Monday, December 16, 2013

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas....

...emphasis on the "little."

(I played around with Sharpies and fabric)

Empty nest.  Too pooped to really decorate for Christmas like I used to.  The big, pre-lit Christmas tree of yesteryear died and got thrown out at the end of December last year.   I've got years of holiday decorations from the primitive felt ornaments to the shiny glass, the traditional red and green to the more modern purples and lime greens. Rubbermaid tubs full of 30 years of memories that send me in to a slump rather than greet me with "hello there!"  I went through the tubs and pulled a little from each one and scattered them around the house.

 I found a little lit tree at Big Lots (yes, I love that place). It's about 71/2 feet tall, including the urn that it came in.  The urn was a badly fauxed gold color so I spray painted it with a hammered black (old spray paint can found in the garage because I couldn't wait until the next day to go buy Oil Rubbed Bronze). It's not much, but it's decorated. 

A few of the little Santas made their way out of the Rubbermaid tub.
I know it's really not about the decorating.  The older I get, the more I realize that. 
I guess we decorate to really engage in the holiday.  To remind us every time we walk in a room, a store, an office that it's Christmas time. 
While what we should immediately be reminded of is that little baby who was born...
who was sent to us from God to save us.  The fulfillment of God's promise. 
I've worked in retail the last 3 Christmas' and from what I gather, most people aren't really focused on that little detail about this time of year.  Actually, that HUGE detail.  Oh, I'm not pointing fingers... I'm guilty, too,  of the list making, the gift buying, the accumulating of wrapping paper and pretty ribbon, the frenzy that comes from all of that.
But it's about that baby. 
That little baby.
I'm working on that focus myself. 
Heading in to this next week, I am grateful for another December in my life. 
And I'm grateful ...
that all of my children will be home for at least 5 days together...
I will make the most of that little bit of time together...
that I was given the gift of a grandchild this year...this little boy has stolen my heart...
that Chuck and I celebrated 30 years of marriage this little fete at all...
that it really is the little things that make us the happiest...
that God sent a savior in an unexpected way, in a little baby...
The greatest gift of all...HUGE. 
But in a little package.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas.
Stay in the moment.  Remember the reason.
Now breathe.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't Lose It!

Chuck and I recently got a new car.  Gone is the car that had the college emblems on it.  Gone are the kids in college.  It feels like a new chapter.  An empty nest chapter full of possibilities...traveling, dining at fancy restaurants, watching the sun set on life....who am I kidding?  It's more like full of me on the iPad playing solitaire while Chuck watches ghost shows on t.v. while cuddling Harry Pawter (who stays very close to Chuck and the can of peanuts.)

Harry is thinking "my dead weight will soon numb his legs
 and when he pushes me off, he will then grab the can of peanuts."

Chuck likes a new car about every 4 years or so.  He will not step foot in a clothing store to buy new shoes or a new shirt but he loves to shop for cars.  He loves the researching, the shopping, the negotiating....I hate it.  In the early years of our marriage, we shopped for cars together and I sat for the 4 to 6 hours and watched him turn a smiling, savvy salesman in to a nervous, sweaty wreck.  I have such a bleeding heart for the underdog that I would whisper to the salesman, "sorry" as we walked away from the last deal he had to offer.  Then roll my eyes as we were almost to the door and the nervous, sweaty wreck of a salesman would grab us back and say, "Let me go talk to the manager one more time."  Several times later, I was exhausted, wanted to crawl out of there on my knees and could barely look at Chuck.

Now?  I go to the dealer, look at the car.  Pick the color I want or bless the color he wants and then go home.  Hours and hours later, he drives the new ride home. 

But this time, I was there because I got tricked by Chuck telling me he just wanted me to pick the interior color and he wanted me to look at it one more time but he wasn't going to do the deal that day.  It seems we were looking at a 2014 model but we wanted the 2013 for the "deal." They couldn't find the 2013 in the color we wanted so they would honor the deal they had made with this 2014. What?  Once I figured out he was going to do his dealing thing, I headed to the waiting room.  I felt trapped, almost claustrophic but I was trying very hard to be nice.  This particular dealership had tables and chairs, cookies, coffee, water bottles, a bowl of fruit, and a t.v.  I suspect a woman was involved in the design plan.  Okay, the wait shouldn't be that bad.  Sounded like they had the numbers figured out already.

