Friday, November 30, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town.

Working with kindergarteners is so fun this time of year because you can pull the Santa card and it works every time. They just believe. The other day there were several jet streams(you know the streaks in the sky left from a jet?)in the sky and I pointed to them and said Santa must have just flown over. You have never seen a straighter, quieter line of kids. Powerful.

Quite possibly my most treasured inanimate object...

I was given this scrapbook for my 50th birthday from Jordan. She purchased it, sent out pages to a few of my most special friends and family members....then held Chuck and Will hostage until they did a page...and put it all back together. It is the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me. Really. For each of you that did a page, I want you to know how much it means to me. I am not sure how to really express my gratitude....because it is so deep and sentimental and overwhelming. We all lead such busy lives and just the thought that this was put "on your plate" and you completed it and sent it back means the world to me. Take a peak at some of the won't be able to see the detail, but you will get an idea of how wonderful it is.

The book.....

Me...from a baby to a bride to a mom.

Mama's page...
The one who gave me mama. She is a very talented person. Her craft of choice these days is paper so her pages were wonderful. She even made me a mini banner......for celebrating my first half-century. Thank you for always making me my very own pumpkin pie for my "birthday cake."

Sheila's page...
Sheila, my partner in crime in kindergarten at Birkes. We spent alot of time laughing on the job. When I transferred to a new school, Sheila and I made a promise to keep in touch. And I can honestly say, we have. We meet about every 6 weeks for dinner and non-stop conversation. I love finding new friends at this time in my life because it reminds me how life is still full of good surprises.

Karen's page...
Karen Lea, my craftiest friend. We have known each other since our oldest children were in elementary school...back when little girls wore big bows in their hair. Karen's little girl's bows were as big as Jordan and Cameron's bows. I knew I liked her when I saw that! She is a talented artist and has the most generous spirit. Karen and I pick up where we left off each time we see each other....even if it's been a year. Recently we took a girls' trip...after talking about it for 8 years. Hopefully we can make it an annual event.

Barbara's page...
My cousin, Barbara from McKinney....she and I really got to know one another as adults, when I spent time in Dallas with my cousin Paul. Paul died of pancreatic cancer in February of 2004. I was one of his caregivers in the last weeks of his life and Barbara and her husband, Jim, were my light in those dark days. Our fathers were brothers and although they were very different (in their career choices, political beliefs and personalities) they were both good men and wonderful fathers to us and husbands to our moms. Barbara and I feel very connected.

Catha's page...
My sweet, sweet sister, Catha. The wind beneath my wing....the one who TRIED to keep me out of trouble...always. She is in my earliest memory and in all of my fondest ones. She was the brains and I was the MOUTH. Still that way. Thank you for my pages and for my birthday celebration.

Chuck's page...
Chuck.....the husband. Writing under duress....never scrapbooked before. Probably won't scrapbook again any time soon. Thank you Jordan for making him do a page. Chuck and I just celebrated 24 years of marriage. If I told him to make me a scrapbook of our marriage, he probably would. Heehee

Will's page...
Will.....Baby Will as we like to call him. Also held against his will to do this page....but I am so glad he was. His sarcastic wit is all over it....and some sentiment, too. Thank you for drawing the stick figures of our family. I haven't had one of those pictures in years.

Cameron's page...
Cameron....this one is my mouth and Chuck's brain. Look out world, she will take you by storm. I have enjoyed listening to her talk since she was 10 months old. If you ever want to hear the real details about how something "went down"....Cameron's the one to ask. In fact, moms used to call me to get the real story from Cameron about something that happened at school. She has the bluest eyes in Texas and I love staring at them.

Jordan's page...
Jordan....the idea girl, the operations and production manager of the whole thing. You will never know how much this means to me. I love you. My first thought when I saw you in the delivery room, was "how did this incredibly cute, tan baby come out of me?" And now I think, "How did this incredibly cute girl grow up so fast?" You are a blessing from above....and I never forget that. I love your handwriting and your words. I have missed having you near while you are in Arizona....but I am so proud of your adventurous spirit.

Lice Check in 2 weeks.....

Well, here I am celebrating the big FIVE O....with a sombrero placed on my head by a bunch of singing waiters. Celebrating at a Pappasitos ....2 margaritas and I am "posing" in a sombrero. Hopefully that sombrero gets sprayed between customers or I am in big trouble in a couple of weeks.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Boys of Thanksgiving

I wanted to post the photos of the boys of Thanksgiving. Click on photo to get a better view as a couple of the photos were taken in very low lighting. They are:

Chuck, my husband and father of my children...a very sweet, low-key guy.

Kim, my brother-in-law, husband to my sister and father to my nephews...also a very kind, low-key guy.

Jack, my oldest nephew, Catha's son...a very talented photographer and eloquent speaker.

Mark, my youngest nephew, Catha's son...the actor, dancer, singer.

Will, my youngest child, only son, and an almost clone of Catha's boys....I have always considered Will a "direct hit from God."

Uno, the newest canine in the family, belongs to Mark. Sorry we called you a "she" all day long but all we have are girl dogs.

