our history books and our lives. I just think it needs some recognition, and all those who suffered loss that day deserve some remembering.

So, today I choose to remember. I remember those who lost a loved one on September 11th. I remember those who faithfully served in the aftermath. I remember those who cannot work in tall buildings because of the fear. I remember the children who are without parents. I remember the heros of the day -- both living and dead -- who helped our country during its most difficult trial. I will never forget!

Do you remember that day? Tell me!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

10 on the 10th - Dreaming

Recently I read another blog that talked about childhood dreams and questioned if we were at the place at 30 (ahem) that we thought we'd be when we were 16. It really made me stop and think about my plans vs. God's plans for my life. I've had lots of plans and dreams for my life, but most of all, since I first went to church when I was 12, I've wanted to live for Him. To bring glory to God in whatever I do.

I'm reminded of 2 scriptures:

James 4:13-15 (New International Reader's Version)
"Now listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city. We will spend a year there. We will buy and sell and make money.' You don't even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? It is a mist that appears for a little while. Then it disappears. Instead, you should say, 'If it pleases the Lord, we will live and do this or that.' "

Psalm 127:1 (New International Version)
"Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain."

So, to play along with Meredith's 10 on the 10th, I bring you my short list of different dreams/thoughts I had for my future occupation when I was a child:
  1. Veterinarian - As a child I loved animals and thought this would be a fun job. I quickly learned that this meant lots of school, and I didn't like the idea of suffering animals, so I moved on.

  2. Waitress - I had grand visions of carrying armloads of plates and handfuls of glasses to other people. This quickly faded as I realized my true capabilities to serve people without spilling.

  3. Teacher - What little girl doesn't dream of being just like her favorite teacher when she grows up. I actually have an elementary education degree, but after student teaching, I realized that it isn't my thing.

  4. Accountant - I just want the satisfaction of doing my own taxes. If I were to go back to college, (because I just adore school) this would be on my list of things to do.

  5. Photographer - This is still a great interest to me. I appreciate good photography and desire to learn more about it. I just don't see it ever being a career for me -- just a hobby.

  6. Architect - I have a strange fascination with great buildings. I just love to look at great architecture. I also have a HUGE love of homes and floor plans. I remember drawing up my own floor plan when I was in 5th grade. I had great hopes of building my own home one day. When I got realistic about schooling, I realized how much math was needed for architecture school and how competitive the market is, so I backed away from this plan.

  7. Lawyer - Honestly, this was a short-lived dream, motivated by money and greed. After participating on the mock-trial team in high school, I realized that being a lawyer was more effort than I wished to put forth.

  8. Secretary - I love organization, and I love office supplies. What a perfect job for me. Too bad they aren't better respected by the work-force

  9. Physical Therapist - When I was in college, I had to see a physical therapist for over a year and a half. I really became interested in their work, and I appreciated all the help they provided to me.

  10. Labor and Delivery Nurse - After my kids were born, I appreciated the love and concern that I received in the hospital when my kids were born. I think being able to witness the miracle of birth would be a great reward. I love babies, and more than that, I love getting to see families created.

WOW! I'm at 10, and I have even more to add. In the end, I am exactly what God has called me to be, and I am still seeking Him to lead me into something more. I have a seminary degree and was a full-time youth minister until he gave the the wonderful title of MOM! I love my mom title, and I wear it with pride. More than anything, as a little girl I wanted to grow up, love my husband, and raise beautiful, God-fearing children. (Well, I didn't add the God-fearing part until I was older and knew about God). Now, I seek Him daily and wait for Him to open up new ministry doors for me.