I was waiting and the clock was ticking.  An hour had gone by.  Fresh cookies kept coming out of the little toaster oven and I was refraining with all I had in me to ignore them. I ate an apple. I drank a water bottle.  I played Solitaire. Chuck comes out of the salesman's office and gives me the Sticker Price page off the windshield to hold on to.  He grins and says it's a done off to Finance.  (Off to Finance means at least another 3 hours as Chuck is not budging on the interest rate he wants.)

As Chuck is walking away...he turns back and looks at me....

Chuck:  Don't lose it!

Me:  Don't lose what?

Chuck:  The Sticker Price.

Me:  Where would I lose it?  I'm sitting right here?  (rolling my eyes at him)

Chuck:  Okay.

Me:  Why would you even say that?  Whatever!  Like I'm going to LOSE IT??? It's a piece of paper!  Where's it going to go? (I may be a little grouchy at this point but the nerve of him to think I would lose it.  Talking to me like he's my father! The nerve of him.)

Chuck:  Okay.

Hours go by, I have folded the Sticker Page up and put it in my purse.  I check it now and then to make sure it's still there.  Yep.  Haven't lost it.

I play a dozen games of Solitaire.  I check Facebook a million times.  I look at Pinterest.  Hours, hours, hours. Check the paper, still there.  Almost funny now that I kept checking it.  But I kept checking it.

Suddenly, I wonder if Chuck got the garage door opener out of the old car, now known as the trade-in.  I find him in Finance and interrupt to ask him...without really making eye contact with the Finance guy because I feel sorry for him.   Chuck said, "I don't remember."  I get the keys and head outside to look.

It's a good thing I went out there because there was a little trash in the pocket by the door so I start cleaning.  I don't want the person who cleans up the car afterwards to think we're messy (yes, I think like that.) Then I look in the pockets behind the seats and there are some sunglasses and more trash...Sonic mints, napkins, straw wrappers, airline boarding pass, baggage claim, etc. I start throwing all the trash in my purse for lack of a better place to put it. I go through the whole car and find a pair of tweezers under the seat (well, there you are!), a few coins and an old magazine.  Several kernels of popcorn from the night we went to the movies and I brought the container of leftover popcorn to the car.

The garage door opener?  Not in there because DUH this car had the kind of button that can be programmed to open your garage door and so no opener had to be left in the car.  But still, good thing I went out there and got that trash.

I come back inside to my home-away-from-home and head to the ladies' room.  By now I've had 2 water bottles.  I empty all the trash from my purse and go back out to my table.

Finally, after hours, Chuck comes back out, with his chest puffed out and proud as a peacock, because he has the keys to our new car. 

We head home in 5'o'clock traffic....grrrr, just what I needed...more sitting, more entrapment. I am happy with this new car but I could have done without the labor pains it took to get it.

Once we get home, Chuck rounds up all of his papers to file away in to his folder...the folder he takes with him when car shopping, full of his super hero negotiating powers.  He comes in the room...

Chuck:  Where is the Sticker Page?

Me:  In my purse. (I point towards the kitchen.)

Chuck: (after digging in my purse) It's not in there.

Me: Oh, my gosh! (spoken with disgust because he can never find anything!)

I'm digging through my purse.  Not in there. Not in there!  Why isn't it in there?  How could I have LOST IT?  Think.  Think.  Think.

Oh, no I didn't.  Please tell me I didn't throw it away with all the trash from the car.


Karma, you are a biter. 

When one speaks unkindly to one's husband,
when one's husband ask them not to lose something,
one will lose that something.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Help, Thanks, Wow...

