24 December 2008

Mary's Little Boy

I wonder if all parents think about this at Christmas...

Let me start with, last week was our final week of Dave Ramsey.  The last lesson is about giving, and he tells a story about when it really hit home to him about John 3:16--one morning when Dave's son woke up early and wandered into the kitchen where Daddy was doing his Bible study.  He said that sitting there, holding his little boy, it really hit him what God gave up for us--His own, only Son.  And that's stuck with me since Sunday...honestly, now that I have a little boy, it means something entirely new to me.  Since I've been a parent, it's been hard for me to even think about--much less comprehend--the sacrifice that God made for us, through His Son.  It's too big to even describe, and you know I'm wordy and I'd try.  But it's too big.  

There's more, though.  Kayci's Nana gave her a book for Christmas about the animals in the stable, how there's always room for a Little One.  After lunch I was rocking Noble and Kayci came over and piled in the chair and I read that book to them.  As I was reading, Noble was being Noble--smiling around his bottle, sticking his finger up my nose (and then trying to stick the same finger in my mouth), rubbing and then pinching my cheeks...just being, as we say around here, a boy.  And then when the book was done and Kayci moved on to something more exciting, it was just Nobley Obley and me, here in the red chair in a mostly dark living room.  It was quiet and for a moment I just looked into his eyes, wondering at the mischief and pure joy I could see.  And then he started being Noble again, trying to roll over and then giggling when I'd roll him back and cuddle him.  That only lasted a minute, and then he was asleep.  I looked down at him with lunch crusted in his hair, snot shiny on his nose, a hint of a smile on his sleeping mouth...and the love I felt was overwhelming.  And I thought about Mary, and about her raising a little boy named Jesus.  I think he must have been, at least at times, silly and wonderful and messy and mischievous.  And I wonder if there were times that Mary would have gladly wrung his neck, as I think all Moms must feel that way at least once in a while.  :)  It's just so much to even think about...I know as a human I can't comprehend the greatness of Jesus' life or the hugeness of the sacrifice.  But I'm grateful, and I think that has to be enough.  It's hard enough being a first time Mommy, but to have GOD'S baby...geez, no pressure, Mary.  Poor girl!   Brave girl...

19 December 2008

Mom's Letter to Santa...

Just got this e-mail from Michelle Applegate...so true, right, Moms & Dads?

Dear Santa,
I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my own doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out -- over several Christmases.

Since I had to write this letter with my daughter's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles; and who knows when I'll find any more free time in the next 18 years, so now - -

*** Here are my Christmas wishes ***

* I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (-in an y color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

* I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy.

* If you're hauling big-ticket items this year, I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone.

* On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, 'Yes, Mommy' to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

* I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting, 'Don't eat in the l iving room' and 'Take your hands off your sister,' because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

* If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

*If you don't mind, I could also use a few miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? I t will clear my conscience immensely.

*It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing, and my daughter saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think she wants her red crayon back. Have a safe trip Santa, and remember to leave your wet boots by the door, and come in and dry off, so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table, but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours always with love and appreciation,
A Mom

P.S. One more thing . . You can cancel all my requests, if you can keep my children 'young' enough to believe in Santa.

Smart girl, dumb diet...

This is pretty personal, but I know many of my friends think a lot about losing weight, too and I think it's important to tell this.  I'm a pretty smart girl, I think, but I did something very dumb.

So, you know already that when it came time for my life insurance exam, it hit me hard exactly how much "Noble weight" I'm still carrying.  Which isn't exactly true--over the summer and fall, I actually gained 8 pounds (great vacation, then living on the road during Dad's initial diagnosis, etc...it got to me, and I made bad food choices).  Anyway, so there I was, weighing exactly what I weighed the day I gave birth to Kayci.  Not a great place to be.  So I thought I was smart--I went to my doctor, who is wonderful and supportive.  She prescribed an appetite suppressant that I used 2 years ago when we first moved to Brenham, and at that time, it worked great and I had absolutely no side effects.  I felt great and it was exactly what I needed to get started eating better, eating less...I went off of it when my gall bladder started acting up and made really great diet choices until I got pregnant.  I kept thinking after I gave birth I'd give up meat again, go back to my "old diet,"  but eating like that takes time and effort, two things I'm most short on.  No excuses--just facts.  That's where I was, and why.

I started taking the pills almost a month ago.  For the past 2 weeks, especially, I have been very depressed.  It's been bugging me, because that's normally not an issue for me.  I've got a laundry list of personality changes over the past few weeks--insomnia, irritability, anxiety...anyway, I chalked it up to stress over my Dad and a few other things that have happened recently.  

Yesterday was my birthday, and it started out great.   And then as I was leaving to go to her party, James said something without thinking and it absolutely ruined my day.  It wasn't anything intentionally mean or hurtful--but for whatever reason, it just hit me hard.  I was so upset, I got sick to my stomach and had to come back home before Kayci's party...I let go of it during the party and afterwards, when it was just the kids & me at home.  We had a GREAT afternoon, and everything was fine until James came home.  Again, he said something that probably wasn't a big deal--actually, he asked me if I wanted to go out for my birthday and it just irritated the SNOT out of me because I'd already told him what I wanted to do.  So there I was, frustrated with him, angry...and then Kayci started acting up, I'm sure because of the stress between James & me, and I just wanted to get out of there and be alone.  So I went to get the pizza, and after I ate, I took the laptop and went into our room and worked.  (Which I never do while the kids are awake, and I definitely never shut the door.)  When it was time for Noble's bedtime cuddle and bottle, I came out to rock him and sat here for a while with James & Kayci, but I was still grumpy.  Later, after Kayci was asleep, James came back and, brave soul that he is, said very nicely, "I'd like for you to stop taking your diet pills for a week..." Of course that didn't go over very well, but after a while I looked the pills up on the internet (too lazy to walk into the next room and get the pharmacy papers) and there in black and white was a perfect description of how I've been feeling--and acting--for the past few weeks.  

