Saturday, September 29, 2007

This ain't my idea of a weekend

Friday, 10:30pm - Went to bed. Expecting Greg home between 12:30 & 1:00am.

Sometime in the night - Woken up by crying.
A moment of alarm: Greg isn't home!
Notice the time: 12:39am. Relieved

Crying turns more to shrieking. It's Dale. Having a nightmare, maybe?
I rush to his room, as he is starting to sound pretty panicky. It is then that I understand what he is saying/crying/almost screaming: "I need to throw up!"

We run to the bathroom. Dale soon feels better. I call Greg. He is 5 minutes from home.

1:15 am - Greg is home. Dale pukes again.

2:00 am - We decide that's all we're going to hear from Dale and we go to bed.

Almost 4:00 am - Alan is awake. Nurse him back to sleep.

A little after 4:00 am - I'm back in bed

5:59 am - Alan is awake. I get up with him.

7:30am - Alan and I crawl into bed w/Greg.

7:40am - Dale is awake. And puking.

8:00 am - Alan is asleep. Dale pukes again.

8:15 am - Greg and I 'enjoying' coffee & donuts. Dale pukes again.
Under my breath, while Dale's head is hanging over the toilet, I whisper, "poor baby."
Dale finishes his deed and sits down on the stool. I cool him with a wet washcloth.
He says, "Why'd you say 'poor baby', Mama, why?"

At least he doesn't know to feel sorry for himself!
I on the other hand, see a long, long day ahead. ;-)

Friday, September 28, 2007

"Correct thy son..."

Ok. I cannot let today's "Daily Snippet from the Word" (see right sidebar) go by without commenting.
Since it is likely to be different by the time you read this, at this moment it says:
"Correct thy son and he shall give thee rest, yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul." Proverbs 29:17

This is a hot topic in our house lately, as we daily see more and more evidence that Dale very much has a mind of his own. And it is made up. Always. And it usually doesn't agree with whatever the current figure of authority has just said.

One of the parenting gurus for the last 20+ years, Dr. James Dobson has a phrase for kids like this: Stong-willed child. I think the next time he publishes a revised version of his book, he is going to put Dale's picture in it!

I joke, but it is something we are taking really seriously around here. We firmly believe that now is the time for us to teach Dale the value of submitting to authority. First us, and then later his Saviour, the Bible, employers, teachers...the list goes on.

Don't get me wrong...I'm not 'dissing' Dale. He is smart, funny, sweet. My precious first-born. My little buddy. But he is stubborn beyond stubborn. Some kids can be disciplined with a look, a talking-to, some gentle redirecting. (I was one of those.) Others, I am quickly learning, need a little more. Okay - a lot more, in some cases. But he's learning. And so are we. :)

A giveaway!

A fellow Texan is hosting a give-away!

Life in a Shoe is hosting a giveaway of Vision Forum's exciting new adventure series, Ballantyne books.

Sounds like something fun to read-aloud to my boys, if not now, then not too far in the future! :)
Be sure and visit Kim and her gang!

Life, rest, joy, peace

I may have mentioned this before, either here or on CaringBridge ...I can't remember.
Every once in a while, I will suddenly see a hymn in a fresh, new way. It's like the words and the message of the song are suddenly clear and new. Yesterday was one of those days. Instead of me analyzing and telling you what all it meant to me, I'm just going to leave you with the words, and let you soak them up for yourself.

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take him at his word;
Just to rest upon his promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord."

Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus, Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I'm so glad I learned to trust him, Precious Jesus, Savior friend;
And I know that he is with me, will be with me to the end.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust him! How I've proved him o'er and o'er!
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust him more!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ummmm....would you mind repeating that?

Two weeks ago today I purchased an item online.

Twelve days went by and I hadn't heard a word from the company and I didn't have my item.

So on Monday, I sent them a little email. Not rude, but no smileys.

And I didn't hear anything.

On Tuesday (yesterday) I sent them another little email. Not rude, but pretty ... firm.

And didn't hear anything.

Until now.

This is what I found in my inbox at noon today:






My guess is the person(s) on the other side of this email either:

1 - Are not speakers native of the English (ya think?)


2 - Are somehow related to Miss Upton

I'll let you know when my item arrives (or when the tracking number they so thoughtfully included actually starts to work).

... or something like that.

Why I don't like Halloween, part 1

oh. my. heck.

About this time yesterday morning I sat down in the rocker in Alan's room to put him to sleep for his morning nap, leaving Dale sitting at the kitchen table with a snack.

I had barely settled in when Dale appeared at Alan's door, voice shaky and on the verge of tears.

"Mama, there is a huge, huge, black spider in the second kitchen window. Can you come and kill it?"

Despite his calm bravado, I could tell by his emotion he wasn't reporting just any bug, so, even though Alan was just minutes away from being asleep, I went to check it out.

oh. my. heck.

This is what I saw...

Geez louise what was I going to do?

Well, of course, first things first, I took a couple of pics. Obviously there was a very good story developing here, and what's a good story without a picture to go with it?

Of course, it goes without saying, had that spider even dared to move from where it was I probably would have thrown the camera at it and run, so...... I didn't waste too much time on the photo op.

And, while I was playing photographer, I was also thinking about my next move. I had to do something to get rid of the thing.