I just finished reading Anne Lamott's book, A Journal of My Son's First Son, co-written with her son Sam Lamott.  In this book, she writes from a new grandmother's perspective.  I picked this book up in the Phoenix airport as I was leaving Liam at the age of 3 seemed so timely.  That was way back in April.  And I just finished it.  I've not been reading much lately.  I've certainly not been blogging much either. Help.

One thing I took away from Anne Lamotte's book is the 3 essential prayers:  Help, Thanks, Wow.  That's it. She's written a book called just that but I haven't read it yet (it's on my list, my ever growing list)...although she refers to it in this last book I just read.... God knows our needs, our blessings, our pain, our joys.  All we really need to do is send up a Help, Thanks, or Wow.  It just feels good to acknowledge it and is right to do so.  If you're not one to get down on your knees and say a lengthy prayer to God, this is all you really need to do.  He already knows...just send him up a Help, Thanks, or Wow.

Help me keep my mouth shut.  Help me have more patience.  Help.  Thanks for this day.  Thanks for this meal.  Thanks for keeping my mouth shut. Thanks. Wow, this baby is pure joy.  Wow we did it!  We got all 3 kids through college.  Wow... that sunset is glorious.  Wow.

This has definitely been a year of Help and Thanks but also Wow.

Liam is now 5 months old and he is rolling back and forth, babbling, grabbing toys, trying to hold his own bottle and almost sitting without falling over. Wow.

I've done a poor job of journaling about Liam on this blog.  In fact, this blog, if it could, would have cobwebs on it.  I've given a lot of thought about why I haven't blogged in awhile and all I can come up with is that I'm just living and staying in the moment.  And my mojo is off. Help.

This year has been full of ups and downs.  In January, while attending Jordan's baby shower, my mother passed away.  She had been bed-ridden and very ill for at least 3 years so it was not unexpected yet the timing was certainly a shock.  I was in Phoenix attending a joyous occasion.  The death of my mother had to be pushed down...way I could experience this joyous occasion...this moment. Help.

Then came the joyous arrival of my first grandchild in March. Thanks. That day was all about getting on a plane as quickly as I could so I could make it to the hospital in Phoenix in time.  I was full of anticipation and anxiety...and attention deficit due to the endless games of Solitaire on the ipad while waiting to be called to board and missed my flight sitting at the wrong gate....because the gate number had been changed and I failed to read the black board indicating that small detail.  By the time I got to the hospital and saw Liam for the first time, I felt like that day had been a week! Wow.

Will graduated in May and by July 4th, we moved him out to Los Angeles.  Wow. Those weeks were filled with emptying the attic and cleaning out closets and getting him packed up.  Emptying the attic?  Yes. Will had about 6 weeks between graduating and moving so I put him to work for me.  I just had this urge to get everything out of the attic while I had the strong arms of Will around.  He brought down every single dust covered box and put them in the game room.  And the garage attic got emptied, too. The game room is now referred to as Junk Central. Next is the chore  to go through them and trash, save or sell the stuff.  (Beanie Babies anyone?) Help. The good news is that the attics are empty! Thanks.

Photo from Will's iPhone screen.
Sometime around June, Cameron introduced us to her new boyfriend who we're crazy about.  She is in a good place and of course, that makes a mama happy. Thanks.

Now it's August and I am heading back to Phoenix for a visit with Liam.  I actually get to babysit him for the weekend because his parents are going away for a much deserved weekend.  I am beyond excited about this. Thanks.  Wow.  Needless to say, we're spending a lot of our money on airfare these days.  That would be a "help" for Chuck.  But it's a "thanks for the wow" for me.

Like I said, this year as been full of ups....Liam's birth, Will graduating from college, getting the attic cleaned out (yes, that's an UP), Cameron being in a new and great relationship with a guy we're very fond of...Thanks...but also mother's passing, Will moving away so far away, being so far away from Liam.  Help.

One Wow that has caught me by surprise is the joy I have received watching Jordan become a mother.  I was prepared for the joy of a grandchild.  Many, if not most of my friends my age, are already grandmothers.  I have heard for years "you just wait, you will never believe how wonderful it is."  So Liam has certainly filled that prophecy. They were all right...I could not have imagined this kind of love. But watching my own child become a mother has been the icing on the cake. Wow.

