Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye to 2012

What a whirlwind 2012 has been. And that silly Mayan calendar? Puh-leeze!

This year has had many ups. A few downs. Lots of in between.

Is there anything I would change?

I think I would have slowed my roll on hosting duties over the summer. It was great getting settled in our new house. But I guess there was this stupid self-imposed need to have people over just about every weekend. I'm not sure there was a weekend that went by that there wasn't someone at our house. We were getting to know new people in our neighborhood, while still maintaining previous relationships.

Looking back, there wasn't a weekend where we went to someone else's house for a get together. Is anyone obligated? No. But then I guess I'm not either. I'm not saying that that's the reason to have people over. Some would say I'm keeping score. So be it. Call it what you like. But if people don't reciprocate in any way, the friends who host them often may feel that the interest in friendship is not really mutual. Everyone wants to feel valued. At the time, I thought I enjoyed having people over. It was a lot of work but I fooled myself into thinking I enjoyed it. I've had my fill of kids who can't respect someone else's property to adults who can't pick up after themselves. 

On a bright August day, right before school started, my youngest daughter fell from the backyard playset. I felt like a heel, because at the time I thought, "Oh she'll be fine". It took our landscape guy who was chopping down a tree for us to tell me, "I think you should take her to the ER."  Am I a bad mother or what? One hot pink cast later and she's all better.

There was a time when my oldest daughter thought it would be  a good idea to have the dog pull her on the scooter. That wasn't such a great plan. The dog changed course, the dog leash got stuck in the scooter wheel and then my daughter went flying face down on to the concrete. If I could go back, I would have told her that it could end in disaster. Can I protect my kids from everything? Nope. But that would have been a time I wish I could have!

We've had our share of physical mishaps this year. If I could wrap my kids in bubble wrap, I would.

A highlight for this year was one day during the summer, me and a friend took our kids out and distributed bottled water and snacks to people waiting at bus stops and some homeless people. The day also happened to be my friends birthday. In the middle of July. It was a wonderful way to spend the day.

In 2013 I will be more understanding when it comes to the hours my husband works. He works a lot to provide a roof over our heads and food on the table. He is good at what he does and I am proud of him. He has a lot of responsibilities and I am thankful that he has been entrusted with them.

I wonder if 2013 will find me employed? 

In 2013 my kids will be more than jpegs. 

In 2013 there will be no science fair project partners. And said project will be finished before the kids get out of school for Christmas break.

This Christmas season found three of the four of us with the flu. We didn't get to do very many activities that we like to do as a family since Hubby and kids were sick. I'm entertaining the idea that we get the flu vaccine next year. I did manage to watch A Christmas Story for the first time. Eh. I'm not sure why people are so hooked on it.

In 2013 I'll be a little less stressed about Christmas. And plan a lot better!  

2013 may bring some distance between me and whatever I choose. I will give myself permission to say "No" a little more often. And I won't feel guilty about it. My heart needs a little more guarding. I am no longer anybody's verbal or emotional punching bag.

I see less "pinning" and more completed projects in 2013.
Yep. 2012 has been a whirlwind. It's been up and it's been down. I hope to take the time to notice more around me and not to hurry through this next year. I hope to listen more and talk less. I have to accept what I cannot change. The past is just that. The past.  I can only move forward. I hope to extend the grace that has been shed for me. I hope to be the example that my daughters deserve. I want to assure them they are loved and that they can come to me for anything. That I continue to grow into the  wife, Hubby deserves.

So raise a glass to what was and is to be. Here's to 2013.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I Want A Drama Free Holiday

I had to wait a few days before typing this out. I wanted to get some time between me and what happened before I took to the keyboard.

It seems that no holiday is complete without a family member blowing up and totally ruining everyone else's day.

There can never be an occasion without one person just losing their cool. Most of the time, it's the same person.

It's tiring.

 Flat out exhausting.

Why does it have to be that way?

Why can't cooler heads prevail?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Crosses On The Wall

Walls like these can be found in a lot of homes around the south. This one happens to be mine.

Over Thanksgiving someone asked me, "Do they make you holy?" At first I was kind of taken back. It's kind of a family history to goat each other in a joking, hopefully loving way. Then after I brushed it off, I started thinking about it.