Call Greg? Yeah right, he's just gonna hop in the truck and run the 90 minutes home to take care of a spider for me. Even if it is a monster spider.

Call my dad? Hmmm....somewhat of a better option, but he could be anywhere in the county. And he is working. At his job and all.

Come on. You can handle this.

Still thinking of my dad, I remember he came by the day before with a can of wasp spray so Dale could (finally) use his slide again. It's the best thing I've got (ok the only) in the line of Poisons in a Can. And while I usually try to avoid poisons in the house (especially those that spray) I glady made an exception for monster spider.

I sat Alan in the living room and stood Dale close to him, but where he could see the ... thing. I told him to watch it in case it moved so he could tell me where it went while I ran to the shed to get the wasp spray. I can't believe I left them alone in the house with that thing. I can't believe it, but I did.

I read on the can as I ran back to the house "sprays up to 20 feet". Excellent.

Positioned myself for a clear shot, without having to spray directly across the dining table.... and... Spray!

And the spider drops from the window.

And runs in my direction.

Holy smokes.

I scurry backwards, ready to shove Dale out of harm's way and scoop up Alan, thinking now we must have an angry killer spider on the loose.

I can't see it. It's got to be somewhere around the computer wires and chair legs. I go for the broom so I can beat it to death. I didn't want it to come to this. It could get messy.

Thankfully, when I come back, I see the wasp spray has done its job. Spidey has curled up and died precisely where I had stood to spray.

And for the next hour, every time my clothes moved against my skin, or I felt my hair on my neck, I jumped, I shivered, I swatted, and broke out into goosebumps. Again. Because I was covered in goosebumps throughout the entire episode.

And Dale? After it was all over, I was considering trying again for Alan's nap. Dale said, "nah. He can stay up. You just stay in here with me." I decided he was right. Safety in numbers, you know!

And I have shuddered at least a dozen times while writing this story. Every time I typed the word s-p-i-d-e-r or went back to read any portion of the story.

Because it was just. that. bad.

And that, my friends, is just one of the many (though less principled) reasons I do not like Halloween.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Works-for-me Wednesday - How are you Peeling?

My first Works-for-me Wednesday! :)

There has been an ongoing debate in our 7 years of marriage over the usefulness vs. not-worth-it-ness of garbage disposals in kitchen sinks.

Our first home was a very small, basic-as-they-come rent house and did not have a disposal, so these discussions were rare in those first days. But HEY - it was a real HOUSE, on a STREET, with LAWN, and real NEIGHBORS. Plus we were newlyweds, and I was fresh out of the college dorm. We thought we had hit the big-time for sure and definitely didn't miss a silly little disposal.

Our second dwelling was a fun little townhouse apartment. While in some ways an apartment felt like a step down, we at least were on the end, so only had neighbors on one side, plus we had an extra 1/2 bath and a walk-in closet. And...a garbage disposal. Oh yeah...we were hip & chic city-dwellers for sure in the apartment. (This might be a good place to mention that one of my WORST memories of the apartment involved pregnancy hormones, the disposal, 2 backed up sinks, and a very rude and grumpy maintenance man. At 10:00. On a Friday night.)

Next came another rent-house, this one a little more 'grown-up' feeling. But no disposal. (Thank you Lord. I needed a break after the apartment incident).

Soon we decided it was finally time to own and bought us a cozy little house just 3 streets over. Never mind that it was our favorite in the few options in our price range: it had a DISPOSAL!

Which brings me back to the debate. Bigger than the question of is a disposal worth it or not, and even beyond the fear of losing a hand (or even just a couple of fingers) in the thing, is the question of what is safe to put in, and what isn't. There is more confusion and contradicting information than the whole "eggs are good for you, no they're not, yes they are Thing.
Coffee grounds? Eggshells? Chicken bones? Potato peels?
I can at least answer that last one. Based on the unfortunate apartment-sink backup, I can tell you it's not so good to put potato peels down your disposal. Maybe you do, and with no negative results. Super! I, on the other hand, don't want to risk a repeat, especially since there would be no maintenance man to call....grumpy or not.

This leaves the dilemma of what to do with those pesky peels. You can:
1. Just leave them on the potato. An option I choose fairly often.
2. Gather them up from all over the sink(s) and/or counter. Not fun.
3. Bend uncomfortably over the trashcan, then gather up the runaways from the floor, side of the fridge, and/or wall, and later hope some kind soul will work the kinks out of your neck & shoulders. Not fun. (Or maybe I'm just a little rambunctious with my peels??)

And finally, my current solution, and my Works-for-me Wednesday tip, if you are amazingly still reading after having to sit through the history of my married-life abodes....

**Open up a plastic grocery bag in the bottom of the sink. Peel into it. When you're done, gather up the few escapees (if you're a passionate peeler like me, anyway) and throw the whole thing in the garbage!**
Be sure and visit Shannon @ Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW ideas!

If you've just had a slightly de-ja-vuish moment reading this, Yes - I posted it once before. My first WFMW attempt was 2 weeks ago today and I kind of 'oopsed' it, so I took it down to try again. :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


I don't know about you, but with both of my babies, from day 1, I start to look for signs they are 'in there'.