Jordan was a very good baby, a smart little girl, made the perfect A's on her report card.  Never got in trouble in school until 10th grade when she back talked a teacher (that's genetics as it happened to me in 10th grade, too).  She gave us some back talk...okay, a lot of back talk as a teenager...but nothing compared to stories I've heard from others. Thanks. She got in to A&M and got out in 4 years.  Wow!  She headed to Phoenix for an internship knowing no one.  Wow!  Ended up in Arizona with a full time job and went on to find her husband who we love.  Thanks.  She has made us proud.  There has never been any doubt that she would succeed at anything she attempted.  Controlling, independence and stubbornness handed down by her parents may have helped in her endeavors.

I knew she would be a good mama one day, but she has surpassed my expectations.  She is so, so good with Liam.  I get as much joy watching her with him as I do watching him.  It's not that I thought she wouldn't be good at this, but I remember my insecurities with her, my first baby.  I still remember how scared I was the first day I was left alone with her ...after the husband and mother returned to their work and lives.   And tired?  So tired. I was a bit of a complainer in those early days. I just thought I would hear her complain more or be cranky because I certainly remember feeling that way. But she is a natural at it. She is crazy about him, never complains about being too tired (to us anyway...Chris may be rolling his eyes about now), is so organized, has him on a schedule, doesn't freak out when he's fussy, just loves, loves, loves on him.  She grins the biggest grin when she looks at him and it's reciprocated by Liam. He swivels his head completely around if she's behind him.  They can't get enough of each other.  She sends us pictures daily and calls or face times us almost every evening. It's made the distance between us and Liam much more bearable. Watching Jordan become a mother has been a huge joy that was unexpected.  Wow.  Thanks! 

I am riding the ups and downs by staying in the moment.  Just this moment. Now this one.

I've been sending up those Helps, Thanks and Wows.

Try it.  It's not good for my blogging but it sure is good for the soul.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jill and Kate

About a month ago we were sitting out in the back yard with a glass of is our Sunday evening thing...and Will says, "uh,    so,    did I tell you that this guy with Jill and Kate called me a while back and said that Jill and Kate wanted to come play at my house on their Songs and Stories Tour?" 

Uh,       no,       you didn't tell us that. 

I find out that Will applied to be considered as a stop on this tour.  But applying and chosen are two different things.

Long story, short...ha like that could happen...Jill and Kate are these incredibly talented (and beautiful and kind and real) singers who just happened to be Kelly Clarkson's back-up singers for 5 years.  They are now out on their own and touring about the country to promote their new cd "Heart of Stone."  But instead of big venues they are going in to people's homes and singing for a small group of 15 to 50 of your closest friends and family. Will tells us so nonchalantly that it took us a minute to realize he was saying that these 2 girls were going to come in to our living room and play a private our living room.  In.  Our.  Living.  Room.

Heck YES!  A phone call and a signed contract happened.  He paid the fee, we bought the food and beverages and then fell in love with Jill and Kate.

A picture taken through the front window of Will
hugging Jill and Kate as they arrived.

Beautiful music, perfect harmony.

Funny, too.

What a night.  What a memory.  I feel like they're family now.

Do yourself a their music.
Then when they're extremely famous...and they will be...
you can say you listened to them from the early days.


Jill and Kate
Heart of Stone
Songs and Stories
Tour 2013

Monday, May 20, 2013

Semi Underdressed

Last week was a whirlwind of evening affairs.  Chuck's company was hosting a conference in town and there were 3 evening functions that he wanted me to attend with him.  I said, "Pick one."  He said, "I need you at all three."  I immediately get tired thinking about being out past my bedtime 3 nights in a row.  Not to mention that I already know I will overeat because there will be 4 courses served along with trays of wine coming around the corner every time I look up.  If you are thinking that I could just not eat it all, you clearly don't know me well. I have never, ever been one to turn down dessert.  First World Problem...I know. 