This is the answer I wish I would have given:

These crosses are a perfect reminder of how imperfect I am. Christians seem to hold people up to a higher standard. And when we are hurt by our own, we turn on them even harder. Forgiveness is sometimes hard to come by. As it is hard to forgive. Do the crosses on the wall make me better than anyone? Nope. Not by a long shot.

On a daily basis I am reminded of the cost that He paid to set me free. My stains have been wiped clean.

 When I feel like nobody is there for me, He is.

 I am a sinner. His mercies are new everyday. I am grateful.

Without Him, I am lost.

These are the reasons I have the crosses on the wall. They're not for everyone else. Just me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween 2012

The most ridiculous thing on facebook for Wednesday, October 31, 2012:

Had our first pregnant, no lie, trick or treater

I kid you not. Granted, this was not in my neighborhood*. But nonetheless, absolutely ridiculous! I wondered if she was craving candy for two? If she was old enough to be pregnant why wasn't she old enough to go get her own and use her own money to pay for it?

I was looking forward to our first Halloween in my new 'hood. I was curious to see if there would be hoards of people and all of the costumes. I was looking forward to seeing people that we might know and meeting new people. 

I made sure I had plenty of the good stuff on hand. I remember how I used to hate the Bit O' Honey type candies. Yuck. Give me chocolate!! The good chocolate. Plus, if we were to have some leftover I wanted stuff I liked! 

This Halloween may have just ruined it for me. 

I require few things when you come to my door on Halloween. 

1. Wear a costume
2. Say "Trick or Treat"
3. Spit out a somewhat sincere "Thank You"
4. If you are growing breasts or stubble, you better have a little brother or sister with you

After numerous people couldn't even muster a "Trick or Treat" my faith in humanity was wavering. It collapsed when I couldn't even get "Thank you" out of half of them.   

One lady asked if my house was the haunted house. I said, "Not this year". That if it used to be, those people are long gone. Her deep despair was audible. So she knew enough that the house used to have a haunted house, but not enough to know they had moved. Several months ago.   

With the lack of friendliness and ungratefulness in the air, we bailed. We shut off the light and watched, "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"**. 

Do I just expect too much from people? Especially those I call, "neighbor"?  

The next morning on our way to the bus stop I saw at least four smashed pumpkins in a matter of one hundred feet. Yep. Those kids will go far in life.

In 364 days I wonder if I will have forgotten about this and want to do it all again.   

Only time will tell. 


*Thank God  
**I LOVE all of the Charlie Brown episodes. They do a heart good. I must get the set on DVD!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

On The Fence

My backyard is one of my favorite things about my house*. The sun rises on one side. The sun sets on the other. I have a spot where I can just sit and relax and enjoy the fresh air**. I have so enjoyed being outside in the fresh-allergy-filled-air. We eat outside whenever the temperature allows.

Now that Fall is in the air, I can see us enjoying a brand new season of memories in the house.

It all started when Hubby actually got home before six in the evening. We ate dinner outside. We enjoyed  being together as a family and the night. The kids were playing around and it was a great evening.

Then, the head of a minor child popped up on our fence. Then he sat on top of the fence. Our eight foot fence. I hadn't even finished my first wine cooler when I knew that I would need another. Utopia had just been interrupted. He's sitting on the top of my fence as if it were a chair on the floor.

Then my forty-three year old, mother brain started jumping to conclusions about whether he would be able to maintain his balance on the fence. What if he fell? Talk about heart palpitations! Who would be liable? Last time I checked we did not put out a "Climb Me" sign on the fence. It even has those things on top of the beams to prevent climbing.

His parental unit even saw him on the fence and didn't seem worried. But seriously? I was freaking out.

Minor child on the fence went to go get something, but said he would be back. That's when Hubby and I escaped to the inside of our home. Back to the daily life of cleaning up dinner dishes and watching some tv. When we would much rather be outside enjoying the outside air, with no children climbing our fence.

*I have A LOT of favorite things about my house. But, I don't want to be accused of being covetous. I have been blessed.
**An adult beverage at times sure doesn't hurt either!

Monday, August 27, 2012

My Daughter, the Sixth Grader

For the past several weeks I think I've been in denial. Denial that I have a sixth grader on my hands. It's not that I'm not old enough to have a sixth grader on my hands. Crap. I'm old enough to have a college kid on my hands when I look around at some of my friends kids. It's just that time has gotten away from me where my daughter is concerned. 