You know how it is. The nurses wrap them up and put them in your arms and those dark, liquid eyes look into yours and you think, "oh yes - he knows me. There's a real little person in there."

Then he spends the next month crying and eating and sleeping and crying and pooping and he starts to seem kind of like a ... thing. An it. (Only in your tougher moments, of course.)

And then...he smiles at you. A real smile. And your heart melts all over again, and you say, "Yep. He's in there. A real little person."

And while you never stop liking that beautiful smile, and it never fails to bring a smile from you (at least not in the infant days, lol), it does start to become a part of him. The new wears off. And he's still crying. And pooping.

But then...he reaches for something, and holds it in his little hand. A toy. Your spoon. Your face. And you are reminded..."he's 'in there'. "

Of course, then the grabbing starts to lose it's 'new' sparkle too. He pulls your hair. He spills your tea. He still cries (sometimes). And still poops.

And then one day, you grab your keys and scoop up your little one and ask him if he's ready to go 'bye-bye'. And that little dimpled hand opens & closes in the sweetest little wave and you know once more, without a doubt, "Oh yes. He is in there. This precious little person."

Isn't it amazing how God planned that? Over and over again through that tough first year, He doesn't let us go very long without a reminder that this is a real life He has placed in our care. A true person, and individual, with a soul and thoughts and a heart.

There are times when I look at my beautiful babies and think, in awe, "We made this." And then I realized how silly that thought is. Not the awe part, but to even begin to think that we did that. We made that baby just like a 3 year old holds the tape dispenser and puts his finger against the folds of the paper while you secure it and then gets to say "I wrapped this present for you."

But thanks Lord. Thanks that we get to play along, and then we get to treasure these beautiful gifts you have given us.

Monday, September 24, 2007

All's Fair in Livestock and Literature

The County Fair. As an older kid and young teenager, I thought it was The Coolest Thing and definitely The Place To Be...
but now...
I can take it or leave it.
Usually leave it. (Although you can get a pretty good hamburger or order of tamales...if it's worth all the rigamorole of getting out there).

But, just when you get to the point of being able to stay home and not wonder what you're missing, you have kids. And you start teaching them what a wonderful and fun thing stuff like that is. Lol.

It all starts with the parade on Wednesday. Having always had my main interest & participation in the band for one reason or another, I never knew much about the how the floats got organized. Turns out they all meet and line up at our church parking lot, of all places! I got Dale out there in plenty of time to join up with his classmates. Mom and Dad were out there also for the
Library Junior Board - their first year to have a float in the fair parade. Once Dale was where he needed to be I went back up the road and settled in to watch. Just like he had promised, he threw a handful of Tootsie Rolls in my direction. Notice the arm pulled back, ready to release cheap chocolatey goodness:
Never mind that I would have had to run out and get IN the parade myself to be able to pick up the tootsie rolls. Never said he was going to be a ball player or anything. ;)

And as soon as they had passed by where I was, he stood up, in the middle of a moving trailer, to wave at me.

And as soon as he stood up, an anonymous mom-hand grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him down.
I thanked her later. If not for saving his life or limbs, at least saving his dignity and years worth of bad memories and parade-float fear.

The next day his class took a field trip to see the fair. Of course, Alan and I went along. We made our way through the exhibit buildings, and then on to what all of the kids wanted to see: the animals.
The little girls were the first to notice (and comment on) the smell as we entered the barns. First stop were the rabbits. Amazingly, no one got bit, in spite of a hundred little fingers being poked into the cages of a couple-dozen fluffy bunnies. :)

Ducks & chickens were next. Both Dale and Alan seemed to enjoy a rooster that had a perfect "a-doodle-doo" and wasn't afraid to use it.

Sheep were next. Disappointingly, the cows were all out being showed...but at least we didn't run the risk of anybody getting kicked or stepped on.

Last of the animals was the pig barn. Alan and I didn't wind our way through this one...just stayed at the entrance. But Alan got to see a giant pink pig up close and personal.

And then: The Coolest Thing.

I looked up, and directly over Giant Pink Pig's pen was a great, big, spider web. And since I am easily amused&entertained I thought that was just the neatest thing I'd seen all week.
I tried taking pics but the light wasn't right. Granted, it wasn't sporting any nifty adjectives about Giant Pink Pig below. Ok, it didn't have any messages or words at all...and it was kind of torn up by bugs...but still....

It made me wish I had read
Charlotte's Web to Dale already so he could enjoy it too. It will be one of the first ones when we start longer chapter read-alouds.

The big field trip ended with a picnic 'lunch' (at 9:30am, lol).
Here's Dale & Friends, inventing games after lunch:

And that my friends, is my report on Our Day at the Fair.

Friday, September 21, 2007

PhotoHunt: Paper

In my opinion, most people can be classified into one of two categories: Spenders, & Savers.

For the most part, I am a saver.

I would say that financially this is almost always a good thing.
However....when it comes to STUFF...being a saver can be a bad thing. Like when your candy starts going ooey on you because you saved it for too long, or all those empty toilet paper tubes saved for all those great preschool craft projects regularly avalanch out of the closet. This is something I'm working on, for my sanity, and mostly for the sake of my closets. :)

For several months, I have been saving a brand-new white poster board. It lived behind the piano. (That's where blank poster boards have been stored all my life, so why look for a new home now?)