The first evening affair was a wonderful dinner hosted by Chuck's company for the Chairman of the Board at The Houstonian Hotel. Business Casual.  I'm not really sure what that means but I was dressed least as well as the others. 

The second evening was a Texas themed Gala hosted by the Conference Board of Directors. "Western Wear" if you have it.  I had it. Well, I have boots.

The third evening was a Reception and Awards Dinner...Chuck would be wearing a suit because he was being awarded an award.  I would wear a maxi dress with a sweater with beading on it. Beads mean dressy, right?   And heels!  I.  Never.  Wear.  Heels.  So that makes it dressy in my book.

I take off early from work each day to race home, get freshened up and change clothes...then make the 50 minute trek to downtown Houston.  By Thursday, I am feeling worn out.  I wash my face, put on new make-up, get dressed and head out.  I am 5 minutes down the road when the dinging starts...the dinging that is accompanied by LOW FUEL flashing on the dashboard. Grrrrr.  I'll never make it downtown and back home again without stopping for gas now.

I pull in to the next station I see....rushing, rushing, rushing.  I put in $40...which is just about a half of a tank these days... take the nozzle out of the tank...but don't let go of the handle.  Gas spews everywhere.  I jump back and avoid getting it all over me....except for my arm and beaded sweater.  I run over to the window to tell the attendant that I spilled gasoline...wait, wait, wait while she finishes whatever she was doing behind the window...she rolls her eyes and comes over to look.  I apologize and tell her I am so sorry...I've never done that before...guess I'm in a hurry and wasn't thinking.....blah, blah...she says "okay well I'll clean it up...thanks for telling me... most people wouldn't."

I jump back in the car reeking of gasoline, so I have to turn around and head back home.  I run in, pull off the sweater, wash my arm with soap and water, dripping water down my dress...oh, well...and put on a denim jacket.   I breathe deep, telling myself to slow down and relax... and head back out for the long drive downtown.

Chuck meets me at the door of the hotel and we head up the elevator and go in to the Reception area.

And all I see are women in black sequined dresses.  You know...COCKTAIL DRESSES!

I look at Chuck and say, "I'm clearly underdressed!" 

He says, "Well, maybe take this blue jean thing off."  (Meaning my denim jacket) So even he knows I'm underdressed. 

I say, "NO!  I have bra straps showing under here. Not to mention upper arms."  Has a man ever had to worry about their upper arms?

So I ask him what exactly was the "dress" for this evening.  He says "Well, I'm wearing a suit.  I told you I was wearing a suit." Like the word suit has ever been put on an invitation describing the "attire" for the event.

A few minutes later, our daughter arrives and she is wearing something very dressy.  I ask her, "what was the dress for tonight?" She says, "It said SEMI FORMAL on the invitation."

Yeah.  The invitation I never saw. 

Evening wear for me is Old Navy pajama bottoms and a t-shirt. Semi Formal would be throwing on a robe.  I'm back to my real life this week and it feels so good. 

P.S.  Congratulations Chuck!  I love you and am so proud of you.  Next time you see the words "Semi Formal" on an invitation for a function you want me to attend with sure and say those words out loud to my face. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Dear Will...

To my sweet Will,

On Sunday afternoon, right before we were heading out to celebrate your college graduation with a dinner out with family, I wrapped your gift and tried to write a few words to you on your graduation card.  And that's when it really hit me.  How in the world could I put in to one or two paragraphs just what you mean to me? 

Just to be sure your sisters don't think I love you more...I should clarify that I love you all and would die for any one of you.  But you are the baby and the only boy and the "whoops" and my direct hit from God. 

You've been told this story your whole life but humor me while I repeat it again.

Up until that time in my life, I was all about control.  I put a capital P in Planning.  I would have 2 children by the time I was 30 and then I would sell all the baby stuff and go back to school to get my college degree.  The Plan was rolling.  I had the garage sale and sold the baby stuff.  All of it.  I had my 2 sweet girls and the youngest was almost 2.  It was early 1990 and I would begin to Plan for the next steps of getting back to school.

And then the nausea hit.  I was sure I was coming down with the flu.  But the flu shouldn't make me late. 