Time has truly passed by in the blink of an eye. Yes. Every time our mothers told us that as a kid, it turns out to be true! 

With sixth grade it's sort of bitter sweet. Do you remember sixth grade? I sure do. What an awkward time. I'm not even sure that I have many positive memories of middle school. I remember a few boys I had crushes on. I remember the friend that I survived middle school with. I remember some of the "mean girls". It's not like I dwell on it. But it shaped a part of me. 

 Middle school is almost like being thrown in the lion's den. Seven different classes. Six different teachers. Assigned seating for lunch(WTH?). Hormones. Band practice. New friends. 

It's enough to make her poor head spin. She seemed excited when I left her at her locker this morning. 

Dear God, I hope that excitement continues. I pray that she'll put her best foot forward and make good friends. I pray for her ability to make good choices. I know that nobody comes out of middle school unscathed. I pray that her scathing is minimally invasive. I pray for Your protective hand over her. Lord, I pray for the teachers. I pray that they have a positive contagious attitude towards the kids and teaching them new things. I pray that they have patience. I pray that everyone in the school have respect towards one another and school property. Dear God, how I love my daughter! How I want her to remember this time as a positive experience. I want her to flourish in her confidence in who she is and Whose she is. I pray that she'll be open enough with me to share her feelings about what she's going through. The good, bad and ugly. I lift her up, Dear God. I can only put my faith in Your hands and trust. 

Monday, August 6, 2012

It All Comes Out In The End

Now that we've been in the new house for about 3 months, we've been able to see what quirks we weren't able to notice when walking through during the open house.

Nothing major! Just silly things like a switch plate that is outside the bathroom, instead of inside. There are numerous staples in the wall along the ceiling in the game room upstairs. Eh. We can even live with (gladly) the bump in the driveway right before you pull into the garage. Yes, I understand it's supposed to keep the rain out of the garage. But I'm pretty sure the slope in the driveway going down does just that.

There is one thing that drives us absolutely batty about the new house. The somewhat new, "eco-friendly", "water conserving" toilets. I'm not sure we've had one week in this house where we haven't had to break out the plunger. Between two plungers we still don't have one that fits properly*. I bought a third plunger at a home improvement store. The guy in the blue vest said, "Oh ya, this will fit all the new fangled toilets". Um. NO! It didn't**. I even tried to put dish soap and hot water down the toilet***.

So just short of making one of my kids start pooping in the backyard, I also bought a toilet auger. I even "googled" a video on how to use one.  I thought I gave it a pretty good chance. I had to throw my hands in the air and wait until Hubby came home. I was done.

Hubby finally got home and we ate dinner. We went about our business and he gave  the toilet auger a good college try. At this point me and the girls are outside in the pool. If I could re-create the look on Hubby's face when he marched out of the bathroom in to the backyard with the auger in hand. He went over to the faucet to rinse off the auger.

HE FIXED IT! The offending toilet was unclogged. Did you know that a toilet auger pulls the clog out instead of pushing it through? OH!MY!GOSH!

Eco-friendly huh? Not so much. Water conserving? Ya, right! We've used so much more water in these toilets than the ones we've had in older homes. There's not enough pressure and water to push through the package that we waste so much more to get it to go down.

So yes, I've often joked that maybe we should make the kids start leaving their "packages" in the backyard. But, I've at times thought about it seriously.

One way or another, it all comes out in the end.

*The thought of toilet water splashing everywhere just makes me bat-sh*t crazy!
**If you think you can return a plunger, you can't. And I even sterilized it with bleach and scalding water. Non-fitting plunger count: 3
***I googled tips and tricks to un-stop a toilet. Dish soap is supposed to lubricate the porcelain to let the package slide down. The hot water is supposed to push it down.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let My Life Be the Proof

It's been a while since I've written anything. Either because I didn't think it was worthy of writing about or there were too many ideas surrounding a certain subject that I couldn't streamline. 

But recently I had a day that I hope I will never forget. I hope my girls won't forget it either. It left a mark on my heart and reminded me of how blessed I am. 