For several weeks, Dale has wanted to 'make something' with above-mentioned poster. Finally, a couple of weeks ago, I knew what we could do with the poster.

And so began Dale's first major Scripture memory project. Doing only 1 verse every few days, I would write the verse in pencil, and he would trace all of the capital letters (and some of the lower case) in marker. Then we would work on memorizing.

The thing is, I let this be HIS project. HE chose the marker colors. HE colored the shepherd. I didn't correct even one letter that HE traced. I haven't taken a pic since the project is finished, but I am happy to report that Dale and I can both now recite the entire 23rd Psalm, and ...

...that poster is one of my favorite pieces of paper. Ever.

Be sure and go HERE for more fun PhotoHunt pics in this week's theme! :)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blah, blah, blog.

Well. I knew it was a possibility, but I didn't know it would happen so soon. It appears I have run out of things to say. Huh.
I can't believe it's been almost a week since my last 'real' post. There are several reasons for this, a leading once being my lack of sleep. Anytime my fingers start to think about writing a blog entry, the internal whining begins. And really, I don't think you want to hear all of the ways and times my children can come up with to interrupt my sleep. We've all been there, right?
Another effect of this unfortunate turn of events, is the fact that one doesn't feel like taking note of and documenting every cute or funny little thing one's children do or say when said children are the direct cause of a significant loss of sleep. Which is sad really, seeing as how we can never recover any particular period in life. Don't get me wrong, we're still playing blocks & peek-a-boo, playing in the sandbox and pat-a-caking, and reading lots of's just all kind of a hazy blur, lol.
This past week was Birthday Week in my family. 7 Birthdays in 7 days!
My Aunt, my PawPaw, my Nana, my sister, my Grandad, & my Mom (and my great-grandmother would have been 103).
My mom and I have developed a little system that we each think we're getting the better end of. Every once in a while, either for some occasion or just because, she will buy the groceries and I do the cooking. Like I said, we both think we're getting the better deal on that one. This was our arrangement for the birthday celebration. Since Gramps was still doing dirtwork and Mimi & Gramps were spending the weekend in the country, I made a picnic supper for 8 to take out:
Cornflake chicken - yum! First time I had made it - and will make again! Had this with bbq sauce and honey-mustard
Potato salad

(Nana brought baked beans)
Banana pudding

Monday was Double Doctor Day. Took Dale in for his 4-year checkup. (We found out, incidentally, that his hearing is fine, something that has been debated for a few weeks in this house. This means that all of those "What?"s are habit and Greg and I can stop repeating ourselves. Repeating ourselves. Saying things over again!) Dale got FOUR shots and Alan got 2. And let me tell you - those immunization folks know what they are doing. She had Dale lay down on the exam table with his knees bent over the end, just like they always do with the babies. Then she stood against his shins, just like with the babies. Then she suggested I hold his arms.
Excuse me? I'm thinking - he's four! But I place my hands on his, as his arms crossed over his chest. Just for looks, and comforting purposes, of course.
Ha. That first needle went in and Dale's immediate reaction was to push it away! I had to hold him down, firmer for each one, as he cried louder for each one. Poor kid. He is a quick recoverer though, and just had to work through the sniffles as he picked out his pencil and sticker and we left. Glad we don't have to do that again for another couple of years. I have to admit though, I didn't even tear up. My boys were poked a cumulative SIX times and I didn't even flinch. Is all this liver stuff making me calloused!? More likely it was just a down-to-business day for me. Catch me on another day and I'd probably cry if their bandaid hurt coming off. :)
Anyway, Double Doctor Day was also my mom's birthday. She was kind enough to go with me and help herd baby buffaloes through the injection corrals, so mostly for birthday, and partly for thanks, we got together for supper that night. Among other things, I made a jello salad in a jello mold, and it actually set, and released from the mold beautfiully!!! I was pretty excited. Mark that one down for another to make again.
Now that I have amazingly managed to find something to say (haha), I must leave rather abruptly. Duty calls. But now that I've broken the ice, broken through the barrier of fatigue (blah, blah, whine whine) hopefully it won't be long before another post, and next time with pictures! :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I need your help!

Alan getting some "outside time" Tuesday evening and Mimi & Gramps'. Dale showing Alan how it's done.
This is yesterday's attempt at getting Dale outside. He seemed to enjoy it, and the toys did need a good scrubbing. What kid can resist a bucket of suds, anyway?
How I entertained myself while Dale scrubbed...

When I look back on my childhood, I can remember spending hours at a time playing outside. I loved our backyard. It had a fig tree, with humongous leaves, and it would produce real-live figs every couple of years! We also had honeysuckle, soft green grass, and plenty of shade trees. Not to mention a swingset, a playhouse custom-built for my 6th birthday, odds and end outdoor toys, and always a pet cat or two. Recently I wondered what I did out there all that time. After I thought about it, I was pretty sure I knew. I asked my sister how she remembered spending her outside time, and her answer was the same as mine: playing pretend. Separately or together, the two of us were the masters of pretend. Ahhh....but that's another blog.