For more 10 on the 10th posts, visit Meredith's blog! It's a fun little game of lists. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On My Honor

We have a new thing in our family - a cub scout. Actually we have a Bear cub. I guess that is the name. I'm all excited about Brother's new interest. I think it will a great activity for him. I think it will help him make new friends. I think it will teach him some important values like respect, honesty, and self-confidence. We are not a big atheletic family, so I think scouting has the potential of providing some important extra-curricular activities for Brother that don't involve nights of practice and loads of injury. Of course, I feel like I did when Brother played t-ball. I am just enamored with the uniform. Isn't it just the cutest thing!?! I think all little boys should wear a baseball uniform and a boy scout uniform at some point in their lives. Of course, that is just what I think!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Family Vacation 2009 (part 3)

So, today concludes our trilogy of vacation recap posts. Sunday morning was a beautiful morning. I guess everyone was recovering from the busy day before because Brother (who usually gets up with the sun slept until 10!) So, sister and I enjoyed the quiet morning on the patio. Isn't she cute?
If you cannot tell, the chairs on the patio had the State Seal of Texas -- how appropriate! So, once everyone was up and moving, we headed out to Talking Rocks Cavern to do a little spelunking. We got to enjoy neat things underground like this
and this (they call those formations cave bacon -- can you tell why?)

Did I mention that the cave is underground? So, we had to climb these stairs to get there. The were quite narrow and steep.
While the cave was interesting, I'm not sure spelunking is for preschoolers. This is how sister felt about the cave. (Yes, I had to hold/carry her through most of it. Did I mention the many stairs? AUGH)

Brother is into science and stuff, so he thoroughly enjoyed the caving. Sister was much happier at the scenic overlook once we exited the cave world.
After a not-so-fabulous lunch (maybe another post), we headed back to the condo for swimming and a much needed nap for mom. YIPPEE!

Then, after getting cleaned up, the family showed our sporty side with a rousing game of putt-putt (commonly referred to as "little golf" by sweet Sister).

Brother took his golf game serious.
Sister was just more concerned about looking good on the greens.
She was so proud that she found a pink ball that complemented her wardrobe.

She did manage a few good shots, including this very close hole-in-one. We scored it as a gimme.

Aren't we a happy bunch?

Along the golf trail, we encountered various creatures. Some from the Jurassic era.

Others from more modern times. (That, my friends, is a groundhog!! Have you ever seen one other than Punxsutawney Phil? This one just lived at the putt-putt and wandered around the grassy area like a pet.)
After the game, (I'm not sure who won because we didn't keep score -- but I'm sure it was me) we went out for a bite to eat. We ran by a couple of stores, but because it was Sunday, they had all closed up for the evening. I got a chuckle out of this one sign.
Yes, that store wasn't closed, it was SHUT! HaHa
So, we moseyed back to our condo to pack up for the trip home. It was a fun get-away. One that we richly deserved and greatly appreciated!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Family Vacation 2009 (Part 2)

So, we are still enjoying a fantastic Saturday in Branson. After the Butterfly Palace, we headed back to the condo for some swimming. I have to say that swimming was the main agenda for this vacation. The kids love to swim, and we just haven't had time for it this summer. However, mother nature had other plans for our family because it was a bit too chilly for swimming and the water was COLD! Not to be deterred, the kids still got in the water, but we had to wait until later in the afternoon so the sun could warm up a bit. Hubby drew the short straw, so he got in, too. I was official photographer.
I did eventually get in the water, but Hubby was not allowed to document any of that with film!

After swimming, we cleaned up and headed to Branson Landing for dinner. Sister was so worn out, that she fell asleep in the car on the way there (about a 8 minute drive). She slept on Hubby's shoulder for about 45 minutes!
We were excited that we could catch some "back home" flavor in Branson.
Nope, we didn't eat here -

We choose to eat here. YUMMY!!

We sat outside on the patio, so we could take full advantage of the beautiful weather and scenery. Isn't that was vacation is all about?

Plus, our outside seating provided a great view of the Fire and Water show! It was AWESOME!

After dinner, we strolled the shops and watched the street entertainers. Once again, we found a little bit of Texas.
Although we aren't hunters or fishers, we wandered into Bass Pro Shop. Where Brother had a brief encounter with a bear.
Sister got so excited by the fish that she apparently waved her arm right off.

And both kids added to their Christmas wish list.