I'm lucky that I haven't been mean to either kid or anyone else (I hope!), but I have been very quick to anger and just irritable in general.  And lots of other things...I just didn't put it all together until James said it.  So I didn't take my pill this morning, and I'm going to call my doctor and just let her know that I've been experiencing side effects, see if I need to taper off the pills or can just discontinue them.  And while I'm excited about the weight I've dropped in the past month, it's just not worth risking my relationship with James or Kayci--or anyone--to be thinner.  I'm very lucky that the worst thing that happened to me and my family was a couple of bad days.  The only thing I can think of is that the way the appetite suppressant works, it flips the switch in your brain that signals hunger.  But in doing so, it can activate other things.  The last time I took the pills, I was fine--life was great.  But this time, I was already down about my Dad and for whatever reason the pills just magnified every negative thing in my personality--impatience, irritable, all of that stuff.  And yes, I've had issues with my blood pressure & heartbeat in the past week or so but chose to ignore it...but Wednesday afternoon at the Special Ed. party, I realized that my blood pressure was just out of control, for no reason, and that made me start thinking...and then feeling so out of control sad yesterday was pretty scary to me.  I think if James had said anything sooner, I wouldn't have been able to "hear" him.  But holding up a mirror to those 24 hours, it was pretty clear that I wasn't myself and just wasn't right.

The good news?  With everything magnified, I saw some things about my life that I need to change.  Not huge things, but I realized that neither James nor I do anything but work and spend time with the family.  We both need an outlet, time to do the things that make us...US.  

So I'll lose weight the old-fashioned way, just like everyone else.  But hey, I've got a 15 pound head start, right?  :)  Stay tuned for a happier, healthier me...coming soon!  And don't be dumb like me--lose weight sensibly.  It's like they say, cheaters never win, and I was definitely trying to cheat at the weight loss game.  

16 December 2008

Don't know why it's sideways, but look:  my first birthday gift!  :)  Haitham and Najwa got it for me--I saw the lady at the Scarecrow Festival and typewriters are on my list of all-time favorite things...I'm so excited!  :)  

The more I have to do...

One of my instructors and I were e-mailing back & forth yesterday about a situation that we'd been dealing with for a while, then my supervisor stepped in and took care of it lickety-split.  The instructor was so impressed with how she handled it, and I wrote back, "yes, she was on FIRE Friday!"  so the instructor wrote back something to the effect of how I've been on fire lately, too, handling problems as they come up, etc.

And I thought about it--isn't that the way it always is?  Work-wise, right now, I'm busier than I have been since I can remember.  But the more I have to do, the more I get done.  It's a good thing, I guess.  Just thought I'd share--figured you guys can totally relate!

Besides, my blog has turned into a big ol' whine-o-rama.  I need to get back to giving thanks for the MANY blessings in my life--I'll start with y'all today!  :)  

12 December 2008

Today is a good day!

Mornings have been rough around here this week, but our family morning today was 99% perfect.  James knows I've really been stressed, so he really stepped up today; just knowing that he cares enough to do that just to make me feel better makes me feel better.  :)  I'm caught up in all 3 jobs for the first time this week...woo hoo!  Just in time--Noble's up!

10 December 2008


I could never live in Alaska...cold, dark days like today make me so melancholy!

09 December 2008

Woo Hoo!

I've lost 13 pounds since this whole Life Insurance thing made me get serious about losing weight...woo hoo!  And if you know me, here's something that will make you laugh:  I could NOT fill the stupid urine sample cup today, and I tried--TWICE.  It reminded me of the night we found out we were pregnant with Kayci and James made me um, use 3 pg tests...he kept bringing them to me, along with Pepsi--drink this so you can go some more!  :)  

08 December 2008

Handprints on the Mirror...

Today's been rough, for some reason--I went to bed bummed and woke up bummed, but had a great morning with Kayci and Noble the homewrecker...all was well until we got back from taking Kayci to school (we went in with her this morning, which always makes ALL of us happy!) and Noble decided not to nap.  Here we are 2 hours later, and he's just going to sleep.  The house is an absolute wreck, which sucks because a) I cleaned before we went to bed last night and b) it's grading day. So, am working on laundry as I can and picking up here and there while playing with/loving on Nobley...he's had quite a morning--unspooled half a roll of toilet paper, dismantled Kayci's Hannah Montana stage, pulled over her Christmas tree...and yes, I do supervise him, but sometimes it's more fun to see what he'll do than it is to pick him up and move him away from a potential mess. :) Oh, and he pulled a bunch of books off of his bookcase, too. And the handprints on the full-length mirror...

A friend of mine from Region 4 is a lady with daughters my age and grandchildren, and she somehow knows just what to say to encourage me.  This is what she just e-mailed...it's simple, we've seen it before, but it's a great reminder.  I COULD clean Noble's handprints off the bathroom mirror, but they'll never be the size they are today, will they?  I'll never have this morning back, so I'm glad I held him and loved him through it rather than closing him off in a room to cry it out...and if you're one of those Moms, more power to you--it's just not my style.  Turns out, stinky Pete had a reason for not being able to sleep...I'm still waiting for the smell to leave the office.  :)

Sometimes you get discouraged
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But every day I'm growing --
I'll be grown some day
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away

So here's a little handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked
When I was very small

Of course, by the time this uploaded he's up again...

05 December 2008

All Through the Night...