Fast forward to the present. I want my kids to spend time and enjoy outside as much as I did, or even more! So far, Dale hasn't really taken to it. He just doesn't seem to 'get it'. Today I spread out a sheet for me & Alan so we could all get some 'outside time' together and keep Dale company.

At one point I tried a little 'treasure-hunt' type game: I asked Dale to go find a yellow leaf with green spots, thinking he'd head off across the yard in search. Instead, he looked down at his feet and picked up the closest one he could find. It looked kind of puny. I accepted it with some excitement and laid on the blanket.
"Okay! Now go find a BIG yellow leaf with green spots!"
Again, he hardly takes a step and hands me a slightly larger spotty leaf.
Then: "Why are you savin' leaves Mama, why?"
So much for that game.

We have been blessed with a pretty big backyard, with a wonderful shade tree.
Daddy and Gramps worked very hard one spring a couple of years ago and put up a privacy fence.
Dale has a tall slide one the side of an up-high, covered, fort-thing with a ladder and a ramp. (At the moment
the wasps are still there...I know...bad, procrastinating Mommy! ....shows how often he actually uses it!) He also has a sandbox, which he does play in a lot.
In the front, he rides his tricycle in the driveway and colors with sidewalk chalk. Neither of those activities would work in the backyard.

We are entering a season of crisp, cool mornings and comfortable afternoons. Pleasant days that should be enjoyed. My questions to all of you:
How did you fill your childhood days outside? What did you do? What did you play with?
What did/do your kids do outside? Please click on "Comments" below and let me know! You can post anonymously or tell us who you are, but please share! I need your help! :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yee-haw and say cheese!

Sunday -
Went out to the "dig" site to see how the pool was filling after the rain recently. Slowly. But I love this pic:

As we left Dale said, "Gramps, can we come back tomorrow and go fishing?" :)

Monday. Doctor day.
Greg came along this time, and I was soooo glad because it poured the last hour of the drive. I can't believe I ever make that drive at all, and to do it in the pouring rain would probably send me to the side of the road in some sort of nervous breakdown. Not something you want your children to see!! lol But Greg handled it flawlessly, and sort-of-almost-kinda looked like he was having fun doing it. Didn't hurt that Alan was sleeping the last 30 mintues. Everything doctor-wise went great. You can check
here for the full update.

We had a picnic lunch in the family lounge between labs and seeing the doctor. Dale was a great sport for the whole thing, which involves a lot of waiting. He loves the elevator rides, though. He gets to push the buttons. That's right - we let HIM gather all of the elevator button germs. You know...since he's the one most likely to have his fingers in his mouth or nose next. Such careful parenting. This surely is unrelated to the fact that it is nearly impossible to get a picture of Dale actually looking at the camera... (that is, without his mouth doing something funny or his hands making some sort of odd and random gestures):

Children's has been doing some major construction for several months now. And since we go about once a month, it is fun to follow the progress. A great place to do this is from the sky-bridge that goes from one part of the hospital complex to the parking garage. As we were leaving yesterday, Greg and Dale had made a bathroom stop and I waited for them on the sky-bridge. I noticed a large American flag that hadn't been out when we got there that morning. I thought this was maybe in honor of Sept. 11 and was pretty neat, so I got out my camera and started taking pics. (I need to interject here that I am a very careful rule-follower. I may have mentioned this before. Anything remotely rebelious and I start worrying about getting caught.) At one point, while loitering on the bridge, I noticed that a blue emergency light on the inside wall of the bridge was flashing. I've always wondered what that was for. Next I hear a recorded voice in the overhead soundsystem repeating very calmly, "Security. Security. Security." Now I start to worry. Is there some anti-terrorist law that says you aren't supposed to take pictures of under-construction buildings!? I didn't know!!
Thankfully, Greg and Dale finally appear about this time and I start walking, leaving them to catch up. It is at this point a young man in scrubs meets me along the walkway and asks, "Is everything ok ma'am?" I motioned behind me and said I was waiting for 'them'. He answers, "Ok. Someone pushed the security button."
I'm thinking, "IT WASN"T ME!! I DIDN'T DO IT!!" Do you think he believed me? :) lol

Tuesday - Preschool Day 2 - "Cowboy Day"
So. After
Day 1 started with enthusiasm and ended in disinterest, I didn't know what to expect for Day 2. Dale woke up and I got worried. He didn't want to go. He didn't want to have school on Tuesday. He didn't want to wear his cowboy clothes. He didn't want to eat breakfast. Well - ok. On second thought he at least decided he could have some cereal. Don't want to go too far with this "I don't want to" stuff I guess. I insisted all along the way that he WAS going to school, and he WAS going to wear his cowboy clothes. All the while thinking I'd give him the month of September and then if he doesn't like it we'll just forget preschool! And I couldn't help wonder... is he scared? Is he lonely? Are they mean to him? Is some kid a biter? Is he having some sort of 'issue'!!??
As we began to cross the parking lot, I was happy enough to see him at least CARRY the cowboy hat. I couldn't imagine how in the world I could get him to wear it and didn't even want to try. And I tell you...that parking lot must be magic. Halfway across it, I had to go back to the van to get Dale's backpack, but DALE said, "I'm just going to follow those people and go ahead inside."
Hmph. So much for issues.
He's just a grump in the mornings!
This will be something we can work on Mother-Son Project for Self-Improvement. I'm sure Greg will be praying for success for all participants.