We did buy something at Branson Landing - a table for the family room. Yes, we are crazy people who buy furniture while on vacation. It never fails that we find some treasure and have to figure out how to haul it home. Sadly, this isn't a first time thing for us. But we did make it work.

On the way to the car - after a long day - we caught the Fire and Water show again. It is really incredible.
So, we headed back to the condo for some much needed rest. It was a fun day -- one that reminds me how much I love and enjoy my family.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Family Vacation 2009 (Part 1)

So, 2009 hasn't been an all-that-terrific year for our family. The summer seems to get away from us and unless you count our travel up and down IH-30, we never got to get-away as a family. So, before the craziness of back-to-school took over, we made a nice weekend trip to Branson. It was just great to be together and to not keep any specific schedule. (As I get ready to write all this, I realize that we can really cram A.LOT into one day. So, to save you the reading, I will break it down into manageable segments.)

We drove up on Friday - after Brother got out of school. It was a nice, pretty drive through the north part of my new state -- full of nice scenery. Best of all, the kids slept most of the way. SCORE!! We got to our condo (Thousand Hills Resort) just before dinner. The kids quickly settled in and made their room look just like home.
This place was FANCY! And had lots of great stuff - stuff that we would never use. This was the view off our patio.
Too bad we don't golf.

It also had this HUGE kitchen. One that I would love to have in my house.

I didn't come on vacation to cook, so the kitchen stayed this clean the entire visit.

So, Friday night we went out for dinner, then drove around, exploring the town. We stopped at Wal-Mart to get cereal stuff for breakfast, then we went back to the condo to sleep.

The next morning, we got up and hit some of the local shops. Sister found something that fit right into or vacation lifestyle.

After browsing other stores, we found a great place to rest our weary feet.

And here I thought things were bigger in TEXAS.

After grabbing a wonderful lunch, we headed out to the Butterfly Palace (thanks for the recommendation, Amber).

To our surprise, the Butterfly Palace has lots more than butterflies. First we saw creepy things that I do not like. Sister was so brave and gave it a touch.

Then we walked through this way-cool mirror maze. Brother and I thought it was great. Sister still calls it "the scary part." It is supposed to be decorated like the rain forest.

Then, it was time to set our sights on the butterflies.

We saw butterflies of all colors and sizes. It was really beautiful. The visit was even more wonderful because we "hatched" our own chrysalises this spring, so the kids knew all about butterflies.

I have to share a funny story: When we were in the butterfly room, a centipede came crawling out of the rocks -- right towards Brother's feet. He SCREAMED bloody-murder and ran to me. I think he was so loud that he scared the ugly thing and it crawled right back into the rocks. I was trying to calm him and tell him it was part of nature, one of God's creations, blah, blah, blah. Then one of the workers came up and said, "That thing is one of the meanest bugs on the planet. If you see it again, stomp on it." It was UGLY and creepy!

Here are my two favorite butterflies.

When we finished watching the butterflies, we went outside so Brother could climb the coconut tree.

He is so brave - and such a boy!

The rest of us sat on the sideline and cheered!

So, are you tired? Well, we aren't even half over with this day. :) After the Butterfly palace, we headed back to the condo. I'll fill you in on the evening activities later.

FALLing in Love

Melissa at The Inspired Room is my kind of gal -- She LOVES fall. So, she is hosting a Fall Nesting party to inspire everyone to decorate and celebrate this wonderful time of year.

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love to wake to the cool mornings; I love to have the windows open; and I love to hear the sound of football and marching bands on the local field. When I was a little girl, we lived outside St. Louis. I remember knowing that it was fall when we traveled to Eckert's Orchard to pick our own apples. When I was older and we moved to Texas, fall was official when I stepped out in the morning and needed a light jacket -- especially for those morning walks across the university campus. *sigh* It is just so wonderful!
So, in honor of fall, I wanted to share with you one of my all time favorite fall recipes.