A friend had tossed around the idea of driving around and handing out bottles of cold water and snacks to either the homeless and/or people waiting at bus stops. I mentioned to her that I wanted to go with her. And I'm thankful I did. When we decided on a day, friend said "Thursday". Which happened to also be her birthday. 

Yep. HER BIRTHDAY! This is what she wanted to do on her birthday. I was in awe. 

Thursday afternoon came and the girls and I piled into the car to drive to friends house. My friend provided the bottled water and snacks and I printed up strips of paper with the bible verse John 4:13-15.

13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
So here's two moms, with five kids total, driving around aimlessly. No real destination in mind.  We weren't trying to convert anybody. We weren't wanting to drag anybody to church or baptize them right there in the Trinity River. It was just a gesture of good will and God's love.

We didn't see a whole lot of people at first. Maybe it was the area, maybe it was the time of day. Not sure. But while in the car we asked God to lead us in the direction of where He would want us to go. Put us on the path.

Eventually we had no problem finding those who would be in need of a cold bottle of water, some snack crackers and a friendly smile. 

I'll be the first to admit that I was a little nervous at first. I had never done anything like this before. I wasn't sure what to expect. The kids were all gung ho! And their enthusiasm was contagious. 

After the first few stops I got into the swing of it. After a while us moms were laughing through frustration that the kids were able to show love to others but as soon as they got back in the car they were fighting brothers and sisters over where they were sitting or wanted to sit. 

Isn't that how it usually goes? We are able to show outsiders love more than we show our family?

There were some recipients with trepidation. Or, they asked if we wanted any money. They weren't sure what to make of us just offering water and snacks. I'm not sure what I would think either, to tell you the truth. Not everybody accepted our gift. We certainly couldn't force them to. 

There were two men close to the end of our day I won't forget. They were homeless. One of them had a tracheotomy hole and he had to cover it whenever he spoke. Here were two men on a 100+ degree day, trying to get whatever shade they could from these two small trees. It was painfully obvious that they were hungry for more than water and peanut butter crackers. They were hungry for someone to treat them like the human beings they are. No less loved by God than I am.

I have been forever changed by that afternoon. I am grateful.  


"The Proof Of Your Love"

If I sing but don't have love
I waste my breath with every song
I bring an empty voice, a hollow noise
If I speak with a silver tongue
Convince a crowd but don't have love
I leave a bitter taste with every word I say

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

If I give
To a needy soul but don't have love then who is poor?
It seems all the poverty is found in me

So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
Oh, let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love

When it's all said and done
When we sing our final song
Only love remains
Only love remains

Let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love
Let my love look like You and what You're made of
How You lived, how You died
Love is sacrifice
So let my life be the proof,
The proof of Your love


Monday, April 23, 2012

Where's A Cat When You Need One?

The scene: Base of crepe myrtles in our back yard

What's inside: Three baby mice. Momma is nowhere to be found. We're not sure if Tucker has already eaten it or something else did. Maybe she's still lost or something.
This picture was taken after my oldest MOVED them to be safe from the animal that resides in our backyard.

The hunter: One Golden Retriever named Tucker. Sometimes I substitute the "T" in Tucker with another letter.

It was Sunday and we were getting down to the wire as far as packing up to move to our new house. We stayed home from church to get A LOT done. The kids are blowing bubbles trying to get rid of the numerous bottles of bubble solution that has accumulated over time. Then my oldest comes to tell me that Tucker has something. Sure enough when we yell his name a certain way, he knows he's in trouble. He gets as close to getting into the fetal position as possible for an animal his size.

He dropped something. Something that had fur. And a long tail.

Tucker was about to have lunch. A three course lunch consisting of mice. 

Tucker found their nest and was about to eat his lunch when my oldest saw what he was doing. My oldest had just "rescued" the mice from the jaws of our animal and found a new place for them on the side of the house.

In the shade.

With her bare hands.


Without trying to freak her out I told her to go wash her hands with soap multiple times. Hubby and I are just wondering what the hell to do?!?!!? They're live mice. Do we bag them up and put them in the garbage? Do we put them in a shoe box? Give them a cruel death and let the dog eat them and let the dog possibly get some weird funk? Do we put them back in the sun, so maybe the sun will get them? WHAT?!?!?!

I'm freakin' out, but at the same time relieved that we're moving in a few short days.