I don't know what it is, but I just can't sleep.  I laid in bed for a while watching "Private Practice" on the laptop, but I started thinking of a couple of things I'd left undone...so I got up and headed into the office.  And I wrapped all of the gifts...caught up on reference letters...did some coloring for Kayci's teacher...cleaned out my teacher books...organized a box of junk that's been in the closet for months...emptied out a box of files that have been sitting by the table for over a month...cleaned out a ton of files, recycling duplicates and outdated stuff...did my Friday morning grading...then James came in looking for me, and I realized what time it was.  So now I'm going to try to go to sleep--but this time, it'll be with a clean slate.  What a way to head into Friday!  Ooh, maybe Nobley and I will head to Bellville to take care of my deferred adjudication paperwork that's been hanging out there since August...

04 December 2008


Mandy e-mailed this to me this morning, and I thought I'd put it up here...hopefully you'll stop and say thanks for the members of our military.  :)  






















This poem was written by a Marine.

The Rhythm of my Days

Today is a very good day...everyone's needs are met, and I've got a clean house, a happy baby, and satisfied people at my various jobs who depend on me for different things.  And, gravy--I've had a shower and am wearing make-up!  :)  

Today started off rough, with both kids waking up way too early.  James and I try to get in an hour, hour and a half of work before the kids wake up (or he goes to the gym).  But today we rolled with it, and ended up using the bonus time to let Kayci make our blueberry muffins.  After that, the morning went off without a hitch.  When James and Kayci left at 7:48, Noble and I sat down to rock and have a bottle, and he was in his crib asleep at 8.  He slept for an hour and 47 minutes, and in that time, I:  ate a muffin, completed a report, answered e-mails, sent e-mails to various students and Region 4, took care of some pending GPISD stuff and set up my work for this afternoon when he sleeps, swept the floors, dusted, did bottles, took a 30 minute work phone call, posted a mega-blog about traditions...just as I finished that, he woke up.  But he wasn't crying, so I tiptoed into the bathroom to see if I could get away with a quick shower...10 minutes later, I was clean, dressed, and holding a very snuggly boy.  We did the after-nap stuff and played, and for the last little bit he's been emptying Kayci's box of paintbrushes (after tasting each one, of course) while I sorted recycling, fed Sami, and took out trash.  Now it's time to run a couple of errands, recycling center & HEB, before we come home and cook lunch.  Which I'm excited about, as we have fresh basil for the tomato soup today--our basil plant is doing great in the bigger pot!  After James leaves to go back to work, Noble will go down for his afternoon nap and I'll grab another hour and a half of GPISD time before we go get Kayci and Lydia from school.  Then it's time to do homework, talk about her day, and make SNOW!  When James gets home at 6, we'll eat dinner (turkey, I think we're crazy to have it again...) and do the normal bedtime stuff.  We started reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever last night--neither James nor Kayci has ever read it, so it's fun to see the Herdmans through their eyes.  And after both kids are in bed, James and I will work on our separate work projects for a while before we sit down to catch up on some homework for our FPU class this Sunday.  

This is the rhythm of my days...not every day goes smoothly, and most days I don't hit every note I'd like.  But today is a good day, and one good day every so often is enough to make me keep trying.  This week James and I talked about putting Noble in daycare ahead of our plan to give me more time to actually work...most days, this sounds great.  The reality of it, though, is that I'd rather be unhappy part of the time than feel guilty for being at home while Noble the infant is in daycare.  I'm okay with him going next year, because as a toddler he'll need that socialization and language...but for now, as crazy as it all is, I like my life just like this.  Well, most days.  :)  

03 December 2008

Ho, Ho, Ho...

Kayci loves, loves "The Santa Clause" movies.  We were watching the first one, where Scott Calvin gains 45 pounds in a week, and there's the whole sequence with him in the t-shirt with his belly hanging out, bouncing on the treadmill, etc.  It's pretty cute.  But then as I was getting into the shower I was like, hmm.  I've seen that belly somewhere before...

Ugh.  Ho, freaking ho ho.  

02 December 2008

One Day at a Time

It's hard to let go and just go along for the ride, isn't it?  I like to know what happens next, what's coming around the curve...and that's just not possible.  Every day it seems Dad's situation changes, and I'm glad to roll with it...but at the same time, it's hard to HAVE to live one day at a time.  I don't kid myself that when this is over and life finds a new normal that I'll be content to live one day at a time...but who knows?  Many days I feel like the silver lining in this--for my little family--is that we're/I'm learning to be less busy, to stop and take time to just BE.  

Easier said than done, friends.  

01 December 2008

Woo Hoo!

I am officially caught up in 2 of my 3 jobs...I wasn't able to grade last week and that has been weighing on me. So, today in addition to playing with Noble and getting the house back under control, I have caught up on grading. Woo hoo!

I can't control it all, I know, but it feels good when there is something I CAN change and I DO. And that has to be enough for today. Leaving everything else behind, sitting here in my clean (and quite Christmas-y!) living room, I'm a happy girl...

30 November 2008


It's the most wonderful time of the year, and this year we are especially grateful for our many blessings.  We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I'm happy to report that even with all of the family blending, a good time was had by all.  If there were hurt feelings, I'm unaware (and would like to stay that way!).  It was just a great day.  Marsha posted pics this morning--don't know if the link will work, but here it is: 

Friday was another great day--very relaxed, but lots of fun.  Mom & Dad were here, and we went to Martin Farms to get our tree and basically just hung out.  Kayci, James and I went to storage for our Christmas decorations and were all sufficiently freaked out by the big ol' snakeskin in our storage unit...I assume it's a rattlesnake who came in out of the cold, and if it outgrew the snakeskin we found, I surely don't want to run into it.  So, we're being cautious for a while and will stick to the front of our storage unit.  Yikes!  We did venture back to Bellville for a yummy dinner at the Golden Pagoda, and had a blast afterwards doing the Christmas tree.  We take our time, opening each ornament and talking about where/who it came from or why it's important to our family, then Kayci puts each one on the tree.  She rocked it this year; Grandma was impressed at how Kayci spaces the ornaments out, front and back, high and low. I love, love our Christmas tree--it truly tells the story of our little family, and our big families, as well.  It's not perfect, of course, and many probably wouldn't call it beautiful, but we love it.  The paper chain Kayci made last year was the finishing touch, and just makes it for me.  After the tree, Grandma and Kayci worked on the annual gingerbread house, and when I had to help, well, hilarity ensued.  We saved the best for last--our family of 4 fell asleep in our bed watching A Christmas Story.  It's a day after Thanksgiving tradition, after all...although the bed is usually either in Marble Falls or Fredericksburg.  :)