Apple Dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Stir together the cream cheese, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until the sugar has dissolved, and the mixture is smooth. This can be topped with nuts, crumbled graham crackers, or (my favorite) toffee pieces. YUMMY!


Now, Melissa is giving away an AWESOME prize for her Fall Nesting Party. Let me tell you - with this new house, I sure could use a gift certificate to HomeGoods. I love my new house! But, it sure could use some seasonal inspiration.
I love our living room, but it could use some "autumn accents" and not have such a summer feeling.

I also think my dining room (which I don't have a picture of) could use a new table runner and some other table decorations for the fall.

Fall - just another reminder of the bountiful blessings in my life. What about you? What do you like about this season?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

In a Class by Herself

Just look at that precious smile!! Monday was the first day of school (Mother's Day Out) for Sister. I was a bit nervous for her because she tends to be shy in new situations. However, she LOVES to play with other children, so I knew she would quickly fall into a new routine. Because of our move, we were late in the registration process. So Sister is only going to MDO one day a week. She was so excited to begin her new adventure.
I don't know if her excitement was because of the new princess lunchbox (poor thing has only had hand-me-downs before), or if life is just too boring with Brother in school -- no matter, Sister was up and ready EARLY on Monday morning. I have to say that I, too, was excited to have 5 hours to myself.
The most wonderful news of the day was that Sister LOVES, LOVES her new school!!!! She walked right into the classroom without shedding a single tear. When I picked her up, the teachers told me, "She acts like she's been here all her life." Oh YEAH! God knew I needed at least one easy child this fall. The only tears were when I told Sister she couldn't go back to school the next day. Unfortunately, because of Labor Day, she has to wait 2 weeks to return to her new favorite place. She has asked me EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. when she can go back and play with her new friends.
On another note - I have finally uploaded the vacation pictures -- all 189 of them. So, I will be posting vacation details for the next few days. Thank you for all your prayers for Brother. He is still struggling in his new school but I am confident that he will find his way soon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

He calls me Friend

My hubby has had the same best friend since kindergarten. I could talk on and on about their friendship because I think it is simply amazing. Over 30+ years those two have been buddies. Their friendship has seen many different ups and downs, but they have always been there for each other. I remember early in our marriage how Hubby would stay up late, talking to his friend on the phone. I also remember times I would go to bed early when Brother was a baby, only to wake up for the next feeding to find hubby and his friend on the phone. (Just think of how much sleep I could have gotten if I formula fed since he was still up.)
Recently, their friendship has taken a change. The guys are both very busy with their jobs and hubby's friend has a new baby at home. So, their communication has been reduced to text messages, facebook, and brief phone calls during the commute to and from work. I hope this is just a phase in their friendship because my hubby needs to spend more time communicating with his friend. He needs to talk openly with the person who knows all about him. He needs to spend time with the friend who knows his past, present, and his future dreams -- and quite honestly, I'm not always the best person for all that talking. You know, guys need other guys. People who won't get all emotional on them when they just need to "talk it out." And friendship needs more than 120 character updates and brief phone calls.
I've been a bit introspective the past few days. It's been an interesting time for me. I've thought a lot about God - His will, His plan, and my purpose. I can't say I have any answers - in fact, I may have more questions than when I started. Do you have periods of your life where you just need to think it over? How do you make time for that? I get frustrated because I still have my wife and mom duties, and I feel like I'm unable to freely commit to "be still and know." Instead, I feel like I come to God and say, "Okay, I have a few minutes. Can you meet with me?" Or worse, I feel like my life is like a TV program, and I try to deal with God during the commercial breaks.
Not so productive!
I just feel like we need to have a long time visit and instead we just touch the highlights throughout the day. Just like hubby, I need to spend more time communicating with my Friend. I need to talk openly with The One who knows all about me. I need to spend time with The One who knows my past, present, and my future dreams. I need more than the brief times of prayer, meditation, or scripture reading (not all at once).
I'm working on it. I've taken more time the past week, and yet I still hunger for more.

It is a new place for me, but it feels good.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."