 From that point on my oldest was set on helping them survive. First, she gave them a slice of cheese. I'm thinking either that's a myth or they were just too young to care. Hubby even took her to go get an eye dropper so she could try and give them water. After her story, the pharmacist gave her the dropper for FREE.

She's laboring over these yucky rodents, while I have to remind her five times a day to feed the 100 pound pooch that resides in our home. The one animal that we intentionally went out to adopt and brought home to be a member of this family.

We finally put our foot down and told her to leave these rodents alone. They could carry disease. She could get sick or worse. All we could think to do at this point is to pray that a cat comes across their path and takes them off of our hands.

On any given day that we've been in this house there are numerous cats that I've seen wandering thru my bushes. Where are they now? Where is the one ferrell cat that I need to do me a favor?  Put these animals out of their misery and move them far, far away from my house!

I'm praying for a cat right now. The cat that will take these furry creatures off of our hands. Like yesterday.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

What's For Dinner?

Anybody that knows me on Pinterest, knows that I am a pinning fool! Well, I got tired of  looking at a board full of pretty pictures. With my house on the market I couldn't break out any craft projects so I decided it was time to start making some of those fabulous recipes on my "What's For Dinner" board.

I sat down and made a menu for a few days. I already had in my head what we were having Monday night, so that was nothing new*.

Tuesday Night-The article says, "It's the best pork chop recipe you'll ever have"
Wednesday Night-Tempura chicken
Thursday Night-Baked penna with spinach, roasted red peppers and bacon
Friday Night-leftovers
Saturday Night-Chicken bacon pasta

Tuesday nights dinner with the pork chops rocked! I'd have to agree with the article that it IS the best pork chop recipe I've had. Of course, the parmesan cheese sure didn't hurt!
This recipe even brought raves from my kids! It had such a great flavor. Would I change anything? Nope! The article did say to avoid "soggy" porkchops to put pork chops on a rack inside the pan so it won't sit in the juices. Definitely going to try that next time.

I was looking forward to Wednesday nights recipe. Wednesday night was Tempura chicken. It was just a few items, and super easy! I cut chicken into strips and dipped it into the mixture then bathed in a very hot oil for 5 minutes**. Did I mention it was super easy? And super delicious!!
Would I change anything? I just might try a little more seasoning next time. Maybe. When I get into a rut with chicken, I'm going to this recipe!! The little "crispies" that the batter made were good to munch on as well. I even had to tempt (and torture a little) Hubby who was still at work during dinner time and told him what he was missing!

Thursday night was not such a hit. Was it the tomato soup? Frozen spinach? Not enough protein? The recipe called for penna pasta. I had every type of pasta in the house but penne. Maybe it could have been the rotini. Hhmm...This house will never know. The Bacon Penne with Spinach and Red Roasted Peppers did not go over well. Hubby was kind enough to at least finish his plate. My older daughter took one bite. My younger didn't touch it. I even told Hubby that if he wanted to throw away what was leftover it was okay if he did. He did. Which was a shame because I had an entire 9x13 pan. I threw this recipe away.

Since volleyball practice runs until 6pm and by Friday night there are enough leftovers to feed a village, that's what we had.

Saturday night I had scheduled a dish that I hadn't tried yet. But, as things turn out we sold our house and we had to go look at my first choice again and get the paperwork rolling. We were there for an exorbitant amount of time. Hubby and I were cranky, so you KNOW the kids weren't doing well. We didn't leave the agent's office til 7:30.

There was no way I was cooking anything. Mama's Pizza here we come!

Chicken Bacon Pasta was on the menu.  How could you go wrong when the recipe calls for cream cheese and cream? This one didn't go over well with the kids. It went over well enough for me and Hubby. We had enough protein in this one to satisfy Hubby. Would I change anything? Nothing I could think of.
So here's to making my pinterest board more than a bunch of pretty pictures. Here's to some new recipes worth keeping and some others that we at least tried.

I look forward to the next bunch!

Recipe Links:
Pork Chops
Tempura Chicken
Baked Penne with Bacon and Spinach
Chicken Bacon Pasta

*Salisbury steak. An old standby
**So if you've sworn off fried foods, this aint for you! I've never claimed to be a total health food fanatic.