Yesterday was another relaxing day; Grandma, Noble & I went to Target to wrap up some shopping and everyone else visited the museum here in Brenham.  Afterwards, Grandma and Grandpa decided to hit the road.  The 4 of us took an almost 3 hour nap--wow!  After Friday night's 11:00 bedtime, I'm not surprised.  We got up from our nap and worked on decorating a bit more, then watched Elf and enjoyed some great soup and cornbread.  Noble fell asleep by 8, which left James, Kayci and I to cuddle on the couch and remember Christmases past, when it was truly just the 3 of us.  I love, love being a family of 4 and everything Noble brings to our lives, but I also have great memories of being a family of 3.  I think it did Kayci good to revisit that a bit last night, and to have some undivided attention.  And after we put her to bed, James and I got to snuggle on the couch...that was pretty great, too.  :)  

These past few days have been wonderful, but a little bittersweet.  For the first time I can remember, my Dad didn't spend Thanksgiving day in the kitchen, and he wasn't up to making the gingerbread house with Kayci.  But he was here, and he was able to go get our tree with us and hang out while we decorated.  We went out to eat several times and even took a trip to Lowe's...for Dad, this was a big ol' weekend.  I think it did him good to be here and be around the kids.  Nope, I know it did.  And I know it did Mom good, as well.  I'm looking forward to more time like this with Ronny's family in a few weeks.  In everything, the feeling that has nearly overwhelmed me is just...grateful.  We are blessed--I am blessed.   And I'm grateful for every day that I get with my family, big and small.  

This morning has been pretty quiet--James and I woke up early with Noble so we opted to stay in bed and watch a movie (seriously, haven't watched this much TV in ages!!) this morning rather than go to early church...then we've been having so much fun just piddling and playing this morning that we missed 11:00 church, too.  After Noble went down for a nap, I thought I'd sit down and blog for just a minute, and this song came on--it very much captures where I'm at today.  

Your Faithfulness
--Brian Doerksen

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

I don't know if these clouds mean rain
If they do, will they pour down blessing or pain?
I don't know what the future holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness

I don't know how or when I'll die
Will it be a thief, or will I have a chance to say goodbye?
No, I don't know how much time is left
But in the end, I will know your faithfulness

When darkness overwhelms my soul
When thoughts and storms of doubt
Still I trust You are always faithful, always faithful

Certain as the rivers reach the sea
Certain as the sunrise in the east
I can rest in your faithfulness
Surer than a mother's tender love
Surer than the stars still shine above
I can rest in your faithfulness

I don't know what this day will bring
Will it be disappointing, filled with longed for things?
I don't know what tomorrow holds
Still I know I can trust Your faithfulness

26 November 2008

Good day!

Today was a good day...I'm happy--and grateful--to say that I woke up feeling like myself today, ready to tackle the day.  Of course there were the usual ups and downs (Noble opted not to nap today, which is unusual BUT not too surprising as I had a bunch of Noble-free things I needed to do today).  But, we made do, and ended up having a great day.  The evening was jam-packed with the bulk of the day's cleaning to-do list, but it all worked out and here I am, ready for bed before 11.  Not bad for the day before a big get-together, if I do say so myself.  And my house isn't just guest-clean, it's Kristi-clean...so that feels good.  Of course I came up with several projects this week and didn't actually carry any of them through, but will have lots to do in the coming weeks to make the house more Noble-proof.  But that's another day.  Tomorrow's THANKSGIVING!!  Where has the time gone?  In a couple of days we'll have a Christmas tree, and be knee-deep in Christmas traditions.  I can't wait!  But first, as we tell Kayci, we'll give thanks for our many blessings.  

Chances are pretty good that if you're reading this...when we count our blessings tomorrow, you'll be on the list.  :)  

25 November 2008

Yet I Will Praise

It's a struggle right now to keep smiling, be strong.  I'm muddling through as best as I can.  I woke up so sad this morning, with a song stuck in my head.  When we first started at St. Timothy's, there was a girl named Tammy who sang with the band.  She has a beautiful voice, and there are some songs that when I hear them in my head, I hear her voice, see her face.  This is one of those songs.  

I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise You Lord
I will praise You Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise You Lord

And I can't understand
All that You allow
I just can't see the reason
But my life is in Your hands
And though I cannot see You
I choose to trust You

Even when my heart is torn I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even when I feel deserted I will praise (trust) You Lord
Even in my darkest valley I will praise (trust) You Lord
And when my world is shattered and it seems all hope is gone
Yet I will praise You Lord

I will trust You Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust You Lord
I will trust You Lord my God
Even when I cannot hear You
I will trust You Lord

And I will not forget
That You hung on a cross
Lord You bled and died for me
And if I have to suffer
I know that You've been there
And I know that You're here now

24 November 2008

Back in my day...

I've been thinking about my Grandma a lot this weekend.  I talked to Marsha for a long time on Saturday, so maybe that's why.  Anyway, yesterday I was thinking about getting the house cleaned and rearranging furniture, etc. to make sure there's plenty of space for everyone on Thanksgiving.  We'll have a full house, and I'm actually really, really excited!  