So...back to preschool. First thing out for Cowboy Day was a ride on a real Longhorn! His name? Bubba. Isn't that just the coolest? (Notice the cowboy hat is ON Dale's head - and with no objections!)
Alan got a ride on Bubba too!
Only in Texas. (And yes - my child is the only one wearing tennis shoes for Cowboy Day.)

After they got their rides, all the kids lined up and sat on the curb in front of Bubba for a picture. It's really cute. I would show it here, but #1 - I think there is some kind of internet law or ettiquite or something about not posting pictures of other people's children without some serious looking written permission. #2 I'm not sure if my photo editor has a nifty blurring tool. #3 - It would take too long to blur 12 kids faces, and I'm ready to go to bed. And, #4 - I'd feel kind of weird about doing that blurry thing to Dale's new classmates anyway.
So anyway...point of the story...the kids line up and start saying cheese, and Dale's hands immediately fly up into those weird and random meaningless gestures (is this some sort of disorder?!). BUT - lucky for me, Dale is sitting next to a GIRL. A GIRL that knows that is NOT how you act for a picture. A GIRL who reaches over and promptly pushes Dale's hands into his lap. Where they stay, for a very cute picture. I'm going to have to buy that girl a birthday present.

Sunday, September 9, 2007


Our pastor made a very interesting analogy today:
If a little sparrow picked up one grain of sand in its beak and flew with it all the way to the moon, a 10,000 year journey, (-stay with me here....never mind all of those impossible scientific logistics...this is for figurative purposes! :) ), dropped the grain of sand on the moon, flew 10,000 years back, to pick up another grain of sand and start all over...
By the time that little bird went back and forth enough to transfer the entire earth to the moon, one grain of sand at a time (again...don't think logistics!) that time, eternity would just be beginning.

Wow. I think most of the time we just don't get how insignificant most of the things we worry about here on earth are. We can so easily get so caught up in so much, for good and bad - we worry, we want, we wish, we whine. The Bible says our life is nothing more than a vapor or mist that soon vanishes.
If we could just GET that eternity is a REALLY LOOOOOOOOOONG time and that all that matters are those things that are eternal, how different our perspecitve of this life would be!

Jesus said, to store up our treasures in heaven, where they will last. Where they will matter.
This means #1 - we had better take a good look at our hearts and know for sure where we will be spending this looooooong eternity. It is real, and there are no second chances.

#2 - what are these treasures that matter?
Honestly, I'm not sure how to answer that in this moment. I have some ideas. Some truths that I know. But to say them concretely, out in the big blog world? Not something I want to do. So....sorry to spell this out and then leave you hanging, but maybe you have ideas of your own? Maybe we should all take our Bibles and go to our separate corners and reconvene someday soon! Lol. I've been thinking lately about a book I read a couple of years ago. You wouldn't know it by the way this question has left me stammering, but it made a pretty big impact on me at the time. I think it's time to read it again!! lol
A Life God Rewards: Why Everything You Do Today Matters Forever by Bruce Wilkinson
Anyone want to join me and read along? :)

Eternally His,

Friday, September 7, 2007

Artists, geniuses, cowboys and car guys

Some odds & ends thoughts....

While he still seems almost indifferent to the whole thing, little bits and pieces of Dale's one day of preschool experience have surfaced. For one thing, he told the other day that one of the songs he sang at school was one
Kristin taught him this summer, and then today I actually heard him singing it when he didn't know anyone was listening! :) He has also mentioned a few times about Tuesday being Cowboy Day. (They are supposed to dress in Western wear and there is going to be a real, live longhorn there). Don't get me's not that I think he doesn't like it. In fact, I'm almost certain he does. I just thought he be more excited and talkative about it (you know, Mr. Exuberance and all), but instead he just seems to be taking it in stride. It's really got me baffled....can ya tell!!?? :)

And while I'm talking about Dale, I want to show you a piece of his genius artwork. It is a watercolor. I call it "Giant Earthworm in a Cave. With a doorbell and a mailbox."

And Dale isn't the only genius around. I loved, loved, loved seeing Alan play with this toy and figuring out how it is really supposed to work!! You put the firetruck on top of the station and it rolls down the slide and out the front door. Alan would put it on top, Dale or I would help him sit it upright and give it a shove down the slide, Alan would giggle when it came out the door right in front of him, and put it on top to go again! Smart boy! And so darn cute.

And finally, imagine this:
I talked to Greg this afternoon while he was at school getting ready to leave for the football game. He was really happy about some towing equipment
a sway bar) that has been added to the school vechicle he drives pulling the band's equipment trailer. Dale overheard this conversation, and wanted to know what a sway bar is. Uhhhh... I sort of kind of know what it is general... but not really how it works...ummmm.... and finally - "you'll have to ask Daddy."
So I relayed this conversation back to Greg later and he said, "So you were trying to explain something technical you don't really understand and put it in 4 year old terms."
Yup. That's basically it.
This is where I hand the phone to Dale and he says to Daddy, "Daddy, what's a sway bar?"
And Greg proceeds to tell him.
And Dale answers in a very satisfied and oh-so-knowledgable, "Oh. Okay!" :)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

School? yeah, sure, ok...