Oh, no. 

Oh, yes.

I cried.  I prayed.  I cried some more.  How could this happen?  I am a Planner.  I Plan.  There was no room for error.  I was always in control.


 I'm not? 

I spent my days nauseated and sleepy.  And trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I was not in control and I was, indeed, having a third child.  I had to make the phone calls to the parents and tell them the news.  The news coming out of the same mouth that announced to everyone just a month or so before that "we weren't having any more children....I was done and going back to school."  Yep, the same mouth was now saying, "I'm pregnant." 

I really was sad.  Not because of YOU.  Because I really didn't know you then.  I was sad for me.  For my big plans and my big mouth and my control issues.  And my insane fertility....while others around me had trouble getting pregnant. 

Around 17 weeks, I had an ultrasound.  It was YOU.  And you were a BOY.  And I swear on that afternoon, I felt God.  I had a strong change of heart.  I suddenly let go.  I let go.  And I knew I was supposed to be the mama to 3 children and it was all going to be okay.  It was God's plan for me.  Not my plan for me.  But His.  And it was all going to be okay. 

I spent the next few months awaiting your arrival and I have never looked back.  You were my direct hit from God.  And I thank Him always. 

You were the sweetest baby and perhaps "hen pecked" a little more than necessary by me and your sisters...but only because you were like a real, live baby doll...we just couldn't leave you alone.  You never really got to open your own Christmas or Birthday presents because of all of their "help."  You know, because you were the "baby." 

I know you are good to the core.  You are handsome.  Kind.  Loving.  Funny.  Smart.  You have a bleeding heart for others and animals.  You are creative.  And you are going to make a mark in this world.  You are.

And when you move away and our lives get further apart, you must promise me that you will never, ever forget how much you are loved.  Not only by me and Daddy...and your adoring sisters, but by God.  He knew before I knew.  He knew I needed you.  That our marriage needed you.  That your sisters needed a brother.  That this world needed your kindness and creativity. 

You can never, ever do anything to make me love you less.  Even after that time you jumped out of a moving car...and I was mad and scared, I still loved you and prayed many thanks to God for your safety afterwards.  I can't imagine how I could love you more. Except, I'm sure I will.  You just continue to amaze me.

When you left for college, I wasn't sure how in the world you would be able to get up for class without me yelling at you to turn off your alarm and get up...and yet you did.  I remember all the stressed out phone calls from that first year away and even the first few weeks of each semester after that and I prayed that somehow you would get through it.  And you did.  I have loved watching you grow in to the man I could never imagine.

I blinked and four years went by and now you're a college graduate.  I'm very, very proud of you.

Now go get a job. 

Love, Mama

Proverbs 19:21

 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Last One

I attended the college graduation ceremony for our last child.  I am hoping that is the last one I ever have to attend.  Not that I won't attend a future one, but it's not something I will anxiously await.

Not because it's not a wonderful celebration of an awesome accomplishment...but because it's 2 or more hours long and I spend most of that time trying to find my one little dot of a kid in an ocean of dots, then quickly lose my attention and am forced to sit rather still for 2 or more hours.

It's a privilege, a right of passage, a ceremony that should be revered...but once the speeches are over, there is nothing but hundreds of names announced for the next hour and a half.  I planned on yelling when Will's name was called, but by the time I saw him at the edge of the stage and got my camera ready to aim, he was announced and gone....pushed through quickly for the next graduate coming behind him.

I took a lot of shots (lots of blurry shots) and tried to yell out his name at the same time...but it came out more like a spastic screech and then it was over.  He did it.  He graduated.  It's over.  I.  Think.  I'm.  Going.  To.  Cry.  Now.

Because we are only half way through the ceremony.  And I just want to get my hands on that kid and wrap my arms around him and scream, "How did this happen so quickly?"

This is it.  The last kid.  The last graduation ceremony.  The last kid has been raised.  It's over.  And I'm not sure I can even remember it all. 

Time, you are a sly one.  You make us wait, then it's over in a flash. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


...aren't just for sleeping.