But what I was thinking was, and I apologize in advance if I'm about to offend you...my generation is just never satisfied.  We all think we need bigger houses, bigger tables, more stuff, better stuff...we think we need it all, and we need it now.  I thought about going to Kansas, and being at Grandma's house.  It was smaller than our last 2 houses, but bigger than this one.  It was a very Kansas layout--very long, with one half the kitchen/living room/dining area and the other half being the three bedrooms and one bathroom.  One bathroom, folks.  But you know, I don't remember, even as an adult, thinking, we won't have enough room, or, what if 2 people need to go to the bathroom at the exact same moment?  We never thought about it, and if she did, I'm not aware of it.  It just WAS.  Grandma's house was Grandma's house--there was always enough food to go around, and when it was time to eat we'd extend the table and gather as many chairs as we could find around the house (remember that, how the chairs were stashed in the bedrooms, just part of the landscape?).  Nobody worried about bringing in another table or buying another table or would the fat...I mean, bigger people be able to fit around the table.  If it was time to eat, we ate.  Then afterward, some would go to the kitchen to clean, some would go rest or visit in the living room (which was the same room as the dining room) and some would stay at the table to visit or play cards or dominoes.  It was always loud, and always fun.  Kids played behind the couch with the red laundry basket of toys that had been passed down from kid to kid, or in the garage, or outside...it was Kansas, we could go outside without our parents in arms' reach.  

Anyway, the point is, nobody cared that it was the same dishes she'd always had, or the same table, or that the chairs got narrower as we got fat...I mean older.  The whole point of Grandma's house was the time we spent together.  Granted, the majority of that time revolved around food, but that's okay--like we said in the cookbook, it's that food that makes our family.  I wish more people could remember (myself included) that it's not about the stuff, it's about people, and time well spent.  

So, I still have to clean my filthy house and buy groceries and cook, and...take time to remember that nobody will notice if my ceiling fans have fuzz around the edges, or if there are a couple of places where we need to touch up paint.  They will remember the day, the food (hey, it's just that good) and that we're blessed to have young and old at the table together as family.  Funny how up until recently, we took just that for granted. 

23 November 2008


I am oh-ficially caught up!! I was a week behind on reports, and it was weighing on me...and this week is the first week I'm teaching again after a 5 week break, so I've been spoiled by not having to grade, etc. I still have normal after the weekend grading to do, but I'm not BEHIND anymore. :) Some days, that's enough. Crap, most days getting close is enough!!

22 November 2008


Isn't it funny how fast your perspective can change? I was really self-centered yesterday and today. (Crap, every day, but those especially). Anyway, I have been so excited about having absolutely no plans this weekend, just getting to hang out around the house. Then we got a phone call from a good friend whose husband needed emergency surgery, and she asked if we could take care of her girls. Not a problem at all--luckily, James' dad was here to help out while we got everyone situated. The point is, here I'm thinking oh, things are so hard right now...and our friends are going through a life-changing medical experience. It's all about perspective, right?

Oh, and completely unrelated: go, Eagles!!! Danny Headley's BCA boys are still undefeated, and one win away from the state finals!! :)

21 November 2008

All is right with my world...

...it's 10:22 PM, and I'm laying here on the air mattress in Kayci's room (that would be the same one I never put away after our guests a week ago, yup) with both kiddos, just listening to them breathe.  Poor James isn't feeling well, so I came in here to give him some space.  Laying here, listening to the heater turn on and off, listening to the kids just breathing, feeling Kayci's feet seek me out every little while, and Noble's hands doing the same...all is right with my world.  :)  Days like today when I get down and get too stuck in my own head, God reminds me that nothing is more important than these 3 things:  faith, hope and love.  I am blessed with an abundance of all 3, and it doesn't get much better than this.  

And now that leads me to one of our favorite car games...James & Kristi trivia.  This will be a special Kristi edition, thanks to me thinking about my verse now...

James & Kristi trivia (sorry, Ronny):  At our wedding, I didn't cry at all...until Ronny read the new testament verse.  It was cool until he finished reading, and said, "James and Kristi..." and his voice broke, and it was all over for me and my makeup...that darn Ronny.  Made me cry at my own wedding.  :)  I've always loved that verse and really wanted it to be a part of our wedding ceremony, but Ronny adding his own spin to it has just cemented it as my favorite verse ever.  When I'm really down, that's where I head, to faith, hope and love.  

Ooh, more Kristi trivia in the same vein:  Only one of the rings I wear has words (on the outside, anyway).  What are those words?  (faith, hope, love)   

Only one of my rings is engraved on the inside...which one, and what does it say?  (this one's a trick question--my wedding band, which I don't currently wear because I'm too fat and I refuse to ruin it by sizing it...I digress.  Anyway, James surprised me by having "forever" engraved in it.  I surprised him, too--James' wedding band says "I love you, Boy!")

How many rings do I wear everyday? (four)

Describe them.  (engagement ring--hammered silver, gold setting, blue topaz...faith/hope/love thumb ring...cross ring on right pointer...4 seasons ring on my right ring finer)  

I bet nobody but James & Lynn can tell me when I got each ring--

engagement:  not on October 18, 1997 when James originally asked me, but that spring when James saw the current ring and fell in love with it :)
faith/hope/love:  originally got one from James for my 25th birthday, but lost it
cross:  James bought Kayci and me matching rings for Mother's Day a few years ago :)
4 seasons:  James' 30th birthday gift to me (that, and a great surprise party!)

Last one, non-jewelry related:  In our dining room, we have a red sign with white script words that sums up our family priorities...It reads...  (faith * family* friends)

And to all a good night...time to go check on my boy!  And it's cold in here...wonder if he'll notice if I turn the heater up...

One foot in front of the other...