I started not to blog tonight, but I know that you all are anxiously waiting to hear how Dale's first day of preschool went. ;) Based on his demeanor when I picked him up I'd say he was marvelously underwhelmed. Hmph. I think he had a good time... ?

He was really excited before we left this morning. Eager ... ready to go. Had a good breakfast, took our first-day-of-school picture and off we went.

I walked him in and he looked around at everything in wonder, like he'd never seen it before. Never mind that he'd been there 2 days before and didn't have a moment's hesitation then. But he hung up his backpack and was guided into the toy room with the other 2 or 3 kids who were already there. He didn't mind at all when I told him bye and left. He was checking out all the toys and talking to his director. I on the other hand was extremely disappointed to have to go - I wanted to see what all they did and 'play' along!! :) But Alan and I went back home and had a nice morning together. I rearranged some toys in Alan's room and he actually had a mid-morning nap! He hasn't done that in weeks!!!
Headed out to pick Dale up just before 11:00, eager to hear all his first-day adventures. He didn't offer much info that I didn't ask specifically for. More than anything he was interested in his prize from the prize box for staying in his seat (a paper party-favor blower roll-up horn know what I'm talking those things have a name?). I was very pleased to see his behavior report was green for 'awesome day'. :) Yay Dale! I looked through his folder of papers he had made and worked on. Again - he didn't seem all that excited to show me. Hmmm. Maybe the first day was just a lot to take in. Maybe it's the maleness in him. I think next time I'm not going to ask any questions. I'm just going to give him 1,000 details of mine and Alan's morning to show him how a 'report' is done!! :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I pledge allegiance to color-coded EXUBERANCE

So. As I may or may not have mentioned before, Dale starts preschool tomorrow. If blogger had smilies, I would put one in here with it's eyes bugged open and its mouth in a little "o". And it's not because of the proverbial I'm-in-tears-because-I-just-dropped-off-my-baby-for-the-first-day-of-school-ever type thing. Nah. I might feel that way tomorrow...I don't expect to, but I might. No, what I feel now is pure fear and not knowing what in the world my child might do or say in a room full of other children. Without me present.
Don't get me wrong: Dale is a good kid. But Dale is .... loud. Dale is .... exuberant. I looked it up to make sure I've been using it right:
exuberant - characterized by good health and high spirits; full of life; uninhibited
Yep. That's Dale.
Dale has never met a stranger.
Dale gets excited.
At first I was only mildly concerned about how Dale would fare out on his own. And then I got to the last page of the information packet:
"This year we will send home daily behavior reports for your child." Uh-oh.

It's color coded.
Green - Awesome day!
Blue - Good day - only one verbal warning.
Purple - Pretty good day - I have been warned two times, and if I have to be told again, I will have to go to time out.
Yellow - We are still doing OK. I have been told twice. I had to sit in time out in front of my friends.
Orange - Not so hot. I have been warned 4 times and I had to sit in time out and stand at the wall for a few minutes at recess.
Red - TROUBLE! I had to go to the director's office. I better get my act together ASAP!

Like I said - Dale is a good kid. The director assured us all at the orientation meeting last night that the kids get plenty of warnings. I honestly don't ever expect to see orange or red. And hopefully not yellow. Dale just hasn't been around a lot of kids. And he loves kids. Did I mention he gets excited? Mr. Exuberance and all. I think its the 'uninhibited high spirits'.

He did pretty good at the orientation last night. Had a hard time keeping his goldfish crackers off of the floor, and bonked the kid behind him on the head with a balloon, but other than that... lol. Oh yeah, and everything he said he felt the need to BE REALLY LOUD. He told his teacher "I HAVE LIGHTENING MCQUEEN ON MY SHIRT!" and "YES! I'M DONE WITH MY PICTURE!"

We were told last night that the kids will start each day with the pledge of allegiance. Since Dale doesn't know it, we said it a few times together this morning. Now I know why teachers of little kids everywhere start the day with the pledge. It's not that they are overly patriotic or anything. Nope. They've got to be using it for laughs. Better endorphins than any cup of coffee, I'm sure. Imagine a roomful of little kids mangling words like 'allegiance', 'republic', 'United States of America', and 'indivisible'. Here was Dale's version this morning, repeating after me (and he is usually a very clear and fairly easy to understand speaker!):
"I pledge
allidgence the flag... of the United States of America. And to the replublic ...for which it stands... one nation... under God... indabibable... with liverty and justice for all." (I can't blame him for the 'liverty' part...there is a lot of talk about livers around here). He's still pretty shaky on the whole thing, but at least maybe that's one part of the day that he won't be shouting! :)

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Everywhere you look

One of my favorite college classes was a full semester of studying U.S. Supreme Court cases. I loved it. Legal questions and issues still interest me, even though I don't like getting into debate over current issues. Anyway.... historical court cases are interesting to me.

What I love even more is the fact that God can use anything to teach a spiritual truth. This morning, it was a Supreme Court case, of all things!

In 1829 a man named George Wilson was convicted by a grand jury of robbery of the U.S. mail and jeopordizing the life of the carrier. He was sentenced to death.

Three weeks before his scheduled execution, he was granted a pardon by President Andrew Jackson, who had been presented a lengthy petition on Wilson's behalf.