I love my sleep.  I love my bed.  I love my sleep and bed so much that I get up most mornings thinking about getting my pajamas back on as soon as I get home for the day.  And that is just what I do...most days.

Chuck and I are in a small group from our church that meets on Wednesday evenings.  This is the modern day's Sunday School.  In so many ways, it's way better than going to Sunday School on Sunday mornings right before church. Like the home setting, the ability to fellowship and study together in a less rushed atmosphere.  The desserts.  Sometimes, like for convenience, it's not.  Because meeting during the middle of the week after a long day at work, it can be hard to get back out.  But we do our best to be there weekly.

And here, I must have you confused.  Why am I talking about my small group when I opened this with loving my pajamas?

Because several weeks ago, in our small group, the meeting began with an Ice Breaker question.

Are you spontaneous or a planner? 
The leader when on to clarify it by saying "like if someone called you on a Friday evening to see if you wanted to go out to eat or see a movie...would you be spontaneous and go or would you need more time to plan something like this?"
We went around the room, one at time, giving our answer.  In most cases, one spouse was more spontaneous, one more the planner.  God has a great sense of humor when it comes to pairing us with our spouse, doesn't He?
So my answer was: I can be very long as you catch me before I have my pajamas on.  Chuck and I both put on our pajamas as soon as we get home.  There are on a Friday night that I want to go out to eat but by the time I get home Chuck already has on his pajamas.  He is always willing to change back in to his clothes... but that's just what we do...get our pjs on.  In fact, he even goes down to the mailbox in his bare feet and pajamas.  The neighbors are used to this.
This got a chuckle and that was that. 
Until last Wednesday evening.
It was our turn to host the group and I was busy in the kitchen with last minute preparations.  Chuck answered the door when we heard the doorbell. 
I heard this huge laugh.
Then it got louder...
And lots of people laughing. 
But I only heard the doorbell ring once.
So I stop what I'm doing and head towards the entryway.
And I am greeted with 12 people in their PAJAMAS!
Yep.  That's the small group we're in.
Apparently this was planned and many, many clandestine emails were sent around without our knowledge and they pulled it off! 
Chuck and I were told to go get our pajamas on and we did as told.
Group shot taken by a camera on a timer....we were told to yawn, act sleepy, stretch....
As you can see, there are some rule followers in the group.  Like me, yawning and stretching. 

If I spent hours and hours thinking of how these people could show me they really loved me....I could never come up with a better way.

And comedic relief is always a good thing when you're discussing deep matters.
This group has been a God send.  Literally. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Baby, Bike and Bark

It's been about a month since I've posted on this blog...and by now I'm sure I only have one reader left. The one reader I'm sure about is Chuck and he only reads it when I say, "I did a blog post today."

It's been a a busy few weeks with 2 trips to Scottsdale to see our baby...the first one for 4 days when he was born and the second trip was 2 weeks later to love on him, help his Mama pack for their move and get her out of the house each day.

We spent a weekend at my sister and brother-in-law's place in the country Easter weekend...

Where Harry chased Will on a 4 wheeler...for hours.

And Harry ran and ran and was chased by the 2 farm dogs. 
For hours.
And we relaxed around a fire pit.  Under the Texas sky. 
In total silence.

We did a quick trip to Nacogdoches to watch Will in a play and realized the next time we head that way will be for his graduation (where did that 4 years go?). 

We've been enjoying our long Springtime weather on the back porch.
Harry has me in lock down mode.  That's my foot he's holding down with his big paws.
And then this past weekend, we headed to Austin to watch Cameron cross the finish line for the BP MS 150...her 4th time! In between weekends, the weeks fly by with work and chores and Duck Dynasty marathons at night.  Each day is begun and ended with loving on the dogs...especially he is demanding of his love by nudging us with his snout. 

So here is a post in pictures...

BABY...First things first, Liam.  I have been promised at least one picture a day from his mama and he is changing so quickly.  We will see him soon as they are coming in for Will's graduation.  I'm sure I won't get to hold him much as he will be surrounded by lots of family members who haven't met him yet.  I may have to sneak in during the night to hold him. 