Today is the hardest day I've had in a long time.  It's been a rough week, rough few months.  It's so funny--most days, I'm okay.  As long as I concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, doing the things we do every day, I'm okay.  If I stay in the NOW, I'm okay.  Last week, I spent a lot of time in the past, working on Dad's birthday gift, journaling memories and thinking about how awesome life has been since that first positive pregnancy test 6 years ago.  And I apologize if anyone reading this takes this personally, but my parents have been there every step of the way.  I know that my close relationship with them is a blessing (believe me, sometimes it's a curse, we're so much alike and drive each other nuts sometimes!), and I'm further blessed that James loves them and accepts them and has allowed our families to be one for all of this time.  For years, I've just thought of Mom & Dad as one with us...the plan, for the past 3 years, has been for them to move up here and be with us when Mom retires.  Depending on when that is, we might buy a house to share or, hopefully, be able to afford a place that has a house & a guest house or at least a separate living area for them.  That probably strikes fear in some of your hearts, to think of sharing space with your parents.  Not me, for the most part.  :)  It's just kind of been the plan,  when my Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson's the 4 of us talked about it a lot and since then it's just been...the plan.  

Here I'll backtrack:  one of my biggest obstacles in my walk with God is my pride, my belief in my ability to be in control of things.  I know this, I accept this, I work on this.  And a lot of times, I'm pretty good at it.  Then something big happens and there it is again, blocking my path.  A few weeks ago in church the song "Ruin Me" reminded me of my own shortcomings, my struggle.  So I promised to do what I could, live in the now and take care of now first.  And for the most part, I'm doing it.

Tuesday night, Mom, Dad and I were talking about when Mom will retire.  That conversation, I think, unlocked something I've tried really hard to not think about this past few months.  I've said it with my mouth, but I haven't dealt with it in my heart.  The simple fact is, there are no guarantees.  Dad may NOT be here much longer, but honestly, I could drop dead right now at the computer.  So why am I grieving a possible change in plans, that hasn't happened yet and may not happen?  Why am I WORRYING so much?  Why can't I give that back to God...He's in control.  I know that--good thing, because I'd have completely screwed this one up.  God's doing great, my Dad has a great attitude and is at peace with everything.  

That's another thing--people talk about finding peace with losing someone.  Well, that's not it at all.  It's not finding peace with death--it's finding peace with how we've lived our lives.  Have we said what we needed to say, been who we needed to be?   God, help me to remember to work on those things each and every day, in every relationship.

I ramble.  These are the things on my mind today.  On top of everything else, James and I are dealing with some long-term birth control options and having to face the fact that I will not, cannot have another baby is another struggle right now.  That's kind of my Dad's fault, as well--sorry, Dad, know you didn't mean to make me sad--but yesterday we were talking and he said, there'll never be another one like him (Noble).  Not for a million dollars could you come up with another baby like Noble, or Kayci.  I know he's partial, but I agree.  (Of course, he feels that way about all of his grandkids, and I must say, my brothers have made some awesome kids, as well.)  For whatever reason, God has truly blessed James & me with amazing, fun, smart, kind, beautiful, wonderful kids.  I am grateful for that, for them, every single day--and just awed by the everyday blessings.  What I'm dealing with this morning is that we're not just talking about my body, protecting it...we're talking about no more babies for us.  That's tough.  But the thing is, we have to face it and deal with it--we've had 9 months to come to grips with the fact that I'm not able to have more babies, and now we have to figure out the best way to make that happen.  Sigh.  When we found out Noble was a boy, James joked, "we're done--there's our 2."  Well, he was half-joking, he only wanted two.  Looks like you win this one, Boy-o.  

Sorry to bum you out if you're reading.  Just needed to get it off my chest.  And if you're one of those people who've called and wondered why I didn't call back, I've got a lot on my mind this week.  This weekend, time at home with James & the kids, is what I need...a heaping dose of normal, to get me grounded once again in the now.

6 days out...

It's unusual for me to be offline so long, but chances are, y'all didn't miss it.  :)  I think it's been a busy week for everyone!  Things have been a bit surreal this week.  We had a great weekend last week, and it felt like when everyone left, so did my energy.  Not a bad thing, just a thing.  Monday morning Noble and I left at 5 to go to Houston to take Mom & Dad to the medical center for a test, but it turned out to be a consult.  So, we got home just in time to pick the girls up from school.  Tuesday we had to go to College Station to get my contacts, (but we did meet Lil and Dee at the Pomegranate first for some coffee and girl talk!) and of course we had to go to Gymboree and Target, which ended up taking most of the day.  We picked the girls up from school and went to the library for story time.  Wednesday was another 5 am commute, but instead of going straight to work I went to the doctor to talk about my weight.  I do love Dr. Zois, and I'm glad to be on track again to start losing and feeling better.  (Not that I feel bad physically, but I'm ready to have some energy again!)  The Pilot battery died while we were waiting there, so AAA came out and jumped it and we drove straight to NS to buy a new one.  Then I worked a bit, dropped Noble off for a nap at Mom & Dad's, and went back to work.  It was a good day, but I was just not really all in.  We had planned to go out to dinner Wednesday night, but Dad had a rough day and wasn't up to it, so Mom made soup & sandwiches.  It was good!  Noble and I stayed at their house since we had an 8:00 call time for Dad's endoscopy yesterday (just wasn't up to another 5 am commute, 3rd this week if you're counting).  Kayci cried when she found out we weren't coming home (we talked about it before I left, of course) but she had a great time with Paula's kids and then Daddy, so it wasn't a huge deal.  And apparently she got to sleep in my spot, so that made it worthwhile.  :)  

Dad had an endoscopic ultrasound yesterday, and it showed that he does need surgery (what I understand is that surgery is the only surefire way to beat cancer, guessing because it removes compromised cells...it's hard for the doctors to tell, by sight, which cells are cancerous and which are just damaged, so they are being conservative).  Anyway, now the task is to watch Dad get stronger and healthier so he's ready for surgery.  He goes to see the surgeon on Monday, so we'll know more then.  