Wilson refused to accept the pardon, and the decision on whether or not he should be executed was passed all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Court's opinion was that Wilson's execution orders still stood, in spite of the pardon. The Court stated:

That the court cannot give the prisoner the benefit of the pardon, unless he claims the benefit of it, and relies on it by plea or motion. …. It is a grant to him; it is his property; and he may accept it or not, as he pleases. …. But is insisted, that unless he pleads it, or in some way claims its benefit, thereby denoting his acceptance of the proffered grace, the court cannot notice it, nor allow it to prevent them from passing sentence…. The necessity of his pleading it, or claiming it in some other manner, grows out of the nature of the grant; he must accept it. U.S. v. Wilson (1833)

So basically - "the pardon has been offerred, but we can't make him take it." See the parallel? It is the same decision hundreds of people in this world make every day. Every single one of us have committed the 'crime' of sin.
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23 KJV
"There is not a righteous man on earth who does what it right and never sins." Ecclesiastes 7:10 NIV

And, where there is crime, there is punishment. In our case, death.
"For the wages of sin is death..." Romans 6:23a
But! That is the next word in that verse - 'but'. We have been granted a pardon!
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23 KJV
Jesus took our punishment for us when he died on the cross, and God wrote our pardon.

But. The fact of Jesus' death alone does not give us our pardon (eternity in Heaven). We have to accept it.
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:9-10 NIV

For Andrew Jackson's pardon to save George Wilson's life, George Wilson had to appear in court and accept it. For God's pardon to give us eternal life, there must be a point in our life that we appear before God in prayer and accept His gift. Until that is done, the death sentence for our sin still stands.

"Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV
And thanks be to God for reaching out to us in every way imaginable....even 'boring' old court cases! :)

For more information on God's pardon, click here.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Hey y'all, look at this!

I have a confession. It's not a secret. Some of you already know this, others of you may have guessed. I am not ashamed of it:

I am country. I am Southern, I am Texan, I am country. Not cowgirl, not hillbilly. Just country. I live in town. I do not own a horse, a cow, a tractor, or wear boots or a cowboy hat. But I love sweet tea, gravy, pound cake, fried chicken, pastures & prairies. And I say "y'all". (I do, however, try not to spend too much time barefoot, especially while outside or pregnant! I have my limits...) lol :)

So now that we have that out of the way, let me tell you some of the ways I am ensuring my children follow their heritage. :)

We have been spending some time out at my parents' property. My Dad (Gramps) is digging a pool (or, depending on where you live: a pond, a tank, etc). He goes around and around on a tractor, making one place deeper and deeper, while redistributing the dirt to make another place a little higher. Now when you are a 4 year old little boy, with honest-to-goodness country roots in you (his daddy has no qualms about being barefoot...he's kind of country too....the Arkansas kind ;) ) anyway...for boys like Dale, having Gramps digging dirt on a tractor in the middle of a pasture is COOL. We went out for a picnic supper the other day, and Dale helped Gramps, doing some dirt-work of his own:

Alan watched it all:

He's country, too:
To top it all off, to cool down when we got home, Dale had a little watermelon snack before bed. I bet you didn't know how you're supposed to eat watermelon:

This is also a great way to put a little pinkish-red tint to your hair. Or at least the top/front part. :)

And now you know.

Come Sail Away

One quick story from yesterday:

Dale watched Blue's Clues while I did other stuff. I didn't follow along and had no idea what the story line had been.
As soon as it was over, Dale wanted to fill the pool. Sounded like a great idea to me, so we did. Before it was even finished filling, it was full of little bits of grass. ("I had to rinse my hands & feet, Mama") All this floating matter would drive me CRAZY, but Dale didn't seem to mind a bit, so I decided not to worry about it either.
As soon as the pool was filled, Dale wanted to make a sailboat, "Just like they did on Blue's Clues." that's why we filled the pool.
Since I didn't SEE how Blue & Joe made their boat, and I didn't want to take the time to look up online how to make a super-duper kid-craft floating boat, we improvised.

Took one heavy-duty paper plate, folded over the edges to make 4 sides (a square-bottomed boat) - this took a little one-inch or so scissor cut. Then we taped (clear packing tape) those four edges to each other to make 4 corners and taped a stick in the middle and taped a paper sail to the stick. And all of this didn't take nearly as much tape as it sounds. :) We made our sail a triangle, because that's how Blue did. Blue's mast was a straw, but Dale was satisfied with our stick - thank goodness!

We were both really proud of our boat. Took it out to the pool and let it set sail for points far....across the wading pool. I was thrilled to see the little square thingy-dinghy actually sail in the breeze. Oh yes - I am a true ship engineer!! Went in to get my camera to take a picture of our fabulous mini-vessel, patting myself on the back the whole way in and out for not being a perfectionist about the whole thing. Grass in the newly filled pool? No problem! A hastily cut & folded paper plate with a (very) tacky tape job? No problem! It was at this high moment of all my self-congratulations (a whole 45 seconds, I"m sure) that I returned to find 'our' once-jaunty triangle sail WILTED & DRIPPING!? What happened to our boat?!
"I sank it, Mama!" Ooooookay.

No problem, right?

I took a picture anyway. :)