 Liam, you have a lot of work to do. 
You need to eat and sleep and grow so you can
 catch up with those long feet of yours.
(Okay, part of this is the angle but he does have really long feet...and toes.)

 I cannot even begin to imagine the tall boy he will be one day
but I know he will be very, very his Daddy.
Look at that long leg sticking out over the bouncer.

One evening while I was there, I had been holding a very fussy Liam.  Finally, after about 15 minutes of trying all of my tricks, I handed him over to his mama and he got very calm and locked eyes with her.  It was the sweetest moment.  He just stared and stared at her. It was pure love.

Real life is in the background as we had been packing boxes.  And Mia (the dog) is always nearby her boy.

 I saw a lot of Liam like this. 
We spent our days getting out and about.
  He loves his car seat.

I visited Liam when he was 2 1/2 to 3 weeks old.  He was just starting to open his eyes for longer periods of time.  In this picture above he is one month old...taken at his one month check up.  
Someone woke up! I think he likes tearing paper.
My friend Kathy from Cypress who lives in London, sent this outfit to Liam.  It came all the way from London and it says Daddy Mummy Me above the 3 bears. 
I love it. 
I love him.
BIKE...and Bark Next up is the BP MS150 Bike Ride for a cure for MS.  Cameron finished her 4th year of riding in this. She amazes me with her determination.  I can think of a thousand excuses to not exercise and she makes it happen. I need whatever it is she has. 
We headed over to Austin yesterday to watch her cross the finish line.  We got there about an hour and a half before she finished so we had plenty of time to set up our spot, watch the crowds, take lots of pictures and video and wait to see her come around the big curve. 
We decided to take Harry and his new collar.  Harry loves the outdoors and walks... only he doesn't get many walks.  Why?  Because if he sees another dog he goes ape poop crazy.  Like a broncin' bull coming out of the gate with a cowboy on his back.  Like a black bear ready to pounce his next meal. Like pull my shoulder out of its socket and wrap the leash around my legs and I am yanking his leash and trying to stay upright.  Not a good look on me or him.
His new collar is supposed to keep him from pulling so we thought we would give it a try. 

Just for precaution, Harry has on his pull collar, a choke collar, his regular collar and his shock collar.  Nothing... I mean..NOTHING stops him if he sees another dog.

The gray collar pulls his snout down if he pulls on his leash.  Does anyone really think that stopped him from pulling?  He totally ignored the millions of people...even let them pet him... but let one little Chihuahua walk by and he pulled the you know what out of that collar.  Snout down and all.  It's a very embarrassing, spastic, barking and pulling act.  Think Harlem Shake on steroids.

We must find time in our busy life to get this dog some training.

In the time waiting, I took lots of pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures.  Getting ready for that one girl to come around this curve. 

Flags at half mast.
Security in full force.

Proud daddy waiting.

Toddler dancing.

Boy climbing.

This is the official Finish Line. 

And then the bike riders come around this corner.

Then they slow it down to come to a full stop.

One can get very caught up in the excitement
 of the riders crossing the finish line...but this sign is what it's all about. 

The riders finish in groups.

 They finish in crazy helmets.

They finish alone.

They finish in tutus.
Our girl texts us that she was about 10 minutes out because they had been stopped for traffic.  She would be wearing a red cape.  Chuck, who had been videoing for about 30 minutes (don't ask why) and I, who had been snapping away at strangers for the last hour, prepared for our girl in the red cape to come around that corner.
And then.....
Chuck said the video was he fast and furiously
 started deleting footage of perfect strangers.
And me?
My camera wouldn't work.
Wouldn't click.  Would NOT click.
 I rush over to my camera bag...
to get the extra battery....
which of course, is. 
Because we pack everything but the kitchen sink....and the extra battery.
And so I give you one very crummy picture taken with my cell phone. 
But it's of one very determined, beautiful inside and out, girl.

Did he pull?

Only every time he saw a dog. 
 Do you see the indention on his snout? 
Baby, Bike and Bark. 
Keeping us Busy.