That's really where my energy has gone this week--I try so hard not to worry, I know that's not my job, God's got it...but for some reason, this week I've been stressing.  I guess because I know more than anything Mom & Dad want to hear an all clear, but that's not the case.  It's cancer, and that's tough because there's no black and white path, no clear answers.  You've just gotta put one foot in front of the other and get through it.  Most days that's easy to do, but at times like now, when Dad gets to a fork in the road, the worry comes back.  So, will work on giving that back to God.  

Today's Friday, and I haven't been home yet this week.  It's grading day and I have mountains of laundry to get through in addition to regular housework and hanging out with Noble.  Not complaining, just got a lot on the agenda.  I'm behind in all 3 jobs today, but have faith I can catch up on at least 2...we'll see.  This weekend we have committed to a quiet weekend at home, and I can't wait.  The kids & I went shopping yesterday and bought food for the weekend--comfort stuff, like quesadillas, stuff to make our veggie soup, chili, homemade pizza...should be a good, quiet weekend.  Cross your fingers!

On Monday we'll check Kayci out of school early so she can go to Houston with us.  After I take Mom & Dad to the surgeon (the kids will go to KLC or stay with friends there), we're going to meet Lynn for dinner...will tell you more about that next week!  There are lots of great things happening in our lives right now, and with the holiday coming up next week, we're just grateful.

And before I go get Kayci up, just one more thing:  we are SO GLAD and grateful that Ronny's family is coming home to stay.  We love having them in Pflugerville, close enough for little league and soccer, lunch or dinner on the weekends.  Kayci has missed her cousins, and I've missed them all, too.  I didn't realize how much until Ronny told me they're coming home, and then it was like, oh, good...I can breathe again.  :)  

Happy weekend!  

Oh!  One more thing...Noble said "ma" a couple of times yesterday when he was talking to Grandma.  He's said it a few times since, so maybe he'll find a word for Mommy finally!

15 November 2008


I'm exhausted...but in a good way.  Today was a great day, start to finish--Dad woke up, feeling good enough to go out to eat for breakfast, Ronny surprised him...good day, great news, lots of hope for the holidays.  We had a great, NORMAL day...the first in a long time.  (Normal because we were just hanging out, but not quite normal as Amy & the kids weren't able to be here).  Ronny took Dad to HEB and they made a seafood feast for lunch (first time Dad's been in the kitchen since the hurricane!).  After lunch, Timmy & Emma came (Kayci had a blast with Emma, and Noble enjoyed getting to know Timmy).  Susie and Ward came, too.  By the time we got all of the candles lit on Dad's cake, the stinkin' cake melted...it was kind of gross, but fun, too.  :)    

Anyway, it was just a good day.  Looking forward to a great holiday season, and seeing Ronny's WHOLE family in December.  Can't wait!

And if you're counting...2 weeks from today, the Pharaons will be putting up a Christmas tree.  Wow!

13 November 2008

Another day...

It's been kind of a crazy week, and I'm not sure why.  Poor Paula picked the girls up from school again today...for the 4th day in a row.  Seriously, I'm not sure what's up with this week.  Monday it all looked so promising!  I'm grateful that the kids are reasonably healthy, the house is reasonably clean, I'm not horribly behind with my work...

Am anxious about my Dad this evening, but so grateful to be able to celebrate his 65th birthday tomorrow.  Will see them, and just focus on being grateful to be with him.  Every day counts.  

Off to finish working on his birthday gift--I don't think they look at my blog, but don't want to spoil the surprise.  :)  

10 November 2008

Monday, Monday...

Noble is officially fever-free...our house is officially back to normal, albeit normal Monday-messy...that's all the news that's fit to print.  I'm a happy MommyGirl!!!

07 November 2008

Should I stay or should I go...

Day 4 of the fever...

Noble and I have been up since 3.  At about 4:45, I noticed our bedroom light was on so I went in to say good morning to James, let him know we were up (Noble and I went to the living room to see if vertical sleeping would help Darth Baby sleep...helped him, but not Mommy so much).  Anyway, James was putting on his shoes, getting ready to go work out.  

As he was leaving, he noticed that I was less than enthusiastic.  God love him, he was brave enough to ask, "are you grumpy that I'm going?"  (I've ruined the poor boy, he really does say things like that.)  And that one statement summed it all up, and I tried to explain it.  No, I'm not grumpy that James is going to work out--I'm GLAD because it makes him happy.  But what I told him is that I want to be able to go...I wouldn't go if I could, because of that sick, snotty baby sitting on the floor playing with BaBa, but I wish I could go.  I wish I could leave for 8 hours every day, get 8 hours of work done, come home feeling accomplished.  I wish I could  go work out each day so I can tackle some of MY issues.  I wish, in short, that I could GO.  

But, as I told James...I CAN GO.  I have opportunities to do all of those things, when it gets right down to it, and I choose to STAY.  I could have gone back to work, outside the house, full time this year.  But the thought of moving to Houston, exposing Kayci to the world we left behind, putting Noble in daycare, giving up this wonderful little life...no thanks.  I have to admit, the paycheck was tempting--until I realized that by the time we paid more for a house, more for daycare, etc. I'd make about the same I make now, from home.  And my kids wouldn't have the family life they have now, so no thanks.  

If you're not understanding this, then you're probably not a Mommy, and that's okay.  I'm not entirely sure James understood, or understands.  This week has been a bit rough, being on house arrest while my Dad was in the hospital and then yesterday, missing the big homecoming because of Feverish Floyd.  But it's okay, because I'm exactly where I need to be, doing exactly what I need to be doing.  Because truth be told, I have wonderful friends who would keep Noble, sick or no.  I have a wonderful friend who offered to keep him today so I can go on Kayci's field trip as planned.  So you see, I could GO.  But I can't, because I need to stay until he's better.  And deep down, as much as I want to go, I want to stay, too.