Thanksgiving Day in Cypress, TX

The day started with picking up Jordan at the airport. We haven't seen her since the middle of August and although we talk almost daily, it was so good to hug her and be in her presence.

Then we began the setting of the table and the last hours of food preparation for the meal we were sharing with my sister, Catha, and her family. We blessed the food, ate the food, then went around the table and talked about what we were most thankful for. Noone ever wants to go first.....but everyone ends up being glad they could say out loud the things that usually go unsaid. Everyone laughed....and some of us even got close to tearing up. We all left the table just miserable from being way too stuffed. Some football, a fire in the firepit on the deck, and some good conversation later, we had enough room for dessert.

Birth Week

Last Friday morning I arrived at work right on time.....meaning 1 minute until 8:00 am. I rushed to my workroom to put away my purse as I needed to get into the cafeteria for my early morning duty. While passing through a teacher's room, she called me over to look at an email....then SuRpRiSe!!!! The whole team was in the next room with a wonderful birthday breakfast and gifts and song! The Happy Birthday song, of course. They had even asked another staff member to take over my duty so I could stay and be the Guest of Honor at my party. What a great way to start out my Birth Week. Tomorrow is the big one. So today is the last day of my 40's.

I have really loved my 40's. I would have loved them more if I had been a bit smaller and exercised more. I would have loved them more if I had not experienced all those pesky female problems in the early 40's. I would have loved them more if I had not had to witness my sweet cousin die a horrible death from pancreatic cancer.

But I really did love them. We moved to the other side of town almost 9 years ago and I have loved making a new life and new friends and decorating a new (new to me) house. I have watched my daughters go from pre-teens into wonderful, beautiful young adults. I have watched my little boy grow to 6 feet tall with a much deeper voice than I could have ever imagined. I have also become very much okay with who I am...realizing that I could not be all things to all people at all times and that is okay. I have learned to turn to God and to give it up to him. I have almost learned to keep my mouth closed when my opinion is really not wanted. And I have witnessed the extreme speed of time.

So as I enter my 50's tomorrow, I will pray for continued health, continued blessings and for time to slow down just a bit.

One last picture of me in my 40's! This was taken and Cameron.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Not as young as I once was.....

I hosted a Happy Hour for the staff of my school this past Friday......well, actually the Social Committee, of which I am a member, hosted it. I just provided the location. The Social Committee provided the party food and it was BYOB. We had a great turn-out and a great time. As the HH was winding down, the younger teachers got a group to go out dancing. An older group decided to head over to a local sports bar and do some karoake. I was in the older group. In case you were wondering. Saturday morning I realized I should have been in the group that stayed home and went to bed. Too old to party like a rock star.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Brunettes score

I have been playing around with my blog....changing the template,etc. I'm not sure I like it, but it will have to do for now as it is way past my bedtime. While in here, The Bachelor was on and now I have to stay up a little bit longer to see who gets kicked off tonight. I am way better at watching tv than I am at changing my blog site., the blonde got kicked off. I'm shocked. This cowboy likes brunettes.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Give Thanks...

November has arrived and I have put away the Halloween stuff....the decorations were put away in a box, the candy was put away in my mouth. The doorbell only rang 4 times on Halloween night, so the extra large bowl of candy barely had a dent put in it.

Our neighborhood has certainly matured. The first Halloween we lived here, we ran out of candy in the middle of a large group that had arrived. We had been having only 2 or 3 trick or treaters at a time. With just a little candy left, we figured we could handle one more group, then turn out the light. But the next group had about 10 kids! Try handing out candy to the front row and reaching down to an empty bowl with a bunch of masked kids looking at you. Every year since then we have over bought. Now, we are stuck (yea!) with lots of candy.

Now it is the month of giving thanks. This is my favorite month because it is my birth month. But I also love the weather and the time change and pumpkin pie and turkey and dressing. And I like being reminded to stop and think of what I am most thankful for....although I think about this daily now, it is different to look back at the year and reflect about the blessings that stand out.

I found this quote in the paper a while back......

"If the only prayer you say is thank you....that would suffice."

That made me think about how I changed the way I prayed. When I say pray, I really mean talk to God. I am not one to kneel down at my bed or go to a quiet place to pray. I just talk to him in my head. There is a moment of silence each morning at school....and that is when I would say I officially pray. But mostly I just visit with Him off and on all day long.

I used to begin every prayer with "please, please, please......fill in the blank." Begging. Begging. Bartering. But slowly I learned to just give thanks. So now, even on the hardest day, I say thank you to my heavenly Father. Sometimes I thank him for something in particular and some days I just say thanks. He knows what I I don't really have to call it out.

The other quote I love is "Do not prayer for an easy life, pray for strength for the life you have been given."I love that. Our life is what it is. But he will give us the strength to deal with it. Wow. I have lots of days where I say "Give me the strength!"

And lastly, my favorite little prayer...

"Dear Lord, Put your arm around my shoulder and your hand over my mouth." heehee

For my daughters out there.....start thinking about what you are thankful for because you know I am going to make you say it out loud on Thanksgiving Day!