It's tough being the Mommy.  

06 November 2008

Cuddly Bubby

This is how Noble and I spent most of the morning...the hand clutching the shirt came in when I tried to get up off the couch.  I had James snap this picture when he came in for lunch to relieve me so I could run a quick errand.  :)  

05 November 2008


You know I'm not big on politics, but I am disappointed in America today for voting for someone based on Marketing.   Do the people who voted for him really understand his politics and policies, or did they vote for him because he's seen as cool and revolutionary?  I'm just too conservative at heart to have a lot of faith in a liberal President AND a liberal Congress--may God help us all.  

Looking for the silver lining--maybe they'll pour some much-needed funds into education, then forget that they're pro big-government and let educators actually decide how to spend the money.  Wait, that was a positive and negative in one...hmm.  Good enough for now.  See, that's me being open-minded.  

04 November 2008

Cosmic Conspiracy?

I think it's time for me to listen.  Wednesdays are my working days--I'm supposed to be on the road by 5:15 so I can drop Noble at KinderCare and be at work by 8.  Theoretically, I'd work until 4:30 or 5, pick up the Bubby and head home.  Well, it's just not meant to be, for whatever reason.  There's a running joke in my house--Kayci gets sick on Friday nights (ear infections ALWAYS pop up around 1 am on Friday nights) and Noble gets sick on Tuesdays.  Today was no exception--he was very snotty and coughy and cry-y (have been chalking it up to the time & weather change), then I picked him up and he had a definite fever.  101 degrees, so we didn't pass go or collect $200...called the doctor and they got him right in.  Of course Kayci cried because it meant we missed story time, but what can you do?  So here I am, once again, with a sick Bubby who can't go to KinderCare tomorrow, so I can't go to work.  I will most likely haul the poor little guy into Houston with me to pick some things up (Sami's going country, as of tomorrow, and moving to our house) and go to a meeting.  I've missed the last 2 team meetings, and several Wednesdays of classroom visits.  Arrgh.  I know it's not about me...but seriously, it's just not funny.  I feel like such a Bozo each week telling the ladies I work for, and with, sorry, can't come in again...Noble's sick.  Seriously--I couldn't even LIE about him being sick this often.  So here we go again.
Sitting here watching election results, waiting for James to get home from his helicopter shoot.  (He's supposed to blog about it--some great pics!!)  Anyway, it's very confusing and very frightening...praying for our country this evening.  I need to make it a habit, I know.  

Weighty Issue

Bet you thought I was going to talk about the election again, huh?  Nope, nothing quite so lofty. 

So, Sunday our DR lesson was about insurance.  We learned a LOT, and luckily, we're in pretty good shape except for my life insurance & Noble's life insurance.  Yesterday DaddyBoy talked to the life guy and brought home the estimates, along with a form for me to fill out to see if I qualify for "preferred" rates.  I'm going down the form, feeling pretty smug--no tobacco, no DUIs, etc. etc.  Get all the way to the bottom with no "yes" answers, so I'm in.  And then I see it--the height/weight chart.  How sad that I've gotten to the point that I had to tell my husband that I'm over 40 pounds away from, in fact, being preferred.  Truth be told, I'm 60 pounds away from my goal weight--which is 22 pounds more than when James and I started dating.  Do the math, friends--it all adds up to how did I get here?  I could lose one of you readers--a whole person.  My weight is a hard, hard thing to face, but the truth is, I don't want Kayci to think of me as fat.  I don't want my size to limit what I can do as her Mommy.  Already (like now, after having Noble) it's a factor in what clothes I buy and wear, and how I feel in my clothes.  Bathing suit season this year was not fun...which is sad because LAST YEAR I got into my favorite Polo suit that I haven't worn since before Bitty.  :(  But regardless, it's time for a change.  Those donut holes probably weren't the best breakfast choice...I've got to work on what I put in my mouth, friends.  That's the biggest issue, other than everyone's "I don't have time to exercise." Sigh.  It kind of feels like now or never, and never can't be an option.  I want to be a cute mom, by gosh!  Not to mention that I want James to look at me and see Kristi legs, not just had a baby legs.  Sigh again.

Oh, well--the good news is, the energy fairy came after all and she's helping me scurry around and get recycling, etc. done while Noble's napping.  Just had to stop and put this into words, as it's weighing on me this morning.  Ha freakin' ha. 

03 November 2008

Blah blah blah

I'm tired, you guys. After last week--as much as we had time to sit and "rest" at the hospital, it's still exhausting--then the time change, which has totally thrown Noble for a loop, I'm just done. No energy! Poor little guy is sleeping and has been for 2 hours and I've gotten NOTHING done. A bit of work, but that's it. Sigh.

Am waiting for the energy fairy to come visit...

02 November 2008

A whole new world...

I admit it, when I go to my friends' blogs, sometimes I'll click on THEIR friends' blogs. Tonight I went to Brenda's blog to see if she'd posted Halloween pics, yet (ahem. Well, we haven't either) and saw one of her friends had a fun background...so now I've gone toile. What fun! Too busy, I think, but it's fun to have some of my favorite things here...

The Adventures of MommyGirl

I sent poor James out into the wilds of Destructoville for having his own views on the family blog, so I feel like turnabout is fair play.  I have lots of random thoughts (I know, shocking!) that don't really have anything to do with family news, so I figured why not create a space of my own?  

I won't do an e-mail update, I figure it's like my house--pop in when you have some time.  :)

So many things to say...where to begin?

James is going to ask me why a list...I'm practicing gratitude.  And it's like the song says, when I'm down or things look tough, I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don't feel so bad.  Thanks, Lynn, for that gift that keeps on giving.  (11 years later!)